Chicken Week!!!

It’s not really “Chicken Week”, but as I wrote down all this week’s dinners, I noticed chicken popped up a lot!

So how did the first “Primal Dawn Salad Challenge” go? Great, I think. The successes were the grilled chicken Caesar salad, the Greek salad with lamb, and the Papaya Lime Soup. The Caesar dressing was so simple and delicious. I think I’ve found my Caesar dressing for life! No raw eggs in it, either. Not that I care too much, but for the kiddos it’s not too safe. The Greek salad was so good! I ended up using ground lamb and spicing it like my Gyro burgers with garlic, red wine vinegar, and other goodies. My local grocery stores don’t carry much lamb. I couldn’t find any stew meat, just ground lamb and some teeny tiny chops that were pricey and I couldn’t imagine hacking up like 8 of them to make my salad. The papaya lime soup was a little sweet, but not overly so (not dessert-y). T-Lo was the only one who didn’t eat his soup. He doesn’t eat much dinner these days anyway, so no worries. The fail was the Vietnamese salad. The veggie combo was just “okay”, and the poached, shredded chicken was just “okay” too. The killer was the dressing that nobody ate. It had lemon juice and fish sauce and not much else. Very sour and fishy. Oh well, you win some you lose some.

This week’s menus are all first-timers. As in, I’ve never made any of these recipes before and they are all new and ou of our usual comfort zone.

Meatless Raw Monday— Spinach Apple Soup w/ Harvest salad (greens, pear, dried cranberries, etc…)

Slowcooker Tuesday–Stuffed Chile Casserole with grilled chicken boobs…this looks so good, like chile rellenos, which I love!!

Malaysian Wednesday–Grilled Beef salad…this will hopefully be better than our Vietnamese foray

Thai Thursday– Thai Marinated Chicken Chunks and broccoli…simple but I’m hoping delish!

Freaky Friday—Chicken and Artichokes with Garlic Sauce…this is from my Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals. Not really “Freaky”, but I had to come up with something clever 😉

I’ve been working out and I’m not noticing much poundage loss, but I am seeing stronger, tighter thighs. That’s not too bad, right? I’m adding more exercise this week. I’ve been doing the Body Rock TV workouts 3 times a week. This week I’m doing M-W-F Body Rockin’, and then T-TH-and maybe SAT hula hooping!! Yes, the hula hoop is back in action, people! I looooove hula hooping and boxing and karate. I MUST do one of these things!! Maybe doing my hoopdance will unearth some abs. I’m not rockin’ a 6-pack. I have a 2-liter!

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Salad Challenge

I’ve decided this coming week we are going to have salads for dinner the entire week!  If I had been a little more on the ball, we should have done this challenge this week, since we are in the midst of a heat wave here in the Northeast.

So without further ado, I present to you the inaugural “Primal Dawn’s Salad Week” (cue clapping and cheering):

Monday–Grilled chicken caesar salad…online recipe using mayo and anchovies instead of the eggs.

Tuesday–Greek salad with lamb….I’m doing a regular Greek salad (cukes, olives, onions, red wine vinaigrette) and adding some lamb to the mix

Wednesday–A Vietnamese salad recipe from a Moosewood book I have…..we will do all the veggies but I’m going to add grilled chicken.

“Raw” Thursday–Mango Avocado Salad and Papaya Lime Soup from my Raw Food for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. Love that book.

Friday–Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Turkey Meatballs….meatballs on the side, of course. I’ve never seen a salad topped with meatballs!!

This should have me and my kitchen cool as cucumbers this week. Next up, a grilling challenge….which is gonna be rough. Our grill is on it’s last legs, poor thing. But I get to get a new one next summer!!!

Harumph

I’m in the doldrums with this blog right now. I feel like all I do is post menus and kid cuteness. Maybe it’s the summertime distracting me. I’m painting rooms, creating stuff, cooking like a lunatic, and reading a lot.

So, until I can come back with something juicy and worth reading, I’m taking a step back. I don’t think it will last long, but I figured I’d just tell all my wonderful readers (all 4 of you!!).

I will continue to post menus, and so here ya go:

Monday–chili cheese fries….yep, you read that right. Don’t judge. I’m using organic, simple frozen frenchy fries, homemade chili, and lots of cheddar cheese

Tuesday–Salmon with tzatziki sauce and mango gazpacho…..see, we’re making up for Monday with this gourmet meal.

Wednesday–Chicken stir-fry

Thursday–Meatloaf and a caprese salad…picked up fresh basil, plum tomatoes, and smoked mozzarella, should be delish

Friday–Pizza night!!!!

Wow, looking at this menu I’m thinking I’m not making good use of the grill this week!! I’m sure I could grill meatloaf….right??? And we don’t have a fish-basket for the grill yet, so the salmon isn’t a candidate. Hmmmm, maybe next week I’ll challenge myself to use the grill at least twice. Oh, and I forgot I wanted to do a salad challenge this summer too. Just salads for a week. Make a week of awesome homemade dressings, mix up the proteins….nice and cool and crunchy and nutritious! Hey, maybe I do have some things to post!!

Spring Chicken?

The title of this post is not about some yummy recipe I’m going to give you. It’s about me. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and I realized this fact this week. I scrubbed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees last weekend, and I messed my knee up and couldn’t work out!! It was hurting a lot. I just took acetaminophen and rested it. So weird. I’ve never really felt “old”, but I’m definitely realizing that I ain’t as young as I used to be! The horror! Nah, I don’t really freak about age much, I don’t feel 36, I feel like me. What is 36 supposed to feel like anyway? Who says?? Who cares??

So the workouts were a bust this week, but the diet was at….I’m gonna say, 80%?? Not perfect, but again, if perfect is your thing, have at it, because there’s plenty of perfect to go around. I am not hogging it all up. You are more than welcome to it.

I have still had this creative streak. I saw a picture on pinterest that totally inspired me. It was picture of cherry blossoms against a blue sky. I am trying to do my impression of this. Not a copy, but rather me “doing” cherry blossoms against a blue sky. I’m working on another mask. I’m considering sewing again. I stopped sewing for a little bit because I felt bloated and I didn’t want to make something that would fit me now, then when I’ve been on track for a while would then be too big. But I got a new couch recently and I’m thinking about making a few pillow covers. See, I don’t have to make clothing for myself!

T-Lo is having fun at summer school. He goes for just a half day, but I think it’s so good for him to have that social time and to keep up his skills. It is also nice to have that alone time each day with J. He really enjoys it too. We can hang out playing video games or just reading in the same room. Or, shocker of shockers, go outside and have a catch or walk the dogs or shoot hoops!

I guess that’s it for my little corner of the earth. How is your corner??

Week of July 11 Menus

Here’s what we’re eating here this week:

Meatless Monday–Mogul Eggplant from my Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook….eggplant and yogurt, we’ll see how that goes!

Tuesday–Sloppy Joes and French Fries…request from J and T-Lo…they’ll have buns and we’ll make the fries ourselves

Wednesday–Steak Salad…we have leftover grilled london broil, so I’ll serve it over a bunch of salad veggies

Thursday–Fish Stew…this is an awesome soup made with clam juice and white fish and white wine…YUM

Friday–Chicken with Balsamic Citrus Sauce…from my tattered and splattered Joy of Cooking book. LOVE that book. I feel like every home cook should own that. And the Julia Child French cooking anthology. I don’t have that yet, but a girl can dream……

And we’ve got a request for hamburgers for the weekend. Guess who requested that? If you know, you’re a fan.

Family Day

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Well, it started as a monthly family dinner thing, but today it’s family lunch and then off to the park to feed ducks and play. It’s usually the first weekend of the month, but last week J was at his dad’s wedding! Yep, J’s dad got married! They did the deed in Central Park with just the officiant, the 4 kids (his 2, her 2), and 2 friends to witness.  So since it’s a family thing, we didn’t do it because the whole family wasn’t here. Makes sense, right?

So J picked where we’re going. He chose TGI Friday’s. One of my favorites, as far as chain places go. I like the salads, and even (shhh) the occasional burger. I know, not very primal of me, huh? And guess what? I don’t give a rat’s ass if the primal police come and take me to primal jail. I will always defend the 80/20 rule, and I will own every morsel that I stuff into my gob. That’s why I don’t usually engage the “holier than thou” discussions about what’s truly primal and if you’re doing this then you’re not really primal and blah blah blah. If being perfect is your thing, go for it, but I’m not. It’s probably the reason why I haven’t lost as much weight as I could have by now, but I need choices that I can live with, not diet dogma. I’ve been there and you feel guilty for eating anything “bad”, and feel awesome for the first weeks when your willpower is strong, then as it fades, so does the diet and you’re left feeling like a failure. I need something that I can continue for the rest of my life.

With that being said, though….guess what I’m having? A salad. I’ve been off track for a while and recently tightened up 20% that was turning into maybe 40%. A nice salad, maybe some wings as an app, and lemon water.

Have you guys ever heard of a snake squash? Me either. But last week, I saw it in the produce department and I just had to try it. I made a casserole thing with some cheese and potatoes. It was pretty good. You have to peel it. The texture inside is like a soft, airier zucchini. I just had to get a shot of T-Lo with it. It was almost as tall as him!!! So if you happen to see a snake squash, give it a try!

The puppies are doing well, if developing the annoying habit of digging. Yep. We’ve got 2 diggers. Their ears get disgusting so we have to wash them once a week or the dirt can cause an infection. But we love them so much! Here’s a shot of Luna looking particularly Marmadukish. She loves to watch out the window. They also cry when one of us leaves. It’s cute, but also kinda sad.

Truckin’

I’m just chuggin’ along over here. I have been doing my workouts, eating is better. I am feeling calmer, more energetic.

I’m still feeling like I’m suckin’ ass at these workouts, but I’m sticking to it. I finish, gasping and red-faced and sweaty, and then I feel powerful and awesome. I always work out in the morning, and I’m convinced that it makes my day go better. I feel happier. I guess maybe accomplishing something early in your day makes the rest of the day seem easy. I can’t always get through the entire workout, but I push 100% and I am fine with that. Today I actually finished the whole workout. It was my 6th day of working out since I recommited, and I think the last one I finished completely was on day 3. So workouts 4 and 5 I only did 1/2 to 3/4.

Hey, do you guys want an awesome recipe for brussels sprouts? You do??? Okay here you go:

Take fresh sprouts (about 1 pound), trim off the ends with a sharp knife. Slice in half vertically. Preheat oven to “scorching”, aka 450F, or higher….if you dare. Place sprouts in a roasting pan, then toss with some sort of fat. My favorite is bacon fat. Seriously, I highly recommend the bacon fat. It adds so much more to the dish. But if it’s not your thing, just use whatever your fat of choice is. Pour maybe 2-3 TB of the fat on the sprouts, salt and pepper, a little garlic powder if you want (salt and pepper alone is fine), and toss to coat evenly. Place in your “Oven of Doom”, stirring occasionally, until they are getting dark around the edges. I like mine on the verge of burnt, but cook to your preference.

These are so good. I could just have a big bowl of this for dinner. Brussels sprouts are kind of tricky and I think people can be intimidated by these mini-cabbages. Another flavor that complements sprouts is citrus. Pan-fry them with some spices and fat, and just a few splashes of orange juice. It gives them a nice sweetness. You may even be able to get that picky eater to enjoy these!

So get out there and get your cruciferous veggie on!

Menus for the Week

Just the menus, I have no inspiration right now!

Monday–A french crockpot thingy with potatoes and blue cheese

Tuesday–Cabbage roll casserole

Wednesday–Chicken with goat cheese sauce

Thursday–Salmon filets with homemade pesto

Friday–Spaghetti squash with meat sauce

That’s it! Have a happy 4th everyone!

Summertime…And The Livin’s Easy!!

Ugh. I’m still getting the hang of my damn tablet. Don’t get me wrong, I love love love it, but the blog is what is giving me the most trouble!!! So I’m gonna keep trying, but I’ll be posting from the good old laptop for right now.

So. Summer is in full swing here at my home. They spend a few hours at a friend’s house yesterday, playing on a trampoline (little one for the mini people, big one for the older kids). When I showed up they were sweaty and red and happy. Good stuff. Then they came home and jumped in the kiddie pool for a bit. After that, they were tired so it was time for some vegging. They played video games and watched The Muppet Show. I’m planning on a few things in the coming months. A children’s science museum next week. Possible trip to Sesame Place in August. Of course Primal Dawn’s favorite pastime: GEOCACHING!!! I’m organizing a geocaching meetup with some moms I know online. It will be at a local park and all the kiddos can come and it’s gonna be so much fun!!! A friend is coming back to my neck of the woods from GA and of course, we’re geocaching. Yay!

I wanted to just let everyone know I’m eating better now and the exercising is improving too. I feel totally out of shape, but I’m doing it. I know I feel great for the rest of the day after an awesome workout, so I’m sticking to it. Tonight is pizza night, and we’re changing it up. We usually do pepperoni, and sometimes a roasted red pepper and goat cheese combo. Tonight it’s a nitrate-free spinach and red onion chicken sausage and maybe some roasted red peppers. Of course lots of whole milk mozzarella. All on a primal crust. Yum. I’m planning on grilling up some chicken tomorrow with a mango salsa that I’m going to make today. I want to give it overnight to let the flavors blend.

Oh, and although I may be a little late to this party, I found a new yummy use for bacon: blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. Hell. Yeah. The sweet salty combination is truly outrageous (like Jem). You can never have too many great ways to use bacon. Bacon makes almost everything better. Which reminds me, the other day I made bacon wrapped chicken livers. Ugh. Gross. Nobody liked them, not even the pups! I’m not giving up though. There’s gotta be another way to eat chicken livers other than pate. Pate is good, don’t get me wrong, but it can’t be the only game in town!!

So, ready for cute kid pics? Here you go!

Remember that SNL skit with Christopher Walken called “The Continental”? Here he is!

Fun with Play-Doh.

Just love the face in this pic.

That would be my oldest son in the crate with BOTH of the dogs.

My future pro-baseball player.

He chose this ensemble, complete with motorcycle boots, to wear to his brother’s ultrasound appointment.