Monday, August 31, 2009

Nice hike

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

I went on a few lovely hikes this weekend on my trip to Utah. I thought I'd share some photos with you. The wildflowers were in bloom!

the trail through the cottonwood trees
wild raspberries! I snacked on some - yummy!
the butterscotch scent when you walk thru the conifer groves is amazing!
I thought these were lupines (my favorite wildflower) but I think it is mountain golden pea (Thermopsis rhombifolia)?
a really cool overlook with a view down into the valley (some dork is blocking the view)
beautiful mountain views w rudbeckia flowers
Have a great day!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Butter breakfast

Wow - I have been posting a lot lately. I guess I am in a blabbermouth mood! Or maybe it is the fact that after soooo long I finally have a real sized kitchen! It's so great to have countertops at last!!!

Anyway, here is a basic breakfast I have been eating this week. It is just so good! I discovered something that seems so simple and stupid but ...well, I didn't know it before.

One piece of Applegate Farms Sunday bacon, cut up and cooked. Grease poured off (saved of course). Then throw a bit of pastured butter in the pan and scramble two eggs (usually eat one but the eggs I got are really small). When it is almost done, throw in a couple chopped zebra tomatoes. Have you had these? They are good! Tangy!

EAT! Fills ya up for a while!

OK so here is the simple thing. Eggs with butter. Uh - duh. Haven't the French told us this? How did I miss it? The butter somehow makes them taste AMAZING!!! Like heaven! I often cook them in bacon grease and yes, butter tastes even better.

The butter I have been using is pastured raw milk butter from Organic Pastures, I get it at the FM. It is unsalted but with the "stuff" from the pasture it tastes salty to me! (Do you know-I used to hate butter, I thought it was gross. WTF???) You probably know you can make your own butter really easily from cream, I've done it before in my crafty homesteader moods. A great kid's project too! But it is cheaper to buy it.

Funny thing is I told a friend of my butter/egg revelation and he said "Oh no-too much cholesterol". I don't try and argue nutrition with people so I just said "Who cares? It's so good it's worth it."

And it is.

Have a great weekend!!! Eat lots of good butter! xoxo

Thursday, August 27, 2009


One of my very best friends, Shelly, took this photo of a sunset in Alaska. I just love this photo and had to share it! She takes the most amazing nature photos.

All I can say is WOW!

Shelly is my ultimate inspiration. She has been through some challenges in the past few years, but always has amazing strength, a positive attitude, a great sense of humor AND she is a wonderful, caring, fun and loving friend. We have had many many fun times together, in fact she was my companion for many of the travel photos I have posted! (Alaska, Belize, Mexico)

Here's one of us from way back in the day about 15 yrs ago, sea kayaking in Santa Cruz. haha!! Funny pic huh. I look dorky as usual.
Do you remember that day, Shelly? The visitors from Europe were scared by the whale?

I wish she wasn't so far away in the frozen north but I'm glad she gets to enjoy such beauty in her surroundings on a daily basis.

I hope you all like the lovely sunset photo! I have it as my computer desktop at work. Have a fantastic weekend everyone and cherish the precious moments with your friends and family!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tunisian sausage

Hi there my friends!

I mentioned that I had a Moroccan lamb sausage recipe that I had been wanting to try, but I also had a similar Tunisian lamb sausage recipe that sounded even better! The thing I did not have was the lamb. But I had ground bison so I figured why not try that? Combine N African flavors with N American creatures.

I got the recipe off the internet some time ago, not sure is my adaptation:

Spicy Tunisian Sausage
1 lb ground lean lamb (I used ground bison, very lean)
1 heaping tsp cumin (love cumin!!!)
2 tblsp smoked paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)

1 tblsp red pepper flakes (I like it spicy)
pinch of cinnamon
splash of pomegranate juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp grated ginger
pinch of dried thyme
dash of salt

The recipe called for this mixture to be stuffed into casings, but I say no thanks. Too much work. So I made patties and fried them up in a little bacon grease. YUM!

To go along with the sausage (more like a burger if you ask me), I made a green salad with roasted eggplant, red and yellow peppers, red onions. I blended a Spanish style salad dressing in my mini processor thingie: olive oil, zinfandel vinegar, a zebra tomato, tiny piece of garlic, smoked paprika, splash of water. I shaved a little Idiazabal cheese over the top. Yummy cheese, how I love thee...

The salad dressing was super awesome! TRY IT PEOPLE!

I really did not like this meal. Yes, after I took this photo I DID lick the plate. I'm an animal like that.

I read that there is an old Tunisian saying that a husband can judge his wife's love by the amount of hot spice in the food she cooks for him. I like that. The spicier the better. haha!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Korean bison and Utah

Hey everyone!

I'm going to Utah this coming weekend for a wedding. I'm so excited! Anyone reading from Utah or been to Utah??? Any advice for things to see and do? I'll be in the Salt Lake City area, staying in Snowbird.

We'll probably be busy with wedding events but I want to do at least one hike.
I've never been to Utah!!! This is my 49th state. Next, I'm headed to Maine for #50!

Back to eating...

Yesterday before I left for work I marinated a bison flank steak in gochujang (korean fermented red pepper paste), sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger and left it in the refrig all day. When I got home and was ready to eat I scraped off most of the marinade, threw the steak in a hot pan and cooked it up medium rare, let it rest, then sliced it up.

To go with the bison, I made a big green salad and tried to recreate the dressing from our favorite Korean BBQ joint. The ingredients I used were: soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, water, and a bunch of korean coarse red pepper. Most recipes I saw used sugar as well, but I skipped that. It was good!!! I can't believe I recreated it! I could tell the only missing ingredient was the sugar. This dressing is great because you can barely tell it has oil, only the flavor of the sesame comes through. If you want my recipe - just ask! :)

When I went to the market to get the gochujang and red pepper I also picked up some marinated bean sprouts. I love these. I added them to the salad as well. Next time I will make them, they are super simple. I also got some really good kimchee without MSG. My friend gave me a recipe from Guam for shrimp with kimchee. When I make it I will let you know how it is!

I found out that gochujang has wheat and rice flour in it, along with some form of sugar. I bought the organic brand that supposedly does not add corn syrup or MSG. I figure it is not like I am eating a tub of it every day so a little bit of yuck is OK? or not? It added a great tangy flavor to the meat, but next time I would probably use less.

Have a beautiful wonderful day everyone!

Monday, August 24, 2009

FGE Chicken Kababs

So I'm sure you are something like me and you read cookbooks or blogs and see recipes and think "WOW - I need to try making that" but then you forget and whatever. Well, when I saw the recipe for chicken kebabs on Feel Good Eating I knew I wanted to try it as soon as I could get access to a grill. The thing is, I love chicken kebabs but when I try to make them they always come out kind of dry and tasteless. When I saw Marc's recipe I noticed he wrote the word "secret" a few times, which caught my eye. Perhaps finally I would discover what was missing when I made them!?

I never heard of putting olive oil on the skewers before putting the meat on. Hmm....

I used smoked paprika instead of regular and I added fresh oregano with the mint. I also used both breasts and thighs. I didn't have time to marinate for 6-8 hrs so I only did 2. To go along with the chicken I grilled zucchini and red peppers with a bit of salt and fresh rosemary.

Dude- these kababs were EXCELLENT. Dare I say it, the breast was better than the thighs? SO good. Thanks Marc! I made a ton so I will be eating them for lunch for a few days now. I think now I will start making an effort to actually make the recipes I read on the blogs instead of just drooling over the photos. Stay tuned, I'm making something from Caveman Food next!

Yay! I hope you all have a happy Monday!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Relaxing Saturday

I had such a nice Saturday morning!

Took a nice long walk to get coffee and use the internet, then went to a new farmer's market that I had not been to before.

I found someone selling pastured chickens and eggs and LAMB! I am so excited! You need to pre-order the lamb. I have to decide what cuts to order, any suggestions?

I got a lot of good stuff at the market, here is a little photo for you. Do you like my new mustard yellow countertop? hehe!! Luckily I actually like the color.

I love going to the farmer's market for all the food, but I am also a huge fan of people watching and the market is a great place to do that. I saw the cutest thing yesterday-a gentleman in his 80s or 90s approached an adorable lady of the same age and started heavily flirting with her. It was SO CUTE watching them grin at each other and chat about veggies! Later I saw the same lady again and she winked at me. haha!

The rest of the weekend has been spent moving and cleaning and organizing. Yuck. But almost done.
I hope you all had an awesome weekend!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Three additional laws

Of course we all love Mark Sisson and his blog and his book and his 10 laws, right? But I have three more laws that I would add to the list. I think my 3 laws are also important to health. You might think I'm super weird after you read these but here we go...

1. Get out and enjoy nature

It is great to get some sun, and to work out, and to go for long walks. But I think some spiritual connection to the universe is lost when I don't get out in nature once in a while - whether it is a hike in the woods, a walk through the desert, or a swim in the ocean. Maybe for some of you this is no big deal because you live where there is a lot of nature around. But I live in sprawling, smoggy Los Angeles. Not too much wilderness in the 'hood. Now that I think about it, it's time to move! ;) I think one of the laws should be to get out in nature at least 2x/month. Go take a hike! haha!

2. Get some human contact

You've read the studies about infants that don't get touched and they die or become ax murderers right? Humans need affection and to have good relationships with each other to thrive. If you don't get a hug now and then, I think you can start to feel very disconnected. If you have a close family, a spouse, a lover, children, or lots of friends - then you probably get enough human contact. Lucky lucky!

But if not, what can you do? Well, gather your friends so you can talk and laugh with them. If they won't let you cuddle up to them (haha!) then you have to find someone to be affectionate with. That can be a small challenge unless you're not very picky! :)

I have a suggestion - get a pet! It's called a "pet" for a reason - pet it! Another thing you can do is get a professional massage. I'm one of those annoying touchy-feely affectionate people, but if I can giggle with my friends, kiss my cat, wrestle with my dog, and get a massage once in a while - I am ok and won't attempt to grope my friends (very much).

Most of you have spouses and families so you probably can ignore my rule #2. You probably need more time and space to yourselves! That leads to rule #3...

3. Take some alone time

In our busy lives we run here and there from work to school to sports to pick up the kids to dinner with the relatives to shopping to whatever! We are totally overbooked and sometimes overwhelmed.

You know what really helps me when I find life becoming a whirlwind? Take some alone time. I know for those of you with busy lives and work and families it is so difficult. But I really think a break by yourself helps you to be a better person when you return to the busy madness. You can combine your alone time with other activities, like working out or taking a bath or reading a book in the corner of the backyard. Just some quiet time where you don't have to talk to anyone or think about anything and can just be with yourself. I think it is super important for your sanity.

OK- do you guys now think I am a weirdo backwoods nature-loving pervert molester loner who really likes eating meats and veggies? Probably so. And you're right! :)

What do you think? Do you have any essentials to add for good health and happiness?

Edit: how random is it that MDA and I posted nearly the same topic on the same day? They also posted a pork loin recipe the day before I was going to post mine. I can't win!!! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Indian feast

I couldn't wait for the move to be over! I had to cook something!!!

A major craving for flavor seized me late in the afternoon at work. I considered Thai, Korean, but then it hit me that I had some Indian spices lurking in the old apartamento! What to make?
After a google search for inspiration, I decided on "Tawa" or "Tava" shrimp - it used the spices I had available. I figured cauliflower would go well with that. Why not? Cauliflower goes with everything!! :)

My favorite way to prepare this white lumpy veggie is roasting, so I cut it into chunks and threw it in the roasting pan along with some sliced onion and poblano pepper. I had an old spice mix packet called "bhindi masala" lying around so I sprinkled that on top, added some cumin, some chile powder and a little olive oil and tossed it under the broiler for maybe 15 minutes, occasionally stirring.
Here's a pic of the lovely veggies half done:

To make the Tawa shrimp (serves 2): (adapted from Adhi Potoba)

1/2 lb peeled shrimp
1 tblsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chile powder
lemon juice

Heat the coconut oil in the pan, then add the garlic and spices and saute briefly to release the flavors into the oil. Add shrimp and toss to coat with the paste. Cook until shrimp are done, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss cilantro over everything.

I really have to have yogurt with Indian food, so I also made some quick and dirty raita, just greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, cilantro, lemon juice and a dash of cumin. (those of you who eat yogurt - what brand of greek yogurt do you use? I like the taste of Fage, and I can't seem to find organic versions that are full fat? I want to make my own soon.)

Ready to eat!

I thought this meal was pretty darn tasty, the veggies especially were super good with the yogurt. The only thing I would change is that I would add a bit more heat. I like things spicy! Maybe a sliced serrano chile with the cauli?

It's always a good feeling to have a nice meal and to know you made enough for leftovers the next day! :)
Edited to add: it was even better the next day! MUCH better!!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Checking in!

Hi everyone! Just checking in!

How are y'all doing with the Challenge? I kinda fell off the wagon this weekend with all my no-no foods - cheese, chocolate, coffee. Oh well. I still ate OK. Lifted a lot of heavy stuff (I was tired yesterday) and walked a lot.

On Saturday night we had a going-away party dinner for my friend- guess where? Korean BBQ again!!! Last time for a while so I enjoyed myself. Good news is that I think I found out what they put on the salad. I need to make a trip to the Korean grocery this weekend to get ingredients.

I'll be back with some meal posts soon. My gas just got turned on and hopefully tomorrow I will have a refrigerator and a new mattress. Have a great day!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sad sad sad dinner

You ever have just "one of those days"? You know, where things just keep going wrong or getting crazy? Yesterday was one of those for me.

I had to work late and got home around 9pm starving. Luckily I had worked out in the morning so that was out of the way. Before leaving the office I thought about what I had in my refrig at home, and remembered I had leftover chicken! Yum! I could make a spinach salad with it.

When I got home I broiled red peppers, sauteed some onions. I made a tasty tapenade. Here is the "recipe" for you:

1/4 cup kalamata olives
2 cloves roasted garlic
tablespoon olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
juice from 1/2 small lemon

Blend up in mini blender thingie. Yum! Kind of spicy and tangy. You can add capers if you like, I planned to but tasted it beforehand and liked it without.

Anyway, so I'm cooking and blending and get the chicken out to start shredding. But wait, it doesn't look right??? I smell it. Yep, something went wrong and the chicken is bad.

I haven't really eaten very well or very much for the last two days so I really want my protein, sadly there is nothing in the refrig. No chicken for Miss Yummy. That made me sad.

What made me happy is that I had bacon, so I made a salad with a side of bacon. That was good! Very good! Dinner happy, not sad.

my salad w tasty tapenade yum! Not shown - bacon. Cuz I ate it.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends! This weekend I'm moving from my crappy dinky apt to a bigger one so hopefully next week I'll have some good meals to share from my new kitchen!! YAY!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Farmer's market booty and couple meals

Good morning my friends!
Got some good stuff at the FM! I usually go 2x/week.

Made a great dinner of bison flank steak (Lindner) with poblano peppers, red bell peppers and spinach, with tomatillo salsa on top. Yum yum! I sprinkled salt and cumin on the steak and seared it in a pan, then cooked up the peppers in the same pan with some of the cherry tomatoes.

Breakfast this morning was a little different, I was in the mood for prosciutto e melone, this was what I had on hand! Sliced charentais melon (YUM) and strawberries with a little spicy sopressata (Applegate Farms). Vanilla tea with a little organic cream.

Lunch today will be leftovers from dindin last night.

This weekend had a little break with a nice cocktail and I also ate some chocolate (current fav is Green&Blacks Organic Maya Gold). Chocolate is like kissing,what can I say? :) I couldn't resist the cocktail. I went to lunch with a friend and on the menu they had that St Germaine and champagne I talked about a few weeks ago (they called it elderflower fizz). It was fate. Mmm mm.
Problem is that this restaurant is right near my new apartment and they have daily happy hour with amazing fancy cocktails. Next door are two wine bars! UH OH!!!! If I ride my bike there is it OK to visit?
Went for many long walks in the past several days and a few good workouts. Going to sleep and waking up early. Doing good! How are the rest of you faring with your challenge goals?

Have an amazing day!!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Super stoked!!!!!

I won one of the MDA contests! Yee ha!!!!!!!!! I got me a bottle of Vital Omegas.
Yay! I'm doing a happy dance! So awesome! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nice bike ride

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
- Albert EinsteinI hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. I took a nice long bike ride to the beach!

The path is about 20 miles from the hills to the ocean, most of it is off the road on a paved trail. It follows along a river channel for the top part of it, and then the lower section circles some wetlands. A lot of cyclists in their gear whiz past in formation. I'm just too slow and lazy to fit in with them so I cruise along in my own little universe! hehe! I guess that would fit in with primal law #3, move at a slow pace.

Don't make fun of me!! :)

Anyway, here are some pics along the way!

Near the top of the path, the trail goes under a few freeways and along the "river".
Egrets in the wetlands.Kayakers in the bay! I love kayaking - I'm coming back for that! It's been a while.Made it to the harbor!And finally the beach!

Fun weekend! I hope you all are enjoying yourselves! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yummy lamb

Yay! It's Friday!!!

Dinner last night blew me away! Simple, but delicious! Again, I was super hungry so maybe that played a role in my enjoyment? :)

Lamb chunks and onion cooked up in a pan with shwarma seasoning mix. I threw it on top of some spinach leaves, a sliced tomato and diced cucumber. A little yogurt with lemon juice and dried oregano. It tasted so good! SO good.

A nice glass of red wine would have been extra tasty! Next time...

I am very fond of sunsets. Come, let us go look at a sunset...
- The Little Prince

El Capitan State Beach near Santa Barbara, a great camping spot

Have a terrific weekend!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Shrimp and squash

Super simple easy quick dinner last night! But sooooo tasty!!

I sliced then broiled up some squash and a yellow pepper in the oven. Meanwhile in a pan I quickly sauteed some chopped garlic, fresh thyme and red pepper flakes in some olive oil. It smelled so good!!!! I seriously could have just eaten that plain out of the pan! (I was a little hungry - haha!) I threw some shrimp and a small blob of pastured butter in there and cooked it all up. When the veggies were done I mixed it all together, added a squeeze of lemon, and happily stuffed it in my face! (did I mention I was really hungry?)
It doesn't look or sound like much, but it was yum. It isn't gourmet but sometimes weeknight meals just need to fill you up - and still taste good, ya know?
I'm moving to a new apt over the next two weeks and then will have a REAL kitchen -yay! A stove with gas burners!!! Woo hoo! I promise I will have more exciting meals. Maybe even some (gasp!) dinner guests who I have to make an effort for. Any of you want to come to my housewarming party? :) You gotta bring food though because you are better cooks than me!!!

Primal Challenge update - how am I doing so far?

Law 1: I love meats and veggies! no problem, mon!
Law 2: doing good! no chocolate, cheese, coffee, or alcohol
Law 3: today will take a long walk and a run up and down stairs, plus squats, lunges etc
Law 4: upper bod weights workout Wednesday
Law 5: sprinted Tuesday
Law 6: went to bed last two nights at around 10:30pm. I'm trying!! I'm a night person!
Law 7: goofing off jumping around in the park the other day I fell down in front of a bunch of guys playing soccer - that counts right? Total embarrassment = play? haha
Law 8: I walk to and from work daily, get a little sun - more on weekends
Law 9: no problem cuz I'm a chicken
Law 10: work doesn't use too much brain power. I'd like to learn a new language for fun? Two ideas are Portuguese or Hebrew. Hmmm - any suggestions?

All y'all who are doing this challenge - keep up the good work!! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tomato fennel chicken

Hi everyone!

Today a recipe for chicken breasts - ohhhhh exciting right? Well, you can make this with fish too.

I think this sauce is pretty good even if you are not a huge fennel fan. The licorice flavor is not that strong in this recipe. You can make it with canned tomatoes, but right now in the summer you can use awesome fresh ones, whatever variety is your favorite!

Sauce ingredients: (should serve about 2 peeps)

  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb of fresh tomatoes or 1 smaller can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar or just wine!
Chop the onion and saute it in the olive oil. When the onions are cooked, throw in the chopped garlic, fennel seeds and pepper flakes and saute briefly. Chop the fresh tomatoes and throw them in to simmer until they break down into sauce, could be 10-20 minutes. If using canned, throw the tomatoes in and simmer for 10 minutes. When the sauce is thickened and chunky but saucy, add the vinegar to taste. Add salt if you want!

While this sauce is cooking, make your chicken breast or your fish however you prefer. I like to cook it in a pan with a bit of olive oil. If you like, you can pound the breast thin to have it cook faster. I always salt the chicken before cooking, but I like salt. :)

To go alongside the chicken, any kind of veggies - broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, kale, a salad. Whatever you like, however you like it!

When the chicken and sauce are done, plate it up by putting the pretty red sauce on top of the breasts. You can add fresh basil and sliced black olives on top if you have some. Mmm good! Sorry no pics - forgot my camera!

Quick and easy after fasting all day.

So far so good on the Primal Challenge! Day 3 of no chocolate, no coffee, no alcohol, no cheese. (boo hoo! hehe) Did some sprinting at the track in the afternoon. Had an interesting experience with a weirdo perv making inappropriate comments while watching me running. Yuck! But I gave him my evil mean cavegirl look and he left me alone. haha! ;)

It's a beautiful world, enjoy a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Beautiful sunny day

I wish I was at the beach with my doggie instead of at work.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Healthy Vegas?

You can keep a little healthy in Vegas, even if you are there with a wild group of crazy partiers - hehehe. Here are the things we did that were healthy:

1. Ate pretty healthy
2. Got some Vit D at the pool
3. Dancing in 5" heels until 6 am is a great leg workout
4. Had fun playing with my buddies!

I won't list the things we did that were not healthy. Let's just say sleep wasn't on the menu. I need a major nap now.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Primal Blueprint Challenge

Happy August and happy Monday everyone! I'm back from a wild weekend in Las Vegas and ready to begin the 30 day primal challenge! Yay!

What is this challenge I speak of? Click here for more...

I pretty much already follow the 10 primal laws, but I figure a challenge can't hurt right?

What are these 10 laws? In nutshell:

1. Eat lots of plants and animals
2. Avoid poisonous things
3. Move frequently at a slow pace
4. Lift heavy things
5. Sprint once in a while
6. Get adequate sleep
7. Play
8. Get adequate sunlight
9. Avoid stupid mistakes
10. Use your brain

Through this month I will let you how I am better implementing these rules. For now I will say I need to focus on laws 2 through 6.

Laws 2 and 6 - well, I do love me some chocolate, and staying up too late at night! Those two bad habits kind of go together actually. As far as laws 3, 4 and 5 - I do OK but can always do better. I'm going to try to get more exercise in, or at least lift heavier weights. I'm moving this month, and furniture lifting counts right? haha!!

Anyone else in on this challenge with me? I don't want to be all alone here!!! Come on!!! Let's do it! :)