16.7.13

paleo shrimp and zuchini noodles

Sometimes, with food and with life, simplicity is best. This is especially true when you are having a very busy, somewhat stressful week at work and all you want to do is come home and lay in bed. But you go work out anyway because you know it will make you feel better. And you take some time to clean up the house because you know it will make you feel better. And so you cook something healthy yet simple for yourself because you know it will make you feel better (and get you through the rest of the week.)

That is what this meal was about last week. The Hubs was gone for the night, playing lacrosse, and I needed a detox, if you will, from the marathon eating and drinking from the previous holiday weekend.

The most extensive part of this recipe is making the zucchini noodles. If you have a mandolin, it will go pretty quickly. I have a julienne peeler which takes a bit longer but is almost therapeutic in its repetition, especially when your mind is on ten other things.

PALEO SHRIMP AND ZUCHINI NOODLES
serves 2


1/4 c. olive oil

4 large zucchini, julienned into noodles
garlic powder, to taste
sea salt, to taste


1/4 c. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped
crushed red pepper, to taste
1 lb. shrimp
1 Tbsp. butter
fresh parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in large pan. Add zuchini noodles, garlic powder, and salt. Sauté noodles until soft but not soggy.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a seperate pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté for about a minute. Add shrimp and cook until done. Melt butter in pan and then add noodles. Mix together. Garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!

2.7.13

indian-inspired paleo chicken with spinach

I LOVE Indian food. It is definitely one of those things that have been difficult to give up (or really, eat only occasionally) when I started Paleo. Some days I am just missing my rice and lentils.

But, the chicken recipes are very easy to modify and make at home. And, although I haven't really been impressed with cauliflower rice thus far, it is AWESOME with this recipe. Or maybe it is the fact that this recipe is so yummy, it doesn't matter how horrible of a substitute cauliflower is for rice.

Next time, I am doubling or tripling this recipe. I could have eaten this all week long and I think it was even better as leftovers. I thought about it all morning when I brought it to the office with me for lunch.

INDIAN-INSPIRED PALEO CHICKEN WITH SPINACH
serves 4

2 lb. boneless chicken thighs
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
 4 oz. tomato paste
1 1/2 c. coconut milk
sea salt, to taste
4 handfuls of spinach 

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Heat coconut oil over high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent.

Turn heat to low. Add garlic and spices stirring to create a paste. Add tomato paste to onion mixture. Add coconut milk and salt and whisk into paste. Turn up heat to medium.

Bring sauce to a simmer and add chicken. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Serve over cauliflower rice.

Enjoy!

20.6.13

out of my comfort zone: esac

This past Saturday, I competed in my first ever CrossFit competition. If you had told me that a year ago, I would have looked at you like you were crazy and then laughed in your face. I started my on-ramp (beginners) class last August so I have only been doing CrossFit for about ten months and I am surprised with myself that I even signed up. It really isn't in my nature to sign up for any competition where something physical in involved.

I competed in the fifth Eastern Shore Affiliate Challenge that was started by two of the coaches at my box (gym) about a year and a half ago. What is nice about it is that there is an Rx (or "as prescribed") division and then a scaled division for people like me who are beginners or haven't quite built up to the Rx weights or movements. 

That morning, I got up and made sure I had a little bit to eat. Then I drove to CrossFit Seaford, the box that was hosting this time. I sat with another newbie from our box, exchanging anxiety driven looks and comments. There was a lot of "what am I doing here?"

I was in the first heat for the first WOD (workout.) Of course during my first competition this would happen. The first workout involved burpees over the bar. If you were in the Rx division, you had to do a burpee and then climb over a six-foot wall. I am glad I didn't have to do that. I tried climbing the wall later and couldn't even get myself over it. 

The second WOD was a seven minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of five thrusters, ten push-ups, and 15 box jumps (or step-ups in my case because of my knee.) After that, we had a minute of rest before we started snatches for four minutes. The first five were at 45 pounds, the second five were at 65 pounds, and you went up from there if you had time. I actually am pretty proud of this part. On Thursday, I got 45 pounds over my head for the first time ever. On Friday, I got 65 pounds over my head for the first time ever. On Saturday, during the competition and after a seven minute AMRAP, I got all five 45s over my head and three 65s over my head. 

During the afternoon, there were the team WODs for those that finished highest in the men's and women's Rx division. The first WOD was swimming. The teams that finished in the top had back squats and then the top two teams (of which our box was one) had to do sit-ups, push heavy stuff on a sled, get said heavy stuff over a wall, and then do A LOT of rope climbs. Our box, CrossFit Salisbury, ended up winning and we got to keep the cup. 

I am so glad that I did it and I am excited for the competition in September. Was it intimidating at first? Yes. But so was CrossFit in general when I first started last year. It was a great bonding experience with the other people in my box and it was really a lot of fun.

Have you done anything this year that was out of your comfort zone?

18.6.13

grilled flank steak with chimichurri

I am really into sauces . . . and dips . . . and dressings - especially when they aren't bad for you. This was my first time making chimichurri and I don't know why I ever waited so long. This was wonderful drizzled on warm steak. The garlic and parsley become fragrant and the flavors melt in your mouth. It is heaven.

Once the steak was all gone from our fridge, I found myself putting the chimichurri on everything else. I usually reserve Friday nights for indulging in non-paleo things such as pizza or maki sushi rolls. However, on one particular Friday, a few nights after I had made this sauce, I found myself making some jasmine rice and topping it with grape tomatoes, cucumbers, grilled chicken, and the chimuchurri. It wasn't paleo but it certainly wasn't terrible for me. This stuff is seriously like crack.
Also, about the steak: I like my steak medium but we undercooked this a bit eating the edges that night for dinner so the rest of the steak could be reheated later on without becoming overcooked and chewy. Trust me, you are going to want leftovers so buy extra steak. And your coworkers are going to be so jealous when you are eating this for lunch.
GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI

flank steak
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 c. parsley leaves, loosely packed
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. light olive oil

Season flank steak liberally with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through as desired. 

While steak is grilling, add parsley, garlic, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes to a food processor. Process until garlic is minced. Add olive oil and process until just combined. (You don't want to end up making mayonnaise!)

Drizzled chimichurri over steak.

Enjoy!

13.6.13

what are you watching?

Now that the majority of the regular season television shows I watch have come to an end, I need a show or two to get me through the summer. I rarely watch a show when it actually airs, even during the regular season, but I like having a few shows in my queue for lazy Friday nights or rainy weekends.

I was actually realizing the other day, that there are actually a decent amount of shows I am looking forward to this summer. 

The Newsroom
I started watching this last summer and I am so glad they brought it back for a second season. I can't wait to see what news stories they cover and how the tangled love lives of Will, Mackenzie, Jim, Maggie, and Don play out. Plus, I love me some Sloan who makes Economics look so sexy (which all of us Econ majors already knew.) Plus, I gotta stick with the show's creator, Aaron Sorkin (The American President and West Wing, anyone?)

Ray Donovan
This is a new series on Showtime which follows Ray Donovan, a Hollywood fixer who is cool, calm, and collected when it comes to his professional life while his personal life is anything but. Basically, Ray Donovan is the male version of Scandal's Olivia Pope. Except in L.A. instead of D.C. And with flashy celebrities instead of politicians. I am really excited about this one.

Mistresses
This has already aired so I need to catch up but I am thinking this is going to be my guilty pleasure. I am curious to see how a show based on a group of friends' extramarital affairs plays out. This almost seems a little too Lifetime-y for me and I have a feeling it could bomb but, then again, some of my favorite American shows that were based on British shows (The Office, Shameless) have done well. I will let you know how it goes.

Game of Thrones
Yes, I know the season finale was last week - everyone on my Facebook feed let me know about it. Apparently, the Hubs and I decided, we should be watching this. We are thinking the summer would be a good time to catch up. This is not my usual cup of tea but I am willing to give it a chance. (Besides, I have found myself recently sucked into Da Vinci's Demons which is not what I would gravitate towards either.) 

West Wing
Anyone want to buy me the whole series on DVD? I want to re-watch.

What shows are you looking forward to this summer?

11.6.13

grilled asian-inspired pork loin

This recipe is paleo-ish. I didn't use paleo ketchup. I was too lazy to make some and we had this really yummy all-natural ketchup in our fridge. I also ran out of coconut aminos (and my local health food stopped carrying it) so I used Braggs liquid aminos instead. I didn't die afterwards...

If you aren't worried about being strict paleo, you can use soy sauce instead of liquid aminos. I also used raw honey but you could definitely use regular honey as far as taste is concerned.

Grilling time is going to be different for everyone. Depending on your grill and the shape of your pork loin will depend on how long you actually grill for. We just got a new grill so we are still learning and our pork loin was long and thin instead of short and fat but it took us a little less than an hour. We decided that next time we would probably take it off at 45 minutes and let it rest with enough time to let it finish cooking.

And if you don't have a grill or you are doing this during the colder months, you can always bake it in the oven. I would just recommend searing your pork first.

GRILLED ASIAN-INSPIRED PORK LOIN
serves 4

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1/3 c. ketchup
1/3 c. honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
2 lb. pork loin

Heat grill. 

Combine all ingredients, except pork loin, in a medium bowl and whisk together. 

Season pork loin with salt and pepper. Place pork on enough aluminum to wrap around pork. Brush pork with a third of the sauce. Finish wrapping pork with aluminum foil, making sure there aren't any holes. Place on grill and cook until cooked through, for about 45 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put remaining sauce in saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. 

Remove pork from grill and let sit for about ten minutes. Slice into one-inch thick pieces and serve with sauce. 

Enjoy!

22.5.13

wednesday randoms, part 6

{I successfully did my first double under on Monday during CrossFit - and did them during the WOD. It only took me nine months.}

work week

I am taking off on Friday and I am so glad I have a four-day work week (and a four day weekend.) May is the only month during the year where we have a bit of a lull in our craziness at the office. It is good to be able to catch up a bit (and clean off my desk) but I also get a little bored since I have gotten used to running around like my head is chopped off and go, go, go.

Also, this was our first summer week where we can take a half hour break for lunch instead of an hour and leave at 4:30. Having that extra half hour in the evenings is wonderful!

blog reading

I am behind on blog reading. Actually, I was super behind (like two months behind) in April and now I am only a little behind. So, if you are a blogger and I have left three comments at a time on separate posts, I am sorry.

I used to read blogs every day. I am much busier with my current job which doesn't leave as much time and, even when I do have time, I usually want to spend it doing things with the husband or pup or catching up on projects. I used to almost feel guilty about it when I was behind. (A blogger who doesn't read blogs!) Is that weird? But now I am over it. Plus, a lot of the bloggers I really like I follow on instagram or twitter so I still feel very up to date on their life. 

And really, a lot of times blogs make me feel like I am not doing enough. Like I should be further along in my education or career or life. But I won't harp on that since I already pretty much explained it here. And I don't need that shiz...

emotions

I am feeling very weird lately. Like extra emotional weird. Does that make sense? 

Lately, I have been so indecisive. Like I made a somewhat major life decision a few months ago and now I am all actually maybe not. I am such a planner that when I get something in my head I usually stick with it. I don't know...

Anything random (emotional or not) to share?

21.5.13

paleo mayo and deviled eggs

I started making mayonnaise a few months ago and I can't believe I didn't try it sooner. I just couldn't justify spending the time to make it when it was only going to last a few days. But, first off, it really only takes an active five minutes. And, secondly, it actually lasts until the expiration date of your eggs so if you buy eggs with a date a month out, your mayo will last that long too. 

And it is so easy! You basically just need an egg, an acidic liquid, light tasting olive oil, and patience. For the acid, you can use lemon juice or vinegar. The Hubs isn't a fan of foods that are super lemony so I usually use cider vinegar. Also, make sure you use light tasting olive oil. The first time I made mayo, I used extra-virgin and it had a really strong EVOO taste. I didn't even use it. 

I also have had a major craving for deviled eggs! This was my first time making them with my homemade mayonnaise and they were awesome. I thought with all the summer barbecues coming up, this would be a simple recipe to share. I just need to work on my egg peeling skills before my eggs are aesthetically pleasing enough to bring to a party. I am actually eating these for breakfast this week.

PALEO MAYONNAISE

1 egg
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 c. light-tasting olive oil
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt

In a blender, break egg and add vinegar. Allow the egg and vinegar to sit for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours so that they come to room temperature. 

Add the mustard, salt, and 1/4 cup of oil to the blender. Blend until the ingredients are combined. Now incorporate the rest of the oil by pouring it very very slowly while the blender is still on. Try and get the  smallest drizzle you can. This will take about 3 minutes. Resist every urge to dump "the rest" in. 

Now you can make salad dressings, sauces, and, of course, deviled eggs!

PALEO DEVILED EGGS
makes 24 halves

12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
2 tsp. dijion mustard
1/3 c. paleo mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
salt and pepper, to taste
paprika

Slice each egg in half, lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in mixing bowl. Arrange egg whites on a plate or platter. 

Add mustard, mayo, shallot, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Mash yolks with a fork and make sure to mix ingredients well. Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika. 

Enjoy!

19.5.13

weekend: meeting up with ashley


a cloudy view from our table . . . best crab cake ever . . . two spoons for dessert . . . with ashley . . . a pickle martini
~~~~
On Friday, I got home from work and did a quick workout. Then the Hubs came home with pizza. After that, we helped the SIL drop off her car at the shop, drove her to the in-laws, and then went to Target. Exciting Friday night...

On Saturday, the Hubs got up early for work and I headed to Queenstown to meet Ashley for outlet shopping. After keeping ourselves almost within our budgets, we drove to The Narrows for lunch. If you have never been there, they have the best crab cakes. (For those of you that do a trip or two to Ocean City, it is a great place to stop on the way.) When I got back to Salisbury, I did a bit of straightening up and laundry and then headed to dinner at the Irish Penny with the Hubs and the SIL. I discovered a pickle martini which may be my new favorite drink.

Today, I did a bit of cleaning and food prep for the week. Now we are trying out a new recipe. If it is yummy, I will be sure to share. I am taking off on Friday so I am glad this week is only four days and then I have a long four day weekend!

How was your weekend?

17.5.13

francophile friday: stripes by the bay

{in arcachon}

While studying abroad in France, I visited the Bassin d'Arcachon or Arcachon Bay. It was a typical early fall day by the water - nice enough to sit on the beach but too cold to get in the water.

{view of the bay from the tallest dune in europe}

We spent the day climbing the tallest dune in Europe and then getting ice cream before heading to another beach town for some time on the sand and dinner. If I went back to Arcachon on a day like that, I would spend the day walking around town and eating cuisse de canard for dinner.

I would also make sure to sport some serious French stripes. 

What would you wear on by the bay in France?

16.5.13

whole30 postponed


{brunch with my SIL this past weekend: eggs benedict over crab cakes and asparagus, hold the muffin}

I am postponing the Whole30 I started last week. I realized that this month is full of weekends  visiting friends and friends visiting me. It just doesn't seem like the right time. And it isn't the Whole30 if you cheat.

So, I plan to just eat strict paleo during the week and not feel guilty on the weekends. Because feeling guilty about eating is never a good thing. I won't binge on the weekends but when an opportunity arises for a wonderful brunch, I won't blink and eye. (I will still be posting some yummy Whole30 meals on my instagram though.)

Besides summer is coming...

Do you have fun plans over the next month?

15.5.13

wednesday randoms, part 5

warby parker

I am absolutely in love with my new Warby Parker sunglasses. I got prescription glasses last year and they asked me if I needed prescription sunglasses. I said no, not really knowing why I would. I soon realized that I would have to choose between my glasses and sunglasses while I was driving. 

Well, I finally broke down and ordered some in April. Unfortunately, when they came, just in time for my trip, they were the right style but wrong color. I called and they sent me new ones - right style, wrong color again. The customer service rep was flabbergasted - she had seen this happen only twice before and never twice to the same person. They were really helpful and offered me a discount for the inconvenience. 

And my new sunnies were worth the wait. I think I am going to order another pair of regular glasses at some point to alternate with my current ones. The home try-on is just so convenient, the styles are great, and you get to help someone in need when you make a purchase. 

cooking

I have been cooking but nothing exciting enough to photograph and share with you. (Think grilled pork chops with green beans and grilled chicken with broccoli - very paleo.) I am hoping summer brings inspiration for new recipes. If you need some inspiration, you can always follow me on instagram

shopping

I have a short outlet trip with a friend this weekend but I am going to try sticking to my summer clothing budget. I will be instagramming all the pretty things, though, with the hashtag #thingsiwouldhaveboughtbutdidnt. So follow along or join in! 

Want to share something random?

9.5.13

in the DR

If you don't mind, I would like to share a few photos from our trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. On Saturday, after a work event I had, we headed to Philly to stay in a hotel near the airport. We got up early on Sunday and headed to the airport. We got upgraded to first class which is always fun. I had a great time reclining my seat (they practically turn into beds.) We had about a 40 minute bus ride to our resort. Once we got there, we walked around the resort a bit and did a little bit of unpacking. Then we had a drink at the bar and headed to dinner.
On Monday, we explored a bit more of the resort and just hung out on the beach.
On Tuesday, I got up early to take a few pictures on the beach. Then we took advantage of a free shopping trip about 20 minutes away. We went to a cigar and chocolate factory. I bought a few cigars and come chocolate tea. After lunch, we spent a few hours at the beach.
On Wednesday, we went on an excursion. Of course, as soon as we got on the catamaran, I found out the lens on my SLR was broken and, of course, I didn't bring my point and shoot with me or an extra lens. So I had to shoot with my camera a certain way the entire day. Luckily, I had my under water camera as well. On the catamaran, we drank rum and cokes out of mini plastic cups and learned how to Merengue. Once we got to Sanoa Island (where the first Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed) the Hubs and I got a massage and tried a cup of Mama Juana. On our way back on the speedboat, we went to a natural pool with starfish.
On Thursday, we split our time between the pool and the beach. We also went to watch some of the singers that night and did a bit of dancing. 
We headed back on Friday. It was a fun trip and it was nice to have a break. 

Do you have any fun vacations planned?