Soaking up the Summer! Roadtrips, Snack Food, and Insecurities!

Ok, so I know over and over again I have apologized at length about neglecting this bad boy.  Well, I’m done apologizing.  I realize I’ve taken quite the break from posting on here, but I’ve been very UNapologetically enjoying my summer and living life to the fullest!  I’m taking advantage of the precious few days/weeks that I have left before I go back to school and there’s nothing to feel sorry about in that!  If that irks you, meh, get over it!

As I sit here typing, I am waiting anxiously for morning to come so that I can embark on my roadtrip to Texas!  Some may think that it’s absolutely ludicrous to spend multiple hours in the car alone….I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT!  Sometimes it’s all dark and stormy for me to be alone in my own head on the open road, but I am in desperate need of this time to sort some stuff out!  Admittedly, I am really pretty apprehensive about being out of my own kitchen and my gym for almost two weeks.  But what the hell.  Life is about embracing the fear and giving it hell, right?  That’s what I’m telling myself at least!  Plus, I prepped some snacks for the road and packed ALL of my workout clothes as well as my jump rope and a kettle bell.  So really, I see that as preparing myself for success!

Before I get to food, I just need to say that my 10 year high school reunion was last weekend.  It was about as good as I expected it would be.  The hardest part of it for me was that I was THAT girl.  You know, the one that a ton of people had to second guess as to who it was.  I posted this picture on facebook on the morning of my reunion:

10 year change

The left side was taken on the morning of my high school graduation in May 2003 and the pic on the right was taken the morning of my 10 year reunion (July 2013).  It kind of set me back a bit looking at the comparison.  First, I guess I hadn’t realized I was that big by the end of high school, and secondly, I realized that I actually got quite a bit bigger before I started losing weight.  Anyway, this comparison photo was shared among several people and I got a ton of really positive comments on it.  Many of them somehow involving the word “inspiration”.  I have to admit that that particular word makes me really awkward.  I want my various passions to inspire people.  I want to inspire my students and those around me to continue their own education on whatever topics fascinate them.  I want my actions, purpose, and interactions with others to inspire those around to treat people better.  Yeah, I lost weight….a LOT of it.  And yes, I have done a complete 180 with my life, my choices, my social circles, my desires, and my needs.  To say that I’m humbled by people calling me an inspiration would be inadequate.  I don’t know, I’m probably just insecure.

Ok enough head case ranting.  I made some BOMB Banana Bread Granola for my trip tomorrow! Not gonna lie, the cooking time is gonna be a bit sketchy because my power went out towards the end of baking….so you might have to play around with the timing.  But the flavor is OUT OF CONTROL!! I swear, it tastes just like banana bread.

banana bread granola

Banana Bread Granola

  • 1.5 cups mixed nuts of choice, roughly chopped (I used pecans and cashews…it’s what I had on hand!)
  • 10-12 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 smallish very ripe bananas (I’m talking brown and spotty on the peel….that means they are SUPER sweet!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat up your oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until they are almost pureed smooth.
  3. Add in your melted coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and salt. Mix well to combine.
  4. Stir in your nuts, coconut, and dates….making sure you coat all dry ingredients well.  The dates will probably clump up together, just try to break them up as much as possible.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out your granola mixture onto the baking sheet.  Make sure it is in an even layer, and spread pretty thinly., no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Bake for 40 ish minutes, stirring the mixture halfway through.  You want to bake until the granola starts to brown a bit and has dried out some.
  7. Remove from the oven and LET IT COOL!!  It is the cooling that makes it all “crispy” and granola like!  Due to the “wet” nature of this mix, it may never crisp up completely.  But I found that I really kind of like the chewy texture of mine!
  8. Once it has cooled completely, I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

Such a sweet and delicious paleo treat!  Can’t wait to smash on this in the car!!!  With that, realize it may be a bit until I post another full out entry, BUT be sure to follow me on FaceBook and I will be sure to post tasty food pics of what I’m smashing on during my travels! And while you’re at it, check yourself….be an inspiration for someone.  Do it! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Advertisements

Now Introducing….the WORST blogger ever!!

Seriously friends.  I’m a giant jerk.  I haven’t posted in almost a month.  To be fair, a WHOLE lot of big stuff has happened in the past three weeks.  For starters, I had my birthday!  Yay.  I’m officially 28, so I guess that’s exciting?  Also, school ended for the year, which is always a chaotic time. So let’s do a little review in pics of what I’ve been doing that has kept me away from all of you lovely folks.  Ready? Go! I’ve been….clean bruises

Beating the crap out of myself at the gym everyday!  Honestly, it’s crazy how easily I bruise.

wildcat 5k 2013

Hey look!  I ran a 5k at my school!  Plus, I didn’t die AND I took 12 minutes off of my previous 5k….that means I finished in just under 33 minutes.  I’ll TAKE it!

road trip selfie

I headed down to Kansas City for a brief getaway.  It was GREAT!  Love that city and I LOVE road tripping!  Speaking of, stay tuned for plenty of talk about my “Tour of Texas” I’m doing in July!

Lastly, and possibly the most important thing I’ve been doing….

yard drinking

Enjoying the HELL out of my summer break!  For real. I’ve been enjoying deck beverages, yard beverages, patio beverages, beverages with friends, with family, and by myself!  It’s been amazing to JUST RELAX…..which I don’t allow myself to do much.  I’m pretty sure I could get used to this!

As you can see, I’ve been a busy busy girl!  I know I’ve said it before, but I am going to post more often.  I promise.  No, I really REALLY promise!  Anyways, regardless of all of the awesome going on lately, there have been a few things kind of bringing me down.  One of these is body image.  I am convinced that I will always struggle with it.  Always, no matter how old I get, no matter how confident I become, it’s always lurking….waiting to pounce at one moment of weakness.  That’s all a different post for a different day….but be prepared, because I feel like it’s going to be coming soon!

On to food.  To be quite honest, I haven’t really been cooking much exciting stuff lately.  Just sticking to the basics of a piece of grilled/roasted meat, some veggies, and some fat.  Pretty boring folks!  But the one thing I have been mildly obsessed with is stuffing sweet potatoes.  It’s SO FREAKING GOOD!  Not to mention super simple!  So I’ll give ya a two-fer on recipes tonight.  I owe you…….big time.  So here are two of my beauties!

pulled chicken sweet potato jalapeno beef sweet potato

Garlic Jalapeno Pulled Chicken

  • 3-4 whole jalapeno peppers, cut in half lengthwise (leave all seeds and ribs IN)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (just whack them with the back of your knife)
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (you could use fresh onion chunks, I just didn’t have any in the house!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound of chicken (I used chicken tenders….they cook faster, but you could sub breasts or thighs….the cooking time might be a bit different)
  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, fill with 4-6 cups of water.
  2. Put ALL ingredients OTHER THAN the chicken into the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. When the water is at a rolling boil, carefully drop your chicken in. Turn the heat back to Medium and continue to boil for about 30 minutes.
  4. To test if chicken is done, simply remove a piece of chicken and split it apart at the thickest part. If it’s not done, just toss it back into the cauldron!
  5. When chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and allow to cool before shredding by hand.

This turned out slightly spicy and totally delicious!  Not to mention, it can be used for any number of other recipes.  In fact, I scrambled some of the leftover chicken into my eggs the next morning!  Boom.  Plus, it was damn good stuffed into a baked sweet potato and topped with fresh guacamole.

Jalapeno Lime Ground Beef

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion (could sub fresh…about 1/2 an onion, just didn’t have any!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. In a deep skillet, brown your ground beef.
  2. When beef is almost cooked through add in the remaining ingredients and mix together well.
  3. Turn your heat back to Medium-Low and simmer your ground beef for 8-10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Taste, and salt and pepper as needed!
  5. Stuff it in a baked sweet potato and SMASH!

Alrighty, well hopefully I’ve gone and made a bit of amends……I promise not to desert you again! Plus, there will probably be a dessert of some sort coming soon.  I will be selling baked goods at a competition being held at my gym on June 29th, so I will be a baking MACHINE in the next couple of weeks!  Lucky you 🙂 Get out there and enjoy your summer! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Birthdays and Bacon

Oddly enough, the two go completely hand in hand!  I’m sitting here, writing to you all on the eve of my 28th birthday.  I remember a time when I thought, “Damn! 28 is SO OLD!”  Ha.  Right.  Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t know how I feel about getting closer to 30, but I feel awesome about my age.  That being said, I feel like 27 is going to be a very hard year to beat.  I discovered CrossFit, went fully Paleo, and began reclaiming my life as my own while I was 27.  I traveled, I met TONS of amazing people, I launched a blog, and I have tried my hand at selling my Paleo baked goods.  For real, 27 was pretty stellar.  So, BRING IT 28! You had better be freaking awesome, because you have some major expectations to rise up to!

On to bacon.  I can’t express enough how much I love bacon.  Hell, I have a bacon figurine that sits on my desk at school that I refer to as my “boyfriend”.  Several of my students have commented that they are bringing me bacon tomorrow as birthday gifts.  That is just weird to me….and unless it is in an unopened package, will NOT be consumed by me.  I ain’t dumb.  I love em, but I don’t trust middle schoolers with food handling or prep of ANY kind and I don’t really want to spend my birthday in the bathroom.

Couple of exciting things are going down!  The first is that I will be selling my Paleo treats at CrossFit Artis during “The Duo” event on June 29th.  Check out their page for info!  It’s going to be an AWESOME day!  Not to mention, I’ll be there, slinging treats.  What can beat that?!? Nothing.  That’s what. Not a damn thing.

Secondly, I recently bought what I like to call “almost booty shorts”.  This is HUGE for me.  I can’t even begin to describe how huge this is….I mean, I spent the better part of my life HATING my body, especially my thighs.  Let’s face it. They pretty much dominate my legs.  Anywho, I’ve apparently begun to embrace them OR I’ve quit caring what people think, because after the one ridiculously hot day this past week, I put my foot down and went out and bought some shorts!  No more WODing in capris.  It’s too freaking hot! So yeah, if you happen to be around the gym and you catch me in spandex, deal with it.  I have, and they are kind of making me feel awesome…..so if you rain on that for me, I might have to punch you square in the face! 🙂

Back to bacon.  I made this bacon egg scramble tonight to eat for breakfasts for the remainder of the week, and it was SO GOOD!  Plus, it was stupid easy to make.  I know the picture kind of sucks, but trust me, get after it!

bacon egg scramble

Bacon Breakfast Scramble

  • 8 strips bacon, diced
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 bell peppers of choice (I used a little red, orange, and yellow) diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a deep skillet, cook up your bacon pieces.  The time will vary based on the thickness of your bacon, heat of the pan, etc.  Just be careful not to burn your bacon.  That’s a most tragic event.
  2. When your bacon is crisp, remove it from the skillet, leaving the bacon fat behind in the pan. Place it on a paper towel to drain some of the grease off.
  3. Add your peppers, onions, and garlic to your skillet.  Saute the veggies in the bacon fat for 5-7 minutes over medium high heat, or until they become translucent and begin to soften.
  4. When you veggies are cooked through, add back in your bacon. Cook together for a couple of minutes.
  5. Lastly, add in your scrambled eggs and your hot sauce.  Scramble the eggs into the mixture, keeping it moving around your pan so it doesn’t burn.
  6. When your eggs have cooked through, (3-5 minutes later) taste it for salt and pepper.  Season to your liking and serve!

I am planning on topping mine with some fresh avocado and smashing on breakfast like a CHAMP!  This is going to be a birthday breakfast of champions!  Enjoy your bacon, your thighs, and your birthday! Because I’m going to enjoy the HELL out of mine! Peace, Love, and Paleo.

-Meister

Operation Cancun, commence!

Well folks, I am officially starting my “Operation Cancun” tomorrow.  It’s gonna look a WHOLE lot like a Whole90 with a few little tweaks.  First off, I’m going in on this bad boy with a friend from the gym.  She’s a GIANT motivation to me, and when she mentioned that she has not been able to finish a Whole30, I was immediately like, well that’s because you haven’t tackled it with ME as back up!  For real, they aren’t always easy, they aren’t always fun, but you learn a ton about yourself, your relationship with food, and your digestive quirks.  As weird as it sounds, it’s really enlightening.

Anyway, my Operation Cancun will look like this:

  1. I will be doing a strict Whole30 starting tomorrow.
  2. Days 31-88 (I fly out on day 89) will be completely clean on food, alcohol is another story.  I know already that there are a couple occasions that I will want to have a drink…..and I’m OK with that, it’s literally like 3 different events.
  3. On the rare occasion that I do indulge in a drink, it will be in moderation, and it will only be wine or straight Patron with some lime….no mixed up, sugared up crap.
  4. I realize that it’s not a “Whole90” if I’m drinking.  Don’t be a hater.  Deal with it.  My goals with this time around are not the same as they were when I initially did a Whole30.

So what are these goals I speak of?  Well, honestly…..I bought a bikini.  Like a legit bikini.  That hasn’t happened since I was about 6 years old.  I’m kind of freaking out about the purchase and completely regretting it…..negative self-talk has a way of creeping in.  So this time around, I’m doing this to get myself looking as awesome as possible in that bikini come beach time.  I realize how vain that is, and I’ve accepted it.  In preparation for Operation Cancun, I’ve taken “before” pics in the suit……don’t worry, they won’t be hitting the internet ANY time soon!  SOOO not ready for that!  However, there is a good chance they will be hanging in my bathroom so that they stare me in the face every morning.  I’m still debating whether I want to weigh myself or not tomorrow morning…..I honestly haven’t stepped on a scale in a couple of months, and I’m cool with that.  The data nerd in me wants a number to go off of though….we’ll see what tomorrow morning brings.

Before I jump into my recipe, the biggest tip I can give anyone wanting to do any variation of the Whole30 or to anyone getting into the Paleo life is to MEAL PLAN.  Seriously, there are a ton of great sites out there that can help with this.  Just do it!  It saves hugely on the decision making in the middle of a stressed out week, it saves money at the grocery store if you aren’t buying a ton of random crap you don’t need, and it really REALLY allows for food to be cooked and actually eaten rather than going bad and ending up in the trash.  I sit on Sunday afternoons with a notebook, a pen, and my brain….sometimes a cookbook or a food magazine and this is how I do mine:

menu planning

For real, it keeps me sane.  No technology involved….OG handwriting and chart making!

I’m giving you my breakfast recipe for the week.  I make a HUGE batch of this and then put it into containers for breakfast for the entire week.  That way it is done, and I have no excuses for not getting my breakfast in!

breakfast hash

Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

  • 1 pound ground pork (or sausage if you can find it with no sugar and extra crap added)
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded (I used the food processor)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 bell peppers, I used 1 red and 1 green
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a deep, large skillet, brown your ground pork.  While it is cooking, season it with a small amount of each of your spices.  I also tossed in a small amount of ground sage.  Make sure you break the pork up while it is browning so you don’t have too big of chunks….unless that’s your thing.
  2. When the pork is browned, after 5-7 minutes, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon.  You want to leave most of the fat in the pan.
  3. Toss in your peppers, onions, and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes or until they soften and become translucent.
  4. Add in your coconut oil.  When it is melted, top your veggies with your shredded sweet potatoes.
  5. Toss the shreds in the oil, then flatten them down into an even layer, covering the entire pan.
  6. Leave them ALONE!  You only want to stir them every 3-4 minutes.  Re-flattening them out into an even layer after each stir. You will cook your potatoes for 10-12 minutes.**
  7. When your potatoes have cooked through, become bright orange, and may even begin to crisp up and brown a bit, add back in your pork and the remainder of your spices.
  8. Stir thoroughly to combine everything and flatten into an even layer again.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to let flavors blend together.
  9. Plate up and serve!  I top mine with some fresh avocado and some hot sauce….it rocks!

**Time on this may vary depending on how deep your potatoes are layered in your skillet, how fine they were shredded, how soft you like your potatoes, etc. Just play with it and taste as you go!

Well, here’s to the journey I’m embarking on!  I’m somewhat scared about what I will be like when the reality of no “paleo treats” sets in…..God save us all!  Peace, love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Laundry, Packing, and bars……GO time!

No, not the drinking kind of bars…although I’m pretty sure a few of those will be involved this weekend, but more like the fruit and nut kind of bars!  Perhaps even venture to call them “knock off” bars…..you know the ones I’m talking about!  Not gonna mention them here….I don’t need to go an get myself flagged, or worse, sued!  Oh the horror!!!  Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!  Anyway, I made these:

larabars

And they were freaking delicious!! So that’s the recipe you all will be granted this evening!

Before I get to that though, times are super exciting!  First of all, I am packing my suitcase (not really yet, but I will be in a little bit) gearing up to head to Austin, TX for a long weekend of Paleo LOVE!!!  Yep, I’m going to the PaleoFX conference. Go ahead and click on that link, find the speakers and schedule tabs and cream your little Paleo jeans.  I’m BEYOND excited!!!  I’m prepared to geek out pretty hardcore, good thing I’ve got my girl Missy with me to keep me in check and out of jail!!

In addition to the conference, Austin may be one of the greatest towns in ALL the land!  I’m pumped to be going back there.  One of my bestest buddies in the whole wide world lives there, and it’s been way too long since I’ve seen his face.  Throw in getting to meet up with one of my totally rad cousins and her BF, and I’m like a fat kid in a cupcake shop!!  Needless to say, this is the EXACT weekend I need before getting into the swing of State Testing at school.

Last bit of exciting news, I picked up these little beauties today!!!

PM shirts

Yep, it’s legit!  I can’t wait to see people reppin’ these!!  Not to mention, the women’s cut ones are completely obnoxious….I mean baby blue/teal with purple screen printing?  I mean, who even suggests that?!?  Oh wait…. MAJOR thanks and props to the guys at Courtyard Ink!  They were totally amazing to work with and created some extremely quality work.  Much love guys, and you are definitely getting any of my business in the future!!

Anyways, enough blabbering!  The bars were super easy to make, did it all in the food processor!  In the future, I’m planning on adding some Paleo protein powder to these bad boys to make protein bars…..oh yeah, that’s happening.  Can’t freaking wait!

Salted Almond Fruit Bars….with a hint of Cocoa

  • 1 pound dates, pitted and chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped (I used dry roasted ones….salted or unsalted, whatever you dig!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Add your chopped dates to your food processor and pulse until they become a paste.  They will clump into a giant ball, you will have to push it down multiple times….get used to it, you’ll have to do it on almost every single step during these!
  2. Add in your coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla.  Pulse until they are incorporated, again, pressing it down whenever it comes into a ball.
  3. Next add in your shredded coconut and your chopped almonds.  Again, pulse until they are all combined, pushing it down when needed.
  4. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper.  You will want to leave a little hanging over the edges so you can lift your bars out later.
  5. Using your hands (it’s honestly the easiest way….so get down and dirty!) press your mixture into an even layer in your pan.  You want to make sure they are pretty densely packed, mine ended up being about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Toss that pan in the freezer for at least an hour, a couple if you’ve got the time.
  7. Lift your bars out and slice them to whatever size your heart desires.  I got 12 bars out of mine.
  8. Wrap individually in parchment paper and store in the fridge until you want to smash!

If you want them with more of a chocolate kick, add more cocoa!  Want to use a different nut, get after it!  Live your life.  With that, I’d better get on to actually packing!  I might post some randomness from Austin over the next couple of days, but nothing legit until next week…..most likely.  Please understand, k thanks!  Until then, peace, love, and PALEO y’all!

-Meister