Creating a Home and Smashing on Stroganoff.

Hello friends! I’ve officially been a Texas resident for all of 13 days and I’ve gotten pretty settled.  In that amount of time, I’ve burned/scalded a limited amount of food on my coil stove.  I’m taking THAT as a win!  I’ve also had maintenance to my apartment probably 5 times.  I’m not 100% sure the kitchen took quite this much of a beating before me, so pretty much all things in the kitchen that could malfunction did. Most exciting of which was the dishwasher!  A kitchen floor covered in bubbles is TONS OF FUN!!!  Anywho, Rico (the head maintenance guy) is my new best friend, and he’s THE MAN!!!  Got everything in excellent working order, and was hilarious to talk to while he was working.  Props to Rico!

Other than causing my kitchen to self-destruct, I’ve done a whole lot of nothing.  Ok, that’s not entirely true.  I’ve read about 5 books and worked on several crochet projects.  Oh, and drank some wine.  Ok, maybe a lot of wine.  I also found myself a new gym!  They are a really amazing group of people, and I can’t wait to make their community my own!

All that being said, I’ve been eating pretty strictly Paleo since I moved.  I’ve allowed myself a small amount of grass-fed cheese here and there, and a bit of dark chocolate, but essentially, I’m eating much MUCH cleaner than I was before I moved.  I’d fallen off the wagon pretty hard, but considering the stress of my life at that time, I didn’t really beat myself up about it.  Whatever.  I’m back on the wagon, and really feeling the benefits already!  I’m sleeping sounder, waking up with a clearer head, still dying in workouts (but I’m blaming that on the heat!), but generally just feeling more alive.  I LOVE that good food can do that to you!

Late last week, I was feeling a teeny bit sad that my family was 900 miles away.  I immediately started craving comfort food, so I whipped up this bad boy, and DANG!  It was SO GOOD!

stroganoff

This is my SUPER easy beef stroganoff!  I didn’t plan appropriately and didn’t make anything to serve it over, but it would be delicious over some spaghetti squash, on an open-face sweet potato, or over some white rice (if you are into that).  I would also probably double the recipe if you are cooking for more than 2 people.  Here it is!:

Stupid Easy Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 pound stew beef chunks (or steak cut into small chunks)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup coconut milk (get the canned stuff)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (any variety will do)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
  1. In a deep skillet over medium high heat, heat 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil (olive, coconut, etc.).  Add your onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  You want to let them go until they are just starting to brown, about 7 minutes or so.
  2. Add in your stew beef and sear until the beef is browned on all sides, another 5 minutes.
  3. When all the yummies are browned and delicious, add in your coconut milk and spices, NOT the tapioca flour!  Make sure you stir your coconut milk in well, being sure to scrape up any bits on the bottom of your pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover your pan.  Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the beef is starting to tenderize and all flavors have come together.
  4. At this point, uncover your pan and taste for salt and pepper.
  5. In a small cup, mix together your 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour with 2 tablespoons of water.  Make sure you mix it until all clumps are gone.
  6. Pour this slurry into your beef and coconut milk mixture slowly, stirring while adding it.  You should notice it thickening up almost immediately. Allow your stroganoff to cook for about 2-3 more minutes over medium heat.
  7. Spoon it over your carb vehicle of choice and put it in your mouth!

This smacked the comfort food craving right out of my mouth!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!!!  Until next time!

Peace, Love, and Paleo y’all

-Meister

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New Adventures!

new home

Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, I went away for a while….but I’m back!  And this time with a bit of a twist.  Here’s the low down on the past few months, just in case any of you nosy Nellie’s were curious:

I sold my house in January, moved back in with my parents in March, and just this past weekend moved to College Station (well, technically Bryan) Texas.  Now, living with my parents was something I honestly did value; however, it did put quite a strain on my ability to cook.  Not because I didn’t have the access (their house is AMAZING) but more because my mother is a phenomenal cook and enjoys doing it! I cooked a few times for the family, but really kind of fell out of the habit of cooking all of my own meals.

So that’s it!  My parents and my brother made the 14 hour trek down to my new home with me and helped me get all moved in and situated.  I truly do not have words to accurately articulate how thankful I am for their help this weekend.  They left town mid-morning today, and I was a pretty ugly wreck for a good portion of the afternoon, but all is well!

Going forward, I will be focusing on writing about my adventures with eating Paleo on a starving graduate student budget, meal planning for the week to reduce my amount of waste, and the joys of re-learning how to cook on an electric coil stove……..I see a LOT of burnt eggs in my future.  Great.

Anywho!  Give me the rest of this week to get somewhat settled into a “routine” of sorts, and I’ll be back in the blogging game full force!

Peace, Love, and Paleo y’all!
-Meister

Stepping off of Easy Street

big ol booty

Warning: This is going to be largely a rant…however; some of this might resonate with others, so read if you want. Or ignore! It’s cool either way.

I’ve been all over the map mentally and emotionally lately. This is somewhat to be expected considering I’m on the brink of the biggest life change I’ve ever experienced. I just sold my house, accepted my offer for a Ph.D. program, moved back in with my parents, and have absolutely no idea where I will be living or what life will look like 4 months from now. All of that allows me to feel off overwhelmed, right?

Wrong. All of that allows me to feel a bit uncertain. But can we honestly ever say we know what life will look like a few months from right now? This moment. Right now. Is the only sure thing, and even that is in a constant state of flux based on the choices we make. I like to think I’m a rational intelligent person, but why is it that I find myself asking, “When are things going to be easy?”

This concept of the “easy road” has been one that has haunted me for quite some time. I find myself falling into the spiral of “If I only lost some weight, if I was only in a relationship, if I only had another degree, if I only had a less stressful job…..” THEN life would be easy. It would be carefree. Things would come naturally. I wouldn’t have to try so freaking hard.

At the bottom of that spiral is one simple truth: SCREW EASY.

Easy is safe, it’s tame. It’s never allowing ourselves to experience moments that bring us face to face with fear, pain, despair, and sheer emptiness and unknowing that allow us to truly change and break barriers. Human beings are warriors. We fight, we scream, we bleed, we cry, we cuss, we shut out those closest to us, we fail. But we learn.

So from the bottom of my current spiral:

Easy would be settling for the job I’m in. I’m jumping head first into the unknown of going back to school.

Easy would be staying in Omaha. I’m uprooting everything I’ve known for a new adventure.

Easy would be wasting my life counting calories and living on a treadmill. Instead, I’m showing up and giving whatever I have in me (which admittedly isn’t always much) at my CrossFit gym…and improving, slowly, no matter how tiny my baby steps seem. And I’m eating. Food. Lots and lots of REAL food.

Easy would be lowering my standards to simply “have a boyfriend”. I’m forging through on my own and respecting myself enough to know that I won’t settle in my relationships, and that I deserve better.

Be a fucking warrior. Rant over. Now go eat something!

Peace, Love, and Paleo.

Meister

Update on Life!

Hello all!

Ok, so life has been one crazy joy ride after another……here’s a brief update.

The holidays came and went without much to do.  This was actually a blessing in disguise, as it allowed for plenty of rest and relaxation for what was to come.

This semester at school is completely insane.  I’ve taken on some extra responsibilities with curriculum writing for my district, as well as teaching a course at a university here in town.  In addition to that, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m officially relocating.  I can’t say as to where exactly yet, but it will be out of state…..still waiting on a couple of pieces to fall into place before I can announce where I’m heading.

All of that being said, I haven’t been cooking anything worthy of posting.  Honestly.  I’ve been keeping things SUPER basic….with a few tricks up my sleeve here and there.  The biggest reason for that is that I don’t like to junk up my kitchen or stink up my house.  Selling my house has been priority #1, and to do that efficiently, people don’t want to truly see a lived in kitchen or smell bacon in the air………although I know a HUGE selling point for me would be Eau De Bacon, but apparently that’s a no no for most buyers.  Whatever, I don’t judge.

Living in my house has become a relative term.  I feel like it’s still mine, but it’s already gone. Like I’m living in a museum of what used to be my home.  It’s an indescribably bizarre feeling. Buying that house 5 years ago was my way of asserting my adulthood.  Proving that even though I wasn’t engaged, getting married, or spawning children, dammit, I was a grown up.  So I went and got myself a mortgage.  And that’s all 30 days from being over.  Needless to say, I’ve been a bit weird about it.

In spite of everything, I can’t help but be crazy stupid excited about the future.  I have been having moments where I start to freak out about where I’m going to live, how I’m going to pay rent, how the hell I’m going to afford a CrossFit membership somewhere, how I’m going to buy groceries….but in the end, I don’t care.  It’s gonna happen.  I can feel it.

So here’s to new adventures! Whichever direction they take me……and oh yeah, this happened too:

SOLDRecipe to come soon…..but in the meantime, call my boy McGee.  He’s the jam, and gets things DONE!

Peace, Love, and Paleo!
Meister

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

Baking Queen

baking supplies

Hey friends!  So it’s been a crazy past few days!  Last week was full of prepping for my annual Luau at my house.  The party ended up being a giant success!  Lots of awesome people in attendance and TONS of great food!  I love hanging out with the folks from my gym, they are a stellar crew.  Pretty sure I drank my body weight in hard cider, but who cares!  It’s summer.  Live it up, I say!

This week is ALL about baking.  I’ve been prepping all week for The Duo competition on Saturday.  Because I’m going to have a booth set up, I’ve been doing LITERALLY nothing but baking every afternoon, evening, and night this week.  I’m kind of over it!  In my fridge right now are four pans of Maple Bacon Blondies, four pans of Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies, about 10 dozen Oreo Balls waiting to be dipped in chocolate, and enough Chocolate Chunk cookie dough for about 15 dozen cookies.

I can’t wait for Saturday to be here so that I can stock my fridge with REAL food again and get back into a regular eating schedule instead of eating random protein that is hiding in the back of my fridge.  So because of all of the baking, I have no recipe for you.  I suck at life.  I know.  My bad.  Again, it’s summer. Meh!  Make some desserts that I’ve linked up top.  If you haven’t tried them out before, get on it now!  OR better yet! Show up on Saturday and just buy the treats I’ve already made!  Do it.  It’s a Win-Win!

Well that’s all I’ve got for right now!  If you don’t hear from me for a few days, there’s a really good chance I’m in a sugar coma.  Somebody bring me a steak and some veggies…..

Until then, Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

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