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

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Short Ribs with a side of Emotion

Ok guys, I gotta be straight with you.  I’m having a pretty intense reaction to all of the bombing at the Boston Marathon stuff….to the point where I’m not allowing myself to watch the news or turn on any sort of talk radio.  For a good hour this afternoon, I was in complete fight or flight mode, stressing hugely over one of my best friends in the entire world who had been in Boston and had posted some pics of the marathon to Facebook about 3 hours prior to this all going down.  Needless to say, until I heard he was OK, I was a wreck.  Regardless, I’m in a complete state of shock.  The capacity for hate and destruction that some people possess truly terrifies me.  For far too long, I was the kind of person who held grudges, who had a negative outlook, and who saw the darkness in everyone and everything.  The root of this was my own hatred of myself, my place in life, and my body.  I have worked so incredibly hard to NOT be the person that harbors any sort of anger or hatred for anyone or anything, so the events of today have left me completely confused.  Now, I’m not going to make any sort of political statement here, or take any stance….but I AM going to say that I think the root of all of this lies not a gun control issue or a terrorism issue, but a lack of respect and love.  Respect and love for yourself, for each other, for your world, and your future.  Call me simplistic, but that’s where I’m at.  So I’m gonna keep doing what I can to put my positivity out into the world, because God knows there is more than enough hate to go around.

Anyways, other than that, things are going pretty great right now.  I bought my plane ticket for Cancun today!!!  Not gonna lie, I got the jitters when I hit the “book now!” button.  Then immediately had buyer’s remorse…..to which I promptly smacked myself in the forehead and was like “WAKE UP! When are you gonna get to do this?!” So, I’m over that now and have moved on to being SUPER excited!! Had a great day in the gym today….added 20 pounds to my back squat, so there’s that! Plus, I’m over the initial hump of the Whole30 where all I could think about is food.  Because I’ve done this before, I feel like that period was much shorter for me, and now, on Day 8, I’m not thinking/living/breathing/dreaming food!  It is shifting back into a position to fuel me, not just satisfy boredom.  Slowly but surely, I feel like I’m tackling that stupid sugar demon!!  I’m still eating a small amount of fruit each day, but I’m OK with that.  You know what else is great about fruit?  You can add it to savory things and it adds just a hint of sweetness!  Like it did with these….

short ribs

I know it looks like a somewhat gnarly pile of meat….but I swear to you, these were some of the most AMAZING short ribs I’ve ever made!  Plus, they go in the crockpot, so they are SUPER easy to prep, cook, and clean up!  Win all around!

Blackberry Balsamic Short Ribs

  • 3-ish pounds beef short ribs
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 10-15 large blackberries
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 10ish leaves fresh sage, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a deep skillet, melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
  2. Sear short ribs in the coconut oil on all sides.  You only need to get a thin crust on the meat, not cook it through, so about 2-3 minutes per side.
  3. In a bowl, mix together vinegar, tomato paste, and water.
  4. When ribs are seared, add them to your crockpot.
  5. Pour liquid mixture over your ribs.
  6. Add spices, torn sage, smashed garlic, and blackberries in around the meat.
  7. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  I actually cooked mine on low for about 9 hours, then switched it to warm for another 2 (while I was at the gym) and they were great!  Falling off the bone beautifully!
  8. Stuff your face with hearty, rich, savory, meaty goodness!

The best part about this is that I was able to eat and do all of the “cooking” dishes in less than about 35 minutes….which was amazing!  Not to mention, it was nice to have something already cooked when I got home from the gym and my house smells AWESOME!  Sending a whole bunch of love and calming, healing thoughts to all my homies in Boston.  Go love one another.

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

Er-mah-GERD! Chocolate Hazelnut Pie!

chocolate hazelnut pie

For REAL!?!?  I’m not even kidding with this pie when I say that my dad is convinced this could be served in a fine dining establishment.  He will eat almost anything I make, but this one topped his list as “I would NEVER EVEN GUESS this is Paleo!!!”  That made my heart happy…..especially when he said he needed an entire pie, not just the one slice I took him.  I’ve been caught saying that this is the recipe that is gonna land me a husband someday.  It’s completely OUT OF CONTROL!  In fact, I can hear the leftovers whispering to me right now from my fridge.  Not even lying when I say that I’m really, REALLY glad I’ve got myself to a better place in my life….because the old me would have eaten this entire pie with a bottle of wine for dinner and wallowed about how crappy things are.  Not saying that won’t happen at some point this weekend, but STILL!  The fact that there is pie in the fridge at this point is a massive triumph!

Today is the last official day of my Spring Break.  I’m somewhat sad.  I did absolutely nothing, and that was great, but I feel like I also haven’t accomplished much. Eh, gearing up for Austin I guess!  Plus, getting back into the routine of waking up early is not going to be fun!  Oh, and it’s snowing today.  What the HELL, Nebraska?  Get your act together!  I’m beyond over this weather!  I’m counting down the days until I leave for Austin, TX next week.  Which I’m completely STOKED for!  I know I’ve said it before, but seriously, I can’t freaking wait!!

Really not looking forward to Open Workout 13.3, mostly because I hate wallballs.  In fact, hate doesn’t even begin to cover it.  I really like having the ability to walk, especially up and down the stairs……I’m already having nightmares of what my legs will be like after I finish that workout.  It’ll be like my first 2 weeks of CrossFit all over again…….going down the stairs backwards, drowning my quads in Icy Hot, and needing to use the handicapped stall for the sheer purpose of having the grab bars if I need them.  No joke.

Alright, enough of my whining.  On to pie!  This recipe takes a bit of love, but in the end it’s really pretty easy.  I mean, you make the entire thing in the food processor….what could be easier than that??

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

  • 1 bag Enjoy Life chocolate chunks, split in half
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (I used dry roasted, unsalted from Trader Joe’s….they have a good price!)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (plus a bit more to dust your pie pan)
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup hot water (like almost boiling)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (not melted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and make sure you have a rack in the bottom 1/3 of your oven.  It seems weird, but this bad boy needs to cook near the bottom.
  2. In your food processor, place half of your chocolate chunks, your hazelnuts, and 1/4 cup of coconut flour.  Pulse until you get small chunks.  You don’t want them to get too small….this is what gives your pie some crunch.  I would pulse until all pieces are about the same size. Dump this into a separate bowl.
  3. In your now empty processor bowl, add in the rest of your chocolate chunks and your raw honey.  Pulse this until they come together.
  4. While the processor is running on low, slowly add in your hot water and keep blending until all of the chocolate has melted.
  5. Remove the lid and add in your salt, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil, and eggs.
  6. Pulse a few times so that it all incorporates.
  7. Now, add back in your chocolate chunk, hazelnut, coconut flour mixture.
  8. Pulse a few times to combine everything.  Not too much though, you don’t want to break your chunks and nuts into smaller pieces.
  9. Pour your batter into a 9 inch pie pan that has been brushed with coconut oil, and dusted completely with coconut flour.  It will almost completely fill the pan, don’t worry!  (I have not tried this in glass, so I would stick to a metal pie pan….I make to guarantees with it baking the same/coming out cleanly with a glass pie plate)
  10. Bake for 35 minutes in the bottom 1/3 of your oven at 350 degrees.
  11. Remove from the oven at 35 minutes, no matter what.  It may not look done in the middle, that is FINE.  It may have risen strangely, that is FINE!  It will all settle itself out, don’t worry!!
  12. Let cool on the counter for an hour.
  13. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is great too!
  14. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving!
  15. Top with paleo whipped cream and SMASH!!!

I topped mine with a few fresh blackberries, because I’m currently obsessed with those!  No berry is same in my house…..Not even lying, plan to share this with friends and family, or be prepared to hide it from yourself.  It’s INSANE!! Peace, Love, and Paleo y’all!

-Meister