April 2012 archive

Just Married

This weekend was a whirlwind of flowers, poufy dresses, hairspray, family, friends, feather boas (that’s how I roll), and emotions–good ones!

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately and can’t believe all that’s happened in the past year.  On this day a year ago, I was in Iraq and nowhere near close to coming home.  It was just starting to get hot while my man was dealing with the homefront in the worst way possible.  There is almost nothing as frustrating as being on the other side of the world from the person you love most when they need you the most.  Since then, I have returned home and been uprooted from the first home we had together (although Colorado is awesome!) for a brand new job I know nothing about and he is leaving the service and starting a new job with suits and ties, iPads, and frequent flyer miles.  Along the way we ran into some nasty bumps in the road and have been dealing with some knarly consequences of our line of work, but are making it through–one day at a time–with a whole lot of tears but a whole lot of laughter, too.

Oh, yeah…and we just got married.

We’re packing up the last of our little home here in Austin and will make the trek up to the Rockies tomorrow.  I already decided I won’t be blogging this week so that Ross and I can have a chance to sit back, relax, and just enjoy each other a little after what has been quite a series of life changes all at once.

See you soon!

-Me

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Odds ‘n’ Ends

This week is nuts.  Like…certifiably.  Especially my food, which for the last 4 days has been egg muffins, Thai sausages (see below!), and chunks of this pork shoulder I threw in the crockpot on Saturday:

…and as soon as this baby runs out I’m probably going to subsist on eggs and sausage until Friday night at the rehearsal dinner.  Sad, I know.  However, there’s a handful of fun stuff I’ve been obsessing over lately I thought I’d share with you.  Probably the Bridezilla in me taking over every aspect of my life, but I’ve been making a lot of lists lately…

1.  Thai sausage.  Holy hell, these are good.  I’ve been getting them at the Wheatsville Co-op in Austin, but I can’t find anywhere that carries them in Colorado.  I might have a meltdown.  There may very well be a few dozen kilos of these babies in the car when I head back up next week.

2.  Roast Brussels sprouts with eggs.  Just do it.  Cut them in half, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, then roast for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve with runny eggs.  The yolks get soaked up in the insides of the sprouts and…just OMG.

3.  Lettuce wraps.  So easy and great on the go.  My respective road trips to and from Colorado and Galveston were fueled by a metric ass ton of them.  I’m especially addicted to Applegate Farms Herbed Roast Turkey with avocado slices and mayo.  LOTS of mayo…

4.  Instagram.  I finally jumped on the bandwagon and, while I still think it’s a royal pain in the ass to take one photo at a time and I haven’t figured out if you can even zoom in or out, I think it might add a little zest to some photos for the blog.  At lease until I can afford a fancy-schmancy camera…

5.  STEAK.  I got these gorgeous grass-fed ribeyes up in C-Springs and we had a great celebratory dinner the night before we left.  I want more.  Like, every day for the rest of my life.

6.  Vital Farms eggs.  They’re Austin locals but I found them in Colorado, too.  I’m on the lookout for CO eggs because closer is better, but it’s good to have and old standby :)

7.  One-dish meals.  If you don’t feel like busting out the crockpot, just throw together some meatballs and add veggies to the baking dish.  Or just bake any protein with veggies.  Easy.

8.  “Snapper Bristol.”  Holy hell this was good…Ross and I both ordered it at a nice little place in Galveston: grilled snapper, shrimp, and scallops smothered in Hollandaise.

9.  Avocado muffins.  I’m tweaking the recipe and will throw it up as soon as I get a fracking minute to bake something, but I’m so super proud of them.  21DSD approved!

10.  These two.

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Roasted Garlic Guacamole Salad

Guess what?!  My car broke down…again.  But that’s not the part of today’s story you need to hear.

So, anyway, my car broke down and I had to take it back to the shop this morning–and the shop I like just so happens to be all the way down near Ft. Hood.  To kill some time, I met Ross for lunch and decided to get a free workout in at the gym.  The gym at Ft. Hood is the part I’ll miss the most because they have a full Crossfit gym and we can take Crossfit classes for free thanks to a VERY generous donation from Greg Glassman.

OK, so even though I was super bummed to have to be on post while I’m on leave, I marched my booty into the gym and I did a Crossfit Total just for sh*ts and giggles.  I mean, it’s been a few months since my last one and it’d be nice to have a benchmark near my wedding, right?  Or something like that..?

Oh! Oh!  I can’t even stand it!  I added 61 pounds!  Maybe that doesn’t sound like much to some more elite athletes out there, but I was thrilled considering my training volume has been on the lighter side this past month thanks to Life Changes.  I’m also pumped because most of that increase was the deadlifts and squats–I was sucking a little (or a lot) on my shoulder press and only raised that one by 7 lbs.  My squat went up 27 lbs and DL was up 27 lbs.  It also put me halfway between the “intermediate” and “advanced” categories, so it’s some nice motivation to pump some iron.  Not too shabby for someone who was a full-fledged noodle this time last year.

OK, now food.

This is sort of a deconstructed guac–it’s got all the elements, except that nothing gets pureed.  I’ll say it’s because I wanted to snazz up one of my absolutely favorite things.  Totally not because the movers took my food processor.

Ingredients

1/2 c Whole Garlic Cloves

1 T Olive Oil

2 t Sea Salt

4 Slices Bacon, fried and chopped

4 Large Avocados, diced

1 c Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

1 Onion, diced

1 Jalapeno Pepper, diced

2 T Fresh Lime Juice

1/4 c Olive Oil

1 t Black pepper

1 t Chili Powder

Instructions

Combine garlic cloves, 1 T olive oil, and sea salt.  Spread out over a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, making sure to toss halfway through.  Allow garlic to cool.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add the roasted garlic cloves.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to marry.  Serve over chopped lettuce, with pulled baked chicken, or with eggs for a special breakfast treat ;)

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Simply Pancakes

There’s only so eggs a gal can eat straight up with bacon or sausage until she gets a little bored (but dammit if they aren’t just so gosh darn convenient).  This morning I woke up and spent a good minute and a half standing over a hot skillet with a package of bacon in one hand and carton of eggs in the other before I surrendered.  Nope, not today, folks.

Today was a pancake day.

You all know just how much I yearn to find the perfect Paleo Pancake recipe…and while I don’t know if this is The One, I managed to put together an exceptionally moist and fluffy pancake–which is a feat for me because I’ve struck out oh-so-many times when using coconut flour.  I mean…just LOOK!

Yes, so light and airy.  Of course, I slathered mine in butter and cinnamon…they tasted like little beignets!

Some added bonuses are the super-short ingredient list (good for me and my almost-bare kitchen), complete lack of sugar, high protein content, and ease of cooking.  This is honestly the first time I’ve cooked a coconut flour pancake without having to man-handle the damn things off the pan just to flip them over.  You can probably personalize it a little bit, too–there’s nothing super original about a plain old pancake recipe–and now that I managed to put something together that isn’t terrible, you can count on some fun variations in the near future ;)

Ingredients

(Serves 2)

1/4 c Coconut Flour

1/4 t Baking Soda

4 Eggs

3 T Coconut or Almond Milk

Butter or Coconut Oil for Frying

Instructions

Use a wire whisk to blend the coconut flour with the baking soda and remove any lumps.  On a separate bowl, beat the eggs and coconut milk until frothy.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and beat with a whisk until smooth.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes to let the coconut flour absorb all the liquid.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Melt some butter or oil (more is better, I started with a generous tablespoon), then spoon the batter into the pan. Don’t make the pancakes too big or they might be hard to flip–about 3 inches across should work well.  Cook for 2 minutes or so on each side, then remove onto a plate.  Add more butter/oil to the pan as needed.  You can cover them in foil and place in a 200-degree oven to keep warm while you finish cooking all of the pancakes.

Serve with your choice of toppings.  I like mine simple with butter and cinnamon, but fruit compote or maple syrup would be lovely, too!

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Tex-Mex Egg Muffins

We’ve been running around a whole lot since we got back from the beach, mostly because the wedding is THIS WEEKEND and there’s a whole hell of a lot left to do.  No, really.  I was SOOOO proud of myself for booking vendors early, getting my dress early, getting the venues early…but who’ve thought I still needed, like, decorations and stuff.  And guestbooks and favors and programs.  And shoes…yep, still need shoes.

Our parents are here and helping where they can, but thanks to the empty house (PS getting enough sleep is a major problem with an air matress…so I’m cranky, too) stress levels are high and every other minute we realize we’re missing something that the movers took.  Ross left all of his suits in Colorado, for example.  He was not pleased.

My point here is that square meals don’t really exist anymore.  If I were a normal bride, I’d be working out a bazillion hours a day and just not eating, period, so I can be sure to look super skinny in all the pictures.  But I’m not…I’m such a stress-eater, it’s ridiculous.  So, I’m at least doing what I can to make sure that I’ve got hearty snacks on hand.  That, and pray that I can’t gain that much weight in a week…

Ingredients

(Makes 12 Large Muffins)

12 Eggs

1 Onion

1 c Mushrooms

4 Jalapeno Peppers

1/2 lb Ground Beef

1/2 c Pico de Gallo

1/2 t Chili Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Dice the onion, mushrooms, and two of the jalapenos.  Brown the beef and add the pico, seasoning, and veggies.  Stir to combine until the onion is translucent.  Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Spoon mixture into muffin cups.  Beat the eggs together with a whisk or in a blender (way easier).  Pour egg over the mixture evenly over all of the muffin cups, allowing it to settle into the filling.

Slice the remaining two jalapenos into 12 pieces and place on top of each muffin.  Bake the muffins at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serve with guac.  Lots and lots of guac ;)

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