Monthly Archives: March 2015

Paleo Check In: March 2015

Welcome! Check ins are a monthly series of posts meant to document my progress towards better health, a stronger body, and general awesome paleo rockstar status. Find the first one here.

I haven’t done a check in post for a while; feels like a good time to revisit these.

Food

With all of the studying I did over the last few months, my “80/20” devolved to something like 55/45 while I was outside of the house. However, the longer I eat paleo, the less tolerance I have for processed food, so cooking at home has been much the same.

I feel like I’ve been cooking quite a bit, but only two recipes made the blog this month. Fortunately, they are good ones:

Sage & Pepper Pork Chops
Compound Butter

Body

Does anyone remember the phrase “freshman fifteen?” You know, how when you go off to college, it’s pretty common to put on a few pounds? Well, I have found the “bar exam eight.”
All that sitting and reading is no good for the waistline — or any body part, really. Not to mention that I have a strong mental association of studying with some sort of sweet.
In my mind, studying equals coffee (because let’s face it, sometimes studying is not that exciting). Coffee equals pastries, because coffee shops always have delicious sweet things to go along with the beverages, so therefore, studying has always meant treat time.

So long story short, I need to do some deprogramming. Too many items of clothing that had been loose are now tight. Not to mention that if I did not pass the exam, I will need to try again in just a few months.  It’s important to me to work on breaking that association now.

Mind

Somehow, I believed that finishing law school free up tons of time and that I would be able to really dedicate myself to some new projects and some self-improvement. Feel free to laugh at me now.
What is that old saw about work expanding to fill the time available? It’s entirely true.

My “baby” — now 18 months old — has stopped taking his morning nap. The parents among you will understand my dismay. Despite having been through this before, I still didn’t realize how dependent I was on the morning nap until it disappeared. It was when I did most of my photography/recipe prep for the blog, and I still haven’t figured out how best to find that time again.
While I am excited and thrilled that my busy little monster is becoming such an interesting person, and I’m absolutely delighted that he is so bright, cheerful and interested in the world, I sure do miss those naps.

The school-aged kids have all been on Spring Break as well, which means that when not entertaining the bunch of them, I’ve had to actually leave the house so that the little one could get that precious nap. Happily, we are getting back to the regular schedule this week.

On the plus side, I’ve read several novels in the last week! I really enjoy losing myself in a good book.

Goals

1. Re-focus on my exercise goals. I am aiming for daily sun salutations.

2. Dissociate coffee/tea time with sugary treats.

3. Sleep. I still don’t have this piece where I want it, so I’m trying to break it down. For this month, my goal is lights out/devices out by 11.

What are your goals for the month? Please share in the comments if you’ve got something good planned, or have any tips for getting back on track.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Compound Butter

Food Lovers’ Fridays: I’m a big fan of bringing classical cooking methods and recipes into the home kitchen. Today’s post is part of a series meant to highlight those traditional techniques and recipes that can be used in or adapted to paleo cooking.

I have been dragging lately. These days I cannot seem to get motivated and I am cranky when I have to try. I guess the whole bar experience took more out of me than I realized. It doesn’t mean I am not thinking of food, or wanting lush, expansive doses of flavor — it just means I’m leaning more heavily on the culinary tricks that offer the most bang for the buck.
Thus, today’s FLF is one of the simplest, but most amazing things I know how to make: compound butter.

It really is as simple as it gets: warm some butter, dice some herbs, moosh together, and serve. If you are a more strict paleo eater, you’ll use ghee. If you aIre vegan, I would try a combination of equal parts red palm oil and coconut oil. The red palm has a rich, carroty flavor that is reminiscent of butter or ghee, and the coconut oil makes that flavor a little less intense, so that the flavor of the herbs can shine.

Because compound butters so simple, they allow for endless variations. My favorites, I think, are  fresh herbs from our garden with just a touch of salt. A single herb works just as well as a blend, so use whatever you’ve got. Compound butters don’t have to be savory, though — a vanilla and coconut sugar version, for example, would be great on a paleo muffin or bread.

I call the attached version Scarborough Fair Butter after the song; it’s my go-to for seasoning our Thanksgiving turkey. Because rosemary and sage are more dominant flavors, I’ve balanced them with a stronger dose of thyme and parsley. It is equally adept at livening up any number of vegetables (try roasted beets or sweet potatoes) or swirled atop a gorgeous grilled steak. That extra hit of flavor is divine.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Compound Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine parsley, thyme, rosemary and sage, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Continuing to stir the mixture, add the softened butter. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.
  3. If preparing for later, roll the mixture into a cylindrical shape. Cover with plastic wrap, then wrap the bundle with aluminum foil. Place in freezer until ready to use.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/food-lovers-fridays-compound-butter/
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Sage & Pepper Pork Chops

 

Sage & Pepper Pork Chops | Paleo + LifeI am pleased to report that I am done with the bar exam, and my life has started to regain a bit of normalcy. As normal as it ever is, at any rate.

This means I get to focus a bit on fun things, like figuring out how to take pictures again. I am still very much a novice food photographer, and with the last two months being taken up with other things,  my beginning skills seem to have flown the coop. I really want to spend a lot more time playing around with my camera again.

These pictures were not taken when I had time to fiddle around with the camera, but just as we were sitting down to dinner. I served these with sides of butternut squash and sauteed peas, but really, they work with just about anything.
I love chops because they are so easy to customize to your own taste. Mild and meaty, pork chops take on flavors exceptionally well. I love to marinate them (or cook them in the sous vide), because they can be rather dry, but oiled chops, as they are here, stay pretty moist, too. This recipe is one of the simplest, but it works because the combination of earthy sage and sharp black pepper just sings on the palate.

Sage & Pepper Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 6 pork chops
  • 3 tablespoons oil of choice (leftover bacon drippings are especially excellent)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 whole sage leaves

Instructions

  1. Rinse the chops; pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Coat both sides of the chops with oil. Salt and pepper both sides, then place them on a baking sheet. Top each chop with one or two sage leaves.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until chops are lightly browned and tender. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/sage-pepper-pork-chops/

 

 

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