Friday, November 29, 2013

Paleo Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta

So,  Brussel Sprouts can  be super boring.  Not this version of them.  When I was in college and poor (not much has changed)  I used to buy the steam in a bag brussel sprouts and just eat them like that.  Now, I look back and I think wow how I loved eating boiled cardboard.  Now that I am older and occasionally have an extra $10.00's, occasionally I said, this is the way I go for brussel sprouts.  I'd honestly just eat these as an entire meal.

Oh, and by the way, Pancetta is a fancy name for Italian Bacon. It's fabulous, but not too cheap---around $5.00 for 3 ounces. I made this for Thanksgiving and was a dummy who went to the store the day before Thanksgiving.  I couldn't find diced pancetta in Acme, and shoprite was out of the question since I drove around the parking lot for 20 minutes trying to find a spot, f that.  So..I had to buy sliced pancetta and dice it myself.  It's usually in the deli section with all of the meats and cheeses.  Sometimes it's hanging in a display next to the pepperoni, prosciutto, and stuff.  With that being said--if you can't find it, regular bacon works just as well.

Paleo Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30minutes
Serves: 3-4

2 lbs Brussel Sprouts (or two bags)
2 Cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-6 ounces Pancetta, diced preferably
Cocnut Oil or Cooking Spray
2 tsp salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.
2. While the oven is preheating cut the stems off the brussel sprouts and cut in half.
3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  
4. A pound at a time sautee the brussel sprouts for 5-7 minutes or until they become bright green. Throw one half spread out on the baking sheet and cook the other following the same above direction.

5. Put the diced pancetta and 2 diced garlic cloves in the sautee pan dry for 3-5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle on top of the brussel sprouts.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes flipping them to the other side about halfway through.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

11 Suggestions for Being "Less Single"

     11 Suggestions for Being "Less Single"

        This post is prompted by my grandma.  Yeah, good old Me-Mau.  So yesterday,  I go to see a house that my great aunt and uncle own. I thought it was a good idea to bring my Mom Mom.   So, while chatting about the house my great aunt asks "Are you seeing anyone?'  To which my Mom Mom makes her signature face (kinda like a frown but the face definitely says "yeah right) and a noise.   My Mom Mom looks over at my aunt and says "Yeah right, she's like Aunt Josephine.  90 and never been married." Ouch. Some Me-Mau's knit sweaters and bake cookies--mine kicks you while your down.   Possibly this was pay back for all the time I mocked and made fun of her.  Maybe you just don't understand our relationship.

         None the less, I got the "Oh poor girl face".   I've seen this face plenty of times.  It usually comes with a pat on the back and "you'll meet someone someday" or "You'll meet someone when you stop looking and least expect it".  Let's chat about that briefly.  If one more person tells me I'll meet someone when I stop looking I'm going to karate chop them in the throat.  No, I won't.  If I'm not looking, how will I see them?  Will they run up and tap me on the shoulder and say "HEY I'M SOMEONE!!!!!".

        So, for me, Christmas is the WORST time to be single.  All these happy couples posting pictures of the tree,  family photos, and kissing under the mistletoe.  Okay, they can get karate chopped too.   Christmas time is also the time when other people feel MOST SORRY FOR YOU.  You get an extra lot of "you'll meet someone soon" or whatever else pops into their skull.  I think if I was talking statistics this phrase is said 42% more during the month of December.  As if, when you are in fact single, your life has no purpose or Santa is going to skip your stocking because your single.   Sometimes I swear people are thinking "your single, but it's okay, I am sure your still a great person" or "I bet she is just really focused on her work".  Let's squash that right now, no I'm not and I am an AMAZING PERSON (I've heard).

         I love Christmas as much as Cindy Loo Who, so let's get that straight right off the bat.  I love everything about Christmas. Except, that I am perpetually single.   I have my reasons for that, I haven't made the best choices in men.  I'm guilty, I'm guilty.  Anyway,  I thought I would lighten the mood by listening the various things I've been told I could do to be "less single".

1.  Get a cat
    Why does everyone suggest cats to single people?  Is there a secret single people with cats meeting?  Does it make me more money to have a cat?  Or do men really like cats thus making me less likely to remain single when I get one?  I'm so confused.
     First off, I dislike cats.  They make no sense.  They are all pur pur pur then swatting you with those sharp talons. I don't need that in my life.   I have enough people I want to karate chop, I can't add cats to my list of karate chopping.  Those little cat faces, they make me sad inside. 
   Lastly, I've heard cats are like Doritos or Cheez-Itz--you can't have just one.  Do you know what I call the man who says he's only eaten one Dorito or Cheez-It?  A liar.
All of a sudden I have a 100 cats with 100 names I know by heart.  There would be Mitzy, Mr. Whiskers, Mr. Noodlebut, Mr. Stinkbut,  Miguel,  Jose, Ricardo,  Spanky, Love nugget, Muffin, Love nugget muffin, etc.  I'd end up knowing each one from the other plus their birth dates, eating schedule, likes and dislikes, etc.
2. Get a Hobby
        What makes people think I don't have any hobbies?  I am a crossfitter, that's a hobby. I am a blogger, that's a hobby.   My goal is to be like Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. 
          She is actually famous because she was a blogger.   She looks rich on the show on the Food Network and her cowboy ranch husband is hot.  She got all of those things from her hobby of blogging. I envy her.    I actually am not jealous of the fact she lives 30 minutes away from a grocery store.  She has to plan an entire day for a trip to food shop.  I on the other hand need to plan a whole day for that as well, because I have to figure out what time I am going to put a bra on to go out of the house.

     What other hobbies could I possibly have?  Someone told me to take a knitting class once.  Do men knit--will I meet a man at said class?  I don't want a man who knitted his own sweater.  He probably has cats.    Let's revisit the fact that I don't like cats.
3. Become a Lesbian
        Let's get one thing straight--if men don't like me, I can assure you women don't either.   I can't be with someone like me--whiny, cranky, bitchy, always right---aka a woman.  This goes along with going to a knitting class, because the only people I would meet there would be women.
        Switching teams is a big commitment.  It's got to be lifelong and I have trouble making decisions on Tuesday which affect Thursday.  You can't join the other team then decide one day you want back in on our team.  No one would take you seriously.  For the rest of your life people would whisper about you and say "Isn't her husband handsome?  She used to be a lesbian you know."   Not, that there is ANYTHING wrong with that.  I am all for Prop 8.  I love gay people.   But I am a big believer in one team or the other, you can't have the best of both worlds. It ain't fair. Word.

4. Meet New People
       Do I look like the kind of person who avoids meeting people?  Let's get one thing straight--my personality draws people in.  I meet new people all of the time.  Just not the people I want to date. 
     My friend Kate has a boyfriend Matt.  She told me he loves my blog, and on Sunday (after a night out Saturday) he said he could listen to me talk all day.  BAM.  Look at that. People love me.  Mostly people who are not interested in me.  Double Whammy.
    So, I joined a crossfit gym.  I did not meet new people.  I started socializing with more coworkers.  I did not meet new people.  I run a toy drive which basically makes me Mother Theresa.  I did not meet new people.  So---am I missing something on this meeting new people thing?

5. Go New Places
     When someone told me this I thought fabulous idea, I'll go to different grocery stores. First, I tried to go to the Farmer's Market because I thought that made me look "environment and farmer friendly". I also thought I was bound to find an eco-friendly god fearing hard working man or a hipster also trying to look "environment and farmer friendly".    Do you know who I met there?  The 90 year old who checked me out named Marge. Sweet lady.
      So then I thought let me try Bottom Dollar Food.  Maybe I'll meet a man there who likes bringing his own shopping bags and knows how to live on a budget. Do you know who I met there? A gang of kids who wanted to take my cart back so they could have my quarter.  Really, genius on their part if you think about it. 

6. Be Less Busy
       Someone once told me if I cleared my schedule and was less busy I could spend more time with the people I wanted to date.  Yesterday, I was in my pajamas at 4:23 p.m.  I would have had them on at 4:20 if I didn't have to clean a spill in my lunchbox before changing.  Busy?  Pajamas on the couch by 4:23 pm?  Your argument is invalid. 

7. Change Your Look
       Are you saying if I was less ugly I wouldn't be single?  Lies. I'm pretty as shit.  

       When I get the time I like to try new looks and this is how I will look:
This is actually how I end up looking:

 7. Fix Your Resting Bitch Face

             For centuries my face has been just fine smooshed up in this scowl.  Like I said, people love my personality (re: Kate's boyfriend, Matt).  But, sometimes when at the bar or sitting alone I make a face which says "Don't come talk to me,  I bite".    I don't intend it to look that way.  It just does.  I have no control over it.  What should I do---smile at every single person like a whack job?  Just spin around in a circle smiling at everyone around me?  

That makes me think of the Joker from Batman--why so serious!?!?! People would think I was a legit psychopath.
 8. Go to Church
       I feel as though I should be responsible for what I ask wooden Jesus for.  I feel like the big J has a lot on his plate, and I highly doubt that me being single is something he wants to chat about.  World peace, genocide, starvation of children, Elyse being single.  One of these things is not like the other.
         Maybe this person meant to meet single guys.  Well, there are two types of men at church: 1. Pastors, priests, and deacons. 2. Married men with their wife and children.  I am not interested in either. Actually, make that three things there I am not interested in right now 1. Pastors, Priests, Deacons 2. Married Men 3. Children. 

9. Try Outdoorsie Stuff
           I have allergies.  They are seasonal but when you start throwing the words sun rise hike at me I have allergies in all seasons.

10. Dress Up More
            I dress up plenty.  I'm so fabulous it hurts.  I also have a code of ethics: Never wear my pajamas out in public.  Except for that one time at 8:00pm on a Friday night I went to CVS in my jammers because I wanted ice cream to watch with my movie. Yep, I'm single.      

11. Stop Going to the Bar
           I have very few joys in life, stop trying to take them away. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Paleo Ropa Vieja with Cauliflower Cuban Rice

This is a good one because it's a two parter,quick and easy.  The chicken cooks in the crock pot and the "rice" can  be made a half hour before. I go through phases and love the crock pot and everything that comes out of that little gem.  Then, other times I think "Ugh that was from the crockpot".  I do that with a lot of things. Like, eggs. You know I HATE EGGS.  For two days straight I've eaten bacon and eggs.  Things change, people change, the world is turned upside down.

Quick, clean, and Paleo.  

Tip:  I assembly the chicken in the crockpot the night before because it's quick and I have the time.  That way in the morning all I do is put it in the bottom and turn it on low.

Paleo Ropa Vieja with Cauliflower Cuban Rice 

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 7 1/2 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients for Chicken:

1lb (or 5-6 pieces) of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 tbsp Thyme
2 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Salt
5-6 garlic cloves
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
1 bay leaf
1 4ounce can tomato sauce
1 8 ounce can diced tomatoes

Ingredients for Rice

6 pieces of bacon
1 head Cauliflower
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 6 ounce can tomato sauce


1. I used a mandolin and  slices my vegetables thin. Line the bottom of your crockpot with the vegetables.
2. Place cleaned chicken on top, cutting a deep cut into each piece of chicken.
3. Put one peeled whole garlic clove in each piece of chicken.
4. Cover with spices.
5. Cover with both cans of tomatoes.
6. Mix in 1 bay leaf.
7. Place lid on and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
8. Remove bay leaf.
9. Shred with tongs or two forks.

When the chicken is a half and hour from being done make your "rice".
1. Cut the head of cauliflower into small chunks--while cutting up your caluiflower begin cooking your bacon.
2. Place small chunks into food process and pulse chop to turn it into what appears like a grain.
3. Remove bacon and set aside, but reserve fat.
4. Place rice into pan with bacon grease and saute for one-two minutes.
5. Cover with spices, mix well.
6. Cover with tomato sauce, mix well.
7. Top with bacon crumbled.
8. Cover for  30 minutes over medium heat.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

5 Things Every Begining Cook Should Know

Omg, where has the time gone? I haven't written in what feels like forever.  It actually has been at least a week and a half.  What did you guys do without me?  I only remembered because this morning at the gym someone asked me if I did paleo and I thought "omg omg omg my fans!"  haha lollollol.

             So, my best friend Holly can't cook. And she loves Hamburger Helper Beef Macaroni and Cheese. Fun story--when we were freshmen in High School we had to eat in the Cafeteria for lunch (past that you could go out for lunch--I mean Junior year, but we started  a little early). So eating in the Cafeteria was the equivalent of eating from a really big dumpster--if said dumpster had really nice old ladies in it who served food (or what they called "food").  Anyway, I digress--On Monday the menu would be hamburgers, Tuesday Hamburgers, and by Wednesday Hamburger Macaroni.  See, dear Holly did not catch on that the meat in that Hamburger Macaroni was made with hamburger meat which was now 3 days (or more) old.   She savored every delicious drop like that meat was 1. fresh and 2. wrapped in gold.   When we first graduated college Holly had to cook every once in awhile at home to pay her rent.  Her mom actually sat me down and begged me to ask her to stop making Cheeseburger Macaroni.  See, they didn't have the heart to tell her.  Whereas me, we've known each other since Juicy Juice Boxes and the sandbox  Soul mates since the day we met.  I don't know what I'd do without her silly ass.   She made these for me on my birthday:

Even today she will tell you I used to eat glue----regardless, I never ate Hamburger Macaroni at Paulsboro High School.  Whose the dummy now?
Did you ever hear the song that goes like:  "That girls my best friend!!". It's Brantley Gilbert You Don't Know Her Like I Do.   It's about me and her. It's a love song.  No judgie.   STOP JUDGING. 

This is for all of the Holly's of the WORLD!

1. Cooking is Easy
          If you are making cooking hard, you are doing it wrong.  Recipes, for a beginner, should be easy.    If on your first cooking adventure your trying to make something with french ingredients in it I am calling it already that it will not turn out well for you.   Go on pinterest and search "easy dinner ideas".  There are 4 million easy ideas.   Cooking is really chopping shit up, adding spice, and praying for the best.  Once you know what you like, you're golden.  If all else fails---cook chicken, dice it, mix it with ranch cheddar cheese and hot sauce, put a spoonful inside an uncooked Pillsbury Crescent Roll and bake each roll at 350 for 25 minutes--BAM RANCH PILLOWS.  Your welcome.  Give me the awards and accolades later--when I write the book.

2.  Stock Up On the Essentials
        A common misconception is that people think cooking is expensive. Wrong.  If you have the necessary ingredients, then cooking is cheap.  In your house you should always have:
1. Some sort of cooking oil (extra virgin, vegetable, sesame)
2. Spices (thyme, ginger,  garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, etc)
3.  Canned Stock of any Sort (I make my own and freeze it, but for a beginer just buy a bunch like beef, chicken, vegetable)  Resealable containers work best because you can stretch each stock over several recipes.
4. Onions and Garlic (these take the longest to go bad)
5. Canned large cans of diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, plum peeled tomatoes, etc.
6. Seasoning packets--like Mrs. Dash Taco or Fajita Seasoning

3. Measuring is for baking, not necessarily cooking
          Don't get all crazy with the measuring spoons and cups.  Cooking is about tasting and adding as you go.   For instance, a tablespoon is also roughly a palm full--unless you have palms the size of the incredible hulk. People are fearful of salting their food.  Those people can't cook.  If you season each layer of each meal with an appropriate amount of salt and pepper then you shouldn't need to salt your food after cooking.  I am a big fan of salting each layer as I cook with a pinch and a dab.  If you don't it will appear you are serving something boiled.  Salt during cooking is not the enemy to your health, salt after its prepared is.

4. Improvise and be Creative
        Get a little sassy with your cooking, guys like that.  Don't be so fearful to substitute and experiment.   It won't hurt anything if you sub in oregano for thyme--it will just change the flavor.  Hey, if it doesn't work out--this always does:

I have never had a bad meal after 4 glasses of wine.  Truly, 4 glasses of wine just enhances the flavor.  That's my wine. I am drinking a glass right now with my sushi.  Why?  Because it makes me feel fancy. 
It's really unsalvageable and you need to impress someone--order Chinese food.  Everyone likes Chinese Food.   There is only one thing ungodly enough to not like Chinese Food---the devil himself.   If I ever heard someone say they didn't like Chinese food I'd call them a Nazi or a Communist. Everyone also likes Fortune Cookies. See me, I dare to be a dreamer.  I open that little gross cookie with the hope that what's inside is right.  It's like a 10 cent palm reading.  I believe every single fortune I have ever read.  I believe them until they prove to be false.  I have one hanging on my cork board AS WE SPEAK that says "This year will be the best yet".  In January I was like NO SHIT I CAN'T WAIT.  Now it's November, and it hasn't proven itself true yet.  Alas, I am a dreamer.  What do the people who don't wish and dream do all day anyway?  Negative Nancie's (no offense you you Nancy's of the world).

5.  Don't reinvent the wheel
       There is a good reason that certain ethnicity's lay claim to certain deliciously tasty foods--because they are DOING IT SO GOD DAMN GOOD.     They are doing it right, and you have no right to f with that.   For instance, I love soup.  We all know that.  No judgie.  I in particular love Wonton Soup.  It's so damn good.  But, there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for me to try and make my own Wonton Soup.  Why? It's dirt cheap to buy it.  I can get a gallon of Wonton Soup for $3.49.  I can also get a bottle of wine for $5.99.  When I am feeling really poor I grab both and make a night of it.  I feel you judging me.

       I also don't make Pad Thai.  There is a place in Woodbury who does it just fine.  There is no reason for me to step on their toes.  Who knows, maybe I am really good at making Pad Thai?  Then, I start selling it out of my house.  Which, pisses off said Thai Place.  Does that then start a turf war?  I can't commit to all that.  So I buy it from them to keep the peace.

     My point is---stick to the basics.  There is no reason to try and recreate something spectacular that is out of your league.  Wonton Soup,  Thai Food, French Pastries, Indian Food,  and Sushi are all of out your league my friend. Leave it up to the experts.  Me and Talia tried to make sushi once with this dumb ass sushi kit she got at Barnes and Nobels I think.  It fell apart. I'd like to refer to it as "Big Ass Mess of raw fish sitting on white rice".

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Your Only Competition should be.....YOU

       It's come to my realization that just about everyone I know is competing against someone else.  Everyone is trying to be better then someone else in the gym--faster, stronger, etc.  Why?  That's a losing battle.  I, on the other hand,  only compete against myself.  Last night, I almost lost sight of that.

       Last night was the dreaded "Angie"---100 of four exercises--pull ups, push ups, sit ups, and squats.  I got in my head I was going to only focus on pull ups, because it is my weakness.  I had my coach, Joe, with me and I told him to no rep me every time my little kip didn't get my head over the bar.   See, kipping is my problem.  My first kip doesn't get me over the bar, and my second one does.  It's really quite annoying.  But, alas, I need to work on it.  Gymnastics is not my strength.  Nothing really with my hands is my strength.  When I was a kid my mom wanted us to play the piano.  She had a piano teacher teach me and Talia both.  Talia excelled (what isn't she good at? so annoying).  In my case, the piano teacher told my mom maybe I should quit.  Why? Because I sucked.  Talia can still play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano.  How far will that get her in life? No where.  I'm just as well not knowing how to play the stupid old piano.  Oh, wooden jesus, wooden jesus. 

        I digress...Do you know how many pull ups I did? I'd venture to say at least 150.  However, only 34 of them were complete reps.   Most people were using bands and slowly chipping away at that beast of a workout.  Not me.  I was there for 25 minutes doing pull ups.  34 good RX pull ups to be exact (and 116 incomplete reps I remind you).   I was disappointed in myself.  One, because I forgot to take care of my hands pre-wod. See below:

         That's only my left hand. My right hand looks worse (if you can get worse then mangled). Imagine taking one of those big old standing cheese graters out, and instead of grating cheese, grating your hands.  One day later and all I can do is keep my hands flat. I cannot curve them.  I woke up this morning to my left one bleeding because I must have been moving too much.  Imagine, moving too much in your sleep can make you bleed. 

        Your probably thinking two things 1. Your insane 2. That seems pointless.  Maybe your right.  But it is my goal to be better than I was when I started crossfit.  Did I want all of my reps to count? Absolutely. In reality though, that wouldn't make me any better at pull ups.   It would only teach me to continue to half ass my pull ups, and never giving me the opportunity to have someone help me address what is wrong with them.

        I worked my ass off for every single pull up, those that counted and those that didn't.  Someone actually asked my while bandaging my hands "That's as far as you got?" and gave me a face.  I was so disappointed after that, that I actually teared up on the way home thinking of how bad I did. I was thinking how stupid I should have just done the WOD and not worked on any skill.  I shouldn't have pushed myself to do those correct pull ups. I should have used a band like everyone else or did incomplete reps like other people.

     Then Talia, like she always does, brought me back down to earth.  I needed her to remind me who I was competing against.  I wasn't there to show everyone how good I was at crossfit. I was there to learn, to improve, and to not be the person I was November 2012.   I will never be that person I was one year ago today.  That's the person I need to beat--NOBODY ELSE.

That person on the left didn't love herself. The one on the right does.

         It took me one year from the time I started to learn how to do pull ups correctly. I'm still not even there yet.   But, I am not going to give up on something I need to learn just so I can beat other people in the gym. Nothing gymnastic is my strength. My strength is literally my strength. 

I'll never be a gymnast.  But, if you stack up about 8 gymnasts I bet you I can push press them, bench press them, and dead lift them.