Archive for the ‘Primal’ Category

2013-09-27 09.06.17

I like food.

I REALLY like warm, gravy-y food that’s served in a big bowl with some nice carbs for dippin’ when it starts to get cold outside. I also like not feeling bloated and gross after eating a meal like that, which is what happens to me when I load up on gluten.

Here’s my gluten-free chicken and dumplings recipe. It’s warm, it’s layered with flavor, it’s GOOD FOR YOU, and it’ll feed a family of 4 at least twice.

I didn’t list amounts except where it really matters. Use what you have, and be creative!

Stew Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, gizzards removed
  • Several carrots, chopped
  • Several celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • package of mushrooms, or about 3 cups
  • 2 bunches or 1 big bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • Frozen peas
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 onion
  • Minced garlic – about a tablespoon
  • Heavy cream – about a cup
  • Tapioca flour/startch to thicken the broth into gravy. Use cornstarch if you want, or flour if you aren’t sensitive to it. The method is the same, but add a little at a time.

Dumpling Ingredients:

  • Up to 2  cups almond flour
  • Up to 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 – 4 eggs, depending on size
  • chicken broth (optional)
  • fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Stew Directions:

  1. Put the chicken, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onion, thyme sprigs (leave them whole) and garlic in a large crockpot.  Add a few cups of water to fill the crockpot up.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  3. After 4 hours, remove the chicken and set it aside to cool.
  4. Add the kale, fresh parsley, and peas, and turn the crockpot to warm.
  5. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat off and put the meat back in the crockpot. Give your dog the fat and soft tissues from the chicken if you want. (NO BONES!)
  6. Add 1 cup heavy cream or half and half to the crockpot and stir.
  7. Remove a little of the broth/cream mixture with a mug, and add a few tablespoons of tapioca starch. Mix until it’s integrated, then add it back to the crockpot. Keep this up until it’s as thick as you want it. You can use cornstarch or flour here too.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and fish out the now-bare thyme twigs.

Dumpling instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water or broth/water mixture to boil.
  2. Beat the eggs until they’re light and fluffy.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup tapioca flour.
  4. Keep adding a little almond flour and tapioca flour until you get the consistency of very thick pancake batter.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and add the parsley.
  6. Using two spoons, drop the batter by spoonful into the boiling water/broth. I use one spoon to scoop and lower, and another to scrape it off the first spoon.
  7. Let the dumplings boil for about 4-5 minutes.
  8. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon. They’ll be ugly looking, but they’re SO GOOD!
  9. Either add the dumplings to the stew and serve, or if you’re planning for leftovers, place in the bottom of the bowls and ladle the stew on top of them. You don’t want to store the dumplings in the stew overnight because they’ll fall apart.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the greatest chicken and dumplings recipe ever, even beating out my grandmother’s traditional recipe.

Enjoy, and you’re welcome.





Read Full Post »

For three weeks I was strong. Resolute. Uncompromising. I stuck to the Primal basics, meticulously recorded my macro and micro nutrients every day, making sure all the numbers were where they should be. My hard workouts were harder and shorter; my easy workouts were longer and more relaxing.

I was feeling like a rock star. My skin was clearing up, I was feeling tighter, my nails were growing faster.

And then, after three good weeks, I decided to have a third glass of wine on Saturday night. (DID YOU KNOW DRY RED WINE ONLY HAS 2.SOMETHING CARBS/GLASS??? HEAVEN!!!) The first glass of wine I have is always like a sweet reunion with an old friend. No matter how long it’s been, you instantly remember all the things you love about each other, and you savor every moment.

The second glass is more like hanging out with a good friend I see regularly. The time goes by more quickly, it’s more comfortable, and before you know it, it’s over.

The third glass is the second glass’s evil twin. Sure, it looks and smells and tastes exactly like the second, but it is NOT the second glass. It is evil. And it tells me to do evil things.

This particular third glass of wine convinced me that after three solid Primal weeks, I’d earned a bite of the delicious homemade bread I’d made for Jeff the night before. Bread I’d managed to make, smell baking, see sitting on the counter, and still not consume.

So, with the evil Meritage whispering on my shoulder, I had a bite. It was so good, I decided to have another. And then another. And then the loaf was gone somehow.

Immediately, the back of my knees started to itch. Thinking nothing of it, I headed to bed shortly after.

And then on Sunday morning, this is what my ENTIRE BODY, LITERALLY FROM THE TOP OF MY HEAD TO MY TOES, looked like.

I can’t explain to you the misery that ensued that day. The itching was unbearable. I was weak and dizzy and in the foulest of foul moods. Jeff took me to the urgent care clinic (apparently a full-body hive attack is a serious allergic reaction?), where I got some steroids and anti-itch meds.

I’d planned to take Kane hiking for most of the morning on Sunday. That obviously didn’t happen. I’d planned to go for a run on Monday morning. Exercise can worsen hives, so that didn’t happen either. I’d planned to wear pants both of those days, but pants prevented me from scratching constantly, so that didn’t happen, either. The steroids made my temper flare randomly, and I was glad to be in the house alone. You know, with no small children to frighten.

All because of some wheat.

I have an appointment with an allergist on Tuesday morning for the official test to see what caused this, but I know in my gut it was that darned bread. What that will mean for my future, I don’t know. I want more than anything to never feel like that again. But the thought of never having another cupcake or pasta dish in my lifetime, and having to scrutinize ingredient labels, and be “that person” in resturaunts makes me very sad.

Read Full Post »

Hey, did you guys know that I’ve fallen in love with Amy Butler fabric and patterns (and maybe the person, but I haven’t met her)?

Well, I have.

I whipped up these two tote bags on Tuesday night. Adorable, right?!

This one is a yoga mat/gym tote. I got the pattern from one of my favorite sewing sites, Sew4Home.  The pattern called for home-decor weight fabric, but I didn’t have any that I liked on hand. What I DID have on hand, however, was 17.5 yards of Soul Blossoms quilting-weight cotton. (What?! 17.5 yards is a reasonable amount to have on hand for something you really love.)

To reinforce it and give it the strength of a home decor weight fabric, I used Pellon mid-weight iron-on stabilizer. The outside is Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms Joy Passion Lily Mulberry. The lining is Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Passion Twilight Peony Saffron.

The second bag, below was constructed exactly the same as the yoga mat tote, but the dimensions were different. I used a half yard of Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Passion Temple Tulips Cinnamon, cut in half across the middle to make 2 18″ x 22″ panels. The lining is Amy Butler Midwest Modern II Martini Ice.


I’m still going strong with the Primal Challenge. I’m actually going stronger now than I was when I first started, so that’s awesome. I’ve started tracking my food via LiveStrong’s My Plate again, which is incredible for calculating your total carb intake for the day. And really guys, staying between 50 and 100 grams isn’t all that hard. Especially when you can have delicious things, like whipped heavy cream and Stevia, totally guilt free, when a craving hits you. (Like it may or may not have hit me yesterday afternoon.)

In four days I’ve racked up 4 hours and 15 minutes of low-level activity. I’ve also gotten in 2 intense (well, okay maybe only one was intense) full-body strength training sessions, and yesterday I turned my 3-mile run into a sprint workout. (And OH. MY. GOD. My lungs weren’t expecting that.) It’s Wednesday, and I could stop working out until Sunday if I wanted to. LOVE that!

Here’s what’s on the menu today:

Breakfast: Smoothie with Prograde, unsweetened cocoa, frozen banana, and light coconut milk

Lunch: Cinnamon-crusted pork chop, mixed greens and mushrooms sauteed in bacon fat, along with some bacon

Snack: 2 hard-boiled eggs, celery, organic cream cheese

Dinner: Spaghetti squash, shrimp, homemade red sauce


Cals: 1395 (HECK YEAH!!)
Fat: 81 g (Who cares? It’s all natural, Grokkish fat)
Carbs: 71 g (HECK YEAH!!!)
Protein: 102 g (Woohoo!)

Read Full Post »

The Third Time’s the Charm

As soon as I stitched my first stitch early last spring, I knew my ultimate goal was to make a quilt. Sure, tote bags, pot holders, pillows, etc. are fun and beautiful and can really spruce up your space, but I wanted to make things that would be handed down through generations.

The first quilt I made turned out beautiful, even though most of the squares don’t line up, and the backing is not nearly tight enough (which you can’t really tell, because I tied it instead of quilting it). The second quilt I made was intended to be a gift. I don’t have any pictures of it, but it was gorgeous and very precise. It was also very heavy, and some weird things started happening when I quilted it. I finished it, but just barely. It was a pain. And then, mere hours after I’d finished that beast of a project, I ruined it in the washing machine. Despite pre-washing the fabric, the colors bled and the whole thing turned a washed-out, ugly, dirty, sepia color. I have it on my bed now, because it still embodies all of my hard work, my blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a reminder to use caution at all steps of a project, and not to get lazy and not check to see what water temperature the washing machine is set to.

This morning I finished my third, and most lovely quilt. It’s smaller—about 60 inches by 70 inches—and I used a lighter, polyester batting. It was still a pain to maneuver, but so much easier. I still made plenty of mistakes, but they are “marks of the artist,” not embarrassing flaws.

I used a well-worn flat sheet for the backing, so it is super soft and perfect for snuggling under while reading with a cup of tea. The batting is low enough that I think it will be the perfect weight for winter or summer, when you just need to warm up a little.

I love this quilt. I love the simple, 90- and 45-degree angles of the piecing and the quilting, and how well they work with the busy-ness of the fabric.

This is the first quilt I’ve made that I’d feel comfortable selling because of how well it’s made. Naturally, that makes me want to hang on to it. I think I will for a little while.



In other news, I am on day 5 of my own personal Primal Challenge. To date I’ve had no grains, though I slipped and had some refined sugar. (A can of sweetened condensed milk was the only dairy we had in the house, and I needed it for my coffee. You don’t know me—I NEED something milky with my morning coffee, and I NEED my morning coffee.) I’ve been pushing harder in my workouts and resting more during the day. I’ve slowed my walks with the dogs down, and we (well, they) sniff and gather information about our surroundings more. The best part is, after battling insomnia for weeks, I’ve started sleeping much better. My skin has also started to clear up and balance itself out.

Today’s log:

Breakfast: Cup of whole, grass-fed milk with 2 scoops Prograde

Lunch: Black bean and vegetable soup

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with red sauce

Workout: Rest day

Read Full Post »

Fabric Silhouettes

I love Amy Butler fabric. I love Amy Butler patterns. I love my dogs.

It was only a matter of time before I combined these three loves.

I present to you my fabric silhouettes. I got the idea from Amy Butler’s Nigella Silhouette pattern (available for free on her website—love those free patterns!!), and like most other things, adapted it to suit my taste and/or needs.

I chose Amy’s Daisy Chain line for this project because the blues, greens, and greys fit my existing decor. Of course any fabric will do; you just want to make sure it pops and is pleasing to your eye. For the background, any heavy-weight fabric will do–duck cloth, canvas, etc.

I got the silhouette images for free online, and printed a quarter of them per page on my regular printer. I taped them together to make one big image.


The basic how-to goes like this

  1. Iron fusible webbing to the back of your silhouette fabric.
  2. Pin the pattern to the front of the fabric, trace, and then cut out.
  3. Peel the paper backing off the fusible webbing, and iron it to the canvas/duck cloth to adhere.
  4. Using a satin stitch (a medium-width zigzag stitch with a very short stitch length—see image below), sew around the silhouette to secure.
  5. Using spray adhesive, adhere the canvas/duck cloth to a piece of foam board.
  6. Frame and hang!

I’ve been playing around with the idea of opening an Etsy.com store, and if/when that happens, these will definitely be items for sale. Look for that to happen some time after Christmas (I have LOTS to finish before Christmas.).


Switching gears, today is Day 3 of the Primal Challenge. I’ve been doing well. Except, I weighed myself this morning, and I’ve gained 2 pounds in the past week. Someone, please tell me, IS THIS NORMAL???? Because I’ve been working out hard and my food intake (as you can see in previous posts) has been damn near perfect. For the past 2 days anyway. Have any of you had this experience? I realize Grok didn’t weigh himself, so maybe I should stop altogether? Help, please!!

For today:

Breakfast: Smoothie with banana, Prograde, coconut milk, 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

Lunch: Fassoulia, turnip chips (from my CSA, yeah!!)

Snack: 2 hard-boiled eggs

Dinner: Not sure yet, probably mahi mahi and homemade aioli (which I didn’t end up having last night; after bootcamp I had some Greek yogurt and walnuts instead)

Workout: Rest day, 30 – 45 minute walk at some point today

Read Full Post »

Day 2

It’s the second day of my true attempt at the Primal Challenge, and I’m feeling pretty good. Yesterday was amazing. I ate well and still came in well under my calorie goal for the day. I didn’t sleep great, so I’m not where I could be today, but overall I feel good.

I forgot how great it felt to do something good for yourself.

So anyway, I’m very tired and busy today, and if I hadn’t promised to check in every day, I wouldn’t be posting at all. So all you get is my nutrition and workout update today. 🙂

Breakfast: smoothie with banana slices, Prograde protein, sunflower seed butter, unsweetened cocoa

Lunch: Fassoulia

Dinner: Mahi Mahi with homemade aioli, and a vegetable dish I haven’t decided on yet

Workout(s): morning hour-long walk with Cynder and Kane; evening bootcamp

Read Full Post »

I know, I know. I’ve been gone for quite a while. I’d love to tell you that I’ve been absent from my blogger duties because I’ve been climbing Mount Everest or helping save baby elephants in the jungle or teaching inner-city kids how to settle conflicts with nonviolence. But the truth is I’ve been sitting here on my big, round butt doing a whole lot TV watching, junk food eating, senseless arguing, and wallowing in self pity.

I posted over at Bodies and Motivation last week about how I’ve been in a downward, never-ending spiral in my diet and my relationships for a while. Oh sure, I get out of bed and make it to the gym in the morning, and I manage to take care of my day-to-day responsibilities, but in no way am I thriving. In all ways, my life right now is stagnant.

Being stagnant sucks.

For whatever reason, I haven’t had the gumption or the strength or the wherewithal to kick start myself out of this funk. I keep eating junk and undoing my workouts. I keep yelling and Jeff and undoing our relationship. I keep saying bad things to myself and undoing my self confidence. There’s a lot of undoing going on around here.

It’s good timing that Mark Sisson’s annual primal blueprint challenge started yesterday. I need a challenge like this to un-funk me. At this point, saying I’m going to take the primal challenge seems trite. How many times have I made a declaration like this? How many times have I given up on it after a few hours, days, or weeks?

In all my wallowing I’ve managed to do some introspection, and I realized that I was happiest when I was in control of my food intake. Control I clearly do not have right now. I can’t fix all the other crap in my life in a matter of seconds, but I can decide that quickly, “No, I will not eat that. Instead, I will eat this.” And after doing that a few dozen or hundred times, it will get easier. Eventually, it will be control. Fake it till you make it, as my therapist says.

So food, once again, is where I will start to remake myself into a happier, healthier, calmer, more Zen person. And this time, I’m going to be very specific. My primal blueprint challenge is as follows:

  • No grains or refined sugars. Period.
  • Getting 8 solid hours of sleep per night.
  • Keeping my “moderate” alcohol intake truly moderate, i.e., one glass o’ red wine per week. (OUCH)
  • Keeping dairy and natural sugar (like honey) intake to 3 times/week.
  • Taking a 3 pm stretch/yoga break, instead of hitting the cupboards for some sugar.
  • Pushing myself harder during my workouts.

Are there other things I could/should be doing? Sure. But this is where I will start for now.

If I have any readers left after my prolonged absence, I’d love for you to take the challenge with me.

To keep myself honest, I’ll be posting my food and workouts here daily, starting right now.

Breakfast: Smoothie with frozen banana slices, Prograde protein powder, 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, and coconut milk

Lunch: Baked wild salmon, sauteed kale

Snack: 2 hard-boiled eggs

Dinner: Fassoulia (venison, tomato, onion, and green bean stew)

Workout(s): morning 3-mile trail run, sprinting uphill; afternoon 10-minute yoga sesh; evening 45-minute walk

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »