Thursday, March 1, 2012

I've moved

Dear friends,

I've moved! With life changes and new interests I have renamed the blog and moved everything over to the new site. See what's cooking at The Primal Gardener!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Soon to be Cooking on Cast Iron

Last June I bought a set of Wagner cast iron skillets. No pitting, no warping, but a lot of old, nasty seasoning and rust. I knew if I could just get down to the metal I could re-season these beauties and bring them back to life.

Notice I said "last June"? Yep, in the past 7ish months I have tried just about everything to get these poor old things cleaned. I tried fine grit sandpaper, heavy grit, steel wool, the self-cleaning setting of the oven (and broke the setting somehow), and finally oven cleaner. Oven cleaner had the best results but there were still layers and layers of burnt crud.

Last night I finally said the hell with it and threw two of the pans in the fireplace, added a bunch of wood and crossed my fingers. At once point the fire was so hot I thought the pan was actually starting to turn reddish (which is when I started to worry I'd pull out this warped, melted lump of iron goo that was once a nice fry pan and started pushing coals to the sides). Instead of stoking the fire and shutting the damper when we went to bed I let the fire die out and this morning pulled out two beautiful rusty pans, not a speck of old sticky seasoning anywhere.

Right now they are sitting in a vinegar solution to help remove the worst of the rust and then its cleaning with oil and FINALLY seasoning!! I can't wait to cook with these beautiful pans. I already plan on finding some neat hooks and hanging them off the wall. Make the place all nice and cottagy looking.

So, how did y'all fair over the Super Bowl? I'll admit, I succumbed to chips and dip and chocolate-chip cookies. Today my belly is bloated and my eyes feel weird. *sigh*
Tonight I have ham and bean soup planned. I know, I know, legumes, but its a step up from wheat flour!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Missed the Garbage Man

Have you ever noticed that, when your eating crud, the garbage tends to fill up three times faster than when your eating healthy?

If I ever needed another indication that we haven't just fallen off the wagon, we've BROKEN the wagon, its the utter panic I woke up to this morning at the sound of diesel engines revving and revving and then slowly fading away. Its garbage day and after going through all the cupboards last night and throwing crud away my bin is beyond overflowing. But, because of the wind and the storm coming in, I didn't set it out by the curb last night. Oh no, I'll wake up on time.

Meanwhile, kiddo decided that at 2am it was time to get up and paaaaaaaaar-tay. I finally got her back to sleep around 5am and then burrowed under my covers, only to awoken at 9 by the rumble of engines. *sigh* And the trucks keep going up and down the street, teasing me.

This morning's breakfast was awesome! Leftover meatloaf topped by fried eggs yum! Now to figure out what to do with all the hot dogs I found during my cleaning frenzy. There are two 5 pound bags (there must have been a sale at some point) just waiting to be used...anyone know a good hot dog recipe?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Resolutions...Not Going So Well

It has been a crazy month. Between health issues, school starting, insane weather, and hubby neck-deep in an intense project we have not been making the life changes we were hoping for.

Our diet has been all over the charts. There have been more veggies and good meats, but also more sugar...sigh. I've also been trying new recipes and have NOT had good results (stringy ribs, tough roast beef, mushy veggies). My goal was to try a new recipe every week but I am getting very discouraged with the poor results.

The cool thing is we got a smoker! The butcher we get our meat from is supposed to be getting pork bellies next week and I can not wait to make bacon! I'm drooling just at the thought. Winter salmon and steelhead season should start soon and I'm looking forward to smoking my first fishy (maybe smoking will make them edible!)

Hubby is off next week and the week after on business trips so its just me and kiddo. That always makes it easier as Mr. Finicky won't eat certain things kiddo and I love. And, strangely, the house stays cleaner! We miss him a lot when he's gone though.

School is hell. I'm taking four classes and the workload is intense. I set up my mid-term and final proctoring today and suddenly feel under intense pressure. There is just not enough time! AHHHHHH!!

And to top it off our street flooded the last couple days:

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Recap of 2011 (Happy New Year!)

It’s the end of the year and as I look back over the past 12 months I see a lot of inconsistency. I've had great moments, horrible moments, and everything in between. My best was two weeks in June when I ate nothing but fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fat and lots of protein. I haven't felt that great in years, I lost 8 pounds and felt stronger. Unfortunately we went to a family reunion, I fell to temptation and...well...

I can't beat myself up too much though. Suffice it to say 2011 was a Year of Experimenting. Experimenting with new foods (chard, liver, kale, and bok choy to name a few), new exercises (P90X), starting at the university and trying different study methods, and transitioning from raising a baby to raising a toddler. I didn't lose the weight or put on the muscle I had planned but so what? I now know what diet works best for me, what exercise program motivates and keeps me coming back for more, and how to balance school, kiddo, and personal growth.

Here's to 2012. With my new skills will it be the Year of the Bikini? Probably not since we are hoping to add to our family, but it will be the year of healthy eating, more time outdoors, more laughter and less stress and, best of all, more time with the people I love.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Scrolling through and seeing new posts? I've decided to combine my older gardening blog with this one to have all my stuff in one place. Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Meatloaf...The forgotten bread

I've been trying to get out of my rut of chicken breasts/baked chicken, pork chops, and steaks and finding new ways to prepare meats. Today was cold, dark, and after receiving some bad news about an ill family member I just wanted comfort food. I was idly flicking through my recipe box while trying to find a car title* when I stumbled on an old meatloaf recipe I haven't made in years.

Basically, take some ground beef, an egg, some seasonings, maybe some diced onions or peppers depending on whats on hand, and mix it up good. Roll it out on a sheet of wax paper till its about an inch think and six inches wide, put down a layer of provolone and prosciutto, use the wax paper to roll it up like a burrito, set the burrito in a pan and bake till done. The recipe calls for a tomato topping but I think it tastes nasty and don't use it (plus that keeps the carbs down). Cheesy beefy goodness in a neat little package that is wonderful fresh from the oven and spectacular cold the next day. Yummmmm, add some root veggies on the side to help soak up some of the grease and you've got a meal fit for a caveman.

As I type the meat and seasonings are all mixed together (letting them sit and become friends helps the flavor in my opinion) and I can't wait to sit down to a big slice of "bread". Now, if only I could find my car title the day would look a lot brighter.

*No, I'm not crazy. I've lost my car title, I've gone through the obvious places 4 or 5 times and now moving on to any place where paper has a tendency to congest. The damn thing has to be in the house!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Its been in the 30s all this week with freezing fog and rain. Finals are done and I think I passed my classes *fingers crossed*, now I can finally get into the holiday season!

Yesterday we put away all the Halloween/Fall decorations, the house looks rather bare without all the reds, oranges and bronzes. We also moved furniture and scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed. Now the place is sparkly-bare and awaiting red, green, silver, and gold. I've got the Holly station on and Christmas carols rolling up and down the hallways, the guest room is full of presents waiting to be wrapped for the gift exchange and Secret Santa, and the many boxes of Christmas decorations pulled out waiting to be emptied. I can almost smell eggnog and pine.

Without the stress of school I am suddenly a much happier and carefree person. Could be because I've also been watching my meals closer and cutting out a lot of clutter that has been sneaking in. Yesterday I leaped out of bed for the first time in weeks, obviously I've been getting too much sugar or carbs or something. With the cold and all this energy I went a little nuts and made two huge pots of soup: for lunch was Chinese Egg Drop and for dinner was Minestrone. Admittedly the minestrone was rather high in carbs and beans but its tomato-y goodness was perfect for a cold day; and the egg drop soup hit the spot (even if it is more of a summer-type soup). I'm already eye-balling the last pumpkin we have and trying to think of how it could be turned into a savory, winter-y, soup. Any suggestions?

Mark's blog had an interesting post today about rituals. Being the holidays I'm starting to notice other families and what they do, and the little things we are starting to do that are becoming our own unique rituals. Having a child makes these little things more important, for some reason. I look forward to when she is a little older and understands a little more about what is going on.

Now, to find a gluten-free, low-carb, healthy gingerbread recipe. Wish me luck!