Friday, 30 December 2011

This Blog is For the Dogs

It’s very grey out there today; the weather just hasn’t co operated at all this Christmas break.  I have a million plans for things I want to do, people I want to visit with, and very little motivation to get up and do any of it.  I’m blaming it on the grey day, on the crappy weather, and a sugar low (last night I raided the baggie of chocolates my daughter brought home and I played the “how many chocolates can I shove into my hatch-at once-before guilt overtakes the moment?” game...The answer is 5 and I think I won).  Don’t judge me.  You know you’ve played the same game.

Sorry for the bad photo quality--only had my cell phone

Yesterday, with snow falling and grey skies, we couldn’t go trail running (too much ice and snow now) and could not go snow tubing (not enough snow, though, for the resorts to open the tube runs yet, apparently), could not go snowshoeing (not enough snow and left our snowshoes up at the cottage by mistake) or cross-country skiing.  With only a few vacation days ahead of me, I was itching to GET OUT but there was nothing we could do.  Except go for a hike.  A very slippery hike as the trail was frozen and the falling snow hiding the ice, but a hike nonetheless.  The dogs needed a hike, we figured.  The dogs deserved a long hike now that we were back home again.   (And the rain, followed by snain, followed by wet snow, then dry snow, made for very nice scenery with trees sagging under the weight of the snow and ice)

That is a very happy Chinook

Ironically, despite the fact that I almost always post pictures of us out in nature, on trails, in forest, I actually live in the suburbs right in the heart of the town of Ajax, population 90,000’ish—but I love this town because of its vast trail system, it’s carefully-thought-out green spaces, and of course it’s proximity to Toronto where all the work is.
So now that the year is coming to an end, with no crazy WODs in sight for the next couple of days, I think I should instead spend some time reflecting on what 2011 has been like for me and mine... (And if you're sick of my story, it's ok to skip to the  bottom of this blog, I'll forgive you, only if you instead tell me your story)
...I heard about this paleo/primal thing back in August, and I have to admit, before I stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple, I’d never heard of it.  It just isn’t big at all yet here in Ontario, as far as I can tell.  So I read MDA and the idea just clicked.  I admit, it DID sound cult-like at first.  There were too many promises being made, too many guarantees.  But I thought, eh, why not for a month?  We’d put a pool into our backyard this year, and I was spending a lot of time in an itsy-bitsy bikini and there was some definite vanity going on (as I drank beer after beer and floated in circles). 
Skip forward one month and both my husband and I had lost some weight, we were talking a lot about this paleo/primal eating thing to anyone who would listen, and BAM!  Appendix burst.  Hospital stay.  Many drugs taken.  Questions asked.  I asked the surgeon what the cause was—and to keep this story clean, we’ll just say chronic constipation.  Hmmm.  Well, the pre-paleo me had a lot of problems with that.  In fact, the pre-paleo me had an ongoing addiction to laxatives that bordered on abuse (often).  But since eliminating grain from my diet (and therefore almost all fibre), it just wasn’t a problem anymore.  “Oh, this took years to happen” the surgeon assured me.  Oh, ok, so it was pre-paleo me that caused this to happen.  And do you know what’s really, really weird about my appendix-free body now (and probably irrelevant, but I‘m sayin’ it anyways)?  I don’t have to pee half as often as I used to.  Yea, I said that.  Ok, I don’t think my swollen appendix was taking up precious bladder space, but is it possible that my intestines were swollen for so many YEARS prior to the final burst that I thought it was totally normal?  No one will ever know for sure.
I went a little stir-crazy post-surgery.  I do not sit still very well.  I have a deeply rooted need to GET OUTSIDE, almost every day, to crazily fill each day with some kind of meaning.  I have never once in my whole life spent an entire day in my pyjamas—except those days spent in the hospital in a hospital gown, but those days were a haze of Demerol, morphine and Oxycontin, so who knows what I did?  
As soon as I got the go-ahead, I got up and started moving again.  This time, with even more passion.  I’ve set goals, as you may have read—I want to run in an adventure race.  I want to be fit, not just skinny, I want to be strong.  I want to surround myself with people who are trying to do the same thing, this paleo/primal thing, I want to make a whole community of like-minded friends.  Is this the “boundless energy” that was promised??  Is near-hyperactivity a side-effect of a lack of sugar in my diet?  Oh, wait, that’s just me.  I’ll shut-up now.
Alright, enough about me.  Maybe vanity and constipation brought me here (how inglorious is that??), but what brought everyone else here?  I love a good success story!  Do tell!  Does anyone else have any plans for the new year, changes they want to make?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out Right, (and Sometimes They Do)

I have been a psychotic ball of stress lately.  Yes, it’s true.  With Christmas coming, with all of its monetary demands, with trying to buy the perfect gifts for teens, for spouse, for extended family and friends (when no one knows what they want and really, we have everything we truly need), for trying to maintain the perfect “Christmas feel” by constantly playing Christmas music while cooking up a storm, decorating the house, going out for meals and meeting for drinks—all this should have been fun for me, but instead I have been a mess. 
First, I was late getting my own shopping done only to find out neither of my teens had done any of their own and I lost my mind when I discovered I still had to take them out to help them finish theirs.  Why did I lose my mind over it?  Normally I would just roll with it, formulate a plan and then  get it done.  But this year I had no patience whatsoever for young Mr Indecisive and young Ms Respond-to-My-Freakout-With-a-Freakout-of-her-Own.  Which made me freak-out more, of course.  I don’t like to be that crazy parent who can’t stop yelling.  That’s a side of me that I don’t like at all (and I’m pretty sure the kids aren’t too fond of it either). 
But it didn't end there...
This whole past month I have vacillated back and forth between the whole “to bake or not to bake” debate that went like this in my head
·         if I bake it I will eat it and hate myself
·         if I bake it and don’t eat it , then the kids will eat it and I will be mad that I didn’t get any
·         I can bake everything “paleo” but we all know that it’s not REALLY paleo to eat that stuff
·         I will gain weight (even if the baking is paleo’ish--there is a limit on how much you can eat) or I will eat crap which will set off sugar-cravings that will ruin my day(s)
·         it’s not Christmas if there are no baked goodies because I have always baked goodies at Christmas if at no other time--this is tradition!
·         and my personal favourite crazy-thought; show the girls the recipes and THEY will want to bake it (why aren’t they baking for me, those lazy children...)
I hoarded paleo’ish recipes to try with the best intentions.  I stocked up on ingredients but ran short on time.  Then I caved and bought dark chocolate (in bulk!) and ate it all by myself.  No sharing allowed.  No baking done.  Then I felt guilty for not baking anything for anyone else.  Then I felt hostile that I should have to do all the baking alone but everyone got to do the eating.  Except I seemed to be doing most of the eating lately.  And so it cycled around and around in my head. 
Then I’d pour myself another glass of wine and sit there and brood over it all. 
So, aside from the PMS, how did it all go so wrong?
It was a slippery slope this month, a month of being surrounded with office treats-some of which I said no to, and some of which I caved and ate anyways, and so this month was filled with sugar cravings and failed denial followed by moments of regret, and of willpower, of exhaustion, of stress and days packed full of errands, of “I feel guilty” intermittent fasts, of victories at my own meals, of total “cheats” at the office feeds.  And down the slope I went.
And the month is not yet over.  There are still a few rocky days ahead of me.
But you know what?  For all the self-loathing I have had, for all of my failures, I am just simply going to forgive myself.  I’m not going to look back when this month is over and use it as an excuse to let everything go to hell.  Nope.  I’m going to use it as a lesson, and I will learn from it.  Let me review what went wrong, but then, also, WHAT WENT RIGHT...
It only takes 1 “cheat” to set off a sugar craving that will ride me all day long, so if I think I can have “just 1” I am sadly mistaken.
Blaming others for my mistakes does not make me feel better, it only makes me more angry.  No one put that food in my mouth for me, and just because my husband ate it doesn’t mean I should eat it too.
Baked goods are still baked goods, paleo or not, so either bake and enjoy, or don’t bake at all, just don’t vacillate and stew in the guilt of doing or not doing
Don’t try to be Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart if you are not them.
This was my Christmas Eve spread...  (Those are coasters in the right corner, and the centerpiece is china, not gingerbread, I swear)
...And thanks to my very patient husband who stood in the kitchen with me for 3 Herculean hours of prepping and cooking, helping every minute as I crankily gave orders, only to realize that finger foods don’t really work well with paleo.  The pigs in a blanket were dry (although there were no leftovers of these, the kids ate every bite anyways, but next time I make a finger food I will simply wrap the hot dogs with bacon...), the ranch dipping sauce was runny (silly me thinking a salad dressing was thick enough to be a dip—but the taste was perfect), the sweet potato chips did not stay crispy, no one liked the meatballs with bbq sauce (because I should have baked them right in the sauce and I didn’t—I added it at the end) and most importantly, we were all full after about ten bites each.  Because it was real food and not empty filler.  Three hours of cooking for ten bites each.  The feed was over in about ten minutes.  What a lunchbox letdown.
Alright, enough berating--now to focus on the good stuff!  I did manage to have several good office feeds where I said no to chocolate, cookies, donuts, bagels, pastries, etc. 
I ate the food that I brought from home, and ate my tuna in a cup instead of on the bagel.  I had my pita fillings on salad instead of bread, I had my Mr Greek gyros and grilled chicken on double veggies, and I had a cappuccino with no sugar for the first time ever, and liked it that way!  
I had one stellar week where I managed to fit in 4 WODs, and they were very creative, very challenging WODs (thank you Steve) and I felt amazing for doing it. 
On Christmas Eve I went trail running with my brother, sister-in-law, and two of their kids (and their two dogs)—this is the first time ever that Steve and I have included anyone in our WODs, and I LOVED IT!  I wasn’t having my strongest performance day, but we still shaved another minute off our last time, and I really had to push myself to keep up with everyone else (I seem to be the only one of us with any exercise-induced asthma who was struggling with the -8 weather).  So thank you, guys, for coming along with us—I want to make it a regular thing now!
And finally, not one but two people have started to hear what we have to say about why we are eating a grain-free, sugar-free, processed-food-free lifestyle.  People have started to listen--and even more important--ask questions!  We’d stopped telling people because no one wanted to hear it, but someone did hear it.  Now they just have to go ahead and try it for a month and see how they feel.  I know, I know, don’t worry about other people, you can only worry about you on this paleo/primal journey, but sometimes it’s nice to be heard, isn’t it?
And lastly—even though my month was full of mistakes, I know that this whole paleo thing is the right thing, and even if I have put on some weight this month (I’m sure there’s around 3 extra pounds, maybe more, I’m afraid to find out; I know I don’t like how my belly looks right now)—I know that getting right back into it, really whole-hearted, will resolve any evils that I have done to myself.  I know I have a solid solution, a healthy solution this time.  I’m thinking a Whole30, or something like it, for the month of January.  I will try extra-hard to break the sweet-habit I have fallen into over the holidays.  I will also try to make a clean break from dairy for the month, since I am lactose-intolerant, to give my guts a break.  Snow will fall and I will get out there more often and enjoy life, with less stress and more fun.  The days will get longer again.  I will have a positive bank balance again and I will try to go cross-country skiing and snow-tubing and snowshoeing.  In the meantime, I will continue to go trail-running so long as the snow holds off and be grateful for the unusually snow-free winter so far.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Sometimes I'm a Better Cook when I Just Thow Sh*t Together

Last week I made a Shepherd's Pie.  It kinda went like this:
Steve, "Where's the recipe for tonight's dinner?"
Me, "What recipe?  There is no recipe."
Steve, "I don't know how to make Shepherd's Pie.  I've never made it before."
Me, "Just get out the meat and start browning it, I'll throw some stuff in there, you'll love it.  I want to make some changes from the last time I made it anyways."  (And then Steve gave me this blank look as if to say 'when did we last have this--we've never had this?' and I have him that stony gaze that said 'I've made this half a dozen times over the last couple of years, bozo, why don't you remember this?')  I was hormonal and irrational so Steve just smiled to humour me.  And then we poured some wine and he started browning meat.  So here it is, our best Shepherd's Pie so far--man did it turn out good! (Despite my crazy and our wine-drinking-while-cooking habit)

Shepherd's Pie (turnip-topped)

I wanted to try something other than mashed cauliflower for a change.  We don't normally like turnips in our house, but after cooking a couple of other things with turnip that turned out good, I thought we'd try it here, too.  Turns out it is milder and slightly sweeter than cauliflower mash, and everyone actually liked it better.  I hope turnips are paleo-friendly because I'm really starting to like them.  I'm pretty sure Grok would have eaten his fair share of tubers back in his day...
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 cups turnip or 1/3 large rutabaga
  • handful carrots, celery
  • 1/4 Spanish onion
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp beef stock powder (or add your own, check labels)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • seasonings of choice--I added rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c flavoured cheese of choice (I used Havarti with herbs--that's what I had on hand)
  • 2 tbs butter
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Peel and cube turnip, put in pot and cover with water, boil until tender enough to mash (this takes a bit longer than potatoes do).  Meanwhile, in large skillet on med-high, fry beef, onions, carrots, celery and seasonings until meat is cooked through.  As soon as meat begins to brown, turn heat down to med-low and add tomato paste, beef stock powder and Worcestershire sauce.  Add only enough water to make a sauce about as thick as gravy.  You want it to coat the meat, but not be watery.  Letting it simmer a little at this point is only going to make it better, but is not necessary if you're in a rush.

Once soft enough to mash; drain turnip, return to pot and add butter and cheese.  Mash with an electric mixer if you have one--this stuff is hard to mash!  The mixer will make it much smoother.

Remove meat to a casserole dish; I used a deep oval but a 8x8 will work just fine.  Top with mashed turnip.  Bake in oven for around 30 minutes.  Everything is already cooked and hot, but I like to bake mine until the juices from the gravy bubble up over the mashed turnip around the edges, flavouring the mash.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Here I am with my crappy food photography again.  It was delicious.  There were enough leftovers for the next day after my trail run.  It was just as awesome re-heated....  Maybe this coming year I will buy more photogenic dishes.  This stoneware comes out awful in photos!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Chocolate, Wine and Happiness

Last night I asked my husband what he wanted to do for Christmas Eve this year.  This has always been a 'finger foods" night for us, and truthfully, my kids and I always called it "foods in a box" night because it was all the horrible junk food that comes in boxes in the frozen section of the grocery store--jalapeno poppers, chicken fingers, onion rings, sausage rolls, breaded mushrooms and breaded zucchini.  I'm not Betty Freakin' Crocker.  I bought foods in a box.  It was a gastric nightmare and it always sounded like such a great idea until we sat down with it and 10 bites in, just pushed the plates away.  It was...too....much.  Just too much to digest.  It sat like lead in the belly.

This year, on my whole paleo mighty-horse, I thought we'd say goodbye to finger food Christmas Eve in light of healthier fare, maybe something truly foodie, even.  But what our hearts want is finger food because it is a tradition.  So we brainstormed this one out.  Why not finger foods?  Could we do it paleo-style and not miss the old foods?  The other day I came upon a recipe for grain-free pigs in a blanket.  Now that's something the kids could really get into.  Maybe even like.  So here's what we planned out:
  • grain-free pigs in a blanket from
  • veggies and dairy-free ranch-flavored dip from
  • asparagus wrapped in bacon and grilled
  • home-made mini-meatballs baked and glazed in paleo bbq sauce from the Primal Comfort Foods cookbook
  • chicken threaded onto skewers and grilled, dipped in sunshine sauce from (basically a sunbutter version of peanut sauce, that I will make spicy)
  • avocado and salsa, with plantain chips for dipping (I will buy these from the Bulk Barn)
  • maybe I'll even make some dark-chocolate-coated almonds if I'm still on my hormonal PMS roller-coaster....  Because chocolate and red wine make me happy, whether or not it's paleo. 
We've always had a big family Christmas dinner, but this year...not so much.  Circumstances have prevented that.  So maybe, since there will only be 3 of us, we will drive all over town until we can find a restaurant that will take us, and we will, for once, eat slowly, savouring every bite and enjoying the quiet that this year has brought, because next year--it's party on again!

I will, however, be partaking in a Boxing Day dinner feast (And if it snows, I'll take pictures and they'll be spectacular), and just to make sure the temptation isn't too great, (or the stomach pain too much) I will be bringing my own versions of my favorite things--stuffing and pie.  The stuffing will come from and the pie...I'm eyeing the recipe submitted to Robb Wolf's recipe contest labelled French Silk Pie.  I'll let you know how it goes......  And red wine.  We will bring, and there will also already be, copious amounts of red wine.  Red wine and chocolate make me happy.  Have I said that already?  It needs to be said again.  And again.  I'll stop that now..

What's Wrong with my Plate Full of Meat???

This is a section that I copied from an article on the Blog of Michael R. Eades, MD.  He is discussing exactly how good of an understanding we have of what early man ate (since many people have suggested that we don't really know what early man ate, this guy is saying we DO know, very clearly, almost exactly what early man ate).  The sciency talk of isotopes is not what interested me in this article--it's how they place our carnivorous diet ABOVE that of wolves and foxes, meaning that we ate a diet higher in meat than foxes and wolves.  Anyone who owns a dog knows that they do not eat veggies, not by choice, that canines only eat trace amounts of veggies and fruit by choice (what dog would eat a carrot over a piece of dried liver?? Certainly none that I have ever known of).

"The bulk of the stable isotope studies show both Neanderthals and ancient humans were, at their robust cores, meat eaters to the max. What the stable isotope studies don’t show, is how much carbohydrate these folks ate along with their meat. (Actually some stable isotope studies do show what kind of carbs in the sense that they can differentiate between grains and non-grains, but since there were no grains in Paleo times, that isn’t a concern.) But since we do know that wolves and foxes are predators that consume mainly food of animal origin, and we know that early humans have an even more carnivorous stable isotope footprint, it seems unlikely that these humans would have consumed many calories from non-animal sources. Remember, natural sources of protein are virtually always associated with fat (copious amounts of fat if the protein is from large game and the entire carcass is consumed), so it’s doubtful there would be either the capacity or the necessity for complementing the basic diet of fat and protein with much carbohydrate. But, nonetheless, even if our ancient ancestors did eat some carbs they could scrounge while in season, the stable isotope evidence clearly demonstrates they were not vegetarians."

Now, since going "primal" or "paleo" whatever you want to call it, I have been carefully eating a 50/50 ratio of meat to non-starchy veggies, at least for lunch and dinner, every single day.  I don't know if its some subconsscious belief that veggies are good for you, or a need to feel like there's just more food on my plate, but reading this article makes me want to re-think this.  It makes me want to read up on this further, because this article suggests that fruit and veggies both need be no more than a mere garnish on my pile of meat.

Last night I was out at the Mandarin Restaurant for dinner (family obligations, I know, but they cannot be ignored).  It is always all-you-can-eat buffet there, and while you're thinking "Chinese food=batter, deep fried in bad oil, and MSG, they actually do serve good things around the perimeter of the food tables.  I had a huge carving of somewhat rare roast beef, laced with tasty fat, strips of grilled chicken, peel-and-eat shrimp and a few lobster claws.  I heaped my plate full of meat, twice!  And you would not believe the stares I got--not because I had two platefulls of food (I don't like my meats to touch each other, ok?  The plates weren't THAT full of food)--but because there was NOTHING BUT MEAT on my plate BOTH TIMES.  I got stares from the people whom I was dining with, stares from other diners nearby, stares from the waitresses, and stares from the people behind the counter who serve the meats.

Given the point of this study, what was wrong with my meal??  I did have a slice of pineapple and two strawberries off the dessert table (and 2 chocolate-covered strawberries, because who can resist those??)  Michael Eades was saying that the Paleo Diet was by far the superior way of eating, according to our genetic makeup, but that many paleo-followers were straying, somehow, too far into starchy carb territory despite being a "low-carb" type of diet.

To read the full article, follow the link.  I guarantee it will make you  think about this...

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Trail Running--Part II, and a Classic Recipe for Chicken and Veg

Its been a good week for us, and I'm pretty proud that we got outside and worked out, very creatively, 3 times.  The first weeknight we decided to take over the playground near our house.  It has a fireman's pole, monkey bars and a rope wall.  I needed some Steve-assists, but managed to squeeze out some chin-ups on those monkey bars, then headed over to another set of bars to do some on my own (with my own assistance; I vow that in January I will be able to pull off a chin-up without assistance--this is a "near" goal).  We discovered that traversing that rope wall, across it's width, around the end pole and traversing some more across the other side, while positioning our hands at hip-height made for a HUGE arm workout.

On Thursday it rained, and rained, and rained.  Water sat on top of the fields with no where to go.  So this, Steve decided, was the BEST DAY EVER to do some training army-style.  Out in the cold and soaking wet field, in the dark (thank god...), we criss-crossed that field doing a series of belly crawls (flat on belly, on forearms and knees, keeping your pelvis glued to the ground), "caterpillars" (he can't remember what these were called, but basically on your belly, on toes and forearms, lift your weight in a half-push up and move forward about 6 inches at a time) and monkey walk (squatting, hands on ground, moving sideways--mega-hard thigh work!!)  We came home caked in mud from head to toe.  All I could think of when we were doing our belly-crawls was "there better not be any dog shit here..."  Hopefully not, it being a school yard and all...  Why do so many of my workouts involve mud?  Because mud is fun, damn it!  Get out there and get dirty!!

Then Saturday hit, and enter our Weekend WOD--Trail Running, Part II.  We re-ran last weekends' trail section, in the opposite direction (to take advantage of the different ups and downs)--only this time, we added sprints!  Yea, we did.  It was -7 out there, so we took off at a jog with no warm-up.  We jogged twice as much as last week, and added some great dashes (I love full-out sprints; you can just relax everything and let your stride take you along...)  Oh, and did I mention we did it with weighted backpacks again?  It felt like we were making incredible time, but in the end, shaved 4 minutes off our last timed run.  Pretty impressive, but it felt like we were moving so much faster than that.  Maybe we were having so much fun that it felt like it all went by in the blink of an eye.  Maybe we weren't walking as fast on our "recovery" stretches so it wasn't quite as fast as it felt like we were moving.  But wow, my legs were weak all day after that.  The terrain is crazy-rugged.  If I didn't know better, I'd say we were in the Oak Ridges Moraine, or the Niagara Escarpment, but we aren't either, so this conservation area is a fluke and a blessing for us. 

This time we learned a lesson--we brought along "recovery" smoothies--frozen banana, frozen strawberries, yogurt, full-fat coconut milk and a scoop protein powder for AFTER the workout.  We made the mistake of drinking these FIRST when we ran last week and it was just too heavy to run with those in your belly.  I always run better on an empty belly.  Once back at the house, we had heaping bowls of leftover chili from the night before, then I cooked up a batch of the Wellness Mama's Coconut Milk Eggnog and stirred it into our tea for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  Mmmmm eggnog.....  It's so good, I'm adding it my coffee all this coming week, until it runs out, and may even have me a rum and eggnog Sunday afternoon as I wrap some Christmas gifts!

Alright, so onto food.  One day I will learn to take good food photos, but I do not yet have this talent.  Hey, I have other talents!  Just not this one...... 

There's something to be said for the simplicity of baked chicken with crispy skin and roasted winter veggies.  I think it is basic comfort food for just about any part of the world.  So this past week, this is how this one went...  The chicken started out with an idea from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook which I am currently cooking my way through.  The veggies, strangely, came from some free cheese magazine that came in the mail, that I adapted (rather heavily) to make it primally-acceptable.

Look at all the juicy fat drippings!
 Crispy Baked Chicken
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • dash cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425.  Also heat skillet on stove top to med-high.  Mix all spices together and rub chicken skin all over with spice blend.  In a bit of fat (we used bacon grease), brown chicken on all sides until golden.  Move chicken to baking sheet and cook for about a half hour, or until juices run clearly when tested.  Easy as can be!  Eat with fingers!!!

Winter Vegetable Casserole
  • 3 cups cauliflower
  • 2 cups turnip or rutabaga
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup strong cheese of choice (recipe called for gouda, but I used herbed havarti because it was cheaper)
  • 1/4 c ground almonds/almond meal
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425 F.  Chop all veggies to roughly same-size pieces.  In large pot on stove top, boil all veggies until tender (including onion and garlic if you're feeling lazy, or saute garlic and onion and add back in after boiling).  Drain and mash with butter and half of cheese.  Add to greased 8" casserole dish.  Mix almond meal with remaining cheese, add salt and pepper and sprinkle over veggies.  Bake with chicken for around 1/2 hour until golden and crispy on top.

So there it is.  Want a really neat new chili recipe?  Check out the newest one Juli cooks on PaleOMG.  It was the inspiration for ours this week--at least, the combo of spices was.  We omitted the chocolate chips, but put in the coco powder and cinnamon for a truly unique taste.  I always add a bit of pickled jalapenos and some juice from the jar for a bit of kick, and we only used ground beef, but it was awesome!  For a truly hearty chili, add grated or cubed squash.  We aren't particularly a squash kind of family, but it blends into chili just awesome.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A Leopard Doesn’t Change His Spots, and Teens Won’t Change How They Eat

Truthful words, indeed.  A wise person has told me, “Don’t worry about what anyone else is eating.  Worry only about you, because all you can control is you.  Set a good example and hope they will some day follow.”  Dean, you are too right.  Even the high lord of the Primal world, Mark Sisson, admits his teen eats whatever his teen feels like eating. 
So this blog is about having teens.  When we decided we were going to try this Paleo eating we sat the kids down and we explained what we would, and what we would not, buy and bring into the house any more.  Bread, cereals, cookies, pastas and potatoes were out.  They’d never again have beans.  No more oatmeal, no cream of wheat.  And with wide, round eyes they nodded dumbfounded as we lectured on the “evils of all things white”.  I think they got the gist of it, but not really the wholeness of it.  Apparently, our kids do not have a clue what wheat is or where it is.  They did not know that ketchup and bbq sauce are mostly sugar.  They did not know syrup was pure sugar.  No pancakes?  How about waffles instead?  What about bagels—are they bread?  Don't even get me started on commercially-made meatballs....
We stared out very clean, very close to a Whole30--and it went along pretty ok for them, for about 2 weeks.  They ate hard-boiled eggs for breakfast.  At lunchtime, well, one teen never packs a lunch anyways, and the other obediently packed lunch meat and avocados wrapped in nori paper for a week or two.  And  then they realized this primal/paleo thing is HARD.  It’s a lot of WORK.  Just about everything they liked to eat was off limits, just about everything that any teenager eats is off-limits.  They complained loudly to all the neighbors, family and friends who would listen.  (And one neighbor lovingly baked our "starving" teeen banana bread, over and over).  And so they began to revolt. 
One teen was proudly proclaiming what she ate every day, rhyming off primally-friendly foods, but when we weren’t home, both teens were making daily trips to the cornerstore for junk food.  The loud proclaimer was stashing candy wrappers in her room while making these boasts (and the candy was insane in both its volume and non-food horribleness).  The other teen, in very in-your-face-like teen fashion, was simply buying kraft dinner and hot dogs and bagels at the store and flat out telling me she was hungry and she liked bread.  Well, at least I had total honesty there.  This primal/paleo thing was just too much to ask of them.  We were making them freaks among their peers at a stage when it was difficult just to fit in at all.  And so after a long discussion, we relented.  Or at last, we partially relented.
We agreed to buy sugar-free cereal, plain oatmeal and whole wheat bread.  That was it.  No cookies, no chips, no popcorn, no sugar-sweetened anything.  They would eat whatever primal meal we put in front of them at dinner time, no complaining allowed.  But we had to give them SOMETHING that was easy for them to prepare for themselves, or they were going to kill us in our sleep.  So we compromised.
In an attempt to lure them to the primal side, I baked primalish pumpkin and banana breads, I made faux oatmeal and faux cream of wheat, I made paleo-friendly chocolate cakes and brownies.  And they ate them.  And then they went to the corner store and ate whatever was there, too.  So I gave up. 
I know that they will understand, one day.  That they will see how healthy and full of energy Steve and I are.  But not right now.  The hardest part is watching one of them struggle with stomach problems, so many constant problems, knowing that what she needs is to remove grain and dairy from her diet.  If she could just go 2 weeks with neither, she’d notice the difference.  But she’s a teen.  And teens will eat whatever they want.  Teens do not change their eating habits.  And they do not respond to nagging, either. 

All I can do is lead by example.  And I will wait.  But it’s hard to watch.  You don’t want to see your own children suffer, not ever.  I guess that like all learning lessons, you must allow them to fail in order to learn from it.  Its hard to let your kids fail at something.  I made mistakes as a teen, and I learned from them, and I came out just fine.  And so will they.  They will learn, their own way.  Meantime, I'm slowly switching them to gluten-free foods.  Not quite the same, but it makes me feel like I've accomplished something.......

Sunday, 11 December 2011

WOD #4--Boot Camp Begins

Wow, that was HARD.  Maybe I'm just out of shape.  I haven't been jogging for over 2 months now.  I'm a little....confused?...with all the discussions on the evils of chronic cardio.  But I know I love jogging.  Because...its.....HARD.  But that was awesome.

This weekend, the WOD that Steve dreamed up was to cover the same 6 1/2ish km section of the Seaton Trail army-style.  We were going to jog it, march it--generally haul ass and get through it in 45 minutes.  It is very rugged.  I think the suggestion that the trail is 6 1/2 km is "straight as the crow flies" and doesn't measure the topography.  Hiking at a typical brisk pace takes about 1 1/4 hours. 

I have never, I really mean never, run on anything more rugged than pavement.  This was a first.  And it was -3 out there today, with a light wind.  So we threw on our winter running gear, and hiking boots.  That's right.  I don't own fancy trail-running shoes.  So I ran in hiking boots.  At least I had ankle support.

I'd be lying if I said we ran more than we hiked.  I had an asthma attack or two.  We ran a bit less than we walked.  But we were CARRYING BACKPACKS LOADED WITH FIREWOOD.  Yea.  I did say army-style, right?  Where the trail was relatively level or not coated in ice, we jogged.  Where we couldn't jog, we dragged ourselves up steps built into the hillsides, slipped on muddy half-frozen slopes, stumbled over tree roots and rivers of rainwater where it was flowing in the sunlight and slipped on it where it wasn't.  Ahhh.  And now I'm smiling from ear to ear.  Maybe that's because I've now had time to sit down and eat a bowl full of leftover zoodles. 

We did it in 47 minutes.  And don't laugh at me too hard--I charged the kids playground and could not do a single chin-up at that point.  I needed Steve's assistance.  I did two, with help.  Yup.  I'm pathetic, I know.  I'm new to this training thing.  But everyone has to start somewhere.  I definately don't have what it takes-yet-to complete any Spartan Race.  I couldn't pull myself over an 8-foot wall if someone was shooting real bullets at my ass.  But this is where I begin.  Now I've set the benchmark.  We can only go faster, longer, heavier.  And lets not forget, winter is coming.  Soon it'll include slogging through snow, too.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

This is NOT my Bucket List

You know, it's getting to that time of year when it's gets so cold out that you just want to hole up and hibernate until the first signs of spring.  It's dark out by 4:30 right now, and the warmest part of the day may only reach +2.  By the time we get home and fed dinner, it's after 7, pitch black out and below freezing.  There's no snow yet, so dark is dark.  It's completely unmotivating out there...  And then the guilt kicks in--I didn't walk the digs, I didn't get in any workout and I don't feel like going back outside into the cold darkness, and I know that I cannot get from "here" to "there" without going outside into the cold.  And where is here and there?

Here I am at my weight loss goal.  Close enough, anyways.  So where am I going now?  What do I do now?  Hell, I set new goals, that's what I do.  Just don't call it my bucket list.  I don't want to wait until I'm dieing to do this shit.  So, what do I want to do, to accomplish, now that I'm "here"???

When I started down this path, I could not read enough about the paleo/primal diet and lifestyle.  I thought to myself, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to really, fully understand the science behind it.  I will not go into this blindly.  If I'm going to radically change everything I think about food, I'm going to need to have answers for the people that question what the hell I think I'm trying to do.  So I read Gary Taubes "Good Calories, Bad Calories", and "Why We Get Fat", I read Lauren Cordain's first book and I read writings from Robb Wolf.  I read Mark Sisson's website from one end to the other.  I read accounts from people about how it cured their diabetes, it cured their IBS, it cured their acne and celiac disease, it cured the ridges in their nails and it even turned grey hair back to it's childhood colour.  Well, I jumped in with two feet and I can tell you, it does not turn grey hair back to its original colour, nor did it take the ridges out of my nails.  It did not remove the redness from my skin, nor did it remove any wrinkles that life has given to me.  But it did help me shed those last few nagging pounds, it made me feel good again, on the inside, and it gave me control over my body.  I think it gives those of us with eating disorders and food obsessions a safe, healthy way to control what we eat and how eating can affect us.  Eating this way gives me energy, gives me strength and makes me feel good about myself.

Lately, I've been reading alot about adventure racing.  Warrior Dash, Savage Race, Spartan Race.  I've been reading about obstacle course training and eco-caches and orienteering races.  That is what I want to do.  I want 2012 to be my year, to get outside and "biggie-size" my adventures.  The Spartan race comes back to Ontario this coming year, and there are a lot more of them coming, too.  Maybe I can do the whole circuit of them.  Or maybe I can just do one or two.  (Where have you gone Warrior Dash, and when are you coming back to Ontario??)  And there are places in the Muskokas that offer a combo of mountain biking, trail running and canoeing, some even add rogaining.  I can do that stuff.  I can canoe, I can portage, I can trail ride a bike.  I can orienteer (heck, I used to teach wilderness survival tips during guided hikes I would lead...)  I CAN do all that.  I haven't done alot of it nearly enough these past few years (decades...) but I know I can do it. I haven't done it with obstacles before, but I can learn that.  In the year of 2012, I want to get outside and have more fun, tuff fun.  Dirty fun.  So now, I guess I have to start training for it.  I want to learn how people train for this kind of shit.  I want to train.  And train hard.  I don't think one 15 minute cycle of pushups, pullups, wall-sits and single-leg squats every week, followed by a hike where I carry Steve around is quite going to do it.  I'm going to have to get creative and lead a full-on assault of the childrens playground when I'm out walking my dogs at night.  (Won't the dogs be surprised when I start running and jumping about like a nut on drugs?)  I'll have to do it more than once a week.  I'm going to have to take it up a notch.  And I'm going to have to get out there in the cold.  I'm going to have to get creative, and not let life keep getting in the way, because it always does, doesn't it?  That's my goal for the coming year--but do not-- really DO NOT call it my bucket list.  Its my ambition list.

Savage Race
One day, this will be me......

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Piggybacks, anyone? And what goes with Safety Yellow?

Two days after it stopped raining, water is still pouring off the trails

Wow, ok, I'm hurtin'.  It was a great day for a hike--at least, it was a sunny day for a hike and I think it even made it up to a whopping 2 or 3 degrees (around 36 or 37 degrees farenheit).  I stress the sunny part.  It has rained all week, and snowed, so really, snained, for most of this week.  It has rained so heavily that the trails are washed out and water is still running down the footpaths as if they were rivers.  Entire trees fell off the riverbanks and lay in the current.  The first signs of winter are definately here--little lines of frost and snow on fallen logs, ice on the water's edge and at least in the deep shade, the mud is starting to freeze solid. 

We've been lucky.  This is the longest, warmest fall I can remember.  Normally it's around 5 degrees colder, and even though the snow doesn't usually stick around until at least mid-month or later, we've normally have plenty of slushy, dirty snowfalls at this point.  This year, for variety, we've had rain and rain and rain.  It's starting to feel like Vancouver over here.

So, anyhow, we headed back to the Seaton Trail for another long hike.  And for lack of anything more imaginative, we thought we'd take turns giving each other piggybacks.

Now, that was all fine and good for Steve--I weigh all of 120 pounds.  He could carry me a good 100-150 feet before needing a break (it is very uneven ground along the trail).  But it was pretty interesting the other way around--he weighs 180.  He'd jump up and I'd stumble backwards and then sideways, trying to get my balance before tipping forwards and starting in the proper direction.  "They weeble and they wobble, but they don't fall down..."  (Anyone remember those commercials from the 80's?  Ok, I'm aging myself here).  I'd only carry him arond 50 feet each time before stumbling.  It was so challenging that as he slid off he'd have to get his footing and hold me upright at the same time.  The weight was so much for me that if I bent my knees more than a little, I'd just keep going down until I was kneeling in the dirt.  It was really hard work--I knew I'd be feeling it in my thighs and knees (and groin muscles), but what surprises me is how stiff my abs feel.  I guess there was a lot of core muscles pulling his weight forwards in order to walk in that direction.

 But damn, we had a lot of fun doing it.  We're like two kids who never really grew up-- we can make anything into good, simple fun.  Not so long ago, we decided to get married (second marriage for both of us) and rather than plan anything fancy (we just aren't fancy people), we decided rather spur-of-the-moment that what we really wanted was to get married on the dam that we loved to visit--the damn where we often went just to "huck sh!t in the river"--we liked to gather cut logs, ok, sometimes entire felled trees, toss them into the current and race downstream to the dam to watch them be jettied out the far side and disappear in the foam only to pop up again downstream. 

I know, we're very simple idiots.  But that was our wedding.  And we wore jeans. Our kids were there, i-Pods and all.  Our very close friend (and her sister, thank you, thank you, thank you) wanted to help out and asked what kind of flowers I wanted for the big day, and I said, "I don't know--what goes with safety yellow and concrete?"  So burlap swag it was.  I kid you not.  She made a beautiful cd that she played through the ceremony, and you can't hear one word of it over the rush of water going through the dam.  So I'm just saying, we are simple, happy people.  We like to get out and just have fun, whenever, wherever. 

Alright, so we hiked until we hurt, and we made a little detour in Whitevale for a craft sale where we found a lady who makes all-natural soap with coconut oil in mascarpone scent!!  And it was already 2 o'clock by the time we got home and we were starving.  So I took at quick look at two of Marina's Primal Cooking soup recipes, couldn't decide which one to make, and created a mixture that was a bit of both, and a bit of me, too.

Mexican Chicken Verde Soup

1 lb ground turkey or chicken
1 onion
1 carrot
2 avacadoes
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
1 1/2 c chicken stock
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 c salsa verde
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 c coriander
salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste

Heat dutch oven on medium heat.  Grate/shred carrot and onion in food processor, then add to dutch oven with a bit of butter/coconut oil/bacon grease (whatever you have).  Cut, peel and remove pits from avacadoes, then puree in food processor.  Add coconut milk, lime juice, coriander, salsa,  and hot pepper to food processor and puree until fairly smooth.  Add to dutch over along with chicken stock.  (Don't worry if the carrots and onion aren't done yet).  Bring it all to a simmer.  Meanwhile, add garlic, onion powder and cumin to ground meat and form into small meatballs (you should have around 20).  Add to pot and cover, simmering, for about 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add grated cheddar if you eat dairy, though it does not actually need it.  It is very hearty.

Serves 4.

Then I whipped up a batch of the paleo fudge on the fastpaleo website because I'm hormonal right now and there is not enough chocolate in this world to satisfy....

So there, tired, fed, and sipping on some wine now, I'm finally sitting still.  For five or ten minutes.  Then, who knows?  I bet Steve is worried.  I never let him sit still.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

My Community, My Friends and the Great Outdoors

I've been thinking some more about the Skype conversation that my husband and I had with Dean Dwyer not-so-long-ago.  There was so much back-and-forth conversation that some of it is still just coming to the surface now.

What's sticking out in my head lately is how he talked about the need for a support system, a "community".  He's right.  We all need each other to lean on, to be honest with, to share our success stories and our struggles.  Because sometimes, this just aint easy...

You know, most of us, when we start on the primal journey, we are so happy, so poud of ourselves, that we want to shout it from the rooftops.  We want to convert everyone we know.  Sometimes, we even try to "cure" our friends and co-workers of diseases that we imagine they have.  But sooner or later, we realize we can't change the world and we start to feel like we're doing all of this in a vaccuum and that no one is listening at all.  Sure, the blogging community is full of us, but where is everyone, really?  I don't personally know anyone else who is into the paleo lifestyle.  Ok, I think my brother's family is, but they don't really like to talk about it.  So where is everyone else?  In far-flung locations, in places that I will never get to see, so they are people I will likely never get to meet.  But I still want to get to know them.  I, like Dean, want a community.  I don't care if you are near or far, I still want to hear about your day, talk about my day, what we ate that we regret, what we did that made us proud.  I want you to read my silly attempts at "moving like Grok" and I want you to laugh because sometimes people are just too serious.

I missed the last paleo symposium that came to Toronto.  But apparently Robb Wolf made a very moving speach, and it wasn't about "this isn't paleo, and neither is that..."  It was about how we paleo-advocates sometimes can be very cult-like, when what we should be is very inclusive.  That any attempt, any changes we make that bring us closer to a primal lifestyle are good things.  Because we all get it, we care about our health, we understand now, and we're all trying.  So really, Robb Wolf is also talking about community.

Now, it's going to seem like an odd topic change, but I have always loved being outdoors (this relates, you'll see).  I grew up camping and canoeing and skiing.  In the last few years, my huband and I have made it our whole purpose on vacations to try EVERYTHING we can wherever we are.  Zip-lining, caving, rock climbing, sea kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding--whatever we can.  We can't afford to go on a lot of vacations, but we can still do these kinds of things around our own community.  This past summer, we tried a SUP pilates yoga class.  It was very challenging and very different.  Next year I want to do a river SUP day-long trip.  If I had a whole comminuty of like-minded friends, I'd invite them all to come along.  But we don't have a community here, not yet.  So Steve and I will go out there and "Just Do It" on our own.  And take pictures.  And you can keep laughing at us because we like that kind of thing.

That's us, front row, on the Kicking Horse River while we were staying out in Banff last year...   And that's us on the right, pre-paleo and acting like tools (because we do that), zip-lining in Vancouver.  Maybe Grok didn't have THIS kind of fun, but life is short and this kind of stuff is awesome.  I wish everyone enjoyed getting out like this. 

One day this whole paleo movement will be huge, and I will run into paleo-friends on every hiking trail, and at future Warrior Dashes and other crazy events.  But today, close and far away, we will have to find each other through these paleo-blogs.  And maybe at upcoming symposiums--hey, how to we get a symposium going again in Toronto?  This paleo thing is starting to grow out here and it'd grow alot faster if we had a giant meeting of some sort...  How do we go about getting a meeting of some sort?  Well, we could all meet at one of those.

Meantime, as for this coming weekend, Steve hasn't come up with any good ideas on how to "take it up a notch" on our hike.  So I may just have to give him a piggyback, all 180 pounds of him on my 120 pound frame.  As far as I can carry him.  We'll see how that goes.  We'll find a way to make it fun.

Monday, 28 November 2011


Alright, first things first.  Does anyone recognize this meal?  Why does it look like I made eels for dinner?  My food photography sucks.  Alright, well, this is Juli Bauer's (of PaleOMG) "zoodles and squoodles"--in our house, it's just zoodles.  It is the dish that fills the comfort pasta food cravings, and the one dish that everyone in my household, and I do mean everyone (paleo and non-paleo eaters), likes to eat.  My teenage son, who is not paleo at all, in fact, he is strongly and vocally AGAINST all things paleo because he hates vegetables, loves his potatoes and junk food and feels like we STARVE him to death every weekend that he comes home—and he ATE THIS WITHOUT A WORD OF COMPLAINT!!  So Juli, you are AWESOME. You are my hero.  Thank you.  For her original recipe, go to , seriously, you'll love it.

Alright, onto my weekend WOD.  I had the most hilarious time ever.  Don't know what kind of stuff we were smokin' when we thought this one up.  Where on earth did we get this idea from?  I think Steve was still lamenting the fact that the Warrior Dash has no plans to come to Ontario again in 2012 (at least not yet).  See, my husband is totally on-board when it comes to this whole whole primal/paleo thing.  We cook together, we shop together, but really, he is totally food-un-imaginative so I do the lion's share of thinking up and planning our weeks' meals.  So, I have tasked him with having to come up with new and exciting ways to "take it up a notch" when I say I want to get outside for the day, or go hiking.  He's recently retired after 20 years of service in the Canadian Forces, so I figure he knows how to "take it up a notch".  This is the army--they're creative!  They make men haul logs across soccer fields just for the fun of it! 

Now, from there, I don't know what happened.  We're just 2 people who never really grew up.  We were nearly defeated by this crazy cliff last week when one of the dogs jumped over the cliff and got stuck there, and we thought-eghh, we can conquer THAT.  Sure, we'll show that hill!  We can run up and down this cliff, or more appropriately, free-climb up and slide down this almost-but-not-quite vertical sand-slide cliff.  See how innocent it looks as we came down the hill?  It doesn't look all that steep, does it?  I even scoffed when Steve suggested we drop our packs at the top--I wanted to wear my lumber load the whole time!  Now, for those of you NOT in the Toronto area, on Sunday it was raining.  Hard.  And that cliff was not sand, it turned out.  It was good ole’ Toronto clay and we slid down in mud that was slicker than snot, so to speak, but we still didn't give it much thought.  Just kinda surfed our way down at the speed of light, laughing...

And see?  Oh so innocent.  My duaghter is just wading in the stream washing off some mud, who cares if it's 10 degrees and pouring rain?  It's so scenic down here in the valley... 

And then like some crazy nightmare we tried to go up-- we climbed on and on without moving upwards.  It was like being stuck on an old Stairmaster and you can't get off.  Our boots weighed ten pounds per foot, our gloves weighed five pounds each.  And then when we did make some progress, our feet would shoot out from under us and we’d slide face-first right back down again.

But this shot on the right--that shows the true angle of the cliff.  Almost....vertical....  Every muscle in our bodies were clenched.  We were punching our fists into the mud just to get a hold of something.

We must have been making a LOT of noise.  We were laughing and screaming and wiping each other out when we lost our footing...  We were rolling in the mud, had it on our faces, in our hair (and in Steve’s beard).  We’d made it almost back to the top when all of our carry-on noise caught the attention of 3 men who were hiking the trail that day (in the pouring rain).  With very thick accents (I believe they were Polish), they decided we needed saving and would not leave until we were all back over the top lip of the cliff on secure soil.  So we submitted and we let them give us a hand and pull us up over the top lip of the cliff and we thanked them very kindly and they got to walk away feeling like heroes and it just seemed like it would be rude if we hopped right back over and started that all over again (I was ready to go it again, really wanted to but Steve stopped me--my daughter was looking like she'd had enough at that point), so back homeward-bound we went.  Wet and muddy and giggling like school children.  Oooh, yea, we conquered!!

Alright, so looking down in hindsight, it does look rather steep.... 

The challenge is already on--how do we top this next week?  I think it's going to be all of 0 degrees celcius, good chance of "snain" (Toronto-speak for alternating snow and rain).  Ooh, yea.

Friday, 25 November 2011

A Work Weekend and it may rain out my weekend WOD!

So I have to work this weekend.  Steve and I came up with this great weekend WOD for Sunday morning, but of course, now the weather report says it will be sunny and cold saturday, but rainy sunday.  I guess I shouldn't complain too much.  We've had a great fall, and it's still incredibly warm for Toronto weather.  Now, any self-respecting caveman would get out there, rain and all, and conquer their environment!  We'll see.  I have a family Christmas dinner to go to that night, so maybe not the best day to get freezing cold and muddy and exhausted.  And oh, crap, I just realized I have to cook stuff to take with me sunday afternoon that I haven't even bought yet.  Typical of me.  But I'm thinking roasted beets and carrots.  Simple.  Maybe the stuffed cherry tomatoes on Marks Daily Apple...  I think we're having ham, not turkey (the sacrilege!!).  And spinach squares.  I can easily pass on the scalloped potatoes, but no one has said a word about dessert.  I'm a little worried about dessert.  I just can't say no to pumpkin pie.  Or just about any dessert, really, I'll eat grain-and-sugar free through the whole meal, then fall apart on dessert.  I'll have to pick my battles on this one.  I am of weak willpower...  I might try to make paleo-eggnog.  Maybe I'll luck out and my sister-in-law will make the two desserts Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo made and posted on her facebook (this is not a crazy fantasy; she is also Paleo and she loves Sarah, so I'm sure she's seen the post).  Those pies look crazy-good.  I wish they would just show up at our little un-Christmas dinner party..  Sarah, do you do mail-order yet????

I know, you're thinking, it's not Christmas yet.  My family is pretty busy at this time of year, what can I say???  So it's Un-Christmas for us.  We get to pretend its Christmas this weekend, complete with baked ham, gift exchange and an appearance from my 90+ year-old grandparents....  And I haven't even started shopping yet.  Hmmm.  I'm a pretty crappy daughter, I guess.

So, onto tonight's dinner.  This recipe was adaped from a Canadian Living Magazine recipe I've had for years.  It was, pre-paleo, one of our favorite meatloaf recipes, and took very little tweaking to make it primal/paleo

Salsa Turkey Meatloaf

2 eggs
3/4 c salsa
2 lbs ground chicken or turkey
1/2 c ground almonds or almond meal
half onion, finely chopped
half green or red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 c grated cheddar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix 1/4 c salsa with all other ingredients except cheese.  Form into loaf shape on cookie sheet and top with remaining salsa.  Cook for about 1 hour, check for doneness.  Add cheese, if using, and pop back in the oven for about 5 minutes to melt cheese.  Enjoy with mashed cauliflower.

I know, my husband went a little overboard on the cheese, because unlike me, he is not lactose-intolerant...  The cheese is totally unnecessary and in the past we've forgotten to put it on often.  I don't know what came over him...  Must've been the hunger.

Now, back to my weekend WOD, what do you think?  Do I get out there in the rain and try it anyways?  It may make for some interesting pics!