Whole30 – Day 9

It’s Friday, and I could not be more thrilled.  I am just worn out.

Not that we’ll get any rest; tomorrow is Farm Day (every Saturday is Farm Day), so we’ll spend the morning doing our hunting and gathering.  We also have to make a trip to our butcher to pick up some ground beef for burgers (our company picnic is the following weekend), and I have to start a Lightning McQueen cake for a certain young man’s birthday party, to be held at our house on Sunday.

At any rate, another day down on the Whole30:

Breakfast – 2 eggs, scrambled in ghee.  3 mugs of coffee with coconut milk at the office.

Lunch – well, this was interesting.  Beloved ate the leftover Birria, so I had some cantaloupe and made a quick stir fry with okra, summer squash, sweet potato that I shredded with my julienne peeler (I managed to shred my left hand in the process – ouch), shallots, poblano pepper and…a hot dog.  As Miss J would say:  Don’t judge.  It was surprisingly good, and will probably make a repeat performance today for lunch since there are no leftovers from…

Dinner – home-canned green beans, a roasted parsnip puree (parsnips roasted in ghee with some salt, pureed in the food processor with a little more ghee, pepper and coconut milk – tasty, tasty), and the best meatloaf I’ve ever eaten.  One pound ground pork, one pound ground goat (I thought he was gone, but he was lurking in the back of the freezer), onion and garlic sauteed in ghee, salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh thyme, fresh sage, 2 eggs and 1 cup organic, no sugar added applesauce.  Wrapped it up in Whole30 compliant bacon (made to order from our butcher) and spread with a mixture of organic, no sugar added apple butter and balsamic vinegar.

Oh. My. GAWD.

There is no picture of the meatloaf because it was completely decimated by the men in my household before I could even think about getting my camera.  Since there was much begging and pleading afterwards to make this again, I guess I will and I’ll make sure to get a photo so I can post a proper recipe for it.

As of yesterday, I’ve exercised every day this month, either walking or swimming.  Beloved got on the Bowflex Wednesday while I was on the treadmill (using 1 pound hand weights), and I started thinking how much good some weight training would be for me, so I expect I’ll begin using it at some point this weekend.  Not bad for a short, dumpy, middle-aged broad in the throes of menopause-induced crazy.

Speaking of weekends, y’all have a nice one and I’ll be back tomorrow to bore you all with what I ate today.

Whole30 – Day 3

I’m still on track – and I actually ate yesterday.

Breakfast was 3 cups of coffee with coconut milk.  Yes, I’ve been boring this week, breakfast-wise.

Lunch – I had a some grass-fed ground beef in the freezer that needed to be used up, so I made up a couple of large hamburger patties, seasoned them with salt, pepper and garlic powder and cooked them up on the cast-iron griddle until they were a nice medium inside.  I also had some leftover fried green tomatoes and roasted poblano peppers (our garden is overrun with both tomatoes and poblanos) as well as some fresh pineapple in the fridge.  The result was this:

Poblano-Pineapple Burger
Poblano-Pineapple Burger

It was quite tasty, and very filling.

For dinner, Beloved had taken some country-style pork ribs out of the freezer.  I rubbed them with a spice mixture of cumin, garlic, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper and seared them in lard, then braised them in water until tender.  I added some coconut milk, red pepper flakes and more of the roasted poblano peppers and reduced that down until there was a nice sauce for it.  I served it over a medley of shredded zucchini, yellow squash and carrots and alongside some Japanese sweet potatoes I mashed with ghee, a touch of coconut milk and cinnamon (surprisingly good).

Creamy Poblano Country-Style Ribs
Creamy Poblano Country-Style Ribs

I’ll probably post the full recipe sometime next week.

And I’ll be back tomorrow with what I ate today – have a great Saturday, everyone!

Are You Achin’ For Some Bacon?

Recently we began asking for the jowls from our hogs when we source one.  Originally, it was my idea to make my own guanciale, a cured Italian bacon made from pork jowls.  Indeed, I’ve got one in the works right now, although it’s taking a while to cure because it’s in my garage refrigerator, and ideally cured meats need a temperature and humidity controlled environment in which to cure (and don’t think I’m not working on that).

At any rate, when we ordered our latest pig last month and requested the jowls, we were asked if we’d like it smoked and sliced into what is known as “poor man’s bacon.”  Our answer was a resounding, “Hells to the yes!!”

Traditional bacon comes from the belly of the pig, and I’ve been sacrificing two pounds of smoked porky bliss from the last 3 hogs we’ve bought in order to have some uncured pork belly to cook, because I happen to believe that if anything were proof of a Divine Presence, it would be a well-made pork belly dish.  Needless to say, the bacon we do get doesn’t last very long and to regularly purchase MSG- and nitrate-free pastured bacon from our butcher practically requires a second mortgage on our home ($10+ a pound – helloooo!).  Hence, bacon has been relegated to a component of another dish as flavoring or an occasional treat with Sunday brunch.

So we basically jumped on the chance for 8 more pounds of bacon, and weren’t terribly particular about which part of the pig it came from.

But I care about what part of the pig it comes from now, because jowl bacon is freakin’ AWESOME.  It’s fattier than belly bacon, yes, and if you’re squeamish about things like salivary glands (which pretty much look and taste like meat once they’ve been smoked) you might want to avoid it, but unlike the belly, a pig’s jowls get some work which makes the meat in them – and consequently, the bacon – extraordinarily flavorful.  Nor does all of the fat in jowl bacon render out the way it does with belly bacon when cooked; a bit of it does, yes, but what stays is crisp and golden and delicious and melts in your mouth.

I’m getting all misty-eyed just thinking about it.

So far, the only drawbacks to it are the irregularly sized pieces (a very minor drawback, considering the taste of the stuff) and the fact that any leftovers in the refrigerator tend to disappear mysteriously, although I suspect 17-year-old boys have something to do with that.

So I’m lovin’ me some jowl bacon, and may have even more of the belly left uncured from our next pig.

(Rumor has it that Smithfield packages both a sliced and unsliced version of jowl bacon, and is available at some Walmart locations, especially in the South.  Be forewarned, though – it contains nitrates as well as sugar.)

And if you are of the anti-bacon school of thought, I present you with this informative and accurate flow-chart:

bacon flowchart

Have a lovely weekend, y’all.

Hot Diggety Dog

We’re having a lovely time here at the Sushi Bar, being serenaded by Darling Daughter while she plays the ukulele – frankly, I’d never realized what a lovely instrument it is.  (Does this count as my Spin, Gretchen?)   We’re also busy planning what we’re taking with us to Hocking Hills next week, food-wise – in the past, I’ve found myself chained to the kitchen, short ordering for everyone.  Something I’m desperately trying to avoid this trip.

But, as you also know, I don’t do “convenience” foods and the difficulties in planning on keeping things simple are compounded because Oldest Son does not tolerate eggs well.  This makes breakfast and snacks a bit problematic, because I want to make sure everyone has plenty to eat (I just seem to be hardwired that way).  Lunches can also be iffy, but I’ve found something that is going to help with that immensely.

Hot dogs.

Yeah, you read that right; Applegate Farms has come to my rescue with The Great Organic Beef Hot Dog – hot dogs made from 100% grass-fed beef with no fillers.  They are gluten free, casein free, dairy free and contain 0 grams carbohydrate.  And they taste like, well, HOT DOGS – seriously.  Which means I’m a bit lukewarm about them (I’m only enthusiastic about hot dogs when they’re dipped in cornbread batter, deep fried and slathered in yellow mustard), but The Young One adores them with a deep and abiding passion usually reserved for a new Legend Of Zelda game.

Which makes them a winner in my book.

They’re not exactly cheap – a package of 8 is about $8 at the store where we buy them, but they’ve been a lifesaver as something quick and easy to feed the boy right before or right after work (he’s washing dishes and bussing tables at a little bistro down the street) when he’s ravenous and pressed for time, and they’re going to go a long way to helping me keep things simple – but still reasonably healthy – next week as we descend en masse on one of Ohio’s prettier tourist spots.

So.

Applegate Farms Great Organic Beef Hot Dog – Sushi Bar and Young One Approved.

Have you found a great “convenience food” that works well in your Real Food diet?  And does anyone have any breakfast/snack suggestions that don’t include eggs?

This Little Piggie

Okay, I finally have to face the fact that my cough just isn’t getting any better.  So today I’ll be making a trip to see a nurse practitioner so she can tell me I have viral bronchitis and there’s nothing we can do about it but let it run it’s course (Dana Carpender of Hold the Toast is suffering from the same thing, and her doctor told her she could expect it to hang around as long as three weeks).  She’ll offer me a steroid-based inhaler to help with the congestion, and I’ll consider it before declining – I’ve lost 7 pounds in the last two weeks and the last thing I want is to become a homicidal eating machine.

If it seems like I’ve been through this scenario before, it’s because – yup, I have.

In the meantime, I’m staying home and working on a redesign for our company website; perhaps I’ll give the cookbook a little attention as well (I’ve finished beef, poultry and pork and am about to move on to seafood/fish).  Since it’s supposed to get up to a whopping 96 degrees today – a bit of a rarity for this neck of the woods, especially so early in the summer – I’ll take a little time to go water our gardens.  I may even cook something amusing for lunch with the pound of ground pork sitting in the fridge.

At any rate, the Spin Cycle this week is “Word Collage.”  Our Fearless Spin Leader, Miss Gretchen, has tasked us with playing with Tagxedo, an amusing little application that will take the content from your blog, Twitter feed, a particular interest or even a poem, if you’re so inclined, and do amusing things with it.  There are some examples on the site of some really original stuff, but I don’t think anyone here will be surprised that mine are, well, let’s just say the product of a one-track mind.

Tagxedo - Pig

Tagxedo - Chicken

Tagxedo - Fruit

What did you expect – the Preamble to the Constitution?

Have a lovely day, y’all – I’ve got to go see a woman about a cough.