Monday, March 28, 2011

Paleo Cake?

Yes, you can make a "paleo" version of cake.  Since my birthday is tomorrow and we had dinner guests last night, I decided to try a cake for dessert, knowing I'd have leftovers to eat on my birthday (and for breakfast and a snack until it is gone).  I went to one of my favorite paleo/primal websites, The Food Lovers Primal Palate, and found this lovely recipe for a dark chocolate coconut cake with dark chocolate ganache.  I do not miss grains or sugar eating this cake.  It was so good, even my guests had seconds and they are not paleo freaks like me!  You honestly would not know that this cake doesn't have grains or sugar (well, technically there is sugar in the chocolate chips, but not compared to conventional).

Some comments on the recipe:
-I used almond butter instead of hazelnuts in the middle.  I thought the directions were a bit weird in that it had you refrigerate the frosting, but I did it anyway.  I'm guessing you're only supposed to refrigerate it long enough to thicken it a bit, but I ended up having to melt it again over a double broiler.  Next time, I'd just go ahead and let it cool a bit on the counter then frost my layers.  It's still "slick", so you could hold the layers together with toothpicks and refrigerate the cake for a little bit to harden the frosting.
-This cake would be great if you added fruit to the middle... like strawberries.  Yum.
-The ganache didn't harden very quickly for me, so I refrigerated the cake for a little bit to harden it.
-I added halved strawberries to the top of the cake.  Very good.  And pretty.  But, I don't have a picture.  I will take one when I have a slice after dinner and post.  :)

Do yourselves a favor and check out their blog.  Lots of delicious recipes!

ETA: the pic... not a great one (or a perfect piece of cake) but delicious... that's organic whipped heavy cream on there, you know, because it needed a little something extra.  ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dilemma

I have a problem that's not really a problem.  My clothes don't fit.  They are almost all too big.  Since up until a week or so ago, I was pretty much wearing the two pair of jeans I live in, which both still fit pretty well (especially after coming out of the dryer... I never used to dry my jeans and rarely even washed them).  Now that it's getting warmer, and I have had a few reasons to wear "work" pants, holy-incredible-shrinking-woman-Batman!  I cannot wear several of my work pants, because they are ginormous.  My shorts that used to fit or be too small, mind you I rarely wore shorts before because I didn't like the way my legs looked in them, are too big.  Mostly still wearable, but too big.  Skirts that fit or were a little snug are now too big or fit nicely.

I am not trying to brag.  It's amazing what a Paleo diet will do for your body.  It takes self control, and sure I do bust my butt a few times per week doing CrossFit, but this hasn't been hard (once I got through the first two weeks).  There's nothing to really brag about.  I tell you all this, because herein lies the problem... I am unemployed.  And the impending end of my severance and start of unemployment means that the budget does not provide for clothes shopping.  And, isn't one of the best things about losing weight getting to revamp your wardrobe!?  I think so.  It's not like we're broke by any means, but we don't want to eat into our savings unless we come across an emergency expenditure, so we're going to just make it work until I find something new.  Plus, shopping motivation is good motivation.  Job=money=new clothes.  See how that works?

P.S.  If you know of any medical device sales jobs in Atlanta, let me know.  I need to get myself in front of the folks that hire, because I don't think a commercial real estate resume is going to help me find something via medreps.com.  Somehow, I don't think complex debt structures, asset management and financial analysis are the searchable words they're looking for to sell an implantable device.  But, I'll be damned if I can't sell myself to them in person!  ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just Stuff

I'm in a bullet point mood again...
  • It was SO good to see Lindsay and (finally) meet Brandon, and of course to get my hands on little Tristan.  He is an angel baby.  Seriously.  Not even a month old, and he was SO.SO.SO.GOOD.
  • A little back story, because I love these stories... Brandon has faced three battles with cancer.  He was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 22 or 23.  Went into remission.  Yay.  Meets Lindsay.  They get engaged.  Cancer comes back.  Boo hiss.  Lots of crazy treatment like stem cell transplants and high dose chemo.  Lots of prayer.  Cancer seems to be gone.  They get married.  Doctors tell him that he has less than a five percent chance of being able to procreate due to the chemo.  Lindsay and Brandon choose to trust God and His plan for their family.  Lindsay gets pregnant.  Holy crap!  What a miracle.  Cancer comes back.  Cancer sucks.  Doctors tell Brandon that this is going to kill him.  Brandon says, "Nothing in my heart leads me to believe that I'm going to do anything but get better."  Lots and lots of prayer again.  Some treatments and surgeries.  The Hallelujah diet.  Lindsay finds out baby B is a boy (we ALL swore she was having a girl... seriously, everyone thought it was a girl).  Today, Brandon is cancer free and has a beautiful, strong, loving wife and a sweet, precious baby boy.  God listens.  I wish I could go into even more detail, but suffice it to say that it has been one heck of a ride.  God was always with them, just as He is always with all of us through the good and the bad.  And, even when His Plan is so hard to understand, His Plan is always right, and I fully believe that it all makes sense at some point in our lives.  Praise the Lord for His Grace!
  • I also got to spend time with Jenn, Madelyn and Baby M on Saturday, since they came up to see the B fam.  Jenn got the thumbs up last week and again yesterday to fully share the news that Baby #2 is on its way and due in September!  I seriously could not be more thrilled, and although I will love him/her no matter what, I really hope it's a boy.  :)  I've been on a baby boy kick lately.  Madelyn is going to be such a good big sister.  She is such a doll face.  I love watching Matt with her, because he thinks she's the bee's knees.  Ladies, is seeing your husband be sweet with a child not the most heart warming thing ever?  He'll be such a good daddy... one day.  ;)
  • My nephew, James, is a stud.  So is Brody.  But, see below for example A of James' studliness.  Mind you, he is 5 and this is actually t-ball.  Proceed to 0:25 and make sure your volume is down, and then please ignore my mom's yelling... she lost her crap.
  • video 
  • Still on the bandwagon with paleo eating.  I've added in some dairy (heavy cream in my morning coffee, cheese when it adds to a dish but not just because) and I'm drinking again, but I don't drink a ton anyway.  I'm trying to keep it to the weekend or social situations.  I rarely have a drink during the week, just because.  I can definitely tell a difference when I do cheat (like after having a calzone and beer on Friday night), but I certainly don't think I've gained any fat.  So, it's definitely possible to do a modified version of paleo, so long as you keep it in check.  Aim for full compliance with the realization that you likely will not achieve it 100% of the time.  I probably only ate two or three cheat meals last week.  Generally, if I can stick to paleo (+ booze), I do.  I really had no good choices on Friday night, but the calzone was darn good.
  • The 5K was a lot of fun!  It doesn't have an individual chip start, so I have no idea what my time was.  Maddie and I finished at 34:32, but I don't know how much time had elapsed when we started, since we were in the back of the pack with the strollers and dogs.  I also had to stop for her to poop, pick up her poop (thankfully I had a bag), toss it, walk so I could take off my jacket and then I walked for a little bit somewhere around 2 miles because I got super dizzy for some reason.  When we were running, it was definitely at a good pace (for me).  I think if I'd never stopped, I would have been around 26-27 minutes, but with the short stops, I think we were probably around 30 minutes.  Now, I'm itching to run one by myself so I can maneuver through the crowds better and keep pace.  Besides the bout of dizziness after mile 2 was completed, I felt really good and strong.  I ran it in 27 something last time I ran this race, and I know I was running stronger and faster this time.  Oh, and we lost Matt and Max early on, because they were too slow for us.  ;)
  • And, scene.  Back to "work."

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    This Thursday's Thoughts

    How's that for alliteration?

    • CrossFit ain't for sissies.  Yesterday, we did the Nasty Girls WOD (for those of you non-CFers, which is most of you... 3 rounds for time: 50 air squats, 7 muscle ups (modified, since I don't have a muscle up - 7 fake MUs and 7 pullups, 10 hang power cleans (@85lbs).  A) I am so sore today.  B) I have bruises dotting (literally) the front of my thighs from the hang power cleans. I really use my hips, which causes my legs to hit the bar (that weighs 85lbs) as I power it from the hang position to my shoulders.  Also, when you lower the weight for a new rep, it often smacks your legs.  And, I used my legs as a "resting place" to fix my grip.  All that to say, my legs look like h-e-doublehockeysticks.
    • I want to go skiing again.  Those bruises are pretty too.  Let's just say sliding down a pile of rocks leaves a mark.  But, I still want to go skiing again.
    • I am doing some contract work right now, and it's really cramping my (f)unemployment style.  Very happy for the income, though.  And, it's from home and at my own pace.  So, yeah.  No complaints.
    • One of my best friends from college is coming in town for a night this weekend with her husband and month old baby boy, Tristan.  So excited.  Sadly, we have not seen each other in well over three years.  I refuse to figure out how long it's been, because it's been too long.  They are driving back home from her inlaw's in south Georgia, so I'm so glad they are stopping here to break up the drive.
    • Matt and I are running a 5K this weekend with the dogs.  I can't tell you the last time I ran 3.1 miles.  But, I can run a mile, then do 100 pullups-200 pushups-300 squats, then run another mile.  So, I'm hoping I can run the whole thing.  I'm taking Maddie, because she's faster.  And, although Matt is typically a better runner than I, he hasn't run in forever, so I'm leaving him in the dust with the slow dog.  ;)
    • I will no longer put a timeline on the Paleo blog.  Let's just say I have a backlog of posts and recipes, but I haven't found enough time to sit down and get it going.  I do have someone to do a semi-custom blog design (I need to find a wordpress template to use first), so maybe sooner than later.
    • I started my LLC, so I can cross something else off my (f)unemployment to do list.
    • I am pretty sure I want to go into medical device sales, preferably surgical/implantable devices.  I had an interview with a real estate company and for a job that theoretically would be what I want.  And, I was less than excited.  A sign?  We'll see.
    • I won the Lockdown for the ladies.  I edited my last paleo related post to add that, but most of you probably didn't see it.  They were going to award 1st - 3rd place, but since no women would have placed (I hate guys and their fat burning/muscle gaining abilities), they decided to do 1st and 2nd for men and women.  I got $250.  Yeah!
    • Alright, back to the grind.  I know, I know.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Carving up the Powder

    I've been MIA... out in Utah skiing with my handsome husband!  And, I got to see my Utah family, which was definitely the highlight of my trip, although not enough time (there never is!).  They were wonderful hosts (must run in the family, as my Gram is "the hostess with the mostest") and even had special paleo food for me!  Looooved it.  (As a side note, it's amazing how people will go out of their way to support your dietary choices and lifestyle).  I didn't take any photos with the family, but photos were taken, so I'll have to get those (hint hint to those of you reading).  :)  We did, however, take lots of photos on the slopes.

    We arrived in SLC on Saturday and stayed that night with the family.  On Sunday, we spent our first of three days skiing Deer Valley.  Wow.  The service there is impeccable.  It was great skiing, but not our favorite (Breckenridge wins of the places we've visited), but everyone is just so nice, including the clientele.  We even shared a bench with Weird Al Yankovic in the locker area (besides the hair, not so weird and quite nice).  Random!  They have maps and tissues as you get on each lift, mountain hosts everywhere, and even the lift operators were super friendly.  The grooming was awesome, especially in the morning.  We found some great runs, and I did several blacks.  Matt is much more adventurous than I, and he even conquered a bowl.  I think we did pretty much every blue run they had, many of the double blues, and a few blacks (no moguls for me).  I tried moguls once and I wasn't feeling it (I've done them before), so that was the end of that.  I prefer flat surfaces or a few bumps where you can catch a little air, but I'm just not good enough in my turns for tight moguls, not to mention my ski set up wasn't great for them either.  In hindsight, we should've skied two days at Deer Valley and a day at Park City, because we'd done everything we wanted to in two days at Deer Valley, but still enjoyed our last day there (must have because we skied from open to close!).  My favorite runs were Tycoon (I did the whole thing without stopping once and it's a long double blue, so my legs were feeling it at the bottom!), Jordanelle, Magnet and Big Stick.  I like long runs, and those were all pretty long and challenging.

    We haven't been skiing in three years, and last time we skied we decided that we wouldn't do it again without a helmet.  It's just not worth it, especially when you like to get into the trees like we do (and when you witness a friend take a bad fall... thankfully, he was okay but he smacked his head pretty hard on the snow).  Well, three years ago, I'd say less than half of the skiers had helmets.  This trip, I'd say at least 90% were wearing helmets!  I thought that was awesome.  Even if you're a safe or accomplished skier, you just never know what could happen or if someone else could take you out.  I also found the helmet to be very comfortable and warm (we bought our own).  Matt even got one with the audio set up, so he jammed out very comfortably.  I also listened to my iPod, but it's not as comfortable with earbuds.

    We kept it pretty low key as far as food.  Our condo (free thanks to an attorney I used to do a lot of work with) was in Kimball Junction, so we grabbed quick Mexican one night and Whole Foods another.  We had sushi at Oishi, which was pretty good, and met my aunt and uncle at Davanza's for some decidedly non-paleo grub our last night.  I had pizza and it was good.  :)  I was able to eat mostly paleo (plus dairy) while there (minus drinking), but I didn't focus too much on it.  It's amazing how I naturally gravitate toward paleo dishes though.  When I didn't eat paleo, I tried to stay away from gluten (except the pizza and bread pudding we had for dessert one night).  On the mountain, we had chili and cappuccino lunches at Cushing's Cabin.  We spent one day walking around PC and visiting the Olympic Training Center/Museum and had lunch that day at Bar Boheme, under Easy Street Brasserie.  I had a salmon BLT+A (avocado) with no bread and sauteed spinach, and it was delicious. Matt had French onion soup and a salad, and we both had delicious Bloody Marys.  I would definitely recommend lunch or dinner there.  I also bought the dogs some ridiculously overpriced venison and turkey jerky from a pet boutique, but I missed them and figured I'd have to buy their love after leaving them for that long.  Needless to say, they were VERY excited to see us and go home.
























    We had a great time, and on our way home, Matt asked where we were going on our next vacation.  Ha!  I need to generate some income before we start thinking about that.  Talk about working to live, right?  We're definitely not folks that live to work.