Friday, December 28, 2012

FUEL : Bacon overload! Bacon beef and brussels sprouts

Just kidding! No such thing!
So, as we drove home from the gym, Coach T and i picked up some bacon and assorted meats on the way home. My price point for meat is 2.50/lb or 5.29/kg, and there were beautiful fatty cuts of beef and pork at No Frills today, so we stocked up.
But really, we came for the bacon.
I guess i have to back up. We are back in the gym, back to stricter paleo now that Christmas is over, and as a temptation, Coach took me out for lunch with four of our younguns after swimming the other day, to Carl's Jr.
Being that we live in Canada, we'd never experienced this, but i was able to eat out with no guilt by ordering the Low Carb burger, which came wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun, and not ordering fries!
I'd heard of this, and done it a couple of times, but i guess buying it in a fast food place made it seem like more of "a thing" instead of an emergency measure until i find a better method.
And thus we dined on BLTs, with bread for the children, homemade mayo, and double bacon for the adults.
The resulting two cookie sheets of bacon fat (we made bacon weave patties and always cook bacon in the oven both to get a whole lot cooked at once, and for easier clean up) sat there, taunting Coach T.
Until he started preparing dinner! He poured that bacon fat over our roast beef and seared it all over, then cooked on low until dinner. It was so delicious!
As a side dish, he boiled brussels sprouts until tender, then sauteed them with bacon and garlic (using my new microplane!), and added a little butter. So delicious. Even our white carbs only teen ate them!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winter workouts

Well, i'm back after a few weeks of dillydallying..

I was worried that working out was harming my poor torn rectus abdominus and still weak pelvis, so i took time off - but it ends up that aches and pains are just part of being my age (39 - how'd that happen?), and I'd rather be working out and feeling great than not working out and still being achy.

So, because our family motto is "We Do Things The Hard Way" (no seriously, it is...), i woke up early and met Coach at the gym in town before he went to work.

Baby is five months old now, and sleeps like a dolly - so her teenaged sister said she'd listen for her, and twice this week now i've gone in the early hours (today we left closer to five than to six... yikes!) and gotten back to a quiet, peaceful household and a soft, warm little baby still cuddled in her cradle.  So in love....

Anyway, about working out.

Our home gym is pretty chilly now that the snow has come - up North where we live, it's come with a vengeance and i'm shovelling snow (it counts for exercise!) as well as enjoying the warmth and community spirit at the local gym.

We scrape off the cars, drive out to the Multiplex, take off our boots, get our wristbands, and walk upstairs to the gym.  It's warm, music is playing, and even right at 5:30 there are already dozens of people in there - warming up in the calisthenics area, on the treadmills and elliptical machines, on the free weights and weight machines.

I'm choosing to do simple exercises, but i'm having to learn gym etiquette.  At home, we set up our weights and then work a circuit, usually.  But at the gym,  it's considered inconsiderate to set up three machines with your weight and go between them.


So, the smith machine for squats got a lot of work from me today, and the bench press station, but also a neat inverted ab stand (since i can't do jack knife movements), a seated cable row machine, and some kettlebells in the calisthenics area.

I'm even planning to join a friend for a class one of these days!

I think this will be a good way to workout through the winter.  We have the family pass for the pool, but the gym is included, and why not make the most of it?  I'm especially looking forward to the indoor running track, one of these days...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fuel : Thanksgiving Stuffing

I loved Nom Nom Paleo when i discovered it - devoured post after post.  In the end, while i learned a lot, i also got a bad case of jealousy.  I live up close to Santa's workshop, in a city of 100 000 and there are not the restaurants like those she mentions, and going to the Crossfit olympics would be a HUGE financial undertaking for a family of ten :)...

Still, love it.  and it's a treat to look at.  And i do try recipes when i have the ingredients and equipment.  (and i'm drooling over the meat slicer...)

But this Thanksgiving, we had a big potluck with our church family on Saturday night, and on Sunday planned to make a turkey for just our crew.  We got the turkey in the oven before church, and then Coach wanted to pick up some diet pop on the way home.  He said something about stuffing, too bad it wasn't paleo, and it rang a bell for me.  A friend who is eating the GAPS diet had mentioned that she and her daughter made a stuffing that was mostly celery and onions.

But when i mentioned that, he shook his head.  That's not a stuffing...  He trudged into the supermarket, while i waited in the car.  I did a quick search on my iphone for "paleo stuffing" and THIS is what i got!  I sent him the ingredients using the Buy Me a Pie app, and when we got home, he got buy making me stuffing.  Since i guess that's how we roll...

Juli, at has come up with something that is stuffing, that hits all the right notes, but at the same time is even more delicious than stuffing, and is completely paleo!

What a decadent pleasure!

Check out her delicious recipe:

This recipe made enough for a family of ten, with a very big and strong man having at least three separate meals worth between 3 p.m. dinner and 11 p.m bedtime.  With about a cup leftover for me to mix a little in with my eggs in the morning, and Coach to finish up all the rest :).  I love that a single woman makes her recipes big enough for my family!

And from Canada, happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fuel : Paleo Stew

If you're like me (and you probably are if you are eating paleo), you love meat.  And maybe you're feeding a family, and trying to adapt a houseful of standard diet eaters to healthier ways.

Well, this stew wasn't a stretch for my crew.  Nobody complained (or noticed?) that there were no dumplings  - even though  i was a little sad about that - and although i made a huge amount of stew, there weren't enough leftovers for more than two or three people.

Now the leftovers are in the freezer, and i'll write down the very easy recipe in case someone else needs it (or i want to find it again!)

Easy Paleo Moose Stew
4-5 lbs moose
1/2 c. olive oil
8 potatoes
6 carrots
3 stalks of celery
garlic (fresh or granulated)
one onion
freshly ground black pepper
seasoning salt if desired
red wine
bay leaf

You can also make this with beef!  Or presumably elk, bison, deer, whatever you have :)

In a big pot, pour about a 1/2 c. olive oil.

While it is warming up, chop up 3-4 lbs of moose meat into biggish size pieces.  If you chop too small, the little pieces of meat get hard, but larger sized chunks stay tender.

Also, chop up a big onion.

Cook up the onion in the olive oil. Add the beef.  Season with pepper, garlic, seasoning salt (if you want!  I used Costco's applewood seasoning salt), thyme, oregano, rosemary.  (Or whatever spices you like)

While it cooks, stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot, but let it get nice and brown.

Peel and chop up 8 nice sized potatoes, and six biggish carrots, and  dice three celery stalks.

Dump all veggies in at the same time and let them cook up a little with the meat.

Pour in about 8 cups of water - enough to cover all the meat and veggies, but only just.  Add a couple bay leaves.

Bring to a nice boil, and let it cook on high for an hour or so, with the lid on to keep the moisture level from evaporating.  If you're not pressed for time, turn heat down and let it cook longer....

Pour in a nice glug of red wine (brandy is nice, too).

Mix up good, and use a ladle to take out two cups of stew.  Vitamix that stew till it's a nice and thick slurry.  (Sorry to use that word in a recipe!)

Pour back in the "gravy", and stir up.  Let cook with the lid off if it's too runny.  It will thicken as the liquid evaporates.

Putting in the celery with the potatoes and carrots will make them go mushy and taste of meat.  I like that.  I love it when leeks or celery really take on the taste of the meat they are paired with.

Put stew on the table, pass around the bowls, thank God and dig in!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fuel: Paleo tips for family meals

I thought i'd take a few posts in a row to update what we're doing with food in our house.  Not that i'm shirking the workout posts because i'm not doing a ton of workouts this month ...  Oh, no!...  Well, maybe just a little bit.

Anyway, this summer i found a pressure canner at a garage sale, and i have been having fun!  I love the aura of my grandma that surrounds the idea of canning, the memories of the peaches and pears my mom canned and doled out like candy to us in the harsh Alberta winters...

But i haven't been canning fruit.  I have bought, so far, three 20 lb boxes of peaches, but with eight children, that box is eaten up in two days.  So, unless i go buy the peaches after the children are in bed, and then start canning through the night, there will be.... shall we say, loss?  I haven't given up on canning peaches, but the season is almost gone - snow is reportedly going to fly this week, probably not to stay, but definitely to call to fall, and i don't know for sure that i will be able to get another box of ripe but not too ripe peaches!

Anyway, three useful tools i've found recently that are helping me to be more disciplined and *satisfied* as a paleo eater are three things i had in my house already.

One, is my pressure canner - the novelty hasn't worn off, and i've made borscht, pumpkin puree, and roasted tomatoes.  I carefully follow the directions, and i've found good recipes online.  Except for the borscht!  I love borscht, and i use Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbook recipe.

The second is my dehydrator.  Dehydrated tomato chips are delish - so sweet and tangy!  And kale chips cooked in the dehydrator stay bright green and keep a little of the kale flavour as opposed to oven baked.  If things ever needed storage (i.e. didn't get eaten up straight out of the dehydrator or as soon as they come out), ziplock bags or empty clear containers can wait in the pantry until we're ready to use them.

And the third is this simple trick - use your fridge and freezer!

What i'm doing with good meals is to make sure i put the leftovers in the freezer as soon as the meal is done.  That way, i have individual sized (or a lunch size shared with children) meal that i can just heat up, and it's delicious and homemade, and guilt free.

For lunch, we had leftover pumpkin shrimp coconut curry.  It was just as good as the first time!  I made some fries for the kids on the side, and felt so virtuous.

From the leftover turkey we had the other day, Coach T made turkey soup from homemade stock for Sunday dinner, and i put the leftovers in the fridge in quart jars.  We'll for sure eat that up in the next day.

Tonight, i made stew - instead of flour to thicken it, i took a few scoops of the stew itself out, and put it through the vitamix.  It was a really nice stew consistency, very meaty flavoured, and gobbled up.  I made a whole bunch, so i would have some leftover to freeze - and it's in the freezer.  There's not enough for all of the children and for me but one day maybe next week, i'll let them have noodles or something carby, and i'll eat leftover stew that tastes just as good as it did tonight.  Or, once we have enough healthy leftovers, we'll have a little lunch buffet.

With the chickens we had the other day (we have to make two chickens generally to feed our family), i took the bones and made stock, then froze it in water jugs (i bought half a dozen nice sturdy ones from a restaurant that went out of business) in my big freezer.  Once i have big family sized portions all frozen, i can transfer to ziplock bags, and pop them back into the freezer till i'm ready for soup.

This is how fast food should be!  It's easy because i took a few minutes on another day to put things into storage properly.  I found that when i just shove a container of leftovers into the fridge, that we weren't eating it always in a timely manner, and a lot got thrown out.  This method is making sure that everything gets eaten, *and* appreciated!

Even the canned food doesn't seem to last long - i think i am down to one more quart jar of pumpkin puree, and i will probably put up a few more batches of that, since it's been nice to have fresh pumpkin pie for the littles, and curry for all of us - but the canning or freezing just buys me the luxury of time!  Time to get back into the mood for curry, or stew, or roasted tomato sauce :)

Next post : recipes!  I'm not the queen of paleo eats, but these are hearty, kitchen tested, and not too hard to make :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Workout: countdown...

It's been busy here!  September means school starts, and in this house, it means one principal goes back to school, and mama opens up the one room schoolhouse.

This year, i have grades 11, 9,7,5,3,1, a four year old, and a newborn baby!  So...  between meetings and getting back into the swing of fall commitments, workouts have been grabbed at spare moments, and not always logged at fitocracy.  Or, not done at all...

Last night's was a reminder that it had been over a week since the last workout.  Simple, but hard enough that we cut it in half.  Here is the half i did accomplish!

(sets of 10, 9, 8,7 ,6 ,5 ,4 ,3 ,2 ,1)
ring pull ups
 - these are done with gymnast rings - so hard!  Because there is no stability!  But probably good for me :)
push presses
 - these were done with 20 lb dumbbells, which is pretty much the top of my ability right now.  I could go a little heavier, but i'd need a little more sleep :)

Baby's had a little cold, and she's been up more at night, but hopefully we'll get into a nice autumn routine - i'm thinking more workouts at the multiplex when it gets too cold to be out in the garage... We'll see what Coach T says about that!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Paleo Strawberry Coconut Cream Cheese Cupcake

Well, i hope that picture got your attention.
I love eating paleo, feeling thinner,  losing weight, eating delicious meats and vegetables, and more fruit than my husband :)

But every girl's got a craving - and mine has been cookies.

But cookies are verboten.  I don't like using unnatural ingredients :), and i thought there must be *some* way to get a yummy dessert without spending my cheat night card :)

So, i got out my Serene Allison cookbook, but i didn't see exactly what i was hoping for - my mind was saying "nut crust with butter", topped with cream cheese something?

So, with much fear and trembling, i started to assemble what i wanted to eat.  I wrote it down as i went in case it actually was eatable, and lo and behold, it was actually.... delicious.

The crust is actually completely fulfilling  my cookie urge, and the strawberry creamcheese filling on top is just the icing on the cake!

Stephanie's Paleo Strawberry Coconut Cream Cheese Cupcake
1 cup dried coconut
12 dried dates
1/2 tsp coconut oil

Vitamix this until it's a very fine powder.  Press into eight holes of a regular sized muffin tin (leaving four empty.  Sorry if you have OCD...  I was being parsimonious in case it was inedible!)

Next, vitamix 6 ripe strawberries with 1/2 c. dried coconut

Whip 1c. whipping cream, and fold in 4 oz cream cheese.
Add in the strawberry/coconut mixture and blend well.

Spoon the whipped cream mixture into the eight muffin tins and freeze/chill.

I hope you like this recipe as much as i do!  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Paleo Hospitality

I have been wanting to work on hospitality, to be better at it.  But it honestly is one of the hardest parts of eating paleo.

Eating paleo makes me feel so good, it is a really hard thing to eat something that i know will make me feel bloated, tired, and draggy.

But it is hard at public gatherings to go through the buffet line and ignore all the pasta, breads, and just grab all the "good things" - meats, salads, nuts :) and leave the rest.

and it's equally hard to invite someone over and serve just meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts.  It's not crazy, it's not bad, and it can be delicious.  But your choices are much more restricted, and i've had trouble feeling okay about hospitality, paleo style.

My friend Terry sent me a link to a blog that detailed a woman's "hospitality pantry" and it made me think.

 That it's not as simple as popping a frozen lasagne in the oven to "reheat" - it takes about 45 min to cook...

Same with chicken pies etc..  Although they are only about 30 min i guess...

Coach T does have a weakness for treats!!!  So, out of love for him, i do not buy packaged cookies/treats/sweets.  If i do, i buy them planning to use them immediately (i.e. that day or the next day at the latest), and if i buy, say, a bag of Oreos for the children - they get the whole bag at once.  (There are seven who can eat Oreos, so it's not like anyone is dying of sugar poison!)  And then there are none left to tempt  me or Coach T.

That makes the idea of a hospitality pantry problematic.  I did a lot of these ideas (which my friend Amanda shared with me, too!) - and they are great - but for me, hospitality does mean either a last minute dash to the store, or picking things up the day before, things we would not usually eat.

I AM planning to do a hospitality pantry in my own food language - which would mean, having treat balls made and hidden (sesame seeds, a little honey and a little oil,  or ground almonds, a little maple syrup, and a little oil - possibly dipped in very high cocoa chocolate), having salted nuts, keeping a few fancier cheeses (brie, that Irish one from Costco, the one with all the tiny holes, maybe some fresh goat cheese.. and meats on hand - sliced and ready to roll or serve. (i really really could use a meat/cheese slicer!  It would help make this diet so much more *beautiful* :), having fruits on hand (i have been buying those boxes of 20 lb of peaches - thinking i will can them, but 20 lbs of peaches last two days in my house, and that's in addition to the ~20 lbs or so of fruits and snacky veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery that children will eat raw for a snack).  Crackers don't work for us, but jerky is a nice treat for us, although not too nice looking for guests.  Dehydrated apples are nice "chips", and kale chips are yummy, but again, weird looking to serve to people...  Salad can be a nice thing to serve, if it's full of fruits or cheese or meat and a yummy dressing.

It is a challenge to think "hospitality" without wheat or flour.  Maybe you all have some ideas for me?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Workout : Tabatas

Awesome workout tonight.

First, Coach T had me do some deadlifts with a 50 lb kettlebell while he finished his heavy lifting.

Then he put on the ultra annoying music mix that signals tabatas.

Ultra annoying?  You thought Coach T was perfect?  Well, yes, he is.  But tabata workouts mean 20 seconds of high intensity, 10 seconds of rest.  Those small intervals of time are a pain in the butt to measure, so there are a lot of tabata workout mixes that have two songs that incongruously butt up against each other - 20 seconds of Black  Sabbath followed by 10 seconds of Vivaldi, for instance.  The Worst.  You can't sing along, even in your head.

Here are some links to tabata workout mixes:
this place sells mixes -
or you can download mixes someone else made
or look on youtube for mixes like this one

Anyway, the great thing about tabatas are that they are a quick, but powerful workout.

We did four rounds, each with four exercises

I did: pushups (20 seconds)
 ten seconds' rest
kettlebell swings with 1 5 lb kettlebell (20 seconds)
ten seconds' rest
squats (bodyweight) (20 seconds)
ten seconds' rest
Jump! (20 seconds)
ten seconds' rest

... times four.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fuel : Lunchtime salad

Coach T says that if i'm still hungry, it's because i need more fat in my diet.

I love chicken skin and bacon as much as the next guy, but I've got eight children and there just plain isn't enough skin to go around :)...

Other great ways to increase your fat intake is: olive oil dressings, butter slathered on roasted meat, nuts (salted or not) and nut butters, coconut oil.

But one of my favourite fat sources is avocado.  It's full of minerals, has a delicious, smooth taste, can be added to eggs, sandwiches or salads, and fills you up!

Plus, I find that as mom i can either feed me or feed the troops, and eight little mouths certainly outvote my paleo tummy...  So i end up making carby foods for their breakfast, and grabbing quick whatever i can find to fill my tummy as they get going.  This morning (and lunch) it was a peach and some leftover ham!

This salad is super easy to make with leftover salad, taco fixings, or to just make up for a one person salad bowl.  A plain oil and vinegar dressing is great, but add in some mashed avocado, and a little dab of dijon mustard, and it's a whole 'nother world.

One more delicious trick is grinding up sesame seeds into a paste in the blender, and using the pea sized chunks as "croutons"...

Fast and easy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Workout : Getting Complicated

Okay, i will be posting less now that school is officially back in session.  The last two weeks my Coach has been back to work, not full time, but more and more, and now this Tuesday marks the beginning of real school for him, students and all...  So our workouts will be less, his workouts at the big gym will be happening more, but hopefully i will still get both workouts and clean food...  My goal is two posts a week - one workout and one fuel idea!

Our last workout i posted on fitocracy, and i honestly don't even know how to begin to title it.  But i will try to describe it.

First of all, squats (i just used the bar, which weighs 45 lbs).  Coach T is trying to get me to squat LOW - and lighter weight makes this easier for now, for me to learn the proper mechanics.

I did 20 low bar squats.


barbell presses - i started with two barbells each weighing 15 lbs, but Coach moved me up to 20 lbs each.  I guess i am getting stronger.

I did "as many reps as i could" per set - four sets.


a ladder - this time, ring pull ups and then to the mat for pushups - i did ten of each, then nine of each, then eight, 76,5,4,3,2 and finally a set of one and one.

I am really liking for the intangible encouragement.  I know it's basically like a robot telling you you're awesome (okay, it *is* a robot telling you you're awesome...) but somehow the random allotment of "points" that might push you to the next "level" seem to be a motivating factor for me...

And now, to get back to my workout!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fuel : Garden Season - Beets!

The day after i processed all the kale (kale chips, but i also blanched and froze two bags full and made kale and beef for dinner, which was yummy, kind of like a healthier hamburger helper), i decided to tackle the beets.

I already had borscht and i thought instead of making more, why not just process them so that i can do whatever i want with them  later on?

I love roasted beets with my roasted pork or beef, and they are delicious just as a side dish.

My friend Zoe used to make beetroot pickles and i remembered she told me all i needed to do was to peel and slice beets and put them in vinegar.

So, first i cut off the beet greens, chopped them up to eatable size, blanched and froze those.

Then, i washed off the beetroots, and let them cook in the boiling water for 25 minutes, till they were nice and cooked.

The children loved the "bloody" looking water in the sink afterwards!

I drained them, and sliced them up.

The little ones i peeled (just by rubbing with my fingers, the peels slid off easily), sliced, and put into two little pint jars with cider vinegar for easy beet pickles.

The bigger ones i cut off the tops and sliced in coins for roasting or soups later on, and filled four bags full.

Then i was hungry, so i opened one of the bags, slathered the beets in sour cream and fresh dill (also thanks to Shawnelle!) and had lunch...


Monday, August 27, 2012

Workout : Dumbbell Complex (The Bear)

He told me how to do it wrong last time.

This is *really* how you do The Bear :)

First, the easy version.

I used 15lb dumbbells

5 sets of this:

hang clean :

push press
push press

Repeat five times without putting the weights down at all.

So, you'll do 25 hang cleans, 50 squats, 50 push presses.

And you will feel much tiredness, and probably lay on the floor after you stretch it out afterwards.  (Coach T says stretching is all in the mind, and useless - but my poor body says if i don't stretch, i just hurt nonstop all the time!)

Coach T's version of The Bear

He used a barbell with 135 lbs

5 sets of

hang clean
front squat
military press
back squat
military press

Repeat five times without putting the weights down at all.

Workout music supplied by the Songza app on the ipad :) hooked up to computer speakers we stole from the kids' computer...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fuel : Garden Season - Kale chips!

My friend, Shawnelle, brought over a few children to play with mine, and a whole lot of produce.

I felt rich!  Fresh goat's milk, goat cheese, herbs, and a huge bag  of kale and another of beets.

I had just made and canned 11 quarts of borscht (mmm....), so i was thinking of things to do with beets, and what on earth to do with all that kale?

But, we have found a winner recipe!

And best of all, paleo friendly :)

For months/years people have told me about kale chips.  Finally, a chance to try it out.  I decided to try two methods and have a taste test with the littles.

First, to prepare the kale - wash the huge leaves free of caterpillars and their eggs.  Then, using a sharp knife, cut out the tough inner vein.  Then, tear them into roughly potato chip size pieces.

After they were all torn up and clean, i put a few handfuls in a big ziploc bag, poured in some olive oil, and gave them a nice massage through the bag, getting oil all over them.

Then, i took them out of the bag one by one and spread them on a cookie sheet (being careful to spread them out flat) or a dehydrator tray.  Sprinkled with coarse salt, and some batches with table salt (table salt was much less salty).

Then, i put the cookie sheets in the oven at 300 degrees, and the dehydrator sheets into the dehydrator at top temperature.

The oven baked kale chips were ready after about 20 minutes or so - they got a little golden and were completely dry and crumbled to tasty dust as we crunched on them.

 In paleo eating, i often crave something crispy and this fit the bill.  I also have a history of kidney stones, and these are full of oxalic acid, so when i eat them, i have to be careful to drink a lot of water!

The dehydrated chips came out the next morning, and they were surprisingly still beautifully green.  Crispy, yes, but some of them were still chewy.  Probably if we had left them in the dehydrator a little longer, they would get just as crispy.  They did have far more "kale" taste than the other chips, which i thought was a plus.

But the children all voted for the oven baked.  I think we will end up making both, as the dehydrated kale chips are likely more nutritious.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Workout : Buns o' Steel

Coach T asked me what exercises i wanted to do.  As if i know!  That's why he's the coach.

But i told him i wanted buns of steel :) and he promises i will feel this workout tomorrow every time i sit down!


This means, three sets - the first will have 21 reps of each exercises
The second will have 15 of each exercise.  And the last set will have nine reps of each  exercise.

Coach T's exercises were:
~Ring pullups (video)
~hanging knees to elbows (KTE) (video)
~handstand pushups (video)

My exercises were:
~low bar squats (video)
~jumps (video)
~pushups (video)

Here's a website with info on ladies squatting that might encourage/help, too! (****warning**** bad language)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fuel : Burrito-ful salad

I don't have a picture for this one, but you can check out Mucho Burrito's website for an idea of where i'm going with this.

Scroll down to the salad bowl.

Now, imagine no bowl!

This is something we had this week, and then we made our own :)

Coach T did a wonderful pork roast, and then shredded it in the crockpot.    With greek dressing, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce,  and tzatziki on the side (should have added feta cheese, too!), it makes a hugely satisfying, very paleo feast!

AND the children love the kind of meals where they get to choose what ingredients they eat and in what proportion.

I noticed three plates where everything was carefully sectioned off :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Workout : life, interrupts!

Well, i broke through the weight loss plateau and lost one.  more.  pound.

Bad news is, it happened after i missed a workout for, like, the fourth time.


Coach T has been doing heavy lifting at the Multiplex (where they have more weight than we do here) - which is cool, but it means he is less than motivated to work  out with me!

We'll be back, soon...

I do wonder, about Gary Taubes' theory - he says if you want to lose weight, don't work out - bcz it increases not only your caloric needs, but also your appetite.

Maybe he's right.

Anyway, i wanna lose weight, but i also want to get strong and healthy.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Workout : Rowing combination

Tonight's workout:

4 sets of

Row 500m
20 pull ups
20 crunches

Instead of pull ups, I do bodyweight rows.  Which I've mentioned here.  (All of those exercises are links to videos that show proper form!)  And instead of crunches, tonight i did TTapp's "Putting Organs in  Place" followed by "Half Frog Sequence".

It's funny - i felt so fat Saturday - went shopping and most things looked depressing on me.  But once i just put on my shorts and shoes and got down to the workout, my *body* felt happier :).

Try it!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fuel : Coach T's Coconut Curry

Once summer is over, I'll be doing most of the cooking again.  Coach is a principal,  and has the summer off, and loves cooking, which equals easy street for me, kitchen wise.

And I am so grateful he likes cooking so much *and* loves nutrition and fitness.  I sure wouldn't be making as much of an effort to lose those baby pounds if i didn't have him on my side and in the kitchen :)

Here is our dinner tonight - sweet potatoes on the side, and Coach's famous coconut curry.

Coach T's Coconut  Curry

8-10 chicken breasts
1 can coconut milk
lots of curry powder
garlic and onion
salt, pepper

chop up chicken breasts, fry in olive oil with spices.  Once browned, add coconut milk.  Season to taste, and let simmer till cooked through.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Workout : Ladders

Today's workout was a ladder.

What this means, is that we do a descending (or ascending) number of repetitions (reps) of an exercise.

Coach T chose kettlebell snatches, and abs.

So for my workout, i needed an 8 kg kettlebell, and space to do my crunches.

The kettlebell snatches were one handed.

So, you pick up the kettlebell and swing it (jump to get momentum!) up as far as you can extend your arm, then back down to the floor.

We did ten of these, then ten crunches
Then nine snatches, nine crunches
down to one, and one.

We didn't time ourselves, but Wyatt beat his mom and dad by a LONG shot (he used a 25 lb barbell, and Coach T used a big fat kettlebell - 50 lb?)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Workout : Inspiration!

While we are still working out in our home gym, while the Olympics are on, we're finding inspiration watching people doing some of the same lifts we are doing.

Instead of only lifting the bar, these women can really lift! (And of course, the men are pretty good, too!)

Coach T recommends vegging out and watching - he thinks that by watching superior form and technique, we internalize better ways of lifting, and hopefully we can incorporate some of what we *see* into what we *do*.

Baby Octavia approves, as well!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fuel : Proteiny, savoury eggs in a muffin tin!

Like most things in life, the inevitable craving for carbs can fixed with the judicious application of bacon!

Coach T loves these little "muffins", which are super easy to bake and are super tasty!

We tweaked this recipe from, so it's always a little different...

Bacon and Eggs in a Muffin Tin

Preheat oven to 350.
Bake bacon on a cookie sheet (this reduces the mess!) till well done but not completely crispy. 

But a little knuckle of butter inside each muffin cup.
Curl a bacon slice around the inside of the muffin cup, and break some up to make a "bottom", too.

Sprinkle a little cheddar in each muffin cup, then break an egg into each one.  Top with jalapeno bits and a little more cheddar, and any leftover bacon crumbs.

(Coach T likes to switch up what cheeses he uses, or add in onion instead of jalapeno, or red peppers, too)

Bake in preheated oven for ten to fifteen minutes.

Delicious!!!  I have frozen these so he can grab them for a quick breakfast (when he isn't doing the intermittent fasting, which i guess will be another post one of these days...) :)  But in general, they go way too quick to save.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Workout : 5, 10, 15...

Today's workout is one i kind of like.  Because it doesn't require a lot of set up or thinking.

Do five pullups
Do ten situps
Do fifteen pushups

Repeat as many times as you can in twenty minutes.

I did fifteen sets!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fuel : Dinner Guests

So, apart from working out and nursing my baby and homeschool planning, i also am geared up for  hospitality.

I know it's not a strength for me, but i think i have found a game plan that might work :)

 (Why is this important to me?  Mostly bcz the Bible says it's a big deal.  And i believe the Bible)

So - my first step is inviting over "easy" people.  I will eventually get around to lepers and orphans (i hope!)  but for right now, i need a lot of practice with people who won't judge - and luckily my life is full of just that sort :)

Secondly, i asked for help.  My friend Amanda has cooked for huge crowds and was able to give me some really practical pointers about choosing food/selection/drinks and ways to make that end of things smooth.  (Check out my other blog for deets!)

But in this blog, on this post, i thought i'd share what is working for me, paleo wise, in having guests over.  Because it just seemed like one more insurmountable  hurdle - to have people over, but serve "plain" paleo food.  No matter how good it makes me *feel* to be in ketosis, i do not feel like a paleo chef yet!  My object is to get 'er done, and make it pretty later...

So, today, we invited over a fun family after church and here is what we served (sorry, no pictures!)

Cold roast beef with a horseradish mayo and a chili aioli (and butter)



greek feta and apple salad


deli meat

cheese, sliced


mixed salted nuts

pink grapefruit pop

diet coke


and for dessert -  two kinds of pound cake, tuxedo cake, and our guests brought a pie and black forest cake as well.

This is very doable!  Instead of a bun or bagel, i used a knife and fork with my meat, and dipped it into the dips.

Salad, fruit, cheese, and nuts rounded out my plate, but there were carbs for regular folk :) and chips for the children.

Coffee and dessert for all who wanted it (but I'd rather stay paleo!)

It wasn't the fanciest ever table, but there was plenty to eat, plenty of variety, and best of all, no stress on my part about food, or what to eat, or feeling deprived *or* like a bad hostess...

I'd love to hear how other paleo mamas handle hospitality!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Workout : Complex Bears!

"It's a complex, not complex" he said.

We were up a little earlier this  morning, and i looked at him blankly.

"It's called a bear.  Here's how you do it."

Picking up two dumbbells, he did five squats in a row.
The dumbbells just hung from his hands.

Then, he cleaned them from his waist to his shoulders, five times in a row, bouncing lightly on his feet.

Then, push pressed from his shoulders to up in the air.  Bending his knees and pushing up with the strength from his legs.  Five times.

"Do that.  Five sets."

"I can do that!"  I said.  And i did.

Then i rowed 500 m on the rowing machine, and logged my workout on (where i am mamazee!)

All you need for this workout is a pair of dumbbells - i used 15 lb ones - and if you don't have a rower,  just go for a run around your block :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fuel : Cheat Days

Today is Friday.

And for the past few years, Friday has been date night.  Now that we have teenagers who are willing to watch their little siblings, date night has been a break for us to get out and talk about stuff, make plans, dream a little, and just be us for an hour or two once a week.

Now, with baby Octavia added to the mix, date night necessitates the unnaturally un-ergonomic carrying of the extruded plastic carseat, and the jiggling of a sometimes semi awake darling, but otherwise life goes on.

While we try to eat clean most of the time, Friday night is usually cheat night.  We don't eat huge amounts, and neither of us is in the mode of "get all the sugar you can!", but if there's something we've been craving that week, that's when we get a Tim Horton's doughnut, a slice of poundcake, or, tonight, Fatburger :)

Cheat day helps us stick to our diet in two ways - one, as a pressure valve - you're not tempted to cheat during the week, because you know you'll be able to indulge later on, and two, it reminds you that wheat and sugar really make you tired and feel logy... :)  Reminds me why we are doing this!

So, take a cheat day every once in awhile!

Workout : Angie

This is an easy one!  Get going!  The only equipment you'll need is something to pull up on :) _ the rest is all you.  Break it into as many little sets as you need to, and add them up to one hundred of each exercise!

I'm splinting while i do the crunches- if you have a little pooch from having a baby - you may have diastasis recti- and shouldn't do traditional sit ups.

Instead, you need to splint (hold the sides of the muscle together) while doing a very very simple crunch (just lift head, not shoulders!)

(This website has great information with videos! including how to see if you have a diastasis.  Many pregnant women do get this, and it's fixable! )

And Teresa Tapp's "Putting Organs in Place" (she has generously put this in her "try Before You Buy" section of her website!)  maneuver works really well, not only before any ab work, but at random times during the day.  It works by just kind  of adjusting the organs that want to take advantage of a weak postpartum rectus abdominus muscle!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fuel : Simple, Clean Suppers

I feel a little guilty blogging about meals i didn't make (except for the chicken!).  Coach T loves cooking and is a lot less utilitarian than I am.  Still, he makes meat, a veggie, and that is it.  No breads on the side, no carbs, but still... tasty!

One simple thing we do with a lot of our veggies is roasting a la Jamie Oliver.  (Click the link for the recipe!) In one of his shows, he had a huge pan of cut up veggies and poured on a "big glug" of olive oil, tossed it all up with his hands, shook generous coarse salt and pepper on it, and threw it in the roaster with his meat.  It looked beautiful, and when we tried it out, it *tasted* wonderful, too!

So, we tend to roast veggies a lot.  Some, like the sweet potatos in the top photo surprise us with how delicious they are later on, cold.  We left the skins on, and they were delicious cold as boats in our bedtime snack.

The pork ( top photo) is just marinated and cooked in a chimichurri sauce, and the chicken (second photo) was "fancy" - Coach T asked me to mix seasoning salt with butter and lift the skin all over the chicken and stuff in the seasoned butter.  Usually i just use a lot of seasoning salt and make sure to baste but the added butter did make the meat extra tasty!  They end up tasting just like the rotisserie chickens you buy at the supermarket!

The tomato and mozzarella salad is his summer favourite, and I love it too!

Here is the recipe:

Coach T's Summer Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

6-8 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1" cubes
2-3 cups mozzarella, cut into 1" cubes
2 tsp basil
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

optional add ins: pine nuts, and feta :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Workout : Powerlifting Starting Strength B

Today's workout:  Click on the video links!  It's better to do one repetition with impeccable form, than a whole bunch with bad form :)

Coach T                                         mama
overhead squats (just the bar)       Tupler technique crunches,
neck harness (90 lbs)                     splinting the diastasis
ab work

actual workout -

4 sets of 5                                      3 sets of 5 repetitions
225 x 5                                           just using the bar
275 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 5

135 x 5                                          15 lb dumbbells x 5
185 x 3                                          20 lb dumbbells x 5
185 x 3                                           20 lb dumbbells x 5

power cleans

185 x 5                                           3 sets of 5 repetitions 
225 x 5                                            just using the bar
185 x 5

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fuel : The Church Potluck

Writing about food for a family who is trying to eat paleo could get pretty repetitive if we never ate anyplace but our own house.  Today i thought i'd share about eating paleo at potlucks...

First of all - yay for my church!  I love the church we are at so much!  Great people, great preaching, singing, community - a potluck every month, and birthdays to sing for every week...  And big boys like this who try to make my baby smile (and succeed!  That's where being the oldest of a very big family comes in handy, i think!)

The problem with potlucks is that you don't have so much control over what is there, so first off, you need to make sure that your contribution is paleo.  I think that's actually kind of hard, bcz most moms of many have a few potluck recipes that are their go tos - things that are tried and true crowd pleasers.  And then paleo seems kind of pricey compared to that, and also, kind of... boring.

For our church potlucks, we have to bring a main dish, a side dish, and a salad.  So today we brought a ham (no sugary glaze), a bag of buns (for everyone else!  And our carb hungry sons...), and a romaine, blueberry and feta salad with greek dressing - it's my favourite this summer :)

And when i moved through the line, i saw so many delicious things that i could eat!  Actually, i cheated a bit, because i had corn, which is a grain, but apart from that i scored all kinds of delicious things.

The salad and ham i brought, another salad with pecans, wild greens, and a balsamic vinegar dressing, chicken with a cheese topping, brazilian lime chicken thighs (yummy!), raw carrots, and goat cheese rolled in cinnamon (what a tasty idea! Usually cinnamon is found in sweet things, but it really worked just rolled on its own around the goat cheese.  (We do eat dairy with our paleo - i know not all paleo eaters do, but we've found it a quick source of protein and yummy, too...)

And for dessert, watermelon!

Once you steel yourself to avoid the big bread basket and pasta dishes, no  matter how tempting, the church potluck can be a fun place for some paleo variety!  

I know i'm going to make that goat cheese log again here at home :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Workout : 21 Jump Street

Today's workout sounded fun!  Like Sesame  Street, but for moms in home gyms...

"Pick a spot 12 inches above where you can reach," he said.
"It will be fun," he said.

And it kinda was.

After he stopped laughing hysterically at my lack of "vert".

I tried to defend myself saying i had gained and lost 40 pounds eight times in the past seventeen years, but he has me beat there, too - he's been one hundred pounds of difference from his lightest to his heaviest.  

Anyway, here is the workout:

Four Sets of:

30 jumps to reach your spot 
(mine was a little red thingy hanging from the garage door opener)
Also, my spot was maybe 5 inches above my reach - Coach T's was a full foot...
20 pushups (Coach T did pull ups)
10 ring rows (Coach T did handstand pushups)

The pushups i think i need to graduate from girly ones to boy ones - the ring rows were made possible by two huge carabiners bought at Princess Auto yesterday :)

And, as usual, we had not only one tiny somnolent  cheerleader, but two more little girls, one who added an appropriately Olympic touch with her gigantic vuvuzela...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Workout : Powerlifting Workout

For this workout, you do need some equipment.  The good news is that if you are a busy mom who isn't too big and strong, young boys buy workout gear, then quickly grow up, leave home and rarely take it with them. So, if you want to try these exercises, you can probably get a bench and bar just for the asking on :). For bench press you'll also  need supports to hold the barbell and to rack it after each set.

If you're worried about getting bulky from weight lifting, maybe take a long look at the squats video i link below.  These girls are not bulky, and look downright pretty :)  Check out this website, too!  These are the female champions of the Crossfit 2012 games!

Here are some videos on form:

Coach T's tips:

When deadlifting, keep the bar as close to the body as possible, pull the shoulders back (make the chest big), keep your head up.

When doing squats, head up, big chest - let knees follow feet (i.e. point your feet a  little out to the sides, and your knees follow that invisible line your foot makes as you go down).  Squat to parallel at least (your butt gets as low as your knees - ideally!)

When doing bench press, align the bar to your chest at the bottom of the move, and press up over your face (to your eyes). It's not a straight line, it's an arc movement!  Don't let your elbows flare out, keep them tucked in close to your sides.


Coach T                                      mama
135lbX10 reps                            3 sets of 10 reps with the bar!
225X10 reps
315X10 reps
365X5 reps
ran out of weight!

Coach T                                      mama
225X12 reps                              1 set of 15 reps with the bar

Bench Press
Coach T                                      mama
225X18 reps                              3 sets of 10 reps with the bar
275X10 reps
315X5 reps

Don't worry if you look  like this as you lift!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fuel : Affordable Fuel for a Big Family

I've talked to a few other moms (of bigger families) who've been to the blog and wonder how it works, feeding everyone paleo.

First of all, we don't.  We figure we'll go bit by bit, and i'm still baking (!) for the little ones.  (it helps if you think of it as making kid chow :) - not meant for adult consumption)

So, the children still eat homemade whole grain (and sometimes white!) bread, biscuits, potatoes, corn...  But gradually we are converting our pantry and buying habits to include them.  It helps that paleo seems to be "all the good bits" anyway...

Except to our one extreme carboholic child :)

Anyway, one thing that's made a difference in our food budget was an offer from friends.  We don't hunt (yet) but friends are outfitters, and had a moose where the hunter didn't want all the meat.  So she called me out to her place, i brought the children, and we cut that moose up :)

Haven and the incomparable Mrs. Davis
It was seriously a lot of fun, for all the children - where else do you get to see a giant carcass suspended from a hook in the roof, or get to chop up huge sides of meat, or grind your own burger meat, and then wrap and stamp it?

Now, many months later, we are still eating that moose!  And tonight we had probably the best steak we've had in many months...

Costco has great prices and great quality, and we're able to buy sizes commensurate with our family, but a little wild meat thrown in there gives variety, and  is just as delicious as store bought!  Try it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Workout : Coach T's Crossfit WOD

This workout has no real name, since Coach T made it up.  But, it got me 600 points on Fitocracy :) so it must be good! (my username is mamazee - if you wanna join me there, I'd love to hear from other moms or paleo friends :)...)

This is what we did:

Three rounds: as fast as you can!

Row 1000m 
(we have a C2 rower - but a rower is a great thing to have - it really is a whole body exercise!)

50 pushups

50 crunches 
(i did the Tupler variation, where you splint the diastasis recti)

Coach T and I took turns on the rower, and our little minions held baby O's hands and cooed at her so she would be happy...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fuel : Snack time

If you've tried to  lose weight before, the idea of a bedtime snack may not seem like a good idea.  But if you've been in the Zone, you'll know where we're coming from.  Three meals, two snacks, all balanced carbs/protein/good fat.

This is what Coach T made me for my bedtime snack.  Mmmm....

Being paleo doesn't mean following all the Zone rules, but we do find they mesh pretty well, and following the Zone may be better if you are the type of person who likes to count calories, or measure portions, or who is apt to cheat :)  just a tiny little bit!

Right now, we're loosely following Zone/Paleo/ketogenic diet rules - low carbs (and good carbs over refined, no white sugar/flour), adequate protein, and high(er) fat.  It's so delicious!  And, i lost another pound this week :)....

Monday, July 23, 2012

Workout : With Teens

We just finished a "weightlifting session" with Wy, our almost 17 year old.  He is not near as passionate as his dad about fitness!  But he has to complete 80 hours of various activities as part of his PE 10 course - so here we are!

Things that went well - kept the lessons short, lots of demonstration, posters on the wall with good information, and a fitness partner (mom) who is less in shape than he is, so he isn't too scared to try in front of dad.

Things that were challenging: a reluctance to look foolish or fail in front of dad, a reluctance to try new things.  A lack of flexibility.

This is weight training with our teen :) - with our next one, who is 14, it would be different issues.  But physical exercise is such a great benefit to your children, and i think we're more likely to stay faithful in working out if we *can* include them.  Not feeling obligated to do it every time, but so far everyone down to our four year old is able to do *something* with us out in the home gym, and has :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fuel : Paleo Pizza

I smelled dinner cooking and it smelled like.... Pizza Hut!

What on earth?  So delicious... so forbidden...

But when T called us upstairs to eat, there was something decidedly unpizzalike on the table.

The bacon definitely made up for the lack of crust - it was crunchy, and salty and delicious.  The chicken was seasoned using a bottled cilantro/lime marinade (we also love Tyler Florence's Ultimate chimichurri sauce if you prefer making from scratch).

And over all, melted cheese.  Everyone ate it and loved it :)

Coach T's Paleo Pizza

Cut up ten chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.  Throw them into a casserole dish (9X13 pyrex baking dish, ungreased).  Slather them in chimichurri sauce, or italian salad dressing, or whatever marinade you like.

Bake until almost cooked through.  Cut up half a pack of bacon.  Shake over top the chicken.  Cook again till bacon is crispy.  Drain liquid.  Cover in shredded feta and grated cheddar.  Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Even the littles ones loved it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Workout : Fran

This is a Crossfit staple - named for a woman again (poor thing).
T did the regular version, which is:


sets of 21, 15, and 9
for time (this means, time how long it takes you to complete the whole thing with no rests)

thrusters with 95 lbs on the bar
chinups  (His time: 4 min 39 seconds)


I did the mama version, which was 

thrusters with 15 lb dumbbells
followed by
bodyweight rows (My time: 4 min 37 seconds)

We're tucking the littles into bed, making sure our babysitter is aware, and stealing away to ease our muscles (or where muscles shall one day be, in my case) in the hot tub!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fuel: Breakfasts and Lunches

Breakfast is probably the easiest time to be paleo/primal.  Really, all it means is that you get to have delicious first thing in the morning.

I love toast and muffins as much as anyone, but it's not really a great way to start the day.  I know i feel logy and then ravenous an hour later when i eat bread for breakfast, but paleo breakfasts fill you up and give you energy for the morning.

I've been cruising paleo blogs  this  morning, looking for ideas, and there are some super creative people out there!  For instance,

Nomnompaleo's  sweet potato hash (she has an ipad app,  too!)

MultiplyDelicious' Paleo Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Mark Sisson's Mini Crustless Quiche
These delicious bacon wrapped muffin tin eggs from (Coach T loves these with a little extra chili chopped up and mixed in)
these labour intensive but yummy sounding 
breakfast salmon burgers from The Paleo Network

We are a little more boring - but doable!  Coach T does intermittent fasting, so he never eats breakfast, and frequently not lunch either, so i'm kind of on my own with the children for those meals.

I usually have eggs for breakfast - fried.  I don't require a lot of variety :) first thing in the morning - and eggs are easy and quick to do, and easily dressed up with cheese, avocado slices or guacamole, sides of salsa and/or sour cream, and if i have any leftover meat, pretty much anything can get fried up and then eggs poured over it.

I especially love when we have leftover pork roast - carnitas (crispy fried bits of pork) are so delicious on the side, or scrambled up with eggs!

The other awesome thing is bacon - it feels a little decadent, but bacon doesn't take too long to fry up in the pan - i add it in a few minutes before i start my eggs and end up with one dirty pan.  Of course, if i'm making paleo for all the children, too - i bake the bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven under the broiler.  It's finished super quick and i can do a pound at a time.

Coach T's lunch - leftover taco moose, with spices, mixed into scrambled eggs, with salsa on the side.

Lunches are easy, too - i make big amounts of dinner, and usually use the leftover protein for lunch,  something like the above!  This is all about quick and easy.  We are taking time over the summer to assemble more paleo recipes for variety over the winter months (and even through the summer!  I love these roast beef tacos by nomnompaleo!), but often with eight children, just getting something on the table and into our bellies is an accomplishment.  So we're going for fuel,  which occasionally is beautiful, rather than food porn every day :).