Score!

My neighbors had a garage sale over the last 2 days.  We ignored it because we are not interested in accumulating other peoples junk.

But this evening A & C came in from walking the dog and mentioned that the leftovers were available free and there were several boxes of mason jars….

That was enough to have me rushing out the front door….  I am now the owner of 50 mason jars of various sizes and shapes – some the fancy preserving ones, some the mini ones, some the HUGE ones.  Some have their rings, some don’t.  Some have the lids/seals, some don’t… but heck rings and seals are cheap… and I use these suckers for storage most often.

It was worth getting eaten alive by mosquito’s… both hubby and I are sporting more than a dozen bites and we were only out there 5 minutes.

I love garage sale leftovers almost as much as I hate the mozzies!

Paleo Meatballs – My Way

I still can’t get the pictures I took to work, so I am going to just go ahead and post this without any pics.  It won’t look quite as pretty, and I apologize for that, but at least I have it out there.

A few days ago I was looking for paleo pasta substitutes and I came across someone saying to try finely shredded white cabbage that has been sauteed.  That sounded good, especially as I had half a white cabbage that badly needed using up.  And what goes well with cabbage?  Bacon…  lets face it, bacon goes well with EVERYTHING!

So now I had a pasta substitute but I needed to work out what would go well with the bacony cabbage.  I had a pot of leftover tomato sauce, some ground bison and some pastured pork sausage.

So for dinner tonight, I decided we were having meatballs.

And this is my version.

Paleo Meatballs – my way

500g ground bison

500g bulk pastured pork sausage

1 onion

1 tsp ground garlic

1 tsp paprika

1 handful chopped fresh parsley

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste.

Pulse the onion in the food processor until it is finely chopped, but don’t let it get too liquidy or the meatballs will not hold together.  you want small pieces and no liquid.  Mix all the ingredients together until it is all well blended.  Don’t try this in the food processor – it goes to a nasty uniform mush that makes tough dry meatballs (trust me, I know, I did it once!).  Meatballs should have just a little texture they should not be tough uniform cannonballs (That is what Ikea sell, and we don’t want Ikea meatballs do we?).

Next step is making these babies…  Wet your hands because it stops the mixture sticking and roll them out into itty-bitty little balls no bigger than a walnut.  Arrange these on a rimmed baking sheet that you have lined to make cleanup easier (Actually I don’t care if you don’t line it – it is no biggie to me if you have to scrub the baking sheet!  But I lined mine because I am lazy).  I found that this mix made 54 of the little darlings…  what a pity I couldn’t squeeze one more out to take up that last space on the baking sheet!

(There should have been a picture of the tray of meatballs with one space empty in the top left hand corner inserted here)

Bake in a 190C/375F oven until cooked.  I found that about 25-30 minutes was about right.

While they are baking prepare what is to go with them.

(I had 3 pictures of the cooked meatballs to insert here – one as soon as I took them out of the oven, one after I had nommed one of them and one after A had nommed one).

Tomato Sauce

You need 2-3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce.  You could make your own but I was lazy and used one out of the freezer so I can’t tell you what is in it.   Use a store bought one if you like, I won’t mind.

Cabbage Noodles with Bacon

6 slices of amazing pastured bacon – thinly sliced

1/2 head of white cabbage – sliced thinly

2 cloves of garlic – crushed

(I had a picture of my amazing pastured bacon to insert here)

Put the bacon in a skillet over a medium heat to allow it to crisp up and the fat to render out.  The idea here is to produce as much bacony goodness (AKA bacon fat) as possible, so don’t have that heat too high – keep is low enough that you can render out most of the fat before it starts to burn.  Scoop the bacon out of the fat before it burns and toss in the garlic.  Allow to sizzle for a minute or two but don’t let it burn (burned garlic tastes horrid!) and then dump in the cabbage noodles.   Toss well and add the bacon back in.  Keep tossing until the cabbage is slightly tender but still has some bite.

Serve a big pile of cabbage noodles with the meatballs on top and then  top with the tomato sauce.

(The final picture was a plated version – the cabbage noodles with all their bacony goodness.  A pile of beautiful baby meat balls and all topped with tomato sauce)

And finally call the ravening hoards (AKA the kids) to the table.  OMMM NOMMMM NOMMMM

Post Fail

I had a really cool post that I wanted to do this evening

A recipe!

With Pictures!

The post is all written, but I took the pictures using my cell (lack of camera at the time) and it is refusing to let me transfer or email them at this time….  post fail.

I will need to get the IT guy (AKA I the Hubby) to help me out as I am clueless…

so watch this space folks!

My new job

I had my first day at my new job yesterday…

Fortunately the clinic was not affected by the flooding last week despite being downtown, but it was closed for most of the week.  But finally the city allowed them to open on Thursday, so I was able to start as planed.

I did 7 (yes 7!) massages! BOY is that a lot for a massage therapist to do in one day.  I did 5x 60 minute massages (that is a lot in itself!), one 45 minute one and a 30 minute one.  Needless to say, I was absolutely exhausted when I got home.

Today was easier.  Only 4 clients (and strangely all of them men with upper back/neck/shoulder problems).  I did 2x 60 minute, one 30 minute and one 45 minute treatments.  All good though.

And now I am off until Tuesday.  Three bookings so far, all in the morning.  That will no doubt increase.

Well I did say I wanted to work in a busy place….

And BOY is this place busy!

Big step!

I took a huge step today…  I called Hubby’s employment assistance program to ask about counseling for my PTSD.  1st step on the road to healing.

The PTSD is the result of a brutal car accident 7 years ago when I fractured 2 vertebrae and my sternum.  And it has left me totally terrified to drive.  For the most part I even have some difficulty as a passenger, but I am totally unsafe as a driver as I have a tendency to use avoidance techniques.  I look down when I see something scarey on the roads.  if I see a car coming towards me I will try to get out of the way, things like that.  And I have also been known to have panic attacks in the car too.

Apparently I get 3 free sessions – I doubt that 3 is enough, but it is a start…

Flooding

Calgary has been hit hard by flooding.  Up to 75 000 people have been evacuated from 25 different communities, downtown is mostly underwater and everything is just a mess.  All schools are closed, they are advising everyone to stay home and lots of roads are closed.  Even the Saddledome is flooded up to the 10th level.

Luckily I live on a hill way away from the river so my family and home is safe.  But the pictures are really incredible.

calgaryzooflood stampedeflood calgaryflood1 calgaryflood2 calgaryflood3 calgaryflood4 calgaryflood5 calgaryflood6

saddledome

It isn’t just Calgary that is affected though – High River has been mostly destroyed, Canmore, Banff, Red Deer, Okotoks, Bragg Creek and several other towns around Calgary are also affected.

I got a job!

So late last night I got a job…

On Monday I went for 2 interviews – one at a Chiropractic clinic, the other at a multidisciplinary health clinic (they have chiro’s, acupuncturists, naturopaths, nutritional therapists and massage therapists).

The multidisciplinary one asked me to go today to do 2 demo massages, so they must have liked me in the interview.  But then I got a call from the Chiro asking me if I wanted the job!  I came over well at the interview and when I did the demo massage on his dad apparently I gave him the best massage he has ever had!

Anyway, I start on the 27th, part-time, 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and alternate Saturdays..

Life is good 🙂

Italian Bar Snacks

Earlier this year, Hubby and I visited Charcut, a restaurant here in Calgary which is partially owned and run by Connie DeSousa, who was a finalist on season 1 of Top Chef Canada a couple of years ago.  I had wanted to eat there ever since I saw her on that show (did I mention that I am an avid Food Network viewer even if most of the food is not paleo?).  Anyway, since my birthday is in May, I decided that he was going to take me out to dinner there.  Since then, we have eaten there several times.

The food is incredible!  We had bone marrow with toast (I know the toast is not technically paleo, but it does help transfer the bone marrow to your mouth).  A hint here, order more than one bone marrow – one between 2 is not enough.  I am not sure even one per person is really enough!  We also ordered the Charcut board – a board filled with all different types of charcuterie, made to share.  And we had sousvide pork belly.  And cheesecake in a jar for desert (Again, non-paleo but totally delicious).

And as an amuse-bouche when we first sat down, they brought us “Italian Bar Snacks” – which they described to us as pork jerkey.

It was porky, salty, and tasted of garlic, citrus and fennel.  Delicious!  And since then I have been trying to recreate it using some of the side of pork we buy from Spragg’s Meat Shop.  I feel confident that it is safe to eat this pork dehydrated and not cooked, not only because it is the same meat that Connie deSousa uses at Charcut, but also because it is incredible quality, pasture raised meat.

Anyway, this is the recipe for the latest attempt.

Italian Bar Snacks (aka Pork Jerkey)

Makes 65-75 pieces

*Please note, this recipe uses raw, uncooked and dehydrated pork – I am happy making and consuming it because I am confident about the quality of the pork I buy.  I would only recommend you make this if you can source some really good quality, free-range, pastured pork.  Definitely not one to make with grocery store pork!

1 1/2lb thin cut pork (I used the pork schnitzel that came with our side of pork)

1 tbsp whole fennel seed

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

a good grating of black pepper

zest and juice of 2 lemons

Take the pork and cut it into long thin strips.  The ones we ate at Charcut were very much thinner than normal jerkey almost as wide as they were thick and very long a good 6-8″ long.  The ones I cut today were about half an inch thick but not as long, only about 3-4 inches long as I was limited by the size of the pieces of meat.

Put the fennel, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, black pepper and lemon zest in a food processor and whizz it up to break up the seeds.  It is OK if it is a little bit coarse still.  Pour this mixture over the pork, add the lemon juice and mix well with your hands.

Put in the fridge to marinate for a while to allow the pork to absorb all the flavours.  The lemon juice will also “cook” the pork a little – kind of like pork ceviche.

After a couple of hours, place the pork in a dehydrator (I guess you could possible dry this out in an oven set at the lowest possible temperature as well, but I use my Excalibur Food Dehydrator that I bought me for my birthday).  I set the dehydrator at 68C/155F for making jerkey and it will dehydrate fairly quickly – a few hours is all it needs as the slices are so thin.

Nom with a cold drink….

Time to revamp the blog

I keep doing this and keep slipping.  But this time I feel I want to start blogging more.

A lot has changed in the past 2 years…

I graduated as a massage therapist with a 2200 hour diploma.  I did a pregnancy and post-natal massage course.  I did a course in myofascial release.  I got a job at a chronic pain management and soft tissue injury rehab clinic (and received training in low intensity laser therapy and a small amount of training in some manual osteopathic techniques – no qualifications though mores the pity).  I worked there for almost 10 months when they decided to let me go due to lack of work.

So now I am looking for another position.  Several interviews under my belt I have two scheduled for Monday and the possiblility of a self-employed contractor role where I have to build a client base from the ground up.

Other than that I radically overhauled my families diet and we are now all a combination of Paleo, Primal, Clean Eating and Weston Price.

Hubby and I are both more Paleo than anything else – Hubby wants to loose lots of weight (And is succeeding too – he looks fab!), so he is avoiding the carbs and dairy.  I can’t eat the dairy because of my allergy to casein.  A (eldest daughter) is primal.  She has felt the benefits of eating low carb and avoiding grains and pulses and feels fantastic.  But she can’t give up the cheese – feta is her passion!  And the other 3 girls (C, J and B) are more Weston Price combined with some clean eating….  they eat some carbs in the form of bread, sprouted grains etc.  Overall it is working well for our family and we are all much healthier.

What prompted the change was that I weighed myself at Christmas and realized to my horror that I was the heaviest I have ever been – 190lb.  At 5″8″ that put my BMI at 28.9 – well at the upper end of the normal weight range and not far off being obese.  For years I had prided myself on being a healthy weight and eating a  healthy diet, yet somehow the weight had crept on despite me doing a job that was very physically active and meant that I was on my feet all day long.

I decided that something HAD to change.

Random googling lead me to Marks Daily Apple and it all took off from there.  I cut out the carbs and started to loose weight and felt better and better – healthier than I had in years.  Then Hubby decided to join me.  From there it was natural to include the kids because who wants to cook several meals after a long day and an even longer commute (I was working 40 hours a week and had a 90 minute commute by transit each way).

So that is the update in a nutshell – I have changed my diet, become healthier, and am looking for a new massage job.