Tootles 2013!

Since I blogged pretty heavy through 2013 I’ll save you the recap, however, here’s the few things I’m shooting for in 2014:

  • New blog design and layout by Bianca Frank
  • Organization of my Pinterest boards (http://www.pinterest.com/jesspacpaleo/)
  • Make a RAD monthly goals list
  • A PINK 35th birthday in Vegas
  • Lose the 20 pounds I gained in 2013
  • Yoga more
  • One solid, focused, beautiful, unassisted, strict: pull up. One.  Just one.

2013 was a wonderful year for our family.  Wonderful.  I haven’t blogged or worked out much at all in the past few weeks because, well, I have many excuses: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my 23 year old (step) daughter was visiting with our 1st grandchild are at the top my list!

Place father Christmas atop our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving

Place Father Christmas atop our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving

Smartie wrecked havoc almost every single day!

Smartie wrecked havoc almost every single day!

It only took a week for ol' Smartie to go on STRIKE!!

It only took a week for ol’ Smartie to go on STRIKE!!

I made it JYs "holiday" performance!

I made it JYs “holiday” performance!

Baked Christmas cookies!

Baked Christmas cookies!

Even got the pre-teen to help out!

Even got the pre-teen to help out!

Legos.  A job for my boys!

Legos. A job for my boys!

His squadron Christmas party!

His squadron Christmas party!

Araha Beach

Araha Beach

My squadron Christmas Party

My squadron Christmas Party

Sea Garden

Sea Garden

Aquarium

Aquarium

Xystus Play Place

Xystus Play Place

Jams

Jams

Instead of throwing weights around, making grocery lists and blogging every step- I took this holiday season for me.  And my family.  This year was the first year we celebrated Christmas with all four children.  Being a blended family with adult children, grandchildren and living overseas- THIS was a big deal!!!  And we enjoyed every last second of it!

I pray 2013 was as good to you and your family is it was to ours.  To 2014: I’m coming for ya!

Tootles-

jess

Mega Don Quijote

First there was ETWS, now there is Mega Don Quijote (Donki)!!!  OkiHai compares Donki to Walmart and I agree-ish.  Donki is the product of my thought process.  It’s chaos.  It’s colorful.  It’s loud.  It puts a dent in the wallet!

Once you park on the roof, make your way down the aquarium elevator and follow the red rug to Japan Land.  The first section is eye lashes.  Literally 8 rows of eye lashes.  Apparently eye lashes are big business around here!  Around the corner is the over lit area of accessories: purses, sunglasses, and watches.  After you turn the corner- good luck finding your bearing!  Electronics, kitchen tools, car accessories, childrens toys and clothes, hair products, and there’s even a grocery section!

The original intent of my voyage through Donki was to find accessories to our Halloween costume: chefs hat, an apron and an orange shirt.

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

We wore our couples costume to Reebok Crossfit Asia’s Kids Halloween party.  The only person to get it… got it on their fourth try.  Hmph.

Since I was already half way through crazytown Don Quijote I thought I’d wonder through the grocery section.  Holy happiness!!!  I’m on a spice kick as it is- and I was in heaven!

Its no Penzys- but it'll do!

Its no Penzys- but it’ll do!

I’m on my last jar of Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute Spice and have been looking for a replacement.  I have my fair share of spices but it just takes so much time creating spice blends that I really wanted a choice of already blended seasonings.  I went home with “The Oh!Zone”!!!!

Oh!Zone!!

Maybe its the over use of the !… I like it!!!!

The innuendo sold me: A cleansing blend to add a “lift” to stir-fries & curries.  Also delicious in salad dressings, sauces & in place of refined salt as a healthier table condiment.  You can stay in the gutter, if you want 😉

Back to spices: this isn’t the best collection of spices I’ve ever seen but it has done its job of holding me over.  Therefore, I’ve still been on the look out for a company that I love as much as The Chefs Olive Mix for oils and vinegars- but for spices.  Enter the magical potion of friend and Facebook: a friend suggested Savory Spice Shop.  She even let me “borrow” some of her fancy spices: anise and cardamom (Bo Kho and Rogan Josh recipe).  It has a drop down for APO.  Need I say more?  Ok, fine, I will: Roasted Garlic Granules, Raritan River Herb & Chipotle Seasoning,Citrus & Savory Brining Spices and Madagascar Vanilla Extract… my kitchen is ’bout to explode… now we wait!!!

Tootles-

jess

Mean Cuisine Recipes and Review

A fellow foodie, Leah, has started to offer her chef skills to the peeps of Okinawa: Mean Cuisine!  I took advantage of the October special and booked a “Mix it Up” Class.  After a few emails back and forth and a small deposit, my reservation was made!

We met at Awase Fish Market at a designated time plus the 10 minutes it took me to do a u-turn and map study.  We started at the veggie stand.  Leah explained where specific veggies came from with details on taste, texture and recipe ideas.  We picked out some good looking veggies and headed into the actual market.  Inside we notice it was slim picking on the fish front.  3 o’clock was a bit late for a good selection.  We were still able to pick out a few whole fish and turned them into the super quick fish-cleaner-guy fishmonger while we made our way to the sashimi section.

"Yes, Id like the keep the heads"... wait... what?

“Yes, Id like the keep the heads”… wait… what?

When all was said and done, I spent  around ¥6,000 in fresh vegetables and fish- planning to serving 12.

Back at my house we unloaded the groceries and started the first side: Garlic- Chipotle KabochaKabocha is a Japanese pumpkin and available everywhere!!!  I have never cooked with this little guy… this is what I learned: 1.) you’re supposed to eat the peel and 2.) in some cultures it’s an aphrodisiac!!

Kabocha

Kabocha

Galic-Chipotle Kabocha

  • 1 kabocha; stem and bottom removed, deseeded, and sliced into wedges
  • 4 T EVOO
  • 3 T garlic granules
  • 2 t Chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Smother kabocha wedges with EVOO, sprinkle with garlic and chipotle and roast for 20 minutes.  Flip and roast for 20 more.

Smokey, sweet and spicy... Kabocha!

Smokey, sweet and spicy… Kabocha!

My guests arrived willing and eager to learn and cook– Leah put them to work washing the lettuce for the sashimi salad.  While one side of the kitchen prepped the salad, Leah and I started the Fish Head Soup.  This soup looks complicated… it’s not- promise!!

Fish Head Soup

  • 1 pot of water
  • 3 fish heads
  • 1 yellow onion;  ends cut off and chopped in half (leave the skin)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t marjoram, dried
  • 1 t thyme, dried
    ——————-
  • 1/2 t Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 T coconut four
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
    ——————-
  • 3″ lemon grass, bruised
  1. Bring ingredients to a boil and then down to a simmer.
  2. When the fish’s eyes “pop” it’s time to start adding salt, pepper, more salt.
  3. Boil until the soup reduces to half the volume.
  4. Strain everything out so you’re left with only broth.
  5. Mix curry powder, coconut flour and arrowroot in a small dish then add to fish broth and mix with a hand blender
  6. Add fish balls, lemon grass, salt and pepper- soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish heads, water and veggies!

Fish heads, water and veggies!

Volume is down to 1/2

Volume is down to 1/2

Fish Balls

  • 1 raw fish, skin and bones removed, chopped
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, minced
  • ½ t black salt
  • ¼ t wasabi powder
  1. Mix all ingredients with fingertips in a small bowl.
  2. Form small balls about the size of paintballs.
  3. Drop into fish broth.
  4. Soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish Ball Soup

Fish Ball Soup

Yes, I’m saving the best for last:

Butter-Fried Fish

  • Whole fish: innards, head and scaled removed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • EVOO
  • (optional: garlic granules, herb, etc. of your choice).
  1. Melt butter in pan at med-high heat.
  2. Make paste of oil, salt and herbs or spices that you      choose.
  3. Massage into skin of fish.
  4. Fry fish until it moves easily in the pan.
  5. Flip.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Enjoy.
    Fish and butter, baby!

    Fish and butter, baby!

    Crispy fish!

    Crispy fish!

    Mean Cuisine Review:

Overview: I met Leah at Awase fish market and purchased ingredients to serve 12 for a “fish dinner”.  In my kitchen, we made: fish ball soup, sashimi salad, garlic-chipotle kabocha, three butter-fried fish and 1 oven baked fish.  It took 2 hours from unloading groceries to saying grace.

Pros: Leah’s Mean Cuisine was a great opportunity and I plan on doing it again (Kokasai Street next time!!!)!  She was informative, creative and a pleasure to learn from.  My favorite part was having her in my kitchen.  For example, I have more spices than you can shake a stick at yet I rarely use them.  Leah went through all my spices and gave me some awesome suggestions and pairings.  The laughter that helped build dinner will not be soon forgotten!!!

Cons:  We bought waaaaaay too much sashimi.  Also, I had originally shopped for 12 dinner guests.  Luckily, a couple of husbands didn’t make it and we had just enough for every one.

Prices: Book a cooking lesson before October 31 and pay only ¥1,000 per student per hour (minimum 2 hours) plus materials fee.

Details: Find Leah on facebook or visit her blog!

The dinner party!

The dinner party!

Tootles-

jess

Donny Shankle Seminar

This weekend I spent 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday participating in a Weightlifting Seminar with Olympic Weightlifter Donny Shankle.  Even though the only moves he dissected were the snatch and the clean & jerk, I learned a lot more than I had expected.

Ten Things I learned from Olympic Weightlifter Donny Shankle:

  1. Weightlifters are a bunch of bad asses.
  2. Weightlifters lift in kilos.  Times pounds by 2.2 to get kilos.
  3. Need to have the right kit: Olympic (oly) weightlifting shoes. You can customize them: here.
  4. Know and record your PRs.
  5. The best way to learn the snatch/clean & jerk is to learn from the top down.
  6. Yes, the bar actually hits your body in the “pocket”.
  7. Do NOT get frustrated: unless you train these lifts professionally (which is three hours a day: EVERY day).
  8. Be aggressive.
  9. Be confident.
  10. Make goals.
Reebok Crossfit Asia & Donny Shankle

Reebok Crossfit Asia & Donny Shankle

#1: Weightlifters are a bunch of bad asses. When I thought of “weight-lifters”, prior to this seminar, I thought of great big guys with big ol’ bellys and prison tattoos; with a bald head.  Donny Shankle walked strutted around as an average 6 foot tall guy with medium long curly hair- his tattoos were simple and beautiful.  His voice was deep with an accent impossible to place.  His eyes: patient, focused and passionate for lifting.  This guy is a bad ass; and I know my bad asses.

#4: Know and record your PRs. After two years of crossfitting I thought I mastered the “Log Book”.  My wods are logged chronologically with my scaling in paraenthesis.  In the back of my book I have the following sections: general (heros, girls, 5k, ect), thruster, shoulder press, push press, push jerk, power clean, squat clean, snatch, front squat, overhead squat, hi-bar back squat, low-bar back squat, & deadlift.  I’m going to start a new book and have a PR section before my general section.

#7: Do NOT get frustrated.  If you’re not getting frustrated at crossfit- you’re doing it wrong.  Frustration comes with the territory, but don’t let it own you.  If it takes Donny Shankle eight years to PR– it might take a little longer for you.

#8: Be aggressive.  “…like you’re ripping the head off a god damn lion.”- Donny Shankle.  Seriously bad ass.

#9: Be confident.  Positive begets Positive.  Fill that brain-housing-group with positive thoughts!  “Be patient.  It will.  If the training remains constant, it will.”- Donny Shankle.

#10: Make goals.  Along the lines with #4 my new crossfit log book will have a goal section.  It will be on the first page.  My goals will be specific and have a target date.  If I don’t make my goal by the date I will channel lesson #9 and change the date.

goalTootles-

jess

Paleo Surf n Turf

The hubster just came home from a two week TDY (business trip) and I thought a Surf n Turf dinner would be nice to come home to:

What says welcome home than a T-bone?!

What says welcome home than a T-bone?!

This dinner was wicked easy to put together…. especially since I let him do most of the work!  If you have one of these husbands laying around… tell him to fire up his grill!

1. While your hubster starts the coals for the grill: take the steaks out of the fridge and out of the wrappers.

2. Make a rub… heres mine:

  • 2 t granulated garlic
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • salt and peppa

3. Dice red onion, tuna (from any Japanese grocery store in the sashimi section), avocado and mango (dice the red onion a tad bit smaller than the rest).

4. Make the dressing:

  • 1 1/2 t minced ginger
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 t coconut aminos
  • 2 t sesame oil

5. Grab a small bowl and add diced onions, then pack in the diced tuna, avocado and then the diced mango.  Press firmly but don’t squish… finesse it.  Layer the diced yumminess until it reaches the top of the bowl.

6. Slice up a watermelon.

7. Rub one side of the steaks with your rub, the other half with salt & pepper.  Give your husband the steaks.  Remind him not to over cook them.

8. Open a bottle of wine, unless your preggo, then make sure your doors are locked.

9. Plate your Tuna Salad by placing the plate upside down on your bowl.  Flip the bowl and plate.  Slowly remove the bowl… slowly!  It tastes the same if a few squares fall of out place, trust me.

10. Top your sexy salad with the dressing.

11. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top.

Nacho Mommas Tuna Salad

Nacho Mommas Tuna Salad

12. Throw some watermelon on your plate.  Add salt if you’re from the South (or know where the “South” is).

13. Wait for your husband to come in the door with perfectly cooked steaks.

14. Add your steaks to your plate and fight over whether or not butter is paleo.

Cheers.

Tootles-

jess

*I am not a doctor and do not tell preggo women what to do with their bodies.

** The tuna salad was inspired by www.justataste.com… thank you Pinterest.

Tools for Crossfit. Tools for Paleo.

Holy crap- Crossfit has been in the news and not in a good way.  Between “should a preggo do overhead squats” to “do Crossfit and you’ll get rhabdo and die” to my favorite “I don’t want to get bulky” — Sheesh! To balance all this ickiness plaguing my faceboook  there has been some amazingly awesome things: Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Fallon are in my top three, but this one is my total favorite for the week: “Idol Winner Ruben Studdard Now Biggest Loser“. 2 reasons why I love that a celebrity is a contestant on Biggest Loser: 1.) Takes away the excuse (guilty): If I was famous and had someone cook for me and tell me when to work out I’d be Hollywood thin too! 2.) Biggest Loser uses all types of workouts for their athletes including Crossfit. Even with all of the negative publicity of Crossfit… I’m still loving it.  I’m loving it so much, in fact, that I have signed up for another crossfit cert!  I am beyond excited to be travelling to Hong Kong to participate in the Crossfit Gymnastics certification. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please look into attending a Crossfit Level 1 certification.  Even if you have only been crossfitting for a short amount of time, the information you receive during this 16 hour seminar is mind blowing!  Rumor has it that Shogun Crossfit on Kadena will be hosting a Level One cert— seriously, check into it! So, this one isn’t “Crossfit” affiliated, but its sure to be bad ass… Reebok Crossfit Asia will have Donny Shankle in town for a two day weightlifting seminar.  Who the eff is Donny Shankle?!?!   Please, please, please watch this video:

THAT IS 458.562 POUNDS, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

I may never be a crossfit trainer and I may never get a muscle up- and that’s ok with me.  These certifications are (very expensive) tools that give me two valuable things:

The first is knowledge.  They teach me the safe and efficient way to do move my body.

The second is confidence.  Crossfit can be intimidating and down right confusing as hell.  Having a whole weekend to break down each movement to the point where it starts making sense changed everything for me.

Along with knowledge and confidence, I met some really awesome folks and Ill continue to use these tools to help my family travel from sickness into wellness for the rest of our lives (and that’s a super long time).

On a lighter note I wanted to show some things that I use on a weekly basis that help me in the kitchen. My number one favorite thing I have in my kitchen is my egg boiler.  I have had a gazillion recipes for idiot-proof-hard-boiled eggs and have proven each and every one of them wrong…. until this: DB tech at 22.95 Chefschoice at 38.97 Cuisinart at 39.95 I’d go to Bed Bath and Beyond, but I don’t think Ill have the time….

18 minutes. Perfect eggs.

Follow up with an ice bath- peels right off… everytime. Even with fresh eggs from the oki egg zoo!

My second biggest helper in the kitchen is my handy dandy Pampered Chef chopper.  If you have been on Okinawa for more than 6 months and haven’t been invited to a carb filled Pampered Chef party… then you need to find new friends.

Zeds dead, baby.

#3: Grease-thing-a-ma-jigger.  The name says it all, really.  Oh, too much nitrate in your bacon, leave it for me… Ill take it.

Got this at a flea market 10 years ago: Fiddy Cent.

Bacon crusties. Looks tempting, but don’t eat them… trust me on this one.

Liquid Gold aka bacon grease!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stanco at $7.80 FoxRun at $18.37 RSVP at $19.95 Why don’t I have my own store on Amazon?  Seriously.  Which brings me to the point that I make a big fat goose egg (zero dollars) on the links I post on my sight. In closing…

kids-watching-mom

Tootles- jess #morelinksthanyoucanshakeastickat, #I<3lists, #longwinded

Permission Kale Salad

Heres what my kale looked like this week:

Kale

Kale

I found it at the commissary.  I haven’t found any kale off base.  Well, to be honest…. I haven’t looked very hard.  Whatevs, go to the commisscary.   Buy kale, bacon, chicken breasts and light tasting olive oil.  Then go to the gate three market and buy a permission and some eggs.

This is an awesome lunch but start making this at breakfast time- trust me on this!

Step 1: Make breakfast with a side of bacon.  Set aside a few pieces for your lunch.

Bacon

Bacon

Step 2: Brine your chicken.  Say whaaaaat?  Yes.  Do it- trust me.  Get a big ol’ zip locked bag.  Fill it with:

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 T Kosher Salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 T coconut aminos
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 t coriander seeds
  • 2 t whole black peppercorns
  • 1 package of chicken breasts- thawed
  • **everything is from the commissary except the aminos.  The original recipe called for cumin seeds, but I haven’t them**

It looked gross- so I didn’t take a picture.  You’re welcome.  Then leave.  Take your kids to school or walk your dog.  Go to the 0845 wod, go shopping at the BX, do whatever you do.  Then come home.  And prepare yourself… and your salad.

Step 3: Preheat oven to “BROIL”.

Step 4: Dice your kale and throw it in a bowl.  Squeeze some lemon on it, massage it like you mean it, and set it aside.  Been there, huh?

Step 5: Take your chicken out of its salt bath and rinse it off.  Set it in a colander to drip dry.

Step 6:  Make your rub:

  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1/2 T chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 T allspice
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • 1 t ground black pepper—(if you have a pepper in a shaker… throw it away.  Please use fresh ground pepper…. for everything.)
  • **each of these I got at the commissary… the original recipe called for cumin seeds, but I haven’t them**

Mix all the spices up and add a Tablespoon or two of melted ghee or coconut oil to create a paste.  Spoon the paste over each breast of chicken and massage it.  Yes… massage those breasts.  Do it.  It’s only weird if you make it weird.

Step 7: Put chicken in the oven on the top rack for 7ish minutes. Flip it over and 7 more minutes.  If there are beads of solid white pearls on the top of your chicken- it is done.  If it’s not, put it back in the oven until juices run clear or it’s no longer pink inside.

Step 8: Assemble your salad:

Diced and massaged with lemon

Kale: diced and massaged with lemon

add diced brined chicken

add diced brined chicken

add diced persimmons

add diced persimmons… call them permissions… see if anyone calls you out.

add pine nuts

add pine nuts

add diced bacon

add diced bacon

Top with dressing

Top with dressing

dressing:

  • 1/4 c mayo
  • 2 mint leaves diced super small
  • 3 sprigs of parsley diced super small
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper

Tootles-

jess

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