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

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

Highway to Kale

When I changed the way our family looked at food I started becoming more open minded to new foods.  Not the new food creations (low-fat, low sodium, turkey bacon, ect.)  that the smart and sassy marketers were advertising… but the foods that have been here before me, before my family.  I felt to go forward I needed to look back.  Our human race has survived for hundreds of years without Kraft and Kellogg, right?

Don’t get me wrong- I’m perfectly happy in our technological advanced life of 2013- especially when I update my Facebook and can take pictures with my phone!  But when I emptied my pantry of these “packaged” goods, I freaked out!  What the hell am I going to cook!

That’s around the time I started cyber stalking everydaypaleo, theclothesmakethegirl, nomnompaleo, marksdailyapple, and paleoparents.  They had weird ingredients (coconut EVERYTHING).  Weird cuts of meat (marrow?  really?).  Weird cooking techniques (a-sous-vide a-what?).

I got overwhelmed.  But, this confusion is what lead to me down the Highway to Kale!!!

I know kale is intimidating.  I get it.  I thought I was eating kale for three months when a gal posted a picture on facebook saying she thought she was eating kale and turned out she was eating mustard greens… hahahahaaa… wait.  That looks like the kale I’ve been eating.  Crap.

This is Kale:

Kale is sexy

*thank you Juice Generation for the awesome picture… if ever in New York- Im coming over!

I haven’t found kale off base.. so you’ll have to go to the dreaded commiscary for it, but go- get you some kale!  Here’s a few fun and yummy things to do with your new bestie: kale…

Blueberry Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 lemon- juiced
  • blueberries
  • cooked bacon
  • 3 T pine nuts
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1T Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 t poppy seeds
  • salt and pepper

My inspiration was this beautiful picture I had seen on Pinetrest.  I followed the link and adjusted the recipe to and paleo-tized it!!!

  1. Dice your kale into small bites, removing the stem.
  2. Place in a bowl and cover with lemon juice.  Now wring that kales neck!  Massage the crap out of it!  Let it sit and get comfy.
  3. Brown your pine nuts and then let them cool.
  4. Fry up your bacon, drain and let them cool.
  5. Make your dressing: mix EVOO, vinegar, poppy seeds, salt and pepper like its going out of style (hopefully with twerking).
  6. Add blueberries, pine nuts, bacon and dressing to your salad.  Stir.  Refrigerate or not.  Eat and be happy.
Blueberry Kale Salad

Blueberry Kale Salad

I did another variation of this salad exchanging the blueberries for mango and the pine nuts for toasted macadamia nuts.  BOMB!

Mango Kale Salad

Mango Kale Salad

The day before the first day of kindergarten I ran to the BX to purchase what I could of JYs school supplies.  Yup.  I’m that mom.  On my way to the stationary section, the BX had a “Vitamix” demonstration going on.  JY asked if she could watch.  We watched were mesmerized.  We stood for 20 minutes as the gal shoved: spinach, pineapple, raw honey, apple, and the kitchen sink into her Vitamix.  The gal spoke about the nutritional benefits of beginning a child’s day with fruits and veggies as opposed to anything else (I liked how PC she was).  She gave an example of a study where children around the age of 5 (JYs age) where half of the kids were given a “green smoothie” for breakfast and the other half a “traditional breakfast”; both groups went outside to play for an hour.  When the children came back inside every child was offered the choice of an apple or a bag of chips.  She had exact numbers, which I didn’t write down, but bottom line was: out of both groups of kids, the kids who had the smoothie were more likely to choose the apple.  Her point was that children know, instinctively, what their body needs.

Of course there’s a whole bunch of angles we could take to rip apart this so called study but I liked where she was going with it.  I didn’t buy a Vitamix (yet), but I did try to recreate her smoothie:

Smooth as Kale

  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 bunch kale- stems removed
  • 1 apple-core removed
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 c ice
it's easy being green!

it’s easy being green!

I used a Ninja.  I loved it.  MC drank 1/2 of his, JR drank all of his, and JY took 3 sips.  I don’t see this replacing my kids breakfast, but it sure beats a capri-sun!!!

Lastly… the “kale chip”.  The word “chip”, to me, signifies the ability to hold or scoop salsa or guacamole.  Kale can not do such thing- therefore does not deserve the label of a chip.  I shall call it what it is: a kale crisp!

Kale Crisp

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • bacon fat
  • salt and peppa

Spinderella mix it up one time.  Then bake it (350 degrees) until its golden brown.  Let cool… yes, your children will eat it!  Now give them a lesson on 90s hip hop (I am devastated that my son is convinced Lil Wayne says, “Becky look at her…”… devastated).

Tootles-

jess

Daikon No Hana, Naha

The hubsters man-cation came to an end with a missed flight in Narita and an over night stay in Tokyo.  Monday morning I packed up all three kids and drove them to Naha to pick him up.  It was close to lunch time and I had seen on a thread in the Okinawa Foodies Group on restaurants in Naha.  One gal suggested a buffet place with organic choices.  I PM’d a friend and got some more info and then loaded the car with the kids, husband and luggage filled with primary journals.

Directions:

Go to the airport via the expressway.

Expressway Exit

Expressway Exit

Once you’re off the expressway, do a U-turn at this building:

U-turn here

U-turn here

Japanese Organic Buffet

Daikon No Hana: Japanese Organic Buffet

The atmosphere was very comfortable and laid back.  We paid under Y5,000 for three children and two adults for the lunch buffet.

You're guess is as good as mine!

You’re guess is as good as mine!

One of the superb aspects of paleo is stepping outside your culinary comfort zone.  Just a few days ago a friend, Auste, suggested I try pigs feet.  I have seen them at the Gate 3 Market.  I have even picked them up.  I looked them closely, then squished my nose, thought I’m not ready, and put them back down.

They look squishy.  Not yummy.  But, don’t judge a book a book by its cover, right?  Don’t knock it til you try it, right?  Well, I did- I tried it!!!!!!!!!!!!

A pig foot

Damn you iphone!

And I can say with all honesty: I don’t love it.  Auste, when I come to Narobi to visit, I’ll let you have my pigs feet!

Tootles-

jess

PS: Okinawahai.com has a post on this place, but their website is down right now.  I’ll come back and put in the link in a few days! 😉

 

Paleo Hot Wings and Ranch Dip

Damn you Pinterest!  I DONT have time for you!!!!  Ok, maybe just one minute.  One minute turns into an hour and now I’m damned and determined to find out if you can make hard-boiled eggs without boiling them. Have you seen this picture with the caption like this:

"For anyone that may not know, the BEST way to make hard-boiled eggs is in the OVEN! Place the eggs in a muffin tray so they do not move around, turn the oven to 325 degrees, pop in for about 25-30 minutes and remove! Not only are they tastier, but they also are much easier to peel!" Mind blowing.

“For anyone that may not know, the BEST way to make hard-boiled eggs is in the OVEN! Place the eggs in a muffin tray so they do not move around, turn the oven to 325 degrees, pop in for about 25-30 minutes and remove! Not only are they tastier, but they also are much easier to peel!” Mind blowing.

Challenge accepted!!!

Step one: Fill muffin pan with egg

Step one: Preheat oven to 325, fill muffin pan with egg and set timer for 25 min

Step 2: Hear loud popping sound at 19 minutes and open oven.

Step 2: Hear loud popping sound at 19 minutes and open oven.

Step 3: Ice bath

Step 3: Ice bath

Pintrest: 1

Pinterest: 1

 

Me:0

Me: 0

I hate losing.  But it was worth a try!  Here’s one that turned out a whole lot better.  This is from www.paleopot.com.  One of my favorite sites; both blog and facebook page.  I have done this recipe a couple of times and both times my super nanny had to finish it.  Both times there were no left overs!

Slow Cooker Chicken Wings

The first thing I noticed with this recipe is it calls for 4 oz of grassfed butter/ghee/coconut oil.  I don’t speak in ounces so I converted it: 1/2 cup!!  I thought that was a bit excessive… here’s what I did:

  • 1 bag of chicken wings thawed
  • 1 bottle of Franks hot sauce
  • 3 T organic butter

IMG_0003

Salt and brown your little chickies under the broiler.  I used my super very fancy salt:

Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals

Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals

On the stovetop, melt butter and stir in 1/2 bottle of the buffalo sauce.  Put slightly browned chicken and sauce in crockpot.

IMG_0008

Cook on low for 4 hours.  Take liquid in crockpot and the other 1/2 of the buffalo sauce and simmer on the stove top until it thickens up a bit.  Smother.  Be happy!

Finger lickin' good... I think!

Finger lickin’ good… I think!

Wondering what they taste like??!! Me too!!!  I also made some ranch dressing!

IMG_0005

ingredient round up

  • 1/4 c coconut milk
  • 1/4 c paleo mayo
  • 1/4 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 t coconut aminos*
  • pinch of the following: salt, dill, paprika, granulate garlic & oregano

 

Mix and be happy!

IMG_0006

Not an exact, but it’ll do!

You win some, you lose some!

September started yesterday and I have started a September Squat challenge!  Starting September 1st complete one air squat.  Every day add one squat.  At the end of the month we should have 30 gorgeous-unbroken air squats!!

The air squat

The air squat

Here’s 25 ways to appreciate your body from gosupersisters.com!  #11 is beautiful to me: Remind yourself: your body is not a democracy — you’re the only one who gets a vote.  One because September 11th is my birthday and two: it’s something that I need to remember as I age oh so gracefully.  Enjoy!

Tootles-

jess

*from amazon.com

Pork Carnitas and Chicken Mango Salad

Melissa from theclothesmakethegirl.com is my friend in a parallel universe where we wear all black and sit at dingy coffee shops talking about PRs, words that make us smile and debating why dogs are better than cats.  And I have blunt bangs.  Yes.  Oh, ok, back to this universe here is my FAVORITE recipe from her:

Stovetop Pork Carnitas

This recipe is also in her cookbook which is my, of course, is my #1 favorite cookbook in the whole wide world!  I was able to do laundry, water the basil, help my son write a letter to his cousin, and make mayo all while my “uninspired soup” cooked away!

Step 1: Buy this book

Step 1: Buy this book

Step 2: Make uninspired soup.

Step 2: Make uninspired soup

Step 3: Wait

Step 3: Wait

Step 4: Forget all the worries of the world and dig in.  Give a tad bit to your friend.  Only if you really like 'em.

Step 4: Forget all the worries of the world and dig in. Give a tad bit to your friend. Only if you really like ’em!

I started this recipe at 7 in the morning, it finished cooking right at 9 and I was still able to make the 1030 wod before a swing shift!  Phew- that’s a lot to do before an eight-hour day at the office!!!

The wod that I made it to that day was a real high point for me. I was able to do it RX’d (prescribed… get it… like a doctor–ha ha) AND in the time cut off.  Yay me!!

I topped my crispy crack-pork with home-made guac and salsa and day dreamed of telling Melissa how bad ass she is… without creeping her out.

After a “body weight” based wod today (REALLY?! Talk about salt in the wounds for not doing better at the lean up challenge!!), I came home starving.  Straight up HANGRY!  I gave pintrest my ingredients: mango and chicken.  This is what came up:

Mango Chicken Salad with Spicy Ginger Dressing by the Smoking Chestnut

Since the recipe isn’t “paleo”, I changed things up a tad:

Dressing

  • 2 t minced ginger
  • 2 T Sriracha
  • 2 T red wine vinegar (organic that I got from Green Leaf)
  • 1 T Tamari
  • 1 t coconut aminos
  • 1 T sesame oil
The "dressing"

The “dressing”

Salad:

  • 2 boneless skinless breasts grilled and chopped
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, diced
  • 1 Okinawan carrot, julienned
  • 3 Okinawan chives, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T sesame seeds, toasted
Spicy Mango Chicken Salad

Spicy Mango Chicken Salad

It made me happy.  It made JR happy.

Then I got super pissy.  Don’t know if it’s: driving to Naha in the wind (which reduces the already low speed limit to an excruciating crawl); my husband going on his man trip tomorrow; celebrating JRs birthday without his dad and while I’m at work; super irritated that a friend has complained about not being invited to activities- and then when I do invite them, they don’t come; 39 days without a cigarette, trying to herd 12 cats to play bunco, or this “rare blue moon“.  Whatever it is, I hope it passes as fast as it came on!

Ugh.  Well, at least I’m “well fed“… get it??  Get it?!?!

Meh-

jess

Marriage made in Kitchen Heaven

I introduced my “boyfriend” to my Abuela (Grandmother) early in 2004.  The first thing she asked him was, “can you cook?”!!!

Later that year our courtship was cut short because of that one word: orders.  My bad ass boyfriend was going to be PCSing (moving) and it was now or never time!!  He agreed- it was time!

He “proposed” in May and we got married on August of 2004 in my favorite place in the whole wide world: Shady Cove, OR.

14 August 2004

14 August 2004

The ceremony was quick, intimate and near the most gorgeous river of all times: the Rogue.

Last night, over dinner, my husband of 8 years and 364 days said to me, “you had me fooled”.

“What? When?” I asked.

“You even had your Abuela in on it.  Saying you couldn’t cook.  I knew better!” He answered.

I just smiled in reply.  Thing is… Abuela knew I couldn’t cook.  I couldn’t cook because I didn’t want to cook.

It was during our first year of marriage.  We were living in a little village in East Anglia England called Thetford.  I was about six months pregnant.  And hungry.  My husband was TDY (business trip).  I had no friends.  No family in the area.  No cooking skills.  Did I mention I was hungry.  I don’t do hungry politely!  What does a woman do?  She calls her Mom.

My Moms advise was simple: honey, you need to learn to cook.

Next thing I knew- I received my first Rachel Ray cooking magazine.  Say what you want about “Little Miss EVOO”, but I’m a fan!  Simple girl, simple tools, tasty recipes- one cannot go wrong!

Except me.

Winter 2004

There I was.  It was a drizzly and cold British night.  I found the perfect recipe that would keep my husband and I nice and toasty: Carrot Ginger Soup.  Four ingredients and the recipe came with pictures.  One of said ingredients was ginger; the picture looked like this:

2 pieces of ginger... right?

2 pieces of ginger… right?

I went to Tesco where I bought my carrots, box of chicken broth and ginger. Came home and went to work and quickly  learned it’s a royal pain in the ass to “peel and grate ginger”.

After the chopping, steaming and blending, I ladled the deep-orange soup into my hand made pottery soup cups.  I served my husband my pride and joy.

He took a sip.  Swallowed.  With big eyes he looked at me, smiled and said, “mmm, gingery”.

Proud of my culinary accomplishment, I spooned a substantial amount of velvety-orange ginger soup and waited for the taste of pride….

spit-take-meme I immediately projected it back into the bowl it came from!!  It was bad.  Repulsive!  Offensive! “GROSS!  How can you eat that?”, I yelled!

“A little heavy on the ginger, but it’s ok, honey.  I can eat it,” as he continued to enjoy his soup.

That was it.  The fact that he “can” eat the, what I know call, ginger soup- was a testament to my partner in the kitchen!  When he said, he’ll eat anything- he meant it!

I couldn’t imagine being married to a picky eater.  I’m pretty sure I would have never began to cook and would have starved… to death!

But, times have changed!!

2013

Last night as we prepared for dinner I warned my husband, “this is eggplant.  I’ve never cooked it before, but the recipe is by one of my favorite chef/bloggers“.

Dinner was pork ribs I had cooked a few days ago , a simple can of beets and a new recipe: roasted eggplant.  Since my timing still sucks, the kids had already eaten the beets and were starving to death.

I plated the eggplant and quickly went back to the kitchen to avoid the “ew, what is this? Gross!! I don’t liiiiike this”.

I flipped the ribs.  In complete silence.   I popped my head up over the stove and looked at the table.  All four of them chowing down on eggplant!

When I sat down they all agreed, roasted eggplant is now their favorite side!

BBQ ribs, beets and roasted eggplant

BBQ ribs, beets and roasted eggplant

9 years of marriage, 4 children between us, 3 PCS’s and only a handful of disastrous meals, I look forward to many more years of marriage, meals (disastrous or not)… but, no more kids, thank you!

 

Tootles-

jess

 

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