Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review - U.S. Wellness Meats

First view of the package
Two weeks ago, I ordered lots of meat from U.S. Wellness Meats.  I placed my order on Sunday the 10th and the meat was at my front door by 11am on the 13th!  I played it risky and did not come home from work to put my meat away until after 4pm.  Everything was still happily frozen!  There was a very thick Styrofoam cooler protecting my frozen meats inside of a cardboard box.  Everything was packaged beautifully.  Here are all of the items I purchased:

Beef bacon - delish!
Bison jerky - absolutely amazing!  I cannot wait to order more!
Ground pork.  

Pork tenderloin roast - two pack, 1 lb each.
Spicy beef jerky and pemmican sticks.  I was so excited about the pemmican sticks but I am not in love.  Maybe I will give them another try but I am not a fan of the texture.

My meats were delivered on time, extremely fresh tasting, and competitively priced.  I am in love with U.S. Wellness Meats and I will definitely order from them in the future!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kari's Kitchen - What's Cooking!

This weekend I was not as ambitious as last weekend!  Friday evening we went to our community meeting/gathering.  We have no HOA in our community so the gatherings are more for neighbors to get together and chat while enjoying some snacks and drinks.  For a snack, I made some cream cheese and peperoncini stuffed salami wedges.  They are quick and easy and people seem to love them!

Rallo staring out the window.
Saturday I slept in!  It rarely happens anymore because of our 1 year old beagle puppy, Rallo.  He loves to wake up and then chew on anything he can find - lip balm, socks, hair ties, hats, shoes, etcI slept in so late that I didn't even make breakfast.  Never a good thing!

As soon as I was fully awake, I made "The Original Hamburger Helper" from  Healthy Living How To.  For once, I followed the recipe!  The dish looked exactly like the picture on the blog (sorry, I forgot to take a picture!) and it was super tasty!  My husband happily ate it and wanted more!  Later that evening we had leftovers.

Stir-Fried Green Beans

Sunday morning I made scrambled eggs and bacon.  We still had some bacon left over from the last time I went to The Organic Butcher.  For lunch, we snacked on some leftovers.  For dinner, I made Stir-Fried Green Beans with Shrimp and Garlic from Food & Wine's site.  Of course, I changed a few things in the recipe.  Instead of vegetable oil, I used lard.  I added some black pepper and red pepper flakes while the shrimp and green beans were sizzling.  Also, I steamed the green beans a little before adding them to the skillet.  A very tasty, quick dish!  I think from start to finish it took about 16 minutes!

Last night I ordered some meat from U.S. Wellness Meats, an online store specializing in grass-fed meats.  I've heard wonderful things about their meats and I love their mission:

"Do what's good for our animals, good for our planet and good for you."

I can't wait for my products to arrive and will definitely provide a review!  I especially cannot wait to try their beef Pemmican sticks.  I had never heard of these before but they seem like something I'd enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kari's Kitchen - What's cooking!

I LOVE to cook!  I love everything about cooking except for the clean up.  On the weekends, I like to try new recipes and/or make things that require a long time commitment.

Right before pouring the lard off
This weekend I rendered some lard!  I acquired some pork fat from Whiffletree Farm, cut it into chunks, threw it in the crock pot, and turned it on low.  The last time I made lard, I was removing the lard as the fat melted (every two hours or so).  This was a pain.  This time, I decided to just let it go and remove it once it was all melted down.  I left it on for about 15 hours before pouring my lard into glass jars.  I attempted to make cracklings but could not get them crispy enough for my liking.  I might use them in something, but I'm not going to sit down and have them as a crunchy snack.

Friday night, after throwing the pork fat in the crock pot, I made a Coconut Flour Bread.  I found the recipe here, on Nourished Kitchen's website.  My bread came out looking nothing like the picture on the site but it was very tasty!  I'm sad I didn't take a picture of it, but I'm sure I'll be making it again.

Bacon and Baked Portobello with Egg
For breakfast Saturday morning, I tried a new recipe.  I saw a recipe for Stuffed Portobellos on Pinterest and followed the pin to a post on What's Cooking, Mexico?.  I only had rosemary on hand but the taste was great!  My egg did not fill up the portobello and I had to cook the portobellos with eggs a little longer than the recipe.  I served them with a side of bacon from The Organic Butcher of McLean.  A very tasty and filling breakfast!

French Toast!
Late Saturday night, it hit me, "I should make the coconut flour bread into French Toast!"  So that is precisely what I did Sunday morning!  I used approximately equal parts egg and milk, added a little vanilla and cinnamon and soaked my bread.  I fried them in a skillet with butter for about 3 minutes on each side.  Served with some berries and maple syrup and a side of bacon, DELISH!  Definitely a breakfast I'll be making again!

All weekend I had been trying to think about something to do with some shredded chicken I had pulled out of the freezer (it was starting to get a little frost bitten and needed to be used).  I finally decided on a shredded chicken, pesto, diced tomato, and Monterey jack bake.  I mixed everything together, put some of the cheese on top, and popped it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350°.  It came out cheesy and gooey.  It tasted pretty good, not spectacular.  You can't win them all!

Now onto meal planning for the week.  What should I make?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What A Year Can Do!

It amazes me to think that just a year ago I did not know what I was putting into my body and I did not care.  I was 207 lbs, exhausted, and extremely discouraged by my lack of results while trying to follow a certain weight loss program.  One day, while trying to find a satisfying, low point snack, I wrote on Facebook, "A Tbsp of peanut butter really shouldn't be 3 points....  It makes me sad and mad at the same time."  I received a lot of comments with similar feelings to mine, but one was very different.  It was from my friend and former co-worker Stacy (of PaleoParents.com).  She shared her story and challenged me to try to eat a different way for 30 days.  She suggested I focus on going low carb, low sugar, and to remove overly processed oils from my diet.  I had already seen the amazing transformation she had made in her life and decided that I would take her up on her challenge.  I asked my friend Melanie for some advice on what I should eat and avoid.  I trusted Melanie's advice as she had been attending Tai Sophia to study Nutrition and improved her health through real food.  She directed me to a few articles on the Weston A. Price Foundation's website.  I researched the site and read a ton of posts on PaleoParent's blog.  I felt ready to take on the challege!

 Here are some before pictures:

Taken 4/9/11.  Approximately 212 lbs.
Taken 12/24/11.
Taken 12/26/11.  208.4 lbs
 On January 30, 2012, I gave up sugar and processed foods and have been going strong ever since!  As I started my journey, I read "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig (which soon because my nutrition bible!) and "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes.  By February I was roasting chicken and making bone broth!  I started attending events with the Northern Virginia Whole Food Nutrition Meetup Group.  I began buying pastured chickens and grass fed beef from Whiffletree Farm (now one of my very favorite places to buy meat!).  I officially cancelled my membership with that "certain weight loss program" on February 16th.  I was feeling great!  I had already lost weight (I was down to 198.4 lbs)!  I was shocked by how much progress I had seen. In March, my husband Chris and I signed up for a CSA through Great Country Farms.  For some reason, I decided to have some non-traditionally prepared grains one weekend and my body could definitely feel it!  I was bloated and sluggish.

By June I was making traditional fermented ketchup (with this recipe from Nourished Kitchen).  The ketchup was so awesome that I signed up for Nourished Kitchen's meal plans!  I started brewing kombucha with a SCOBY given to me by Melanie.  I started making LARD!

Here are some "during" pictures:
Taken 7/7/12.  179.0 lbs.
Taken 5/24/12.  181.8 lbs.

Taken 11/29/12.  173.8 lbs.

Taken 12/20/12.  172 lbs.

Today, a year after being challenged to change my diet, I am 35 lbs lighter, I have less aches and pains, my hair is shinier and less frizzy, and my poop has improved tremendously (sorry if that's TMI for a first post)!

I want to share the highlights of my journey and help people discover real, whole, unprocessed foods.  I hope you'll join me on my journey!