Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Week 1…. again

I went to a weight watcher’s meeting on Monday.  Weighed in at 162.  I have stuck to the program so far this week and hope to see a change in the scale on Monday.  Knock that 2 off of there and head in to the second week strong. 

I haven’t worked out much this week.  I took Monday off because it was the day after the Triathlon and I needed a day to recover from being so bad ass (hahaha).  Tuesday I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym, Wednesday I let my day of gardening count as my workout (LAME huh?), Thursday I just skipped out, Friday I went on a 3 hr hike with my friend Shannon near Deer Lake…. not sure what my motivation is going to allow today.

I think I am going to do an easier 10 week half marathon training program since I have been some what slack with my workouts.  Monday is the start of week 10 before the race, so I will kick it off then. 

Right now, I think I am going to drive up to the Colville National Forest and see if I can find some huckleberries.  Wish me luck.


Alligator Gumbo

I have officially eaten alligator! Here is how my culinary adventure went down:

Step one: My husband and I ordered 2 pounds of alligator meat from this quirky little store/meat market that’s just a few blocks from our house. The meat cost $11.99 a pound.  I honestly thought that it would have cost more, or  that I would have been required to order more at one time.  I placed my order on Tuesday and the meat was in by Friday. 

Step two:  We picked up the meat just before heading out of town to the warrior dash and stashed it in the freezer untill we could find time to cook it. I was super excited to pick it up!  Just purchasing it was an adventure! I chatted with the meat guy about my plans for the alligator, another customer got into the idea and wanted to order some himself, the check out clerk shared her disgust for the idea of eating such an animal.

Step three:  We decided what we were going to do with the meat.  The plan was to use half of it to make gumbo, and the other half we would pan fry.  We read several recipes online and watched a bunch of YouTube videos about how to make traditional gumbo.  We went with a video done by Dale Deibler, with a cameo appearance of his lovely wife helping him keep the recipe straight.  We picked this guy ‘s video for several reasons; he looked to have everything really organized and easy to follow, he didn’t need to read a script so we knew he had made this gumbo a time or two, and he was wearing suspenders.  I highly recommend his video if you are planning to make gumbo for the first time.  Mr. Deibler makes 5 gallons of gumbo, using 5 pounds of alligator in the video.  I just reduced everything to work with my 1 pound of alligator meat that was alloted to the gumbo mission.  It is ten minutes long, a little slow… but I just love the way he says “Taste so good”.   AND by the way, if you visit this dude’s web page you will see that his family business offers to take people on alligator hunts! I think that might be in my future!!!

Step four: Buying ingredients.  (I copied down the ingredients while Dale showed them off in the video…. accept, he said that butter would be needed and he never seemed to use butter). I found everything extremely easy to find except the okra.  I wanted fresh okra, like what Dale uses in the video but couldn’t find any.  So I had to ask the clerk at Safeway what was up with no okra… we discovered that the did indeed carry okra, but it was either pickled or frozen.  I went with a bag of frozen. Ta-da!

Step five:  I began cooking! I was at my parent’s house and everyone wanted to question what I was doing.  They kept asking if I was sure it should be done the way I was doing it… um… guys… NO.  First time.  Some of the anxious ideas I received; bigger pot, not enough chicken broth, too much pepper, did you remember the tabasco, you need more okra in there, are you sure you browned the gator meat good enough, you got it started too late… and so on. BUT! I was in an easy-going/good mood today and just smiled and reassured everyone that our adventure was gonna go great! 

I got all the veggies, spices and sausage in to the pot, added the broth and got it heating up.  It smelled great and was pretty. Don’t you think?

Next, I browned the gator and added it to the pot. The most exciting part was the making the roux, so let’s make it a step all on its own.

Step six: Roux.  The roux is supposidly very important for the gumbo.  I was excited to make the roux because it needs to be cooked on the hottest possible temperature, which I always want to do, but end up messing the food up because… that’s not the way your supposed to do it for most things 🙂 .   I watched several you tube videos about making roux. 

Our roux, as you know because you watched the video, was made with equal parts of olive oil and flour. You start out with just hot oil in a heavy cast iron pan, then add the flower, you have to mix the roux constantly or it will burn.  The mixture was a pretty yellow color and bubbled a lot as I mixed in the flour. After about five minutes the roux began to calm down a bit. and darken in color.  As seen in my you tube video the roux began to thicken up more and turn a chocolate-brown color.  At this point, the smoke alarm went off, and I got anxious.  I didn’t want to ruin my first roux!  Jesse came over and opened windows/doors and turned on the stove fan.  He told me to not worry, and that I could just make a new one if I messed this batch up.  Also, at this point the roux is supposed to be added to the pot of other goodies.  Jesse helped with this, thank goodness.  When the roux hit the other mixture it hissed and bubbled like crazy!  I got a few little burns from it spitting all over the place. 

 Step seven: Let it cook in the pot on low for a while.  We let ours cook about forty minutes.  I had to keep stirring the gumbo because the pot we were using was pretty thin and it wanted to stick to the bottom even though we had it on low.  Sadly, the brown roux made my gumbo ugly, but it still smelled pretty tasty. 

While it cooked I made rice in my handy rice cooker, and Jesse pan-fried the rest of our gator meat.  He salt and peppered the meat, dredged it in flower, then dipped it in a cream/hot sauce mixture, re flowered it and fried it up in oil. 

Step eight: EAT!

This was a great adventure! But, sadly, I must say I don’t think I am a huge alligator meat fan.  It was a very interesting texture, the meat seemed to be held together by a spiderweb of soft, but somewhat elastic, strings.  The meat in a beef steak now seems strangely organized in comparison.  The meat we had was in a bunch of pieces.  Some of the pieces had an after taste that reminded me of catfish, some of them didn’t.  I think that the fishy flavored pieces contained more fat.  In my self-education of alligator meat I learned that if the fat was not trimmed well the meat tasted awful.

I also, do not think that I am much of a gumbo fan in general.  The base of the gumbo was just too heavy and smokey flavored for me.  Perhaps I made it wrong?  I do not have anything to compare it to.  Jesse said it tasted like gumbo he has had before.  I will try it again if the opportunity ever arrises. 

All in all, this experience still gets two thumbs up because I had a blast trying something new.  Now!  get out there and order some alligator meat if you haven’t had any yet! good luck!

Puking and running

I puked during my run for the first time today.  The cause… poor eating.  I ate 4 regular sized oatmeal cookies and one of my HUGE chocolate chip cookies (which equates to about 4 regular cookies)…. THEN I took a nap.  After my nap my husband asked why I hadn’t done my long run yet.  He was hopefull that I would have it done before he came home from work.  In all honesty, my tummy was angry with me and I was considering ditching the run.  My husband’s matter-of-fact manner that didn’t even question my ability to accomplish my long run got me moving.  If I was going to suffer from eating cookies I might as well do it while running, right?  I puked at about the 2nd mile, then again at about the 6th.

Looking through my blog I noticed that half of my posts are about weight loss and exercise… while the other half is about cookies and other baking!  I have decided that I cannot be a cookie monster and an athlete.  I am, as I have been, 7-10 pounds heavier than I want to be.  Now, I know that is not much in the larger view of things, but in the running world that is a lot of extra poundage to be striking the ground with each foot fall. 

I have been having knee and foot pain since a little while before I ran my half marathon in May.  At that time i started upping my miles and was weighing in consistantly at 163 pounds.  Today after my run I was 156.8 pounds, and YES my knees and feet hurt during/after my run.  I ran 8 miles.  This was my first long run in preperation for the Spokane half marathon in October.  I have many more to go. I would like them to hurt less.  Therefore, I vow to not bake any treats until it snows!  I am going to re-focus on my original Weight Watchers plan.  I am going to do this.  Lets get 5 pounds off this month the right way, what do you say?

Help Me Cook My Alligator Meat

Go to fullsize imageWe have been watching the first season of “Swamp People” through Netflix online.  This show is mostly about alligator hunting but the viewers also get the opportunity to see how people live off the swam in Louisiana.  Just about every animal found in the bayou is a food source for the families featured in the show. 

The History Channel has documented the families hunt, cook and eat various alligator dishes, catfish, crawdads, and frogs.  I decided I needed to get a little closer to the Cajun way of life and try a recipe.  My husband and I stopped in to a little meat shop/discount grocery store near our home (Bargain Giant on Crestline for all you Spokane people) and sure enough they were able to order some alligator meat for us!  It arrives tomorrow.  I have 2 pounds coming…. costing $11.99 a pound. 

I am not sure what I am going to try to make.  The net is FULL of recipes.  Can anyone suggest some that you have tried? I am thinking about cooking two dishes, just incase I mess up my expensive reptile meat in one. 

Gumbo? kabobs? Fried?  Whats good?

Soften butter quickly

Tip: How to Soften Butter QuicklyI am making a few more batches of cookies to send out to sailors my husband went to boot camp and/or school with.  However, the husband is getting fat from my cookie rampage.  So, He asked me to do this round while he is at work and get them sent out before he gets home.  I forgot to set the butter out to soften it and jumped online for a tip to do it quickly, as I have learned that microwaving your butter is s a sure way to eff up your cookies.  I found a great method… but totally smashed my fingers doing it.  Check out the site if you need to know how to soften butter quickly… but use caution and protect your fingers!  Go HERE to see it.

A comment left on the article suggested using a cheese grater to soften the butter up… I will try that one in the future too. Any other ideas?

Picture borrowed from Simply Recipes website.

chocoloate whoaes…

Jesse suffered from my cookie adventure last week.  He was so focused…and was derailed by the constant sugary delights about the home while I searched for the perfect recipe.  I didn’t struggle because I was following the Cabbage Soup Diet, and when there is a strict plan I generally step up to the challenge.  He weighed in at 228 this evening. 

I was 156 tonight.  Not too much of the weight I lost during my cabbage adventure has returned.  Yet.

I purchased my first road bike today!  It is a Specialized Dolce Sport.  Its red and white and shiny. 🙂  It will hopefully help me keep my lead after the sim in my sprint triathlon.  (always lose soooo much ground during the bike).  Tomorrow I am going to take it out for its first real ride.  Only a week and a half before the Race The River triathlon!  and less than a week to the Warrior Dash in North Bend!  Super excited to play in the mud!  Jesse…. not so much.

Baking… without gaining!

It seems as though every time there is a family event or get together I feel like baking something for the fiesta.  This weekend is Father’s Day, and the family is getting together for a Pig Roast BBQ at my parents place.  A perfect time for some baked goods.

The problem is when I bake I like to taste.  A little bit of cookie dough here and there…tasting a cookie to make sure the batch isn’t burn… or to make sure they are done enough… lick off the mixer thingies before throwing them in the sink… you know what I mean.  There is NO way to track weight watchers points when tasting the whole process long.  SO!  To set my self up for success I decided that I would fulfill my baking needs with a few apple pies.  Fruits are now free on the weight watchers program, as long as they have nothing added to them.

I cut up all the apples I would need first, and an extra one for snacking on.  After prepping the apples I began making the crust, which was a LONG and frustrating process.  I needed SEVERAL apple muching breaks.  See, if the crust is too thick the pie taste like yuck, if it is too thin then it is impossible to move the rolled out dough into the pie dish.  It literally took me 2 hours to get the crust done!  (I was struggling with transfering the rolled out crust to the pie dish.) It would have taken longer, but my mom came up with a fabulous trick.  We layed out freezer paper with the glossy side up, rolled out the dough, dusted the crust with flower, then rolled the dough around the rolling pin… picked it up and layed it neatly into the dish. 

The moral of this story… bake something with fruit!  Something you can not have a piece of untill the party.  At the party you will have your game face on and be able to see how much you are ACTUALLY eating.  Arent my pies lovely?  🙂