Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Mario Batali makes some great tasting food. I’ve followed this Cacio e Pepe recipe before & it was delicious. It incorporates 2 things I love, Cheese & Black Pepper. This time, I added 5 more ingredients to the recipe just because I wanted to. They are not necessary, but boy was the pasta mmmm mmmm good when it was done. This is my interpretation of Cacio e Pepe mixed in with everything else I love. Come on, who doesn’t love more cheese & BACON!!! Oh yeah, and all the mushrooms add a delightfully earthy taste to the pasta.

Cacio e Pepeadapted from Mario Batali

Ingredients:
1 pound spaghettii
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bags of Enoki Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
1 box of Beech Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
3 Slices Muenster Cheese
5 Slices of Bacon
2 Plum Tomatoes (thinly sliced)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
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Boil a pot of water to cook your pasta. Follow instructions on the box to make al dente pasta. Reserve one cup pasta water. Drain the rest in a colander & rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Heat up a little olive oil into a large frying pan. On medium heat, add garlic & cook it down for a minute. Then add Enoki & beech mushrooms & sprinkle with sea salt to season. Cook until they are all soft.

Add the butter & pepper. Evenly mix until butter is melted.
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Add your pasta & mix. Then add your cheeses. The Muenster gets a little clumpy, so try to break them apart with your spoon. If the pasta is a little dry, you can add a little of the pasta water you had saved earlier.

In a separate frying pan, cook your bacon until they are cripsy. Drain all oils & blot excess on a paper towel. When it is cool to the touch, rough chop them.

Arrange plum tomatoes on top of pasta. Cover pan for 2 minutes to steam the tomatoes.

Finally, sprinkle bacon on top, and you are all set.

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ENJOY!

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Paleo Beef Cabbage Roll Recipe

I will call this a (Con)fusion Beef Cabbage Roll. Why?

I basically combined a predominantly European dish (stuffed cabbage) with a Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage) & stuffed it with a Spanish/Portuguese filling (empanada filling).

Guess what? It was absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch. You will need to like cumin, otherwise you will have to substitute with another spice. Omit the cheese if you want this to be Paleo.

Paleo Beef Stuffed Cabbage Roll adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen & Dee Dee Pujols

Ingredients:
1.5 lb (24oz) Napa Cabbage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 lb (24oz) Ground Beef
1 tablespoon garlic salt (I used 1 tablespoon garlic powder plus 1 teaspoon sea salt instead)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices Muenster Cheese, cut each slice into 8 pieces (omit if Paleo)
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Boil a pot of water with enough space to immerse your entire cabbage head.

Core the cabbage with a knife to loosen all the leaves. Put entire head into boiling water. Boil for ~8-10 minutes (depending on how large your cabbage head is). When the cabbage is soft, drain in a colander & let cool.
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In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef & garlic salt.  Cook until the beef is cooked through. Drain the grease & put beef in a clean bowl.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt, garlic & black pepper. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined & cook for 5 minutes. Add the beef & combine with the sauce over low heat for 5 minutes. The mixture should be moist.
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Overlap 2 pieces of cabbage on a plate. Add 3 small pieces of cheese. Add 2 heaping spoonful of the beef. Roll the stem in towards the middle. Fold sides to the middle. Then, roll up to secure.
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And there you have it. This tasty bundle of goodness.
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Enjoy!

Thai Masaman Curry Recipe

I love Thai food, especially the curries. You will find lots of different curries on the market but one of my all-time favorite is the Maesri brand. This was recommended by my Thai friend, whom I trust. She knows Thai food & I know she won’t steer me wrong.

If you didn’t know by now, I follow instructions loosely. I improvise a great deal by using the ingredients I have on hand, so this recipe is also one of my random concoctions that turned out absolutely delicious, plus it’s healthy too, which is a thumbs up in my book.

It may be a bit spicy, but it’s also a little sweet. You shouldn’t buy this brand if you don’t like spice. Just a warning. 🙂

Thai Masaman Curry by ilovemunkie

Ingredients:
1 can Maesri Masaman curry – 4 oz x 2 cans1 can (14oz) Aroy-D Coconut Milk 1/2 large onion (sliced)
1/2 Napa Cabbage (wash & roughly chopped)
1 can Chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
1 cup baby Carrots (sliced)
1/2 lb Sugar Snap Peas (peel off ends)
8 pieces Chicken Thighs (wash & dry, remove skin & fat)
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Heat up a large frying pan with coconut oil. Season chicken with a little salt & pepper. Add chicken to pan. Brown each side for 5 minutes in low-medium heat until almost cooked through. Remove from pan. Drain oil into a glass bowl.
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In a separate large frying pan, add a little of the chicken oil into pan, then cook your onions until translucent. Add the carrots next & cook until nearly soft. Add sugar snap peas.
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In the pan you used for the chicken, in medium heat, add the Masaman curry paste & coconut milk. Mix until there are no lumps. Pour all the contents of the other pan into curry. Add cabbage & chick peas.
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Add the chicken & cover them with curry so it absorbs the flavors. Cook for another 10 minutes on low-medium heat with the lid on.
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Serve by itself or over rice. Better yet, serve on top of cauliflower rice.

Enjoy!

D.N.F.

Last Wednesday’s WOD was a killer. Apparently, no one was able to finish it. They took it straight out of the CF Regionals from last year, so you know it’s some craziness.

WOD – 22 minute time cap
50 Back Squats (135/95)
40 Pull-Ups
30 Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)
50 Front Squats (95/65)
40 Pull-Ups
30 Shoulder to Overhead (95/65)
50 OHS (65/45)
40 Pull-Ups
30 Shoulder to Overhead (65/45)

Prior to this WOD, I was out of commission for 2 days.

Here’s the back story. Two Sundays ago, I went for a 4.5 mile run plus a mile walk. That’s the most I’ve done in a long time. I felt fine for the next 2 hours. Then, while walking to the car after lunch, I noticed my ankle wasn’t feeling right. I put on a foot brace, then proceeded to play 2 hours of softball with hubby’s friends. I’m sure running around the bases did not help the ankle much. I was limping before the night was over. I know, I know, I should know better, but I never learn. *Sigh*

I was unable to do anything for 2 weeks the last time this happened. Being out for 2 weeks was torturous. Thankfully it was only 2 days this time.

Going into CF after 2 days of inactivity was really hard. I was cautious, so I went with lower weights & used bands for the pull-ups. Amazingly, I was still able to get 225 Reps in. I was satisfied with my performance. I do have to admit that my quads & knees are stiff & tight from those killer squats.

I put my first official Did Not Finish in my book. I felt okay with it. I think I’ve made peace with D.N.F. Time caps are there to push you to do more reps, faster, but I won’t let it ruin my form just to finish a WOD. It just isn’t worth it in the end when your body feels like crap & it starts breaking down. Hey, at least I tried my very best in those 22 minutes & I think that’s all that really counts. I didn’t cheat myself in any way to finish. The weights were heavy & challenging, & I worked my butt off (literally) for those reps. I’m still very proud of myself.

I will not let you own me D.N.F.

Easy Paleo Sweet Potato Crepe Recipe

I woke up wanting crepes, so I made them. I found a quick & easy recipe online & decided not to follow it like usual.

Easy Paleo Sweet Potato Crepe by ilovemunkie

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sweet potato starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
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Mix all ingredients in a bowl or blender. I used this handy, dandy Bella Rocket Blender, which makes cleanup so easy.
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It’s very similar to the Magic Bullet, only it’s cheaper. Plus, our Magic Bullet broke.
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Add a teaspoon coconut oil to a 9″ frying pan over medium heat. Pour 1/4 of your batter into your pan & swirl the pan to thin out your batter. Next time I’ll pour 1/8 of the batter for thinner crepes.

Cook for 1-2 minutes until the edges are browned & curling upwards slightly.
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Use a spatula to flip the crepe to cook the other side for another minute.
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Add some Hazelnut Spread & sliced mangoes on one side of the crepe, then roll it up.

Any filling would do. This was all I had in the house so I try to use everything I have on hand before buying more.

You can make these ahead of time & freeze them with parchment or wax paper between each crepe.
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I was able to make 4 crepes with this recipe. Perfect for 2 people or one hungry person.

Enjoy!

Karma Karma Karma Cameleon

Karma Karma Karma Cameleon…remember that song? No, ummmm…I guess I’m getting too old. HA! Remember when Boy George was IN?!? Ok, nevermind. Let’s get on with the story telling. I’m not the greatest at telling stories, but I’d like to try anyway.

I went for an 18 mile bike ride last Saturday with my cousin. We made it all the way across the George Washington Bridge. That ride was exhilarating & the view was breathtaking. It was my first time up there & it won’t be my last. We picked an awesome day with perfect weather to bike.
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During the trip, I had stopped to help to 2 ladies, one of whom fell off her bike. They were very thankful. I was just happy to help. My cousin & I didn’t know the way to the G.W. Bridge, so the 2 ladies kindly explained how to get there.

Happily on our way, we ran into another roadblock. There were no more signs pointing us to the G.W. I told my cousin I didn’t know where to go. A lady passing by stopped & asked us where we needed to go. Wow, people have been so nice to us today.
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We made it to the G.W. Bridge & took some fun pictures. I love jumping pics. They’re so fun & silly. On our way back down the West Side Highway, I got a flat tire! Murphy’s Law loves to show up when you don’t want it to (which is all the time). Of course I didn’t have a spare tube. I had packed my cousin’s bike pump, but not a tube. Argh! So, I ended up carrying my heavy mountain bike until I got tired. Then, I started rolling it on the one good tire for about a mile. That was exhausting. We were 70+ blocks away from my car. Oh, the horror.

While walking on the pedestrian path, 2 men stopped to offer help, but since I didn’t have a spare tube, they weren’t able to assist me. As I kept walking, an older man standing in the shade stopped me. He said he might have a spare tube for me & goes to fix it. It was not the right size for my tire, but enough so that I can roll the bike on both wheels. I offered to pay him for the tube, but he refused. I was so gracious & thankful for his assistance.
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We got out of the park & found a train station. As luck would have it, I didn’t bring my Metro card. Darn you, Murphy’s Law, I hate you! They started charging $1 to get a new card, on top of paying for the fare. I told my cousin I forgot my card. A girl by the machine heard me & told me I can take hers. It didn’t have money on it, but I can use it to put the fare on. At this point, I was completely blown away by how nice everyone has been the whole day.

We finally get to my car, got home to shower, & then headed to a nice, family BBQ.

It turned out to be such a fun, memorable, & adventurous day even with the many obstacles we had faced. It has also renewed my faith in humanity. Living in New York City for so long have hardened me enough to a point that I think most New Yorkers are just plain rude & mean. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of those around, but the few people I had encountered that day were kind-hearted, genuine, & generous.

I was telling hubby the story on the way to the BBQ & it was then that I realized things might have been different if I hadn’t stopped to help those 2 ladies on the side of the road. I helped someone & the good karma kept coming. I was just glad we got home safe & sound with smiles on our sweat drenched faces.

Lessons Learned:
1) Always be prepared. Bring an extra tube for your bicycle, as well as the proper air pump. Don’t forget your Metro Card.
2) It pays to be kind to others. You might not see any benefits now or even notice it later, but on those days when you feel like luck is on your side, it could just be good karma coming back for you.
3) I love my family! xoxo

Semi-Paleo Banana Bread Recipe

So, I have to be honest. I’m really not a cook or a baker. I started baking only a few years ago because it’s actually really fun. I cooked here & there throughout the years, but didn’t avidly start cooking until a few years ago as well. I am by no means a professional. I’m learning as I go along. And I think the most important thing is that I try. I may fail at my attempts but it doesn’t deter me from trying.

I may not cook the best foods or bake the tastiest goodies, but I’m practicing my craft & I’ve definitely gotten better throughout the years. I do have to warn you all, when I cook/bake, I don’t always measure everything. I also improvise a lot, even though some people frown upon that when it comes to baking. I say, who cares. Experiment. That is the only way you’ll discover something new, something tastier, & figure out what works & what doesn’t work. Cooking & baking should be fun, although many find it to be a chore. I enjoy my time in the kitchen as long as everyone leaves me alone to the task at hand.

Semi-Paleo Banana Bread Recipeadapted from Peanut Butter Runner

It’s semi-Paleo because I added oatmeal & chocolate to it. I think it’s still healthy. 🙂

Ingredients:
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 large eggs
2 very ripe medium to large bananas, mashed
1/4 cup of oatmeal
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
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Prepare a round 8″ pan & line with foil. You can use a 9×5 load pan but I was too lazy to find mine.
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In a medium bowl, whisk together baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flours & oatmeal.

In a separate small bowl, mix together coconut oil, eggs, bananas & vanilla until combined.
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Add wet ingredients to the dry & fold together with a spatula until combined. Do not overmix.

Fold chocolate chips into batter.
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Pour batter in prepared pan & bake for 25-30 minutes or until set in the center & a toothpick comes out clean.
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Let cool in pan for about 15-20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with some almond butter before serving.

ENJOY!