Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pork Problems

Remember the Bacon and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops from my recipe list last week?  (See pictures here.)  Well, after making those, I still have a bunch of pork chops left.  I also just bought a whopping 8.5 pound pork shoulder to make carnitas.

I was eating my Pineapple Pork Chops when I came across this over at Hunter Gatherer.  Apparently, pork is not the meat you want to be eating.  I was actually thinking about my large consumption of pork lately while grocery shopping today.  I haven’t been able to find a good source of pork, so I’ve been eating the “regular” pork sold at the grocery store. Reading that post at Hunter Gatherer and then the articles that were linked to in that article, I have to say that I’m a bit worried (maybe freaked out is more accurate).

I am very careful about how well my pork is cooked.  You could say that learning about trichinosis in science class back in the 7th grade scared me enough to only eat well done pork.  I’m pretty careful about the meat that I eat and when I can, it’s all grass-fed and local, but still, I’m worried.

What I got out of reading the material is that eliminating sausages from my diet would be extremely prudent.  I do wash all my meats and fishes (unless they are ground) before cooking, which the articles recommended doing, so I guess I’m doing okay in that respect.

I guess I should have made the connection between eating pork and potential bad things when I learned how the “swine flu” or H1N1 came to be a few years ago.  Or even when I read an article way back when (sorry no link…I read it out of a newspaper or magazine eons ago) about a leading researcher at St. Jude’s hospital and his theory that ultimately animal flus would affect humans via pigs because of our genetic similarities.  It makes sense since we use porcine valves in heart valve replacement surgeries.

So, yes, I’m freaked out after reading about the dangers of eating pork.  I really do urge you to go over to Hunter Gatherer and read about it.  Don’t forget to click over and read the links that are there, too.

The question for me now is whether I haul that pork shoulder back to the supermarket and ask for a refund because I’m freaked out.  Or, whether I take a less alarmist approach and just cook as planned and change tactics after I’m done with this round of eating pork.

My guess is that I’m going to still cook up the pork shoulder into carnitas and finish the pork that’s in my freezer, but after that, I’ll be a lot more careful about eating pork.  In fact, given how difficult it is to get pork that isn’t the “regular” kind, I’ll probably stop eating it altogether.  At the very least, I will definitely be cutting out all types of sausage out of my diet.  (Almost all sausages including chicken and turkey sausages are cased in pork.)

Mindful consumption of food can sometimes end up being a tricky thing.  You have to balance what’s healthy, what’s morally and ethically right, and financial considerations all into the picture.  Well, you don’t have to, but I do.  Since adopting paleo eating patterns, I’m a lot more aware of what I eat, what’s going into my body, and how all of that correlates to how I feel and how healthy I am.  I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to do the best that I can with all of this.

I realize that eating paleo and being able to purchase and source foods that are better for me than the conventionally raised meat and vegetables is a real privilege.  Not everyone is so lucky to be able to do so.  Some people don’t even have clean water.  So, yes, this is a very academic and somewhat arbitrary argument when you consider the fact that there are people who just want water to drink and food to eat so they can stay alive.  However, perhaps by changing my relationship with food, the practices that we choose to use to provide food to our communities will change so that we don’t have to have these discussions and worries in our lives.  Just maybe.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.



The Post I Promised

I’m trying to make good on blog promises since I seem to make them so often and the follow through is usually not as often.  In any case, let’s start catching up, shall we?

Let’s start with what I ate today and then work back to the other things that I’ve been promising.

Remember these bacon, egg, and cheese muffins?  The wonderfully fantastic grab and go breakfast?  Well, I varied it up this morning by taking the apple and bacon stuffing from the stuffed pork chops recipe (more on that later) and mixing it into the basic batter of the muffins.  I added some cheddar cheese and this is what I got:

The batter ended up being a bit more chunky, and I cooked these a little longer (about 20 minutes to the original muffin recipe’s 15 minutes), but these were tasty.  The stuffing has a warm and smokey flavor from the paprika and sage.  I’m not sure that this is the best version of this muffin, but still yummy and a nice variation.  Plus, it saved me worrying about how I was going to eat 6 pork chops.  I just ended up tossing the left over pork chops into my freezer for a rainy day.  Problem solved.

I think that I’m going to be making another umpteen variations of this muffin to use up all the produce in my fridge, so we’ll see what other combos come about.

Lunch was leftover stuffed pork chop with cranberry port jelly sauce on top.

There was only half of that left.  I ate that with some of this:

Collard greens and red onion sauteed in olive oil with a dash of salt and black pepper.  The old standard prevails.

Dinner was another stuffed pork chop and some more of the collard greens.


Okay, so now onto the backlog of things.  Remember the recipe list?  I pretty much got through the whole list including the chocolate cupcakes!  Sadly, no photos of the chocolate cupcakes.  They are fantastic though and you should make them.  (You can look at the pretty decorated ones that are photographed on Health-Bent.)

You saw the stuffed pork chops above.  Yum!  And, then there are these lovelies:

Sweet Potato Meatballs.  I tweaked the recipe a little bit (real onions instead of onion powder…that sort of thing) and they came out fantastic.  Meatballs this way are really good.  So good that I won’t be making them any other way.

The cooked version with some of my asparagus (after I nail down that recipe, I’ll share it with you…someday).

This wasn’t the way I wanted to share everything with you, but I’m super tired and I did want to get it all up in some form, so there it is.  Imperfect and probably all sorts of confusing to you.

The best way to solve the confusion is to go back to my recipe list and go and make all of those things.  They are all fantastically tasty and worth eating.

The End.

Happy Heart Day

I’m spending my Valentine’s Day trying to be as productive as possible.  This morning, I got out a batch of modified bacon, egg, and cheese muffins with coconut flour (more on that later), cooked some collard greens, and ate breakfast.   I even remembered my vitamins this morning.  Now, it’s off to a whirlwind of dishes, battling the snow, and getting some real work done before I do a little good in the world and give my friends a break from their kids so they can have some time to themselves.

So, have a happy heart today and do good in the world.  Forget that it’s some silly overblown holiday with cheesy red hearts and nasty tasting heart shaped candies.

I’ll be back later with some updates.  I uploaded all my photos yesterday and then slept instead of typed.  Whoops.

Have a Happy Heart Day! 🙂

Today Is An Off Day

Today’s been an off day.  I didn’t get the greatest sleep last night and I felt out of sorts all day.  Add on a lot of post-workout soreness and no coffee today and I guess you get the kind of day that I had today.  I’m trying to stay away from the coffee after reading that it elevates estrogen levels in Asians and African Americans.  The only problem is that coffee is the only way I get any real work done.  I don’t even drink more than a few sips, but it’s a good way to get stuff going and clear my head in the morning.  Maybe I’ll switch to tea.  

In any case, since I’m so out of sorts, I’m going to try and do some cooking and baking (I know I said I’d never bake paleo things, but those bacon, egg, and cheese muffins have changed my mind…I guess technically, they are primal.)  

The plan is two batches of the bacon, egg, and cheese muffins, a batch of these lovely chocolate cupcakes, and some pork.

I have a feeling that one of those things is going to get cut out of the equation, but we shall see.  Wish me luck.

The Dishes Need To Be Done

I was hoping to get to the pork today because I feel like that would clear out my fridge nicely.  However, taking a look into my fridge, I’m thinking that I must have been hungry and/or crazy when I made my shopping list and went shopping.  My fridge is way too full for someone that is cooking for one person!  I also realized that I can cut recipes in half.  Why this did not occur to me when I made my list, I don’t know.  It’s a mystery.

I think that what I’ll do is probably try to make everything that’s on my recipe list (minus those lovely chocolate cupcakes) and then freeze whatever I can’t eat right away.  The debate raging in my head right now is whether I go to the farmer’s market tomorrow.  I think that my insane shopping spree was because next weekend I know I won’t be able to get to the farmer’s market and I guess I had visions of starving that week.  In any case, I hope that I can freeze stuff because otherwise I’m in big trouble.  I guess I should have paid attention when the girl checking me out asked me if I had children.  (!!)

So, I have a sink, countertop, and stovetop full of dishes that need to be done.  Looking at that stresses me out, so I figured it was time to wind up the cooking fun today.  I finished off things with Kaprise’s Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Casserole.

Now, doesn’t that look warm and inviting?  For all you paleo/primal eaters out there, this is paleo comfort food at its best!  Everyone else, I know you have things like macaroni and cheese, but you most definitely need to add this to your recipe box.

I realize that I probably screwed up a little bit making this.  I used a precooked chicken sausage, which I forgot to put in the fridge when I got home.  Whoops!  I think the recipe meant for a real chicken sausage, you know, the kind that comes raw.  It’s still good the way it is, but I’ll have to try the “real” way next time.

The best part about this recipe is that I can think of a million ways to make variations of a theme.  You could change the meat, add other vegetables, change up the spices…on and on and on.  I’m thinking a layered version would be pretty awesome, too.

I’m hoping that I have some left over to eat as a post workout meal this upcoming week.  I doubt it, but one can always hope.

Off to tackle the dishes.

The Rumors Are True

I woke up this morning to a text canceling plans that I had for tonight and immediately, decided that today would be a stay at home and cook kind of day.  It’s getting cloudy and the weather forecasters are predicting snow.  Not a lot, but it was gloriously sunny yesterday, so today feels like a hunker down at home day.

The first thing I did was to eat a muffin from yesterday.  (I ate the last one while I was cooking…whoops!) Fully fortified, I took stock of my list of recipes and dove in.  I haven’t finished them all, but I did finish cooking two of them and did some prep for the other two.  My stove was getting a real workout this morning.  I had two burners going at once for most of the morning.

First, I started up the Ginger Port Cranberry Jelly with these cranberries…

You have to simmer the port wine, first, so this was after I added the cranberries to the pot.  Oh, and don’t try to smell the port when it’s simmering.  You’ll be knocked out by the evaporating alcohol.

While I had that going, I peeled and chopped up some sweet potatoes to boil for mashing later.

With those two things going on the stove, I started up the Paleo Pad Thai.

This stuff is really as good as they say it is over at Health Bent.  I only used two zucchinis because mine were huge.  I also used my potato peeler after reading the comments because I do not have a super cool mandoline.  It’s on the wish list.  The potato peeler works fine, but it’s a lot of work.  Finally, I didn’t add any salt because the saltiness from the fish sauce was enough for me.

Stay tuned for the rest of the recipes off the recipe list!


The Almost Forgotten Recipe

So in making my list of recipes that I was going to cook up this coming week, I forgot about this lovely breakfast recipe: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Muffins with Coconut Flour from Cheeseslave.

The best part about this forgotten recipe story is that this is the recipe I made tonight.  I love breakfast.  I love eggs…a lot.  I love bacon, too.  So, really this recipe is putting all the best parts of breakfast into a totable form.  (Totable is really a word…I just looked it up.)

I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter and followed the suggestions to add an extra egg and to mix the cheese into the batter rather than sprinkling it on top.  The only thing I didn’t do was use a food processor.  That is way too much work and dishes for four muffins.  Instead, I used my handy kitchen shears and just cut up the bacon into little pieces.  I bought the cheese already shredded and it went in the way I bought it.

I just had two of these guys and they were fantastic.  I meant to only eat one…whoops!  They smell fantastic coming out of the oven.  I only got four out of the recipe, but that’s because my muffin tin makes jumbo muffins.

As for what I’d do differently next time, I’d add some tiny chopped pieces of onion or scallion, and tiny chopped vegetables, I’m thinking carrots and zucchini.  Kind of like a mini quiche.  Seeing as I already ate two, I’ll probably be making these soon again.  It’s a nice change from my standard bacon and eggs.

This is definitely one recipe you need to try.