Remember when I used to blog? That was awesome. Our Fall season has been one crazy whirlwind after another and I haven't been able to hardly breathe for most of it. Now we are into full-on Christmas mode and I don't foresee things slowing down until January at least! It's a good busy though, not a stressful one. I love this time of year with my little girls and seeing their excitement over every ornament, decoration, christmas light-strewn house, and candy cane or snowman. They love it and so do I. I have been wanting to update on a few things that I left kind of hanging though.
First of all, INSANITY. I talked about doing the workout, but I didn't ever do a re-cap of how it went for me! I LOVED IT. I did the first month twice, and am very grateful I did because that second month . . . WOW. It's a doozy. I highly recommend doing the first month twice before proceeding with the second month, because it makes you so much stronger going into it so that you can actually do the moves, instead of just feeling like you're left behind all the time. So I completed the three months and felt GREAT. The second month the workouts are an hour long, and that got really hard for me to fit in with my little girls. I hate working out in the evening, so I was doing it during my baby's morning nap and it just started to cut it close some days with a shower afterward! I loved them though, and they really helped me get stronger. I loved the feeling of being able to work out that hard, for an entire hour without stopping, and sweating like crazy! Once I was done, I decided to just start the program again. I did Jillian's Ripped in 30 for a couple of weeks to try something different, then I got a dental implant. That derailed me for a good two weeks! Ugh. As soon as I felt somewhat normal after the implant, I got that first "awesome" monthly visitor since having my baby. Because it was the first one, it was a little intense and put me out another week. Blah.
After three weeks of inactivity, I was more than ready to start again! I started Insanity month one again and only did it about 4 times a week instead of six for a while. I just completed the entire first month (6 days a week) on Saturday again. That felt great. I feel that strength returning and that is always motivation for me to keep going.
The INSANITY program isn't for everyone. Some people do one workout and think it's way too difficult. It is HARD. But I forced myself past that first week (the extra 20 lbs of baby weight was good motivation) and I'm so glad I did. Now I know that I can do it, I DID IT. All of it, and survived. I don't know if I will do the second month again for a while, but I did end up liking it. It's just really LONG. Maybe one day I'll turn into one of those 5 a.m. moms who gets in their workouts before their kids wake up. But in my house, the kids wake up around 6:30 . . . or 6 . . . so I get all the sleep I can! Some days it's hard to fit into my schedule, but the juggling and the bored kids are worth that 45 minutes that I give myself every day. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it just helps me be a better mom and wife and I know I can't give that up - I will take all the help I can get!
So there you go, a long over-due update on Insanity. I didn't just slack off, I did do it, I just slacked off on blogging about it! Next up, my Paleo experience!
I haven't always liked meatloaf. It seems to be one of those foods from my childhood that I had to choke down. My mom is an excellent cook and I am sure it was delicious, but something about eating a loaf of meat didn't appeal to my young palette. I have since mended my ways and am now more of a carnivore than I ever thought I would be. Trying to eat more Paleo meals has really given me a craving for MEAT! There needs to be an entire post about what I've learned about feeding my body over the past couple of months, and I will get around to it, but for now, here is another recipe. I took my mom's meatloaf recipe and adapted it slightly.
Paleo Elk Meatloaf
1 - 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or elk, thawed if frozen (I use elk because it's what I have, but beef is wonderful too)
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c almond flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
2-3 tsp seasoning salt (I use this brand and it's heavenly)
Mix everything together - I just use my hands and squish it all up. There is something kind of satisfying about this part! Once it's mixed well, form it into a loaf and place into your loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (make sure you read about the sauce below, as it needs to go on half way through bake time). After you place it in the oven, you can make the sauce.
1 1/2 T vinegar
1/2 c ketchup
1 1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T coconut sugar
1/4 c water
Whisk sauce ingredients together and put aside.
When the meatloaf has been in the oven for 30 minutes, pull it out and pour the sauce on top. Return to oven and cook for the additional 30 minutes.
My family LOVES this meatloaf. My girls (all three, including my 9 month old) devour it every time. It's one of those "almost every week" recipes around my house these days, now that I've altered it to be more Paleo friendly. It's moist but not mushy, and has great flavor. I'm picky about my meatloaf texture, and this one is just right for me. It's also super easy to throw together if you give yourself enough time to bake it. I served it yesterday with mashed cauliflower and beets from the garden and it was scrumptious! This is one of those recipes that I kind of just dump everything into without measuring, so I have tried to come up with "suggested" measurements. I don't think you can go wrong experimenting a little!
I was up to my eyeballs in beets a couple of weeks ago, then last week it was fruit. My fingernails are a muddy brown color, my fridge smells like beets, and I've been cleaning up purple juice splats and sticky syrup from the fruit all over my kitchen! I bought a bushel of beets to freeze because I didn't get as many out of my garden as I wanted. We all love beets around here, so I wanted to make sure we had enough to last and we definitely do now! Last summer I posted on how to prepare and freeze beets, so check that out if you are wanting to do some.
I have been busy busy busy with all of this food preservation. I finally finished my peaches and pears on Saturday and it is wonderful to be done and see all of those bottles lined up and SEALED. I ended up doing 103 quarts of fruit!!! It was a lot of work, but well worth it. I still plan on making applesauce (chunky) and will post on that because I think it's the most amazing applesauce anyone has ever made in the history of the world . . . so stay tuned for that. If you are interested in how to bottle fruit, my recommendation is to just buy a canning book and it has everything you need to know in there. I couldn't possibly cover everything in a short post, and I really don't want to leave anything out. The change that I make is with my syrup. I use organic cane sugar and make a medium syrup (about 2:1 water to sugar ratio). It turned out great and I'm glad my family will still devour the fruit even if it isn't sickeningly sweet! I am anxious to get everything done, but doing the peaches and pears is a HUGE load off my shoulders. Now they are nicely packed into boxes in my kitchen and I couldn't be happier. If you are stuck in the canning zone like me, GOOD LUCK, press on, it will be worth it when we're done!
I froze all my zucchini today because I had hoards and didn't want it to go bad before I could use it all. It was simple, but I thought I'd post because I always love a good idea and got this one from somewhere. I shredded it in the food processor, then took 1 cup measurements at a time and squeezed out most of the juice. I placed each ball onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Then I froze them for about an hour and put them into gallon-sized ziploc freezer bags. Easy peasy, and now I have plenty of zucchini for muffins and bread this fall/winter. So if you have any lying around, take a few minutes to get it in the freezer if you aren't going to eat it! I love having them all portioned out already so I can just reach in and grab whatever I need.
I ended up with 21 c of zucchini - better than nothing!
I got all of my corn frozen last night and wanted to get this post up in case anyone else wants to do corn right now! It's really easy, just a little messy/sticky!
What you will need:
Corn - husked and the silk taken off
A large pot (or two, I used my qt pot and my canner to make things go faster)
Several large bowls - I used my cooler for the ice water, a towel-lined laundry basket, and then my large popcorn bowl for the finished corn
Electric knife or just a good sharp serrated one
Angel food or bunt cake pan
Ziploc Freezer bags
When the corn is finished blanching, take the tongs and put the corn into ice water. This stops the corn from cooking and keeps it right where you want it. Cool for as long as you blanched. For example, I blanched for 4 minutes, so I cooled it for 4 minutes as well!
Step 4: When you've blanched all your corn, take one ear at a time and cut off the kernels. I use my angel food cake pan to hold each ear by placing the pointy end down into the hole in the pan. This way, all of the corn you cut off falls into the pan and it's SO much easier to clean up. When the cake pan gets full I just dump it into a large bowl.
That's all there is to it! It's pretty darn easy and makes you feel great to get all of that delicious summer corn in the freezer for the winter. I ended up husking and blanching 55 ears of corn, and ended up with 54 c for the freezer. Clean up isn't that fun, but very worth it! This took me a couple of hours from start to finish all by myself.