A quick yet slightly unapolegetic apology to the Universe

Granted, my last post was very clearly 8 months ago, though it definitely feels like I’m shaking off 8 years of blogging dust. Cutting straight to the centre of it, here are reasons for said blogging hiatus:-

– After the CrossFit games started, my brother came to visit me, we went to Colorado and I wanted to give up on life and move there, my brother left, life sucked, my friend introduced me to Undergrounds Coffeehouse – a volunteer-run, donation-based coffee shop, I learned how to be a barista and to love coffee, I became a barista, I went back home to Malaysia, I hated it, I came back here, I started school and now I’m here.

– I got discouraged by the lack of comments on my posts (which is kinda dumb) because I felt like the internet should make noise when acknowledging my existence. It didn’t.

– I realized baking Paleo desserts every week was getting me far too excited and WAY too heavy. Some weight gain sneaked up on me while I was busy baking 9 batches of oatmeal raisin cookies in attempts to perfect the recipe. Also, baking clean ain’t cheap, contrary to popular misinformed belief.

That pretty much sums it up.

Fast forward to 2015, when Jamie finally concedes defeat in her long standing resistance against social media and joins Instagram. She found out it’s a freaking amazing app and there are millions – MILLIONS – of other amateur cooks and foodies out there who love food as much as she does. So many late nights (a.k.a last night and every night) spent lit by the single glow of my iPad, stalking talented people I didn’t know but envied greatly.

I forgot how meditative writing can be, and though this isn’t web therapy (but it is for me) and it isn’t a Girls episode but a blog about FOOD and FITNESS, I will resume sharing my findings and observations of the world to you, the world.

I’m also not 100% full on strict Paleo anymore – it turns out my body demands to be fed more carbs in the form of rice and the occasional donut! I eat a 90/10 diet, which allows me two decadent desserts of my choice each weekend. Basically, I learned how to eat what I want without eating everything else. I do try to stay gluten-free purely because my body has a riot if it consumes too much of it, but I’m not opposed to it. Cake is cake. And cake is goooooood.

Something I’ve been working on is not making empty promises to people or myself only to break them over and over again, then feel guilty as shit. The cards aren’t always in my hand. And you know, there’s this thing called ‘life’ that happens? So, rather than make some grand gesture of unmoving resolution stating that I will post a recipe every 3 days, I’m just simply going to do what I feel like.

Usually that involves cake, too.

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The Games are starting!

Don’t you just hate it when you sign in to Facebook or WordPress and find the complete template has changed? I guess it serves me right because it has been almost a month since I’ve posted. Tsk tsk. I apologise profusely – I know I may not be the most popular blog in the world (probably because I’m not so consistent), but just know that I appreciate all you readers out there. It’s always great to know that people like what you do. :) Unicorn glitter and kitten hugs for all of you!

Where did we last leave off? My grand escape to Boston = fabulous. I mean, just the bee’s knees and toes. I stayed with my friend’s family in Gloucester, so a great getaway from the city and look at what we did!

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This is the view from her house. Uh, that estuary you’re looking at – I kayaked through it. In the rain. In true “Notebook” fashion. Boston-20140703-00035Visited my old box and did a crazy WOD in the humid heat of Boston.

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Whale watching! It’s true what they say about it – you get a good workout running like a maniac all over the boat.

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Beautiful sunset

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 Hiking at Ravenswood! And roof-less driving!

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Visited the Taza chocolate factory and gobbled up some serious samples.

Other than that, I moved into my new apartment. Woohoo! Stupidly, I tried to move everything in one day. On my own. About three things I am sure of:-

  1. No one will offer to help you. No teenage boy doing bicep curls, no smoking trucker watching you, no hipster in skinny jeans.
  2. I would never have been able to move all my things by myself had I not begun CrossFit. AND it is not advisable to move boxes the day after a heavy deadlift and squat WOD.
  3. My entire life fits into the back of three Honda Fits.

It’s shocking, I know. But pleasantly comforting. Overall, the entire move took about a week (you know, just in case you couldn’t sleep without knowing). And in all honesty, I’ve been so depleted after the day, I haven’t felt like cooking anything fancy schmancy. Literally, it’s been haggardly chopped brussel sprouts in a pan with butchered chicken bits. Sometimes, I’m not sure if I’m eating raw veggies either, when overcome by surging, ravenous delirium. I suppose this doesn’t sound too good for someone running a cooking blog.

Good news! My brother is coming to visit in a week! And we’re going to Colorado! Hell yeah!

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got. Ta-da!

Good ol’ Scottish Eggs

It’s been a busy weekend for me and I think I definitely RX’d my cheat meals. Since I’ve been out of action with my balloon-sized knee, which is taped up so dramatically as you can see, I have resorted to eating my way through my sorrows and boredom. Finally, after 3 years in the States, I ate decent Chinese food! Dim Sum at Din Tai Fung with some lady friends, absolute perfect Saturday brunch.

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I also ended up taking a chocolatier class = CRAZY STRESSFUL BUT FUN. It’s organized chaos fun. We made mediants, lollies, bark and rochers. My thighs are probably going to be seriously offended while I work my way through the load.IMG-20140630-00027

On another note, I’m super excited this week to go back to Boston and visit my old gym. After living on the East Coast for 5 months through, what seemed like the most unbearably merciless of winters, I couldn’t believe how attached I had grown to it. The giant geese and their extremely proficient bowel movements, the snowed-in days of solitary confinement, the averted gazes and eluded customary social greetings. Ah, it’s definitely time to change gears. I’m even leaving my laptop (and thus, worries) behind so the next five days will be pure unicorn glitter and elf magic. 

Since I’m flying off to New England, I decided to make some Scottish eggs, because who doesn’t love a good Brit classic? 

THE PALEO SCOTTISH EGG

scottisheggsIngredients:-

1 cup arrowroot powder

1 cup almond meal

6 eggs (5 for the Scottish, 1 for the egg wash)

500g lean ground turkey (or beef/any kind of ground meat you like)

1 tablespoon french dijon mustard

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoon onion powder

Fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper

Ghee, canola oil or other oil of choice (should be 1/4″ of oil covering the skillet)

Method of Madness:-

  1. In a big bowl, mix together ground turkey, mustard, liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt and pepper. 
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinade for 30 minutes to an hour. (Or if you’re super hangry, leave it aside while you make yo’ eggs.)
  3. In a medium sauce pot, make some perfectly hard-boiled eggs. 
  4. Once removed from the pot, sit the eggs in an ice bath for 5 minutes. Peel when ready.
  5. Place the arrowroot powder, almond meal and 1 beaten egg in three separate bowls respectively.
  6. Take the first boiled and peeled egg and roll in the arrowroot powder. Shake off excess.
  7. Take 1/5 of the ground turkey mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten. Wrap the dusted egg with meat evenly all around.
  8. Roll your meat-wrapped egg in arrowroot powder again and then finish in the almond meal. 
  9. Repeat with the rest of the eggs.
  10. In a skillet, heat oil of your choice (preferably canola or coconut) over medium heat.
  11. Place Scottish eggs in the skillet and keep turning with a pair of tongs ever 30 seconds to ensure even cooking.
  12. Cook until the eggs are golden brown.
  13. Remove and serve up with some Paleo mayo!

See you in a week!

 

Basil Panna Cotta with Salted Almond Crumb & Blueberry Compote

You know when you get home after a long day’s work and the first thing you do is march to the kitchen and open your fridge? Even if it’s a lazy Saturday in, it seems that magical ice box has gravitational properties that force you (haha, get it?) to peek at its contents – as if it’s a memory game upon every visit. Maybe you’re hoping to see that decadent chocolate cake you’ve been tossing and turning about for the past week: it’s alright, you just can’t help it. 

And then there’s the moment when you’re leaning on the open fridge door, staring at the shelves trying to come up with something to feed yourself (or your family) with. Just staring.

So here’s what I’m going to call my latest segment of ‘What’s in the Box?’ I’ll post a photo of what’s in my fridge each week and maybe you all can help me figure out what to make for dinner. Why? Because it’s fun and well, I kind of want to see what’s in everyone’s fridge. Take some pictures and send ’em over or post them! 

box1BASIL PANNA COTTA with SALTED ALMOND CRUMB
basilpannacotta2Ingredients:-

Basil Panna Cotta:

1 1/2 teaspoons pure gelatin

2 tablespoons warm water

2 cups coconut milk

1/4 cup honey

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed

Pinch of salt

Salted Almond Crumb:

3 1/2 tablespoons almond meal

2 1/2 tablespoon shredded coconut

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoon raw honey

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Method of Madness:-

  1. In a small bowl, add the 2 tablespoons of warm water. Warm water helps the gelatin activate.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom for 5 minutes.
  3. While you’re waiting, pour the coconut milk, honey and pinch of salt in a medium saucepan.
  4. Bruise the basil leaves by scrunching them up with your fingers, or making large tears to release the oils.
  5. Add the basil leaves to the coconut milk and heat over low heat for 12-15 minutes. Or until the milk starts to steam and you can taste the basil. Stir occasionally!
  6. Once done, add 3 tablespoons of the heated cream mixture to the small bowl of gelatin and mix well.
  7. Take the cream mixture off the heat and add the gelatin mix. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  8. Once it’s cooled, pour the mixture into cups, jars, ramekins, whatever you like! Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight.
  9. While you’re waiting, mix all the salted almond crumb ingredients together and spread thinly on a lined tray.
  10. Bake at 350F for 7-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let cool to room temperature.
  11. Place almond crumb in the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, remove and break into pieces.
  12. After you’ve patiently awaited your 5 hours, assemble with blueberry compote and EAT THAT UP.

Caveman goes to Italia: Lasagna

Hurrah hurrah, for I have finally found a place to stay! Thank the food lords and shelter shamans. So I cooked up a bunch of yummy-ness to, you know, celebrate. Haven’t much to tell you except that I’ve learnt how to make PALEO MARSHMALLOWS. Hells yes. They will be coming to you shortly. 

Funny thing about lasagnas. My mum used to cook the best lasagna ever (you know, by non-Italian standards) before we all suddenly became “allergic to wheat”. She would cook it so often, we’d be eating leftovers for most of the week. I never learned the secrets to her witchcraft, but I do remember her always pronouncing it as ‘lag-zah-na‘. I was learning to speak English and that was how I thought you would always say it. Until one faithful day I said it to some “cultured” snob who, in turn, spat his laughter in my face. What was my comeback? None – I went home and sulked over a bowl of my LAH-SAH-NIA. Jerk.

PALEO LASAGNA

(serves 2)

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Ingredients:-

2 zucchinis

1 lb grass-fed ground beef

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups Easy marinara sauce

Drizzle of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method of Madness:-

  1. Slice the zucchini into lengthwise strips to 1/8″ thickness with a mandolin. (Don’t have a fancy mandolin? Just use a vegetable peeler and think long, even strokes!)
  2. Place the zucchini strips in a bowl and add distilled white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. While waiting, brown the ground beef with the oregano, salt and pepper. JUST until it’s not pink, because it has to cook more in the even! If you want to add chopped garlic and mushrooms, you totally can.
  4. Once the beef is cooked, remove from the heat and let cool.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rectangle loaf pan (or any bread/cake pan if you have it) with foil.
  6. It’s time to assemble! Spread an even layer of the marinara sauce on the base of the lined pan.
  7. Layer two zucchini strips on top of each other, enough to cover everything, and then another two strips next to that. Each zucchini “pasta sheet” layer should have 4 strips.
  8. Then add the ground beef. 
  9. Repeat with sauce, zucchini strips and meat until you’ve done about 3-4 layers.
  10. Drizzle some olive oil for good measure.
  11. Place in the oven to cook for 30 minutes.
  12. Add cheese if you wanna, or don’t if you don’t! 

 

 

Caveman goes to Italia: Easy Marinara Sauce!

I was craving Italy. Yes. Like the entire country’s worth of Italian food because apparently, I don’t have to be pregnant to have cravings. This whole week has been a huge funk for me – post competition recovery means no working out for a week; apartment hunting means no fun until you are no longer homeless. 

I’m also officially obsessed with Nom Nom Paleo’s Bacon Deviled Eggs. My God. They are so easy to make: we’re talking literally 20 minutes. And they taste like heaven’s heaven. Y’all need to make these. Like right now. 

bacondeviledeggsAlso, I used the remaining egg cream filling to fill the meatballs for my Paleo spaghetti and meatballs!

Easy Paleo Marinara Sauce

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Ingredients:-

6 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced finely

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoon tomato paste

3 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoon coconut milk

Freshly ground black pepper

Method of Madness:-

  1. In a medium saucepan, add olive oil and chopped garlic and fry on medium heat till slightly brown.
  2. Turn the heat down to low and add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, oregano, paprika and salt to the saucepan.
  3. Let simmer on low until the water from the tomatoes reduces to form a thick sauce, 8-10 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid the base burning.
  4. Once reduced, add the coconut milk for a creamier tomato sauce. Grind in black pepper to taste.
  5. Top it on your favourite Paleo pasta, pizza or lasagna! 

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Cajun Pork Loin with Nectarine Jam

Call me superstitious or whatever: I just really didn’t want to talk about it until it was done and dusted. I did my first CrossFit competition! Against all odds with no ACL and all sorts of chronic injuries, I stayed in one piece! Femme Royale 2014 made me feel so proud to be a lady and it was kind of nice to have the men on the sidelines. It’s amazing what adrenaline will do to you in the heat of the moment. I felt like friggin’ incredible Hulk meets Wolverine meets Wonder Woman. Our inner mantra was ‘them crop top barbies goin’ down!‘. So, my partner and I ranked 27th (out of 70) after our last WOD, but we made the mistake of checking our standings after everything settled and found we were officially 31st. That sucks. So we’re just going to be blissfully ignorant and claim we’re 27th.

wodOn another note, don’t you absolutely loathe having phone problems? I sure do. I have a Blackberry, mind you, so I’m sure you iPhone users will show no hesitation to point out, “Well, duh, Jamie. That’s why.” But it’s just annoying when you have to call Customer Care and wait for 20 minutes to be transferred to the right department because their auto-voice detection menu keeps thinking you’re saying “Red Press Detective” instead of ‘representative’. 

Hey, look at this cake I decorated! I’ve never been so elegant in my life!

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Anyway, here’s the awesome pork loin I made the other night for a hefty dinner.

Cajun Pork Loin with Nectarine Jam

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Ingredients:-

1 pork loin, washed and patted dry

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cajun

1/2 teaspoon garlic granules

Pinch of salt and lemon pepper to taste

1/2 nectarine, chopped finely

1/2 tablespoon raw honey

Crispy bacon brussel sprouts

Method of Madness:-

  1.  Rub spices on pork loin and leave to marinate for 5-10 minutes.
  2. While you’re waiting, mix raw honey and nectarine in a small saucepan and heat on low.
  3. When the mixture thickens and reduces to become jam-like (about 8-10 minutes), remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Then, in a pan drizzle with olive oil, place the marinated pork loin and cook on both sides for 4 minutes.
  5. Once done, slice and serve with crispy bacon brussel sprouts and nectarine jam!

Rave: Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook and ‘How About We…?’

Okay, I didn’t want to talk about it because I was scared that I would jinx it (and I still don’t know if I should be putting these words out into the universe) but I’m about 11 days away from my first CrossFit competition at Femme Royale 2014. Ah! The best part about training for a partner competition is that it’s just plain fun, especially if your partner is as AWESOME as mine. Seriously, we just discovered that we might has well be sisters from different misters because we’re so alike. Scary. But enough with this talk.

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Uh, I’m sure all you Paleo peeps have heard of Nom Nom Paleo, right? If you haven’t, you need to click on that link. Like right now. But make sure you come back to this one, of course. Anyway, I bought her cookbook last week and have been ogling over the beautiful designs and photography all day every day. It is SO worth the price for yummy tummy recipes and such a well put together cookbook. I feel like I need a husband/partner-in-crime now to help me make everything look better. 

Photo on 5-28-14 at 1.05 PM(Oh my God, the photo is backwards. And I’m only showing half my face because I had girly stuff on it. Truth.)

My housemate told me about this new “offline” dating website called ‘How About We…?’ where you post date suggestions and if someone likes the sound of it, you both go and do it! How fun, right? Naturally, I was so curious I had to sign up (also because my homies urged me to do it) because the worst that could happen is you both end up doing something fun and then never seeing each other again. If you think about it, it’s pretty ingenious because it totally weeds out all the glamour and popularity aspects of normal online dating: you know, if you don’t have shiny hair, pretty eyes and a 24″ waist, you’re not worthy. Would you be surprised to know if all my date suggestions involved doing a CF WOD first? Why? I figured if I torture and weaken my date beforehand, he’d be less inclined to murder me. Yes, this is why I went to school – to be a clever bunny.

 

 

Paleo Mango Ice Cream

Today is such a lush day. It’s like if Ryan Gosling were to create a breath mint, today would be exactly that. I wish there was some way to contain all this cool breeze so we can use it during the scorching summer – oh that’s right. It’s called an air-conditioner.

School is officially out so you’re going to see a lot more food photos in the next couple of months. Thank goodness, right? Not to mention I’m probably going to have to practice some non-gluten free baking for my pastry course. Can you imagine living with all of this in your fridge week to week? Just don’t ask me where it all went.

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On another exciting note, this weekend I met my future husband, Dan Bailey, at the SoCal regionals. Granted, I was the crazy Asian fangirl who almost tackled him at the athlete’s corner after he had finished 3 events (poor thing) but the picture was so worth it. I really had to refrain from proposing to him with my Paleo cookies, forcing him to seal the deal. Yeah. Regionals was amazing. Del Mar is amazing – it’s like the Hamptons for LA peeps. Everyone wore pastel and had sweater vests on. 

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Speaking of Paleo goodies, I made some ice cream! Because it’s getting *hawt* and we all need something to butter ourselves with in the summer. Mangoes are in season and this recipe is absolutely refreshing AND easy to make. Seriously. So easy. Magical mango goodness in 15 minutes. GO MAKE IT.

PALEO MANGO ICE CREAM

mango2Ingredients:-

1 1/2 cans coconut milk

1/4 cup raw honey

2 whole mangoes, meat removed

Method of Madness:-

  1. Scoop out mango meat clean from the cheeks. Save the empty cheeks to fill your ice cream in!
  2. If you like chunky ice cream, dice the mango meat. If you want a smoother consistency, blend the mango meat and honey together until thick and gloopy.
  3. In a small pot over medium heat, heat mango and honey until it becomes sticky like jam.
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. (Or just stick it in the freezer for a bit if you’re in a hurry)
  5. When you’re ready to roll, pour coconut milk into the ice cream machine and churn until it starts to get close to ice cream consistency (8-10 minutes)
  6. When the coconut milk looks like it’s getting ice-creamy, add the mango jam and churn until mixed well (1 minute).
  7. Fill in your mango cheeks with the ice cream and leave in the freezer to set!