Jamaican Goat Curry

I bought some goat when I was last up in Ottawa mostly because I have never in my life had it and thought it would be interesting. But then came the inevitable *wait… what they heck do I cook with this* thought. Needles to say, Google came to my rescue and since what I had was stewing pieces of goat, I really only had 2 options. (1) Stew – which I do all too frequently and (2) curry – but not just any curries, there were an abundance of recipes specifically for Jamaican curries. So I looked up a bunch or them, bought some curry powder and did what I always do with recipes… that is. looked up about 10 different ones, looked for the common element and then make up the rest.

No wonder my boyfriend doesn’t understand my cooking method. I almost never follow a recipe unless it’s baking… and even then. So just so you know… 99% of my recipes have at least 2 ingredients who’s measurements have been approximated because I cook to taste. I’m sorry!

Anyways…. This was what I did.

My Jamaican Goat Curry

Ingredients:

Curry

  • 2 lbs stewing goat meat (or shoulder meat cut into 1 inch cubes)

    Ingredients for the marinade

    Ingredients for the marinade

  • 4 carrots
  • 3-4 medium parsnips (or 2 huge ones which is what I had)
  • 1 large onion
  • butter with which to cook
  • 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2-3 cups of water or beef broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Marinade

  • 2 1/2 tbsp curry powder

    The marinade per-goat

    The marinade per-goat

  • 1/2 tbsp allspice
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger powder (I had no fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper paste (I buy a tube from the grocery store. but it’s about 1 small chili pepper)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp water (or enough that when combines it becomes a paste)

Directions:

  1.  Combine the first 5 ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and whisk together to evenly combine. Add the chili paste and olive oil and mix well with a whisk. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a paste consistency that will spread and coat the meat (thinner is a little easier, but don’t make it too thin or it wont stick).
  2. Remove goat from the fridge and pat dry with paper towel (so marinade will stick), then toss these in the bowl with the marinade and make sure the marinade coats each piece. I used my hands for this but be forewarned that they turned slightly yellow from the curry.

    Setting nicely wile I chop

    Setting nicely wile I chop

  3. Cover this and let sit for 1-2 hours so the meat can come to room temperature. If you are leaving it to marinade longer just put it in the fridge and remove an hour before cooking.
  4. While the meat is marinating, dice your onion and chop the carrots and parsnips into bit size pieces. I leave the skin on my root veggies and just wash them well because it’s less work and I find they hold up better, but feel free to peel them.
  5. Coat the bottom of a dutch over pan (or a heavy bottomed soup pan) with some of the butter and brown the meat on medium high heat in batches. Do not crowd the pan. Cook the meat in one layer so each piece gets brown properly and remove it to a bowl. It took me 3 batches to do 2 lbs. Make sure you add a little butter after each batch so the pan doesn’t go dry.

    DSC_0401

    No crowding

  6. Add some more butter to the pan and sautee the garlic and onions for about 5 minutes or until they start to brown.
  7. Add the meat back to the pot and toss everything around. Then add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it and get all the caramelized yummy bits off the bottom.
  8. At this point at the rest of the ingredients except the water and salt and pepper and stir everything around. Then fill the pot with enough water to cover the contents and add salt and pepper to your taste. You can also add more chili pepper or a scotch bonnet pepper for more heat and authenticity, but I’m a wuss and like it mild.

    All in the pot

    All in the pot

  9. Bring this all to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let this cook for 2 hours. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens to your liking. Mine took about 45 minutes.
  10. Serve alone or with some rice (cooked with tumeric to get this lovely colour).
The finished product

The finished product

Things I should learn to remember about myself

1 – I don’t do well when I give myself to green light to have a large quantity of something (unless it’s greens)

2 – Gluten is really quite horrible for me

3 – I do best with wishy washy diet ideas but a solid goal

Why do these things matter? Well they matter because I’m not doing so well on the 21DSD and I know exactly why.

When I was in competition mode I would treat myself occasionally, but my portions were under control. I had a solid goal that could not be compromised. I knew what I needed to do. On this 21DSD there is no goal. Well there is, but it’s a wishy washy goal of improving your health. To accompany this wishy washy goal you have very strict diet guidelines. Wait a sec… see #3 above? I do well with the opposite. So what has happened?

Well on the 21DSD they assume that you will listen to your body when it gets full. That’s great! I would if I could, but I have never had this feeling of “full” that most people get. No no, I have 3 feelings related to hunger 1) hungry  2) not necessarily hungry but food is tasty and 3) bloating and hurting because I ate so much that my stomach is expanding past its normal capacity.

I’m serious. And no this isn’t something I “did” to destroy my full reflex. I have been this way forever. Let’s take a look back at my childhood. I was a really fit kid. Like weird kiddy six-pack happening. I had no excess fat on my at all, but I could eat as much as my father (who also doesn’t seem to have a full feeling). My mom used to jokingly say I had a hollow leg because she couldn’t understand where all the food went! Having said that, I was eating really good food. My Mom and Dad are both awesome cooks and make great healthful meals like roasted chicken and veggies, steak and salad. I was eating green beans (and enjoying them) at 8 and salad probably started around 10. But at puberty I did gain a little weight as I talked about in The Whole Story. Not much, but enough to start a struggle with body image.

So we’ve established that I have always been able to pack away the food like nobodies business. Great. So dieting should be super hard for me right? Well no, not really. I just portion everything I eat before hand and don’t go back for more. I have to rely on visual, measured or weighed portion control and not my own body. I’m not broken, that’s just the way I am. And like I said… I have a “not really hungry” stage, so I’m not always looking to eat. The problem is when I am eating, I don’t want to stop.

Ok, 21DSD comes along…

Internal Dialogue

Pre 21DSD – Hey, this looks like a great way to stop my sugar habit I’m developing! Oh look… you can have as much of these food in the “yes” column as you want. They don’t want you to measure things, you should listen to your body, other wishy washy thing… sounds great! I should totally do this!

Week 1 – This is going really well! I’m cutting back a lot on sweets and eating bacon… mmmmmm bacon! I should probably cut back on the whole stuffing my face with nuts thing though… oh well.

Week 2 – Hmmm, muscles aren’t recovering very well, let’s add back protein powder.. hey that might help with the nut issue!

Today – Ok so we seem fine during the day when our access to food is limited but at night? We (royal we) become a crazy nut and cheese eating machine! This is not good… we need to stop 😦

So I’m ending my 21DSD journey. BUT I did learn some great things like my body feels way better sans grains/gluten, I picked up some great new recipes, and I actually achieved my #1 goal in taking this sugar detox on. I am no longer going for the high sugar content items! Yay!

I’m going to set some real measurable (SMART) goals for myself today and I’ll post about them tomorrow. Then I will use portion control and the diet principles I know work for me with maybe fewer grains in the mix to achieve those.

Please do not let me discourage you from trying this though. My boyfriend, even though he probably doesn’t realize it has had fabulous results and has made his body much more sensitive to sugar which HOPEFULLY he will maintain.

Planning, banana bread and circuits

Wow I’ve been busy. Not quite accounting busy season busy just yet; but definitely, “I have very little time” kind of busy. Yesterday I got home at 8:30 ish after leaving work at 7:45 which is a long day on it’s own, but I had also gone to the gym that morning. I’m so glad I did, because there is no chance I would have gone at 8:30 at night!

I didn’t think I would be working that late so I made a classic error for those of us trying to live a healthy lifestyle… I didn’t pack enough food! I nearly fell prey to my hunger and bought a Kind bar (which are somewhat healthy but LOADED with sugar). But last second I put the bar down and decided that I had already been hungry for 3 hours, I could wait one more and stick to something good for me.

I have talked about the awesomeness that is bacon before… specifically peameal bacon in a healthy diet. Peameal bacon has saved my bacon this week (I’m so funny). Seriously, I have eaten in for Monday breakfast, this mornings breakfast AND last nights dinner. Why? 1) It’s one of the tastiest things ever and is one of few cuts of pork that cooks up super tender and juicy. 2) It cooks FAST. Like I’m starving and need something in my belly in less than 10 minutes kind of fast. Faster if your peameal isn’t cut super thick by your awesome butcher Marlon Pather of Marlon’s Meat…. but more on him later.

Wednesday’s breakfast

Tuesday’s Dinner

Monday’s Breakfast

I  have been eating peameal with a side of greens because I can pull it together in about 10 minutes. That’s key in the morning or when you have been ready to chew your arm off for over an hour already and the dark chocolate and granola you just bought are calling to you, telling you that they don’t even take 10 minutes… they are instant! Sidenote: I may have lost my mind and think that inanimate objects are communicating to me.

Seriously though, get some peameal bacon. You can’t beat a super quick cooking protein. It takes about the same time as eggs but packs more protein and less fat gram for gram.

Anyhoooooo, I have been a bad blogger and promised you guys some things and didn’t get around to it due to the aforementioned business (the 21DSD banana bread and my morning workout from yesterday via twitter).

Paleo/21DSD Banana Bread (based on this recipe from Civilized Caveman)

Ingredients

  • 3-4 bananas (unripe if you are doing the 21DSD like me)
  • 2 eggs plus ½ c. egg whites OR 4 eggs (I only had 2 eggs left)
  • ½ c. almond or other natural nut butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ c. coconut flour
  • ¼ c. almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine your bananas, eggs, egg whites, and nut butter, and butter in a food processor or blender or whatever you have that blends/chops things up real nice and transfer this to a bowl to mix the rest of the ingredients in
  3. Add in your coconut flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt to the blended ingredients and mix well
  4. Grease a 9×5  loaf pan with a fat of your choice (I used butter)
  5. Pour in your batter and spread it evenly throughout (it will be pretty thick)
  6. Place in your preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (using a metal loaf pan with make the bread cook faster, a glass one will cook slower and your oven is definitely not the exact same as mine, so just use a toothpick to gauge)
  7. Remove from oven and flip your bread out onto a cooling rack
  8. Slice and serve with some salted butter or nut butters on top to add to the deliciousness

I had a pretty large portion of this for breakfast before my workout that I am about to share and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get an cramps or other food related problems while running. Normally if I eat something too dense right before a workout I get a cramp during my run or I feel sick if I workout really hard… but that didn’t happen and it was definitely a hard workout.

Upper Body Circuit plus a some Tabata Sprints

Warm up: walk/jog for 5 mins on treadmill

Upper body circuit: Repeat 3 times with as little rest as possible (mostly just because I didn’t have much time). You will need access to a bench, plus a heavy, medium and light set of dumbbells… for me that means 30 lbs, 15 lbs, 10 lbs, for my friend that was 20 lbs, 12.5 lbs and 7.5 lbs. Choose what is right for you.

  • Lawnmowers (AKA one arm dumbbell rows) – heavy weight, 10 reps each arm
  • Pushups – no weight, 15 reps
  • Bicep curl to Arnold press (start with palms facing forward, curl, at the top of the curl rotate your arm so the palm is forward again, lift your arms straight overhead into a press and then reverse the whole motion) – medium weight, 10 reps
  • V sit-ups on the bench – no weight, 15 reps
  • Seated Rear Delt Flyes – medium OR light weight, 12 reps (I do these with 15 pounds, but the motion itself can be difficult and neuromuscularly hard to learn, you have to target you mid back and not use you trapezius to get through the movement, so if you are new to this exercise, use the light weight)
  • Pec flyes on bench – medium weight, 12 reps
  • Tricep bench dips – no weight, 15 reps
  • Side leg lifts off the bench (AKA side V sit-ups) – no weight, 12 reps each side

*** If you aren’t sure about any of these exercises, head over to Bodybuilding.com and look them up 🙂

HIITs: 2 sets of tabatas

  • Walk 1 minute at 2.5% incline; step off treadmill and increase speed to a sprint (for me it’s 9.0 mph)
  • Perform a sprint set of Tabata: 20 secs running, 10 secs off the treadmill repeated 8 times
  • Slow the treadmill down and walk for 1 minute: Step off the treadmill and increase incline to 12.5% and speed to a hard jog (for me this is 6 mph)
  • Perform a hill run set of Tabata: 20 secs running at a steep incline, 10 secs off the treadmill repeated 8 times
  • Cool down by walking for 2 minutes or until you can actually breath again 🙂

I loved this workout and I finished it off with a protein shake and an apple… no DOMS for me! Yay for modifications to the 21DSD.

Oh and just for randomness sake… crispy bacon is an awesome replacement for tortilla chips when trying to stuff your face with too good to be true guacamole.

21 Day Sugar Detox and tests of will power

First off: the answer to the 2 truths and a lie is (drum roll please) I do NOT have a tattoo, though if I did, my sister would most certainly have designed it because she is a crazy wicked artist of whom I’m incredibly jealous.

Things my Dad says…

I have talked about will power in some of my posts before. I have spoken about the fact that it is like a muscle and needs to be worked in order to be strong. I have talked about habits helping you fight temptation. I have not, however, talked about the terrible temptation that is the food aisle at a craft show!This weekend, my boyfriend and I went to the One of a Kind Craft Show to do some of our christmas shopping. A successfull trip if I do say so myself. I managed to acquire some things for myself along with some gifts, including high quality wild, smoked, canned salmon and tuna. It was delicious and had nothing bad at all in it 🙂 I also grabbed some garden crackers from a vegan health booth along with some sprouted buckwheat granola (the crackers actually fit into the 21DSD, the granola is extremely healthy, but a grain, so it will have to wait until after). But imagine walking down 2 loooooooong aisles of spreads and jams and peanut butters and candied salmon and candied nuts and chocolate covered fruits and christmas fruit cake…. and ALL of them are giving out samples. My will power was supremely tested. But I was pretty good! I did not use any crackers to taste the dips and I stayed away from jams or spreads that had sugar in them. I didn’t taste the fruit cake, or the chocolate covered fruit. I was doing great!

And then I got to the nuts.

Side note: while I have really enjoyed the 21DSD so far in that my sugar intake and cravings have gone way down. I have seemingly replaced all things grain based or sugary, with nuts and nut products. It’s a problem. It’s not healthy and is not what I want out of this experience… but more on that later.

So we get to the nuts and it starts well. I sample the hickory, mesquite and garlic flavours… all sugar free. Them my boyfriend decides that the maple candied almonds look too good to pass up. Well its just one right? He made a face of pure joy when biting into this and cajoled me into trying it (he really twisted my arm 😉 NOT) and they were heavenly. This led to us also trying 3 additional flavours that were “candied” but still, it was a total of 4 candied nuts.

Further on we got to the aforementioned granola, which has no added sugar including natural sources and is only sweetened with dates. The buckwheat is not 21DSD approved but it’s something that I would like to have afterwards and didn’t want to buy without trying… so I sampled… and bought because it was awesome, along with the crackers.

Those were the only cheats! Pretty proud of myself to be honest… except when we got home my boyfriend commented on the ridiculous amount of nuts both of us have been consuming. We discussed the following things about our 21DSD experience so far:

1 – Neither of us have recovered from our heavy leg workouts very well (my legs are still sore from my workout on Thursday night and I couldn’t walk properly all day saturday). We both think that this is because were are used to being able to go really hard and recover well because of supplements; supplements that are not allowed on the 21DSD because of the sweeteners such as protein powder, Carnitine powder and BCAAs. Maybe people who don’t use these regularly or who workout less vigorously would have had an easier time of it.

21DSD approved banana bread!

2 – Our energy levels are really inconsistent and we can’t really pin down a pattern. It didn’t seem to matter the amount of sleep we got or how hard our day was or whether we had just eaten. There likely is a pattern, but we can’t figure it out.

3 – We seem to have replaced our normal fruit snack or protein shakes or other go to easy snacks with nuts and cheeses… mostly nuts. While nuts are healthy, we have definitely gone overboard. It’s partially that nuts are delicious, but a lot of it is that it’s hard to come up with snacks that fit into the 21DSD and we are both used to eating 5 – 6 times per day. We made some 21DSD approved banana bread (recipe to come later) which will help for snacking, but it’s been pretty difficult so far.

4 – Other than that it hasn’t been really hard, we are enjoying the food we eat and aren’t having any big cravings for anything. He is definitely missing grains, but I don’t generally eat many grains, so it hasn’t affected me too much. We haven’t noticed anything major other than maybe some fluctuations in our skin (mine has been very fickle and starts to clear up then breaks out again).

So what does this mean? Well after we discussed, my boyfriend, genius that he is, asked the following question:

What were you trying to get out of this detox anyways?

Really I was just trying to hit the reset button on my body and brain and stop the excessive eating of sugar I had been doing after the competition. I quickly realized that replacing excessive sugar with excessive amounts of nuts is not really my goal. We talked about it and decided to make a couple of modifications to the 21DSD as follows:

1 – limit nuts and nut butters to a reasonable amount such as 2 times per day

2 – protein powder and BCAAs are allowed around workouts in order to help recovery.

3 – if pressed for time, a protein shake with fruit is allowed instead of a handful or 5 of nuts 🙂

We agreed that the benefits of adding this in would help us better achieve our goals that just continuing to eat nuts like they are going out of style.

What are your thoughts? Has anyone ever modified a detox/diet before to better fit your goals or lifestyle? How’d it work out?

Day 3 – 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 3 of a detox is always the worst for me. My body hasn’t quite figured out what I’m doing yet and it’s pretty much out of steam from how I was eating before. My energy levels were all kinds of wacky today. I’d go from being super energized to completely lethargic within 30 minutes. I also over-ate AGAIN today. My body is really craving the quick energy of carbs, especially because I’m tired. So when I have a craving I eat something else. Unfortunately that something else tends to be nuts, nut butters or cheeses. I really need to start choosing veggies instead at least some of the time.

Part of the reason I hadn’t been choosing veggies is because I had very few of them in the house… but I went grocery shopping tonight and now have loads of veggies… seriously loads. I didn’t buy a single meat product, but my grocery bill came to the exact same as it does when I buy meat… and I normally buy a lot of meat. I think this had to do with a few new items I purchased 🙂

Items like these awesome nut butters. Ignore the cashew butter which I bought and then realized cashews are off limits… it will be for after the detox.

Also these pecans, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

The day’s food went like this:

Breakfast – Banana, kale and coconut milk smoothie with 3 strips of bacon plus coffee and coconut milk

Lunch – Leftover Stew from Day 1

Snacks – 2 eggs, small chicken breast and 1 yellow bell pepper

Craving killers – walnuts, pecans and a couple chunks of cheese

Dinner – leftover pork, beets, and sautéed asparagus with bacon bits

Hopefully my body will sort itself out by tomorrow. For now I’m watching Brave and I’ll be going to sleep early.