Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A day off.

My week didn't start out so great due to an unexpected fiasco that left me somewhat stressed out and it really showed in my ceramic work. I made four new small clay pieces on Monday and Tuesday and none of them really came out successfully. This can happen when I'm stressed. I just wasn't in the patient, creative mood I need to be in.

I decided I could really use a day off from clay to de-stress and clear my head. That's what today was, and I think it worked.

I didn't really mean to take the day completely off. I intended on printing some linocuts or something, but that didn't happen. I ended up just relaxing and reading and going for a walk in the sunshine. I think it really did the trick because I'm already looking forward to getting back to my clay work tomorrow.

It was also really helpful to pull out my sketchbook and work on some new ideas. Even though the pieces I made earlier in the week didn't work out, they did lead me to some new, hopefully good ideas.

Since this post is severely lacking in pictures, I'll leave you with this:
Kitty posing for a Valentines card

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Duck Duck Goose.

It was a good week.

Mike worked from home for 3 days and it was really nice having him around. Especially because he made me delicious french press coffee all the time.




 I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and saw a bunch of cute ducks and geese across the street.

Handsome Mr. Goose. Sorry I don't have bread for you.

Aren't mallards so pretty? 

Don't worry, I didn't bother my feathered friends too much. That goose was coming after me though. He even walked me back to my car. I was a little worried he was going to attack me, but I think he was just hoping I would drop some delicious goose chow.


Another exciting part of the week was discovering the game Draw Something. Yeah, I know, I'm a bit late getting in on that. I didn't really think I'd like it, but I ended up trying it out a few days ago when Mike wanted to play. I quickly became kind of obsessed with it. Well, let me elaborate... I don't think I'm obsessed, but Mike seems to think so because I keep playing in the middle of watching TV shows with him and then asking him "wait, what just happened, I wasn't paying attention", oops.


WORK

Unlike last week, I have lots of pictures to show of my clay work from this week.

New small texture pots. 

I've been making more of the smaller versions of my pieces that I started a couple weeks ago. I'm really liking how as the body of the pieces get smaller and smaller, the artichoke texture is looking more and more different, since the artichoke leaves are staying the same size.

My favorite is the super tiny artichoke vase on the left. I'm excited to see what a fur pot will look like at that size. 


One of my finished full size pieces in the back to show the size difference.

Before adding texture. And some bowls in the background.

Well-groomed fur. 

Twisty fur.

Artichoke jar.

Artichoke jar- inside view. 

Artichoke jar- bottom view. 

Tiny little artichoke vase. 


WORKOUT

All week I've been hoping to do some exercising outside, but every day was either bad weather for it, or I had some other excuse. Today was unfortunately no different. It rained all night, and today was completely overcast and cold. So instead of enjoying the crappy weather, I did the p90X "Kenpo Cardio Plus" workout. It's all kicks and punches and stuff, which I love and am pretty good at from my taekwondo days back in high school. I like how the video doesn't seem that hard while I'm actually doing it, but by the end I feel completely worn out. And according to my heart rate monitor I burned 20% more calories during that workout than I have doing any other workout for that same length of time. I think I want to starting incorporating that video into my workout schedule at least once a week. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Meatza time.


Tonight I made meatza. Meatza is pizza with meat for crust. I get pizza cravings once in a while so I've tried a few different paleo pizza crusts. Almond flour crust, cauliflower crust, coconut flour crust, and the tapioca flour crust I made a couple weeks ago... I never tried meatza though, because when I'm craving pizza, I think what I want most is the breadiness of it, so I didn't really think I would like meatza since there is no breadiness to it. But I kept hearing more and more about meatza, and since I had all of the ingredients on hand, I decided I would finally give it a try!


Yay, meatza!


I still missed the bread of real pizza, but this was really good and I will definitely be making it again. I think it is the second best paleo pizza I've tried. In first place is tapioca flour pizza, which is ohmygod, amazing. Meatza is a great option, though, for when I don't want all of those empty carbs of a tapioca crust.


Here's the recipe I used:

MEATZA!

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup almond meal
1 t salt
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t thyme
1/2 t garlic powder
1/8 t pepper

Mix me all together!

Preheat oven to 450.

Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together. Once it's all mixed up, put it on a foil lined baking sheet (mine was 9x13) and spread it out until most of the pan is covered.


Eww. Wash your meaty hands now.

Put it in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Then take it out of the oven and preheat the oven to broil.


Looks gross, tastes great. 


Before you add your toppings, pour the grease out of the pan and blot the crust with paper towels to soak up a bit more of it.

Then add your desired toppings to your meaty crust and put your meatza under the broiler for about 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melty.

Cut into slices and devour.



Friday, April 13, 2012

Cheat day!


Cheat day finally arrived. I didn't end up making enchiladas like I was thinking about. I just wasn't in the mood today. So instead, Mike and I went to a place that I'm always in the mood for. Olive Garden! I haven't been there for almost a year, so I was long overdue for some delicious breadsticks. The breadsticks are really the only reason to go there. I may or may not have eaten 5 of them.

For cheat dessert I made one of my absolute favorite desserts: maple pecan bites!



They are like a pecan pie in bar form and even more delicious that a regular pecan pie somehow. You can see the recipe here on the Eat, Live, Run blog. If you like things that taste awesome, then I suggest you make these. Right now. And eat them with plenty of milk. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Muffin for Blue Jay, Muffin for me.


I added something new to my Etsy shop today!


Blue Jay eating a cupcake.



I spent a while yesterday printing some of my linoleum carvings. I'm still getting the hang of the actual printing part, and most of my prints didn't come out just right, so I'll be working on it again soon. I have one other big linocut I'll be printing in addition to more cupcake bird prints. I already cut and folded a bunch of colorful papers to make cards as well. I really enjoy doing linocuts, but I'll be happy when I get better at printing them. Practice, practice!

It's my turn to choose "cheat day dinner" tomorrow. I am so looking forward to it. I was thinking about maybe making some of my favorite home-cooked things, so that way it would still be a diet cheat, but not nearly as bad as going out would be. If I made the stuff myself then I could still use organic ingredients, a good paleo cooking fat and etc.

 I got the idea from my craving for Mexican food. Mike and I have tried 4 or 5 different Mexican restaurants since we moved here. And by that I mean, we did a ton of research beforehand, and found the ones with the very best reviews and that people claimed were "so perfectly authentic". I don't know if these people have just never eaten real Mexican food, or what, but every single one of those restaurants' food has tasted like it came out of a can of dog food. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, like I am prone to do, but seriously. I'm not lying. Dog food. If I set forth to make the most gross tasting Mexican food I possibly could, it would still not be half as bad as these places. I really don't know how they can do so bad. And the very best Mexican restaurant we've found here is still not half as good as the WORST Mexican restaurant in New Mexico.

Where I was getting with this was, if I want good Mexican food in Kentucky, I'm going to have to make it myself. So I may do that tomorrow. Or maybe not. I'm just going to wait until tomorrow and see what I feel like doing/eating.

Being paleo makes me feel energetic and healthy and it's even pretty delicious most of the time, but I love cheat day. I realize it does make me slightly less healthy than I could be, but if I didn't have cheat day I don't think I could stick with being paleo for very long, and then I would just give up on the whole thing. So cheat day is a good thing for me.


I did make a delicious non-cheat treat today, though. 

Banana Nut Muffins!

Made with almond meal instead of grain. Also they are not sweetened. At all. The sweetness comes from the bananas only. And yet somehow they are delicious. Last time I made them, Mike let a friend from work try one, and he could not tell it was paleo. I think I'll add them to the list of things I want to make my parents when they visit, as a "look! paleo isn't scary!" statement. Or maybe even a "here, have this normal sugary, grainy treat I made for you! Oh, you like it, you say? Ha! I lied! It's paleo and you didn't even know!" 

I won't share the recipe because it's from a cookbook. Mike got it for me for Christmas and I have used it multiple times per week ever since. I highly recommend it. 


Best cookbook I own. (only paleo cookbook I own)

And now I'm off to eat one of my muffiny creations. Perhaps with some grass fed butter or some berry preserves. Yum yum!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hiking and a candy surprise.

Saturday was spent doing the normal Saturday activities: shopping, car wash, and other errands. Just a normal, not too exciting day.

Sunday on the other hand, was quite the adventure!

Mike and I drove about an hour south to Bernheim Arboretum for my very first arboretum experience. We spent the day hiking and enjoying the sunshine and beautiful greenery. 


Me enjoying a hiking trail.


Mike and some trees in bloom.

I'm definitely going to miss all this green when I move away in a few months. Back to the brown, dry dessert. Winter was not the most pleasant here, but man, autumn and spring have been beautiful.  


Rhododendron: the prettiest thing of the day.

Going hiking on Easter had some unexpected benefits...
I found 2 plastic eggs with candy in them. I guess people were having Easter egg hunts out there before we got there and they missed a couple. I was quite excited. Though now that I think of it, I probably should have assumed the candy was poisoned. Too late, I ate it. But I didn't die, so it's all good. 

Easter egg! And candy!

We didn't get home from the arboretum until 8:30. I was tired and it was too late to start cooking so we walked to a chinese place right down a hill from my house. I was happy with this dinner outcome because I got to get crab rangoon. Pretty much my favorite thing in the world. 

So all in all, it was a really enjoyable Sunday. Now it's time for reading and sleeping.


Friday, April 6, 2012

A new bowl and some curious tea.


I finished another ceramic piece today. I wanted to find a way to use my texture pieces to embellish a bowl, and although it's pretty simple, I am quite happy with how it came out.




I also finished another bowl today but it's just a plain ol' bowl, so I didn't take a picture. I'll make it more exciting later when I glaze it.

 I started doing sketches for a linocut today too, but it's not at a point that I want to share it quite yet.

And now onto food...
I was browsing the recipes on Mark's Daily Apple today and I found a recipe for "Creamy Turmeric Tea". I love finding new ways to use turmeric because it has so many awesome health benefits, though I must admit turmeric tea sounded kind of disgusting to me. I decided I would try it anyway, and I'm glad I did. It's surprisingly good in an unusual sort of way.

Here's the recipe:

1 cup almond or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2-inch wide round slice of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey or other sweetener
Optional additions: a small pat of butter, cinnamon, cardamom
Instructions:
Gently warm the almond or coconut milk on the stove.
In a mug, combine the remaining ingredients.
Drizzle a teaspoon of the warmed milk into the mug and mix until the liquid is smooth with no lumps. Add the rest of the milk and mix well. You can leave the pieces of ginger in the tea, or strain it out before drinking.

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/creamy-turmeric-tea/#ixzz1rDFR0ZTq

I used almond milk because I think coconut milk is sadly disgusting, but I'm sure cow's milk would work great, too. I also added maybe 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and used a dash of black pepper instead of the cayenne. I definitely see a lot more turmeric tea in my future.

EDIT: After writing about how great turmeric tea is, I made a cup for Mike and he was not so thrilled by it. So maybe don't take my word for it.

For my workout today I just did some ellipticizing and some other cardio stuff. My legs are still absolutely killing me. Sprinting, what did you do to me?!

I have to get up super early for a chiropractor appointment, so good night!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sore legs and tapioca buns

I almost managed to get up at 10 this morning. But when I stood up and felt how sore my legs were and realized that my tired eyes were incapable of opening more than a thin slit, I gave in and went back to sleep. When I woke up the next time, my legs were still painfully sore but I could at least open my eyes all the way, so it was time to get up. I decided to take it easy with my workout today since apparently sprinting kills me. Kills me in a good way.

I avoided using my legs for anything and concentrated on arms and abs instead. Lots of pull ups and planks and other stuff that I don't know the names of left me satisfied and hungry.

This was my lunch:

carrots, plain yogurt with jam, pecans and blueberries, and seaweed snacks

Then I got to work. I finished this piece I was working on yesterday.
I don't know how I'm going to glaze it yet. Maybe something new that I haven't tried yet. We'll see.




Then after a nice break I got started planning dinner. I was planning on making meatballs, but then I found this recipe for tapioca flour hamburger buns.

Oh my god. Must eat these. Oh, I guess I should mention that this recipe is only paleo if you eat dairy, which I do.

So dinner was this:


burger with tapioca bun, broccoli & un-pictured vegetable juice.

It was an AWESOME dinner. I think I'm going to freeze the last two buns so I can use them when I get my next burger craving.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Long Day

It was a good but exhausting day today.
I didn't get enough sleep last night, and managed to get up at 10:15 this morning, which is really good for me.

I started my day with some more paleo workout research. Yesterday's workout was disappointing because it didn't really tire me out to my liking, and I was really in the mood for jogging especially since it was such a nice warm sunny day out. I tried to find something that said that jogging was okay paleo exercise, but I didn't find any such thing, so I decided on something similar and new to me: sprints!

I apparently have really bad endurance when it comes to sprinting. I've never been very good at it, but it wasn't actually so bad today. And it completely wore me out, which was exactly what I was hoping for. My legs have been so tired and kind of sore ever since.

Then I got to work. I was hoping to finish this jar, but my artichoke "leaves" were too dry to attach and trying to re-wet them only got them too wet, so it was taking longer than planned.


halfway done
 

I did get the top half covered though, so tomorrow I'll just have the bottom to do. It's going to be a smaller version of my regular artichoke jar. I thought it would be cute to make miniature versions of my things that would be faster to make and cheaper to sell. This piece didn't come out as small as I was expecting though. It's only about 30% smaller than my usual ones. So I think I will eventually make some even smaller ones, maybe 60% smaller. 

Here are a couple of my completed jars that I have in my etsy shop:

regular-sized, completed artichoke jar. opens up to hide your treasures.

fur jar.


For lunch I had leftover pretty purple cabbage, some carrots, and the most delicious paleo pizza to ever exist. 

yeah, that's a bite missing out of the corner of the crust. That happened somehow when I was wrapping up the leftovers the other night...

I was sad that is this was the last slice of pizza. I'm already wanting more. It's so good. I've tried several different ways to make paleo pizza crust and until this one they have all been very disappointing. I was going to post the recipe, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe next time. All I can tell you for right now is that it's made from tapioca starch.

And for dinner I made some delicious pork chops that I got from a farm right outside of town. Also some roasted sweet potatoes, steamed collard greens and homemade vegetable juice.


porky


And now I'm sitting here sipping a cup of sleepytime rooibos tea and thinking about doing some reading before bed.

This one's all food.


Dinner was ribeye, broccoli, 1/2 a pear and homemade vegetable juice. I overcooked the steaks a little, but it was a pretty tasty dinner anyway.

bloody.
less bloody.


Then for dessert I tried out this paleo cookie recipe that I've had my eye on for a few days. My photo doesn't make them look too great, but as paleo cookies go, I think this is the best recipe I've found. I ate way too many of them.


And now I'm off to do some reading before bed. I'm starting the third A Song of Ice and Fire book tonight. It's the series that the Game of Thrones TV show is based on. I finished the second book just in time for the season 2 premiere yesterday. Now I'm on to book three. They are pretty engrossing. The TV show pales in comparison. 

Maybe I'll have some warm milk and try to get to sleep before 3am for once.

Monday, April 2, 2012

House cleaning and clay.



For breakfast today, I turned this:

almond butter, homemade almond milk, yogurt, spinach and a banana

Into this:
smoothie! oh, and frozen blueberries.

Then I spent a bit too much time planning out the workout I was going to do. Lately I've been alternating between days of either jogging outside or using my elliptical and days of doing some sort of video like p90X or a jillian michaels video. I decided to read up a bit on paleo workouts. Paleo workouts should be similar to what cavemen actually did, which my usual workouts definitely are not. So I was thinking maybe I should try to change that. After a bit of searching around I finally found a workout routine that didn't sound awful. I found it on primalgirl's blog, though I changed it up a bit. Here's what I decided on:


Paleo Workout (attempt #1)


5 mins sprinting on elliptical
10 push ups
10 sit ups with 20lb weight
10 burpees
10 pull ups
10 squats
10 lunges with 20lb weight
10 whatever other ab thing I feel like doing

repeat twice.



Sounded pretty easy, but it actually got my heart rate up really high.
It took me 21 minutes to complete. My usual workouts are anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, so it was a good deal shorter than what I'm used to. It was pretty intense though. I do wish it had left me feeling sore though.

I'm switching it up from the workouts I usually do is because I was reading on some paleo blog about how "chronic cardio" is not so good for you in the long term, and that shorter more intense workouts were better. I can't say if it's true or not, but I thought I'd give it a try for a while and see what I think. So far, so good.

Here's an awesome paleo workout video that this guy does in his backyard. I think it's a perfect example of what a paleo workout should be. And it's really neat, too.


I also did a bunch of cleaning today. Monday is always cleaning day. I hate it though. Maybe if I get better at doing more every day then it won't be so much work on Mondays. I'm going to give it a shot.

So after a few hours of hardcore cleaning I was exhausted and very ready for my insanely late lunch at like 5 pm.


the kiwi wasn't ripe enough, gag.
                          

After lunch I headed down to my studio in the basement to get a little clay work done, so I would be able to say I at least did a little art stuff today. I didn't do anything major, but I did get 3 different pieces started. So that will give me plenty to work on tomorrow. I'll post pictures of my progress tomorrow, too.

And now it's time to start cooking!



I got the week off to a good start in one way.
Last night I spent like an hour washing and chopping and storing all the veggies I'll need for the next 4 or so days (well not counting sweet potatoes and fruit). I hate having to wash and chop veggies every day and I feel like it takes forever, so I'm really hopeful that this will help me save lots of time throughout the week.

can't wait to eat you.

I slept from 3am to 11am today, which seems pretty bad, but it's actually on the better side for me. Much better than the 5am-1pm that happens a couple times a week. I'm going to try to slowly ease myself back into a normal schedule. It's not like I'm sleeping a particularly long time, just at somewhat strange and inconvenient times. I'm not sure how exactly I'm going to change it. I've tried several different ways: taking multiple different substances (warm milk, chamomile tea, melatonin) to get myself to sleep earlier, but they either don't work or they leave me completely sluggish and useless the next day. I've also tried just forcing myself to get up early in hopes that the following night I will be tired from getting up early and go to bed at a reasonable time and voila! a normal schedule. But nope, that didn't work at all either. So I don't know. Maybe I'll give them another attempt or maybe I'll think of something else.

An Introduction in Mostly Pictures.


My name is Janice.



I make things.
Things like this:



And this:



And even this:



I also do things.
Things like this:



And this:



And lots of this:



I live here:

With him:

Mike.


And them:

Kitty.

Weasel.