My Podcast Crush of the Week: Nom Nom Paleo

I’ve admitted before how I love my podcasts. They’re great company when I’m running, walking, or cooking. They’re free and new ones arrive regularly. They’re like little gifts every week, or, as many as I subscribe to, every day. My favorite of the moment is Nom Nom Paleo.

Nota bene: I am not paleo. I am a longtime low carb disciple (when I’m eating in the way that I know makes me feel my best) , trending towards keto. But the three are kissing cousins, so I listen to paleo podcasts too for useful tips and recipes.

The Nom Nom Paleo podcast is the newest project of the friendly, sweet Michelle Tam and her family including husband Henry Fong and their two children affectionately known as Big-O and Lil-O.

In case it wasn’t clear, the podcast is about, uh, living and cooking paleo. It makes me feel less lonely to know I am not the only one who uses an ungodly amount of eggs.

The weekly podcast is like having a window into the family’s doings. Helpful, fun and always charming, the podcast stars the whole family, and I love that.  I just discovered it last week and burned through the eight episodes they have. I was sad to hear this week that not only are they considering whether or not they can maintain their weekly pace with all of the projects they do, but they are taking a week off so I will be without a fresh episode for two weeks! (Should we start a petition?)

I suppose I will have to content myself in the meantime with buying her cookbook. (Ooh…if I do I’ll have to review it here!) Or maybe the cool vinyl figure of Michelle…I want an action figure of me (but of me running, not cooking !) But mine would have to come in two versions: the running, trimmer version and the not-so-much one. 😉 *Climbs onto soapbox*(Hey, while I don’t like it, I’ve accepted that my body weight will fluctuate. It’s my body and I will love it because it’s the only one I have and it’s done some amazing things for me. And because the things I value most about myself have nothing to do with my dress size! Well, not much, anyway. I do wish I could wear some of my thinner clothes right now because I miss them!) *Climbs off box*

Back to Nom Nom: The title of my blog post is appropriate because on their podcast they have the “Crush of the Week” that may or may not have anything to do with being paleo. My favorite so far was silicone wedding rings. I did not know these existed, but apparently fire fighters often wear them because they don’t get in the way and they are safer. Oh, and evidently you can buy them in bulk if you’re someone who frequently loses her jewelry…(Who? Me?)

One of the reasons I love the chirpy Michelle is it sounds as if our cooking and eating philosophies are similar: she loves food (so do I!) to the point of near obsession she admits, and I get the impression that she does a lot of trial and error stuff. Yup, that’s me. Just tonight I threw together a chicken-cauliflower casserole that was really not half bad.

The information on the podcasts is informative, certainly entertaining, and inspirational. I’m quite sure the reason I tried my quietly triumphant new recipe tonight was because I have been listening to Nom Nom.

Anyway, go to iTunes and check out the podcast, or check out their blog: nomnompaleo.com. (Unless you are my friend who does everything I do — you know who you are — you are banned from doing one more thing I do without my express permission and a Mother May I? (What, me petty?)

While I wait for the podcast to return I will continue to edit my novel and work on an essay I will be reading at a local senior citizens center on Wednesday (my Dear Husband will entertain with song; I may join him for one as well). My essay topic is “Lessons Learned at a Thrift Shop.” It’s an idea I’ve had rolling around in my head for some time. I’ll let you know if it blooms. I wrote an outline of it in church Sunday, so I should be in decent shape. (Shh!)

If you listen to podcasts, what do you subscribe to and why?

Stuffed Meatloaf for my Brother’s Birthday

Today is my only brother’s birthday, and he adores meatloaf. He makes a fab meatloaf himself, but since it is his birthday I suggested that the family surprise him with a “Meatloaf Off.” That is, we siblings would all cook meatloaves and let him choose his favorite loaf.

Meatloaf may not be elegant, but sometimes you just want a hearty meal. And birthdays are for favorites, so who cares if a dish isn’t fancy? (Take that, culinary snobs!)

Strolling along on my evening walk yesterday to the startlingly clear sounds of Jack Johnson’s All At Once as heard through the lovely earbuds my dearest bought me for Christmas, I allowed myself to not think of the recipe I wanted to create. So naturally it came right to me.

Here’s my recipe…it was not the winner of the day (except to my husband, who says he had three pieces but then again he has to live with me, so I’m not sure I totally trust his assessment as being wholly unbiased even though it was quite welcome to hear).

Everyone at the party was interested in my typically odd creation and seemed to enjoy it. So naturally I immediately spilled the recipe. (My niece won with her mini-muffin meatloaves, a justified win. The “muffins” were topped with mashed potatoes and were both cute and yummy!)

If you want to give my recipe a try sometime, have at it. And let me know how you like it. Note: it is keto and low-carb eating friendly, so it is likely to reappear in our house again soon.

Stuffed Birthday Meatloaf for Rod:

Ingredients:

Four pounds 73% fat ground beef (for extra flavor)

One pound HOT ground sausage (choose your favorite brand)

Salt and pepper to taste

A dash of garlic salt

A dash of Italian seasoning

Two eggs

One eight-ounce package of cream cheese

Twenty pepperoni slices

Combine all of the above ingredients except for the last two in a large bowl and fill two loaf pans about 3/4 of the way with the meat mixture.  I used my husband’s Depression-era Fireking glass pans. Lovely and uniform!

Then take a spoon and make a trench of sort in the meat, maybe two inches deep. Fill the first loaf with about half of the package of cream cheese, dropping the cheese by the tablespoonful into the crater.

Next cover the cream cheese with half of the pepperoni slices for each loaf.

Use the reserved ground beef mixture to cover both loaves evenly, pinching the sides together, patting the top and smoothing it away from the sides of the pan.

Put it in a 350 degree oven and bake for one hour or until an inserted thermometer reads 155 degrees.  Always check your meatloaf to be sure it doesn’t overcook. Your oven may well be different than mine.

I will add photos as soon as I am able…for some reason I cannot get them to load on this computer. Look for an updated version soon.

(And P.S. — I did not sleep well last night so I can’t swear I wrote this recipe up properly. But I tried.)

My brother was delighted with the surprise meatloaves and hesitated in choosing a winner at all. I think we siblings and family can all agree, however, that we are the winners to have such a cool guy in our lives.

My Story, “Hunger Pangs,” is Now Online at Under the Fable!

maggot cheese

I promised a link to my short story, “Hunger Pangs.  Read it here.

(My story begins on page 29.)

Hunger Pangs is the quirky story of a lonely young woman who meets a group of food enthusiasts. Claire is quickly fascinated by her education and initiation.

Let me answer a frequently asked question: To my knowledge, no such club exists. But maybe it will after people read my story. 🙂 Not that I would join…writing about such things means I don’t have to live them!

Part (debatably) titillating, part grotesque, the story comes from who knows where. I’m just the midwife and, just for the record, while I do have an apron, I am properly attired beneath it at all times when I cook. Okay, most times.

I can tell you where I was when inspiration struck.

My writing location of choice is a local café, a cute place with fresh, local food and friendly baristas who treat me almost like family. One day I was writing there with no assignments for once and no interest in working on my novel. I overheard some slightly naughty conversation as the baker (this was probably three years ago) brought out bread from the kitchen. The purloined tidbit was NOTHING like what’s in the story, but it made me start wondering: what if. That’s the writer’s best, most imaginative tool: what if.

My story, then, is my answer to that “what if.”

During the residency in which I had the piece workshopped I often heard people who were in the workshop discussing it with those who were not. Though technically that wasn’t allowed, I took it as a compliment.

Note: I have unintentionally amassed a collection of what I call my “weird food stories.” This is the latest to be published. I also had one published last year about a young man who dumpster dives for food. Again, I have no clue where these come from, though I am obsessed with food and I feel guilty about that obsession. I’m guessing that has something to do with it.

While you’re over at Under the Fable, please don’t read just my story, though. Take a moment or two to look at the other fine poems and stories in this premier issue! I applaud any and all literary efforts and this new UK-based literary magazine is another fine one.

Maybe reading the other material over there will make you shake the image of a certain cheese in my story…after you read it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Warning: not for the faint of heart…or stomach! (If you look very closely at the above photo after reading the story, the cheese will look much different to you.)

All “Write” Already! Be Professional.

Writers, a word, please. You know I love you, right? But I think we are being a bit too precious. I’m including myself here. Especially me!

Either we have “no time to write” while we watch TV, surf the net, and play yet another ridiculous game on Facebook, or we can’t get into our writing during writing time. What a load of hooey! (I’d rather say something besides hooey, but I’m trying to be somewhat PG.)

The truth is, whether we write for a living or for fun, we make time for what is important to us. Sure, your life may be overwhelming at the moment, but if writing is in your blood, even if you can only squeeze in fifteen minutes a day to write, you’ll do it. Only you can really say what you can sacrifice to gain that time. What I really want to focus on is WHAT WE DO WITH OUR WRITING TIME!

Many people have already written about how often writers procrastinate. We do so for many reasons — fear, anticipation, laziness, distraction.

So instead, let’s imagine, for a moment, that instead of writers we are chefs. You say to the server that you’d like an omelet. The server conveys your wishes to the chef, who says
A. I’m too busy to cook.
B. I’m too tired to cook.
C. I just can’t get into it.
D. I don’t think I can do it. Making an omelet is too hard. I think I’ll go back to being a _____.
E. No one appreciates good cooking anyway. It’s all just product to the owner. He doesn’t care about my creativity.
F. But I got a text and there’s this party.
G. Wait! I’m just going to watch ten minutes of this show first.

You get the idea? What would you do if you didn’t get your omelet? What would you think of that chef? Yeah, me too.

If we’re going to write, let’s be professional about it, please. You set aside writing time, and even if it’s total crap, you write. So what if you write in the wrong direction or if you hate it when you’re finished? Throw the omelet out and start over, or see if you can turn it into a frittata.

While writing CAN be a magical, mystical process (just yesterday I put in something as a placeholder until I could research it, and inexplicably my placeholder was exactly right, even though I KNOW I’ve never read that fact before), but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it’s just grunt work and you just break those eggs, whip them, and put them in the pan. Because you can. Now, if you’re REALLY feeling it, you can get fancy and add spices, fry up some veggies, and even grate some fancy cheese.

We forget sometimes that we GET to write. It’s a privilege. Yes, it can torment us. It can haunt us and cause us to take long midnight walks to try to outrun the writing hound, but we also kinda hype all that, don’t you think? We writers tend to be a dramatic lot.

So what I am saying is, even if writing isn’t your 9 to 5, treat it as if it is. The Muse will respect you for it, and more importantly, you may discover you don’t need a stinking muse. Everything you need is in you, literally. Now just commit to getting it out, you pro, you!

You have my permission to print this and keep it by your desk, highlighting it freely. I know that’s what I’m going to do with it, because I sure could have used this earlier today before I gritted my teeth and just went for it. I’m happy to say I edited almost 20 pages in this manner.

All write, already!