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I happened to run into a couple of awesome “blog groupies” the other day at a concert. They brought to my attention just how much I have abandoned this blog. I guess it is time I get back on task. Not going to lie, I do miss it..and I gotta keep my groupies happy :)

Quick life update: I am no longer working at Carpe Vino in Auburn. The stress finally got the best of me so I decided to begin the search for a new job. I now work in the kitchen at The Briar Patch Natural Foods Co-op in Grass Valley CA. I love it there, and am extremely grateful for the opportunity, and also thankful to have my stress levels back to normal. As you may know I also started up my own personal chef business. http://www.chefharman.com However, because of my busy work schedule I am only doing private dinners.

I don’t get a day off until next Tuesday but you might want to tune in. I am going to address a few important techniques to cooking meats. Bacon may also be involved… :)

What is your least favorite protein to cook with and why? What is your favorite?

Wow, so I have been a little absent on the blog lately, but the good news is that my absence is due to me getting the job at Carpe Vino. I have been working full time so it has been interesting to find a balance and a routine but I think I have finally worked out the kinks as to how to spend more time on here. I have also been able to make it back to Crossfit thanks to Coach E! Although I am basically having to start over, and it is sad seeing how much strength and fitness I lost.. I am extremely happy to be back at it. I almost forgot what it was like to be sore EVERYWHERE. It hurts so good.

I am not completely sure of my work schedule now that the restaurant is open Sundays, but I do know that I will at least have every Monday off. Therefore, I will try and get a recipe post up every Monday. Hope you are ready for Monday suppers!

I am not quite so jobless anymore. I don’t have a job… but I do however, have to go to work. I am probably not making much sense. Well, today I start a two week internship at Carpe Vino. The chef is giving me two weeks to prove myself for a position at the Garde Manger station ( cold foods like salads, cold appetizers, and desserts ). Considering this restaurant is a place that I have always wanted to work at, I am a bit nervous. This is a dream job for me, and to land it right out of culinary school is something that I didn’t even dream of because I didn’t think it was possible. I don’t have the job yet, so in the meantime I will just start dreaming about it. And if you haven’t already, you should eat there. The food is amazing. I promise.

 

I am a culinary school graduate. It is official. My very last day of school EVER was last Monday. ( Well, at least I’d like to think it will be my last day of school ever. You never know. ) Our last day of school consisted of a portfolio show where we had to make a bite sized dish for possible future employers to come and pretend to be interested in hiring us. I think only about 8 employers showed up…leaving me where I started. Jobless. Well, I tried. The good news is that my dish was paleo. Well, minus the crispy onions.

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Seared Ahi tuna, with daikon, carrot, and jicama salad, wasabi sauce and coconut cream.

As you may know, I am obsessed with sushi, and wasabi. So, I figured I would incorporate a few of my favorite flavors into my dish. Turned out pretty good i’d say.

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This is where I got to stand for hours…and hours for the portfolio show.

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This was my friend Alicia and I after being at school for like 14 hours. Goodbye culinary school… now off to find me a job.

In the meantime, I am not really sure what to do with myself. I keep thinking that I have homework to do, or deadlines to reach… but I don’t. Guess I might as well focus on the blog!

 

 

It has been a rough couple of days of whole30. It is day nine but it feels like it should be day 20. I will admit that I have had a few moments of weakness the last couple of days. My weakest moment was yesterday when I wanted to dive head first into a roll of sushi. Forget the cookies and cake, I want sushi. I thought surely I was going to quit and bring everyone down with me…but then something magical happened…. dinner. My urge to quit Whole30 stopped as soon as I had some good food in my stomach. I think I gave Dez false hopes though…

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We have all had out moments of weakness, I think Dez is aching for cupcakes as much as I am aching for some sushi. I believe I remember her trying to bribe me with sushi… it is my kryptonite.

As we tried to get over our wanting to quit whole30 fit, Dez made us some delicious pork tacos with mango salsa. Yum.

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Not only were they pretty, but they tasted amazing. There was not much left over.

Hopefully there are easier days ahead.

Onto day 10!

 

It is Day 5 of our household whole30 challenge. I bet you thought we quit again. Nope. We are still going strong. Come on now, have a little more faith in us than that. Sure, there have been a few struggles, but no slip ups. I think we are going to make it this time. Now onto the food.

I should have a lot more food to post but have been in a bit of a pinch with photos and am in need of some new plates for food photography purposes… until then, here was one of the favorites of the week.

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I love carnitas. Maybe that is why this is my favorite. I know, carnitas are not nearly as fun without a taco shell or a tortilla to go with them but I promise you that with the right fixings, they are still damn good. I thought about serving the carnitas in a lettuce wrap…but I have done that about a thousand times and I always end up frustrated with a mess in my lap ( or my plate if I am lucky ). Unfortunately lettuce is just not as great of a  food transportation device as a tortilla. Instead of a lettuce wrap I decided to saute some cabbage and top it with carnitas. Perfect. No frustration, yet with all the flavor. It is not as pretty, but in the end, it is the taste that counts.

I served Yucca root as a side for the carnitas, which many people have never tried before. Let me tell you, if you are missing potatoes, and are turning orange from eating so many sweet potatoes than this is the way to go. I prepared them “cuban” style which means you make a sauce made up of onion, garlic, and olive oil and then pour it over the cooked yucca to finish.  To prepare the yucca all you need to do is peel it, cube it, simmer it unitl tender, and then finish it with your sauce.

For the Sauce:

4 garlic cloves, minced

one onion, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

I put all of my ingredients in a food processor and pulsed until everything was nicely minced, but you can do it by hand as well.

Place sauce in a pan over medium high heat and sautee for a few minutes just to get the raw onion/garlic flavor out. DON’T BURN YOUR GARLIC.

Pour the sauce over your yucca and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Easy peasy.

I also served homemade salsa and guacamole. Nothing is complete without guacamole.

On another note, today I am starting the first day of my last lab class for culinary school. ( granted I pass ) I am almost done. I am all sorts of nervous and excited. I remember the first time I slipped on these chef coats… I couldn’t help but smile. It was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. A chapter I had always dreamed of. Hard to believe that dreams really do come true. I am curious to see what the next chapter in my life has in store for me. I don’t plan to stop dreaming anytime soon.

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It is not usually a good sign when there is a pretty big blogging break in the middle of a Whole30 challenge. As you may have guessed, or assumed, we had a false start. ( That is what I am calling it for now.) We all decided that it would be best for us to start after New Years and after my birthday which was on the third, and my roomies birthday, which is today. I REALLY wanted birthday sushi, and although my other roomie Anna isn’t doing whole30 we didn’t want to have to worry about eating whole30 at wherever she decided to go for her birthday.

So this means we restart our whole30 challenge tomorrow. Call me crazy but I am excited. I normally wouldn’t recommend being so anal about the food you eat. The whole30 challenge is TOUGH. Eating in a restaurant and knowing your food is 100% whole30 is nearly impossible. Planning ahead is the key to a successful whole30. It takes a lot of work and thought to just simply eat. I wouldn’t live my whole life this way…but if you are someone who normally doesn’t really think about what you are eating, or know what is in your food, this is a great way to be more aware of what you put in your body. The best part is… it is ONLY 30 days.

I am going to confess now, that although I will be 100% whole30 compliant at home, I am not going to sacrifice the way my food tastes at school. This is my last quarter of culinary school so I am going to have to draw the line here. Since this is my second time participating in the whole30 challenge I already know what foods my body is not so fond of. I know that the Hartwigs ( the creators of the whole30/whole9 program) say that you never have to eat anything you don’t want to and that there are no excuses… well I beg to differ. Sorry Hartwigs, I need to graduate…and find a job. So I need to taste my food before I serve it to a chef. My reputation is on the line here!

If you want to know more about what you can and cannot eat on the whole30 or would like to follow along, PLEASE read this first: http://whole9life.com/2012/08/the-whole30-program/

 

Everyone in the household passed whole30 day two with flying colors. There were no accidental non-whole30 ingested items and I have almost stopped throwing a tantrum about not getting my birthday sushi. Okay, I lied. Tantrum is still in full force. I am not ready to grieve the loss of my birthday sushi yet. To add to my tantrum I just received a sushi making kit for Christmas and I want so badly to use it, but just opening up the little booklet that it came with makes me drool. If I watch the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi…. it’s over.

Enough sushi talk…onto the real food.

My roomy Dez was craving something creamy, so we decided we would give a cauliflower puree a go. Served it with Roasted chicken, chimichurri sauce, and some roasted zucchini. ( not pictured )

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For the cauliflower puree, I steamed the cauliflower until very tender. (almost mushy ) and then put it in my food processor with garlic and coconut milk. I roasted the chicken with mexican spices..thought i’d change it up a bit. I made a “compound butter” with coconut oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. I placed the coconut oil under the skin just like I would normally do with butter.

For the Chimichurri I placed a few cloves of garlic in the food processor with salt, pepper and parsley and pulsed until turned into a paste. I then added in the oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. You want it to be a little bit tangy to balance out the creamy/salty flavors of the cauliflower and chicken.

Now onto day three of Whole30, round two.

 

 

It’s day number two of the Whole30 challenge. Day one was pretty easy for me, but this ain’t my first rodeo. It was a little harder for my roommies who had a few accidental incidents of non-whole30 ingested items…but since it was an accident, we are going to keep on trekking. They know, and I know, that these incidents were not intentional. One of the biggest goals/challenges of Whole30 is to change your emotional approach with food which they both did beautifully.

I have been eating Paleo for quite some time now, and this is my second time participating in the Whole30 challenge. The first time around, the hardest part was kicking my energy drink habit…which I successfully did. I am still energy drink free thanks to Whole30. The hard part this time around is that my birthday is landing within this 30 day challenge. Yep. Realizing that I was doing another whole30 challenge during my birthday made me want to tell Robb Wolf to suck it, Punch Mark Scisson in the wiener, and slap the pretty little smiles off of the Hartwigs faces. I was supposed to get sushi on my brithday, which happens to be my favorite paleo cheat food. I am obsessed with Sushi, and it is a treat. A treat I won’t be getting on my birthday. I will admit, I am pretty sad about this, and I am not yet done throwing my tantrum. It’s my party, I will cry if I want to.

Onto the Food:

For dinner we had a spaghetti. Paleo spaghetti of course. We used Spaghetti squash for the noodles and the usual spaghetti sauce with grass-fed beef, canned tomatoes, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and some sauteed spinach. In the summer I would normally use fresh tomatoes, but believe it or not canned is better in the winter. Tomatoes are canned when they are ripe and actually have flavor. Those tomatoes you see in the produce aisle right now- are fake…well, they might as well be considering they have no flavor.

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Sorry for the bad food photo. It looks a little more Everyday Paleo and less Nom Nom Paleo.

Off to plan today’s menu!

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