Paleo Plan: The first few days

So, apparently I still know how to log in here.

I needed a place to write up my thoughts about trying out Paleo Plan, and this seemed like as good a place as any.

Intuitively, I like the idea of the “paleo” diet (though I’m not a huge fan of its adherents). An emphasis on whole foods, with a side effect of being lower carb by default (and not to hard to make totally low carb) seems like something that should work for me. Nerd 2 and I gave “going paleo” a try for a couple of months last year but couldn’t stick with it, non-paleo foods are just so much easier. And so very _there_, you know? I also felt a fair bit of guilt over foisting such a drastic lifestyle change on Nerd 2 when I had no reason to believe that it would do any good.

Anyways, between trainings and deployment, Nerd 2 is going to be out of the picture for the vast majority of 2014. In addition, 2014 is looking to be a crazy year for me what with working a new job, graduating school, bar exam, then (hopefully) working an even more stressful new job and all. I tend to be a bit control freaky in the kitchen, but I think that this year is not such a bad time let go a little, and have someone else tell me what to do.

Enter Paleo Plan. The basic idea is that for $10/month, they will prepare paleo friendly meal plans for 2 adults, cross-indexed to a shopping list and their recipe database. Essentially taking the thought out of meal planning, but still allowing me the actual cooking time that I enjoy.  They have a 14 day trial period, and I figured I’d test it out while Nerd 2 is away on his first stint.

Shopping

Right now, it’s Tuesday of my first week. I went shopping last Saturday. The shopping list was _long_. Even with trying (to some extent) to size things down for 1 person and taking into account the staples that I already have around the house, it was the fullest my shopping cart had been in a long time. I probably spend 20 minutes in the produce section getting everything together. The checkout lady even complimented my “healthy eating”. All told, I spent about $136 at Cub Foods to get most of the items on the list. I needed to make another detour to Mississippi Market for tapioca flour for another $5ish. This is a pretty high grocery bill for me (especially considering that Nerd 2 isn’t eating off of this), but the plan is structured to cover breakfast and lunch and will hopefully help me kill off my nasty skyway lunch habit.

Recipes

The recipes (which are all available for free on their site here) have been hit and miss so far. They seem like they were either written by someone who doesn’t have a lot of cooking technique, or someone who does have a lot of cooking knowledge but isn’t good at writing recipes. That being said, they are simple enough to improve on the fly if you have a bit of a clue about working in the kitchen.

For example, let’s take the Teriyaki Chicken that I made last night (that was supposed to be Monday night’s meal, but I have switched some meals around in order to better plan for freezing and thawing and ripening based on a Saturday shopping day — that’s something that I wish the Plan did better by default). First, I am not sure what universe there is that this recipe counts as Teriyaki Chicken. Pineapple? Really? If it had been called Hawaiian Chicken, I could have believed that.  Next, the cooking order seemed a little broken: cooking onions at the same time as _all_ the chicken? It seemed like a recipe for overcrowding the pan and getting disappointing caramelization.  Instead, I browned the chicken in batches, then sweated the onions some before adding the rest of the veggies and returning the chicken – pretty standard stir-fry technique. The recipe is also desperately lacking in spices – if I make it again, I’ll be liberally adding garlic/ginger, but as it was I just ended up dousing heavily with sriracha after it was finished (sriracha has a fair bit of sugar, but for the 80/20 paleo that I’m trying to achieve here it’s just fine).

The Gingery Broccoli Beef was similarly underwhelming. Which is pretty hilarious if you look at the comments on the recipe complaining about how “spicy” it is. Sigh.

On the other hand, these Pumpkin Flatbreads were pretty amazingly good. Entirely worth making an extra trip for the tapioca flour, and they solve a standard breakfast time problem for me — I tend to eat breakfast on the go, and for that I usually need something wrapped in something. So tortillas or lefse or bread or other non-paleo things end up sneaking in right first thing in the morning which just throws the whole day off. They are pretty carby, but I’m not trying to go into ketosis or anything here so I’ll take it.

So, after the first few days, it seems to be going OK. I’m not blown away (except by the flatbreads), and I’m going to need to insert my brain into things more than I had hoped (but hopefully it’s just things like reordering the meals on the schedule, upping the spice level, and tinkering with technique). I’ll definitely ride this out through the 14 day trial, and maybe pay for one month while Nerd 2 is around.

is this thing on?

Nerd 2 says that I should post here more often…perhaps he is right.

I did end up finding a motorcycle that a liked with the help of Craig and his list, and The Unnamed Suzuki and I have been spending some time getting to know each other. She’s even had her first $200 service… I guess it won’t hurt to read up a bit on motorcycle maintenance this winter (no, this does not count).

Went to a LAN Party on Saturday (in a freakin’ hanger), and again got the urge to quit my day job and open up an internet cafe/gaming lounge type of establishment (because hey, if you give nerds computers, games, food and energy drinks, they will give you money for doing almost zero work).  It looks like I’d have a few competitors, but the market is far less saturated than that of, say, yarn stores, and I’d probably needed less $$ for inventory.

I’ve been up to all sorts of other mischief since we last spoke (camping, 3day, yardwork, etc) but maybe those can be posts for another day…

many happy returns

I don’t usually do birthday shout-outs on this particular forum, but given that I good chunk of my traffic comes from his general direction, I think it’s only fair that you guys all go visit Keacher and wish him the happiest of birthdays.

And a happy birthday to he-without-a-blog (aka Kyle).

We miss you both in the Twin Cities these days, and hope to see you in Alabama in this summer.

“you know,”

She said, not necessarily to anyone in particular, “if I keep this up for just a few more days, I’ll have done it.”

“Done what?” no one in particular queried.

“30 days, 30 posts. They once said it couldn’t be done.” The smuggest of smirks growing was on her face. “They said I couldn’t stick to any of the challenges that I set to myself on this blog.”

No one gestured about the screen, “Well, it’s not as though assumptions weren’t based on empirical evidence of past behaviour.” That’s when she remembered the sidebar. There was a progress bar there, one she’d almost forgotten. It documented for the world to see her lack of dedication, motivation, time in the f-ing day.

“Damn you 1000 mile goal! Damn you right in the ear!” Her smile was fading, but not the mischevious glint in her eye. “At least I made it a damn bit farther than the progress bar ever showed, it was probably for the best that I stopped keeping track, it would have just demotivated me.” She expertly swiped her mouse across the screen and executed the sequence of clicks and key presses required to remove the slanderous control.

“Hmmm,” she pondered as she playfully bit her lower lip, “whatever shall I replace it with now….?”

.

.

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Please pause for a moment and envision 50,000 words of that. Then thank me profusely (in your head is ok) for knowing how to pick my battles. And yeah, I have no idea of the correct punctuation rules for dialogue, and I’m just fine that.

November is masochism month.

There. I’ve said it.

October is the month for fun really, with its fests and its dress-up parties and its winter squash and its giving of thanks and all. November, however, is when things tighten down. It gets cold out, the clocks roll back, and you really have no excuse not to winterize the yard or prep your car for winter. November is the month for doing things, productive things, useful things. Preferably for/in a month.

Yep, it’s Na[syllable][syllable]Mo. I had considered trying my hand at National Novel Writing Month this year, I even started a gdoc with rough plot ideas, but I remembered the garbage that I produced in creative writing in high school, and realized that even I wouldn’t want to read 50,000 words of my own writing. Then I remembered my attempt and failure at National Blog Posting Month last year, and pondered why I shouldn’t just try that again, 2007-style.

So that was the deal, NaBloPoMo, plus rake the leaves and look into getting snow tires. A nice, not so painful masochism month. I could handle it… Then, during a very suggestible week back in September, two things happened. First, a friend informed me that both he and his wife would be doing NaNo, and that NaBlo was lame and too easy (peer pressure, my constant nemesis). And secondly, KnitGrrl announced her second annual National Knit a Sweater Month. And I had a sweater just barely started, that I knew was going to take me months unless I focused on it. So, here we are.

I’ve got a jump start on the sweater, since I’ve already done about 40 odd rows on it (and I’ve decided to knit it straight to pattern instead of embellising it too much), and here’s my first post of the month, so maybe this will be too easy after all.

Do you think I should add a 30 minutes of cardio a day goal too?

Stats Junkie

I admit it.  I’ve got a problem.  I’m addicted to web stats. Nothing strokes my ego more than watching my page hits go up whenever I post, or using my referrer logs to figure out what people are searching for when they find me.

Previously, I had been using Tracksy to keep track of my page views.  I liked tracksy a lot because it was easy and free, and I could track some of my other sites from there as well.  However, I always felt that something was lacking, since Tracksy doen’t do stats on RSS feeds, and since that’s how most people with brains read blogs such as this, I felt that I was missing out on learning about my readership.  Laziness and lethargy are powerful forces in my world however, and I never bothered to do much about it.

This changed a few weeks ago when Tracksy’s website wouldn’t let me log in for a few days: “we’re having database problems” was the message.  I was annoyed, but figured I could last a few days without obsessively checking my page views (and being in Vegas away from internet access for a few days definitely helped).  What killed it for me though was when I got back, and tried to log in again, and was told something along the lines of “Due to our database issues, some of our accounts have been lost.  Please sign up again”.

Umm…  Not cool.  I know it’s a free service and all, but how do you lose accounts?!?  A few days of data, fine.  Maybe even forget a couple of the sites I’ve asked you to track.  But don’t forget about my entire user account.  Don’t you have backups? grumble.

Anyways, this finally pushed me over the edge to FeedBurner, and it’s a stat whore’s dream.  Not only is it pretty (trebuchet and rounded edges), but it’s functional too.  It will do simple pageview tracking like tracksy did, and it tells me how many subscribers it detects to the feed, how many times the feed is hit by robots like Google’s FeedFetcher. The burned feed itself even gets a nifty stylesheet thrown on it, so I can point users straight to http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThePrudentHedonist, without having to worry about whether they know what to do with some xml gobbledegook.

Setting it up wasn’t quite so easy as I think it should have been (but that’s more WordPress’s fault than anything else, and there are some how-tos on FB’s site), but now that I’ve got it going, I think it’s pretty slick.  Some of their more advanced features are for pay only, but I can’t see myself really needing them right now.  Maybe after I go above 10 subscribers I’ll think about it.

Three Quick Things

  1. NaBloWriMo appears to have been a collosal failure.  I blame my friend Amber how has given up on her NaNoWriMo at 30,000 words.
  2. I love having friends who are nerds (conclusion – turn your damn lights off)
  3. You’ll hear more of this from me at a later time, but for now, just imagine a couple dozen lovingly hand crafted cookies delivered to your door/cube just in time for [insert winter holiday of choice here].  Imagine also, that the proceeds from said cookies will go towards breast cancer research.  You got that?  Fully imaginified?  Then click here.

Oops.

Well, so much for posting every day :( I blame Mr. Hendricks, plumbing issues, and distracting roommates, in that order. 

I’ll try to throw in a couple extra posts this weekend to make up for it and I’m going to modify the goal for the month (think of it like agile software development) to 30 posts in 30 days.

ttyl. 

 

NaBloWriMo

So, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?
When I first started this site, I knew that there would be an ongoing conflict between “useful” content (recipes, tips, advice, philosophy, etc) and personal “chatty” content about what’s going on in my life on any particular day. I really wanted to keep the chatty stuff at a minimum, since really, my life isn’t all that interesting, but I found that it was all that I ever had to talk about. Then I found a personal journaling site (which shall remain nameless, though many of you I’m sure found this from there) and it pretty much provided me with everything I needed to handle my day-to-day ventings and ramblings and social life organization, so this little project floundered.

I’m back now, and ready to give this project the attention that it needs to make it work. It’s going to take time – I’ll actually need to research for most of the articles I post, but I (and hopefully you) will certainly be learning lots.

As a means of getting this train rolling again, I’ve decided to try a little experiment: November is National Novel Writing Month, a phenomenon that I discovered last year – thousands of idiotsinspired individuals commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Last year, I had too much going on (what with the alcoholic boyfriend and grad school and all) to attempt it. This year I thought about it, but really fiction isn’t my forte (yet) and I need to get better at writing short prose before I think I can pull off anything epic, so when my friends over at chocolatemussolini and twodolla mentioned the idea of comitting to one blog entry a day for a whole month, I decided that that was something that I could actually commit to. Lucky you. So, NaBloWriMo starts today – hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with it.