Author Archives: Danae

Happy Whole30 Day!

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Today’s the day we start a Whole30 food challenge… more like detox, really.  Considering I’m competing in the CrossFit Open and a Tough Mudder in the next few months, it’s time to buckle down and get my nutrition back on track.  I’m allowing for a few modifications so that my husband won’t strangle me with all these new food rules, but otherwise it will be a pretty strict 30 days of eating clean.  I’m hoping to keep a log here of recipes and what I’m taking in, just to have a little more accountability.  And we end just in time to go meet Joy and cause some trouble in the Windy City!



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Melissa over at The Clothes Make the Girl posted this video this morning.  Sums up my take on 2012 completely.

Do what you love and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.
If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life – STOP.They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop overanalyzing.
Life is simple.
Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people.
We are united in our differences.
Some opportunities only come once – seize them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is – share your inspiring dream with them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Life is short – Live your dream and share your passion.

In other news, I’m back! And also, happy one-year CrossFit anniversary to me! 🙂

Travel Tuesday: Our Favorite Fortress

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As Valerie gets ready to kick some USMLE/COMLEX ass in the next few days, I wanted to re-live our most relaxing evenings of the trip, spent in Kassel:  the fortress, the River Fulda, and our favorite waiter. These were my favorite nights of the trip because allwe did was sample local beers brought to us by a very handsome waiter while curled up in blankets overlooking the river on top of a tree-covered fortress. It was pure bliss. I try to take myself back there, mentally, when I’m the most stressed out – the kind of place where life was perfect and everything else just kind of faded away into the background…

The view from our table.

I still get excited when I find Bitburger in bars/stores!

Good luck, Va!

Bacon, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

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I have been craving guacamole something fierce lately, so I picked up an avocado on my last trip to the grocery store.  I’m too lazy to actually make real guac for one though (I know, I know…), so I just threw this together because it all sounded good.  And it was!  A good quick and easy meal with minimal prep time involved!

Bacon, Avocado, and Tomato Salad:

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 avocado
  • Handful of grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1 egg
  • S+P
Fry up your bacon.  While you’re doing that, chop the avocado into bite-sized pieces.  I sliced the tomatoes into halves/quarters as well, but you could leave them whole too.  Once the bacon is done, chop it and throw it into a bowl with the tomato and avocado, then season with salt and pepper.  Fry up the egg in the bacon grease and put on top of the mix.  Eat.  Love!

I actually didn’t take any pictures of this because I was too hungry to think about it, but I promise it’s pretty and colorful and delicious!

Travel Tuesday: Kassel’s Island of Flowers

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One of the things we loved about our trip to Germany so much was the fact that we went to lesser-known towns and cities without any real agenda.  We showed up at the train station and, in the case of Kassel, found a place to stay via the tourism office, and headed out.  There are so many things we loved about Kassel, but the flower island is definitely a favorite in my mind.

Located in Karlsaue Park, Siebenbergen Island is at the southernmost part of the park and accessible by a small bridge.  It was only 2 EU to get in, and totally worth it!

The Island from across the river

The gate and footbridge that takes you onto the island


What's this? A blocked-off path? We should investigate...

Where the path led us. Magnificent.

Like I said, this was just one of MANY things we adored about Kassel.  If you’re ever in the area and looking for something lesser-known to do, make sure you check out the flower island in Karlsaue Park!

Bacon Friday: Baconnaise!

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It’s true.  I made mayonnaise with bacon fat.

And it’s awesome!

I had been craving egg salad since Easter, but you can’t have proper egg salad without mayonnaise. So I had a conundrum: make my egg salad with store-bought mayo (yuck!) or make my own.  After searching my cookbooks, recipe archives, and online forums, I decided to use bacon fat as the fat source.  Many recipes called for olive oil, but then a lot of comments said it leads to a bitter taste and overpowers the rest of the ingredients (which I think is actually true for most olive oil dishes, I’m not a huge fan.)  Bacon fat, however, was an unprocessed fat source I had readily available and isn’t associated with any flavor other than bacon.  YUM.

It was pretty intimidating, thinking about emulsifying fat with acid and egg yolk to make a tasty, creamy spread, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about.  This was SO EASY.  And did I mention delicious and bacon-y?

Bacon Fat Mayonnaise: adapted from the NYT

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • S+P to taste
  • 1/2 c bacon fat, liquid but not hot!

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except for the bacon fat and whisk together really well.  Pour into a food processor or blender, and turn it on.  Very slowly start to pour in the bacon fat, over the course of a couple minutes.  As the fat cools, the mixture will start to thicken – just keep it mixing!  My bacon fat was too hot when I added it, so I would occasionally pull the whole lid off and let it cool for a few minutes, then start to mix again.  It thickened up quite well, you just have to be patient!

And voila – you have baconnaise!  And yes, I made egg salad, and yes there was also bacon in that – what else was I going to do with all the bacon I fried up to get 1/2 c of bacon fat?

Happy Friday! Go eat some bacon!

Paleo Banana-Walnut-Maple Muffins

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AKA, The Best Muffins Yet!

My google reader is PACKED with primal/paleo cooking blogs.  Most recipes are relatively appealing and I’ll star the ones that I want to try, but the majority of them stay just there – in my archives, waiting their turn.

However, when these showed up in Holly’s blog yesterday, I knew I absolutely had to make them – I had over-ripe bananas and a handful of crushed walnuts leftover from another baking adventure, so it was the perfect fit!  I modified her recipe a bit because I wanted to use up the rest of my maple syrup, but HOLY COW.  These knocked my socks off!  They smelled amazing while they were baking and rose to look big and fluffy like normal (aka non-paleo) muffins do.  This is one of those things you make when someone doesn’t believe you that paleo/primal eating is still delicious!

Paleo Banana-Walnut-Maple Muffins:
adapted from Holly Would If She Could

  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c dark maple syrup
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 c chopped walnuts
  • 2 very ripe bananas, diced
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk the eggs and add in the coconut flour.  Once mixed, add the maple syrup, olive oil, vanilla and baking soda and stir to combine.  Mix in the walnuts, and then the bananas.  Mine were a little bit mashed/mixed up by the time I was done, and they still came out great – don’t worry too much about maintaining the banana pieces!

Divide evenly between 12 lined/greased muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  It’s torture, but try and wait a few minutes for them to cool before digging in!