turkey jerky

Let’s say that I started this post for the Super Bowl and now it’s become a March Madness idea.  Good thing turkey jerky lasts that long.

I have been negligent here because of some travel and some moving of my dad from Denver to Santa Monica – now my he’ll have to become a liberal, get pedicures, and buy his weed in back alleys.

My dad’s profession was in sales of athletic wear. He worked for a company that manufactured all the uniforms for nearly all the professional sports teams. Long before Nike, this humble company, located in the middle of Wisconsin, wove the textiles and then constructed uniforms that would protect the likes of the Packers, the Yankees, and the Lakers.  Like a Midwestern Don Draper, he’d go to conventions and meet up with team owners and coaches, drinking Canadian Club Manhattans while jotting down next season’s orders on a napkin and then sealing the deal with a handshake.

It was good that his job was in a male-dominated field because when he came home, it was all girl from recital to curlers to eye rolls.  He would get in on the girl action with skills like timing my headstands or making snow cones (first time I heard him swear – an s-bomb – my ears bled).   He wasn’t chatty, in fact for awhile I thought my name was ‘ahem’.  He was practical about life and emotional about telephone commercials and, as my mom joked “super market openings.” He was a family man who didn’t tell us he loved us but who showed us by respecting our world and respecting us.  He didn’t mock our desire to shop, instead, he came along. While we tried on clothes, he would feel the textiles of the retailers garments as if doing recon work for his job.  Likely it looked more pervy than professional.

So cat’s in the cradle, cause a zillion years later, with my daughter mostly at college,  I am in a male-dominated world that happens to be about spectator sports.  I don’t have a team nor a a god-given interest, so I do the next best thing – get in on three March Madness pools.  I’ve learned the key terms so at my son’s baseball I can yell out good eye and basketball box out. I drink beer like a sailor and I feed them when the big game is on.  Note to the unseasoned, the big game is always on.

marinated strips

I don’t make wings or layered dips or even game-day shaped foods – I’ll save the food themes for Oscar parties – ’12 Years a Cheese’ anyone?.  For that big game I can think of nothing better than tough, chewy jerky for taking on the spectator’s tension – tension that comes from watching action while not exhibiting any real movement himself.  The battle is all in the teeth.

dried out

I didn’t think much was wrong with store-bought jerky until someone pointed out that they’re loaded with sugars, salts, and preservatives. Duh. Then, along came The Fast Metabolism diet.  I like a program that is based in simple real food and might kick start my spring cleaning – what? You should know that the diet in this book breaks down into three weekly phases – carbs, protein, and healthy fats.  The theory is to focus our daily diets on one of these food properties in order to keep our metabolism at peak performance.  The hardest days – 2 of them within the week – are protein intense and not because of the protein, but because you don’t eat carbs or fats those days; just green vegetables and the darker the better.

I’ve made this jerky probably a dozen times and it continues to satisfy everyone in the house. For the ambitious, Alton Brown’s beef jerky does not disappoint.   Jerky is easy but you need to plan out the marinating and slow baking period; I bake mine overnight.  If you start now, it’ll be ready for the Final Four.  And if Michigan State is in the final game it will be the Big Game in our house, for real.

We’re gonna need more jerky!  Madness.

detoxifying kale

Did you wake up today in need of a healthy detox that relieves cotton-mouth as a bonus? Happy New Year to you and your resolution because we have a juicing concoction worked out in our kitchen laboratory that replicates the crazy delicious True Food Kitchen’s nectar of the gods.  Let me be up front about this – I do not like kale juice or kale chips. Somehow in those presentations kale tastes like food meant for gophers.  One cannot ignore the health bennies of this hearty green so when TFK served up a thirst quenching, delicious kale drink, I set out to replicate it at home. read more

peppermint bark

5 Ingredients or Less This might be the easiest recipe, producing the most transformative results that ever has found placement onto our little blog that could.

2 ingredients and 2 minutes

2x2

Y’all know that without guilt we can sing the virtues of dark chocolate.

Anyone need a mental boost – shopping inertia, test cramming, holiday schedule matrix, greeting card blur, cookie comas, last-minute DIY project, travel planning (did I tell you the one about booking Thanksgiving travel for the week before Thanksgiving – good fares)?

Just when you’ve barely pulled your head above water and pat your back in pride on a season well-handled – the mass of gifts glistening in the horizon – bags stacked in a disarray, unopened Amazon boxes, shipping envelopes from places you don’t recall because you ordered items way back at the first of December –  that mass is our Holiday bitch, she puts the ho in holiday, she goes by the name of Wrapping.

Now let’s get a chocolate fix with peppermint bark before we crumble.  read more

turkey pot pie

Leftovers need rebranding. Can we consider leftovers to be more like heightened ingredients?  Super-ingredients that give us a headstart toward another meal.  Uber-ingredients that are a crunchtimer’s dream. Ultra-ingredients that make miracle meals out of real food in minutes.  No, they’re not leftovers at all.  They’re mealstarters.  Mealstarters that turn mash potatoes into potato-leek soup, stuffing into croutons, cranberry salad into smoothies, squash into soup, gravy into, well gravy turns into fat butts so that doesn’t work, but you get the picture.  Now, picture your Thanksgiving turkey as a mealstarter for  turkey pot pie.  Pot pie that barely slices into your time.  Barely slices into your time.  Turkey Pot Pie.  (is my Scandal binge-viewing showing? Maybe I need a “leader of the free world” reference).

If you have a secret stash of puff pastry in your fridge or a crafty pie pastry recipe plus a previously cooked bird - you can make this family pleasing meal right now. It takes only a few basic ingredients. read more

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