We're 2 parents and 4 kids who live in Chico, California. We try to serve God every day. We like playing at the park, watching movies, reading books, riding our bikes, and traveling.
There are no scheduled activities at this time.
Très Bébé Photo - Our lifestyle portrait photography business. We specialize in captivating portraits of babies, children, pregnancy, and families, and we donate half of our session fees to one of four children's charities.
There comes a point when a girl just has to venture out and try new methods of cooking. I get so tired of the same old thing over and over again. I wanted to find a new spin on an old favorite: beef stew.
It always surprises me how inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. My dear hubby is seriously fascinated by French cooking, and has read many of Julia Child's recipes from her famous cookbook, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. And it inspired an idea for me. What if I took some of the French cooking techniques, married them to paleo ingredients, and saw what it birthed? The answer was simply decadent. I had no idea something made from healthy food could be so rich and full of flavor. I was aiming for a yummy Paleo Beef Stew, and I got a whole lot of "oh my word!"
I am sure a serious chief could find a thousand ways to perfect this dish even more, but I am quiet content with the outcome. While it took about an hour to get it into the oven, the taste was worth every minute spent. It is not much more complicated then a traditional beef stew. So, yay to French cooking techniques and unlikely inspiration!
Here is my recipe. And if you find a way to improve it, I think you are morally obligated to share. Enjoy! :)
6 oz. nitrate free bacon (about half a package)
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. grass fed butter (Kerrygold is our favorite)
1 beef roast (about 3 lbs.), cut into 2x2 inch cubes
1 onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1 in. chunks
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 tbsp. almond meal or almond flour
3 c. of a full bodied, young red wine (We used a cheap Pinot Noir from Trader Joe's)
1 c. beef stock
1 tbsp. organic tomato paste
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
1 spring of fresh rosemary
Cut bacon into match sticks. I used kitchen scissors to simply cut the pre-sliced bacon into strips. Simmer bacon for 10 minutes in 1.5 quarts water. Drain and dry. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté the bacon in the coconut oil over moderate heat for 2-4 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Add butter to pan at medium-high heat. Dry beef chunks with paper towels and sauté to brown all sides. Fit as many chunks as you can in the pan and repeat until all meat has been browned. Add it to the bacon.
In the same pan, brown the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery.
Place beef and bacon in the casserole baking dish and toss with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with almond meal or almond flour to lightly coat all sides of the beef. Set casserole uncovered in the middle of the oven for 4 minutes. Turn meat and then cook for another 4 minutes. Remove the casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in the wine, and beef stock to cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, the bay leaves, and rosemary. Add the sautéed veggies (onion, garlic, carrots, and celery), and then add the chunks of the sweet potatoes. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers slowly for about 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. During this time you will be tortured by the amazing smell.
Enjoy! (I may have added a dash more salt and pepper on mine.)
I am a planner. Not a planner in the super detailed-type-A sort of way, more like life planning, think-through-all-the-possibilities sort of way. I like to think everything through, at times to the point of ridiculousness. After all it is one of my favorite lies to tell myself, if I plan for every possible contingency then maybe I am the one in control? Right. And so it was with that mindset that I have approached my weight loss journey…I thought I had mentally weighed out every possible issue I would be truly challenged with. That was just stupid.
First, I do not need to know the future. A theme seems to be running through my adult life so far and it can be summed up in just one sentence: Do I trust God? Often I will say, "Yes!" and then go back to trying to control things myself…that, dear readers, is NOT trust. And when I recently got the proverbial curve ball thrown at me I could hear God's still small voice ask me yet again, "Do you trust me?" Ever so aware of my lack of strength or my ability to do even do one day on my own, I chose to answer, "Yes." And then I stopped planning…but not before I almost fell back into my familiar pit.
Yes, I was doing great. I was exercising and eating just like I was supposed to… until…
…the reality of the fact that there are certain foods I will NEVER eat again began to sink in and my weight plateaued.
…I struggled to figure out what was next for my professional life.
…both my adult daughters moved back home, and then one moved back out.
…I got into a disagreement with my husband.
…my littles decided to color their bedroom walls.
…I let someone manipulate me into believing I was worthless, yet again.
I could go on. Maybe you can relate to some of those things, maybe you can't. The point is that I was finding myself slipping into that old familiar pit. I was at the edge. And then I forced myself to remember…
…how far I have come. I am not where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.
…that I can do all things through Christ.
…that it doesn't matter what I do as long as I am doing what God has for me.
…that God is big enough to deal with my kids, and with my big fat feelings.
…that God was the center of my marriage, and I will not give that up.
…that one can always paint walls.
…and that I am NOT worthless.
And then I realized something…
I really am learning how to fight for ME. I really am different…and God is SO not done with me yet. And to think how easy it would have been to just give up, to try to "plan" things out again…to once again choose misery over freedom. And then I had my "ah ha moment", I realized I really am learning how to trust Him. And dear reader, my mind cannot fathom the depth of the power there is in that one statement. No matter what comes, I trust the God of my yesterdays, todays and tomorrows.
For the latest information on my weight loss journey, check out my latest video:
I sat in the doctor's office waiting for what seemed like my 1,000th appointment. I was tired, my body hurt, and I was so sick of being ill. I couldn't remember the last time I had a good night's sleep that lasted for more than a few hours. My body was quite literally attacking itself, and I still had no answers. All the different medications just weren't working, and I quite literally felt like I was falling apart. I felt rather hopeless that today's visit would offer anything new. Probably the same old thing: you just need to lose weight.... Why did they always make it sound so simple? Did they think that somehow over the last 25 years I had missed the fact that I was fat? It just wasn't that simple, and I knew even as I sat there that a diet was just not the cure. If it was, then all those costly programs I had participated in over the years would have worked.
December 2011 [Click the picture to enlarge]
A slender, handsome young nurse called out my name to check me in. Great, I thought to myself, maybe I won't have to get on the scale THIS time. No such chance. "Please step on the scale, Crystal," he requested. I took in a deep breath and stepped on. Every muscle in my face cringed. The number ping ponged around until it landed on THE number. Tears filled my eyes as I stared down. 311 lbs. What? Was that right? How DID I get here? I had promised myself I would NEVER be one of those people; I would never get into the 300's. Yet, there I was. Surely the visit could not get worse then this.
It's time for a new list of goals and dreams. Some of these should be fairly easy, some of them will be extremely challenging, and some will depend a lot on available time and money. Some of the items are just for fun, and some are very serious life goals. Some items are unfinished ones from my first 101 things project, and some are completely new. I'm not going to live my life solely to accomplish everything on this list, but I am going to use it to remind myself of some of the things I'd like to accomplish over the next three years.
And now, here's the list, which will be updated as I go.
On the Waterfront – Jan 21, 2011
Stagecoach – Jan 27, 2011
Blackmail – Feb 3, 2011
The Jazz Singer – Mar 11, 2011
Duck Soup – Oct 12, 2011
High Noon – Jan 10, 2012
Breakfast at Tiffany's – Jan 13, 2012
Dirty Harry – Feb 14, 2012
Glengarry Glen Ross – May 15, 2013
West Side Story – June 9, 2013
CSU, Chico has a program that allows local elementary school students to attend top-notch performances during the school year. Today, Emily got to see the musical A Year with Frog and Toad, and I got to go with her. We both enjoyed ourselves. She was captivated for pretty much the whole time, and I liked the music. (Don't laugh; the cast was talented!) Besides, it was great Daddy-daughter bonding time.