Images

Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer Lemon Curd
Yield: 1 Pint Jar Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients – Equipment Needed
6 egg yolks
1 whole egg
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
3/4 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
6 to 7 tablespoons cold butter
1 sauce pan OR double boiler
whisk
sift / strainer
juicer (optional, just your hands works well too!)
zester / micro plane

undefined undefined

Step 1: zest one lemon, roughly a tablespoon worth of zest, set aside. Juice lemons, strain pulp, and set aside.

Step 2: Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Reserve egg whites for another recipe* Add egg yolks and one whole egg to sauce pan or double boiler**. Add in lemon juice, sugar, zest, and whisk till incorporated. Now turn on your heat low, keep whisking…

* Side note – saving eggs: Separated eggs can be frozen easily and stored in a freezer sealed bag for at least six months to a year. In my instance, I have backyard chickens and have an abundance of eggs, so in order to not waste, I separate them, and freeze. This recipe is made with frozen eggs.

** Side note – double boiler vs stand alone sauce pan: this is based on your comfort level of cooking eggs to ensure you don’t turn your yolks to scramble. The double boiler keeps the liquid eggs from the direct heat, allowing you more flexibility when whisking to not develop scrambled eggs. If you do not have a double boiler, you’re still good… just keep the temp very low, and don’t stop whisking. Worse case, get out that fine mesh strainer and run your curd through to remove any lumps that may have formed during cooking.

Step 3: one by one add in a tablespoon of butter. Whisk till incorporated and add another, one at a time. Keep whisking. At this time, get a small metal spoon and take a dip. Time to taste test before the curd comes together. Not sweet enough, add a teaspoon or more of sugar and keep whisking… keep whisking… and watch the magic start to happen.

Step 4: after 15 + minutes of whisking you will see your curd start to thicken. Keep in mind, once you turn off the heat the curd will continue to cook and continue to thicken. When you’re able to form soft peaks with your curd you are ready to turn off the heat and set aside. Once cooled, transfer your curd to a pint jar with sealing lid. If you’re concerned with lumps, run your curd through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps formed during cooking.

Storage: half pint and pint jars by Ball or Kerr freeze extremely well and this recipe will freeze incredibly well for at least 6 months. Its consistency remains in tact even after freezing. Store in the fridge in a sealed pint jar for up to a week… if it lasts that long.

ENJOY!

Meyer Lemon Curd
Serving Suggestion: we enjoyed a dollop of Meyer Lemon Curd this morning atop my homemade french toast and berry sauce… everything from scratch… bread, berry sauce, & lemon curd!

Egg Breakfast Cups

undefined undefined

Bacon & Kale Cheesy Egg Cups – Part of a Successful Weekly Meal Plan
Yield: 12 individual egg cups Temp: 325° (f) Cooking Time: 25 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes  

Ingredients – Equipment Needed
undefined 1 head kale, chopped
undefined 5+ strips bacon, cut/crisped (save some bacon grease for cooking the kale)
undefined 12-14 eggs, medium to large
undefined ½ cup combined, shredded Parmesan & mozzarella cheese
undefined Kosher salt/pepper to taste
undefined 12 pan muffin tin
undefined Parchment paper or cupcake liners
undefined Skillet
undefined Canning funnel

Step 1: Preheat oven to 325° (f) and prep the muffin tin with liners. Set aside. My best advice for still intact, non stick egg cups is to use parchment paper by making your own muffin tin liners or purchasing liners that are specifically made from parchment paper. Making your own is super simple and here is a really quick cool video I found on the interwebs by Cooking with Manuela on how to make your own. If making your own is not your thing, I use these from Paperchef all the time and I 100% swear by them *not a paid ad

Step 2: Dice bacon and crisp in a pan. I use a cast iron skillet, but any pan will do. Make sure to drain the fat (but save it!!) while cooking to ensure a good crisp on the bacon. Once crisp, remove from pan and set aside.

Bacon rendering in a cast iron skillet.

Step 3: Wash, dry, and remove kale from stems. Chop and place in skillet with a tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat. You can omit and use olive oil or any oil of your choosing. Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Saute until desired wilt or crispness has been achieved, add back bacon and toss for a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 4: Crack and whisk eggs with kosher salt and pepper. Set aside. Fill each muffin tin with a tablespoon of bacon kale mixture. Sprinkle shredded cheese mixture on top.

Step 5: If you have a canning funnel, I would totally use it because it will help to eliminate any drips or spills, which in turn makes egg cup removal from the muffin tins a bit tedious… the funnel helps keep everything in the cup where it needs to be. If not, use a large spoon or ladle and fill each muffin tin ¾ full.

Step 6: place in a 325° (f) preheated oven for 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy immediately or do as I do and store in airtight containers in the fridge for your meal planning win during the week.

Additional Ingredient Options: Here are some additional examples of breakfast egg cup variations I’ve made this year:
undefined Broccoli, bacon & goat cheese
undefined Kale, sweet peppers, & cheddar cheese
undefined Sweet peppers, zucchini, sausage & Parmesan cheese

A Note About The Ingredients I Use:
The eggs in this recipe and all recipes I create are made from the chickens I raise. They are fed organic feed in addition to all of the organic produce scraps from my kitchen and all that nature has to provide for them in my pasture. All other ingredients I do my very best to source locally if it does not come direct from my homestead (i.e. the produce & meats) as well as organic and non-gmo options. These recipes do not need to be local & organic but this is what I chose to do for my family.

The Story: I’m a fulltime remote employee for a global tech giant, I wrangle two very active boys and husband daily. The dog needs walking & the chickens need food. The land needs tending and there are only so many hours in a day, then you need to eat. This year I’ve decided to reinstate meal planning and meal preparation. Egg cups – the first installment of that plan. I’m typically (when Covid-19 doesn’t have us stuck at home) on the go, tacking on 120+ miles a day in the car in addition to meetings, kids activities, tending to the homestead, trying to stay physically fit and all the things life has to offer. In my back to basics journey I’ve made deep strides to improve the health in my life and I don’t want to hinder the progress by eating crap on the fly. Having good for you, fueling meals ready on the go is key for success in my day to day. This recipe makes 12 egg cups for me for the week. I warm up 2 egg cups a day from Monday through Saturday for my breakfast. Sundays are left for meal planning and meal prepping. I’ll be 100% honest, these are best the moment they come out of the oven and look a little sad on day two, but the taste is still delightful and fills me up on the go. So, here’s to your meal planning success, Egg Cups!

Banana Bread Muffins

According to the interwebs, banana bread was one of the top icons of the recent quarantine. Everyone and their grandmother has been baking like their lives depend on it and banana bread was at the top of the list. This is not your grandmother’s quarantine banana bread. These are fluffy, moist and quite chocolaty. A perfect mobile breakfast for the meal planning guru’s arsenal, easily adjusted to be gluten free using a 1:1 baking flour, and really the only way I’ll enjoy banana anything… muffins!

Chocolate chip or double chocolate with deep rich red dutch cocoa, better than grandma’s. If my grandmother heard me say this… she might agree! This recipe is hers, with a twist.

As it relates to a meal planner’s arsenal, these muffins store well in the fridge or freezer and easily warm up in the oven or microwave oven for a good meal “on the go”. During what I refer to as meal prepping Sundays, I make at least a dozen and this will satisfy breakfast for my little boys for the entire week.

So don’t let those bananas go to waste on your counter top. If anything *pro-tip*, peel, cut in half, freeze on a cookie sheet, and then transfer to a freezer sealed bag to use for future smoothie material. OK, I’ll enjoy banana two ways… but for now… muffins!!

Banana Bread Muffins
350 (f) degrees / 25 – 30 minutes baking time / 10-15 minute prep time
Yield One Dozen (12) Muffins

3 Medium Ripe Bananas
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Spice (combination of cinnamon, ginger, & nutmeg)
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
2 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips (or as many as you like!)

For Double Chocolate Chip Make the Following Ingredient Adjustments
Add 1/4 Cup Red Dutch Cocoa Powder
Reduce All-Purpose Flour to 2 Cups only


For Gluten Free Make the Following Ingredient Adjustments
Replace All-Purpose Flour with 2 1/4 Cups of 1:1 Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour

STEP 1:
Pre-heat oven to 350 (f) degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. Set aside.

STEP 2:
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment mix bananas, vanilla, sugars, spice, baking soda and baking powder. Once fully blended and fluffy, whisk in melted butter. Once incorporated, change the whisk attachment to the mixing attachment to fold in the flour (& cocoa powder if making the double chocolate variation) and chocolate chips.

If no stand mixer is available, start by mashing the bananas and sugar together with a fork or potato masher, then with a hand whisk or handheld mixer whisk in vanilla, spice, baking soda and baking powder. Once fully blended and fluffy, whisk in melted butter. Once incorporated, use a spatula and fold in flour (& cocoa powder if making the double chocolate variation) and chocolate chips.

Your batter should be thick and not able to easily fall from the spoon.

Why add the soda & powder to the wet ingredients & not the dry like every recipe on the interwebs??? I’ve found that by whisking the soda & powder with the wet ingredients, it helps to create a fluffier texture. This is why I recommend folding (do not over mix) your flours into the wet to avoid breaking down the fluff you’ve just created. I’m no scientist but baking is a science and to test & experiment is to find new improved ways to do things!

STEP 3:
Fill each cupcake liner to the brim. Don’t overflow but fill them to the top. Place the filled muffin tin in a preheated 350 (f) degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick to ensure a clean removal & your muffins are done and ready to consume.

STORAGE:
Stores well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week or in a freezer bag for a few months. Heat up on the go in the oven or the microwave for a few minutes. Perfect with your morning beverage to go!

Enjoy!!

Let’s Talk About Mindset – 2020 Version

Happy New Year! It is still hard to believe it is officially 2020. Honestly I still feel like it’s 1995.

A decade has come to a close and a new decade is upon us. 2020 is considered perfect vision and I’d like to think that after the past 10 years my vision is finally clear. You see, this is not my first time writing about weight loss, fitness, or mental health. Since the decade started, I’ve lost 100 pounds two times over. This was due to extremely difficult pregnancies and an unhealthy outlook on myself. Sadly the weight continued to return. From the start of 2010 over the past 10 years I’ve spent learning how to be a mom, fully devoting myself and every moment of my time to my family. I completely lost myself and my identity in the process.

Around the summer of 2018 I had about enough and I started to dig my way out of a decade (possibly a lifetime) of funk. After months of research I came across a woman who lived in Denver. She was young. She was an athlete. She was preaching some pretty back to basics information that just clicked. She was in the process of developing an online subscription fitness program and recently became co owner of a gym in Denver, CO . You know a million people can tell you the same thing but it will be just one person who says it or performs it in a way that just gets through. Tara broke through.

The following is a testimonial I wrote the first week of January 2019 about the fitness program TL Method and how it has drastically changed my physical and mental health. It is January 1st 2020 and I’m revisiting this write up, realizing not much of my thoughts have changed so I want to share it again. I can’t thank Tara enough. I also can’t thank my team enough. I hope you enjoy. I’ve also included some photos and sample workouts from the program for reference. One of the biggest things that still rings true is that I’m just going to keep going. I’m not going to stop working my ass off to do better and be better than I was yesterday. My life depends on it and I will become a better mom with it. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support.

The LEFT picture is from July 2018 when I made the mindful decision to join the #TLMethod with Tara Laferrara. The picture on the RIGHT is me today, just two days before 2019 came to an end. Not sure how much weight or how many inches have been lost and I don’t care… I look and feel awesome!

PAST POST: Let’s talk about mental health. Let’s talk about fitness. Let’s talk about food. Let’s talk about resolutions & goals.

We’ve made it through the first week of 2019!  High five! The first couple of weeks of the new year seem to be flooded with blueprints for resolutions, reinventing, trying new things, setting new goals.  I believe goal setting is important and I definitely believe in trying new things but I wanted to do something different this year. I’m going to simply keep going. I am going to keep working hard. I am going to keep pushing myself to be better than I was yesterday and the day before.  That’s it. Nothing drastic, nothing out of reach. It is sustainable. I’ve made huge strides in 2018 as it relates to my mindset, my mental & physical health, so I’m just going to keep working hard in 2019 and trying to be a better me every day.  That’s it.  In the past I would set out these giant, unobtainable lists. The ideas are grand but not sustainable by any means.

2018 was a year of lessons, a lot of opportunities to challenge myself and operate outside of my comfort zone.  It was also a year of learning to be comfortable in my own skin.  Sounds a bit odd at my age, but it happened.  Since childhood, I’ve not had a healthy view of what being beautiful & fit was. I had curves and I was beautiful but I didn’t see it as such. I always wondered why I was always more developed than others and it made me embarrassed. I hid under large sweatshirts and baggy clothes.

Never would you find me in tight anything because I was always afraid of how I looked… I’m done worrying about what other people think of me and how I look. I am only concerned with how I feel and I feel great which in turn radiates in my energy I put out.

It has taken years of hard work but I’m learning to have a healthier view of myself vs. what I’ve been fed from childhood. It’s taken time to understand everyone’s body composition is different and that is OK. Once I had my two boys, I struggled with my new body even more than before. There are a lot of stretch marks, scars, and extra skin.  Mentally I was fat, ugly, and exhausted.

Over the last 8 (**now 10 yrs**) years, I’ve lost 100 pounds, twice, after each pregnancy. I experienced difficult pregnancies so physical activity was null each time. My system and metabolism were shot from the hormone changes as a result . I met my weight loss goals each time but my mental goals were far from attained. I obsessed over the number on the scale vs. how my body and mind felt. This was probably the worst part of the process. You believe you’re working so damn hard but yet the number on the scale doesn’t move. I struggled with food. Large portions and emotionally eating. Not necessarily bad foods; simply lacking balance. I would restrict myself from carbs or other foods that made me happy. In my life, restriction equates to failure. I need to be able to sustain the lifestyle and keeping myself from something I loved was making it hard for me to maintain.

For those who have been following me for some time you know I like to cook a lot of good food and drink lovely drinks. This makes me happy and taking away those things was breaking down my mindset to keep going, to be consistent .

I make much of what my household eats, from scratch. I also rely heavily on food prep to ensure I don’t mindless snack or go through a drive thru. I also don’t restrict myself from things that makes me happy.

2018 I made the year to get comfortable with being uncomfortable; trying new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’ve got two boys. I’m still young (definitely at heart). It was fucking time to get off this emotional roller coaster because I have a life to live.  

I did a lot of research, seeking out communities I could relate to.  Growing up, I watched my hard working, single mother use free weights and workout in her living room every evening no matter how long or difficult her day was.  She loved weightlifting.  I remember, I was of preschool age, waiting in line with my mom at a local gym grand opening to get Rachel Mclish’s autograph. Her influence guided me as a teen to purchase my own set of weights & strength train at home.  In my 20s I dove into yoga under Ben Thomas who was a direct student of BKS Iyengar.  In my later 20s I began Sanshou with Cung Le at his Santa Clara gym.  Weightlifting, yoga, and mixed martial arts were all components of fitness in my life as I got older. These are communities I sought out to guide my mental & physical groove today.  It took a few months of trying new things; 8 week yoga or animal flow programs, kickboxing, kettlebell & body weight challenges.  All things I loved but nothing was resonating, still I kept going, I kept trying new things.  The cool thing about exploring new programs was opening connections to people I would not have come across before. This brings me to Tara Laferrara.

I’ve been following a lot of personal trainers on Instagram over the past year. This is how I discovered Tara. May of 2018 I did her 7 day body weight challenge.  After the challenge, she offered an 8 week program that included 6 days a week of planned workouts from weightlifting, body weight, yoga, and mobility exercises. Along with the program came an accountability group.  The accountability group was WAY out of my comfort zone. The program as a whole, included everything that fired my soul. The major plus is I gained a group of supportive people who helped me get through mental challenges. The group on Facebook is private (some of us connect else where as well), and lets you know you’re not alone on the journey.  After the 8 week program she launched a full membership, called the TLMethod, very similar to the 8 week program. I’ve been a member ever since.

I’ve had gym memberships and I’ve signed up for online workout communities but I never stuck with any of them. I live in the country. I don’t have a lot of options close to me. Any extra funds fuel my children’s & husband’s extracurricular activities (Jiu-Jitsu and Mountain Biking). I have a very full schedule and no extra child care. I need something flexible, cheep, and that I can do at home with the equipment I have.

Let me preface this is not a paid promotion. I believe in the program and the support of a community, whether it be live or online. The TLMethod is a program I access via my phone or laptop, anywhere. Over the years I have been gifted or acquired free weights ranging from 1 to 35 pounds. I invested in resistance bands and makeshift certain household items for benches or steps. These, in addition to my body are the only tools I use in the TLMethod. I plan my day to ensure I make time for myself but I don’t have to think about workouts that will challenge me and provide results, Tara does it for me, 6 days a week.

The key statement here is “make time for myself.” Life happens. Life is always going to happen. Life will always provide some road block, speed bump, something to challenge my day to day. How I chose to react to the situation will determine my success to keep going. I also have to make a conscious effort to ensure I make time for me to take care of me because no one else will do it for me. If I am no good to me, I will be no good to anyone else. The work, the chores, the challenges will be there but those moments for you will not. We’re only given so many hours a day. Be wise how you use them.

The program and accountability group is comprised of so many different people, so many different components, yet we’re all showing signs of success through our various journeys. Some Vegan, some Vegetarian, some on Keto, some just going with the flow. Minimal judgement yet full support of the journey. I chose to stop restricting myself and just made better judgement on size and moderation.  I eat everything that makes me happy, but I am smart about the process. 

I wish I could say what the ahha moment was for me.  Possibly seeing the progress.  I stopped obsessing over the number on the scale.  I’ve kept some measurements to give me a gauge but the big win, the success has been how I feel about me.  I feel good.  I feel strong.  I feel beautiful.  I read something about progression photos and how the photo doesn’t show how your mind has progressed. I have no idea how many more inches has been lost since I started this journey and I don’t care. What I care about most is how I feel physically and mentally and right now… I feel fucking awesome!

Me two days before 2019 came to a close. You see, I’ve lost a lot of weight more than once. I have a lot of loose skin and stretch marks for days. I’ve come to love these parts of me because it tells a story of overcoming adversity… bish… those are my tiger stripes!

My journey has been a long one.  I’ve struggled with my mental outlook from childhood to present day.  The addition of becoming a mom made the struggle that much more difficult.  The journey through this program has made me love how I’ve grown.  I love how strong I am.  I love me.  So this new years, I’m going to continue being a bad ass and working hard to be a better me every day.  Ending with an example workout that is part of the TLMethod program . 

TL Method Upper Body Day Example Workout – for complete workouts signup at http://www.taralaferrara.com

Tomorrow I keep going no matter what. This year… I’m going to keep going.  

Rocking my #TLMethod gear into 2020…
Happy New Year & Happy New Decade… YOU GOT THIS!