I turn 40 tomorrow, so you have to be nice to me. For starters, I think you should crack me a joke. Big-O will go first:
Now, it’s your turn: leave me a joke in the comments below! Make me giggle for my birthday, and I just might send you a Mini-Michelle!
Ready for my favorite links from around the Interwebs?
Henry took the day off work, and as I write this, he’s making the Chocolate Layer Cake from the Zenbelly Cookbook (a.k.a. my pal Simone’s No Joke Dark Chocolate Cake) for my birthday. (It’s kind of my favorite—I even strong-armed Simone into serving it at our cookbook launch party, remember?) Let’s see how close Henry gets to replicating this:
Right now, he’s muttering about how he doesn’t have the right pans, so my fingers are crossed.
[Update: He used Simone’s recipe to make cupcakes! And they’re perfect!]
And by the way, if you’re wondering if Simone’s cookbook kicks butt, the answer is TOTALLY. I’ll be sharing her recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Bacon and Apples with you soon, but here’s a peek at how it turned out:
Our family loved it so much that I’ve already made this dish twice this week.
If I still used good old fashioned snail mail, I’d be all over the U.S. Postal Service’s new set of stamps featuring five celebrity chefs: Julia Child, James Beard, Joyce Chen, Edna Lewis and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi.
Sure, these portraits are a smidge creepy, but I still dig ’em.
Once upon a time, my hubby had a crazy-unstoppable Coke Zero habit. Like many others, he guzzled artificially-flavored zero-calorie beverages thinking that they were better than their high fructose corn syrup-sweetened brethren. Those chemicals, additives, and lab-concocted sweeteners can’t possibly be harmful as long as the drink is calorie-free, right?
Thankfully, Henry came to his senses and quit diet sodas cold turkey several years ago. (It was after Big-O asked him for a taste of his Coke Zero, and Henry said no—it’s bad for you. “Then why do you drink it, daddy?”)
It’s a good thing he quit, ’cause a new study in Nature indicates that artificial sweeteners may harm gut bacteria and trigger metabolic disorders. Yet again, evidence suggests that the key to staying healthy all comes down to supporting a healthy microbiome—something my whipsmart pal Dr. Grace has been recommending for years.
Cook Your Way Out of the Apocalypse
I recently let my subscription to Lucky Peach, the quarterly food journal co-created by David Chang (the architect of one of our favorite meals ever), lapse because of no good reason at all. But I’m going through my back issues, and after reading this excerpt of Michael Pollan’s interview from the Apocalypse issue, I quickly renewed my subscription.
In the article, Pollan discusses how our food choices have a profound impact on the environment. The solution? Eat out of the solar food chain as opposed to the fossil food chain. In other words, eat grass fed meat and organic produce—and cook it all yourself.
(By the way, did you know that Michael Pollan is Michael J. Fox’s brother-in-law?)
How to Cook Like A Pro
I prefer eating to cooking, but these days I’d rather throw something together myself than go out to restaurants. This is partly because it’s hard to eat Paleo when dining out, but the main reason is that I’ve gotten to be a much better cook. Like all skills, cooking takes practice to improve.
My skills improve with every burned or over-salted dish. I’m not afraid to make mistakes because I know I’ll do better the next time.
This great article in Edible San Francisco suggests that another key cooking tip is to use all six of your senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing, sight, and good ol’ common sense. Trust your gut, and you won’t go wrong. (Usually.)
Slow Cooking Homework
I know what you’re thinking: How can I practice cooking when I barely have time to brush my hair in the morning? Survey says…break out your slow cooker! This cheap, no-frills countertop appliance offers an easy way for us to cook food at a low, steady temperature for hours. In particular, the slow cooker’s low temperature and prolonged simmering help to break down the collagen in tough (and cheaper) cuts of meat. You can throw in the ingredients in the morning and have a piping hot meal waiting for you at the end of the day. Win-win!
These following recipes are super simple and delicious:
Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy! (The extra gravy is the best part! Make sure you freeze it and use it later.)
That’s not all! Check out these simple recipes from some of my fave sites:
- The Clothes Make the Girl’s Slow Cooker Osso Buco Stew
- Stupid Easy Paleo’s Slow Cooker Lamb Roast with Root Veggies
- The Cavery’s Easy Autumn Beef Stew
- Paleo Cupboard’s Rotisserie Chicken
- Skinnytaste’s Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast
That’s it for this week—next time we meet, I’ll be in my forties! Wheeeeee!
Looking for recipes and resources? Head on over to my Recipe Index or my Resources page. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).1