Let's give it a shot.
Since moving to a more paleo-inspired diet last October, we've gotten pretty tired of chicken. Here are the more exotic meats we've tried, from best to worst:
- Ground venison. The first time I made this, I was afraid it would be too gamey so I improvised meatloaf-style burgers which were tasty but they fell apart. The meat seemed too lean to really work in that application. Tonight we used ground venison as a burrito base (cooked with onions, garlic, plenty of spice) and it was great. I think it worked better as crumbles than patties--the meat seemed dry, but with a burrito it didn't matter.
- Bison pot roast. I got the one linked, but didn't pay anywhere near that much for it. It was really good, really beef-like. I used the recipe on the back for "street tacos" and found it to be under-flavored. A ton of extra cumin, chili, and garlic at the end saved it. Also, I have yet to figure out how to get crock pot-ed beef to go from soggy roast into good machaca, a problem that did not magically sort itself out by swapping bison for cow. All this is to say: my cooking is not that good, but the meat itself was. Will definitely try again, if I find it on sale.
- Buffalo hot dogs. These were pretty good, but more like a dense summer sausage than a real hot dog. As such, they were better with sauerkraut/spicy mustard than typical ketchup and mustard (especially given no buns involved). I bet they'd be really good as chili dogs.
- Ground boar meat. First of all, the package said "from feral pigs" which made me think "they eat garbage," and then I happened to read something online the day we cooked it that said that pigs particularly take on the flavor of their feed. Pork goes well with green sauce, so we did an improvised chili verde with pureed canned hatch chilis as the base for the sauce. The taste was really good, despite my misgivings, but I got a shard of cartilage in mine and then couldn't eat the rest. We then watched an episode of Sons of Guns in which they go hunting for a monster wild boar, and how the animal had this huge cartilage shield all around the shoulder muscles that small caliber rounds couldn't even penetrate, and that was the end of any interest I had in eating wild/feral pigs.
The 75% ratio of us cooking tacos/burritos vs. other types of food is consistent. If I'm eating strictly low-carb that day, I'll wrap in lettuce instead.
Despite the time I spend blogging/twittering, I think I'm still better off for it, productivity-wise. By naturally talking about what I'm doing, I feel like I'm accountable for finishing projects. So I thought I would post my major 2012 goals on here as kind of progress report.
- Quit job. Check!
- Find/create part-time job. My first target was to have revenue by 3/1, but that's not going to happen. I planned start this project on 2/1, and did start 2/1 ... only to drop it pretty much until Tuesday of this week. I did get the home office 50% together, sorted through a few boxes of crap from my old office, and recorded an incoming voice mail message. Goals to accomplish by the end of this month include: having business cards printed, figuring out how to make a freaking Wordpress site (grrrr), and actually contacting my contacts.
- Draft a novel from start through first draft, through at least 1 major revision. Progress so far: not all that much. I made lists of major character traits and background for main heroine/hero, then wrote out a one-chapter "background" life story for them, just to get my writing muscle used to working in narrative format (my first few chapters on a draft are uniformly horrible). I'm not counting these two (hefty) prologue chapters in the official wordcount because I don't intend to use them. They're just for warm up. I'm also not in a particularly big hurry to start the official wordcount because I'm still refining the outline, and I hate to fly blind. Target date for starting the "official" wordcount: 3/1.
- Get down to my 10th grade weight. I tend to burn bright, burn hot, and burn out with hobbies and diets (overlapping sets). I made a plan for monthly weight-loss goals that front-loads it into the earlier months of the year when 1) motivation is higher and 2) numbers of pounds represents a lesser percentage of overall body mass. To refrain from getting too cocky (who me?) at any big loss on a given day, I decided to only "count" the weigh-in days on the last day of each month. Hit target on 1/31, followed by two weeks of sloth. Need to get back into gear, but 3/1 deadline is still within reach, so long as I get back into gym mode.*
- Get educated. This is more desire than goal, as I haven't quantified my preferred outcome. I would vaguely like to complete my TBR stack of unopened classics by the end of the year, and finish all the lectures in the Modern Scholar: Odyssey of the West (Classical Education Through the Great Books) series, and reading some of the actual great books along with it. I'm only up to the fall of Rome so far, and damn, I hate translations, so I've been heel-dragging on cracking the actual books. (I've read a lot of the major, major works in the Western canon, if not in whole then in large part, but not since law school. I imagine the experience of reading them now will be much different.) I really enjoy the lectures though--ones I listened to last year on Orwell, Medieval Literature, and Rhetoric were really good, at least to my bumpkin state-school-educated self.
- The Man. 2012 goal is to get right of the law--canon law. In retrospect, it seems obvious that the Catholic Church, with its rigorous systems of law and doctrine (feature!), wouldn't recognize a "wedding" performed by the mail-order minister who, the previous month, performed a mass "wedding" in a public square during a pride event. NB: The adage "better to ask forgiveness than permission" does not apply in all circumstances. Unexpected bonus: canon law is fascinating. Progress: Possibly as much as 5%. Since I started sorting it out in 2006. But this is my year!
- Household. Just once this year I would like to have the whole entire house clean, every speck of dust removed, everything put away, all the dishes done, and all the laundry done at the same time. When the goal is in sight, we will be eating from paper plates until the last day, at which time I plan to borrow towels from someone for us to wear while I run the clothes from our backs through the washer and dryer. After two weeks of concerted effort, I think we are 4% of the way there.
- Hair. Having written what turned out to be an impassioned defense of the Twilight books in my last, I can no longer pretend to seriousness, so I suppose there's no harm in admitting that I have a written 2012 goal related to my hair, which is: Don't Screw With It. I had a near-miss the other day (temporary color counts as screwing with it) and the existence of Zooey Deschanel's bangs continues to haunt me, but for now, the line is holding.
*"Gym mode" = Completing consistent workouts of sufficient rigor such that exercise high kicks in and makes the experience pleasurable. Typically, it takes me about three weeks, working out six days a week, for gym mode to really strongly kick in.
My preferred, most effective workout plan is to do weights M-W-F for 45-minute sessions, alternating upper and lower body muscle groups on alternating weight days (pyramiding sets to failure). I prefer free weights but I only have access to machines this time, so I guess I'll make do. T-Th-S I'll do 20-minute cardio interval sessions. If I get bored, I do The Firm cardio or sculpting DVDs, but not often. I'm still klutzy even when I'm in good shape, so I tend to trip on the step.
The best part of gym mode is that I find myself actually wanting to eat more healthy food and wanting to do active things for fun (typically mountain biking, although its been awhile). The worst part of gym mode is when I want to be active but can't (because I'm chained to a desk), it's physically painful. And the rebound in that circumstance tends to be horrifying.
I hate taking medicine and generally do not, but I love supplements. I'm currently using (1) concentrated greens, (2) iron-free multivitamin, (3) Ca-Mg-K, (4) Green Tea Extract, (5) Vitamin C, (6) ALA, (7) Omega-3D, (8) Vitamin E w/ tocopherols, and (9) co-enzyme Q10. I'll eat a light breakfast and take everything in the late morning, which basically substitutes for breakfast. I want to do some research on timing these, to see if there's any impact on optimal sleep (the prerequisite for exercise/eating compliance, at least for me.) I usually switch supplements in and out every few months (I've got maybe 30-35 I swap out when I get bored.) Obviously, I've got way too many variables here to control for any one in particular, and would not be surprised to find that most of these were useless. But from past experiments, I can tell that the ones that do things are the Green Tea (caffeine) and the ALA/Omega-3D, which make my mental functioning feel just a bit sharper. They also make my hair shiny.
It's good to have goals.