Monthly Archives: February 2016

{Paleo Pantry} Homemade Mayonnaise – You Can Do It!

Happy Monday friends! This weekend, full of the little things – errands, good cooking, projects, family time, was just what the doctor ordered. Except for when I lost my keys in Target. That was a little less awesome. But they were found. So that made it all ok again. Also, after MONTHS of an egg drought, our chickens have finally decided to earn their keep, including our blue egg layers. We used to get 10-15 eggs a day, so you know it’s been bad when there are three eggs in the basket (including one blue one) and I do a happy dance. Like I said, it’s the little things, people. 

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So, today’s Paleo Pantry recipe is a SUPER easy and SUPER quick homemade mayonnaise recipe. I realize the world is quite divided about mayonnaise. Some people can’t stand even the look of it. Some can’t get enough. And some prefer Miracle Whip…ewww! I’m in the can’t-get-enough category.

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Many people don’t know what mayonnaise actually is, so that’s where we’ll start. Mayonnaise, at it’s simplest, is an emulsion of a light tasting oil, egg yolks, and an acid (lemon juice or vinegar). You can dress it up a bit with a bit of mustard, salt and pepper, and/or garlic. If you make it a slightly different way with more garlic (and usually olive oil) you end up with an aioli. The mayonnaise you buy in the store is pasteurized and contains sugar and additional preservatives. Which I really really love. Hellmann’s is my jam.

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Unfortunately Hellmann’s doesn’t cut it in the paleo world. We work to avoid all vegetable oils (and only use olive oil in uncooked applications), sugar, and preservatives. For the last 18 months I’ve tried to come up with the perfect homemade substitute, but it always ended up a little funky (i.e. tasting like Miracle Whip). Then, I found it!

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In all my years making aioli in restaurants, I had never added mustard, but that ended up being key. It’s adds just a touch of the sweetness I love in Hellmann’s. And, as opposed to the garlic-forward aioli that uses fresh garlic, the garlic powder helps to give it a more subtle, neutral flavor that you can then dress up depending on your use. To achieve the subtle effect of canola oil, I used extra light tasting olive oil. Despite my love of avocados, I find avocado oil a teense to avocadoey. How’d you like that? Two non-words in one sentence. Finally, for some reason, using the whole egg brings the whole thing together (there’s an emulsion pun for your first thing Monday morning).

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I make a batch of this once every week or two and store it in the fridge. It seriously takes under 5 minutes. I use it as I would regular mayonnaise and after lots of funky tries at paleo mayonnaise, my family approves this Hellmann’s substitution.

Also, don’t be afraid if you’ve never emulsified something before. It’s SUPER easy. All you do is blend all your ingredients except the oil, and then just pour a steady stream of the oil in while the blender or food processor is running. This is also true for salad dressings or sauces or anything else oil-based that should be smooth.

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Am I the only one out there that puts this much thought into mayonnaise?

Paleo Mayonnaise
Yields 1
A quick and easy paleo-friendly mayonnaise.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  3. 1/8 tsp garlic powder (heaping)
  4. 2/3 tsp gluten-free Dijon mustard
  5. pinch of pepper and sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  6. 2/3 - 1 c. of extra light tasting olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except the oil in a food processor.*
  2. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream (the diameter of a pencil). Continue adding until mayonnaise reaches a thickness you prefer.
  3. Store in a closed container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. *You could also use a tall cup and immersion blender or regular blender if you don't have a food processor.
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{Friday Favorites} It’s The Small Things

This is a Friday that couldn’t come (or end) soon enough. It’s been a doozy of a couple weeks and I am so ready for a break this weekend. It’s currently 5am and I’m sitting here trying to work through IT issues so that we can host a webinar for prospective students in India. I have heard, “Can you hear me?” at least 100 times in the last 30 minutes….ackkk!!

This marathon of a week has been all about finding joy in the small things.

AMAZING Burgers

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Panzur is a local restaurant run by family friends and seriously talented chef. Everything he makes is the best version I’ve had of that dish, and his burgers are no exception. He makes a homemade brioche daily and the burger is a blend of short rib and brisket. I texted him on our way back home from Syracuse to see if he had them on the menu last night and here’s the response I got:

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I will always quit paleo for brioche, FYI. TimTheFarmer topped his with bacon jam and pork belly and I topped mine with manchego and bacon jam. Both were out of this world and totally made an otherwise mediocre Thursday.

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A Thoughtful Place’s Fixer Upper Takeaways

If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I LOVE Fixer Upper. And now I have a new blogger I love. I’d bookmarked A Thoughtful Place a year ago because she had some great blogging tips. I just clicked on her site again and discovered a whole series on Fixer Upper Takeaways. For my fellow Fixer Upper junkies, this is fun recap of episodes that also pulls out the key design takeaways from each project. Courtney does a great job of pulling tips out of these huge projects!

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Easy Peel Clementines

Speaking of the small things, I really really love it when clementines are easy to peel. I have no idea if these are genetically engineered to be this way and I do wonder what sort of stuff they’re doing to clementines to make them such a great snacking food, but I’ve decided I don’t care. They’re a favorite snack of mine, and it’s amazing how much it makes my day when I can get the peel off all at once and without getting fingernails full of orange pith. You never know which ones your buying, so when I start to peel one and it peels easily, I’m a happy camper.

High-functioning Flood Control Systems

When we bought our house, we were blown away by the seemingly-overkill B-Dry system in our basement. There are three sump pumps, an always-on dehumidifier, multiple trenched drainage pipes, and plastic going 5 feet up the wall. I don’t know anything about these systems, but my FIL, who runs a construction company, said it was the most elaborate system he’d seen. 

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Well, when we drove in last night from Syracuse, there was flooding in places we had never seen standing water on our property from 2 days of rain. Hmmmm. When I went down to check the oil tank to ensure we weren’t going to run out (again), I stepped over the threshold and unknowingly into 4 inches of water. Tim!!!!! After looking it over, we realized the crazy elaborate system is working. The section where the oil tank is, has standing water, but it’s contained to that room and the rest of the basement has been kept dry as the sump pumps cranked. We still have lots of unpacked boxes down there, so we are super grateful this system is working! It’s definitely a kick in the pants to get them organized and off the floor, just in case. It’s a bit hard to see, but there are 4 inches of water on the left and it’s dry on the right.

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Alright, I’m off to have a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend – hope you do too!



{Travel Log} A Birthday Weekend in Steamboat Springs

🎤 🎤🎤 Duh duh dah dah da da dah … they say it’s your birthday.🎤 🎤🎤 That’s what I heard this morning when I woke up … in my head. I believe that stems from years spent at birthday parties held at the long-extinct party spot, Fort Ram. My Ft. Collins peeps know what I’m talking about. Today, I’m celebrating my birthday by sitting at a table at a graduate school fair, in Syracuse. I know. It’s not fair of me to make you so jealous. 

Anyway, I had an awesome trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado a few weeks ago and wanted to give you the report. Steamboat is a town I grew up in – we had a condo there and spent most weekends there in the winter, and many in the summer. So, this report is less about exploring a new city and more about skiing and shenanigans.

I started with trip off with a quick detour to Colorado Springs to see my dad and Maria. They recently (and by recently I mean sometime since I was there three years ago…don’t judge, I got married and that took all my vacation that summer, and last summer we were buying a house, so there were no extra trips…hmm, feeling bad??) replaced their windows and installed this amazing picture window in the guest bedroom which gives a spectacular view of Pikes Peak. How awesome is that?! I hung with my dad for a night and then headed up to Steamboat. I was cheap (and by cheap, I mean not willing to pay $500 for 4 days) and rented a regular car (not an SUV) and there’s a new law in Colorado requiring snow tires or 4 wheel drive in the mountains, but the rules are kind of unclear so I was crossing my fingers the whole drive I wouldn’t get busted. I didn’t get busted, but I did hold up a line of 40 cars as I inched my way down Rabbit Ears Pass in my inadequate vehicle.

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A group of family and friends planned to meet in Steamboat for my sister’s 30th birthday: my mom and sister, Lindsay (of El Paso fame) and her mom (Sue), and Carol. My mom, sister, and I arrived first and ran out to dinner at Mambo Italiano (a tricky choice when you’re paleo)  and had a great meal. We made Carolyn wear this button from the dollar store. They forgot to put a space between “to” and “me” so it ready tome and everyone was trying to figure out what it said…but we didn’t get any free drinks or birthday brownies out of the deal :(. As we left the restaurant, it was dumping snow and we knew there was a powder day ahead! 

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Lindsay and Sue showed up and we celebrated Lindsay’s engagement and Carolyn blew out the candles on the cake she bought herself. 

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The next day we hit slopes and had the powder day I’d been hoping for since I booked the ticket. It. Was. Awesome.

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TimTheFarmer and Nate surprised me with new goggles as an early present – love them! And, to make it super awesome, Carolyn taped the birthday crown to her helmet. People said Happy Birthday to her all day – it was the coolest thing. The cutest was when little kids would shout Happy Birthday. My faith in humanity was totally restored. 

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We ended the day with a birthday beverage at T Bar – an awesome dive bar our friends own and then headed to the Truffle Pig. They had bacon wrapped dates, so I was happy. They have totally redone the base of Steamboat mountain and I couldn’t believe I was having drinks in a fancy hotel restaurant where I used to get dropped off for ski school #weirdandsad. 

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Carol met up with us and as we headed back to the condo, we ran into this guy at the bus stop. We’d seen him skiing all and had an active debate about whether his snowsuit was a sweet throwback snowsuit or a recreation. We attacked  stopped him and found out it’s from a website called Tipsy Elves. The best part was that he and his buddy ended up behind me in line to board my Southwest Airlines flight in Denver the following Monday (not in the snowsuit…and he *shockingly* barely remembered taking this picture).

We celebrated Carolyn’s birthday (again) with a yummy dinner at home followed by a craft project by Jan Jan. We were tasked with decorating paper bags and then filling them with things that represented Carolyn #onceateacheralwaysateacher I can’t show you the bags here, because things had gone a bit downhill by that point in the night. But, I can assure you that they were hilarious.

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The next day was a bluebird powder day in the ‘Boat and my mom, Carol, and I headed out while the others went cross-country skiing. We entertained ourselves by taking pics and videos of ourselves skiing the steeps, powder, and bumps, and of ourselves in my mom’s goggles #nerdalert. 

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 Oh, and the Broncos jerseys were out in force. This guys was smoking (something) and there were giant puffs of smoke coming out of his horse hat. I overheard the little ski school kids say, “Look, the Bronco is on fire.” Way to keep it classy, buddy.

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We never miss the opportunity to make someone dress up, so I wasn’t surprised at all when we met up with the rest of the crew at the base for a concert and found Carolyn in the bar line rocking the Wonder Woman-birthday cape (and crown). 

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There was a fun band at the base and this guy danced his way through the crowd. He was very liberal with his stilt kicks. It’s good most people wear ski helmets these days.

On the way to a bus, this happened. How cute is that?!

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We ate a quick dinner and bundled up to watch the Winter Carnival Night Extravaganza, where they give local skiers—ranging in age from 5-old—flares and send them skiing/snowboarding in the dark, down the mountain in a “snake,” off ski jumps, through flaming hoops, and with fireworks coming off of sleds they pull behind them. It’s wild and hard to believe a city can get away with it in these litigious times. It really speaks to how embedded this tradition is in the culture of Steamboat. 

The next day, everyone left early to get back to the Front Range before the Super Bowl. I hit the mountain for a few more hours of skiing and then drove down and arrived just as the game was starting and got big hugs from these two. It was such a fun weekend celebrating a big birthday with family and friends. I LOVE Steamboat!IMG_4664