I’ve officially tumbled into nerddom: I got a HabitRPG account.

HabitRPG Avatar

That’s my wee level 2 avatar, ready to gain xp or take hit-point damage depending on how well I stick to my habits. I can assign tasks/habits to myself depending on three categories:

Habits—things I want to do multiple times a day or stop myself from doing multiple times a day. Gain a little experience for positive actions (drinking more water) and lose a little experience for negative ones (procrastinating).

Dailies—things I should be doing every day, such as flossing before bed. Dailies that aren’t completed will inflict damage to hit points. (I told you, this is super geeky.)

Todos—one-offs I have to get done eventually. The longer they sit undone, the more experience they’re worth, so I have a motivator to finish up those things I’ve been setting aside, like finishing up my taxes.

Then there are the rewards. You get coins (gold or silver) for completing tasks from any of the three categories above. You can set your own rewards you “pay” for with your earned coins. One of my rewards is treating myself to a massage. Other rewards are in-game, such as purchasing some armor for your avatar. Certain armor has special abilities that will help out your character. For example, leather armor decreases your hit point damage by 4%.

I had the most difficulty coming up with rewards for myself. I generally just treat myself to whatever I want, regardless of whether I’ve “earned” it. This way perhaps I’ll be more mindful of accomplishing the tasks I need to, and fully appreciating the sweet spoils when I get to indulge. Less guilt over what I think I should be doing is always a good thing.


Homemade Granola and an Anniversary

This has been the most difficult week for rising early. Before Daylight Saving Time started, waking at 5:30 was no problem. Now, when my body still thinks the new 5:30 is 4:30, it’s harder than ever to get out of bed. But I made it. A little late, but here I am.

Sunday night I was in the mood for something a little different from the usual, and found this recipe for grain-free, dairy-free granola from the Seasonal Family. (There are some mouth-watering photos over at that site, and I highly recommend it for a detailed step-by-step of the granola-making process.) My kitchen table became a sprawling mess as I worked.

2013-03-12 granola tableBut I ended up with some tasty treats. I used pistachios, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds, and left out the cacao nibs (not SCD legal). For the cup of dried fruit I used raisins.

2013-03-12 granola

I nommed on a few of these sweet and savory morsels before going to bed. Unfortunately, my body did not like all those nuts and I felt terrible the next day. I ended up leaving work for a few hours to recuperate, but I felt better by early afternoon and then worked from home. So it looks like Colin will be eating a healthy snack this week. But the recipe isn’t a total loss—I think I’ll reuse the mixture of wet ingredients (peanut butter, coconut oil, honey, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg heated in a saucepan) to make a dip for fruit or else a pseudo-fudge by cooling it in the fridge/freezer.

It was also our anniversary, and Colin sent me flowers at work! I wasn’t there to get them, but after a few phone calls the delivery man was wonderful enough to come drop them off at our house, and before long I had a colorful spring bouquet.

2013-03-12 anniversary flowers

I hadn’t eaten anything all day, so after my stomach cooled down we went out for sushi (sashimi for me). Raw fish wouldn’t be the idea of a soothing meal for most, but for some reason my stomach can always handle it and it puts me in a happy place. It’s become a comfort food for me. Since soy sauce is not SCD legal, normally I make this “SCD Asian sauce” recipe (which I’ve heard comes from Raman Prasad’s SCD cookbook). But I didn’t have fresh ginger on hand and wanted something quick. I tried out a very simple soy sauce recipe I came up with on the fly and was pleased with the results.

Simple Soyless Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp honey (or more to taste)
  • Dash salt
  • Dash garlic salt

Mix ingredients together, stirring well to dissolve the honey. Makes 1 serving.

I’ll likely experiment with different spices just to see what happens, but it’s a pretty good base. I can’t wait to try it out as a stir fry marinade.

This Little Piggy Went to Market

Daylight Saving Time started today with a spring forward on the clocks. Hopefully you’re ready for this sleep pattern change and can adapt quickly to losing an hour. (And yes, I wrote saving instead of savings because I have a minor peeve about how frequently an “s” is added to the end of that word when it has no business being there at all.) There’s an interesting map on the Wikipedia page for DST showing where it’s observed, where it isn’t, and where it used to be. It’s surprising how little of the world actually gives a crap about it. I didn’t realize there are even parts of the U.S. that don’t pay attention to it at all. Good for them and their non-conforming, energy-reducing ways.

Yesterday was a relaxed day of cleaning, cooking, and exploring our city like tourists. We strolled through Baxter Woods to pick up a nice cut of meat from Pat’s Meat Market.

2013-03-10 woodsI had never been to Pat’s, but Colin’s mom had cooked up some lamb shanks and lamb patties from there when she visited in November, and the quality was divine. I had found a copy of the leg of lamb recipe from Garlic and Sapphires (thanks, Google books!) and was curious to try it out. I had anticipated Pat’s as being a dingy butcher shop utterly lacking any charm or appeal. Thankfully, my preconceived notions (primarily gleaned from ’90s sitcoms) had no basis in reality.

2013-03-10 meat marketIt was more a cozy neighborhood grocer, with a line for the butcher counter roughly 5 people deep. They had one leg of lamb left, and at $6.99/lb it cost somewhere in the unfriendly neighborhood of $42. It was far more meat than I’d anticipated or knew what to do with, so we opted for another cut, the “filet mignon of lamb” as the butcher recommended. This one was about half the price, and after getting brief instructions on how best to cook it, we decided to go for it. Colin grabbed two massive potatoes to mash up and we each selected a fragrant pluot to try. The woman behind the deli counter kindly obliged in washing our fruit so we could munch as we went wee-wee-wee all the way home.

2013-03-10 pluot

Pluot: a plum-apricot hybrid

Vegetarians, vegans, and animal lovers, this next section gets a bit gory. If you prefer not to see photos of lamby parts, you are advised to stop reading now.

2013-03-10 lamb package

When it was time to start cooking dinner, we unwrapped our meat parcel and Colin set about chopping it into steaks.

2013-03-10 bloody lamb

It was a bit bloody. I felt a little like I was in a horror movie, a little like I was in a hospital, and a little like I was in a horror movie taking place in a hospital. (You know the one.) But I was also hungry and the cuts really looked phenomenal.

2013-03-10 lamb cut

After cutting up the meat into steaks and salting and peppering them generously on both sides, Colin seared them in the cast iron pan at high heat (2 minutes per side) and then threw them into the preheated 275-degree oven. They finished cooking in there for about 30 minutes, and then we feasted on juicy, tender lamb turds.

2013-03-10 cooked lambDelicious, yes, but admittedly they bear a striking resemblance to what they would eventually become. I had made baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) earlier in the day, so I had that as my side while Colin dove into his mashed potatoes. It was a soft and satisfying meal, made all the sweeter by the helpful staff at Pat’s and the quaint sense of community I felt there. There was so much warmth and welcome, it was like when you visit a new city and the sense of belonging you feel is so strong you can’t help wishing you lived there. Only this time, I do live there.

SCD Dill Marinated Cucumbers

Dill Cucumbers

I wanted a little taste of summer the other day and these cucumbers hit the spot. They’re quick, simple, and tangy with a crisp crunch. The recipe is one that’s been kicking around for decades but traditionally uses sugar. It is easily adapted to paleo and SCD diets by substituting honey instead.

Dill Cucumbers

  • 2-3 cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill (2 if using fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  1. Peel the cucumbers and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients, mixing well for the honey.
  3. Add the cucumber slices.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  5. Remove from fridge and serve. Serves 4.

When I started peeling the cucumbers I discovered our vegetable peeler had somehow broken, but only on one side. (I live with two boys; inevitably, some household items meet with unsavory fates.) It was still somewhat usable left-handed. Though I can’t recommend this method, it got the job done. I know what I’m shopping for this weekend.

Broken Vegetable Peeler

SCD Banana Bread

At the beginning of the week I had a craving for baked goods and a pair of bananas browning on my countertop, so I decided to give SCD banana bread a whirl. I followed this recipe from Comfy Belly, subbing chopped pecans for walnuts. It was fabulous.

SCD Banana Bread

I love how shiny and golden the top became. Because it was made with a blend of coconut flour and almond flour, it didn’t have that traditional denseness that almond flour baked goods get, and it stayed moist. I actually under-cooked it a bit, since almond flour tends to brown up faster than wheat flour and I didn’t want my edges getting burnt. Next time I might try reducing the oven temperature to 325 and letting it go longer. The sweet bananas and crunchy pecans balanced each other beautifully. I’m already craving another loaf!