Meat Lovers: Jerky Snob

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In my pursuit of really cool monthly subscription services (and low-carb snacks) I stumbled upon Jerky Snob. A monthly service that sends you, or someone you really love, a box of amazing, artisanal jerky. This month’s box had 2 flavors from each: Lawless Jerky out of Phoenix and Mikey’s Jerky from Chicago.

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I thought it’d be fun to sample the different flavors on fancy plates, because I’m classy. I believe that the hands down winner was the Honey Chipotle by Lawless, but all 4 flavors really were winners in my book. Lawless prides itself on 100% grass-fed, dry-aged beef and the ingredients read like a sonnet to those of us who avoid corn syrup and Frankenstein-esque chemicals like the plague. (You’ll be be pleased to know that all of the brands that Jerky Snob partners up with pride themselves on having no MSG, no nitrates, and no HFCS.)
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I’m also now a huge fan of Mikey’s Original flavored jerky, and its perfect amount of kick. In fact, I’ve been working my way through the bag all morning. (I can’t put that one down!) If you’re low-carb, Paleo-ish, health-minded, or just want a surprise bag of amazing snacks at work: get this box. Get 20% off your first box with the code: AMBER

What’s In the Box: Plated

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Plated is a delivery service that sends the freshest ingredients to your door so that you can make dinners like a boss. They include just about everything you need from the stars of the entree, straight down to the oils and small packets of butter you’ll want to have to enhance the flavor.

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We decided to try their initial offer, and ordered 3 meals: Thai peanut chicken, portobello burgers, and pollack with fennel and blood orange.

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When you open up the box, it looks a little something like that (above). Even though we’re in Texas, the food was still cold by the time I got it, and the freshness of the herbs was still intact.

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I must admit that the pollack dish, which even contained green olives, was one of my absolute faves. It did need some additional salt, but what doesn’t?

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Plated has certainly made the past 3 nights interesting for me, and it was a lot of fun to watch my partner go all Chef Emeril in the kitchen. Think of it like having a romantic dinner prepared by you/for you every night, and you get all the fun of cooking it. It helped us to break out of our routine ‘go to meals,’ and we really enjoyed the process.

Do We Need Needles?

Stephen_AI’ve known Stephen Andrews of Morning Sun Acupuncture for years, and I’ve always considered him to be a kind, thoughtful, and incredibly down to earth person. He comes across as calm and balanced, whereas generally when people meet me (and I’m quoting a certain local weatherman here) I’m “like a hyperactive squirrel darting around” and it’s obvious that my mind is always racing. After a really bad week, Stephen offered to stab me with his magic sticks give me my first acupuncture session. I was a little skeptical, but I came out a firm believer. (Sorry for the magic sticks joke, I can’t help myself!)

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I was a little nervous, and thought that I might feel pain. Rest assured, there was absolutely no pain, not even for the needles that went into my scalp. Also, I didn’t even realize he was inserting them. He had this calm, effortless, and conversational way of nonchalantly applying them unbeknownst to me. He took great care to address my goals, and concerns: I was looking to lose weight, and also to deal with some rather powerful anxiety.

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The room was warm, comforting, and perfectly zen. In all of my constant worry, I was able to let loose, and he gave me a lot of great advice to help unify my mind and body in reaching my goals. Did I mention that he’s smart? He’s incredibly smart, and seemed totally dedicated to making sure I got what I needed, and had the tools needed to try some exercises at home to help with my constant, needless worry. At the end of it all, it felt like I’d just left either a yoga session or perhaps a really good massage. If you’re on the fence about acupuncture, allow me to tip you in the direction of it. I’m certainly going back for more.

Low-Carb Pizza Crust

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I know being low-carb isn’t always easy, and there are some vices, such as pizza, that people really miss. Sometimes I sauté a bunch of vegetables and cheese in a pan, then pretend it’s pizza without the bread. It does the job for me, but I got really curious when I heard that you could make a crust out of straight up cauliflower (one of my favorite veggies).

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With my new food processor, I decided to embark on this cauliflower pizza crust journey, and I would definitely say that the results are pretty great, though not necessarily something I would say is ‘exactly like pizza crust!!!’ but still pretty dang tasty.

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To make it: grate half a head of cauliflower using a food processor, or a hand grater (if you’re a masochist!). Using a paper towel, try to get as much moisture out of the cauliflower as possible. Otherwise, you’re going to get mush. Add 1 egg, a handful of shredded parmesan cheese, and mix together. Spread this on a lightly oiled pizza pan, and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes. Once it begins to look a bit golden, pull it out and add the toppings you desire. Bake for another 10 minutes or so, and you should have a delicious low-carb pizza! I used pesto, tomato, jalapeño, olives, mushrooms, and even the kitchen sink in mine.😉

Low-Carb Breakfast: Bell Pepper Eggs

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There are some dishes that look prettier than they taste. For example: eggs baked in avocado. I don’t care what food blogger told you that it was ‘amazing,’ they are are filthy liars and shouldn’t be trusted. (Also, sorry about that time I Instagram’ed that exact dish and pretended it was amazing.) Bell pepper eggs are not like that. They actually taste as good as they look! Promise.

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I’ve tried it twice, and found the best method to be cutting the bell pepper in half, and using both halves as egg-holders. It does take some de-seeding, but it’s nothing major. Even a novice can tackle this dish.

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Pre-heat the oven to 350, and drop your eggs in those bell pepper cups. You’ll want to add salt and pepper, or even herbs! I added a handful of mozzarella to mine, but to make it Paleo, you can omit this.

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The baking time is closer to ~40 minutes (depending on how ‘done’ you want your eggs), but it’s worth it for the char you will eventually get on the pepper. This dish is absolutely delicious, and a fantastic way to get your veggies and protein in. I threw in some de-seeded jalapeños with cheese on my last bake, and everything came out cooked to perfection. Wait for the egg to look done, and the cheese to begin to brown, and you’ll know it’s ready.

Lucky’s Puccias Opens Brick & Mortar

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Lucky’s Puccias, that locally famous wood-fired Italian sandwich truck, has now moved up the street, and into their own at their first brick and mortar.

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My partner has been a fan of theirs for a while, and even donated to the kickstarter they launched to help them get the restaurant going! That’s dedication, and should tell you just how delicious their hot, crisp bread is; there’s nothing else in town like it.

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With delicious pizzas, bountiful salads, wine, and even gelato from Dolce Neve, this place is ideal for a decadent lunch, or casual dinner just outside of the hustle and bustle downtown.

Lamb Jam Coming to Austin (And I’m Giving Away 2 Tickets!)

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You may have caught our love of lamb meat in my Christmas recipe post, so imagine the excitement my British partner and I had when we found out that there was a festival dedicated to celebrating his favorite, healthy protein!

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The American Lamb Jam promises tastings from 16 of Austin’s best and brightest chefs, along with some of Texas’ finest wine and beer. Here’s the star-studded list of the amazing chefs you’ll get to taste from:

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It’s all happening on Sunday, February 22nd from 3-6 at the beautiful Barr Mansion. You can purchase tickets here, OR enter for your chance to win 2 tickets from me! How? Simple! Follow me, and @FanOfLAmb, and tweet which chef or restaurant you’re most excited about sampling dishes from with the hashtag: #atxlamb. You can enter more than once, and I’ll choose a winner at random to be announced on Tuesday! May the odds be ever in your favor! 

Offbeat Omelet: Sun Dried Tomato & Pesto

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Recently, I bought a jar of olive oil soaked sun dried tomatoes, and small jar of pesto. The purchase wasn’t intended for an omelet, but this morning I got the wild idea that maybe it should be.

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It began as omelets typically do: I whisked 2 eggs together with a fork in a glass prior to starting. I know Gordon Ramsay once said on a show, “You should whisk the eggs while they’re in the pan,” but that just doesn’t work out for me.

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In case you’re wondering what brands of pesto and tomatoes I used, these photos are available, and in black and white because the lighting on them was CRAP.

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I didn’t only use the jarred items though, I also added onions and cheese. The result? My boyfriend says he wants to eat this every day, and I completely agree. As we ate, Giada came on TV, and I think ol’ tooth-grin would agree.

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Omelet (Ingredients based on 1):

  • 2 eggs
  • 1T pesto
  • 2-3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2T chopped onion
  • 1 small handful of sprinkly white cheese (I used this weird, Mexican off brand cheese, so I really think you go can go with whatever.)

Put a small amount of oil in a non-stick skillet, and turn the heat on Medium. Add the chopped onions, and then the tomatoes, once the onions are translucent. Whisk 2 eggs in whatever container, and pour into pan. Watch it closely, as this will cook quickly. Add your pesto in small dollops to spread the flavor, and your handful of cheese. Once it looks *almost done* lift one half of the omelet to fold over on the other side. Remove when it looks golden-perfect.

An English Christmas In Austin

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Have you ever roasted a leg of lamb, popped a Christmas cracker, or even made roasties? (Are you wondering, in Gollum’s voice: “What are ‘roasties’ precious?”) If the answer is: Yes, to any of these questions, then this is the post for you!

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I damn near lost my mind when my British boyfriend decided to leave me, the ex-vegan, a @#%@ing leg of lamb, and told me to cook it for our Christmas party last night. Are you kidding me?! I am not a lamb-eater, and I don’t know if I’m eating the hand of the puppeteer from Lamb Chop, or god-knows-what, and I certainly don’t know how to cook it! Needless to say, I texted him in a panic. (Don’t fret, Dear Reader, because I will tell you how to cook a 4.5 lb. boneless leg of lamb in this post.) I was kind of stuck with All British ingredients, and very little knowledge of how to cook them, despite my stint living there which has absolutely nothing to do with this in any way.

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Now, the vegetables I could handle. (Okay, okay, Dear Reader, I’m becoming that Asshole Blogger that I hate so much when I’m trying to Google a recipe, and they bore me to death with the details.)

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The roasties, however made me a bit scared. There’s a trick to them. (Look at me being a tricksy blogger.)

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Which, luckily, I learned. (So tricksy.)

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Here’s a shot of it: The Beast that had me running scared. (F- it. I said I’d teach you lamb, you endure my photos of said lamb.)

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And,of course, we did some store-bought British stuff. (Can Walker’s just sponsor me already?)

IMG_1541Okay, fine. I’ll give the goods:

Leg of Lamb (Assuming Yours is ~5 Lbs.)

  • Remove the bone. Don’t ask why. My boyfriend did, so I don’t know?
  • Rub it with olive oil (I’m not Ina, I’m not saying use ‘good’ olive oil)
  • Stab it a bunch and put garlic cloves in the holes (more than 6)
  • Cover it in rosemary (In the words of Annie Ray: MORE!)
  • Add some water to the bottom, not a lot, like a splash you’d do in a glass of vodka.

The oven will be set for 375, and you’ll want to watch this. It may take 3 hours, just keep track of the internal temp on a meat thermometer (I totally didn’t). It should be 140-160, but my boyfriend came home to a happy 180, and it was still okay. Again, it takes about 3 hours or so, so don’t start this thing at the last minute.

Oh, the roasties (super delicious British delicacy that is not the same as roasted potatoes):

I shoved them in the oven when I figured the lamb had about an hour to go. (I did those roasted vegetables earlier, because I figured people wouldn’t notice the temperature as much – in case you’re wondering, about 30-45 minutes with balsamic and olive oil.)

  • Par-boil some peeled Russet potatoes
  • Shake them vigorously in a bowl (or strainer) – it’s necessary because it gives them a floury exterior: IMPORTANT
  • Drizzle, LOL JK, DOUSE! them with oil of choosing
  • Bake for about an hour

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I hope you enjoyed the recipes, and I hope you have a great year full of empathy, and forgiveness. Why do I mention that? Why not??