Spam Mi

I give you, the Spam Bahn Mi!


That’s right, Spam Mi! I want to set the record straight here, I invented this bad boy.
I love spam, I wish more people would admit to liking it. It’s a better product then most people realize, pretty much pork shoulder, ham, spices, and salt. Spam is rich, fatty, salty,  and delicious; but is has a reputation.
But that’s another post.
This is a sandwich. Oh god, it’s a sandwich.
I love Bahn Mi, the mixing of eastern flavors and herbs with western bread. Damn.
A good, crusty baguette is a must. Don’t cheap out on the bread. I used liver pate as the base, some people are put off by this, but not me. I learned to appreciate pate when I started eating Paleo. I know, I know, Bahn Mi aren’t exactly Paleo, so sue me. I eat Paleo before dinner, when I eat like a French Peasant. Baguette and pate, yeah, that counts for French Peasant.
The fillers are important to. Cucumber and jalapeno slices, pickled carrot and daikon, mint and basil and cilantro and green onion. Each carefully chosen to offer a balance odd flavors, to compliment or cut the richness of the meat. Traditional Bahn Mi use rich meats, cold cuts or short ribs. And Spam is so very rich, like a lovely little white trash tourine. So why not?
I like my spam crispy, but I needed a more eastern flavor. I went with musubi, seared then simmered and glazed in sugar and soy sauce. Gawd Damn.
This isn’t a recipe post, the internet is full of Bahn Mi recipes, so I won’t bother with instructions on how to quick pickle carrots and daikon or why you should slice the jalapeno the long way. No, I’m hoping to convince just a few of you that Spam belongs on a Bahn Mi.
So, I don’t know if I’m really the inventor of the Spam Bahn Mi, but I’ve googled it and- damn I’m not. And given the food culture of innovation, I not surprised. But I’m very proud of this sandwich, and so I wanted to share. So maybe Spam Bao?

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First Date

Bonus: Incredibly Easy (and incidentally Paleo) Energy Bars

More like my second date.

Sweet, tender, and unforgettable. I am speaking, of course, of a dried and pitted date. Not a woman, I have another blog for that, this one is about food.

Back when I was just a wee lad, five or six, my grandparents used to have dates set out for special occasions like the holidays. Like most people who came out of the depression, dried exotic fruit like dates were a delicacy most of us younger folks just didn’t appreciate. I remember trying one. For some reason I didn’t like it, but ever couple of years I would think back on that memory, and the tender, chewy, caramelly date and wonder…

And then this year I start eating better. I mean really, REALLY eating better. Spurred by digging into nutrition and how our bodies metabolize energy and nutrients, I have completely re-booted how I cook and eat. While looking around for sources of fiber, iron, potassium and magnesium, I came across a mention of a few dried fruits I’d not thought of before. Dates stood out to me for some reason, and suddenly I recalled that first date of my childhood with renewed clarity. It was tender and moist and sweet and reminded me of caramel.  I was a stubborn little shit and had decided ahead of time that my grandfather’s weird dried fruit was NOT going to taste good, so it didn’t.

Except it did.

Really, really good.

I pocked about the local grocery store, and found there is a rather wide variety of dates available, ranging in price from a couple bucks for an 8 oz bag to ohmygawdpeoplereallypaythatmuchfororganicgourmetdates?

I picked up the cheap little bag of dried and pitted dates over by the raisins. On the way home, curious, I tried one.

It was good.

Really, really good.

I ate four more before I got home. An entire serving, and as I was tracking calories, I had to limit myself to those 5 delicious dates. It wasn’t easy. Over the next couple days I kept reaching for more. There was just something about that tender, caramelly date that sated my sweet craving like nothing else. I’ve been noshing on my dates almost daily ever since, having found them reasonably priced in the bulk bins at more than one retailer.

I’ve also been experimenting with a number of different recipes involving dates, including a Paleo Salted Caremel Turtle-which recipe I won’t share here, as this is a food blog not an elitist Paleo-Will-Save-The-Planet blog. There’s also the less than family friendly story of my fiend eating half the batch of Paleo caramels, and the resulting intestinal distress that led to an in depth discussion on how her tiny Gut Monsters have cravings, and how if you overfeed them certain foods they go on rampages of destruction….

I will, however, share my Incredibly Easy (and incidentally Paleo) Energy Bars, but only because they are SO easy and SO delicious.

Are you ready?

Ok, here you go.

1 cup dried and pitted dates, 1 cup nuts(your choice), 1 cup other dried fruit(your choice). Mix in a food processor until fully blended and smooth-you won’t see any pieces of nuts. Poor onto a sheet of parchment paper, press flat, chill cut.

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Baby Dutch Baby

Or, Individual Dutch Baby.

A Dutch Baby, sometimes called s German pancake, or Dutch Puff, is a sweet popover served for breakfast. Made with eggs, flour, and milk, and often seasoned with vanilla or cinnamon. Served with fresh squeezed lemon, butter,  powdered sugar, or even fruit toppings. A basic batter incorporates 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup milk for each egg. It is baked in a cast iron pan, and falls soon after being removed from the oven.

And I absolutely love them.

Sadly, no one else in the house enjoys the custardy deliciousness as I do. And so I am left making single-serving Dutch Babies.

Now, you should know by now that I adore my cast iron pans. I have a dozen, easily. And two of my favorite are these little, 4 and 5″ skillets perfect for frying a single egg, or a single serving of Dutch Baby.

The recipe is very simple. Preheat oven to 425, with your cute little cast iron pan- ok, fine, with your 12″ cast iron skillet- set inside. Get down your blender, and add one egg, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 cup flour, and a pinch of salt-or 4 eggs, 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, and a dash of salt. Blend the crap out of it for 30 seconds. Pull out your pan, and drop in a tsp of butter(or a Tbs for those of you lucky enough to have family members who will enjoy this delicious treat with you). Melt the butter, pour in the batter, and pop that bad baby in the oven for 15 minutes(20 to 25 for the full recipe). Pull her out, admire your awesome handywork, dust with powdered sugar, squeeze a little lemon over it, and that’s it!




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How Turning 40 Has Saved My Life. Also, Paleo and Eating Like a French Peasant

I turned 40 recently.

And you know what? I’m liking it. I’ve been making a lot of changes the last year, and they are starting to come to a head. About a year ago I was diagnosed with low testosterone, and after a year of testosterone therapy, I’m really feeling so much better. I started running, and more recently have completely re-booted how I eat. I wont go into details on the testosterone, as this is more of a food blog and my intimate life is none of your business(I have another blog for that), but I will say that one sign of low T is weight gain around the middle, which I have. Well, had.

When at my heaviest, at the beach at Bear Lake, Idaho, I notice I had quite the tummy on me. I was 39, less than a year from turning 40, and I realized I wasn’t sure if I could run a mile.

I decided to change that.

At first I couldn’t run a full mile, but after about 9 months of running, I regularly do 3.1 miles(that’s a 5k), and am working my up to 6.2(a 10k!). I’m up to 5 miles on my longer runs. And it feels good!

But this is a food blog, not a fitness one. Though there are places where food(and intimacy) intersect.

Food. I have completely rebooted how I eat. At the start of the year I realized running 3 miles 3 times a week wasn’t quite cutting it with weight loss. So I started counting calories. And oh my that sucked. I went over every single day, I was constantly hungry. I failed miserably. So I started looking around for alternatives, and found Intermittent Fasting, which led me to the Paleolithic Diet.

Intermittent Fasting, without going into details, worked wonders for me as it taught me the difference between being physically hungry, and mentally hungry. Researching it taught me all kinds of useful and fascinating information on how the body processes energy, which helps me make better decisions about what, and how and why and when, I eat.

And then there’s Paleo.

Now, I love my pastas and breads, and I refuse to give them up. Paleo has some excellent points, but like many things can get a bit ideological. All things in moderation, I say, especially moderation. For the most part what I settled on was Paleo Before Dinner. I would avoid all carbs for most of the day-Intermittent Fasting just wasn’t feasible with the exercise routine I developed, I needed protein, so I keep my self in Ketosis for about 20 hours each day.

But all that research on nutrition and health and foods, has changed how I cook. I’ve always been a fan of minimally processed foods, I cook from scratch all the time. But now I’m on a whole new level of cooking from scratch. And yes, there are plenty of carbs, they just don’t feature as the main dish. Well, sometimes there’s Pasta Fresca with a fresh pesto, but you don’t really expect me to give up my fresh pasta, do you? And so while there is fresh baked bread, pasta fresca, etc going on, the rest of the meal is so damn wholesome and healthy I don’t feel the least bit guilty.

I’ve started cooking with the nasty bits. The cheap cuts of meat, less expensive meats, the healthier and more nutritious foods. Grass fed is expensive, but mutton or goat is half the cost of lamb. Beef Short Ribs are much, much cheaper than a Rib Eye. Sardines. Pate. Yes, I’m starting to eat organ meat, and damn it’s delicious!

Throughout history the poorest people have learned how to take the cheapest, least desirable bits and turn them into something delicious and nutritious. Take French Onion Soup, perhaps the epitome healthy and delicious peasant food. In fact, French peasants really, really knew how to pull this off better than almost anyone else.  I love eating like a French Peasant.

I’m 40 now. My testosterone is on track, I’ve lost nearly 30 lbs in the last year, I can run 3 miles without any trouble, and I feel so much better in every way I can measure. I’m in better shape at 40 than I was at 39, and I expect to be in even better shape at 41.

Also, I get to eat like this:

Roast Bone Marrow with Roast Garlic, Homemade Pesto, Grilled Flat Bread; and a Braised Short Rib Pizza with Caramelized Onions, and Smoked Gouda; cold Mexican Coca Cola, 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, and of course, a lovely fire.




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On Apples and Cupcakes

I’m not going to go off on some rant about the evils of refined sugar, how it destroys our brains and our bodies, how we all need to eat a diet of natural, organic, whole foods. Most of us can’t afford that lifestyle. Instead, I’m going to tell a little story.

A few years ago at a local grocery store I noticed two chubby little kids tagging along behind their massively obese mother. The fat little boy saw some shiny red apples, and asked his mother if they could please have some apples? She looked at the price, and said they were too expensive. I was shocked, when your over weight kids ask for apples, you don’t say no!

So I wandered over to check the price, and Red Delicious were $2.49 lb. That’s a lot for apples, when the Fuji were $1.99 and the Jonagolds were on sale for $1.49. Still, rather than say no, you say ‘how about these green apples? They look good, and they’re on sale!’ But she didn’t.

Later on, at the other end of the store I saw the same family looking at the Hostess display, where the Cupcakes were 2/$5. The mom exclaimed how that was such a good price, and loaded up 2 boxes of 8 count cupcakes.

Oh my effing gawd. One whole pound of Apples for the same price as one 12 oz  box of cupcakes, and she loads up.

This, this right here is why we have an obesity epidemic.

It’s not about finding foods made without refined sugar, it’s not about eating local or only organic; it’s about little choices we make, like Apples vs Cupcakes.

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Elitist Blogging to Save The World

Look, if you assume I’m paying $5 for a coffee every morning, than your advice on how to trim my budget is *expletive* worthless.

I am sick of seeing all these blogs and articles about how to save money, by giving up your daily latte and brewing your coffee at home. I already do that. And we cancelled our cable service in favor of Netflix and a Roku. We don’t buy any packaged meals, we buy rice and flour and potatoes and beans and spices, and make everything from scratch. I can’t downsize from my status-symbol car to a more efficient one, as I already drive a beat up old pickup that’s paid for and still gets great mileage. I mow my own lawn. So, how about you shut up already, or give me some budget trimming advice that isn’t meant for someone making over $100,000 a year.

There is a trend the last few years, articles and blogs telling the well-to-do how to save the world, from living green to eating healthier. And it’s nothing more than elitist snobbery.

One article I found was about a family that eliminated all garbage. The total non-recyclable garbage output from this family could fit into a small grocery bag. This required daily trips to the store for fresh produce and meat, expensive reusable containers, making her own detergent, etc. When I seriously looked into this kind of lifestyle, I quickly saw that not only was it not financially feasible for us, but it would require almost full time commitment. IE, I would not be able to have a job.

Yeah, that’s gonna work for us blue collar families. Though I’m glad you have the time and resources to live like that.

And then there’s that homesteading rancher mommy, with more land an money than anyone one person needs. Hell, she has ranch hands! I have two daughters who hate weeding! I have 0.14 acres, and on there I have a garden, chickens and bees. The pioneer lady has 1500 acres. Yeah, her advice on self sufficiency is gonna help me.

What really got me angry though, was an article on giving up sugar for an entire year.

I’ve been looking lately at reducing the amount of sugar in our diets, and so I was at first intrigued. This woman wanted to eliminate ALL refined sugar from her family’s diet. Admirable. She spoke about how even tortillas contain refined sugar. And so on my next shopping trip, I checked the labels on everything, and sure enough tortillas and spaghetti sauce contain large amounts of refined sugar. And then I looked at prices, and what it would cost to buy the trendy organic products without refined sugar.

My grocery costs would more than double.

Tortillas, the ones I buy-and yes, I know I should make my own-cost $2 for a pack of 12. The only ones without refined sugar, were $5 for a pack of 5. Spaghetti sauce? I keep a few cans of the $1.o5 stuff around for nights when I just don’t feel like making it from scratch. I started looking for sauce without sugar. $4 a can? Nope, sugar. $6 a jar? Nope, sugar. It wasn’t until I looked at the $8 a jar sauce that I found one without refined sugar.

Look lady, I’m happy you make so much money you can spend $300 a week on groceries, but for my little family, we barely spend that in a mont, for a family of 4. And our pets.

These types of articles are of no help to most of us, they are nothing more than things to collect on Pinterest. So good for you, I’m glad you can show off how ‘green’ you are. But try doing it on less than $40k a year like we do, then I’ll be impressed. And then blog about it.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Budget for the budget strapped, urban homesteading for those on less than 1/4 acre, healthy cooking that won’t break the bank or take the entire day.

I’ll even give you the best tip I’ve found so far, right now, for free. Cook from scratch.


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Recipe: Mulligatawny Soup

Most of the time when I ask my lovely wife what she wants for dinner, she tells me ‘food’. She just wants something delicious and is happy she does not have to cook. But the other day, while thinking about eating healthy, she decided she wanted Mulligatawny Soup. It’s a rare thing for her to request something, and so I was happy to oblige. This is my friend Sara’s recipe, I must give her credit.



  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 ½ cup carrots, diced
  • 1 ½ cup celery stalks, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp curry powder
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 cup cooked diced chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cream, hot


In a large stockpot, over medium to low heat, add the onions, carrots, celery stalks and butter. Cook until tender, but do not burn them. Stir in the flour and curry, to coat the vegetable mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and water and let simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. The soup will reduce and thicken in this time. Then add in the remaining ingredients, except the hot cream. Let simmer for 15 minutes and then add in 1 cup hot cream. Stir and serve!

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