(f)riday food find

18 01 2013

I’ve decided to make Friday a day I share some of the primal/paleo foods I’ve stumbled upon over the last couple of years. I’m an avid label reader and usually end up putting a product right back on the shelf in the store because the ingredient list quickly reveals an unhealthy oil, a soy product, a grain/gluten, or some other offender.  The finds are rare because there just aren’t many prepared products that are “real” food  so those finds are definitely meant to be shared.  Here’s the first:

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Sable and Rosenfeld’s Spicy Olive Bruschetta.

This stuff is outrageously good and is kick in the pants spicy.  They do make a less spicy version as well.  The ingredients are: black olives, jalapeno peppers, extra virgin olive oil, pimento peppers, green olives, capers, carrots, cauliflower, oregeno, pepper, salt, garlic, thyme, parsley.  No weird preservatives or cheap oils, just real food.

I’ve used it on just about any kind of meat, in a roast beef roll-up with cucumber match sticks, on eggs any way, in a salad dressing, on a salad – just about anywhere you want some spicy savoriness (I hope that isn’t a made up word!).

I find it at Earth Fare around here.  If you can’t find it, check out their website.

If you give it a go, I’d love to hear how you use it!





(f)ood – Paleo Pen Pal

13 01 2013

For my first Paleo Pen Pal, I was paired with Liz; a lovely lady from Tennessee.  She participated in Paleo Pen Pals last month and created this yummy recipe from the dried mushrooms she received.

I anxiously awaited the mystery ingredient from Tennessee and happily found this in my mailbox!

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That’s right – hickory smoked country BACON!  I mean who doesn’t love bacon, but country smoked bacon is in a class of its own!  Now for the paleo purists, I know the label states “sugar” as one of its ingredients, but even Robb Wolf says not to worry about the small amount of sugar in bacon and sausage.

Because bacon is a weekly staple in my house, I wanted to stretch my thinking a bit beyond the typical bacon and eggs or vegetable wrapped in bacon.  So, I’ve come up with four different recipes to try with this beautiful bacon based on what I had already purchased at the market this week.  These are all new recipes to me, so let’s see how it goes! Here’s the first:

At Soda City, our all local market, I spied this enormous Savoy cabbage and just couldn’t resist buying it, but had no ideas on how it would be used.

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I found several different ideas for braising cabbage and decided to go with these ingredients

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Then I remembered I had these beauties from the market and decided to add them in as well

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Country Smoked Bacon with Braised Savoy Cabbage

4 slices Country Smoked Bacon!

1/2 large head Savoy cabbage thinly sliced

1 medium onion diced

2 large cloves garlic finely diced

2 carrots julienned

3/4 cup chicken broth (I used homemade bone broth)

1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste – I used a little more because I like the heat)

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

*I did not add salt at all because the smoked bacon tends to be salty enough on its own but you can certainly add salt if needed

While I began cooking the bacon on medium heat in my trusty iron skillet passed down from my husband’s grandmother,

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I sliced the cabbage thinly, diced the onion and garlic,

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and using my julienne peeler, made perfect little slices of the carrots.

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When the bacon was crispy, I removed it from the pan (leaving the fat) and tossed in the onion, garlic, and carrots to saute for about 4 minutes.

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I added the cabbage and bone broth, gave it a quick stir and let it happily braise away until the most of the liquid was gone and the cabbage was tender, but still had a bite.

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I added the bacon, which I’d crumbled, back to the pan and couldn’t wait to dig in!

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I had to eat a bowl full right away!  The smoky, salty bacon was the perfect star.  The veggies wore the subtle taste of the bacon, but biting into one of the crunchy bits was wonderful!  I had another serving for dinner with leftover crispy carnitas and finished it off this morning with a sunny side up egg for breakfast.  This recipe is a keeper for me.  Thanks, Liz, for the inspiration and the wonderful ingredient!

Stay tuned for more recipes to come…





(f)ood

12 01 2013

74374_10151164748326160_1713085649_nMost of you who know me well are quite aware that I eat differently than most people – by choice.  In early 2011, I began following a primal/paleo way of eating which has truly evolved into a way of life for me.  My brother first introduced me to this “radical” way of eating several years ago after he had lost weight and seen his cholesterol and blood pressure drop significantly.  It is radical because it eliminates ALL grains, all processed foods, sugar, beans and legumes, most dairy, and limits fruit.  I can hear  you thinking – “It’s just another one of those low carb diets that includes lots of meat and nothing else”.  Well,  no.  I do strive to stay around 50-60 carbs per day, but I eat more vegetables than I ever have including mainly local organic greens of every kind, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, many kinds of squash, sweet potatoes, and more!  I enjoy grass fed organic beef, pastured chicken and pork, eggs from local, pastured chickens that have these incredible orange yolks, healthy fats from coconuts, avocados, and olives, and homemade bone broths that are rich in minerals and all the good things that make our tummies happy.  I also enjoy my home-crafted fermented creations of kefir (from whole, raw milk), kombucha, salsa, and sauerkraut.

The result – I feel great, save for that nagging achilles tendonitis-my cholesterol is wonderful, my blood pressure is low, my weight has stabilized (though I sure would like to still drop 20 pounds!) and my gastric reflux that had been treated with a prescription purple pill for 15 years is …GONE!

I rarely get into any science or argue with naysayers.  I’m not out to evangalize anyone into eating this way.  I know it works for me, my body is very happy, and there is a plethora of research to support it.  I eat a wonderful variety of real food and have truly never craved bread, pasta, cake, etc.  Two years in and I believe I will eat this way for the rest of my life.

IF you’re interested in reading more, I’ll point you to where I started.  Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.  He has a book, but you can learn most everything you need to know from his website www.marksdailyapple.com.

Also, living in Columbia, we are fortunate to have great sources for very clean food.  Most of these are available at the Saturday all local market on Main Street.  14 Carrot in Lexington is awesome and I love supporting a local small business (bonus: on Thursdays and Sundays from 1-5, all their produce is 30% off). Rosewood Market is also locally owned.  We now have Whole Foods in addition to Earth Fare and we’ll soon have Trader Joe’s!  There are quite a few CSA farms where you can pay for a weekly share.

I recently joined a Paleo Pen Pal group.  Every month the members are paired with other members for a primal/paleo ingredient swap by mail.  A recipe is to be created and prepared with the mystery ingredient and then shared.  I’ve just received my first ingredient and I sent my ingredients to my Pen Pal last week.  Be watching for our posts : )

I will share more about Mark Sisson’s blueprint for primal living, but for now, I’ll leave you with his 10 Primal Laws:

Primal Blueprint Law #1: Eat Lots of Plants and Animals

Primal Blueprint Law #2: Avoid Poisonous Things (what would be considered poisonous may surprise you!)

Primal Blueprint Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace

Primal Blueprint Law #4: Lift Heavy Things

Primal Blueprint Law #5: Sprint Once in a While

Primal Blueprint Law #6: Get Adequate Sleep

Primal Blueprint Law #7: Play

Primal Blueprint Law #8: Get Adequate Sunlight

Primal Blueprint Law #9: Avoid Stupid Mistakes

Primal Blueprint Law #10: Use Your Brain





(f)aith in practice

23 10 2012

I am awed, inspired, and drawn into true worship of our creator by the music of Gungor.  Clearly facebook knows this fact about me as on a day last March, one of those annoying side ads simply stated, “If you like Gungor then you may like JennyandTyler“.  Got me – the one and only time I’ve clicked on one of those ads.  I’m glad I did because I did like Jenny and Tyler.  So much so that I looked to see where they would be playing and found that they would be on the campus of USC the following week.  The concert was being hosted by a student group bringing awareness to three ministries in which students were involved.

I couldn’t find anyone interested in going to the concert with me, so uncharacteristically, I went by myself.  Prior to the concert, I was drawn to a table where a beautiful young lady was enthusiastically sharing her dream of empowering Zambian widows to support themselves and their families by learning sewing skills and financial accountability.  I went on to find out that this college senior had founded Clothed in Hope and planned to return to Zambia in July.  During the concert, she shared this short video

The concert was amazing and as I left I called my friend Debbie and talked endlessly about the beauty of the music and the young lady, Amy Woodell.

Since that evening, I’ve had the joy of sharing a meal with Amy and hearing her story.  I somewhat expected to hear the usual Sunday School story, but what I heard was a story of real life, grace, redemption and hope.  I love how our younger generation just doesn’t play games.  There is something so appealing about authenticity.

I purchased a sewing machine for the Clothed in Hope group to honor my Mom and watched as Amy did go back to Zambia.  I’ve followed the stories of the women as they’ve grown from unsure to confident.  Their hope is contagious and these women who have so little now joyfully and generously give their time, supplies, and newly learned skills to train women who have less than them in a remote village.

Yesterday, I received a package in the mail.  Inside were bracelets, lovingly and skillfully made by the women of Clothed in Hope.  There was something so powerful and humbling about holding in my hand the fruit of what had been the dream of a 22 year old just months before. Hope and love.

I wish I could craft an eloquent word picture of this beautiful story, but thankfully, Amy has done that for us.  Take some time – read every blog entry here . You will be glad you did.  It’s so easy to become cynical and weary in the world of American Christianity.  Thank you Jesus for using Amy and the precious ladies from Clothed in Hope to refresh my soul.

PS – I went to a Gungor concert and small group Q & A with Michael Gungor this summer.  If you ever have the opportunity to go – GO!  It’s not your typical Christian concert.  Talk about a breath of fresh air!

PSS – We were honored to host Jenny and Tyler at our home for a house show in August.  What a special night and I’d do it again tomorrow.





(f)amily fun

23 09 2012

Once the nest is empty, it’s rare to have all the offspring back in our home at the same time.  In September, not only did we get everyone here at the same time, but for a period of about 4 hours, it was just our family of 5 – something that hasn’t happened in years.  We didn’t plan it, and only when we were all together sitting on the couch did we realize it.  I immediately grabbed my phone for a photo.  Nothing has changed.  Getting a normal picture of my three is slightly impossible when Ryan is one of those.  Oh, how I love that boy! Rodney is obviously no help getting them to get it together for a photo.  In fact, I believe he’s an enabler! : )

It was the weekend of our house show with Jenny&Tyler so our home had been arranged for a show with a “stage”.  Katie and Clair decided to give it a test run.  This is only one of the reasons I love my girls so much!





(f)air

20 09 2012

That’s not fair!

If you’re a parent, you’ve heard those words and probably in a voice filled with indignation and quite possibly belonging to a three-year-old or a fifteen-year-old.  In the world of education that phrase is said more than it should be; by students, by parents, by teachers.

What is fair?

According to someone higher than my pay grade who has earned my great respect:

Fair comes in October – it has elephant ears

I really laughed out loud when I read that yesterday and smiled to myself at the wisdom.  In life, fairness all depends on your perspective and is highly subjective, so I’ll go with what my boss says and check out the elephant ears!





(f)ifty is the new thirty

19 09 2012

I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age.  I made you, and I will care for you.    I will carry you along and save you.          Isaiah 46:4

I was thinking today about that TV show Thirty Something.  Some of you may remember it.  I was actually twenty something when it aired and would imagine what it would be like to be in my thirties.  I laughed when I thought of that.  What happened to my thirties – and my forties while I’m thinking about it?  Doesn’t matter now because apparently 50 is the new 30 since so many baby boomers are now 50 and beyond.  I’ll go with that!

In my blog absence, I turned fifty; the big 5-0.  And it didn’t bother me.  Really, it didn’t and I felt strangely proud to say I was 50.  Just so I could remember my big birthday weekend, I did this

and this

Team Sworth beasted the USMC Mud Run.  Okay beasted may be a stretch and I did end up with a black eye for my efforts, but it was an incredible experience with my three children. (Thanks Ryan for getting me over all those logs!) I can’t imagine spending a milestone birthday doing anything better.  And I’ll never do it again.  Mud Run = one and done!

I also went skydiving.  Yes, for those of you who will ask, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 14,000 feet and had the ride of my life.  And I will totally do it again – in just a few weeks, actually.  I had fun watching this video again and reliving my experience.  All you have to do is enter your zipcode and come along for the ride!

Skydive Carolina Video.

Would you believe me if I told you I had never really taken risks until I was in my forties?  It’s so true.  Don’t wait that long if you’re younger than me.  What are you waiting for if you’re older than me? Take some risks.  Step big outside your comfort zone.  It’s frightening and exhilirating and it grows you.

I’ll be fifty-one soon.  Can’t wait to see what’s next!