WritersButt Wednesday Recipes!!

It’s WritersButt Wednesday AGAIN!  My, how the week flies by, oodles and oodles of water is consumed, so many minutes squatting against the wall while the toilet refills.  Ah – good times!!!

My favorite comment of the week came from the sweet and funny Myndi Shafer on Facebook: “Not to whine (liar, of course I’m whining!), but I think I have the slowest-flushing toilets on the planet. Mercy!!”

Did anyone else consider faster-flowing toilets this week?  And while we’re on the subject, there seems to be a predominant toilet theme for WritersButt?  I don’t even like toilets, well at least not cleaning them. How did this happen? Ah well … we’ll soldier on.

Recently, August McLaughlin wrote a fantastic blog about how important movement and regular exercise is for not only your body and mind, but how it positively affects your creative self.  In the blog, she writes, “A sedentary writing lifestyle leads to one thing: creative atrophy.” Wow!  I highly recommend reading her post. It mirrors what WritersButt is all about.

Today I’m going to share a couple of recipes with you.  I eat a grain-free diet.  I know, shocking, right!  But it’s delicious and has a lot of variety.  I’m not saying everyone should follow a grain-free diet but if you’d like some reasons why you might want to try it, read this article showing 10 reason to go Grain-Free.

The diet that I follow (about 90% of the time) is called the Paleo diet, or Caveman diet.  You get the idea here right?  If a caveperson couldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. This means NO processed foods. This also means, if you’re being strict, no dairy.  For the record, you can get enough fiber and calcium in your diet from a wide assortment of vegetables and fruits.  (I bet you want to know what the other 10% is that I eat which is not Paleo.  Well, it’s occasional beans, lentils, brown rice in sushi, some thin mints in girl scout cookie season, chips and salsa, and wine. We all have our vices — I have mine too!)

The healthiest diet for most people (note I did not say ALL) consists of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.  I know this sounds extremely restrictive, but it does not have to be. In fact, cropping up all over the place are websites, blogs and cookbooks about the Paleo Diet.

Someone new to this no-grain sort of eating will initially miss crunchy snacks. I have found a snack, which is a protein-rich, power food that is also very delicious. It’s kale chips.  You know, kale is that garnish this is often showcasing that big tuna sandwich on your plate at your local bistro. It kills me how much kale is probably just thrown away when it’s far healthier than that sourdough rye or ‘whole grain’ bread.

I make kale chips a lot and my kids go nuts for them.  Here’s my recipe and process.  Preheat oven to 350. Wash a bunch of fresh kale and then tear off the leafy part from the thick stem, breaking them up into ‘chip-sized’ pieces.  Spread all your chips on a cookie sheet. (I like to line my sheet with tin foil because I’m totally lazy and don’t want to wash it.) Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on chips. Don’t drench them, but don’t be entirely skimpy either.  (maybe 2-3 tablespoons –I don’t measure anything, probably why I don’t bake, I’d suck at it.) Sprinkle your kale with some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  My little extra somethin’-somethin’ is I also sprinkle minced garlic (the dried kind in the spice aisle or bulk food section) all over.  YUM!!!  Then I get my hands dirty by massaging the leaves so that they are all covered with oil and spices. (This is when I usually lick a finger or two because of the garlic and oil—seriously delish!)

It will now look like this … see all those garlic crunchies!

Then into the 350 oven for about 10-15 minutes.  WATCH them!  They will go from not done, to crispy and perfect, to burnt in a moment.  I usually take tongs and fluff them from time to time to check on them.  Once crispy and dry, remove, enjoy, and share only if you feel like it. Here’s the finished kale chips.  The pictures don’t look that different, but trust me, big difference!

One more recipe for you, that you can cook in a crock pot, is called Marvelous Meatballs from my Everyday Paleo cookbook.  Mix this up, make the meatballs, dump in crock pot and go about your day while your house smells divine and your dinner awaits you later, all done and delicious.  I modify this to meet my needs and so can you. It’s a method that can be altered to your tastes.

Ingredients I used:

2 lbs of ground turkey

1 lb of ground chicken sausage

~4 stalks of celery finely chopped

small onion finely chopped

~3 carrots, finely chopped

3 eggs

½ cup almond meal (I skipped this because I didn’t have any on hand, hence wetter meatballs)

spiced to taste: I used minced garlic, kosher salt, ground pepper, cayenne, chili powder, Italian seasoning.

Get your hands dirty and mix all ingredients and then make large meatballs, layering them in your Crockpot.

Mix up the sauce and pour it over the meatballs and cook on low all day (6-8 hours).

16 ounce can of diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)

6 ounce can of tomato paste

minced garlic, the fresh kind or one that comes in a jar — ~ 5-6 cloves worth

salt and pepper

And here is where I’m supposed to have a ‘finished product’ picture for you.  Only, and this is the truth, by the time we got to dinner, we were all so hungry and it smelled so good, we dug in and I totally forgot to take another picture.

I served the meatballs over sautéed cabbage. You could also do spaghetti squash if you wanted a spaghetti and meatball dinner.  Or, really, just dish up the meatballs and dig in. They are so good.

What’s in store for you this week?  (Picture Ginger rubbing hands together gleefully!)

***One thing before I get to your weekly challenge. Next week, I’d like to incorporate a more intense workout for those who want to step it up a bit. For this, you will need a set of dumbbells (at least 15 lbs and up to 25 lbs) This is not mandatory. I will still offer no-equipment challenges as well.

This Week:

Stay hydrated (100 ounces daily) and Grateful in your journal.

Potty Breaks: ONE-LEGGED wall squats, so same as last week, while that infernally slow tank refills (we are targeting AT LEAST 30 seconds to a minute here!) squat against the wall, only lift one leg to parallel and then switch about every 10 seconds.  Oh — FEEL THE BURN!!

Water refills: I challenge you to do a walking lunge on your way to refill your water bottle.  I KNOW you’ll be refilling it because you have to get those 100 ounces in. Lunge your way there!


Extra Workout for those who’d like one: At least one time this week (3 would be ideal!!!), schedule a time you can get outside for a brisk walk. Note: if you can, plan for this to be a jog/run.  I’d like for you to continue for 10 minutes. And about every minute, stop and give me 10 squats (just like your potty squats!), then keep going. Put on some music that inspires you, look around you, feel the environment, love the beauty, feel the cold or sun on your face, breath deep.  Feel in the presence of creative energy.  It’s there – feel it, tap into it, use it!!

Have a great week everyone.  Oh, and I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you make a healthy meal this week, post about it in the comments and share your recipe!

Rock on WritersButts!!


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on February 8, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. I plan to slap that right on my writer’s butt! Hahaha!
    Awesome recipe Ginger. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing recipes. I have tried cutting out grains before& it just doesn’t work for me. I really need the combo of whole grains & protein to feel my best. Brown rice & quinoa are my top two chioces. But I can add them to just about anything.

    • Emma, I love quinoa. And even though technically a grain, I feel it falls into a ‘gray area’ because it’s packed with protein and amino acids which, in my opinion, puts it in a power-food category.

      I really love pasta but now I don’t (or VERY rarely) have it but when I want a pasta-fix, I use the quinoa pasta and it’s absolutely delicious. In fact, I love it better than traditional pasta. Has more flavor and texture.

  3. I have a couple of friends who’ve been raving about kale chips…gonna have to give ’em a try. My body LOVES a high protein/veggie diet, and I can tell such a difference in my energy level between the days when I have a mostly protein brekkie vs. cereal/milk. The rest of the fam would freak if I totally omitted grains, though. 😉 So I’ve just gotten stricter on the kinds of grains. Nothing refined, which is tough to find, but I’m not afraid to make my own stuff – cereal and granola, etc. AND we are blessed to have a fantastic bakery nearby that grinds their own whole-wheat flour everyday – leaving the wheat-germ and kernel intact. They have an awesome whole-wheat bread with a super-short ingredient list. We’ve been slowly cutting out refined foods, and I’m finding that my cooking is getting yummier and yummier as we go along. 🙂

    • Myndi, I give my kids grains still too. Not so much for dinners, etc. but they have cereal and sandwiches for lunch. Gotta make my life manageable! You’re doing such a great thing buy choosing your grains wisely. And I look for High Fructose Corn Syrup (it’s EVERYWHERE) and will try hard to find breads and condiments without it. You are such an inspiration. TRULY! With the homeschooling, about to bring angel #4 into the fold, making your own darn soap, trying to stay active, focusing on nutrition. You are honestly setting an amazing example. Keep on, keepin’ on, girl!! Love ya!

  4. OH, and Ginger? One legged wall-squat thingies? Lunging to the the kitchen? For real, if T caught wind of what you’re making us do, he’d set up hidden cameras in our house and blackmail me with the footage. I’m already laughing with just the mental image of myself…

  5. OMG that looks great. I have turkey in the freezer. it looks like my weekend meals are done.

  6. Guess what I just bought too much of yesterday? Kale! I’m so going to make these chips. Also, meatballs are my son’s favorite and I love to use spaghetti squash as my ‘noodle’. Who knew I was being Paleo? I’m so hip I didn’t even know it.

    You’re going to love this – I’ve been making myself have 16 oz of water in between all my cups of tea and guess what? I’m not drinking more tea than water anymore! Yay me.

    Healthy meals are happening all over this week. Tonight we’re having Indian Chicken from the South Beach cookbook (Phase 1, no rice, just veggies). Tomorrow night it’s going to be turkey burgers (although I might change that to your meatballs) and Friday is a chicken sandwich thing I make with sauteed chicken and roasted red peppers. Serve with a huge garden salad and you’re good to go. I’m really trying to get back to clean eating, healthy recipes. Christmas whomped me, but I’m motivated and feeling great.

    At least, I will be until I do the one legged wall squats. I can hear Nicole (my trainer) laughing as I type this.

    • Hi Tameri. Have you made the chips yet? Let me know how it goes. I’m about ready to start experimenting with different seasonings.

      Wow—how cool is it that you’ve turn the tables on the tea/water ratio!! That is great and just made me smile so big!

      Ok, I need some recipes from you. Your meals sound great. Maybe you could post some to the WritersButt facebook page. And … clearly Nicole and I must connect! I feel like I’d love her instantly! Give her a hug and then get to your squats!

  7. Great recipes. I’m going to try the kale chips.

  8. Kale?!?! I am definitely going to check it out!! And the meatballs – OMG to die for! I can’t wait to try it. I love when people share honest-to-goodness healthy recipes. It’s so hard in this day in age to know what’s a truly healthy recipe given my kitchen-challengedness!
    Have you heard of the Pink Method? http://www.pinkmethod.com/ I’d love to get your thoughts on it. I thought for the money, it had great value given the fitness CDs and the tons of recipes if nothing else. What’s your take?!?!?!

    • Hey Natalie, I’m curious what Ginger thinks about this, but my first bit of worry is the amount of food they want you to eat. It looks like it would be about 1000 – 1100 calories each day, which is okay, but then if they have you doing the cardio/weights routine, then you’re burning a third or more of those calories and that puts in you in dangerous territory. You don’t want to go below 1000 calories. That’s after what you burn from your workout, too. I noticed they only listed breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a post workout snack. That’s a loooong time between meals and I don’t know about you, I need to refuel every few hours or I get shaky.

      As for the online support, you can get that many places for free. At mycaloriecounter.com you can input all the food you eat in a day and get a total calorie count. I think you can enter your workouts for a calorie burn total, I can’t remember if it’s that site or another one, but there are a ton of apps, websites, etc. with that kind of information.

    • Hey Natalie, my darlin’! Ok, I’ve just put pinkmethod in my notebook to check out tomorrow. I’ve never heard of it, so I’ll check it out and report back. I see that Tameri has some great input below that brings up some valid concerns that I would share. But, I won’t say anything until I actually look at it.

      Now …. have you tried the Kale? I’m challenging you. It’s really good. It’s probably like, in some urban dictionary or something as ‘uber-cool-metro-snack’. You’ll see! *hugs*

  9. We are kale chip fans here and I bet my hub would love those meatballs! Fantastic Ginger!

  10. My sister (Ginger) is an excellent cook!! I assure you, any recipe she posts, will rock your world (as long as you’re okay with not having exact measurements) 😉 I’m going to give these a go here at home. Ginger knows just how crazy that is for my hubs and kiddos! Great Post Ginger!!!

    • Is Ginger really your sister? That’s so cool!

    • Thanks, Molls. You’re always so complimentary about my cooking. Knowing Ken the way I do, I suggest you bake/broil or even stove-cook the meatballs. The crockpot balls (haha) will be too moist for him. And, give Bossy and Mischief a hug from Auntie, G. 🙂

      ((Yep, Tameri, we’re sisters and the only ones we got, so we’re totally stuck with each other to the end.))

  11. I’m making both recipes this w/e:-) thank you.

  12. “A sedentary writing lifestyle leads to one thing: creative atrophy.” It also leads to a fat out of shape body.

  13. Shannon Esposito

    I tried the paleo diet after a disasterous blood sugar episode. I was a vegetarian for thirteen years but now I have low blood sugar and had to start eating meat. I know, it sounds wierd but my body just freaked out on me. I still have problems touching meat when I cook it, so not sure I can do the meatballs but I may try because I know my boys would love these. Now I do have some grains, like quinoa, but try to limit them.

    • I totally hear you on the ‘touching meat’ thing. I don’t like it much at all. Obviously, I’ve learned to deal with it because, I just have to. But I don’t eat red meat, pork, etc. and I still can’t really deal with that sort of raw meat. It’s the (sorry to be graphic) blood. Blech!! As I mentioned to Emma up above, quinoa is a wonderful grain! It’s one that I will occasionally have myself. Packed with good stuff! Have you tried the quinoa pasta? It’s awesome!

  14. While I’m a huge proponent of whole grains, I’m so glad you’ve found a dietary lifestyle that works well for you, Ginger. And wow, seems like you approach it in scrumptious ways! Mmm…

    Thanks for the fabulous shout out. Healthy bodies, minds and spirits—vital ingredients for us all, right?? Thanks for sharing your healthy wealth with us. 🙂

    • Thanks, August! Your support means a lot. I have seen so many positive results from no-grain in myself and my clients and yet, I see some people who can choose very wisely in their complex, 100% whole grain choices and do very well. (luckies!!) 🙂 One ‘plan’ does not fit all, that is for sure!

      P.S. The BOAW blogfest is already so amazing. Such a wonderful idea and can’t wait for tomorrow! I think we need a #boaw hashtag!!

  15. I’m going out to get the ingredients for these recipes, yum! You’re making me feel not so conflicted in the kitchen;)

  16. Well, you lost me this week, Ginger. Kale chips? Really? I’d try them, but feel pretty certain they will not be a regular part of my diet. And there’s no way my husband would even try them, even cleverly disguised on a pizza.

    Did cavemen drink wine? Don’t tell me you don’t drink wine, cuz I know the truth!

    Thanks for the recipe ideas. I’ll give them a go.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • A–You HAVE to try them. If even for some sort of foodie-parlor-trick. Come on! I swear they’re good.

      B–I totally drink wine. It’s in that 10% that’s not paleo and I’m holding onto it with a grip of iron steel!


  17. This week, I’ll make the meatballs. They sound delish and I love using he crock pot.. The kale chips are a stretch, but I like garlic and olive oil, so they’ll be my new food next week.

    Walking lunge on the way to refill water bottle? *Whimper.* Aye, aye, Ginger.

  18. Ginger, I just got turned on to kale chips and I’m no health food nut! But the ones at the store are stupidly expensive. Thanks for the recipe, because I LOVE garlic. And wine 🙂

  1. Pingback: WritersButt Wednesday-Taking my own advice « Ginger Calem

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