Is today really Sunday?

28 Nov

What is it about vacation, no matter how brief, that completely screws up the inner calendar? I suppose it has something to do with breaking the routine. Suddenly, I am without the ebb and flow of labwork to mark the passage of time. These past few days have felt more like the bonus round of a video game, where time should have frozen as I hastily gathered some of the extra lives I’d tucked under the mattress back in August.

Unfortunately, time did not freeze, and I am stuck cramming for the coming week on four hours of sleep and even less patience. My workload seems to have become a hydra, sprouting two new assignments from the stump of every completed project. I’d much rather be cooking, and generally I am. But the hydra is not subdued by my blatant disregard, or by playing dead (also known as sleeping); Eventually, I have to face the beast, and again and again and again.

But that’s enough about school, and not nearly enough about cooking. I had an amazing (and entirely primal) Thanksgiving dinner. Dessert was equally amazing, and not primal at all, but at least the undoing was by my own hand. I know this is a poor choice of words, but there is something about baking with flour that appeals to me on a very primal level. When I am feeling nostalgic for the late 1800s, which happens inexplicably during the Christmas season, baking with almond meal or coconut flour just seems too modern (granted the cavemen did neither).

I am back to eating primally again though, and with some very persuasive external motivation I like to call the scale at the doctor’s office. However, you’re still getting the recipe for the cranberry cake because I want to post the picture. Close you’re eyes and scroll past if you are offended by flour and white sugar—there is some Primal Pad Thai at the end of the tunnel.

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

DSCF4440

Adapted from this recipe

1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare a round nine-inch pan as you see fit. I had a very shallow pan so I buttered the bottom and then built a wall around the inside with buttered parchment paper. And it’s a good thing I did because the cake rose significantly (maybe a little over an inch).

Preheat oven to 350. Place cranberries and chopped walnuts in the bottom of the pan. Bring the 1/3 cup butter, molasses, and maple syrup to a boil on the stove. Pour over cranberries and mix to coat.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in one bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and white sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time and stir in the vanilla. Mix the butter/sugar into the flour alternately with the cup of sour cream. Pour over the cranberries and bake for 60 minutes or until inserted kitchen utensil comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto serving platter. Marvel at how food can be so adorable.

Primal Shrimp Pad Thai

DSCF4297Adapted from Weight Watcher’s Take Out Tonight cookbook

1/2 Spaghetti Squash, cooked until just underdone and pulled into its spaghetti-like state
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 onion, minced
3-4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup egg whites
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 heaping tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
Chopped toasted almonds, cilantro, and lime for garnish

Heat up a large skillet. Add coconut oil. When melted, add shrimp and cook until just opaque. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions begin to soften. Push everything to one side and add egg whites, stirring frequently to scramble. Add fish sauce, sriracha, soy sauce, and honey and stir until everything is coated. Add bean sprouts and spaghetti squash and cook until they are heated through (around 5 minutes). Garnish and enjoy!

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