Snow Day Hate Spectrum

Oh Winter, My Winter

Snow angel

“UGH”, my wife mutters (loudly), prompting me to STOP catching Pokemon and regard her as if I were an adult.
“What’s up?” I ask, one eye on her and one on the shaking Pokeball. My love is infinite but my attention span far less so.

“School is cancelled tomorrow”, and she levels a gaze at me that would make smaller men crumple into even smaller men as rockets of hatred explode from behind her. Cascades of vitriol, sour and bitter, are pour out of her chakras like fountains. Small crabs and other creatures are swept up in the swelling tide of her frustration.

“Oh, huh”,  I say and go back to my game. She leaps across the room, decapitates me, and places my head on a Doc McStuffins’ Brand Head Spike for the world to see; stupid husband, the end.

While my head dripped goo on the carpet, I got to thinking: the snow day is essentially a spectrum, isn’t it? Parents with small children who clamor for attention (like ours) probably hate the snow day. Though my wife works from home, she watches the children, too, which affords her very little time to actually work. Our kids are 2.93 and 4, and they are needy for time, so at the end of the day, I understand my wife’s frustration.

But what about families who don’t have a work at home setup? A snow day is a scramble of finding a baby sitter or calling into work (if that’s even an option). A lot of the time you might have daycare, but the daycare closes, too. I actually work at a college, but we rarely close due to weather, so that offers little reprieve.

I should also point out that it wasn’t a “snow day” that prompted this blog post; it was a “cold day”. The temperature was going to be -5, with a windchill of “get inside the tauntaun, Luke”.

 

 

Snow day or cold day, everyone has an opinion on these days off, and thus was born the spectrum.

We Get It, You’re Old

“When I was a kid,” is a phrase that, like a sharp blow to the head, can make you roll your eyes. Every time school is cancelled due to weather, they come in droves, finding a post to comment on about how bad it was when they were young. Common thoughts are:

  • When I was a kid, they would never cancel school because it was cold. We weren’t pansies like your generation.
  • When I was a kid, we walked 4 miles in waist-deep snow just to get a chance to look at some different snow.
  • When I was a kid, it snowed all year. It was literally an ice age. I am very old.

I see these posts, or hear it from random people around me, and I get it. I don’t remember schools closing a lot when I was a kid because of the cold. That said, I also don’t remember disco, McCarthyism, or Reaganomics, and that’s because we grow over time and our understanding of what’s “good” changes.

Yes, your parents sent you to wait for the bus in subzero weather and yes, you survived. There are a lot of kids though who don’t have parents who care. There are kids whose parents care, but can’t afford to bundle them up well. There are parents who work 2 jobs who need to drop their kid off at the bus stop an hour beforehand because they can’t afford or don’t have a morning babysitter. Things are different, people are different; shut up Frances.

As a dad, I know that if my kids had to wait for the bus and it was negative eleventy outside, they’d be staying home. That or I’d try to drop them off at school.

But kids in grade and high school like snow days. Surely other people do as well, yeah?

Grinch, Grouch, Grump

Unlike cilantro, I don’t believe that a snow day is a love-it-or-hate-it type of entity, at least not entirely. Where do you fall along this spectrum?

Are you a kid, a yeti, or a snowman? Actually, baby yetis could be all three.

I personally don’t mind them, if I’m able to stay home. My old job essentially never closed, so I had to go to work a few years ago when it snowed 2 feet overnight and the rest of the city was closed. That was idiotic and one of the many reasons I don’t work there anymore.

I understand why some people love snow days – they might get out of work and they can spend time with their kids. My best friend owned a snow plow for a few years and made BANK when it snowed and stuff closed. Yetis eat unattended children if it snows above 18 inches or is under 5 degrees below zero. I get it.

I also understand why some people don’t like snow days. If you have to scramble to take off work or find someone to take care of your kids, that sucks. If you have to walk, bike, or take public transportation to a job that refuses to close, that’s awful. If you struggle to keep your kids warmly dressed in the winter, you’re why we donate warm clothes to coat drives.

But if you just want to talk about how you had to hunt and kill polar bears to keep warm, or how younger generations can’t parent, then consider keeping your wisdom to yourself. Let kids have a day off to enjoy NOT having to stand out in the blizzard or arctic temperatures.

Just, if your kids are going to be home unattended or with minimal supervision all day, maybe lock up your Tide Pods.

 

 

 

Raising Decent Humans Despite Everything

Dumpy the Dumpster Fire, Official Mascot of the Internet

Parenting in the Age of the Constant Dumpster Fire

My daughter saw my son putting on lip balm the other day and said “boys don’t wear makeup” to which I responded “boys can wear makeup. Anyone can wear makeup!” She was taken aback a bit I think, both at the concept of boys wearing makeup and the certainty of my reaction. I realized immediately I used a little too much “Facebook argument dad-voice” and softened my tone, explaining to them that anyone can wear makeup and someone telling you differently is just jealous they don’t have the confidence to wear it, too. They understood, smiled, and then fought over the Chapstick because they’re kids and they’ll fight over anything.

My snippy attitude, unbeknownst to my darling daughter, came from seeing this video on Facebook earlier that day:

Jake Warden is his name, and at 10 he’s got a knack for makeup that I don’t even have for eating fried food. The reason I got so frustrated on this particular topic is the Facebook link I found this video on was absolutely disgusting. So as not to give the parent who posted it any more traffic, I’ll simply say it was a VERY negative post, asking “how do you handle this as a parent??”

I dunno Tina, maybe love and support your child, and be happy they’re good at something that’s not meth.

How do you handle what, exactly? That your kid found something they love and are good at? We should all be so lucky.

When the Dumpster Fire Goes Viral

As a parent, seeing these kinds of viral, hatefilled garbage posts on social media makes my skin crawl AND my blood boil, like an old timey witch curse. This goes beyond the stereotypical “jock dad with nerd son” sort of quasi-shame that’s portrayed in coming-of-age comedies. This is parents looking at the habits and choices of random kids online – or worse, their sexual orientation, gender, etc – and publicly shaming them.

Now I wouldn’t give a bucket of beetle shit what some middle-aged chubby screecher thinks about me, but kids do. Kids kill themselves over cyberbullying, or they simply suppress who they are or what they love. If your channel requires the degradation of human beings to garner likes, you might be a dumpster fire.

*Cough* activistmommy dot *cough cough cough*

It’s difficult to raise your head above the waves of negativity and viral hate speech, but you must. More than that, we need to be an example to the younger generations, whether they’re OUR whelplings or not. You might be an aunt or uncle, teacher, or sub shop cashier, but kids watch adults and emulate them. When bullying is being cheered on in a comments section, kids will cheer it on as well. Adults do this, too, but their brains are less pliable than kids’ are.

Don’t Toast Marshmallows Over the Dumpster Fire

Recently, I saw this bit of unexpected vomit online:

Joshua Feuerstein, the literal crotch of Satan

This man is a pastor, with several spawnlings. This means he is considered to be a “Christian” AND he is raising kids. I can’t speak to his family tree, but I can assure you those kids hear every hateful, gross word he says. I’m certain his constituents are like-minded, and soon their kids will be voting and replicating this thinking.

Christians aren’t bad, and neither are republicans, at least not because of their beliefs. The problem I have is that when you are a father, or in this case, a pastor (who is like a father to a congregation), you have impressionable ears listening all the time. When you’re in a position of authority like this, you need to double-check that what you’re saying isn’t hot garbage. I have a message to Joshua Feuerstein – implying that anyone deserves sexual assault or harassment for any reason is hot garbage. I don’t recall a parable about the “woman who wore a short skirt and totally deserved it”. Jesus ate with women and men alike 2000 years ago, he was inclusive, especially of the marginalized.

When you say women are “dressed like hookers” and imply they deserve sexual assault or harassment, your kids hear that.

Your daughters hear you suggesting women need to check their dress or behavior to earn your respect.  Worse than that, you put the occurrence of sex crimes on their shoulders.

Your sons hear you say that it’s on women to change their behavior to prevent MEN from doing horrific, deplorable shit. You’re giving awful behavior a pass, and worse, you’re blaming the victim.

We Can Do Better

 

Humans are a goofy species. We lack survival adaptation like claws, fur, fangs, being-Wolverine, etc, but we make up for that with our intellect. That intellect has allowed us to survive for a million years, put us on the moon, created art, and birthed our modern society. Despite ALL of this, dumbass beliefs like racism, sexism, and xenophobia still exist, and it’s because we pass them along to our kids.

Stop it, right now – stop the spread of the dumpster fire. Teach your kids to respect EVERYONE, regardless of their race, creed, gender, orientation, religion, demographic trait, demographic trait, etc.

Don’t applaud online bullies, no matter what your political beliefs are. We can disagree without being hateful, ignorant garbage. I’m guilty of stereotyping in online “discussion”, too, and it helps nobody.

If we all teach our children that advancement, success, and self-improvement never need to come at the expense of others’ self-esteem or livelihood, then we might just save the world.

 

 

 

Why We Fail

Predestination and the Fat Guy, Rated PG-13

I’ve lost a lot of me in my lifetime – in the past, I’ve lost over 200 pounds, going from over 450 to 250, which is the lowest I’ve ever weighed as an adult. In the last 6 years, I’ve yo-yoed the same 30 pounds up and down, growing complacent in every aspect of my life. I’ve decided to change that for good, but in the back of my mind, there was an inkling fear that I would relapse, start binge-eating again, and gain even more weight back, a situation I’m sure you may have found yourself in at one point or another.

Maybe you felt that fear seep into your body and freeze you, and everything you told myself about exercise, eating healthy for good, etc – all of that felt like a lie. You, like I, might say these things with the best intentions, but if you believe deep down that there’s some capacity for failure within you, then failing is simply an eventuality.

This made me think of why I might consider these thoughts and ambitions to be falsehoods. or rather that I might not “be able” to maintain them in the long run. I threw quotes around “be able” here because let’s be honest, when we’re talking about our ability to do something like “not eat a cheesecake in one sitting”, it’s all on us. Sure you might, like me, have a weak will, but you still have the will, and ultimately your decisions are up to you. You either want something badly enough to give up terrible food and sitting instead of exercising, or you don’t. If your end goal isn’t important to you, and I mean TRULY important, you will eventually fail.

Which is why I considered all the past-mes who have come and gone – all the people I was in my twenties, before I had kids, when I was drastically overweight, etc. Those Tonys have come and gone, replaced by wiser, fitter Tonys, and I don’t have regrets or laments that I am no longer those people.

If you truly want to get healthy, you have to commit to it, and part of that is understanding that this is a fundamental change. Your big-person insecurities cannot follow you into this new life, or you’ll conjure up the demons and weaknesses of your past self and screw everything up. If you want to pursue goals, you need to pursue them with gusto, fully prepared to give up food, comfort, and complacency in order to achieve them and hang onto them.

In short: Even a very minor tendency to believe that you will return to your old ways will make you return to your old ways.

 

Adaptation vs Constant Change

If you grew up in Snowman, Alaska, and your company decides they need you in good ol’ Humid Like Ogre Ass, Mississippi, then you’re likely going to pick up your life and move there. This will suck on multiple levels, but you will eventually adapt, and in that adaptation, you might even convince yourself you’re happy. You might lower your expectations of what you want out of life, or yourself, and get comfortable swatting mosquitoes and sweating through your teeth. Going from Snowman to Ogre Ass and convincing yourself that you like it is a pretty good analogy for being an adult, but it doesn’t have to be.

Everyone is on a diet, or trying to lose weight, or apologizing at Thanksgiving for eating the family dog as proteins weren’t defined beforehand (that might just be me). A vast majority of people’s New Year’s resolution will be something about weight loss, and inevitably they will fail, not because they’re weak, but because they’re comfortable. It’s like finally settling into a relationship – you might gain a bit of weight but you’re no longer on the hunt for someone to put up with you, so you let yourself go a bit.

 

If you’re happy being overweight and complacent, and you’re certain you’re not convincing yourself of that, then this advice isn’t likely for you. If you’re like me, however, and you aren’t truly happy with how you are, where you’re at, how you feel, etc, then no amount of convincing is going to change that. The good news is that you can get out of your complacency and into a mode of constant change. Have you ever wondered why/how people scale Everest or other tall mountain-type things? It’s because they are constantly setting new goals, and then taking those goals, wadding them up and stuffing them into a bear’s mouth, at which point they create new goals. They never get complacent but instead constantly strive to achieve more and better for themselves. They don’t believe they can fail, or if they do, they recognize that they cannot control every aspect of climbing up a mountain. In the case of those who do understand the possibility of failure is there, though, they approach that mountain knowing “failure” likely means they die. If you approached your weight or other goals like that, knowing what failure meant, you would likely treat it significantly more seriously, accepting failure is only a result of outside factors you cannot control.

If you lose 30 pounds, and then you’re happy and can live with yourself, you will probably gain that weight back. If the totality of the goal is “drop some weight”, that can be done with shakes or pills, crash diets, or hell even cigarettes.

If your goal is “get healthy”, though, one of the small goals might be “lose 30 pounds”. If you then try your hand at a 5k, or a marathon, or enter a weight lifting competition, or even just try to beat your own pace at walking, you won’t get complacent. Resting on your laurels is a good way to undo everything you’ve accomplished.

In short: Allowing yourself to get comfortable is a sure-fire way to slide back into old habits and undo your success.

 

The Takeaway

If you have consistently failed at your goals, or you can’t quite break the ceiling or upper limit on your progress, it’s likely that there’s a wrench in the works. Psychological forces act profoundly on our ability to succeed. If you believe, even in a small way, that you can fail through your own fault or weakness, then you’re dooming yourself from the outset.

Similarly, if you believe that hitting your most basic goals is “good enough”, then you won’t ever truly be happy with success. Reaching a level of comfort that allows you to get through days and be at least 51% happy versus 49% unfulfilled is not lasting success. As my wife always tells me, “you have to think past the first step”, which translates to “always have your next target in mind”. If you exercise but eat like garbage you won’t find yourself on the winning end of losing weight.

You have to believe that your future is up to you – that each step you take backwards or even lateral to your goal, is a bad choice. Believe that you cannot and will not undermine yourself, and then you can fight any outward opposition that springs up. Likewise with moving forward with the rush of success – don’t stop when you’ve conquered a small goal. Instead, use that momentum to move towards crushing another one, and then another.

The new year is coming up and with it there will be millions if not billions of resolutions made. If you decide to make one this year, stop first and consider your own psychological perspective on goal-setting. You can succeed, and to let anyone – especially yourself – stop you is a shame.

 

 

Keto Lasagna and Garlic Portobellos

My family is Italian, hailing from Abruzzo. I can trace my lineage to the town of Calascio, and I was fortunate enough to interact daily with my great grandfather (who came from Italy) on a daily basis until I was 8. I love Italian food naturally, but being low carb kind of throws a wrench in my ability to enjoy pasta and that makes me sad. I don’t need to sing the praises of pasta here; anyone who has ever eaten even jarred marinara and spaghetti can attest to the wonder of carby noodles and delicious sauce. I am however interested in ensuring that I can continue to placate that part of my palate, and so when my wife wanted lasagna a few weeks ago, I thought about how I could indulge her craving.

Luckily, I am nothing if not dedicated to inventive ways of staying keto while eating my favorite foods. I thought about the various ingredients in a classic lasagna – meat, cheese, ricotta, eggs, noodles, tomato sauce. Well, all of that is fine, save for the noodles and sauce, and honestly even the sauce in small amounts would be fine (not to mention low carb sauces like Rao’s exist), but what about noodles?

If you’ve ever made low carb pizza, then you might be familiar with the various cauliflower, chicken, or cheese-based crusts that exist. I wanted something that would fit, taste-wise, with lasagna, so I made a pizza dough recipe and cut it into strips for lasagna noodles. It worked, and the result was a perfect marriage of cheese, sauce, and noodles that ended up even better the next day. I wanted to pair it with a semi-indulgent side and I had some big dumb portobellos in the fridge. Mushrooms fried in butter and garlic are a simple pleasure but they’re easy and satisfying.

I am having lunch flashbacks and I’m hungry now.

 

Keto Lasagna and Garlic Mushrooms

For the mushrooms:

6-8 large portobello caps
5 cloves garlic, crush and finely chopped
4 tbsp butter (salted)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 Parmesan, and in this case, I mean green shaker Parmesan – no shame here, as this functions better for our purposes.

Start by washing the mushrooms and removing the stems. Use a spoon to scrape out the gills if you want – I prefer it this way, but you don’t really have to. Chop the shroom caps into 1/2 inch thick strips and set aside. He 2 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large pan or skillet, and toss in the garlic. After 4 minutes or so, when it starts to brown and become fragrant, toss in your mushrooms. Sprinkle the salt over the mushrooms and allow them to release their liquid. As it cooks off, after about 5 minutes, add the olive oil and garlic powder. Keep on medium heat, stirring occasionally, and start on the lasagna. You’re going to keep the heat medium to medium-low, and continue stirring to get most of the liquid out while you prep and start the lasagna. This gives the mushrooms a much chewier, meatier texture.

For the noodles:

3/4 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 tbsp cream cheese
1 tsp salt
Black pepper and garlic powder to taste (I used 1 tsp of each)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven heats up, mix all of the ingredients roughly in a bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. Remove, stir, and place back into the microwave for another 30 seconds. When it’s done, mix it up well and it should form into a doughy ball. Place dough between two silpats or pieces of parchment paper and roll it out thin, maybe 1/8 of an inch. Bake it for about 10 minutes, until it’s cooked and golden brown but still somewhat pliable. Cut it into 3 inch strips and let it cool.

Repeat this process.

Layers of low carb lusciousness

For the filling:

15oz ricotta cheese (you can use cottage cheese if you don’t mind the souls of millions of Italian grandmas judging you for eternity in the beyond)((just kidding, don’t use cottage cheese))
2 eggs
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

Mix all of this together very well. Set aside.

Other ingredients:

1 cup Rao’s or any other lower-carb tomato sauce.
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
Shredded Parmesan (optional)

Assembly:

Add a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish, and add three noodles. Spread an even layer of ricotta filling over that, followed by a thin layer of tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup mozzarella. You can add in a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese now as well, or meat, if you so desire. I prefer lasagna without meat in it, opting instead for meatballs or Italian sausage on the side – that’s how my grandmother did it, that’s how I do it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Anyway, keep layering like that until you’ve run out of ingredients, and then top the whole thing off with more shredded mozzarella. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350.

While your lasagna is baking, go back to the mushrooms. They should be mush (haha) smaller, so now we add the last 2 tbsp of butter. As that cooks a bit more, you can sprinkle in the cheese, stirring to coat. This creates a wonderful crust on the mushrooms and at this point, they’re done. Cover and turn off the heat.

When the 20 minutes are up on the lasagna, take the foil off and bake for another 5-7 minutes to brown the cheese on top. When it’s done, pull it out and let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve with the mushrooms.

This recipe was delicious, and I’m working on some variations for future posts. Though it sounds complicated, it’s really just assembly line problems, and I guarantee once you’ve made it one time, you’ll have no trouble doing it without thought again, and the mushroom recipe actually pairs really well with just about anything, so we make it a lot just on its own.

Completed product – lasagna, hot, cheesy, and low carb!

 

In terms of comfort food, there’s not a lot that’s better than lasagna, and being able to once again eat it on keto – even if it is an occasional indulgence – brings me great inner peace. I hope it brings joy to my ancestors in Italian Valhalla, which is essentially a huge dinner table in which the older folks stand around talking and when you as a kid enter the room, they look at you and switch to speaking in Italian, which is a great way to learn how to swear in another language.

Buon Appetito!

Bacon Burger Bowls and Grilled Onion Blossoms

I pride myself on my cooking ability – though I’m by no means a chef, I like 90% of what I cook, and my wife/kids like 60% of what I cook, and if you knew my wife and kids, you’d count that as a win. That said, I stick close to my wheelhouse and try not to rock the boat, as I work full-time and try to parent when I can. This means I don’t have a lot of time to experiment if I want to ensure everyone eats.

Sometimes, however, I get to experiment and it turns out pretty well. The last time I grilled, I remembered seeing an idea on Pinterest or something about bacon cups, which involved wrapping bacon around the bottoms of a muffin tin and baking it upside down. Why can’t I do that, but with more animals involved?

Enter the bacon burger bowl:

Bacon Burger Bowls!

 

A magnificent meat marvel, molded meticulously around a metal …uh, can. I used a diet Crush can for this because it’s gluten free and was within arm’s reach, but you use whatever beverage strikes your fancy. Just make sure to use an unopened one, as it will need to be sturdy. The goal was to make a meat bowl, wrap it in bacon for both deliciousness and stability, and then fill the bowl with something else delicious.

Ingredients:

3 lbs ground beef, ideally 80/20 lean (this is best for burgers)
1 lb thick-cut bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
Soda/beer in an unopened can

Form the beef into 1/2 lb balls, and then take the can and press it down in the middle of the ball, all the way down. You’re not wanting to cut the bottom out here, but you DO want to make sure you get it as close to cutting board as possible. Now form the beef up the sides of the can, about 1/3 of the way up, ensuring it remains intact. Take a strip of bacon and wrap it around the beef – this will help your burger bowl keep its shape. Once you have a structurally sound burger bowl, remove the can and repeat the process with the remaining meat.

From this point forward, you can either cook these in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes (for medium) or grill them on indirect heat for about 25 minutes (that was what I did, with charcoal on the other side of the grill). When you’re within about 5 minutes of the desired internal temperature, go ahead and add your fillings. For these in the picture, I put in about a half cup of shredded cheddar, but you could use nearly anything. Some ideas:

Grilled onions and peppers
Chili
Jalapeno popper filling
Sauteed mushrooms

Since we’re looking at this from a keto perspective, this is one burger where you absolutely will not miss the bun. Fork, knife, napkin, sturdy plate, napkin, napkin, and you’re set!

But he wasn’t set, not yet

No, I needed a side-item to go with my burger bowls, and you shouldn’t shortchange yourself; you need side-items, too!

Enter: the grilled onion blossom!

Grilled onion blossoms!

The greasy, fried monstrosities you can get at chain restaurants are great when you’re super drunk or your standards are very low, but a grilled onion ditches the carbs in favor of delicious smokiness and with none of the regret! Plus it’s super easy and onions are cheap. Hooray!

Ingredients:

Several whole, medium-sized white or Vidalia onions
Bacon
Butter
Stock cubes (beef or chicken)
Shredded cheese (colby or cheddar, ideally – something sharp)

Begin by removing the top and bottom of the onions, and then cross-hatch them almost all the way down, but leaving them connected. We want them to fan out when they cook, not dice them. After they’ve been cut, you can put knobs of butter into the middle, slices of bacon, or simply sprinkle with some water and put a stock cube into the middle of each. Place them on indirect heat on the grill and allow them to cook for about 40 minutes at least. They will start to open but the bacon might not be done, and that’s ok. As long as they’re not falling apart, they’ll still be delicious, and on indirect heat with all the moisture the possess, it’s HIGHLY unlikely they’ll burn or even char that much. When they’ve reached desired doneness, sprinkle some cheese on top of each, and remove to a plate to cool for about 5 minutes before you try eating them or you’ll burn your mouth and fingers and cry to your wife (someone else told me this I don’t know it firsthand haha nope).

And if you’re interested in a sauce, I highly recommend white bbq sauce:

1 cup mayonaise
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp dijon mustard

Mix well, eat with just about anything. I love this stuff, and you can vary the amounts of ingredients to your liking.

Anyway, these are a delicious, easy alternative to regular burgers and whatever other thing you were going to make tonight. Go! Fire up that grill and put these burger bowls on it, fill them with things, and serve them to your family. They will likely say “mother/father, you are indeed queen/king of the grill and we cannot WAIT to do chores, feed the chickens, and shave the bears”.*

*Your mileage may vary on what your children will do around the house based on these burgers, especially if you have neither chickens nor bears.

Keto Stuffed Peppers

www.fit2father.com

My grandma always made stuffed peppers when I was a kid and I wasn’t hugely fond of them. I didn’t really like the slightly bitter green bell peppers and the stuff inside was fine at best. Not that my nonna couldn’t cook – she was a beast, particularly when it came to pasta. I just didn’t care for stuffed peppers, and though I fear retribution in the form of a ghostly wooden spoon upside my head (sorry nonna) it’s the truth.

Well now I DO like them, turns out grandma was right, but I’m not eating rice (or any other starchy nonsense for that matter). What to do?

Luckily God gave us cauliflower and though some of the applications I’ve seen within the keto kommunity make me question the sanity of the cooks, cauliflower DOES make a good rice substitute.

www.fit2father.com
Lil’ cauliflower
Best buds for all time and space
Takes the place of starch

 

Anyway, looking in the fridge and seeing an abundance of garden-fresh peppers and some ground beef brought me to this place: making a low carb version of what is, rice-aside, a reasonably healthy and cheap dish. With a little ingenuity, and a hungry wife whom I fear would stab me were I not to come up with dinner quickly, I set out to work. This is what I came up with:

 

Keto Stuffed Peppers
Paleo, low carb, gluten-free, easily modified to be vegetarian or vegan

6 large green peppers
1 lb ground beef (if going the veggie route, you could easily sub in tofu or walnuts)
1 medium head cauliflower, broken down and riced in a food processor
4 cloves garlic
2 cans of tomatoes and green chili peppers (look for ones without added anything – just peppers and tomatoes)
1/4 cup of low carb tomato sauce like Rao’s, or you can blend up whole canned tomatoes (you’ll need to add more salt most likely)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by boiling the peppers and preheating the oven to 350. I cut the tops off and core/de-seed them first, but you don’t have to. It makes them cook a bit faster – about 7 minutes is what it took for me. You want them pliable but not mushy. While the peppers are boiling, add the butter to a pan and brown your beef. If you’re using tofu or walnuts, you can skip this step, but toasting the walnuts would be something I would highly recommend. Once the peppers are done, drain them and arrange them, hole-up, in a large dutch oven or high-sided baking dish. Add the olive oil to a pan and, after mincing the garlic, toss that in there to saute for a few minutes, then add in the cauliflower rice. Salt and pepper the rice liberally, and if you want, stir in some hot sauce, too. Once it’s cooked and started to soften (about 7 minutes), turn off the heat and stir in the ground beef. After it has cooled for a few minutes, stir in the tomatoes and chilis, and stuff the peppers. You may have some stuffing left over, and if so, just put it around the peppers in the pan. Pour some tomato sauce over each pepper and any remaining sauce around your stuffed beauties, and bake in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Pop the dish out of the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. These things hold onto heat like little green lava globes, and if you’re not careful you might burn your mouth and yell a bunch and then your wife might say something like “I told you so you putz” and you might say back “ah buh ma ton oh gah it hurs u wah rye” and she might smile smugly while you cry.
To be clear: LET THEM COOL FIRST.

www.fit2father.com
Keto stuffed peppers

Macros:

Serving size: 1 pepper stuffed with 1 cup of stuffing
Calories: 353
Fat: 24.4 g
Carbs: 18.5
Fiber: 5.1
Net Carbs: 13.4
Protein: 16.6
Potassium: 724 mg
Magnesium: 10% rda
Sodium: 520 mg (this will vary on how much you salt of course)

Delicious, nutritious, and full of vitamins and nutrients, not to mention cheap and easy. You can even freeze these little fellas and pop em in the oven for later. So with a bumper crop of green peppers in the garden, you now have at least one more recipe in your arsenal for keto-friendly deliciousness.

Fighting Your Binge Eating Monster

www.fit2father.com

The Binge Eating Monster

Don’t let this fool you; it’s a jerk.

Everyone likes food for the most part – you need it to live and it often tastes good so, yeah, you eat. Other people eat, too. I also eat, but here’s the rub; a lot of the time, when I eat, I keep eating and eating and eating and eating. Just ridiculous amounts of food that make me feel like a chubby tornado, sucking down anything edible that’s around. I know there’s a fairly sizeable amount of people like me in the world, to whom food is a crutch, or an addiction, or a comfort when issues arise. For us it’s not “I’m hungry, let’s eat, ok now I’m not hungry and will stop”.

To preface the rest of this post, I should say that I’m coming off of a binge right now. I was around 455 at my biggest, and at 250 at my smallest (as an adult((obviously))). In the last part of 2016, I went from 280 down to 250 again, and was maintaining very well, until the basement opened and out lumbered the Binge Eating Monster. I’ve since put on 40 pounds. In the last 6 months. This isn’t healthy in the BEST of conditions, so of course I am concerned and all that anxiety was causing further binge eating episodes. I stayed up late, got little sleep, and gorged myself every night when my family went to bed.

If you’ve never experienced a binge episode, imagine standing at the counter with a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly and eating a spoonful of each at time and being…I dunno, numb? You can’t stop, or don’t want to, or both. It’s going to McDonald’s and ordering so much because you’re afraid of running out of food while you still want to eat, so you get a combo and 20 nuggets and then something else to eat while you drive home, too. You feel guilty, disgusting, burdensome, sick, weak, and exhilarated all at the same time. Because the binge is a compulsion, satisfying that compulsion is like scratching a really bad itch, or taking a hit of a drug you miss, and while you’re in the dregs of the episode, you feel numb and detached. Afterwards, it’s nothing but regret and guilt (and often a very disagreeable stomach). You can gain a substantial amount of weight in a short period, and it’s actually dangerous because there is a positive correlation between binge eating and type 2 diabetes (and weight gain).

Monster of a problem

So it is with binge eating – it’s a process of self-indulgence brought on by compulsion and rounded out by self-loathing. There are many triggers, some more psychological and some more biological, but in the end they’re all damaging and can frustratingly exacerbate other mental health disorders AND vice-versa. You can be in your clearest mind, functioning smoothly all day, hitting step goals, making healthy lunches, and in control of your destiny, but when the Binge Eating Monster rears its ugly head, it can feel like you’re powerless. The reason I suggest the BEM (as it will be referred to from this point forward) is because, at least in my experience, it feels like domination from another force. You freeze, and you think “I should stop this” but the compulsion is so strong that it drives you to keep eating. This little imaginary creature crawls into your brain and compels you to keep eating, even though you’re an otherwise reasonable person. And that’s the key; binge eaters are often otherwise completely rational. There’s a reason that most binge eaters do it privately – it’s not just embarrassing but we also realize it’s not correct.  In fact, it’s this rationality – even when it comes to diet and healthy eating – that provides the greatest source of frustration. You can see all the angles, you can KNOW the binge eating is detrimental, but when you’re there drowning in the moment, it can be difficult to surface.

Being Rational With An Irrational Tagalong

The Binge Eating Monster doesn’t care about your goals, your upcoming class reunion, or your health in general. The compulsion simply wants to be addressed. In psychoanalytical terms  we call this an unchecked Id. The Id controls your basic primal impulses like eating and sleeping. All it’s concerned with is pleasure and food provides a lot of pleasure, so it requires your higher mental functions to keep in check, but with an overeating disorder, the Id crushes the controls you have to keep it in check.

These are some things that help me – I cannot state they’ll 100% help you, but I have read a lot of people’s personal accounts of binge eating episodes and I’ve been counseled on it. My strategies for coping and overcoming are based on my experiences and my research.

A momentary lapse of reason

1 – Before a binge, there’s often a feeling of a loss of control. This can be from stress, depression, or simply a feeling that comes out of nowhere. Any kind of loss of self-control or detachment from self can set up your BEM to take over and you absolutely don’t want that. As my wife would say, detrimental choices are caused by a detachment from your future self. That person who wants to be in great shape, or wants to heal their diabetes  – you’ll never get there if you lose sight of it. In order to prevent this loss of control, I stay focused on my weight loss and health goals. I re-read them (I write in journals a lot) every morning and at night before bed. I flip through my planner and read them midday. Staying connected to your goals is like a tether to the future, and your Binge Eating Monster can’t chew through it to take control of your actions. The more you practice self-awareness and conscious living, the stronger that tether and the weaker the Monster’s attempts become.

It’s often been expressed that willpower is like a muscle – the more you practice it, the stronger it becomes, and this is true. If you’re prone to giving into your impulses, then you will continue to do so. If however you start to tell yourself “no”, even periodically, it will become easier to do when you need to do it.

Running isn’t my favorite thing, but the BEM has little legs and can’t keep up

2 – Day-to-day, I keep up a schedule of exercise and stick to it. I lift weights 3 times a week, run 2 or 3 times a week, and do a little yoga for my lower back. Working out has a tremendous impact on your mental clarity and your ability to stick to an improvement plan. I’m not saying you need to start Crossfit, but dedicating some time everyday to exercise is a good primary habit. Secondary healthy habits, like avoiding garbage food and being mindful of your eating choices, will develop around the primary healthy habit. The various after effects of exercise, including things like rearranging your schedule and forcing yourself to make time for it, can drastically decrease the likelihood of a binge.

3 – Purge your home of your binge-trigger foods. For me, it’s peanut butter and chips (not at the same time). It’s entirely too difficult for me to stop at a few chips or a bite of peanut butter when I’m feeling weak so I avoid them until I’m mentally stronger. In my experience, binges don’t start with a meal that I’ve purposely sat down to eat. Instead, they begin during stress or sleeplessness, standing in the kitchen or pantry, and they end when I feel like a bloated, defeated creature, like a whale that’s beached itself trying to eat donuts. If those specific triggers aren’t there, I’m much less likely to binge.

4 – Give it 100%. 99%, 80%, 50% – these are incredibly difficult. No matter what your “diet” is, stick to it 100% because when you give yourself leeway, that’s when the BEM strikes. “Just one bite” turns into “just one slice” which turns into “how do I explain to anyone that I ate a whole brick-and-mortar Pizza Hut?” The Binge Eating Monster preys on your ability to justify your slip-ups. Honestly in all facets of life, the 100% policy is a very powerful way to tackle your goals.

Well, almost all facets – don’t stick to it when giving blood or something.

5 – Get help. My binge eating comes from someplace that I cannot pinpoint. This isn’t the same for everyone, though. Some people binge because of a traumatic event, and for some it’s a response to a very real biological problem. What I described above are coping strategies that work for me, but a counselor or MD can be thoroughly useful in rooting out the cause and creating a solution to your binge eating monster.

 

The fact of the matter is that binge eating is a mental health issue. It’s not something to be ashamed of, despite how it makes you feel. Get help, stay focused on what you want, and don’t give the BEM power. It will be something you need to work at daily, even meal-to-meal, but being mindful of it is the first step to being able to resolve it and take back control of your life.

 

 

It’s Gotta Be Today

Productivity

Hi, I’m Tony, and I’m a big dude. I’ve been fat most of my life – probably from 4th grade forward. It has definitely defined who I am, in the sense that it honed my sense of humor and sarcasm and I use those as a defense mechanism when I’m in the wild, so in a sense, I’m thankful for that. So +1 to fatness for making me funny.

I can do without the asthmatic wheezing, tiredness, not-fitting-int0-clothes(ness), and all the other things that being fat does. I’d gladly trade those in for a sense of rhythm or not-being-colorblind, but that’s not how this works so here I am.

I’m 33 years old today (technically I was 33 in March, but I’m still 33 at the time of this writing) and I can’t think of a better time to lose the rest of this fat, once and for all. I have 2 kids and a fiance whom I’m marrying in the fall. These are three great reasons to lose weight – I want to be here for a long time, for them. I want to be there for them, to be their shoulder to cry on, make fun of their music as they grow up, and for them to know that their dad always has their back.

These aren’t the main reasons I’m going to do this, though.

I’ve already lost 200+ pounds. I add that “+” in there because after I dropped 200 and got down to around 250, I’ve gained and lost the same 20-30 pounds so many times that I expect to win a yo-yo championship. Any day now, gonna get that trophy.

My prior success isn’t the reason I’m doing this, though.

I’ve been fat my whole life and have no idea what I look like as a thin adult, or even a healthy-weighted adult. I want to chase my kids and not get winded. I want to be comfortable sitting in chairs at the theater (on the rare occasion that I, as a parent, get to see the inside of a theater). I want to get a handle on my binge-eating, and have a healthy relationship with food.

These still aren’t the main reasons I’m going to lose this weight for good and all, though.

I’m losing this weight because I’m so goddamned tired of living the same week/month/year over and over again. Am I cursed? Did I kick a witch in a former life and now I’m cursed to relive the same day over and over again? I mean, I guess maybe, but I’m going to approach this from a different viewpoint.

Hi! I’m Bill Murray From Groundhog Day!

It’s not a curse, though it feels like one. My stream-of-consciousness reflection that I am presenting here may be useful to you, as this feeling is broadly applicable to just about any self-fulfilling prophecy about failure you could have, be it weight loss, romance, starting a crab farm, whatever.

Essentially, I recognize (at 33) that my problems are mostly my fault. I have a cool family, a big, dumb dog who loves me, a house, a good job, talents, bo-staff skills, a big yard for my garden, books, etc. I am a white male in a patriarchal, white-centric society. I grew up in a good Italian family, had the best grandparents in the world, went to private school my whole life.

So why am I fat? Why am I spinning my wheels at my writing career? Why do I half-ass everything that I do? Why do I have “problems”?

Because I make stupid, id-centric decisions. Just all the time, it’s awful. By id-centric, I mean I tend towards bad impulse control. As I mentioned above, I binge-eat. I sit for long spells, drinking and watching bad television. I play video games. And I also love writing out goals in a notebook. I have a lot of goals, and I’ve HAD a lot of goals for a long time. I’m a procrastinator and we LOVE to plan, because it doesn’t take anything but imagination to plan, and the one thing it doesn’t take ANY of, is actually doing anything.

I look back into my old notebooks and I see all these grand plans to write, to start this website, to lose weight. I look back 1, 2, 5 years and see over and over again the grand goals and the ferocious, terrible crashes that resulted from my non-application of willpower.

So no more. And I don’t mean “flowery-text-on-an-Instagram-platitude” done, I mean for real, 100% time-to-go done. How am I approaching this lofty goal of “done”? By dropping the “ne”.

DO

Thank you motivational municipal structure. I will DO.

What separates procrastination from domination is a D and an O (there are other letters, too, but they don’t fit with what I’m trying to do here, so please just humor me). I’ve had these goals for years and the one thing that keeps me from achieving them is that I never really DO them. It’s not easy, but it is simple. I plan, I write stuff down, I make lists, but I don’t actualize them.

For instance, I found an old notebook from like 10 years ago at my mom’s house. In it, one of my goals for that year was to “lose weight”. I scoffed at that, because what does that even mean? I could have lost a limb and been able to scratch that goal off. I never got past the goal-creating portion of success, and that’s a huge problem. Failure to launch.

I did a little research on successful goal completion, and my notebook is a lot cleaner. It goes Goal -> Deadline -> Goal broken down into actionable bits -> weekly recap. If you’re trying to succeed at something, the first step is to just actually do it, and that’s way easier if you have a plan.

So now I have a goal, and I have a plan to reach that goal, broken down into little, do-able pieces that I can accomplish and cross off, one after another. This also feeds your ego, because it gives you a concrete sense of accomplishment, and as a gamer, I thrive on small, incremental victories or achievements. So now what? What’s the next barrier?

Stop Making Dumb Choices

My goal is fat loss, and how do you do that? Keep your sugars low, your calories at a deficit, throw in some exercise. Again, it might not be easy, but it is simple. Why then haven’t I lost the last 76 pounds (I’m currently sitting at 276) sitting between me and my goal weight?

Because I make dumb choices. I choose to stay up late cursing at my computer in little, losing-at-Hearthstone based increments, or watching Rick and Morty. This causes me to get up late, which causes me to not exercise or plan my day. I get to work, get derailed easily because I’m sleepy, I don’t have the willpower to avoid bad food that I would had I worked out or gotten sleep, so I eat garbage, come home and binge. Then I go to bed disgusted with myself. I recognize this pattern and that breaking it will require willpower but also some planning. Being aware of your overall goal, and stopping to think how each individual bad choice can cascade into a bucketful of botched plans is the first step in undoing those patterns of bad choices. Just like how a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan and so I eat a box of Pop-tarts here in America (nature is wonderful and complex), so to does every action affect the next, even if they’re seemingly mundane.

Finding where that stupid butterfly is metaphorically in my daily life and stopping him from flapping his wings is crucial to breaking the patterns and habits that keep me from achieving my goal.

Evaluate Constantly

Finding these notebooks shows me that I had planned, I had written my goals down, but I clearly never went back and reevaluated them. I have a compulsion to buy a new notebook when I’m gearing up to PLAN; a clean, fresh start. That’s why I have so many. If I had set a goal, set a process, and then set a date to go back and see how I was coming along, my failures would be much more acute and a lot harder to swallow.

So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m using the quarter-system for my goals, something I learned from this FANTASTIC book, and I’m reevaluating progress on a weekly basis. Knowing you have 3 months to accomplish goals rather than a full  year makes them much more pressing, and the need for a clear plan MUCH more important.

Honestly the most important thing is to be aware of yourself and your goals. Losing yourself in comfort, food, leisure – this is a low level of living, one that I’ve been in for 15 years. This is a picture of a notebook my fiance bought me for our anniversary. It represents my new relationship with notebooks – goals, planning, actionable bits, reevaluation, and at the back of the book: success.

Yes it’s Dr. Seuss. No you can’t have it.

Working Out With Your Kids

I lift weights AND stray toys.

Whether you take the title of this to mean you’re actively working out with your children, them adorably following along and mimicking you, or you think it means you’re using them as weights or cardio, you can consider yourself correct. Few things are as important as instilling discipline in your children, and a regular exercise routine is a great way to do just that. I personally like lifting weights, and my kids like mimicking or making fun of me while I do it, but either way they’re doing the motions and that’s what I wanted. Even if they’re only doing squats and presses because it’s funny to them, they’re still doing it, and if they do it EVERY morning with me, then that’s a habit! Yay!

Working Out With Your Kids

There’s a lot of ways to get your kids active, even if it means tricking them to a degree. My children are young enough that ” *gasp* oh no! Run!” is a good way to get them to chase me around or run with me. When they see me lifting weights, they come and do it to – we went so far as to buy them some little 1lb dumbbells from Five Below so they could lift with me and they LOVE it. Essentially, if you have toddlers, they want to do what you’re doing, so just let them. Encourage them working out by giving them their own tools to do it. Create games, like playing zombies – my daughter and son love to sit on my shoulders and we become the zombie and we chase the other kid. Often I get injured but it’s a lot of fun; as a dad, my pain seems to equal enjoyment for my kids so your mileage my vary.

What if your kids are older? Having been a pre-teen/teen at one point, I can tell you they absolutely DON’T want to do what you’re doing. How do you make them exercise with you? This might be easier if your kids are involved in sports and need to practice – offer to run with them, play catch, or shoot some hoops. Easy peasy, but if your kids are “indoor kids” like I was as a teen, it might be a bit more difficult.

As a kid who grew up shying away from team sports, the only physical activity I liked was biking. I hate structured … anything, so being forced to run with other kids, or play baskethoops, or run, or ANYTHING like that was something that I immediately rejected. I did, however, like long, unstructured walks in the woods. Biking with my friends was ALWAYS great, and once I got into high school, lifting weights captured my attention. Basically any introspective activity that allowed me to work at my own pace and discover my own goals and gains was something that I loved. This is a good way to approach kids who don’t go for team sports. Weight lifting and personal activity is a journey of self-discovery that allows a person to develop their strengths and interests without having to compare themselves to other people or feel like they’re holding back more people.

Especially with older kids, be open with your intentions and desire to start a new, healthy lifestyle. Some will jump on board just because they want to help you succeed, or see your success and want that for themselves as well. With all things, it’s important to be open and supportive with your kids.

Working Out With Your Kids

It’s largely about inflection here, so in this part we talk about using your kids as implements of exercise! Trust me, it’s not as weird as it sounds. My kids are young enough that they LOVE being thrown in the air, given piggy-back rides, bench-pressed, chased, or swung around. I’m not advocating that you lift your kids up 10 times and toss them on the ground like a dumbbell – that’s both not a good idea and also it’s poor form. What I AM suggesting is get your kids involved like a game. I can guarantee that when I get home tonight, the first thing out of my son’s mouth will be “Daddy can you throw me in the air”? And I will oblige him, not just because I want him to have fun and because I want to spend time with him, but also because picking my 40 pound son up, lifting him up over my head, and tossing him straight up is great exercise. It works my lower back, stomach, and shoulder muscles, not to mention the entirety of my arms.  By the time I’ve tossed little dude into the air two dozen times, my arms are tired and my upper body has some decent resistance training (and my kid has had fun, whatever).

I also will hold my daughter while in a prone position on my back, and with her held out in front of me, move into a sit-up position. This adds extra difficulty to the actual sit-up while working my arms. Plus she thinks it’s hilarious. My point is that there’s a TON of things you can do, especially when your kids are little, that involve them in your fitness while adding difficulty and resistance to your workout. Play time can be both productive to your gainz AND a ton of fun for them.

Again with older kids, it’s probably less likely  you’ll be able to throw them around or lift them up, but you can race them. If they’re in sports, you can run drills with them, sprint, play catch – just about anything you can do in the previous example, only more focused on your own progress. Where in the previous section I am advocating for getting your kids moving with you, I am in this scenario suggesting you find a way to get into their routine, if they’re ok with it. Basketball drills are insanely difficult, even if you’re a teen. A parent is going to feel probably crushed by sprinting stairs or something similar, and that’s great. It gives you a goal to work towards and a person to chase after, plus it gets you more involved in your kids’ lives, and that’s to the benefit of everyone.

Lead By Example

I have made a special effort in the last year or so to avoid being on my phone or the computer when my kids are around. After they go to bed, I work or play video games or pass out because I’m ancient and don’t sleep enough. When they’re awake, though, I have been doing my best to engage and teach them, and exercising with them is part of that. If your kids see you sitting on the couch all night after work, drinking a beer and eating garbage, that will be their “normal”. If you spend all your time with your face glued to a screen instead of being active with them, they’ll assume they’re not as high a priority. We’re sedentary enough at work or school all day; you owe it to yourself and your children to be more. Be active, include your children, and improve all of your lives at the same time. They’ll thank you for it later.

Pan-Fried Skate Fish (Low Carb)

Skate…fish?

Ok, so this might not be a common fish to come across, but a local fishmonger had skate on sale, so I decided to give it a shot. Skate meat comes from the “wings” of the fish – skate fish look like stingrays, but there’s a handful of biological differences that I don’t feel are necessary for me to go into here because this isn’t a biology blog. If you absolutely need to know more about the biology of skate fish, ask your mom’s new boyfriend, Kurt, because he got his degree in marine biology and he never gets a chance to talk about it.

Skate is a mild, white fish, and it tastes like a cross between crab and scallops; that is, not “fishy” really at all. This makes it very good for picky eaters, kids especially. The technique I use to bread and fry this fish is equally good for almost any fish you’d want to cook and keep paleo/keto-friendly.

Finally, I paired my skate with these sweet and sour sauteed peppers and onions, which I adore. I think coleslaw would work, too, but I didn’t have cabbage.

keto fried fish, low carb fish recipe, lchf fried fish
Cooking fish used to frighten me, but now only public speaking really scares me, and you can’t cook that.

 

Pan-Fried Skate and Sweet & Sour Peppers and Onions

Ingredients
1 pound fresh skate, cleaned
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup crushed pork rinds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste
Coconut or olive oil (for frying)

For the peppers and onions
1 large green pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 large red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Swerve sweetener
1 tbsp kosher salt, and then more to taste
Olive oil

Lemon Butter Sauce (optional but delicious)
3 tbsp Kerrygold or other “European-style” salted butter
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Best to start the veggies first, since they take the longest. Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat, and coat the pan with several tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the peppers and onions in and let them fry, salting them and stirring for a minute or two. After they’ve sauteed for a little bit, sprinkle the Swerve over them and keep stirring every few minutes for about 5 minutes. Pour the vinegar on, stir, and let it stew for 5 more minutes, turning the heat to medium. Add some more oil over the top, stir and let the peppers and onions continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn and stick to the pan. You DO want some carmelization, though, so don’t worry if they start to darken a bit. Add another slug or two of balsamic vinegar (another 1/4 cup) and allow to cook off. When they peppers and onions start to get visibly soft and dark, you can turn the heat off and stir them occasionally, allowing them to continue to cook in the residual heat of the pan.
Mix the coconut flour, crushed pork rinds, cayenne, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl. Dredge each piece of fish in the mixture well; the skate “wings” have ridges and you’ll want to make sure that the breading gets in between each one. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, and melt your coconut oil, about 4 tbsp per 1/2lb piece of fish. When it starts to shimmer, place the fish down in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, then flipping, cooking for another 2-3 minutes. I left mine in for 3 minutes on each side, allowing it to crisp up a bit more, and the fish was still fantastic – not dry in the least.

Remove the fried fish to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan (or microwave, whatever) until it’s completely liquid. Mix in the lemon juice and pepper, and serve with the fish. I poured mine over the fish and it comes back together a bit, kind of like a butter glaze. I recommend this, because if you’re not clarifying the butter it will likely harden to a degree so dipping might not be an option. In addition, the butter glaze was delicious.

Even when I make more refined fare, I cannot escape that my house is controlled by tiny, genetic copies of myself.

 

Serve it all hot and together. You can also make a pretty solid keto tartar sauce with:

1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup dill pickle relish
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Swerve

Super easy and pretty delish as well.

Like I said, this breading technique works for most fish you’d want to bread: catfish, cod, pollock, walleye, etc. It’s a mild breading and it doesn’t absorb grease the way that flour or cornmeal can, so it keeps a light fish tasting light while adding a layer of crispiness and overall completeness that fried fish begs for.

If you celebrate Lent, happy Lent! Here’s a fish recipe to try and still stay keto/paleo.

If you don’t celebrate lent, happy Time-When-Fish-Is-Cheap! Here’s a fish recipe to try and still stay keto/paleo.