Archives for: July 2013
If you think barbacoa is a Spanish word for barbeque you are wrong.
If you told me a year ago, that I would not only eat, but cook for myself the cheek of a cow, I would have thought you crazy.
I confess, it's true. I truly enjoy this tender Mexican dish.
I have been working on a genealogy project for a client. Two books in the three volume set have already been printed, and we finished work on the third yesterday. Now we proof...and proof...and proof again.
My client and I work together 2-3 days a week. We usually start about 10:30, and she serves us lunch. Often it is fresh fruit or vegetables from her garden. Sometimes it is fresh eggs from the chickens who run wild in her yard. One day, she asked if I liked barbacoa and picadillo. I told her that I had eaten picadillo, but I wasn't familiar with barbacoa. She sent out for one taco of each, from a little taco stand near her home.
Picadillo is ground beef and potatoes, cooked with onion and spices. It is good.
I tasted the barbacoa and immediately loved it. It was a very flavorful, tender shredded beef served with raw onions and cilantro. My client waited until I had finished, then she told me that barbacoa is the meat from the cheek of the cow.
If I had known what I was going to eat that first time, I think I would have gagged. Cheek meat? Really? Yuk!
However I had already tried it and was hooked. From that point on, if she didn't have any specific lunch plans, she sent out for barbacoa.
She cooks her own barbacoa, and one day pulled a package of raw meat out of her freezer and told me it was a cow's cheek. She told me to cook it in my crockpot all day with onion and garlic. After it cooled she said to separate the meat from the fat with my hands. There is a lot of fat around the meat, but if you separate carefully, the meat itself is very lean.
It was so good, and since I was the only Type O in the house at the time, it lasted several days.
I've seen barbacoa recipes on the internet that call for tomatoes, chili powder, peppers and other spices. No, No, No. That's not how barbacoa is made in South Texas.
My client and I have talked a lot about food, including the Blood Type Diet. She is also Type O. I would say she is politely skeptical about this diet. Once in a while she tempts me with something that is avoid. Sometimes by accident, and sometimes she is testing me.
It amuses her to watch me eat the barbacoa and onions out of the tortilla with a fork. That's ok, because I'm smiling as I enjoy this unique cut of beef.
This morning my weight is within a half pound of what it was last December. This has been an unexpected struggle. I thought I would share what I have learned.
1. I know I run the risk of appearing hypocritical when I am happy that I have lost weight. After all, it was not many weeks ago that I wrote a blog called "Skinny Jeans Can Kill You." In a way that blog was a warning to myself not to let my desire to lose the weight I put on in January become an obsession with fashion fads or trying to change my body type. I walked through several years with DD as she fell victim to an exercise/eating disorder. It is dangerous territory both physically and spiritually. I stand by the Skinny Jeans blog. And you can hold me accountable if I ever express the hint of a desire to weigh less than 125 - a healthy weight for my height and body type.
2. For many years I have put on a few pounds in the winter. I remember one year when SS was running middle school track. I put on a pair of shorts on the first warm day of spring and took them off again. I mentally called this "winter weight gain." It was 3-5 pounds, and I didn't worry about it because it always seemed to melt away when the weather got warm.
3. This is not holiday weight gain. Because I'm focused on health, I don't overindulge in rich holiday foods. My weight going into January is normal. Then the scale starts to go up.
4. I think part of it is that I'm not doing as many outdoor activities in January and February. There's no yard work. I don't stop exercising, but my lifestyle is not as active. I work out at the neighborhood fitness center or with a video in my living room, but that's not the same as an outdoor excursion or a project in the yard that takes half a day.
5. I think it's also that I'm cold. Those of you who live north of Dallas, will laugh at me. South Texas doesn't really get cold, compared to most of the country. However it is colder than the rest of the year, and I think my metabolism slows down a little to compensate.
This year was different.
* I put on more than 3-5 pounds. At one point my weight was up nearly 10 pounds.
* Instead of storing weight in my legs and thighs, it went to my tummy. I have always had a small waist - a decent trade off for having "big leg genes." But this year I found myself identifying with belly fat commercials. Belly fat is dangerous and has serious consequences for long term health.
* The extra weight didn't disappear when the weather turned warm.
At Memorial Day I faced the fact that I was going to have to be proactive, if I wanted to fit in my summer clothes and look nice in my swimsuit.
I faced the fact that my exciting book publishing project has kept me at the computer more hours than I'm used to. I've been sitting much more than is good for me. Now, I try to make myself get up and do a household chore after an hour at the computer. I ought to get up right now, but I'm going to finish this blog first.
I faced the fact that I am almost 60, and hormone changes are going to force me to add exercise or cut back on food for the rest of my life. I really like to eat. But I made myself take a hard look at portion sizes and cut back a little on food. Then I upped my exercise.
I faced the fact that we were eating supper way too late at night. 8:30 was normal. 9:30 was not unusual. I'm now eating my supper between 6:00 and 6:30. HH does not like this schedule. I warm his dinner up in the microwave about 8:00. I'm hoping he will eventually join me for an earlier supper, but if not, I have to do what is healthiest for me.
I don't understand it, but some beneficial and neutral foods seem to add noticeable weight over night - almost like wheat does. I have practically eliminated nuts, except as a garnish. I've cut way back on ghee and mayonnaise as well. I really miss trail mix, nut butter & carrots, and chicken salad. I'm hoping that I can bring some of these foods back in a small way for the warm part of the year. I have faced the fact that I will not eat them during the winter months.
Mostly, I am facing the fact that my body is changing as I get older. This is not popular in our youth obsessed culture. But it is completely predictable according to my Biblical world view. I may as well embrace it, and make healthy adjustments where necessary. The other choices would be surrender to fat or take prescription medications. Neither of those sound good to me. So, I'll post this blog and get moving!