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So, I wrote about going hardcore paleo since Jan 4, no cheats (as best as I can) and it's been a challenge. My starting weight was about 247. But this mostly wasn't about the scale, but more about feeling better and getting rid of the "fat jeans" was just a bonus.

I weighed myself yesterday - i'm at 232.6. About 15 pounds lost in 2 months. I had a few plateaus, which I found strange and a bit frustrating. I'm just going to write a few bullet points and thoughts after reaching 60 days.

  • My attitude about food now is one of ambivalence. Hunger isn't a ranging beast. When I get hungry it is a dull feeling of, "Oh, I should eat." rather than "HOLY SHIT I NEED FOOD, I'M STARVING!" I have had multiple weekend days where I made my "Uh-Mazing Breakfast" and didn't eat until the next day. I wasn't really hungry anymore.
  • I don't get tired as much after eating. The afternoon slumps last maybe 5-10 minutes after I eat now. But mostly that's gone.
  • I feel stronger at Crossfit. It's hard to describe, but eating clean simply makes me feel less weak. I'm amped up to do a workout. I can feel myself getting stronger every week, and it's only been 4 weeks since I returned. I still have a ways to go, but I like what i'm seeing.
  • I'm sleeping better. My biggest issue is staying strict and going to bed by 9:30 pm. I wake up at 5:45 am and i'm really trying to get in 8 hours of sleep. Last night...up until 1am. Just wasn't really tired. I feel fine at work, but I know that my muscles need those 8 hours to recover and repair.
  • My size 38 jeans are now loose on me. Not quite ready for size 36, but maybe by April, I will be there. No six pack. That's not really my goal, but I still have a bit of a tire around my waist that i'd like to see reduced.
  • My friend Claire and I have been motivating each other. She's been making incredible weight loss since she started in September. We have been sharing food advice and I think losing weight helps when you have a group or others to share results and ideas.
  • I don't miss alcohol. My only cheat was on my birthday last month. My next cheat is when I go to Barbados. I definitely think the biggest issue with weight loss is alcohol, which, essentially, is sugar.
  • I do miss bread, especially hard crusty bread and pizza. But like my hunger, its not a raging feeling of dying to eat bread but a wistful thought of, "Mmmm, i'd like to have that someday".
  • Having a NutriBullet has made eating paleo a hundred times easier. My biggest issue is getting fresh spinach every week. Monday-Friday I have the same smoothie every morning, along with 2 Fish Oil pills and 1 Vitamin C pill. I have found Vitamin C helps with soreness (for me). I also do 5000mg of Vitamin D 3 days a week (Mon-Wed-Fri) for bone strength.
  • Having Kettlebell Kitchen for lunch is the other reason why this is so easy. I pick up 3 meals on Monday night and 3 meals on Wednesday night. This covers my lunches for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and two dinners for the week (usually Tuesday night and Thursday night). I will often make my own dinner Wednesday night, and order a salad for dinner on Fridays. Saturday nights could be dinner out, or maybe I plan to make something more involved, like meatloaf or Pot Roast. Same might be true for Sunday night, I will make a meal that is good for 2 days, so I can eat it Sunday/Monday.
  • My target goal is around 220. Until then, I plan to keep doing strict paleo, with 1 cheat meal (with alcohol) a month. Honestly, it doesn't feel that difficult to maintain, my biggest issue is figuring out what meals to make on Saturday, Sunday/Monday and Wednesday nights. Nom Nom Paleo Crispy Chicken (it is in their cookbook) is often an easy go-to meal when I don't have a lot of time.

    Now for my "Uh-Mazing Breakfast". You can buy everything I write here on FreshDirect.

    Ingredients needed:

    1/2 pound of thick cut bacon
    3 eggs
    1 plum tomato
    1/8 onion
    1/3 red pepper
    1 medium sweet potato
    Coconut oil (you can sub in olive oil here)
    fruit of your choice - I often choose blackberries
    1/2 avocado
    1.3 ounces of Citterio Cubetti Pancetta (1/3 of the 4 oz package)
    Spices Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Basil, Oregano, Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper, Paprika, Chili Powder (alternatives: Aleppo Pepper and Herbes de Provence)

    1. Start your oven and pre-heat to 400 degrees. Often I take a shower or walk Rocco while this happens.
    2. Once at 400 degrees, line a baking pan with tin foil and line with thick cut bacon. Put into oven. Set timer to 18-20 minutes.
    3. Add coconut oil to a cast iron pan. Put on heat to 5/10.
    4. Slice 1 medium sweet potato with a mandolin slicer. If you don't have a mandolin slicer, just make thin slices.
    5. Throw sliced sweet potato into a bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Penzey's Herbes de Provence. If you don't have that spice, just use Basil and Oregano. Mix.
    6. Throw the sweet potato into the cast iron pan. It should sizzle. Stir for a bit and cover with a lid, turn heat down to 4/10. You will have to take the lid off every 2 minutes, and flip the sweet potato slices. Very important or they can burn.
    7. Put another pan on heat at 5/10 with coconut oil.
    8. Chop onions and peppers. The size you want is about a handful of each. Also get 1 ounce of pancetta out. Throw all three into the hot pan. Stir occasionally.
    9. While that pan is sizzling, chop 1 plum tomato. After 4 minutes, then add to the pan with the onion/pepper/panchetta mix. Add salt and pepper. Stir. Your goal here is to let the tomatoes cook a bit, but don't overcook so that they get too soft. I guesstimate that takes about 2-3 minutes.
    10. Grab 3 eggs. Whisk in a bowl. Add to pan with onions/peppers/tomato/panchetta mix. I usually put on one side of the pan the veggie/bacon mix and add the eggs to the other side of the pan. Let it cook for 1 minute, then stir gently. Let cook a bit. Stir again. Total time here is about 3 minutes.
    11. By this time, the timer from the bacon should be going off. Flip the bacon once. Reset timer to 5 minutes.
    12. Keep track off the egg pan & sweet potato hash pan. While you do that, slice 1/2 avocado. I often make a cup of coffee around this time.

    Boom. That's it. Put the eggs & the sweet potato on a dish. Throw on the paprika & chili powder or Aleppo Pepper if you have that instead. Add the sliced avocado. Put the bacon on a dish. Put the fruit in a bowl. Enjoy. I eat it every Saturday and Sunday. Keeps me full all afternoon, and often skip lunch and just have dinner.

Tasty Burgers & Salmon w/Pecans

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Day 1 is behind me and I learned two new things to make myself for dinner which were easy and delicious.

1. Salmon with pecans and rosemary.
Grab a filet of salmon, coat a baking pan with coconut oil, top the salmon with pecans, rosemary and some sea salt, cook at 350 for 12 minutes. Fan-tastic. I'm not a fishy-fish guy and normally do NOT eat salmon, but this was the bomb. Simple to make and fast!

2. Burgers
There are a billion burger recipies out there. I found one and it converted me from Chris' Bay Burger:
1 pound ground beef, 1 tsp basil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp salt, pepper - cooked in olive oil on the stove (a grill would be perfect, of course) - left off the buns, just grabbed onion & tomato and wrapped it up in red leaf lettuce.

We are a city that loves to eat. That's easily apparent walking down Washington Street, with bars and restaurants bustling with diners every night. In the last few years, I have gotten into cooking for myself. It's a lot of fun, but one of my greatest frustrations is opening up my cookbook, reading what i'd like to make, and then realizing that i'm missing a key ingredient, so I put together a list of items that I keep in my try to keep pantry.

When I came up with this list, it's about freshness. I didn't include easily perishable items. Sure, you can have a big bag of potatoes sitting in your closet, but I have found, in my experience, that in Hoboken it was much easier just to stop in the local farmers market and grab things like that when you are ready to cook. Same is true with meat. You can, for example, get a vacuum sealer, and store cuts of meat in your freezer when ready to use them. For me, this list was about key ingredients that are great to have on hand when you are ready to cook or bake.

My first list are my Top 10. These are the standards, that you have to have for almost anytime you think about cooking:

  1. Sugar
  2. Flour
  3. Butter
  4. Milk
  5. Olive Oil
  6. Garlic
  7. Dry Pasta
  8. Marinara Sauce
  9. Cooking Spray
  10. Multi-Grain Bread

That covers a lot of what you will cook with. For things like milk, eggs and butter, I buy small quantities, so that I always have something fresh and don't feel guilty throwing away 1/2 pint of bad milk versus a 1/2 gallon.

The items would be my "basics" list:

  1. Basic condiments (Mayo, Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, Soy, Teriaki, Worcestershire sauce, Maple Syrup, Tabasco, Peanut Butter, Grape Jelly, Balsamic Vinegar)
  2. Basic seasonings (Table Salt, Pepper, Kosher Salt, Oregano, Basil, Cayenne Pepper, Boullion cubes (beef, chicken, veg))
  3. Basic baking ingredients (Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Vanilla Extract, Yeast, Solid shortening, Cornstarch, Brown Sugar, Bisquick)
  4. Basic others (Red & White Cooking Wine, White/Red Wine Vinegar,
  5. Basic Canned Foods (Tuna, Tomatoes (Paste and Diced), Chicken/Beef Broth, Marinara Sauce)
  6. Basic canned/bottled drinks (Coke, 7up, Seltzer, Water)

Advanced Seasonings: Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Ginger, Dry Mustard, Bay Leaves, Nutmeg, Paprika, Poppy Seed, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Powder and Cinnamon.

Advanced Items: Honey, Dried Beans, Brown Rice, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, Pickles (Dill Gherkins), Dijon mustard, Canola Oil, Peanut Oil, Vegetable Oil, wedge of Parmesan cheese.

Some things to remember:

  • Put the flour and sugar in an air tight resealable containers

  • Put the brown sugar in a resealable bag, add a fresh apple slice to the bag to keep it from hardening.

  • I put my Multi-Grain Bread in the freezer. I can whip up fresh tuna fish, pop the bread in the toaster and have a delicious sandwich in 10 minutes.

  • Remember with spices to get the SMALLEST container possible. Most dry ground spices last about 2-3 years, if kept airtight and in cool spaces.

Liquor Cabinent. Now, being the bartender that I am, I have to give you a list of liquors that every adult Hobokenite should have on hand. Imagine inviting someone over to your house and you can't fix them a nice cocktail? This is what I have in my cabinet:

  1. Grey Goose, Belvedere Vodka or Ketel One Vodka
  2. Jim Beam or Jack Daniels Bourbon
  3. Tanqueray Gin
  4. Captain Morgan Rum
  5. Johnny Walker Black
  6. Bacardi Rum
  7. Jagermeister
  8. Red Wine (preferably Zinfandel or Pinot Noir for more casual drinkability when guests are over)
  9. White White (always in the fridge, Pinot Grigio is the better choice for young Hobokenites)
  10. Beer (Yuengling, of course!)

Now, cordials are what make a drink a drink. I don't have all of these, but if you are having a party, never a bad idea to have the key 3 juices (OJ, Cranberry, Pineapple), i'd grab Cointreau (or Triple Sec) and some Red Bulls. These other ones are optional...but great to have on hand for mixed drinks or shots:

  • Amaretto

  • Chambord

  • Frangelico

  • Midori

  • Sour Mix

  • Grenadine

  • That should do it. Print out my list, and go over to Shop Rite at 900 Madison - you can buy everything you need right there, including the liquor.

    See something missing from my list? Email me at and I'll see if it should be added!

    Sweet Sausage & Ricotta Cheese


    This could hands down be my favorite pasta dish. It is very easy to make and if you like pasta, you will love this, trust me. I think total time to make this, from preparation to finish is about 40 minutes. This will make about 3 good sized servings, or 2 servings if you have goat-boy Jon as a roommate. Jon is an eating machine. I was making this the other night and Kristen and he were mocking me because they read my entry the other day. They kept trying to distract me, but it really wasn't working because I wasn't under pressure. I think I just don't like it when people try to talk to me and i'm trying to concentrate - like if I have something on the stove and i'm trying to multi-task.

    This dish is perfect for the normal Hobokenite who doesn't have a lot of time at night to cook, but wants something delicious for dinner. Of course you can throw in some of Nanny's meatballs along with this dish, too.


    1 medium yellow onion
    1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausage
    1 cup of diced canned tomatoes
    1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
    1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1 lb penne pasta
    2 tbsp fresh basil
    Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
    1 tbsp olive oil


    1. Chop the onion, you only need a 1/2 cup which is about half the onion. Put the other half in a ziploc bag and save for another day.

    2. Most packages of italian sausage are 6 links, that weigh 1lb. It usually take 3 links out to use, and ziploc the other 3. If you are feeding 2 roommates, like me, you can use 4 links. Take the sausage out of the package, and carefully slice the outer lining of the sausage and discard. Set the sausage aside.

    3. Take the basil and wash it. Remove the leafs from the stems and you can tear it into small pieces or chop the basil into fine bits.


    1. Put the tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet and heat it on medium. Add the onion, stirring every 30 seconds, for about 6 minutes. Careful with the heat, you don't want the onions black, just a nice golden brown.

    2. Once that is done, add the sausage and turn up the heat a bit to medium-high. Take a wooden spoon and break up the sausage in the pan into small pieces while it cooks. This takes about 4-5 minutes for the sausage to cook through. Make sure the sausage is lightly browned, but not pink.

    3. Stir in the tomatoes to the skillet and keep the heat the same level. It should bubble gently, add the salt and pepper to taste. Just remember that sausage is fairly salty, so I only use a pinch or two of salt and about 1/2 tablespoon of pepper.

    4. You want the tomatoes to reduce, to get to the point where the tomatoes sauce thicken as the water evaporates. Don't worry, you really can't mess this up too badly. Just stir from time to time, give it a good 10 minutes and you should be fine. Once it is done, you can take it off the heat and set aside.

    5. While your tomatoes are reducing, get your pasta ready by grabbing a pot, adding water and bringing it to a boil. Once boiling, add in a teaspoon of salt and all the pasta at once. Stir it a bit, to keep it from sticking from time to time. Don't overcook the pasta, you want it al dente - not soggy! Just read the instructions on the package, and if it says 10-13 minutes to cook - at the 10 minute mark take out one of the penne with a spoon, run it under cold water and taste. It should be firm to the taste, but not chewy. It takes some practice to get al dente down, but once you do, you will enjoy it!

    6. When the pasta is almost done, add the skillet back to medium heat and stir in the ricotta cheese and basil. Your goal here is to mix throughly the cheese and basil, while heating the skillet. Should take about 2 minutes.

    7. Take the pasta out of the pot and drain. Don't run cold water on the pasta, you want that starch!

    8. Put the pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into the skillet, and mix on medium-low heat for 1 minute.

    9. Pour a glass of your favorite red wine (Grab a 2000 Rosenblum Zinfandel), serve immediately and enjoy!

    Nanny's Meatballs & Sauce Recipe

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    Growing up I used to love going to Nanny's (my father's mother) house in Philadelphia for primarily one reason: The food.

    I didn't really know my Nanny and Pop-Pop as an adult. My knowledge and understanding of both of them was from the perspecitive of a child. A child with hyperactivity and a low tolerance for boredom.

    They lived at 11th St. in North Philadelphia, very close to Temple University Hospital, it was rowhomes and concrete with a tiny patch of grass behind each house. In some ways, it is much like Hoboken, but I think Hoboken's beautiful brownstones and history make the bland Philadelphia brick structures pale in comparison.

    But growing up in the green sprawling suburbs, it was like being exiled to Romania for a day. Our family would visit about every other month, I think. Everything about this section of Philly was gray to me and dark. Their couches had plastic on it and there was a faint musty smell in the house. The family room was painted a periwinkle color, which was all the rage in 1960's fashion - and not one bit of furniture was ever changed in all my years that I visited. But, there was the good meatballs and sausages to look forward to each time my family arrived for a Sunday dinner.

    Now that i'm teaching myself how to cook, I asked my mother if she had any good recipes. One of the first she sent was Nanny's Meatballs & Sauce Recipe. I read it and my first reaction was:

    That's it?!

    If you are expecting something mind blowing, you are going to be unbelieveably disappointed. This recipe is simple, but the results are delicious - even my roommates agree and it was devoured by everyone at The Live 3 BBQ. Try it, what do you have to lose? The whole list of ingredients will cost about $15 and easily feed 4 to 6 people.

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