Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making Tallow

Good morning!  Just wanted to write up a quick post about my recent purchase from A Better Way Beef. I purchased a mixed box of grass fed, grass finished beef and an additional 10 pounds of suet.  The price was great, $5.35 per pound and the mix included 7 pounds of ground beef, two beautiful shoulder round steaks, some beef short ribs, a nice sized rump roast and a couple of nice sized chuck steaks, and $3.00 per pound for the suet.  They keep the prices low by allowing smaller purchases rather than insisting a customer purchase a whole side of beef.  The cost of a whole side would be prohibitive for me, and that would keep me purchasing commercially produced meat at the grocery stores.  That is just not going to happen again, now that I have found "A Better Way!"

I finally found the extra time to render some of the suet into tallow the last Wednesday evening.
 This is the frozen suet after I removed the amount I need to render the bowl of tallow shown below.

The procedure is very simple and I was amazed at how easy it was to break off chunks of the suet with a sharp knife.

I chopped the chunks into smaller pieces and filled a 13x9x2 baking pan about 1/2 full, then placed it in the oven which had been preheated to 225 degrees F.  I checked on it once an hour, stirring the pieces to make sure it melted evenly.  Low heat and slow melting is the best way to do this, so make sure you have plenty of time on your hands if you are going to give this a shot.  I am thinking it took about 4 hours... Strain in a good stainless steel mesh strainer after you are done.

The resulting tallow is pure white.  Beautiful and probably the MOST stable fat for frying.  As a matter of fact, I fried my eggs in this fat yesterday morning, low heat of course, but not ONE splatter.

I can imagine how tasty the sweet potato fries are going to be!

I will make sure to add progress photos from the next batch I render so you all can see what the chunks of suet look like as they are melting in the pan.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hog's Hunt 25k

Saturday, April 14. Woke up at 4am, made coffee, cooked breakfast for the road and loaded my gear in the car.  Lucky for me, I had company for this trip, my granddaughter, my son, and my nephew.

Granddaughter, Juliana, had never been to a race with me before, though her dad has accompanied me on a couple of occasions.  My nephew, Bill, was running his first trail race, and it would also be the first time he had run more than 10 miles.  We were both signed up for the 25k.

The temps were a little warmer than usual for this time of year, so I cautioned Bill never to leave an aid station with a water bottle that was not topped off, at the same time making a mental note of that fact for myself.

For some reason, I still don't think I have the fueling worked out for these shorter distance events... not sure if I should be mixing fat and protein with the carbs.  It seems I either need to go into them fasted (I do my training runs/walks of up to 10 miles with no fuel and fasted), or fuel with the sweet potato mixture I have come up with for longer events.  Hammer gel mixed with some egg white protein just did NOT get it for me.  I was able to maintain a 12:11 per mile pace all the way to about 10 miles, then the wheels fell off.  I am still not sure if it was due to the heat and high humidity of the improper fueling.  One thing for certain, I did drink plenty of fluids.  Thanks to my friends from H-T Rex, I was able to cool down with 2.8 miles to go by dumping multiple cups of ice water over my head.  Man, did that feel good!

No pr for me this time because the last 5.5 miles were a lot slower than the first 10, but everyone knows you can't PR every time.  3:28 and some change... 42nd out of 80 total females is not bad in my book.

I will add a start and finish line photo a little later.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dinner in a Hurry

Didn't really feel like cooking when I got home from work, so I prepared something simple.

3 free range eggs over easy (cooked in butter from grass fed cows)
about 3/4 cup of roasted root veggies
               (turnips, beets, sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil with curry powder, sea salt and black pepper)
about 3/4 cup homemade sauerkraut

Saturday at the Park

Since the plan was to go to my sister's house for Easter Sunday, I felt like I needed to get a workout done Saturday.

I was very surprised to arrive at Stephen F. Austin State Park and find a sign stating all the campsites were sold out!  I was only planning to stick around for 2 hours at the most, just to get in a good hill workout, and since I have a state parks pass, I can visit as often as I like without paying a day pass fee.

Here is a map of the trails for reference... I started out at the Cottonwood trail head near the amphitheater.  Just a little way down the trail, the Opossum Loop breaks off to the right and there is a nice little down hill to a bridge over a creek bed then back up the other side of the creek.  As you proceed around the loop, you come to the intersection of the Raccoon Bend Trail. If you turn right, it takes you toward the Brazos river which is still pretty high, and if you make a left turn, it leads you back to the Cottonwood trail, or if you follow Raccoon Bend just a little farther, you can follow the Opossum Loop back to the Cottonwood trail.  None of these cover too much distance, so I chose a sort of figure 8 pattern for a decent 4 mile hill repeat workout.  Each of these trails have a nice little up and down near where they intersect with Cottonwood, so I ran up and down all the hills and walked the flats for recovery... I ended the morning with a couple of miles of easy hiking to check out the Riverbend and Copperhead trails which were both under water my last trip to the park!  Things had dried out nicely and the park staff had mowed some of the tall grass to make the trails more visible.  It was fun to walk along a few downed trees and jump back and forth over them for fun... also walked along the edges of the little bridge over the creek (forward, backward and side to side) to work on my balance... that's when the mosquitoes attacked in full force!

Side note: Thanks for leaving me the Deep Woods Off, Mellody.  Had I not sprayed myself down and rubbed that horrible stuff all over my face and ears, the mosquitoes would have just picked me up and carried me away.  As it stood, they were trying to fly inside my ears to bite my eardrums because that's the only place I didn't spray the Off!!!

I am always encouraged when I see families with their children out exploring the trails at a state park, and Saturday was no exception!  There were families headed out to the river with their fishing poles and families riding the trails on their bicycles!  One little lady was training for a triathlon and her mother had recently completed her first half marathon!

Notes on nutrition... started this workout about 3 hours after I ate breakfast, and find that I don't need any electrolytes or nutrition on walks/runs up to about 2 hours.  Anything longer than that and I use 1 or 2 Endurolytes an hour, and might take along a Larabar or a bite or two of cooked peeled sweet potato in a ziploc bag.  For ultra distance racing or training longer than 2 hours, I have a liquid nutrition drink that is made from sweet potatoes and other stuff... and I make home made Pemmican bars too.  I will post these recipes in a separate blog post.