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The Fisher of Stories

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Yesterday my wife and I began the Whole30 food program. I hate to think of it as a diet, it’s more of an eating change.

The basic tenements of the program can be found here.
We didn’t really have the groceries on hand to begin the right way, but I have a couple of Yeah Write buddies who are in on it, and I wanted to give them some support.
I weighed on Sunday. I am 324 pounds. I have man tits. My gut is enormous. I’m currently taking three medications for diabetes (Metformin, Glyburide, and Invokana), a pill for blood pressure, and a pill for a fatty liver, as well as an antidepressant.
Something has to give.
So yesterday was Day One.
I had two poached eggs for breakfast. That was it. That was a poor decision on my part, but it’s what we had. For lunch, tuna. No seriously, that’s it, tuna with pickles. I ate that meal in the teacher’s lounge and wanted to cry afterwards.
I was mean to students, moody, and determined to go get groceries for a better dinner. So when I left school, that’s what I did.
Dinner was sirloin steak, sliced thin with mushrooms, garlic, and a sauce made from beef stock, fish sauce, and oregano. My god it was amazing. I put the larger portion in a container for lunch today. That was a difficult thing to do.
I also made clarified butter, which is something I’ve never done before. Something else I did was buy only myself dinner, and didn’t get anything for my wife and kids. Alicia pointed this out to me when she got home, and because we’ve begun depriving our bodies of things it thinks it needs, she pointed that out to me in a rather angry fashion.
I had a church league basketball game last night, and my performance was awful. Not that it has even been grand (not since high school), but I missed every shot I took and airballed a three. Embarrassing.
Even tougher was coming home. I was starving (or so I thought), and I wound up eating plain salsa (Whole30 approved) and pistachios. I went to bed hungry, but (sorry for being personal) I got laid, and that helped a lot. It also helped that Villanova beat UNC in the National Championship game.
Today is Day Two, or Day Twenty-Nine, depending on my mood. I’m going to try to post every single day, even if it’s just words and no pictures. I’ve accidentally discovered that food photographs way better when it’s healthy, and so I’d like to document that for you guys.
I also don’t plan on posting anything on public Facebook until the deed is done. Then I’ll post the link to Day One, and people can follow it through.
Well, let’s do this thing.

Day Two

We’re currently on vacation in sunny Destin, Florida. Aside from the fact that Drake literally just took a dump on the bathroom floor, things are going pretty good.

The water was pretty rough today, not red flag rough, but too rough to take the boys down, who are too brave for their own good. I got super bored, and after we visited the Gulfarium, which is friggin amazing, we stopped at a seafood shop and got some shrimp and scallops, which are just about my favorite seafood in the world.

Before I started cooking, I thought, “Why not do a food blog?” And since no one around me said, “Hey man, that’s a bad idea,” I went for it.

So here you go: Bacon-wrapped sea scallops with serrano peppers and a butter glaze.

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Here you see my ingredients, those sweet, sweet scallops, a few serrano peppers, some Great Value butter and bacon (shut up, we’re poor, we spent all our money on the condo), and some Greek seasoning we brought from home.image
Next step, cut the bacon in half, then line those fatty pork belly slices up on a sheet tray. You have to par-bake them, get them sizzling, otherwise you wind up with raw bacon and scallops drier than a British comedy. I baked the bacon slices for 7 minutes at 350 degrees.image
This is me laying bacon on the sheet tray, I’m smiling because bacon, obviously. Anytime I touch the stuff it excites me in a way that my wife normally excites me, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down (bacon).image
Next I cut up the serrano peppers. I suppose you could use a milder pepper like a jalapeño, and let me know if you decide to do that, I’ll get you a skirt while I’m down here and mail it to you. I wanted habaneros, but the ones I brought with us were ruined, and Alicia couldn’t find any at Walmart down here. I cut them in about half inch slices.image
Next I cubed up the butter, then threw the Greek seasoning on top and tossed it in the microwave, and I’m including this picture just because it’s amazing. Look at the detail. If I can’t make it as a food blogger, I can definitely make it as a professional butter photographer, and don’t tell me that’s not a thing, because just look at that butter. Look at it. Oh and microwave that until it’s melted, if you need a time, you’re an idiot.image
Now we’re cooking with peanut oil. Here are the scallops, I rinsed them off, and they are freaking gorgeous. Just pearly white cylinders of sweet, tender oceanic goodness. If I could pull these things out of Fort Gibson Lake, I’d never eat anything again. I pulled the bacon out of the oven next, got too excited about it to take a picture.image
Here’s the assembled product. I just took a serrano, put it on the scallop, then wrapped the whole thing with bacon and secured it with a toothpick. Might want to soak those toothpicks in water first, but other than that, this is what they look like when they’re done. I had three scallops left with no bacon on them, if it was any other food that’d be a shame, but these are scallops. I just tossed them on the sheet tray. I also didn’t take the bacon grease off the sheet tray, because, well, if you need to do that, just throw all this stuff away and go get a vegan burger.image
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Here are a couple of detail shots, first on the cutting board and then on the sheet tray loaded up with bacon grease. I threw the peppers on there too, figured they couldn’t hurt. I basted everything with the butter mixture, but kept about half of it back for after cooking. I kept the oven at 350 degrees, and I baked them for 15 minutes. Now, when they got done, the bacon was still a little soft for my tastes, so I cranked the heat up to 425 degrees for about 5 minutes or so. After cooking, I glazed them with the butter again because scallops are naturally a healthy food and I needed to do everything I possibly could to make them bad for me. In the end, the bacon was still a little soft, but I couldn’t wait anymore because, well, look at them:image
Here’s the finished product, all plated up and ready to eat. These things pair well with whatever it is in that glass, my wife picked it out, all I know is it’s a white. To be honest, these would pair well with raccoon urine, and if you try that, let me know how it is. The heat level was perfect, the scallops were cooked through just right, and aside from being a little soft, the bacon was sublime. We ate on the patio while the kids had hot dogs and Velveeta shells and cheese because scallops are “gross” and “nasty.”

When it’s all said and done, it’s safe to say that if you set one of these scallops on top of your head, your tongue would beat your brains out trying to get to them. I ate every single one on that plate, and sat there and stared at my wife’s (she didn’t have peppers on hers) until she finally looked at me and told me to go eat a hot dog.

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Before anyone gives me crap, those are leftover peppers, I didn’t pick them off. So that’s it, I’m a food blogger now, if anyone wants to get in touch with Food Network on the Pioneer Woman, that’d be great. Now we’ve got to go down to the beach and hunt for crabs and try not to lose a kid in the high tide. Wish us luck.It’s so quiet here. I think that’s what strikes me the most unusually.

I’m laying in my room, and my roommate has music on in the background, and I’m still blown away by how quiet it is here.

Every once in a while when you’re outside, you hear the thump thump thump of tires on cobblestones as a tiny diesel car rumbles past you going way too fast, and you better move because they aren’t stopping.

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No one yells. Anyone who approaches you on the street speaks quietly, and you do get approached on the street a lot because the restaurants here all seem to be competing for the almighty tourist foot traffic.

Everything here is so old, but not in a terrible way. As I walked the streets this morning with a group of friends, I wondered why America isn’t more like this. Cobblestone streets, bright colors, impressive architecture are the norm in this part of the country. I’m sure there are poverty stricken areas like every where else.

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The flight from Finland to Tallinn was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. The sun was setting (sort of) as we flew over the Baltic Sea, and it made me so grateful to a God who would place me in that place at that time.image
I miss my wife. I don’t miss the kids yet but I’m sure I will. My wife and I have a special way of making fun of people together, and I really miss that here. We can say more with a look than with words, and just crack up laughing.

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Alicia look at this guy. Look at him.

{During the course of this blog I FaceTimed my wife and youngest son and I started crying when I saw him smile at me so maybe I miss the kids just a tiny bit.}

I’ve spent WAY too much money on food. I just want to try all the new things I can.

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I’ve determined there is one thing I hate more than terrorism and that’s time zones. Time zones are the worst thing in the world, and I don’t really care for your input on it. I’m sure there are perfectly logical reasons in place for them, but they’re awful.

I climbed 258 stairs in a cramped stairwell full of angry Europeans to get to the top of church spire. The Europeans were angry because as I was going up, a lot of them were coming down, and I’ve got to be honest with you, at stair number 35, I was on the struggle bus. So basically every time they passed me, I’d hit them full in the face with a blast of hot air, and I ate a pretty ripe cheddar for breakfast and let’s just be honest, it wasn’t pretty.

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Harry! I’ve reached the top!

My legs are complete jello, and I am wondering how I’m going to do anything at all tomorrow. I wish I could say the view was worth it, but in all honesty I’m petrified of heights and when we got to the  landing, it was fenced in, and the gap between fence and spire was about two feet. I myself am probably three feet wide, which was a terrifying situation. I put more pressure on that guard fence than Congress has put on Obama care.

The hotel we’re in is…interesting.

The room I’m in has exposed brick, cedar planks and some sort of drywall texturing. The bathroom is pretty modern. There is no air conditioning whatsoever, but apparently you can leave your window open all day every day over here and no one steals anything. Since it’s about 75 degrees tops, leaving the window open is the air conditioning.

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I’m working to focus on the mission in the next couple of days. I’m going to Latvia to spread the gospel. My goal is to use words, but I also want to show them love, an unconditional love that Christ has shown me. This is not a vacation. This is Matthew 28:16-20. This is go ye therefore into all nations.

This is a mission.