I like big spicy butts aka How to make Pork Carnitas

Caution: THIS RECIPE IS A PAIN-IN-THE-ASS. If you don’t actually enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen, you will hate this unless you can get someone else to make it for you.

We became addicted to carnitas in Mexico, and waiting for a year between eating it is not an option. Hell… we barely make it a week before we make it again. It’s even whole30 friendly only by using riced n’ spiced cauliflower instead of my usual rice bowl. Or a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.


It HAS to be a butt or a shoulder. Trust me. Sale prices have encouraged us to try every cut out there. Butt is my favorite. I like big butts and I can not lie.

Cut your butt into 2″ish chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown em up REAL good. BROWN them up. not GREY them up.

If you are totes adorbs like Lonnie and I and are cooking as a couple, while one of you browns the meat, the other can make the sauce.

Into the blender goes:

Juice of 4 limes, 2 oranges, 1 lemon

1 onion

2T cumin

2T chili powder

1T Mexican oregano

1t (or more if you like it super spicy) cayenne

Note: Sometimes we use 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the cayenne, or we use rehydrated guajeo peppers, but we live in Maine and finding the dried peppers called for in so many recipes we want to cook has been next to impossible (Yes. I know we could just order some.)

Spread your browned meat into a 9×13 or roasting pan. Pour the sauce all over it and squish it all around. Cover and bake low n’ slow, about 3 hours at 250.

At this point, you have 2 options. 1. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit and cook it more to reduce the liquid or 2. (Which is what Lonnie always does) Transfer it into a REALLY BIG frying pan to cook down the liquid. Your goal here is to cook down the liquid enough to then brown/caramelize the meat so it gets some DELICIOUS CRISPY BITS! It’s nearly impossible to do this with all the meat at once –in our kitchen anyway, so we usually cook down the liquid all in one giant pan, and then as we serve, we crisp the meat up in a separate pan.

THE WORST PART IS OVER!!!  You now have several days worth of AMAZING carnitas to use in rice bowls, tortillas, with your eggs for breakfast… whatever your is your jam. You do you, man!

Lonnie’s jam: Corn tortillas, and garnished with red onions pickled in red wine vinegar, pineapple, radish, and cilantro (This is usually how carnitas are served in Mexico. He’s a purist)

My jam: Rice bowl (or currently– a riced, seasoned (onion powder, salt, cayenne, cumin, chili powder) cauliflower bowl), topped with guacamole, radish, maybe some scallions. Sometimes (when I’m not whole30ing), I go with the typical, shredded cheese/sour cream/guac business/black beans and corn business that Chipotle has taught us to love.


This Birthday girl didn’t eat no cake

Normally when I disappear from the blog, that means I have fallen into a bucket of sugar.  But not this time!  I have found that with all the writing I am doing for grad school, my writing itch gets plenty of scratchin’! 

I celebrated my 42nd birthday on Saturday and I celebrated it with lots of love from family and friends and some super awesome presents, but NO CAKE or ICE CREAM!  I didn’t even want it.  I know that having that stuff will just make me want more and more of it, and I also know that it will make me feel like crap mentally and physically, so I skipped it.  Yes it felt weird.  No I didn’t feel like I was missing out.  Instead Lonnie and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen making my FAVORITE spicy chicken Mexican bowls with homemade guac, and because it was my birthday and I am not a masochist, I even had some rice in my bowl.  (ACTUALLY I am reading a great book called ‘Paleo Takeout’ and I learned that there is considerable evidence that white rice is actually NOT the devil that we think it is.  And since I like that information, I am going with it!)  Starting out my 42nd year on earth in this way really feels symbolic, like this is my year. This is the year I get my shit together and shed some serious poundage.  When I finally get that exercise component into play LOOK OUT WORLD!




Day 34- The good the bad and the ugly

Thinking I will be back to daily this week because I feel like I am faltering a bit.  And while I KNOW
and can FEEL that this is PMS related—  It appears knowing is not actually half the battle when you still stuff a pizza into your gob anyway.

New gym pants from Lane Bryant

The good:

Olive Garden dressing— basically candy.

-On Friday I got up and went to the gym all on my own… all alone! And lifted weights like a beast!!
-Went to Olive Garden with Jessi yesterday, and while I did have some stuff I shouldn’t have, a few risotto rice balls, chicken gnocchi soup, and lots of salad (you know that dressing is terrible for you, right– it’ll full of sugar!!
), I passed on breadsticks, and I stuck to one small bowl of soup– and I didn’t finish it.

Oh yeah I had a berry Sangria too 😉  More sugar, but SO yummy!

-I got some AWESOME new gym pants from Lane Bryant. I usually only shop there for bras and undies, I have never really liked the way their clothes fit.  They were having a giant clearance and I tried them on and LOVE LOVE LOVE.  They are super flattering and stay in place when lifting and running.  WIN WIN WIN!

The bad:
-The two giant margaritas before the Brad Paisley concert.  (Please don’t assume from this that I am a country music loving redneck!!!),   I have no regrets though, as we had SO MUCH FUN out and about with our friends!

-Small pizza for dinner last night.  OMG it was so good, but I really should have made a better choice.  Pizza is probably what I miss the most when I am watching carbs and none of those supposed substitutes even come close, so I don’t even bother.  Pizza once a month or so is not going to kill me.   (Next month news headline: Woman Chokes and Dies on Pizza Crust)

-The gym probably isn’t happening at all this weekend as we are trying to super clean the house and get errands done because we leave for our trip on Friday!

The Ugly:
Bitch please.  There is no ugly here!


Days 23 and 24

Still going string, which I honestly find rather odd.  I think retraining my brain by reminding myself that sugar is the devil is actually working.  “That Sugar Film” is really what drove this change.  And I REALLY want it to stick!  However,  after I first watched ‘Supersize Me,’  I couldn’t eat McDonald’s for 6 months, and obviously that creeped it’s way back in, and that is EASY to avoid eating.  Sugar is freaking EVERYWHERE!!

The times I falter, or waiver a bit, is when cooking for the family.  For example… Tonight I am making Pot Roast.  And on the side I am making Salt and vinegar potatoes that someone posted a few weeks ago and Lonnie and I have been obsessed with trying…but haven’t because they take so freaking long to cook! 


My Pot Roast is fucking awesomesauce.  And the most awesome part IS the sauce aka gravy!  Flour is a no-no for me. But nor do I want to use weird low-carb chemically thickeners.  Also… the family will organize a revolution if I mess with one of their favorite things that I only make 2-3 times a year!!  So what should I do?  Make it anyway?  Don’t use the gravy on mine?  ::::SAD FACE::::  Just have some since it’s not a regular occurrence?  I…………….DON’T………………..KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blog deux

I have been doing lots of blogging over on my other blog.  I am using that other blog as a motivational journal to stay on track of eating healthy and exercising.  (Ok…. it hasn’t worked so far to get me to exercise, but it will, I’m sure!!)

As I type this, I kind of wonder why I chose to separate out my never-ending-quest-to-be-less-fat from my blog of regular life….  I mean this IS my life.  I think it’s because I am thinking of the other blog more like a journal and am really trying to blog daily and didn’t want to bog down this blog with that minutia.  But that doesn’t really make sense, does it?
Now I am thinking about making tabs.
Well, whatever I decide to do, if you would like to follow my current stand, click that picture up there!

When cupcakes dissappoint….

What a waste

I trying to learn to teach my brain, belly, and mouth to slow their roll.  Settle down.  Be happy with less.

I also know that I must keep all three happy while doing so, or there will be a REVOLUTION!

It’s a delicate balance.

Yesterday Lonnie, Jessi, the pups and I had a simply marvelous day on the coast.  We beached.  We laked.  We downtown Bar Harbored.  Before we left, Lonnie and I even made going for a run a priority.  Yay us!

Jessi and I doing some sick cheerleader moves at Long Pond

As I knew I had plenty of activity points for the day, and I hadn’t eaten much, I decided that this day deserved to be topped off with a little ice cream!   …..then I saw the adorable little cupcake shop with case full of beautiful, delicious looking cupcakes of happiness.  (as an aside…. I have been obsessed with cupcakes lately anyway because I have been watching ‘Cupcake Wars’ on netflix… which honestly, may be the most stupid, most contrived, and most annoying show that I hate, yet keep watching)  Their beauty even inspired Jessi to splurge and have a little wheat (which she knows she will pay for later with belly pain and break-outs).  I couldn’t decide between chocolate with peanut butter frosting and vanilla with oreo frosting, so I bought one of each with the plan to eat half of each.  They wrapped them up in a cute little pink box and we took them home to indulge in later that evening while watching Orange is the New Black.

So much care.  So much anticipation.  So much planning.  Not-on-a-diet me would have gobbled them down while walking down the street or in the car, or the second I got home.  On-a-diet me is trying to learn to eat right most of the time and really savor occasional splurges.

Well screw you, Cupcake place.  All that care, anticipation, and planning.  and they were terrible.  The frosting just tasted like sugar and crisco… little to no flavor at all.  The cake was so crumby and delicate that it basically just disintegrated into a pile of crumbs the second I cut it in half… and also had no flavor.  I didn’t even finish either half because why put something into my body that I am not loving!??  (Which is a foreign concept to not-on-a-diet Colleen.  😉  )

So instead I had a delicious bowl of sweet, buttery, crunchy Capn’ Crunch with ice cold milk.  For less than half the money and about 1/4 the points.

The Capn’ never disappoints.

Back at it…. again.


Sean had a timeline project a couple weeks ago and he and I went through my blog together (my old blog and this new one) to gather photos to add to the timeline and to refresh our memories about exact dates of events.  It was quite an afternoon of reminiscing, the good stuff (vacations, shooting his first deer, new puppies!), and the not-so-good stuff (deaths, divorce, moves).  One thing I have mixed feelings about is my never-ending weight loss struggle.  One the one hand, it’s YAY FOR ME…I never give up!!  But on the other hand, I am the basically the same as I was when I started blogging in 2006, so all the diets, exercise, etc. really did…. well… nothing?  Thaaaaat’s kind of depressing.


My body and my mind just feel so much better when I am sticking to a low carb diet.  I feel in control of things.  I don’t ever feel bloaty.  I feel lighter.  I don’t binge.  I eat when I am hungry… and am more cognizant of when I am eating when I am NOT hungry.  I think this is because it is so hard to find low carb foods to mindlessly graze/binge on.  Most take preparation, and most are quite filling.  I find myself in the kitchen just searching and searching through the fridge, the cabinet, the pantry, back to the fridge for “something” that I can eat… but although they are all stocked well with low carb foods, I want none of that…. a few minutes of this usually snaps me into realizing that I am not actually hungry…. I am just WANTING.

The first few days of low carbing are always rough.  Yesterday was no exception. There was a lot of whining.  A lot of complaining.  A lot of “WHY CAN’T I JUST BE A NORMAL PERSON WHO JUST EATS NORMALLY AND DOESN’T GET GIGANTIC!????”  At one point last night Lonnie finally said, “JUST GO FREAKIN’ EAT SOMETHING…. you are a mess!”  (Which actually snapped me out of it and I went and made a low carb snack.)

Things that help me get through the rough beginning…
-BTDT and know it will end soon
-looking for low carb recipes
-the support of my husband who is right there in the trenches with me!
-keeping the kitchen picked up (low carb gets messy because of all the food prep, and if there is clutter everywhere, it’s too easy to say ‘Fuck this… I’m just having a peanut butter and honey sammich!”

I have also started running again and I LOVE THAT!!!  It is part of why I decided it was time to get back to eating right so that I feel better and lighter and FASTER!

So while chances are good that in 2022 I will look exactly like I do today.  I will keep on keepin’ on… because why the hell not!?