High Protein Meal Planning – Week 5

My plan for this new year is to focus on hitting my protein macro for this new weight first (I’ve found that carbs, fat & calories tend to work themselves out if I’m doing what I need to do here). My old macro was 70g a day; this new macro is 80. I think I can do it while keeping the parts of my current diet that are working for me (light breakfasts namely) if I eat decent portions of something protein rich for lunch and dinner & plan ahead with meaty snacks.

More info on what I’m doing and why.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

The goal: 80g of protein a day; explore this brave new air fryer world.

This is my meal planner – I’m using a combination of Evernote for rough drafts, a Google spreadsheet for protein quick reference, and paper notebook for more detailed recipe writing


M-Sat: Green smoothie with chia seeds and vanilla keto collagen powder

Sunday: Protein cereal with turmeric almond milk


Monday: 2 beef kielbasa dogs with potatoes

Tuesday: 2 beef kielbasa dogs with the rest of the potatoes and 2 scrambled eggs

Wednesday: 1/2 can of chili tuna & 2 hard boiled eggs in a salad with cucumber scoops

Thursday: Treated myself to ramen while out and about

Friday: 100g chicken burger patty & sweet + sticky sweet potatoes

Saturday: Non-vegetarian South Indian thali – I ate about 1/3 of it with 1 piece of wheat paratha

Sunday: 100g chicken burger patty and the rest of the sweet potatoes


Monday: 150g burger patty & zucchini

Tuesday: 150g burger patty with half an avocado in a tortilla & a side of grapes

Wednesday: Protein cookie bites because I forgot how filling tuna salad can be

Thursday: A protein bar because I was only a little hungry since lunch was large

Friday: 100g chicken burger patty

Saturday: Skipped – I was too full still from lunch

Sunday: Celebrated DH’s birthday with a killer steak & sushi night out – 100% worth it


Saturday I had 2/3 of an order of fries while out with DH as a post-lunch snack

Not a bad day. Those potatoes were bomb.
Oddly, I’ve come to love scrambled eggs recently. Used to absolutely hate them, but have been craving them these last few weeks.
Forgot how filling tuna salad can be.
Mmmmmmmmm …. Real ramen. It’s been a hot minute since I had a good bowl of ramen. This hit the spot.
Hubby came home, I can’t count days, and the fries I ate while keeping him company as he had lunch were pretty dang good.
I only ate about a third of this thali plate. Ended up not eating the big chicken chunks because I didn’t want to mess with bones when exhausted after a challenging yoga class, but enjoyed all of what I did eat
This was a fantastic dinner out – another bomb ramen, great sushi, steak, and fruit for dessert. So good.

What I learned: I thought this week was more of a fail than it actually was. I felt like I didn’t eat real food all week – and it looks like I only relied on protein junk food twice. Not too bad, though more than I would like. Toward the end of the week, it was hard to want and sit down and eat just protein – hence the thali and the extra burger patties. I can pretty much always do ground meat in burger form.

Overall, I learned that 150g of protein isn’t all the meat in the world – and providing my brain doesn’t kick up with a meat aversion, it’s totally doable. I feel like especially after adding in my morning smoothie with green vegetable insurance, my body was starting to run better (for the most part; I had a bloat week and a couple random days with stabby stabby). It’s the end of the month, and I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing on, modifying slightly, or will launch into tackling how to work plant based proteins in more without killing my GI system. That’s kind of where I want to head, but man it’s difficult when you have a delicate Princess system.

High Protein Meal Planning – Week 4

My plan for this new year is to focus on hitting my protein macro for this new weight first (I’ve found that carbs, fat & calories tend to work themselves out if I’m doing what I need to do here). My old macro was 70g a day; this new macro is 80. I think I can do it while keeping the parts of my current diet that are working for me (light breakfasts namely) if I eat decent portions of something protein rich for lunch and dinner & plan ahead with meaty snacks.

More info on what I’m doing and why.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

The goal: 80g of protein a day; explore this brave new air fryer world.

This is my meal planner – I’m using a combination of Evernote for rough drafts, a Google spreadsheet for protein quick reference, and paper notebook for more detailed recipe writing


M-Sat: Green smoothie with collagen protein, chia seeds or keto protein powder

Sunday: Protein cereal with almond milk


Monday: Leftover Vegan General Tso-Style Protein Bowl with 100g air fryer tofu

Tuesday: The same

Wednesday: 150g leftover chicken breast

Thursday: WhichWich lettucewich with sweet potato fries

Friday: BBQ lamb lunch at a friend’s house

Saturday: Leftover taco beef with air fryer zucchini

Sunday: 150g pepper chicken & stir fried snap peas


Monday: Leftover Sweet & Sticky Carrot Sticks + 150g leftover chicken

Tuesday: BBQ flavored protein puffs and grapes

Wednesday: Burger patty & zucchini fries

Thursday: Burger patty with leftover Indian eggplant purée (I really need to try and recreate this)

Friday: Skipped

Saturday: 150g black pepper chicken with stir fried snap peas (recipe coming soon)

Sunday: 2 beef kielbasa & potatoes (recipe coming soon)


2 homemade Anzac cookies on Friday & a pale substitute for that Sunday – a pear + spiced nuts. I also had a collagen drink on Tuesday to attempt and hit my protein goal after being so bloated, real food sounded like too much drama for dinner.

Leftovers day – by this point, I was a bit bloated
Aaaand an extra day of chickpeas & high FODMAP foods was a mistake. Dinner was slack because I was painfully bloated. This lasted like 3 days. Oops. Moral of the story: 1 meal full of questionable for my gut ingredients is fine; multiple days of it – not so much.
Zucchini ranch fries FTW. They’re a bit pale because I forgot to brush them with oil. Still tasty though.
This lettuce wrap sub didn’t have as much meat in it as I’d envisioned, but it made a good treat for having walked to the mall.
Bbq lamb at a friends house – 🤤- with homemade Anzac cookies. Anzac bikkies are 🔥
This chicken turned out really well – kinda spicy, a little sweet, a little crunch and lots of pepper. Yum.
The dinner potatoes aren’t beautiful, but they turned out really well for a day I was just puttering around. Win!

What I learned this week: This week I played single lady and was generally uninspired to grocery shop. The first half of the week was a good fridge clear, and I managed to find a bunch of random ingredients to combine. I didn’t hit my protein goal every day, but I did give it a try. I also learned to not eat multiple days in a row of foods that are fine for my gut but only in moderation. I paid the price for that one for days.

High Protein Meal Planning – Week 3

My plan for this new year is to focus on hitting my protein macro for this new weight first (I’ve found that carbs, fat & calories tend to work themselves out if I’m doing what I need to do here). My old macro was 70g a day; this new macro is 80. I think I can do it while keeping the parts of my current diet that are working for me (light breakfasts namely) if I eat decent portions of something protein rich for lunch and dinner & plan ahead with meaty snacks.

More info on what I’m doing and why.

Week 1

Week 2

The goal: 80g of protein a day; explore this brave new air fryer world.

This is my meal planner – I’m using a combination of Evernote for rough drafts, a Google spreadsheet for protein quick reference, and paper notebook for more detailed recipe writing


M-Sat: Green smoothie (green apple, avocado, kale, spinach, orange juice, ginger – much like this recipe) with 2 scoops of collagen powder

Sunday: Blueberry flavored protein pancake from the gas station


Monday: Sausage & egg bowl (2 eggs scrambled with a little yogurt & spinach), 1 fake meat sausage, hot sauce, half a small avocado, bagel seasoning & the last of the leftover crispy potatoes.

Tuesday: 1/2 can chili tuna, guacamole, small diced cucumber

Wednesday: Another sausage & egg bowl – sans potatoes

Thursday: 150g leftover London broil tucked into tacos with the last of the kimchi

Friday: 200g leftover London broil (the last of it) chopped with the last of the cherry tomatoes & Choula

Saturday: Steak & kofta kebab at a friend’s house with some amazing fresh bread

Sunday: A chicken veggie bowl from Starbucks


Monday: 150g London broil & a baked potato (baked potatoes are bomb in the air fryer)

Tuesday: A mash of 150g taco beef, avocado, Choula, cherry tomatoes, onions & peppers & 3 tortillas crisped in the air fryer for scooping

Wednesday: Vegan General Tso-Style Protein Bowl

Thursday: Crisped carrot sticks with pomegranate tahini dressing (recipe coming some day) & tandoori marinated chicken bites

Friday: 1/2 – 3/4 cup of my delivery Indian pepper chicken, about 1/4 cup of the enchanting silky eggplant I’m eventually going to have to try and recreate & a naan

Saturday: Was way too full from lunch steak

Sunday: Leftover Indian pepper chicken


Mini kibbeh with tomato chutney on Wednesday

Baked potatoes are awesome in the air fryer – my London broil cooking evenness left something to be desired. Lunch was surprisingly good, though. Not my favorite brand of fake sausage, but it was still satisfying.
Nachos FTW. Forgot I put vegan cheddar on top. I missed the hard boiled egg in the tuna salad from last week, but even without it lunch was still delicious.
This chickpea dish turned out surprisingly well.
I’ve been craving doing something with crispy carrots, pomegranate & tahini for awhile – this was a really great combo and something I’ll play with again. The chicken turned out really good, too, and actually air fried pretty well.
I won at dinner! We ordered Indian delivery and I managed to resist my brain insisting that it needed to binge eat every bite like Cookie Monster. Go, me.
Whelp, I definitely got protein in at dinner. I’m sure I hit my goal – or close to it.
Starbucks: continuing to crush it on the protein lunches. Glad we stopped in and I gave it a shot. This was delicious.

This week’s takeaway: Man, my body loves green smoothies. I felt much better about my vegetable consumption because of them, and my GI system was much happier.

High Protein Meal Planning – Week 2

My plan for this new year is to focus on hitting my protein macro for this new weight first (I’ve found that carbs, fat & calories tend to work themselves out if I’m doing what I need to do here). My old macro was 70g a day; this new macro is 80. I think I can do it while keeping the parts of my current diet that are working for me (light breakfasts namely) if I eat decent portions of something protein rich for lunch and dinner & plan ahead with meaty snacks.

More info on what I’m doing and why.

Week 1

Week 2

The goal: 80g of protein a day; explore this brave new air fryer world.

This is my meal planner – I’m using a combination of Evernote for rough drafts, a Google spreadsheet for protein quick reference, and paper notebook for more detailed recipe writing


M-Sat: Almond yogurt, peanut butter, raspberry jelly and collagen peptides – some days I included pepitas

Sunday: Birthday cupcake flavored Hype Bar


Monday: 114g air fried hamburger patty, fried egg, sundried tomato

Tuesday: Leftover meat + veggies in tomato sauce from the weekend

Wednesday: Tuna salad – chili tuna, air fried hard boiled eggs, shallot, Kewpie mayo, cucumber, grainy mustard

Thursday: The second 114g hamburger patty in the pack, fried egg, sundried tomato

Friday: Leftover salmon with sesame snap peas

Saturday: Korean BBQ – beef, a little chicken, custard egg, a couple pieces spicy salmon sushi

Sunday: 6oz sirloin & baked potato from Texas Roadhouse


Monday: 150g air fried zaatar chicken, peppers, mushrooms, barbed yogurt sauce, avocado & cherry tomatoes stuffed into a pita

Tuesday: 150g leftover chicken, leftover pepper & mushrooms, a couple Tablespoons hummus, 1/4 of a pita

Wednesday: 200g air fried citrus salmon, snow peas tossed in a little sesame oil

Thursday: 150g leftover chicken, the rest of the hummus, a little mumhmarra

Friday: Delivery keema (1 cup) with most of a parata

Saturday: Was still full from lunch

Sunday: 4 Thai spiced meatballs with tomato chutney


Wasn’t hungry for snacks all week

The pic of my air fried chicken pita is dreadful, but it was delicious
Leftovers for the win!
This salmon really turned out well – didn’t properly crisp the skin, but the citrus marinade was 🔥
Another leftovers kind of day
I managed to be fairly well behaved with my delivery Indian – go me. I usually channel the Cookie Monster when Indian is around
Korean BBQ for lunch was a fine idea. I ate a bit too much, but it was really really good.
This bar actually wasn’t terrible – and it wasn’t coated in chocolate. 18g protein from a gas station breakfast I can get behind.

This week, I had a bit of trouble dialing in my breakfast and left lunch to too late to be really hungry for dinner. I like the amount of protein I’m getting with the collagen peptides, but should only do the added pepitas on days I’ve got yoga in the morning.

Next week I need to make sure I’m getting more veggies, and should take care to not eat too few carbs.

Did You Get Your Protein Today?

Hello and welcome back to your regularly scheduled food content (sort of)! As I mentioned a couple weeks back, I’m embarking on a new food journey this year.

As 2022 starts, my body is feeling really heavy, slow to react, and my back is starting to hurt again (from a lightly herniated disc). My closet of clothes has also shrunk, and I don’t want to expend the effort to replace items I already really like and miss.

So. A rejigger is necessary.

When looking back at all the diets I’ve tried and the food protocols I’ve followed, I think the ones that have worked the best for my particular body were paleo and keto with macro tracking. The common denominator being ensuring that I hit my protein macro first.


Pros: My body felt great in ketosis and I could really see the principle behind food as fuel.

Cons: Getting into ketosis – my body haaaaaaates it and I tend to get fairly terrible keto flu. Anxiety – when I didn’t have access to the foods I needed, I’d tailspin. Fat – this one is a pro and a con. On the one hand, I feel that wrapping my brain around fat not being the root of all evil was good for me – on the other, just eating fat was still yicky to me and that feeling just got worse as time went on.


Pros: This was my body and brain’s favorite way of eating and I did great with it for years. I didn’t really mind the restrictions (for the most part), macros and a framework gave my brain a good amount of the control it craves, and making sure I hit that protein number first (which was really hard in the beginning, coming from grain bowl life) was an eye-opening way to conceptualize meal building.

I also loved getting to a place with food that I was able to reframe the narrative from “good” vs “bad” foods to simply making a conscious choice to eat the more nutritionally dense option. This really helped my brain refocus away from some of the more negative self-talk around weight and body shape toward attempting to be kind to my body. It also helped that at the height of my #paleolife, I was consistently working out and working toward the goal of being able to do obstacle course races, rucking and road races.

While I was eating paleo, my home meals consisted of a bulk veg (usually broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts) + a protein (usually from a big meat) + an extra for more flavor or crunch. This approach worked really well back then. It was a simple formula I could dress up a million different ways.

My snacks were things like precooked chicken breasts, meat sticks and hard boiled eggs – plus almonds if I was still hungry at the end of the day.

Cons: But, I missed sushi, and I missed the flexibility of being able to have some of my other favorite foods – dumplings and ramen. Asian noodley dishes are my jam.

Aaaaaaaaand, the two things that have really kept me from getting back on the paleo train:

1: My body can’t handle brassicas any more and I’m still salty about it. There goes like half my mealtime game plan and a chunk of my favorite foods.

2: I’ve also had a really big aversion to cooking meat in this apartment. My range hood is underpowered to say the least, and cooking meat on the stovetop leads to either days of chasing the smell of cooking oils or dealing with a smoked out mess. I’ve been into rotisserie chicken and spicy tuna when I do want meat – or have been making tray bakes – but those two things only go so far.

This meat aversion coupled with the GI issues I’ve been attempting to get a handle on (while also trying to be gentle with myself and my attitudes toward food) have worked to reframe my meal concept toward carbs (often empty), comfort, the veggies I *can* eat without difficulty, and fake meats. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing ever, but it has certainly contributed to how I’m feeling right now. And I’m ready to change how my body feels.

Cool, what’s the plan then?

My plan for this new year is to focus on hitting my protein macro for this new weight first (I’ve found that carbs, fat & calories tend to work themselves out if I’m doing what I need to do here). My old macro was 70g a day; this new macro is 80. I think I can do it while keeping the parts of my current diet that are working for me (light breakfasts namely) if I eat decent portions of something protein rich for lunch and dinner & plan ahead with meaty snacks.

Since my focus will be on protein first, there goes a lot of the empty carbs, processed foods and just plain junk that have crept into my diet.

I don’t want to strictly limit things like rice, the not-paleo-friendly foods my system can handle (like soy, peanuts and chickpeas), and I don’t want to let myself get stuck into the ‘this food is the devil’ mentality.

I also don’t have the energy to go back to full blown My Fitness Pal macro counting. It was super effective, was a great tool for eventually stopping to freak out about calories, and was something I genuinely loved doing. I just don’t have the energy any more. Maybe I’ll get back to that place, but for now I need as few barriers to entry as possible.

Also on the ‘less barriers to entry’ front, DH gifted me an Air Fryer this Christmas, so there’s the ‘cooking meat in the house’ problem solved. Score!

We are loving playing ‘will it air fry’ so far, and it’s given us both that little nudge to eat foods that are better for us. (Mostly – of course we had to try frozen fries & appetizers first!)

Week 1

The goal: 80g of protein a day; explore this brave new air fryer world.

This is my meal planner – I’m using a combination of Evernote for rough drafts, a Google spreadsheet for protein quick reference, and paper notebook for more detailed recipe writing


M-F: Almond yogurt, peanut butter, pepitas – when I ran out of pepitas, I used a little jelly and collagen peptides to bulk the protein

Saturday: Eggs, bacon, turkey slices, sundried tomatoes

Sunday: Eggs, bacon, leftover potatoes, sundried tomatoes


Monday: 100g tempeh & a package of Tom Yum flavored Miracle Noodles

Tuesday: Leftovers from Monday’s dinner

Wednesday: A leftover hamburger patty, leftover broccolini

Thursday: Leftover “cheesesteak”

Friday: DH stayed home, so we ordered out – had a large portion of mixed grill (shish Atwood, lamb kofta & chicken kofta), a small bit of the tomato bread it came with, 5 fries, and a couple Tablespoons hummus

Saturday: Salmon roll with Krab salad.

Sunday: Mixed meat & veggies in tomato sauce, half portion


Monday: Chicken breast, green beans, tomato chutney (aka bougie ketchup), onion, carrots

Tuesday: Bulgogi-Style Chicken Bowl

Wednesday: Steak strips, vegan cheddar, bell peppers, onion, portobellos, Sweet potato rounds, miso mayo

Thursday: An actual steak, crisped potatoes

Friday: Leftover veggies, cucumber, kimchi & miso mayo

Saturday: Mini kibbeh with tomato chutney

Sunday: Mini kibbeh with tomato chutney


Leftover Thai-style beef meatballs (roughly an ounce each)

This dinner was dead simple to put together and really hit the spot. Go me for planning ahead and having some meatballs ready to go!
Such a nice bulgogi-style bowl, I didn’t even miss the rice.
The dinner “steak and cheese” turned out really well. I marinated the meat in a simple mix of Worcestershire, garlic powder & onion for a couple hours; delicious.
This wasn’t the best dinner steak I’ve ever made, but it was far from inedible. More work needs to be done to figure this one out.
I’m counting lunch as a win. DH stayed home with a cold and wanted delivery – I ordered a mixed grill, only had a couple pieces of the bread and 5 fries. Normally, I’d make little sandwiches out of the meat & the side of hummus I ordered – and I’d definitely eat all the fries.
Another delivery win. This was a perfect amount of food for lunch, and while I didn’t hit my protein macro for the day, at least I tried. This week has been all about progress over perfection and today was a lesson in giving myself a little grace.
A third delivery day, but I did well and stopped with half of my plate because I wasn’t still starving. I also saved the bread for later – I’ve got plans for a nice chicken wrap.

Camel Races

Camel racing is a very old and very popular sport throughout the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) (and other places with deserts like Mongolia and Australia [1]). Qatar is no exception to this rule; camel races are quite popular here among locals and expats alike, and are held from October – March while the weather is nice.

Camel racing started as a way to entertain guests at multi-day weddings, and has grown to a professional sport with entrants coming from all around the world to race and spectate.

Races are conducted weekly, with 10 – 15 races per race day (on Fridays and Saturdays). Some days are royal family race days, some are general entrant days, and the season is capped by the Emir Cup: H H the Emir’s Main Race. [2]

Entry to the competitions is free and all are welcome. We went with a tour – Murex Tours – and I would highly suggest doing the same. Not only do you get interesting camel facts and taken behind-the-scenes, you also get a nice safe vantage spot for the races themselves. More on that in a bit.

Camel racing this way

In Qatar, the camel races take place in Sheehaniya – a small town located about :45 from downtown Doha dedicated to camels and camel racing. Fun fact: sheehaniya is the local name for a plant traditionally used to cure stomachache. The racetrack is named Al Shahaniya Camel Racing Track and signs can be seen from the highway. We didn’t see it on this tour, but there is also a virtual camel city with other things to see [3].

An entire lot of SUVs waiting for race winners

The winner of each race receives 100,000QR (about $25,000 USD) and a new SUV; subsequent winners get 10,000QR ($2,500) less (no cars) until 10th place. Since this was a royal family race, ceremonial weapons were also gifted.

More valuable than a car or cash prize is the prestige earned when your camel wins. During the big competitions in March and April, the winner not only gets bragging rights, but also takes away the prestigious Golden Sword of the Father Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. We didn’t happen to go on one of the big festival days, but we did see silver knives, spears and swords being awarded to some of the big winners.

Barely controlled chaos as we jockeyed for a good vantage of the race. This is not like horse racing, where you watch from the stands – or even falcon racing, where you wait and watch on the big screen (unless you’re in a chase car) – camel racing is up close and personal, with drivers chasing after their camels to urge them on – and spectators rushing to follow the action.

This was a lot of our view of the races – it is very clear where the some of the more unruly highway drivers learned how to do so – the track is barely contained pandemonium, with huge SUVs jockeying for position – just like the camels racing to the side.

As you can see from the above picture, the spectator track is split – the inner ring is for the royal family; everyone else fights for position on the outer ring. Some races are super busy like this one (earlier in the day); some seemed to be lower stakes and less crowded. You can’t see them in this shot, but Police cars are patrolling as well – and were actually quite impressive. They managed to signal to our driver amidst the chaos of following a race that someone in the back of the bus had removed their mask and needed to put it back on. I was in front, and I’m still not sure how either the driver or the Police could keep track of all of that at once – and keep us safe – but they did. I guess as lamented as the traffic can be here (and as dangerous as it is), there is something to be said for knowing exactly how to handle one’s machine in a stressful situation.

Caught a glimpse of this guy, who was placidly and gracefully just running his own race. I liked his attitude.
These guys – both the driver and the guy poking up out of the sun roof – are speaking to or operating the whips on their camels. It’s amazing that he managed to keep control of the car – and up with his entrant.

Guys control the jockeys with remote controls from the car with walker-talkies that allow them to work the whip arm of the jockey + talk to the camel, telling them to “yalla!” (Hurry!)

Camel jockeys

Camel-less jockeys. Qatar banned the use of children as camel jockeys in 2004 (kids were used because of their size and weight). Robots are now used – first generation robots were roughly the size and weight of a child; but have gotten smaller and lighter as technology has advanced, now weighing about 55lb (25kg) and featuring a speaker and long, thin, flexible whip. [4]

An attached jockey with walkie talkie affixed and whip arm at rest.

Each camel is decked out in a colored “saddle” with matching jockey adornment – for example, the Emir’s camels wear maroon & white, while Sheikh Jassim’s sport blue & yellow. Not sure who was in the black & white.

A camel tender looking after his charge
Either ready to go race or back for snacks
Camels in full rest mode
Camel minder supervising his charges. Camels wear these masks not only because they can bite (and spit) when angered, but to guard against poisoning. As I said, it’s a big deal here – and pride is on the line.

The camel staging area is actually super chill – camels are pretty calm creatures. They can be cantankerous, will spit if they’re angry, and are stubborn as all get out – but they’re also content to sit and munch. You would be too, if you had a bag full of grains, dates and honey waiting for you. Can’t really blame the couple we saw nope out of the end of the race to beeline it back to this area. Camels are also known to occasionally just refuse to start the race – and when that happens, camels can’t really be reasoned with – it’s snack time.

These camels are all lined up waiting to start. The one in the foreground is sporting henna for luck – the cuts have something to do with muscle soreness and healing; I wasn’t sure exactly what.

Camels are separated from their mothers when they are somewhere between 6 months and 1.5 years old (our tour guide said 6 months; I’ve seen 1.5 years in articles) and start their race career at age 2. Young camels are placed on the track with retired racers, and run along to learn the sport. Camels train twice daily for about :45 each session and are fed specialty diets of grains, dates and honey to ensure they have the energy needed to run a race.

Camels run in age groups – between 2 and 4, they run 4-5 km (2.5-3 mile) tracks; 5-6 year old camels graduate to 7-8 km (4.3-4.9 mile) tracks; and the older camels run the full 10km (6.2 mile) races. Camels retire at about 10 to become trainers. Camels must race a minimum of 24mph (40kmph) to qualify, and can go up to 40mph (65kmph).

The price of a racing camel can range from 100,000QR (about $25,000 USD) and can go for 1,000,000QR ($250,000) at auction for the best bloodlines. According to our tour guide, the Emir routinely purchases winning females – and it’s a mark of pride to have your camel join his stable.

From the finish line – she was off doing her own thing.
I believe this is one of the Emir’s camels making a triumphant return
Cars chasing the lead camel
The car to the back of this camel is one of the TV chase cars – Qatar has a channel dedicated to local and foreign races.

If you’re in Qatar, this is definitely something to add to the must-do list. This is one of those unique experiences you can’t really do other places.

Video from the day – chasing the camels, the starting line & finish line. The video is about 9 minutes long.

Camel Facts

Camels come in two types: the one humped Dromedary, and two humped Bactrian. Local (Arabian) camels are dromedary.

They are also huge and can grow up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 880 to 1,325 pounds (400-600kg). [6]

Camels are incredibly suited to desert life, with three sets of eyelids and two rows of eyelashes to keep out flying sand, and thickly padded chest and knee skin to allow them to sit comfortably – even in the middle of summer, when temperatures can reach 120F (51C). Their height also helps with this – placing their bodies far away from the heat radiating off the sandy or rocky ground.

Camels can also completely close their nostrils during sandstorms – a skill I wish humans had.

Camels have keen eyesight and a great sense of smell – which would help greatly in finding food when your environment can look like a bunch of sand or pebbly sand to the naked (human) eye.

Camel feet are very wide, and come padded with fibrous tissue – this permits them to walk silently, painlessly and stably across soft, hot sand and hard, flinty ground; something horses, donkeys and oxen cannot do.

Camels can drink 31.4 gallons (113 liters) of water in 15 minutes and are incredibly efficient at using that massive amount of water, storing any excess in the fat in their humps – which they can use to live on when water is scarce.

Camels are incredibly important in this area of the globe – both historically and culturally, serving as the backbone of Arabian life until they were replaced by modern modes of transportation and readily available imports.

Historically, camels were the most efficient way to move either yourself and your community, or your goods via the vast trading networks that cross-crossed the MENA region. Roads weren’t actually super common or necessary until the camel went out of fashion as the main mode of transportation.

Camels can carry more than even elephants – 1,000 pounds (453kg) on short hauls and up to 600 pounds (272kg) almost indefinitely. They can cover 20 – 30 miles (32-48 kilometers) per day for weeks on end, can go days without water, and can sustain themselves on less-than-ideal (for other pack animals at least) desert vegetation. [7]

Lots of plants in the desert have thorns; camels have really thick lips which allows them to eat what other animals (like goats, donkeys, horses or even oryx) cannot. [5] Camel lips are also prehensile and extendable so they can examine their food by touch before ingesting it. Which seems weird given what camels eat, but it’s a big help, I’m sure. It also makes a chewing camel look a bit comical and kind of cute, in my opinion.

Not only were camels the best mode of transportation over long distances, they were also the chief source of animal based nutrition, raw materials, and signifier of wealth.

Camel meat is a touch sweeter than beef and lower in fat. It can be tough, but is fantastic when cooked low and slow – or roasted over a fire. Camel burgers are quite delicious, but often need a little cheese or extra fat to help bind the meat together and provide juiciness. [9]

Camel milk is used in soap, for ice cream, and as creamer in coffee. It has a different fat structure than cow milk (less saturated and more saturated), has more vitamins, and is lower in lactose. The taste is also a bit sweeter than cow milk. [8] Camel milk is also used as a folk treatment (especially for kids) for diarrhea caused by rotavirus.

Camel urine was used to clean hair.

Camel dung was used as fuel – and even as a sort of diaper cream to cure rash.

Camel hair makes beautiful scarves and blankets, as well as rope.

Camel hides make great leather and rugs. Sinew makes a great glue used to bind wooden pieces together for all manner of things (like saddles and seating).

Camel humps were used as a cure for dysentery, camel marrow was used as a cure for diphtheria, and dried camel brain was used as a cure for epilepsy [7].

More super cool camel facts can be found at one of the sources used above: Aramco World. Check them out because camels are seriously cool animals.

Buffalo Chicken with Smashed Potatoes

This, admittedly, is a weird one. But bear with me – sometimes those weird-ass Chopped pantry situations work out well.

At the beginning of Quarantine Life, DH brought home a bunch of packets of tuna – one of those was buffalo flavored, and I thought that was just fascinating. Of course, it was the last one left in the pile, and it had me craving wings.

Which of course I had zero ingredients to make – so I had to get a little creative.

Note: Ingredients I wanted but did not have: celery, ranch dressing, cucumbers, pickle relish, capers


Buffalo Chicken with Smashed Potatoes

1 pouch (2.5 ounces) Starkist buffalo chicken

1 scallion

1/2 tsp. celery salt

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

6 green olives

Black pepper

500g baby potatoes

3 Tbsp. zaatar

Juice of 1 lemon

Oil, salt & pepper

Set your largest pan over high heat. add the potatoes and enough water so they’re 1/2 – 3/4 covered. Boil 10 minutes or until fork tender.

Transfer the potatoes to a prepared baking sheet and smash flat. Spritz with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake at 400F for 20 – 25 minutes or until crispy.

Pull and sprinkle with the zaatar and lemon juice.

In a small bowl, combine the buffalo chicken, green onion (diced), celery salt (celery would be great here), mayo, green olives (diced – capers or pickle relish would also be good) and a little black pepper.

To serve, divide the potatoes and chicken salad into two bowls and toss.

Serves 2 for dinner

Pantry Staple Diaries

My pantry is packed, and I’m annoyed about it.

Having a fully stocked larder feels great – and 100% supports the breadth of recipe types I create and the foods my family eats. But: I’ve got more stuff than my space can handle well, and I’m having trouble locating ingredients when I need them.

So, it’s time for a good run of pantry-clearing dinners.

Here’s what I have on hand:

Main pantry – this is a double cabinet, and finding ingredients has gotten a bit unwieldy – especially on that right hand side
This is just a mess – a great organizational start with mostly-labeled bins, but there is just more stuff than the space can support

Top Shelf

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cans chili tuna
  • 3 packets nori strips
  • Furikake
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Togarishi
  • 1 tin sardines
  • 1/2 bag panko
  • 1/2 bag jumbo shells
  • Mango powder
  • Japanese veggie sauce
  • Date molasses
  • Soya chunks
  • Cornstarch
  • Cacao butter
  • Stevia
  • Baking soda
  • Bicarbonate soda
  • 1/2 bag spelt pasta
  • 1 packet riced broccoli
  • Roast onion bouillon powder
  • 1 pack Hakka noodles
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 jar chili pesto
  • 1 jar roasted Thai chilis
  • 2 packets dashi stock starter
  • 1 tube wasabi
  • 1 jar shrimp paste
  • 1 box baking soda
  • 1 jar tahini
  • 1 container turkey gravy granules
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1/2 bag wakame
  • 1 jar tamarind paste
  • 1/2 jar peanut butter
  • Red wine vinegar
  • East North Carolina BBQ sauce
  • Pomegranate molasses
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Sesame oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Other NC BBQ sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Oyster sauce
  • Mustard oil
  • Ketjap manis
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Black vinegar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Liquid stevia
  • Crystal Light
  • Snacks bin
  • Dates

Raw nuts in the metal canisters:

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pepitas
  • Hazelnuts
  • Slivered almonds

Bottom Shelf – the jars

  • Overflow spices
  • Coconut flour
  • Sushi rice
  • Coconut shake
  • Chia seeds
  • Sugar
  • Quinoa
  • Nutritional yeast
  • All Purpose flour

Bottom Shelf

  • Black strap molasses
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Peanut butter powder
  • Schezwan stir fry sauce
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Applesauce
  • Coconut chutney powder
  • Ghee
  • Coconut oil
  • Lowry’s seasoning salt
  • Chipotle Choula
  • Grape seed oil
  • Texas Pete
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint extract
  • Vanilla extract
  • Maple extract
  • Orange extract
  • Chaat seasoning
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds

Spices – loose

  • Curry powder
  • Caraway seeds
  • Dry mustard powder
  • English mustard tube
  • Garlic powder
  • Chicken bouillon powder
  • Onion bouillon powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • White pepper
  • Za’atar
  • Kabseh spices
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Bay leaves
  • Beef bouillon tubes
  • Chili garlic seasoning

Spices – in spice containers

  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Indian chili
  • Chicken tikka masala
  • Celery seed
  • Dill
  • Rosemary
  • Yellow mustard seeds
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Sweet paprika
  • Coriander
  • Lemon powder
  • Black cumin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  • Red chili
The fridge isn’t too bad, but it’s definitely not American-sized so it fills up *quick*


  • Yellow mustard
  • Lime juice
  • Mango chili pickle
  • Tomato paste
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • Mushroom sauce
  • Anchovy paste
  • Red pepper pesto
  • BBQ sauce
  • Bombay sandwich chutney
  • Kewpie mayo
  • Regular mayo
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Honey mustard
  • Fish sauce
  • Coconut aminos
  • Honey mustard dill sauce
  • American ketchup
  • Sriracha
  • Dutch curry ketchup
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Gochujiang
  • White miso
  • Sambal olek
  • Eggs
  • Butter

Lunch – To – Dinner Bombay Chimi

I set out to make a chimichurri-based salad, and ended up taking a trip to India instead when at the last minute I discovered my herbs had betrayed me. And it works.

Bombay chutney is a condiment used in a popular Indian street food sandwich and is kiiiiinda akin to the green mint chutney sauce served alongside a number of dishes alongside tamarind sauce. My version is a beautiful shade of emerald and has a nice spicy kick. It’s addictive, and I can’t wait to try making something akin to the actual sandwich, because I can only imagine how Bomb it would be with potato.

Like mashed potatoes. In a patty …. 🤤 But I digress.

This base recipe is great for lunch or dinner – I served it hash-style when fresh with some leftover Beyond Meat bratwurst & egg and again the next day for lunch with my favorite tuna and some bright crunch. Both ways were fantastic, but I think day 3’s lunch was actually my favorite.

gluten-free, vegetarian base, vegan base, paleo base

Lunch-To-Dinner Bombay Chimi


1 head cauliflower
1 small red onion
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Bombay Chutney
1/4 cup neutral oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/375F and prep a baking sheet.

Break the cauliflower up into bite-sized pieces and spread out over the prepped pan. Halve and thinly slice the onion; add. Thinly slice the garlic; add.

Sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the chutney and oil. Pour over the veggies on the pan and toss well to combine, making sure to hit each piece.

Roast 25 minutes or until deeply browned.

Dinner Hash

1 leftover and cooked Beyond Meat bratwurst per person, sliced into rounds
1 – 2 eggs per person (optional)
1 handful chopped green beans
2 tsp. neutral oil
1 tsp. butter (vegan or otherwise)

In a large skillet over medium high heat, stir-fry the green beans in the oil until browned. Season with salt & pepper and add the bratwurst. Stir-fry until warmed through. Push to the side, add the butter and an egg per person to the pan. Fry until your desired doneness is reached. Serve with about 1/4 of the cauliflower per person.

Lunch Salad

1 medium cucumber, chopped
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can chili (red pepper) tuna, drained (optional)

To your leftover cauliflower, add the rest of the ingredients and toss. Warm to room temp if desired by zapping for :30/:45 or so and tossing.

Serves 2 if you’ve got half the cauliflower left; 3 if you only fed 1 the night before.

This is not your weekly recipe post

Sorry, no recipe post this week, because I’m on vacation exploring a new cuisine – and the week before that, I ate pretty much nothing but Thanksgiving leftovers.


Some of my favorites:

Leftover “burrito” that basically consisted of throwing a bunch of ham/brussels sprouts/cranberry sauce and stuffing in a tortilla and calling that lunch.

A really frickin good breakfast-for-dinner fried rice dish featuring little mushrooms, egg, leftover ham and rice that was too simple to post a recipe for but was eaten multiple days (pictured here also in burrito form).

And just straight up rummaged leftovers: a bowl of brussels & pomegranate + little ham sandwiches.