Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School!

Well, sadly, my summer is coming to an end, with the start of school tomorrow.  I'm pretty bummed about summer ending, mostly I think because we never really got to 'go' anywhere.  We usually have a beach trip or camping trip or something.  This summer?  Nada.  Sigh...

But some fun things have happened to us for sure.  We essentially foster failed with Pogi, because his health status left him unadoptable.  He's a sweety, and completely polar opposite from Beau in his personality.  Beau is so serious; Pogi lives his life like a clown.

We also redid our master bathroom (photos soon).  We went from baby blue walls and wood cabinets (and red countertop), to updated fixtures, white cabinets, new knobs and pulls, a light beige on the walls, and updated lighting!  The lighting really made the biggest difference.  And the cabinets turned out so well that Justin is finally thinking redoing the kitchen may be within our reach :)  We still have our red laminate countertops in the bathroom though, so we're going to replace that, and then post pictures of the completed project.

Last week I rearranged my classroom at the intermediate school.  I now have a nice social circle table (still looking for a tall mirror for that area), a writing/language center in front of the white board, and then a game table for articulation therapy and language games.  It feels more like my room now, rather than just someone else's space that I usurped.

With lazy summer also came lazy eating.  I ate lots of fast food, bad food, yummy things, ice cream... Plus a LOT of soda.  So with the start of the school year, I'm reinstating healthy eating habits and getting back to cooking more (much more).  Today I made a week's worth of Paleo breakfasts:  Egg Muffins!  I browned some good sausage (from Ozark Natural), then put separated it into each muffin space in the tin, topped with fresh spinach, and added to that Market Fresh pico de gallo.  Then I took 8 eggs and whisked them, pouring them out over the tins.  Everything went into the oven for about 10 minutes (or a little more - you just shake the tin to see how solid the egg is) at 350 degrees.  Now they're resting in a pyrex dish in the fridge, for me to pull out in the morning, reheat, and feast on with some fruit.

My Paleo Menu for this Week:

Sunday Dinner - Turkey Patty with Spinach Salad and Roasted Tomatoes (probably followed by a banana)

ML - Leftovers
MD - Meatballs, Spaghetti Squash, Tomato Sauce

TL - Leftovers
TD - Spicy Tilapia, Steamed Snap Peas and Cauliflower

WL - Leftovers
WD - Chicken, Sauteed Spinach & Mushrooms, Roasted Carrots

That's as far as my fridge will take me :) So I'll have to do a midweek grocery run to decide my next few days.  Looking forward to a new routine and getting back into the groove of things!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

But I Am Le Tired!

I had a friend mention to me the other day that he had followed my blog while Justin and I were doing our first Whole30.  I was pretty surprised, actually, because I didn't figure anyone really read this.  This person told me he thought what we were doing healthwise was awesome, and he wished he could do it too, but he just didn't have the time for it.

He went on to describe his day.  Get up, go to work, then head to the gym after work.  By the time he gets home in the evening, he said there is less than an hour to make dinner and actually relax.  And frankly, he said, he just couldn't keep it up.

Justin and I felt some of this food tension during our Whole30 as well (damn stuffed bell peppers...).  When you actually have to plan, prepare, and cook your meals, it can take time to make good (tasting) food that satisfies, and if you're tired from the day's exertions, you really don't want to spend another hour in the kitchen fixing your meal.

And you can kind of end up like this:

Which can lead to this:

IE, you eating anything that is already processed, ready made, quick, easy, nukable, out of a package/box/bag, etc etc and in some cases, lose the ability to know when to stop.  So you gorge.  On crap.

Bad idea, folks, but it happens to the best of us.

This is why having meal plans already laid out at the beginning of the week (or whenever you have the most time to think, plan, shop, and prep) is essential!  And sometimes, having quick go to meals is even more essential.

Take tonight's dinner for example.  From start to finish, it took me less than 10 minutes from ingredients to my tummy.  

10 minutes?!  You must be a superhero!

Nah, I'm just a hungry chick.  The menu?  Tilapia filets with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes.  Yummo.  And not to mention, colorful.

And I'd totally show you a picture of my awesome dinner, but again, one hungry chick.  It was demolished before I even considered snapping a photo.  Oh well.  How did I accomplish this mean feat of kitchen cunning?

I used frozen tilapia.  I always keep a bag of these in my freezer.  They're pretty cheap (about $6 for a big bag).  I pop them out and toss them (still individually wrapped) into a bowl of hot water to thaw.  Then I pull out two skillets and put some olive oil into each and start heating them up on a reasonably low heat.  Then I pull out my cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and baby spinach, as well as my go to spices (garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, paprika).  I halve the cherry tomatoes and slice the mushrooms and toss them into the larger skillet.  Sprinkle in the spices (I leave the paprika outta this one).  By now the tilapia is thawed, so I slap those puppies into the other skillet and season them (including paprika here - if you like some heat, toss on some Cayenne too).  While those start to cook, I put a heaping mound of spinach into the skillet with the other veggies.  Everything cooks happily for about 3-4 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and the tilapia has cooked on both sides.  


No fuss.  No muss.  No real thought needed.  No staring into your pantry or fridge cursing the food gods.  My belly is full of good clean whole food.  Although the tilapia is not necessarily farmed in the best way, it'll do on a budget.  

That all being said, you'll notice the flavor is pretty simple.  I'm not a culinary wizard by any means.  I'm, again, just hungry.  You'll probably want to try different spices, fresh herbs, etc to see what you like, and also to realize your go to's for flavor.  I also never add salt to anything, because of Justin's high blood pressure.  And for those of you who find yourself still hungry after a meal like this (read: your mind is not satisfied, while your tummy is more than likely full), you might follow up the meal with a banana and some almonds (or nuts of your choice).  This should help your sugar craving as well as give you some good fats from the almonds.  Don't overdue the nuts, though.  I've read that it's best to keep nut intake (giggidy) to about a handful (giggidy) at a time.  Feeling fancier?  Why not try making banana ice cream?  Or if you're feeling frisky for some sex with your pants on - but you're on a Whole30 - you might try one of my favorites, cubing an apple and tossing it with cinnamon, and popping the whole bowl into the microwave for about 15 seconds.  

Sex with your pants on.  Yep, I said it.  For those of you lay folks, I swear I didn't make up this little gem of a term.  You can thank the good people of Whole9Life for that one :)  Essentially it's a term used to describe the result of 'paleo-ifying' fatty comfort foods like pizza, pancakes, ice cream, brownies... you name it, people will make it.  (Not knocking it, the shiz is delicious, but a Whole30 is more about changing your relationship with food and what it means to you, in addition to eating things that are good and clean).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Let's Try This Again

Yeah, that "I'm going to do another Whole30!" lasted about 5 days.  I really just set myself up for failure.  Justin wasn't fully into it, and he told me he was drinking sodas at work and then came home and had a beer.  So... I told him he might as well buy me a bottle of wine on the way home...


I can't blame him.  It's not his fault, for sure!  I just have a very weak will power.  However, now that my shorts that were loose in March are really starting to tighten, and I'm spending so much money on my almost daily wine purchases...  Well, I've got to get myself back into gear.

I'm doing such great work with Crossfit, making gains.  Just this past Saturday, I moved up to B weight for power cleans.  It was damn heavy, power cleaning 85lbs instead of 65lbs, and I was completely exhausted right away in the workout, but that's what makes Crossfit different.

I didn't have to do it alone.

I had my teammates for the team WOD, pushing me, rooting me on, and depending on me to keep going, no matter how much I wanted to just stop and take a breather.  And then sit down.  And then pass out on the floor in front of a fan.

So anyhoo, I'm making some awesome gains in my workouts, and yet the scale continues to tick upward, and my clothes are tight again, and I see more flub than tight muscle.  Lordy, I know it's under there somewhere!  And dang it, I want to see it!

That being said, now is the time.  Summer should be the easiest time for me to do a Whole30, right?

So let's get on this thing!

Whole 9 Life posted this gem of an article the other day.  It's essentially the haves and the have nots of the Whole30, delving further into the psychosis of food ingredients.  The article itself is fine, whatevs; I never really struggled with finding the things I could/couldn't have.  I just allowed myself to mentally take a huge step away from those items I might even worry over.

The best part of this article are the comments at the bottom.  First off, the creators of this program must have the patience of angels.  It's hilarious :)  Secondly, though, the comments are very telling about how 'mental' we can get about food.  Why can't I have this?  Why do I have to substitute that?  Why is this still allowed?  I found that with the Whole30, I had to step away from food and look at it in a new light, as fuel for a healthier body.  I had to break the ideals of seeing food as rituals (cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, wine with dinner).  It's all in our heads.  We've taken foods and yes, turned them into social rituals.  These are hard habits to break, too.

And besides, it's just 30 days, right?  If you have to ask if it's Whole30 approved, just put it down :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Whole30: 2.4

Friday was day 4.  It's Saturday morning, so I thought I'd check in with my meals :)

Sometimes, when you do a Whole30, you tend to eat like a craving pregnant woman (or so I've found).   Like this morning, for example.  I'm breakfasting on leftovers from dinner.  Cereal?  Meh.  Donuts?  Who needs em?  Those things are NOT fuel...  No wonder people feel like they NEED coffee or a soda to make it through the day.  Pumping so much unnecessary sugar into your body first thing in the morning will overload anyone's system, causing them to feel even more sluggish than they were when they first woke up.  That being said, I'm still not giving myself enough time in the morning to really fuel myself the way I should either... Until this morning.

Friday's Food (Fuel) Run Down:

Breakfast - Apple

Lunch - Chicken thigh and the rest of the cabbage

Dinner - Italian pork chops and Spaghetti Squash with my own homemade tomato sauce

You heard me.  Homemade tomato sauce.  I haven't had tomato sauce from a jar in six months.  Making your own really isn't too difficult.  I tweak it a little each time I make it, and sometimes (like last night, I get lazy and just toss a bunch of it together with little love).

The best way I've found to make it (to feed 2 with some leftovers):
6 large tomatoes
Chopped mushrooms
Diced onion (usually 1/2 of one large onion, or a whole small onion)
Diced garlic
Tomato Paste (I use organic in a jar, no additives whatsoever)
Italian spices (I apply liberally)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Sometimes I get inventive and add other things.

I boil the tomatoes til the skins start to split.  In another pan, I saute the onions and garlic in some olive oil.  Once the onions are tender, I throw in the mushrooms.  I drain the tomatoes and peel them (yes, I no longer have fingerprints, that shit's hot).  Then I slice off the slides from the tomato's "core" and throw the sliced off parts into the pan with the onions, mushrooms, and garlic.  I dump in some spices and bring to a boil, then simmer for as long as my growling stomach can handle.  (It typically tastes better the next day, because it's had time to 'meld')

*Disclaimer:  I don't proclaim to make good food.  I make what I'll eat.  So there.  If you have more discriminating tastes, however, and want to try something with more pizzaz (I think I will as well), check out this linky from Nom Nom Paleo:

Anyhoo, so this morning for breakfast, I decided to really enjoy that 'melding'.

My breakfast for Day 5...

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce
One sliced Applegate hot dog
Half an avocado (I've been lacking in good fats lately) which I squeezed half a lime over, and topped with Pico de Gallo

You see what I mean, don't you?  Eating like a pregnant lady with weird cravings.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Whole30: 2.3

Thursday's meals were about the same...

Breakfast:  Banana

Lunch:  Chicken thigh + cabbage

Dinner:  Umm... I waited until I was extremely hungry, so dinner for 2 ended up being-
5 eggs
3 Applegate hot dogs
1/4lb sausage
3 cups of spinach
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Pico de Gallo

Egg scramble palooza

Tasted great.  Only problem?  No leftovers.  I don't recommend doing this for dinner on weeknights.

Whole30: 2.2


Wednesday's meals:

Breakfast:  Apple + sausage
Lunch:  Mexican Meatballs, Salad
Dinner:  Chicken thighs, cabbage sauteed in bacon, apples sauteed with cinnamon

Here's lunch:

Here's dinner:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Whole30 (Round Two)!!! Day 1

Justin and I have decided to really boost our 'summer ready' bodies and for me to really get closer to my goal weight.  We're undertaking another Whole30!  I've missed the clear shiny skin, the slim tummy, and the good habits I had as a result of our first venture in whole eating.  So, despite it being that last month of the school year and all of the crazy IEP meetings/paperwork frenzy that it is for me, and despite the fact that my birthday is slap dab in the middle of May (birthday cake, who needs it?), we're embarking, yet again, on a food journey!

Our plans had actually been to start the Whole30 on Sunday, but I felt so awful (bronchitis) that I couldn't get to the grocery store (let alone consider cooking or even... tasting... food).  So we delayed a bit, and I was able to hit up the grocery store last night.  We had our 'last hoorah' meal for dinner:  fried chicken tenders and store bought waffles... :) Honestly, I haven't had an Eggo waffle in YEARS.  Delicious.

Needless to say, we were both pretty sluggish this morning, so kicking our butts out of bed early enough to make a fabulous Whole30 approved breakfast this AM did NOT happen.  Instead...

For me - an apple + some sausage
Justin - a banana

Chicken tenders, spinach greens, grapes

Mexican meatballs

I'm pretty excited to try a new recipe I found on Pinterest.  I'll be sure to post a picture with a recipe if they turn out tasty!