Three Things I Am Adding To My Life

After having been on this planet for four-and-a-half decades, it now seems that my body is teaching me lessons I was loathed to learn in my 20’s or even 30’s. Being a hard-charger who rarely says “No” to a task and saw resting as weakness, it has been difficult to realize that my body is no longer willing to stay quiet when I abuse its many delicate systems. I’ve decided to make some changes, and keep other recent changes going, so that I can make sure my body doesn’t call it quits before I am ready to go.

Maybe you can benefit from adding some things too?

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2015–Stick with the Old & Add a Little New

The beginning of a new year always seems to spark a bit of enthusiasm. Even the most cynical among us, if honest, have a twinge of “what if” when the clock strikes midnight in a new year. January is also my birthday month, so there is that. Ever since I turned 40, I promised myself I would make 40 fit and fabulous. Now that I’m a bit past 40, I think it’s finally time to see if the old girl has any tricks left up her sleeve.

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Have you tried Tessamae’s?

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After diving into the Whole 30 and researching more about Paleo, I heard lots of devout admiration for Tessamae’s. Because I’m trying to be uber good this Whole 30, I had not so much as gazed upon the website because I didn’t want to fall in love with the idea of something that was Paleo, but not Whole 30 approved.

Lo and behold, today the Whole 30|Whole 9 Life Facebook page posted a link to Tessemae’s items that are Whole 30 approved. There is even a little “Whole 30” in the drop down menu to help you find it while you shop.  This revelation was tempting, but let’s face it: I’m all about resisting temptations right now. So, it would take more than the Whole 30 compliance to entice me to try.

Perhaps Dallas & Melissa anticipated that because they offered up a FREE SHIPPING code for online orders (WHOLETESSE) from now until September 1. That is, pretty much, all you had to tell me. I also read on Tessemae’s Facebook page that they offer a 20% off military discount through TroopSwap for online orders that I can use on future orders. Troop Swap is fantastic because you can be a member if you had a family member who served in our military. This means I’ll have a discount should I become hopelessly addicted to items from the Whole 30 list.

I placed my first order today and its UPS tracking label has already been printed. I really hope it arrives in time for all the upcoming work-related eating I’ll be doing. I can at least spice up the salad or veggies I’ll bring with some of these beauties. I ordered the BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, Lemonette dressing, and Zesty Ranch dressing. I plan on using them in hundreds of different ways–marinade, salad dressing, vegetable coverage, etc.–and I will definitely share what I learn.

Here’s to fast UPS shipping because I cannot WAIT to try these!

Whole 30 — Day 06

Day 6 means the Whole 30 is 1/5 done. Can I do this five more times? I’d be lying if I said that today weren’t the first day in recorded history that I drove past Sonic with my window down and actually smelled the waffle cones/sugary sweetness of something forbidden.

I should say, though, that I had an impossibly sweet Fuji apple today and loved every minute. That and tuna rounded out lunch time. [I admit it, I still cannot bring myself to eat breakfast; not sure what’s happening there, but it will come]. I had chicken stir fry in mind for dinner, but my daughter and I needed to go to our Farmer’s Market first so we beat closing time. I had heard that a nearby specialty meats vendor attended our market. I wondered what he might have in store for us and I couldn’t have been more surprised and pleased.

Specialty brats caught my eye and we settled on sundried tomato and basil. All thoughts of chicken stir fry flew right from my ribeye2head. They looked delicious frozen, so I knew fully cooked they would be tremendous.

The vendor told me that today was special because he actually had steaks in his freezer. My youngest, as picky as she is, loves steak. She’s been visiting grandma and this would make a nice welcome back meal.

The ribeye he pulled from the freezer and showed to me looked fantastic! Super lean and plenty big for we three girls to share.

I usually only buy my meat locally. I don’t purchase meat from the big grocery store chains or big box stores. I’ve just never had good luck with it. I cut corners elsewhere so I can do produce and meat at our nice local market. Now, I can add our farmer’s market to that as well.

I’m trying to figure out how I want to prepare this bad boy. Probably just low and slow and let it be who it is…tremendous!

We also picked up some veggies–freshly picked green bell peppers, eggplant, cucumber and zucchini. Those will be fun for this week too.

Another fun addition to the Farmer’s Market is the new food truck from our favorite restaurant. It just happens to be elmesontrucklocated directly across the street from the Farmer’s Market.

Reasonably priced and festively colored, the food truck set up shop in the corner of the lot. My daughter, who is so sweet, didn’t want to eat anything in front of me. That’s not fair, especially when chicken empanadas are on the line!

I noted they had freshly made plantain chips, so we ordered some to share as well. They had just the right crunch!

My daughter went ahead and ordered the empanada. It smelled heavenly. I actually enjoyed watching her eat it. Partly because it looked so good and party because I knew if it came from El Meson, it was made with great ingredients.

Lucky us, our farmer’s market will be here weekly until late October. This was our first stop, but we’ll definitely make it a weekly adventure. Next week? I may need to pick out some fancy handmade soap for myself. Nothing like a nice lavender soap to make a shower even better.

empanada2And, admittedly, once this Whole 30 is over, I definitely will try at least a bite [or six] of an empanada.

But for tonight, we settled on those sundried tomato and basil brats. The seasoning was just right and they were delicious! I know they will go great with scrambled eggs or in an omelet too.

Day 06 down. Just a small cup of coffee today [no overwhelming urge to have one immediately after I woke up] and aside from that, it was all H20. That SodaStream will make a water drinker of me yet!

Whole 30 — Day 05

Today was harder. I failed to plan which left me ravenous by the end of the day. My bad. It was so ridiculous that I didn’t even go to the door when the Schwan’s man came. I hid. Because I knew if I opened that door and he was the only thing between me and a truck full of ice cream, frozen pies, ready-to-bake cookies and French bread loaves, he’d be rolling down the front hill of my house while I commandeered his vehicle. I would have made the news and it wouldn’t have been pretty. I need to pull myself together and plan more methodically or I will be found in Arizona having driven cross country with no recollection of how I arrived there–covered in Oreo dust with a floorboard full of empty Coke cans.

It. Could. Happen.

BLTDinner tasted great, though.

I thought a deconstructed BLT would hit the spot. I already had the mayo made from the weekend and we’d purchased local tomatoes at the market. Replace toasted white bread [shiver] with crispy Romaine and it’s heavenly.

Through this odyssey so far, I’ve determined two things–my nearly 20-year-old dinnerware needs replaced [or I need a fancy plate for blog food shots] and I need a good knife set. So, if anyone loves me [Santa?], I will have those under the tree this year.

In the meantime, you can look at my scritch scratch, Pfaltzgraff long ago retired pattern.

After all, when there is perfect BACON in the middle of the photo, are you really paying attention to the plate? If you are, I feel sorry for you.

Because my oldest and I split the remainder of a nearly empty pack of bacon, we were still hungry after we ate our two deconstructed BLT each. Instead of panicking and opening a bag of brown sugar to eat with a spoon, I peeled a sweet potato and diced it.

We had baked our bacon on a foil lined baking sheet. Funny thing about bacon, its grease doesn’t respect the boundaries of aluminum foil. When it’s a matter of cleaning the baking sheet, that’s a bummer. When you realize you could toss your diced potatoes in that lovely oil rather than using olive oil, you feel a little naughty, but you reason it’s better than covering your next helping of bacon in chocolate and you move onto tossing and salting the potatoes.

For Day 6, we are planning a trip to the Farmer’s Market after I’m done at work. I will keep my hands of the fresh picked corn. I promise.

Whole 30 — Day 03

I find the weekends to be the easiest to follow the Whole 30. How could it not be? You can be at home, you can make what you eat when you’re ready to eat it and you can plan ahead if you have to go somewhere.

I kicked off the day with two eggs. Nothing too exciting, but it got the job done. I just needed to have some protein because I knew when I went to my friend’s house, she would have a spread that included some veggies. Low and behold, she had cherry tomatoes and different types of olives. Perfect-o! What she didn’t have [thank you, Baby Jesus] was her world famous hot Rueben dip.

I’m not experiencing a ravenous appetite just yet, but I know it’s coming. My problem is, I know I’m supposed to be eating, but I’m just not feeling it right now. I suppose I should be glad that my usual gastric distress after eating is gone, I don’t feel nearly as bloated as I normally do and my pants are already looser. I’m thinking that’s from a lack of sodium from things like soda and a loss of some water weight? Not sure.

I hit up the market this afternoon and loaded my cart full of fresh produce. The only things not produce oriented were two, bone-in chicken breasts and some canned, locally grown tomatoes. I have a fantastic recipe for chicken salad from my first mother-in-law and it was easy to Whole 30 it. I tinkered with amounts of things based on the amount of diced chicken I had, but it turned out terrific, complete with a Paleo mayo [I used avocado oil], crunchy celery and sweet grapes. Yummy.

I used the tomatoes to kickstart a huge slow cooker full of marinara sauce. I’ve used this recipe numerous times and I tinker with it occasionally based upon what I have in the house. Today, although I know I purchased Italian seasoning not long ago, I couldn’t locate it, so I had to use individual dried herbs to try and create what I needed. I’m sure it will be good and I plan to use it with spaghetti squash tomorrow.

cherriesI also purchased a ton of veggies to add to/replenish what I purchased earlier this week: red peppers, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

I also picked up some fruit–watermelon, grapes, apples, and I treated myself to some fresh, Bing cherries.

I am a cherry addict.

I will use them in my sparkling water and even smoothies this week. How you could look at these beauties and not put them in the cart is beyond me. They are just to yummy to skip. And, one or two does a body good, imho. I figure as long as I’m eating tons and tons of veggies, a fruit here or there isn’t going to derail my chance to “change my life” with the Whole 30. If a fruit here or there will do that, please don’t tell me.

I will say engaging in the Whole 30 has, so far, been easier than my previous attempts because my husband is in the field more often than not during the first part of this month. My oldest is game to try pretty much anything. My youngest isn’t, but she’s also old enough to make a side if I provide her with an “approved” version of the main course. For instance, she’ll eat chicken drumsticks with us, but hers need crunchy cornflake covering. Someday, I know her athletic interests will get the better of her and she’ll realize she needs to be more open to food found in nature.

Day 3 down and I’m feeling pretty okay so far. We’ll keep moving!

 

 

 

 

 

Whole 30 Day 02

Today, I failed to plan well, but I didn’t let that deter me from my overall mission of making it through this Whole 30 with everyone else who started August 1st.

This morning, I hit the snooze button too many times for an omelet to be a food choice. Honestly, I wasn’t that hungry thanks to my missing all forms of caffeine yesterday and the headache that started behind my eyes and threatened to derail my entire day. Luckily, my husband was awake for work at 5:30 a.m. and I had the chance to drink some water and take a pain reliever. I still didn’t feel 100%, but I solved that as best I could with a big cup of Dunkin’ Donuts black coffee. I’m addicted. I admit that.

Although I know I need to limit my intake of fruit [especially in the morning because I see it as more of a “breakfast” food than vegetables], I ate a perfectly ripened peach on the way to work and it hit the spot.

I had grabbed a bag that had two long carrots and one red pepper in it. I enjoyed those during the day at work and I was not truly hungry until I arrived at home.

My plans had included balsamic chicken drumsticks in the crockpot. However, because those little duded didn’t make it into the slow cooker prior to my jetting to work, I knew I’d have to be a little creative when I came home.

I liked the idea of the balsamic vinegar on chicken, so I thought a balsamic reduction would work. I put some olive oil and sprinkle of salt on the chicken drumsticks for my oldest and me. The youngest like corn flakes on hers, so we did dinnersaladthat for her. While I baked the chicken drumsticks in the oven [450 degrees for 35 minutes in my oven], I kept a saucepan with balsamic vinegar simmering on the stove. I kept an eye so it wouldn’t boil or completely reduce into oblivion.

As it reduced, I found myself wondering what I would do to coat the chicken with it. I decided rather than brushing it on the chicken, I would remove the chicken from the bone, put it on a big bed of romaine lettuce and use the balsamic reduction as a dressing. Then, I realized I had a ripe avocado and some cherry tomatoes from our little volunteer plants in our yard.

I built a pretty delicious salad and my daughter made one for herself, adding goat cheese crumbles to hers. It was incredibly tasty. The balsamic vinegar becomes so much milder when it’s reduced and a little drizzle goes a long way.

We agreed this was definitely a recipe that will be repeated during my remaining days of the Whole 30. I’m thinking the turkey breast I plan to make in the slow cooker would also be delicious on this salad. Strips of steak, grilled salmon and any number of veggie combos would be so good! And, this is completely portable, so lunch at work is also a possibility for this meal.

fizzywaterWe went school shopping tonight at Staples. We swapped out our empty SodaStream cartridge for a new one. I immediately made sparkling water when we came home.

I buzzed it three times which gives you the highest concentration of fizz. With some fresh fruit slices in my glass, I know I will more than acquire my required amount of water for the days ahead. I may even get jiggy with it and try cucumber slices, mint leaves or other things I’ve seen on Pinterest.

For now, I’m just marveling at the sheer masses of bubbles in this water. You can practically hear them fizzing by looking at them in the picture, can’t you?

Day 2 down and tomorrow will be a challenge. Going to visit a friend who makes THE yummiest snacks and treats…all of which I will need to avoid. She usually has a veggie or fruit tray too, though, so that should work. I will also take some of my own fun things so I can crunch while others are munching.

I can do anything for 30 days, right?

 

Whole 30 Day 0

Because beginning a Whole 30 challenge in my house isn’t as easy as just going to the pantry, I have to have a Day 0 to prepare. My oldest and I raided the produce section at the local market tonight and I’ve been in the kitchen since cleaning and prepping vegetable, making my favorite Whole 30 approved snack, and packing a lunch for Day 1. For me, it’s all about being prepared. That’s 99.9% of my problem with eating properly–I’m rarely prepared.

So prepared am I for Day 1 that I’ll even be putting dinner in the slow cooker at 2 a.m. Crazy? Perhaps, but once you take a gander at the gloriousness that is Kalua Pig, I think you’ll agree that it will be a welcome interruption of the REM cycle. 

photo (7)My kale chips are legendary [in my own mind] and I’m surprised there are any left once I’m done cycling through all the batches.

This first batch was especially photogenic. 

I read on a Pinterest post that if you preheat the oven to 425 degrees, put the baking sheet in and immediately turn your oven off, you won’t burn your kale chips if you leave them in for 10-15 minutes.

I left mine in for 12 minutes and they came out perfectly.

Still lovely in color, no singed edges, and amazingly crisp. 

Again, I’m surprised this container is full of these chips at this moment. Between my oldest daughter and my own inability to stop with just one, I usually don’t have enough kale chips for snacking when I need them.

These will come in handy during the “Oh my Lord! Where is the salty crunchy in my life?!” during the early days. Not sure how it will be for the sweet cravings this time. It’s funny because I rarely have those–I mostly just develop and undying desire for a humungous plate of spaghetti around Day 16 and I cave.

One other little gizmo I’ve added to my arsenal this time is a bento box type system. I’ve been intrigued by that idea for awhile. I don’t think I’ll be churning out teeny pieces of food art to fill the thing anytime soon, but I do think it will help me prepare decent lunches for myself. 

For tomorrow, one of my boxes contains a deconstructed salad of sorts–romaine, celery, radishes, tomatoes, carrots. photo (8)

The second box is stuffed full with a sliced red pepper. Big slices of pepper, that is, because they will be used as a delivery vehicle for my tuna. Will be yummy. I can’t eat enough red pepper.

I haven’t had radishes since I was a teenager–we used to have them fresh from the garden. The ones at the market looked so pretty tonight, I put them in the cart.

I know where the farmer’s markets are and I will be staking them out this coming week. Someday, I will have a respectable garden [those tomatoes are actually from a raised bed in my backyard]. For now, I will help others with respectable gardens make good use of their bounties.

Tomorrow will be a challenge. My youngest has two-a-day soccer practice and I still have to work. I will need to hit the hay earlier than I have been lately if I am going to survive this month of back-to-school nonsense. 

Well, here’s to Day 0. So far, so good. 

I can’t believe I’m actually posting this because this creates a whole new layer of must finish all 30 days…even if only one other person besides me is reading this! 

Oh, well. I have about 60 pounds to drop and this will be a nice little kickstart. If I feel better, I’m a ton more likely to exercise, etc. I guess this is it! Let’s go!