How Much Is Your Time Worth?

Time may be finite, but I certainly try to bend the rules and cram as much as humanly possible into 24 hours. Sometimes this works, but eventually energy and motivation wane and the basics necessary for comfortable living take a hike. Namely, household tasks like laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning become exhausting propositions. Or, those tasks are impossible to do because I am at one job or another and not even available to complete them.

Some services realize that we all have a price and have been sending me coupons with gradually increasing discount amounts. This week, two services hit the sweet spot and our family will be giving them a try.

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Seeing the Changes

Have you ever been gone for a few days only to come home and find your puppy has grown by leaps and bounds or that your toddler seems inches taller? Or, you run into a friend and mention how great they look only to have them tell you they had not noticed  it themselves?

That happened to me earlier this week and I’m still kind of freaked out by it.

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Whole 30 — Day 08 and 09

I was asleep by ten o’clock last night, so blogging didn’t happen. Tonight, I won’t be far behind that mark.

This Whole 30 is really weird. I’m still on the plan, even with not making all my own meals. But, it’s so weird. I have absolutely no appetite.

None. Nada. Nope.

I wasn’t really hungry, but I had a salad for lunch. No more hungry. I decided on the way home from dropping my daughter at a sleepover that I would stop at the market and buy some salmon. I’m usually always hungry for salmon. When I arrived home, though, I unloaded the groceries and didn’t feel like preparing the salmon. Ugh! Frustrating.

Maybe tomorrow.

For tonight, I just ate some veggies and fruit–mostly these phenomenal grapes I bought at the market. Organic and they literally pop when you bit into them–yummy.

It isn’t that I’m not craving food, I am. I can literally smell sugar. I stared down a baguette at lunch that was considered a “side” to my uneventful salad. I wanted to eat it and everyone else’s. Right on schedule, I’m wanting to eat my way through a pile of spaghetti. In m past attempts at the Whole 30, I dump out in the late teens usually by eating a huge plate of spaghetti or something from PF Chang’s. Not a pretty moment to be proud of, but it is what it is.

Otherwise, I feel fine. I’m sleeping. My skin looks better. My clothes feel looser. My daughters have been complimenting me on how much “better” I seem. I know the amount of water I’m drinking [it really is good] has helped with lots of things. I suppose I just need to be patient with myself. Realize that somewhere there is a mad, pouting little brat with crossed arms angry that I’m not eating Baskin-Robbins’ flavor of the month or giving in to the cries for an Egg McMuffin every morning. She needs to get over herself because we’re doing this, like it or lump it.

rainbowWe’ll just keep plugging along, looking for recipes that hold my interest and make me want to fire up the oven.

Always looking for something new and exciting each day. Yesterday, it was this pretty rainbow. We were treated to it after being drenched in a downpour on our way to the mall.

Today, it was a little harder to find something new and exciting. It was kind of a bummer day at work. But my youngest went to  a slumber party all jazzed and excited–I’ll just share her exciting day!

Tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if I can find something to click the old, “Hey! We love to eat!” button. Maybe a nice egg? Gotta start somewhere, right?!


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 04

It was a nice Sunday for my oldest, the pooches and I. We woke to the awesome smell of marinara that bubbled away most of the night. We both slept super late–we totally deserved it! Ha.

Our plans were pretty subdued–she needed new school pants, so we had a trip to the mall on our agenda. I believe this is the first time in recorded history I did not consume an Auntie Anne’s pretzel while on mall premises, but no biggie. Before we went to the mall, I had made sure to eat my lunch–chicken salad I made yesterday loaded into red pepper halves. There is something about the crunch of red pepper that makes me so happy. I honestly think I’d have a harder time giving up red peppers than I would Auntie Anne’s pretzels. I suppose that’s positive. In solidarity with me, my daughter went without her traditional pretzel too. She’s a good kid.

We decided to tread into foreign territory this evening and I finally made spaghetti squash. I’ve brought a couple home in squashthe past couple months, but I never took the plunge and made them.

I’m not sure what my problem was, but after making one tonight, I’m already looking forward to buying another and trying different prep.

I wish I had a fancy camera [well, I have one, but I don’t know how to use it properly!] and good lighting. If I did, you’d see the awesomeness that was this spaghetti squash and sauce. It looks like a ton of sauce from this angle, but it’s atop a mountain of spaghetti squash.

I’ve also been giving the SodaStream a workout today. That thing makes the fizziest water and I LOVE it.

I’ve also had some cherries today and a handful of frozen grapes. Again, I’m waiting to be super duper hungry, but I’m just not yet. I need to find my copy of It Starts With Food. I own it; I just cannot locate it. I’m thinking I put it in a safe place…so safe even I didn’t tell myself where it is hidden. I’m wondering if it would tell me that because I’m not eating so much fake stuff and empty calories through beverages, I’m just not hungry all the time.

In other news [because although the Whole 30 is consuming, it’s not 100% of my time, right?!], I am gearing up for a big fall/winter business-wise. The company swapped out 80% of the designs featured by Grace Adele and revamped the Screen shot 2013-08-04 at 7.08.29 PMwebsite to include a Look Book and other design options.

I am totally loving it and all the new bag designs and colors. I picked up a Heather bag in orange at Convention because I have a clutch in orange from the past catalog that goes perfectly with it.

I am so excited at our new looks. So fun!

I own a ton of black handbags, but this one totally needs to be mine. Immediately. Like sooner than immediately. Ha!

This new catalog combined with the 10% off the current Scentsy Fragrance catalog means I’m one busy girl. And I LOVE IT! Keeps my mind off grilled cheese.



Whole 30 Day 01

Day 01 of my Whole 30 is in the books. My goal is to be asleep by 10:30 tonight. We shall see.

Today wasn’t easy. My daughter had soccer from 9-11 am and I then had to rush to work. I have so much happening at work right now, it’s unreal.

I somehow managed to miss drinking coffee today. That never happens, so we know how insane the schedule was.

After working, I drove home and picked up the same kid, drove to another park, attended a meeting and then watched her scrimmage. Exhausted.

We didn’t get home until after 8.

I had not eaten but a carrot stick since lunch. I made some tremendously tasty sweet potato rounds (thanks, Pinterest and Edible Perspective!) and paired them with the rock star who had been hanging out in my crockpot all day. SoDDCup good even my picky soccer player scarfed down a huge helping.

I plan to start my day tomorrow with a veggie filled omelet and some leftover pork. And coffee. I’m already dreaming about the coffee.

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!