April Showers Pour

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So many things are flying through my head right now. I am trying to think of what to blog about. There is soooo much going on! This April is probably the craziest month of all time. There are at least 5 huge things going on at work simultaneously that I have my feet dipped into that will no doubt be putting me in overtime these next couple of weeks. I wrecked my car, then bought a new one all within 4 days. I fractured my elbow and while I am happily out of my splint, I am still healing and have my follow up appointment on the 30th. My new car payment has inspired me to look into consolidating my college loans, which I am going to apply for as soon as I get some spare time in my day. I am still trying to hold on to getting some household goals accomplished before this month is over in spite of my elbow setback. I’m hoping to paint my kitchen so that when our new patio glass sliding door is installed in May, it will give the space a brand new face lift!

I find myself wishing April away and looking forward to May. I instantly feel guilty afterwards and remind myself to embrace the moments, no matter how chaotic they are. I’m sure May will be just as crazy in its own way. It will be right before June which is a very busy time for me at work, I have two weddings to attend to and a trip to Atlanta with the family. I am so lucky to be feeding myself whole foods that give my mind stability during crazy times like these.

In spite of eating whole foods, I still had another nut-case fiasco two days ago, where I decided to finish a bag full of sea salted almonds with a spoonful of sunflower seed butter. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as that other time I ate too many nuts. No doubt the urges to binge eat on something fat-dense was from little everyday inklings of stress growing on me. I can actually feel the anxiousness right now as I type. My husband is pacing back and forth in the kitchen while watching Jeopardy and it is making me so damn uneasy. That sounds so ridiculous, but it is true! And you know what? I really want to eat some fat-filled coconut butter and nuts.

That would just be a temporary distraction though. I am going to instead choose to stop typing, put my laptop away, and leave the room for some me time. Maybe run a bath? Ciao!

Day 30!

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I can’t believe today is Day 30! I seriously feel like I’m just beginning; yet I also kind of feel like a bad ass pro at the same time. I woke up super excited that today was my 30th day. Maybe even a bit too excited?

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I especially feel like a bad ass pro after the surprisingly challenging day I had….Ironically enough, my last day of the Whole30 started off its morning with a staff retreat to a cooking class! We knew we were going somewhere, but no one had any idea what we were doing until we pulled up to the location. Ha! The menu items were a crusted quiche, cornmeal fritters with bacon and corn, followed by the ooziest-gooiest cinnamon rolls. Half the time was spent cooking and the other half of the morning was eating at a family style table. Ha! I couldn’t believe the irony. I got my hands dirty and helped roll and slice the cinnamon rolls. After all, I am still a kitchen queen and I do not diet discriminate.

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The other half was a little uncomfortable. I waited for everyone to ask why I wasn’t partaking in the fruits of our labor. It was awkward being the only one not eating but it wasn’t hard at all. In fact, I didn’t once give into thinking of off-roading. I could have easily talked myself into eating with everyone else by ending my Whole30 a few measly hours early, but the thought of how I would feel afterwards trumped any mouth-watering that my have occurred. I knew how sluggish and gross I would feel afterwards. I wouldn’t want to be productive once we returned to work. I wouldn’t have any motivation to exercise because I would be too full. I was having none of that! So, it really wasn’t hard. The experience actually has given me a lot more confidence in officially finishing my 30 days and starting to transition into a more balanced day-to-day life. Perhaps, there will be a moment that arises and it will most definitely be worth it to off-road. But today was not that day. And tomorrow doesn’t have any prospects of looking that way either (unless there may be another work surprise I don’t know about).

I couldn’t even eat their fruit salad because it was glazed with honey! There were a few grapefruit and orange wedges I was able to at least nibble on. I honestly wasn’t even hungry, but I felt like I should be chewing on something along with everyone else.

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So, after I dodged my Day 30 Bomb, the rest of the day fell right into place. Once we returned to work, my co-worker and I worked out right away before I locked myself into to my office to play catch up for the rest of the day. I made a delicious salad for lunch with my own dressing.

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I took the leftover Chile and Lime Chicken I grilled the other night and sliced it with some Bibb lettuce and cherry tomatoes. I used a magic bullet to make the dressing: cilantro, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, a dash of jalapeno pepper, garlic clove, lemon juice, and avocado. It was super easy! While eating my lunch, I was so grateful I pushed throughout the morning. I enjoy the food I eat now so much and am so happy I didn’t settle for the lack of quality in nutrients I put into my body. By the way, how pretty is Bibb lettuce?! It’s so wavy!

The rest of the day flew by while playing catch up. I made myself eat a serving of mixed nuts before I left work to go to my 5:30 gym class. I blew off some steam and lifted some weights and then finally came home. I didn’t feel as good as I thought I would coming home though. I feel a little bit anxious and sad. I have no idea why. Because my Whole30 is over? Because I am scared about what will happen next? Because I felt strong this morning when I thought I wouldn’t? Not to get too deep and philosophical here, but I kind of feel like this morning was a huge stepping stone for me. I have not been able to trust myself in so long. Self-sabotage was weekly, if not daily. Even though today was a success (Hell, these past 30 days were a success),  it has been a long journey to get to where I am now, mentally. I am scared about what will happen next, but today has also made me really realize how strong I am going forward.

Speaking of going forward, I had the best dinner to top off my 30th day. This past weekend I bought some Sunflower Seed Butter on sale at my local coop. I’ve never tried it and have always wanted to. Trader Joe’s sells a product, but it has cane syrup in it. This type just had one ingredient: raw, organic sunflower seeds.

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Hubs put some beef tips in the fridge to defrost this morning. We also had a bag of frozen veggies: carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts. I tossed everything into the cast iron with some diced onion. After my medley cooked a bit, I mixed the sunflower seed butter with coconut aminos, lemon juice, coconut oil, and garlic clove. I dolloped my sunflower sauce on the stir fry and let it all simmer.

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Then I added salt and pepper and topped my bowl with some raw cashews.

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This was probably one of my favorite meals. I am kind of mad it took me so long to make this. Oh, I just remembered that I did just find the sunflower seed butter the other day. Good thing I have a whole jar to keep playing with!

I will post my results sometime this week. Tomorrow is my crazy busy day. Wednesday night is our concert date night. We will also be going out to eat Wednesday night for dinner. I plan on drinking a beer Wednesday night, but that is it. Hopefully I will have successful follow ups to report later this week! Happy Day, Whole30ers.

Sunday Mornings and Saturday Night Dinner

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I love Sunday mornings. If Sundays weren’t followed by Mondays I’d stretch to say they are my favorite part of the week. I love having the morning to myself while my husband sleeps in. I love taking that first sip of coffee after waking up and savoring its flavor in my mouth. I love it when Lady wakes up shortly after me and comes out of my sleeping husband’s lair in hopes of licking my empty breakfast bowl. Nope, sorry Lady, but you are welcome to snuggle in my lap while I force pictures upon you. Image

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Now that I have photographic proof, it is undeniably a perfect Sunday morning. I think I will just go ahead and say it is my favorite part of the week. It helps that I actually enjoy my job and don’t mind that Monday eventually arrives. There was a time that I hated a job I had so much that I would get sad it was Saturday, because I then had only less than 2 full days before I had to go back to work. Glad those days are over!

It is pretty cool in the house right now since the temperature dropped down to the 40’s overnight. Instead of turning the heat on I cloaked myself in blankets. Lady is also helping keep me warm. Today is supposed to be a high of 68, but I’m hoping it feels even warmer than that! The hints of warmer weather are really getting me excited for whats to come: afternoons on the beach, blueberry season, farmers markets, tan lines, and grilling out! Speaking of grilling out, we grilled for the second time this week.

I bought some chicken legs and chicken drumsticks on sale from Whole Foods the other day and found the perfect marinade from Nom Nom Paleo: Chile and Lime Chicken. I spent a bit of yesterday morning in the kitchen prepping everything for this evening, so by the time dinner came around it was super easy to put everything together.

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I made the marinade and got my hands dirty making sure all the chicken was well coated before putting it in the fridge. I also bought a turnip root and rutabaga for my side dish. I peeled and diced the roots which probably took up the most time. Rutabagas sure are hard to slice! I think I also got in a good arm workout (even if it was just my right side!). After dicing the roots I put them in the fridge until I was ready to boil them later.

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After about 5 or 6 hours, I added my diced roots to a boiling pot of water and let them simmer for a good 15 minutes or so. I then heated the grill outside and threw my chicken on.

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One thing I should have done was patted the chicken dry to get the excess marinade off. The recipe stated this, but it simply left my mind when I was in the thorough of cooking. Because I didn’t do this, the outer skin of the chicken charred much faster, so it was hard to tell if the chicken was actually cooked the whole way. We played it safe though and ended up cooking the chicken a bit longer in the cast iron on the stove. It ended up being fine and the chicken still had its grilled and charred taste.

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 While the chicken was cooking, I took the boiled roots and emptied them into my blender after draining them. They were a really pretty peach color! I added some ghee and then pureed them.

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I’ve only ever had rutabaga one other time. One my first Whole30, I added some rutabaga to a pot roast I made in the crock pot. I had no idea what they would taste like and hoped my husband wouldn’t have a bad first impression with them. They were so good! They had such a similar texture to white potatoes and were the perfect addition to a pot roast. I thought pureeing them would give a similar consistency and texture. We were not disappointed, not even Hubs! I added some salt and pepper to them and that was all it needed.

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And of course, I am happily adding some extras to my leftover collection to use during the week. After dinner, we headed to Hubs’ brothers place and played Trivial Pursuit. It was such a great time. It was nice being social without worrying about explaining to people why I’m not drinking beer or eating sugar. Instead, I had to explain why I am so bad at Trivial Pursuit. In my defense, the 25th Anniversary Edition has a lot of questions pertaining to subjects that occurred before I turned 10 years old.

I can’t believe tomorrow is Day 30. Surreal! However, I’ve been grocery shopping no differently. I still have a spaghetti squash in the fridge to find a recipe for. I feel pretty damn great and don’t plan on sabotaging the way I think and feel for anything, including chocolate. Or peanut butter. But probably beer.

Luscious Leftovers

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The term “Manic Monday” appropriately details my day. You’d think people would have been hungover from last night’s Superbowl and give way for a slower start to the week. At least, that was my pattern the last two years–thanks to the Whole30 I had enough energy to take this day on! In fact, I noticeably had bounds of energy throughout the entire day right from the start when my alarm clock rang at 6:45 to my evening gym class right after work. I was able to push and give a lot more effort during my Body Blast class which felt amazing. Another thing to mention was that I never experienced any cravings in between meals like I usually do. Oh, I hope this only continues to get better and better!

Today, I was able to reap the benefits of all my time in the kitchen yesterday. All of my meals today were leftovers! And you better believe tomorrow will include a smorgasbord of revamped leftover meals as well. I usually don’t get hungry first thing in the morning so I made my morning meal to go. After taking my first sips of coffee (which is also technically considered a leftover since I brewed it the day before), I put my good ole’ cast iron on the stove top (actually it is pretty much always on the stove top) and threw some mango-spiced chicken wings in it (without the bones). I then sauteed some kale and mushrooms in coconut oil with it and then threw some eggs in and made the most deliciously flavored egg scramble ever.

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I waited until I got hungry, then ate it in my office. My co-worker said it smelled delicious and then asked if it was Brunswick Stew. I don’t know what Brunsick Stew is. I said “Nope, but it is delicious.” I have never had Brunswick Stew but according to the picture I saw when I looked it up, they aren’t even close. I’m going to assume my morning meal was so flavorful that it aroused copious amounts of memories once my food aroma hit her nose.

My “leftover lunch” was comprised of last night’s meatballs. I made a meatball salad with lettuce, carrots, meatballs (crumbled up), and guacamole. The guacamole seriously put this meal over the top. That and the mix of Tessemae’s dressing I used. I topped it off with my favorite, the Southwest Ranch, and a new one I hadn’t tried before, the Italian. It was heavenly.

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I snacked on some baby carrots (also leftover from last night’s veggie tray) before my workout because I knew I’d need the energy once the gym class started. After coming home I made tomorrow’s lunch before eating dinner. I don’t know why I always take so long to eat after working out. I think the actual work out kind of staggers my hunger for some reason. I also didn’t really want to go back into the kitchen after eating my dinner, so I got it all out of the way. And yes, tomorrow includes not-so-sloppy seconds (because their sloppy thirds!) as well.

Dinner was leftover salt and pepper seasoned wings (sans bones) sauteed with kale, butternut squash, and some bacon in coconut oil.

ImageMmmmm! Seriously, I feel like I’ve never let myself eat this good. Ever. My taste-buds are completely rejuvenated as well. Fruit tastes so sweet! And every meal I make is so incredibly flavorful–without even using spices. Just the mixing of certain veggies with one another can create the best smells and tastes. Spices just take it to next level.

I’m glad I got this post in because tomorrow is definitely going to be a doosey. I won’t be home until late and will probably crash right when I get home. Speaking of crashing, my dream last night was intense! I not only “cheated” in my dream, I had a full-fledged Binge-Fest of foods I don’t even ever eat! It was sad. I felt so incredible guilty and wanted to stop but couldn’t make myself. Is my subconscious trying to force self-sabotage? Am I over-analyzing this? I am definitely no stranger to self-sabotage, so I admit I am taking it a little too personally (with myself?! ha!). Anyway, I will stop now. Unless of course tonight’s dreams literally force me to sleep walk to the fridge and eat everything that is non-compliant. That can’t happen, right?!