Taste the Rainbow Swiss Chard

Standard

I would be TGIFing, if I didn’t have to work tomorrow. Luckily, whenever I work Saturdays, it doesn’t feel like a normal day of the week, so I fly through my day without thinking of it as a work week day but also not identifying with it as a Saturday. Kind of like a half day in school used to feel like. Anyway, I’ve got one more day to work tomorrow and then I am off Sunday and Monday. But then the following week is going to be the real tough one. I’ll be working at least one 12 hour day and at least one 16 hour day! I am already trying to mentally prepare myself for the battle of April 21st-26th. Plus, that will be my last week of Whole45! Note to self: spend your Easter Sunday and following day off work prepping meals for following work week. Blah.

Anyway, we will be leaving for my parents house tomorrow afternoon right after I get off work. Hubs is ecstatic to be spending Easter with them, because my mom will make sure there is a glazed spiral ham and a homemade coconut cake and Easter Bunny-delivered-jelly beans. I was originally going to host the Sunday lunch, but then I got in a car accident and broke my elbow and I happily let go of any plans I made that involved tons of cooking for people. This will be a perfect alternative because I can make a few side dishes for myself that nicely blend into the rest of the entrees. I have a few recipes in my head such as deviled eggs, sweet potato salad, pureed carrots, and I even purchased a lamb rack to roast so that I can have some protein that isn’t sugar-infused.

Anyway, I will stick with the retelling of tonight’s dinner recipe for now. I purchased some very colorful Rainbow Swiss Chard the other day. I have never had it before and it is so beautiful! It is one of those dark green veggies that I’ve been eyeing lately due to their Calcium-richness along with others like collard greens, turnip greens, and mustard greens.

Image

 

Image

I took the leafy parts of the chard and threw them in a heated skillet with some coconut oil. At first, I thought I had way too much chard for the skillet; their leafy layers are thick and bountiful. Sure enough though, after a few simmering minutes, the chard shrunk in size and became deeper in color. Their taste and texture reminded me of collards but on a whole other level; thicker! I added some grilled chicken with just a slice of bacon to the mix. While my chicken and chard was cooking, I had a lovely NC-grown purple sweet potato I needed to use. At least I am assuming I needed to use it since mine had started sprouting! Crazy!

Image

How cool is that!? I peeled and chopped the potato and roasted it in the oven. I read only after I ate them that it was okay to actually eat a sprouted sweet potato. Ha! Apparently, it sprouted because of the humid environment it lives in. Anyway, the purple sweet potato was definitely another colorful addition to my bright dinner template.

Image

I diced it and then roasted it in the oven.

Image

 

I then plopped my rainbow chard chicken on top of my purple sweet potato in a (blue) bowl and ate it all!

Image

 

Now I’ll hopefully be glowing bright colors after I turn the lights off to go to sleep ;). Either that or tie-dyed like an Easter egg.

April Showers Pour

Standard

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!

Bulletproof Battle

Standard

So, I have been hearing a lot about “Bulletproof Coffee” in the Whole30 and Paleo world lately. I have only recently started drinking my coffee black, thanks to my first Whole30 back in December. I never realized how much I loved the taste of just coffee. Before then, I always had it with 2 tablespoons of cream (yes, I measured it out). I thought I was pretty dark and bitter with just the cream since before then I always had it with equal or some other type of artificial sweetener.So, why not try another way to drink coffee in the morning since I’ve become pretty boring with my naked cup of black joe?

I have read many different recipes for Bulletproof Coffee….some including the addition of gelatin, or vanilla extract, or even something called Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. However, all of the recipes have some type of healthy fat  added to hot coffee (must be hot) and then blended together. I decided to do a few different variations to see which I liked the best.

For my first bulletproof coffee, I added a tablespoon of ghee to my coffee and used a super easy Magic Bullet to blend it. It was so fun watching the color of the coffee change instantly from black into a frothy tan.

IMG_2400 IMG_2401My first sip was heavenly. I couldn’t believe how I have missed out on this until that moment. Seriously. The entire texture of the coffee had transformed into this buttery, creamy, foamy, deliciousness while not manipulating the flavor of the coffee itself. I knew I was hooked after that.

The second morning, I skipped the ghee and opted for coconut oil instead. The same transformation from black coffee to foamy concoction took place in the blender.

IMG_2407 IMG_2408

I thought it would taste very different, but surprisingly it didn’t. However, I could still tell the ghee apart from the coconut oil. It was hard to determine which tasted better…especially since anything with coffee in the morning is a winner.

Now, it was time to blend both together. I added a tablespoon of both coconut oil and ghee together to see just how Bulletproof my morning could get.

IMG_2426 IMG_2427This recipe with both coconut oil and ghee was Heavenly. I seriously couldn’t remember sipping on anything more pleasurable in my life…except for peanut butter milkshakes (you get what I mean though).

However, if I had to pick a winner out of the three, it would be the first recipe with just the ghee!

Why? It gave the coffee not only such a unique taste, but a smooth texture as well. Also, the third coffee concoction with both ghee and coconut oil, was almost too good. I found myself slurping it up instead of savoring it, which is why I really love coffee in the morning.

I have really been going through my little container of ghee so much faster now that I just about use it every morning to make my coffee. It is so worth it though! I get these little 8 oz bottles at Trader Joe’s. After my Whole45, I am going to experiment with actual grass-fed butter though! The adventure continues…

 

Bubbly or Bust

Standard

I just looked at the calendar to see when my Whole45 is finished and I have exactly 2 more weeks to go! I have been a little distracted with the past week and a half’s events to really notice how many days are left (I wouldn’t recommend people getting in car crashes and breaking their elbows just to help pass the days along in their Whole30). The Whole30 has certainly contributed to my easygoing attitude and peace of mind throughout all of the insurance company phone calls, bank visits, car down payments, medical specialist co-pays, etc, etc, etc. I haven’t really been paying too much attention to my elbow. I sometimes forget that it is still healing…that is until I extend it too far or too quickly. My body promptly lets me know that I’ve overdone it. I am able to use it more and more each day. Today I could rotate my arm further than I could before. I can also extend my arm a little bit more….although it still won’t unbend and straighten all the way. I’m making progress though! My next appointment is on the 30th; so I have plenty of time to unbend my elbow by then 🙂

I’ve also been able to get a fair amount of exercise in. If I’m not able to do an actual workout, I am making sure I am at least walking a few miles at lunchtime. I was able to modify the T25 workouts this past week and it felt so good to sweat! I wasn’t able to attend a spin class this morning at the gym because I had to work today. I am going to try and attempt a run outside tomorrow. The running will require my arms to move around a lot, so I will just have to make sure I ice it afterwards. I’ve been icing it about once a day or so and it has really helped with the swelling and the soreness, especially after a workout.

On my way home from work, I was really craving a Kombucha. I didn’t have anymore at the house and did not want to drive to the grocery store and shell out 4 bucks for one. The sunny spring day just had me itching for something bubbly to quench my thirst. After walking Lady and eating dinner, I was still unsettled. For a second, I instinctively thought about grabbing the nut butter and bananas when I realized what I really wanted was something bubbly to soothe my hankering. I then remembered I had a leftover can of La Croix from a case I bought months and months ago. It was in the deepest corner in the back of the fridge.

Image

 

In spite of the many months it has rested in my fridge, It totally hit the spot! I am noticing that my need for bubbles has been frequent with the warmer sunnier weather. Looks like I need to stock up soon since we are nearing the end of April. I bet it would be delicious mixed with Kombucha. That reminds me! I have a co-worker who makes her own Kombucha, and she is going to help me make my own. I am super excited to grow my collection of do-it-yourself experiments.

Splint-Free Glee!

Standard

I am typing this blog post without the hassle of propping my left elbow on stacks of pillows in order to get my wrist angled just right in order to type on the keyboard. My left arm is free and air balling…kind of. It is still wicked stiff and bent at an angle at all times (my left half looks like a T-Rex). It is going to take time for my elbow to get back to the free mobilization that my right arm has. For instance, rotating my arm counterclockwise hurts like a mother. I also can’t extend it all the way out to straighten it. The doctor said that this is pretty much due to the inflammation. Most of the swelling has gone down, but now that it is out of the splint I can compare it to my other arm and still see a big difference in puffiness around my elbow.

So, this past week had ended on such a different note than it began. When I first got my splint, I could barely wiggle my fingers and had a hard time figuring out how to do things. I was especially clumsy in the kitchen. A few days passed and I was able to dice veggies (kind of….still clumsily), open twisting jars and bottles, open and close doors/cabinets, and I even folded the laundry and made the bed! I was able to listen to my body and improve my skills in the splint but I also felt really good about my recovery. My husband gave me a lot of crap for “getting cocky” though. But, I knew that I wasn’t in any pain and I just plain felt good.

My husband’s teasing caught up to me as I sat in the waiting room at the orthopedics office this morning. I just got my X-Rays taken and I was waiting for the doctor to come and give me the news. I was happy to have my splint off even if it would just be temporary. They had to take it off for the X-Rays. I asked the technician how my elbow looked and she just replied “Oh, you know-these things just need time to heal. The doctor will go over everything with you.” PANIC! I for sure thought that whatever the X-Rays showed would not be good news. My first thought was how I could get away without telling my husband he was right all along. I was working myself up so much while waiting for the doctor to come in that I almost started crying! At least it felt so damn good to scratch and pet my arm.

The doctor came in and told me he couldn’t even find where the fracture was in the new X-Rays! Seven days. He initially said the first visit that I would be in a splint for 2 weeks. Seven days was all I needed! The bone isn’t technically fractured now, but there is still plenty of healing to be done. I can still wear the sling if I need it and I will have to ease into doing things. I am hoping the inflammation will decrease now that I am able to ice it. My plan is to become more and more mobile with each passing day!

I have the Whole30 to thank for my speedy recovery. Not only has my body been obviously reaping the benefits of my diet, but my mind has been put at ease through the headache this past week has been. All I can do is give a thumbs up!

Image

Calcium-Rich Greens

Standard

After writing my Got Milk? post, I went to the grocery store on a mission to buy produce that was specifically rich in calcium. It is great that I am eating all the right foods so that my body can heal as best as it can, but I wanted to try and do an even better job of making calcium more bio-available to my body in case it needed it. I know that cooked dark greens are great calcium-rich choices. I’ve always loved kale, but thought that straying from the usual and giving it more variety could do my body good. So I went back to my Southern roots: collards and turnip greens.

Image

 

 

Just one cup of cooked collard greens has 220 milligrams of calcium. Turnip greens have 99 milligrams of calcium per cup when cooked. Adding these rich greens into my meals along with my everyday cooked kale which has 93 milligrams of calcium per cup isn’t bad at all! I found these calcium milligram measurements on Eat Drink Paleo. I also picked up some broccoli and okra which also made the calcium-rich list.

For dinner last night, I boiled a pot of water and added the greens in it. I opted for the frozen bags because not only were they cheaper, but they are super splint-friendly in the kitchen. 😉 No chopping required, which means no ambidextrous skills needed from me!

Image

 

I let the greens simmer in the hot water for about 10 minutes and then drained them. While my greens were draining, I browned some veal that Hubs had put in the freezer a few weeks ago.

 

Image

 

I’ve never had veal. It was so juicy and tender; plus it smelled so good while browning on the cast iron.

Image

I removed the veal after it browned and cut them into slices. I then added the greens to the skillet and poured a cup or two of my home made bone broth in for the greens to simmer in. I also like to think that the nutrient dense bone broth enhanced my dinner to give me super healing powers.

Image

 

I then added the slices of veal back into the broth-simmering greens and covered it up for just a couple of minutes.

Image

 

Then dinner was served! I think pork would have been a perfect pairing with the cooked greens, but we didn’t have any in the house at the time. The veal was pretty damn good too! I have my second follow up appointment with the orthopedic specialist tomorrow morning and I don’t think I have ever been this excited to go to the doctor’s! I am really hoping I can get my splint off after tomorrow. That would mean it would come off a week earlier than the doctor said, but I am very optimistic about my recovery and from what my body is telling me, I am feeling great! Fingers crossed!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Standard

Today was an awesome care-free day; waking up knowing I had crossed off a huge “to do” task of purchasing a car this weekend…and I still had an entire Sunday to enjoy until Monday morning came!

I have been trying to stay as active as I can while my left elbow heals. I have had to skip lunchtime sweat sessions at work, but I have substituted them with 2 mile walks outside which has been so enjoyable thanks to the nice weather lately. This morning I decided to go to the gym. I walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes and did the stationary bike for 25 minutes. I brought some reading material with me which made the time fly. I have still not experienced any pain in my arm. Sometimes, I will forget it is in a splint and I will instinctively do something (like clasp something with my hand too tightly or quickly) and then I will get a sharp twinge in it to remind me that I am getting too cocky. But that is it. The pain doesn’t subside and it goes away as quickly as it came. The band that goes around my neck that connects to the splint is starting to give me a bit of a chafe on the back of my neck. I wore a tank top yesterday and we were in the warm sun while car shopping, so I was probably sweating which caused the chafing to start. Today the weather cooled off and I’m making sure to wear material between the sling band and my neck. I also rubbed some Vitamin E on it this morning which felt incredible.

In North Carolina, this seasonal warm weather brings strawberry season along with it! I made a trip to the grocery store today and they had local NC strawberries on sale to highlight their debut.. They looked so plump and red and juicy! I also snagged two bags of baby spinach for a buck each along with a few radishes that were at the quick sale produce stand. Spinach Strawberry Salad instantly landed on the dinner menu for tonight.

The great thing about baby spinach is that I could just empty it all into a bowl without chopping or shredding the produce. The less I have to chop or slice, the better for my one-armed kitchen challenges. I sliced most of the strawberries (but saved a few for the dressing), the radishes and celery. I added some cooked chicken to it and topped it with sesame seeds, salt, and a handful of pistachios. To my personal salad bowl I also added some avocado (my husband doesn’t like it–more for me!).

For the dressing I blended a few strawberries, olive oil, lemon, a teensy weensy drop of apple cider vinegar, rosemary and black pepper.

strawberrydressungsbdressingafter

 

I blended my strawberry dressing in a magic blender. The flavor was delicious, but the consistency didn’t taste like a salad vinaigrette. It felt very “whipped”, which I actually kind of liked but had to get used to.

sbsalad

 

And the best party is that there’s more to last for tomorrow’s lunch! So berry good. (I’m not deleting it)