Whole 30 Days 20, 21 & 22

I had a really full weekend and now I get to share it all with you!  Aren’t you lucky!

On Friday, we had a surprisingly delicious dinner.  I had planned on having wings but was feeling fairly blah about that dinner.  Then at work they gave me a few pounds of haricots verts (or skinny green beans, if your French is as crappy as mine).  Working at a culinary school, this sort of thing happens semi-regularly and I try to take advantage when I can.  Well, the magic of dinner happened with that side.   It was so good, that I’m including the recipe.  And it was all things I threw together from our refrigerator.  Bonus!

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Wings and Haricots Verts

On Saturday, I made a frittata out of refrigerator scraps.  Let me be the first paleo-eating person to say, frittatas just aren’t that good.  I’ve been thinking about it and here is why I think that is.  Eggs are very delicate and they respond very differently to different levels of heat.  Eggs cooked over low heat are soft, loose and fluffy.  Eggs cooked over high heat are harder and more tightly held together.  For example, if you cook scrambled eggs over low heat, you will end up with light, fluffy scrambled eggs, that can border on pudding consistency.  Cook those same eggs over high heat and you end up with dense, heavy scrambled pieces.  Now with a frittata, you are cooking the eggs over high heat and then putting it in a hot oven.  I find this “hard cooking” to be a little too much for my liking.  I prefer the light texture of a quiche filling.  Of course quiche is partly delicious because of the cream that is added, but part of the reason it is so good is that it is cooked in a very low oven.  So now that I have given you my thoughts on eggs, you can imagine that the frittata was all of so-so.  Next time, I’ll be cooking it more like a crustless quiche.  And of course, I’ll report back.

frittata

After breakfast, I went to work.  It was boring and lonely, but at least it didn’t last long.  I had the leftover frittata for lunch.  After work, I wanted to run so I ran to a nearby trail – the Capital Crescent Trail – and it was awesome.  It is a nicely paved trail that crosses very few roads and is only a mile from my office.  I will definitely be doing this again the next time I have to work on a Saturday.  My only complaint from the entire run is that I kept accidentally getting my songs stuck on repeat.  Dummy!

Capital Crescent Trail

Capital Crescent Trail

Saturday night ended up being as difficult as I imagined it would be but not for the reasons that I thought it would be.  I ate a bunch of the leftovers in the fridge including some pulled pork, cherry bbq sauce and some random vegetables.  I did this because we were going to a birthday party and I didn’t want to be hungry and feel at all compelled to eat.  Well that part worked perfectly but I had another totally (ok, not totally) unexpected problem.  The party was at a bar and because I wasn’t drinking and I barely knew most of the people, I turned into a total wallflower!  Now the reality is I am anything but shy, but I really hate noisy bars.  You can’t talk to anyone!  Even people that are right in front of you.  So I probably already had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about it all.  My normal M.O. in this situation is to have a few drinks and start chatting everyone up (I never said it was a healthy habit :-/).  Well, here I was not drinking, grouchy about the noise level and generally just sticking it out because I wanted to help celebrate a good friend’s birthday.  So it wasn’t all bad, it just wasn’t my favorite way to spend a Saturday.

Check out this cute couple!

Check out this cute couple!

On the upside, I woke up on Sunday feeling fabulous, not at all hungover (my guess: not drinking = no hangover.  I’m brilliant!).  We went for a really nice hike with both dogs.  It was Hudson’s first hike and after he figured out what was going on, I think he had a good time.  He spent the first ten minutes walking like this:

Hudson's first hike

Hudson’s first hike

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After the hike we went on a fruitless hunt for a dining room table.  We want one that will seat 12 with leaves and fold up to a normal size the rest of the year.  Shockingly hard to find!  After a grocery store trip, we had a fabulous dinner.  It was exactly the kind of dinner I crave.  Grilled salmon, fresh guac, tomato and pepper salad from the farm stand and some roasted winter squash.  Holy cow!  It was beautiful (look at all those colors!) and tasted just perfect.  I went to bed happy!

sunday's dinnner

This morning I went to my first Crossfit class with the general public and it did not go well.  I will save the story for another post because this one is already too long, but just know that I’m feeling a bit discouraged and a lot determined.  I ate a hardboiled egg and a banana for breakfast and then wasn’t hungry until 3 o’clock.  For lunch, I ate some raw veggies (purple cauliflower, haricots verts and peppers) with mayo spiked with Penzey’s Sunny Paris seasoning.  I also had a salad with the last of the pulled pork, some olives and a few tomatoes.  The mayo was surprisingly good.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about essentially eating mayo as a dip, but it was pretty darn good!  For dinner, we will be having beef stew, if Rob remembered to turn the crockpot on!

Talk about eating the rainbow!

Talk about eating the rainbow!

I’m old and other realities I must face

I have spent most of my life in a generally active lifestyle.  I sometimes am more active (training for marathons or triathlons or joining swim teams) and sometimes less active (the first two years I dated my husband), but overall, I like to keep moving with running, hiking, swimming, biking, whatever.  I find that it improves my mood, I get (less) fat and I really like feeling strong.

Today I had to face a sad fact.  I’m getting older.  And my body sometimes breaks down in ways that I am not that happy about.  Realistically, I have been working on this form of reality for over a year, but this morning, I had to face the music.  It was my first day of Crossfit out of the Foundations class.  During Foundations, my back and legs have been sore, sometimes to the point that it is a little uncomfortable to walk around the rest of the day or a bit difficult to get dressed.  I attributed it mostly to general soreness.  I’m not new to aching body parts.

Today, something else happened.  It was just so much more painful.  The ridiculousness of it all was that I started the day thinking my soreness was less than usual and that I was glad I had “rested” all weekend, if you can call running and hiking resting.  I didn’t have any problems through the warm up of “Crossfit basketball”.  But then when he explained the workout, I needed to be shown how to flip a tire.  Which, first of all, was embarrassing.  Everyone just stood there watching me try (and fail) to flip the tire.  I think I was feeling a bit deflated and probably over-exerted myself to not feel so dumb.  Then we got into the workout and I was actually really excited about it.  I had been worried that I wouldn’t know how to do anything and would have a super hard time, but they actually were doing something I knew how to do.  I think it is called a bear progression, but it was a deadlift, power clean, front squat, press, back squat, press.  And it was supposed to be laddered 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 with a tire flip in between.  I really like that kind of workout.  I do a lot of ladder-type things when I run on the treadmill and swim.  That type of variation really appeals to me.  So I was stoked.  The prescribed weight seemed a little high but the other ladies were doing it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

So I bent over to do the first deadlift and I could barely pick up the bar.  Pain shot from my back, down my butt and almost to my knee.  It made it so that I could barely squat into position and most decidedly, could not lift the weight.  I struggled with it and tried to force my body to do it, but I really just couldn’t.  I did decrease the weight (maybe even by too much) but by then, the damage had been done.  My body was just broken.  I had exactly zero power.

I was mortified!  I had to stop the workout and stretch and roll around on a lacrosse ball.  Not a good start!  I was really beating myself up mentally and feeling pretty in the dumps, but luckily the two coaches showed some concern (not enough to baby me and make me feel worse, but just the right amount).  They also told me something that really helped me.  Jesse said, “Make sure you come back.  Even if all you do is work on mobility, be sure to come in here.  You aren’t going to get better by sitting at home and ‘resting on it.'” Surprisingly, that was exactly what I needed to hear to make myself not give in.

So here I am, at my desk, rolling around on a lacrosse ball, stretching every 45 minutes and trying to get better as quickly as possible.  I refuse to give in to my pain.  I’m determined to fix myself and come out stronger on the other side.

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Haricots Verts and Mushrooms

Haricots Verts and Mushrooms

  • 1/2# haricots verts or green beans, blanched
  • 1/4# shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • clarified butter, extra virgin olive oil or fat of your choice
  • zest of one orange
  • juice of half an orange
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 T coconut aminos
  • toasted coconut and/or toasted almonds, optional
  1. While the haricots verts are blanching, sauté the mushrooms in 1 T of fat.  Add a pinch of salt to help draw out the moisture.  Don’t wiggle too much!  You want a little brown on the ‘shrooms (browning=flavor).
  2. When the haricots verts are blanched, cut into 1″ pieces and add to the mushrooms.  Saute over high heat for 1 minute until everything is hot.
  3. Mix the OJ, zest, garlic and coconut aminos together in a small bowl.  Add to the hot pan with green beans and mushrooms.  Adjust seasoning.  Top with coconut and almonds and serve immediately.

**Don’t be dumb like me and only taste the haricots verts for salt.  The mushrooms will soak up more of the sauce and may end of slightly saltier.  Do yourself a favor and taste test both before adding more salt.Wings and Haricots Verts

Whole30 Day 19

As expected, dinner last night was great!  We had almost exactly what I had planned: pulled pork, cherry bbq sauce and coleslaw.  I threw in a salad to get few more veggies and happiness was had by all in our house!  (shhh!  The dogs had some too and loved it.  they don’t know how good they have it.)

Pulled pork, cherry bbq, coleslaw and a salad, for good measure.

Today was my last Foundations class.  It was a fun class and I’m glad I did it, but I am pretty intimidated about moving over to the general group.  Their workouts look hard.  But there I go psyching myself out for no reason.  I can do this.  I’ll scale it to an appropriate level and I will get stronger.  No need to make excuses or assume I can’t do it.  I did a-ok in the Foundations class and I got mucho compliments on my form and ability to improve under directions.  That’s all I need.  Yay, self pep talk!

Who is surprised that my breakfast was a hardboiled egg, some grape tomatoes and some grapes?  Not you?  No?  Me neither.  By the way, I bought some black grapes last weekend and I only got around to eating them today.  They are so sweet!  I can’t tell if it is my sweetness receptors changing or if they are really that sweet, but yowzers! And yummers!

For lunch, I made myself a clean-out-the-fridge salad.  Lettuce, pulled chicken, olives, red peppers, coleslaw (finally the last of it), tomatoes and pesto.  Now we can start fresh for the new week.  I’m constantly torn between trying not to waste food and getting sick of things in the refrigerator.  A salad like this is the perfect solution.  BTW, the grapes and olives look almost identical so you never know if you’re going to get a salty bite or a sweet one.  What can I say?  I live on the edge!

Clean out the fridge salad

We are having wings for dinner tonight.  I suspect it will look exactly like last week’s wing dinner and I’m ok with that.

Now that the weekend is approaching, I am once again faced with the dilemma of how to eat out.  On Saturday we are going to a birthday party for one of my best friend’s 30th.  There is sure to be tons of food, cake, and alcohol.  I have to eat a big ass dinner so I’m not tempted by all the deliciousness.  I’m not even that worried about the temptation; I’m much more worried about it being awkward if I’m not partaking.  I’ve been known to be a bit of an over-indulger in the past, so it may be noticeable if I’m not joining in.  Let’s hope everyone else is too caught up in themselves to notice me…

Meatballs

Meatballs

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  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 C Shredded Carrot
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 1 C Mushrooms, finely dice
  • 2 T Oregano, dried
  • 1 T Garlic Powder
  • 1 T Basil, dried
  • 3 T Coconut Oil
  • S&P to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sweat the onions in 2 t of coconut oil. Put in a bowl and use the pan again.
  3. Sautee the mushrooms in 2 t of coconut oil with a pinch of salt until most of the moisture has evaporated.
  4. Add the onions and the carrots and cook for about 3 minutes, until everything is soft and there is no remaining moisture.
  5. Cool for as long as you have time.  If you’re me, this means 3 minutes in the fridge.  It could have/should have been longer, but I was in a hurry.
  6. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients – meat, egg, veggies, spices.  Use a gentle touch and just barely bring it together.  if you bought the very lean ground beef like I did, you may want to add 1-2 T of melted coconut oil.
  7. Shape into balls of a similar size.  I used a scoop to keep them uniform.  Everything to this point can be done up to 1 day ahead of time.  It will actually make them better, but requires you to plan ahead (not my strong suit).
  8. Brown on each side in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat with the remaining coconut oil.
  9. Place on a rack set onto a cookie sheet and put in the oven.  Cook until they are cooked through, 15 minutes depending on size.  Let rest 5 minutes before eating.

Bonus: If you have a sauce that you are serving with them (perhaps tomato sauce?), you can spoon this over them halfway through the baking.

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Whole30 Day 18

 

Sometimes I love my job.  Last night was one of those days.  One of my favorite chefs was here and we started talking about Whole30.  She was just so encouraging.  She said something that I thought was very profound.  I don’t think she is 100% behind paleo eating but she can understand the benefits and generally takes the approach that each person needs to find what works for them.  And then she said, “The key is that any diet that makes it so you eat less processed food is great.  And even better if it makes you excited to eat.”  That’s the key for me.  I’m not sure how strictly paleo I will be after this 30 days but is undeniable that my body is responding well to having less processed foods.  I don’t think there is any question that wheat, sugar and alcohol do not agree with me.  That does not mean I will never eat them again.  It just means they will have to be worth it when I do.  I think I now have the power to only have those things when I want them and can properly enjoy them, as opposed to my normal approach of eat everything in sight until I want to puke.

eat all the things

Enough soapbox.  On to dinner last night.  I got home a little late, but was still determined to have a nice dinner, since the night before was decidedly ho-hum.  I made meatballs, zoodles (yummy zucchini noodles) and Wegmans roasted garlic tomato sauce.  It was pretty darn good.  We also had some coleslaw that I had made the night before, just to add a little variety to the plate.

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the final product

the final product

It was a rest day from my Foundations class so I slept in… sort of.  The truth is I woke up at my normal 6 o’clock because that’s what I’m used to and then I snuggled in bed with my two favorite furballs.  Weird side note, I got a nosebleed which led to me doing the laundry this morning.  I guess with the weather changing to Fall, my nose is a little dry?  Not sure about that one.

Dontcha just wanna stay in bed?

Dontcha just wanna stay in bed?

For breakfast I made myself a smoothie.  I loooove smoothies, especially now that I have an amazing Vitamix.  I have been avoiding them on Whole30 because while they are allowed, they are not recommended because the body processes liquid forms of fruits and veggies differently than the whole thing.  But I have vowed to “see how I feel”  and “notice my reaction.”  The smoothie was a yummy mix of cashew butter, coconut milk, frozen blueberries (my favorite smoothie fruit) and a banana.  Oh and a little water to keep it moving.  I used to add greek yogurt instead of the coconut milk but honestly I didn’t miss it.  It’s good both ways.  Now here’s the thing.  Usually in the past, when I have had a smoothie for breakfast, I’m hungry way earlier than usual.  Not today.  It’s 2 o’clock and I’m only starting to get hungry.  Which is pretty average for me.

Lunch is an exact replica of last night’s dinner: meatballs, zoodles, sauce and coleslaw.  I think it’s almost better the second time.

For dinner we are having slow cooker pulled pork with cherry barbeque sauce.  And more of that coleslaw.  That’s comfort food for me.  I’m really looking forward to it and I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Whole30 Day 17

I completely forgot to get all excited that I was halfway through.  So here goes:  Yay!  I feel great.  I’m loving the food and the freedom (maybe not everyone thinks of it as freedom, so be it).  I cannot say all my “cravings” have gone away.  Would I still give my right arm for a warm baguette and a piece of dark chocolate?  Um, probably not… but I would give my left (I’m right handed, what can I say?).  I am starting to recognize that those items maybe shouldn’t be a part of my everyday life.  And I feel decidedly mixed about that.  It’s good to feel healthy and strong, but let’s be honest, food makes me happy.  So happy, in fact, that I’ve built my career around it.  That doesn’t go away easily.

So last night’s dinner was far from spectacular.  Once again, poor planning seemed to get me.  When I plan out a wonderful dinner, we have a wonderful dinner.  When I don’t plan, dinner tends to be lackluster.  There seems to be a theme emerging here…  So we had butternut squash soup.  It was pretty good, but it would have been great if I had roasted the butternut squash beforehand.  It just tasted a little sweet and a little flat.  But it looked beautiful, so there’s that.  We also had some braised red cabbage.  The color was gorgeous, so there’s that.  I wish I hadn’t been so lazy and had actually sliced it thinly.  I think it would have braised better.

butternut soup dinner day16

Third day in a row of Foundations class meant third day in a row of a hard boiled egg and a piece of fruit, this time a banana.  Least exciting breakfast ever.  Lunch was beautiful and tasted better than I expected.  I had lettuce, braised cabbage, an apple (the sweetness I think made this salad) and some reheated organic wild mushroom sausages.  It worked.

lunch day 17

As for dinner tonight, I’m planning on making meatballs and zoodles.  I love zoodles and I just bought a new julienne peeler that I’m hoping will make the job easier.  I’m actually going to do a store bought tomato sauce from Wegmans.  I read label on their organic roasted garlic tomato sauce and it has all totally normal (and organic!) ingredients that fit into Whole30.   So I’m saving myself a little time.  I could hardly believe it.  I actually went back and read it again when I got home, just to make sure.  Wegmans, I love you.

My first rant (I’m sure there will be many)

Some people just wear me out!  I am normally a people-person.  Whatever that really is.  As part of my job, I give tours regularly.  Most of the time they’re great.  I like meeting lots of different people.  I’ve done it enough times that I could probably do it in my sleep.  It’s fairly short.  All around, giving the tours is a nice way to break up my day.  But today, man oh man, did I have a tour.  The guy would not let me get a word in edge-wise.  Good god!  I know I left stuff out without really meaning to but because after three attempts of starting my sentence, I would just give up.  I kept trying to think of a relatively polite way to say, “Shut up.”  Apparently it is not polite to say, “Hey buddy, I’m doing the tour here!  Maybe you came to hear what I have to say, not listen to yourself speak!”

So here it is, 12:30 in the afternoon and I’m mentally exhausted from dealing with this guy.  It’s so nice to have a 5 minute break to get angry and get over it.  I feel better already!

shut up