Foodie Pen Pals – January

I was so excited to do the Foodie Pen Pals again.  If you missed it in November when I did it, here’s the post.  They took December off and so here we are at January.  The Foodie Pen Pals program is great.  You get paired up with someone in the country semi-randomly.  You exchange any specific dietary needs and then you each send each other a care package of your favorite goodies.  What could be better than that?  It’s so much fun to pick stuff out for someone else, but it’s even more fun to have a box of surprise food-stuffs come to you!

I was lucky enough this month to be paired up with Rorden from JugglingOranges.com.  She was super nice and emailed me right away.  I told her I eat paleo and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t be too much trouble for her to find things.  Well, she came through with flying colors!

I was so excited to receive her box.  It came when we had our big snow storm, so it was especially appreciated.  She sent so many goodies!  And each thing had a really adorable note attached to it telling me why she liked it.  There was trail mix, honey (I’m such a sucker for local honeys <— room for potentially bad pun here), dried figs and homemade turkey jerky (umm wow! who makes their own jerky? awesome!).  She even included a tee shirt from the bistro where she works and a couple of bar mops! box1

Oh and I didn’t get these in the first picture because I had already started munching on them.  Yum!  I like them so much that I actually sent her a similar thing.  Great minds think alike! Hard to describe but they are basically green beans turned into chips.  Dehydrated maybe?  I’m not really sure how they do it but I appreciate the crunch.  Has anyone noticed that paleo is a bit lacking that department?  But I digress….  box2

Anyway, I absolutely love this program and I’m so thankful to Rorden for being accommodating.  Really you should sign up and do it too.  Maybe we’ll get each other and I ‘ll send you delicious things.  I’m just saying…

The Lean Green Bean
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Cauliflower Tortillas recipe and other random musings

The winter blah’s have taken hold of me.  Like most of the east coast, we had a major (for Maryland) dumping of snow on Tuesday.  Maryland is terrible at dealing with anything more than an inch of snow.  Wait, that’s not true – we are also terrible at dealing with amounts less than an inch.  It is actually not uncommon to have schools cancelled for rain that “might” develop into a snow storm.

This time we got about 7″, so it’s been all out catastrophe mode around here.  Schools cancelled, businesses closed, bread, water and toilet paper completely bought out of the stores.  Things are only starting to return to normal. Did I mention that Monday (the day before this storm) it was 60 degrees?  Yep it was.  It was also MLK Day so I was home.  I did a noon Crossfit wod and then took Dingo for a hike.  It was muddy but glorious.  muddy hikeHiking is my absolute favorite way to get inside my head and spend a little quality time with my best girl.  And I mean Dingo, not me… I hope she enjoyed the exercise because she refused to go out in the snow.  She literally pooped today for the first time since Monday.  Wait that was TMI.  Sorry.  Not everyone likes to talk about my dog’s bowel movements?  Oops!  Socially awkward blogger here. hike

The upside of my cabin fever is a did a little cooking/baking.  I baked some cookies but I was too ashamed so I didn’t take a picture.  They were delish.  I have a good basic recipe for chocolate chip cookies and then I usually mix in whatever I have lying around.  This time it was a little whole wheat flour (to make them chewier, not to pretend to be healthier) and some granola.  I love chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, so I figured why not?  They were so good.  I think I ate the equivalent of 5 cookies in raw cookie dough alone.  And then I paid for it with a belly ache.  D’oh.

I also tried out the paleo “tortillas”.  I originally got the recipe from roostblog.com, but that site is no longer letting me in, so I can’t reference it.  Oh well, here’s the recipe, tweaked to my memories.  cauliflower tortilla

Cauliflower Tortillas

  • 3 cups of “riced” cauliflower, raw
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Steam the cauliflower over a pot of simmering water.  When it is fully cooked, spoon it off into the center of a clean dish towel.  Let it cool just enough to be able to handle it.  Squeeze all the excess moisture out of the cooked cauliflower.  I rolled the towel up and then squeezed/twisted the ends like I was wringing out a towel.
  3. Mix the dry cauliflower with the egg, egg whites and salt.  Spoon about 3 T of the mixture onto a silpat lined baking sheet and spread out into a thin circle.  You can also use a parchment lined baking sheet, but it is harder to remove the tortillas when they are done.
  4. Pop them in the oven and cook until they are shiny and dry.  This took about 8 minutes but it would vary depending on how thin you spread the mixture.
  5. Let them cool slightly on the silpat and remove with a spatula.
  6. The original recipe called for browning them on each side in a little ghee in a pan, but I was feeling lazy and like the white color.  You decide!

The best thing about these is that they don’t taste like much, so they could be used for a variety of different things.  I filled mine with pulled pork and slaw.  I might have done something else with them for dinner, but when I wasn’t looking, Dingo stole them right of the counter!  She is learning some bad habits… but she’s eating well, so I don’t mind.

Ok last thing.  Here was last night’s dinner.  It was super fast and a total crowd pleaser.  It was a modified cobb salad with deviled eggs instead of plain hardboiled eggs.  Yum! cobb salad

Mine had pomegranate seeds, bacon, avocado, deviled eggs, peppers, blue cheese, olives, dilly beans (I’m obsessed!  Where have these been all my life?) and tomatoes.  Oh and lettuce.  I know Rob liked it because he took a picture of it and posted it to his friends on this online game he played.  He likes to make them jealous.

Wait one more random picture of my food.  This is what I made for dinner on Sunday night.  It was paleo, delicious and a quarter of the price it would have been in a restaurant.  How can you beat that? tuna

Whole30, half way

I know I’ve been terrible about blogging about my whole30 this time around.  The truth is, my heart isn’t totally in it.  I really wanted to do it to get back on track with my eating after the holidays.  It has actually been really good for me to do that.  The problem is I have a sort of “been there, done that” attitude about the whole thing.  I’m not “learning about my body” or “figuring out what works for me”.   I’ve already done those things.  I know what works for me.  Eat less crap = feel better, look better, be happier.  Easy equation.  So what’s the problem?  I find the Whole30 model to be great teaching tool, but it is far too restrictive for everyday life, at least for me.  I know I have to eat better more often than not, but if I want a piece of super dark chocolate on a random night or if the social situation calls for having 1 measly glass of wine, then dammit, I want those things and I don’t want to feel like I’m depriving myself.  So I’m officially switching to Whole30 90% of the time.  Some people might call it eating paleo, like any normal paleo-eating person, but I don’t feel that captures the  unique-butterfly-ness that is me.

I feel pretty darn good about this decision.  I felt especially good about it last night when I decided and then I had a piece (or four… ok 6) of dark chocolate.  And here’s the thing.  It hit the spot and now I’m not stuck craving it.  I had it and I’m done.  That’s how it is supposed to work.  That’s what having a healthy relationship with food is all about.  How did I get so off course?  And I don’t mean just with Whole30.  I mean with eating in general.  When did it become this obsessive thing that I am either doing right (=I can feel good about myself) or doing wrong (=I should feel shameful)?  It’s such a load of crap.  I want to eat good food, in reasonable sized portions and enjoy it for what it is – a way to nourish my body and soul.  So here’ smy new goal.  Food that makes me feel good – IN. Food that makes me feel bad – OUT.  Experiences that make me happy – IN.  Experiences that turn food into something undesirable, shameful or guilt-ridden – OUT.

Soapbox speech over.

Let’s talk food.  #1 Immersion blender mayo changed my life.  Really.  I had been making it either with a whisk or in the food processor.  Both way stink.  By hand rarely gets you the super thick creamy consistency.  The food processor is a pain to clean because it has so many big clunky parts.  Enter the immersion blender.  I read about it in the new Nom Nom Paleo book.  I was a little skeptical to say the least.  Wouldn’t it break?  Well the answer is yes.  In fact I broke it twice before I got the timing down.  But now that I’ve got it, I’m in love.  It’s just so much easier and so much less clean up.

Then we turned it into chicken salad for the fastest weeknight dinner ever.  Here’s the chicken salad salad.  Hahaha!

photo 3

photo 4This is my latest favorite breakfast.  It’s an egg salad.  Oh man, what a nerd I am.  I can quickly scramble an egg, throw it on top of some salad greens and in less than 5 minutes I have a hot, yummy, healthy and filling breakfast.  Can’t beat that!

photo 1

Things are just peachy here

This weekend was crazy.  It really wasn’t a weekend at all!  I had to work on Saturday (I work every other one) and then we hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Party at my work for all the Volunteer Assistants.  No big deal, just 100+ people.  But in all reality, it went really smoothly and was actually over before I knew it.  That’s the best kind of party.  Actually, the best kind of party is the kind that has people hired to clean.  And it was that kind of party too.  So it really was the best!

I’m still chugging along at my Whole30.  I need to lay off the raisins.  Who would have ever thought that statement would come out of my mouth?!?  I’ve been using them as my sugar crutch and it’s got to stop.

And here’s your daily dose of cute.  Who wouldn’t love that adorable face?

photoHudson has turned out to be the biggest cuddle bug.  I just love it.  Rob teases me because I treat him like a baby.  I even hold him like a little baby.  He doesn’t protest.  I think he thinks it’s normal.  I’ll admit it – it’s not normal.  Just don’t tell Hudson.  He doesn’t need to know…

January Whole 30 – 1/3 Down

I’ve been so neglectful of my blog!  Work has been crazy.  And truth be told, I’ve just been lazy about it.  I had hoped that I would blog all about my Whole30 again like I did last time, and as you can see, that hasn’t happened.  I’m almost 1/3 of the way through and this is only my second post.  I haven’t even remembered to take pictures of most of my food.  And really what’s the point of blogging about food I there aren’t any pictures?

So here is a random sampling of some of my dinner’s lately.

photo 3photo 2

I almost forgot to take a picture of this one.  I was almost done at this point.  I love lettuce wraps!

I almost forgot to take a picture of this one. I was almost done at this point. I love lettuce wraps!

It’s been so much easier this time around.  I don’t have to think much about my food choices like I did last time.  The problem is, if I’m not thinking about my food choices as much,  I’m more likely to almost eat the wrong thing.  Here’s an example.  I was talking to one of my coworkers about some candied ginger that he made over the holidays and he offered to have me try it.  He was literally getting it out for me and I went, “Oh wait! I can’t eat that!  Shoot!”  That about sums up my annoyance with Whole30/Paleo in general.  I hate restricting myself in that way.  My flippin’ career is based around food!

I need to continue to work on the balance side of things.  I summed it up really well for Rob last night (if I do say so myself).  Physically, I love eating this way.  My body responds very well to this.  Mentally and emotionally, not so much.  It can just be a drag sometimes.  Not all the time, but enough to make me think I have a ways to go with incorporating this 100%.

As for Crossfit, things have been weird lately.  I feel like I have no power, and then I find myself doing amazing workouts.  Today we did McGhee:

30 min AMRAP

  • 5 deadlifts, 185#
  • 13 pushups
  • 9 box jumps

I completed 12 rounds of that!  On one side, I felt dog slow and like I was huffing and puffing.  Then on the other side, I Rx’d it, and that’s 12 rounds of things I could not do one round of 3 months ago.  So there’s that.  I probably need to not be so hard on myself.  Not every workout is going to have me springing in my steps and that’s ok.  I’m getting stronger every day.  (<—-like my pep talk to myself there?)

so the question is, how do you stay motivated?  I love getting huge PRs but that can’t last forever.  What keeps you coming back, day in day out, even when each workout isn’t life altering?

New Year, New Whole30

I hope you had a really happy last week or so.  If you’re anything like me, you’re back at work today, trying to catch up on all the stuff you were pretending didn’t exist for the past week.  So this post will be short and sweet.

Over the holidays, I ate like a monster.  A cookie monster.  I ate total junk and really loved it.  I drank when the festivities called for it and I just went willy-nilly.  And here’s the thing.  I felt like crap.  Crap in – crap out, as they say.  Even though cookies taste great and bread is both delicious and convenient, I now can see so clearly that I pay for eating those things.  I slept terribly.  I was weirdly hungry when I shouldn’t be.  I sometimes just grazed all day long, without ever feeling satisfied.  I actually was looking forward to starting another Whole30.  I decided to begin January 1 because I wanted to go out on NYE and because it’s a nice clean start date and I like nice and clean.

Two days before I was actually dying to get started.  Why didn’t I, you ask?  Because I had a refrigerator full of non-compliant food and it wasn’t going to eat itself.  I really hate throwing out perfectly good food so I forced myself to eat what I could and remind myself about how great I was going to feel when I stopped eating it.  Twisted, right?

Now here’s some free advice.  Do not go to the grocery store at 1 pm on NYE.  I think every person in my town was there.  At once.  It was bonkers.  I suffered through the crowds, silently congratulating myself that I could skip all the middle aisles of processed foods, while scoffing at my fellow shopper’s food choices.  I have become such a snob!

I loaded up on veggies, meats and eggs.  I had meal planned for the week for the first time in ages.  I was ready and it actually helped.  I’m excited about my current Whole30 and really feeling motivated to get going.

Yesterday, I made egg salad for breakfast.  It was actually scrambled eggs on a salad.  And it was yummy.  One of my favorite things is quiche with a simple salad with a sharp vinaigrette (to cut through the richness of the quiche).  This was like a super quick version of that.  For lunch I grazed on fruits and veggies and hardboiled eggs.  This was not intentional but I was feeling extremely lazy on my last day of vacation and just kept eating.  I guess that shows how quickly my habits have fallen off.  For dinner, I got it together and made Thai curry mussels with some cabbage salad on the side.  I had intended to eat them the day before because mussels are so much better with bread but I decided to go to a NYE party instead so that didn’t happen.  Even without the bread, the mussels were still delicious and because I’m feeling so motivated to rock this out, I wasn’t even jealous of Rob eating his baguette.

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I did an amazing Crossfit workout yesterday at my box.  It was a 30 min AMRAP of this: 4 (atlas stone pickups + tire flip), 10 m yoke walk – 300#, 50 m farmer’s carry – 35# each side, 10 m yoke walk.  I completed 5 rounds, which I think was more than any of the other women.  Because it was so long and so heavy, it was all done at a leisurely pace.  There was a lot of cheering and encouraging because we had to share the equipment.  And here’s the best part.  I did the last set with the 115# atlas stone and the heavy tire!  Last time we did tire flips, I couldn’t flip the small one on my own.  This time, I was flipping it so easily that it was a joke.  I cannot believe how fast my body is getting strong.  It’s like it’s been begging me to do this for 10 years and now I’m finally listening.  Needless to say, today I’m sore.  And tired.  And sore.  But very, very pumped!