Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 11- Shopping Spree!

We hit the garden store (where I bought a ton of plants, including some dahlias that will look fantastically creepy for Samhain/Halloween) and the U-Pick farm (fresh raspberries!) first, then stopped off at home to have lunch. After we ate we dropped Munchkin off at Grandma's for a play day, then Hubby and I were off. Our mission: to find a list of coconut and Whole30 approved items. Plus some summer clothes. And other stuff.  And maybe even do some "grown-up" things like eat in a fancy  restaurant or see a movie. Or...something.

First off we had to hit Walgreens (new nail polish, because I had to be all girlie), next the craft store for some Fourth of July decorations, then the Nike store for a new Nike+ sensor. Which had to be close to my favorite stop because when hubby asked if the sensors had a wrist or ankle band the salesman said no, it was designed to be worn in their shoe. I replied that I run barefoot and would need some other form of holder. Total shock. Not sure if it was the fact that I run barefoot or that someone of my size runs at all (or I committed a faux pas by admitting I don't run with Nike shoes) but it was hilarious. I had a hard time not laughing at the look on his face. Of course he then goes into a shoe selling spiel which we, as quickly and as politely as possible, escaped from.

Yes folks, I run barefoot. I hate shoes, I only wear them when I absolutely have to.

Next we hit up a few clothing stores for summer-weather shirts (it has to warm up eventually), then began the tour of health food stores. There are quite a few in town but surprisingly, none had the items we were looking for. I was starting to get discouraged thinking I'd have to order everything online when we got lucky at a mom n' pop health store downtown. They had nearly everything on our list!

 Once our shopping was done we went out to a new (to us) restaurant to celebrate our 3rd year anniversary. The place offered "rustic European soul food" and for an appetizer I tried gravlax for the first time. It was...different. I'm not a big lover of fish and while the flavor was good the texture was...ew. Hubby, however, loved it and was quite happy to finish the plate. For the entree I had braised pork cheeks and kale, one of the few items that  fit the Whole30 requirements (with a few tweaks). The chef was very nice and happy to change some things so it would fit my diet. It was quite tasty!

Afterwards we hit the mall, got a wedding gift for a relative, then saw the movie "Brave" (awesome movie, and yes, we could have seen any movie and chose the kid one. Go figure.). Finally we had a quick stop at Fred Meyer's on the way to pick up Munchkin. We only needed cat litter but ended up with a bunch of fruit and veggies plus some almond flour. Altogether it was a very fun, if busy day. Sometimes its nice being an adult and not having Munchkin around but the best part of the day was seeing how her eyes lit up when we walked in the door and the sleepy hug I got as she went to bed.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 10- Nothing Exciting

I didn't sleep well last night (probably because I still wanted to pummel something) and so today wasn't very exciting. Eating Whole30 has become fairly easy, I didn't even have a cookie craving today!

I finally got around to installing the software for my new camera so I could download the pics. Here are some fun shots from around the gardens:


The camera is a Canon Rebel. It is my very first digital SLR though back in high school I had an older Minolta SLR and I loved it (I never did get very good at focusing though, so many perfect fuzzy shots *sigh*). The auto-focus on the digital is awesome! No more fuzzy pics!
Since high school I've had simple point and shoot digitals that have taken great shots but I've been wanting to step it up a notch. Hubby and Munchkin surprised me on Mother's Day with the Canon and a huge box full of accessories. I still haven't figured out half the stuff it came with but I am already in love with how clear the pictures are.

It will especially come in handy for taking recipe pics-no more washed out cell phone shots! 
                                        

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 9- Kill All the Things!

Yeah. It hit. I thought I had escaped most of the Whole30 symptoms but this morning I woke up feeling tired and grumpy and as the day progressed so did my grumpiness. Right now I could easily storm across the street and whack the neighbors' kids across their filthy mouths (Who lets their kids scream "f* you!" at each other for 20 minutes? Let alone on a street that is mostly populated with elderly and retired couples???). Ugh.

I wish my punching bag was hanging up. I still need to get a bracket or a hook to hang it from the wall. When I go shopping this weekend that will be a priority. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!I just want to pummel something!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 8- Is That...SUNSHINE??

Whoo-hoo! The sun came out today! It was warm! I set the plumeria outside and the red branch opened two new leaves! Whoo-hoo!

Munchkin and I spent the morning cleaning up the house (and dancing to the radio) since the place was getting a little grungy, plus Hubby was coming home. Its always fun seeing how excited Munchkin gets when he comes back from his trips.

Today is our 3rd anniversary and while we didn't have anything exciting planned (what with Hubby being on an airplane for most of the day) I did whip up a pretty tasty supper of grilled pork with applesauce, a big green salad, green beans and bacon, and carrots. I messed up the applesauce (in my opinion) but everyone said it tasted great-Munchkin even asked for seconds.

We were invited to a surprise birthday party next week and I am a little hesitant to go. Its being held at a Thai restaurant and I LOVE Thai food but I'm really not sure if I could pass up some of my favorite dishes (none of which are paleo/primal-safe let alone Whole30 approved). It will also be later in the evening and I'm not sure if Munchkin can handle such a late night. I really don't want to be that parent with the screaming exhausted kiddo trying to keep up the smiles, know what I mean? So...debating.

I talked with the U-Pick farm today and it looks like cherries and peaches will be ripe soon, maybe this weekend if we have several hot, sunny days. I can't wait for fresh veggies and fruits to be ready for the picking.

Quick Paleo Applesauce

4 sweet apples (I used Fuji)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon red chili pepper
1/4 cup water
1/2 banana for added sweetness (everyone liked this addition but I felt it made the applesauce taste rather banana-y.)

1. Peel, core, and slice apples.

2. Place in large pot with spices and water. Cook at medium heat, stirring frequently until mix cooks down to desired consistency (this depends on taste: less time for a "wet", soupy applesauce, more for a "dry" sauce), approximately 20 minutes. Halfway through taste and add more spices if needed.

3. Mash with potato masher till apples have reached desired smoothness (I like some whole apple pieces still in the mix.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 7- Week One is DONE!

Can you believe its been a week? I can't. For one week I haven't had any chocolate, soda, candy, grains, or dairy!! I can't believe it! Whoo-hoo!! My clothes feel looser and I have more energy than a week ago. My mood has greatly improved-though that could be because my hormones are starting to even out from everything that has happened. I'd like to think its a little of that but also because I am getting healthier.

Could it get better? I think so, but its amazing to see so much change in just one week. The hardest part has been going without dairy-I never realized how often I cooked with cream or cheese. Hubby and Munchkin love cheese so I have a long list of cheesy side-dishes I use. I've had to look for new recipes or make separate sides but it hasn't been that bad, not nearly as time-consuming or aggravating as I thought it would be and I've found some new recipes that are very tasty.

It was really cold today but I refused to put on a sweater or turn up the heat. Its June. No heater. No fire. No sweaters. Dammit! NO! I won't! I won't! I won't!

So I ended being cold all day and for supper decided we needed something warm and filling. None of the soups or stews I found online worked-either I didn't have all the ingredients or they were for large groups or would take several hours to be ready and it was already getting late (bad timing on my part). Since I couldn't find anything that would work I made up my own recipe and it turned out awesome!




June-uary Chicken Stew
Feeds 3

2 frozen large chicken breasts (mine still had the tender part attached)
2 cups chicken broth (I used homemade but store-bought would work as well)
1 14oz can coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/2 tablespoon garlic
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon red pepper
(Note: Seasoning measurements are approximate. You may want to add more or less to your tastes)
1 large sweet potato or yam, skin removed and diced into 1" cubes
_ _ _
1. Combine first 8 ingredients into soup pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Remove chicken breasts and cut into bit size pieces.* Return chicken to pot and simmer for another 15 minutes.

3. Add sweet potato/yam. Bring back to simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes or until potato is tender.

4. Serve and enjoy!


*My chicken was frozen so just I threw it in the pot. However, browning the chicken would add flavor. To do this cut raw chicken into 1" cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (or preferred sauteing oil) in soup pot and brown chicken in batches. Once all the chicken is browned return to soup pot (along with any collected juices) and add remaining 7 ingredients. Skip Step 1 and continue recipe at Step 2.

Update: I had the leftovers for breakfast the next day and Munchkin ignored her favorite blueberry toast and begged for spoonfuls of this. Yes, its THAT good!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 6- No One Here But Us Chickens

Hubby left early this morning for a business trip so its just us girls for the next couple of days. It was pouring down rain today so we did a lot of coloring and worked on numbers and letters. We also took the kitchen scraps out to our newest friends, Henrietta and Penelope:



They are 4 month old Light Brahma hens. Not the best egg layers in the chicken world but one of the calmest and friendliest. They already let Munchkin pet them and they looooove getting kitchen scraps, once they see us walking toward the run door they run up to the door to see what yummies we have brought. I love their "berk" noises! Henrietta is the bossy one while Penelope is more timid and the first to run into the coop if anything scary approaches. So far we haven't gotten any eggs but hopefully soon. Aren't they cool? I love the feathers on their feet.

Nothing exciting recipe-wise today, we ate up most of the leftovers so will have to do something new tomorrow. Not sure what but I'm thinking spicy.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 5- I Ate Eggplant!

Hubby let me sleep in again (he is awesome) while he cooked breakfast for Munchkin. Its nice to be a little lazy every once in a while. After I finally escaped the warm quicksand of soft blankies we all got ready and went into town for supplies.

First I had to wander through the nursery and check out the new plants and flowers. Petunias had finally gone on sale so I picked up enough to fill several hanging baskets, plus some marigolds to put in the garden.

Next we went to Goodwill looking for Fourth of July decorations and glass containers. Thrift stores are prefect for finding glassware, especially ones with airtight lids (sometimes they need new gaskets, easy to find online), for pennies. I've slowly been replacing my plastic storage tubs with glass canisters-they don't absorb smells or stain the way plastic does and are perfect for saving fats like bacon grease, lard, and clarified butter.

Last we picked up a bunch of groceries including some stuff I haven't had in years: radishes and sugar snap peas. We also got some thick, juicy rib-eye steaks for supper.

Earlier in the week I'd asked hubby to pick up an eggplant thinking I'd experiment with a few recipes. I never got around to making ratatouille or eggplant Parmesan so I decided to use it as a side dish next to the steaks.

Now, I've never eaten eggplant before. I never had it growing up because my Mom was forced to eat it as a kid, hated it, and refused to cook it (I don't think Dad liked it either). Hubby didn't care for it as a kid and was pretty dubious when I asked him to pick one up, so I knew I had my hands full trying to get the family to try it.

After some debate between the easy recipes and the complicated ones I ended up slicing it, seasoning with herbs, drizzling a little olive oil and throwing the slices on the grill after the steaks were done. Not sure if the eggplant picked up a little steak grease but I found it to be delicious. Hubby and Munchkin topped theirs with melted mozzarella while I had mine plain. Hubby liked it. Munchkin, however, only ate about two bites before squishing her face up and pushed the rest of her slice to one side. I was very happy she at least tried it.

Here's what I did:

Grilled Eggplant

One eggplant
olive oil for drizzling
1 tablespoon Homemade Italian Seasoning (more if needed)
Garlic (we like extra garlic)-I used dried but fresh would work as well

Rinse off eggplant then trim off stem and bottom. Slice, lengthways, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Drizzle olive oil over slices and sprinkle with seasoning. Grill for 5-15 minutes, flipping once, on medium-high till the middle is soft. Serve and enjoy!

Optional:
Top with mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce for a "pizza" slice

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 4- I Want SWEETIES!!!

OK, its not that bad but I am seriously jonesing for some chocolate. I'd be happy with 70% dark chocolate though what would be really yummy is a chocolate chip cookie. Or ice cream. Ice cream would be great too. CHOCOLATE ice cream? Even better!

Anyhow. Had a pretty good day today. Hubby got up with kiddo and fixed her a huge omelet while I lazed in bed and slept in. I really didn't need to but I wasn't going to give up the chance of an extra hour of zzz's. Plus it gave hubby and Munchkin some daddy-daughter time.

I skipped breakfast since I wasn't hungry and we all walked down to the library. It was about a mile walk round trip and we somehow timed it perfectly-right as we got ready to go the rain stopped, while we were there it poured, it stopped long enough for us to walk home, then poured just as we reached the front porch. Munchkin had a blast, we let her walk for some of the trip and I think she would have walked the entire way but we got nervous when we got onto the busier streets and had her climb in her stroller.

The library didn't have very many primal or paleo cookbooks but I was happily surprised to find:



This is a very cute book geared toward families with kids-perfect for us! Some of the recipes were pretty basic (roast chicken, roast beef, etc) but there are lots of veggie recipes that look tasty and the snacks and treat section had some very interesting recipes.

After reading the book I decided that, at the end of this Whole 30 challenge (providing I don't fall off the wagon) I'm going to get an ice cream maker. It would be great to make some of their ice cream recipes, plus its summer and ice cream would be a great treat on hot days.

Only 26 more days to go!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 3- Where'd Summer Go?

Woke up feeling much better today: mentally more alert though physically still achy. Couple pain pills took care of that and while Munchkin happily cooked on her little stove I threw together a pork and apple hash. I didn't eat any because of the potatoes but it must have turned out good considering how fast she scarfed it down. It certainly smelled delicious.

For lunch we made a huge green salad (Munchkin helped by tasting all the veggies as they were being chopped up). She shared her nibbles with the Old Man and we found out he LOVES red bell peppers. Kinda funny watching a dog crunch down on pepper slices-it sounded like he was eating ice cubes.

The weather today felt like November: cold, raining, and dark. I had planned on grilling but ended up baking the bacon wrapped chicken instead. I'm starting to re-think tomorrow's supper plans for something more weather-appropriate. Maybe a stew? This one caught my eye during today's recipe search: Quick and Creamy Chicken Stew.

I'd hoped to go for a long walk today with Munchkin but the rain kept us indoors so instead we danced to a Sesame Street dance video and lifted weights. Nothing really exciting but it got us moving. Tomorrow I think we will brave the rain and walk to the library. Considering where I live I should be used to playing outside when its wet but I still tend to curl up on the couch and wait for the rain clouds to go away before going outdoors.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 2- A Little Tired

For whatever reason I could not get to sleep last night and Munchkin woke up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 6.30am. It was a long, long day. Thankfully Munchkin was in a pretty good mood so it wasn't too bad a day, just long.

Even though I was tired I decided to go nuts and cook a huge supper: grilled pork roast, mushroom and hazelnut salad, and fried apples n' onions. Everything turned out ok-the pork was the best (maybe because I slapped it on the grill and then forgot about it?), the salad was...eh. A lot of work and I didn't care for the taste. Hubby liked the salad and hazelnuts, not so much the mushrooms while Munchkin nibbled on a mushroom slice before pushing it (and the green stuff) to one side. The apple n' onions were tasty, but not what I remember. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting Back on Track-Day 1

The last week and a half has been extremely stressful and I fell into a habit of eating "comfort" food, food that makes me feel safe but is not exactly healthy. I also didn't cook much so we ended up eating a lot of processed crap since it was easy and in my very distracted state I could put it together with minimal burning/destruction.

Now that the medical stuff is over we decided to get back on track and throw all the crud away. Hubby and Munchkin are back to eating primal but I decided to start Whole 30. I want to jump start my weight loss and I think it may help cleanse the body after everything that's happened. Plus it is a strict, controlled short-term way of eating and right now I feel rather out of control with my body and my feelings. Along with losing weight I am hoping the discipline may help get things back to normal.

The first day is always the easiest for me, its usually around Day 3 that the carb flu hits. I made a huge bowl of chicken salad with grapes (a summer lunch staple) and then a big salad with lettuce, belle peppers, purple cabbage, and tomatoes to go with supper. They were both very tasty. Summer is always the best (and easiest) time to do a Whole 30 challenge since there are so many fresh fruits and veggies available.

I did run into an issue making the chicken salad since it calls for mayo and no matter what oil or oils I use I cannot get home-made mayo to taste good. Everyone else says it tastes awesome but to me it always tastes stale and flavorless. Store bought mayo is usually made with soybean oil (soybeans-bad!) but I decided to allow mayo in for the 30 days since I don't use it very often (or very much when I do) and I already know from previous Whole 30 challenges that soybeans don't bother me. Since I'm doing this more to gain control over my eating habits rather than seeing what foods I react to I doubt a little mayo will be an issue.

Today is the summer solstice and I had some big plans but in the shadow of everything we decided to go with a quieter celebration. Instead of a party it was just us, sitting outside enjoying the sun, grilling up some steaks, and spending time together as a family. It was very nice. Maybe next year we'll do the big party with a Maypole and a huge bonfire. Happy solstice and Merry Midsommer to everyone!





The

Monday, June 18, 2012

Update #2

Friday afternoon we got the results back from the blood tests: hormones levels have decreased a large amount, making this an "official" miscarriage. Man, ya gotta love doc-speak. Don't get me wrong, I love my doctor, she's one of the best in the area and a good friend, as well as my doctor, but its pretty obvious when the 'doc is in' (if you get my drift). Anyhow, I was given three options: wait for things to happen naturally (could happen tomorrow, could happen in a week or two or three), use medication to speed up the process, or go the surgical route.

I opted to go with the medication route. Normally I like to let nature take its course and to stay away from pills but this time I just wanted things to be over. It hurt too much to wait for my body to catch up with what my heart and mind knew. I ended up with a small bottle of 'the' pills, a medium bottle of pain pills and a giant bottle of anti-inflammatory/antibiotic pills. *sigh* Friday night was spent Google-ing other people's experiences with this medication, something I would NOT suggest anyone else doing.

I'll skip the utter horror Google said I would suffer through, plus what actually happened since its rather TMI (only that, while painful and messy, it wasn't anything like what Google said would happen). Suffice it to say, the medication did it's job, I had to dip into the bottle of pain pills a couple times, and today returned to the doc's for another blood test. This one came back very low-not quite into normal levels but a good sign that the medication had done its job. After a long talk with Doc it was decided I needed to come in once a week for further blood tests till my hormone levels are down to normal.

So.

Life goes on.

I'm still not sure how I made it through my final exams but I did and passed all my classes. I am all signed up for summer and fall classes and looking forward to getting back in the grind. Munchkin and I have started taking walks and its been good to get out of the house and see all the flowers starting to bloom. I'm still pretty down but starting to heal.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Update

I haven't been writing for a while, partially because of stuff offline and because I had some great news and was dealing with the, ha ha, side effects of it. So, to bring everyone up to date:

In April we found out that, come January, we'd have another little one running around the house. It was pretty exciting and we were looking forward to tiny toes and little outfits. Morning sickness and exhaustion took its toll, I had a hard time concentrating on school work and my grades took a dip. I ended up dropping a class to make the work load easier and hubby started working from home more so he could help with munchkin.

We decided to wait till the second trimester before sharing the happy news, the only exceptions being my family since we wanted to tell them in person and they live far away. My brother graduated from college the beginning of May (the first of us kids to do so and only the 4th in the entire family) and it was a pretty big deal. We went over for the graduation and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little teary watching him walk across the stage. We waited till the day after the graduation so as not to take away any of his thunder and it was a great surprise. Everyone was thrilled!

Fast forward to this past weekend. After a day of weeding in the garden I started bleeding. Turns out there were problems, what is medically called a blighted ovum. Basically it's an issue, usually something wrong with the chromosomes, that causes the fetus to stop being viable, in doctor-speak. They called what happened Sunday a threatened miscarriage.

Today we talked with our OB who explained all this after reviewing the ultrasound we had on Monday. We pretty much knew things were hopeless when the tech couldn't find a heartbeat; at 10-going-on-11 weeks there should have been a fairly obvious heartbeat on the monitor. The doctor had a blood test done to see what the level of pregnancy hormones were, and will do another one on Friday. She is looking to see these levels drop, once they do the miscarriage will be imminent.

Not the best of weekends. Oh, and its finals week and trying to study for tests (some of them a major portion of the grade) with all this worry and stress has not been great. I am very thankful for having such a great doctor and a wonderful, supportive husband, not to mention a two-year old with an infectious giggle that always brings me out of gloomy mood. I know these things happen and there really is nothing that can be done to stop or avoid them. Its just a part of life.

So, right now I am concentrating on finishing the term, getting the results from the blood tests back, eating healthy and healing. Kinda just taking it one day at a time, seems like the best way to get through the rest of the week.