Tuesday, July 31, 2012

W9- Stress Is Not Good (Vent)

I got in a great workout today lifting heavy stuff, enough that my arms were shaky and I felt like a superhero. Yay me!

And that was probably the best part of the day. I somehow broke the washing machine (it won't spin! arrrrrgh!!) which normally isn't an issue except I've put off washing clothes for a while (laziness) and only got through 2 loads before it died. At least I have some clean underwear...Munchkin doesn't though. I am not looking forward to hand-scrubbing her clothes in the kitchen sink. (I wonder if that would count as a Steady or Lift workout?)

Then I went out to check the garden, which is not producing because the damn gophers keep uprooting things, and found that my oregano has become a dried stump. What the heck??? Did I fall in a time warp? Last time (which was only a few days ago) I checked it was green and thick and getting ready to flower. AAAAAHHH!!! So I watered the heck out of it and crossed my fingers it would come back.

On top of that Hubby is moving into a new position at work and is stressed out and grumpy; the wedding this weekend is not helping things (it sure would be nice if wedding peeps would share a few details-like what time family is supposed to be where and such instead of getting pissy that we don't know), and Munchkin has decided that the only foods worth eating are sweet potatoes. *sigh*

We broke out Green and Black's Organic 85% Dark Chocolate tonight and gave it a try. This is probably the best so far-rich chocolate taste but not bitter, and with a hint of vanilla creaminess. I found myself snacking on the bar a little too much and had to put it out of reach (that's either a sign its really good or I'm really stressed).

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Going to go to bed early and hoping for sunshine and rainbows and fluffy ponies on the morrow-good night!

Monday, July 30, 2012

W8- Short But Sweet

This will be a short post because A) no pics, B) I'm tired, and C) I have to do some wedding crafty stuff so Hubby can drop the finished product off tomorrow. Yay me!

I got a really good workout in today-30 mins on the treadmill with a couple wind sprints thrown in. I was surprised at how well I held up-there is an obvious improvement over last week. Hopefully this will continue!

Supper was grilled drumsticks with Simple Coleslaw and baked sweet taters. Simple and satisfying. After Munchkin hit the hay Hubby and I tried a piece of Vivani Organic Dark Chocolate 85%. It was really smooth and chocolaty without being bitter. It wasn't very sweet though, which kinda left me wanting and feeling like I hadn't eat chocolate but more a chocolate-flavored...something. Hmmm. Jury is still out if this was a good chocolate bar or a bad one. Its kinda floating in neutral land right now.

*sigh* Off to be crafty. Have a wonderful evening folks!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

W7- Chores Chores Chores

Today we were supposed to go to the U-Pick farm but we had so much to do around the house it got postponed. Our neighbor (who rocks) is replacing the board fence between us so we had to rig up a secondary fence to keep the Ol' Man in our yard and from harassing Mr. Awesome Neighbor as he works. Yards had to be mowed, the gardens needed weeded, and in the midst of everything Munchkin had a conniption fit and required a time-out and a stern talking to.


Thankfully everything got done, I even made a loaf of paleo banana bread (Eat Like a Dinosaur recipe, that book is a total winner) to give to my soon-to-be sister-in-law as a thank you gift. Which reminds me, the wedding is this week-end *groooan* oh this week is going to be stressful. I can't wait till the wedding and all the family stuff is over, what with math class not going well and dealing with my husband's family....this gardener could use a vacation.

I was feeling pretty low this afternoon and decided to stop weeding and go play in the kitchen (which always cheers me up). I set a big pot of beef hocks to simmer for bone broth and then concentrated on supper.
"Souls" all wrapped in bacon and awaiting the oven.

Lately we've had a goal to eat all the meat in the freezer before buying more and I had found a package of sole fillets that I don't remember buying (yes, it was that long ago). Now, I don't care for fish. I love to catch them but others can do the eating so I was a little hesitant to try cooking the fillets (after all, I'd have to eat them) but I figured that sole was mild enough even I could like it.

Plus, I had bacon. Bacon makes everything taste good.

I wrapped the fillets with bacon slices and fresh rosemary from the garden, seasoned them with salt, pepper, and garlic, then baked in the oven till the bacon was crispy. For sides I dug out some green beans from the back of the fridge (one of the bags we got from the farm a couple weeks back) picked out the goods ones (and called myself names for letting them go bad), then stir-fried the washed and trimmed green beans with bacon bits. Finally I steamed some carrots, seasoned them with salt and pepper and supper was done.

Chow time!
It turned out pretty good, a little dry (I got to chatting with the neighbor and wasn't watching the clock...oops) but Munchkin inhaled her fillet and even I enjoyed my share. I could get to liking fish if it all tasted as good as this.

After Munchkin went to bed Hubby and I tried a piece of dark chocolate (see! I really am having a tasting experiment). Yesterday we tried Sweetriot's Pure 85% Dark Chocolate but found it very bitter. Tonight we tried Rapunzel's Swiss Chocolate Organic 70% Extra Dark Chocolate. Hubby really liked it but I didn't find it very exciting. It was just...chocolate, not much different than the Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar we tried last week. Hmm...I hope my chocolate taste buds aren't broken. Still have five more to taste.

And because I forgot to post it yesterday, here is a pic of my delicious peppermint patties (courtesy of Elana's Peppermint Patty recipe). I used a candy mold so I could get a thick layer of pepperminty goodness between layers of dark chocolate.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

"Souls" Wrapped in Bacon

4 sole fillets (or other mild tasting fish such as halibut or cod)
8 slices bacon
4 fresh sprigs rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic
lemon slices for garnish and to drizzle
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking rack over cookie sheet. Mix spices together to make it easier to season.
2. Lay out 2 slices of bacon side-by-side. Use hand to pound/press bacon and stretch it out in all directions. Depending on size of bacon and size of fillets you may need more or less bacon.
3. Place fillet at edge of bacon, sprinkle with seasonings.
4. Carefully wrap bacon around fillet by rolling fillet from one end of bacon strips to another. After one roll place rosemary sprig over fillet. Continue rolling until all the bacon is wrapped around the fillet.
5. Carefully place bacon-wrapped fillet on baking wrap, making sure bacon doesn't come undone.
6. Repeat for remaining fillets
7. Place in preheated oven, bake for 20 minutes or until bacon is cooked through (I like my bacon crispy so cooked for 35 minutes though the fish was a little dry).
8. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

W6-Play (In the Kitchen)

Another great day (I love waking up before everyone else, its nice to have the house to myself for a little bit). After looking through the bare cupboards and fridge I threw together a hash composed of chicken sausage and the last veggies from the crisper. It turned out much better than expected (Hubby and Munchkin loved it) but now the cupboards were REALLY bare.

Off to town we went with a list of meats and veggies. At Market of Choice I, um, kinda got out of control with the dark chocolate. Its a taste experiment! Yes, that's it! Taste experiment (I got 6 different bars *eek*). We also found bulk coconut products and I got coconut flour and non-sweetened shredded coconut for paleo baking. My brother-in-law is allergic to gluten (supposedly, I kinda doubt it but...I won't go there) and is constantly whining about not being able to eat "normal" food. Since he isn't worried about gaining/losing weight or muscle I figured I'd make him some treats. I love to bake and I do miss making a sticky, sweet mess of the kitchen.

After fulfilling the list of meats and veggies we headed home for a quick lunch, nap time for Munchkin, and the dreaded math for me. I really wanted to play in the garden, the weeds are getting high, but I failed my last math test and had to tackle those darn equations again...and again...and again.

I finally took a break (it was that or burst into tears and chuck the computer across the room) and made paleo brownies and peppermint patties. They both came out wonderful though the brownies were a lot softer and more cake-like than I had expected. Now to box everything up and send to bro-in-law before we end up nibbling all the goodies away.

For supper Hubby grilled up some steaks while I tossed mustard greens with bacon and grilled eggplant slices. Way yummy though Munchkin wanted nothing to do with the greens, had one taste of eggplant, and then teased out all the bacon and ate her steak. *sigh* Oh well, I have given up forcing her to try a bite, it caused too much stress and angst at the table. Now I fill her plate up with whatever we are having and she eats what she wants. She has yet to leave the table hungry and she will nibble at new things (especially if no one is watching). Hopefully as she gets older she'll nibble a little more and a little more till she's actually eating a serving.

On deck for tomorrow: more homework, weeding the garden, and trying out a new fish recipe. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 27, 2012

W5- Today Was a Great Day

I woke up in a great and energized mood (I even got up before Munchkin!) and headed to the kitchen to make the Paleo Parents' Frozen Waffles. They are SO good! I tripled the recipe so we'd have lots to hide in the freezer (Hubby especially loves them on mornings he's rushed to get out the door) and fried up a batch of spicy chicken sausage to go with the waffles.

By the time the rest of the family stumbled out of bed breakfast was ready. These waffles are delicious! If you haven't read Eat Like a Dinosaur yet you are missing out. After breakfast we hung out around the house, Hubby did some work, Munchkin played, and I went through the fridge and cabinets, tossed stuff that had expired and thought about supper. I had a hunk of pork shoulder defrosting and plenty of greens...hmmm.

During Munchkin's nap I rocked out on the treadmill to Dr. Horrible's Sing Along blog (and yes, I sang along) *sigh* Nathan Fillion is dreamy...anyhow, I walked for 40 minutes and got in a really good sprint in the middle. Tomorrow is Rest or Play and we are going to hit up the U-Pick farm for some blueberries and a batch of peaches for me to can. Or...at least attempt to can. It will be my first time canning, wish me luck! (And pray I don't poison everyone.)

In the afternoon I fiddled with Elana's homemade Mounds recipe. It turned out wonderful! My only complaint was that my mold was rather shallow and I would have liked more coconut filling to even out the chocolate.

I used coconut sugar in the filling rather than agave and liked the flavor. The next couple batches I'm going to leave out the sweetner and see how they come out. I'm thinking with a 70%-75% dark chocolate no extra sweetner will be needed for the filling but I will have to play around with it first.

For supper I decided to be lazy and just cut the pork into steaks and grill it. I know, I know, that's what I usually do with pork. Hey, it is really easy and yummy this way! I reduced a few cubes of frozen bone broth with some clarified butter, salt, pepper, and garlic to make a sauce for snow peas and voila! Supper was done.

And now to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

W3/W4 How Did I Miss Posting?

How in the word did I miss a day of posting? Oh yeah, I got busy with homework and Hubby was gone for a quick biz trip and suddenly it was late...

Excuses, always with the excuses.

I did work out though, so I am still on track for my Workout Challenge. I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes with a 3 degree incline while Munchkin took a nap. I could easily have gone longer but I had several assignments due and I needed time to go over them before submitting-trying to review work with Munchkin awake and playful is flat out challenging (not to mention nerve-wracking when she bangs a key and suddenly all my work disappears).

Today I lifted weights and did a lot of squats and incline push-ups. Pretty much whenever I had a free minute I would air squat or do a push-up. I also did a series of arm and shoulder exercises with heavy weights. It was difficult to push myself for one more rep but at the end I felt pretty good. Who knows, maybe in a month I'll actually have some biceps to show off!

On Facebook yesterday Primal Toad shared a great link for people (like me) who may need a little incentive to work out: A Hobbits Guide to Walking. How freakin' badass nerdy is that?? OK, I get that most of you Star War/Trekkie fans just rolled your eyes but hobbits are my level of nerdom. And a challenge to walk to Mordor? Oh count me in baby! Let's go!

Not only that but Nerd Fitness is a great site for inspiration, jokes, and...well...nerdy fitness (besides, Lego dioramas...win!). I'm seriously thinking of making sand bag weights to haul around the backyard (my neighbors are gonna think I'm nuts), plus he posts Paleo recipes and y'all know how I am about new recipes. All in all, a pretty nifty website that you should check out, if only for the Legos.

Plans for tomorrow: make healthy Mounds candy bars, work on math homework, walk a mile, and find a new way to cook pork. Good night everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

W2- Very Growl-y Today

I had my first fall from grace today *sigh*. For lunch I warmed up leftover grilled pork and, after finding a container of cranberry sauce in the back of the fridge, adding a dollop to the pork. It tasted great (especially when I added a huge handful of salad greens and mixed it all together-way yummy). I was halfway through the meal before I remembered where that cranberry sauce came from...a can. And the reason it got shoved to the Siberian depths of the fridge? High Fructose Corn Syrup. Lots of it. Ahhhhhhh!!

Not that I have anything against "corn sugar" but I've been trying to eat clean and Whole30-ish (ish because of occasional dairy and dark chocolate). So, after telling myself that hey, it was only a dollop, no big deal, I finished the meal and got Munchkin down for her nap. I worked out (lift heavy things! pushups! situps! dumbbell stuff!) and then found myself snacking on chocolate squares. And wanting more...

And then being EXTREMELY grumpy and pissy all afternoon. Yowza, NOT FUN.

Well, I learned my lesson. Back to clean eating. Maybe it was the high dose of sugar I ingested, maybe its PMS, maybe its just the planets in the wrong alignment, I don't know but I really don't like the mega-grump me and will be more diligent at keeping the sugar at bay.

(Also, I really need to lift heavy things, man am I a weakling.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

W1- Slow and Steady

Nothing makes a person leap out of bed faster than the sound of puking. At least for me, one of those wet burps and I am up and ready for the day. Poor Munchkin woke up with an upset tummy and we spent the morning pushing fluids and dealing with the yuckies. Poor kiddo. Not sure what the problem was but by mid-morning she was starting to perk up and by the afternoon she was back to her old self.

I got my Steady work out done late in the morning: a 60 minute walk on the treadmill with a couple 1 minute sprints thrown in. I only meant to walk for about 30 minutes but by then the endorphins were kicking in, I had the music cranked up, and I was having fun be-bopping along. Which was good since I'd spent a half hour or more trying to get my new Nike+ sensor to work and was in a very grumpy mood. Never did get the darn thing to activate...ugh! Thankfully Apple has a decent warranty program so I should be able to return it for a new one (key word: should). *sigh*

I didn't have much of an appetite during the day and snacked on some olives and carrots rather than making an actual meal. I've been working on getting the fridge empty of all leftovers and I seem to have finally gotten there. But then it looked very, very bare so for supper I grilled some pork steaks and roasted a big hunk of beef (both turned out excellent). Now we have lots of meaty leftovers for the rest of the week. I also roasted a bag of broccoli bits and (per Hubby's request) made a pot of loaded mashed potatoes. Good eats!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Goal

I am still on cloud nine that I successfully made it through a Whole30. I love that my pants are looser and that its easier to turn down unhealthy food-we went out to supper last night and I had no desire for the high-carb, sugary dishes.

So. Now what? With my eating habits changed its time to look at my physical habits, namely the lack of consistent deliberate exercise. Notice the important words?

Consistent. Deliberate.

The encyclopedia defines exercise as "physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body". So, while running and playing with a toddler most of the day gets my heartbeat up it doesn't provide the right tools to get my body in condition. I need to exercise in a way that is structured, progressive, and fun. I want to increase my stamina while building muscle (and hopefully burning off more fat).

For the next 30 days I am starting a fitness program I've cobbled together from the Primal Blueprint, Crossfit, P90X, and whatever other program/idea that looks like fun. Here's the schedule:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday= Steady Stuff
Tuesday and Thursday= Lift Heavy Stuff
Saturday and Sunday=Play or Rest

Steady Stuff:
At least 30-45 minutes of medium-level activity such as walking, swimming, hiking, etc. Movement that will keep my heart rate up but that can be sustained for the full length of time.

Lift Heavy Stuff:
Pushups, pullups, weights, MDA Work-Out-of-the-Week (WOW)s, Crossfit exercises, P90X videos, and maybe just moving tires and posts from one side of the yard to another ala Papa Grok.

Play or Rest
A day spent diving, hiking with the family, working in the garden, or maybe just kicking back and vegging on the couch. These days will be free to do whatever I feel like.

I expect this goal will be a little harder than the Whole30, after all we have to eat so Whole30 was simply controlling what went in. Working out...well...I know in the past its been easy when I have been busy or tired or sore or just not in the mood to put it off. That will be my bad habit to break in the next 30 days.

On to building muscle and getting healthy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Whole30 Recap

I still can't believe I went a full month without chocolate or dairy. Heck, I can't believe I stayed on a restrictive diet for 30 days, regardless of what it restricted. And you know the crazy-awesome thing? I'm not going bat-crazy with cravings. In the past when I have restricted my diet and I gave myself the go-ahead to indulge in something verboten I usually made a pig of myself. Think extra large pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni, beer, chocolate cake with super thick icing, you get the idea.

Today however I didn't feel any cravings at all. I wanted a piece of chocolate but I didn't NEED it. What a huge difference! Instead of NEEDING a food item, feeling like I would just DIE if I didn't cram it into my face that second I simply wanted a small square of chocolate. And after eating that square (which was decadently rich and delicious) I was happy. No urge to engulf the whole bar in one bite, no constant going back for just one more nibble. Just. Satisfied. Sated.

Folks, if there is ever a reason for you to give Whole30 a try, this is it. To be able to have a treat and enjoy it, lick your fingers of all its yumminess and then walk away happy. Its...I can't describe it. I know, I know, you may think its stupid but when you've spent the last 10 years fighting cravings, hating yourself when you succumbed, knowing that no matter how much will power you have you'll eventually give in and suddenly you've gained another pound or three no matter how hard you worked out...to FINALLY be happy, to be satisfied with a small serving of your nemesis food and be able to walk away?

That. Is. Awesome.

I actually feel in control of my body, in control of my self, and by extension, in control of my life. It is an amazing and awesome feeling, almost like being a fearless teenager again.

But enough with my sappy, from the heart crud, lets get down to the hard numbers:

Without exercising, eating whenever I was hungry and then as much as I wanted, I lost 12.8 pounds and inches all over! Not sure why I gained 1/2 an inch on my thighs but who cares!

So, now what? I like eating this way and I will continue eating Paleo and Whole30-ish. I will have a square of chocolate now and then and I won't obsess when I am out on social occasions if something is made with grains or sugar. Otherwise I am going to keep eating clean, add in exercise and see what happens.

A big thank you to all who supported me this past month, to Hubby and Munchkin for being my tasting guinea pigs, to the Whole9 team for putting out this program and the support they provided, and to all you readers for following along.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 29- Bring On the Rain

Munchkin woke up early this morning and there's no going back to sleep once da spawn has arisen. Trust me, I tried. I even let her climb in bed with me which resulted in about 5 minutes of blissful cuddling before I got an elbow in the eye, fingers up my nose and kicked in the ribs. As we climbed out of bed the skies opened up and poured down.

For breakfast I tried to make a Thai rolled omelet (ala Nom Nom Paleo) only to suddenly realize my fish sauce has sugar in it. Oh well, I gave it to Munchkin and warmed up a bowl of Garden Chicken Soup for myself instead. Soup was a perfect fit for the cold, rainy morning.

We spent most of the day reading books, watching cartoons and running around the house. It was too wet to go out but we had fun playing catch with the soft balls and racing up and down the hallway.

Lunch and supper were leftovers and now my fridge is looking a little bare. Tomorrow I plan on making bacon-wrapped chicken for supper but otherwise I have no idea what I'm making. I have a crisper full of veggies so there are tons of options...decisions, decisions.

Only 1 more day to go!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 28- Two More to Go!

Hubby left very early this morning for a biz trip so its just us girls the next couple of days. I didn't sleep well (I never do when he's not here) and when I finally got out of bed I was pretty grumpy. Munchkin was in a great mood though, and was soon zooming through the house as I threw together breakfast for her (I wasn't hungry and decided to fast). A fried egg and some fruit did for Munchkin and while she gobbled those up I started a pot of chicken bones to simmer for bone broth.

Once the bones had simmered for a couple hours (and we'd moved on from drawing to reading stories to running up and down the hallway giggling madly) I made Garden Chicken soup for lunch. Munchkin went down for her afternoon nap soon after and I debated between a math lesson and cleaning the house.

Cleaning the house won (I really hate math) and while Munchkin slept I swept, did dishes, cleaned the deck and wandered the house moving things back to their proper places. After the place was acceptable I was hungry so I sat down with a mug of soup broth and a hard-boiled egg and glared at math problems. Needless to say, while my belly got full my mind just got twisted and tangled and more confused. *sigh*

After Munchkin woke up we went outside and played in the yard for while, even though it was cold and windy. After a few hours of goofing off we came back in and Munchkin snacked on frozen blueberries while I started supper cooking.

Tonight we had pan-seared pork shoulder steaks with roasted broccoli and tomato slices with lots leftover for lunches tomorrow. After a dessert of watermelon mint salad it was showers, cuddles, stories and finally bedtime for Munchkin and some quiet time for me.

In other words, more math. *sigh*

Only 2 more days left in my Whole30!!!

How To Make: Chicken Bone Broth
Makes about 6 cups of broth

Approx. 1-3 pounds of chicken bones (or a mix of bones and feet)
Enough water to cover the bones
Splash of vinegar or lemon juice
Optional: 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 1/2 a medium onion

Add all the ingredients into a stock pot. Bring to a rapid boil, lower temperature and simmer for at least 4 hours. The longer the simmer the more nutrients are removed from the bones. Add water as needed. The longest I have simmered chicken bones is 24 hours.

When done simmering taste broth-if its too weak flavored remove lid and simmer uncovered to reduce liquid and increase flavor. Strain broth to remove bones and softened veggies, reserving any meat for soup. Return broth to the heat. Serve or store for later use.

If the broth seems too greasy store in the fridge over-night. In the morning remove the top layer of hardened fat.

If you are making the broth for soup return the softened veggies to the broth and use an immersion blender to puree them. It will add another level of flavor to the broth.

Garden Chicken Soup
Serves 4

4 cups chicken bone broth
2 chicken breasts (and/or the meat reserved from making the bone broth), cut into 1" pieces
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, cut into medallions
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup green cabbage, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon garlic (more or less to your taste)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups spinach, sliced thinly

1. Add broth to a large soup pot and bring to a medium boil.

2. Add chicken, celery, carrots, onion, cabbage, and spices. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add spinach. Adjust seasonings if needed. Continue to simmer another 15-20 minutes, till veggies are tender and spinach is desired consistency.

4. Taste, adjust seasonings if needed, and enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 27- Where Did Summer Go?

Today was cool, cloudy and dark. All day it felt like a huge rainstorm was sitting over the house but it didn't spill a drop. For breakfast I toasted a frozen waffle from the Paleo Parents cookbook, Eat Like a Dinosaur, for Munchkin and warmed up the leftover spaghetti and meatballs for myself. Pretty good eats, and on the table in less than 5 minutes.

Most of the day was spent just being lazy. I don't know why but the coolness and how dark it was outside (I had to turn on most of the indoor lights to chase away the shadows) just had me in a dull funk. Even Munchkin was quieter than normal and content to cuddle on the couch for most of the day.

I nixed the idea of grilling and went with a simple baked chicken for supper instead. I did try to go out of my rut of steamed/roasted veggies for sides by attempting a mashed cauliflower and carrot "mock potatoes" thing-it was ok, but not a lot of flavor and it had the consistency of baby food. I'm not sure if I would do it again. All in all the highlight of supper was the watermelon and mint salad I threw together for a dessert. My culinary brilliance was definitely not shining today.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 26- Cloudy and Muggy

We got up early to beat the heat, only to have the day be overcast and cool with a touch of mugginess. After breakfast (in which Hubby made the perfect cheese omelet), we zoomed out to the U-Pick farm and came away with our best haul yet: 11 pounds of blueberries!
Hubby's Perfect Omelet
Honestly folks, its a crime what the store is charging for ripe, organic blueberries. Our haul was under $15 yet those same berries, at the store, would cost over $50. Our goal is to go out every weekend and pick enough to last a year. Next weekend we are also going to get some peaches for me to can. U-Pick farms are the way to go! If you need help finding a U-Pick farm in your neck of the woods check out Pick Your Own, and Local Harvest. Scroll through your local Craigslist and newspaper for ads for local farms and ask around, you'll never know what you'll find!

Supper was corned beef and braised cabbage. Braising cabbage was a new trick for me and I'm not sure I did it correctly as there wasn't a lot of flavor and the cabbage was mushy. Hmmm...

For tomorrow I have a hunk of pork thawing and some mustard greens begging to meet bacon. Yum!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 25-Five More to Go!

After an aborted attempt to hit the U-Pick farm (my body went psycho and we had to return home) we hung out around the house and were lazy. I had zero appetite, skipped breakfast, and spent most of the morning in the bathroom. Hopefully the test results will be back Monday and the doc can give me some idea of what is going on. So fun when your body just goes nuts with no warning.

In the afternoon we all played outside, got very hot, and then gobbled up cold watermelon. Even the Ol' Man had a couple slices and let me tell you, it is very odd to watch a German Shepherd carefully position a slice so he can eat down the juicy goodness to the rind. Unfortunately I don't have a pic as my hands were full of stickiness but it was pretty awesome.

Afterward we were so sticky we decided to rinse off with the hose, and then since we were already we wet, jumped in the pool. Munchkin is starting to get the hang of swimming! Well, if she'd kick her feet...and move her hands...and...do something besides float and giggle like mad. But its a start, last year we couldn't even get her in the pool. This year she loves the pool so much that when we got out she had a complete meltdown (even though she was shivering and turning blue).

For supper I roasted a simple baked chicken with fresh green beans sauteed in bone broth and mashed Yukon gold potatoes from the local farm. I even cobbled together a gravy-though it separated on me. Of course, I did not have the potatoes but the chicken and green beans were more the enough to fill me up.

Now to kick back and relax. Hopefully the old bod will straighten up and we can go to the U-Pick farm tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 24- Munchkin Ate Green Food!

After a minor mental meltdown we zoomed into town for another blood draw. Please let it be the last one, please? I got in and out fast and, since we were already in town and Munchkin was in a good mood, we decided to stop by the kitchen store.

I was a little disappointed-lots of gizmos and gadgets but nothing that I wanted except a neat julienne slicer. For all the walls and aisles worth of stuff it was disheartening to not find nice bamboo utensils or a good garlic press. Oh well, I'll have to talk Hubby into a trip to the Big City *evil grin*.

We got home ahead of the crowd (yay for local events! boo for heavy traffic!) and I threw together a lunch from stuff lurking in the fridge: leftover not beanie weanies, sliced hot dogs, a small and dried up chunk of grilled pork, and some green beans in ghee. And yes, everything got nuked in the microwave to get it to eating temp and everyone chowed down. Thank goodness, at that moment pushing some buttons on a box was about all the cooking I could do.

After Munchkin's nap (during which I stared at the fridge or the computer trying to think up something for supper) we went to the local farmer's market and picked up some fresh herbs and cherries. Then we hit the store for a couple things (because thankfully I got an idea) before coming back and I started to cobble together supper: homemade spaghetti and meatballs with zucchini noodles. It turned out pretty good and Munchkin even gobbled up the "noodles". Whoo-hoo! She ate something green!

Here's what I did:

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs (Whole30 compliant)
Feeds 4

3 fresh zucchinis
1/4lb bacon, diced
1 pound ground beef
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon garlic
1/2 tablespoon ground fennel
1 pound sliced white mushrooms, washed and dried
14 ounces diced tomatoes with garlic and roasted onion, including juices (I used homemade but canned should work)
Water as needed
. . . . .
Note: My family loves fennel and red pepper. Feel free to substitute these spices with ones your family prefers.

1. Cut or julienne zucchini into a bowl. Stir so zucchini "noodles" separate, then place in fridge to keep fresh.

2. Add the bacon to a cold frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Slowly cook the bacon to render out as much fat as possible (you may want to turn the heat down to medium-low, depending on your stove). Once the bacon is crispy remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Cover the bacon with more paper towels and press to remove as much grease from the bacon as you can.

There should be at least 2 tablespoons of bacon grease left in the pan. Remove from heat and set aside for later. (Note: If you don't have bacon *gasp* or don't like bacon *blasphemy!* skip this step and use two tablespoons of your preferred sauteing oil.)

3. Mix the bacon bits, ground beef, eggs, and seasonings together and form into small balls (the size of a peach pit). Return the pan with the bacon fat to the burner on medium heat.

4. Add the meatballs and brown in the bacon fat. Be sure not to crowd the meatballs as they won't cook correctly. Once all sides have been browned and the meatballs are cooked through remove from pan using a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

5. Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss until all the mushrooms are covered with fat and begin to squeak-about 4-5 minutes. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms begin to release the fat and brown. They will brown quickly at this point. Once they are light brown...

6. Add the diced tomatoes and stir. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If the sauce seems too thick add water a 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches desired consistency. If too thin simmer gently until reduced. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

7. Once sauce is the correct consistency add the meatballs and gently stir. Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes to bring the meatballs back up to temperature.

8. Spoon over julienned zucchini and enjoy!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 23- Way Too Much Excitment

Had an exciting morning when the computer died on me. If this wasn't a wake up call to my internet addiction I don't know what is-I was almost in tears not being able to check my email.

Yes. I am that pathetic at times.

Thankfully I yanked my big girl panties up and went outside and played. Munchkin and I pulled weeds in the garden, fixed the leak in the pool, played with the chickens and chased each other wildly around the yard. Tons more fun than stupid email and homework!
Bush Bean Flower

The day went by fairly fast. (OK, OK, I admit it-I kept coming back trying the few things I could remember from my computer tech days. Not that I fixed it but...I tried.) For supper I sauteed pork chops and roasted broccoli. Munchkin didn't think the new recipe made broccoli edible *sigh*. The girl has suddenly gone on an anti-green food movement. The best I can say is I'm learning lots of new ways to cook veggies...and walking a fine line between letting her make her own choices and getting her to try one bite.

Honestly it was a very confusing and difficult day. I had some medical issues come up which gave me quite a scare (don't worry, I won't share the gory details) and with the computer down (and the fact I hadn't done a back up in a few months) I was worried and stressed out. I nibbled on too many macadamia nuts and blueberries, skipped lunch, and almost caved in at supper to get a take-out pizza.

Yes folks, I almost gave in. I really just wanted to crawl in bed and cry rather than cook. But, after staring at the pork chops I'd taken out to thaw it seemed stupid to stuff my face with crap when I only have 7 more days to go. And I wasn't hungry for pizza, I just didn't want to cook. Which seemed flat out lazy and whiny and just utterly wussy-ness .

So, I yanked up my britches again (I may have popped the elastic that time) and got to cooking. And, you know what? Once I had that meat sizzling and the veggies going I started feeling pretty good. No need for a good sob-just hand me a frying pan and a sharp knife and I was back in control! Supper turned out yummy (even if Munchkin didn't 100% agree) and I am back on an even keel.

I may need new underwear though. I think the elastic is definitely gone on this pair. Oh, and Hubby came home and fixed the comp in under 20 minutes. I love that man!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 22- Hanging Out In Town

For some reason I completely misunderstood the time for Munchkin's doc appointment. I swear Hubby told me one time but then it turned out to be another time and...*sigh*. I had to drag Munchkin out of bed, rush through breakfast, speed through the shower, and finally get everyone in the car and on the road. Why are we NEVER on time?

Since we were so late for the appointment they moved us to a different time and we ambled over to my doc for another blood drawn, hopefully for the last time. I love my OB, she has a great office and I always feel cared for when I go there.

Once they drained some goo from me (I got a neon pink band-aid!) we went to the peds office for Munchkin to be poked and prodded. Turns out she has eczema *groan* but is otherwise health *yay*. The NP recommended switching to moisturizing shampoos and creams and a Free-and-Clear-type laundry soap. She also gave us a prescription to help the worst of the itchy spots. Right now I am thankful that we eat so clean (even Munchkin) so we could rule out most food allergies and issues. She does eat cheese and some heavy cream, but not very often. I plan on cutting back on those items as well, just in case.

Since Munchkin was rather grumpy after the appointment we opted to head for home rather than hit the kitchen store. After lunch (a hodgepodge of leftovers, I'm trying to clean the fridge out so I can try new recipes) and her nap we headed to Bi-Mart for new laundry soap and bathing stuff. Annnnnnnnnnd.....I got myself a present for reaching the 3 week mark:

A box of canning jars and lids (because I want to learn how to can) and a fishing and shellfish license. Whoo-hoo! I can catch supper (legally) now! This weekend we are going to hit the river and spend the day on the water. Hopefully I can catch some nice trout, or maybe even a salmon.

Hubby grilled up some steaks for supper and we sleepily cleaned the platter of beef. Munchkin crashed hard and right now Hubby and I are debating on watching an episode of Game of Thrones off the DVR or hitting the sack early.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 21- Three Week Mark

Three weeks in and I'm still doing grand. Occasionally I'd like a piece of chocolate but I no longer feel like I MUST have chocolate or DIE. I think this is the first time in my life where I can walk away from sweets without a voice inside whimpering and whining.

It has been getting really hot in the afternoons so Munchkin and I try and play outside during the morning. Today we had breakfast out on the deck: fresh fruit and chicken. Afterwards we drew in chalk and raced around the yard giggling wildly. I set up the sprinklers to give the grass and bulb beds a drink before we finally went inside.

While I organized the hundreds of photos from May-July (why do I always wait till there are a ton before I put them away?!) Munchkin colored and we rocked out to the radio. Its hilarious watching Munchkin head-bang to Ozzie.

While she finished up her last drawing I threw together a lunch of green beans sauteed in ghee, roast chicken, leftover tuna cakes, and fresh tomato slices. I probably made too much because my belly was way full.

While Munchkin crashed for her afternoon nap I finished organizing pics and uploading them to the grandparents before raiding the garden for supper veggies. Hubby gave me a brand new stainless steel fry pan and I couldn't wait to try it out. I cooked up some bacon and sauteed fresh bok choy in the grease for supper and boy were they tasty. The pan was lovely; it is my first stainless steel pan and will take some getting used to but I love how nicely everything cooked and how easily the pan cleaned up.

Tomorrow we head into town for doc appointments and maybe a quick stop at the kitchen store for new spoons and flippers to go with the new pan.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 20- Nuttin' Excitin' Here

Spent the day finishing laundry, cleaning up the deck, sorting empty planters, and watering the yard. Nothing very exciting but I am pretty pooped so this will be a short post.

I tried a new soup today and I'm waiting Hubby's response (he hasn't tasted it yet). I was probably nuts to make soup on such a hot day but I had the idea and just went with it. If the Hubs likes it I'll share with you guys!

I also made fish cakes using the rest of the fake "potato" salad from the 4th of July and adding tuna and egg to it. They were pretty good and re-used the salad before it went bad.

Supper was grilled pork with Brussels sprouts sauteed in bacon. Way yummy!

OK folks, I'm turning into a pumpkin. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 19- Tired But Proud

I didn't sleep well and around 2am sat outside and watched the moon rise for about an hour. Even so I popped out of bed and was zooming around the house bright and early. I was even up before Munchkin!

Munchkin and Hubby toasted some Frozen Waffles for breakfast while I decided to fast. Afterwards we cleaned the house while Hubby mowed the yards. We scrubbed down the bathroom, vacuumed (Munchkin's favorite chore), swept the floors, did dishes, and tackled Mount Laundry. We got a lot done and by lunchtime we were both starving.

I warmed up some leftovers from last night and threw together a quick soup from leftover chicken and bone broth. I also sliced up a fresh tomato and split an apricot between us. Munchkin and I fell to and quickly scarfed it all up. Poor Hubby (who came in late) had to defrost some sausage for his lunch.

After lunch I got ready for the bridal party while giving instructions to Hubby on how to finish Mount Laundry (which had become Laundry Hill by that time). B. picked me soon after and away we went.

The bridal party was a lot of fun. It was outside so I got to soak up some sun (and stay far, far away from the food platters that were indoors). I kept a glass of ice water in hand and met lots of new people whiling chatting with old friends. Surprisingly I wasn't tempted by of the food options, there was some fresh fruit I could have eaten but I was still full from lunch. We had a great time teasing the bride-to-be and playing silly games.

Back home Hubby and Munchkin had gone to the store and picked out steaks and asparagus for supper. By the time I got home the steaks had been marinated and were ready for the grill. Munchkin showed B. her chickens and we spent some time visiting before B. headed home with a bag of blueberries that we had picked yesterday.

It was a busy day and I am so proud of myself! I am not a very social person and meeting new people always makes me nervous (and being nervous always makes me want to nibble). I passed up some treats that I normally would have attacked like a starving tiger without feeling even a twinge of longing. It is great to feel in control of my cravings. Yay Whole30! Yay me!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 18- U-Pick Farms ROCK!

Woke up this morning to an alert from our favorite U-Pick farm that blueberries and cherries were ready for the picking. Whoo-hoo! I rushed the fam through breakfast and out the door we went.

After grabbing buckets we hit the blueberries first. Munchkin can easily eat a pound of blueberries a day (if we'd let her) so getting a few pounds to freeze was top priority. Once she figured out what was on the bushes we had a hard time getting her to put the berries in the bucket and not eat them. She finally got the idea though, and was soon running up to me all proud with a handful of big blue berries.

After filling the bucket we headed for the cherries. We were pretty warm from the sun and the cherry trees offered a nice shade with a cool breeze. Munchkin ran up and down the rows while Hubby picked and I lazed in the grass snapping shots of Munchkin. (To be fair, most of the cherries were out of my reach. I wasn't just being a lazybones.)

One of the great things about the farm is letting her just run free. Yes, we do keep her under control and don't let her terrorize others but she can run up and down the rows and yell and scream and just be a kid without bothering anyone.

After we were done picking cherries Munchkin was starting to wind down (doing a couple hundred wind sprints will tire anyone out) so I wandered the aisles with produce picked that morning and snagged up some more goodies before checking out.

I am always amazed when I get the total. I figured it would be around $40 what with all the berries but it was under $20!

So, what did I get? Almost 4 pounds of blueberries, 1/2 a pound of cherries, 2 pounds of green beans, 1 pound of sugar snap peas, 2 kohlrabies, and 3 tomatoes. Oh, and some water cause we were all hot and thirsty.

Look at these yummies!!!

We had a quick lunch of leftovers and then Munchkin went down for a much needed nap. Hubby ran into town to do a few errands while I finished planting flowers and gave all the gardens some water. My poor garden looks so puny compared to the farm's plants. *sigh*

Once Munchkin woke up we all took a dip in the big pool. It was still a little chilly but in the hot sun it felt great. Afterwards I grilled pork shoulder for supper, sauteed some green beans, and pickled a couple cucumbers (sans sugar).  We were a hungry bunch and devoured everything. 

Tomorrow: scaling Mount Laundry and a bridal party. I'm a little scared of the bridal party, I know "refreshments" will be provided but have no idea what. Here's hoping for some fresh fruit and lots of will power!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 17- I Wore a Dress!

And didn't take a picture! But yes, it was so hot and sunny I actually wore a dress. Ahhhhhhh.....how I love the sun!

We were pretty lazy today. Munchkin and Hubby went to toddler time at the library and played with the kiddos while I stayed home and tackled bills and paperwork (things I should have done earlier in the week *sigh*).

After lunch (leftovers) Hubby worked while Munchkin napped and I tackled the dreaded math homework. I'm never going to get my old brain to understand slope and rise and y-axis and...ugh. Hubby says my problem is I over think the question and make it harder than it is. I say my problem is this crud has no real-world (aka my world) application and thus should not take up needed brain cells. He laughs, I grumble, but slowly I'm starting to understand. Slowly.

In the late afternoon Hubby took off for a birthday party while Munchkin and I started prepping supper. The party was going to run late so I decided it would be better if Munchkin and I stayed home-she's a pretty good sport but when she gets tired the cranky crab comes out. Since we'd already had one late night for the week I thought it best if we tried to get back on schedule. Besides, the menu at the restaurant the party was held is not exactly Whole30 friendly and Munchkin, with her allergies, would have problems getting a safe meal.

So I was a spoil-sport and opted for safe rather than sorry. Hey, when your kid breaks out in massive hives when they eat the wrong thing you'll understand.

Munchkin and I dined on grilled steak and cauliflower with green beans in clarified butter-yum! (And green beans are allowed on Whole30 since they are more pod than bean.) Afterwards we had a water fight in the bath before snuggling together and watching Ponyo before bedtime.

Once she was asleep I watered the gardens and then plopped down on the couch to surf my favorite blogs. Tomorrow's big plans: weed the veggie garden, plant the rest of the Sweet Williams I picked up on sale, and then clean and re-season a cast iron pan. Good night everyone!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 16- 4th of July Recap

Have you picked up a copy of How to Eat Like a Dinosaur? You seriously need to! So far I have tried four different recipes and every one is a keeper.


The Paleo Parents really know their stuff! (And they should, with 3 munchkins of their own). Now, I have no idea if these are Whole30 approved (there's the whole "no paleo-ifying items" clause) but as it was a holiday and all the ingredients were Whole30 safe I decided to walk the gray line and make them anyway.

They. Were. AWESOME!! Even Hubby (whose had some pretty fancy meals in his business travels) said they were the best (he ate 5); and Munchkin couldn't comment, she was too busy snarfing up every one we put in front of her. She finally slowed down at 3. Plus, they were quick, simple to make and they froze wonderfully. (Hubby had a couple for breakfast this morning and said they were just good as fresh.)

After breakfast we went outside and cleaned up the yard so we could setup the big pool. Normally the pool is setup at Summer Solstice but this year it was so cold and rainy we held off. The day was gorgeous and after getting the pool up and the hoses going to fill it (it always takes a while to get it full) we had fun just kicking back and soaking in the rays. I could almost feel the mold dying on my skin and sloughing off. What in the world possessed me to live in the wettest part of the freaking country? Oh yeah, Hubby's job.

Look! Look! Sunshine!

At lunchtime I threw together a quick meal of grilled meats, salad, and pickles. Munchkin crashed afterwards and while she took a nap Hubby fussed with his computer. I debated on taking a nap while surfing the web for recipes and made excuses for not doing homework. I really should have done some math but...I just could not escape the recipe vortex!

We planned a late supper of hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken and salads. By the time everyone was done stuffing themselves it was starting to get dark. Hubby had picked up a box of quieter fireworks and once it was full dark he lit them up while Munchkin and I ooohhhed and aaaaahhhed.

I was a little afraid she'd be scared of the bright lights and sparks but no, my little daredevil was awed by all the pretty colors and was soon helping daddy pick out the next firecracker. I think she would have been lighting them if he'd have given her a match.

Once we'd gone through our stash we walked around the neighborhood and watched for some of the bigger fireworks from one of the park shows before coming back home and going to bed (around midnight, yikes!). It was a great 4th of July!

Today we were all a bit slower but Hubby got himself off to work and Munchkin and I walked around the yard collecting sparkler ends and spent fountain tubes. The sun was out again so I lounged in a deck chair while Munchkin drew pictures on the side of the pool and fed the chickens pine cones. (Even after showing her how much they love dandelion greens she was certain they preferred pine cones.)

Leftovers for lunch and supper was grilled steak (grilled by Hubby) while I sauteed some spinach (from Eat Like a Dinosaur) and steamed some broccoli.

Oh, and I got two new cookbooks today!  My very own copy of Eat Like a Dinosaur and Scandinavian Feasts: Celebrating Traditions throughout the Year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 15- Happy 4th of July!

Please remember to keep your pets indoors and that they are wearing tags and other ID in case they escape. I know the Ol' Man will be hiding in his kennel growling at all the noise. Stay safe everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 14- Two Weeks!

Can you believe its been two weeks? I can't. Two weeks without chocolate-this has to be a first for me. I am so proud of myself and I know I can make it till the end of the 30 days. Whoohoo!

Munchkin and I started getting ready for tomorrow's celebration. We decorated the grapevine wreath with ribbons and sparklers, plus some Americana flags cut from a piece of cloth
and glued onto cardboard. I had hoped to add a wood-framed blackboard to hang in the middle of the wreath (to write Happy Fourth of July on) but I couldn't find one small enough. Maybe next year.

We went through all of my nail polish (I have a lot, its my girlie vice) and finally picked out patriotic colors with which to paint our toe nails. Well, we did mine. Munchkin didn't want any paint on her's but she loved helping to paint mine (thank goodness for Q-tips and nail polish remover).
We also started preparing some food items so I wouldn't be stuck in the kitchen all day. We got everything together for a special breakfast (and texted Hubby to ask him to stop by the store for a few things on his way home from work), made a big green salad and poached chicken for chicken salad.

I love poached chicken, its quick, easy, and very useful.The internet has lots of recipes out there but here's what I do:

How To Poach Chicken
3 cups chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 medium sized onion cut into thirds
1 celery stalk cut into thirds
1-2 cups baby carrots
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Note:Depending on your tastes and the amount of salt and pepper in your broth you may need more or less
4 Chicken breasts

Combine first 7 ingredients and bring to a boil in a large pot. Add chicken breasts and return to a boil, making sure the chicken is completely submerged under the water. Let cook for 3 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 45 minutes. Chicken will be cooked through, tasty and moist. Remove from pot and enjoy!

Strain off the broth and serve the veggies as a side dish, Munchkin loves the carrots cooked this way. Reserve the broth for other recipes or discard.

This recipe is for basic poached chicken and is what I often use for chicken salad. The chicken has a nice, mild flavor that combines well with stronger flavors but alone it is a little dull. Depending on what I plan to do with the chicken I will often play with the seasonings: sometimes I will add cumin and turmeric if I want a little Asian flavor; or chili powder, paprika and hot sauce to give the chicken some heat.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 13- So Many Recipes

It was stormy today but Munchkin and I kept busy by cleaning the house and shampooing the master bedroom carpet. Super exciting, huh?

I didn't try any new recipes, didn't work out (unless carting water and shampoo back and forth count), didn't really do much today. I just felt lazy. And all proud since I'd been meaning to shampoo that carpet since...um...Christmas. Yeah, I put it off. But now the bedroom smells wonderful and the carpet is so soft and fluffy.

I did spend a lot of time online looking for Fourth of July recipes. Probably not a good idea since I got caught in the cookie/brownie/bar/snackie recipe vortex which had me yearning for a triple chocolate something like mad. All the recipes were paleo/primal approved but I'm doubting they are allowed for Whole30 (there's that whole break-your-snackies-addiction-thing).  I saved a couple to make for the Fourth though. Just because I am denying myself doesn't mean Munchkin or Hubby need to.

My utter favorite (based on ingredients and drool-worthy picture) was the Sweet Potato Paleo Brownies. These look amazing!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 12- So Many Flowers

Munchkin was a little slower today (still worn out from playing with Grandma, plus I'm sure Grandma gives her more treats than she normally gets at home) so her and Hubby took it easy cuddled up on the couch watching movies while I planted all my pretties. The gardens looks so nice with the additional color.

I'm really tickled with the three dahlias I picked up: two are called Mystic Enchantment (red) and one is called Mystic Spirit (pale orange). I planted them in front of the burning bush. Once fall comes the dark purple leaves should mesh well with the bush's autumn red while the flowers will stand out against both colors. I also transplanted a bunch of California poppies into an arc around the bottom of the to complete the color scheme. It already looks pretty nice but when fall comes its going to look so cool!

Is it sad that I am already planting and planning for Samhain/Halloween? It's my favorite holiday!

After getting everything planted (I had also gotten several Hot Mama salvias, a pack of heliotrope, an entire flat of Sweet Williams, and a few others) I weeded the bulb gardens (and added some Sweet Williams to fill in the gaps where the English bluebells have died back) and the veggie garden.

I sweet talked the tomatoes and begged the corn to grow as I worked around them-they are still rather puny. The broccoli, bush beans, bok choy and lettuces are doing fairly well, everything else is waiting for hot, sunny days. The Weather Channel says that it should get warmer toward the middle of the week and the clouds should clear off in time for the fireworks. While we don't have any plans yet for the Fourth it will be nice to have sunshine. Maybe the pool will be warm enough for a swim.

During yesterday's shopping spree I picked up a bunch of mustard greens to try. We've been slowly adding more leafy greens into our recipe collection and while Hubby loves Swiss Chard no one else cared for it and no one liked kale (even kale chips). So, mustard greens this week, maybe turnip greens next week. The mustard greens have a very nice raw flavor, almost like minor's lettuce with a peppery end note. I think they would work well in a green salad and even Hubby agreed they were pretty tasty as is.

For supper I cooked some bacon and rendered out it's fat, caramelized diced onions in the fat and then added washed, chopped mustard greens. I let everything cook, stirring occasionally till the greens were wilted and added seasonings. I overdid the salt (forgot how salty the bacon was) but otherwise it was a very good dish. Even Munchkin enjoyed it though she did need some coaxing to try a bite.

Tomorrow summer term starts and the dreaded math class begins.  Only two more years to go before I graduate!