Easter

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Well, this is a bit delayed but better later than never! Easter was a blast. We hosted and had both of our parents as well as Michael’s uncle join us. What a gorgeous day it was…nearly 80! Giving a nod to my Italian heritage, I put out enough hor d’oeuvres (spelling?) to feed an army…I also made sure we were not lacking desserts.

The day before I prepped banana cream pie (my favorite)…

I also made a chocolate lava bunt cake. I purchased the bunt cake mix from Williams Sonoma to finally test out my bunt cake pan that Mike got me as a stocking stuffer…It was a very large stocking.  So. I made the cake and took it out. The directions told me to wait until the cake was ENTIRELY cooled. As we have covered, I don’t have any self control. So once the pan was luke warm, I decided it was time.

It was not time.

I flipped the cake onto the cooling rack and it looked glorious. I hooted and hollered and pat myself on the back, while Mike cheered me on from the sidelines. And then the lava began to seep from the bottom. All over the counter. I lifted the cake with my hands and yelled for Mike “HELP ME!!!”, chocolate dripping everywhere.

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In retrospect, my reaction may have been a bit dramatic.

I went through the 5 stages of grief. Denial- as I tried to slop all the bits of cake onto a plate. Anger- NO NO NO NO NO NO. Bargaining- IF ONLY I had waited, like the directions stated! Depression- I wasn’t actually depressed (I’m not that unstable) but I did stare sadly at the chocolatey mess for a while. And finally. Acceptance. Mike, being his normal optimistic self was certain we had plenty of time left in the night to start over. So he took my hand and led me (dragged my slug-like self) to the mall to get a new package and then to the store for more ingredients…I WASTED 6 EGGS. 

The final outcome was a much greater success, if I do say so myself. Although it was very exciting to have sugar again, after not having it for 40 days…it hit me hard. I almost immediately got a splitting headache and stomach ache. It is amazing what sugar can do to you…If I didn’t believe it before…I sure do now. I decided that while I won’t give it up forever (why would I ever do that), I won’t be incorporating it into my daily meals like I was before. 

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Happy (belated) Easter!!

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Tavern On The Green

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We had to take advantage of the 80 degree weather today. It was amazing. Since I am on break and I was unable to convince Mike to play hooky from work, we compromised and he cut out of work a bit early and I met him in the city. Since NYC is one of the places we are talking about moving to next, Mike is trying (unsuccessfully) to teach me how to navigate the city on my own. I’ve been going to the city for years now but tend to have the duckling approach where I just waddle after whoever I am traveling with. I am not what one would consider “city folk”. Looking back on my many trips to the city there were many times (whether it be my aunt yanking me back on to the sidewalk right before almost getting swiped my a cab, or giving 20 dollars to a not-so-homeless, homeless man) where it seemed that even trips to the city might not be a good idea for me.

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But alas, I have grown. I usually look where I am going now and almost always am able to say “no, thank you” to street solicitors. Last time, Mike gave me directions on how to get out of the building once I got off the train, and he met me half way. This time, I had graduated to meeting him a few blocks from the train station. As you may have imagined, I went the wrong way. However, the good news was, I found an H&M and purchased $10 dollar shoes since the fashionable ones I had decided to wear had already destroyed my feet during the 5 minute walk from my apartment to the train.

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We walked to Central Park and BOYYYYY was it rowdy. I love seeing how excited everyone gets when the weather gets nicer. I feel like people literally crawl out of the ground…where was everyone during the winter?? I could sit and watch people in the park all day. Not in a creepy, hiding in the bushes type of way though. There is just so much to see. Mike asked me if I am ever able to sit and just relax my mind because he could see my eyes darting everywhere.

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We sat outside Tavern On The Green and had a cocktail and a couple apps. We split the risotto since ever since seeing The Zookeeper’s Wife, I have been struggling to eat meat. I go through phases of this like the time I saw a dead cat in the road and couldn’t eat meat for a month. Anywho. It was a gorgeous night. Unfortunately, it ended with us sitting next to a man on the train who was looking at pictures of topless men and zooming in on their crotches. Ya win some, ya lose some.

xo

FriYAY! Done with the Whole30!

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WE MADE IT!!! Almost. This weekend we are done with the Whole30. What a grand old time we had. It was nice doing it with M and I loved that our friends started it on the same day as us. It really helped to all chat with each other on the hard days. Things got pretty silent about a week ago and when I made a comment about it being extra difficult on certain days, they let me know they had decided to continue with it partially but add in carbs. I get it. I think we are all different and our bodies all require different things. To be honest, I had a hormonal day there where I literally would have eaten my shoe. Thank goodness M reeled me back in.

Anywho. We are supposed to gradually add the foods we had not had back in to see what our bodies respond well to and what we might have a sensitivity towards. M has a plan for us for tomorrow night when we are done and I am curious to see what he has in mind. For tonight, we will stick with our normal Friday night date spot…the Whole Foods salad bar. We initially picked it because we were desperate to get out and get something other than greens and plantains (I do really love plantains though) and then started actually looking forward to going there and seeing what new food they had for us to try. It is really helpful because they put the ingredients for all their meals on display. I CANNOT believe how much of the food we consume has added sugar. This shouldn’t be a shock to me since I watched that movie…I think it was called Fed Up, where they talk about the effects sugar has on our body and how much of the food we consume has added sugar. I’m pretty sure I was probably slurping down one of my ice cream bars while watching it though and it really didn’t phase me. What DID change my thinking was once I was not allowed to have certain foods or added sugar. Suddenly you realize just how much of the things we eat aren’t all that great for you. Even down to something as little as gum. I was ALWAYS chewing gum before starting this. That’s actually how my mom used to bribe me to be a quiet little lady when I was a lass. Anyways. I digress. 

I think the Whole30 has really changed how we think about food. M was way better about challenging his relationship with food during this process and really didn’t snack very often at all. Which is maaaaaybe why he lost 11 pounds and I lost 2. I personally think I did us all a favor by never allowing myself to become hangry. 

Other than learning about our sugar intake and 1 out of the 2 of us challenging our relationship with food, I am pretty sure we discovered that M has a dairy sensitivity and maybe even a gluten sensitivity, as well.

It’s been a fun process and has forced us to get creative with meals. We decided we will try and keep it going 5-6 days a week but have a break one day during the weekend. I’m also allowing wine back into my life because I think in moderation it is good for me and also I am a nicer human with it. I DID notice that on tough days, instead of turning to my half a glass of wine, I found (almost) just as much comfort in using some lavender and balance oils in my diffuser. So it was good to find new strategies.

I do recommend everyone try it at least once. It is a good exercise for one’s mind and the seams of your pants may thank you as well.

Romaine Tacos

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Lettuce wraps were our jam during the summer and once it got chilly we sort of forgot about them. I ran home quickly after work today before I went to go play with my ring bearers for the afternoon. I realized I hadn’t prepped dinner at all. This tells you something about how my week has gone because I NEVER forget a meal. Ever.

Knowing that I would be tired when I got home and M would be hungry after his interview (and that currently going out for froyo instead isn’t an option) I knew I needed something easy. I had some chicken in the fridge so I popped that in the crockpot with my Trader Joe’s salsa verde and some chopped cherry tomatoes. I set it on high for 4 hours and ran out the door.

I Loveeee my crockpot. There is something so comforting about walking into your home and having the whole place smell like dinner. I put half in Romaine lettuce leaves for M and I and the other half I froze for another day that I forget about dinner (if that day ever comes) and baked up some more plantain chips as a side. It really helped with my recent taco cravings. If I could eat Mexican food every single day, I would. I often tell friends that I believe I have a Mexican tape worm sitting in my belly, demanding chips and salsa.

Now that I have brought up tape worms…let’s move right along to the ingredients for this meal.

4 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts

1 jar of Trader Joe’s salsa Verde

2 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes 

salt and pepper to taste

1 head of romaine lettuce 

crockpot on high for 4 hours

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Snow Day Snackin’

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Plantain chips-

2 medium plantains

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Salt to taste

WHERE HAVE THESE BEEN ALL MY LIFE. Probably right next to the regular chips that I normally have tunnel vision towards. Ok so these are Whole30 approved but certainly not in the quantity that I have been consuming them. M and I both love these but the sad news for him is that I am home way before him every day which gives me way too much alone time with snack cabinet and ultimately results in no chips for M. 😦 Sad. 3 thoughts for making these on my own.

  1. Snow day
  2. They are healthier
  3. If I have to work harder to obtain them, perhaps it will delay the speed in which I consume them.

After I made them I tasted 3 and then put the rest away for M. Selfless. They are really tasty and simple to make.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and thinly slice two medium plantains. In a bowl, toss the plantains with 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the plantains on the sheet. Bake for 17 minutes and you are good to go.

I also decided to make my own cashew butter. I love cashew butter with coconut oil but I have only been able to find it once. Making your own nut butter is healthier and in my opinion, tastes way better. Since I had the time I figured I should give it a go, especially since it goes really well with the plantain chips .

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Coconut Cashew Butter

2 1/2 cups raw cashews

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

cinnamon and salt to taste

Pop all this in a food processor and you are gucci.

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Cozy Snow Day Jams

Whole30 Update- Day 7

Whole 30 day 7

Things are going ok. I probably should have had the cashew butter slapped from my hand a few times but other than that the Whole30 has been manageable. I haven’t had any unbearable cravings yet but, I also have avoided going out to meals. I get pretty extreme food FOMO to the point where I make the entire table announce what they will be ordering before the waiter arrives so I avoid becoming jealous and pouting for the rest of the meal. One thing that helps is that our good friends have joined us in this challenge.

Today we were all texting about how exhausted we have been the last two days. I was prying my eyes open at 7pm last night and slept WAY later than I ever do this morning. The good news is, our friends read that this is normal. Apparently days 6 and 7 are the “I just want to nap” days. This is because our bodies have gotten so used to relying on sugar for energy and now need to get accustomed to not demanding sugar every few hours. I was hopeful that getting over this hurdle would be the worst of it but apparently I have the pants being tighter and the hardest days to look forward to.

One thing that I am loving about this plan is that it has been somewhat of a challenge when it comes to cooking and is forcing us to get creative. As I write this, M is making a dairy free omelet that smells amazing and tonight we are going to be making a cauliflower crust “pizza” (can it really be called a pizza without the crust and cheese?).

I’m on my way to a family party in a few and hoping being surrounded by all that great food will be ok. Mind over belly!

M's meal

Coconut Oil

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I made it ALL winter without catching any of the dreaded illnesses that have been going around.

That’s exactly what I announced on Friday right before I got sick.

So here I am in March, nursing my first cold of the year. I used to get sick all the time, especially in college. That was likely due to a combination of my ramen noodle/pineapple pizza diet in conjunction with my lack of exercise (this excludes my power walks to the campus center for frosted pop-tarts).  But things have improved. I ran my first marathon this year and consume pineapple sans cheese. Because of this, I got confident and announced my accomplishment just a tad too early and jinxed myself.

In my search for natural remedies, one of the first things that popped up was coconut oil. I LOVE this stuff. I use it for everything and didn’t realize it can also boost your immune system. I keep a jar in the shower to remove my makeup and to use on my skin and hair and a jar in the kitchen for cooking. I also use it instead of deodorant. I know what you’re thinking 1. there is no way that works and 2. she reeks. I randomly tried it since I use it for everything else and I got freaked out reading about the scary truth of regular deodorant. It really works. I’ve had friends try it too who say even clinical strength deodorant won’t work and they are hooked now too. To be clear, it won’t stop the sweating. Nothing will unless it is bad for you, I think. But, it takes care of odor  – I imagine due to its natural antibacterial properties. On top of that, if used after shaving it can really help with in-growns.

I realize it is probably in poor taste, as well as off putting, for me to discuss armpits and in-grown hair in my second blog post. But, it happened.

I’d eventually like to talk about the benefits of oil pulling but in the meantime here are some other uses from byrdie.com coconut-oil-uses

 

Holy 40 and Whole30

Usually I’m not late to the party. Actually, I am usually about 5-10 minutes early to the party. However, I am a couple months late to the whole “New year, new me!”idea. Not the best year for me to be slacking either since this is the year I get married. My family and I decided to give up sweets for Lent this year. I know the concept is to not necessarily give something up but to do something that contributes to the world around you. I try and do that every day. I’ve committed to helping others through my career choice. Giving up sweets for me and my family is a sacrifice for sure. As someone who has been pretty much surviving on sugar and caffeine for the last couple of months and who grew up with a mother who didn’t really insist on us eating our veggies but would cock her head in confusion if we didn’t finish our dessert….this is going to be a shock to the system.

At work last week, after announcing my plan, a co-worker smirked and mentioned how that was nothing…he had done the Whole30. I didn’t know much about this but had heard people talking about it and how much better they felt after completing the challenge (it’s a challenge right??). I was intrigued and started looking more into it. So here’s the breakdown…

…Sugar, grains, dairy and legumes could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness (aches and pains, energy level, weight gain, allergies, etc.)  The idea is to take 30 days to strip all this stuff from your system in order to let your body recover from whatever these foods could be doing to it. You’re essentially resetting your body and discovering which of the food groups you have cut out are actually affecting your health.

To be honest, the hardest thing about this to me seems to be the sugar. I am generally a pretty healthy eater…until the end of the day when I turn into a gremlin and will eat an entire carton of ice cream while my fiance looks at me with fear in his eyes. Just kidding. Not about the ice cream part… I actually think he is somewhat impressed. HOWEVER. Even though my love of sweets is pure and true, I figured it is time to prove my love for my health more.

I counsel people every day about the power of one’s thoughts and I can recognize how much of a mental challenge this is. If I am going to talk the talk, I better walk the walk. So here we go.

For more information on Whole30 whole30.com