The most important step

The most important step of all is the first step.

Even if you take it a thousand times? Let’s hope so.

Days 1 and 2 went well. I’m not having nearly the cravings I was when I did this last time. But I’m also allowing myself extra carbs since I’m still BF. Takes food to make food.

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This was day 1. 

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 7 raspberries, 3 slices bacon

Lunch: chicken quinoa and kale from costco. I am in love.

Second lunch: Salmon avocado salad

Snacks: all the almonds, 10 raspberries, salmon avocado salad, almond milk, blueberries

Dinner: broccoli, green bean almondine, zuchinni, roasted pork

Day two went according to plan as well. My five month old is teething again so I took a picture of absolutely nothing and just tried to hang on for the ride.

At the beginning of day 3, I weighed 5.3 lbs less than day 1.

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Salmon Avocado Salad

I love Costco. Far too much. So much that I can walk out with a year’s worth of laundry detergent, four electric tooth brushes, and 15 cans of wild chunk salmon, and feel successful.

My dad also loves Costco.

We went together…my pantry will never be the same…nor will my marriage.

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Fifteen cans of Salmon is a lot of salmon – especially if you’ve never actually eaten canned salmon. Feeling less successful now. Questioning life decisions. Dark places, friends.

After moving said cans out of the way in the pantry 20 million times, I decided it was time to pee or get off the pot. Enter Salmon Avocado Salad.

SALMON AVOCADO SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 6 oz. can Salmon
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon
  • 1 Tbsp mayonaise

DIRECTIONS: Toss everything together and gobble down.

Now I need to go to Costco for more avocados.

And probably 90 pairs of white socks.

Nutrition Facts: 3 Servings, 204 calories, 14 g fat, 7 g carbs, 14 g protein.

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Back by popular demand

Want to know something AMAZING. I’m a momma now! I spent the year making a tiny person who makes every day an adventure and smiles every time I talk to him. It’s awesome. Last year me would think this year me is crazy, but everyone should have a baby. Everyone should have all the babies.

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Throw caution to the wind and #haveallthebabies

I also spent the year eating Wegman’s chocolate chip muffins and baking “lactation” cookies aka – normal oatmeal cookies with an excuse to over eat. This is evidenced by my 12 month sized 5 month old and a beautiful belly pooch to rest the baby on. That’s what I tell myself at least.

Here’s the quick rundown of mommyhood-to-date as far as health goes. I gained about 38 lbs during pregnancy and lost 18 in the two weeks after birth. We went dairy and soy free because little bit is apparently allergic to them in my milk and 8 weeks of colic weren’t really colic, but silent reflux and food allergies. Awesome. Learning to swim in the deep end of parenthood.

We’re 5 months postpartum tomorrow and doing much better. Little bit takes three naps of random length each day and goes to sleep around 7:30 each night. Mommy is actually sleeping for the first time for more than 4 hours since his birth and things are going well. Except weight loss, that’s not going anywhere. I now weigh 175.4, about 24 lbs less than my weight at birth, but still 13ish pounds from my pre-preggo weight.

With a new baby, weight has really become just a number for the first time in a long time for me. Its there and something you could describe me with, like she’s wearing pink nail polish and boots, but its no longer something that contributes to who I see myself as. It happened pretty much overnight. I was obsessed with weighing myself during pregnancy, and now, while I still weigh myself, its mostly – “meh.”

That said, its time for a change. Pregnancy DESTROYED my health. I ache all the time. I have headaches, back aches, muscle aches, whole being aches. I got clogged ducts, thrush, and engorged. I’ve been sick 3 times for 4 weeks in 5 months. That’s like for-e-ver. Oh and postpartum anxiety is real. Really real. Awake from 3-6 am real.

Now that my hormones have somewhat regulated, and I’m no longer checking that the baby is breathing every 20 minutes (j/k I won’t stop doing this until he’s 18 and moves out), I feel like its time to put some energy into me. A heathy mommy is a better mommy. And I need to feel better for me. I need hobbies, friends, and coffee. Lots of coffee. I need exercise and energy. I need to change.

So I’m cutting out sugar and gluten again and limiting carbs. I’ll share recipes here as usual and recap some of my days. I’ve had several friends and followers ask when I’d start blogging again from the mom side of things so I’m back by popular demand. Thanks for not giving up on me!

 

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LET’S TALK TUNA

Tuna salad, the penultimate lazy summer food.

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Nothing is easier than popping open a can of meat (who invented this? I love you and am still worried about why this is ok) and smashing the flaky meat with mayo and veggies. Unfortunately, said mayo doesn’t make the cut of healthful foods, and greek yogurt doesn’t do it for me.

Until…

Enter ginger beet kraut.

Ginger, yes. Beets, yes. Sauerkraut, fuck yes. This took the boring greek yogurt substitution to top notch in no time. Let’s not talk about the $7.00 this set me back at fresh market. Shhhhh. You can’t put a price on health. Wait, I just did. It costs thousands of $7.00 impulse buys. I digress.

Get this. Mix it with tuna, greek yogurt, lemon, salt, pepper, and celery and shove it down your fat face. I will.

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Flank Steak with Balsamic Tomatoes and Shallots

Have you ever been in love? Like so in love you can’t think about anything else. You get butterflies in your stomach and all your friends are tired of hearing about it.

That. My friends, is how I feel about this steak.

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This steak.

This steak.

I can’t even.

But I will.

First of all, steak.

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amiright?

Then, veggies.

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Now you can feel better that you’re not downing a 1/2 lb of steak without any fiber. I take care of my people.

Then some heat and vinegar and you have yourself a beautifully presented meal for four. This pairs deliciously with Cabernet Sauvignon, and I won’t even judge you for making this on Thursday and drinking the whole bottle yourself. Cabernet also pairs well with pjs, netflix, and couches. Just saying.

FLANK STEAK WITH BALSAMIC TOMATO AND SHALLOT TOPPING

(Adapted from an old Cooking Light Magazine)

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INGREDIENTS

  • flank Steak (1-2 lbs)
  • Tbsp EVOO
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Allow steak to warm to room temperature. (I skip this 99% of the time because I impulse cook.)
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of steak.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook steak 5-6 minutes/side or until your desired level of cooked. (I do between medium rare and medium. Medium rare is ~5 min/side.)
  4. Remove steak to rest. Add garlic and shallots to pan and cook until lightly brown (~1-2 mins).
  5. Add vinegar and cook another 1-2 minutes until most of the vinegar has evaporated. Stir intermittently.
  6. Add tomatoes, green onions, and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until the tomatoes soften and release their liquid. Stir intermittently.
  7. Slice steak across grain into thin slices and top with tomato mixture. Enjoy.

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Nutrition Facts (Based on 1.5 lb steak): Serves 4, 310 calories, 16 g fat, 4 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 35 g fiber.

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Light Italian Shrimp and Vegetables

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Hey guys.

Hey guys.

I worked out. Hard.

Can we have a party? Not really, but after I push myself physically, its a challenge not to negate it with beer and chips to “celebrate” not falling off the treadmill. If you can relate, protein is you answer and this dish will give you the volume you need to curb cravings while not packing on the calories. We threw this two serving dish together tonight and it came together as simple and fresh, with only 427 calories but 52 grams of protein. Cool additional facts about this dish: it has 50% of your daily recommended Vitamin A, 43% B-12, and 86% of your Vitamin D. Count me in.

LIGHT ITALIAN SHRIMP AND VEGGIES

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled deveined
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts in water, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 – 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Saute onion and garlic over medium-high heat with 1 tsp oil until translucent and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add seasonings followed by shrimp and remaining oil. Saute 2 minutes.
  3. Add remaining vegetables and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp is opaque and tomatoes are softened.

I’ll recap my latest workout fetish soon, but I have a theory its orange…

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I’ve missed you baby…

PicMonkey CollageYou’ve been on my mind, baby.

I know, they all say that when they come crawling back….

All coy like no time has passed.

With promises that it won’t happen again.

They think mean it.

Even though you know it will happen again…and again.

Have me back in your blog reader again, baby? I swear I won’t leave you for bourbon and rock and roll again. [Except for next Friday, I already made those plans.]

Although I’ve been elsewhere, I didn’t forget about the blog. I’ve made some great recipes, and even snapped some photos, but hadn’t found the time to sit down and put in the time to getting them up.

I did finish out the 30 days of clean eating and pure barre march madness minus an adult beverage here and there. Afterward, I didn’t make any progress on the weight loss/working out. I started saddling that horse again this week.

At the end of the 30 days, I felt a ton cleaner digestively and had more energy. Granted, basically all of that energy was used up planning what the hell I was going to eat next or how to entertain myself since going out was nearly impossible. So, right now, at least, following a 100% clean eating or paleo plan isn’t possible for me. I either need to be busier, to distract me from the fact that I am super duper bored with lean protein and steamed vegetables, or have more positive peer pressure to keep it going. My friends and I like our tapas and sangria.

So what can you expect here? More health updates and more recipes with a focus on clean cooking, eating, and general deliciousness. Probably some drink recipes with summer grilling season upon us. Eventually, you might even find a weight loss plan that’s more moderate, but for now, I’m just experimenting and documenting progress.

UPCOMING RECIPES

Summer Chicken Soup

Breakfast Grab-N-Go Quiche

Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Bark

Homemade Irish Cream

Looking forward to sharing my passion with you again. And baby, I’m glad we’re together. Thanks for taking me back.

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DAY 15: BIRD’S THE WORD

Hold up. Prepare yourself. Really. You’re about to get freaky with some chicken.

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I did.

At 1 am.

In my PJs.

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And I’m not even ashamed. This is the juiciest, crunchiest, howdidibreathewithoutyou chicken ever. So when I pulled the bird out of the oven after three intoxicating hours of breathing the roasting aroma of garlic and cayenne, it was photo worthy for all of three minutes. Chickens without legs and wings are not pretty.

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The key is time and oil. Lots of both. I’ve read on several blogs that in order to make thebestchickenofyourlife, it takes three hours in the oven at a low temperature. A lot can happen in three hours. Like, paint could dry, I could blink over 32 thousand times, or I could die before ever tasting said best chicken. Needless to say, I’ve never tried it. Better. Shit. To. Do.

However.

Lucky for both of us, Thursday at 10pm, I surveyed my apartment and realized I had about two hours of cleaning to do and one episode of House of Cards to watch.

Enter bird.

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Let’s talk about roasting them for a minute. Normally, the routine is put lemon-thyme-pepper-something on them, throw them in a roasting dish, oil and bake for an hour at 425. After going through the motions, proceed to deconstruct the chicken and hide it in carb heavy dishes like quinoa and pasta so that you don’t have to taste the lemon-thyme-pepper-shit. gag.

First, don’t do any of that. Ever again. Also, throw away your thyme. Its over used. Replace it with cayenne and we can be friends.

[who am i kidding? you’re reading my blog? we can be friends]

BEST ROASTED CHICKEN EVER

I started with this rub and recipe and made some adjustments.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3.5-4 lb chicken
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, mashed (or broken up if you’r lazy)
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • oil, don’t bother measuring, you’re going to lose track anyway

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 F.
  2. Que up Netflix.
  3. Remove gross bits from inside chicken. Wash and thoroughly dry. Re-wash chicken if you knock over the soap dispenser on it. Re-dry.
  4. Combine all of the dry spices to make rub.
  5. Separate the chicken skin from the meat. Do this by sliding your hand between the skin and breast meat all the way to the top of the chicken on both sides, then on the back down the neck between the skin and back. Sounds gross, but so worth it.
  6. Take ~ 1 Tbsp oil…or just whatever…and rub between the skin and meat all over chicken. Yeah, that just happened. You’re welcome.
  7. Take 1/3 [ish] of the rub and rub it where you just put the oil, between the skin and meat. Thank me in three hours.
  8. Now repeat 6-7 on the outside of the chicken using the remaining rub.
  9. Stuff chicken with mashed garlic and lemon.
  10. Tie legs together if you’re taking pictures. No one wants an unlady-like bird.
  11. Roast for 2.5-3 hours, basting with juices every hour. Mine took 2.5 hours and was 3.5 lbs.
  12. Rest 10 mins.
  13. Get freaky.
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DAY 14: ZUCCHINI “CHIPS”

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This was suggested to me by a friend when I described my need for chips, so I thought we’d try it. After ditching zucchini noodles for spaghetti squash, I didn’t have a plan for the leftover veggies anyway. The chips were tasty, but didn’t cook evenly. (It didn’t stop me from pounding a whole squash.) I’d suggest a double walled cooking sheet sprayed with non stick instead of a broiling pan, and I think you’d have better luck.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 zucchini, large
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 T olive oil (lower fat alternative, EVOO cooking spray)
  • salt pepper to taste
  • parmesan if your non-paleo

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick.
  2. Thinly slice zucchini, 1/8 inch is fine. If you have a mandolin slicer, that would be best. I don’t so I had some odd shaped ones. Its most important for them to all be the same thickness rather than the same shape.
  3. Toss slices in oil (or spray them).
  4. Coat with seasonings.
  5. Arrange on baking sheet in single layer with no overlap to avoid soggy chips.
  6. Roast for 15 mins on top rack of oven until sides are brown and start to crisp.
  7. Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet to cool.

The hubs even ate these which is rare for such an undressed vegetable. The kick from the red pepper was bliss.

Yesterdays eats:

DAY13

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DAY 13: BOLOGNESE SAUCE

ali“I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting, because then it really counts. That’s what makes you a champion.”

-Muhammad Ali

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Getting back in the saddle isn’t fun, ever. But, its allot easier when you don’t sweat losing falling off the horse. Making it only 1/2 way to my 30 days of clean eating then taking a 9 day haitus subsisting on bourbon and bread product alone probably constitutes killing the poor horse. Not to mention, the scale is back to its favorite spot. 158…159.8 (I lie). God, OK 160.5, what are you, a polygraph?

Anyway, I think its important to set high goals, even at the risk of not meeting them. Growth, for me, starts when I get uncomfortable. The hubs’ nickname for me is literally creature-of-comfort, so its obviously not something I like to do. Give me a snuggie and House of Cards and you have my loyalty forever.

Being a snuggie-clad, house wife, however, is below post-office employee on my list of desirable professions. So at the cost of not being perfect, I’m going to keep my goals high and push for 90% of awesome and challenging instead of 100% of decent and comfortable.

TURKEY BOLOGNESE SAUCE (recipe)

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Matt and I have really been enjoying this bolognese sauce. I want to eat it out of the tupperware with nothing else. Cold. Does three minutes in the microwave seem like eternity to anyone else? We tried the sauce over zucchini noodles the first day and then over spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash was the clear winner. Check out the Paleo Newbie for for full recipe. I used  Jennie-O’s sweet onion turkey sausage and doubled the red pepper flakes.

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On that note, do you know how easy it is to make spaghetti squash? Another vegetable, on a long list I’m sure, that I have been making completely wrong. Here’s how simple:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. [or 400 if you’re me and refuse to use another setting for anything]
  2. Poke holes in the WHOLE spaghetti squash with a paring knife. 10-15 is plenty.
  3. Roast for 30-45 minutes. Its done when you can press on it and make a dent.
  4. Cut open (easily).
  5. Remove seeds/pulp from middle with kitchen shears.
  6. Pull meet from rind with fork.
  7. Cry a little over your burned fingers.

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Below are my eats for Day 13.

DAY13

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