Sweet potato hash – Whole30 recipe

i think this is going to be one of my favorite recipes even after I finish Whole30!

I used this recipe from Casa de Crews.

Just toss some bacon in the pan (or use coconut oil or ghee for the vegetarian version), add a diced Granny Smith apple and a diced red onion and sprinkle with roughly 2 tsp of cinnamon. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions begin to get translucent, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add to the pan one sweet potato (peeled and diced to roughly 1 inch squares) and cook for 7-9 minutes until soft. Put the onions, apples and bacon back into the pan and toss everything together for about a minute. 

 

choppin apples

  

yuuuum!

 

Salmon with fresh dill – Whole30 recipe

Its Day 3 and things are going well. Almost too well. I don’t have the hangover-feeling that I was warned about, although my body is definitely craving processed sugar, peanut butter and cheese.

I’ve been avoiding dairy by using coconut milk in my coffee and ghee in my frying pan. Using ghee instead of butter feels like cheating, but it’s on the approved list of foods so I guess it’s okay. 

I’ve also noticed that it’s hard to eat enough calories each day. I’m eating as much as I want but when I track my intake it’s surprisingly low. I’m going to try to eat more almonds and avocados to up the numbers. 

Tonight’s dinner was simple and quick, but delicious so I just had to share! Oven-roasted salmon with ghee-dill sauce and green beans: 

  
After seasoning 1 lbs of salmon with salt and pepper, I just mixed about 3 Tbsp of ghee with a hearty pinch of fresh chopped dill (maybe 1 tbsp?)  and drizzled it all over the fish. I popped it into the oven for 25 minutes at 450 degrees and it came out perfectly! 

Also, “hint” water totally tastes like the fancy fruit water that they have at the spa, which is nice because I already associate it with doing something good for myself. I hope I can keep that attitude for the entire month. 

Water water everywhere – Whole30

It’s only the second day and I am already so totally sick of water.

I did not realize how many of my daily calories came from liquids until I gave up sugar and alcohol!

Luckily I’ve stocked my fridge with various sparkling and flavored waters and unsweetened iced teas. I’ve also been trying to drink hot peppermint tea (no milk or sugar) more regularly throughout the day.

  
Still, my body is definitely fighting the “sugar dragon” that all Whole30 blogs talk about, and letting me know that it is NOT happy with my decision to quit cold turkey. My tummy wants processed sugar and she wants it NOW.

I’ve been trying to eat more fruit and sweet veggies like avocados and carrots to ease the transition, but my body will not be fooled. Maybe someday I will eat a sweet potato for dessert and feel good about it, but that day is not today.

Still, my body is not in charge here, so I’m going to sip my peppermint tea and try to think of all the good things that will come as a result of this month.

Related links:

Scotch Eggs – Whole30 breakfast

It’s Day 1 of my first Whole30 challenge and I’ve been preparing for days!

I cleaned out the pantry and fridge of all sweets, went grocery shopping for meats to freeze, veggies to prepare and LOTS of sparkling water, and I started cooking.

My first breakfast in the plan is this Scotch Eggs recipe from Popular Paleo.

I didn’t have chorizo and I hate jalapeños and cilantro so I changed it up a bit, mixing ground pork with sausage and red onions.

I boiled 6 eggs for 15 minutes before dropping them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Then rough-chopped a red onion and one shallot leftover from dinner the night before. I mixed the ground pork and sausage (you could also use ground beef or turkey) with the onions and formed a big meatball around the eggs. Then bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Ready for the oven

Yum!

I think next time I’ll add garlic and maybe a little cumin and chili powder to give them more flavor, but they were still tasty.

Other Whole30 meals this week include chicken soup and pork tenderloin with rosemary red potatoes. Stay tuned for more!

July Whole 30

I’ve been exercising semi-regularly for about a month now, but I feel like I need to do more. Inspired by this post from A Beautiful Mess, I’ve decided to give Whole30 a try for the month of July.

EatWhole30-Instagram

Whole30 is an allergy-elimination diet that requires you to go without sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains and legumes for thirty days. Once your month is over, you slowly reintroduce these foods back into your diet and see how they make you feel.

I’ve known for a long time that I have a mild dairy allergy but I’m such a baby that I continue to each cheese and put cream in my coffee even though it makes me feel gross. This is my chance to grow up, stop being stubborn, and see exactly how my body feels when I go without any dairy products for a whole month.

I’m hoping that as a side-effect I will lose a little weight and feel healthier. Maybe I’ll feel so good that it will inspire me to continue eating healthy even after the 30 days are over. Who knows? It can’t hurt!

To make my experience more fun, I’m going to be cooking and taking photos of the Whole30-compliant recipes that I make, so be prepared for lots and LOTS of recipe blog-posts over the course of the next month!

Helpful Links:

Currently Reading: Trains, love and food

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins train

I know everyone is reading this book, but it’s for a good reason! It’s a murder mystery novel with lots of action and each chapter is from the perspective of a different character. It’s the perfect vacation read (I finished it on the plane ride to New York to visit my brother).

It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig food

This book is a must-read for anyone thinking about attempting the Whole 30 challenge, or interested in a Paleo diet. It describes the science behind how your body processes sugars and starches, proteins, and fats. I’m planning to start my Whole30 in July (that’s another post for another day) so I read this book cover to cover.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenbergromance

So I thought this book was going to be funny parts of Aziz Ansari’s standup routine, but instead it’s a thoroughly-researched book about how love and dating have changed over time. It’s interesting to me, because Kevin and I met in a very old-fashioned way (introduced by friends while living in the same small town) but we dated/communicated in what at the time was a modern way (AOL instant-messenger chats and watching movies on the weekends in each other’s crappy dorm rooms).

I’m about halfway through the book and it covers everything from arranged marriages to Tinder hookups. It’s not a can’t-put-it-down summer blockbuster but it is good.

Crocheting and Crafts: ALL THE WIP’s!

I am the QUEEN of starting new projects while I already have more than enough to do! Seriously, it’s a gift.

Currently I have a beautiful fluffy lavender scarf that I’m making for a friend (I gave myself a deadline for that one, so I’ll actually finish it), a big complicated shawl that I started, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish because I’m using that cheap yarn that you buy by the pound and it’s rather scratchy (still, the pattern is pretty so maybe I’ll start over with some nicer yarn?), a bunch of yarn set aside specifically for a hat-knitting class that I need to sign up for (I was waiting until after we finished moving) and several other projects that are currently just ideas but will probably be started long before those previously-mentioned projects have been finished.

   
 

    

I did end up calling it quits on the ripple blanket because I can’t find the yellow yarn that I used to create it, and I don’t want to mess it up by trying to continue crocheting with a different shade of unmatching yellow. It was supposed to be a full-sized blanket but instead it’s a little lap afghan. It’s fine, it’s still very cute and soft and I’m happy with it. Next time I’ll buy ALL of the yarn that I need at once so that I don’t run into this problem (my bank account is weeping right now).

  
(Pepper is quite happy with it!)

ALSO we recently moved into a new apartment in Inner Richmond (yay! We’re still in the city!) and I kind of have a craft room, sort of! We have a guest room, which will also be where my desk and sewing machine live, while the rest of my supplies live in the craft closet (also known as the craft hole, thanks to my husband). So I sort of have 2 craft rooms! Or, like 2 half-rooms. Whatever. The important thing is that Noir is actually standing up and no longer hanging from the ceiling, my supplies are all somewhat organized, and I can get back to work on all of my projects!

   
    

We Moved!

rental

We found a new apartment! It’s a beautiful 2 bedroom in the Inner Richmond area with lots of light and tons of built-ins! 

We’re still working on making the place a home (Kevin has big plans for the bathroom and we still need to buy a couch and other furniture) but it’s really coming together. 

Here’s the living room built-in, which we are using to hold all of our comic books and plants: 

   
   

And the bedroom with my little makeup/jewelry corner and Pepper holding down the fort: 

   

  

And the kitchen! Where recently we’ve been cooking Blue Apron meals and baking brownies for a potluck:

    

   

The second bedroom is a mess still, and is mainly being used to store our bikes but I’ll take some photos once we turn it into a proper guest room. 

I love our little home! 😊

Hitting the gym

What would you do with more time, if you had it?

I’m asking because for once, I have time.

And for the second time in my life, I am using that time to embark on a lifestyle change for the sake of my health.

The first time I did this was when I was 17 and still in high school. My school got a little bit of money one year and decided to build a professional gym with a weight room and treadmills. They also began offering an optional weight-training class that could replace regular gym class credits. As a nerdy kid with shitty hand-eye coordination, I dreaded gym class because I was bad at sports. Prior to this class I didn’t realize that there were other options, I thought you were either good at sports or you were completely sedentary. That weight-training class taught me how to exercise and push my body in ways that I had never heard of.

sports

This should have been my gym uniform.

I started using that gym a few days each week. Any day that I didn’t have to go to work (I had a part time job in food service), I lifted weights and jogged on the treadmills. It was easy to incorporate this activity into my schedule, and since it was convenient I kept it up. I lost a lot of weight that year and felt good about my body for the first time in my life.

Since then I’ve struggled to figure out how to seamlessly incorporate exercise into my schedule. In college I tried going to the gym between classes, but my schedule changed every semester and it was hard to be consistent. I ended up gaining a few pounds over the years.

Then once I graduated and had to find a job, exercise took a backseat. I struggled while working nights and trying to sleep during the day at crappy jobs for low pay. I abandoned the gym and just focused on getting enough sleep and trying to avoid the doughnuts and other treats that people would bring to work. Later, I got an office job (:cough: sell out :cough) with regular hours and a long commute. I spent my lunch break walking around the outside of the building and wishing that I had access to a real gym.

baby

Frowny face!

For most of my life, I’ve put other things before my health. I’ve focused on my career and my relationships and my hobbies. I know that going to the gym doesn’t take a lot of time, and I know that it’s good for me, but it’s just too easy to hit snooze on my alarm or go straight home after work. I know myself and I know that if something is good for me but inconvenient, I won’t end up doing it. I’m lazy like that.

So now I’m making a conscious decision to stop being such a baby and start taking care of myself. I’m 30 years old now, it’s not like it’s going to get any easier to workout as I get older.

Plus I have all of the advantages right now!

  • I live less than 2 blocks from the YMCA.
  • My job requires me to start work around 9:30am, and even that is pretty flexible.
  • My new apartment is in an area with few hills or other obstacles. No reason not to walk everywhere.
  • I have access to all kinds of helper startup companies that can take care of things like my grocery shopping, laundry, lunch delivery, and package delivery at convenient times of the day for a small fee. Ridiculously small.
  • I have no kids to take care of, and my husband is an adult who can take care of himself.

So starting May 25, 2015, I began going to the gym almost every morning (I have a work call on Wednesdays at 7:30am so I use that and Saturday as rest-days). I am currently focused on cardio but I’m going to start lifting weights too. Sometimes I go to the gym after work as well for a class or two, but I consider those optional. The morning workout is mandatory.

I will probably never have it this easy again. Life will only get more hectic and there will only be more responsibility piled onto my shoulders. I need to see this as the opportunity that it is, and use this time wisely.

Helpful Links:

  1. A Beautiful Mess – Elsie’s Fitness Story
  2. Tumblr – In Pursuit of Fitness
  3. Pinterest – Fitness

Sunset poncho and other crochet projects 

I ran out of a particular yellow yarn for my ripple blanket and I’ve been having a hard time teaching it down, so I had to set that project aside for a little while and work on other things. 

 First up, we needed coasters. The purl bee felt fruit coasters that I made back when my arms were broken are now falling apart after so much use. I was make a crochet hat and liked the starting 3 rows so much that I decided to make coasters out of them using my yarn scraps. Here they are:

 


 

Next is the actual slouchy hat that inspired those coasters. I got this pattern from ravelry and it was easy to follow. 

Lastly, is the sunset poncho. It’s made up of three double -crochets followed by a chain 1 space around and around and around. The two corners are 3 double-crochets into the same space, chain 2, then 3 more double-crochets into that same space. If you can do a granny square then you can easily do this pattern.

I used the yarn originally planned for a knit gradient shawl that never got off the ground, so the colors are brown, red, orange, yellow and beige.