Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Rain on car roof"

I have a white noise app that I use all the time. I love that I can listen to a cat purring while I write (without having to vacuum up cat hair) or turn up the crowd and traffic noise to drown out the people around me at Panera.  And yes, I use it to help me sleep when my usual trick of "staring resentfully at the ceiling" doesn't cut the mustard.

My favorite track to listen to at night is one that mimics the sound of rain on a car roof, which is oddly distinct and unusually comforting, at least to me. There's something very insular and comfortable about it, like it's raining out there but I'm nice and cozy in my little metal bubble of awesome.

This is a long-winded way of explaining why I'm sitting in my car in a parking lot watching the rain pour down while I grin like a maniac. I need to go inside and warm up for the gym .... but not yet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Whole30, day 17

Look! It's a taco salad onto which I threw everything that was even vaguely Hispanic in my fridge! Yes, there's lettuce under there somewhere.

Also pictured: pineapple juice mixed with sparkling water. It was useful for cutting through the relatively insanely spicy meat and peppers on the salad. Good thing, too, since that role is usually played by cheese and sour cream. Oh, cheese, how I miss you.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Whole30, day 15

Today I took Liza with me to the grocery store, mainly because she was home from school and I needed to go, and partly because I wanted her to see what it is like to truly be surrounded by temptation and not give in.

She held the list and checked things off, and she was the designated label-reader for anything she wanted to get. That girl can spot sugar derivatives at 30 paces, let me tell you. And even though she whined and cajoled a bit, her heart really wasn't in it. I pointed out that she has been sleeping better, hasn't had a stomach ache, hasn't felt sick, and hasn't even had a sniffle since we started, as opposed to how she was when she was eating whatever she wanted. She admitted that she felt better...but she still wants a pizza. I don't blame her one bit!

Breakfast and lunch were variations on previous days: hard boiled eggs, sausage, and fruit; leftover soup and some guacamole dipped with those weird veggie potato chip things.

Dinner was a somewhat labor-intensive salad a la nicoise, with steamed green beans, boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs,  roasted peppers and stuffed olives, and canned tuna. Homemade vinaigrette dressing turned out really good, even if the use of yellow mustard rather than Dijon did render it sort of bile-colored. I will totally use that recipe again, though, because it is quite tasty.

I also made some scrambled-egg-and-prosciutto thingees for breakfast tomorrow, and I have a pot of Cincinnati style chili simmering on the stove for dinner tomorrow. I have a long day of work to face, and a meeting tomorrow night, so I figure something I can just hear and throw over some Zoodles will be just about my speed. Thank goodness for planning at least a little ways ahead!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Whole30, day 14

Let's see, what is there to report? 

> I'm down nine pounds, and I fit into my skinnier jeans well enough to wear them all day yesterday. 

> Liza still complains about not having sugar, but she's stopped whining about it after school and instead of standing in front of the pantry pining for food she can't have, she asks which kind of fruit she's allowed to have. Score!

> On Friday I didn't bring a lunch, and I got stuck waiting until almost 2 to eat. I didn't die. I wasn't even ridiculously hungry, and I didn't get a headache or anything. And I got a salad from Chipotle (which was out of the officially compliant carnitas, so I said screw it and got half chicken and half steak). I had a small pang when I stood there looking at the cheese and sour cream, and another when I had to walk past the soda machine to get to the unsweetened iced tea, but it's not like it was a consuming craving or anything. I missed it, I shrugged, and I moved on. Winner!

> Saturday we went out to Jimmy John's for lunch (unwich with no cheese or mayo; it's better with guacamole). It wasn't that inspiring, and we had to stare at the big pile of bread while we are. But it was way better than Moe's last weekend, so it was declared a success.

> We got together with friends last night at the last minute and brought our own snacks, which we shared with them. Freeze-dried fruit is insanely popular, by the way.

> I did not spend all day yesterday or today obsessing about menues and going to grocery stores. Instead, I enjoyed myself, used leftover stuff to make Mexican chicken soup for dinner, and I'm going to figure out a few meals we can make without having to kill ourselves shopping and cooking for hours. Hopefully I'll find a good balance of effort vs. payoff that will give us a sustainable way to do a scaled-back version of this going forward. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Whole30, day 11

Meal 1: I had leftover tomato soup with chicken added, Jason had leftover gumbo and some fruit, Liza had an apple with no-sugar-added peanut butter. Yes, I know peanut butter isn't compliant. No, I don't care - having Liza be 100% compliant was never going to happen anyway.

Meal 2: Jason had leftover tomato soup with shrimp, and some fruit; Liza had ham and tropical fruit; and I had roast beef, a hard boiled egg, the leftover carrot salad, and some blueberries. Turns out, I will eat hard boiled eggs if there's salt on them and I have some mustard to dip them in. Who knew?

Meal 3: Zoodles (zucchini cut with the spiralizer and lightly cooked) with arabbiata sauce (which is mostly bacon and tomatoes) and some sausage. Liza had sausage, strawberries, a carrot, and various other fruits.

Why yes, my kid is eating a lot of fruit. I do not see a problem with this. We throw vegetables at her when she watches tv  and isn't paying attention to what she's eating. Sneaky, right?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Whole30, day 10

Meal 1: Hamburger and half a grapefruit, both of which I prepped the night before.

Meal 2: Large salad with leftover shrimp from the night before, plus fruit.

Meal 3: balsamic vinegar chicken, plus a carrot/celery/cilantro salad with sesame dressing.

Liza had a carrot, some fruit, and a plain chicken breast. Verdict: I had forgotten how good this recipe is! We hardly ever buy boneless skinless chicken breasts anymore, so I haven't made this in years. The Trader Joe's chicken breasts were giant, to the point where I had a hard time eating a whole one plus all the veggies. Liza had no issues, though, tearing through hers in record time.

Observations: I have 3 triumphs to report:
1. My stomach felt better today, and I wasn't hungry until mealtimes (for the most part).
2. I successfully went to a bagel store (where I used to buy a bagel and diet coke for lunch almost every day) and bought an unsweetened iced tea, and I left the store without leaving a trail of drool and regret behind me. Go, me!
3. A sales rep came to the shop today and brought us cookies and brownies from the bakery next door. He left them sitting on the main table, where the brown bags could stare at me all day. I was good - I thought about them, maybe even fantasized about that brownie a little bit - but I did not eat them. Even when Erika had one. Even when Kathy brought in her own cookie and ate it in front of me. It was a long day, and I tried to stay away from the table as much as possible, but I made it through. I am insanely proud of myself.

Whole30, Day 9

A day late and a dollar short, so here's the quick rundown:

Meal 1: Leftover jambalaya (yay! Even better the next day!)

Meal 2: Small salad that left me hungry all afternoon and I didn't have any snacks with me and still I survived so I'm awesome.

Meal 3: Grilled shrimp, and tomato soup, both of which were totally nommy.

Observations: I was starving all day, especially once I realized I had left my snack at home and wouldn't have anything until like 4:30. Then I started having cramps, and I felt mildly awful all day. Then just before dinner things cleared up, moved along, and I felt fine. I suspect I wasn't hungry all day, I was feeling the day 8/9 stomach woes the web site warns about. Thank god for that, because if that was going to happen every day, I'd be done.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Whole30 day 8

I've invented a new award: the Golden Donut, which is awarded to a Whole30 participant who confronts a long-entrenched routine and fights against it for the good of her compliance. Today, I won it because I didn't have time to eat breakfast before I took Liza to school, and I didn't really want anything at home anyway, which usually would mean I would stop at McDonald's or Subway (or Burger King, which is located right next to my gym) for breakfast and a giant Diet Coke. And today I seriously thought about doing it, only ordering stuff that was as close to compliant as I could get. But nothing sounded any better than the crappy food I had at home, so I manned up and went home for breakfast. Yay, me!

Liza, on the other hand, caved in the face of the second classmate's birthday in two school days, and she ate the cupcake. And her stomach hurt afterward. And I asked if it was worth the stomach ache, and she said it totally was. Bitch.

Meal 1: Jason and Liza revisited the "baked sweet potatoes and ham," but I couldn't stomach the thought of it, for some reason. So I came up with little sandwich roll-up things with roast beef, roasted red pepper, dill pickle, and mustard. Between that and about 1/4 cup of an all-fruit smoothie, breakfast was done.

Meal 2: Jason and I had leftover jambalaya of awesomeness, plus some fruit. Liza had sliced deli roast beef, applesauce, and some veggies.

Meal 3: Ronaldo's beef carnitas with guacamole, fried onions and peppers, and pineapple. We subbed carrots for the veggies on Liza's plate, but otherwise she ate the same as us.

Whole30 day 7

Meal 1: Jason and I collaborated on scrambled eggs for breakfast, throwing in just about anything that wasn't nailed down this included onion, green pepper, mushrooms, ham, and kalamata olives. Verdict: olives do not belong in egg dishes. 
Liza had fried ham and half a banana, plus more fruit for snacks during the day.

Meal 2: After a trip to Heinen's, where I STILL couldn't find everything I needed for the week, I stopped by Moe's to pick up a quick lunch for all of us. Liza got the steak, plus some fruit from home. Jason and I got salads topped with half chicken half pork, fried onions and mushrooms, pico, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and cilantro. Got a cup of guacamole and threw half of that on top of each salad,
Verdict: I was not impressed. Apparently I need the cheese and sour cream to make this sort of thing palatable, because this was bitter and kind of gross. Given that Moe's is one of my favorite places to eat, this was definitely a disappointment. 

Meal 3: baked sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, and Paleo crab cakes. The kids had ham slices, carrots, sweet potato, and applesauce. We had friends over, so this counts as our first attempt to entertain on the plan.
Verdict: This turned out okay, and it was nice to have "normal" food to serve to our guests. The crab cakes weren't perfect (canned crab and coconut flour - oh, the horror!) but they were okay, and everyone had seconds. The sweet potatoes could have cooked a little longer, I think - they weren't as squishy as I would have liked. But at least we ended up with plenty of leftover cauliflower for this week!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Whole30 day 6

Today mostly sucked. Jason and liza spent most of the day whining about food, I was grumpy about having to go to the grocery store on a Saturday with every other person in Avon, nothing sounded good for meals, and all I wanted to do was sleep. Then I made jambalaya for dinner, and it was actually awesome, and everything was suddenly fine. Yeah, I think my emotions are still tied pretty tightly to food, don't you?

Meal 1: Jason made bacon for him and Liza and had an egg over easy; I got up later and made myself scrambled eggs with ham, spinach, green onions, tomatoes, and half an avocado. Fried an extra slice of ham for Liza, too, and gave myself half a cup of orange juice. The OJ was blissful, the best thing I've tasted in a while. I wanted to lick out the cup and cry when it was gone.

Meal 2: Jason and I had salads with various stuff from the fridge thrown in top (including slices of deli turkey and roast beef); Liza had half a banana and some lunch meat (and a bunch of fruit at various times for snack).

Meal 3: Gonzales Chicken Jambalaya, which included chicken, ham, sausage, and a bunch of veggies. Only things I had to change were using coconut aminos in place of Worcestershire sauce, and serving it like a stew instead of over rice.

Bonus round: we got together with some friends who aren't on the Whole30 bandwagon, and we took our own snacks and drinks and nobody was offended or died because they couldn't drink milk or have a beer. Good to know!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Whole30 day 5

Today I dawdled and didn't have time to eat my own breakfast before driving Liza to her bus stop. Usually, this would end with me stopping at the Burger King next to the gym to eat some awful sandwich before regretting it for an hour while I exercised. Instead, today I drove home and fixed myself the scrambled eggs I had been planning, and I enjoyed them very much, thank you. I feel like this is a double win, because not only did I not fall back into my old ways when confronted with a challenge, I made the best of it and came up with an exceptionally tasty meal out of random stuff I scrounged from the fridge! And hopefully I won't regret this one every time I burp while swimming ...

Meal 1:
Jason had a baked potato and some cooked chicken.
Liza had sausage and some snap peas
I made myself scrambled eggs with spinach, sausage, capers, and half an avocado on top - best breakfast all week!

Meal 2: Liza had her familiar turkey rolls, plus cherries and blueberries. 

Jason and I had essentially the same salad I had yesterday, plus cherries and blueberries on the side.

Meal 3: Jason had leftovers from last night. Liza had a baked sweet potato and some slices of deli roast beef, plus a few pieces of chicken from the soup I made.  And I had Lemon Chicken Riceless soup (rice was replaced with shredded potato, and I used arrowroot powder instead of flour to thicken it). It wasn't bad; made it with homemade chicken broth and canned veggie broth, which had a different flavor than the all-canned-chicken-broth versions I've made in the past. The potatoes weren't the same as rice, but it definitely worked. Here's a glamour shot of the soup, which wasn't actually as green as it looks here:

Observations: today I put off my afternoon snack until I had left work, and by that point I was so hungry I was ready to lick the crumbs out of the bottom of the container of nuts and dried fruit. I think the salad should have been bigger, or something, because I'm still hungry now, and that's after a decent dinner. Maybe the whole "diet" aspect of this is finally catching up with me. Maybe I'll go eat a couple of dried apricots and see if that helps.

Whole30 day 4

Today Jason was plagued by people around him eating delicious, non-compliant food. Around 1:30 he sent me this:

Meal 1: sausages and fruit for everyone!

Meal 2: Liza confronted some of her food demons by taking a lunch with her when visiting a friend's house. The friend had a sandwich and milk; liza had turkey and fruit and apparently only briefly considered hitting her friend on the head with a hammer and stealing her food.

Jason took leftovers from Day 3 dinner, and I finally got the salad I had been craving (I know, right?). Lettuce, spinach, leftover cauliflower, cooked chicken, hard boiled egg, mushrooms, kalamata olives, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dressing. Side of snap peas and guacamole to dip them in. Most yummy thing ever.

Meal 3: Jason got a promotion and a fancy new job title! Time for a compliant celebration meal: Bison steaks with a homemade steak sauce, steamed broccoli with lemon ghee sauce, and baked sweet potatoes.

We let Liza eat some carrots left from lunch instead of the broccoli, but otherwise her verdict was:

Observations: I felt a little jet-lagged this morning at work, but as soon as I stopped thinking about it, it got better.i haven't really had any cravings ... I mean, walking past the Hot Pockets at Target yesterday was kind of painful, but mainly because I didn't want to admit that I liked them in the first place. My afternoon snack is definitely more about habit than hunger; the hunger doesn't start until I'm actually home and fixing dinner. Oh, and that Gold Peak iced tea is kinda nasty.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Whole30 Day 3

Meal 1- adults had leftover frittata and fried potatoes, Liza had leftover pork from Tuesday and some blueberries.

Verdict: no more frittata for me for a while. I had to choke down this one, and I haven't actually enjoyed any of it. I'd rather just scramble an egg on the fly, but that won't work for Jason. Need more ideas for next week. Also, having leftover fresh pineapple in the fridge is awesome.

Meal 2 - Jason had a repeat of Tuesday's dinner; Liza had turkey rolls, cashews and dried apricots (uneaten), and canned pears. I made a salad/spread of diced chicken, a hard boiled egg, diced avocado, and a little homemade mayo, and ate that on some romaine lettuce leaves like tacos.

Verdict: The weird sandwich spread stuff (which I made because a dental appointment made it painful to open my jaw very far) was actually pretty good. I realized later in the day that I hadn't had many vegetables to eat, so I modified the plan for dinner to make sure it was vegetable-heavy.

Meal 3 - adults had roasted cauliflower, green beans with lemon/ghee, and roasted chicken. Liza had the chicken and some snap peas, since she doesn't like cooked vegetables.
Verdict: Jason and I would eat an entire head of cauliflower if you roasted it long enough. Then we would feel sick for a day and a half, but it would almost be worth it. Picking apart the chicken is a pain in the butt, but at least cooking it takes next to no effort. Also, I put some capers in with my green beans, which was super tasty.

Tonight I've got chicken broth going in the crock pot, and some baked sweet potatoes cooling in the fridge. Tomorrow's plan for dinner is kind of a crapshoot and I'm not sure my ingredient substitutions will work out, so at least now I have Emergency Backup Food if the stew sucks. Yay for planning ahead!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Whole30, day 2

Meal 1- Chicken salad and fruit for me and Jason:
Verdict: a little sloppy due to soggy chicken when I made it, and OMG nothing I can eat gets rid of onion breath, but it totally kept me full until 1pm.

Turkey, leftover bacon, and some fruit for Liza:
Verdict: "I get to eat this for breakfast? Yesssss!" And she didn't eat much of her in-school snack, so that's a good sign about quantity.

Meal 2- salad with leftover shrimp and tropical salsa, plus guacamole, for the adults:

Verdict: my god, seriously, nothing gets rid of onion breath. And this was way better cold on a salad than it was hot last night for dinner.

Turkey, cut up veggies, and pears for the kid (plus a Larabar for snack in class):
Verdict: she ate all of the pears and turkey, and she's eating the carrots and celery as a snack after school. The Larabar was pronounced "weird" after two bites. I tried a bite later and kind of's like a not-good cross of a Nutrigrain bar and a Fig Newton. 

I used half of my bottle of unsweetened tea, and all of my nuts and dried fruit that I packed for snack. I'm pretty sure I was eating out of habit, though, so tomorrow I'll try to do better.

Meal 3- Rosemary pork roast (crock pot, I love you!), leftover roasted root vegetables from last week that I'm frying to make them crispy, and roasted asparagus.
Verdict: the pork was decent in the crock pot - different than a standard "roast," but all three of us liked it. The root veggies were amazing - I cooked them in ghee to caramelize them even more than the oven already had, and there was a decent amount of salt involved, too. The asparagus was a little weird; I had to use coconut aminos rather than soy, which gave it a different flavor. Not bad, just not the same. I think next time I'll try ghee and lemon like I used on the broccoli last night.

Other Observations:
- neither Jason nor I had headaches today. He says his vision is a little blurry like he has jet lag, but otherwise is fine. I, on the other hand, swam a mile this morning and feel great. I'm thinking that admitting that publicly has doomed me to suffer tomorrow, but I was already scheduled for a dentist appointment, so that was a foregone conclusion.

Liza says she is fantasizing about Mac-n-cheese, but she did that on normal days sometimes. Also, her friend had mini muffins AND cheez-its on the bus ride home, and she did she didn't eat any, just felt sorry for herself instead. Way to go, kiddo!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Whole 30, Day 1

I've jumped on the Whole 30 bandwagon for the first time, and I thought it might be interesting to "live post" things for a few days so interested parties can see what it's really like for a "normal" family (hello, Diet Coke and dill dip, my old friends!) to go through. Of course, I didn't think to start writing while I was prepping food yesterday, or going to three grocery stores to get ingredients (my god, there is dextrose in everything!), or reading It Starts with Food so I understood the reasoning behind the diet. You'll just have to imagine that part for yourself

8am: Mr. Yogurt and Sweet Milky Coffee for Breakfast Everyday texts me from work that the frittata is great, but tea without sugar is a crime against nature. I hide in bed, not looking forward to convincing the kid to eat real food for breakfast. I read through some posts on my friend's Facebook support group (we're all starting today) and browse some recipes for next week to get some enthusiasm going. Screw eggs; next week we're having pot roast for breakfasts.

10am: the kid didn't eat much of the frittata but at least she didn't grouse about it. Good thing I thought to make extra bacon to give her as backup, and we had some fruit and nuts already portioned out.

11am: headache, but it's mild and I haven't had any caffeine yet. Taking Motrin and a cup of green tea.

12:15- ate lunch early so we could go meet friends at a restaurant without having to stare hungrily at their fried rice. I had a salad that should have been served in a trough, it was so big once I took it out of the container. Lettuce, spinach, some leftover roasted root vegetables from last week, a hard-boiled egg, some leftover chicken from last week, tomatoes, homemade vinaigrette dressing, and a single-serve container of Wholly Guacamole. Liza made her own salad, with carrots, celery, red pepper strips she gave to me, leftover chicken, and some cashews. Taking her leftovers, plus some dried fruit and nuts and a tea bag for me, with us to the "lunch" with friends. My headache is mostly gone, but I really want a piece of chocolate.

1:30 pm- Jason texts "That's the first time in forever that I've walked out of a restaurant and still been hungry. No-bun burger and bad fruit cup is not enough." Me, I managed to meet friends at a restaurant and just have a glass of water and not feel deprived.

4pm - start dinner prep/breakfast prep/lunch prep.

6:15pm - finally sit down to dinner! Shrimp with tropical salsa (pineapple and oranges), avocado, peppers and onions, plus a small side of steamed broccoli with ghee/lemon sauce. Broccoli was awesome, shrimp was just meh. Needed something more, not necessarily the cheese and tortillas the original recipe called for, but something. Not looking forward to having it on a salad for lunch tomorrow. Here's hoping that chilling it improves the flavor!