Thursday, January 29, 2015

whole30 week 4

Oh my gosh, I can't believe we made it to week four! I mean, I can. I totally can. It's smooth sailing from here on out. But at the beginning, when I was like, "I NEED SUGAR. I NEED COFFEE." I felt like this week would never come. We have two more days left so we can finish strong, measure and weigh ourselves, and then decide how to proceed with our diet.

This week was a pretty low-key week minus the fact that I am quite possibly dying because I had some type of virus enter my body and fight its way out through my eyeballs. My eyeballs were literally bleeding (okay, dramatic a little but it was seriously bad, bad, bad pink eye) and it lasted for like 5 days. Evan was a total gem the entire week and let me sleep for like a million hours and even went grocery shopping by himself and totally killed it. While I wallowed in self pity about my entire body hating me and feeling like I wanted to scoop my eyeballs out and burn them.

Even though I dealt with all of that, we still made some incredibly delicious meals this week and ate a lot of leftovers. Evan even survived a college potluck which was quite hilarious because just by the food they brought, you can totally tell that they are college students. We do a potluck with our friends and they're bringing goat cheese stuffed portabella mushrooms with pine nuts (oh you fancy, huh?) and steaks and blue cheese and vinaigrette salads and blah blah blah. You tell college students to bring potluck food and they come with a six pack and a pound taco pack from Taco Johns, a box of hot pockets, cupcakes and popsicles. Hilarious. The discrepancy is hilarious.

 Meals this week (L to R):
/Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein (recipe here, sub coconut aminos for soy sauce and add apple cider vinegar. Don't add brown sugar to the sauce)
/Larb Gai in butter lettuce cups
/Grilled pineapple and porkchops (not pictured) (if you've never had grilled pineapple, stop your life and get on that. it's the best thing ever.)
/Salisbury Steak and smashed potatoes (recipe here)

I've been eating a lot of fruit and hard boiled eggs and leftovers this week. We had turkey burgers again because they're the best ever and Maddox has been eating a lot of French toast. It's his new obsession and although I'm quite jealous, I'm perfectly content with my meals.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

01/12 [round 2]

I absolutely loved taking our family photos last year. I may have snuck them in super last minute like every month, but that's just who I am. And it's okay. I'm going to do it again this year because I love this little family of mine and I don't think I need a real reason to continue this tradition. Plus it helps me to break out my camera for FUN and not just business. Which makes my hobjob (hobby/job, duh) better.

So. Here's January.

I took some pictures while we made dinner last night just so we could remember this month of being in the kitchen all. the. time. But, in a good way. And I also want to have more real life pictures. Like, this is what our house looked like when we were 26 and had an almost two-year-old and we were all sick for a month straight and I wore that beanie every day of my life because it makes my bad haircut less noticeable.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

whole30 week 3

This third week of Whole30 was equal parts good and bad. On day 20, I hit my breaking point pretty bad because I wanted All Of The Things and was just frustrated by something, I can't even remember what, and felt like I needed a latte and chocolate and pizza and my gosh, if that doesn't tell you something about my previous eating habits, I don't know what does. I did not cave in but instead texted my girlfriend all night about how hard this was and she kindly reminded me that on Wednesday's, one of my favorite bars has $5 Moscow Mules. So, she's obviously a good friend. ;]

I guess my theme for each week is to try something new and exciting (last week was the coffee with butter) and this week it was my adventure in homemade mayo. I don't know if anyone has ever dabbled in the homemade realm of mayo before but first of all, it's absolutely disgusting. It's literally one (room temperature, ew!) raw egg and olive oil. You add a few spices to it but essentially it's egg and oil. I basically never want to eat mayo again. What makes it worse is that the site I was using for the recipe said something about how she loved to lick the beaters when she was finished. I threw up in my mouth a little bit when I read that. But I really, really wanted an egg salad sandwich and tuna fish and I could make ranch with mayo! And the list goes on and on and so even though the recipe is super daunting because although it's just two ingredients, it is literally a four-hour long project because you have pour the olive oil so slowly that it's barely even a trickle. If you're not bored and listing off things you would rather be doing (cleaning the bathroom with a box of q-tips. putting away all the laundry. seeing how long i can stand in the snow barefoot. etc, etc), you're doing it wrong.

And so, I made my first batch and poured fairly slowly but come on. It's really hard and daunting and I maybe cheated a little bit. I also used my blender because she literally says, and I quote, "...a mixing bowl, blender or food processor." I figured this would be messy so I chose the blender. BECAUSE SHE SAID THAT IT WAS OKAY TO USE THAT. And I'm fairly certain that she lied and the blender is not a good choice. Because although I had a sort of heavy hand while pouring, there was curdled? chunks? slimy? pieces of egg white around the entire blender. Ugh. Barf. I was fairly disgusted by the whole situation at this point and then not to mention the soupy mess that my science experiment mayo was. The egg + oil didn't blend together like they should have (which happens when you have poured your oil in in less than 5 hours). So I dumped it out and got out another egg to try again in a few hours.

When I tried it again, I measured out my oil and then dipped a teaspoon in the oil and slowly let the teaspoon drizzle the oil into the blender. For probably 30-minutes I stood there doing this and checked on the mayo a few times AND IT LOOKED LIKE MAYO! Bless. Then I finished drizzling the oil in and stopped the blender and there was round two fail, the same as the first time.

So, I think homemade mayo is just a big conspiracy and I'm still mad I didn't get my egg salad sandwich last night for dinner. Instead I had hard boiled eggs and roasted veggies. Womp womp.

As far as meals this week, we didn't do anything fancy because my poor babe came down with croup on Sunday and pink eye on Tuesday (which he gave to me, the little darling) and so we've been house-bound. I can totally see where prepping meals would be so beneficial for situations like that but I'm a freak and have issues with food that's been in the fridge for more than a day. So. That doesn't work in this household. Also, Evan made dinner one night while I got ready in the bathroom (aka, "mama needs a minute") and then we sat down to eat and......I hated it. Oh man, I felt so terrible. He had made prosciutto wrapped chicken and mushrooms sauteed in ghee and prosciutto is just gross. Which is my fault entirely because I'm the one who bought it on the recommendation that it would be a good substitute for bacon. [WHICH IT WOULD BE IF BACON WERE GROSS AND IT'S NOT, SO. Yes, I have a problem. It's called CARING TOO MUCH. (I love you if you get me.)] And so he ate the dinner and Maddox ate my chicken (not the prosciutto because he knew it was bad) and I ate an apple.

Four meals this week (L to R):
/Egg + shredded pork from Costco (the best) + prosciutto "omlet." Recipe here. It was good but I have a thing with eggs and I ate this for lunch and it kind of creeped me out. I'm weird. I don't know.
/Turkey tacos with lime, avocado and tomatoes in a Romain lettuce cup.
/Turkey burgers with guacamole and salsa on a butter lettuce "bun" with a side of green beans sauteed with mustard and almonds.
/Steak fajitas with guacamole and salsa with a side of roasted zucchini (olive oi, garlic, s&p for 25-30 minutes @350).

This week I ate a ton of roasted veggies. If you're not roasting them, you're doing it wrong. I still make cauliflower and carrots with lemon just about every day and I'm not sick of them yet and so that's a good sign. I'm totally sick of chicken. I could eat turkey burgers every day for the rest of my life. We buy our ground turkey at Costco and then add s&p, red pepper and chopped onion to it and hand-pack burgers. We bake them in the oven at 350 for 10ish minutes each side depending on their thickness. Turkey is super lean so it's really sticky. I don't know if this would be a good combination on the grill, but I'm assuming not. I made my own fajita seasoning and those were the best fajitas ever.

Aside from my little meltdown, it's been a good week. Today I feel like I could do this for 20-years. I know that I can't unlearn bad habits in 22 days--or even 30 days. But. This is a huge step for me and I'm really proud of myself for not giving up and for fighting through the urges and for just doing it. Everyone keeps saying, "I could never do it." But you can. You could. Food is good, really good, without cheese and buns and tortillas and sour cream. You can survive 22 days without a latte or soda or alcohol. You can survive without dessert and you can eat the same thing for the majority of every meal (turkey burgers) because it's delicious.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

whole30 week two

I sort of can't believe that I've already done two full weeks of Whole30. Week two absolutely flew by and I totally, totally sucked at making anything new and exciting this week. One, we were out of town with some college kids doing a little college retreat in the mountains and two, I have been sick since 2014 (dramatic much?) and have not even wanted to put on pants, let alone think about venturing to the grocery store to stock up. We've kept compliant the entire time, but we've definitely been taking the easy way out like a piece of fruit and hard boiled eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch and some kind of chicken with sweet potatoes for dinner.

I need to talk about that retreat for a quick minute because I was super nervous to go along since my role was going to be to cook all the food. I don't feel like I need to impose my dietary restrictions on everyone else; but, I'm also not in the mood to cook five different meals. So, Evan and I planned meals that we could eat and incorporated things like buns and dairy and muffins (Omg. There were Costco muffins. And I didn't eat a single bite. Bless.) and cookies. And it was fine. I mean, I wanted a muffin more than anything. We also went into town and stopped at the candy store and I always, always get some homemade chocolate carmel something or other and had to stand there, staring into the glass case filled with the most delicious treats you've ever had, while Evan bought $1.70 worth of candy for Maddox. It was pathetic and so sad. But not really because I am stronger than I ever thought I was. (hashtag fist punch emoji)

So, this week's meals consisted of larb gai (again because it's incredible), porkchops and lots of chicken. We made turkey burgers for the college students as well as lime cilantro chicken. We learned that most of them had never had a turkey burger before and I think this is totally crazy because my parents made turkey burgers all. the. time. when I was growing up. So, if you haven't had one before, do yourself a favor and try it. They're best with guacamole and salsa.

Grocery shopping is on my agenda for today and I found a few new recipes to try out so hopefully I come back next week with a more inspiring and exciting post.

Except. EXCEPT. I did try the whole30 "latte," which is actually delicious even though it sounds absolutely horrible. It's coffee (I use my espresso machine because then it's one cup and I'm not tempted to have more than one and I don't need an entire pot of coffee to myself anyway, latte or not) + coconut milk (from a can, not the carton. That I steam because lukewarm coffee is just from the devil.) + ghee (which is clarified butter. BUTTER, you guys. You put butter in coffee. There is no dairy in it, so it's okay to eat.) + cinnamon.

So, if you didn't get that, which you probably didn't, it's coffee + coconut milk + ghee + cinnamon. You just put it in a blender and blend it all together and you have a creamy, foamy latte. I was super skeptical at first but it really is delicious. I have to put the ghee in last and screw the lid on my bullet and then blend it all together because if I see the ghee melt and get all oily on the top of the coffee, I'm out.

Also, this week, on Monday, I noticed that my craving for sweets dramatically dropped. I'm a snacker and I felt like even my desire to snack decreased. It's a little hard to snack when you're so limited on what you can eat. I think the first week is definitely the hardest, as you're completely starting from scratch and rewiring your brain but as I'm heading into week three, I can definitely see the reward.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

j o y

I want to give thanks in the little things.

Like how Maddox now sits at the table like a big boy in his very own chair. He can climb up and everything and he prefers it over his highchair. He eats off of a plate and with a fork or a spoon and feeds himself appropriately and points to his plate and says, "Mo. Mo. Mo." when he has finished his serving and wants more.

My tea cup with the flowers that I found at goodwill.

A little voice saying, "Mama? Mama?" when I leave the room.

Random mid-day showers that I feel compelled to take and a little head that peeks around the shower curtain and says, "Boo!"

Quiet time during his naps that last for exactly one hour and thirty minutes.

The way that he wakes up every single morning at seven thirty on the dot.

The way that I do not wake up at seven thirty on the dot and the way that Evan lets me sleep in until at least eight on almost all mornings (but usually later because I am not a morning person).

My chalkboard.

Homemade guacamole with at least one whole lime.

The new laugh that Maddox developed and how it's more of a chuckle.

When it warmed up to over 30-degrees and Maddox let me wear him in the sling for our walk around the block. And even though it was very much still below forty degrees and even though there are feet upon feet of snow on the ground, I felt a little bit more like a human than I have in three days and that's something to give thanks about.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


We have a park across the street from our house with exactly one tiny hill that is not perfect for sledding but is perfect for us because we have a baby. And so we dusted off the sleds and took them out for what we expected to be a roaring good time because everyone loves sledding, even almost-two-year-olds, right?

Everyone loves sledding when it's not freezing cold outside and your hat won't stay on your dang head because it's just a smidge too big. We were outside for exactly seven minutes before we trudged back home to play indoors because this is Montana and this is winter.

I did manage to take some very adorable pictures of the boys sliding down the hill. The snow was too dry to even slide, really. Evan had to push with his hands to get the dang sled to move even an inch. But Maddox did love it for exactly one time and then he was completely and totally over it and made angry faces it us (mostly me) for making him do it one more time so I could just take a few more pictures. I'm that mom.

Whole30 Week One

Well, we did it! I'm so proud of Evan and I for completing week one of no dairy, sugars, grains or alcohol. We even hung out with some friends for a game night and brought along a bag of carrots and some fruit to snack on as well as our gigantic mason jars full of fruit-infused water (TOTAL. LIFESAVER.). We're cute. Our friends made wings and had chips and guac and drank beer and snacked on Christmas cookies in front of us and even though we were like, "Oh man, that does look good," we were strong and resisted all of the food (except for the guac because it was safe and we learned that guac + carrots is actually really good). Some days have been harder than others. There have been times when I want dessert so bad I can't even stand it. Evan filled my stocking with my favorite candies and I hardly ate any of them before our diet and so they're sitting in our cupboard taunting me but I am doing good so far. My friend Jamie told me to just brush my teeth when I have a sweets craving. Totally works and that's my absolute favorite piece of advice so far. If I feel like I absolutely need something sweet I have a piece of fruit. A few blackberries totally kicks the need for candy right where it counts. I know the point is to get out of that mindset but I'm taking it easy on myself since this is week one.

Like I said up there, infused water has been the biggest lifesaver! Before doing Whole30, I wasn't conscious of my water intake at all. I would have a glass here and there and even bought myself a nice, fancy water bottle to make myself drink more water. But then I also have an espresso maker and a ton of fancy teas and coffee with cream always sounds like a good idea and water gets pushed to the end of the list of things I want to drink. I can only do so much "plain water" so I just keep a couple of mason jars with fruit + water in the fridge and have been challenging myself to drink at least five a day. They're 32oz so that's 160oz a day, which should have great effects on my skin and overall health. My favorite infused blend is lemon + lime but sometimes I get creative with mint and berries, too.

I haven't had any headaches but I feel like I'm hungry all.the.time and so I made sure to buy lots and lots of snacks--things like apples and almond butter and carrots and little things like that. The other night Evan and I played some games together and we would normally snack the entire time, usually on popcorn. I brought out a handful of carrots and we drank hot tea and we didn't die.

That's the biggest thing I guess, we haven't died yet. Eating better won't kill you. Imagine that.

So, here's the list of food we've been eating over the past week (L to R):
//Sautéed chicken breasts with fresh tomato, avocado and lime.
//Chicken with mushrooms and spinach and sautéed sweet potatoes with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash.
//Chopped spring mix salad with chicken, cauliflower, tomatoes, almonds and homemade balsamic dressing (recipe below).
//Grilled steak, mushrooms and onions cooked in olive oil and sweet potatoes again (They're so good. I could maybe eat those for the rest of forever).
//Larb gai (recipe below).
//Grilled pork chop with green beans sautéed in mustard and almonds.
//Cilantro lime chicken with green beans again.
//Creamy cauliflower soup (more like mashed potatoes but still good. Recipe here.)
//Chicken tacos in lettuce cups with homemade guac and cauliflower and carrots roasted in olive oil and lemon. 

You can tell that our meals have NOT been boring. They're colorful and flavorful and I'm eating way more veggies which is actually totally weird because I love my veggies but I definitely wasn't getting the proper amount of fresh fruits and veggies before. I thought I would be eating a lot more salads for my main course but as you can see, I ate only one. I am surprised at how diverse our meals were and similar to what we eat normally, just better for us, obviously. But aside from really wanting some pizza and sugar, I haven't been disappointed in any of our food.

Maddox eats everything that we eat but I do give him some cheese and his favorite thing in the world is peanut butter toast ("pea buh" he calls it as he's climbing the shelves of my pantry to get to the jar) but he ate half of my steak and most of my pork chop and like five bowls of that cauliflower soup and so he's not missing our old meals at all.

Balsamic dressing: My favorite pizza restaurant has the most delicious house dressing for their salads (that come with pears and grape nuts [yes, the cereal]). Last time we ate there, their recipe must have been a little off because all I could taste in the dressing was mustard. I never thought I could recreate it because I'm not good at tasting something and pulling apart the ingredients but once I knew it had mustard in it, I knew I could make something similar. So, this isn't it 100%, but it's similar and I could probably drink this right out of the jar.

Equal amounts olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A generous splash of apple cider vinegar. To taste: Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, dried basil. Generous heaping spoonful of minced garlic. Generous squeeze of mustard (french's is compliant!). I add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake-don't stir. Let it sit for an hour and taste it and adjust amounts as needed. If you aren't ride or die vinegar (like me; I could drink it straight), then lessen the amount. Get creative with it!

Sweet Potatoes: This could possibly be my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. Heat oil in a skillet and peel and chop the potatoes. Add them to the skillet and stir or toss to coat all the potatoes in oil. Add a little water and cover, cook them for about 7 minutes or until soft. I season them with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash. They're the perfect side to basically any meal.

Larb Gai: This is actually pronounced "lawb" and it's something I had never even heard of until I saw it on my favorite whole30 instagram (teamwhole, get it), and you can get the recipe here. It's my number one dinner that we've made so far.

Green Beans: Saute green beans in olive oil (and a splash of water for faster cooking) over med-high heat. Once tender, add mustard but don't leave your pan because the mustard will burn quickly. Add a sprinkle of almonds (and parm cheese if you're not whole30) and eat! My favorite way to eat green beans and asparagus.

Roasted Veggies: I love roasted veggies more than any other kind of veggie. We roast a lot of cauliflower around here and I had the idea to add some lemon to the pan. It might have been one of my best ideas because it was delicious. Just toss your veggies in olive oil and spread evening in an oven-safe pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and squeeze some fresh lemon over everything. I like lemon so I tend to be a little heavy-handed with it. Roast at 350 for 15 minutes, or until your veggies are tender.

Monday, January 5, 2015

We built a headboard

A few months ago, Evan and I built a headboard. It took us one whole afternoon and it's my absolute favorite thing in our house right now. I just want to be in my room forever. Our room is so hard for me to decorate because I want all my good projects to be out in the open where people will see them. It's not like people come to my house to hang out in my room. That would be weird. And so I make something and it goes in my living room and my poor bedroom has exactly one piece of art on its walls and I'm already sort of sick of it and considering moving it elsewhere. (Or just getting rid of the frame. I think it's the frame that bothers me.) So now I have something pretty to look at in my room.

Anyway, it was super basic and simple. I looked up some ideas on Pinterest but I have a major obsession with room rearranging (ask Evan, I rearrange like once a month) and so I needed the headboard to be moveable and so I had to come up with a solution for that. My initial idea was to hang it on the wall somehow but that would require patching and painting the walls every time we moved things around. So then I decided that we could just have the headboard basically standing on two legs and use the bed to hold it up against the wall.

We measured how high we wanted the headboard to be and then measured about a foot below the top of the mattress. We cut and sanded and stained everything and then screwed the boards into two vertical boards and bam, we were done.

It's not perfect but I love it so much. We finally rearranged our room this past weekend and as we took the lights off of our tree I decided that I wanted to keep a strand out for our bedroom. Evan looked at me like I was a little crazy but then I hung the lights up and now he knows not to question my good ideas.

There's a good chance I will be taking a lot of naps this year because I really just can't get enough of this spot.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


New Year, new resolutions. Last year we wanted to eat better (which basically meant eat at home more, I guess) and it lasted for a minute but it's so easy to think intentionally but another to actually live and act intentionally. And so I slacked on grocery shopping and we ate out far, far too much and ate bad things a lot because bad things are easy for some "the universe is seriously stupid" reason.

So, a few months ago I heard about whole30 and I was intrigued but mostly to the point of, "You've got to be kidding me with that. Pass me that diet coke and take5 candy bar. I'll watch these crazies crash and burn from the comfort of comfort foods."

Basically, you can read more about it here but we're going to change our eating lifestyle by removing processed foods from our diet. AND dairy. AND grains. AND faux grains. AND legumes. AND corn. AND sugar. AND alcohol.

I mean, the list is intimidating and daunting. I can eat healthy but my healthy eating includes dairy in the form of cheese and soy beans and quinoa and it starts small and suddenly is spiraling off into stuffed mushrooms and shrimp drenched in butter and so much candy and sugar and processed food that I cannot even begin to see where I stepped off the "healthy eating" trail anymore.

At first I was super intimidated by even the thought of trying it out. I mean, it's 30-days and in the grand scheme of things that's basically a minute. But, no sugar for an entire month? I one time was going to not eat sugar for a week and couldn't do it. No lattes? No ice cream? No Moscow Mules? No wheat beer?

Well. Impossible.

And then a few weeks ago I started getting really sick. I would eat something sweet and would have the worst stomach ache a minute later. It didn't matter what kind of sugar I ate or how much. I was constantly complaining of stomach aches and finally realized it coincided with my sugar intake. So, I feel like this decision to start eating better isn't a decision that was put into my life by chance but that also God is telling me to take better care of the body he gave me.

I researched it and read stories from people who had done it and succeeded and had changed their entire lives and I was basically sold. I showed Evan one picture and he was sold. He's lucky because he eats better for one week and drops ten pounds. I'm really glad that he's willing to do this with me because, you know, strength in numbers.

So. We started today (had to obviously wait until after the holidays because my mom's carmel corn. Duh.) and the most intimidating part for me was meal planning. I had this idea in my mind that I had to have a specific "meal" every time we ate. I guess I needed approval that what I was cooking under the Whole30 name was indeed okay. And then Evan went and cooked up some chicken, peppers and cauliflower and added some spices and I was just like, "DUH. LA." You don't have to pin recipes for 30 days. Which, for some reason, was lost on me for a minute.

Maddox will still have grains and dairy and a little bit of sugar in his diet. He already loved Evan's lunch (proof: he ate all of his and half of mine) and wants to be included in whatever we're eating. I'm not concerned about his diet in the least and am mostly just looking forward to changing the culture of food in our family.