Day 21, one week to go (ok, 9 days)

September 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I’ve been sailing along through this round of the Whole30. It has been so much easier than the first time I did it. I guess there is a learning curve. I definitely learned that preparation is key, so I have continued to do bulk cooking on the weekends and always making double recipes so there will be leftovers.

Here’s a few of the things I created to eat the past two weeks…

Roasted eggplant:

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Grilled a bunch of chicken thighs:

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Roasted spaghetti squash:

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Using Melissa Joulwan’s method it comes out al dente and not mushy. Perfect. Cut in half. Scoop out seeds and pulp. Save the seeds to roast. Place halves face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of water around the squash. Roast at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Pad Thai from the cookbook Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan, using the spaghetti squash and grilled chicken thighs:

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You can find the recipe on her blog here. The secret is the delicious Sunshine Sauce.

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The boys loved it and didn’t miss noodles. Maybe Cal only sort of loved it.

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I made collard greens wraps, stuffed with a salad I made with roasted eggplant, grilled chicken thighs, pecans, other veggies and homemade mayo dressing:

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I used some of the leftover spaghetti squash and mixed it with a homemade curry sauce:

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The spaghetti squash seeds, roasted with macadamia nut oil:

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A couple of breakfasts I photographed:

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A “hot plate” a la Melissa Joulwan and Well Fed, with a roasted golden beet.

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I have been using that cookbook a bunch this time around. Last time I used Paleo Comfort Food more. There are so many awesome recipes out there…an endless supply of other people’s culinary genius to exploit.

Roasted cinnamon/ginger delicata squash, based on the recipe here:

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Bacon/almond roasted Brussels sprouts, based on this recipe:

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Boy approved:

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I’ve become addicted to kombucha. I drink 1/2 a bottle every night. It is the substitute for the nightly ice cream thing that was happening all summer.

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Many of the veggies used in the above creations are from my bi-weekly Annie’s Organics Buying Club share. I haven’t been taking pictures of all my shares, but here is the last one:

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I have some ideas swirling around for what I’m going to make from some of this goodness. I love how the deliveries help to narrow down that nefarious question of what to make for dinner. It gives me a direction to go in. Got delicata squash? Find a recipe! And by the way that stuff is amazingly delicious. I think it is my favorite winter squash. Easy to cook. You can eat the skin. Tastes a little like sweet potato.

I’ve been thinking about the “after” this time. Last time I immediately took off for a girls’ weekend in Charleston after my whole30. It was a great weekend of fabulous food and cocktails. That was pretty much it for my clean eating. I never did get back on track.

This time I am planning to stick with a mostly #NSNG (no sugar, no grains) diet after my whole30. I am going to add back in dairy and beans judiciously, but really try to avoid added sugar and grains as much as possible. I WILL have the occasional cocktail or three. I’m going to do more research on more paleo-friendly cocktails and try to stick to those.

My friend Kate introduced me to the whole #NSNG movement, and I am IN. I just read the book by their spiritual leader:

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It was pretty good. What is even better is the testimonials by all of the #NSNG folks. It’s like the awesome testimonials from the Whole30 veterans, but regarding a lifestyle and not just a temporary challenge. It’s not that different than the Whole9 lifestyle.

Cooking and eating hasn’t occupied all of my time the past two weeks.

I went to a great Yelp Elite event at NOVA 535 Art Lounge. My friend Valarie was my date.

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This venue is only about a mile down the street from my house and I have driven by it tons of times. I never knew that behind that façade lay this beautiful space:

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NOVA 535 hosts amazing weddings and parties. I loved the upscale urban décor and artwork.

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Downstairs there is a huge banquet room and long bar.

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Upstairs is a VIP area and another smaller bar.

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Also upstairs is a large balcony overlooking the bamboo-lined courtyard.

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They have private spaces upstairs where a bridal party could get dressed or changed, and also have very lovely restrooms.

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The event was catered by ExecChef Catering, and according to Valarie everything was amazing. Here are some of the things that I couldn’t eat:

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There was also reportedly delicious lobster mac & cheese and what Valarie described as, “possibly the best crab cakes I have ever eaten.” Good for you.

They had a made-to-order stir-fry station set up…

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and the chef was nice enough to make me some stir-fried veggies that were whole30 compliant (no sauce).

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They were tasty and kept me from doing nothing but nurse a glass of water all night.

TapSnap was there taking photo-booth style photos.

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Their computer was pretty cool and you could edit the photo and add text or drag and drop props to the photo right there.

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They e-mail you the photo and were also printing them out that night for us.

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Awesome. Despite not being able to partake of all the amazing food, I still had fun socializing with my Yelp friends and Valarie. Thanks for being my date Val!

In the past couple of weeks (since Cal’s bus stop was finally changed to be closer to our new address) Mack, Chewie and I have gotten back into the routine of walking to school.

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On our walk the other day we witnessed a car crash. It was just a fender bender, but still scary to see.

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I am back to volunteering at Mack’s school once a week.

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Here’s one OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day) GIF thanks to Google+.

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It creates these things even when I immediately delete all of the outtakes from my phone. And I always love them.

I finally drove out to the boon docks and got my Level 2 volunteer badge which I was approved for 10 months ago.

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Better late than never.

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We went to an open house at Cal’s school to meet all his teachers.

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I loved the ceiling in the art room.

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I drove out to the beach one day to meet up with my friend Amy and check out their new Treasure Island home. This is their back yard:

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Not too shabby, huh? We crossed the street to the beach…

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and had a nice long walk.

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I also went antiquing/thrifting with Amy a few days later:

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We got our irrigation system completely overhauled:

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We didn’t have a sprinkler system at our old house and have no experience with them. This one was in dire need of some maintenance. I don’t want anyone to have rage against the sprinkler because of me.

I sustained some bacon-related injuries:

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I went to a Depeche Mode concert with my friend Ali:

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We were in the grass at the amphitheater, but our tickets were free. That’s VIP enough for me. The concert was killer. Thank Ali!

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I had a long-overdue dentist appointment.

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The whole house-hunting, old home improvement, packing, house-selling, moving, new home improvement, unpacking, and decorating thing really threw me off the past six months. I’m overdue on all of my doctor appointments (dentist, OB/GYN, GP, Ophthalmologist). I hate the lecture you get because you are so overdue for a check-up, so I’m still procrastinating on those other doctors. Plus, I hate doctors. Sadly the boys are also overdue for doctor and dentist appointments, but I’m proud to say that at least I have called and scheduled them and Mack actually had his doctor’s check-up last week.

Mack got a new hoodie that has something to do with Minecraft.

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Gratuitous photo of Chewie for Angelika:

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Okay. That’s it. Caught up to today. Well, except for Part 4 of my “what I did on my summer break” series (August). I’m hoping to get that done before the end of September and then I really want to stay caught up. I’m tentatively planning a post-a-day marathon for October to really try to get back into the habit.

Cya.

One week down

September 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm

So I survived my first week on the Whole30. It’s definitely been easier this time around, probably since I knew what to expect. I also didn’t have headaches or the “carb flu” this time. I had half-heartedly been trying to limit carbs leading up to September, but there were still margaritas and ice cream quite often.

On Sunday (the 1st) the boys and I went to Al Lopez Park to burn off some energy…

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then went to Whole Foods to get stocked up on good stuff.

I started off the week by doing a bunch of food prep. I made homemade breakfast sausage from a recipe in Paleo Comfort Foods.

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I made a batch of Thai meatballs using my own made-up recipe.

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I think planning and food-prep is key to a successful Whole30. There aren’t many “quick” meals on the Whole30 unless you have made things in advance. Carrots and almond butter usually don’t sound very appealing for dinner. If you are going to roast veggies, might as well make enough for a few days.

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I’m not photographing all my Whole30 meals this time around, but for some reason I always want to photograph my breakfasts. They are so beautiful.

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I always think breakfast needs greens. These beautiful beet greens made it into an unphotographed breakfast:

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Chewie and I went for several long walks last week.

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It is still scorching summer here in Florida. So HOT. We have a great 3.5 mile route from our house with a dog park at the turn-around spot where Chewie can get water. The only problem with that is he thinks he should be finished and then tries to stop at every shady spot for the remainder of the walk home. We are both trying to get back into shape.

Chewie was in the dog house one day last week for rolling in cat poop on his morning constitutional.

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Bathing a dog is what I most like to do first thing in the morning on a school day. I was in a great mood that day.

Friday night Chad and I headed out to St. Pete Beach for date night.

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We went to a Yelp event at the Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach, sponsored by Pretzel Crisps.

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We picked up our friends Amy and Brynn on the way there.

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Since I was Whole30’ing it, Amy agreed to try the complimentary cocktail for me. It was a sweet tea vodka lemonade. She said it was pretty good. Thanks for being my test-taster Amy.

They also had a Pretzel Crisps and dip bar…

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and had passed appetizers on Pretzel Crisps.

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Even though I couldn’t eat the Pretzel Crisps, I did pose for a photo with an appetizer so that I could enter the Twitter contest for a door prize.

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And I won! I got a big goody bag full of Pretzel Crisps and coupons for free bags…like a year’s supply of Pretzel Crisps!

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You can’t win if you don’t play! Thanks Pretzel Crisps and Yelp Tampa Bay. It was a fun event. I had fun hanging out with my friends even if I couldn’t eat or drink. I definitely can see us booking a weekend staycation at the Postcard Inn with the boys some time. We liked the funky décor.

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As the event was winding down, our friends had to leave but we met up with another friend for dinner downstairs at the PCI (Postcard Inn) Bar & Grill.

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Chad had the fish tacos which looked amazing.

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I had the baby back ribs with no rub or sauce and collard greens and a tomato/cucumber salad on the side.

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The smoked ribs were great just naked. I avoided the bacon in the collard greens since I’m sure it wasn’t compliant, and really just picked at them. I realized I had collard greens for breakfast and dinner that day. I think this was a pretty great Whole30 dinner at a restaurant. I had a big conversation with the server about everything beforehand, and she was great about answering my questions. I highly suggest asking about naked smoked ribs if eating at a BBQ place and trying to avoid sugar!

Saturday morning my friend Ali and I headed to Brocante Vintage Market, a once a month extravaganza of vintage awesomeness here in St. Pete.

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We went to the first one last month, and were sure to be near the front of the line as the doors opened this time. When I continue with my summer catch-up posts (sorry, not done with those yet), I’ll show you what I got last time.

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We got there about 8:40 and were second in line, although we didn’t realize there would be such a long line this month! This was just the beginning…

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By the time they opened the doors the line stretched down the street. Word is out…this market is fantastic.

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It was crazy chaos, but everyone was having fun.

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I posted that photo above on Facebook…do you know where all those hands came from and what their original purpose was? Don’t cheat.

I was like a magpie drawn to shiny gold and brass this month.

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This mid-century floor lamp was irresistible, even though I wasn’t sure where I wanted to put it. It was just slightly dinged up, but still gorgeous (to me). It worked fine, and at $45 it came home with me.

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Cal took a few photos of me in my pajamas with the lamp in action and Google+ turned it into a GIF. I love that new feature of Google+…it just does it without you even knowing it’s going to do it.

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Here’s the other stuff I bought:

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That starburst is part of a vintage clock.

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I liked it because it has a “C” in the middle. Chad and I don’t always agree on home decorating ideas. He liked the floor lamp, but said that the “C” starburst crosses over into the “junk” category. Whatever.

After Brocante Market, Ali and I went by the new Casa di Mazzaro, the new home décor and tea room baby of Mazzaro’s Italian Market.

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They have all kinds of kitchen gadgets and equipment…

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lots of nice-smelling stuff…

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and all sorts of home décor and gifts.

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We also went next door to the market where I found some Whole30 compliant chorizo!

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Ali and I hooked back up later in the afternoon for pedicures. It was a good Saturday.

On Sunday the boys and I went by a sidewalk sale by Buffalo Gals Vintage which recently went out of business. Everything was $4 and Cal scored a tuxedo jacket and a Joker’s mask.

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He has been wanting to go thrifting for a while, so this cardboard-box diving was all for him. Next we went to Haslam’s Bookstore a few blocks further down on Central Avenue.

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Cal needed a copy of Animal Farm for school. I spotted two of my favorite books at the moment…

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We capped off our Sunday with some froyo (for the boys only of course).

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That’s it.

I feel like the Whole30 is a reset for me. It forces me to get back to basics and get back into the kitchen. So far so good. I still need to get back into the habit of daily exercise, and get back to doing some workouts with more intensity. Working on it. Maybe I’ll be more motivated once the weather cools off a little?

Cya.