Chewie has a playdate, I paint a bed, and a tour of our pig pen

October 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Yesterday’s breakfast (because I know you want to see it):

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I can’t remember what lunch was because I didn’t take a picture, but for dinner I marinated a bunch of chicken legs in some Tessemae’s buffalo marinade (which I can’t find on their website, so maybe they don’t make it anymore). I also made another one of Melissa Joulwan’s recipes from Well Fed 2.

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I made the “Simple Lemon Spinach”, but used Swiss chard instead of spinach.

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The chicken was good, but the marinade didn’t really impart much buffalo flavor even though I marinated the legs all day. They were flavorful, but not BUFFALO. Maybe that’s why they don’t have that flavor on their website anymore. We have also used the Cajun and Chesapeake marinades from Tessemae and both of those were fabulous. All of those flavors are whole30 compliant. They even have a “whole30 approved” category on the Tessemae site. I also have their ranch dressing and it is pretty good (not a creamy ranch, though).

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The Swiss chard was also good, but too lemony. I only had about half a pound of chard, and the recipe called for a pound of spinach, so I should have gone easier on the lemon juice. The pine nuts are an excellent addition, though. I’m going to try it again some time and make sure not to use too much lemon juice. The boys still ate everything up, though. Those kids of mine will eat anything I put in front of them.

I actually went on the family evening walk with the boys last night since we finally had a cool, non-humid evening.

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I haven’t been going with them much lately because I enjoy that quiet time in the evenings after our always-crazy afternoons.

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They usually walk about a mile and a half every evening.

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This morning brought actual chilly weather! Hurrah! Of course, chilly by Florida standards means around 70 degrees. Still, it was the first morning that we wore jackets on our walk to school.

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As I was getting close to home on the way back someone honked at me and it turned out to be my friend Valarie. She came by the house and had her two boxers, Daisy (Chewie’s best friend from our old neighborhood) and Duke, with her so the dogs had a little playdate.

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Chewie was in heaven.

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He showed them all around his yard and let them read his pee-mail.

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They were in a constant state of motion so it was hard to get a good picture of them.

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Then the garbage truck came by and that was the icing on the cake.

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Chewie had an awesome morning and then slept the rest of the day.

My breakfast this morning was so good.

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It was grated sweet potato, red onion, red bell pepper, and kale sautéed in ghee and coconut oil. Then I scrambled two eggs in bacon grease, tossed in a few bacon crumbles, and mixed everything up. Delish.

Since we finally had a cool, dry morning I decided it was time to spray-paint the bed frame for our guest bedroom.

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We have two saw horses, so I put those out on the grass to lean the headboard and footboard against.

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This is an old metal bed that I bought from a junk store when I went to law school over 20 years ago. It’s been in our storage unit since we had Cal 13 years ago and lost our guest room in the old house. It was filthy and very banged up.

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There have been rumors that we may have house guests for Thanksgiving, so I am now finally tackling getting the guest room in order. I bought the paint and supplies for this little DIY a while ago, but have been waiting for a non-humid day to finally paint.

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First I used a sanding sponge and just quickly lightly sanded everything, focusing on the spots that were chipped or peeling, but going over everything just to remove the shine.

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I also rolled up paper towels and stuck them down into the slot that the rails go into since I didn’t want the slot to get coated in paint and then potentially stick to the rails once I slide them in. I’m not painting the rails as they won’t show anyway.

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After sanding all the surfaces I wiped them all down with paper towels and liquid deglosser while wearing rubber gloves.

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This stuff is super toxic, but easy to use.

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The liquid deglosser sort of left a white haze on everything…

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so I wiped it all down again with a dry rag just to make sure there was no remaining dust on the bed frame. Then it was time to spray. After one coat:

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I have read Young House Love enough to know that multiple thin coats is the way to go with spray paint to avoid drips.

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2 1/2 cans of spray paint later…

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I let it sit out in the yard all day…about 5 hours. At that point it was dry to the touch so I brought it inside. It has to cure for 48 hours and then I can touch up the spots on the back that were blocked by the saw horses. Hopefully I’ll get it completely finished this weekend, then we need to buy some mattresses for it. Chad said he likes the color better than he thought he would, and that’s about the best I can hope for from him sometimes. I’m calling it a win.

I used some spare tiles that were laying around under the feet of the bed to keep it up off the grass for painting. We have TONS of extra tile here that the previous owners left after renovations, and I knew there were a few pieces in the pig pen. What’s the pig pen? It’s this strange outdoor room we have in the corner of our backyard.

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We are not sure of the purpose of this walled-off area. It has a nice wrought-iron gate just like the gates to both of our side-yards.

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It has a concrete slab floor.

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It has no roof and has solid cinder block, stucco, and brick walls all around except for the gate.

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Things left by the previous owners:

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I have no idea what is in this chest:

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We have lived here almost six months and I have yet to feel the need to open that box and see what’s in there. I did find some odd pieces of tile back there to use under the bed feet in the grass, though.

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If anyone can tell me definitively what the purpose of this room is I will send you a prize. It has been suggested that maybe it was a laundry-drying area because at one time there was a city ordinance that you couldn’t dry your laundry in a place visible from the street. That does not make sense to me, though, because our entire backyard is not visible from the street. It’s just an alley running behind there, not a city street. We just call it the pig pen. We have talked about maybe putting a fire pit in there. It’s a fairly big space. A big, useless space. What would be a good use for this area? Any ideas?

The afternoon was spent running the boys around as usual. The boys had Tour de Pizza for dinner and I had leftover chicken legs, beets, and sautéed cabbage, onion, and carrots.

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That’s all I got. Cya.

I guess it’s fall (Whole30, Day 26)

September 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

It’s still been super hot and humid here in Tampa Bay, so it sure doesn’t feel like it, but apparently Sunday was the first day of fall. So happy fall ya’ll! And just like every year, I would like to share my favorite piece about fall. It gives me the warm fuzzies every time I read it. Click on the following image to enjoy this delightful little essay yourself:

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I have actually started with a little bit of fall decorating…just a couple of things in the dining room. I’ll do a “fall décor” post after the first of October maybe, once I have more fall things out. We have our eye on a big grim reaper to hang from the front porch. In the meantime, I do have some new flowers in the living room.

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Chad brought these home from the grocery store on Saturday. He notices when my vases are empty.

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And then I took a bunch more photos of the living room even though I know I’ve already put quite a few on the blog. This room feels so comfortable to me. I love it.

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Most of these photos are not so great because I have been doing pretty much all of my photo-taking with my phone lately. These were all shot indoors with relatively low light and no flash. So not so great. But I can hardly be bothered with the camera lately.

So I took this series of photos…

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(and one more that I must have since deleted)…and Google+ automatically created this “auto awesome” panoramic:

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That is more what the room looks like to me (except the mantle is level and the floor lamp is not split down the middle). Like I said previously, I am obsessed with auto awesome. Look for an auto awesome GIF later in this post.

The boys received a tin full of muffins in the mail from Grandma Viv on Saturday. The note said, “Cody made these.”

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Cody did a pretty good job! Thanks Grandma. Excuse Cal’s hair…he had just gotten out of the pool.

Saturday night we got a babysitter and headed out to the beach for a friends’ 40th birthday party.

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We never turn down an invitation to go to a party at this beautiful location:

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It was a lovely night.

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“Papa” the puppy (a Spanish water dog) kind of stole the show at the party.

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I have disguised the birthday boy so as not to jeopardize his WitSec status:

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I will love these two forever…

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Good party, even without any alcohol for me.

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Sunday breakfast:

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Sweet Potato Hash Browns: Grate 1/2 a sweet potato. Chop 1/2 an onion. Mix both in a bowl with one egg, and about 2 teaspoons of coconut flour. Season with salt/pepper/whatever you like. Add the coconut flour slowly until the mixture will hold together in a patty. Sauté small patties in coconut oil until both sides are brown and crispy.

Early in the afternoon on Sunday I went over to my friend Crystal’s house for a Benefit Cosmetics Lash Bash party.

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Playing with make-up with a bunch of cool girls? Sign me up.

Crystal had so much delicious-looking food laid out for us.

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OMG. These were cocktail sausages wrapped in prosciutto and sprinkled with brown sugar, and blood orange chocolate truffles:

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Here’s what I ate at the party:

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Ah well. I ate lunch before I went, so I was fine.

Also laid out for us were goodie bags full of samples of fabulous Benefit Cosmetics, and other sample Benefit products for us to play with.

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We ate and chatted, and then got down to the business of beautification. We were told to come with “naked eyes” so that we could do them there.

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Before and after:

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Throughout the party I kept trying to get a photo of Tequila, Crystal’s chihuahua, but he wanted nothing to do with me.

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Got you anyway Tequila! (best name ever for a chihuahua)

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Thanks for inviting me Crystal! It was lots of fun.

When I got home I became obsessed with trying to get a good photo of my eyelashes with my cell phone. This resulted in many cross-eyed, wall-eyed, fish-eyed, and crazy-eyed photos.

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Chad found this whole spectacle highly amusing.

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After the Lash Bash party on Sunday afternoon, I picked up the boys and we ran all over north Pinellas County. We went to Old Navy to get hoodies for the boys and went into Barnes & Noble. Mack talked me into buying this book for him, although it is not for children and probably has inappropriate content.

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After our errands the boys and I went to Chipotle for dinner.

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This is probably my favorite Whole30 restaurant meal ever. It is a carnitas salad with salsa and guac (double meat).

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No sugar, no grains! The carnitas (pork) is the only meat at Chipotle that is not cooked in soybean oil. So good.

On Monday I volunteered at Mack’s school. Here’s my OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day)..GIF alert:

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Yes, that’s a very summery dress. Whatever. It still feels like summer here. Plus, you are allowed to dress like this year round in Florida. So shut up.

Homework packet preparation:

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Lunch with the sweet potato:

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My lunch, after I got home:

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Kind of sad, but yummy. Those are Applegate Farms organic hot dogs. #NSNG and whole30 compliant! At this point I really needed to do some food prep. Since I was running around all day on Sunday I didn’t have time to do it over the weekend.

Monday dinner:

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Tuesday morning I cooked a pan-full of beef bacon from U.S. Wellness Meats.

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They have all kinds of high-quality meat products, but they are pretty pricey. They also have a seven pound minimum order, so when I did order from them I got a variety of items. I had never had beef bacon before. It’s very different from pork bacon, but not bad.

Tuesday breakfast:

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The boys seemed to like the beef bacon more than me, especially Mack. I still have half of a package to cook, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again. Give me pork bacon!

Tuesday night for dinner I made another recipe out of Melissa Joulwan’s book Well Fed.

Moroccan Meatballs:

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This was so amazingly delicious.

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I even had it for breakfast on Wednesday (yesterday):

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It rained and rained and rained on Tuesday and Wednesday. I thought the house might float away.

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Our pool overflowed on its lower side. That’s one continuous plain of water across the lower pool deck and the pool. It wasn’t threatening the house, though, which is a couple of feet above that. We are actually at a very high point in the county now and not in a flood zone at all, so the chances of our house ever flooding are pretty slim. Of course the whole county could be under water if “the big one” ever hits.

Last night, in my apparent quest to make everything in the Well Fed cookbook, I made “The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat.”

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The recipe is here and that link includes the recipe for the delicious Moroccan dipping sauce that I drizzled over the chicken and my sweet potatoes.

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For the record, this was the second time in a week that my kids had Brussels sprouts and liked them (here I steamed them then sautéed them in a little bit of ghee with garlic salt). Winning.

Finally the sun came out this morning so Mack and Chewie and I walked to school.

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His school has a “walking school bus”.

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Love it. Other than having to cross two relatively busy streets, I am really growing to like our new walk-to-school route.

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Breakfast this morning included Moroccan meatballs once again and leftover Brussels sprouts.

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I know that my breakfasts are elaborate and beautiful. That’s why I love to photograph them. And eat them. I still have one serving of meatballs left and I’m going to kill them at lunch. That recipe is so good. We got a family dinner (not including Chad) and two breakfasts and two lunches for me out of it.

Now my stomach is growling. Need to go warm up some meatballs.

Cya.

p.s. Is it obvious that I have jumped on board the “No Sugar, No Grains” bandwagon big time? Here’s one reason why. This guy did a 21 day experiment eating 5,000 calories a day on a high fat, low carb diet. His weight stayed fairly stable and his waist got smaller! Now he’s doing to the same experiment on a low fat, high carb diet (eating many processed foods, very much like the SAD…fitting acronym for the Standard American Diet). He’s on day 9 and has gained over 7 pounds!

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I am following his experiment daily. So fascinating. Check out the Smash the Fat Facebook Page here to find out more. In January he plans to do the experiment with a high carb, low fat diet but eating only natural carbs and no processed foods.

Basically I feel like my world has been turned upside down with regards to nutrition knowledge since I did the Whole30 the first time. Fat is good. Grains are bad. Even whole grains. Sugar is the devil. It is inflammatory and inflammation is the root of all evil. As far as cholesterol goes, I’m being re-educated in that regard too thanks to Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and The Great Cholesterol Myth by Sinatra and Bowden. The scales have fallen from my eyes.