Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 22

Boo.  Still sick.

Rainbow soup to feel better (Turkey broth, chicken apple sausage, celery, peppers, carrots), Coconut Milk Mousse, hot cider and a taco salad for dinner.  In between lots of sleeping!

October Unprocessed: Day 21

I wasn't feeling great today and didn't really eat enough or make the best choices this year.   I had soup for breakfast (turkey broth, sausage, cauliflower and carrots) snacked during the day (when I wasn't sleeping) and then naked (no breading) wings for dinner.

October Unprocessed: Day 20

Breakfast soup!  Turkey broth with sausage, cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts.   Brussel sprouts with bacon.   For dinner we ate at Volcano Grill.  We had Poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds) plus a mixed grill plate!   I cooked rabbit sausage, elk, antelope and beef plus mixed veggies on the side.  We cooked them on the volcanic rock that is 500 degrees.

October Unprocessed: Day 19

Today was a snacky day... I'm not sure what happened or why, but I was so super snacky.  I woke up early and took a long walk.  I walked to a local restaurant and had their fruit plate.  I was so excited that they had a lot of "gluten free options" on their menu.  But  when I ordered them...they told me they did not have those today, or that they would have to leave the main part of the dish off to make it gluten free.  That is not a good way to sell me on their restaurant!   I ended up with the fruit plate.   Pho for dinner and I made yummy Paleo stuffed peppers for lunch.

Through the day I had most of a bag of corn chips and about a half pint of Talenti gelato!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 18

I made better choices than I though I would tonight....but not completely unprocessed.   We went out for dinner, and let's be honest, sometimes junk food is the way to go. But within that framework I have some non-negotiables to make that work for me.  First - I still avoid gluten.  Second, I try to add as much veggie options as I can to reduce the amount of junk.  

Breakfast: coffee (black) and a handful of hazelnuts
Snacks though the day:  Celery and homemade nutella, clementine, almonds, carrots
Lunch: Leftover Paleo Stuffed Peppers
Dinner:  A few wings, a few potato poppers with cheese and bacon, some corn nachos with LOTS of lettuce and tomatoes, a piece of fudge.  Plus some vino.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 17

I'm proud to say that even on a really stressful day like today I didn't overeat, make bad choices or derail my food choices.  I did "reward" myself with a little celebration treat at the end of the night, but it was a good choice.

  • Breakfast:   iHop Colorado Omelette.   Not the most unprocessed choice, but made with real eggs (did you know if you order a regular omelette they use a pre-mixed batter of eggs and pancake batter?  Apparently it makes for a really fluffy omelette....but also has hidden gluten!   Ask for "real eggs" or "cracked eggs" depending on your server)  This omelette has all kinds of meat, some cheese, tomatoes, green peppers, (I subbed spinach for onions) and salsa.  Plus a side of fruit (not pancakes!)
  • Lunch:  Leftover side salad from a local mexican place, El Fresco.   I wasn't hungry when I was there with a friend so I just got my salad to go.  Lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese and guacamole.  This place is great - they make everything to order and fresh.  AND they let me modify EVERYTHING.  I'm a really annoying customer here, but I tip accordingly. :)  If you are around Chantilly, be sure to check them out!
  • Reward/Treat/Dessert:   Coconut Milk CHocolate Mousse.  I followed her recipe mostly...I used maple syrup as my sweetener and cut the recipe in half.  It probably was still too much sweet for me...but I ate it anyway!  Delicious.  The key is to use Thai Kitchen brand of coconut milk and let it sit in your fridge for a few days to separate out the coconut milk/cream solids.   Thai Kitchen is the only brand that this has worked for me on.  

October Unprocessed: Day 16

  • Breakfast: bacon, brussel sprouts and a fried egg with black coffee.
  • Snacks/Lunch: hazelnuts, almonds, clementines carrots and celery.  I munched all morning.
  • CHOCOLATE:  I found this Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almonds and it looked amazing, but I ate the whole big bar.  It hurt my belly!   
  • Dinner:  I made a bowl of turkey broth soup.  Kale, carrots, broccoli, celery and turkey tossed in with my homemade broth. Needed something to soothe my belly!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 15

Back to work today...and back to my habits.

  • Breakfast: leftover Bacon Butternut Squash soup plus hazelnuts.
  • Snacks: Applesauce, almonds, clementines and carrots
  • Lunch: homemade chili
  • Dinner: BGR Burger with avocado, bacon, lettuce wrap and tomato.  Side of sweet potato fries (more than in the picture) and grilled asparagus.

October Unprocessed: Day 14

The sun came out!  We had a gorgeous sunny day (after WAAAAY too much rain) and I spent it wine tasting with my buddies.  :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 13

So today was day 7 of cold, dreary, rainy weather here in Northern Virginia.  It was a great day for soup...and I took it to the extreme.

  • Breakfast:   I made a soup for breakfast, ala Paleo Parents directions. Homemade turkey stock, turkey, broccoli, carrots and kale.  I made turkey stock last winter when we ended up with two Christmas turkeys and I froze it in quart size ziploc bags.
  • Lunch:  The rest of the soup from breakfast and apples with paleo caramel sauce from Living Healthy with Chocolate.
  • Dinner:   Dinner out and I had a bowl of Tom Ka Gai (Coconut milk, lime, chicken soup) 
  • Dessert:  A nice cold glass of apple cider.  Always better in a wine glass!

And during Sunday Night Football I worked on this recipe from Civilized Caveman.   I am having friends over tomorrow afternoon for more soup.... This time it's a Bacon Butternut Squash soup.  This soup was SOOO much work, but tastes delicious.  We are headed out to enjoy the sunshine (FINALLY) and I will leave the soup on warm in the crockpot so it's ready when we come home!  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 12

Today was cold...lots of rain and cold outside.  I decided to spend it cooking for the week while I watched college football.

I made a big crock pot of chili using this recipe from last December.

And I attempted a pumpkin bread.....not quite right.  I used a banana bread recipe from Civilized Caveman which I LOVE, but I mixed it up and made some substitutions.  Well, the almond butter flavor was not great with the pumpkin...I think my ratios weren't right.  So, I had a little bit and then pitched it.   Next up is trying this recipe that a friend shared. Thanks Carol!

  • Breakfast: a GIANT omelet with peppers, tomatoes and sausage
  • Lunch: chili 
  • Dinner: not feeling great...think I snacked too much on pumpkin bread and seeds. 

October Unprocessed: Day 11

  • Breakfast on the go:  2 clementines and some almonds
  • Lunch:  Mentor meeting at First Watch, Acapulco Express Omelet (no sour cream, no onions) with undressed greens.
  • Dinner: at Ghengis Grill

Carving Pumpkins 2013: Monograms and Drilling!

All over Pinterest I've seen these pins -

this one from Unskinny Boppy                        Pumpkins carved with a drill
Decorating for Fall/HalloweenPumpkins carved with a drill!   

So of course I wanted to try my hand at this!  I decided to combine my two favorite ideas, Monograms and the drilled pumpkin pattern.

First, pick out the perfect pumpkins.  I found two small pumpkins for us - they were perfectly round with great stems!

Next, cut the tops off and clean out the guts (save the guts for the pumpkin seeds later!)  With small pumpkins you will have to "thin" out the pumpkin flesh inside the top of the pumpkin to give you room to get in with your spoon and scrape out the guts.  Also if you are doing a carved in design (rather than a cut through) you will need to thin out the flesh on the front side of the pumpkin.  You can do this last or first...whatever is easiest!
 Decide on your design and draw out a template.  Tape it on your pumpkin and trace HARD with a ball point pen.  You will see the indentations on the pumpkin skin when you take your paper off.  Trace again with the pen to make it easier to carve.

Start carving - use whatever "scraping" tools you have on hand.  I used some of my scrapbooking tools from Close To My Heart - the Silent Setter (discontinued now) and the Piercing Tool.  To get the glowing look, the design should be firmly carved into the pumpkin flesh but not cut all the way through.

Take your time and go slow - any place you cut the orange skin of the pumpkin will glow.

Next step was to take your drill and drill holes all the way through.  This was SOOo easy!  Next time I want to make the whole design with the drill!  

The last tip I learned from Martha Stewart's magazine about 8 years ago... cover the exposed pumpkin flesh (our monograms) with petroleum jelly.  This will stop the flesh from molding as quickly and get you a few extra weeks with the pumpkins!  

Don't forget to toast your pumpkin seeds!   Wash them thoroughly and separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh.  Pat them dry with paper towels and spread out on a cookie sheet.  Salt (or other seasonings) your pumpkin seeds generously and toast at 350 for about 7-10 minutes until lightly golden brown.  YUM!

Friday, October 11, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 10

I packed a ton of snacks today - and didn't eat them all!   I thought I was meeting my friend and her tiny one for dinner right after school, but that fell through.   It worked out well though because I met up with another friend and her middle schooler for dinner at iHop.

It's been chilly and rainy here - such a fall weather pattern, without the pretty sunshine and crisp leaves falling everyplace.  But it makes me want soup.  Last weekend I wanted to make chili, but it was 90 degrees and felt weird...this weekend it is definitely happening!\

  • Breakfast: grilled chicken with peppers and tomatoes
  • Lunch/Snacks: pumpkin pie espresso hazelnut butter, celery, carrots, hazelnuts, peppers.   Also pictured but not eaten - almonds, tomatoes, clementines.
  • Dinner: iHop colorado omelette (made with real eggs, not their mix that includes pancake batter to make it fluffier) with a side of fruit.
  • Late night football snack:  I put frozen mango, a bit of almond milk and a touch of honey in the blender.  It made a thin softserve.  Perfect!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 9

Today I had an all-day meeting.  These are usually a problem for me... I sit all day (and don't get my steps in) and while I'm sitting there, I want to munch.  So today I was prepared.  I planned better than yesterday...even though I had to be there before 8am and it took me more than an hour to travel there, I was up and made breakfast and packed snacks.

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with green beans, peppers, tomatoes and sausage.  I added a tiny sprinkle of cheddar cheese.
  • Snacks:  I packed 4 bottles of water plus clementines, almonds, carrots, celery, peppers and tomatoes.  I only ate the carrots (and all the water!) 
  • Lunch:  We went to Unos and I had a gluten free Guac-a-licious Burger with no bun, replaced the fries with steamed veggies.  It did have a slice of cabot cheddar on it.
  • Dinner: Grilled Chicken Tenderloins with french-fried green beans with sea salt.  This is one of my favorite ways to combat a craving for french fries.  Long beans, fried in coconut oil. 
  • Dessert tonight:  I made Civilized Caveman's Pumpkin Pie Espresso Hazelnut Butter.  OH yum.

October Unprocessed: Day 8

Ok - Monday I woke up early and forgot my snack...Tuesday I woke up late and didn't make breakfast.  Arrrgh.  Not my best choice and it meant I was starving all day.  Even though I ate all my snacks, it didn't give me the protein I needed. 

  • Snacks: heirloom tomatoes, carrots, celery sticks, mini bell peppers and two clementines.
  • Lunch: tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers and chicken apple sausage (hah! Same as yesterday)
  • Dinner: taco salad with tomatillo salsa and guacamole.   I went for a long walk after work to decompress - just a high anxiety kind of day, nothing wrong really - and I walked to Moe's and had dinner there.
Late last night I had a sweet treat - but I forgot to take a picture.  I used frozen pineapple chunks (I have this awesome pineapple cutter, like this, so I buy whole pineapples and cut them myself now.  Way cheaper!), some almond milk and a bit of honey.  Pinterest said this would taste like a Dole Whip (from Disney) but it didn't.  It was good... but not really like the processed delicious-ness of the Dole Whip.

October Unprocessed: Day 7

I ran out of the house Monday and left my bag of snacks on the counter.... so here is what I ended up with.

Breakfast:   sausage, peppers, green beans, tomatoes and a fried egg
Lunch: green beans, peppers, tomatoes and chicken apple sausage
Dinner:   I walked to a local peruvian chicken place.  I had 1/4 of white chicken plus yucca fries and a salad.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 6

Today was a great day of celebration.  One of my dear friends has a birthday this week and we celebrated all day!   We have been exploring northern Virginia Wineries and today was no different.

We met at the lovely Grandale Farm Restaurant in Purcellville for brunch.  This restaurant has seasonal fare on their menu and use a farm-to-table model.  Everything served is sourced locally or grown on the property.  It's incredible. I had the Grass Fed Hanger Steak Salad with no dressing and no croutons.  It was absolutely incredible.  A huge pile of mixed greens, caramelized onions, blue cheese and the most delicious steak.  YUM!

We visited three local wineries - 868 Estate Vineyards (on the same property as Grandale Farm), Maggie Malick Wine Caves (what's not to love about a wine cave!) and Cardamom Family Vineyards (all wines paired with freshly made salsas!).

Perfect way to celebrate!   And we even put a candle in the pumpkin roll!

  • Breakfast: leftover dinner from last night (sausage, brussel sprouts, tomatoes and green beans)
  • Lunch: Hanger Steak
  • Snack: Birthday Paleo Pumpkin Roll with Dairy Free filling.
  • Dinner:  (almost forgot to take a picture!) We ate at Ghengis Grill so I had a mixed bowl with lots of veggies and no starch (chose cabbage instead of rice or noodles).

October Unprocessed: Day 5

After all the time out last week I was happy to spend Saturday, October 5 at home!  I cooked, I cleaned, I did laundry and I watched football - lots of football!   I even took a nap mid-day!  It was a glorious day!

I baked my very first pumpkin roll.  I chose this recipe from Primally Inspired.   It has a dairy free filling option - it was important to me to make that version and avoid the cream cheese.   However, I struggled with that part.  It seems that the brand of coconut milk REALLY matters.  I bought the brand A Taste of Thai first and it wouldn't set up.  It was delicious, but not solid at all.   I scrapped that version (saved it to use in my fall version of bulletproof coffee) and started again.  I made a second trip to the store! to buy another can of coconut milk.  This time I got the LAST can of full fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk and it set up right away.   Whew!  My pumpkin roll cracked and and the filling was thin - but it was soo delicious.  The perfect way to celebrate my friend's upcoming birthday!

  • Breakfast:   Leftover pulled pork on lettuce.
  • Lunch and snack:  I wasn't terribly hungry, but I munched on cashews and carrots mid day, plus a handful of baby tomatoes.
  • Dinner: two sausage patties (nitrate free, locally sourced) with brussel sprouts, green beans and tomatoes.  I ate half of this and have the other half as leftovers!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 4

Date nights are another challenge - and I passed this one with flying colors!

Counterclockwise from bottom right: 

  • Lunch - spaghetti squash with green beans and home-canned tomato basil sauce (I use this recipe from BHG, but leave out the brown sugar) 
  • Snacks - throughout the day, mostly in the morning.  Cashews, mini bell peppers, tomatoes and carrots
  • Dinner - out to dinner with friends!  I had a side salad (mixed greens with goat cheese, almonds and strawberries with no dressing) and grilled swordfish (topped with shrimp, spinach, lemon and tomato) with veggies on the side.  
  • Wine tasting - I had about 2 glasses of wine plus a few nibbles of cheese at our Friday Night Flights.  My absolutely favorite winery, Rappahannock Cellars, has this event once a month for club members.  They taste 3-4 special edition wines paired with light snacks and you get to learn more about the processes they use and spend time talking with the people who own and work at the winery.  Last night we tasted (from the barrel) Chardonnay and Cab Franc, plus a Noblesse Cabernet Sauvingnon. Yum!!  
My challenge here is not to punish myself or avoid social situations - but make the best choices I can within the situation and have a wonderful time, while continuing to eat and feed my body what makes me feel the best!

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 3

This challenge has been interesting for me because I have had the opportunity to meet friends out for dinner more often than I usually do.  I'm also out of the building a lot during the day this week for meetings and training which means lunch on the go.  As a technology specialist, I'm not able to go out to lunch very often - so when I do, I take advantage!

These lunches out give me the opportunities to build relationships and learn from what my colleagues are doing in their schools.  But as far as eating, it makes it tricky because I have lost a level of control.

Today for example, out for a meeting in the afternoon so ate lunch out of the building.   Then for dinner I'm heading in to DC for a special event at the Spy Museum.  We will have hors d'oeuvres served.  Planning ahead makes all the difference for me - knowing I will be limited in what I choose to let myself have and what I won't ahead of time.

This means I have control over my breakfast and any snacking I do.  And then I have limited control over the lunch and dinner options - I will make wise choices within the confines of what is served.

I'm actually looking forward to a low key Saturday when I can cook for myself all day!

Another issue I had on Day 3 was that I forgot to take pictures of some of my meals!  DOH!

  • Breakfast:   green beans, heirloom tomatoes and egg and sausage cups.
  • Snack:  I ate my cashews and carrots for snack (stuck my tomatoes and peppers in the fridge for tomorrow)
  • Lunch:  We stopped at Noodles and Company.  I had a a Spinach and Fruit Salad without croutons, dressing or balsamic fig drizzle with an unsweet tea to drink.
  • Dinner:   I snacked on hors d'oeuvres at the museum reception.  I chose to eat cucumbers, hummus, tomatoes, olives, grilled veggies (this had a dressing on them though I think), a bite of cheese and a stuffed grape leaf.  For the desserts, they were all delicious looking (brownies, cakes, cookies, etc) but I was so proud of myself!  I ate the strawberries and grapes (the garnish!!) from the plates.   Plus a Teachertini cocktail - not unprocessed at all.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October Unprocessed: Day 2

Today was a bit more of a challenge for me.  It was an emotional day and I didn't want to eat anything at all for lunch.    This is something I struggle with ... emotional eating.  Somedays I want to eat everything in sight because of how I feel.  Today was a day that I would rather have had nothing at all during the day.  Neither is good...when I don't eat, then I overeat after I feel better.  When I stuff my face, then I feel guilty and miserable and sick to my stomach.   Emotional days are my toughest.  It's a battle and today I won.
Breakfast: I had black coffee, sausage and egg bites with steamed green beans

Snack/Lunch:  In the middle of the morning I ate these that I packed this morning... mini sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cashews

Dinner:  Met some friends for dinner and had grilled chicken spiedini with grilled veggies (eggpplant, peppers, onions and zucchini

(BONUS:  I drank at least four 20 oz bottles of water)

Overall, it was a good day food wise!  A battle, but it goes in the win column!

October Unprocessed: Day 1

So day 1 was better than I expected! I woke up early this morning and cooked a healthy breakfast for us both and packed a healthy snack plus my bottles of water to go to my meeting.
(clockwise from the bottom left)
Breakfast for two: sausage and egg to-go bites with tomatoes, green beans, and brussel sprouts.
Snack at my meeting: cashews and these dried apples (only ingredient...apples!)
Lunch: Sweetgreen Salad to Go: kale, mesclun, arugula greens with organic grilled chicken, broccoli, basil, tomatoes and mushrooms with a squeeze of lime for juice.
Fajita Salad - grilled chicken, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions and fresh pico salsa. (no rice, no beans, no tortillas, no cheese)
Day two - I am ready for you! :)