Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Whole 30 Week 1: HOLY COW (Experience and Meal Ideas)

OOPS I live in Georgia now. If you remember from my casual 5 year catch up post, I mentioned we were preparing to leave Wisconsin and somehow it’s already happened! I mean, I wish it was that easy to have moved across the country during a global pandemic, but no one cares to hear about a stressful move. The end result is that we’re here and getting acclimated to our new sunny southern space! 

After packing for weeks and eating largely junk food and takeout during the whole process, Husband and I decided to try the Whole30 meal program for a food reset to get us back on track. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s basically an elimination diet where, for 30 days, you refrain from eating food types that tend to cause negative impacts for people, including dairy, grains, legumes, soy, sugar, and alcohol. During the 30 days, you’re not supposed to weigh yourself or count calories. The point is to listen to the way your body responds to the food and develop trust for your hunger signals. This is a very brief summary but there's lots of research and resources available if you’re interested in undertaking the 30 days. After the 30 days, you slowly start adding back in the eliminated food groups to pay attention to how it makes you feel to decide if you want to continue eating it.

As you can probably imagine, it takes a LOT of planning to make Whole30 compliant meals. On top of that, Husband is super duper picky, especially about vegetables. It’s fine. I’m fine. But it is doable! Knowing how much time and energy it’s taken to create meal plans for us, I thought it might be helpful to share what’s worked for our first week:

A few tips and tools:

  1. Google Sheets is your best friend in this effort. It’s been the most helpful tool to create meal plans, shopping lists, and prep plans.

  2. Use weekly ads and specials to inspire your meal plans. Don’t be like me and go straight to Pinterest, find a bunch of delicious looking recipes, realize it would double your grocery bill, and then start over with a sales first mentality. Whole30 ends up incorporating a lot of protein since grains and legumes are out and that can get expensive quickly. 

    1. I also tried to find recipes that used the same ingredients in multiple different ways to save a little more buying larger quantities.

  3. If possible, move your non-compliant foods to a less visible area of your pantry/fridge/counter. It’ll feel less restrictive if you don’t have to remind yourself what you “can’t have.”

Now to the fun part, the food:

I prepped 3 to 4 meals at a time so having two options to switch during the week kept things interesting. Recipes are linked, although I didn't always use one, or the linked recipe was an inspiration.

And a shopping list:

See anything you might make? What was your experience if you’ve done Whole30 before? I’d love to know!


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Hello Stranger

It’s been a minute...or like 5 years… but I started to receive notifications of comments being left and new followers on my little corner of the internet here. I started going through some old posts and getting nostalgic for the creative outlet and inspiration. I’d love to try to start posting semi-regularly again - she says, lacking confidence. I had started to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of direction and tutorial posts floating around and had felt like there was nothing of value that I could add. I still don’t know that I have much value to add but there’s always room for more encouragement and inspiration, especially in these crazy pandemic times.

A few things while I’ve been gone (A glimpse of things to come):

  1. I got married

Jeff and I got hitched in October of 2017. We’ve been living in Wisconsin for the past few years but are preparing to move on to the next step for us in Georgia, or back to the warm Hint: the flowers in my bouquet pictured here are a few of over a hundred crocheted by yours truly.

  1. We got a dog

Meet Pippy.

She’s a rescue so we don’t know exactly how old she is, maybe 5 or 6, but she’s a hot mess sweet girl. She and Smudge have a tolerant, occasionally sweet relationship. Pippy is completely in love with Jeff and just accepting of my presence. It’s fine, I'm fine *sniff*. Smudge is still my baby. Somehow she’s already 6!

  1. Workin’ on my fitness

I’ve had some health challenges over the past few years that have encouraged me to be more thoughtful and careful about health and fitness. My diet had been okay, but I really struggled with exercising… okay, not so much struggling as just completely avoiding it. In the past 2 or 3 years in particular meal planning and regular exercise have been a big focus that I’m eager to share with others who may have similar feelings and challenges.

  1. Back to school

Once upon a time I thought I had too much free time while Jeff was in residency and I should use the opportunity. Thanks to encouragement and support of the people around me, I decided to get an MBA while still working through the evening program at UW-Madison. I’m ⅔ of the way through the program now and have learned SO MUCH. I’m often the only person in class wearing pink, braids, and/or a cheery floral print and I've learned not to be self-conscious about that.

I think those are the big things! Many things haven’t changed and some things just keep getting better with time. I've got some updating to do around the site of course. It's tough out there right now and we all need a little extra thought-provoking material. What's new with you? What's been inspiring you? I'd love to know :)


Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Sentimental Nature

Y'all. This week has been Stressful. With a capital "S." Balancing work as the largest event of the year draws ever nearer while making sure to keep up with all other responsibilities has lead to me to wake up in a panic at 3 am more than once. I'm terrified of forgetting to do something. Or making a huge mistake the effects the efforts of others. When I woke up at 3 am this morning, the relief that came from knowing I didn't have to wake up for reals in a few hours allowed for some time to gather my thoughts.  I started to look around my room and noticed that all of my favorite pieces of decoration were gifts. My Deer Lodge blanket was a going away gift from my supervisor in Montana. The beautiful green hand-knitted blanket hanging off my headboard was a graduation present from a dear friend. My walls are covered with pictures, paintings, and cross-stitches from people I am lucky enough to call friends and family. Just taking in that thought, and remembering all the other pieces around my apartment with similar origins suddenly calmed me and reminded me that even though times have been stressful in the past there have always been people willing and able to help in some way.  Through action or simply encouragement. And if a mistake was made there was always a way to recover or be forgiven. And then I went back to sleep. 

If you're feeling weighed down by the many things you need to accomplish, personally or professionally, take a minute to look around you and think of all the different people of which your surrounding remind you. Think of how they helped you along the way and how, maybe, hopefully, you helped them as well. Allow it to make you smile. Take a deep breath and remember I'm rooting for you! Just thought I would share that in case someone else has been waking up before the sun :)


Monday, December 15, 2014

Roasted Veggie and Butternut Squash Soup

I seriously considered naming this post "True Life: I'm Addicted to Soup." Once September hits and there is even the slightest breeze in the air I want basically every meal to be in soup form. This addiction lasts until about April when it starts to get a little too warm in South Carolina to pretend the addiction is justified.

Some soup can be great for you...these are not the soups I like. Give me cheesy. Give me creamy. Give me all things gluttonous. #noregrets Until my pants start fitting a little tighter. #alittleregret Then instead of foregoing Christmas cookies and festive coffee I look for ways to cut calories from the things I want to eat anyway. This roasted vegetable soup in the best of all worlds! It's so creamy and savory but FULL of good things. As an added unanticipated bonus, it's vegan, so you can feel better about your choices all around ;)

Roasted Veggie and Butternut Squash Soup

1 Medium Zucchini, cubed
2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, cubed
1 Small Sweet Onion, diced
4 Cloves fresh Garlic
1 Medium Butternut Squash, cubed
3 Cups Almond Milk
2 Tsp Thyme
1 Tsp Curry Powder
1/2 Tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Brush a cookie sheet lightly with olive oil and spread your butternut squash cubes over it. Lightly brush olive oil over the cubes and season with salt and pepper before baking at 350 for 45-60 min. Prep another cookie sheet for your Zucchini, sweet potatoes, garlic, and onion. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of thyme before putting them in the oven at the same time as the squash for only 30 minutes. The fact that both can be cooking at the same time makes it a pretty easy set up.

Once roasted, remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Transfer squash and veggies to a large pot on the stove top set on low. Make sure they are tender enough to mash slightly with a wooden spoon. Add 1 cup of almond milk. Use God's gift to soup lovers (aka an immersion blender) to start pureeing the veggies in with the almond milk. Add more milk as you blend until the creamy texture you're looking for is reached. Add in the rest of the thyme, curry powder, and cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Once the soup is heated up to the proper temp you're ready for practically guilt free creamy indulgence!

I wish I had carrots on hand to through in. I think that would be a delicious addition. Anything you would add? Do you also need a support group for soup addicts? I'd love to know!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Another Year, Another Trunk or Treat!

Last year, I gently forced everyone in my department to bust out their flannel for a Charlotte's Web themed Trunk or Treat. This year, we were a box of crayons inspired by the book "The Day the Crayons Quit." Children's book costumes ftw!

It ended up being loosely based on the book as well as traditional Crayola crayons; I thought going a little more recognizable might be easier to explain. I made a stencil from an old file folder to paint the shirts, covered recycled cardboard in dollar store yellow wrapping paper and green duct tape, and cut a few generic crayon shapes from construction paper for the logo in the center. It ended up being about $20, including the cost of the t-shirts, and taking about 3 hours, not including drying time.

The kids were adorable as always and definitely make any effort worth it. It was, however, FREEZING. And the wind was trying to tear everything apart, as you can see a bit in the above picture. Next year, I'm going to have to find a book that features igloos so we can all be in parkas just in case. Seriously. So. Cold.

How was your Halloween? Any ideas for a book I should use next year? I'd love to know!

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