Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On the anniversary of the day of his birth

Happy birthday to my darling! Thanks for letting me tag along on this adventure called life. This past year with you has been a blast. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekly Loves: April 26th

1. Having a designated home for my library books (and our weights)!
2. Enjoying the late afternoon/evening sunlight.
3. Cooking bacon for BLT wraps.
4. Being able to put my hair up with a stick again!
5. Eating Mexican Chef Salad. (Recipe coming soon!)
6. Teaching myself to knit and making some dish clothes.
7. Wearing a down vest and scarf on a cold spring night.
8. The first flowers of spring!
9. Finishing this book and this book. Both were excellent and now I get to pick out a new one. Any suggestions?
10. Listening to this song on repeat.

Happy Friday! What have you all been loving this week?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yeast Free: Week 2

I thought I'd start a habit of looking back at the week every Monday and talking about what worked for us and what didn't. Here's what we ate every night for supper In addition to our main dish we each have a salad and a mug of bone broth. This week we also each had a glass of raw milk. Each meal makes at least four servings and shows up again two days later as our lunch. This method works well for us and ensures that we always have a lunch ready for us in the morning.

Weekly Menu:
This week our snacks consisted of:
summer sausage, genova salami, cheddar cheese, popcorn with melted butter, buttered cornbread, and water kefir every night.

Mon: Tuna salad on green salad
The tuna salad was Justin's creation and he didn't follow a recipe. It was very good though. We ate it one a green salad with ranch dressing on top.

Tue: cheeseburger with tomato, lettuce, mayo & mustard
This was a simple classic cheeseburger without the bun. It was really good as always. I love hamburgers now that we've found a good source of beef. Pastured beef just tastes soooo different from typical store bought beef. It's delicious.

Wed: quinoa casserole with chicken and green beans
This was good. Not crazy flavorful but yummy. Unfortunately, it wasn't near filling enough to hold us. There wasn't enough meat mixed into it. When we ate it for lunch we were both starving within a couple of hours.

Thur: hot dogs, homemade french fries, peas
This was my birthday dinner request. The fries turned out fantastic. We (mostly) followed a very labor intensive recipe from Annie's Eats and they were worth it. I don't think I'll be making them on a regular basis though. So much fussing!

Fri: cod with lemon, garlic, and chives
This one was not good. It was actually so bad that we threw away the leftovers. It was bland and the cod was a weird mixture of dry and soggy. I don't know how to explain it. Let's just say this recipe was not a keeper.

Sat: mexican chef salad
This is one of our all time favourite recipes. We had a whole conversation about how we could happily eat this every single week especially during the summer. So I think this one might be showing up a little more often.

Sun: sausage lentil soup
This is a great recipe. We don't put chard in it. And we don't do the garlic oil drizzle at the end. But we do put romano in it. As well as some sour cream if we have it. We have another basic lentil soup recipe that we love. But this one is really filling with the sausage in it. I love it and I'm not a very big fan of sausage most of the time.

Kitchen happenings:
This week I cooked a large pot of turkey broth and used up the last of the turkey bones from Thanksgiving. We got 6 quarts of broth out of about a quarter of a turkey carcass. This will give us about 12 days worth of broth.

I also made a lot of mayo this week. Now that we're eating thousand island and ranch dressing instead of vinegar based dressings we've been going through a lot of mayo. This past week we went through several batches. Mayo making is a fairly long and involved process so I've been trying to make it in double batches. This works alright but is hard on our blender. We'll have to see how long it holds up. I'm hoping to keep it working for at least a few more months.

Weekend happenings:
This weekend we:
helped family load a moving truck
cleaned out our textbooks, accompanying folders/notebooks and reorganized the bookshelves
moved furniture around
enjoyed the all the springtime sunshine

a perfect packing job

just the recycling pile

home for my library books. and the weights.

hello sunshine!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts on Anna Karenina

Can we spend a few minutes talking about Anna Karenina? A week and a half ago we finally watched Anna Karenina and I cannot seem to stop thinking about it. This movie is powerful.

Visually it's stunning. Every single bit of it, from the clothes they wore to the way it was filmed to the details woven into every set, is just breathtaking. I found myself completely wrapped up in the visuals and unable to look away.

But as wonderful as it was to look at the film, it was the characters that captured my mind. I didn't know much about the plot, never having read the book, and I found myself so upset, almost grieved, over Anna's actions. Count Vronsky was a weak, bland sort of boy. Not mature enough to even be called a man.

But Anna's husband? Her strong, sweet, forgiving husband, Count Karenin? His character made the movie for me and I've found myself pondering him the most. Specifically, why did he do the things that he did and what drove his actions. He was such a strong person, confident and well respected. And it was very, very difficult to watch the way her actions destroyed him and brought him down.

What did you all think of Anna Karninia? Do you love it? Hate it? Completely disagree with me?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Whole30: The End

Worry dolls from Guatemala that my cousin brought back for us. Aren't they're darling? The largest one is about as long as my littlest finger.

Well, folks, this is it! Today is the 30th day since we started the Whole 30. We're finished!

Or er, well actually, we bailed on the Whole30 program five days ago. On Friday, day 25 of 30, we had chili dogs (in a bowl) with cheddar cheese and fritos on top. And it was EPIC. Seriously, people. That was the best damn chili and hotdogs I've ever eaten in my life. And the cheese. Oh, lord. It was heaven.You should have seen me. I was practically giddy over the cheese.

And then over the weekend we ate salmon patties with oats in them. And Sunday we made the most amazing ranch dip for veggies. And yesterday we had cheeseburgers for supper and cornbread for a snack with lots of butter on it. And we've eaten cheese at almost every meal. And we've had fresh, raw milk to drink two days in a row. I love my life!

And so far I mostly feel fine. My energy levels are the same. I haven't had any upset stomachs or other bowel problems. I haven't been getting more or less hungry in between meals. Things are pretty much consistent for me. Justin reports the same things. He hasn't noticed anything different either.

My only complaint since I've posted last, is that the last three nights in a row I've gotten pretty sweaty at night. I'm having a hard time telling if I'm actually getting hypoglycemia or just getting hot and sweaty. I have three hypothesis for what could be going on.

First, it's been warmer in the last week or so and I've noticed that our room isn't getting as cool at night as it does during the winter. It's possible that I just need to take some blankets off of the bed. It always takes me a bit to adjust during the spring and fall. I just didn't remember it usually being this bad.

Second, not to give too much information but I am starting my period about now and it's very possible that my hormones are off enough that I'm having problems at night. This compounded by the warmer nights might be enough to be screwing things all up.

And the third option, might be that I really can't handle the dairy and I'm just having hypoglycemia at night. I don't know what to think about this idea. I wasn't getting hypoglycemia every single day and before starting the Whole30 we were eating quite a bit of dairy. But maybe my body is more sensitive to it now that I've had a break. Or maybe my candida loves the lactose in dairy and goes crazy when I eat it. I'm really not sure. I'll have to experiment some more.

Other than that, I feel like our Whole30 experiment was mostly a success. We stayed on track and didn't cheat, even though we quit early. We never did go through any of the stages. And we both felt fine the whole time.

I think the biggest thing I learned coming out of this is how much better, easier, and yummier it is to make most/all of your own condiments. I have lots of good salad dressing recipes now that I intend to continue making. They just taste so much better than the store bought. The ranch dip especially. I seriously want to just eat it with a spoon (I did. Just a little. Shhhhh. Don't tell). It was seriously so fantastic though. I don't think I could ever go back to store bought salad dressing. It would depress me too much.

Scenes from my kitchen this past week:

Chili dogs with (lots of) cheese and fritos.

Salmon patty, a thick slice of tomato, a fried egg, and a lemon, garlic, basil sauce.

Tuna salad on a green salad. Not pictured: homemade ranch dressing.

Cheeseburger with homemade mayo.

Gluten free cornbread with lots of butter and a glass of raw milk.

Typical mornings dishes.

And finished. I love being in my kitchen in the morning.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Whole30: Day 23

After I'd already eater a bunch of my meat.

Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs

Lunch: Leftover salad with salmon and steamed greenbeans
This did well as leftovers. We had some leftover basil lime mayo dressing from the Mahi Mahi that we used as a salad dressing and it was really good. I could eat that as salad dressing a lot. I think it might become a standard.

Supper: Meatloaf, steamed veggies, a mug of chicken broth, and a salad
I made out meatloaf into large meatballs and which turned out really well. We also scaled the recipe down by two thirds so that instead of using three pounds of meat we only used one. That was a much better amount. We don't need twelve servings of meatloaf over here.

The other thing that we made for supper was some thousand island salad dressing! I love love love creamy salad dressings so I was super happy to have this back. I think the recipe that we used worked out pretty well. We used more pickle relish than it called for and it was thick and chunky which is just how we like it.

Snack: 1 multi-seed cracker, 1 bite of genoa salami, three bites of baked sweet potato, two pieces of cinnamon almond bars (with a few modifications), and a short fat glass of grapefruit water kefir

It was another good day around here. I felt mostly fine. I had a hard time between meals. I got hungry between meals and was starving by the time I finally ate. I had a snack in the morning but it didn't really seem to help. I was hungry around 10:30am and by 12:20pm I was so hungry I wanted to punch something. And then in the afternoon I was super hungry again. So much so that we actually ate super at around 4:30/4:45 because I couldn't take it anymore. And then I had a decently sized snack before bed as you can see. I was just hungry all the time despite eating full meals and snacks. So I'm not sure what's up with that. Yet another thing to keep an eye on.

I think this may have been our last real day of Whole30. We went out and bought the multi-seed crackers and the salami because I just can't stand being hungry anymore. So now that we have the stuff, we're planning on packing it for snacks on Day 24 and then on Day 25 we're going to start in on the cheese. And oh my gosh, have I been craving cheese! I seriously can not wait. Wish us luck!

It was a cold rainy day around here. I spent most of it quietly settled in at home getting some reading done. And then after supper we went to a lecture at the university about the history of english before the King James bible. And they had a first edition King James bible there. And we got to touch it. It was amazing.

So far it's fascinating!
1611 First Edition King James Bible

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Whole30: Day 22

So many pretty spices!

Breakfast: Salsa eggs

Lunch: Leftover shrimp kabobs, salad
 This did pretty well as leftovers. It didn't hold me very well. I was hungry by about 4pm. I know I'm usually hungry by then but I was super, crazy hungry.

Supper: Tex-Mex chicken thighs, salad, cup of chicken broth, apple, water kefir
This was really good. It was our first meal out of the organic chicken things we had bought at Trader Joe's and they were really good. I definitely think that we'll make a habit of keeping those on hand. Justin and I both love dark meat and that was a very affordable way to get good quality meat. Maybe not as good as getting it from the co-op but it was about half as cheap. It'll work perfectly.

Another normal day here in Langedom. Still feeling fine and about the same as normal. I didn't sleep as well last night and had a little bit of hypoglycemia during the night. But I woke up feeling alright and it didn't seem to affect me to much. I'm not sure what that was about though.

Another sunny, beautiful day here in Indiana! At 1pm it was 74* but by 4pm it was 81* F! It was an amazing day. I opened up the house fully and was wearing a skirt and tanktop when Justin came home. And of course, I got my time outside in the sun. My tan lines are progressing nicely, if I do say so myself.

No worries. I'm not burnt at all. I just have a very pink complexion.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Whole30: Week 3 Review

Well, the third week is done and we're still just chugging along with this Whole30 plan. It's hard to believe that it's already been 21 days since we started. It some ways I do rather enjoy it. It's been forcing us to be a lot more creative in the kitchen, particularly concerning condiments. I think that is one of the things that will still well from this experiment. I now have a really good mayo recipe and I'll be working this week on mayo based salad dressings, such as ranch and thousand island.

But really, this Whole30 thing? I'm pretty sure we're going to be bailing on it later this week. All the recipes that we have planned are Whole30 approved recipes but we're making chili dogs on Friday and both Justin and I really want to have cheese on our chili dogs. So I think we're going to go ahead. I feel like I should feel badly about skipping out on the Whole30 a few days early but I have to admit that I don't feel bad at all. It just really wasn't doing anything for either of us. We've been talking about it for the last few days and neither of us feels different (either better or worse) than we did before we started.

One of the reasons that I wanted to do this Whole30 experiment was so that I could slowly reintroduce foods and see if I have any food intolerences. We're still planning on taking it slow as we reintroduce foods but I already know that I actually don't have any food intolerences. I started working with an integrative doctor a few weeks before we started the Whole30 program and I had my follow up last week where we went through my test results. And the stool tests that checked for food intolerences all came back as negative. My body can handle everything just fine.

However, the tests did come back saying that I have a bad balance of bacteria in my gut and moderate levels of candida yeasts which is a fungus. Which means that I'm embarking on a three month anti-candida diet to work on starving the candida down and replacing the good bacteria.

In practical terms this means a diet that is very similar to the Whole30 diet. Lots of meats, good fats, veggies, and whole organic dairy items in moderation. On the flip side, it means three more months of no sugar, almost no grains and definitely no gluten, nothing with yeast, avoiding starches (potatoes), no vinegar except for unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and, the kicker, no fruit for the first month and only berries afterwards.

To be honest here people, I am not looking forward to this. at. all. This diet is going to be hard. Really, really hard. I don't mind most of it too much. During the spring and summer months we tend to eat a lot of meat and veggies anyway. That's just our normal rhythm of eating. I can handle that part. It's just the no vinegar order. Do you have any idea how many things have vinegar in them? Our favourite brand of salsa, and pickles, and capers. My dear, darling little capers have vinegar in them! Our favourite salad dressings; italian and balsamic vinaigrette. Yeah. Cross those off the list. Mustard has vinegar and so does ketchup, barbacue sauce, and worcestershire sauce. I've yet to find a condiment that doesn't have ketchup.

So yeah eating will be a challenge for the next couple of months. But the results of my tests were seriously so much better than I thought they might be. I honestly, really thought I was going to find out that I was gluten intolerant. And quite frankly, I would much rather an extreme anti-yeast diet for a few months than a gluten free diet for several years. This is much more manageable.

And, realistically, I'm sure I won't be one hundred percent faithful to my anti-yeast diet because I have a life and relationships that are important to me. I'll do the best I can but I'm not going to obsess over if something has a touch of vinegar or gluten in it when I go eat at someone's house. I'll do the best I can to avoid the obvious things but I'm not interested in having my life revolve around food. We're going to a wedding in June and I'm already pretty sure I'll have a bite of wedding cake. And I'll be just fine. But things on the home front are about to get even more interesting for a little while. Wish me luck!

(Or better yet, wish Justin luck. He volunteered to do this diet with me as a show of solidarity. And, most likely, to help keep me sane. But seriously though, he's the best!)

Whole30: Day 21

Breakfast: Salsa Eggs

Lunch: Leftover Mahi Mahi, asparagus, salad, and pineapple
This did really well as leftovers. We'll definitely be making it again.

Supper: Herb crusted salmon, salad, steamed green beans, cup of broth, and pineapple.
For this recipe we used almond meal for the breading and I really liked it. I think that next time I would use even more breading and make it really thick. It was good though. I like a good dijon mustard.

Once again today was just like every other day. No headache, hungry around 10:30am and 4pm. Same old, same old. Nothing new to report.

My day was oh so quiet. I went grocery shopping in the morning (I always do that on Mondays) and working on things at home. On the bright side it only took me 45 minutes to wash (and dry and wash some more) Sunday night/Monday morning's dishes and I watched episode two of Call the Midwife while I worked. I love that show! There's nothing like turning on a good movie or tv show to help you pass the time while working on a tedious project!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Whole30: Days 19 & 20

Day 19's breakfast

Day 19's supper

Day 20's supper

Day 19 Food:
Breakfast: banana pancakes and bacon!
Oh goodness. We haven't had bacon in weeks. We were having a heck of a time finding a good brand that didn't have any sugar. We finally found one at Trader Joe's and it was sooooooo good. 

Lunch: Leftover chicken salad and steamed cauliflower

Supper: Mahi Mahi, salad, steamed asparagus, a cup of chicken broth
This was a really good recipe. It came from a cookbook that we got during our honeymoon to the beach and it's a great resource for fresh fish recipes. All the ones we've tried have been simple but delicious. I especially loved the basil sauce that went with it. Mayo, lime juice, basil and a little dill. Yum.

Snack: Grapefruit
I'm pretty much addicted. That's about all there is to say.

Day 20 Food:
Salsa eggs with leftover bacon

Lunch: Leftover sauerkraut and hotdogs, salad

Supper: Shrimp kabobs, salad
Justin made our shrimp a ginger lime marinade and it was quite good. I do love grilled vegetables. Kabobs are always awesome. 

Snack: Cup of broth and a grapefruit

Both days were just normal days again. No headaches to speak of on either day. I really just felt normal. No physical ailments to worry about or ponder over. Just another lovely weekend.

This weekend we:
1. Made a big batch of chicken broth. Justin's tied a length of paracord to the hook in the ceiling so that I could suspend the bag and let all the broth hang out.  I love not having to hold it!
2. Worked on projects/budget.  Will you think me weird if I admit that I really love going through our monthly budget? Well, I do!
3. Walked around the block to see a house fire. We live close to the fire department and are used to hearing sirens. But these seemed to go on and on! We just had to take a peak!
4. Bought more canning jars. You can never have too many.
5. Bought a few dumbbells; 10lbs, 15lbs, 20lbs. Small weights for now. We'll buy the bigger ones when we have a little money to spare. I can't wait to use them!
6. Watched Skyfall. I know, I know. It came out ages ago. But we hadn't seen it yet! It was super good. Daniel Craig is definitely my favourite Bond.
7. Sunbathed! The clouds went away for a while on Sunday and we took advantage of the clear skies to go outside and work on our base tans! I already have noticeable tan lines
8. Read. I'm reading this book and Justin's reading this one. I loved the book Justin is reading now. So many things to think about and research. I would definitely recommend it for anyone interested in personal finances. I love my book but know it's not to most people's likings ;-)
9. Watched Anna Karenina. Another movie we hadn't seen yet and I was crazy impressed with it. I have lots to say about this movie but I'll save them for another time. Just suffice to say that I loved it.

So much beautiful broth. yum.

A bag of bones and veggies just hanging.

Five hook and ladder trucks!

Working on his tan.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Whole30: Day 18

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with salsa
My other favourite breakfast. I would eat this every day. It's always amazing.

Lunch: Leftover California Pot Roast, cauliflower, fruit
This worked really well as leftovers. It didn't have any texture problems and the flavor was good. This is another recipe that we'll keep. It's hard to find recipes for chunks of beef that we actually like. We're not huge beef lovers at this point, although it's growing on me more and more, but a large roast can be a very economical cut of meat. So having a few recipes like this in our files will be really helpful.

Supper: Hot dogs, sauerkraut, salad, a cup of turkey broth
Hot dogs and sauerkraut. One of the most satisfying and simple meals you could ever eat. We bought Applegate beef dogs and they were soooo good. I think we'll probably continue to get them instead of our normal Ballpark Beef Franks. The Applegate ones were even better and don't have any funny ingredients! But for dinner, Justin grilled the dogs and we sliced them up and mixed them into the bowl of sauerkraut. I like to eat mine plain and Justin likes to add mustard to his. Either way you go, it's delicious!

Snack: turkey jerky, a grapefruit, a couple of baked apple rings, a little bit of steamed cauliflower
I was pretty hungry by about 10pm. We had had an early supper, closer to 5pm, so it had been several hours since I had eaten. This was really filling. Also, I now apparently love grapefruit. I bought 15lbs earlier in the week.

I felt fine all day again. I kept busy in the morning running errands and then I worked on projects in the afternoon. No headache at all, or at least not one that I noticed anyway. Just felt fine. Hungry in the morning and afternoon like normal. But nothing terrible. It was just another normal day

This was the day. It was finally here. What was here? Why, spring of course! You may say that the first day of springs was weeks ago but I disagree. It's not truly spring until I can go lay out and work on my tan. And Friday, April 5th was that day.

I did not actually wear my bikini. I just wore jeans and a tan top (Don't ask me. My legs were cold!). But it was wonderful. About 51* and sunny as all get out. And the best part? I went out at the peak times for about 20 minutes a side and didn't even get the slightest bit pink! This is great news and something I've been looking forward to for a long time. I can't wait to spend lots of time outside this summer and get super tan.

I did spend most of my day in slightly more useful of a fashion than laying out unfortunately. For those of you who have never changed the belt in a vacuum cleaner, just know that it's hard. Very, very hard. As in brace my feet against the vacuum and pull with both hands hard. But it works great now and the squeal is gone. So I guess it was worth it!

Not the same size. At all.

And seriously, who doesn't love sitting in a sunbeam? Pure bliss. It was a good day.