Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Big News....

I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!!!


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Can you believe it?? Neither can I!! I'm sooooooo excited. Although not entirely surprised... you see B is not exactly the best keeper of secrets. Not that I'm complaining, a man that can't lie?? Perfect. But when he started throwing out random marriage related questions a few weeks ago I started getting the hint. And then he took my car for the day and accidentally left my Dad's work address in my car. I found it on Thanksgiving and although I had been trying to keep my suspicions quiet, I couldn't help it. When I asked him about the address he caved and admitted he'd been shopping and went to ask my Dad's permission(!). I was SO excited, but then he tried to put me off and make me wait for the actual proposal. I've always been an "I want it NOW" kind of person and first thing in the morning on Black Friday you bet your ass I was online pinning away into my secret "My Wedding!!!!" board. And calling my sister to tell her. But I couldn't tell anyone else! I couldn't openly talk about planning or getting engaged or ANYTHING and by Sunday I was so depressed. 

My Mom called me to talk about venues and after we hung up I just sat there and cried. B couldn't understand why I was so upset and I told him "You're not a girl! You would never be able to understand what I'm feeling right now! I'm so excited and happy and I want to TELL THE WORLD!!" So we agreed later that day that when he actually picked up the ring from the jeweler, we'd go to dinner and make it official. He was upset that he'd ruined the surprise and wanted to make it special for me.

The very next day, after his lunch break, he emailed me at work to say "How do you feel about going for sushi tonight?" which I knew was code word for I've got the ring.... and I almost fell out of my chair with excitement. But later in the day he tried to throw me off by talking about going to the gym, and telling me not to get my hopes up. I was so MAD at him for messing with my head!! But I knew that he was just trying as hard as he could to make a last ditch effort to surprise me.

On the way home he called to say that the gym was out of the question and that we had 7 o'clock reservations at the sushi restaurant. So we go and we're sitting up at the sushi bar and we're waiting for our food and the waiter comes up to me with the restaurant phone in his hand and he's trying to tell me in broken English that it's for me. I am SO confused, but I take the phone anyway, and on the other end is B's 10 (11?) year old niece and she says "I was just wondering if you want to be my Aunt?" Oh. My. Gosh.... how cute is that??? I cried a little and said "Of course I would love to be your Aunt!!" and as I'm talking to her B is pulling out the ring and putting it on for me. I wish I could say that there was big fanfare at the restaurant like in the movies, but I don't think a single other person in the restaurant even noticed, and the staff didn't speak English so it was just between us. I couldn't stop staring at the new sparkly on my hand! I love it. 

We left the restaurant and I called all of our family members to spread the good news. It was so much fun. Then it was back to the internet to look at venues and Pinterest and Wedding Bee and The Knot... it never ends. I can't stop myself! I'm insane! Today I got the contracts for the venue that we've chosen, or rather that my Mom and I have chosen, B was not all that interested in venue shopping with us. I'm very excited to have that big get out of the way so I can focus on the details. 

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We have less than a year and a half to go before the big day so I have plenty of time to make it my dream day. (I mean OUR dream day.... right, ours, yeah) You wait your whole life for this and then all of a sudden it's here and it doesn't feel real and you catch a glance at the ring that says IT'S FOR REAL and it's so exciting. I don't want to rush the next 15 months, but at the same time, I can't wait for the big day!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pinterest Finds: Sheperd's Pie



My latest Pinterest dinner was this Shepherd's Pie from The Domestic Man. I stuck to the recipe pretty strictly for the meat mixture and made my own dairy free mashed potatoes using Earth Balance and chicken stock (instead of milk, so good, try it!). I have to say, the meat mixture didn't have a ton of flavor and was kind of dry. Growing up my mom used to make her own version of Shepherd's Pie. Honestly I never even heard the name Shepherd's Pie until I saw it on a menu as an adult. My mom's was called "corn, hamburg and potato" and was literally corn, hamburg, and potato - browned ground beef, creamed corn, and topped with mashed potatoes, baked until the top of the potatoes were browned. I loved it! But as an adult I'm trying to step it up and make it more flavorful and a little healthier if possible. We've been eating a lot of ground beef lately because it's cheap and easy but now that I'm counting calories I'm starting to realize how high in cals it is. From a paleo perspective it's fine, but right now, from a calorie counting perspective, it's a little bit much. I can't even believe I'm going to say this, but I'm getting sick of Carol Fenster's meatloaf... B LOVES it and requests it weekly. I need to find some lighter recipes for dinners, I'm off to PIN! If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Progress

Calorie counting is going well so far, it really helps that B is doing it with me. If he wasn't, I probably already would've given up. But we bought a scale (remember when I threw mine away?) and I'm weighing myself only once a week. Otherwise I become a raging lunatic and eating disorder behavior ensues (hello binge eating and food hiding!). In my first week I've lost about 5 lbs which I know is the typical week one bloat loss. The thing I like about MyFitnessPal is that when you complete your day it tells you "If every day were like today, you would weigh XXX pounds in 5 weeks!" When we had our cheat dinner on Sunday and I logged it all, it told me if every day was like today, I'd gain 4 lbs over the next 5 weeks. Really helped to shed some light on how I got this heavy! Not that I didn't know... but it really spells it out for you. I've been getting my workouts in using the WOD Genius app which provides customized crossfit style workouts. I love it, they can be very challenging if you push yourself. You also can get rather easy workouts like the one I did on Sunday. I was lazy...

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The rest of the weekend was pretty decent. My friend's nephew was in the playoffs with his high school varsity soccer team. He plays sometimes with B on his indoor soccer team so we wanted to go out and support him. Friday night they fought into overtime to win 3-2. Unfortunately Sunday they lost 2-1 but it was a lot of fun to go and watch. We even made some signs for him:

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Weekend mornings are when B takes Roddy to the dog park and he is most definitely a creature of habit. He loves to go to the park and when B went to the gym first on Sunday morning Roddy was very sad. B came home from the gym to take a shower and there Roddy sat, at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for him to come back down and take him out.

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He is the funniest dog. Off they went to the park and he was very happy.

Yesterday I had the day off so I got a bunch of laundry and cleaning done then went over to my friend's house to have a Twilight marathon before we go see the last Breaking Dawn when it comes out. Yes, we are 30-something year old women that love Twilight! Unfortunately, I could feel I was coming down with a cold, I had a scratchy throat and by the end of the first movie my nose started running really bad, so I had to cut the marathon short and head home. Today I'm at work, but my nose is a faucet and I can't stop sneezing. I feel bad for the guy sitting in front of me. Hopefully it will move quickly, lots of fluids and healthy foods! That's all for now, see ya later!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Calories... AHHHHHH!

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Well, B has convinced me to start counting calories again. Don't take that the wrong way, he loves me and all of my back fat, it's just that he's going to be counting calories for himself, and I want to lose weight too, and he's going to want to know how many calories are in the dinners I make every night. I figured if I'm going to be calculating cals for him, might as well track them for myself as well. I have a love/hate relationship with calorie counting and am not sure I'm going to be able to stand it for too long, but I also know that if I want to see any real progress on this weight loss journey, it might be my best chance. So here goes. Again. yay. ;)

Seriously though.. my chin is starting to resemble Junie-Boo-Boo's. It's unattractive.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gluten and Dairy Free Buffalo Turkey Lettuce Wraps



In my never ending quest to actually MAKE the recipes I pin on Pinterest, I finally cooked up this little gem last night to have for lunches this week. I'd say it turned out pretty decent, but I didn't bother with the carrots and celery on top, nor did I think of anything to have on the side, so my lunch today was pretty simple. I did add some homemade mock blue cheese dressing to pour over the turkey and I'm glad I did because the buffalo sauce was spice!! Admittedly, buffalo sauce tastes much better when it's saturating breaded chicken, but we're trying to lighten things up over here these days. I would definitely make this again but I might try ground chicken next time instead of turkey, add some more spices for additional flavor, and have maybe some roasted potatoes on the side.

How do I make homemade gf/df blue cheese dressing, you ask? Well, it's not really blue cheese, but it's that cool, creamy compliment that you just have to have on top of spicy buffalo sauced anything. I mix up some mayo and sour cream, a dash of apple cider vinegar, onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper and a little bit of lemon juice. It works. I like it. It's so easy and cheap!

What else is new around here? B recently turned 30 and we just ended his "birthday month" with a bang with all our friends on Saturday night. It was a blast. I recently started a new position at my company as a programmer/analyst and am still in training but loving it so far. We're trying to reel in the endless junk food eating, clean up our diets, and get back to the gym. My doctor wasn't too happy with the number on the scale the last time I went (not that I'm like, "YAY, extra pounds!" either..). Roddy is still the best dog ever, sweet as can be and a huge snuggle bug.

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Oh and my sister is expecting baby #2 in February, YAY!!!! I can't wait to meet my new little NIECE!! Maggie is going to be 3 in December, can you believe how fast time flies? I just love that little munchkin!!

So life is good, I'm really looking forward to the holidays, B and I are hosting Christmas for my family and I can't wait. I hope all of you are doing well and good things are happening. Hopefully this recent health kick will lead to more posts! At least more evidence of my Pinterest progress! :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Creamy Spinach & Avocado Pasta

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A while ago Marlow posted this recipe for Creamy Spinach & Avocado Pasta over at Gluten Hates Me and I immediately pinned it to my Dinner Ideas board and have been meaning to make it for dinner ever since. I finally had the chance tonight with all of the ingredients on hand. I also kicked it up by adding chicken which I had marinated in dairy free caesar salad dressing dressing all day. I can't believe I waited this long to try this dish with two of my favorite foods, spinach and avocado. Thankfully I made a ton so there are plenty of leftovers!! I used some free samples of Jovial pasta that I had received a while ago and it was also delicious. It cooked up in 9 minutes and was the perfect texture and flavor. Sorry my photos lately are terrible, I have been using nothing but my old iPhone and it's just garbage. I'll have to move my big camera downstairs so I have it on hand!

Before dinner I got in a quick 5K. Ok well not really, it took me forever, my legs felt like lead, and I walked a good chunk of it, but at least I did it! It was nice to look at the fall foliage, I love New England!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CrossFit at Home

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I'm really trying to get back into exercise, but the thought of going to the gym and riding the elliptical machine for 30 minutes and then going through a round of strength training just doesn't appeal to me at all. I've been reading a lot of Paleo blogs and many of these also talk a lot about CrossFit and as much as I like the CrossFit model, I simply cannot afford to join a CrossFit gym right now. The other day I saw on PaleOMG that a new WOD (workout of the day) Genius app had been launched which would generate workouts based on what workout gear you have access too, such as a bike, dumbells, a bench, a step, running, etc. So even with minimal access to workout gear, you can get in a good workout. Yesterday I entered that I had access to running, a bike, a stair/step and the above workout was generated for me. I mapped out 1 mile around my neighborhood on gmaps pedometer and set off to do my workout. I loved being able to do this workout at home at my own pace. It wasn't super hard, but I still felt like I had a good workout when I finished and I had biked 5 miles, and done 60 of each, jumping jacks, push ups (NOT hand stand pushups, are you kidding me??), and walking lunges.

When Bill got home from archery he made us a delicious dinner of Alaskan Cod, I had some acorn squash roasting in the oven, and then some corn on the side. It was so delicious! We have started having fish once a week and I'm loving it. I never used to buy it because I hated the smell it left in the house but so far it hasn't been bad and it's worth it for the variety we've added to the dinner routine. As far as dieting goes, I just am not into it right now. I'm just trying not to eat too much junk and ramp up the workouts. Do I want to lose weight? Yeah, but it's honestly just not a priority for me right now. Frankly, trying to lose weight is a lot of work and it's just not something I want to focus my energy on. My focus is to eat foods that make me feel good and exercise to keep my body from breaking down. Besides, Bill happens to like my big ole butt!! ;)

Most importantly, I just want to enjoy the fall and get in as many fall activities as possible. And we have Bill's 30th birthday coming up so we have some fun things planned for that. And if some gf pumpkin poppers make their way into my oven, I won't be too upset about that either!

Friday, September 21, 2012

In the end, it was worth it.

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In my town there is this hill. It's a good sized hill and people like to go hiking there. I went hiking there once about 10 years ago and I forget most of the experience, that should've been my first hint. When I started working at my current job back in 2010 I thought I should start hiking that hill again since I drive by it every day, but I never did. A year and a half ago when I started dating Bill I thought we should start hiking that hill, it would be fun, and he lived in that town. How convenient. But we never did. And then I moved in with Bill in that little town with that little hill and I thought, well now we'll definitely start hiking that hill, how could we not? But we didn't. Until about a month ago when Bill went hiking there with a friend and had a nice time and thought we should try it together.

Well you know, I haven't done much exercise in quite some time. To say I'm totally, utterly, completely out of shape would be a fair assessment. But I want to get back into shape! And I want to hike that hill!! I've done it before, once, ten years ago, so it can't be that bad right? So we did. We went and hiked the hill and I tell you, not 50 feet up that bastard I started huffing and puffing like I was about to take my very last huff and/or puff and my face turned bright red and Bill might have laughed at me a little bit until I almost bit his face off. But he pushed me on and didn't let me give up and I made it to the top of that little hill without murdering him and we were happy! And he tried to find this little spot that looks out over our little town but he's not so good with directions so we didn't find it that day.

A week or so later we went back and tried it again and I huffed and I puffed until I almost blew that little hill down, but I made it to the top again. This time I didn't want to murder anyone at all. And we found that little spot that overlooks our little town and it was glorious. This week I tried it again all by myself after work one night and I am good with directions so I found that little spot that overlooks our little town with no problems, and do you know what? I got to see this sunset and it was amazing and I was so happy that I was able to push myself, huffing and puffing all the way, to the top of the hill.

Then I made the trek back down the bottom and the sun was falling behind the trees and it was starting to get dark under the branches and I might have been a little bit afraid. Then I saw the guy with the members only jacket and the 80's style glasses and I thought I might have made a bad choice in hiking by myself at sunset, but I made it back to my car and drove home safely and decided not to do that all by myself again, at least not that late in the day, but I did it. And I was proud. And it was so worth it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pancakes!

photo A little while ago I met my girlfriends for breakfast at The Friendly Toast in Cambridge, MA. Of course before we went I checked out the menu online and was so excited to see that they offer gluten-free pancakes!! I'm a huge breakfast fan and most of the time you'll find me eating eggs over easy and bacon, so I was looking forward to a change of pace. Before we ordered, we were checking out the other diners' plates and I could see that the pancakes were huge! You can order 1 cake, 2 cakes or 3 cakes and add blueberry crumbles, toffee chips or chocolate chips, they also have specialty pancakes like coconut cakes, king cakes, and pumpkin (not available GF). I was curious about the size compared to the "real" ones so I asked the server. He said they are just as round, but a bit thinner based on the batter. I said, sign me up for 2! (And a side of bacon please!) These pancakes were so delicious, I couldn't even finish half of my plate. Unfortunately I said no to a to-go container thinking I didn't want to have the calories later but I wish I had taken them home. I can't wait to go back, next time I'm getting one cake and a side of home-fries, I stole a few from my friend Katie and they were unbelievable! All the girls ordered something different and everyone was picking off each others plates, the servings were massive! I definitely recommend this place, but be prepared to wait to get in, it was featured on Travel Channel's Man vs Food Nation, and also Good Morning America. There is always a bit of a wait, the restaurant has a funky vibe with lots of retro decor and really cool staff. I can't wait to go back!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Guest Post: Preventing Cancer Through Better Nutrition


Today's guest post comes from Jillian McKee who works and writes for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. I was excited when she contacted me about writing a guest post, as I feel that proper nutrition is important no matter what the health issue is, but I don't think it gets any more important than when we're talking about Cancer.

Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Check out here blog posts at the mesothelioma.com blog!

Preventing Cancer Through Better Nutrition

There are a variety of different diseases that are linked to poor nutrition. This includes heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and even some kinds of cancer. Many Americans think that they can simply pop a few multivitamins and solve all of their problems. It’s not the case.

Various types of cancer are going to create a number of problems inside the body. The treatment, too, is going to alter the way the body functions. Whether it’s radiation therapy, surgery or even alternative mesothelioma treatment options, there are ways that the body can manage through these treatments better than if nutrition wasn't a focus.

Before one considers nutrition to deal with cancer, it’s possible that one can prevent cancer altogether by focusing on nutrition from day 1. The National Cancer Institute released a tip sheet on diet related diseases that included cancer.

A healthy diet, according to the National Cancer Institute, is 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables. While this may seem high in comparison to what the average person eats on a daily basis, it is very easy to do with fruits and vegetables as substitutes for snacks throughout the day as well as a garden salad for lunch or dinner.

This healthy diet is going to reduce the risks for a variety of diseases, including cancer. Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of disease fighting phytochemicals and fiber that are often missing from the multivitamins that people take every day. Even if the multivitamins do contain these, they aren't at the necessary levels, which is why people must get these vitamins the good old-fashioned way – by eating the foods that contain them naturally.

There is no miracle food that’s going to prevent cancer. However, there are a number of research reports that indicate various types of cancers are linked to nutrition and obesity. When a person who is suffering from poor nutrition or obesity has another factor that is contributed to cancer, they run a higher risk of getting cancer as well.

Cancer isn’t something that anyone plans on getting. In fact, many people assume they will never get cancer, despite the alarming number of people who are diagnosed with some form of cancer every single year. People are ignorant to the symptoms and do nothing in the way of preventing it – which is also why America is fighting higher obesity rates than ever before.

The average American may consume one or two servings of fruits and vegetables in a single day. This is about a third of what they should be eating. In addition to fruits and vegetables, a person should be concerned with maintaining their ideal weight. Those who maintain their ideal weight are healthier in general and run a lower risk of getting a variety of different cancers.

You can never be too safe. When you want to live a healthy life and better prepare yourself for being disease-free, you need to make nutrition a top concern. Eating the right amount of vitamins, minerals and proteins will help to boost your immune system. You will find that you have more energy and are sick less often throughout the year.

Should you ever be diagnosed with cancer despite eating a healthy diet regularly, you will be better prepared to face the treatments that you will have to endure. The side effects from the treatments can result in nausea, dry mouth and a variety of other symptoms. When you are eating the right foods, however, you can experience fewer symptoms as well as less drastic versions of all of the symptoms.

Cancer is nothing to play around with. Depending on when the diagnosis is made and what kind of cancer it is, many people experience a prognosis of 5 to 10 years. You can improve this when you eat healthy.

There’s no sense waiting until you are diagnosed with cancer to start thinking about proper nutrition. When you maintain your ideal weight and begin eating more fruits and vegetables, you take a step in the right direction. You’ll feel better and you will reduce your risk in being diagnosed with many kinds of cancer.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rudi's Tortillas Review and a GIVEAWAY!!

Winner Announced!! Random number generator = 5 jacobithegreat you win!!!!  Send me an email - jen at a life of sugar and spice dot com, with your mailing information so I can get this prize pack sent to you by Rudi's!!


Recently the folks at Rudi's were kind enough to send me some samples of their three new tortilla flavors, plain, fiesta and spinach. I have been looking forward to trying these since I first saw them on Marlow's blog a while ago.

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(Sorry for the crappy iphone photo!)

Here I'm having a spinach tortilla filled with tuna salad. These wraps are SO good. Pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds and you have a soft, pliable wrap that does NOT fall apart in your hands. I happened to have some leftover taco chicken from dinner so I filled a fiesta wrap up with some of that topped with guacamole and dairy free sour cream. So delicious. Very little leakage and it did not fall apart at all. I'm in love!!! I had to freeze them but just pull one out of the freezer, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds - perfect.

I'm sorry I don't have better pictures for you but unfortunately, last wednesday I threw my back out. Making lunch at all was a chore and messing around with my camera was out of the question. That crappy iphone pic was all I could do! Thankfully I'm feeling much better, not 100%, but better every day.

Now, to the giveaway! Rudi's is giving away a picnic basket full of goodies!

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This awesome package includes:

Picnic Basket
Service for four people: flatware, plates, glasses, wine opener and napkins
Picnic Blanket
Product Coupons, GF Tortillas and Rudi's Swag

All you have to do to win is leave a comment below! The winner will be chosen by random number generator on Saturday 8/25.

Also - check out the What's Under Wraps? Giveaways on Facebook that are going on for the rest of the month of August!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oh, hey!

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Hello there! It's been a while! Almost 3 months since my last post... so what's been happening? Last we talked I was starting on a Paleo-ish journey. Again. How'd that work out? Well, it didn't. Of course not. It never does. I've come to the realization that being on any kind of "diet" just doesn't work for me. It stresses me out and I get fed up and I end up over-indulging. I went WAY overboard this time too. Yuck.

But then we went on vacation down in Dennisport (see last summer's recap here!) and it was awesome and for some reason, I ate better than I had in a long time and I felt so much better. The house we rented was a walk to the beach so we spent every single day swimming and sunning and relaxing.

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We went kayaking

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Crabbing

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We ate a ton of grilled meats

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And maybe drank a little too much wine, and cider, and wine... and more cider

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It was so much fun and so relaxing. I can't wait until next year!

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As far as food and this blog and all that jazz... to be perfectly honest, I'm just tired of writing about gluten and dairy. I really don't know how all of you bloggers out there do it day in and day out. I also have noticed that the majority of the GF blogs in my reader give me endless posts about junk food. Cake, cookies, breads, every alternative to non-gf treats you can imagine. I am trying hard to eat less processed foods and looking at all these sweet treats all day long is not helping! I'm reading a lot more paleo, primal and clean eating blogs because their food posts are so much healthier. Although I'm not specifically doing a paleo diet, the blogs give me lots of meal ideas. Basically my mindset is absolutely no gluten or dairy and very little added sugar. I eat mostly protein and veggies and maybe a udi's bun for a sandwich or burger here and there. Breakfasts are usually eggs and veggies and another type of meat, lunch is salads or meats and veggies or maybe a sandwich and dinner is always meats and veggies. Treats are restricted to the weekends or special occassions. And I'm trying to limit the alcohol intake to one or two days a week, on the weekends only. But that's a tough one to stick to, a glass of wine on a work night is sometimes essential!


Anyway, I can't say that I'm going to be blogging all that much going forward, and if I do, it may not be food related, but we'll see how it goes. I do miss writing, but haven't had much to write about lately! Ok. That's all. See you soon :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Paleo(ish) - Round Two

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Ok so this photo does not really show a completely Paleo meal, with white potatoes and earth balance and barbeque sauce out of a bottle, but there are no grains in this photo so it's a good start. I've decided to give the Paleo diet another shot for a few reasons. One - I need to lose weight! and Two - I need to get my stomach back on track. I had great success with it last year and both Bill and I want to cut way back on the grain intake and eat a cleaner diet. Paleo is right up my alley with the gluten/dairy issues so it just makes sense. The good news is I got my blood work results back yesterday and everything is perfect. I am very happy about that. My B12 level is off the charts which I guess is ok, but I also had an injection right before they drew my blood so that may have been a little inaccurate. Because of that, I don't have to do injections anymore, yay!

That delicious looking pulled pork up there is from Everyday Paleo and it was really good and so easy, another crock pot gem. I'm pinning away as many Paleo meals as I can and also good Paleo websites. I've also joined SparkPeople to help keep me accountable during the transition. The plan again is to make this a lifestyle change, not just a diet to lose a few pounds. At first I joined SP thinking that I would start counting calories again, but I quickly realized after spending some time on that site that this is a major trigger for me and the negative thoughts about weight and food started creeping back in. However, there is a Paleo group there so I thought I'd stick around to get some support from those people. It's a free site anyway, not losing anything there. I just can't do the whole calorie counting, stepping on the scale thing. It quickly turns into an obsession. Bill is hell bent on buying a scale (I threw mine away, remember?) and I've asked him not to, or at least if he has to, to put it somewhere where I can't see it. People that haven't experienced disordered behavior cannot understand where we are coming from. He really wants to get a scale to track his progress. All I need are my clothes, they will tell me if I am getting smaller when they start getting too big.

The plan is to eat as clean as possible. I'm not necessarily following the most strict Paleo rules. I do plan to continue to eat white potatoes, but I'm trying to avoid them in fried form. I also might sneak in some goat cheese here and there, and I absolutely am not giving up sweet treats, I'm just keeping them to the bare minimum. So stay tuned, and if you have some good Paleo resources, tips, tricks, etc, I'd be glad to hear them!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You have to fail to succeed?

I'm still on the fence about the truth behind "healthier" baked goods. But at the same time, I'm giving these alternative recipes a shot, just to see. This past weekend I tried this recipe for almond meal pancakes that I've heard such great things about. I had purchased a bag of almond meal based on Tina's experiments that she deemed great successes. I don't know what I was thinking, but for some reason I had it in my head that almond meal was going to taste like flour. I whipped up the recipe and set to work on my first two pancakes, and when they were done, I dove in.

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Surprise! These taste like ALMONDS! How strange... The thing is, I the only way I like almonds is if they are coated in dark chocolate or ground into almond butter. These pancakes were dry and crumbly and nutty. NOT what I was looking for. At least I gave them a shot. Now what am I going to do with the rest of my almond meal??

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gluten and Dairy Free Chicken Caesar Salad

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I had my annual physical today with my primary care physician. She was pleased disappointed to announce that I have gained EIGHTEEN pounds in the past year. Ohhhh dear, it's worse than I thought. Last year when I went to visit Dr. V, I was in the middle of my stint with the Paleo Diet. I was slim and feeling great. And then I met Bill and it all went to the french fries. Time to clean it up again. Fortunately we're both on the same page and trying hard to eat healthier and get more exercise.

With that said, I'm on the hunt for new recipes to add to my Pinterest boards. Last week I stumbled upon this gem from my friend Liz. I was so excited too because I can't tell you the last time I had a Chicken Caesar Salad, and I looooove it. This is a recipe for gluten and dairy free Caesar dressing and not only is it SO good, it's really easy to make. I bought some Gillian's GF/DF croutons, grilled up some chicken and tossed it all together with some romaine lettuce. All that was missing was some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I actually would like to try this with some freshly grated Pecorino Romano which is similar to Parmesan but made with sheep's milk and I have found that I tolerate goat's/sheep's milk quite well.

I don't exactly know what the plan is going to be as far as losing weight goes. I've done Weight Watchers, calorie counting, Paleo, South Beach... so many different diets. I don't want to diet, I want my lifestyle changes to actually stick. The Paleo diet was supposed to be that change, but it just wasn't. The bottom line is, I'm not just going to go crash dieting to drop these 20 extra L.B.s. I'll keep you posted on how it's going. Keep in mind that I rarely step on the scale, so I'll just let you know if my pants are fitting any better. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's cookin, good lookin?

blueberry muffins

Here's another Pinterest find - Insanely Good Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins. I followed the recipe almost exactly, using Bob's Red Mill GF Oats, Better Batter for the flour, frozen blueberries and honey instead of agave. My only fault was that I didn't put the oats in the food processor first. I mean, I meant to do that. Yeah, I wanted chunky oat filled muffins! No I didn't really, I just didn't read the instructions CAREFULLY before a began and I had the oats soaking in the milk before I realized I was supposed to process them first. Oh well. These came out pretty good, nothing mind blowing by any means.

This brings me to another topic of discussion. A lot of foodies out there are trying to make "healthier" baked goods. This recipe is certainly one of them. People are reducing the fat by taking out butter and adding apple sauce, using less sugar, replacing refined sugar with "natural" sweeteners... and so on and so forth. However, lately I've started to see a shift in that people are now saying if you are going to bake muffins, bake traditional muffins! That's what you're craving, and the "healthier" version is probably not going to satisfy you. Not only that, but is the proclaimed "healthier" version actually that much better for you? What I've found is that most of these recipes are still loaded with sugar, just in various forms. Removing the butter and adding applesauce is a big one, you are replacing fat with sugar. Yes maybe that sugar has trace amounts of vitamins and minerals from it's original form, but is it enough to count? I'd argue that butter in it's most natural form is better than processed sugar any day.

Are there truly healthy snack options out there? I'm sure there are. Do they compare to the real deal? Most often, no. I think the bottom line is that we just shouldn't be eating the sweet stuff that often, and when we do, go big or go home, I say. This blog has always talked a lot about sugar, I eat way too much of it and I have done more than enough research to know that it's bad stuff, no matter what form it comes in (honey, agave, raw sugar.... etc). I'd love to hear what YOU think about it. Share with me your healthier yet still tasty treats!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ok Pinterest, You Win

It's been five months since Bill and I moved in together. Living with a guy after eight years of the single life has been an adjustment, but a lot of fun, especially since we have our fur baby to keep us company.

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One of the biggest adjustments has been the one to my ass. It's huge. I'm not kidding. I've put on no less than (and possibly more than, at this point) TWELVE POUNDS. Good heavens! I have been losing and gaining the same 20 pounds for 10 years and I'm back on the gaining end. I blame french fries. And sugar. And Bill. We finally had to agree to only eat junk food one day a week. Sundays are for indulging. We also have been terrible about keeping to a food budget, especially on the weekends. This week we sat down and hammered out our budget and agreed to be much more strict about eating what we buy at the grocery store, and limiting the trips to Chipotle to once or twice a week at the most. 

Having said all of that, I have been terrible at coming up with creative meal ideas. Pork chops, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts was getting old. You would think after all these years of blogging, I'd have an arsenal of great recipes. And you'd be right, I do! But they are all tucked away in folders on my laptop and looking at the file names just doesn't do much to spark inspiration. Enter Pinterest. 

I am in LOVE with Pinterest, and do you know why? The PICTURES! When I am deciding what to make for dinner, looking at a board filled with beautiful food photos gets me very excited about cooking again. I'm inspired! Now when I see a recipe I like in google reader, I pin it. And it's working! I'm cooking up a storm. Bill is partial to the crock pot recipes, which I'm totally fine with. Not only is it ridiculously easy to make crock pot meals, but coming home after work to a house that smells amazing is a major bonus. Also they are a lot harder to screw up... I'm not a horrible cook, but I'm not the best either. 

My FAVORITE so far is this super simple shredded chicken recipe. All it takes is chicken (I used 6 boneless, skinless thighs), taco seasoning (Old El Paso is GF/DF) and a jar of salsa. Seriously.

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I made my lazy man's homemade guacamole, and added df sour cream (tofutti), and the sauce leftover from the crockpot. Served in corn tortillas. SO DELICIOUS. I could eat these every single day. 

Jen's Lazy Guacamole

1 Ripe Avocado
Some Garlic Powder and Onion Powder
The juice of one Lime
A spoonful of salsa
A little salt and pepper

Smash it all up and top off your tacos. It's not the best guac, but it's quick and easy and pretty tasty!

You can pin that if you want too... ; )

Friday, March 23, 2012

My first post in a while? A meme... why not?

Every day I look at this blog and I think, I really should write something. My friend Athena posted this A-Z meme yesterday, and these usually aren't my thing, but I liked this one and thought it would be fun to share. So here goes!

A is for age: 31... almost 32 eeeek.

B is for breakfast today:  Two eggs over easy, home fries and bacon.

C is for what you’re currently craving:  Chocolate. Always.

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D is for dinner tonight:  Probably some form of takeout... it's Friday

E is for favorite type of exercise:  DANCE! I'm currently taking tap class and Zumba, I need to find some more classes. I also love kickboxing which I haven't done in years and miss it a lot


F is for an irrational fear: Fire. I've been afraid for as long as I can remember that my house was going to burn down. I used to have nightmares all the time that things were burning down, then I'd wake up and be convinced that I smelled smoke in the house. Horrible.

G is for gross food: Peas. Yuck.


H is for hometown:  I currently live in Canton, but my hometown is Plymouth, MA. Yes that's right, I'm from American's Hometown. I actually can trace my heritage all the way back to the Mayflower. Pretty cool huh?

I is for something important:  Friends and family!!! #1 And Roddy of course!



J is for current favorite jam:  I have had Michael Buble's version of Feeling Good stuck in my head all day. It's our cool down song at Zumba and I loooooove it.

K is for kids: Not at the moment, maybe someday, not anytime soon though!

L is for current location: The Wood

M is for the most recent way you spent money:   On food, always on food.


N is for something you need:  More money!

O is for occupation:   Medical Software Applications Specialist

P is for pet peeve:  Oh boy, where do I start. People that fly up the LEFT TURN ONLY lane and then proceed to go straight and cut off everyone else that patiently waited in the GO STRAIGHT lane.
(and all sorts of other driving offenses make me crazy)

People chewing  Not necessarily a pet peeve, but it's the one thing that drives me the most insane and it's tough to control.

Q is for a quote:  "Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people that treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, and remember that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it, if it changes your life, let it, no one said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."

R is for random fact about you:  I have a birthmark on the back of my leg from when the doctor did an amnio on my mom and poked me in the leg while in the womb... weird. I know.


S is for favorite healthy snack:  An orange and a handful of peanuts. Such a good combo

T is for favorite treat:  A warm brownie topped with so delicious mocha almond fudge coconut milk ice cream... ohhhhh yum

U is for something that makes you unique:   I'm 6' tall 

V is for favorite vegetable:   Avocado, although I think that's a fruit technically, but it's my favorite!

W is for today’s workout:  I'll get back to you on that one....

X is for X-rays you’ve had:   Teeth, right wrist from when I broke it in 4th grade, right elbow from when I fractured it when I was 24, chest x-rays when I had the flu, bowel x-rays after the Crohn's diagnosis, I think that's it...

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Laughing with my love on the couch after a long day, watching my dog sleep in the weirdest position ever for a solid 15 minutes




Z is for your time zone:  Eastern

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Time goes by...

I know, I know, I promised weeks ago on Twitter that I'd post a beer review. It's in my drafts. I'm still working on it. I need to drink more beer first. In the meantime, let's reflect. I'm about to close down my 4th year of blogging. The posts are few and far between these days and I often think about just shutting it down. Well, I wouldn't shut it down completely because I do still get quite a bit of traffic on this site from google searches related to gluten/dairy/crohn's/celiac/misophonia, etc. And sometimes I suddenly get a burst of inspiration to start writing again, but I tell you, it wanes very quickly. I'm kind of bored with talking about the diet. It's not a diet. It's a way of life. Four years in and I still struggle with it so much. It's ridiculous too because EVERYONE around me is so supportive, I'm my own worst enemy. Anyway, this is not a pity post. I wanted to share my fabulous weekend where B and I celebrated our first year of dating. Woah, a whole year?! Yup. Unreal...

In the past year we met, we fell in love, we moved in together, we got a dog... it's been a whirlwind! Last Tuesday on Valentine's Day we celebrated our actual anniversary. B had planned a whole weekend of events, so I surprised him with a romantic dinner on the actual day. I made one of his favorites and mine - Carol Fenster's meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn.

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Saturday we started our weekend off having a drink at Jacob Wirth.

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Then it was off to the Strand Theater to see The Addams Family musical. It was awesome, we all enjoyed it so much. I loved it! I'm such a musical theater geek... it was such a great idea and it was all B's.

jen and bill

After that we avoided the crowds and snuck over to my favorite spot in the theater district - Sweetwater Tavern - for more drinks and conversation.

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Our friends were nice enough to drive us over to the Marriott at Long Wharf where we were going to stay the night -ooooh fancy.

After checking in and dropping off our stuff, we made our way over to Nebo. I had posted on Twitter that we were going to Marco, but that plan didn't work out and Nebo was my second choice. I knew they have an extensive GF menu so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately I'm a moron and ordered a chicken dish that did not involve GF pasta or GF pizza crust.. what was I thinking? I wasn't. The chicken was good but a giant bowl of pasta would've been better. I also took no pictures.. I just didn't want to be that blogger girl at the restaurant.

Once dinner was done we walked back to the hotel and on the way B caught a sign out of the corner of his eye and decided we needed to investigate. He had seen the sign for Lulu's Sweet Shoppe and he figured they MUST have something I could eat. He's so good about just speaking up and asking if places have GF options, you'd think after four years I'd be a pro at this, but I'm terrible at it. I think it's the fear of rejection that gets me. It's disappointing. Luckily this time the girl said she had a flourless chocolate cookie and that she's fed it to her Celiac friend, and lo and behold the friend survived, so of course, I had to have one too. I don't know if you've picked up on this or not after reading this blog... but chocolate is my favorite. He also asked if they had any chocolate covered strawberries and the ladies were nice enough to make us some right then.



Soon after we got back to the hotel, there was a knock on the door from room service. B surprised me with a bottle of champagne and the front desk surprised us both with chocolate covered strawberries. Good thing we love them, now we had a double order! It was so nice.

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The next day we had a lazy morning.. I ordered room service and managed to spill a glass of OJ all over the bed... oops.

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We had an awesome time and we definitely need to have date nights more often. We spend so much time at home and we always invite people over our place which is great, but a night on the town is definitely in order every now and then.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs



I never got around to writing the obligatory New Year's Goals/Resolutions post. And I'm glad. If you are the type of person that makes a list of resolutions and actually follows through with them, well congratulations, but I am just NOT that person. To be perfectly honest, 2011 wasn't my best year. In fact it was right up at the top of the WORST list. I'm not much of a "personal details on the food blog" kind of girl, so I won't get into the dirty details, but life's been a struggle for me for the past handful of months. I was more than happy to swipe 2011 under the rug when that clock struck midnight!  The one thing I have in mind for 2012 is to do everything in my power to make this year a million times better than 2011. The truth is, at my most darkest days, I am still one of the lucky ones. I have so many good things in my life and for that I am very grateful.

Now back to the subject at hand. FOOD! Well considering the stress I've been under, my eating habits have kind of gone down the pooper... also considering that I live with someone that isn't afraid to eat dessert on a regular basis. I'm totally blaming him for my holiday weight gain! Not really but I did get a little out of control and my pants are a little bit tight. Ok, my jeans barely button, but my work pants still fit so we're good to go on that end. I've been trying to clean up my diet over the past couple of weeks and things are getting better. I've not gone completely Paleo again but I am trying to cut out the gf processed foods. I had some ground beef to use up so I decided to make meatballs and what goes with meatballs better than a soft squishy roll?? I bought some Rudi's Hamburger buns just for that and my lunch yesterday was SO delicious. Hit the spot. And yes, that is a Santa plate in January. We use that plate all year long. Adds a little joy to your lunch or dinner. The meatballs were made using Carol Fenster's recipe in 1,000 Gluten Free Recipes. I love that cookbook!