Hello milestone…goodbye milestone!

Just a quick update:

So, at the end of last week, I was sitting right on the cusp of a pretty important milestone for me.  Crossing the 200 mark.  I do not weigh in very often as a rule, but knowing I was so close had me quite curious what the scale would say today!  I don’t have a scale at home, so I use the one at school.  It is like the ones they weigh you on at the doctor’s office.  I hopped up on it and for the first time in a VERY long time put that dial to 150 (not 200!) and went up from there.  It stopped sooner than I expected it to and I thought, “This can’t be right!”.  I made sure I readjusted myself, getting my feet nice and straight, and it stayed where it was!  I couldn’t belive it!  I weigh 195!!!  Hot diggity dog!!

I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to pick out anything in my closet and have it falling off of me or to be able to wear heels to church, but mostly it feels great to feel alive!  I have been a slug for so long and to have the kind of energy I have now is amazing and freeing! I feel like I can do anything!  I guess I need a new milestone goal, now.  I could get used to this.

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Foolproof Homemade Mayo!

In my past life, you would have never caught me making homemade mayo.  The thing is…I always wanted to.  The problem was…I was a slave to convenience!  I used to have a tshirt in college that said “convenience is the enemy!”.  Oh, how true that is.  Also, I recently had a friend post about his troubles with making mayo, and it made me even more frightened of it.  I didn’t need to make my own.  I could just buy it.  So, I did.  Until I went Paleo two months ago.  Now, I have made mayo probably five times, including today.  I am no longer afraid. You know it’s funny…thinking about it, I think part of the problem was I didn’t want to waste my money screwing it up.  Olive oil is expensive.  Ok, not really in comparison to the oils I buy now, but that notion held me back.  Trying to stretch every dollar was ingrained (pun intended) in me.  It is different now, I have finally come around to spending money on quality ingredients because they are better for me and my family, and we are worth it!

So, yesterday we ran out of mayo, and it was time to make more.  When I went Paleo, the first website I browsed for recipes was The Clothes Make The Girl run by Melissa Joulwan, a former roller derby girl gone clean.  She rocks to the nth degree!  The very first recipe I made of hers was…you guessed it, her homemade mayo.  She has a literally foolproof recipe.  I have done it several times now, and it comes out perfect every time!  I am lucky enough to have two Meyer lemon trees in my backyard, and I use those lemons like crazy. 

All you need is:

~

to get this:

~Two batches~

Are you ready to make your own?  Not scared, anymore?  You shouldn’t be, I promise. Now, get your butt over to Mel’s site and get the recipe!  You will thank me.  Did I mention that this stuff doesn’t even come close to comparing to that crap you buy in the store?  No?  Well, it doesn’t!  I eat it as a sauce on the top of my chicken burgers for lunch all the time, and I would miss it if it weren’t there.  It is that good!  Get the recipe here.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream (not from a truck!)

So, I have mentioned how obsessed my G-boy is with processed sugar.  When the weekend rolls around, the one thing I can be sure of is that he will ask me at least 246 times when the ice cream truck is coming.  For real.  If I could find the home of said truck and siphon the gas, I would!  Well ok, I probably wouldn’t, but I have seriously thought about it!  I have never wanted to see the death of a vehicle so bad in my entire life.  The freaking thing can be heard for miles.  Once, a few weeks ago, Garrett was asleep for a nap. Upstairs. In his room. With the fan on.  I heard the truck on the next street and, I am not kidding you, that kid was bolting downstairs before I could even think to myself, “Oh fooey, here comes the ice cream truck”.  I do not understand how he could have possibly heard it, but he did.  If I try to deny him the trip to the end of the driveway for his desired confection, it is like the world has come to an end.  Or I chopped off his arm. We have been through this, and it is no fun!

Today was no different.  It is Saturday aka, the weekend. Garrett was up at 7:30.  When he came downstairs, he was already dressed.  I hugged him and asked him why?  He doesn’t usually get dressed until later in the morning.  I mean, what are the weekends for if not to stay in your pj’s as long as possible?  Anyway, he says to me, “This way, I am already ready when the ice cream truck comes” in a tone of voice that said, “duh, mommy.  Today is the weekend and the ice cream trucks ALWAYS comes on the weekend!” I managed to contain myself and chose to ignore what he said.  Maybe not the best option, but seriously….I had barely taken a sip of my coffee!  Starting at about 10 o’clock though, he waited by the road off and on, money in hand, until early afternoon.  Seriously.  Here he is waiting.  Notice the red cup.  This is his cup of water because he got thirsty waiting!  Waiting for the ice cream truck is hard work. ugh.

Are you beginning to get a sense of how sugar obsessed this kid is?  I am on a mission, and I have my work cut out for me!  So, today I broke the news to him…he was done waiting for the truck and we would no longer be purchasing ice cream from the ice cream truck.  Nothing like breaking a child’s heart, right?  It is for his own good though and anyway, I don’t think he believed me.  He was standing by the back door trying to go back out to the driveway when I told him if you go out that door, you will go to bed and take a nap.  He takes me seriously when I say the word ‘nap’, so even though he had his hand on the knob, he did not turn it.  After I had his attention, I explained that we would be making our own ice cream today.  He said he wasn’t going to eat it.  He was having ice cream from the ice cream truck.  Ummm, no.  Sorry.  You’re not.  I put a can of coconut milk in the freezer to quick chill and told him we would get busy in just a little while.  Once he saw that I was serious about the ice cream truck, he started asking me, “Mom, when are we going to make ice cream? You said you were going to make ice cream!”  Geez.  Ok, ok.  Here we go….

I had to do a little looking for a recipe.  I know I had seen one that required only coconut milk, but I couldn’t remember where.  I found one that I thought would work for us at Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.  This guy is rad.  If you have not checked out his before and after pics, I suggest you do!  He puts out great information and tasty bites on his blog.  He has a great contest going right now, too!  Subscribe and follow him. You will be glad you did.

So, I decided to tweak the recipe a little bit to fit what we had on hand, and Garrett made the suggestion of adding cinnamon, so we did!  It turned out great!  Here is what we did…

This is what you need:

one 14 oz. can (guar gum free) coconut milk ~chilled~ we had full fat, so that’s what we used

1/4 cup raw honey

2 T. unsweetened cocoa

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup Enjoy Life choc chips

ice cream machine

Mix everything, except the chocolate chips, in a blender.  Put the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker in to the machine and turn it on.  Add the ice cream mixture from the blender and let it go for about 15-20 minutes.  Be sure you watch it.  Watching it is half the fun!  You will see it get thick, and you will know it’s ready.

Actually, at this point Garrett gave me a big hug and told me how much he loved me and that our ice cream was going to be way better that the ice cream from the ice cream truck.  My heart melted.

Right before it’s done, pour in the chocolate chips.

Remove the middle thingy (yeah, I don’t know what’s it is called) from the machine and scrape the ice cream off.

Don’t forget to lick the middle thingy…

Dish it up and serve it to those you love!

We enjoyed ours on the patio because it is such a gorgeous day here in Texas!  Here are both of my children enjoying their “healthy” ice cream (not from a truck!)

I love them immensely, and I want to do what is best for them.  Kids really do crave rules and boundaries and once given, they are usually ok with them.  We will still have to contend with the ice cream truck.  It will taunt us every weekend. I’m sure.  I am also sure that Garrett will want to go running after it, but I will tell him no.  It won’t be fun during the transition period, but eventually it will be fun!  and we like FUN.!

Eat Like a Dinosaur? Yes!

It’s here, it’s here!!!  I have been waiting with bated breath for my copy of  Eat Like a Dinosaur, the new kid-friendly cookbook from the Paleo Parents, to arrive in the mail and it came yesterday!

Since our Paleo journey is just beginning, this is only the second cookbook that I own that is written from a Paleo perspective.  Making the switch to Paleo had been the easiest thing I have ever done in my life, and my next mission is to switch the kids over to a Paleo diet.  The hubs has been on board with me from the git-go!

One of the biggest reasons I really want to switch the kids over is that, in our house, there is not a meal that goes by without my son, Garrett, asking “what’s for dessert”? Whether he has eaten 2 bites (and thinks that’s plenty to have dessert) or 50 bites (and I think he can’t possibly have room!), he ALWAYS wants dessert.  It really bothers me how much a part of his life processed sugar is, and I am determined to change it.

The book’s authors, Stacy and Matt, have obviously put their heart and soul (and their love for their children) into every page of this book!  I laid in bed last night and read it almost cover to cover and am amazed (and excited by what it means for me!) at what they have done.  Losing a collective 200 pounds between them and switching their children’s diets to a healthier way of eating is nothing short of amazing and inspiring!  I had to force myself to go to sleep!  The “Boring Chapter for Parents”  lit a fire under me that I have been needing.  I have been slowly trying to convert the kids (Garrett is 6 and Mina is 15), but it has not been very easy.  Stacy and Matt state quite simply, “transition quickly; be prepared to make concessions”.  Being a nurse, it makes me think of pulling a band-aid off. Just rip it off…it’s done, and the pain is over much quicker!  Having a teen who is set in her ways, and thinks she is right about most everything, and a little boy who lives for the ice cream truck on the weekends is going to make my task difficult, but not impossible with the help of Eat Like a Dinosaur.  I am not opposed to giving my kids treats.  In fact, I have no desire to cut that stuff out all together, but treats are just that.  Treats.  They are not an everyday thing but, when they have them, they can (and should be) healthy.  Now, I will be making better choices for them thanks to ELaD.  They have an entire chapter devoted to treats made with healthy alternatives, and it all looks delicious!

When I cam home yesterday, I saw the box, knew what it was and ripped it open right away.  I began thumbing through it, wanting to test a recipe right then, and the recipe for applesauce stood out immediately!  Garrett loves applesauce.  And seriously, could it be any simpler?  No.  It could not.   We had some apples already, so G and I got busy cooking!

Here’s how you do it…

Gather your ingredients.

Yep, that’s right.  Apples and cinnamon.  Told ya.  Simple!

Peel and chop the apples then sprinkle with cinnamon.

Yes, I chopped mine.  This step is not necessary, but there is a reason why I chopped them.  It’s because I love to chop.  Seriously.  I will happily chop anything you put in front of me.  I have a gorgeous knife collection that I love to use and a beautiful block of wood on my counter that calls my name just about every time I walk by.  It’s like my art.  I could chop all day.  I have even thought about being a sous chef just so I could chop!  It’s my addiction. Maybe I need a 12 step program?  If you have an apple slicer, it will make (very) short work of this recipe.  Use it.  Anyway, peel your apples, slice them (with whatever method you choose), put them in a baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and toss to coat.  You can cover the dish with foil (for a wetter sauce) or not, but bake at 350 for an hour.

Try to keep the monkey out of it until it’s done…

When it’s done, mash the apples with a potato masher. You can puree it in a food processor for a smoother sauce, but the kids and I like it chunky.

Serve and enjoy…and feel good that you have given your kid a healthy alternative!

Kids want they want.  They (think) they know what they want because the TV tells them what they should want.  It is a vicious cycle that is going to be challenging to stop, but I will stay the course.  Tough love at it’s finest!  I have a much larger arsenal now with Eat Like a Dinosaur in my hands and I plan to use all of it!  They give you the tools and tips that you need to be successful and we will be working our way through this cookbook with gusto!

I am on the cusp…

There are a few things that I really look forward to on this journey of mine.  Well, actually, there are a LOT of things, but one of the big milestones is getting ready to happen!  It could happen tomorrow or two days from now, but it’s coming.  In my past life, I never would have spoken about my insecurities or my weight to anyone let alone the WWW, but here goes…I am on the cusp of breaking the 200 mark (yeah, I said it…200 lbs and, just so you know, it will be the last time I say it!).  Yippee skippee! (yeah, I said that, too) I have not weighed less than 200 lbs since about 7 years ago.  My husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last December.  I got pregnant pretty quick after we married and well, if you are female and married, or have children, you know the rest.  If you have read my first post, Whole 30 and a Life 180, then you know I have been waiting my entire life to be on the road I now find myself walking.  I knew the day would come for me and it did!  Just not the way I imagined it would.

I don’t weigh in/measure very often anymore.  I don’t need to…I have scrub pants that I have to roll up so that they don’t fall off  of me so I know, without weighing, that I am losing weight.  In the past, I would have been on the scale every day.  The thing about the Paleo lifestyle is you don’t have to count calories.  That’s kind of how it is when you are eating real food… it’s all good for you, so it doesn’t really matter.  Now, don’t get me wrong…you can’t eat a ton of fruit or “treats” and expect to lose, but if you moderate your sugar and watch how much you eat of the higher carb veggies, you will be fine.  So, I have let go of the numbers.  The scale haunts me no longer.  It has quit calling my name.  I think it might even be collecting a little dust.  Poor scale.  So lonely.

Today, though, I weighed in.  I took my measurements and wrote it all down.  In fact, I panicked because it had been so long since I last measured that I forgot where I put the notepad that I wrote them down on.  I was so upset with myself thinking I didn’t keep it the last time I measured, but then I found it.  Right where I put it.  Story of my life.

Today the scale read 200 lbs. right on the money.  That’s 24 lbs. less than I weighed just two short months ago.  I have lost 3.5 inches off my waist and 3.5 inches off my hips.  My thighs are down 2 inches and my leg (from the knee down) is down 1.5 inches.  My wrist is half an inch smaller, which means I can almost wear my nice watch again!  I have a goal, and I am now 1/3 of the way there.  How cool is that??  Seriously cool, if you ask me.  I don’t think I have ever been happier! or more energetic!

Have you ever had that feeling that everything you have done in your life has been leading up to this one certain thing/moment/place?  That is the BEST part of all of this…knowing that I am in this for life now.  It amazes me every day to know without a shadow of a doubt that I WILL reach my goal.  Having that feeling is something I have only ever dreamed of.

Oh yeah, I had din din at the computer tonight.  Inspiration (once again!) from nom nom Paleo‘s lunch today made with leftover grass fed pot roast meat from Everyday Paleo, sauteed peppers and a curry Pure Wrap.  Thanks, ladies!  I apologize for the “bite” pic, but I had almost scarfed the whole thing before I remembered to take a pic. It was delish!

Yum! Yum! YUM!

Yesterday, I received my package from Improveat of Pure Wraps.  I had been anxiously awaiting it’s arrival!  After first reading about these wraps on nom nom Paleo‘s site and seeing her delicious creations, I had to get my hands on some. Not able to contain my excitement or the desire to try them as soon as possible, I made my Paleo Chicken Salad (recipe coming) and wrapped it up for lunch today.  I had read that some people didn’t like them because they are kind of thick and a little greasy, but neither of those things were an issue for me.  In fact, I found them to be more thin than thick.  I think they are perfect!  They have a slightly sweet flavor to them, and I love the texture.  They do not fall apart and even kind of cling to themselves helping to hold the wrap together.  Sandwich cravings be gone!  These wraps are an easy way to get a “old school” feeling lunch.

These are soo good and at only 4 per package, I have already placed another order!

Simple Seared Sea Bass

I love seafood.  I could eat my weight in shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, oysters etc., but I am not a huge fan of fish.  There is just something fishy (forgive the pun) about it that is off-putting to me, and forget about me eating it the next day as leftovers.  Not. Going. To. Happen.  Lately though, I have been trying to eat it more often.  After all, it is really good for you!  Wild caught fish is a fantastic source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential to our good health.

On one of my first trips to Whole Foods since going Paleo, I went crazy and bought three different kinds of fish…some wild caught Sockeye salmon, a few filets of Tilapia and some MSC certified Chilean sea bass.  I had never actually eaten Chilean sea bass.  I know there was (and still is) a lot of controversy about this particular fish, so this is a good reminder that it is critically important to know where your food comes from.  That way, you not only know that you are getting the highest quality meats, but also that they are sustainable.  This is at the core of the Paleo diet.  So, get to know your local farmers, your fish mongers and even the butchers at your favorite market.  Ask questions.  That is what they are there for and they love answering them.  They are the best at what they do.

I know I am way behind on this one, but Whole Foods brought Chilean Sea Bass back on the market with the MSC certification in 2006 (informative podcast here), and I just couldn’t resist it.  It is such a beautiful piece of fish, which is funny because the fish itself, also called the Patagonia toothfish, is not very pretty.

See?  Not pretty.  Really.  This is a face only a mother could love.

The Patagonia toothfish, also known as Chilean Sea Bass

The flesh, though?  Pretty!  Beautiful.  Striking.

Just goes to show, never judge a book by its cover.  Incidentally, I did not take a pic of the fish before I plated the dish, so I borrowed this beautiful picture from here.

Not having any prior experience cooking sea bass, I opted for the easiest preparation method I could think of…a simple pan sear.  Nothing like letting fresh, whole foods shine.  Here is how I did it…

Gather your ingredients…

4 sea bass filets, skin removed

1 T pastured butter

1 T olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Season the fish with s&p.  Melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add filets and cook, turning once, until nicely browned and firm to the touch ~about 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve with sides of choice.  I chose my pureed turnips and sautéed spinach.  YUM!

Simple, real food.  So easy and so delicious.