Dodging Holiday Bullets

It's been mentioned a time or two on this blog that my husband and I do not share a religion.  He's Christian, I'm...  not.  As such, Christmas is a holy day for him and his family, whereas for me it's... well, not.  Christmas, for me, is an entirely secular holiday, an excuse to not go to work, to exchange presents, and to see my family (or friends, those years I was working retail.  But I respect that it's a sacred day for many people, and as such I have never felt comfortable sending out Christmas cards, per se.

Yep, you read that right: I sent out "Happy Holiday" cards not because I'm "at war with Christmas", but because I respect it, and because I don't want to falsely represent myself as someone who observes it as a religious holiday.

This caused me to have a tiny little crisis during out first Christmas as a married couple, because- as I mentioned- Nathan is Christian, and as much as I don't want to falsely represent myself as a Christian, I don't want to falsely represent him as not.  He celebrates Christmas, his family celebrates Christmas, and they are the type of people who do not settle for a generic "happy holidays": nor should they.  They have a specific holiday, and it's theirs, and they shouldn't have to censor their greetings any more than I should be censured for saying "Happy Solstice!" (which falls on the 22nd this year, in case you were curious).

Now, let me clarify: Nathan doesn't care about holiday cards, Christmas or otherwise.  Left up to him, there would be no seasonal greetings upon card stock, let alone photos and letters, etc etc.  So he was just as happy not sending anything- which was a perfectly reasonable solution to my holiday-spirit-ual dilema.

But I was not okay not sending anything.  I like sending out cards (you should see me around Valentine's Day), and I didn't want to not do it just because we couldn't agree on the wording (and by "we", I mean my own brain).  At last, however, a solution sprang fully formed from the aether, allowing me to to make everyone happy- including, most importantly, myself.

Thus did my tradition of sending "Happy New Year!" cards begin.
This Man is Not Afraid to wish you a Merry Christmas


The Adventures of Weenie McSissyPants

After my excellent reintroduction to climbing the other evening, I was very excited to get up and go bouldering this morning.  I waltzed into the gym about an hour after they opened, found it pleasingly underpopulated, and slipped on my shoes.  Then I sauntered over to the empty bouldering area, stretched out, sat back, and considered my routes.

I shall start with a V0, I thought.  Just to get warmed up.  And then move my way up until I get tired.  No need to rush right into a V2.

No need, indeed, gentle readers, for that V0 I first tried my hand(s) at was only just barely conquered- and it was my only victory of the morning.  I was swiftly- and humbly- reminded how much freaking harder bouldering is than harness climbing, especially when most of the bouldering area seems to consist of overhangs.  Verily, my hiney was most thoroughly kicked.

And so it was I found myself taking my shoes off after about half an hour of good-faith effort, the words weenie mcsissypants floating through my head.  Fortunately, however, Older and Wiser O was able to counter those words with, "For the love of stars, you haven't bouldered in at least six years.  It is going to take time to build your muscles back up.  Not to mention your technique.  So just be pleased that you managed to complete even one problem, and then go look at the message board for someone you might want to be belay partners with."

And I did.


Stress Relief

Egads, it's December!

...but chances are you knew that already.

I am feeling good right now, the sort of sore looseness that only comes after a good workout.  It is a much needed looseness, coming as it does after the Thanksgiving holiday which, while wonderful and full of family, was also full of Stress (capital S).  Not even Thanksgiving per se (or, as I prefer to call it, Turkey Liberation Day), but the following Tuesday.  That was the day my mom and stepdad headed back home, which came on top of a couple of other (non-related) Emotional Low Blows.  As such I did not go to work that day, but instead engaged in two sure-fire stress relievers: I made lists, and I cleaned house.

That was not enough, and so last night I baked.

I was still feeling like Blah this morning, but that was okay because I knew what adventure this evening held: my brush-up climbing class at Vancouver's new rock gym.  Although to be perfectly candid, as the hour drew near I found it was adding to my stress rather than relieving it.  I started to feel really nervous, and vomitty, and all-around I-don't-want-to-go-ish (because what if I look like a fool??).  But I did go, and I had a really excellent time.  I found that I hadn't forgotten nearly as much as I'd thought I had in the three years since I last put on a harness, and moreover that it's really every bit as fun as I remembered.  After warming up on a couple of routes, I pushed myself by doing a 5.8, and although I took a fall on that one my partner (brand new to belaying) caught me and all was well (and then I finished it, which was even more well).  By the time I finished my last climb of the night (a 5.7 with the teensiest bit of overhang that my triceps are currently making much of) I'd worked up a happy, healthy sweat, and a determination to make it out there at least three times a week.  Not to mention the happy sore looseness.

And now?  Now we sleep the sleep of the (stress-free) righteous.


My First Foray into Gluten-Free Baking

Okay, I promise that my blog is not going to be about the food I eat for the rest of forever... but this entry definitely is.  You see, when I first came to terms with the whole, "No more gluten" thing, my immediate response was to reach out to some of the people in my life who are already dealing with it, and get their recommendations on cookbooks, etc.  One thing that I kept hearing, over and over again, was that "Gluten-free baking is a pain in the posterior," usually followed by, "So I just don't bother."

This distressed me, Gentle Readers, because I like to bake.  Not to the extent that I want to do it for a living, or blog about it all the time, but I genuinely enjoy baking as a leisure/stress-relief activity, and I genuinely love sharing the results with others.  So "not bothering" with baking was not really an option.

Of course, my extreme dietary restrictions over the past month or so have meant that any sort of baking, gluten-free or otherwise, was off the table.  But now that I've been adding things back in (including sugars, nuts, and eggs) I'm at a point where it was feasible once more.

Enter my totally awesome mother.

She has been very supportive of my "weird new diet" (my words, not hers) and when I got her back to my house from the airport (she's visiting for a while- yay!) one of the very first things she unpacked (possibly even the first) was a handful of gluten-free baked-goods recipes.

Did I mention how totally awesome she is?
Also I totally roped her into being the photographer for my messier-hand-moments.
So this morning (with a giant mental shout-out to my pumpkin-loving-paleo-pal Lara) I tried my hand at the Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations' Pumpkin Cranberry Scones.  Except... well, no one ever spices things enough for my tastes, so I definitely modified the spices.  Behold!


Some day I will convince my photographer husband he should spend more time photographing for my blog and then you will not be forced to deal with my camera-phone images all the time...
2c almond flour
1/2c pumpkin puree (This is not the same as pumpkin in a can.  Which I did not know, so it's a good thing I saw a display of the stuff as I was walking towards the front of the store with my canned pumpkin...)
1/2c dried cranberries
1/4c shredded coconut
1/4c crushed pecans (My mom, who is visiting from the South, was mortified by how expensive these nuts are up here.  She promised to send me some from her front yard.  Score!)
1 large egg
3Tbsp raw honey (It should go without saying to use local stuff- it is so much more flavorful than Mr. Bear)
1tsp sea salt
1tsp baking powder
2.5tsp cinnamon
2tsp ginger
healthy dash of cloves
healthy dash of nutmeg (I think I did seven shakes?)


pre-heat oven to 400
line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add wet ingredients and knead by hand until well-mixed

One of the afore-mentioned messier-hand-moments.
use a spoon to dollop out the dough onto the parchment paper (I made it an even dozen)
shape into tiny adorable triangles about 1/4" thick
My dread pastry fleet, just prior to deployment.
put the baking sheet (parchment paper, raw scones, and all) onto a second (preferably larger) baking sheet, to ensure the bottoms don't burn

bake in oven apx 15 minutes (I checked mine at 12, then kept them in another 4)
remove when tops starts to brown and a toothpick pushed into the center of a scone comes back clean
remove from oven, set baking pan to cool on rack.  gently loosen scones after about 2-3 min, continue to cool an additional 2-3, then enjoy!
Striking a smug baker's pose is part of my enjoyment.

We had ours with tea, because we have some British heritage in there somewhere.  (That's a lie- mine was tisane, not tea!)

On the cusp of the Moment of Truth!

Super-flattering.  Thanks Mom.




For some reason Mom didn't want photographic evidence of her chowing down on scones...


Detox: Day Twenty-One (or: Free At Last!)

Here it is, my final "detox" entry (knock on wood).  Aren't you excited?  I know I sure as heck am, as I plan on allowing myself a single piece of chocolate this evening to celebrate my return to the world of (new)normal eating.  And I'm definitely going out on some decent food:

Breakfast: four pieces of Canadian bacon (aka ham) (eaten on the go, because we had places to be)
Lunch: lots of raspberries and strawberries
Dinner: lamb burgers topped with mashed up avocados seasoned with cilantro, cumin, lime juice and bacon.  So very Mexican-y and delicious!

Just wrap and enjoy!

Now, as much as I'd like to just jump back in to all my old favorite foods at once (baked potato stuffed with butter and mushrooms and cheese and sour cream and hell some chili while we're at it?  Yesplease!) the reality of the situation is that I'm now to ease myself back into naughty foods, taking it slowly so I can process how my body... well, processes each new thing.  I debated for a long time on what to go back to first, and (as you may have guessed) sugars won out.  Hence the piece of dark chocolate this evening.  Tomorrow morning it will be a smoothie with some high-glycemic fruits (hello banana base!) and my vanilla coconut milk.  In a few days, who knows?  Maybe grains.  Maybe eggs.  We'll see how I feel...

In the meantime, expect this blog to get back to more fictional-type writings.  I figure NaNo is a great time for me to toss out some excerpts, eh?


Detox: Day Twenty (or: Nothing But Protein!)

Today was a day I needed Much Strength, and so my menu looked like this:

Breakfast: three pieces of canadian bacon, sauteed pear
Lunch: three pieces of American bacon, handful of blackberries
Dinner: Two lamb-burgers topped with avocado and (you guessed it) more bacon!  Wrapped in romaine

Why the need for so much meat, you ask?  Well, this morning I needed physical strength to help my friends move into their new apartment (Nathan did not fortify, and thus had the very unpleasant experience of bonking later in the day) and then in the evening I needed emotional strength to deal with the Alabama/LSU game.  (which did not, I might add, end well.  There is not sunshine in Timaru at the moment... mighty Bama has struck out...)

I have to admit, tho'- there came a moment during lunch in which I thought to myself the rather blasphemous thought, "Perhaps I am getting a little sick of bacon."

Good thing tomorrow is the last day, eh?


Detox: Day Nineteen (or: Let's Pretend I Have a Mail Bag!)

A friend of mine posted this in yesterday's comments:

Teacher Jamie said...
Is bacon required? I mean...there is nothing wrong with bacon. Is it just the choice you made for breakfast most days? I guess there is little else to have for breakfast when eggs and grains are out. I would be interested to read more about the specific fruits and vegetables that are not allowed. This cleanse sounds all kinds of healthy :) Good work.

And I started to answer her in the comments, but as my answer got longer and longer I realized that I should just make it my post for today.  So here we go!


Bacon is not required, but I definitely need protein in the mornings (can't make it up that hill without it!), and bacon is the most delicious/convenient option for me at the moment.  I will not try to pretend that there's not a bit of, "Well if I can't have chocolate at least I can have all the bacon I want!" going on with that decision...

Once eggs are allowed back in, I expect there will be more of that, not to mention once I can have the full range of fruits again- woo smoothies!  The truth is that as much as I love bacon, it's not exactly a quickly-made breakfast, you know?  And I do tend to, um, be a bit rushed in the mornings?  Because I am bad about getting out of bed when the first alarm goes off? (this is an entirely different Bad Habit which needs breaking... but I can only handle one or two Major Projects at a time...)

I am not allowed to have any high-glycemic fruits, which is a pretty long freaking list (including things like bananas and mangos and pineapples- oh my!)  In terms of fruit it's easier to give you the ALLOWED list:

grapefruit (not that I've taken advantage of that one)
plums (ooo, or that one-  maybe I'll remedy that this weekend...)

Aaaaand that's about it.  Grapes maybe, but it's pushing it, so I don't.

In terms of veggies, it's the NOT ALLOWED list that is shorter, because it's limited to "nightshade vegetables" (not all of which are technically vegetables, but whatever):

peppers (including sweet and cayenne)

So pretty easy to avoid, really.  I mean, don't get me wrong- I love everything on that list (except eggplants, with which I have a cordial relationship) but it's not like you're going to find any of those things ACCIDENTALLY IN YOUR FOOD.  (Well, except cayenne,  maybe, as evidenced by my "oh crap" moment with my curried squash soup a couple of weeks ago...)

And there you have it, folks!  A more in-detail breakdown of my non-meat yays-and-nays (meat is all yay).  It is very healthy, and I do feel pretty damn good, but I'm also so ready for it to be over.  It's getting harder and harder to say "no" to a piece of chocolate.  At this point I'm so exhausted with behaving myself that it just seems easier to unwrap that damn piece of candy and put it in my mouth than it does to keep up the emotional effort of being disciplined.

But I can do anything for three weeks.  And I will.

(Oh hey, speaking of yay...)

Breakfast: four slices of bacon, handful of blackberries (switchin' it up- woo!)
Lunch: leftover beef-and-onion-and-garlic bidness
Snack: two mandarin oranges, a handful of blackberies
Dinner: medium-rare steak and a generous helping of mashed cauliflower (much better texture this time, as I remembered to leave out the water)


Detox: Day Eighteen (or: What Can I Say)

I do not have clever things to say this evening, as I have poured them all into today's NaNo writing (all 4000 hand-written words of it, thankyouverymuch).  As such, I am going to go curl up and read more of The Strain, which I cannot recommend highly enough.  It creeps me out so badly, but I just can't stop reading...

Breakfast: four slices of bacon, a handful of blueberries (what can I say- I like routine)
Grazing: a gazillion carrots, two mandarin oranges (what can I say- I didn't have anything to bring for lunch other than a bag of stupid carrots)
Dinner: spaghetti squash with ground beef, onion, and garlic tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Jamaican allspice (what can I say- Nathan's been on an allspice kick)


Detox: Day Seventeen (or: Man I Write A Lot)

I just got done transcribing today's 3500 NaNo words, and I am so sorely tempted to just push through and match yesterday's count.  But the truth is I'm tired, and even more than I want to show off my ability to churn out words (no comment on quality of said words, mind you) I want to stop staring at the computer screen and go curl up with my husband on the couch.  But before I can do that I have to update the blog...

...and so here we are.

The very best thing about today is this:

What is that, you may ask?  That, my friends, is an empty jar which once held the dread substance RepaireVite.  I took my last dose ever this evening, and I am so incredibly stoked that I'm done with it.  Slightly confused, because it was supposedly a four-week supply, but what do I care?  I finished it all, it's all through my system, woo hoo no more gross powder!

Breakfast tomorrow is going to be just brilliant.

Speaking of which:

Breakfast: four slices of bacon and two handfuls of blueberries
Lunch: most of a giant granny smith apple (yes I know that's not a real lunch)
Snack: more blueberries
Dinner: grilled pork, onions, apple, and pear.  Nathan seasoned it all with salt, pepper, cumin, and allspice, and it was freaking fabulous.  The variety of textures was really nice, too.


Detox: Day Sixteen (or: NaNo Begins)

NaNoWriMo starts today.  Perhaps you remember my adventures with it last year?

I am a little concerned about the twin brain-drains of focusing on the detox and focusing on pounding out a minimum of 2000 words a day (that's my personal minimum- technically I only need to write 1667 to hit the 50,000 word goal) but hey- go big or go home, right?  And anyway I only have like five days left on this detox-wagon. And then?  Oh such mindless culinary delights that shall be mine!

The other concern I have is that this year I will not have the same all-hours access to my netbook as I did last year.  At first I was really worried about when I would find time to write- but then I suddenly remembered the advanced technology of pen and paper.

Yes, pen and paper, Gentle Readers!  So portable, so versatile!  So cutting edge!  I used these amazing tools during every slow moment I had at work today, and when I finally got around to transcribing my 27 hand-scribbled pages, it came out to about 3800 words.  So.  I think I'll be okay...

(although Nathan pointed out I'm going to need a much bigger notebook- and soon)

Breakfast: pieces of chicken breast fried in bacon fat, a handful of blueberries
Lunch: 5 oz tuna, mandarin, mackintosh
Snack: four pieces of bacon, handful of blackberries
Dinner: gyro meat with bacon and avocado, served on a bed of spinach and romaine


Detox: Day Fifteen (Hyper Halloween Edition)

Breakfast: roasted pears sprinkled with Jamaican allspice
Snack: three mandarin oranges
Lunch: 5 oz tuna, one mackintosh
Snack: a few pieces of chicken breast, a handful of blueberries
Dinner: roasted butternut squash, onion, and carrots tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper (ridiculously delicious and autumnal)

Happy Halloween!

(of course, for some of you it's already All Hallow's.  Sorry about that mom...)

Ah yes, once again we return to my Mostest Favoritest Holiday.  Not being able to surreptitiously snack on candy had cast a bit of a pall on the day, but that pall was completely blown away once evening came.  And why is that, you might wonder?  Trick-or-treaters!  At long last, I had actual trick-or-treaters come to my door, and I got to give out candy, and it made me so happy I was making joyful squee-y noises every time I closed the door behind them.  Seriously, every time the doorbell rang I opened it with my heart in my throat until I heard the magic words-

"Trick or treat!"

-and spied the bevy of adorable little faces just waiting to get enough sugar to turn into little demons that I wouldn't have to deal with.  And my heart melted into a dribbly smile all over my face.  Awesome.

In fact, I made so many happy noises that Nathan said, "You like Halloween way too much."

"Pish tosh!" said I.  "It is impossible to like Halloween 'too much'," and then I went back to watching The Vampire Diaries.

What was particularly amusing to me was that not a single kid knew what I was, something that hadn't even occurred to me.  (My favorite response was from a little girl about six or so saying, "You're pretty!" pause "What are you?")  Quite a few parents got it,  however, so I was soothed by that.  Well, okay, to be completely honest they "got" that I was from Star Trek.  They did not get who I was, because I was missing my most important accessory:

Yes, the Riker to my Troi had secluded himself on the holodeck, as it were.  But the man had already hosted a five+-hour HalloWarming party for me, so I gave him a buy for the Actual Evening.

And now for some of those promised photos of me carving the pumpkins:

Gutting "Nathan's" pumpking

Little did these seeds realize the horrible, non-edible fate that awaited them!

Why yes, I DO glow with a holy light during Creative Moments.

And the pumpkins themselves!
Also I learned that it doesn't matter WHERE you put the pumpkin- some kid WILL trip over it.

Hard to tell from this photo, but that leaf in the middle glowed, too.

Seeking out new civilizations!
 I also tried to get a shot of the paper mache pumpkins I set up in the window all lit up (they got a lot of, "Oh wow!  Look at all those pumpkins!" from the kids, which was pretty gratifying after all the time and effort I put into the damnable things) but my poor little phone just couldn't handle the dark, and so you must extrapolate from the Daytime Photo:
There are like twelve paper mache pumpkins in that window, and I ASSURE YOU, they looked awesome at night.

And finally?  Tribbles.

The sign we had up during the party.

Are Trouble.
And sassy.

Especially when they mutate into four-limbed critters.

"I'm sensing... great confusion!"


Detox: Day Fourteen (or: Couch Day)

I got up earlier than I thought I would this morning, and spent a couple of hours finishing the post-party clean up.  Then I sat down on the couch to play a video game... and stayed there the rest of the day.

I wasn't playing video games that whole time, mind you.  In fact I only played the game for about an hour, before Nathan came home and I turned it off so we could eat lunch.  But at that point my memories of the day's timeline start to get a little confused.  Suffice to say, I know I spent the next seven or so hours on the couch, and at various points I was either trying to read, or napping, or contemplating the structure within the space I could see outside our front window (or the fall of light in the crafting nook), or watching whatever movie Nathan put on.

I was not feeling my best.

On the upside, I have finally seen Strictly Ballroom, and I loved it.  And now?  A pre-nine-o'clock bedtime.  We'll see about work in the morning.

Breakfast: five pieces of bacon and three pieces of apple fried in bacon fat
Lunch: lamb burger on romaine
Dinner: roasted pear slices dusted with cinnamon, and roasted sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepepr


Detox: Day Thirteen (or: Jenny O is a Masochist)

(yeah yeah yeah- the party went past midnight so the time-stamp/tense on this entry is a lie, but whatever...)

Today was... dear holy stars, today was.

I can't break my menu down for you, because I didn't really divide my meals up into what anyone might consider "meals".  Instead I steadily grazed throughout the day on leftover strips of flank steak, baby carrots, and (once the party got started) entirely too many green apple slices.  Oh, and pears, because some of my lovely guests made it a point to bring something I could actually eat, the darlings.  I told people not to bother worrying about my diet (after all, I was one of like twenty people, and if I wasn't catering the party menu to myself- which I most adamantly was not- there was no need for anyone else to do so) but I must say it was nice to have a change from the apple slices...

Setting up for the party was torture.  Such torture.  I opened the bag of candy-corn and it was like I'd opened a portal to heaven and allowed its scent to come wafting out into the mortal realms.  And I'm not even a particularly big fan of candy corn!  The gummy worms, of which I am a huge fan, were even worse.  Warming up the caramel?  Which happens to be one of my most favorite things in the universe?  Yeah.  I wanted to lick the spoon so badly I was on the verge of tears.  But I persevered in the face of all these yummy things...

Of the things in this picture I think I can perhaps eat the toothpicks.
...and in those that came out later.  The sausages Nathan grilled?  My stomach started up a protest march that we weren't allowed to eat any.  "It's meat!  We're allowed meat!" yelled my stomach.  "Yeah, meat!  Gimmee!" cried my tongue.

"But its meat with stuff it.  Sugar stuff," I explained, partially wishing I hadn't read the ingredients.

"We don't care!  Give it!"

But "give it" I did not.  I remained strong throughout the entire evening, although I may have over-done it on the mulled cider... and really it was a lovely time, with more people coming than I had expected, and such clever costumes!  Here is a small sampling:

Watson, Holmes, The Lady, The Pirate
Unfortunately I did not get a lot of photos (I don't even have one of me and Nathan!) because I was too busy playing hostess.  Ah well... there's still Halloween itself!


Detox: Day Twelve (or: The Beef, and Where It Can Be Found [Hint: My Belly])

I gleefully cut out early from work today... so that I could come home and work on cleaning the house.  Ah, adulthood: such are your questionable pleasures.  I've gotten a good portion done- still need to scrub the upstairs bathroom and the kitchen counters, and then do all the floors (my biggest dirt-pet-peeve)... but I'm thinking the kitchen and floors can wait until tomorrow.

Nothing particularly interesting happened today, and I didn't have anything particularly remarkable in the way of food, which leaves me with a dilemma:

What to write about.

 Fortunately, I remembered that I'd been wanting to talk about my recent uptick in bacon consumption.  Actually, more to the point, the uptick in my meat consumption in general.  I believe it is safe to say that in the past two weeks  I've eaten more animal flesh than I'd eaten in the entirety of the previous two months.

No, I am not a heavy consumer of animal proteins (or, at least, I wasn't).

See, I went mostly-vegetarian right not too long after college.  This decision was not born of any health or moral concerns- no, I stopped eating meat because I was poor and meat was expensive.  It wasn't a particularly huge sacrifice for me- there wasn't a lot of meat that I actively enjoyed, anyway (bacon being the obvious exception to this- but  I was too poor to eat out much and damned if I knew how to cook my own.)  Not to mention the fact that any time I have beef that's too fatty it... does unpleasant things to my digestion.

My meat-intake went up a bit once I moved to Birmingham and introduced Nathan to a grill.  In fact, once we were married it was very easy to tell who had cooked dinner by checking for whether or not it had meat in it (keeping in mind that that I don't like to handle raw meat).  But even so, I'd say we had meat no more than three times a week in an extravagant week (remember the part where it's expensive?)

So this meat-every-day, sometimes-twice-or-thrice-a-day thing is a bit overwhelming for me, and there are times when I feel pretty rebellious about (admittedly most of those times are when I get a gander at our butcher's bill.  Meat in general is expensive, yes, but the price of grass-fed beef makes my inner miser shriek in mortified agony) .  But it's important that I get protein, and right now meat is the only way I can get it.  In another nine days I can have eggs again, which will help (especially since I freaking love me some easy-to-prep eggs).

In the meantime, here's what my meat-thrice-a-day menu looked like:

Breakfast:  half an avocado mashed up with four strips of bacon (and I have to officially say that Trader Joe's, much as I love that store, sucks for avocados)
Lunch: 5 oz of tuna, mackintosh apple
Snack: baby carrots out the wazoo
Dinner: grilled flank steak with steamed broccoli.  A lot of broccoli.  Tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.


Detox: Day Eleven (or: I Miss Being Lazy)

Remember how yesterday I was all, "Oh blah blah blah, positive attitude, yay!"?


Today I was a Crankasaurus Rex (or Regina, if you will), and although it had nothing to do with my diet restrictions, it sure did make me feel Put Upon in the Extreme.  I'm tired of not being able to be thoughtless with my food.  Everything is so planned out, and I can't just come home and go, "Snacking on whatever I feel like, la la la."  I came home starving for a snack, and the only thing available to me (without further prep) were some baby carrots.  Which, don't get me wrong- I am a person who enjoys baby carrots, but I'm getting a bit sick of them.

I don't know what my deal was today.  I was just irritable all around, and ridiculously hungry even tho' I was eating perfectly reasonable amounts of food.  Check it out:

Breakfast: bacon
Lunch: 5 oz tuna (for real in water this time), mackintosh, mandarin
Snack: baby carrots 
Dinner: grilled fish with fennel-and-avocado salad
Late Snack: more of my salad, and three pieces of bacon because I was craving it so badly

Salad Fixings
My strangely unsatisfying dinner.

My after-dinner activity of the day was to carve our pumpkins, and make pumpkin seeds for the party.  (Nathan took some photos of me carving, so you'll have to wait for him to process them- but it will be a nice change from all my phone-snapshots!)

I DID take a picture of the pumpkin guts.  Did you know white pumpkins have green guts?  And that they smell like honey dew melon?  Yeah, neither did I.
...now that I think about it, this little tableau is kind of twisted...
The pumpkin seeds were an utter failure, by the by.  It sucks not being able to be my own taste-tester.  It sucks even more that I spent several hours laboring over them.  Ah well- life goes on.

BURNED! (the spices, I mean- not the actual seeds)


Detox: Day Ten (or: Punching Temptation in the Throat)

I have to say that my naughty-food cravings have, by and large, disappeared.  What I mean to say is that they are not longer causing obsession.  Yes, I will still occasionally think, "Man, I could really go for a piece of dark chocolate right now," but then the thought passes and I'm fine.  So what better moment to really push my limits?!

This evening I made popcorn balls for my upcoming HalloWarming party.  There was not a single component of those balls that I could eat.  Not the popcorn,

It is shockingly difficult to find just PLAIN popcorn for the microwave.

not the butter, not the vanilla extract, and especially not any of what this guy was pushing:

Hello my old friend.

I came thisclose to automatically licking the honey from the jar-seal, but I remembered just in the nick of time, and was hyper-vigilant for the rest of the evening.  And let me tell you, this stuff smells so heavenly, vigilance was required.

Caramelized honey.  That's right.
But I did it!

Trying not to let any drool drip on them.

(Although to be completely honest, those were the only popcorn balls that got made.  The rest of it refused to go into ball form, so there will be a bowl of candied popcorn next to the bowl of candy corn...)

I'm pretty damned pleased with myself- not just for resisting completely The Naughty, but also because... I don't feel bitter about it.  Which means that my Attitude has become Correctly Aligned.

(now I just have to ignore the four bags of candy I bought... at least it's all gluten-free!)

Breakfast: 2.5 piece of fried ham, .5 cup blueberries
Lunch: leftover spaghetti squash with beef
Snack: two mandarin oranges, .5 cup blueberries
Dinner: fennel-encrusted pork with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions

(and no popcorn balls!)


Detox: Day Nine (or, How to Imbibe the Repulsive)

After much trial-and-error (and rinse-and-repeat, sometimes literally) I have finally settled on the best way to take my horrific medicine.

First, pour a teeny bit of orange juice in a shot glass.  Add the scoop of RepairVite (I'd say apx 1-2 tsp), then top with more orange juice and stir with a tiny implement.  Pour about four to six ounces of orange juice into a separate, untainted glass.  Inhale deeply, exhale fully, and throw the disgusto-shot back, quickly followed by a mouthful of pure orange juice to be swished around in the mouth and swallowed.  Then (still without breathing) take another mouthful of orange juice, swish and swallow again.  Allow oxygen to return, try to ignore the trace of gross aftertaste in your  mouth as you finish off the last of the orange juice from the glass.

Objects in the photo smaller than they appear...

I've got this down to a fine art, I tell you.  And I owe it all to my parents who, when I was a child, taught me the wisdom of taking medicine without breathing.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

Breakfast: half an avocado mashed up with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro; apx one cup of fresh blueberries

I know, I know- there is a distinct lack of protein in this picture.

Lunch:  Leftover beef-and-spaghetti squash
Snack(s): one mackintosh, one mandarin, one piece of ham, about half a cup of leftover sprout slaw
Dinner:  gyro meat, bacon, and avocado on a bed of romaine and spinach.

Because my Katie is clever and chose a restaurant that I could get Approved Food from.  And dudes- it was so effin' good.


Detox Day Eight: (or, Pleasant Side Effects)

Remember what I wrote earlier about mental fogginess?  Apparently it was definitely going on last night, when I mis-titled my entry "Day Six".  But it's fixed now...

As you know, the reason I'm doing this gut-repair program is, in fact, to repair my gut.  And to tell the truth, I've started thinking of it less as a "detox" or a "cleanse" and more as a "reset".  I'm resetting my system to not-inflamed, which has some pretty major health benefits for me.  Lack of pain being chief among them.


Oh however, Gentle Readers.  There are some other, less-lofty and pure-of-heart side effects to this little diet of mine, and by that I mean getting all svelte-ified.  Which is not to say I was particularly large before, but when three people (four if you count Nathan) comment in the space of two days that one has lost weight, and when one looks in the mirror and says, "Why hello there," and furthermore when one can wear the teeny-weeny t-shirt she used to wear as a little kid with only a minimal of gut-tightening...  well.

I know, I know- it's just that I'm less internally inflamed, and retaining less water, but hey- I'll take it!  Just imagine the results when I stop being so blase about my weight-resistance...

Breakfast: four slices of bacon (which I cooked myself, thank you very much) and half a honey crisp
Lunch: steak seasoned with salt, pepper, olive-oil (crafty Nathan made an extra one yesterday so I'd have it for lunch today)
Snack: one mackintosh, one mandarin, and a handful of baby carrots.
Dinner: brussel-sprout slaw

 Possibly you are looking at that dinner entry and going either, "Huh?" or even "Ew."  Oh Gentle Readers, allow me to enlighten you on the deliciousness of brussel-sprout slaw!  And I say this as a person who was firmly convinced, prior to my first experience with the slaw, that brussel sprouts were basically evil little slime balls sent from the future to break our spirits, thereby enabling a swifter conquering via our benevolent alien overlords...


When Lara and Chris came to visit a few weeks back, one of the things they cooked for us was brussel sprout slaw.  I was (as you might have guessed, given the above passage) somewhat skeptical.  But then it turned out to be so fabulous that I begged her for the recipe- and she complied.

I had to modify what she sent me, since I can't have nuts right now (and anyway I didn't have any pecans on hand), and I'm not positive that the mustard we have is gluten-free (it says "vinegar" on the ingredients label, but doesn't specify what kind of vinegar), plus I totally wanted to add avocados, because why not?  So here is what I ended up doing!

First off I cooked me some bacon (I was eager to repeat this morning's success.  Thank you, Betty Crocker!).  Lara specified that it needed to be nice and crispy, so nice and crispy it was!  Rather than chop it up like a sissy-man, I crumbled it (and then licked the crumbs off my fingers, which might have just replaced "licking the cake batter off the spoon" as my favorite food-prep perk).

Tastes like candy!

While the bacon was doing its slow-cook thing, I threw some walnuts in a pan (because I am such a good wife) and toasted 'em over medium-high heat until I thought they looked good (or, as Lara more usefully put it, "until fragrant") and then set them aside.

Next I juiced a lemon and whisked it with a little shy of 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper.  Then came chopping up some scallions (I did three, but it's totally a personal preference thing), and subjecting my brussel sprouts to my food processor for some good old fashioned shredding.

Shreddin', and slicin', and wishin', and hopin'...

Also I sliced up the afore-mentioned avocado.

Technically I only used half.  I'll eat the other half tomorrow- perhaps for breakfast??

I used my bacon-frying-pan (after pouring off all but about 1tbsp of fat) to saute the shredded sprouts at a medium heat until they turned bright green...

Not yet a bright-enough green.  Also, naughty walnuts in the background.

 ...at which point I added the lemon-vinegar mix, bacon, avocado, and the other half of this morning's honey crisp apple (which I'd chopped via the food-processor while the sprouts were getting all bright green).  I stirred it about a bit longer, then decided it was dinner time.

And after this was gone I had seconds.

I served Nathan's with the walnuts because (as mentioned): good wife.

We both agreed it could have used more bacon (shocking, I know) but we'd only had five pieces to work with, so that was all that went in.  I think we could have doubled the bacon content and been fine.