Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old insurance-nerd wife, mom, beauty lover, and about a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what I'm currently loving, books I'm reading, plus-size style, beauty recommendations, health + fitness endeavors and anything else I'm finding interesting at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!
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Monthly Archives: March 2012
It’s going to be April, you all! Where the heck is the time going? We are a quarter of the way through the year and I’m all of sudden feeling like there is quite a bit left to do! Ah well…that’s why I make lists!
In February I kicked ass at work but felt a little out of balance. I wanted March to be more fun. In the end, I’m happy to report that this was pretty easy to accomplish! March was full of relaxation and doing things just because I felt like it. I always fear that if I allow myself to only do what I feel like, nothing will get done. But do you know what the weird part is? I got a metric ton of work done on my 2012 Goals WITHOUT REALLY FEELING LIKE I WAS TRYING. Funny how that works. There’s a lesson in there somewhere and I think the lesson is going to sound a lot like “Follow your passions and the rewards will come.”
I get it…but it’s still a bit of a struggle.
I read A LOT of books in the bathtub this past month — my bathroom might officially be my favorite room in our house! I’ll be telling you all about what I read next week — lots of good ones actually — but I’m most excited about this victory because if you’ve been around here the last two months, you know that reading has been sorely missing from my daily routine.
I also worked out with abandon! More than 20 times in March despite the fact that we had weekends full of wine tasting, Girls Night’s with my mom, and dinner parties with my family to throw and life to live! Fitness-wise, I challenged myself this month by participating in the CrossFit Games Open. I have a lot to say about that, so I will probably do so in another post. But rest assured it was a blast and I’m so glad I did it!
I made a lot of progress this month towards getting that first unassisted pullup (June is the goal date! I’m gonna make this happen) and I started doing regular push ups in WODs (aka, not on my knees.) There’s no going back now — and my knees are going to be so happy that I’m no longer doing scaled push ups this spring because: Dresses + Town Whore Knees = Not A Good Look For Me. 🙂
Speaking of dresses — I bought a bunch of new ones and now I am so ready for spring it is silly! (Wear dresses everyday for a week is on my Spring Bucket List, so I’m sure I will show them to you sometime soon. Dresses make me so damn happy!) The weather was FINALLY nice enough for me to wear this dress yesterday and man, I still love it! I think I need to figure out some new ways to style it because I want to wear it every freaking day!
One of the things I’m looking most forward to this spring (aside from new clothes) is some of the places we are going. We solidified some travel plans this month and I’m excited about all of them! In a couple of weeks we are going to Portland — it will be both of our first times so if you have any recommendations of things to see or do, wait scratch that — recos on WHERE TO EAT (ha!) please let me know in the comments! We are excited to be heading up there (it’s one part work, one part play) and it should be a great time. We also ironed out the details of our long Sonoma weekend — both of which are on the Dream Travel List this year. I seriously can’t wait! And finally, for Garrett’s birthday the plan right now is to try and make it out to New Mexico to see his parents. I really would like to make that happen because we had so much fun out there last year.
March also had me switching up our meal planning a bit. We did a stint with some Zone/Paleo for about a month and while we definitely noted some positive changes, it came at the expense of my creativity in the kitchen. But I’m not giving up just yet. I’m taking the things I loved most from Zone (smaller portions, more balanced meals, kick ass food prep) and incorporating that with some of our Paleo passions (meal planning, not eating as much dairy, not having a “cheat day” — can you believe I didn’t enjoy the cheat day? WHO AM I?) My passion for cooking things just isn’t worth giving up! Not even for weight loss, so we’ll see if we can bring back some kitchen creativity and still get to my goals. Remember what I said in the beginning of this post about following your passions? I think I’m going to take that approach with my weight loss strategy!
Last but not least, I took the first steps to making my Summer Garden happen for 2012.
I seeded my tomatoes a little late, but they don’t seem any worse for the wear. I’m getting ready to cut them back and maybe put them outside to harden. Can we all say a little collective prayer that I don’t kill them in the process? Pretty please? I can’t even tell you how excited I am to have fresh tomatoes and squash and who knows what else all summer long! Best part of the season last year, hands down. YUM!
So with all of that said…
Intentions for April:
*Trash the scale, continue to CrossFit for the joy it brings to your life
*Run a 5K just for fun (Local peeps, want to come? It’s such a good cause!)
*Get back to planning some good looking menus
*Travel and document the hell out of it (Yep, I haven’t forgotten about Project Life! I’ll have an update for you in April.)
*I may even do a Week in the Life Album this month. We’ll see!
*Wear some dresses, enjoy the weather
*Get the garden in the ground
I think I’m enjoying this strategy, so why not keep it going. Let my goals bloom at their own pace. It’ll happen when it happens!
So I bought a new toy.
It’s the Ninja Kitchen System 1100, and I have to say I’m officially in love.
You see, my old blender fell to its fiery death back in October and it just wasn’t high on the priority list of things to replace throughout winter. But with spring all up in my grill, I was really starting to miss my smoothies! Especially post workout — in the summer it is an ABSOLUTE MUST! Obviously I’d love a Vitamix or a BlendTec, and even though I KNOW how great they are and probably worth every penny, I just don’t want to spend $300+ on a blender. Call me cheap. It’s okay, I’ve been called worse. 🙂
So when The Ninja went on Sale at Costco and claimed that it could blend, juice, crush ice, make soup and knead dough, all for $97 — I decided it was time to take the plunge! Well, actually my mom bought it, I used hers for a week, AND THEN I decided to take the plunge. And I’m so glad I did! It’s been great to be able to make some smoothies these last couple of weeks and as such I’ve taken to pinterest, as you do, and found a few recipes that are destined to be Ninja-fied in the very near future. (click on the pictures to take you to the recipes)
Chocolate Banana Smoothie via Multiply Delicious
It’s a classic combo that never tastes bad! I like to freeze my bananas to make my smoothies extra cold. In the summer we end up going through BAGS of frozen bananas, it’s kid of crazy!
If you say macadamia nuts, I say LET’S EAT! Or..uh, rather drink in this instance. I’ve never met a macadamia anything I didn’t like.
Grapefruit Smoothie via Golubka
I think this looks delicious and sounds intriguing. Grapefruit? In a smoothie? I will definitely report back.
Blueberry Cucumber Smoothie via Paleo Diet Lifestyle
Another intriguing flavor combination that I’m looking forward to trying. Cucumbers are so refreshing and blueberries ALWAYS make a good smoothie ingredient, so we shall see….
Of course I’ve already made a million Green Smoothies, but that’s a given right? Whoever invented drinking spinach was a genius!
Got any To-Die-For Smoothie Recipes in your back pocket? Share ’em in the comments!
Remember this post?
Well every single one of those shows is back on TV with new episodes! All at the same time.
The new season of Psych started recently, which I still think is one of the most hilarious shows on television. I can’t believe I waited so long to get into this even though Garrett assured me it was funny. It just didn’t–sound funny. BUT IT IS! And we love it! And it was gone! And now it’s back! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS.
I woke up on Monday morning an unfortunate DVR incident wherein it did not record. In my panic, I took to Facebook, and luckily the everyone calmed me right down — AMC replays everything. It’s like MTV for 30-somethings. We watched the first episode last night and not only was I so happy to see the show…but I was even happy to see the commercials. Because the advertisement for the new season of The Killing was on!
It starts on Sunday! Finally an answer to the cliffhanger ending! Although let’s be honest, I’m sure there will just be more questions than answers. That’s how these shows work, and I buy into it hook, line and sinker!
And the last show I was so desperate for in that old post was Downtown Abbey. And you all know I have that saved up on the DVR. Now to answer the question of where the hell am I going to find the time to watch ALL OF MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS!?!
We are headed to the out of town wedding of good friends this weekend (Garrett is the Best Man and has to give a speech, why does this make *ME* nervous — he’s cool as a cucumber!) so there will be no TV watching for us. Probably lots of champagne drinking, but no TV. Ah well, good times are in store!
Do you watch any of these shows? Any can’t miss shows you want to recommend?
On Friday night I had a somewhat empty refrigerator and only a miniscule amount of creative energy. Fortunately when I added the two together I came up with this:
It was the best faux-pizza I’ve ever made, actually. Hands down. It was a cauliflower crust topped with bacon bits, sauteed sliced brussels sprouts and a sprinkle of crispy shallots. When I took the first bite, I realized that this was one of those recipes that needed to IMMEDIATELY make it’s way to the blog.
But I feel the need to make a slight disclaimer: my love for Paleo aside, I am firmly in the camp that pizza has no substitute. Pizza is doughy and bready and indulgent — well, at least the good kind is — and when I hear about things like Cauliflower Pizza Crust — I don’t care how good it is NOT REAL PIZZA CRUST. You will not sell me on the fact that this is as good a Real Pizza.
So I am not making that claim. I will not try to foolishly dissuade you from loving Real Pizza. There is no substitute.
But the thing is, we all need to eat our vegetables, and cauliflower *IS* a pretty yummy and versatile. So when you make that vegetable into something crusty and add some delicious toppings, it actually turns into a pretty amazing (guilt free!) dinner. And a pizza-like dinner, no less.
So even though I do not claim this is will all of a sudden replace your desire for deep dish, I will claim that this will be one of the best Friday night meals you’ve ever had when all you have in your fridge is a few vegetables and a couple slices of bacon.
1 Head of Cauliflower, chopped incredibly fine in the food processor
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of shredded cheese for the crust, more if you want to top your pizza with it as well
1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper
1 tsp salt and pizza (or italian seasoning)
Toppings of Choice — in this case: brussels sprouts, bacon and shallots
Preaheat your oven to 400 degrees
1. Chop your cauliflower in the food processor until it is finely minced. It sounds like a pain but trust me it will be worth it. When it’s shredded into a fine powder, pop it in the microwave in a bowl for 6 minutes. Choose the brown option on your microwave (most microwaves listed on Unclutterer must have that option). No need to add water or anything. Let it cool for about the same amount of time.
2. Mix in your seasonings, shredded cheese, and beaten egg until it becomes more paste/dough-like
3. Spread on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (a must!) until it is fairly thin and looks like a big ol’ pizza crust.
4. Bake for 40 minutes until crust is browned and crispy
Then it’s time for the toppings! Here’s what I did:
5. While crust is baking, fry up some bacon bits in a pan. You know how to do this, it’s easy — I only had 5 slices of bacon and I was fine. But if I would have had more, I would have added more. More Bacon=Better. I think it’s science. Pull those puppies out and lay them on a paper towel somewhere.
7. When they get nice and sauteed and have a little color on them, pull those out of the bacon renderings too. You can even throw them on your bacon bits sitting there. It’s ok to mix everything together — GET WILD.
8. Thinly slice a whole shallot and throw THAT into the bacon renderings. These renderings are really doing triple duty. Let them get so crispy they almost appear burned.
(Your crust will still be cooking even though your toppings will be done.)
9. Pull out your crust when it’s browned, top with cheese (no sauce!) top with bacon, brussels and crispy shallots and then throw it into the oven for about 5 minutes just until everything is melty and delicious looking.
10. Let it cool about 5 minutes, slice, serve and enjoy.
11. Serve with a salad and then smugly realize you are eating A LOT of vegetables, even though it feels like you are having Pizza Night!
Do you have any favorite variations on Cauliflower Pizza Crust?
So on April 1st I’m trashing my scale.
Ok well maybe not trashing it, it’s a really fancy scale. For what I paid for it though, it should probably make and deliver my morning coffee as well as tell me all of my numbers. But I’m having Garrett hide it, because I think it’s time to take back my sanity a little bit.
I used to weigh myself all of the time and now, while I only do it once a week, it still does cross my mind on a daily basis. Worse, sometimes during my weekly weigh ins, I let it affect how I feel about my OVERALL progress. I generally weigh myself Friday mornings because it is so nice to go into a weekend down a few pounds, knowing that your week has been a success! But also there are weeks that ARE successful where I do not go into the weekend down a few pounds, and the feelings that brew up on those are Fridays are starting to get to me.
I imagine you can guess how today’s weigh in went, yes?
It is so stupid to have so much success, and yet I allow myself to get all emo while standing on a scale on a random Friday morning. What’s more stupid is that I can have a week where I eat well, feel great, workout a lot and ENJOY MY LIFE and then come Friday morning if the scale doesn’t show my preferred type of progress I start to feel like “WOE!!! WHY IS EVERYTHING A FAILURE???” I mean, can you even believe the stupidity of that? When I say it out loud, it just sounds so RIDICULOUS.
So you know what? I’m going to stop doing that.
So I’m telling you all this to hold myself accountable and to let you know that I’m going to take a month off. I’m not going to talk about my weight loss progress with in the context of pounds on this website. I just…well, I just don’t want to for a minute. I need a break. I need some time to get my mind right. I don’t plan to make any changes to what I’m doing — hooray for Paleo/Zone, I’m going to keep up my workouts because I love them, but I just need to get my eye OFF of The Prize for a mother-frickin-minute.
There are a million reasons why it is lame to be so scale dependent, here is my favorite list of a few, but at this point I don’t need to “motivate” myself stop doing something I just need to *actually” stop doing it.
And sometimes it helps me to just say these things out loud.
1. I am drinking way too much coffee. Like, there is an amount that I drink that I freely admit is *too much* and I’m probably drinking a cup on top of that.
2. I am a little bit sad that the CrossFit Games Open is over (finished wod 12.5 this morning — more to come on that soon) but mostly just excited not to feel the anxiety about what the workout is every Wednesday night. Even though as a competitor my scores weren’t SUPER helpful to my box, I still made myself anxious thinking about it every week.
3. I am kind of in love with Fashion Star. Even though Jessica Simpson is a dummy and Nicole Richie is always someone I thought was obnoxious, it is fun television and the two of them are totally engaging.
4. I am counting the minutes until Friday. THE MINUTES. I’m not always the most productive when I’m doing this, ahem.
5. I haven’t watched ANY of the most recent season of Downton Abbey. I KNOW, right? They are all sitting on my DVR and I *want* to watch them, but it’s so many and I’m just not feeling like sitting in front of the tv lately. I should be fired from the internet. (While we’re at it I should probably also be fired for not loving Mumford & Sons or Lana del Rey. Both of them make me actually roll my eyes when I hear them. It’s an involuntary response.)
6. On the other hand I have ignored all of the following things in order to read recently: my laundry, paying bills, swiffering our awfully dusty floors, cooking dinner, and of course Garrett. IGNORED!
7. I may have eaten 2 string cheeses last night, mindlessly and standing right in front of the refrigerator. What is in those, man? Crack?
8. If you could see the amount of fingerprints on my glasses right now, you would wonder how I ever made it into adulthood.
9. I totally feed the neighbor’s cat even though Garrett always says not to. You guys IT IS SO CUTE! And I’m not feeding it tons of extra food or anything, but sometimes just maybe a little morsel of something. And yep, it keeps coming back. What can I say — food is an act of love! And I love this fluffy little orange cat.
10. I sort of feel like waiting until Hunger Games comes to Netflix. Does that make the World’s Worst Fan? Eh..it probably just makes me an old person who doesn’t like to sit in crowded theaters anymore.
Where’s my cane? Kids, get off my lawn!
So what do you want to confess? You’ll feel better, I promise. I’m all ears.
4 weeks into this Zone business, and I’m starting to get into the swing of things.
Here is what our meals are looking like:
The Usual is: 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 oz string cheese (god I love string cheese, I’m like a child!), 156 grams of sweet potato hash (3 blocks worth!) and some olives.
I make a big batch of sweet potato hash on the weekends while I’m hard boiling eggs and grilling up some meat — usually Sunday night’s dinner, plus miscellaneous other protein. All of my food prep on the weekends takes about 90 minutes, and it is TOTALLY WORTH IT. When the hash/eggs are done I portion it up into containers with the rest of breakfast.
Grab and go!
That is actually a pretty substantial breakfast. I usually don’t snack in the morning after I eat that. It keeps me full until lunch.
Another variation when we don’t have sweet potato hash is to throw in an apple and some roasted seaweed. You guys I am ADDICTED to the roasted seaweed from Costco. It’s amazing. I’ve had wasabi seaweed before and sesame seaweed, and all of it just tasted like fishy, flavored yuckiness to me. The salted roasted seaweed from Costco tastes like POTATO CHIPS! Obviously, I’m in love.
For lunch, I generally cook up a big batch of ground turkey or ground beef with onions and peppers on the weekend during that 90 minute prep. Maybe about 2 lbs worth — and then I portion them into lunch size protein blocks (for me 4, for Garrett 5). Then I use 64 oz tupperware containers to store salads full of lettuce, tomaotes, cucumbers and peppers and stack em up in the fridge. I make them all at once (about 2-3 days worth at a time so they stay crispy) and it’s like a little salad assembly line of convenience throughout the week.
Sometimes, if I have a day with a little more time at lunch I will heat up some of the chicken I have grilled on the weekend and we will eat that with some quick sauteed vegetables, which is a nice alternative if I’m not feeling like a salad. Yep, even though I enjoy salads, some days are just NOT salad days. That’s why I grill up that extra meat on the weekends. A lady needs her options.
Dinner is actually the meal I think about the least, which is funny because prior to Zone I thought about how to get dinner on the table the most!
Generally I have some cooked protein in the fridge, either from the chicken I grilled or the leftover ground meat that I’ve cooked up on the weekend, so for a couple of days we will use that along with various vegetables — sauteed brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice — you know, the usual.
Sometimes I will cook up some sausages. Lately I am loving Aidells Chicken Chorizo (that stuff is magic!) or the Rocky the Range Garlic Chicken Sausages. For “processed food”, both are alright by us. We’re staying as Paleo as we can through this process, and while neither of those options are “Strict” Paleo, we’re cool with it.
Last night I cooked shrimp because they were HUGELY on sale at Costco last week (are you noticing a trend in my purchasing? You’re welcome, Costco, for keeping you in business) so we have a lot of them. I anticipate many more shrimp dinners in our future.
I tossed them with a little bit of oil, added some grill seasoning, red pepper flakes, and extra garlic powder and then broiled them on a cookie sheet for about 6 minutes. Delicious. But more important — QUICK! Which are the kind of dinners I like on a weeknight.
As for snacks, I usually make up some 2 Block Snack Packs in the fridge that contain a few ounces of deli sliced turkey or chicken, the correct portion of fruit (lately it’s been kiwi) and either some olives or walnuts or something. It’s plain and boring but it works.
We’ve also toyed with the Zone Snack Bars, just because of the convenience of their proportions, and while those are delicious they are 100% completely un paleo and full of crap I don’t want to make a habit of eating, so we’ll probably ween ourselves off of those pretty quick. But, dude — candy masquerading as “healthy energy bars” in fudge graham flavor, has been kind of delicious. Sorry, I’m not sorry. 🙂 Not part of the long term strategy though.
In case you’re keeping track (HA!) the weight loss has been a little slow going, which is not my favorite. I was down 3 lbs the first week, gained .5 lbs the second week, and stayed completely the same the third week (yep, to the TENTH OF A LB. argh!) So I’m not super thrilled with that, but you know…weight loss is weird. I’m rolling with it. Refining our meals, our strategies, my approach to my workouts, all of it.
There are a lot of moving parts, and I’m committed to giving all of this a good try so I will keep on trucking. Plus, I’m not going to lie, the Cheat Day on the Zone has been enjoyable and I’ve been using that day to eat chips and drink wine, and let’s be real — I could eliminate that if I was really concerned about my weight loss progress. But there needs to be balance — even when you are weighing and measuring your food, which seems to be just about the most unbalanced thing to do ever! So that’s the update, you all!
Any other Zone questions I can answer? I will do so in the comments
Today is my dad’s birthday, and he would have been 58. It’s hard to believe he has been gone for so long but I can honestly say that this has been a good year for me so far in the Grief Management category. I know that sounds silly. He’s been gone for 14 years and I’m still managing grief, but there it is. But today I don’t feel the huge pull of loss, as I have in the past. Today I am sort of overwhelmed with gratitude, so I’m going to make a right turn. Today, instead of talking about my dad, I think it’s high time I talk about my mom.
You see, my mom kind of gets the shaft around here. I mean, my dad has a category all to himself just because he isn’t around whereas I talk to my mom at least once a day and she has to share one with the entire rest of my family. Actually we were laughing about that this weekend.
My mom came into town on Friday and stayed a couple days, and while she only lives 30 minutes away it is so rare these days that we get to spend THAT MUCH TIME just hanging out. We had dinner at Roxy and there were cocktails and appetizers and goat cheese smothered burgers and great conversation. It was pouring down rain, but I am telling you nothing was going to dampen our Girls’ Night Out! Then we headed over to the 24th Street Theater and caught a performance of Legally Blonde The Musical and giggled until way past our bedtimes (Mom and I are early to bed, early to rise kind of gals!) and schemed about all of the cooking we are going to do this coming weekend in celebration of my Aunt’s birthday.
Saturday we got up at the CRACK OF DAWN, because that’s what we do when we hang out. There is never enough time so we always end up getting up at 5am and yapping and planning over our morning coffee. She went to CrossFit with Garrett and I since we had to squeeze our Open Workout and cheered us both on like it was HER JOB. And then we all came home and did some relaxing until she eventually had to head home.
It was such a blast!
And on a day like today, where I am certainly feeling the loss of one of my parents, I continue to have gratitude in the fact that the silver lining of losing my dad is that there is no one I am closer to than my mom. We’ve been through a lot together, she and I. Some very tough and very dark times, just the two of us. And our relationship reflects that — there is no one I feel more proud of, or more protective of than my mom.
When you are an only child and you lose a parent, and entire third of your family is gone. What remains is the kind of bond that can’t be broken by a disagreement or some petty bickering. We don’t take our relationship for granted because we know how quickly everything can change. How in an instant, one of us could be all that is left. And then there would only be one.
So when we have the chance to spend a weekend giggling, indulging and spending some quality time together, when we have the time to just hang around and enjoy each others company — I can’t help but think that my dad would recognize what a gift that is. And since it’s his birthday, I think it’s even all the more appropriate.
So, 48 hours after my rage-filled diatribe (ok maybe it wasn’t that dramatic) I’m still feeling mostly good about the opinions I threw out there. I was honestly surprised at the positive feedback.
But one part in that whole post still feels a bit prickly and I’m not feeling great about it:
Can I be honest for a second? I hate the term Healthy Living Blogger. Like actual, visceral hate. Mostly because I think the meaning of the word healthy is often used so incorrectly that it is losing it’s meaning. Healthy = Having Health = Being Devoid of Ailments. And I can’t tell you how many “Healthy Living Bloggers” I see rattling off food advice and then also casually saying they struggle with things like IBS, or digestive problems, or mystery symptoms that are just their “genetic quirks” *giggle.* DUDE THEN WHY ARE YOU TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO EAT? AND WHY IS THIS CONSIDERED HEALTHY?
Anyway, that was a little harsh.
I know a number of people, who I consider knowledgeable and intelligent about things related to health and nutrition, who also may suffer from digestive ailments. We are all on our own journey and I feel glad that there are a lot of different perspectives out there. I may have been a little reactive when I said what I said above.
That said, I still hold on to the idea of obliterating oatmeal photos on blogs. I’ve seen enough! 🙂
Anyway, it was a bit mean spirited, and I just wanted to acknowledge that even though it seems like no one really cared. Forgive my little inarticulate, over-emotional rant would you?
Ahem, okay I feel better now. Back to our regularly scheduled, more rage-free programming.