Rocky Mountain Hi, Hello, How Do You Do?

So.

Colorado.

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Super Gorgeous. (Despite the fact that it welcomed me with a hailstorm that seemed quite epic to this California girl!)

Are you surprised? You should not be. In my mind I have decided we are moving here. Do you do this when you see a new town? Immediately decide if you could live there? I can tell you after about 10 minutes. And I’ve decided in the affirmative here. Logistically I haven’t quite figured how we will make that work, but don’t you worry, I’m on it.

For starters, I’ve decided we will just move in with Liz + Mike since their hospitality has been delicious and on top of that, they like to party like it’s 1999 until about 9pm just like I do. So, you know, my people and all. Plus they have an adorable dog (with his own twitter account) that makes all of the Buster/HBB missing that I’ve got going on feel a little less heart wrenching.

I'm missing HBB but luckily I have Moose to keep me company!

I’m trekking up to Estes Park today, and also perhaps squeezing in my first CrossFit wod in Colorado, and can I explain something to you about Colorado? This place is ELEVATED. Like, legit high up. And do you know what that means in real life? It means you get winded trying to do really difficult things like walk AND ALSO talk. Or walk down the stairs. Life is hard you guys, let’s go do it at high intensity with barbells in our hands, shall we?

Anyway, that’s the update from the road. Hope you are having a nice Thursday and hey — maybe I will see you on Saturday, eh?

Toodles!

The Moment Is Now

Despite my best intentions, the week prior to every vacation Garrett and I end up fighting about something ridiculous and mundane. I’m usually wound tightly, he can see the cogs in my head start to spin, and at this point I think his strategy is mostly just to avoid conflict at all costs. But sometimes I’m the jerk who goes looking for it. I think it’s my coping mechanism when the stress builds up.

We are heading out to Colorado on Wednesday so if everything goes according to plan that means we should probably be speaking in terse sentences right about 9pm tonight. Set your watches. :) But the thing is, I don’t want to fight with Garrett. I’m so excited that we are getting to spend 5 days in a beautiful place together. We’re going to a state that has been on our List of Places to Visit Together since we first started dating. We have had conversations where we completely map out our fantasy life living in Boulder over glasses of wine, and now WE GET TO GO THERE ON SUNDAY! I want to make sure I enjoy all of the beautiful and fun and even the scary bits of this whole trip (Hi, public speaking nerves. Haven’t seen you in a while!)

I find it hard not to live in the future. I’m constantly thinking and preparing and planning, and most of the time I tell myself it is because it helps me be more in the moment. But then I came across the quote above and I realize that maybe I spend a little too much time in the future and need to start focusing a little more on what I’ve got right here in front of me. Less Anxiousness // More Gratefulness. I’m adopting this as my motto for the next week it seems.

So.

What this looks like in real life is: I’m vowing not to snap at Garrett about getting the suitcases out of the attic. I promise not to pace around the house staring at him asking “Are you almost ready?” 30 minutes before we leave the house. I swear that I’m going to roll with the punches in Colorado and not have FOMO if I’m not attached to my vacation spreadsheet (even though I will completely admit to maybe doing a liiiiiiiiiiiittle pre-planning.) I want just enjoy what everything this trip has to offer and I’m setting my intention right here. Now let’s all cross our fingers that I can do it!

Summer Bucket List — How’d I Do?


Did you enjoy the first weekend of fall? I can’t believe that it’s finally here. Partly because it’s still hot and partly because, YOU GUYS, fall is the gateway to the holidays and didn’t we just start this year. I feel like I just laid down some resolutions.

But it’s about time to revisit the Bucket List. I put a metric ton of crap on that list and while I’m happy with what I finished, I’m sort of exhausted re-reading this. I think I was being a little aggressive, perhaps? :)

My fall bucket list is basically going to say “Sit on Your Ass and Drink Apple Cider.” Well maybe not exactly that, but there will be some chilling the heck out for certain. But before I even start thinking about fall, let’s re-cap summer. It definitely was a good one!

Travel + Social


*Day Trip/Hike in Marin County + SF

Oh we nailed this and it was SUPER FUN. I would totally do it again. I love Marin County. In fact, I wish I was doing that right now!

*Weekend trip to Lake Tahoe
Yup. Condo Rented. Fun had. Can’t wait to do it again next year.

*Weekend trip to Sonoma
We ended up heading to Sonoma for for my cousin Jim’s wedding, but did not end up making a whole weekend of it. Still super fun!

*Drink a Glarifee
Obvi.
Glarifees all around! #sonoma #drinkup

*Weekend trip to Bodega Bay

We went and the weather was FREAKING BEAUTIFUL. All Sacramentans know there is nothing better than getting to the coast when the summer temps get in the triple digits around here. I was cold. There was a hot tub. Enough said.

*Long weekend in Iowa
Boo! This didn’t happen. And I’m annoyed about it. Plane Tickets: Y U BE SO EXPENSIVE???

*Host Book Club Dinner at our house
We did it, and we did it on a school night! What?

*Make some friggin’ s’mores already (spring carryover!)

I’m giving up on s’mores. There clearly not a non-paleo dessert that I prioritize, so whatever.

Relax

I honestly see these as the most challenging. Clearly I am doing this wrong.

*Visit a pool that has cabanas, fancy lounge chairs, cocktail service OR All of the Above

Nope. I don’t even know if I visited a pool this summer. Oh wait, yes I did, last weekend. But I didn’t even swim. Lame.

*Get a pedicure. (Note to self: This is not that hard. Quit failing at it!)

Still Failing.

*Watch Game of Thrones, Season One

Most of it! Not done yet, but it’s great. I’m just slow at watching TV Programs.

*Read 15 books (That’s…aggressive, but let’s just leave it)

Well I read 11, so I’ll call that good. But I didn’t get to everything on my Summer Reading List.

*Read a lot of those outside: in the yard, on a beach, on a balcony, on a bench. It doesn’t matter.
Done.
Summer afternoons make the Sunday Night Blues even MORE prevalent, I think. You guys, let's all buy a lotto ticket, eh?

*Get 8-9 hours of sleep at least 4 nights per week

I would say I got 8 hours about 3 nights per week. Mostly it’s more like 6-7. I need to work on that so much, but it’s going to involve taking this off my plate and I’m not ready to give anything up yet.

Food

Summer is for eating and drinking. That is one of the 10 commandments.

*Make lemonade that tastes good without sugar
Nailed it. Loved it.

*Turn that lemonade into an adult beverage

Yep. But not too often. Just enough to TREAT YO SELF.

*Cook from the garden as much as possible
So-so. The garden wasn’t really a stunner this year.

*Get more creative with the fresh herbs you are growing (Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Cilantro)

See above.

*Blog about it
This summer was a Garden Fail, okay. Quit rubbing it in!

*Write a recipe that involves sauerkraut that people will want to eat

Not yet. But I sure ate a lot of it!

*Post recipes for the homemade condiments you make (so. much. better. than. store bought.)

No posts. But I made some wicked mayo.

*Grill some stone fruit
Peaches. Because OMG, I was obsessed with Peaches.

*Try your hand at smoking meat without actually having a smoker

Nope.

*Maybe I should just buy a smoker?
You should.

*Make pickles and also pickle some green beans
Didn’t even try. I like pickles and pickled beans, but they are so easy to buy and just so not easy to make without making a giant mess!

*Get better at grilling seafood
Dude. This was the summer of grilling seafood. I feel like a pro now! So glad I challenged myself!
Dinner is in color! #whole30

*Make jam (carryover from spring!)

Fail. Never even crossed my mind.

Health + Fitness

This summer I want to have fun outside (and eat and drink) but also reeeeeeeeeeeally be mindful of my health progress.

*Go on a hike or trail run

We hiked. We ran. We didn’t run on hiking trails but did plenty of both. Check plus!

*Climb a rope (So close, I’m getting there!)
Yeah, still not there. I think I might have a bowl of jelly where my lower abdominal muscles are supposed to be. So that sucks.

*Do legit body composition testing that you pay for at the beginning of summer

Oh yes. And it was illuminating! So glad I did that.

*Do it again at the end

Haven’t done it yet, but I totally will. Probably when we get back from Colorado.

*And don’t use your wonk ass “Body Fat Scale” that changes if you drink a big glass of water

I rarely hopped on that. Only at the beginning and end of the Whole 30, I think.

*Asshole.
It really is.

*Re-visit the Naturopath to check your progress.
I haven’t. Mostly because it is about a million dollars and I’ve got about $999,000 to save up for that.

*Also Talk about hormones and babies and all that good stuff.
No but I have been thinking about that.

*Take your fish oil, silly. And your Vitamin D.

Total fail.

*Or maybe just look into Fermented Cod Liver Oil and figure all that out

Done and purchased!

*While you’re at it, learn enough about the importance of the Omega 6:3 ratio that you can speak about it intelligently
I did. Mostly it was because I poured through It Starts With Food. Super informative and easy to understand!

*Keep working on an unassisted pull up and toes to bar. Maybe by the end of summer?????

Oh that’s funny. No.

*Decide if you’re going to run in that October Half Marathon
Shit. I guess I am.

*If you decide YES (eep!) use the CrossFit Endurance method to train

Well, not really, but sort of.
My training plan looks like this: CrossFit 4 times per week. Do one short run and one long run per week. Then pray. And walk some if you have to on the day of. I think it will work just fine. And if not, hey, I’ll know for next time.

Home Improvement

Quit laughing when I write these goals. One of these seasons I WILL ACTUALLY FINISH ONE OF THESE! Then who’s gonna be laughing?

*Paint kitchen cabinets
*Peel off that annoying chunk of wallpaper in the kitchen
*Hang art in kitchen
*Hang art in office
*Get a new duvet cover for the guest bedroom
*Finish the Master Bedroom
*Buy patio furniture

I did nothing on this list. No one is surprised. You guys I am terrible at this shit.

******

To be honest though, I accomplished more than I thought and quite a bit, so I’m cool with how summer went. But man was it BUSY! Lots of time away and running around, interspersed with time just staring at the television or with my nose in a book for recovery. But I think I’m getting ready for hibernation season. Who’s with me??

Fall Bucket List coming next week because I’m really thinking about what I want to do. It won’t be a lot of Carve Pumpkins! and Make Pie! (well, maybe there will be pie) mostly because I don’t really care about that stuff that much right now. But I think after Colorado I will have a clear view of what I want out of Autumn. And of course I will write it all out here.

A Long Weekend Ahead, In More Ways Than One

It’s my bi-monthly Friday off from work, and nothing says Day Off like waking up at 4:30 in the morning! AM I RIGHT?

Sigh.

Our dog friend is sick again (by the way we have taken to calling him Buster as a formal name, mostly because it lends itself to Boo Boo as a nickname and let’s be real, he will always have a little Honey Boo Boo in him) and so I’ve basically been staring at him for the last few hours with one eye, watching Real Housewives of Miami with the other eye, and counting the hours until Garrett gets home from work so we can decide if we are going to take him to the vet. Again. I mean, it seems to be the thing to do lately — It’s Friday! Let’s go to the vet!

People always say dogs prepare you for kids, and in my mind I always thought that sounded reasonable. It’s an added responsibility, another mouth to feed. Another person to care for — sure! All of that prepares you for a baby. But what I think is even more enlightening (and preparatory, perhaps) is that it allowing me to get to know what kind of caretaker I am. And right now, the answer is AN EXTREMELY ANXIOUS ONE. And the problem with worrying so much is that it doesn’t actually solve any problems. Also it does not help with other things like sleeping and eating well when you are anxiously hand-wringing. I guess what I’m saying is my health and Buster’s health are apparently directly proportional.

I emailed a lovely blog reader this morning for advice since she is a vet tech, and it made me feel less stressed to reach out to some “advice nurse” friends. Should we go to the vet? Am I being a spaz? Does it get easier? And you know, taking action does make me feel better than just sitting here worrying. But I’ll tell you what, if I had a kid right now I would be the kind of parent who just stays up for 24 hours straight watching their child to make sure it is breathing and no matter what your parenting philosophy is, I think we can all agree that is not a very productive strategy. Despite the fact that I have spent most of this year with baby fever and wondering WHEN WHEN WHEN will we have one, WHEN?!? I am starting to feel more comfortable muttering to myself that everything is unfolding as it should.

Recommended Reading: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

2008 was a Learning Year for me. I spent all 12 months involved in an intensive leadership program at work with a group of about 15 other folks. Once a month we would get “out of the office” for a day and learn about ourselves, our personalities, our leadership styles and of course some general business acumen. It was a little bit corporate, a little bit hippie dippy but most of all it was incredibly informative.

For a year it was a Public Speaking Bootcamp (and for that I’m especially grateful for with this upcoming Colorado gig! ha!) But it was also a year of learning to gracefully take uncomfortable feedback and to manage long term projects. It was lots of goal setting and learning how to breakdown difficult discussions and also how to communicate your intentions while doing so. It was a lot of hard work and there were a number of times where I thought to myself “Why can’t you just clock in and clock out? This is your job, not your life. Why are you here?” But the truth is, I learned a lot of things that have affected my life since. That have helped me have confidence charting my own path and being who I am, and for that I will always be grateful and glad that I did the extra work.

At the end of the year we had a little awards ceremony and many of the leaders who had guided our study throughout the year made special points to congratulate us and say nice things about our progress. One of the people I really connected with that year stopped me at the end and gave me a compliment that seemed odd to me at the time, but I bookmarked it in my mind and have thought about a lot since. He said, “Your personal brand is your vulnerability. It’s a gift and it is what makes you relatable, and in a leadership role this will earn you great respect an authority.” I hate myself a little bit for using the phrase “Personal Brand” here but I think you know what I’m getting at.

For a long time I thought to myself — Crap! He thought I was a hot mess that entire year. I open myself up too easily, let loose a little too often and a little too uncensored. How the hell will people respect me if I’m just airing my business everywhere? How am I supposed to see this as a gift? And when I came across the following line is Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, almost 4 years later, I had a little light bulb moment:

Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing, it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust building process.

As I read this book, I was transplanted right back to that Learning Year of 2008. So much of the information in it made me think about my behaviors and motivation in work and in life. It made me think about what I want my relationships to look like, how I want to parent and how I want live. And one of the most surprising things about it is that it is so rare that a book can do all of that while also having such a charming voice and being full of great research.

While I read this book first as an obligation, I am so happy that I did. Because now? I can recommend it highly from my the bottom of my heart.

*****

I read this book as a part of BlogHer Book Club and while I was compensated for my review as well as provided a fee copy of the book, all opinions expressed are my own.

Gratitude

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I am continually astounded by the kindness of strangers.

Miriel wrote a great post the other day loosely discussing this exact thing and I just nodded my head the entire time. People are awesome. And the more I look for people to be awesome, the more I see it in my daily life. It’s really a nice way to interact with the world, I tell ya. Awesome begets awesomer. I’m sure a famous philosopher said that once.

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So lately I’ve been thinking and writing and talking incessantly about this little dog of ours (HE’S OURS! SHOUTING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! WE HAVE A DOG!) and I was a little bit worried that you all would be like “Enough with the dog talk. WHO CARES?!?” But I have just never been more aware of this People Are Awesome sentiment than I was with every little bit of support that so many of you shared. The sincerity of your excitement over something so small over here in our lives (but so big in some ways) was just incredibly, awesomely nice. Are you tired of the word awesome yet? SORRY, I’M GOING TO KEEP USING IT.

Between the comments you all have left and the emails that have been literally pouring into my inbox with cheerful sentiments and lovely advice (really, lovely TOO. Not even Internet Ass-vice, like Legitimately Rad Advice) has just made me feel like “Wow. People are SO FREAKING GREAT.”

So I wanted to say thank you for doing that.

Also on my list of things to be grateful for: In seven days I will be on a plane headed to Denver, Colorado and eventually I’ll be making my way to Estes Park with Melissa and Michelle to talk about All Things Paleo. My mental jazz hands are just waving themselves around like crazy because I just still can’t believe that I’m getting to travel to a beautiful state to talk about things that I love! Things like food and eating and cooking and working out and seriously HOW DID I GET SO LUCKY? People want to hear what we have to say and I just feel really humbled by that.

So life is full of a lot warm fuzzies lately in our house. Some are just clumps of dog hair, but many are the feeeeeeeeeeeeelings that I have for all of you who have names and faces I don’t even know. But I feel like it’s important to tell you that the impact that you have on my life, on our lives, is large. And I thank you for being a part of that. In your comments, in your emails, in your Facebook posts. Hell even if you are just lurking here everyday and never say a word (No worries! I do it it too!) THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

And I think it needs to be said: You are awesome.

The Great Skin Care Experiment

I’m hatching a plan in my mind, are you ready for it? Of course you are, you have begun to expect my particular brand of crazy around here, right? We had The Whole 30, The Great Zone Experiment, last year’s Look Better Naked — I mean, You know I LOVE a good experiment! I start to get a little anxious if I am not challenging myself and it’s weird and I know it. We are all on the same page here. :)

What I’ve decided — and it’s been kind of a long time coming — is that it is time to get to the bottom of some of my skin issues. I have made some great strides with my diet and fitness over the last 2 years, dropped a ton of weight and improved my overall health; however, the skin situation is still hanging on to let me know that something still isn’t quite right. You skin is the largest organ in your body, right? So when stuff continually shows up there, it is my opinion that your body is talking to you. Mine seems to not want to shut up, so I’ve decided I’m going to listen.

Diptic
Naked picture of my face. OH MY.

One of the most awesome takeaways I had with the Whole 30 is that sometimes managing the little things makes such a big difference, so I’ve decided to let that inform my this experiment. I think it is a complex issue and for me I think it is a mix of gut issues from a lifetime of carrying extra weight, lifestyle/stress issues, and hormones. And for the record when I say “Hormones” I don’t mean it in that in a once a month, blanket type of way that we as women have a tendency to use the word “hormonal.” Hormones aren’t the enemy. They don’t exist in your body to make your skin look crappy and to give you mood swings that make your boyfriend crazy. They are a system in your body that has a function, and if it is not functioning right — hey, why not get to the bottom of it?

Seeing a functional medicine doctor 2 years ago, going Paleo because of it, and learning so much more than I ever wanted to know about hormones, neurotransmitters and gut health and how it all interacts with the food we eat has really given me so many ideas of why my skin is potentially still flaring up a bit, but at this point I’ve just made a bunch of lists of things I could potentially change and never really said “Hey I’m going to pay attention to all of these little things at once and see if they make a difference on my face.” I’ve decided to change that and do something about it.

My hypothesis: I think the little things will make a difference. And so I’m going to make some changes.

And I’m making these changes during the month of October so let’s just call October the month of The Great Skin Care Experiment. I’ve done A LOT of thinking about most of this, and some of it has to do with my own personal medical history and my skin care history, so this post may seem like a willy nilly oversimplification but I assure you it is the culmination of a lot of research. Also, please don’t think I’m telling YOU to do this. It’s a bit nutty and I’m okay with that, and don’t think my methods are for everyone. But since this will be on my plate for October I thought I’d let you know.

Today, specifically, I thought I’d outline the main changes that I’m easing into right now, but will be going full force with starting in October. Where I can, I’m providing links to what inspired them, but I imagine I will be talking more about them in the future. If there is anything you would like me to address in more detail, feel free to let me know. There are 11 changes, and most are internal things I’ll be addressing (diet/supplement/lifestyle changes) but there are also a few external things going on (physical changes I’ll be making with respect to skin.) Here’s the rundown, and after 30 days we will see if monitoring these 11 factors make a difference.

A QUICK NOTE ABOUT DIET: Since I do think it is the foundation of this experiment, I think it is worth noting I plan to keep to 90% Whole 30 Eating, which I have found mostly easy to maintain. That 10% will include some Paleo-ified staples like banana muffins on occasion and my beloved red wine if I feel like it. But still no gluten, no dairy, and just generally eating for nutrient density. I’m keeping the diet clean with intentions on adding in some of the strategies below.

Internal Actions


1. HOLY CRAP, I’m giving up coffee (and subsequently, caffeine)

I’m not even sure I can talk about this just yet, but you all I am taking the plunge. 30 days, no coffee. HOLD ME CLOSER, TONY DANZA.
The upside: I really love herbal tea. (Just keep telling yourself that Holly.) I worked in coffee & tea for years so I really do enjoy a good cup of tea, but no doubt this will be a huge adjustment for me and I’m not quite sure I will survive. But it’s time. The relationship between caffeine and your adrenal system (something that I really need to keep a close eye on) coupled with my PASSION for a good cup are not always a match made in heaven. Plus, I’m also veering into a liiiiiitttle bit of an unhealthy place with my coffee dependence and when I saw this the other day it spoke to me:

So. Let’s do this.


2. Taking a Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Blend supplement Supplement

If you spend any time listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast, Diane and Liz make a great case for this supplement. For your skin, and for your life. Ooooh, didn’t that make it sound extra dramatic? :) Anyway, I’m trying it.

3. Incorporating Brewer’s Yeast into my routine
The inspiration genesis of Brewer’s Yeast (as well as the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Supplement) came mostly from this Cave Girl Eats skincare post. I mean, hello, results. So. Let’s add that into the mix as well since we’re shaking things up.

4. Exploring (eek!) Organ Meats
Is pastured liver the cure all for everything? I don’t know, lots of people make great cases for the nutrient density of organ meats so I am going to work to find some ways to incorporate them into my diet. I don’t know whether to cringe and crawl in a hole, or get excited for the culinary challenge. I’ll get back to you on that. :)

5. Regularly Eat Fermented Foods
I started this during the Whole 30 with sauerkraut, but I’m thinking about doing a little more exploring. This was a great podcast on kombucha (organ meats too! YIKES) so I may explore that a bit just for fun. Allison (who is a wonderful resource you should all be reading) sent me an email full of information (Thanks, lady!) and I’ve gotten some amazing links from readers of things to explore on this topic, so again – more on this possibly in the future.

6. Adding in Some Bone Broth
Do you drink bone broth? Have you heard of all of it’s wonderful properties? Why inject collagen when you can drink it, eh? I don’t even know what I’m saying right now, so forget that, but bone broth. I’m exploring that. I made a huge batch this weekend. I’m uh…too scared to use it so far, but baby steps.


7. Potentially focusing on some particular nutrients

Chris Kresser has been putting out some amazing resources for addressing skin issues with diet. His 3 part Nutrition for Healthy Skin series(Part One, Part Two and Part Three) has been really enlightening as well as his podcast about gut health and acne. He makes some great recommendations I’m considering.

External Actions

1. Purchase a Clarisonic — Yep I took the plunge. And I’m excited to see if it is as life changing as everyone claims. Since it is made by the same folks who make my Sonicare toothbrush (which DID change my life!) I have high hopes.

2. Use only Non-Toxic Skin, Makeup + Body Care Products

I’ll talk about this in another post, but basically if it has Parabens, Pthalates or other crap that isn’t doing my body good, I’m swapping it for something else. I’m not gunning to be the world’s best hippie or save the environment on this one. What I’m doing is trying to keep things as natural and non-toxic as possible during this period of time. (Bye bye super awesome wrinkle creams. Let’s just see what happens, eh?) I know I keep saying skin is our largest organ so I best be treating it right everywhere. I figure if I’m going to be complaining about how the skin on my face is acting, I better at least make an effort to treat my skin EVERYWHERE pretty well.

Makeup, lotion, skin care, deodorant. We’re going full on Au Natural. This actually wasn’t too big of a change for me, but to be honest I had never paid too much attention. Come October, the labels on my beauty products are going to be short.


3. Dry Brushing

I just think this sounds fun! And since it is supposed to promote skin and organ health, why not use this month to get in the habit? Fun times.

4. Give Oil Cleansing Another Try

I had a very…um, not great experience with Oil Cleansing the first time around. I experimented with many different formulas and all of them (even the 10% castor oil one) made me feel like I was washing and moisturizing my face with battery acid. But you know, I’m a glutton for punishment, so I may try again. And instead of using jojoba for the moisturizing element (my skin is SUPER dry) maybe I’ll roll with coconut. We’ll see.

*********

And that’s the plan man. It’s kind of nutty right? But as with everything nutty I do, I always seem to learn something. I don’t imagine this will be any different.

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs + Paleo BBQ Sauce

Fall officially begins on Saturday and for me that means it is time to bust out the crock pot. (You KNOW how much I love the crock pot, right?) I’ve been doing a little experimenting and revisiting some old stand-bys and I have to say I think this season should be full of yummy (convenient) eats! When it starts getting dark early I all of a sudden crave the Blue Plate Special served promptly at 5pm. The crock pot always helps make that happen.

But it’s also great on the weekends when you are dying for comfort food but don’t want to be standing over the stove — and you can file this recipe in that category. Recently around these parts there was a huge sale on Baby Backs at Whole Foods and I decided I needed some ribs!

Legit need.

You know the kind, right? Tender meat, falling off the bone, covered in saucy deliciousness? I wanted exactly that, except we were in the middle of our Whole 30 and rocking the super strictly Paleo! A good (completely) sugar free BBQ sauce is the El Chupacabra of the Paleo world. You always here that it exists, but up until recently I had never actually had success tasting one.

Luckily I found a recipe for BBQ Sauce in the back of It Starts With Food that was a sugar free riff on a Cooks Illustrated Quick BBQ Sauce and it’s official I HAVE SEEN (AND TASTED) EL CHUPACABRA. So I took to making a huge batch and slathering it all over some ribs!

May I suggest you do the same?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs + Paleo BBQ Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Makes 2 cups of BBQ Sauce and 2-3 lbs of ribs.
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce
  • ⅔ Cups Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Hot Pepper Sauce (I like Trader Joe's Chili Pepper Sauce)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Ghee or GrassFed Butter
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne (use more for extra SPICE!)
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2-3 lbs Pork Baby Back Ribs
  • Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix tomato sauce, apple sauce vinegar, aminos, mustard, hot pepper sauce and black pepper until they are combined
  2. In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat and add garlic, chili powder, paprika and cayenne, stirring until fragrant
  3. Stir in your tomato sauce mixture and bring to a boil
  4. Simmer gently uncovered for 25-30 minutes
  5. Cool to room temperature in mason jar or other refrigerator safe container
  6. Meanwhile prep your crockpot by dicing one yellow onion and spreading it on the bottom of your slow cooker
  7. Liberally season your racks of ribs with salt, pepper and garlic powder
  8. Cut your racks to fit into slow cooker then stack a rack of ribs, coat with BBQ sauce and repeat until it's full.
  9. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the meat is falling off the bones
  10. Serve with a dipper of BBQ sauce on the side

There are lots of different ways to make ribs, and I love experimenting with all cooking methods. But something tells me that with football season coming up and Sundays spent lounging on the couch staying warm that this recipe will be the perfect fit.

Lazy Sunday

We are having quite the lazy Sunday around here and I am super happy about it. No rushing, no schedules, no plans — just whatever we feel like at our own pace. It has been a long weekend so far and I’m so relieved to just be sitting at my dining table with a pup at my feet, the sounds of football in the background and delicious smells wafting through the kitchen.
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We had a long week with Honey Boo Boo Dog (yep, no name has stuck yet) who hadn’t really been sleeping through the night. At first we thought it was just new surroundings, or maybe he was older and just needed a nightly trip outside, but on Thursday he was up just about every hour vigorously shaking his head, so we knew something was up with his ears. The vet couldn’t get us in until Saturday, so I worked from home on Friday to make sure that he was doing okay. As the day went on though it just got SO MUCH WORSE. He couldn’t go more than a few minutes without shaking, was clearly upset and in discomfort, so we called the vet and explained and they kindly squeezed us in.

He was a dream at the vet and made friends with every person in that office. I’m glad he is so easily social with other people and dogs, it is such a relief. We found out that he is most likely an Australian Shepherd/Terrier/Retriever mix and is about 4 years old. He’s in relatively good health and we made appointments for all of his vaccinations and to chip him and to have a heart worm test. Friday though, we just wanted to figure out what was going on with his ears and unfortunately HBB has two severe ear infections probably brought on by his allergies. :( Poor guy.
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His ears are full of gunk and inflamed, so we came home with some ear wash and antibiotics/antifungal creams, plus instructions on how to sneak allergy meds into his treat. We started the regimen immediately and he is SO MUCH HAPPIER. And so are we now that we know he is okay and on the mend, and of course now that everyone is sleeping comfortably through the night! We had to stop at Target on the way home from the vet and I snapped this picture while we there because it was so hysterical. I posted it on Instagram too, but it’s so funny I have to share it twice. Garrett is clearly Target’s target demographic.
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Saturday Garrett had to work and because parking can be nutty downtown I dropped him off and picked him up and did my grocery shopping in between. I had made a super epic grocery list though and left it on my freaking kitchen table instead of taking it with me. Don’t you HATE when that happens? When I was done I stopped at home and got the dog so we could explore the neighborhood where G works on a leash and so Garrett’s coworkers could meet HBB. On the way home G wanted to sit in the back, so the two boys hung back there and even though I felt like kind of an ass driving Miss Daisy and Honey Boo Boo around, it was kind of cute.
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This weekends eats were relatively clean, but there was also this:
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Yep, that’s wine in a bag (2 bottles, actually) with its own dispenser. It’s from a local winery that we like, but what I like even more is its silly name: Chateaux Meau Faux. It is seriously the perfect BBQ wine. So convenient and delicious!

Our gym was having a BBQ on Saturday and we weren’t planning to go because we had made plans and then had to cancel because of the HBB situation and our vet appointment, but in the end since we had gone to the vet Friday and it was happening basically a block away from our house we ended up stopping by for bit and I’m glad we did. We had to cancel plans with friends this weekend because of Garrett’s work schedule and with our sick little doggie sitch (hello precursor to parenthood) and I was feeling sort of sad that we were going to have a crappy weekend, so it ended up being nice to just get out for a bit and say hi to some folks we like.

We slept in this morning (THANK GOD BECAUSE I WAS SO CRANKY AND SLEEP DEPRIVED FROM THE WEEK) and I’ve been lazing about ever since. photo

I did some food prep stuff for the week that included making a batch of Citrus Carnitas, some Paleo Raspberry Almond Muffins, grilling up some BBQ 3000 Chicken Thighs (a fave right now), and experimenting with a big batch of Bone Broth (more on that this week.)
Diptic
The fridge is pretty stocked and I’d say the only thing that could make this day better is if it actually felt like fall, but unfortunately I’m writing with the A/C on full blast because it’s 93 degrees out. Oh well, you can’t win them all. I’m supposed to squeeze in a 4 mile run today but I’m sort of feeling like that’s not going to happen. I’ve got a few hours of light left though, so we’ll see.

Back to the grind tomorrow!

Dog Questions

There are times in my life when I am so damn happy to have a website/twitter account/love for the internet. Mainly these times happen when I need advice because I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING.

Hello. Inexperienced Dog Owner here. NEEDS OPINIONS AND ADVICE. (Thanks for indulging me in the dog talk lately. It’s just an ENORMOUS life change for us, so that’s why it’s sort of all I can think about.)

Honey Boo Boo Dog says hi!

So, while it may be premature since we technically have to wait 30 days to legally chip this little dog, I’m just going to say it: WE ARE KEEPING HONEY BOO BOO. It was a no brainer really. After 2 weeks, we love him. And that’s really all you need right? The Beatles said it, I believe it.

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Ok, so anyway, in the midst of freaking out, spamming Instagram with pet pictures like an ass, and snuggling this little pup, I am scouring the internet for dog related things and putting holds on Cesar Millan books at the library. Not really. Well, Ok YES REALLY, I’M SORRY I AM A LOVER OF PLANNING AND INFORMATION. Sue me. I know we will eventually take the dog to a vet and we will get, you know, professional advice there (as well as an idea about his breed/age) but I would like some internet opinions. You guys are smart and I like to hear what you have to say. (Don’t worry, you won’t need to be a dog owner to weigh in.)

So, if you have a second, riddle me this:

1. Dog Name Suggestions, we are taking them — The other day Honey Boo Boo found the tiniest little gap in the fence and pranced through it into our neighbor’s backyard. At like 6am. And proceeded to crap on their lawn. In the middle of it all I was climbing on the fence (in my pajamas!) yelling “COME HERE HONEY BOO BOO” to a crapping dog. It was really a sight, I tell ya. And in that moment I realized that this dog needs a legit name. What were your pets names growing up? What is your dog named right now? I feel like we will know when we find the right one, but we haven’t heard it yet.

2. Paleo Peeps With Dogs — what do you feed them? — I mean there is a freaking RABBIT HOLE of people feeding their dogs raw food, meaty bones, meat and vegetables, organic hippie kibble. So many options. I’m just curious what you do with yours. Don’t worry, we are feeding HBB. Right now it’s a grain free kibble, but I’m wondering if we could be doing better. Just gathering information. And I trust you guys. HBB obviously would like a burger and fries please, with a large diet coke on the side. He’s watching his weight. :)

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3. Training and Play — HBB knows how to sit and shake. But that’s about it. We need to teach him how to do some other stuff. Also, he has no idea how to play fetch and it took him 10 days to figure out how to chew on a bone (and now he doesn’t want to leave that bone alone. ha!) How do you teach a dog to play fetch, yo? :) Anyway, I’d love to hear about your training methods, and thoughts.

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4. Any other advice you’d like to give. Go for it!

We are all ears.

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