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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

W30 Survivor Blueberry Muffins

I pulled through the end of my Whole 30 experience (more to come on that) with the help of a W30-friendly blueberry muffin recipe. They have provided a few breakfasts in the car and also gave me something to snack on while trapped in a convention center all day with wedding cake samples! I didn't even want to look at the cute little cupcakes, I just got out my super-moist blueberry muffin and enjoyed.


So I wanted to share it with the masses...

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Grease 6 muffin tins or line with papers.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together: 1/4C almond flour, 2 Tbsp coconut flour, 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and 1/4 tsp baking powder. Set aside.

4. In a blender, food processor, or NINJA®, add one ripe banana and 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and blend until smooth.

5. Add 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil and blend together.

6. Add 3 eggs, blend again.

7. Add dry ingredients and blend to form batter.

8. Stir in 1C frozen blueberries.

9. Divide batter among six prepared muffin cups.

10. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

11. Bake for 20-25 minutes-until tops are golden brown and spring back when poked.

12. Cool in the pan. 

I hope you enjoy my moist muffins as much as I do!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ice Ice Baby

There's nothing like your name in lights or chiseled into ice!

All of the work of January unfolded today at the center starting early at seven. I set five alarms this morning to get my butt out of bed before dawn. Once my feet hit the concrete time began to fly.

A trip backstage. A trip to the bridal check in. A trip backstage. A trip through the expo. Back and forth and back and forth. So much preparation comes down to such a quick time in the scheme of things.

Everything ran so smoothly, the brides bubbled with excitement and the vendors buzzed with anticipation. And as the lights faded from all that lace and icing, mama purchased a new lunch bag from one of the vendors. I've finally got a lunch bag (on the way) that will coordinate with my kitchen when not in use. I know I'm a dork.

I'm excited for this weekend to come to an early conclusion. All that running has left this old baby pretty achy. Yowsa! I have a bad feeling it will be worse tomorrow. So goodnight to another fantastic event. We'll see ya next year!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Savory Lazy Start

We're having a lazy start to a busy weekend! I'm sure I'll regret it late tonight when I'm still scrambling to get everything done, but for now...it's glorious.

Even though my weekend alarm went off, I found myself slowly coming to around 1030. For anyone who's counting, that would have been eleven and a half hours of deep, deep sleep. At this point I have to assume I need it and thank my lucky stars I haven't gotten sick with how stressful this month has been.

So far I've managed to clean up my mess of a kitchen to free up counter space to brew a little java. I surfed the internet for a blueberry muffin recipe, tweaked it, and just pulled them out of the oven to cool. I scrambled a couple eggs with peppers and salsa and squeezed the juice from a ripe grapefruit for a late breakfast.

Now I'm sipping my java and contemplating the order of household tasks to efficiently tackle as many as possible before I head off to work for the day. And that's a whole different ball of wax.

But for now, I'm taking this slice of my day to savor the laziness.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two Days

Two days are all I ask for. Just two whole days to work on clearing off my desk with no interruptions.

Nobody coming to ask me anything. Nobody emailing me something to fix. Or do. Or something wrong that I need to problem solve. Nothing to look over. Nothing to write up. Nothing to redo. Do over. Do in my "spare" time (LOVE that one--sure I'll file this away for never. How does never work for you?).

Thank goodness for weekends! Let's hope I get a good head start on my weekend work tomorrow because I'm in for an abbreviated work weekend with all this event I have going on.

Whew. Just breathe. Just keep breathing.

I'm hoping for a quiet day around the office tomorrow. I have no training planned, so it's just event work and emergencies on the agenda. And if all else fails, I trained one of the bosses to enter orders, so I could put him to work!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Luckily I Get Paid

I was thanking my lucky protons that today was payday! I had an ever growing list of things I needed to pick up at the walmart. And once I got there I found even more that I "needed."

I finally have actual skirt hangers. That's been on a long-term closet organization plan for longer than I care to admit. I also stumbled upon this fabulous bright red shag rug marked 17, in a bin for 15, and rung up as 13 dollars. SOLD! Peanut is enjoying the extra snuggle as we speak!

I also found more 4oz canning jars, which I use for individual portions and to freeze sauces and such. Absolutely indispensable and I haven't seen that size since I purchase my first case of them a year or two ago. Just had to have 'em!

If I can squeeze in a little project time at home this event weekend, I'll be redoing shelf liner in the kitchen. This has been a long time coming and now that the cupboards are super organized, the blue and yellow tea cup pattern has got to go. Just wait until you see it. You'll think I'm crazy for living with it for almost three years!

Then as if I hadn't spent enough money, I stopped at the grocery store. This Whole 30 thing is expensive! I'm horrified to total it up for the month, but can tell you I spent over a hundred dollars tonight and it's been less than a week since I last visited the store. There was a time not too long ago that I spent $25 a week on groceries. I'm a lucky girl to be able to afford food that is good for me! And it doesn't hurt that I haven't spent any money on liquor this month. Thank goodness for that!

Oh, and I paid off my student loan today! One less thing to pay that I have nothing to show for. I need to eliminate as many of those as possible to free up more cash for food and booze!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Proton Storm's A Commin'

So I read some article about this proton storm thingy heading our way. And by our, I mean earth. Not like Springfield. Like stay in tonight, the roads are going to be a mess with all that proton storm coming down. No.

Anyhoo, I understand I can blame all things on this storm and if we're lucky, we'll all survive. Just fair warning...if my piece of junk computer plays the same tricks tomorrow that it played today, I may have to go home early with a proton storm.

I plan to order a fancy knife set if I can carve out two minutes of me time tomorrow, so I have big plans for that heap of junk! And I need plenty of working computer time to get...um...work done so I can leave the office at a decent hour and restock the groceries. Knives and groceries and protons, oh my!

I've got a big day ahead of me. And you do to! Don't forget the umbrella. It's going to be a nasty one!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Glitzy Glamorous Workin' Girl

Another work-filled weekend bites the dust. I finished up pre-event stuff. We're so close now, this week will be a whole new set of to-dos.

Let's start with the banner I need to drop off at the sign company tomorrow morning for relogoing. Did I forget it at work? I sure did. I was so excited to reward myself with this shiny jewelry armoire, I forgot to grab the damn banner on my way out the door tonight. Tomorrow will start extra early with a trip into work, back into town, then back to work. I'm brilliant!

But let's focus on the glass half full here. I purchased an awesome armoire! I saw it yesterday when I stopped into TJ Maxx to look for a knife set and I couldn't stop thinking about it! I had also decided I could use another one of those impulse buy drawer dividers, so I had to go back!

Now my underthings are all organized in pretty little dividers and my jewelry is all tucked away, but within reach. Yesterday I also picked up a hanging sweater organizer, which was installed just in the nick of time before I was avalanched into my closet never to be heard from again!

Tonight I hauled the winter tote up the stairs and sprinkled a little fiery winter onto my decor. The house was feeling empty since Christmas packed up and moved out. Now, little red snowflakes dance from my curtain rods, penguins and snowmen adorn shelves, and a steely heart or two signal the coming of Valentine's Day.

All in all, I pretty successful weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

T Minus

Six work days until the big wedding extravaganza palooza show...if you don't count weekends.

I keep trying to remind myself...one thing at a time. More than once today I thought, "I can worry about that next week" or "I can worry about that after the show."

Certain things will need to be done tomorrow and that list feels overwhelming with the rest of everything else going on. What a crazy January it has been! I cannot wait for a Wisconsin getaway. It has been WAY too long. I'm going to pull through, though. I can feel success on the other side and possibly the best wedding show ever.

*fingers crossed*

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Tale Of Two Cars

So yesterday I put in a long work day. January has been particularly busy with an event coming up and being short-staffed again. I just needed to finish "one more thing," which usually turns into ten more things.

By the time I was packing it in for the night, everyone else had already left. I locked up all the doors, switched off all the lights, and ventured across the dark, empty lot to my lonely car.

I hopped in, shut the door, started it... not noticing anything out of the ordinary. I backed out of my stall and as the car lurched forward, my driver's side door fell open. WTF?

I attempted to slam it shut again and it bounced back open. I stopped the car and got out to inspect. It turns out the little hooky mechanism in the door that latches onto the metal bar thingy was stuck open. With a few clicks of my remote I could see it wasn't moving. I squished my finger in there and managed to move the hooky thing, so then it prevented the door from closing at all.

Great.

Luckily I work for a company with multiple extra vehicles lying around. Not the one I wanted, mind you, because another coworker was having some car troubles as well and already took the first choice company loaner car. My choices were the child molester van or the hopped up Cruiser. I went with the Cruiser, but still...it's so big! The children were lucky not to have been "accidentally" run over with me behind the wheel of that thing!

Then, as if a girl wasn't pretty lucky just to get a loaner car, I also got my car fixed today! I mentioned it to our engineer who promptly took a look at it, determined it had been frozen, and WD40'd it good as new. By nine I was back to just worrying about everyday stuff.

I've got a great job! And I was the coolest kid on the block last night cruisin' in my gigantor Cruiser!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Choose To Want It

I've heard a lot of people taking about willpower lately. I guess it's that time of year where everyone sets unrealistic expectations for themselves and then they determine they don't have enough willpower to accomplish their goals, so they go back to the same old same old.

It is easier to do nothing over practically anything. But it's also easy to curl up with a good book and read it cover to cover. It's easy to make time to see friends and family. It's easy to dedicate an afternoon to a favorite hobby or an evening to a night out on the town. It doesn't take any willpower at all to do something you want to do.

I'm finding that truth in my Whole 30 experience. It's something I wanted to do for a long while and it feels right. It was the right timing when it landed under my nose and it took all of thirty seconds to decide it was what I wanted. Even struggling through the headaches and crab monsters, I didn't consider giving up on what I wanted. And I'm feeling great now!

So instead of silly new years resolutions, spend your days deciding what you really want out of life and go do it. You'll be surprised how little willpower you need when you follow heart.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Acceptance

Today was much better than yesterday. I can't say I accomplished all I set out to do today. I can't say everything I did was flawless. But I can say my mood about it was greatly improved.

I managed to tackle a few things on the to-do list...some of them better than others. I didn't take off time for lunch, but due to the deadline of the bank's closing time, I got out the door at a decent hour.

It's amazing how smoothly the day goes when you accept from the get go you will be putting in a lot of weekend hours. Much to be done tomorrow. I've got my heart set on catching up and high hopes of getting ahead of the curve.

Anything Is possible!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pizza Soup

At the end of a horrible, rotten, no good day, where the highlight was getting a wireless mouse, I was looking for a little comfort.

A little Peanut snuggle always helps. A movie waiting at home helps. Horrible Bosses! How about a little comfort food? Cue the pizza soup recipe experiment. Delightful. It might just tide me over until I have to get back to work. Eck.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in stock pot.

Add 16oz italian sausage and brown.

Add 1C diced green pepper, 1C mushrooms, 2 cloves pressed garlic, and 1/2C turkey pepperoni sliced into slivers. Cook until vegetables are tender.

Add one 14.5oz can organic diced no salt added tomatoes, 46oz organic 100% vegetable juice, 1 Tbsp dried oregano, 1 Tbsp dried basil, 2 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp lite salt.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Pizza soup is even better than the real thing!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Miracle Sleep Diet

It would be great if my dietary cleanse would magically improve my quality of sleep. My schedule has been irregular and I'm really very tired. Last night I couldn't fall asleep and just as I was drifting off, Peanut started licking the floor and wouldn't stop. Usually I love having him sleep next to my bed, but last night at about 1am I kicked him out and shut the door. I felt sooo guilty for the next two minutes I was awake.

Tonight I put in a few extra hours of work, then came home with a grumbly tummy, and lack of focus for dinner. Eventually I reeled it in enough to focus on tilapia and brussel sprouts. Then I was on a roll.

I cranked out egg muffins, salad, salad dressing, snacks, and olive tapenade for tomorrow. When I sat down with a sparkling water and avocado snack it was already 915 and some FOX weather girl was laying on the drama about the big 2-3 inch snow storm tomorrow.

It's late again and I'm not looking forward to dealing with Springfieldians driving in 2 inches of snow. Now's the time. Miracle sleep diet, bring me a dream!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Slowly But Surely

Tonight after a long day, I somehow managed to motivate. It wasn't until about nine o'clock, so once again I'm up too late and will probably be tired again tomorrow. I'm on an evil, wacked out sleep schedule I can't seem to break.

But the good news is that I stowed away two totes of holiday decorations. All the little nick nack ornament paddy wacks are tucked safely away until next year. Mostly. I've already found a few things I missed. So it goes.

Tomorrow my agenda includes washing the holiday linens and things to get packed away and possibly taking down the greenery swags and tree. They were the first up and will be the last down. I just hate to say goodbye to those twinkly little white lights.

I am already breathing a sigh of relief to less clutter. Once I finally close the door on the old holiday storage closet, my decluttering spirit may need to find other areas in the home to turn its focus.

I've still got twenty-one days of no drinking ahead of me on this Whole 30 routine, so I should have plenty of time, money, and energy to dedicate to the cause!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Clean Sweep

I just cleaned out my recipe box. All those must try, must keep, sentimental recipes are out. Okay-most of them. There was a pile of sentimental recipes I can't part with like my grandma's red velvet cake and turtle cake recipes. Those are going in the back.

Now I just need a new recipe box and some little organizer divider thingies. Or better yet, I should get crackin' on that cookbook design and start popping my recipes into a digital file. Wouldn't that be lovely?

So Whole 30 Day 8 went well. As I was wrastling my fitted sheet onto my featherbed, sprawled across the bed to hold the other corners down as I tucked the last corner under, I realized I'm feeling pretty energetic.

After a long, busy day of work I came home to get several loads of laundry done, the bathroom cleaned, and started the post-holidays decluttering. Oh, and changed my sheets. I still have a few things to wrap up, but then I'm hoping my upswing day leads to a good night sleep.

Feeling the clean sweep!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reorganization

I finally did it! I pulled everything out of the three small cupboards in my kitchen to reorganize and prioritize.
I think my cooking, baking, and eating habits have changed significantly since I moved to Springfield two and a half years ago. I've done minor tweaking of the set up since then, but I was ready for an overhaul.
All of my storage containers as well as a few appliances I use frequently (like my ninja), were located in step-ladder-ville. They have moved down into one of the three prime real estate cabinets on ground level. I moved the less frequently or hardly ever used baking pans up into the nosebleed section.
I purchased a few sets of storage baskets with handles for baking supplies, cans and bottles, and I also used them for the storage containers and lids. I'm already enjoying being able to pull the whole basket out to locate what I'm looking for... or to access the things in the way way back of the cabinet.
I bought a new silverware tray to better utilize that drawer and bring those measuring spoons up off the floor level. I use them so often, I don't know why it took me so long to figure out it wasn't really working the way it was.
I'm excited to test drive the functionality of my reorganized kitchen! With all the time I spend in there, it's about time I paid it a little attention.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Headache

I'm ready to be done with the constant headache!

Today I slept way too late, which led to no coffee, which together didn't help out with the headache.

I didn't plan food for the weekend because I thought I'd have plenty of time to think about it. But I'm running low on groceries, so there aren't a lot of options here. I just didn't have the focus to put things together.

Hopefully the head will clear up soon. The focus and the pain. Brighter days are ahead!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Almond Flour Tastiness

I thought I should have junk food tonight since it's Friday and all and I can't have liquor.

Earlier in the week I made ketchup. With that level of gloriousness chillin' in the fridge, sweet potato fries are an easy choice!

My sister said her kids like almond flour coated chicken tenders. Sounds good to me to! I did a few google searches and put together the following recipe.

Preheat oven to 475°.

Line baking pan with aluminum foil, grease with coconut oil.

Whisk together in shallow bowl...
1/4C almond flour
3/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp lite salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

In another bowl whisk...
1 egg

Dip 3 chicken tenderloins in egg, then flour mixture. Discard leftover egg and flour. Place chicken on prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until no trace of pink remains.

I dipped my tenders in homemade bbq sauce. Their tastiness really topped my week!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

WTF D4

What day are we on? Four?! You've got to be kidding me right?

After four days of Whole 30, I can say that I'm crabby most of the time with constant headaches-and not your everyday headaches, but your really debilitating, need to take meds, can't focus headaches. Oh right, and I have absolutely no focus. Did I mention I have no focus?

Also my four days without gluten have had absolutely no affect on my horrific allergies. I ran out of allergy meds about six days ago, so I decided to let it ride. I thought I'd only take the meds if I felt I really needed them. I REALLY need them! I think the constant sneeze fest is making me the most crabby.

Other than that, I'm doing great! I'm running out of food, but I'm so glad to be out of my throwing away food because it spoiled before I did anything with it phase. THAT was getting old! I'd much rather be shelling out cash for good food when I'm actually benefitting from it.

I'm going to have to scrounge up a few new menu ideas for next week as well. Can't get bored!

Other than that, I plan to spend my weekend reorganizing my kitchen. Stay tuned. We're in for an overhaul!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hard Day

I had absolutely no focus today. I tried really hard, so A+ for effort!

I've had two nights in a row of not great sleep, so that doesn't help. I started my day this morning at work with a cup of coffee with Splenda. Oops. Not supposed to have sugar. I didn't even realize I did it until I went for the coconut milk for my second cup.

My planned food all went fine. I don't really have cravings so much, but when the stress level went up I could have eaten those mini snickers...like a whole bag of them. In normal life I don't usually even eat candy. And then I REALLY wanted a bottle of red wine to wash it down. Luckily I fantasized about it enough to not actually need it.

I got home bummed and burnt out and it took a Peanut snuggle and twenty minutes doing nothing but lying on the couch to lift my spirits. It helped that I had mapped out what I would eat this week, because I definitely didn't want something good for me, but after a few slices of lunch meat (thank goodness for the blood sugar lift), I began to prepare dinner anyhow. The aroma of my chicken cacciatore bubbling away on the stove, filled me with motivation to get a few things done around the house.

Before long I had enjoyed a satisfying, healthy dinner, started laundry, changed sheets, and ran the dishwasher. I quickly prepared my food for tomorrow and got the house in order with high hopes of an early bedtime. This hard day is saying goodnight!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crab Monster!

I was a crab monster today for shizzle. Yeah, I can say things like that when I'm crabby.

I had delightful well-planned food today. Eggs for breakfast (in the car), apple with almond butter, chicken salad, celery with olive tapenade, and a tasty piece of lemon and parsley seasoned tilapia. All super yum, so no complaints there.

I got home from the wedding show model auditions early today, so I decided to slice up a sweet potato for baked fries. Just a little salt, pepper, and red pepper makes for tasty carbs! Disappointed with the realization of no ketchup, I googled a paleo ketchup recipe and 40 minutes later I was enjoying my fries with a kicky little tomato sauce. I love realizing it's easier and more convenient to make something that is good for you! Yay me!

Cashew Chicken Cabbage Salad

This recipe was adapted from a recipe in my Ultra-Metabolism Cookbook.


Dressing
1/4C cashew butter*
1 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp pressed garlic

Salad
8oz chicken breast
2C shredded green cabbage
4 medium carrots, shredded
1/2C red bell pepper, diced
Juice of 1 orange**

Garnish
dried cilantro
chopped cashews

* First of all I did not have cashew butter, so I combined 1/2C cashews and about 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in my little ninja and processed until smooth. Then measured out 1/4 cup.

1. In a salad dressing shaker, combine all dressing ingredients and shake to combine.

2. Dice the chicken and cook in skillet over medium high heat with a little sesame oil, salt, and pepper until no trace of pink remains.

3. Meanwhile, I again whipped out my ninja to process chunks of cabbage and carrots into small pieces.

4. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, red pepper, and juice of one orange. Add dressing and stir to coat.

5. When chicken is done add to salad and toss again.

6. Serve with a sprinkle*** of cilantro and chopped cashews on top.

** The orginal recipe called for orange segments cut into chunks. I attempted this and discovered that oranges make me angry. After spending ten minutes attempting to get all the crap off the orange, I just squeezed juice in. I may be tempted to use a canned orange in this salad.

*** Take note if your cilantro spice jar is missing the proper filter for "sprinkling." This is very imporant as I discovered, if you try to sprinkle from an open jar, it turns out to be more of a "dump" than a "sprinkle."

Happy Eating!


NOTE TO SELF: LOOK UP NATURAL, WHOLE 30-APPROVED BREATH REFRESHERS AS THIS SALAD IS GARLIC PACKED AND MAYBE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR THE WORKPLACE.

Monday, January 2, 2012

W30 D1

I spent my holiday preparing for week one of the Whole 30. I perused my whole foods cook book and decided on some delightful dishes to prepare this week. I compiled a list and hit the road to pick up groceries.

I stocked up on healthy oils, almond butter, a few fruits, and a lot of vegetables. I'm regretting slightly having stopped at the grocery store last Friday. Since I decided unexpectedly to forego grains, dairy, and legumes for the month of January, I have a few things in my fridge that I shouldn't.

It's going to work out, though. Today I enjoyed scrambled eggs with green peppers and tomato for brunch and a tangy chicken cabbage salad for dinner. I'm looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Survival

I survived day one of this, our last year.

After a safe night spent at the hotel, I woke with the first light and rushed home to reunite with Peanut. He was fast asleep on his little bed, pushed up against the dresser for optimal snuggling. I woke him for a trip outside and breakfast, followed closely by family nap time.

I hoped to sleep away my headache, but to no avail. By the time I woke again I had to rely on medication to ease the pain. It was probably for the best considering I ached all over. This spring chicken may have finally learned her lesson about wearing crazy high heels on a concrete convention center floor and standing all night long. Ouchy!

It was also a good day to consider doing more for myself that will make me feel better on a regular basis. It's going to mean taking a whole month off from drinking, but I think I'm finally ready to give the Whole 30 challenge a try. I would love to break the gluten habit considering I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to it. I'm hoping this might do the trick. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Carazy!

The only going out memories from New Years I have are from a really long time ago. So this work-related going out incident I experienced tonight is unusual!

This was much better than the crowded bars of downtown La Crosse where you can't even get a drink. Plenty of drinks and plenty of fun was had downtown Springfield this year.

For supposedly the last New Years ever, it was good. I'd be glad to end on this note. It was kinda magical with the balloons and confetti drop at midnight with Bret Michaels singing and what not.

If we removed all responsibility from the event it would have been absolutely perfect. But with great responsibility, comes a lot of radio fun!

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