COOK 90 continues…

Here are some of the foods I ate during the Cook 90…3 homemade meals a day for 30 days….and then I just kept cooking….AND every meal is WHOLE 30 healthy!

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Spinach Omelet with kielbasa, red and green sauces on top

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Chicken skin crisped w. a touch of Rosemary and sea salt

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Clementines and blackberries

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Bed of avocado w. chix salad & clementines

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Eggplant w. tomato sauce, rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme with melted Parmesan on top

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Egg frittata w. green onions, kielbasa, Dijon and garlic

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Spiralized zucchini sauteed in butter and olive oil with sautéed shrimp in Prudhomme seafood spice

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Spiralized zucchini sauteed in butter and olive oil with water chestnuts, green onions, sautéed shrimp in Prudhomme seafood spice

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Sweet potato pancakes

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Sweet potato pancake on a bed of sautéed onions, garlic and mushrooms w. fried egg on top

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Butter lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, roasted chicken, mayo and egg salad

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Lettuce wraps w. mayo, avocado, roasted chicken

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Refrigerator salad consisting of: blueberries, strawberries, hard-boiled egg, chicken, lettuce, almonds, onions and olives

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Acai bowl consisting of: frozen berry medley, acai packet, avocado, FAG yogurt blended and topped with coconut flakes, bananas, strawberries, blueberries & almonds

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Another day I added kiwi slices and pecans and removed the berries for topping…

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Zucchini pancake consisting of: eggs, Dijon mustard, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Parmesan Cheese, almond flour and butter

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Zucchini pancake consisting of: eggs, Dijon mustard, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Parm Cheese, almond flour with cashew butter spread on top

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Half avocado w. soft-boiled egg in the center

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Zucchini pancake consisting of: eggs, Dijon mustard, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Parm Cheese, almond flour, butter with soft-boiled egg on top

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Creamy cauliflower dip

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Tzatziki sauce

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A bed of sautéed onions, garlic and mushrooms w. shrimp on top

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A bed of sautéed onions, garlic and mushrooms w. shrimp on top and let me try the Tzatziki sauce on top of it!!!

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Red Snapper cooked in Thai spices

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Eggplant w. tomato sauce, rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme with olives and capers

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Thai chicken soup

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Zucchini lasagna

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Chicken stir-fry

 

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

 

 

Cook 90 Coupled With Whole 30 & More…

I woke up one day with pain in my hips. I realized it was time to go back on WHOLE 30. When I follow WHOLE 30, I get rid of my aches and pains. I get rid of puffiness and bloating. I love it! However, before I start I always need my last hoorah first! Plus, I received emails from Epicurious.com, which I love and is my go to for recipes and the editor, David Tamarkin, sent out a note from Epicurious inviting readers and followers to join him to cook three meals a day for the month of January! I decided to sign up and do it! He did it solo last year and this year he has 20,000 people joining him! Pretty cool, huh? I’ll get to my meals. After I get to my last hoorah!

My dear friend Jules from Indy came down for a visit and we went to THE SUMMIT, which is the Culinary School @ Cincy State’s restaurant. I have always heard great things about it. Jules and I loved the amuse bouche at the beginning. Then she ordered a salad, which was good and I ordered the porkbelly with the quail egg on top and that was delicious! If it wasn’t for my first two courses, which was quite tasty, and a taste’s of Jules’s entree. I would never consider going back!

I ordered a white fish that they didn’t have so they replaced it with sea bream, which I like a lot. The dish was supposed to be a white fish in a beurre blanc with raisins and capers to get that sweet and salty thing going, but for some reason, the chef feared that the caper raisin combo wouldn’t work with the sea bream, but replacing one white fish for another should not have dictated such a drastic departure from the recipe. The chef omitted the capers and raisins. Instead he chose to serve the dish as a fish in beurre blanc, but the beurre blanc had NO taste whatsoever! NONE! If anything there was a spice in it that I couldn’t name. It didn’t add or delete but made my mouth wince. I stopped eating it and brought it home to doctor it. Not good. The presentation was lovely but the main entrée left little to be desired.

On the other hand, Jules’s chicken dish was very tasty. I wanted to write the meal off as a waste of money and a flop, but we all have off days and somethings work better than others.

Here are some pictures from the meal….

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Christmas Lights and the Set-Up for Christmas Tea with a Couple Close Girlfriends…

We met this lovely little bird at the Zoo. She was a sweet soul…she’s not a duck!

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The middle slot on the high tea tray was awaiting Lisa’s pumpkin muffins and pumpkin dip!

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Tall iced cappuccino with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg

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Homemade quilt out of favorite shirts backed with blue and white polka dot fleece blanket

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Santa Claus’s elf….

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COOK #90     and   #WHOLE 30

COOK #90 Make 3 meals a day and do not eat out. This was coupled with my going back on #WHOLE 30, which IMMEDIATELY got rid of my hip joint pain.

I am a creature of habit. I tend to eat the same thing day in and day out. I am the one that lived in Boston and New York and ate Trader Joe’s Mango granola topped with whatever gourmet yogurt that tickled my fancy every morning for over 14 years!

Now, being a Whole 30 savvy gal, I am eating two soft-boiled eggs and in the Fall, Winter, Spring I eat a Granny Smith apple and in the summer fresh seasonal fruits replaces the apple. Also, I drink Café Du Monde coffee with milk. Breakfast rarely changes, except on weekends.

I tried this variation with the eggs on top of the sautéed onions, garlic, and bella mushrooms, but decided the best way to eat this dish is with the mushrooms on the eggs so they soak up the yolk.

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One weekend day, I added spinach to the above concoction.

I thought I was super brilliant to cook the bacon on the same tray as the sliced sweet potato to give each food a flavor from the other.

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I tried the sweet potato toast. Have you heard of this? For those gluten free folks, you roast a slice of sweet potato because the toaster does not do the trick!

Then you can do a variety of options on top of your sweet potato toast and here are three I tried.

L to R:

Butter, cinnamon & sea salt

Avocado & sea salt

Avocado & lemon pepper

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My favorite was the first one. So much so, that I repeated it the next morning.

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One night, I spiralized zucchini and sautéed it in my wok with butter and olive oil. Placed it in a bowl.

Then placed the spinach, mushrooms, onions and garlic in the wok with extra oil and tossed in the shrimp. I cooked them till they turned pink and began to curl and put that on top of the zucchini.

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Another night, I took mushrooms, spinach and pancetta and cooked all of that up together and tossed it in a bowl and ate that for dinner.

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I LOVE eating food out of a bowl.

I bought some broccoli and some cauliflower and tried this Broccoli Cauliflower Mash recipe from the Whole 30 book.

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli

1 head of cauliflower

1 tbsp. olive oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp. parsley

1 c. coconut cream

1 c. chicken broth

2 tbsp. minced garlic

 

Mix ingredients together in a pot on stove and cook for roughly 10-15 minutes.

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I have been fighting a bad cold for almost 2 weeks. My kind neighbors brought me turkey soup with noodles, which was my only gluten cheat since Dec. 8.

Others brought me chicken soup, and one friend brought me chicken soup and then organic ingredients to make chicken soup to last me for weeks!

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I have had two bad experiences with chicken soupin the past. I decided to try it again and this time…it worked!

ERIN’S CHICKEN SOUP

1 chicken carcass

Water to cover the chicken bones

Healthy dose of sea salt and pepper

2-3 T dill

3 Carrots

2 bunches Green onions

1 bunch of celery

I chopped all the veggies and added them to the water and chicken bones. I added spices. I brought to a boil. Then simmered for 2-3 hours. Drained out the broth and put it in a bowl covered in the refrigerator overnight. Threw away the carcass after I got the loose meat off it. Put meat, and vegetables in a separate container in the refrigerator. Next day. Scraped the grease off the broth and discarded. Put the broth and the veggies and chicken back in a pot. Brought to a boil and served.

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I loved it!!! It is what I have been eating with my bad cold. Plus, apples and oranges.

Today, I made butternut squash soup for lunch.

Butternut squash soup

1 butternut squash

3 T butter

1 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

1 t. ginger

1 t. curry

1 large garlic clove

½ c. coconut cream

1 c. chicken broth

Directions

Diced butternut squash into chunks and roasted at 400 for 8 minutes. Flipped and roasted another 8 minutes. (Keep an eye on it and adjust time accordingly.)

Tossed the butternut squash into my Cuisinart. Added all of the above ingredients. (Including the broth heated.)

NOTE: Originally, I didn’t add the ginger and curry but it didn’t have enough flavor for me so I added that to give it more flavor. I could have added rosemary or sage, but not together! Those spices solo could have been good as well, but instead I went to ginger and curry.

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Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

3 Last Days of Glory and 11 Days of Diet

 

I hate New Year’s Eve. I have no idea why, maybe so much pressure on the holiday or maybe because I have only had fun on New Year’s Eve once in my life when I was a freshman in college. So, I do not like the holiday. AT ALL. I discovered that DUTCH’s in Cincy is ranked the #1 place to get a burger and when I went in the fall it was awesome.  The New Year’s burger was NOT as spectacular as the Fall burger but the concept of it was ridiculously good.

An Oscar burger. This means a burger with crabmeat, asparagus, and drizzled bearnaise on top. How can you go wrong? It was good. Not killer, but good. And a good way to spend New Year’s!

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My friend Jennie came to Cincy and she took me to her daughter’s favorite Mexican restaurant in town called MAZUNTE. I was worried about finding something I could eat. I looked at the menu and there was nothing I could eat. I was going to drink a water and go home and eat. I went to hangout with Jennie and her daughter. But, I was happy to discover that there was SO MUCH on their menu that was gluten free.

I ordered the enchilada with chicken, served “verde” (green) with Mexican cheese, crema, fresh spinach, onion and queso fresco (fresh cheese). It was amazing! I was really  impressed! 

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If you know me…before I start, I need one more day to cheat. The best way to do that for me was with a craving for my mom’s Shrimp and Grits.

Mom’s Shrimp and Grits   (Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

  1. Grits:
    • 1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • Kosher salt
    • freshly ground pepper
    • OPTION: Go out for breakfast, order grits and bring them home and use them in this recipe or freeze and use them later. That is what we tend to do. Far easier.
  2. Shrimp:
    • 1/2 cup 1/3″ cubes of andouille sausage AND bacon
    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
    • 16 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
    • 1/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
    • 4 large eggs
    • For grits:
      1. Bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Turn heat to low; gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, until tender, about 1 hour. Stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
    • For shrimp:
      1. Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add andouille sausage AND bacon; sauté until fat begins to render, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter; stir until butter melts. Add shrimp and chicken stock. Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; set aside.
      2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoom butter to skillet; swirl to melt and cover bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan and cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
      3. Divide grits among bowls, forming a well in center. Spoon shrimp mixture into center of grits. Top with egg. If you like!!! This version below is EGG-LESS!!!
    • ENJOY!!!!!! I can’t tell you how much I love my mom’s shrimp and grits. I crave them!!!

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The WHOLE 30 kept me a lot more honest than I would have ever anticipated. The fear of eating gluten products and rendering a puffy face or eating sugar and ending up with achy joints kept me honest a lot more than usual. Sadly, not enough to keep me from some holiday cheating. And then when I go to New York, I’m like a kid in a candy story. So, I gained about 8 lbs., because apparently when you cheat a little it comes back super fast and if I was good and got on that scale regularly it may not have happened. I hate to kill the hard work I did, so I need to fly right again. Especially, since I am going to New York to care of a friend’s dog, visit my friends and EAT. I was once told do diet days in small increments and it is a lot easier than doing LARGE chunks of time. For me, that is true. What I realize when I go back to eating the way I SHOULD…is I forget how much I like the foods on my diet. This is MONUMENTAL. So, what I did is I made enough that I would make enough for dinner the first night and lunch the second day. Here are some of the foods I ate during those 11 Eleven Days.

 

Cauliflower rice

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 T. butter
1 medium onion, diced
Coarse salt and coarsely-ground black pepper to taste

sautéed with the onions

1 garlic glove
Preparation:

Wash, remove core and leaves, trim, and coarsely chop the cauliflower. Also make sure there are no brown or black spots on it. If so, remove with a paring knife. Chop the fresh cauliflower into small florets or pieces small enough to fit into the food processor. Make sure that the cauliflower pieces are completely dried before using. In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat olive oil and butter. Add onion and sauté approximately 10 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, place cauliflower pieces in a food processor until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice. Then pour into frying pan and cook till you reach consistency you like and serve.

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Pork & Tomatillo

First, I baked a pork chop in the oven in olive oil with a meat thermometer.  While that baked, I made the tomatillo sauce.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. tomatillos

1/2 c. chopped onions

1 garlic clove

1 serrano chile MINCED

1T. oregano

1/2 t. cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

2c. water

DIRECTIONS

Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chile pepper into a saucepan. Add oregano, cumin, salt and pepper Add water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain water and pour into blender. Taste. If you need to add additional cumin, oregano, salt pepper…DO IT!

I cut the pork chop into bite sized bites and place on top of the cauliflower rice. I then drizzled this over my pork. Who am I kidding. I poured it over the pork.

YUM!!!

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Apple & Parsnips in Cinnamon

INGREDIENTS

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped in bite size pieces

1 Large parsnip

1/4 c. chopped onion

1 garlic clove

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Place butter, olive oil, onion and garlic in skillet and cook till translucent. Add apple and parsnip and cook till desired consistency. Add cinnamon, salt and pepper. And serve.

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My cousin Deb told me about the next recipe and I couldn’t wait to try it. She did her recipe in the Crockpot, but I can’t find mine. So, I cooked the chicken and then made the sauce and then put the two together. I really cheated. I bought a COOKED rotisserie chicken to start.

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Cabbage

My friend Jules mother made cabbage with sauteed onions and a WHOLE lot of butter….like a stick of butter. It was delicious and a staple for me in the dead of winter. And it is so easy to make.

Steam the cabbage in a steamer or a pot of water. Chop it up prior to steaming.

Then throw in a pot with chopped onions, garlic, salt, pepper and 1 stick of butter. Cook.

Enjoy!

I ate that with the below recipe.

Rosemary-Lemon Pork Chops

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 (bone-in loin) pork chops
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, dried
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sage, dried
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, sage, salt, and pepper. Rub both sides of the pork chops in mixture. Place in oven with thermometer and cook till ready.

 

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Creamy Mashed Root Vegetables

You can use any root vegetable for this recipe, but in this instance I used parsnips.

INGREDIENTS

3 parsnips

1 heaping T. butter

salt and pepper

nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Steam the parsnips, cut into chunks

Toss into Cuisinart

Toss in salt, pepper, nutmeg

Add milk to get to consistency you like

Blend. Taste.

I really love this…makes me not miss mashed potatoes….

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Then I tweaked it for the next day. I added the Beet Tahini Dip from a previous blog and I put a sfot boiled egg on top. It was not only pretty, but delicious.

Combo Beet Tahini Dip with Creamy Mashed Root Veggie w. Egg on top

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One of my favorite things to eat is an everything bagel with cream cheese, capers, onions, tomatoes. Now, that I only eat bagels two to three times a year. I don’t want to give up the rest.

Salmon, Cream Cheese, Onions and Capers rolled up

INGREDIENTS

Package salmon

Cream Cheese

Chopped onions

Tomato sliced

Capers

DIRECTIONS

Spread salmon on a plate, spread cream cheese on it, spread and push capers into it. Place slices of onion and tomato on top. Roll. Add chives if you are feeling fancy. Eat.

 

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Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken

INGREDIENTS

3T. butter

1 c. chopped onion

1.5 t. curry

1 c. chopped Granny Smith apples

1/4 c. flour (almond flour if gluten-free)

1/4 t. ground cardamon

1 t. ginger

1 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1/2 can coconut milk

DIRECTIONS

Melt butter. Add onions. Cook until translucent. Add flour. Cook till onions turn light brown. Add remaining ingredients. Then add chopped cooked chicken.

 

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When I was up in Canada, my cousin Debbie made this for dessert one evening. I loved it! It was sugar-free and gluten-free and delicious! I was craving it so I had to make it. The best part is this a guilt free dessert.

If you are like me, you will love the editorializing in my cousin writing this recipe our for me.

Double click the recipe to enlarge it. I used a berry mix when I made it, but there are many alternatives for it.

 

Well-Fed Fruit Crumble

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Iced Capp in Beer Mug

I took my Dean and Deluca Espresso and made a cappuchino and steamed milk. I took one of my beer mugs and added ice and poured the espresso and the steamed milk on top. I could have been back in New York!

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This was a very interesting article about WHOLE 30. It may change the way you view it. The article is below….

 

Eight Things Whole30 Can Teach You About Cooking

Eric Gillin / 12.11.15

Epi’s Executive Director Eric Gillin embarked on the elimination diet du jour completely unprepared for how it would affect his life (and his cooking). Here, he details his travails, so others won’t be as surprised as he was.

For the past thirty days, I’ve been chronically hungry, alienated from my friends, and slowly going broke.

It’s all my own fault. You could blame it on my pride. Or an offhanded comment in the car, when I turned to my wife and said, “We’ve been eating out a lot lately. Maybe we cut back a bit.” A couple days later, my wife said the words that would change our lives for what felt like forever.

“We’re doing Whole30. We both need to detox. My friend at work did it. She said it was hard,” and then she pursed her lips, looked me dead in the eye, and said the fighting words. “I bet you’ll never be able to finish.”

And just like that, my manhood threatened, I was in.

I’ve tried dozens of times to explain Whole30 to slack-jawed friends and family and co-workers, all surprised when I suddenly refused the constant stream of cakes and cocktails that pass through the halls of Epicurious.

“It’s like paleo,” I’d say. “Only harder.”

Which is somewhat true. Whole30 is an elimination diet on a grand scale. No dairy. No sugar. No soy. No peanuts. No bread. No rice. No grains. It’s basically a diet based on Lloyd Dobler’s quote from Say Anything: “I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.”

It’s not a weight loss plan. Whole30 has a rule against weighing yourself. There are lots of rules. Mess up and break one—even if you have a single bite of pizza—and you’ll need to start over.

It’s intense. On one level, Whole30 is a basic detox, vowing to cut out “all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups.” On another, it’s filled with self-righteous therapy-speak, vowing to “change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body.”

Having missed out on a month of apple cider donut testing, three-ingredient icebox cakes, and an epic buche de noel face off, I sure am emotional about food these days.

This is what you’ll discover after 30 days in a food cult.

  1. Salads Are Secretly Evil

You’d think that thirty days of clean eating would turn you into a raving devotee of the salad. You’d be wrong. Despite the existence of high quality oils and vinegars, homemade salad dressings, and bottled varieties from places like Tessamae’s—salads suck. There’s no cheese. Or croutons. Or any of the naughty bits that make salads satisfying. In the end, you’re tucking into a boring bowl of kinda greasy raw vegetables and coming away starving. Bottom line: Salads are just a vehicle for cheese and bread that make you feel good about not picking the sandwich.

Our weeknight dinners followed a pattern. A simple piece of chicken, meat, or fish. Simple vegetable sides. But doing this every single night? Not so simple.

Photo by Sarah Firshein

  1. You’ll Have to Cook Every Single Meal

Some folks claim that you can dine out on Whole30. This is a lie. I ate out maybe three times in four weeks, all of which were at sushi restaurants where I ate like a polar bear. No soy sauce. No rice. No wasabi. Just me and a bowl o’ raw ocean proteins. Sure, I could have attempted to hit a steakhouse or another place offering simpler fare, but after having the waiter explain in detail every molecule of how every dish was prepared, I might as well hop back in the kitchen and cook the damned meal myself. Which I did. At my own house.

  1. Fruit Is the Only Acceptable Dessert

Dessert without sugar is garbage. Time and time again, I tried to make Whole30 friendly desserts. Like these Coconut Almond Butter truffles, which were truly revolting balls of fat coated in bitter cocoa dust. Or this Chocolate Pudding, which were blobs of banana blended with bitter cocoa dust. In the end, my favorite desserts were things like “mango” and “counting the days until this stupid thing was over.”

Bacon could be one of the easiest things to acquire in a supermarket. But Whole30 friendly bacon? Virtually impossible. Nearly every single bacon brand includes sugar in the production process.

Photo by Sarah Firshein

  1. It Helps to Have Tons of Money and Fancy Grocery Stores

When did tree nuts and almond butter start to cost as much as uncut cocaine? Why do the same brand of low-sodium chicken stock and regular chicken stock have wildly different ingredients? And don’t even get me started on high quality organic produce and meats, which Whole30 “strongly” recommends. It’s like switching from regular gasoline to super premium: It costs 20% more, and you have no idea why you’re doing it.

  1. Asian Food Is Your Friend

While soy is verboten, the rest of the pan-Asian pantry can whip up some pretty decent meals. All you really need is Thai green curry paste, coconut milk, Red Boat fish sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger, limes, cilantro, and a bottle of coconut aminos, a truly bizarre product that costs fifteen bucks and can pass as soy sauce when you mix it in other stuff. (Please never tell me how they get the aminos out of those poor, innocent coconuts.) With this simple pantry, you’ll be making spicy curry soups, delicious stir-frys, and amazing marinated grilled meats and fish in no time.

Whole30 fajita bar, no corn tortillas required.

 

  1. You’ll Find Out What You Really Need

One night, we were craving Mexican food, so I made fajitas. But instead of tortillas, we used lettuce. Loaded up with salsa and fresh guacamole, I didn’t notice it wasn’t wrapped in corn and covered with a snow shovel of shredded cheese. White rice? Who the hell needs to eat white rice when you discover cauliflower “rice” is just as bland? So after thirty days, what did I miss the most? My morning bowl of cereal. May I never have to choke down chia pudding again.

  1. It’ll Make You a Better Cook

When you’re starving all the time, cooking three meals a day for a month, and working with a limited pantry, you begin to cook in new ways. Over this little adventure, my weeknight dinners have gone way beyond what I’d usually attempt. I made sweet potato and kale soup, fried cauliflower rice, roast chicken, sweet potato steak fries, coconut curry chicken thighs, crispy smashed potatoes, spaghetti squash bolognese, a garden vegetable frittata, collard greens in mustard sauce, and buffalo wings.

Hand’s down one of the best Whole30 meals you can eat: Chinese BBQ pork, cauliflower rice, butter lettuce wraps, and a slightly tweaked version of this amazing ginger scallion sauce.

Photo by Sarah Firshein

  1. It Actually Does Change the Relationship You Have With Food

I’ve taken my coffee the same way for fifteen years. Splash of milk and a couple Splendas. On Whole30, I was forced to drink black coffee all the time—twice a day, actually. And I found I liked black coffee better. So now I drink my coffee black.

Other things have changed. I have a special hate for products that I expect to be simple — a can of beans, say — only to discover the label looks like it belongs on a bag of lawn fertilizer. Hell, I no longer mock the tote bag carrying, wool-clad denizens who look perpetually lost in the natural food aisle.

I’m one of them.

And as you all know…I am one too!!!

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

The Things One Can Do with Cauliflower….OH MY!

I am working on a project for kids and cancer. A lovely woman over at Children’s Hospital arranged with childhood survivor’s of cancer to speak with me about their experiences. It was deeply moving to talk to these courageous people, who fought so hard under such difficult measures to beat this nasty disease. They were ALL so energetic, bright, mature, full of life and hope and they all spoke of the silver linings that they got out of such a horrific disease. It really makes one pause and take notice of what is truly important in the world.

Those conversations are so diametrically different from my experience at Car X for an oil change. I found a coupon for $17.99 + I was to bring in canned goods for the homeless. My printer was not working so I couldn’t print it. I called to see how long it would take and they told me no more than 30 minutes. When I arrived and handed them the keys they told me to come back in an hour or MORE! I told them about the coupon and the printer. They told me they could not pull it up for me. Really? In 2015, you don’t have the Internet and access to it? Really?

I went for a walk and came back an hour later and they still were not ready. The mechanics found a WHOLE host of things wrong with my car that could be fixed for high prices. One of which is a procedure that my mechanical friends had NEVER EVER heard of. Flushing the brake fluid for $80. So, I pushed them on the coupon and suddenly they have Internet but can only find the $19.99 coupon. BUT they ask me why would I want that when the oil change is $34.99 and they already gave me $10 off that! I said I want the $19.99 coupon if you won’t honor the $17.99 coupon. Fine he said and …wait for it…with tax that is $24.99. You know…I may be mathematically challenged but I know NOT even 6% tax doesn’t equal up to 24.99 from 19.99. More like $21 and change and I know it may seem silly but I felt SO taken advantage of and don’t go there. And the next day, I get in the car and they didn’t reset the oil light. Bastards.

So, here is the juxtaposition of two polar opposites. These saintly kids that are amazing and have gone to hell and back and turned out remarkable versus these piece of crap car people who will screw you over for a dime. I understand the one but not the other.

Karma, people. Karma.

I went to see my doctor and she practically bounced in the room with excitement seeing that I had lost 15 lbs. She was more excited than me. Probably not a good sign. Again, I do not think I was that big! Jeepers! All pictures to the contrary.

However, you will love this…like doom and gloom and a Stephen King horror film she said to me. “You know you can never go back. EVER!!!!”

Let me clarify the context here. I can never go back to bread and sugar. The way she said it made it sound like I could never go back in time! As if I hopped into Marty’s time machine car in the film BACK TO THE FUTURE and I am now stuck in 2015 and there is no going back.

By the way, I lost another pound! I am now 16 lbs. down and 19 to go. I am literally three pounds from the halfway mark! SO EXCITED!

Confession. I have slowly integrated sugar…not a lot…back into my life and let me tell you. A little does NOT go a long way! A little makes me want more…so some days I have peanut butter (has sugar) and some days I don’t. Some days I eat the honey Greek God’s yogurt that I love and other days I need to stay away. Sugar is like a drug. It is insane!

Last time I blogged I was looking at my sodium intake, which seems to be okay now that I am eating fresh everything. So, I decided to look at my fiber intake. We as women should eat 25 grams of fiber a day. Do you have any idea how hard it is to do that and stay within a calorie restriction? I tend to hit 13-15 grams daily. I eat an apple for breakfast, 2 clementine oranges for an afternoon snack. Veggies with lunch and dinner and grapes for desert and I am still 10 grams below where I need to be? That is a lot of fiber!

Sadly, I went to a funeral. At the funeral, I saw my absolute favorite of all-time babysitter’s parents. They told me there daughter was coming to town and I must come see her and be her surprise. At 8pm on a Monday evening they called me to come over. They were there, she was there and her little brother that I in turn babysat and he was cute as a kid, little more than cute as an adult but I tried to pretend to not notice that since after all I babysat him.

So, this babysitter I am convinced played a crucial role in my wanderlust. My sense of adventure. She said she just brought it out in me, but I think I learned from her. She stayed with me when my mom went out of town. So, one day she is dropping me off at school and says she will pick me up after school when she is finished skydiving.

I said I want to go skydiving with you! She said call your mom and if she says yes, you can go! I waved goodbye and told her I would see her after school. There was no way my mom was going to let her kid jump out of a plane. I knew it.

Another time, she met some hot Spaniard who invited her to the Bahamas for two days. So, she took me to her parents’ home. I didn’t even know these people. Never, ever had laid eyes on them and she left me with them for 2.5 days. “Bye Erin, see you in a few days! You will be fine!”

Thankfully, her older brother took me under his wing and was great! (her parents’ fabulous human beings) Also great was the fact that the football team was coming over for dinner. Me and a football team. Always a silver lining.

So, here is Kathy my favorite babysitter and now the mother of 5 kids of her own. And still so cool. And those parents’ she ditched me with….love them. Great, great people. Think about how your kids would deal with being dumped at a stranger’s house for 2 days.

My cousins were all back in town after venturing to Florida and Arizona and we met at a place in Madeira called La Petite Pierre. This adorable little French bistro that I have never noticed before that day with some yummy food. My cousin Pam and her mom, Aunt Connie had pizzas that smelled and looked great and I had a salad Lyonnaise with bacon, shallots, Lardons, sherry vinaigrette, poached egg and a Parmesan tuile on top. Highly recommend it for food and ambiance.

La Petite Pierre

I had a ball at the Cincinnati Zoo with my friend Mindy and her kids: Wagner, Ruby and Brady. They are home schooled and so they were learning things that I knew and forgot or just simply never knew. I love animals.

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I love Mindy and Ed’s kids. They are such great kids! They are such great parents!

What do you do on a Saturday night with nothing to do? You get two friends together and you teach them how to play RumiQ. The one I had taught the week before…and it was a lot of fun!

My sweet pool friend Mary Lou and I went to the College Hill Coffee House for breakfast. I ordered a yummy omelet with onion, spinach, cheddar cheese and ham and an iced coffee. Mary Lou and I are pool-walking buddies. We walk laps in the pool and chat so it was a treat to see her off-season.

Every year, the staff in my building hosts a St. Patty’s Day party for the building owners. One must wear green, which I had forgotten to do the night before for another St. Patty’s Day party. The night before party was with friends and the friend hosting is an amazing cook!!! She made the most wonderful corned beef. I love corned beef. Well, the party the employees did was a carb fest. Donuts and bagels. The only thing I could eat on the table was a spoonful of cream cheese. All in all, it was a fun party.

I am not eating the donuts and the bagels and yet I am ONLY losing one pound every 2 weeks. I know it is that damn sugar. I know if I go strict again it will continue off faster but I don’t want to be that strict. Next life I am coming back with an incredible metabolism!

Onto the food and cooking….

I made a pork chop with sautéed spinach, onion and garlic on top and drizzled béarnaise and crumbled bacon on top of that! Every bite was yummy!

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I saw somewhere where someone took yogurt and plopped it onto a cookie sheet a teaspoon size of yogurt and you freeze it. Once frozen but it in a container that can reside in your freezer and when you need a pop of yogurt or something sweet you can eat it like candy. It looks like white chocolate silver dollars. It doesn’t taste like that but it tastes like frozen yogurt.

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I made this amazing cauliflower bread. Yes, bread made out of cauliflower.

CAULIFLOWER BREAD RECIPE

Put florets in Cuisinart. Blend well, but don’t puree.

Heat in microwave for 8 minutes.

Stir in an egg and mozzarella cheese. This will bind it all together.

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Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. (DO NOT use aluminum foil it sticks to foil. Hard to get off of it.)

Spread olive oil and flatten the cauliflower dough onto it.

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Heat oven to 400 and bake 16 minutes or until it turns a little brown on top. Directions say 16 minutes. This took me 30-35 minutes…..to get it to look like it does below….

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Let sit for at least 10 minutes. This is a crucial step. If it doesn’t sit. It will fall apart when you cut it.

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The girl who has not had bread since DECEMBER….took a couple slices of the cauliflower bread and spread pepperoni and mozzarella on it and placed it under the broiler and made pizza. I put roasted leeks on another square and melted mozzarella on it. That night for dinner, I made grilled cheese sandwiches with it and the next morning I smeared butter on it and pretended it was toast. No, I have not missed bread at all.

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One night I turned it into a dessert. I rubbed mascarpone cheese on it with dates that I had pureed. It was yummy.

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Apparently craving pizza. I made an omelet and put tomato sauce, sliced yellow onion, oregano, basil and melted mozzarella on top. It made me happy!

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There really are ways to get around my lifestyle change in food especially since I can’t go back. (Insert scary laugh her while tossing your head back!)

Before I leave you…here is a sneak peek of where Peri is heading next…we are in the process of creating Peri’s very own blog….

Boston Peri  Paris and NY Peri Paris and NY Peri - Version 2Scrubs Peri

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

Finding RUDY

I lost another pound. Now, I am at 15 lbs. down!

Of course, 10 of those pounds were Christmas cookies and Graeter’s ice cream. I did have a couple days when I REALLY wanted to go to Graeter’s again this past week. But somehow, I didn’t go! I know I talk about the problems of driving by a Graeter’s ice cream A LOT, but it is a problem that doesn’t seem to go away. Sometimes the urge or cravings are harder than other times! Everyone has a weakness, they always manifest in us in similar ways! (Heavy sigh)

I know I sound like a broken record with this whole diet but I am dumbfounded that a diet said, “We will change the way you look at food,” and it actually has! How did that happen? I am not the kind of gal that is so easily swayed. I am a stubborn German/French woman who is…stubborn!

But I must share because I am shocked. Wheat. Wheat is in everything! It is in my BBQ sauce, in my favorite can of Campbell’s tomato soup, it is in my flippin’ soy sauce. Someone please tell me why it needs to be there? Wow, the wheat industry has us all by the short and curlies!

Sugar…I was looking for a story on 60 Minutes and came across a plethora of stories about Sugar the Devil. It was considered a toxin and it was considered to be more addictive than cocaine. Oh yes, you did read that correctly. So, this morning when I went to eat my Granny Smith apple and my hard boiled egg, I was torn between the egg and the peanut butter for my protein and I bet it was the sugar in the peanut butter that was secretly seducing me. I had to break the stronghold the sugar can have on me and I chose the egg, but I so wanted the peanut butter.

During the week, a friend told me he didn’t understand why people have weight problems because you just make yourself stop eating. He said this to me. I was enraged. If it was that easy, the diet industry wouldn’t be what it is and I would not be on a diet. I have been on so many diets since I was 8 that even I can’t count that high and it is not JUST BECAUSE I am mathematically challenged.

Back to the wheat. The lack of wheat and sugar has certainly been a game changer for me. I can’t list all the changes because that would be inappropriate but there are several! I keep noticing differences.

Now, I am noting my sodium intake. It is kind of like wheat and sugar, if it processed or comes in a jar, bottle, can, or a box the amount of sodium in any given product is absurd. I looked up how much I should be ingesting in any given day and it is 2300 mg, which sounds SO much better than a 60 Minutes piece where a doctor proclaimed that any given person should not consume more sugar than what is contained in a single can of Coke! That was discouraging, nearly impossible to do. I can stay in the limits of sodium intake if I stick to the veggies, fruits and proteins, but if I eat anything else. I really have to watch it. I don’t, but I should. I watch it, but I don’t beat myself up for it like I do the sugar and wheat intake.

It all takes me back to where I should have started and I went this long road to China to get to here. It is all about balance. Balance your diet and that is what matters, but since I am incapable of two spoonfuls of Graeter’s ice cream and three bites of a flourless chocolate cake. I am going to stick to my latest diet. And you all if you choose can ride the wave with me. I like the company!

When there has been a forecast of bad weather and everyone races to the store to buy milk, eggs and bread. I have gone to the vegetable section. If I am going to be stranded at home and need foods to snack on, it needs to be the foods I can eat.

I keep making the eggplant chips. I tell you I need to watch my salt but the combo of the eggplant, olive oil, salt and the crispness of that slice is addictive. Better than a potato chip, health wise. Taste wise of course not, but it is still good.

I started roasting leeks again. The aroma from those little rings, the taste is actually truly satisfying.

The cauliflower cooked to almost brown in bacon grease is like eating a bowl of hash browns. I am not kidding!

My newest addition is the sweet potato fries. I slice them to strips. They are far from even cuts, or for that matter pretty. I throw them in a big mixing bowl and throw in salt, pepper and olive oil and stir and then spread them on a cookie sheet and cook 10 minutes on one side and then flip them and another ten on another side. They are sweet, delicious and tasty. AND healthy!

Salt, yes, I put salt on a lot of food, but here is the scary fact. The salt I put, that I can control, on food is still substantially less than what the producers may put in a can. Not sure how it works but that is the facts.

Another startling surprise that I discovered a few days ago. Water chestnuts. My mom had bought two cans over the holidays for a recipe and never used them. I have been randomly adding them to various dishes and they take on that flavor and add a crunch to my food. I love the crunch. I miss the crunch. My diet does not have lot of crunch!

So, one day, I made my friend Beth’s beau David’s scrambled eggs and probably added a lot more than David. I tossed into the pan the following: water chestnuts, capers, olives, banana peppers, onion, garlic, and cooked that up. Then added the scrambled eggs, feta, tomatoes and avocado. I couldn’t taste the water chestnuts but it added a crunch to those eggs and I really liked it.

Last night, I did the cauliflower in bacon grease and added the water chestnuts to it and again. The crunch.

I love the crunch! I have heard others say they miss the crunch in their diets. Viola…water chestnuts! Who knew!

I have been on this diet for over 2 months. I have been pretty true to it. However, I have made errors, and made minute cheats, but I made a big one the other night but I calculated for it. I love chicken wings. I think the best wings are at a place called Gabby’s. I was meeting my Aunt Barbara there for dinner. So, I ate fruit and veggies all day and saved myself 700+ calories so I could eat wings with bleu cheese dressing. I know it sounds nutty. I know there was wheat in those wings, but I really wanted them, and I really didn’t want to disrupt my diet. I sure think and hope it worked. According to my Fitbit, it did. I enjoyed the wings but not how the wheat made me feel later. I probably won’t do that again for a while.

I feel conditioned to drink hot chocolate on snowy days. Look at the snow….

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I remember learning that BIG snowflakes mean a lot of snow is coming….

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For two weeks or maybe more, I have been craving hot chocolate. I was convinced there was a way to make it without a lot of calories. I think I did it.

I simmered a ½ c. of organic milk on the stove. While it simmered, I took four squares of Baker’s bittersweet dark chocolate unsweetened and blended them in my Cuisinart with 2 figs and 2 dates. Then I added that to the milk along with cinnamon and vanilla and I had a really yummy low calorie HEALTHY hot chocolate. Of course, it has made me crave one ever since, but so far I have not gone back to that dark side that really is not so dark!

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Hey, my mom sent me this link. Some clever ideas here from the kitchen hack. Had to share.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6-Tsu-x8Rc

 

I have been looking for the perfect home for my favorite mobile. I found it. Right over my bed. I can lie in bed and watch it spin around. What do you think?

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I found this touching. The man I am not allowed to mention in my blog and I went to lunch. He pulled out a card with a before and after picture of a child with a cleft palette. He said instead of giving money to my high school this year, I wanted to do something to give a child a gift that would make a difference. I was truly touched by the gesture.

That same night I watched a movie titled RUDY about a kid with a dream, who gets rejected repeatedly and only a few really believed in him, but he never gives up! Some days I feel like RUDY. Everyone should have a little Rudy in them. It is what makes the world so interesting! So, worthwhile.

So, a few days later I did something odd, but very worthwhile and satisfying and maybe silly but I am going to share it with you.

We were supposed to get SLAMMED with snow. At 11pm, I decided to go to the grocery store and get food from my snack food aisle also known as the vegetable section. It was pouring outside. Dulce and I went to the market. I ran inside and got SOAKED and I saw that there were two women that were SINGLE handedly gathering the carts and the men were watching them. It looked like a sorority or fraternity initiation. I was greatly perturbed because it was coming down like cats and dogs outside. The women were drenched and looked tired, sad and frustrated.

I purchased my veggies and these bedraggled women were still pushing the carts inside and the men were still watching them as if they were scared to go outside for fear of melting. I thought if they all went out there and helped them. They could all get home faster. I rolled my cart to the car and emptied it and left it next to my car in a lane and plopped into the car and sat there soaked. I started to drive off and came back and parked the car and gathered a bunch of carts (including mine) and loaded one into the other creating a long line of them. The lazy ass man in next car was watching me like I was a deranged individual. I thought it is called paying forward get your lazy ass out of your car and help me and these women. Of course, he didn’t. I gathered a lot of carts. NO ONE beside lazy man saw me and I left. I was really soaked and really happy to do a little part that may have helped.

You gotta love RUDY!

People always ask me how I can live in a building with an older population. Why do you live there? Why don’t you move? You need to be with younger people. I always say, but why should I move if I love it here and the people in here! Age is a number. I have wonderful friends in this building. And where else does this happen…

Last week, I took the dog out. Coming back in I ran into my friend Sam and he was trying to download pictures to his computer from his new camera. Couldn’t figure it out. I told him I could. I went to help him and we talked for an hour. I learned a lot about Sam. He goes to a prison and talks to prisoners and helps them cope.

Next day, again coming in with Dulce and I ran into my friend Shirley. I told her I was heading up for coffee and did she want to join me. She did.

Day after, I ran into my friend Judy S. she is getting ready for a trip to Sanibel and wondered if I could come over and give her directions and ideas of where to go, eat, and what to see and I did. I told her she hit the jackpot with a former Sanibel Chamber employee.

How can one be bored living in a place like this? Always so many interesting people around…

The other night, I went to some friends for cocktails (which I had none) and food, which I had a lot of…and we talked because they have rented a home in the fall in Venice, Italy for a MONTH!

So, before you judge someone on the people they surround themselves with…meet those people. They may pleasantly surprise you.

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

PLUS 4 more pounds and Bacon is My Savior

I lost FOUR more pounds!!!! I am PSYCHED!

I am down 14 lbs! SWEET!!!

Of course 10 of the 14 lbs I had gained over the holidays because I had given myself permission to eat anything that was edible and not nailed down. So, it isn’t as impressive as you would think, but remember I am really good at rationalizing things so in my mind..it is AWESOME!!!!

Well, unlike my Boston friends that are BURIED in snow…we got hit hard this past weekend. But it was and continues to be beautiful. It is so inconvenient, so darn tootin’ cold and so pretty. ALL at the same time! I love when snow collects on the tree branches and looks like a live Ansel Adams print.

I learned how to peel an egg without having to peel it manually. You put it in water in a jar with a lid..because I started in a cup with my hand. You can imagine how that went! Shake it ferociously and it shakes it off. Let me tell you..the energy you exert to shake that shell off the egg is great for weight loss, but I still think it is easier to knock the bottom, then the top of the egg, and roll it in your hand to crack it and peel it off.

how to peel a hard boiled egg

I cleaned the under cabinets in my bathroom. I will certainly be outlived by my soap!!! I have enough soap that it can be passed down through the generations.

I made some yummy stuff while stuck at home. I took a pork chop and drizzled olive oil on it and then sprinkled tarragon on it and then split it down the center and stuffed it with mozzarella cheese and apricots. I thought it was pretty tasty for something I made up out of thin air.

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I made an omelet with mozzarella, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, onion, kielbasa, avocado and Dijon mustard. Yummy. The secret is to sauté the mushrooms, spinach, garlic, onion and then add the kielbasa and then the egg and then the cheese and the  avocado at the end with the mustard.

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I found a recipe to make mashed potatoes without the potatoes. I made it with cauliflower. I zapped the cauliflower in the microwave till it was soft. It was roughly 10 minutes. I put it in the Cuisinart with butter, garlic, salt and pepper and pureed it till it was the consistency of mashed potatoes. I thought it was pretty tasty. I garnished it with chives.

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My meeting about my book went really well. I need to rework some things for accuracy but I was very pleased. Even better, my friend Jennie sat down and brainstormed with me on ideas and gave me great help and insight.

I went to visit my friends Linda and Tom, who I feel like I have barely seen. He is SUCH a talented writer and he is having a hard time in the writing industry and I really, truly believe that if you don’t know someone first hand to open the door for you into a publication it doesn’t matter what you write or how well…you can’t get in. There are probably so many talented people out there not getting into their fields of desire and where their talents reside for lack of connections. That is so wrong!!!

I was invited to a cocktail party the night before Valentine’s Day. It was a bunch of gals in the building. It is a group I do not know well at all. I know the host well and like her a lot but it was interesting to meet some of the other participants in the group.

Okay, I have been going to the same dentist since I was 2! I love my dentist. Actually, the original dentist in the group retired and I switched over to the gal groomed to take it over for him and I love her. Now she is grooming her daughter to take it over. HOWEVER, last week, I went to have my teeth cleaned and can I tell you…the dental hygienist told me AT LEAST 50 times I need to floss regularly. So, I guess she either thinks I do not understand English and didn’t get it the first 10 times she told me. It was unnerving. I almost shouted. I GET IT! In my head I was saying BACK OFF!!!! I thought about calling and saying next time give me ANYONE but her!!!! She was a kind person, but lady…LET IT GO!!!

So this gal in the building that I knew to say hello and is a close friend of a close friend of mine told me she had some vintage clothing for me and to come check it out. I put it off for fear that I wouldn’t like it and didn’t want to offend her, but our mutual friend said that would not be a problem.

I went. She was from Arkansas and came to Cincy for a liver transplant and stayed! Nice gal. Interesting gal. I stayed and spoke with her. However, what was interesting is what she passed along to me. HATS! Some of which were Neiman Marcus hats! Not bad at all!!! A great hat for a funeral…she referred to it as her funeral hat. Then a hat that is reminiscent of my dad’s hats but with a more 1960’s hip band on it, Katherine Hepburn style hats, a skirt that looks like it dates back to the Civil War and was HUGE. She said she misjudged the size of my tush! Geez…if it was that big…I am glad I can’t see it. I say that in jest because I KNOW it wasn’t! And then a poncho that she had made by the same company who made Clint Eastwood’s and looks identical. Maybe from the film, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. I don’t care which film. I just think it is really cool! It was such a nice and generous gesture from someone who barely knows me. I was really touched.

My mom has a friend named Loretta who lives in Savannah where she lived part-time and who would give her cool gifts with really cool stories attached to them. Henry Winkler suggested to Loretta to buy a bracelet she was looking at at a party down in Soho in the 70’s before he became the Fonz and now she was passing that very bracelet onto my mom.

This day of the hats and the stories that went with the items reminded me of Loretta and her gifting and how cool and honored one is to be the recipient of those really special gifts.

Miss Mary Lou my pool walking buddy came over for coffee one day and to see Miss Dulce. It is so odd to see someone daily at the pool and winter comes and we all go to our cubicles (aka condos) and stay in till Spring.

Man on man, it is cold here! All the dogs are shaking their paws from the cold on their tender pads of their paws. They are sinking into the snow and having a ball. It went to 22 the other day and I took a cup of coffee out to a bench in the Meadow and sat there like it was a balmy day! Here is a look at what temps are like here…but nothing compared to what my Boston friends are dealing with…

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When I was in college my best friend at the time went to Northwestern in Chicago. I went to visit her and she took me to The Original Pancake House for breakfast. We waited in line for at least 30 minutes to get their famed popovers. There is one of those Original Pancake Houses in Cincy…I had never, ever been there till the other day! Everything you order comes with pancakes! This is not the joint for a WHOLE 30 kind of a gal. I ordered a side of eggs and bacon and even the bacon had sugar on it. But the bacon was good. The eggs were cold, but none of it mattered because I was with my friend Sue!

THEN, I went to lunch with my friend Beth and her friend Shelly! We went to RUTH’s in Northside. I had a Parkside salad, which was tasty with bacon, Gorgonzola, hazelnuts, etc. Love the crunch! Both these gals work for University of Cincinnati in comparable positions in different colleges within the university. It was interesting. A lot in common and we had ALL lived in the DC area. Some interesting possibilities may come from that lunch!!

THEN, I went to dinner. I have barely eaten out since I started WHOLE 30 and now I am having 3 meals in one day out? And every course had bacon…sometimes being on a diet forces one to eat things they would normally not eat 3x a day!

I went with my friends Jean, Jay and Lynn to a place called The Grand Finale. They used to be known for their crepes. I remember years ago getting a crepe with mint chocolate chip ice cream in it and hot fudge on top. Yes, it was quite memorable. Definitely not on my diet today in any way, shape or form.

I started with bacon, lobster and sun-dried tomato deviled eggs. Oh delish!

For my main entrée, I had a scallop, bacon, and bleu cheese salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette dressing on top!

I may have stayed within the guidelines of my diet…roughly, but I may have clogged my arteries on the glut of bacon. I devoured in a steady pace ALL day long. Someone has to suffer!

I could NOT take pics for you because it was WAY too dark in there.

Jean kept insisting I try the dessert she got for us all to share but I had to be true to the diet. If I waver, I could easily slip back.

I must confess the last few days I have been craving Graeter’s ice cream like it is nobody’s business! I am going to try to hold out till my birthday in April, but not sure I will make it!

I went to an Oscar party last night (only for the Red Carpet portion of the show) that my friend who throws parties threw…she should throw parties for a living! She gets everything so perfect for each and every party. She would mint money if she did that for a living. Well anyway, she had a killer pulled pork. Wanna know how she made it?

She cooked the hunk of pork in her crockpot for 8 hours with 2 cans of root beer. She took it out, pulled the pork apart and added MONTGOMERY INN BBQ sauce and let me tell you. I had seconds. I would have had thirds if my belly or conscience would have let me.

I went to my friend Viv’s for the Oscar’s before the chocolate fondue came out. That would have taken a hardcore willpower that I didn’t want to test!

It was safer at Viv’s with a few Cutie oranges! Probably nowhere as good but I deluded myself into thinking they were!

Well, it is snowing again.

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

Whole 30 Challenge Complete and 10 lbs Lighter & Other Random Things

I FINISHED WHOLE 30!!! That crazy diet I was on!!! That ended up not being crazy but wonderful! I feel great! I weighed in and I am happy to tell you I lost 10 lbs. in 30 days! Now, what do I do? I guess I keep going but I am going to add dairy back into my diet a bit. I think the problems with aches and pains and inflammation came from the starches and sugars. Not cheese! It can’t be cheese! Plus, I am sick of ordering salads and saying, “Please hold the cheese! That is just WRONG!” Well, I feel so good and losing 10lbs is such a great start that my fitbit and I will proceed. I am going to do weigh-ins every 2 weeks instead of waiting a WHOLE MONTH!

Of course, I weighed in and lost inches here and inches there and then that night was that AMAZING Superbowl game and a party. I brought my own food to keep me honest. I did eat a little from the buffet table. I ate salami and half a deviled egg and a little fruit. I also took the ham out of a finger sandwich and ate it. I am sure the tension from the last 34 seconds got my metabolism up and running and burned off whatever I ate. See, I can rationalize anything. Actually, I carefully ate earlier in the day preparing for the night in case I wanted to eat something there, but I knew I would still stay in the parameters. I have to tell you that may have been the best ever deviled egg and I am not sure it is because my friend Martha made it or because it was so good to eat something different.

Well, I made it 40 days without cheating which I find absolutely incredible and a 63 calorie cheat…well, is it even cheating?

I broke down and ate a square of Lindt dark chocolate. My stomach was rumbling something fierce and the ONLY thing I could think would make it feel better was chocolate. What if it was rumbling because it couldn’t stand the void any longer? I almost couldn’t eat the whole square. It was too sweet, but I choked that sucker down and enjoyed every nibble of it. Buddha was a little upset at first (or maybe pangs of guilt) and then bliss!

Here is what is keeping me on the wagon. I REALLY want/need to lose weight. I really love how taking out the starches and sugars have made aches and pains go away. And I have come to realize that sugar is like a drug. You get a little in your veins and you just CRAVE more….so I had the chocolate square and now I am back on the straight and arrow.

A friend told me a funny story yesterday about her niece. At the age of three she was unhappy about something or other and my friend looked at her niece and said what would make you feel better and at 3, this brilliant child responded, “Chocolate would help!”

Doesn’t it always!

A friend asked me how I was doing on the diet and I told her well. She said it is easy now isn’t it? “Yes, it is,” I replied. “I have gotten so used to eating like this that it just seems like the new norm.”

There is a book that a friend gave me years ago about how it takes 30 days to break a habit. At the time I used it to get over a boyfriend who broke my heart, but now I subscribe to that philosophy in terms of food. You see the connection. One replaces the other…but I digress. I shouldn’t admit that on paper, but I did.

It is true…you really can change a habit and I hope I stick to it. AT LEAST till I lose the weight but hopefully I will continue because it is so darn healthy and makes me feel so darn good.

I have a BIG meeting tomorrow about one of my books and getting feedback and I am so nervous and anxious, I can barely function or get anything done. I am so focused on it. SO much to do and so little time!

Well, my dear, dear friend Sally from Oregon has written a wonderful witty book and she writes an equally witty blog…here is her latest….and it is so true…sadly and unfortunately I can relate. It runs in my genes…

“Advice For Women Who Love To Love Men Who Love To Hate Women Who Love Them Too Much”


Written in Buddy’s Pizza Palace
In the back booth near the bathroom
not that it matters but
I was eating an extra large garlic chicken pizza with white sauce when I wrote this.


Stop it.
Get over it.
Move on and keep moving.
There, that’s it simple and to the point.
You’re wasting your vital energy and vibrational flow on someone who is not able to love.
Time to change your vibrations – just like you change your underwear.
Keep them fresh – every day.
Now let’s have a cuppa coffee. 

In Love & Light, 
Your doctor and mine, 

Dr. Beasley

More by Sally…click below and you can find her book on amazon.com.

sallybeasley.com/blog

 

Speaking of icky boyfriends and bad boys we all love…even the ones that don’t seem bad initially but VIOLA…they are….with V-Day around the corner. My least favorite holiday only second to New Year’s…It was 4 years ago this Saturday, my heart was served back to me like a bad pate. I am sure some of you remember. There I was bald, going through cancer, getting cheated on and discovering it on Valentine’s Day and dumping his sorry ass! Four years ago, and it ended up being the best thing ever! It just goes to show that there is ALWAYS a silver lining. So, maybe V-Day should be my fav holiday? Nah.

Speaking of silver….gray…I am working on getting a stuffed animal produced for my kid’s books and I came across this…now, I have seen everything. Vermont Teddy Bear said they are selling these like hotcakes! WHAT A HOOT!!!

50 shades grey bear

Well, Groundhog Day has come and gone again and that damn rodent keeps seeing his shadow and giving us six more weeks of winter. If I ever lay my eyes on that DAMN PHIL, he better cover his ears because I may bite him like he bit that Governor! That Governor should have turned around and bit him! I said to someone in the elevator, I couldn’t believe that DAMN Groundhog and her response was, “Oh, we have been so lucky this year!” I wanted to say, “YOU ARE SO RIGHT, EXCEPT for those several days when the windchill hovered around zero! Are you batshit crazy or what?”

Well, my precious Dulce had a grown-up problem. Her flu vaccine didn’t cover the strain she contracted so she got the doggy flu. She sounded like a gagging duck for several days. She was woozy. She lost her appetite. She was not allowed near other dogs, nor was she allowed to exert any energy. She was like an Orthodox Jew on Sabbath (you aren’t allowed to exert energy), but her Sabbath was to last for 2 weeks. (I can say that joke. I have Jewish blood.) So, I started carrying her to keep her from touching anything. I thought…silver lining. I am going to get Michelle Obama arms if I carry her in and out of the building, down halls, etc.

That got old REAL fast! I put her in my granny grocery cart.

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I think she liked it FAR too much! If she could have lifted her paw and done the royalty wave, she would have!

She was stranded and isolated and I wanted to be a good doggy mom/sissy so I was here. So, I did what I do! I cooked!

I found a recipe to cook cauliflower with onions and garlic in bacon grease. YES, on my diet. I can’t eat a piece of bread but I can eat bacon grease. Why do you think I did this diet? I had to get my priorities straight. Bacon trumps almost everything!

I have to tell you I tried to do broccoli in the bacon grease, it was not as good! But try the cauliflower! It ROCKED!!! So yummy!!! So much flavor. LOVED it! Salt and pepper as desired.

I needed a new eggplant recipe. I really like eggplant but don’t have a lot of recipes for it. I found a recipe for Baba ganoush. I really like it but have never been successful in making it till this well-known gentleman’s recipe (Lebovitz’s).

Lebovitz's baba ganoush

I found another recipe for eggplant. Cut it as thin as possible toss in bowl, add olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast 10 minutes each side. It needs to be thin. When it is thin, it becomes almost crisp. The thinner pieces were a good and crunchy snack!

eggplant chips

The other thing I did was hang my photographs on the wall. FINALLY!!! I must confess some of those pictures are not bad!

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Have you heard about the little free library? I have heard of it but had never seen it till the other day! This is so cool. In a nutshell, you put books in and people can take books out. Or maybe it is you can only take one out if you put one back in?

This is such a cool idea. Here is what it looks like…

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Here is more info on it.

http://littlefreelibrary.org/

I went and saw AMERICAN SNIPER. It was very well done. I highly recommend everyone see it. It shows something that everyone needs to see. I have been to a few mostly Muslim countries. I have had Muslim friends. I worked with a wonderful Muslim man in New York when 9.11 happened. Every race, religion has good and bad in them. But from my experiences, this is a very accurate account.

You have all heard me complain about building politics and board meetings. We had our first meeting of the New Year. It was wonderful!!! We have the loveliest addition to our group. Big thanks to Darlene for joining us! What a pleasure!

On Friday evening, I met up with my friend Jennie for a salad and then we went to her daughter’s play, The Emperor’s New Clothes! It was at my old high school. It is so weird, awkward to go back, but the play was cute and she did a great job. She is going to be a famous Broadway star one day. Mark my words! Lydia Noll. Up in bright lights.

On Saturday, I co-hosted a mid-year pool party for my pool friends at my friend Stephen’s place. Someone even brought pool water for all of us to dip our fingers in it.

Well, I really have nothing else for you at this point. I have a dog staring at me. It is dinnertime. Gotta go!

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….