Friday, April 12, 2013

A bit of this, a bit of that

it's about time for another post, don't you think?  over the past couple of months, things have been pretty busy for me.  i started the season for my second part time job in february, so that has kept me busy.  i have also been spending waaaay to much time on facebook!  not that i am obsessed with it or anything. really.

regarding my efforts at staying paleo, i have been really good about staying away from wheat and most other grains.  we do have rice occasionally, and now, when the urge for pasta comes along, we eat rice pasta.  it is actually pretty good.  i have found it to be way starchy, but after it is cooked i rinse the extra starch off and that seems to make it behave more like traditional pasta.don't worry, i don't eat it very often.  it's just that spaghetti squash is insanely expensive right now. i am still eating piles of veggies and some fruit, so that is all good.  what is not good is that i have backslid into eating dairy and sugar more than i should.  enough that my weight is not staying where i want it.  i am nowhere near my pre-paleo days, but am hovering about 5-7 pounds above where i ended after my january whole 30.  i will admit i have just gotten lazy -- my job requires a lot of early mornings, and i am a night owl, so those two things don't mix very well.  i am also not exercising the way i was -- my seasonal job does require some lifting and stretching and lots of standing, but i am not getting my walks or lifting weights.  when i get home in the evening, i just want to sit.  and i have been doing just that.  so. i know what i need to do, and my husband is very good about encouraging me in positive ways.  i am going to do this -- again.  i am re-reading my paleo books and cookbooks.  i am trying to go to bed earlier.  50 years of bad habits is hard to break, but i am not giving up.

so, on a lighter note, i am going to tell you some things about myself you may not know.  one of my friends did this recently on her blog, and i thought i would try it on mine.  if you don't care to know, you can just stop reading now!!  if you care at all, read on!

20 random things about me you may not know . . .

1)  i am left handed. but mostly for writing and eating. for almost everything else, like using scissors, playing sports, etc., i am right handed. 

2) when i was in second grade, i was on the ramblin' rod show here in portland (it was a local kids show that played cartoons and was on in the afternoons after school). i was picked to win a pair of "roller derby street king shoe skates"!!  i was told the director picked me because i was wearing my hair in braids that day.

3) my favorite music genre is  . . . CLASSICAL!  mozart is my favorite composer.

4) i wear jeans almost every day when i don't have to wear my work uniform, but i am a girly girl.  i love jewelry and florals and dresses and pretty shoes and ruffles and the color pink and . . . yeah. all that girly stuff.

5) i was 22 years old when i got married.

6) i didn't get my driver's license until i was 18 years old.

7) i don't drink alcohol.  i have tasted it, but i never developed a fondness for it.  part of that stems from my religious background, but mostly, i just don't like it.

8) i make my own vanilla extract, using vodka and vanilla beans.  it is delicious! and no, i don't drink it straight, although it is tempting, it smells so good!

9) the first concert i ever went to was the little river band, back in the late 1970's.  they are still one of my favorite bands.  and i am old.

10) i am a trekkie. i love star trek in all its incarnations. so much  that my husband and i named our last child after an obscure next generation character. yes, it is true. the new movie coming out next month?

11) i love photography, and all things surrounding it.  scrapbooking, taking pictures, looking at other photographers work, photography books, and so on.

12) when the final harry potter book came out, i bought it, took it home, and told my family i was off duty until i had finished reading it.  i read it straight through in 9 hours.

13)  my favorite movie of all time is back to the future, part one.  i love stories about time travel, and to me at the time this movie was just the best.                                                                                                              
14) speaking of back to the future, while preparing for my mother's 65th birthday party back in 2001, i was going through her old photos. i was surprised to find an old picture of my husband's grandparents and their then teen age children from the 1950's.  when i asked her why she had that photo, she informs me that my husband's grandparents were the pastors at her church.  i guess my husband and i were destined for each other!

15  i had my first child when i was 27, my second at age 30 and my last child at age 37.

16) i am the same age as my brother for 2 days every year..

17) my most recent celebrity crush was zachary levi, also known as "chuck."

18) i don't watch scary movies.  they give me nightmares.

19) my favorite classic car is the ford thunderbird -- of course the original 1955 version is the best, but i wouldn't say no to the 2005 50th anniversary edition either.

20) i love chocolate. the end.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Whole30 #3 -- FINISHED!

so we finished our 3rd whole30 last thursday.  to celebrate, we went out to dinner! still ate paleo, though.  steak, salad, steamed veggies.  it was good, and was such a relief to both my husband and i that we didn't have to cook!  as good as the whole30 is, and as good as we feel, by the end of the month, we both are just plain tired of cooking!  we had good results this time. we both had gained an insane amount of weight in december. my daughter is a pastry chef (all traditionally prepared), and she was doing cookie boxes for sale.  i ate my share of "oops" cookies, and i made some of my traditional Christmas goodies as well, but  i didn't realize how much i had pigged out until i got on the scale on day one of the whole30 and found that i had gained a total of 9 pounds. in only ONE month.  my husband had gained 7 pounds.  i really wasn't feeling that great, and i couldn't button some of the jeans i had worn just a month before. my stomach was really bloated and i was having digestion issues again.  BOO! but totally my own doing.  so no more wheat, no dairy, etc.  the first 10 days or so, i had a few headaches, was really tired and kind of depressed feeling.  as i finished the second week and headed into the third, i was feeling a lot better, my bloating was pretty much gone, and so were the digestion problems.  i did cheat a bit in the form of weighing myself occasionally during the month.  you are not supposed to weigh yourself during a whole30 because the focus is supposed to be on getting healthy, not losing weight, but this time i WAS focused on losing weight and i wanted to see if it was happening.  every time i weighed myself, i was down a pound or two, and on january 31 when i weighed myself, i found i had lost ALL of the holiday weight!! i was down a total of 9 pounds!! i was very happy about that.  all my jeans fit again, and i am very pleased with the results. my husband also lost all of his holiday weight.

with the superbowl coming up, we both gave ourselves permission to indulge a little.  i was very careful though to not have any wheat, and i made a batch of paleo brownies and a paleo/vegan broccoli salad.
i will post the brownie recipe in a future post, but here is the recipe for the broccoli salad.  i was surprised at how good it is when i had it for the first time.  it looks like it has a mayonnaise based dressing, and i don't really like mayo that much. when i took my first bite, i was shocked that it didn't taste like mayo at all.  it was rather sweet, and when i asked the person who made it what was in it, she said the dressing was made from soaked and pureed cashews!  i will give the ingredients as they are written in the recipe, and then i will add notes about how i have changed it a bit.

                                           photo credit:

                           Broccoli Raisin Sunflower Seed Salad

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, up to overnight
  • juice from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 shallot (2 tablespoons chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • pinch sea salt
      Drain cashews, discard liquid. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.  Mix until very

  • 6 cups raw, chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds 
       Mix together chopped broccoli, chopped onion, raisins and sunflower seeds.  Top with dressing and
       combine until all ingredients are well coated.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

      My notes:
  1.  i used the juice of only 1 lemon.  my preference.
  2. instead of water, i substituted  pineapple juice  it gives a bit more sweetness and goes really well with the flavors of the salad.
  3. i did not use chopped shallots or garlic. again, my personal preference.  the chopped red onion in the salad itself is enough onion flavor for my family and i. 
  4. i don't use agave. i use either coconut nectar or honey. if you use honey, this salad will not be vegan.
  5. i use dried, unsweetened cranberries instead of raisins.  really, really good!
  6. i substituted raw, unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for the sunflower seeds. again, i just like it that way!
  7. you can chop the broccoli and the red onion in the food processor to make it easier.  i buy trader joe's raw, organic broccoli florets.  don't use broccoli that has been frozen and thawed.
  8. i chop my broccoli quite a bit smaller than shown in the photo above; i just didn't have another picture to show.  her recipe is very similar to this one, however.
if there doesn't seem to be enough dressing to coat all the ingredients, just add a bit more water or pineapple juice until everything is well coated.




Monday, January 28, 2013

Whole30, Day 27 -- one goal reached!

So it's day 27 of this round's whole30 challenge.  things are going pretty much as they did before -- i feel good.   i am sleeping better.  not a whole lot more energy, but that is just me.  and the biggie -- i have lost weight!  according to the rules of the whole30 challenge, participants are not supposed to weigh themselves during the month, but i cheated.  i wanted to see if i had lost any of the weight i gained over the holidays, so i have weighed myself a couple of times this month.  the good news -- as of today i have lost ALL the weight i gained over the holidays!!! i had gained -- gasp!-- 9 pounds and they are now gone!!!!!! not bad i think, but it would have been better if i had not gained weight at all!! i have worked too hard to go back to where i was, and i have more work ahead of me to reach my final goal weight.

i want to say that i am so proud of my 13 year old son, who has been doing the challenge with my husband and i.  with the exception of butter, chocolate milk, his grain free breakfast waffles with maple syrup and a bit of rice during the month, he has done just about everything else according to plan.  he has been taking his lunch to school, and likes it.  he also is eating almonds for a snack, something i couldn't get him to do before.  he has also grown almost an inch during the month.  he is also calmer and less argumentative.  being that he is 13, however, i don't expect that to last! lol!!  anyway, he has done great, and we will be easing some of his restrictions a bit when the month is over.  i have told him i want him to stay away from wheat as much as possible, but i will let him have school lunch pizza once a week.  i know it is not great for him, but it is one thing i am willing to give on a little.

so, there is the update.  i will leave you with a photo of what we had for dinner tonight -- surf and turf! grass fed new york steak, steamer clams in a broth of clam juice, chicken stock and carmelized onions with garlic, sauteed scallops and mixed roasted veggies (broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and  turnips). it was yummy!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 1, whole30 round 3

most people started their january whole30 yesterday -- we chose to wait one more day and started ours today.  my husband got up and did his exercises and walk.  i did not.  he said he even tried to wake me up by shaking my foot, but i felt nothing!! i must have been really tired.  when i did finally get up, i just felt off, and have felt like that all day.  i am not really sure why.  i did ok with my eating, but i just feel very uncomfortable.  thankfully my husband fixed most of the dinner, so all i had to do was make a salad and cut up some veggies and fruit.  we are doing something a bit different this time -- in our past whole30 months, we made some extra non paleo side dishes for our kids. this time, we will not be doing that so much, as we want to see if our 13 year old son will benefit from further changes to his diet.  he has been a good sport about things as we have changed our diet over the past 2 years, but he has stubbornly resisted some facets of paleo eating.  for this round, he has agreed to give up sweets and grains, which is huge for him.  his sweet tooth is worse than mine. i have let him keep his daily glass of chocolate milk and since he doesn't like eggs he will also get to eat waffles for breakfast, but i make them from my own grain free recipe. thankfully he likes meat and chicken and fruits and veggies, so my main challenge will be keeping him full.  at 13, he is growing and eating like crazy!

so, for my eating today, i had an aidell's chicken apple sausage (whole30 compliant with no sugar and no preservatives added) and a banana for breakfast.  for lunch i had a couple of hard boiled eggs and an orange.  for my afternoon snack i ate a little more than an ounce of dry roasted almonds and some dried cranberries (no sugar added).  for dinner i ate 2 roasted chicken thighs (roasted with the skin on but i took the skin off before i ate them), some roasted vegetables, salad and an apple.  my total calories came to 1490, with 44% of calories from fat, 22% from protein and 35% from carbs.  i also exceeded my daily fiber goal -- daily goal is 25 grams of fiber, and today i took in 28.6 grams.  my only exercise came from grocery shopping and climbing stairs.  tomorrow will be different -- i hope!!

HERE is nom nom paleo's post of the day -- today she shows us how to make homemade mayonnaise.  i have not tried it yet, but i need to because my husband likes salad dressing, and most commercially made dressings have non-compliant ingredients in them.

it is time for bed now -- i hope i feel better tomorrow!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Start, Same Goals

happy 2013!!!  i am really looking forward to this year!  to me, the new year is a chance for a fresh start, a time for continuing the advances made the previous year and for setting new, attainable goals for the months ahead.  i didn't used to feel this way.  in years past, i wished for time to stand still; i was fearful of what lay ahead -- that it might be worse than what i had just come through.  this year, for some reason, i don't feel that way.  i feel a sense of anticipation -- and i couldn't really voice that until just this moment!  so, join me on this journey through the year of our Lord, 2013 . . . a spirit of  promise and hope is in the air!

on my journey to wellness, i have made many changes over the past two years. i reached a milestone of 50 pounds of weight lost.  i have exercised more. i have removed most grains from my diet most of the time.  i stopped drinking soda pop.  that was a big one for me, as i love soda.  of all the changes i have made, that was the hardest, and really, soda is the one thing i wish i didn't have to give up -- i don't miss bread or pasta; i miss my pepsi and mountain dew. 

this journey, however, is not finished.  i still have far to go.  i still eat foods that are not healthy.  i don't sleep enough. i worry too much.  yes, it's true, i am not perfect!  (shhh -- don't tell my husband or kids! lol!!)   even so, i am happy with the way my life has improved since changing my diet and getting healthier, and that will continue to be an important part of how i live each day this year.

my husband and i have decided to do another whole30 paleo challenge this month, to start the new year and reset our metabolism after the indulgences of the holidays.  we both chose to relax the restrictions on the food we ate over the past 6 weeks or so, and we are now seeing the results.  although we aren't surprised by some weight gain, we are reminded once again that being healthy requires daily diligence in both our diet and our activity.  so . . . is anyone else up for the challenge?  HERE is the whole30 website that helps explain the whole30 challenge.  make no mistake -- it is a challenge, but it is totally doable and so worth it!

during this whole30 challenge, i will also be reading one of my favorite paleo blogs,  nom nom paleo .  the author's name is michelle, and she makes great meals and posts wonderful pictures documenting how she and her family live the paleo lifestyle.  during the month of january, she will be posting about the whole30 challenge and i guarantee it will help you if you decide to follow along.

i will leave you with a recipe that i tried recently and loved!! if you like curry, you will love this too! if you don't like curry, well, this recipe just might change your mind.


1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 chili peppers (see below)
2 apples, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
3/4 cup coconut milk
This is a simple curry sauce which can be easily prepared by chopping and/or mincing the ingredients in the food processor. A blender may also be used if the vegetables are chopped briefly in a blender filled with cold water.Using gloves, remove seeds from the chili peppers and soak for 30 minutes in warm water; drain and chop.
Melt the butter in a skillet; saute the onions, garlic and carrots, without browning, but just until they take on a toasted color around the edges. The best way to avoid over-browning the garlic is to add it in near the end, when the onions have already begun to brown.
Wash and core apples, leaving on most of the peel. Coarsely chop and add to the skillet. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes over low heat.
Add chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes.
Add 1-2 tablespoons Madras curry powder, a teaspoon of sea salt or to taste and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root (don't use ground; use real ginger root). Add coconut milk; use slightly less if a thicker sauce is desired.
Bring to a boil for one minute; remove from heat. Serve with any meat or fish desired. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with rice, if desired. (from
for my version i changed things up just a bit -- i substituted coconut oil for the butter, i left out the garlic, i did not use whole chili peppers; instead i used about a teaspoon of chili powder and sprinkled some dried red chili pepper over the mix.  i did use 2 apples, but i removed the peel and finely chopped them, and added them after the onions had softened up a bit.  regarding the coconut milk, we are talking full fat, canned coconut milk.  you will need to stir the solids that have risen to the top of the can back into the liquid contents.  then measure out 3/4 cup.  it also doesn't take 45-60 minutes of simmering if you don't want it to.  the best news?  it is whole30 compliant!  no added sugars, no diary (if you substitute coconut oil for butter as i did) and leave out the rice. just read the labels on your coconut milk and chicken broth to make sure there are no preservatives, etc.  this sauce would be good with any protein -- i made it this time with fresh (from frozen) tuna steaks that had been cut into about 1" medallions.  i then poured the hot sauce over the tuna in an oven safe baking dish and baked it for about 14 minutes in a 350 degree oven.enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

home away from home

from the time i was a little girl, i have loved the beach.  the ocean, the sand, the horizon, the smells, the freshness, the roar of the waves, the uniqueness -- it all speaks to me in a way no other place on earth can.  i have been lucky enough to live my entire life where in less than two hours, i can go from sitting in front of a computer to digging my toes into the sand. 

i have family members who own property at the coast, and over the years they have been generous enough to let us use their homes on occasion.  my dream, however, was to have a home of my own at the beach. it was something i never thought would happen, but i never lost sight of the dream.  about 15 years ago, a family friend contacted us and offered us the use of his house at the coast.  he gave us a set of keys and said it was ours to use any time; all we had to do was call and find out if anyone else was using the place at the same time we wanted it.  if it was not otherwise occupied, we could use it.  we began to go, occasionally at first, then more frequently.  except for our friend, it seemed that the rest of his family didn't use it much, so we had access to the house almost any time we wanted.  during our visits over the next couple of years, we began to explore the area where the house was located, on washington's long beach peninsula, and grew to love it.

about 2 years after we first started using the house, our friend called my husband and said that because of his advanced age (90+) he had decided that he wouldn't be using the home anymore, and that no one in his family wanted to take it over.  he wanted to know if we would be interested in buying it.  when my husband called and asked me, i said . . . "DO YOU EVEN HAVE TO ASK ME THAT QUESTION??????????!!!"

of course, my response was an enthusiastic YES!  it took a bit of doing, and in the process of working out the details, our friend passed away, but his family went through with the sale at the agreed upon price and in 2002 we came into possession of what had always been  my dream: a home at the coast!!

it is a small house, and it doesn't have a view of the ocean, but i don't care!  in the summer when the windows are open, we can hear the waves.  it is an easy 2 mile walk to the beach. there is no cable or satellite, just a tv that is hooked up to a vcr and a dvd player. no internet. we do get cell service, but there is no land line.  it truly is a place for relaxing.  my husband goes up and fishes almost every weekend during the summer.  i am able to get away by myself occasionally, and there have been weekends where i have not left the house once (except to go on a walk). 

every time i go to our home away from home, i say a little prayer when i get there and when i leave: "thank you God for this place of rest, for allowing me to have my heart's desire.  for as long as we have it i thank you, and i pray it will always be a place of refreshment and restoration for all who come here."

i am a blessed woman.

here are a few pictures of our home away from home:

                                          front view of the house


                            view looking from bedrooms toward living area



                                 view of living area from kitchen

                             view upon entering house -- giant fireplace!!

                                         guest bedroom

                                         master bedroom

Saturday, October 20, 2012

i'm baaaack --- again!

so it looks like i fell off the blogging wagon for a few months!! not totally intentional, but when reading back over my last post, it appears i was feeling frustrated about some things i was experiencing. when i get like that, i tend to retreat back into myself. i didn't really want to share every detail about my difficulties.  i am a pretty private person -- even on facebook, i try to be positive and upbeat in my posts, yet not too personal.  the problem is, i don't always feel positive and upbeat.  i get tired, angry, annoyed and frustrated.  in short, i am a human being!  i have several blogs i read regularly, and some of them seem to only post funny, entertaining stories about themselves and their families.  others post all about the shortcomings and struggles in their daily lives.  i have decided it doesn't have to be totally one way or the other.  i am the author of this blog.  i am the one who decides what i want to write, whether it is about my diet, my family, something personal, or not so personal.

that being said, here is a brief update -- we had a nice summer -- once our summer weather finally arrived!  we went to our cabin on the coast a lot, and the weather there was fantastic almost every weekend we were there!  i continued to work part-time at our auto body repair facility, and i tried to balance that with some time at home.  in august, i returned to my part-time school portrait photographer job, only it hasn't been part-time -- i have been steadily working 40 hours a week or more, while still trying to fit in a few hours at the shop.  i am thankful for the income though!

we are still eating a mostly paleo diet -- we did another whole30 challenge in september, and even though i felt well and my clothes got a bit looser, i didn't lose nearly the pounds that i did in april -- then i lost 11 lbs, this time i only lost 3 lbs!! the good news is that 3 lbs put me at the long awaited total of 50 lbs lost since january of 2010.  wooo hoooo!!!! the only difference i could see between april when we did our first whole 30 and september is that i was not doing the amount of concentrated exercise that i was doing in april.  my photography job has been taking me out the door at 5 or 6 am almost every day, and that is usually my exercise time.  i am getting some exercise by setting up and tearing down my camera equipment, and by standing all day, but i am not getting in the weight training and walking and bike riding i was doing earlier in the year.  come december when my fall photography season is over, i will re-enter the exercise world with a vengeance.

i have been really good about being grain free almost all the time -- just few instances with corn and rice.  i am really trying to avoid wheat, and have been mostly successful with that (with just a couple of exceptions).  i have refined my waffle recipe and a couple of muffin recipes to be made with a combo of coconut, almond and quinoa flour, and they are good enough that my husband and 13 year old really like them.  in fact, i didn't tell my 13 year old that they were wheat free until after i had made them that way at least twice, and he smacked his lips and asked for more each time!! he was very surprised when i told him they were grain free, but he finally admitted that they were good enough that he didn't mind if i made them that way all the time!! i haven't gotten him totally off wheat yet, but he has come a long way!! it doesn't help that his big sister is a pastry chef, and i will confess i have indulged in a couple of her decidedly non-paleo treats recently!

that is a brief update -- i will make a renewed effort to continue blogging more consistently.  it may not be always about my diet or my exercise. i may decide to get personal on occasion. maybe i will even find a way to be mildly entertaining -- but i have found that putting my thoughts in writing does somehow help me to think more clearly, and that is a positive thing for everyone who knows me!