Thursday, February 28, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Days 15 & 16

Wow, what an amazing concert last night. Pink has an amazing voice, is a fantastic entertainer, and is SO FIT! I love her! The choreography was amazing - some of which was very Cirque du Soleil-like. I have been to quite a few concerts, and this takes my new #1 spot. Yes, something has finally kicked Avenged Sevenfold out of my #1 spot (whom I've seen in concert 9 times). On top of it all, she seemed so relaxed and real. She chatted between some of the songs -- and she is 100% cool. I am in love.

Yep, she did that.

This too. And tons of other crazy stuff. love.

Stage view from our executive suite.The seats down below are ours too. And these tickets were free! How lucky are we?!

3 of my best friends! I can't believe how long we've known each other and stayed close. What a blessing! "We're all grown up now!"

What a blasty blast!!  Okay, now on to the food blog.

Day 15
Not the usual. Apple and some cashews.. ran out of time.

A yummy stew my hubby put together of liver, hot Italian sausage, collard greens, squash, and other veggies. 

Banana and some cashews.

Repeat of lunch.

Soooo the exec suite had free adult beverages and food. Marcos and I were good... we had grapes and water. Yay. 

Day 16
The usual (yay!)

Leftover curry.

Medjool dates.. Didn't have much time between meetings to think about what I wanted to snack on. Mistake.. I LOVE dates and ate FAR too many. 

Haven't had it yet. Probably some form of leftovers (curry or stew). 

And just because I'm sharing lots of pictures, here is one we took specially for our friend, Paul.

For those of you who don't know, Marcos is Brazilian.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 14

Two weeks, people!! Shyaaa!! I'm super-tired today. Long day at work followed by an AMAZING hot yoga class, plus cooking, cleaning the kitchen, and now my husband just started an episode of Star Trek. Which means my ability to focus on this blog is quickly fading.... Also, a forewarning. I am going to the Pink concert tomorrow (I can't begin to express how excited I am without sounding like a giddy little teenager!!!!!!!!!!!!), so, there likely won't be a post until the following day. You'll live. No really, you'll get through it.

Back to Star Trek... who's your favorite character? I'm watching Next Generation, so my knowledge is limited to those characters. My favorite is Lieutenant Commander Data. I keep waiting for him to use a contraction, but haven't caught him yet.

Day 14
The usual. I don't even know why I list breakfast.

Leftovers: curry and pistachio/walnut crusted snapper and flounder. Shortly thereafter, a banana. My mouth was on fire from the ghost pepper spice, needed something to chill it out.

Paleo Simplified bar....and a banana. They were stating to get brown so I was clearly trying to rid our stock of them.

1 grill chicken drumstick, 1 hot Italian sausage, and leftover curry. Italian/Indian fusion, anyone?

A much smaller portion than normal of Double Layer Fudge. My piggy complex yesterday kinda bothered me. but I couldn't NOT eat this! :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 13

I feel like, for the first time in my life, that I am truly, truly happy. I didn't just have this realization today, I think I've been slowly building up to it over the last few months.  Not that I was miserable in the past - sure, there were times - but I don't think I felt like my life made sense. I never felt centered, and I always felt like I was missing "something." Not that I knew what the "something" was. And I think that not knowing lead me on all kinds of paths and had me trying to find that missing piece in many different ways. But I am finally here. I'm where I want to be.  And it is such a good feeling. I didn't even intend for it to happen!

  • For starters, I have the most amazing husband. He's the nicest guy in the world. And we get along so well that it's borderline creepy. I often look at him and wonder how I got so lucky.
  • I have an amazing family - from my immediate family to my extended family to my in-laws - boy did I luck out there. People say, "you can't pick your family" - and that phrase has never really applied to me. I lucked out to have some of the craziest, most fun people in the world in my family tree.  
  • My friends - I have a small group of friends, and honestly, I don't even see them that much any more with all of our crazy lives. But I love them all dearly and am blessed to have them in my life. 
  • My health. Rewind to December 2012 and I will forever be thankful for my health. That virus was a fluke, but a great reminder that I should be thankful that I am one healthy chick.

I could go on and on... about my cats, my favorite blogs, Paleo food, and all the other things I'm thankful for... but I'll spare you.  Why am I rambling about these beautiful things in my life?  Because I think a large component of why I am so happy is because I focus on my blessings. Sure, sometimes work is stressful, or I may be in a grumpy mood (usually caused by lack of food).  But then something will happen to remind me of all the greatness going on in my world. I thank the Lord for each day that I have -- it's truly a gift to be here, and I am appreciative for every breath I take.

Okay, too much seriousness there for me. Let's talk food.  What did I eat today? BTW - I'm going start posting recipes at the very bottom of the post. Mixing them in with the Food Diary is just too cluttered.

Day 13
The usual, as usual.

Eggplant fries, 1 chicken drumstick, 1 hot Italian sausage. Later, a banana, because I'm a piggy.

Caramel Pecan Bars oink oink.

Leftover pistachio/walnut crusted fish, and some curry. We are suckers for curry in this house.

Double Layer Fudge heeeeere piggy piggy. I don't know what's wrong with me today, I ate a ton. Oh well!

Easy Curry Recipe
Your veggies of choice
1 or 2 cans of organic coconut milk (will depend on the quantity of veggies you use)
Cayenne Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Savory Spice Ghost Pepper Salt (optional... but SO worth it) 

  1. Chop veggies. Tonight, I used red onion, red pepper, 2 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1 head of broccoli, 10 mushrooms, 4 carrots, bok choy.
  2. Saute veggies in a large pot. I use this huge wok thing. It's awesome. Cook most but not all of the way. I recommend adding veggies in order of difficulty to cook. For example, bok choy is leafy, so it went last.
  3. Add coconut milk and spices. I use lots of the hot spices (cayenne, red pepper flakes, ghost pepper salt), but we're nuts. Add at your own risk.
  4. Bring the mix to a boil, then reduce to low/simmer and cover. Let cook an additional 10 minutes or so.  
  5. Scarf. Have water available if you are a wimp on the spices ;)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 12

Wow. Sometimes I'm impressed with the food that we are able to put together at our house. I hate to brag, but goodness gracious. I ate SO much today, and it was all delicious and Paleo!! Pictures never do it justice, but the flavor is ALL there!

The usual.

Walnut and pistachios crusted fish (we did both snapper and flounder), and roasted asparagus.

Walnut and Pistachio Crusted Fish
8 oz or so walnuts
6 oz or so pistachios
Fish of choice
Black Truffle Salt (optional)
2 eggs (whisked)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put walnuts and pistachios in a food processor, and let 
  3. Process until you achieve a flour-like consistency.  
  4. Put the mix onto a plate, and add any spices that you desire (I think we added just a little salt).
  5. Coat fish fillets with egg (I dipped them into the egg), then coat both sides of the fish with the walnut/pistachio mix by laying the fillet in the mix.
  6. Place fillets onto an oiled baking sheet, and cook per the fish thickness. The snapper and flounder cooked 15 minutes for us.
Roasted Asparagus
Sea salt
Olive Oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place asparagus on baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle some salt and olive oil on top.
  4. Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Caramel Pecan Bars from PaleOMG. I think I may have an addiction to this treat.

Grilled chicken drumstick, grilled hot Italian sausage, eggplant fries, and salad (mixed greens, grated carrots, grape tomatoes, salt, pepper, Kalamazoo Olive Co.'s Tuscan herb olive oil and balsamic vinegar).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 11

I apologize that my posts have been so lacking lately. Yesterday, I could only muster the food diary portion. I worked from 6:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., then went to salsa class. Loooong day. Today I packed in as much productivity as possible so I can do close to nothing tomorrow. I say "close to nothing" because we bought a bunch of yummy food to prepare a bunch of delicious food tomorrow!  But you'll have to wait for the food diary/recipes to see :)

I've finally joined Pinterest, and I can see what the fuss is all about. I can't wait to try some of the DIY crafts. We seriously need some art up in this house, and I don't want to spend much on it. And what is better than something you can be proud of because YOU made it? Nothing, that's what.

I think I have iterated and reiterated this in the several posts, but I'm feeling pretty good. I'm sleeping like a rock, experiencing more energy than normal, thinking clearly, and... like I said... feeling pretty good. I thought this was going to be a "challenge" -- but it's not feeling much like one!!

Today's grub...

The usual, + bacon, - onion bread.  Cup of coffee.

A weird mix of whatever we had around: grilled chicken, salad, a banana, and a pear.

Grilled steak and peppers, and an Asian salad (mixed greens, tangerines, and Kalamazoo Olive Co.'s ginger and honey olive oil).

Blueberry loaf (remixed -- didn't have pure pumpkin, used a squash instead. No chocolate chips, used cocoa powder)

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Days 9 & 10

Day 9
Scrambled eggs and veggies, onion bread, cup of coffee.

Leftover roasted cauliflower and squash, a hot Italian sausage.

Blueberry Bread Loaf (no chocolate chips)

Grilled sirloin steak and salad (mixed veggies, grated carrot, tomatoes, salt, pepper, Kalamazoo Olive Co's fig balsamic vinegar and Tuscan herb olive oil).

Blueberry Bread Loaf (no chocolate chips)

Day 10
Scrambled eggs and veggies, onion bread, cup of coffee.

Grilled chicken and salad (mixed veggies, grated carrot, tomatoes, salt, pepper).

Paleo Simplified bar - Chocolate Coconut Almond Crunc

A banana and 2 grilled chicken wings. Wasn't feeling particularly hungry before salsa.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 8

Holy french fries, Batman! We've reach Day 8!

Started today with the Strong Confidence lower body workout from LovingFit. Then got ready faster than I thought was possible and went off to work. I had an ultrasound on my neck today as well, will get the results next week. I'm not too concerned - it's likely hypothyroidism, which is no big deal. It runs in the family and can be monitored as well as "corrected" with supplements. I'd like to avoid any form of pills, if possible. We'll see where that all goes.

This evening we cooked up a large batch of food to get us through the next few days. Being prepared makes this challenge so much easier. And I'll be honest, I figured that this was going to be tough. I have moments where I wish I could have something non-Paleo, but that wish quickly goes away when I count all the ways this is (and has already started to) positively impact me.

Tonight, my amazing husband offered to do the bulk of the cooking so I could work a little extra. He grilled steaks, chicken wings, and hot Italian sausages.  And he prepped a nice side salad to go with it.  I roasted some veggies and made the Blueberry Chocolate Loaf (sans chocolate chips) from PaleOMG. I'm pretty convinced that our home cooked food is far greater than the food at most restaurants.  Besides, cooking at home yields cheaper, healthier, cooked-to-order just-as-we-like-it meals. Can't go wrong with that!

Meals for the day....
Eggs + veggies, "slice" of dehydrated onion bread, cup of coffee.

Leftover curry from yesterday.

Paleo Simplified bar and a banana.

Salad (mixed greens, tomatoes, Kalamazoo Olive Co's fig balsamic vinegar and Tuscan herb olive oil), roasted veggies (cauliflower, squash, garlic, olive oil, salt pepper), and meat. I had a chicken wing and an Italian sausage.  I am a very happy woman right now. :) It's likely that I'll try a little slice of the Blueberry Chocolate loaf to round out my day. I really need to work on reducing my food quantity in the evening. Unfortunately, we have been having dinner somewhat late, so we're really hungry by the time we eat. Which is no excuse for the larger quantity, but at least it's all Paleo. :)  As the challenge goes on, I'll work to correct this. But... not tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Days 6 & 7

Yesterday was a day off (hooray) and today I had a reunion with co-workers from 3 jobs ago, back when I was a process engineer in the manufacturing industry. We met at a restaurant and I hadn't had a chance to eat beforehand. I watched all the other folks eat burgers and fries and all sorts of things that looked and smelled delicious. But I kept reminding myself of something my mom posted this morning...

This one's for you, mom!
I came home about 2.5 hours later and was especially pleased with my dinner (and my solid willpower!). I don't feel like rambling much today, so I'll just recap my food for the last two days.

Day 6
The usual (eggs, veggies, cup of coffee).

Herb roasted chicken, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes at a natural/organic market and cafe.

Double-layer fudge sans chocolate chips.

Curry!  If you know me, you know I LOOOOVE curry. We bought Green Curry mix and Ghost Pepper salt from Savory Spice Shop. Fantastic selection there! Our curry included cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, red onion, carrots, mushrooms, bok choi, coconut milk, green curry spices, and the ghost pepper salt. I thought it would be weird to make curry without the rice, but that is hardly the case.

Same as earlier. That was the last of the batch :(

Day 7
An apple and cashews. Ran short on time.

Leftover curry.

Paleo Simplified's new bar: chocolate coconut almond crunch (SO YUMMY!!!!! Deserves extra !!!!!!)

Leftover bacon chicken alfredo from Day 5.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Days 4 & 5

I feel like all of my posts start with "today was crazy busy" -- but it's true!  Yesterday, got up at 5:45a.m., did an ab and cardio workout, cleaned for 3 hours, went to a bridal shower, went to dinner & the movies with my mother-in-law, and by the time the day was over, it was 10pm. So I apologize for not posting yesterday. I'm sure no one really depends on it, but my goal is to document all food intake for the challenge.

Bride & Groom palm tree and monkeys
from our friend's bridal shower. 
I'll do a combined post for Days 4 & 5.  I'll post what I have had thus far, and update again this evening for Day 5. I'm really digging the scene in my house right now, and like where today is going. Let me share... :)  It's cold here in FL today, so we have a nice fire going right now. We (hubby, in-laws, me) are going to watch a movie while our breakfast settles. Then I'll knock out a full body workout, and then spend the rest of the day with the in-laws. It's shaping up to be a nice day. :)

Day 4
Same as the last 3 days - eggs + veggies, cup of coffee.

Ran out of time, only had time to snack on some our blueberry bread (Paleo, don't worry). Fortunately, I was good and didn't have any mimosas, cake, or any of the other food at the bridal shower.

A piece of the single layer chocolate fudge that I made a few days back. It was the last piece, so I made another batch, true to recipe minus the chocolate chips.

Mom-in-law (Mainha) and I went out to dinner before the movies. I had a small piece of steak, broccoli, and a really simple salad (romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, no dressing). 

Day 5
Ditto for the last 4 days. No onion bread though.

Banana... I was getting hungry on our way to lunch.

From Cafe Eden inside Abby's Health and Nutrition Store: Thai sweet basil chicken, roasted veggies,  sweet potatoes. Picture right.

Double-layer fudge minus chocolate chips.

A chicken alfredo much like the one on PaleOMG. I'll share my version here.

Bacon Chicken Alfredo
Approximately 4 servings

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 broccoli
  • 4 or 5 carrots
  • 10 mushrooms
  • 2 or 3 bell peppers
  • 2 cans (14 oz ea?) of organic coconut milk
  • 1 leek
  • 2 or 3 green onion stalks
  • 8 leaves of basil
  • Rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
  • 4 zucchini
  1. I'm weird and like to pre-chop all of my veggies before getting started.  
  2. Also, we let the chicken breasts sit in some salt in a bowl for about 30 minutes before grilling. I'm going to omit instructions on grilling the chicken, we timed it so that the chicken was finished as I was finished with the rest of the food.
  3. Make zucchini pasta. We use a tool like this. In a large bowl, let pasta'd zucchini sit on top of paper towels. Sprinkle some salt on top. Zucchini is a little water, so we are going to let the salt/paper towel soak up some of the moisture.
  1. Mince garlic and chop bacon into small pieces. 
  2. Using a fairly deep pan, saute garlic for about a minute, then add bacon. 
  3. When bacon is as you like it (partially crispy for me), remove bacon.
  4. Add olive oil if necessary to keep food from sticking, then saute cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and bell peppers. Onions would have been nice but we used the rest of our onions to make more raw onion bread.
  5. When veggies are well cooked, add coconut milk, leek, green onion, basil, rosemary, thyme, and the rest of the spices. 
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature. This will help thicken the coconut milk a bit. Another option (that you may have seen with my Paleo Clam Chowder), is to take 1/2 or 3/4 of the mixture, blend it really really really well, and return it to the pot. This will thicken the soup for shizzle.
  7. When the grilled chicken is done, chop into small pieces and add to the pasta sauce.
  8. Throw some noodles in a bowl, top with a couple scoops of sauce/veggies/chicken. 
  9. Scarf!

And just for fun... another photo of Apollo, wrapped up in a blanket, as usual. This was taken Friday while I was working. He has his own computer chair next to mine, and can usually be found there

Friday, February 15, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 3

Captain's log, star date 3.  Sorry, we're clearly watching and episode of Star Trek right now. Nerd alert! On that same note, have I mentioned my love for Doctor Who?

I will admit it; there were two moments today where my thoughts were something along the lines of, "Ugh, it's only Day 3!" One was in the middle of the day (another long day -- worked from 6:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.), and my second moment was just now, after salsa class. Marcos and I graduated from Level 1 salsa last Friday. If any of you are familiar with salsa dancing, we now know:
  • basic step
  • sombrero
  • sweetheart
  • cross body lead
Today, we started Level 2 (learning the hammerlock now). It's also on Friday's, just before the Level 1 class. Normally, after class, we stick around for the social. The dance studio turns into a mini-club, and we usually stay to get some extra practice in. Then, we usually go to one of our favorite restaurants (Grill 54 for you Tampanians), have some Roberto-style calamari and and adult beverage or two. It's a fantastic way to end the week. However, since we are doing the Paleo challenge, Grill 54 was a no-go.  That was  mini-hurdle today.

But on the plus side, I have made a few observations about how I feel today:
  • slept like a rock last night
  • woke up ready to go (did I mentioned I started working at 6:15?!)
  • felt full of energy all day 
  • didn't get sleepy after lunch
  • felt good in my jeans at salsa :)
So, I'm ending the day feeling strong and excited to see what kind of results 40 days will bring!

Food for the day... sorry, no crappy photos this time:
Need I list it? The usual - scrambled eggs + veggies, onion bread.

Feeling like a broken record... leftovers. This time it was both the dishes that we made at the end of Day 1.

Paleo chocolate/blueberry bread that we also made on Day 1, but didn't mention or eat until Day 2.

2nd Snack
Just before salsa class, I had a banana to tie me over until we returned from class.

I hate to late so late in the evening, but I plan on getting up and doing a core workout and some cardio (maybe a run?). So I'm having a salad that Marcos is making now. Ingredients: mixed greens, peppers, grated carrots, black pepper, salt, and Kalamazoo Olive Co's Ginger and Honey olive oil. And a "slice" of the raw onion bread. Yum!

Congrats to all who completed Day 3! I hope your day was successful and you're feeling good. If not, no worries, tomorrow is another day. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 2

We are 1/20th of the way there! Keep it up! :)

This is Apollo having a make-out sesh with his favorite blanket. Actually, we have two of these blankets, a brown one and a burnt orange one. Since Apollo is still very young, he still does the suckling thing on super soft, kitty mommy-like surfaces. His absolute favorite - these blankets. I regularly find him face deep, purring like a little engine. And don't even try to detach him from it. Well, you could try, but he will NOT let go. Too funny.

I apparently feel like rambling today. This is a lengthy post. My apologies to you short-attention-span folks...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

40 Day Paleo Challenge - Day 1

Day 1 is almost complete!!  Did you all survive? What did you eat? And how do you feel? I started my day with a fantastic workout, Bois Blonde Booty from Loving Fit, and at that point, was feeling great. Then I had a rather rough day at work, but fortunately, cooking can be very therapeutic. And uber-fortunately for me, my husband is a great listener. So I'm feeling MUCH better now. Almost back to my usual "everlasting bubble of positivity" self as a co-worker recently named me.

I asked Marcos what his thoughts on his first day are. He said that packing plenty of healthy snacks for work is a must-do. He didn't pack as much as he'd like for today, and spent some of the day feeling rather hungry. By the time he realized this, the cafeteria at his office had closed for the day. Right now, my handsome hubby is making some raw onion bread for our breakfast tomorrow morning. We usually have the breakfast I list below in my food diary, but in a smaller size, and with a piece of toast.He was really missing that piece of toast. Lucky for him that we have a dehydrator and have made raw onion bread many times in the past. :)

Found this neat little tool - Paleo Trail - to track your meals. Did you find any handy-dandy new resources to help you start this challenge? Please post below!

Here is how my day shaped out (food wise):


A scramble of turkey bacon, eggs, mushroom, bell peppers, spinach. And my beloved cup of coffee.

Mid-morning Snack
Handful of raw almonds, banana.

Leftovers! Slow-cooked soup, made of hot Italian sausage (Publix Organic), collard greens, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, squash, garlic, cayenne, salt pepper. Delish.

Afternoon Snack
Handful of raw almonds and cashews, apple.

I planned no making PaleOMG's latest recipe and this side dish, but oddly enough, my grocery store was out of organic chicken breast and organic cauliflower. yeesh!

So I created a weird blend.
Dish #1 - sauteed bacon, ribeye steak, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli using Kalamazoo Olive Co's Tuscan Herb olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Dish #2 - roasted sweet potato, squash, spiced with cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Lots of pretty colors = lots of health benefits.

Dessert is not a norm in our house, but we were feeling proud of our Paleo selves and decided to make a rendition of PaleOMG's Double Layer Fudge. Instead of making the first layer, I just made the second layer. OMG -- YUM!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pre-40 Day Challenge!

Tomorrow we start the Paleo challenge! I'll do my best to post daily food diaries, as well as any resources or recipes that I'm using along the way. Tonight or tomorrow morning, my hubby and I are going to take before pictures and weigh ourselves. I suggest you do the same, it's always really great to have proof of your progress.

Until then, I'm enjoying one last glass of wine. Good luck to us all!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fig Balsamic Beef, Zucchini Fries, Fig Balsamic Caprese salad - it's what's for dinner

I need suggestions on how to name my recipe posts. Guess I could just drop the "it's what's for dinner" part. Cuz technically, this will be my lunch tomorrow too.

One week until the 40 Day Paleo Challenge!  Who's excited?!?

We have a new addition to the family.  This is Apollo. Contrary to popular belief, we did not name him after the Greek god of music, poetry, plague, oracles, sun, medicine, light, and knowledge (thank you Wikipedia).  He is actually named after Commander Lee "Apollo" Adama in Battlestar Galacatica. nerd alert.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tools for Success: Motivation

Motivation is such a powerful tool in bettering yourself. I love to research people, their abilities, and their results from finding or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It's amazing what the human body can do.

I'm dedicating this post to videos, blogs, and other forms of media that motivate me. You'll see a blend of fitness and nutrition. Feel free to post links in your comments to whatever drives you to improvement!

I'll update this page from time to time, so come back to see what I or other users have posted.


Yoga by Equinox