Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I neglect Again...

Well.. I think it's more than obvious that blogging is not my thing. I'm not great at the consistency. Don't get me wrong, when I'm into it, I'm into it.  But when I'm planning a wedding and getting ready for a new school year, I don't turn to it as an outlet. Sure, I still find it VERY motivating. I receive a lot of messages from people that tell me I'm motivating to them - which is amazing - because in turn those messages motivate me to keep going on my own personal journey.  So to those of you that were waiting to hear how music camp went, I apologize for my laziness.

Long story short - music camp week went great.  I actually lost a pound over the week, despite only running about two times throughout the week.  The food was wonderful - it served as a stress reliever in between stressful rehearsals!  I felt like I didn't totally wreck my stomach. I DID join kyle in the cafeteria a few days for lunch, because, well I simply missed him and wanted to chat.  That being said, I stuck to salads with hard boiled eggs, and usually the fish selection they offered (still made my stomach grumble) and the steamed veggie option. Considering our college had awesome food, go me.

Also - our wedding tasting was incredible. Words i would use to describe it are: delicious, amazing, fun, drunk, CAKE, white chocolate lobster risotto cup (nuff said).  We really are truly lucky to have selected such an incredible venue to have our special day.

So now here are my collective thoughts from the past few months - and kind of where I leave you all for now, seeing as there is no physical, possible way I am going to try to find time to blog in the next three months.

Kyle and I have been talking a lot lately about how we can see Paleo as a lifestyle.  Not a strict lifestyle, for me personally, and those that are strict may be shaking their heads at me, but that's okay.  I want to raise my kids someday on real, whole foods, and frankly, I feel best when I'm eating real, whole foods.  But I can't go my whole life without a pizza cheat, or a hoagie cheat (a philadelphia suburbs girl needs a cheesesteak once in a while).

I've lost over 10 lbs and I have been feeling great about myself.  I've started taking more time on my hair and making it look nice, my makeup, and picking out my outfits. I feel "cute" on a daily basis, and even Kyle has said he's noticed a 'sexy' confidence in me (HELLO!) since the start of the summer when I began paleo.

I also want to preach what so many other people do. Don't do this alone. My parents eat Paleo, Kyle joins in with me, and my best friend started doing Paleo.  Sharing stories and recipes with friends and family is FUN and such a motivation.  Also, don't be scared of someone who is doing paleo (unless they are not flexible).  If I come to your house, I will eat whatever you have!  I am still a normal person who eats normal things, but on my own, I maintain a paleo lifestyle.  But you would like to serve me a delicious plate of alfredo pasta? GO FOR IT! I will survive.

I am slowly but surely reaching my goals, and I am OK with a slow road.  I can handle a slow road. slow and steady wins the race. These are the lbs I am saying goodbye to and will not see again.

GO ME.  I am going to say that I am signing out for a while, as well.  I am planning a wedding that is less than three months away, and I am also trying to be a killer teacher to my amazing students, oh yeah and be a Fiancee to my AMAZING fiancee.

Love always
- Jack xo

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Embarking on a Challenge

Hi All!

So this week I embark on a Challenge.  Kyle and I always work at our music camp for a week back at our college.  This week is always a FABULOUS time however, it means eating college cafeteria food 3 times a day.  Normally I would look forward to the week of chicken fingers with buffalo ranch, lasagna, Etown carrot cake, the ice cream machine.. but this year I've been dreading it.  I am finally hooked on something healthy. I LOVE this paleo lifestyle, and I love the fact that I've started to incorporate running and working out into my routine as well.  I feel like I am gaining control of my life, and I feel like if I went to that cafeteria, I would gain all of it back + some in a week.

So I did some thinking, and I committed to bringing all of my own food for the week.  I started saving leftovers in the freezer over the past couple of weeks, and planning out meals.  I made myself a chart, figured out I had about 18-20 meals I needed to be prepared for.  I knew I didn't want to do a lot of cooking, because lets face it, once you're out of college, college living looks pretty disgusting.  I planned out food that could easily be reheated in a microwave or on the stove.  I planned lunches that can be stored in mason jars (vs. salads that would be great, but tough to keep fresh throughout the week).  I need a lot of grab and go.

When I get back I will post about how it all went, and what a lot of the choices i went for.  I discovered a lot of recipes too that will be great for during the school year.  There is a Banana Vanilla Bean N'Oatmeal (non oatmeal) that I cannot wait to devour. It's like a custard-y chia filled delight.  This is from Diane Sanfilippo's 21 day sugar diet book, but she luckily posted it on her balancedbites blog for all to see.  I also tore up some rotisserie chickens and am going to bring a ton of veggies to cut up for veggie sticks - ie: carrots & cucumbers.

In addition, despite exhaustion I am going to TRY MY HARDEST to get out an run throughout camp. I won't be unrealistic and say it will happen every day, but I want to try to at least get out 4-5 days within the week.

PS I'm still floating around the number I hit last week - which is great! Considering we had a Carabba's cheat-night (thank you student given gift cards).  I am confident and feeling great. PLUS I just rocked a pair of pants last night that were way too small to wear last summer. Let's have a big GO ME. Always remember to be your own cheerleader. If you don't support yourself, you'll never be able to believe in yourself.
Just love him!
Wish me luck!

Love always - Jack

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reflections & a Protein "Shake"


Well I just came back down to earth after a fabulous weekend. A great July 4th downtown enjoying every little bit of our great town Frederick, and some fabulous Fireworks.  Then Kyle & I accompanied my parents and nieces to Dutch Wonderland Saturday - it has been probably close to 15 years if not more since I've been there - and man that's a fantastic place! We had a BLAST and such a FUN day.  We did the water park, lots of rides, I took abbey on her first 'big' roller coaster (which was terrifying making sure she was comfortable and not scared - parents, I got a glimpse into your life), saw some shows and ended the day with princess dolls treated by Aunt Jax & Uncle Ky.

So now onto my "reflections" I again keep going back to my new "outlook" on food. How I look at food is so different, and it still throws me through a loop. Did I cheat this weekend? Absolutely! What could I really find paleo friendly at dutch wonderland (well there were salads but I ignored them).  But it felt so good to get back to my Paleo yesterday.  I was just telling a friend I always used to go to bed feeling "full", and that feeling is gone. I don't feel full, and bloated anymore.  I rarely have headaches anymore, and honestly I rarely have stomach aches at all anymore. It's fabulous. It's absolutely fabulous.

Also - I started running again today. Kyle and I got up together and did a, as I like to call, a "trot" through the neighborhood.  We did just over 2 miles (it felt like 13...seriously), but I did it. It was a start. It was a foot out the door. And it was HILLY, man is our neighborhood hilly!!  Later this week I'll be running with a friend, who will hopefully motivate one another next week while working at my College's music camp as well. I am excited to see the results of eating Paleo and working out and keeping myself fully healthy. =) Thumbs up!

Some Blogs: I have found that I am now OBSESSED with exploring Paleo blogs.  There almost seems to be a sort of group of women that all share each others blogs and encourage one another - it's nice to see in a competitive society. If you are thinking of going Paleo, or have gone Paleo here are a few blogs I highly recommend checking out: (just ordered her book - the paleo kitchen) (diane sanfilippos - practical paleo creator - blog)

These ladies are fantastic and not only have great recipes, but they have a lot of great things to say! Last night I made Diane's "Shrimp Pad Thai" from BalancedBites and it was PHENOMENAL! (Kyle loved it too - and of course we love those Zoodles!)
Onto the protein shake! I was thinking I should have a go-to protein 'shake' that is still fairly lite for when I get back in from a run. Something that won't make me feel like I'm going to vom (like when kyle eats ketchup eggs.. EW).  So I looked up a few recipes, I wasn't totally sold on, and I created my own.  I know there is debate about protein powder being paleo friendly, but frankly right now I am just going to use what's in my cupboard!  I just so happen to have Vanilla Organic "All natural" protein Powder.

Banana-Vanilla Protein Shake/Smoothie
1 Banana
1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder 
1 tsp Vanilla
5 ice cubes
1/4 cup of water

Put all in a blender and mix together - enjoy!  

Mine kept me nice and full, and did not make me feel gross and vom-like! Success!

Happy Monday!
Love always - Jack =)

Friday, July 4, 2014

So I took a Chill Pill....

So I took a Chill Pill... and I stopped weighing myself everyday.  I knew it was ridiculous, but I think in the first week or two I was getting so motivated and pumped up by the fact that I seemed to be moving every day.  Then of course, you hit the days that are not so great. SO I stopped weighing myself every day, and I haven't weighed myself in a week... AND... I AM BELOW MY NASTY NUMBER. You know, that number, that you can't remember the last time you were below that terrible number?  I am 1.1 lbs below it!! It took me a minute while I looked at the scale, is it right? Wait, why does it say _ _ 8.9? I thought I was below that? OH WAIT THE MIDDLE NUMBER IS DIFFERENT. What a great feeling.  I am also slowly working some working out into my routine as well, just like vegetables, I'm not a natural, so I have to slowly work it in and figure out what's good for me. Right now it's push ups, since I want my arms to look slammin'.  Since day 1 (we are almost at week 4) I am at approx 7 1/2 lbs lost. GO ME.

Let's all celebrate for July 4th with a happy dance!!

Anyway, I have 3 major things I have realized this week.
 1. Carb/Dairy cravings? Gone. All week we were cooking & eating paleo, as usual, and I have found that I am officially done sitting around craving other food. I no longer crave pasta, or cookies. If it's sitting in front of me that's a different story, but if I'm around my house I am not sitting around crying that I want some mac & cheese.. those cravings are really truly gone.
2. Veggies on Veggies on Veggies. I am also eating a ton of vegetables. A lot of my dinners are now Paleo creations i have found from Practical Paleo, or from Pinterest, and usually they are 80% vegetables. I used to really not seek out veggies at all, but now I eat them several times a day, and they are a large portion of my meal.
3. Lastly - the third big change, is that my perception of "healthy" is SO different than what it used to be. I look at rice and think "omg so unhealthy!", or I look at chicken fingers and think "yikes so unhealthy!". The idea of fast food disgusts me, and just overall things I used to die for now set off a red flag in my head. Do I judge people who eat them? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It's just different for me looking at things I used to salivate over, I am now shying away from quickly.  It's a bizarre feeling.

Recipe Recommend!! We had several successful Paleo recipes this week but my favorite was : Spicy Butternut Squash "Rice" with Tomatoes & Shrimp. It was fabulous. It tasted like Jambalaya, and the butternut squash resemblance to rice was uncanny.  Next time I think I will add some spicy sausage to give it even more of a jambalaya feel!  It can be found here! - Against all Grain - . She has a fabulous blog!
Mouth watering just looking at the picture.

HAPPY 4th OF JULY! I'll leave you all with this classy throwback of Kyle & I.
Who doesn't duct tape a flag to a Jeep?
Love always - Jack =)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Heirloom Tomato Sauce


So my posting comes in waves, I post a lot, then I take a break and so on and so forth.  Last week I got caught up in my job, and I had a nasty fever virus that went around - that put me on my butt for a few days - and just resorting to some quick soup (not so paleo since I didn't have HM broth. oops!).  We went to a fabulous wedding this weekend - and for the first time in a while - I was happy with how I looked in a picture. Yes - us girls are very hard on ourselves - and honestly I probably looked fine before, but we are our own worst critics.  My weight has been fluctuating as I get used to and continue to experiment with Paleo and make the crossover, but this weekend - I was happy with the end result (despite the hives I broke out in on Saturday morning - what the heck is wrong with me!?) - so cheers to liking yourself =) something we all need to do a little bit more.
Anyway - when I was feeling myself last week, I made a delicious HM Heirloom Tomato sauce, to go along with some HM meatballs & Zoodles (my new favorite thing).  It was DELICIOUS. I feel like Kyle and my love of pasta has allowed me to experiment with a lot of recipes, therefore I know the 'general' guidelines for how to make a sauce.  Well my new secret? Heirloom tomatoes - juicy & thick - and honestly I don't even like tomatoes very much - but these are killer (in a good way).  Here is my sloppy - non measured recipe! Sorry in advance for the guesses at amounts - I really did not measure much while I made this.

HM Paleo Meatballs
1 lb Ground Beef (preferably organic grass-fed to really make it paleo - don't worry, I don't always do it either - oops!)
1 Large Egg
2 tsp Sea Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tbsp Onion Powder/minced onion (Kyle HATES onion - so I have to substitute- If you used real onion I would recommend 1/2 of a small onion chopped)
1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder (i LOVE garlic)
1/2 tbsp Dried Parsley
1/2 tbsp Dried Basil
Dash of Oregano

-Mix all ingredients together well.  Form into 1 inch balls (approx) and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. If you are making these alone you may want to cook them for up to 20 minutes. If you are making them with sauce - take them out at 10/15 minutes and plop them in the hot sauce to let them finish cooking!

HM Paleo Zoodles (as soon in the Zoodles not Noodles previous blog)
- I like to start by peeling off the outer peel.  Julienne peel zucchini until you get to the seeds.  1 zucchini yields a small portion for 1.  Typically I will peel 6 so that we have some leftovers.  It's okay to indulge - it's a veggie! Boil for approx 2-5 minutes - this is a large range because it depends on how 'al dente' you like your Zoodles! I like mine nice and soft.

HM Heirloom Tomato Sauce - This is where it gets a bit gray - but I believe good cooking is all about the flavor and experimenting! And that's what I did with this 'recipe' if you even want to call it that. HAh!  -This portion will make approx. 4 servings.  Tonight I am making a LOT more of it so I can freeze some- it's all about adjusting the portions of ingredients, people!
- 2-3 large heirloom tomatoes - diced - make sure you save all the juices.
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 2 large cloves of Garlic
- Minced Onion (dried)
- 2 cups of water
- Fresh Basil
- Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large pot or skillet heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic & minced onion. After about a minute, add the heirloom tomatoes. Make sure you preserve all of the juice that comes from them (I just scrape off the cutting board into the pan).  Add the water & mix well.  Let this mixture simmer for approx 1/2 hr occasionally stirring.  If you made meatballs - these can be added throughout the simmering time as well.  When it seems like the water & tomatoes have married well & the sauce is a consistency that you like - add salt & pepper to taste as well as a few leaves of fresh basil.  Let this warm while you cook the zoodles.  Then finish off with a few more leaves of fresh basil. Serve over Zoodles & enjoy your deliciously Paleo dinner.
Meatballs simmering in the delectable sauce
Voila! So pretty!
I know I have become a lot more casual in my recipes - but a lot of these are just "experiments" that I am doing to explore the Paleo way of eating.  I also really hate measuring while cooking, so I rarely measure things that I make - this is more-so for me to share my journey with all of you, and share fun things that i discover. If you want to make something - I hope my directions are clear enough for you to - if not feel free to ask. =)

To Finish: I also have to say my inspiration from using Heirloom Tomatoes came from a former employer.  She was wonderfully creative, and LOVED using her heirloom tomatoes. I remember she made an heirloom tomato lasagna and it was one of the best things I've ever had. I also remember asking her what did she add to the sauce to make it so good? And like most of the other things she cooked or baked, she said next to nothing. Why cover up delicious ingredients with flavoring, when they are just as good by themselves? PREACH.

Happy Monday!
Love always - Jack =)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Zoodles not Noodles!

My life currently revolves around ZOODLES.  Not noodles, ZOODLES.  The wonderful gorgeous creation of peeled/julienned zucchini, boiled or steamed, and served as pasta.  You can boil them so that they become soft like pasta.  You can eat them with shrimp, you can eat them with meat, you can eat them in your house, you could eat them on your porch. You can eat them ANYWHERE!

Here is how I enjoyed my Zoodles today:
For a personal size:
1 large zucchini/squash - julienne and place in boiling water.  Boil for approx 3-5 minutes (stirring around occasionally).  When you are happy with their consistency drain, and let drain for about 10 minutes (encouraging occasionally).
- Peel a handful of shrimp, and mix them with parsley, sea salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder.  Add about a 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil (does not matter melted vs. hard).
- Saute the shrimp until cooked through.  Toss the shrimp and zoodles together, adding a splash of organic grassfed butter, salt & pepp.


Also - here are a few more 'successes' from this past week:
Paleo Pizza! find the delicious pizza crust recipe we used here!  Then I top the pizza with simple tomato sauce, fresh whole fat mozz cheese, olives, sausage, bacon, & peppers. Yum!
Coconut Pancakes! Kyle's new favorite
Coconut pancakes with baked bacon Find the recipe for coconut pancakes here!
Kudos to Mom for this one! She made Diane's "Practical Paleo" pumpkin pancakes (which are DELICIOUS). she used them as a 'crepe' and rolled up bananas & organic maple syrup  accompanied by baked bacon. BRAVO, mom, bravo!
So before I finish, I just have to say that in almost 2 weeks I am already seeing a transformation. Not necessarily just in weight, but also in my body.  Of course everything is "working well".  I am eating SO MANY vegetables that I feel like I am getting more than enough fiber.  Also - last night I 'cheated' a bit since we had friends over.  I drank more wine than usual, and decided to splurge a little at dinner.  I have to say I am not feeling so hot AT ALL today.  No, I did not drink so much wine that I'm hungover, but it's more like a food hangover. My stomach just feels unsettled, and not happy. Meanwhile, the past 2 weeks, my body has felt great! I couldn't remember the last time I had a stomach ache - I think my body likes clean eating, for sure.

All of that being said, I am almost happy that I am feeling this way today. It's a reminder that my body is changing, and it is responding to new ways of eating and things are happening.  Changes take a long time, but it is always nice to have a positive response.  I think it will be a long time before I 'cheat' again and go non-paleo!

Happy Sunday!

=) Jack

Friday, June 20, 2014

Paleo Friendly Breakfast Bowl

Ahhhh Summer... I totally agree, Leo.
So this week being summer, I am trying a lot of different breakfast options. I created some "egg muffins" with various veggies & meat in them, we've had a few veggie filled omelets, and I've also made some of Diane's various muffins.  For some reason every day, I still feel a struggle with what to have for breakfast. I think before I just always grabbed cereal, or a nutri grain waffle (not healthy like you think it is!!), and I was good to go. Now I have to sit down and think "okay, what will be filling, paleo friendly, and easy for breakfast".  I'm sure this will get easier, but I am not at the point in my "paleo journey" to start having steak & vegetable leftovers for breakfast.

So this morning, after a quick Wegmans trip to stock up on some more paleo essentials - tapioco flour, arrowroot flour (what?!) and almond flour, it was time to cook breakfast. I REALLY wanted some grits with eggs and bacon on top, but hmmm can't do that. So I snagged the leftover Cauli-Mashers from last night (mashed cauliflower - see below), heated them up with a handful of spinach leaves.  Then I crumbled some of my Baked Bacon (recipe from Practical Paleo) on top.  Then I made 2 over easy eggs to go on top. YUM.  The cauli-mashers were so creamy, and between the cauli & the spinach I felt like I was doing myself some good with adding veggies to my breakfast.   Success! I wish I had some better pictures, but frankly, I was starving, so this is the best I could do!

Excuse the gross nature of the picture... There really was no good angle down in my little bowl

Before we finish - let's give 3 cheers to Kyle! Last night Kyle cooked his first paleo meal! Go Kyle!!  He made chicken breasts (non-organic, but they were in the freezer so I'm going to use them!) with the Practical Paleo "Savory Chicken" recipe.  These are baked in the oven.  He also made what I call "Cauli-Mashers", I think Diane calls them "Faux-taters" or something like that, but cauli-mashers just sounds more fun.  They were delicious and creamy, no added almond milk or anything.  We just seasoned them up to taste, added some grass-fed butter and enjoyed! Lastly I made our favorite sautéed brussel sprouts in coconut oil vs. olive oil. They were crispy and lovely. So 3 cheers for Kyle!!
Yum! Kudos to Kyle!
Those 'mashers were delicious!
Leo wants IN on those cauli-mashers

Happy FRIDAY!!
Love always - Jack =)