This recipe calls for a blog post!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hope you weren't hoping for something exciting/important, because you will be severely let down. HOWEVER, it's very exciting/important to me! I just made the most amazing paleo banana bread muffins!! As you should probably know by now... 1) I'm not the best cook and 2) Paleo hasn't been the most fun for me.

I am so proud of myself I could cry. Instead, I'll just share the recipe here and hope that everyone finds it so hard and burns every batch - so I'll just be the best cook, EVER.

(WARNING: This only makes 7 muffins, which really disappointed Adam. Double or triple it, if you please.)

• 1 1/2 cup almond flour (this stuff is so expensive...ugh)
• 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• pinch of nutmeg
• pinch of salt
• 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
• 2 eggs
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cups chopped walnuts, plus more for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place muffins cups in muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.

In a separate bowl, add the mashed bananas, eggs, honey, vanilla and olive oil - mix well.

With your hands, make a slight well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. (I DID THIS!!! And I took a picture because I thought it was so cool. Now I'm instantly regretting that decision.)

Add in chopped walnuts. Stir until combined.

Fill the baking cups about 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 21-23 minutes or insert a toothpick into the center and if it comes out clean, it's time to remove.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

(Is this what my life has come to? Writing/taking pictures about FOOD? Yikes.)

Alright, I'll give paleo another shot...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

After last week's super dramatic post, you'll be happy to know that I have survived (so far). We're officially on day 7 of this Paleo business, and it has gotten easier. A few takeaways, so far....

  • If Adam didn't cook I would be probably be dead in a ball on our couch. As we all know, cooking isn't my forte... especially creative cooking. 
  • You are definitely a different kind of full after eating. With paleo, you don't have to limit yourself to portion sizes since it's all healthy. I had three four servings of our Valentine's meal and felt awesome. Not full, but totally satisfied.  
  • We haven't been to the gym since we started and I've already lost 3 pounds (Adam's already lost 25 or something....typical guy). That's awesomeeeee, but I also may faint when we go to the gym. I don't really think I have this whole thing down, yet - I'm supposed to feel like Superwoman with tons of energy. However, I feel like you do when you've been sick for a week and you finally feel normal, but have no energy. (You know the feeling?)
  • I will be the master of homemade salsa when this is over. Adam is the sweetest and tried to make me tortilla chips out of eggs and almond flour but they weren't exactly the best pairing. Alas, we found sweet potato chips at Kroger! (I think these are kind of cheating even though they're "allowed". Have to find another alternative.)
  • I went out to lunch with my mom on Saturday and was able to find a few options I could eat on the menu! I ended up getting steak skewers with pico on the side. (And no, I'm not going to be the person at a restaurant that says "Um, what is the steak rub made out of?" What I don't know will certainly not kill me.) 
  • Last night was girls night at my house. I decided to do a healthy theme since we usually chow down on wings, cookies and buffalo chicken dip - and it didn't go over too well with the other girls. Ha! Apparently they weren't impressed with a veggie platter, fruit and a build-your-own-salad station.
Here is a rundown of how I've managed to stay alive..

Valentine's Dinner
Pork roast in the slow cooker (no idea what Adam put in there with it - sorry!) with a pineapple, cilantro, onion and lemon juice "salsa" on top. YUMMMM. I could have cried during this meal since I hadn't actually eaten a real meal in 48 hours at that point.

Saturday Night Steak
Debbie and Dave gave us this amazing cut of steak, so we obviously had to make a meal around it. Grilled steak, broccoli and homemade sweet potato fries. I added a squeeze of lime over my broccoli, but other than that nothing had seasoning on it. It was so good.

Lemon/Olive Oil Salad Dressing
I did this one all by myself! 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice and 8 garlic cloves minced. It's pretty good, if I may say so myself!

Lara Bars
Seriously, don't know what I would do without them. Now that I've learned I can't have any peanuts (which is still so ridiculous), I've found some other good flavors. My fave is banana bread.

Adam said he was going to start posting some paleo recipes on here, so we'll see if that happens. In the meantime, I look forward to losing approximately 25 pounds during Lent. (Just kidding!)

hunters and gatherers

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today is the second day of Lent - aka the only 40 days in the year I have any type of will power against certain foods. I used to challenge myself to stop eating something unhealthy (99% of my diet), but then Adam had his come to Jesus talk with me about how I was just doing it for me and no other reason. (He shamed me into changing a bad habit of mine, instead.) However, when we went to our weekly come to Jesus talk at church last week, they encouraged us to fast. (Boo yah, Adam!). And then he closed by saying that this "wasn't to lose a few pounds for Spring Break". Damn, I was still in the wrong.

That useless story aside, the message did give me some negotiating power with Adam to do some sort of fast. We've decided to do try the Paleo Diet and to only drink booze two days a week. What is the Paleo Diet, you ask? I am one day into it (which makes me an expert), and I can tell you that it's not fun by any stretch of the imagination.

Let me just walk you through Day One of Paleo...

7:00am - Walked Ruthie and felt so pumped about starting this new challenge.
8:00am - Opened the fridge and made/ate my breakfast: blueberries and strawberries - I love fruit, this is going to be awesome! Made my lunch: a banana and grapes.
10:00am - I'm hungry, but I don't want to waste my small ration.
12:00pm - I'm HUNGRY. I eat my banana.
12:01pm - SO.HUNGRY. I eat my grapes.
1:30pm - Everyone in the office can hear my stomach rumbling.
3:00pm - Who am I? Where am I? Did I wear a coat today?
5:00pm - Head straight to Wal Mart. This is 2013, there have to be better options. I wander around (because at this point I barely know my name) and try to find raisins. Wind up buying Larabars (because they're Paleo-friendly) and sunflower kernels. Someone stops me in the wine aisle "You look like you drink a lot of wine... Can you help?" In my head I'm thinking "I WILL ONLY HELP IF YOU BUY ME A BOTTLE", but I'm a nice person and this poor guy is clueless (put down the Arbor Mist).
5:25pm - Scarf down the Larabar on the way to my car (what does my car look like, again?). IT TASTES SO GOOD WHEN IT HITS THE LIPS. Shortly after, receive a text from Meagan saying I can't eat peanuts (who knew they weren't actually nuts?). I glance at the wrapper I've licked clean - Peanut. I've already cheated on accident.
5:30pm - Walk in the house and try to hang my keys on the TV (my brain clearly hasn't had its share of the Larabar).
6:00pm - Attempt to make some sort of edible meal without using anything yummy. End up marinating chicken in olive oil, basil and oregano (have to Google "how to cook chicken on the stove" - embarrassed of myself). Also steam green peppers with olive oil and basil (don't know what I was trying to accomplish here). I burn the chicken. Dinner is disgusting.
8:30pm - Adam got a flat tire on the way to class, so I pick him up. Spend the whole ride whining about how terrible this is and he needs to go ahead and figure out how to make me something delicious. (Also warn him that dinner is disgusting. He says it's GREAT - he's a doll - but only eats half.)
11:00pm - I've worn myself out complaining about this stupid idea. Time for bed.

So how do I feel after day one? HUNGRY.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

As you may or may not have noticed, the last few weeks have been insane. I haven't been home since the weekend of January 7. Not ok. I was so excited to be home and have no plans this weekend - it was glorious!!!!!

Ruthie and I had a big date with the couch on Friday night. We watched a Walk to Remember, but she wasn't very consoling while I was hyperventilating from crying so hard (seriously - talk about a downer movie!!!!).

Baseball season has officially started, so we don't see much of Adam these days. This also means that Ruthie and I just hung out in bed until 10am on Saturday. She likes to get right in my face and stare at me - such a little creep.

I was trying to decide what to do with my day (since we all know I can't really sit still all day long), and then my fabulous friend - Kelly - asked if Ruthie and I wanted to join her and Jason for a day at Piedmont Park. Um, yes! We haven't been back since we moved over a year ago (depressing), so Ruthie and I were super excited. I feel like we raised Ruthie in that park - we walked her there twice a day every day for the first 10 months she was with us. And she loveeed the dog park. I was so excited to take her! I'm sure I'm just imagining it, but I think she remembered! It was 60 degrees and not a cloud in the sky - a perfect park day. Thank you for inviting us, Kelly and Jason!!

We stopped by the baseball field (our second home for the next 3 months) just as they were finishing up the Inning-A-Thon so Ruthie got to run around the field and tire herself out even more. Fine with me!

Ruthie likes to hang out on my shoulder when I'm driving and I finally snapped a picture of her doing it on Saturday. Do we look intimidating or what?

Sunday was also such a good day! We went to church which got our wheels turning about Lent (more on that later...) and then I had a nice Honey Do list for us to accomplish. (Remember, baseball started so I only have him one day a week until June!) I've been dying to get this massive dresser out of our bedroom so we could put our nightstands in and have an actual room. To get this done, we needed to transform our closet into our new "dresser". Luckily, I married the handiest man of handy men. After building shelves in the closet we gently placed threw our clothes into the closet and got that damn dresser outta there! My dreams were crushed, however, when only one of our nightstands fit. So annoyed, but I have a nightstand so that's all that matters.

I don't have a good before picture of our room - or after picture, for that matter - but here's the before and progress of the closet-turned-dresser. We still need to add crown molding to the edges and dividers.

The weekend was exactly what I wanted - so relaxing, but still got a lot accomplished. It was also nice to finally spend a weekend with these two.

a few days in the chilly north

Monday, February 11, 2013

I'm really starting to slack on posting timely blogs. For instance, I'm about to tell you about my weekend in New York with mama (um, last weekend) and my team retreat in DC (um, last week).

Let's start with New York, because I'm going to at least write about them in the order that they happened.

After the strangest flight delay, we were off to the Big Apple on Saturday morning! We checked into our hotel - after first waltzing into the wrong one and having to take a cab to the correct one - and chowed down on a ridiculously amazing Doubletree cookie. I had a few spots I wanted to check out while in town, but overall we didn't have a plan, which was so nice. We decided to we wanted to walk around Central Park (while it's freezing outside? of course!), so we headed to that part of town and met up with one of my best friends from high school, Christine. We grabbed a very New York brunch (since that's a thing, right?) at The Smith and then strolled through the park until we couldn't feel our limbs.

After a quick stop in FAO Schwarz and what used to be The Plaza, Christine headed home and mom and I walked down 5th Ave for a bit - we had to go to Tiffany & Co.

Mom and I headed back to the hotel to thaw out before grabbing dinner with Candace. Candace and I were instant BFFs at Western, and then she transferred back home to Univ of New Hampshire so I rarely get to see her. She conveniently moved to NYC last year, so we planned to spend Saturday night together. After a yummy dinner at the Atlantic Grill, mom headed back to the hotel and I went back to Candace's apartment before we headed out. Little did I know that New Yorkers (-ans? - ites?) don't go out until around 1 am... Silly me for being ready to go at 10pm! We were out in the Lower East Side until 5am (again... silly me), so needless to say I was exhausted on Sunday.

I woke up on Sunday and not only was I tired, but the cold that had been sneakily hanging out on the back burner decided to come front and center. Of course, I still pulled it together and mom, Christine and I headed to the 9/11 Memorial. It is such a beautiful remembrance of such a terrible day in our country's history. There are two pools that mark where the two towers stood, and they're in the process of building a museum. I highly recommend it for anyone visiting. (Insider Tip: You have to reserve tickets beforehand, but they're free.)

Like I said, we didn't have any solid plans all weekend, but mom decided she wanted to see The Newsies on Sunday and I very happily obliged. I went to high school with someone in the musical, but of course his understudy played the part when we went. (Typical!) It was seriously so good! I could have cried during the "Seize the Day" number - SO good!!

We met up with Christine (again, because we kind of like her) to watch the Super Bowl at Saloon. Turns out in New York you have to pay an upfront fee to get a seat. So we each paid $40 for an open bar - mom took full advantage. :)

I made mom pose for an obligatory, touristy Times Square picture.

It's hard not to have a good time in New York - the city really is magical. Even if it's against his will, I'm dragging Adam there one day. It's some place everyone needs to visit once.

Now I'm tired of typing and I still have to talk about DC. I'm going to round it up as fast as possible...

I took the train from NYC to DC on Monday morning for our Culinary Events team retreat and was there until Wednesday night. Tuesday night we had our team dinner at Farmers Fishers Bakers (yum! terrible service, though), and I was able to hang out to the other love of my life (Brent! Adam's best man) on Wednesday afternoon before he dropped me off at the airport. THE END.

anna's married!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Week two of weddings this January was for my one and only Anna! Anna and I were close all through college through our sorority, but she has truly become one of my very best friends since we graduated. Although Danny (her husband) stole her and took her to Huntington Beach, California - we stay close thanks to that wonderful thing called social media.

This weekend in Wilmington, NC served as a pretty amazing reunion for all of our Western friends. Natalie, Matelyn and I were bridesmaids and there was a handful of other Catamounts on hand for the celebration, too. After arriving late Thursday night, Adam and I met up with the group for a quick drink before heading to bed to rest up for the wedding festivities starting on Friday. I guess the best way to lay out this text and photo heavy post is through a tacky timeline, so I apologize in advance...

Friday, January 18
First up was the Bridesmaid's Luncheon at Elijah's. Anna had a prettty big bridal party (11 bridesmaids!) so the luncheon was a great chance to officially meet everyone else. (Side note: I'm so glad Matelyn's boyfriend came along! As you can imagine, I didn't see Adam very much so I'm glad he and Tyler were able to buddy around.)

That afternoon was the rehearsal at the gorgeous chapel at Saint Mary's Catholic Church followed by the dinner at BlueWater Grill. Anna has one of the most supportive (and beautiful) families, ever - and they made some incredible speeches that left everyone crying.

Worst idea, ever... one of Danny's friends from college got up to say a few words so Natalie, Matelyn and I felt compelled to do the same. Well, I had held it together for most of the evening and was basically making fun of Matelyn and Natalie for sobbing so I was voted to be the speaker. Then they passed me the mic and I lost it. It was not cute, and we basically stood there sobbing for a solid couple of minutes until Anna's brother-in-law tried to come up and relieve us of our duties. I was able to blubber a few phrases (that I'm still not sure made sense...) and then we went back to our seats in shame. MORTIFYING.

After a few post-dinner drinks back at the hotel, we headed to bed since I was getting my hair done at 8am - yikes!

Wedding Day! January 19
Somehow I got scheduled to get my hair done first, which I was kind of worried about considering my hair does not hold curls well and I thought there was no way it was going to hold all day. (Amazingly, it did. A little too much... I kind of felt like I looked like Shirley Temple, but whatevs.) We all got dolled up in the Hospitality Room and spent the morning drinking mimosas and hanging out. Anna was so calm. I think I was a pretty calm bride, but she seemed like she was almost zen - so content.

Anna got all of the bridesmaids these shirts with our initials on them as our presents! Such a cute idea!

With the wedding at 2, we headed over to the church where Anna got changed into her gown. It was originally her Aunt Peggy's, but she had the sash made from her grandmother's veil and she wore her mother's veil. So vintage and classic - she looked stunning.

Cutest Flower Girls! Virginia, Cecelia, Eva and Sophia

After the service, we all took pictures outside (and FROZE. I think it was like 40 degrees or something ridiculous) and then hung out in an equally cold trolley until Anna and Danny were done with their pictures. It was family and friend fun time back at the Hospitality Room at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside until we were all introduced at the reception at 6.

The band was awesome, the food was awesome, the drinks were awesome, the friends were awesome.... the whole night was seriously awesome.

Anna bought a second outfit for the reception and I just about died. It was so Anna!!!

She looked stunning the entire day and I can't even put into words how honored I am that I got to stand to stand with her and Danny as they officially became the Ackers. It was, by far, the most fun I've ever had at a wedding. The whole weekend was also a great reminder that friends and family are truly all we really have and that I have been beyond blessed with the best there is!

Cheers to the Ackers!!