Tag Archives: food

Calling all Cavepeople

13 Nov

Per my 30 in 30 challenge for National Health Blog Post Month, today’s prompt encourages me to “write about my favorite book and tie it to your views on health.”

Instead, I want to float an idea about a book. I’ll be in a car for upwards of 13 hours this weekend, and I’m thinking of giving this one a whirl:

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. (source)

I know, I know. Everyone is doing the Paleo thing. If you’re unfamiliar, the Paleo approach centers itself around foods that our ancestors could digest – and avoids those that simply weren’t around at the time, believing that many of these foods aren’t as easily digested by the body. Super basic explanation, and I’m not fully edumacated (hence my desire to read the book), but that’s how I understand it thus far.

But I’m genuinely interested in learning more because I have a couple of things going on with my health that are starting to point to sugar problems/insulin tolerance issues. I am beginning to wonder if my body responds negatively to grains. I’ve mentioned this before, and I already monitor my high carb foods like grains (Even whole grains) very carefully – avoiding those that are refined carbs completely.

So has anyone read this book? Done a Paleo challenge? Think liverwurst n’ junk is crazy talk?


Thanksgiving Thursday: Must-haves

8 Nov

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Now that Election Day is behind us, I hope everyone is ready to talk a real American topic: getting your November fat on.

This past weekend marked the celebration of our annual Friendsgiving feast – a true success this time around. I awoke at 6am to a 24 pound bird ready for brining, and all but sprang out of bed. This much-anticipated event culminated in a food coma so painful, only a group viewing of Home Alone could console anyone.

“No clothes on anybody – sickening!”

Since our big event has come & gone, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tips leading up to my second Thanksgiving feast with the fam (Easy, I can feel your judgment from here.)

My must-haves include: An adorable turkey/pumpkin apron from Crate & Barrel, a festive fall floral arrangement, a nifty probing meat thermometer that runs a wire through the door of the oven (GENIUS!!), a large cooler for brining (absolutely key to a juicy bird), and obviously red wine – I choose Green Fin, a deliciously affordable $3.99 from Trader Joe’s.

What are your holiday feasting must-haves? Anyone else enjoy spending inordinate amounts of time preparing and hanging out with poultry?

You can admit it.

Triathlon Survival

30 Aug

Oh what, did y’all forget this was going down?

That’s right, I won! They don’t give those shiny medals out to just anyone.

Alright so I “won” in the sense that I didn’t drown, I didn’t crash my bike into other humans or non-moving objects, and the whole thing is now completed and over and a thing of the past.

Upon rising at 4am on Sunday, I began asking myself why I chose to tackle such a challenging sporting event. You mean to tell me I will be voluntarily hurling myself into 73 degree Lake Michigan, after which I will pedal furiously on my $100 Huffy mountain bike for 13 miles, and just to top it all off I’ll be running a 5k, just for good measure?

 I was also asking myself why in God’s name I paid good money to be awake at the same hour that many young Chicagoans found themselves in drink-induced verbal altercations with hot dog vendors at Wiener Circle,  but that is neither here nor there.

Ultimately,  crossing that finish line without the help of a lifeguard rescue or a roadside assistance vehicle marks a win in my book. I imagine I will be putting myself through this whole thing again next year, which is not a bad thing considering there’s a whole lot of room for improvement now that I know I won’t drown.

Before I sign up for the madness again, I just have some tips for future me.

First, get yourself a personal cheer squad. Check.

10,000 bikes look approximately 100% different in the pitch dark of 5am than the pink-orange glow of 7am. Remember the chick with the cupcake balloon tied to her bike? And remember how much time you spent in your first transition, frantically running up and down the aisles of bikes, shouting, “Has anyone seen a purple Huffy?!! It cost $100 on Craigslist!!” Remember?

Get a cupcake balloon.

In fact, on the subject of bikes, get a proper bicycle altogether. And then personally seek out the road-bike-toting athlete who zoomed by you on the course, rang his little bell and called out, “Yeah Huffyyy!”

Old dudes will unknowingly punch with you with their club arms in Lake Michigan. They swim sideways and resemble giant sinking seals. He doesn’t care nor does he know that he just bashed you with his beer belly. Don’t panic. Just keep swimming.

Do not question the carbs.

Your almond-butter-filled sweet potato will serve as a sweet and unfair memory at around mile 7 of the bike.

Drink water. Bring water. And coconut water.

Bring shorts. Just… bring shorts.

Calm down. Smile. Enjoy the swimming sunrise. Take in the quiet of Lakeshore Drive at 7am on a Sunday. Laugh at the simplicity of the run and at the madness and encouragement of the  crowd in those last few minutes.

And for God’s sake have cold beer at the ready this time.

The Good Stuff

16 Jul

I can only hope that everyone out there had weekends as relaxing and sunny as ours …

extra points if it involved hanging out on an enormous beached boat that is actually, in fact, a bar. Chicago ingenuity.

Our weekend involved a healthy mix of unpacking/settling into our new place and goofing off as well.

My weekend started with a bang as I received a cheery package from Kelly over at Brownies & Zucchini!

I mean just take a gander at that labeling. I knew it was going to be good from here.

I actually won a giveaway of Kelly’s favorite things, which she generously hosted over at her blog in celebration of its birthday!

Happy birthday to Kelly’s blog. My stomach & tastebuds thank you.

The good stuff:

Two flavors of coconut water (aka my lifejuice), fruit strip snacks, a $15 gift card to Penzeys Spices (excited to try this one out!) and …

Beautiful little morsels of chocolate art. One variety was bursting with mango filling, while the other was stuffed with s’mores. Needless to say these were destroyed courtesy of my sweet tooth before I could even question this decision.

Thanks again Kelly for a fun start to my weekend!

South Beach Shepherd’s Party

10 Jul

Judging by the overwhelming presence of Monday grumblings on someecards, I am guessing I am not the only person struggling hard to accept that this is, in fact, reality, where people work 5 days a week, 40+ hours in said week.

Sigh. Can’t every work week be home to an American holiday revolving around barbecues, beer, swimming & playing?

On second thought, if any of you celebrated America’s birthday on a level even remotely close to mine, your jeans are probably grateful that every week is much more… healthful.

I’ve been married for a month now (!!!), and I will continue to claim that I have the right to celebrate my recent nuptials like a fool for at least 90 days. But because I’ve enjoyed a few too many slices of desserts bearing American flags & indulged in one too many rounds of cup flipping games over the past month, it’s time for me pump the brakes before I lose sight of all I’ve worked for in the months leading up to my wedding.

After all, a healthy balance means consistency – something I still struggle with regularly. Heading back to the basics usually lends me a starting point, and for me, the South Beach Diet is typically a pretty solid starting point for kicking creepy cravings to the curb and resetting my palate all together.

Before I even unpacked most of my home, I dragged myself (and a very patient JC) to Whole Foods to insure the week got off on the right foot. I wanted to have a well-rounded week, and I knew just the tool I would call upon.

My mom got me this sassy pistachio colored KitchenAid mixer as a shower gift, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to pledge into the global class of electric mixer lovers.

With my newly acquired kitchen weaponry, I whipped up a healthy casserole I can feast on for most of the week.

I know what you’re thinking: Healthy casserole? Is that a thing? Just wait until I tell you that it’s actually shepherd’s pie, a classic calorie bomb.

Stay with me!

I tweaked this very lightened up version from South Beach Diet’s newer book, Supercharged. All natural ingredients, and as mashed cauliflower replaces traditional buttery mashed potatoes the dish quickly becomes a reasonable meal. But don’t fret: there’s nothing “diet” about bubbly cheese, juicy meat & chewy edamame in every bite!

{Adapted from South Beach Supercharged – 4 delicious servings}

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb extra lean ground beef (turkey is tasty too if you don’t swing that way)
2 C. shelled edamame
1/2 C. low sodium beef broth
3 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
16 oz. frozen cauliflower
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 egg yolk
pinch sea salt
1/2 C. Mexican blend shredded cheese

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil – add cauliflower and cook until soft, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl or food processor.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions & garlic and cook until fragrant, 5 minutes or so. Add beef and cook until browned through.

Add edamame, beef broth & worcestershire sauce; cook 3 minutes more. Remove from heat & add the mixture to a lightly sprayed 2 quart casserole dish. Set aside.

Add greek yogurt, egg yolk and sea salt to cauliflower. Mix or blend until smooth, with a consistency resembling that of lip smackin’ calorie packin’ mashed taters. Carefully & evenly spread cauliflower cloud over the beef mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve al fresco with a side of vino, if your little heart desires the finer things in life.


How do you get back on track after an indulgent holiday? Any favorite lightened up make-ahead meals out there?

Wine, Game Meat & Showers

2 Jul

Who had an awesome weekend?

Ours went by quick, and involved a lot of this:

Boxes & olympic trials. We’re moving this Friday (!!!), and despite the fact that hiring a moving company is probably going to completely change my life, I hadn’t exactly anticipated the packing process would be so much, er… packing. You’d think I would have learned considering this is my 4th move in Chicago.

More fun things that went on in this neck of the woods… Friday wine tasting at Gourmet Grape in Lakeview!

We had a Groupon for the event – I remembered last minute that we had booked it, and I’m pretty psyched we didn’t miss it.

JC doesn’t like wine. Because I consider wine a food group, this is a fact that I refuse to accept. Luckily my loving husband decided he would try his hand at wine-glass swirling and agreed to come along for the adventure.

{I think the cheese & chocolate pairings might have sold him}

{Yes, my wine glass is empty. Thanks for noticing.}

Afterwards, with two bottles of souvenir reds in tow, we headed to dinner with friends.

Frontier in the Wicker Park area was the scene of the crime. True to its name, Frontier’s menu revolves around game meat – think duck tacos (which I chose), rabbit tostadas, pulled boar sandwich.

Where we also witnessed a pig roast situation …


Saturday morning involved a trip to the suburbs for a bridal shower thrown in honor of one of my dearest friends, Megan!

{Amazing chopped salad featuring diced chicken, tossed in balsamic}

{pillowy angel food cake in honor of an angelic bride 🙂 }

Back at the ranch, it was date night around these parts. Clearly we had to see Disney Pixar’s latest flick, Brave, since it features a red-headed heroine.

Rounded out our weekend with an evening beach volleyball game.

Due to America’s birthday, a funky work week lies ahead – hump day = play day.

Wedding photos have finally come in, so a full recap should be posted here shortly!


Swim Bike Run

29 Jun

Before we discuss the title of this post… let’s be serious, you know I want to talk about food.

In the next week I’ll be moving to a new apartment (!), and a few weeks after that I’ll moving to a new office (!!!), so suffice to say there’s plenty o’ change on the horizon for me.

As for right now, my home & office are steps away from one another. So how come I just recently discovered the idea of going home for lunch??

Maybe this lunch wasn’t the most photogenic, but I’ll be darned if it wasn’t tasty.

It all started off with an open-faced sweet potato, slightly mashed.

In a skillet I heated up:

  • 1 chicken italian sausage, diced
  • ~1/2 C chopped mushrooms
  • ~1 C. spinach
  • dash red pepper
  • dash italian seasoning

then added:

  • ~1/3 C. no salt added marinara sauce
  • 1 oz. goat cheese

The marinara & goat cheese combo made for a divine alfredo-y sauce.

Not bad for a midweek lunch, eh?

One more thing before I go. I think I’ve neglected to mention – I woke up after all of my wedding chaos had passed and realized, in panic: “OMG! I’m racing in my first ever triathlon!!”

Since then, I’ve swallowed my jitters and hit the pool, the bike, and of course, the treadmill.

But with 2 months to go until the race, I plan to use this place as a way to stay accountable. I figure it I report it to you guys, I kinda have to do it. Otherwise I’ll look like a big fat slacker on the world wide internets.

So for the coming week, including today, here is what my training schedule looks like.

Words of encouragement – who’s got ’em?!