Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mid-weekend Update!

Previously on the Bumpbuster blog...I'd promised all you faithful readers an update on my homemade coconut milk yogurt experiment.

The verdict? DELICIOSITY!!!

I got home from work on Thursday evening, and my little jars of tangy, coconutty wonder had been chilling all day in the fridge. I took out a jar, dipped in a spoon, and tasted. It was the clean tang of yogurt I'd missed, and just a hint of coconut n the background. Creamy goodness! I decided to amp up the flavor by swirling in a spoonful or two of no-sugar-added mango jam that I'd made back at the end of July. Flashback photo...

Canning homemade jam makes me feel like a domestic goddess. Which I definitely am not.

The yogurt was definitely thinner than the Greek yogurt I'd been buying before going paleo, but it is very enjoyable and satisfying. I took another jar in my lunch on Friday, so I've got just five jars left to enjoy before I need to make another batch. Plus, I've had requests from family members to share!! I might end up buying a second set of jars, so I can always be ready to make a batch even if I'm still working on the first. I just love the fact that I can now make my own yogurt at home, and control what goes into each batch. The only sugar I added to the recipe was a tablespoon and a half of coconut sugar, which is absolutely necessary for the yogurt cultures to feed off of during the fermentation process. Once the process is finished there is no sugar left in the finished product. No additives, no preservatives, just real food!

A quick recap of Thursday through today's meals (DISCLAIMER: I've gone off the rails a bit these past two days!):

Thursday, Sept. 11th:
Breakfast: diced chicken thighs, collard greens, and sweet potato hash, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: spicy tuna cakes, carrots, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: zucchini noodles with homemade meat sauce, yogurt with mango jam
Evening snack: grapes and Caramelized coconut chips

Friday, Sept. 12th:
Breakfast: Aidell's chicken apple sausage, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: spicy tuna cakes, carrots
Afternoon snack: homemade banana pudding (more on this later)
Dinner: boyfriend treated to Capital Grille! Appetizer: fried calamari with cherry peppers Entree: steak au poivre with shared sides of roasted wild mushrooms and potato au gratin Dessert: creme brûlée 

Saturday, Sept. 13th:
Breakfast: apple fritter and bacon maple donuts with a decaf coffee from Rhino Donuts in Lauderdale by the Sea

As you can see, from Friday afternoon on, it was gradual slide into Cheat Day Extraordinaire; whoops! There's a story behind the banana pudding, though. At the end of July, one of the employees of the company I work for (which happens to be my dad's company) came to me about assistance with his insurance benefits. He had previously declined our company insurances, because he was covered under his wife's plan. Then she was laid off in July, so they now needed to enroll in our company plans.

 I helped him get his paperwork together, then I needed some additional information from their previous plan to submit to the insurance company. While he was on the phone with his wife getting the information, he asked me if I liked sweets. Now, by this time it was around the first week in August, and I was a few days into my Whole30; I told him I definitely had a sweet tooth, but I was doing a challenge and not eating sugar for 30 days. He asked when the challenge was up, and I said after Labor Day. He then said, "okay, after Labor Day, my wife is gonna make you her homemade banana pudding as a thank you!" 
Banana pudding...a Southern hug in a bowl
Now, I'm half Southern, and my food preferences definitely lean towards my Southern roots, and I LOVE banana pudding! How could I turn that down? So yesterday was the day, and his wife brought in a still-warm dish of the banana pudding into my office. They are two very sweet and nice people, and honestly one of my favorite parts of my job is being able to help the employees any way I can with dealing with insurance or whatever other payroll/HR issues they may have. Getting repaid in desserts is just icing on the cake. Heh heh.

As far as Capital Grille goes, the food there is so good, I couldn't resist indulging some more. And the menu is pricey, so it's a very occasional treat (the boyfriend had a $50 coupon, which is one of the reasons we went - the bill still ended up at $100 WITH the coupon!). Their fried calamari with cherry peppers is about the best calamari I've ever had, so I was definitely ordering some of those. I love the spicy, vinegary contrast of the peppers with the crispy, chewy calamari. The steak was pretty good, too, but was actually outshined by the two sides we ordered to share, which were both recommendations from our waiter. The roasted wild mushrooms were so earthy and savory, a good counterbalance to the pepperiness of my steak, and the potato au gratin just melted in my mouth. I should've stopped after my entree, but creme brûlée sounded too good to pass up!

And I have no real excuse for going to Rhino Donuts this morning after Pilates and yoga (I did back to back sessions; Pilates from 8-9, and hot yoga from 9-10:30). I'd heard very good things about the new donut shop in LBTS, so walked over and ate my two donuts at one of the sidewalk tables. Both donuts were delicious, but I'm really looking forward to trying one of their "rhino horns" when they put them back on the menu after the weather cools down (apparently they're difficult to make in the heat and humidity) - they're Rhino's version of the famous Cronut from NYC's Dominique Ansel Bakery!

That's about all for now, still on tap for the weekend is a baby shower this evening, and doing my weekly cookup at some point today or tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
So-long-for-now Snaggle

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pilates, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, and The Great Yogurt Experiment

Ahh there's so much to share today, and it's getting so late! Here goes nothing, though...first, my meals today:
Buster is a big fan of zucchini noodles, apparently.

Breakfast: diced grilled chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and collard greens, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: spicy tuna cakes, baby carrots with guacamole, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: zucchini noodles topped with homemade meat sauce


Man, that homemade meat sauce was delish! I just used a recipe I found on, with a few tweaks. In the future, I'll make some changes, such as letting it simmer even longer, and adding more tomato paste (I only had about a tablespoon left in the tube). But it was pretty tasty for my first stab at making homemade sauce!

I had another Pilates session earlier this evening, so it was already somewhat late when I got home. But since I hand time to kill while my meat sauce simmered, I got to working on my first batch of HOMEMADE COCONUT YOGURT!!.

Back before I made the switch to the Paleo lifestyle (let's face it, it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle, haha), yogurt was a regular staple in my diet. I'd either have a yogurt as breakfast, or as part of my lunch. Sometimes I miss the creaminess of yogurt, and the ability to get extra protein in my diet in the form of a sweet almost-dessert. And then I saw a post on Instagram from one of my favorite Whole30 bloggers, and she made her own homemade almond milk yogurt! She had gotten her recipe from Lexie's Kitchen, and sure enough, she had both an almond milk yogurt recipe and a coconut milk yogurt recipe posted on her website! Obviously, yogurt made from coconut milk doesn't contain the protein of a traditional cows' milk yogurt, but hey, you can't always get what you want. I'll eat my paleo yogurt with a side of meat, hahaha.

I purchased a yogurt maker (fairly inexpensive), yogurt starter, and gathered the ingredients over the past week, so I was ready to go tonight. It was a fairly easy process, and now I've got seven 6 oz. jars culturing away overnight! I'll report back in tomorrow on whether the batch is a success, and if it's yummy. I fully plan on mixing some of my no sugar added homemade mango jam with the yogurt, yum!
Mmm, my little jars of probiotics

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sushi Tuesday!!!

Gotta make this quick interwebz were down for most of the evening, oh noes!!

Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: 3 spicy tuna cakes, small mixed greens salad with grilled chicken, carrots, cukes, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette from Italio
Snack: baby carrots and guac, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: 2 sushi bomb rolls from Bluefin Sushi Thai

The salad at lunch was an impromptu decision when D/B offered to pick me up something while he was out at lunch; it was really good! After work, I went over to my sister's new house to see her and the kids, and we decided to walk over to the really good sushi place across the street. They have a Tuesday special, the sushi bomb rolls are $5 each with purchase of a drink. These rolls are tuna, salmon, and whitefish with asparagus and avocado, and the whole roll is tempura-ed and deep fried...definitely NOT paleo or Whole30, but pretty delish!!! Plus, when we walked into the restaurant, my parents' neighbors and good friends Bridget and Paulie were there, so we joined them for dinner! It was a fun evening for sure. I need to clean it up the rest of the week, I definitely felt a little heavy after dinner tonight, kinda bloated, so I need to get back to my happy place.

That's about it for tonight; I was going to try my hand at making coconut milk yogurt after I got home, but the boyfriend stopped by and I ran out of time. So perhaps tomorrow night! Gotta test this bad boy out:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Recap

There's always so much to catch up on on Monday nights, isn't there?

Friday, Sept 5th:
Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, scrambled eggs, banana
Lunch: diced chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens hash, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: sloppy joes (sans hamburger buns), crudité, grapes

Saturday, Sept 6th:
Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, scrambled eggs, banana
Lunch: Chipotle salad with carnitas, pico, medium salsa, guacamole 
Dinner: Mississippi Sweets BBQ pulled pork platter with Mississippi Sweets (sweet potato chips) and  cole slaw

Sunday, Sept 7:
Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, scrambled eggs, banana
Lunch: ground beef sautéed with onions and broccoli, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes
Dinner: JB's On The Beach seared ahi tuna salad, coconut banana cream pie

Monday, Sept 8th:
Breakfast: diced chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens hash
Lunch: ground beef sautéed with onions and broccoli, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Snack: banana with sunbutter
Dinner: scrambled eggs with spinach and feta chicken sausage, grapes

Yes, you read that right...I ordered dessert on Sunday night. And I didn't feel bad about it! I shared the slice of pie with my boyfriend, and didn't feel bloated or icky afterwards. I did, however, get a low level headache late this afternoon, most likely from sugar withdrawal. I must remember the sugar headaches the next time I'm tempted to order dessert! Honestly, though, I don't think it's a terrible hint to indulge every now and then, but there's always a trade-off, and you have to decide if it's worth the consequences.

I went back to Pilates again after work, and it was another good session. My instructor also told me to practice cobra pose on a regular basis, as this allows the vertebrae in the lower back to expand and potentially allow the bulging disc to ease back into place. It seems counterintuitive to me, but at this point I'm willing to do just about anything - and my back does feel better after a few poses.

Sorry I've gotten lazy about taking pics, here's one of the fresh, cold-pressed juice I picked up at my Pilates studio to tide you over till tomorrow night!

Beet it, kook!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Healing My Back

It's been over five months now that I've been trying to get my lower back straightened out; I saw a chiropractor for a month back in late May/early June, I took over a month off of exercising completely. I modified workouts to remove anything involving my lower back - leaving mostly shoulder work and the stationary bike. Finally, I've seen two orthopedics, and just Tuesday, finally had an MRI.

My orthopedic got the MRI results in yesterday afternoon, and other than a slight bulge in my L4-L5, congenital narrowing of the canal and a very slight touch of scoliosis, the results were clear. My ortho also seems to think my issues might lay within my SI joints, not the lumbar spine, because of how the pain tends to travel down to my tailbone. He offered me three options: anti-inflammatories, oral steroids, or injections. I'm trying the anti-inflammatories (600mg 3x a day for 10 days) for the time being, then I go back to the ortho on the 17th.

I'm also continuing my Pilates regimen; I'm currently attending reformer classes twice a week, with one complimentary yoga/mat Pilates class a week as well. I went to a yoga class tonight, and I really enjoyed it. We did a lot of deep stretching, especial hip openers, which should really help my SI joints in the long run. I'm going to have to wait until Monday for another reformer class, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Here's my menu for today:
Breakfast:diced chicken, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens hash
Lunch: ground beef on Ethiopian cabbage drizzled with BBQ-mayo sauce, chopped peaches drizzled with coconut cream
Snack: banana with sunbutter
Dinner: Deliver Lean turkey shepherds pie with maple glazed turnips (boyfriend shared with me!)

I'm getting low on prepped food again, so I need to get back in the kitchen before the weekend. I've got some more ground beef I can cook up, plus some broccoli to steam. I went pretty light when I grocery shopped Tuesday night, but I think I can make it to Sunday. Eating clean is denifitely expensive! But, as they say, you can pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Whole30 Results, Recap, and the Hot Dog Story

So I teased you guys with the picture above last night; it shows the beginning, middle, and end points of the thirty days. I also stepped on the scale for the first time in a month this morning...and I'm down 7 pounds! I think I still have a bit to go on reducing da pooch, but it's definitely flatter and less bloated than a month ago. And my pants all fit better! That's the most important thing to me, not the number on the scale. I'm also sleeping better and am just feeling more calm and content in general, and it feels great. Those feelings are keeping me determined to keep sugar out of my diet!!

And now...the hot dog story. As I told you in last Thursday's post, my boyfriend and I had tickets to the Miami Surge-New York Rhinos Gridleague match Saturday night. It worked out perfectly, because his parents were staying at their condo in Miami for the past week, so we went down and visited with them for the afternoon, then headed down to the match in the evening. We got down to their condo around 2 Saturday afternoon, and met them at the cafe out on the beach, where we ordered some sushi. I ordered a cucumber wrapped tuna roll, and I'd smuggled my coconut aminos in like a good lil Whole30er! We hung out for about 3 hours, then headed down.

Now, I'd read online that there was going to be tailgating before the match, plus there was to be a local paleo meal delivery company set up in front of the arena. Grabbing some compliant snack per game would be a cinch, right? Wrong. The meal delivery company was only handing out samples! So we went inside, where I hoped there'd be something, anything I could order from concessions. Uhh...hmm. Chicken fingers, nachos, popcorn, Papa Johns...I was starting to panic. It was only six o'clock at this point, the match was going to go until at least nine, what the heck was I going to do? The cucumber roll was long gone at this point. Finally, I decided to order an all-beef hot dog, top it with yellow mustard, and eat it sans bun. It was as compliant as I was gonna get while trapped inside the Bank United Center for three hours over dinner time. That didn't even stick with me the time we were heading back north, I was absolutely starving and had developed a headache. I snapped at my boyfriend the whole way back to Fort Lauderdale, because we were meeting up with friends and I was pretty sure there'd be no food for me there. Finally, we stopped at a 7-11 in Fort Lauderdale, where I proceeded to purchase a 2-pack of hard-boiled eggs, 2 bananas, and a bag each of salted almonds and cashews. And a coconut water. And that my friends, is how you do 7-11 Whole30 style!!!

Time to recap the past two days of food:

Tuesday, September 2nd:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, three scrambled eggs, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: Naruto cucumber rolls with coconut aminos 
Dinner: browned ground beef on top of Ethiopian cabbage drizzled with BBQ-mayo sauce, fruit salad

Wednesday, September 3rd:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, diced chicken thigh, sweet potato, and turnip greens hash, banana
Lunch: browned ground beef on top of Ethiopian cabbage drizzled with BBQ-mayo sauce, fruit salad
Dinner: Italian hot plate! Diced chicken thighs sautéed with diced onions, steamed broccoli, and diced tomatoes, seasoned with Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes

So that's my recap of the past two days, as well as my Whole30 results and the hot dog story. Tune in tomorrow for my MRI results and plan of action over the next two weeks for my back!

Crossing the Whole30 Finish Line!

I made it! I made it! Today was Day 30 of my Whole30, and it's officially over! It wasn't always easy, but I'm so glad I did it. I've been debating with myself for the past week about what to do on Day 31, and at this point I think I'm just going to keep going as long as I can. Granted, this might only last till the weekend, but a girl can try! I'm going to continue to try to eat Whole30-style as much as possible (definitely during the week), and try to make sensible choices when eating out on the weekends.

Speaking of weekends, here's what I ate over the long weekend:

Friday, August 29th:
Breakfast: diced chicken, sweet potato, and collard hash, banana
Lunch: Chipotle - Bossman's treat! - carnitas salad with pico de gallo, medium salsa, and guacamole
Dinner: baked sweet potato stuffed with collards and chili
Late night snack: chopped nectarine with coconut cream

Saturday, August 30th:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, hard-boiled egg, banana
Lunch: tuna salad with carrots and cucumber slices
Afternoon snack: cucumber roll with tuna
Dinner: all-beef hot dog with mustard, hard-boiled egg, banana, cashews and almonds (more on that hot dog later)

Sunday, August 31st:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, banana
Lunch: tuna salad, banana with sunbutter, hard-boiled egg
Dinner: Chipotle - carnitas salad with pico de gallo, medium salsa, and guacamole 

Monday, September 1st:
Breakfast: hard-boiled egg, apple slices and grapes
Lunch: tuna salad
Dinner: ribeye steak with Montreal steak rub, baked sweet potato, veggies with paleo ranch dressing, fresh fruit

I'm gonna have to save the hot dog story for tomorrow night, it's getting way too late! Stay with me as I continue the adventures!