Category: food

Whole 30: Day 25

Today's #salad. #saladaday #365salads #365daysofsalad

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I thought that I would be writing about the Whole 30 experience more frequently. (Then again, I often think that I will write about something that I don’t wind up writing about). But, I have to say that this time has flown by.

It is is an interesting thing to adhere to a plan that is unfamiliar to the people who surround you. When I said Whole30 to one person and described it a little bit, that person said, “Oh! Like the Atkins Diet.” I never know what to say to something like that because I am not familiar with all of the details of the various diets that have been popular over time, plus, it feels rude to respond to a statement where the speaker’s intent is to relate to you with a bold and flat, “I have no idea.”

This will surprise no one who knows me. I read as much as I could about people’s experiences following the Whole30 diet before I began this experiment, and through the beginning of it. It turned out that the Whole30 website had a what-to-expect area on the website.

I didn’t experience a number of these things. However, I did have a very weird dream about eating pizza. I described it to someone like this, “Have you ever had a dream where you had an affair even though you know that you would never do that? But you wake up FEELING like you had an affair and you’re all like ‘What have I done? How could I have done that?'” That dream was a little stressful.

Today's #salad. #365daysofsalad #365salads #saladlove #salad #saladbar

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I also noticed a strange change to my sleep and my energy. I normally sleep like the dead, and sleep for around 7.5 hours per night. Some of these days, I haven’t been able to get to sleep right away because I’ve just felt too awake. Also, there have been times where I feel like a fully-wound wind-up toy. I’ve felt on several days like I needed to just go and expend a lot of physical energy. There have been days where I feel tired in my mind, but my body felt very charged. This type of energy, if that’s even what it should be called, did not feel good at all.

The energy thing made me feel like a dog that’s been in its kennel for too long, like I needed to just get out on a field and chase some frisbees or something. If I hadn’t been so active over the last several weeks, I wouldn’t have minded. But over the course of my Whole30, I’ve stayed on the move. For example, there are only 5 days of the last 25 where I took under 14,000 steps. Some of the exercise that I’ve done has been relatively intense, like the studio cycling class I’ve been taking, yet still, afterwards I might feel like I need to blow off more steam. 

There are several foods that I’ve leaned on pretty hard over the last couple weeks. I’ve eaten a questionable amount of apples, almond butter, salmon, and beef. I’ve also acquired a taste for kombucha.

I had tried kombucha in the past and thought it was disgusting. I didn’t understand the appeal of it at all. During this time, though, I gave it another shot and found it enjoyable. Maybe this is because I wasn’t drinking anything else other than tap water, coffee, and the occasional La Croix. Maybe this is because I tried enough of them that I started to enjoy it. I like kombucha enough now that I am attempting to brew a batch right now. And yes, the scoby is every bit as alarming as I thought it would be.

While I am looking forward to completing the Whole30, I am nervous about the reintroduction period. The idea is that at the end of the Whole30 your deliberately reintroduce that food groups that you eliminated during the 30 days. I know that my stomach and company have been happier over the last few weeks. This makes me a little gun shy about reintroducing things. I’m excited to put beans back into my diet. I hadn’t realized just how often I eat them. I don’t really miss grains. I’ve never been a big rice eater, and I haven’t specifically wanted pasta. Bread, of course, is delicious. Your girl loves tortillas. I’m nervous about cheese in particular. I love cheese. Sometimes when I am stressed out, I like to visualize myself sitting in a hot tub of queso dip. I am serious. I’ve suspected, however, that my mouth is the only part of my body that likes cheese. I’m worried about other dairy as well. I don’t like milk, so that’s not a biggie. However, I do enjoy the occasional ice cream cone. Eating one of those strikes fear in my heart. I’ve gotten used to black coffee, so I’m not even worried about cream in my coffee because I don’t think that I’ll really go back to drinking it that way.

Night #salad. #saladaday #365salads #365daysofsalad

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Finally, I notice that I haven’t been as hungry on Whole30 as usual. This is a tricky assertion because sometimes I’m simply not good at listening to my body’s signals. There are times when I might have thought I wasn’t hungry, but really, when I reflect, that was happening during times I was just ignoring my body’s signals. During this Whole30 so far, this body has not been shy about letting me know when it’s time to eat. In fact, upon waiting too long, I’ve done some disgusting things like eat a mouthful of Whole30 compliant saurkraut right out of the jar or eat beef of questionable doneness, slicing off a piece from the piece I was eating as soon as I could tell myself it was done enough to eat

So far, so good.

Now it’s time to wrap this whole thing up.

Whole 30 Here I Come

Simple #salad. #saladaday #365salads #365daysofsalad

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A little while ago, I decided that I was going to do a Whole 30.

You know the one. The plan where you eliminate a bunch of different things from your diet. By a bunch of things, I mean added sugar, grains, legumes, ALCOHOL (moment of silence, please), and dairy. The idea is that you pare down your diet, get used to eating that way, feel great and have more energy. There is also a phase where you slowly and deliberately re-introduce the foods that you’ve eliminated and see how your body responds to them. I’ve seen Whole 30 described as elimination diet meets paleo diet.

Despite not being religious, I gave up alcohol for Lent. I like to abstain from alcohol that from time-to-time, but hadn’t done so in a long while and the Lenten season seemed to be as good a time as any. When I did that, though, I noticed that a couple other habits shifted with this change. For example, I found myself eating less bread since I would often pick up bread when I hit the Whole Foods happy hour after work. Same goes for cheese. I ate out less, too.

I had flirted with the idea of doing a Whole 30 in the past, but not long after abstaining from alcohol for a while seemed like a good time to try it. I mean, what’s another 30 days? However, I had a road trip planned, and knew that I didn’t want to be on this plan during that trip as food-oriented as I am. So, I decided to start the day I came back. (Which also meant that I was determined to enjoy the whisky I bought in Kentucky the night I got back from my trip since it’d be another 30 days before I’d sip again). 

There are some things that I imagine will make this challenge easier for me than it might otherwise be.

  • I  have recently started drinking my coffee black.
  • Beforehand, I made a point to look around for Whole 30 recipes that look good to me
  • I know my way around the kitchen .
  • I identified a few prepared foods that are Whole 30 compliant.
  • I’ve already been eating a salad a day for the year of 2017, which means that pretty much every day, one of my meals is a salad, and a Whole 30-compliant salad is no biggie.
  • I have a very strong aversion to milk itself, so the dairy thing isn’t as big a challenge for me as it might be the next person.
  • I broke up with a colleague’s candy bowl, stocking my office, instead, with apples and almond butter.

I also did grocery shopping before I took my weekend road trip in order to be ready to go, knowing that I had a full day in front of me.

Also, Whole 30 is intended as a reset, not an ongoing diet.

I’d be lying if I said that I weren’t trying to lose a little weight. However, I did not do a “before” weigh in. For the last several weeks, I set up a rule for myself that I’m not allowed to weigh myself more than once every two weeks. This is pretty important because my relationship to my scale is fraught at best.

I’m ready to see what the Whole 30 brings!

 

Fast and Loose: Hummus Pita Pizzas

Some seasons seem like they’re about finishing the unfinished, about closing doors.

I was looking around in the drafts portion of this blog when I came across these photos. 

And this is the perfect recipe to share with my young associates. It’s the kind of recipe that proves that you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen in order to come up with a tasty meal to eat.

But there is is a more important lesson here. This is a fridge meal. This is one of the meals where you repurpose the things that are hanging out in you fridge. 

Go ahead, preheat your oven. 350 degrees will work just fine.

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You pull out those mini pitas that you bought on a whim because they were so cute! And you put a bit of hummus on them, the hummus that you bought in a recent shopping while hungry incident. 

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Then, you check your jars. Maybe there are olives. Maybe there are roasted red peppers. Maybe there are pepperoncini. Maybe a swipe of pesto. You spice up that hummus with what’s in those jars.

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And then you assess your cheese situation. If you have some, sprinkle it on top of these mini pizzas. If you don’t, you move on to the next step.

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Put these on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven. This won’t take long. You’re just trying to crisp up the pita and warm through the toppings. You’re on the lookout for browning bread and melting cheese. These should smell a little like toast.

Pull them out of the oven, let them cool a little and there you have it: a meal!

In Search of a Coney Dog


On a whim, I asked Alex if he wanted to go on a quest to find the best coney dog in the area. Okay, okay, area  has a loose interpretation here. I included Flint because despite being from Flint, I’ve never had a coney at Angelo’s.

Why did I even do this? I’m not a huge hot dog fan, so the thought of chasing these saucy wieners around town isn’t right up there on the top of my list…but the universe must have known that this would be exciting to Alex. So, I asked and now we start the quest.

Being a planner, I had to start a list. What are we missing?

Ypsi-area

Ann Arbor

Flint

Detroit

Any suggestions? Favorites?

365 Days of Salad

I decided at the last minute to do a New Year’s goal. 

I’m going to try to eat a green salad every day in 2017. 

This shouldn’t be too hard. I love salad! I love coming up with different flavor combinations. However, sometimes when you don’t slow down, it can be a challenge to get in the things that you know add to a quality life.

Here’s to fiber and tastiness and better habits one day at a time.

 

 

Tasting and Testing: Lay’s Potato Chips


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I love to cook at home, but I also like to try all sorts of weird food products. I know that I shouldn’t like this. I know that it isn’t good for me sometimes, but the mouth wants what it wants. You know, I can’t decide whether or not I’m comfortable with that last sentence.

Listening to The Nosh Show doesn’t help me manage these impulses. There are several products that I tasted that I surely wouldn’t have if it weren’t for this show. I would list them, but I don’t know whether my self-esteem permits it. 

Recently on the show, they talked about the chips that are a part of the Lay’s flavor contest. I knew that if I had the chance that I’d pick these up. As I did my weekly shopping, I thought that I wouldn’t see these when I finally encountered the end cap that displayed them. I didn’t pick up all four flavors, just the Southern Biscuits and Gravy flavor and the Kettle Cooked Gyro flavor.

I knew that Alex and I would need to do a taste test. Since we’re still actively moving, quick dinners are super helpful right now. Also, he loves things like this and often begins conversations with, “remember the time we….”

When I told Alex about the taste test, he was pretty excited about the idea. We had the chips with a chicken sausage. As soon as I could get the chips on the plate, we tucked in.

Of the Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, Alex said, “I’d have to say a nacho with zest and vinegar.” I think that was his joke response? What followed made a little more sense, “I think there’s a little meat to that one.” I thought this one was pretty tasty. I’ll have no problem doling these out as a part of my lunch for a while.chiptest1

Of the Southern Biscuits and Gravy, Alex had nothing much to say. He asked me what I thought. I told him that I couldn’t really pick up much. He agreed, saying that they taste pretty plain. 

An occasional completist, now I’m dying to try the other two flavors, Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries and New York Reuben.

 

 

Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Coleslaw

vegantacos1I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Thug Kitchen for Christmas. 

I took that book to bed that night and read through the recipes. While I am not vegan, or even vegetarian, I often love vegan recipes, particularly the ones that aren’t trying to be something that they’re not. From what I could read in this book so far, these recipes focus on the ingredients and seem to layer flavors in a smart delicious fashion.

So, here I am two days later already cooking from the book. This is a good thing. I think that I have eaten out more in December 2014 than I ever have before in my entire life. That has got to stop.

There are many, many things that I want to try from the book. Among them are: Quinoa Oatmeal, Maple Berry Grits, Baked Okra and Potato Hash, Lentil Tacos with Carrot-Jicama Slaw, and Lemony Red Lentil Soup.

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The Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos though made up my maiden voyage with the book and they were delicious…even though I didn’t actually have any vegetable broth, which the recipe calls for. I subbed water, and the recipe was still dang flavorful. I loved the texture and the spice of the cauliflower and the contrast of the cool slaw. I had two of these tacos and was all set for dinner. 

I can’t wait to see what else Thug Kitchen has to offer.

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Fast and Loose: Season Change Kale Salad

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 Sometimes, you need a salad in your life. For me that’s what happens when I’ve been indulging too many culinary whims. There are only so many fries, beers and cupcakes you can eat before your body gasps out to you, “Green. I’ll take anything green. Please. Green.”

 When that happens to me, not that it has happened any embarrassing amount of times or anything. Nope. Never that. But when it does happen, I know that I’m going to grab a bag of kale, because like everyone else right now, I am a kale lover. I love kale so much I  don’t even care if you interpret that to mean the most creepy thing you can imagine.

Usually I throw it in a smoothie or saute it and eat it with eggs, but this time I wanted to experience the rawness of the kale.

Kale and pears

Um…

Let me try that again. 

I decided that I wanted to make a salad. As I walked around in the grocery store, I picked up a pomegranate, too.

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At home that’s when the fun began. I sliced the kale and then added some pear chunks to it. Then I toasted some walnuts who had been waiting for some culinary love in the freezer for some time. I added those and some blue cheese. Then I cut up a chicken breast and added it to the salad, giving it meal potential. Finally, I added those pomegranate arils.

It was time to dress the thing, so I made a simple dressing from lemon juice, olive oil, salt, mustard and a little bit of agave syrup.

A salad was born.

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