life

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Hey there, vegetables from our local farm! You are so beautiful. Potatoes, I was surprised by your redness when I finally washed off all your Virginia dirt! Tomatoes, NEVER CHANGE! Peppers, now that I think about it, you probably didn’t come from the local farm, but I still think you are darling.

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Look at how pretty and delicious you are when placed in a dish together! You smell good, too.

(This recipe, called slumgum by my family for no discernible reason, is just potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, ground beef, salt, and pepper. You bake it uncovered at 325 for two hours. It’s hearty and satisfying.)

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HELLO, dress that I cut out months ago, before I started making custom patterns for clothes so that they’d fit more accurately, and that I’ve spent most of the last week lovingly assembling! I’m really proud of how well-assembled you are.

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I’m NOT proud of the way you don’t fit my body in a flattering way. It’s not your fault that my fit expectations increased exponentially while you were waiting to be assembled, but I’m still mad at you right now. I’m going to put you in time out for a while, so I can decide whether it’s worth it to rip you apart in a few places and make franken-corrections. 

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Nalle30 Days Sixteen through Eighteen

The days are all stringing together at this point. I’m spending less time thinking about food cravings (though the daily craving for ice cream persists).

A game I’ve been playing this month is to pit two cravings against each other to see which one is the winner. This is helping me to clarify my “bad” food priorities – I hope cheese and greek yogurt will be a part of my regular life after this, but I’ll have no trouble cutting drinking-milk completely. Baked goods haven’t really factored into my cravings, so I could easily cut them down to monthly indulgences (the biggest sacrifice will be my occasional mid-morning scone from Albemarle Baking Company, and celebratory cakes). Ice cream, you may have noticed, is my favorite treat. Chocolate would be the cold-weather counterpart to that. The re-introduction period is going to help me gauge my personal limits for these items.

Okay okay okay, what did we eat?

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BAM! I love throwing one utterly delightful dish into our weekly schedules, and THIS WAS UTTERLY DELIGHTFUL!

We each added a dollop of organic mayo, which was exactly right. Next time, we’ll probably chop up the burgers and shred some more lettuce and serve it as a fancy salad.

We also had some more sweet potato hash for breakfast, another nice serving of salmon in parchment, and superfood salad, which we’d all been dreaming of having again. Tonight, we’re trying this cajun jambalaya for the first time. I hope it’s a winner!

Let me end with something for your amusement. Our fridge looked like this on Monday night:

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Nalle30 Day Fifteen and a Half

Remember when I tried to run last week? It has been haunting me. I did some research, and discovered that every workout means an extra meal thrown into your daily schedule!

So, this morning, I woke up 15 minutes earlier, had a small breakfast, drank a bit of coffee, and went for a run.

I didn’t die. That was promising. I also managed to run about twice as far as last week (which means just under 2 miles, instead of just under 1). Hills that I’d been able to power through a month ago were still difficult, but I did notice that my energy was staying steady during the run. I’m excited to see what Thursday’s run brings.

And then, almost immediately after the run, as advised, I had some chicken and carb-dense vegetables.

What did it look like?

#latergram Second breakfast. Lunch!

That next picture was lunch – some sweet italian sausage (which had added sugar – oops), some oven-roasted tomatoes (OMG SO DELICIOUS), and an attempted recreation of my salad from the weekend.

Yesterday I forgot to bring snacks to work, and was VERY GRUMPY about that. Also, I went to the drugstore to pick up some things during my lunch break, and realized that I’d NEVER gone to the drugstore and NOT bought a candy bar. It was a bit shocking, really. These sugar-related habits are everywhere!

Have I told you about coconut flakes yet? These babies are my new best friend. I bring them everywhere with me. They’re great for chewing when I’m bored or stressed (two times when I tend to reach for sugary snacks), they have an amazing sweet/savory flavor (and fat content) that somehow satisfies my cravings for greek yogurt or rich vanilla ice creams.

Nalle30 Day What?

We’ve hit the halfway point! (Confession: Nalle30 is only going to be 28 days. Or, if we’re honest, it might be 26 if some of us start re-introducing foods on the weekend.)

What does that mean?

Tiger blood? Hmmm….not quite yet. I’m still curious – and a bit incredulous – about these extreme levels of awesomeness they keep predicting.

have been waking up at 6:07 am on the weekends, which has done wonders for my productivity. It also means that I’m nearly a zombie once 9 pm hits, though I’ve managed to push through and stay up until 11 on multiple nights.

Reaching for the right food is more natural now, though I still have fantasies of driving toward ice cream every time I get in the car. (The main temptations: Kohr Brothers custard (chocolate-vanilla swirl with chocolate sprinkles), Graeter’s chocolate chip ice cream, Cookout’s heath milkshake (though, I suspect toffee will be overwhelmingly sweet), and, oddly, chocolate-dipped Digestive cookies.) I’m getting better at shaking off the cravings, though.

Friday night we had an amazing pumpkin-based chili, with turnip fries – they tasted nothing like regular fries, but sure were pretty.

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A friend was visiting, so I subjected her to our diet for the weekend. For breakfast, I sautéed some swiss chard (my favorite greens) and fried some eggs in clarified butter. For lunch, we went to Chipotle. For dinner, I fired up the grill to cook some sweet potatoes and steak while she made a delicious kale salad (the vinaigrette was made with lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and olive oil).

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(I ate the leftover steak for second breakfast the next morning.)

At this point, I’ve tried almost every flavor of Nuggets Raw Kombucha – my favorite is chai.

I still don’t miss coffee, and think my cold brew with almond milk tastes more delicious every morning.

I’m back on meal-planning and grocery duty this week, and it seemed like less work this week than the first. And, since I had a better sense of how much we eat, I don’t think I’ll have to make an emergency trip mid-week to buy more food!

Don’t expect daily updates anymore, but perhaps a recipe summary as the week progresses.

Nalle30 Day Seven Report

Day 7 started strong – I woke up with lots of energy, ate a big breakfast, had some cold brew coffee before church, and was scheduled for nursery duty with the 1-year-olds. (Nothing improves my mood like giving hugs and high-fives to wobbly toddlers.)

I realized how much more difficult it is to stick to this challenge when meals aren’t pre-planned, and shamelessly went to Chipotle for the second day in a row.

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Bam! (I asked for extra meat this time.) My hunger was INTENSE! I’m so thankful for this fast food option.

We spent the afternoon preparing meals for Monday, which was a bit torturous, being surrounded by delicious food smells, knowing none of it was for immediate consumption. (I finally realized why my room always smells like food – the intake vent for our climate control is next to the kitchen. Imagine me, sitting on my bed, trying to resist cravings, while regularly inundated with bursts of chicken-stock flavored air.)

The cravings. They have come.

I went to a 1-year birthday party, and spent the whole time avoiding the strawberry shortcake and beer. The hosts graciously had some unsweetened strawberries and raw veggies I could eat, and those fresh-picked sugar snap peas were delicious…but they’re no homemade shortbread.

After the party, I had a long, unscheduled evening, and I knew the boredom would lead to many cravings. There were many near-tearful moment of opening the cupboard or freezer (WHY DO WE HAVE LEFTOVER ICE CREAM?), staring longingly at something sweet, and then refilling my water glass.

The thing was, I could tell I wasn’t hungry. My stomach was full. A bit too full, probably from that Chipotle, and overindulging in strawberries. But I FELT empty. I feel it now, as I’m attempting to describe it – this sad, mournful emptiness in my throat. YOU GUYS THESE CRAVINGS ARE NO JOKE!

I ate the last of the chicken salad for dinner, and was thankful for the freshness and sweetness of our neighbors’ lettuce. And then I went to bed early, hoping I’d dream about eating ice cream. (If I did, I don’t remember it.)