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Late night again equals late start in the morning. I don’t work tomorrow, but I do plan to be in bed early tonight because I have a dentist appointment at 8 AM.

However, when I did eventually convince myself to leave my warm bed and the cuddles of one adorable kitten, I got right to my exercises. First up today was 15 pushups. Today my shoulder hurt doing them and I had to take a break about half way through. This was only aggravated by the 1 minute plank I did afterwards. The plank almost made me cry today and I had to force myself to push through it despite the pain I was starting to feel at the end. Starting tomorrow for the sake of my shoulder, I am splitting these two exercises up. I will be doing one of them in the morning and the other closer to lunch time. I’m hoping this will help relieve some of the pressure on my shoulder to get through these exercises. I also have a massage booked for tomorrow to work on my shoulder anyway, so I will have to see that that goes.

After a short break to let my shoulder recover, I did the 65 crunches with little to no issues.  Finally, I did the 105 squats. I started to get sore about the 50 mark today, but I pushed through and did it! The fact that I am able to walk afterwards without issues is still awesome to me considering my first couple days of the challenge. Something else that I got to keep in mind is that today I am 1/3 of the way through this challenge. That means I have only 20 days left. And right now, I am feeling pretty proud of myself for keeping it up.

You may not know this about me, but normally when I start something like this, I quit or forget to keep going by about day 8 or 9. So to keep it up for 10 days is just so impressive to me. Not only have I done the required exercises every day, but I have stayed Whole30 compliant and blogged everyday so far.

For brunch, I had leftover balsamic chicken. Surprisingly, I am still not sick of it. But I do need some new recipes. I will have to look into that. I also had some green grapes with that.

My Whole30 email today is all about saving time in the kitchen. So fast food, but in a healthy way, rather than in the sense that you go through a drive thru. One of the first tips they give is to keep track of three different lists:

  1. 3-5 easy, “go-to” dishes that you love to eat, require little preparation and little brain power. Take a photo of this list, so you can easily grocery shop for it on the way home if necessary.
  2. The food you have available in the fridge that are ready to eat: left overs, cooked and raw veggies, defrosting meat, sauces and salad dressings. This is inspiration for when it is time to cook dinner.
  3. The foods you have run out of or are about to, so you know what you need to stock up on when you hit the grocery store next.

If you have room still after these lists, put some inspiration up on that board to help you get through the rest of the 30 days. The lists should be somewhere visible, so you do not forget.

Here are some tips to help you manage your time wisely, something I am not good at doing, but I hope that this list will help me a lot.

  • From frozen to feasting. When I just can’t bear to pack one more work lunch (and I’m feeling really lazy), I don’t even bother to cook my food. Just put two big servings of frozen vegetables in a microwaveable container then drizzle them with olive oil and a good shake of garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add a microwaveable protein (grilled chicken, frozen cooked shrimp), cram on the lid, and shove the container in your bag. At lunchtime, microwave the whole shebang for three minutes, and voila! Instant lunch with no real cooking time. (From Melissa Joulwan, The Clothes Make the Girl.)
  • Speedy spinach. Here’s an effortless way to include more leafy greens in your meals. Step 1. Get some baby spinach. Step 2. Put a handful of spinach in the bottom of a bowl or plate. Step 3. Spoon delicious, hot food containing meat and vegetables over the top. Step 4. Allow the residual heat to lightly wilt the spinach leaves. Step 5. Nom nom nom. This works great with stir-frys, sautés, chili, stews, and soups.
  • Ready veggies. Having trouble keeping enough veggies on hand? Melissa Joulwan from The Clothes Make The Girl serves up tips for keeping your fridge stocked with ready-to-go veggies for Whole30 success.
  • Choppity chop. Anytime you’re chopping veggies, chop extra. So, if you have the cutting board out and you’re chopping onions, peppers, broccoli, etc., chop up extra, and store the extra in the fridge for future use. That way, when you want to create a quick dish, you already have things chopped and ready to go. (From Julie and Charles Mayfield, of Paleo Comfort Foods.)
  • Ripen your avocados with magic! OK, it’s not really magic… it’s the ethylene that naturally occurs in certain types of ripe fruits. Just place a banana or apple in a closed brown paper bag with an under-ripe avocado, and 24 hours later, your avocado will be guacamole-ready.
  • Learn to chop an onion. The Whole30 can mean spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen, and most savory dishes worth their salt start with aromatics like onions and garlic sautéed in luscious fat. This video on how to chop an onion will make you the fastest chopper in your household (and, of course, be sure you know how to use your chef’s knife first).
  • Freeze now, use later. Boost veggies, stews, and stir-frys by adding some homemade bone broth. Pressed for time? Fill a few ice cube trays with chicken or beef broth. Dump the frozen cubes into a freezer bag. Then grab a few cubes to add to your piping-hot dish before serving. The same works for leftover lemons or limes. Squeeze them and freeze the juice in an ice-cube tray. Once they’re frozen, store the cubes in zippered plastic bags and use them for recipes that call for fresh lemon or lime juice. (One cube equals about one tablespoon of juice.)

For more “fast food” tips, read Get Out of Good Food Jail: Kitchen Tips & Tricks.

There is also some notes about slow and pressure cookers. I already have a slow cooker and am not in a position to buy a new one or to buy a pressure cooker, so I will skip that. If you would like to see their advice, let me know and I will get it to you.

The final tip they have today is to make sure you do something called brining with your meat. A direct quote from the email is below:

“Brining, a process of marinating meats in salty water, is an excellent technique to cure meats and season them uniformly. The soaking process allows the meat to absorb a great deal of liquid prior to being prepared, and retain that moisture. Brined meat is generally more tender and flavorful.

That is an understatement.

We’ve made Melissa Joulwan’s Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat, Ever recipe a few times, but despite her warnings not to skip the brining… we always skipped the brining. Until one day, we decided to try it. AND CHICKEN WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.

It was so moist, tender, and flavorful, we just about fell out of our chairs. And since that day, we have never, ever skipped brining our chicken, irrespective of the recipe or cooking method. It requires a little more planning, sure, but a) it’s cheap, b) it’s easy, and c) it’s been scientifically proven to make your chicken 274% more delicious.

Brine, people, brine. (And make Melissa’s chicken recipe, because you will not disagree with her title once you take your first bite.)”

I am definitely going to give that a try when I have some time to do the brining. Maybe next weekend.

My little brother, Tyler, had a hockey game this afternoon and I was starting to feel a bit hungry. So I tried the tip from Melissa Joulwan above called ‘Frozen to Feasting’. It was just broccoli, cauliflower and celery though. I used Avocado Oil, salt, pepper and some chicken seasoning I have. It was alright for a snack, less seasoning in the future I think. Also Tyler’s team won, so that was great!

Then it was home to make, oh you guessed it again, balsamic chicken for supper. I will be doing grocery shopping tomorrow, so hopefully, you will soon see some new things on my menu for the coming week.

I would also like to mention that I started to prepare for NaNoWriMo today. If you don’t remember what that stands for, please see my post for Day Four. I’m getting excited because the ideas have started to flow for my story. More on that another day.

Until tomorrow, my wonderfully, supportive readers!

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