Meal Delivery Food Services: Hungryroot

I saw Hungryroot on Instagram and thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did, but one box was enough. The foot was ‘super healthy’ but not really all that good. I learned what Kolrabi noodles were and cooked them, but didn’t like them.

This is what came in my box – the medium sized one!

The black bean brownie batter was a DELIGHT! Also the Spinach Garlic Sausage and the Hot Salmon were both delicious too. Plantain Linguini is alright … a little chewy. I’ve had cauliflower rice a hundred times, so that wasn’t anything new. And those flatbread things were okay – but Sprouted Wheat isn’t on my “must eat list.”

This was my first meal:

Also my first time cooking butternut squash noodles (above), but the sauce they recommended with them wasn’t all that good. It was a chickpea pesto.

The best thing was this:

Why has no one else packaged almond butter in a squeeze bag? I mean, it makes it so much easier to mix (note all of those marks in the package) and squeeze!!

In the end, I only ate the sauces for one serving and ended up throwing some things away because they just were not for me.

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Meal Delivery Service Reviews: Blue Apron

As I shared last month, I been trying out meal delivery services to help me eat healthier (maybe I didn’t say that was the reason, but take-out and frozen pizza do not help me recover from a work trip). This month is Blue Apron. They have a 4 week introductory price of just $40. (HF is $60 plus shipping.)

The biggest difference in packing is that the ingredients come all in the box rather than separated by meal. Such a small thing, but small things make a big difference.

The meals were a little more eccentric than Hello Fresh, but still delicious.

Knick Knacks come in bags … but the veggies are all separate along with the meat.

Some of the meals

Overall it’s been okay, not amazing. Some of the meals were quite a delight, but the veggies only lasted about half the week before they started going bad. So overall it was a bit of a success, but I’d go back to Hello Fresh before I try Blue Apron again.

The Backbone of a Turkey

I wasn’t sure I could actually do it, but for Thanksgiving I spatch-cooked a turkey and it was amazing, delicious, and empowering!

I’m not sure if you’re supposed to be empowered by turkey, but after cutting out the backbone of this bird I felt like I could do anything! So I’ve got to share!

Step 1: cut out the backbone

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Step 2: Butterfy it open and smile for a picture

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Step 3: Cook it in a hot oven for less than 90 minutes and enjoy!

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After last year’s terrible turkey that wasn’t actually fully cooked because of a, well, a lot of issues – this turkey was my redemption! If you want to know the actual recipe, check out my favorite paleo blogger, Michele at Nom Nom!

The Struggle of Enough is Real

I struggle with feeling like I’m enough. I’ve written about it before herehere and here. This week though I’m struggling with it regarding work, and my favorite internet manager, Alison, wrote about it the other day (link). Here’s another great article.

Earlier this week my brother and I were talking about it at dinner. How I was presenting to our senior leadership team regarding the new product I’ve been working on and also the sales consultant who sells me (only in the best way possible) as the coach for these Churches. She asked me to share with her my entire portfolio of experience because I’m the hardest sell of the program.

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With my “enough struggling” self, I read that to say, people aren’t sure you can do this, we need to prove it to them. That might be a little true. They aren’t sure I can do this, in fact I’m not sure I can do this – but I know that I’ve succeeded at other more difficult things in my life. I once became a cook working for a crazy woman at a county jail. I was good at it too, except for that one day with the pretzel chicken, but everyone gets one bad day, right?

I’ve taken my love for cooking even further in my own life by cooking almost every night. I rarely eat out during the week and almost never, unless I’m sick, purchase pre-made or even boxed meals where you just add meat and milk for dinner. I make things from scratch all of the time. It’s how I learned to make the most amazing turkey for my entire office one year and have made holiday dinners with all the trimmings a few times in my life.

But when I tell someone I’ll cook, or bring something, or let’s do curry and naan, for instance – they say “have you even done that before?” I don’t know if they are or not, but it sounds like they don’t trust that I’m capable.

That is exactly how I felt the other day when I was asked about my qualifications. I felt like a kid pretending to be an adult, an impostor adult. Then I thought I have been helping at church and starting groups and being active in all of these things since I was 15, even earlier. That’s 17 years of experience. I am qualified to do this. I have relevant, industry related experience.

But I still feel like a kid playing an adult in this game. Struggling to know if I am good enough at being an adult for others to classify me as one too.

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Taking On Too Much

I have a tendency to take on too many things at one time and then of course fail at them all. This is one of the reasons why I was excited about Jon Acuff’s new book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done.

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I follow Jon on most of his many weekly writing adventures like his list for Speakers, Entrepreneurs, Writers, and even Parents even though I’m not all of those things Two out of four isn’t bad. I do it because I love his style of writing, his humor, and I always get something from what he’s shared.

So I even pre-ordered the book so I could get the bonuses, which are worth hundreds of dollars. Tonight I decided to start reading, even though I’m in the middle of at least six other books, during dinner and I had to force myself to stop. I could have sat in that uncomfortable dining room chair all night reading until I was finished.

I got through the first three chapters and learned a few things about my goals that I want to implement. First is that I need to be realistic. There will be days when I am not perfectly going for my goal, but that’s okay. I need to start again the next day.

Second, I should cut my goal in half. Seems counterproductive, but Jon says this helps keep the momentum going and prevents burnout from happening.

Third, make it fun. If the goal, like mine (losing weight) isn’t fun, then add in rewards to help you. I decided that I’d give myself a reward every five pounds. Seems reasonable for me.

Now to just get started – I did today by crushing it in the produce section of the grocery store. At least that’s what the cashier said when she was ringing up my order. I felt pretty good about it. Had some chicken soup for lunch and cauliflower fried rice for dinner. Feeling good about my food choices for the day.

I did not walk today though because I could not be more congested. I just got home from a week-long work trip and brought a sore throat with me, unfortunately. I decided to get ahead of it and have an appointment tomorrow with the doctor because not breathing is not fun for me.

Normally I would let being sick really get me down, especially regarding cooking and eating well. I’m glad I made the decision to cook even though I felt terrible. I feel better for having eaten a giant bowl of vegetables for dinner. I don’t know if cauliflower can cure a sinus infection, but it definitely can’t hurt my overall well-being.

So today I choose to be a better version of myself. Tomorrow my goal is the same!

Small Changes Have a Dramatic Effect

The last time I was at the doctor I was talking about my health, which was great, and I mentioned that I wanted to make some changes to be healthier (read: smaller). I prefaced my question with something that I know to do which is to lose weight: exercise more and eat less. Dr. W confirmed it is really all about math – more calories out than in. Her advice wasn’t just “eat less, exercise more.” It was actually more helpful, take the next year and make a different lifestyle change every month and in a year your life will be different.

I really took that to heart and when I got home, I made a list of 12 habits or lifestyle changes that I wanted to undertake. I gave myself credit for a few that I had started a while ago that were great changes that I felt made a huge difference. At the end of the year I will probably have made about 7 or 8 overall changes but some of them were steps to bigger things. They are small steps that have made a huge difference in my life. I’ve got a few more to add to, which I’ll share with you here.

Writing these here (and anything I do here) makes it real. It keeps me accountable, not really to the people who read this, but to myself. “I wrote it down so therefore I must do it.” This method might not work for everyone, but it works pretty well for me. I used to think I wasn’t very competitive, but that was all a lie. I’m super competitive with myself in a pretty healthy way and fairly competitive with others in a sometimes unhealthy way.

So here is my list to keep me accountable and maybe inspire you to make some small changes as well. I’ve categorized them and numbered them based on the order I did/am doing them.

Item #1: A Better Prayer Life
1. Daily Rosary: I accomplished this by beginning to pray the Rosary daily on the Feast of Fatima almost three years ago. This has made a huge impact on my life. I’ve done this off and on since I was a Junior in High School, but this time it stuck.
6. Daily Mass: I did this as my Lenten resolution last year to get back in the habit. With work, I have a tendency to let my calendar take advantage of me, so to accomplish this I put an appointment on my calendar for every day from noon to 1pm – which I will move to 8:15-9:15am on days I can’t attend the lunchtime Mass. Again I’ve been doing this on and off since high school more often than not, but I needed it on my calendar to make it a habit.
7. Better Spiritual Reading: I spent all of Advent with 30 minutes of prayer every morning which is an amazing way to prepare for the Birth of Our Lord renewing my Consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Item #2: A Better Work Life
2. Better Wardrobe: I’ve been speaking more for work so I needed to “professionalize” my wardrobe and play the part. So this summer I set about changing my work wardrobe. It’s made an impact, that’s for sure.

Item #3: A Better Night Life / Daily Habits
3. Better Sleep: This isn’t want you’re thinking!! I found that I wasn’t sleeping well and was taking melatonin to sleep better but I was getting some really wacky dreams, so I had to change that up. So to improve my circadian rhythm I decided to cut out screens in bed including videos on the computer and my cell phone. I took up reading. I started this in October to also reinvigorate my love for reading. It’s been pretty successful, although I have my nights where I watch TV in bed, in that I’ve read 43 books since then – not a bad number for 6 months.
4. Better Daily Habits: Small Disciplines to make a good start on my day beginning with making my bed every day. I wouldn’t have thought this would have the large impact it did, but it makes a difference. And getting into a made bed at night is such a treat. I also started getting ready every day. In the beginning this was fully dressed in something other than yoga pants, but that’s become unrealistic, so I stopped – but I do put in earrings or a necklace every day.

Item #4: A Better Physical Life
5. Better Fitness: I really dislike cardio and also think that it has a bigger impact on calories burned than it does, so it’s annoying for me. But I do like yoga and love Bad Yogi, so I broke down and purchased Erin’s Perfect Body Yoga Program (PBYP), which I wrote about here right before I began. Now I’ve been through Tier 1 and Tier 2 and am starting Tier 1 again.
8. Better Diet: I did this in two ways beginning back in November with a purchase to Real Plans (here) which completely changed my cooking and eating life. I can eat the same thing for breakfast every day and not get bored, but for the rest of my meals, that doesn’t cut it. I don’t even really enjoy leftovers, to be honest. So I needed some help with what I wanted to cook. This program is awesome because you can choose your meals or have them chosen for you and it creates a shopping list with the exact items you need to make the meals for the week. I recently purchased the NomNom Paleo upgrade. Paleo is another reason why I wanted to purchase this. You can have them choose recipes based on your diet needs as well as eliminate certain ingredients you don’t like. For me, that’s beans – I don’t want them in my recipes and Real Plans leaves those recipes out!
9. Better Management of Food: I started an account with MyFitnessPal in January to count calories. I needed to be realistic about my expectations and what I was eating. I needed to keep myself accountable. So I set up a daily max and if I went over, then that at least I had to record it and know that I did it.
10. Better Paleo: I learned from when I did a Whole30 I am a healthier, happier, and lighter person when I adhere to the Paleo Diet. So I’ve been working on that. I’m very good on my own at home – and for Lent I made a sacrifice to only eat “non-Paleo” a maximum 3 meals per week, which has helped. Real Plans has also helped with all of their amazing recipes.
11. Better Cardio: To accomplish this I purchased a new FitBit after losing mine on the way home from Prague last summer. Now I’m beginning my sixth week on FitBit and have been increasing my daily steps by 500 every week until I get to 8,000, a respectable amount of daily steps. I’ve also started walking my neighborhood which is about 1,000 steps around if you walk every available sidewalk. It’s very small with only 50 townhouses and doesn’t make a circle. I’ve also made an impression on many of my neighbors as the crazy lady who walks the neighborhood between 5 and 8 times an evening. It’s also been helping to listen down my list of Podcasts (the limited TV for Lent is also helping with that too). I feel a lot better that I’ve been doing yoga in the morning and walking in the evening. It’s also helping me get together with my friends by seeing if they “want to go on a walk.” Do you have a FitBit, want to be friends?

Item #5: A Better Life
12. Better Relaxation: This one was slated for September, but I’ve already done this twice by buying plane tickets. I wanted to take off for a vacation that wasn’t me taking vacation to just go home or to lead a youth retreat, etc… So a vacation was in order. I’ve decided on two! The first is in two weeks when I am going go to Texas for 9 days from Good Friday to the following Saturday. It’s going to be a good break for Easter and a super relaxing week. I’ve got lots of plans for visiting with family, playing lots of hands of cards, drinking wine, and reading tons of books! The second is in 117 days when LK and I leave for Greece! Yes, you read that right. We purchased a vacation package to Greece last week and we are going the first week of August. This will be our fun vacation!!

A Better Katie: All of these things are the basis for a better Katie. A happier, healthier Katie who people want to be friends with, who I want to be. Taking control of the things in my life I have the ability to control of helps me. I can’t control my weight, but I can control how much I eat and what I do for exercise. I can’t control what others think of me, but I can control how I think of me and if I’m the best version of myself by keeping my resolutions.

What can make you a better you just for you?

7 Quick Takes Friday … February 6th

Well, I completed my first Whole30 on Tuesday!  January 5th through February 3rd – 30 days of fruits, veggies, meats, healthy oils, and okay nuts. I’ve been thinking about what I might write about how it went and here are my thoughts, in no specific order, and with no scientific evidence beside how I feel. If you’re new to whole 30 – basically it’s a nutritional restart where you thinking differently about food. The No’s are: alcohol, sugar (including added sugar in condiments and processed food), grains, gluten, dairy, legumes (including peanuts), and bad oils (ie: I only used coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil). You are also supposed to avoid SWYPO foods, basically changing trigger foods into ‘whole 30’ foods. The point being to create a new you and a new outlook on food.  So how’d I do?

Well one of the blogs I wrote said not to dive in and cook every night – but I didn’t listen to that at all. I cooked like crazy, every night. But I really like to cook and cannot survive on just salads and leftovers. That would have driven me crazy.

So I made some really great meals like steaks, sweet potato hash/fries (maybe a SWYPO food), a frittata, and Kahula Pork (amazing)

A few others were flops – like roasted butternut squash, not really my favorite food – combined with ground beef and scrambled eggs and all that came was a big meal that I had to choke down. Twice (since there were lots of leftovers). There was also the night with roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini, and fried eggs that wasn’t really my favorite, if I’m being honest.

Also, this one doesn’t look good, but it was a great success. My first attempt at making poached eggs – a huge success. My first attempt at making hollandaise sauce – not so much.

But all in all, I would say it was quite a successful month of cooking – and really great food.

I did, however, make “egg and banana” pancakes one Saturday morning before MG and I went off to Winston Salem for a retreat.  Apparently this is a huge no-no (all the SWYPO talk and such) but I didn’t start over after I read the article a few days later. There was no way I was going to go back two weeks when they were just EGG and BANANA people, not at all like pancakes!!!

The other ‘cheat’ I had was about 3 weeks in I realized that a spice I use a lot on veggies, Citrus Grill, has added sugar.  Once I realized it I didn’t use it again, but I had used it 3 or 4 times without noticing. I didn’t think I had to check my spices like I checked my condiments for added sugar.  Lesson learned – and even more so because why did this item have added sugar in it? It’s a vegetable spice blend! Is sugar a spice? I think not!

Finally, my third ‘cheat’ was the scale. You are supposed to stay off because weight loss isn’t a good Whole 30 goal, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t feeling great one day and I just had to know if I had lost weight on the plan or not. And I had, so I was even more motivated. So as of today – since Christmas, I’ve lost 14 pounds. I feel great, my pants fit excellently, and I’m motivated to keep going.  Ideally, me and Fitbit have 21 more to go! I considered this not a ‘cheat’ since it was more motivating for me, not less motivating. Also I did exercise a bit – did more than 30 Bad Yogi yoga videos over the course of the last month as well.

One of the biggest benefits, besides the weigh loss, has been how much clearer my face has been.  This could be a combination of a few things – the whole 30 (no diary, no sugar), a mask I’ve been doing more regularly, and the Lemon Essential Oil from Young Living I’ve been using twice daily. All of those things together got me just a few pimples at that time of the month. Even though they were there, they weren’t as painful and didn’t last as long. Besides that area of my face (always the same few places) the rest of my skin in quite clear. That makes me one pretty happy lady.

Additionally, at the beginning of my cycle which happened on the 2nd to last day of my Whole 30, I was not defeated by extreme cramps. The first day, severe cramps are my typical norm (not so much I have to stay home, but so much all I want to do is curl up and sleep) – and this month came and went without them. That was a nice change to my life.

Another benefit is also a better understanding of how my body reacts to food. In the past two days I’ve only had one non-whole 30 food – trying to slowly integrate things back in. I had peanut butter for breakfast yesterday morning and felt fine throughout the day. But yesterday evening I could tell that I felt a little different than usual. It could be the PB and my body or it could be stress. Either way, tonight MG and I are going to Cabo Fish Taco for dinner, so that will be added a few things in: corn, dairy, gluten (if I get their pasta side dish), and probably sugar. I’ll see how it goes after that – and then on Saturday is our second First Saturday dinner and we’re having pizza – so another day of integration.

Speaking of integration, I’m a little nervous. Setting this baseline, kicking my sugar addiction (hopefully), going an entire month without any gluten or grains, giving up coffee (which I haven’t taken back up yet), has been so great for discipline, my cooking habits, not being lazy, making sure I eat something for breakfast. I’m worried about back sliding – it would almost be easier to stay like this forever, than backslide into all of my old habits. That’s not realistic for me, nor is it something I really want to do, but I like the way my pants fit, for instance – and don’t want them to be so tight again. Frankly, I really want to buy new ones (or at least be able to wear all of the smaller ones MG gave me a while ago that I haven’t been able to wear). So keeping an eye open for eating in moderation, having just a few bites of a sweet to satisfy the craving rather than binge eating a bunch of cookies, is my goal. I am praying that it is something that works for me. Also that adding these foods back in doesn’t wreak havoc on my body.

So where will I go from here? At home, I will probably stick to mostly Whole 30 type eating (with a few egg/banana pancakes thrown in). I’m going to try to stick with salads for lunch (which I did almost every single day of my Whole 30) – this way I am always getting at least a few servings of vegetables in each day. Whether in or out, sweets are going to be a special treat not a regular occurrence. So when out with friends, for someone’s birthday, for my birthday (just than 5 weeks from now, EEK!), and such – but to have around the house, not so much. I’m also going to try to avoid added sugar in things that don’t need sugar as much as possible – like the Citrus Grill spice – might replace that with something else.

I went out to eat twice during the month – the first time, no big deal – the second was at Eez’s in Birkdale, one of my favorite restaurants – and it was hard to find something on the menu I could eat – but I did – and honestly, I might get the same thing again because it was that good. It was from their stir-fry bar, so two bowls of veggies (since I didn’t have noddles or rice) in Yellow Curry sauce with sesame crusted seared tuna on top – pretty amazing! But now, off of whole 30, out with friends, I won’t be so scrupulous with the menu – just mindful of what I’m getting and the quantities.

Overall, it was a great month, I’m glad I did it and think it has made a good impact on my relationship with food and with my body. I’m also glad it’s over and I can go back to drinking wine! If you’re interested in knowing more, send along your questions in the comment box, I’ll do my best to answer or encourage you to do your own Whole 30!

What does a lovely parishioner bring me today – day 33??

The book that should have started it all!

I’m going to get reading to see if anything in particular stands out now that I’ve had the experience! Look for a review in a few months to see how the ‘after Whole30’ has stayed effective!

For more Quickity, Quick Takes, check out the gang with Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum!
See you next week, or stop by this week for more musings and antics!