Anyone seen my missing blog?

According to the email I got from WordPress this morning, I haven’t updated my blog in ten months…which is right when I did my first Whole 30.  Well, let’s be honest – my only Whole 30.  I haven’t exactly been a poster child for healthy lifestyle this year.  Or the back half of last year, if I’m really being honest.  The fun thing about me is you can judge my stress level and coping with said stress by the size of my ass.  (Spoiler alert – bigger than ever.  EVER ever.  Like bigger than any time I’ve talked to producers of weight loss reality shows.  All three times.  Bigger than the current contents of my closet…thank God it’s summer and I can throw a dress on these hips.  The no waistband Sundays from the summer of 2009 are my coping mechanism on the daily.

So the question is…how did my ass get so big?  And why did I stop writing my blog?

Well – a bunch of things.  The most reasonable excuse is that I was job searching, and blathering on about my weight, depression and quilting didn’t really seem like the best thing to put out there when I wanted someone to hire me.  I’ve been employed for a little over six months now, and while job security is iffy at best, the writing is cathartic and I’m going back after it anyway.

(Fingers crossed I hit the jackpot tonight…$330M cash leaves lots of blogging and quilting time.)

The second reason is that I totally lost my mojo…in everything.  I started this blog to chronicle all of the visits to allergists, hematologists, gastroenterologists and other fun specialists to figure out what the heck was going on with my insides.  I was kicking ass, taking names and had banished all of the food that were hurting me.  Sure, I couldn’t heal everything with lifestyle change – my sparse yet chunky platelets are a great indicator of that – but there was a lot that I was doing right.

And then life happened, and writing, clean eating, etc. all seemed to get away from me.  And I felt like a big, fat failure.

I was failing in my career, failing at my weight, failing at finding a house, failing in romantic relationships, failing at my diet, failing at everything.  Fail, fail, fail.  My therapist says I’m too hard on myself.  She’s a doll.

I’m still seeing her 2-3 a month (have been for about a year,) and she’s encouraged me to pick my writing back up.  She said I didn’t have to publish it, but I figure there’s nothing wrong with putting things out there.  Maybe someone else struggles with the same things I do, and they’ll find some words of encouragement.  Or maybe it’ll help knowing someone else is going through the same thing.

Something I touched on in my blogs last year is depression, and how much I struggle with it.  I put on one hell of a game face, normally, but some days its just beyond me.  And even then I’m only good for a few hours, and then I have to burrow in at home for a while.  I think depression is what makes me an introverted extrovert.  I have such a great time meeting other people and talking to them, but then I’m just exhausted after.  The kicker about depression is that you feel so alone, even when you’re surrounded by people.  And while I know deep down I’m loved by family, friends, and even people who don’t know me that well, it’s hard to shake out of that cloud.  The past couple of weeks have been particularly challenging, with great highs (Stitchfest!) and dark lows (work/house/boys/etc.)  I told my therapist I just feel like I’m on this horrible roller coaster, and I’m exhausted.  I’m just so done and I want the ride to stop, already.

One bright spot in this past 18 months has been quilting.  It truly took me by surprise, and I’m thankful for both the craft and the people I’ve met through it every single day.  If I’m bummed out about my lack of success at work, I can look at some of the beautiful things I’ve created and remember that I did it – I accomplished something with hard work, perseverance and asking for help when I needed it.  If I hit a roadblock, I found a way to work around it and make it my own.  If only it came so easily in a gray cubicle!

I had a great opportunity to be a spotlight speaker for my local modern quilt guild, and I truly enjoyed the process of pulling together my journey into sewing, especially pictures of things my mom did when I was a kid.  And all of the Halloween costumes she’s created over the years!  (Pam is a Halloween rock star.)  I took to quilting like a duck to water, and I think it was because I was able to create something with my own two hands and see a finished result.  Sometimes at work you put hours of thought and consideration into a project, and then it never goes anywhere.  So while a quilt might not ever leave a cabinet, I still made it, and can touch and feel it.  It’s hard to explain what it’s done for me.

One of the things I left out of my quilting journey (because I knew I wouldn’t be able to share it with the room without crying) is how it came at just the right time.  I was at a really low spot when I took my first class at Urban Spools, and it gave me some purpose.   I really do think quilting saved me, and I have a lot of faith that it’ll play a big part of shooing away the dark cloud that’s over my head again these days.  I still have a hard time letting people in when I’m having a hard time, choosing to just spend quiet time at home by myself, but I’m opening up.  One of these days I’ll learn that people will still love me when I’m having a bad day, and it’s okay that I’m not always there with a smile on my face and a joke ready to tell.

I think like most women, we just put the mask on and power through when times get tough.  I don’t think I’m unique in this way, and I think social media does a lot to perpetuate that cycle.  No one likes a vague-booker or someone who whines about their life drama, and yet so many conversations are held through this medium, that we forget how to actually talk to someone in good times and bad.  At least I forget.  Everything is in bite size snippets.

It’s not like I’ve ever been great at sharing the lows, but I know I’ve gotten even worse in my old (er) age.  So as I journey through this last year of my 30’s, I’m going to strive to find some balance.  To get off the roller coaster.  To talk to my friends and family in good times and in bad.  At least I’m going to give it a good try 🙂  And maybe blogging will help.

Cheers,

Christina

 

 

Whole 30 – Wholly AWESOME

Seriously you guys, I’m so pleased.  I’m starting Day 9, and I feel amazing.

Quick recap:  I have been slipping more and more into my old ways, and wanted to reset, detox, all of those good things.  I also want to stay away from supplements, gimmicks, and just get back to basics.  I read “It Starts with Food” and thought I would give Whole 30, a plan designed around the principles in the book, a shot.

In short, food should have a healthy psychological response, a healthy hormonal response, support a healthy gut and support immune function and minimize inflammation.  Two of these really grabbed me – the healthy psychological response and minimizing inflammation.  Truthfully, supporting a healthy gut is important too, because who wants an angry gut?  No one, especially not this girl.

You basically spend 30 days eating just real food.  Meat, veggies, fruit, healthy fats.  No booze, added sugar (fruit is fine), legumes, grains, artificial sweeteners, soy, vegetable oil, etc.  Again – back to basics.  If you’re familiar with Paleo, it’s not far off.

I have been very fortunate to not experience a lot of the withdrawals a lot of other people get when they hop on this plan.  This has to be because I’m already a pretty healthy eater and don’t have any killer habits to break like drinking a pot of coffee or a case of Diet Coke every day.  Coffee is fine on Whole 30, btw, but I only like it with sugar so I haven’t seen the point.  Caffeine makes me really jittery, so if I can’t have a cup of yummy, sugarfied joe in the morning, I’m not bothering.  Bye, wig!

It also helps that I really like veggies already, and I like meat.  Steak is my favorite, followed by a tie of crabs and scallops, then pork, and chicken way down on the list.  At least it’s versatile, though, and with the right seasoning it can kick some serious ass.

As usual, I digress.  I sought out some resources online to see what people did for their first week.  I got into a good habit of meal planning using Jason’s method, but I didn’t want to use my brain.  I found an excellent resource in Melissa Joulwan.  She’s authored cookbooks, including “Well Fed,” but also has a great blog called The Clothes Make the Girl.  She’s rebranding this week, because as she puts it, “it’s time to say goodbye to The Clothes Make The Girl, a.k.a., the silliest name ever for a healthy lifestyle blog.”

Joulwan completely mapped out the first few weeks of Whole 30, including handy ways to cook and stash things in your fridge.  I have to tell you – this was key.  Last Thursday was an absolute whip of me trying to learn my kitchen, but it was well worth it.  She said the prep would take approximately two hours, and maybe it would for a person who cook things besides eggs on a regular basis, but it took me longer.  Much longer.  It could be because I kept bailing to catch up on Making the Team:  Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  God I love that show.  Thanks for the marathon, CMT!

Here’s a link to her week 1:  Week 1 Whole 30 Meal Plan.  This would have been worth it JUST FOR THE PAD THAI.  OMG.  So the first day, I had a pork roast going in the crock pot, an oven full of chicken thighs, sweet potato and spaghetti squash, chili simmering, a blender full of zucchini soup, veggies chopped, this crazy Sunshine Sauce made and I was like dear God what am I going to do with all of this food?  Ummm…eat it.  And eat I did, like a queen, this entire past week.  I even whipped up an extra batch of Chicken Pad Thai on the fly for a girlfriend that came over, and she swears it was good and that I didn’t poison her.

Check out this meal prep madness:

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Here are some pics of the delicious eats from the past week.  I will say I modified a couple of her receipes.  I’ve heard the chili as-is is super popular, but she also mentioned mole sauce and I knew I was out.  SWEET MEAT IS NOT OKAY.  Not okay.  Ugh.  I just can’t even with the sweet meat.  I’ve tried mole sauce in the most authentic mexican restaurants, totally inauthentic restaurants, and in Mexico, and I can’t make myself like it.  I tried.  The chili recipe without the cocoa and allspice is delicious though, so thanks Melissa!

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God, those green beans.  They were so good.  I sauteed them in lemon infused olive oil from Trader Joe’s, tossed in some almonds and then squeezed in more lemon.  They’re going to be a staple in my fridge for always and forever.  So good.

One of the tricky things about Whole 30 for an awesome, social single gal like me is NOT DRINKING.  No, I’m not an alcoholic, but when you’re meeting up with people in a city like Dallas, where it’s 100 degrees, there’s very little outdoor activity and shopping is a sport, drinking and eating are very popular.  I like a little Tito’s and soda and the occasional sangria.  I’m also starting to date again and since online is the easiest way to go about this, meeting for DRINKS is a simple way to go.

Anyhoot – here’s how I’m dealing so far.  1- I’m staying home more often.  Just for a little bit while I sort this out.  2 – I survived a fantasty football draft at The Flying Saucer with Pellegrino and a smile.  3 – My friend Kaddie sent me a summertime, refreshing boozy treat list made with La Croix a few weeks back, and one of the drinks was light rum, coconut La Croix and fresh pineapple juice.  I can’t do the rum right now, but the coconut La Croix with fresh pineapple juice is pretty damn tasty.

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So that’s my past few days in a nutshell!  Super delicious yummy food, feeling amazing, sleeping like I’m in a coma (8+++ hours a night no problem) and rocking this plan.  I can’t weigh myself for the whole 30 days, but I think that’s going to look good too.  I’ll have to satisfy my curiosity with non-scale wins in the meantime, like that gorgeous sleep.

Cheers!

Whole 30 – Wholly Terrifying?

Okay friends…what I really want to do is write a quilt update full of all of the beautiful projects I’ve been working on.  But the whole reason I started this blog was to journal my lifestyle changes and effort to get the insane inflammation out of my body.  It’s been an interesting several months, to be sure, and I have definitely made some very positive changes.  I’ve cut back on drinking (for the most part) and I’ve cut out gluten and soy (for the most part.)  Cheese, though.  Cheese.  Damn you, dairy!

About that “most part” – it’s caught up with me.  Funny how patterns repeat themselves – this is just like grad school.  One “cheat” doesn’t hurt you.  It’s the one that didn’t hurt you that leads to doubling up that leads to total backslide and magically you’ve gained 90 pounds. No, I have no idea how that happened either.  Well, I do, but it’s not very festive to think about it.

Two good things – I recognize that pattern and I can stop it in its tracks.  Two – I have friends who do have healthy relationships with food and I’m paying attention.  Colleen – I listen!  I do!  Some things it’s taken me years to catch, but I finally only use glass containers and I only buy good quality proteins.  Seriously!   Vacation is vacation and normal life is normal life.

Most people can splurge on vacation and go right back to their regular, healthy lifestyle.  I’m not that person.  I don’t have the mindset that a treat now doesn’t mean all treats all the time.  I’m working on that (among other things) with a therapist, but honestly, a restricted “diet” is good for me.  Here’s why:

I’m reading “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  They created Whole 30, and since many of the bloggers and instagrammers I started following this past year have mentioned it, I was curious too.

Four main concepts about the food we eat:

  1. Promote a healthy psychological response.
  2. Promote a healthy hormonal response.
  3. Support a healthy gut.
  4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation.

Wait, what?  Inflammation.  DING DING DING.  I’m listening.

I know it’s not rocket science, but sometimes reading it in black and white is really helpful.  I’ve learned more about my blood and gut health this past year than I ever thought I would know, and the research in this book just hammers it in.  HAMMERS it.  So thank you, UT Southwestern and your team of Hematologists and Gastroenterologists.  Not only do I know my blood and insides are totally jacked, I know how to fix it.

So back to this whole “restricted diet” thing?  Whole 30 is strict.  It’s meat, fruit and veg for 30 days.  No cheats.  No added sugar for my coffee, no booze, no whining.  Just eat regular food.  And not quasi veggies that are technically grains like corn, no ma’am.  I’m going to have to cook and prep.  I see a lot of boiled eggs in my future.

So back to the restricted diet?  I’ve been doing that since November.  I’ve slipped here and there, and I beat the crap out of myself mentally every time, unless I’m out of town.  That’s not exactly a healthy psychological response.  I just can’t do it to myself anymore.  It’s exhausting.  So I’m just taking it off the table.  Focusing on Whole 30 (and telling the world I’m doing it) is a great way to hold myself accountable.  I might not want to meet up for dinner in the next month, but I’ll happily meet up for happy hour, movies or a quilt class.  I’ll just be ordering a club soda with lime.  And that’s totally okay.

The book talks about habit forming – not having to think about just one piece of bread or just one drink (and then having four) helps create a healthy habit.  I’m lucky because I actually like healthy food.  I love veggies.  Maybe this month I’ll try salmon for the 100th time and actually like it.  Who knows?

I’m excited, though!  Looking forward to 30 days and seeing how unpuffy I am on day 31.  And making a ton of quilts in the meantime!

Cheers.  (With club soda.)

Time for a Detox!

Was it just two months ago that I swore I would get back to blogging on a regular basis?  How quickly time flies!  It’s been an action packed summer, full of friends, family, pool time, quilting and traveling.  While I have been cautious (for the most part) about avoiding the things that will exasperate my inflammation issues, I will freely admit that I have fallen off the wagon.  I feel it every morning when I limp out of bed.

You see, I’ve got plantar fasciitis in my right heel.  Know the root cause?  Inflammation.  What are the drivers of my inflammation?  Food.  Hmm.  Funny how that works out – if I avoid soy, gluten, dairy and the other triggers, my foot feels great!  Otherwise, I’m limping around until it warms up, and thankfully that doesn’t take too long.

I was able to spend this past week in Chicago, reconnecting with one of my dearest Dallas friends.  I also got a great overnight with one of my closest friends from grad school, Katie!  Such a blessing to get to see her a second time this year, and see how much her baby girl has grown in six short months.  So fun.

Robyn and I met more than a decade ago in the buying offices at Neiman Marcus, and I treasure her friendship more every day!  Robyn earned her Master’s in Education after leaving NM, and headed up to a conference to learn more about using technology in the classroom.  It’s amazing how much the world has changed since I was in elementary school – remember what a big deal it was to get a share of a computer to play Oregon Trail?  Kids now have access to iPads and specialized learning programs.  I’m such a visual learner and I envy them!

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While I didn’t attend the conference, I was able to utilize technology to find great local restaurants for Robyn’s quick lunch breaks and our evening meals in the city.  Thanks, Yelp!  Surely that counts, right?  I don’t know how my Chicago friends stay so slim – healthy food was scarce in Aslip, and portions were enormous.  ENORMOUS!  I indulged in Chicago Dogs, gyros, French friends and even some frozen custard.  Thank goodness we spent our evenings running from L station to L station and exploring Chicago itself.  I was able to hit several 10,000+++ step days and even lost a couple of pounds.

Check out this allergen and full fat food porn:

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The veggie omelet (with bacon I swiped from Katie) was probably the most reasonable thing I had all week, along with the bloody mary.  Look at that garnish!  That leads me to the detox.  What are you guys eating this summer?  It’s so hot in Texas that many of the things I like to eat most just aren’t reasonable.  I’m a big fan of soup, shredded chicken tacos, regular beef tacos, random salads and such, but I’m stuck in a rut.

I follow Whole 30 on Instagram and I see a lot of interesting meals there.  While I don’t technically follow a paleo diet, eating paleo allows me to avoid most of my allergen and trigger foods.  And it’s a lot easier for people to understand since it’s so popular.  Bob from The Biggest Loser said if it didn’t have a momma or didn’t grow from the ground, to keep it out of your mouth.  Good rule of thumb.

Tips?  Tricks?  Favorite recipes?  I’m headed out to do my weekly shopping shortly, and while I plan to pick up the usual chicken sausage, fruits and veggies, I’m happy for those suggestions.

Cheers!

Doctors, Vegans and a Pretty Good Wednesday 

I had a pretty adventurous Wednesday, all things considered! Doctors, vegan food and a surprise visit with a friend! Work, too. Always gets in the way of a good day of doctor hopping. Ha!  First up – met with my gastroenterologist at the “Center for Digestive and Liver Disease.” So dramatic. 

No, mom…I’m not there for liver issues. My liver handles business just fine 🙂 

I walked Dr. Mithani through my life of constant nausea, and between the blog and the stream of doctors I’m just bored with my story.  And this isn’t even my major problem! Ack! Describing the symptoms really is a struggle, because feeling crappy is just my normal.  I sent a text to my mom wishing she was there, because she has a laundry list – “Don’t forget about XYZ!” And thank goodness, because I would have left something out.

I started life as a projectile vomiter (sorry mom) but have learned to manage pain through diet and just go on about my day. But imagine this, it’s totally not normal to bounce up during dinner to go throw up! Nor is it normal to do it while brushing your teeth. Sheesh. Or when drinking cold water.  Or while taking a shower.  Some weeks are better than others, but it still kind of sucks, especially when my face gets torn up. Those pics are not blog-worthy. Ouch. 

I get to hold off on a scope for now, but I did get to schedule an ultrasound on my gallbladder as well as a gastric emptying study. Doesn’t that sound sexy? I essentially get to eat a radioactive breakfast at 7 am while people study what it does. No shock here if my stomach is defective. 

The best part of my day was realizing my friend Rachel works one floor below my gastro! So I sure did get to say hello, have big hugs and some chit chat. And a hot date for tomorrow night to boot 🙂 Can’t wait for the Arts District Wine Stroll!  Yay! 

So where does the vegan part come in? I was in the neighborhood so thought I would do a drive by on a house or two I’ve seen for sale in Oak Cliff and remembered a rave review on some nachos at a vegan place.  Yelp to the rescue – Spiral Diner & Bakery. 

See, I may or may not have split some real nachos with girlfriends on Saturday night, and I might have also regretted that choice. Nachos are my favorite, though, so I thought I would give it a shot.



The quinoa is definitely not the same as some shredded chicken or ground beef, but the cheese was good! Guac was outstanding. Honestly, it hit the spot. My throat was a tiny bit unhappy after being poked and prodded this morning, but meh. Nachos. Belly won. 

The cheese base is made from cashews, which is great. I’ve sworn off the daiya cheese because it’s all oil and weirdness and just gives me a belly ache. I have one right now, thanks to the portobello quesadillas I ordered to go for dinner tonight: 





The kitchen realized right after I took this pic that they gave me the wrong quesadillas, since mine were from the soy free menu, but you get the idea. These tortillas were wheat based with soy in them, and the ones I eventually got were corn, so good catch on their part. No need to gluten myself. 

Lovely restaurant with a great staff, and they even sold me a pint of the nacho cheese to go. What I’m going to do with it is beyond me, but I anticipate tacos.  Mmm, tacos. 



Speaking of soy free menus – check it out! A really nice touch since soy is pretty popular on a vegan diet. Not that I am, but nachos. I’m just here for the faux cheese. 





Cheers! 

Just a Casual Monday Night Dinner

I think I’ve mentioned I’m the weirdo who works out while staring at the Food Network.  It’s a double whammy, right? Not only can I probably not eat 90% of the recipes shown, but I’m the only overweight person at my pretty person gym. Whatevs. I’ve got my playlist bumping and the Pioneer Woman is cooking up some beef and a cake.  There’s only so much news and Sportscenter a girl can watch. 

This past week, I ended up watching Guy’s Big Bites, and he whipped up this delicious scallop and andouille sausage dinner. I’ve been craving scallops ever since. So yummy! 

I didn’t end up making that recipe, but I did wander into Whole Foods on Saturday, high noon, a wee bit hungover and starving after 18 hours without food. First of all, oops. Secondly, I’m normally prepared with at least some raw almonds, but I got caught off guard. What do you get when you wander into Whole Foods in these conditions? 

Two bags of random food and a much lighter wallet :



Let me be honest here. I’m a big Whole Foods fan, and I’ve shopped there very economically. This is done by checking out their sales flyer and building my meal plans accordingly. Steak on sale? Great. Do it. Buy the fruits and veggies featured, since they’re normally in season and at a great price. I got amazing organic apples for $1.30 a pound this week and omg they are insanely good. 

I also bought pre-made Cajun crab cakes and a third pound of giant scallops, along with some vegan chocolate treats, the Enjoy Life Chocolare Chunks for when I finally make those damn chocolate chip cookies, and a bunch of other stuff. Can I just blame the bagger for packing so efficiently? He was a gem. 

The weekend ended up being too busy for cooking, so I have had the best Monday night dinner ever. 

I left work a bit early to avoid a repeat of Friday’s near two hour commute home, but mostly so I could hit the gym. I parked my pink clad behind in front of HGTV and The Pioneer Woman (treat. yo. self.) and planned out my dinner.  And can I also mention how much I love the scenic hikes available on treadmills these days? I select my speed and average incline and they do the rest. I’m obsessed and wish my time on the elliptical was so fun. 

Back at home, I wasn’t sure how long to cook the crab cakes, but it turns out a sear on each side in my cast iron skillet then oven finishing at 350 did the trick! 



For the scallops, I followed Guy’s guidance, so even though I couldn’t cook them in adouille sausage fat, I patted them dry as can be, seasoned and plunked them into my buttery spread-filled pan. 



Look at that sear! So crisp and delicious. Two minutes each side and they are perfect. 

I also tossed up a super sprout salad (thanks Whole Foods) and I have a very happy belly. Lunch for tomorrow, too, because there’s no way to physically eat two crab cakes. They’re six ounces each and woo. I’m stuffed. 



The white sauce is a jalapeño and horseradish tartar. The crab cake was so tasty I barely touched it, but it was definitely delicious.  I’m pretty sure it’s the gluten, and next time I should probably make my own gluten free version. My cheeks are already flush. 

Now where is that magical elf to wash my dishes?  Please?  Sigh. 



More Adventures in Cooking

Okay everyone, I’ve been slacking in the cooking department.  Bad, bad, Christina.  One of the terrible and awesome things about Trader Joe’s is all of the semi-homemade cooking it allows me to do, because who doesn’t like an extra serving of salt bloat?.  I’m still journaling every meal with MyNetDiary, and every day I get a little chiding for going over the recommended sodium levels.  Oops.  Hypertension is one of the 12 million health issues I DON’T have, but no one likes to feel like a water retaining sea cow, am I right?

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I’m determined to do better, though, and I’m excited to actually maybe bake a little this weekend.  I’ve been jonesing for the amazing chocolate chip cookies Mom created over Christmas, so while it’s not going to help me reduce the size of my ass, it’s probably the only thing to get me excited about being in the kitchen.

I did manage a couple things this week aside from my standard lazy meal of shredded chicken and black beans.  If you haven’t had the joy of shredded chicken, you absolutely should make it.  Dump chicken (frozen or fresh) into a crockpot, add a can of rotel for every pound of chicken and top it off with taco seasoning.  This time around I also dumped in some verde sauce, because tomatillos are delicious and I was short on rotel.  Set it to go on low overnight if you started with frozen chicken, and it will have practically shredded itself by the time you wake up.  A fork will finish it out, give it a stir, and you’ve got something easy and yummy 🙂

It’s good stuffed into a tortilla with cheese, lettuce and normal taco fixings, but it’s also good by itself.  I’ve been all over Trader Joe’s Organic Refried Black Beans with Jalapenos lately, so that’s how I’ve eaten it every day this week for lunch.  I miss tortillas and cheese sometimes, but avocado almost makes up for it.  Next time I make it, I’ll document with pics.  Promise.

So that’s the first thing I made.  Second up is a version of the Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai that Gluten Free Jess posted on her site.  Trader Joe’s didn’t have spaghetti squash, so I subbed in rice noodles, essentially just making Gluten Free Pad Thai.  All the delicious fattiness, none of the extra health benefits.  Look at her blog and pretend those are my pics instead of these half-ass, last minute snaps.  I couldn’t find fish sauce, either, so I subbed in a bit of Coconut Secret Soy Free Seasoning sauce, which is essentially just soy sauce for those of us that can’t actually eat anything.  

I busted out a knife and actually chopped green onions, cilantro and chicken!  I had to show proof of knife skills, limited though they are.  Once I got everything blended with the sauce, and added a ton of lime juice and cilantro, I had a big bowl of comfort food.  Rice noodles get insanely sticky, at least mine did, so I’m looking forward to trying it with either zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.  Yum.

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Yesterday was yet another snow day for Dallas, and I was thankful to have everything I needed to make chicken noodle soup.  Browned mirepoix with hot pepper olive oil, added broth, diced chicken, spices and rotel (live and die by it, seriously) and added the Trader Joe’s Brown Rice and Quinoa pasta.  It holds up so well and is the perfect gluten free noodle to use in sauces and soups.

Check, check, check!  This weekend I’ll knock out some zucchini noodle recipes and bake my cookies, and this time I’ll actually take some pics 🙂  How will I ever get a show on the Food Network like the Pioneer woman if I don’t document?  Surely the cookies have a better nutritional value than these Skittles I’ve been chomping on all week, too.  Damn you, Easter candy.

Cheers!