Happy 32nd, Mando!

You’ve still got that fabulous style — Love you, sister!

Central Park, 2009

Central Park, 2009

Speaking of New York, can we please make pizza soon?

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Whole30: The End

We called it off. Eli and I are done with our Whole30, err, maybe it was more like a Whole27. Either way, I’m happy to say we made it this far without killing each other. I mean, don’t all good relationships need a little wine now and then to take the edge off? Giving up alchohol is a good idea in therory, but let’s get serious, this girl needs her happy hour fix. When his parents offered us the last hard cider in the fridge last night, we could barely contain our giddiness. Diet? What diet? Of course we’ll share this delicously sweet yet tangy cider. THANK YOU!!!!!

The best part of this experience was all the cooking and drooling over recipes that sparked our foodie imaginations. And the absolute best was making a dish that was surely restaurant-quality, something we’ll make again and again. The coconut seafood stew, for example, will definitely go in our rotation. And so will this butternut squash rice. I made this for Megan tonight to pair with her slow-cooked mocha-rubbed pot roast, and it was just the best combo. So good, in fact, I’ll be eating it for breakfast tomorrow.

Spriralize your butternut:

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And then food process the noodles into a ricelike consistency.

Here’s my test run – rice sauteed in coconut oil with green onions, garlic, and s + p. Our finally product tonight was more risotto like, as I stirred in small, periodic splashes of chicken broth. I also added peas and shredded parmesan cheese (oh how I’ve missed the parm! And feta! And chevre!)

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Make this ASAP. You won’t miss the calories or carbs, I promise.

The Grateful Arpon is on hiatus for a few days while I get my wisdom teeth pulled and transition from the Whole30 diet to blender foods and pain pills. And I’d like to publicly thank my oral surgeon right now for giving me permission to drink wine during the Superbowl.

Go Broncos!

Days 25 + 26

The secret weapon to a Whole30 is coconut. We use coconut everything these days – from milk to cream to vinegar to unsweetened flakes – we’ll take it in any form. It provides the rich, creamy and sweet flavor we crave during this time of sacrifice [relatively speaking, of course].

A year and half ago I got Eli The River Cottage Guide Fish Book for his bithday. Not only does the book have gorgeous photography and fish preparation techniques, it features recipes. Last night we made a coconut seafood stew from the book; the results were restaurant-quality in taste, but Whole30 in nutrition. Can’t beat it.

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We followed the recipe but swapped their seafood suggestion with 2 bags of mixed seafood from Trader Joes. And we added a ton of veggies: mushrooms, broccoli, red pepper and carrot. Really, really easy for how profesh it turned out.

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Workout tonight: Bodypump
Workout tomorrow: Spin

Gonna step on the scale again tomorrow. FINGERS CROSSED. TOES CROSSED.

Day 23 + 24

Today has been exceptionally relaxing and sunny. After spin class this morning I putted around the house, watched Parenthood, worked leisurely on a project, and made spaghetti squash pizza bake for my babysitting date with these adorbs Littles.

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The hot dish wasn’t all that appealing to look at (spaghetti squash + mushrooms + eggs make brown), so I took a shot of my lunch salad instead.

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Excited for my day off from the gym tomorrow!

Days 21 + 22

Still cookin’ away over here, dreaming of the red wine and dark chocolate that is one week and one day away! Man the Whole30 flies by when you have wonderful people to cook with everyday. Last night Eli made Kobe beef and mushroom meatballs on top of bok choy stirfry. And to celebrate Ryan’s birthday today we’re making this tasty menu:

Chicken and zucchini kabobs
Mexicauli Rice
Crockpot Jambalya
Swiss Chard Fritters

Workout tonight: A new class I discovered that works on full body conditioning, joint strength and cardio + 20 minutes row machine
Workout tomorrow: Bodypump/Core class
Workout Saturday: Spin class
Sunday off

Days 19 + 20

**Exciting news from someone I deeply admire and am regularly inspired by — My sister Breezy is working on a Couch to 5K!! I wish I could join you, Sis, but know that I’m cheering you on from the comfort of my spin classes (where my ankles are safe and sound). I love you so much and am so proud of your committment to health!**

Last night Ty made the BEST oven fried sweet potatoes. Silly me forgot to photograph them, but they were deliciously coated in cumin and other savory spices. A perfect match to the simple taco salads we served them with.

And here’s today’s lunch: Spiralized sweet potato noodles sauteed in sesame and olive oils and fish sauce with a few slices of onion and chicken… and a handful of kale, because, well, kale goes in everything these days.

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Workout yesterday: 40 minutes recumbant bike and sit ups and push ups
Workout today: Spin class
Workout tomorrow: Bodypump

Weigh-in update: I’m not seeing the progress I was hoping for. Time to start counting calories. {Feel frusterated.}

Days 17 + 18: Camping and Dinner Club

Two challenges this weekend: A winter fishing/camping trip and Dinner Club.

To make up for the lack of wine, whiskey or marshmellows (staples in the woods, if you ask me), we brought chili, natural hotdogs and delicious breakfast fixings. Our first campsite of 2014:

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Morning treats and sunrise:

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As soon as we got home I got busy prepping for Dinner Club (Italian theme this month). Bacon wrapped dates and mushrooms:

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And Lindsay baked breadsticks that I enjoyed the lovely aroma of, but like Kellie’s homamade ravioli, had to say ‘no thank you’ to. I also brought a kale salad, a perfect base for Karen’s seared scallops.

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It kind of pained me to pass up dessert (it looked amazing – Cool Moon chocolate and hibiscus sorbets – OMGGGGGosh) but was distracted by the hilarious discussions of swimming pigs and R. Kelly. Dinner Club is the best, no matter what diet I’m on.

Day 16: Rice!

Late post but great food tip here…

Cauliflower rice: the answer to cutting carbs!

Now, this wasn’t my first-ever taste of the stuff; Mandy and Ryan introduced us last year in Minneapolis (and it was a delicious meeting). And for some reason it’s taken me this long to adopt. We ate it with pork chops and kale salad last night and couldn’t stop freaking out with excitement. Can’t wait to eat it under stir fry asap.

Eli’s Rice (he actually made it, not me):

Chop and then food process a head of cauliflower until it shows rice-like consistency.

Heat oil in pan and saute 1/2 chopped onion and 1/2 leak until golden

Add mushrooms (we used homegrown oysters!)

Add “rice” and season accordingly

Saute 7 minutes or so (or until it seems right to you)

So. Satisfying.

Day 15

Half way there! Although, I am getting quite used to this and don’t find myself counting down the days for any other reason than to post updates on the expereince. I feel most in control when I have leftover go-to chicken in the fridge, prepped and ready for salads when I’m on the road. The hardest part of this is being stuck out in the middle of nowhere (a frequent occurence) with nothing prepared to eat… chicken and greens and a lemon wedge travel well! And, because it’s delicious, I find I eat the same combo of foods when I’m home. Lunch today: stovetop chicken, zucchini noodles, kale and avocado in a meyer lemon sauce.

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Workout tonight: Spin class
Workout tomorrow night: Bodypump
Workout Saturday morning: Spin class

That’s my plan!

Day 14

The most boring menu yet: tuna kale salad for lunch, leftover soup for din.

Tonight our gal crew met for Ladies’ Night at a fried chicken/sushi joint. Nothing but water for me and tea for Mando. Going to bed feeling in control!

No workout today.