May 092017
 

I wanted to share some photos of our recent yard makeover! I am ridiculously excited about it. Our yard is very big. It’s a great space for a dog to run around. The problem is that the upkeep is very hard. Every year we end up spending the entire summer working on battling the blackberry bushes and weeds and we barely make a dent in it. That’s no fun AND it means we have to make a decision every weekend–do we do responsible adult stuff or go for a hike and enjoy the summer?

So this year we decided it was time to bring in a professional. I got a name from a friend and Oscar came out and gave us a good quote. We hired him on the spot. Him and his crew came out and in one day they transformed our entire backyard!

I wanted to share the photos because I’m so excited about it! (And if you live in Portland and want Oscar’s info, message me!)

Before:

After:

They managed to get rid of all the ivy and blackberry bushes that were clogging up the fence and bushes (and edged the lawn).

And in the other corner of the yard, the blackberry bushes had completely taken over.

Before:

After:

NO BLACKBERRY BUSHES! Not a weed in sight! They trimmed the trees and bushes and it looks amazing! We were so happy with Oscar’s work. There is no way we could have even come close to making the yard look like they did.

The next weekend we had Johnson’s Bark come out and put down bark. We went with the dark Hemlock. About 5 years ago Michael had done it all himself and it was a back-breaking, multiple day effort on his part. This time? They used a giant hose to spray the bark around the yard.

After the bark dust:

How amazing does it look now? We LOVE it!! Our yard makeover in addition to have the deck rebuilt last year means we are going to spend a LOT of time outside in the yard this summer. I’d really like to get a firepit and spend as much time out there as possible.

The next thing to do: plant our veggie garden and some other plants in the yard. (I also still need to plant our living Christmas tree, ooops!) Then we are going to build a little rock path through the yard. We’re also talking about building a fire pit.

Well the weather has been kind of nice lately. Last night we sat outside on our new deck to eat dinner and enjoy our yard! Here’s the amazing recipe we used:

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: Between 450-600 depending on chicken size

From: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/7486821187/my-sisters-phenomenal-grilled-green-chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1¼ cups packed basil leaves
  • ¼ cup packed mint leaves
  • ¼ cup Red Boat fish sauce
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • zest from 1 lime
  • plenty ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice (or 1 teaspoon maple syrup if you’re not on a Whole30)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs

Instructions

  1. Make the marinade by blitzing the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime zest, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, and apple juice in a high powered blender until smooth.
  2. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. The marinade can be pretty salty, saltier than if the marinade is used as a sauce.
  3. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it.
  4. Store the chicken in the fridge and marinate for at least an hour and up to a day.
  5. When you're ready to cook the chicken, take it out of the fridge an hour before you're going to grill it. (If you are baking the chicken, roast on a wire rack for ~35-45 minutes at 400 F. Start with skin-side down, and flip skin-side up at the 20 minute mark.)
  6. Set the gas grill on high and after the chicken is placed on the grates, decrease the temperature immediately to low.
  7. Grill the chicken for approximately 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F), turning every 5-7 minutes. But be patient: Don’t go and flip the bird (legs, that is) before they naturally release from the grill surface – otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of tasty, crispy, marinated skin stuck on the grates!
  8. Serve the drumsticks with lime wedges.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=52086

It was so nice sitting outside on the deck in the warm, sunny evening.

I had a salad and a glass of wine. Logan was refusing to go to sleep (we really need to get some black-out curtains).

The chicken was really, really delicious! This recipe is a winner. Definitely recommend. 🙂

May 032017
 

Let’s talk goals for a minute.

I think I’ve been doing this new diet for a little over a month now. It seems to be working. I have hit some roadblocks here and there but then I’d correct the behavior and see a loss the next week. It was encouraging to see progress.

Since I’m not doing a super restrictive low-carb diet (20grams a day) it’s doable. I don’t feel like I am being really deprived of anything. I feel like I’m eating enough carbs in moderation that, for the most part, I don’t feel crazed. So I feel like I can keep going on this diet for awhile.

My goal is to lose more 3 pounds before we go on vacation at the end of May. We’re going to Bend and I want to be able to enjoy my favorite beer (Boneyard) in Bend without feeling like I’m doing major damage to my progress. (Of course, everything in moderation…)

My end goal for this diet is to get back to my pre-baby weight. I was 157 when I got pregnant. Still over my goal weight of 150 but I’d be really happy just to get back to 157 and then go from there.

Since I’m paying more attention to my macros these days, I had to go in and change the settings in MyFitnessPal. According to this source, the percentages should look like this for a normal diet:

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating within the following ranges:

Carbohydrates: 45-65% of calories

Fat: 20-35% of calories

Protein: 10-35% of calories

For about a month now, my percentages have been this:

My cheat meal this week ended up being on a Wednesday. My friend Star came over for lunch and brought Thai food! I was good for lunch and had the cashew chicken without the rice. It was delicious! But she left us some Thai veggies, curry sauce and rice for dinner and I decided that it would be better to eat the cheat meal (rice) Wednesday night instead of waiting two days for the weekend! It was so good, too. I did notice that I woke up the next morning feeling really hungry. I guess that’s from eating almost 200grams of carbs the day before…!

Progress

Recently I was able to wear a shirt that hasn’t fit in a very long time. Also, changed my belt to one hole tighter! My jeans are loose and falling down a bit. Those were nice NSVs!

Also, the swimsuit I’m wearing is starting to get uncomfortably too loose. It’s the swimsuit I wore when I was pregnant–from weeks 26 to like week 32. It’s an XL swimsuit. (After week 32 I had to switch to a two piece maternity suit.) I’m not quite ready for my pre-pregnancy swimsuit but it’s kinda nice that this one is getting too big now!

The scale is stuck, currently. So this week I reduced my calories to 1500 for a base, instead of 1600. We’ll see if that jump starts things again.

Challenges

I am surprised at how high in carbs tomatoes are. I wanted some tomato soup and it was almost as many carbs as rice! Then we were going to have spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and marinara sauce was like 20+ grams of carbs!! What the hell? I don’t get it.

So instead of marinara sauce, we used pesto, which was delicious with the spaghetti squash. In the past I would have been weary of pesto because it’s so high in calories—but I was more accepting of using it because the carbs were ridiculously low (like maybe 2 or 5 grams?).

Weekends tend to be harder for me to stay “on plan”…friends want to get together, Michael wants to get pizza…so having a cheat meal on the weekend is best. I did sort of have an extra cheat day over the weekend…We went out to lunch at the food carts as a family and I got lamb gyro. It was SO GOOD! And so much food. I ate the pita wrap (which was amazing) and honestly it wasn’t crazy in carbs like I was expecting.

That night it was also my book club meeting. We went to a Mexican restaurant instead of the usual wine bar we usually go to. I ordered smart though! I got a salad (and skipped the taco shell bowl) and it had shredded pork, pico de gallo, guacamole and some Mexican cheese crumbled on top.

The downside to the salad was the tortilla chips on top (yes I ate them) and I had one glass of wine with dinner. So I made good choices–and some not good choices, but I’m not beating myself up about it.

New This Week

Michael tried out a new breakfast one day. It was pretty good! I forgot to take a photo, but here is the recipe: PALEO SAUSAGE EGG “MCMUFFIN”. It was basically two eggs used as the “biscuit” and a piece of sausage in the middle.

We both liked it and it was very filling and satisfying and you almost didn’t notice that it didn’t have a biscuit. We both agreed the sausage patty was a little too thick. I think if he makes it again he’ll do it a little thinner. It was a nice change!