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 082017
 

Another week, another update.

Progress

I’ve been stuck for two weeks. I had gained a pound back and then sat there for two weeks. Part of that was hormonal. Part of it was probably carb-creep. I was doing ok on my calories most days but I was seeing several days a week with my carb count creeping higher and higher.

Weigh-in this morning was the same. Very disappointing.

Meals

Some snacks this week: plain Greek yogurt with raspberries; cottage cheese with pineapple; sugar snap peas; and smoked Gouda slices.

Some lunches this week: arugula salad with onions, cucumbers, carrots and leftover pork tenderloin slices; sauteed Brussels sprouts with a chili lime chicken burger; and meat and cheese rollups.

New favorite dessert: I saw a photo on a friend’s instagram and had to try it out. It was SO good! Some mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries) with 1/2 a serving of raw walnut pieces and some whipped cream. It’s low in carbs and not bad calories wise, it really satisfies my sugar cravings at night and is very filling, too!

New dinner recipe: spaghetti squash carbonara!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

From: http://annavocino.com/spaghetti-squash-carbonara/

Ingredients

  • •2 whole spaghetti squash
  • •Salt and pepper
  • •4 slices thick cut bacon, cut in half lengthwise, and then into ½” pieces
  • •1 tablespoon olive oil
  • •1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2 cloves, minced)
  • •1 egg and 3 egg yolks
  • •1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • •1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. 1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave each spaghetti squash for 2 minutes on high. Slice squash lengthwise in halves, then scrape out and discard seeds. Place squash halves face down on a roasting pan, and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until squash is soft. Remove from oven and use a fork to scrape the spaghetti strands out of the squash shell into a medium bowl, discard squash shells. Season spaghetti strands with salt and fresh pepper.
  2. 2.In a large, flat bottom sauté pan, heat olive oil, then fry up the bacon pieces until almost cooked through. Add minced garlic and cook additional 1-2 minutes. Add in spaghetti squash strands and toss with bacon and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. 3.In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together parmesan, egg, and egg yolks. When spaghetti squash mixture is nice and hot, turn off burner heat and immediately add in the parmesan egg mixture, tossing evenly. The heat from the spaghetti squash will cook the egg yolks into a smooth, creamy sauce as you mix in the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=52111

We made the spaghetti squash and opened a bottle of wine.

Michael halved the recipe (but added a little bit more bacon, of course!)

OH MY GOD! This dinner was SO good!!! We both LOVED it. We agreed that it was so good that we didn’t even notice that it wasn’t traditional pasta. It was creamy and garlicky and flavorful. I wanted to eat three more bowls of it.

This is a fabulous low carb option for dinner, especially when you are craving pasta. Definitely try this recipe!

Ok and moving on to the next topic: the endless saga of finding a low carb pizza option! This week? We tried almond flour pizza. I got a bag of almond flour at Trader Joe’s and we gave it a try Saturday night. We tried this recipe:

The Ultimate “Fat Head” Pizza Crust
 
Ingredients
  • For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (fresh is bestest)
  • 3 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • For topping:
  • Homemade pizza sauce (or store bought without sugar)
  • Your choice of meat, veg, cheese, etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Microwave the mozzarella and cream cheese in a large bowl until soft and pliable, about 30 seconds. Add egg, almond meal, oregano, and basil and blend well into a dough ball. Press into a circle or square shaped pizza on a parchment lined baking sheet sprayed with a thin coating of olive oil or coconut oil. Sprinkle garlic salt over surface of pizza crust. Pierce surface with fork to prevent rising of the crust while baking.
  2. Bake crust in oven for 8-10 mins. Pierce more holes with fork if bubbles form. Bake another 2-4 minutes if crust has not already browned. Do not over bake as it will dry out!
  3. Add your pizza sauce and toppings, pop back in oven for 4-5 more minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

It was pretty good! It was a little bit easier to get the parchment paper off this crust than the cauliflower crust. We both agreed it needed to be cooked a little bit longer, though.

Right before we put it in the oven:

We are going to cook it again and try and make it crispier next time. But it was pretty good! We agreed that this was better than the cauliflower pizza we tried, but mostly because we could never get it quite right! But… Michael and I are super happy that we can have two slices of “pizza” for less than 10 carbs!!!

This is definitely a win.

Cheat Meal

For this week’s cheat meal I had Mexican food! Damn it was good. 🙂 We went out to lunch at Iron Horse Mexican restaurant for Michael’s mom’s birthday. We’d both been craving Mexican food for awhile.

I got the lunch enchilada, shredded beef and cheese, with refried black beans and rice. Logan ate about half my beans and about 1/4 of the rice. 🙂

It was really, really good. I ended up having about 80 grams of carbs for lunch. Definitely a lot, but it was a cheat meal. The downside? After lunch I felt super sleepy. I just wanted to take a nap. Heavy food + carbs = sleepy time.