Happy Eating!

100 days is a long frigging time….if you count it in meals it’s….. 300! THREE HUNDRED MEALS.  From scratch.  So I thought I would post some of the winners that keep me out of hot water.  Obviously I use the Well Fed cookbooks a LOT.  Well Fed mayo, all the Well Fed spice mixes (jerk, ras el hanout, sausage seasoning, sunrise spice).  I didn’t link to all of them because they are in the books and not all available online. Buy the books, you won’t be sad!  When I want something different than the Well Fed recipes I turn to the internet.  And Ye Olde Internet has been darned good to me!!  I’ve listed out some of my winners….things I’ve found that are in The Permanent Rotation.

http://robbwolf.com/2013/01/06/ultimate-paleo-chili/  in my ongoing quest to find a decent bean-free chili, this one comes close. Still not QUITE the same….but it’s close.

http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2010/11/11/crazy-good-barbecued-pulled-pork/ we fought each other for the leftovers of this one. Ridic! Next time I will buy an even larger pork shoulder.

http://everydaypaleo/smokey-roast/ this is a perfect one for the crockpot on a dreary Sunday. Put in at breakfast time, eat amaaaaazing meat at dinner. VERY good flavour

http://tarable.blogspot.ca/2013/03/paleo-shake-n-bake-chicken.html  excellent spice mix. I did with pre-ground cashews so I just mixed all together in a bowl, dredged chicken in egg and then in the mix. I’ve done this using pecans before (as is stated in the recipe) and I preferred the pecans to the cashews.  Although the cashews were more convenient being pre-ground…but they didn’t crisp in the oven.

http://againstallgrain.com/2012/05/03/paleo-fish-tacos/  just the fish, not the tortillas and can’t speak for the toppings

http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2009/07/21/sunshine-sauce/ I fry ground pork and when it’s done, drown it in a whole batch of this sauce and then put it over whatever veggies you have (peppers, cabbages, green beans/snow peas is a good combo) that have been sautéed w/ ginger, garlic, sesame oil & sesame seeds. Instant creamy, comfort stirfry

http://paleomg.com/leftovers-curry-meatballs/ next time I would bake the meatballs in advance and then just rewarm them in the sauce. It was delicious but the basically raw meatballs disintegrated when the sauce came. Serve over shredded & sautéed cabbage or cauli rice/mash

http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2013/05/diy-homemade-taco-seasoning.html I add about 1-2 tbsp arrowroot powder when I make the spice mix for the thickening effect. Taco meat over a regular baked potato and then topped with avocado (bonus points for making avocado CREAM) is insane!

http://stupideasypaleo.com/2013/03/08/indian-pineapple-cauliflower-rice/ this is my hands down, high five, no contest winner in cauli rice recipes. ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE.

The recipes written out below are ones that I found some variation of online in my travels but which I have edited to suite our tastes and which are SO regular in The Permanent Rotation that I have them memorized.


Pork Burgers (8 good sized patties)

2# ground pork
2 tsp Franks Red Hot
2 tsp (or more) fresh minced ginger (get a micro plane, your life will never be the same!)
2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh, whatever)
4 green onions, sliced
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
2 eggs


Chicken Burgers (6-8 patties)

2# ground chicken
2 tsp garlic powder
Handful cilantro
Handful garden chives
½ small can waterchestnuts chopped up
Drizzle sesame oil
As much ginger as you want (I use a LOT)


Avocado Cream Sauce (that you probably have all the ingredients for in your kitchen!)
1 ripe avocado
2-3 tbsp lime juice (or the juice fm a fresh lime)
2+ tbsp coconut milk
Handful fresh cilantro
½ – 1 tbsp garlic powder

Buzz all ingredients in a magic bullet or similar. If it’s too thick to adequately buzz, thin with extra coconut milk.  Should taste limey, garlicky, cilantroey and salty all at the same time.  Spoon over foods with reckless abandon!

If you are going to buy or are thinking about getting the Well Fed cookbooks, our favourites are: salmon burgers, Pina Colada Chicken, Coconut Almond Green Beans, Eggplant Strata, Scotch Eggs, mayo, sunshine sauce, best ever stir fry sauce, best ever chicken (although the brining I can take or leave, doesn’t seem to matter).


Whole 30, Week One Recap

Week One Recap
I’m keeping my daily Whole30 log on the “Whole 30 Logging” tab above…or just click here:  https://fittyvsfatty.wordpress.com/whole-logging/

1 week down, overall feeling: not as awesome as I had hoped to be. Having done 6 days of Whole30 compliance near the end of August as a trial run, and had started to feel awesome (energy, sleep, mood) I was hoping for the same when I took on the real deal. Unfortunately I’ve had headaches, nausea, shitty sleep, low energy, bloating and fluctuating moods. I refuse to get discouraged because it’s only been the first week and that was a week coming off of holidays and heading into my period. So maybe, all things considered, it was alright!

Hardest aspect: I guess the hardest part right now is trying to stay in the moment and trust the process rather than projecting myself ahead and then getting upset that the changes that I want to see haven’t occurred yet.

Easiest aspect: completely surprising to me, but not snacking between meals has been the easiest thing and something I was pretty worried about going into this. If I stick to a proper template meal and drink a reasonable amount of water I don’t get hungry until the next meal. That has been really nice! I’ve had a couple days where I’ve chose to have a “mini-meal” that still fit the Whole30 template (Day 2 because my lunch wasn’t big enough and Day 7 where I probably could have just had some tea or water instead).

Most surprising discovery: I have been shocked in the last 7 days to find out how many times, when not on Whole30, that I would have put food or drink in my mouth mindlessly. It’s been a real awakening just how often I was using food as something other than fuel or nourishment. Boredom and wanting to distract myself or change my mood are the two main ones. I really, truly did not think that I would learn anything new about my psychological relationship with food during this process….and I’ve learned a big one in the first 7 days!

Food Summary
Eggs – 20
Bone Broth – 5.5L
Water – 9.5L
Veggies – cabbage, green beans, cucumbers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, mixed greens, swiss chard, beets, potatoes, carrots, onions, yellow beans, zucchini, sweet potato, mushrooms, fennel
Fruit – 7 prune plums, 5 apples, ½ peach
Fat – black olives, green olives, lard, mayo, olive oil
Protein – ground turkey, ground pork, chicken thighs, sockeye salmon fresh, salmon canned, eggs, ground beef

Skin, Hair, Nails: nails are awesome, skin is normal (for me) and hair is also awesome!
Energy: as noted above, not the gangbusters I was hoping for….but not hooooorible, either.
Mood: I would say over the last 7 days that my mood has fluctuated between irritable and kind of quiet. I won’t use the words “depressed”, “blue” or “bummed” because I wasn’t. Just….quiet.
Green Time: 238 minutes over 7 days…an average of 34 minutes/day. It’s mostly felt really good and I will continue that as we go. Fortunately it was gorgeous weather and that is about to end….but it’s fresh air even when it’s raining, so I’ll give it my best shot. I’ve really listened to myself for this green time as well….on lower energy days we go for a stroll and when I’ve got lots of energy we burn up the trails! The only requirement is to be outside moving around for 30 minutes or more.
Sleep/Sleep Habits: I’m patiently waiting for solid uninterrupted sleep followed by bushy-tailed wakeup. Hasn’t happened yet but I’m hopeful!
Digestion/Headaches: Blergh, I’ve had a couple headaches and a couple digestive horror shows. Hopefully this is coming to a close though!

Other Thoughts: Because I knew that my period was coming, I chose to include starchy carbs (beets, potatoes, yams) at least one meal per day in the first week. This might be why I haven’t had any huge cravings even though it’s pre-Alien week. I am going to scale those carbs back a wee bit though because past history has told me that I feel better with less of the roots. I’ll keep watch on my mood and energy though and will not feel badly about adding them back if needed. Plus, I finally figured out how to BAKE crispy yam fries this weekend and they were deeeelicious….so I definitely forsee those in our future!

Weekend of Nothingness

Happy Monday!  Well……it’s not that happy.  I had a terrible sleep last night, nightmare and then couldn’t fall back asleep.  And I really needed some good sleep because Saturday night I slept like crap also.  Gr.  I’m a champion sleeper so when it goes sideways, I haven’t got a clue how to deal.  But…I will “act as if” it is a Happy Monday and see if I can bring this day back from the brink.

Friday night Ray went for dinner with his mom and I stayed home and had Fridge Scrapings for dinner.  I sautéed a can of oysters, added an egg and scrambled it into the oysters and then dumped the last cup of zucchini soup in the pan until it was all heated through.  Had it with some leftover cut veggies.  I don’t often have to do Fridge Scrapings but when I do, I can get creative! It was actually really delicious and creamy and comforting.  That said, I’m not running out to make it again, LOL!


Zuke soup w/ a can of oysters and an egg scrambled into it. Oddly satisfying.

Zuke soup w/ a can of oysters and an egg scrambled into it. Oddly satisfying.


Saturday morning I had my follow up bike training (finally!) with my new bike (now named “Captain Jack” instead of “Jezebel”).  I did alright with the training; uturns and tight circles and uturns up and down a steep hill.  It was pretty good and I feel a lot more confident riding. But when it was over and I was riding home I felt really awful…..like my head was all fogged up and I felt sick and achy and exhausted.  I think it was probably a result of a lot of mental and physical effort and a big adrenaline hangover.  It’s hard work manipulating 950# around at slow speeds in technical maneuvers!  When I got home Ray took me for lunch and then I went for a nap….which is totally abnormal for me these days but sorely needed right then!  The rest of Saturday I spent in my pajamas watching PVR and baking banana bread while Ray went riding with his son.

Speaking of banana bread, I tried Civilized Caveman’s banana bread because I’d heard awesome things about it.  It’s…….a bit wet…….and not very banana-y.  As it’s getting older it’s getting better….but I’ll stick with my recipe that I love.  Anyway….when the loaf didn’t come out of the pan all the way (didn’t let it cool long enough), I scraped up the bits, threw some raspberries on top and then a drizzle of coconut milk.  THAT was amazing!


Now THIS was delicious!

Now THIS was delicious!


I think we watched a movie Saturday night and then went to bed at 10.  Sunday morning I tried to sleep in but Gracie had other plans and sat on my head, pawed at my face and swatted me in the ass until I got up.  I stayed in pajamas and did my weekly food prep while Ray and his daughter took the dogs for a walk.  While I was cooking chicken bewbs, slicing veggies and baking yams, I also undertook to stuff a pork loin with Apple Walnut Cranberry stuffing…………..so easy, so delicious and rather impressive looking!


Here's the trussed up meat package.  Regular sized pork loin STUFFED with apples, walnuts and cranberries!

Here’s the trussed up meat package. Regular sized pork loin STUFFED with apples, walnuts and cranberries!



Held together awesome and tasted amazing!

Held together awesome and tasted amazing!


And now…..here we are on Monday morning.  The hubby is working a bunch of overtime this week so I’ll have some alone time.  It’s also the first official week of my Night Run training. I did a route on Friday with Gracie but it was too warm for her and she was suffering halfway through so it became a walk home.  To be honest I was suffering a little more than I thought I would also!  Today I’ll take her for a walk after work, get a snack and then go for the prescribed session.

It’s 12 days until I get 9 whole days off and I cannot wait!

Hot, Sunny Weekend, Packed with People and Food

It seems that this weekend was all about food and visitors for us….some invited/wanted guests and others not so much.

Friday night I got home from work, put on a pot and a crock for bone broth (one chicken, one pork), roasted a chicken, boiled some eggs, made my dinner, made zucchini soup and weeded the front garden. I had so much energy, it was fantastic!  Saturday morning the excess energy continued and I got up at 6am and took Gracie on a 4.5km walk and then made breakfast and we went to our chiropractor appointment.

Zoodles, green beans, sweet onion, cilantro and cooked chicken, all sautéed together.

Zoodles, green beans, sweet onion, cilantro and cooked chicken, all sautéed together.

Since Ray was on call this weekend we couldn’t ride bikes or go anywhere so we headed home after the appointment and cleaned up the house for our (invited) visitors.  We had lunch (zuke soup w/ gluten free sausages and garden tomatoes) and then my mom, my sister and my mom’s cousin came over and spent a few hours chatting and hanging out.  When they left we wandered over to our neighbor’s house to check out their new boat and then came home and made The Best Dinner Ever.


Zucchini soup, peri-peri gluten free pork sausages that I bbq'd along with cherry tomatoes.

Zucchini soup, peri-peri gluten free pork sausages that I bbq’d along with cherry tomatoes.


FISH TACOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Honestly, they were so easy to make and if you were slightly more prepared than I was, they don’t take very long either.  The most time consuming aspect (15 minutes total) was making all the little tortillas to wrap them in…but those can be made well in advance and then you have about 15 minutes of prep for a tastebud extravaganza!


Fish Taco


I used this recipe for the actual fish: http://againstallgrain.com/2012/05/03/paleo-fish-tacos/

I used this recipe for the tortillas: http://stupideasypaleo.com/2013/08/23/simple-paleo-tortillas/

I made my own pico de gallo: chopped cherry tomatoes, small diced half a red onion, a handful of cilantro, garlic powder, salt and lime juice.  We used shredded purple cabbage as well.

For the Avocado Cream Sauce I used an Instagram post from ages ago (buzz all in magic bullet….use extra coconut milk if required to loosen it up…also, I used tonnes of cilantro!):

Buzz the ingredients in your magic bullet.  If no bullet, you can mash with a fork for a chunkier "sauce"

Buzz the ingredients in your magic bullet. If no bullet, you can mash with a fork for a chunkier “sauce”

               For the tortillas, I actually quadrupled the recipe to get 20 6” tortillas.  I used a shy quarter cup of batter and “rolled” it in the pan until the tortillas were 5-6” in diameter.  The tortillas hold up PERFECTLY, they don’t tear, they don’t seep, they aren’t eggy or soggy, they don’t stick together, they come out of the pan easily, they are easy to make and if you have leftovers, you can put in a Ziploc bag and the next day they are just as good as the first day!

I highly recommend making this…it’s easy, relatively fast, crazy fresh and flavourful.  It was a huge departure from what we normally eat and we’d never had fish tacos before so it’s possible that we are just ridiculously excited about something that other people eat all the time.  However, I have always been intimidated by making them and it turns out, unfounded!

Anyway, moving on.  Sunday we buzzed over to Ray’s work for a minute and then got an iced coffee for $1 and then came home to (our plan) hang out in the warm, just the two of us.  Ray popped over to our neighbor to drop something off for a minute and I was left alone in the shade with my feet up and my cold kombucha and my book…for about 3 minutes.  Just logn enough to take a deep relaxing breath and wish that a very distant friend lived closer so we could hang out.  As it was, 3 minutes into my relaxing, Ray came back home, pulled his bike out and the entire driveway was covered in bike parts, tools, rags and cardboard.  And then about 2 minutes later Kyle came over, dumped all his helmet, gloves, jacket, riding boots, backpack right on top of my little patio table, knocked over my rose plant that was sitting there and plonked his large sweaty self down beside me on my barely-big-enough-for-me rocking bench.  And then stayed….and stayed…..and stayed…….and I secretly texted Ray and told him not to offer him beer or a snack……but he just kept staying.  When he FINALLY left, I cleaned up my little retreat area to enjoy the last 45 minutes before it was time to go make dinner, turn around and there was our loud, chatty, never-leaves neighbor who stood in our driveway for an hour talking about who-knows-what.  After he’d stolen an hour, I decided that asking Ray to help bath Gracie in the front yard would be enough deterrent and sure enough, off he went.  At least Gracie got a bath out of the deal….and is now soft and smells like coconut!  No sooner did I have her dried off and Chatty Neighbor’s Chatty Wife is standing in our driveway. Honestly, 30 minutes in, I just said it was time to make dinner and went inside and she was STILL standing there talking.  From 2pm until 5pm….no peace, no quiet, no privacy, no relaxation.  Gr.

After dinner (bbq prime rib w/ bbq baked potato and bbq roasted carrots) we sat down for our nightly bone broth and I did my weekly bentonite clay mask.

Bentonite has amazing toxin-drawing properties!

Bentonite has amazing toxin-drawing properties!

I’ve been working very hard on clearing up my skin (keratosis pilaris) and the bentonite clay mask is just one small part of the equation.  I’ll put up a post on the rest of my routine a little later this week…..with before and after pictures that are decently impressive.

I’ll leave you with Super Yum Breakfast, sautéed red cabbage-cilantro-lime-juice topped w/ leftover fish-taco-fish, pico de gallo and avocado cream sauce.  It’s all gone now…..but we’ll be having the whole works again before the summer is over!  Excellent way to jazz up white fish!


Leftover taco-fish on sautéed purple cabbage with pico de gallo and leftover avocado sauce

Leftover taco-fish on sautéed purple cabbage with pico de gallo and leftover avocado sauce

Walkin’ my Path

Long live the Easter Bunny!  Mostly because he will not be appearing anywhere near our house!  Hop on by, you chocolaty devil, you.  Every Sunday when we go on our little mall date, Ray buys me one chocolate from Purdy’s.  I always get the dark chocolate Himalayan sea salt caramel.  Sometimes I think I would like something different but I feel like if what I get isn’t as good then I’m going to be disappointed and thinking about the stupid thing to distraction until the next Sunday!  I read somewhere today that going through a realistic imagining of eating a tempting item is enough for your brain to believe that you actually ate it and therefore you can stop jonesing for it.  Unfortunately in a different study, I read that if your imagination is vivid enough your body can have the same physiological reaction as if you actually consumed the item….right down to actually gaining weight.  So…..think about the item just vividly enough not to eat it but don’t think about it so vividly that you trick your body into reacting to it.  😉


I’ve been thinking about thinking quite a bit lately.  Mostly about how powerful the brain is and how, once you get a thought in there, it can be nearly impossible to rid yourself of it.  Self-fulfilling prophesy, anyone?  I’ve been trying to tell myself I’m happy here…where I’m expending as much time and effort as I have to expend while still balancing the rest of everything.  I think back on when I was the most successful and I came to that “most successful” place when I was single…when I lived alone during the week and I had nothing but time on my hands.  I continued along that path after I moved in with Ray because I was already on it.  I continued doing “things” whether it was walking, running, spinning or lifting.  I had enough foundation built that I could get away with not spending as much time on it as I did previously.  And….as time goes on and things happen, a little less time is spent on it.  And then…more time passes and more things happen and a little more time is chipped away.  And so it goes.  And as those bits of time are chipped away, my foundation was also being slowly chipped away.  And now I’m here…..and I think I’ll never get back there…..not because I’m negative or I don’t want to be there…but because I am not willing nor do I have the kind of time to expend on that goal.  Maybe if I wanted it badly enough I could do it again….it would certainly look different though.  It was 7 years ago.  And that was 7 years of life….ups, downs, coasting and working at it.  I don’t want to relive those 7 years.  I don’t want to try and force myself back into the life that got me to 165 pounds.  I’m sorry…I just don’t.  I want to live forward and new and fresh and if that means that all I can do is what I can do……then that brings me to wherever it brings me.  I welcome myself to that place….that place of balance and health and acceptance.


I’ve been having great enjoyment in logging walking kilometers this month.  The weather has been great for it and I love seeing my routes and totals start to line up.  I’m so fortunate that I have an endless variety of walkable routes and destinations right outside my door.  I can make innumerable combinations of hills, stairs, forests, urban trails or lovely manicured residential areas and quiet side streets.  I can’t say I’ve noticed any particular change in my body but I have noticed a huge improvement in my physical ability since April 1st.  The walk I did yesterday after work with Gracie was one I’d always wanted to try but was scared of/intimidated by (what I thought was) the huge hill right in the middle of the route.  Turned out to be nothing but a blip on the radar, all the kilometers I’ve put in walking home uphill from work conditioned me for that hill, I guess!

When Gracie and I got home from our walk, I sat in the driveway in the setting sun, chatting with my hubby until it was time to go and make dinner.  I made the Tod Mun Chicken Cakes from Well Fed 2 (processed the “batter” on the weekend so I just had to cook them) with the cucumber relish, a side salad and a lovely quartered tomato.  It was very refreshing and flavourful, definitely a winner!  The cucumber relish makes the cakes, don’t skip it!

Tod Mun

Today is a drive home day….I got quite the blister on my foot during our trek last night and thought I would give it a bit of a rest….and I’ve logged over 23 kilometers in the last 4 days so a rest seems like a nice thing to do.  I’ll still take my dog for a walk when I get home, just nothing epically long or hard.  That’s all for me…..to summarize: no chocolate, find happiness in where I am, loving walking, eating chicken cakes.  When I put it like that it seems really dull!

If you’re on MapMyRun and want to connect, my username is “ladyshanny”

All The Way To The End

It’s been snowing here for 50 hours straight.  It entirely depends on what elevation you live at and in what area because we have 11” of snow at home and down the hill, 3 miles away where I work, there is barely a skiff, you can still see grass!  We’ve had the snowplow in our cul-de-sac twice this weekend and I don’t think other municipalities have even taken their snow plows out of the garage!

 Snowy Walk

This weekend seemed really long, for some reason….like it was more than just two days.  Friday night I left work and went to get my hair cut.  I had intended on just getting a wee trim of the ends but when I got there I had a moment of insanity and told him he could cut it quite a bit shorter.  I absolutely love it!  I love the length and the cut and the way it feels. 

 New Hair

Saturday morning my sweet hubby dragged our sleep-disrupting dog out of the bedroom and closed the door and went about some of his own errands while I got to sleep in, it was blissful!  We did some errands and I did some cooking and there was napping and then we dolled up and went to a pub fundraiser for the Boxer Rescue that we’re a part of.  That was a really fun evening, crappy food, good wine and great company.  We would have liked to stay out later but the entire group of 50-odd people all packed up and went home early….because…..4am Gold Medal HOCKEY!!!!!!!!!!!  In British Columbia, if you wanted to watch the Gold Medal Game live, you had to get up at 4am!  We did just that and it was great!  Ray lit a fire (which we kept burning until 10pm last night, living room so toasty, rest of the house, SO COLD!) and we made coffees and I put together a new recipe that I like to call “Gold Medal Oven Pancake”.  It was super easy and SO delicious!  And, if you don’t drown it in maple syrup (ya right), it’s not awful for you but it is a higher calorie recipe so I would consider it a special occasion treat.  I’ve linked the picture below to the original recipe and I’ll also put it on the FEED ME page.  I highly recommend this one!

Gold Medal Pancake

A couple of other things that are on the go right now.  I have 5 days left to come in on the Century at my original goal of racking up 100 kilometers by March 1st.  5 Days left and 31 kilometers left.  If I’m going to be completely honest, when I originally decided to do this challenge I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d end up in the last week with a big push to finish.  I’m not sure why I thought that……because if it hadn’t been for my injury in early February, I would have been done by now.  I have to average 6.27 kilometers (3.9 miles) every day this week to have a shot at succeeding.  So what will I do?  I’m going for the big push and the successful finish! It will be hard to get there but I really have no reason why I can’t do it.  Between the gym and an evening dog walk each night, I’m determined to pile those kilometers on and finish what I started!


With only 4 days left in the month, I’m starting to tally up my February goals and results as well and see how things went.  I am VERY surprised by how much momentum I lost at the beginning of February.  Getting sidelined by injury/recovery really threw a wrench in my works in ways that I didn’t really see coming.  For instance…..we did not eat at the dinner table once last week.  Anyway….there were some successes and some flops…..I have a couple more days this month to work on getting some positives….but mostly I’m just really looking forward to a fresh March start!

As far as my previous post about groceries goes, I was really glad to read the comments and see that a few of you don’t budget for groceries because you enjoy what you eat too much.  We do as well and I tend to buy groceries based on what I feel like eating rather than what may be on sale however I felt that we had room to make an improvement on just how much we were spending.  I think I’ve done that really well between January and February and I hope to make another little dent between February and March.  One thing that I will not do though is compromise on what we eat.  I would like to reduce our grocery bill and if going a couple different places & planning our weekly menu based on the meat or veggies that are reduced pricing does that for me without too much hassle then I’d be crazy not to do it.  But I will not sacrifice our enjoyment, our health or our overall nutrition for the desire to knock a few bucks off our bill every month. Just wanted to clear that up. 

And finally…..if you made it this far into my post, that’s good…because you get to hear the happy news!  Ray’s daughter is expecting a baby in September and we are going to be grandparents!  His daughter and her husband have been trying for quite a while now and have suffered some loss along the way so we’re all very excited with this great news!  I’m sure, as things progress, that you’ll hear more about this….we’re so excited!

That’s it for me today, trying to stay warm, watching the snow fall and contemplating my walking route after work today to cram in the most kilometers possible!

Grocery Conundrum

Oh, grocery bill……how traumatic you are, some weeks.

If you’ve been reading lately you’ll know that in the last couple of months I’ve been trying to reduce our spending at Costco and Thrifty’s (the only two stores we shop at for groceries).  I’ve even gone so far as to start logging our receipts so that I can see exactly where, in our budget, the money goes.  I was just reading another blog post and the writer was having to defend her $600/month grocery budget to her readers because they all thought it was too high.  It’s her and her hubby and their small child.  She is gluten free but eats all the packaged gluten-free crap and he apparently eats quite a high volume of everything.  And they are vegetarians.

Our food budget for February is $185/week ($740 for the month) and I’m having a hard time coming in at or near that weekly budget.  (we’ve come in twice out of three weeks so far but I think next week is going to be over)

We don’t buy organic (unless it’s equivalent pricing), we buy the majority of our meat and veggies at Costco and just use Thrifty’s for the other stuff that we don’t need in huge bulk quantities.  Our Costco spending includes whatever gets purchased at Costco….so when we bought a set of queen sized bed sheets there the other week, that went against our grocery budget.  That’s probably not proper budgeting etiquette but I need to be spending a MAX of $185 between Costco & Thrifty’s….whatever that includes….toilet tissue, chicken, motor oil or almond butter.  Our alcohol purchases are not included in our grocery budget, that is included separately for each of us (ie, if you want alcohol, that comes out of your spending money).

I did a little assessment of the last two weeks of shopping to try and determine where that grocery money is going and I was absolutely shocked to find out that the overwhelming majority of our spending is on produce.  Fruits and veggies.

Feb 9

Feb 13

So on average, 40-50% of our grocery budget is produce and 25-35% of our grocery budget is protein.  Given this info it would seem that if a person wanted to reduce their grocery spending, they would have to find somewhere cheaper to buy produce.  I thought about that and how I should really be trying to hit a produce market once a week instead of Costco & Thrifty’s.  This could definitely help on the financial side but will seriously impact my convenience factor.  I make our menu on Wednesday afternoon and then make the two grocery lists, go to Costco on Thursday and Thrifty’s on Friday so that I can do the cooking on Saturday.  Unfortunately we don’t have a produce market near to us and I don’t have endless time during the week to be running around.  However….for the month of March, I will endeavor to hit up a produce market on Thursday evening before heading to Costco.  I’ll weigh the cost savings with the convenience aspect.  At the same time I’ll see if I can reduce our Costco visits to every two weeks instead of every week.

Maybe it seems silly to be fretting so much over where and when we shop for groceries…..but the only way to find a better way is to actually try different ways of doing things.  Maybe what we do now and how much we spend is as good as we can make it with the time and effort we have and how we choose to eat.  And maybe it’s not.  But there is only one way to find out!

Now, here’s where we get to the interactive part of the program.

  1.  How much do you spend on groceries every week? 
  2. How much does it work out to per person? 

In my house with two adult people, it works out to $92/week each.  That equals out to about $3.25/meal and less than 50 cents/snack… every meal contains protein, veggies and some fat.

  1. Do you think that you can or should do better?  How?

Oh, Yum!

It’s gloriously sunny here right now and is supposed to stay that way at least until I get to walk my dog through the park after work today, I’m so glad about that!  Yesterday was an absolutely wicked storm, winds so strong we had to lock the front door of our business unit….and sideways rain, that’s always so nice!  Not exactly stellar dog walking weather.

I created a recipe earlier this week that I thought some of you may be interested in.  I needed some carrots a couple of weeks ago and mentioned it while we were at Costco.  I was subsequently talked into buying a 10 pound bag of carrots and hadn’t really made a noticeable dent in them.  Cooked carrots only take you so far in life before you can’t stand them anymore.  While playing with my food processor this weekend I decided that the carrots would become infinitely more useful if I shredded them and then stored them in the fridge upstairs, ready to throw into whatever veggie I happened to be cooking.  They were shredded so uniformly and such a gorgeous bright orange that I was inspired to make carrot salad so as to appreciate their colour and texture.  The result was the best salad I’ve had in YEARS.  I’ve made it three times now, each time with about 4-5 cups of shredded carrots.  I’m in love.  If you can believe it, it’s carrot-salad-comfort-food.  Take a look:



4-5 cups shredded carrot (medium shred)

1 apple (small chop)

1.5 cups combined of blueberries, craisins, raisins or currants…any or all

1/3 to ½ cup WellFed Mayo

               Mix into the mayo, 1 tsp paprika (not smoked) and 1 tsp ginger (or more if you love ginger)

And for the topping that absolutely makes the whole thing?  Slowly toast sliced almonds in avocado oil (or fat of choice) in a frying pan on the stove.   While toasting, sprinkle with a teaspoon of dried ginger and a nice amount of rock salt and toss all in.  Toast until golden.   *toast slowly (medium low) or you risk burning the ginger

Mix the carrots and fruits in a large bowl.  Mix the spices into the mayo and then stir it into the carrots.  Serve out and then top with the warm (not hot) almonds.

I hope you love this salad, I personally need to stop making it.  It’s a bit high in carbs and it’s using up my mayo at an alarming rate.  But it is, oh so good!

In shampoo news, while I was really quite happy with my original shampoo recipe, I felt inclined to take it one step further and change the recipe, ultimately eliminating the castile soap.  The result was hair that looked like it had been washed in bacon fat.  It was awful….I kept blowdrying it thinking it was soaking wet….alas……it was not.  So gross.  So…..I immediately reverted back to commercial shampoo while plotting my next shampoo move.  I do have to say that I think my hair looked better with the first homemade shampoo than it does with the commercial shampoo so I’m going to make the original recipe again with a couple additions (more gelatin and some pure aloe vera).  I may, slowly over time, reduce the castile soap in each recipe until I get it to where I’m using the bare minimum required for my particular hair chemistry.  I also thought, that before I go back to homemade shampoo, I’m going to go and get my hair cut on Friday after work.  It’s in my February goals and it’s been 5 months (which is actually a record short time in between for me!) so it’s probably time.  For those of you who asked about the original recipe, I’ve listed it below:


¼ cup coconut milk, canned or homemade

¼ cup castile soap (like Dr Bronner….I used peppermint)

1 teaspoon avocado oil

1 tsp gelatin

Essential oils (optional and I did not use)


My revision is going to include less soap, a bit more gelatin and some aloe vera.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

That’s all for me today, a dog walk after work (4.8km, I think), Scotch Eggs for dinner and then it’s my TV night, looking forward to it!

Shampoo & Biscuits

Morning!  It’s a bright and sunny morning outside (albeit very cold) and I am overjoyed to be back at work this morning.  I’ve spent the last week being in a considerable amount of pain and I’m so glad to be well onto the road to recovery.  I have mostly full range of motion in my injured arm and now that I’m up and moving around, my aching back should start to ease as well (there’s only so much couch time a body can take!).  I’m so glad that it was a long weekend for us as well because I needed that one extra day to get mobile and get some things taken care of.

Saturday morning after a slow start, we bundled up and went for a walk by the river. It was beautiful and cold and we had a really nice time.  It wasn’t a super long walk but it was enough fresh air to rejuvenate us!

Frozen little creek

Frozen little creek

Slushy Fraser River

Slushy Fraser River


We stopped at a little boutique wine store on the way home and I spent a Christmas gift certificate and we got some instruction on how you cannot cellar white or rose wines, the fruit flavours don’t keep well.  So, after our chilly walk along the river, we went home and I took one of the many bottles of white wine out of my downstairs fridge, put my cozies on and proceeded to watch the Olympics and drink wine.  Too much wine.  SO much wine….for someone who has barely had two glasses in a row!  SO STUPID and I felt awful and sick and slept horribly and woke up and put this on Twitter:


SO STUPID.  Did I say that already?  Anyway, Sunday was pretty lowkey, did some cooking and had some company over for tea and then Monday was even lower key than Sunday.  All in all I’m very glad to be feeling more like myself again!  I get to hit the gym tomorrow and will spend some time today programming the rest of February for myself.  I’m also going to spend some tiem today reviewing my February goals in light of the last week and a bit and see what and how much I can salvage.

In completely different news, I made homemade shampoo last night and so far I love it!  It’s a combo of coconut milk (homemade or from the can), castille soap, avocado oil and gelatin and it gets followed with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse.  I’ll test run it for the rest of February and report back, but so far my hair has a nicer texture, is more manageable and is super shiny!  They say it can take some time for your hair to adjust to the new ‘poo so I’m not holding my breath on results just yet!

And finally, go check the “FEED ME” tab, I made biscuits (with three ingredients) on the weekend and they were really good!  They rival the best grain free “buns” I’ve ever made (Against All Grain Cashew Buns) but are quicker (these took about 10 minutes vs the AAG ones which were upwards of an hour) and MUCH cheaper (AAG cashew buns were almost $20 for 4).  I wouldn’t make them weekly (as much as I want to) but for stew night or chili night, they are really nice and quick and easy!


Enter February!

So February is underway, the sun is shining brilliantly and I’m ready to go.  I had an unexpected injury late last week that couched me for four days (dislocated shoulder from years ago acts up from time to time) but I’m a LOT better now.  Still a little tender but at least now I can comb my hair, LOL!

This past Saturday was February 1st and I took a well thought out break from a couple of my goals so that I could enjoy a little treat and not have to mark it down as a failure.  It seemed unreasonable to go from one month to the next without having a “break day” in between to have a sweet or buy a new nail polish.  So…I allowed February 1st to be a day that didn’t fall under the January goals or the February goals.  It just seemed like smart planning.  I’m planning March 1st to be off the grid as well!

On Saturday, after a treatment at the chiropractor (which hurt SO much at one point that I thought I was going to faint), we went for coffee and I had a delicious red tea latte (made with coconut milk) and a little gluten free sugar cookie with pink icing and little white sprinkles.  It was amazing and perfect and just what I needed!  Unfortunately, the sugar in that and the teeeeeensy bit of honey in my chia seed pudding awoke my treats dragon and I’ve been clawing around for the last two days searching for something……..something sweet, something to make it go away, something to munch on, just….something.  Not cool!  So now, four days into February, the banishment of treats or sweets begins anew.  I do not suffer at all with what I eat and often I will have a dessert planned (an orange or coconut chips or a kombucha) and I go days without having it because I’m full from dinner and just don’t need it.  I enjoyed the chocolate chia pudding parfait that I had over the weekend but I enjoyed that more on a strange emotional plane than a physical enjoyment one.  On Sunday morning, parked on the couch drinking our coffee and watching a dumb movie, we ate the rest of the raspberries and blueberries plain right out of their lit6tle clamshells and I enjoyed that more than the pudding parfait, go figure. 


Aside from recovering from my injury and doing some cooking on Saturday, we didn’t get up to much. My cooking “hour” has morphed into about a 3 hour time investment on Saturday and another hour on Sunday.  It’s a good chunk of time to devote to preparing food but my time investment during the week is reduced to about 10 minutes (not including heating/baking time) and that has created quite a bit more time for me each day which is so nice.  I make or prep all the ingredients for the breakfast we’ll eat all week as well as every dinner (we take leftovers for lunches).  I go as far as I can possibly go with each dish and then it all gets stored in the refrigerator downstairs with the weekly menu posted on the fridge upstairs.  I predetermine the menu before grocery shopping and that way I typically don’t buy anything that’s not on the plan to eat, thereby reducing waste. No baby cukes in the fridge rotting, no box of salad going slimy because it seemed like a good idea to buy it but it wasn’t anywhere on the menu.  Granted, the type of preparation that I rely on really screws me when I’m not feeling well or if we have plans or if something comes up…..but since I usually schedule in the cooking on Saturday afternoon, we can work around it.  It’s important to me to be prepared and organized and it would have to be something pretty remarkable going on to make me delay it.

Because I have no holidays this year to speak of, I have been “reserving” our Sundays for just the two of us. We typically go down to the mall and I’ll get a tea (gift card, doesn’t count in the no spending, ha!) and Ray will get a coffee and we’ll window shop for a bit and then carry on.  I hate the mall….but strangely I love our Sunday jaunts.  This past Sunday, as part of my goals for February, we went somewhere new for a walk with Gracie and had a blast.  We’d been there before but it’s a nice change of scenery instead of the forested park we walk around all the time by our house.  The weather was clear and crisp and gorgeous and Gracie ran around like a demon, she loved it!  We ended up walking 6.3 kilometers (3.9 miles) before heading home for a shower and some alone time.  It was a perfect Sunday and fully recharged me for this week ahead. 

photo 2

Right before she lost her mind and crashed right into me!

photo 1

So happy!

photo 3


photo 4

This is my favourite, she looks partially deranged!

photo 5

Ray said he watched her deke over to one side like she was going to go around me and then changed her mind and tried to go right through me!


My two favourite beasts.


This week:

  • Gym x 3
  • Dinner at the table x 3
  • No handheld technology after 6pm
  • Television-less Friday
  • Paint nails


Have a good one!