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:

I used this recipe for the 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


Practicing Balance

It’s been a few days since my last post and I’m happy to report that I’ve gained a pound and a half and gone to the gym twice.  OK, so I’m not technically “happy” about the gain, but normally, that gained pound and a half would send me into a spiral and an internal rage filled with mean words and hate-face.  I’m working very hard on not caring about it.  Because?  I didn’t do anything to deserve the gain except be a woman and get my period.

What I have done is gone to the gym twice for a total of 2,000 meters rowed and 4 miles run.  What I have done is eaten healthy, whole foods.  What I have done is gone outside and gone on a date and gone to bed early.

I was emailing with my sister last week and admitted that I have never had balance.  I’ve said I’ve had balance….but in reality I swing wildly from one side to the other.  No booze, no sugar, no starchy carbs, gym hard four times a week, long & fast dog walk every day.  And then, later, when that insanity wears off I swing wildly over to the other side and drink and eat chocolate and barely get off the couch.  And to be perfectly honest, regardless of which side the pendulum is on, I can’t say I have ever really been happy with myself.  When I’m on the “gym side” I never worked hard enough, never lifted heavy enough, never gave up enough enjoyment to get where I thought I wnted to be.  When I was on the “couch side”…well, you can imagine, I was berating myself for having fallen down.

So where do I want to be going forward?  I want to be at the gym a couple-three days a week, I want to sit on the sofa and watch my shows on a Saturday afternoon.  I want to drink a glass of nice red wine as many nights per week as I feel like (just for health-sake I will limit that to one glass per night) and on the days that I just don’t feel like wine, I’ll drink tea.  I want to make brownies and let Ray eat three quarters of them and take one in my lunch as a treat.  I want coconut macaroons in the freezer for the long, dark winter nights when we cuddle up on the couch and feel like a treat.  I want every meal I eat to be veggie-heavy because I feel better physically when I do that.  I want to try yoga.  I want to sleep in on Sunday mornings.  I want to ride my bicycle to work.  I want to sit on the couch on Friday night and listen to music and talk to my man.  I.  Want.  Balance.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who can walk their dog up to Starbucks and get a coffee and then walk back home.  Fortunately our home is about a mile and a half from a Starbucks, through a gorgeous forest.  Unfortunately, I always behave as though I’m on some sort of speed mission and when you always have to be walking at the max of your ability, it’s hard to sip a coffee.  I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that can go for a stroll.  Why must I always be running, in a rush, not able to enjoy the moment?  Because I have no balance.  Until now.

So….while it’s only been less than a week, I have been practicing my balance.  Yesterday we went to the chiropractor and then out for a coffee.  I had a red tea latte and a chocolate pecan tarte (grain free).  It was delicious….but so sweet that I stopped myself at the halfway mark and brought the other half home.  I’m eating it now with a coffee.  Today we walked our dog to the drug store and then came home and decorated the outside of our house for Christmas.  It was a tonne of work and between that and our walk, we spent most of the day outside.  Now, after doing some precooking as well as making dinner, I’m tanked out on the couch under the electric blanket (with the aforementioned piece of tarte and a coffee).

It feels good.  I feel good knowing that on Tuesday I’ll go back to the gym in the morning and it also feels good knowing I get to sleep until 6am tomorrow.  It feels good that I didn’t look at the clock or my iphone all day.  I feel good that I enjoy my new job and the people I work with.  I am happy that I’ve met the people that Ray works with and that they are all really nice, fun people.

I don’t know why I feel different.  Maybe it’s knowing that I’m going to treat myself nicely regardless of how far I run or how much I eat or what the scale says?  Maybe it’s knowing that I’m going to do the things that are right for my body and my health and my heart?

Maybe, a month before I turn 35, I’m figuring out one of the tricks of life.

Product Review!

About a month ago I solicited some samples of a fruit and veggie bar called “Rebar” to replace where I would normally eat a Larabar (*).  The company wasn’t able to provide samples because they don’t make sample sized bars but the owner offered me a reduced cost on a mixed box of full sized bars to try in exchange that I would tell you all what I thought about them!

The selection was 4 different Rebars, 4 different ElevateMe bars and 4 different gluten free quinoa based protein bars.  My honest overall opinion of the products?  I loved them all!  I had my favourites but they were all delicious!  High quality, basic ingredients (no long chemical names) formed into delicious tasting, convenient bars.  I will be ordering another mixed box, the only reason I haven’t yet is because I can’t decide what the mix should be!



My favourite was Seeds N Greens, mostly because I preferred the texture of that one over the others (the others were more of a….toffee texture and the Seeds N Greens was a bit more granola-bar-like.  As mentioned, the ingredients are all recognizable!

All Natural Dried Ingredients: 75.5% USDA Certified Organic*, MK Kosher Certified: Honey, Chicory Extract, Dry roasted soy nuts, *Sesame Seeds, *Sunflower Seeds, *Pumpkin Seeds, *Apples, *Carrots, *Spinach, *Alfalfa, *Cabbage, *Broccoli, *Kale, *Celery, *Rosehips, *Parsley, *Cauliflower, *Cucumber, *Beets, *Bell Peppers, *Collards, *Watercress, *Bokchoy, *Tomatoes, Fig paste, Lignamax (milled flax seed concentrate), *Hemp seed, Green Tea Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Plum/Pomegranate natural flavours.

I loved the Rebars all at a specific time and that was right after work but before having to go and walk my dog.  I don’t snack much and never really feel like I need to but when I’m on dog-walking duty after work, I’m hard pressed to get a good 4.5km in without a little snack.  The rebar is all ingredients that I would recognize and nothing junky or sugary so that I feel like I’m ruining my dinner.


Elevate Me

These are the ones that I was most excited to try!  They’re a fruit and nut bar so packed with all that goodness but then with the added bang of whey protein isolate!

Ingredients: whey protein isolate, dates, organic raisins, almonds, apples, cranberries (cranberries, sugar), organic coconut, organic fair trade cocoa.

I drink a whey protein isolate powder after every gym workout so although I wouldn’t consider it a natural product, it does have firm spot in my life.  For that reason I was excited to try a whole-foods bar that had it already added in!  The first one I tried (and the best one in my opinion) was the Cocoa Coconut Cluster.  I tried it after my mile-row-mile a couple of Saturdays ago.  I loved it and it got me from the gym, home and into the shower and through my getting ready and making my breakfast.  Since I exercise mostly on an empty stomach, anything that can get me to the meal following a workout is good in my books!  I did find that these are definitely a bit more dense than I was expecting so would definitely recommend drinking lots of water with it.  I was also completely exhausted after my workout and even the effort of chewing was asking a lot!  LOL!  I tried the other ones as time went on and I definitely would buy these again, they are a great quick meal (or large snack) that actually has nutritional benefits!



I’ll be honest and say I was a bit hesitant to try these as I do not consume grains.  Quinoa and rice are both grains and in general I do not do well with rice….digestively speaking.  However, in the interest of being open minded and having agreed to test and review, I tried these. 

Bar Ingredients: Raw whole grain organic quinoa, raw whole grain brown rice powder, raw whole grain millet powder, crispy rice, date paste, cranberries, unsulphured raisins, unsweetened coconut, unpasteurized honey, pure vanilla extract, black-strap molasses, grape seed oil, sea salt, kelp powder.

As you can see, the ingredient list is completely whole and recognizable and save for my personal preference of avoiding rice and quinoa, these are fantastic!  The chocolate peanut butter one was like eating fudge, it was SO GOOD!  My stomach doesn’t prefer rice though and that result was noticeable to me.  I have tested quinoa before and have been fine with it (besides my personal preference to avoid it) so I have to chalk it up to the rice ingredients.  Honestly though, the texture and taste was so off the charts good that I would probably include one or two of them in my mixed box as a delicious treat!

If you are choosey about what you put in your body but you also want taste and convenience to go along with nutrition, these products are something you may like to consider!  Plus, dealing with Kerry at Gr8 Foods was a pleasure and he’s reasonably local to me which feels great to support local small business!

You can go online to to check them out and view all their products and flavours!  Kerry is also available by phone at 877 468 2875. 

(*) I’ve chosen to avoid Larabar going forward due to some questionable practices on the part of General Mills which now owns the Larabar name.  Go here for further info:


She’s A Long One This Morning!

As I’ve written about, I took my measurements on January 1st and then stepped away from the scale which up until now has been completely unheard of for me.  You can go back a little ways to the beginning of January and read about the scale getting tossed and how I felt about it.  But let me tell you that it was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself.  No longer am I driven to pay homage to the finicky, narrow minded scale.  Now I just get to do things that feel good because I like them and they’re the right thing to do.  Now I get to eat nutritional foods that bring me enjoyment, health and that fuel hard work at the gym and in my regular life instead of worrying that the banana or the squash is going to drive the number upwards and psyche me out.  It’s all good, a huge relief.  You may think I’m nuts but I am as grateful for tossing the scale as I am every day for my decision 5 years ago to quit smoking.  It doesn’t feel good to be chained to anything whether it’s tobacco or a little blue glowing number every morning. 

I also really liked an idea that I’d had at the end of 2010 to be able to easily see my activity level.  All through 2011 I marked my gym dates and any significant walks down in my date book and then gave them a little green checkmark.  This year I decided I wanted to be able to more easily see my success snowballing week after week so in 2013 all my completed gym dates will be marked in the book and highlit in bright pink.  My main goal for January was to see lots of pink throughout the month.  So how successful was I?

There are 31 days in January and I “pinked” 10 of them!  I went from an exercise “dry spell” (aside from regular dog walking which, for the distance and speed we were going, doesn’t count) to pinking over 30% of a month!   My original goal was to “pink” more than 50% of the month but with our troubles with Snoopy and the fallout which came after, that just was not possible.

So what is the February plan?  Well let’s see.  I’ve pretty much baled on rowing on Monday mornings every day in January except one so that’s clearly a non-starter.  Jogging has been alright but not wonderful, I’ve only made it twice in January for the long indoor treadmill run although I have been jogging outside a very little bit.  Jogging I need to do something better about though because it goes with other things that I want to achieve.  So I’ll keep Saturdays for February….except for the first Saturday in February because I’ll be out of town having some very much needed downtime!  And I’ll definitely be keeping heavy lifting days on Tuesday & Thursday.  I would DEARLY love to add another day in there so I’m going to tentatively mark Wednesday in as a weights day as well.  That gives me heavy lifting on Tues, Wed & Thurs and jogging on Saturday.  I think that I should be alright with that for a month.  It plans in three down days, two of which are in a row.  So once again I’m going to set the goal for over 50% attendance at the gym over the month.   


I had the post above written out yesterday to publish this morning.  You’ll notice that the tone is somewhat energetic and zippy, forward moving and positive.  Unfortunately that’s not really how I’m feeling at all!

In truth?  I feel awful.  Something isn’t right and it seems to be getting worse each day.  Monday sucked, Tuesday was a little better, Wednesday started out alright and then tanked and today I just feel horrible.  I can’t even specifically describe what my problem is, I just don’t feel right.  Negative and hateful and sad and tired and a little depressed.  I’m foggy and overwhelmed and a bit numbed feeling.  It comes in waves and it’s kicking the crap out of me. 

I’ve always been a very perceptive person and while sometimes that’s a bit of a curse, in the case of figuring out your physiology, it’s a total blessing!  I can usually pinpoint what is causing me the issues and then make a change.  This time though, it’s like I’m trying to listen but with cotton in my ears.  The one thing that I do keep hearing over and over when I ask the “what is the matter with me?” question, is “CREATINE”. 

Part of my poor feeling has to do with the fact that I have become so bloated and uncomfortable in the last four days that I could cry.  My pants don’t fit, my ring doesn’t fit, I can SEE the water retention in every part of my body.  Creatine also can cause increased anxiety which I really don’t need ever, let alone right now.  I chose to take a buffered version of the supplement because everything pointed to it not having any of the side effects that creatine monohydrate can have, bloat, anxiety, cramping etc.  Having done further research yesterday and going away from the bodybuilding forums/websites and into the medical and scientific websites and plowing through all the jargon, it seems that there is no appreciable difference between the two in water gain, overall well feeling or muscle gain.  No appreciable difference.  Which means that the bloating and increased ill feeling that I’m having I am going to attribute to the new supplement and stop taking it immediately.  I have such a sensitive system, I can completely see my body not responding well to an additive that is supposed to make it do something outside of whatever is natural. 

I feel pissed off and annoyed that I thought I could give myself an edge to get better results faster.  Have I learned NOTHING from the last year of doing grain free and trying to get closer to a natural existence?  Obviously I needed to learn this lesson again.  I am good enough the way I am and if I want to make changes or improvements, the only thing that will get me there is dedication, hard work and time.  Creatine was supposed to cut down on the “time” portion a bit and enhance the “hard work” portion.  But it’s so not worth it.

Today is my one year anniversary of going grain free.  Today marks the spot in the road where a year ago I decided to go “against the grain” (haha) and do what my body was telling me that it needed.  I heard it loud and clear and went forward and I will never, ever look back.  The things that I have gained over this year are priceless to me, they’re my foundation and my propulsion forward.  I am so sorry though, that after a year of pretty much feeling great that today, on my anniversary date, I feel like such a bag of crap.  I guess what that tells me is that this is ongoing, a constant learning and adjusting experiment.  That nothing is ever static, things change and I have to change and learn and try with it. 

I realize this has been a really long post so if you’ve made it this far, congratulations!  There’s no prize here at the end, just me.  😉

Tomorrow after work we head out on our weekend away, pictures on Instagram (ladyshanny) and Twitter (@prettybikr).  I’m going to use this weekend away as a line in the sand.  I’m going to relax and enjoy and eat chips and drink wine and cherish my hubby.  I’m also going to drink lots of water and walk around and take a nap and eat healthy food.  It’s a 3.5 hour trip up that I’m going to use to flip my switch out of this month of heartache and struggle…and a 3.5 hour trip back that I’m going to use to center myself, clear my head and get back in my game!


Oh, what a wild couple of days it’s been!  Click HERE to go to the blog I share with my sister and you can read about Snoopy’s first couple of days.  There are a couple of pictures there as well.

One definite highlight of these past couple of days of being off work to help facilitate the new resident has been the glorious sunshine that we’ve been able to enjoy together.  We’ve walked 17 kilometers since Tuesday night, all the fresh air has felt great!  It’s really good that it’s nice outside too because Ray and I are feeling a little trapped at home right now.  We can’t leave the pets home alone yet which means that either we go out seperately or we stay home.  This morning we were all (dogs and people) laying on the couches depressed with the situation and sleepy from being stressed out and we decided that enough was enough.  Seriously, I know it’s only been a couple of days but our little happy world has been rattled more than we thought and it’s making everything seem hoardes worse!

We four went for our morning 5k and then showered and we threw the dogs in the car and thought, “Sink or swim, just don’t eat my steering wheel!”.  We successfully went for a coffee and then shopped at Costco and no leather was chewed and no fur flew.  Following Costco I was feeling pretty confident so I left Ray home alone and headed to the gym (4am on a day off just seemed cruel!) for Thursday’s workout.

I am SO glad that I waited until mid day to do it because I realized how little energy I have in my early morning workouts!  I felt light as a feather in the warmup jog today, even increasing incline and drilling up the speed.  During weight lifting I managed to add weight to all the movements and felt really strong!  I was consistent all the way through, even up to the final movement, planking.  I had been doing 3 x 45sec of plank but today I got it up to a minute each which is quite incredible!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do going forward, I can’t really get up any earlier to eat first, I already go to the gym in the middle of the night.  I’m going to try and find something fast digesting that isn’t too carby for fuel and see how that goes.  If you are a morning gym-goer, how do you fuel?

Anyway, I should get going & grab a shower while both dogs are sleeping…seperate couches but same room so that’s a huge improvement.

For my friends who happen to be grain free, I MADE BUNS LAST NIGHT!  Seriously, actual buns that will hold filling.  Hamburgers and fried egg sandwiches!  Go HERE to find the recipe!  They are very, VERY good!  A bit time consuming to make and dirties a few dishes, but the four buns you get from it are SO WORTH IT!   (the hamburger picture are the burgers that I originally read about on GirlMeetsPaleo.  They’re delicious burgers to begin with but the addition of the Bacon Balsamic Onion Jam that goes with them is really just killer!)

Egg Sandwich Hamburger

Merry Monday!

Crazy morning already!  I had a shitty sleep last night, tossed and turned and itched (winter dry skin, I hate you!) and then around 3am I swear I heard a prowler in our kitchen.  Since Ray is on graveyards and my dog is the biggest chicken ever, I had to go and reassure myself that it was nothing and headed out into the kitchen alone.  Obviously, it was nothing but I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I even dragged Grace up onto the bed to snuggle with but that still didn’t help.

So this morning I got up a bit earlier (I was awake anyway) because I had to grab some cash on my way to work for an appointment after work.  Unfortunately I encountered a questionable person at the bank.  The guy walked past me in my car, staring at me the whole time, hid around the corner and kept peeking to see if I was out of my car yet….then I opened my car door and slammed it shut and he came trotting out from around the corner….a little peeved that I’d fooled him….I drove away to him yelling and waving his fist at me.  So now I have to go on my lunch break to get cash.  Anyway, also this morning I was going to ship my dad’s parcel out only to find out that A) it’s going to cost me over $80 and that B) my credit card got declined.  Fortunately, it was just a stupid misunderstanding with the bank and things will be soon resolved, but it didn’t add to my happy morning feeling.  I guess I should be glad that it got declined though….because at the moment I was actually going to spend close to $100 to ship a box.  Stupid.  So, I will hump the box back out to my car tonight and go to the Greyhound station after dinner.

This weekend was alright, we stayed home for dinner on Friday night to save ourselves the money and to use up some salmon that was in the freezer.  Easy dinner and quite delicious.  Saturday morning I got up early and took my dog for a walk.  It’s one of the things I’d been looking forward to all week and I was very happy that the weather cooperated.  It was gorgeous and frosty and cold at 7am and I loved it!  We went into the trail and then instead of coming out on the road I took Grace across a sports field to see what she’d think of frosty grass.  She’s a dope and didn’t even notice.  We went to a Harley meeting afterwards and then out for a quick breakfast with another couple.  It was an impromptu thing that turned out really well!   Ray went back to bed for a few hours when we got home (stupid Graveyards!) and I got busy with some grain free Christmas baking.  Three recipes and all of them turned out pretty well.  The only flop was the actual dipping of the shortbread into the caramel…the caramel stayed so gooey that the cookies are impossible to do anything with.  The two smashing successes were the Chocolate Almond Cranberry Biscotti (dipped in more chocolate) and the Chocolate Pecan Caramel cookies.  Both First Place Winners!



After a post-baking sit-down with some rummy Almond Nog, we had a finger food dinner and then went downstairs to have our Wrapping Party.  Drinks, festive music and lots and lots of wrapping!  FIVE HOURS LATER, we came back upstairs where I fell into bed with aching legs & an aching back from 3 hours of baking followed by 5 hours of wrapping while standing on the tile floor downstairs.  Totally a fun day though!

Sunday morning I got up before everyone (yes, the dog stayed in bed with Ray) and had a coffee and read my book in the quiet.  Just me, the Christmas tree and my coffee and book.  Totally nice way to start the day!


Morning coffee alone!

Morning coffee alone!


We had a quick lunch at home and then went for groceries.  Lunch was a bit of a throw together, pre-grocery shop.  But, food is food and they were all delicious things, if a somewhat odd combo!

Chicken wings, a pepperoni stick, a cheese ball, avocado & apple w/ almond butter!

Chicken wings, a pepperoni stick, a cheese ball, avocado & apple w/ almond butter!

And, our weekend concluded with a huge baked ham (we’ll be eating ham for days if not weeks) and a short Christmas movie before Ray had to go to work.

Merry Monday, blog world, I’m off to drink some tea!


Sooo…I hit the gym this morning per my plan and I absolutely worked as hard as I could have.  There was absolutely nothing more I could have given and when I walked (staggered) away from the last two reps of the last set due to exhaustion, I didn’t have a shred of doubt that I’d pushed as hard as I could and that those last two reps were to be forever lost to me.  After work I took Grace for a 5.5km walk and came home absolutely soaked in sweat.  And I felt fantastic.

However……..niggling in the back of my head all day has been a common running tip, “Don’t come out of the gate too fast, you’ll burn out by halfway!”.  I had booked myself three workouts this week and in order to get them all in during the work week, I would have had to do two back to back mornings.  And something……..just didn’t feel right about it.  Don’t get me wrong, I could totally do it, I have before.  But my little inner voice has been saying no.  It really isn’t productive to force out a huge heavy-lifting session and then try to force out another one the very next morning.  I have felt so, SO good these last few weeks, easing in and building up slowly, moving purposely through a sensible plan, that driving myself forward with no regard to what my body is saying simply because I put a date on a mental schedule just feels so incredibly wrong!  No.  So I’ve moved it to Thursday morning and Saturday morning.  I’m normally not a fan of gymming during “normal hours”, but either I gym at 7am on Saturday or I do something that I know is not what’s right for me.

I realize that lots of people do back to back gym, many of the regulars that are there during my early AM workouts are there every single day. And they are doing the exact same thing (chronic cardio) and they look exactly the same (and in some cases worse) as they have for the last two years.   Me, I’m going with a less standardized approach and am actually going to listen to my body, scale back my enourmous drive for perfection and ultimately trade it in for a desire for success.  Sucess and perfection = two very different things!

Moving on, I’ve had a couple very successful grain free recipes this past week.  First was a grain free pizza crust that was so insanely delicious that I wanted to make the exact same thing for dinner every night this week.  It was so delicious with such a perfect texture that even Ray said he’d probably just go with that himself for next time (that’s saying something!).  I put marinara sauce instead of pizza sauce and then topped with fresh spinach, proscuitto, artichoke hearts and some goat cheese.  I did bake the crust a day ahead of time so I wanted wetter ingredients to breathe some moisture back into the crust.  Perhaps if I’d done it all on the same day, the spinach and runnier marinara would have sogged out the crust.  In this case though, it worked beautifully!

PIZZA! For the first time in 10+ months!

I also made a lasagna with zucchini noodles instead of pasta.  I know that’s been done before but my combo worked out so nicely, it was so meaty!  I used a pound of ground turkey, a pound and a half of ground beef, an entire container of 2% cottage cheese mixed with fresh sauteed spinach, one jar of acceptable marinara and a small can of tomato paste.  It has been a huge hit at our house this week, HUGE!  Also, the lasagna…HUGE!

The lasagna, pictured here with an 8-egg dill & shrimp omelette portioned out three ways and set over sauteed garlic baby zucchini for work breakfasts.

That’s it for me, I’m taking my muscle-sore body to bed to read a book for the 3 minutes I’ll have before my eyes close.

Thanks for reading!  I really appreciate everyone who comes by and takes a minute to read!  If you want to get premier crack at pics and tweets, you can click the Twitter link on the left.  On Instagram, I’m ladyshanny.

Camping Weekend

 Holy Moly!  It’s been a week since I’ve posted, that’s not normal!  Last week went by so fast that it was over and done with before I knew it and here we are already at Tuesday!

The most major thing that has happened since my last post is the infamous “potluck” camping trip.  You may think that I am exaggerating some portions of this recount….however I assure you, these people are inconsiderate and very rude to me.  SO much that Ray started getting his ire up and started shielding me by answering first or talking over them.  If you know Ray, you understand how out of the ordinary

  that is.

Friday I left work and spent TWO HOURS driving to the campsite.  Ray was there with Grace already and the first couple was also there.  Upon arrival I was starving, had to pee and was still dressed up in high heels and a short shirt-dress, sweating and exhausted.  I found our campsite, pulled in and parked

  my car.  I no sooner had the car door closed when my sweet Grace was on me with kisses and butt wiggles.  I had time to give her one kiss on the head and the woman in the first couple started snarking at me  “Your dog has food aggression and who knows what other issues.”.  I was so, SO offended.  We’ve had her for less than three months.  This other couple has a small yappy dog as well.  And this stupid woman, her and her dog being strangers to mine, chose to feed them treats at the same time….and Grace decided she wanted all the treats.  The woman kept on about how she was going to “figure out and work on Grace’s issues over the weekend” until I eventually hauled Grace and Ray into our motorhome and closed the door.  So….super start.

After I got changed I took Grace and went out to the group area and sat down and a little bit sort of apologized, indicating that no one likes to hear bad things about their baby, especially after having been in hot traffic for over two hours.  And so, everyone was happy again.  Temporarily.

 Couple Two arrived and we all had a couple drinks and then set out for the pub for dinner (a short walk away).  The pub was horrible, the food was disgusting and the service was atrocious.  Before we figured that out though, the waitress came and took our drink and menu orders. I was at the end and ordered last, softly asking the waitress to check a certain item to confirm that there was no wheat in it. She walked away to check and the lady from Couple Two loudly questioned what was going on.  Ray told her that the waitress was just checking something and again, she loudly questioned what.  At that time the waitress came back and shot down the ONE THING I might’ve been able to order.  I ended up ordering a shrimp cocktail with no cocktail sauce and a Caesar salad with no croutons.  Mrs Couple Two actually scoffed at me, told me not to take myself so seriously and then physically turned her back on me and blocked me from the other two people sitting on that side of the table.  We then sat at the table with empty drinks and no food for an HOUR.  When the food finally arrived I ate three limp prawns and a bite of a plate of mayonnaise masquerading as Caesar salad.  Disgusting.

I still made efforts to talk to people and there were a couple good

  conversations but I chose to go to bed when I was tired rather than push through tired and keep drinking around the campfire.  I was in bed at 9. 

Saturday morning we all had breakfast and coffee at our own campsites which was nice and then Couple One came and “collected” us for a group walk.  We thought we were actually going for a morning walk so we brought our dog.  In reality they wanted to go shopping in the little town so Ray and I stood on the sidewalk for an hour and a half while they went into Every Goddamn Store.  When we did break away from them for a m

 inute to go to the drugstore to buy sunscreen I had a text immediately asking where we were.  *sigh*

Upon arriving back at the campsite I took my towel and book and sunscreen and headed to the beach for some suntime.  It was gorgeous and hot and peaceful and the highlight of the weekend.  Ray came to get me after a couple hours.  They’d all sat around chatting and catching up (which I thought would be great for them since I got bored of talking about motorhomes and health issues in the first 5 minutes) while I was beaching.  Unfortunately my innocent little excursion was highly offensive to Mrs Couple Two who mused out loud about how when people get together for a weekend that she just assumed that they’ll spend that time catching up, not gallivanting around to suite their own fancy.  I was gone less than 2 hours.  *shakes head*

 After my little beach jaunt we sat around having drinks and snacks (none of which I could eat, but that’s alright) which prompted a discussion of how healthy rice is for you, how “they” say that whole grains are good for you so they must be and how broccoli & green beans are worse for your intestines than white flour.  Couple Two started espousing the value of soy and I had to bite my tongue.  Mr Couple Two then made a comment that “there’s a “pro camp” and a “con camp” to every food” which I agreed to and then asked if that was the case then why is it that what they believe to be true is valid and what I believe to be true is a load of shit and how come what I believe deserves to come under their scrutiny when I don’t ever comment on what they consume.

And that was the last I heard from them about anything food related for the rest of the weekend.

 It was a weekend that I do not care to repeat again anytime soon.  Unfortunately the overall bad feelings about the weekend was also impacted by my getting an extremely painful illness on Saturday morning that hasn’t gone away yet and actually caused me to miss a day of work yesterday.

On the bright side, there were a few magical moments of non-suckitude and I took pictures to prove it!


A sunny, sandy slice of paradise, hot enough out on Saturday afternoon that I laid there in my bikini & sweated for two hours!

Biggest marshmallow I’ve ever seen! And yes, I realize that mallows are made of corn starch and corn syrup….give a girl a break! 😉

These were the weirdest sparks, they were long and slow and loud!

I bought local pattypan squash at the farm market on Saturday and stuffed them with bacon & spinach on Sunday. They were so tasty and the salty bacon with the earthy-fresh squash was lovely!


Wow, Rude!

OK, grain free, primal, paleo community, I need some help.

I’ve chosen to go completely grain free for a number of reasons.  One reason is that certain grains hurt my stomach.  Not all of them, so if I really wanted to, I could simply eliminate wheat and brown rice.  But after the complete overhaul that was “grain free”, I chose to never add back any grains or legumes.  In 9 months I’ve eaten something with grain in it 3 times.  All three times I paid dearly but all three times had their own reasons for being completely worth the pain and illness afterwards.  I don’t drink beer anymore except on a special occasion and only if I don’t have to fit into pants or a skirt that aren’t stretchy within three days afterward.

I’ve never really had to defend myself from this choice, I’m very fortunate.  I know that others who go this route, especially if they choose to go even more restrictive for whatever reason, get a lot of flack and are made to feel stupid or uncomfortable or are made to doubt their choices by people who either don’t understand or who choose to get involved in something which Does Not Affect Them.

I’m now in a situation where I am going to have to stand up for the decision that I made for my life (and part of Ray’s) and be poked fun at, eye rolled and ultimately disrespected.  If you have never made the decision to go grain free (or vegan, same social obstacles) then you may think that what you eat shouldn’t be such a huge deal.  You would be absolutely correct however people; friends, relatives, acquaintances; all feel that they have the right to question, doubt and belittle the choice because they have no frame of reference and more than likely it makes them feel uncomfortable.

We’re going camping next weekend with some friends that Ray has had since before he and I got together.  We’re not going far, only about 40 minutes from home and there is only going to be one overnight.  Last night we got an email from one of the couples wanting to get a plan going as far as the meal the one night we’re there.  She said “potluck or joint menu, we’re good with either, thoughts?”.  I responded and said that due to dietary restrictions that some or all of us may have (they have cholesterol, egg and certain veggie issues) that it would be easier if each of the three couples just took care of their own meal and we all can eat together. 

The response I got put my teeth on edge.  “Perhaps you can put your “dietary restrictions” aside for the weekend.”.  I have not since responded.  The third couple sent an email confirming that the group consensus is a potluck and one is bringing pasta salad, one is bringing garlic bread and corn on the cob and they want to know what we’re bringing. 

My trouble is that I am about 20 years younger than all of them (if you’re new to my blog, Ray and I have an age difference) and while we have all gotten along fairly well, any concern, issue, annoyance, opinion, idea or thought that I have which they don’t agree with gets me a hypothetical head-pat and eyeball roll and then they all just steam roll over top and carry on.  As though I am just a dumb kid.

So now I don’t know what to do about this potluck thing.  I am not potlucking because it’s not fair (yes, I realize life isn’t fair but you should be able to manipulate your own life a little to make things work) that they bring food I can’t eat and that all I will end up eating is whatever I bring and that I also have to share it. 

The passive aggressive part of me wants to never respond and then when it comes down to that meal and I didn’t bring anything to “share” that I’m going to remind them that I already stated my position the first time, potluck does not work for me/us.

The more outwardly aggressive part of me wants to make a bacon, full fat mayonnaise, raw onion, avocado and walnut “salad” because those are all the ingredients that they can’t eat. 

And the really aggressive part of me wants to email them back and say simply, “While I appreciate where you’re going with this, my nutritional choices and issues do not turn off on weekends.  Potluck does not work for us.  Thanks.”

I’m really not sure where to go with this.  Obviously I don’t want to make waves, especially ones that ride over into the actual face-to-face weekend.  But I also am not willing to roll over on this.  If I send the third option above, they are all going to be annoyed and/or make me feel like an outsider when it comes to meal time.  And given that Alien will be with us on this camping weekend, I really am worried that I am going to defend myself loudly and in person if that should happen.

My other issue with the whole thing is….less intelligent….but I can almost guarantee that grain free/paleo/primal women may know what I’m referring to.  I don’t feel like I am skinny enough or lean enough or fit enough to visually defend my choice to not eat grains.  Even if someone has never heard of grain free, paleo or primal, if you’re doing something that is on the fringe of conventional wisdom, you will absolutely be judged first on what you look like.  It’s not right but it’s true.  If I said I was on an all chocolate cake diet and I was muscular and lean and completely devoid of excess body fat, people would sit up and take notice because clearly there’s something to this.  If I was on an all chocolate cake diet and I was flabby and pale and a tired looking, that would give them the ammunition they need in order to belittle the decision.

I’m not saying I’m flabby, pale or tired on grain free, not at all.  I look…..normal.  Not fitness or swimwear model, not stunningly athletic.  Just.  Normal.  It’s not sexy like a chocolate cake diet could be (meat, veg, fat…boring!), it’s complicated and too much work and people don’t get why you would go to so much effort just to look….normal. So they disregard (especially if they already see you as a child amongst adults) and disrespect.

So, what would you suggest?  How do I respond or do I even respond?

People Need Crackers!

A while ago we bought a trio of flavoured goat cheeses from Costco.  The flavours were Fig, Bruschetta and Herbs de Provence.  The fig one was the first to get opened and Ray enjoyed his spread on crackers while I tried dipping carrots into it, I tried spreading it on slices of farmer sausage and I tried eating it right off the little spreader knife.  None of those were a good fit and I decided right then that life needs crackers.  But since life doesn’t need grains, I needed to make my own crackers. 

Last night was my first try at cracker making and man alive, they turned out GREAT!  There are only four ingredients besides herbs and spices and they’re all normal ingredients.  Next time I would roll them out much thinner and bake them a little longer, but flavor and texture wise, they were absolutely fantastic!  I had to put them away and go to bed or I’d have eaten every single one of them!  I cannot wait to try them with a bit of creamy goat cheese spread on top this weekend!


Grain free Crack-ers

1 cup almond meal (very finely ground if you do it yourself)

¼ cup parmesan cheese

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp Italian Seasoning (or combo of basil, oregano, thyme, sage)

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp paprika

Salt & Pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 egg white

Mix the dry (except for the S & P) until well combined.  Add the olive oil and the egg white and mix (squish by hand) until you can squeeze it into a ball.

Spray two large pieces of parchment with oil.  Put dough ball between the sheets and roll out to quite thin.  You’ll probably have to try it first to see how thin, I made mine too thick although they were still good.Peel the top piece of parchment off carefully and slide the second piece of parchment with the dough onto a baking sheet.  Score with a knife or pizza wheel to your desired shape and then sprinkle with salt & pepper and pat that on gently so that it sticks.

Bake 350 for around 15 minutes, check after 12 minutes and watch closely, once they start browning they’ll go quickly.  You want them to become a nice, golden brown colour.  Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before breaking them apart.  Store airtight once cool!

Before the cracker making we had another adventure last night.  Grace had her first trip to an off leash dog park.  She started out pretty solid, was curious and respectful for the first few minutes. Then about 6 other dogs all showed up at the same time and that was too much for her.  She rolled an English bulldog and tried to beat up another little dog.  I had her lay down and watch for awhile after that before we left so that she left there on good terms.  I decided to try her walking off leash on the way home and it worked out fairly well!  It definitely helped that I had a handful of pork to keep her focus from wandering but even after the pork ran out she was still pretty good.  We walk her lots, usually 10km/day, but what she also needs is mental stimulation such as off leash walks and dog friends.  Everyone arrived home in one piece so I have to chalk the day up as a success!

Lots of fun stuff this long weekend for us.  We’re staying home but we have some cool plans.  Ray’s been on afternoon shift for three straight weeks so these three days off together will give us a chance to reconnect with each other and recharge our batteries.  Can’t wait!

Hope your long weekend is filled with relaxation and alcohol, I know mine will be!