11 Years!

It’s hard to believe that we have been married eleven years! When we talk about our early years of marriage it’s such a different life than what we have now.

It’s funny because we’ve been talking to the kids more about some of our travels we did before they were born. Parker was asking about the Eiffel tower and if I had ever been.  Then we got on the subject of scuba diving, and we talked about submarines and helicopter rides that we did in Hawaii many moons ago. Things have changed over the years for sure!

We’ve definitely had some adventures, but have had some hardships as well. One thing remains true. Dan makes me a better person, and I love him more every year that we’re together.

One way we love to connect is travel. We love our kids, and we really enjoy going on trips with them, but there’s something about getting away without the kids that brings us right back to where we were early in our marriage. A time when we were more intentional with our time together, without the interruption of little ones needing our time and attention. This is what we did when we decided to go to Blue Ridge to stay for a few nights.

It was such a great getaway! Dan found this cute little log cabin (another reason why my husband is amazing) that was just perfect. Honestly, if you’re looking for a nice, affordable place to stay near downtown Blue Ridge, this is such a great place. It is a two bedroom overlooking a valley with a view (in the early spring at least), quiet and peaceful, with a great outdoor hot tub.  We were really impressed with the town of Blue Ridge. I had not been there in years, but the shopping was great there. We were very disappointed with downtown Helen last year, even though the place we stayed (Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa) was nice, the town itself left more to be desired. It was also nice not to have to rush in the morning to get to breakfast. We’ve felt the need to do this at previous B&B’s so we didn’t miss out on the food. With this cabin, we didn’t rush at all. We woke up slow and got to sleep in and it was heavenly! We’d definitely stay there again!

We found a fun trail on our way to Blue Ridge just outside the falls called Fall Creek Falls. It was absolutely beautiful and it had a rocky, mossy enchanted forest feel heading up to the falls. One nice bonus, the path was super quick and easy for a hiker of any skill level. We didn’t want a super long trail because we wanted to get to the cabin and clean up and head to town.

In town, we ate at several Restaurants. All of them were delicious!  My favorite was Harvest on Main. We got a table on their front porch during the day on Saturday for lunch, and they had great food! They menu was different without being too weird. I like weird, but Dan likes familiar! We actually ran into some good friends of ours as we were leaving the restaurant.  It was so fun to be in the exact same place at the same time so far from home! We welcomed the hello from them, and then enjoyed some nice shopping after.  I found myself some super comfortable italian leather shoes from a company called FLEXX and Dan found  a knife store, and git a survival-type collection that had been discontinued, so we were both happy campers. We really enjoyed each other’s company the entire day. It brought me back to being a newlywed!

 We also ate at Blue Ridge Brewery which was also nice, but we didn’t drink their beer, so we can’t really give a full review, although the food we got was tasty. Dan loved their pretzel. I got a blackened trout that was D-lish! We ate breakfast twice at Serenity Garden Cafe. Their food was good, but never had any fresh fruit, which I found pretty odd. I was doing the whole 30 at the time, and really wanted a fruit option. Their food wasn’t bad, the atmosphere could’ve been better, but not bad for a breakfast place.

For our Anniversary evening, we went to Cucina Rustica. It was a little outside of town, but a very nice upscale Italian Restaurant.  How we came to eat at this restaurant is kind-of a neat story. We met an elderly  couple on the streets of downtown Blue Ridge.  They were coming out of a restaurant and we were asking them about good places to eat around the area. We got to talking and come to find out he was Tom Ledford, the town’s county commissioner, and the person who helped get alcohol into the restaurants in Blue Ridge. It was a dry town for a long time! I had no idea that even existed, I mean, sure everywhere was dry back in the day, but this was recently, like within the last ten years. They said you were allowed to “brown bag” wine and bring into restaurants, but the restaurants couldn’t sell it.  So, he recommended his buddy’s place who helped him get elected to the board, and they were ultimately able to pass beer and wine.  I’m glad they recommended the place too, because it was very nice and the food was delicious. I got an appetizer of bacon wrapped lamb and a salad, Dan got a ravioli dish.  I indulged in wine and dessert since it was our anniversary and it was heavenly after over two and a half weeks of being good on the Whole 30! Dan also gave me the sweetest necklace for our anniversary. No hints at all, he picked this out on his own. I will certainly treasure it all the days!

Overall, it was such a nice time of bonding with my sweetie. I truly value our marriage, and I am so glad that God brought us together. He makes me so happy.

My Whole 30 Journey- Vlog

I decided I’d change up the blog a bit and do a vlog instead. I hope you enjoy!


Mentioned in the Vlog:
MyFitnessPal: myfitnesspal.com

Some foods I ate on Whole 30

Left to Right, top to bottom: Meatballs with spaghetti sauce and cucumber, tomato green leaf salad; Blackened Trout (restaurant) with asparagus; Ripe banana mash with almond butter and coconut flakes; shrimp with stir-fry veggies; mixed green salad with tomatoes and balsamic dressing, and grilled Cod; Smoked sockeye Salmon with spinach greens salad; Mixed greens salad with Turkey meat; cucumber, avocado and tomato salad.

Drinks: Mainly water with lemon, but also Lacroix was such a delicious treat! It is Whole 30 approved! I also enjoyed my morning cups of coffee, but with unsweetened coconut milk instead.  Surprisingly, I like it better!  I had quit sugar in my coffee years ago, so that wasn’t an issue for me. I’ve also gotten used to drinking unsweetened ice tea and it’s not so bad at all!

Here are two of my most favorite recipes that can be Whole 30 approved!

Easy Grilled Fish Fillet

( I used Wild Caught Cod fillets and the kids LOVE this)
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 fish packet • Points +: 5 pts • Smart Points: 3
Calories: 194 • Fat: 8 g • Carb: 3 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 27 g •Sugar: 0
Sodium: 61 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 73 mg

Ingredients:

4 porgy fillets, about 5 oz each
4 tsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
4 sprigs fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano)
1 lemon, sliced thin
4 large pieces heavy duty aluminum foil, about 18 to 20 inches long

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Place the fish in the center of the foil, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place a slice of lemon on top of each piece of fish, then a sprig of herbs on each. Fold up the edges so that it’s completely sealed and no steam will escape, creating a loose tent. Depending on the thickness of your fish, cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and cooked through. My porgy fillets took about 12 minutes.

Grilled Cod

Keto and Low Carb Creamy Shrimp and Bacon Skillet

( I do a variation of this without mushrooms, with coconut milk, and I add cascadian farms frozen broccoli and carrots to the skillet)

Ingredients
4 slices organic uncured bacon
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 oz smoked salmon
4 oz raw shelled shrimp (I used TJ’s Argentinian wild)
½ cup heavy whipping cream OR coconut cream for a dairy free option
1 pinch Celtic Sea Salt
freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Cut the bacon in 1 inch pieces
Start heating a cast iron skillet and place the bacon in it on a medium flame
When the bacon is cooked but not crispy, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes
Now add the smoked salmon cut in strips, cook for 2 to 3 minutes
Add the shimp and saute’ on a high flame for 2 minutes
Now add the cream and the salt, lower the flame and let cook for 1 minute, or until the cream reaches the desired thickness.
Serve immediately.

Creamy-Shrimp-and-Bacon-Skillet-by-The-Nourished-Caveman3

I also enjoyed  modifying regular meals like Spaghetti and meatballs, without the noodles, and baking bone-in chicken with compound butter under the skin with fresh herbs.  Also, Applegate has fantastic breakfast turkey sausage that has very few calories in the frozen section. It takes only minutes to warm up in a pan. For lunches I did a lot of leftovers from the night before. Whole 30 doesn’t have to mean spending all day in the kitchen! The two recipes above are super fast, and both are delicious!

A few more things that I forgot to mention in the video:

  1. It’s so amazing if you can find a friend or have someone partner with you on the journey. I had two friends Danielle and Ashley that were both doing the whole 30 around the same time as me and also a neighbor who had just finished. They have offered so much support and encouragement and that has been WONDERFUL to have!
  2. I forgot to mention in the video how eye opening it is that sugar is in EVERYTHING. It’s especially so in condiments and sauces. Many snack foods do as well. Even some seemingly healthy foods like nuts or seaweed strips sometimes have added sugar. Bottom line: READ INGREDIENT LIST
  3. I failed to mention that I lost weight during the Whole30. I’m sure you guys probably came to that conclusion watching the video, but I meant to say something about that. I have lost a total of 13lbs! I would’ve loved to have lost more, but I think that’s a pretty big accomplishment for such a short period of time. My work isn’t done either. I will continue to log calories and exercises in myfitnesspal until I reach my goal!
  4. In addition to the clean eating, adding meals to myfitnesspal and Whole30, I have also worked out diligently during the last month. I regularly go to Body Pump (a strength training class that uses a bar with weights) 3x a week, use the elliptical 2x a week, and go for 2 mile walks around the neighborhood 2-3x a week. I had a lot of energy to do so while eating on the Whole 30!

Here’s a not-so-great before (left) and after (right). I plan to continue my weight loss journey and have a better picture to show by the end of summer!

Mason turns Five!

We had such a great time celebrating our sweet boy! We had his party at a fun indoor trampoline park called Get Air. He and some of his best buddies; Allie S., Allie C., Alex, Kai, Noah and of corse Mason and Sienna enjoyed jumping and celebrating! He told me it was the best birthday party ever, which makes me feel like we’ve done a great job. Not just with selecting the party location, but with raising a kid who is appreciative and thankful to be celebrated.  He asked for a specific Lego City set that was an arctic mining station. He really enjoyed building it with the help of his brother, and has loved playing with it! We also got him some digging supplies since he’s such an outdoorsman and loves any reason to dig and explore in the woods!