We’ve been keeping to the paleo diet for the most part. We’re not super strict about it and if we certainly have indulged in off-plan foods. But for some unknown reason, I thought it would be fun to try to make paleo pancakes. I came across this recipe for “PB&J Pancakes” that looked really yummy. I mean, look at this lovely, enticing stack of goodness!

pbj-pancakes1Now, I should have known something was up when I tried to make the coconut butter for the topping the night before and it took like 20 times longer than the recipe said it would and never really turned out quite right. (And it’s a super complicated recipe: put coconut flakes in food processor for 8-10 minutes… )

But my experience making them was such a comedy of errors, I made a collage of it and put it on Instagram:

PaleoFail(Somehow, the hipster filters make the disastrous pancakes seem less painful.)

And yes, we finally put the batter on a cookie sheet and made them that way, which was the most successful outing of the various attempts. Even T, the pancake master, couldn’t get them to behave. The saddest part is that they smelled amazing and tasted pretty good (if you expand your definition of pancakes to be more like cookies… ) The stupid topping was way too thick for the delicate “pancakes”, so I definitely wouldn’t bother with it next time. On the whole, I’ve gotta say I think I’ll just stick to the real thing when I’m craving pancakes for breakfast…

Day 31: a look at the Whole30 experience


Well, we did it! 30 days of super-strict Paleo eating. And with the exception of a glass of wine at T’s work banquet last night, we didn’t have any known slip-ups/cheats. T lost 10.5 pounds, which is damned impressive in a month where neither of us felt like we were starving/dieting. (I mean, we ate bacon for gawds sake!) My own weight loss was less impressive at 4 pounds, but given how light my exercise schedule has been and the aforementioned bacon, I’m pleased with it. I’d like to lose another 7 before training ramps up in a few months,(Not so much for vanity, but lighter=better for running and bike riding) so we’ll see how it goes.

When you read about this challenge online, you see tons of stories and testimonials of people who felt crazy energetic and amazing. Neither T nor I experienced this level of “magic.”

What went well:

  • The low-level of daily stiffness in my achilles disappeared, despite running 4-5 days per week.
  • I can go 4-5 hours between meals and don’t have that crashy “hangry” feeling when I get hungry.
  • 30 days Diet Coke free, without any major cravings for it. We’re going to keep that rolling!
  • We ate a ton of veggies. I still can’t wrap my head around how many, but I am pretty excited about it.
  • I learned the simple joys of an evening cup of tea or kombucha out of a wine glass.
  • I made my own mayo! It wasn’t even that hard and tasted so much better than the store bought kind!
  • Good, solid sleep, only waking up the middle of the night to pee. Once we moderated our evening water consumption, that wasn’t an issue any more.

What could have gone better:

  • I got really tired of having meat in the morning. I really missed my morning smoothies. I’ll definitely add a few of those into the mix, making sure that there are lots of veggies in there and combining them with some eggs or protein.
  • We got the hang of it after a while, but it was exhausting to have to think about what is in our food all the time. It made going out to lunch with my officemates or going out to dinner a frustrating experience.
  • I never had the great all day energy. I still have the afternoon lulls (which are what usually drive the Diet Coke cravings, so I’ll have to keep an eye on that… )
  • I had a few episodes where any intensity in exercise made me dizzy and feel terrible. That might be lack of fitness, but I feel like it also had to be diet related.

Our next phase is to slowly introduce some of the eliminated elements back in with days of clean eating in between to see how our bodies react. We’re starting this process tomorrow with dairy. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. There is a part of me that’s scared I’m going to discover some terrible food sensitivity, especially gluten. The thought of not being able to eat T’s bagels or Delancey pizza fills my heart with dread, but we’ll see what happens. Once get through the various eliminated foods, we’ll figure out how we want to structure our diet moving forward. I definitely want to keep the amount of veggies in our diet and the three meals a day structure. I also want to keep our treats intentional. No more eating things “because they are there” or using food as a crutch. Overall, it was a cool experiment and I feel like I learned a great deal of useful info.

Halfway there


Sorry for the lack of blog posts, but there hasn’t been much to write about. We’re plugging along on the Whole 30 and for the most part it’s going well. It’s definitely an adjustment, but it’s really forced us out of our lazy meal planning rut. (It’s amazing how much motivating meal planning is when you can’t just order a pizza… ) I haven’t yet hit the amazing part where you have tons of energy and your body is a fat burning machine, but each day I feel a little better and more used to eating this way. I love all of the veggies and we found a really great Paleo cookbook that has given us some really fantastic dinners. (We made a pad thai out of it that we ended up making two days in a row, we liked it so much.)

I’ve been experimenting with a new approach to my running before real training starts up again and am trying to do 5 runs a week while keeping my heart rate under a certain number. At first, this was the world’s saddest run workout. As in, I’d run five steps, my stupid watch would chime at me that my heart rate was too high, I’d walk for a minute, repeat 4 million times while resisting urge to hurl stupid watch in the lake. Yesterday, I finally had a workout that was mostly running. (There are a million things that could have influenced this, including the new battery I put in the strap, but I am still going to call it a victory.) I was running slowly, but running all the same. The nice thing is that these workouts are so low impact that the frequency is not a problem at all.

The other big experiment this week was a TRX class. For those who are unfamiliar, TRX is this crazy system of straps that you can use your own body weight as resistance. I’d bought a Groupon for the classes at the place I go for physical therapy, so it’s a relatively cheap experiment. I didn’t love the instructor and feel like they could greatly benefit from a little 10 minute orientation for the newcomers in the group. (There was one point where we had to adjust the straps quickly between exercises and I couldn’t do it and was getting super frustrated.) But I definitely got a good workout and was very sore afterward. Hopefully, it will pay off with some good strength gains or six-pack abs or whatever the TRX infomercial promises… 😉

That’s all I’ve got. Hopefully, something blog worthy will happen that will spare you another boring post about what I’m eating and how my running is going. 😉

It’s a whole new year


First off, I’m thrilled to announce the arrival of M’s baby: little Rowan Caroline James Grumperson (last name changed to protect the innocent.) was born in the evening of 12/30/12. It was a long and difficult birth, but it sounds like M was a freakin’ rock star. (No surprise here!) I kicked off my New Years Eve plans with a visit to the happy family in the hospital. (I’m sorry that I don’t have pictures, the lighting of the room combined with my temperamental phone camera would not have done her justice. You’ll have to take my word for it that she’s adorable. (And I’m not a baby person, so that really says something!)

Then T & I went out for a little dinner date before we embark on a new challenge of our own. We’re tackling a Whole 30 Challenge for the month of January. They call it a “nutritional reset”, which I really like. The rules are pretty basic: no grains (including corn), sugar/alcohol, soy/vegetable oils and no dairy. You’re supposed to pair a palm-sized amount quality protein with a tablespoon or two of healthy fat and a ton of veggies. The goal is to eliminate things that cause inflammation in the body and cause insulin spikes. For folks with food allergies/sensitivities, you can figure out what foods are causing you issues. So, while M was having a baby, I was buying groceries and doing some freezer cooking to help keep us on track.

As we headed into the challenge, our refrigerator was out of control:

Fridge(And that’s the shelf ABOVE the very full produce drawer!)

Since we spent the last two weeks eating like we’re about to go on the Biggest Loser or something, (So many carbs! All washed down with wine or Diet Coke… ) I was worried that the first few days would be miserable. But except for a low-grade headache for the first day or two, it really hasn’t been that bad. We’d done really good meal planning this week, so we’ve been eating some really great food. I’ve been spamming Instagram with pictures of my lunch for the last two days:


Lunch2(I promise I’ll stop doing that… )

I’m sure we’ll move into the meltdown where the cravings for pizza/dessert/Diet Coke make me really cranky, but it’s feels really good to start the new year off this way. It’s so much better than our Clean diet experience in May, when I was trying to get training done while eliminating a bunch of stuff from our diets. This time I can be flexible with my exercise and workout when I feel up to it and chill out when I don’t. I’ll try not to bog this blog down in dietary musings, but if I do, I’ll try to pair them with cute pictures of Rowan or pet hijinks. Sound good?



Peachy keen


On our way back from Coeur d’Alene, I had us stop at a huge fruit stand along I-90 that I’ve seen a million times. (Thorpe fruit stand for the locals out there.) We’re usually in that “just want to get home” mode when we pass it (or nervous about impending pass traffic jams) and have never managed to stop. While there I scored a big box of peaches for 8.95. They were hard as rocks, so I put them in the basement with plans to can them over the weekend.

What I didn’t really think through was the volume:

The peaches covered my counter and were going to require quart jars, which don’t fit in my stockpot. So, after a quick internet search and a phone call to the local True Value, I was on my way to buy a proper canning pot. Which is HUMONGOUS!

(But it does make me feel like a legit canning goddess, so that’s something.)

Thankfully, T stepped in to help me peel and slice the peaches, or I might still be working on it. Together, we peeled, sliced, cooked and ladled peaches into jars. The end result was 10 jars of delicious looking peaches:

I’m really looking forward to having these over the winter to break up the apple/pear rut we frequently find ourselves in.


Yes, I can!


A while ago, I came across a Groupon for a beginners canning class at a place called Seattle Can Can. Ever since my wine jelly experiment, I’ve been wanting to learn more about canning, so this was a perfect opportunity. (Besides, I can never resist a good pun… ) I’d heard good things about the class from Jen & Bryan, so I was pretty excited to get my class scheduled. Even more motivating was the fact that last Friday T brought home this:

Yep, that’s a case of cherries. (Organic cherries at $1.99/lb, minus his discount. Um, yes please!)  Luckily, he’d given me a heads up about it, so I could order a more efficient cherry pitter:

I decided to freeze some of the cherries beforehand and took my new pitter for a test drive:

It’s unsettlingly like a slaughterhouse line (from what I’ve read). The poor cherries wait in the tray on the top before going into the chute and having a bolt punch the pit out. Combined with the cherry juice, it was looking very violent in my kitchen:

But it did pit a lot of cherries quite quickly and I was able to get a lot of them into the freezer, while still saving some fresh ones for a post-class canning project.

The class itself was really interesting. She had a lot of interesting history about canning. This is a mason jar from 1910, the lid is the same size as our modern day ones. How’s that for standardized?

She had some fun historical posters on the wall as well. This one was my favorite:

Naturally, I was super-hyped to try out the stuff I’d learned. So, when I got home, I talked T into going out to get some supplies with me by bribing him with lunch at a fancy hot dog place. (While I’d been learning about canning, T was running 13 miles in the heat. He wasn’t quite as energetic as I was. And listening to me jabber at him about canning probably wasn’t helping… Have I mentioned how happy I am with my decision to not train for a marathon this summer?)

(Dear lord, is she STILL talking about canning?)

I had to go out and do my run after we got home from the store and then it was time to get to work! I made some simple syrup and pitted some more cherries. (Love that new pitter!) Then I stuffed the cherries into some jars with the syrup and put them into the water to boil for 20 minutes. Then they had five minutes of cooling in the water:

I was very nervous that they weren’t going to seal correctly, since when I pulled them out the lids were still making the popping noise. I pushed on them and set then on a towel to cool. And crossed my fingers while watching TV on the couch…

Luckily, when I checked them a few hours later, all of the lids had sealed correctly. The next morning, I did a few more tests that I’d learned in the class to make sure they were really and truly sealed and they passed! I had four jars of canned cherries! Woo hoo! I’m excited about the possibilities for tomatoes and other summer fruit. It will be nice to be able to enjoy some variety in the winter. Not to mention having a plan of attack for the apple tree in our backyard that is about to explode with apples.

Summer rations


I know I’ve whined about our weather here in Seattle before, but it’s been a pretty craptacular spring. And summer isn’t looking much better. Day after day of gray, cloudy, depressing gloom. Every now and then, we’ll get a gorgeous sunny day (usually on a weekday, when I have to be inside a cubicle all day. Grrr!) but then it will be back to the grayness. But finally, the stars aligned and we had a gorgeous sunny weekend in the forecast.

T and I took advantage of the nice weather to do a bike ride up to Edmonds. It was T’s first time climbing the dreaded Shoreline climb (and he ended up doing it twice, because he came back to get me while I was wheezing in one of the cul-de-sacs and missed me.) It’s disgusting how well that boy climbs…

When we got back to our neighborhood, I had a few errands to take care of, so I bribed the boy with ice cream to walk with me. En route, we came across a bike crit (race for the non-cyclists) that we had no idea was going on. We stopped to watch the action for a little while. We got to see the women start their race:

Those girls are amazing (and fast!) Afterward, the boy started on his new experiment/hobby: coffee roasting. Using the $5 popcorn popper he found on Craigslist:

The best part is that his hobby justifies the pizza pan I haven’t been able to let of:

The fruits of his labor:

M & J were coming over for dinner and got to witness some of the coffee-roasting goodness. We had a great summery dinner: grilled chicken and corn on the cob, plus a salad made with lettuce from my little balcony garden. Followed by a strawberry cobbler that we got from a local place that makes everything with local, organic ingredients. And of course no evening would be complete without some Wally-snuggling…

When you pack this much summer into one day, it almost makes it okay that you only get one day’s worth of sunshine. Almost.

Garden party


I have a confession to make: I am terrible with plants. I’ve killed so many over the years, that I pretty much never expect anything when I buy plants. But that doesn’t stop me from trying. So, when I saw some beautiful herbs and tomato plants on sale at one of our local grocery store, I decided to give horticulture another try. So far, they are doing pretty well. (Except for the basil. I don’t know what it wants.) But the rest of them are happy:

I already need to re-pot two of the tomato plants and my cilantro is going crazy. It even had a guest over:

I definitely like being able to cut herbs from the balcony and it looks pretty having them out there. We’ll see how long it lasts…

Spring Cleaning


Back in January, I read an article in Outside magazine about this crazy detox diet called the Clean Program. Usually, things that involve the words “detox” or “toxins” or “cleanse” make me shudder, but the writer himself talked about entering into the experiment with the same amount of scorn and skepticism that I would have, so I put the book on my library hold list and actually read it. To my great surprise, I found it fairly compelling.

I’ll spare you all of the details behind it, as some of it is very hippie-dippy. The basic premise of the diet is to give your digestive system a break by eliminating everything that “taxes the system” (I warned you!) which includes just about everything: wheat, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, corn, soy, dairy, starches, some kinds of meat, eggs, and some fruits and veggies. You start with a sort-of prep phase where you just eat foods on the “approved” list, which is tough enough. Then you move to the full diet where you have a liquid breakfast and dinner and solid food lunch, with snacks as you need them.

With all of that, it might be surprising that such a thing would appeal to me. But after some of our terrible road trip food, I was having a really hard time getting back on track eating wise and doing a re-boot of our diet didn’t seem like such a bad thing. More surprising was T’s willingness to do it, but he felt like he needed a reset too.

So, for the last two weeks, we’ve been trying foods I never thought I’d ever buy (hemp protein powder anyone?) Breakfasts were mostly smoothies, beefed up with said protein powder and some ground flax seeds. We ate grains I’d never tried before (millet) and discovered the joys of almond butter on brown rice cakes and toasted “everything-free” bread. The only real challenge was the first weekend breakfast. We’d gotten in the habit of making a nice breakfast on the weekends and this just didn’t cut it:

(Those are vegan blackberry pancakes made with buckwheat flour.)

But for the most part, it wasn’t too bad. It definitely took some getting used to, but I’ve noticed a big shift in my eating habits. I don’t crave the junk food that I had been. I discovered the times where I eat when I’m bored rather than when I’m hungry. And I’ve gone two weeks without a Diet Coke, which might be a record for me. (I’m hoping to continue that streak, but the coffee is already back on the menu.) I’m planning to continue some aspects of the diet and keep the whole grains, veggies and lean meats as the foundation of my diet. We’re also going to keep some smoothie breakfasts in the rotation, as they were surprisingly filling and yummy. But not this weekend, I think we’re going back to our old tradition of yummy breakfasts. No more zombie pancakes allowed…

Experimental poultry


T’s dad gave us a turkey for Christmas (don’t ask) and with all of the freezer cooking, it had to be evicted from the freezer to make room for all of the other food. The nice thing about having to cook a turkey in February is that you are free to experiment with Mark Bittman’s 45 minute turkey recipe. If it’s Thanksgiving, you don’t feel quite as free to experiment.

The shorter cooking time of this recipe comes from the fact that you cut the turkey in half (warning: this is not for the faint of heart, it was DISGUSTING and I made T do it. But even hearing it was gross and traumatizing… ) The end result took a little longer than the promised 45 minutes (closer to 1:15) and it looks like a crime scene:

I will say it was pretty delicious and a lot faster than roasting a turkey the normal way. If I cooked it for Thanksgiving, I think I’d have to make some miniature crime scene tape and some mashed potato outlines or something. Have a “Film Noir” theme. Might be fun…