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coconut mango chicken lettuce wraps

The other night I came home from work and saw a magazine in the mailbox. I basically ran to see what it was, since I didn’t remember being subscribed to any magazines I hoped I was lucky enough to score someone else’s by mistake. (Is that bad?) Then I saw that it was Better Home and Garden remembered that my mom bought me a cook book for Christmas and with it came a free subscription to the magazine. Double score.

So I flipped through the magazine absent-mindedly while James was talking. As soon as I looked down, a recipe appeared as if fate stepped in. I’ve been talking about how I miss wrapping food in wraps and between pieces of bread, but I haven’t really attempted to fill that void. Then bam… a lettuce wrap recipe just for me. All we needed were two mangoes and two limes from the grocery store. It’s nice to finally be at a point where I have the right ingredients in the house, like cans of coconut milk, or seasonings, or simply a lot of chicken in the freezer for these exact occasions. I guess this is growing up.

The Coconut Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps were so good, we ate them all. It kind of sucked because I wanted them for leftovers at work. The next day James called me at work for the recipe. But I had stole the last mango, so he improvised. This time he added green and orange peppers, grapefruit and raspberries? Result? Amazing. I’m eating the leftovers at work as we speak. I suggest you personalize these wraps and I bet they will be just as good, if not better. You could add avocado, tomato, salad dressing, any type of pepper, even a different fruit? Let me know what you come up with.

I also want to say Happy St. Patrick’s day to all the irish folks out there and those who are just Irish for the day! My buddy at work is straight from Ireland, so we are listening to his homeland’s radio station music in our cube and he’s decked out in a dublin jersey. He’s a little sad that he’s not back home in Ireland with his family who are “already piss drunk” right now. But he made a joke that he had “whiskey in me milk and me cornflakes dis mornin”. Haha I wish you could hear it. At least we made up for it by having 2 guinness at lunch?

I realized this morning there are two things I have always struggled with, saving money and being eco friendly. For St. Patrick’s day I wanted to share ways that I’m going to try to “Go Green” and “Save Green”…

Here are my top 5 green strategies for this month:

1. Taking the bus to and from work. This is a good way to GO and SAVE green at the same time. I did it for the first time this morning and I loved it. I mean it was beautiful out so that probably had a lot to do with it, but just walking in the fresh air for at least 20 minutes, saving money on gas and parking, and making my carbon footprint a little less dense, gave a great start to my work day. The bus costs 2 dollars each way, if you don’t have a card. That’s 4 bucks a day. In April alone that would cost me 100 dollars. However, if I buy a monthly pass, that’s only 60 bucks.

2. Brew coffee at home. This is mostly a SAVE. I love coffee, but do I really want to worry about spending 2-3 bucks every time I want a cup? I started to fill my double-insulated coffee mug with hot coffee in the morning and it stays hot all day long. I have a Keurig so making coffee is really easy and it goes for about 7 bucks for 12 coffees. I know having keurig coffee is not as delicious or the best quality as most coffee you can find at a shop, but it works for me.

3. Bring a lunch. SAVE. The first few days I worked, I was really feeling the repercussions of not having a houseful of food during the day. I think I spent like 8 dollars on parking and 7 on lunch day one. So, I started just packing a banana, a nalgene of water, a container filled with nuts and raisins, and whatever we have leftover from dinner the night before. That fills me up fine. If I eat breakfast before I leave, then I have a morning snack a lunch and a 3pm snack.

4.  Closet reevaluation. SAVE. I’ve probably spent 3 billion dollars total on clothing in the past 10 years. I’m obsessed with shopping, new shoes, new shirts, new jewelry. I blame my mother for buying me everything I ever wanted growing up. But honestly, I can’t afford that lifestyle at all anymore. Especially on my own budget with bills and food and other things that come with growing up, clothing just has to take a backseat. This week, I’ve hunted in my closet of 4,000 shirts and pants and jewelry that I’ve probably worn 3 times and forgot about. I’ve put together outfits I’ve never worn before using old items and it feels like I have a new wardrobe. It’s like shopping, but way cheaper. Plus, there was a reason I bought the clothes in the first place, I liked them. So I’m going to make myself realize I still like them and get over my last season phobia. Today I wore my oldest pair of skinny jeans, a twice-worn grey shirt with a black zipper on the breast pocket, and a black Michael Stars vest that I bought about 2 years ago and forgot about. So fetch. (joke).

5. Reuse everything. GO. When I visited my sister in colorado probably less than a year ago, I noticed she had all these jars and old containers and plastic baggies and rubber bands in all her cabinets. Call me a snob but I was almost uncomfortable with all the reusing of old things. I am the BIGGEST waster. I do recycle, but I tend to just toss it in the recycling bin and feel like I did my part. Since moving into this apartment, with all the cooking and storing of food we do, I’ve been saving every elastic band, plastic container that is reusable and plastic bag. It has saved us so much on wasteful items like plastic baggies, twist ties and tupperware. I suggest if you have something from a grocery store that is not tampered with or completely unusable, save it. You never know when you’ll need to rubber band something.

 

 

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my healthy / f*** off scale

I try not to dwell on the foods that aren’t Paleo. But that doesn’t mean it works all the time. While there are about 50 foods I don’t eat anymore, there are still a handful of non-paleo items that I have not given up, nor do I intend to. Almost two years ago when I first heard about this lifestyle, my Crossfit coach, Vic, pointed me toward the blog Urban Gets Diesel. It was a no-nonsense “quit being a baby and stop eating crap already” kind of blog written by a Crossfit chick named Melissa. I loved it, but I still wasn’t convinced. It took a lot of trying and retrying, but I’d like to think that Vic as well as Melissa would be really proud of me if they saw how far I’ve come since summer ’09. Her blog has since been abandoned but Melissa still writes. She is now a writer for whole9life, a highly respected CrossFit blog. Okay, I had a point here. So, she came up with the healthy / f*ck off scale. It’s perfect, especially for me! Often times, when I’m reading health blogs, I can’t relate. I’m not perfect. I don’t run marathons and I still find it hard to give up quite a few things. Today, I suddenly remembered her scale and decided to create my own to give you a mental image of what goes on in my paleo-mind.

Let me break it down for you…

Up top, far from f*ck off, right next to healthy, you’ll find the foods that I am told are the healthiest for me. These are the foods I choose to eat, as often as I can. Not always because I necessarily love kale, almonds or beef, or that I even want to eat them some days, but because I want to nourish my body and feed it right.

Next, inching a little further from healthy and a little closer to f*ck off, are the items that many people (paleo people) disagree about in terms of nutrition. Some say that sweet potatoes are too starchy, that eggs have too much cholesterol and that smoothies are too high in sugar. Because I only eat about 3 eggs per week, one smoothie a week and sweet potatoes are usually something I enjoy once every two weeks, I don’t think I am in any real danger. I choose to eat these foods in moderation, while still trying to follow the Paleo lifestyle as well and as often as I can.

Finally, as far from healthy as paleo possible, you will find three of my guiltiest pleasures. I drink a cup (or two) of coffee per day. I drink wine (and vodka sodas) on weekends, and you can find me stealing chocolate from children most days. These are the items that, while some might shake their pretty little paleo heads at me, I feel that I would rather die than give them up. Dramatic? Yes. But I didn’t make this scale up. If you try to take my coffee in the morning, my drink on the weekend or my chocolate before bed, I will tell you to f*ck off. But I’ll flash a cute smile at the same time! Kind of like this one…

This was taken today, my first day at the new big girl job, and then sent to my mom because, well, we do stuff like that. That’s my cubicle and that’s Mark. He’s my new friend. He has an Irish accent.

As for dinner, we braised short ribs in red wine and I made sweet potato fries which is sort of how I got on this whole healthy/f*ck off rant in the first place. I wanted to post about them but I didn’t want to ignore the fact that I know a lot of paleo’s think they are non-paleo.

Goodnight everyone!

hostess with the mostest: paleo cupcakes

You’ve probably heard me talk about how different James and I are. Not from other couples, but from each other. It has a lot to do with how and where we were raised, at least that’s my theory. Even though we only grew up 3 years apart about an hour away from each other in good old Massachusetts, sometimes I feel like we come from different generations and coasts of the country.

Baby James

Baby Jenna

Seriously, every movie that is a “classic” in his eyes, I haven’t seen or heard of. I was too young for almost every tv show he talks about, and all the music I loved growing up, he thinks sucks. Frankly, it does suck, but I still love it because it brings back memories of being young and being with my friends and family. Moving in together has definitely been highlighting these differences. Like why he thinks hanging a wet towel over the door is dirty, but putting a wet towel on the bed is okay. It’s really easy to take things and people for granted when you are around them all the time. It’s easy to let things like towels and dishes and smelly gym bags be at the forefront of every conversation (or argument).

Then things happen, weekends or holidays or even 5 minute moments, and you look at the person next to you and all the crap that your tiny apartment can’t fit, doesn’t matter. You’re busy frosting cupcakes and you catch a glimpse of your boyfriend doing the twist in the dining room. Frankie Valli is playing on Pandora and there are 12 Paleo Cupcakes but only 10 fit nicely on the plate, so you each have one before bed and life. is. good.

The annual Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade was this weekend and our friends were coming around 9am for a pre-parade breakfast. James and I made scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, Paleo Pancakes, mimosas, picked up a box o’ joe from Dunkin Donuts and some Bailey’s Irish Cream! It was also one of my best friend, Katie’s birthday so I made her these delicious Paleo Cupcakes!! These were made with eggs, coconut flour, raw agave nectar, grapeseed oil, vanilla, sea salt and baking soda. No grains. No sugar. No dairy. They weren’t too sweet either. They were a little like frosted muffins. We all ate some with breakfast, then I packed them up in Tupperware and brought them to Newport and they were like little energy savers throughout the day. If someone was starting to fall behind, cupcake time!

I also made the frosting from scratch, as I’m sure I’ll have to for the rest of my paleo-life. I just used dairy-free dark chocolate chips, vanilla, raw agave nectar and grapeseed oil. Best frosting I’ve ever had!

I put the melted chocolate in the freezer to cool and thicken. I then poured it into my food processor and whipped it all up. I don’t have any fancy frosting tools, so I just used a wooden spatula and swirled the frosting on top and then did a little fancy spin at the end to make it look pretty.

A few coconut flakes sprinkled on top and they were ready to go. I made mine the night before and put them in a big baking dish that has a cover, lined em’ up in rows and put them in the fridge until morning.

Here are a few pictures from the parade, and by parade I mean 12 hours of bar hopping…

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I’m off to prepare for my first day of work tomorrow…. picking out my outfit and making a bagged lunch (paleo style)!

it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later

It’s so close to the weekend I can hardly stand it. If you’re reading this, it’s possibly Friday (yay), although I am writing this late on Thursday night. I just went to see The Adjustment Bureau with James. Is it me or does Matt Damon just keep getting sexier with age? I’m going to go ahead and answer that for you, it’s not just me, he’s sexy as hell. Something else that I find pretty hot would be buffalo chicken. When it comes to buffalo chicken, you can basically dip plain chicken thighs, breasts or wings right in hot sauce, and you’re done. But I love breaded buffalo chicken tenders! They are probably one of my guiltiest pleasures. The fact that we were able to make Buffalo Chicken Tenders with Paleo Breadcrumbs and not notice any difference taste-wise makes one very happy Jenna!

If you are reading this and it is Friday, you might remember that it is my last day with G&G. Am I going to cry? Yup. In front of them? Nope. Some people reading this might be thinking A: How are you this upset about leaving a nannying job? and B: It’s not like you’ll never see them again.

I know, I know. But really, you don’t understand and I don’t expect you to. Let me bring you back to June 2010 for a moment. While everyone I knew was moving back to their hometowns with their childhood bedrooms and friends and families, I moved further from my comfort zone. I literally moved to this city weeks after college graduation knowing one person: James. It was my first time moving in with a boy, my first time having literally not one friend within an hour of me, plus my family was over an hour away. I had just graduated college and said goodbye to all my school friends. My life was completely flipped upside down. And I think, actually I know I cried the first 2 weeks.

But then, there were these two little people who couldn’t even reach the tops of tables yet. Gabe couldn’t talk and Grace couldn’t spell. I’ve nannied many times and I’ve watched some of the most awesome kids ever, but I guess I’ve never nannied this long, with kids this young, who grew so much right in front of me. That home has been my home for the past 10 months. Those kids have been like a little sister and brother to me. Their parents have given me a place to sleep when I was stuck there, food from their garden, filled my tires with air throughout the winter, lent me books to read, lent me their cars and trusted me with their awesome kids. Living away from home and friends and family is probably the hardest thing in a city you don’t know, but looking back, I was never really that far from those things. So, yes, tomorrow when I take their car seats out of my backseat and drive back to my apartment, it is going to break my heart. Because I’m not just leaving a job, I’m leaving a home and a family and two best friends.

Since Grace and I love Taylor Swift, and this song has reminded me of them since the first time I heard it, I put together this little slideshow. Don’t cry! I’ll be doing enough of that…

nutritionally speaking

I’d love to just blog about food and babies and post pretty photos for the rest of my blog-life. I’m sure a lot of you wouldn’t mind that either. However, I feel like I owe it to some, if not all, of my readers to divulge a little more about the Paleo lifestyle. At least once a month, I hope to offer some information I have discovered, or delve into a topic that is of Paleo importance. I’ve been doing my best to live the Paleo(lithic) lifestyle for oh, let me count… 39 days?? and I am still a little caught off guard when someone asks me “What’s wrong with eating grains?” … “Even whole grains?” and other related questions. I should probably be prepared with a scientifically supported response the next time this happens. Instead of saying, “They’re bad for you”.

While James has started and finished Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution (I’m really proud, he never finishes books), I have had a hard time making myself read it.

What I do know, is from the nights James would read aloud before bed. Nothing like trying to fall asleep to the sound of your boyfriend’s thick boston accent reading words he can’t pronounce. I know our genetic make-up has only changed .01 percent since the Paleolithic period. During that time, our ancestors were not exposed to agriculture. No grains, no dairy, no sugar, no legumes, no starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. Nothing was processed. And you know what else there was not? Diabetes. Obesity. Auto-immune diseases. I don’t know, something to think about perhaps? If 99.9% of our genetic make-up is the same as our predecessors, then why are there ads in every health magazine, on every television station, claiming that Americans aren’t getting their recommended amount of whole grains? Who decided we need whole grains at all?

The Paleo Food Pyramid looks something like this:

Here is the USDA Food Pyramid:

You’ll notice the base of the USDA food pyramid is made up of bread, cereal, rice and pasta, and that same food group is completely eliminated from the Paleo pyramid. Odd, isn’t it? I mean the national resource for nutritional information is claiming that we need six to eleven servings of something that scientists, anthropologists and biochemists have found to be not only unnecessary, but actually harmful to our bodies.

There is so much in The Paleo Solution about these harmful effects. So, I decided to take the book piece by piece. I’ll look at specific chapters, instead of reading the book cover to cover. While I learn, you’ll learn. Fun, huh? Wolf uses several scientific explanations, terms and scenarios throughout the book to give an idea of just how detrimental grains are to the human body. But luckily for me, and for you, he recaps many of his long-winded chapters and I’m going to re-recap one for you! He writes,

Here is a recap of how grains cause malabsorption issues and how that affects our health and well-being:

1. Damage to the gut lining. If the gut is damaged, you do not absorb nutrients…be they protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins or minerals.

2. Damage to the gall bladder and bile production. If you do not absorb fats and fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, K and other nutrients, you will have problems utilizing any minerals you do absorb, to say nothing of the nutrient deficiencies from inadequate essential fats.

3. Phytates tightly bind to metal ions and make them unavailable for absorption. analytical chemists actually use purified phytates in experiments where it is necessary to quantify the amounts of metal ions like calcium, zinc or iron in a sample because the phytates bind to these metals tighter than just about any other molecule. The same thing happens when you eat phytates, and this is not good for bone health or iron status.

*Previously, Wolf writes that phytates are antinutrients. They are important to seeds and grains because they lend to the development and growth. When we eat phytates, they bind to the nutrients in our body and make calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc unavailable for absorption. This development in agriculture is the cause behind our Neolithic ancestors losing an average of 6 inches in height vs. our Paleolithic ancestors who lived before the Neolithic diet of grains and legumes. Okay, back to the list.

4. Opens the door for autoimmunity and cancer. Once the gut lining is damaged, we are at exceptionally high risk of autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and several types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The pancreas is assailed by grain-induced inflammation due to CCK problems and elevated insulin levels. This inflammation is a potential cause of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis.

Here is a short list of the problems associated with leaky gut and the autoimmune response:

  • Infertility
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Vitiligo
  • Narcolepsy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Huntington’s
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Porphyria

Alright, I’m finished for tonight and I must say I’m glad I read it. What I can say is this: that was only 2 pages of information. It took about 6 minutes to read, 10 minutes to relay, and it has changed the way I look at grains forever. The good news is, following this way of eating not only prevents these diseases, but has actually reversed them. Impressive.

I know tonight’s post strayed from my usual blog format, but I do think it’s important to be informative as well as entertaining, even if I’m just informing/entertaining myself (and my mom, aunt and 4 friends)! Have a great night!

g&g discuss dreams after nap…

When the kids woke up from nap today, they both were talking about their ridiculous dreams. I tried to record it once, but we realized it didn’t work. This is our attempt at re-telling the dreams, while eating bowls of frozen blueberries. Take a look…

roasted whole chicken: success!

Last summer James and I bought our first whole chicken. The thought of cooking it freaked me out. But what I thought was that James would make it and I would watch, and that still freaked me out. Cooking a whole chicken looked like a daunting task. So I was glad to have him around. We defrosted it overnight, and planned to make it the next night for dinner.

The next night came and James got held up somewhere. I don’t remember if it was work or the gym, but I’m guessing one of the two. He calls me at like 8pm, two hours before he has to be at work (again) and tells me I have to make the chicken. Hell no! He was like “Jenna, are you serious? I’m going to be late, if you don’t start it now I won’t be able to eat it and we won’t have anything for dinner”. Ughhhhh….

So I pull the huge chicken out of the wrapping and it was so slippery and just not what I expected or wanted to be doing at all. I went back and forth between the chicken and google. Do I open the legs? Do I wash it first? WTF am I doing?!? Google reluctantly replies, I don’t know, WTF are you doing??

Let’s be clear here, 8 short months ago, I had never, ever cooked. I was terrified by anything that involved measuring, preheating or sautéing.

So, there I am, with this chicken and not a clue in the world how to cook it. But if I simply got it into the oven and out of my hands as fast as possible, it would all be over soon.

When James came home around 9pm, the chicken was…. “done”? I definitely did not cook it at the right temperature, never mind for the right amount of time. Oh and here’s the best part, I didn’t remove the insides. Yup. One oven roasted, giblets included, undercooked chicken, coming right up! You’re probably wondering how I ever started a food blog at this point. It still amazes me that I can cook, let alone talk about cooking.

But since that horrible, horrible night, I have not only learned, but mastered the art of roasting a whole chicken! It took a lot of recipe hunting, fails in the kitchen and wasted chickens, but I can now make the tastiest whole chicken in under an hour! Tonight, I made a Cinnamon Toasted Oven Roasted Whole Chicken with Baked Stuffed Tomatoes on the side.

The cinnamon turned black in the oven, but don’t worry it didn’t taste burnt. It made the skin crispy and sweet and amazing. The chicken is stuffed with garlic and cloves, covered in honey and sweet spices and roasted to perfection! I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. I also found the perfect temperature/time roasting method on All Recipes and it truly is the secret behind my chicken success! So, again, thank you Internet!

The tomatoes were a last-minute decision when I remembered we had all these Paleo Breadcrumbs left over. I knew they’d come in handy.


Thanks for reading, time for me to go to bed and for you to enjoy the last week of G&G love… Here is the at-home gymnastics course we often do when it’s cold out and we’re feeling rowdy. We have a trampoline (springs of chair once cushion is removed), a tumble mat (memory foam mattress pad), the balance beam (pillows lined up) and the pit (jump from the couch into a sea of pillows and hope for the best…).

sunday night sweet tooth

I can think of three things more enjoyable than a warm day following the worst winter, ever.

One: dessert for dinner. Seriously, every time James is working a double or out-of-town, I find myself in the kitchen for 3 hours trying to make some sort of Paleo dessert. I also find myself skipping a real dinner and eating that dessert in its place. Like tonight for instance, when I realized it was already 7:30 and I was elbow deep in coconut oil, my laptop was splattered in chocolate and I was sure the only thing I was going to eat tonight were these Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars. And since I did work so hard on them, it was only right that I had a bite. Or 12.

They start with a layer of crunchy, followed by a layer of creamy, topped off with a layer of sweet. This treat is completely dairy-, egg-, grain-, gluten-, sugar- free and completely raw. No baking, just making… (and eating)! They are unbelievable! After each layer was prepared, I tested it and was thinking hmm.. not bad? But once you complete the layering, refrigerate and eat all together… they are unreal!! I’m happy because now I have a dessert I can bring to parties! So…. have a party?

Two: flying paper airplanes outside on a Friday afternoon with little kids. G&G have this book that instructs the nearest adult how to craft the most ridiculously complicated airplanes. This is one of their favorite activities but I always seem to “misplace” the book, so we don’t get to do it often. Honestly, by the time I finish the seventeen billion folds, Gabe has completely lost interest and Grace is like “I’m ready to fly my plane now.” Really? I’m ready too, but I’m only on step 4 of 900, please entertain yourself for 25 more minutes? But the end result, the flying, the smiles, the snots from the cold, it kind of makes it worth it.

Three: Going dancing with my best friends. We pretty much took over the stage. I distinctly remember getting territorial up there. I also remember singing, getting a kid kicked out, meeting our future selves (four fifty-year-old milfs) and watching Selena at 3 a.m. I also remember Crab Rangoon but let’s pretend that didn’t happen. Good times. Happy Sunday everyone!

just call me a paleontologist…

I just want to give a huge thank you to the bloggers from Paleo Girls and also the inventors of the smart phone. Yesterday after work, I was walking around the grocery store looking for vegetables to pick up to go along with the salmon we were making. I was eyeing some peppers, but noticed two gorgeous eggplants. I have never made eggplant before, but I have eaten it. I suddenly remembered recently reading a post on the Paleo Girls site, something about eggplant and “paleo” bread crumbs…. But what was the recipe?? I grabbed my blackberry, went to their blog and yesss… there it was. I actually had every item at home already. All I needed were these two deep purple beauties and I was halfway to one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made… I’m giving a whole new meaning to the term “paleontologist”.. I give you Fried Eggplants in Paleo Breadcrumbs!

During the process, the house smelled delicious. Coconutty from the oil, spicy from the seasoning… The final fried eggplants were buttery and crispy and they tasted like you shouldn’t be eating them, which is always a good sign. Luckily, they were composed of only eggplants, eggs, coconut oil, almonds, cashews and spices! The Paleo Breadcrumbs were the easiest. The Paleo Girls used parmesan cheese in their version. What?? Well, this is because they have read and researched a lot about the elimination of grains in their diet allowing for the reintroduction of dairy without harm. I’m not looking to reintroduce dairy, so instead of parmesan cheese I added the equivalent measuring of cashews, food processed them and… perfection. With just oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary and sea salt plus a cup of almonds, food processed into almond flour, my Paleo Breadcrumbs were complete and ready for dipping.

These breadcrumbs are a lifesaver. I can use them for chicken, meatballs, fish… anything that calls for breadcrumbs! The recipe left me with about a cup left over so I put them in the fridge for next week.

After peeling, slicing, a quick dip in the eggs and then a roll in the breadcrumbs, I fried these babies for a few minutes on each side in coconut oil…

They were even good for breakfast topped with over medium eggs! Happy Friday everyone from Jenna, G&G…

puddle jumping and cashew covered broccoli

Is it spring yet? I only have one more week of day-time freedom and mother nature is being a huge bitch. This time next week I’ll be sitting in an office from 9-5, but until then I can go outdoors anytime I like. In fact, it’s encouraged. And yet.. It’s been cold, or raining or just a tease. It will look sunny and then the wind blows you on your ass. Even though the sun was out a little today, it was mostly during nap time. By the time we all woke up, pulled on our wellies and walked out the front door, the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. But we were all determined to stay outside until it was time for me to go home. Even if some of us thought it would be fun to kick mud at someone and that someone was not too happy about it. Not mentioning any names.

This week has mostly consisted of fitting sleep in whenever we can. Every night, around 2am I wake up coughing and have a really hard time falling back asleep. Mainly because I wake up and realize its 2am and no one is home and then I get scared to fall asleep. James has been working days and afternoons and nights and all the time. When we are both home in the afternoon its an unspoken agreement that it is basically nap time until one of us is able to get out of bed and start dinner. That one is usually so loud the other one is forced to come out of the bedroom and help. Because of this recent exhaustion, grocery shopping just hasn’t happened. Fortunately, we’ve become really good at making meals out of whatever is left. We had steaks, just the right amount of vegetables and ingredients for Butternut Squash Soup (yes I make it weekly) and the mom I nanny for gave me a ton of broccoli to take home.

I wanted to try a new recipe with broccoli since we usually oven roast it with spices, nothing fancy. I searched for a “cashew” and “broccoli” recipe and found like 3 billion results. Who knew? I use recipes now as my reference point, how long to bake, what temperature, suggested ingredients that go well together, but I also eliminate a LOT and add what I have. I ended up with Roasted Cashew Covered Broccoli and it was an awesome side dish. I feel like I accidentally replicate Chinese food a lot. It’s not something I would order at a Chinese food restaurant and yet it reminds me of something you could find at one. Honestly, my expectations were that this was going to be good and wholesome. It ended up tasting amazing. I will definitely be making this side dish again. The salty, crunchy, toastedness (not a word) of the cashews paired with the fresh, soft and sweet broccoli was so good. We just ate it off one big plate until it was completely gone.

Okay, since I’m doing all this complaining about being tired and sick, I should go to bed. But don’t think I forgot about the Daily G&G Love.

Goodnight!