Cupped Lightning

I wrote a post about coffee a couple years ago.  Check it out HERE.  I thought it might be time to readdress this…this little caffeine issue.  I’m addicted to caffeine.  I admit it.  As I talked about in my blog post, my caffeine intake is pretty much like a roller coaster.  It gets out of hand, then I quit cold turkey, then it gets out of hand, then I quit cold turkey… It’s just how it goes.  I think a lot of it might have to do with the fact that I’m a paramedic who works 24 hour shifts and has a 2 hour commute one way. Just a hunch.

The other day, I woke up at 0500.  I didn’t sleep very well due to some nagging hip pain, so I added 2 scoops of Spark before the gym that morning.  2!  After the gym, I drove through Starbucks and ordered 2 venti coffees.  Black.  No room.  For myself.  This was all consumed by 0800.  A little while later, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I took a 2 hour nap.  After I woke up, I thought hey, maybe this isn’t so healthy.  Lets evaluate this…

In my post about coffee, I talked about how coffee has its place.  I still agree with this wholeheartedly.  A couple of cups a day?  Sure.  nbd.  A couple pots a day? Ehhhhh……that might be an issue.  It’s kind of a catch 22 for me. The first cup or 2 in the morning help me to wake up, as caffeine is supposed to do.  After that, I don’t drink coffee to keep me awake.  I drink coffee because I REALLY just love the taste of coffee.

As I visited with my mom on the phone this morning, I realize that I should blame her for my coffee problem.  100%.  We love coffee.  Good coffee.  Our latest favorite thing to do is to find fun coffee roasters and order beans.  Intelligentsia, Coava, Stumptown, Kickapoo… these are just a handful of our favorite roasters.  In our conversation mom said “Some people really have no idea what good coffee tastes like.”  So much truth in those words! She’s so wise!

Now, as I mentioned before, I love the taste of coffee.  I’ll drink hospital cafeteria coffee and I’ll drink fire station Folger’s.  Shoot, I’ll even ask for a 2nd cup of Perkins coffee that has been sitting in the pot all day.  I won’t complain.  BUT a good cup of coffee brewed with freshly roasted, high quality beans, now that’s where it’s at.  It’s a real treat for the ol’ tastebuds.  As you may have guessed, Folger’s does not belong in my house.  I have bags of good beans, and I have bags of REALLY good beans.  When I have to work, I’ll put a few scoops of some of the good beans in my Cuisinart grind and brew the night before, set the timer, and BOOM, I wake up to the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

On my off days, it’s a little bit of a different story.  I get home from the gym around 0700 or so.  After I put a few slices of bacon on the stove, I begin to work on my coffee.  When I’m off duty, I use the smaller, more expensive bags of REALLY good beans.  I have an electric kettle that I purchased at the Target, which heats the water super quickly. So far, I haven’t burned myself! That’s a big win for this accident-prone paramedic. The kettle also has a little light the flips off when the water begins to boil.  As the water is boiling, I grind the beans in my electric grinder.  On occasion, I also grind the beans by hand.  It takes a little more time and a lot more energy, so I keep this little gadget in my cupboard in case of the zombie apocalypse.  Coffee is definitely a huge part of my doomsday prepping.  Once the beans are ground, I remove my French Press or Chemex out of the cupboard with care. I also have an AeroPress that I use on occasion.  I’m sure I’ve lost you in my coffee nerdiness by now.  Basically, grind, boil, brew.

Once the little light on my kettle turns off, it’s go time.

Oh buddy, when you spend a little time and a little money, coffee has the ability to taste like an angel.  Remember those old Folger’s commercials when the actors open the container, close their eyes, and smell?  Or when the actor holds the hot cup of freshly brewed coffee in both hands, takes a sip, then smiles?  Yeah, that totally happens on off duty coffee days.  Every time.

What’s your coffee status?  Do you have a favorite roaster?  I’m always looking to try new coffee.

Life is too short to have bad coffee.  BUT maybe I’ll live just a little bit longer if I keep my caffeine consumption in check a little better.  Balance and moderation, my friends.

-my name is Lindsay, and I have a caffeine addiction

#coffeemugofmemories

 

Broken

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Tattoos.  I only have one, but as they say, you never stop at one.  I’m always keeping my eyes open for new ideas.  As I was perusing through some pictures the other day, I found this one.  This is the Swedish Malin symbol.  My mom’s side of the family is Swedish, so I liked this right away.  BUT, the best part is the meaning.  In my research, I found that this symbol basically says that you have to face setbacks in order to be able to go forward.

This is the truth for all aspects of life, but man, this especially hit home for me.  This past week, I was told that I have to have MAJOR hip surgery.  Long story short, I slipped on some ice this winter and tore the cartilage in my hip.  In addition learning this, I was also told that I have really shallow hip sockets.  Alright. Ok.  Oh, and in order to fix this, and postpone an entire hip replacement in the next 10 years, I need a surgery that involves cutting a chunk of my pelvis and rotating it to make a bigger hip socket, then using screws to keep it in place. 4 months recovery…

Ton of bricks, man.  What a week.  Frustration and pain and anxiety and apprehension. So, learning the meaning of this tattoo was encouraging.  While my head was off in the land of hypothetical surgery problems and overwhelming anxiety, this kind of brought me back to earth.  I mean, whoa, Lindsay.  How about you stop, breathe, pray, trust.

Arrows are typically symbols for moving forward.  I really like how the infinity symbol is incorporated. It’s a good reminder that you’re always, ALWAYS moving forward, despite whatever setbacks may be in your way.  This is so true in life.  Life isn’t easy.  Adulting isn’t easy. So many people are struggling with things.  Eating disorders, divorce, pain, illness… Eating healthy isn’t easy.  Friendships aren’t easy.  Marriage isn’t easy.  Hip problems aren’t easy.  BUT, I truly believe that once you realize that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; that sometimes you need to be broken in order for the light to shine through the cracks; that even when you feel weak, you are strong…..once you realize these things, whatever you may be going through just doesn’t seem quite so bad.  Just because we’re broken doesn’t mean we’re helpless OR hopeless.  Faith, my friends.  Faith and a sense of humor.

Cheating

Are you cheating??

*****If you’re in a hurry or don’t want to read this post (because, to be honest, sometimes I really don’t want to read long-winded posts…I get it), please at least READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH*****

I read a post a while back on cheats, and I just wanted to share a few key thoughts with you. The article was written by Dallas and Meilssa Hartwig of Whole9 (You may have heard of their Whole30 plan…).

“At a local seminar last week, an attendee asked Melissa, “Do you ever cheat?” There was so much to this question: We don’t call it a cheat, because we’re doing nothing wrong. We aren’t perfect eaters, because no one is, and we don’t expect you to be either. Yes, we indulge, when we decide it’s worth it. In essence, we practice what we preach.”

They go on to talk about something that they posted on FB a few years back during a trip to Mexico. “Whole9 is grilling fresh mahi, making a giant batch of guac and kicking our heels up with some hand-made corn tortillas.” Holy banana chips, Batman. They received a ridiculous amount of backlash for this, all over some stupid corn tortillas!! They include some of the comments in the article. A good description of the comments can be summed up in this sentence (in their words)… “We once admitted consuming some Nutella-stuffed French toast to a workshop crowd. The looks of shock and horror on our audience’s faces made us wonder if we actually said we ate a deep-fried kitten for breakfast.” (This last sentence is perhaps one of my favorite sentences that I have ever read. Ever.)

Dallas and Melissa go on to describe how their program is the Whole30, NOT the Whole365. With Paleo, with clean eating, with the grapefruit diet…with whatever way of eating you choose to use, in order to succeed, you NEED to indulge from time to time.

Not long ago, I attended a bachelorette party. Well, a bachelorette party weekend. I knew that I would be indulging a little. Ok, who am I kidding…a lot. I tried to make better food/drink choices, but let’s face it. I enjoyed my weekend. That being said, once I got home, I was back at it. That Sunday happened to be Superbowl Sunday.  I set up my cycling trainer in front of our TV and enjoyed a little superbowl cycling. The next morning, I raided our deep freeze and set out a bunch of meat to have throughout the week. I also gathered some veggies that were chillin’ in trhe crisper and set them on the top shelf of my fridge so that I remembered that I have some veggie noms that upcoming week. I had my cheats then got after it again.

**Here’s the thing, the ONE take home from this: There’s a time for treats and there’s a time for healthy eats. The key is to have a healthy relationship with food, plain and simple. Figure out what’s “worth it” to you and enjoy it from time to time. Truly savor every second. BUT, also be able to resist that sugary, carbalicious, ooey gooey temptation the rest of the time. This is the key to successful eating.

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http://whole9life.com/…/you-ask-we-answer-do-you-ever-cheat/

Cheezy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli & Garlic

squash

I happen to love spaghetti squash.  I think it’s a fantastic way to get your veggies into your day.  That being said, I have found that A LOT of people don’t particularly care for it.  Maybe it’s a texture thing?  Maybe their brain says “Nope, not spaghetti.  Nope.”  I understand that.  It’s cool.  BUT, I’m still determined to find a recipe that even non-squashers will like….well, try.

I saw THIS video on the ol’ Facebook yesterday and thought it sounded actually pretty great. A perfect combination of carb, fat, protein, and flavor.  Here is what you need to know:

Cheezy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli & Garlic
Makes 2 servings (I’d say closer to 3)

INGREDIENTS
1 small spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
S&P
4 cloves garlic (minced, I like to use the Pampered Chef garlic press.  I do not work for Pampered Chef….I just think this product is amazing!)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Cu broccoli florets
1/2 Cu vegetable stock
1 Cu Cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, & roughly mashed with a fork (I chose to omit this and sub with some leftover steak from the night before, cubed)
1/3 Cu nutritional yeast

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
Cut about an inch off of the top and the bottom of the spaghetti squash and discard.
Cut the squash crosswise into rings about 1-inch thick, run a knife (or spoon) around the inside of the rings to get the seeds out.
Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over the baking sheet, then spread the squash rings over it
Coat each side evenly, then season both sides with s&p.
Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender (about 30 minutes)
Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside (Spaghetti squash is MUCH easier to handle if it has 10 minutes or so to cool)

Meanwhile….
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic and red pepper (if using), season with s&p
Cook, stirring just until the garlic is fragrant (only about 1 minute)
Add broccoli and vegetable stock, turn heat down to low
Season with a little more s&p, cook until the broccoli is bright green & al dente and vegetable stock has reduced to about half
Add the nutritional yeast and stir everything together to make a sauce
If sauce is super thick and clumpy, add more stock (1 Tbsp at a time) until it’s thick and a little runny
Add the cooked squash and toss everything together.
Serve immediately
Get ready for a tastebud party

My Thoughts
First of all, I have never cooked spaghetti squash this way before.  I typically just cut the squash in half and let it cook.  I found that I really like roasting it this way.  It cooks a little more evenly. I’ll definitely use this method again.  As I watched the video tutorial, I copied down the recipe. Turns out, the recipe calls for red pepper flakes. I used red pepper powder.  Lets just say that the powder gives the dish a very powerful peppery punch that totally (in my opinion) makes the dish.   As I mentioned earlier, I left out the beans.  I typically avoid beans for the most part.  Sometimes my body just doesn’t do well with them.  Steak was a great sub.  Chicken would also work. Bacon… Really, any meat, I suppose would do. Or no meat.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

Have you guys tried nutritional yeast?  I know…I know, it sounds nasty icky gross.  BUT it’s actually not gross, and it’s packed with so much crazy goodness.  Basically it’s a deactivated yeast and looks like yellow flakes, kind of like fish food. It has a handful of vitamins and minerals, including some of the B vitamins, protein, and iron.  It’s actually used fairly regularly by  vegans and vegetarians for a little added nutrition. It has kind of a cheesy or nutty flavor.  I use it all the time when I cook, especially when cooking veggies.  It gives the dish just a little more flavor. I recommend trying it.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the cheesy fish flakes.

Overall, this dish is definitely a win.  With hints of cheese and spice, the steak and broccoli compliment each other quite well.  There is so much flavor going on that even the biggest critic will be ok trying it.  This has officially been added to my list of favorites.  It also reheats very well, which is a HUGE plus in my book.  Leftovers on leftovers.  Try it out, change it up, let me know what you think!

-TPP

Original recipe HERE

Flourless Almond Butter Bars

 

 

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These bars.  I made these awhile ago then lost the recipe.  No worries.  I found it again! 1. They’re easy to make.  2. They’re stupid good.  I brought a pan of these guys to my gym this morning.  I think they loved them.  Here is what you need to know:

Ingredients
2 Cu almond butter (the original recipe calls for peanut butter, but I subbed almond butter for PB)
3/4 Cu honey
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Instructions
Mix together with a fork, then bake  in a 9×13 at 300 F for 25 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

That’s it! Done and done.  These are made without flour, which made me skeptical, but they ended up moist and cake-like.  Perfect, really.  You’ll never know they’re gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and Paleo.

Make them.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  I also recommend keeping them in the fridge for really only one reason: so that you won’t eat the entire pan in one sitting.

Happy eating!

Original recipe here.