Menu Plan Monday: Week 4 of Whole 30

January 26, 2015
Wow! Week 4! I can't believe it.

Over the weekend I did make those Paleo Banana Bread muffins, and I (guilt-free) had two for breakfast today, with my coconut creamed coffee (not quite bulletproof). Making them made me realize that I either need a proper mixer or a new blender. Good thing I am used to mixing by hand. It's good for arm strength, you know what I mean?
Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Monday: Tilapia with green beans and grape tomatoes
Tuesday: Chicken Mole (hello Crock-Pot, I have missed you) and I really hate cauliflower "rice", to the point that I would rather eat yet another salad. I think I might go a little off the usual side of rice and pair it with spaghetti squash.
Wednesday: African Sweet Potato Soup - swap out the peanut butter for almond butter
Thursday: Grilled Yellowfin Tuna, mango salsa, sauteed zucchini
Friday: Caveman Shepherd's Pie

Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: YES! Reintroduction time!

So, what crazy thing have you done this month for health and wellness? And did you drive your loved ones crazy in the process?

Recap: Capture Your 365 - Week 3

January 22, 2015
The prompts this week lent themselves to a few extra selfies and man, the biggest pod of mushrooms I have ever seen.

January 15:

January 16:

January 17:

January 18:

January 19:
A photo posted by Annette (@dananner) on

January 20:

January 21:

Menu Plan Monday: Modification Week

January 18, 2015

Casablanca Chicken Chutney from last Friday
Menu Plan Monday hosted by 
This past weekend my daughter came over devoured the leftovers of the Casablanca Chicken Chutney and had three servings of the Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken (it got moved). Don't you just love growth spurts?

Monday: Grilled Salmon with Spicy Melon Salsa - modification = no honey and swap out the oil for coconut oil.
Williams-Sonoma Taste

Tuesday:  Lime and Pineapple Chicken Burgers - modification = turkey burgers instead of chicken, no buns, vinaigrette instead of Thousand Island dressing.

Wednesday: Paleo Butter Chicken - no modification needed

Thursday: Avocado Egg-in-a-Hole - modification = no cheese #sadpanda

Friday: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - modification = turkey bacon instead of pork

Saturday: Pecan Crusted Chicken - modification = no bread crumbs and coconut oil instead of canola
Sunday: Leftovers if there are any.

Recap: Capture Your 365 - Week 2

There will be some weird overlap on themes going forward. Each Sunday, Capture Your 365 starts a new theme, which can also be used as a Capture 52. Last week (starting on Jan 4) the theme was "A Reflection of Me". The theme for January 11-17 is "White".

I am going by straight dates for my recaps. For your viewing (and constructive criticism), here is Week 2 - all mobile photography.

January 8:

January 9: Multifaceted.
Major decision paralysis. I had 3-5 ideas and wanted to do a collage in the shape of a three-dimensional diamond. Yeah, my vision and my skill in photo manipulation did not work out this time. Does anyone know of any apps that do shapes like that?

January 10:

January 11:
A photo posted by Annette (@dananner) on

January 12:

January 13:
A photo posted by Annette (@dananner) on

January 14:

Am I a Whole30 Failure?

January 12, 2015
Yes, I am and I am not afraid to admit it. No justification. And I am not going to let it stress me out. There are some reasons behind it that make me okay with failure. Usually I would be beating myself up over failing something like this.

First off, I am so sick and tired of eggs - and I love eggs!, especially since I can't have cheesy omelettes.  Not that I usually put cheese in my omelettes, but that flat out restriction is really irksome. I like a light breakfast of Greek yogurt and fruit. The lack of raw honey every day is almost worse than the chocolate restriction.

I don't have food relationship issues. Food and I get along very well. I now feed my body whole, nutritionally dense, natural foods to keep me healthy (and fit, we're getting there). Being on this for one week is causing me more anxiety than I care to deal with. Occasionally I splurge on the non-natural, not-so-nutritionally dense items, my body reminds me why I don't do that any more, and we get back on track.

Going paleo and experimenting with different amounts and types of carbs (high- and low-glycemic, etc.) has shown me that carbohydrates do contribute to inflammation and my chronic back pain. I am moderately gluten intolerant (not allergic thank goodness!). My IBS has almost completely disappeared; the only time I get flare-ups is after eating pasta or too many baked goods. So I avoid them.

At this point the weight loss is a bonus because it feels so damn good to be pain free 90% of the time. I can DO THINGS again and not worry about being out of commission for days afterward, nor do I worry about spending 2-3 hours per day stuck in the bathroom wishing I had control of my body.

You need to understand that I have had chronic back pain since JHS. That's over half of my life. Before, my doctors just kept giving me drugs, and at one point things were so bad that my chiropractor was going to refer me to a pain management specialist once we ruled out fibromyalgia (2 trigger points shy of a diagnosis and I couldn't have been happier). At that point in my life, Vicodin no longer knocked me out, it made me functional. T3 was my best friend.

But he also told me that I needed to either find a different job, get a shorter commute, or get a different car -- and lose weight. I was hovering around 200 then. Four hours in a bucket seat and driving a stick shift every day wasn't doing me any favors either. Only 200. But it was 40-60lbs too much for my spine to handle. Let's just say that some family members called me Twiggy growing up because I resembled the model (only in body type). At 200 lbs I didn't look bad, and I was nowhere near morbidly obese, but I didn't look or feel like myself either. And frankly, the idea of having a massive heart attack in my early 60s wasn't all that appealing either. So I started looking for ways to change my life and keep the weight off while still enjoying life and not managing to injure myself...

Anyway, after thinking I should beat myself up about not being able to get through a week of Whole30 I decided to do a little more research.
People use the Whole30 as a stepping stone to the autoimmune protocol, but who else should consider doing a Whole30?
With few exceptions, I think everyone should spend 30 days examining their habits, their relationship with food, and how the foods they've been eating are actually affecting their health. More specifically, the Whole30 is designed for sugar and carb addicts, people who feel “out of control” with their food habits, anyone with a health condition (from diabetes to acne to asthma to infertility),  athletes looking to perform and recover more effectively, and anyone who wants to have more energy, sleep better, be more focused, and lose weight. From The Paleo Mom

That's not me. I have spent the last 5 years examining my life, my relationship with food, how I became a carb addict (I wasn't growing up), and what led me to where I was. I have finally arrived at a happy place. I can go weeks without eating chocolate now because I don't crave it any more. But for some reason, one week on Whole30 and I was ready to devour a full tub of Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Raspberry bars, a box of Joe-Joes and all of the Lindt truffles I could get my hands on. #Emoeating is bad, mmkay.

I didn't though. I managed to control myself, but just barely. I don't need an "food intervention" that causes me anxiety in my life because I'm not "sticking to the rules". That's more likely to cause me issues with food than solve any underlying ones. And for this last week, I have had all the detriments of eating a high-carb, sugar laden diet - lousy sleep, mood swings, and tired ALL THE TIME even though I was supposedly eating healthier than ever.

And, for me, that's the main reason why I failed Whole30. I would rather fail than have an anxiety attack over food; food, that for the most part I have already incorporated into my healthy lifestyle. I'm now going to make some Paleo Banana Bread and eat it with honey. Well, when I have some time, maybe this weekend.

In solidarity with friends and loved ones, I'll still try to be Whole30 compliant during the week, but on the weekends, I'm having my pancakes, dammit. I need something to look forward to.

Menu Plan Monday: Citrus

I need a sunny outlook this week, so I thought I would theme this week around citrus fruits.
Citrus fruit slices
Citrus fruit slices (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday: Thai Mango, Pineapple Salad from last week (two items last week made enough for multiple meals).
Tuesday: Garlic Lime Chicken with California Style steamed veggies
Wednesday: Grilled Pineapple and Turkey Burgers on a bed of arugula
Thursday:  Orange Chicken (no breading, just marinated in the sauce) and broccoli
Friday: Casablanca Chutney Chicken - my apartment will smell divine.
Saturday: Leftovers

Google+ Comments are giving me a headache

January 8, 2015
Google+ Comments FAQs - Blogger Help: "What happens if I disable Google+ Comments? If you disable Google+ Comments, comments made by Google+ users during the time that the feature was enabled will disappear from your blog. All other comments (those made by readers before you enabled the feature) will remain."
Well ain't that a ... $!+&#  I want to go back to using +Disqus , but I can't without losing comments on posts that actually had G+ integrated comments. Then again, not that many people comment lately.

I thought it would be cool to have G+ comments because then the conversation can take place in at least two arenas. But I haven't been getting email notifications of people commenting on my posts, and how lame is it that a workaround is to subscribe to the comments on my own site (which doesn't work, by the way. Just tried it) And comment moderation had disappeared, WTF +Blogger ?!  The way the FAQ explains it, one would think that you would see both Comments and G+, but you don't. You get one or the other.

Oddly enough, because people don't comment a lot, this was brought to my attention by someone who was waiting for a reply and I went looking through my email for a notification and ... nada. And then I went further back and ... wow, I have a few people to reply to on my blog and not a single email notification nor G+ notification on my shared post or my G+ Blog page. This is beyond unsatisfactory. And nothing in the forums either. It's a known issue that G+/Blogger refuse to work on.

So ... I'm going back to Disqus just as soon as I can.

Recap: Capture Your 365 - Week 1

I started a Year 38 365 on Flickr (still need to curate it a bit more, don't be disappointed at the lack of photos, they are still residing in auto backup, awaiting deletion or curation) for my Project 365, and then one of the members of Smartphone Photographers posted about Capture Your 365.

One of the problems I have consistently had with completing my Project 365 is that I run out of inspiration about two weeks in. This year, with someone else coming up with the topics, I might be able to keep the steam going, instead of running out of it.

For your viewing (and constructive criticism), here is Week 1 - all mobile photography.

Day 1:

A photo posted by Annette (@dananner) on

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:

Day 7:

Wireless Charging for Everyone!

January 7, 2015
Or, at least for all of my toys.

My Nexus has been having issues lately with charging from a cable (as in, I can't remember the last time it took less than 8 hours to get to 100% even using a high capacity block), so I went looking for a dock, but discovered that I could get two wireless chargers for the price of one dock, wired or wireless. Sweet, one for home, one for the office. Bonus, they come in colors other than matte black, so of course I got one to match the shell case of my Chromebook.

And then I thought ... Let's make my M8 wireless too. The only inconvenience is that I will have to change from my wallet case back to the Dot View Case (which has a tendency to butt dial people) ...

Now I just have to wait until Friday for everything to arrive.

Menu Plan Monday: The Whole 30

January 4, 2015

Sometimes you have to go to extremes before you find a good middle ground. I've been doing great on a loosely paleo-based diet lifestyle change for over a year now. My current weight is in the high 160s, but with the weekly Fitbit Challenges, I've gotten to a point where people are telling me I can stop losing now.

A photo posted by @hankito on

My kids are used to it, and even have a few favorites -- if you follow Menu Plan Monday, I bet you can guess which ones. But as of tomorrow, in solidarity, (you're making me give up honey and half-&-half +Hank Yeomans, and chocolate. I can not and will not be held responsible for my mood swings due to a drop in necessary SSRIs), I'll be doing The Whole 30. When I read the rules, I will admit, I blanched. That's not easy to make me do, you know.

I mean, everything that makes a paleo-style lifestyle doable for me is on the NO YOU CAN'T EAT THIS FOR A MONTH list. Psychologically, I hate being told flat out "No". That's a sure fire way to make me see how far things can get bent. I know I can do this, most days I do it without thinking about it (except for my morning coffee!!!!), so I will just have to try to forget about the "don't" and try to turn this into a positive, instead of positively torturous. No chocolate indeed...

I can't (won't) do black coffee unless it's 100% Kona, but I'm on a budget y'all, so I will be consuming large amounts of Black and Green tea (thank you +Stash Tea for your Fusion tea), which I can do (reluctantly) with no honey. But seriously, a bit of raw honey every morning has changed my life and now I am being asked to give it up. Just a week without it I could tell the difference on my last trip to Boston and couldn't wait to get back home to start cooking for myself again and having coffee at home! And, you know, I don't think apple juice would work in either tea or coffee...

By now, if you've read this far, you are probably tired of my whinging. Here's the plan. Ah, coconut milk, you will be my saving grace. And spices. Lots of spices.

Sunday: Tilapia with green beans and grape tomatoes.
Monday: Blackened chicken with sauteed zucchini and avocado slices
Tuesday:  Lettuce-wrapped B.L.A.S.T.
Wednesday: Curry Shrimp and Spinach (for some reason, didn't make it last time)
Thursday: Chicken, Mango, Pineapple Salad
Friday: is usually cheat/pizza night, but I guess I will go with Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad and come up with some other dressing that doesn't involve pecans and Gorgonzola cheese. I usually use a pear/Gorgonzola vinaigrette you see.
Saturday: Beef & Broccoli as if I'm making it for my daughter (just the spices, no soy sauce, water or brown sugar). Extra veggies.

If you've done The Whole 30, what are some of your tips for success?

New Year's Eve on the Queen Mary

January 1, 2015
First, some history.

Growing up we watched Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve. In college, it was usually spent with friends and later, as family life took over, movie marathons and shindigs to get us to midnight. New Year's Eve for me the last few years has been hit or (mostly) miss. Not to mention all the sickness I have kept at bay for the year inevitably catches up to me the week between Christmas and New Year's.

  • NYE 2010 it was a kidney infection, no drinking for me.
  • NYE 2011 I had the flu, or at least flu-like symptoms, so we stayed home. 
  • NYE 2012 I  went to Knott's Berry Farm with my mom. IP was with her dad and the SO was back East.
  • Last year we practically froze at Boston's First Night and went home early where we could eat Chinese food in warmth and comfort (apparently that's a New England thing).

The point is, I'm not a big party person when it comes to NYE. On the other hand, my S.O. is a huge party person. He's finally accepted that the last thing I want to do on NYE is go to a rave, but he wanted something fun with a lot of people -- it was my job to find to find the compromise. The party on the Queen Mary was so worth it, for both of us (BTW, it's a 21+ event). We didn't spend the night freezing, there was a great dinner, alcohol, good entertainment, some dancing, and places to sit down!

We opted for VIP tickets and tried to get a large group together for a table, that would have been even better, but in the end, I was happy just to sit next to a pole in the Egyptian area and watch the dancers. I was warm and the bar was nearby. On top of that, we had an unobstructed view when it came time for the fireworks.

And if the above G+ Story doesn't work for you, here's the full album:
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