A Summery Tale

Oooooh!

My 2 month old niece calling me out.

This is the part where I come clean (no pun intended) and admit I have yet to successfully complete the Whole30. I might as well not skirt around the topic, fess up, and figure out a way to start back over. No point in hiding or beating myself up over the truth. At this point, I don’t even know the exact day or moment it happened, but I’m pretty sure it started with a pint of pistachio gelato and turned into a week(s) long sugar binge. The sugar dragon is real, people. Very, very, real. Two weeks of touring Boston like I haven’t lived here for the last year, capped off with a four day awesomesauce visit from my college roommate to watch the Cubs (sweep) the Red Sox at Fenway before hopping on a 6am flight to Chicago only to get back on an airplane to spend an entire week in Puerto Rico to marry two of my best friends (as in officiate, not like, polyamory)… I’m exhausted just typing all of that! By no means am I complaining, but anyone who has been to Puerto Rico, or any Puerto Rican restaurant on the mainland can tell you a “salad,” for all intents and purposes, is iceberg lettuce topped with a slice maaaaybe two, of tomato, and heavenly baskets full of pan sobao topped with chunks of garlic are delivered to your table more times than you will get your water refilled. The struggle is real. I did however get in a three miler the morning of the wedding when temperatures dipped to a cool 85F. I had an amazing time celebrating with my friends, but I was glad to make it back to Chicago while my shorts could at least manage to button.

BOS>ORD>SJU>ORD>BOS, it's just that kind of summer!

BOS>ORD>SJU>ORD>BOS, it’s just that kind of summer!

All’s well that ends well; apparently, back in Chicago, my parents have taken to grilling vegetables, particularly golden beets and kabocha squash. I was simultaneously welcomed back and sent off with a refreshing Whole30-compliant (aside from the rum) belated birthday barbeque (that ended in really tiny slices of cake). Whole chicken on the grill, cedar plank grilled salmon, golden beets, yams, sweet potatoes (not the same thing as yams), kabocha squash, and a dark leafy green salad involving blueberries and avocado. Real, WHOLE food the way it’s meant to be consumed. Also worthy of mention, and hopefully an entire follow-up post, my brother kicked Whole30’s ass; by day 13 his blood pressure went from Stage II Hypertension to the cusp of Prehypertension and Stage I Hypertension, and he’s already prepping for another round. If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is!

Vegetables hot off the grill!

Vegetables hot off the grill!

As soon as I returned to Boston, I went to the grocery store so I could have a solid week of true clean eating before my San Francisco visit. Since Robert is away, I’m being mindful about buying only what I can feasibly consume, and really evaluating what I purchase at the grocery store. I managed to spend less than $70 for a week’s worth of groceries. Salmon, ground pork, NY strip steak, and eggs were my protein base for the week in addition to a couple cans of tuna and some Trader Joe’s chicken sausage I already had in stock. On the produce side, I picked up some blueberries, watermelon, arugula, zucchini, summer squash, baby carrots, red onion, fresh garlic, red and yellow bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, and one each Yukon gold and sweet potatoes. Greek yogurt was 10/$10, so I grabbed a few  to keep on hand for pre-workout snacks. It felt good to be back in my apartment and having some semblance of a routine, even if it was just for a week.

I found this cartoon on an INFP blog, and it spoke to me.

I found this cartoon on a blog, and it spoke to me.

Since I am, after all, still on summer break, I opted to keep things pretty simple this week. Here are some highlights:

This bad boy was on sale for only $5.17. I followed these directions on cooking a perfect steak (in the over), sliced my Yukon gold into wedges and tossed them in olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary to roast at 450F for about 20 minutes, and drizzled some Tesse Mae’s lemonette dressing on a handful of arugula. Boom, bang, pow. Best $7 I’ve ever spent.

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There were lettuce wraps, modeled after this here recipe, that were a solid B (as in boring)…

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..until I followed some advice on the comments section the second time around (leftovers FTW) and spiced things up with homemade PICKLED ONIONS!

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So began my obsession with pickled onions, seen here on top of arugula with a sprinkle of feta cheese for this hodge podge lazy salmon dinner.

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And here, on quite possibly my most brilliant (and simple) idea of the week… Seriously, lunch in less than 5 minutes. And it’s so pretty, crunchy, colorful… Prepare a can of tuna as you see fit (for me it was a tbsp of mayo, a dash of lemon juice, shake-itty-shake each of dill, cayenne, black pepper, and sea salt), quarter whatever color bell pepper you want, and well, duh, pickled onions.

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In other non-pickled-onion news, I figured out 6:40 is the perfect amount of time an egg must boil to achieve soft-medium yolk perfection. I shall repeat this process to ensure reliability. Now that’s one sexy yolk!

IMG_20140722_111111Amazing, delicious, nutritious, and whole. Next up, San Francisco. I hear they’ve got some top notch wining and dining over there!

Yay!

Yay!

 

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