Sunday, May 31, 2015

Whole 30

Today I am starting my first Whole 30. When I started this post I was googling for images and I kept seeing blogs and articles referring to it as a diet. I really don't see it that way. Yes, Whole 30 is a challenge and it's not meant to be sustainable indefinitely. But it's meant to help you foster a better relationship with food.

The founders of Whole 30 really encourage you to read the books to understand why you're doing what you're doing. There is a lot of overlap in the older book It Starts with Food and the newer one, The Whole 30 Guide. So I read most of both of them. 

I did not feel completely ignorant about nutrition before but through these two books and a recent documentary I watched on Netflix, I feel like I've learned a lot.

My hopes:
- To establish a more healthy relationship with food. I want to feel more control over what I eat. I really like healthy foods. But I also really like unhealthy foods. And I definitely feel that I turn to food emotionally. It doesn't take a genius to know that that doesn't lead to good results.
- I hope I can nix my sugar addiction. I can't believe how many things we eat that have added sugar. Did you know that 1 tablespoon of ketchup has almost 17% of the sugar you should consume in one day?!
- Become more aware of what I'm putting into my body. Just with collecting recipes, meal planning, and grocery shopping I am already so much more aware of all of the additives in the foods I typically buy.
- I'm not gonna lie, I really want to lose some weight. I have not gotten into the groove of eating healthily while married. I also packed some good padding while we were in Italy and 5 months later, it's still there! I don't care so much about the number, but I want my clothes to fit comfortably again and I really want to feel less self-conscious.

What I can eat:
Natural fats

The NO list:
Grains of any kind, this includes non-gluten grains
Any form of dairy
Sugar or artificial sweetener

I'm most nervous about giving up cheese, cream in my coffee, tortilla chips, and alcohol. But, I'm actually excited to try a lot of the recipes I am prepping for.

Breakfast: I'm going to make sweet potato hash with fried eggs and a side of applesauce. Doesn't that sound filling?

Lunch: For the first week I'm going to alternate between a compliant tuna salad stuffed in sweet mini peppers and big chicken salads with their compliant dressings

- Cauliflower fried rice
- Apple Cider Pork Chops
- Zucchini Noodles with Romesco Garlic Shrimp
- Spaghetti Squash with Balsamic Chicken
- Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken Thighs
- Steak and Brussels Sprouts
- Zucchini Fritters

I will definitely take pictures and link recipes as I go!

Also, in anticipation of spending a ton of time in the kitchen I'm going to take Kristin's advice and download my first audiobook to listen to while I cook. I am a voracious podcast listener but I already fly through all my regular listens every week so I want to have something special to look forward to while I slave away.

Anyway, here goes nothing!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review - Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This week my new book club gathered for the second time. My friend Ana was a wonderful host and we ate, drank, and chatted Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
I chose this image because I hate when they
put movie pictures on book covers.
So here's the original.

The actual full title of this book is Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I picked this book up a while before my book club decided to read it. I think I was drawn to it because I have imagined that some of my life actions, while significantly less dramatic, have been taken as some sort of self-reinvention. Cheryl had an abusive father, she grew up in poverty, her mother dies, she is unfaithful to her husband, they divorce, she takes on another unhealthy relationship, does heroin. Okay, I may have just felt like moving to China, changing careers, and running a marathon out of boredom. But I think every person has things in their life that they need to work through and can thus connect with this story.

I flew through this book. Despite what I said in the last paragraph, I thought this book might be a little bit like Eat Pray Love in that I just might not feel empathy for the character. But nope, while Elizabeth Gilbert elicited from me a mild disdain (because of her clear creation of her own problems) to straight up jealousy (Hello? eating in Italy for four months straight!), Cheryl Strayed is a person you can feel for.

There were so many parts of this book that made me so emotional. Immediately I was excited that the story originated in Minnesota. This is not really a big part of the story, but us Minnesotans don't get to recognize names of cities, streets, and of course lakes very often in the books we read.  It's up and down throughout the story-line as it goes back and forth from her hike to her life in general.  I triumphed with her when she was able to physically and metaphorically leave behind the things she was carrying. I felt her sorrow of feeling like a failed partner. And there was a scene with a horse (I hate horses) that wrecked me. Like, really, don't read that part in public.

After reading the book I became a little obsessed with the author. I'm now completely hooked on her podcast, Dear Sugar Radio, which she hosts with Steve Almond. It is basically an advice column and they address listener questions compassionately and completely without judgement. I also read an article by Cheryl Strayed in which she said something to the effect of, "I didn't hike the Pacific Crest Trail so that I could write a book about it. I wrote about about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail because I am a writer." I was like, "Aha! Yes!" No need for adventure! I can write about the mundane details of my life...

Anyway, the book soon became a movie, starring Reese Witherspoon.

I am not a big fan of Reese. I can mostly only see her as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde or Melanie Smooter in Sweet Home Alabama. I'm sure Reese is not pleased about that as an actor. Also, her behavior when she got pulled over and argued with a cop put a bad taste in my mouth. But I guess we all have bad days? One of my friends from book club's sister was actually an extra in the movie Wild, when they are in a bar in Oregon and she had to sign something saying she wouldn't even look at Reese. But then again, maybe that's standard on movie sets. I can't say I'm well versed in those procedures. Despite all of my preconceived notions, I really enjoyed the movie. The scenery is gorgeous and it stayed pretty true to the book.

Finally, what is a book club without wine? That's right, nothing. So here's what we drank:

Excuse the crappy picture and already empty bottle. I could not find an image online for the life of me! This rosé was on sale at my Trader Joe's this week and was pretty good! Cheers!

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Cody and I went on our first date the day after Christmas, December 26, 2012. You can read about that here. You can also read about how we met randomly in Las Vegas, here.

As I was going through pictures, I had a hard time remembering which events were while we were dating and which were while we were engaged. We actually only dated about ten months. Additionally, we were both working two jobs and I was in graduate school. We usually managed to see each other about twice a week but we definitely made the most of it.

We celebrated New Year's 2013 together

We celebrated Saint Patrick's Day in St. Paul

We celebrated my 26th birthday

We went to MN Twins games

He watched me get my Master's degree

We went to Minnehaha Falls

We went shopping and acted like dorks

We went to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin where he grew up

He brought me flowers for no reason at all

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo and May the 4th on the same day

We went camping

We had backyard movie nights

We went wine tasting

We went to MN Vikings games

We went to friends' weddings

We went to the MN Renaissance Festival

But most of the time we just did nothing and we always had SO much fun together. In fact we were having so much fun that we decided to take a trip back to Las Vegas, exactly one year after we met. And I'll tell about that trip next time I write!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up - May 22-25

Memorial Day weekend this year marks our third annual camping trip. This year we headed just a little bit north of home in Minnesota and went with two of our closest friends, Cody's former roommate and his girlfriend.

While I had been camping a total of about three times before meeting him, Cody used to go nearly every summer weekend growing up. He loves it and I'm learning to appreciate it more and more. We arrived before our friends on Friday and Cody got to work setting up camp. Immediately I started getting eaten by mosquitos so I tested out the camping hammock that Cody got for his birthday. It completely kept out the mosquitos and was extremely relaxing.

My main contribution to the weekend was scouring Pinterest in advance, planning meals, and doing all of the grocery shopping.

Here are the meals we tried:

Tacos in a Bag

Campfire Jambalaya

Steak and Chicken Kebabs
We also did the classic brats over the campfire and spent one rainy lunch pretending that we were glamping with wine, cheese, and salami.

Two of my favorite things we tried were dipping marshmallows in Baileys before roasting them


And this sangria:

I got the idea here but made ours using 8 small mason jars and equally dividing 
  • 1 container raspberries
  • 1 container strawberries, sliced
  • 12 ounces vodka
  • 1 bottle of white wine
Then when we were ready to drink it, we filled a plastic cup with ice, dumped it in, and topped it with Fresca.

Most of the weekend we had good weather but it rained for quite a while on Sunday so we checked out a local brewery, HammerHeart Brewing. It was a Nordic themed brewery and the taproom was all themed as such. Cody was thrilled by the beers and we had a great time.

Now I'm completely ready to spend the week drinking tons of water and eating healthy to detox all the junk we consumed! Hope everyone had a restful weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2015

When Your Husband Steals Your Header

Cody and I have both been looking for new hobbies. We both like writing and enjoyed writing a travel journal together of our Italian honeymoon. Somewhat independently, perhaps simultaneously we both decided to start blogs. This week Cody sent me his link to take a look and here is what I saw on top:

Look familiar?

Now, we both love this photo. It was taken by our phenomenal engagement and wedding photographer Tiffany Kokal. And we both have this great last name. So this isn't all that surprising. But....I might just design a new header.

In all seriousness, Cody has come up with a great blog. While mine so far lacks any central idea, he is writing about the craft beer industry and the politics surrounding it. You should check it out!

Great minds think alike, I guess?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Our First Date

This is the second installment in mine and Cody's love story. You can read my last post about How We Met.

So, as I said, after meeting Cody, as cute as he was, I figured I would never see him again. We all headed back to the midwest. I was dealing with a rapidly failing relationship and Cody was just living his life while his best friend and roommate was quickly falling for my friend he had met in Vegas. Despite the fact that she lived in Milwaukee, they started to date.

So when she came back to the Twin Cities to visit, the guys threw a party and I tagged along. I couldn't believe how fun Cody and his friends were. They were so welcoming and generous. I couldn't help but have an incredible time. I spent most of the night chatting with the girls I came with but later on in the night Cody made a beer induced confession that he was interested in me. I deflected his comment awkwardly, of course.

The party was mid-November and it took me until late December to figure out the end of my previous relationship, sort out all my feelings, and be honest with myself that I was way into Cody. This was actually a pretty crappy and guilt-ridden period of time for me but that's another story and it's okay because things were about to get SO much better!

December 26, 2012.

I loooove Christmas and 2012 was particularly fun because I got to spend the day looking forward to a first date with a super cute guy. I still remember the jeans, top, boots, and jacket I chose and the extensive amount of time I spent getting ready. I had such high hopes for this date that my roommate at the time had to help me calm my nerves with a glass of wine (well, she didn't have to try to hard to convince me).

I wish I had a picture of us from that night (I mean I know I looked cute since I'd spent 2 hours getting ready) but I think that's pretty awkward to do on a first date.

Cody planned a great date. First, he picked me up at my door and took me to dinner. We'd met at an Irish Pub and shared a love of Guinness so we started out the night at Cooper's Irish Pub, not far from my house at the time in St. Louis Park.

Cooper's has great typical Irish fare. I've loved their Sausages and Mash and Shepard's Pie. Cody loves their Corn Beef dinner. They also have unbelievable and huge Bloody Marys and Bacon Flights for brunch.

We then headed to Uptown Minneapolis for drinks at Republic. We sampled some different beers.

Republic has a great beer selection and randomly have a great house red wine that I'm pretty sure comes from a box but that's never made me shy away from a wine.

Finally, we took a chilly walk down Lake Street to Bryant Lake Bowl where I beat him in a game of bowling. 

Bryant Lake Bowl is a great Uptown restaurant/bar/bowling alley/theater. I'm always unsure of whether I'm cool enough to be there but it's a great atmosphere and their little bowling alley is so cute. 

Cody later admitted that he had planned the date, revealing one stage at a time so that if it wasn't going so well, he could bail. Perhaps smart, in case I was crazy.

Why was this date so great?

- Cody was super considerate. He picked me up at my front door, held car doors for me, pushed in my chair, put on my jacket, and walked me to my steps at the end of the night.

- He wasn't too considerate. He paid for dinner, parking, and some drinks. But he let me pick up the tab for bowling and a round of drinks there so I didn't feel too guilty or like I owed him anything.

- We had a common interest. He chose the restaurant thoughtfully, based upon our common interest. We were both interested in traveling to Ireland so we had something to talk about right off the bat.

- He asked me out and scheduled our next date before the first was even over. I didn't have to guess about how he felt or what he was thinking.

- We spent almost eight hours together and talked the whole time. We never ran out of anything to say!

I was completely smitten!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why I Love The Bachelor

Usually when I tell people that I love the show The Bachelor and/or Bachelorette I say it as if I'm divulging some sort of dirty secret, or I roll my eyes as if to say, "I know how completely ridiculous I am." Conversely, with my friends who I know also love the show, we text back and forth at lightning speed about every detail. But today I read this article, so I'm ready to talk more openly about it.

I watched the very first season of The Bachelor, back when Alex Michael chose Amanda Marsh but decided not to propose.


I also watched the first Bachelorette, Trista and her TV aired wedding to Ryan Sutter. (They're still married, by the way!)


I have certainly not kept up with every season because there were times in my life that I felt like I was far too educated and intelligent (wink, wink) to deign to watch this crap. But sometime during grad school I discovered that it was the perfect departure from my day to day grind.

So here's why I love it:

1. While I would love to crack open a bottle of wine and throw a couple glasses back while watching, The Bachelor and Bachelorette air on Monday night and that would make for a fuzzy day of teaching on Tuesday. However, I do love that it airs on Monday. Mondays are hard. Every Monday morning I feel like I have to strap my teaching face back on and be a real live adult. But on Monday night I can indulge in some real mindless entertainment and enjoy while not trying to be an uber patient role model again until the next morning.

2. The internet lights up when it airs. I'm not quite snarky or quick enough to live tweet during episodes. In fact, during the season premiere last night, I forgot to check twitter until over half way through the episode. But following former contestants like Catherine Giudici (@clmgiudidi), Sean Lowe (seanlowe09), Andi Dorfman (@andidorfman), Nick Peterson (@nickpetersontv) etc, and producer Elan Gale (@theyearofelan) is hilarious. @jillbidenveep is a pro. Her tweets are extremely funny and she retweets the best out there. Just follow the hashtags #thebachelor or #thebachelorette during the episodes and you will be thoroughly entertained. Heck, even Anna Kendrick (@annakendrick47) tweets about it!


3. And, ok, I'm going to venture to say it's well produced. I am under no delusion that this is a real way to find a spouse (though I do think a few of the couples are legitimate) The people that make this show know what's going to be entertaining. I dare to say the people that go on this show know what they're getting into so I don't feel too bad for how much they get made fun of.

However, I am not a fan of this two bachelorette thing. Isn't the point of The Bachelorette that the woman gets to choose this time?


That being said, #teamkaitlyn 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up - May 15 to 17

For a weekend that we had absolutely nothing planned at the beginning, it turned out to be pretty fun while still very relaxing.


I tore out of work to make sure I could run before our evening activities started and it was the first run of the year where I was legitimately hot. Guess I have a few more months of that to look forward to!

May 15th was our six month anniversary and while we don't really celebrate little anniversaries, I wanted to surprise him so I picked up one of his favorite beers for him on the way home from work. Cody uses this app called Untappd to track and rank all of the beers he tries. This makes it easy for me to just look up the names since I would never remember otherwise. He had this one for the first time at Tavern at the Park when we took a weekend trip to Chicago last year.

This whole weekend was Art-a-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis. More than 50 buildings in the neighborhood open their doors for people to come into their art studios and check out their work. Additionally, all the local breweries have parties and food trucks roll in and cook up all sorts of tasty stuff. Our neighborhood was absolutely crawling all weekend. It was exciting to see so many people around. So after work on Friday we had some friends over for beers and then set out. We started by checking out Able Seedhouse + Brewery. It's not open yet but is being built in an old lightbulb factory and is less than 1/2 a mile from our house. We perused some art studios and ended up at Indeed Brewing for their Whirlygig Celebration. Live music, food trucks, and craft beer galore. And we ended up picking the perfect day for meandering the neighborhood since it rained the rest of the weekend!


Saturday was a whole lot of nothing. I caught up on some reading and trashy TV shows. But then in the late afternoon I decided that I needed guacamole and my darling husband even went to get me an avocado and an onion.

I'd heard that Chipotle recently released their recipe so I gave it a shot. I only made a half batch and was thrilled to use my fresh cilantro I recently planted. I omitted the jalapeño (not because I dislike the spice, but because the last two times I've sliced jalapeño, I've accidentally touched my eyes and been in horrible pain so I'm done with that) and I added some garlic. And it was delish!

We also watched The Purge: Anarchy, which was scary. Like, I got so scared that I got up and locked the door...logically.


I hammered out a double workout by getting to a Body Works class at the gym and following it up with a run around the neighborhood between rain storms. I also used a Starbucks gift card to get some espresso which thrills me since I've given up paying for coffee to save money.

When I got home I attempted to fry eggs for the first time. I've always scrambled them because, well that's easy. But a couple weeks ago my sister's boyfriend fried me an egg and it was amazing. I even asked him for his secret techniques but he was like, "I dunno, fry it. Also, don't break the yolk." So I gave it my best shot and it was pretty tasty.

In the afternoon my sister and I went to see Pitch Perfect 2. I love, love, loved the first one and this was definitely good, just not as good as the first. But what sequel ever is?

All in all, a great weekend! And I'm not nearly as bummed that it's over because there are only 12 days of school left!!