What the F…ear?

This is going to sound silly, but I am nervous about heading back to my Crossfit gym this morning. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been away from it for quite some time after stepping away to deal with a minor injury and then just never going back other than to the occasional open gym. I was terrified the first time I went, and it scared me nearly every morning after that for a few weeks until I started to finally settle in – but every single time I faced the fear and I left feeling so empowered and proud of myself. I guess I would even liken the feeling to a high of sorts. But here I sit this morning, nervous about stepping back into that space, which I know is really ridiculous.

It is not a matter of being fearless. The fear is sometimes constant, but it’s about moving forward regardless of the fear. Courage means feeling the fear and doing it anyway. -Gillian Anderson

I committed to joining in a partner WOD (Workout of the Day for those who aren’t familiar with the lingo) with my husband this morning, as it’s a special one as a memorial and fundraiser for a dear member who was lost tragically just a few weeks ago. I want to go, I want to show my support, but why on earth am I feeling so much trepidation? I know I’ll have to scale the workout, which is fine, and I know that it’s only 13 minutes of work and it’s with my husband, so what’s the big deal? I wonder sometimes if I have a touch of social anxiety, which seems even more odd given that I am a very social person. But every so often, I feel like I clam up inside when I’m faced with the unknown. It wouldn’t seem like this situation presents too many unknowns, though, so who the F knows what my deal is?

Here is what I do know: I am going, I will face my fear and I’ll leave feeling amazing. So let’s do this.

 

Self Sabotage

So…I have a confession to make. I am sabotaging my fitness mission with alcohol. Part of the 90 day fitness challenge that I am in the middle of involves no alcohol, unless it’s a cheat – and I should only be allowing two cheats a week. This means I’m cheating every day. Every, single, day. I started out with a bang and didn’t have a drink for the first week. I brought a cooler of sparkling water with me to social events in lieu of beer or wine, and I was ready to do this for the next few months. Then I slipped, and then I slipped some more – right back into my old habits.

drinking

There is no question that I enjoy a drink now and again. I love a great cocktail or a glass of wine, we have a well stocked wine fridge and bar, and there’s usually a great local beer on tap in our house. I just can’t pinpoint when my drinking went from the occasional glass during a social event, or a cold beer with lunch on a hot Saturday afternoon, to at least one drink every night. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around getting hammered every day, not even close, but the problem is that I am drinking every day and it just doesn’t feel good. I think my biggest problem lately is stress. Stress at work is pretty constant these days, and the first thing I turn to when I get home is a drink to take the edge off and relax. Just last night I went through this ritual, but ended up having a bit more than usual which led to terrible sleep and a struggle to get through my workout this morning. Now I’m just exhausted and run down and still have an entire work day ahead of me, one that is sure to bring more stress. Being overly tired and just low on energy certainly isn’t going to help me today, and this vicious cycle is only preventing me from achieving the level of fitness that I’m striving for. I recognize what the problem is, now I just have to stop the self sabotage.

 

Paleo Sausage Cauliflower Casserole

After a long week, I find that I want to turn to pizza on Friday nights because it’s quick and delicious, and I am ready to relax at home and basically just veg out. With my healthy lifestyle mission, I instead turned to Pinterest for some easy paleo dinner ideas this past Friday and stumbled across some variations of this recipe, which I molded into something of my own and it was incredibly tasty and far more satisfying than a pizza. (Although sometimes you do just have to eat pizza.) I guarantee I’ll be adding this one to the meal rotation. It also makes plenty and would easily serve a small family, I’d say you could count on 4 full servings, plus some – which made for great leftovers when reheated in the oven. I hope you enjoy!

Not photographed would be the cauliflower preparation. I started out by cutting a head of  cauliflower into florets, and then blanching them in boiling water for 3 minutes, followed by removing and rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking process. I just set them aside while I moved on to everything else, and they still ended up with a slight crunch after the meal was completely done – but they were able to soak all of the flavors up which I thought was perfect in terms of texture and taste. If you prefer softer cauliflower, you could probably let them boil for about 4 minutes instead.

For the sausage, I used 12 oz. of uncured beef sausage, sliced. This would certainly be enough, but I wanted to add a bit of a kick, so I also use half a pound of hot Italian sausage, which added some nice heat. I would suggest you vary to your specific tastes, I think you could reasonably use just about any sausage option for this dish.

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After browning the sausage in a bit of coconut oil, I added in the diced onion, garlic, fresh thyme, 3 fresh basil leaves (torn into pieces), and just a bit of dried oregano. I would suggest you adjust the basil to your liking, it can add a bit of sweetness and the 3 leaves worked quite well without overpowering the dish.

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Once the onions were cooked until translucent, about 4-5 minutes, I added a can of diced San Marzano tomatoes and allowed this to cook with the sausage mixture for about 5 minutes. I had a 28 oz. can, but didn’t quite use the whole thing. I added about 3/4 of the can, along with the liquids. Next time, I’ll likely drain out some of the liquid from the can first, because there was a bit more liquid at the bottom of the casserole than I preferred, but you do still need some for the cauliflower to soak up. I’d say to play with this for your specific tastes, the extra liquid didn’t affect the taste or texture at all, I just had to drain a bit of it off before storing for leftovers.

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After all of the above, I gently tossed in the cauliflower, poured the entire mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkled almond flour mixed with just a bit of Italian seasoning on top. After baking for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees F, I ran the boiler for a minute or so, watching carefully because I just wanted a bit more browning on the almond flour topping – not a burn. The result was absolutely delicious – and not bad to look at, either!

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Paleo Sausage Cauliflower Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 12 oz of uncured beef sausage (or sausage of your choice), sliced (I also added 8 oz of hot Italian sausage, you can be flexible here)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 5 springs of thyme, remove use the leaves and toss the stems
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, tear into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 28 oz can of diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (almond meal works best, as opposed to finely ground)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil, then add the cauliflower florets and boil for 3 minutes. (A minute longer if you prefer softer cauliflower) Remove and drain, rinsing under cold water in order to stop the cooking process, then set aside.
  3. Stir in the 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning into the 1/2 cup of almond flour and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Add the sausage of your choosing and cook until browned, stirring often.
  5. Stir in the onion, garlic, thyme, basil and oregano. Stir often and cook until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes (you can add the whole can, or a bit less depending on your preference) and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
  7. Turn off the heat and slowly add the cauliflower to the sausage mixture and gently stir together. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish, sprinkle the top with the almond mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for minutes. You an also broil for 1-2 minutes after the baking process to brown the top a bit more, if you prefer.

Enjoy!

Dipping My Toe

I’ve been trying for days to figure out how to go about writing this, tinkering with what I’ve wanted to say and if I should even approach it. It’s tough because some personal writing that I did a number of years ago ended up being discovered by some close to me and even though there wasn’t anything hurtful directed at them, it still ended up causing some sour feelings, so I immediately shut it all down. That particular writing venture was a bit more public knowledge, and the person in question was far more internet savvy than I gave them credit for. Big oops. As such, while it’s certainly public and anyone could stumble upon it, I’ve chosen to keep this one a bit more discreet in an effort to keep it from being completely out there. My husband has full knowledge, but he supports and encourages my writing, and knows how much this means to me.

Now, you may be saying to yourself “Why are you worried about sporadic posts with recipes and fitness stuff?” To that I’ll respond that the intent behind this blog is meant to be so much more, I’ve just been working up the courage to put myself back out there, and it isn’t easy after the above noted discovery. It might seem ridiculous to some, but it felt like a violation of privacy, one that I had experienced over and over since I kept a childhood diary. That is a story for another time, but today, I am ready to dip my toe back into the water.

I’m probably known as a worrier to some people. Oh hell, I know I am a worrier. (That’s why my friends call me Whiskers, and if you’ve never seen Will Ferrell’s Harry Caray skit from SNL, you will have no idea what I’m referring to.) It’s always been a problem for me, although I think I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older. Lately, however, there is something that has been weighing very heavily on my mind, and for good reason. Given the struggling health of her husband, I am starting to have to face the thoughts of taking care of my mother. It is something that has crossed my mind in the past, but recently I’m realizing that I may have to deal with this possibility far sooner than I had ever anticipated. Believe me, I hope that this isn’t the case, but recent events have brought all of this to the forefront and my worrying is kicked into high gear. Is she financially prepared for this? Are we financially prepared? Is she emotionally capable of handling this? Am I capable? So many thoughts are stirring through my mind. But, as I write this, I find that I keep leaving the post and moving on to other distractions as I am afraid to put all of my true feelings about what this possibility really means out into the blogging world.

I’ve (barely) dipped my toe, and I’ll leave the plunge for another day.

Jar of Happy

I started a little project earlier this year called my jar of happy. The idea is to just write little notes to collect in the jar when something positive happens, or anything in general that makes me smile, and then I’ll open them at the end of the year. I forget about this little jar from time to time, so I’m going to take it out of the cabinet that it’s been hiding in and instead I’ll keep it on the counter as a constant reminder to take note of the joyful little moments – both figuratively and literally. Today such a moment occurred, and it had me smiling the whole way home from the airport, and still even now.

I left just this morning and said a hurried goodbye to my husband as I rushed out the door to make my way to the airport. It was just a day trip, but I was originally going to be on a late flight back home, while he was leaving for DC for a few days this afternoon. Instead, I finished up early and caught an early flight, only to arrive at the airport a just a few minutes before he was expected to board his plane. I worked my way through the crowds from the E concourse to C, and arrived at his gate to see him smiling and walking towards me. I had arrived just in time for a kiss and a proper goodbye. After 10 years of marriage, that man still makes me giddy.

This moment is definitely noteworthy, just never mind the fact that I shorted the word off by one f. Go home spelling, you’re drunk.

Jar of Happy