The Search Continues

So, the Blizzard of 2015 was a Bust here in the Delaware/Philly area – we were expecting up to 12 inches of snow here, and got nothing.  Literally, nothing.  We had about a half an inch earlier in the day from a clipper system that went through, but Juno missed us completely.  I was prepared to reschedule our appointment to look at a house Tuesday night because of the storm (and work from home in my pjs) when I woke up Tuesday morning and we didn’t have so much as an ice crystal.  Not that I’m complaining – I’m not.  I hate snow.  HATE.

So, Tuesday night, we went over the only potential house we had on our list.  It was a 4 bedroom, bath and a half split level, in a nice neighborhood only 6 minutes away from my Mom’s.  It had a one car garage, nice backyard, and allowed pets.  These are the deal breakers on our list – it has to be in the area of our current commute, at least a one car garage with off-street parking, and I can’t do a ton of steps, so yeah.  Plus, rent was just under $1600 a month.  It’s a cute house – well landscaped, nice yard that isn’t too big.  The house was built in the early 60s.  We went in, and it was nicely kept – hardwood floors in th entry way, and then up the stairs to a great room (living room/dining room).  To the right of the entry way was a carpeted room I’m thinking they used as a large bedroom – with access to the garage, basement, and a very small bedroom.  Across from that was the powder room, and backdoor which led to the patio.  The carpets were new, and it was freshly painted.  There were 3 more bedrooms upstairs and a full bath.  The negatives were that they had painted two of the bedrooms in this rather dark blue color – combined with blue carpet, which made the master bedroom and small bedroom DARK.  And the closets were tiny.  I mean, I couldn’t have gotten a winter coat in them.  Or I could, but I couldn’t have gotten anything else in them.  And the bathroom, which had been redone, was still a 1962 bathroom – meaning you had to turn sideways to get between the sink and the shower, just to get to the toilet.  And the kitchen had not been updated ever.  Original cabinets, which I could deal with, but the oven was original to the house, and I couldn’t have cooked too much in it – it was so small I couldn’t have gotten a turkey or a ham in it.  The stove was also original to the house, and looked sketchy.  Dark green formica countertops.  And it was SMALL.  I lived for years in Maryland with a tiny galley kitchen.  No more.  Nope.

So we passed on it.  I have gotten Mr. G to agree to looking at some apartments.  There are some luxury apartments in the area, where rent is $1200 per month – 3 bedroom, 2 full bath, with open pet policies.  Thankfully, Mia doesn’t fit into the breed restriction list.  I hate BSL – hate it.

So, we decided to wait a few more months – I’m going to use my bonus to pay off my credit card debt and fund our trip to Colorado later this year.  And in the meantime, without the debt, I can easily sock back $1000 or more a month until June or July to have money for furniture AND the deposits required to get into where ever we land.

In other news, I the thyroid is still making for rough sleep, and the bronchitis is still hanging in there with a horrible cough.  I fell off my clean eating wagon hard over the weekend, realized it was because of emotional issues, and gave myself a kick in the ass.  I have been good all week.  I tried a recipe I found on Pinterest for glutten-free peanut butter banana bread.  The recipe had been given rave reviews for having great texture and taste.  I made it, and it was, well, AWFUL.  The texture is just, well, no.  It’s made with coconut flour, bananas, all-natural peanut butter and applesauce.  I mean, it was bad.  B-A-D.  I won’t even post the recipe.  I’ve been choking it down (brought the last piece in my lunch today) because I hate to waste food, but yeah, this is going in the “never again” category.   Too bad – I love peanut butter and bananas.

Mostly this week we have been eating a pot of veggie beef soup I made over the weekend (Mr. G loves soup for his lunch and I was sick of him eating that canned crap), and I found some gluten-free meatballs at BJs that are terrific.  They are the Cook Perfect Italian Style Gluten Free Meatballs.  I threw them in the crock pot over the weekend with tomatoes, diced onions and celery, and some no-salt tomato sauce and let them go for about 4 hours on low.  I have been taking them for lunch (or we have been eating them for dinner) with some fresh mozzarella cheese, and it makes a great meal.  The hubster has his with a roll (I’m taking baby steps with him).  I must say, I feel so much better cutting out all the processed crap.  I’m eating tons of fresh fruit and veggies.  My energy is starting to come back, I’ve actually lost some of the thyroid weight I put back on, and I know my body is happier cutting out the bad fats, cow’s milk (except for cheese and greek yogurt), and sweeteners.  I do use a smidgen of honey for a sweetener – all natural, no processing like is found with the packaged sweeteners like Splenda, Nutra-Sweet, saccharine and even Stevia (yeah, it IS processed – unless you are squeezing your own stevia leaves).

Oh, and Miss Peanut is now one month old!  Holy Moly!  Where has this month gone?  She’s up to 8.6 pounds and has grown an inch and a half from her birth.  She’s long and lean and gorgeous!

House Hunting Sucks

I had seriously forgotten what a PITA it is to look for a new place.  And seriously, my husband doesn’t want to bend on any of his wants, which makes this hard.  We are looking for a rental and he thinks he’s going to get everything he wants in a rental.  I keep trying to tell him that everything he wants may not come in a rental.  In fact, it probably wouldn’t even come in a house we decided to buy.  But still…

And I am skeeved out by the number of folks out there who are trying to push rental scams.  I have hit 4 in the past two weeks.  People who keep telling me they only want a “good Christian family” to look after their homes and can you provide X, Y and Z in an email.  Nope.  Nope nope nope.  We are going through a realtor now.  I am not going to be scammed.  I’ve worked in the business too long.  Problem with the realtor we have is getting him to actually call me back.

In other news, I am now one week into my new dosage of thyroid meds.  They have an 8 day half-life, so I shouldn’t be feeling any difference with the higher dosage, and I’m not.  I feel less crappy than I did, but that is more than likely because the bronchitis is getting better.  I still have an annoying cough, but I don’t feel like death warmed over.

I’m still eating cleanly.  I slipped yesterday, and added some pasta to my tomato sauce and gluten-free meatballs.  Only about a quarter of a cup.  Made me feel like crap.  Lesson learned.  Back to clean this morning.  Good news is, I am thinking the new dose of thyroid meds, combined with the older, smaller dose of meds may actually be working now because I got on the scale for my weekly weigh in and I’m back down to under 180 – my warning number.  My body sat happily around 175 for months, and then when they killed my thyroid, I shot up to 186 and it scared the hell out of me.  My warning number is 180 – the one that makes me freak out a little bit.  I am terrified of going back over 200 pounds (I mean, I spent over 30 years there, so yeah).  Without a functioning thyroid, you can’t lose weight, or maintain.  Now that my thyroid hormones have started to kick in, I’m going back in the right direction.  PHEW.  Maybe, just maybe, when this is all said and done and my dosage is evened out to the proper level, I’ll get off the last 20 or so pounds I want to lose.  Maybe.  If not, and I stay in the 170s, I’m good with that too – but being in the 160s, or the 150s, that would thrill me.  Especially for my long-term maintenance and my height.

I’ve also noticed my skin is looking much better now that I’m eating cleanly and getting my thyroid on the right path.  I still have some puffiness under my eyes and some dark circles (classic thyroid symptoms) but they are getting better.  I have added some very nice eye cream to my routine (Clinique).  Skin care is incredibly important for people like me – people who have had weight loss surgery, but also diabetics (even if it is in remission), and post cancer patients (our skin has been through the ringer with radiation and chemo), and thyroid patients.  I have a strict skin care routine I follow every day – and I do pay for the Clinique because it is worth it.  I wash and tone, and moisturize twice a day.  And it pays off, but with the thyroid issues, my complexion was waxy looking, and uneven, and red and ruddy.  But with the clean eating and the thyroid, my complexion is improving – I don’t look so red and ruddy anymore – more even, and supple.  And I don’t look so tired.  That’s a plus.  I’m still fighting horrible fatigue, but I don’t look like I just crawled out of bed all the time.  So, little changes.

And I forgot my freaking cell phone at home today.  So, I won’t actually know if the realtor contacts me today.  I feel naked without my cell.  I mean, my office phone is here, and it works, but MY CELL PHONE ISN’T HERE OMG.  I guess I’ll call the realtor’s office when I go to lunch.  BAHAHAHAA…that is, if I get one today.  Sigh.

Surfacing Cleanly

Between feeling like crap because of the bronchitis, and feeling even more crappy because of low thyroid, it is pretty obvious that lately, I have felt like crap.

I have started to surface over the past couple of days and am starting to feel better.  My endocrinologist upped my thyroid meds last week, so it may be they are starting to kick in, but the full effect of that won’t really be evident for another week or so.  I know the bronchitis is getting better.  I also know that cutting out all the crap in my food has helped.

Clean eating has been a good thing.  Getting rid of food that is full of chemicals and preservatives has been beneficial.  Cutting out bad carbs, most dairy (I still eat greek yogurt and cheese but no milk or cream), nitrates, preservatives, and general crap has just made me feel better.  My skin looks great, even more elastic.  Things that sagged before on my face don’t seem to sag as much.  Black circles under my eyes are starting to fade. 

I was skeptical at first, but this is working.

I have also given up all artificial sweeteners, including stevia, which still has to go through chemical processing.  I use honey to sweeten things, just a bit, and it has not had the same craving effects that artificial sweeteners have given me.  In fact, my cravings are not there because there is a clean eating alternative to it, that is natural, and good! 

I can see the visible results of clean eating, and feel the health benefit.

Nature…who knew? 

And, a quick recipe.

Last night, I made chicken for dinner.  I took boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and made horizontal slits through them.  In the slits, I put a little pepperjack and cream cheese.  I seasoned it with some garlic powder and herb de province, and covered the breats in sliced mushrooms.  Baked it at 375 for 35 minutes, and served it with steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  For dessert, I made a fresh fruit salad of an orange, a pink grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, a banana.  I dressed it with a dressing made of greek yogurt, honey, a little lemon juice, chopped mint, and chia seeds.

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Delicious!  Even the husband approved!

Brownies

Yup, you read that right.

Chocolately brownies.

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I will give you a moment to collect yourself.

Here is the recipe (Credited to http://empoweredsustenance.com):

1/2c coconut flour
1/2c dutch processed cocoa
1/2c plus 2 tbsp melted butter
1/2c honey
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
3 eggs

Preheat your oven to 300.
Mix all ingredients.
Pour into a glass 8X8 baking dish.  Bake 30 minutes, and then let cool in pan 30 minutes before cutting.

Store at room temp in airtight container.

I also added some dark chocolate chips to mine.

Chocolately delicious.  And I cut mine into 16 pieces, because a little gies a long way.

You need to make these.

Now.

Go!

Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes

So, apparently, I have bronchitis.  Ran a high temp for a few days, but a z-pack and codiene cough syrup later and I am feeling more myself.

I will admit, I fell off the clean eating bandwagon for a couple of days, but really didn’t do too bad.  Mostly I ate some chicken soup that I had stored in the freezer, and whole wheat toast with nut butter.  Where I fell off the wagon was the animal crackers.  Wirse things, I know.

Today I got back on the wagon and made myself a big thing of veggie beef soup.  I hot some gorgeous soup bones today, and my lively soup is bubbling away.

For breakfast, I decided to try my hand at coconut flour pancakes.  They were actually very good!

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I added blueberries and chia seeds to them for extra goodness.

The cast of characters:

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1/4c coconut flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/3c coconut milk
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 eggs
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

First, melt you coconut oil in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

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Add it to your eggs, along with they honey and whisk together.

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Then add your vanilla and coconut milk.

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Whisk it together well.
Then add in your dry ingredients.

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Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat.  You can melt a little butter or spray with cooking spray.  I dropped batter by 1/4 cup into the pan, and then added the blueberries and chia seeds.

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You need to watch these because unlike regular pancakes, they won’t bubble.  Flip them when ready.

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I ate them with a drizzle of honey.  Delicious!!!

Hypo and The Plague

I got my thyroid tests back today and I am still way too low, so the doctor increased my dose of synthroid. 

And last night I developed this stupid cough.  I don’t feel too bad, but now my nose is running too, and a low grade headache has developed.  I don’t think I have a fever, but being in menopause is hard to tell with the hot flashes.  I am at work, but will probably take the puter home just in case tomorrow is a no go.  I had my flu shot, but we are snot deep in the middle of a flu outbreak in DE right now, so, yeah.

Thank goodness I made all that soup this weekend.  Sigh.

Clean Eating Vegetable Beef Soup

Ok – it’s cold here.  We’ve had a cold snap that has been going for days.  Blah blah polar vortex blah blah.  And when I’m cold, I want comfort.  I want leggings, and big sweaters, and cozy socks!  And I want homemade yumminess that is soup.

Long ago, maybe about 8 go rounds with Weight Watchers ago, I got their standard recipe for Vegetable Soup.  It was the one that you could eat a ton of because it had no points.  And I love that soup – it’s tasty, and easy to make.  But, I wanted to tweak it so that 1) my husband would eat it (he will only eat soup with protein in it); 2) it was clean and organic; and 3) I could still make it on the cheap.

So, once again, I raided my local farmer’s market after church yesterday (and my freezer).  I picked up a huge head of cabbage, 4 small turnips, 3 parsnips, 3 leeks, a small package of mushrooms, some organic low-sodium chicken broth and some organic low-sodium vegetable juice.  These ingredients cost me $7.  Yes, $7.  I already had celery, carrots, and a 2lb chuck roast at home.  I got the chuck on sale from my local grocery store, but bought it on the “last day” so it was a manager’s special and marked down to $3.

In my large dutch oven, I put in two tablespoon of coconut oil.  I diced the beef into bite sized pieces (and cut off the big chunks of fat) and seasoned them with lots of pepper and a smidgen of kosher salt.  Then I threw them in the pot and browned them.  While that was browning away, I rinsed my leeks.  Three times.  You have to to get the sand out. Otherwise, it’s grit city.  Once nice and rinsed, I sliced them up and threw them in with the beef and let them sizzle away together until the leeks softened and the meat was nice and brown.  Then I poured in the vegetable juice (it was about 3 cups) and the chicken broth (about 4 cups), reduced the heat to medium, and let it come to a boil.  I let it boil for about 5 minutes and then added a bay leaf, some dried oregano and parsley, and then reduced the heat to low and let it simmer.

While that was simmering away, I peeled and diced the turnips, carrots, and parsnips into bite sized pieces.  I chopped up a couple of stalks of celery (with the leaves because they are yummy).  I rinsed and sliced the mushrooms.  I took a quarter of the cabbage and chopped it.  Then I proceeded to toss it all in the pot.  I added more black pepper, put the lid back on, and let that baby bubble away for 30 minutes.

Delicious, yummy, healthy soup.  This makes a ginormous pot of soup y’all.  Seriously.  About 20 1c servings in this bad boy.

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Unless you live with us, in which case we will snarfle it pretty quick pretty fast.

So, according to SparkPeople, this is about 168 calories per serving.  There are 10.4 lovely grams of protein per serving, and about 7g of net carbs.  About 10g of fat from the beef and the coconut oil.