Sunday, January 22, 2012

To quote Jay-Z

I guess I got my swagger back!!!

Two weeks ago, I felt so defeated and awful. Today, I feel great!! While I still think the sugar-free challenge is a great program, it is so definitely not for me and I am SO happy I gave it up when I did. Two weeks ago, I ran a 15k and ran out of steam early; by the time I crossed the finish, I wanted to cry and I felt awful for the remainder of the weekend. Today, I ran a 15k, felt great thru all 9.3mi and felt great after!! Please don't think I'm boastful, I'm not fast and do not place in any of these races; for me, it's running at my regular pace, the accomplishment of finishing and feeling great during/after races that is most important. Today, I succeeded.

After giving up the sugar-free challenge, I still wanted to eat healthy, just add back sugar and carbs. Last week, I increased my daily net carb intake and had tons of fuel in my muscles to do a 5mi social run yesterday and 15k race today. I don't have any planned runs/races this upcoming weekend, so I plan to backoff on my daily net carb intake.

Breakfasts will continue to be eggbeaters and turkey bacon, because I'm addicted and that's my favorite weekday breakfast. Lunches will vary between soups (still have a freezer-ful!) and leftovers. Snacks will include yogurt, fruit, nuts, the usual and here's what we'll be having for dinners this week:

Tonight - french dip sandwiches and smashed red potatoes
Monday - chicken stir-fry with brown rice
Tuesday - healthified chicken fried, leftover smashed red potatoes and green beans - I made this for the first time a few weeks ago and it was tasty; this time, I'm tweaking the recipe some to suit our tastes and will post it once I get it perfect
Wednesday - individual mexican pizzas - whole grain tortillas topped with ff refried beans, turkey taco mix, olives, jalapenos and rf cheddar (and whatever else Dan finds in the house to put on his)
Thursday - not sure yet, we have a few meals in the freezer so it will probably be whichever Dan picks; the options are meatballs, baked pasta, soup (with grilled cheese or tuna sandwiches) and chicken enchiladas
Friday - going out for date night since I don't have a planned run on Saturday - yay!!!

Are any of you still keeping up with your New Year's Resolution to eat healthy, exercise, etc.? What are you doing to stick to it?? If you're reading this, would it help if I listed what exercise I'm adding in with my healthy eating?

PS - Dan looks fabulous and he's not exercising! I've kept him on the reduced carb/sugar diet (he was never sugar-free) and he really likes it, loves how much I pack for him to eat all day long since he's more of a snacker/grazer than one to sit and eat full meals mid-day and he really enjoys all the cooking I'm doing!! He's such a great help during the week with heating/finishing whatever dinner is planned, I could not do this without him and all of his support.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

500 Miles

Making the decision to go sugar-free for January was easy. Cooking and prepping all my meals ahead of time so that I wouldn't be tempted to hit Fuzzy's was easy. Eating delicious meals, lots of fruit, nuts and other healthy things was also easy. Running a 15k with zero glycogen stores from avoiding all things carbohydrate sucked!!

For those of you new to the blog or those who do not know me, I run ... a lot. In 2011, I competed in over a dozen 5k/10k races, ran a half marathon and completed a triathlon, all with energy to spare. I had never "hit the wall" before, not even in training runs. I'd been running 6-7mi pretty consistently on the weekends and although I hadn't run more than 7mi in awhile, I was pretty confident going into Saturday's 15k race (that's 9.3mi). Then I hit the wall. The first few miles were fine, my pace was a little slower than usual but I chalked that up to the chilly temperature. Around mile 4, my legs started to slow, I couldn't force them to go faster and I started to tire. About 7.5mi in, my body decided it didn't feel like running anymore; it took every ounce of willpower within me to force myself to the finish, but I finished. My poor friends were stuck at the finish line waiting for me, but I finished.

I have never been happier for a race to be over, to be home, and to take a burning hot shower. I thought about the race and my [expletive] performance, what I'd eaten, how I'd slept, etc. and decided I needed to work harder to prep for long runs if I wanted to keep up this sugar-free challenge. Then I got incredibly dizzy and nauseous and caved ... I slammed a low-calorie gatorade and had a pb sandwich on whole wheat bread. Less than 10min later I felt better. I decided to quit the sugar-free challenge. Why? Because I hate being nauseous that much and because I never again want to feel that awful feeling of hitting the wall during a run.

I run because I like being fit and feeling healthy but most of all, I realized I like running because it means I get to eat what I want (within reason). I won't say that I can't complete the sugar-free challenge, I just don't want to complete it. I like food too much to do this challenge!! So it's over. I do still plan to healthify up our meals since I was a bit of a slacker towards the end of 2011, I'll reduce the amount of carbs/sugar, but I will never again cut them out completely (I say that now, give it a week!).

Ok, enough with the rambling ... here's what we're eating this week:
  • My breakfasts - turkey bacon and eggbeaters
  • Dan's breakfasts - cereal, oatmeal, turkey bacon and eggbeaters, whatever he's in the mood for
  • Morning snacks - yogurts, and not those organic, plain no-sugar-added ones either, whew!
  • My lunches - soups, I still have a stockpile of soups in the freezer from last week's plan
  • Dan's lunches - salad, soup, deli meat & cheese roll-ups
  • Afternoon snacks - fruit and nuts, cereal bars
  • Blackened chicken - baked instead of fried in butter - with dirty rice and veggies
  • Chicken stir-fry - seriously we eat this too often but we love it
  • Turkey burgers with roasted broccoli and healthified mac n chz (ok so I know it was only a week but I really missed my mac n chz!!)
  • Beef stew - this is in the crockpot right now and smells awesome! I threw in some red potatoes, celery, carrot and onion then did half wine / half beef broth - can't wait for this meal!!
  • Whole wheat linguine with bolognese
I'm planning to run another 15k next Saturday, weather/temperature permitting, hoping it goes better for me!! I will go back to my normal pre-race meal of eggs, turkey bacon and either pancakes or waffles :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sugar-free Challenge

Hello again, I just realized I haven't posted anything in almost a year! It's January 2012 and like many people, I resolved to make my new year healthier than the last. In 2011, I went from having a semi-healthy diet with minimal fitness activity to a much healthier diet mixed with a lot of exercise and I saw great results. For 2012, I'm ready to take it to the next level. To kick-start my efforts, I've decided to take the sugar-free challenge and starting tomorrow, will avoid sugar and sugar-like foods through the end of the month.

If you google "going sugar free," you will find a ton of great online resources. I took everything I read, combined what I liked, ignored what I didn't (yes I'm talking about you, sprouts!) and created my own little plan. Raw veggies are totally not my thing, but if you're doing this challenge and you like raw carrots or grape tomatoes, I definitely encourage you choosing more of those and less of the fruit servings on my plan. Dan is a total sugar-addict, even worse than me, so creating a plan that worked for the both of us proved quite challenging and we will be eating slightly different foods to suit our different tastes AND so that I don't accidentally starve him like I did last year, he will get a tiny little bit of carbs each day.

The biggest thing I learned from reading all the different websites was simply this: watch out for hidden sugars; if you can, make as much as possible from scratch. Thankfully, I really enjoy making things from scratch so this won't be too hard for me; however, I know a lot of people don't have the time or patience to do this so just remember to pay attention to the ingredients lists.

In addition to the below, I will have extra fruit, nuts and low-fat dairy on hand for in-between snacks to hopefully stave off those sugar cravings:
Tuesday 1/3
  • Breakfast - 1/2c scrambled egg beaters, 3 slices turkey bacon (shredded cheddar for Dan)
  • Morning snack - yogurt
  • My lunch - roasted tomato soup
  • Dan's lunch - romaine and tomatoes with homemade mustard dressing; tomato soup; slices of deli turkey rolled in sliced cheese
  • Afternoon snack - 1/4c peanuts, 1/4c almonds, 1 apple
  • Dinner - grilled chicken with roasted broccoli and carrots (and some red potatoes for Dan)

Wednesday 1/4
  • Breakfast - 1/2c scrambled egg beaters, 3 slices turkey bacon (spinach and salsa in the eggs for Dan)
  • Morning snack - yogurt
  • My lunch - lima bean soup
  • Dan's lunch - romaine, carrots and tomatoes with homemade balsamic vinaigrette; lima bean soup; slices of deli roast beef rolled in sliced cheese
  • Afternoon snack - 1 pear, 2tbsp natural almond butter
  • Dinner - ground turkey with chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion mixed with black beans and corn, topped with shredded cheddar; black bean soup (giving Dan two corn tortillas so he can make tacos)
Thursday 1/5
  • Breakfast - 1/2c scrambled egg beaters, 3 slices turkey bacon (spinach and mushrooms in Dan's eggs)
  • Morning snack - yogurt
  • My lunch - black bean soup
  • Dan's lunch - romaine, carrots and tomatoes with salsa/sour cream dressing; black bean soup; leftover turkey taco mix
  • Afternoon snack - 1 banana, 2tbsp natural peanut butter
  • Dinner -  chicken stir-fry (1/4c brown rice for Dan)
Friday 1/6
  • Breakfast - 1/2c scrambled egg beaters, 3 slices turkey bacon (cheddar in Dan's eggs)
  • Morning snack - yogurt
  • My lunch - lima bean soup
  • Dan's lunch - romaine and tomatoes with homemade mustard dressing; lima bean soup; leftover chicken stir-fry OR slices of deli turkey rolled in deli cheese
  • Afternoon snack - 1/2c pistachios, 1 apple
  • Dinner - pork medalions in mushroom sauce, sauteed veggies (smashed red potatoes for Dan)
I'm running a 15k Saturday morning so I will almost double my normal breakfast serving of eggs/bacon and maybe add some turkey sausage; for lunch that day, I'll heat whatever soup is left and Saturday night's dinner is supposed to be chicken breasts stuffed with pesto and feta which I'll serve with roasted asparagus and a tiny bit of risotto for Dan. After the normal breakfast on Sunday morning, I'll plan the upcoming week's menu and post it here!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It’s not safe to leave me unsupervised …

It was around this time a year ago when Dan left me unattended and I took his crowbar to the cabinets which resulted in my redesigned kitchen; one would think he’d know better by now that when left alone, I get fun ideas and without a voice of reason there, I just go ahead and do whatever I’m thinking which typically results in A LOT of hard work … one would be wrong.

Fast forward a year: it was a normal Sunday morning in spring; we were going to rake the front yard, trim the hedges then go shopping for some annuals and veggie plants so I could spend the afternoon planting while Dan did whatever it is Dan does when I’m not looking, usually something non-destructive like playing with the dogs. We finished raking, Dan bagged leaves (the tree in our front yard drops leaves like it’s October, all.year.long!) while I weeded my flower beds and mourned the loss of my perennials that barely came up, bloomed way too early and didn’t last nearly as long as they should have. Dan went inside to refill our waters so I picked up the hedge trimmers to get started on that task … and it all went downhill from there.

By the time Dan came back outside, I’d “trimmed” off about half of one of our enormo hedges!! Dan sighed, shook his head, went into the garage and emerged with a super fun power tool for me to use to finish “trimming” off the hedges. Once I’d removed all the branches, he started tying them up into bunches for the trashmen to take away and I grabbed a shovel to dig out the root balls. Each of those massive hedges was 4 individual bushes that had grown together, who knew? Definitely not me, I was not aware that I’d be digging out so many root balls! While I was at it, I took down this ugly tree that I hated and tore out about 10 miles of nasty vines that I’m pretty sure were responsible for strangling and killing my perennials. I also tore out about 2ft worth of St. Augustine across the front of the house so I could extend my flower beds, yay!! The only things left are the cactus garden, some greenery along the driveway and our enormo 100yr old tree, everything else is gone!

By Sunday evening, after ~7hrs in the yard, I could barely lift my arms over my head so the last thing I was ready to do was cook and prep for my week. Thankfully I had some frozen tamales (thank you Bedford Farmers Market) that I could heat for dinner. Come Monday, I could barely walk. Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine (yay drugs!) and skipping the gym, I was able to get all my cooking and prep done for the week so that I don’t get off track. We have a lot to do this week, there are still two root balls that were just too strong for me that I need Dan to dig out and I need to figure out what the heck I’m going to do now that I’ve ripped everything out of my yard! It looks so clean and pretty that I almost just want to leave it that way, but we all know better than that … I think I’m going to do all pink and white with a splash of red (shhhh, don’t tell Dan) across the front of the house with bluebonnets in the little L shaped space by the porch, yellow and orange marigolds in the ring around the tree and maybe some nice greenery along the side of the house where I ripped out anything and everything that appeared to be growing there. The first step will be to get dirt, lots and lots and lots of dirt!! I want to build a short 4-6” retaining wall, out of what I still have no clue, and do raised beds across the front. I also need a bunch of dirt for the two raised garden bed boxes for my veggies in the back. Oh and we also have to paint; those enormo hedges were hiding the poor, poor shape of our shutters so we’ll be stripping and painting the shutters and once those are all fancy with a fresh coat, we’ll have to strip and paint the trim along the house and front entrance to match, right?? Sorry honey!!!!!!

So while we’ll be hard at work, I’ve planned a hearty (but healthy) menu to keep us going. Breakfasts, as usual, will be egg casserole; lunches will vary based upon leftovers and the contents of my freezer; dinners will be mostly grilled except for Thursday because the weather is supposed to be crappy.

Monday – pork tenderloin kebabs/kabobs – I threaded pieces of peppercorn marinated pork loin on skewers with chunks of zucchini and red pepper … fantastic!
Tuesday – flank steak with sweet potatoes & green beans
Wednesday – grilled blackened chicken with hungry girlfredo & peas
Thursday – chicken stuffed with ham and swiss (kind of like chicken cordon bleu but not), with roasted new potatoes, broccoli & carrots
Friday – grilled pizzas! We were supposed to do this last Friday but I had a really tough run and wasn’t in the mood so instead we made a simple whole wheat linguine with peas in a ricotta pesto sauce (1 cup ff ricotta + 2tbsp pesto = yum!) and grilled chicken

I also got a wild hair and tested out healthifying my normal recipe for scones and they were quite yummy. You may not know this, but I am 100% obsessed with the royal wedding and I am starting to test out the recipes for what I will be serving at the formal English tea party I’m having in its honor that morning. Of course, the only attendees will be Fredo and Gus as most normal people will be asleep or at work, but it will be fabulous nonetheless and yes, Gus will be wearing gloves and a hat. I still need to tweak the scones recipe some before I post it because I’d like them to be just a touch sweeter so stay tuned!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

YAY!!! Yay for Opening Weekend!!!

Ok, so baseball is super exciting and all (and I’m super excited both our teams swept opening weekend), but what’s more exciting for me is the beginning of grilling season!!! From now through Labor Day, we will be grilling the majority of our meals … grilling season means casserole season is oh-vah! Which also means my Sunday prep goes from spending all day in the kitchen to only needing to spend an hour or two, mostly oven-free, prepping meals instead of fully cooking them. Today, aside from making my breakfast casserole and some mac n chz, all I did was cut up vegetables and mix spices together for my homemade seasonings to get ready for the week.

Some of why we grill so much in spring/summer is for survival purposes because really, who wants to turn on the oven or stove in 100 degree weather when your a/c is already working overtime?? But MY main reason for grilling (almost) everything, is because I really do just love that grilled flavor on EVERYTHING! There are also some other benefits like it’s much quicker than baking, and most of the fat cooks off the meat vs. almost stewing in its own fat like when you bake or roast. Everything else aside, let’s get down to the flavor. I often use very little marinade or flavoring on my meats. I may lightly spray some olive oil and sprinkle some seasoning on my meat, but it’s rare that I soak my meat in a calorie-laden marinade and there's no need to cover it in any sort of breading.

I think the biggest mistake most people make is forgetting that grilling isn’t just for your burgers and hot dogs, grilled veggies are fantastic too! Do you own a grill basket? If not, please head out to your nearest Wal-Mart or Target and pick one up, most retail for $5-$10. The simplest weeknight dinner, ready in 30 minutes or less, is throwing some chicken or pork chops on the grill with a grill basket full of peppers, onions, asparagus, mushrooms, squash, eggplant, even tomatoes taste great on the grill (and I am not a tomato person). Want some corn on the cob? Grill it! Want some baked potatoes or sweet potatoes? Wrap them in foil and grill them! Aside from bacon and eggs, I’m not sure there is anything out there that can’t be grilled!! Even bacon and eggs, if you have a grill like mine with a side burner, can be made outside to keep from heating up your house unnecessarily.

So here’s our plan for the week:
Monday – pork tenderloin in southwestern seasoning with sweet potatoes, peppers, mushrooms & onions
Tuesday – turkey burgers, green beans and mac n chz
Wednesday – chicken in mango chipotle seasoning with squash, zucchini & asparagus
Thursday – bacon wrapped filet with Yukon gold potatoes, broccoli & cauliflower
Friday – make-your-own pizza night … yes, pizzas on the grill!!!

One thing to note is that it’s perfectly acceptable, easier and more flavorful to rub your meat down with the seasoning the night before you get to grilling and leave it covered in plastic in the fridge overnight. Another thing to note is that Dan is not allowed near my grill. He is the one that lights it (because I hate that fwoom! sound when the propane catches), but once it’s preheated and ready (yes, you should always preheat your grill, takes less time than the oven but equally as important), he is to back away from the grill and let the master (ME!) take over. He is also allowed to place foil-wrapped potatoes and corn on the grill, because you can do that while it’s still preheating, but that’s pretty much the extent to which he is allowed to grill. Sooooooo our plan is for Dan to light the grill when I get home from the gym, it’ll preheat while I shower, then I will grill our dinner. Remember, grilling is way quicker than baking/roasting so unless it’s a thick piece of meat, dinners will be ready in about 15-30min tops!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Honey!!

Tuesday is Dan’s birthday and I have a very special day/night planned. It’s tradition that we take off work for each other’s bdays and spend the day together and this year is no different. I plan to get up early to take the boys for a run so Dan can sleep in for probably the second time ever; he normally pulls morning duty with the dogs since I am not a morning person whatsoever. After the boys are nice and worn out, I’ll let them jump in bed and snuggle Dan while I make breakfast. While it may not seem like a big deal to get up and make breakfast for most people, it’s a huge deal in our household. I have a tendency to sleep until noon when I don’t have to go to work AND Dan’s pretty self-sufficient in the mornings; on a normal no-work day, he’s up, showered, had breakfast, played with the dogs and is working on something or other long before I even roll out of bed. On a normal weekend, by the time I get up and make breakfast, it’s Dan’s lunchtime.

For his special day, I’m going to make his favorite breakfast treats: apple-pecan pancakes with sliced banana, real scrambled eggs (not eggbeaters/eggwhite combo) and real bacon (not turkey, ps this is twice in the same week, he will be overjoyed!) with an asiago bagel from Einstein on the side for his guilty pleasure. Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but Dan has a sandwich obsession, he can (and will) turn any meal into a sandwich. This happens most at breakfast; he casually piles everything from his plate onto his toast and forgoes his silverware to eat his sandwich with his hands. I swear he doesn’t even know he does it anymore. Side note: I once saw him sandwich a huge hunk of lasagna between two enormo pieces of garlic bread … he’s obsessed!!

I had planned for us to picnic in the park for lunch with the dogs but now the weather forecast is iffy so I’m not sure if we’ll still be able to do that. Dan’s idea of a perfect day is a mix of lounging and playing with the dogs; therefore, I thought it’d be great to take a picnic (pick-a-nick) basket over to Lake Grapevine for a fun afternoon with the pups so we could play fetch in the lake. There is no funnier sight to see than my Gus’ head barely bobbing above the water while he swims hurriedly back to shore with a ball in his mouth while Fredo splashes around crazily trying to steal the ball back before they reach us. Fredo always reaches the ball first but Gus usually steals it from him and Fredo won’t push Gus under water so he rarely is able to steal it back, a wrestling match in the muddy shore occurs shortly thereafter. Note to self: pack blankets to cover the inside of the car for the drive home. So that is what I hope to do Tuesday afternoon, weather permitting.

For Dan’s special birthday dinner, I made reservations at his favorite place for a 4 course wine dinner!! So that’s 4 courses of his favorite foods with 4 wine pairings, can’t wait! Shhhh, he doesn’t know yet, I offered to tell him but he wanted to be surprised. Then to close out Dan’s special day, I’ll let him pick what movie to watch and we’ll cuddle up under the blankets with a huge tub of popcorn, watch whatever terrible movie he’s sure to pick out, and call it a night.

The rest of our week is going to be a bit hectic, and aside from Monday night, our regular plans are totally shot. Wednesday evening, I have plans to go out for a friend’s birthday and Thursday evening I have a company event. In order to try to stay on plan, I’ll be packing my gym bag and shower things with the hope of making it to the gym for at least a short workout before both events. I’ve also already fully cooked both nights’ dinners and will be packing them in my lunch bag so that I can eat before I go out and (hopefully) don’t indulge on something fatty and non-points friendly. The upside is I’ve really planned ahead of time to try to stay on track; the downside is the dinners for both nights are pretty boring and repeats of recent meals. After over-indulging all weekend long for Dan’s bday weekend, I really do need to stay on track but we’ll see what happens. Soooooooo, wish me luck!

This week’s meal plan:
Monday – Indian-spiced grilled chicken with asparagus and red peppers
Tuesday – 4 course wine dinner!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday – turkey tacos with black beans
Thursday – meatloaf with roasted veggies and oven fries
Friday – grilled pork chops with broccoli and carrots

Apple-Pecan Pancakes
Makes 6 large pancakes / 1 pancake = 5 points (normally I’d laugh at something where 1 serving is 1 pancake but these really are filling enough that I only want one)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup regular flour
1/6 cup cornmeal
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg (you could also add ginger but I don’t because Dan’s not such a fan of ginger)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 tbsp safflower oil (or canola)
1 large apple, cored, peeled and chopped into itty bitty pieces
3/4 cup pecans, chopped into itty bitty pieces (I just buy the bag of already itty bitty pieces)

- whisk the eggs, yogurt and oil together
- mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl
- slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, whisking slowly until fully blended
- fold in apples and pecans and stir well
- drop by ladleful onto hot, greased skillet
- enjoy!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Allergy season is upon us!

Let me start by saying I am not an expert or a doctor so please don’t fault me if you do not agree. I must share that I have been virtually allergy-free for a few years now and I 100% credit my daily teaspoon of local, raw, unfiltered honey. Honey has been touted as an allergy vaccine of sorts for a very long time, long story short: bees pick up the pollen and turn it into honey which you consume, thereby building up your natural immunity to the pollens used by the bees. By eating local honey, you are ensuring that you’re building up your immunity to your local pollens. Honey you buy in a regular grocery store is pasteurized, the honey is boiled and filtered to make it clear and to give it a long shelf life. The boiling kills all those fabulous antibodies that you want to consume to build up your immunity though.

There are reports and studies on both sides of this statement so please research further if you are so inclined; I read both sides and figured “eh, why not give it a try?” and here we are. I started eating honey as an allergy vaccine after my first spring in Bedford. My allergies were so bad that I was missing work to stay home, in bed, in complete and total darkness and silence with a tissue shoved up my nose hoping that the Benadryl and Excedrin would eventually kick in or just knock me out. I was a lifelong allergy sufferer and had tried prescriptions, herbs, various OTC meds, even chiropractics and acupuncture but nothing really worked. I figured honey couldn’t make anything worse, so why not just give it a try.

Now, after a few years of taking 1tsp of local, raw, unfiltered honey daily, I can awaken with a clear head and eyes, completely fine, despite the fact that the pollen counts are through the roof and Dan and most of my coworkers are suffering. Honey doesn’t work like a pill or liquid, it is not an immediate solution, and it takes a year or so to really start experiencing significant results. After a few days, you’ll notice a slight improvement; after a month or so you’ll notice more, but it’s a long commitment. BUT since it’s not a pill, it’s also not a big deal if you miss a day or two (or month) either. That first year, I didn’t notice a huge difference but by the second year, wow! This is my fourth spring and I feel great!! [knocking on wood] I will admit that I’m dragging a bit today, but that could also be because it is a Monday, I am not home, in bed, with a pounding migraine and loss of peripheral vision like how I was for many years.

I still have bad allergy days from time to time, but now it’s only 1 or 2 per allergy season (vs. once/twice a week) and I hope in time those go away completely. Also, I feel terrible that Dan is suffering, but this is another one of those “if he’d just listen to me” situations so I am reminding (torturing) him daily (with a smile) that I’m right, he’s wrong, and he should just eat a tsp of honey and stop being so stubborn (it’s so fun, right Shan??). Side note: Dan doesn’t believe that eating honey will cure his allergies, but he also refuses to admit that he suffers from allergies. Second side note: crushing up a Benadryl tablet or two and serving it to your honey in his sweet tea so that his nose stops running, he stops clearing his throat so loudly that you can’t hear your tv show and (if you’re lucky) he passes out is not “drugging” him, it’s taking care of him when he’s not feeling well and too stubborn to just swallow a goshdarn pill. Last side note, promise: if you stir it into the tea before adding the ice, it dissolves completely and is 100% unnoticeable. (shhhhh, don’t tell Dan)

Ok back to my original story … I like eating a tsp of honey straight out of the jar; however, I know not everyone can handle that much biting sweetness. I also really enjoy stirring it into my morning tea, when I actually have time to make myself a morning tea (although don’t stir it into boiling water, see note above about making sure your honey is raw; I heat my water in the microwave to warm it just enough to make the tea steep but I don’t heat it to anywhere near boiling). Dan, who is normally a sweets freak, surprisingly doesn’t like honey all that much, so I’ve been experimenting with hiding it in different things to get him to eat some. He has unknowingly been consuming raw honey in his salad dressing, sweet tea and sauces for almost a month now and I must say that this allergy season doesn’t seem to be as rough on him as it has been in the past. Today’s pollen count would have made him SO cranky and sleepy this time last year but he got up and went to work without too much complaint this morning and he seemed fine when I checked in on him mid-day, and here it is almost 9pm and he's still going strong. I plan to keep this up through this allergy season and most of the summer, hopefully by fall his allergy suffering will decline at least a little more; wish me luck!!

Honey Mustard Citrus Dressing
Makes about 1 1/3 cups; 1tbsp = 0pts, 2tbsp = 1pt
1/2 cup light orange juice (I buy the Minute Maid one and it’s good)
1/3 cup grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon local, raw, unfiltered honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

Mix this all together in a blender or whisk vigorously until fully blended; chill at least 1hr before serving and enjoy! You can also add a little orange and lemon zest; garlic works really well in place of ginger but don’t use both or it is nasty. Dan really likes this one over spinach with grape tomatoes and walnuts.

I get my local, raw, unfiltered honey from Father’s Bees in Colleyville; you can find their honey at Bedford, Colleyville and I think Hurst and NRH farmers’ markets. The Cooper St market in Arlington sells raw, unfiltered honey from Waxahachie, which is semi-local but Colleyville is just up the street and the bee farm is only about 7-10min from my house, now THAT’S local!