Paleo Challenge Update: Week Four

Well, April is almost over, and so will be the month of my self imposed paleo challenge. Only a few more days! Although I have to admit, I don’t mind this new way of eating. I doubt I’ll stray much from it once the challenge is over!

Favorite Meal

Sausages! Need I say more? Yum! My hubby put together a delicious meal of Italian sausages with peppers, onions, and mushrooms all cooked together in a cast iron skillet and seasoned with basil, salt, and pepper. I didn’t miss the sausage bun at all!

DSCN0445I also really enjoyed this breakfast! We’ve gotten in to a routine in the mornings where I first make coffee and then bacon and eggs for us to have together before the hubby heads off to work. But one morning, he beat me to it and whipped up some baked frittata-like scrambled eggs with basil, a side of bacon, and berries to fill the corners. This was my favorite breakfast all week!

DSCN0625Favorite Snack

Of course, my go-to prosciutto plus fruit snack wins again, but this time with berries! (This was my late-night snack after class on Wednesday night.)

DSCN0651We also made chicken liver pate, and in a search for something to spread it on found this simple recipe for paleo crackers and adapted it a bit. (We used garlic olive oil, and skipped the rosemary to avoid an extra trip to the grocery store.) They were delicious, a little bit addictive, and very munchable even on their own.

DSCN0644Something Learned

I learned that fruit is perfect for satisfying a sweets craving. Really what you’re craving most of the time is sugar, and fruit has plenty of that! It’s just the all natural kind. It makes me realize that I can rely more on fruit for sugar and less on things like cookies. So in the future when I do have a cookie or three, it will be a more enjoyable special treat!

How I Feel

Honestly, my body has really normalized to this way of eating! I continue to have clearer skin, more predictable and less dramatic hunger over the course of the day, and my energy level remains even. All good things! It definitely motivates me to be more paleo than I was once the challenge is over (even if there are occasions to fall away from it every now and then… like ice cream on a hot day). But more on my plans for the future in my final paleo update next week!

Have you been trying this along with me? How do you feel?

Spring Garden: Cozy and Delicious

DSCN0467

the flowers that overhang our back patio

We’ve been diving into Spring, and we’re so excited it’s here! I know, I do live in Southern California, and it’s pretty temperate most of the year. But still, Spring is the best time of year. The temperatures stop dropping into the low 40’s, the Winter rain takes a break, and just like on the East coast everything becomes new and green and lush again.

DSCN0463

our back patio (the “lounge”), great for reading, grilling, and chilling

On the first warm weekend, we jumped at the chance to get our outdoor space ready, starting with a refresh of our back patio (which I lovingly like to call our “lounge”). Last week I mentioned our first bbq of Spring; this is where the ladies watched from as the guys battled it out over a game of bocci ball!

DSCN0465

I love to cozy up here with a book

Plus, we have long aspired to be herb gardeners, and since this is the first Spring since we moved into our house last year, we finally have the space for a modest vegetable and herb garden. The hubby cleared out the garden left by the last owners, mainly because it was mostly berries and berries can be impossible to wrangle! (If you’re not familiar with growing berries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are travelers so they can quickly take over your garden if you’re not careful!) We put in a 4×4 raised garden bed and a collection of pots (most of them found around our yard in unexpected places, left lying around by the past two owners of the house).

DSCN0461

our raised herb and vegetable garden

DSCN0459

4 x 4 raised garden bed for the vegetables

We included all our favorite herbs, the ones we use the most in the kitchen.

DSCN0452

thyme

DSCN0451

cilantro

DSCN0447

basil

DSCN0446

rosemary

DSCN0453

chives

We have four types of peppers and a tomato plant, which we hope one day to combine with our young lime and avocado trees (they live in the front yard) to make completely home grown guacamole.

DSCN0455

4 kinds of peppers

DSCN0454

tomato

We threw in a zucchini and a cucumber, because you can’t go wrong with either of those.

DSCN0457

zucchini

DSCN0456

cucumber

And as lovers of strawberries, we decided to replace the ones we pulled out of the original garden with a few in large pots, so they can travel all they want within the confines of a controlled environment.

DSCN0449

strawberries (and one of the inherited gnomes that live in our garden)

I love peeking over at the garden to see how it’s doing, while lounging out back. And it’s especially satisfying when we need some thyme or basil for a meal and we simply go outside and snip off a sprig from our garden. Hooray for Spring!

DSCN0466

the view of our garden from our lounge (and another inherited gnome; we decided to let them stay for good luck)

What have you done to prepare your outdoor space for Spring?