I Ate Ice Cream

I ate ice cream. I did. There’s no fun photo here because it was gone before my eyes. I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate the ice cream or that it happened more than once this weekend.

While shopping for our camping trip this past week I bought ice cream bars (6 count cookies and cream drumsticks!) for our 3 kids with the intention of them each getting one on two of the nights we were there. The minute it made it into my cart I had already decided that one of those was going to be in my belly that weekend and we were going to have a numbers problem later.

We arrived at the campground Friday night and went to bed almost immediately but come Saturday those drumsticks were calling my name. I told the kids that after lunch they could have ice cream. I knew I was giving myself permission to eat one too since my hubby wasn’t there to witness it (he had to run into work that afternoon). Dang, it was yummy but uh oh… Now there are only 2 in the box. 3 kids, 2 ice creams. See? I knew there would be a numbers problem if I gave into that darn ice cream. I called the hubby, confessed and told him he’d better get more.

When he arrived with a 12 pack of ice cream sandwiches I knew I was really in trouble. 12 is almost limitless to this fat girl! The next day I gave the kids an ice cream sandwich after lunch again and once again gave myself permission to have ice cream. I deserved it right?! “I ran twice while on vacation so I worked it off!” I told myself.

Then the third ice cream came into play, there were 2 adults and the limitless box of ice cream sandwiches. Even our daughter suggested we have to 2 drumsticks left! There… the permission I needed! So I ate it. Ugh.

I’d done so great getting sugar out of my diet at the beginning of the year that I’m disappointed in myself but realize I can’t be perfect all the time. There will be times that I will allow myself to give in and enjoy something off plan for a special occasion. I just can’t say that me waking up today is a special occasion. Everyday! If you slip, don’t beat yourself up. Also, don’t give up and eat the “what’s the use cake”. Just pick yourself up agree that what’s done is done and move on!

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For the Love of Condiments

My entire life I have had a love affair with condiments. In fact, I probably I have more condiments in my fridge than actual food at any given time. Dressings, dips, sauces, syrups, spices, 8 kinds of mustards (sweet, hot, sweet and hot, honey, yellow, dijon, whole grain, spicy brown. My hubby doesn’t even like mustard!). You name it. I have it.

Condiments are so versatile and liven up any kind of food (or non-food… I’d probably eat cardboard dipped in ranch dressing!). So while we’re on the subject of ranch dressing let’s just cut to the chase. I’m obsessed. I mean, who isn’t? (My husband, the weirdo!) I LOVE this Best Ranch Dressing EVER recipe from Alanna over at Planks Love & Guacamole. I throw in whatever spices I feel like (or have) to change it up a bit. I put this on salads and use as a dip with just about anything. Our kids go nuts over it! This keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks but ours is usually gone before the week is up.

Now, my second obsession is mayo (yet another one my husband could care less about! I’m beginning to think he’s not human). Most store bought mayonaises have soybean and vegetable oils that are unhealthy for us (yes, even the olive oil ones! They contain more “other ingredients” than olive oil anyway). I adore this recipe from Melissa Hartwig over at whole30. http://whole30.com/2014/05/mayo/. I have to say that the first time I tried to make my own mayo I nearly gave up because I had 2 batches that wouldn’t emulsify, one in my ninja blender and the other with my $5 hand blender. Anyone that knows me, knows that I hate to waste food (how do you think I got to 321lbs in the first place?!?). Third time was the charm when I used my giant food processor which I despise cleaning because it takes up half my dishwasher with all it’s pieces and parts.

Enter the Cuisinart hand blender which can be found here (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ARQVKUG/ref=sr_ph?ie=UTF8&qid=1431371103&sr=1&keywords=cuisinart+hand+blender). This magical device (which I chose red because it was the cheapest color, shocking it wasn’t purple I know! Yes I am THAT cheap that I will save $4 for a color I really could care less about.) is absolutely the answer to my mayo and ranch prayers. I can quickly make a batch in less than 5 minutes and have the device and cup in the dishwasher that takes up no more space than 2 pint glasses. Thank you very much Cuisinart!*

You know that song “You Are My Sunshine”? Well you’ll be singing it as you are tasting Melissa Joulwan’s Sunshine Sauce (http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2009/07/21/sunshine-sauce/) from the Well Fed cookbook again. Because we don’t consume legumes (which includes peanuts, read more about why here http://whole9life.com/2012/09/the-legume-manifesto/ ) and I can’t get enough peanut sauce EVER this made a fantastic doppleganger. This is another one that our kids went nutso over and can be eaten with practically any protein or veggies. I made this sauce this week for paleo pad thai with spaghetti squash and the hubby completely missed that there weren’t actual noodles!

Ingredients and final product for the Sunshine Sauce. I made a double batch this time like a smart mama!

Another family favorite (and all 3 kid approved!) paleo condiments is BBQ sauce. We love the one from the Well Fed 2 cookbook from Melissa Jouwan (do you see a pattern here? I’m in LOVE with these cookbooks! http://www.amazon.com/dp/0989487504/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=31590901637&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15808111151404178955&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_2fhr80a3zl_e) You’ll have to go here to get a copy to get this recipe but this one is pretty yummy too! http://xinesbattleofherbulge.com/2014/01/21/bbq-sauce-recipe/

Making your own condiments can be a time consuming and messy job, but the taste alone makes it worth the hard work. I think if you really took the time to read the labels on the store bought variety you’d be shocked at the sugar and sodium content alone. Don’t even get me started on the hidden MSG (and it says NO MSG on the front of the label. Shame on these companies!) I will NEVER buy ranch or mayo again after knowing what fresh homemade tastes like. After making it weekly for 5 months it literally takes me minutes with minor clean up (thanks again Cuisinart!) Knowing that I’m giving my family whole, fresh foods is so much more important than the quick fixes at the grocery store. You can do it, I promise!

* I was not compensated for my review and all my opinions are my own.

Fernando’s Maiden Voyage!

I grew up camping with my family for 2-3 weeks every summer. We covered the entire west coast from top to bottom in that green and white Wilderness. I’ve been to some incredible places that most people will never get the opportunity to see. I’ve been to Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon, just to name a few. Now, it’s my turn to give the same gifts to our children! We may not be able to visit all of those places but our plan is certainly to try.

We had our maiden voyage with our new camper Fernando (meet him here) this past weekend at Taylor’s Beach Campground in Howell on Cook Lake, which is about an hour north of us. We decided to try out a new local campground for our first trip out and found Taylor’s advertised on Facebook. It had a BOGO special for the month of April so we chose to book it and risk the chance of cold weather.

Taylor’s Beach is a gated campground with mostly seasonal campers and has some great amenities. They have a small beach with swimming, fishing, frog pond, horseback riding, boat rentals, large playground with a basketball court, game room, kids outdoor movies and weekly/monthly/seasonal sites. I was told that a covered pavilion and mini-golf was being added soon too. It was a great place overall even though the office wasn’t open for the season and a lot of the amenities weren’t available yet. We could see how fun it’d be once it was warmer out and wondered how crazy it’d be with a full house.

It seems every time we camp we forget something, and being the first time in the new camper I knew there would be something. I just never in my wildest dreams would have thought it would be Nolan’s shoe (though it happened once before, so I shouldn’t have been that surprised!) We left late Friday night after the school fair and the kids were on the trampoline as we were hooking up. We told the kids to get ready to go, they hopped in the car and off we went. Two out of three fell asleep during the drive and Nolan was pretty out of it when we went to get him out of the car. That’s when we realized he hadn’t put his shoes on. He’d left them in the backyard by the trampoline. Off to Walmart we went to get him another pair, oh and bacon. We forgot that too. I was more upset about the bacon honestly.

It was very cold over the weekend with temps down into the low 30’s at night and only about 50 during the day. The kids didn’t seem to mind at all. The spot we got was a lakefront site right next to the beach and across from the playground. It was awesome sitting around our fire and being able to watch the kids while they played. They spent more time at the beach and playground than at our site which was pretty rare. They only came over for boo-boos, food and sleep all weekend!

Our friends the Vincents came Saturday night with their 2 kiddos and we grilled, ate s’mores (I know, I know… not paleo or healthy AT ALL but I had to give in for this special occasion!) and talked around the campfire all evening.

We laughed at a few of the firsts in the new camper, I was the first to use the toilet. It’s pretty much like using the airplane bathroom but less scary. First tank dumping was also exciting!

First meal in it was pretty special too! I cooked the homemade pork sausage I prepped ahead of time, and scrambled some eggs for the perfect paleo breakfast.

We’re still getting used to our beds and the little noises. We feel so spoiled with all the amenities Fernando has, we stayed warm at night with the furnace, we had plenty of space for everyone and we are so in love. We can’t wait to go again!

Are you a camper and want to join us on our adventures? We’d love to find other families to camp with. Contact me at jillannclark@gmail.com if so!