Monday, May 27, 2013


Last week, my husband and I went on vacation to celebrate our five year anniversary (as well as my MBA graduation!). We chose an Eastern Caribbean cruise to Nassau Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. (Albany people - if you are looking for a cruise travel agent contact me and I will refer you to the person we used!).

We had a ton of fun! Some of the highlights: 
  • I was extremely impressed by the dinners on the ship. We had an awesome waiter who made sure my husband had more gluten free bread than he could eat each night. 
  • The breakfasts and lunches, notsomuch. I thought a lot of the food was mediocre. A chef walked around with my husband and showed him what he could and couldn't eat but my husband didn't trust a lot of it - for example they said the bacon was fine, but later in the week we found out they put toast at the bottom of the pan. Be forewarned. 
  • That said, they did have gluten free pancakes, bagels, hot dog and hamburger buns, and even Udi's GF cookies available. Individually wrapped, which was nice. 
  • St. Maarten was by far my favorite island of the three. We went kayaking, snorkeling, and shopping there and had a blast! I also thought they had the nicest beaches. We stuck to the Dutch side. 
  • St. Thomas is supposedly this place where you can clean up and get super-cheap jewelry... I didn't find that to necessarily be the case, or maybe I'm just cheap. 
  • Atlantis, on Paradise Island, is pretty amazing. 
  • The best drink that I had, hands down, was a rum drink in a coconut in Nassau. Yes, in a coconut. Awesome. The second best was on the ship, a strawberry daiquiri mixed with mango sherbet. A-mazing. 
  • The cheesy game shows and events hosted on the ship are often hilarious, and are must-sees, even if you think the description sounds lame. We died laughing most evenings! 
  • We had layovers in ATL airport. The first time was around breakfast time and NOTHING had gluten free dining options. That was OK since we brought food. The second time we were coming from the ship (and are not allowed to bring fruits through customs) so we had nothing and had to pick up some lunch. Places with GF menus don't know enough to not put bread on salads. It took two thirds of our hour-long layover just to get a salad that was supposedly safe to eat. Not impressed. 
  • It was 45 degrees when we got back. When did that happen!?!? 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Changing eating habits

Last year, my husband and I had a lot of fun - and most of that revolved around food. Every social gathering we had - and there was something going on every weekend - revolved around food and/or drinks. When it was just the two of us, we got into a nice Sunday routine of hanging out in the backyard, getting toasted on sangria, and then grilling some amazing food for dinner - ribs, bacon wrapped filets, etc. Always accompanied by sides like loaded baked potatoes, caprese salad, etc.

Incidentally, we also both put a few pounds on during the last year.

This December was an eye-opener for me when I realized a lot of my clothes either didn't fit me or didn't look good. So I did the cliche of, make a New Years' resolution to eat better and drop the weight. My goal - 15 lbs. by May - seemed unbelievably hard. I can look at fries and immediately gain 10 pounds.

And in the beginning - OMG it was hard. I tried to keep all of my beloved starches in my diet - and it left me with puny portion sizes, no free calories to snack, and a grumbling tummy about an hour after dinner. After a week of this misery, I'd hop on the scale and lose... half a pound. Obviously, the plan of making myself miserable to lose weight was a loser.

Next, I joined a CSA after having a talk with my husband. He had to be on board with trying a whole bunch of new veggies, and not letting things go to waste. He was - so our meals gradually became protein- and veggie- based, with starches still there but fewer and farther between. Rather than be hungry, we're filling up on volume of food. We've both lost weight. We both feel better. I'm not yet ready for full-on paleo - I may never be because I like cheese too much - but we're definitely eating a lot "cleaner" than before. And it's also lowered our grocery bill by about 30-50 dollars a week - less packaged crap and junk food filling our cart.

I also made a rule - alcohol only on weekends or special occasions. That saves us money and calories - and also doesn't mess with our sleep schedule during the week.

So what do we eat?

  • Friday night, we were in the mood for starchy comfort food and made loaded baked potatoes (russet potatoes with cheddar, bacon, fresh chives and some fat free greek yogurt) served with a green salad and water. In the past this would have been accompanied by ribs or some other meat, and wine. 
  • Saturday, we had teriyaki marinated grilled 90% kosher beef. Served with another green salad, and sauteed mushrooms and sweet onions from my CSA. We did have wine with that. 
  • Today (Happy Cinqo de Mayo!) we started the day with Skinnytaste huevos rancheros, and are making sangria and chicken fajitas on the grill tonight - a healthier recipe from America's Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2011. Dessert: watermelon slices. 
  • Monday: Wood-grilled salmon with green salad. I'll also be roasting some red CSA potatoes with fresh chives, but that'll probably be more my husband than me. 
  • Tuesday: Shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce (I got fresh horseradish root in my CSA bag) and a huge green salad with egg and garbanzo beans to be extra filling. Dessert: grilled fresh pineapple. 
  • Wednesday: More loaded baked potatoes with salad and aqua. 
  • Thursday: We're grilling chicken with Dino BBQ sauce. Veggie TBD depending on what comes in the CSA bag. 
  • Friday: TBD - it's the weekend!