Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bacon and Eggs - The Hangover Cure

Saturday was a big drinking day for me.  I started out at a family gathering, where everyone was drinking, so I myself finished up a bottle of wine.  Later that evening I met up with a friend and we went to a beer garden at our old grade school.  Having never acquired much of a taste for beer, I brought my own little bottle of captain Morgan.  I started getting the munchies really bad and by the time I got home, I was craving bacon and eggs.  I whipped some up, sarfed them down, then promptly passed out.

The next morning I felt better then I had expected.  I don't drink alot, so I'm kind of a lightweight and usually have a pretty harsh hangover if I drink a little too much, so I was expecting to feel like dog poop.  I made myself some more bacon and eggs (because that is what I was craving) and felt even better.  I couldn't believe how good I felt considering and I knew there had to be something more to it.

So today, I did a little research and found some pretty interesting information.  Apparently there is some scientific reasoning as to why the bacon and eggs pretty much cured me of having a hangover.

Some of the interesting info I found:

“Bingeing on alcohol depletes brain neurotransmitters but bacon, which is rich in protein, contains amino acids that top these up and make you feel better,” explains Elin Roberts of Newcastle University.

The University researchers themselves were actually quite amazed to discover that not only the actual consumption of the bacon sandwiches or bacon and eggs with toast meal immediately helped to cure the hangover, but simply the mere act of just smelling the bacon cooking, actually begins the healing process, long before the meal is in one’s mouth.

Then be sure to get yourself a nice, big, hot breakfast of Bacon and Eggs, either in a sandwich or in a meal, that can also include cheese, beans and any other high protein, high amino acid food to start putting back into your body all of the important nutrients that drinking “too much” can rob your body of and make you weak an sick.

Some scientific studies have suggested that eggs are good for hangovers. Why? Because they contain an amino acid called cysteine that, according to some studies, helps break down toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism. 

And a quote from Jamie Oliver himself, in regards to his hangover cure:

"I have always maintained that a double serving of eggs and bacon works for me".

Just more reasons for my to continue my love affair with bacon and eggs! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicken Parmesan (sugar free • gluten free • low carb • gaps)

I love a good chicken parmesan.  I haven't had any since I drastically started limiting my grains.  So, I decided to try it out using grated parmesan cheese instead of the bread crumbs.  It was delicious!!  I am not going to give measurements here, because I haven't a clue how much I use of everything and honestly, it doesn't matter.  Just throw it all together to your liking.  It's hard to screw it up!

First mix up some grated good quality parmesan cheese with some salt, pepper and herbs (I usually use a mix of oregano, parsley, rosemary, basil, sage, garlic powder and onion powder).  Mix up enough to coat your chicken and some extra to use as a topping before putting it in the oven.

Pound out your chicken breasts.  I like to place plastic wrap over them to keep the yucky splatter to a minimum.

Melt some REAL butter in a hot pan. You could also use coconut oil, like I do in my healthy fried chicken recipe, but I really wanted to stick to a parmesan chicken flavor without the slight hint of the coconut.  Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture, then the parmesan mixture and fry in the butter until browned on each side.

I originally fried the chicken in olive oil, but I think it tastes better fried in butter (and it's healthier, as a good quality butter has a higher smoke point then olive oil... coconut oil's is even higher). 

Mix together some tomato sauce with some salt, pepper and herbs (Again, I used oregano, parsley, rosemary, basil, sage, garlic powder and onion powder).  I love using the Eden's Organic Crushed Tomatoes.

Use butter (or coconut oil) to grease a glass baking dish.  Line up your chicken breasts.

Top with the tomato sauce mixture.

Then top with the leftover parmesan cheese mixture.

Bake in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Serve with some steamed and buttered broccoli... Yum!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Michigan Trip - Day 6 & 7

Thursday was our last full day in Grand Haven.  The weather was really cooling off and it was pretty cloudy in the morning, although it cleared up and warmed up the second half of the day.  I'd like to say we went out with a bang and did something really exciting on our last day, but that didn't really happen.  It was nice and relaxing though.  We woke up and headed to the Morning Star Cafe.  It was a cute little restaurant, only open for breakfast and lunch.  It had a southwestern theme and lots of bright colors and cutesy decorations all over the place.  It wasn't easy keeping the kids under control.  They were hungry and clearly had no desire to sit still.  They had already been out to eat more times this week then they were used to and they were over it.  We had our waiter track down some crackers and that seemed to calm them down a little.  The highlight of the restaurant was definitely what I ate.  I ordered the Bacado, which is an omelette with bacon, avocado, cilantro & jack cheese.  You can bet I am going to be making this combo again at home.  It was friggin delish!!  Loved this place.   They definitely have some really good restaurants in Grand Haven.  Some of them were surprisingly progressive, which was awesome.

After breakfast we headed to the shops to pick up my dress and Amy's shoes.  We were pretty excited!  I was relieved the last one in my size was still on the rack.  Definitely my favorite souvenir from the trip.  After we got back, we fed the girls some lunch and laid them down for a nap.  I took a little nap myself, which I really needed after the extra drinking we had done the night before.  After nap time, we decided to go on a big family trip to Meijir.  If you are not familiar with this huge chain store (they don't have them by my hometown), they are kinda like a mix between a Walmart and a Target.  Or as Joe said, they are to Costco, what Walmart is to Sam's.  Pretty much anything you might need, and even more stuff you don't need.  They even had a nice selection of organic foods.  AND we found a little toddler sized pillow (it was actually a travel pillow). We had been looking for one for the munchkin for a while now.  She was pretty excited to upgrade to her "big girl" pillow, from the tiny decorative one she had been using that came with her bedding set.

After we got back everyone wanted pizza for dinner.  Well everyone but me.... I had to be difficult ofcourse.  So when the boys headed out to pick up the pizza, I had them swing by the Kirby Grill (the place we ate at earlier in the week) to pick up a to go order for me.  I had been eye balling the Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps when we were there before and they sounded so good.  Some Bibb lettuce, red and orange pepper strips, carrots, cucumbers and chunks of thai marinated grilled organic chicken. They give you everything separate so you can build it as you like then they give you cups of peanut sauce and spicy red chili dipping sauces.  Oh they were good.  It was so worth it....  I wasn't even a tiny bit jealous of the pizza.  The girls had leftover taco meat with avocadoes and tomatoes.  It was quite the hodge podge.

The rest of the evening was spent packing and getting everything ready to leave the next day.  And ofcourse we had to watch So You Think You Can Dance.  I am such a sucker for that show.

Friday, we packed up early and headed home.  I was in such a frenzy to get everything ready and get out the door (thanks Amy and Jeremy!), that I forgot a ton of food in the refrigerator.  I was so bummed!  I left my reusable water bottle and some glass storage dishes.  I also left about $40-50 worth of food too.  Tons of lunch meat and cheeses, fruits and other misc. items.  We stopped halfway for lunch at a park and that's when we realized we had left it all behind.  I had nothing to eat and I was starving!  Not to mention a little stressed out from rushing around so much that morning. I was tired, I was a little crabby, the munchkin was a little crabby and opening up the cooler and finding so much stuff missing did not help at all.  Luckily the munchkin's lunch was in there, even though she was too crabby and preoccupied to eat it all anyway.  It was definitely time to go home.  I think we were all a little Michiganed out.

Note: I am sure Amy and Jeremy were equally aggravated with having to wait on us.  Clearly we just have different traveling styles.

It's really not a bad drive though and we made it home by dinner time.  We got everything unloaded and unpacked and put back to normal pretty quickly.  We were exhausted and all crashed pretty early.

I was sad the trip was over, but also really happy to get back home.  It was so awesome getting to spend so much extra time with my sister and her little family.  I loved getting to see so much of Q... she's insanely adorable.  And with me and my sister's work schedules being so different, it was really great to get to spend the extra time with her.  It was also just nice to get out of town, to not have to go to work for a while, and to not have the endless list of "things to do" to deal with.  Ofcourse, I loved the extra time with my hubby too and I was really happy for him to not have to to deal with work or school for an entire week.  The best part of all though, was getting to spend every day, all day with the munchkin.  I am definitely going to miss that.

We had a pretty busy rest of the weekend at home.  Saturday was my cousin's graduation party out at my aunt and uncle's property in Innsbrook.  They have a fantastic little 3 bedroom A Frame cabin tucked into the woods.  They are on a lake with a sandy beach and dock.  The munchkin had fun swimming and riding on the boat.  I wish I hadn't forgotten my camera at home!  That night after we got back and I put the munchkin down for bed, I went to the yearly picnic at my gradeschool with my friend Sarah, who also went to school there.  We ran into a couple of old friends and mostly hung out in the beer garden and listened to the band play.  It was fun.... again, I drank more then I needed to.  I am looking forward to having some time off without any alcohol.  My body just isn't used to it.

The rest of the weekend was lots of catching up, grocery shopping and getting everything ready to go back to work and back to the grind.  I am actually looking forward to returning to work.  I am also getting a new computer this week... Yay!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Michigan Trip - Day 5

We got a late start this morning.  We were all perfectly fine with it too.  Something about vacation makes me want to sleep in and take your time.  So unlike how I am in my every day life.  Luckily we were all on the same page.  By the time we headed out, we realized it was only an hour before the girls would need lunch and their nap.  Luckily we were only headed to a playground to let the girls run around and have some fun.  This was not just your typical playground, however.  This was a 10,000 square foot wooden playground, made up of mazes, tunnels, swings, tire climbs and much more.  The girls were in heaven.  I was in heaven watching them have so much fun.

We stayed for there for longer then we expected.  There was so much for them to explore and by the time we were ready to leave, the munchkin was not happy about.  In fact, she threw in all out fit, something she rarely does, so we knew she was pretty pissed off.  That, and the fact she was hungry and tired, made it even worse.  We came home, made her some lunch and she immediately passed out.  While the men held down the fort, Amy and I decided to head to the downtown area to check out the stores and do a little shopping.  I bought the munchkin an awesome wooden puzzle with numbers that also made sounds and said the number when you put it in it's place.  I knew she would love it, she's been so into puzzles lately (and she did).  We headed to another store to pick up some groceries and a pool for the girls to play in in the backyard.

We checked out a few more shops.  One of the shops carried a bunch of different surf clothes and shoes, including sandals.  Amy fell in love with a pair of Sanuks that were so friggin cute.  She wanted them bad, but knew she shouldn't spend that much money on a pair of sandals.  After much consideration, she talked herself out of it.  We then entered a store called Buffalo Bob's General Store. It didn't take me long to find the cutest dress I have ever seen (in a really long time anyway).  I fell inlove with it immediately.  I wanted it SOOOOO bad.  I usually don't freak out about dresses.  I have a price range in my mind normally and if it goes much above it, I generally dismiss it without looking back.  This dress was different though.  I seriously wanted it bad.  I tried it on.  Twice.  I put it back on the rack.  Took it back off.  Then put it back on.  I told Amy that no one was going to buy the last one (there was only one in my size) by tomorrow and I would have some time to think about it and talk to Joe.  I left the store thinking I would never see it again.

After we got back, the girls woke up shortly after and we set up the pool for them.  They had a blast.

While they were still playing we started on dinner.  Tonight was taco night.  We whipped up the most amazing guacamole and tacos.  I had a taco salad.

After dinner we (and a couple of drinks) we had a mini photo shoot.

After the girls went to bed, I decided to look up the dress I had found earlier online and it was actually even more at the website.  I tried to forget about it, but later on in the evening (after having several drinks) the subject of the dress and Amy's sandals, somehow came up and surprisingly Joe and Jeremy were both fine with us buying them.  Woo Hoo!!! So tomorrow morning, we are heading up there first thing to get them.  Yay!!!!  First we are going to check out a little breakfast place down the street, then we will head down to find my dress and Amy's sandals.  They better still be there!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Michigan Trip - Day 3 and 4

Monday we headed to the beach.   The munchkin has been sleeping in pretty late every day that we have been here so far, so it's hard to get an early start, and we hate to wake her up early.  Once she did get up, we fed her breakfast and headed out.  It was much colder once we got there then it had been at the house.  The lake breeze really cooled things off.  It didn't stop the munchkin from diving into the water several times, leading to joe having to dive after her and grab her.  She was not scared of the water and she could care less how cold it was.  Even though she was shaking from the cold each time she came back out.

We left after about an hour, hoping the next day would be warmer.

That night we picked up steaks from the meat market to grill at the house.  They had grassfed steaks!  I am still nervous grilling them, as we haven't gotten completely used to how differently they cook on the grill.  I would almost say we mastered it that night.  It was the best grassfed steak I have ever had, even better then the one we had at the Kirby Grill the night before.  It might have been one of the best steaks I have ever had in general.  It was cooked perfectly (medium rare), and so tender and juicy.  Everyone else had conventional steaks, and after tasting mine, they agreed mine was more tender.  Now that we know how to grill them properly (you have to use a different technique then with conventional steaks, and it's so easy to overcook them, making them tough and dry), we will be much more confident grilling them for others too.

After dinner, everyone else walked to the park down the street and then to get some ice cream.  I stayed at the house and watched the Bachelorette (don't judge).   After they got  back the girls spent some quality time with Joe.

Then after the girls went to bed, we made drinks and sat around the fire pit.

Tuesday morning we got up early to head down to the beach.  It was HOT at the house and we really expected it to be perfect beach weather.  Once we got there though, we were disappointed to find it really foggy and cold.  It was so foggy, we couldn't even see the pier.  When the wind picked up, it was even more cold.  Luckily it did warm up after about an hour or so.  I was actually able to get some sun and maybe even a little bit of color.

The girls had so much fun playing in the sand.  What a mess we all were though.  The girls kept throwing sand all over everything, including in our eyes.  Obviously they didn't know any better, but man it sucked when they did!

After they had eventually reached their limit, and we could tell they were hungry and tired, we headed back to the house.   After a bath and some lunch, they went down for naps.  I can't believe how great both of them have been sleeping here.  All of this action has been really wearing them down.

For dinner that night, we decided to check out the Grand Seafood and Oyster Bar.  The girls were the only children in there, and we were a little nervous bringing them in at first, but they did great.  They had an awesome band playing which set up right near our table.  If the girls did make any noise, you couldn't hear them over the band anyway.  We also brought a couple of books and toys for them to play with.  I ordered the munchkin some green beans and she shared some of Joe's steak with him.  I ordered sushi, a tuna roll and a lobster roll.  They were both great, but that lobster roll was really fantastic.

After dinner we walked around on the pier and let the girls climb on the bleachers set up in front of the channel heading out to the lake (later we would be watching the musical fountain from here). 

We walked along the pier and stopped at the Pier Peddler for ice cream.  We also found a magnet there (Joe and I buy a magnet for the fridge on every trip we go on, obviously we don't have that many).

 After the ice cream we headed back to the bleachers to watch the musical fountain.  The fountain has been in place since the 60's and was at one point the largest musical fountain in the world (I'm not sure if it still is or not).  The girls were about to lose their mind while we were waiting for the show to start.  It was already 30 minutes after the munchkin's bedtime, and she was definitely ready.  Once the show started though, she was mesmerized.

The girls passed out as soon as we got home.  We were all a little tired, so we just watched a movie and went to bed.

Today we are getting ready to head over to the Imagination Station.  This is a 10,000 sq ft wooden playground.  Hopefully the girls are going to have a blast.