Monday, September 23, 2013

Easy paleo-friendly meals

I'm still processing my feelings about my month-long quest to not procrastinate, so I thought I'd put up a post on my favorite no-think paleo-friendly meals. 

 Chicken thighs and salad
I love chicken thighs. They are so tender and juicy, and nearly impossible to burn in the oven. W00t! I know conventional wisdom says don't eat the skin, but paleo says have at it! Fat does not make you fat, and thank goodness. The meat on the chicken stays tender, while the skin gets crispy. For the salad buy your favorite mix of greens. I went with a kale mixture because kale is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients, and added some carrots and bell peppers for sweetness.
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Salt, pepper, and dried garlic to taste
  • Salad greens
  • Any vegetables you like
  • For dressing I usually get a good aged balsamic vinegar and some olive oil. This is a good Texas balsamic vinegar.

1. Heat oven to 350º
2. Liberally season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and garlic
3. Place chicken in oven for 1 hour.
4. Go do whatever else you need to do. Clean house. Write novel. Watch kids. Whatever.
5. When timer goes off, turn off the oven and turn the broiler on high. Leave the chicken in there until the skin turns golden brown. Take it out of the oven when you're satisfied with the crispiness.
6. Put together salad.
7. Enjoy.

 Eggs and veggies on the go
Okay, I admit this is not as pretty as the last picture, but I did take this at 4am or some other ridiculously early hour in the morning. This is my go-to lunch for work when I don't have time to put something else together. I usually boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week, and use them as quick protein throughout my work week. This is simple, healthy, cheap, and good. Bonus, you won't regret eating this at the end of the day. If you need something to dip your veggies in, there's always some baba ganoush, pesto, or if you're not doing paleo, hummus. Enough said.

Spicy Italian sausage with brussel sprouts
I didn't grow up eating brussel sprouts, so I don't have a kid-like aversion to them. If you havne't tried them in a while, might I recommend you take another go at them. This recipe is so simple. I love the way the fat from the sausage gets on the brussel sprouts, helping them to caramelize in the oven. So good.
  • 1 package spicy Italian sausage
  • brussel sprouts (I'd say about ½ cup per sausage, they will shrink a little in the oven)
  • olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 400º
    2. Cut bottom end of brussel sprouts off, and cut them in half.
    3. Season with salt and pepper.
    4. Put a liberal amount of olive oil on and mix together.
    5. Place sausage on top of sprouts.
    6. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until sprouts are sufficiently tender and crispy

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Don't Procrastinate. Relax Now! My first two weeks without procrastination.

When I decided to go a month without procrastinating, I failed to take into account one critical factor: I have a Type A Personality. As such, I tend to be unapologetically goal driven. I spent the first couple of days avoiding TV and leisure, deciding instead to do more practical things such as laundry or meal prep, tasks which are generally considered good ideas, but rarely bring me joy. By the third day, I had to give myself permission to sit down and relax. It was honestly the best thing I could have done with my time, otherwise my sanity levels may have plummeted (although, I knew going in that down time was not procrastination, this important piece of knowledge somehow got lost in my goal-driven mindset).
© Freeze | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is sit and be still

Before beginning my month-long experiment, I thought a lot about what I might take away from the experience. A cleaner, more organized house. Five pounds lost. Several more chapters written/edited. An appreciation for how much stuff I could get done if I stopped thinking about doing it and just did it. The list goes on. One of the more surprising things I found is my need for mindfulness. I find myself often checking in with how I'm feeling, what I'm doing, and why I'm doing it. For example, now when I watch TV, I ask myself am I doing this because my mental resources are spent, or because I am avoiding doing an unpleasant task. Even more surprising to me (although probably no one else) is the amount of stuff that didn't get done. Not because I was procrastinating on doing it, but because I just didn't have the time to do it right away. It's validating to learn that I wasn't being unproductive, but rather just had too much to do. I sure this gem shocks very few people. For many people, this seems to be the new American lifestyle.

But, at the risk of being preachy, let me say this to everyone reading (myself included): give yourself a break. If you’re hard on yourself for not getting more done because you decided reading a book or watching TV was more pleasant, honor that taking time for yourself might be exactly what you needed and was the best thing for you to do with your time. Besides, who cares if you get loads of stuff done, if you’re miserable doing it all?

Don’t procrastinate. Relax now.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Start of My Month Without Procrastination

Procrastination is not the problem. It is the solution...” declared Ellen Degeneres at her 2003 Her and Now show. Her point was not that we should do nothing, but rather that we often are over-stressed, over-worked, and under-enjoying life. Ultimately, I agree with her. I find I often forget to stop and enjoy the moment.
This may seem an odd way to start a blog post about my month-long, no-procrastination experiment, but let me back up a little bit and explain. When I say a month of no procrastination, I do not mean my month- long slog to fill every waking moment with things to do. That would end with me as a puddle on my bedroom floor, frazzled into uselessness because I was so overwhelmed. There are always things that one could be doing. Instead, I mean to pursue each of my life goals without excuse or hesitation.
I want to know if I can have it all: good health and weight loss, an active social life, a strong marriage, a budding writing career, a great job in social work, and a clean house, to boot.
Can we have it all, or does something have to give?
I'll keep you updated.