How to relieve sports injuries using mobility training

This book review is LONG overdue. I bought Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett last July. I was dealing with debilitating back injury mostly all of last year and I’m just coming around to being able to exercise again. I had heard of this book due to it circulating among the Paleo/Crossfit world and one day just went out on a limb and purchased it, thinking that it would solve all my back issue problems. 

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When I got the book, I’ll admit I was a little overwhelmed. It was huge, heavy and looked like a textbook. I started reading and got even more confused. Torque? Internal rotation? Fault tests? I think I got in over my head. I read through the book last year, tried some of the exercises, and when my back wasn’t fixed, I put the book on the bookshelf and nearly forgot about it.

Fast forward to now. I’m at a point where I can strength train a couple of days, do some light cardio and throw in some yoga each week. But I find myself sometimes sore, and have nagging pain in my back as well the muscles in my legs at the end of the week.

This is normal right? We’re supposed to be “sore” and feel “beat up” and have muscle pain after working out, right? Well, not really. The problem is our society is too encouraging of the “no pain no gain” and “push through it” mentality. You should not ‘push through’ something if it hurts. Just no. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the ‘sore’ feeling you get after a workout. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. But unless it’s just a case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) it’s not really normal. Our society is so “task completion obsessed” as Starrett put it, we are continually pushing through pain that should have been dealt with months ago because of the “no pain no gain” mentality.

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Check out more on this awesome article

Starrett, in Supple Leopard compares current sports medicine practice to waiting until your engine blows up to get your car checked out, or a marine waiting until his gun jams up in battle before he realizes it needs to be fixed. We’re exercising, pushing ourselves, running, cross fitting, whatever, and then when our back/knee/shoulder starts to hurt we go see a doctor.

This is all backwards! Should we perform “maintenance” on ourselves just like we would a car so our muscles, joints and bones function properly? According to Starrett, when we exercise in a compromised position, like rounding our back when doing a dead lift we don’t feel the pain right away. Instead we go through cycles and cycles of poor position and muscle dysfunction until our bodies simply can’t handle it anymore and start hurting. This is what happened with my lower back. I was swinging a kettle bell improperly for the better part of a year. When you use poor form it’s like your body is “burning through [what should be a normal] cycle at an accelerated rate.” At some point, your body can’t do it anymore pain starts to materialize.

“You can sit all day your whole life until you can’t sit anymore,” he explains.

And just because your ‘knee’ hurts doesn’t exactly mean that it’s your knee that’s the problem. The problem is (most likely) in the mechanics of how you’re moving your body. According to Starret 98% of modern athletic injuries occur because of:

1. Over tension (missing range of motion)

2. Open-circuit faults (moving in a bad position)

Yes, it’s crazy but true (The other two percent is when you have something pathologically wrong with you, or you were in a catastrophic accident). You’d like to think you have some crazy thing going on with your body and that’s why you are in pain but most likely it is because your body has finally given out as a result of thousands and thousands of cycles of movements in poor form resulting in loss of range of motion.

This is exactly what the AMAZING doctor that performed ART (active release therapy) on me told me. He said I was missing range of motion so that’s why it hurt. What the heck does that mean??

Imagine a door that can’t be opened all the way. You keep opening the door every day and it hits up against a dresser or something that blocks its natural path. Soon enough, there will be a small dent in the door where it keeps hitting the dresser. It doesn’t happen right away, it happens over time. If the dresser wasn’t there in the first place (say, if you were using proper form) the dent (or the pain) would never be there.

Since the movement is painful your body just keeps on using the poor form, and it’s a huge cycle that just keeps repeating itself. When I got ART this released the muscles back to the proper form so the pain went away. Unfortunately, that doctor was 90 minutes drive away and not covered by insurance, so I just couldn’t keep seeing him. Enter: Supple Leopard.

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example of how to identify faults ^^

This book is designed and set up for you to identify faults in your movement (easy for me since I already knew what it was) and then gives you proper mobilizing techniques in order to improve your range of motion in the affected areas. Last year when I read it I was just so overwhelmed and confused I didn’t really know how to use the book. I thought it would “fix” me. But the key is I needed to be doing these mobilizations EVERY DAY. He literally says in the book you should not be taking ANY days off from the mobilization techniques. It’s that serious. Especially if you’re working out hard, strength training with heavy weights on your own without the guidance of a cross fit box.

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example of exercises^^

So why am I reviewing this book now? Because I seriously forgot how important mobility training was until…..lo and behold the OTHER side of my hips started to hurt last week after my gym sessions. I pulled out this book, identified where I was missing range of motion, and started to perform the exercises every day before my workout or in the morning if I wasn’t working out. I immediately saw an improvement.

I did the exercises for an hour and a half Monday. After that I vowed to start doing them regularly every day. And it’s hard! If you’re like me, you’re thinking “I barely have time to exercise, let along spend time on mobility”. But I’m thinking it actually might be MORE important than getting my exercise in, especially since I’m prone to injuries like this. There is no point of working out in poor form. It’s just counter productive. So I am incorporating 3-4 of these mobilizations in my workout and cutting down on the actual workouts. This post is getting really long so I think next post I will outline some of the exercises I do and give you a sample workout schedule.

I highly recommend if you’re strength training on your own to purchase this book. If you think stretching and mobility doesn’t matter, one day you will be sorely (pun intended) mistaken!

 Stretching and mobility: how much do you do?

What nagging injuries do you have and think could be helped by this book?

FYI Today is my birthday, so here’s my shameless request for some love!

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“PB” and J Waffle/Egg Sandwich

Do I seriously not know how to spell Sandwich?

Moving on.

I have an epic “recipe” to share with you. I’m not going to call it a recipe and type up a recipe card because it’s more of an idea than a recipe, but regardless, you need to try it. Now. I’ve eaten this two days in a row for lunch, for this reason I am linking up with Jen at Peas and Crayons for WIAW again after a brief hiatus. I just love seeing all the other bloggers’ eats! 

Peas and Crayons

I decided to make PaleOMG’s light and crispy vanilla waffles the other morning because I was craving waffles and every single thing I’ve ever made of Juli’s is absolutely the best thing I have ever eaten. Not even exaggerating, it’s my favorite recipe website. I actually made George Bryant’s banana bread and topped it with Juli’s cinnamon topping Sunday and it more or less changed my life. And the two of them have a cookbook coming out pretty soon, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to go ahead and order it. Really not sure why I haven’t yet. I’m dumb.  Just amazing, amazing recipes on both sites that I make repeatedly.

I had some waffles left over and obviously could not wait until the next morning so then I decided to put together this concoction for lunch:

 

Waffle Sandwhich

 

Yep, that’s a waffle sandwich. Because, why not?

I was always curious about the ‘peanut butter/jelly/egg’ combo from reading Sam’s Blog (she always puts it in her oatmeal). So this is what I did:

1) Take leftover waffles and spread sun butter (or your favorite nut butter- sun butter is the most “peanut butter-y flavor”) and your favorite natural, no sugar added jam.

Peanut butter and jelly waffles

I used homemade strawberry jam and sun butter.

2) Fry up some eggs to your liking

Orange Yolks

These gorgeous orange yolks are courtesy of our trip to a local farm Sunday. Mmmmm.

3) Place eggs in between waffles and admire this wonderful creation:

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I actually took mine apart and ate it open faced because the sandwich was a little too big for my mouth! So good….

Egg Sandwhich2

 

What are some of your creative waffle creations?

Eggs/peanut butter/jelly combo…yes or no?

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Homesteading updates

FINALLY sitting down to write this post after spending an hour catching up on blogs. Everyone posts on Mondays. What’s up with that?? Like, Saturday I wanted to waste some time browsing the internet and NO ONE posts on the weekends. Monday comes along and I actually have stuff to do= 50 billion blog posts to read. #thestruggle

I lied, I don’t really have anything to do today. Why? ‘Cause I’M ON VACATION AGAIN!!!!!! What’s that? You don’t have 5 weeks of vacation a year plus the whole summer off? Sorry about your luck. #suckstosuck

Okay, I’ll stop bragging. And using hash tags in a blog post. This weekend we had some really nice summer-like weather and it was truly a taste of summer. Can’t WAIT. Buuuut it’s supposed to snow tomorrow so, I’m not getting used to it.

We were able to get done a lot of stuff around the “homestead” and I’m so excited about it. Last year at this time we were living in a rental house in the middle of the city dreaming about farming and now we’re actually doing it. I am living out my dream of raising and growing my food and it’s awesome.

1) Piggies

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Excuse me sir but your butt is in the way of my dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They are getting so big!!! I was worried at first because they were very shell shocked and not eating, but that’s no longer the problem. All they do is eat! And sleep. And rub their butts on things to itch them. It’s cute. How will I eat them? They like leftover fruit. But they don’t eat their veggies!!! We talked to a local farmer about how we can do some rotational pasturing once we get them outside, so I’m excited about that.

2) Plants

After a minor setback involving my cat thinking sprouting plants seemed like a good snack, I’m back on track with my plants. Originally I planted peppers and tomatoes and I thought the peppers were a fail, until they started popping this week. It took them three weeks. The tomato plants were doing great until SOMEBODY decided to eat them.

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I ran out and bought more seeds- roma tomatoes and hot peppers and planted them.Then I had to design a highly complicated cat proof barrier in my sun room.

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I planted the “new” tomatoes last Monday and I’ve already got some sprouts. Peppers take longer so FYI if you try to germinate peppers be patient!!

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I wanted to get the bigger ones out of the little seed starters so I cleaned out some of those organic salad containers and poked holes in the bottom. They work great.

 

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3) Garden

So where are all these plants going? All year I knew I would have to have some way to dig my gardens. We don’t have a rototiller and I didn’t really want bother with raised beds and buying the soil. Just for kicks I put my shovel into the ground Friday because it’s been really wet, and it went right down. So I just kept digging. And this happened:

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Yup. I dug the whole plot. Talk about a workout! Then Sunday I dug another little plot. In a month or so I will layer it with more soil and compost and we’ll be good to go.

That’s all the homesteading updates I have for today! Riveting, I know, but I am wicked excited for the opportunity to live out my farming dream. P.S Thursday we are getting some laying chickens so stay tuned for more!!!!

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Have you planted any seeds yet?

Ever dug your own garden?

Do you mind homesteading updates on the blog or should I stick to food??

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The best classroom management strategy ever

This week, to ease student restlessness due to the upcoming vacation, us teachers planned and organized a tournament style volleyball tournament for the kids. It gives them something to look forward to, an outlet to blow off some steam…and let’s face it: No one’s focused enough to do work in study hall the day before break.

My team made a good run, and even though we lost, it was a good time.

As we were playing, I looked around at all of my students and above their heads were all the assignments some of them were missing. The failing grades some of them were receiving. And a wave of anxiety crept up. We shouldn’t be playing volleyball right now, I thought. These kids owe me assignments. They should be doing work.

 

 

Why did I decide to let it go? Because I decided that building a rapport with my students by playing volleyball with them was more important at that moment. Going into the end of the year, when everyone’s patience for each other has run short, classroom management becomes ever so important. If you have no rapport with your students, the end of the year (especially for 8th and 12th graders since they know they are going to be leaving the school and cannot be held responsible for their behavior to a degree) is going to be hell for everyone involved.

You see, throughout my short 5 years of teaching classroom management has always been something I’ve struggled with. Yes, I’ve read The First Days of School. Yes I have a classroom management plan that I stick to. Yes I give detentions, call parents, give rewards, give them pep talks. But honestly what I’ve discovered the SINGLE most powerful classroom management strategy is having a respectful, honest relationship with your students and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect.

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Playing a volleyball game with them is a way to build rapport. That’s why I was willing to let all that academic work slide for a couple of days. I NEED this rapport to carry me into the end of the year so I don’t go crazy. I work in a very small school, and by the end of the year everyone just starts getting restless. In order to combat that I need to continue fostering the respectful relationship I’ve been building all year.

I know I have WAY more to learn about classroom management and every year presents new struggles. Every school is different, but I truly believe if a student respects and likes you, classroom management won’t be an issue.

What are classroom management strategies you read about but don’t feel work?

What are the BEST strategies you use in your classroom?

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Homemade Granola Bars

Peanut butter and oats.

These are the only two foods that I REALLY miss after adopting a mostly Paleo/whole foods lifestyle.

Okay I lied. Beer and Ice cream are close behind, but that’s neither here nor there.

If you’re not sure why peanut butter is not “paleo” (Whattt??? It’s a nut, isn’t it?), it’s because they are technically a legume and not a nut. Legumes contain anti-nutrients that bind to minerals and vitamins in our digestive tract instead of letting the body absorb them. How rude of them!

Regardless, I don’t think I’ll ever give it up completely! Sun-butter is a great substitute though! When I make these bars for my hubby I’ll use peanut butter, but you can use any nut butter you want. I make sure I get the natural peanut butter sans trans fats (I just wanted to rhyme there).

As far as oats….they have the same ‘anti-nutrient’ thing going on, but they also have benefits (such as fiber and carbs to fuel your day). I consider them kind of “neutral”. Many bloggers and mainstream health professionals hold them on a pedestal as a pinnacle of health, which I don’t agree with. They’re not the healthiest thing in the world but they’re not the worst either. So if you’d like to include oats in your diet one way or another and you’re not extremely sensitive to grains why not? Especially if you make sure you get the gluten free variety!

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The ability to use oats in recipes I find isn’t something I’m completely giving up yet! Especially making these crunchy, nutty granola bars as a snack in my husband’s lunch or a quick bite when I get home from school. With minimal ingredients you most likely have on hand, they are a great naturally sweetened alternative to the sugary, pointless ‘Chewy’ granola bars I used to consume with reckless abandon in the past. They have been a routine part of my Sunday food prep lately! Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Granola Bars
Yields 8
Crunchy, nutty, naturally sweetened perfect after school snack!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups certified gluten free oats
  2. 1/2 cup nut butter (such as natural peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, etc)
  3. 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  4. 2 tablespoons grass fed butter
  5. 2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tablespoons crushed pecans (can sub any other nut, or omit! Feel free to add in other things like chocolate chips, dried fruit, or whatever you want here)
  8. Coconut oil or butter to grease pan
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease an 8X8 pan with coconut oil or butter
  2. Melt the nut butter and butter in a microwave safe dish
  3. In a large bowl, mix the oats, chia seeds and softened nut butter/butter
  4. Mix well until incorporated, and then add the honey/maple syrup
  5. Add any additional add ins (nuts, fruit, chocolate chips)
  6. Finally, add the egg and make sure everything is well mixed and wet
  7. Pour into a greased or a parchment lined 8X8 pan
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned on top
  9. Cut into 8 bars after they cool and enjoy as a snack!
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/
 I know hardcore Paleo people do not include oats and/or peanut butter as part of a healthy diet but part of eating well is figuring out what works for you. The addition of these two things in my diet doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on me, so I’ll eat them occasionally. It’s about finding what works for you! Sometimes I don’t like saying I eat “Paleo” because then there are certain expectations that go along with it. Paleo a framework for the way I eat and guides me to understanding which foods work the best for my body.

Granola Bars

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Oh how I wish beer was one of those foods that made me feel my best…..FYI, it’s not :(

Peanut butter/ oats? Yay or nay?

What foods do you miss the most if you eat Paleo/Whole foods?

 

 

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Organ Meat for Beginners

Organ meat is not something that I think the Standard American Eater regularly consumes. I’ll admit I would never have DREAMED I would ever be eating liver or kidneys. Until I realized how expensive it was to eat grass fed meat all the time.

I realized I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet and I need to find inexpensive sources of sustainable, quality protein. Sardines, canned tuna (BPA free), and eggs come to mind. But I was still hitting a wall with my nutrition and protein intake. Enter: organ meat.

Eek! I know. My farmer gave it to me for FREE. When I took the first liver out of the bag I could barely stand the smell. It has a very strong metallic/blood sort of smell but I sucked it up and started on the first task: I wanted to grind up the liver so I could mix it with my ground beef.

The first recipe I tried was mixing it in with PaleOMG’s Spaghetti Squash Casserole. Sounds innocent enough, but I did a “half and half” mixture (1 lb ground beef with 1 lb liver). And the taste was almost too much. I ate the whole casserole all week for lunches but I was like forcing it down. I don’t waste food!!!!

The second recipe, I got a little smarter and mixed it into meatloaf with beef, pork and (obviously) bacon. Bacon makes everything good.

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The recipe is being saved for another project I’m working on!

Liver Meatloaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The meatloaf was much better and you couldn’t taste the liver at all. Sneaky sneaky!

Next up was kidney. I had to google this one because I had no idea how to prepare it. Turns out taking away some taste before you cook it is necessary. You do this by removing the fatty part, cutting it and soaking it in water for 2 hours. So I did that. Then I ran it through the meat grinder. (I’ll spare you pictures here).

Then I made meatballs! And that brings me to this recipe:

Kidney Meatballs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Kidney Meatballs
Yields 30
Trying to incorporate organ meat can be difficult....try these meatballs if you're a beginner.
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Prep Time
2 hr 25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
2 hr 25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pastured beef kidney, fat cut off, soaked, rinsed, and ground with a meat grinder.
  2. 1.5 lb ground beef
  3. 1/2 lb ground pork
  4. 1 onion, minced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  7. 1 tablespoon dried basil
  8. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. A couple of hours before dinner, prep your kidney by cutting off the fat, chopping into pieces and placing in a bowl of cold water. Let sit for two hours.
  2. Drain the kidney and run it through your meat grinder.
  3. Mix the kidney, beef, pork, spices and veggies together in a bowl with your hands.
  4. Form into balls and bake on two baking sheets for approx 30 minutes. Serve with sauce over spaghetti squash, or as desired.
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/
The kidney has a less offensive taste than the liver (way more mild organ taste). However in the meatballs I could hardly taste it with the spices/sauce added. After my first run in with liver I decided to try again. This week when I made it I had a grass fed liver, as opposed to an organic one. SUCH a difference. The flavor was WAY less noticeable.

The main problem was that I had a huge chunk of frozen liver that needed defrosting and I have to defrost it all at once. But my palate can’t handle much liver per dish….so it’s like what do I do with the rest of this liver? I can’t re freeze it, and I don’t feel like consuming ALL of it in the next day or two…so what I did was grind the rest of it, cook it up in a saute pan with garlic and onions, and then put it back in the freezer. I figure I can throw it into sauces, tacos if we have them, or maybe even chili.

So if you get the drift, if you’re new to organ meat remember:

1. Start with a small ratio to regular meat.

2. SPICES are your friend.

3. BACON

Have you ever tried liver? What are your experiences with it?

Let me know your favorite hidden liver recipes!!!

 

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Why I hate specific nutrient marketing

Raise your hand if you’ve seen an article, headline, or blog post with the following type of title:

Top ten foods for potassium

Get Vitamin C from these sources

Take omega-3 supplements to lose weight!

Libido boosting food

Five foods to raise your metabolism

 

We’ve all seen them, and I regularly fall into the trap of reading them sometimes! I am fascinated with the theory of food as medicine so of course I’m interested in stuff like this. I’ve come to realize, however, that marketing certain foods to increase/decrease or cure this or that ailment is just that- marketing.

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day when I saw a headline

“Eat grapefruit and melt away fat!”

Funny, I thought. I’ve literally been eating one grapefruit a day for over 2 months (I know I’m not normal). Is my fat MELTING away?? NO!! This was probably just a ploy for someone to pick up that magazine!

I’m not saying that these article we read promoting certain foods that are good sources of X nutrient are necessarily HURTING us. I just don’t think they’re helping us THAT much. Why?

Because nutrients, vitamins and minerals don’t work in isolation in our bodies. The nutrients in foods we eat are specifically programmed to interact with one another in an intricate way. Just because I eat three pounds of carrots a week (again, I’m not normal) doesn’t mean my eyesight is all of a sudden to X-ray vision status. Nutrients work in a synergistic fashion, and that’s why supplementation with vitamins doesn’t really do anyone any good (except maybe the CEO of GNC).

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I used to be religious about taking vitamin C…guess what…I was sick ALL THE TIME. It was only after I adopted a whole foods diet that I started getting sick way less. Because all the nutrients I was receiving working together made made me a whole heck of a lot better off than eating crappy food, taking a pill and expecting to see results. In addition, according to Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe “many multivitamins are filled with partial, fractionated or synthetic substitutes for the nutrients they’re meant to replace.” Plus, real food contains synergistic nutrients (like vitamin D and calcium).

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EAT THE YOLKS!

 

 

I used to take a multivitamin but honestly I feel like it’s more of a waste of money! JUST EAT REAL FOOD people. It’s not that hard…..

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Do you take a multivitamin?

Have you ever eaten a food because you were lacking a certain nutrient? Did it help?

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Chocolate Almond Butter Maca Smoothie

I think we’re official real-time homesteaders now! We had a very exciting and eventful weekend in which we became parents to these two:

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They were VERY shaken up due to being  transported in the back of the truck for an hour in cold temperatures. I was really upset and worried that the pigs would get sick and die at first. They were shivering and whimpering and I was Googling away and of course when that happens it’s worst case scenario. However later that night they warmed up, started eating and drinking….and standing in their water dish….and dumping over their food dish.

So they should be a handful. I’m not expecting everything to go right…..but I hope that they become happier and enjoy a happy life while they’re with us. Stay tuned for updates!

Also, I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up Saturday morning to find that some of my tomato plants I planted last weekend had sprouted!!!!! I was super nervous they weren’t going to work out because I made a huge mess planting them and forgot to label the cells in the planter. It was a mess. But here they are:

Plants!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are leaning towards the sun wondering why it’s still snowing. I was listening to the Paleo View podcast and Liz Wolfe said something that really made a lot of sense. She said humans MUST have evolved to eat animals because growing plants is DAMN HARD! Raising animals for meat/eggs/milk seems so much easier. Plants are temperamental and everything depends on the soil and weather. We’ll see what happens…..

Anyway, on to a delicious recipe….the other week I posted a recipe with Maca, a whole food root powder supplement used to balance hormones. Since then I have been trying new ways to incorporate it. I am actually growing used to and enjoying the taste more. Yesterday i whipped up this smoothie for lunch with the protein powder I recently got and the flavor was amazing! I thought it’d be worthy to share.

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OH- and the almond butter I used was a homemade recipe that I made from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. (Maple Vanilla Almond Sunbutter) OMG it is amazing- go make it now!!!! Her blog is becoming one of my favorites. I should have included her in my round up last week! Seriously everyone I’ve made from her blog has been fantastic.

Chocolate Almond Butter Maca Smoothie
Rich, creamy delicious chocolate protein shake with the added benefit of maca root powder.
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Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 banana, medium
  2. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  3. 3/4 cup water
  4. 1 tbsp almond butter
  5. 1 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
  6. 2 tbsp maca root powder
  7. 2 scoops (28 g) vanilla protein powder*
  8. handful of ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend away!
Notes
  1. *you can use chocolate protein powder and omit the cocoa if you want.
  2. *use sweetener also if you prefer
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/
 

So I hope you’ll stick around for more homesteading adventures! We’re hopefully going to get some chickens soon as well. I’m not expecting everything to go right but at least it will be fun and a learning process.

Have you ever had farm animals?

Any gardening advice??

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Test Prep Memes

‘Tis the week before the NYS ELA exam. It’s really not as nerve wracking as I make it out to be. It is what it is. I do the best I can to prepare students but to stress out too much is a lot of work. We try to make it as positive as possible for the kids and not use “scare” tactics. Part of the way I’m trying to make it positive and not unbearable as we prepare is with an extra credit assignment.

 

Test prep memes!!!! I‘m sure you know what memes are if you have the internet. If you don’t….they’re kind of hard to explain. So instead, I’ll show you some examples of ones my kids made!

(AC2E is a writing format I teach my kids)

 

 

 

LOL….you get the idea. Students are loving it! Just a little something to make the week go by faster and remind them of strategies for the test! I also baked one of my classes cookies just because I thought they were working hard!! #bestteacherever

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SO excited for after the test because I get to teach Omnivore’s Dilemma again!!!! My school ordered the books so it’s going to be way more in depth this year. So excited to drop some REAL FOOD knowledge on my little minds.

What have you done to make test week more bearable??

 

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What I ate in Buffalo- Blue Monk

I really have just been slacking with the blog posts….been feeling so uninspired lately and feeling like I’m grasping at straws for topics. I don’t want to force a post and I’d rather wait until I have something legit to post about. I do want to share, however, a fabulous restaurant we went to over the weekend because it’s just too good not to. So I’m linking up again with Jen at Peas and Crayons for What I ate Wednesday!

 

 Peas and Crayons

Over the weekend I got the pleasure to attend the men’s NCAA Basketball tournament in Buffalo. We bought the tickets a month ago when Syracuse was riding high on a 25-0 season with an almost definite bid to be a #1 seed and land in Buffalo for the tourney. Well, I don’t want to get into what happened to their season after that. All I can say it’s been an incredibly stressful month worrying that we spent an uncomfortable amount of money on tickets to possibly not even see our team.

Somehow, they ended up a #3 seed and still playing in Buffalo. Annnnnnnd let’s not talk about the fact they ended up losing a heartbreaking game Saturday but all in all it was an amazing experience and I loved watching all the teams play.

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I love basketball! What an emotional season. I never knew I could get so pumped up, excited, or heartbroken over sports.

Another thing I get pumped up over- food. I wanted to find a restaurant in Buffalo to go to Saturday before the game that wasn’t too expensive, but was also good. I thought about choosing Anchor Bar, the acclaimed ‘original Buffalo wing’ place, but honestly the reviews were not good and we just had wings the night before. I landed on a place uptown in the Elmwood area called Blue Monk.

It was in a really cute area of the city, sorta trendy. The inside was unique, with a downstairs bar area and upstairs seating.

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The beer selection was great! However I thought it was a tad overpriced. And there was this one beer I REALLY wanted to try which was a S’MORES FLAVORED STOUT that they were out of. S’mores beer guys. I need to find this somewhere ASAP. I went with an oatmeal/coffee stout instead which was delicious.

For dinner I didn’t take much time choosing the Duck Confit Reuben. It came with their specialty duck fat fries with chipotle bacon dipping sauce. WOW. This was really beyond words. Everything tasted amazing.

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My husband got a regular burger, which I tasted and it was good and everything, but didn’t hold a candle to my duck sandwich.

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They had a nice selection of different types of burgers including elk and boar. My friend went with the boar burger. I didn’t try it but it looked great as well.

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They had a bunch of dipping sauces to choose from with their duck fat fries that sounded great. And it was delicious!!!! And great to spend time with friends!

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Verdict: food was great! But food and beer were a little overpriced. I  mean not too much, but just enough to be annoyed by. The waitress made a big deal about splitting the check… not sure why. I definitely recommend this restaurant if you’re in the area though and want to forgo the chicken wings!

Have you ever tried a pork burger or duck?

Ever had chicken wings in Buffalo? What’s the best place?!?

What did you eat this weekend that was great?!?

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