Monday, August 3, 2015

Wild Child, More Whole30, and Concert in the Park

A friend recently posted about a podcast she had listened to called "Raising a Wild Child".  It basically had a lot of statistics and support behind the idea that children today get way less exposure to the outdoors and lots more screen time, which isn't groundbreaking or anything, but it got me thinking.  This friend mentioned making a goal to get her kids outdoors in nature 3 times a week for 30 minutes (at least - it's a starting point, I think, with the idea of evoking a change in habits and thinking).  Anyway, when Rose woke up from a nap the other day with insane bedhead and a temper to match, I decided that my best line of defense against the rage of a toddler who didn't get enough sleep was to get her outside.  So we drove to Lake Chabot and went for a nature walk. 

I have a hard time finding the motivation for this kind of stuff, if I'm being totally honest.  As much as I feel like we have tried, Clara still complains almost from the moment we get out of the car about how it's hot (it was actually a beautiful day), she's sweaty (a little perspiration never hurt anybody and anyway, that is kind of the point that she get some exercise, especially since she can't do her normal things with her broken clavicle), this is taking a long time (said while crossing the parking lot and not even on the trail yet), etc.  So I always pack different snacks and try to engage Clara by looking for wildlife or flowers (in this drought everything is dead, dead, dead though - at least it seems that way) or just noticing things around us.  And I eventually bring up the fact that I have some special snacks in my bag if we keep going just a little further to find a bench/some shade/a view, etc.  Rose still hikes like a Boss though and we didn't even take the stroller or a carrier (like I could haul her around at this point anyway!  That girl weighed an official 30 pounds at her 18-month appointment, which is still in the 99th percentile for kid her age.).

Our Whole30 is still going good - we are on Day 21 today so it has been 3 official weeks of no dairy, no grains, no sugar, and no legumes.  One of the weird symptoms a lot of people report while doing Whole30 is bizarre food-related dreams and Paul and I have both had our share of those in the past 12 days.  I had such an intense one about eating cookies and experiencing so much guilt because of it that I woke up feeling an overwhelming residual guilt and had to stop and really think about whether I had made and eaten the cookies or not.  The guilty feeling lasted much longer than I would ever have guessed and it was strange because I rarely have dreams that stick with me.  Paul says he has had multiple food related dreams of a similar nature.  But overall we both feel great and have been seeing a lot of the nonscale victories that we have heard other people have on Whole30 like feeling less drowsy during the day, feeling less hungry and less snacky (I am a terrible grazer during the day but that urge has pretty much vanished with the changes in my nutrition, although I still struggle at nighttime with feeling like I want/deserve a "reward" after the girls have gone to bed). 

One of my FAVORITE dishes of the past week or so was the Arctic Char I made on the grill.  It was on sale at Whole Foods on the day I went shopping (when I do fish I like to cook it the same day that I buy it so I am kind of at the mercy of whatever is fresh even if I have never made it before which has lead to some tasty discovers like this fish!).  Arctic Char was described to me as something between a salmon and a rainbow trout, which sounded weird, but it was a pretty accurate description and it just might be my new favorite fish.  We had grilled asparagus (can't get enough!) and a fresh fruit salad with it.  Here is how I prepared the fish (which is hardly a recipe it is so simple):

Grilled Atlantic Char

1 whole Atlantic Char, filleted with skin on
Olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Season salt, to taste

Lightly drizzle olive oil over the fish and rub in. Season with salt and pepper and seasoned salt, if desired.  (Note:  to properly season meat, don't get your hand to close when sprinkling seasoning on - if you pull your hand back a bit and sprinkle salt from a little higher up you will get more even coverage).
Preheat grill to medium high heat, then place fillets on the grill, skin side up, and grill 3-5 minutes. Carefully flip to finish cooking with the skin side down on the grill, another 3-5 minutes until opaque in the center.
Alternatively, you could cook this in a pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sear skin side up for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned, then flip and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 3-4 minutes more. Drizzle with a little lemon juice, if desired.

Another super satisfying and delicious meal that I made (having never tried making it myself before) was a spice rubbed tri-tip and holy moly it was phenomenal.  Definitely Sunday dinner or company dinner kind of a meal.  I made a salad with the sweetest cherry tomatoes imaginable, bacon, hard boiled egg, salad greens, peppers, and avocado with a balsamic dressing and steamed cauliflower on the side.

Spice Rubbed Tri-Tip

2-3 lb. tri-tip roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix olive oil and spices together in a bowl. If cooking on a smoker, get the smoke going, then preheat to 425 degrees. Rub the tri-tip with the spice mixture and lay directly on the grill grate. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes until the internal temperature is between 150-165 degrees, but be sure not to overcook or the tri-tip will be tough and dry. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let the tri-tip rest for 15 minutes before carving across the grain into broad, thin slices.
Alternatively, you could cook the tri-tip on a grill with a rotisserie attachment by sliding the tri-tip onto the rotisserie skewer and cooking over high heat for 20 minutes, then reducing heat to medium high and cooking until the internal temperature reaches 150-165 degrees.  Or just cook it directly on the grill, turning periodically.

I haven't cut my hair since Thanksgiving and it is getting so long and out of control that I often braid it just to keep it out of the way.  I was trying to take a picture of it the other day but Rose was tormenting me by "honking" my nose.  But I love when Rose wakes up from her nap in a playful mood and we get to have these afternoon tickle sessions.

I looked up concerts in the park last week when I was feeling like summer is just slipping away and I wanted to make more of it.  Dublin doesn't do anyway (although it does do outdoor movies) but Pleasanton has free concerts every Friday night in the summer.  So we took the girls and had an absolute blast listening to a pretty decent band cover "contemporary rock" songs by bands mostly from the 90's like Greenday, Lit, Jimmy Eat World, Tom Petty, and Offspring.  Next time we are totally taking dinner with us and picnicking like most of the people who were there.  The girls loved it and really got into dancing and clapping, especially Rose. 

Rose decided she was interested in picking up photography and Paul showed her how to use the viewfinder on the camera. 

And that was our week!


  1. I want my girls to enjoy exploring, but can't really take them anywhere. But they do enjoy the backyard, and I'm trying to be more relaxed about how dirty they get. Lily keeps carrying spiders, ladybugs, and rolypoly bugs over for me to see.

    I'm more and more interested in trying whole30 when I'm done needing the twins. Sounds like it's been a positive experience so far.

    I love, love concerts in the park. We went to one a couple of weeks and had a great time.

  2. I love that you posted so honestly about motivating kids through hikes/walks. This is my constant world. Whenever I try to do something adventuresome with my kids (even very simple) it seems like one of them makes it a little miserable for everyone else. It's always a different one. Your persistence is motivation for me to keep trying!


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