it's what i do

Knitting patterns and blog ramblings about knitting and sewing. ... and gardening, and cooking. Basically all the makes. There's a lot of strange knowledge in my brain that I'm hoping can do some good out in the world.

 

Unpatterns are available on Patternfish!

on the needles

• Big Grey Thing

• Lots of Turkish Bed Socks in BMFA Socks that Rock

in my ears
  • Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey)
    Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey)
    by Dorothy L. Sayers
under my nose
  • Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes
    Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes
    by Nigel Slater
fueled by
go find it!
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Sunday
Feb072016

new year, new paradigm

2016 is ushering in a lot of great new things over here at casa akabini!

I'm back to designing full-time, and looking forward to re-issuing some of my 2nd Nature patterns as akabini patterns...

And Unpatterns.com has found a new home here - see the tab up at the top of the page (where there will be more detailed content coming soon), and feel free to click the Patternfish link at right to see the whole collection for purchase over there.

And I'm looking forward to posting here again with my random thoughts about life, healthy food, geeky knitting tricks, and ALL THE MAKES!

 

Nice to be back.

Wednesday
Sep242014

#Whole30 Wrap-Up

'Day 31' is here!

Strange as it might seem to put this experience up there with something as physically grueling as training for and completing marathons, I'm just as proud of this 30 days as I am of each marathon I've run.

I'm the kind of person who devours 'Before and After' stories, who flips to the 'They Lost 100 Pounds!' features in the magazines... and now I have an inkling about how they must feel.

It's been fascinating to unplug the cravings, starve out the bad habits, and really learn an excellent way to take care of myself. Because, after all, at its root, that's what Whole 30 teaches you to do: to take exquisite care of yourself.

From planning meals and not skimping on preparation; to feeding yourself wonderful things so you don't crave the crappy stuff; to paying attention to what you're eating and making sure you build joy into each meal... it's been an education.

Best things I've learned:

• I can make my own salad dressing, and it *is* as easy as everyone says it is! (Sorry, Tina, Fiona, Laura... I should have listened.)

• Where sheer willpower can be limited, personal integrity and strength is buildable and potentially boundless.

• Thai curry paste + canned coconut milk = nearly-instant dinner! (Just don't get the green kind if you're a gringo like me. Thermonuclear, that stuff!)

• I am just as attached to beverages as I think I am. (Missed those milky drinks most of all!)

• There is life after toast.

• Salad every day for lunch is a great thing! (One more thing to simplify! hooray!)

In this 30 days, I negotiated how to host a party and not indulge (key: cleanup crew; and make yourself absent during the dessert service); how to negotiate a restaurant menu (hint: it's not as hard as you think - there's nearly always a meat & veg. option somewhere in the entrées); how to take a trip out of town that doesn't turn into a feast fest. Plus: Starbuck's does coconut lattes now! Revelation!

So Day 31 started out just as Days 1-30 had: eggy breakfast, pack a salad for lunch... and the only differences were my first mug of proper tea in a month (!) and a dinner out where the deviations were Caesar salad w/ dressing and Parmesan and a glass of wine.

This new life? Shaping up to be pretty good.

(Oh, and not that it really counts, but I like it: lost TEN pounds. In a month. That has NEVER happened, and certainly not while I was eating like a prince!)

Monday
Sep012014

#Whole30, Day 8

Dinner at home with the Boy - grilled chicken on salad! (The perk of doing a Whole 30 in the summer.)

 

Friday
Aug292014

#Whole30, Day 4

Day Four is done, and I did not want to Kill. All. The. Things!
(The joke is that by days 4 and 5 of #Whole30, you run into a serious emotional wall and get cranky. Co-workers will testify to waves of poutiness on my part, but so far no major crank.) 

 Breakfast used up the rest of the shrimp, with a shrimp-to-egg ratio that was truly thrilling (cut back to 2 eggs). Peek-a-boo from underneath was the rest of my bag o' spinach. Suprisingly tasty, even without the Parmesan cheese I would normally have been tempted to add!

Lunch was more leftover Thai curry (think I can go without making quite so much next week). I found I actually *missed* my salad - and ended up not eating more than half of it.

The poutiness occurred after lunch (see above re: possibly not eating enough), and was prompted by the thought that I couldn't have a comforting, satisfying cuppa Builders Tea. But two cups of Rooibos later and I was on a roll with work.

Afternoon spaciness combatted by the realization that I had nuts in my desk drawer. Almonds and cashews to the rescue!

An early dinner, so I could be in the shop by 5 pm:

 I sauteed up two turkey burker patties and set aside one for breakfast for Day 5. The last 1/4 avocado, and a BIG slice of heirloom tomato as an ersatz bun made for a yummy turkey burger! Some quick romaine and more tomatoes for a speedy side salad. It was warm out again, so a little spritzer with grapefruit juice and soda water sent me out the door to go back to work to finish my second 12+ hour workday.

Biggest revelation so far: I'm not hungry in the same way I used to be! I used to get sharp, searing stomach pangs if I didn't eat every 4 hours. Now I just notice a deeper, subterranean rumbling and notice that I'm slowing down and getting a little spacey. Is this what other people are talking about when they say they forget to eat? Hmm.

Friend T had her first round of chemo on Thursday. If she has to be strong for her stuff, I can damn well do this, too.

 

Thursday
Aug282014

#Whole30, Day 3

Day Three is in the can!

I'm still coasting on the grace of relatively little internal struggle with this. Fingers crossed that I stay that lucky for a little while longer!

Less of a scrambled mess for breakfast yesterday, and more of a layering exercise:

Bottom layer: fork-mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of coconut milk to make a bit of a slurry; then slices of turkey breast on top. 

Cap it off with some scrambled egg (note to self: cut down to two! this is a lot of food!) ... and then add some tomatoes for extra veggie goodness. Oh, and steamed greens, too.

Kept me going until after noon!

 

 

Lunch: yup, salad.

This one was pretty mainstream: plain sauteed chicken, tomatoes, avocado over romaine and cabbage. But I thought I'd share what I'm doing to make my salad dressing:

If, like me, you're embarrassingly new to the process of homemade dressings (despite the fact that you've been told over and over again that they're easy), here's one to try.

1 part apple cider vinegar
1 part balsamic vinegar, or to taste (if you're using a strong one, cut back maybe)
2-3 parts olive oil (depending on how oily vs. tangy you like your dressing)
1/4 part Annie's Horseradish Mustard (a revelation! Horseradish delivery system with no sugar added!)
1/2-1 part diced fresh herbs (I've been using basil, since it's fresh now) 

(If you're making some to cover several salads, try 1 part = 4 Tbsp.)

I just shake mine up in a little airtight container - the little Duralex one pictured above is nice for dosing out a single portion to pop into my glass salad container to take to work. (Why do the French make all the best glass storage? Someone tell me why!)

Quickie to finish out, since I need to get to work early this morning: Dinner was leftover Chicken Curry from Monday night. (Work night, so had to plan for something grab & go).

Kept me going until 10:30pm, and only got a growly tummy in the last half-hour. Went to bed without extra snacking, either. On a roll.

Day 3 I realized I'm not eating the sweet potatoes in the quantity I expected to - not craving that form of carbohydrate. Think I'll cut back on those for my shopping next week.