Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Healthy Cleaning

So far I am not doing well at meeting my goal for blog posts. If I was going to start again, I wanted to write at least 2 posts a week. And it’s not like I don’t have anything to write about. Life has just been a little nuts. We are selling a home, buying a home, work has been super busy. You’ll hear more about all of this eventually! So hopefully March will be a little better.

Speaking of selling a home. We listed our townhouse (technically my husband’s townhouse) on Thursday. But there was a lot of do to get to that point. I sold my condo and moved in last year when we got married. Selling mine was a breeze and there wasn’t even that much prep to get it ready. But I was one person living with one person’s stuff. And I am not a person who holds on to too much stuff. I am definitely no Marie Kondo but I do a pretty good job of cleaning out stuff occasionally. Anyway, getting a townhouse ready that two people have lived in with two people’s combined stuff plus new stuff from a wedding was a little more involved.

We did clear out a LOT of stuff when I moved in. So it could have been a lot worse. But for the past 3-4 weeks, we have been de-cluttering, moving said de-cluttered stuff to my parent’s basement (thanks parents – you’re the best!), and doing some deep, deep cleaning. My husband has had this townhouse for almost 7 years and it is in really good shape. It just needed some extra TLC. We had someone come for a few days to fix and update some things. Then we got to the deep cleaning.

How hard have you ever looked at your floor grout? When’s the last time you really cleaned your floors or floor grout? Lovely to think about, right? When I was selling my condo, I noticed the floor grout in the tiled rooms (kitchen, sun room, bathroom) was probably not the color it originally was. My mom had a cool little gadget that she said would work wonders, so I gave it a try. And it’s my new favorite cleaning tool.

The Rubbermaid Reveal Power Scrubber is great for cleaning lots of things, especially if it needs a little more than just wiping off. But then you add the grout brush head and you will clean for days! Ok maybe not, but you will be impressed!

The next question was what to spray on the floor to really get the dirt up. In my place I used mainly a bleach spray. It definitely worked. But I was down on the floor on my hands and knees inhaling bleach spray. I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’ve been using Young Living essential oils casually for a number of years (yes, this will probably be another post as well) but in the past 6 months went on a restocking and trying new things binge. My sister-in-law sent me a sample of the Thieves Cleaner to try and I love it. I already knew I loved Thieves oil but there are a million uses for Thieves oil. The cleaner has no chemicals. It’s all natural and plant-based. It smells great. And it works! Maybe you clicked the link above and are thinking that’s way too much to spend on a cleaner? It’s super concentrated so you mix it with water in a spray bottle and it last a long time. When I started the grout I had about half a bottle, cleaned a decent size kitchen and 3 bathrooms, and still about 1/4 of a bottle left.

Anyway – product commercial over (but seriously, consider trying it and let me know if you want to) – I decided to use the Thieves Cleaner this time to clean the grout. And of course it worked wonders. I did add a little bit of vinegar as well because grout can be tough and vinegar is also a great cleaner.

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Now it does still take a little elbow grease, especially if it’s the first time you’ve cleaned the grout, and yes you are literally on your hands and knees. but it’s worth it. Just check out the before and afters below! I’ve looked at pictures of all the other townhouses and condos in our complex that have been listed and you can see even in the pictures how dirty the grout is. So think about a little spring deep cleaning – you’ll appreciate it in the long run.

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#8. Yoga

#8 from my 30 before 30 list is done – I’m over halfway done! About 2 years ago I bought a Groupon for 20 classes to Red Hot Yoga. Luckily they accept them whenever – literally no expiration date – so I finally started to use it at the beginning on the year. Mostly thanks to another friend who wanted to go.

Yoga is great, especially if you typically hit the cardio and/or weights hard. Stretching is important – and I don’t do it nearly enough for as much as I run. And as I have discovered lately, training for a half marathon at 29 is definitely different than training at 24. I know it sounds silly but it is – if I don’t stretch now I pay for it. Insert yoga. Especially since I’m training for a half marathon right now, it feels great. And I am not flexible at all, so don’t use that as an excuse. It really does help you become more stretchy the more you do it! And actually the heat (this is hot yoga) helps even more. The heat is actually what scared me the most, but I go early morning and it actually feels awesome. This studio is great because you don’t feel like a fool – there are always other beginners and they are pretty good about making sure you are doing all the poses correctly (otherwise it’s kind of pointless).

I still have about 10 classes left on my groupon and we’ll see what I do when that is up but I’m hoping to keep going at least once a week! Now if I can only get in the habit of stretching on my own….

redhotyoga


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Stitch Fix

Apparently February is my month to try new things….or maybe to be lazy since these things are all home-delivery. Either way, there are some pretty cool home-delivery services out there so I might as well try them! While one coworker got me on the Plated train, another convinced me to try Stitch Fix. I had heard of Stitch Fix in passing but hadn’t really looked into it. My coworker, however, tried it and loved her experience so I figured I’d give it a try!

What is it? You make a style profile and a stylist will compile of box of 5 pieces of clothing and/or accessories based on your profile. This profile includes questions about what you would spend ($$) on different items.

How does it work? You pick which day you want your box to arrive and pay a $20 styling fee. You get your box in the mail and try everything on. The items you want to keep, you buy (with that $20 applied to your purchase). The items you don’t like you send back in the pre-paid package that came with your box. If you want to keep everything you get 25% off.

You can opt to receive a box on a regular basis ($20 each time) or you can just schedule one occasionally. It doesn’t even automatically opt you in for the regular shipments so you don’t have to worry about canceling anything or automatic charges!

My box actually came a couple days early – everything was neatly packed and comes with a personal note from your stylist and pictures with ideas on how to wear each item you received.

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personal note and style guide

personal note and style guide

I loved 4 of the 5 items I received – one was a long-sleeve shirt which I don’t need more of and I didn’t love the style. The scarf was super cute but scarves are the last thing I need more of. The dress, jeans, and blazer all fit really well and I kept the blazer! The jeans were actually too long – to which they replied that they are regular inseam – which I find hard to believe that I would have to roll up skinny jeans about 4 inches. I’m not super tall but I’m definitely not short!

Give it try! If you are so kind, use my referral code (https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4708836)!! Then when you love it you can share it with your friends!


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#26. Dinner Party

Cross off another item – #26 to host a dinner party! It wasn’t a “proper” dinner party – I don’t a big enough table in my apartment for everyone to sit, but it was homemade food and wonderful friends, which is all you need.

The hardest part about hosting dinner? Having all the food cooked and hot at the same time. Luckily, we have so many ways to cook things nowadays that it is a little easier. I made the cake early so it was done. Next you have to use the crock pot (obviously – do you know me?) – I started the roast. Then the sides I made simultaneously closer to dinner time, using the stove and oven.

Now, I consider myself a decent cook and baker. But it seems lately I have more and more kitchen blunders. It’s never anything major – only once has it completely ruined the dish (pumpkin pie on the floor). This time it was burned bacon (apartment filled with smoke, smoke detector beeping, throwing windows open and fans on, the whole nine yards), roast not completely cooking in the time it was supposed to, and cake (the entire thing) sliding off the plate. Luckily I was able to salvage about 5 pieces of bacon to crumble into the side dish, I finished off the roast in the oven while we waited for a couple more people to arrive, and only a small chunk of cake came off and I had extra frosting to mostly repair it! Guess I need to pay better attention and maybe not try new recipes when I cook for others.

Dinner party was great – I’d love to make it a fairly regular thing since I love cooking for people and just spending time with people I love. I’ll post the recipes this week too since they were delicious.

Dinner Party Menu

Appetizer: cheese! stilton w/ blueberries & apple smoked gouda; flat bread crackers

Entreé: pot roast

Sides: roasted brussel sprouts; garlic mashed potatoes

Dessert: flourless chocolate cake w/ strawberry frosting

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pot roast

pot roast

sides

sides

dessert

dessert

 


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Whole 30 Wrap Up

My last week of the Whole30 was pretty uneventful – just chugging along at this point. Apart from my cheat, my breakfasts and lunches were pretty much the same as in week 3 (slight variation on the taco chicken to cilantro lime chicken). Told ‘ya I was keeping it simple! I did have a couple new dinners:

marinara sauce w/ ground turkey + zoodles. this was good and easy – I’ll definitely keep this recipe on hand.

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slow cooker chicken & butternut squash + sweet potato. this was delicious and I’ll post the recipe this week!

happy plate

And my final overview. I am ending my Whole30 a couple days early, but with good reason. Unfortunately I have not had such a positive experience with it as most people. Unfortunately, my digestive system has been off-kilter the entire time. I wanted to give my body time to adjust but it only did literally in the past 2 days. Although I figured out the Whole30 may not have been completely at fault for this, it is true that many veggies are more difficult to digest and I think the increased intake was just too much.

As I’ve said, I did feel mentally better simply eating better, but the other downside was that it was difficult to have the energy to do my typical workouts. I know it’s possible, since other people do it, I just don’t have the time or money or commitment to continue to keep dramatically changing my diet. I obviously don’t want to go back to eating a bunch of crap. The plan is this: limit my dairy, grains, sweets [as in never buying any myself, only indulging for special occasions]. And honestly, my typical diet is not that bad (apart from my long binge between Thanksgiving and New Years).

I don’t regret doing the Whole30, but if you’re considering it and know you have a sensitive stomach, consider it very carefully. It may help or it may hurt. I hope it helps! If you’ve been following my Whole30 journey – thanks! I do still post pretty regularly on my blog apart from these posts, so hang around and I hope you continue to follow!


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Whole 30 – Week 3

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this. I think I just wasn’t eating enough for my metabolism and/or workout habits, and I think the biggest downfall was breakfast. So I simplified it and have way more energy this week. I also simplified all my meals (save one dinner as I had shrimp that needed to be used) by using the crock pot so the week was way less overwhelming. I’m not going to lie, though – we cooked dinner at a local transitional shelter and baking cookies was the WORST. Definitely the biggest temptation so far.

Here’s the breakdown from Week 3 – 9 more days to go!

Breakfasts: Hard boiled egg(s) + 2 sausage patties + strawberries + blueberries + banana. The number of eggs (1 or 2) and whether I had a banana or not depended on my workout for that day. Strenuous workout = more food. 🙂 I did some scrambled eggs on the weekend but basically kept everything the same!

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Lunches: taco chicken + lettuce + bell peppers + shredded carrots + avacado + salsa. I tried to use romaine as a taco shell the first day, but that proved to be way too messy – especially since I usually eat and work at the same time. So the rest of the week was “taco” salad. And it made enough to get me through the weekend also!

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Dinner: sticky shrimp + steamed broccoli/cauliflower + sweet potatoes. I haven’t had time to post the shrimp recipe (maybe later) but it’s linked to where I found it. It was definitely not an ‘easy’ one but I had shrimp I had to use – and it was VERY good. I also had fun cutting the sweet potatoes using my  still new-ish spiralizer.

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Dinner: “creamy” chicken & tomato soup. A yummy crock pot recipe. Makes so much I’ll probably use it for lunches next week. One night I stirred in some mixed greens. One night I ladled it onto some zoodles. Yum.

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Dinner: cilantro lime chicken + zoodles + sweet potatoes. Another great crock pot meal (I’ll post the recipe this week)! Normally would go on rice, so I just sautéed some zoodles with some chili powder. And the sweet potatoes totally didn’t fit but I needed something with carbs since I was doing a 5K the next morning. Random-looking but all delicious!

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There were of course little snacks of Lara bars or nuts when needed. I did find a very delicious roasted almond recipe that I will post soon. Heading into the home stretch!


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Whole 30 – Week 2

So, things didn’t just simply get better as I hoped. Not to scare anyone, but this thing does take a lot of work. I got a little overwhelmed in week 2 with time (planning, shopping, prepping) as life has gotten a little crazy. And I’m still pretty tired, so I’ve been working to adjust my meals – I am sure it is user error. I’m still feeling great about eating better in general. I know it’s been good in this stressful week, I normally would have been chowing down on all kinds of sweets and junk.

I wanted to switch up breakfast and lunch in week 2 and not just do the same thing for all 30 days. And yes, that took more time. I’m still not loving breakfast – I definitely miss my greek yogurt – but we’ll see what week 3 brings! I’ve realized I’m I think I’m trying too hard – typically my meals are pretty simple, so I need to move in that direction for this – simplicity. The plan for week 3: making sure I’m using up food I have already (it’s easy to go crazy and buy new stuff when you have plenty) and using the crock pot. I have high hopes (and the 3-day weekend will surely help)! I’ll get this eventually – even if it takes me until Day 30!

Here’s the breakdown from week 2. Sorry, I’m not going to have time to post every recipe, so some are just linked to where I found them, but I’ll try to still post a couple of my favs each week!

Weekday Breakfasts: Egg muffins + strawberries + clementine + turkey bacon + 1/2 an avocado (added mid-week). These egg muffins were ok. I think I liked my Week 1 casserole more, though I’m still not sure it’s enough. The avocado was good to add to help me make all the way to lunch.

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Weekday lunches: Turkey-zucchini poppers w/ salsa + carrot sticks + 1/2 an avocado.  I sometimes threw in a handful of cashews also. And one day I had the rest of my butternut squash soup (delicious to dip the poppers in). Still might need a little more substance so will revisit a plan for week 3. (sorry, work was a little nuts this week so I forgot to take a pic)

Dinner: Zoodles with cashew cream sauce + baked chicken breast. This was delicious but was a little time-consuming. Check out the full post for details!

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Dinner: Pork tenderloin + roasted mashed cauliflower. This was good – again a little messy work and was not my best cooking. I roasted my cauliflower too long and I could not find Dijon mustard without white wine as in ingredient, so I just used yellow mustard. The taste was still great. The cauliflower tasted good but looks questionable. I might try a different way to do mashed cauliflower next time. Haven’t posted this recipe yet – I’ll get there eventually. Add a green veggie side to mix up the color a bit (see my leftover zoodles on this night)

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Weekend breakfast: sweet potato hash + eggs + fruit + coffee

 

I also had my first successful dinner out! My mom’s birthday was this weekend, so we went to Bonefish Grill for dinner. This was pretty easy – grilled ahi tuna & steamed broccoli. The menu lied a little bit and said it came with a seasonal veggie (in additional to my chosen broccoli side) but it came with a risotto instead – definitely would have asked for double broccoli had I know that. So the meal wasn’t super filling but it was still a success – I didn’t even mind missing the bread!