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  • Travel Challenges
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    Orlando, Florida USA (August 2016) Part 1

    #happiestplaceonearth
    #happiestplaceonearth

    My “big” vacation this year was a 8-day, 7-night Carnival cruise around the Caribbean that ported in Port Canaveral, Florida with my family of 18. Cruises, in my opinion, are the best, least stressful option for big group vacationing.. but I enjoy cruises regardless of the number of people going. While the more the merrier mentality goes here, it’s also even better when you have good company (but that’s true for literally any trip or life situation haha). I’ve heard horror stories before where people who originally had flights the morning of embarkation had flights cancelled or delayed or whatever and made them miss boarding the ship. I don’t think it happens frequently, but it does happen and was something to be aware of. Thus, many cruise forums suggested that people who had to fly into port, fly in the day before just incase. For me, it was an excuse to extend my vacation another day so I planned to fly in a day before, and also stay a few days after to make this flight to Orlando really worth it. (The rest of my family flew the first flight into MCO the day of (arrival around 9:30AM) and actually made it onto the ship before I did.) Now I’ve been to Orlando every single year for the past 4 years thanks to my job, so I went to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure twice, and Universal Studios Florida, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios once as an adult. The kid in me didn’t mind going again, especially since the BF hasn’t gone to the newer Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Diagon Alley) in the original Universal Studios yet and I haven’t gone to Epcot as an adult. SO! It was set. “We’re going to Disneyland World (and Universal Studios)!!!” I’ll go into my cruise experience in a later post but for now, here’s my short-version itinerary for the Florida portion:

    Day 1 – Friday

    • LGA -> MCO (6:30AM -> 9:05AM)
    • Pick up car rental at Avis Counter at MCO
    • Drive and check into Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive (3,000 SPG points)
    • Walk to Universal Studios Florida
    • Rides
    • Lunch at The Simpsons Fast Food Boulevard (World Expo)
    • Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
    • Rides
    • Walked to Royal Pacific Hotel to eat dinner at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
    • Took ferry back to Universal Studios
    • Watch parade and go on one more ride

    Day 2 – Saturday

    • Check out of Four Points
    • Drive to Cape Canaveral to drop off Avis car rental
    • Cool Avis manager says we can keep the car for a few more hours without extra charge
    • Eat breakfast at Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery
    • Walk around Ron Jon Surf Shop and Cocoa Beach
    • Return car at Avis and take free shuttle to Port Canaveral

    Day 2 (Saturday) to Day 10 (Sunday)

    • #CaribbeanCruiselife (to be written about in later post)

    Day 10 – Sunday

    • Cruise ship disembarkation at 8:30AM, free shuttle to Avis Car Rental
    • Drove to Lake Buena Vista and returned car at Avis
    • Walked to Disney Springs to find free bus to Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel (10,000 SPG points)
    • Checked in to hotel
    • Took bus to Magic Kingdom Park from hotel
    • Ate lunch at Casey’s Corner (Main Street, U.S.A.)
    • Rides
    • Waffle break at Sleepy Hollow (Liberty Square)
    • Rides
    • Took bus to Disney Springs
    • Dinner at Earl of Sandwich
    • Walked around Disney Springs

    Day 11 – Monday

    • Took Friendship boat to Epcot
    • Breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie (France)
    • Oh you know, just roamin’ the world
    • Taco Break at La Cantina De San Angel (Mexico)
    • More world explorin’
    • Rides
    • Dinner at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (Norway)
    • Watch Chinese acrobats perform (China)
    • Watch Illuminations/Fireworks show (watched in Italy)

    Day 12 – Tuesday

    • Check out hotel
    • Uber to MCO airport
    • Lunch at Panda Express (really the only thing I crave for in airports)

    I’m going to break this into separate posts per day / theme park and hopefully remember to link it back to this post for easy access. Looking forward to sharing more details on this trip!

    xoxo Eileen

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  • Cheat Worthy Recipes
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    Pressure Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

    Ooooooh weeeeeee. Love me some good pulled pork.
    Ooooooh weeeeeee. Love me some good pulled pork.

    Hi! So, I know the BBQ weekends are in the past now that we’ve somewhat said hey to the Fall weather (but it’s 90 again today.. what) but no need to pout! I was craving for some of that sweet bbq soft meat and of course looked to Google and my Instant Pot to get started. I found this easy and simple recipe, Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork by it’s Peachy Keen, and was set on my #bbqgoals. BTW, this is recipe can be made paleo very easily if you substitute the oil and make your own paleo BBQ sauce. If the BBQ sauce is too time consuming, the meat tastes great without the BBQ sauce.

    From the recipe, all you need are: pork roast, any spices you want, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 2 cups of chicken stock or water, and BBQ sauce (optional)

    I used 5ish lbs of pork shoulder which included the bone and a lot of fat, ground black pepper, Magic Mushroom Powder from nomnompaleo, 1/4 cup of extra light tasting olive oil, 2.5 cups of chicken stock, and Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ sauce. I believe this made for about 6 pulled pork sandwich servings. I also just bought normal potato rolls and toasted them in the toaster for that extra “grilled” feel. I need to get a George Foreman grill again… mine broke recently 🙁 But I’m glad I have my trusty instant pot.

    TIP: Do NOT buy an oversized pork shoulder unless you have some serious butcher tools in your kitchen. My local grocery store only had 7.5 lbs left that day and I stupidly bought it thinking I could cut it myself in half. UHHHH it took me probably a good 20-25 minutes to “shave off” 2 lbs with a long kitchen knife since the bones do not lay right across parallel from each other. Also, the pork shoulder was a little frozen so it was harder for me to cut. I gave up and tried to jam the remaining pork shoulder into my instant pot.. poor thing. I would say buy only up to 4 lbs to be safe that it’ll fit in your pot. Some pictures of my journey for your amusement…

    This is the result of me trying to massacre this piece of meat. Call me butcher Chen.
    This is the result of me trying to massacre this piece of meat. Call me butcher Chen. Added some black pepper and magic mushroom powder.
    After being cooked in the instant pot, I put it on a cookie sheet so that when I "pulled" the pork, the juices wouldn't spill out.
    After being cooked in the instant pot, I put it on a cookie sheet so that when I “pulled” the pork, the juices wouldn’t spill out. But look at that “fall off the bone” ness!
    With the help of my boyfriend who "learned how to pull the pork from randomly watching food network" (yeah I was surprised too). Wait for the meat to cool off, then use a fork to just stretch it away from the bigger piece.
    With the help of my boyfriend who “learned how to pull the pork from randomly watching food network” (yeah I was surprised too). Wait for the meat to cool off, then use a fork to just stretch it away from the bigger piece.

    Bon appetit!

    And if anyone out there is still wondering, yes I do eat the paleo chocolate mug cake every. single. morning. It’s still delish for me.

    xoxo Eileen

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    Being a Consultant and San Mateo County, CA

    Beautiful views along PCH
    Beautiful views along PCH

    One of the perks and also possible downfalls of being a consultant is that you travel. Sometimes, you travel a lot. To cool places, to weird “why does anyone live here” places. Maybe travel there every week for a year. Or get on a 12 hour flight for a 1 hour meeting. Most of the time you’ll get to eat extremely good food for free, stay at nice hotels (or not so nice, if your project doesn’t have budget… shout out to Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown…), and get to know your coworkers real well. You’ll build up points and miles so that your vacations are free. Any good consultant to consultant conversation involves what status loyalty you have with airlines, hotels (#SPGrulez), car rentals, credit cards, etc. ALL ABOUT DEM POINTS YO. It’s the “sexy” part of being a consultant but for most people, it’ll wear off after a while. You’ll get exhausted. Sometimes, you’ll be in a really cool city but you’ll only see the airport, the hotel, and the client site. Sometimes your weekends are cut really short. I had one project where I was traveling to Omaha, Nebraska for 2 months… leaving my house for my flight at 11AM on a Sunday and returning to my door step at 10PM on a Friday night. But all in all, I enjoy the travel still – I definitely have my job to thank for taking me to places I may have never gone to. My favorite trip so far was a one week trip to London, where I had my first business class experience (woooo flat beds!), got to stay in the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, had a drink at the Shard, and eat the best Indian food I ever had (yelp review for Dishoom here). It’s also a lot better when you have an awesome team to travel with… I got lucky that I almost always had awesome travel companions or I traveled solo so I was able to do cool things.

    My most recent business trip (I’m writing this on a flight to Tampa right now, so it doesn’t count yet!) was to Palo Alto, California / San Mateo County area for a client workshop. I arrived on a Thursday morning and left on the redeye Friday night. I had to work a good chunk of the time, but got some time after work to catch up with friends in downtown San Mateo and Fremont, and also drive along the Pacific Coast Highway by myself! The drive is so beautiful that I didn’t even mind the traffic. While it was a short trip, I wanted to share the meals and sights I got to check out! I didn’t go into San Francisco proper since I already been there (read about my trip in SF here) and didn’t want to deal with the traffic, but San Mateo County has some good eats!

    Details after the jump, but here’s my short list:

    Hotel: Sheraton Palo Alto (wouldn’t stay here again on own dime)

    Lunch/Dinner: Crawfish Fusion, Pancho Villa Taqueria, Poolside Grille (in Sheraton), Amber India, Ajisen Ramen

    Dessert: Bambu Desserts & Drinks read more “Being a Consultant and San Mateo County, CA”

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    #CHENEATSNY: Dim Sum

    Besides chicken and waffles, dim sum is my favorite brunch options. My family often chooses to go dim sum when we get together, since it’s really good for big groups. Dim sum is like the tapas of Chinese food. The more people you have, the more different dishes you can order and try! It’s mostly only available during lunch hours; at night, the restaurants serve other Cantonese food. At most dim sum restaurants, there are carts roaming around with dishes in them. At some restaurants, there will be a menu or a card you order off of. Each dish is assigned with a size and associated price. Small, medium, large, X-large, special, etc. The larger the size, the higher the price. With the carts, you’ll have a card that the cart ladies will stamp once you order a dish off their cart. They usually don’t label the dishes in the cart, so you won’t know what size is assigned, unless you ask. But realistically, no one asks and just accepts the fate when the lady stamps your cart. Oh yeah, it’s usually an old lady running those carts. But sometimes a male or female waiter will come around with fancier-looking dishes. Those are usually “special” which can run you at least $7 a dish. And sometimes, it’s not the freshest stuff cuz not that many people get it, and who knows how long it’s been sitting out. Sometimes there is a buffet-style line of food. Bring your card there to retrieve those dishes. If you don’t see a dish you want, feel free to ask the waiter and they’ll hunt it down for you or ask the kitchen to make it. Or…. totally acceptable to just go hunt it down yourself, if you see the cart all the way on the opposite side of the restaurant.

    You’ll also see a tea-fee per person. I think it is $1 per person for most places. They’ll usually ask you what kind of tea you want. My family usually brings their own tea (yeah…. we don’t mess around. we’ll still get charged the tea-fee though) but if not, we’ll get pu-erh tea (cantonese: Bolei) which is a darker tea or a pu-erh chrysanthemum combo (cantonese: Guk-bo). More popular one is the chrystanthemum tea (cantonese: Guk-fa) and you can tell them to add sugar or not.

    Once you party is finished dim-summing, ask a waiter to cost out your dishes. Most of the time, you’ll pay up front at the cashier and leave a tip at the table. Sometimes, you can pay at your table.. I would see how others around you do it first.

    In New York, there are 3 different Chinatowns. One in Manhattan, which I call the OG Chinatown. One in Queens called Flushing, which I frequent often for Asian food since it’s closer to me. The other is in Brookyln.

    In Chinatown, the most popular dim sum place is Golden Unicorn. They are slightly more expensive only because (1) popularity = more tourists willing to pay more $$$ and (2) they’re actually pretty good. I don’t go to Chinatown often for dim sum, but would end up here if I do. Jin Fung is also a popular choice for tourists but I had a bad experience when I ate there (Yelp review here) so I can’t recommend them. But there are handful of other dim sum restaurants in the area, so yelp around. I would say most dim sum restaurants now have staff who speak English since they get so many non-Chinese customers now.

    In Flushing, I’ve been to probably most if not all of the dim sum restaurants. My favorite is Asian Jewels (yelp review here). Their prices are slightly more expensive, but food and service is great… and Chinese restaurants are not known for great service. They have great variety of dim sum, big tables for big groups, and have a parking lot that fills up pretty quickly ($2 tip). If you don’t get a spot at their parking lot, consider parking at the nearby Skyview Center and walking over. It’s $3 once you enter, and you can park up to 3 hours, which is plenty of time for dim sum. I’m a frequent here, and will almost always bring any out-of-towners here for good dim sum.

    I don’t really ever go to Brooklyn so sorry, I can’t recommend any places!

    Okay, so you picked out a location. But what do you order? For my family, we have dim sum basics, which means that if we don’t order most or all of these dishes in this category, then we feel like it wasn’t a true dim sum experience. But I’ll also include other favorites my family and I have. I’ll also include the Cantonese pronunciation of these just incase you’re feeling brave. More after the jump! read more “#CHENEATSNY: Dim Sum”

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    #CHENEATSNY and my favorite Manhattan foods

    Matcha Cream Puff and Jasmine Passion Fruit Iced Tea at Bibble & Sip
    Matcha Cream Puff and Jasmine Passion Fruit Iced Tea at Bibble & Sip

    Hi! I know I suck at posting regularly. Been pretty busy lately with work, weekend trips, and planning for my upcoming vacation to Orlando and the Caribbean via cruise. I also spent some time cleaning my room, after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Oh yeah, and playing PokemonGO. Just kidding – I don’t play that much… maybe… am I in denial???… I only got to level 11 recently and still haven’t figured out this whole gym thing yet even though my friends keep trying to show me (#TEAMMYSTIC doe). I only really play on my commute to/from Manhattan and I really try not to go to Manhattan if I don’t have to. This is the only thing making my slow 7 train + bus commute bearable. Even my parents (yes, they play!) were higher level than me at one point. I only learned how to level up my pokemon last week from a director on my project. #CHENCHALLENGES right here.

    Oh, and I also caught a cold this weekend. Lol. In a hot and humid NYC July. Yeah, that’s me.

    Anyway, despite the icky weather in NYC lately, I love when people come to visit. Even when it’s not to visit me. I’m excited for them. Why wouldn’t I be – it’s among the top tourist destinations, even referred to as the top cultural and financial capital of the world (thanks wikipedia for that). Yeah, the statue of liberty is great. And Times Square. And Central Park. And Empire State Building. BUT THE FOOD THOOOOOOOO. This is why I can never leave NYC. I don’t think anywhere will compare to the variety and plethora of delicious food. Nomnomnom.

    So, thanks to my friend Gauri (hey girl hey!), I decided to start a #CHENEATSNY series, blogging places I love to eat around the 5 boroughs. First post coming up soon… but first! Here’s a list of popular food places in Manhattan. I made this list for Gauri when she visited NYC for a weekend so figured I would share here too. Disclaimer: I have not eaten at some of these places, but I included them as they are some of my foodie friends’ favorites. read more “#CHENEATSNY and my favorite Manhattan foods”

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  • Healthier Recipes
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    Easy Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake

    Breakfast for champions.
    Breakfast for champions.

    GOOD MORNING. Seriously. When you have one of these guilt-free chocolately-goodness mug cakes for for breakfast, it’s a good morning.

    Before my Whole30, I literally ate mug oatmeal almost every single day for breakfast. It was that good. My mug oatmeal contained: 1 banana, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 cup Quaker’s Oats-Quick 1-min oats. However, since oatmeal is not Whole30 or paleo compliant, and “dessert-like treats” are not Whole30, I nixed that real quick.

    Since I’m off Whole30 and onto a (mostly…. trying to!) paleo lifestyle, I wanted to find a similar breakfast that was quick, easy, healthy, delicious, and filling again. I read a lot of mug cake recipes that contained way too many ingredients (that added up a lot of calories!) until I found The Wannabe Chef’s Four Ingredient Mug Cake. Yesterday, I made it as the recipe listed, including some agave-nectar for sweetening. Today, I nixed the added sweetener and just used 1 banana, 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s raw and crunchy almond butter, 1 egg, and 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa… and it was still great!

    Four ingredients. One mug. Four minutes. I think I’ll be eating this for the next year.

    xoxo Eileen

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    Pressure Cooker Korean Short Ribs (Instant Pot!)

    The finished product!
    Plated Korean short ribs with chopped string beans in the back! Yum!

    Hope everyone had an awesome July 4th holiday weekend! Last Friday, I had the day off and decided to finally use my long awaited Instant Pot to cook up something good (and healthy, since I knew I was going to eat some tasty not-so-healthy food that weekend). I trust Michelle Tam from Nomnompaleo with my cooking life and knew I had to go for one of her recipes. I perused the Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker section of her recipe index and finally decided on the Slow Cooker Korean Grass Fed Short Ribs recipe due to the number of ingredients I had on hand. I made some substitutions and had to buy two things, but generally, had most of the ingredients. I would love to try so many recipes on my Paleo Pinterest board but seriously, would never get myself to buy so many extra ingredients that I don’t use in my daily cooking routine.

    So, what was the verdict? Soft, tender, fall-off-the-bone goodness! The asian flavors were there but not overwhelming. THANK YOU MICHELLE TAM AND INSTANT POT. The perfect duo. It was very easy to make, and I would say not very time-consuming as I originally thought. I think it took me 10-15 minutes to prep, 10 minutes in the broiler, and ~60 minutes in the Instant Pot (~10 min for pot to reach high pressure then 50 min to cook). And the results will make you think you’re a legit chef.

    So here’s a modified recipe, majorly thanks to the comments section of the recipe page.

    I totally recommend reading the comments section of every recipe (if available) since the author or other people who’ve made it may give great tips!

    Pressure Cooker Korean Short Ribs
    Original recipe: Nomnompaleo’s Slow Cooker Korean Grass Fed Short Ribs

    read more “Pressure Cooker Korean Short Ribs (Instant Pot!)”

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    Whole30 Challenge: Week Four

    Tasty and tender chicken drumsticks... what I ate pretty much every meal this week! Recipe after the jump.
    Tasty and tender chicken drumsticks… what I ate pretty much every meal this week! Recipe after the jump.

    Woo final week! I’m done!

    I was very excited (and nervous at the same time) to weigh myself on Friday morning (if you haven’t read my last post, my last day of the Whole30 was on Thursday). I’ve had a change of -3.5% pounds, and although I myself can’t really see it, people have been complimenting me on looking leaner/skinnier. I should’ve taken before and after pictures, I know! But I would say the Whole30 was a success for me. While it didn’t have as a dramatic impact on me as I’ve read in other stories (i.e. improve sleeping, increase tiger blood, remove body pains, lose 50 pounds, etc.) as I’ve been eating mostly healthy before this anyway, it definitely helped me (1) lose weight, (2) eat healthier, and (3) influence the way I look at foods and thus become a pickier eater.

    The longer I was on the Whole30, the easier it was in general to decline bad food (except for the social functions – as choosing restaurants or something at a non-compliant restaurant is not as easy). I would even say I’m now more picky and weary of food in front of me and will decline or not eat as much of it if I feel like the taste is not even worth the gross-ness of the ingredients. While I still haven’t had the three things I’ve been craving while on the Whole30 (carvel ice cream, donuts, and bubble tea), I’ve realized that I can handle my cravings. Meaning I’ll still crave it but can tell myself that I don’t need to have it right now. I can have it later.. so I’m not eating like 5K calories in one day.

    I would recommend Whole30 to anyone who is looking to improve their health in any amount. It’s just 30 days (easier said than done, for sure.. but it gets easier!). Why NOT. I’d also suggest reading “It Starts With Food“, the book that talks about Whole30 and all the thought/meaning behind it. I’m halfway through it now and think that it definitely has some nutritional lessons that everyone needs to know, including how they don’t want you to live this strict diet lifestyle 24/7 forever. You should just be equipped with the knowledge to make good decisions with food. But don’t feel bad if you want an oreo. Just be conscious of the decisions you are making so you can enjoy the ‘bad’ food and not feel guilty afterwards!

    My last week of meals pretty much consisted of:
    Breakfast

    • Banana with TJ Raw and Crunchy Almond Butter
    • 1 Egg omelette with String Beans and 1/2 Applegate Uncured Beef & Pork Hot Dog

    Lunch

    • Salad: Chicken Drumstick Meat (from Dinner), spring mix salad, 1/2 avocado, 1 egg whites, 1 tbsp TJ’s Unsalted Dry Toasted Sliced Almonds
    • Dressing: 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 (ish) tbsp red wine vinegar, salt and pepper

    Dinner

    • 1x 4oz Paleo Chicken Drumstick (Recipe: Ever Clever Mom’s Easy Weeknight Paleo Chicken (Best Drumstick Recipe EVER)) – I ate this pretty much every meal because I made way too many servings at once… but it was delicious! The only thing I wish I did was marinate the meat with the sauces longer so the flavor seeps in, but still DELICIOUS (and easy!)
    • Spring Mix Salad with extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper OR cooked string beans
    Look at these beauties straight out of the oven.
    Look at these beauties straight out of the oven.
    Close up! I'm salivating thinking about these...
    Close up! I’m salivating thinking about these…

    Thanks for reading along my Whole30 experience. I hope it inspires you to try it out! Let me know if you have any questions.

    xoxo Eileen

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    My Whole30 Shopping List

    For anyone who hasn’t done paleo, Whole30 or similar programs before, you probably don’t have a lot of compliant items in your pantry (except for cooking spices, which is literally your hail-mary for flavoring everything). Even though I was eating pretty healthy/clean during the week before my Whole30, I still was using or eating non-compliant items such as soy sauce, almond milk, vegetable oil, popcorn (oh my, i do miss this), oatmeal, low fat cheese, etc. This led me to having to read all the labels and seeing what ingredients were in each. Seriously. Read your labels. Not just when you’re on Whole30 or any lifestyle diet program.. just in general if you want to live a good age. You’ll be surprised how much junk is in a lot of items and going into our bodies! It also made it easier for me to avoid certain foods that I might have wanted to eat when I read that there was a bunch of sugar, or ugly unpronounceable things. The ingredient lists are ordered by the most amount first. So I was dying a few months ago when I saw that, what I thought was a healthier breakfast pairing with my greek yogurt – Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey granola protein, had sugar as it’s second ingredient… yikes. And syrup. and starch.

    Source: Nature Valley Nutrition Information"
    Source: Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey Protein Granola Nutrition Information

    Watching the documentary “Fed Up”, which talks about the childhood obesity epidemic in America (I believe it is still on Netflix), actually showed me the importance of reading labels. Just because it is marketed as “healthy” or “low fat”, doesn’t mean squat. It probably means that while they reduced the fat, they doubled the sugar to still make it taste good.

    So, before and throughout my first Whole30 program, I’ve been reading and gathering different things from the different stores near me to add to my “paleo” pantry, which I intend to maintain as after my Whole30, I plan to switch to a paleo lifestyle 90% of the time (sorry, but a girl’s gotta get her NYC foodie fix – and my life would literally be miserable if I didn’t). Here’s what I gathered on my shopping haul during the first two (or technically 3, since i failed the first one) weeks!

    Trader Joe’s

    I love TJ for carrying many paleo and Whole30 compliant items, at decent prices. I’m glad that I didn’t have to resort to somewhere like WholeFoods yet to get some stuff.

    1. Cut and Peeled Carrots
    2. Raw and Crunchy Almond Butter (addicting.. beware)
    3. Clarified Butter (Ghee)
    4. Plantain Chips (addicting I hear, but haven’t needed to resort to these yet)
    5. Organic Coconut Flour
    6. Raw Whole Cashews (addicting.. beware)
    7. Unsalted and Dry Roasted Silvered Almonds (great for my salads)
    8. Avocado’s Number Guacamole (i bought this to use on my burgers but they go bad pretty quickly once the package is opened, so I probably wouldn’t buy this again)
    9. Tahini Sauce
    10. Serrano Salsa Fresco
    11. (Not pictured) Almond Meal
    12. (Pictured below with other sauces) Red Hook Fish Sauce
    13. (Separately pictured immediately below) Turkey Burgers
      IMG_1471

    BJ’s Wholesale

    I had bought Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausages (pack of 5 for $5.99) from Stop & Shop the first week; they were delicious, but pretty darn expensive, so I couldn’t keep that up anymore. Luckily, I found a decent alternative at BJ’s with Applegate’s Natural Uncured Beef & Pork Hot Dogs. 16 hot dogs for about $8.99 (I think, around that). Not cheap but doable. I would just eat one for breakfast since it’s quick to make, or throw it into an omelette.

    IMG_1470

    Sauces (Various Stores)

    IMG_1467

    From left to right:
    1. Coconut Secret Organic Raw Coconut Aminos as your soy-sauce alternative. I’m obsessed. Bought for $4.70 at Jet.com (2 day delivery)
    2. Red Boat Fish Sauce – cheapest I found was at Trader Joe’s for I think around $4-$5.
    3. Marukan Rice Vinegar – Read the label as many rice vinegars have added sugars. I got this at my local asian supermarket but I did see some Marukan rice vinegars at my local Stop & Shop as well.

    IMG_1469

    From left to right:
    1. Frank’s Red Hot Original Hot Sauce – I made buffalo chicken wings with this during Whole30 Week 1’s redo. Bought at Stop & Shop but majority of stores carry this.
    2. Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara – Found this a local Stop & Shop.
    3. Lou Ana 100% Pure Coconut Oil – $4.99 at my local Stop & Shop. I cook pretty much all my foods with this.

    Grocery shopping for healthy foods can get expensive for sure. I cannot afford to always eat organic this and uncaged, grass-fed, blah blah that. I’m not trying to do (and have probably already failed at it) a perfect Whole30, so I give myself some leeway buying regular produce. I’ve also started to plan my meals off of what was on sale at the grocery stores, and shopping around different stores near me (or online with quick delivery such as Amazon prime or Jet) for the best prices on stuff. And if a recipe calls for something that I know I won’t really ever use, I won’t make that recipe. Or I’ll just omit it.

    Let me know if you have any questions, or tips on shopping for a healthy pantry.

    Till next time,
    xoxo Eileen

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    Whole30 Challenge: Week Three

    My bison burger situation at BareBurger (Whole30 and Paleo compliant!)
    My bison burger situation at BareBurger (Whole30 and Paleo compliant!)

    My cooking was pretty boring this week (as in not much elaborate fancy meals, but still simply delish) and my stomach was totally fine with it. I pretty much ate the same or very similar things everyday. Maybe this Whole30 is making me realize I don’t need to go out to eat, or spend 5 hours cooking a Pinterest recipe, to satisfy my diva appetite. Work this week was pretty busy but I was able to go to yoga four times this past week, which I was happy about. For my challenge of not snacking this past week, I have succeeded! But I had to hide the cashews in my cupboard. Out of sight. Out of mind. (Well not really out of mind, but it does make it easier!) I hear tiger blood maybe kicks in around Week 3, but I haven’t experienced it yet though, I think I do find it easier to get out of bed these days. Little wins. Unfortunately, I started breaking out with a few small pimples (eek) on my face, sooo that’s not cool. Could be unrelated, maybe due to stress, but I normally don’t really break out with more than one pimple at a time. Who knows.

    I ate out twice this week for dinner – Chipotle and Bareburger. Yay for Whole30/Paleo compliant chains near me! More on what I ordered after the jump.

    So a cool thing happened to me this week. I found out that I’m going to be promoted at work starting July 1st! The firm has an annual “Promotion Day” celebration where we celebrate the past fiscal year’s success as well as promotions and milestone achievements. It’s great, but, it’s next Friday. I totally forgot about the date and didn’t realize it would fall during my revised Whole30 completion date, which would’ve been Monday, June 20th. I thought about it hard and decided to end my Whole30-ish* experience on Thursday, June 16th, right before promotion day, since I want to fully enjoy my first career promotion, with all of its glory in ICE CREAM AND WINE, on the day of. *I’ve added -ish to my Whole30 experience, since technically I made a mistake during the first day 6.. and if I stuck to the original completion date, it would have been this coming Tuesday, June 14 . Although by-the-book people would probably be disappointed by this, I’m very happy with my decision and don’t feel like I’m giving up. I’m still proud of all the effort I put towards the program, even though it wasn’t the perfect Whole30.

    My kitchen game also increased this week. I bought a <$6 one-egg frying pan, in which I used to make my cute little omelettes (pictured below). I constantly used my kitchen scale to weigh all my proteins to make sure I’m getting enough and not overeating. My instant pot also came on Friday, but unfortunately it was dented so now I need to deal with the seller on eBay. Wah. I was so excited. Anyway, here’s what I ate – all doable without an Instant pot 😉

    T-fal A85700 Specialty Nonstick One Egg Wonder Fry Pan Cookware, 4.75-Inch ($5.47 on Amazon, Walmart)
    T-fal A85700 Specialty Nonstick One Egg Wonder Fry Pan Cookware, 4.75-Inch ($5.47 on Amazon, Walmart)

    read more “Whole30 Challenge: Week Three”