Thursday, September 26, 2013

Whole30-legal vegan chocolate cake cookies

Of course the first thing I have to do is clarify that these are not actually Whole30-legal, because one of the main rules of the Whole30 is that you don't try to re-create junk food with healthy ingredients. But let's just conveniently forget that for a second, because these cookies are THE BOMB, and they're made of stuff that IS Whole30-legal, and I would rather feed them to my kids for breakfast than, say, Cheerios. So there.

I came up with these in the third week of our current Whole30, which is about the point when I for one get a little tired of being so dietarily virtuous all the doggone time, but I don't really consider them much of a cheat. They taste like dark-chocolate cake to me, but if you want them sweeter and don't care about being vegan or Whole30-legal, you could add a bit of honey and some chocolate chips.

Chocolate cake cookies

8 large Medjool dates
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 T coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup water
3 T palm shortening

1. Pit the dates and start them soaking in 1/3 cup of water.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a food processor, grind the walnuts to a powder.
4. Add the dates, water, and palm shortening to the food processor and process with the walnuts until the mixture looks like nut butter.
5. Add all the dry ingredients to the food processor and process until the dough starts to form a ball.
6. Form small balls of dough with your hands, flatten them to cookie shape (they will not spread in the oven), and put them on the cookie sheet (about 20 cookies).
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I've been working on massive projects for three clients at once and, while I'm still doing okay deadline-wise, putting in so many hours is starting to mess me up. Here's a partial list of things that now feel like recreational activities:
  1. Cleaning the bathroom
  2. Emptying the dishwasher
  3. Slicing and peeling cooking apples
  4. Switching to my standing desk
  5. Doing different work for a fourth client
That last one is especially odd. I have one client (Grumpy) where I can just pick up assignments I want from a website as they become available. If I don't do them, another freelancer will, and Grumpy won't care or even notice right now that I'm not around. So why do I feel compelled to keep picking up work from Grumpy?

I think it's partly habit and partly that it feels like a mental break—but mostly my brain being a complete idiot. It's like…I'm not in deadline trouble yet, so let's see how far I can push this thing! You know?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Writing my reality

I've had such a nice summer that I've been hesitant to admit that it's coming to an end. But after 24 straight hours of cool and gray and rain (which is just weird in this climate anyway), I've finally closed the last of the windows and put on my favorite pair of wool socks. My toes are super happy, but my brain is still morose. I mean, I know we'll have a lot more nice days before winter settles in, but I might not get outside much to enjoy it, and there's no getting around the fact now that that was pretty much that, as far as summer goes.

It was fun to write about my adventures, though. I've read that one advantage of keeping a blog (or a diary or a scrapbook) is that summarizing and analyzing your experiences actually helps your brain to retain them better—plus, of course, you get that written record. I wonder if it follows that you should write mostly about the good stuff, and the lessons you've learned from the hard stuff, and just let the truly bad stuff fade with the passage of time.

I can't help but think that this would work especially well for me, since I have a terrible memory. For example, I was mortified most of the time at my 20-year high school reunion a few years ago because there were really huge things that I had no recollection of at all (like the fact that one of my oldest friends had been on the swim team with me) and entire human beings who seemed to know me pretty well but whose names didn't even sound familiar. (By the way, thank goodness for Facebook, because it keeps people fresh in my mind and gives me time to do some research before interacting with them, if necessary.)

So, yeah, these lapses are frustrating and embarrassing, but there's a kind of bliss in not being tortured by memories of every single cruel or idiotic thing I've ever done or that's ever been done to me—which I think is how a lot of people's brains work. I think my stratagem for winter will be to use this blog to record more of the happy, quirky moments from my life and fewer rants about work and nutrition. Maybe that way I can have the best winter ever, too.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A slip, not a snap

I was going to check in to let you know if I'd snapped from trying to be 100% perfect in every way, but I'm not really sure. Does watching four episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on Sunday night (when I had intended to work) count as snapping? Or would you say that's just common sense taking over and telling me it's stupid to try to work on a Sunday night in the first place?

I just think it's funny that for an entire week I succeeded in avoiding all the ways I usually waste my time, only to succumb to four solid hours of lying on a couch wasting time in a completely new way.

Oh, well. Other than that, I've been productive, and I would say Typhoon Dopey is well on its way to being weathered. Whew.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Going strong

I was hoping to get the 1,100-page book that represents the first stage of Typhoon Dopey early yesterday, but instead I got an email saying there was going to be a delay. Noooooo! I was all geared up to workworkworkworkwork and had already made some very specific vows to myself regarding Facebook and other Internet time-wasting, so I did what any complete lunatic would do and spent the morning bouncing between vacuuming, cooking, checking my email, and cleaning out my closet.

(As a side note, do you know how many white turtlenecks I had in there? SEVEN. Do you know how many times I wore a white turtleneck last winter? ZERO. So one with holes got thrown away, the four worst-fitting ones got donated to charity, and the other two are back on hangers. Because who knows, maybe I'll go sledding next winter. Two days in a row.)

Anyway, having a clean closet feels great, and right after I finished it, the book did show up, so I've settled down and gotten tons of work done in the past day and a half. I'm surprisingly cheerful about it, too. Must be the perfect-living-in-every-way honeymoon period.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day One

M.H. and I are doing another Whole30 for the month of September, but don't expect me to yammer on about it much. That's because:

It's boring. The only change from the way I typically eat is that I won't be able to put cheese on things and will be sticking to tea without soy lethicin.

It's easy. I'm going to be so busy starting Tuesday that I doubt I'll even leave the house for a meal. Plus, M.H. will be doing 90% of the cooking.

I'm not sure if my heart's really in it. My main reason for wanting to do this is to see what happens when I eat a perfect Paleo diet excluding eggs. I do think that's worthwhile, and I do like the way I feel when my diet is very clean, but I'm worried. If I'm going to get all these books edited in the next few months without going insane, I'm going to have to have perfect work habits, perfect sleep habits, and make absolutely perfect use of every bit of spare time. And now I gotta have perfect eating habits, too? Am I just stupid?

I'll check back in in a week or so to let you know if I've snapped or not.