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Knife Skills

               Surprised smileToday, we have our first non-written test!! Surprised smile


Our class is very nervous about this one.  It includes some basic cooking techniques like blanching broccoli, cooking beans for a cold salad and making long grain brown rice perfectly.  I think I have the brown rice down pretty well (recipe HERE) but the others are kind of iffy.


The other part of the test is practicing our knife skills.  We are given a list of cuts to practice and we don’t know what vegetables we will be getting until the test.  I have practiced a little bit but I haven’t paid too much attention to the exact measurements.  Its harder then you think!  At least I got the segmenting of a citrus fruit down (tutorial HERE).


With the little time we have left, I am made sure I practiced as much as I can though I don’t think its been enough!  Before I went to work, I had to make sure I sharpened my knives for real! 


Did you know that using a steel (long rod) is not actually sharpening your knives?  I didn’t at first. The steel is used to bring the edge back up on a dull blade.  To really sharpen your knives you need to use a whetstone. 


I’ll admit, I was intimidated, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t do it exactly right, but I did sharpen my home and school knives and they do feel much better.


A sharp knife is safer than a dull one!


I went to town on a huge bunch of organic carrots and its clear that I need more practice getting the sizes exactly right, but progress and practice are the key.




                                 Roll Cut

                                 Bias Cut


                                Small Dice



I used all these carrots for a cream soup recipe that I will be sharing very soon! 


I also had a bit of Tuesday Morning Chef going on in my house and made 2 meals for the week that used a lot of peppers and onions for practicing. 


Today’s Eats . . .




Overnight oats in a jar with banana, chia seeds, almond butter and a few butterscotch chips & caffeinated coffee.



Spinach & Feta chicken sausage with lightly sautéed onions and peppers on a whole wheat roll



Mexican Scramble – black beans, perfect brown rice, peppers, onions, grass-fed beef, cilantro and 1/2 an avocado on top. I have the “recipe” for this if anyone wants me to post it.  Let me know in the comments!


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Ok, not much time left before school!  I either got this or I don’t.  The worst that could happen is that I get a 0% which most likely wont get me kicked out of the program . . . I need confidence here!  Wish us some Irish Luck!!

Intuitive Eating Thought Breakdown

Last week, I gave you a peak into my life and showed you the Tuesday Morning Chef.  This week, I’m taking things a bit easier as I am feeling a bit worn out.  Between waitressing, birthday meals and learning the ins and outs of poultry, things got a little hectic these past few days. 


This resulted in me not taking the time to plan out my weekly menu thus nothing is being cooked today.  But, that didn’t mean that I was just relaxing.  I did have a lot to do before school today, and the best way to tackle a morning like this is with a plan . . . IMG_2845

The first thing on my list . . . breakfast.  Not planning a menu, and leaving the almond butter I bought at school (damnit!) led to me not eating breakfast when I woke up.  After a while I began to crave something out of the ordinary.  I craved a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese.  I knew just where to go to get it.


I want to use this opportunity to talk about eating intuitively.  I think its important for people to see the thought process in choosing foods occasionally that aren’t considered healthy and why its ok.


Here are some things I observed about my breakfast .  .  .


1. This food goes pretty far against the guidelines that I set for myself when it comes to eating a true foods diet.  (ie. sugar, commercial dairy, processed bread).


2. I wont feel great after eating this whether its 15min or 4 hours afterwards or even longer.


3. It might set me up for more false sugar cravings.





1. I truly am craving this bagel and its what my body wants right now.


2. MOST of the time, I eat a good breakfast made of true foods so this really   wont matter much in the big picture.


I ate the bagel slowly and truly enjoyed it without any guilt or any need for more.  I had no thoughts of “blowing it” and continuing on a sugar/junk rampage.  I ate NORMALLY!!


What I am trying to drive home here is that observation and mindfulness are a HUGE key in listening to your body when it comes to food.  Had I not gone into that thought process I would have ate the rest of the day in auto pilot mode which could have set me up for a rough patch . . . something I havent seen in a while in my eating habits lately.


In case you were wondering, about an hour later I was STARVING and I was starving for something rich and possibly sugary.  This craving went away while at work (it was false and not coming from within). And when I returned home, I was craving real food again which leads me to my lunch and dinner for today.





1/2 avocado mashed on ezekiel bread with tomato and onion.


Dinner (packed for school)




Salad – organic free range chicken from class, peppers, tomato, onion, spicy chickpea snack, home made balsamic vinaigrette


I will admit, I am a bit more tired than usual and im sure breakfast contributed to that, but that was the consequence that was worth it to me.


How is your journey with intuitive eating going?  Are you mindful when you eat things that are not considered “good/healthy”?  What is your thought process?

Alohablog INSTAGRAM @balancingval

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