It's the last full work week before Thanksgiving.  What else can I really say?! This week was long and I am so glad to be home with B and Chloe Mae after a long boring week at work.  I have tried working out more this week and even ran twice.  I am ready to get this pesky thyroid under wraps and make it start working again.  I started taking selenium supplements this week and hopefully after next week I will start to see a difference.  I have also started to limit the amount of gluten in my diet.  That has been a little bit of a struggle, but it seems to be easier.

When B goes to karate (he has two black belts and is working on testing for master level) I usually don't cook anything special and if I don't have any food prepared in the fridge ready to heat up then it's usually something easy.  Sometimes that means cereal and a protein shake or a throw together salad.  This week I pretty much ate the same thing...brown basmati rice, cuban style black beans from Trader Joe's, diced tomato, chipotle salsa, and mashed avocado with lime and cracked black pepper.  Perfect balance of carbs, protein and fats post workout.

I am also happy to announce that after much searching we have found an organic co-op to join.  We had searched for a CSA that works with our schedule and hadn't found anything until we looked into Big Organic Garden.  Basically the way a CSA or co-op works is that you pay weekly or monthly for produce or other fresh items like fresh milk, cheese, etc.  Sometimes you will pay for a half share or full share or like we do for a certain size basket.  You usually don't know the specifics of your order until a couple days before pick up, but items are in season and usually locally sourced.  Our co-op selects all organic produce from local farmers, the southeast, and the US.  Because everything is sourced on the basis of availability the prices are usually lower than the grocery store and fresher because there is no middle man so to speak.

This is our lot for this week.  We received cucumbers, pears, a mix of apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, a pomegranate, small bag of cranberries and they even threw in the "poultry mix" herbs for free.  I love that we got all this ORGANIC produce for $23!  I can't wait to eat everything up.

Today we did one last shopping trip before Thanksgiving.  Since we are traveling to my parent's house in rural Tennessee for the big day a lot of the items for the salads we have to pick up and bring.  I am planning on making the cornbread stuffing, mac and cheese, chocolate fudge pie, caramel apple crisp, red wine apple cider sangria, spiced bourbon cranberry sauce, arugula salad with acorn squash and pomegranate and a beet salad with green apple.  Since we are not leaving until Wednesday I did go ahead and pick up produce for us to eat this week.

The acorn squash is for the salad, but almost everything is for eating.  I am going to roast the butternut squash tomorrow and probably a handful of the sweet potatoes.  I picked up a couple pomegranates too that I plan on cleaning and seeding tomorrow.  We picked up crab apples and satsuma oranges.  I have never tried either before but I am interested to see what they taste like.  The more my diet is plant centered and plant based the more I love veggies and fruits.  I honestly feel like when you eat fresh food you crave it and everything tastes good.

This was my little splurge today.  Anytime we are at Whole Foods Market I find it difficult to resist a sweet treat.  This little slice of heaven is a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling, a salted caramel layer, crispy rice bottom topped with buttercream, salted caramel drizzle and a salted caramel truffle.  YUM!  We had a deliciously healthy lunch at Chipotle so I couldn't feel too guilty about this one.  

Today before we hit all the crowds at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods I took my car to get an oil change.  We waited for-eva at Chipotle but it was so worth it.  There is nothing like their brown rice, black and pinto beans, grilled veggies, and all those yummy toppings.  I am a sucker for their pico, roasted salsa, corn salsa and guacamole.  No dairy or meat for me and it always feels good that it's so easy and delicious to be vegan at a place like that.

Since we usually have to drive about 40 minutes to a decent grocery I try to pick up items that are hard to get at Publix or even (cringes) Walmart.  Usually things like canned beans, rices, quinoa, lentils, and misc. items are what we end up bringing home.  Here is how I organize my pantry to make everything easy to find.  I usually like to organize items by category.  Cereal on the top self, baking items on the second, canned or bottled items along with nuts and seeds on the third and misc. boxes of crackers along with bins full of pasta, rice, grains, and snacks on the bottom shelf.

I love organization and plastic breathable bins allow me to put like items together.  I also like to just pull out a specific bin if I'm working on a recipe that calls for like items such as a pasta dish or granola.

Tomorrow I am working on DIY Christmas gifts, cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, and a couple other recipes.  I can't wait to share everything with you.

Happy Weekend!

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