Sunday, March 12, 2017

March Madness 2017 Tournament Challenge

ESPN Tournament Challenge Picture
This is the best time of the year if you are a sports fan! Baseball is well underway for spring training with opening day just a few weeks away, March Madness is in full effect, and for the golf fans, golf is each weekend. There is always something sports related to watch whether through the week or on the weekend. This week is my favorite week of all. Today, the brackets are announced at 5 pm this evening for Selection Sunday. On Thursday, the real madness begins with games starting mid-morning and going until late in the night.

Each year, there are millions and millions of people filling out their brackets. That is after all part of the fun of the madness trying to pick the team that will win it all. Each year, I have put out a bracket and it is open to anyone. The bracket is on the ESPN web site and the winner gets bragging rights for being lucky and picking the most right.

If you are looking for a group to join, I invite you to join the ESPN Tournament Challenge 2017 with the steps below...
  1. Visit the link to ESPN which will take you directly to the March Madness Hopefuls.
  2. If you are already signed into the ESPN web site, you can immediately create your bracket. If not signed into the site, you will need to sign in first.
  3. Join the group and use the password: haverty
  4. After the Selection Show, you will be able to make your picks.
  5. Repeat the above process to create additional brackets. In the March Madness Hopefuls bracket, you can have three entries.
Enter your brackets before the first tip-off on Thursday morning. Do not wait until Thursday to enter your entries as sometimes the site gets busy with everyone else who forgot to get their entries entered.

Any problems or questions joining the group, please post in the comments or drop me a message.  Share this information with your family, friends, co-workers, etc. The more entries the more fun it is for everyone.

Good luck with your picks and good luck to your team!

Monday, February 06, 2017

Final Day of Whole30 with My Top Five Dishes from the Past Thirty Days

Picture of Calendar View of #Whole30 Countdown and Final Day

Our last day on #Whole30. I feel somewhat sad that the first month on this journey has ended. I have enjoyed the process. I have really liked all the food that Carrie has fixed. I enjoy the way I feel now and enjoy how I felt throughout the process. I feel really good! It sounds odd, but it is true! I cannot explain it any other way than I feel like I have a lot of energy.

Tonight though is about my top favorite foods during the #Whole30. This is proving to be very difficult as I review all of the various dishes that Carrie fixed. I think between the two of us, we can think of maybe two dishes that we would not make again. Or, might make but with major changes to the recipe.

I could rank each of the five, but instead, I am going to post them in no particular order. If interested in the recipe for any of these, or others posted on @whole30loulou, please let me know.

To begin, I will select the meal we are having again tonight on our last day of #Whole30. It is Mexican Stuff Acorn Squash. Great flavor and I give it a kick with a jalapeño which really accents the dish. Highly recommend this for your #Whole30 or for meal.

Next, we look at the Sole meunière. Everything about this dish was delicious. It was one of those dishes where when I finished, I could have eat all of it again. Not that I was hungry, but it was that good! The fish, green beans, and then new potatoes were the perfect combination and end to a good night.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

The BLT salad is another favorite. Yes, if you follow my blog, you would have seen this on the posting from this past week. We had this at least twice during the #Whole30 program. The BLT salad looks cool with soft-boiled eggs and then the flavors explode and taste just like a BLT sandwich. One of my favorites that I hope the cook continues to cook.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

The roasted butternut squash with roast chicken is always sure to please. The soup had excellent flavor and paired with the roast chicken was perfection! Another one of those meals where when I finished, I was hoping there was a bit more for dinner. No, we kept the rest for lunch the next day... which was fine! Something to look forward to at noon.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

It is not possible to go wrong with a pot roast. Eating this meal, it did not feel like we were on #Whole30 or any diet program at all. Great combinations and the flavor was excellent. The best part is that we were able to enjoy this for a few days following as there enough leftovers. Enough leftovers where I was able to have a extra helping the first night for dinner too!

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on
There are so many wonderful dishes we have had during this journey. However, I said I would pick five early into the program and that's what I am staying with for this post.

A little bit about what we do now that we are done with the first month of #Whole30. Our plan is to take a short break and begin again in about a week. Carrie selected the start date for the next round and I told her I was fine with the selection. We will begin again on February 14. That puts us sometimes in the middle of March that we will finish the second round of #Whole30. The cool kids on the block call it the #Whole60 (i.e. Twitter) as we keep going through the process.

I still plan to continue working out. Although, this past week has not been the best for me working out. I only made it to the gym once last week. I plan to get back at it this week although looking like it will be Wednesday might be the only day I made it to the gym.

Hopefully these posts will help you through your journey. I know I have been searching for and reading other Twitter posts using the #Whole30 hashtag and have connected with people just starting out, just finishing, or going through for their second, third, etc. time through the process.

Until next time, happy #Whole30...

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Twenty-nine Days Completed for Whole30 and Favorite Foods from Past Week

Picture of Whole30 Board with One Day Remaining

Last full week of #Whole30 is done. We only have really one day remaining as it ends on Monday. Hard to believe it has been thirty days already. Yes, both Carrie and I have both lost weight. We can both tell differences in our clothing and how we feel. I mentioned it before and I will mention it again, I feel better than I have in years over a 30 day period.

This update is about my favorite meals from the past week cooked by @whole30loulou. Another post will be posted Monday (our 30th day) with my top five favorite meals from the past thirty days. That will be really difficult. There have been so many great meals Carrie has cooked for us!

I had mentioned in a previous post that after we finish this first session of #Whole30 that we plan to take a short break and then do it again for another thirty days. I asked Carrie if she is going to keep posting to Instagram for the next round and she said that she will. Only once during the thirty days did I not think we were going to eat "healthy" that day. It was after a long day for us both, but Carrie forged ahead and prepared a wonderful meal. During this thirty days, neither of us have broken from the routine. We did not sneak a bite of sweets, have a swig of beer, etc. We stayed with the planned routine and intend to do so for the second round too.

Enough of the background, now for the pictures of favorite dishes during the past week.

This one is so good! Quick and easy and does in fact taste like a BLT.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

This is a favorite because it is good and because Oliver is in it too! A comfort food based off of a recipe my Mom use to make for me when I was a kid with hotdogs and zucchini. Carrie was able to find hotdogs that meat the requirements of the #Whole30. It was delicious!

Carrie has mastered the making of soup from vegetables. No, I am not sure how she does it, but they are fantastic. As Carrie stated in her description, this soup was "velvety & amazing." Fantastic and I know she will make more of these in the weeks to come. I believe she has made this type of "velvety & amazing" soup three or four times during this past thirty days. Really good and easy to eat!

Can never go wrong with pot roast.... So good! We had this for leftovers for a few days following the initial meal. Yum!

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

I am always a fan of breakfast for dinner and this one fit that mold. Light and refreshing once again. Carrie was able to locate bacon that meets the #Whole30 criteria. Believe it or not, but regular bacon from the store does not meet the requirements of the #Whole30, but this one she found is really good and meets the standards of the program. If interested in the brand, post a comment as I would need to get that from Carrie.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

Roast chicken, green beans, and buttercup squash... Mmmmm....

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

This is a breakfast we had before we were on #Whole30 and it remains to be very good and enjoyable to eat.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

As you can see, we have had some great meals during this past week. Follow and check out the other pictures from Carrie on her @whole30loulou account.

Reminder that Monday, I will have a post of the top five favorite foods from the past thirty days. I expect it will be very difficult to pick the top five favorite and I know that many great dishes will be left out of the selection. I am up to the challenge and ready.

So you know, Carrie and I have a deal where she cooks and I clean up. I do dishes, unload dishes, and prepare the kitchen so she can cook. I was not doing enough to keep the counters clean which she informed me about Friday night, so yesterday (Saturday) I cleaned the counters to make it so she could cook in style. I think we have a good agreement! Works out for me as she is a great cook and cooking healthy meals for us to eat.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Closing in on Final Days of Whole30 and Favorite Meals from Past Week

Picture of calendar marking off days remaining in #Whole30 program

With a little over a week remaining, Carrie and I are entering the final days of the #Whole30 program. I cannot say enough how much I have enjoyed this program. For my part, it has been very easy. I cleanup the kitchen following meals, eat, and compliment the chef or let her know what dishes I do not like. Yes, for the most part, I have liked all dishes she has created.

This past week was another good one. I worked out twice and it felt really good! Continued eating regarding the #Whole30 program. I even ate out twice and I was able to stick to the program. Tempted Friday evening to have a beer and refrained from doing so. I feel great!

Carrie and I will finish out this program the first weekend of February. We plan to take a one week break from the program and then start it again. Carrie again told me that I did not have to stick to it again for the second time, but I plan to do so. The program is certainly making an impact as I feel great and I continue to feel as though I have a lot of energy.

Now to share some of my favorite dishes from the past week. I do plan at the end of the program to do a final post with my top five dishes from this #Whole30meal program.

Using steak I had cooked the night before, we had a fairly easy dish of salad with steak on top. Delicious!

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

The butternut squash soup was fantastic! Had this for a few days after wards as leftovers was very nice! She did a great job with this soup!

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

Can never go wrong with tuna salad. We had this for lunch and again it was easy and quick eat so we could get back to work.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

The sweet potatoes she did with this next dish are probably some of my all time favorite methods for cooking vegetables. I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but they are so good this way that I could eat a whole bowl full. A little crunch and sweet they are almost like dessert.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

The buffalo chicken stuff acorn squash was really good too! I think I like the Mexican Acorn Squash she did earlier, but this had good flavor.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

The egg salad over spinach was really good! Had this one for lunch and again it was quick for her to make and delicious!

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

The salad with Trader Joe's Chili Lime Chicken Burger was certainly a hit!

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

Finally, for dinner Saturday night, she made chicken, asparagus, and roasted carrots. She did the chicken over leeks which I liked a lot. The flavor of the leeks cooked in the same pan where the chicken had been was fantastic!

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

Another post next weekend with favorites from the past week and then a final post with my top five dishes from the #Whole30 program. It has been a fun journey and I look forward to doing the program again!

I do know that during our week off of the program, we will hit some favorite spots in town, I will have a beer or two. We do not plan to go crazy as we do not want to reverse everything we have accomplished during this whole process.

Have comments or questions, please let me know. Feedback is always welcome!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Whole30 Halfway Through the Program

PIcture of Whole30 Chalkboard with Day Fifteen Marked Off

We are halfway done with the #Whole30. Today marks the fifteenth day of the program. I am really enjoying this process. Again, it helps that Carrie is a great cook (more on that later with some of my favorites) and it also helps that we are both doing the program together.

I will not go into how much weight we have lost, but I will say we are both pleased with the amount of weight loss. I thought I would have lost more than I have, but happy with what has happened so far. The last time (about 15 years ago) when I did not drink beer, or any alcohol, for a month, I dropped weight quickly. I guess being older means I do not drop the weight as fast. Plus, my eye site is going, I have pains, and can barely bend over to tie my shoes... Again, that can be another post. This one is about how well our #Whole30 program is going.

Last week I started working out. I worked out twice last week. Both times I was really sore following the workout. In fact, I am still sore today and I worked out last Thursday. I had planned to work out Saturday or today, but got busy with house work and did not get to the gym. My planned days for workouts will be Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday.

As far as eating goes each week, I do not feel hungry. Getting enough food at breakfast (which I am now eating on this program), lunch, and dinner. Sometimes after getting home from work, I will be hungry before dinner, so we have a split apple or nuts to tide us over. Really though, the #Whole30 program prefer we not eat snacks between meals. We are trying to abide by that rule.

I am still very happy with the process. I feel great! I feel like I have more energy even after fifteen days after the program started. No complaints with the program. I am planning to read the book too. Carrie has the book, but I prefer to read an eBook, so waiting for it to become available at the library. We plan to do this process two more times before June.

Now, to share some of my favorite dishes we have had this past week.

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

Fifteen more days to go. Looking forward to what we eat and the journey to get to the end. Then a small break and start it up again. I do not think we have discussed when the #Whole30 will start again, but I know it will be soon.

Be sure to follow Carrie on her Instagram account at

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Carrie and John Start Whole30 Eating Finishing First Week

A photo posted by Carrie H. (@carrieloulou) on

Carrie and I started the Whole 30 on Sunday, January 8. We are seven days into the first week. It is going very well. I still do not know a lot about the #Whole30, but everything Carrie has made has been delicious!

Carrie had been talking about doing the #whole30 for a while now. We have a friend who has done it a few times and lost a lot of weight. Before we started, Carrie told me I did not have to limit everything as she was doing. I could eat rice, drink a beer here or there, etc., but I told her no, I would do it with her. Much easier for one of us to be on a new eating routine if we are both doing it too.

What does being on the #Whole30 mean, well, for one, no sugar, no rice, bread, etc. Again, I am not entirely sure as Carrie has been doing the cooking and planning for cooking. She is doing a marvelous job.

I had my biggest challenge Thursday with our staff meeting at work where they served a taco bar and then Washburn cake which I absolutely love. I stuck with salad and did not touch the taco bar or cake. On Friday, another challenge going to the Burger Stand where normally I would enjoy a few beers, eat a burger, and maybe a basket of fries. I drank water all night. Friends were asking me on Thursday and again last night why I was not eating or drinking. Kind of difficult to explain #Whole30 when I do not know a lot about it.

I feel better though after a week. No heartburn and I feel like I have more energy. I know the last time I cut out alcohol, I lost a lot of weight. What is the next step in this process, both Carrie and I are planning to start our gym workouts. I plan to go back to the gym to ride the bike and run on the treadmill and Carrie is planning to return to Jazzercise. I am planning to return to the gym this next week. I need to locate my workout gear and get my head phones charged up.

Now, for a few of the dinners Carrie has made this week. Fantastic! These are a few pictures of my favorites. Thanks honey!

A video posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

A photo posted by CarrieloulouEats (@whole30loulou) on

Follow @whole30loulou on Instagram.

Lucky man having Carrie as my wife who is the greatest cook! Even when I do not think I will like something, it is still good. Just give it a try and I might like it.

I told Carrie this weekend will be the toughest of the week (at least for me). Being home, watching basketball, football, and hanging out cries out for a beer in those situations. Nope, not going to do it!

Are you doing the #Whole30 or have you ever done it? Any tips or tricks that you did? Feel free to post comments as I would love to hear from you. I am hopeful next week I will have an update after I have been to the gym a few times.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017 and Review of 2016

Celebrating the New Year Picture from 2011
Happy New Year Picture from 2011
Happy New Year 2017! Hard to believe that 2016 is over. This year flew!

As I look back at 2016 and think of what happened, I am left feeling  satisfied with my year. I look forward to 2017.

I had strived this year to post more on my blog. I did in part for a few solid months and then completely stopped posting for a period of time as other projects and work took the focus. I am back to trying to post on a regular basis.

I thought I would take this time to mention some of my favorite blog posts from 2016. Maybe some that were missed and also to refresh my memory of the past year.

January 2016

I found the post I made after finding pictures from when the Royals won the world series -- Videos from Game 1 of 2015 World Series.

I enrolled in my first class at Washburn in years... Beginning Piano... I loved it! I kept a blog of all my studying and even my final project. I recall the initial post Studying Piano Lessons and Remembering Childhood Piano Practicing as I started the process. Unfortunately, I have not been back to continue to play the piano. I still have plans to get back to it though. See all posts involving piano.

I started following YouTube channels involving giving up all your possessions to sail the world. Still a fascinating group of channels that follow a year later. New Found Addition Are YouTube Channels were the first group of channels that I started following toward the end of 2015 and continue to follow today.

February 2016

I recall the day I went on a swing in a park in central Topeka. It really freaked me out and I realized I am getting older in the post Freakout Control Diminishes as I Get Older... My Experience on a Swing.

The day the Kansas City Royals trophy came to Washburn University Brief Update on Royals World Series Trophy at Washburn University.

March 2016

The start of baseball with rings and banners -- Royals Opening Day is this Sunday

April 2016

I started running again. I have since stopped. I hope to get back into it though. Reading past posts on running helps to inspire for future runs. I started the process again on April 2 with Start Running Process Tomorrow and Get Run Bug Again.

May 2016

I wrote my first paper in years for piano class. I was almost done with practicing my piece and ready to perform. Read the paper and where I was at in the process in Paper on Johannes Brahms Done and Preparing for Final.

June 2016

By June, I only posted two times that month. More running and Father's Day.

July and August 2016

No posts at all from me during the month of July. We went on a vacation and it was a busy month. However, in August, I did post about our vacation from July down to Texas -- Our Summer Vacation in Texas from July.

September, October, and November 2016

So, essentially, no posts September or October with one post in August that was about a vacation we took in July. I was slacking a bit on posts. Although in November, I did post Catching up from August Post and New Stuff that detailed what had happened during those few months of no posts.

December 2016

Thanksgiving and reflecting on the year. It was a great year!

Happy New Year in 2017!