Oh Portillo’s!

Happy Tuesday to ‘ya!  I just got the kids off to school and I’m still in my pj’s.  I would love to crawl back in bed but there is stuff to be done!

Yesterday I switched to the Optifast partial meal plan which, in my case, includes 1 Optifast HP (high protein) shake in the morning, 2 Optifast products – bars or shakes for lunch and snack, 1 “lean and green” meal for dinner, and finally 1 Optifast product for evening snack.  I went to Sprouts (a local grocery that tends to have more natural and healthy products) to load up on fruits, vegetables, and some lean protein like chicken breasts and pork tenderloin.

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In my mind, I had visions of this first partial meal being served to a complete family around a nice dinner table setting.  The play is over, right?  Life is getting back to normal. We would all sit down simultaneously, talk about our day and have a nice family dinner.  Hahahahahahahahaha.   What I should have remembered is that is not how we operate – pretty much ever.  Monday nights my youngest has her short gymnastics practice from 4:30-6:30.  Oldest just finished the play but started school basketball practice – so she had to be picked up at 4.  And then oldest and middle son have their church youth group meetings clear on the other side of Scottsdale from 6:50-8:30.  So that leaves from about 5-6 pm for cooking and feeding those critters that are IN the house.  It also means my hubby sticks around his office until after 6 so that he can get the youngest from gymnastics instead of back-tracking both north and west while I head south and east for the church.  And this is our “slow” night.  I did manage to get home, chop up and reheat a rotisserie chicken that I got at Costco, chop up and (over) steam fresh broccoli, cut up fresh strawberries and add blueberries and black berries, and make a side of pasta for those eating carbs.  Oh, and a salad.  I shoved the crap on the kitchen table to one side making a few spots for a couple of us to eat dinner before rushing out the door to the church.    My hubby and youngest ate from the pots and bowls scattered all over the kitchen when they got home.  And THAT was our precious “family” dinner.  Oh well.  It was progress!  Dinner was not served from a bag last night.

So, back to the title of my blog post….Portillos!  We have several close family members and also friends that live in the Chicago area.  We try to visit them every few years.  One of the places we have grown to love in Chicago (and beyond) is a chain of sort-of fast food restaurants called Portillos.  Our favorites there are hot dogs, cheese fries, burgers and Italian beef sandwhiches.  We are all pretty much hooked.  And the fact that we cannot get it often makes us crave it even more.  Last year I discovered that there were 2 lone Portillos restaurants in the Los Angeles area and so since we get to California pretty frequently, we have now planned our trips to include a stop at one of those (one is in Buena Park near Knotts Berry Farm and the other is in Riverside).  I have several friends in Scottsdale also from Chicago and after discussing it one night, we all sent emails to the Portillos corporate offices and requested that they open a Portillos right here in the Phoenix area.  You see, there are TONS of former Chicago dwellers here – mainly because years ago Motorola opened their doors here and many many families came.  Throw in Cubs spring training and many more that have fled the winters and you don’t have to look far to find someone from Chicago.  Surprisingly, the corporate office actually responded quickly to my email and said that they have been getting lots of requests from the Phoenix area and they were starting to launch a feasibility study.  And about 9 months ago we got the word – Portillos was coming to Scottsdale and Tempe, AZ!!  We were so excited.  Then they announced their first location – about 8 miles from my house.  Perfect.  Close but not TOO close.  And then we waited …. and then … I started my Optifast plan.  Guess where Scottsdale Weight Loss is?  Yep, about 1/2 mile away from the new Portillos – pretty much down the street.  Guess who started eating “real” food this week?  (me)  Guess when Portillos opens their doors for the first time in Arizona?  TODAY!!!!  Guess who is not NOT going to Portillos for a hot dog and cheese fries?  THIS GIRL.  AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHH! Now, I’m not saying that I won’t ever be going because I will. I am not going to be avoiding fast food for the rest of my life. I will not, however, be using it any longer as a major meal planning tool. I intend to stick very closely to an 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I eat as clean and healthy as possible and the other 20% I’m not going to worry about as much. I think this is a “sane” way to live. That 20% is going to include fast food. But it will be planned out and enjoyed – not shoved in my mouth in the car just trying to get to the next activity. Many on the Optifast program have said that they have lost the desire to eat this type of food. That has not happened to me at all. I do think I’ll be more selective though … I hope. I’m going to “save” my fast food now for treats like Portillos! 🙂 But, it will be there for a long long time. I don’t need it today. Or this week. Soon.

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And the play is over.  What a great experience for my daughter and I.  The final weekend was awesome – friends and family came to watch the show and I finally got to sit down in the audience and see the whole thing from start to finish.  Our daughter did a great job with her solos – I don’t know where she gets the confidence to sing and act on stage.  Sunday I filled in as one of the backstage managers and stood in the stage left spot behind the curtain wearing the headset to the control room.  That was a trip.  I got to open and close the curtains too – that is a workout!  Afterward the show ended, we cleaned out the theater and loaded up the trucks with all of our sets and props.  There was a big cast party and I was presented with a very nice award “Above and Beyond Award” – given by the directors to a parent volunteer.  The award reads “For her amazing dedication and hard work bringing Willy Wonka to life.”  I was really touched by that and a little embarrassed.  Many others helped me and were also extremely dedicated.  Shows like that require so much work behind the scenes.  My daughter has been very emotional that the show is over.  She is going to miss her friends at the theater.  Crazy but true, auditions for the next show are this Friday – I told her NO WAY!

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