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Monday, July 29, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Week 3

Last week I pretty much ranted about missing cheese and bread. This week I can tell you honestly, that I haven't had that many cravings for the unhealthy foods that I was going crazy for last week. Its amazing, like a flip has been switched. Last week I thought I would go mad without a bag of chips, a tub of Ben and Jerry's, and a Dr. Pepper.

lunch :)
I was also pretty bummed about not seeing results. While I still haven't lost any weight and am still snacking more that is suggested, I am way less tired. I haven't taken naps at all this week. I have been staying up to at least midnight every night and getting up at 5:45 to feed A and then getting up and going on with my day. Its been really great. I have never been a morning person, but I am now and its glorious!

I feel wonderful. I am pretty sure that my lack of weight loss has to do with the leftover hormones from my pregnancy and from breastfeeding. However, I am not really phased by this as much as I was last week because I FEEL better. I feel cleaner and healthy. I cannot weight for my 6 week postpartum check up so that I can be cleared to start working out again. 

I am looking forward to this last week of my Whole 30 Journey

Have you started your Whole 30 Journey yet?
Hows it going? 
If not, whats stopping you?


P.S. I have a small confession. I inadvertently ate soy. I didn't realize Worcestershire sauce has soy sauce in it. Oops! I always put Worcestershire sauce in my cottage pie and I didn't read the ingredients until after I had eaten. I felt really stupid, because one of the main things to be learned from the Whole 30 is reading labels. Oh well, too late to cry over spilt milk. I am just hoping that this doesn't mess up my cleanse. I do not want to have to start this journey over.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Whole30 Journey - Peach Blueberry Nutty Crisp

Peaches are one of great things about summer! They are one of natures sweetest candies. Juicy and sweet, ripe peaches are always on my Farmer's Market list this time of year.

The other day my mom went to the Farmer's Market on my behalf (kids were napping) and brought me a wonderful bag of juicy aromatic peach seconds. Seconds are the fruit that is just a little over ripe and maybe isn't too pretty, but that means that the fruit is even more flavorful and juicy sweet. Usually farmers will have these off to the side, but all you have to do is ask for them. This is a great way to get cheaper fruit for pies, jams, muffins, cakes, cobblers and crisps!

What goes well with peaches? Blueberries! Blueberries is one of these super-foods. They are packed with antioxidants (combat free-radicals which can attack cells), vitamins K and C, fiber, and magnesium. Just look it up, blueberries are awesome food for your body!

Most cobbler, pie and crisp recipes use some form of sweetener. This one doesn't. I am convinced that if you use wonderful, naturally sweet fruit, you don't need any extra sweeteners. Now, if you are using less than ripe peaches, you might want to add some honey/agave/brown sugar/coconut sugar/etc...

Peach Blueberry Nutty Crisp

4 peaches, sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries (raspberries or blackberries would work too)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine peaches, blueberries, and cinnamon in a small baking dish. Sprinkle almond extract on top of this mix.

Toss coconut, pecans, and almonds with coconut oil, spread on top of peach and blueberry mix.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the nuts are lightly toasted. Serve warm with whipped coconut cream (see my post on coconut milks).

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Bacon-Wrapped Dates

The first time I had bacon-wrapped dates was at a potluck game night for our Bible study group. The couple who brought them was new to our group and I remember thinking, I want to be best friends with these people!

As the world knows, everything is better with bacon. Sandwiches, salads, chocolate, cookies, ice cream, and dates. Dates are INCREDIBLE with bacon. Practically from heaven. The naturally sweet and chewy dates get caramelized and are offset by the crunchy and salty bacon. Seriously, a flavor explosion in your mouth!

Some people stuff the dates with cheese or other wonderful foods before wrapping them with the bacon, but I can't bring myself to experiment with perfection.

I made these for J's one year Robot Birthday Party, doubled the recipe and they were gone. Since then I have made them for various parties, dinners, get-togethers, and just as a treat for my family. When I started the Whole30 and learned of the wonders of fat (rejoice, fat is good for you!), I was thrilled! I made a batch of these bacon-wrapped dates to snack on. As usual, between the hubs, J and I, they didn't last long.

These are really easy to put together, its just bacon and dates for goodness sake! Out of sheer laziness, I usually don't even use toothpicks. Be warned though, if you don't use toothpicks some of your dates will escape from the bacon while cooking.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
(original recipe YUMSUGAR)

  • 1 16 oz. package of regular thickness bacon, cut into thirds (see note about bacon)
  • 1 8 oz. package of pitted dates
Preheat oven to 350 F. Position oven rack in the center position. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil.

Wrap a piece of bacon around a date. Secure with a toothpick, or  make sure the bacon seam is placed facing downwards on the cookie sheet pressing firmly so it is less likely to unravel. Repeat until all the dates are wrapped in bacon.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp. Let cool for 10-15 minutes for serving.

Makes 25-30 bacon wrapped dates.

Note About Bacon: Most packaged bacon is made with sugar. Check your labels. We get our pork and beef from my cousin's farm so we don't worry about how the animals are treated or what they are fed. There is an officially Whole30 Approved Bacon.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Paleo BBQ Sauce

Summer = BBQ

Summer is such a great time for food. Grilling out on the deck with a beer and tons of friends and family around to just enjoy the season. That's the American dream, right? Its what all the commercials tell us we should be doing this time of year, and I am fine with that! I love me a good cook out and all the food that comes with it.

The problem is that most of the foods served at cook outs are not health-friendly, much less paleo or Whole30 approved. Among the mayo soaked pasta dishes crazy sweet deserts BBQ sauce is can be one of the biggest "no, no"s out there.  Its usually packed with sugar and preservatives.

The solution? Make your own!

It takes about a good full afternoon to make and can this sauce. It needs time to simmer so all the flavors can meld.

This BBQ sauce is to die for! My family is full of BBQ lovers. We are that family that would make a detour just because there was a local BBQ legend 20 miles up the road. Every Friday is unofficially BBQ Friday. Needless to say, we have tried a lot of different sauces. Mustard based, vinegar based, tomato based, smokey, sweet, spicy. From Maryland to Texas and everywhere in-between.

Needless to say we have some pretty refined BBQ taste buds. And this recipe was declared a home run! My brother told me to slap on a label and sell it. Its got a great smokey flavor and is slightly sweet, but not overwhelming. So far, I have served shredded chicken and ribs with this sauce.

I would like to experiment farther with this recipe and replace the applesauce with peach sauce or maybe chop up some roasted peaches, apricots or apples. Perhaps add some smoked peblano peppers or something spicier. I will let you know if I get around to messing with perfection.

This recipe produces quite a lot of sauce, enough for a good sized party with lots of leftovers. I ended up with 8 jars worth of sauce leftover after my big family dinner. I transferred the sauce to canning jars,submerged them in water and boiled for 45 minutes until the jars sealed themselves (the button on the lid sucked itself in).

Paleo BBQ Sauce
(adapted from The Domestic Man)

2 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium onions, minced
2 28oz cans whole tomatoes in juice
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple sauce (or honey)
6 whole dates, chopped (or date molasses)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp hickory liquid smoke
4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (check your label, see note*)
1/4 cup horseradish mustard
1/2 tsp all spice
1 bay leaf

In a dutch oven, heat up the coconut oil on medium for a few minutes. Add the onion and saute until the onion becomes translucent, about five minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and just as it starts to boil, set the heat to low. Simmer for two hours, using a potato masher to break up the tomatoes as they cook. After two hours, remove the bay leaf and blend the sauce in batches until it’s smooth. Return the now-smooth sauce to the dutch oven and simmer for another 30 minutes. Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can just blend it in the pot. If the sauce isn't thick enough, you can add some honey or molasses and cook it for another 30 minutes or so.
This sauce can absolutely be canned. To do so, submerge it in a hot water bath for 45 minutes, using this method from The Domestic Man. It should be good for a year after that point. After opening, I suggest finishing the sauce within a month.

*Note about Worcestershire sauce: I didn't realize Worcestershire sauce has soy sauce in it until after I made this sauce. Oops! If you have a soy allergy, make sure to read the label! The Original Worcestershire Sauce by Lea and Perrins doesn't have soy. It does have molasses and sugar, so its not Whole30 approved.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Butternut Squash Coconut Curry Soup

I am one of those people who can eat soup any time of year for pretty much any occasion  I know there are people who don't eat soup in the hot weather of summer, but that's not me. So, when I found a lovely butternut squash at the store I knew I wanted to make some soup despite the 90 degree heat.. 

The sweet and nutty flavors of butternut squash taste so lovely with the spicy flavors of curry and the creaminess of coconut milk. Even J, who is 23 months, loved this soup. 

This recipe produces a pretty spicy soup. If you aren't into the spicy thing than just reduce the spices by half and taste it, if you want more spice you can always add it in later.

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry Soup
(loosely adapted from The Novice Chef)

Recipe Note: some brands of coconut milk solidifies in the can. Before opening, warm the coconut milk by submerging the can in hot water for 5 minutes. See my post on Coconut Milk Reviews for more information.

2.5 lb Butternut Squash (basically one large squash), deseeded, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ yellow onion, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon curry
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cumin
ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup coconut milk, full-fat
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
cilantro, optional - for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the squash with 3 tablespoons olive oil and spices and spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast the squash for 45-55 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork.
Heat up 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add onion and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the roasted squash and stir together.

Add stock and coconut milk and stir to combine. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend up the soup until smooth.
Serve hot with a little extra drizzle of coconut milk and cilantro.
If preparing ahead, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Then reheat in a non-stick pan on the stove.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Coconut Milk Review

As it turns out not all coconut milk is created equal.

I have yet to encounter a can of coconut milk that I didn't like. Its thick and creamy and has a slight hint of coconut flavor. Its great in coffee and on fruit and in baked goods or curries.

However, different brands of coconut milk are better for different purposes. I am going to let you in on the coconut milk secrets that I have learned while on this Whole 30 Journey. I should say that I haven't tried every brand out there, but of the ones that I have tried these are my favorite.

Make sure to read your labels! This is one of the most important things to do while on the Whole 30. Manufactures love to sneak sugar and other yucky ingredients into their products. Most of the coconut milk that is sold in boxes or in the dairy section has either sugar, soy, carrageenan, or other non-Whole-30 friendly ingredients. I have found a few brands that I like and I and sticking to them.

Best in Coffee (and other drinks)
I love 365 Everyday Value Light Coconut Milk. Its organic, score! And it tastes great. The thing with putting coconut milk in your coffee is that it is very thick and gets thicker when chilled. As a result it can clump up in iced coffee. Not an issue when you are drinking hot coffee because the heat from the coffee melts the fats in the coconut milk, but in iced coffee it presents a bit of an unpleasant drinking experience. This is why I use LIGHT coconut milk in my iced coffee. Its thinner than regular coconut milk without being watery and doesn't do the weird clumpy thing that full fat milk does. This brand also made CookingLight's Our Favorite Store-Brand Products list.

You can buy 365 Everyday Value Light Coconut Milk at Whole Foods Markets.

Best on Fruit and Cooked into Recipes (for baking and other dishes)

When I was a kid one of our favorite summertime deserts was fresh fruit and cold cream. We would toss some fresh berries or chopped peaches in a bowl and pour on the half and half. No sugar needed! It was an awesome treat. To this day that is one of my favorite flavors, and coconut milk just takes it to the next level. Thick, creamy and slightly sweet, coconut milk is the perfect topping for fresh fruit. Sprinkle on some toasted coconut shreds and you have a desert fit for Mount Olympus!

Again I love me some 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk. The reason I love this particular brand of full-fat coconut milk is because it doesn't separate and solidify in cold temperatures. Most full-fat coconut milks will separate, the fatty part will rise to the top and the denser liquid will settle at the bottom. This is a good thing when you are trying to make whipped cream, but not so good when you want to just use the milk to bake with. I like that I can pop open a can of this brand of coconut milk and I don't have to use the whole thing. I can just stick it in the fridge and come back for more at any point without having to remix the water and fats.

You can buy 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk at Whole Foods Markets.

Best Whipped Cream

Whipped coconut cream is to die for. I mean seriously. Its creamy, light, slightly sweet and slightly coconutty (that is so a word). All you have to do to make coconut whipped cream is take a can of full-fat coconut milk and stick it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Then when you are ready to make your whipped cream, remove the can from the fridge without shaking or jostling it too much. Open the can and scoop out the thick white coconut fat and cream that has risen to the top. Make sure you don't get the clear liquid that is sitting at the bottom of the can. Now just whip up the white stuff until it is the consistency you are looking for. There you go! Coconut whipped cream. Dairy free, vegan, and healthy! Use it on fruit, baked goods, or one of those awesome looking watermelon "cakes."

I really like Chaokoh brand full-fat coconut milk for whipped cream. Truth is, sometimes I don't even whipped it at all. Its so thick and wonderful that I have been known to just scoop it onto some fruit (try grilled peaches!) and go to town. 

You can find Chaokoh brand coconut milk in the Asian section of your grocery store.

What do you use coconut milk for? 
Do you have a favorite brand?
Leave a comment and let me know!


Monday, July 22, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Week 2

This week I want to share some of my frustrations. This is not easy. Its not particularly hard, but its not easy. Its not eat whatever you want and feel awesome. Its eat really great and good for you food and feel awesome.
Excuse the  lack of makeup, I have a newborn.

I MISS CHEESE! And bread. No, but seriously, cheese.

I knew when I started my Whole 30 Journey that cheese and yogurt would be the hardest things to give up. I love cheese. One of the reasons for doing my 30 days in July was so that, when the county fair opened in August, I could eat a grilled cheese sandwich.

Side note: If you are ever in the DC Metro area in mid-August you have got to come out the the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair and go to the Big Cheese. They seriously have the BEST grilled cheese sandwich you will ever eat. EVER!

I have had so many craving this week. Chocolate (brownies, cookies, cake, bars, etc...), bread, cheese, yogurt, milk and cereal, chips, cream and sugar in my coffee, fried mozzarella sticks, rice, wine, pasta, Dr. Pepper, etc... Pretty much anything and everything not allowed on the Whole 30.

It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
I miss baking. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love to bake. I will come up with any excuse to bake. Its Sunday afternoon, need to bake something! There is a birthday at work, need to bake something! Husband is coming home from work, need to bake something! 

Its been really hard to cut back on my baking adventures. One of the ideas of the Whole 30 is to break your bad food habits. They suggest not simply replacing regular pancakes with paleo pancakes because this isn't teaching your body good habits, its just perpetuating the old ones. Now, I will admit, I have made pancakes. I have also made muffins. They have followed the rules of the Whole 30 ingredients wise, but haven't exactly followed the rules.

One of the justifications I have given myself for baking muffins and pancakes is that I really don't like eggs and what else am I supposed to eat for breakfast? I have never liked eggs. When I was little I couldn't even be in the kitchen when someone was cooking them because I would puke. I know its gross, but that's the truth. Unless they are baked into a cake or cookies or frozen in custard, I am not interested. And don't try to change my mind, I have tried them in many different forms and flavor combinations. I don't like eggs.

While we are talking about foods that I don't like lets touch on seafood. Its gross. So is lamb, and pork (bacon and some sausages excluded) and veal, and goat and duck. Its interesting because I wouldn't say I'm a picky eater, because I love trying new flavors and ethnic dishes, and love experimenting with recipes. But maybe I am. Anyway, these dislikes have always limited my diet and even more so now that I can't supplement with grains and dairy.

One of my greatest frustrations is that I haven't been experiencing the results that I was hoping for. I am still really tired, although that could admittedly be from a lack of sleep due to the fact that I have a three week old baby. I am hungry all the time and can't seem to get enough food in my belly, again, could be from breastfeeding. My skin hasn't cleared up at all. I haven't seemed to lose any weight. I haven't weighed myself, but I haven't noticed a difference. My husband who isn't even doing the Whole 30 other than when he eats at home is losing weight. Ugh, men! 

My sister keeps saying to push through the first two weeks and it gets much much easier by the third week. Here's hoping she is right! On the bright side, its summer and the produce is wonderful! 

Leave a comment and let me know how your Whole 30 is going!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Sweet Potato and Sausage Hash Recipe

This dish was a hodge podge of what I had left in my fridge. Leftovers make the best meals!

A few days ago I made some really wonderful sweet potato hashbrowns. The recipe was really simple and easy. Just shred two sweet potatoes with a cheese grater or a food processor, put the shreds in a sack of cheese cloth and squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Then add some salt and pepper and whatever other spices you like, cinnamon and nutmeg or chili powder and cumin or whatever. Form the shreds into patties and pan fry with a little coconut oil. Using a nonstick skillet is a good idea, but I don't own one of those, so mine came out a little less than beautiful. Thank goodness they tasted great! Crispy and salty sweet, just what I was hoping for.

Turns out that while my hubs and I can eat two whole sweet potatoes on their own, when made into hashbrowns these babies fill you up! We only consumed about 1/3 of the batch that I had made. So, I pretty quickly came up with a way to use up the leftovers. I am sure you could use just shredded sweet potatoes that have been drained of as much juice as possible, it doesn't have to be leftover hashbrowns.

I also had some leftover fried apples. To make these just chunk up (technical term) some Granny Smith apples and toss them in a skillet with some coconut oil and cinnamon and cook until tender. These are an awesome side dish, breakfast or desert! And it's Whole 30 and paleo approved!

Even if you aren't using leftovers, this is still a one pot meal. You will need a bowl or two, but it's not much clean up. It's easy to put together and is good for any meal of the day. My bet is for those of you who like eggs (I don't so I haven't tried it), this would be good with an over easy egg.

Okay, here's the recipe for my Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash.

Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash

1-2 Granny Smith apples, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 lb. breakfast sausage without casing (make sure there is no added sugar)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Shred the sweet potatoes using a cheese grater or a food processor. Transfer the shredded sweet potatoes to a wire mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and squeeze as much of the juice out as possible. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil to melt. Toss the apples with the cinnamon and transfer to the hot skillet. Cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes, be careful not to over cook. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Add sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add the apples and cranberries and cook to heat. Remove from heat. 

Serve hot with toasted pecans.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

What's your favorite leftover, toss everything into a skillet meal?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Sinfully Good Bacon Meatballs

I am usually not a fan of meatballs. Its kind of like meatloaf, too much bread and egg to be good. It ends up being a weird texture and doesn't really taste like meat. I think that anything that claims to be meat should taste like meat.

These meatballs are unlike any meatball I have ever eaten. Ever. They not only taste like meat, but are full of bacon and ground beef flavor, resulting in essentially a bacon burger ball. You can't get much better than that! If you are not on the Whole 30 add some cheese and you are rockin the burger ball!

The great thing about the bacon in these meatball is it add some wonderful fat and juiciness to the meatballs. It also adds that much loved smoky bacon flavor.

I served these over spaghetti squash with some sauteed tomatoes and zucchini. They would be wonderful with regular spaghetti noodles, on a meatball sub, or on toothpicks at a party!

Sinfully Good Bacon Meatballs
(adapted from Evil Shenanigans)

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 5 strips bacon (make sure there is not added sugar)
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spices you like your meatballs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Chopped the bacon into small pieces. Mix the bacon and beef and crushed red pepper flakes together  in a bowl, this works best of you use your hands. Form into small balls.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small drizzle of olive oil just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Don't use too much oil because the meat with produce fats of its own. once the pan is hot, add the meatballs. Space them a little apart so they have room to cook. Brown each ball so that it's nice and crispy all around.

Transfer the meatballs to a cookie sheet and bake until cooked thoroughly.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash
Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut the squash in half, they are really hard to cut, but just get a big knife and hack your way through it. Scoop out the seeds. Place in a glass baking dish with about an inch of water. Place the dish in the oven on the center rack. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the flesh is tender. You can cover the squash with tin foil to avoid excess browning. Use a fork to scrape out the strands.

Garden Veggie Pasta Sauce
  • 1 zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • about 6-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a skillet, add chopped garlic and saute for about a minute. Do not over cook the garlic or it will be bitter. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, herbs and spices (except the basil), saute for a few minutes until the zucchini is tender. Remove from heat and top with fresh basil.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Guacamole Chicken Salad Recipe

Guacamole is one of those things that, up until recently, I was convinced I hated. I had never had any guacamole that I liked and I thought I hated it so much that I was sure I hated avocados in general. Oh how wrong I was! 

As it turns out I LOVE avocados and guacamole. It was the onions in guacamole that I hated. I don't like onions, like super don't like them. I pick around them in pretty much anything that contains them. I won't eat anything that has too much of an onion flavor, especially a raw onion flavor. 

Sometimes I get sad if I go to dig into something that I usually really like and I get a huge mouth full of onion flavor. If I'm really hungry and PMSing I have been known to cry over this culinary catastrophe. I just really don't like onions.

Guacamole Chicken Salad
All that said, take the onions out of guacamole and you have one of my favorite dishes of all time! Toss in some fresh cilantro and tomatoes and you've got a flavor explosion!  Add the fact that avocados are packed with healthy fats and I'm totally on board!

My brother makes the best guacamole. He is the one who converted me. His secret? Fresh squeezed orange juice. 

I took his recipe for awesome guac and added some grilled chicken and orange bell peppers and served it over a bed of lettuce and BAM! an awesome Whole 30 approved meal that is packed with good for you foods. Trust me, your body and your taste buds will be thanking you!

One of the things I like to do at the beginning of the week, is grill or boil some chicken that I then chop or shred it and leave it in the fridge for salads or other quick meal options. If you have the chicken already cooked you can toss this meal together in 10 minutes. You can even use store bought guacamole if you want an even easier fix. Whole Foods has fresh guacamole made every day in the produce section.

Guacamole Chicken  Salad
  • 2 breasts of chicken, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces or shredded
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tomato, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 clove(s) garlic, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 orange, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: chopped onion, chopped jalapeno
Scoop the avocados into a large bowl and add the lime, lemon and orange juices. Smash up the avocado with a potato masher or a fork until smooth. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper and cilantro. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until the everything in well coated with avocado. Serve over a bed of lettuce.

That's it ladies and gentlemen! 
Super simple, quick, delicious, and healthy meal. 
Enjoy this!
Let me know what you think of the recipe.


P.S. Lucky you! You have stumbled upon two recipes in one! Just leave out the chicken and you have the best guacamole recipe on the face of the planet! You're welcome :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - Week 1

I grew up in a very healthy household. My mom is a little on the hippy side of life when it comes to food. The closer to the farm you can get the better. Grow it, cook it, eat it.

I grew up on whole grains and raw milk. I am very grateful that my mom didn't give into my pleas for Wonder Bread and Fruity Pebbles. (I am also grateful that I had a dad who did!) I am glad that I learned to eat and love good food.

I consider myself to be a pretty health eater. I have a brownie or a bag of chips here and there but other than that its mostly home cooked, pretty well balanced meals. I really enjoy cooking, baking and experimenting with flavors.

When I heard about the Whole 30 for the first time it was from my granola (aka, hippy) mom who is always telling me about the newest healthy food lifestyle. I love hearing about these diets and lifestyle changes, but I rarely take them all with full force.

Then my cousin did the Whole 30 and had AMAZING results! She had all kinds of medical issues (pretty much on the verge of surgery) before and now they have almost all disappeared. She has also lost about 30 pounds in 6 months, feels great and looks like she did in high school. I'm telling you, its incredible.

Since hearing about my cousin's results and after my sister started her own Whole 30 Journey, I decided to jump on the band wagon! Why not? Its only 30 days! I can do anything for 30 days. It would be great to feed my body really good food for my on postpartum recovery as well as the heath of my little newborn. Plus, I have some baby weight to get rid of.

If you haven't heard of the Whole 30, here is a little info. Basically its a cleanse. You are cleansing your body for 30 days of all the "bad stuff" and then at the end of the 30 days you are able to slowly add back in what you have been avoiding to see what your body has aversions to. You are also cleansing your eating habits and food lifestyle. You want to stop depending on food for emotional support, boredom relief, etc...

The basic rules are cut out any and all added sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, soy, while potatoes, carrageenan, MSG and sulfites for 30 days. No biggy! Check out The Whole 9 Life or get the book, It Starts With Food for more information.

Here is a little of my experience and favorite meals from the first week.

Things I've learned so far:

  1. EVOO and balsamic vinegar makes the best salad dressing (okay already knew this, but thought I should share), add some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Done and done!
  2. Make a menu plan, seriously. It makes a huge difference in your weeks meals.
  3. Make cold brewed iced coffee and freeze some coffee into ice cubes. Unless its winter.
  4. Coconut milk is awesome in coffee. A.W.E.S.O.M.E.
  5. Deli meat with fresh veggies makes a quick and yummy lunch.
  6. Cut up a bunch of carrots and celery sticks at the start of the week and you will be more likely to grab that instead of the box of crackers in your pantry.
  7. If its not in the house, you won't eat it. Or your kids won't eat it. I have gotten my almost 2 year old to eat way more veggies and fruit and way less crackers this week because we just don't have any crackers for him to eat. 
  8. Clearly outline the rules, and write them down so you can seem them all the time. That way you won't forget them.
  9. Eat fresh and yummy food. Try new flavors. Go to the farmers market and just get what they have and figure out how to cook it, usually they will give you suggestions.
  10. Spaghetti squash is better than regular spaghetti.

I wrote the rules on a white board in my kitchen, and added little sticky notes labeled 1-30 that I can pull off at the end of the day as a little reward for checking on more day off.

I have been snapping pictures of the great food that we have been eating this week and I will post some recipes and photos pretty soon. Stay tuned!

Have you tried the Whole30? 
What tips do you have? 
What was your favorite thing to eat?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome Home!

Well its been a little while since I've posted anything. There has been just a few things happening in my world.

First, I had a baby! A beautiful little girl. We didn't find out the gender of either of our children before they were born, and I had so convinced myself that we were having another boy that when the doctor told me it was a girl I was shocked. I mean totally socked. My husband and sister-in-law said the look on my face was priceless.

Since she was born I have so enjoyed the snuggles that can only come from a newborn, and seeing my J interact with her. I was a little worried about his reaction to having a new baby around, but he has been a gem! He loves her and takes every opportunity to kiss her, even when we don't really want him to.

Its so wonderful to watch him loving on her and trying to play with her. He tries to share his toys, his books and his food. The best is when she is laying on the floor and he goes and lays next to her and talks to her in his gibberish.

Second, we moved. About a week after A was born, we moved to a new apartment. Its a beautiful old Victorian house on the street where I grew up. We now live a few houses down from my aunt and uncle and a few more from my parents. Its really wonderful. There is so much more character in this house than in our old apartment. Beautiful molding and trim, and a sweet built in.

I will post more about decorating and organizing our new place, but right now we are still working out of boxes.

Happy Thursday Everyone!