Today we had a snow day. Oh yes, you either love them or hate them. My morning started with breakfast requests. Everyone in my house wanted something different. It’s a pretty common occurrence but this morning I was grumpy and tired. So I put my foot down and proclaimed everyone was having eggs! Well, that kind of backfired on me, because one wanted eggs with sausage and peppers, the other wanted mushrooms and tomatoes. Lucky for me, I have been really good at doing food prep on Sundays, so I already had diced onion and peppers in my fridge. I chopped up the other ingredients and went to work….
Guess what everyone? It’s that time again…Valentine’s Day! Hooray! What can be better than a holiday devoted to chocolate. Yeah yeah there is all that love stuff too, but lets be honest, it’s really about the chocolate.
Now we all know about the traditional ways to consume chocolate on Valentine’s Day. There are boxed chocolates of course, then you have a wide variety of delicious truffles and bars, there are also the wonderful baked goods, and finally chocolate dipped everything. While I am obviously a fan of all of these great options, I was wondering where I could sneak chocolate into other parts of my day. Then is hit me…breakfast!…
I did it! I finished Whole 30 without cheating! I lost a few pounds and I feel great. I know we’ve been talking about Whole30 a lot lately, but its been my life for the past month. On to my next challenge! Some ladies at my daughters school have invited me to join in a “Game On” challenge. Have any of you heard of this? It was new to me. But, I’m going to give it a shot! I figure if I can do whole30, I can do Game On, right?
So the crux of it is to make a lifestyle change. You get points for certain things, like water consumption, exercise, and healthy eating. The group will split into two teams, and we’ll go head to head. Ha, sounds fun! My two favorite parts are the “rest or cheat” days and the habit rule. You get 1 day a week to cheat and then you also have to dedicate yourself to give up one bad habit and gain one good one over the 6 week program. It should be an interesting 6 weeks. The diet is completely different than whole 30…only lean meats..that means no bacon! It all seems pretty complicated, but I’m all in….let’s do this!
In honor of my soon to start “Game On” challenge and recently completely Whole 30, I decided to make this delicious bacon avocado egg salad this morning. I need to use up my remaining whole 30 bacon AND get my fill before our Game On starts. This recipe got me through my whole 30…it was a life saver for breakfast and lunch when I didn’t want to see another scrambled or fried egg. I can honestly say that I it better than traditional egg salad. Just a few simple ingredients and you’re done!
3 hardboiled eggs
4 strips of bacon, cooked crispy
juice from 1 lime
- Rough chop the hard boiled eggs.
- Add the avocado and egg to a bowl. Use the back of a fork to mash the avocado.
- Chop the bacon, add half to the egg mixture.
- Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
- Add the lime juice, and stir to combine.
- Serve and top with remaining bacon.
Jessica and I are securely in week 2 of Whole 30. So far it’s going really well. My sugar cravings are much less intense than last time. I’m actually enjoying the experience this time. It’s also been really nice to do it along side Jessica. Everything is better with a friend!
I first made this meatloaf during my Whole 30 in October. It’s super tasty and makes for a really convenient breakfast. (This is especially true when you just can’t eat another egg!) Like many of you I have crazy busy mornings, this includes having to feed my family, make my daughters lunch, get dressed, get my daughter dressed, feed the dogs and cat, all while getting out the door on time for school drop off! Phew, that’s exhausting just to type! I love having this meatloaf in the fridge for busy mornings. Also, as far as Whole 30 goes, its great to have something like this meatloaf in the fridge for an emergency. It can be a quick “meal” when you just don’t feel like cooking!
Making my daughters lunch has become a chore that I dread each and every morning. Honestly, I’m so over it! But, I committed to sending her to school with a whole, healthy lunch each day, and I’m sticking to it. Every day I send her with something hot in her thermos, yes, everyday. This is often a couple of scrambled eggs, but still, at least its hot. However, since starting this round of Whole 30, lunch has been a breeze! I have been planning ahead and making enough dinner for lunch leftovers for both her and me. It’s been fantastic. I hope I am able to keep it up.
I adapted this recipes from a couple other breakfast recipes I found here and there. It’s not a traditional slow cooker recipe, i.e. set it and forget it. It only cooks for 3 hours. Once its done, you’ll want to immediately remove it from the slow cooker. Let it rest, then slice it for storage. Then, in the morning, you’ll brown a slice in a skillet. The overnight time make it so much tastier! My favorite part is the whole fennel seeds. I didn’t even know I liked fennel seed until I made this recipes. It is delicious with a tomato sliced on top, but it’s also great with a fried egg on top or even some guacamole (or all three.) I’ve been toying with the idea of adding in a little diced tomato in the meatloaf itself, I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Local Ingredient: ground pork from a local farm.
If you follow us on Facebook, you know that Jessica and I are starting the year off with another Whole 30! We are both excited. I feel much more prepared than I did last time. I am super excited about the way I’m going to feel in about 2 1/2 or 3 weeks, not so excited about how I’ll feel in the next few days…sigh. But, that’s my bodies way to reminding me about all the junk I put in it over the holidays. But, that’t ok. It tasted great, and shared with friend and family.
My last Whole 30 went pretty well. My hubby did it too. But he travels a lot for work, so I was more stressed about helping him figure out how to eat Whole 30 on the road, than I was for myself. It was kind of a good distraction. But, there were days when I didn’t plan well enough for me, and ended up eating scrambled eggs for all 3 meals. And, well, anyone who has done Whole 30 knows that you are over eggs by week 2. He’s doing it again this time, but I know he can figure it out, so he’s on his own! The best part about this go round is that Jessica and I are doing it at the same time. It’ll be great to share new found recipes, gripe about sugar cravings, and commiserate on the amount of dishes we have to do. But also, at the end, we’ll both be feeling fabulous. I anticipate great things coming out of MCK in February!
On the flip side, my 5 year old daughter is not excited that we’re doing another Whole 30. She loves her traditional oatmeal and Kefir smoothie. Which she asks for almost every morning. I make the oatmeal with almond or coconut milk, but usually add a little honey or maple syrup. I think this time, I’ll let her keep her morning oatmeal, but she will get Whole 30 lunch (in her lunchbox) and dinner. We made a few permanent changes after the last Whole 30 which should make it easier on her to feel like she’s not missing out on things.
I’m starting my Whole 30 on Sunday, so today I’m doing my first weeks menu planning. This chia seed pudding is going to be on my menu. It’s a great plan ahead recipe because it requires 12 hours in the fridge. That means, you make it the night before, then enjoy it for breakfast. The recipe itself is kind of similar to our Overnight Oatmeal, but obviously, this one if Whole 30 approved.
If you’ve never eaten chia seeds before they can take a little getting used to, texture wise. I actually love the texture. Remember that big trend in the mid 2000’s, Bubble Tea? It reminds me of that a little, but tastier. I lived in DC then, and we had one of those Bubble Tea shops, it was always a fun treat. For this recipe, I added banana, blackberries, and cinnamon. But, you could top your pudding with whatever you are in the mood for. Mango is a popular topping, as well as nuts, strawberries, and even avocado.
Over the next month, I’m sure we’ll be sharing lots of Whole 30 recipes. We can’t wait to share our Whole 30 round 2 experience with you all. Also, Jessica did an awesome job of chronically her first Whole 30 – check it out here (there are also a ton of recipes there)
Oh and Happy New Year!
Christmas is over! We survived! Phew. It was touch and go there for a bit. One too many glasses of hot chocolate…and don’t even get me started on the cookies. I can’t even look at them anymore. Not that it stops me from eating them mind you. I just do it with my eyes closed.
This year I decided to try and make all of my Christmas goodies grain-free, so I have been doing a lot of Paleo baking these last few weeks. While I have always been a baker, I have never really ventured out of my flour (albeit whole wheat) safety bubble. My first forays into Paleo baking occurred about a year ago. Sara and I tired to make coconut flour biscuits…epic fail. Although…we may have a second career as hockey puck makers.
The thing we didn’t understand at the time was how coconut flour worked. With normal flour, if you don’t measure exactly your biscuits might not turn out as amazing as you would have wanted, but it probably wouldn’t fall into the complete catastrophe category. Not so with coconut flour. To me it seems like coconut flour has a super power…super absorbency! The tiniest amount can suck up all the liquid in sight! So if you don’t level your measuring spoon, or pack your cup properly…bam! Hockey Puck!
However, coconut flour’s super absorbency power does have a nice side effect…a little goes a long way. Which definitely helps keep the wallet happy. My poor wallet. The holidays were exhausting for him. He has been asking me for a spa vacation…but those things are just so pricey…
Sorry I digress, back to the food! Like I said I have been on a Paleo bake-a-thon over the holidays. I have made cookies, pumpkin coconut flour biscuits, almond flour muffins, almond flour pancakes, and oh yeah, biscotti. I made some rocking biscotti over the holidays. And guess what? I am going to give you the recipe!
I have to admit, prior to my recent endeavor had never made biscotti before. Therefore, I am not a very good judge on how these compare time wise etc., but I have to admit… these were surprisingly easy to make. This is one thing I have found about Paleo baking. Since the goal with Paleo baking is not to create and maximize the power of gluten (which is why you allow wheat flour to rise, thus increasing it’s fluffy and springy qualities), the recipes are actually much quicker and less complicated than their traditional counterparts. What does this mean for you? Tasty treats in a fraction of the time! How could you not be on board?!?!
With Hanukkah around the corner, I thought I’d try my hand at some Gravlax. My hubby also loves smoked salmon, so it’s also a nice treat for him. We recently did Whole30, and the thing he craved most was a gravlax. Most gravlax is made with sugar, but I replaced the regular sugar with coconut palm sugar and it worked out great. Even if you aren’t celebrating Hanukkah, this is an excellent recipe. It could be great for Christmas morning. However, it does take commitment. The salmon has to cure for about 48 hours. Though you’re not doing much while its doing it’s thing, it still takes planning. Also, I absolutely love capers, and include them in as many things as I can.
When Mezzetta invited us to participate in their Mezzetta Memories holiday giveaways, I knew right away that capers would be on my menu somewhere. We were excited to participate in this giveaway for a couple of reasons; first, our readers can enter to win a gift basket every day in December and we love to give stuff away; second, we don’t use pickled products often enough, and love the inspiration and motivation to include them; third, the giveaway is all about making memories with food, which is what we hope our readers do with every recipes we post.
So, like I said, the salmon does take committment. Once you decide to make it, be sure to get a high quality salmon fillet. Preparing it only takes a few minutes. Once you’re put the recipe together be sure the salmon is tightly wrapped in the foil. It will get hard on the ends if you let them open a little. You can check this when you go to flip it. It’ll sit in the refrigerator for about 48 hours.
When your gravlax is done and you’re ready to slice, be sure you’re using the sharpest knife in your kitchen. You’ll want to make sure the pieces are very thin. Here is a video I found that was really helpful to me.
To me, the cream cheese is what makes this recipes divine. It’s really simple to make, just buy a high quality organic cream cheese. Soften the cream cheese and then whisk all the ingredients together. The final product is delicious! Also, through the Mezzetta Memories giveaway, you can actually go and download a coupon for any Mezzetta product, including capers!
Don’t forget to enter the Mezzetta Memories Giveaway, you can win something everyday in December!
I love late summer. First, school begins soon! But, more about that later. More importantly, my garden is mature and fruitful, pun intended. (Tomatoes are a fruit, get it? ha!) I have more tomatoes than any family can consume. Therefore, I have been hunting for ways to creatively use them. I love baked fresh tomatoes. They have such a depth of flavor. I have seen variations on this recipe on pinterest and in various Paleo posts. I decided to create my own version. I’m such a rebel.
Speaking of rebels, I have an almost 5 year old daughter. I call her my little anarchist because she is always asking me why she has to do what I say, and why there are so many rules, and why why why…. She persistently skirts my rules with just enough manipulation to get away with it, most of the time. Needless to say, I can’t wait for school to start. She goes to a Montessori school and will be starting her 3rd year or in her words she will be an “extended day friend.” (It’s the equivalent to kindergarten.) I’m sure Maria Montessori would tell me that she is simply expressing her individuality, forming relationships, learning to follow rules, and acquiring many other important life skills. Which I’m sure is all correct, but being her mother is (as it should be) the biggest challenge in my life. I know that some of you are probably thinking “well, what do you expect when you decide to send her to Montessori!” Yes, well, you are correct. But, I just can’t see her sitting at a desk all day in a traditional classroom. It would just kill her spirit. Not to mention the fact that she would be in trouble 100% of the time. At present, she loves school and I want to keep it that way. I know the Montessori model does not work for every child, but it works for her. She has thrived over the past few years. She loves books. She is starting to read by herself, even teaching herself new words almost every day. Additionally, she is doing basic math in her head. So, thank you to her amazing teacher, Ms. Nancy! And, to me too, because I know I have done my fair share of agonizing book reads with her. Parents, am I right – it can take like 30 minutes to get through “Green Eggs and Ham” Phew, its rough, especially after a long day of whining and tantrums.
One of the biggest changes for us this school year will be packing a lunch. Last year she came home at noon, so we typically ate at home. But, this year, she’ll stay until 3. (I get giddy when I type that!) I have been religiously following the 100 Days of Real Food School Lunch Posts and I have learned so much. I even bought a product she recommends called a Warmable. It should arrive in a few days. I also did an extensive search for the best thermos. I have not had much luck with them in the past but hope it works out this time. I ended up with a Thermos brand, it got the best reviews on several sites. My plan is to pack her something warm at least 2-3 days a week. I know that if I let myself, I’ll get in a rut of last minute lunch prep. So, I’m going to try to get in the habit of setting a lunch schedule that includes hot meals. I recently read that after you do something 21 times, it becomes a habit.
Luckily, my daughter will eat just about anything. She loved these baked tomatoes. It would be great if the Warmable product was able to keep them at a food safe temperature until lunchtime because they are the perfect noon meal. They are full of vitamins and protein, and have a great flavor. I’m going to give it a try so, we’ll see how it goes! School starts next Wednesday. I can’t wait to start packing lunch!
Back to the tomatoes, they are super simple. Just cut the top off the tomatoes, scoop out the inside. I set my tomatoes in a muffin tin just in case they toppled over. Mine stayed put as I pressed them gently down to flatten the bottom. Whisk the eggs, drop in some basil, pour eggs into the tomato cups, then bake. Prep takes less than 10 minutes. Just like our bacon egg muffins, you could make these ahead of time and heat them up throughout the week for breakfast or lunch.
What is your favorite hot packed lunch go to?
Local Ingredient: Free range eggs from my CSA, tomatoes from my garden, basil from my herb garden.
Somehow I forgot about the simple pleasure of a strawberry smoothie. I’m so glad I’ve rediscovered it and just in time for summer too. When I was pregnant with my daughter I used to make myself a smoothie every morning. Oh how I’ve missed that morning treat. This smoothie is super simple. I love how a fresh banana adds a creaminess to it, making yogurt or milk unnecessary.
Last weekend we went strawberry picking. It was so much fun. My 4 year was very methodical, which I wasn’t expecting. We came home with some stellar strawberries. I, of course, made our Strawberry Banana Muffins, and we ate a bunch, but I hulled the rest and put them in baggies to freeze so I could make smoothies. As I sit here sipping my delicious smoothie, I’m thinking that was a fantastic idea!
I’m not sure about where you live, but here in Virginia we are having a terrible allergy season. I’ve had people who have never had even a sniffle tell me they are sneezing like crazy. I usually don’t have much trouble, but this year I am miserable. So I made this smoothie with fresh squeezed oranges (gotta love vitamin C), and local honey. I hope this will help me get some allergy relief. It’s also vegan and paleo.
Local Ingredients: Fresh picked strawberries, and local honey
As we move into day 4 of our cleaning up Pineterest week I wanted to give an example of how just swapping 1 or 2 ingredients for a healthier one can make a big difference in terms of nutrition. In fact, one of the biggest reasons Sara and I are doing these recipe swaps this week is to show how easy it can be to make a recipe healthier. You don’t have to create new clean recipes from scratch. With a few minor tweaks anyone can clean up their own favorite recipes. You don’t have to give up your favorite things to eat healthy!
For today’s swap I decided to clean up a hash brown recipe I saw. The recipe was number 11 on The Huffington Posts’ “20 Recipes that Won Pinterest in 2013.” While the original recipe is great, it uses white potatoes which offer very little nutritional value. Check out the original recipe here! All I did to lean this recipe up was to swap the white potatoes for sweet, the olive oil for coconut oil (I thought it would give it great flavor) and I dropped the Parmesan cheese (I didn’t think it was necessary for the sweet potato version, but you can leave it in if you want).
This clean version of the hash browns is easy to make. They are the perfect side dish for you weekend breakfasts, or as a grab and go breakfast or snack on a busy day. They do cook for almost an hour though, so make sure you plan ahead!
Local Ingredient: Organic Sweet Potato