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….
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.
I am on day 28 of my Whole30. I am very proud of myself. I have done so well this go round, I didn’t cheat one time! I feel great, my clothes fit better and my bank account is a little fuller! Yes, you read that right! I saved money on Whole30! Eating at home, planning my meals ahead of time, getting creative with leftovers and buying in bulk really helped ease our food budget this month.
I have been notoriously bad about buying groceries and then never using them. This month of Whole 30 has helped me learn to stretch my ingredients, and buying in bulk was key to that. Plus, it’s teaching my daughter a good lesson about leftovers, which she usually complains about. I’m sure she got it from me. I’ve also been a bad left over cook. I always save them, but rarely eat them. I’m learning to repurpose them in a ways that makes them seem new! Which is fantastic.
Because I was giving my daughter leftovers in her lunch at least 3-4 days a week, I decided to refresh my knowledge of proper food storage. Around Thanksgiving 2013, we posted some information on proper food storage. So, I pulled it up and it was still super helpful. (go us!) I realize its not even close to Thanksgiving, on this 1st day of February, but it’s still got incredibly helpful tips for leftover storage. Take a look here.
This recipe saved me on several occasions when I needed a delicious side dish that would keep me on track. It goes with just about any protein. I often served it with turkey joes, or even just a grilled chicken breasts. Also, it’s great reheated, so my daughter usually got some the next day in her lunchbox and I would toss it in my scrambled eggs in the morning.
This is one of my favorite recipes this month because I was able to re-purpose in a couple of ways. For my daughters lunch, I would reheat it with the protein from the night before, all in the same skillet and turn it into a leftover stir fry. For me, I would top my fried egg or mix it into my scrambled eggs in the morning. I even one chopped up some hardboiled egg and made a bacon, brussel sprout salad. It was delicious!
For us, the key to getting through Whole 30 without losing our mind was learning to re-purpose ingredients, but also to simplify what is on our plates. For example, one of our favorite dinners this month was something I call Turkey Joes. It’s a take on Sloppy Joes, but with all fresh ingredients, and we served it by itself. No bread needed! It was super delicious and we didn’t even miss the “sandwich” part of the traditional “Joe.”
I hope you enjoy this super simple, but incredibly delicious clean, Paleo, Whole30 side dish.
P.S. – Be sure to find a Whole30 Approved Bacon i.e. no sugar.
As I write this I am sitting in my office looking out the window waiting for the Snowpocalypse to hit, aka Winter Storm Juno. When did we start naming winter storms? It seems strange to me. It seems like a way for weather people to get excited when it is not hurricane season. I guess they are predicting this storm will be pretty impressive and since I live on the coast of CT…well…it’s gonna be a long night. I suppose we will see how this goes, by tomorrow this post will either be silly because we didn’t get hit with anything, or I will have interesting pictures to share next time!
I’m not sure if you are aware or not but Sara and I both decided to start 2015 off right by doing another Whole 30. Whole 30 is a great way to get your eating back on track after an overindulgent holiday season.
Well my Whole 30 started off great. I was having a much easier time of it it than I did the first time around and was settling in for an easy month. All that changed when I woke up one morning, went downstairs to eat my usual breakfast of a banana with almond butter…but when I tried to eat the banana I discovered my mouth wouldn’t open! Now to say I was a little perplexed was an understatement. I have never had trouble opening my mouth wide (who doesn’t like big sandwiches right?) let alone trying to eat something as small as a banana. Well…one trip to the doctor and some muscle relaxers later I discovered I somehow hurt my TMJ joint. Which means what? Nothing but soft foods for me for the foreseeable future. AKA my Whole 30 was over. Yes I probably could have subsisted on pureed vegetable soups, mashed sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash, but I am opting for just doing the best I can, including eating whole wheat pasta. Maybe I will do Whole 30 next month…
The recipe I am sharing with you today is one I started working on during my last whole 30. It came about because I was thinking it would be cool if you could somehow make mini Shepard’s Pies you could eat with your hands? Well, these are the results of all my experimenting. They aren’t exactly Shepard’s Pie anymore, but believe me, you won’t care…these babies are good! Baking them with the mashed sweet potato on top keeps them juicy, yet they are still portable enough you can eat with your hands. Give them a try, I promise you will love them!
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.
I am in the first week of my second round of Whole 30. I did my first Whole 30 last year and had a great experience. Your can read all about it and see what I ate by clicking here. We decided to do Whole 30 again to help us get back on track after the holiday season. Sara and I are both doing Whole 30 this January…wish us luck!!!
This time around I thought I would change it up a bit and try adding some new fish recipes to my Whole 30 repertoire. I have always been a fan of crab cakes. When I was younger that and fried shrimp were the only seafood I would eat. As we grew up my parents tried to incorporate more fish into our diets. I remember my mom used to make salmon that was baked with a little Cesar dressing and fresh ginger…I know it sounds weird, but trust me it is delicious. This dish made me fall in love with salmon…and once the love affair started there was no looking back.
For this recipe I wanted to combine my first two seafood loves, crab cakes and salmon, in one dish. These delicious salmon cakes are both Paleo and Whole 30 compliant. One of the things I like best is that it is a great recipe for using up leftover salmon. I like serving it with some lemon wedges, but I think avocado would work well with the dish as well.
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!
The weather this week has been horrible. Cold, Grey and gloomy. I feel like we missed fall and it went straight to winter. Is this a Polar Vortex or are they calling it something else, I can’t remember…all I know is the weather is being way too screwy for my tastes. I talked to my friend in New Orleans and she said it was 20 degrees out! 20!!! In New Orleans…
Oh well, at least this weather is putting me into full on winter/holiday foods. For me that means I want things that are warm, hearty and creamy. Soups, stews, baked goods, chili, you get the picture. One of my favorite fall/winter food is the humble sweet potato.
While Robocop and I were doing Whole 30 we ate a lot of sweet potatoes. Maybe too many sweet potatoes. It is a safe assumption that we probably ate them in one form or another four to five times per week. They were our go-to, or surefire meal fix. Needless to say we became sweet potato connoisseurs.
These mashed sweet potatoes are the culmination of our mashed sweet potato experiments. Personally, I have never understood why people feel the need to drown sweet potatoes in butter, sugar and marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, and delicious, and I have always preferred them in savory preparations as opposed to sweet. This is true in both my everyday life as well as even on Thanksgiving (gasp no sweet potato casserole??? How could I say such a thing!).
These mashed sweet potatoes would be the perfect addition to your thanksgiving meal. They are packed full of sweet potato flavor without being too heavy or sweet.
Local Ingredient: Pastured bacon.
I was one of those teenage vegetarians. Like many teenage girls, when I reached 13, I could no longer stomach the idea of eating an animal. Of course that didn’t last long, as my mom was a meat and potatoes kind of lady, so if I wanted to eat, I had to eat what she cooked. But, as I grew up and was able to make my own decisions on the food I ate, I was able to make more conscience decisions on the humanity of my meat choices. I try very hard to make humane decisions. Historically, I’ve avoided lamb because I just couldn’t stomach what I was eating. But as I did more research I discovered that as long as you make conscientious purchases, lamb is one of the most humanely treated animals in our food system, and its got a ton of health benefits to boot. So, along with this recipe, I thought I’d share with you some information I found on lamb. This information is particular to grass fed, pasture raised lamb;
- Omega3 & 6 – Grass-fed lamb is super high in omega-3 & 6 which we all know helps promote heart health and brain development.
- Lower in Fat – Grass Fed lambs are out to pasture more, which makes them leaner. So you get the added benefit of the tasty-ness of the grass diet, but also a leaner cut of meat.
- High in Vitamin B – Grass fed lamb is incredibly high in vitamin B, B12 in particular.
- Protein – As with most meat, lamb is also high in protein.
All About the Lamb
A lamb, a baby sheep less than 1 year old, is usually sold in 5 different cuts; shoulder, rack, shank, loin and leg. Lamb is a staple food across the Middle East and Europe, especially countries like Turkey and Greece. When considering how to prepare lamb, here is a quick list of what cut is best for what preparation;
- Shoulder: Best for stews, and can be cut into stew meat.
- Shank: Best when braised.
- Lamb Chops: Best broiled or pan seared, then finished under the broiler.
- Rack of Lamb: Best when roasted but can also be pan seared then roasted.
- Ground Lamb: Ground lamb can be treated like ground beef or turkey, such as foods like burgers and meatballs.
As with any meat you buy at the market, it has been raised to be eaten. We always recommend trying to buy local, it’s part of our clean eating philosophy, and it’s no different with lamb. Try to find a local source for your lamb, this could be a local farm, small local grocery store, or even the farmers market. I found that a simple Google search of “local lamb Virginia” gave me a ton of options. Border Springs Farm is nearby to me and even has an online store. The specialize in grass fed lamb.
As I mentioned earlier, grass fed lamb has a plethora of health benefits, and its also delicious. Adding lamb to my diet has opened up so many recipe options for me. I love the Mediterranean and curry flavors that go well with lamb, but also the herb and minty flavors too. It’s very versatile and pretty simple to prepare. I’m considering serving this for the holiday’s this year. It would be so beautiful on a holiday table, perhaps on a bed of bright red cranberries. Oh, the possibilities!
I have always been intimidated by Rack of Lamb. It just looks so pretty and always seemed so difficult. But, I’m here to tell you, it is not! This recipe is pretty simple. The herbs are so flavorful and go great with the taste of the lamb. This recipe is prepared to medium rare, as that is the recommended temperature for lamb. You can adjust the oven cooking time as needed though if you want your lamb cooked to a different temperature. Enjoy!
Local Ingredient: Lamb from a local farm, rosemary from my garden.
Now that our daughter is 5, we’ve hit total Halloween mania. We lucked out that in the neighborhood we moved to is also Halloween crazy! My daughter, as with many many other kids, is going to be Else this year. I planned ahead and bought the costume in July. I’m pretty proud of myself. Our little town we live in has gone fall crazy, which I completely love. Growing up in Florida I never got to experience anything truly fall, other than school starting and college football season. I’m so in love with the leaves changing, the crisp cool air, and the fall festivals. I recently did my first corn maze. I must say, it was pretty awesome.
I remember as a kid toasting pumpkin seeds in my first grade classroom. My teacher, Ms. Mathews was fun and young, maybe even a first year teacher. I have fond memories of first grade, including those pumpkin seeds. For some reason that one activity has stuck with me over the years. I can’t toast a pumpkin seed without thinking of Ms. Mathews. A little unrelated anecdote, I remember one day at school Ms. Mathews told us a story of her attending a Michael Jackson concert over the weekend where she somehow obtained a napkin that he used to wipe his sweat. It’s such a strange memory to have, but I think my affection for Ms. Mathews, and all things Halloween may have started my MJ obsession. I do love me some “Thriller.” OK back to the pumpkins…
Last year we decided to toast the seeds from our pumpkins after we carved them, and I think its going to become a tradition. My daughter reminded us of the seed toasting and requested it again this year. So, as we prepared our pumpkins to become jack-o-lanterns, we saved the pumpkin “guts” (as my daughter calls it) in order to toast the seeds. This fall, for various reasons, we ended up at 4 different pick your own pumpkin patches. Of course we had to pick a pumpkin (or two) each time, so we ended up with 8 pumpkins. I saved the 3 smaller, sugar pumpkins for cooking, and we carved the others. My husband decided to use his power drill this year. Sigh….yep – we have a pumpkin on the porch that has holes drilled into it. We also have a pumpkin painted blue with rhinestones on it. Yep, a Frozen pumpkin.
As far as the seeds go, the hardest part of the process is cleaning them up. They are so gooey from the pumpkin “guts.” But once you’ve got them cleaned up, you simply boil them for about 10 minutes. The boiling step isn’t completely necessary, but if you want your seeds crunchy, I suggest boiling, it helps add the crunch when toasting. After they are boiled and drained, pat them dry. Then spread them out into a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. I used coconut oil for mine, but you could also use olive oil or grape seed oil if you don’t have the coconut oil. Then you can season them however you’d like. You’ll definitely want some salt, but you can also add some extra flavor. I added cayenne, cumin, and chili powder. Cinnamon and nutmeg would also be tasty. Anyhow, once they are seasoned pop them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are crispy.
Local Ingredient: Local pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and local salt from JQ Dickinson.