Whole 30 Week 3

Ok. I’m ready for a glass of wine. The first three weeks weren’t too bad. At this point I’m forgetting why I did this in the first place! But now it’s about willpower! I didn’t come this far to quit now! Stew and I are going on a date tonight for the first time since this thing started because, what the heck do we eat at a restaurant that’s not cooked in butter or loaded with cheese?! So, we’ll get a burger bowl or a salad and bring our own vinaigrette because, side note, did you realize EVERY dressing has sugar in it!? Every. Single. One.

I have made some changes that I actually enjoy and will keep: I’ve had more veggies the past three weeks than I’ve ever had in my life, and I like it. I feel like I might even roast up some sweet potatoes dusted in cinnamon during the day rather than pour a big bowl of starchy cereal. I don’t miss ice cream like I thought I would. I might even be able to do this no dairy thing … the jury’s still out on that one.

I’ve learned a few things along the way: cashew butter is great, but could never replace my beloved peanut butter. Sugar is literally in everything. I will read food labels even closer than I already did, which I didn’t think was possible. Maple syrup and honey are necessary when making baked goods. I made my favorite pumpkin muffins but replaced the honey with applesauce (my desire for fall is full on, but that’s for another day) and they literally tasted like cardboard. But I ate them anyway, because 1) I made the effort and 2) these ingredients ain’t cheap.

Now, for the good stuff! Our meals were GREAT this week! Here’s the menu:

Saturday: Burger on a bun (I’d actually skip the bun next time) with sweet potato “fries” (tossed with some olive oil and cinnamon and baked at 415*F)
Sunday: Chicken Stir Fry

Monday: Loaded sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Zoodles with Meatballs

Wednesday: Lemon Chicken (similar HERE just add the juice of a lemon to the marinade) with roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts

Thursday: Bolognese over sweet potato noodles

Friday: Date night! We’re about to get us a nice big salad with homemade vinaigrette! Couples who Whole 30 together stay together??

Feel free to comment with must-try recipes for our final week! Have a great weekend!

 

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Whole 30 Week 2!

As I sit here and write this post, my kids are tossing colored pencils across the living room floor and racing to get them screaming, “FIREWORK!” But are they fighting? No. Are they crying? No. Are they playing together nicely and laughing? YES! I have no idea what’s actually happening in there, but I’m ok with that.

So we have finished week two of Whole 30! We’re at the point where we’re like, ehhh do we want to do this anymore? And I’m like… yea because I’m blogging about it! So on the up side, I feel amazing! I’m not starving (as long as I’m prepared), and my joints don’t hurt! I’m talking, I’ve had chronic ankle pain for 7 years, and it hasn’t felt this good since then! So it’s worth finishing this thing out! On the downside, it’s really hard to be social. We love getting together with friends and having BBQs. We have to bring our food and plan ahead, which is a challenge. AND, we can’t have a drink while chatting with our friends! I didn’t think that would be a struggle for me, but it is! But I keep telling myself I can do anything for 30 days!

One meal was an epic fail… the BBQ chicken casserole. I couldn’t find a compliant BBQ sauce so attempted to make my own. It literally tasted like spaghetti squash mixed with tomato paste. We ate it, but that was one I probably wouldn’t recommend unless you actually had BBQ sauce! I’m sure it would be delicious if that was the case! The rest were great! Lunches again were a mix of bars, smoothies, salads, & muffins. I made a few snacks that were BOMB and that are perfect for munching on for breakfast or throughout the day!

Snacks:

Plantain Chips/Chocolate Muffins/Banana Muffins/Nut Balls (I named them that because it’s hilarious when my kids ask for them)

And who can forget my afternoon iced coffee with creamy dreamy cashew creamer (recipe HERE)! Words can’t describe how velvety and luxurious this creamer is. For real. Ditch your almond milk and go whip up a batch of this. Add just a splash of full fat coconut milk (from the can–shake well before opening) and you’ve got yourself an afternoon delight!

Meals:

Saturday: Thai Chicken w/ Peanut Sauce <<–SO GOOD (Thanks, Kait)!
Sunday: BBQ Chicken Casserole
Monday: Spaghetti Squash with Ground Turkey, Tomatoes & Herbs (photograph below)
Tuesday: Cauliflower Tacos (regular ol’ tacos but on a cauliflower tortilla with ground turkey, tomatoes, lettuce and a bit of salsa)
Wednesday: Sweet Potato Waffles (photograph below)
Thursday: Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Instead of the Rotel and taco seasoning, I just mixed the chicken with Franks Hot Sauce and topped with a few goodies: guac, scallions, tomatoes)

Just like that, two weeks down and two to go! I’m running out of clever dinner ideas, so feel free to share! Happy weekend, Friends! XOXO

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Whole 30 Week 1 Meal Plan

We got through our first week of Whole 30! We even muscled through a slew of BBQ’s to celebrate the 4th by packing and preparing our own food so we wouldn’t be tempted!

I feel like there’s a ton of info about Whole30 online. HERE is a link to the official site. One thing they say is that you shouldn’t try to recreate your favorite foods even if the ingredients are Whole30 compliant. I’ll tell you right now, I ignored that rule. I kept the ingredients legit, but I made things like “ice cream”, pancakes, and tortillas. So there’s my warning…don’t yell at me!

On that note, follow me on Instagram because I’ll be posting random smoothies and snacks as we go. There’s SO MUCH to share that it’s hard to organize it into blog posts. So that will give you snippets of food options too!

1.) For starters, I loaded up on a few staples so I had things to eat in a pinch and then made a specific meal and grocery list:
-Cashews (for ice creams and creamer)
Larabars (cherry pie this week)
RX Bar (Chocolate)
-Cashew butter (Read ingredients! NO SUGAR)
-Avocados
-Bananas
-Lemons
-Limes
-Dates
-Tapioca flour
Arrowroot Starch
Coconut Flour
Super Fine Almond Flour
-Lacroix

2.) Next step was to create a menu. I read through each recipe and wrote out a grocery list. Tip–Do your grocery shopping in one day. That’s a money saver! Each time you go to the grocery store (if you’re anything like me), you will most likely impulse buy an item or five!

3.) Meal prep! Things that can be made in advance (like tortillas, pancakes, egg cups, smoothie packs) do so! I picked two breakfast ideas for the week and prepped in advance. I spent an hour (during nap time) on Saturday making breakfast burritos and potato fritters to put in the freezer so they were ready once our week started. We also had the option of regular ol’ scrambled eggs and bacon or a smoothie, but if we wanted a bigger breakfast that we didn’t have to prepare the morning of, these were super helpful!

Breakfast and Lunch were more of grab and go type meals. For breakfast we had Breakfast Burritos (<<– printable and downloadable pdf recipe) and Hash Stacks <<–linked to recipe. One tip for the hash stacks is I made all of the potato fritters and froze them in a flat layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and then moved to a gallon size ziplock bag to have quick access in the morning. I reheated in the oven at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes and topped with my egg, avocado, and salsa.

When we weren’t hungry for a big breakfast, we just did some eggs and/or a smoothie with an RX bar or Larabar for a late morning snack.

Lunch was nothing to write home about. It was either leftovers, smoothies, avocado-tomato-cucumber salad, or one of those in combination with another!

Week 1 Dinner Menu:
Saturday: Grilled chicken with simple side salad (vinaigrette recipe here)
Sunday: Birthday dinner at my mom’s house– we ate what we could (Grilled sausage with some salad. Berries & watermelon for dessert)
Monday: 4th of July BBQ (we made some lemon chicken just for us while the rest ate our regular menu. Same recipe HERE just add juice of 1 lemon to marinade.
Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash with meat sauce (use tomatoes and sausage without sugar added! Read labels).
Wednesday: Tapioca flat breads (crust recipe HERE) —once crust is prepared and baked, top with sauce, prosciutto, cherries, and figs. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes.  INCREDIBLE if do I say so myself!
Thursday: Roasted Veggie Hash (<<– printable and downloadable pdf recipe. Choose sausage with no added sugar)
Friday: Sloppy Joe Bowls (recipe HERE)

Flat Bread From Wednesday Night:



Veggie Sausage & Egg Hash from Thursday Night:

 So overall it hasn’t been too bad. The hardest thing is being sure I don’t mindlessly grab food while I’m making the kids’ lunch and dinner. I separated our Whole 30 friendly snacks in our cabinet so I know where I can grab from. The most helpful thing was having those bars I mentioned earlier and other homemade snacks ready so I’m not stuck starving and having to whip something major up in the middle of the day! Another thing I learned is that I like eating ice cream before bed…even if I don’t want it! It’s a bad habit. So we’ve been making “nice-cream” every night which has been hitting the spot! I’ll share a recipe once I perfect the measurements!

Happy Friday! I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

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4th of July and Self Control

I don’t know whose idea it was to do Whole 30 over 4th of July! We literally had three days of BBQ’s. We contemplated starting over on the fifth, but we were already 3 days in, and I kinda wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, even with 7 layer dip, crescent roll wrapped hot dogs, and deviled eggs staring me in the face.

Guess what! We did it! We made food for our friends and had a little separate dish of grilled lemon chicken for us. We also ate and drank our body weight in watermelon and LaCroix. If I was more prepared I could have made a Whole 30 feast for everyone! But my impulsive decision to start on July 1st left me lacking a plan, so alas, I stuck to our original menu!

We had a blast! And having three separate occasions to dress Turner and Gracie in the festive outfits my mother in law sent was the icing on the cake!

Our neighbors across the street set off the loudest, most obnoxious fireworks! Up until this year, Turner would wake up hysterically crying because the noise scared him beyond words. I’m thinking he might be able to handle some firework action this year. So our plan is to keep Turner up and watch them! Hey, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em! Can’t wait to mix up a mocktail and party it up! Happy 4th!!

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Whole 30 – The Beginning

Stew and I have been toying with the idea of doing Whole 30 for years now. I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger! We already eat really healthy and I’m not a big meat person, so I kept pushing it off. But we decided the other day that it’s time! And with the two of us holding each other accountable, how bad could it be?!

I think there are lots of reasons people jump into this. Wanting to lose weight, wanting to get back in touch with healthy eating habits, building muscle (maybe?), and because certain illnesses might be cured with it. My reasoning is honestly to get back in touch with food. Right down to the root. Natural, whole, healthy foods. And honestly, so many recipes I see look gross and not creative. Photos are in dingy lighting, and they just don’t look appetizing! So my goal here is to make yummy foods that don’t deprive us of taste and capture (hopefully) some pretty pictures of them so I can share with you all! I’ll post our meals and as many recipes as I can so you can try them too!

I find that since becoming a  mom, my meals consist of the crust of my kids’ peanut butter sandwiches, cliff bars, smoothies, and lots of coffee! All of those “meals” are consumed while working, driving, cleaning, & parenting. Except for dinner where we sit down as a family, I don’t stop to take a breath, let alone EAT! There just isn’t enough time in the day to be a mom, work, cook, clean, do laundry, pick my kids up from camp, grocery shop etc. Feel me?? So my commitment during these 30 days is to make meals and mindfully eat them. That means, I sit and eat. I don’t stuff the crust of my kids’ sandwiches in my mouth and go fold laundry!

To kick off our 30 days, I made a creamer that is to die for! My biggest struggle was the thought of coffee without my beloved half and half. I don’t like almond milk in there, and all of those substitute “creamers” just don’t do it for me! Enter cashew creamer. I used a Vitamix which I think is a pretty important piece of the puzzle here. BUT, if you don’t have one, I would use your blender and blend the creamer up as long as humanly possible. Then strain through a nut milk bag like THESE (had a funny encounter at Whole Foods years ago when I asked the guy who worked there if he had nut milk bags). It’s thick and creamy, it blends into coffee perfectly, and it’s nice and frothy so it’s like I’m drinking a latte! I’m looking forward to sharing our journey with you!

Cashew Creamer
Whole 30 friendly coffee creamer
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Ingredients
  1. 1.5 cups raw cashews
  2. 6 cups filtered water (3 for soaking and 3 for blending)
  3. splash of vanilla (optional)
Instructions
  1. Soak 1.5 cups raw cashews in 3 cups filtered water for 4-6 hours. If soaking overnight, keep in the fridge.
  2. Drain cashews and rinse with cold water.
  3. Place cashews and 3 cups of clean filtered water into the vitamix.
  4. Add splash of vanilla if you choose.
  5. Start on low and increase the speed. Blend on high speed for 3 minutes.
  6. No need to strain, but you can do so through a mesh sieve if you'd like to ensure no nut pieces are in there! Store in an airtight pitcher in the fridge up to 7 days.
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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