1. Thursday, July 3, 2014

    We Survived Whole 30!

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    ^^Pulled Pork Sliders on Sweet Potato Buns! Absolutely amazing. Pulled pork recipe here. For the buns, cut a thick sweet potato in 1/4 inch slices, drizzle with olive, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika; roast on baking pan for 30-40 minutes at 425.^^

    So, we made it!! We survived our first Whole 30! Monday we finished our 30th day of super clean eating - no processed foods at all! No sugar, dairy, bread, legumes, and alcohol. While at first we felt really limited, we discovered there are so many healthy & delicious recipes, and we really didn’t feel too deprived! It just requires great planning and being intentional about your meals and your grocery shopping.

    The pictures are some of the foods & meals that helped get us through. So many yummy options! Pinterest & instagram were definitely great for meal planning & inspiration. 

    While we did not do it for weight loss, we both lost several pounds and are feeling great! It’s a great way to kickstart healthy eating and really just hit the reset button. Feeling more energized and definitely eating more purposefully. 

    The hardest part for me was not having any dessert of any kind. Not even “healthy” versions of dessert. I never realized just how bad my dessert cravings are! While on Whole 30 I literally had dreams of brownies & cookies & ice cream. The first week was definitely the hardest, but it did get easier. The cravings never really went away… but they feel more manageable. Another challenging part was how much money we spent on groceries. Wow. It’s definitely mind boggling. BUT we ate out A LOT less and had three awesome & wholesome meals a day. 

    Of course, now that it’s over it’s not just going to be back to junk. We’re switching to Paleo 80/20. It’s very similar, just a little less strict. So more maintainable on a long term basis. 

    Cheers to being healthy!

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    ^^Simple Lettuce Wraps. Brown ground turkey over medium heat, then add in broccoli slaw, cilantro, and green onion. Top with fresh squeezed lime. Service with Iceberg lettuce pieces to make little wraps.^^

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    ^^The breakfast of champions! Cut an avocado in half and make the seed hole slightly larger and crack an egg into it. Top with salt & pepper and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the egg is cooked through. Serve with Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage (one of our Whole 30 staples!) and fruit.^^

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    ^^Chicken wings marinated in Frank’s Red Hot and grilled low & slow for a nice charred outer skin. Serve with grilled zucchini & squash.^^

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    ^^A favorite lunch of mine. Mix a 12.5 oz can of chicken (or tuna) with 1/2 an avocado and mash together. Add in walnuts, sliced grapes, and salt & pepper and mix well. Serve on sliced cucumber to make little sliders.^^

  2. Monday, June 30, 2014

    Homemade Roasted Almond Butter

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    Almond butter is one of my new favorite foods, and is definitely a staple if you’re on whole 30 or eating Paleo. It’s a great source of protein and is delicious paired with a banana or apple! It can get pretty expensive at the grocery store, so I decided to try making my own. This is also a great way to monitor ingredients so there’s no added sugar or oils. It’s surprisingly easy and all you need is a large bag of whole raw almonds, an oven to roast them in, and a food processor! 

    I’m super excited to experiment with different flavors & types of nut butter. Maybe an almond/hazelnut blend? Maybe try adding some honey & cinnamon…. vanilla & espresso bean would be divine. So many endless possibilities. I’m in nut butter heaven! 

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    Preheat oven to 350. Measure out three cups of natural whole raw almonds. Spread evenly across baking sheet or pan, and bake for approximately 12 minutes. 

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    Next, add the almonds to your food processor and begin processing. 

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    At first it will resemble almond meal. Keep processing, scraping sides as you go. It will then start to thicken and be very hard, almost cement-like. This is normal. Keep on processing! Don’t give up. Just continue processing to get the almonds to release their oils. After around 10-15 minutes it should start to get creamy. Keep going until you get to the consistency you want. 

    Then transfer to a mason jar or other container to store. It should keep in the refrigerator for around a month or so. (Though I’m not entirely sure as we go through a whole jar in just a few days!) 

    If you want to indulge a little bit - chocolate almond butter is pretty much amazing. Once the almond butter is ready I usually separate half into a mason jar for regular almond butter, and leave the other half in the processor where I then add in semi-sweet chocolate chips (between 1/4- 1/2 cup) and process for a few minutes until blended and creamy. Then store in a separate mason jar… which you may want to hide in the back of your fridge so you do not eat the whole jar with a spoon. ;)

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    Creamy chocolately goodness. Yes, please! 

  3. Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Paleo Shepherds Pie

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    Ah, shepherds pie! Comfort food’s finest. I love this healthier Paleo version. I made it for the first time last week and it was so good I made it for dinner again last night. It’s so tasty, but I can enjoy it guilt-free! And cauliflower “mashed potatoes” are my new obsession. Seriously. I could eat them at every meal. 

    You can find the recipe I used here. I don’t have those cute ramekins she uses (note to self: buy some) so I did an 8X11 inch casserole dish. I also used lean ground turkey instead of beef, topped it with green onion instead of parsley, and added a little bit of shredded cheddar on top (we allow a little bit of dairy). The result was fantastic and this will definitely be a go-to meal for us! Enjoy!

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  4. Monday, January 13, 2014

    Southwestern Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

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    The hubs and I have been trying to eat healthy and wanted to try something new. I’ve made stuffed peppers in the past and we loved them, so I decided to try making stuffed acorn squash. I didn’t really have a recipe to follow, so I just had fun with experimenting, and was happy with the results. They turned out very flavorful & were very filling! Will definitely be making these again! 

    Here is the recipe of what I did. Feel free to make your own adjustments & experiment! You could also easily make these vegetarian friendly by simply not adding the ground turkey. 

    Southwestern Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

    (Yields 4 stuffed acorn squash halves. Total prep/cook time approximately 1 hour)

    What You’ll Need: 

    1. 2 Small Acorn Squashes, cut in half lengthwise with seeds removed
    2. 1 - 1 1/4 lb Ground Turkey
    3. 1 Red Bell Pepper 
    4. 1 Green Bell Pepper
    5. 1/3  White Onion
    6. 1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa (I used tricolor quinoa)
    7. Olive Oil 
    8. 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    9. Cilantro
    10. 1/2 tsp onion powder
    11. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    12. 1/2 tsp cumin
    13. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    14. 1 tsp paprika
    15. Salt & Pepper (to taste)

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 375. Place acorn squash halves cut side up onto a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Bake 45 minutes. 

    While acorn squash is roasting, prepare your stuffing. Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions. Chop your onions & peppers. Combine with ground turkey in large sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat until meat is browned. Once quinoa is ready, mix that in with the turkey mixture and add all of the spices, and salt & pepper to taste. Set mixture aside.

    Once acorn squash halves are ready, pull out of oven and stuff with the turkey/quinoa mixture. Top with shredded cheddar cheese (spread evenly amongst the four halves). Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. 

    Then just top with cilantro & serve. Bon Appetit! 

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  5. Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Caprese Bites

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    This last weekend Ryan and I went on a last minute trip to Carlsbad (a town near San Diego). Hope to edit and post some pictures from our trip soon… but in the meantime I wanted to share one of my favorite quick appetizers. These little caprese bites are easy to make and you may have most of the ingredients on hand already. Perfect for if you are having guests over or are just craving a yummy late-night snack. 

    What You’ll Need:

    • Toothpicks
    • Basil
    • Cherry Tomatoes
    • Mozzarella Balls
    • Balsamic Glaze
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Salt & Pepper

    Directions: 

    Place a basil leaf onto the toothpick, followed by a tomato, and mozzarella ball. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze, add salt & pepper (to taste), and enjoy!

  6. Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Italian Burrata Cheese Appetizer

    Ryan and I went to a dinner party a little while ago, and a friend made this Italian appetizer. It was so delicious that I had been craving it ever since. I decided to make it a few weeks ago, and am so glad I did. I paired it with a salami & provolone plate for a light tapas style meal. (I love eating appetizers as entrees!) It’s really a pretty simple recipe, I definitely recommend trying it out.

    What You’ll Need:

    Heirloom Tomatoes
    Burrata Cheese (Mozzarella Cheese Filled with Cream)
    Arugula & Basil Pesto (quick recipe here)
    Olive Oil
    Balsamic Vinegar
    Salt & Pepper
    Italian Loaf

    Directions:

    Dice the heirloom tomatoes into little pieces. Place burrata cheese on plate, and cover with pesto. Arrange the heirloom tomatoes around the cheese. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil & balsamic vinegar. Top tomatoes with salt & pepper. Warm the bread, slice, and top with butter and garlic (if desired). Serve. (Scoop some tomatoes, cheese, and pesto onto the bread. Yum!)

  7. Monday, July 18, 2011

    Homemade Edamame Hummus

    Ryan and I are big fans of hummus. It’s the perfect afternoon snack. I’ve made homemade hummus before. But this time I wanted to try something a little different, so I made Edamame hummus. It’s pretty much the same but it is made with Edamame (soy beans) instead of Garbanzo beans. Overall, it was quick to whip up & tasted great!

    Ingredients:

    1 ½ Cup frozen shelled edamame
    ¼ Tahini
    3 Tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
    1 Clove garlic (smashed)
    1 Teaspoon of salt
    3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    Pinch of Cumin (optional)
    Sugar snap peas, carrots, and/or warm pita bread to serve with.

    Directions: Bring small pot of salted water to boil and add the edamame. Let boil 4-5 minutes, then drain & cool. Combine the edamame, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, olive oil, and cumin in a food processor and puree until smooth. Serve with the suggested ingredients & enjoy!

  8. Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Enchilada Lasagna

    Yet another delicious recipe handed down to me from my in-laws. Trust me, you’ll want to make this. Especially if you love Mexican food! It’s also a healthier version as it’s made with lean ground turkey instead of beef. Win, Win!

    Ingredients:
    1 lb. lean ground turkey
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 large green pepper, chopped
    1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
    1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (we used low fat)
    1 tsp. chile powder
    1 10 oz. can of enchilada sauce
    6 whole-wheat flour tortillas (8 inches)
    1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend
    Sour cream + Salsa (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400F.
    2. In a large skillet cook the turkey, onion, and peppers over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in cream cheese + chile powder.
    3. Pour enchilada sauce in a shallow bowl. Dip the tortillas in sauce to coat. Place 2 tortillas in a 13 x 9 in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread with half of the turkey mixture. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers. Then top with the two remaining tortillas + cheese.
    4. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream + salsa. And a margarita if you want to make it a fiesta. ;)


                                             [The husband helping chop the onions. He’s a great sous chef!]

                                 [The dish right before going into the oven. I topped with a little bit of extra cheese!]

  9. Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Chicken Caesar Salad Wedge

    This simple chicken Caesar salad wedge is a delicious crowd pleaser. My father-in-law, Jim, taught it to me and I thought I would pass it along to you. Enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    -Boneless Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins
    -Hearts of Romaine Lettuce
    -Croutons
    -Caesar Dressing
    -Grated Parmesan Cheese
    -Italian Seasoning (for chicken)

    Directions:  Season the chicken and either grill or pan fry, then cut into strips or chunks. Cut each heart of romaine in half (vertically). Wash and dry the lettuce. Place on plate and drizzle with Caesar dressing. Sprinkle on the grated Parmesan cheese and add croutons. Then just top with the chicken breast! We typically serve with grilled flatbread or pita bread.

  10. Friday, June 10, 2011

    Breakfast Bagelwich

    Simple and oh-so-delicious. This bagelwich concoction was originally made for me when I was a guest at a friends house. It was love at first bite. I have been making it regularly ever since.

    What You’ll Need:

    -1 Bagel, Sliced

    -1 Egg

    -Sliced Avocado

    -McCormick’s Lemon Pepper Seasoning

    How To: To keep it healthy I make it with a high fiber whole grain bagel. However, if you want to throw caution to the wind - it’s amazing with an everything bagel. If you like smaller breakfasts, it also tastes great open faced. Just fry an egg, best over-hard or over-medium, and place on bagel. Then add sliced avocado and lemon pepper seasoning (which is what really kicks it up). Voila!!

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