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, 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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  3. 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!

  4. Monday, May 16, 2011

    Quinoa

       Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is really important to me. One thing I usually do not get enough of is protein. Quinoa [pronounced KEEN-WA] is an excellent source of complete protein [contains all nine essential amino acids], and is also vegan friendly [for you vegans out there]. You can read more about it here.

      I usually cook it in a saucepan following the directions on the label, and then add grilled veggies and seasoning. I’ve also made it before with sautéed peas and onion, which was really good. Serve with a salad and some warm bread for a complete meal!

  5. Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Kale Chips

    I’ve heard a lot about Kale Chips, but had never tried them before. I decided to whip up a quick batch yesterday for an afternoon snack. I was surprised at how crunchy and delicious they were! They are a great healthy alternative to potato chips. AND super easy to make too. Needless to say, I think these will be a staple here in the Kirkland household. 

    What you’ll need:

    1 Bunch of Kale
    Olive Oil
    Salt & Pepper [Or other seasoning… experimenting is fun!]
    Parchment Paper

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350. Wash Kale thoroughly. Tear off the leaves from the thick stems. Place on baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes [ovens may vary]. Then sit back and enjoy their crunchy goodness!

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