20 January 2017

Top Ten Whole 30 Recipes

It is January 20th and I am 20 days into my first round of Whole 30.

Now first, what is W30 and why did I decide to do it?
In my own view, W30 is a cleanse and reset for your body. It is a strict dietary program in which you restrain from ALL sugar, grain, dairy, alcohol, and legumes for 30 days. That means even a drop of it will not count and you are supposed to restart. After reading It Starts with Food and Whole 30 I was intrigued by all the scientific health benefits this program was promising to have on my mind and body, so I figured let's give it a whirl. 

While I was pregnant with my first son, I gained a lot of weight (like 50 lbs) and had a really, really tough time losing it. When I was about half way there (8.5 months post-Theo) we discovered I was pregnant again - surprise!! I was a bit discouraged because I was still working off the weight from Theo, but the second time around I gained another 35 lbs and I was just ready to get back to my old self! I started to going to the gym and loved that feeling, but I really needed to break a lot of the bad food habits I had gotten into over the past 2 years of pregnancy, newborns, and toddlers. We really didn't need to eat out every damn night... I actually enjoy cooking and I don't want either of my boys growing up on take out food.

So here I am! I have made a nice, homecooked meal for the last 15 or so nights (some nights we have had leftovers) and we, as a family, are getting used to fresh, real food again! It is so very exciting.

Here is a layout of how people (generally) feel during the program as your body gets used to detoxing from sugar and grain etc.:
^^ these are a little silly, but some of them are pretty accurate!^^

Day 1 - I was definitely thinking "okay this is so simple, I can do this!" (how naive)
Days 2-4 - were far and away my hardest thus far! I had a headache, my mind and body were still craving snacks (all.the.time) and on top of that, my boys were SUPER sick and all I really wanted to do was sit on the couch and drink wine from the bottle.
Days 5-12 were all about adjustment as the process got easier and really I hit my "tiger blood" day 12 and haven't looked back!

There are a few times I find myself saying "okay, I got this... I can be done now and not officially do W30" but I made the commitment to myself so I am going to finish it out! I will share my results at the end as well.

For now, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes I've had throughout this process!

I grabbed a quick shot of my meals with my iphone before I would eat, so don't mind the "not-so-fancy" food photos.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole & Strawberry Salad
 This sweet potato and buffalo chicken casserole I found over on Paleo Leap and didn't adapt it at all! A casserole is always a win, because it lasts so much longer and the buffalo flavor won my husband over! We had it for dinner one night and I was able to eat the last 2 serving for lunch over the next couple days! I served a small salad on the side with spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, red onions and walnuts!

Brussels Sprouts, Chicken and Apple Skillet!
Other than the peeling and dicing, this was another delicious skillet with a bit of fall flavor! We had this during week 2 and loved it. The recipe for this one can be found here: Harvest Chicken Skillet. I am always a fan of a one pan meal! And the key to this recipe is to cook that delicious bacon first, remove it, and cook the rest in the bacon fat! YUM!

Steak & Eggs!
 My good friend, Laura, is doing Whole 30 with her husband and she sent me a picture of some steak and eggs they had for dinner one night! I knew I wanted to make some and I saved it for a night after I had a killer workout. It was time for some protein!

For the herb-rubbed steak I just bought a sirloin and coated the top with ghee.
Then in a bowl, I mixed up some:
chopped rosemary
chopped thyme
 minced garlic
 salt and pepper
 and rubbed it all on top. I put the steak in a glass container for about 6 hours!
When it came to cooking, I just seared both sides of the steak on my cast iron skillet (about 3 minutes each side) and the put it in the oven (425) until it was to my "doneness" - for me about 7 minutes.
For the sides I just added some steam green beans with shaved almonds and 2 eggs over hard.

Curried Mango Chicken Salad
This type of chicken salad is served at one of my favorite sandwich shops and I knew I could remake it easily and it would W30 compliant! This is an easy one!

Boil some chicken and cube it (about 2 cups worth).
Cube a mango
Cut slices of green onion (I used 2 stalks)
Mince 2 stalks of celery

In a bowl add and stir together:
 3 tbsp of mayo (I used this compliant one by Primal kitchen)
1.5 tsp of curry powder
1/2 tsp of ginger powder
salt & pepper

Add in your chicken, mango, green onion, and celery and stir all together!

Salmon and Baby Potato Arugula Salad
All I did for this yummy dinner was:
Cook some sockeye salmon with a little olive oil and lemon
-Boil some baby potatoes and mix with ghee, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic
and serve over an arugula salad!

Chicken Sausage Pepper Hash
 This breakfast was FILLING and lasted me like 4 days. I made both week 2 and 3 so I would have a big, filling breakfast to start my day! I work out at 530am 4 days a week so this meal, in particular, is my favorite after a big workout! You can grab this hash recipe HERE and I served it with 2 eggs over hard on top!

Shrimp & Arugula Salad
A friend of mine had shared online this simple salad that is QUICK so I threw it together on a couple nights I didn't feel like doing too much cooking. All it is is shrimp and almonds over a bed of arugula with some lemon juice squeezed on top! I served some sweet potato wedges with cajun seasoning on the side.

Monkey Salad
I have made this for breakfast twice now when I want something besides eggs! There are a million recipes all over Pinterest for monkey salad and you can really make it whatever you'd like. In my I put 1 sliced banana, a few raspberries, a few blueberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and then I top it with a drizzle of almond butter (I made my own) and unsweetened coconut flakes!

Garlicky Shrimp Stir Fry
 My husband and I love a good stirfry and this one with shrimp and mushrooms was delicious! I found it over on Skinnytaste and while my husband had it over jasmine rice, I served mine over bean sprouts.

Southwest Scrambled Eggs
This easy recipe came straight from the Whole 30 book and was a light a refreshing staple in my breakfast routine. It's as easy as it looks - just 2 scrambled eggs topped with avocado and compliant salsa (you can make your own or I found mine at Whole Foods).

So there you have it, 10 of my favorite recipes so far!

There are a bunch more that could be on this list, like the fried cauliflower rice I made last night - YUM! I may have to add a second round of recipes soon.

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13 January 2017

Calvin turns 9 Months and His First Christmas

 Another month has come and gone. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my little Calvin will be a YEAR old in just 3 short months. The first year of life is such a milestone for parents and I cannot believe it is coming up so quickly.

Of course, it's a milestone for the child as well as there are so many changes in their life in such a short time.  My little guy is growing like a weed, getting new teeth every week, and really cruising all over our furniture. 

I have been saying for months (really, years) now that I want 4 children and after I turn 30 this April we can really think about trying for baby 3 However, these last couple weeks both Calvin and Theo were terribly sick and with both boys active and moving all over the place, I began wondering if maybe our 2 boys will be it. I sometimes feel torn between wanting another and also wanting to get onto the next stage of life - growing up, no more pregnancies/babies/etc. So who knows. They say you just know when you're done.. so maybe I will know...

Here is my sweet boy's update:

As you can see, he is as smiley as ever and he is really starting to get a little personality. His big brother still runs the show (attention hog anyone?!), but Calvin isn't letting big bro push him to the side. He is a giggly little one who still loves being held, being read to, and now he loves to eat solids!

He also celebrated his first Christmas a few weeks ago and let me tell you that day flew by. I host a breakfast in the morning with my immediate family and then around noon my extended family comes over for lunch, so I was a bit busy running around and cooking all day to snap too many pictures, but here are a few ones I gathered up:

We all go out to dinner on Christmas Eve!

Then early to rise for presents:

We also got a surprise gift...
My soon-to-be sister in law asked me and my sisters to be bridesmaids in her wedding!!
And my brother asked Parker to be his best man!

It was a long day but around 4pm Tina, Weezil, Parker and I decided to head down to Foxwoods and surprise my brother and his fiance for the night! They headed down earlier for a little getaway and we thought it would be a fun surprise to just show up! My mom and aunt Shirley put the boys down for bed and babysat while we headed down. It was so much fun! Such a great night :)

This month we are getting back into our work schedules and planning out a whole new year of fun and adventure! 
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