Food

Summer Smoothie Made with Sambazon Açaí Juice

This post was going to be for an açaí bowl but I'm still experimenting with the right recipe to get a bowl, not smoothie. I used a little too much almond milk in this one and ended up with an açaí smoothie, but let me tell ya, it was still delish! I actually really love these and Aaron does too. They're fruitful, refreshing and perfect for summer -- you can't mess up the açaí flavor! The flavor combinations are endless, too!

For this one, I blended frozen strawberries, a banana, chia seeds, almond milk and the açaí juice.

Acai & Almond Milk Smoothie
Acai & Almond Milk Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie

I've also tried this recipe with spinach and hemp seeds that add a lot of great nutrition, and I'm loving them! I think magic ingredient for this drink is the sambazon açaí juice I recently picked up from Costco. You can purchase a double pack for just $8! I'm definitely adding this to my list of Costco must-haves!

Acai Smoothi
Acai Smoothi

Are you a fan of the açaí flavor? 

Do you shop at Costco? Discover any new, great products there lately? 

Raspberry Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

Raspberry-Coconut-Chia-Recipe
Raspberry-Coconut-Chia-Recipe

This recipe is incredibly easy to make!

Simply blend 1/4 cup of chia seeds, 1 cup of almond (coconut or regular) milk, a big handful of raspberries and a 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut. Then refridgerate the mixture for at least 8 hours or overnight. When it's time to for a snack, scoop out some chia pudding and top it with fruit, more coconut shreds, granola or cacao nibs and enjoy!

Note: If you don't have a blender, that's OK! Just combine the chia seeds and milk in a Ziploc or other airtight container and refridgerate. This chia seeds will expand and create a plain-tasting pudding that's your canvas for whatever flavor combination you have in mind! Top with peaches, honey and granola or bananas, nut butter and peanuts, or whatever other combination of toppings you think would taste good!

Also, this is just for fun, but I absolutely love storing food in these oversized mason jars I snagged from Target! They're the best!

Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding
Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding

What's your favorite chia seed recipe?

What do you top your chia pudding with?


New Year, New You with this Bumble Bee® Tuna Recipe!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day, friends! I hope those of you off work are enjoying the long weekend!

With this being the first official holiday of 2015, I thought it'd be a good time to check-in with where you are meeting your new-year new-you goals! I know some of you have hit the ground running since the stroke of midnight this new year to make healthy habits stick. I also know that for some of you the countdown to the wedding just got a lot closer and you mean business!

You need change. You need results. It's a new year and you're ready to transform!

Well, my advice is start any major change with small steps, such as by swapping healthy recipes for your regular go-to snacks and meals. This twist on your classic favorite -- tuna salad! -- is the perfect way to start healthier snacking in 2015!

tuna-bell-pepper-boats
tuna-bell-pepper-boats
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

Now, I'll admit, there are some things I've said won't ever taste as good as the way I grew up eating them but, what I've learned on my weight loss journey is that healthy food can sometimes taste just as good, if not better, than the foods I used to eat.

The trick is using nutritious food that keeps me feeling full longer - like plump bell peppers and meaty Bumble Bee®  tuna- and, getting a little creative. These tuna salad, bell pepper boats are a prime example!!

I didn't think there was such a thing as tuna salad without gobs of real mayonnaise and sweet relish, but I was wrong! This recipe, adopted from Against All Grain, really surprised me! Paired with deliciously plump bell peppers, these tuna boats are tasty and satisfying! I also made my own mayonnaise for the first time (only four ingredients, delicious, and EASY! I used this recipe.

Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

I was also pleasantly surprised how chunky and meaty this Bumble Bee® was! I love tuna because it's an easy and delicious way to add a variety of nutrients to your diet, including lean protein, healthy fat, and important vitamins and minerals.

Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

I hope you love this recipe as much as I did!

Tuna Salad Bell Pepper Boats

Recipe Type

:

Snack, Lunch

Cuisine:

American

Author:

Adopted from Against All Grain Paleo Tuna Salad

Prep time:

15 mins

Total time:

15 mins

Serves:

4 boats

These bell pepper tuna boats are the perfect snack to pack for lunch, dish out when you get home after a long day at work, or snack on with your kiddos. !

Ingredients

  • 3 cans of Bumble Bee Tuna in water (drained)
  • 1 cup of paleo mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup of red onion
  • handful fresh dill
  • 1/4 of an apple diced
  • Juice from 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sweet relish (or dill, your choice)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: teaspoon of red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. After draining tuna
  2. Add to a bowl and top with other ingredients
  3. Mix well
  4. Slice bell peppers in half and de-seed (rinse)
  5. Scoop mixed tuna salad into bell pepper boats
  6. Store and save remaining tuna in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (though, mine didn't last that long cause I ate it pretty quick!)

3.2.2885

Feel free to pin this image to find this recipe on-the-go!

Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

What's your favorite Bumble Bee® recipe? 

--

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Whole30 Recipes {Favorites List}

best-whole30-meals-1
best-whole30-meals-1

Now that I've done the Whole30 I want to tell everyone about it and all the foods they can eat during it! I know when people hear they'd have to cut out sugar, grains, and dairy, they automatically panic wondering what will be left to eat, but I'm here to tell you: plenty!

This list of tried and true recipes is proof! It's delicious food that will leave you satisfied and feeling good. This list includes my favorite snacks, condiments, and recipes, as well as the favorite recipes of the girls who did the Whole30 with me -- thanks ladies!

Snacks:

  • Carrots
  • Wholly guacamole packs
  • Apple + almond/cashew/or sunbutter
  • Black Kalamata olives (my fav!!!)
  • Pickles
  • Trail mix of pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, coconut shreds, and raisins
  • Larabars
  • That's it bars
  • Ants on a log (almond butter and raisins on celery)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Sliced red or orange or yellow bell peppers
  • Sliced cucumber 'crackers' and tuna/chicken/egg salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Guacamole & cut veggies
  • Plantain chips (homemade or store bought)
  • Homemade apple chips

Condiments:

  • Organic spicy brown mustard (I love this on salmon!)
  • French's regular mustard
  • Fresh salsa

Breakfast: 

Lunch/Dinner: 

Crockpot:

Dessert: 

  • "Fried" bananas -- cook slices of banana in coconut oil sprinkled with cinnamon (optional: top with coconut flakes or pour over almond butter; or both!)
  • Banana chia pudding
  • Organic cinnamon applesauce
  • Pomegranate seeds

"Fast" Restaurants:

  • Chipotle - Carnitas salad bowl with pico de gallo (tomatoes), and guacamole (Carnitas is the only meat that is compliant at Chipotle)
  • Cava Mezze - Salad with chicken toppings: pickled onions, olives, cucumbers and evoo, topped with evvo and lemon
  • True Food Kitchen - Bison burger "protein style" with no mayo side of sweet potato hash and kale salad (hold the parmesan)

Also, a head's up: I'm planning to do another Whole30 in January!! Yay!!

I'd actually love to do it sooner but it's not recommended you attempt a Whole30 over the holidays, which makes total sense to me. However, I am very much looking forward to round two in January and I'd love for you to join me! Let me know if you're interested and I'll make sure to include you in any discussions leading up to it!

What's your favorite Whole30 recipes? 

Would you say this list is too restrictive? 


Final Recap of the Whole30

This is it guys - I made it! I finished the Whole30!

Yay!!!

How did I celebrate? Well, I haven't yet. I had plans to go out tonight but it's rainy and cold, and all I really want to do is curl up on the couch! I did splurge this morning with a rainbow sparkle donut and coffee from Dunkin... and it was so, so good! I also had a mini snickers last night. It's funny the very first thought I had was: I want another one. The sugar monster doesn't wait long to rear its ugly head, does it?

I wanted to do a quick recap of the last two days of eats even though I didn't take a lot of pictures. Read more below.

whole30-full recap
whole30-full recap

Day 29: B: Monkey salad of course and black coffee (I'm loving the donut shop blend). L: Whipped butternut squash with chunks of apple and apple-chicken sausage topped with nutmeg, cinnamon and pecans.* Throughout the afternoon I snacked on an apple, applesauce, and plantains.

D: Kale salad with cumin-flavored dressing (1/ c apple cider vinegar, 1/4 c evoo, cumin, paprika, and sea salt to taste), topped with rotisserie chicken and oranges; the oranges were awesome! I'm addicted to those little guys!

Day 30: B: Eggs scrambled with bell pepper and onion and a chicken sausage link; so good! Second breakfast: Monkey salad -- also so good! L: Butternut squash mix take two; applesauce, an apple and plantains. D: I had an event immediately after work so dinner was a random mix of things: a bell pepper, plantain chips, olives, and a few halos.

Dessert - MY FIRST TASTE OF CHOCOLATE: a miniature snickers!

THE END! :)

I talked about how great I felt during the Whole30 - not just physically but mentally as well. It was such a confidence boost to take this challenge and stick with it till the end.

Physically I'm not sure I've ever looked better -- ! I'm down to my wedding weight (not that the number matters, jus' sayin') and I've dropped a whole pant size, which makes shopping such a joy right now! (Oh, hello size six! It's been awhile!)

I also want to point out that I've had some pretty incredible gains in CrossFit since starting the Whole30, too. I can't say whether one has anything to do with the other but I've PR'd my thruster and power clean, and Rx'd workouts I never thought possible.

Even though I know this week there'll be some splurges I do plan to continue to try to incorporate Whole30 principles in my diet, keeping in mind the four food principles, and recommending this "reset" to others as well.

Special thanks to my CFFC (CrossFit) friends for inspiring me to do this!

What's your favorite k-cup flavor?

Are you shopping for black Friday?

Any questions about Whole30?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be back Monday, Dec. 1st.

If you’re just joining me, catch up by reading my recap of Weeks One + Two + Three + Four.


Whole 30 {Week 4 Recap}

Hey, hey! Happy Monday! My Whole30 challenge ends tomorrow! Can you believe it's been 30 days already? It feels like I was just gearing up to start and now, it's over!

This has been an incredible journey for me. I feel really proud of the fact that I made it to the end -- I didn't quit! And, I only had one small cheat!

I'm more confidence having realized that when I put my mind to something, I can achieve it! I am also thankful for all the revelations (allofthem!). I was really able to differentiate an emotional appetite and real hunger. My sense of taste and smell improved. I've also inspired others around me, like my mom, which I think is pretty cool.

This last week was unique because I did the juice cleanse, but once that was over, I went back to the Whole30 way-- monkey salads, lunch club salads, and applesauce for dessert!

There's a full breakdown of my final week of Whole30 eats below!

whole30-week-4 recap
whole30-week-4 recap

Day 22: B: Monkey salad and black coffee L: Leftover PaleOMG roasted red pepper soup with a side of raw green beans; small salad club salad. D: Two chicken lime burger patties with spicy brown mustard, a pickle, and some olives.

Throughout the day I snacked on an apple, almond butter, and plantain chips.

Days 23, 24, and 25: Nothing but juice!

Day 26:  B: Roasted butternut squash, sliced apples, and apple chicken sausage with black coffee. Second breakfast: monkey salad. L: A few slices of turkey breast and some brussel sprouts during a holiday potluck at work. A salad club salad later in the day. CrossFit! D: Date night! We went to Cava Grill at the Mosaic District. I got a salad of "powergreens" and topped it with chicken, the cucumber and olive oil salad, pickled onions, salsa, and olives. I also topped the whole thing with the house-made olive oil and lemon juice and treated myself to a pellegrino. It was really, really good!

Whole30 Food Diary
Whole30 Food Diary
2014-11-23_0002
2014-11-23_0002
Cave Mezza Grill Whole30
Cave Mezza Grill Whole30

I almost walked out of Cava because it looked like there wasn't much I could have there: the pita, the rice, the hummus or tzatziki (things I usually love!), but I decided to stay and try to make it work and I did! It just goes to show, if you want it to work, you can make it work (and the result may surprise you! This turned out to be very tasty)!  

Day 27:CrossFit! B: Lox omelette and double fruit with black coffee. L: Snacked on a Larabar and some plantain chips while we ran errands. In the afternoon I ate a random bowl of guacamole, chunks of rotisserie chicken and these new sweet potato chips I snagged from Costco.

*I realized later they are made with canola oil (the label says and/or saffron oil and/or sunflower oil). The Whole30 program doesn't strictly prohibit canola oil, but they do suggest omitting vegetable oils from food consumed at home (it's impossible to avoid it when you're eating out). Plus, they're chips... so they're processed. Probably not the best snack! 

D: Salmon cooked with spicy brown mustard and ghee (a new favorite combo!) with a side of broccoli and a half a sweet potato.

Whole30 Food Diary
Whole30 Food Diary

Day 28: B: An apple with almond butter. Eggs and bacon. Black coffee. D: Chipotle bowl of carnitas, guacamole, lots of lettuce and salsa.

I snacked on a Larabar and black olives that evening.

Alright, so, I know you're wondering...

What's the first non-Whole30 food I want to have? 

A donut and iced latte! I've been craving a donut for about 2 weeks! I'm going for a maple glazed, chocolate glazed, or maybe both! :)

Other questions you might be wondering... 

What about Thanksgiving, what's your plan? 

I'm going to eat what I want on Thanksgiving (guilt free!) (and actually, we have two Thanksgiving dinners to attend; a second on Saturday) but outside of those dinners, my goal is to stick to Whole30 food principles.

I'm also planning to make a banana chia pudding for Thanksgiving. Aaron and I both fell in love with the chia pudding we had at True Food Kitchen a few weeks ago and I think it'll surprise our family to find out this delicious dessert is healthy, too!

What Whole30 foods will you continue to eat? 

  • Lots! I'm definitely going to have more monkey salads; I love them!
  • Of course my salad club salads aren't going anywhere either.
  • I'll still make all my favorite paleo recipes from PaleOMG, and my chicken sausage egg casserole is a staple always in my rotation.

What are your favorite Whole30 recipes and/or snacks?

  • I'm a big fan of Wholly guacamole now; it's so convenient and so good!
  • I loved this acorn squash recipe. I'd like to make it again.
  • I love snacking on black olives now... weird cause I used to not like olives!
  • Oh and, chia pudding! I'm a huge fan of that now!

Anything you're worried about? 

  • Coffee creamer: I don't want to go back! I was such an addict before! I've gotten really used to black coffee, but I could see myself slipping back into this old habit...
  • Also, sugar. The number one food rule for Whole30 is to eat foods that "promote a healthy psychological response," and obviously sugar is not one of those foods. In fact, it does the opposite! I'd like to think I could eat it in moderation but if there's a psychological response, that seems like a fine line to walk.

Did you lose any weight?

  • I didn't weigh myself before the challenge but I'm pretty sure I was around 155-156 lbs and when I weighed myself for the first time Saturday, I was 150 lbs. So, yes, I lost about 6 lbs. I knew I was smaller because all of my clothes are loose. Shopping recently, I noticed I dropped a pant size, too.

What other noticeable differences are there?

Final take-aways?

I started watching GMO OMG (the documentary) last night and realized I still have a lot to learn about food. Technically, if I ate anything with GMOs during the Whole30, which I likely did since GMOs are so prevalent, then that means it was soy or corn fed and therefore, notWhole30 compliant. It's hard to understand these kinds of complexities in the modern American diet, but I hope to continue to educate myself and eat mostly whole (non-processed) foods.

Would you do it again? 

Absolutely!!

What about you; would you do a Whole30? 

Have you ever read It Starts with Food? 

Any questions for me about the experience? 

If you’re just joining me, catch up by reading my recap of Weeks One + Two + Three.


My 3-Day Juice Cleanse with South Block Juicery

Hey, hey! Happy Friday! As you may already know, I paused on the Whole30 Program to do a 3-day juice cleanse with South Block Cafe & Micro Juicery. I've long been a fan of South Block; I go there all the time for fresh pressed juice, smoothies, and recently sampled some of their *new* raw treats, which were delish! When I got the chance to test out the cleanse and have it delivered via their *new* delivery service, I could not resist! 18 bottles of cold-pressed juice delivered to my doorstep? Yes, please! :) three day juice cleanse

Juice Delivery

I should mention that I've never done a juice cleanse before; this was my first! I've tried a few juices here and there but never six-a-day for three full days (no food)! With this month's mantra being Now or Never and stronger-than-ever will power built up from 20+ days Whole30, I decided to go for it. Read below the jump for a day-by-day account of my experience.

Day one: The taste of the first juice was a little shocking! It had a real zing to it and not at all what I was expecting. I could really taste the ginger, too, which, I think worked in my favor because that morning I happen to wake up with a really sore throat, which is now gone completely. DETOX made me feel instantly alert and awake; definitely more so than from my usual morning cup of coffee!

3-Day Juice Cleanse South Block

The second juice of the day :: GLOW :: was sweet and delicious -- an instant favorite. The third juice, though, :: GREENS :: turned out to be my least favorite. I joked with Aaron that it tasted like earth, Lol! With a mix of cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, fennel, lime and mint it's  no wonder this juice tasted earthy.

By lunch time I started to feel a bit perplexed by this idea of not eating. I usually graze throughout the entire day so I felt a little off and like something was missing! I was also sad not to have my usual salad club salad and I found myself day dreaming about all kinds of unhealthy foods, like donuts, ice cream, and pizza -- which, I haven't even during the Whole30! 

I drank the fourth juice at the end of the day and it gave me a real boost of engery. CURE has a really powerful zing, probably from the mixture of cayenne and ginger. I wasn't sure I liked it at first, but on the second day, this was my favorite juice.

3-Day Juice Cleanse South Block Before + After 

After work I decided to take it easy; after all, the cleanse instructions say to "unplug," and so I did just a few things around the house and on my computer. Oddly, I didn't feel very hungry, my stomach didn't growl and I wasn't tempted by food in the house. I did at one point eat a mini seedless cucumber and a few almonds. I didn't feel bad about it, though. I mean, a mini cucumber? COME ON!  


Day 2: On day two I worked from home and drank my juice every two hours, as prescribed. I felt really alert and energized throughout the day but the thought of food wasn't far from my mind. In fact, Aaron was home and when he cooked some eggs, I had to shut the door to my office to keep out the aroma; they smelled so good! I enjoyed my second juice, GLOW, with a side of vanilla tea.

3 Day Juice Cleanse South Block

Even though I didn't FEEL hungry my stomach did start to growl in the afternoon; obviously my body knew something was up! I ended up eating another seedless cucumber to just settle my stomach. It was such a treat to chew on something! I started to feel a little giddy afterward!

By 5 o'clock I was a little stir crazy from being at home all day so I made plans to go to CrossFit - juice cleanse or not, I needed to get my sweat on! 

By the time I got there at 7:30, I had already had five of the six juices of the day. I didn't feel weak or tired or anything but I did have a little hectic (probably from caffeine withdrawals). The workout was a doozy: A 20-minute AMRAP of 20 thrusters (135/95), 20 pull-ups and 20 burpees. I walked in thinking there was no way I would Rx this one - 95 lbs! But as I racked my bar I decided to go for it! I told myself to just take it slow; after all, I had 20 minutes!

I'm so glad I pushed myself because I made it through two rounds of those heavy thrusters! They were especially difficult during the second round --  I did them one at a time and there were a lot of failed attempts -- but I left CrossFit feeling invigorated! What a great workout!! 

When I got home I was immediately comforted by my very favorite juice CAVEMAN MYLK. I could live off this stuff, it's so DELICIOUS!! It doesn't taste like milk at all but has a milk texture, thick and creamy and it's a little sweet from the dates, but not too sweet. It's by far my favorite juice and one I'll definitely get again! 

3 Day Juice Cleanse South Block


Day 3: Day three felt like a breeze in comparison to days one and two; at this point I was committed, more than halfway there... I could make it another day! But, I did break down and have a banana in the morning. I felt completely satisfied by it, though, and knew I'd be good throughout the rest of the day. 

I really took it easy on the third day and actually had quite a long nap in the afternoon. I love that this cleanse turned into a period of rest. It felt so good to let myself just relax. I always feel compelled to workout, work on the blog, just go-go-go, and sometimes it was such a treat to let myself do nothing.

In the end, my favorite juices turned out to be CURE (pictured below); the really zingy juice with a punch, GLOW, the sweet and semi-tart juice, and of course, the CAVEMAN MYLK, which was such a nice reward at the end of each day.

South Block Juicery

All and all, I'm really glad that I gave juicing a try. For me, personally I think I'm more comfortable supplementing my diet with juice, not relaying on it solely. But, I do see the benefit in juicing if you're in a cycle of making poor food choices and need to jumpstart to begin making healthier choices.

I also think it's important to have an after-cleanse plan because hunger can sometimes deter people from making good food choices. Obviously this whole process would have been pointless if I dove headfirst into cake after the cleanse. (Thankfully I had the Whole30 to go back to and will be doing that until Thanksgiving.)

Also, South Block makes it so easy to juice! You can customize your six pack, picking your favorite flavors, and they'll deliever them to your doorstep if you're within 20 miles of their East Falls Church location. And, there's a promo code for free delivery (code: freedeliver; normally $10) now until Feb. 14 2015.

South Block Juice Free Delivery

Soon South Block will also be opening up a cafe next to their existing location in Clarendon serve raw foods and Kombucha on tap! I already know I'll be by to pickup more dark chocolate caveman balls -- they are so, so good (and Whole30 compliant)!

2014-11-16 11.32.13 2014-11-16 11.31.58

For more information on cleanses, check out the South Block FAQs page at  http://southblockjuice.com/pages/faq. There's also a cleanse guide at http://southblockjuice.com/pages/cleanse-guide.

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? 

Whole30 {Week 3 Recap}

whole30-week-3 recap
whole30-week-3 recap

Hi guys! Happy Monday! I'm officially starting my fourth week of the Whole30 program and wow, just wow! The more I eat the Whole30 way, the more I love it. Here are a few recent revelations:

  • I'm saving a ton of money by not eating out as often or stopping at Starbucks and buying pricey coffees, and passing up on booze at bars and restaurants.
  • I'm a positive influence on those around me. I've seen my mom respond to the changes I've made by trying to do the same for herself, which is really exciting. My boss is also experimenting with a version of Whole30 and Aaron's embracing it as well.
  • I waste a lot less. I eat all the food we buy. There's nothing stored on a shelf for a rainy day and leftovers don't spoil. We buy week-to-week (with the exception of Costco hauls for meat) and I love embracing a waste-not, want-not mentality.
  • Food tastes GOOD! The simplest foods taste so good: roasted sweet potatoes with olive oil and sea salt; apples and almond butter; even black coffee!
  • Believe it or not, I've been ENJOYING black coffee (go figure!)
  • Oil and vinegar is all I need. I used to worry about giving up my beloved salad dressings but I don't miss them at all. We had a cumin-flavored cabbage and kale salad the other night and the flavors just popped! I also recently Ah, Oil & Vinegar, a boutique that sells speciality oils and vinegars -- I picked up a sample pack this weekend and the pomegranate balsamic is my new favorite dressing!
  • The recipes never cease to amaze me and there's so many I've yet to try! You might think this way of eating is very limited (I can't tell you how many times people ask "What in the world do you eat?") but in my opinion, there's plenty of options! So much so that 30 days isn't enough to try it all.
  • I don't miss mindless eating at all. I really prefer eating quality food that I've prepared with some thought over filling my body with what's within reach. It feels so good to show restraint and make a conscious choice; not just eat something because it's in front of me.
  • I really love being in tune with my body. Not to get all yogi on you, but I totally believe in a mind-body connection and I love being so in tune with myself. It feels like my body is 'giving back' in a way, too, with improved energy levels and sense of pride and feeling better overall. Treat yo' self has a whole new meaning.

Read exactly what I've been eating below the jump!

Day 15: B: Eggs and chicken sausage with a side of grapes and black coffee. (Then I went to CrossFit for a 3,000 meter row - ugh!) L: After CrossFit I ran a bunch of errands and only had a larabar on me. I was starving by dinner! B: I tried a stuffed acorn squash for the first time and it was so good! The only picture I snapped did not make it look at all appealing so I decided against posting it; however, I highly recommend this dish! It's very, very tasty! After dinner I snacked on plantain chips and ate a pickle.

Day 16: B: Eggs cooked in salsa and chicken sausage with a side of grapes. For a mid-morning snack I ate wholly guacamole and carrots. L: I went to the mall with a friend and didn't sit down to eat with her until about 5 hours later! I was starving! At Elevation burger I ordered the bison burger wrapped in lettuce with tomato, onion and mustard, but it didn't fill me up so I ordered another one (kid's size), and left feeling satisfied! (Also proud I didn't touch my friend's big plate of french fries!)

Whole30 Breakfast
Whole30 Breakfast

Day 17: B: Back to work so my usual: a monkey salad, but I added almond butter for a twist. (I actually ended up preferring it without the almond butter but it wasn't bad.) L: I ate a salad club salad with chicken sausage with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for dressing. I snacked on olives and a pickle when I got home from work. D: Cooked salmon smeared with spicy brown mustard and leftover cabbage and broccoli; applesauce for dessert. Awhile later I ate a few apple slices with almond butter. (I've been on a serious almond butter kick this week!)

Salad Club Salad
Salad Club Salad
2014-11-15_0002
2014-11-15_0002

Day 18: B: Monkey salad and black coffee - my new favorite breakfast combo! L: Salad club salad with chicken sausage (I'm boring, Lol) topped with... you guessed it! Balsamic vinegar and evoo. I also had some plantain chips. In the afternoon I had an apple and almond butter, a That's it bar from Starbucks and another black coffee.D: I hit up a Pilates after work with ClassPass then made PaleOMG roasted red pepper and avocado soup for dinner... I LOVE THIS SOUP! It's so good and was perfect for a rainy, cold night.

PaleOMG Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup
PaleOMG Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup

Day 19: B: Monkey salad! (Are you totally over seeing that yet?? It's just so convenient and easy and I love it. I'm a creature of habit, I suppose!)  L: Leftover soup with chicken sausage and an apple and almond butter. D: Date night! We tried True Food Kitchen, a progressive restaurant promoting the anti-inflammatory diet. (I'll be blogging more about this place soon.) I got the bison burger "protein style" no mayo with a side of sweet potato hash and a small lemon kale salad. It was delish!

TrueFoodKitchen_Whole30
TrueFoodKitchen_Whole30

For dessert (yep -- there was a Whole30-approved dessert!) I got banana chia pudding. I've always been a bit worried about chia pudding because of the texture but it was seriously the most delicious dessert, ever! (I'm hooked!) Aaron said it was better than his cake and ice cream dessert! #healthywins :)

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2014-11-15_0005

Day 20: B: I started the day with CrossFit (Fight Gone Bad) then had eggs cooked in black truffle evoo (from Ah, Oil & Vinegar), bacon (I finally found paleo-approved no-sugar added kind from Whole Foods), with a side of apple slices and almond butter.

Whole30_Breakfast
Whole30_Breakfast

L: For lunch I snacked on the other half of my apple with more almond butter, some olives and almonds. D: Two bunless beef burgers marinated in balsamic vinegar topped with spicy brown mustard and a few banana peppers. Sides included small white potatoes cooked in onions and more black truffle evoo and green beans! For dessert we had homemade banana chia pudding (I used this recipe). Told you I was hooked!

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2014-11-15 20.07.49

The bad news: I had a small cheat on Day 20! Some friends were in town and going to a bar right near my house. I didn't want to be rude and not join them so I went and had a glass of red wine! I also had about three glasses of water! I contemplated a second glass of wine but ultimately decided I needed to finish my commitment to the Whole30. Even though I know this is a no-no according to the Whole30 program rules, I felt really good about the restraint I showed! I also didn't let the cheat derail me. I was right back on track the following day! 

Day 21: I used ClassPass to check out Revolve Fitness for a morning spin class, which was great! Then I popped over to South Block Cafe and got the Green Caveman, a smoothie made up of kale, bananas, dates, and delicious cashew milk! It's my new favorite smoothie from there! (SO good!)

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2014-11-16 11.32.13

I also picked up a few of Caveman Balls made up of walnuts, dates, cacao powder, coconut, vanilla, coconut oil and sea salt. They were such a treat! I ate about three!

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2014-11-16 11.31.58

Between the smoothie and these treats, I think I should have used a bit more caution! The Whole30 website says dates are allowed but, "these little sugar bombs pack a big punch—they’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30. We recommend against using them as a “treat” to feed your sugar dragon." 

Oops! :)

D: Chicken with whipped butternut squash topped with pecans and a side salad of kale, broccoli, and cabbage; we used pomegranate balsamic vinegar for dressing. It was good! I also had a little almond butter after dinner; I think I've eaten almost the entire jar this week!

So, there you have it! Weeks one, two, and three! Woo hoo! I can't believe I'm already in the final week! Eek! I'm really proud of myself for making this far without giving up or throwing in the towel. It feels good to have stuck with it this long!

With that said, these next few days are going to be a little different. I'm trying a three-day juice cleanse from South Block Cafe! I'll be instagramming a lot throughout the cleanse and promise to give you a full report Thursday when it's over. In the meantime, wish me luck! I've never a done a cleanse! :)

Oh, and of course, I plan to get right back on the Whole30 when the cleanse is over; at that point I'll have just 5 days to go!

Have you ever done a juice cleanse?

Have you ever tried flavored balsamic vinegars or olive oils? 

Do you like dates?

What's your favorite Whole30 snack or recipe?

If you're just joining me, catch up by reading my recap of Week One + Two of the Whole30! 


Whole30 {Week 2 Recap}

Hey guys! Happy Monday! It's been an incredible week since I last updated you. I'm midway through the Whole30 program and I've had some amazing meals and some pretty incredible revelations, too. I'm really quite proud of myself for making it this far without a single cheat and especially for sticking with it during a week I had two events to attend that were flowing with free food and alcohol.

Someone commented last week and said the first week is the easiest and on about Day 9, when this suddenly felt really hard, I agreed! However, I'm pleased to report that I made it through the week (including both events) without a single cheat! Not even a sip of wine! Powering through these occasions gave me a lot of confidence and will power and it turns out, after it gets harder, it gets easier again. Here's a peak into my food log:

whole30-week-2

Day 8:  B: Green bell pepper and onion egg scramble from the cafeteria at work; second breakfast of monkey salad and black coffee. L: Salad club salad with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegar with an afternoon snack of wholly guacamole and carrots and a few black olives. I also went shopping at lunch and stopped in Starbucks for a grande iced green tea and That's it mango-apple bar. D: Romaine lettuce boats with salsa, banana peppers, Applegate roasted turkey breast, and spicy brown mustard. I also had a few grapes.

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I know the Applegate turkey is conversational and not 100% Whole30 compliant but I think we're all entitled to eat what works for us, with regard to the parameters and purpose of the program. If I was eating cookies because that's "what works for me" that would obviously be different. Eating the only sliced turkey or bacon I could find after reading every labels of every option available at the grocery store? A-OK in my book. 

Day 9:  B: Same as yesterday: green bell pepper and onion egg scramble with a second breakfast of monkey salad and black coffee. L: Salad club salad with slices of Casual Gourmet roasted red pepper and spinach chicken sausage with an afternoon snack of Wholly guacamole and carrots (again) and an apple. D: I had another salad with chicken sausage because I was in a pinch for time and didn't have anything premade at home (tisk, tisk). I tried switching it up by adding spicy mustard as dressing (after I'd already topped it with evoo and red wine vinegar) but I didn't like it at all! In fact, I thought it was gross! Mustard as dressing is a no-go for this girl! Eck!

Whole30 Week 2 Recipes

I went to CrossFit and then picked up Aaron from class... he went to McDonalds (!!!!!!), which, I don't even like McDonalds, but I have to say smelled SO good. When we got home I was feeling frustrated about my off-dinner and decided to treat myself. I cooked bananas in coconut oil, topped them with cinnamon, and put them on a dollop of almond butter. Then I topped the whole thing with coconut shreds! It was DEEEEE-LICIOUS! My tastebuds went nuts. So sweet and so, so good!

Whole30 Week 2 Recipes

Day 10: B: Eggs and leftover bacon from last week with a side of grapes; second breakfast... you guessed it -- monkey salad! L: Romaine lettuce topped with ground turkey, avocado and salsa. I also snacked on a sliced apple and almonds. D: Then, finally, I made a casserole -- the Paleomg 5-ingredient pizza, one of my faves!

SONY DSC

This was the night of the gala! I packed cashews, apple slices and carrots in a Ziploc and went with the motto "keep calm and eat cashews," in mind. Lol! I wasn't hungry at all so I wasn't tempted by the food but at one point I did get a whiff of some chocolate (my sense of smell is on point right now!) and man, it smelled good!!!!! I stuck to my guns, though and THAT felt even better! I left unscathed and you are not going to believe this, but I picked up Aaron from class and what did he do? Go to McDonalds again! (Shame on you babe!)

This time, with my will power strengthened by sticking to my guns at the gala, I didn't feel the slightest bit of temptation.

Day 11:  B: Monkey breakfast with a second breakfast of Paleomg pizza. L: Salad club salad with chicken sausage and same snacks: Wholly guacamole, carrots and an apple. The chicken sausage really helped me feel a lot fuller from my Salad club salad than usual. D: For dinner I cooked salmon in ghee and smeared with spicy brown mustard. On the side I had cabbage, sweet potato hash, and applesauce. (I'm in love with applesauce. That is all!)

Whole30 Week 2 Recap Whole30 Week 2 Recap Whole30 Week 2 Recap

Day 12: B: Larabar after early morning yoga. Then Paleomg pizza and eggs with my mom (she loved it)! L: Incredible double-decker chicken lime burger with lettuce, avocado, sweet potato, and spicy brown mustard topped with banana peppers! The pictures are awful but it was so, so good! I felt like a mad scientist as I was making it! You'll find a way out of no way when you're hungry! :) D: Small plate of veggies, prosciutto and fruit at a holiday party. (Yay me for not giving into the wine, champagne and cake)!

Whole30 Week 2 Recipes Whole30 Week 2 Recipes Whole30 Week 2 Recipes Whole30 Week 2 Recipes

Day 13: B: CrossFit then breakfast at City Dinner. I tried the lox, onion and egg omelette and added a side of fruit. I've never had a lox omelette but I loved it! It's so good! Now I'm on the hunt for a recipe to make it at home. L: Snacked on almonds and apple slices at Ikea... gotta be prepared! D: I ate a Larabar and more Paleomg pizza for dinner. We went to the mall (long day!) and when we got home I treated myself to a few pickles and applesauce (weird combination, I know)!

Whole30 Week 2 Recipes

Day 14: B: I was in a rush and only got to eat about half of my usual monkey salad. I had a photoshoot and afterward, met up with Aaron at Cheesecake Factory. I thought for sure they'd have a few options for me but everything on the menu seemed to include tortillas or cheese or both! I ended up ordering the chirizo and avocado egg omelette with no cheese or sour cream. The chef came out and asked me if I was lactose intolerant! When I told him I was just on a special diet -- no dairy -- he informed me the eggs are made with cream (what?) so he used egg whites instead.

I've found that when you ask for specifications at restaurants the waiters are usually pretty accommodating! My old trainer used to tell me to be a "food snob," and I've definitely embraced that during this challenge.

L: I didn't really eat lunch because we ate a very late breakfast but I snacked on bits of this recipe while I prepared it. D: I made a kale, broccoli slaw, and cabbage salad (similar recipe here) that we topped with chicken seasoned with cumin and paprika. The salad dressing was surprisingly delish -- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and evoo. So simple yet so good! I had applesauce for dessert!

Whole30 Week 2 Recipes

This week I think my snacks saved me, especially because I only cooked one dish (the Paleomg pizza). I like to call these snacks my convenience food. On this program, it really is a luxury to open something and eat it, versus cooking it!

New snacks this week:

  • Wholly guacamole
  • Pickles (great for a quick bite of something)
  • Applesauce (this has been my dessert all week!)
  • That's it bar from Starbucks.
  • Raisins... they taste like candy, seriously!

New discoveries:

This week I discovered some incredible recipes: THIS is amazing. Seriously amazing! I made it Sunday night and ate it for lunch today. Who knew acorns were so good? It also made our house smell amazing.

Whole30 Week 2 Recipes

I also discovered I love lox and eggs! I've always been a little leery of trying this when I see it at restaurants but it was so good but it was so good! I've been craving it ever since.

What I'm loving about this program: 

I'm really beginning to understand what it means to 'eat to live, not live to eat.' I snack throughout the day to keep my energy up and the foods I chose to eat aren't foods I'm craving or have a taste for, or really love; it's simply fuel to keep me going!

Intention. At the end of yoga last week the instructor said to take a moment to praise yourself for seeing through your intention to get to class. There's something special and rewarding about living intently. About making decisions on purpose. Not being rash, emotional, or mindless.

My clothes are more comfortable. It's one thing to look great in your clothes it's another when they're more comfortable to wear! Leggings, panty hose, blouses are all fitting a lot better and I'm just more comfortable throughout the day - there's something to be said about!

Zero stomach issues. No stomach aches or feeling bloated or really full. In fact, my stomach is flatter than I think it's EVER been.

I feel good inside AND out. Feeling thinner is great but feeling convicted and following through on your intentions, not giving into temptation, and learning a whole heck of a lot is way better. I love what I'm learning about food and all the cool recipes I'm

The newness keeps coming. Week two brought challenges but I found new ways to overcome them. I got bored with carrots so I added guacamole! I love when limitations spark creativity! It's fun!! That double decker chicken lime burger was such an 'ah ha' moment for me! What did I just create??? I didn't know but it was good and satisfying and that's all that mattered.

Have you ever tried the Whole30 program? If not, what's holding you back?   

If you have done it, which week was the hardest for you? 

What are your favorite Whole30 snacks? 

PS: Sorry my pictures aren't better! It's exhausting to take a photo of everything I eat, but I'm trying to stick with it! 

Whole30 Recipes {Week 1 Recap}

Cue the confetti -- I made it a full seven days on the Whole30 program without a single cheat. NOT A SINGLE CHEAT! Hooray! Here's a full recap of what I've been eating. whole30-week-1

Day 1: B: Chicken sausage egg casserole topped with fresh salsa, a few plantain chips, and green tea L: Salad club salad (shown below) with a hardboiled egg, black kalamata olives, banana peppers, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I also snacked on carrots and cashews throughout the day. D: Organic fuji apple and almond butter / guacamole and plantain chips

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Day 2: B: Chicken sausage egg casserole topped with fresh salsa and avocado (same as the day before) with an unsweetened chai tea L: Salad club salad with rotisserie chicken, a hard boiled egg, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (shown below). I snacked on hard boiled eggs, almonds and carrots throughout the day; also had a few strawberries and my first cup of black coffee! D:  PaleOMG Chicken Bacon Alfredo

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My first sip of black coffee was awful! (It's so bitter!) But, after I let it cool awhile and then sipped it again, it wasn't as bad. At some point I read that Melissa Hartwig, the Whole30 founder, said something along the lines of ...

BlackCoffee I've been telling myself that and it's helping! 

Day 3: B: "Monkey salad" (bananas, cashews, and coconut flakes -- I LOVE this salad!; I added a handful of raisins, too) / Second breakfast:Chicken sausage egg casserole topped with fresh salsa and avocado with a side of red bell pepper (shown below). L:  Salad club salad D: Leftover PaleOMG alfredo / After dinner - small bowl of strawberries and grapes

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I'm so glad I discovered the Monkey salad - it's creamy and sweet, and great paired with black coffee. It doesn't hold me over for the entire morning but it's perfect in a pinch when you need something quick!

Work WOD

Day 4: B:  Monkey salad and two hardboiled eggs; black coffee / Second breakfast Chicken sausage egg casserole and the other half of my red bell pepper (are you noticing a trend??) L:  Leftover PaleOMG alfredo with  a side of carrots; snacked on almonds and a green apple. D: Trader Joes chile lime chicken burger topped with spicy mustard over top a bed of fresh spinach, bell pepper, banana pepper, and sweet potato chunks (doesn't look pretty but it was so, so good!)

2014-11-02_0017

PS: The PaleOMG alfredo doesn't look pretty either! In fact, it looks totally gross, but it doesn't taste bad. I will say that I like a lot of her other recipes better. I mentioned the others I've tried here

CrossFit and a new hang squat clean PR of 125! Woo hoo! 

Day 5:   B: An apple /  Three eggs scrambled, bacon, a half a Larabar and diced sweet potato (shown below). L: Finished off the PaleOMG alfredo; also ate the other half of my Larabar. D: Chipolte bowl: Just carnitas, salsa, lettuce and guacamole (I had to tell the man to give me more lettuce... no more lettuce... no more... more please. He definitely hated me!)

2014-11-02_0019Whole30 Recipes

I had packed Trader Joes plantain chips in my purse earlier that day when I went to run errands, but they came in handy when we were at Chipolte for dinner! They were the perfect side "chips" to go with my meal. I left feeling full and satisfied!

Day 6: Moving day!  B: Mini Monkey salad first thing in the morning / Second breakfast: Omelette with leftover salsa and a half a Larabar. L: No lunch (we were moving) but I did treat myself to a Venti unsweetened iced green tea and the other half of my Larabar. D: Ruby Tuesday's: Petite sirloin (no butter, oil, or seasoning) and a plain baked potato with the salad bar (I used extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing)

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Day 7: B: Silver Dinner: Western omelette (ham, green peppers and onions) with a side of roasted potatoes and strawberries. L: No lunch and I was starving by 6! I went grocery shopping and shelled a thing of Wholly Guacamole and carrots (and a pickle) in my mouth when I got home. D: Boston market: A chicken breast and a wing with green beans and a side of mixed vegetables (the veggies were bleh but the chicken was good!)

And, phew!!!!!! I made it!!!! Only 23 more days to go!

Here's what I'm liking about this program: 

+ I feel good! I feel happier, actually. More energetic and positive. I think sugary foods have an affect on my mood. However, there is a flip side to this. I feel happier when I'm eating throughout the day. On the weekends, when I go long stretches without eating or snacking, I am the opposite of happy. I am irritable. Watch out!

+No more mindless eating. I've had to stop myself from so much mindless eating!  I never even realized how much I grab food for food when I'm bored or tired, out of habit, and during transitional times of day like when I come home from work. I'm glad I noticed this and got it in check!

+I don't feel as groggy in the morning or in the afternoons. I have a very consistent energy level, which is nice! We moved over the weekend, which takes a lot of energy, but I felt good! I also have had an easier time waking up in the mornings and powering through the afternoon without feeling sleepy.

+Will power. It's a beautiful thing. There's something really affirming about being able to exhibit will power! I like being in control and making decisions based on my intentions, not out of habit, laziness, or apathy. (This mug says it all!)

Here's what I don't like about the program...

+My social life is awkward. I'm supposed to host Girl's Night this month but I'm dreading it! I'd been looking forward to having some friends over to my new place and checking out the nearby salsa bar for weeks -- but now that I'm doing this, I don't want to... (salsa sober??) Uggggh! It's definitely a downer and it has me asking myself WHY I'm doing this and just how important it is! I'm pretty sure I can manage 30 days without a social gathering (maybe postpone the get together?) but it's a bit annoying nonetheless.

+My acne hasn't cleared up. I was really hoping to see my skin improve and it hasn't. I don't have bad acne but I do tend to breakout around my chin and neck, and that doesn't seem to be getting better at all; worse, maybe? Is that even possible? I guess it's still too early to say!

+It's expensive. I spent $60 at the grocery store last week and another $60 last night. Cashews are high as the sky - $8 a pop, but essential to my monkey salad!! Spending so much money on the food (compliant bacon and deli meat is pricey too) again has me questioning why I'm doing this!

Here's what I couldn't live without on this program... 

+The help of my friends! I have a Whole30 support group on Facebook and they've been great! Hey ladies!!!!

+Fresh salsa. Thank God grocery stores prepare fresh salsa! I don't think I could survive this without it. I put it on my eggs, in my salad, mixed with guacamole or just spooned out with plantain chips and it's so flavorful. I also love the convenience of it.

I also couldn't live without Greek kalamata olives, coconut chips and coconut milk; extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegars, banana peppers, and salad club!!! Not having to worry about lunch it's such a life saver!

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 On the menu for this week! 

This was a mega post!! Thanks for reading if you got through all that! :-)

Have you ever done the Whole30 Program?

What was your first week like?

Whole30 Meal Plan & Grocery List Printables

Nothing gets me pumped about meal planning like a pretty printable so, I created this pink planning document to write out my first week's meals during the Whole30. Whole30 Meal Plan

I like to write out my groceries and what I need to prep after I write out my meal plan so I created this grocery list, too!

Whole30 Grocery List

You'll notice I didn't put Sunday on the meal planning document because I lusually go grocery shopping on Sunday! It's also impossible to plan out every single meal for a full seven days so I like to leave at least one day open!

Will these docs get you excited to meal plan? Download them!

These links open into PDFs:

>> Whole30 Meal Plan + Whole30 Grocery List <<

Both files are 8x10 so all you have to do is click 'em and print 'em!

I'm still working on filling everything in. In fact, I need to edit my ideas at this point. I found a lot of great recipes on Pinterest (see them here) and I need to narrow them down.

In fact, I need to make week one as simple as possible! We're traveling out of town this weekend and probably won't get home until late Sunday night. I plan to shop on the way home and prep what I can that night, but it's definitely going to be tricky! I'd love to hear your ideas for a last minute prep! 

Do you like to use meal planners?

Do you write out your meals and/or your grocery list?  

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bites

Need to satisfy your sweet tooth for some pumpkin-y goodness this season?

I got you covered!

Healthy Peanut Butter Bites
Healthy Peanut Butter Bites

Let me repeat: dark chocolate... pumpkin... peanut butter!

How can you go wrong with these flavors? You can't! PLUS, these are easy to make, easy to transport, and, they're made up of mostly healthy (ish) ingredients! Your welcome. :)

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites

This recipe was made possible because of this Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Pie Spice spread I stumbled on at Target the other day! I went in to buy almond butter, but it was like $6 and the pumpkin spread was on sale for $3! Hmm, pumpkin? YES, PLEASE.

Jif Whips
Jif Whips

I scooped up a container and my 100th bag of dark chocolate chips... I buy dark chocolate chips ALL THE TIME with the intention of making this recipe and you know what happens? I eat them by the fistful first! Well, I *finally* resisted long enough to make this recipe and I'm so glad I did; these things are good! Here it is!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup of honey 1/3 cup of Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 cup of dry rolled oats 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips 1 tbsp on chia seeds

I would have added flaxseed if I had some...

Also, I think raisins would be AMAZING added to this recipe!

Pumpkin-Pie-Peanut-Butter-Bites-Pinterest
Pumpkin-Pie-Peanut-Butter-Bites-Pinterest

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

The mixture should be dough-y and sticky now. Using your hands to pull out a tablespoon at a time, and roll into little balls! (I've totally just eaten the mixture from the bowl... feel free to do that, too!)

Store these snacks in the refrigerator and, try not to eat them all at once! :)

What else should I make with this awesome pumpkin peanut butter? 

When Fall hits, do you crave all things pumpkin? 

Also, PS: In hindsight, I would have made these more bite size...

PPS: I owe this recipe to my friend Stephanie who made a version of it (with almond butter and raisins) for our trip to Austin last year...

PPPS: ACTUALLY, this recipe is modeled after these energy balls from Gimme Some Oven. Go check out all the variations!


A Simple Green Juice Recipe

Hey guys! I have a simple green juice recipe for you today. Have you heard of fresh pressed juice?

A lot of people mix up juicing with making smoothies. Juicing is extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables, not blending them (that's making a smoothie). I'm all for the smoothies - they're delicious, versatile, filling and nutritious but I've been dying to try juicing and recently, I finally did!

It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and a super simple recipe yielded the most delicious end-product!

Green Juice Recipe

I should mention that watching Hungry for Change is what prompted me to finally try juicing. The documentary opened my eyes to the benefits of fresh pressed juice -- a punch of powerful nutrients, an energy and immune booster, and nature's beauty enhancer! The infographic below that highlights some of these benefits:

BenefitsofJuicing

Below the jump is the recipe I tried, which made one large cup of fresh green juice.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 small bunches of kale
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 lemon

Green Juice Recipe

Some tips:

Get to know your juicer! Read the user manual. Juicers aren't as simple as blenders. Most of them have to be dissembled to be cleaned and you'll need to read the user manual to see how to do safely do so. Keep in mind the motor should not get wet. I used YouTube and watched a few how-to videos before getting started.

Taste as you go! If your juice is bitter, add some fruit! Taste as you go to gauge what ingredients to add next. Oranges are very juicy, apples are super sweet, which are great for balancing out the pungent taste of the kale and celery.

Prep your vegetables first. Wash all the vegetables and peel them if necessary (you'll definitely want to peel the orange and lemon, but I left the skin on the cucumber). You won't have hands to wash and peel while you're juicing!

Have paper towels handy. Juicing can be messy -- some of the juices spew out from the juicer and got my shirt!! Don't try juicing after getting dressed for work!

Be prepared to clean up immediately afterward. To prevent the pulp from hardening and sticking to your juicer, you'll want to immediately rinse/wash all the parts of the juicer after you make your juice. This is a little annoying, yet, but if you do it immediately it goes pretty fast!

Green Juice Recipe

Oh and of course, drink your juice from a mason jar! It's cutest that way! Duh! :)

Have you ever juiced before?

What's your go-to green juice recipe?

Watermelon & Mint Salad

A few weeks ago I made this melon salad based on this recipe and absolutely loved it! I have a slight obsession with mint anyway, but it never occurred to me to mix fresh mint with fruit! Come to find out, it's really, really good! I decided to simplify things a fews weeks ago and just try a watermelon and mint mix, and let me tell you: it did not disappoint! This dish is refreshing and tasty; it's the perfect summer picnic dish too! mint-watermelon-salad

Not to mention... two ingredients! That's it! (The original recipe calls for honey, too but I think the watermelon is sweet enough on its own.) By the way, this recipe was really just an excuse to bust out my melon baller - I love that thing! Do you have one?

Instructions:

Simply scoop the watermelon and sprinkle the mint! Ta da!

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If you really want to get fancy you could soak the watermelon pieces in rum, add a little lime and call this a mojito watermelon salad! Definitely let me know if you make this, I think you'll like it!

SONY DSC

Do you like mint? Have you ever made a melon salad?

What's your favorite summer recipe?

Six-Ingredient No-Bake Strawberry Pie

If you don't try any other recipes from this blog, you have to try this one. It's that good. No-Bake Strawberry Pie

This no-bake pie is creamy, fruity, and delicious! It's the perfect party treat, after-dinner cool down or morning pick-me-up with coffee. It's decadent (oh so decadent!), but not calorie-dense or too sweet; and, best of all, it's only made up of six ingredients!

No-Bake Strawberry Pie No-Bake Strawberry Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3 containers (6 oz each) of Yoplait 100-Calorie Strawberry Greek Yogurts
  • 1.5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 4 oz (half of 8-oz package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1.5 cups frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (optional)

No-Bake Strawberry Pie

Instructions:

In a saucepan, place water and sprinkle gelatin; let stand for one minute. Heat over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring until the gelatin dissolves and allow the mixture to cool (it will look like clear liquid, water).

Now, in a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer (only takes a few seconds), then pour in the yogurts and gelatin. Use the mixer to blend everything well, then carefully fold in the whipped topping. Then spoon the mixture into the pie crust and smooth out the top.

No-Bake Strawberry Pie2014-06-09_0015

Refrigerate the pie for 2 hours to allow the mixture to set. Slice and serve the pie with sliced strawberries and a little whipped topping. IT'S SO GOOD! 

No-Bake Strawberry Pie

No-Bake Strawberry Pie

The ingredient that really makes this dish is the strawberry-flavored Yoplait 100-calorie greek yogurts. Yoplait sent me some samples for this recipe, and I have to say, I'm impressed! The low calories, sweet flavor, and creamy texture really make this dessert feel so much more sinful than it is! Thank you, Yoplait!

No-Bake Strawberry Pie

I should also mention that in a recent national taste test, 81 percent of consumers said they prefer Yoplait Greek over Chobani Simply 100! Have you tried them both? Which did you prefer?

Now, pin this for quick reference! You can thank me later. :) 

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Recipe adopted from Betty Crocker

Six-Ingredient No-Bake Strawberry Pie
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Yoplait 100-Calorie Greek Yogurt No-Bake Strawberry Pie with Graham Cracker crust
Ingredients
  • 3 containers (6 oz each) of Yoplait 100-Calorie Strawberry Greek Yogurts
  • 1.5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 4 oz (half of 8-oz package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1.5 cups frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Instructions
  1. In 1-quart saucepan, place water; sprinkle with gelatin; let stand 1 minute. Heat over low heat, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly.
  2. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add yogurt and gelatin mixture; beat on low speed until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
  3. Before serving, garnish pie with additional whipped topping and sliced strawberries.

Nutrition facts: Calories 99 / Total Fat 3.7 g / Cholesterol 11 mg / Sodium 87 mg / Potassium 41 mg / Total Carbs 10.5 g / Dietary Fiber .7 g / Sugars 6.5 g / Protein 5.9 g

Keep in mind you can trim fat in this pie by using fat-free cream cheese and a reduced-fat graham cracker crust.

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite summer recipe? 

Do you like Yoplait's 100 Calorie Greek Yogurt? 

Please note this post was sponsored in part by Yoplait, but all opinions are my own.

Recipe: Zesty Quinoa Salad

zesty-quinoa-salad Good morning + happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope all the moms had a wonderful day yesterday - happy (belated) Mother's day to you all!

I was going to start off today with the usual weekly challenge post, but I really wanted to share about my weekend first, and this zesty quinoa salad was definitely a highlight!

I don't know about you guys, but I get major food cravings. Like, MAJOR! Recently, it's been greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola or chocolate chips (yum!) and anything with mint added to it (water or smoothies) or peppermint patties (my favorite candy)!

Anywho, my latest craving came roaring in-- Quinoa, I had to have quinoa! Last time I blogged about Quinoa I told you it was a grain but I've since learned it's an actual seed! Whatever it is, it's delicious, versatile, healthy, and satisfying! So when I saw this recipe on A House in the Hills (a new favorite blog), I knew I had to give it a try.

Cilantro? Cucumbers? Tomatoes? YES. Olives!? Why not? And, boy, this did not disappoint!

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

I made a few modifications to the recipe and I think all of them were for the better... Instead of 1.5 cups of olive oil, I just used one cup. In my opinion, olive oil goes a long way and I didn't want to soak the quinoa! I was also using avocado oil, which is really creamy and delicious, and you don't need a lot.

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

I also only used one shallot (which, for those of you who may not know [I didn't], I shallot is essentially a mini-onion, and watch out, when you chop it, you'll be crying like a baby! [I was!]).

The recipe called for five tablespoons of chopped shallot, but I just used three. Aaron's really sensitive to the taste of onion and garlic, so I try to use it sparingly! Along those same lines, the recipe called for three garlic cloves chopped and I used one tablespoon jarred garlic (it's just so much easier; I hate chopping garlic and getting the smell on my fingers).

The other thing I did was use apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. I KNOW. I was scared. PLEASEGOD, don't let the apple cider vinegar overpower everything, but it didn't! You couldn't taste it at all, so that was a relief! I need to invest in a good red wine vinegar for home so I don't have to make that substitution again, but just so you know, it'll be OK if you do.

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

One thing you cannot leave out of this recipe is the olives!! I know, I know... ugh, olives, who eats 'em? I'm with you - my supreme pizzas always come without olives, pleaseandthankyou, but with this, it just works. I promise!

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

Now, not to toot my own horn or anything, but when hubby started eating this, he literally gasped, "OMG. It's so good!" He's pretty picky and doesn't like anything too exotic or with a lot of fresh herbs (he often says my recipes have too much flavor [yea, I know!? he's weird]), but for whatever reason, this was a winner!

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

The recipe has about 8-9 servings and I averaged a serving size as about a cup. Even though the nutrition facts don't look great initially (that's a lot of fat and a lot of carbs!) it's all healthy! Sometimes I think we focus too much on calorie count and not nutritional value, and in this case, nutrition definitely wins out!

  • Calories: 485
  • Total Fat: 32 g (Sat: 4g, Mono: 22g, Poly: 4g)
  • Carbs: 44g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 8 g

You can easily pop this recipe into MyFitnessPal using this link or the one from A House in the Hills and make modifications based on how you decide to make this dish... Please let me know if you try this out, I promise it won't disappoint! It's the perfect summer salad and I'm actually eating it for lunch today! I can't wait to dig in!

Do you like quinoa? 

What's food cravings have you had lately?

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Easy summer quinoa salad with cilantro and kalamata olives!
Ingredients
  • Salad:
  • 3 cups quinoa
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1.2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cups kalamata olives, also halved
  • 1.5 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, jarred
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Cook 1 cup dry quinoa in 2 cups water to render approximately 3 cups cooked quinoa*
  2. Meanwhile, half olives and cherry tomatoes and finely chop the shallot.
  3. Allow the quinoa to cool, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together lemon juice, olive oil, shallot, cilantro and parsley.
  5. Combine chopped items and liquid mixture all together with the cooled quinoa.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve later! It's good anytime! :)
  7. *Once the quinoa and water start to boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.)

 

Crowding Out & 11 Healthy Swaps

Hey guys! How are you? It's pouring rain in DC in today and I'm totally bummed the spring weather has abandoned us once again! Come on!!! I'm so ready for tank tops, flip flops, and driving with the windows down! Did you hear temperatures are supposed to get into the 20s tonight? Ugh! I'm having some technical difficulties with Karlye's weekly post, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share this concept of crowding out - have you heard of it? My friend Stephanie, a health coach, told me about it when I consulted with her about my husband's lack of interest in eating paleo. I explained to her that in his mind, cutting out grains, dairy and legumes didn't leave room for much else! Aaron's not a big vegetable eater either, and that was another concern. Stephanie explained the trouble newbie-health goers have with restrictive diets and suggested the "crowding out" approach instead. Here is the definition from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition:

The theory of "crowding out," is an effective way to overcome habitual consumption of unhealthy food. The principal of crowding out suggests that you add more to your diet, instead of taking away. By adding healthy, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains, you will crowd out the unhealthy foods. The body can only take so much food. If you fill the body with healthy, nutrient-dense food, it is only natural that cravings for unhealthy foods will lessen substantially.

I truly believe in this now, guys! And recently, I thought back on it when I realized there were certain foods I just didn't want to give up - namely, my coffee creamer, margaritas, and ice cream. :)

The crowding out concept says I don't have to give up those things- I just have to find healthy swaps! I remember when I used to think I had to have pasta and then I discovered spaghetti squash. I used to think I had to have store-bought salad dressing, until I discovered some healthy homemade versions! And ice cream? That's what mocha shakes and banana ice cream is for!

The same has been true for milk, until I discovered almond milk; PAM until I discovered coconut oil; and white potatoes, until I found sweet potatoes! Over time, in exploring healthy food alternatives to my favorite treats, I've learned that sometimes - most of the time - I like the healthy food better, which means I don't have to feel like I'm giving something up, but rather, just choosing the option that I enjoy just as much and that makes me feel better.

With this in mind I made a list of my favorite healthy swaps and challenge you to test out a few!

Healthy-Substitutes

I'm also challenging myself to find healthy alternatives to some of those lingering unhealthy parts of my diet, and find alternatives. Here's my list of must-haves:

  • CoffeeMate Creamer
  • Egg salad or tuna salad with mayo!
  • Margaritas - is there such thing as a healthy version?
  • Brownies
  • Donuts

I'll be back with the swaps for these things, as I'm making it a mission to replace them with healthier alternatives... I'd love your ideas for a healthier donut! Lol! :)

This might seem like a ridiculous exercise but I truly think it will help me. By identifying the things in my diet I'm holding on to, I can begin to explore alternatives and starting crowding them out!

What are some foods you don't want to give up?

What are your favorite healthy swaps? 

Have you heard of crowding out? 

Sweet Potato & Pepperoni Breakfast Frittata

Yummy Sweet Potato & Pepperoni Breakfast Frittata

Morning all!

Today I'm sharing a new breakfast recipe! It's not really a breakfast pizza, though... even though it looks like one! Sorry, teaser! It's technically a frittata but a really, really good one - I promise! :)

Pepperoni Frittata

This recipe came about by accident one evening when I decided to experiment and throw together ingredients I had on hand in my kitchen. I was tired of my chicken sausage casserole, wanting a change, and I saw an Instagram photo of a delicious-looking frittata with hashtag #stepupyourfrittata, which I suppose inspired me to step it up!

Pepperoni Frittata

Ingredients:

  • One sweet potato
  • 1/2 package of frozen spinach
  • 6 eggs
  • 10-20 slices of pepperoni
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Mexican or reduced fat sharp cheddar (optional)

Instructions:

Peel and slice the sweet potato into small chunks and heat them over medium heat with 1/2 package of spinach for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. (You could add onion to this mix as well!) Grease the bottom of a round non-stick pan and lay the sweet potato and spinach mixture along the bottom. Wait for this to cool before adding the eggs and other ingredients.

Pepperoni Frittata

Once the sweet potatoes have cooled, cover them with slices of pepperoni and if you chose, 1/4 cup of cheese. I made this twice and the first time i used Mexican cheese, which I could really taste and enjoyed in the dish! However, the second time around I switched to reduced fat cheddar and I could hardly taste it so, it might not be worth the calories to use the cheese, but the choice is yours!

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In a separate bowl whip together the 6 eggs, and then add them to your round pan. Mix them around a little bit so they get between some of the sweet potatoes, but not too much.

Cook your frittata at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the eggs are set. If you're not sure the eggs are set, cut a slice. If runny eggs flows into the sliver, continue cooking the dish a few minutes longer. Otherwise, it's ready!

I would wait about 5 minutes for the frittata to cool before cutting into it. Once you do, though, it makes for an easy grab-and-go breakfast! I slice my frittata like a pizza and each morning I take one or two pieces to work for eat for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. I just heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and it's ready!

Pepperoni Frittata

If you make this, definitely let me know your thoughts! I'm open to your suggestions for improvements as well since this is a completely new dish for me! More sweet potato? Less? Should I add some fresh herbs or a different kind of cheese? Let's DISH about this dish. :) Haha. Have a great Sunday, folks and get that breakfast for the week ready!

Do you have any favorite frittata breakfast recipes you like? 

Do you make breakfast for the week on Sundays? 

Valentine's Day Desserts for Two

Valentines-Dessert
Valentines-Dessert

Happy Valentine's Day dolls!! I hope you're having a wonderful morning, maybe breakfast  and mimosas in bed? Wouldn't that be nice! The husband and I both have to work today but we plan to go to CrossFit tonight and then have a romantic meal at home. I'm a stickler for a home-cooked meal and he's promised to cook so I'm definitely excited! I wanted to remind you guys of this awesome recipe I shared this time last year, in case your looking for a last-minute Valentine's dessert for two that won't run you 2,000 calories! Remember these delicious coconut-chocolate parfaits?

I'm thinking about making these tonight but maybe switching out the strawberries for pomegranates - I've been obsessed lately! If you're in the mood for something a little different, check out these other recipes we've featured that are Valentines-worthy!

Valentine's-Dessert
Valentine's-Dessert

Photo by my friend Lauren-Michelle of Ella Mae Studios.

Have a great weekend friends!

How to Peel a Pomegranate

It's the week of love and well, I love this fruit! Pomegranates pack an antioxidant punch and tons of other health benefits, and they're delicious! They have a unique flavor that works with everything from chocolate to salad to pizza. The only problem? They can be expensive. I saw a package of peeled pomegranates at Whole Foods the other day for $10 - $10! Take my advice and pass-up the packaged stuff! You can find whole pomegranates for about $3 in the produce section of most grocery stores.

You might be wondering how to peel a pomegranate! It might seem intimidating at first, but it's really quite simple! The hardest part is not staining your fingers, clothes, and counter bright red! :)

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Step 1: To begin, I suggest cutting a cone around the root of the pomegranate and pulling it out. Then cut slits into the ridges of the hole (or "score the ridges").

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Step 2: Pull the pomegranate in half and then begin breaking off chunks, using your scores as a guide.

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Step 3: As you pull off small chunks, submerge each piece into a bowl of water while simultaneously using your fingers to massage the pomegranate seeds away from the membrane and rind. You can completely discard the rind when you've extracted all the seeds (they're actually called arils - read more about these gems here).

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Step 4: You'll notice a lot of excess webs floating in the water, but that's fine! In fact, that's the point. The water separates the membrane from the seeds, which then floats to the top, making it easy for you to pick out and discard.

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Step 5: After you've pulled out the excess membrane (that sounds gross! Haha), rinse and strain the seeds.

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Store the pomegranates in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week! If you're not sure what to do with these beauties, consider throwing them on top of yogurt (I've been obsessed with doing this recently) or, if you want to get a little fancier, try any of these fun pomegranate recipes!

Pomegranate-Recipes

Pomegranate Recipe Round-up: 

And for easy retrieving, here's a how-to you can pin to Pinterest for quick reference!

How-to-Peel-a-Pomegranate

Do you like pomegranates? Have you ever had them? 

How do you peel a pomegranate?