{Whole30} Day 23

Only seven days to go! In some ways I am so ready for it to be over. In other ways I don’t really mind and it’s easier than I expected it to be. There is so much to process through in what I’ve learned and what I’ll take away from this. I will for sure be keeping up a lot of these new habits. I love being so intentional about incorporating tons of veggies into each meal. I love being mindful of getting plenty of protein and fat in each meal. I’d say lunches and dinners haven’t been hard to make the switch, and I see many paleo style meals in our future, post-Whole30. I really love the practice of replacing the starch in your meal with more veggies.

Breakfast is the one meal that I sometimes crave something different. A BUTTER, a piece of toast, soaked oatmeal once in awhile, the occasional paleo pancake WITH some real maple syrup, BUTTER…those are things that might sneak their way back in once in awhile :). I also miss my sweeteners. I’ve said before, I don’t use refined sugar, ever. But I do enjoy some healthified paleo-style treats now and again. And coconut sugar in my coffee. And honey in my tea. Ahhhh, yes, I have learned new and important habits. But I also am not afraid of some of the ones I had pre-Whole30. I will strive for a healthy balance going forward!

Breakfast:
I’ve had this two days in a row: an egg scramble with chicken sausage, zucchini, and mushrooms, and those mini sweet peppers (my new obsession!). And then I decided to give this Sweet Beet Smoothie a try. Sounds gross, I know. It’s actually quite delicious! And the kids chugged it down. I was inspired to make it because I had a container of steamed beets in the fridge that needed using up. Then when I came across this recipe for the smoothie, I noticed that it called for cooked beets. Now, I can’t say that I would ever go through the trouble of cooking beets just for this smoothie (they’re really a bit troublesome to cook, what with the peeling and inevitable pink-stained hands). But because I already some cooked and in the fridge, I decided to give it a go. And it was so good yesterday (and I had enough beets left over) that I made it again today! Also, it should be noted that I’m not really a huge smoothie fan. I like the idea of them. But then when it comes time to drink it I usually get about half way through and lose interest. Something about the texture? But this one I had no trouble at all getting down.
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*recipe notes: I omitted the protein powder and the honey. I added about 5 ice cubes just because I like my smoothies really cold and somewhat slushie. And I added a handful of frozen kale just to see if I could get away with it – didn’t taste it at all!

Lunch:
My sweet mother in law took me and the kids out for a day downtown. We tried the Nordstrom Cafe for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to immediately find something on the menu that needed very few changes to make it Whole30 compliant! I went with the Salad Nicoise with Herb and Garlic Salmon. It was so good! In case you’re not familiar (and since I forgot to take a photo), Salad Nicoise is a traditional French salad with hard boiled egg, green beans, capers, tomatoes, red onion, and potatoes. I believe it is traditionally topped with tuna, but I was happy to have mine with salmon. I of course omitted the potatoes, and used oil and vinegar for my dressing. Very very good and I’m excited to recreate it at home sometime.

Dinner:
This dinner was a total Hail Mary that turned out as a win. We were getting ready to leave the house this morning when I decided at the last minute that I really wanted to try and come up with something to slow cook while we were gone, since I knew we would have a late afternoon and I would be crunched for time to make dinner. I literally ran out to the freezer in the garage and scanned the shelves. I found a hunk of round steak, ran it inside, cut the plastic off, and plopped it in my dutch oven. Then I poured a jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Tomatillo Salsa on top and added a little water. I put the lid on and threw it in the oven (250) and said a little prayer. When we got home five hours later, the house smelled heavenly. I pulled it out and things were looking hopeful! I cut up the meat into smaller chunks so that they could all nestle into the sauce a bit more. I had a head of cauliflower that I really needed to use up, so I decided to try making some “rice”, which I thought could be a good accompaniment for some saucy chunky meat (just take your food processor to your cauliflower until it’s in tiny pieces, and then boil those for 5-10 min and strain. Rice!). Sauteed a sliced zucchini, and we were good to go! At the last minute I decided to throw some diced avocado on top of the meat+rice. Heaven. Seriously, it was so good. Full disclaimer, though: Bret wasn’t really a fan. He wasn’t a hater, but he wasn’t excited about it. So, I’m not sure if I’m the weirdo or if he’s the weirdo. Try it at your own risk!
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{Love it} Lately

Cannot believe how happy having these
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and these
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in my house make me feel!

Pretty excited about my first completed sewing project in years! Not to mention the first thing I’ve ever sewn for Hollis. And to top it all off, this came from a $1 thrifted vintage pillowcase from Goodwill.
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Loving…indoor laps on the trike
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$1.50 egg dying kit + $1 grocery store eggs that saved me after my grand plans for crafting my own “natural” colors fell through (Read: not enough time! And I went this route planning on not eating the eggs, so, no harm done!)
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sunshine + shorts + tanktops (+ little girls who pick out their own outfits 🙂 )
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tractor rides with papa
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Happy Wednesday!

{Whole30} Lately

I’ve missed posting my Whole30 meals for the last several days, due to the busyness of birthdays/Easter/life. So I figured I would just round up some of the photos that were sitting on my phone, and give a quick explanation where needed.

Eggs and chicken sausage for breakfast. Didn’t have any breakfast-y veggies so I went with some Lacto-fermented sauerkraut instead.
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The usual (eggs, sauteed veggies, avo, tomato)
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Pulled this freezer meal out on a busy day. Cranberry Ginger Pork Roast (from Mama & Baby Love’s freezer cooking e-book). I knew there was some sucanat in there, since the meal had been assembled pre-Whole30, but I was hopeful I might be able to separate it out? I lucked out and the tablespoon of sugar was a frozen clump in the corner of the bag, which I of course omitted from the meal. Score!
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Another steak and asparagus dinner
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Terrible photo of bbq chicken drumsticks and sauteed mandolin-cut veggies
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Had this for lunch the last two days in a row. I’m calling it Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs, aka bomb-diggity. I’m obsessed.
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{Recipe} Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs

Ok, are you ready to make the easiest & tastiest thing you’ve had in ages? Here ya go.

I started out planning to just make a quick chicken & veggie sautee (which really, is what this is). But once I had my veggies assembled, I realized they were the kind I like to use on kabobs (those little peppers came in a plastic package and are called “sweet peppers” and I’m loving them!).
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I started chopping and then remembered I had some sliced pineapple in the fridge, and that’s when I realized it was the perfect addition, because I REALLY like pineapple on kabobs. Then it all came together. Chicken + veggies + pineapple [sauteed] = way quicker and easier than skewering, marinating, and grilling kabobs = brilliant (did you follow that equation?).

Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs
Assemble your veggies and pineapple, slice/chop into bite sized pieces (tons of veggies per person)
Slice your chicken breasts into thin slices (1/4″ or so) (one chicken breast per person)
Saute the chicken slices in your fat of choice (I went with a combo of ghee and olive oil)
As the chicken starts to brown, throw in the veggies
Season everything with some salt and garlic powder
Add the chopped pineapple and let it heat through (give it a minute or two)
Once they are all cooked through, throw in a tablespoon or so of coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and let it sizzle and cook down a bit and coat everything.

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Enjoy your tasty, delicious, and Whole30 compliant meal that only took you 15 minutes from start to finish.

Please let me know if you try this, and what you think! I’d love to hear any feedback! Also, does this “recipe” even make sense? I’ve never actually written a recipe down before, so I’m not sure if what’s in my head is even translating into something that makes sense. Ha! Let me know 🙂

This post is part of Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid, and The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter

Hollis’ Birthday (Part II)

What a full weekend we had! Friday was Hollis’ birthday, which included her party with friends and our own little family celebration. Saturday was a combined Easter/birthday celebration with the grandparents. And then Sunday was of course, Easter. And, we had beautiful, warm and sunny weather for all of it, which was the biggest blessing!

Saturday we just enjoyed the afternoon outside soaking up the sunshine, having a little Easter egg hunt, and a birthday presents + dessert celebration.

Bubs and his eggs
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On the hunt
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Treats! Served exactly what we had at her party at the park the day before. Cook/prep once, serve twice. I’ll take it!
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After this photo she wouldn’t let me take any more of her blowing out the candles. And we were not allowed to sing Happy Birthday 🙂
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Four generations!
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While Hollis was opening her presents on the deck, Parks was happily sitting in the grass and playing with the eggs. Didn’t move from here for 20+ minutes:
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Then, the tricycle came out. Gramme and Papa Baker got her “Blue Bomber” and I kid you not – as soon as Parks laid eyes on that thing he was sprint crawling across the grass. He couldn’t get his hands on it fast enough. He walked along pushing it for several minutes, literally squealing with joy the whole time. Wish I had a video to share! It was absolutely hilarious.
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Hollis eventually got a turn on her birthday present 🙂
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We actually managed to get one family photo from the weekend, impressive!
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There is nothing more special than to see my sweet girl be loved on by so many people. She is blessed with two sets of the most incredible grandparents (also great-grandparents!). Many aunts and uncles and cousins. Tons of friends. On her birthday (on Friday) she received two Happy Birthday song videos, two Happy Birthday song voicemails (all of which were watched/listened to multiple times before bed 🙂 ) and four Happy Birthday song phone calls. Not to mention the gifts, cards, well wishes on Facebook, and more. She is so loved, and she felt every bit of it on those two days. Thank you to all the friends and family that made her day so special! Age three is off to a great start!

Hollis Turns Three (+ Whole30 Day 16}

Well, my sweet pea is three. And what a wonderful day we had together! Nothing like starting the morning out with a birthday present (fresh bedhead and all). (It was this bathtub toy that didn’t work very well. I got it off Hautelook so I need to see if it’s returnable or not. At least I didn’t pay full price!)
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Some paleo pumpkin pancakes topped with syrup, whipped cream, and mini chocolate chips was the perfect birthday breakfast for our girl. And let’s be honest, all she really cared about were the “chwocwate chwips”.
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When the weather forecast called for 60+ degree day, I knew a little party at the park with her friends was the perfect way for her to spend her afternoon! Lots of playing, yelling, and mostly enjoying the sunshine.
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Little brother and his baton (that he kept a death grip on for the first half hour we were there)
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A little picnic with snacks and treats! Including these little beauties: Food Babe’s Almond Butter Brownies layered with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. It was slightly torturous putting these together!
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Hollis LOVED her party at the park. It combined her favorite things: friends, playing outside, playing on “huge toys”, treats, her little brother, and the sunshine!
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Back home for the next round of the party….Daddy had her “big” present ready and waiting. She had to follow the string all around the house and yard.
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…which led her to her pink Strider bike! For whatever reason, she started whining and saying “Nooooo!” as soon as she saw it (?!?). She literally ran away from it and hid her head in my legs. Um…not the reaction we were going for? Within a few minutes she had settled down and put her helmet on. And was touching the bike! So that was progress. We’ll see how long it takes to make some progress on learning how to actually ride the bike.
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We had some of her favorites for dinner: hamburgers (homemade patties, no buns) and fries (sweet potato fries fried in tallow). Really, anything that she can dip in ketchup is a favorite for her! Then it was blowing out some candles and then she finally let us sing her “happy birthday”. Also, right before bedtime she said “I love my birthday, mommy. And I love all the presents you got me.” It really was the perfect day!

Three Things I Love About Hollis
1) I love her imagination. She is so into creative play right now. She is constantly busy in her kitchen, making food, cooking, and trying to feed me and little brother. She loves to play library – she wants me to be “the lady” and check her books out for her. She also loves playing with her babies, and she is the best mommy to them. She’ll turn all the lights off and say “shhh, my baby is sleeping!” (Where did she get that from?!?) 😉 She is always feeding, rocking, and cuddling her baby and telling me what her baby needs. I just love watching her imagination grow and blossom!
2) I love watching her as a big sister. She is sooo incredibly affectionate and caring with Parks. She is always looking out for him, and telling me what he needs. If he is fussy or upset she gives me ideas on what I could do to make him happy. She (sometimes) loves to share with him. She loves to make him laugh and giggle. And she loves to be excited for him when he learns new things. I just love watching the two of them together. And I love the feeling of responsibility and pride that you can see growing in her as a big sister!
3) I love how sweet and affectionate she is. Her main love language is definitely physical touch, and she is constantly hugging, snuggling, and wanting to be in close physical proximity to me. She needs her little love tank filled up throughout the day. If she’s starting to lose it or get really whiny or difficult, I know that a quick snuggle session helps her feel connected and fills her back up, and gets her back on track. She loves to brush and play with me hair, she loves to let me hug and kiss her (right now she’s into “wiping” the kisses off, but then quickly asks for more 🙂 ).
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(this was a pose she wanted to do):
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Happy Birthday to my little Sweet Pea, my Punkin, my Tootie, my Precious Girl….my love and my heart.

{Whole30} Day 15

I have officially completed two weeks of the Whole 30! In some ways it’s gone so fast and has seemed pretty easy. In other ways I cannot believe it’s only been two weeks…feels like forever since I’ve had butter :). I am feeling pretty good. I’ve definitely felt some energy surges, but honestly nothing quite as extreme as some of the testimonials I’ve read. Really wish I could a full night of sleep so that I could get a true feeling of what the difference is! Regarding sleep though, I am definitely noticing that I am sleeping more soundly and falling asleep quicker than normal. When one of the kids wakes up at night, it seems like it takes me forever to actually wake up, even though I’ve been hearing the cry for several minutes. I am noticing some changes in my skin, too. It’s certainly not perfect but the overall surface and appearance is smoother. And, it’s not dry at all! This time of year I ALWAYS have at least one little dry patch somewhere on my face, and also usually one on my arm. There are definitely none of those, not to mention my skin just feels soft and supple. Like if I were to forget to put lotion on at night, it wouldn’t really matter.

Going forward for the remaining two weeks I am excited about continuing to mix it up and try new recipes. I think one of the keys to Whole 30 is to keep a variety going in your meals. I don’t mind eating up leftovers, but it’s also good for me to always have 2-3 recipes in my head that I know I want to try. I am continually scanning the #whole30 hashtag on Instagram to get new ideas and inspiration. Breakfast is definitely the hardest, since it’s hard to come up with much variety! And I also just don’t have a lot of time in the morning, what with my two little hungry rascals that are hanging on my legs :).

Breakfast:
Speaking of a lack of variety, I basically recreated my dinner from last night. Couldn’t help it, that fried sweet potatoes + chicken sausage combo was so good! This time I added diced green pepper and spinach to the mix. And then threw a couple fried eggs on top. Avocado on the side, of course.
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Lunch:
More pot roast.

Snack:
I recently picked up some Green Tea Matcha powder, after reading this post. I gave it a try today in a little smoothie concoction that I came up with:

one cup coconut milk
one frozen banana
one spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder
one spoonful of coconut oil
probably 1.5 tsp of green matcha powder
a couple ice cubes

It was SO good! I didn’t really taste the powder so I would probably add more next time. Loved it though!

Dinner:
More pot roast. Ummmm didn’t feel like cooking. The kids had already been fed and put to bed, and Bret was making a steak. So I just ate what I could find to get it over with!