My Whole 30 Journey- Vlog

I decided I’d change up the blog a bit and do a vlog instead. I hope you enjoy!


Mentioned in the Vlog:
MyFitnessPal: myfitnesspal.com

Some foods I ate on Whole 30

Left to Right, top to bottom: Meatballs with spaghetti sauce and cucumber, tomato green leaf salad; Blackened Trout (restaurant) with asparagus; Ripe banana mash with almond butter and coconut flakes; shrimp with stir-fry veggies; mixed green salad with tomatoes and balsamic dressing, and grilled Cod; Smoked sockeye Salmon with spinach greens salad; Mixed greens salad with Turkey meat; cucumber, avocado and tomato salad.

Drinks: Mainly water with lemon, but also Lacroix was such a delicious treat! It is Whole 30 approved! I also enjoyed my morning cups of coffee, but with unsweetened coconut milk instead.  Surprisingly, I like it better!  I had quit sugar in my coffee years ago, so that wasn’t an issue for me. I’ve also gotten used to drinking unsweetened ice tea and it’s not so bad at all!

Here are two of my most favorite recipes that can be Whole 30 approved!

Easy Grilled Fish Fillet

( I used Wild Caught Cod fillets and the kids LOVE this)
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 fish packet • Points +: 5 pts • Smart Points: 3
Calories: 194 • Fat: 8 g • Carb: 3 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 27 g •Sugar: 0
Sodium: 61 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 73 mg

Ingredients:

4 porgy fillets, about 5 oz each
4 tsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
4 sprigs fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano)
1 lemon, sliced thin
4 large pieces heavy duty aluminum foil, about 18 to 20 inches long

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Place the fish in the center of the foil, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place a slice of lemon on top of each piece of fish, then a sprig of herbs on each. Fold up the edges so that it’s completely sealed and no steam will escape, creating a loose tent. Depending on the thickness of your fish, cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and cooked through. My porgy fillets took about 12 minutes.

Grilled Cod

Keto and Low Carb Creamy Shrimp and Bacon Skillet

( I do a variation of this without mushrooms, with coconut milk, and I add cascadian farms frozen broccoli and carrots to the skillet)

Ingredients
4 slices organic uncured bacon
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 oz smoked salmon
4 oz raw shelled shrimp (I used TJ’s Argentinian wild)
½ cup heavy whipping cream OR coconut cream for a dairy free option
1 pinch Celtic Sea Salt
freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Cut the bacon in 1 inch pieces
Start heating a cast iron skillet and place the bacon in it on a medium flame
When the bacon is cooked but not crispy, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes
Now add the smoked salmon cut in strips, cook for 2 to 3 minutes
Add the shimp and saute’ on a high flame for 2 minutes
Now add the cream and the salt, lower the flame and let cook for 1 minute, or until the cream reaches the desired thickness.
Serve immediately.

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I also enjoyed  modifying regular meals like Spaghetti and meatballs, without the noodles, and baking bone-in chicken with compound butter under the skin with fresh herbs.  Also, Applegate has fantastic breakfast turkey sausage that has very few calories in the frozen section. It takes only minutes to warm up in a pan. For lunches I did a lot of leftovers from the night before. Whole 30 doesn’t have to mean spending all day in the kitchen! The two recipes above are super fast, and both are delicious!

A few more things that I forgot to mention in the video:

  1. It’s so amazing if you can find a friend or have someone partner with you on the journey. I had two friends Danielle and Ashley that were both doing the whole 30 around the same time as me and also a neighbor who had just finished. They have offered so much support and encouragement and that has been WONDERFUL to have!
  2. I forgot to mention in the video how eye opening it is that sugar is in EVERYTHING. It’s especially so in condiments and sauces. Many snack foods do as well. Even some seemingly healthy foods like nuts or seaweed strips sometimes have added sugar. Bottom line: READ INGREDIENT LIST
  3. I failed to mention that I lost weight during the Whole30. I’m sure you guys probably came to that conclusion watching the video, but I meant to say something about that. I have lost a total of 13lbs! I would’ve loved to have lost more, but I think that’s a pretty big accomplishment for such a short period of time. My work isn’t done either. I will continue to log calories and exercises in myfitnesspal until I reach my goal!
  4. In addition to the clean eating, adding meals to myfitnesspal and Whole30, I have also worked out diligently during the last month. I regularly go to Body Pump (a strength training class that uses a bar with weights) 3x a week, use the elliptical 2x a week, and go for 2 mile walks around the neighborhood 2-3x a week. I had a lot of energy to do so while eating on the Whole 30!

Here’s a not-so-great before (left) and after (right). I plan to continue my weight loss journey and have a better picture to show by the end of summer!

Girls Trip to NC

Jess and I didn’t go on a girls trip last year, so we wanted to try to get together this year to hang out and get some time away. We decided it would be fun to go to Wilmington (Jess lives in Charleston) since we haven’t been there since our high school reunion back in 2010. We thought it would be fun to hit up some of our old stomping grounds that we used to frequent as well as relax at Jess’ beach house in the nearby Oak Island. Jess couldn’t get off work as early as she had originally planned to so I ended up meeting up with Rennie, Dad and Christopher for a visit. It worked out perfectly since it had been some time since we saw each other last. Dad made his amazing Louisiana style cajun jumbalaya and it was delicious!

I planned to meet up with Jess later that morning, so I decided it would be fun to catch up with an old friend I have known since elementary school that I went to church with!  My friend Sara go way back and it has been at least 13 years since we’ve seen each other last.  We’ve reconnected on Facebook of course, but due to my tight schedule while I was in town, I was never able to pay her a visit.  Until now!  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and it was so nice laughing and catching up just like old times again!  Our lives have changed dramatically, however in some ways, we are the still same girls we were from the same ‘ol beach town. IMG_4952Jess and I met up later that morning and we enjoyed catching up downtown walking through stores an grabbing a bite to eat for lunch. One fun fact… We wanted to go to our favorite pizza joint “Slice of Life” and we were so bummed when we arrived to it’s usual spot and saw that it was no longer there and had turned into something different.  How could that be? We asked each other.  It was a favorite throughout the town and certainly our favorite place.  We begrudgingly ate there anyway.  I got a salmon sandwich and Jess got a salad. Not the same as the yummy pizza we had set our minds to, but it would have to do. We left the restaurant with full bellies only to realize that directly across the street from where we were standing was in fact… you guessed it. “Slice of Life”. Ugh. Really? Of course they didn’t close! They just expanded to a bigger building! So… we must partake in the delicious pizza another time but at least we know now that our beloved pizza place hadn’t gone under. We met up with Jess’ Mom and her boyfriend for a delicious dinner that evening.  They suggested Oceanic and I wasn’t going to complain since it was arguably one of the best restaurant in Wrightsville Beach.  We had a tasty dinner with beautiful views and great conversation.  It has been many years since I had seen Jess’ Mom and I really enjoyed talking with her. After Dinner we picked up my brother Chris for a night out.  We had so much fun taking shots, playing pool, bar hopping, dancing, doing some Karaoke.  So much fun! Chris recently turned 21 in February (so crazy how time flies) and it was our first time out on the town together!  He was so fun to have along with us and I’m not sure we’d have as fun of a time without him!

After a late night out, we decided to take it easy the next day, and then drive up to Jess’ beach house in Oak Island.  We were pretty beat so we did a lot of lounging around. I rented a movie from red box, the Nicole Kidman flick “Before I Go To Sleep”.  It was really good. It is very suspenseful and keeps your interest.  After that, we enjoyed a walk on the beach with her sweet dog Ruby and then met up with Jess’ Mom again for dinner in South Port which is pretty close to Oak Island. The next day we decided to go paddle boarding in Davis Creek, a nearby inlet that funnels to the waterway. There were rumors of alligators there, so I was a bit nervous but everything ended up just fine and it was a nice relaxing time in nature.  Just what the doctor ordered! We ended with some shopping in South port in some of their cute shops that had clothing stores, antiques, a lunch by the water and ice cream! Even though sometimes people change and they end up not being who you think they are, it was still a fun trip and can’t wait until I can make it back up to Wilmington again.

This Winter

I’m so glad Spring is on the way! This winter hasn’t been as bad as last in the sense that we didn’t get the amount of snow that we did last year, but the ice was a lot worse. We even lost power a few weeks ago, which was surprising and unexpected because our entire neighborhood has buried lines.  It was from 7pm until about 11 the next morning, which totally freaked out the kids!

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We made a fire for Dan and I and made the best of it.  After lots of snuggles (especially Parker, who knew?) and songs, and also the help of light sticks, we got them to fall asleep.  Whatever light sticks that were left, we let them use in the tub for a cosmic tub time.  That was a big hit!

The very next week we had snow forecasted, conveniently the same night as my consignment sale, but fortunately I still sold quite a bit of stuff, but I think my sales weren’t as good as they could’ve been if the weather would’ve been better. The kids liked the snow, but It wasn’t quite enough snow for a snowman. We got enough for a few silly snow angels, though!

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We’ve also been trying to make the best of our indoor playtime and we’ve been continuing to go to storytime, the gym and also Catch Air occasionally with friends. We joined our friends Kialer and Kinsey one Thursday and with inflatables, dance floor, and slides galore, the kids were able to have fun while the Mamas could catch up on conversation! We’ve really lucked out with our neighbors. We have some great ones! We also love having neighbor friends over for playing in the playroom when it’s cold out. Nothing can cure the chilly boring day blues like a little friends, dress up time, and kid music to dance to!

Another way we’ve been trying to stay warm this season is trying new winter comfort food recipes. Here are some yummy ones I’ve tried! Mostly thumbs up from the fam! I thought they were so good recipes that were easy for me to prepare for the kids. Also, I’m not a huge beef fan, so I usually tend to make a lot of chicken dishes.  These two are a great way for me to incorporate beef into my meals. I’ll certainly make these two again!

One thing I had on my inspiration board that I wanted to do more of, and we’re reminded of during the marriedlife seminar, is to date more often. So Dan and I have been enjoying more dates this year, one double date with our neighbors where we ate at Kona and went to Andretti’s. It was a lot of fun to have dinner and conversation with them without the kiddos, and to share laughs and connect as couples!

Another date we went on, was when I accompanied Dan to his favorite shooting range Sharp Shooters. We did some target practice, and I got to learn a few things about how to load a gun, etc. It was a lot of fun, but I have to admit that I was nervous the entire time!  I don’t know how to shake the nerves about others with guns around me. It’s not the guns that I’m shooting I get nervous about, it’s the random strangers around me with guns that I have a hard time with. I wanted to do it though because I know how much it means to Dan! We also discovered a new yummy pizza place called Crust in Alpharetta that was fabulous! We will definitely go back there. It was very good food and great service.

 

Parker started spring baseball practice, but due to the nasty weather it’s been cancelled all but three times, one of those times P has Strep Throat and couldn’t go, so he’s gone twice. The start of baseball as well as this burst of warmer weather here and there is makinging me super excited about the new season! The few days have been warmer  the past few weeks, we’ve jumped at the chance to get outside and enjoy it!  We had fun time celebrating our friend Kim’s pregnancy with baby Xavier, her first baby boy! We’ve also loved going to Sims Lake Park as a family, the greenway, and simply playing in the yard with the kite, little neighbor friends and our new sandbox!

 

Come on Spring and Summer, we miss you and we have BIG plans for you!

Dan Turns 40!

August is a big birthday month in our house because Dan and I both have August birthdays.  This year however, was especially important, because Dan turns the BIG 4-0! I knew I wanted to plan a party for him, but after asking questions, I decided I didn’t want to make it a surprise.  I just didn’t know enough about the people he works with and would want to invite, and I wanted to make sure that it was something that he really wanted, with the people invited that he wanted, so I made sure he was very involved in the planning.

Knowing that Dan is a big steak lover, and loves the restaurant Cabernet, we decided that it was the perfect upscale restaurant to celebrate such a milestone occasion.  They have a mezzanine level that serves as a balcony that overlooks the restaurant on the second floor.  It has one large “last supper” style table that seats 24 in the room, and we thought it was the perfect room for the party.

I went with a black and white vintage chalkboard type theme.  Dan really liked the invitation that I modified on mixbook.com  They had some really cute ones on Tinyprints.com, but we wanted to customize it a little more than they allowed on their standard invitations, so we went the mixbook route, and were very happy with it!

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Dan and I decided since it was a special occasion, to do the Uber Black, which means that you’ll either get a town car or black SUV.  We didn’t want to drive because we knew some drinks would be thrown back, and we didn’t want to worry about how to get home.  We ended up with the SUV and it was so nice. Driver was great, transaction was simple. Easy peasy! We arrive in style!IMG_9634.JPG

It was a lot of fun, the only downside was that the room only sat 24 people, which made it hard when it came to Dan deciding who to invite between family, his work friends, church friends, and friends from our neighborhood.  We wish that more could come, but with a larger group, we wouldn’t have been able to sit at the same table, so that would’ve been hard too.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed delicious food, sipped on great drinks, and had a wonderful time laughing and goofing off with friends! We had a made from scratch cake made from The Baker’s Man, which is who made my 30th birthday.  It was meant to look like the invitation, and I think he did a really good job! It didn’t taste as good as the one for my 30th (a little dry) but the icing was yummy, and we were having such a good time, that we didn’t really care much! Here are a few iPhone shots of the evening.

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IMG_9602.JPGI did a few surprise boards for Dan to commemorate his 40 years of life.  Ironically, Dan’s Mom had sent us old pictures a few years ago of Dan when he was a baby, and I dug through them all and found a few gems, and added a few recent ones too.  I’m happy with how it turned out!
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As if the fun we had at Cabernet wasn’t enough,  we decided to go across the street to get a little more cray-cray at Wild Wing Cafe.  We took a few shots with friends, and watched a band play, and the laughter and giggles continued.  We hung out on the front patio and after a shot and two long island ice teas, Dan thought he was a comedic genius, and had all of us rolling! So. Much Fun! He certainly had fun on his birthday.  You only turn 40 once!IMG_9629.JPG

 

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IMG_9632-0.JPGWell, Happy Birthday sweetie! I had a blast, and I’m glad to be celebrating this milestone birthday with you! After all you’ve been through the past few years, this party was well deserved! Looking forward to many more years of fun and celebrating!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

While we were at Kinsey Farms (pictures in previous post) we picked up a few pumpkins, and we were told that the green pumpkins were great for making pumpkin pies.  They had their own in-house recipe, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. Start by washing the pumpkin
  2. Cut in half (a serrated knife works well)
  3. Scoop out the seeds (an icecream scooper works well)
  4. Soften the pumpkin in the microwave.  I choose to cut the pumpkin into fourths and put it in water to soften.  About 8-10 minutes should be enough.  You can test the softness with a fork.
  5. Remove the pumpkin from the water and set aside to cool until you’re able to handle it. Then use the icecream scooper to scoop out  all the “meat”.
  6. Place in a food processor, blender or mixer (I chose to use a blender, and added a little water left over from the steaming) and then follow the instructions for the pie below

Ingredients:

3 Cups of fresh puree pumpkin

1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

2 Eggs

1tsp of Ground Cinnamon

1/2tsp of Ginger

1/2tsp of Nutmeg

1/2tsp of Salt

1 (9 inch) pie crust (I used the kind you can roll out and shape into your own pan and found it worked great)

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees
  2. In large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and eggs.  Season with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Thoroughly mix together with wire whisk. Pour filling into pie crust.

Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

This pumpkin pie turned out to be the best pie my husband and I have ever tasted! It was totally worth the time, and it was a wonderful fall treat for the family.  As an added bonus, we were be able to fill up almost two ice trays with extra pumpkin puree that wasn’t needed for the pies, to freeze for our seven month old. So, even our baby boy got to taste some of the pumpkin goodness.

Let me know if you decide to try it out!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday

We’re all for simple dinners in our house.  Here’s a busy Mama’s dinner that’s easy to make and great for someone who is trying to eat healthy and also find something yummy for the kiddos too.

Here’s what you need:

 

  • Steel Head Trout (taste similar to Salmon, but yummier in my opinion!)
  • Lemon Pepper seasoning
  • Garlic and Parsley seasoning
  • Griddler  by Cuisinart (or Foreman Grill)
  • Cooking Spray
  • Steamfresh brown rice and veggie combo

Instructions:

  • Remove skin from fillet ( I do this with a butter knife and the help of running water)
  • Spray grill
  • Cook on 350 degrees for about 5-6 minutes
  • Add seasonings and cook for additional 3 minutes
  • Throw frozen rice/veggies in microwave for 3-4 minutes

Results: Yummy, Fast, Healthy dinner.  That’s what I’m talking about!

What are you doing for dinner these days?

What’s for Dinner?

I was thinking of doing a weekly “What’s for Dinner Wednesday”.  But, obviously it’s not Wednesday, and it took me weeks to finish my last post, so I will just stick with this one post and see what happens.

So, with Dan traveling during the week Mon-Fri, Dinnertime with the kiddos (or even mealtime in general) can be a bit of a challenge getting everything ready.  Sure, I could opt for pizza and frozen foods, but that’s not the kind of diet that I want me or my kids on.  For lunch we typically alternate between pb&J and Turk&Ch along with carrot sticks and some sort of fruit.  I eat the same, and I’ve been known to throw a salad or veggie crisps into the mix.

When it comes time for dinner, I need something easy peasy.  Parker is SO interested in helping me in the kitchen, that if it takes a long time, it’ll guarantee a meltdown or two.  He loves to stir, so anything where stirring is involved, he’s a happy camper.  Plus, he’s more apt to try it, if he’s helped cook it.

I decided this night that we would do a Chicken Pesto Pasta.  We started with these ingredients:

See how that package says “SPINACH and cheese ravioli”? I’m sneaky eh?  I like to get the veggies in where I can.  I found these packages near the deli section at Kroger.  Yes, it’s a “prepared meal”…but it still takes some time to cook, and it’s not frozen.  I’m not a fan of frozen prepared foods (except frozen fruits and veggies…and the occasional frozen pizza, I mean seriously…who can turn down pizza? Not me.) or even canned foods for that matter, so this was a good choice.   Not to mention the big 3-4 mins written in large print on the package.  That screams get in my cart right now!

I started with cutting up the two chicken breasts into bite size pieces and placing in a pan with olive oil that had been warming and let cook for about 10 mins or so.

Then I started the water for the ravioli per the instructions and brought to a boil. Then placed the ravioli in the water to cook.  Make sure to follow the instructions precisely because if it cooks too long the ravioli will explode and the spinach and cheese will come oosing out.  Ask me how I know.

In the meantime, I simmer the pesto sauce (I added a little water since it was so pasty) and then added the cooked grilled chicken to the sauce while I waited for the ravioli to finish cooking.

Then voilà! Combine with cooked pasta, and you’re done.  Easy peasy right?  The best part?  It’s super YUM!  Okay, so maybe it isn’t the best for your waistline, but it does hit a few of the food groups, and if the kiddos enjoy it, it’s an added bonus!

Do you have any easy recipes that you can share?  Grab my button and link up with me! I’d be interested in what other Moms do in the kitchen when there are needy kids to be watched at the same time.



First Solids

Over the past week or so I’ve begun to make my own baby food.  I’ve been steaming and pureeing apples, pears, broccoli, sweet potatoes and squash and placed them in ice trays to freeze.  Parker hasn’t tried any of that yet, but we did give him a little soupy mixture of brown rice cereal and breast milk for the very first time today.  Let the food exploration begin!  I’m excited to see what new foods he’ll enjoy and what new faces he’ll make during this new adventure.


Tea Party

Last week my aunt Marie came for a visit for the first time since before Christmas.  We haven’t been able to get together to exchange Christmas presents until now and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw what my aunt had gotten me.  The start of my very own collection of vintage antique tea cups.  All different shapes, colors, and designs and all stamped with some important family name brand of England’s bone china collection.   I’m not really so concerned with how much they’re worth or how old they are.  I just love the way they look and I appreciate the unique character that each one has.  These teacups aren’t just beautiful, they are useful.  They won’t collect dust in the attic, I plan to use these tea cups! 

I wouldn’t consider myself a tea connoisseur.  I don’t buy raw tea leaves to steep and strain. But I do love Yogi Tea’s Green tea, Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time, Mighty Leaf Organic Spring Jasmine, just to name a few.   I love how drinking tea makes me feel.  Unlike coffee, tea has a therapeutic affect on me.  If I’m not feeling well, it can give me that warm comforting feeling.  If I’m lagging and need a boost, there’s a tea with a bit of caffeine that can actually be good for me.  There’s even a tea that helps lactating mamas with special herbal ingredients!  Who knew? There have  been numerous studies that show the anti-cancer properties of the antioxidant polyphenols, which is found in some teas.  Studies also suggest that it may reduce the risk of  gastric, esophageal and skin cancers, if you consume 4 to 6 cups daily. I’m not sure that I’ll be drinking that much tea, but when I do, I’ll be doing it in a stylish way!  Come join me for a spot of tea will ya?

All this tea time talk got me thinking… how come us Americans have so many places devoted to coffee, but only a few devoted to tea?  I would love a cozy place in town with plush sofas where they have tea time in a vintage-euro setting.  They would serve an array of different teas from Oolong and Chai to English Breakfast and White Pear in the cute European tea cups. And what if they also served cupcakes and danishes?  Hey, it could be called Cupcakes and Tea Cups!  THAT my friend…would be heaven.