kale feta, pear and walnut salad with honey poppy seed dressing

Kale Salad

This kale feta, pear and walnut salad with honey poppy seed dressing is the perfect fall salad.  Add it to your Thanksgiving spread, or to any meal where you are looking for a fresh and flavorful salad!

Kale Salad

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is less than 1 week away!  I’ve been planning my food contributions this past week, as we are attending 3 Thanksgiving meals within 2 days this year.  Lots of turkey coming my way!  What are you making this year?  Here are all the items I plan to make and bring + a new recipe that would be an amazing contribution to any meal!

Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, pecans and dried cranberries

Cranberry sauce

Kale, feta, pear and walnut salad with honey poppy seed dressing

Roasted carrots with pomegranate seeds, pistachios and maple tahini sauce

Pumpkin pie pecan crisp

pumpkin pie pecan crisp

I tested out the pumpkin pie pecan crisp last weekend and it was a hit with kids and adults alike!  It’s only sweetened with coconut sugar, is dairy free (until you add some freshly whipped cream), and is so stinking simple to make.  It tastes just like pumpkin pie without the crust, but with a nice pecan crunch on top.  In fact, it is so simple that Hunter is actually the one that is going to make it (with assistance)!  He is excited to make it and bring it to my family’s thanksgiving gathering, and I’m sure he’ll be pumped to tell everyone that he made it.

Kale Salad

To simplify my life and not rush in the mornings cooking, I plan to prep the cranberry sauce a couple days in advance since it holds up really well, chop my brussels sprouts and kale in advance, along with making the poppy seed dressing and maple tahini sauce ahead of time.

Kale Salad

Kale Feta, Pear and Walnut Salad with Honey Poppy Seed Dressing

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 anjou pears, sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup honey poppy seed dressing (recipe linked)

Directions

  1. Add the kale, most of the feta, most of the pear slices and most of the walnuts to a large bowl.
  2. Prepare your honey poppy seed dressing, then toss with kale salad until everything is coated.  Top with remaining feta, pear and walnuts.

What are you making this year?  Do you tend to stick with tried and true family favorites, or do you branch out and experiment with new recipes?  Happy Thanksgiving all!

Heather

honey soy salmon tacos

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Taco Tuesday is getting a makeover!  Move over beef and beans, these salmon tacos add a fresh flavor and exciting crunch to your next taco night.

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When I meal plan, without fail, I almost always plan a taco-esque dinner for Tuesdays.  I know everyone loves the flavors and it is such a simple way to keep dinner time in a semi-routine, but slightly varied every time.

Here are just a few ways we like to mix up our taco Tuesdays: ground beef tacos, ground beef taco salad, flank steak taco salad, shredded chicken tacos, chicken taco salad, chicken burrito rice bowls, mahi mahi tacos, and of course, salmon tacos!

Salmon – a nutritional power house

Salmon is one of my favorite fishes.  Not only flavor wise, but it is such a nutrient dense food.  With every ounce of salmon, you are getting awesome sources of omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B3 and protein (source)!  I am all about getting the most nutritional bang for my buck, and salmon gives you that.

Since I am also pregnant, I know the DHA (an omega 3 fatty acid) I’m getting from salmon is not only health promoting for me, but also for that lil baby growing in my belly.  DHA helps with fetal brain development and is crucially important, which is why it’s often labeled as included in many pre-natal vitamins (including the one I take).  I love getting my nutrients from nature, how they are naturally included with all the other vitamins and minerals because your body has the best chance of absorbing and utilizing them when they come from food.  Such a win in my book.

And now, back to FOOD!

The sweetness from the honey and umami from the soy combine perfectly in contrasting flavors.  I love pairing it with a crunchy cool slaw, and of course all my favorite toppings – avocado, pico de gallo and cilantro!  I hope you love these tacos as much as we do!

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Honey Soy Salmon Tacos

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lb wild caught salmon fillet, skin on 1 side
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos (both work great!)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 3 tbsp mayonaise
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • corn tortillas, 2 per person
  • optional toppings: avocado slices, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, cilantro, shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large oven safe pan that will fit your fillet, add the sesame oil, honey, soy sauce/coconut aminos, chili powder, paprika, garlic granules and cayenne.  Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a gentle boil.  Once it comes to a boil, stir and add your salmon fillet, flesh side down.  Cook for 5 minutes, flip so the skin side is now down and put into the oven to bake for 5-7 minutes.  The flesh will be firm and will easily flake when done.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. To prepare the slaw (this can be done in advance), add the cabbage, carrots and scallion to a bowl.  Stir to combine, then add the mayonnaise, lime juice, sea salt and pepper and mix until everything is coated evenly.  If you make this in advance, store covered in the fridge.
  3. To serve, warm a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Add the tortilla to the dry skillet and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on it.  Toast on one side for 3 minutes, flip and toast another 2 minutes.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and keep them warm covered in a kitchen towel.
  4. Place a tortilla on a plate, top with salmon, slaw and then all your favorite toppings.  Enjoy!

Have you ever made salmon tacos?  I love getting them when we are out at a local fish spot in town, but I love them even more at home since I can have them so much more often!

Heather

PS: Looking for another salmon recipe to try?  Change up the flavor profile with this no-fail easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon!

easy-weeknight

Baby #4!

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Life flies by in such a whirlwind that sometimes I am shocked at where we end up, out of nowhere it seems.  Jacob and I often talk about how crazy it seems that we have 3 kids – three little kids.  It seems like Hunter was just born, and now all of a sudden we have 3 of them running around pulling our eyes and thoughts in many directions.

And the whirlwind just continues on with baby #4 on the way!

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Baby #4

We are way excited to add another sweet baby into our family.  This little bundle is due March 22nd, 2018, giving a nice little space between Nova’s birthday and this one’s arrival.

I just love the age spread between our children.  It’s what I pictured I wanted with 4 kiddos (I was 1 of 4 kids and my brothers and I were even closer in age).  Hunter and Zoe are 21 months apart, Zoe and Nova are 24 months apart, and Nova and this baby will be 25 months apart.  The Englund house will be even more wild and loud, but we just love it!

What my 4th pregnancy has been like

I am definitely blessed with relatively easy pregnancies.  Once I get passed the first trimester it’s typically smooth sailing with only minor aches and discomforts.  This first trimester was for sure my hardest one – I was so incredibitley fatigued (probably because I’m chasing 3 kids around!), nauseated and just a bummer to be around (I felt).  Teaching my fitness classes exhausted me and I wondered if I would ever feel good teaching again.

Thankfully, once I got to around 12/13 weeks I returned to my normal energetic and fitness loving self!  Teaching is my favorite once again and the nausea has passed.  I’m still tired, but that’s just because I get a bit of pregnancy insomnia (currently writing this at 3:30am cause I just can’t get back to sleep) and Nova is also our forever challenging sleeper it seems.

baby #4

I am currently 15 weeks pregnant and the bump cannot be contained!  The kids love hearing what size of fruit/vegetable the baby is each week, and this week baby is already the size of an apple!

This pregnancy is already flying by and I know it will just continue on like that.  We are looking forward to finding out whether we are having a boy or a girl.  Hunter wants a brother, Zoe wants another sister, so at least one will be happy!

Thank you all for your sweet congrats on instagram.  We feel so blessed by the love that already surrounds this baby and support for our family.  Virtual hugs from me to you all!

Heather

meal prep for a full work week

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Meal prep may seem like a lot of work up front (okay, it sure can be!), but the reward of a simpler week is so worth the effort.  Today, I am sharing the foods I prep for my husband to take to work each day.

meal prepI sure love my husband.  He works so incredibly hard for our family, which I am so thankful for.  I have the opportunity to do what I love – teach fitness classes and be home with the kids.  Best job ever.  Since I am not away from home all day, the meals the kids and I eat are made quickly at home as needed.

I am happy to make all the food for my husband so he has healthy meals and snacks to keep him fueled all day, and to save money so that he’s not eating out every day.  Win-win!

Here is the basic outline of what I pack him: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, smoothie and a bar.  He lifts weight Monday-Friday and is working on putting on muscle, which means he needs continuous fuel to keep him energized and ready for his tough workouts.

Let’s break it all down even further with the options I rotate through.  Eating the same thing week in and week out would get so boring, and nobody wants to get food boredom!

Meal Selection

Breakfast

Breakfast does not vary much at all and months and months later he still loves it.  I roast diced yukon gold potatoes, then mix it with roasted aidelle’s pineapple and bacon sausage (sometimes aidelle’s apple and chicken sausage) and garlicky kale chips.

Morning snack

This week I prepped hard boiled eggs and grapes.  Most often I will mix canned tuna with homemade avocado mayo, diced celery, chopped green onion, old bay seasoning, sea salt and pepper and then pair that with either rice crackers or fruit.  Another option are nitrate-free ham rolls + a banana.  I always include a good protein source with a carbohydrate, and that carbohydrates typically end up being a fruit.

Lunch

For lunch this week I packed roasted wild caught salmon, steamed broccoli, jasmine rice and teriyaki sauce.  Rice is standard for lunches.  Often he will end up having this meal post workout.  Here are 2 other options I like to pack:

1) shredded pork carnita, jasmine rice, cabbage slaw and pico de gallo
2) roasted chicken breast (marinated in a fish sauce/soy sauce mixture), steamed broccoli and jasmine rice with teriyaki sauce

Smoothie

A simple way to get more calories in + a great serving a fruit and protein.  I add vital proteins collagen peptides and natural force grass-fed organic whey protein into his smoothies.  We tried a different whey protein for a while and it did not settle well in either of our stomachs, but this one doesn’t have negative effect – thankfully!

In the blender (I have this ninja blender) I add 1 can of full fat coconut milk + 1.5 cans of water + tons of frozen mango (about 2-3 cups) + 2 -3 bananas + the juice of an orange + vanilla extract + 3 scoops collagen peptides + 3 scoops whey protein powder, then blend away!  That makes smoothies for 5 days.

Bar

We love rx bars and larabars.  Sometimes I will make snack balls like this cocoa peanut date ball recipe too!

Meal prep in action

When I begin my food prep, I first get my proteins and potatoes cooking in the oven.  I’ll have the oven pre-heated to 400 degrees F and bake up the lunch protein + start the breakfast potatoes in the oven.  As those items are cooking, I will get the rice cooker started, steam the broccoli for lunch and hard boil eggs (or prep tuna).  When the potatoes are almost done, I add the diced sausage into the same pan to finish for the last 10 minutes.  Garlicky kale chips are added into the oven when I can lower the temp to 325 F.

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I make smoothies as food is cooking, and get fruit into jars.  If I am uninterrupted (can do it all while the kids are napping/resting) this makes about 2 hours.  Some Sunday’s I may begin portions as I am doing other cooking throughout the morning/lunchtime and meal prep may take all day, however, I’m not tied to the kitchen the entire time.  I just make it work and always get it done!

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Packing the food

Lastly, when everything is done cooking (and cooled a bit), I load all the food into mason jars.  Lunch goes into a large quart sized mason jar, breakfast into a pint sized mason jar, the morning snack is split into 2 half pint sized mason jars, and smoothies are put into pint sized mason jars.  The bar is packed into his lunch bag, and if I made snack balls those would go into disposable sandwich baggies.

Each night before I go to bed I grab the jars I need from the fridge and pack them in his cooler bag so he can easily grab the bag from the fridge + a frozen ice block from the freezer and his food stays cool all day.

And that is how I’ve been doing meal prep for my hubby’s work meals for almost a year now!  It’s become part of my Sunday routine and now just what I do.  And I’m quite happy to do it for my love.  If I worked full time away from the home I would totally do the same for myself, it really makes life easier as the week goes on.

Any meal prep questions I am happy to answer!

Do you meal prep for work meals?  What are some go-to meals you like to prep ahead of time?  We always love new ideas to add into the rotation.

Heather

disclosure

garlicky kale chips

garlicky kale chips

Garlicky kale chips are simple to make in the oven, give you that great crunch factor and are packed with amazing flavor.  Such a fun and tasty way to get more kale onto your plate!

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Garlicky Kale Chips

We easily eat garlicky kale chips 2-3 times a week.  The chance that I’ve made these kale chips for friends is very, very likely.  I like to share the goodness with all!

Lately my moms garden has been booming with kale (fantastic since mine failed… waa waa waaaaah ), so we’ve been reaping the benefits of her labor with even more kale in the house.  No problem with that here.

garlicky kale chips

Kale Wins

Kale is 100% my favorite dark leafy green.  I love it raw, I love it cook, I love it crunchy and munchy.  Kale is packed with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, fiber, while also being a good source of calcium, potassium and iron along with many more vitamins and minerals (source).  It’s a nutrition POWERHOUSE.

garlicky kale chips

The best reason to eat these garlicky kale chips?  They’re freaking delicious.  Try them for yourself and see!

garlicky kale chips

Garlicky Kale Chips

Recipe can easily be doubled (and baked on 2 sheets) or halved for a smaller amount

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, leaves removed from the stems and ripped into pieces
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spread kale pieces onto a large, rimmed baking sheet (mine goes up about 2 inches on the side to fit more kale).  Pour avocado oil over the kale and massage into each kale piece.  Sprinkle sea salt, garlic granules and pepper over the kale and toss to coat each piece.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir kale chips.  Continue baking another 10 minutes, then stir again.  Keep baking and checking the kale chips every 5 minutes and stirring until the kale is no longer wet and all the pieces are crispy and beginning to get golden brown.  If your pan is really full, this process may take longer, but generally anticipate 30-40 minutes of baking time.

Where are you on the kale scale?  Can’t get enough, or just need to find the right recipe?? 😉

Happy munching!

Heather

10 healthy snacks for on the go

10 easy snacks for on the go

Snacking is serious business in our house.  With a 5 year old, 3.5 year old and 1.5 year old, it seems someone is always eating, talking about food, or getting to that point of too hungry.  Hangry kids are no fun!  For those reasons, and because I also don’t want to become a hangry mom myself, I always make sure we are prepared with some kind of snack when we are away from home.  Errands with 3 kids in tow always take longer than expected, so we usually roll back home later for lunch than I plan.  That’s when our healthy snacks come in handy!

Maybe you are in the same situation, or maybe you’re just looking for some fresh snack ideas to help you push past that afternoon slump at work.  Whatever you need them for, I hope these 10 healthy snacks for on the go help you out as much as they help us!

Build a balanced snack

I think of snacks as mini-meals.  For all my meals I emphasize balancing carbohydrates, protein and fat.  The 3 macro nutrients together keep me feeling great and balanced.  I handle my snacks, and the snacks for my kids, the same way.  I try and get all 3 macro nutrients into each snack, but sometimes I may only hit 2.  For example, a carbohydrate source and fat source, a protein source and a fat source, or a carbohydrate source and a protein source.  Fat and protein both help to keep you satiated longer, which I why I try and not just have a carbohydrate source if I want some staying power.

10 easy snacks to take on the go

10 healthy snacks for on the go

  1. apple slices with natural peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter)
  2. hard boiled egg and baby carrots
  3. uncured salami and cucumber slices
  4. larabar + orange slices
  5. banana and walnuts
  6. raisins and almonds
  7. RX bar + blueberries
  8. hummus and snap peas
  9. dried apples (no added sugar), pecans and coconut chips (no sugar added)
  10. grapes and nitrate free turkey slice rolls

Bonus prep-ahead snack: try these cocoa peanut date balls!

If I’m packing a snack that will be sitting in the car, I simply throw an ice pack in the bag with a snack to keep it cool.  I never stress too much about things staying ice cold.  I hope these favorite snacks of ours can inspire your own healthy snacking adventures!

What is your favorite healthy snack to take on the go?

Heather

old bay potato wedges

OLD BAY

We recently returned from an amazing vacation to the Oregon coast.  We absolutey love Newport, which is where we stayed.  While there, we discovered a few gems – tide pools and a marine science center with so many amazing spaces for the kids to explore and interact with!

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We stayed in a house, cooked and ate almost all the meals there.  We ate simple meals with fresh and delicous flavors: salmon tacos, BBQ’d burgers, chicken brautwurst with corn on the cob and salad and also chicken drumsticks + these old bay potato wedges.  They remind me of jo jos, but are so much better for you!

Old bay potato wedges — the healthier jo jo alternative!

OLD BAY potato wedges

Jo jos are fried, yes?  These old bay potato wedges are crispy and flavorful but baked in the oven.  Bonus – they take just a few simple ingredients you probably already have on hand to make!  The key to get the correct shape with your wedges is in how you cut them.  Each potato has 5 cuts to give you 6 wedges.  Here’s my trick for the perfect old bay potato wedge cut.

Cut your potato length wise in half.  Take one half and lay it flat side down on your cutting board.  Cut about 1/3 of the way in from the outside, angling toward the center.  So as you cut, you are cutting on a bias.  Do another cut about 1/3 of the way from the other side, angling toward the center again.  Repeat those 2 cuts with the other half.  You get perfect angled cuts with your potatoes!

old bay potato wedges + salad

We love these old bay potato wedges served alongside a salad, or when we make drumsticks.  They go great dipped in some homemade ranch, or homemade bleu cheese I make for my buffalo sauce loving husband.  They’d be great alongside an omelet in morning as well.  You just can’t go wrong with healthy jo jos!

old bay potato wedges

Old Bay Potato Wedges

This recipe can easily be doubled or halved.  Plan for around 1-2 potatoes (depending on the size) per person.  Make extra, because it does not last long!

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes, dirt rinsed off
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut your potatoes into 6 wedges each following these steps.  Cut your potato length wise in half.  Take one half and lay it flat side down on your cutting board.  Cut about 1/3 of the way in from the outside, angling toward the center.  So as you cut, you are cutting on a bias.  Do another cut about 1/3 of the way from the other side, angling toward the center again.  Repeat those 2 cuts with the other half.
  3. Toss the potatoes in a bowl with the avocado oil, old bay seasoning, sea salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the potatoes evening on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping the potatoes half way through.  You want them to have a golden brown color, while easily piercing with a fork.

And now I’m dreaming of making old bay SWEET potato wedges.  Time to fire up that oven!

Are you familiar with old bay seasoning?  I’ve heard so many people only use it for seafood, but it’s flavors work so well here as well!

Heather

design your summer + 6 month focus word update

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Today I am going to share how you can design your summer along with an update on my focus word of the year.  Summer is literally around the corner, and I just cannot wait.  Washington living means rain, which brings amazing beauty, but sometimes it limits when we explore outside.  Summer means we can spend so much more time outside, which is pretty much our favorite!

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Focus word for the year update: less

Before I get into designing your summer, I wanted to share an update on my focus word for the year less.  How is it going in one word? GREAT!  The two biggest areas in which I notice the change are that I am rushing around less and having less stuff around the house (donating and selling things we don’t need).  I am adamant about saying no to extra teaching opportunities.  I know the kids and I both like, and need some downtime throughout the week.

We’ve said no to more gatherings when we already have one or two things on the schedule for the weekend.  That is really hard sometimes, because we just love seeing friends and family.  Sometimes it’s okay to say no to the fun gathering or event. When we say no more often, we can really just focus on that quality time together with people instead of cramming in quantity.  I know that rushing and cramming just overwhelms Jacob, myself and the kids.

I am also blogging WAY less!  This makes me sad, but I know it’s just a season (or year?).  Again, cramming so many things in to one day can be overwhelming, especially when it might take my attention away from the kiddos.  I’m so happy I found this slice of time this morning to hop on my computer (I had a canceled class so it worked out perfectly).

I cannot tell you the number of times I’m doing dishes or driving and my mind comes up with my best ideas of things to write about.  I can have an entire blog post ready to go in my head, and my fingers never meet the keyboard.  I even have some recipes written down and pictures taken, but I don’t make it to the computer for quite some time.  Thankfully, I know, when a moment opens up (like today, yay!), I can share what has been waiting on my mind.

Did you choose a focus word for the year?  It’s never too late to join!

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Design your summer

The idea to design your summer – make it look how you want it to look – feel how you want it to feel really intrigues me.  Like I stated in the beginning, summer is just my favorite!  I also want it to feel really special to my kiddos.  None of them are in school yet, so for them it’s not a big break from school.  However, I love creating memories and if I can do this in a certain season, make it really stand out, I sure as heck want to.

I began writing a list of all the things I wanted to do over the summer – a summer “bucket list” if you will.  I kept adding and adding to the list and right now have about 41 items on it.

Then I got to thinking, less – less – less.  Instead of cramming my time with so many “things” to check off the summer list, I need to focus on the few specific activities I really want to do, then create a feel for the summer.  A summer vibe.

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So instead of 41 activities to busy up my time, here are 5 that I really want to do, that we don’t do or have not yet done before.

  1. hike moulton falls
  2. make ice cream in a can
  3. pick up crepes for a park picnic
  4. watch a baseball game in town with the kids
  5. visit cedar creek grist mill and learn how flour is made

It was really hard to narrow my list down, but so many other things I know we’ll do anyways (like a trip to the zoo, pool party, berry picking, frog catching).  If they’ll naturally happen anyways, why write them on my list and add pressure>

The summer vibe I’m looking for: relaxed outside time to explore and learn, filled with good friends and good food.

Summer — we just can’t wait for you!

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Do you design your summer?  What are some must do summer activities you have, or the summer vibe you are going for?

Heather

whole30 wrap up + a day of whole30 eats

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Our whole30 came to an end a while back.  Time for a recap!  In actuality, I’m calling it a whole3weeks, but I’ll get into that in just a few moments.  I wanted to start off by sharing what a day of whole30 eating looked like for me, so I snapped pictures to not forget.  Let’s get into it!

Want to read more about what the whole30 is and our reasons behind starting it?  Read my intro to whole30 post.

A day of Whole30 eats

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I started my morning with coffee + nutpods unsweetened original creamer, x2.  It’s dark when I rise, so lighting wasn’t the best.  I’m sure you can imagine some yummy, creamy coffee here. :)

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Breakfast: leftover seared salmon, 2 fried eggs over roasted sweet potatoes and blackberries

I could eat this forever and ever. (And ever and ever.)

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Post-workout snack: adelle’s apple chicken sausage and roasted sweet potatoes

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Lunch: leftover tandoori chicken over parsnip/cauliflower puree, avocado, hot sauce, chipotle kraut, grapes and cucumbers

Basically the most random mix of leftovers from the fridge.

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Snack: bacon and kumquats, along with a la croix

The kids picked kumquats out at the store and they definitely need to… grow on me. 😬

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Dinner: shredded bbq chicken salad with bacon, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado + potato wedges and dairy-free ranch for dipping

Again, could eat every.single.day!

Most days I found I wouldn’t fuel well enough at lunch time.  It is a bit more rushed as I’m trying to feed the kids after we get back home, clean them up and get ready for naps.  When my afternoon snack doesn’t satisfy, I know my last meal wasn’t substantial enough.

Whole30 wrap up

We cut the whole30 (whole3weeks) short for 2 reasons – I wanted to have some extra time to go through the reintroduction phase before our weekend away where we would not have as much control over what we ate, and Jacob was ready to be done.

Was it a success?  Yes!  Jacob changed his taste buds and got away from processed foods, and allowed his taste buds to enjoy real, unprocessed foods a lot more.  He noticed that too much dairy doesn’t make him feel great, and sugar makes him feel less than great too.  However, he didn’t feel like he got enough fuel for his workouts and gain goals in the gym.  He felt like he was losing weight and muscle and that was not a goal of his.

I though the whole30 met my goals as well!  My bloating was gone, I was majorly inspired by so many new recipes and flavors and my energy was great too.  I definitely leaned out, which really wasn’t a goal of mine, but hey, seeing a 6 pack after having 3 kids was pretty fun!

I only got to slowly reintroduce oatmeal and rice back in the week before our weekend away.  I did fine with the rice, but was sad that oatmeal gave me some stomach pains!  I just love oatmeal so I’ve way slowed down on my consumption of it compared to normal.  Dairy hasn’t made me feel great so I’m watching my consumption and taking notes when I do eat it.

It was interesting to note, on our weekend away we enjoyed a flight of beers and pizza at a new to us brewery.  Something we’ve done many times before, but coming off of a whole30 into that amount of food and drinks left our stomach so full and uncomfortable, even into the next day!  Our systems were just no longer used to pizza and beer in larger amounts, which is probably a good thing!

All in all, the whole30 was a success.  It educated us a bit more on what foods make us feel good, and which leave us feeling crummy, but there were times when we definitely felt restricted.  I’m planning to continue watching how dairy and oats make me feel, and just see what I can tolerate.

And every since the whole30 I’ve had crockpot pork carnitas on a weekly repeat, which is without a doubt the biggest win!  So good.

You’ve got to try the recipe you guys!  –> crockpot pork carnitas <–  Thank me later 😉

Tell me, what successes have you had with food challenges (whole30 or not)?   Do you have a recipe you just can’t stop making?  Share!

Heather

30+ starchy vegetable side dish recipes + my whole30 intro

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This week the hubs and I embarked on the Whole30 challenge.  The Whole30 is a 30 day program where you focus on eating real foods, while eliminating potentially problematic foods to see how your body does without them.  You focus on eating meats, vegetables, fruits and fats, while excluding dairy, gluten, all grains, soy, legumes, sugar and alcohol.  Pretty much paleo but amp up to a whole ‘nother level!

Why take on the Whole30 challenge?

My husband Jacob had the initial desire to do it.  He felt he needed some help with his food choices — something to really shock his system that would help him work on enjoying real foods (vegetables mainly) a lot more.  I love being creative in the kitchen and can always figure out something to eat with what we have in the house, but I know for him he would simply resort to some kind of dairy or snacky food instead of thinking about balancing his food choices and making the best choices for his body and energy levels.

And why did I decide to take on the whole30 challenge? Well I’m just such a great wife (HA!) and I said I’d do it to support him!  I wasn’t looking forward to not having half and half in my coffee, but since I found nutpods I’ve been so content!  Perfectly creamy and unsweetened just like I like my coffee.

nutpods - non dairy half and half

Today we are 4 days in and I’m feeling pretty dang good.  Maybe a little tired, but that could also have to do with needing a bit more sleep (Nova just turned one and still isn’t sleeping through the night……).  I did a very thorough meal plan (using the Whole30 book – the foods have been delish!) over the weekend, grocery shopped and then spent time on Saturday and Sunday prepping sauces, veggies, meats and breakfast to-go for Jacob to simplify the week.

whole30 dinner

The importance of carbohydrates

Going into the Whole30 I knew I wanted to be careful that it didn’t turn into a low-carb diet.  Since I’m still nursing and teaching 6-7 group fitness classes a week, I wanted to ensure that I felt energized enough for the workouts, my milk supply didn’t diminish and that I didn’t lose weight, since that’s not a goal of mine.  I’m looking forward to see if the bloating I occasionally notice decreases, and if my energy skyrockets.

Vegetables and fruits are where we are finding our carbohydrates from: mainly potatoes (white, gold, red, sweet, yams), root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets), squashes (butternut, acorn, delicata) plantains and bananas.  I feel like potatoes every night can get pretty boring pretty quickly, so I’ve been really creative with my list and figured if I’m planning it out for us, I may as well share the list with you all!  These starchy sides aren’t just for the Whole30 – they’re wonderful for everyone and are definitely foods I include in my normal real food diet.

Want to read more about what I typically eat?  Check out this post: no diets, just eat real food

Starchy vegetable side dish recipes

I hope you find a recipe or two to include in your meal rotation.  I’ve broken them into 5 categories, so if you’re really looking for a potato dish or something with carrots, just check out the section and try one out!

whole30 starchy vegetable side dishes

Potatoes (white, gold, red)

Sweet potatoes

Root vegetables

Squashes

Plantains

Now my question for you – what is YOUR favorite starchy vegetable side dish recipe?  Have you done the Whole30 challenge before?  Happy eating!

Heather

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