Sunday, April 28, 2013

10 Essential Whole30 Products For Fast Meal Preparation

1. Almond Milk
I use almond milk in so many quick meals. I cream my coffee, add it to proats (a mix of egg whites stirred to oatmeal consistency), protein shakes, creamy squash soups, or I enjoy it plain. It has as much calcium as cow's milk and a nutty sweet taste.

2. Bananas
Bananas are so versatile  I sweeten my paleo pancakes, make soft serve ice cream, add to shakes, or again...just eat them! Hello potassium!

3. Shredded Chicken
Soups, salads, fajitas, Stir frys, cold plates, bbq...chicken is amazing. Buy one of those whole chickens I keep raving about! You will have meat for the week and easy, easy prep!

4. Pico De Gallo
How easy is chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro? Fast pico takes about 2 minutes to make and lasts all week for salads, omelets  protein toppers...endless flavor additions! And while we are at it, salsas are just as easy and you can make so many different combinations!

5. Frozen Spinach
Frozen spinach is the perfect addition to omelets, fritatas, spaghetti sauce, pizza, lasagnas (anything Italian , and makes a quick side to any protein.

6. Low Sodium Meatballs
Have you found these yet? They are in the frozen food isle. Add a jar of chili sauce to your favorite fruit compote and heat to serve in a sweet clean sauce! Tons of flavor and texture, the low sodium meatball is a quick main dish.

7. Almond Butter
I like to use this as a dip for chopped carrots and celery. Mix in rasins or dried fruit for a power snack. Add it to your protein shake for a punch of flavor and healthy fat. It makes a great topper for paleo pancakes too!

8. Hearts of Romaine Lettuce
Um, salad is super fast and portable.

9. Fresh or frozen berries
Full of flavor and antioxidants  berries make a great addition to your salad, shakes, breakfast, a fast side, or heat them to create a compote sauce for your soft serve banana puree'!

10. Egg Whites
mix and heat in 30 second intervals in the microwave until you get the perfect oatmeal texture (add those berries and almond butter)! Makes a great "tortilla" in the pan. Omelets, omelets, omelets!
Or whatevers...

Never be afraid to explore flavors with the basics as a guide! Experiment with spices. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Not So Paleo Butterfinger Protein Shake

THE Butterfinger

8oz Coconut milk or almond milk

2 tsp butterscotch pudding mix (not so paleo)
1/2 tbsp peanut butter (Natural Jiff is my favorite!) (also not so paleo but you can use almond butter too!)
2 scoops Cookies n' Creme protein powder ( I used Formula 1 by Herbalife but any vanilla protein powder should yield similar results)
1 tbsp chocolate pudding mix (this is not paleo either...)
1 cup ice

This shake is less that 300 calories and delivers 15g protein, 4g fiber, and 11g carbohydrates

It has a milkshake texture and the thickening agent in the protein powder and pudding creates a silky feel that is delightful. Soo tasty!

Moroccan Chicken and Date Salad With Avocado Dressing

I love the taste of middle eastern and northern African foods. The spice mixes from the region are so sweet and savory! I have been brainstorming what to do with my latest discovery in frugal shopping, the whole chicken fryer. The fryer is a small chicken complete with innards and all the makings and look of a Thanksgiving turkey. It is very inexpensive for the amount of meat involved and when I saw them for .88 a pound last week I bought several to freeze!
So what do you do with a whole chicken? I'm not one to keep the innards so I tossed them away. Maybe I should give them to the dog? I don't know. Anyway, I cooked mine up like it was November, breast up with lots of seasoning on the skin. 375 in the oven for and hour and forty five minutes gave me a beautiful bird. I let it cool and took the meat off and shredded it in a bowl. I split the meat into several pounds and plan on using them in fajitas and salads over the weekend. I used a little less than a pound of the shredded meat for the chicken salad I had my brain on.

A few years ago I had a woman from Syria as a teacher aid in my classroom. We had an international heritage food day during my nutrition unit and invited my diverse class to share the foods of their homes. My aid brought Tabbouleh and a savory rice dish with a blend of spices she could not define in English.  This left me so frustrated because it was an amazing mix!  After a few years and a bunch of Google searches I was still on page one until I found McCormick's Moroccan blend of spices. It may not be a match but it is pretty close!
The taste of the blend gave me the inspiration for my chicken salad. It turned out wonderful! Full of apples and dates along with avocado and celery, it gives a hat tip to my roots of the south with a nice kick in the taste buds from across the pond.

Moroccan Chicken and Date Salad With Avocado Dressing
 3/4 pound cooked shredded chicken
1 medium gala apple diced
1-2 stalks chopped celery
4-5 pitted dates chipped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Moroccan seasoning blend from McCormick's to taste (I was liberal)
a pinch of salt and pepper to taste

1/2 avocado mashed
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp EVOO

1. Cool chicken in fridge after cooking for at least 2 hours
2. Add that stuff in
3. Mix it up

1. Mash avocado
2. Add the stuff.
3. Mix the turds out of it.

Add all that together and put it back in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Like my directions? Why complicate things right?

I had to drive off to grab the kiddos from school and had it waiting as an afternoon snack. It was a nice treat after sitting in a school parking lot for an hour. I hope you try it out and let me know what you think?!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Whole30 Challenge: Week One Continues

I have been hearing some amazing things from my friends who are trying the Whole30 challenge with me. Many first time participants find the pants loose and the belly flatter after only a few days. Gas just goes away! No more embarrassing handstand push ups or tabata toots.
Other folks (like me) have to be reminded of the importance of fiber and water. Bacon is a condiment and NOT a protein. I'm no fun, I know. A huge challenge is my habit of eating on the run and eating out. for three days strait, I have had at least one meal at a restaurant and had to supplement with a snack hidden in my purse. Eating out does not have to be a cheat meal. Cracker Barrel, Applebees, and my favorite local restaurant had lovely options and also made substitutions when I asked. They also give great big to-go cups full of unsweet tea to me for the drive home.

The best Cracker Barrel could do. I wished for some veggies not covered in grease...
The Whole Foods make your own salad. I wish they had more salsa and protein options and less tofu! 
Burger night found its way here last night. Usually we do this on Thursdays but the meat HAD to be cooked. Homemade salsa with jalapeno, chipotle, tomato, and peaches. bacon, eggs, cucumber slices!
I like cucumber slices. They make me feel like a pirate.

Tonight I'm making some avocado curried chicken salad! I will post some yummy pictures and a recipe tomorrow!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Beginning The Whole30 Challenge: Going Up The Hill

Often, the first few days of a new habit forming is full of setbacks and slip ups. Beginning the Whole30 may be no different because it is so easy to say..."just this little thing won't hurt." Know what? It won't. Its all the other little things rolled on top of that one missed step that leads to sabotage. It's the feeling of "I screwed up, it's over." THAT keeps us in neutral (or worse, rolling back down to our beginning). 
Most people think they know what to do to be on track. Many of the most knowledgeable in any field are those that try again and again but fall short. So what creates success? 

For me, it takes a few key thoughts. 
1. Accountability.
- Someone has to know what I am doing. Even if it is just my kids or the dog...someone has to know I'm in the action. I need a goal. I need a reachable, within my grasp, realistic, tiny goal. I must put that goal on my to-do list and make a valiant effort to get it done. You never know who is watching, or looking to you for inspiration and help...even if they don't ask or tell.

2. Preparation
The 5 P's: Prior Planing Prevents Poor Performance. Think about what your doing and make it possible with small steps. Be relentless in planning

3. As little thought as possible
Stop. Just stop thinking so dang much. Just do what you are supposed to do. 

Have some fruit

Enjoy a fresh and flavorful salad with Protein, Carbs, and Fat

When all else fails, workout and drink lots of black coffee and water. The road is long, and in the end it's only with yourself. So, enjoy the ride up that tough hill...this gets easier.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Whole 30 Challenge: Not So Paleo

I have played with the Whole 30 challenge and philosophy in eating for a while. I don't like restrictive eating or rigid rules in my life AT ALL. However, I learn more every day about how our bodies react to processed foods, grains, and other foods that may not allow our bodies to function as well as it should. What I love about the Whole 30 program is, the idea of clean real food over elite food products is the main focus. WHAT? You mean you don't love being told the only way to be healthy is grass fed organic foods? I'm sure buying the highest quality foods I can afford is best but I live in a part of the world that would require a full tank of gas to reach the high brow foods preferred by many. Whole 30 focuses on eating the perimeter of the grocery store, growing and consuming what you can from home, avoiding dairy, grains, and ALL processed foods.

I have fallen victim to the temptations of dark beer, Easter sweets, and pizza in the last few weeks and want to put myself on the focus of health and clean eating. So, here goes the 30 day challenge from the Whole 30 website.

Ill be highlighting my eating with pictures and some recipes along the way. I hope to come out the other side feeling more energized, sleeping better, and more focused in my work. Please follow along and join me if you wish! I promise it is relatively easy to stay on track and the physical and mental results can be amazing!
Here are my Day 1 pictures:
I feel a little bloated and uncomfortable these days...

Lets hope that pooch takes off!
Don't look at my bathroom full of tub toys and kid hair items...
Tomorrow is Monday, a perfect time to restart your eating habits and healthy lifestyle. 30 days of clean eating! Let's do it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Paleo Southwest Butternut Squash Soup

Southwest butternut squash soup was first brought to my family about 15 years ago. My step mother does not like turkey and she wanted something more interesting for Thanksgiving. It was a win!
I have posted this on my other blog and it constantly shows on my instagram in the winter. Its a rainy, cold day in Texas today so I want to make it!! ALL I can say is vegetables have never tasted better than in this soup. Yummers.

Southwest Butternut Squash Soup is amazing. Amazing. It brings together the sweet and savory and plops them into a creamy warm mushy wonderful soupy delight. My favorite is the mix of onion with the squash.  Here is what I do:

1 cup chopped Vidallia (yellow) onion
2 tbsp butter
2 cups chicken broth
2-3 pound butternut squash- pared, cubed, and seeded
2 pears of your choice (I use Bosc) chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground Coriander
1 cup coconut milk

Garnish: toasted pecans and sliced pear

The squash:
I do this just like a spaghetti squash
preheat oven to 350
Cut squash lengthwise and scoop the seeds out
place face down in 1/2 inch deep pan full of water
cook for 20 minutes or until soft
peel flesh and cube the orange stuff inside

Cook and stir butter and onions until tender
Add broth, squash, pears, and seasoning
Heat to a boil
Reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes

Blend and add coconut milk and garnish when ready to eat.

Makes six 1 cup servings
I have done this recipe with sweet potatoes too. Excellent

This soup is better the next day, you will be licking the bowl!