Archive | September, 2016

Whole 30 Weekly Meal Plan: Week 2

whole-30-meal-plan-1Well we’re on to week 2 of Whole 30, and I’m just going to preface this entire post with the fact that I obviously have issues with wasted food.  Pretty much every meal my daughter ate this week she either didn’t eat everything or in typical two year old fashion changed her mind and decided not to eat what she asked for.

Consequently, instead of saving it for later or throwing it out I ate a lot of random things off of her plate.  Most of them were not Whole 30 compliant.  In the end, I’m eating way more healthy than I have been.  Plus the non-compliant things I have been eating are pretty minimal.  I know that’s not following the Whole 30 rules, but I’m still better off for doing this.

Friday
Breakfast: Cereal (oops)
Lunch: Turkey burger, avocado, carrots
Dinner:  Crockpot Moroccan Chicken

Saturday
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Broccoli
Lunch: Italian Chicken Sausage with Peppers, Cucumbers
Dinner: I’ll preface this by saying we had dinner at our Church’s Fall Festival, so options were limited and I didn’t plan ahead. I tried to choose the most Whole 30 compliant option, but then temptation got me! Grilled Chicken Sandwich (even the bun, oops!), a handful of chips and popcorn

Sunday
Breakfast: 1/2 an avocado, peaches with coconut milk (this is like peaches and cream, delicious!)
Lunch: Chicken salad on a bed of spinach and arugula
Snack: Grapes
Dinner: Cedar plank grilled salmon and green beans

Monday
Breakfast: Peaches and coconut milk
Lunch: Turkey lunchmeat (I finally found some that doesn’t have a ridiculous ingredient list!), homemade mayo, pickles, a little leftover chicken salad
Snack: Almonds
Dinner: Beef Szechuan

Tuesday
Breakfast: Avocado toast (yep, I ate bread) with tomoatoes
Lunch: Tuna on a bed of spinach and arugula, avocado
Dinner: Rotel turkey tacos on a bed of spinach with avocado and tomato.  Just add a can of Rotel to some ground turkey and it’s the fastest way to make spicy, flavorful “tacos”

Wednesday
Breakfast: Peaches with coconut milk and macadamia nuts
Lunch: I can’t remember for the life of me.
Snack: Spinach banana muffins (made with flour, so they aren’t Whole 30 compliant). These are great to get your kids to eat some vegetables though!
Dinner: Kale, Italian sausage, and potato soup

Thursday
Breakfast: Fruit, kale, and almond milk smoothie, two over easy eggs
Lunch: Leftover kale, italian sausage, and potato soup
Snack: Ugh, this gets ugly, two mini Hershey’s bars, some crackers
Dinner: Cracklin’ chicken thighs (basically fried chicken with no breading, yum!), roasted broccoli (you know I love it!)

TDH Tips Graphic
1. If you have an immersion blender, it makes making smoothies incredibly easy.  Just throw everything into cup, stick the immersion blender in, and in about 30 seconds you’re smoothie is perfectly done.  It’s also great for making your own mayo.  Just add 2/3 cup avocado oil (or any other light flavored oil) and an egg in the cup, blend, and you have your own mayo.

2. Print out the Whole 30 rules and put them in your kitchen, on your fridge, or in your pantry for a quick reference and reminder to stay on track.

Now it’s on to week 3, and I think I’m really going to kick it into high gear and stop cheating!  When I linked the Whole 30 rules above, I read most of them again as a review and it really put things into perspective.  This is only 30 days, I choose what I eat, no one is forcing me, and I’m an adult, I got this.  But most of all, there are so many harder things than eating real food for 30 days.

Halfway there!  Let’s do this!  Who’s doing it with me?  Comment below with your favorite Whole 30 meal.  Bonus points if it can be made in under 30 minutes in one pan!

Signature-2

2

Whole 30 Meal Plan Recap: Week 1

I know most people typically do new year’s resolutions or get prepared for bikini season at the beginning of summer, but it seems I tend to try and get in shape after the summer.  This is the second time that I’ve decided to do a Whole 30 around this time of year.

If you’ve never heard of Whole 30, it’s not really a diet, but an elimination plan to clean up the way you eat.  It’s pretty tough because you can’t eat grains, sugar, processed food, dairy, legumes (beans), soy, peanuts, or alcohol.  Most people usually say “what’s left to eat?” However, there are a ton of things that you can eat.

I’m going to be chronicling what I eat every week on Friday.  Hopefully, you can see all the things you can eat or maybe I can give you some inspiration for a new dinner idea.

whole-30-meal-plan-1

Most importantly though, putting all of this out on the interwebs is hopefully going to keep me accountable.  So be sure to keep me on track!  This type of change definitely takes support to be successful.

Here’s the break down of week 1.  I started after Labor Day.

Tuesday
Breakfast: 2 Hard boiled eggs, watermelon
Lunch: 1 1/2 Turkey burgers with marinara sauce, 1/2 peach, cucumber sticks

I love when I find Whole 30 compliant foods, and this marinara sauce from Costco is amazing and compliant.  I use it for anything from dipping sauces to pizza sauce (when I’m not on Whole 30).

Snacks: Celery with almond butter, grapefruit juice with club soda (basically a homemade La Croix)
Dinner: Oven roasted salmon, with roasted broccoli

You guys! Roasted broccoli is where it’s at.  I don’t know why I’ve never roasted broccoli before, but once I started, I’m pretty sure I could eat it every day.  However, my husband isn’t as excited about eating broccoli every day.

Roasted Broccoli

TDH Tips Graphic
It might sound crazy, but my biggest recommendation when making roasted broccoli is to use your oldest, darkest, cookie sheet.  All that baked on seasoning gives your broccoli such good flavor and crispy edges.  Just drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle some red pepper flakes, toss and bake at 400 degrees until it’s edges are starting to get crispy.

Wednesday
Breakfast: Roasted broccoli, you definitely need to eat non-traditional breakfast foods while on Whole 30, watermelon, 1/2 an avocado
Lunch: Italian chicken sausage, sweet potato fries, cucumbers
Snacks: Read below
Dinner: Pork Chops with apples and onions, roasted zucchini

So, I’ll be perfectly honest, Wednesday I slipped.  I had pineapple upside down cake because it was in the house.  I was not happy with myself, but I got right back on track Thursday and tried not to beat myself up too much.  It also showed me that I need to find another activity during my daughter’s naptime, because right after I put her down I feel the need to eat something.  It’s silly because I just had lunch, so I’m pretty sure I tend to eat then out of boredom.

Thursday
Breakfast: 2 Hard boiled eggs, peach
Lunch: Leftover pork chop, roasted broccoli, grapes
Snacks: Homemade grapefruit La Croix
Dinner: Crockpot Morrocan Chicken, recipe here, and cooked baby carrots

This was a short week with Labor Day, but next week will be much more robust.  Hopefully, next week I won’t slip either.  Did you see any meal that you’d like to recreate?  Who’s going to Whole 30 with me?  Have a great weekend, I’ll be thinking of all the things I want to eat!

Signature-2

6

7 Ways to Find Fun Stuff To Do

Are you new to an area? Need to get out of your rut? Bored and want to have fun?  After moving and having to establish new friendships, find cool places and things to do, I know how it feels.

I’ve got a great list of 7 things to help you find some fun stuff to do. Try to get together with a few friends and experience them, or go alone and meet people there.  There are so many ways to find local events that interest you, hopefully this list will give you some great ideas and get you out and about having fun.

7 Ways to find fun things to do

 

TDH-Number 1

Meet-up

After having my daughter, I realized how amazing Meet-up is.  It’s an app that allows you to find other groups of people with similar interests that want to “meet-up.”  Use it to find a running group, moms group, groups that go out and have dinner.  The options are endless.  This is also a great way to meet new friends if you’re looking to meet new people.  Just get out of your comfort zone and go!

TDH-Number 2

Community Facebook Groups

Check to see if your new neighborhood, small town, or even interest groups have a facebook page.  A lot of local information and community events are posted this way.  If your area doesn’t have one, then start one yourself.  If you can’t find something to do, post and ask if anyone wants to join you.

TDH-Number 3

Groupon

Groupon can be used to get discounted prices on all things from various goods, tickets, and travel.  If you have a group of friends looking for something to do, try and see if there is anything interesting on Groupon, then get a discount.  Nothing better than having fun at a cheap price.

TDH-Number 4

Chamber of Commerce

Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great way to find businesses in your area.  You can either attend a chamber of commerce meeting or log on to their website to see what businesses are advertised.  It’s so nice to support small businesses, and an easy way to see what’s available in your local community.

TDH-Number 5

Parks and Recreation

You can probably find all sorts of information about your local Parks & Recreation department through your Chamber of Commerce, but it’s an amazing source for outdoor fun.  If you like to run races, volunteer, or go to festivals, your local Parks and Rec typically hosts things like that.  Some even have team sports that you could join. Take a look and see if there is an event you could attend or even volunteer for.

TDH Number-6

Local Magazines

In San Diego, there is a magazine called, no surprise here, San Diego Magazine.  It listed a ton of events, places to visit, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, fundraisers, and more.  One thing I especially liked was when the magazine highlighted a certain neighborhood as a way to learn more about an area that you might not normally visit.  Here in Denver, there is a similar magazine called 5280, for the elevation of Denver.  Thumbing through magazines like this can help you find something you’d be interested in.

TDH Number-7

State Parks

If you like to get outdoors and have an adventure, look no further than your state park.  A simple google search can help you find the closest park to you.  State parks are the perfect place to go for a hike, swim, take a bike ride, have a picnic, or even just find some solitude.  A lot of state parks are free or have a small daily rate to enter.

Well, did this list get you excited to try something new or to go out and have fun?  Reading this today gives you plenty of time to plan a really fun weekend either with your friends, or your new friends!  Check in with me on Facebook and let me know what you’re up to.

Signature-2

2

Creating A Moscow Mule Bar

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you got a sneak peak at today’s blog post.  If you don’t follow me, you should!  For our recent housewarming party, I whipped up three varieties of Moscow Mules and created a Moscow Mule bar.  Keep reading for all the details, drink recipes, and tips.

Pinterest Graphic-Moscow Mule BarA Moscow Mule is a deliciously refreshing cocktail with only a few ingredients.  The classic Moscow Mule is just lime juice, vodka, and topped off with ginger beer.  Three ingredients for one awesome cocktail.

Classic Moscow MuleHowever, there are so many variations to this type of cocktail that still have the essence of a Moscow Mule.  I wanted to make a variety of them with different flavors and types of alcohol to appeal to all of our guests at our housewarming party.   I scoured Pinterest (you should follow me there, too!) to find three that I thought would work.  They are all a little different, but they are all delicious.

The first cocktail for our Moscow Mule bar was a Ginger Peach Vodka Moscow Mule.  I liked the idea of having a vodka mule and the peaches I’ve gotten this summer have been absolutely amazing.  With such great peaches, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to include them in a cocktail.

Ginger Peach Vodka Moscow MuleGinger Peach Moscow Mule Recipe

3 large ripe peaches
1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
6 ounces Smirnoff Vodka
Ice for serving
2 cups ginger beer soda (be sure to look for ginger beer, not ginger ale)
Lime, lemon, or peach wedges, for garnish

Step 1. Make the puree: Cut the peaches in half and remove pit (do not peel). Slice the peaches, reserving four slices for garnish. Combine the rest of the peach slices in a blender with the peeled ginger root, lemon juice, and water. Puree until very smooth then strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding any solids and keeping only the smooth puree.

Step 2. To make the cocktail, combine 1 cup of the puree with the vodka in a large shaker filled with ice and shake until frosty. Divide the peach and Smirnoff vodka mixture evenly into four Moscow Mule mugs or cocktail glasses filled with ice.

Step 3. Pour 1/2 cup ginger beer into each mug. Garnish with a lime or lemon wedge and a fresh peach slice.

TDH Tips Graphic

I was in a bit of a hurry when making this batch of cocktails so I didn’t strain the puree and boy were those cocktails thick.  So, if I were to make it again, I’d definitely be sure to do that part.  Or, you could also muddle the peaches, ginger, lemon juice, and water in the bottom of a shaker and strain that way.

The second type of Moscow Mule was my favorite, a Cucumber Mint Gin Mule.  It’s so refreshing and light.

Cucumber Mint Gin Moscow MuleCucumber Mint Gin Moscow Mule Recipe

2 oz. Gin

4 Mint Leaves

1 Lime

2 Quarter Inch Slices of Cucumber, peeled

4-6 oz. Ginger Beer

Step 1. Muddle the lime juice and cucumber in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.

Step 2.  Add gin, mint leaves, and ice to the shaker.  Shake for about 20 seconds.

Step 3. Pour over ice and top with ginger beer.

Gin Moscow MuleFor our housewarming party I made a pitcher sized batch of all the drinks.  For this version I placed the lime juice and cucumbers in a blender then added the gin and mint to the pitcher.  It was a good way to make a larger amount, but just like the first cocktail it was a little thick.  I’d recommend straining the cucumber/lime puree before using it in the cocktail to take out any large pieces.

Gin Moscow Mule1The last Moscow Mule cocktail was made using tequila.  It’s a Moscow Margarita!  These were very strong thanks to my poor job at math trying to turn the recipe into a pitcher sized amount.

Margarita Moscow Mule Recipe

1 OZ Lime Juice {fresh squeezed if possible}

3 OZ Ginger Beer

1 1/2 OZ Tequila  I used Don Julio Blanco, but any 100% agave tequila will do.

1/2 OZ Cointreau or another orange liqueur

1/2 OZ Simple Syrup

Course Salt

Step 1. Start with making the simple syrup by placing equal parts of water and sugar in a small saucepan. I used 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 sugar. Warm over medium heat stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.

Step 2. Use fresh squeezed lime juice if possible or bottled if you are short on time.

Step 3. Stir (do not shake) all the ingredients together. Serve over ice and garnish with a lime.

This recipe is so easy, especially if you already have some simple syrup on hand.  It’s really just mixing a few things together.  I didn’t get many pictures of the margarita ingredients because I used them all for our party last weekend, but they aren’t too difficult to imagine.

Here are all of the lovely cocktails together!

Moscow Mule Varieties

Margarita Mule | Ginger Peach Moscow Mule | Cucumber Mint Gin Mule

To create my Moscow Mule Bar for our housewarming party, I made pitcher sized batches of all the cocktails, placed them on a tray, with a sign and their garnishes.  I thought it was a pretty display.  Unfortunately, we don’t have copper mugs which are traditionally used to serve these cocktails.  However, the traditional anniversary gift for year seven is copper, so I think we may be getting some for our wedding anniversary soon!

Housewarming-Moscow Mule Bar

TDH Tips Graphic

My biggest tip when setting up a Moscow Mule bar like this is to be sure your guests know that they have to add ginger beer to their cocktails.  Most of my guests initially thought the mixture in the pitcher was the entire cocktail and got quite a shock when they realized it was pretty much all alcohol.  So, I’d recommend either mixing the cocktail up for your guests if that’s a possibility, having ginger beer prestaged in classes for them to add the mixes to, or making a much larger sign instructing them to add ginger beer to their drinks.

Well there you have it!  All of the recipes and tips on creating your own Moscow Mule Bar.  Who wants to go whip up a cocktail now?

Signature-2

6

Celebrating everyday!