Monday, May 9, 2016

Whole 30 and Paleo Recipes

Food is my jam. It's a good thing and a bad thing. I'm thinking about food a lot. I'm thinking about the 3 meals I'm cooking each day to feed our growing family and snacks in between. I'm a real foodie and most everything in my kitchen needs to be cooked. So I have to plan. And that's okay with me because I love a good plan!

We've been eating some new to us foods and recipes. Some have been good and some bad. I like Pinterest for finding new recipes, though they can be real flops. But I guess that's just like any recipe. Here are some recipes we've been trying.

Suppers:

Verdict: We liked these. They didn't brown up like tenders in the deep fryer do but they were still delicous!

Verdict: We all liked this. I wasn't sure how Daniel or the girls would like this but it was really tasty and I didn't even miss the gobs of cheese you usually find in lasagna. The "noodles" are made out of cauliflower, so that's a little bit of a process but it wasn't as challenging as I thought it would be.

Verdict: First, let me say we are NOT cabbage people. We joined a local CSA from a local farm and got a cabbage. I didn't know what to do with it. I asked my friends on Facebook what they do with it, then found a recipe on Pinterest. Oh my goodness, it was delicious! Both Daniel and I were SO skeptical but wow. I made some of the Whole 30 ranch dressing and drizzled it on my helping, yum! Nyla even gobbled this up for dinner last night and lunch today. The key is not to overcook the cabbage. I like a little bit of a crunch left in it and I did it. I also added cut up kielbasa. I added it a couple minutes after I added the cabbage so it could heat through. And it was all so tasty. I think I'll definitely be making it again.

Verdict: This was just okay. It had good flavor but I don't think it was a flavor that just wowed us. We all have different taste buds but this just didn't do it for us.



Sides:

This is such a weird name!
Verdict: Yummy! I've made these at least 3 times in the last 3 months and they never disappoint. Here's some advice: don't overcrowd the pan with a bunch of potatoes. They need room for the oven heat to circulate around them and cook them. They won't all be crispy but more like a baked potato. If you're able to cut the pieces and have some flop out, they'll crisp up more. But they are great!

Vegetables vegetables and more vegetables!
I roast mine in the oven. 400 degrees F. My favorites are brussel sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. Roast about 30-40 minutes. Before putting them in the oven drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Yum-o!
I also love green beans. I use my cast iron skillet almost daily and I always cook my green beans in it. First, start with bacon. 4-6 pieces, cut up and placed in the hot pan (medium heat). Cook until almost crispy then place the green beans in the pan, as many as you want. I've used frozen and fresh, either are fine. I stir them frequently for approximately 8-10 minutes. I do drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. No water is needed. They are divine this way!


Breakfast:

I'll be honest, breakfast has been tricky for me. I love sweet stuff for breakfast and that just isn't doable on the Paleo diet. Now. we only have sweet stuff (i.e. pancakes, waffles, etc) occasionally. Yes, there are recipes out there for Paleo pancakes, etc, and I've made them and we like them. But we don't need them everyday, so I do try and limit that. 
I eat a lot of eggs. I'm talking tons. I eat at least 2 every morning, fried and a little runny. That yolk just tastes so buttery to me. Mmmm! The girls eat theirs scrambled. I think I usually scramble 6 or 7 each morning and between the 3 of them they can put them away. We always do a fruit with our breakfast. They could live on fruit alone so there's always plenty around. I also like bacon in the morning with my eggs. I mean it's bacon. Need I say more?


Lunch:

Lunch tends to be leftovers in our home. That's just easiest and convenient for us. We'll have sandwiches occasionally but I try and limit their gluten intake. I've noticed if they have too much in their diet they get a little crazy but Nyla gets bags under her eyes and looks worn out. I think gluten is her enemy more than it is for the other girls. But it's a theory and I'm testing it out for her.


And there you have it. I know it's not much but I get a lot of recipes from my cookbooks, too. I try and have my paleo cookbooks handy at all times and I'm finding the authors have come up with great substitutions for my favorite foods. They've done all the hard work for me!



Favorite Cookbooks:




The Pioneer Woman: Dinnertime (not technically paleo but I've made a few adjustments to the recipes I've tried to make them paleo for us)








Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It's Been Awhile...Hello!

Hello out there. Is anyone still out there?

I popped in for a quick update. I'd love to say I'll be back soon or Daniel will but only time will tell.

So, here goes!

I've been on food journey for quite a few months. In September, while on vacation at the beach, I read an eye-opening book, The Whole 30. On October 1st I began the Whole 30 journey. I completed another round right after Christmas. What sprung this on? My health. I wasn't feeling top notch, had some tummy issues and just didn't like my relationship with food. I still don't like my relationship with food but some days it's not such a burden. I do pray it's something I don't pass onto my girls, though. After the 30-day experiment (that's what it was to me in October) I realized it was truly life changing. I had way more energy, a few inflammation issues I have struggled with for a decade or more were gone and I just over all felt like a better version of myself. And I lost 17 pounds in 30 days. All by eating real food and exercising a little. Amazing! I went through the 30 day program again in late December into January and lost 12 pounds. I still struggle with food but I'm much more conscious of what I'm preparing and eating. We tend to not have contraband food in our home quite as much. I control it, since I do the shopping, so it stays in the store where it belongs. On my food journey, I did learn that I don't tolerate dairy very well, gluten or large amounts of sugar. I don't have allergies to it but my tummy and my head appreciate when I stay away from those food items. I try to stay away from those items as much as possible. It's still a daily struggle but I feel like I'm getting the hang of it.




Nyla started an art class back in August through a local homeschool enrichment program and she has absolutely thrived! The picture below is all the pictures she drew from August-December. It's been so amazing to seen her confidence bloom through that class. She had a great second semester and is looking forward to taking the class again this coming Fall. 




Homeschooling is what I expected to be and not at the same time. How that's possible, I don't know but it's how I feel. I'm finding myself enjoying the process. We love the unhurried mornings, the spur-of-the-moment playdates with our friends/neighbors and quick field trips to our local zoo. There is a huge learning curve with homeschooling but I feel like it's right where we need to be. I'm not patient enough or smart enough but I do feel like this is where God wants our family. Our vision is to instill truth, beauty and goodness into the lives of girls, to create an active learning environment and help them feel loved and inspired. In my mind, homeschooling is the right fit for these conditions. It's right for our family. 




The big sisters, Nyla and Naomi, are best friends. I'm so thankful for that. Nyla loves "doing school" and having lots of free time to pursue her interests, like art and crafting. She's beginning to read and is gobbling up books. We take weekly trips to the library and come home with a huge box of books. Naomi is beginning the process of reading. Even at 4.5 years old she still struggles to recognize all the letters in the alphabet but All About Reading is helping with that tremendously. She loves the program and the zebra puppet (we are using the Pre-Reading with her) and having her little school time. She won't officially be in Kindergarten until the Fall of 2017 so we have lots of time, but she's shown an interest and I'm going with it. She also loves to draw but her real passion is books. She could sit all day on the couch or the floor and read read read. She wants to flip through books constantly and have me read just as many. She really enjoys playing outside and jumping on the trampoline. She always finds the biggest sticks or logs outside and carries them around. She never walks anywhere (always running, jumping, prancing, or walking on her tiptoes) and she has a great big imagination. She is a funny girl who has us laughing constantly.


The picture below is one of the many examples of their love of books. Today we sat on the floor for an hour in a row and read a bunch of books. And then continued to read on and off throughout the day. We don't watch TV or movies so reading is a favorite in our home!



And since we're chatting about reading, here's my stack from February. I bought this stack of Ruth's books when she was having a bundle sale. The Unstuffed book is just a little sneak peak. The actual book just released a couple weeks ago and I've yet to get my hands on it. But I will. There's so much wisdom in her books about spending less and getting rid of clutter. They are books I'll come back to time and time again. 

Nyla and Naomi got big haircuts a couple months ago. Nyla's makes her look so grown up. They are just like their mama loving big haircuts!



Here's Natalie. She's so big. She is 20 months old today and she's everywhere. She thinks she's as big as her sisters and does keep up with them pretty well. She eats anything I put in front of her, loves to jump on the trampoline, she's also and avid book lover and is the happiest girl. In 2013 I really felt like someone was missing from our family. Not a boy, just someone else. And she's definitely been the missing piece. She is so content and does so well with our ever-changing days. We can tote her anywhere and she's ready for the ride. I'm thankful for such an easy 3rd child since we're out and about frequently these days.



And there's our big update!