Whole 30 Wrap Up {Round Two}

This Whole30 was different. I felt JUST as amazing, and even more quickly than last time. I think this is probably because since my last whole30, I’ve still enjoyed eating a lot of paleo meals, making the transition a little less painful this time around. However, I also got bored with it a lot sooner. It didn’t seem AS magical, probably because my memories of the first one were “I felt like a million bucks!!” which set the bar pretty darn high as far as my expectations went.

I also, admittedly, sort of stopped a few days early. I know, I know…it’s not a TRUE Whole30. But I really felt ready. I feel empowered to make good decisions. I didn’t binge when I stopped. Actually, the thing I’ve been craving the most was popcorn, and I’ve had a LOT of popcorn in the last few days. I’ve also laid out a fitness plan to get me through the next few months, since I do a lot better once it’s all mapped out ahead of me.

My primary goal with this Whole30 was to TRULY make a lifestyle change. As a lot of people like to say, an 80/20 paleo lifestyle. To me, this means choosing paleo meals 80% of the time, and occasionally working in something like popcorn, wine, a piece of pizza, or some cheese. And the biggest challenge in this, for me, is to not make it a big deal in my head. Like, I’m choosing salad instead of a sandwich: no biggie! I’m skipping fries tonight: no biggie! The no biggie mindset will be a huge accomplishment for me.

A few of my favorite new recipes from this time around include:

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Turkey Meatballs and Crock Pot Marinara

Deviled Eggs & Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

Salmon Cakes

A Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot

Have you done a second Whole30? How did you feel?

Panera’s Hidden Menu

I don’t think it’s as much of a secret these days, but Panera has a hidden menu. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve learned not to ask questions of a good thing.

I love eating at Panera, because even though it can get a little pricey, there are many pretty healthy options on the menu. You can customize your salad. You can get an apple. You can do just about anything you want. But even this girl, a lover-of-Panera-for-life, can get sick of making the same choices over and over.

So in comes the hidden menu. For the record, there are more items than are even listed here. I’m pretty sure you can order any of their fancy salads from other seasons – like the fuji apple turkey salad – from the “hidden menu.” I tried the Steak Lettuce Wraps – they were so-so. So far my favorite is the Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad:

Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad

I ordered this the other day, and it seriously, actually looks like this. It even came with little packets of olive oil to drizzle on yourself. IT WAS SO YUMMY.

I also ordered the Egg Bowl with Steak during my last Whole30, and while it worked for an on-the-go breakfast, it was NOT as pretty as the online photo…

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But hey, at least there are options out there! Most places, there are nearly no options that are grain and dairy free. So cheers to healthy eating on the go!

Buffalo Chicken Egg Cups

I could eat hard boiled eggs for breakfast everyday and never get sick of them. Seriously. But I know it never hurts to switch things up a little bit. I have made a lot of egg cups in the past – usually with some combination of veggies and meat. They make a perfect microwaveable, quick weekday breakfast. Plus my hubby really likes them, which is a win. This week, I’ll be eating these with a little side of diced, roasted sweet potatoes and a piece of fruit. Protein, fat, and carbs for breakfast, people! It’s what will get you through to lunch!

Buffalo Chicken Egg Cups

Buffalo Chicken Egg Cups

 

Buffalo Chicken Egg Cups

Ingredients

8 eggs
1/4 cup buffalo sauce
salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes (really any combo of spices you like in your eggs)
one large chicken breast, cooked and shredded (about 5-6 oz)
3 green onions

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 muffin tins with nonstick spray

2. Whisk together eggs, sauce, and seasonings in a large bowl. Pour evenly into the 12 muffin tins.

3. Divvy up the chicken and onions among the muffin tins.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they appear set. Allow to cool, remove from muffin tins, and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to reheat and eat.

Enjoy! And eat your breakfast!!

Crock Pot Whole Chicken

I have never made a whole chicken, in the oven OR the crock pot. But guess what…I did it and it was tasty!!

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I put one largely chopped onion, one largely chopped potato, a bunch of baby carrots, and one cup of chicken stock into the bottom of my crock pot.

I then seasoned the five-pound bird with salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and some Italian seasoning. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE THE PLASTIC POUCH OF GIZZARDS OUT. That would not taste good in the crock pot.

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I nestled the bird down in, and turned that sucker on low for about six hours. HELLO delicious-smelling house. When it was done, I let it rest a few minutes on the cutting board before my husband chopped it into pieces. We threw the pieces back into the juices and veggies while we got the rest of our dinner ready. We also stored leftovers in the juices, just so everything stayed nice and delicious.

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Oysters

If there’s one thing I know about my husband, it is that he loves him some oysters on the half shell. One of our favorites restaurants in East Nashville has delicious oysters, and once a week goes 2-for-1. He never misses this when we are visiting Nashville. They don’t quite compare to that one time we ate oysters straight of the water in Boston. But still, we are fans.

That one time we ate oysters right out of the water in Boston.

So when we went to the grocery store this weekend, and they had oysters in the seafood department, we got ourselves a little treat. (One lesson learned though…if you’re buying oysters, make sure you have a shucker. A regular ol’ knife just won’t cut it.)

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Shuck your oysters, and load them up with horseradish and cocktail sauce. HELLO. This was indeed a Happy Sunday meal. Do you have any “treats” you like to stumble upon at the grocery? We love seafood, and just don’t get a lot of the good stuff living in Ohio. These seemed about as fresh as you can get around here!

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Shepherd’s Pie {Paleo Recipe Review}

I made this recipe the other night, and I LOVED IT, but it did not turn out very pretty, soooooo here is a lovely photo from One Lovely Life… Cottage Pie // One Lovely Life

Because I totally am borrowing this photo, as well as their recipe, I’m just going to tell you a few tweaks I made for my own version.

1. I made mashed cauliflower for the topping instead of mashed potatoes. I know potatoes are okay to have now, but the hubs and I really really love mashed cauliflower, and it’s a little easier to make. It probably didn’t stand up as well against the juices of the filling as a potato topper might have, but hey, it doesn’t have to be pretty to taste good!

2. I used ground turkey. Lamb’s expensive, and this family is on a BUDGET. Therefore, I also used chicken stock since I already had it on hand.

3. I also used the vegetables I had on hand. Instead of chopping carrots, I used a mixture of frozen peas and carrots. So I ended up putting in an onion, celery, and then frozen peas and carrots for my veggies. Works for me!

And just to humor you, here is the photo of how mine REALLY looked…This is REAL LIFE, folks…

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Half Way {Whole30}

As I may have mentioned, during this Whole30 I’m trying to pay less attention to the actual number of days. While I don’t think it’s realistic for almost anyone to maintain this sort of lifestyle, there are parts of it that I want to do a better job incorporating to my life moving forward than I did last time. I’m literally mentally making myself think, “No big deal. Ain’t no thang. AIN’T. NO. THANG.” And truly, it hasn’t been a big deal, save one or two times I might have really enjoyed a glass of wine or some popcorn.

But I realized today is Day 15, so I’m giving myself a little mental high five. Feeling good! Feeling rested. Feeling proud of my choices. Feeling probably about 5 lbs lighter. Feeling focused on more important things than food. But if you’re thinking about food, check out my Recipe Box for some new ideas.

The new recipes I’ve posted about this Whole30…