Through the Paleo diet/lifestyle and the Whole30 my family, friends and I are becoming healthier! We are getting to our healthy weights, moving more, sleeping better and have better energy. We are suffering fewer mild medical issues and are just overall feeling better every day!

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days. We cook and enjoy a lot of great food that's both tasty and healthy. I hope you'll find some recipes here that you'll enjoy!

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Good Dinner & a Not-so-Good Dinner

I made Smoky Country Style Ribs and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries Wednesday  night for dinner.  The ribs were too dry and tough and the fries were too spicy.  The dinner was edible and not awful, but it is not one I will make again.

On a happier note, I found spaghetti squash at the farmers market yesterday and got 2 small ones for only $3!  The lady that grew them told me that would keep a long time, so I figured I'll make them in a week or 2.  I also bought this from her:

I didn't know what to do with it, but her son said he cuts them in half and puts melted butter mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar on it and then bakes it.  I followed his advice, but left out the brown sugar.

I started by cutting the stem off the top and then cutting the squash in half the long way.
Then I scooped the seeds out.
Then I melted some butter and added some cinnamon & nutmeg.  Of course, I didn't measure.

I brushed it all over the insides of both halves.   I put them in a glass baking  dish and covered
them with tin foil.  I baked them on 400 for 55 minutes then took the foil off and baked them another
5 minutes.
Here they are after they are done baking!  We just scooped the meat out and ate them out of the shells!
Overall, the squash was good, but I can see why he put brown sugar on them!  I think they would be delicious hot out of the oven with some banana ice cream.

I also made buffalo wings for dinner last night (paired them with green beans).  They were tasty!  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I have a ton of stuff to share! 

First of all, while on a quest for groceries this weekend, my friend and I decided to see what kind of coconut milk was at our local Wal-Mart.  Boy were we surprised when we found this brand (ingredients:coconut milk, water) for only $1.48!!!  That's about half of what we normally pay at the grocery store!

This is what it looks like after being in the fridge:
Can you say "creamy"?!  It's much thicker than the other brands I've been using (that have guar gum or xantham gum in them).  It tastes a little sweeter too.  This weekend, I'm going to buy all that Wal-mart has on it's shelf and stock up! 

I made spaghetti squash with meatballs for dinner Saturday night.  I was hesitant to make this meal because I didn't want to try to replicate actual spaghetti.  But, I was pleasantly surprised at how GOOD it was!  Husband LOVED the meatballs.  He was eating them plain.  The recipe made about 40 meatballs and they were all gone in 24 hours!  Here are the recipes for the sauce & meatballs.  The squash recipe can be found here.

Marinara Sauce (from Paleo Recipe Book page 317)
8 Plumb Tomatoes, cut into quarters (I just used whatever I could get at the Farmer's Market)
1/2 Onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, whole
1 celery stalk, chopped (I left this out this time because I didn't have any)
Handful of each: fresh thyme, rosemary & sage (I used dried)
6T cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200F.  Place all vegetables in baking dish and pour 3T of the melted cooking fat and mix well to combine.  Roast the vegetables for about 5 hours in the preheated oven, until they are really caramelized.  Place the vegetables in a blender and process to a smooth sauce.  Add the rest of the cooking fat, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and process again.

I doubled this recipe (used 2 baking dishes) and put 1-1/2 jars of it in the freezer for another time.

Fresh Herb Meatballs (from Paleo Recipe Book page 28)
1lb ground beef
1lb ground pork (I used medium pork sausage from the farmer's market)
1/2 onion, minced
1/2C fresh basil, finely minced (I used dried)
1C spinach, finely minced (I have a mini food processor/chopper that I used for this.  It wasn't very "finely" minced)
4 eggs
1/2C almond meal
1T dried oregano
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your hands.  Season the mixture to taste with s&p.  Make small balls the size of a golf ball (I used my cookie baller, it made about 40) and place them apart on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 25 mins until well cooked.

This is just a pretty breakfast that I had on Sunday.
Scrambled eggs topped with Frog Ranch Salsa, Watermelon & Cucumber Salad, & Meatballs!

...and this was dinner last night!  A grilled hamburger topped with
onion, tomato and homemade paleo mayo with canned beets on the side.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tip of the Day #4

There are some great apps for your mobil device that you can use to come up with great Paleo/Whole30 meals/snacks.  My favorite one right now is My Kitchen fromThe Food Lovers' Primal Palate!  Here's what the app looks like on your iPhone:

This app allows you to search for recipes by type (appetizers, beverages, breakfast, entrees, salads, sauces & dressings, side dishes, soups, treats & cheats).  It also allows you to build your own weekly menu and shopping list.  I haven't played with the menu building/shopping list portion of the app yet, but I have made a few recipes that I found there recently which I will feature in another blog post(s) later this week!                       

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tip of the Day #3

Get your friends to join you! 

Of course, most of our friends thought we were crazy when we started our first Whole30, but after seeing our results (which I think were not what they expected, because they thought it was going to so difficult and we really found it to be easy), they all want to do one too!  The best part about this, is sharing Whole30 meals together!  Our friends that started their first W30 yesterday came over for dinner last night and we'll have dinner at their place one night this week.  I also had the pleasure of shopping for and preparing some basics (mayo, ranch...etc) with my friend this weekend!  

We also shared some samples of our Whole30 meals with some other friends that are starting their first W30 next week.  They raved about the food and it made them even more exciting about starting their first W30.  I look forward to having Paleo/Whole30 dinner parties soon!  
Image from

Friday, August 24, 2012

Recipe Roundup

I've tried 2 new recipes this week and invented a 3rd one!  

I've been wanting to try greens for some time now, but I had a feeling that the traditional southern way of boiling vegetables to death would turn me off.  So, instead I used a great recipe by Whole Life Eating called Pork Loin Chops with Collard Greens.  I actually liked it!  It was best when I took a bite of greens with a bite of the pork.  Husband resisted even trying them and then when he finally did he said they were "disgusting".  I still plan to make them once-a-weekish for myself.  The health benefits are too good to ignore (calcium, folate...etc).

My next new recipe was this Crockpot Ropa Vieja & Cuban Style Rice by PaleOMG.  I left the capers out because I didn't know what they were!  This recipe was good.  Husband wasn't thrilled with the texture of the cauliflower "rice", but overall he liked it.  

Then came my masterpiece!  Strawberry (banana) Ice Cream!  This recipe was inspired by the Banana Ice Cream that we had already been enjoying from time to time.  I simply put frozen sliced bananas, frozen (fresh) strawberries and full-fat canned coconut milk (chilled) in  my new food processor and blended it all together! When I do this again, I will cut the strawberries in half prior to freezing.  Being whole, they required a bit of coaxing with a wooden spoon in between processing.  I left out the cinnamon & nutmeg from the original banana ice cream recipe and I think that was a good decision.  Now I'm dying to try this Cinnamon Sweet Potato Ice Cream from PaleOMG.  We MUST get an ice cream maker!

On my list to make this weekend/next week: 

Marinara Sauce
Spaghetti Squash
Sweet Tater Fries/Mashed sweet taters
Watermelon & Cucumber Salad                                                     

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tip of the Day #2

Today's Tip:

Get yourself some Larabars.  Check the ingredients if you are doing the Whole30 because some of them have peanuts, honey or other non-compliant ingredients.  I buy a lot of the apple pie, blueberry muffin, pecan pie and key lime pie bars.  My favorite is the Pecan Pie.  These bars taste like you're cheating.  Seriously, they are delicious. The ingredients are: Dates, Pecans & Almonds.  That's it!  But, don't go hog wild and eat several of them a day.  That would be stupid.  Just keep them around for when you want something sweet or "dessert" (be careful of enabling old habits during your Whole30 though!).  I like to keep one in my desk or purse for days when I get stuck at work late or just have hard time making it from breakfast to lunch without snacking. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Paleo/Whole30 Tip of the Day

Today's Tip: Purchase and use a slow cooker!  

These are brilliant appliances.  They allow you to cook meat and veggies together for delicious "one pot" meals with very little effort.  Just put your meat, veggies & seasonings/sauces in the slow cooker in the morning before work/school/whateveryoudoallday and then when it's time for dinner... VOILA!  You have a healthy delicious meal!  Here are some slow cooker meals that I cook on a regular basis.

I actually have 2 slow cookers and sometimes on Sundays, I have food cooking in both of them at the same time!  You can pick one up for under $20 at wal-mart or other department stores.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dairy or No?

photo credit: 
There is a lot of discussion in the Paleo world about dairy.  Some people follow a paleo diet/lifestyle with dairy added and call themselves lacto-paleo.  I think it's a personal decision for everyone that can really only be made after completing a Whole30 and reintroducing it properly.  For me, dairy is really not worth it.  I found that in small amounts (a slice on my JJ's unwich or little added to a salad), it wasn't bad.  But, a cup of cottage cheese or scoop of ice cream had horrible affects: stomach pain, diarrhea, headache & acne...etc.  So, I plan to remain (mostly) dairy free.  I know that if I choose to eat more than a little dairy, I will pay for it.  We have a good alternative to ice cream and I have found that I can live without cheese (although after a week of having cheese curds in my face and turning them down, I did finally eat a hand-full of them.  Good thing they are several hundred miles away from me!).  

So, if you're curious about how dairy may or may not be affecting your health, give the Whole30 a try and then reintroduce it.  You may find that it's not a problem.  Or you may decide that you can live without it after all.  

Whole30 v2.0

I know y'all (all 2 of you) missed me while I was gone!  Our vacation was wonderful and we had a great time visiting family & friends that we hadn't seen in years!  We off-roaded a little bit, but definitely ate/drank better than we normally would have.  I had a few bites of some sweet treats and some alcoholic beverages and Husband had a lot of alcoholic beverages, which caused his joints to start aching again after a month of feeling much better!  So, today we start our Whole30 v2.0.  We are putting our own spin on this one.  It will be the same as our first except that Husband plans to continue using his pre-workout mix and we agreed to use bacon (nitrate/nitrite free from the farmer's market).  We're both looking forward to feeling our best again and we have some friends joining us for this one :)

Several friends and family members inquired about our dietary changes while we were in Wisconsin.  It was great to have everyone wanting more information and being interested in trying it themselves!  I've already sent The Book to my mother and a good friend.  My chiropractor has my copy right now and I'm thinking of buying myself a second copy.

I got my bloodwork results back (post-Whole30).  There wasn't a whole lot that needed improving, but here's a direct quote from Doctor: "Your numbers would be hard to improve on" .  That made me smile.  I plan to take his advice and try some probiotics.

When we came home from vacation, I immediately headed to the farmers market and the grocery store.  I made a batch of mayo and a batch of ranch dressing/dip.  I made a large batch of chicken salad (using homemade mayo, chicken breasts, green grapes, pecans and S&P).  Then on Sunday I made Crockpot Cabbage Rolls, Chicken soup (with my homemade bone broth!) and deviled eggs.  I burned up our blender before vacation, so I bought a food processor at Walmart for $29.99.  It came with a 2-year warranty, so I figure if it burns up in 2 years, I get it replaced.  If not, it was worth the money!

Here's a recipe that I found in a magazine. I apologize for the crappy picture quality, but I thought this looked like a fun, fresh salad to make!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Riding my Own Bike

Yesterday I was riding my own bike for the first time!  So, what did I do?  I kept my training wheels on for the most part.  For dinner I had a Jimmy Johns Unwich with Turkey, tomato, cucumbers, guacamole, mayo and ....CHEESE!  I figured I could make dairy my first reintroduction.  Although, I didn't reintroduce it like the program suggests (eat it at all 3 meals and then see how it effects you for the next 2 days).  I didn't notice any digestive effects, but I did have a brand new zit on my chin when I woke up this morning.  Related?  Maybe.

I also made these last night:
Recipe can be found here:

The only off-plan ingredients are raw honey and vanilla extract.  These little gems have no added sugar (just the honey) and yet are delicious and sweet!  I ate 3 of them and haven't had that usual sugar overload feeling that I normally have when I eat sweets.  I consider these a "guilt-free treat".  Key word being "treat".  These were baked for a special occasion for a special person.  These will not be a weekly (or even monthly) treat.  

The only other thing I've changed since finishing my first Whole30 is that I eat breakfast later in the day now.  I tried to be compliant the entire 30 days and eat my breakfast within 1-2 hours after I woke up, but it was a struggle to get food down that early.  I feel so much better when I eat about 4 hours after I get up.  I think I eat more (calories/fat...etc) this way too.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I bet most of you are thinking that I'm referring to freedom from the bounds of the Whole30 diet, but you couldn't be more wrong.  I'm talking about the freedom to eat good fricken awesome food and not feel even a tinge of guilt.  That's what the Whole30 did for me.  It gave me the freedom to eat amazing food and never, ever feel guilty.  It gave me the freedom to eat without measuring, counting or tracking.  It gave me the freedom to eat meals (and sometimes snacks) without feeling bloated or tired.  

So we got our scale back from the neighbor :)  

Husband lost 22 POUNDS!  That's a whopping 8% of his pre-whole30 body weight.  It's too bad that he didn't have a body fat analysis done, because he's been CrossFitting this whole time and probably lost more than 8% body fat.  I'm so proud of him and I know he's feeling great!

I lost 8lbs (6% of my weight).  I weigh the same now as I did when I hit my WW goal 4 years ago.  The important thing for me is to not let the weight fat creep back on.  I think I have all the tools to ride my own bike.  My head is definitely in the right place for total and permanent lifestyle change (I knew long before I hit my WW goal that counting points would NOT be a permanent lifestyle change for me).  I also plan to join my local CrossFit gym next month and start my running season in a few weeks.  Life is good :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 30!!!!

Well, it's Day 30!  This really went by fast and was about 100 times easier than I expected it to be.  It really has changed my life!  As I type this, I am drinking an iced coffee.  BLACK!  Me, drinking coffee without anything in it!  30 days ago, I would have had a little coffee with my milk & honey.  

Husband, who was sooooo worried in the first week that he might not lose any weight, told his friend yesterday (when asked if he'd lost any weight): "it's not about losing weight".  Seriously?! Did he really say that?!  Yes, he did!  He's most impressed with not feeling tired & bloated after he eats and his gains at CrossFit.  I'm very proud of him!  

We are getting our scale back from the neighbor tonight and we'll be weighing ourselves tomorrow morning.  I'm excited about it, but more excited that I had to buy new pants in a size I haven't seen in years!  I'm also excited that we both want to keep our Whole30 going.  I am making some paleo "treats" for a special occasion this week and we will be traveling back home to Wisconsin next week, where we might have some small indulgences, but I think we'll start another Whole30 on or around August 18th when we return.

I think to keep myself from off-roading too much over the next 10 days, I will stick to mostly paleo.  No dairy (except maybe to experiment and see how it affects me), no grains, no sugar or artificial sweeteners (will have some local raw honey in my paleo treats), and no legumes.  I will have some gluten free alcoholic beverages while we are in Wisconsin though :)
image courtesy of

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 29

Over the weekend Husband starting referring to my homemade paleo mayo as "heaven juice".  He even planned our meals around having something to dip in it or smother in it.  He says I should never buy "regular mayo" again.  So, there ya have it!

It's hard to believe that our first Whole30 is almost over already.  We plan to stick close to plan while we are traveling next week and he wants to start another Whole30 when we return.  I plan to make some paleo treats for a friend at work that is leaving.  I'll be sure to share the recipe and experience later this week!  Prior to our Whole30 we were "mostly paleo", but now I think we are total paleo converts!

I had some fun creating our breakfasts over the weekend.  On Saturday we had Sweet Potato Hash Browns with fried eggs. 
I started by peeling & shredding 2 sweet potatoes.  Then I mixed them with
some green onion (Husband's Idea).  I fried them in coconut oil like I would 
regular hash browns an served them eggs over easy!  YUM!
On Sunday I made this recipe from Every Day Paleo.  It was pretty good.  Husband wasn't sure he liked the eggplant and I was unsure about the tomato slice, but it was a fun experiment and we will probably make it again (maybe with our own additions/subtractions to the "stack" next time).

 For our weekly cook-up we made:
I also plan to make something with a pound of ground beef that I have thawed out and a package of drumsticks.  Also, after removing the chicken and veggies from the crock pot, we put the bones back in with more veggies and water and I am making my first batch of bone broth!  Hope it works :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Measuring Up

Yesterday was our 6 week measurement day.  Every six weeks my friend and I take each others measurements and write them down to compare.  This time I lost: 

1/2" at my waist (for a total of 1-1/2" in the last 12 weeks) 
1-1/4" at my hips (3" total)
1" and 3/4" around my thighs (they didn't change last time)  
3/4" around each arm (1-1/4" total).

My hips actually measure around my "pooch", which is what I call that bubble below my belly button.  I really had wondered if it was shrinking because, well it's still there.  But obviously, as I have lost 3" in that region, it really is shrinking!  

I'm glad that I measured, even though its technically a no-no during the Whole30, because now no matter what the scale says next week, I can be nothing but happy.  

Here's my dinner from last night.  Not a great pic, but it's a grass fed hamburger, grilled with onions, tomato and cucumber on top, covered in home made paleo mayo.  Served with sweet potato fries (peeled, wedged sweet potatoes tossed in oil and sprinkled with s&p.  Baked to perfection).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 24 - Is it Really that Difficult?

I cringe when people say that it's hard to eat healthy.  I shouldn't cringe because I've been there, I've said that.  But, after 24 days of the Whole30, I don't really think it's very hard.  In fact, I think it's mostly easy!  There have been some difficulties, I admit.  And I do wonder if I would find this "easy" if I wasn't doing the Whole30 and didn't have that to make all my decisions for me.  I guess we'll find out next week if its really as easy I think it is.  One thing I am sure of, I am honestly enjoying my meals (almost all of them!) and I don't feel deprived or hungry at all.  

One thing that I know for a fact that is making this easier is pre-planning and pre-cooking our meals.  It's been the biggest lesson for me.  Husband and I get excited while planning our meals for the next week and we really enjoy cooking together on Sundays.  This was NOT a normal part of our marriage prior to Whole30.  He rarely ever helped cook before.  So, Whole30 has even made my marriage more enjoyable!  

Another thing that has made it easy is having my husband and a co-worker do it with me.  The support has been amazing and has really made this a fun experience for all of us!

So, if you've been thinking about doing a Whole30, but thought of the reasons not to (it's too hard, my family won't join me, I can't imagine giving up _______....etc.), please know that all the anxiety of doing it is by far the worst part!  Once you get started, you'll wonder what all of that worrying was even for!

I'll leave you with this blogpost from Ordinary Contradictions.  I love her take on connecting with her food :)