8.16.2016

How to Survive Whole30

About to embark on your first round of Whole 30? Finished a round and need motivation to start another? If you've stumbled upon this post, I am willing to bet that you are about to start a round, in the middle of a round or wanting to see what this Whole 30 craze is all about. If you fall into either of these categories, this list is for you!

About a year ago, I decided to attempt my first round of Whole 30. If you want to find out what motivated me to do so, you can read about it here. As of last week, I have now completed three full rounds of Whole 30. In fact, one was even a Whole 45 (go ahead and roll your eyes, it's all good). While I am far from an expert, I do think that there are a few ways you can set yourself up for success and dominate a round of Whole 30.


1. Have Strong Organizational Skills

Meal planning is key. I cannot stress that enough. If you are unprepared during these 30 days, there is a great chance that you will will not finish. It is imperative to plan your meals week by week, grocery shop and meal prep accordingly. Download a meal template, keep a spreadsheet at work, or write it in your planner - whatever works best for you, do it.

2 . Buy a Soft Measuring Tape

For 30 days you cannot weigh or measure yourself because it goes against the spirit of Whole 30. It was not a big deal for me, but one thing I learned from my first round is to take measurements before you start. At the end of the round you may be disappointed with the number on the scale, but the smaller waistline will speak for itself. 

3. Embrace Dishpan Hands

This adventure will have you up to your ears in dishes. My husband and I swear that our dishwasher never quit running. Luckily, we have a great system. I prep and cook, but J does the dishes. You will seriously wonder where all your dishes came from. They multiply like rabbits. Invest in paper plates. 

4. Gather Supplies

Whole 30 exposed me to new recipes and new toys in the kitchen. A few items that I always have on hand are:
  • Parchment paper - perfect for roasting all the things
  • Food processor -ideal for creating homemade dressings, marinades, mayo, etc. 
  • Splatter guard - a must for the most delicious recipe ever
  • Tupperware containers -a collection of various sizes is a must for food storage
5. Buy All the Ingredients

You can use a healthier substitute for some of your favorite ingredients. There are a few items I purchased during my first round and continue to use regardless if I am doing Whole 30 or not. 
  • Magic seasoning - great for seasoning meat, chicken, veggies, etc. You can buy it at Publix or get a better deal on Amazon.
  • Coconut Aminos - this can be used in place of soy sauce. It's perfect for stir fry and used in many slow cooker recipes. 
  • Ghee - a healthier alternative for butter. I use ghee on veggies, baked potatoes, steak, and as a fat for cooking. Trust me when I say quality matters. 
There you have it. You can be successful, but preparation is key. I also found motivation by reading success stories. Click here for the results from my first round. Round two and three results will be posted soon. I also have a Whole 30 section on my blog, found here

Even when I am not technically on a round, I (sometimes) try to eat clean. If you have any recipes or tricks in the kitchen, please share. Additionally, if you have completed a round I would love to hear about your results and experience! Share those details with a comment below!


8.08.2016

How to Ace Back to School Shopping


Throughout my many years in school, I always enjoyed starting a new school year. Sure it was exciting seeing new and familiar faces, meeting the teachers and discovering your schedule (or most importantly, who was in your classes), but what did I love most about the start of a new school year?

School supplies shopping!

Yes, I loved back to school shopping. I looked forward to getting my supply list and heading to Staples after the first day of class. #totalnerdalert

However, now that E has received school supply lists, I dread it.

What has happened to me? Maybe it’s because her lists are so basic or because it serves as another reminder that my baby is growing up, but I have no desire to fight the crowds over glue and finger paint. And guess what? You don't have to either.

The past two years, I have made back to school shopping the easiest process for our family. When we received the first supply list last year, I began to scour the internet. I did not have a lot of time to spend on my lunch hour trying to find the needed items or confirming that they were in stock. While I love Amazon, I quickly discovered that their pricing was on the high end for these standard items. Even though our Prime membership would provide free two day shipping, I started to look elsewhere. Much to my surprise, I wound up at Walmart (online, not physically). Here, I found all the items I needed at a much cheaper price.

When this year’s list rolled around, I decided to try the same process as last year. I immediately went to Walmart.com and found all of my items. I purchased them online and within a few hours, I received a text and email that half of my order was ready for pick up. The next day I received final confirmation that all the items in my order were available. I popped some Xanax (I kid, I kid) and headed out on my lunch break for the adventure known as Walmart. Last year, I sent J to pick up the items, but I decided to put on my big girl pants and prayed that I would have a pleasant experience.

My prayers were answered! When you order online, you go straight to the pickup counter at customer service. What does that mean? That means you skip the checkout lines and you bypass all the people waiting in line for customer service. You can imagine the looks I got when I proudly walked up to the counter. I had the friendliest employee who pulled my order. When we realized some items were missing, he ventured into the backroom and found the rest. As we confirmed my order, a few of the finger paints fell out of the box (it was not closed all the way) and this man apologized like it was his fault when it clearly was not. He bagged my items for me and just like that, I was headed back to work. By far, this was the easiest and most positive experience I have ever had at Walmart. In fact, I left a five star review on their Facebook page and plan to call the manager about their awesome employee. I know, I know. I’m still in shock over it myself.

If you have limited time, hate to shop or dread taking your kiddos with you (it is okay, we all have those moments), then this post is for you. Take a risk and place your order online for pickup. It’s quick, easy and you can price compare online! While I had success at Walmart, I know that Target also offers this option as well.

I’m sure as E gets older we will have our own back to school shopping tradition, but for now, this works for us. Surely I am not the only one who utilizes this option so if you have any tricks to share, let me know!


7.20.2016

Summer Savories: Italian Sunset Cocktail

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned how hot it has been down here in the Peach State. Guess what?

It’s still hot.

Here we are in the middle of July and for me, the heat is unbearable. I’m dreading the month of August, but there is a light at the end of this scorching tunnel… Football season is right around the corner! Alas, this is not a post about football.

One of my BFF (we shall call her DJ) fell in love, married a soldier and moved earlier this year to Colorado. Before she left, they gave us a few boxes of goodies that would not be making the trek with them on their move. One of those items was a bottle of amaretto liqueur.

Back in college, I was introduced to an Amaretto Sour cocktail. While it was a delicious beverage, I had no idea what else I could create with amaretto. After I scoured the internet, I stumbled upon a recipe for an Italian Sunset and decided to give it a whirl with some slight modifications.


Fixings
  • 2 ounces of amaretto liqueur
  • 3 ounces of orange juice
  • 3 ounces of black cherry sparkling water
  • 1 dash of cherry juice
Fix It
  1. Choose a pretty glass and fill it up with crushed ice.
  2. Pour the amaretto over the ice.
  3. Slowly add the orange juice.
  4. Slowly top with the sparkling water.
  5. Add a dash of cherry juice.
  6. Garnish with cherries or an orange slice.
While this concoction was much sweeter than anything I typically drink, it was a perfect, light, beverage for these hot summer months. Fruity drinks are tasty (in moderation) and you certainly get the pleasant yet rich flavors from the oranges and cherries.

I also used freshly squeezed orange juice and sparkling water because I had both ingredients on hand. Beware though, playing with fruit juice can leave you in a sticky mess with a dirty glass. Fun fact: if you pour really slow and carefully, you can layer the liquids for an attractive looking drink.

I was also informed that you can add amaretto to coffee. Where have I been?!

Have any of my ten followers used amaretto? We still have a lot left…enough for an Amaretto Sour, Italian Sunset and morning coffee!

I am seriously contemplating throwing some in my coffee. Post Whole 30 of course.