21 Day Sugar Detox- Week 2.

This week marks the start of the 21 Day Sugar Detox- Week 2. I’ll be honest- I did terrible last week! Through the week I was pretty good, but the weekend came and I felt a little bit sick to my stomach. So I had some pop. And then later I ate 2 (!) almond milk ice cream bars…oy vey. What a failure! I’ve definitely seen a correlation between not eating enough fat and those sugar cravings that I just can’t ignore.

I got sick of eggs for breakfast towards the end of last week, so this week I whipped up some Banana Porridge from the Against All Grain cookbook. I’ve made this several times before and it’s really filling and comforting. And provides a good dose of healthy fats from all the nuts.

This week the menu has a good mix of chicken, pork, beef and fish. There are some favorites here as well as some items that I haven’t made in a while. The potato salad is the only potato salad I like. It’s a recipe from Bobby Flay and I was shocked when I found out that it had mustard in it. I hate mustard. I will probably only add a little bit of the whole grain mustard since it is less offensive than dijon. And I add celery to the recipe as well. It is the perfect summery side dish! {And no I don’t care that potatoes aren’t strict Paleo. I like potatoes and sometimes I eat regular potatoes.} The Thai Beef Salad is a recipe by Ellie Krieger. And it is by far one of the most flavorful salads ever! I will prep the marinade the night before and then in the morning before work, I’ll just add the meat to a plastic bag, pour in the marinade and refrigerate. When I get home, I’ll just grill the beef and put the salad together. I love having recipes that I can do a lot of the prep work the night before. It makes the mornings and evenings a lot more enjoyable!

21 Day Sugar Detox- Week 2

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Friday Favorites.

Here are a few moments from last weekend and this week. Last weekend we went berry picking took some pictures next to unripe berries. Although the berry picking experience was a disappointment, we had fun driving around Boulder, getting lunch and going to Trader Joe’s!

On Saturday night we joined all the cool kids in Denver and headed a few blocks down the street to watch…Frozen! I was pretty excited. TJ was not so excited. But he came with me and carried the chairs and bought me strawberry ice cream. I love all the free things that happen in summer here and I’m up for a free movie outside anytime. In a few weeks they are playing Father of the Bride. You can bet we will be there for that one!

On Sunday I did all the food prep for the week. And then the week began. We watched a thunderstorm roll through. There was some serious lightning happening.

It’s been an exhausting and fast week. There have been several nights this week I’ve come home and barely been able to keep my eyes open long enough to eat dinner. I’m pretty sure one night I fell asleep around 7:00 and woke up really confused at 10:00… Not smart to take a nap at 7:00 at night. Needless to say, I’m ready for the weekend. Naps for everyone!

Have A Great Weekend!

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Meal Planning.

Everyone has that one thing that is “their thing”. One of my things is meal planning. I can’t quite remember why or when I started meal planning but I can’t imagining not doing it. It does take a little bit of time at the beginning of the week, but I know that I get that time back with the structure and organization it provides. Not to mention it saves me from a lot of stressful situations during the week. Here are the steps I take to plan out our meals for the week.

3 Easy Meal Planning Steps

Step 1:

Gather all your materials. A planner or calendar and pen to write out your meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for each day. A notepad or paper to write your grocery list. Any weekly ads for the stores that you shop at. And some coffee or tea. Once you have your materials, take the time to think about what you want to eat that week. Write down your plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day. I’m pretty strict about having something written down for the weekdays, but I’m much more relaxed about the weekends. I know we will probably end up eating out at least once so I generally use the weekends to use up any leftovers and fruits and veggies that might go bad. While this step can be the most time consuming, it does not have to be difficult. Think about your favorite meals. Think about things that will be easy for breakfast (smoothies, muffins), things that can be made ahead for lunch and then save the more elaborate meals for dinner when you might have more time to cook. Make sure to scan the weekly ads for items on sale. If you were planning on having chicken breasts one night, but pork chops are on sale, just make a swap! Sometimes I’ll be a little general when I’m writing out my plan for each day. For example, for breakfast I might write ‘eggs, bacon and fruit’. Then when I look through the ads, I’ll make note of which fruits are on sale and just buy those.

meal planning

meal planning

Step 2:

Once you have your meals planned out, start writing your grocery list. I usually make my list in this order– Write down any items that you buy weekly (coffee cream, seltzer, eggs, milk, etc). Then go through each day and write down EVERY item that you will need (don’t worry if you think you might have the items already, write them down anyway). Make note of quantities so that you purchase enough of each item.

meal planning

Step 3:

The last and final step is to take inventory. Take your list and go through your kitchen to see what items you already have. Cross anything off your list that you already have and therefore don’t need to buy. This step saves you from getting to the store and standing in the aisles thinking, Do I already have…? There’s nothing worse than buying a bunch of items only to come home and realize you already have them. Especially if they are perishable!

meal planning

And those are my steps for meal planning! Yes, I do this every week! Once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. The longest step for me is deciding what I want to eat. I like switching things up so I’m always looking for new recipes and ideas.  It’s a great idea to keep either a physical list or a mental list of all your favorite/easy meals.  If you have 10 or 15 “go-to” meals, you can just rotate them each week.  This helps make meal planning simple and keeps you and your family from getting sick of the same meals.  

Happy Meal Planning!

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21 Day Sugar Detox.

After the last week and a half of terrible eating and then finding out that a new group of people would be starting this 21 Day Sugar Detox, I decided to jump in. It starts today and lasts three weeks. I know that in the grand scheme of things, three weeks is nothing, but for someone who LOVES sugar, three weeks is forever. No grains, no legumes, no sugar (which means no honey, no maple syrup, no coconut sugar), limited fruits (green apples and slightly under-ripe bananas only!) and limited dairy for three weeks! This is really what I strive for on a daily basis but I’m definitely not as strict as I should be. I will eat small amounts of rice and beans on occasion and I don’t limit my fruit intake. If I want something sweet I will have honey or maple syrup. But I know that I can do this and I know that it’s okay if I’m not totally perfect for the entire three weeks. So many times people (myself included) never even start something because they are afraid they can’t do it 100%. Even if you start at point A, hope to get to point C, but only make a few changes and end up around point B, you still made progress. You are still further ahead than if you had never started at all.

So my goals for this 21 Day Sugar Detox is that I will greatly reduce my cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. That my joint pain and stomach pain will go away or at least be more manageable. That my blood sugar will feel more stable with fewer ups and downs during the day (which equals a more steady stream of energy). And of course I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for a few pounds to be shed.

Because I’m working again, I have less time to cook and do meal prep in the morning and before dinner. Last week was a little rough because I wasn’t prepared. At my new job everyone just eats at their desks and it’s a pretty quiet environment. So I needed to come up with some things that were quiet and easy to eat at my desk. There is a microwave and refrigerator so I decided I would make soup, beef with vegetables, and eat that all week. I made the soup on Sunday and then just portioned it out so all I have to do is grab the container in the morning along with a green apple and go! In an effort to make things easier on myself after work, I prepped all the veggies for dinner and have them ready to go. I made the enchilada sauce and have all the chicken prepped and individually wrapped.

Here are our dinners for the week. There’s not much different about this than our normal dinners. I think the next three weeks will be hardest at breakfast and after dinner. Usually that’s when I start craving something sweet. But I think after the first couple days it will start to get easier. I will be documenting my progress and my meals, so check back often!

21 Day Sugar Detox

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A Menu.

What a week.  Last week.  The beginning of this week. I’m so tired I couldn’t even come up with a title for this post. After a lovely flare-up last week, I’m physically exhausted.  And after my first day at my new job, I’m mentally exhausted.  I miss that feeling of being mentally tired though.  So often I only feel tired physically, so I’m looking forward to being challenged at work.  

Here is our menu for the week.  Only 4 days of dinners since Friday is July 4th and we might not be home. The week started off with Husband Delight, which is a Pioneer Woman recipe. She calls it something different but after reading the comments, I found out that this recipe is also called Husband Delight. And I like that name a lot better. And it’s true. This has quickly become a favorite dinner of my husband. I Paleo-ize this recipe by replacing the noodles with spaghetti squash.

menu

The rest of the dinners in our menu were very intentional since this week was my first week back to work. I’ve gotten very used to having tons of time to cook dinner and now I don’t have that time anymore. So I’m utilizing the crock pot and making pulled pork. Veggies for fajitas and rice for chicken with rice and beans will be prepped the night before. Chicken will be marinated all day and quickly cooked when I get home. Even though it would be much easier to just eat out or make pizza or a sandwich, making dinner is one of my top priorities. Eventually I’ll get back into the swing of things and I’ll get my system down. My list making skills always come in handy when I’m busy!

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Friday Favorites.

I haven’t been feeling great this week (joint pain to the MAX!) so I’m just now realizing how few pictures I took of anything that happened. Sorry for the short post and lack of pretty pictures!

Random date to Pinkberry.

Pomegranate frozen yogurt + strawberries + pineapple + blueberries + watermelon juice. Yes, watermelon juice. TJ was skeptical at first, but it was basically like a fruit juice syrup. Instead of hot fudge or caramel, have some watermelon juice! It was quite refreshing.

 

Berries & Cherries.

It’s definitely summer time! Berries and cherries everywhere! I’ve seriously been chowing down on the strawberries, raspberries and cherries lately. Raspberries with coconut cream, plain strawberries and a cherry crisp. So delicious.

 

Peppermint Oil.

Peppermint oil has quickly become my new favorite essential oil.  I plan on doing a post dedicated to peppermint oil, but this stuff is fantastic for headaches, muscle or joint pain and relaxation.  I’ve been rubbing it on my knees and neck and it provides a cooling, tingling sensation.  It doesn’t last as long as I would like it to, especially on my knees.  And because Peppermint is such a strong oil, be careful about where you put it.  Use a carrier oil if you have really sensitive skin.

 

Weekend Plans:

A movie tonight (at the cheap theatre!), Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, Paleo bread-making & relaxing.

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Cherry Crisp with Walnut Topping

This week at Sprouts, cherries were on sale! I love fresh cherries, straight out of the bag, as a snack. But I love them even more as the star in a fruit crisp. I was craving something sweet so I decided to whip up this cherry crisp!

cherry crisp

This cherry crisp is grain-free and refined sugar-free. Because of the almond meal and walnuts, it has a lot more fiber than you will find in a typical fruit crisp. And considering that this cherry crisp contains only good-for-you ingredients, feel free to indulge guilt-free! Given that we are entering summer, the stores are teeming with delicious fruits! This recipe would work for any fruits that you have on hand. Don’t particularly love cherries? Use blackberries. Or combine a few different fruits. A combination I love is peaches and blueberries. Any combination of fruit plus this walnut topping is delicious!

cherry crisp

Topping this crisp with coconut milk whipped cream or coconut milk ice cream, makes it SUPER decadent! I’ll of course never turn down whipped cream or ice cream, but if you don’t have any, don’t worry! This was delicious all on it’s own.

Cherry Crisp with Walnut Topping
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2.5 cups fresh cherries (pitted)
  2. 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 T. honey
  4. 3 T. coconut sugar
  5. 4 T. almond meal or flour
  6. 1/4 cup walnuts
  7. 1 t. vanilla
  8. 2 T. butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Place pitted cherries in a bowl.
  3. Add lemon juice and honey and stir to combine.
  4. Divide cherries among oven-safe bakeware (2 medium or 4 small dishes).
Topping
  1. Pulse the walnuts in a blender or food processor until the size of oats.
  2. Put the walnuts in a small bowl along with the coconut sugar, almond meal and vanilla.
  3. Mix together until combined.
  4. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir until all ingredients are moistened.
  5. Top the cherries with the topping.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden and the cherries are bubbly and hot.
Notes
  1. This recipe serves anywhere from 2 to 4 people, depending on what size of dish you use.
  2. For an occasional decadent dessert, serve with coconut milk whipped cream or coconut ice cream.
The Ceravolo Life http://www.theceravololife.com/
{If you are looking at this ingredient list and thinking that you don’t have any almond meal or coconut sugar, fear not! You can find almond meal or flour at most grocery stores now. Just look by the gluten-free flour section. Coconut sugar can be found at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts and any health food store. I bought my almond meal and coconut sugar at Trader Joe’s and they are very reasonably priced.}

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Green beans that even a veggie hater will love.

This recipe is perfect for shoveling green vegetables into your children or into your husband. Green beans are pretty much the only cooked vegetable, besides peppers and onions, that my husband will eat. So I should make green beans a more regular part of our dinners, but I have an embarrassing confession- I prefer canned green beans. And since I try not to buy too many canned items, I only buy fresh green beans. So I was happy that this recipe was liked by both of us. There wasn’t one green bean left on our plates!

green beans

 

  1. Sauteed Green Beans
    Serves 2
    A simple veggie side dish that will be liked by all!
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    Ingredients
    1. 1.5 cups fresh green beans
    2. 1-2 garlic cloves or 1/2 shallot, minced
    3. 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    4. 2 cups water
    5. 1 T. no salt added butter (I use Kerrygold brand- it's from grass-fed cows)
    6. black pepper
    Instructions
    1. Heat the chicken broth and water in a pot over medium-high heat.
    2. Cut the ends off the green beans and cut each bean in half.
    3. When the chicken broth and water starts to boil, put the green beans in.
    4. Blanch the green beans for 4-5 minutes.
    5. Remove the green beans and save the chicken broth/water.
    6. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the green beans and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth/water.
    7. Add the minced garlic.
    8. Let the liquid come to a boil and simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated (about 8-9 minutes).
    9. Add the butter and let melt. Mix the melted butter around so that all the beans are coated.
    10. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper (and a little salt if you want to).
    The Ceravolo Life http://www.theceravololife.com/

This is a very simple side dish, but cooking the beans in the chicken broth gives them a little more flavor. I prefer fresh green beans cooked a little longer so that they are pretty tender. So that’s what this recipe will give you. If you like your green beans with a little more bite, just add a little less chicken broth when you start to saute them and cook them for about 5 minutes.

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Weekly Paleo Menu

Almost every item I plan on making this week for dinner is Paleo! I might end up adding in some white potatoes for TJ but I wouldn’t exactly classify those as non-Paleo. Some think they are fine in moderation and some think you shouldn’t eat them. I like white potatoes and they don’t seem to affect me in any way, but they are nightshades, so for me they should be limited. Nightshades (white potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and paprika) should be avoided/seriously limited if you have joint pain or any condition affecting your joints. Here is our weekly Paleo menu!

weekly paleo menu

Several of the recipes (chicken strips and meatloaf) are from the 21 Day Sugar Detox books. I’m trying really hard to cut back on the sugar. With the exception of a few tiny sips of pop to take my medicine, I haven’t had any pop! I definitely still crave it but have been drinking a lot of honey-sweetened or unsweetened peach iced tea, sparkling water and regular water with lime.

Once I’m feeling more confident in my less-sugar-lifestyle, I really want to do the official 21 Day Sugar Detox. It is exactly what it sounds like. No sugar. 21 days. 3 weeks. No sugar. No honey. No maple syrup. No fruit except for green apples and slightly green bananas. Basically that equals sadness for almost a month. But I need it. I’m addicted to sugar. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I feel like I’ve come a long way already but now it’s almost time to fine-tune. I’ll share my progress once there’s something to share!

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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day! I think the hardest part of living away from my family is that I can’t just drop by and see them on these special days. So this is my virtual drop-in Dad! Thank you for being a great example of hard work, humor and love. I can’t express in words how grateful I am to have a dad that I’m proud to say is My Dad.

I love you Father!

father's day

father's day

father's day

father's day

father's day

father's day

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