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Thursday, August 30, 2012

What I Gather featured on FitKit and Exotic Cinnamon Spiced Chicken Bake Recipe

Recently, I was invited to write a few guest posts for FitKit. If you are not familiar with FitKit, it is a site that determines a personalized fitness and nutrition program just for you based on an interactive quiz that you can take on their website. They also have a great blog filled with fitness tips and healthy recipes.

That is where I come in! I love spreading the good word about simple, healthy, delicious meals and this Exotic Cinnamon Spiced Chicken Bake fit the bill perfectly! This dish was all about the spices. I love how the use of different herbs and spices can totally change the feeling and flavor of a meal.

I'll be writing a few more posts for FitKit so be sure to check those out, as well.

Click here to read the full post over on the FitKit site and the recipe is also availble at the end of this post!

Exotic Cinnamon Spiced Chicken Bake
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 Minutes

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 medium (or 4 small) bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp allspice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450F.
Coat a 13”x9” glass baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil and set aside.
Add chicken, sweet potato, onion and bell peppers to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil and spices until everything is evenly coated.
Pour chicken and vegetables into prepared baking dish.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are beginning to brown. Stir once after 30 minutes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Peachy Keen Smoothie

I love smoothies! They are great for workout recovery or a creamy and refreshing afternoon treat. I've been experimenting with some new flavor combinations lately and this was one I just had to share with you! Banana, peach and orange with just a hint of ginger and nutmeg make for a flavorful, nutrient rich treat.

This smoothie has some hidden benefits, as well. I added a bit of turmeric, which you can't even taste, for it's anti-inflammatory properties - just what your body needs after a hard workout. And, instead of regular ice cubes, I used green tea ice cubes to boost this smoothie's antioxidant power.

To make the green tea ice cubes, I like to brew a big batch of green tea and just pour the tea into an extra ice cube tray that I have reserved just for my special green tea ice cubes. They are great in smoothies or in iced tea because they stop the tea from getting watered down as the ice cubes melt.

Ill stop giving instructions on how to make ice cubes so you can get out there and make this smoothie! Do you have a favorite smoothie flavor?

Peachy Keen Smoothie
Serves: 2
Time: 10 minutes

1 banana, sliced
1 orange, peeled and quartered
1 peach, pit removed and quartered
1 cup coconut milk
4 green tea ice cubes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric
Water (as needed)

Place all ingredients in a blender.

Blend until smooth. If needed, add water until desired consistency is reached.

Divide evenly between two large glasses.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All Wrapped Up - Thoughts and feelings on my Whole30 experience

So, my Whole30 journey is a couple weeks behind me now and I just wanted to talk a bit about my experience - how I felt during the process and how I feel now that I have been free to make my own choices for the past couple of weeks.

Look at all these choices!

First of all, I approached the Whole30 from a bit of a different angle than I have seen a lot of others do. I did not weigh or measure myself beforehand, nor did I take pictures of my pre-Whole30 body. I wasn't doing this to change my body, that has already happened over this past year of eating a Paleo diet. My main drive for taking on a Whole30 was to grow my healthy relationship with food and break some of those cravings and emotional ties that drive us to eat when we aren't even hungry.

I haven't always had the healthiest relationship with food. I won't bore you with the details (maybe some other time), but a lot of my eating had nothing to do with hunger. It had more to do with comfort, avoiding dealing with my emotions, boredom, being unhappy, etc. As I began to make healthy changes in my life (being more active, eating a better diet and being in a relationship with the most caring and supportive man on the planet), my issues with food subsided for the most part. But they were still lurking just below the surface and I will admit that they did come up for air every once in a while and try to sneak back into my life. If anyone ever said you can't overeat on the Paleo diet...they lied.

Like I said, my feelings toward food were much healthier after a year of following a Paleo diet, but I really wanted to find a way to break down those last few barriers. I wanted to have a completely healthy and beneficial relationship with food. The more I read about the Whole30 program the more it appealed to me. I was already following a diet that closely resembled Whole30, with the exception of some wine, chocolate and other various treats here and there so the transition was fairly easy.

Hi friend...I'll miss you!

When I first set out on this journey, I armed myself with a kitchen full of fresh foods. I tried to limit my fruit intake, which meant more vegetable-based snacks such as carrot sticks and guacamole or beef jerky and sliced peppers. I also tried not to rely on fruit-based breakfasts or Paleo-ized treats like almond flour muffins or "oatmeal".

Sorry, Chocolatey Surprise're out!

Because I documented every bite on my blog, it was easy to look back and assess my diet after a couple of weeks. I noticed that I was still relying on my evening snack, even when we didn't eat dinner until 8:00 at night. So I made my own Whole30 rule that I wouldn't snack at night. I knew I wasn't having that snack because I was actually hungry, but because I was just used to having a snack at night. My mind wanted that snack, not my body.

There are at least two or three of these in our house at all times
I also noticed that almond butter just happened to be on my plate in some fashion every single day. I LOVE almond butter, I would eat the entire jar if you let me. Does that mean I should do it? No. It does not. I craved almond butter because I like the taste of it, the creamy, crunchy goodness of it, and the way it complements pretty much any fruit oh so well! Don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about having a favorite treat. I love food and I think food should be an enjoyable part of our lives. But, like my little nighttime snacks, I was reaching for it because of the emotional comfort it provided, not because my body needed it. I banned almond butter from my Whole30 about two weeks into the process.

I feel like my Whole30 experience evolved as the weeks went on. At first, I was just going through the motions and following the prescribed diet. At some point, something clicked in my head and I realized it wasn't just about restricting my diet to look healthier on the outside - it was about adding nutritious, health supporting foods to make me feel healthier on the inside. Once that switch flipped in my brain it was easy! I never felt that I was depriving myself or missing out on something, I knew that every single thing I ate was supporting my current and future health and improving my performance and recovery from all of the tough tri-training I was doing. I willfully took vegetables or leftovers to work as snacks and focused on packing as many nutrients as possible into each and every meal.

At this point, about three weeks in, I was honestly ready for my Whole30 to be over so I could feel that I was making these choices on my own and not that they were being dictated for me. I wanted to stick it out, though, because it had been such an eye-opening experience up until then. I cruised through my last week pretty easily and was just really excited to put everything I had learned into practice.

Paleo Carrot Cake Muffins for my Book Club ladies!

My Whole30 ended on a Friday...did I go crazy that weekend? Not so much. I did make my Paleo Carrot Cake Muffins because my book club was meeting at my house and I wanted to serve a Paleo treat to my non-Paleo friends. I also had a glass of wine with dinner. Other than that, I stuck to fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins and fats. I thought I would run right out and buy my favorite bar of 90% dark chocolate, but I am currently two weeks post Whole30 and I still haven't bought that chocolate bar. I just feel so differently about the way I approach food than I did before my Whole30.

For example, when I eat dinner at my Mom's once a week she always serves this AWESOME Muffaletta topping that we use on salads or sweet potatoes, but I started to notice my stomach was always a bit rumbly after eating it (probably the soybean and vegetable oil) so last week I just didn't eat it. There was a time when I would eat things that didn't necessarily make me feel so great afterwards (Hello - almond butter every single day!) because they just tasted good. I listen to my body so much more now than I ever have.

Our bodies are smart - they know what they want and they will tell us when we have eaten something they don't like. I truly feel that this experience changed the way I think and feel about food. I look forward to cooking and eating every meal because I feel so good about what I am putting into my body. My relationship with food has improved immensely. Of course, I still plan to have the occasional treat. I think that is completely healthy. I am already looking forward to going to the movies tonight and having my little dark chocolate covered almonds. :)

So I guess that is it in a nutshell! Umm a very large nutshell. This was quite a long post because I had so much to say about this awesome experience. I strongly recommend Whole30 to anyone who needs a little jump start into their Paleo diet and also for those of us who have been following a Paleo diet for a while, but still need a little help developing a healthy relationship with food.

If you are ready to give it a shot, check out the Whole30 website and be sure to pick up a copy of Dallas and Melissa's book, It Starts with Food. And, of course, (shameless plug ahead) be sure to try some of my favorite Whole30 recipe creations while you're at it. There are so many great resources out there, The Foodee Project even has weekly menu plans available for you to follow.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My first official speaking gig!

While I tend to talk about food all day everyday and to anyone who will listen, next week I will be doing so for a willing audience and I couldn't be more excited!

The CrossFit gym I attend, Clark Floyd CrossFit is hosting a Paleo seminar on Wednesday, August 29th at 6:45 and I will be presenting information on practical ways to apply Paleo to your everyday life. I'll cover everything from shopping and weekly planning guides to tips for sticking to your Paleo diet when you are away from home.

If you are in the Louisville area and would like to attend, you can click the link below to sign up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Vegetable Mahi Mahi Bake

This dish absolutely screams summer - a light fish seasoned with the bright flavors of dill and lemon, accompanied by fresh-from-the-garden squash and tomatoes. We have been trying to incorporate more seafood into our diet, especially now that I am in school and learning all of the health benefits of nutrient dense foods and diversity in our diets (i.e. although bacon has a big place in my heart, bacon for breakfast every morning ain't gonna cut it).

Speaking of diversity, one of the lessons from my first course that really struck me is the importance of variety in our diets. Eating the same foods each day, even healthy foods, is not going to provide you with the most nutrition. Different foods provide different nutrients, which is why it is important to incorporate a wide variety of whole, fresh foods into our diets. I think it is something Kevin and I have always strived for, but I am much more conscious of it now.

I decided to keep a list of all of the meats, fruits and vegetables I ate today. Here is a quick rundown:

Sweet Potato
Crookneck Squash

While I probably didn't have a full serving of each of these (some were just ingredients in bigger meals), I know that I got a larger variety of nutrients by eating such a variety of whole foods and I know my list will be different tomorrow and the next day. It is easy to reach for the same go-to foods everyday, but try to mix it up as much as you can so you get the most bang for your nutritional buck.

Between the squash, tomatoes, olives and fish, this vibrant and colorful dish is rich with nutrients. And, besides that, it is just plain delicious!

Summer Vegetables Mahi Mahi Bake

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


2 medium zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 small to medium crookneck squash, sliced into 1/4 thick inch rounds
10-12 plum tomatoes, stems removed and halved
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tbsp dried dil, divided
Dash of salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 lb Mahi Mahi filets, about 4 filets
8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
12 kalamata olives, sliced
2 tbsp capers


Preheat oven to 425F.

Place zucchini, crookneck squash and tomato slices into a large bowl with the minced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and juice of half of a lemon. Season with dill, salt and pepper. Stir well to evenly coat vegetables.

Line a large baking dish (about 8''x12'') with foil. Place Mahi Mahi filets in bottom of pan.

Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over fish filets. Season with salt, pepper and remaining dill.

Pour seasoned vegetables into the pan, evenly covering fish filets. Place thyme sprigs on top of vegetables.

Cover baking dish with foil and place in oven to roast for 25 minutes. Remove foil from pan. Remove thyme sprigs and sprinkle olives and capers evenly over vegetables.

Return to oven to cook, uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Check to ensure fish is cooked through and vegetables are soft. If necessary, continue to cook at 5 minute intervals until done.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Whole30 Days 28-30

Well, we've finally come to the end, but to me it seems more like a beginning. I am ready to take what I learned over the past 30 days and put it into practice for myself without any Whole30 rules or guidelines to bind me. I don't feel like my way of eating will change much from the way I have been eating this past month. I plan to do a full recap of my thoughts later this week. I will also post my eats from my first day post-Whole30 so you can see that I didn't totally go off the rails as soon as I was set free into the world. :)

So here is a rundown (again, short and sweet) of my meals and snacks from the last few days of my Whole30 journey...

Day 27

Breakfast - Everyday Paleo Southwestern Frittata
Lunch - Mixed vegetable salad topped with grilled chicken
Snack - Mixed berries and walnuts
Dinner - Grilled ham steaks, grilled pear, roasted asparagus and zucchini

Day 28

Breakfast (after a 45 minute spin class and a one mile run - tri training in ful effect!)
                  -Bacon and eggs with stir fried onions, peppers, shredded carrot and broccoli slaw
                  -Green Smoothie with mango, pineapple, banana, green tea, coconut milk and spinach

Lunch - Fire roasted bell peppers and onions, sweet potato and leftover beef roast

Dinner - Beef roast, green beans and sweet potato toped with olive salad

Day 30 (this is it!!)

Pre-workout snack - Banana

Breakfast (after a 30 minute swim) - Leftover stir fried peppers, onions and shredded carrot and broccoli slaw, two mini burgers and half an avocado

Lunch - Salad from McCallister's (probably not perfect, but the best I could find) with chopped ham and salami, cucumber, tomatoes, onions and olives

Snack - Apple and almonds

Dinner (after an evening of CrossFitting) - Broiled fish and sweet potatoes topped with roasted tomatillo salsa and roasted tomatoes and squash

Snack - instead of reaching for a bowl of fruit or other sweet treat, when I found that I was still hungry after dinner I reached for a second helping of fish and veggies. I think I've been brainwashed! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whole30 Day 27

Hi world! I seem to have less and less time for these recaps as I dig in to my school work, and since my Whole30 is nearly up I thought that today I would share with you the sites of a few of my favorite Whole30-ers! To me, it was super helpful to follow along with others on their Whole30 journey to see what they ate each day and how they prepped and planned their meals. It had a huge impact on how I managed my Whole30.

So here is a quick recap of my meals (there were a lot of them), followed by some awesome blogs you should make sure you are reading as you continue on your Whole30.

Breakfast (after a quick 30 minute swim): Everyday Paleo Southwestern Frittata and a bowl of fruit with coconut milk

Snack: Sun-Dried Tomato Baba Ganoush with carrot and celery sticks

Lunch: Half of a sweet potato, one chicken breast mixed with olives and Baba Ganoush, served over a bed of arugula

Afternoon Snack: One pear, pistachios and raisins

Pre-Workout Snack: Four pieces of beef jerky and four dried figs

Dinner (after a CrossFit WOD that had me sweating so much it was stinging my eyes and blurring my vision): Stir fry with tilapia, squash, broccoli, carrots and red chili sauce (spicy, but yummy)!

I had another late night and I can tell it is affecting my hunger in a big way. I am going to make sure I get plenty of sleep the rest of the week to get to feeling normal again.


Amazingly Helpful Wonderful Blogs with Whole30 Resources:

The Clothes Make the Girl
Chow Bella
My Whole30 Journey
The Paleo Prize
Nom Nom Paleo
Virginia is for Hunter Gatherers
Cutting Out Carbs

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Whole30 Day 26

This is going to be short and sweet because it is currently 7:08am and I have to be at work at 8:00am!

I stayed up WAY too late reading the book for my next book club meeting, Gone Girl. I am totally sucked into this book and knew I should go to bed, but I could not put it down! So when the alarm went off at 5:00am for my morning swim, I mildly acknowledged its existence, turned over and went back to sleep. I slept for about an hour and woke up to make breakfast. Below is a breakdown of my eats for the day:

Breakfast - 2 mini burgers, stir fried peppers and onions, salsa
                  Fruit bowl with bananas, blueberries, raisins, coconut and coconut milk

Lunch - mixed greens salad topped with chicken and avocado, Lara Bar, berries

Snack - sun-dried tomato baba ganoush, carrot and celery sticks

Dinner - salad with shrimp, crab, avocado, artichoke hearts and broccolini with oil and vinegar dressing

I had a total of about 5.5 to 6 hours of sleep and my body was ravenous all day, basically begging for the energy it missed out on because of my lack of sleep.
Lesson - Sleep. Just do it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Whole30 Day 25

For once I woke up early to watch TV instead of to squeeze in a morning workout. I really wanted to catch the Olympic marathon, but only saw the last 6 miles or so by the time I woke up. I made our favorite Chipotle Salsafied Breakfast...again. :) I also brewed espresso for homemade Iced Americaos. 

I knew Coach Kevin was put me to the test at the gym today so I scarfed down a Lara Bar on the way to the gym. He wanted me to get a feel for transitioning between the different parts of the triathlon so we donned our super sexy tri suits and headed to the Y to swim, bike and run. It actually went much smoother than I anticipated and ended up being kind of fun! 

We were more than ready for lunch by the time we got home so we made a big salad topped with grilled chicken. I was so hungry that I snacked on multiple pieces of Kevin's homemade jerky while I prepped the salad. My afternoon snack was a pear, raisins and pistachios.


We had some errands to run, including dropping off our state fair entries (fingers crossed)! When we returned home, I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen doing a BIG food prep for the week. Taking those couple of extra hours on Sunday has been a lifesaver the past few weeks and at the end of my Whole30 I plan to share my methods in more detail. I am a sucker for organization tools.

We made chicken, sweet potatoes, eggplant dip for veggies, chimichurri sauce, mini burgers, beef roast in the crock pot and cut up carrots and celery for snacks. Sounds like a lot, but you will be thanking yourself when Tuesday night rolls around and spending an hour in the kitchen cooking dinner is the last thing you feel like doing.

In the midst of all this prep we also found time to make dinner-broiled shrimp in chimichurri sauce with sweet potato and stir fried peppers and onions. Some of those peppers had a little kick to them, but it was a delicious meal. It was also quite filling, because I never found myself wanting to sneak into the kitchen for a late night snack.

How is everyone else feeling in the midst of their Whole30? I have a lot to say about my experience, but I am trying to hold that until I have completed the program.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Whole30 Day 22-24

Am I cheating on my recaps if I combine three days into one recap? I sure hope not because this weekend that is the best I can do. This week has been all about testing and perfecting my state fair recipes and it has been quite time consuming. I think I made four loaves of bread this week before making one today that I actually felt was fair-worthy. I'll be entering a grain-free Ginger Zucchini Bread with Golden Raisins and Coconut Covered Brownie Bites (basically date balls with cocoa powder, pistachios and pecans, rolled in coconut). You may remember that last year (before  my grain free, added sugar free, processed food free days) I won a blue ribbon for my Lemon Lavendar Sugar Cookies. It would mean SO much more to me if I won a ribbon this year, because I am entering an all-natural product and will be going up against standard recipes. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, though.

Back to the Whole30...Thursday morning started with a few laps in the pool and some leftover Persian Spiced Lamb with Carrot and Fennel Slaw. When I got to work, I also had a banana. For lunch I had a salad with spinach, mixed veggies, avocado, salsa and some leftover Easiest Ever Lamb Roast. I was having one of those days where I pretty much stayed hungry all day so I had a fruit cup and a Lara Bar later in the afternoon. It was family dinner night (yea!) and my Mom made taco salad. I was still hungry so I had my salad atop a baked sweet potato. I guess that finally did the trick because I wasn't even craving my evening snack.

Thursday's Breakfast
Thursday's Lunch
Thursday's Dinner
On Friday, I woke up and tried my first "brick" workout in my tri training. I kept it pretty short  because I just wanted to get a feel for it so I rode the bike at the gym for about 15 minutes and then ran on the treadmill for an additional 15 minutes. My sweet husband prepared breakfast Thursday evening so all I had to do was heat it up and fry a few eggs to get breakfast ready. He made an awesome veggie combo with cherry tomatoes, onion, zucchini and fresh herbs, cooked in balsamic vinegar. 

When I got to work, I sipped my daily Iced Americano and ate a few dried figs. Lunch was at California Pizza Kitchen to catch up with my old co-workers. I was happily surprised with their selection of salads. I had a Moroccan Salad with chicken, dates, roasted peppers, carrots, beets and almonds. 

My afternoon snack was the last of my Whole9 Cashew Hummus, salsa, sun-dried tomatoes and a sliced cucumber. 

We had some awesome swordfish filets from Trader Joe's that Kevin broiled with sliced peppers. I was in charge of side dishes so I made a big salad and some roasted sweet potatoes. I didn't think it was possible to eat too much fish, but those were some huge filets and I was way too full after dinner.

Today (Saturday) I got to sleep in...until 6:30! We didn't have to be at CrossFit until 9:30 so I made a smoothie with espresso, banana, pumpkin, spices and coconut milk to hold me over until after class. I also snacked on a bit of the jerky Kevin is making for the state fair. 

Today's WOD was outdoors with the sun blazing in my face and consisted of a lot of running and a lot of deadlifts so I was a happy girl when I settled into my booth at Hillbilly Tea for brunch. I had a mint-green tea and loved it! For brunch I had the herb scrambled eggs with sweet potato, bacon and braised greens. We stopped on the way home for a little caffeine. :)

I thought I would not want to eat again until dinner, but I got hungry again about 4:00 and finished off the  salad from last night's dinner.

Kevin and I decided to go out tonight and celebrate my new job and new student status. We dined at a new French restaurant called La Coop. I had to get a little creative with the menu to comply with my diet, but we started with pork belly and whipped sweet potato topped with frisee and a tomato. My main course was short rib with onion confit and a side of ratatouille.

I also did something that I haven't really done throughout this whole process...I had a glass of wine. Gasp! I almost didn't order it, but today was a day for celebrating and the occassion deserved a toast. I realy don't feel bad or regret it. I went almost 30 days without a drink and I don't feel like one little drink is going to throw me off course. It would be nice if I could say I made it through the entire 30 days without asip up, but if I was going to have a slip-up, this was the way to go.

After dinner I sampled a bit more jerky and had an apple so I could stay up late and finish up my state fair entries and write this blog post! :) Have you ever entered anything into your local fair? I love walking around our fair and seeing the food, art and photography that people enter.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Easiest Ever Lamb Roast and Whole30 Day 21

My new job is far enough away from home and includes enough dangerous roads that cycling to work is no longer much of an option, so I woke up bright and early for an hour spin class. I was starving when I woke up so I ate a bit of the slaw from last night and mixed in a few pistachios. After class, I made my Chipotle Salsafied Breakfast. This is one of our go-to breakfast recipes...I could practically make it in my sleep, although I wouldn't suggest that.

I had lunch with my Mom and a few of her friends after their weekly Bible study. Everyone brought different salad ingredients and I brought along some of my zucchini bread to get opinions on the recipe before I finalize it for the State Fair. I had a salad with mixed lettuce, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, turkey and avocado.

My afternoon snack was a big ol' random smoothie that I brought from home. In the smoothie was banana, blueberries, mango, spinach, ginger, cinnamon, fish oil, coconut milk and water. Sounds weird, but it was delicious!

It was another crock pot night for dinner (recipe at the end of this post)! I am calling this Easiest Ever Lamb Roast because that is exactly what it is. Even for the crockpot, this recipe is easy. If you can wield a can opener, you can make this meal. I threw in green chiles, fire roasted tomatoes, diced bell peppers and a few spices. That was it. When I got home from work, I roasted some okra to eat as a side dish. It wasn't my favorite way to eat okra, but it wasn't bad.

Does anyone have any outstanding okra recipes then want to share? We have been getting some awesome okra from the farmers market, but other than the Okra Beef Stew I made, I don't have much idea what to do with it.

Easiest Ever Lamb Roast
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours, 10 minutes

2 lb lamb roast
2, 8oz cans of diced green chiles
1, 14.5 oz can of fired roasted diced tomatoes
1 package of frozen diced bell peppers (mine were from Trader Joe's)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

-Place lamb roast in crock pot.
-Pour in green chiles, tomatoes and bell peppers.
-Add all spices to crock pot. Stir well to evenly incorporate spices and mix in vegetables.
-Turn crock pot to low and cook for 7 hours.
-Shred lamb with a fork prior to serving.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Persian Spiced Lamb with Carrot and Fennel Slaw and Whole30 Day 20

It was another early morning at Clark Floyd CrossFit. I had a few pieces of honeydew before class, but it wasn't enough to stop me from falling flat on my face during clapping push ups. Ummm, I'm sure I'll do better next time. After class, we were in a HUGE hurry to get to work so Kevin had the idea to put some eggs and frozen veggies in a microwaveable container and nuke them for a few minutes. In reality, we had to microwave it for so long that we may as well have just thrown it all in a frying pan. So just let that be a lesson for you. The end result was tasty, filling and, unfortunately, enjoyed in my car on the way to work.

For lunch I made my Sunny California Salad recipe. I also had an apple with raisins and pecans later in the afternoon.

I really wanted to try something new for dinner so I scoured the kitchen for inspiration. I had ground lamb, fennel, carrots and a spice cabinet just waiting to be explored. I decided to make a carrot and fennel slaw with Persian spiced lamb. Kevin manned the stove while I made the slaw and when we sat down to eat, both of our bellies were happy to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We each threw in a small sweet potato on the side because we like to eat...a lot.

After dinner I had a small snack bowl with sliced banana, raisins and coconut milk. I still feel like my nighttime snack is usually more out of habit than hunger (damn, those habits...they really are hard to break) so for the remainder of my Whole30 I've decided to try and go without my after dinner snack. I don't usually eat dinner until close to 7:30 or 8:00 anyway so there is really no  reason to eat again. I just like my little snack time!

So I haven't gotten too much into my thoughts about this Whole30 and I will save most of it for after my 30 days have been completed, but I do feel much more in tune with my body. I can more accurately gauge which foods give me digestive issues, such as too many nuts or eating too late in the evening. I have also forced myself to open up the possibilities of what I consider "snack" foods. I used to stick mostly to fruits, nuts, nut butters, and Lara Bars. Now I will have jerky, veggies and salsa, lunch meat or even leftovers from a previous meal. I feel like it has taken me almost completing this Whole30 to realize much of this, which makes me wonder what I will do when I am through. I think I will continue to eat this way, but maybe with occasional exceptions, like actually being able to taste test the Paleo treats I am making to enter in the Kentucky State Fair culinary competition or sneaking a bit of 90% dark chocolate into the movies (shhh, don't tell). I don't think foods like almond butter and dark chocolate will sneak back into my diet as daily staples. I do think that I will continue to listen more closely to my body so I can feed it foods that make it feel happy and healthy.

But we can talk more about that later. For now, let's talk about this Persian Spiced Lamb recipe...

Persian Spiced Lamb with Carrot and Fennel Slaw
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 20
Total Time: 35


>For the slaw
4 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 fennel bulb, shredded
4 celery hearts, thinly sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

>For the meat
1 lb ground lamb
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas
1 large handful spinach

>For the slaw
-Combine carrots, cabbage, fennel and celery in a large bowl.
-In a smaller bowl, stir together olive oil, lemon juice, coriander, salt and pepper.
-Pour olive oil mixture over slaw and stir well until shredded vegetables are evenly coated.

>For the meat
-Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
-When skillet is hot, add ground lamb, stirring often to break meat up as it cooks.
-When lamb has thoroughly browned, about 7-8 minutes, add all spices and frozen peas. Cook until heated through, about 5 more minutes, stirring to incorporate spices.
-Add spinach to skillet and continue to cook until spinach is wilted, 2-3 minutes.
-Divide meat mixture evenly among 4 plates and serve alongside slaw.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Whole30 Day 19

My life has been thrown into a bit of upheaval with the new work schedule and acceptance to school, so please forgive the lack of photography the next few days. My whole routine has been turned upside down and I am trying to get all the pieces back into working order. Just try to imagine that everything I eat looks delightfully delectable.

I slept in this morning, which didn't leave time for much of a fancy breakfast. I heated up the rest of Sunday night's stir fry and added some scrambled eggs on the side. It wasn't the best breakfast I've ever had, but it got the job done. Now that my diet consists of mostly vegetables, fruits, meat and nuts it is much easier to picture stir fry as breakfast than it ever was before.

Today was the first day of my new job! I have a lot to learn, but I love being part of a medical practice that approaches wellness from a mind, body and spirit perspective. My Mom lives close to my new workplace and invited me over for lunch to spend time with her and my two nephews (so sweet). I had a mixed veggie salad with the rest of the arugula pesto shrimp from last night. Later in the afternoon, I snacked on some honeydew chunks (thanks to Kevin, he always takes on the task of chopping up the melons), organic blackberries and pecans.

Because of the extra sleep this morning, I had to squeeze in a swim after work. I have really started to love swimming, but I prefer going in the morning when the pool is less busy. I had to share a lane with two other people this afternoon and it was a little hard to get in the rhythm. I ate half of a Lara Bar before my swim and finished the other half after.

Because I was out of town this weekend, we didn't have time to grocery shop until tonight. By the time we were through at Trader Joe's it was already 7:00. We decided to pick up dinner from one of our favorite Cuban restaurants, Havana Rumba. I had a salad with lettuce, almonds, roasted red peppers and olives topped with grilled chicken. I, of course, had to add more vegetables and threw in some cabbage and avocado when we got home.

My dessert was a sliced banana, chopped figs, shredded coconut and pistachios with coconut milk...yum! It seems that no matter what life throws my way, at least I know my appetite isn't going anywhere. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Whole30 Recap Days 16-18 (aka Girls Weekend at the Lake)

What a weekend! Friday was my last day at my old job and my friends and I were leaving to spend the weekend in Decatur, Illinois with our friend Mallory. I wanted to get a good workout in before we left so we went to a CrossFit class in the morning that kicked our butts! It was a lot of fun, though. I ate a Lara Bar on the way to class and had the rest of Thursday's stir fry with scrambled eggs after.

For lunch I had a salad with spinach, roasted squash and chicken with arugula pesto. It was a new combo for me, but I loved it. I also had some jerky, dried apricots and an apple later in the afternoon.

Let me say that traveling during a Whole30, actually, traveling when you have any dietary restrictions or special dietary needs, is no easy feat. I knew that I would have to bring most of my own food for the weekend as my meals look much different than most of my friends' meals. I stopped by Trader Joe's on Thursday night to stock up for the weekend, keeping in mind that I would probably need to have a plan for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and side dishes. It does take a little extra time and planning, but to me it is totally worth it to know that I won't be hungry and to know exactly what I am putting into my body.

We had a four hour drive to Decatur Friday afternoon so I picked up an iced coffee for the road. Our hosts were so nice, they were grilling burgers, chicken and salmon when we arrived! I brought sweet potatoes and salad to round out my meal. We stayed up late drinking (water for me) and talking and I was starving again around midnight so I snacked on some veggies from a little pre-packed tray from Trader Joe's with guacamole.

I swear there is a burger under all of those veggies!

We planned to spend the whole day on Saturday at the lake so I woke up early for a quick training run. I had a banana before my run for a much-needed burst of energy. It was strange running in an unfamiliar place, but I just stayed near the lake and knew I wouldn't get lost.

I arrived home to the smell of bacon cooking in the kitchen. Can't beat that. I cleaned up and got to work in the kitchen on my own breakfast. I brought plenty to share so I cooked fajita veggies and scrambled eggs to share with my friends. We topped it all off with guacamole and salsa...and, of course, bacon.

After a few hours in the sun, we headed out in search of lunch. I don't think Subway is anybody's favorite, but it works in a pinch and we knew that we would all find something we liked. I had a spinach and lettuce salad with olives, peppers and onions. I added some Applegate Farms roast beef, sun dried tomatoes and Whole9's Cashew Hummus when we got back to the house. I brought an apple, pecans and dried apricots down to the lake to snack on for the afternoon.

Our dinner just happened to be one of the biggest prime ribs I have ever seen and it was also the tastiest. It was perfectly cooked and very tender. I ate some more of the salad I had packed and some asparagus on the side.

From this...
to this!

After dinner we headed out on the town, which in our case meant sitting in a bar watching the Olympics. :) We did go to a street festival and walk around for a bit first, but the plethora of foods on a stick was pretty much unbearable. We decided that the Olympics could be enjoyed at home for free so we went back to the house for a late night viewing party. I snacked on an apple and Lara Bar while we watched.

We had a long drive home today (Sunday) so I ate a big breakfast of chicken and sweet potatoes topped with salsa and guacamole with a bowl of bananas and blueberries on the side. We hit Starbucks on the way out of town and I picked up an Iced Americano to sip on the way home.

I knew I would not make it through a four hour drive without a meal so I kept my cooler close by for easy access. Around lunch time I finished off the carrots and snap peas in my veggie tray with more of the Whole9 Cashew Hummus. I also finished off the Applegate Farms roast beef that I had packed. I got hungry again a couple hours later (shocker!) and ate some blueberries, dried apricots and pecans.

After being in the car all morning I was ready to move my legs so I went on a bike ride with Kevin. I was pretty hungry and knew we would be eating a late dinner so I had a Lara Bar before our ride. For dinner I made sautéed mixed vegetables (and when I say mixed, I mean that I threw the most random mix of veggies that I possibly could into a pan and turned up the heat) and shrimp with arugula pesto.

It was a great weekend, but I am happy to be home with my husband and my little fur babies. Tomorrow I start my new job and this week I will start my first class in school. The times they are a changin'...