Week 26 + 30 Easy Meals – 300 Calories Or Less!

Week 26

lettuceLettuce. Really? I’ve got to admit, I’m definitely confused by the idea that my baby is the size of a head of iceburg lettuce.  I mean, the graphic straight up says the kid is 13.6 – 14.8 inches long.  Your average head of lettuce isn’t more than 6 or 7, tops.  Maybe they did the circumference… and if so, that’s really not indicative of the size of the creature inside of me. A better gauge would be, “Your baby is about as long as the average laptop screen is wide (not the diagonal).  HEY, FREE SERVICES THAT HELP US ESTIMATE: DO BETTER. 🙂

It’s been a good week.  Baby’s still moving a bunch, and I’ve been feeling well, aside from heartburn. Only 2 weeks until our next ultrasound. 🙂  I’m looking forward to seeing him again.

I also read a blog post last night that made me laugh so hard that I was crying and almost peed a little. (What? I’m pregnant! It happens.) I figured I should share the love with you readers. Normally, I try to shy away from Mommy blogs because some of them can be really stress-filled and judgmental, but Beth’s humility and sense of humor really won me over.

On a less humorous note, I got the results of the gestational diabetes test on Wednesday, and the verdict is in — I’m not diabetic! (Thank the Lord.) No need for insulin, no need to cut carbs, which is pretty great.  They did find, however that my metabolism’s not optimal, so I’ve been instructed to eat small meals every 2-3 hours. It’s supposed to help with the damn-near constant heartburn and help regulate my blood sugar.

This way of eating is completely contrary to everything I’ve done my whole life. The biggest change in my life when I was 8 and in Weight Watchers was learning not to snack throughout the day. Apparently, the science behind that way of thinking has changed over the last 25 years. Because of that, I felt like I needed to do some research to find some easy, delicious meals that I could eat.

My requirements for recipes that made the cut were simple:

  1. No specialty ingredients. Gotta be able to buy everything at the grocery store across the street.
  2. It must be easy to make. I am too tired for anything that requires real effort.
  3. It must look, based on my food knowledge, like it’d actually taste good.
  4. It must be filling. There’s no point in making something that doesn’t fill me up.

This is what I found.

30+ meals that are 300 calories or less per serving

I love me a green smoothie.

I love me a green smoothie.

  1. A green smoothie
  2. 1 light multigrain English muffin (or whole wheat bagel-thin) w/ 1 tbsp cream cheese & 1 tbsp fruit spread
  3. A cup of Greek yogurt w/ fruit & or honey (I’m currently in love with coffee flavored Fruyo.)
  4. Apple w/ 1 tbsp. of nut butter (peanut, cashew, or almond)
  5. A cup of oatmeal w/ fruit (Like Kathleen’s Quick Oats. Persian flavor is the best!)
  6. 1 serving of whole wheat crackers w/ 1-2 oz of cheese
  7. 1 pita w/ 2 tbsp of hummus (So yummy.)
  8. A hot dog
  9. 2 scrambled eggs w/ 2 slices of bacon
  10. A can of soup. (Any flavor by Amy’s fits the bill.)
  11. A grilled cheese sandwich: whole wheat bread, a little butter, & two 2% American cheese slices
  12. A bowl of cereal and milk

    crunchy_black_bean_tacos_3

    Yeah, I could eat this…

  13. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos
  14. Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup
  15. Broccolini and Chicken Sausage over Polenta
  16. Chicken Tamale Pie
  17. Creamy Chicken Quinoa Broccoli Casserole
  18. Mustard & Herb Panko-Crusted Chicken Breasts
  19. Red Velvet Crepes w/ Sweet Cream Cheese Filling
  20. Baked Spicy Fries with Garlic Cheese Sauce
  21. Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo
  22. Skinny Lasagna Rolls
  23. Philly Cheese Turkey Sloppy Joes
  24. Chicken Thighs with Mustard Citrus Sauce
  25. Slow Cooker Pepperoni & Chicken
  26. Black Bean Cakes
  27. Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
  28. Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
  29. White Chicken Chili
  30. Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes & Lentils
  31. Skinny Veggie Lasagna
  32. Chicken Apple Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
  33. Seveche-style Shrimp & Avocado Tacos
  34. and then there’s this entire collection on AllRecipes.
Um, yes, please.

Um, yes, please.

I think I’ll be able to survive. 🙂 I hope that these recipes are helpful for you too!

Daily Cute

And, because we all can use a good giggle, here is some Cute.

Ladies & Gentlemen, We Have Viability!

week24 As of today, I’m officially 24 weeks pregnant, and the baby, if I were to go into labor today, would have a better than 50% chance of surviving birth.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the little guy has been wiggling and kicking like crazy, but this takes the “realness” up a notch for me.  Not that I would ever personally consider abortion, but the time for thinking about it (or rather worrying that there will be some terrible health thing that threatens me or the baby) has officially passed. It is now time to clean all the things (and buy the ones we need and don’t have) so that our apartment is ready for his birth.

cleanallthethings

In that vein of thought, I’ve been working like crazy on figuring out everything we want and/or need. The Amazon baby registry is finally looking done to me. The Moms (mine & Adam’s) have suggested that I go ahead and register at a brick-and-mortar store as well, just so people who want to buy us a present have options when it comes time. We’re probably going with Target, just because it’s all over the United States, isn’t over-priced, and isn’t Walmart.  I’m just wondering if I should essentially copy the Amazon registry (which would increase the likelihood of us getting doubles) or just put certain things on the Target one and certain ones on the Amazon one (which would decrease the likelihood of us getting certain things).

Either way, I feel totally uncomfortable with the process of creating baby registries and figuring out who to invite to the baby shower/beer & diaper party/Welcome to the World party in the first place. Wish lists and registries have always felt kind of icky to me because they sometimes come off like a “give me this” list (which smacks of entitlement) instead of a “hey, it would be cool to have this” list (which is more of what it truthfully is).

Truth be told, I’m just super stoked to be having a baby, and I want to invite the whole world to celebrate with me. That’s why we’re going to be live-streaming all the events.  Right now, I think the front-runner for the live-streaming platform is Twitch, so that everyone who’s “tuned in” can chat with one another. I am, however, open to other suggestions. The presents are an awful lot less important to me than the presence of friends in welcoming the kiddo to life. Because I am trying to be so inclusive, I’ve posted a survey 3 times on Facebook, trying to get friends to give me their contact info, but so far have only gotten a handful of responses. Not sure if folks just aren’t interested in filling it out or if FB’s recently tweaked algorithm is making it not even show up for them.  I’m guessing that I’ll need to email or PM everyone individually to be able to send out invitations.

My Husband Is a G-D Saint.

My favorite part of pregnancy so far has been laughing about the insanity that comes over me from time to time.  There have been a couple of times now where I’ve yelled at Adam for absolutely ridiculous bullshit and almost immediately broken down crying in apology.  If I hadn’t been through therapy, I would not see the humor, but truthfully, it’s hilarious, and has made me decide that this is my current theme song.

Somehow, Adam can tell the difference between genuine anger and hormonal wonkiness.  He understands me better than I do. And then there’s nesting. I thought that people were joking about feeling an intense need to clean and reorganize everything. NOPE. It’s real. (Why can’t it be a regular thing?) I even accused both of us of living like 10 year old boys, while frantically bouncing between different cleaning projects and getting absolutely nothing productive actually done. Oh, and then more crying.

And cravings? YUP. Definitely a thing. Feeling an intense need to eat something mind-bogglingly specific makes me feel like I’m a crazy asshole. I mean, there’s food in the house! Why am I not craving what’s immediately at hand??  That would be too easy, right? Nope. Can’t be that easy. But Adam takes it all in stride.

panchosanchoTake last night, for instance… after having eaten a delicious dinner of roasted turkey (yeah, he freakin roasted a turkey breast last night), stuffing, and sweet potatoes at a reasonable hour, at around 9 at night, I had an intense craving for Pancho’s cheese dip.  And I don’t mean “intense” like “Wow, I would really like some cheese dip.” but like, “OH MY GOD IF I DON’T EAT PANCHO’S CHEESE DIP UNTIL I CAN’T POSSIBLY EAT ANY MORE, I WILL SURELY DIE.”

Of course, we live in Illinios… far, far from any store that carries it.  Did that deter Adam? Not one bit. We found a copycat recipe from my hometown newspaper, and at the time he usually starts to fall asleep on the couch, my husband went to the grocery store for ingredients, came home, and fixed me some of the most delicious, thick, gooey unhealthy crap I’ve ever asked for. And it was glorious. Angels sang and divine light flooded the room as I glutted myself on it… and it was just as glorious when I ate it cold for breakfast this morning.  Cold cheese dip with tortilla chips sounds kinda gross, right?  Anyone from the greater Memphis area has my back on this one. I promise you, it’s a thing. 🙂 And I have no regrets. Not even one.

It’s Not Easy Being Green… Or Is It?

Of course, on the other side of things, I’m genuinely trying to eat more healthfully for both my benefit and for the kid’s. As you know, Adam and I have taken the 30 day Green Smoothie Challenge as our New Year’s resolution. Have we had a green smoothie every day for the last 14 days? Nah. But we did it for 11, and that’s not shabby! There are a couple of recipes that have emerged as clear favorites for us. I figured I’d share them for anyone else who loves the idea of getting more spinach into their diets, but isn’t a fan of eating salads all the time. Both of these recipes makes enough for 2 people.

Tropicolada Fiesta (My very favorite!)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1 c. coconut water
1 c. water
1 1/2 c. mango
1 c. pineapple
1 banana
1 tbsp. lime juice

Blend spinach (tightly packed), coconut water, and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Vitamin C Immunity Booster (really more of a purple smoothie… We like to add 2 tbsp of flax & chia seeds to it too.)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1/2 c. orange juice
1 c. water
1 banana
1/4 c. carrots
2 c. strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries

Blend spinach (tightly packed), orange juice and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits & blend again.

Other than that…

There’s not much else to report. Tomorrow, I see the OB for our monthly visit and have the glucose test.  I’m gonna be sure to ask what all I need to do to set up cord blood donation and what goes in to keeping the placenta so that I can get it encapsulated.

Things here have just been really unusually relaxed. I’m guessing it’s the calm before the storm. (Or Stormageddon. 🙂 You know, whatever.)

I’m super-happy that both Adam and I got over the colds we had. It doesn’t matter how many years in a row I deal with a winter head cold, it’s always surprising to me how badly they knock me out. Thankfully, they don’t happen often.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to watching the season 7 return of Parks & Recreation and episode 3 of Agent Carter. (Finally! A well-written female-lead Marvel show!)

Hope you’re doing well ❤

What’s shakin’? (Not me!)

msawarenessmonth
I can’t believe it’s already Friday of MS Awareness Week (though the whole month is MS Awareness Month), and I haven’t done a blog post. That seems kinda wrong.

To be fair, however, life has been challenging this week — lots of seizures. It was like I was back in Glendale when I was first diagnosed. I was just having them over and over again in what felt like a loop.

I called my MS specialist on Tuesday, but I haven’t heard back from him. His nurse called and scheduled me for the soonest opening, which is March 21st… two weeks from today. (He’s actually booked up through June!) I think I’m going to call and cancel it. I was having really intense pain in my lower back and unrelenting seizures when I called in the first place, and now, I’m pretty much fine. I only had 5 simple partials yesterday, which is nothing. I can handle some facial twitching.

Today, so far, I’m seizure-free, and my back feels fine. I was really worried when I called that I was still having a relapse, even though I took a medrol dose pack about 2 weeks ago. My body’s been acting so weird. I’m glad that it was just a pseudoexacerbation. I must have been fighting off a cold or something.

Increase Your MS Knowledge: What is a pseudoexacerbation?

From Health Central – “A pseudoexacerbation is a flare up of existing symptoms caused by another medical event, such as a urinary tract infection, flu, or elevated body temperature. Pseudo or not, it can stop you in your tracks as sure as any true exacerbation. However, new lesions are not being formed and your MS in not really progressing.

True MS exacerbations are caused by inflammation in the central nervous system which damages the myelin and disrupts the transmission of nerve signals, causing a wide variety of symptoms. This type of event can cause new symptoms and permanent damage, lasting from 24 hours to several months. Severe exacerbations may be treated with steroids in order to reduce inflammation and shorten the length of the exacerbation.”

So, for those of us with MS, we get to feel awful while also questioning ourselves to figure out if we might be sick or too hot or whatever before we even call our doctors to treat the problem. Basically, if I feel awful for 3-4 days, I’ll call a doctor. Otherwise, I assume everything weird that happens in my body is a pseudoexacerbation.

Pseudoexacerbations annoy me less than pseudoseizures.

Since I only tend to have seizures nowadays when I’m also experiencing other MS symptoms, I always think of my seizures as being part of MS… but when I initially began dealing with seizure disorder, doctors suggested that I also see a psychologist. While they could identify the epileptic activity that caused the simple partial seizures that I experience, they were stumped by the time travel (complex) seizures and thought it was likely that they were caused by subconscious psychological issues.

For over a year, I saw a psychologist and worked with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) Therapy. I’ve written a lot about it. It was immensely helpful to me. In fact, the majority of my seizures stopped, thanks to the work we did.

To give you an idea of how intense and repetitive the seizures were on Monday, I actually went so far as to contact my most recent therapist to see if we could do some work (potentially with EMDR), just in case any of these recent seizures are being caused by my subconscious. She said it was good self-care, so even though the vast majority of the seizures have abated, I’m still going to see her.

(Fun fact: I found out, after already starting the therapy, that the doctor responsible for the creation of EMDR therapy is actually the mother of one of my good friends. That was pretty cool to me. I’m a big fan of her work both in the realm of therapy and as a mother, because her son is a truly awesome person.)

46 Days of “Strict” Paleo

It’s Lent! You know, the time between Mardis Gras and Easter.

This Lent, instead of giving up caffeine, Adam suggested that, just like in 2012, we be strict with keeping paleo. We’re not doing another Whole 30 or attempting a Whole 46. We’re just doing regular Paleo, so we can still have a little honey and maple syrup here and there. In truth, I am pretty sure my Whole 46 was just regular paleo too, looking back on it.

The big challenge for us will be not cheating on the weekends, when we’re out with friends and family, or when we’re feeling sick. (The craving for wanton soup when I’ve got a head cold is damn near undeniable.)

To make things easier for us (and anyone else who happens to be interested), I created a meal plan for Lent. I even made sure that on Fridays we’re scheduled to eat seafood and not meat, for all the Catholics out there who still follow that rule. (Fortunately, Adam’s as devoutly Catholic as I am devoutly Jewish. He doesn’t really care much about following a tradition that was created to help the fishing economy just for tradition’s sake. I can’t say I blame him. It’s not like I keep kosher.)

Tonight’s dinner is Garlic Roasted Shrimp with Zucchini Pasta.
garlic shrimp

Hope you’re all doing well!

Super Bowl XLVIII Paleo Recipe Roundup!

Welcome to Sup(p)er Bowl XLVIII (48)

I don’t think it was really a mistake a moment ago when I went to type “Super” and instead typed, “Supper.” Whenever I think about Super Bowl parties, I pretty much only think about the food. Happily, I am not alone in this. There are several paleo food bloggers who also look forward to celebrating. Here, I’ve compiled content from PaleOMG, TheClothesMakeTheGirl, FastPaleo, NomNomPaleo, PaleoSpirit, & PaleoGirl.

Deviled Eggs
Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs
Bacon and Jalapeño Deviled Eggs
Bacon Deviled Eggs

Chicken Wings & Nuggets
Chile Lime Chicken Wings
Jalapeño Lime Chicken Wings
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Restaurant Style Buffalo Wings
Devil Wings
Sweet n Sassy Chicken Wings
Sweet and Sexy Wings
Tackling Tso Wings
Chicken Wing Jerky
20 Wing Recipes by Paleo Grub
Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
Paleo Chick-Fil-A Nuggets
Chicken Satay
Chocolate Chicken Lollipops
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Chicken
Touchdown Chicken Tenders
Crispy Chicken Dippers
Cilantro Chicken Nuggets

Fries & Potato Skins
Crispy, Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Double-Coverage Nacho Fries
Garlic Dill Sweet Potato Wedges
Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Ketchup
Carrot Fries with Garlic Aioli
Roasted Carrot {Fries}
Baked Zucchini Fries with Bloomin’ Onion Dipping Sauce
Zucchini Field-Goal Fries
Avocado Chorizo Sweet Potato Skins
Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Skins
Rosemary Citrus Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Bacon Basil Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Meatballs
Meatballs Cups
Bacon Meatballs with Mango Honey Mustard Sauce
Spaghetti and Meatball Bites
Asian Meatballs
Bora Bora Fireballs
”The Grub” Meatballs
Bacon Wrapped Pork Meatballs
Big Tim’s 4 Bees Meatballs
Mmmmm. Morrocan Meatballs
Cevapčići

Nuts
Smoky and Spicy Candied Cashews
Roasted Rosemary Almonds
Chili-Lime Spiced Almonds
Savory Paleo Granola
Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Almonds

Stuffed Mushrooms
Touchdown Stuffed Mushrooms
Sausage and Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Paleo Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Paleo Shrimp-Stuffed Mushrooms

Other finger foods
Raw veggies dipped in: Sunshine Sauce  | Creamy Italian Dressing | Tahini Dressing
BBQ Bacon Asparagus
Baby Pizza Bites
Zucchini Pesto Roll Ups
Smoked Salmon Stuffed Sweet Peppers
Paleo Chips
BBQ Baked Kale Chips
Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Tomato Bites
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Stuffed Jalepenos
Chili Pepper Poppers
Guac Poppers
Pear & Bacon Bites
Bacon + Guacamole Sammies
Devils on Horseback
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto
Flatbread Pizza
Prosciutto & Basil Wrapped Shrimp
Paleo Pigs in a Blanket

Dips
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Dip (Paleo & Vegan)
Chunky Pineapple Guacamole with Grilled Sweet Potato Chips
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Paleo Taco Dip
Paleo Buffalo Ranch Dip
Roasted Eggplant Hummus/Babaganoush

Chili
Smoky Bacon Chili
Chocolate Chili
Pumpkin Chili
Big Tim’s Primalized Chili
Paleo Chipotle Chili

Burgers
Southwest Turkey Sliders with Avocado Slaw
Triple Protein Burgers
Maple-glazed Burgers Stuffed with Bacon, Stuffed with Jalepenos, Stuffed with Dates, Stuffed with Almonds
Bacon Beef Burger
Southwestern Chorizo Burgers
Beast Burgers
My Kind Of Sliders

Main Dishes
5 Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie
Pulled Pork Waffle Sliders
Spicy Shepherd’s Pie Chorizo Meatloaf
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Pork Avocado Cream Enchiladas
Boneless Pork Short Rib Breakfast Tacos
Plantain Nachos
Stovetop Pork Carnitas
Mexican Meatza
Riceless, No-Soy Sushi
Jalapeño Dijon Chicken
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Casserole
Primal Pork Patties (Thai Style)

Ribs
Roasted Beef Ribs
Jamaican Jerk Baked Ribs
Dry-Rubbed BBQ Pork Ribs

Salads
Buffalo Chicken Chopped Salad
Deconstructed Gyro Salad
Herb “Rice” Salad*
Muffaletta Salad

Slow Cooker Recipes
Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili
Crockpot Sweet Potato Basil Soup
Crockpot Pork Green Chile (Chile Verde)
Easy Shredded Beef
Epic Pig
Big Tim’s GROK Pot Pulled Pork
BigTim’s Crock-pot BBQ Beef
Crockpot Meatballs
Oven-Braised Mexican Braised Beef
Slow Cooker Kalua Pig
Slow Cooker Barbacoa
Barbacoa
Ancho Chile Pulled Pork BBQ

Desserts
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls
Double Chocolate Energy Bites
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bon Bons
Paleo Snickerdoodles
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts
Triple Chocolate Truffles (nut free)
Brownie Batter Pancake Skewers
Cookie Pie Ice Cream Bites
Coffee Chocolate Caramel Bars
Magic Brownie Bars
Chocolate Pumpkin Sunbutter Treats
Pumpkin Cream Donut Sandwiches
Chocolate Cupcakes
Apple Pie Nachos
Caramelized Coconut Chips
Sweet & Salty Fudge Bombs
Fruit Crisp
Banana Nut Balls
Paleo-fied Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Covered Pecan Pie Balls
Chocolate Covered Bacon
Zucchini Brownies
Maple Bacon Ice Cream
Chunky Monkey “Ice Cream” Bon Bons
Nom Nom Chocolate Truffles
Almond-Blocker-Bars

So which team are you rootin’ for?

This year’s match is between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. I think I have 1 friend in Seattle. Maybe 2. Denver, though? That’s a whole other story. I have so many friends there, you’d think I actually lived in that city at some point. (I haven’t.)  Most importantly, however, my brother Daniel lives in Denver. And everybody knows, you gotta stick with family. 🙂  That’s why, even though I don’t give a crap about football, I totally want the Broncos to win.

Hope everyone has fun today! Stay safe on the roads! Don’t let you friends drink & drive. ❤

Paleo Mexican Chicken Tortilla-like Soup

mexican-soup

A New Take On An Old Favorite

One of my favorite puzzles in life is figuring out to take leftovers from one meal and transform them into something new and delicious for another meal.

Yesterday, I found myself looking at about 2 pounds-worth of leftover Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken*, trying to figure out what to do with it. We’d already used a pound of it as meat for fiesta nachos. Back when we weren’t keeping a Whole 30, we would use the meat for soft tacos and then use the leftovers to make Tex-Mex Chicken Soup (inspired by Tex-Mex Turkey Soup). Since this soup contains sour cream, corn, and beans, I knew we had to try a different recipe.

I searched the web for “paleo mexican chicken soup”, and immediately found a winner: Paleo Commfort Foods’ Chicken Tortilla-less Soup. I figured, since our chicken was already flavored with salsa and spices that we could skip the part of the recipe that talks about fixing the chicken. I was primarily interested in using the recipe to figure out  how much broth to use and what other vegetables to add. It served as a great inspiration for the soup I actually made.

Paleo Mexican Chicken Tortilla-like Soup

(Whole 30 compliant, Serves 8)

Ingredients

  • About 2 pounds of leftover Slow Cooker Cilantro Chicken
  • 4 cups of chicken stock or broth
  • 3 tsp (6 cloves) of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP granulated onion (or 1 medium onion, diced)
  • 28 oz. fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded & diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper (red or yellow would work too). seeded & diced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Procedure

  1. Chop up all of your veggies and aromatics.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a large pot (12 c. or greater) and stir to combine.
  3. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Enjoy!

I thought about some other flavors that we might add the next time. I think carrots would be a good addition because they’re sweet like corn. I’m also debating yellow squash.

* – When Adam and I fix Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken, we don’t use taco seasoning packets because of the extra, unnecessary stuff in most of them. Here’s what we do. The only difference now that we’re on the paleo diet is that we use salsa that doesn’t have any sugar in it. Tostitos medium is a good one. Trader Joe’s has a few good ones as well.

Woah, We’re Halfway There! Woah-oh, Livin On A Prayer!

15 days down, 15 to go.

It’s January 15! That means we’re halfway done with our Whole30! That rocks my socks off. So far, the thing that my meal plan has been best for is pulling up recipes to make grocery lists. We haven’t even kind of stuck to what meals we planned to have at what time. We buy ingredients for 5 meals or so at a time, and have really enjoyed many of the dishes.

Here are the dishes that we’ve liked the best:
A surprise favorite: Not Beanie Weenie – We never would have tried this recipe if we hadn’t found the Whole30 approved hot dogs! It’s a solid recipe, but it tastes even better if you add some yellow mustard. Best part — it’s a 1 pot meal.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie – Our recipe was inspired by this one. It’s one of our favorites because it’s really straightforward and easy. It also was very comforting and tasty!

Baked Pork Chops with Apple-Thyme Gravy – So Good! The gravy itself was more like a sauce than a gravy because it wasn’t thick. You couldn’t really taste the apple, but it was still so full of umami goodness that it was worth mentioning.

There was only one real problem with this recipe on its own. The cooking time suggested on the recipe’s website is cah-rayzee. Pork chops should never take an hour and fifteen minutes to cook in an oven set to 400 F. If you leave them in that long, you will end up with hockey pucks instead of pork chops. Instead, we stuck a meat thermometer in the thickest chop we were using and took it out of the oven when the pork’s internal temp reached 145 F. We let the meat rest for a few minutes, and it came up to 150 F, which is ideal for food safety. It took maybe 20 minutes, which made this meal both mouthwatering and quick. We paired it with baked sweet potato.

Last, but certainly not least, last night, we really enjoyed Tropical Grilled Flank Steak – Possibly the easiest and best tasting recipe we’ve tried yet. Instead of adding minced garlic and chopped chives or scallions, I coated both sides of the flank steak with granulated onion powder and granulated garlic powder. Also instead of mincing the ginger, I grated it, so that it would stick to the steak better. It was so much less work than the update I made to my Mom and Grammy’s flank steak recipe, and it was just as good. This will probably become a part of our regular meal rotation even after the Whole30 is over. We paired it with steamed broccoli.

Our Favorite Snacks

One of the most important things for us has been having snack food, for those moments when you’re totally hungry and don’t have time to fix something. Here’s what we’ve been enjoying.

Dried, Non-Sweetened Organic Mango Slices
Honeycrisp Apples
Navel Oranges
Dried, Salted Plantain Chips
Sunflower Seeds
Unsalted Cashews
Homemade Beef Jerky

What’s Next?

With the Whole30 being halfway through, I have a much better handle on how to cook for it. If a recipe has more than 5-6 non-spice ingredients, I usually don’t have the time or patience to make it.

So what’s on the menu in the next several days?
Our chili recipe, which I’m planning to make tonight. (I’ve gotta get off this computer and go shopping for the ingredients!)

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken – an old favorite that we ate even when we weren’t paleo! We double Adam’s Taco Seasoning and add it in place of the packet of taco seasoning in the recipe. We’ll definitely make some paleo tortilla chips to go with it, and probably some guacamole too.

Keeping with the slow cooker theme, we’re also slated to try NomNomPaleo’s Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs and Slow Cooker Cheater Pot Stew. I’m a little worried about the pork stew, just because Adam doesn’t like cabbage usually. Sometimes, he digs bok choy, though… so I’m hopeful that this recipe passes his palate’s test.

We’re also going to try Buffalo Ranch Chicken Meatballs, which, when paired with celery sticks, looks like something easy and yummy for supper. I’m thinking of adding some paprika and cayenne pepper to the meatball itself, for a little extra kick.

This food isn’t gonna buy or cook itself, so I’d better wrap it up and get to the store. Hope everyone’s having a great day!

What to eat when you’re sick and keeping a paleo Whole 30.

Being Sick Is No Fun.

Last week wasn’t such a great week, health-wise, for my husband, Adam. He was diagnosed with strep throat and a flu-like virus that completely took him out of commission from Wednesday night until about mid-day Sunday. Miraculously, even with an immune system that’s operating at 60%, I did not get sick! I am praying that I am not in an incubation period, and that I don’t end up ill in about a week or two.

Sadly, we couldn’t go to the gym on Monday or Tuesday of last week because of the polar vortex making temperatures in Chicago dip to forty degrees below zero. The gym was closed! Adam was diagnosed Wednesday, and he wasn’t feeling better until yesterday – so that’s a whole week of working out that we lost. 😦 I guess it’s better for us to have let our bodies rest and been considerate of the other gym-goers than to have pushed ourselves for the sake of keeping with our plans.

Speaking of keeping with our plans… we ran into a hard time on Friday. When either Adam or I have gotten really sick in the past, our diets were incredibly grain-heavy — noodle soups, fresh bread for dipping, Chinese food… that used to be the order of the day. But, you can’t do that when you’re paleo.

My Ginger Garlic Chicken Soup

Thursday and Friday for lunch, I made my ginger garlic chicken soup, which was great. I cut up about 12-15 baby carrots, 3 stalks of celery, and 2 chicken breasts, grated about a half inch of fresh ginger and 5-6 garlic cloves, and added 4 cups of organic chicken broth, 3 cups of water, 1 bay leaf, 1 TBSP of granulated onion (you could always sub 1 medium onion, chopped), a half tsp of poultry seasoning, some kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. I let it simmer together for an hour or so, and we had some really comforting, delicious soup.

Unfortunately, that was all I had in my bag of tricks. I became slightly panicked on Friday night because I couldn’t think of anything else that was Whole30 compliant for me to make for dinner that would soothe Adam’s cold.

The Foodee Project & Chowstalker to the Rescue!

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a research fanatic. The first thing I did was to Google “paleo while sick” and “whole30 while sick” to get some results where I could see what others who were keeping this diet do when they’re feeling ill.

I was shocked and saddened to see that there were few answers or suggestions for anything other than scrambled eggs and bone broth. Heck, some people even advocated fasting. I thought that was crazy. Fortunately, there were a few more helpful suggestions on TheClothesMakeTheGirl – she suggested zucchini noodles with ghee and mashed potatoes. Both are very respectable suggestions. Unfortunately, Adam wasn’t in the mood for any of that.

So, I hit up Chowstalker and The Foodee Project for Whole 30 recipe suggestions. I found a lot of good options, and I thought I should share them with you! I need to add all of these to the Paleo Compendium.

Soups

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted, Curried Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup
Curried Apple Soup
Sweet Potato Basil Soup
Indian Spiced Sweet Potato & Bacon Soup
Beef & Mushroom Soup
Spicy Chicken Vegetable Soup
Smoky Mexican Tortilla-less Chicken Soup
Tuscan Chicken Soup
Ginger Chicken Soup
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Golden Cauliflower Soup
Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup
Avocado Soup with Cucumber
Gazpacho With Zucchini Pasta
Squash & Crab Bisque

Not Soup


Fall Harvest Mash

Butternut Squash & Yam Mash
Turnip-Cauliflower Mash
Lemon Cucumber Noodles with Cumin

Feeling Better

Today is Monday, and Adam is back at work. The sun is shining, and temperatures are back up above freezing. That means that tonight, we’re definitely headed to the gym, and that I need to get something started in the slow cooker about… now, actually. (Geesh! Better finish this entry.) Tonight, we’re having Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken & Sweet Potatoes.

Hope you’re all doing well!