Clean Eating, Mom Life, Whole 30

Earth Fare: Your Whole 30 One-Stop Shop!

Earth Fare is truly a one-stop shop for all your Whole 30 needs! I could seriously spend a day there – the produce is super fresh, the seafoods and meats are beautiful and the selection of Whole 30 compliant and endorsed products is incredible!

Here are my favorite Whole 30 Earth Fare finds:

Produce: Fresh fruits and vegetables galore plus a good pre-cut selection for easy meal prep.

Raw Nuts/Seeds and Nut Butters: One of my go-tos for plated fats on W30! You can pick up a variety of raw and compliant roasted nuts and seeds in bulk! Earth Fare also carries multiple compliant almond and cashew butters!

Dressings, Oils + Marninades: Earth Fare carries the best selection of Tessemae’s dressings and condiments I’ve seen! Creamy Ranch and the organic ketchup are my absolute faves! You’ll find them in the refrigerated section in the produce department.

You can also pick up Primal Kitchen dressings and mayos.

The New Primal – a new to me brand – Earth Fare carries the full line of marinades and BBQ sauces that I can’t wait to try!

I found an extensive selection of compliant oils and cooking fats – light-tasting olive oil (perfect for making homemade mayo), ghee, coconut oil and avocado oil.

Coconut Aminos are a Whole 30 must and Earth Fare carries my favorite brand! It’s a must for Whole 30 Egg Roll in a Bowl!

Meats/Seafoods- Hands down the best selection I’ve seen in a grocery store. Plus they carry plenty of W30 endorsed bacons and sausages!

Coffee Creamers- For all my “coffee with cream friends” – Pick up your compliant creamers at Earth Fare! They carry NutPods and Califia Farms unsweetened almond/coconut creamer. Score!

Frozen Veggies- Riced frozen veggies are a must! I use them in casseroles, egg bakes or as a quick side.

For all your egg needs – organic, cafe-free and hard-boiled!

Some compliant fermented favorites: pickles and sauerkraut!

Compliant Salsas + Sauces – I was impressed to find that several Earth Earth brand salsas and sauces are compliant.

A few other Whole 30 must haves:

Kettle and Fire Bone Broth is always in my pantry. Drink it alone for an immune boost or add it to soups and other dishes.

Seaweed snacks are a great crunch addition for salads. I also use them when I make Whole 30 Poke Bowls.

Nutritional Yeast adds a cheesy flavor and texture to your dishes plus loads of nutrients.

Canned tomatoes are a Whole 30 Pantry staple. Use them in chili and soups but be sure to always read labels. MANY canned tomatoes have added sugar – but not this one!

I came home with a 3 bags full of Whole 30 compliant food to prep for my January Whole 30. If you are W30ing and have a local Earth Fare, go now! Save time and get quality, Whole 30 foods in one stop!

Clean Eating, Recipe, Whole 30

Whole 30 One Pot Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

December has been such a whirlwind: Holiday parties, school performances and activities, Christmas shopping (and wrapping OMG), one kid’s birthday party and a 24-hour stomach bug that swept through our house. To say it’s taken a toll on my nutrition and meal prepping would be an understatement. I’m getting back in the game NOW as I prepare for my January Whole 30!

And because I am all about the busy mamas out there, I wanted to share this recipe for Whole 30 Slower Cooker Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs because it only uses ONE POT! Yep, that’s right. One pot, super healthy and only 5 main ingredients.

Here are the deets:

You’ll need:

-1 medium sized spaghetti squash

-2 pounds of ground meat (I used grass-fed ground beef but I really love to mix beef and Italian sausage together when I have it on hand. Ground turkey is also a great option!)

-1 jar of W30 Compliant Marinara Sauce (Rao’s is my absolute fave!)

-1 20-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes

-2 eggs

-1 tsp sea salt

-2 tsp onion powder

-2 tsp garlic powder

-2 tbsp Italian seasoning (make your own or carefully read labels to avoid sugar and other additives)

Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine meat with eggs and spices. Using your hands, mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated and ready to roll into balls.

2. Roll into bite-sized meatballs (I put my kids to work in the kitchen as often as possible!) and place in slow cooker (the meatballs, not the kids 😊).

3. Pour marinara sauce and canned tomatoes over the meatballs and stir.

4. Cut spaghetti squash in half through the center and scoop out seeds.

5. Place spaghetti squash halves face down on top of meatballs.

6. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

7. Remove spaghetti squash carefully, scoop out insides, then top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with herbs of your choice!

Notes:

-If you have picky little eaters like I do, you can quickly make some pasta and top with the meatballs and sauce from the crockpot. I do this and everyone in my family is happy!

-This is a great meal prep recipe as it makes a lot! You can use the meatballs in other meals too — I love them with roasted veggies and a salad.

breakfast, Clean Eating, Whole 30

Whole 30 Egg Bake

This is so good it’s worthy of a holiday breakfast, yet so easy it’s also a great weekly meal prep option! The veggies can be switched out for anything your ❤️ desires!

You’ll need:

-1 pound compliant breakfast sausage (or 1 pack of @aidells sausage, chopped into bite sized pieces)

-2 1/2 cups butternut squash, diced (sweet potatoes or white potatoes can also be used here!)

-1 yellow onion, chopped

-1 red bell pepper, chopped

-2-3 cups fresh kale, removed from stems and chopped

-10 eggs

-1/4 cup canned full-fat coconut milk (use solid part only)

-Seasoning of your choice (Today I used Traders Joe’s Everything Bagel… but garlic powder, salt and pepper are 👌🏻)

Method:

•preheat oven to 400

•line a baking sheet with parchment paper

•place squash and pepper on baking sheet. Lightly coat with olive oil, season with S+P and put in the oven for about 10 minutes.

•while veggies roast, cook sausage in a pan

•once sausage is cooked, add onion to the pan and cook until tender

•add kale to sausage/onion pan and allow to cook for a few minutes

•crack eggs and whisk in a bowl with the your seasoning and the solid parts of the coconut milk (do not use watery part)

•remove squash and peppers from oven.

•layer into a well coated 9×13 pan (I use coconut oil) in the following order: sausage/kale/onion ➡️squash/peppers ➡️egg/coconut milk

•bake approximately 20 minutes in 400 degree oven or until edges start to brown and eggs are cooked through.

I’m serving this one on Christmas morning, but I like to slice into pieces and reheat for on-the-go breakfasts when I meal prep for the week!

Note: Frozen veggies will not work well in this recipe as they will produce too much water.

Clean Eating, Whole 30

Food Freedom Holiday Tips

There’s no way around it – December – especially the week of Christmas and New Years – is a tough time to be practicing Food Freedom.

Cookie platters seem to be appearing out of thin air and it suddenly seems like a good idea to crack open a bottle of wine on a Wednesday night. Many of us (me included!) give ourselves “permission” to indulge now because we know we’ll pull it together with a January Whole 30.

It is certainly ok to enjoy the holidays but a food-free-for-all is another story! Try these Food Freedom strategies from Whole 30 to decide which foods are “worth it” and which foods don’t really matter after all.

FOOD FREEDOM HOLIDAY TIPS

1.    Breakfast of Champions – Regardless of the holiday festivities in your day, make sure you kick it off with a good-sized healthy breakfast. Load up on protein, vegetables, and healthy fat so you are starting the day satisfied and full of nutrient-rich food.  With a solid foundation in the morning, you’ll set yourself up to make better choices for the rest of the day. The Whole 30 food will also help keep your sugar dragon at bay when faced with goodies at a holiday event.

2.    Routine Matters – Your holiday schedule may be crazy and filled with lots of parties, dinners, and social engagements. Despite the chaos, do the best you can to stick with your regular routine. Have your coffee and quiet time in the morning before the day begins. Get your workout in as you usually do – and maybe even take a friend or family member with you! If you stick with the things you know your body needs and craves, you will be more likely to be grounded and present during holiday events – and in turn, better able to decide if certain foods are worth it. If you are out of sorts with your routine, you can expect your eating to be out of sorts as well!

3.    Have your “worth it” questions handy (from Food Freedom.) There are several questions you can ask yourself before you decide to consume “a potentially less-healthy food or beverage.” Among them are: “Is it worth it?” “How will consuming this impact me physically, mentally, and emotionally?” “Do I really want it?” “Do I need to consume anything here to enjoy the experience?” You can use any of these questions – or some of your own – to help you decide if something is truly worth it. Keep these questions handy on your phone, on a notecard, or on your fridge. Make it a habit to run through them when you are faced with something you know has the potential to “mess you up.” As Melissa says in Food Freedom Forever, “it’s important to honor your truth in that moment by asking yourself if you even want it in the first place, and declining if you realize you just don’t. Nothing derails food freedom faster than eating something you knew you didn’t really want, leaving you feeling out of control and disappointed in yourself.”

4.    Be honest with yourself and others – If you shove leftover candy in your face at midnight when no one is watching, then it doesn’t count, right? Many of us are familiar with holiday (or non-holiday) secret binges. It’s a terrible feeling to sneak food, obsess over it, and then feel guilty after it’s eaten. Be honest with yourself – and with others. If there are foods that are making you feel uncomfortable in your Food Freedom, acknowledge that. You can move them elsewhere or maybe ask relatives to not to bring them. Know yourself – and understand where you are in your Food Freedom journey.

5.    Give yourself permission to decide in the moment – It may be tempting to try to map out your holiday events in advance and try to plan when you will indulge, and when you won’t. Don’t do that! Go into each event with an open mind, and permission to flex your Food Freedom if you think it’s worth it. By doing this, you are not setting yourself up for binges or cheat days, or feelings of deprivation or sadness. And things change day by day: At one party you may decide a glass of wine is worth it but at another gathering, you may be happy sticking with seltzer. Or at a holiday brunch you may decide that you want to stick with eggs and veggies but at work party, it’s worth it to go for a piece of cake. Rely on the tools you learned in Food Freedom Forever to give yourself the space to make these decisions as you as faced with them.

6.    Play the tape through all the way to the end – As you are deciding if something is worth it, fast forward in your head and think about the very end of the situation. Will it truly be worth it in the end? How will the wine/cake/cookies/ chocolate/etc. make you feel in an hour? In two hours? The next day? Will you feel physically sick or emotionally tied to sugar? Will you be able to hit that workout you have planned in the morning? Will you feel your best when you see friends and family tomorrow? Will it all be worth it then? By playing the tape all the way through, you allow yourself the opportunity to think about the final outcome of the eating experience – and then you truly decide if it will be worth it. This is a brilliant strategy and one that I am planning to use throughout the holidays and beyond!

7.    Make your plate last if needed – This is great tip from Whole 30 about going through buffet lines or making a plate during a family-style meal. Let everyone else take first and use the time to run through your “worth it” questions. If you are the last one to take, you won’t feel rushed or stress out about having lots of other eyes on your plate. You can take your time, take deep breaths, and choose wisely. And if you want to go back for more – or something else – make sure it’s really worth it (using many of these strategies listed) and be mindful about what you put on your plate. Go slow (it’s not a race!) and truly enjoy what you are eating and drinking.

8.    Show yourself grace – We are all so much kinder to others than we are to ourselves. If you eat something and it turned out to NOT be worth it, don’t beat yourself up. Take it as a learning experience, vow to do something different next time, and move on. Don’t let your days be filled with guilt or shame. Reframe and grow from it. And don’t wait until the next Monday or month or even numbered day to make a change – Start with your next bite.

9.    Savor the moments and the food – The holidays can be a loaded, emotional time of the year but at the end of the day, they’re about spending time with family and friends. They are not meant to be a time to beat yourself up or feel guilty or shameful. Embrace the holidays for what they are, take time for yourself in the busy-ness, and remember to savor the people and the experiences (special food included) that come around only once a year. Food is a piece of the holidays but there’s so much more. You can be in control of the food – not the other way around. Sip, savor, and enjoy! And know that anytime you need it, a Whole 30 (or a shorter reset) is at your fingertips to help you get back to feeling your best!

Uncategorized

W30 Buffalo Chicken Bake

A few snow days at home made me crave cold-weather comfort food! I’m kind of over chili at the moment, so I went for the next best thing: a casserole. Now I was raised on casseroles… the cheese-laden- cream of mushroom-crushed ritz cracker- kind of casseroles and I can promise you this Buffalo Chicken Bake is far from that!

Frank’s Hot Sauce brings the heat to this roasted chicken, sweet potato and bacon dish, where everything is cooked separately then mixed together and baked to perfection!

You’ll need:

-1 plain rotisserie chicken, pulled off the bone and chopped

-1 pound Whole 30 Compliant Bacon (like Pederson Farms)

-3-4 cups diced sweet potatoes (I buy pre-cut, because I’m lazy when it comes to chopping)

-1/2 cup chopped green onions

-1/2 cup olive oil

-6 tablespoons Frank’s Hot Sauce

Method:

1- Cook bacon for about 12 minutes or until crispy in a 400 degree oven on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.

2- Remove bacon from baking sheet and place on paper towels to absorb fat. Once cooled, crumble into bite-sized pieces.

3- Put sweet potatoes on sheet pan (right on top of the bacon grease). Gently stir to coat sweet potatoes in bacon grease. Lightly season with salt and pepper and put in the 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

4- In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, crumbled bacon, sweet potatoes, olive oil and Frank’s Hot Sauce.

5- Transfer mixture to a prepared baking dish and top with green onions.

6- Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake casserole for about 20 minutes.

Serve warm! This casserole freezes well and is great reheated — we even love it for breakfast topped with one of our sheet pan eggs👌🏻.

Mom Life, Recipe

Snow Day (Grain-Free + Refined Sugar-Free) Waffles

The stars aligned for this mama — Sunday (our only day off) + Snow! It doesn’t snow here often and typically Mike and I have to figure out how to get to the gym to open… which makes us miss out on enjoying the moment with our boys. So today, even if it is sleeting, we are going to make the most of this snow day!

Before heading out to build a snowman and sled on the big hill in our neighborhood, we’re having the most delicious grain-free, refined-sugar free waffles for breakfast. These take a minute to make so I save them for days just like this!

You’ll need:

2 eggs

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1.5 cups almond flour

1 tablespoon coconut flour

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

**Note: this makes about 3 waffles. I always double the recipe!

Method:

1- Plug in your waffle maker to pre-heat to a medium-high setting.

2- Using a vitamix or high powered blender, add one ingredient at a time and blend.

3- Once all ingredients are blended, spray waffle maker with coconut oil cooking spray or brush with melted coconut oil.

4- Pour batter into the pre-heated waffle maker to cook. Mine took approximately 3 minutes.

5- Serve with pure maple syrup or toppings of your choice!

Stay warm today! Let me know if you make them!

Snow Day – Sunday, December 9th
Clean Eating, Giveaway, Whole 30

Instagram Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Neeley’s Kitchen

The holidays are upon us and with them comes the tendency to eat and drink a little more than usual and skip workouts in lieu of social gatherings and travel.  We all know that if you aren’t careful, the time between Thanksgiving and New Years can quickly turn into a slippery slope of cookies and cheese trays.  I have a little something to help you limit your “holiday eating” to the actual holiDAY and not the “holiday season.”  

One of my go-to’s, especially during the busy holiday season, is ordering prepared foods from Neeley’s Kitchen.  Neeley’s Kitchen is a local meal prep service that provides both healthy meals and bulk prep protein and carb options.  Mike and I order from them weekly to supplement our own meal prep and for “emergency food” (so we don’t end up in a bind when all of our prepared food is gone on Thursdays… just us?!)

In honor of this crazy, busy holiday season, I want to share this awesomeness to help you keep your nutrition on track.  I am partnering with Neeley’s Kitchen to give away a $50 gift card to use toward healthy prepared foods between now and New Years!  Order on their website and pick up your food at one of their many local drop off locations!  

Here’s the catch: to win this $50 gift card, you must tag two friends in my Instagram post AND follow BOTH @thecleanlifemama and @neeleyskitchen.   I’ll choose the winner on Thursday!  Every two friends you tag = one entry!  

Recipe, Whole 30

Meal Prep Hack: Sheet Pan Eggs in 6 Minutes

MEAL. PREP. GAME. CHANGER.  

I’ve been meal prepping since before meal prep was even a thing, and this trick may be the best I’ve seen.  Here is a new way to bulk prep eggs in under 6 minutes. Perfect when cooking for big crowds or for weekly meal prep – especially during a Whole 30!

You’ll need eggs, cooking spray (I like Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Oil) or parchment paper, and seasoning of your choice.  

Method:  Prepare your sheet pan by either lightly spraying the bottom with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper.  ( I tried both methods: cooking spray tasted a tiny bit better however parchment paper was a much easier clean up, so you decide!) 

Crack eggs (as many as you want – I’ve made up to 12!) and season with S+P or any seasoning you like (I’m currently obsessed with Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning.) Put the eggs in a 425 degree preheated oven for 5-6 minutes. Watch closely the last two minutes to make sure the eggs are cooked to your liking!

Keep your nutrition in line and save time on busy mornings by making your eggs on Sunday.  They can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to use throughout the week for easy protein – think breakfasts (add a side of bacon and sliced avocado) or to put on sandwiches, salads or hashes.   

We’ve made them twice now and we are hooked!  The boys love them on breakfast sandwiches, Mike adds them to pretty much every meal and I like them just the way they are!  

Here are mine from yesterday: 

I know what you’re thinking: reheated eggs don’t sound great. Of course they are best right out of the oven, but they really are good reheated in the microwave — especially knowing I’m getting a healthy protein without prep time!

I’m actually having them for breakfast this morning. Let me know if you try them!

Mom Life

A New Way to Count Down the Days of Christmas

My boys will be 11 and 5 this Christmas, and every year I revel in watching their awe and wonder at the holiday season.  I know these “magical” years are numbered, so I’m trying my best to slow down and take it all in.  I’m excited to share a new Christmas tradition with you that I think will do just that: A Book-a-Day Advent Calendar.  

I can’t take credit for this amazing idea –  I remember seeing it on Pinterest when Rush, my oldest son, was a baby and then was reminded of it’s brilliance again when my friend, Melissa, did it with her children last year.  

The idea is to open one wrapped book every night from December 1st through Christmas Eve and read it together in front of the tree as a meaningful way to count down the days until Christmas.  

Twenty-four Christmas books seemed like a lot, but I searched my house for every Christmas/Holiday/Winter-y book I could find; and it turns out, we already had a fairly good collection!  I think I ended up buying about seven new ones.  My youngest son is learning to read right now so I chose a few that he will be able to read to us.  

I wrapped each book individually and then gave it a number to represent the day it will be opened.  On December 1st all of the books will appear under our tree so the magic can begin. I’ll let the boys take turns opening the book each night.  We’ll start with The Christmas Wish and end with The Night Before Christmas.  

To make your own book-a-day advent calendar, you’ll need 24 Christmas, holiday, or winter-y books. If you are building your book collection you could even start by doing the 12 days leading up to Christmas. There is no need to buy all new books. You can find great books at thrift stores or borrow them from your local library.  Once you have collected your books, you will need to wrap them up and number them 1-24. 

Here are the books included in our Book-a-Day Advent Calendar:

The Little Christmas Elf by Nikki Shannon Smith

The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig

Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Ree Drummond

The Littlest Elf by Brandi Dougherty

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Britta Teckentrup

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe

Olive, the other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

A Very Merry Christmas Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A Birthday Party for Jesus by Susan Jones

The Night Before Christmas by Charles Santore

Song of the Stars by Sally-Lloyd Jones

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell

The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner

Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg

The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert

Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas by Sarah Young

The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Tractor Mac Saves Christmas by Billy Steers

Am I missing any must-read Christmas stories?  Please share your favorites as I hope to mix in a few new ones each year.  

Here’s to a slow and magical Christmas season ❤️.