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!

Recipe, Whole 30

3 Healthy Ways to Remix your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is the meal that keeps on giving, am I right?!  I’m pretty sure I have enough leftovers in my fridge right now to feed my family for a whole week.  And, y’all, as a working mom, leftovers are my jam, but I can only eat Thanksgiving dinner so many times! If you are like me and need to mix things up, I have a few ideas on how you can use what you have on hand in new, healthy ways:  

TURKEY TACO BOWLS

Use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat to make these delicious Whole 30 compliant taco bowls.  Filled with cauliflower rice, lettuce and your favorite toppings, no one will be thinking “leftovers”!  

You’ll need:

1-2 Cups of Chopped Leftover Turkey

Taco Seasoning (Make your own — {2 T chili powder, 2 tsps of each: onion powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano + 1 tsp sea salt}

Cauliflower Rice (I always use frozen that I steam in the microwave.  If I have it on hand, I’ll squeeze some lime juice and add some fresh cilantro.)

Extras (get creative and add what you like): 

Shredded lettuce or spinach 

Salsa (Frontera Roasted Tomato is my favorite store bought salsa!)  

Guacamole 

W30 Compliant Ranch…like Tessemae’s (which is what I had on hand today!) 

Black Olives

Cilantro

Directions: 

  1. Season your turkey: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add turkey and stir to coat with olive oil.  Pour 1-2 teaspoons of the taco seasoning over the turkey.  Allow to heat through. 
  2. Build your bowl: Start with cauliflower rice.  Add turkey next. Then top with any extras: lettuce, salsa, guacamole, ranch… whatever you have on hand!  

TURKEY AVOCADO SALAD

Here’s a spin on my absolute favorite chicken salad!  Use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat and cranberries in this fast and delicious salad that can be eaten alone or on top of a salad!  Throw some leftover roasted veggies on the side and it’s a full meal! This is a perfect post-Thanksgiving lunch as it’s light and a change of flavors from yesterday’s big meal.  

You’ll Need:

1-2 cups chopped turkey

1 small avocado, mashed

1 small granny smith apple, unpeeled and chopped into bite size pieces

1/2 cup dried cranberries OR 1/4 cup cranberry sauce (or sub sliced red grapes)

1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional… I had these leftover from my Thanksgiving cooking) 

1/2 tsp curry powder (or any seasoning that you like) 

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: 

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Eat immediately.  This can be made ahead of time by squeezing lime juice over the avocado.  

TURKEY BONE BROTH

If you haven’t made your own bone broth yet, you haven’t lived. Ok that may be a little dramatic, but seriously, making your own broth is the best! It’s super easy, makes your house smell amazing and allows you to control the salt content and additives. Freeze it in small batches and pull out for soups throughout the winter!  I will be making mine today following Kettle and Fire’s recipe: https://blog.kettleandfire.com/turkey-bone-broth-recipe/

What are your go-to recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers?  I’d love to hear your ideas!  

Recipe

Simple Whole 30 Sweet Potato Chili

This is the easiest and most delicious chili that MY KIDS WILL ACTUALLY EAT.  Y’all, I prepped it all in under 15 minutes, threw it in my slow cooker and it was ready when we got home!  A winner in my book.

Put all ingredients in slow cooker for 8ish hours on low (See notes for Instant Pot directions): 

  • 2 lbs grass fed ground beef, cooked and drained of fat. (Ground turkey is a great sub, too)
  • 1 small diced yellow onion, sautéed in olive oil 
  • 1-2 cups sweet potato (roasted and puréed). This adds great flavor, texture and nutrients… and my kids don’t even know it’s in there! 👊) 
  • 1 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes 

Seasoning: (SKIP the prepackaged chili mixes as they have lots of added ingredients and sugar!) 

• 1 tablespoon chili powder

• 1 teaspoon cumin

• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your heat preference) 

• 1 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 teaspoon onion powder

• 1 teaspoon sea salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 

*Top with avocado and herbs of your choice!  I love scallions or cilantro.  Today I had scallions on hand to use.

Notes:

**This makes a lot.  It is PERFECT to feed your family for dinner and then freeze leftovers for a quick meal later OR use it as your meal prep for the week.  Eat by itself, stuff a sweet potato and then add some guac on top, or serve over sweet potato nachos.

**Easy swap: If you don’t have sweet potatoes on hand, or just dont want to deal with roasting and pureeing, try stirring in frozen cauliflower and sweet potato “rice”.  

**This can also be made in the Instant Pot.  Place all ingredients in the IP, then push the “meat/stew” button.  This will automatically set the IP to cook for 35 minutes.  Make sure the steam valve is closed.

**MOM HACK: If you are like me, there is not much extra time in the mornings to prep something to go in the slow cooker.  Here’s a little trick that I started doing a few years ago that has been a game changer… prep it all the night before and put the whole crockpot insert in your fridge.  Pull it out before you leave for work, plug it in and go.  Come home to an amazing home cooked meal without having to add stress to your morning routine.