Jun 27, 2017

What's going on with your Land?

What's going on with your Land? I thought you were building a house. Didn't you decide on your floor plans? What's the big news with your family?

Just a few questions I've been asked lately and this is the post where I try to answer all those. Grab a coffee, this may take a while.

Before I answer those questions I want to do a quick recap for those new to this blog, my instagram and our journey to "dreamin a big dream."

February 2013 - found 12 acres of rough land and bought it (read more about it here)



For the next year we worked at clearing some trees, building a fence and cleaning up the land. We moved into my husband's grandma's vacant house for the time being and that's where we still are. Thankfully his family has let us stay a bit longer than anticipated!



August 2014 - we started work to build a pond. The land had 2 small ponds on it but my husband (civil engineer) wanted a 2-3 acre pond so he drew up the plans and constructed a pond. He even got to put his surveying skills to work!




The pond filled up and the next couple of years that followed were spent looking at floor plans, dreaming and scheming where and what house to build and working out the finances.



August - finalized house location on land and had to do a little more ground work for the pad site, which also meant dropping the pond to pull dirt for the site, thus making the pond deeper.




September 2016 -  finalized the floor plans and sent them off for various bids!




That was nearly a year ago and we still haven't started building.

So what's going on?

Well, for one, the wood company (my husband read this & told me it should be lumber company not wood company >eye roll emoji< teasing ) kept missing deadlines, forgot about our project, the holidays hit and then it was January and still no finished wood schedule. It was really frustrating but it ended up being for the best because it opened the door for our family to walk through and even bigger dream!

Here's the thing, when we bought the land we had this idea that it would be more than a place to live. We wanted chickens, goats, maybe some mini cows, basically a hobby farm. We wanted to plant a garden and small orchard. We wanted to live off the land and live a more self-sustaining life.

Since the land didn't come with a house on it or barns or anything farm related, we would have to start from scratch and that kind of requires a little more money than we expected. We got the estimates back and were left with a couple options.

1. We build but hold off several years on the hobby farming. We live happily ever after.
2. We build smaller, start a small hobby farm, live happily ever after.
3. We sell. We find something else maybe with a house on it, maybe not. We figure it out and live happily ever after.

There was a problem with options 1 & 2. To be able to afford those, it basically meant my husband working at his job until retirement. We could make it happen but it would require his steady stream of income, working 50+ hours a week which didn't leave much time to work a hobby farm.

So now what. Well, I had a mini freak out moment. I texted my sister to pray for a miracle. Little did I know that the miracle I had in my head was much smaller that the miracle God was able to do.

I was praying for God to show us what to do with the land with Eric's job.

I loved my land. I wanted my land. I had my floor plan. I had the perfect hammock spot picked out. I knew what the kitchen would look like. I had the tile planned, sink picked out, I had already had a hundred cups of coffee in my kitchen in my head. I wanted to build on my land.




But just like that, God changed my heart and allowed me to release my tight little fists and let go of the possibility of building and living there. When I opened my hands, he poured out His grace.

For the next part of this story to make sense, you have to know my husband. His name is Eric & most of you know we've known each other since middle school. Anyone that knows him knows he loves to fish, loves the outdoors and is a major people person and he always has been. But he's also super smart. He got a degree in Civil Engineering and is really good at what he does. The problem though is his current office job and passions just don't mix. He spends the majority of his life inside an office building behind a desk and while I'm thankful for the provision of his career, I've always wanted more for him. I believe God gave him those passions for the outdoors for a reason and I wasn't at peace signing those papers to build a house knowing it would mean he would be in that office for the better part of the remainder of his life.

So, I did what any normal person would do and pretty much vomited all of my thoughts, feelings and fears up at his feet. We talked. Prayed and decided to press pause on the house building and wait on God.

Well, He did not take long. The next couple of months door after door after door opened to new possibilities and opportunities neither of us could have dreamed up on our own. We didn't know where we were going but we decided as long as He kept opening the doors we were going to walk through them, trusting God.

So now here we are. Where's that? I'll just copy/paste what Eric shared on facebook:
Hi everyone. I wanted to take a quick minute to introduce myself & update my friends on some recent life changes. I know a lot of you are surprised to see my name pop up on social media but here I am!
As most of you know, my name is Eric, I'm married to my high school sweetheart Lesley Zellers and together we have 3 kids. I went to OSU where I got a degree in Civil Engineering and then worked at a great company here in Tulsa, Meshek & Associates for 10 years. I went on to get my license as a Professional Engineer and pursued surveying as well.
Those that know me best know my passion is spending time with my family and being outdoors. While I was thankful for a job that provided for my family and enabled my wife to stay home to raise our kids, I struggled with wanting to do more and be more.
I recently had the opportunity to pursue a dream that has been years in the making. Every step I've taken brought me to a point where I (and my family) had to decide to take a leap of faith & go after ours dreams or stay in the security of our current situation. We decided to take the leap, knowing and trusting that no matter what, God is there and that's all we need.
I am now working with some amazing people at Midwest Land Group as a Land Agent. In short, my office is no longer a cubicle in the middle of a city, instead it's dirt roads and wide open spaces. I get to find recreational land, farm land, ranches, hobby farms, etc...for people and help them pursue their dreams and I get to spend more time with my family. It really is a dream come true and I am so thankful and blessed for this opportunity.
And since I'll have a little more free time on my hand I thought it was the perfect time to get on social media & connect with old friends, make new friends and share a little bit of my journey on this new adventure.
Thank you to everyone that has played a part in making this dream possible, the support of my family & friends, the Meshek's and all my engineering colleagues and the guys at Midwest Land Group.
So that's where we are. My husband left his engineering job and is now working at a job where he basically helps people find the land of their dreams! How crazy is this life?!

Will we sell our land? I don't know. Maybe we'll end up building out there after all and chasing those others dreams of a simpler life living off the land. But right now everything is on hold while we adjust to his new job and our new way of living.

But you guys, house or no house, land or no land, God answered a prayer I've been seeking for over three years and that was for my outdoorsy loving husband to have an opportunity to live out his passions and now he is! He is outside every day, talking to people, sharing his skills and vision with land owners and those looking for land and nearly every day he tells me he can't believe this is his job. Also, how cute is he?!

And not to toot our horns or anything, but I will say it took a giant leap of faith to do this. Eric is responsible for 99% of our family's income and had a very steady job that he was really good at. We could have stayed in that life, knowing what our future would look like and remain pretty secure financially or we had the opportunity to take a leap of faith, jumping into a much riskier situation for our family but trusting that God that He would catch us even if this new adventure fails.

So sink or soar, we took the leap and I'm pretty excited to see where this path takes us!

I am going to end this with a video my sister sent me shortly after I asked her to pray for a miracle.

Everyone should watch this video!




P.S. If you are looking for land to build your dreams on, hunting, fishing, farming, etc. contact Eric! Some of the listings currently available are up on his agent page but he is one of the first to see properties before they are available to the public so he has "dibs" on your future property! (not so shameless plug)

Jun 7, 2017

The Great Swimsuit Saga of 2017

Before I begin, I have to say thank you to my gal, Jessie of Jessie Leigh Photography! You are a wonder woman with your camera & your MIL is the best for letting us have a swim party at her house. So no, friends, this amazing pool is not mine, although you may see me trying to crash it all summer!

Also, this is me saying, "there's nothing awkward about standing by a donut in a swimsuit while someone takes your picture." haha.Totally natural, my friends.

Totally natural.



Anyway, back to the post and how about that for a non-dramatic ;) but if you have been following me on instagram, in particularly my stories regarding finding the right swimsuit this year, you know I was having a hard time.

I first started looking for a new swimsuit several months ago & posted this:

"lesleyzellersMatchy-matchy. Also, question: where can I find a swimsuit? I need a new suit this year & have spent too much time searching the interests for one that suits me 🥁 ching! 😆. Here's the thing, I like getting in the pool with my kids, racing, jumping off the diving board & horsing around, thus, a two-piece or strapless one piece is out of the question. I don't want to worry about a wardrobe malfunction 👙🙅🏼. However. I want a cute one piece that doesn't scream mom of three! I am exhausted from all the searching so, I ask you, my instafriends, any ideas? Please only share if you have actually purchased from the company or store & have been pleased with the quality."

Little did I know just how many swimsuit companies were out there! 168 comments from y'all! Sheesh! So thank you for all the insight you guys. I looked up each company mentioned in the comments and started narrowing it down to my top ten, then top five and finally top 2.



My decision to go with Kortnie Jeane swimmers ultimately came down to these things:
  • style (loved that I could mix and match and the colors/patterns were so fun)
  • coverage (loved that they were modest but still didn't scream, "hi, I'm a mom of three")
  • matchy with my girlies (they have a matching line for little ones & since my girls LOVE matching me, these were perfect!)

A LOT of you have asked me how I like my swimmers and I figured I'd just answer all the questions here with some fun pictures from my girl, Jessie Leigh Photography.



First of all, I LOVE my swimmers!

I initially ordered a different top and bottoms than are pictured here but they just didn't quite fit the way I hoped. The top was a little lower than I wanted so I asked if I could exchange them. Thankfully, Kortnie Jeane also has great customer service and let me! I really got the feel that they really want their customers to be happy and confident in their product so that was really cool.



I ended up trying out 3 tops and 3 bottoms and was surprised that I ended up liking the ruffle bottoms the most because I wouldn't classify myself as a ruffle gal but they just fit so good! I also liked a couple of other bottoms as well.




As for the top, I ended up getting 2. The one pictured here goes great with any bottoms but I also got the racer back and love it too.




I love that they have great coverage but are also a little spunky. I don't feel weird chasing kids around, worry about anything flying places it shouldn't when jumping, flipping, diving, and honestly, and I love the ruffle on the top because I still feel fine walking around in a swimsuit after eating a burger. Hahaha.



My girls LOVE their suits. They have been wanting 2 pieces but it's really hard to find cute, modest ones until I found KJ. You guys, I didn't realize how awesome 2 pieces are for girls until now. Hello easy bathroom brakes!!! Plus, we got coordinating prints because they love matching me but each combo is uniquely them as well. So fun.



So there's my review of our swimmers. We love them. I am addicted now. I want combos in every color and pattern. And since KJ puts out a new collection every 4 months or so, there are plenty of styles to choose from!





P.S. I was not paid to review these, although KJ generously supplied us swimmers to try out, and I honestly love them and know I have a lot of friends that were interested so I'm happy to share. 


P.S.S. Thank you again, Jessie, for getting some fun pictures of me & my girls!

Oh, and FYI, KJ just released their newest line and it's SO cute! I think I need the hibiscus pink in a top. How cute would that be with the cheetah bottoms?! Click here to shop their new colloection.

May 9, 2017

Why I Did Whole30 and Would I Do It Again?

Good morning, friends! I really meant to have this post finished a lot sooner but I'm actually pretty glad it took some time. I learned a bit more over the months after completing the Whole30 Challenge than I realized I would and had I made this post earlier, it would not be the same as it is today. That said, a lot of you have had questions for me and I promised I'd try to answer as many as possible so let's get started.

You can read each week's recap on my previous posts: WEEK 1, WEEK 2, WEEK 3 & WEEK 4.

Number 1 question I got asked was, "Why are you doing Whole30?"

I posted about it here but in short:
  • we were eating out too much as a family 
  • it was a personal challenge - I wanted to prove to myself I could do it
  • I wanted to get better at eating breakfast & I thought it would probably force me to


That looks so hard, how could you give up dairy?

Honestly, I thought this would be the hardest part of the 30 days. No cheese, no yogurt, no milk - I mean, I ate cheese with every meal so I knew this would be the worst. But it wasn't. I did miss it though, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't as hard as I made it out to be in my mind. So that was a nice surprise.

Then what was the hardest part of doing Whole30?

That depends. Hardest food wise? As in what was the thing I missed or craved the most?
Sugar.
And that was a shocker to me. I've always considered myself a salty over sweets person. I prefer biscuits and gravy to pancakes or waffles. I'd rather have a chips and salsa than a bowl of ice cream. And we just don't have a lot of sweets around so I didn't even consider sugar being hard.
I'm not sure if it was the fact that I couldn't have it that made me want it so badly (hi, I'm 5 or something) or the realization of how much sugar is in things and how it was added without me even knowing so I was actually eating more than I thought, thus making the lack of it what I craved. You guys, there is sugar in everything! Food I'd never expect! Like bacon, deli meat, some seasonings like garlic salt (what?!) and salsa. So that was an eye opener for sure.

But the hardest part of Whole30 in general?

All. The. Cooking.
Chopping.
Prepping.
Cleaning.
Y'all, I felt like I lived in the kitchen. Apparently it's easier if you spend a day prepping food for the week but I didn't do that. We did make use of leftovers, A LOT, but I just cooked how I normally would during the week, meal by meal.

Once all the prepping and cooking was complete, then it was time to wash all the dishes used. And then it was like I could go to the bathroom and then go right back to the kitchen for the next meal. haha. Maybe not that bad but I did miss the ease of ordering a pizza and using paper plates.

Did your cravings pass?

Yes and no. Initially I didn't crave much, other than sugar as mentioned earlier. Having all the fruit for breakfast was nice and since I never really ate breakfast regularly, I didn't crave much at breakfast.

Lunch wasn't too bad either. I definitely missed cheese on my salads or a bun with my hotdog but I wouldn't say I craved it. I just didn't think of it as an option so I kind of pushed it out of my head.

Dinner, however, I craved eating out. I missed someone cooking for me and the family. Eating whatever we chose from the menu, thus making everyone happy. And then not cleaning afterwards. I craved that the most. Especially by Friday.

My cravings came and went with the week. I would be super on track and have a great attitude Monday-Thursday. By Friday I wanted to give up and eat some pizza or a cheese enchilada. But willpower.



How many times did you think of food you couldn't eat?

Hmm, how many seconds are there in a day? Partially kidding on this one, I did sleep ;) But man, I thought about it a lot. My kids love oatmeal and since we bought the Instant Pot, I make it a lot more. Every time I would make them oats, or toast or pull out the cheese so they could put it on their salad or ketchup for their fries, putting jelly on their pj&j, watching the Taco Bueno commercial or any food commercial for that matter, driving down the street and passing all the restaurants, all the time. Food is everywhere! So yeah, I thought about it a lot but honestly tried not to.

Oh, and there may have been a few times I sniffed the bag of doritos just to get the essence of it. Shame.

Did you ever feel full?

No. Haha. Seriously though, no.
There would be times we'd finish a meal and I'd turn to my husband and say, "I'm still hungry, you?" It's amazing what some croutons can do to a salad or a slice of toast with eggs.

On that note, I think that's also a reason we started getting tired halfway through. I just don't think we were getting enough to sustain our energy, especially with working out every day. And y'all, I ate all the time so it's not like I felt like I should be eating more but I do think there are health benefits to wheat bread and grains or yogurt if you have no allergy or adverse side effects..

How much weight did you lose?

This is a funny one for me to answer because I didn't do the challenge to lose weight. Sure, I thought it would be nice to lose a couple pounds after all those holiday treats but that wasn't the goal so it weirds me out when people assume that's the only reason someone would do the challenge. Not only that, but I also worked out during the challenge. I try to stay active and in goodish shape but I joined a friend in this 12 week fitness challenge and it is intense! It puts my Jillian videos to shame! Anyway, all that to say, I lost 5 pounds in those 30 days.



How much weight did you gain back?

It's been a few months since doing Whole30 and I haven't gained any back.

What were the best/cheapest places to shop?

There were four stores I hit up each week during Whole30: Aldi, Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Reasors.
  • Aldi: good prices on produce, guacamole, nuts, oils and nut butters.
  • Trader Joe's: they have a some random little treats that really added ease or flavor to ordinary meals like, riced cauliflower, saurkraut, seasoning blends, plantain chips and shrimp stir-fry.
  • Sprouts: not the best for normal grocery shopping but I'd check their weekly ad for sales and their produce prices were tough to beat and the quality is super.
  • Reasors: our local grocery store, they have their own farms so I like buying our meats here.


You mentioned you felt a lot better, are there any other benefits you noticed?

Yes!
  • Definitely sleep. I've never slept so soundly.
  • I also noticed a more sustained energy level throughout the day.
  • I honestly feel happier too. Working out everyday, eating healthier, it just feels better.
  • I am now a "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" believer! It only took me 35 years to learn that one but Food is Fuel y'all.


What's the first thing you'll eat when it's over?

Chips and salsa. Plantain chips are good for Whole30 but they don't stand a chance next to restaurant chips and hot salsa. I eat chips and salsa as a snack nearly every day. 30 days without my favorite snack had me ready to dive head first into a vat of salsa and swim in a sea of salty chips. I can eat an embarrassing amount of chips and salsa and that is just what I did when we ended Whole30. Apparently there's a easing back into normal life plan after Whole30 but I did not follow that. 30 days was good.




Is there anything you'll continue now that's Whole30 is over?

  • Yes, breakfast every day. 
  • Less sugar. Having been off sugar for 30 days and then reintroducing it, perhaps a little too aggressively,  I quickly learned that sugar affects me the most. It honestly makes me feel like crap. A little bowl of ice cream, not big deal. But a little bowl of ice cream and a brownie - almost makes me feel like I'm getting the flu. No lie.
  • And with that, yep, I still drink my coffee black. I know, ew, gross bean juice, but it's not so bad. I do put a little milk or almond milk in it from time to time but no sugar. It just doesn't take good enough to make me feel sick.
  • More sweet potatoes. I never realized how much I like them! Roasted sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, leftover sweet potatoes with eggs for breakfast. They're good.
  • Finding all those produce deals! I love getting my weekly ads to see what we'll be eating the next week. 
  • Less eating out. It's expensive. It's funny when you finally get to go back out to eat at a restaurant and nothing tastes good. Sad. But seriously. My enchilada was bland, the pizza was disappointing, the sandwich was lacking. Simple, real food is so full of flavor. However, the bread I got at Panera was what dreams are made of. And restaurant chips and salsa, I could eat it every day so when I do go out I will be looking for healthier options on the menu.


Will you do Whole30 again?

No. I am so glad I did it. In fact, I would recommend it to anyone. Spending 30 days eating real, unprocessed food will teach you so much about your body and willpower. For me, Whole30 was all about getting healthier and not about losing weight. You don't have to want to lose weight to do Whole30, just like you don't have to want to lose weight to work out so I'd encourage anyone to do it. But don't do it for 5 days and say it was easy and then quit. That's not going to teach you anything. I know because I did it before.

What won't you continue from Whole30?

No dairy, no grains, no legumes.
I am not lactose intolerant and I love cheese and I like yogurt for breakfast so I will enjoy eating those. I also feel more energetic when I have some whole grains in my diet. Like granola with my yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Or an egg with my toast. Theses foods don't impact me in a negative way so I'm fine keeping them in the rotation.



WHEW!

So that's that. More info than you probably cared to know but I tried to answer all the questions. And thank you to all of you that left me encouraging comments throughout the month - they meant a lot and helped me make it through, you guys rock!

Feb 27, 2017

Whole30 Recap, Not Today

Hey guys, I know I said I would have the recap up of my January Whole30 experience today but another kiddo is sick again and I didn't get around to finishing it this weekend. I'll have it up soon but until then, I'll be dreaming of days of everyone being healthy and well and frolicking outside.


And praying this little girl gets over it quickly!

Feb 24, 2017

Whole30 - Week 4 Meals



For those that have been asking and waiting for me to finish up our Whole30 experience from January, this post has been a while coming but life happens, kids get sick and blog posts get pushed to the next day's to do list (and repeat) but it's finally here!

I planned on doing week 4's meals with my Whole30 experience recap (including answering a lot of your questions) in the same post but it got long so I'm posting the recap on Monday. If you are just joining, you can see what we ate during Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 by clicking on the links.

After surviving the weekend of week 3, we woke up to week 4 with determination and a little pride that we'd made it so far and how close we were to finishing!  

So here's what we ate to finish it off.


DAY 22



Breakfast: fresh bananas, strawberries, blackberries and orange wedges with a 2 egg omelette topped with a bit of bacon, cilantro and avocado.
Lunch: broccoli salad with a hard boiled egg (again, Instant Pot to the rescue), apple slices and almond butter.
Dinner: grilled beef patty topped with grilled jalapenos, onions and guacamole with grilled broccoli and roasted sweet potato and roasted potato fries.



DAY 23



Breakfast: fresh pineapple, strawberries and bananas with a fried egg over TJ's cruciferous crunch mix.
Lunch: all beef dog topped with onions, cayenne and Siegi's mustard with sliced radishes and broccoli salad.
Dinner: taco potato - baked potato with taco meat, onions, guacomole, salsa and "dump ranch".



DAY 24



Breakfast: hard boiled egg with a chopped fruit salad of apples, bananas, blueberries and strawberries.
Lunch: broccoli salad, plantain chips and salsa, sliced avocado and 2 hard boiled eggs.
Dinner: @paleolithicfoodie's chicken cauliflower coconut soup.



DAY 25



Breakfast: hard boiled egg with a chopped fruit salad of bananas, blueberries, strawberries and orange wedges.
Lunch: spinach salad with chopped radishes, cucumber, onion and homemade chicken salad.
Dinner:  all beef dog with Siegi's mustard, chicken salad and apples slices with almond butter (there was no energy or care to make anything else :))



DAY 26



Breakfast: orange wedges with blueberries, hard boiled eggs, cucumber and mixed nuts.
Lunch: broccoli salad, hard boiled egg and a grilled chicken thigh.
Dinner: pan seared steak and eggs.


DAY 27



Breakfast: spinach, blueberry, almond butter, banana smoothie with chia seeds.
Lunch: taco potato.
Dinner: grilled steak, grilled artichoke and cauliflower and a baked sweet potato.



DAY 28



Breakfast: bananas, blueberries and strawberries and 2 hard boiled eggs.
Lunch: chopped salad with radishes, avocado, onion and grilled pork tenderloin and plantain chips.
Dinner: pot roast with green beans, potatoes and carrots.



DAY 29



Breakfast: kiwis and blueberries with a 2 egg omelette topped with leftover grilled steak.
Lunch: chicken cauliflower coconut soup.
Dinner: leftover grilled steak, baked sweet potato and sauteed cabbage.



DAY 30



Breakfast: oranges, blueberries and a soft boiled egg. My girls call them "gooey eggs" and love them. You guys, I bought a Rosle Egg Cracker/Topper online a couple of years ago and LOVE it. It makes getting the tops off a cinch!
Lunch: chopped salad with cucumber, blueberries, radishes, bacon and a hard boiled egg. Topped with balsamic vinegar and evoo.
Dinner: Here's the thing. We started Whole30 on January 1 with breakfast and lunch and accidentally had a non-whole30-approved item so we decided to go through until the 31, making it whole31. So the evening of the 31st we started trying to figure out if we had to make another dinner or if we had met our goal of eating whole for 30 days. Since we technically ate more than 30 days of whole30 meals so we decided we had met our goal and ended the night by going out and getting some chips and salsa and margaritas. Did we fail because of that? I think not. Do I care if you think we did? Heck no.

There you have it. Everything we ate the last 9 days of Whole30. Am I glad I did it? Heck yes! More on why I loved and hated it on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Jan 31, 2017

40% off Skillshare Premium Membership Ends Today!



You know I love Skillshare, right?! I mean, it is the reason I got started in lettering and I love it so much that I am teaching an introductory lettering class for absolute beginners.

I have taken classes on making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, lifestyle photography tips, and my kids have even enjoyed the drawing classes for kids. So clearly this is a family love affair and I wanted to let you all know they are offering a discounted premium membership today only and it will give you total access to thousands of online classes for an entire year!

Click here and then look for the blue bar up top. Click that link and you'll get the 40% off discount code.

And feel free to enroll in my class and learn some basics of lettering ;)

Happy Tuesday! Now go start something new!

Jan 24, 2017

Broccoli Bacon Salad Recipe - Whole30 Approved



Good monrning!

Several people have asked me for the broccoli salad recipe I posted on instagram so I'm sharing it here today.

I wrote the recipe down years ago when I wondered down a rabbit hole on instagram, looking at "insert random hashtag I was looking for at the time" then seeing a picture that led to me to this person that led me to another person and then I saw a picture of the recipe and went to the blog. The problem is I didn't write the blogger's name or website down at the time so I can't attribute this recipe to them.

I'm sorry blogger person. I have tried finding you. I have searched instagram, hashtags, google searches and image searches but I have come up empty. If you're reading this, let me know and I'll give you all the credit or if you're reading this and remember me saying something about who made this recipe, let me know so I can give credit.

Until then, a whole30 approved broccoli salad that's good even if you're not doing whole30!

Seriously, I made this salad for potlucks or summer parties all the time.

IINGREDIENTS:

2-3 heads fresh broccoli, roughly chopped
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup red onion, diced (I have used green onion, garden onion and they're all good)
1 cup cashews, chopped (I sometimes use whatever nut mix I've made sometimes including roasted almonds, pistachios, or sunflower seeds and it's great that way too)
1/2 cup golden raisins (cranberries are a nice change too)

Add all these ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.

FOR THE DRESSING:

1 cup homemade mayo (to be whole30 compliant)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 soaked dates

Put the dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until the dates are chopped and thoroughly combined.

Pour dressing over salad and stir. Refrigerate 2 hours or more to marinate.

Serve to all your party people and enjoy!

Jan 23, 2017

Whole30 - Week 3 Meals



Whoa. We have officially completed 3 entire weeks of Whole30! I kind of did not think it was possible but also thought I could totally do it, if that makes any sense at all. If you're new, Week 1 meals are here and Week 2 are here.

I will confess, this weekend was the hardest. The beginning of the week started strong. We were continuing to have amazing sleep, lots of energy and few cravings. Meals were enjoyable although the constant dish cleaning was not so much.

Then Friday happened. Here's the thing, Friday's have always been the night I don't cook which means we either go out for pizza or Mexican food. So by Friday I was pretty much over the whole30 idea. We had conquered eating at home for every meal and only went out 1 time in 17 days. And since our main goal of doing whole30 was to eat out less, I'd say we achieved that goal. Plus, I really didn't want to cook, clean dishes and just really, really wanted some chips, salsa and queso. Throw in a margarita and I wouldn't object. But, we stayed strong. Made a dinner omelette and called it a night. #lame.

And then Saturday happened. It was the perfect day for prepping the garden beds for planting in the coming weeks. We were outside all day. Raking. Pulling weeds. Gathering leaves. Getting dirty. Before we knew it the sun was going down and it was time for dinner. Only, we'd been outside all day so nothing had been prepared. My husband and were half talking each other into quitting and half talking into each other to sticking with it. We were weak. But in the end we said, "hey, we've made it 20 days, what's another 10? Let's do this."



So hot dogs for dinner it was! And now we're in the home stretch and I'm really proud of us sticking with it and staying home of taking the easy way out and giving up and going out to eat. That chips and salsa will taste so much better in 10 days! hahaha

So how did we survive week 3? Quick and easy meals, a lot of eggs, fruit and salads. There were ZERO recipes this week. Meaning, we pretty much bought proteins and fruits and veggies that were on sale (hello, Sprouts, my new favorite place for produce sales!) and threw them together. Nothing fancy or glamorous but it got us through.

DAY 15



Breakfast: fresh blackberries, sliced strawberries and bananas with a 2 egg omelette with green onions (cooked in TJ's ghee)
Lunch: green leaf lettuce with leftover sardine salad with TJ's plantain chips (not my best, y'all)
Dinner: oven roasted chicken thighs with root veggies (carrots, beets and parsnips)

DAY 16


Breakfast: strawberries and blackberries, 2 fried eggs and a sausage patty
Lunch: salad with TJ's cruciferous crunch mix and green leaf lettuce topped with sliced cucumber, carrots, green onion, a hard boiled egg (made in the instant pot) and sliced chicken thigh (leftover from night before) with "dump ranch"
Dinner: "rostisserie chicken" made in the Instant Pot, smashed baby potatoes with green onion and bacon and peas

DAY 17


Breakfast: sliced bananas, kiwi and blackberries with 2 soft boiled eggs and leftover smashed potatoes
Lunch: lettuce wrapped beef slider topped with guacamole, onion, sauteed mushrooms and Louisiana Gold red sauce with TJ's plantain chips and carrots
Dinner: 1st time eating out on whole30, we went to Ruby Tuesday and had the salad bar (glorious) and the triple prime burger without the bun (glorious)

DAY 18


Breakfast: oranges and some sauteed TJ's cruciferous greens mix topped with 2 fried eggs and a slice of prosciutto
Lunch: mixed greens topped with sliced apple, green onion, shaved chicken breast, a medium boiled egg and chopped pecans with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
Dinner: grilled steak and chicken kabobs with green bell pepper, onion and mushrooms, mashed potatoes (used the instant pot) and oranges and pineapple

DAY 19


Breakfast: oranges, pineapple and blackberries with a 2 egg omelette with green onion
Lunch: mixed green salad topped with sliced cucumber, carrots, green onion, prosciutto, shaved chicken bresat and a medium boiled egg topped with "dump ranch"
Dinner: omelette filled with leftover kabob meat and veggies and topped with TJ's salsa verde with grapes, pineapple and bananas with a little chia seed sprinkled on top

DAY 20


Breakfast: strawberries, bananas and kiwi with chia seed and potato pancakes topped with TJ's unsweetened applesauce
Lunch: mixed green salad topped with sliced apple, cucumber, green onion, prosciutto, chopped pecans and a medium boiled egg topped with "dump ranch"
Dinner: all beef franks topped with TJ's sauerkraut, onions, Siegi's mustard and Louisiana Gold red sauce and homemade dried jalapeno flakes from the garden with a sliced avocado

DAY 21


Breakfast: fruit salad with kiwi, oranges, strawberry and apples with chia seeds and cinnamon, a pan cooked pork chop and scrambled eggs
Lunch: leftover grilled chicken thigh, hard boiled egg (yay Instant Pot) and my favorite broccoli salad
Dinner: grilled hamburger patty with grilled jalapenos, onions and guacamole with grilled broccoli and oven roasted potato and sweet potato fries


In keeping with weeks 1 and 2, here are some thoughts on the whole Whole30 thing:
  • my husband and I are weird. That whole timeline thing is opposite for us. This past week we were supposed to have crazy energy but instead we both had random headaches and were tired even though I have been getting the best sleep I've had in 6 years. Weird.
  • we also decided there is nothing wrong with cheese or sugar. They are good. They make us happy. I think our marriage needs them.
  • also, let's add chips to things our marriage benefits from
  • while whole30 meals are undoubtedly healthy, there are only so many ways you can cook a "compliant" egg without it tasting like, well, an egg
  • these may sound like complaints and I'm sorry, I try my best to stay positive during the week but this is where I get honest and do you know how hard it is to make homemade chocolate chip banana bread and not eat ANY of it?! Let me tell you. It's hard.

But it's not all bad. There's a lot of good too. Which is why I guess a lot of people do this #whole30 thing
  • for example, I've mentioned sleeping better. I used to average like 20+ restless moments during sleep and now it's more like 10 or less (thank you Fitbit for that info)
  • I have more sustained energy throughout the day instead of waves of sugar induced energy so that's probably good too
  • we have only eaten out 1 time in 21 days so that's HUGE
  • I'm a lot better at finding produce deals and making sure we have plenty of fresh fruit and veggies on hand
  • I feel better. Seriously. I feel great when I wake up. Great throughout the day and great when I go to bed.  
  • my clothes are fitting a bit looser so that's not bad either
  • oh, and Trader Joe's and Sprouts are still places of beauty
So we're taking the good with the bad and have 9 days left.