Apr 25, 2018

Instant Pot Quinoa Bowls 6 Ways

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I've been making these tasty quinoa bowls the last couple of weeks and shared some on instagram (@lesleyzellers) and recieved several requests to share the recipes, so here goes.



First off, I make quinoa in my Instant Pot. Most of you know my love for my IP but for those new to this blog, an Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker.


What does that mean? I'm not sure but for me it's like a speedy crock pot or sorts. It can cook just about anything, oatmeal, meat, pasta meals and the easiest peeling hard boiled eggs ever - but fast. I use it weekly, if not daily.

So when I found this recipe for "1 minute quinoa" in the Instant Pot I had to try it. I will never make quinoa any other way. I like Trader Joe's Organic Tricolor Quinoa. Granted, the "1-minute quinoa"  takes more like 12-15 from start to finish because you let it depressurize for 10 minutes but it only cooks for 1 minute it's SO easy and the quinoa comes out perfect every time.

I use bone broth to make my quinoa - yet another thing I make in the Instant Pot ;) Seriously, as I type this, I have a batch of bone broth cooking away. I also like to add fresh herbs from the garden to pack in a few more nutrients and flavor. The recipe I use calls for 2 cups of quinoa, but after making it once and having 8 cups of quinoa to eat for a week, I now half the recipe.

So what do you do with 8 cups of cooked quinoa? Make all the quinoa bowls you can think of before it goes bad. These are quick bowls I made with ingredients I had in the fridge.

Now the recipes, which aren't really recipes, just the quinoa topped with different meats, veggies and cheeses. I found by making little changes meals because totally different and I was able to prep several for quick lunches for the week. Just assemble, put in microwave safe containers and microwave when ready to eat.  

First is a breakfast quinoa bowl but also works great for lunch.


BREAKFAST AND VEGGIE QUINOA BOWL
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
1/2 Cup sauteed broccoli and spinach
2 Tbls reduced fat feta
fried egg over easy
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes for a kick



 CARNITAS AND ZUCCHINI QUINOA BOWL
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
1/2 Cup sauteed zucchini, onion and spinach
2 Tbls reduced fat feta
1/4 cup shredded carnitas
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes for a kick



CARNITAS AND ZUCCHINI QUINOA BOWL
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
1/2 Cup sauteed spinach
1/2 chopped avocado
1/4 cup shredded carnitas
2 Tbls homemade queso
salt, pepper and fresh salsa



CARNITAS AND BEETS QUINOA BOWL
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
1/2 Cup sauteed spinach
1/2 Cup roasted beet slices
1/4 cup shredded carnitas
2 Tbls reduced fat feta
salt and pepper to taste



GREEK GYRO QUINOA BOWL
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
1/2 Cup sauteed spinach
1/4 Cup chopped tomatoes
sliced globe onion
2 Tbls tzaziki sauce (I used Trader Joe's prepared sauce)
2 slices cooked gyro meat (again, Trader Joe's to the rescue)
salt and pepper to taste



BUFFALO CHICKEN QUINOA BOWL
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
1/2 sliced avocado
sliced green onion, white and green parts
1/2 cup buffalo chicken (I pan simmered cooked chicken in Frank's Red Hot Sauce for about 5 minutes)
2 Tbls "dump ranch" (recipe here)
salt and pepper to taste


There are SO many more ways to change up the quinoa and I'd love to hear from you on what your favorites are. Or even your favorite ways to eat quinoa? For more instant post inspiration check out my pinterest board: Instant Pot Recipes.

Mar 26, 2018

Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette

About this time of year I get a lot of questions about what my favorite salad dressings are so I'll be sharing some I like over the next couple of weeks.


Today I'm sharing my favorite balsamic vinaigrette recipe. It's quick, easy and my go-to for nearly any salad.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons canola oil, or avocado oil
1 tablespoon spicy mustard (I like Jack Daniel's no.7)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs, I like basil, oregano and chives (if using dry, use about 1-2 teaspoons)
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste 

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake to mix. Drizzle of you favorite salad or pizza. Trust me, it's really good on pizza. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Nov 22, 2017

easy creamy deviled eggs

***UPDATED POST FROM PREVIOUS POST ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 2011***


deggs5


Every time I share that I'm making deviled eggs in Instagram, I always get requests for the recipe so here it is again. I originally posted this several years back but wanted to make a few changes since I've tweaked it a little over the years. You can still see the original post here.

One thing that hasn't changed it the fact that it's still my favorite deviled egg recipe and it's the only one I use. I originally used Martha Stewart's recipe but have adapted it to make it fitting to my personal tastes.
What you'll need:
12 eggs
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon  Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Dijon mustard (it really makes all the difference)
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 green onions - minced, green and white parts used
1/2 Claussen Kosher dill pickle spear - seeds removed then minced (again, this makes all the difference)
1/4 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce (I prefer it to Tabasco)
fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
paprika



Here's where I break into song about how much I love my Instant Pot. Perfectly easy to peel hard boiled eggs in 15 minutes? Yes, Please! Maybe I won't break into song but I do love my IP.

If you don't have an Instant Pot, refer to original recipe. If you do, and have never made hard boiled eggs, it's super easy. Put a steamer basket in the bottom, add 1 cup of water, place eggs on top, cover with lit (make sure the vent is sealed), set manual to 5 minutes. It takes about 5 minutes to come to pressure, 5 minutes to cook, and then I let it come down from pressure for about 5 minutes before quick-releasing the valve.

Then I take the eggs out of the Instant Pot and drop into a bowl filled with ice and water and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While the eggs are cooling, I make the filling. Combine everything else except the paprika into a mixing bowl fitted with the beater attachment for a stand mixer: mayo, mustard, vinegar, onions, pickle, hot sauce and salt and pepper.

After your eggs have cooled, take off all the shells (should be effortless thanks to the Instant Pot), slice lengthwise and put the yolks in the mixture.

Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until creamy.




Once the mixture is nice and creamy, I spoon it into a ziploc freezer bag to seal and stick it in the refrigerator to sit overnight. I like making the filling the day before because I think the flavors really come out but you could always do it the day of. No shame.

I also place the sliced eggs in the refrigerator on a covered plate. I've put the filling right in the eggs and then refrigerated it but it always seems to gather condensation and nobody likes wet eggs! So, I take the egg whites out, wipe them down with a tea towel and fill the eggs right before serving.


Here's my no-frill method to fill the whites. Take out your ziploc bag and make a small cut in one of the corners. Gently squeeze the bag and fill each egg. Simple!

I should note that I've tried regular Ziploc bags, not freezer, and have had them bust open before. So, invest in the heavy duty bag for mess-free filling.


Lastly, I like to sprinkle a little paprika over the eggs. I think it's more out of habit than flavor but it also makes them look even prettier. Not pictured here because I ran out of paprika.

And that's that! I'd love to hear your Thanksgiving dish staples! What is a must have at holiday dinners?

Sep 13, 2017

recipeforcrazy.com print closeout sale!

That's right. After several years of offering a variety of prints in my etsy shop, recipe for crazy, I am making a little change.

When I opened my shop I had three prints that I designed and offered as reproductions. I had just left my career as a graphic designer to stay home and raise my newborn baby girl. I had a lot of free time on my hands and wanted to continue pursing my love of design so I opened an etsy shop.



My shop grew. I created and offered more designs. Sales grew. My customers grew. And, my family grew!

I loved creating. I loved fulfilling orders and meeting new friends through those sales. I also liked the feeling of helping financially contribute to my family, especially since we were down to one income.

Now that I am a mom to three and just recently jumped full in on homeschooling them (I don't think I've shared that here, just on instagram, so yes, we are homeschooling this year), I feel like it's time for a change. I'll share more about other changes coming to the shop soon, but for now, I have decided to clear out my inventory for all prints. This was not an easy decision for me and one I've been wrestling with for a while. That said, I've decided to go ahead do it because I think it will be best for my family and hopefully open up some time I would have otherwise spent packing and shipping orders.

This does not mean I'm closing my shop. I will still offer postcards, greeting cards and buttons and maintain all wholesale clients and orders, but the days of being able to order a 5x7 or 8x10 print and have it delivered to your mailbox, well, those days will soon be gone.

A closeout sale wouldn't be complete without a massive discount on remaining inventory so I have marked every print down to 5 dollars!

That's right, every single print. 8x10 "Coffee and Jesus", $5. 5x7 "How Big is Your Brave?" 8x10 "Linger Longer" - that's right, $5.

ALL prints are only $5 (while supplies last).

I can't do this without saying thank you to every single one of you that has supported me by purchasing prints over the years. You have made this Okie girl feel so blessed. You made some of my wildest dreams come true and I cannot say thank you enough. Really, Thank you.

Alright friends, hop on over to the shop and grab some of these deeply discounted prints before they're gone!




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!