Jan 31, 2017
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
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
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.
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)
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
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)
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
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
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
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.
- 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
Jan 16, 2017
Well, we survived week 2 of Whole30. For me, this week was much more difficult than WEEK 1. I think maybe the lack of daily vanilla latte (all that sugar) may have taken a toll this week. I had a couple of killer headaches and a couple of moments of bad attitudes where I just really wanted a chunk of bread and a piece of chocolate. Which is weird for me because I've always been more of a salty person that sweets person. I'm blaming my lack of lattes again.
Anyway, that said, the end of the week was much better. My energy was up, my attitude was much better and no more headaches. Oh, and my sleep has drastically improved! All good things.
So on to the food. This week was full of leftovers and trying to find tasty ways to use them.
Lunch: baked sweet potato with ground beef taco meat, salsa, cilantro, onion and "dump ranch"
Dinner: leftover lunch because it was huge but I fried an egg on top to change it up
Breakfast: 1/2 banana and handful of blueberries with a two-egg omelette topped with pan seared filet from last week's dinner & a little green onion
Lunch: shredded salad with greens, onion, carrots, radishes, 1/2 a sliced avocado and a sliced grilled chicken thigh with a lime squeeze and balsamic vinegar for dressing
Dinner: pecan crusted mahi mahi topped with pineapple salsa (fresh pineapple, cilantro, jalapeno and onion) over cauliflower rice and steamed broccoli
Breakfast: 2 soft boiled eggs, blueberries and a sliced of leftover brisket
Lunch: packed my lunch for a trip to the zoo, plantain chips, blueberries and carrots, an avocado hard boiled eggs in my favorite lunchbox from PlanetBox
Dinner: over baked hashbrowns topped with sausage and kalua pork and eggs with a little salsa, fresh broccoli and celery with almond butter (worst meal to date and my mood was in the dumps because I wanted Mexican food)
Breakfast: hard boiled egg (Instant Pot) with bananas, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries
Lunch: green leaf lettuce salad topped with strawberries, cucumber, onion, hard boiled egg and sliced natural deli chicken breast
Dinner: bunless burger wraps with green leaf lettuce, 2 sliders, tomato, onion, radishes and a fried egg with oven roasted potato fries
Breakfast: bananas, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries with pan fried leftover roasted potatoes topped with a fried egg with green onion and sprinkle of dried jalapeno powder and salt & pepper
Lunch: oven roasted potato fries, Classen pickle spear and an Applegate turkey dog topped with TJ's sauerkraut, onions and Siegi's mustard (love this lunch)
Dinner: chopped green leaf salad topped with strawberries, carrots, onions, deli chicken breast, blueberries and a hard boiled egg with "dump ranch"
Breakfast: bananas, strawberries, blackberries and tangelo wedges, sugar-free bacon and waffled TJ's hashbrowns topped with 2 poached eggs
Lunch: shredded lettuce topped with sardine salad (eww, I know but it's supposed to be super healthy and I figured it couldn't be worse than kipper snacks), carrots and TJ's plantain chips
Dinner: oven roasted spiralized sweet potatoes mixed with potato fries, topped with kalua pork (seriously, it made so much and we still have more in the freezer), guacamole, leftover pineapple salsa (from Tuesday's dinner) and a little salsa
Breakfast: leftover roasted sweet potato and potato fries topped wtih 2 fried eggs and green onion
Lunch: at my parent's, my dad made pot roast with carrots, potatoes and green beans and a side of fruit salad! All things I could eat. My dad rocks.
Dinner: small salad with carrots, cucumbers, onion, 1/2 a hard boiled egg and a little deli chicken breast with 1/2 baked sweet potato topped with kalua pork, onion and guacamole
So there's that. Whew.
- In keeping with week 1, here are some things I learned from week 2
- leftovers are time and sanity savers and even better when you can change them up
- I wish I had our chickens still because eggs, eggs and more eggs
- not being able to have something makes me want it even more - hi, I'm 5 or something
- green onions are good with just about anything
- so is cilantro
- and quite possibly dump ranch
- black coffee is working on me and I can really taste the difference between bad coffee and good coffee, my favorite coffee right now is Jamaican Blue from Sprouts. So smooth.
- watching the local grocery ads means I can find the best deal on fruits and veggies and stock up for the week making meals so much easier and affordable (hence all the strawberries, blackberries and blueberries - yay sales!)
- since I can't really snack anymore, I've noticed my coffee consumption going up, I might need to work on that in week 3 and work more water in!
- I am sleeping like a ROCK. Every night. My sleep has never been so good.
- the halfway mark feels REALLY good.
- attitude is still everything. I had a pity party about not being able to go out anymore. And not that we can't, I'm sure there are things we could order, but the main reason to do Whole30 was to keep us home more so we're killing it there - zero restaurants in 2 weeks. Whoop. But man, it sure would be nice to sit and eat chips and salsa and queso, drink a margarita and let someone else take care of the cooking and dishes! haha Trying not to focus on that.
- lastly, my workouts are better. I feel more energy to do them, better endurance and stamina. Oh, and I got a Foam Roller and it's everything. Thank you, sister, for talking me into that purchase!
Jan 9, 2017
Good morning! For those that follow me on instagram, @lesleyzellers, you probably have realized I started Whole 30 this past week. If you're not familiar with the challenge, you can learn about it here.
So why did I do it? Good question.
There are a few reasons actually. The main one was to get myself back in the kitchen. With deadlines, holidays and just the normal pace of a life with 3 kids, we started eating out way too much. That is neither good for the finances or our health. Some nights it's easier to just go out and get some food with zero meal planning, we know there will be something everyone will like and hello, no dishes to clean up. But we are getting ready to build a house and my husband and I decided this was the kick in the booty we needed to get better at meal planning, eating healthier and getting back to eating at home for every meal and what better time to start than a new year?!
I mean, we eat pretty healthy food already so I didn't think it would be SO hard. My husband and I don't drink a lot of pop, we don't eat much fried food, we don't eat a lot of sugary things but we do eat out too much, ejoy a semi-weekly donut, a glass (or 2) of wine with dinner from time to time and I LOVE me some chips, salsa and queso and ALL the cheese. And bread isn't too shabby either.
Anyway, a lot of you have asked questions regarding my experience, like are your kids doing it too, where do you find your recipes, what's that Instant Pot thing, what's in that salad?! and a whole bunch of others so I'm going to try to address them here.
For starters, my husband and I committed to doing the Whole30 challenge and wanted our kids to do it with us as much as possible without a ton of complaining. So we feed them what we eat but I also make them a side that isn't approved or give them a cookie after dinner. So basically I was not about to make 1 meal for us and a second meal for them - that's just crazy talk.
So what would a meal look like for us versus them? One night I made spaghetti squash with meat sauce and a salad with homemade red wine vinegar dressing. I made the kids actual spaghetti because none of them love squash in any variety and they got to choose their favorite dressing for their own salads. They were happy, we were happy, we all won. If we do burgers, they get buns but eat the same sides as us. Breakfast, they get oatmeal or toast with their eggs but they still get the fruit salad. Oh, and they get treats like the occasional cookie or chocolate piece and they drink milk every morning.
As for where I find my recipes, here and there. Haha. I tried doing Whole30 once before and was so consumed with finding recipes and making meals interesting that it became a burden and complete time zapper. This go around I wanted to keep it simple. Grab the veggies that were on sale at the grocery store and pick up some meats to go with it. A lot of roasted or steamed veggies because those are easy and a lot of salads because I'm a salad junkie. Oh, and the eggs. A LOT of eggs.
That said, I did find some easy recipes on pinterest and saved some to my "healthy food" and Instant Pot recipes" boards to reference this month. You can find the boards here. I do love NomNomPaleo and WholeSisters. Oh, and there is a Whole30 cookbook (The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help You Succeed with the Whole30 and Beyond) and a Paleo Instant Pot cookbook (Paleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot: 80 Incredible Gluten- and Grain-Free Recipes Made Twice as Delicious in Half the Time) that I hear have fantastic recipes but I don't have either. If we keep it up another month (yes, we've talked about it) I really want to get the Paleo Instant Pot book.
Which brings me to the Instant Pot. This is where I share my new found obsession with a kitchen appliance.
What is an Instant Pot? It's an amazing little tool I can not live without now.
It's technically an electric pressure cooker but don't let that intimidate you. I have never used a pressure cooker but love my instant pot. For me it's like a super fast crock pot but better. The model I have has a sautee function so you can brown your meat in the same pot you cook it in and it takes like 1/3 or less of the time as a crock pot. And hard boiled eggs! Well, peeling shells has never been easier! We have made beef pho (not whole30 with the noodles), clam chowder (not whole30 but the best chowder I've ever eaten), eggs, oatmeal (again, not whole30 but goodness, it's so easy and the kids LOVE it), bone broth, stew, kalua pig and I'm sure there's more I can't think of right now - and I've only had it for a couple weeks!
It really has been a game changer in our kitchen and although it isn't black Friday, you can still find the model I got on Amazon by clicking on the following link: Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W.
So what's in my salad? Instead of sharing each meal on Instagram (that's a whole lot of food pics, y'all) I am going to post them all here with the details.
I didn't take pictures but we had bacon, eggs and fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch and grilled cod filets with grilled romaine wedges for dinner.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon and fruit salad with black coffee
Lunch: Salad: chopped romaine, sliced cucumber, carrots, radishes, avocado, onion, hard boiled eggs (using the instant pot) and crumbled bacon with oil and vinegar for dressing
Dinner: Trader Joes's shrimp stir-fry with riced cauliflower and sauteed bok choy
Breakfast: hard boiled egg, 1/2 avocado and fruit with black coffee
Lunch: leftover grilled romaine, all natural beef frank with Trader Joes's sauerkraut, grilled onions, mustard and Louisiana Gold red sauce and dried jalapeno flakes from the garden
Dinner: chopped romaine salad with red onion and tomato and homemade red wine vinaigrette, spaghetti squash with meat and Trader Joe's roasted garlic sauce
Breakfast: two fried eggs and fruit salad (banana, orange, blueberries and strawberries with toasted pecans with a little pumpkin spice sprinkled on top and chia seeds) and black coffee
Lunch: chopped salad with mixed greens (including TJ's cruciferous crunch mix), radishes, onions, cucumber, natural rostisserie chicken slices and WholeSisters "dump ranch" (make that ranch, it's AMAZING)
Dinner: leftover spaghetti squash and salad
Breakfast: sauteed greens (TJ's cruciferous crunch mix again) with leftover sweet potato and onion toped with 2 fried eggs and fruit salad (same as day 4) with black coffee
Lunch: taco salad - mixed chopped greens, radishes, onions, ground beef with homemade taco seasoning, homemade guacomole and sugar free salsa, with a drizzle of "dump ranch"
Dinner: grilled steak, steamed broccoli with lemon juice and baked sweet potato (in the instant pot) with crumbled bacon and green onion
Breakfast: egg in hash brown nest (frozen hash browns from TJ's), slice of bacon and fruit salad with black coffee
Lunch: grilled chicken salad over mixed greens with radishes, onion, chopped apple, homemade guacamole, a hard boiled egg and some "dump ranch"
Dinner: Kahlua pig and cabbage (Nom Nom Paleo recipe made in the instant pot), roasted smashed potatoes with bacon and green onion
Breakfast: "leftover scramble" - pretty much all leftover veggies from the week sauteed in a pan, pour beaten eggs in, cook, top with cilantro and Louisiana Gold red sauce and a fruit salad
Lunch: smoothie (I am aware Whole30ers don't encourage smoothies because you're supposed to chew your food or something but it was after church and getting late and I don't really care, we like smoothies, all whole30 ingredients went in it and we didn't eat out so shame me if you must)
Dinner: grilled burgers on lettuce topped with homemade guacamole, tomato, onion and a fried egg with zucchini noodles and a baked sweet potato with green onion
Whew. That's a lot of food.
I should also mention that I was really bad about skipping breakfast before the challenge. I'd make a latte or even worse, pick one up at Starbucks, and that would be my breakfast. I did a little investigating this week out of curiosity. Did you know there are 35 grams of sugar in a grande vanilla latte? What?! CRAZY!
So here's what I've learned in the first week:
- preparing whole30 meals doesn't have to be difficult just meat, veggies and fruit
- that said, I feel like I'm in the kitchen all day - either prepping, chopping, cooking or cleaning
- attitude is EVERYTHING - if I focus on the cheese I can't have on my salad I get grumpy, if I focus on all the fruit and delicious food I CAN have, I enjoy it more
- dairy isn't life
- nor are donuts
- but I'd like to have some cheese from time to time or a simple glazed donut with my coffee but honestly, it hasn't been as hard to not eat them as I thought it would be
- that "whole30 timeline" isn't for everyone - we never experienced the "hangover" phase, or the "want to kill all the things" phase and honestly, both my husband and I have just felt really good
- black coffee isn't SO bad. It sure beats water for breakfast
- sugar is in EVERYTHING! Who knew? Why is it in deli meat, bacon and sausage? Crazy
- Trader Joe's is my friend. Saurkraut, frozen meals, veggie mix - I'm a fan
- Louisiana Gold red sauce is my BFF. It's not the original sauce. It comes in a little bottle and I've only found it at one store but it's amazing. Great on eggs, salad, burgers and more.
- and lastly, the Instant Pot is everything.
If you're doing Whole30 I would LOVE to hear your favorite recipes, sauces or tips to beat the occasional sugar craving.
Jan 3, 2017
Yesterday I shared a little peek into an interview I did with Will Dupree of Channel 2 news (KJRH) for his Oklahoma Brand series. Many of you asked to see the whole interview so here's a link to see me in all my awkward glory: click here.
I really is such an honor to be able to share my story and I'm so thankful they thought of me! Being interviewed by the local news about my art?! So weird. And so cool.
I really is such an honor to be able to share my story and I'm so thankful they thought of me! Being interviewed by the local news about my art?! So weird. And so cool.