Bonus Meal Post! Yearly meal planning part 2.5

It’s time to crank up the Chicago because today I’m all about adding some meaning to your life with some meal inspiration!

Before I go any further I should tell you that our family is a rarity. In the year of our Lord, 2017, we have no dietary restrictions. If you’re looking for a plethora of grain free, Whole 30 compliant, or paleo meals, this list probably ain’t gonna be your jam. A lot of our meals are basically meat and veggies but we’re also not afraid of a few nitrites and some bread in a can (I love you, Pillsbury). Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how inspiring this will actually be since we’re also not super adventurous and you’re not going to find exotic things here. If you know me in real life I know you’re probably wicked shocked by this. Oh, and you can’t judge my menu.  I mean, you can, but it’s not going to change the fact that we probably need more fish in our diet and it’s not happening because seafood is gross.

Some of this list is useless because I have a bunch of recipes that I got from real life recipe books and other people’s recipe cards, and I’m not on that kind of recipe-sharing level yet. Plus there are a bunch of meals that just don’t require a recipe. I will, however, link to the Pinterest keepers an the professional, well-formatted, blogs they came from.

Life hack: McCormick marinade packets forever. My fave is Garlic, Herb, and Wine, followed by Zesty Herb. There are a bunch of marinades to choose from and using them is a piece of cake. You can mix up the marinade, throw it in a bag with your chicken, and pop it in the freezer.  Or mix it up, add chicken breasts, and bake. OR, just mix up the marinade and throw it in a skillet with chicken; great on a salad. There’s Chipotle, Baja Citrus, it’s your world, go nuts!

Friday night meals:  Beef stew, baked ziti, crockpot chicken and dumplings, 3 cheese chicken penne pasta, mac ‘n cheese, chicken stew, chop suey, creamy garlic noodles, chicken bacon alfredo roll ups, lasagna, poppy seed chicken casserole, stuffed shells.

In the rotation: honey sesame chicken, cherry chipotle bbq chicken, ham steak, beef tips, pork tenderloin with pan sauce, sweet and sour chicken, ritz chicken, pot roast, spicy garlic chicken, apricot chicken, Mongolian beef, creamy tortellini soup, pulled pork (throw a tenderloin in the crockpot for 4 hours on high, shred it, throw some bbq sauce on it, done.), stir fry (Pinterest inspiration abounds on this one), copy cat Chick-Fil-A nuggets, teriyaki chicken, spaghetti, tacos, fajitas (I use an easy marinade of lime juice, chili powder, and ground cumin. Throw chicken in a skillet with bell peppers and onion, easy peasy.), loaded baked potatoes, pizza, hamburgers, steak, kabobs, hot dogs, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and you can also get fancy with a cheap panini press and make paninis.

Most of the time we have leftovers for lunch but some easy lunches are: English muffin pizzas, chicken Caesar salad (I get a rotisserie chicken and use the white meat on salad and dark meat on:), quesadillas! Just chop up the dark meat and throw it on a tortilla with cheese and either bbq sauce, or the taco bell chipotle sauce my husband loves. These quick and fresh from the farm pizza rolls, Annie’s mac n cheese (or Kraft, which I really love but has unpleasant side effects on others in our family….), ham and cheese sliders, and these delicious ham/cheese/apple butter sandwiches.  Detour: we made apple butter for wedding favors and discovered this recipe when looking for ways to use all the leftovers. So delicious. Also don’t be intimidated by apple butter- just peel and chop up a bunch of apples and cook them in the crockpot for like 12 hours. Throw it in a blender to make it smooth. Soooooo yummy. SQUIRREL!

So anyway, that’s basically it. And the recipes I linked to? You guys, I would not lead you astray. Some are super easy, some seem a little labor intensive, but all are delicious and the ones my husband asks for all the time. That’s how you know they’re winners, am I right?

Yearly Meal Planning Part Deux

Welcome back to this week’s installment of Yearly Meal Planning! …I say that like I actually have a plan for getting this out on the blog in a timely manner. I could say I wanted to give you all plenty of time to make your meal list, but really I’ve got a lot of wheels turning and the blog wasn’t squeaking loudest. Anyway, here we are back in action!

Alright, we’ve got a lot of questions to address and I’ll try to answer them without overwhelming you with an insane amount of information. Just know that I’m actually implementing this process from now until the end of the year and so far it’s going just as well as I hoped! I’m working out the kinks and am getting a handle on how things go so that I’ll be able to say it’s worth it come January. Or maybe January will come and I’ll say “screw it, ignore everything I said”, but I don’t think that will be the case.

So here’s the basic theory: By planning meals out, you’ll know how much of something you need way in advance, and in turn be able to stock up on exactly what you need when things go on sale. No guessing, no having to buy more at full price because you miscalculated, and therefore stretching your food budget. I’ll be giving more real life examples of this as we go and also talk about how we’ll shop, but we’ve got a few hurdles to jump before we get there!

I do want to address questions about food boredom and things like “wait, am I really going to know exactly what I’m eating on September 17th??” Young Jedi, forgetting you are. (Aaaaand I’ve just become the cheesy blogger who makes Star Wars references when in actuality Return of the Jedi is the only one I’ve ever watched completely. Face palm.) Listen- this is planning for the disorganized! A meal plan is just a plan, not CPR protocol (spoken like a true Type B, right?). There is always a TON of room for flexibility. For example, I plugged in a meal for just about every day of the year, but there are definitely going to be times we’ll have takeout, or order a pizza, or maybe even *gasp* go on a dinner date. Please, Lord, let it be so.

We’ve also cut out a lot of food boredom just by making a meal list. When I finished my rough schedule done for 2018, I realized we’re having mac ‘n cheese three times. That’s it! I was shocked when things I feel like I make all. the. time. were actually in the rotation just 5 times for the entire year.

Of course, there’s also plenty of room for trying new recipes. If you’re just keeping your head above water and making sure there’s something edible in the house, chances are you don’t have the time or mental energy to try something new. Or instead of checking out Pinterest for a quick recipe, an hour later you find yourself either a. still scrolling through Pinterest or b. hanging a wine rack in your bathroom for towel storage. If you DO have the time and energy, it means another trip to the store for ingredients you most likely don’t have. But wait! When your planning is all done in advance, you don’t have to sit down, scour flyers, and figure out a whole new meal plan for each week, and you’ll actually have more time to incorporate new things. And because you’ve stocked up on meats, chances are you already have the chicken you need in the freezer and instead of using it on Ritz chicken, you’re just using it on something new.

Now the fun part! By now you should have read Part One and you’ve got a calendar handy as well as your meal list. Here’s what we’re gonna do next:

Think about your general life schedule and routine. Maybe you’re home during the day but your evenings are busy and your family is pulled in different directions between sports/meetings/Wednesday night church/whatever. Maybe it works better for you to cook a big lunch and have leftovers for dinner while everyone tends to fend for themselves. This works well for us during the winter when most nights, my husband is at basketball practices or coaching games. Maybe you have a night of the week where you’ve got a set schedule. I’ve got a friend who always has dinner with her parents on Friday nights (no, her name isn’t Lorelai ;)) so if that were me, I’d just fill in “mom’s house” on all the Friday nights on my calendar. For our family, we’re usually at my parents’ house on Sundays after church, so that’s a meal I don’t plan. Maybe you get Chinese every Saturday night, you do you! Just write it down.

A few more specifics on our family that may help you in your planning: Tuesday nights we have small group at our house and we each take turns making the meal for each other. So on Tuesdays, I just wrote “small group” on the calendar and circled one time a month where I plan to cook for the group. Looking further ahead, my husband is a basketball coach and we also have his schedule for the upcoming season, so I filled in the nights he has games and those are nights the nights I get to go rogue and eat things he doesn’t like (like grilled cheese and tomato soup. My fave meal of all time, and he hates it. I don’t even know.) I just don’t have a specific meal for those nights.  You can do the same for the long term if you already have a vacation planned or whatever. And as far as holidays go I just noted them on the calendar, we don’t have to get crazy and plan Christmas dinner right now.

Okay, so now you might have a few nights each month taken care of. And if you don’t, that’s okay too. I actually created some nights each month with easy meals. Once a month (every first Thursday of the month, if you are wondering) we’re doing loaded baked potatoes. The next Thursday of the month we’re doing pizza. You can choose to do something more regularly if you want- like Taco Tuesday, or maybe every Wednesday night is spaghetti night. I don’t recommend doing both of those things because then you’ll definitely experience food boredom, but you definitely need to give yourself an easy night where you don’t have to expend a ton of mental energy on dinner. Somebody I am married to isn’t crazy about tacos (I KNOW.), so I’m alternating tacos and fajitas once a month (to clarify: in January we’re having tacos once, in February it’s fajitas once, March back to tacos, and so forth). On Sunday nights, we’re alternating either French toast or pancakes because I refuse to cook anything other than that come Sunday night.

Now let’s talk WEEKENDS! I looked at my list of meals and chose a bunch that could easily become freezer meals and are generally casserole-ish type foods or made in large quantities. This way, I can pop something in the oven on a Friday night and we’ll have leftovers on hand throughout the weekend. Our weekends are hectic and we may end up ordering something or having dinner with friends, but we’ll at least have a back up that doesn’t involve me cooking. I had 12 or 13 different meals, like homemade mac ‘n cheese, chicken bacon alfredo roll-ups, or beef stew etc., so I went through the entire calendar and plugged them in on Friday nights. During the warm summer months (basically June July August here) I went through and plugged in either steak, burgers, or hot dogs on Fridays. A lot of the time we’re at the lake on weekends and those are things we can easily bring with us and grill up at camp. I also have a ton of regular meals that can easily be grilled in the summer instead of baked so I’m not anticipating it will be a huge change in summer vs winter cooking. Now maybe this will look different for you. Maybe you’d prefer to pop a casserole in the oven on Monday nights when you need to be out the door for book club, or maybe you are generally home on the weekends and want to do make your own pizzas with your family (bless you). The theme here, if you haven’t noticed, is saving mental energy by having a general plan that works for you.

SO, finally, when alllllll of those things were filled in, I only had 2 or 3 nights a week left to make a plan for. And I had about 20 meals leftover on the list (I’m planning to do a separate post with all my meals if you need inspiration, and for the visual people it will help show you what my calendar looks like). I varied my list of meals and arranged it so we weren’t having a pork dish three times in a row, or having all the Asian inspired dishes for two weeks straight, and then I just went down the list and plugged them into all the empty dates.

PHEW. Doing all the calendar work feels like a huge process, because IT IS. It’s hard to quantify how much time this will take you, because I did it over the course of several days whenever I had a few minutes to ignore my other responsibilities sit down and think/get things filled in. My preference would be to fire up a chick flick on Netflix (or if you TRULY want to follow my process, just binge watch Making a Murderer) after everyone’s in bed. The less interruptions the better, because once you get on a roll it’s so hard to stop and come back to later!

So that’s it for now! Remember, we’re still going to talk about what this actually looks life when put into practice in the midst of a hectic life, how to plan out our grocery shopping, and how to shop week to week. So definitely ask me about anything you need clarified but know we’ll still be getting to all of those unanswered questions!

Meal planning by the year….what on earth?

First of all, I know. Does this not sound like the craziest thing on earth? To answer that rhetorical question, yes. Yes it does. So why am I doing this to myself? Stick with me for a minute.

You might be sitting here thinking “I don’t have the mental capacity for that. I’ve had cheerios every single day for breakfast for the past 17 years and I still don’t even know what I’m going to eat for breakfast tomorrow.” Or you’re thinking “I’m WAY too busy to plan that far ahead. I have no choice but to wing it.” OR “meal planning is for organized people and I am SO not organized.”

Well stop right there, partner, because those are ALL the things I’ve thought. And still think. So why the heck am I doing this?? Allow me…

  1. I really want to BE a little more organized. And I want to help you. I can’t tell you the amount of pins I have on my “Organize Yourself” Pinterest board. I have saved every free home-binder/calendar/cleaning printable from sea to shining sea, yet I feel like none of them have or will ever work for me. They are made for the people who already remember to order their 2018 day planners sometime before March of 2018. (And thank you, Jesus, for these people because *spoiler alert* if you want to do this with me, you’ll need to print out a 2018 calendar, and they are already abounding on Pinterest. Bless her heart, one blogger said she was “late” in finishing up her 2018 printables. I love her.) No matter where you are on the Type A to Type B spectrum, I want this to be something ANYONE can do.
  1. I want to see if it will actually save money. I mean, I know it will, but up until this point I’ve had to trust the good word of the couponers and the people who seem to know grocery store sale cycles better than the phases of the moon.
  2. Logistics, really. I’m expecting a third baby in February and it’s just not desirable to up and haul three kids to the store 3 times a week because I didn’t plan ahead.
  3. Because I’m busy with the wrong things. I love to cook for my family and I want to enjoy it. I want to free up mental space to do other things with my family. I want to pop a freezer meal in the oven on a Friday night instead of digging through the fridge for whatever I can scrounge together.

Okay lady, you don’t have to justify your crazy to me, I just want to know how you’re gonna do this.

FINE. Today you get step 1. And a bonus step 2.

First, make a list of everything you know how to cook. Every meal you make. From fancy family favorites to just-add-water pancakes. Hot dogs count. So does a box of mac n cheese. So does chicken Caesar salad. So does your Aunt Susan’s famous beef stew. Write down the latest new recipe you tried, loved, and want to keep in the rotation. Don’t just write down breakfast for dinner, write down French toast. Write down sausage and hashbrowns. Write down bacon and pancakes. BOOM. See that? Breakfast for dinner just became three different meals.

When we talk about feeding ourselves I feel like the most common complaint is that we feel stuck in a rut and like we’re always making the same things. I guarantee writing down alllll of your meals will  allow you to breathe a little sigh of relief and see that even though it feels like you’re making spaghetti twice a week, you actually have 30 other meals in your arsenal and with a little bit of planning, you don’t have to make it more than once a month! (Unless you want to ;))

That’s all the homework I have for you today. If you want, print out a 2018 calendar like the one here, or search Pinterest for something you like. (This is for a rough draft and doesn’t have to be fancy so I suggest something simple that won’t waste ink. You can even just print out a calendar template from Microsoft Word and call it good.) We’ll be talking about next steps over the next couple weeks so be on the look out for the next post in this series, or I think there’s a way to subscribe and have it sent to your inbox!

I completed a Whole 30 and I didn’t die.

And that is the only positive thing I can say about it. Just kidding, I did lose a solid ten pounds, and I do plan to do one again in September. (It will take me all of August to get hype for it.) If you speak to me about any health issues whatsoever, I’m now going to be that annoying person who says “you should do a whole 30!” because if I can do it, literally ANYBODY can do it. The list of vegetables I like is about 5. Not joking- carrots, cukes, potatoes, lettuce, asparagus, and I’ve forced myself to get used to bell peppers, so that’s about 5 and a half. If you already like cauliflower and spaghetti squash, the w30 will be a walk in the park. And if you don’t discover exactly what it is that ails you, at the very least you will sleep better than a formula fed baby who’s not cutting teeth. You will have actual dreams. Before the whole30 I don’t remember the last time I slept deeply enough to dream about something. I would do it again just for the sleep.

Since I decided to start a whole30 basically on a whim, I’ve been thinking a lot about things I would do differently that would have made it a little easier.

1: Start searching for whole30 meals on pinterest and incorporate them into your regular eating now. Get a few recipes under your belt that you know well how to prepare and that you and/or your whole family enjoys (or tolerates). One of the most annoying things was trying to figure out a brand new recipe when everyone is cranky and hungry. The hubs commented (several times) that it seemed to just take me forever to cook. It was always when I was trying out a new dish- prep time was easily doubled. Start getting good at cooking up those weird dishes and sauces now, or figure out which of your go-to meals are compliant (or how to make them that way). Your future hangry self will appreciate it.

2. Also annoying: being at the grocery store every two seconds and also spending one billion dollars on food. If you run a very tight food budget my best advice is to start stocking up on pantry items a few weeks in advance. You may not need everything on this pantry list , but some staples are almond and coconut flour, arrowroot starch, coconut aminos and cans of coconut milk, oils and vinegars. It will majorly suck if you have to buy all of these things on Whole 30 Day 1, so grab some items here and there. If you follow tip #1, you’ll already be incorporating some whole30 meals into your budget by knowing how much meats and produce to plan for, and by picking up one or two pantry items each week, you won’t see a major jump in your grocery spending.

3. I would not have wasted time and ingredients on 5 minute ketchup. Seriously. There’s a great bbq sauce recipe out there but nothing will come close to the beautiful bottle of tomato-flavored high fructose corn syrup you know and love. Even the recipes that say “best homemade ketchup ever!!!!! Can’t taste the difference!!” No. These were written BY health nuts FOR health nuts. Unless you’re an existing health nut, just leave it alone.

So anyway, September. You should join me. The summer parties and happenings and campfire s’mores and holidays are basically non-existent in September, and it’s (hopefully) still warm enough to just throw things on the grill. Who’s in!?

Whole 30- Home Stretch!

This is dayyyy….somewhere in the 20’s. 24 I think. This coming Sunday is FINALLY the last day. According to “The Timeline” days 16 through whatever are the days you’re supposed to feel “tiger blood.” I don’t really notice feeling any different other than maybe more energy, but it’s hard to gauge since the amount of sleep I get varies so much. Day 21 is supposed to be the day you feel like “I am SO over this.” Now that’s a day I can relate to, I would say its more like days 4-30 however. 6 more days to go…

Subject change! I was planning to share a little “recipe round-up” of my go-to’s, but I decided to focus today one on of my favorites. It was introduced to me by the same friend who loaned me a cook book, found coconut aminos for me, and made a ton of beef jerky for me. After you read the following observations, return to this paragraph and note that this friend made this for a group of TWELVE. The first time I made it was for a crowd of ONE, and I would rather have gnawed my own arm off if not for the fact that I’ll need it to shovel all the gluten in my mouth in a few days.

Okay so what is this recipe? Paleo Chinese Sesame Chicken. I am fairly certain that I could have written this recipe in about 12 less steps, but once you figure them all out, it’s freaking delicious. Here are my recipe notes:

  1. Prep time: The recipe says 15 minutes. This is a joke. It *might* only take 15 minutes if you are Michelle Tam (an expert paleo chef), but if you are an average person who has kids or pets, you need to add about 6 hours to the prep time. I mean seriously, I just made this for the 3rd time and it still took me an hour.
  2. Preparing the sauce: “Add 8 pitted dates to a sauce pan with half a cup of water and cook over medium heat until they are soft. Peel and discard skin.” STOP. Stop right there. It’s important to note here that dates are basically just so gross. They look like something an animal digested and left as a gift in the forest. However, they are pretty much the only thing you can use to sweeten dishes or condiments, so you tolerate them. Now, “peel and discard the skin”. This, THIS, is the step that will have you re-evaluating all of your life choices. I guess I’d classify it as a necessary step, but to just throw it casually in the “prepare the sauce” step? This is 100% a task all of its own and you will hate it. It just might be the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done.
  3. So many steps…just put all the sauce ingredients in a ninja blender thing and let her fly. When you’re ready to get the sauce to simmering, add the rest of the water and you’re done.
  4. Cooking the chicken: When a recipe says “don’t overcrowd the frying pan, cook chicken in small batches”; you say “challenge accepted.” My recommendation? You cook those suckers in one batch or you get a bigger frying pan. Your prep time ate up all your cook time so its this or eat it raw.
  5. Eat it all. You can try to save some for leftovers but you won’t be able to. I wouldn’t share a recipe that isn’t good enough to eat when you’re NOT doing a whole 30, and it’s so good with real actual rice. (whole 30 hasn’t made me like or want to try cauliflower yet, for the record.)

6 more days to sweet sweet freedom.

Whole 30 Halftime Report!

Guys. I can’t even with my life right now. Whole 30 is the least annoying thing about it. My glasses broke and are currently taped together on my face. I’m wearing them right now because I’m on my last pair of contacts and I’m sure it’s only a matter of seconds before one of them rips. My daughter did a number on my laptop and it went from the letter “e” not working to NONE of the keys working. This happened about 4 days ago, but I knew y’all needed an update so I put on my big girl panties and hopped on my husband’s laptop. It has windows 8. Enough said right? Kill me. I love you forever, Macbook. My kids have also been up til 9 o’clock like 4 out of 7 days this past week, and today they napped for about 30 minutes total. They are pyschos and I’m preparing for the worst night of sleep ever. Anyway, enough verbal diarrhea about my life and onto the whole 30, bullet point style.

  1. Speaking of diarrhea…..  I can’t bring myself to type anything else about it, but there’s a story to be told about it, just take my word for it.
  2. Whole 30 is all about the “non-scale victories”. For example, “are you feeling more energized? less irritable?” Well, no. Me cutting sugar from my diet didn’t actually make my toddler stop whining 24/7 so yeah, I’m still pretty irritable. I prefer scale victories and yes, I’m losing weight.
  3. I sat through an entire bowling party (which could be a blog post in itself) complete with pizza, beer battered french fries, and my sweet husband asking if anything on the menu was compliant. I’m pretty sure the menu ITSELF was deep-fried before our server brought it to us. Bless it. Anyway- I stayed strong that whole night and didn’t eat a thing, yet I STILL have to stop myself from mindlessly eating a goldfish cracker after giving my kids a snack. I am ultra paranoid that I’ve accidentally ate a wheat thin somewhere along the way and have to start over.
  4. Paranoia, you say? Let me tell you about my dreams. According to the whole 30 timeline, days 12-15 involve lots of dreams about food. This is supposed to be “your brain driving you back to the comfort foods you used to know.” I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with the fact that you’re thinking ONLY about food all day long every single day. I bet it’s purely coincidence.  The first week my dreams involved prepping compliant food non-stop. It was annoying because hello, if I can’t have doritos in real life, at least let me dream about them for cryin’ out loud. But no, I’ve had two dreams since then about eating non-compliant food and both involved me thinking “how on earth did this ritz cracker even get in my mouth?? I don’t want to start over again!” and I’ve woken up paranoid that it was real life.
  5. Somebody somewhere says “you can have all the junk food you want when your whole 30 is over, but we bet you’ll be feeling soooo good you won’t want to!” No. The reason people keep going for a few more days is because they spent their life savings on a diamond encrusted bottle of coconut aminos and they’re not about to let it go to waste. Here is how coconut aminos works: you cash in your 401k to buy a bottle, you use half of it in a recipe that calls for some sort of sauce reduction, you simmer said sauce for 20 minutes and watch your money vaporize. For the price of a bottle of coconut aminos I could feed my family spaghetti for like two weeks straight. It’s absurd.

But I’m over HALFWAY DONE!!! I have 14 days left. And I’m already planning my reintroduction menu. Holla.

Whole 30 -24 days I think.

SUNSHINE!!! Finallyyyy. Holy smokes. I have a LOT to recap over the past couple days. I say a LOT because I know you have all been waiting on edge for me to disclose everything I’ve eaten and not eaten the past two days.

First I need to make an apology for something I said. I openly mocked the preparation stage before starting the W30 and I made a comment about going to the Himalayas for my salt. I bought some pink Himalayan salt on one of my 4,000 trips to the grocery store last weekend to use while making this slow cooker kalua pork by Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo. WELL, as I prepped my pork roast and salted the pig, I realized the recipe called for HAWAIIAN Sea Salt. Are you kidding me!? If I had known that, OF COURSE I would have traveled to Hawaii to get it! So here’s me eating my words. If only that word was pizza. Secondary info: I made the pork and thought it was “meh”, read the comments and realized that apparently you can mess up a 3 ingredient recipe. But you can’t rewind that 9 hours in a crock pot and add more bacon or add just half a cup of water or just use the pork tenderloin you normally do instead of some pork chunk that dries out faster.

Fast forward to Thursday and I came the closest yet to throwing in the towel and starting over today. We had a family gathering involving Pizza Hut (guilty pleasure forever), Mountain Dew (because obviously) and chips (I freakin love chips). Thankfully, I knew in advance it was either pizza or chinese so the last thing I was going to do was bring a salad with me and make myself hate my life even more. I made this glorious recipe involving copycat Chick Fil A nuggets and I baked some french fries. To make this again I’d skip the pickle juice step because it’s annoying, and I don’t eat the pickles at chick fil a anyway. But if you like it, go for it. After dinner I 100% went to the bathroom and did a silent cheer in the mirror for having self-control x infinity.

Friday- Day 7!! To be honest I’ve started to lose track a little bit of what day I’m on because I decided that counting backwards is better for my mental health. So after today I have 23 days left, and lemme tell ya, nothing is more satisfying than getting up in the morning and crossing the day before off my calendar. I had leftover nuggets for lunch and then, because it was 70 degrees out for the first time since last July it seems, we went to the park. At dinner time. I only survived because my awesome friend and neighbor made compliant beef jerky for me and I brought a banana. When we got home and the kids were in bed I made this orange chicken. I’m sure if I made it BEFORE the chick fil a copycats, I would have been wowed by it, but tonight it was just okay lol.

One final note- I survived the DMV today with both kids and an apple pie Larabar.

Week One- peace. out.

Whole 30- Days 4 and 5

How am I not on day 7? This is the longest 5 days of my life, and I don’t even think it’s because I’m thinking about food 24/7- this weather is just draaaaagging me down. For the past three days I’ve been having to remind myself that I’m not even done a full week yet.

But anyway! I took notes on my phone so I wouldn’t forget all the super important and semi-funny things I want to tell you today.

First up, I think day 4 involved leftovers for lunch and nothing that exciting. The real story is our weekly small group that meets at our house every Tuesday night. It was a friend’s birthday so we had steak (both compliant and delicious on it’s own), poutine (why is compliant cheese not a thing? I had some grilled potatoes.), and salad with Tessamae’s ranch dressing. And of course, an insanely good looking lemonade cake was served {found here – warning: if you’re on any sort of diet or “lifestyle change”, don’t even click, you will hate yourself for doing so). I must pause here and say I think it’s odd that there is a lot of concern about “eating out” on the whole30 or entertaining or eating with any sort of group. I think I need to eat EVERY meal with a group because I can tell you for certain that if I were alone, I would have shoved every last crumb of that cake in my face. I’m still thinking about it. And by “it” I of course mean the refreshing glass of water I had for dessert and not at all that cake.

Speaking of water, OH MY GOSH I can’t wait to stop peeing every two seconds! It’s not so much the going every two seconds as much as the worrying I’m about to pee my pants every two seconds. And if you don’t know that feeling, you are probably just too young to be needing a whole30 anyway. Stop mocking us and go have a piece of pizza.

On to Day 5! According to the timeline, yesterday and today were “Kill All The Things” days. But I gotta say, I really don’t feel I’ve been that irritable. I mean, not any more irritable than usual…… and definitely not as cranky as day 2. Lunch involved those leftover potatoes and this balsamic grilled chicken. Now again, I gotta stop here. The author of this recipe “likes to grind the… [seasonings]… together with a mortar and pestle.” I did not know that was a thing. This is 2017 and I thought a mortar and pestle was just a movie prop for apothecaries. For the record, the hubs thought the chicken was good without getting that fancy (because we are normal), and I also had said chicken for dinner with some asparagus (while the rest of the fam had McDonald’s- since when do I have self control?). I’m trying not to get annoyed with eating a lot of the same stuff because a. Everything new is a million hours of prep work so I’ll eat anything already cooked and b. I figure I’d have no problem eating pizza for 12 days straight, so it’s not like eating the same meal twice in a row is the real issue here.

Sidebar: I just had to get up from my comfy spot on the couch where I’m writing this to go pee. It’s ridiculous.

Tomorrow I’ll share what I’ve had going in the crockpot all day today, but before I go, I wanted to share with you a little tip for getting through an afternoon food craving.

Just throw on some teeth whitening trays and you’ve got a solid 30 minutes where you can’t eat! Bonus: you’ll too busy drooling buckets to really want to eat anyway.

Day 5, we out.

Whole 30: Day 4,765

Spoiler alert: it’s really only day 3.

Yesterday was good. Pretty much every Sunday after church, we head to my parent’s house for lunch, and this lunch usually involves spaghetti, garlic bread, and everything that’s dead to me for 27 more days. So I brought along some leftovers but was pumped when we grilled burgers. I had a super exciting burger without a bun, watermelon, and some potatoes.

Today, I’m winning. I had to go to the grocery store AGAIN today, and I felt like a failure when I had to buy an “emergency” larabar (or 5) to get me through lunch time- and it’s only day three. However, I now have this chicken going in the crockpot, and I plan to save all the bones and junk to make a broth- even though I just spent about $24 on sugar free broth the other day but whatevs.

I have also clarified butter. Listen, don’t search the earth for ghee. Just throw some butter in a pot, melt it really slowly, and the white stuff will sink to the bottom. Carefully pour the yellow stuff into a container and you’re done.

Currently, I have ketchup simmering on the stove. This was the only recipe I could find that didn’t involve planting your own tomatoes last spring and prepping dates for 72 hours. If it’s as good as the reviews say it is, it’ll be a game changer and open up a world of recipes.

Oh, and a teeny detail. I’ve technically already failed this whole30 because I weighed myself. But ya know what? I’m not eating anything delicious that I love for 30 days so I’ll weigh myself if I want to. I mean, my primary motivation is to lose weight, and that’s basically the one reason they say you SHOULDN’T do it to begin with. Sooo…. #rulebender

If you ever want to do your own Whole 30, it’s good to familiarize yourself with this timeline. According to today, I should still be feeling hungover, but I’m pretty sure I’m feeling either a. all of the days at once or b. I’ve sped through them and can now eat like this for infinity (no I can’t).

Day 1- was terrible and I could barely keep my eyes open by 7:30PM.

Day 2- I was kind of foggy during the day and I snapped at my husband for about 14 hours straight. I thought a lot about all the foods I couldn’t have and gave equal thought to throwing in the towel. I tried to think about all the way harder things people have done and the way worse things people have to eat and that maybe I should turn my food cravings into a spiritual craving and all kinds of righteous thoughts, but then I ate dinner and it turns out I was just hangry.

Day 3- I feel neither snappy nor super hungry. I actually woke up and didn’t have breakfast until I’d been awake for a couple hours. I expect to have tiger blood from here on out.

Until next time….