January Whole 30 Challenge – Week 1

Menu 30

New Year. New You.

or is it

New Year. Same You (but with a few tweaks).

My husband and I are diving into the new year and joining the Whole 30 January Challenge. If you don’t know what Whole 30 is, you can learn all about it here. Our family already focuses our meals around fresh, whole and healthy foods, as well as boxed mac and cheese some nights so the children will eat. It’s all about balance. For the next 30 days, we are cutting out: gluten, soy, sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes. After 30 days, we’ll start adding a few healthy items back.

Here are a couple of notes for our family:

  • Our family: two adults and 5 children (ages 14. 12. 9, 7, 2 1/2)
  • Wednesdays we have dinner at church. The children will go ahead and eat what is provided, but my husband and I will pack leftovers.
  • The 20th we are hosting a potluck, so I will make a Whole 30 compliant meal in the crock pot that everyone will enjoy.
  • We will make the children pasta or tortillas for some of their meals, but they will eat what we cook. Our normal rule for dinner: If you don’t like it after you try it, you can make a peanut butter sandwich, have yogurt and fruit. I do not make two meals.
  • The children will eat their normal foods for breakfast (unless we make a Whole 30 breakfast) and lunch.
  • Adult lunches will be leftovers, salads or one of the many ideas I’ve found. Breakfast will be more challenging since I normally eat yogurt every morning.
  • We set out meal plans Friday – Thursday because of our work schedules. We usually go shopping on Friday mornings.
  • Some of the recipes I will link may have one non Whole 30 ingredient, but we will substitute.

This is less diet and more intentional eating. It’s healthy choices with simple limits and good quality goods. Our results and outcomes will be different, but I’m excited to share them with you.

I’ll be posting meal plans and links to recipes here and on my Instagram account along with pictures and reviews. You can find all of my recipe ideas on my Pinterest account. I hope you will follow along and maybe even try out some new foods along the way. Scroll down for my Week 1 Menu and click on the links for recipes.

 

Week 1 Menu

Shrimp, Scallops & Cauliflower Rice

There is no recipe for this and something we normally cook. We saute the shrimp and scallops with a little avocado oil, salt and pepper. Remove shrimp and scallops and saute cauliflower rice until cooked. We will serve fresh tomatoes and avocados on the side.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Shredded Chicken

Cranberry Rosemary One Pan Chicken

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Mushrooms and Garlic

Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Orange Chicken with Fried Cauliflower Rice

 

 

Pausing for Fun, Pictures and BBQ

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We were only two hours into our nine-hour drive home. This was after an 8 1/2 hour drive the day before. We were nearing lunch time and Nashville. We would hit traffic for sure. On a whim, we decided to take a long lunch break and explore. We were going to get home late no matter how long our lunch break was. The seven of us would be stuck in the mini van together for 6 more driving hours, which translates to 8 hours.

So, I pulled out my phone (thank you technology) and looked up bar-b-que places in Nashville on Pinterest. I’m pretty sure I added kid-friendly to my search. One of the first posts I came across was for Edley’s Bar-B-Que in the 12 South neighborhood of Nashville. The restaurant had great reviews and had been featured on The Cooking Channel’s Cheap Eats show. There was also a mention about some murals that would make a great picture opp.

Twenty minutes later, we had driven through a very cute neighborhood and parked behind the restaurant. We were there about 10 minutes before opening, so we walked around to the other side and found some great spots for pictures.

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We walked in Edley’s just as they were opening for lunch and there was already a line. Ordering at the bar was fast and there was great and affordable food for the whole family. We found a large table to sit at and our food was delivered quickly. By the time our food arrived, the place was packed and there was a long line. The food was delicious (I had the brisket platter), the tea was sweet and the atmosphere was perfect for our family.

While on our little side adventure, we discovered that this little neighborhood had many other murals for pictures as well as a Draper James store, several music/drum stores and Five Daughters Bakery which has 100 layer donuts from heaven!

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Two and a half hours had quickly passed as we explored (ate) our way through the 12 South Neighborhood of Nashville. We piled back into the mini van and continued on our very long drive home.

Our lunch stop could have been a quick 30 minute fast food stop. We could have rushed through eating and bathrooms to get back on the road. But a long days drive is still long, even with a short break. So, we chose to pause, eat slowly, and have a little fun.

Where do you need to pause in your busy day to have a little fun? Can you take five minutes? Can you take 30? So often, we are focused on the finish line that we miss the joy in the middle. Don’t skip over that joy because you only see the end. Eat the bar-be-que and enjoy those 100 layers of cupcake. Take some fun pictures along the way and explore something new.

Godis Bigger

Pumpkin Month

There are many reasons why I love the fall. The colors, smells and cooler weather. (That’s saying a lot from a girl who would never leave a summer beach if given the option.) I especially love pumpkin! There is always pumpkin pie, but also muffins, pancakes, cookies, tea cake, pumpkin spice lattes and so much more. I was almost giddy when I saw the large cans of pumpkin at Costco.

I do realize that you can purchase canned pumpkin throughout the year. I usually have a couple of cans in my pantry. However, it tastes so much better in the fall. I figure I really only have two months to enjoy it; October and November. September is still summer in Virginia, and by December 1st I am ready to dive into gingerbread. Yum!

There have been a few recipes on Pinterest involving canned pumpkin and a box of cake mix. I looked at a couple and came up with my own for

Very Simple & Quick Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1 Can Pumpkin (A regular size can is usually 15 or 16.5 oz. I had a giant can, so I just measured it out. Also, use the plain canned pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix.)

1 Box of Spice Cake Mix

That’s it! I told you it was easy. Combine the pumpkin and cake mix in a bowl until combined. It will be thicker than cupcake batter. You can always add a bit of milk or water to thin it out.

This would be the time to add any mix-ins. I didn’t add anything to mine, but nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips would be good. When I bake muffins in the fall and winter, I like to add flax meal.

Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. I used cupcake liners that were left over from a birthday party, but you can also spay the pan. A box mix is supposed to make 24 cupcakes, but I was about 3 short. I like to fill my muffin tin up.

Follow the instructions on the box for baking. It’s usually 18-10 minutes at 350.

Let cool and enjoy! I topped mine with a little powdered sugar.

Keep an eye out for more posts on pumpkin (I’m going to live it up!) this fall. I’ve got some more ideas to use up all of that pumpkin.