whole30

Thai Chicken Stir Fry

 
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One of our favorite recipes is this Thai Chicken Stir Fry! It's based off of a favorite dish that includes peanuts and peanut butter, but a few simple switches make it completely paleo and Whole30 compliant! It's simple and fresh, and it's toddler approved! The dressing is so good that we will sometimes make to spice up our salads for the week or just to marinate meat. Lots of veggies, clean protein, and family friendly - that's a winner in our book! This is easy to prep in advance and reheat, and it makes a great lunch. Sometimes we make it with all spiralized veggies and only lightly sauté them before adding the chicken. This is my favorite way to make it! I

 
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DRESSING:
1 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 cup coconut aminos
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1T honey (OMIT during a Whole30)
4T sesame oil
3 drops ginger vitality oil (or 1/2 tsp ginger paste) 
5 drops lemongrass vitality oil (or about 1tsp lemongrass paste)
10 drops lime vitality oil (or a healthy squeeze of lime juice!)
1/2 cup sunflower butter or almond butter

STIR FRY:
2lb chicken breast
5-6 cups baby kale or spinach
1 onion or red onion, sliced
4 large carrots, cut into small pieces
3 bell peppers, cut into small, pieces
1 package or about 10oz organic broccoli
A few large handfuls of spinach, or chopped bok choy
1/2 cup cashews for topping
3 large zucchini, spiraled (or a mix of zucchini, sweet potato even beets! OR rice noodles if not strict paleo/whole30)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Make dressing: Pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor EXCEPT nut butter. Use about 1/4of the mixture to marinate the chicken and refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes. Add the nut butter to the dressing in the food processor; pulse, then taste and adjust as desired. Set aside. 

3. Bake the marinated chicken for 15-20 minutes. While it is cooking, make your vegetable base.

4. Add some oil to a pan, then cook sliced onions for a few minutes, until translucent. Add carrots  and cook covered for about 10 minutes. Add in bell pepper + broccoli and cook until crisp tender. When the chicken is cooked through, slice it and add it to the pan with the vegetables. Add the sauce, stir well, then add the spinach or bok choy and cook for just a few minutes for the greens to slightly wilt. 

5. While the flavors are all mixing in the stir fry, spiralize your 'noodle' base.

6. Add zoodles to a bowl, top with the stir fry and garnish with a lime wedge and some cashews! 

 
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Homemade Taco + Chili Seasoning

For whatever reason the idea of making my own seasoning mixes used to really overwhelm me, but it is one of those things I wish I had done sooner!! We've been making our own seasoning mixes for about the last ten years, and it is so easy, plus it makes life so much simpler! We typically buy our individual spices from Thrive Market since we can get organic ones at a great price.  

Our taco + chili mix is probably our most used spice mix! It tastes great, is quick to make, and saves us money all while making sure we aren't ingesting added sugars or other unnecessary ingredients!

 
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TACO + CHILI SEASON MIX:
4T of chili powder
6T garlic powder
4T onion powder 
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4T dried oregano
3T paprika
6T ground cumin
2T sea salt
1T black pepper

Mix well in a medium size bowl, then transfer to an air tight glass jar! When ready to use, I add 1-2T per pound of meat/vegetables. *Note: this makes a large jar. You can make it a little spicier with more chili powder or red pepper flakes if you want! 

A Whole30 Pantry

 
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Interrupting all of our holiday festivities to bring you some exciting news! Every year we jump in on the January Whole30 challenge, and this year I am super excited to be leading a group through it! Meal plans, tips + tricks, recipes, what to expect +  how to handle it. Changing our diet literally changed our lives (no more headaches!), so sharing that with other people + helping empower them to take charge of their health is literally the best job ever.

If you're thinking of doing the January Whole30 or another health challenge, here are a few things to get you started! Stock your pantry now so that you have everything you need for a successful New Year! (Anyone else LOVE the freshness of the new year, making goals, etc? I might like it a little...) Reading food labels is your first step when it comes to pantry staples, but since they can seem like greek sometimes, here are some of our Whole30 complaint favorites.

 
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SAUCES + DRESSINGS:
+ Coconut Aminos: use this as a soy sauce substitute! Stir fry, BBQ chicken, etc. to add a salty umami flavor to a dish
+ Red Boat Fish Sauce: we use this in Asian inspired dishes!
+ Primal Kitchen or Tessames salad dressings
+ Avocado Oil Mayo: we mostly make our own but love this one in a pinch! The chipotle lime is amazing too! 

OILS + VINEGAR:
+ Avocado oil: for cooking, dressings, making homemade mayo
+ Good quality Olive Oil: for cooking, dressings, etc. 
+ Coconut oil: for all. the. things. but especially cooking eggs! 
+ Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (with 'the mother'!): for dressings, cooking and literally SO GOOD for your health! We do a shot of ACV + apple juice + cassia oil + cayenne +/- turmeric daily for health + wellness! 

NUTS + SEEDS:
+ Almond butter: for snacks, cooking, basically a replacement for peanut butter
+ Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds: for snacking, adding to salads

OTHER STAPLES:
+ Canned coconut milk: this is a must! Coconut milk yogurt, our favorite coconut curry, even in your coffee! 
+ Kettle & Fire Bone Broth: for cooking or drinking (amazing when you have a cold!)
+ Organic crushed (or diced) tomatoes, tomato paste, marinara sauce
+ Nutpods: we usually drink black coffee, but this is a great alternative! 
+ Peppermint tea: this isn't totally necessary, but sometimes I love a good mug of tea, especially when we are limiting or eliminating coffee! 

SPICES:
+ Organic oregano, paprika, cumin, garlic, onion powder, chili powder, Italian seasoning, thyme, Himalayan salt or Real Salt for anything but great for making your own spice mixes (taco + chili, etc). If we ever don't have dried herbs we just use a drop (or a few!) of essential oils! 

In general look for items that are free of wheat, soy, added sugar, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, dairy, hydrogenated oils like corn, soy and canola. We don't have access to a Whole Foods or other health food store, so we order these from Thrive Market and save both time and money! (Think Whole Foods meets Costco!)

Are you joining us for the January Whole30?? Make sure to follow along on Instagram for recipes, day to day insight and our favorite tips + tricks!

Instantpot Coconut Milk Greek Yogurt

One of the things I have been wanting to do is to find a good substitute for yogurt in my diet. Even grass-fed dairy often leaves me feeling congested and inflamed, so coconut milk is a staple for me. The almond and coconut milk based products at the store are laden with fillers, thickeners and usually a lot of sugar, so I'm really excited to have found a simple and delicious option for dairy-free yogurt! All you need are a few pantry staples and an Instant Pot, aka my favorite appliance. 

Recipe adapted from Danielle Walker's Diary Free Yogurt Recipe.
You will need:
+ 2 cans organic coconut cream or coconut milk*
+ 50,000 IU probiotic (I use 3 Life9 probiotic capsules)
+ 2T grass-fed gelatin (required to thicken)
+ 2T raw organic honey
+ 3-4 half pint jars and lids
*Using coconut milk will result is a thinner consistency. Still delicious, just not as thick as using coconut cream. 

How-to:
1. Pour the coconut cream into your Instant Pot liner, press "Yogurt", then "Adjust". This will bring it to a boil. I have to do this step twice to get the coconut milk/cream hot eough. When the readout switches to "Yogurt", remove the liner and turn off the Instant Pot.
2. Let the coconut cream cool until the temperature drops to below 110F. Once the coconut milk is the right temperature, whisk in the honey and the probiotic a little at a time until the mixture is smooth.
3. Press the "Yogurt" button and adjust the time to 8 hours. You can process longer for a tangier yogurt taste if you wish.
4. After the 8 hours have passed, whisk in the gelatin while the coconut cream is still warm. Add a little at a time to prevent clumping.
5. Pour the yogurt into the jars leaving room for any desired toppings. Put on the lid and refrigerate for 4-6 hours so that the yogurt will set to a thick geek style yogurt.
6. Mix well and add fresh fruit, a drizzle of raw honey or your favorite granola before serving. You can also use this as a substitute in recipes that call for sour cream or dairy-based yogurts! Store in the fridge and keep for up to 2 weeks, although mine never makes it that long. #delicious

We love to top ours with organic blueberries, a drop of cinnamon bark oil and/or some Einkorn granola. You could easily keep it Whole30 compliant with just some fresh fruit. (The honey in the recipe gets used up by the bacteria so technically this recipe has no added sugar.) This is a great grab and go breakfast or snack since it's super portable, pretty low carb but high fat (good, plant-based fat!) so it keeps you going strong! Just don't forget to pack your spoon!

Adorable tee via  Citizen Beach Apparel . See more on  Instagram !

Adorable tee via Citizen Beach Apparel. See more on Instagram!

Recipe Roundup

I am always on the look out for new recipes, so I wanted to share some new favorites with you.

http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2015/07/10/potato-pesto-breakfast-skillet/

This Potato Pesto Breakfast Skillet would be a great way to start the weekend.

http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2014/01/big-comfy-sweet-potato/

These Big Comfy Sweet Potatoes would be easy to make ahead for lunches or quick dinners. 

http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2012/04/meatless-mondays-with-martha-stewart-earth-bowls-2/

We are focusing on eating as many vegetables as possible, and I love these Earth Bowls! We would make them with organic garlic quinoa. 

http://goop.com/recipes/chicken-and-zucchini-noodle-pho/

This Chicken + Zucchini Noodle Pho looks amazing! I had a delicious pho when we were traveling in Colorado and have been craving it ever since!

September Wellness 02: Go Green

Another thing we are focusing on this month is increasing our vegetable intake! We already eat more vegetables than your average American family, but it is easy to get in a rut or to skip them all together when life gets hectic.

Since saying 'eat more vegetables' isn't measurable or specific, our goal is to have three vegetables at each meal. Yes, each meal, including breakfast. If that seems too overwhelming to you or your current breakfast is a bowl of cereal, let's just start with incorporating one vegetable into each meal. Here is what that typically looks like for us:

This recipe  sounds amazing with simple, but delicious flavors. Just substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash!

This recipe sounds amazing with simple, but delicious flavors. Just substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash!

+ Breakfast: roasted broccoli, zucchini, and kale egg scramble with backyard eggs (organic, free-range and unpasteurized! Hooray for owning chickens!) OR roasted chicken and vegetable soup OR a breakfast salad of mixed greens, green onions, and roasted veggies topped with a fried egg or other protein. 
+ Lunch: a big salad with organic greens, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted broccoli + cauliflower, avocado slices + protein with a homemade dressing or guacamole
+ Dinner: paleo chili with zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant over cauliflower 'rice' OR grilled tuna steaks with roasted brussels sprouts, mashed parsnips and raw coleslaw. This is the easiest meal to incorporate vegetables. 

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Insider tips:
+ Wash, cut and roast a variety of vegetables on the weekend to have during the week. Think cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, okra, eggplant, rainbow carrots, beets, anything you like! Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic and roast. Hardier vegetables like butternut squash and potatoes will take a little longer compared to things like broccoli and okra. 
+ On days when we have smoothies either between meals or as a meal replacement we take a MultiGreens supplement or open the capsules and add them to our smoothies. You can find out more about the company behind our supplements here, and stay tuned for more info on supplements later this week!
+ You can find tips for creating a whole foods pantry and refrigerator here as well as our whole-foods-on-a-budget favorites from Trader Joes and Aldi here and here
+ You can find some of our favorite recipes here and complete month-long meal plans here.

Easy + Delicious Freezer Meals

I talk a lot about meal planing and preparation since I really believe that it is vital to maintaining healthy diet. Life is busy and hectic, and most days there just isn't enough time to pull together a whole-food, nutrient-dense meal from scratch. And while planning and prep are the norm for us, but there are still some weeks that end up crazy and hectic. That's why we have a freezer and pantry stocked with things that will quickly transform into a meal. (More on that later.) 

I typically freeze pre-cooked foods like ground beef or chili, but I recently decided to try a few freezer crockpot meals. So easy! I had a small window of time while my son was napping, and I threw together three meals as well as some marinated meats to freeze. Here are a few recipes to get you started:

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Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry:
1.5lb chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup or so Coconut Secret Teryaki sauce
3 or so garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 package frozen onions OR 1 small onion, diced
1 package frozen carrots + broccoli

Place chicken in a freezer bag, then add sauce and toss to coat. Top with vegetables (except broccoli!) and lay flat to freeze. To cook, place in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours OR thaw overnight and sautee in a large pan. Add in the broccoli for the last 30 minutes of the slow cooker to keep all the nutrient. Crack in an egg to scramble for an authentic stir-fry! Add about 1/4 cup or so of extra sauce during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Serve with zoodles or cauli-rice.


Slow-cooker Sausage + Peppers + Onions:
1 12oz package of sausage, sliced (read ingredients!)
1 small can organic diced tomatoes 
2 garlic cloves, diced (you can use more if you use a different flavor sausage)
1 bag frozen onions + peppers
OR
1 small onion + 2 small bell peppers (your choice of color)

Place all ingredients in a ziplock bag and freeze flat. Write on the bag: Cook on low for 6+ hours. The exact time will depend on your slow cooker and whether your sausage was pre-cooked. I used TJ garlic chicken sausage  that was pre-cooked, so I plan to either put this in the slow cooker on low for about 4 hours or to just sauté together in a pan. Serve with sautéed greens or broccoli and cauli-rice or zoodles!


Maple-Dijon Pork Chops:
1lb thin-sliced pastured pork chops
2tsp organic dijon mustard
1/8-1/4 cup organic maple syrup (to taste, we like less)
21 Season Salute (or other all-purpose seasoning)
s+p

Mix all ingredients together in a freezer bag and freeze flat. Cook in a slow-cooker on low for 4-6 hours depending on the thickness of your pork. 

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Chicken + Vegetable Curry:
1-1&1/2lb organic chicken, diced
1 bag vegetables, your choice! (onion, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, snow peas)
1/2 small bell pepper (any color)
2 tsp curry powder
3 cloves garlic, smashed
s+p to taste
Optional: fresh spinach, slightly wilted
1 can organic coconut milk

Mix together in a freezer bag and freeze flat. Add about 1/2-1 cup organic chicken stock to a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Add coconut milk during the last hour of cooking, and add wilted spinach during the last 15 minutes. Top with chopped cashews, green onions, and serve over zoodles or cauli-rice.

Easy + Delicious Chicken Salad

One of our favorite, simple go-to recipes is homemade chicken salad. While the store-bought stuff is laden with industrial seed oils and preservatives, this quick and easy recipe is full of nutritious benefits - lean protein, good fats, and plenty of flavor.

Easy Chicken Salad:
1 - 1&1/2lb shredded chicken*
1/4 cup primal kitchen mayo
1T organic dijon mustard
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
4 drops lemon essential oil

Mix chicken with mayo and dijon, then add essential oil and spices. Mix well. Add more or less mayo or dijon to your personal taste. We prefer more mayo and less dijon, but do whatever you like best! Other optional add-ins: sliced almonds, diced apples or dried cranberries, smashed avocado, shredded spinach. 

This recipe is also a toddler favorite, especially when I mix in a little extra avocado and maybe a tiny bit of diced apple or a couple diced green grapes. 

*I cook about 1.5lb of chicken in our slow cooker to make this even easier! I season it with a little olive oil and Trader Joe's 21 Season Salute (or other all-purpose seasoning) and cook on low of 5 hours. After the chicken is cooked, shred with a fork and allow to cool. 

Summer Paleo Chili

Paleo chili is a staple in our home, regardless of the season. It's one of our stand by dishes that we always have ingredients to prepare, so it is great for those insanely busy weeks when time just slips away. I like to keep two pounds of cooked ground beef in our freezer to make the chili prep even simpler and easy to transition to a slow cooker if needed. 

Summer Paleo Chili:
2lb grass-fed  ground beef
1 small yellow or visalia onion (or frozen onions)
1 bell pepper, any color (or 1 package frozen bell peppers)
2-3 summer squash, yellow or zucchini, diced
1/2 a package organic grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 28-oz can organic crushed tomatoes
Splash Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 tsp organic dijon mustard 
Optional: splash wortschershire sauce (contains molasses, not strict paleo)
Olive oil
Homemade chili seasoning + s/p/garlic to taste

Place onions and olive oil in a dutch oven and cook until slightly opaque. Add in ground beef and cook until no longer pink (if using raw meat) or until thawed (if using pre-cooked and frozen meat). Add in squash, fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, and seasoning and cook, covered for about 30-45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add water or broth if you desire a thinner consistency. Add apple cider vinegar, dijon and wortschershire, if using, and cook for another 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. We like to leave ours on low for about 45 minutes to really let the flavors meld together.

Serve with raw shredded cheese, raw sour cream, and/or avocado, depending on your preferences. If we really want to kick up our heels, we serve this with gluten-free corn bread. 

Nutrition Tips 04 / 'Emergency Food'

If it is a Sunday, you can most likely find my husband and me in our kitchen preparing food for the week. Most weeks we are really on top of it and make more than enough to feel us until the weekend, but sometimes life happens, we get busy, we work extra shifts, or we just decide to spend a beautifully sunny day outdoors. These times we turn to our 'emergency' foods that will either get us by in a pinch or serve as the base of a tasty recipe. This doesn't always result in the best meal of the week, but it keeps us from caving into takeout or a gluten-free pizza that will leave us feeling horrible later that evening. 

Here are our tips and tricks for always having something healthy in the fridge and avoiding quick and easy fast food:

+ Roasted sweet potatoes: every week we roast an entire bag of sweet potatoes. This is quite possibly the easiest thing you can do. Just wash them, place them on a baking sheet, and bake for about 60 minutes on 375. The time will obviously depend on the size of the potatoes. Then, reheat throughout the week as needed for meals. If you have some left at the end of the week, mash them into your eggs or make twice baked sweet potatoes for breakfast! 

+ Roasted vegetables: an assortment of roasted vegetables can serve as a side dish, a snack or an addition to soups and stews. We usually wash and chop a mix of butternut squash, onions, tricolor carrots, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower, then drizzle with olive oil and roast on 375 for about 20 minutes, maybe longer depending on the size of the veggies. Just cook them until they are soft. 

+ Crockpot shredded chicken (or other protein): we cook about 1&1/2lb chicken breast in our slow cooker every week to use for salads, making chicken salad, or to add to other dishes throughout the week. It's so simple:
Place the chicken (fresh or frozen) in the slow cooker, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with Trader Joe's 21 Season Salute (or other all-purpose seasoning blend). Cook on low for 4-6 hours depending on the thickness of your chicken. Shred or dice once it is cooked, and use as needed!

+ Whole roasted (or slow-cooker) chicken: this is an incredibly versatile and simple item to cook when you are low on time. We typically cook ours in a slow cooker with this seasoning blend, pull off the meat, then add an onion + a splash of apple cider vinegar to the remains and make homemade chicken stock. We use the meat for salads, chicken salad, a last-minute dinner, or our favorite soup

+ Hard-boiled eggs: these are another incredibly versatile addition to your weekly meal plan - everything from a last-minute, out-the-door breakfast, to snacks, to a salad topping. Again, if you have some left over at the end of the week, dice up with fresh tomatoes, avocado and bacon for a weekend breakfast or add to a salad!

+ Miscellaneous chopped vegetables: For us this is typically onions, zucchini and squash, sometimes bell peppers. This can be sautéed in ghee or coconut oil + coconut aminos for a quick side, added to eggs for veggies scrambles, or placed in a pot with protein + homemade stock + fresh herbs for a quick soup.

And all those things combined bring you:
+ 'Emergency breakfast': hard boiled eggs + a side of fruit + avocado slices + roasted vegetables or sweet potato
+ 'Emergency Dinner': shredded or pulled chicken + a sweet potato or roasted vegetables + avocado slices + our favorite mayonnaise (or you can make your own).
+ Roasted chicken and vegetable soup, one of our go-to simple recipes that can be thrown together in minutes!