Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grilled Pork Chops and Zucchini Ribbons

 The summer gardening season is upon us, and if your garden is anything like my family's, then you are already up to your ears in zucchini and squash! Eating healthy is so much easier in the summer when you have fresh veggies coming in from the garden....if you know how to cook them in a healthy way. I won't lie, I couldn't say no to a few (or more) bites of fried squash for supper the other night, but too many cheat meals over the weekend have me desperate to get it back together. So, this meal idea was simple, delicious and a great way to use fresh zucchini in a way that doesn't involve covering it in flour and deep frying it :)
The protein of my meal came from thin cut, bone-in pork chops. These are such an easy go-to protein that I use for breakfast, lunch and dinner alike. Since they aren't super thick they cook quickly and are ready for me to eat with not much wasted prep/cooking time. All I did was trim off the fat and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub. This is one of my absolute favorite seasonings for meat, and makes things so simple. No need to make up my own spice rub, Pampered Chef has already done it for me!

Place the seasoned chops into a heated Grill Pan sprayed with just a spritz of olive oil from the Kitchen Spritzer. Now, when I say heated, I mean realllll heated. I've found that it works a ton better if you let it get super warm. So just turn the eye on medium, put the dry pan on the heat and let it warm as you prep your meat.

Then, put a greased Grill Press down over the chops. The press squishes out all the fat and puts those yummy grill marks on the meat. It just makes them totally delicious, like you grilled them outside but without the whole playing with fire part (or the inability to get a fire to even light, which is my grilling problem).

As a side to my pork chops I made zucchini ribbons. It was so simple, so fresh, and so tasty! All I did was put my zucchini into the Spiral and Slice, and toss that into a hot skillet with a touch of olive oil, clove of garlic pushed through the Garlic Press, and some lemon zest grated with the Microplane Zester. Then just a squeeze of the lemon juice on top and you're done! Let it cook down a bit and then enjoy your amazingly healthy side dish!!

Finished pork chops!
iPhone photography for the win, again....Ugh. I disappoint myself

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eggplant Lasagna

I know, I know - just hear me out on this one. But Kelli, you say, how in the name of all that is holy can you make paleo/whole30 compliant lasagna? No cheese? No noodles? What's even left?! The good stuff, that's what!
Now don't get me wrong, I love regular ol' lasagna. I love it with ooey, gooey cheese on top, cottage cheese layers throughout with yummy noodles holding it all together. Just the thought makes me drool a little. And then the drool running down my ten chins shocks me back into reality, and back to yesterday when I decided for the first time this summer to lay out. Burned into my poor little brain is the sight of my reflection in the mirror....before it shattered into a million pieces while screaming, "no! NOOOO! Make it go away!!" So, no more cheese or bread for this beached whale for the foreseeable future.
But I still have to eat food. I know, because I've tried it a million times over and over again, that starving myself doesn't work...unless I am really, really dedicated to it and live by myself and don't have any food or really any money to buy it. I'm not that lucky (?) anymore, plus this whole getting-old lack of metabolism  business is really getting to me. So I know there is really only one way to work toward getting back to a healthy, happy size, and that's the old-fashioned way. The hard way. The way that really, really sucks because it's not a quick fix. It's a lifestyle change. I have to commit to eating clean and working out, every dang day. Even as I think about it I sigh aloud and silently curse those lucky people who are naturally skinny and never workout or diet, and also those who are just as lucky to be perfectly content with their bodies exactly how they are. I hate you. Ok, not really. Just a little. So I run my fat legs off every day, and I eat good food. And I cross my fingers and pray that I'll start noticing change soon.  
All that ranting brings me to this new recipe. It's completely clean, so low fat that there is barely enough to count, and most importantly, it's genuinely delicious! I found it originally through a Pinterest link to Cave Food Kitchen but modified it quite extensively. You can check out their post, though, for a way to mix it up if you'd like.  
The quality of these pictures is crap. I know this. iPhone photography for the win. Not.  
So, as to be expected, when I decided to make this recipe it was ten minutes before I wanted to start making dinner and I had to run to the grocery at the last minute. I had everything I needed other than eggplants, and assumed they would have a couple at Wal-Mart. Wrong assumption. They had one. Just. One.  And it was a little rough, but my mind was set on making this so I bought the one lone squishy eggplant. Oh, the joys of small town life. (I only used one for this recipe, but two would have been best.)

Please ignore the condition of my poor eggplant. It still tasted good, I promise.

The recipe called for one centimeter thick slices of eggplant, and I was like hold up- this is America, you know we don't do the metric system here. And then I figured out that the blogger lives in Amsterdam. Which is in no way important to this recipe but it was at that moment. My grasp of centimeters is about as good as my grasp of why you should stay focused on one thing and not have to research where people are from before you just make their dang recipe, so I was a little lost. But then Pampered Chef saved the day! Every time I cook I use my Flexible Cutting Mats. To me, they are so much easier to use than heavy cutting boards and much easier to store. Plus, they have measurements right on the mat! The top has inches and the bottom has centimeters. How convenient, right?!

 I sliced the eggplant, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and olive oil and then put it into the oven on a baking sheet. It was yet again another moment when I wished I had ordered the Large Sheet Pan to add to my collection of small and medium sizes because things got a little cramped.

The eggplant had to bake for 20 minutes total (ten on each side) so while it was going in the over I got started on the rest of the recipe. My next task was to mix up seasoning for the ground turkey.

Now, if you haven't ever used ground turkey you are missing out, big time! It is a little more pricey than ground beef (and I don't think we even have ground pork at Wal-Mart) but it is so much lighter and leaner. And if you get the 100% white meat kind, it's 99% fat free! You can't beat that. (Well, unless it was 100% fat free....) The thing with ground turkey is that you have to season it heavily because it isn't as flavorful as beef or pork.

The original recipe called for their blend of Sausage Seasoning but I genius-ly read only half the recipe while pushing my little cart through the Wal-Marts. So I improvised and kind of just made up my own blend. I added oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, chili flakes, and sage. To get it all mixed up and blended together, I used my handy dandy Mix N' Chop and it was the PERFECT size to go in my Small Bamboo Bowl as a sort of make-shift mortar and pestle.

How do I not realize how terrible these pics are when I take them??
It's a lot of seasoning. A LOT. I was a little afraid that I had over seasoned it at first. But I just took my Mix N' Chop and mixed and chopped the seasoning into the turkey until it went from pink to white and beginning to brown. Then, to avoid washing ten million dishes, I dumped the cooked meat out onto a plate and re-used the skillet for the sauce.

Yes, those are eggs. In pasta sauce.
Ok, so this is where things got a little weird. The recipe called for you to make a pasta-sauce type tomato mixture (I just used my trusty Victoria sauce that I talk about in the zucchini linguini recipe). And into that mixture, they said, I should add eggs. Four whole eggs. I know. I was as confused as you surely are. Eggs? Into red pasta sauce? Surely not. This lady from Amsterdam has been smoking too much. But, I figured, she said the recipe was really good so why not try it. My trust was a little low, though, so I only used 2 eggs instead of four, and I was happy with that decision. I also added a cup of mushrooms, mostly to supplement my lack of eggplant.

The eggs do something kind of magical to the sauce. They almost scrambled, and gave the illusion of a cottage-cheese type filling. It was really quite tasty and gave it great texture.

Next up was putting the lasagna together. I really was not feeling up to baking this for another 30 minutes in the oven, so I pulled out my trusty Rockcrok. If you've ever been to one of my Pampered Chef parties or seen me set up at a Festival or Expo, you've likely heard me preach about the Rockcrok. It is such an awesome product- so versatile and easy to use. You can use it in the oven. Under the broiler. On the stovetop. In the microwave. Y'all, you can even use it on the grill, and then throw it in the dishwasher when you're done. Bake a cake in it (if you're not on a whole30) in the microwave in FOUR MINUTES. A whole cake, baked in four minutes. Seriously, it's amazing. The only downfall is that it is a little pricey, but that's why you should have a party and get it for half-price! So instead of 30 minutes in the oven, I covered it with the lid and put it in the microwave. For ten minutes. And it was perfect, in twenty minutes less than if I had made it the normal way in the oven in a conventional pan! You've got to ask me about how you can get your own Rockcrok!!

I spritzed the pan lightly with olive oil using the Kitchen Spritzer and then added a layer of eggplant, then turkey, then sauce, and then repeated it all.

Ten minutes in the microwave later, lasagna was done! It was even approved by my non-whole30/paleo parents....they added a sprinkle of cheese to the top of theirs, but I enjoyed mine thoroughly without!

Apparently I dreamed that I took a picture of it once it was sliced and on my plate....I guess I was too busy eating it! And I did eat it- that night for dinner, the next morning for breakfast, and then again for lunch!!!
Eggplant Lasagna
Serves 6 | Prep 15 min | Cook 30 min | Whole30/Paleo compliant

1 eggplant
1 1/4 lbs of ground turkey
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
3 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp sage
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2  eggs
salt & pepper
olive oil for cooking
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.
2. Slice the eggplants length-wise into 1 cm thick slices. Spray some olive oil on them and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake them on both sides, 10 mins each side. When done, set aside.
3.While the eggplant is baking, mix up the seasoning blend of oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, chili flakes, and sage. Add to a skillet with the ground turkey and mix well. Cook until browned. Set aside.
4. In the same pan, add in the marinara sauce and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to get tender. Add in the eggs and stir well. Take off the heat.
5. Layer the bottom of a Rockcrok with eggplant, then a layer of meat and then sauce. Repeat until it's all fished, ending with a layer of sauce.
6. Cook, covered, in the microwave 10 minutes.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The BEST summer recipe. Seriously.

If I had to pick one go-to dinner recipe that I love more and more every time I try it, it would have to be zucchini pasta with marinara. I have been making it for months now, trying to find the perfect way to make the zucchini less-veggie and more pasta-y. My first attempts involved the box grater, and trying to make lasagna-noodle like strips, which failed. Miserably. Then I went back to using a knife, trying to cut it into strips. This was also a fail, one that meant nearly losing more than one of my digits. But, it was the best I could do so I continued, finger and blood loss be danged. I needed "pasta" and I was going to make it work. And It did work, but my noodles were far from uniform, meaning they cooked at different times which left some crunchier and some soggier. But I was getting my pasta fix in a Whole30 compliant way.
Then, I got the magical Pampered Chef tool that is the Spiral and Slice. It made adorable, long spiral slices of zucchini (and apples and onions and carrots and potatoes). It really worked great, but wasn't exactly as noodle-like as I was looking for. So I ordered a Julienne Peeler and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for.   

The Julienne Peeler works just like a veggie peeler, except for having a serrated blade that cuts the veggies into little strips, just like spaghetti noodle! Perfect, uniform "noodles" without the processed carbs, sugars, salt and bad stuff! Just natural, healthy veggies! Are you seeing how this can change your life yet??

If you've got some time, it really works best to wrap the zucchini noodles in a paper towel for a few minutes to soak up some of the excess moisture, but usually ain't nobody got time for that, and I just skip it. It makes the finished dish a little soupier, but I'm ok with that.
The process is really simple- just julienne your zucchini (you could use yellow squash, too) until you get to the seeds. If you want, you can peel it to make it look even less veggie-like but I don't mind the green strips, plus it adds in extra vitamins and all that good stuff.

Heat a skillet to medium, add just a spritz of olive oil using the Kitchen Spritzer which is amazing and awesome and saves you from all those chemicals and additives that come from buying canned non-stick spray. Throw in your noodles, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let cook.

I let my noodles cook until they are tender, but you can leave them a little crunchy if that's more your style.

Then, I add in the sauce. If you're feeling adventurous and want to make your own marinara, go for it! It really is simple and just takes about 20 minutes. I used this recipe here. I originally made my own marinara because I was having a terrible time finding pasta sauce in the grocery that didn't have added sugar! Not a single jar at Save A Lot, not one single jar at Priceless. I was pretty much on the verge of giving up and just making my own from now on until I found the sauce pictured above at Wal-Mart. The brand is Victoria, the label says all natural. It is only real food items- tomatoes, garlic, spices-- it's just like what you'd make yourself. And the best part is that it's delicious. It costs a little more than Prego or the Wal-Mart brand, but worth it, in my opinion. Just let it cook through until it's warm and then it's time to eat!!

You can make meatballs, cook ground beef or turkey, or just add in some leftover grilled chicken (like I did in the picture below) and you've got a meal! Top it with a little basil if you're feeling fancy or want to attempt to impress your boyfriend. Though likely he will just question why you put grass on top of his pasta..... :)   

Zucchini Pasta
Serves 1 (2 if you're feeling generous)| Prep 5 min | Cook 10-12 min | Whole30/Paleo compliant
1 zucchini, julienned
Olive oil (just to coat the pan)
Marinara sauce (as much as you'd like)
Meat, if desired
1. Julienne zucchini until you reach the seeds. Lay on paper towel to soak up excess moisture.
2. Heat skillet to medium, spray to coat pan with olive oil.
3. Add zucchini to pan, cook until tender- about 10 minutes.
4. Pour on sauce and heat until warm.
5. Add meat if desired.
6. Enjoy!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Breakfast...the most difficult meal of the day

I love breakfast. If I could marry a meal, it would be to the "most important" one of the day. I dream about waffles and cinnamon rolls and biscuits and gravy......and unfortunately none of those things are even remotely healthy. So, rather than risking becoming a house-sized old maid that no one other than a plate of French toast would want to marry, I try to limit myself to eating only paleo/whole30 breakfasts. (Unless it was like last week when I was at 4-H Camp and I had to eat biscuits and gravy and French toast sticks in order to not starve to death, and in return gained five dang pounds. Grrr!!!)
So usually, this means eggs. I eat a lot of eggs. They are such an easy source of protein, and are really the quickest to prepare. No defrosting, no preheating, just throw them into boiling water or a skillet and boom, it's meal time. But, there are only so many days that I can handle eggs for breakfast. Scrambled or fried or boiled....after a certain point I'd rather just be hungry than eat one more egg.
When I get to that point, I like to treat myself with something a little different, a little sweeter, a little more similar to the breakfasts I dream about: banana pancakes.
The picture above shows the basic formula. It's pretty simple: bananas, eggs, coconut oil, and almond flour. My recipe is a slight variation of that though. And maybe I just make my pancakes a little bigger than they do, but I only get about five pancakes per batch.

I still use those base ingredients, just in different amounts and with an extra flavor boost. All you need for one serving of paleo pancakes is a banana, an egg, a tablespoon of almond flour, and a teaspoon of coconut oil to grease the pan and keep them from sticking. I also add a few shakes of cinnamon for an extra little kick of flavor.

Note: This recipe calls for almond flour. This is something that the powers that be in Wal-Martland assume we don't need here Tompkinsville, and they don't sell it here. The last time I was in Lexington, I stocked up when I went to Whole Foods. I got Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour. You can get it on Amazon if you aren't looking to make the journey to Louisville, Nashville, or Lexington soon just to buy a bag of ground up almonds. Or, you can make it yourself. It's super simple, I've done it before, and you can find a recipe here. It is a staple in my paleo/whole30 cooking, so I really recommend getting or making some because it really comes in handy as a thickener or a coating for meats.

First, mash up the banana. I suggest using an over-ripe banana for this recipe. You know, the ones too black and ugly to eat. These are the sweetest and easiest to squish up to make your perfect pancake batter. Using one that isn't at that point just doesn't make very good pancakes. Trust me, I've tried it.

The perfect tool to mash up banana (and ground beef, sausage, eggs, the list goes on and on) is the Mix 'N Chop. In these pictures I am using the pink mini Mix "N Chop that was only available in May because it's pink and adorable, but the regular size works just as well too. It's perfect to get the banana all mashed up into a paste. It's ok if it's a little chunky, though, if you want some bits of banana to add texture.

 Into the mashed banana, add the egg, almond flour, and cinnamon. Stir it up, still using the Mix 'N Chop, and then you're ready to pour into your preheated and greased pan.

This picture is terrible, but I wanted to show why the Small Batter Bowl is the ideal bowl to make pancakes in. I'm not sure that you can even see that, though, without having a seizure or your eyes crossing, thanks to my top-notch iPhone photography.) It has a pouring spout which makes is ridiculously easy to pour the batter into the skillet. I recommend making small, silver dollar sized pancakes, because this batter likes to be a little tricky and fall apart on you, especially if you're making big pancakes. The smaller ones are just easier to flip.

Cook the pancakes for a few minutes on the first side, until they are brown and firm enough to flip. Then cook for a few on the other side. Also, try not to eat all the pancakes as soon as you get them out of the skillet. I'll warn you: that's the hardest part of the recipe!


Scoop them out of the pan with the Mini Nylon Serving Spatula (it won't scratch the non-stick coating off of your pans!) and eat them up!! You can thank me later :)

And maybe this isn't even necessary to say, but yes, you should skip the syrup. You don't need it and won't even miss it.

Banana Pancakes
Serves 1 (2 if you're feeling generous)| Prep 2 min | Cook 8 min | Paleo compliant
1 ripe banana
1 large egg
1 tbsp almond flour
Cinnamon, a few shakes to your liking
1 tsp coconut oil
1. First, mash up the banana.
2. Mix in the egg, cinnamon and almond flour, stirring until well blended.
3. Heat skillet to medium and coat with coconut oil.
4. Pour in batter. Cook the pancakes for a few minutes on the first side, until they are brown and firm enough to flip. Then cook for a few on the other side.
5. Try to wait until they are cool enough to eat without melting your mouth, but I'm telling you, that's gonna be tricky! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bacon-Jalapeno Burger Balls with Dill Relish AND Sweet Potato Fries

I made this meal for dinner on the third night of my second Whole30 and the 30th night of boyfriend's first Whole30! (I'm so very proud of him for finishing and losing a gazillion pounds, and I'm extremely thankful that he eats weird, healthy stuff with me. He's just the best <3 ) I found the burger ball recipe on Facebook - which can also be a great resource for Whole30/Paleo recipes and motivation- on the Nom Nom Paleo page, which she found on The Clothes Make the Girl's website. The sweet potato fries are a recipe from the From Pasta to Paleo blog. The fries have become one of my favorite things to make- spicy and sweet, filling and just absolutely delicious. This was the first time I'd tried the burger balls, but let me tell you, they are going into regular rotation after last night...and this morning, when I ate the leftovers for breakfast! They were so good- moist, satisfying, and a perfect meal alongside the relish and sweet potato fries.  

The Pampered Chef Microplane® Adjustable Coarse Grater worked perfectly for grating the onions so that they just melted into the hamburger. So much better than big onion chunks like I get when I chop them by hand. The green Color Coated Utility Knife gets daily use in my kitchen, too! It's super sharp and easy to handle.

I hate using my hands to mix up hamburger, and the Mix 'N Chop (or in this picture, the pink Mini Mix 'N Chop) was just the right tool to keep my hands clean and incorporate all the seasonings into the meat. 

The Medium Scoop made the perfect sized meatballs, and once again, helped keep my hands from being coated with raw meat! This scoop is also my secret weapon for measuring out a uniform batch of cupcakes.  

This little baby right here is my new favorite Pampered Chef item- The Kitchen Spritzer takes olive oil (and I use natural cold pressed extra virgin olive oil) and turns it into spray form, minus all the preservatives and chemicals that come from using the spray can oil you buy in the store!  My sweet potato fries are in the background on the Medium Sheet Pan which cooked them perfectly! 

Blurry iPhone results picture! This really doesn't do it justice. Also, side note: I can't wait til I live in my own home where I can eat food on my pretty dishes.
Bacon-Jalapeño Burger Balls w/ Dill Relish
Serves 2-4 | Prep 10 min | Chill 20 min | Cook 25 min | Paleo/Whole30 compliant
4 strips sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon
1 tablespoon grated onion (about 1/4 medium onion, or two medium sized green onions)
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 pound ground beef - as lean as you can find.
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Relish:1/4 cup minced dill pickle
1/4 cup minced raw tomato
1/4 cup minced raw onion
NOTE: Why cream of tartar and baking soda? Traditional ground meat recipes are usually tenderized with breadcrumbs. Use a cream of tartar/baking soda combo to keep the meat light and juicy, with a nice, crisp exterior. I don't understand the science of it, but it works.

Directions:1. Preheat the oven to 425F and cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch wide pieces. Place the chopped bacon in a large, cold skillet, turn the heat to medium-high, and fry the bacon until it’s crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour most of the grease out of the skillet, leaving enough to coat the pan, and place it back on the heat.
2. Add the onion and jalapeño to the pan and sauté until the jalapeño is soft, 2-3 minutes. Set the pan aside until the veg are cool to the touch.
3. In a large bowl, place the ground beef, salt, pepper, paprika, bacon, and the vegetables from the skillet. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the water with cream of tartar and baking soda. Pour into the bowl with the meat and mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate at least 10 minutes and up to overnight. Meanwhile…
5. Make the relish. Mix all the minced ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
6. Remove the meat dough from the fridge. Scoop out a round of meat and then gently flatten it a little bit so it’s almost like a mini burger patty (that will make it easy to top with relish later). Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
8. Serve immediately, topped with a little relish.
Sweet Potato Fries
Paleo/ Whole30 Compliant / Serves 2-4
3 sweet potatoes, cut in half and then lengthwise into thick fries
2 tbsp olive oil, a drizzle
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne (add more or less depending on desired heat level)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp fresh rosemary or thyme (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Combine sweet potatoes, spices, herbs and olive oil in a bowl. Place on rimmed baking sheet – do not overlap fries, use two sheets if necessary.
3, Cook in heated oven for about 25-30 minutes – carefully flipping each fry halfway through cooking time.
4. Once out of the oven, season with salt and a sprinkle of fresh herbs – if you used them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Now the Pampered part of this Paleo

The "pampered" part of this blog doesn't come from me being fancy or spoiled or anything like that--trust me, I'm not eating my eggs with spinach and sugar-free pasta sauce breakfast with my feet on a pillow and someone fanning me with a palm frond. Though, come to think of it, that doesn't sound too bad at all :) No, it actually refers to my Pampered Chef business and how that ties in so closely to my healthy eating habits (and admittedly some of my not-so-healthy guilty pleasures!) I became a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant in February. Let me tell you my Pampered Chef Story:

After moving back home and finally accepting the fact that I was basically an unemployed bum, I started thinking of ways that I could make money. I was looking for a real job, and eventually found  part time job that I am very happy with as Youth Coordinator for a Drug Free Communities grant that I started in January. I really wanted an additional source of income though. I started substitute teaching, and that was great, but not a very reliable source still because I never knew when they would call or how many times a week. So I kept looking.

In the back of my mind, I had this reoccurring thought. I loved cooking and I especially loved cooking with Pampered Chef products. They were just better than what you could get elsewhere- plus more fun and pretty, which of course matters when it comes to making dinner ;) There were multiple instances where I almost sent a Facebook message to one of my friends who is a consultant and asked her about it- I got so far as opening a new message and almost sending it a couple of times. I didn't though- I think I was kind of scared, kind of nervous, kind of unsure. So I did what I (incorrectly) do in those situations: Nothing.

Then, one day out of the blue I saw that I had received a message from the friend who sold Pampered Chef. I opened it up and she had asked me if I would be interested in becoming a consultant! I strongly believe that God puts things and people in your life for a reason, and I feel 100% that this was him telling me not to be afraid and put it off anymore, that this was something I was supposed to do. I jumped in head first and I have loved every second of it since then!

One think I have continuously heard Pampered Chef ladies say is that this business has been and continues to be such a blessing to their families, and I am no exception. I don't have a family of my own yet, but hopefully soon (;) ) and I wanted to be able to contribute as much as I can to my future household. My goal that I set in the beginning of my business is to make enough in commission and sales to make an extra car payment each month, and I have met that goal every month thus far. Plus, I have earned a ton of free and discounted products, met so many fabulous ladies, and had such a fun time with hosts at cooking shows. It truly is a blessing to me, one I know without a doubt that God put into my life at the perfect time.

So throughout this blog, I plan to feature paleo/Whole30 recipes that are made using Pampered Chef products. If you are interested in purchasing any of these products for yourself, I'll include links to them on the Pampered Chef website on each recipe. You can also browse and order products directly from my website at If you see a ton of products that you must have (and I dare you not to!) then consider hosting a show! You can do a catalog order or a cooking show at your home, and you can get free and discounted products just for having me over to cook for your friends and family. Or, if you are looking for extra income on your own schedule and an opportunity to meet new people all while having a great time, ask me how you can become a consultant! It really was one of the best decisions I've made, and it just might be for you, too! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Who is Paleo and what's this Whole30 he's talking about?

Paleo. It's one of those super-cool buzzwords that flooding Pinterest and Instagram. I've done quite a bit of research on it, read the bible of Paleo books and generally tried to learn everything I can about it. Basically, as I said in my first post, Paleo (pronounced pay-lee-o) is a way of eating that involves lots of veggies and protein, fruits and nuts, and eliminates processed foods, sugars, grains, legumes and dairy, leaving you to eat in a style similar to how the cavemen would have eaten, hence the name paleo- short for Paleolithic.

A pictorial explanation of Paleo
Isn't this guide to Paleo just adorable?!

 I really liked the Paleo diet, and as I would search for recipes, I kept coming across the term "Whole30 and eventually I looked into that. I bought the book written by the creators of the Whole30, called "It Starts With Food." I 100% recommend reading the book- it is amazingly eye opening and incredibly interesting. Their website, is also fantastic. You could easily do the diet by just reading the resources on the website. They have everything from shopping lists, to recipes, to what I found to be the most helpful- a day by day timeline that outlined how the Whole30 typically affects people. It was so good to be able to cross off the hard days and see that the "tiger blood" days were coming. Seriously, check out the website even if you're just considering the Challenge.

The Whole30 Challenge is basically a 30-day no cheat Paleo diet. You use it to really get to know your body and how it reacts to food. I decided to take the challenge, and loved it. I felt better than I ever had, with more energy, better sleep, and overall better feeling. Here are the rules as taken from the Whole30 website:

The Whole30 Program Rules

Yes: Eat real food.
Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.

No: Avoid for 30 days.
More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits (chips and fries) and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best to leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold, and fingerling potatoes off your plate.
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • No Paleo-ifying baked goods, desserts, or junk foods. Trying to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold will ruin your program faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” This means no desserts or junk food made with “approved” ingredients—no banana-egg pancakes, almond-flour muffins, flourless brownies, or coconut milk ice cream.
One last and final rule: You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program. This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30. (We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, however, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)
The Fine Print
These foods are exceptions to the rule, and are allowed during your Whole30.
  • Clarified Butter or Ghee. Clarified butter or ghee is the only source of dairy allowed during your Whole30. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter could impact the results of your program. Refer to our Butter Manifesto for more details on the milk proteins found in butter, purchasing high quality butter, and how to clarify it yourself.
  • Fruit juice as a sweetener. Some products will use orange or apple juice as a sweetener. We have to draw the line somewhere, so we’re okay with a small amount of fruit juice as an added ingredient during your Whole30… but this doesn’t mean a cup of fruit juice is a healthy choice! Refer to your Shopping Guide for clarification.
  • Certain legumes. We’re fine with green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you.
  • Vinegar. Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice, are allowed during your Whole30 program. The only exceptions are vinegars with added sugar, or malt vinegar, which generally contains gluten.

It's a simple premise: You eat a fist sized serving of protein for each meal, and then fill the rest of your plate with veggies. You can add in fruit and nuts sparingly, but you have to be sure to get in healthy fats with each meal- avocado, coconut oil, extra vigin olive oil, etc. When you step from Paleo to Whole30 though, you have to leave behind the sweeteners- real and artificial. Yes, that means no Diet Cokes, no Splenda, not even honey. But you'll be ok without it. Better, actually. I promise.

One thing you may see from the Whole30 list that may cause concern is all the grass fed, organic and pastured meats that it calls for. Your selection at the Tompkinsville Wal-Mart is scarce. Ghee? Don't even bother looking for it. Almond Flour? If you ask for it, you're just going to get laughed at. So you have to adapt. I find my way around this by looking for the best meats I can find (not from Wal-Mart either. Try Save A Lot, their selection of meat is so much better). If I have to go out of town I try to go to Whole Foods or a store like that and stock up on some things. Really, though, my best advise is do what you can. For me to complete the challenge I had to overlook the grass fed/organic/pastured stuff. I felt like if that was my only "cheat" then I was ok with that. But it's really up to you.  

I finished my first Whole30 and lost 14 pounds. But, as life tends to do, it got crazy and I got off track. Badly. So I started again on Memorial Day. This time, I'm only doing it for 15 days and then slowly reintroducing restricted food groups, like the book says you are supposed to do. That way you can see how each type of food affects your body.

So, hopefully this helps you to understand the diets a little bit more. Check out Pinterest for more Paleo info, or the Whole30 website for more info on it. There is a wealth of info out there if you just look!