Sunday, October 19, 2014

Whole30 Week 3

I made it through week 2 with no problems. Yay! I have to say, this month is flying by, especially when I take photos of everything I eat. There's something about going through these food photos and making these collages that make the days seem like they go by so fast. 

I have to admit that while I loved the Sweet Potato Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole I was excited for Saturday's breakfast to have something different. The casserole really did spark some ideas though for future breakfasts casseroles. I'd really love to incorporate butternut squash into a breakfast casserole. For now I bought a small butternut today, and I'm thinking I'll be eating it up next weekend for breakfasts. 

Let's see if I can recall much about the last week and how I felt each day...

Day 8 I felt like I looked bloated. I was pretty sad by that but what can ya do. Luckily, I didn't feel bloated, so that's good. My lunch was a shredded chicken salad with a side of pecans and almonds. I'm totally appreciating nuts more these days. Dinner was so delicious! I'd never made bison burgers before and they were a total hit. I only added fresh flat leaf parsley, garlic, green onion, salt, and pepper to them. I then barbecued them and topped them with sautéed onions and mushrooms. This dinner was definitely a favorite. I'll be making this again soon!

Day 9 was a cloudy day and I felt pretty low on energy. I never had the three o'clock slump like I used to, but it felt like low energy for Whole30 standards. Lunch included leftover mashed cauliflower from Sunday night, which is so incredibly tasty. I honestly could eat them over mashed potatoes with no problem. Dinner was one of my favorites. I made The Roasted Root's Spaghetti Squash with Pesto & Shrimp. It wasn't quite Whole30 compliant but I made it work. The pesto has so much flavor that I didn't miss the parmesan at all. This is another dinner I'll be making again in the future.

Day 10 was the first day I got hungry before lunch. I really thought that my breakfast casserole and apple would be enough, but for whatever reason (maybe upping my activity?) I was starving by 10:50 am. I had a teeny tiny snack of almonds and pecans which totally held me over until lunch. Lunch I had the amazing leftovers with a side salad. Since Wednesday night I did a mountain bike ride with my mom, David took over dinner. We had baked sweet potatoes, baked lemon pepper chicken thighs, and shredded sautéed Brussel sprouts. This dinner totally reminded me of Thanksgiving food. p.s. I love when my husband cooks.

Day 11 I tried making my breakfast serving of the casserole bigger which helped me last until lunch. Lunch was leftovers. Dinner I made a paleo version of Shepherd's Pie with ground turkey and sweet potatoes. I didn't have high expectations for it, but oh man, it was delicious. David loved it and so did I. I'll definitely be making this one again in the future. Hopefully I'll share it on the blog as well. Making a roux with coconut flour for it was interesting, but it totally worked. I also had my mom's pickles as a side -- soooo tasty!

Friday I decided to add some nuts to my breakfast as well as almond butter with my apple. It helped keep me full longer in the morning, so I think I'll continue adding nuts to my breakfast. Friday night David, my mom, and I went on another mountain bike ride. It was unusually painful in my legs. More than just "My legs are on fire!" Like, it was actually painful! I don't know what was going on but I feel like I didn't have enough energy for the ride. I performed pretty bad, and felt like it was my worst riding in a month. I was pretty discouraged that I was doing worse after a month of riding. I think my body is still trying to get used to burning fat and protein for energy rather than easy carbs. Dinner was a simple salmon recipe that I will definitely make again. We had it with mashed cauliflower and sautéed zucchini. We also celebrated Friday night with Guava kombucha. It's a new favorite of mine! I loved the flavor.

Saturday I was so excited to try a new breakfast. It was two scrambled eggs with bell pepper, spinach, and green onion. I had a side of half an avocado, tomato, and apple slices with almond butter. Breakfast held me over through house cleaning and until lunch. Lunch was leftover salmon salad with another delicious pickle. After David and I went on a 4 mile walk with Ryder around Spring Lake, we stopped by Whole Foods and David picked up another kombucha which we shared. He chose citrus, which was alright but not a favorite of mine. It was definitely nice to have something other than water. For dinner I had made a pot roast in our crockpot but it came out pretty dry. I had to put tons of mustard on it. The carrot fries were delicious, as always.

Today I made some sweet potato chips for breakfast. Kind of weird, I know, but they were super amazing. Except, I did burn most of them. Damn it. I'll try again! I kind of love the grazing plate of my breakfast. Eggs, avocado, sweet potato, and apples with almond butter and nuts -- yum! Again, breakfast held me over quite well, even through a leg and booty workout. Lunch included leftovers and a side of walnuts, almonds, and coconut shreds. For dinner I made Spaghetti Squash with meatballs. This dinner took a bit of prep but was definitely doable for even a week night meal. I was happy with the way it turned out.

I would definitely say that Week 2 went better than Week 1. Obviously, I wasn't sick. I could tell through my workouts that I wasn't quite back to perfect health, but I did manage to workout every day of the week. I was pretty proud of that.

I thought that I'd maybe look less bloated at this point then I do. I can tell that my pants fit better but when I look in the mirror I still see some bloat that I'd like to be gone. It's definitely getting better though, and I'm excited to work out even more in Week 3.

I felt like I didn't have that much energy this week, but then again, I can't say I ever felt "super tired". I seem to have enough energy throughout the work day and enough to workout, make dinner, and do dishes when I get home. So, I guess I can't complain there.

I still haven't noticed a change in my skin, but I did buy a new exfoliant from EO today. Maybe that will help? Who knows...I just want my chin to be less red! I thought that would have been fixed by now, but then again, it's only been 2 weeks. I guess I'm just not the patient. Oh yeah, on a side note, David and I have been using EO Soap as our body wash and we love it. We've had their Citrus & Mint, and now Coconut & Lemon. I highly recommend their products!

Week 3 Meal Plan

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs and Garlicky Green Beans

Chicken Basil Curry Soup with Acorn Squash

Spicy Pork Stuffed Peppers with Salad

Sweet Potato, Red Pepper, Chicken Sausage Hash with Salad

Grilled Flank Steak with Peppers, Zucchini, and Carrot "Fries"

Rock Cod with Creamy Cauliflower & Shredded Brussel Sprouts

Slow Cooker Pork over Carrot "Fries" topped with Guacamole

I have a couple repeats for Week 3 from Week 1 because they were so good. I also hope to possibly blog one or two of these recipes. We'll see...the sun is setting so much earlier these days. By the time I get off work, workout, and cook it's dark. Please just bare with me!
Have a great week!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sweet Potato Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole {Paleo}

My first paleo recipe! I'm super excited. I hope to have some more in the future. I'm a little unsure right now how the blog is going to transition recipe wise while David and I are trying to eat much healthier than before, especially while on Whole30. I'm excited to complete Whole30 so that I can experiment with more paleo recipes. Whole30 is actually more strict than a paleo diet so it should open up some more ingredients to use once we finish.

I've never been a big breakfast person. I remember as a teenager I had to force myself to eat and all I could usually stomach was an english muffin with butter and sometimes honey. Total health food right there. How did that even sustain me at all?

Years later I transitioned to oatmeal, smoothies, and eggs. At least a little better! Though even with eating one of those three, I was never full for long. I always needed a snack at 10:30, on top of my coffee with milk. I'm happy that I've learned I need carbs, protein, and fat to keep me satiated long enough so that I don't need to snack, and as of lately, I've been skipping my coffee and going for green tea.

This breakfast casserole is easy to prepare on a Sunday so that you'll have breakfast all week long. David and I have been eating it all week and it's done very well at keeping us full until lunch. I used my 9"x13" casserole dish, but I recommend an even bigger one. It made so much that I ended up having to use a 9"x9" as well, which was fine with me! If you only have a 9x13 then I recommend cutting the sweet potatoes in half so that it'll fit.

If you have a food processor, I highly recommend pulling out the shredding blade it came with. Let your kitchen appliance do the work for you. Or hey, if you want a nice arm workout, go ahead and use your manual grater.

I decided to buy ground turkey rather than turkey sausage since it's easy for companies to stick nasty stuff in sausage. At least with using the seasoning mix below you know it's clean food. Plus, I love using up my seasonings all the time. It's fun to experiment. You could definitely up the red pepper flakes if you like spicy sausage.

This casserole is super abatable. You could switch out the spinach for any veggie you prefer. I think kale would be delicious and a nice change. If you don't like turkey try any other ground meat, or you could even leave it off and add some cheese if you want.

I really enjoyed that the egg ran down into the sweet potato and almost made it cakey once it baked. I like that! Plus, the sweetness from the sweet potatoes and eggs works wonderfully with the sausage flavors. This makes a ton, so be prepared to eat it all week long! Cheers to a breakfast that will keep you full for hours.

Sweet Potato Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from Our Full Plate

4 small sweet potatoes, peeled & shredded
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 onion, diced
1 pound ground turkey sausage (or make your own w/ seasoning below)
5 oz bag spinach
10 eggs
1 cup coconut milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a very large baking dish. In the bottom of the baking dish spread out shredded sweet potatoes evenly.

2. In a large saute pan over medium heat add cooking oil and sauté onion until soft or about 5 minutes. Add in turkey sausage and cook until no longer pink. Stir in spinach until wilted. Remove from heat and spread sausage mixture over sweet potatoes evenly.

3. In a large bowl crack 10 eggs and whisk together with coconut milk. Seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over sweet potatoes and sausage. Egg mixture will soak into the sweet potatoes.

4. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes until egg is set. Remove from oven and cut into squares to serve.

Sausage Seasoning

3/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Directions: Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and mix into 1 pound ground turkey, chicken, pork, etc.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Brew Review: Samuel Adams Fat Jack

Beer: Samuel Adams Fat Jack
Date: 10-3-14
Location: Boston, MA
Availability: Limited
Type: Double Pumpkin
Alcohol: 8.5%
IBU: 25

Appearance: Amber, clear not too much head retention, small amount of bubbles

Aroma: Sweet, honey, malt, warm spices

Body & Texture: Bitter up front, medium/heavier bodied than most pumpkin beers

Aftertaste: Sweet, cinnamon/nutmeg spices, maple

"This rich and luscious brew indulges flavor with over 28 lbs of pumpkin per barrel, for a full bodied sweetness and deep russet color. Classic pumpkin pie spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice ignite a warmth and spark that's deepened by an undercurrent of roast smoked malts. The result is a delectable brew full of enveloping layers of flavor and spice. At Samuel Adams we love experimenting. This series of limited edition brews represents some of our favorite small bath creations" - Samuel Adams

Overall Impression:
This beer was on the heavier side of pumpkin beers that I've tasted but I'm gonna go ahead and say that has to do with it being a double pumpkin. This pumpkin beer is definitely a pumpkin beer (duh!). TO be fair, some pumpkin beers are pretty weak and lack pumpkin flavor. If you're a fan of pumpkin beers that really taste like pumpkin then this is your pumpkin beer. Personally, I'm not a huge pumpkin beer fan in general, so this was a bit over the top for me and much too sweet. Then again, I'm more of a hop fan, so it's understandable why it didn't appeal to me. Our friend Kyle gave it to us to try and I'm happy he did since I'm always down to try something new, but it just wasn't one I'd seek out in the future. When we told Kyle we weren't fans of Fat Jack he was surprised. I wouldn't buy this beer and I'm not sure I'd even accept it if someone offered it to me. Pumpkin beer lovers, this one's for you!
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