Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Whole 30 Tomato Sauce

We had a surplus of Roma tomatoes from our garden this year so we decided to make a bunch of batches of tomato sauce and freeze them to use throughout the year!  We make our tomato sauce so that it could also be used a tomato soup as well (YUM--I love soup...especially when it starts getting chilly out!)

Here's our recipe (Whole30 approved, of course, and super simple!)

  • 5 lbs fresh tomatoes from your garden
  • 3 onions, 10 garlic cloves (diced up how you like)
  • salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes (That's. It.)
Set up an assembly line for the following:
  • Start by rinsing all the dirt off your tomatoes in the sink
  • Core and score your tomatoes (cut out the end, and score an "X" at the other end)

  • Place in boiling hot water for 3-5 minutes
  • Take out tomatoes and place in ice water to peel (careful they are super hot!)
  • While you are boiling and peeling your tomatoes, dice up your onions and garlic and begin sautéing in olive oil in a big pot until translucent.  
  • Start adding your peeled tomatoes and crush ever so slightly as your pot is filling up
  • Add your seasonings (I never measure, so dump it in to your liking and taste as you go!)
  • Let your yummy tomato sauce simmer for 3-4 hours (make sure you check on it a few times and stir it up) then use a handheld emulsion blender to blend up (if you'd like to--your choice on how chunky you'd like it!

  • Let cool then bag up to freeze to enjoy throughout the year! So good!
*Our serving size was 3 cups in each gallon bag we froze--we did around 5lbs of tomatoes the first round and ended up with 6 bags total*

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fat Bombs

These are the bomb.com (lol, had to do it!)  If you're like me, I like to have a little sweetness at some point in my day.  And because my Food Freedom says I can do it and I feel good about it, then I do it!  However, I'm not talking about eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup every day.  Here's my take on them with our Fat Bombs (they don't last long--I have a hubby with a sweet tooth too):

Fat Bombs
-1/3 cup coconut oil
-1/3 cut almond butter (we like Justin's)
-3-4 tablespoon of cocoa powder (depends on how chocolatey you want them!)
Sea Salt
-4 drops liquid Stevia (not Whole30 approved, but you can add if you want just a touch more sweetness)
-Grab some cupcake liners too (you can do mini ones like us or regular size--we switch between both because we have both sized pans)

-Place all ingredients (except for the salt) in a medium saucepan and stir continuously until all the ingredients melt together
-Start pouring your mixture into your cupcake liners
-Sprinkle your sea salt on top of each fat bomb (this is key and really makes these the BOMB!)
-Place the pan in your freezer then pop one out to enjoy!  They're so yummy!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread

We LOVE our garden and the bounty of zucchini's we get from it!  We get pretty creative with how we use them (lots of grilling and making zoodles), but every year my hubby requests chocolate zucchini bread!  Since we're Whole30's, we try to make most of our recipes grain and sugar free.  I'm calling this recipe just Paleo though as with the "rules" of Whole30 you can't try to recreate treats.  Also, you can add a couple of other ingredients for extra sweetness (noted in the recipe). 

So, here's my recipe!  It's a combo of a few different recipes I found on Pinterest!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-1 cup grated zucchini
-1 cup almond butter
-1/4 cup pure maple syrup (not Whole30 approved)
-Splash of vanilla extract (not Whole30 approved)
-3 large eggs
-1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
-3/4 cup coconut flour
-1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-1/4 c. cocoa powder
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-Add nuts and/or chocolate chips/cocoa nibs in the recipe if you'd like!

-Combine all ingredients with a hand mixer (this gets the almond butter smoothly distributed)
-Coat the bottom and sides of a bread loaf pan with coconut oil
-Bake for 35-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean in the middle
-Let it set about 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven and then enjoy! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Kale Chips

Kale, yes!  Okay, I'm going to be super honest with you--I'm not the biggest fan of cooked kale.  I like it raw in a salad (drenched with Whole30 approved Tessemae's Creamy Ranch dressing), but cooked--not so much.  Kale is super healthy for you!

-It's high in omega-3 & 6 fatty acids, which helps with glowing skin
-Low in calories, but high in fiber (which aids in digestion)
-1 cup of kale contains 3 grams of protein (which ladies, we usually don't get enough of!)

We have all seen posts on Pinterest about Kale Chips, and I've tried to make my own but have never succeeded (they usually just ended up burnt!)  I finally looked into a couple different recipes and came up with my own that I finally liked (after a couple of failed attempts.)  Here you go!

All Heart Kale Chips:

-Line a cookie sheet with a bunch of kale (sorry, I don't do specific measurements like ever)
-Drizzle generously with olive oil then massage with your hands to get it evenly coated
-Add red pepper flakes to taste and nutritional yeast if you want a cheesy flavor
-Cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until crisp
(you just want the edges crispy...if you do it too much longer it will be burnt to a crisp and just crumble)
-Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
(don't add this before--it settles to the bottom of the pan and when you scoop it out, it all comes out SUPER salty)
-Lay out a paper towel in a bowl to catch excess oil and enjoy!  You can store in an airtight container to enjoy later and add to other recipes (don't put it in the fridge because it will get soggy!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Our Spartan Family

In honor of our upcoming Spartan Super in Chicago (aaaggggg.....so excited and nervous!)  Here's a look back at our Spartan Family featured on the official Spartan Blog:


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Plantain Tostadas

Have you ever seen the banana-looking plantain things in your grocery store?  For years I had no clue what they were until Dustin and I were introduced to Whole30 and read that plantain chips were compliant (they are no longer compliant though and you can read about it here).  There is some truth to it--Dustin and I could kill a container of plantain chips in a day. :)

So what are plantains?  Are they bananas?  Well, they are part of the banana family.  They are a starchy, low sugar variety that need to be cooked before eaten.  You can almost treat it as a potato if you're looking for a yummy side dish, but don't necessarily want a potato.  The blacker they become on the outside, the sweeter they become so they could even be used as a dessert as well.

I like to use them on Taco Tuesday in the form of a tostado (a flat taco).  Here's how I do it (super easy!):

Plantain Tostadas

1-2 plantains
Coconut oil
Salt to taste

-Cut the ends of your plantains and slide into 3-4 big chunks depending on how big your plantains are
-Peal the skin off
-Cut eat chunk in 1/2 so you have a flat side
-Heat the coconut oil (however much you want, I didn't measure mine) over your stovetop in a flat pan
-Place your plantains in the pan and cook until golden brown on each side (about 2-3 minutes each side--don't let them burn, they cook fast).  Just speaking from experience! :)

-Take your plantains out and smash them with the bottom of a bowl
-Place them back in your pan and continuing cooking until they reach your desired crispiness
-Add salt to taste and enjoy!

I put lettuce, chicken and avocado on mine and they were delish!  Let me know if you try it out!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Whole30 Sloppy Joe's

Hahaha, name that movie!
As requested, here is my Whole30 Sloppy Joe recipe (kid approved!)  This is a combination of a few recipes I found online and what I could create with what I had on hand!  It was sweet and spicy and would beat Manwich any day!  I served it over a baked potato and had shredded Brussel sprouts on the side and Dustin ended up just combining it all together!

So here it is!  (Disclaimer, I usually just eyeball instead of measuring and taste along the way so these are approximate measurements!)

  • 1 lb. ground meat (we use venison)
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (many recipes called for green pepper in it too, but we didn't have any on hand!)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • About 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Aminos
  • Big squeeze of Dijon Mustard (we use the Annie's brand)
  • 1/4 cup water to allow it to simmer
  • Heat either olive oil or coconut oil in a pan and begin to brown your burger
  • Add in all the ingredients in the order listed above and simmer about 10 minutes until your sloppy joe's thicken. 
It was a super easy Sunday night dinner!  Let me know if you give it a try! 


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What's Your Love Language?

Dustin and I took this Love Language Quiz a couple of weeks ago and it was very enlightening!  I came across the website and thought it would be fun to take the quiz together!  So I texted Dustin a link to it and he of course asked why I was spamming him. Lol, well I took it and he took it and here are our results (ranked in order of importance)!

Words of Affirmation
Physical Touch
Acts of Service
Quality Time
Receiving Gifts

Quality Time
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Physical Touch
Receiving Gifts

Dustin and I know each other very well, but this opened up a dialog between us that I don't think would have came up if we both hadn't taken this quiz.  It was great to talk about how I need to have Words of Affirmation--him telling me I'm doing a good job with work, with the kids, nice butt, or whatever!  He needs more Quality Time together (easier said than done with kids!)  We do need more date nights together, but I need to be more fully engage when we're having a conversation together (my mind tends to wonder because of all that I have going on!) 

So, this was fun!  An open dialog is so important! Let me know if you and your partner take the quiz (and for the record, neither of us have been spammed like crazy since taking this quiz!) LOL :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Whole30 BBQ Sauce

You guys--I made my first ever batch of Whole30 BBQ sauce and it was AMAZING!!!  I made enough to jar up and use on other recipes and I'm not sure it's going to last very long because my hubby can't get enough of it!  Dylan's (our oldest son) has birthday party with family this Friday evening and we're going to serve some of this up with pulled venison (that he harvested on his own this year!) 
Whole30 BBQ or the bomb.com
I Googled some recipes and here's what I came up with on my own with what we already had on hand (score!):

-1 6oz. can tomato paste
-1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
-1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
-1 cup of pitted Medjool dates
-1/2 c. water
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1 tablespoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (Secret ingredient! Gives it a smoky flavor!)
-3 tablespoons coconut oil
All the ingredients merging together into yummy goodness!!!
1. Place all ingredient in a big pot & cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
2. Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender or pour into your blender
3. Place back in your pot and cook a little while longer until you get the desired consistency.

For this particular dinner, we had mashed cauliflower, fresh greens with TesseMae's Ranch Dressing and I cooked chicken (from our own flock) in the slow cooker all day and shredded it about 1/2 hour before we were ready to eat! 

Husband and kid approved!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Favorite Books for Personal Development

This past year has been really transformational for me and a big part of that is through listening or reading personal development books and/or podcasts!  I'm going to share just a couple of my favorite books this week and next week I'll share my favorite podcasts!

So, here's some of my favs (in no particular order!)
You Are A BadAss: This is a great book for you to set you mindset to being a BadAss and believing when you do good, good will come back to you!

    The Energy Bus: Wow, this book was a wonderful metaphor you being the driver of your own bus.  You need to drive it with purpose and inspire others (or you can ask them to get off your bus!) 

    The Go-Giver: This is a wonderful book for anyone looking to be successful.  However, it's not all about you!  The more you focus on others and providing value to them, the more success will come your way.  There is also, The Go-Giver Sells More, which was a fantastic follow up read as well! 

    Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur: This book is one of a few by the fabulous Cara Alwill Leyba, the creator of The Champagne Diet.  She writes to inspire all women to live their lives with no fear, and to create a life of your own design. 

Please let me know if you end up reading any of these or if you have any recommendations as well! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Better Bad No Bake Cookies

You know, sometimes you just need some cookies!  So, since our strict 30 days of Whole30 have ended (and I've only had 1 glass of wine and stayed strict since then because of how AMAZING I feel) I decided to make some cookies for the boys (and me!)  I had ingredients at home (PTL I didn't have to go to the store) to make some no bake cookies.  However, I'm calling these "Better Bad" No Bake Cookies--they're a better bad because I didn't use sugar or butter or milk so they're a little better for you than the traditional recipe.  Here's my recipe (it was super easy!)

Better Bad No Bake Cookies:
Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir as needed.  Once melted, remove from heat and add vanilla, ShakeO, and oatmeal. Stir and drop spoonfuls on parchment paper.  Place in fridge to harden and enjoy!  My boys really liked them!  (Just be careful not to eat all of them at once!) 

Let me know if you try it out!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Whole30 Cauliflower Crust

I had a surplus of cauliflower and needed something different to do with it other than cauliflower mash & adding it in veggie stir fry, so I decided to try out my own version of cauliflower pizza crust (but Whole30 compliant!) 

Here's the ingredients I used:

One medium size head of Cauliflower
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash)
One egg
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 tablespoons of almond meal
Red pepper flakes (optional)

*So what is nutritional yeast, you ask? (Sounds weird and gross, right?) I was first introduced to it this summer when I wanted to make fresh pesto with the basil from my garden, but didn't want to use cheese. I consulted Google for a Whole30 compliant pesto and found this ingredient to use instead of cheese. Pretty much, nutritional yeast is a non-active yeast that has a cheesy, nutty flavor to it. Here is the wiki definition!

So here's what you do step-by-step for your Cauliflower crust:

Cut the florettes off your Cauliflower (don't leave too much stem). Then, place in your blender or food processor and blend until it is finely chopped. Place in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and heat for 4-5 minutes.

Place your cooked cauliflower and either cheese cloth or paper towels and squeeze out the excess water. (You may need to let it cool a little bit before handling it, so you don't burn your hand like I did!)

Mix all of your ingredients together then spread on a pizza stone or cookie sheet until you reach the desired shape of your crust. I didn't use a nonstick spray, but you could use some or parchment paper depending on what you're cooking your crust on. Note: don't make your crust too thick or else it will take forever to cook (I may have made ours too thick!)

Bake at 450° for 10 to 15 minutes until crust has reached your desired crunchiness. Then, add whatever toppings you want & place back in the oven for 5-8 minutes!

On mine, I placed cooked shaved brussels sprouts, whole 30 compliant pizza sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken from a rotisserie chicken I bought at the store that evening. I made sure to add some red pepper flakes and more salt and pepper as I layered my toppings.

Let me know if you try this out (and if you use the Nutritional Yeast in any of your recipes!)

You can find it here:

Sunday, January 22, 2017


So, show of hands....how many of you watched "The Minimalists" doc on Netflix recently?  OMG...how did you feel afterwards?  I felt gross to tell you the truth.  We just have too much stuff!  I felt gluttonous thinking of all of the clothes in my closet that I don't wear & all of the random beauty products in my bathroom, I felt bad that my kids have so much stuff they just don't need, I felt stupid for blowing so much of our money on just STUFF.  You know the saying, right?  "You can't take it with you when you're gone,"

Now, I've tried to get our lives more organized--I've always had the best of intentions with trying to read books, donating to Goodwill, selling on Craiglist or FB Garage Sales, but the stuff would always accumulate back (and so would the messes).  However, whenever I think of doing an extreme decluttering--it was too overwhelming and well, I just don't have the time! (Do you feel me, mama's?)  However, I came to realize I can't really tell our boys to clean up their rooms when they have too much stuff and they probably feel too overwhelmed with where to start as well (they're feeling the same way I do!)

See that book amongst the clutter on our coffee table,
"The Life-Changing Habit of Tidying Up." Lol, ironic isn't it?

So...since the New Year, I've been working to declutter my home (I'm by no means, a hoarder) but I had stuff that needed to be gone ASAP.  Let me tell you, the more rooms I have cleared out, the more clear my mind has become.  I decided to start with baby steps. Each weekend, I've chosen one room to clean out (I've done the kitchen, our coat closet under the stairs, my bathroom, and a little in our attic and garage).  I had stuff in some places from when we were married and stuff that just was moved here 5 years ago when we moved into our current home. Goodwill has seen me SO MUCH o f me in January and I'm not even close to being done! 

I was so inspired by this doc that I decided to listen to their book over the next week, entitled, "Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life."  Blew. my. mind.  The authors talk about the 5 principles of Minimalism and I found it so interesting how it applied in what's going on in my life right now. 

Here they are:

1.) Health: This was #1 because, well, if you don't have your health then you can't enjoy your life and all of your things!  The authors talked a lot about keeping a simple diet (what they described sounded very similar to my precious Whole30).  Keeping away from processed foods, sticking to real foods, etc. 

2.) Relationships: This might be a touchy subject for some, but I'm just going to put it out there.  They talk a lot about having people around you that add value to your life and avoiding those that don't.  I am 35 years old, and I would say most other women my age would say that the relationships in their lives have changed over the past 10 years (especially for moms).  Jobs, kids, interests change and so do friendships--and you know, what?  That's ok!  I'll admit it, I've been dumped by friends, I've not been invited to stuff, etc. I have had to learn to not take it personal and seek out friendships where I can add value to their lives and they can add value to mine.   Now, there is the matter of being around people that you can't totally eliminate like family or colleagues/bosses...in my opinion, it's all in your mindset of dealing with these people. I would try to add value to their lives (even if they aren't adding value to yours).

3.) Passion: What are you passionate about?  If you could do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  (Easier said than done, I know!)  This doesn't even have to mean in relation to your job---maybe you absolutely love DIY projects, scrapbooking, fitness, etc.  If you know me, then you know I am extremely passionate about the work I do with the American Heart Association, but as my interests have changed over the past couple of years--I have become very passionate about my own health and sharing how I can manage to make it work for me with other busy working moms.  Even if you're stuck in a 9-5 that is just there to pay the bills, I would strongly encourage you to figure out what you're passionate about and how you can incorporate that into your day in order to make you feel fulfilled.  And mama's--I know you're going to say you're passionate about your kids (duh, me too!)  But what else are you passionate about that is just for you?

4.) Growth: This can be looked at in a couple of different ways.  Personal Growth: what are you doing to enhance your mindset, ways to help you be a better wife, mom, colleague, etc.  This past year, I have really focused on my own personal development through reading books on leadership, having a positive mindset and just being a strong woman.  I can't begin to tell you how much this has helped me.  The other way to look at growth is Financial Growth: you can't save money if you're spending it on stuff all the time.  We have a savings account, we give to our church, we're doing alright but we want to do more to secure our future and our boys' futures (we also want to remodel our house!)  Since the beginning of January, I have become super intentional with what I spend, asking myself why I want this and if I really need it.  Also, anytime I do buy something I'm letting my husband know (regardless if it's groceries, gas, or stuff the boys need). Dustin (my hubby) is the most responsible person ever with money--I think he's saved his Christmas money from the past 3 years from his grandparents.  He's not saving up for anything in particular, but just saving for when he does come across something he'd like to have.  (Not me...that money was long gone by the next day!)  I could tell my boys were taking after me whenever they were given money and we're trying to show them how saving and giving is worth far more than anything you could buy. 

5.) Contribution: what are you doing to contribute to society?  Besides writing a check to your church for your tithes, are you participating in an activity to benefit someone else?  I believe this to be vital to teach our kiddos.  It's not all about you, really!  It's about serving others and it will come back to you in a positive way (call it karma, call it the golden rule, etc.) 

I'm so happy I stumbled upon this documentary and listened to their book.  AND....I just found out there is a Minimalist Podcast!  Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!  For this road warrior, anything I can listen to in my car while traveling for work is the best ever!

So, let me ask you this....what can you do to minimalize your life? Your health, the people in your life, unnecessary clutter, etc.  I'm working on it step by step.  You can do it too!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

What is Whole30?

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Whoa.  I can't believe it's been over a year since Dustin and I started our Whole30 journey together.  We've both learned a lot about our relationship with food, tried new recipes, shed some pounds and found out that it's ok not to be strict 100% of the time

So...what is the Whole30?  Whole30 is NOT A DIET.  It's a 30 program to help you change your life by removing grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol and legumes from your daily diet.  After those 30 days, you can reintroduce some of those foods back into your diet and see the way your body reacts to them. For example, dairy was causing A LOT of gastro-stuff for me--major bloating whenever I consumed it.  Also, sugar is like crack and is super addictive for me...BUT...after 30 days of only consuming natural sugars from fruits, I was able to break my addiction. 

Image result for whole30

Sounds pretty hardcore, right?  (I thought so the first time I heard about it).  The only reason I agreed to try it out was because Dustin needed a major overhaul on his health and it would be easier if we did it together.Whole30 is kind of like rehab for your health, if you will.  Dustin was having a lot of back issues and sleep problems before we started Whole30, and now his back pain is gone and he sleeps very well!  I would recommend reading It Starts With Food before you consider adapting this into your lifestyle--it talks a lot about the science behind Whole30 and the way your body processes food.

So mama's...you're probably reading this and you're like, "So do you make 2 dinners each night (you know, one for you and one for your kids)?"  Well, the answer is SOMETIMES.  Our boys (ages 8 & 5) still like cheese and sugary treats, but they also like zoodles (zucchini noodles), sweet potato fries, would rather have fresh fruit, and they don't miss a lot of grains.  They won't eat Brussel sprouts or spaghetti squash (even though they've tasted it).  We just try to give them "better bads" if you will.  For example, they love sandwiches so we'll do gluten free bread

So now we've found Food Freedom Forever.  We're done dieting, and instead just fueling our bodies and minds with good foods and NOT feeling guilty when we're not doing a 100% strict Whole30 if we want to have a glass of wine or some chocolate.  I've learned how to stop myself from overindulging and instead just enjoy the treats as they come along (if I really want them).

We're doing a strict Whole30 right now (which we SO needed after the holidays!); however, we live 90% Whole30 lifestyle throughout the year.  Why?  Because we FEEL better!