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. 

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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!