Wednesday, June 7, 2017

28 Whole30 Meals for $216

I decided to do Whole30. My concept of "making mostly good choices" isn't working on my almost-30 body so I decided to make some changes. So this round of meals are all Whole30 or paleo approved meals. I'm hoping this will help keep me on track and I will get the results I want. And yes, I know, Whole30 is not a diet but whatever man. 1) I know so many people that have had success stories from using this "diet reset", and 2) I'm competitive and I just want to say I've done it.

Here we go...

Tilapia Filets
Blackened Shrimp
Chicken Cobb Salad
Grilled Pineapple & Turkey Burgers
Sausage and Shrimp Skillet
Sausage Bake
Beef and Broccoli
BBQ Chicken Casserole
Pulled Pork
Zucchini Lasagna
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Pork Burrito Bowls

Grocery List |

2 bags of frozen Tilapia filets
5 bags of medium shrimp (Get peeled if you can. Trust.)
5 bags of chicken breasts
4 packages of sugar-free bacon
5 smoked sausage or chicken sausage, sugar-free
2 lbs. shredded beef
1 lg. pork loin, 12+ lbs.
2 lbs. ground Italian sausage, sugar-free
2 lbs. ground beef

2 pineapples or 2 cans of pineapples canned in water
Ginger root
3 spaghetti squashes
1 red onion
2 bell peppers
1 onion
10 zucchinis
2 limes
1 bunch cilantro

Worchestshire Sauce
Liquid Aminos
Sesame Oil
Fish Sauce
Arrowroot Powder (I had to order this online)
Balsamic Vinegar
Chipotle Powder
All Spice
Buffalo Hot Sauce
Cajon Seasoning
Mrs. Dash Chicken
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper
Mustard Seed
Lemon Pepper

4 bags of broccoli florets
1 bag frozen okra

4 tomato paste
1 tomato sauce
1 jar apple sauce, unsweetened
2 cans tomatoes
2 jars marinara, sugar-free
1 carton chicken stock
2 cans of Rotel

1 carton of eggs
2 packages of quinoa
Gallon Hefty bags
4 disposable trays (for convenience)

I shopped at Winco and my total was $216.

Okay, once home, label bags. The tilapia will go straight in the freezer, along with 2 bags of shrimp and 2 packages of the chicken or smoked sausage. The trays are for the lasagna and the BBQ chicken bake. Label the rest of the bags accordingly, then just work your way through each meal.

I went ahead and got the 2 lbs. of ground beef and 2 lbs. of Italian sausage cooking. I also cut all the spaghetti squash in half, scooped out the seeds, rubbed with EVOO and a little salt and roasted them face up for 1 hr. at 400 while I prepped everything else. Also, put one bag of chicken in the crock pot on high with some salt. This will also be for the chicken bake.

Tilapia Filets

Freeze one bag of tilapia filets.

Thaw and sprinkle with Mrs. Dash Chicken seasoning and pan fry or grill with EVOO.

Blackened Shrimp

1 bag of shrimp (peel removed)
Season with smoked paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Thaw and grill and serve with an avocado, asparagus, and spinach salad.

Chicken Cobb Salad

1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts
Season with Mrs. Dash Chicken
Freeze 1 package of bacon

Thaw and grill. Serve sliced on top of salad with avocado, egg, bacon and this Whole30 ranch recipe:
(This recipe is from Against All Grain)

Grilled Pineapple & Turkey Burgers

1 pineapple sliced or 1 can of whole pineapple slices canned in water
1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestshire sauce
Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper
Form into patties

Thaw and grill burger and pineapple. Serve with lettuce buns

Sausage and Shrimp Skillet
1 package chicken sausage
1 bag shrimp

Thaw and cook in a skillet with veggies. Season however you wish.

Sausage Bake

1 package smoked sausage
1 bag frozen broccoli florets

Thaw and slice. Add diced sweet potatoes, toss with EVOO, salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Bake at 415 for 45 minutes.

Beef and Broccoli

1 lb. shredded beef
4 T liquid aminos
1 2/3 T Sesame Oil
1 T fish sauce
2 pieces of ginger root
1 tsp of arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

6 hours on low. Add frozen broccoli 30 minutes before serving on top of cauliflower rice or quinoa.

BBQ Chicken Casserole

1.5 cooked spaghetti squash
1/2 diced red onion
1.5 lbs of shredded chicken (from crock pot)
1.5 cups of Whole30 approved BBQ sauce, I used this recipe:
(Note: I added too much chili powder because my grocery store only had chipotle chili powder. I'll skip the chili powder next time.)

This is also a great BBQ sauce option from Against All Grain. It's sweeter, which I like. You just blend everything together and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.

3 eggs
1 package of cooked bacon (for topping)

Mix everything (but the bacon) together in a tray. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Top with some Whole30 ranch.


2-3 chicken breasts
1/2 lb. peeled shrimp
1/2 smoked sausage
6 oz. tomato paste
1 can tomatoes
1/2 bag frozen okra
1 diced green pepper
1 diced onion
Season with garlic, 2 bay leaves, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Thyme, and cayenne pepper (optional)

8 hrs. on low. Serve over cauli-rice, quinoa or just eat straight up.

Pulled Pork

3 lbs. pork loin
Season with garlic, chili powder, mustard seed, Smoked paprika, salt, pepper
2 Tbsp. apple sauce

8 hrs. on low. Serve in a baked sweet potato.

Zucchini Lasagna

1 lb. ground sausage, cooked
1 lb. ground beef, cooked
1.5 jars mariniar
5 zucchinis thinly sliced, long-ways

Using the tray and the sliced zucchini as noodles, layer zucchini and sauce in the tray. Thaw and Bake for 30-45 at 375. (Note: I added cheese on half of this for my kids.)

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup buffalo hot sauce

7-8 hrs. on low. Shred and stuff in a potato or sweet potato. Add some Whole30 ranch if you want.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts
1.2 bunch of chopped cilantro
1 lime, sliced
season with lemon pepper

Thaw and grill.

Pork Burrito Bowls

3 lbs. pork loin
Season with chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic, salt and pepper

8 hrs. on low. Shred and serve on top of cauli-rice or quinoa with Rotel tomatoes and chilis and cilantro (and any other Whole30 approved taco toppings).

**NOTE: Each recipe is written for one meal. Make 2 of each.

And that'll do it. I'll check in in 30 days or so. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Whose Hands Are Those?

It happened the other night as I rocked my littlest baby to sleep. She was drifting off to sleep and I was dozing in and out of sleep myself. Then I looked down and thought: "Whose hands are those?"

And I felt dead serious. Like, what the heck happened to my hands?

Maybe it was the lighting or simply my lack of sleep but I did not recognize my own hands. The wedding ring? Yes. The baby they were holding? Absolutely. But my hands looked so foreign to me. I've never had very delicate looking hands. They're small, but smooth and pretty? Not really. But now? Now they look just so....old. And tired. And worn.

When someone says parenting ages you, they are not kidding.

Before we had kids this was me (fancy, I know):

And now this is me:

I swear it's only been 6 years.

The old woman that laid dormant in me all these years is leaking out of my pores and digging crevices along my skin. There are endless bags under my eyes and I could use a good teeth whitening because COFFEE is LIFE right now.

And my hands. Oh my HANDS. They seemed to have aged overnight. Where is my old Mary Kay silk hands when I need it??? I even have a callous on my pinky knuckle. No idea why. The old lady in me is definitely making an appearance. (I mean I even wrote the words "need" and "Mary Kay" in the same sentence. WHO AM I?)

There's the other side of being an old lady though. One I quite like. I'm pretty jolly. I understand that the most worthwhile things are often the simplest. I enjoy simply spending time with my people. I let things go faster. I'm more patient. I know it's easier to forgive quickly than to wait for an apology. I'm better at letting people live their own life and loving them through it. Motherhood does this to us. I am certain. It is one of God's great tools for refining us as women.

There was a time in college when I thought I wouldn't have kids until I was at least 35. Marriage? Maybe 30. Clearly God put some things and someone in my path that made those plans drastically change. So I've had to reinvent myself into a mother. And I'm pretty damn good at it.

So many people told me to not lose myself in motherhood. I get how easy it is to do. Parenting is a jungle. But I've found that I really like my monkeys. I don't mind being lost in this jungle with them for a while. Even if it ages me from the inside out, leaving me a little weathered and worn but also wiser.

Whose hands are those? They are mine. They have fed and bathed and cuddled and held and loved, loved, LOVED; and I am proud of the work they have done.

"Honor her for all her hands have done, and let her work bring praise at the city gate."
Proverbs 31:31

Saturday, April 22, 2017

26 Meals for $200

I know I've been very absent from blogging lately and that's only because I've let real life take priority. And real life right now is busy. Good, very good but so busy. Emmie is crawling now and getting into everything and Spring sports and activities are in full force. But we still need to eat so I've been meal prepping like crazy, of course. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen plenty of my instastories how-to's. And if you've followed my most recent insta-story, you've learned my secret: gangster rap.

So yes, after shopping at the store, throw some of that on in the car and get pumped up for prepping the next 6 weeks worth of meals.

For this round I did a lot of burgers and sandwiches because two nights a week we have t-ball games that fall smack dab in the middle of dinner time so I have to pack something. Sandwiches and burgers are super easy to turn into a picnic dinner.

So here it goes...

Menu |
Pulled Pork
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Caribbean Jerk Chicken
Zesty Herb Chicken
Sesame Ginger Beef Stirfry
Sirloin Burgers
Veggie Burgers
Chile Mango Sausage and Broccoli
Mango Salsa Pork
White Chicken Enchiladas
Chili Dogs
Turkey Burgers
Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

Grocery List |

1 giant pork loin (to divide into 4ths)
3 3-lb. bags of chicken breasts
1 3 lb. package of beef chunks or stew beef
2 packages of sirloin burgers (comes in packages of 8)
3 packages of veggie burgers (comes in packages of 4)
4 packages of chile mango sausage
3 lbs. ground beef
2 packages of hot dogs
4 lbs. ground turkey
2 chuck steaks (or roasts)
2 bags pre-made meatballs

16 oz. sour cream
2 containers of mango salsa

2 cans green chilis
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans black beans
2 cans chili beans
1 jar pepperoncinis
2 French onion soup
4 jars marinara sauce
2 cans cream of chicken

Memphis BBQ Pit seasoning packet
1 bottle Caribbean Jerk Marinade
1 Zesty Herb seasoning packets
1 bottle Sesame Ginger marinade
Brown Sugar
Chile Powder
Garlic Powder
Worcestershire sauce
2 ranch seasoning packets

2 bags of vegetable stir-fry
2 bags sweet potato fries
2 bags broccoli florets

6 packages of hamburger buns
4 packages of tortillas
2 packages of hot dog buns
2 packages whole grain noodles

*Hefty zipper lock gallon-sized bags
*slow cooker liners

When you get home, label bags. For this round of meals I had quite a few things that just needed to go into the freezer: veggie burgers, sirloin burgers, and chile mango sausage. For those meals, I'll just thaw and grill them. I know those aren't typical things I call "meals" but this time around I want them ready to go in the freezer.

I then like to pile each bag into a pile that has the same kind of meat (a trick you may have seen on my insta-stories). This helps me move through all the meals efficiently because I'm only dealing with one type of meat at a time.

Then I go through each one meal by meal.

Recipes| (make 2 of each)

Pulled Pork
1/4 of the pork loin (about 4 lbs.)
1 packet Memphis BBQ seasoning
1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar

Add 1 cup of water upon cooking. Cook on low for 8 hrs. Shred and serve of buns with BBQ sauce.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
2 jars marinara sauce
1 bag meatballs

Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with noodles (keep noodles in the pantry).

Caribbean Jerk Chicken
1.5 lbs. chicken breasts
1/2 bottle of Caribbean Jerk marinade

Thaw and grill.

Zesty Herb Chicken
1.5 lbs. of chicken
1 packet Zesty Herb seasoning packet

Thaw and grill.

Sesame Ginger Beef Stirfry
1.5 lbs. of chunk beef
1/2 bottle of Sesame Ginger marinade

Thaw and grill. Freeze stir fry bag with this and then steam it while cooking the meat. I'll probably add some rice to this meal.

Sirloin Burgers
Freeze with hamburger buns. Thaw and grill.

Veggie Burgers
Freeze with hamburger buns. Thaw and grill.

Chile Mango Sausage and Broccoli

To cook, simply thaw and grill. I like to roast the broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Mango Salsa Pork
1/4 the pork loin (about 4 lbs. of it)
1 tub mango salsa

8 hours on low. Shred and serve with the tortillas you will freeze with it.

White Chicken Enchiladas
1.5 lbs. chicken breast
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken
1 can diced green chilis
Cumin and chile powder

8 hrs. on low. Shred and rolls into tortillas with cheese. Place in pan, top with extra sauce from the crock pot and more cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Chili Dogs
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
1 can rinsed chili beans
1 can rinsed kidney beans
Chile powder
Garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar

6-8 hrs. on low. Grill hot dogs (or warm them in a separate crock pot) and serve on buns topped with chili, cheese, and all the fixings.

Turkey Burgers
4 lbs. ground turkey
2 eggs
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Smoked paprika
Garlic Powder
Salt and pepper

Hand mix and form into patties. Thaw and grill. Serve on buns. The Worcestershire sauce is everything in these.

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches
1 chuck roast or chuck steaks (3 lbs.)
1 ranch seasoning packet
1 can French onion soup
1/2 jar of pepperoncinis

8 hrs. on low. Shred and serve on buns. I like to add cheese and BBQ sauce because that's who I am.

Done. {Insert applause}

Thursday, December 22, 2016

12 Meals of Christmas, Day 12: Italian Sausage Subs

For the 12th (and final) meal of Christmas:

Italian Sausage Subs

1 package Italian sausage links
1 green bell pepper (chopped or sliced)
1 red bell pepper (chopped or sliced)
1 cup red wine (I use pinot noir)
Season with garlic powder & dried basil

8 hrs on low. Cut up sausage and stuff into Italian loaves or a hoagie and top with parmesan cheese.

My family loves these - hopefully yours will too!

So, that's it. My 12 meals of Christmas. How about that blogging follow through? I made at least 2 of each meal to make a total of 26 meals and I spent less than $200.

Monday, December 19, 2016

12 Meals of Christmas, Day 11: Mushroom Chicken & Rice

For the eleventh meal of Christmas:

Mushroom Chicken & Rice

I have a thing for mushrooms and I've been told that it's just gross and wrong because they are a fungus, but whatever, man (husband), I like them. And since I do the cooking I force the rest of my family to eat this fungus as well. And I'll be honest, the picture is not pretty but it tastes very good, even to the mushroom haters.

1 can cream of mushroom
1 packet onion dip mix
3-4 chicken breasts
8 oz. Sliced mushrooms
1 cup water

8 hrs on low. Serve over rice. You can add an extra cup of water and cook 1 cup of rice on the crock pot for the last hour of cooking but I prefer my rice cooker. It cooks the rice to perfection.

12 Meals of Christmas, Day 10: Caribbean Jerk Chicken

For the 10th meal of Christmas:

Caribbean Jerk Chicken 

This is one that is obnoxiously easy but one of our favorite marinades so it almost always makes the cut.

1 bottle Lawry's Caribbean Jerk marinade
4-5 chicken breasts

Thaw and grill. Serve with rice or on a bunch with BBQ sauce. It is spicey and sweet and just yummy.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

12 Meals of Christmas, Day 9: Pulled Pork

For the ninth meal of Christmas:

Pulled Pork

We have a slight obsession with this meal. One, because it's easy. Two, because it's delicious. Three, because of the leftovers. And it's easy. Did I mention that?

3 lb. Pork loin
1 packet Memphis BBQ Pit seasoning
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

8 hours on low. Shred and serve on rolls, buns, or stuff in a baked sweet potato. Add some Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce and you're set.