2018 Christmas Wish List

santa claus beside brown bauble decor
Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

Only because it’s become a tradition.

  1. An 8 qt. Instantpot.
  2. These Birkestocks because no one is more annoyed by my Nike slides than I am.
  3. Marley’s Monsters reusable facial rounds.
  4. A giftcard from Aerie.
  5. The Illustrated Harry Potter Books. All of them eventually but the first for now.
  6. This Harry Potter lamp, or something similar.
  7. This coffee mug…I don’t know why.
  8. Gnomes. Any variation of the guys linked. Ornaments, decorations, anything…I’m obsessed.
  9. BarBella active wear subscription box. Specifically the December stuff.
  10. Ian Cron is selling Enneagram coffee mugs!!

But most of all: Menard’s giftcards so we can do all the projects and SELL OUR CURSED HOUSE. It’s not cursed, I just want to be gone.

There are other things. I’ll probably edit a few times. I’d also like to add a list of things I think would make great gifts for other people even though I don’t necessarily want them for myself 🙂


The Fire

A thing happened.

We didn’t really tell anyone about it unless they were family, close friends, or people we saw regularly during the whole ordeal. I still don’t really feel the need to tell people but I thought some documentation would be good for my memory’s sake.

The story: For a while we kept smelling burning but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. A friend even thought it smelled like I had left a curling iron on or something. Also, our lights had been flickering and we were just having electricity problems in general. We had concluded that it was our furnace that needs replaced.

Then, on October 20th we’d had a rather busy day. I ran to the store real quick and grabbed groceries for the week and was trying to get them put away and get dinner made and then kids fed and in bed before a friend of ours came over for a bit. As I stood at the stove, I smelled the weird burning smell but it was more pronounced that previously. I called Drew into the kitchen and he noticed it right away. We started panicking a bit because it was so much worse than usual. Then we noticed smoke coming in through the door hinges.

We kind of calmly started freaking out because we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. It wasn’t outside, in the basement, or upstairs. But the smoke was getting more visible and more smelly.

Our sweet neighbor girl was over playing with the kids and so I sent her home before I called 911 just in case it unnecessarily freaked her out. The dispatcher instructed us to evacuate the house and the fire department would be right there.

Meanwhile, Drew took a crow bar to woodwork around the back door and the smoke got worse. There was definitely something weird happening.

The fire department arrived two minutes later and spent at least two hours in the cold and dark trying to figure out what the heck happened. This involved cutting the power to our house, pealing off siding, and temporarily condemning our house. Womp, womp. That’s right, our house was condemned.

We were given an hour to pack up some things and told to get out until Monday when we could apply for reentry. We grabbed what we needed and headed to my parents house.

We thought we’d be there for a couple of days.

26 is sort of a couple.

26 days.

During that time, we thought we were going home more than once. Between city, county, and neighborhood code folks, along with the electrician, it was determined that we needed a new fuse box. No big deal (sarcasm).

Fortunately, the electrician we used was a friend of a friend and I’m pretty sure we received some special treatment, for which we are extremely grateful.

Some things I learned:
1. We don’t need almost anything in our house. Just 2-3 laundry baskets full of clothes, some of my quirky food items, and a few of the kids favorite things. For almost a month we survived without our stuff. We don’t need any of it, but…

2. We do need our own space. I am so grateful that Drew, myself, and the kids have such a great relationship with my parent’s that we could live with them for almost a month without conflict. BUT I had no idea how emotionally taxing it would be for me to not be allowed to go home. Too cook in someone else’s kitchen, shower in someone else’s bathroom. I never lived in the house my parents currently live in so it was never my home. I’m sure that it was even harder for Drew. A house is just a house and stuff is just stuff but our spaces we create for ourselves are important.

3. Those quick heating electric tea pots are magically wonderful.

4. As much as it all sucked, it could have been so much worse. If we had been asleep or hadn’t been home, the fire would have started under the boys’ bedroom. I can’t even process that. AND, we just had our roof replaced while the siding on the back of our house had an electrical charge. Those guys could have been hurt. AND kids play in our back yard all the time, they could have been hurt.

5. Your housing insurance is important. Be picky. We were lucky.

6. Some people are pretty great. To our friends who showed up to our rescue (Scott and Josh, especially), to my friends who gave me unexpected gifts of comfort (Meredith and Sammantha), to my friends who listened to me whine about it all (Sarah, my Y people, Amy, and Stephanie), to everyone at St. Paul’s (especially Mrs. Mueller, Mrs. German, Mrs. Koenneman, Veronica, and Naomi), to my grandparents who constantly reminded me that they were there and willing to help if I needed it (fortunately we didn’t) and ESPECIALLY to my parents: THANK YOU. I don’t have words (or enough money) to properly thank you, but thank you!!

7. A very NOT thank you to our van that decided to crap out amidst the drama. Stupid, stupid van. It’s still under the weather…

8. My kids are resilient. The real champions of it all. Even the cat just went with the flow.

We’re home now. There’s a pile of stuff in my entry way that needs put away and the mess that was here when we *evacuated* is somewhat still here but we’re home.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what they decided caused the almost fire, you’ll have to ask Drew for details. It’s something to do with faulty wiring, a nail, our siding, and the wind.  Moral of the story: if you’re going to flip a house and you’re not an actual electrician, hire one to do the electrical work.

The end.

2017 Christmas Wishlist

I’m running quite behind of my holiday wishlist but I don’t have any real wishes this year. Or maybe our needs are so great (new roof for our house, new furnace…) that I haven’t really thought much about other things I’d like.

Nonetheless, it’s fun to look back through the years to see what I wanted at different times.

I’ve heard that I am hard to buy for. Nonsense. Here’s exactly what I’d like, with links.


1. Everything by Leigh Bardugo, specifically Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and The Shadow and Bone trilogy.

2. Whole 30 Day by Day

3. A Simplified Life


1. Some pans. A medium sized and a big ole honker. We have enough pots but I have run through another set of pans. We need one for smaller usage like cooking some eggs and a giant one for stir fry and one pot meals. I don’t know if we want ceramic or stainless steel. I think we’re over non-stick.

2. These di Oro spatulas. And maybe these as well. But mostly just the first. To be honest, I just need some freakin scrapers and I’d take a couple from dollar general if I could remember to grab them.

3. These earrrings.

4. This is weird, don’t ask, I just really want it.

5. This set of hair products. I actually know a couple of distributors so money would work 🙂


1. Roughly $10,000 for a new roof.

2. Not quite as much, but a hefty amount for a new furnace.

3. A buffet or long, short dresser with a lot of storage that could hide all of the arts and crafts and puzzles and what not that are currently stashed in a pile in my dining room. It doesn’t even have to be new.

Okay, so this stuff is expensive. I know, that’s why I haven’t already purchased it for myself. I’d also enjoy any of the dish towels or coffee cups from Ed by Ellen❤️

Whole 30 – Final Thoughts

Image result for i finished the whole30

Ugh. I’ve been trying to put together a full 30 day meal plan based on what I ate as well as some final thoughts on the whole experience but man, things like that take time, and I’ve got three kids and life, and stuff…

A meal plan is coming.

I need to get some thoughts down before I forget them, though, so here are random thoughts in no particular order.

Starting weight – 146lbs. Ending weight – 134.8. Whole 30 is not about weight loss but hey, that’s a pretty big deal for me. I didn’t have many non-scale victories, so lets take a moment to think about an 11.2 pound weight loss in 30 days. I’ll take it!

Non-scale victories: I think that if I want to see the NSV’s that most people claim, I need to do another Whole 30, or 45, or 60. I’m totally game but I’m seeing how I handle real life first (I suck at it). My headaches still come and go. Fall is a horrible allergy season for me, probably the worst. Whole 30 did not make my allergies go away like it does for some people. I’m also still pretty tired every day around 3. I’ve got some ideas there…like maybe I shouldn’t drink 4-5 cups of coffee before noon. Baby steps.

One thing I have noticed is that my post-workout recovery has improved exponentially. I haven’t had any significant muscle or joint pain for a while. I even rocked a four mile race without any negative after effects…minus some slight calf cramping but I should have trained, warmed up, stretched, cooled down, etc.

Beer was so much easier to give up than I anticipated and I’m considering at least going without beer for a longer period of time. I love a  good IPA, but I also think that reintroducing beer threw up some pretty obvious road flares.

Speaking of reintroduction, I haven’t really had any sort of negative reaction to reintroducing dairy, gluten, or sugar. Just beer. I had a day or two where I kind of binged out on crap food and I still felt fine afterwards. I think for me, it’s the sustained, prolonged eating of crap food that makes the biggest difference. But again, I want to try a Whole 45 or Whole 60 to see if maybe I have better results.

Some interesting tid-bits:
1. I went through 23 oz of Frank’s Red Hot.
2. I went through 20 oz of Tessemae’s Avocado Ranch dressing.
3. Cauliflower rice is legitimately better than regular rice. Who’d have thought? Even Drew really likes it. Win/win.
4. I can eat eggs for breakfast 30 days in a row and not think twice about it.
5. Applegate Chicken Apple sausage is the best sausage I’ve ever had.
6. Apparently almonds are good, almond butter is good, and almond/date/chocolate combinations are good. Who knew?
7. I did it! I actually, really, did it. Minus that bite of coleslaw that one day, I freaking did it.

Some people I started following on Instagram that I totally fan-girl/want to be friends with (there are more, these are my favorites):
1. @therealfoodrds The best recipes. At least go to their website.
2. @littlebitsof_realfood Kelsey may be the only person who loves the koala filter more than me.
3. @thewholesmiths I’d do a lot for a coffee date with Michelle.
4. @dr.jacob.harden If you exercise similarly to the way I do, just follow him, boys AND girls.
5. @pretend_its_a_donut Obviously.
6. @melissa_hartwig The Queen. Motivation, justification, exercise inspiration.

Some tips for people considering it:
1. Commit to following ALL the rules for 30 days or just don’t do it at all.
2. Broken record: plan, plan, and over plan.
3. Do not get overwhelmed with all the people telling to to meal prep and batch cook. Have a few staples on hand, have a plan, and you can still just cook dinner every day and eat leftovers.
4. Find a friend/family member to do it with you even if for no other reason that to complain to each other.
5. Read or skim through It Starts With Food and Food Freedom Forever. I was easily able to get both from the library. No money necessary 🙂
6. Do not say, “I could never do that.” Because anyone could do it. Instead say, “I don’t think I want to do that.” Because that’s fine and reasonable. Cheese is life (or was, for some of us.)
7. I think I said this on a previous post, but this is not a time to try things you’re not sure you would like unless they’re not essential to your meal. Like cauliflower rice. So do some research and pick some recipes that seem interesting and try them out before you start your 30 days. I learned to like  lot of new things last month, but the one time I planned something completely new for dinner and it was disgusting, I almost threw in the towel on the whole thing.
8. I will answer any questions anyone has about my own experience and the research I’ve done. I will support anyone through this endeavor. I will do it again and would love to have someone else join me.

I may add to this as I think of more things I want to say. But that’s all for now!

Whole 30 – One week left

I have one week left in my first round of Whole 30 and wanted to record some thoughts for myself.

As I reflect on the last month, it just still hasn’t been that hard. I think what must get most people is that they don’t usually plan meals and cook for themselves. I did those things before, and I am doing those things now. So there’s still not major change in that way for me.

This morning I was listening to a Podcast between Jen Hatmaker and Whole 30 founder, Melissa Hartwig. A couple of things really stood out to me.

First, Jen said her favorite thing about Whole 30 is that you don’t sacrifice any flavor. She can still cook whole meals for large groups of people and they don’t eat and say, “what was missing? Something was missing.” Yes! When people ask me, what I can eat, I say pretty much everything I was eating before with slight modifications. I don’t think people realize how many flavors and spices they’re missing out on when they eat convenience food.

Second, Melissa said that in taking the Whole 30 from a meal plan idea she shared on her blog to a couple of hundred people to the huge entity that it is today, it was really important to her that everyone had access. That everyone could be able to do this. You don’t have to sign up or buy anything. Yes, Whole 30 is a brand that is now slapped on the side of many, many products you can buy in a store, but you don’t have to buy anything specific to eat real food for 30 days.

And that is what I love most about it. It is not a gimmick or a fad or a diet, even if it’s really popular and annoying right now. If someone is telling you that even if you eat whole food and exercise regularly, you’re not healthy unless you buy their product, just walk away, or hang up, or don’t respond. They do not have you’re well being closest to their heart. They are trying to make money.

I am sure Melissa Hartwig makes PLENTY of money off of Whole 30 books and endorsements. It is heavily marketed and is it’s own brand. But at it’s core, you can find everything you need to know, for free, on the website. You can make it cost as much or as little as you need. There are a whole slew of supplements that can take you to the next level, I’m sure, but when it comes down to it, the Whole 30 people are not asking you to buy anything. They want you well and so their research and science and support and experience is all FREE. It’s important to it’s founder.

I have wasted so much money on the latest and greatest products that have promised to give me more energy, mental clarity, fewer headaches, and a better sense of well being. So much money. I am a total sucker for that crap. I always knew, deep down, that I needed to eat better and sleep well.

The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this so far is that now I know, for certain, that all I need to do is eat better and sleep well. They are so connected to each other and to how I feel.

That said, I am still having headaches every day. Bad ones…but guess what, it’s Fall. I have wretched allergies EVERY Fall. You know how I can make my allergies go away? I could just never go outside. That would do it. Nature gives me a headache. Ugh.

Some other randoms: I can honestly say that the thought of eating pizza or a whole doughnut or drinking a latte makes me feel sick. And that makes me sad. I am mourning the loss of those things…kind of seriously. One thing I’ve heard Melissa say is that after the Whole 30, when you eat a doughnut or drink a latte, just be honest about why you’re doing it. Don’t tell yourself you deserve it because you’ve had a bad day or an awesome day, just be real. I want to eat this doughnut because doughnuts are delicious. And then just really think about how you feel after you eat it. I already know I won’t feel good. My plan for my next doughnut, cut it into smaller portions and share with my kids or eat it over a couple of days.

I could, however, eat about 14 tacos. Good, yummy, tacos from like Hoppy Gnome. And if I eat tacos I’ll want a beer, but just a tiny ONE. I thought beer would be the hardest thing to give up because I LOVE a good IPA but it just hasn’t been that hard.

That’s all for now.


Whole 30 – Food

W9 Manifesto-for-FB-Cover NEW

I’ve tried really hard not to be an overbearing, annoying ‘everyone do the Whole30!!!!!’ person.

But a few people have asked what it is and after a very brief explanation, most people have asked what I eat. I’ve been keeping a journal of each day and I am going to share just the food parts for your information, curiosity, and/or to give you ideas for your own journey.

Two things before we get started:
1 – I like hot sauce on everything.

2 – For breakfast I have eaten some variety of shredded potatoes with peppers, onion, tomatoes, spinach, and 2-3 eggs. I’ve also eaten two Applegate Organics Chicken Apple breakfast sausage links. Be careful not to get the Chicken Apple and Maple sausage. While more delicious, it is not compliant. I bought the Fresh Thyme frozen, shredded potatoes to make things more convenient. Just check your labels. I’ve eaten the eggs poached, over easy using ghee as a fat, and scrambled. I’ve done this every day for 11 days…and probably longer. It’s my favorite breakfast, whole 30 and unwhole 30.

Day 1: For lunch I had this Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl. The link to the one I made isn’t working but this one is close. Sriracha is not compliant, however, so I mixed Tessemae’s mayo with some franks red hot as a substitution.  For supper we grilled chicken wings and asparagus.

Day 2: Lunch didn’t really happen. For supper we grilled burgers. I ate mine with mayo/hot sauce and a diced tomato. We also had broccoli.

Day 3: Lunch was a leftover burger with Tessemae’s bbq sauce and broccoli. We grilled chicken and had broccoli for dinner. I ate a lot of grapes and apples this day as well.

Day 4: I chopped up the leftover chicken and added it to some asparagus and broccoli for lunch. I drizzled it with Tessemae’s Avocado Ranch dressing and hot sauce. I ate grapes and a banana for a snack. I made tacos for the family for supper and just ate a Taco Salad myself.

Day 5: I ate an apple and banana for a snack pretty early. I was hungry this day! I had leftover chicken for lunch with some grapes, carrots, cucumber and Tessemae’s ranch dip. I made beef stew for supper. Beef stew in and of itself is mostly compliant. I used a compliant organic beef bone broth instead of whatever I usually used and thickened it with a tapioca flour slurry. I also added a can of compliant diced tomatoes. And all the hot sauce 🙂

**On this day, I started to be really, really thirsty. I have had more than a gallon of water a day since then.

Day 6: Lunch was a turkey burger with mayo/hotsauce and diced tomato. Pineapple and an apple. This was a bad day for me. I tried to make this Creamy Garlic Bacon Spaghetti squash for supper. I planned on eating it leftover for lunch for a couple of days. But I DID NOT LIKE IT. It was so gross to me. This was when I discovered I just can’t cook with coconut cream. I had to brush my teeth, mouthwash, and lysol spray my kitchen so that I couldn’t smell it. Involuntary gagging. Yes, I am dramatic, but it did not sit well with me. I linked the recipe anyway because you might like it. But I ended up eating sausage and 2 eggs for supper…and crying myself to sleep (not really).

Day 7: I ate and giant bowl of fruit and a banana for lunch because I didn’t have any leftovers. I was a Hangry Hangry (slightly smaller that 7 days ago) Hippo on day 7. This is why a meal plan is CRUCIAL. Even though I planned, it didn’t work out, and I was left a hot mess of hungry. Imagine if I never planned?!? [shudder] Whole 30 is maybe not a great time to see if maybe you started to like a food you’ve never in your entire life thought sounded good, like coconut cream, for example. If you risk it, don’t be a Carol, have a backup plan. For supper I made a steak stir fry and restored peace and happiness to my body and my home. I sliced peppers, onion, zucchini and mushrooms and cooked em up in a pan. I removed them and seared some steaks in the same pan until they were medium rare-ish. I removed those and while they rested, added some bone broth to the pan with a couple of splashes of coconut aminos and some red hot. I made a slurry of tapioca flour and water and whisked that in to thicken slightly. I sliced the steak and added it to the pan sauce with the veggies. YYYUUUUMMM.

Day 8: I tried the Sweet Potato Apple bake for breakfast. It was good and a nice change from eggs but I don’t like sweet potatoes so I threw the rest away. I ended up eating my usual breakfast for lunch. For dinner we had burgers and Cajun shrimp (I used this guy’s recipe for the Cajun seasoning at the bottom of his post). We also ate a vegetable but I didn’t write it down. It was probably green. EDIT: I remember! I made sweet corn this day. FYI: sweet corn is a grain NOT a vegetable, which I knew, but I haven’t slept well and I want to eat oatmeal with maple syrup for days and my brain is all foggy. Drew assured me that eating sweet corn will most definitely make me fat and I should probably just quit. You may be thinking, man, this Drew guy is a real punk. He’s not. He’s just funny ALL THE TIME and knows reverse Psychology and sarcasm are the best ways to calm me down and keep me happy.

Day 9: I had a leftover burger and bbq sauce for lunch and a zucchinni that I sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper. I made wings and chili for supper because ALL THE MEAT and Football! This chili is SO GOOD. Anna even ate a bunch of it. It was even better leftover, as most chili’s are.

Day 10: I ate the rest of the wings for lunch. Like 12 of them :/ And an apple. For dinner I made Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers drizzled with the Avocado ranch (omg, yum!) and broccoli.

Day 11: Leftover chili and an apple filled me up at lunch time. I made 5 different variations of BLTs for the family. Drew eats his as a sandwich but with a slice of cheese and a fried egg. Anna eats eggs, bacon, and a tomato, lettuce and mayo sandwich. Bennett just ate bacon and eggs and Caleb just ate bacon 🙂 I used Romaine lettuce as a ‘wrap’ for my bacon, mayo, and tomato. I ate two eggs on the side and a sauteed zucchini. I was still a little hungry before bed so I sauteed an apple with coconut oil and some dry roasted almonds. Sprinkled some (a lot) of cinnamon on top.

Day 12: I ate an apple for a snack after breakfast. #momlife, it was an apple I found on the counter that was half eaten. A giant Honeycrisp apple $$ so it was still a fairly substantial snack. I had some leftover chicken from Day 10 so I stuffed another pepper and cooked it up for lunch. I’ve got Creamy Southwest Chicken in the crock pot for dinner but haven’t tasted it yet. I plan to make Cauliflower Spanish Rice for myself but Drew doesn’t mess around with cauliflower so he gets regular brown rice with his. **The Southwest chicken was okay but not awesome. The Cauliflower Spanish rice, however, was amazing and I’ll make it a bunch more times.

*Selfish rant alert* At this point, I’ve fetched beer, made pizza, tacos, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, toast with jelly, all the PBJs, and oatmeal for my family. Someone please pat me on the back, give me a high five, or buy me something awesome because doing the Whole 30 while living with 4 people who are not doing it is NO EFFING JOKE! I should be getting MAJOR bonus point for catering to their lifestyle while restricting mine.

Day 13: I made some zoodles and Cajun Shrimp (see Day 8) for lunch. For dinner I took some leftover chicken, chopped in up and mixed it with a compliant salsa, and threw it on some leftover cauliflower Spanish rice. It was really good with the avocado ranch dressing on it.

Day 14: I just had some sausage first thing in the morning and then around 10 I had a couple of eggs. I woke up not so hungry. I had an apple and banana for lunch and then made some bacon wrapped dates for an afternoon snack. I made mini meatloaf and “mashed potatoes” for dinner. The meatloaf was really good. I did make a traditional ketchup/mustard/brown sugar glaze for my family but ate mine without (actually, I put avocado ranch on there, so good.) I can’t say that I’ll probably ever make those mashed potatoes again. Mashed potatoes require dairy. Just don’t try…roasted smashed potatoes would have been better.

Day 15: I made these Potato Skins with Scrambled Eggs and Bacon for breakfast. They were really good. I added chives as well. If you don’t Whole 30, they’d be really good with cheese and sour cream. Haha. For lunch I made Whole 30 coleslaw, which was shockingly not bad considering how weird it seemed like it’d be. I also made regular coleslaw for my family and friends and I totally cheated and had a bite because it has been my most favorite thing to eat this year. Seriously, coleslaw is what broke me. I only had one bite and it definitely needed more salt, so I’m not too upset about it. I also made this pulled pork only I left out the brown sugar and added 4-5 dates. When it was done, I removed a bunch of the fat, smushed the dates, and thickened the cooking liquid with Tapioca starch. I used the sauce as a gravy of sorts. I also ate 2 spoonfuls because I like to eat gravy with a spoon. Always have, always will. It also needed some salt so again, I don’t feel too bad about it. I wasn’t hungry for supper so I grabbed a couple of grapes and a handful of almonds and was in bed by 8:45.

**A note on the pulled pork. The website claims that this is the best slow cooker pulled pork. I think I’d have to agree. Like I said, I didn’t use the brown sugar and substituted dates. I also did 1/2 ACV 1/2 Water because I love ACV. But other that that, I did it spot on. It was definitely the best slow cooked pulled pork I’ve ever made.

Day 16: For breakfast I busted out the cast iron skillet. The potato ‘flesh’ I removed from the skins the day before were just begging to be crisped up in the iron. I added some peppers and onions and a boat load of black pepper and cooked them until the were crunchy and slightly charred. Fried two eggs and laid them right on top. Drenched it all in a good amount of hot sauce and debated skipping church because God had already blessed me so much with that meal. But since I love to worship with my church family, and holy smokes did our worship team blow the roof off this week, I went to church. Afterwards, my mom made the steak kabobs from the Beef section of the Whole 30 cookbook. They were really good but I ate fresh pineapple instead of the grilled pineapple because grilled fruit just doesn’t sit right with me. For supper I made the same wings (day 10) I made a few days ago.

Day 17: 3 eggs and 2 sausage links for breakfast because I was out of peppers and onions and who wants to chopped all that in the morning? See, have some stuff prepped. I ate leftover wings and mini meatloaf for lunch and them leftover pulled pork, coleslaw, and a sauteed zucchini for supper. Some how I accumulated 9 zucchini in the fridge. Hmm.

Day 18: I sucked it up and chopped some peppers and onions. Back to the usual breakfast. I made the Egg Roll in a Bowl for lunch (day 1). For dinner I’m making the braised short ribs from the Whole 30 cookbook. I can’t find the recipe online so I’m sorry I don’t have a link. I do have a screen shot thought and would happily text it to you 🙂

Day 19-23: I did not journal well and my meal plan days got all mixed around because of failure to thaw meat and scheduling changes. I do have a list of foods I ate in no particular order: I ate the usual breakfast and made a big batch of the egg roll stuff on Day 18 that I ate for lunches throughout the week along with leftover braised short ribs from Day 18. For suppers we did grilled chicken marinaded in the beef marinade from the Whole 30 Cookbook (pineapple, lemon juice, garlic, ginger…and some other things) with grilled zucchini, a ground beef/veggie/cauliflower Spanish rice blend of things, the Cajun shrimp/zoodles combo I’ve mentioned, and Porkchops, cauliflower Spanish rice (my new favorite) and broccoli.

This was one of those weeks where I looked at what I had in my freezer, crisper, and pantry and tried to make meals out of a protein (mostly meat), some veggies, and some compliant add-ons. The best example is the meat/veggie/cauliflower deal. All I do is saute some peppers and onions, move them to a bowl. Saute some chopped zucchini and mushrooms and added them to the bowl. Then I browned some beef and added some paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic, and onion powder, a couple spoon fulls of compliant tomato paste and a few splashes of broth (which I make) and simmer it until it comes together. Then, you guessed it, toss it in the bowl with the veggies. I made the cauliflower Spanish rice earlier in the day so I just reheated that. To eat it, it put the “rice” in the bottom of a bowl and top with the veggies/beef, hot sauce, and the avocado ranch. I add fresh tomatoes and green onions to garnish. Its a burrito in a bowl of sorts and something I make allll the time. The only thing I’ve changed for the Whole 30 is NOT throwing a handful of cheese to the top.

I will continue to update this post as I go. Text me or email me any questions.

Whole September Update


I am 11 days in to the Whole 30.

According to the timeline, I’m at the second hardest day. I haven’t been looking at the steps in the timeline until after I’m passed them to compare what I experienced on that day with what most people experience. I haven’t looked ahead too much because I don’t want to expect certain things. What I experience is not necessarily going to be that same as most people (in the 32 years I’ve been on this planet, I haven’t come to the conclusion that I am not the same as most people). Case in point, yesterday and today have not been the hardest days. At all. Day one and two still remain the hardest for me.

What worries me, this hasn’t really been hard for me, AT ALL. I’d rather have a splash of milk in my coffee and I accidentally stuck a noodle in my mouth the other day to see if it was done…but I spit it out and I actually like black coffee as well.


  • I KNOW that I have lost weight. Maybe even a significant amount. I haven’t weighed myself since I learned I wasn’t supposed to but at that point, I was down 5-6 pounds. Pants that I’ve spent the last year squeezing into just fit. Shirts hang more lose. The seat belt overhang (you know what I’m talking about…) is much smaller. Meal planning is stress reducing and money saving. Win, win, win.
  • I haven’t craved a beer. Just cookies and oatmeal and coleslaw…weird.
  • I’m reading It Starts With Food and it is so validating and encouraging to be reading while I do this. I read the Whole 30 cookbook before I started and definitely recommend reading one or the other first. Don’t know something you don’t know anything about.


  • I keep accidentally putting food in my mouth that the kids leave on their plates. It’s been eye opening. I’ve spit it all out with the exception of a sip of hot chocolate from Panera to see if it was too hot. I used my finger for the second check. It was a tiny sip, but still.
  • Also, I don’t like coconut cream/milk/anything or sweet potatoes. Do you know how many Whole 30 recipes involves one or both of those two? 98%! I checked, it’s true (it’s not true).
  • Finally, Starbucks: PSL. I want one. I need a latte. It doesn’t even have to be a PSL. I need a creamy, semi-sweet, espresso-y drink. Now. I think it will be the first thing I do on day 31. I am weak. I am basic.
  • Caleb has been sick this whole time. I have no idea if the Whole 30 is improving my sleep and giving me more energy because I’m not sleeping and I have no energy. Also, I am on day 11 of a headache and my ears itch. I have no idea if this is my own allergies or Whole 30. Life is a mystery right now.


  • Broken record here but plan your meals a weak at a time. I don’t work much so I don’t have to meal prep but I do keep a container of chopped onion/peppers in the fridge for easy, quick breakfast bowls. Also, I am eating leftovers for lunch almost every day, so make a lot of food at night.
  • Follow @whole30recipes and @therealfoodrds on Instagram.
  • Print a bunch of these Weekly Meal Planners from Day Designer.
  • Buy Whole 30 compliant products like Tessemae’s Avocado Ranch Dressing, BBQ Sauce, and Mayo (I’ve found the best selection at Fresh Thyme). Stock up on Frank’s Red Hot to put on everything or to mix with your ranch and mayo. But make your own ghee because it’s really easy for 1/4 of the cost.
  • At night, when I really want something before bed, I peel and chop a Granny Smith apple and saute it with some coconut oil and ghee. Then I throw on some chopped, dry roasted almonds and heat them up a bit. I dump them in a bowl and sprinkle them with cinnamon. I don’t know what the rules are on this because it’s kind of like dessert but it is compliant.
  • I keep a stash of RXbars in my gym bag. I know they took them off of the approved list but the ingredients are compliant and if I’m feeling like a need a boost before a workout, or replenished after a workout, I eat 1/4-1/2 a bar to hold me over.

So that’s what I have to say on Day 11.

I’m going to share my meal plan and recipes on a separate post because holy moly, this is already long enough.