Friday Faves

Yay for June! There are so many things to love right now. Summer is coming, the weather in New England is getting better, the grill is fired up more than it was over the winter, and my kids are playing outside more!

Here are some of the things that I ‘ve been especially loving lately:

RTIC tumbler with silicone straw

We all need tons of water to keep our body healthy and moving in the right direction. I love my RTIC tumbler and take it with me wherever I go. For some reason I drink more it if I have a silicone straw. I don’t really like the taste of the water through the stainless-steel ones and without a straw I feel like it water is going to dump all over my face. I love that RTIC cups are affordable compared to some other double-walled stainless-steel cups and keep things either hot or cold forever.

Cracklin’ chicken by Nom Nom Paleo

This stuff is the bomb! My whole family eats this salty, crunchy delicious chicken — and asks for seconds. It is becoming more of a weekly staple in our house as it is not only delicious, but super affordable since you use chicken thighs. I serve it as the main course, throw it on salad, or use some if I need a mini meal. I always double the recipe as I love leftovers! I’m using Jenny’s photo since she took a photo before eating hers!

Pro Tip: Get a grease splatter guard. It really saves time on clean-up! I like this!

Condiment bottles for the sauces I make (No more dripping jars here!)

It’s weird, but these bottles make me feel like a pro in the kitchen. I use dump ranch as my plated fat a lot and I got tired of it just dumping out of the jar instead of nicely spreading it over my salads. I find that my portions are more accurate when I use this as it doesn’t plop down on my lettuce and kale in one spot. They are inexpensive and really help with the mess. No more rings from the bottom of the drippy gross jar in my fridge!

Summer and the growing garden that comes along with it!

Summer is fast approaching, and I am excited to have tons of outdoor fun with my kids. I am excited for swimming, and less stressful schedules. I am looking forward to finally making a summer bucket list.

My kids are finally old enough where I feel like we can conquer some of the fun things without completely losing it. Although I am still taking classes, for some reason I feel like summer is still a break from that.

I am also loving the rate at which my raised beds are growing. Last year was a seriously black thumb year and so far, I have had so many salads from the garden and am looking forward to all sorts of veggies and flowers. We moved to our house during summer last year so this year we are really settled, and I am happy to see some of the beautiful flowers that are growing. I mean seriously, look at these peonies. They are just gorgeous! Plus, we have baby broccoli and cauliflower and they are so stinking cute!

Running outside

Although this is currently on pause for me due to heal pain that is seriously getting me down, I know that soon I will be able to get back out there and not have to bundle up. I love running outside. It’s so much nicer than on the treadmill. The warmth of the sun or a little breeze, music rockin’… I just love it.

Plus, I like to pace myself to the beat of the music. I feel like I am in my own little world and can hear myself think. I often take time to process through things that are happening, and the runner’s high is REAL!

It just makes me happy and I’m glad that the weather is cooperating so that when this pain in my foot gets better, I can hit the road in my sneakers on and my music blaring.

Happy Friday! What are YOU loving lately?

Friday Faves

Hi Friends! I feel like I can finally get excited for summer now that the sun is shining more days than not. The warm weather in New Hampshire means I try and get my kiddos outside as much as possible, but getting kids slathered in sunscreen should be an Olympic sport, AMIRIGHT!? Even more than putting sunscreen on my kids, here’s what I’m loving this week.

Happy Squeeze Apple/Kale/Blueberry Pouches

I get these pouches for my kids for snacks on the go and they are great because there is a veggie component to them. If I’m being totally honest, I usually throw an extra in the diaper bag for me too along with a baggie of almonds or cashews, just in case a trip lasts longer than expected. They actually taste really good and make my life easier, so that’s a win.

Shredded Chicken

You know what’s saved my tush lately? Shredded chicken. The busier I am with getting stuff done around the house and outside, the less motivation I have to create every meal from scratch. I love throwing a few chicken breasts in my Instant Pot and magically having a container of chicken to pull from throughout the week. I use it in egg bakes, salads, wrapped in lettuce, mixed with mayo…you name it. It’s so versatile and it saves the day countless times.

Dance Parties

I am talking about the kind you do in your PJs in the kitchen or living room or car….or anywhere really, that make you forget you’re actually probably getting a good workout in. My (almost) 3-year-old son has some pretty sweet moves and he likes to bust them out. We listen to anything from Moana and the Trolls soundtrack to 90’s pop and hip hop to the Beatles. I don’t always have time to get a true workout in, but there’s always time for dancing. My 1-year-old son is starting to want to join in too and that makes my heart so happy!

Vanilla Lemon Nutpods!

I’m going to be totally honest (who are we kidding?! I’m always totally honest! HA!) I was ready to really hate this. I thought there is NO WAY I’m going to like a lemon flavor anything near my coffee, but you know what?! I am actually, reeeaaaallly into it. I mix mine with Thai Kitchen coconut milk and really like it in hot or iced coffee! It’s light and yummy and totally not overpowering, which is what I anticipated originally.

I also went out on a limb and put a glug in my compliant chai tea and that was also a delight. Again, with the honesty, pumpkin spice was my JAM, but this is a nice change of pace from my usual hazelnut. I liked it so much I got two 6-packs. Really rolled the dice on that one, eh!? Actually, nah…Jenny would have snagged them from me if I didn’t like them. Right, girl?!

Driving with the windows down

One of the many perks to the summa summa summa time is being able to drive with the windows down and get some fresh air circulating through my mama-mobile. Two toddlers does a number on the smell factor. I recently pulled the trigger on some new prescription sunglasses and I get to wear those bad boys too while I’m cruisin’…to the dump…and to the grocery store…and to all of the very glamorous places one takes two toddlers. ANYWAY, I’m into it.

Added bonus: When the windows are down and you’re singing your heart out to Beyoncé with the wind in your hair, you kind of feel like you’re in a music video.

I hope everyone has a spectacular holiday weekend!

Friday Faves

Yay! It’s Friday! We’ll aim to celebrate this glorious day on the blog with a round-up of some of our favorites from the past week. These are the things that are making me happy on this Friday…

Lime SeaSnax

For an upcoming partnership in the Facebook group with SeaSnax, I was able to try some of their amazing flavored seaweed sheets, which include onion, lime, and barbecue! I started with lime – and while it sounds crazy, it’s actually delicious! It’s tangy and tart, and has an awesome lime kick. Their tagline is “Strangely Addictive!” – and it’s a true statement. I have started using seaweed sheets to scoop up tuna salad and scrambled eggs. Yum!

Paleo Meatloaf

Yes, I know it’s spring and it’s getting into grilling season, but I am head over heels for Jay’s Baking Me Crazy Paleo Meatloaf. It’s easy and SO tasty. In fact, it gets better with age and I love eating it for lunch cold a day or two after I make it. I mix it with homemade coleslaw and it checks off everything on the meal template – protein, veggies, and fat. For my latest meatloaf, I used some Fruitchup – and it came out amazing (and was much easier than making my own homemade ketchup!) You can grab some Fruitchup here and use the code EVRYDY30 for 15 percent off your order!

Polar Seltzer Summer Flavors

I am a giant seltzer fan and beyond excited that the summer flavors of Polar Seltzer are here! These are light, fruity, and refreshing! My favorite flavors are Mango Cherry Bliss and Pineapple Lemon Twist. These are great to drink alone, or you can mix in some compliant kombucha and/or some muddled fruit to make a summer mocktail. I used to drink a lot of wine outside in the summer but these days, I always have a bottle of seltzer in my hand. I know these aren’t available nationwide so I count unlimited access to Polar as one of the best perks of living in New England!

Core Workout

Last week at my gym, I veered from my usual Friday strength class and instead, took a 15-minute Core class, followed by a 30-minute Cardio Kickbox class. The Core class was great – short and sweet but it left my abs burning in a good way. It reminded me that I should do more stand-alone core workouts, and that they are easy to do at home with minimal (or no) equipment. Here are two quickie workouts I found from some of the healthy living blogs I read, in case you want to give them a try: Peanut Butter Fingers Weighted Core Workout and the 8-Minute Plank Workout from Carrots ‘n’ Cake. (As a reminder, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any sort of new exercise regime!)

The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I sent an Instagram message to Michelle Smith, the blogger behind the popular The Whole Smiths. To my surprise, she responded almost immediately. Michelle kindly agreed to give away a copy of her brand-new Whole 30 Endorsed cookbook in the Facebook group, send me a copy, share an exclusive recipe with the group and the blog, and host a Facebook LIVE for us! WOW! I had a bit of a #fangirl moment and then took her up on all of her generous offers! My cookbook arrived the other day and it’s incredible. Beautiful photos, well-written stories, and easy, delicious recipes – for Whole 30 and your Food Freedom beyond the round. I am over the moon to host Michelle for Facebook LIVE and I nearly fell over when she told me she has been in the Facebook group for a year and loves it. The cookbook comes out on June 5 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon. Snap this one up! Also, Michelle is going on a cookbook tour starting June 5. Click here to see if she will be in your neck of the woods!

My Baby Girl

Mushy alert! Yes, I am one of the voices behind the blog and a strong presence on our Whole 30 Facebook group but did you also know that I am a mom? And my baby girl is turning 5 next week. It feels like I *just* had a baby and now I am *just* about to have a kindergartner! She is awesome and funny and the love of my life — and she just LOVES to talk about Mama’s Whole 30 cooking, Melissa Hartwig, and my passion for vegetables. The apple doesn’t fall far…

TGIF! What are YOU loving this Friday?

Friday Faves

Life is crazy busy. I have three kids ages 5 and under. My day starts early, ends late, and there isn’t much of a pause to take a breath and enjoy all the little things. My faves keep me going every day. They keep the calm in the crazy and keep my Food Freedom moving in the right direction. Let me share them with you!

My morning cup of coffee in my dog mug (that I stole/ inherited from my better half)

Extra hot black coffee at 5:30 am is the best way to start an early day. The house is quiet (most of the time), and there is just this perfect moment when you take the first sip of piping hot coffee that gets the day headed in the right direction. The navy blue dog mug was from Home Goods. I love its size and the pattern.

Waking up before my kids do

Waking up by 5:30 am is a newish thing for me. I used to wake up whenever my kids did, but I found, in the past year, that I am a happier person if I have coffee and give myself a moment to myself. This idea came from our very own Judith Forman. I now spend my mornings stretching, drinking coffee, catching up on emails, reading assignments for grad school, and doing whatever it is that I need to do to get my day started. I am taking care of myself in a more complete way, a lesson I’ve learned from my Whole 30 journey.

Wide Mouth Pint Sized Ball Jars with Plastic Lids

I use these for everything and regularly have at least six in use at a time! They are perfect for homemade ghee, homemade mayo, dump ranch, almond butter, and more. They wash well, last forever and are the perfect size to fit the head of an immersion blender in. I got mine on Amazon because when someone can drop something at my door instead of schlepping my three kids from store to store, I am going to take the opportunity. The plastic lids are amazing because it eliminates the rust issue I found with reusing traditional lids. These jars are the perfect size!

Homemade Almond Butter

The cost of pre-made almond butter makes me crazy. I am definitely on a budget and a large bag of almonds from Costco makes about three pint-sized jars of almond butter. Toss almonds, coconut oil, and salt in a food processor for at least 10 minutes and you’ll end up with a delicious, warm almond butter. I do need to be mindful around almond butter, though. It’s so good that it can end up a “food without brakes” for me if I’m not careful.

My Garden

I have dreamt about the veggies I am going to grow in my garden. We moved last year so I planted super late. My raised beds were not as productive as I had hoped, but this is a new season. I built new raised beds with the assistance of my three-year-old twins (not so helpful.) I created a trellis for green beans and I have seeds. I can’t wait to go outside and pick what I am going to fill my plate with for the day. I am excited to see all that color, try some new things, and feed my kids straight from the garden beds in my backyard.

What makes your day a little bit easier? Tell us about your Friday Fave?

Friday Faves

Friday is here with another edition of Friday faves. This week, I’m at the helm showing you some of my favorite things that I’m loving this week so without further ado:

PORK RIBS – In my search to find new cuts of meat and recipes, I picked up some pork ribs and one of our members, PJ, gave me a wonderful sugar-free bar-b-q spice rub that I tried out. I’ve never had a spice rubbed anything so this was a pleasant surprise. These were amazing the day after as leftovers when I sliced the ribs and put it in a stir fry with the next item. (woah, great segway, eh?)

SAUCY LIPS ZESTY CILANTRO SAUCE – I came across this company on Instagram and am in LOVE with their zesty cilantro sauce. I’m obviously not in the ‘cilantro tastes like soap’ group! If you are, skip on down to the next thing. I’ve been using this on my eggs every morning, in stir fries, and on anything that I’m cooking that needs a little extra oomph! We arranged for a 25% off code (EVERYDAYWHOLE) for our members but haven’t released it to everyone just yet as we’re still reviewing their other sauces.

MANDOLINE – Oh, my lovely, lovely super sharp mandoline—how I love thee! I mean, look at my fancy potatoes! I got one a few months ago at Home Goods and the bottom was misplaced by my dear hubby who didn’t know what it was. I ended up finding it but not after I bought another one on Amazon which I’m loving too!

I always run a red onion through it to have them on hand for my breakfast. I usually throw mushroom and onions into my eggs. I use it on cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, zucchini, and summer squash. It comes with interchangeable blades so I end up also using the grater and julienne ones too—it cuts my prep time and because of it, my fridge has been stocked with pre-cut veggies!

FRENCH PRESS – Wanna feel super classy? Dig out a French press and a fancy mug! I love using mine on days where I have time to actually sit down and savour my coffee. I was a bit hesitant buying one because I know how much coffee/water I need to use in my coffee maker and this is different. However, the internet has all the answers—this handy little ratio calculator will help sort that out. These are always available at Home Goods and similar places or you can grab one on Amazon.

GLASS CONTAINERS – I’ve been embracing a move towards glass and tossing out a lot of my plastic containers. I have a Bentgo glass bento lunch box that I’m using a lot to pack lunches—it’s been a great replacement for those plastic three compartment containers that I’ve been using. I have a few more glass containers that I’m using as well but this is by far my fav!

So, like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things. We’ve been on a Sound of Music kick at home, can you tell? I’ve been humming this song for the last couple of days while I’ve been writing this! Enjoy the weekend and the song!

Friday Faves

It was tough to narrow it down to the things I’m loving the most this week, but there are a few things that make my life infinitely easier, especially on a round or when I’m trying my best to stay compliant, so I wanted to share those with you all.

My Vitamix

I have been super into making my own nut milk lately. It is the best way to know exactly what the ingredients are and make sure there are no sneaky sugars or additives that aren’t approved. I use my Vitamix* to blend soaked almonds or cashews because it is high powered and blends like a dream. Very generous friends bought ours as a wedding gift more than 5 years ago and it still works perfectly. It’s an investment, but a good one. I could not live without mine.

*The one I linked is slightly different than mine because I don’t think my model exists anymore.

Aquasana Glass Bottles & Silicone Sleeves

Once I make that beautiful almond or cashew milk, I love these bottles to store it in in the fridge. They are easy to pour out of and take up far less space than mason jars. I have the silicone sleeves to protect the bottles too because the last thing I need is glass breaking everywhere. I also store coconut milk in these bad boys. I always use the red sleeve for my coconut milk because I use Thai’s kitchen and the label is red so I remember which is which that way. Tired mama, here folks…

My Rae Dunn ‘UGH’ Mug

I love this mug so much. I have a bunch of these with different words, but this one is my favorite. I feel like it’s a good friend that understands how I feel each morning and gives me a nod, saying, “YES, girl. I HEAR you.” Then, I fill it with delicious coffee and know everything will be okay. It’s also a very large capacity mug, so I can hold a nice big cup.

Water/Hydration

I love how I feel when I’m drinking enough water. I find especially with Whole 30, I need to make sure I’m drinking enough water with and in

between meals. When you are training yourself to not snack or eat mindlessly, it is SO important to learn to reach for water before you reach for the empty calories. I am obsessed (slightly embarrassingly) with my Hydroflask water bottle. It keeps water so cold and the straw cap makes it easy to just suck down water. My 3 year old likes to steal it and drink all the water in it too, so watch out for that.

Di Oro Silicone Spatula Set

These spatulas are amazing. I use them for all the cooking I do and they are heat resistant up to 600 degrees so I know they won’t melt. They are one piece so the top doesn’t pop up like the cheap set I had before and nothing gets stuck where the handle meets the top. BONUS! The smaller one is the perfect size to scrape out the last delicious bits of homemade mayo from my mason jars and they are strong enough to mix up tuna or chicken salad. SO GOOD.

Last, but not least…

Gather Superfoods Ghee

When I first started my prep for my first round of Whole 30, I will tell you I had a hard time getting on board with ghee. It was a combination of my head expecting butter and not finding the right brand. Well, I found the right brand. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see post after post of me declaring my love for this delicious goodness. In particular, the brown butter ghee is TO. DIE. FOR. It is so good. I use it to fry eggs, to sauté veggies, on baked potatoes, melted and mixed with Frank’s Red Hot to make buffalo sauce, everything and anything. It’s a delight. If you want to give it a shot, and you should want this in your life, check them out at www.gathersuperfoods.com and save 30% with the code WHOLE30 – I promise you will not be disappointed.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you!

Friday Faves

Yay! It’s Friday! We’ll aim to celebrate this glorious day on the blog with a round-up of some of our favorites from the past week. These are the things that are making me happy on this Friday…

MY NEW WOODEN SPOON

Fellow Whole 30-er Pam and I “met” through our Facebook group – and have become dear friends! Last month, I sent her some of my favorites from Trader Joe’s since she lives in a land of no TJ’s (!!!) and this month, she sent me a care package of some of her favorite kitchen items. Among them – This personalized wooden spoon engraved with my Instagram handle. How awesome is this?! I can’t wait to stir away with this spoon.The best part is that Pam found Qualtry (the company that makes them) on Groupon – and it’s such a great deal! These are perfect for gifts, or just as a way to treat yourself for all of your hard work in the kitchen.

JILLIAN MICHAELS YOGA MELTDOWN DVD

Jillian Michaels and I have been in a deep relationship since I started at-home workouts in 2014 to lose my baby weight. Her workouts are time-efficient (each workout is really no more than 35 minutes), challenging, and you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something when you’re done. Plus, you don’t have to leave the house, and for all of you mamas, you don’t need to arrange childcare to fit this in! Nowadays, I mostly work out at a gym or a barre studio (or in Mother Nature when I get out for a run) but there are days when it’s either an at-home workout or nothing. I love Jillian’s Yoga Meltdown DVD, specifically the first workout. It’s yoga mixed with some cardio! My muscles are worked, I sweat a lot, and my daughter will often sit on the couch (playing on the iPad) and watch me exercise. You can also often find Jillian’s DVDs at stores like Kohl’s (use your Kohl’s cash) and on Groupon!

CRISPY OVEN FRIED GREEN BEANS

Until I discovered this recipe, I was not a fan of green beans. But everything changed when Low Carb Yum’s Crispy Oven Fried Green Beans came into my life. I seriously make these every week and I eat them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I modify her recipe to make it Whole 30 compliant – I use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese. I also don’t measure any of the spices (typical for me) and just dump in a bunch of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper – along with nutritional yeast and almond flour. I also buy the pre-washed/trimmed green beans (which are often on sale for 2/$4 or 2/$5) to save time. This recipe is incredible and you need to make it today!

EXTRA SLEEP

So, I am a total early bird. I love the quiet of the early morning hours. I get the most done (work, Whole 30 stuff, bills) as my daughter is sleeping and I savor my coffee. I am also a fairly early-to-bed gal but I’ve decided to see how I feel by going to bed a little earlier than usual. Normally, I am in bed 10/10:15 pm and up around 5 am. This week, I have been trying (when possible) to get to bed around 9:30 pm. I am juggling a lot of balls now in life, and I think the extra sleep can play a part in keeping me calm, focused, and energized. Today, I woke up almost an hour before my alarm and I am up for the day and feeling productive. Stay tuned on this. Sleep is so important and it’s definitely a goal I want to keep working on as I continue my health journey. (I also want to drink more water but I will save that for another blog post!)

MINI SPICE JARS FROM BRANDLESS

Next month, we are going to announce a giveaway and partnership in the Facebook group with Brandless, an online market that sells everything (including food, kitchen supplies, home good, etc!) for $3. Brandless was kind enough to curate a Whole 30-friendly box for me (and one soon-to-be lucky winner in the group) and included in the mix was their glass spice jars. This four-pack of jars are awesome for keeping homemade seasoning blends fresh and accessible – and could be great to take on vacation or on a picnic when you want to bring a little of your kitchen with you. And they are just so cute! Stay tuned for more from us on Brandless – I am really excited about this partnership!

TRADER JOE’S DARK ROAST ARABICA COFFEE PODS

My love for coffee is strong. I used to love wine this much, but now that I’m #whole30forlife, coffee is my #1. Yes, I use a Keurig as I am the only person in my household who drinks coffee – the almost 5-year-old has not yet picked up the habit! And one of my favorite coffees to brew is the Dark Roast Arabica Coffee from Trader Joe’s. It’s rich, delicious, and well-priced! Part of the reason I am such an early bird is that I wake up, excited for coffee – and when I have this coffee on hand, I am extra pumped for my morning cup.

WILD ZORA BARS

In my life pre-Whole 30, you wouldn’t find me regularly eating dried meat bars. These days, I always have some of these savory bars on hand in case of emergency. I’ve picked up some Chomps bars and also some Epic Bars – but I’ve recently become enamored with Wild Zora bars! Unlike jerky, they are not tough and salty – they are easy to eat and each package contains humanely-raised meat along with organic veggies and a small amount of organic fruit. They are high protein and perfect for fuel on-the-go. My favorite flavors are the BBQ Beef, the Apple Pork, and the Mediterranean Lamb. We’re excited to announce that we are now Wild Zora affiliates and have our own discount code! Woo hoo! If you want to give Wild Zora bars a try, use this link and the code WHOLE30FB at checkout, and we’ll save you 20 percent! Let me know what you think!

TGIF! What are YOU loving this Friday?