Top 10 Kitchen tools and utensils

Kitchen tools & utensils and other resources to promote within these recipes:

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Top 10 Tools for Your Kitchen:

1. A Microplane

2.A Grease Splatter Guard

3. 10″ Skillets

4. 12″ Skillets  

5. Cast Iron Skillet

6. Wooden Spoons, Whisks, Spatulas

7. Microwave Safe Covered Dishes

8. Large Stock Pot

9. Vitamix

10. Hand-Grater

11. Spiralizer

12. Salad Dressing Shaker

13. Menu Plans

14. Meal Planning Family Board 

 

 

 

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Meal Planning as Self-Care

Self care is about taking good care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. Self-care is about making our own well-being a priority. So why do so many of us put our needs at the bottom of the list, allowing ourselves to be in a constant state...

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Paleo Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Paleo Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Baking Bread at Home Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed nec diam ultricies, scelerisque arcu quis, mattis purus. Morbi tellus nibh, sollicitudin a gravida quis, commodo eget eros. Servings 9 Ready In: 45 minutesCalories: 610 Good For:...

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What’s in my gym bag?

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Ready-to-Print Meal Plan and Prep Guides

  • 4-week Keto Meal Plan 
  • 4-week Plant-Based Meal Plan
  • 4-week Whole Foods Meal Plan

Start Getting Results Without Restriction!

Top 10 Tips for a Lower Sugar Diet

Top 10 Tips – Living Low Carb

 

1. Citrus zest is a great way to add bright bursts of flavor to your recipes. Use a microplane or zester to collect as much of the brightly colored outer layer as possible without harvesting the bitter white layer beneath. If you collect more than you can immediately use, freeze or oven dry the zest to add to soups and stews or to make seasoned salts, marinades, and salad dressings later. 

2. It is much easier to collect the zest from the whole fruit, so always zest lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit before you peel, juice, or slice them.

3. If possible, buy organic citrus for zesting because the outer layer of the fruit is most exposed to the harsh chemicals and pesticides used on non-organic crops.

 

4. As you cook, store leftover edible vegetable scraps in a freezer-safe bag. Use frozen vegetable scraps whenever you make a new batch of vegetable, chicken, or beef stock.

5. When making a frittata, add salt and pepper to the egg as you whisk it. This will ensure the seasoning is evening distributed throughout the recipe vs. just sprinkling it on top at the end.

 

6. To remove the harsh bite from the red onion, add slices to a bowl of water or white vinegar for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from liquid and pat dry before using.

 

7. When working with whole black peppercorns, it’s best to start with very small amounts and adjust upwards. The heat from freshly ground whole peppercorns is more intense than store-bought ground pepper.

 

8. When braising or brining with pickle juice, resist the temptation to add additional salt to your main dish or other side dishes you plan to serve. The juice has a naturally tangy, salty flavor that doesn’t need a lot of enhancement.

 

9. When blending hot ingredients in a blender, make sure the lid is adequately ventilated to prevent an “explosion” of hot ingredients when you turn it on.

 

10. Low heat is key to making stovetop frittatas. Fliipping a whole frittata is cumbersome, but if you keep the heat low, it will have time to cook through without overcooking the bottom.

 

Bonus Tip:

 

11. When making frittatas in a cast iron skillet, make sure it is well-seasoned. Otherwise, the egg will stick to the bottom and be difficult to get out of the pan.

 

 

OPT IN TEXT

Meal Planning as Self-Care

Self care is about taking good care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. Self-care is about making our own well-being a priority.

So why do so many of us put our needs at the bottom of the list, allowing ourselves to be in a constant state of stress in order to get through an endless list of tasks.

How can practicing some self-care help us protect our time, our energy and our health?

When we talk about self-care often we think of manicures, hot stone massages, and other luxuries. We don’t often think about planning, organizing, or scheduling as examples of self-care because they sound kinda like …well… work.
But here’s why we should consider these as self-care activities – they actually play a big role in protecting your health. Think about how you feel when you’re rushing around, running late, or looking for things that are never where you can find them.

Stressed, right?

And that’s a problem because if you spend enough time stressed out, your body will have a chronically elevated level of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can really be problematic for your health, in both the long and short term.

Self-care is important because by doing things that protect our time and energy, we minimize the low grade chronic stress that we bring upon ourselves by not being proactive.

Listen, if you’re about to say you’re too busy to sit down and take time to plan out meals for the week because it feels like one more chore to add to your already long list of things to do – trust me when I say taking time to plan for meals each week, and writing out a grocery list, ultimately benefits you in a lot of ways!

It will save you money because dining out is so much more expensive than preparing meals at home. It also means less food waste because you’ve only bought the items you need to prepare your meals.

It means you’ll eat healthier. Even when you make healthy menu choices, portions are generally twice what you’d normally eat, and restaurant food usually contains higher sodium levels than what we make at home. And it’s usually prepared using lower quality oils like soybean. With meals planned and prepped ahead of time, you’re less tempted to get greasy takeout or hit up the drive-thru.

Choosing ingredients from the grocery store gives you more control over the quality of your food. When you select and prepare your own food knowing exactly what is included in the dishes you make, you’re able to better control the quality of your meals.

And most of all, it means less STRESS. Planning meals reduces your stress level because you have a solid plan for your week and you won’t have to rack your brain at the last minute to figure out what’s for dinner, trying to pull something together with whatever you happen to have on hand.

How to Create A Weekly Meal Plan:

  • Print out the blank Weekly Meal Planner printable guide here.

  • Take a look at your schedule for the upcoming week and note what days of the week will you be home to cook and which nights will be a little more rushed. For those nights, schedule a crockpot meal or pre-cooked dinner the night before.

  • Schedule one day near the end of the week as Leftover Day, making sure not to let food and money go to waste

  • Decide what you’ll eat on each day. Need menu ideas? Sites like emeals.com, TheFresh20.com and TheSixOclockScramble.com include healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare along with the grocery shopping list for you. Pricing starts at around $5 per month.  

Create your Grocery List:

  • Compile the list of ingredients from all your recipes

  • Figure out what you have on hand and what you’ll need to pick up at the store

Prep Your Meals:

  • Spend a few hours on the weekend doing some batch prep for your meals

    • Chop all of your vegetables together

    • Cook all grains and beans ahead of time

    • Make your needed sauces, dressings, and marinades

  • Pack your prepped food in clear containers and make them easily accessible in the fridge.

Tips:

  • Think ahead and cook up an extra batch. Plan to make double what you would normally make for dinner so you have leftovers for lunches or freeze it for another dinner.

  • Be sure to have food defrosted if you’re using any frozen items like meat, chicken, or fish.

If you haven’t meal planned because it seems too time consuming, know that by creating a system, it will be so much faster and easier each time you do it. Once you start implementing a weekly meal plan, you’ll notice you feel less stressed over the dinner-time rush.

You’ll feel so much less stressed when you know you’re ready for the week and you have what you need to make healthy meals for your family. Taking an hour to sit and plan your meals for the week will save you much more than that in time and energy in the long run.

Need a detailed Meal Plan and Prep Guide?

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Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

My Top 10 Whole 30 Tips

1.   When pan roasting meat or vegetables with balsamic vinegar, be sure to line your baking sheets first. The balsamic vinegar burns easily and can be very difficult to remove. Lining the pan first makes cleaning up afterwards a breeze.

2.   Flank steak is a relatively tough, but incredibly flavorful cut of meat. For best results, be sure to marinate it in advance and cut it into thin slices against the grain prior to serving.

3.   Buy several rotisserie chickens when they are on sale. Then remove and shred the meat before freezing in individual packages for quick and easy weeknight meals, like our Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps.

4.   Seafood can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet. However, it is becoming more and more difficult to know what seafood is safe and sustainable these days. Check out seafoodwatch.org for the best options.

5.   Sugar and other sweeteners are not part of Whole30. However, roasting naturally sweet root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, is a great way to add a touch of acceptable sweetness to your meals.

6.   Most packaged salad dressings are not Whole30 compliant because they contain added sugar and other banned ingredients. Fortunately, it’s really easy to make your own homemade versions. Add some fresh fruit to your vinaigrettes for a bit of natural sweetness.

7.   When possible, select a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables for your recipes. This will add additional textures and flavors to your menu, and a more diverse assortment of vitamins, minerals, and others nutrients to your diet.

8.   Choosing more colorful fruits and vegetables for your recipes also lends more visual appeal to your presentations. Why be bland and boring when you can easily add healthy splashes of color to your table?

9.   Preparing pork loin can be tricky because it is so easy to overcook. For this reason, choose timed oven-roasting over your much-loved slow cooker for consistently juicy results.

10. Fresh herbs are a low calorie way to add tons of flavor to your favorite recipes. You can add them to Whole30-compliant smoothies, salads, dressings, and marinades for a satisfying dose of extra flavor. To save money at the grocery store, grow an assortment at home on a sunny windowsill, deck, or patio, or in your garden. A nice mix of basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, cilantro, and oregano is ideal.

Featured

Blog Posts

Ready-to-Print Meal Plan and Prep Guides

  • 4-week Keto Meal Plan 
  • 4-week Plant-Based Meal Plan
  • 4-week Whole Foods Meal Plan

Want healthy eating to be easier?

Get my Insta-worthy recipe book, full of delicious, whole-food recipes that are free of gluten and added sugar! 

4 Steps to Create a Life-Changing Meditation Practice

 

 PHOTO CREDIT:  ASHLEY MARKS PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO CREDIT: ASHLEY MARKS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Meditation can be a life-changing practice if you struggle with stress or anxiety. Meditation has been shown to rewire the brain to return to a calm state and teaches you how to manage your racing thoughts or excessive worries.

You may not know this but 20 years ago I struggled with crippling anxiety and panic attacks. I went to the dr for anti-anxiety pills but instead got a lesson in meditation. Learning how to quiet my mind has been an invaluable tool in managing my anxiety since then.

If you’re struggling with constant worry or a brain that doesn’t relax, you may want to create your own meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be complicated, you can start right now!

Here are 4 steps to getting started:

1. Create space

Literally and figuratively. Find a place where you’ll be able to sit in peace for a few minutes at a time (to start). Free of noise, distraction, traffic, or anything that will disrupt your meditation. Put a comfortable pillow, chair, blanket in the place where you’ll meditate to designate it your meditation space to help your mind and body transition into your practice.

If you can’t designated one space for meditation, don’t sweat it. The great thing about meditation is it literally can be done ANYWHERE, but most people find that having a designated spot for it helps get into the right mindset for the practice.

Also, carve out a time in the day when it will be convenient for you to meditate. Most people prefer to do it early in the day, that way it doesn’t get postponed or eventually left undone by a busy day or being too tired later on.

2. Pick a style

Figure out what kind of meditation you want to do. I’ve listed some beginner-friendly ones here:

  • Breathing meditation – focus only on the breath. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

  • Counting meditation – the same number sequence is repeated over and over.

  • Mantra meditation – focus on a word or phrase for the duration of the session.

  • Sensation awareness meditation – scan through your body one part at a time and just tune in to the sensations of your body at that time. No judgement, just awareness.

  • Walking meditation – Sitting meditation usually provides the greatest benefits, but you may need to start with small steps. Walking meditation is useful for beginners or as an alternative on days when a regular session isn’t feasible. Walk around your own living room or backyard. Walking automatically puts you in touch with your body. Observe your posture from foot to head.  Align your breath with your steps. Pause frequently to create a slow and restful state of mind. Take a moment to stand up straight. Lift each foot gently, and roll from heel to toe as you place it down in front of you.

    To start, just pick one type and see if it resonates with you. if not, you can move on to another type. Most beginners start with a guided mediation.

3. Start Small

For most people, one of the most difficult things about meditation can be finding the time to squeeze a session into your busy schedule. You can start by meditating for five minutes or less!

  • Stop on red. You may start looking forward to red lights if you use them for a refreshing break. Focus on your breath and appreciate the world around you.

  • Take advantage of routine tasks. Empty your mind and your dishwasher at the same time. As you remove forks and plates, clear out nagging resentments and doubts.

  • Ease stressful moments. Meditate on whatever disturbs you.Being annoyed with a salesclerk who rang up your purchase without putting down their phone could remind you to listen more attentively to family and friends. Let it be a teachable moment that creates more harmony.

  • Express gratitude. Happy events are also worth pondering. Stop to give thanks for hot chocolate or spring flowers

4. Join a Guided Meditation Group

Guided meditation sessions with a group leader take care of the agenda for you.

  • Find a community. Yoga studios, public libraries, and local hospitals may offer programs. Browse online or check bulletin boards in grocery stores and coffee shops. Start your own group through Meetup.

  • Locate a meditation instructor. Effective instructors come in many shapes and sizes. Ask about why they teach meditation and how they lead a session. As long as you feel comfortable with them it may be a good fit.

  • Work with distractions. Meditating in a crowded room may feel different than sitting down alone in your bedroom. If trying to screen out distractions makes it difficult to concentrate, try accepting them instead. Remain aware of your surroundings. If a door slams or a phone rings, gently bring your focus back when you’re ready to resume.

  • Go at your own pace. Meditation comes more easily for some practitioners, and your powers of concentration will probably rise and fall from day to day. Listen to the instructor when you need more guidance. If you already feel clear and connected, you may want to follow your own thoughts instead.

You can start a meditation practice today even if you’re short on time and juggling many responsibilities. Practical meditation techniques can put you on the path to managing stress and enjoying greater peace of mind.

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts?

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

 

 

The Best Cookbooks for the Way You Eat

When it comes to self-care, you know I consider planning and specifically meal planning to be a big part of how you take care of yourself. Create a strategy for the week of what healthy options will be on the menu BEFORE you get hungry, tired, or too busy to think of anything.

Sure you could go on Pinterest and pin a bunch of recipes but let’s be honest – there’s something so satisfying about pulling out an old-time physical book and flipping through the pages, poring over the pictures, and choosing the meals that sound best to you.

No matter what your style of eating or food preferences are, I’ve put together some suggestions for some cookbooks to keep handy so you’ll never run out of options!

Paleo Cookbooks

Want to learn more about eating paleo? Click here

Ketogenic Diet Cookbooks

Want to learn more about following the ketogenic diet? Click here.

Whole 30 Cookbooks

Whole 30 is a way of eating the encourages whole foods and no added sugars. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of reducing sugar in your diet, click here.

Vegetarian Cookbooks

If you are vegan, vegetarian, flexetarian, pescetarian, or just love Meatless Mondays, these cookbooks are for you!

Related: Learn about the benefits of adding more plant-based meals to your diet

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts?

They’re all yours! Get access here: