Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 50 - A Paleo Easter

I have a wonderful extended family that has been incredibly supportive of Trey and me in our Whole30 journey. In fact, my brother and his wife are doing their own Whole30 right now too. Since 4 of the adults at our Easter meal had dietary restrictions, my mom generously offered to make a Whole30 compliant Easter feast -- and feast it was! We enjoyed a pork roast with drippings for gravy, "faux"-tatoes, roasted sweet potatoes and onions, an avocado, olive, and tomato salad, deviled eggs with compliant mayo, and asparagus in a vinaigrette. For dessert I made a delicious citrus fruit salad. What an experience it was to eat delicious, wholesome food and leave without feeling stuffed and disgusting. I hope all of you had a beautiful and relaxing holiday with your loved ones.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Bone Nibbler

On Sunday after a delicious lunch with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (yes, I love eating all the fatty things I used to deny myself, like chicken skin!), I discovered Genevie hungrily sucking on the bones that I'd left on the plate, like a little puppy.

Trey dubbed her "The Bone Nibbler".

And now every time we eat chicken, she wants the bones.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 44 - Food Dreams

Nothing screams "I've had a dysfunctional relationship with food for much of my life" like guilt-ridden food dreams. I've had a few during this Whole60. It's a particularly common experience in the beginning. In fact, It Starts with Food warns its readers to expect such dreams in the first week or two. I had some the first week, and then I had another very vivid one while I was in Tampa on business at the beginning of March. In the dream I literally spit out the offending food (I think it was chocolate pudding) because I had begun eating it inadvertently. Clearly, the idea of being duped into non-compliance was on my mind during this business trip.

Sunday night's dream was the worst yet. I dreamed that after first spitting out non-compliant food which I had accidentally begun to ingest, I became so discouraged with having "broken" the program that I just decided to give up and eat a tray of cinnamon buns. I don't really know where this dream came from although I suspect it's linked to the time I spent on Pinterest right before bed browsing for paleo recipes. Boy is there a lot of paleo junk food out there!

Regardless, I know I have a little bit of anxiety about taking off the training wheels of our Whole60 and returning to a less strict diet. Trey and I have decided that regardless of our reintroduction results for gluten and dairy and legumes, we would like to continue with a largely paleo diet. However, I do wonder if I'll ever eat Doritos or a cheesesteak again. What will wine taste like and how will I react to my first Reese's peanut butter cup? Should I have one? Will it cascade me back into bad eating habits? These are certainly uncharted waters.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 43 - Roasted Tomato Bisque

One of the best ways to keep your grocery bill down and to easily cover multiple meals in one go is to make soup. We've tried a few over the past 43 days, but by far our favorite is this Roasted Tomato Bisque. It is a little bit creamy from a can of coconut milk and a lot sweet from all the roasted veggies. Use your emulsion blender to make it thick and rustic or smooth.

Since I've been cooking so much lately and we've only just now hit calendar spring (which in this area still looks just like the dead of winter), my herb garden is looking very sad. Rosemary, thyme, and oregano can pretty much weather the coldest temperatures fine, but I've been hitting them pretty hard with my cooking so the ranks are a bit thin. Basil, parsley, cilantro, and chives never survive the winter. So yesterday at Whole Foods I got a hydroponic basil plant, which I'm hoping to keep alive as long as possible. I cannot wait for the warmer weather to get out in the garden and start growing things again!

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering how the weight loss is continuing, since starting on our 2nd Whole30 I've lost an additional 3 pounds, bringing the total Whole30 weight loss to 14 pounds! It's been completely incredible.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Waste Not Want Not

One of the biggest changes that has occurred as a result of being on the Whole30 and transitioning the children over to healthier food is how thoroughly we eat through the food in the house. We basically don't do any in-between shops, like we used to, for snacks and other goodies. This is partly because we aren't eating that kind of food anymore and partly of necessity. Our budget is completely allocated to whole foods and there is not one penny left for anything else. So by the time Friday rolls around the cupboards are pretty bare. This is what the fridge looks like the day before my big grocery shop.

And this is what it looks like afterwards. Filling the cupboards and fridge with healthy, nourishing food is now an intensely satisfying experience. It just makes me smile inside.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

George Washington

During the month of March Addison's class was tasked with researching and then reporting on a famous American. He chose George Washington, and we had a great time working on writing the report. He even got to type it himself into the computer, a job he attacked with great relish. The final part of the project was to create a "life size" drawing of the famous American on posterboard, cut out the head area, and present the report to the class disguised as your subject. Addison and I were both rather proud of the final result, puffy cotton-ball wig and all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I had heard through the grapevine that you could steam cauliflower and mash it into "faux-tatoes", but I wasn't sure I was buying it. That is until last week when I went to lunch with a friend of mine who is also doing the Whole30, and she assured me her husband had made them and they really did taste just like mashed potatoes. If I'm honest, I'm not really a fan of cauliflower. It's one of those completely underwhelming veggies both in looks and taste. I mean, it's white for heaven's sake. But yesterday we had dear friends from Aberdeen visiting, and I made my favorite Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy for dinner. Of course, it was just begging for some taters, so I made these Make Ahead Garlic "Mashed Potatoes".

I can honestly say I will never make mashed potatoes again. They really and truly taste just like mashed potatoes. I made them the night before and then just reheated in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Perfection! Best part, Addison gobbled up two helpings without even realizing they were veggies and not potatoes. When I told him, he was impressed, and then I got a little dig in about how "vegetables can be delicious!" I'm such a mom.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 37 - Savory Paleo Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Another winner I just had to share. I have a growing Whole30 board on Pinterest and my brother, who is also doing the Whole30 now with his wife, tried one of the recipes I pinned last week, Savory Paleo Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie. He raved about it, so I had to try it this week. Now a little background.

Trey sometimes gets ideas into his head and they become gospel. OK, in reality we all do this. You tried that one thing one time and didn't like it, so now you hate all (fill in the blank). Trey's fill in the blank was Shepherd's Pie. Apparently way back in the 90's when his family went to England for a trip his dad tried Shepherd's Pie at a pub and it was blech. In his words: "It had no flavor." And so for all eternity whenever I would bring up making Shepherd's Pie I would get to hear the story all over again. But I really wanted to try this recipe, so I reasoned with my highly reasonable husband and said: "Do I usually cook disgusting, flavorless dinners?" This is a trick question because Trey loves my cooking -- it's likely undeserved but I'm happy to have a fan. So he reluctantly agreed to add this paleo-friendly recipe to our weekly menu plan.

I made it up yesterday with Genevie's help (which incidentally didn't make her any more eager to eat it at dinner time...oh well), and can I just tell you what a scrumptious-delicious-must-eat-now recipe this is? Oh, and Trey LOVED it! To call it savory is a bit misleading because with the sweetness of the potatoes and the aroma of spices mixed in with the meat (cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg), it's like eating sweet potato pie...with a little meat in it. Next time I am definitely going to double this recipe and make two -- one for now and one to freeze. Delish!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Paleo Progeny

I watched Food Inc yesterday with Trey, and it deepened in my own mind my desire to get our kids completely off of processed foods and eating the fruits, vegetables, clean meats, and healthy fats that Trey and I are now eating. But if I'm very honest, I'm afraid to take the cold-turkey plunge to full-on Paleo with them. So for now, we're taking a more gradual approach. This article on the Whole30 website, called Let Us Change Your Kids, talks about the different approaches and their pros and cons. And while I've been researching the subject, I've been pinning lunch ideas for when we fully make the transition.

So here's where we are in the journey with our kids.

My kids don't like vegetables
They will eat some occasionally, occasionally being the operative word. Addison and Genevie will eat carrots. Davis likes asparagus. And that's about it. In the past I didn't want to make meal time an issue. I figured that, like me when I was a kid, eventually as their taste buds matured, they would eat vegetables. But now we're taking a different approach.

Solution: Variety and Persistence
We are introducing new varieties of veggies in their diet and making them try them -- at least one bite. Last night Genevie and Addison completely polished off the garlic sautĂ©ed spinach that I served, and Genevie has taken quite a shine to the pumpkin soufflĂ© that I've started making. Baby steps, folks. I'll take it.

My kids would eat candy, cake, and sweets all day every day if I let them.
The Holloway children have a collective sweet tooth that would give the Easter bunny a sugar high, and in the past I would reward clean plates with little treats. A couple of Hershey kisses or a peanut butter cup. Nothing outrageous or seemingly too much.

Solution: Fruit
However, now, "treats" are fruit. Period. I am not buying candy for the house anymore. In fact, I've already started thinking about how we'll handle the Easter basket this year, and I think it may just be a small chocolate bunny. No bags of jelly beans and Cadbury eggs. Not good for them and too much temptation for me.

2/3 of my kids hardly ever eat dinner
We have waffled between serving the kids their own meal, since Davis and Genevie hardly ever ate what I made, and taking a tough-love approach. But the kids are smart and quickly learned if they whined and complained enough, we'd eventually cave.

Solution: Consistency and Inclusion
As with most things in parenting, consistency wins every time. Now, since I'm not buying alternatives like chicken nuggets (plus, I can't ever buy Tyson again after watching Food Inc.) or mini frozen pizzas, they have no choice but to eat what I've made. The Whole30 takes such incredible meal and shopping planning, that I have no additional bandwidth for separate meals. You either eat what I serve, or you don't eat. And there's no option to cave because there literally are no alternatives. The other trick I'm learning about is getting the kids to help you in the kitchen to make the meal. Last night I made Proscuitto Egg Cups and had the kids help me. Genevie was very willing to eat her own handiwork. Davis was less thrilled, but I want to keep trying this approach. I think involvement may cultivate an appreciation for the meal.

They're wary of new foods and kind of picky.
So far they have turned their noses up at avocado, cooked egg yokes, and nuts of any kind -- foods I'd love to get them eating for their nutritional benefits. I particularly want to broaden their repertoire so I have food choices to pack them in their lunch boxes.

Solution: Keep offering
I'm not deterred however. This week I'm going to try coconut yogurt, black olives, guacamole, and coconut chips to see if I can get them to latch onto something new. They did try the kale chips last week and were not completely repulsed, so I'm making them again for a healthy snack this week.

Baby steps
Each week Trey and I are trying to take progressive baby steps with the kids towards promoting a more healthful diet. This week we're eliminating the juice boxes from their lunches and just going to pack water. Will we ultimately end up at completely Paleo? I hope so, but I'm willing to be patient and give it the time it needs, educating the kids along the way about how what we put in our bodies matters to how we feel and behave.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 32 - Kale Chips and Salmon Cakes

So I'm now going to admit something really embarrassing as a 32 year-old woman. I don't think I've ever had kale -- until Sunday. I'd heard tons of folks rave about kale chips -- how much they taste like potato chips and how easy they are to make -- so I had to give it a try. Plus, I'm on a quest to move the kids over to a Paleo diet too (more on that in a later post). I thought this might be a clever way to trick their taste buds into eating something green that they wouldn't otherwise touch with a ten-foot pole.

Verdict? Kale chips really are delicious, and if you're able to get them completely crispy (a few of mine were still a little too flexible to qualify as a "chip"), they do actually taste like potato chips. How is that possible? I'm not sure, but I'm not joking when I tell you that they taste like that snack food. I mixed mine with a splash of olive oil and generous sprinklings of salt, pepper, and onion powder. So tasty, and, yes, I was able to get the kids to try them. I could see the conflict on their face. They liked the taste but were completely weirded out by the dissonance of something tasting good while being green. Addison ate the most. The other two ate one chip and were done. I will keep offering them though.

On Monday I made the most delicious Paleo Salmon Cakes. The recipe calls for canned salmon, which I got at Trader Joe's (no salt added). I doubled the recipe, so we could have leftovers for lunches later. This was a smashing success. The salmon cakes were so flavorful and fried up perfectly golden brown in the coconut oil. Definitely going to be added to the regular rotation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Before and After

Genevie Turns 4

It doesn't seem possible that the baby of the family is already 4, and yet it's true. She is turning into quite a little lady who loves snuggling in bed with Mommy and Daddy best of all.

This was the first year that Genevie was really aware of her birthday, counted the days, and was completely thrilled the morning of. In fact, the next morning as we cuddled in bed, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, "Mom, am I still four?" You have to just completely love the years where new age numbers are embraced with relish and enthusiasm. Ah, to be four again!

If I were to pick a theme for this year's birthday, it echoed that of Christmas -- My Little Pony.

For dinner we went to her favorite restaurant in the whole world -- Chick-fil-A, and then later had family over for cupcakes.

Let me tell you, as petite as she is, she can pack away the chocolate cupcakes!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another Whole30

Today while editing some photos of Genevie's birthday from the weekend, I came across this blurry little number. You may wonder why I'm posting it on the blog since it's a totally out-of-focus cell phone photo. It may seem silly, but when I saw the woman in the pink hoody, I stopped dead in my tracks. After a month of the Whole30, that's the woman I remember -- the woman I knew all my life, who mysteriously disappeared after a pregnancy in 2009. Do you see the resemblance to the woman in the photo below? Well, I'm not quite that fit yet (that photo was taken the summer of 2007 in Seaton Park in Aberdeen), but I'm 11 pounds closer than I was 30 days ago.

That's right. I lost 11 pounds on the Whole30! I'll do a proper "after" photo this evening before I go work out, but in the meantime I wanted to reminisce a little about what I learned in the past month and talk a little about the craziness that has prompted Trey and me to do another 30 days, making it a Whole60.

What I Learned
  • How to be an educated food consumer
  • All the sneaky ways that sugar and other nasty additives are put into food that they have no business being in -- sugar in chicken broth??? Really???
  • How to stay satisfied between meals
  • That sugar is truly enslaving
  • Why I was experiencing that pesky 3pm sugar crash (and I eliminiated it!)
  • Why I was experiencing the after dinner munchies that would sabotage an entire day's worth of good eating (that no longer happens now!)
  • How to appreciate the natural sweetness and flavors found in real food
  • How to slow down and enjoy a meal
  • Trey and I make a great team -- This has been a wonderful experience for our marriage and has definitely brought us closer together.

So why are Trey and I continuing this journey for another 30 days? Put simply, we didn't feel ready to stop. As is true for many Whole30ers, you can really feel like you're gaining momentum at day 30 just at the point you're supposed to be reintroducing food groups, and it can feel too soon. You may just really be starting to understand your past relationship with food. You may have only just experienced that "Aha!" moment that happens when you take processed crap out of your diet and only eat the foods that promote a healthy psychological, hormonal, intestinal, and immunological relationship with food. There really is nothing sacred about 30 days other than that it is the bare minimum amount of time for breaking old habits and initiating new ones. So we are embarking on the 2nd half of this journey and will reintroduce in another 30 days.

My big test will be eating raw stone fruits to see if I have an allergic reaction. That's right. I'm going to eat my first raw apple in YEARS, and I'm really excited. Imagine if this summer I could actually eat a juicy, ripe peach. My mouth drools just thinking about it. It's been too long.

And because I've neglected to share with you some of the delicious recipes we've been enjoying lately, here is a huge recipe dump. Bon appetit!

Baked Eggs in Prosciutto-Filled Portobello Mushroom Caps

Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce

Roasted Tomato Soup (minus the croutons)

And our new, all-time favorite -- Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy with Mashed Parsnips

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Addison Turns 8

On Addison's 8th birthday (now two weeks ago) I took the day off from work and came into his classroom so we could sing happy birthday to him and enjoy some treats.

We took the boys out of school early and headed up to the Funplex for an afternoon of arcade games, bumper cars, laser tag, and go-karts.

Later the family came over for presents and cake.

Somebody else was pretty pleased with the gifts his brother got.