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Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 2017 Grocery Spending

HI! Welcome to what I 'hope' to be a new, monthly post.  I say HOPE because you know, life gets in the way of things but this year, I'm aiming to really watch them dollars and treat them like little green soldiers with a job to do each and every day ...

In late December, I opened up another CapitalOne 360 account online. This one was a checking account (I already have two savings accounts set up there) and it's specifically for grocery shopping. I figured maybe, just MAYBE this will keep my grocery shopping in check.  I deposited $200 at the time of opening and then another $200 right before the new year so I would have my new goal of $400 in that checking account. The debit card arrived a little over a week after I set it up, thanks to the funky Monday holiday schedule and I used it the first time on January 4th ...

I kept all my receipts in an envelope in my notebook … I really should have typed them up as the month went along but that would have required too effort. Instead, I’m spending the LAST Sunday of January doing it … *raise your hand if you are floored that it’s the end of January already?!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Whole30 - Shrimp and Avocado Salad

*This is another repost BUT I made it at 8am on Tuesday for lunch at the office ... I was so excited about lunch that I tapped into the bowl by 10:30am!

I really love it when I come across a recipe that I have ALL the ingredients on hand to make, except one!  I mean, it's like mandatory that you make it!

This original recipe comes from Skinny Taste (which, by the way, I got her cookbook for Christmas and I'm sad to say I've not cooked ONE recipe from it yet!) and of course, I made a 'few' modifications but the whole idea comes from there!

And yes, it's Whole30 compliant (of course, I made this at the start of Week 2 and was still in the excitable mode!)  It will stay around for a repeat, trust me!

Here's how I did it:

1 lime, juiced (Costco)
1/4 red onion, finely choppped (Aldis)
1/2 tsp avocado oil (or olive oil) (Costco)
dash of salt (Costco) dash
black pepper to taste (Costco)
1/2 pound of cooked, peeled shrimp, cut in bite size pieces (8 ounces or thereabouts) (Whole Foods a while ago)
4 sangria tomatoes, chopped (Costco, these are like little tomatoes)
1 avocado, diced (Costco)
1/2 tbs cilantro, chopped (Publix)

The shrimp was frozen but not to worry, a quick rinse under running cold water 
defrosted these bad boys quickly!

In a small, non-reactive bowl, combine the lime juice, oil, red onions, salt and pepper and let that sit for at least 10 minutes to mellow out the onions (cool tip, dontcha think?)

My lime was pretty juicy so I had a lot of juice but all is well!

In a LARGE bowl, combine the shrimp, avocado and tomatoes. Add the smaller bowl of the onion mixture and combine. Gently stir in the cilantro.

That looks like a LOT of avocado, but again, all is well!

Serve up and enjoy!

Looking forward to sharing at some of these Great Parties ... go check them out!

*Affiliate links are part of this post ... check out my Affiliate Disclosure here!*

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chicken Inspired BLT Salad



So I had this recipe pinned for a few days, not months like some of the others ... and decided to make it at the last minute the other night ... I'm pretty glad I did, and so is Hubby!

It's easy, and really, REALLY tasty!

And surprisingly, I had everything on hand, even the fresh basil (I suppose you could use dried if you had to) ...

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs (give or take) fresh basil chopped
Boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used almost 2 lbs, 4 fat pieces)
Additional basil for topping salad

Mix together everything and let the chicken mix and mingle for a bit in the fridge. AND if you remember, set aside 2 tbs of marinade and set aside for later ... I forgot. I had to make a small batch after the fact.

Grab some lettuce and chop it up. Add this to a large platter.

Slice or dice a tomato or two. Leave these on the cutting board. I like mine diced.

Cook up 2 slices of bacon for each chicken breast you have (I cheat, I always have the ready cooked bacon strips on hand so it's NOT a big deal for me). Chop the bacon. Set bacon next to the tomato.

Cook chicken by preferred method. For me, it's the grill. Of course. Allow to cool a little, and then cut up into bite size pieces.

Add chicken to the lettuce.

Add tomatoes to the chicken.

Top chicken with the bacon.

Drizzle the 2 tbs of reserve marinade over all. sprinkle with a little bit of extra basil.

Serve it up.

Personally, I don't think 2 tbs is going to be enough so I would probably stick with my defective plan and make a small batch up after the fact.

The chicken was GOOD and flavorful. I wouldn't recommend letting it marinade more than an hour ... somehow I think it would just overtake the tenderness of the meat.

This was REAL good and Hubby wants me to make it again. Did I already say that? It really is! I had the leftover chicken served with some more salad stuff ... yummmmm.

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Whole30 - Island Shrimp


This recipe comes from a book I got a while ago, Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals. which prompted me to get back in to the actual cookbook mode ... even though I have tons of them, I need more that are on track with this new way of eating!

By the way, in case you didn't know, 450 Swagbucks will  give you $5 in Amazon cash ... and that's how I've been buying the cookbooks ...

Another side note ... I do NOT like to have them on my Kindle. I mean, yeah, it's sort of cool to just open up the Kindle BUT I don't like the layout/format whatever. It's not the same as looking at the 2 pages, side by side ... so I've decided no more cookbooks on the Kindle.

Anyways ... 

It's Whole30 Compliant! Sweet! Perfect for January 2016 which is RIGHT around the corner, you know?

I renamed the recipe to Island Shrimp with Avocado, then, just Island Shrimp ... more appealing to ME than Tropical Avocado & Shrimp. And yes, there were a few modifications along the way ... if you want the real deal, buy the book and flip to page 57 ...

You can easily double, triple or even quadruple this recipe, as I was only feeding myself for a late lunch and early dinner, I made it in the quantities listed below ... Ready? Ready ...

1/4 cup mango, cut into chunks
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
Juice of 1 lime
dash of salt
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (personal note, I always take the freakin tail off, it annoys me)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 avocado, cut into chunks
3 radishes, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
chopped cilantro (optional but recommended)

Get out the big gun food processor ... add mango, jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil and salt.

Let it rip and make a sauce. 

Put sauce in fridge to chill a little. Trust me. I wasn't crazy when I tasted to adjust the seasoning, but after it chilled for a bit, it was a whole different flavor!

Sprinkle the shrimp with the cumin and saute in a bit of olive oil til cooked (not overcooked!)

In large bowl, combine the shrimp, avocado, radish, onion and cilantro. Toss with the sauce and serve OR you can pour the sauce over prior to serving. Either way, recommend making this ahead of time and letting chill in the fridge for 45 minutes or so ...

Good? Yes it was ... the radishes really tasted good with the mango sauce. I think I was in love for a minute there.

Note: I have made this with cooked shrimp ... in that case I just added the cumin to the food processor when making the sauce ... I'm all about making do, you know?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post contains affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Whole30 - BLT Boats

All three times I've tried to do the Whole30 in the past (and have NEVER EVER EVER made it past Day 14!), I always come across some really great and tasty recipes that are definitely keepers!  This would be one of them!


These are perfect since you don't use regular bread, but instead, yummy butter lettuce or baby romaine lettuce leaves come in to play here ...

This recipe was made for ONE (ME!) but could easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled and so on if you wanted to serve these as an appetizer for a party or a dinner (or lunch, breakfast, etc.!)

Lets get cooking, shall we?

4 lettuce leaves ... I used butter lettuce as that was what I had on hand that needed to be used up
3 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (look for reduced sodium and check to see if there is any sugar)
6 grape tomatoes, sliced in half and then cut in half again
1/2 avocado, diced (I need to perfect my dicing and separating skills)
1 stalk of green onion
dab of mayo (isn't it time you learned how easy it is to make?)
dash of olive oil
dash of dried italian seasoning
dash of salt and pepper

Lay out the lettuce leaves on a plate and pat dry if they are still a little wet.

Toss your tomatoes in a small bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper and italian season. Stir and set aside.

Walk to the other side of house, stand in that soon to be missed guest kitchen and try to remember WHY you walked all the way over there. Open fridge, stare at the items there and wait for something to jump and say "hey, me!" and think, crap, I don't remember why I walked over here!

Come back to the food in the main kitchen and give them tomatoes a stir after about 10 minutes of staring in the fridge. Drain the excess liquid if any out of the bowl.

Add a bit of mayo to the center of each lettuce leaf, smear a little to spread out.  Add the tomatoes to each lettuce leaf.

Sprinkle with the bacon pieces.

Sprinkle with the avocado.

Garnish with the sliced green onions.

Remember that you walked to other side of house for a can of LaCroix to drink. Doh.

Serve up and Enjoy!

This is totally Whole30 approved, Paleo, Grain, Gluten and Dairy Free ... perfect!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these Great Parties ... go check them out!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fresh Pico de Gallo - Whole30

Ready for another quick dish to add to your Whole30 menu? Well here you go!


It's considered a "condiment" but I can stand at the kitchen counter and eat this stuff by the spoonful!

Pico de Gallo
Now. It's really easy for me to chop chop chop as I've got that handy dandy Vidalia Chop Wizard! What? You don't have one?? What are you waiting for? Go get one pronto!  This saves sooooo much time chopping AND everything is a nice uniform dice. Go, go go! Go get one right now! $14.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond if you use your little handy 20% off coupon.  Or else you can click that link above for Amazon and if you have Prime, you'll get it in 2 days. Have I stressed how *important* this is (and yes, I am a frugal gal and I highly recommend this little gadget!* (ahem, I didn't realize they've gotten as expensive as that on Amazon! I bought mine probably 10 years ago and it's still going strong, so even at those prices, might be a good deal as you can use it A LOT!)

Ok. Now that we have THAT out of the way, lets move on, shall we?

What you need will vary depending on how much Pico you want floating around. Trust me, you'll want more than you think! But you can start off small with this:

2 tomatoes.  This time around I used regular tomatoes. I prefer roma as they are meatier
1/2 large onion, red, white, sweet, whatever. Again, this time I used sweet because it's what I had
1 jalapeno. Up to you with removing seeds/membranes. These japs were really hot so seeds came out
1 lime, juiced
a dash of salt
dash of pepper
cilantro *optional, Hubby hates. I use sometimes, this time YES*

Quarter your tomatoes, gently squeezing to remove the excess seeds/juice.

Quarter you onion.

Cut jalapeno in half.

Cut lime in half.

Wash your knife, dry and put away. Safety first, Folks!

Grab your chopper and place the large grate on top.

Place ONE piece of tomato on grate and close the lid quickly. Like, slap it down! If you don't do it quick, you'll just smash the tomato and we all know, smashed tomatoes make sad tomatoes.


Repeat with the rest of tomatoes. When done, dump them bad boys in to a glass bowl.

Repeat with the onion.

Look at how nice those little squares are!

Remove the large grate and insert the small grate.  Add your jalapeno to the top and really slap the lid down. Open lid and stand back from that fresh green, potent smell of jalapenos. Whew! Mine are really hot this time, not sure what the heck it is!


Dump the japs in to the tomato/onion mixture. Add your salt and pepper. Squeeze your lime juice over the top.

Grab a large spoon and gently mix all together.  If using cilantro, go ahead and add and gently mix that in.  

Taste and enjoy!

*I used this stuff for the cilantro. Interesting concept and I just noticed they also sell ginger. I think the shelf life is 8 weeks (based on when I bought it) and once opened, 4 weeks.  It's a little pricey at $4.99 a container BUT that's about what I pay for a plant that last only a month and so I think it's a fair trade for ME!

**Oh, and by the way, it's sort of obvious, but this is clearly Whole30 Approved, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Grain Free**

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Whole30 Chicken & Broccoli

Welcome to yet another addition of #JanuaryWhole30

It's another repost, yes, it is, and I'm hoping this time around, I can say that Hubby IS following along 100% ... if that's the case, we will certainly skip the Trader Joe's bag of veggie rice and replace it with some yummy riced cauliflower


I have to convince him that I really need to be more focused on what I eat and that if he participates, even just a bit, it's a lot easier for me to stay focused ...

Yeah. It's kind of working ... until the weekend rolls around and then the beer tops pop, the tequila and wine flows like a river and all those other cheesy little cliches ... (the mountains are blue in this house, just for the record) ... but if I can stay focused Sunday Funday through Thursday then I'm about 75% there, right? It's work in progress, that's all I'm saying ... work in progress ...


And, that, my friends, is how we got this dish happening ...

2 pounds of chicken thighs, cut in to bite size pieces (ALDI)
1 large head of broccoli, cut in to bite size pieces (ALDI, I used 4 small heads)
3 tbs sesame oil (forever in the pantry)
2 tbs ginger ... I'm not a fan but I used this stuff (Publix b1g1f)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2/3 c coconut aminos (soy sauce alternative to avoid soy, grains, etc.) (Whole Foods!)
1 tbs arrowroot powder (or corn starch) to thicken (Amazon)
Riced cauliflower (Trader Joes!) or zucchini noodles, if desired

See, not a whole lot of stuff ;-)  AND ... it only took 30 minutes of cooking time so get chopping in the morning before you head out to work!

Let's hop to it!

Heat up a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil, ginger, coconut aminos, salt, garlic powder and them pepper flakes.  Add the chicken in and give a quick shake to coat a bit. Cook til chicken is about half cooked through.*

Add the broccoli, shake the pan a bit, turn up the heat and put a lid on the pan. I used a lid that sat just inside the pan as I didn't want it 100% covered.  Lift lid and give a stir every few minutes to get the broccoli coated a bit.

Once the broccoli has started to get soft, if desired, add a sprinkle of arrowroot powder over the mixture and stir with a large spoon. This will help it thicken a little.

Some days this cat is so demanding of my attention. 
Random picture in the middle of a food post, I know, but he was being annoying

Serve over zucchini noodles OR riced cauliflower.  I usually serve Hubby his with Trader Joe's Veggie Rice ... it's like a perfect thing for the men in the house for some reason, lima beans and all ...


Me? I ate mine just as is in a bowl. I may have had more than one serving as well ... and went ahead and packaged up my lunch for tomorrow as well. It's a good thing, Hubby loved it and said it was a keeper. Huh. Does he know it's Whole30/Paleo Approved? Well ... he knew that I used the coconut aminos instead of soy sauce ... so that should have led him to believe ... but then again, he's been using the coconut aminos instead of soy sauce ever since I told him soy sauce isn't good for women ;-) I guess that means he loves me? I love him too! Any how ....

This was pretty damn good and it will so be happening again!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

*So for the record: I followed the original recipe from the start and was sorry as soon as I added the chicken in. The chicken NEEDS to cook first other wise you will have raw chicken on top of quickly dying broccoli. I ended up scooping the sad broccoli out in to a bowl while the chicken cooked, adding it back at the end with more raw broccoli so I wouldn't have sad broccoli throughout.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mexican Beef InstantPot Style

We've been using the InstantPot a little more lately because it's QUICK and doesn't heat up the kitchen!

I mean, seriously, what other reason do you need?

Yup, lunch at my desk was pretty exciting! I had this with riced 
cauliflower and green beans ... yummm

So ... this recipe comes from Nom Nom Paleo ... same place That Damn Fine Chicken came from ... and a few other recipes to be shared very very soon as well!


I'm waiting for the beef to go on sale, or for when I can finally make a quick trip to Costco to pick it up cheaper as beef is just expensive lately! The protein alone on this one cost me $17 or so ... and no, it was not grass fed, groomed, petted or anything else special like that. It was just Publix. Luckily, I used a $5 off $40 coupon, but still ...

Ok, lets get to the recipe, shall we?

Make this a DAY BEFORE you want to eat it, honestly! It's so much better the next day! I was in heaven at lunch for 2 days with this at the office ... yummmm

2 1/2 pounds of beef - I used a chuck roast but you can use brisket, boneless short ribs, flank, etc.
1 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs ghee
2 onions, cut in half and sliced thin (I used a red and a yellow)
1 tbs tomato paste (freeze the rest in a small ziploc!)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp fish sauce
dash of black pepper

Cut yo' beef in to cubes, like 1 1/2 inch cubes. Seriously. Does ANYONE measure their cubes? I just cut mine in to a little bigger than a generous bite size ;-)  Toss the beef in a large bowl and season with the chili powder and salt.

Turn the InstantPot on Saute and add the ghee and onions and saute til just soft. Add the tomato paste and garlic, give a quick stir and cook til just fragrant. Uhm, I LOVE the smell of garlic and onions cooking!

Add in the beef, tomatoes, broth and fish sauce. Cover and lock the lid in place, making sure the vent is CLOSED.

Press the keep warm button (to turn saute off) and then press the "meat" button which sets the time at 35 minutes.

Go find something to do for 35 minutes. Wash dishes. Watch the news. Blog. Browse Pinterest. Stalk the kids on Facebook.

After 35 minutes are up and you hear the InstantPot beep, you can either press the warm button to turn off the pot and let it release naturally, OR you can leave it as is and let it stay on warm and release naturally. Whichever way you go, just don't do a quick pressure release (where you hit the vent open!).

Pull the beef out and add a little bit of the juice to the dish with the beef.

Serve this up with some riced cauliflower or over some zucchini noodles to keep it grain free/whole30/paleo. Or, if you have those folks in your household who insist on grains, serve up with some rice and call it a day!  Garnish with some fresh cilantro if you are into that ... I only do my plate as Hubby does NOT like cilantro ;-)


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sweet Potato Fries

*Repost Alert!*

On DAY 3 of Whole30 (well, the 2nd time around) we had burgers and dogs on the grill ... and man, I was sweating it on so many levels. Yeah, it was hot and humid too but I was more worried about:


See, when we grill, we sit outside, where it's like a sauna and NOT in a good way ... between swatting at the skeeters and dabbing at the back of your neck with a paper towel, it's almost a given that you Get Yourself a Coozie and have a chilled beer (bonus point for the first person who can Name That Song!) ... but that's not very Whole30'ish like. Actually, it's everything the Whole30 isn't ...


But don't you worry ... I improvised on so many levels and was so proud of myself ...

I did indeed grab a coozie and then a can of LaCroix Sparkling Water Lime ... and you know what? That satisfied that habit/need/desire/whatever to roll the edge of the coozie around the table in a circular fashion, sip from the can and give it a little shakey shakey and set it back down ... run my finger around the rim, play with the tab and so on. Yeah, I am a little fidgity.

So anyways ... I bought that big bag of sweet potatoes from Costco and still had the small bag from Aldis so I wanted to use those up first. Yes, they were starting to show their age a little ...

Turn on your oven to 425 degrees.

Grab yourself some sweet potatoes, wash them and peel them up. Lob off the ends of each one (actually, if you cut  off the pointy end BEFORE you peel you will avoid that annoying stop with the peeler when it hits the tough spot).

Cut them bad boys in half long ways and then cut in to fry size pieces. Uhm, I just sliced, cut and sliced the thicker ones again.

Toss them in a bowl and drizzle with some avocado oil and spinkle with some oregano, salt and pepper. Ok, you can use olive oil if you want but I was so excited about the avocado oil ;-)  Make sure you salt them well. I totally under-salted mine!

Grab a large baking tray and toss a sheet of parchment paper over the top ...

Lay out the fries in a single layer, leaving a little room between so they don't "steam" ...

*Sorry, not sure why these look washed out*

Throw the pan in the oven and let them cook for about 15 minutes. Pull out and turn over, the best you can, trying to keep them in a single layer and a spaced apart the best you can.

Allow to cook for another 10 minutes or so, checking for desired doneness.

Yup, they tasted just as good as they look!  I don't think I'll be buying the frozen bags anymore as they really didn't take any longer to prepare than the frozen ones! 

Go ahead and give them a try!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these Great Parties ... go check them out!

And ... if you want to see more pics of what I'm eating while on Whole30 ... follow me on Instagram ...