I have learned over the past two years that gardening is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of time and energy to get things the way you want them. There is a lot of time watering, weeding, fertilizing and researching what to do. I learned so much last year with my first year and am continuing to add to my skills this year. A neighbor taught me that you need to plant your tomatoes very deep and I have noticed that my maters are doing much better. The Heirlooms are so good! I love to eat them with just a little season salt. Read More
When dicing an onion, you want to get in and out, like holidays at the in-laws. You want to touch it as little as possible to keep your eyes tear free. Here is a video on how to dice and onion, quick and easy, like your best friend in high school.
Hope you liked and and maybe learned something. Be sure to like me on Instagram @Bitesizeblonde and comment letting me know what you think. Are there any other videos you would like to see?
Need a good knife and a good cutting board!
Cooking isn’t that hard once you learn some simple staple skills. One knife skill I use a lot is the chiffonade. When you chiffonade, you are rolling herbs or leafy greens into a tight roll and then cutting. It makes herbs more presentable and is very easy to do. I use this skill on basil, mint, baby bok choy and more.
Mint chiffonade. Cooking got easier and more pleasurable when I learned more knife skills and techniques for doing things. I was at my mom’s last week and she was ripping up mint for her salad and I was like “uhhh mom, what are you doing?? Let me show you something!” She was really excited about how to easily cut herbs so I figured some of you might be too! Please let me know if you like this and if there are other cutting techniques or things you would like to see! #knifeskills #chiffonade #mint #garden #lovestocook #salad #video #Bsbvideo
Please be sure to follow me on Instagram @bitesizeblonde and comment. Let me know what you think and if there are any other videos you would like me to make!! 🙂
Before I started my Whole30 journey, my friend Sarah sent me this amazing cheat sheet on what were some of her favorite things during her journey. She was super OCD about it and listed what items to buy at what stores, which I loved!! I have found some great items at Sprouts, HEB and Kroger; but I really spent most of my time wandering the brightly lit friendly isles of Whole Food! When Jess, my preggie whole30’er started asking me what items to get I probably sent her about 25 texts. I decided at that point that it might be good for me to just write a nice easy blog of it and that way people can read, use, share, and comment based on other suggestions or must haves!! I am writing my list starting by the deli or bakery where you can’t get anything and working towards the produce so that they are on top. 🙂
Some of my absolute favorite items were Epic and Lara Bars. There were many morning that I would eat a banana and one or both of these as my breakfast or lunch. They are great to stock up on in the beginning or if you see on sale. Keep one in your purse, diaper bag, desk, work bag, workout bag and pocket. Be careful because some of them do have some sort of sugar, but there are many that don’t. Pecan pie, lemon and pineapple upside down are my favorite Lara Bars. The bacon with pineapple and pork are my favorite Epic bars. There are also some really good Epic Bacon Bits and beef jerkey!
There isn’t much down the isles that you can have but you might want to stock up on several flavors of La Croix. This is what I would drink if I was hungry, thirsty, tired, cranky….basically I would close my eyes and imagine that it had Vodka in it. 😉 I used avocado oil in all of my homemade mayo, so you might want a couple of these. The Primal Kitchen Mayo is also really good and a little easier than making your own for most recipes (you will use a lot).
Some other things that I forgot to photograph down the main isles: Coconut Aminos, full fat coconut milk, chicken stock, Epic Duck Fat, a sugar free hot Sauce like franks or Hot Zone (Texas), sugar free salsa, canned tuna and or salmon, seaweed snax, and Apple Cider Vinegar!
Ghee is a great use for many recipes and sauteing veggies, etc. My husband said that anytime he had a hot pan, it was his go to, my go to was duck fat. 😉
Tessemae’s mayo is so good! I didn’t find this till I was about 20 days in, and it made life a lot easier because I didn’t have to make homemade mayo for everything! I suggest getting 2!
This pure cashew Malk is great. It is a light additive to put in your coffee in the morning. We were using the cream on the top of the cans of coconut milk, but that got very time consuming and costly. It took us a few weeks to find this also.
Eggs, eggs and more eggs. We went through so many eggs during these 30 days! Luckily, my kids love eggs so I could cook for all of us at once. Made lots of frittatas, omelettes, fried eggs, poached eggs, hard boiled and deviled. On Sunday I would hard boil a whole dozen to have for quick and easy breakfasts or snacks. I like 8 minute eggs because there are still a little wet in the middle.
Since we can’t have peanut butter, cashew or almond butter are great substitutes. It is a great way to add protein to a banana for breakfast if you want to skip an eggy breakfast. I like grinding my own because you really know what every ingredient is.
Almonds and cashews are a great way to add some fat to a meal like salad. They are also good to have in your purse or car as an emergency snack. You can also use them to make your own almond or cashew milk. There are lots of great recipes online.
I stocked up on lots of meat. I got lots of chicken thighs, smoked salmon, Penderson’s sausage and ground beef. I like having lost of options in case we get in a pinch and don’t have dinner planned or prepared. Plan for when you don’t want to plan!! The big bag of wild caught salmon was a great deal and also really good salmon. We used the Whole30 recipe and poached it. I made extra to use for lunch the next day and it was awesome with some Sunshine sauce and capers!
I’m sure you read my long post on how much I love bacon and how great this Penderson’s Whole30 approved bacon is so I don’t think I should have to tell you that you should buy like 5 packages 🙂
Tessemae’s dressings are a must! I really like the lemon one and Ranch. I have been really sad that I haven’t been able to find their hot sauce or Buffalo sauce ones…..I have read they are great! (Hey Tessemae’s, wanna send me some spice? 😉 )
Now, to the really good stuff! The fresh fruits and veggies! I love cherries! I also stocked up on lots of avocados and really mastered my avocado rose. I make weekly salsa with lots of fresh tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, limes, etc. Recipe for yummy squash pico and ceviche on the site.
Kale is your best friend. It is so good sauteed under your eggs, in a salad or as homemade kale chips!
I love fresh veggies. They go great with all your proteins and fats! Be sure to also stock up on lots of fruits like bananas and pineapple. I also buy tons of lemons and limes as they are great for flavoring water, used in mayo and dressings and good for marinating meat.
The best herbs are fresh herbs! Grow your own! It is not hard! It is much more cost efficient. Trader Joes also has really big plants for great prices if your WF doesn’t have all the herbs you want.
Some other items that are Whole30 and not in the book are the items that you should be getting yourself as constant reminders of how great you are, and what a great thing you are doing for your body and your family. Flowers are not only a nice thing to do for yourself but they also look great in all of your foodporn that you will be taking during your Whole30.
After a long day of work, life, kids (if you have them), cooking and cleaning, you want a glass of wine/beer, but that is off the table. A nice relaxing bath with some epsom salts, a good smelling candle and a La Croix on rocks will relax you and ease that headache you might have in the first few weeks! Thank me later 😉
A nice holiday (Memorial Day) themed shellac manicure will also help your headache and stress level!
When you finish your Whole30, you will be as happy as I was to have a beer and shop for some more compliant items! Cheers to 30 days DONE!
When we were leaving WF, the Texas weather was a hot mess! I had to brown bag my hair to keep down the friz! If you have curly hair, you know, the struggle is real!
Now that we have completed 4 days of the Whole30, I feel like I have some good advice for someone that might want to undertake the feat of giving up gluten, dairy, sugar, legumes, soy and alcohol!
The Whole 30 book is very clear that planning is key to completion and I agree. I read the book, looked online at the other great resources and sat down to plan our first week menu. Let me tell you, I didn’t like studying in school and this is what that felt like but in a much better way. I felt like I was studying to make my life better!
Part of the planning includes cleaning out your fridge and pantry. For us this meant lots of eating junk food and alcohol that lead up to April 27th, probably not the best idea. Another thing that made this a little more difficult is that fact that we aren’t alone in this journey. We still have our 2 toddlers to feed and take care of. Do you know how hard it is to make popcorn, spaghetti and meatballs, and macaroni & cheese and not even taste it to make sure its done or check temperature?? Let me tell you, it was pretty painful. We also have a fridge with milk, juice, cheese, yogurt, ranch, and ketchup that we can’t eat! Too bad sending the kids to grandmas for 30 days wasn’t an option 😉
Once your fridge is empty, it’s time to fill it back up with Whole30 compliant ingredients. There is a great printable list on the Whole30 website! You can go to Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes or any healthy store near you. I chose Whole Foods because it’s the largest healthy store near us and I knew they would have the most compliant groceries. Make sure you give yourself lots of time because this is going to be a reading adventure. You have to read ALL of the labels. There were so many products I would pick up, not thinking it would contain sugar….and surprise surprise, sugar. It really baffled me reading all of the labels and seeing what they put in alot of the foods we eat, even at Whole Foods!! I know that even if I hate the Whole30 and bring back all that is “bad”, I will always be more careful in label reading!
Before Day 1, be sure to weigh yourself and take your “before” pictures because you will want those and you won’t be able to step on a scale for 30 days. My before pics are pretty comical and I was excited my “before” weight didn’t go up in the week leading up to D-day with all of the eating and drinking we did. Hubs said that he gained 5lbs in the last day lol 🙁
Planning was done, meals chosen, cleaning and shopping done and it was April 27th! I wanted to start our Whole30 with a bang and show my husband that we were still going to be eating really good food even though we couldn’t have a lot of our normal choices or pancakes with the kids. I made sweet potato hash in duck fat, poached eggs and an avocado with smoked salmon rose. Learning how to drink black coffee is also something that is taking a little time.
Good thing I love salads
Our first dinner was a joint effort in making Buffalo Chicken Casserole from Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook that was gifted to us from the amazing @Whole30myJourney! It has homemade mayo and spaghetti squash and it’s amazing!! This will for sure follow us into life after Whole30! Served with some yummy avocado and kale, lettuce salad! (The lettuce, scallions, herbs, and radishes are from my garden!)
Bacon, spinach, guacamole, red pepper turkey roll ups were really good but by dinner we were HUNGRY! The bacon (Pederson’s) is the only one I could find with NO sugar and let me tell you it’s amazing!! We will continue to buy this even after whole30.
I always loved LaCroix, but ussually with vodka. Now, its a little different. I drink them when im thirsty, hungry, want alcohol, want a sweet….its kind of like a little mind trick I use to forget I want any of those forbidden “fruits”.
Whole30 plus working is hard because it’s double the planning. Off to work I headed at 6am with my breakfast, lunch, black coffee and even emergency snacks in tow. I got to the school (early as always) and sat in the parking lot “enjoying” my brekky. Lunch was leftovers and salad with a La Croix. I love my job and deal with the greatest teachers, but when they offered me raviolli and cupcakes, it really challenged my will power. Especially when one of the teachers proceeded to go on and on about how they were the best cupcakes she had ever eaten (Thanks Mrs. Courtney 😉 )
This meal was eaten pretty early because we were HANGRY and then we were pretty hungry before bed so we each had to eat a whole40 approved snack to insure we didn’t kill eachother!
In the book it talks about how day 4-5 are “want to kill all the things” days and let me tell you, that is dead on! My husband has been really good at following the rules but after this salad, he hit a wall. He had to go to the hardwear store, and start building our chicken coop and I thought he might nail me and the whole30 book to the coop. I knew I needed to take desperate measures to keep this wonderful man loving me! I headed to the store during bath time and enter stage left, our dinner.
For us, it has been day 2-5 “kill all the things”, and I realized that if Marshall and I can get through this Whole30 alive and married…..we are pretty set for the rest of our lives because this journey is not for the faint of heart! On that note, if I go missing…..you know who to call 😉
Day 5 Meal 1 brekky that the hubs made while I wrote this post (for the second time because the first one got deleted….gotta love technology….its amazing I my HANGRY self didn’t chuck this laptop out the window!!!!)
We have always loved cooking and making good food so please don’t think that this is what Whole30 will look like for everyone. We might have amazing looking meals but let me be honest and tell you that our house is usually a mess and we have at least 2 baskets of clean laundry that have not been folded or put away and I am usually in need of a pedicure. We all chose how to spend our extra time our ours goes into the kitchen 🙂
If you have any tips or recipes for the next 25 days of our journey please share! If you know someone going through the Whole30, give them patience and maybe a hug. Tell them they are doing a great job and support them in any way you can because as much as it isn’t “Hard”, it IS NOT EASY!
Be sure to follow me on FB and Instagram @Bitesizeblonde and have a yummy day!
I want to talk about how trashy I am. I use every day kitchen trash to feed my garden. Things like egg shells, coffee grinds and banana rinds that the average Joe might throw away are gold to me and my beloved garden. Also things like scallion bottoms, onion tops and carrot peels are used in our house. My husband gets mad at the constant little containers of trash or growing things by our sink but then loves when he can go cut fresh ingredients from our backyard. He calls them my science experiments and in a way, they are. Here are my tips:
Save banana peels and soak them in water in a jar in your fridge and continually add to it. When the jar is full, use that water to water your garden. This “banana tea” will be full of Potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Check out Frugal Chicken for more info on the tea and other uses for banana peels.
Save your coffee grinds and left over coffee to add into your garden as well. My blueberries are loving the acidity of the grinds. I wish I would have planted more!
I also used my egg shells when starting some of my seedlings. It is a quick and easy was to start your garden from seed. Plus they are getting vitamins from the shell as they start to grow. Its easy to crack the shell when you go to plant them. I also crush them up and fertilize my fruit trees.
Save the bottoms of scallions, lettuce, celery, and Bok Choy. They will regenerate and continue to grow. We have so many scallions growing because I always have new bottoms that come from the salsa I make for work, keep an eye out on @cleaneatingmommy for guest blog ;). I also learned to cut lemon grass in half and it will start to grow both sides to plant as well. This pairs nicely with our Thai basil growing for all of our Asian food we make!
I also save onion celery, beet, radish and carrot tops, carrot peels, garlic and vegetable ends and any herbs that are wilting or that I pick and don’t use right away in the freezer for making soup stalks or bone broth. I will clean out my veggie drawer and throw almost everything in a soup stalk.
I love to find ways to save or re-purpose or save everyday items. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with a VERY frugal dad or the fact that I lived in Guatemala and really became more conscious of waste, but it sure does help when we have a thriving garden!
Please share with me any other tips you have and be sure to follow me on Instagram @bitesizeblonde
Have a yummy day!
It’s Spring Break! WOO HOO! That means this mama is home with her lovies all week. Daddy is working from home today too. With a full house, I decided to make a yummy breakfast for everyone to enjoy outside on this beautiful day. I had a few packages of Grands biscuits that I bought on sale a few weeks ago and a package of Thick Cut Natural Bacon that has been patiently waiting in the fridge for a splurge event like this. I knew that a scrumptious bacon, egg and cheese was just what the doctor ordered!
Some tips for bacon-must be thick cut, any other is just a waste. I like to cut it in half so that I can fit more in the pan and it also doesn’t fold up all weird when it cooks. Last, cook it all. Bacon saves just fine in the fridge and then you don’t have to get your kitchen covered in grease a second time in a week. We don’t cook bacon very much, even though it does make everything better, because it is such a mess…and not so healthy or lean. Other people splurge for cake or ice cream, I splurge for Bacon! I am also obsessed with my new William Sonoma dish towels! Lily picked them out so of course they are orange! The material is cotton so it actually dries your hands and dishes, unlike many others I have tried.
I use our largest Cast Iron skillet to make the bacon while the biscuits are baking on my awesome silicon baking sheet. The eggs are cooked last in the bacon grease 😉
Using a cast iron can be a little scary at first. I found a great read on some tips about using a cast iron at
Once the bacon is cooked and resting on a paper towel to suck up the grease, cook your eggs in the bacon grease. We like ours over easy so we get that nice ooze of egg yolk when you bite into the sandwich. Use a spoon or spatula to cover the top of the egg in the fat. This will help cook the top of the egg and give you nice crunchy edges. I also season with pepper and a little salt. I am currently obsessed with Pink Himalayan Salt. There are lots of great reasons to choose pink over white! Here is a good article to educate yourself on why pink is better!
Once eggs are cooked to desired perfection, take out and set on paper towel to soak up any extra grease. By this point I have already cut open the biscuits, added cheese (cheddar for kids and Jalapeno Jack for mom and dad) and put in the toaster oven to melt cheese. All I have to do is assemble. Gently add your egg and bacon. You could add a little lettuce and tomato or avocado as well to really put it over the top. Add a little fruit for color and Bob’s your uncle! I used fresh strawberries and some fresh grapefruit wedges which are in season and so sweet right now! You can get a huge bag for a few dollars at HEB.
Little side note:
Bacon Grease should NEVER EVER be put down the sink. I thought it was common knowledge, but after making bacon one day I almost had a heart attack watching my husband pour it down the sink. He has the theory that if you pour it down with hot soapy water, it will be ok and not clog your drains. I have now done a lot of research to be able to tell my amazing, loving husband….YOU ARE WRONG! Don’t put that bacon fat down my drain again unless you want to be paying for a plumber when our drains are clogged. Upon researching, some of the best suggestions are put in cup that is lined with tin foil and trash when thickens, wait till thickens and put in ziplock and trash, but the best…. SAVE IT! I’m sure our grandmothers and great grandmothers would be sickened by us throwing away bacon grease because it packs so much flavor and can be used in sautéing vegetables for a frittata or for potatoes, scrambled eggs, to rub on chicken before roasting, and my all-time favorite….when roasting Brussel Sprouts (be sure to add in some of the bacon too)!
You just leave the fat till it congeals and then scrape off the top fatty layer, leaving the little chunks in the bottom. Put it in a jar and in refrigerator to enjoy more flavorful dishes in the future.
I had to add my #aholeparent pic of this guy who was very angry that I wanted to take a picture of his food before he could eat it! #lifeofablogger
My dad is one of my best friends. Growing up, he is the one that helped me develop such a strong love for food. Many days he would pick me up from school and we would do the shopping and cooking. When we would plan our vacations, my sister would be planning out her tanning time and Chachi (dad’s nickname) and I would be planning what we were going to eat! My mom and sister were always a little more healthy and concerned with other things. Even now, when he is coming to visit from Guatemala, we plan what we are going to eat before we plan anything else. A favorite dish that we used to go get is Pad Thai. As long as I can remember, we were always searching out the best Pad Thai wherever we lived. He always ordered his with extra peanuts and bean sprouts and very spicy. We tried to make it plenty of times but it was never right…..until now! I was watching the Tasty videos from FB (if you don’t follow Tasty, you are clueless) and there was a One Pot Pad Thai recipe that I decided to try. I made it several times, changing little things until I thought it was Chachi ready. He came to visit for Christmas and I told him I was going to make him Pad Thai. He was very skeptical until his third bowl. He was so excited! He loved it, which made me so happy because no matter how old I get, I will always be his little girl and want to make him proud. My husband had never really been a fan of Pad Thai, until now. Last night I tweaked the recipe a little more and the final product was a hit! I always know a dish is good when my husband eats 3 plates worth! Sorry babe, didn’t mean to throw you under the bus 😉 Both toddlers also cleaned their plates, which is kind of a big deal!
I hope you all enjoy my recipe as much as we did and Thanks to Tasty for moving me in the right direction.
The Bomb Pad Thai
2 Lb organic chicken breast cubed and seasoned with salt and pepper
Optional shrimp, peeled and deveined (wild caught, NOT FARM RAISED)
1 package pad thai noodles
3 organic eggs
¼ cup diced onion or 1 shallot
1 cup julienned carrots (I buy mine already cut in the bag)
2 cups chopped peanuts (I used my Vitamix…see previous blog on things I need in my kitchen)
2 cups fresh bean sprouts (if you have a lame grocery store like I did last night, you can use 1 can that you can find in the ethnic food isle. Be sure to rinse them well)
Approx. 3 Tbsp of sesame oil
3 Green onions (scallions) sliced for garnish (ours came from the garden but if you buy them, save the bottoms and start your own scallion garden. See previous blog on regeneration food)
1 cup cilantro for garnish
Slices of lime for garnish
Pad Thai Sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup Sriracha (less if your kids are eating and you can add more to your own)
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (lime squeezer is a must in every kitchen)
You want to read all of the instructions before starting.
Get out all ingredients and everything that you are going to need. This is called your Misen Place. Mise en place is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place”, as in set up. This way you have everything out and things will run much smoother.
Make Sauce first.
The Tasty video calls to do this all in 1 pot but with 2 toddlers at my feet, I want to get done quicker so I start boiling the water for the noodles in 1 pot and getting everything else in a sauté pan.
In a sauté pan on medium heat add about ½ Tbsp of sesame oil and then the 3 eggs. You can save the shells to start seeds for a garden J
Season with salt and pepper and mix up the eggs till they are scrambled and put to side in large bowl.
In same pan put another ½ Tbsp of sesame oil and sauté onion or shallot until cooked and put in bowl with egg.
Cook carrots in ½ Tbsp of sesame oil in same fashion as egg and onion and place aside.
When noodles are cooked (follow recipe on package) drain, rinse with cold water and mix with 1 Tbsp of sesame oil and put to side.
Once noodles are cooked, sauté the chicken cubes with 1 Tbsp of sesame oil. If you want shrimp, you can sauté them in the second pan with 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil for about 5 minutes (be sure not to overcook).
Once chicken is cooked through (15-20min depending on size of cubes) add in the eggs, onion, noodles, bean sprouts, sauce and 1 cup of the peanuts.
Mix well and plate. Garnish with cilantro, chopped scallions, peanuts, a slice of lime and optional shrimp.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram @bitesizeblonde and twitter. Also share any feedback on any of my recipes/ blogs! I love all feedback.
My food obsessed bestie, Chachi (Michael Toppel) If you want to see what he is doing in Guatemala, be sure to check out Mayanfamilies.org, he started the carpentry school with them. #Likeaboss
Last year we planted our first garden and it was a lot of work but it was a great learning experience. We started most of our plants from seed and I think we started a little late. This year I bought one of those seed starters from Home Depot and got them started in February. I think this was better so that I can get them in the ground and growing before the Texas heat becomes too much.
I also learned that I need to fertilize more. Our brussel sprouts didn’t do very well but made it through the winter and are now doing much better since I have been fertilizing more.
Last year I did herbs on one side and tomatoes, brussels, peppers, okra and beans on the other side. The tomatoes did really well, along with the pepppers. The okra flourished but was kind of a pain because I had to pick it at the perfect size or it got too big to eat. The beans were a hot mess. I think it was too hot for them. I have since learned that they are better in the fall.
My herbs did the best! We have basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano and mint. Other than the basil, they are all still doing really well and flourishing. I have even had to cut back on the mint and oregano because they are like weeds and wanted to take over!! I was able to harvest a ton of mint to freeze for my morning smoothies!
I also learned about cutting back plants and herbs to make sure that they grow more fully instead of tall and narrow. I also planted my tomatoes more spread out this year and went with a larger heirloom tomato instead of cherry tomatoes like last year.
I am doing more kinds of peppers this year, lettuce, cucumber, beets, strawberries, and radishes. I have never done any the salad veggies that I am trying this year so if you have any tips or advice please pass along! I know that some people like to plant beautiful flowers and roses but I just don’t have time for that. Gardening is like having a part time job. You have to spend time each day watering, weeding, fertilizing and making sure that the kids/animals don’t dig it up. I am only putting in that time and effort for things that I can use in my kitchen to help nourish my family. I wish that there was a chip tree 🙂
We also planted our first lemon, lime and grapefruit trees. As stated in an earlier post, I love lemon water and fresh limes for Margaritas (recipe in previous post). We try to make our garden something that the whole family gets to help with and enjoy.
Something else that made my gardening a little better was our water table for the kids! It keeps them happy for a long time! They love playing in it. Ours is made for half sand but I despise sand boxes. I think they are disgusting. They remind me of cat litter boxes. We also have a Little Tikes table where the kids like to eat snacks with an umbrella.
After a great afternoon in the garden, Lily was asking why there weren’t any strawberries yet. Her amazing daddy went to the store while she was napping and got some beautiful organic strawberries and proceeded to put them in our garden with our little plants. When they woke from their nap, they got to “pick” their strawberries and enjoy a little picnic. They loved it! Can’t wait for all of our veggies and fruit to come in!!
To review the things I learned from last years garden.
-spread plants out
-research plants before starting
There are so many cute water tables and things for kids to keep them entertained outside. A water table is a great gift if you want to think outside of the box for something cute for a good friend or family member or gift from the Easter Bunny!