Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blueberry Pie with Whole30 Crust

This post has me grinning from ear to ear. 

I've been looking for some dairy-free dessert options, thinking about making a cobbler or pie but wasn't sure I wanted to conquer that. But bang! It's mid-summer and berries are bountiful, so I finally took the plunge! 

I'm so glad I did. 

This pie is wonderful! A great dessert but not so sweet that it feels like you're maxing out in sugars and will be left with a food hangover. 

I tried a few different crust variations and am so pleased with how this turned out! 

Enough about me, let's get into the recipe already!

For the filling
3 cups (or more) blueberries
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3 Tablespoons potato starch (or arrowroot starch)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
6 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a pie plate with coconut oil, set aside.

Combine filling ingredients in a storage bowl with a lid. Lightly mash a few berries (with a masher or fork) to burst them and get their juices flowing. Secure lid of bowl and shake vigorously to toss all of your ingredients together, stir if necessary, set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine all of the crust ingredients until dough forms. It will be a bit crumbly but should come together better once you roll it out. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap. Lay a second piece of plastic wrap over dough and roll out to no thicker than 1/4 inch. 

Carefully move dough to pie plate and press around to smooth. If you have cracks or tears in your dough just piece it back together by hand. Pastry work can be tricky especially when you're working grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. Give yourself some grace here. It's will still be delicious! You'll have enough dough to make the bottom crust and a top crust, I opted for some cookie cutter stars since it's almost July 4, and top crusts are even tougher to wrangle. I sprinkled the tops of my stars with coconut sugar just for an added touch of sweet.

Once your crust is in place spoon your filling over the crust. Add top crust (with slits to vent) and pinch the edges together OR decorate with crust cutouts. 

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes then loosely cover with foil and return to bake another 20 minutes.

The perfect pairing with this pie? Coco Whip! 

Yep, think of our Ol friend Cool Whip after a Whole30. It's made by So Delicious, it's Dairy-Free and Dang Delicious!

I bought mine at Sprouts and brought them to the beach with me since I was pretty sure I couldn't easily find any down here. I'm so glad I did! This was the first time we've tried it and it was awesome! 

I hope you'll believe me when I tell you this is a delicious dessert and simple to put together! I read lots and lots and lots  of pie recipes before trying this out. I got the gist of Paleo crust making but then simplified things because sometimes I feel like some cooks who are trying to create paleo/whole30 recipes are trying too hard to show off their culinary skills when all we really want to do is make something delicious without going to too much trouble. 

There are only 10 ingredients in the whole thing and it's great and festive and a wonderful dessert for the whole family! 
It's also divine when typing up a late-night blog post about pie! 

I hope you enjoy sharing this with your family! 


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dairy Free Sour Cream Saves the Day! -Whole30

Since giving up dairy, I've wanted to make sure we didn't feel like we were missing out on any of our favorites and Mexican food is certainly a favorite in our house. 

It was well after I completed my Whole30 that I discovered this little life saver, so I'm making sure to mark this recipe as a Whole30 Must-Have because its so simple and really satisfying. All you need is a can of unsweetened organic coconut milk, some citrus, a little salt and a mixer. 

It literally couldn't be any easier to make your own fresh and delicious dairy-free sour cream!

1 chilled can of unsweetened, full fat coconut milk (organic is preferred- -I use Thai Kitchen)
Juice of 1 lemon or 3 limes
Salt to taste

Turn can of refrigerated coconut milk upside down, open the can and pour off the liquid. Spoon the cream into a small bowl. Squeeze in lime juice and add a dash of salt. Mix with the whisk attachment of a handheld mixer on high for about 30 seconds. Enjoy!


Comfort Food Stuffed Peppers- Whole30

You guys. 

Growing up stuffed peppers were always a favorite. I always asked my mom to make them for my birthday, I make extra filling every time I make them because I love it and can eat it by the bowlful.

But the way my mom makes them and therefore the way I've always made them they have rice and corn and oh yes, Velveeta. Since completing my 1st Whole30 and cleaning up what I eat for months and months those ingredients are off my list. 

I've seen lots of recipes out there for Whole30 compliant stuffed peppers, and read through them but none seemed like they would even compare to my childhood favorite. So, I decided to just go for it and use the skills I've gained using different veggies in new ways and come up with my own. 

Its a winner! These have a great, rich texture. You might swear you're eating rice when you taste this filling. This recipe makes enough filling for 8 generous peppers-- but I just stuff 4 peppers and keep half of the filling (freeze it for next time, eat it for lunch with a salad, use it another night with some zoodles or a baked potato--I've done it all!)

2 pounds ground venison (or lean beef, or bison or whatever your red meat of choice is--mix it up if you want)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 red bell peppers tops, seeds and membranes removed (or 8 if you want to use all of the filling now!)
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 medium squash, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1/2 onion, grated
1/2 head of cauliflower, grated
1 can organic tomato sauce ( I used Muir Glen from Publix)
1/2 cup organic Chicken Stock (I use the Kirkland's brand from Costco)
2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
1 Tablespoon Olive oil

Preaheat oven to 350, drizzle olive oil over prepped peppers and place them upside in a glass baking dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile melt coconut oil in a large saucepan or pasta pot over medium high heat to brown your meat, season with garlic powder and place a small skillet over medium heat.Add cauliflower and chicken stock to the skillet, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally. Brown meat then drain and set aside. In the same pot saute diced bell pepper, squash, zucchini and onion. 

Now is a good time to add salt and pepper to the veggies and the cauliflower simmering in the skillet.Remove the peppers from the oven and turn them over to let them get ready for the filling. 

Once the veggies are soft, return the browned meat to the pot and stir in tomato sauce. After combining, fold in your cooked cauliflower rice. Your filling is done!

Fill the peppers and pop them back into the 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes. 

You can freeze the other half of the filling or use it for more meals this week! 

A classic.
Comfort food.
Whole30 Compliant AND delicious. 
7 veggies, protein and healthy fat in one delicious entree. 
Happy, happy, happy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mexican Chicken Salad - Whole30

¡Hola, Amigos!!!

This chicken salad recipe I'm sharing today is simply delightful.

I'm a huge chicken salad fan and who doesn't love Mexican? 
I made it for lunch today and can't remember the last time I've loved my lunch like today's.

What's not to love? Chicken Salad gone for a trip south of the border?? 
Sounds like a match made in heaven, right?

You're right. It is.

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon fresh minced cilantro

Combine all of this goodness in a bowl. Say the blessing. Dive right in.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Greek Chicken and Potatoes -Whole30

I'm excited to share such a simple, comforting recipe with you!

Even before we cleaned up our eating, this meal was a great go-to crowd-pleaser at the West house. 

I've even taken it to families when we've delivered dinner during an illness, after a new baby or after a loss.

Once we eliminated sugar and preservatives, I recreated this recipe using real, whole ingredients and it's still perfect!!

Greek Chicken and Potatoes

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry. 
1 pound small new potatoes, washed, dried and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried roasted sun-dried tomatoes (these are in the produce section at my Publix--on an end cap with jarred garlic, etc.)
1.5 T Greek Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350.
Place chicken, potatoes and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add olive oil and seasoning  and toss until everything is coated. Pour contents of bowl into 9x13 glass baking dish. Bake 45-50 minutes. 
Serve this alongside a fresh green salad and dinner is done!

I hope y'all enjoy this as much as we do! Keep this in mind the next time you need to deliver a meal to a neighbor--they'll love it too! 


Monday, May 9, 2016

Better Than 5 Ingredient Banana Muffins -Whole30

I love breakfast! We love muffins! We also live the way we feel when we make the choice to eliminate sugars and fake stuff in our food! I found 7 million pins for 5 ingredient Whole30 muffins!!!

....and they were......okay.

Wait--they were good if you hadnt had any sugar/flour/baked goods in a month. Yes. they were good.

But the first time I tasted them I knew they could be better. 
So I fixed them.

The original reciep I found called fro bananas, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and almond butter. 

I like the concept, tried it then married that recipe to my favorite go-to muffin recipe from Mel at Larson's Lingo. 


A tender, flavorful version of the "Whole30 Muffin" was born. 

Now I'm sharing  it with you, my people. 

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup almond butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Coconut oil to grease muffin pan

generously grease cups of a 12 cup muffin pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you're making by hand mash the bananas in a bowl first using a wooden spoon or potato masher then stir in additional ingredients. Pour batter into greased muffin tins until 2/3 full. Bake 12-15 minutes.

If you want, use your food processor. I throw everything in mine, give it a whirl and then fill the muffin tins. 

If you want your kids to happily gobble up these muffins, add some milk chocolate chips to theirs. That means they are eating a wonderfully healthy breakfast/snack and you arent sweating whether or not they'll reject it because it looks healthy. Its a win-win if you aren't keeping your kids to a 100% Whole30 compliant diet. (Which we don't do at our house. Our kids still eat some treats and things that aren't compliant with the Whole30 plan but they see the choices we're making to improve our food and that, to me, is worth a few chocolate chips to them.)

These are a fantastic texture and well worth the effort of adding 7 ingredients to a bowl instead of just 5!

Enjoy them in the morning! Send them to school for snack! Use them for dessert! 

If you've tried the other muffin recipes, try this version and let me know if you agree!

Weekending: Mother's Day

It's Monday! Time to get back in the routine! It's Lizzy's last week of school so we have a fun week ahead--but not as fun as our weekend was!
Friday was Play Day at school for Lizzy.
This means cake decorating, dancing, tattoos, snow cones, moon walk, bubbles, gym time and lots of fun!

We met Daddy for lunch after play day then ran home to get ready to go to the beach as soon as we could.
We picked Jay up a little early and headed south. 

We went out for dinner since we knew this would be a quick trip.

Saturday morning we got up and at 'em and the kids and I went to the Foley Art Festival. 
We looked around and got a snack, made a wish in the fountain.
Then rode the little train on the longest ride ever! (I don't have a pic bc we were squeezed in so tight.) ((wouldn't you know this ride were were squeezed like sardines and it was 20 minutes!))
The kids made crafts and asked to go to the model train museum again and they loved it. Lizzy said it was her favorite part. 

I picked up two hanging planters while we were there. (Happy Mother's Day to me!) I can't decide whether to hang them at new house (Birmingham) or our beach house--so they rose back with us til I decide.

We then went to Stacey's Rexall Drugs for lunch at their old fashioned soda fountain. It's always so good and so fun to eat there in downtown Foley.

We came home to chill for a while then headed out to the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon  Festival with Dad.
It. Was. Awesome.
We made it in time for the trick dog show (which was Lizzy's favorite part), then over to the balloons to prep for the mass Ascension (which didn't happen) (but was still so cool and mine and Joseph's favorite part), then to the midway to ride a couple of rides (Jay's favorite part) and get some fair food for the kids.

It was amazing being up close to all of the balloons!! Once they were inflated they were lighting the blowers all around us. It was bright and unbelievable and a little hot!!


Jay and I rode The Scrambler and bumper cars. This was his first time for rides and he LOVED EVERY SECOND.
We went out for breakfast on Mother's Day. This year I got the sweetest cards and gifts. 

Lizzy made me this precious vase.

And Jay made a beautiful set of coasters!
We also welcomed another mother in our family over the weekend. One of the hens we gave Joseph's mom for her birthday has been sitting on some eggs and Sunday morning we got this picture!

Happy Mother's Day indeed!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Personal Style Show and Tell Tuesday

Hello Tuesday! Today I'm linking up a with momfessionals for show and tell Tuesday.

Hilarious that I am blogging my personal style because I can only describe myself as casual and easy to throw something on and go. 

I'm shorts/jeans/t-shirts virtually every day and dressed for church on Sunday.

But I snapped a few pics last week--I'm thinking that what I'm wearing these days is pretty indicative of my style!

Clearly, Gus is very intrigued by mirror selfies! 

All of my shorts are J. Crew or Factory J.Crew.

I'm a boot-cut or flared jeans gal and these are Gap.

All of my tops pictured are J. Crew or Gap.
(Seeing a trend here?)

I'm almost always in my Rainbow flip-flops this time of year, but most mornings I **try** to start off in something else, although somehow by the end of the day I've always managed to find my way back to my Rainbows. 

This time of year and all summer long--this is me.

From breakfast to bedtime I'm in a swim suit most days. I'm still a two-piece bikini gal.

So, I mix it up and buy mostly separates and change up my combinations all the time. 

These are the current pieces in my bag.

I mix most of these pieces with each other and sometimes forget what I actually purchased to go with what.

I like the variety and never end up looking for a lost top or bottom because I can pick up almost any two pieces and they work!

So, that's my style! Casual, comfy easy to throw on and go anywhere I need to go! 

I have a list of things I still need to pick up for summer including black sandals, a new purse (I've got plenty of new tires for the season but from time to time I need "just a purse".), and new jeans!

If you have some favorites, let me know!! I love having help shopping and need to get some things soon! It's just about summertime! Woo! 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Our Whole30 and where we are now.....

Some of you are here because you like us and like keeping up with what we're doing on a daily/weekly/holiday basis. And for that I am eternally grateful, because you are my  people. :)

Some of you, however, are here for the food. Welcome! You, too, are my people and I am grateful for you.

For several years I've been sharing what we're eating and what's cooking in my kitchen. I'm back to meal planning and sharing again because my people asked me to and people get what they ask for.

I thought I'd share a quick version of Our Whole30 experience and how the menus have shaped up at the West house these days.

We (I) decided in January that it would be a good "experiment" to complete the Whole30 (if you aren't familiar with the Whole30 Program click here.)

I first read about it online, from bloggers and instagrammers and then the Whole30 website. I looked at the calendar and knew that the day after my birthday would give me enough time to prepare and enough time to get Joseph to accept his fate for 30 days.

Then I bought the book.
I read it cover to cover over a few days. Then I read it again.

Websites, bloggers (like myself) and friends can tell you  lots about the program and real-life experience but buying the book, to me was key. And well worth the $30 I spent at Target. (Get it for $16.99 here.)

The book is revised and more in-depth. It tells you what you can expect over the course of 30 days and to me, I think a book holds itself more accountable than things you come across online.Buy the Book.

So, we started the day after my birthday and completed 30 days of elimination and "experimentation" with food and its effect on our bodies. We didn't take before pictures, but by day 5 I was wishing we did. My skin was noticeably clearer, my clothes fit better, and I felt different.

Before we started, I was drinking almost a pot of coffee daily. Fueled by caffeine, splenda and Sugar Free French Vanilla Coffeemate, I was so tired by 6 p.m. I didn't know what to do with myself. Cry? Collapse? Yell at someone? I think sometimes I did all three.

10 days in I was sleeping like a baby, waking up before the sun and had energy like I haven't had in years, maybe ever.

I have taken daily medications all of my adult life to treat acne.(nearly 20 years!!) A week into the program (and now 90+ days after) I don't need any of that.

Oh--and we dropped a few pounds. Together 43 pounds in 30 days.

When the 30 days were over, we evaluated how we felt and decided the best thing for us it to continue eating a diet filled with meat (mostly lean), lots of fruits and vegetables without refined sugars, dairy, and preservatives.

So here we are, nearly 4 months later and still feel great, sleep well, have plenty of energy and patience. We have a happier, healthier family. (and together have lost nearly 70 pounds in 90 days.)

Speaking of family--several members of our extended family have since begun a Whole30 for themselves. Many friends have started and friends of family members are now starting the Whole30 and seeing a difference.

Which brings us back to the blog. It takes thought and planning to keep at the "experiment" for 30 days. It takes even more brain-power and grocery lists to maintain a healthy diet like this for the long haul.

I've been sharing my recipes with family and friends via text, email and "here you have to try this" and finally have been asked enough times to start doing weekly meal plans that I'm digging in (but not before snapping a photo) to write out recipes to share with you and your families. I want to help you see that you can eat in a way that's best for you without feeling like you're missing out on the "good stuff".

I also want to know and I want you to know that we're in this together. :)

So starting next Thursday I'll be posting weekly meal ideas and recipes for you and your family who are Whole30, Whole90, or just want some new dinner ideas for yummy food.

And, yes, I'm going to continue sharing all summer long from Birmingham and the beach. Bathing suits and aprons are all the rage.

See you back here next Thursday for week 1! In the meantime feel free to comment to tell me about your family or who you're cooking for! If you're new here, we are a family of 4--with a 5 year old and a 4 year old and the sweetest big black bulldog in the world!