Variety is the Spice of Life

Homemade Cooked Spaghetti Squash Pasta

If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you know that a week ago Friday I lost my mind and agreed to do a Whole 30 challenge with some girlfriends. (Clearly they are really dear girlfriends or I never would have agreed to join them in such insanity. Love y’all!) After a week of eating clean, I had some thoughts to share and possibly encourage you to join us. One of those thoughts was that trying new things is key. When I get stuck in an eating rut, my engrained habits kick in and I want to eat things off the plan. When I plan well, though, and have yummy foods to eat, I really don’t feel deprived in the least. And I’m certainly not hungry on this challenge!  Here’s why. . .

I’ve got several friends doing Whole30 at the same time as me, so I thought I would gather some of my favorite recipes to share. In full disclosure, I have invented a sum total of ZERO recipes myself. I’m nowhere near that good in the kitchen! I am, however, really good at Pinterest, Instagram and Google. And I love to peruse those on my iPad and earmark things that I want to try. I’m also really good at asking friends for ideas – well, that and I have amazing friends that are way smarter than me and also happy to share. Hooray for that!

 So far (and I’m only on day 9), my favorite websites for recipes and info have been The Clothes Make the Girl, Nom Nom Paleo, The Whole30 Website and Stupid Easy Paleo. All of those are absolutely worth checking out. I’ve used the Whole30 website mostly for information, though some recipes, too. I’m loving everything off of Nom Nom Paleo and just ordered her iPad app as well, which has recipes from her cookbook in it (in a handy electronic version!) Speaking of cookbooks, I am LOVING Against All Grain. It is beautiful, inspiring and has delicious recipes!  Of course, Danielle’s blog is amazing (and gorgeous!) as well. Though not all of her recipes are Whole30 compliant, they are all inspiring and any that aren’t compliant can certainly be tweaked. I recently ordered the Whole30 book It Starts With Food as well, which I’ve yet to have a few moments to sit down and read, but I hear it has lots of great recipes in it as well.

So, now that you’ve got a list of blogs to follow and cookbooks to curl up on the couch with (along with a cup of coffee, of course!) let’s talk recipes.  Here are a few of my favorites so far. . .

Sauces are so important! Favs so far include Paleo Mayonnaise, Sunshine Sauce and the tahini sauce from my new favorite recipe, Deconstructed Gyros (from The Clothes Make the Girl). Y’all, I legit CRAVE this thing. It is so, so, so delicious!  I could eat it all week long – yum! And the sauce is good on almost everything. It makes an incredible salad dressing, too! Another fav is Bolognese Sauce over Spaghetti Squash. Yum!! Another favorite has been burger bowls – cooked ground beef layered on top of oven-baked “french fries” with avocado, tomatoes, lettuce and homemade mayo. It is so tasty! And probably the biggest staple in our house has been roasted chicken and veggies. Just dice up whatever veggies you love (ours usually include sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, bell pepper and Brussels sprouts) and coat them in your favorite kind of oil (olive, grapeseed, avocado, etc.) Then, add some salt and pepper and any other spices you like (we adore Herbs de Provence!) and cook on 375-400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Veggies cooked this way are impossible for me to resist scarfing up as they come out of the oven.  The roasting gives them such sweetness and they are SO delicious! If you want to, you can cook a chicken breast on top. I like to do them bone-in with the skin on (both of which I remove after cooking) because it helps retain moisture and flavor. Comfort food at its finest!

We’ve still got quite a ways to go. What are some of your favorite recipes that are Whole30 compliant? We’d love to try them!