Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Whole 30- Week 3

I'm now almost half way done with week 3 of the Whole 30 challenge!  I've had a few moments of weakness, the weekends are the hardest.  By Whole 30 standards I have failed the challenge, but by my own standards it's been a success.  I'm now down almost three pounds, and I'm feeling a lot better about my body.  My stomach feels flatter, mainly due to the fact that I'm not getting the bloat from dairy and carbs.  When I have cheated, it's amazing how my stomach almost immediately bloats back up.   I'm definitely getting sick of eggs, so I've been experimenting with other options for breakfast.   Next week I plan to try out some green smoothie recipes for breakfast.  Here's what my meal plan for this week looks like:

B- 2 egg scramble with zucchini
L- Mixed greens salad with grilled chicken and oil+vinegar dressing
D- Paleo Chili topped with guacamole- this chili was SO good!

B- Fruit Smoothie (pineapple, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and water)
L- Mixed greens topped with Paleo Chicken Salad
D- Buffalo Ranch Chicken Meatballs with Slap Fries (minus the srirachannaise) and roasted asparagus

B- Apple with almond butter
L- leftover Paleo Chili
D- Buffalo Ranch Chicken Meatballs with Slap Fries (minus the srirachannaise) and roasted asparagus

B- 2 egg omelet with leftover veggies
L- Mixed Green Salad topped with veggies and leftover Zesty Paleo Chicken (from last week) 
D- Paleo Coconut Chicken with roasted carrots and a romaine salad

B- Fruit Smoothie (pineapple, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and water)
L-Leftover Paleo Coconut Chicken and roasted carrots

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Greenville's Indie Craft Parade

T and I had a really low key weekend.  This is the first weekend in months that we've been at home with nothing to do.  I had a list of things I wanted us to get done around the house, but we didn't get any of those done.  We just laid low and took advantage of our free time.

The highlight of the weekend for me was the Indie Craft Parade.  The Indie Craft Parade is a festival in Greenville that celebrates independent artists and their crafts.  Selected artists set up booths and sell their goods during this two day event.  We went for the first time last year, when we just stumbled upon it on a Sunday afternoon.  I had never heard of it, but we figured we'd give it a go since admission was free.

This year we made a point to go again, and made sure to get there as they opened on Sunday since the lines can be ridiculous.  It's usually one-in-one-out the majority of the time it's open.  Admission has gone up to $2 a person this year, but it's totally worth it.

We started our morning with doughnuts from Circa Doughnut, a local doughnut company.  T went traditional with the Sour Cream Old-Fashioned and I tried the Lemon Lavender. Once again I fell off the wagon with my Whole 30 challenge, but it was totally worth it.  I've been wanting to try one of these doughnuts for months. 

We also shared a coffee from Methodical Coffee.  Methodical will be opening up a brick and mortar in October on Main street, so it was great to get a preview of their offerings.

After our doughnuts and coffee, we started making our way through each booth.  I saw a few of my favorites from last year, as well as some new ones. 

A few vendors that caught my eye were:

Oriskany Glass Studio- Greenville, SC
Their hanging orbs and terrariums are mesmerizing, and very reasonably priced.  The smaller ones range from $20-$35. 

Precious America- Nashville, TN
Their custom monograms would be such a special gift for a wedding or baby.

Bonnie Christine of Going Home To Roost- Brevard, NC
Bonnie's fabrics are just beautiful.  She sells patterns and sewing kits as well as the finished products of all of her goods. 

Tin Oiseau- Greenville, SC
These custom stamps caught my eye.  You can also get personalized return address stamps on their website for $35.  They're based in Greenville and the turnaround time on their custom stamps is only 3-5 days.

Spectrum- Greenville, SC
Spectrum was my favorite booth from last year, so I was thrilled to see it again this year.  The owner,  Julia Riffel, uses different kinds of wood, natural stones, animal hair, and antlers in her pieces. 

Pogoshop- Cameron, SC
Since I now have a little niece to shop for (and another niece or nephew on the way!), I was drawn to all of the booths selling baby items.  These cashmere booties from Pogoshop were absolutely adorable.  They also had cashmere mittens for babies.  Maybe a little impractical, but nothing is cuter than baby-sized cashmere mittens.

Bean and Bailey- Chattanooga, TN
By the time I walked up to this booth, I had already spent more than I'd budgeted, but these Bean And Bailey ceramic hanging planters were so tempting.

It was so great to knock out a good portion of my Christmas shopping in September.  Christmas always sneaks up on me, so it's such a relief to know that I've already got a chunk of my shopping taken care of.  If you missed the event this year, they're having a Holiday Fair on December 6th!  Visit their site here or follow them on instagram here for more information.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Whole 30- Week 2

Week two of the Whole 30 challenge is here!  My first week was tough, but I think (and hope) that I'm finally over the hump.  I made it through the weekend without a glass of wine, but did have a few minor slip ups.  (see Sunday's breakfast choice below)  Overall I'm really proud of what I've done so far, and I'm down almost three pounds! 

My favorite new food is almond butter.   Trader Joe's offers one that has no added sugar, and it is scrumptious.  I've been having apples dipped in almond butter at some lunches.  I have to be careful about serving sizes, as it is calorie and fat dense, but it's worth every bit.  

Here's the meal plan for this week.  I'm not sick of eggs yet, but after eating them every morning for two weeks, I could be approaching an egg strike.

B- Gonna be honest, I cheated here and had a cinnamon roll. #worthit
L- Paleo Chicken Salad on romaine boats with apple slices and almond butter
D-Burgers on the grill (served in lettuce wraps) with roasted rosemary potatoes and slaw dressed with Orange Poppyseed Dressing

B- 1 egg+ 1 egg white scramble with sausage
L- Grilled chicken over greens with avocado, chopped veggies, and balsamic vinegar + olive oil
D- Burgers on the grill (served in lettuce wraps) with roasted rosemary potatoes and slaw dressed with Orange Poppyseed Dressing

B- 1 egg+ 1 egg white scramble with sausage and leftover potatoes
L- Grilled chicken over greens with avocado, chopped veggies, and balsamic vinegar + olive oil
D- Another attempt at eating out, I did my best but did succumb to champagne.  The first drink I've had in 9 days!  Was it worth it?  Still deciding...

B- 2 egg omelet with sauteed veggies
L- Paleo Chicken Salad on romaine boats with apple slices and almond butter
D- Zesty Chicken Bites and roasted zucchini

B- 2 egg omelet with sauteed veggies
L- Grilled chicken over greens with avocado, chopped veggies, and balsamic vinegar + olive oil
D- Zesty Chicken Bites and roasted broccoli

B- 1 egg+ 1 egg white scramble with sausage and leftover veggies
L- Paleo Chicken Salad on romaine boats with apple slices and almond butter

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Whole 30 Crockpot Pulled Pork

When I started meal planning for week 1 of my Whole30 challenge, I wanted to make sure that I included a variety of meats.  Grilled chicken gets old, fast, and I feared that if I got sick of the food that I was eating I may be tempted to cheat. I scoured Pinterest for an easy pulled pork recipe that was Whole 30 compliant, but didn't find many options.  I was hoping for a crockpot recipe which would make it even easier, but wasn't sold on any recipe that I found.

The gears started turning in my brain, and I picked out a few spices from my rack that I thought would go well with pork. Cumin, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, and salt. The craziest part of this recipe is that you don't add any liquid to the pork for cooking.  Just rub the spices on, stick it down in a crockpot on low, and wait 16 hours.  That's it.

The pork was surprisingly very moist and fell apart.  The crust on the outside added such good flavor that it didn't even need a sauce.  Which is good, because the options for Whole 30 approved BBQ sauces are slim. T and I were both so pleased with this recipe that I'll be adding it to my list of slow cooker recipes even when I'm not eating Whole30 foods.



1 3-4 lb pork butt
1 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
1 t. oregano


Combine all spices and rub over pork butt.  Place in slow cooker and cook on low for 16 hours.  At around 6-8 hours remove all of the liquid from the pot. (Before removing the liquid I poured a few cupfuls over top of the butt to baste it.)  You can save the liquid and add it back in if you'd like for serving.  Pull apart with two forks or serve in large chucks.  After 16 hours the pork will be falling apart, but will still be very moist.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

#Whole30 Challenge

For the month of September, I'm going to attempt to complete the Whole 30 challenge.  I've heard a lot about the Whole 30 Challenge in the last year or so, but never thought it would be something I'd be interested in.  No alcohol for 30 days?  No way Jose.

Last week after reading this post about Jennifer's Whole 30 experience and results,  I was jazzed to try it for myself.  When T and I moved to Greenville almost 4 years ago, I weighed 10 pounds less than I do now.  Luckily I can still fit in to the majority of my clothes, but I don't feel as confident as I once did in them.  I also just don't feel as good as I used to.  I went from eating well and exercising 4-5 days a week to drinking 4-5 days a week and not exercising at all. It's a miracle I haven't gained more than 10 pounds.  While the purpose of this challenge is not to lose weight, it definitely is a tangible benefit.  As I've gotten older, I've developed food allergies and intolerances to different kinds of foods, mainly legumes and dairy.  I'm really excited to see how I feel after cutting these foods completely out of my diet.  If I do successfully complete this challenge, this will also be the first time since I was 18 that I've gone 30 days without alcohol.  If you're reading this, sorry Mom. 

The problem I've had in the past with diets is that the food just doesn't taste good.  I LOVE food, and put so much thought and preparation into every meal.  I mean who really wants to snack on a rice cake?  Yuck.  The one thing that was so inspiring about Whole30 is that I get to eat real foods with, get this, real fats. I've had fun pinning a lot of the Whole 30 recipes, but I've actually been able to use a lot of the recipes that I've been cooking for years. 

I'm now 3 days in to my first week, and things are going great!  The toughest challenge for me so far is the lack of sugar.  There are no added sugars allowed, so the only way I can get my sugars are from fruits.  I've had to time when I eat fruits during the day, so that I don't get a headache mid-afternoon.  I found that a small serving of fruit or fresh squeezed juice in the morning with another piece of fruit in the afternoon works for my body. 

I think the next tough challenge coming up will be the alcohol.  This week hasn't been bad at all, but pouring a glass of wine at 5:00 on Friday is usually one of the highlights of my week.  I plan to substitute the wine with San Pellegrino and a lime wedge in a wine glass.  Obviously it's no Sauvignon Blanc, but it's better than nothing!

One thing that I've done that has made this first week a little easier is planning out every meal ahead of time.  I spent the majority of Monday prepping all of my meals, so that I had no option to cheat due to lack of time.  I was also worried about the cost of this.  We are on a very strict budget and allot ourselves $80 a week for groceries.  I usually use every bit of that at a normal grocery store, so I figured I'd go over buying all organic produce and grass fed meats.  I bought everything that I could at Trader Joes, and then purchased the remaining items (including all of my meat) from Whole Foods, and spent $81 and some change.

Here is my meal plan for this week.  I've provided links for the recipes that I got from Pinterest, but a lot of them were things that I already make or foods that require no recipe.

B- 1 egg over easy with sausage and sliced tomatoes, organic chai tea
L- Curried Cabbage and Beef Stir Fry
D- Paleo Buffalo Chicken Wings with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice (which ended up tasting not-so-good) and Orange Poppy Seed Slaw made with this dressing

B- 1 peach and 1 link of sausage
L- Curried Cabbage and Beef Stir Fry
D- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (adapted from this recipe), sweet potato oven fries, and kale salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

B- 2 egg scramble with onions, 1/2 sausage link, and kale, organic chai tea
L- Paleo Buffalo Chicken wings, sweet potato oven fries, and Orange Poppy Seed Slaw
D- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (adapted from this recipe), roasted carrots and zucchini

B- 2 egg scramble with zucchini, 1/2 sausage link and onions
L- Curried Cabbage and Beef Stir Fry
D- Paleo Buffalo Chicken Wings, Sauteed Kale, sweet potato oven fries

B-2 eggs over easy with sliced tomatoes
L- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (adapted from this recipe) over kale and lettuce with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
D- My first attempt at eating out, eek! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our 2nd Anniversary Trip

Vacation is now over, and it's back to work I go.  Wha wha wha.  T and I spent the last several days in Wilmington, NC celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary.  When we got married, we made a goal to visit a different state for each wedding anniversary.  Both of us have traveled a decent amount outside of the US, but neither one of us have traveled that much within our own country.   Last year we started the tradition with our Nashville trip, and this year we knocked out North Carolina with a trip to Wilmington.

We had an absolute blast.  I found this waterfront condo on airbnb for $89/night.  The location was great; it was walking distance from all of the restaurants we wanted to try.  Earlier this summer I reached out to Heather of Port City Prescription and Elise of Cheers Y'all to get the scoop on the best places to try, and they seriously hooked me up.  T and I ate (and drank) like kings. 

Our condo had 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, an an open area with a small kitchen and den. It was just what we needed for the two of us.  There was also a large balcony that overlooked the USS North Carolina, so the views were incredible.  It was absolutely perfect for what we needed, and the price was unbeatable. 

the bedroom

the den

view from our porch
before dinner on our first night

Oysters from the Shuckin' Shack

my first donut from Britt's the iconic donut shop in Carolina Beach

hotdogs from the Trolly Stop in Wrightsville beach

getting our culture in with a tour of the USS North Carolina

ferry ride over to Southport

we had a wonderful lunch at the Provision Company

the best conch fritters I ever did have

My favorite day of our vacation was Saturday, when we took the ferry over to Southport. Southport is such a cool, laid back town. It's gotten a lot of attention recently because that's where the movie Safe Haven was filmed. A lot of other movies have been filmed there too, like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Summer Catch, Nights in Rodanthe, and A Walk To Remember.  My Uncle has lived in Southport for a while, and was the City Manager for almost 15 years.  He gave us a list of some cool places to go, and we spent the day exploring.  We also visited a park bench that was dedicated to my grandparents.  I've never been to my grandparents' grave site because it's about a 7 hour drive away from Greenville.  Getting to visit this bench was really special, because it's the closest I've felt to them since they passed.  We had such a great time celebrating two years in North Carolina, and we're already planning on what state we'll hit next year.  Suggestions are appreciated!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tasty Korean BBQ

I've been on a mission to try as many holes-in-the wall in Greenville as I can.  Well, maybe more diamonds in the rough rather than holes-in-the wall.  Those places that you'd pass by without a thought, but the moment you try their food you wonder why you hadn't been there before.

One thing that Greenville offers that you don't see as often in other towns is the variety of international cuisine.   Upstate South Carolina actually has the highest international investment per capita in the United States.  And with all of that international investment, Greenville now offers cuisines from all over the world.

A few of my favorites are Me Kong (Vietnamese), Sacha's (Colombian), Pita House (Mediterranean) and now Tasty Korean BBQ has been added to the list.   This is a place we've driven by numerous times, and if you live in Greenville, you probably have too.  The restaurant is connected to a gas station, which I know sounds kind of unsanitary, but I was actually shocked at how nice and clean it was inside.

I heard that their lunch specials were great, so T and I decided to try it out on a Saturday afternoon.  I'm a sucker for a bento box.  There's just something about it that makes me order one at every opportunity.  The way each part of your meal is separated in its own tiny compartment, I just love it. Their boxes are very reasonably priced at lunch, ranging from $8.00 to $11.00 and they come with plenty of food to fill you up.

T ordered the BBQ chicken which was pretty good, but my Dweji-Bulgogi (grilled pork in spicy Korean sauce) stole the show.  The boxes also came with a salad, sticky rice, a noodle dish called japchae, and two half moon shaped fried dumplings- think Korean empanadas. The food tasted so fresh and flavorful.  The pork was absolutely amazing, and I could eat an entire bowl of those noodles. After doing some research, we found out that japchae is made from sweet potato noodles stir fried with sesame oil and veggies.  Never had a sweet potato noodle before, but I don't think those will be my last!

Rather than sticking with waters, we decided to order a few Korean beers to wash everything down.  Wise choice on our parts, the beer went along perfectly with our meals.  

Tasty Korean BBQ is located at 1170 Woodruff Road, right behind the Red Robin gas station.  Their dinner menu prices are okay, but their lunch special is the best deal.  
Tasty Korean Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

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