Whole30 Quick Reference Meal Guide.

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Since I just completed my round 2 of Whole30, I thought I would go ahead and share a quick guide to some of my favorite and most-prepared meals. You can find all my favorite Whole30 meals throughout this blog under the tab "Food & Drink", and then click through all the categories, but I thought I would make it super easy for those of you who want a quick reference for exclusively Whole30 recipes. This is an easy way to find what you're looking for over and over again if you're on Whole30 and needing to cook a lot :) I will continue to add to this post as I share Whole30 recipes that become favorites!

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Whole30 Breakfast:
Chicken-Apple Sausage and Spinach Frittata - (Probably our most-made breakfast during Whole30!)
Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash - (which we've made for lunch and dinner, too!)
Dragonfruit Smoothie Bowl - (omit the granola and honey and make sure the almond milk is Whole30-compliant, otherwise use canned full-fat coconut milk or coconut water.)
Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl - (omit the granola and honey, make sure the almond milk is Whole30-compliant or go ahead and use full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut water.)

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Whole30 Lunch:
Salmon + Caper Spinach Salad - (omit the Parmesan cheese)
Strawberry + Grilled Chicken Salad - (omit the goat cheese)
*We find ourselves eating a lot of leftovers for lunches so that we don't get bored in salad land :)

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Whole30 Dinner:
Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti and Chicken-Herb Meatballs
Pork Chops and Spiced Apple Sauce
Roasted Tomato Soup (omit the white wine and Parmesan cheese)
Lemon & Olive Chicken
White Pork Chili - My newest and favorite stew! Not just my favorite Whole30 stew, my favorite of all time!

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Whole30 Snacks:
Note: snacks aren't encouraged on Whole30 unless you are pregnant of breastfeeding, which I was during my round 2, so these are some of my faves.
Apple Sauce, 2 ways
Boiled Artichoke (omit butter, sub olive oil and extra lemon)
Lara Bar (I love the banana, apple and blueberry bars)
Almond Butter Energy "Milkshake"
Almond Butter Date Round Bites - Coming Soon!

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Like I said, I will continue to add to this post as I keep finding recipes that are winners. If you need some more guidance, feel free check out my Whole30 Diary (Parts 1, 2 ,3 & 4), my reasoning on why I love Whole30, my 3 biggest takeaways from Whole30 and my favorite tools to use in the kitchen. Happy Whole30 prepping/eating/enjoying to you!

An Unplugged Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving holiday came and went in a reflective, quiet kind of way. No hoopla, no drama, no pressure to Black Friday shop or even put on real clothes. Yes, I wore workout gear to Thanksgiving dinner (the rest of my family was dressed so nicely, then there was me, the enormous swollen person who fits into very little at this stage in the game). There were all the mainstay dishes and a wonderful smattering of family smiles and nothing out of the ordinary at all. And you know what? Nothing out of the ordinary felt really comforting. It was really nice to have a stable, dependable kind of holiday weekend. Because externally, there is a lot stirring in my family life, and my head gets a little foggy when I think too hard about all of it. Things like, my parents are moving out of their beautiful home next weekend. The house I love. I admit I'm sad about it. And also, I am having a baby sometime in the coming month. What is he going to be like?? Am I ready for two babies?! And of course, Christmas season is upon us! May the merriment continue onward!

Can we take 12 seconds to talk about this Japanese Maple tree in my back yard? I am so in love with the fiery red goodness its shed all over the fading grass. It's losing its leaves every day and I am so glad we snapped a few more good photos of it before autumn forfeits and gives way to real winter.

Also, I won this outfit on Instagram, you guys. Enter all the giveaways! You never know what you can win! And thank you to Seraphine, who sent me this wayyyy comfy active kit. Please don't hate me for not using it to exercise, because it's just not in the cards.

My sis. Does it look like I ate the third sister? #IpromiseIdidnt #shesinflorida

Don't move don't move don't move don't move. Whew. I just needed to get that out. They're not even moving far away, you guys. Haha I just can't handle the change.

Everett got the croup over the weekend and I think I was fighting off a little bug, too. We stayed in bed and rested a lot, and I actually think we caught his early enough that it didn't manifest into a full-blown sickness situation, thank goodness. I've been using a new brand of essential oils over the past few weeks and I don't mean to be such a crazy oil lady, but I actually think diffusing so many good oils in the house could have helped both of us from getting too, too sick. Time will tell, but I can see this whole essential oils thing becoming an addiction... I've already ordered more and I am really into concocting my own recipes for the house every day. #crazyoillady

I was really kind of terrible at documenting this holiday. I didn't get any pics with Stevie's fam, even though we totally celebrated with them the day before Thanksgiving. And I didn't take any food photos, even though I actually cooked a bit more than I originally planned. And - I even decorated our dining table and it looked so snazzy but alas - no photos. I just needed a good unplug and some extended rest and this was the weekend for it. I am so grateful for this family of mine. It's really everything. And now I'm feeling more refreshed and ready for December and all it's glow.

I hope your weekend was sweet and full of family and love and quiet and yes - Gilmore Girls! Wasn't that revival something?! I have so many thoughts, but I have to re-watch everything to really process the story.

What was your favorite thing about this holiday weekend? Did you have any killer good new recipes that are must-try? Happy Monday to you, friends! xox

P.S. - I have a few Cyber Monday promo codes for you to some of my favorite stores:

At ASOS - Get 30% off every single thing! Use Code THANKFUL30. Valid 11/24 8am – 11/29 8am GMT.

At Stella & Dot - Get up to 60% off flash sale items!

Shop the Handmade gifts section of Amazon for her, for him, and for kiddos. I heart Amazon this time of year.

At Modcloth - Everything is 30% off with Code: CYBER16!

Our Thanksgiving!

We had the sweetest Thanksgiving this year in our new home. I am so unbelievably grateful that I had the opportunity to host my side of the family. My sister and her hubby and kids came and stayed with us, which was the BEST, and I got to soak in all the family moments I had been craving for such a long time.

I got to introduce my nephew to the golf cart, which he begged to ride over and over. I get it. Everett's first words in the morning are, "waffles?" and "g-ride!" (which is what we call the golf cart, ha.) So we drove the g-ride all over this town, and thankfully, we had wonderfully strange warm weather to enjoy so much time outdoors.

The meal went off without a hitch (mostly), and it was a fun twist to set a formal table for the meal. I don't think my family has ever sat down to a formal meal together. We just aren't formal people. But it was so fanciful and fun, it made me wonder why we have waited this long to do it. I had to look up on Martha Stewart's website how to actually set a formal table, and I was definitely missing a few necessary items (who has 10 mini butter knives??) but it didn't matter even the tiniest bit.

There was one moment when we were all sitting around the table, having dessert, that I found my mom staring into her coffee cup. "I never got to drink out of these as a little girl," she said, so softly, I almost missed it. She was pensive, but elated. She shared the memories of her parents and their parties, using my grandmother's china, and the years of hand washing each dish when the party ended. But she never got to enjoy the fancy dishes herself. So she was pretty excited to be sipping her coffee and eating her pie, kind of like having her cake and eating it too :) Oh, my sweet mom.

My new brother-in-law Chuck joined us for all the Spencer shenanigans.

My new brother-in-law Chuck joined us for all the Spencer shenanigans.

Because who doesn't want to dive into a basket of toys while staring at the glittery Christmas tree? Smart little lady.

Because who doesn't want to dive into a basket of toys while staring at the glittery Christmas tree? Smart little lady.

Macaroni and cheese was the only Thanksgiving food this kid would consider. Which is on his face. Am I failing as a parent??

Macaroni and cheese was the only Thanksgiving food this kid would consider. Which is on his face. Am I failing as a parent??

The beautiful people.

The beautiful people.

My mother is nuts.

My mother is nuts.

Sooooooo newlywed, Am I right?

Sooooooo newlywed, Am I right?

JUST COME BAAAACK.

JUST COME BAAAACK.

They are the best grandparents. I'm so happy for these kids to have them.

They are the best grandparents. I'm so happy for these kids to have them.

My sleepy little heart and soul.

My sleepy little heart and soul.

We didn't do anything out of the ordinary for Thanksgiving. We ate, took a walk (this year we also took a g-ride :), then had some dessert. Then we just hung out. It was so simple. It was an awful lot of work, but the kind that is so satisfying and filled my heart all the way up.

When everyone left the house the next day, things were so still and quiet. I found myself really sad, so I curled up on the couch and watched Everett play in the living room while the TV was on. But you know what? That boy came over to me, reached up so I would put him in my lap, and he just rested there with me. Thumb in his mouth, he just sat in my lap without wiggling, squalling or doing the hundred other boy-ish things he normally does when I take him captive and make him sit with me. On this day, he just rested in my lap, leaning his head against my chest, and I could finally breath really deep. It was the most calming moment with my little boy. And these are the ones, the little nuggets of time that life is all about. It's not about the monumental Thanksgiving and all it's glory, it's about the string of bitty moments that wrap the tree in the whitest of light. No one can take those lights away from my memory, and no one can replace the glow in my heart from this holiday. And even though I'm sad Thanksgiving is over and my family is dispersed across the southeast once again, I am the luckiest girl because I have this boy (okay, boys - Stevie counts!) who reminds me what this life is all about. Thanks boys. You're the best ones to me :)

I hope your Thanksgiving was the sweetest, friends.

P.S. - Stay tuned for my holiday gift guides, launching this week! xox

Eat. Drink. Thank.

Thanksgiving came in extraordinary fashion this year. This was a year of many firsts: NOT being in Atlanta, not being with family, and not sitting back and chit chatting while someone else does all the cooking. Instead, my husband and I stayed in Cambridge, celebrated this holiday with dear friends and I cooked my tail off. And you know what? We kind of loved it.

Tangent: My husband’s name is Steven – he wanted me to mention him by name… I think he was getting paranoid that I kept referring to him as “my husband” as if I were trying to protect his anonymity on purpose. We are in the age of Facebook and drones; none of us are anonymous anymore. Anywho, he answers to Steven. Or Stevie. Or Shmoopsy-poo. Just kidding. He won’t let me call him weird names. It’s a real bummer.

Well I digress. I started Thanksgiving Day off right, with a cup of Starbuck’s Christmas Blend while watching the Macy’s Day Parade. That part of the morning did not last long. Once Stevie turned on football there was little else in the world that mattered to him. The crazy part is that I loved the cooking storm I created, mostly because it was storm-free! It was such a peaceful, fun and creative process for me. I (proudly) cooked the following:

Stuffing

Sweet Potato Soufflé (the first batch was chronicled here)

Roasted Vegetables

Cranberry Sauce

Pretzel Jell-O Salad

Pumpkin Pie

I was a regular Betty Crocker (I would like to think of myself as Giada, but I don’t look that hot while I cook.) We packed up the food and drove 3 minutes down the road to dear Troy and Carrie’s place (they are officially our Cambridge family.) They hosted a crowd of 10, and the 4 of us were the only Americans. AND we were the only ones who have ever celebrated Thanksgiving. The rest of the crowd was from Malaysia, Germany and Brazil. It was so interesting being with amazing people from all over the world and coming together to celebrate this holiday of gratitude. Troy and Carrie set a gorgeous table of fanciness AND they cooked the turkey (it was ridiculously impressive.) The four of us ended the night curling up on our couch enjoying mugs of rum apple cider (my own little concoction!)

Photo Credit: The Gorgeous Stevie Hale

Weekend Takeaway

Though it was truly bittersweet missing out on family traditions, it was a merry time indeed. As I think forward to next year, I know that we will be living in a different state (location unknown), potentially celebrating with different people in a new way, so this was a nice way to commemorate our time here in Cambridge. This Thanksgiving was cozy, warm and marked by lots of sleep. Much to be thankful for.