Bites of My Life

Just when you think summer is busy, fall reminds you it’s no calmer. Work has really picked up, weekends are full with football games, events, errands what have you and my week nights are finding ways to go from 5pm to 9pm in lightening speed. All this to be said it was a relatively low key weekend which was a much needed change of pace.

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-Monday blues on blues on blues.
-Last week on W30 had me craving all the chips and snack foods. While these sweet potato chip ingredients are approved, downing them in almost one sitting probably was not…
-Breakfast for dinner just always wins: no sugar added chicken sausage, 2 pasture-raised eggs, tomato, and figs.
-I finished Where the Crawdads Sing last week. It definitely lived up to the hype, buuut it is slow to the start, keep chugging along if you are stuck in the beginning.
-With the influence of my friend Elyse, I got back on the bulletproof coffee train last week and only a few days in and I legit go to bed craving it for the next morning. I saved the recipe in my Whole 30 highlights.
-Wine (topo chico) Wednesday with friends who made sure the cheese board had Whole 30 approved snacks on it! PSA the verde salsa from Central Market is fire with plantain chips.
-A very chill Friday that included the Whole 30 bowl from Chipotle, a face mask and in bed by 9pm.
-Who else raided the Target 20th-anniversary designer collab early Saturday morning? More on this below.
-A W30 brunch date with my Whole 30 partner, Caroline, at Origin Kitchen. We both got the sweet potato bowl and I’m itching to recreate it.
-Boomer in Dallas cheering on our boys in LA!
-PUMPkin up the fall vibes.
-SO excited for this week’s lunch meal prep. The combination of spices and “autumnal” (cough Kathleen cough) ingredients in this recipe made my kitchen smell like it was straight-up middle of November.

Annie

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Target bite: I had to elaborate more on Target Anniversary collection. I have shopped almost every collection since they started this at Target. Kathleen and I would wake up bright and early to shop the limited time collabs. You can read an old post here on TAB and here on Kathleen’s blog from back in the day about our shopping experiences for Philip Lim and Missoni.

Target didn’t come out with any new designs. They simply reproduced items from the original collaborations. I spotted a few John Derian platters my mom still owns, an Anna Sui dress I wore the heck out of, two Philip Lim bags I wore my entire junior year of college and so. much. Missoni. The knit midi skirt brought back all the flashbacks.

Kathleen took to our old Target collab shopping ways and got there right at 8 AM. She started sending me pictures and I quickly got in my car. I walked away with this and this from John Derian and this blouse from Rodarte. Any other Target crazies out there? I’ll leave you with this quote from a lady in the parking lot shoving bag after bag into her tiny car trunk…“I really didn’t think I was going to buy this much!” Same girl, same.

Bites of My Life

Hey September, I said heyyyyyy Septemberrrrrr. Beyonce reference to Hey Mrs. Carter anyone? That was so bad, OK moving on.

Labor Day how was it? I was back in Oklahoma City after my mom, middle sis and the babies came to visit me in Dallas. I wish I had video of me squeezed between two car seats with two crying babies in the pouring rain on our drive back to Oklahoma… I was home for the first OU home game, but got to sneak in good family time, good food, so many walks and prepped 150 Perfect CCCs that I’m making for my friend Chloe’s wedding this weekend! Got back in town yesterday and went into full on #SeptemberWhole30 prep mode. Let the games begin.

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-A taste of fall, but also full on basic white girl move by trying the new Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. Verdict it’s delicious if you like pumpkin things, but you can’t modify it so it’s a niiiice sugar dose in your morning coffee. Still worth ordering at least one this season.
-I joined a volleyball league with some friends here in Dallas. Thankfully we were friends first so they don’t drop me because of my poor athleticism and weak contribution…
-Was on a kick last week of pilates, Royal Blue and then a neighborhood stroll. These were good mornings.
-Favorite new TJ’s find is this Suja celery juice. Just celery and lemon and only $2.99. Only a little more than a stalk of organic celery that you’d juice yourself.
-PizZA with my pizza loving mini me at True Food Kitchen. Loved having them in town for a couple days.
-We picked up Bird Bakery for our lunch on the road. This was my first BB experience and the chicken salad is truly out of this world.
-Got to my parents and did what I did best, cleaned out their fridge. The results were this yummy thai inspired cauliflower fried rice with curry and turmeric seasonings in it and thai curry cashews on top!
-Another parent fridge raid meal. Chicken salad, mismatched veggies, cottage cheese (are you yay or nay?) over mixed greens.
-A true depiction of gameday, inside Seven47 and my relationship with my sis and BIL.
-Back in Dallas after a packed weekend. Had to take a breather before heading to the grocery store, so my Whole 30 Day 1 lunch was an apple and almond butter because it was legit the only food I had.
-I’m getting wildly obsessed with sharing my grocery hauls, but y’all are into them, so I’m into them to. I save them all to a highlight on my instagram.
-First official whole 30 meal was this 5-ingredient sausage and peppers with marinara that The Defined Dish did on her instagram last week!

Annie

September Whole 30

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Whole 30, something we’ve all heard of by now, something most of us have probably done (I’ve done it twice), and something I’ll be starting up next week! Whole 30 is a month long program devoted to resetting your body by nourishing it with whole foods. While it falls into a “diet” category it really is structured to be so much more. There are multiple success stories out there on how it has changed people’s lives, helped heal autoimmune diseases, and reintroduced people to a love of healthy eating etc.

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Chicken sausage, sweet potato, bell pepper and spinach stir fry that will be seen during my Whole 30! Peep the ugly orange athletic socks.

For me, I love the way it makes me feel and truly love the fun challenge it puts around cooking (food nerd alert). I’ve been on a bit of a bender since moving to Dallas. Rightfully so I think. I’ve wanted to eat, drink and see all the things I can while exploring my new city. Zero regrets, buuuuut it’s time to reign it in. I was talking to a friend a couple weekends ago who is currently following a vegan diet. She lives in D.C. and like me, has eaten and drank all the things while enjoying the summer months. She mentioned how she’s an all or nothing girl. I’m the same. I struggle to just say “I’m going to eat healthy this month,” and actually follow through with it. While I stay pretty regimented during the week, weekends, parties and events come up and all bets are off. Give me every piece of cheese, tortilla chip and dessert in sight.

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Crock-pot chicken loaded in a sweet potato with compliant salsa, guac, and red onions. Based off this recipe.

My experience with Whole 30 in the past has helped control this type of chaotic eating in the best way. The guidelines (aka rules) of Whole 30 give me the structure I need to actually say no in situations like this. I find that acquaintances are more understanding when you say no to a cheesy app or cocktail when you say you are following a program like Whole 30 or vegan or whatever it may be, opposed to just saying, “oh i’m just trying to be healthy.”

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Kale & turkey taco salad with compliant salsa, tomatoes, green onion, avocado and crushed plantain chips.

Ramble on, let’s get to the quick bases of Whole30. For 30 straight days you say yes to whole foods, quality animal protein, and all the veggies. You say no to dairy, legumes, sugar and grains. With the way our cooking and healthy eating mindset has shifted in the past few years, this isn’t as daunting as it used to be. I completed my version of Whole 30 August 2016 and January 2017. I wrote a post going more into the program and links to some favorite recipes here.

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Sliced banana drizzled with creamy almond butter, tahini and a sprinkle of cinnamon - my favorite non-egg Whole 30 breakfast.

Is anyone else doing September Whole 30? It kicks off Monday, September 2nd and runs until Tuesday, October 1st. I mentioned above that I have done Whole 30 twice, that being said it has been “my” version of Whole 30. I give myself grace and may slip a drink in here and there on the weekends, but I do try to keep in under control. Because the more alcohol I drink, the more grains, sugar and non-whole 30 items I crave. Whole 30 also tells you to restart to day 1 if you slip up. Let’s get real, a mistake here and there is okay. If I have a non-Whole 30 food, I move on and do better the next day.

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I have a couple friends here in Dallas who are doing Whole 30 with me. I’m excited to branch out on my cooking and do a few special dinners with them. However, my biggest advice for Whole 30 is don’t overthink it. People often complain about the amount of money they spend on groceries and the meat heavy dishes. I try to keep things easy and not out of my wheelhouse, by including smoothies or eggs for breakfast, loaded salads or snack boards for lunch and some kind of easy chicken and veggie dish or soup/chili for dinner. No need to buy an instant pot or air fryer just to successfully complete Whole 30 ;) Below I’ve included some Take A Bite Whole 30 approved recipes and a round up of recipes I hope to try in this upcoming month.

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Whole 30 recipes I love already or hope to make:
Hibachi Style Chicken with Magic Mustard Sauce (my fave Defined Dish meal, pictured above)
Buffalo Chopped Chicken Salad
Ultimate Chicken Taco Salad
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Kale + Chicken Waldorf Salad
Everything Bagel Chicken Salad
Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Tom Kha Gai Soup
Spicy Potato Kale Bowls with Mustard Tahini Sauce

Give my Whole 30 Pinterest board a follow and I’ll be sure to update it through the month.

Go to Whole 30 Meals/Snacks:
Cobb Salad
Taco Salad
Banana or Apple with almond butter
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Loaded Salads
Chicken Sausage Stir Frys (just make sure your sausage is sugar free)
Smoothies
Breakfast for Dinner with scrambled eggs, bacon and roasted sweet potatoes
Spaghetti Squash
Plantain Chips with Guacamole or Salsa
RX Bars
Dates with Almond Butter

Helpful links:
Approved RX Bars
Approved Larabars
Trader Joe’s Whole 30 Staples
Aldi Whole 30 Staples
Whole 30 Approved Almond Milk

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The best Whole 30 snack or dessert - medjool date and almond butter!

Now that you’ve read all of this and may be gearing up for a #SeptemberWhole30 yourself, I want to leave you with this article. While this article brings up a fantastic point and many many things I agree with,I still plan to complete Whole 30 next month. Having completed whole 30 twice and successfully not gone on a rapid binge day 31 I’m feeling confident about the 30 day and beyond challenge. But, read this article, be mindful of it and take it as you want.

Annie

Are you doing #SeptemberWhole30? Comment below if you are or if you have questions!