Tahini Chicken Salad (Whole 30 )


I’m wildly excited to share this recipe for multiple reasons. 1. I’ve been meaning to develop a non-mayo chicken salad for a while. Spoiler alert - there is no mayo in this recipe #whole30approved! 2. I LOVE tahini, almost as much as almond butter. 3. I also love dates. 4. My family loves cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks thanks to oldest sis and BIL Claire and Mike’s influence. We love his middle eastern style cooking and this recipe nods to those flavors.


Chicken salad is so easy to prepare and makes for a great tasting and filling lunch. However traditional chicken salads are typically loaded down with globs (yes globs, let’s all gag together now) of mayo (gag again). However once the mayo gets hidden, I truly love chicken salad. I love even more how this recipe ditches the mayo and adds in my fave - tahini. It makes for a killer Whole 30 meal too. I’m on day 21. The end is near, but this recipe will be in rotation post W30 for sure.


Whole 30 Tahini Chicken Salad
yields 3-4 servings

Rotisserie chicken, shredded - (should yield 21/2 - 3 cups)
1/4 cup tahini*
1 tbsp. aapple cider vinegar
3-5 tbsp warm water
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped dates (about 3 large dates)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
dukkah, optional**

In a small bowl, whisk tahini, apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons of warm water, lemon, salt, pepper and garlic powder and set aside. Shred your rotisserie chicken into a medium bowl. Add chopped dates, celery, green onion, and parsley. Pour tahini mixture over the top and stir to combine, add more water if necessary. Serve with extra celery on the side and top with parsley and dukkah.

*I love love love tahini, but I have a strong distaste for Trader Joe’s tahini. If you’ve ever tried tahini from TJ’s and didn’t like it, try buying at Whole Foods, Sprouts or a Mediterranean grocery store. TJ’s is much thicker than traditional tahini.
**Dukkah is an Egyptian seasoning made of nuts, seeds, and spices. It pairs perfectly with tahini and middle eastern dishes. You can find it in most Mediterranean grocery stores, but I actually found mine at Trader Joe’s!


I portioned the chicken salad into 3 of my favorite meal prep jars for lunches that I’ll have with celery on the side. Only about a week left of Whole 30!


September Whole 30


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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)
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


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.


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

Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry (Whole 30)


Let's take a walk down memory lane. My food photography is nowhere where I want it to be, but compared to this Thai Curry recipe from 2014, I'd say I've come along way. Now let's just keep that hidden in the archives and focus on this updated Thai Curry recipe. 

One of my roommates, Lindsay and I first made this curry during early fall and we were obsessed. Anything Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest makes is sure to be perfect. Thanks for the inspo HBH!!


I couldn't decide how I wanted to prepare this dish so I took to y'alls opinion. I polled you all on my Instagram story the other night to see if you were still geeking out over crock-pots or if they are old news. Results were 84% "YAS CROCK-POTS," 16% "Crock-Pots are so 2017." Well...I used my trump card and decided we were going old school and using a good old regular stovetop pot for this recipe. From start to finish this recipe takes makes 45 minutes. You can do it people, step away from the Crock-Pot. 

BONUS, this recipe is Whole 30 compliant for all you January Whole 30ers. I mentioned on my Instagram the other day that I am not participating in Whole 30 this month. Whole 30, like Crock-Pots, is also “so 2017,” in my opinion. But, I do love cooking Whole 30 style dishes and plan on posting some to give you all inspiration. 


Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry (Whole 30)
yields 4-5 servings, adapted from Half Baked Harvest

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, shredded
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
2 Tbsps. fish sauce
2, 14 ounce cans full fat coconut milk
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
packaged cauliflower rice for serving
chopped cashews, pomegranate arils, basil and lime wedges for serving

In a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place chicken in pan and cook on both sides until cooked through. Remove from pan. Add chopped onion, minced garlic and chopped ginger to pan with the remaining oil and browned bits from the chicken. Sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Shred chicken using two forks. Add shredded chicken and broccoli florets to curry. Simmer for 20 minutes until broccoli is softened and curry has thickened. Stir in chopped basil right before serving.

Serve each bowl with a helping of cauliflower rice*, a lime wedge, chopped cashews, pomegranate arils and a sprig of fresh basil.

*I let the heat of the curry soften the cauliflower rice. If you prefer to soften it before, just place in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water, and steam in the microwave for 30 seconds to a 1 minute. 

P.S. I firmly believe the prettier your food is the better it tastes! All those toppings aren’t just for the gram. They help, but they also enhance the dish as a whole! So, invest in the pomegranate, cashew and lime toppings. #worthit


Disclosure: If you are in a loving relationship with your crock-pot, follow Tieghan's cooking method to prepare this dish.


Banana Chip Savory Snack Mix (Whole 30)


Whole 30 snacks are hard. I had this conversation with my sister last week and a friend who is also doing whole 30 right now. Meals are easy, but sometimes you just get a big craving for a handful of crackers or pretzels or some kind of carby snack. This whole 30 approved savory snack mix is so satisfy for someone on whole 30 and for the average joe. Just be careful, it's highly addictive. 


My good friend Chelsea, who actually got married this past weekend, first introduced me to Bubba's Fine Foods Snack Mix. She is a trainer, so I'm always so interested in what she is eating or snacking on. One day at the gym she was eating out of a Bubba's Snack Mix bag. When I read the ingredients I was shocked at how simple and healthy they were. Just banana chips, cashews, pecans, with spices like turmeric, paprika, apple cider vinegar etc. I was sold, but also sold on recreating the mix on my own. Because let's be honest, the bag you buy at the store is $7 for a bag of air...


Savory Snack Mix (Whole 30) 
yields 4 cups


1 1/2 cup raw pecans
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cup banana chips (unsweetened)* 
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Onion powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. liquid aminos**
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil 


Preheat over to 325 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Toss and mix until nuts and banana chips are all evenly coated. 

Bake 15-20 minutes, toss halfway through. Let sit to to dry out a bit and cool before eating. Store in a Ziplock or air tight container. 

*Most banana chips you find at the store are sweetened (you don't want that for this recipe). I ordered a bag of unsweetened from nuts.com. If you can't find unsweetened, plantain chips would be a good replacement. 

**Liquid aminos are a whole 30 approved version of soy sauce or tamari. You can use either in place of the aminos, but I suggest picking up a bottle! Keep some in your pantry and you'll never need soy sauce again!


You can buy Bubba's Fine Foods online or locally at Uptown Grocery. But, I urge you to try my recipe! It's identical (and you get more!!). Perfect snack for traveling, the 3PM slump, watch parties or game nights!


Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Sunday was a meal prep party for myself. My roommate Lindsay and I were shuffling back and forth, taking turns over the oven and in the stove, accidentally bumping into each other all afternoon. "Meal Prep" is such a muscle-y meat head sounding term to me and when I hear it I envision rows of tupperware lined up with boring chicken breasts and broccoli.  You know what I'm talking about...My meal prep is much different. It's really just about putting in a little time on Sunday, so I can then shovel food in my mouth the second I'm ready for lunch and dinner during the week. Cause I'm actually just lazy. 

On Whole 30 they preach meal prep. Simply trying to eat healthy is also about meal prep. Having healthy food prepared and ready at a moments notice saves you from caving on unhealthy options. This last week I prepped my Crock-Pot Curry Chicken and Cauliflower Rice for dinners and this Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup for lunches. I love soup for lunch. It's so much more fulfilling than a blah salad. The recipe is simple and comes together in under 30 minutes.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
yields 6 cups, about 4 servings

1, 14-16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1, 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 yellow onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup water

Heat a large stock pot with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Drain your red peppers and roughly chop them. Add to the pot with your diced tomatoes (not drained). Add salt, pepper, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir in water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. 

If you have an immersion blender, put it straight into the pot and begin to puree the soup. If you don't, add the soup mixture into a food processor or blender. I like to keep my soup slightly chunky, but just blend until you get the consistency you like. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Once blended, add it back into the pot and continue to cook for about 5 minutes then serve!

Preferred method of serving is eating it out of a coffee mug! The perfect vessel to hold onto while you curl up and eat this soup on your couch:)