Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

This is one Paleo dinner that doesn’t taste “granola” at all. It was so good we ate until our stomachs hurt.

The glorious part is I browned the hamburger meat several hours before I was ready to eat, and I threw all the ingredients for the sauce into the crockpot to cook for awhile so the flavors could get right. Plus, slow cooking the meat makes it extra tender.

I’ll admit it’s not the prettiest dish I’ve ever made, but it makes up for it in warm, hearty flavors. Perfect for fall.

What you need:

  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half
  • 1 jar of Whole30 compliant spaghetti sauce
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian Seasoning to taste

Sauté the ground beef with the onion in a hot skillet until meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Move to slow cooker. Add in the sauce. (I used Thrive Market’s Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce.) Add a little Italian Seasoning, and more salt and pepper if you like. I cooked ours on low for about 4 hours, but you could also make this on the stovetop.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrap out the pulp and seeds. Season the inside of the squash halves with salt, pepper and a little avocado oil. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet cut side down, and roast for 40-45 minutes. When it is done, remove from the oven, and let cool for a few minutes. Flip the halves over and scrap the squash with a fork to make “noodles.”

Put the squash noodles in a bowl. Top with the spaghetti sauce. And enjoy.

It was warm and comforting. And like I said, we ate all of it. The good thing is the “noodles” didn’t make us sick. It’s the little things in life.

What are your favorite comfort dishes that just happen to be Paleo?

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Show Me Your Friday Face

We made it to Freedom Day…also known as Friday. Woo whoo!

This week has been hard on me. Like crazy hard. My day job has been crazy. I’m working hard on my side hustle with Beautycounter after I get home. I feel like I need a mental break. But this too shall pass .

I’ve been switching my my eyeshadow every few days since I got the gorgeous Winter Jewels Palette from Beautycounter. But I’m gravitating to certain ones over and over again.

In the Winter Jewels Palette, I’m completely in love with the Rose Gold eyeshadow. I’m wearing only that and the Volumizing Mascara in the photo above.

But I recently got the Nude Eye Trio from the Holiday Collection. The nude cream eye shadow is to die for. It’s the color of my dreams. Neutral with a hint of gray. I hope they keep those two shades after the holidays are over.

If you haven’t checked out the Holiday Collection, I highly recommend that you do. Everything is so gorgeous. Perfect for stockings. I can make recommendations for the special people in your life. So let’s give the gift of clean beauty.

Anyway, I didn’t intend for this to be a Beautycounter post, but I’m just really loving everything they’ve got going right now.

Happiest of Fridays, friends!

Creamy Chicken and Zoodles

I’m currently playing a game with myself. A game where I stand in the kitchen and stare at the contents (or lack there of) in my fridge and try to imagine what I’ll make for dinner.

It’s basically throwing something together and hoping it tastes good. Sometimes it’s mediocre. But sometimes it turns out so good we both stand over the stove and eat directly out of the pan.

In all honesty, I have no idea what to call this. It was created purely on instinct and a hungry tummy. And the fact that I wanted it to be ready quickly.

What you need:

  • 2 zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 yellow squash, spiralized
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • A couple handfuls of frozen peas
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt, pepper, dill and garlic powder to taste

Season the diced chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sauté in a hot skillet. Let it get kind of brown.Add the onions and let them caramelize.

In a separate pan, cook the zoodles. Let them get a little crispy.

Add the peas and tomatoes to the chicken and onions. Let the peas heat through. Add the coconut milk. Season with a little more salt and pepper and a lot of dill.

Put the zoodles in the bottom of the bowl and top with creamy chicken mixture. Enjoy.

Don’t let the coconut milk mixture cook too long before serving. It can separate and you lose the creamy goodness.

This was so good we debated over who could drink the sauce. And it’s amazing such a dish exists because I had no idea what I was doing.

Weekend Wonders

Lazy weekends are my jam.

I love being able to totally check out. This weekend was the coldest one we’ve had so far, and I was excited to finally break out a big scarf and my favorite winter hat.

But the only thing I look forward to during the cooler months is a fire in the fireplace.

Since it was the first true cold snap of the season, we kept a fire going all weekend long. From now on, we are going to have Fire Fridays, which consist of a date night out for dinner and then home to a fire and whatever goodness we want to watch on Netflix. Right now, we are rationing out Stranger Things 2. And when I say rationing, I mean one episode per night.

Annie is loving this whole lazy weekend thing we’ve decided to pursue. She spent her time all cuddled up in blankets on my lap. But seriously, I can’t handle her cuteness. When I took this picture, I was whispering sweet nothings to her about how pretty she is. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Brad didn’t even bat an eye at this. It’s simply my normal behavior when it comes to my puppy bear.

Keeping with the lazy weekend theme, I bought on of Honey Pies’ Chicken Pot Pies from Me and McGee Market.

Run. Don’t walk. Run to Honey Pies on Bowman Road in Little Rock or to Me & McGee Market to get yourself this deliciousness.

I would love to tell you that we had leftovers. But that would be a complete lie.

We ate every single bit of this gorgeous pie in a matter of minutes.

Is it Whole30 approved?

No.

Is it gluten-free?

No.

Is it dairy-free?

No.

Was it worth every single bite?

Absolutely.

That, my friends, is exercising food freedom. Finding balance with food is hard. I posted a live video the other day expressing my struggles with eating healthy. So I’m truly getting back on the wagon, and I’m working hard to make sure I have food prepped and ready to go. Part of the issues I’ve been having is not packing a healthy lunch, getting caught up a work and settling for less-than-stellar foods and forgetting to thaw our meat for our weeknight dinners.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. And I do. I need to 5-Second Rule myself to get my act together when it comes to meals and meal prep. If I can do it flawlessly during Whole30, I can do it any other time. I can’t for the life of me figure out why healthy choices are so difficult to make sometimes. And why making good choices during a Whole30 seems easier than any other time. Anyone have any insights into that?

It’s amazing how easily excuses creep. How I can talk myself out of cooking dinner and going out to eat. How I can’t say no to a donut or cookie even thought I’m not hungry at all. How reintroducing sugars, even in the natural forms, can make daydream of sweets during my afternoon coffee breaks at work.

The mental attachments to certain foods are long-lasting. It gives us a glimpse of just how powerful the mind really is when it comes to attachments and habits. I remind myself that I must exercise making healthy choices like I exercise my body. The mind is merely a muscle that can be trained to be stronger. And while I practice I keep telling myself…I think I can. I think I can. I know I will. I know I will.

What do you do to help you make healthy choices? Any tips or tricks?

How to Do Fancy Dinners on Whole30

Whole30 is a fantastic program. Until there is something to celebrate.

Holidays. Birthdays. Weddings. Babies. Good days.

In my world, celebrating anything is about the food. What are we going to eat?

September had three things we had to combat: Labor Day and Brad’s mom’s birthday and our anniversary.

Since Ladonna’s birthday fell during the middle of the week, I promised her a big fancy family dinner.

So I spent the week preparing the menu and getting everything together so I could make her a birthday celebration.

What was on the menu?

Herb Roasted Chicken from the Farm at Barefoot Bend

Balsamic Dijon Roasted Root Vegetables

Sautéed Zephyr Squash

Paleo Apple Crumble

It was a dinner of firsts.

First time to roast a whole chicken. First time to make a Paleo dessert that was Whole30 approved. First time to make homemade chicken stock.

But the best part was we are well. We celebrated a special lady’s birthday. We were 100 percent Whole30 compliant, even if some of the items were considered a Paleo treat (or as the Whole30 creator calls it sex with your pants on foods).

We ranted and raved about how good a truly free range farm chicken tastes. It was a delightful experience I was happy to create and center around good food.

What are your favorite ways to celebrate something when you are trying to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle?