4 Ingredient Lemon Basil Turkey Meatballs (W30, AIP, LF Friendly)

These meatballs are so simple and so tasty. Yum! Freezer ready, too.

3 pounds ground turkey
6 tablespoons lemon salt (50% sea salt, 50% dried lemon zest)
1/2 large bunch/package basil

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Add ground turkey to large mixing bowl.
3. Wash hands. Add sea salt to mixing bowl.
4. Dice basil, add to mixing bowl.
5. Mix well to incorporate seasonings.
6. Line 3 baking sheets with tin foil. Shape ground turkey into small balls, about tablespoon size. Place on baking sheet so they are not touching.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until centers are no longer cooked.

Freezer ready and makes about 6 servings.

Easy Bolognese Sauce with Baked Pumpkin (W30, LF Friendly)

This is a simpler version of a recipe I've made before. When I am meal prepping for every 2 weeks, simple is key. I was actually planning to make this over spaghetti squash but BJs did not have any spaghetti squash and I was pressed for time and didn't feel like going to a second store. So I remembered I had two big neck pumpkins at home and decided to use those instead.

2 large neck pumpkins (look like squash) or other starchy vegetable of choice such as butternut squash or spaghetti squash
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 can plain tomato sauce
3 pounds ground beef
6 tablespoons Italian Herbs
sea salt
half bunch fresh basil
half bunch fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Carefully cut starchy vegetables in half and remove seeds.
3. Line 2-3 baking sheets with tin foil. Place starchy vegetables cut side down on baking sheets. Bake for 60-90 minutes or until outer skin is tender and starting to brown. Remove from oven and scrape flesh into meal containers.
4. Meanwhile, place a large skillet on medium heat. Add ground beef. Add Italian herbs and sea salt. While cooking break up with a spatula and mix seasonings in at the same time.
5. Once ground beef is no longer pink and is fully cooked and broken up, turn heat to low. Add in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.
6. Dice basil and cilantro and add to beef and tomato mixture.
7. Stir beef and tomato mixture until fresh herbs wilt. Remove from heat.
8. Serve beef and tomato sauce mixture over starchy vegetable, or store in freezer safe meal containers.

This meal is freezer ready. Makes about 6 servings.

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry (W30, AIP, LF Friendly)

This recipe is a tasty way to use up leftover meat veggies from buying in bulk that you may not have needed for another recipe. For me, I had purchased chicken thighs, a 5 pound bag of carrots, and a giant bag of fresh green beans to make chicken soup. Well they wouldn't all fit in my crock pot! So I cooked up the leftovers as stir fry!

2 pounds chicken thighs
4 cups green beans (fresh)
4 cups diced fresh carrots
coconut oil
sea salt and pepper
About 3/4 cup coconut aminos (like soy sauce but soy free)

1. Heat a large skillet on medium. Add about 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Sprinkle chicken thighs with sea salt and pepper. Carefully place into skillet with tongs to avoid spattering of hot oil. Leave in place for 1-2 minute per side to sear.
3. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place seared chicken thighs in baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, dice green beans and carrots.
5. In the same skillet on medium heat, add some more coconut oil (2 tablespoons or so). Add carrots and cover. Stir occasionally, until carrots are beginning to tenderize. Then add in green beans as they cook quicker.
6. Once all veggies are tender, remove from heat. Portion veggies and chicken into containers (made 4 servings for me) when cool enough, then drizzle with coconut aminos.

This is a freezer ready recipe! Makes about 4 servings.

Prosciutto Wrapped Beef Sliders (W30, AIP, LF Friendly)

This morning before work I had some extra time so I went through my closet and jewelry. I've been on the path of becoming minimalist, but there have been a few things holding me back. After doing some thinking, I've realized I don't need all the clothes I have and that I can get rid of a lot of them and still have enough. So I went through and set aside about 1/2-23 of the clothes to donate, leaving no more than 3 of each of my essentials- sweaters, suit jackets, work skirts, etc and kept shirts and dresses that could go for work or casual. I feel so much lighter and free knowing that I have gotten rid of a bunch of stuff! I will probably go through my clothes again later to see if there are any items I saved that I don't really wear. I wanted to par things down since Andrew is moving in with me in just over a month.

Originally I had in mind sausage patties wrapped in prosciutto, but once Andrew tasted these he named them prosciutto wrapped sliders right away. They are one of my favorite recipes I've made recently!

3 pounds ground beef
6 tablespoons Italian Herb blend
sea salt
approximately 18 slices prociutto

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Add ground beef to a large mixing bowl. Add Italian Herbs and sprinkle generously with sea salt.
3. Wash hands, then mix seasonings well with ground meat.
4. Line 3 baking sheets with tin foil. Shape ground meat mixture into patties, about 1/4 cup size. Mine made about 18 patties total, or about 6 per pound.
5. Wrap each patty in a slice of prosciutto. Place on baking sheet.
6. Once all patties are prepared, bake for about 20 minutes or until centers of patties are no longer pink.

Makes about 6 servings. Don't forget some veggies on the side!

Skiing Trip

On Saturday 1/10/15 Andrew and I went to Ski Whitetail Resort just over the PA border. It was my first time skiing and I had requested we go for our anniversary. Andrew had been both skiing and snowboarding before and decided to go skiing this time.

We got a package that included beginner lessons, which were very helpful. They even took you down the bunny slope for the first time. The old, more timid me would have been terrified of the ski lift, but it was no big deal.

I fell several times on my first run down the beginner slope. First, I fell as soon as I attempted to ski off the lift at the top. Then I fell twice as I went down the hill. We went down as a group, stopping in certain sections.

I waited at the bottom for Andrew to finish his lesson and runs down with the beginner snow boarder class. We went for one run together down the beginner slope, then we took a lunch break. We had gotten up around 4 am that morning (and he surprised me with roses!) to hit the road for the drive. I am in the middle of a Whole30 and Andrew was in the middle of a Whole7. At the cafeteria we got a huge salad with lots of veggie toppings which was awesome, plus an orange each. I wish we realized the salad bar offered baked chicken on top of the salad (as opposed to the lunch meats I knew they offered which were surely not W30). We each got a plain burger patty for protein. Lunch was good and filling but very pricey since we paid $8 something for each burger patty. But it was nice to have something hot and not have to take off all our gear, drive somewhere, eat, return, etc.

We went back out and did the beginner slope a few more times, then moved up to the next beginner slope which was perhaps a bit steeper and more steady incline. This one was a lot of fun! I didn't fall on any of the runs besides the first one on the beginner slope. I was really enjoying myself on the second slope we did.

So we decided (i.e. I suggested and Andrew went along with it) to move up to the intermediate slope. It looked scary but then again so did the beginner slopes at first, so I figured I would give it a shot. At the top, there are 4 paths to go down. I picked the one that looked like it had more level spots and was less steep (so I could stop if needed on the way down). For about the first half it was going great. I was having fun. But then I couldn't stop. The trick the instructors taught us to stop was to tilt our skis inward to form a wedge, and then to press the outer edges of both skis out farther, to create a steeper wedge. On packed snow with that steep of an incline that trick did not work, so I just kept picking up speed and picking up speed! The intermediate hill was a lot steeper and longer than the others, plus a lot more populated. Any of my friends from high school can tell you that I don't like people in my bubble when I am exercising, and I have a bubble about the size of my arms' width. I ended up stopping myself by going up the embankment and then loosing control and falling on the side. I tried again a few more times but I hadn't mastered the ski, turn to the side, ski, turn to the side move that more advanced skiers use to slow down and I ended up stopping myself a few times by flipping and tumbling over myself in the middle of the ski slope. Luckily, I was fine and not hurt (other than some minor bruises). I credit my healthy diet and flexible limbs/joints/muscles due to exercise. After the third or fourth time that I realized I could not ski under control, my nerves were just shot. There was no way I was trying again on that slope. I wasn't comfortable on the skis and being afraid while trying to ski something tough wasn't going to go well for me. So I took my skis off and walked the rest of the way down, which was tough because the incline was very steep and they are rather awkward to carry along with poles and trying not to slide and fall.

After that I needed a break to rest and try to recover my nerves. Andrew and I sat down and I tried to calm myself and think positive thoughts. I really wanted to finish the day on a high note by going down one of the beginner slopes again to prove to myself that I could, but my nerves were just way too shot.

All in all, we spent about 6 hours there so I feel we had a full day. I was happy to notice that I didn't have to quit from weak muscles, which could have potentially been a problem had I not been working out these last few weeks, so that was great. I still had a blast and really enjoyed the second hill we did, although the intermediate hill really put a damper on that.

But I will look forward to skiing again at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future. On the drive home we stopped at Wegman's because the closest one is 1-2 hours from us. We got some whole30 snacks like roast beef lunch meat and strawberries and homemade cashew butter for Andrew. I also got some whole corn pasta for post Whole30. I'd like to make homemade mac and cheese but corn seems to agree with me a lot better than wheat.

2 Week Meal Prep Rundown, Whole30 low FODMAP Style

Now that pet sitting has slowed down for the winter, I actually have free time on weekends. It is such an amazing feeling, even though it will only last for a short while. It is so nice to be able to wake up at whatever time and have absolutely no obligations or places to be or things scheduled in a day. Of course I always have things I would like to get done that day, but it is so much nicer to be able to do them leisurely.

So Saturday night we went to bed early because we were tired from skiing/snowboarding and waking up early that day, plus we had to get up pretty early on Sunday for Andrew's Search and Rescue training. Of course I didn't have to get up with him but I typically do when he has a set time to wake up. That way I can make sure he gets in a good breakfast before he leaves and get on with my day. So we walked the dogs, prepped breakfast, and then he left. I ate my breakfast leisurely while watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix. Then I cleaned his kitchen. I can't stand a messy kitchen, it just makes being in the room or nearby burdensome. Then I packed up my stuff and Jubi and headed home to shower and put my stuff away.

I finally got cooking around noon or so. I cooked until about 2:30 and cleaned up a little since Andrew was coming over. We hung out with the dogs for a while and he left around 6:30. I cooked and cleaned some more until around 9:30, with about 30 minutes spent with Michelle and Megan  coming by to pick up my hermit crabs (they are the new owners). So all together about 5 hours spent prepping, cooking, packaging and cleaning the kitchen (this includes washing dishes, cleaning counters/stove top, sweeping floor, steam mopping the floor, and taking out the trash).

Sadly, I do not have room in my room for all of our pets while Andrew thru hikes the Appalachian Trail starting in March. I knew Megan had been wanting some hermit crabs and I knew they would take good care of them. I hate to re-home any pets, but hermit crabs really don't care about their humans at all. So this way I was able to re-arrange my furniture so that Hercules the sugar glider could go in my walk in closet when he moves in. He has to stay behind a closed door because otherwise I am certain my roommate's very sweet but very active/good hunter cat Juice would get Herc for dinner.
My first time pan searing anything! Pork chops and chicken thighs (boneless and skinless for both) seasoned with salt and pepper and baked to finish out the cooking time. Here they are after they came out of the ove.

Squash noodles=squoodles cooking in coconut oil with some sea salt

Anyway, here's what I prepped:
3 pounds of Italian Beef sausages (6 servings) wrapped in prosciutto to go with sauteed squash noodles with coconut oil and salt or raw cucumber noodles (noodles made with this vegetable spiralizer)
2 pounds of seared chicken thighs seasoned with coconut aminos and ginger, to serve with sauteed carrots and green beans seasoned with coconut aminos (like a stir fry- 4 servings)
4 servings bolognese sauce with ground beef served over baked pumpkin
2 servings bolognese sauce to serve over fresh lettuce
3 pounds lemon basil turkey meatballs (6 servings) to serve with veggie noodles or frozen mixed veggies
3 pounds baked flounder fillets (6 servings) to serve with frozen veggies
4 pan seared pork chops to serve with fresh lettuce and tomatoes
5 servings chicken soup with green beans and carrots
28 hard boiled eggs to serve with sweet potato/potato hash (6 servings)
4 backpacking meals of can of tuna, black olives, carrot sticks, baked white potato to mix with hot water for soupy mashed potatoes, mandarin orange cups and snacks of fresh fruit

43 meals, which is enough for 2 weeks. If I eat out at all or have Andrew cook for me, that will last even longer. I'll probably eat out twice in the next 2 weeks.

What I have leftover:
8 eggs
frozen veggies

2 Week Grocery List- Whole30, Low FODMAP

Today (1/12/15) I am on day 8 of my low FODMAP Whole30 . Here's a quick run down on FODMAPs from the Whole30 site:

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols”—a collection of fermentable carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in various foods, like grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. FODMAPs are poorly absorbed, thereby “feeding” gut bacteria and causing a host of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)-related symptoms, including abdominal bloating and distension, excess gas, abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.

For those who know or suspect they have a sensitivity to FODMAPs, crafting a healthy Paleo diet or Whole30 program can be tricky. Even reputable sources report conflicting information on what foods are safe for those on a low-FODMAP diet. We’ve crafted our list based on two of the most highly respected FODMAP programs in the world, but you should still practice awareness during your Whole30. If symptoms continue even on this low-FODMAP plan, consider keeping a food journal to help you identify other foods that may be contributing to your digestive distress, or consult with a qualified functional medicine practitioner.

So, I've been sticking to my once every 2 week grocery shopping/cooking plan and it is working wonderful so far, although I've only been doing it for about a month or so now.

Thursday night I stopped at BJs for some quick grocery shopping in between picking my car up from the shop for a repair and meeting my bible study small group for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. I had just enough time to get all my groceries at BJs:

3 lb kiwi $6.99
Wild Caught Flounder Fillets 3 lb- $15.99
birthday card for Grandma & Grandpa- $1.39 & $2.14
5 pack of yellow squash- $4.99
Snack size containers of black olives (with no juice or preservaties)- $8.99 for 20 snack packs (these are great for backpacking because they are light weight and have no liquid, also great to grab on the go)
Large bag brussels sprouts- $4.99 (realized when I got home they are a no go for low FODMAP so I threw them in the freezer for later)
organic romaine lettuce- 3 "cores"- $2.79
Chicken thighs (boneless, skinless, about 5 pounds)- $13.56
5 pounds organic carrots- $3.79
3 dozen organic cage free eggs- $3.99 each=$11.97
3 pounds ground turkey- $10.49
3 pounds hormone free steroid free etc ground beef (2 packs of these so 6 pounds total) at $14.49 each= $28.98
organic russet potatoes(several pounds)- $2.99
3 cucumbers- $3.29 total
Bonesless pork chops, 4 thick ones- $10.50
18 oz blueberries- $4.99
12 oz raspberries- $4.99
4 pack tuna cans- $11.99 ($2 off, clipless coupon surprise)
2 pounds green beans- $4.99
Large pack prosciutto- $10.79
Sunburst tomatoes (cherry tomato size)- $4.99
2 oz basil- $2.89

Total $180.67 (under my $200 per 2 weeks food budget!)

I also plan to use the following that I already had at home:
oranges and grapefruits
sweet potatoes
2 large neck pumpkins
can tomato puree, can tomato sauce
herbs and coconut oil, fresh parsley
coconut aminos (like soy sauce but soy free)

Meal Prep, Whole30 Low FODMAP Style

This past weekend I did more meal prep for the next two weeks. It may not be enough, as I forgot to account for feeding extra mouths over New Years but it's no biggie, I have eggs which are easy to make and I can get some ground meat and frozen veggies for a quick meal.

I'll be starting another Whole30 on January 5! This time a low FODMAP one!

Here's what I prepped on Sunday. It took me about 4 hours including cleaning up the kitchen. That's one of the best parts about cooking once every two weeks or so, only having to clean the kitchen once. Sure, there's dishes during the week, but that's nothing compared to the huge mess I make cooking.

3 pounds ground beef with about an equal amount of white sweet potato "home fries"- Added ground beef to skillet, cooked on medium with about 6 tablespoons Italian Herbs and salt. Diced white potatoes into home fry sized cubes, sauteed on medium with pork lard and sea salt. (Yields about 6 meals)

Baked chicken breasts wrapped in bacon- 6 pounds chicken, 2 packages bacon (yields about 12 meals). I simply lined a baking sheet with tin foil, wrapped the chicken in bacon and baked for about 35 minutes at 350 until the center of the chicken was no longer pink. The bacon wasn't enough to cover all the chicken breasts, so for the remaining ones I sprinkled them with applewood smoked sea salt. These will be served over fresh baby spinach.

Baked 2 pounds of tilapia fillets at 350 for about 25 minutes, sprinkled with Bouquet Garni (french herb medley) and sea salt. To be served with carrot "rice" made my grating carrots in food processor with shred blade, then sauteeing in pork lard with some sea salt and freshly chopped parsley (yields about 4 meals).

Made apple/sweet potato mash in the crock pot. Cut apples into quarters and removed cores. Wrapped large sweet potato in tin foil. Placed in bottom of crock pot. Topped with apples. Sprinkled with cinnamon, pinch of sea salt and 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil. Cooked on low for about 10-12 hours. Removed sweet potato, scraped tender flesh out of skin, discarded skin and tin foil. Mashed it all together. I'll have to eat this before the Whole30 since apples are not low FODMAP.

I also diced and sauteed mushrooms in pork lard, and made cauliflower "rice" just like the carrot "rice" but without parsley. I'll have to eat these before the Whole30 since they are not low FODMAP.

Have yet to make 3 pound pork roast in crock pot, but I will simply add it, sprinkle with sea salt and cook on low for about 10 hours until it falls apart. Will serve with veggies (about 6 meals).

Also have fresh oranges and grapefruits.

Over the weekend I also made and ate banana egg pancakes (blend 2 eggs and 1 banana together and cook like normal pancakes) and plantain chips.

Carrot "Rice" with Fresh Parsley (W30, 21DSD, LH and Low FODMAP Friendly)

This recipe is super tasty from the sweetness of the carrots and can be served with your choice of protein. I had it for breakfast one day with scrambled eggs, another day with tilapia fillets and another day with a baked chicken breast.

Carrot rice shown with scrambled eggs

16 large carrots
half a bunch of fresh parsley
sea salt
2-3 tablespoons pork lard or other cooking oil of choice

1. Place a large skillet on medium heat.
2. Add cooking oil.
3. Shred carrots using shred blade in food processor. You can also grate them with a cheese crater, but this will take much longer.
4. Add to skillet. Sprinkle with sea salt.]
5. After they begin to tenderize, dice parsley and add in. Cook just a few more minutes.

Makes about 4 servings. This can also be frozen and thawed, although it may be a tad mushier when you thaw it.

Italian Ground Chicken & Sweet Potato "Home Fries" (W30, low FODMAP, AIP friendly)

Me holding Carolina. We were both born on 12/11 in the evening (25 years apart) via C section with a full head of hair. We both had a due date of 12/18 too!

So this past weekend I realized I had almost enough food to last me this week from my last 2 week cook up, but not quite. Also, I was going to visit my friends and former roommates CarrieAnn & Jeremy and their newborn daughter Carolina and I thought I would bring them some food as well. So I picked up 6 pounds of ground chicken. I made this recipe recently with ground beef and it was even tastier.

3 pounds ground chicken (or another ground meat)
3 large sweet potatoes (white or orange)
several tablespoons coconut oil, pork lard, or your favorite cooking oil
sea salt
about 6 tablespoons Italian Herbs

1. In a large skillet, add about 2-3 tablespoons of your cooking oil. Heat the skillet to medium.
2. Once the oil is warm, add ground meat.
3. Sprinkle Italian Herbs over the meat. Sprinkle generously with sea salt (if you don't add enough salt it won't have much flavor.)
4. Gently slice the ground meat with a spatula, while you incorporate the herbs. Cover and let simmer, checking and slicing every few minutes to get the meat into small chunks.
5. Meanwhile, rinse your sweet potatoes. Remove all brown spots (if any). Peel if desired (I skipped this step.)
6. Dice sweet potatoes into home fry sized chunks.
7. In another large skillet on medium heat, add 3 or more tablespoons of cooking oil.
8. Once it is warm, gently add sweet potato cubes. Sprinkle generously with sea salt.
9. Cover sweet potatoes and check every few minutes, stirring occasionally to cook through.
10. Serve together. Makes a great breakfast or any meal.

Makes about 6 servings.