Saturday, May 26, 2018

DIY "Flour" Bouquet


Wanna hear something crazy?  Like Gwen Stefanie bananas status?

My oldest niece graduated from high school this week! 



Well....not crazy in the sense that she graduated....but crazy in the sense that she’s a freaking adult and getting ready to start life for realsies! AND crazy that it was almost ten years ago to the day that I graduated high school....


That's the newest graduate there in the front


but I digress.....

I wracked my brain for weeks and weeks trying to decide what gift I would give her and I came up with a whole lot of nothing.  I asked around to other people to see if they could help....got nowhere.  I asked her what she wanted, and her response was “Currency would be good.”

Ugh.

I know receiving money is pretty much always welcomed (unless you’re like Oprah or Bill Gates or something) but it’s just not my favorite thing.  I really REALLY love giving gifts.  I take pride in trying to give things that are personal and/or funny and creative.  Money is none of the above.  But as I thought about it more.....it really was the gift that made the most sense.  It’s traditional to graduations (and I also REALLY love traditions so I’m convincing myself the gift isn’t completely sucky be playing this perspective up in my head) and she could really put it to use whether that be having the best damn final summer ever before heading off to college, putting it towards her dorm on campus, or saving it so she’s a slightly less broke Freshman.  Money wins....but it’s boring.  If the gift itself was going to be boring I needed to do something for her graduation that checked the creative, funny, and personal boxes.  So here’s what I came up with…….

Like me, Katie is super into puns.  We are punny gals.  In a moment sitting at my desk at work the little lightbulb went off.... FLOURS!!

YAAAAAAASSSSSS!!

I would give her a bouquet of flours.  Done.  Boxes checked.  Necessary self-fulfillment filled.  Cool.






I completely winged it and it turned out for the most part.  Hopefully I get to do it again someday  and with one under my belt maybe it will turn out a little cleaner looking....but the overall process was pretty easy.  I found the smallest bags I could of various flours and emptied them out.  I knew that it would be way too heavy to be functional if I left them as is.  I also didn’t think Katie would be terribly heartbroken without them.  (pssst!….Kayday, I have Ziploc bags full of flour if you’re feeling gypped)  I hot glued one of the bags to a skewer.  This bag became the nucleus of the whole thing and I hot glued the other bags to that center bag.  I wrapped the whole thing up in tissue paper and cellophane, tucked in a few artificial greenery pieces, tied a bow a round it and called it a day.  It was really quick and easy.



I sort of figured she wouldn’t get it right away….and I was right🀣  In the hustle and bustle of handing it to her after the ceremony she just kinda looked at it.  I asked, “do you get it??”  She stared at it some more and shook her head yes.  I said…”no…..you don’t”  About another 5 seconds passed and then she yelled “Oh my gosh….FLOURS!!”  I knew as soon as she got it she would love it….and she did.




My sister even captured this completely candid photo of her showing it to her friend





(Slapping theirs knees….ya get???)

I’d say it was a hit πŸ˜ƒ





Sunday, May 6, 2018

Garlic Lime Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Sauce


Normally every single recipe I post has some sort of looooong winded story behind it.  The first time I ever had it, it’s family history, I’ve even been known to recap which of my sisters have thrown it up and will no longer eat it.  Cool details like that.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) this one is pretty lacking in history or story telling.  The way it came to be went down a little something like this:

1. Yesterday was Cinco De Mayo
2. I planned to make Posole for Cinco De Mayo
3. I needed something else to serve with the Posole
4. Shrimp was on sale
5. I made shrimp tacos

End of story.




Garlic & Lime Shrimp Tacos w/ Chipotle Sauce


Shrimp

1 lb. raw peeled and deveined shrimp
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 3 limes
1 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 tsp. Salgado seasoning (see bottom of post)
¾ tsp. kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together and marinate shrimp for a minimum of 4 hours.  Saute shrimp over medium high heat in a high smoke point oil (light olive oil, coconut, vegetable, avocado) until shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Chipotle Sauce

½ C. mayo *
Juice of half a lime
2 tb. adobo sauce from chipotles in adobo
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients together.  Best if made at least 30 minutes to an hour in advance to re thicken after mixing and let flavors meld

*I have issues with dairy, so I only use mayonnaise, but you can do a 50/50 combo of mayo and sour cream or just sour cream for a tangier sauce

Serve tacos on warmed corn tortillas with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo




Salgado Seasoning

3 parts chili powder
2 part cumin
1 part ground coriander

This recipe can be made in any sized batch you would like following this ratio

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Whole 30 Tips


I’ll never be one of those people who tell you that Whole 30 is easy.  It’s not.  But at the same time, it wasn’t quite as hard as I had made it out to be in my head either.  Funny how it works out that way huh? We psyche ourselves out waaaaaaay more than we need to.  In order to combat that, I feel it’s best to go in as prepared as possible.  I’ve compiled a list of tips from my Whole 30 experience that will hopefully help some of you that are nervous or on the fence about taking the plunge. 







Read The Book 

Yes, you can find out the basics of everything you need to know just from scrolling the website, but I still strongly advise people to read the book.  It explains everything more in depth and that extra explanation helps you embrace the process better.  I had followed Whole 30 and Melissa Hartwig on social media for YEARS prior to embarking on a Whole 30 so I pretty much knew the ins and outs of the program.  Even so, I still read the book (las minute, the day before and Day 1 of starting….cuz that’s how I roll) and am so glad that I did.  It elevated the “rules” from just being a list of don’ts to something that felt more purposeful rather than something just there to be tough.  Does that make sense?  I don’t know….just read the damn book. :πŸ˜‰


Strategic Timing

I strongly suggest planning your Whole 30 for a month that’s more on the mellow side.  In my opinion, the less travel, holidays, and social events the better.  Obviously, this is unavoidable for some and there will never be a completely perfect time but do the best you can.  I planned mine for mid-January.  It was post-holiday madness but pre “everyone in my family has a birthday” month.  I also avoided eating out at restaurants.  While eating out on Whole 30 is possible, it was more work and stress than felt worth it for me. 
Some may argue that the point of Whole 30 is being able to attend events and restaurants while still sticking to it and making good decisions, but I say why make it harder on yourself? There’s enough going on during your Whole 30 without adding in the stress of trying to find something you can eat or being tempted by everything around you.  Personally, I think the eating out restaurants and attending social events with off plan food is better suited for post Whole 30 while you are entering your Food Freedom.  At that point you no longer have such strict rules but can put everything you learned about yourself and the foods you eat into practice to make better decisions.

Take full advantage of the times you are feeling extra  motivated

Day 1 I was like a machine!  I was simmering bone broth, clarifying butter, making mayo, and making my own breakfast sausage to cook and freeze for quick and easy breakfasts.  My advice is to stay on top of things that can get you ahead when you are feeling it, because there will be PLENTY of days when you won’t be and it could save your butt.  If I was feeling a little motivated and had a small pocket of time I would find something I could do.  I wouldn’t be completely out of mayo but was getting close so I would whip up a new batch really fast.  Or snap the green beans to use in the next few days.  Anything helps!


Identify what your biggest struggles might be and develop a plan  

Like I mentioned in THIS POST, I predicted breakfast and all the prep work would be my biggest struggles and they were.  I went into it with a plan for if/when they reared their head.  For breakfast I took it slow and just tried a bit more and a bit earlier each day while not trying to place too much pressure on myself thus making the situation worse. 
For the prepping portion, I made sure I had a few plans in place for days I really didn’t want to cook.  I saved the trip to Five Guys for when I was completely over it and the thought of having to cook made me just want to go to bed. This kept it as a welcomed break from the norm and a novel treat.  Keep some of those in your arsenal!!
 I also toyed around with the idea of getting a Whole 30 compliant meal box delivery if I really needed it.  I would still have to cook, but it would require a lot less thinking on my part.  I ended up not doing this, but don’t hesitate to do so if it will help keep you sane and get you through a rough patch.


Be observant 

Really try your best to be observant of your body and behavior during the 30 days.  If you don’t take the time to notice the changes you will be much more likely to give in to the “fuck it” mindset where you convince yourself that NOTHING is even changing so what’s the point?  I guarantee that if you really stop and think about it you will find something(s) that will help keep you motivated to keep going.  For me it was being able to eat a meal without looking 6 months pregnant afterwards and not having a noisy stomach that embarrasses me in meetings


Cooking & Cleaning

Stock up on plenty of parchment and foil!  Whole 30 inherently comes with a lot of prep work and dishes and lining your pans with these things makes clean up soooooo much easier and faster.  I also tried to cook using as few pans as possible.  One pot/pan meals became my jam!  Even if they aren’t a “one pot meal” most meals can be cooked only using a few items if you think them out a little first.  Stagger the cooking of things and you can often keep reusing the same pan with just a simple wipe out....sometimes I don’t wipe it out at all and just let the flavors roll over 😊

And it may not be a possibility for everyone, but if you are able to wash your dishes at work...do it!!  I spent a lot of years throwing my dirty Tupperware back into my lunchbox without cleaning it.  Now I always clean them at the sink in the work breakroom.  Having a few less dishes to do once I get home makes all the difference and I’m not dirtying multiple Tupperware sets.  I bring them home already clean and ready to pack the next days lunch without digging around for another set.



Keep it interesting, but not overwhelming

 As Melissa Hartwig says “ You don’t get bonus points for making your whole 30 harder than it needs to be”  This one sort of piggy backs of the “take advantage of the times you’re feeling motivated”  point.   I don’t suggests planning out an elaborate and time-consuming meal every night for dinner...for pretty obvious reasons. You will get burnt out FAST and will be more likely to go off the rails.   What I found worked best for me was trying to balance out enough of the interesting meals that might take more work with the really simple ones that can be whipped up in 10-15 minutes.  One day making Cracklin chicken, fried plantains, broccoli, and aioli dip was totally doable. The next night I would be throwing some Applegate hot dogs in a pan with a salad and calling it a day.   I kept things like compliant hot dogs, sausages, and bacon on hand at all times without actually menu planning them for any particular day.  I saved them for when I needed something in a pinch.  If I had kept it that simple everyday though I would have for sure gotten bored which also may have made me jump ship.  It was all about the balance of the two that made me successful



Be Prepared

In the infamous words of Scar....





Seriously though, always have emergency food with you!  There was only one time that I epically failed in this department.  I had not packed a hearty enough or fat filled lunch and then went running errands after work.  With the added errands it had been many hours since I had last eaten and wouldn’t be having dinner for some time even when I did get home.  I was walking around one store when I started to feel woozy.  By the second store I was barely able to hold my hand basket and was having to stop to set it down and take breaks.  I was fading fast.  Luckily, I was able to buy something that was compliant and rip into it the second I was walking out of the store and inhaled it in my car.  It was far from an ideal situation but taught me a lesson.  From that point on I was never without emergency food and made an effort to pack more satiating meals for work.



Do the reintroduction protocol

 When I began reintroduction once the 30 days was over, I received several messages from people following along on Instagram that told me I was the only person they knew that had done Whole 30 that actually followed through with reintroduction. At first, I was surprised by this. Then I thought about it for a minute and realized that nobody I knew had done it either.  I feel like the 30 days is almost a waste if you don’t properly reintroduce the excluded foods.  This means doing them one at a time (again, read the book) to truly be able to gage how they affect you.  Through reintroduction I found out that what I thought were problem foods were not and most of my issues pointed to dairy.  If I had dived into a cheeseburger on day 31, I would have completely assumed that the bread was the problem (because that was what I had always thought before) and I probably would have kept downing the dairy.  What you learn from reintroduction is invaluable.
This means that you need to commit to more than just the 30 days.  At minimum you need to dedicate yourself to 40 days if you follow their protocol.  I divided my reintroduction into even more specific categories which took me into 45 days.  But they were 45 COMPLETELY WORTH IT days.  Don’t shortchange yourself all these benefits by going off the rails on Day 31.  I promise it is worth it.

That about sums up my tips for a successful Whole 30.  What tips do you have? Please share them in the comments



Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bangin' Buys #2


I'm back for Volume 2 of bangin' buys!  And let me tell ya.....I found sooooo many great things this month that I had to do so major editing down and cut a few.  Maybe they will show up in next months post if I find them still out in the stores when the time rolls around.



This month I focused on home decor items (with a couple clothing accessory items thrown in just to break it up a bit). Whenever spring rolls around I always get hit with the decorating bug along with the motivation to put my green thumb to the test for the 564th time (spoiler alert: it always ends in failure)  Look at all the cute stuff I found……


Wire Baskets

Walmart has these great wire baskets in copper and gold.  Even better is that you get a 2 pack for $3.98.  These would make storage a whole heck of a lot more cute!





Dipped Milk Bottles




Yea you could totally DIY these if you just so happened to already have all the items…..but for $1.93 you can get them already done for you in various sizes at Walmart.  Look for them over in the wedding section


Concrete Plant/Candle Holders



I FREAKED out when I saw these at 99c Only and scooped up 5 of them for myself.  They are heavy duty and legit.  Considering how expensive they have been in other stores I was in disbelief at the price and quality of these.  Now go get some for yourself before everyone else catches on.  Go! Go!


Patterned Plant Pots




How cute are these pots??  I feel like Joana Gaines would approve   



Furry Slides



Yep…..I’m basic.  But I totally love these slides.  Actually, I just love slides in general.  They are great for around the house because they are as easy as slippers but provide so much more support.  When I’m stuck at the sink doing dishes or walking up and down the stairs with loads of laundry I need a little more than what my bear claw slippers (The feet, not the pastry.  In case you needed clarification) can offer.  These caught my eye in the store and with a $4 price tag I decided to give them a shot.  Welp…..to my surprise these shoes from 99c Only are hella comfortable and have become my daily house shoe.



Light Up Letter Box



I thought this was really cute for only being $5.  (99c Only)


Metallic Plant/Candle Holders



Like the cement ones above, these are the same shape and also from 99c Only.  They are just smaller in size and less heavy, but come in 3 colors


90sirrific Mini Backpacks



Adult Whitney is trying to remain cool and calm. Meanwhile, second grade Whitney is losing her ever lovin mind!! Any true 90s kids can’t deny the fabulous that is these backpacks.  The holographic one is cool and all…..but it’s the pink one that really gets my heart pumping.  Disposable cameras were my jam as a kid and so were picture collages (pre Instagram, collages were the cool way of displaying you and your crew)  The idea of being able to show them ON MY BACKPACK would just be too much for my 7 year old self to handle.  The cherry on top (besides only being $4) is that one of the frames is heart shaped.  I can just see myself rocking this backpack as I walk down Pierson Street….


Plant Stand




I love the simplicity of this plant stand. The only downside is that this was the only size I saw.  It would be really cool if there were 2 more in different heights so you could have a grouping of 3.  Did you hear that Walmart??  2 more please.  Different heights. Thanks

Small Kids Table



Last but not least are these great little kids tables!  First of all…..they are TOTALLY my style, but none were the right color for my house but they were just so cute I had to buy one anyway so I got a yellow one hoping my sister Kinsey would like it.  I thought it would go well in her living room for her son.  Well…she did love it….but for her backyard.  I picked up one more for her and she is using them for end tables to her outdoor couch.  I’ll snap some pics next time I’m over and add them to the post for you to see.  They are surprisingly sturdy and are very easy to put together as the legs just screw right in.



Pretty good round up this month huh?  What was your favorite find?  Mine is a 4 way tie between the slides (because my feet are happy), the backpacks for nostalgia, the cement planters, and the table.  

Friday, March 30, 2018

Adult Easter Egg Hunt: Fun Egg Filler Ideas


There's something about the word "adult" that automatically makes things sound kinda dirty.  This egg hunt doesn't involve any leather, warming gels, or hot neighbors dropping by to help you "hide your eggs" and then before you know it one thing leads to another......nope.  Not here.  But if that's the kind of "adult" egg hunt you want to have, then you do you! Who am I to judge?










My adult egg hunt came to mind 2 years ago as I was reminiscing about the days of yore.  Back when the lead up to the big hunt was more than I could even bear…I was just soooo excited!  I’m a very nostalgic person and love to relive the magic of my childhood whenever possible. I decided egg hunts didn’t need to be a thing of the past. I’m an adult damn it and I will do as I please….and could I please have an Easter egg hunt? 





I sent a quick text out to the fam and everyone was on board. I asked each couple to bring a dozen filled eggs and to get as creative as they wanted.  I instantly got to work filling the bulk of the eggs myself.  Easter was over at my sisters house but seeing as how this activity was my idea I felt like the “host” of it and felt I should bring enough to ensure things would be interesting.  I filled about 50 eggs.  Here’s my completed bucket.  There’s even more than it looks because of all the teeny tiny ones that are nestled in there too





Easter day it was fun to have a role reversal with the kids.  They got to go out and hide all the eggs while we waited inside, buckets in hand ready to hunt!  After they were all well hid (or blatantly laid in the grass….ya know…whatever works) we snapped a quick group picture.  Here’s a glimpse into “Spring” Arizona style for all you out of staters.  Blindingly bright sun (thus the squinty eyed look on all our faces….flattering right?) and hot as balls.  It’s always 90 degrees minimum or so on Easter….ugh!





One thing I wish you could see better were all the Easter “baskets” we had.  My mom had a Subway box (random AF), one brother inlaw had a My Little Pony bucket, another had a beer box, and The Boy had an Igloo cooler lunch box. 





We hunted our little hearts out and it was just a thrilling as I remembered it being. Then it was time to go inside, dump the loot, and get to opening and sorting.  It was so much fun watching each other open the eggs.  I guess it could be kinda “meh” if you have a boring crew, but luckily my family is the bees knees and were as completely down with all the random crap as I was. And you don’t have to keep everything from your eggs either.  Tradesies is totally allowed in my book!  For example, one of my brother inlaws got a shade of nail polish that he thought might clash with the majority of is wardrobe.  Being the kind sister inlaw that I am, I took it off his hands because I like to help for the greater good of all….it’s what I do.








  Here’s a picture of some of the egg stuffers, but it doesn’t even begin to paint the picture of all the funny stuff there was.  Some items were more useful and others were more of a gag. I enjoyed a good mix of both to make it entertaining.









I’ve compiled a list of all the different items we had, but this is just a jumping off point.  You could do so much more! I enjoyed the hunt to find the items even more than the egg hunt itself.  It becomes a game trying to find as much as I could that would fit in an egg.  I suggest getting a wide range of egg sizes.  I had the teeny tiny little ones that I filled with things like pills and mints all the way up to the giant ones that held the little booze bottles and the gift card. 

Here’s the list



  • Candy (duh)


  •   Corn nuts


  •  Mints


  • Gum


  •  Peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets


  •   Mini alcohol bottles


  •   Lense cleaning wipes (both cloth and disposable packets)


  •   Golf tees


  •   Various sleep aids (any pills that didn’t come in foil that said what it was I placed a tiny note inside stating what it was)


  •   Skin tag remover (ha! It looked like a tube of chapstick)


  •   Chapstick


  •   Nail polish


  •   Cascade dishwashing pouches (I did the 2 years ago pre-tide pod eating craze)


  •   Socks


  •   Funny band aids


  •   Mole skin


  •   Corn pads


  •   Shotgun shells (I was super pumped about this one thinking I was being super creative.  Then when I was opening my eggs I got a green shell when I had only used red ones.  My brother inlaw had the same idea as me!)


  •   Immodium


  •   Charcoal and milk thistle capsules (good for preventing hangovers)


  •   Olive packets


  •   Mini hot sauce bottles and packets


  •   Tajin packets


  •   Car vent air fresheners


  •   Money


  •   Scratcher tickets (we put the coin in the egg to use for scratching off along with a note explaining that you got a scratcher since they didn’t fit inside)


  •   Shout wipes


  •   Gift Card (if you don’t want to include this in the actual hunt you could make it into some sort of game or contest.  Whoever has the most (or least) eggs found could get it or something like that)





That’s all I can remember for now.  I’m sure there was more that I’m forgetting but that tends to happen when you wait 2 years to write about it. 





If you come up with any other fun egg fillers I would love to hear them! Leave me a comment below.





Happy hunting!