Friday, July 6, 2018

Tuna Pasta Salad


I made this tuna pasta salad last night for 2 reasons:

1. It’s 115 outside today.... I know 🙄 
2. And I’m on a spending freeze right now.  Why? You may ask....

Welp, we’re kinda in the process of buying a house and it’s terrifying and lot of money and really overwhelming and I’m scared to talk about it and I haven’t talked about it much except for the people directly around me because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it and at any point the whole thing will fall through and all my hopes and dreams will come crashing down and I’ll slip deep into the depths of despair so Imma just lay low about it until its all over and official

That entire paragraph is written in a frantic run on sentence because that is a perfect representation of my mind right now.  Frantic and always running…….

Let’s just move on from that right now and talk about something else....like not spending money.  Yea....let’s do that.

So in the spirit of saving, The Boy and I have agreed to a series of cutbacks for the time being.  We cancelled our Playstation Vue, we’re giving up alcohol and other unnecessary drink, no K cups for the Keurig, no eating out, and Mildred (the cat) has agreed to giving up her Sheba sticks (couldn’t get her to budge on the Temptations treats but we will be rationing them out).  Just to name a few, but there’s a ton more.  Lots of little things that add up.

Because of this I am paying close attention to our grocery bill and quickly realizing how much I was over spending.  Whether it be overstocking and buying, letting produce go to waste, or not looking for the best deals possible.  I went a week and a half where I didn’t have to buy groceries at all, and this week I only spent $24 on a few fresh items.  The goal is to eat from the pantry and freezer as much possible.  Not only will it save us money, but we also won’t have to move as much (stop talking about it Whitney!) and can start over with pretty close to a clean slate.  With that will come some more interesting meals and the consumption of a few more carbs than normal....but it is what it is for now.

After I took inventory of everything we had, I knew tuna pasta salad was a must.  I mentioned it to The Boy thinking he’d be all “ehhh” about it and he said “Oh yea! That sounds good!” And he chose it for dinner the next night.  Considering it’s the epitome of white people food, I was a little surprised at his response.  I guess all my casseroles are rubbing off on him……




Tuna Pasta Salad

1 lb. pasta (I used rotini but also like shells and bow ties)
1 ½ cups peas
1 cup small diced red onion
2 stalks celery, finely diced
(3) 5oz cans tuna in water, drained well
1 cup mayo
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt.

Cook pasta to al dente and let cool.  Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least an hour before serving.


More #Whitepeoplefood if that’s your thing



Saturday, June 30, 2018

Veggie Confetti Slaw

About 3 years ago I found myself in the same position I am in every June.  Cranky, swamp-assy, and hungry.  The hungry part is a year round thing.....but I digress....

Summers in Arizona are brutal. Like I HATE the summer time.  You always hear about Seasonal Depression but most of the time its in reference to cold and gloomy weather.  Well, for me it's the opposite.  The same way people feel trapped from the cold, I feel trapped from the heat.  The most annoying part is everyone seems to think I should just be ok with it since I'm a native.  I can say something as simple as "It's like an oven out there!" and suddenly everyone has an opinion and their judgy eyes 😏

"Aren't you from here?"

"You're like a native right? Aren't you used to it by now?

"If it's so bad then move."

And then I look like this:

🙄

Yes, I am born and raised here.  No, I am not used to it.  I'll never get used to having a slip and slide between my boobs half the year.  I'll never get used to feeling sweat drip from the back of my neck, down my back, and into my butt crack.  And I don't think I'll ever just be "ok" with it still being 90 degrees at 3am. K?  Just let me feel my feels people!!


It's annoying......but back to being swampy assy, cranky, and most importantly HUNGRY!


Every summer I try to come up with as many cold meals as possible.  Turning on the oven is just.....





That leaves cold meals or limited stove top cooking (cuz even that can really heat up the house)  One day a couple years ago I really needed a side to go with a rotisserie chicken I bought (I'll leave the meat roasting to the grocery stores from May-August).  I went through my fridge and used literally every vegetable I had and created this slaw.  I've been obsessed with it ever since!  I make it almost weekly during the summer for the last 3 years.  

My recipe uses Jalapeno powder, but you can leave it out altogether or substitute with any other form of heat you like. My mom bought it for me at small spice shop and I really love it!  It's an easy way to get a really even heat as opposed to fresh jalapeno.  Since it's a powder it mixes well into the dressing for even distribution.  No biting down on chunks of jalapeno or getting a serving that has none at all.  I've seen it sold on Amazon if you want to give it a go.....I highly recommend it!




Veggie Confetti Slaw


1 small head red cabbage, shredded
2 sweet  bell  peppers, julienned
3 c. shredded carrot
8 green onion, sliced thin
2 cucumbers, seeded and julienned
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped (about 3/4c.)

Dressing:
1 c. mayo
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2-2 tsp. jalapeno powder depending on desired heat (optional)
1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Zest and juice of one lime

 Toss all sliced and julienned veggies together in large bowl.  Whisk together all ingredients for dressing and pour over veggies.  Toss to coat evenly.  Best if allowed to sit at least one hour before serving.





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 😃





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. :😉


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