Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad

with bacon!
Because beets and kale will most certainly be better with bacon.
As are most things, actually.Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with Bacon

Beets are in season (hurray!) and they are absolutely mouth-watering when roasted in the oven. Just be careful not to scare your family when slicing the beets with the dark pink bloody-looking mess all over your cutting board. This could be the perfect Halloween salad. 😉
Plus, did I mention bacon?Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with Bacon

Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad (serves 1 salad or 2 side salads)
Ingredients:
3-4 kale leaves
3 medium beets
2 strips sugar-free bacon
1/4 small sweet yellow onion
1/8 chopped unsalted almonds
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
salt + pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
2. Wash beets and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Place in medium sized mixing bowl.
3. Thinly slice onion and place in bowl with beets.
4. Chop bacon into bite-size pieces and also place in bowl.
5. Add EVOO, rosemary, and a couple dashes of salt and pepper to bowl; toss gently until beets are well coated.
6. Spread out beet mixture onto pan without overlapping beets.
7. Place in oven for 20 minutes, flipping beets halfway through.
8. Meanwhile, wash kale, remove from stem, and shred into bite-sized pieces. Place on serving dish.
9. Once beets are done, add to kale and sprinkle the chopped almonds on top.

Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with BaconThis feels like a bountiful Fall harvest as it touches your tongue! The warm, juicy beets blend beautifully with the salty, savory chunks of bacon and the fresh, crispness of kale! Enjoy every last bite of this salad. I’m sure it will not disappoint. And if you allow yourself dairy, a suggested addition would be some feta cheese! YUM 🙂Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale SaladRoasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with Bacon

#lettuceturnipthebeet

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Tips for Being a Dinner Guest on a Special Diet

Whether you’re Paleo, or following the Whole30 program, or just trying to stick to healthy eating habits, it can be daunting when someone invites you over and you immediately go into a tizzy about what you’re going to eat and if you’ll be tempted by all the deliciousness that is sure to be available at the party/dinner/bbq/etc. WILL THERE BE CARROT STICKS AVAILABLE?! Ah!Autumn Party

Fear not, friends. You can do this AND enjoy your time with your friends and/or family.
This just calls for a little preparation.

1) Ask the host about the menu.
My lovely friend Lauren, from The Thinking Closet, had our church’s children’s theater team over her house for a fun Fall Party & BBQ. I LOVE seeing the words “BBQ”. You can pretty much guarantee that there will be a plain hot dog, hamburger, or chicken breast available. She included some food details in the invite, so I didn’t need to ask further questions, but don’t feel embarrassed about asking the host if needed. It’s also a great opportunity to sneak in a question about what to bring: “I wanted to know what was being provided so I make something different to bring for our dinner!” See? Not frightening, nor hard.Thrive Life & Thinking Closet

2) If you feel comfortable, tell the host about your dietary restrictions.
This is just if you feel close enough to the host (maybe it’s your mother or your best friend) and you want to just double-check about having something available to munch on. You don’t need to do this, especially because of my next step, but if you feel okay doing so… go for it.Dinner Table

3) Bring a dish to share that you can eat too!
This is a win-win. Not only are you being all courteous and whatnot by bringing a dish to said dinner/bbq/party/whatever, but you also now have provided a healthy addition to the meal that you know, without a doubt, is perfectly suited for your diet. Generous and nutritious, look at you go!

4) BYOC
Seriously. Bring your own chocolate. There is a 99% chance there will be some type of sweet available to you at the party. Most likely cake, brownies, cookies, or cupcakes. There is also a 99% chance that these items are not Paleo-friendly, unless you brought them. Trust me, those stats are all legit. With all that being said, get yourself some Paleo-approved chocolate and use it to satisfy the sweet tooth that is sure to come your way while everyone else is enjoying cake and eating it too. This particular evening Eating Evolved’s Mint Creme Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups were my sidekicks while cupcakes were being consumed by other guests.Mint Creme Coconut Butter Cups5) Be present.
Don’t get consumed with what you can and cannot eat. Enjoy the time with your family and friends! Meet someone new! Get in on the games! Laugh! Talk! Have fun and don’t fix your mind on food. 🙂Party 1 Party 2


Thank you Lauren for having us all over to celebrate the Fall season and enjoy some laughs, great food, and wonderfully entertaining games + conversations!

What are some things you do to stick to your healthy eating habits when enjoying outings & events?

 

Life After Whole30, Now What?

I did it!
Wahhhoooo!
Yippee Yay-o Ky-eh!

BOOM

For REAL this time! 😉


This morning felt a bit like a dream. Usually every morning I have every meal planned out for the day and I know EXACTLY what foods are in it. I had nothing planned today. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did have some plans, in fact, I have been dreaming of this Day “31” and the foods I would consume. If you had asked me a little over a week ago, I would have told you that my meal plan for today would look something like this:

October 4, 2014 Meal Plan (Post-Whole30)

Breakfast: Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks, Pumpkin Donut from Dunkin Donuts, and a bowl of Captain Crunch; just to celebrate.
Lunch: Chocolate, Tacos with lots of chips and salsa, but not in that order; because I can.
Snack: Did I mention Pumpkin Spiced Lattes? I’ll take another now.
Dinner: More chocolate, a big plate of Pasta (but I’d add veggies) and maybe a glass of wine; I did the Whole30, remember?!
Dessert: ICE CREAM. Obvi

But something AMAZING happened when I woke up this morning… I didn’t want to “ruin it”. Even better than that, I enjoyed the way I have been eating the past 30 days. I felt energized and healthy. I have felt as though I was thriving off of all the veggies, fruits, grass-fed meats, nuts & seeds I have been eating– not to mention the amount of coconut I have consumed. It had been an amazing journey, but this is only the beginning! This is a lifestyle change, not just a 30-day challenge for me.

My day did not look like the way I had planned a few weeks ago…
This is how October 4th really went down:

I woke up after a full 8-hours of sleep and drank a giant refreshing glass of water with mint + lime. Starting off hydrated as I have been doing for the past 30 days.Mint Lime WaterI made Cinnamon Fig Pancakes without the help of Bisquik or Aunt Jemima, using all Paleo-approved ingredients.
Figs! I added figs to my pancakes! What has happened to me?!Cinnamon Fig Pancakes Cinnamon Fig PancakesAustin and I stopped in Wawa to get some coffee and I got mine black. No sugar. No milk. No creamer. Just black. My “usual” no longer includes a flavored-syrup & creamer. I enjoyed my lovely treat while watching a morning football game.Make It Black CoffeePost-football, I was inspired as we waltzed around the local market by all the brilliantly colored fruits and vegetables, so I knew a salad would be coming for lunch.Produce BrillianceThen lunch happened– yes, lunch! At this point I was “supposed to” eat copious amounts of tortilla chips & salsa with tacos, but no. No tacos here. Instead, a giant Pad Thai Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing and a side of my Mojito-style Watermelon.

Raw Pad Thai SaladFruits, veggies and seeds– not a trace of taco to be found.Raw Pad Thai Salad Finally, my snack came around and it was time to attack that Milkyway I had been saving up. Well, I did have chocolate, but a single square of Paleo-approved dark chocolate with sea salt. That was all, just a small square. It was quite sweet and I only desired a taste. A workout happened today too! I spent time outside in the morning and got my sweat on in the evening. It was a beautiful night for a circuit workout + run.SunsetDinner included spaghetti squashroasted green beans, and chicken breast. Pasta was the farthest thing from my mind. No desire for that junk over here.Dinner Time

So what is going on with me? CHANGE. The kind that I want to be permanent. My experience with Whole30 has truly changed my life and I’m sticking with it. Not only are all these things from my last post still true, but after the complete Whole30 I have also noticed:

1) Weight-loss: I wasn’t doing this for any weight change, but for those of you who are skeptical and a bit “fat-phobic”, I lost 6 pounds while consuming coconut milk, fresh coconut, avocado and olive oil as part of my meals. I have always stared at fat grams on labels my entire life, so it took some trust, but I now know that these healthy, quality fats have made me feel full and satisfied after eating a meal and are essential to our health.

2) My nails, though: I know I posted about this already, but I simply cannot get over how quickly my hair and nails were growing!

3) Clearer skin: I’ve been on every acne medication under the sun. Even at the age of 24, I am still battling adult-hormonal acne issues. Also, keratosis psoriasis has been taking over the back of my arms since I was a teen. Both of these things have significantly decreased on my skin. I have stopped taking acne medication all together (the first time in quite some time) and during these thirty days I hardly have had a problem.

4) Love for cooking & new foods: I am constantly creating new recipes and sampling new fruits and vegetables. I can taste the slight sweetness in “unsweetened coconut milk”. Fresh mint, cilantro and basil are potent flavors to meals. I enjoy my time in the kitchen and look forward to meal planning. My attitude has completely changed about what “food” is and how it changes my health.


Overall, I know this post is crazy long, but I cannot tell you enough how this has completely turned my perspective around about food and health. I encourage you to at least try it for the thirty days to discover this for yourself.Tiger Blood

Real food and an active body is life-changing. 

East End Market

Call me Captain Jack because I just found treasure.
That line was disgustingly cheesy, I know, but you need to understand how incredible this place is.East End Market

Rejoice! Calling all foodies, yoga moms, and business men on lunch! Plus, everyone in between. East End Market, located in Audubon Park District in Orlando, Florida, is absolutely a hidden gem.

The Market showcases some of Central Florida’s top food entrepreneurs, tradespeople, artists, and chefs. The two-story structure is home to a dozen merchants, a large event space, a demonstration kitchen, an incubator kitchen, offices, retail shops, a full-time, award-winning caterer and a world-class restaurant.

East End Market is not only a hub for local food and culture, but also a community space fostering creativity and collaboration.

Inside the MarketThe entire property was stunning. There seems to be something for everyone: coffee, sushi, smoothies + juices, a bookstore, craft beers, local farm produce, bakery items, floral + plant gifts, and MORE. Seriously, something for everyone!

Of course, I had a few of my own favorites that I would LOVE to share with you all.

Skyebird

SkyebirdSkyebird 2This place was my favorite (with a close runner up). Skyebird captured my attention immediately– the colorful display of produce and teas, the mouth-watering menu, and the fresh atmosphere. I simply had to give it a try. After checking out the menu, and getting a few recommendations, I went with the Skye’s Favorite Smoothie. Skyebird's FavoriteNot only do you get the opportunity to pull up a chair and watch the magic happen, but the beautiful part about the “magic” is that they actually are slicing and dicing the fruits and veggies in front of you! How many smoothie/juice places have you seen that just pull out a container of pre-sliced produce that makes you wonder how long it was sitting there? Now that is fresh. I would also love to add that the adorable glass jar it comes on is your to-go cup! If you bring it back for a refill, you get $0.50-off your drink!All Things DeliciousThe staff was amazingly friendly and happy to help with decision-making, which I often need help with. My smoothie tasted wonderful and from some of the “regulars” I talked to agreed that the menu items were always fresh and delicious. I highly recommend swinging by Skyebird when visiting the East End Market.

Lineage

LineageIf there is good coffee, it will be found. I am a coffee fanatic and as soon as I walked into the market, Lineage was the first place I stopped. Lineage serves all kinds of coffee in various styles: French press, cold brew, pour over, and Chemex. Fresh BrewTheir incredible roasted coffees take on an art form when being brewed. The aroma lures you in as your walk by and begs of you to stay. When you stick around you’ll meet wonderful staff and down amazing brew. Relax and enjoy the experience. ahhhhh. 🙂

 Porch Therapy

Outside PorchSucculentsWhen first arriving to the market, I was greeted by the loveliest of plants and flowers sprinkled throughout the patio area. I noted the signage that indicated Porch Therapy was responsible for the beautiful display and that customers were welcome to pick any plant of their choosing and bring it inside for checkout. The abundant array of plants and flowers were such a colorful greeting into the market and Porch Therapy’s interior was no different. I had a wonderful conversation with the owner, chatting about her business, along with the ins and outs of the market. This place makes my “Top 3 of East End” with ease.Indoor Porch Therapy


East End Market was an experience. I love when places capture all your senses and allow you to enjoy the present moment! This is a place where community gathers, feasts, and learns. Speaking of learning, East End also has fun events and cooking classes for the public, if you’re interested! I highly recommend you check out East End if you’re local. If not, whenever you happen by Orlando and are sick of the theme parks, a stroll over to East End Market will not disappoint!East End Outdoor 2

I hope you find a local gem of your own! And if you have a favorite in Orlando (or anywhere really) leave a comment!

Cheers! 🙂

Suja’s Organic Juices Review

Suja™, meaning Long Beautiful Life, embodies the promise that flows from the cold-pressured beverages it delivers in each and every bottle.

Rainbow of JuicesI first discovered Suja Juices through the Ibotta App (which gives cash back on purchases and I highly recommend) and was instantly intrigued. I love fresh juices and smoothies, especially when I make them at home, but I wanted to give this cold-pressed juice phenomenon a shot.

Mango MagicI noticed while grocery shopping that Publix was having a sale on Suja Essential Juices. On top of that, Whole Foods was having a sale on Suja Elements Juices. And since I am a coupon-crazy person, I had several coupons and combined them with my Ibotta cash back.
I walked away with 5 juices for just over $2.
Man, I impress myself.

Likes:
– Taste: Man, oh man these are DELICIOUS. It was VERY hard to put the silly bottle down. It tastes significantly different from juices using the conventional pressing method. I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted so fresh; it was as if I made it in my own kitchen (possibly even better than that).
– Packaging: This may seem ridiculous, but I’m all about presentation. Maybe it’s due to my artistic nature. I love when products’ packaging catches the eye and makes your mind go, “Oh! I wonder what this is!” Quality packaging is functional and draws in the consumer at first glance. The colorful array of juices on the shelf instantly causes you to gravitate towards them. I believe God made all that colorful produce and Suja displays it beautifully.Beets Me
– Variety: So. Many. Decisions. This is one of those cases when you stare at the shelf, pick one up, read it, put it back, pick up another, and then another, compare the two, etc. Or maybe that’s just me? Whatever you’re in the mood for, including tea or coconut water, it’s here.
– Charity Work: It is awesome when a company gives back to its community. Suja has created a specific line of juices for that exact cause: Suja Elements. Each individual juice has a designated organization that Suja will donate $0.20 to for every one of those bottles purchased. For example, each bottle of Blutrients bought will result in a $0.20 donation to Whole Foods Kids Foundation, an organization that is devoted to children’s wellness and nutrition.

Colorful SplendorDislikes:
Price: Oi vey! The price: $3.99 – $11.99 depending on the bottle size & variety. I know fresh, cold-pressed juices are stupid expensive. There is a lot of organic produce squeezed into those bottles. It is good to know that Suja was not the most expensive cold-pressed juice on the shelf. In relation to other juices, I’d say Suja is about average in price. As for Victoria, I am broke as a joke, so this isn’t something I would purchase on the reg. This situation was perfect because I sales on top of coupons on top of cash back dealsSCORE! Unless that occurs again, or I hit the lottery, Suja Organic Juices will be a special treat for this gal.Sweet Beets

Now, I understand there is some controversy over whether juices are okay if you’re Paleo. For me, when making juices at home, I do my best to use not only the juice, but the fibrous pulp that is typically left behind. This can take place in the form of Paleo muffins, pancakes, or breads. Also, I constantly drink water, so fresh fruit juice is a nice way to get a new flavor, but not in the form of sodas or energy drinks. The choice is yours, from my stance I would usually go for a whole apple, but the fresh juice from one is a delicious treat! 🙂

Overall, I became an even bigger juice fan in just a few sips. Incredibly refreshing and nourishing, these juices are a fresh, organic take on liquid fruits and veggies!


On another note, does anyone have any input on whether or not barley grass is considered Paleo? I’ve read both sides and haven’t come to a final conclusion. Let me know! Have a wonderful Wednesday! 😉