How to Survive Whole30

About to embark on your first round of Whole 30? Finished a round and need motivation to start another? If you've stumbled upon this post, I am willing to bet that you are about to start a round, in the middle of a round or wanting to see what this Whole 30 craze is all about. If you fall into either of these categories, this list is for you!

About a year ago, I decided to attempt my first round of Whole 30. If you want to find out what motivated me to do so, you can read about it here. As of last week, I have now completed three full rounds of Whole 30. In fact, one was even a Whole 45 (go ahead and roll your eyes, it's all good). While I am far from an expert, I do think that there are a few ways you can set yourself up for success and dominate a round of Whole 30.

1. Have Strong Organizational Skills

Meal planning is key. I cannot stress that enough. If you are unprepared during these 30 days, there is a great chance that you will will not finish. It is imperative to plan your meals week by week, grocery shop and meal prep accordingly. Download a meal template, keep a spreadsheet at work, or write it in your planner - whatever works best for you, do it.

2 . Buy a Soft Measuring Tape

For 30 days you cannot weigh or measure yourself because it goes against the spirit of Whole 30. It was not a big deal for me, but one thing I learned from my first round is to take measurements before you start. At the end of the round you may be disappointed with the number on the scale, but the smaller waistline will speak for itself. 

3. Embrace Dishpan Hands

This adventure will have you up to your ears in dishes. My husband and I swear that our dishwasher never quit running. Luckily, we have a great system. I prep and cook, but J does the dishes. You will seriously wonder where all your dishes came from. They multiply like rabbits. Invest in paper plates. 

4. Gather Supplies

Whole 30 exposed me to new recipes and new toys in the kitchen. A few items that I always have on hand are:
  • Parchment paper - perfect for roasting all the things
  • Food processor -ideal for creating homemade dressings, marinades, mayo, etc. 
  • Splatter guard - a must for the most delicious recipe ever
  • Tupperware containers -a collection of various sizes is a must for food storage
5. Buy All the Ingredients

You can use a healthier substitute for some of your favorite ingredients. There are a few items I purchased during my first round and continue to use regardless if I am doing Whole 30 or not. 
  • Magic seasoning - great for seasoning meat, chicken, veggies, etc. You can buy it at Publix or get a better deal on Amazon.
  • Coconut Aminos - this can be used in place of soy sauce. It's perfect for stir fry and used in many slow cooker recipes. 
  • Ghee - a healthier alternative for butter. I use ghee on veggies, baked potatoes, steak, and as a fat for cooking. Trust me when I say quality matters. 
There you have it. You can be successful, but preparation is key. I also found motivation by reading success stories. Click here for the results from my first round. Round two and three results will be posted soon. I also have a Whole 30 section on my blog, found here

Even when I am not technically on a round, I (sometimes) try to eat clean. If you have any recipes or tricks in the kitchen, please share. Additionally, if you have completed a round I would love to hear about your results and experience! Share those details with a comment below!


How to Ace Back to School Shopping

Throughout my many years in school, I always enjoyed starting a new school year. Sure it was exciting seeing new and familiar faces, meeting the teachers and discovering your schedule (or most importantly, who was in your classes), but what did I love most about the start of a new school year?

School supplies shopping!

Yes, I loved back to school shopping. I looked forward to getting my supply list and heading to Staples after the first day of class. #totalnerdalert

However, now that E has received school supply lists, I dread it.

What has happened to me? Maybe it’s because her lists are so basic or because it serves as another reminder that my baby is growing up, but I have no desire to fight the crowds over glue and finger paint. And guess what? You don't have to either.

The past two years, I have made back to school shopping the easiest process for our family. When we received the first supply list last year, I began to scour the internet. I did not have a lot of time to spend on my lunch hour trying to find the needed items or confirming that they were in stock. While I love Amazon, I quickly discovered that their pricing was on the high end for these standard items. Even though our Prime membership would provide free two day shipping, I started to look elsewhere. Much to my surprise, I wound up at Walmart (online, not physically). Here, I found all the items I needed at a much cheaper price.

When this year’s list rolled around, I decided to try the same process as last year. I immediately went to Walmart.com and found all of my items. I purchased them online and within a few hours, I received a text and email that half of my order was ready for pick up. The next day I received final confirmation that all the items in my order were available. I popped some Xanax (I kid, I kid) and headed out on my lunch break for the adventure known as Walmart. Last year, I sent J to pick up the items, but I decided to put on my big girl pants and prayed that I would have a pleasant experience.

My prayers were answered! When you order online, you go straight to the pickup counter at customer service. What does that mean? That means you skip the checkout lines and you bypass all the people waiting in line for customer service. You can imagine the looks I got when I proudly walked up to the counter. I had the friendliest employee who pulled my order. When we realized some items were missing, he ventured into the backroom and found the rest. As we confirmed my order, a few of the finger paints fell out of the box (it was not closed all the way) and this man apologized like it was his fault when it clearly was not. He bagged my items for me and just like that, I was headed back to work. By far, this was the easiest and most positive experience I have ever had at Walmart. In fact, I left a five star review on their Facebook page and plan to call the manager about their awesome employee. I know, I know. I’m still in shock over it myself.

If you have limited time, hate to shop or dread taking your kiddos with you (it is okay, we all have those moments), then this post is for you. Take a risk and place your order online for pickup. It’s quick, easy and you can price compare online! While I had success at Walmart, I know that Target also offers this option as well.

I’m sure as E gets older we will have our own back to school shopping tradition, but for now, this works for us. Surely I am not the only one who utilizes this option so if you have any tricks to share, let me know!


Summer Savories: Italian Sunset Cocktail

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned how hot it has been down here in the Peach State. Guess what?

It’s still hot.

Here we are in the middle of July and for me, the heat is unbearable. I’m dreading the month of August, but there is a light at the end of this scorching tunnel… Football season is right around the corner! Alas, this is not a post about football.

One of my BFF (we shall call her DJ) fell in love, married a soldier and moved earlier this year to Colorado. Before she left, they gave us a few boxes of goodies that would not be making the trek with them on their move. One of those items was a bottle of amaretto liqueur.

Back in college, I was introduced to an Amaretto Sour cocktail. While it was a delicious beverage, I had no idea what else I could create with amaretto. After I scoured the internet, I stumbled upon a recipe for an Italian Sunset and decided to give it a whirl with some slight modifications.

  • 2 ounces of amaretto liqueur
  • 3 ounces of orange juice
  • 3 ounces of black cherry sparkling water
  • 1 dash of cherry juice
Fix It
  1. Choose a pretty glass and fill it up with crushed ice.
  2. Pour the amaretto over the ice.
  3. Slowly add the orange juice.
  4. Slowly top with the sparkling water.
  5. Add a dash of cherry juice.
  6. Garnish with cherries or an orange slice.
While this concoction was much sweeter than anything I typically drink, it was a perfect, light, beverage for these hot summer months. Fruity drinks are tasty (in moderation) and you certainly get the pleasant yet rich flavors from the oranges and cherries.

I also used freshly squeezed orange juice and sparkling water because I had both ingredients on hand. Beware though, playing with fruit juice can leave you in a sticky mess with a dirty glass. Fun fact: if you pour really slow and carefully, you can layer the liquids for an attractive looking drink.

I was also informed that you can add amaretto to coffee. Where have I been?!

Have any of my ten followers used amaretto? We still have a lot left…enough for an Amaretto Sour, Italian Sunset and morning coffee!

I am seriously contemplating throwing some in my coffee. Post Whole 30 of course.


Summer Savories: Fresh Fruit & Cheese Salad with a Lemon-Strawberry Vinaigrette Drizzle

As you read this post, please imagine a lovely, musical melody playing in the background of Nelly’s soothing song, “Hot In Herre.” Yes, that is how he spells it. 

I swear each summer is hotter than the one before. At least when I was pregnant with E, it oddly rained more than normal during those summer months. Currently, we are not even getting the typical rainy, afternoon showers. Even our grass is getting brown spots! For those who are unaware, my husband is a yard fanatic. Seriously. If our putting green is changing colors, then you know it is hot.

Lucky for you, I have a tasty, refreshing dish that will be a cool treat during these hot months. It is a perfect complement to any BBQ, can be eaten for breakfast or to satisfy that sweet tooth after a large meal.  

Fresh fruit is always tasty, but is so much better paired with cheese. Hello, my name is Adrienne and I am a cheese addict. Additionally, the dressing is flavorful and pink. Who doesn’t love the color pink?!


1 apple (I prefer a Kanzi apple) -chopped
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of strawberries- quartered
½ lemon juice
Goat cheese crumbles (substitute with Feta cheese, if desired)

Fix It
  1.  Wash your fruit. I feel like this should go without saying, but if you skip this step regularly, then we need to have a chat.
  2. Cut your fruit.
  3. Place the apple in a serving dish and squeeze the heck out of that lemon half. It gives your taste buds a little kick and prevents the apple from turning brown.
  4. Add and lightly stir the blueberries and strawberries in with the apple.
  5. Top with the cheese crumbles.
  6.  Drizzle with the dressing.

It’s fresh, easy and tasty!

Plus, the color scheme is on point for festive occasions that utilize red/pink. While I was writing this my husband came in and also used the phrase “on point” (talking about our front yard, believe it or not). E is so blessed to have such hipster parents.

Need something compliant for your diet? Forgo the cheese and it’s perfect for Whole 30 and Paleo followers. 

Yes, even the dressing.

Want to share some of your favorite concoctions with me? Let’s connect on Pinterest and make that happen! It's a fairly new account so save your judgement. :)


Weekend Recap: Supper Club & A Lot of Nothing

One of the best things about this whole weekend recap series is that I can post about my weekend on a Tuesday since I was not prepared for a Monday post. #bloggerfail

It was my favorite type of weekend with a little bit of entertainment and a lot of nothing – the perfect mix!

Something I look forward to each month is our neighborhood Supper Club. It’s a kid free night where one couple hosts dinner and we all meet up after work for drinks and food. The meal is always good and the company is quite entertaining. After a draining workweek, I was ready to socialize with these lovely ladies.

We try and take a nice selfie each month, which is only complete when a great filter is applied. Ha!
The hosts had a delicious feast for us – bruschetta dip, salad, and “mystery meatloaf” cupcakes. As sketchy as it sounds, they were extremely cute and tasty. The cupcakes were complete with mashed potato “frosting”.

Dessert was rich and decadent - homemade cookie dough with M&Ms and covered with a chocolate peanut butter topping. So, so good. The hostess with the mostess was inspired by Pinterest and I can safely say #pinterestforthewin

The night was filled with chit chat, UFC fights and we ended the night playing Cards of Humanity, which was absolutely hilarious. I swear, I have not laughed that hard in a long time. It was a fantastic stress reliever and since I collected the most cards before J declared it time to go, I won. Hate the player, not the game.

Saturday seriously consisted of nothing. We bummed around the house and I was able to catch up on one of my new favorite shows, Blacklist. Does anyone watch it? I am obsessed with it. I’m attempting to catch up on season three before season four premieres in the fall. Give me some Reddington, Tom and Dembe any day!

Don’t judge my bare, wire showing mantle please. We recently refreshed our living room look and that area is a work in progress.

The weather was too hot to play outside so J went off in search of a very classy pool for E to play in. Any tips for indoor activities to entertain a toddler when it’s so hot outside? A girl can only take so much Nemo.

We were going to let her swim after naptime, but the weather cooled off and it began to rain. Naturally we did what anyone would do and brought it inside to use (sans water).

The evening ended with a migraine and medicine for yours truly.

Sunday was spent at church, the grocery store, doing laundry and meal prepping in the kitchen for my third Whole 30 round.

It was also spent praising God because my sister and brother in law made it home safely from being stationed overseas. And yall, they are home for good!

Cheers for another weekend recap!


Whole 30: Food Processor Fun (Lemon-Strawberry Vinaigrette & Easy Homemade Mayonnaise)

One of my favorite parts about getting married was the wedding registry. I loved being able to walk through my favorite stores while picking out items to start our future together. Who doesn’t love presents?!

Like most everything I do in life, I researched the necessities for a wedding registry. J was in the USAF living on base and I had recently graduated from college, but was enjoying the luxurious life living with my parents. Seriously, I loved it. That being said, we had nothing to start a home. I was the furthest thing from a chef, but Google was quite adamant that I needed to buy all the things for our kitchen - even if I had no idea how to use them.

One of the best items we were gifted was our blender+food processor. Until a few years ago, it was only used for making margaritas on the fifth of May. My how things change! #adulting

I have been so amazed at all the different things you can make with a food processor. Never in a million years would I have tried to create homemade condiments like mayonnaise or fresh dressings. While prepping for my first round of Whole 30, it was very eye opening at how much crap (sugar, preservatives, etc.) are in simple items like salad dressing. Since there was hardly anything compliant at the grocery store, I tried making my own.

It is easy, cheap, healthy and more flavorful than what you can purchase. Hence, I am excited to share with you a great dressing for the summertime, Lemon-Strawberry Vinaigrette and a recipe for homemade mayo.

Lemon-Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • A dash of pink Himalayan salt
  • A speck of ground red pepper

Fix It
  1. Food process all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Keep adding salt and red pepper to your liking.

This is a wonderful addition to any salad, especially during the warm months. The fruit adds a bit of sweet and sour, but is not overpowering. Upon processing, the dressing comes out a bit frothy – not too runny. Store it in the fridge and you are all set.

Easy Homemade Mayonnaise

J & I are not huge fans of mayonnaise, but I stumbled upon one recipe in particular that prompted me get crazy and experiment with the food processor. It was well worth it.

  • 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 1 ¼ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Fix It:
Jump on over to Cassidy’s Craveable Creations. She gives great tips and excellent directions to produce the perfect homemade mayo.

Did you know mayonnaise is a great marinade? We have used it to smoke a chicken (it added great flavor and made it extra crispy) and when we grill corn. Surprised? I was too. Google is full of hidden treasures. Much better than store bought, I could not believe how it thickened.

If you have not pulled out your food processor, give it a try. I would love to hear what you use it for!


Weekend Recap: Happy 4th of July!

Do you know how long I have been looking forward to this weekend? I live for long weekends.

My supervisor recently left and saying that work has been hectic (especially without a replacement) would be an understatement. These last two weeks have been chaotic. I was warned that I would be “baptized with fire” and let me tell you, I can feel the heat. It’s also why I had zero posts last week.

Professional challenges are fantastic. You learn. You grow. Hopefully, you become a better and stronger employee. While I think this could be a positive experience, most days I have come home mentally and physically drained. Therefore, having Monday off for Independence Day was just what I needed!

I don’t know if weekend recaps will be a continuous topic on my blog, but figured it would not hurt to post about it once in a while.

J picked up dinner on Friday evening from a local bar/grill restaurant. I typically do not love the food, but can chow down on their buffalo chicken dip. It was the furthest thing from clean eating.

After E went to bed we got comfy on the couch and watched a Xanax inducing movie about a girl who gets attacked by a shark. Fun Fact: I am/was obsessed with all things Shark Week. I don’t think I could swim in a cage, but can appreciate the crazies who do - all from the comfort of my living room. My anxiety amused J while Miss Friski amused me – calm as a cucumber. #passthecatnipplease

After ten glorious hours of sleep, I felt like a cold was sneaking up on me. Since E was getting over a virus (I swear we really are a healthy family #praiseGod), we stayed close by the house and ventured over to the local farmer’s market. We picked up some garden goodies (and a few additional items that my toddler grabbed hold of) and purchased meat for our weekend of grilling. We headed back to the house where E napped and I became adventurous with my food processor in preparation of my next Whole 30 round. 

We grilled out for dinner and after E went to bed, I jumped into a full-fledged war on my garden. I have no idea what bugs these are, but they are killing my squash plants.

Since I am semi crunchy, I purchased an “earthy” spray off Amazon and googled natural alternatives. After covering my garden in garlic (yes, it smelled divine), I mixed hot water and dish detergent to hopefully dehydrate and kill these pests. Does anyone have any idea what these are or what I need to do?

Sunday started off with church, followed by lunch and nap time for the little. I was feeling better and able to tackle laundry, get a work out in and catch up on one of my guilty pleasures, Mistresses. Does anyone else watch that? It’s one of my favorite summer shows.  

Post nap we dealt with an electrical issue that involved a quick game of “find the breaker.” Our smoker that we have had for a couple of years decided to blow out all the outdoor and one indoor outlet upon being plugged in. Fingers crossed that it’s a smoker issue and not a house problem.

Due to the blazing hot weather, we kept it classy and turned on the sprinklers for E to enjoy. The grill was utilized again for dinner and I continued my garden war. My spray arrived so I soaked the plants and when the bugs climbed to the top a leaf, I literally “golfed” them out of my garden using the bottle. At least I own my crazy, right? Once the hard battle was fought, I celebrated with a cocktail that I will be sharing with you soon.

My husband woke up with E and I was able to get another long ten hours of sleep. I’m dreading my 5 A.M. wake up call Tuesday morning. After checking the weather, I decided to go for a run in the brisk 78-degree morning air. Oh my goodness - I about died. There was nothing cool about that run. Over three miles and forty minutes later, I made it back to the house and laid on the floor under the ceiling fan. It was so, so, so hot. The humidity was ridiculous. I checked my weather app again and noticed that it was now 86 degrees, but felt like 96 degrees with 70% humidity. No Weather Channel, it felt like an oven at 350 degrees. It wasn't even 11 A.M. yet!

I recovered from the run with another enamoring viewing of Finding Nemo. Seriously, if I see this one more time I am going to check myself into an insane asylum. The rest of the day was quiet with naps, cooking and blogging. We ending the evening with some fireworks while it was still light outside (we do not mess with E's bedtime schedule) and she was strangely unimpressed. Oh well, maybe next year. 

If you finished this, I applaud you as this is an incredibly long post about doing nothing this weekend.

Did you do anything crazy fun? Please share so I can live vicariously through you!


Toddler Times: Potty Training, Please Send Wine!

After a very long week at work and in preparation of our big weekend, I truly thought I wouldn’t have time to blog for a Friday post. Surprise, here I am!

When I picked E up today, the following note was posted outside her classroom:

Saying E loves the water is a lie. E is OBSESSED with water. I must have heard “Look Momma. Water!” in her sweet, excited voice a million times when we were on vacation. We were at the beach so you can imagine how much water we saw.

The second bullet on the notice is where I had one of those moments that all parents have – a time when I question if I am parenting correctly. E is two and a half years old and is still not 100% potty trained. Go ahead and cast your judgement. I can handle it.

Deep down I feel she could have been trained months ago. Maybe. How do you know when it’s time to pull the plug on diapers? What was your plan?

On an average weekday E will use the potty before we leave school and before bedtime. This week I have been trying to put her on the toilet in the morning after she wakes up. Like her mother, she is not a morning person. If she’s not in the mood, then I don’t push it. She typically wakes up wet, but we also have dinner about an hour before bedtime and she thinks it is hilarious to chug her milk.

I have no idea what she does at school. Her teacher and I are on opposite schedules so we rarely see each other. It is my understanding that they were sitting her on the potty, but I have no idea if she has made any progress. A few months ago her teacher said “If she’s distracted, she could sit in her diaper all day.” Great… Hence, I think we will pass on pull ups. Yet, she tells us 90% of the time when she needs to go. Decisions, decisions.

One of my sorority sisters shared a “Three Day Bootcamp for Potty Training” document with me, but we haven’t had three days to be confined to the house.

Here is where I need you. What did you do? What worked for you or was a complete fail? I am open to any and all suggestions.

Help us! And as always, #sendwine. 

Summer Savories: Nom Nom Paleo’s Orange Dijon Chicken

Have you ever tried a recipe and thought to yourself “Hmmm. Could this become a staple in my meal planning?” Or as I like to ask, “IS IT AN OLD FAITHFUL?!?”

Back in college, my friend and I had a couple of items we referred to as Old Faithful. What is an Old Faithful you may ask? My Old Faithful category included a royal blue bikini and a black sleeveless shirt. My friend’s Old Faithful was a green tank top. Old Faithful was something you could rely on. Big plans for the night and nothing fits? No problem! Old Faithful is reliable during your time of need. I suppose Old Faithful could also be like an ex for some people…

Anyway, I get so excited when I discover a dish that has the potential to be an Old Faithful. Y’all, this is one of those times. Allow me to introduce on of the most delicious chicken recipes. 

In order for a recipe to have the honor of being placed into the Old Faithful category, it must meet certain criteria such as:
·         Easy – Dishes that can be prepped the night before or are quick to assemble can be particularly useful for this working mom.
·         Healthy – After completing a couple rounds of Whole30, recipes with real, wholesome ingredients are very important to me. Now, I definitely do not follow this lifestyle as much as I should or need too. See, I told you this would be an honest blog. Regardless, you can bet that unless it is a special occasion, all meals I cook follow the Whole30 guidelines.
·         Delicious – Obviously the meal must taste good, but it needs to pass the toughest food critic in the world, a toddler. Confession: I admit that I have a very good eater, but she’s still two.
·         Affordable – There are certain items I keep on the regular that may not be found in your average pantry, but recipes consisting of ingredients that cause me to shop on Amazon typically don’t make the cut on a regular basis. I also want to point out that when I say affordable, I mean economical for our family. I am willing to pay more for quality and sometimes negate the cost by drinking cheap wine. #cringe

Aside from being quite tasty, I loved that I could quickly whip up the marinade, toss in the drumsticks and stick it in the fridge to sit. As an added bonus, there are hardly any ingredients. Seriously, check out the list.

Chicken Drumsticks
¾ cup Dijon-style mustard (Whole30 followers, make sure your mustard is compliant. I used an organic Dijon from Publix.)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons of salt (I used my favorite pink Himalayan salt

Fix It
Get it from the source herself at Nom Nom Paleo.

I’ve made this twice in the last few weeks and it has yet to disappoint. E ate three entire drumsticks by herself and J finished off the leftovers. If we had left any on the counter, I’m sure the foos would have stolen the rest. 

Now I want to know, do you have an Old Faithful? #exesdontcount