Air Fryer Fried Dilled Zucchini Sticks

Pickled anything and I am totally there. I have always loved pickles. Catch me always ordering any fried pickle appetizer. So how did I come to think of this dish?

A while back I made dilled brussel sprouts by simply marinading brussel sprouts in pickle juice overnight and OMG, they were so tasty.

I’m sure you guys remember my All Things Pickled post. From pickling peppers, to onions, to jalapeƱos, to avocado, I love them ALL. I also love how simple and easy it is to pickle things. If you haven’t experienced with your own pickling, get started!

Since getting my Air Fryer I have made breaded pickles and zucchini chips multiple times. Yesterday I started to think of how I could vary it up with different seasoning. I immediately thought of the dilled brussel sprouts and thought hmm I wonder if that would taste good?!

Up close and personal

In that second, I walked over to my fridge to see if I had enough zucchini and pickle juice to start them ASAP. Of course I did, since zucchini and pickles are both staples in my fridge.

This recipe is so tasty and fun! Also whole 30 compliant and fairly easy to make. You most likely have all the ingredients on hand, as well.

So first I prepared the zucchini by washing and cutting 3 zucchini’s into “sticks”. I’ve noticed the thinner the better purely so they crisp up better. Then I placed them in a ziploc bag. Add 1-1/2 cups of pickle juice (depending on how big your zucchini’s are) to your bag. Add enough juice so when you lay your bag flat all the zucchini sticks are covered in the pickle juice.

3 small zucchini’s cut into sticks

I placed the bag in the fridge flat to ensure all the sticks soaked in the pickle juice. I let them sit all day and made them for dinner that night. So they sat for about 10 hours.

Pickle juice sealed in, bag placed flat down

When your ready to cook them remove them from the fridge and strain the juice out. I let mine sit in the strainer for quite some time to ensure all the liquid strained out.

While they sat I made the dry seasoning which was 1 cup of almond flour, 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp mustard powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp paprika. Mix well and set aside. In another bowl whisk one egg.

Take your zucchini sticks and dip 2-3 into egg, then into the dry mixture. Place into air fryer with enough space so that the zucchini has space to crisp up. I cooked them at 360 degrees for about 14 minutes in multiple batches. Trust me its worth it!

Enjoy with a sauce of your choosing! I love them with ranch!! Of course, let me know what you think! I’ll be switching up and playing around with the seasoning in the future, I’m sure. Let me know what you come up with!

Air Fryer Fried Dilled Zucchini Sticks

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

appetizer, snack

Yield: 4

Air Fryer Fried Dilled Zucchini Sticks

Whole 30

Ingredients

  • 3 small zucchini’s cut into sticks
  • 1-1 1/2 cups pickle juice
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg whisked

Instructions

  1. First prepare your zucchini. Wash and cut 3 small zucchini’s into sticks.
  2. Place your zucchini sticks into a ziploc bag and add your pickle juice.
  3. Let mixture sit for at least 2 hours. I let mine sit all day! The longer the better.
  4. Once your ready to make preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees.
  5. Take 2-3 zucchini sticks and dip them into egg. Then dip them into the dry mixture.
  6. Place enough in the air fryer so they aren’t touching and have space to crisp up.
  7. Cook at 360 degrees for 13-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them. I made several batches to ensure they crisped up better.
  8. Serve with your favorite sauce, ENJOY!
https://appetiteforlifee.com/air-fryer-fried-dilled-zucchini-sticks/

Xo, Rachelle

Too Blessed To Be Stressed Challenge #TBTBS

Today marks the beginning of a new journey for me. I must say these last few months have been very eye opening for me. By focusing on myself, my thoughts, and actions I have been able to learn so much about myself, my growth, and my happiness.

It brought me to the idea of incorporating the gratitude I feel everyday into my life and talking out loud about it. We all know about the law of attraction, right? It’s no secret šŸ˜‰, how the law of attraction works. If you haven’t watched The Secret or read the book then you must! I learned so much about asking, believing, and receiving and how important your thoughts are.

The Too Blessed To Be Stressed challenge is about focusing on what you are grateful for each day (your blessings). By focusing your thoughts on what you are grateful for, you will come to be more appreciative of those things and other things in general. Instead of stressing about something that went wrong or something you are not looking forward to, focus on the gratitude you feel in that moment. What are you grateful for?

Whether you start your mornings with gratitude or end your nights with gratitude, make sure you make a point to take the time. I love keeping a journal but it doesn’t have to be written down. As long as you are thinking about it every single day.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought” -Buddha.

By making your thoughts more positive, your outlook on things and life will become more positive. I have noticed this in myself in just a few months. I only watched The Secret yesterday and was mind blown because I realized that I have already been experiencing this! I have been practicing gratitude almost daily in some form or another. Now I will be making a more conscious effort to spend more time EVERY SINGLE DAY practicing gratitude and visualizing what I am grateful for.

So for the next 30 days join me! I’ll be sharing at least 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I’ll be using the hashtag #TBTBS Too Blessed To Be Stressed, and posting it to my stories everyday. So check-in, share yours with me, reach out, ask questions! Let’s be thankful and grateful together.

Quick & Easy Ginger Sesame Asian Salad

With all this beautiful weather and sunshine, I’ve been craving light weight, easy salads. Maybe it’s being in the garden, or just the simple idea that salad’s are so refreshing this time of year, either way I find myself making more salads. This is a great thing as I have lots of greens growing in my garden!

It’s been a while since I played around with an Asian salad and I don’t know why, as they are quite tasty! The first time I ever made homemade ginger sesame dressing I remember thinking, this might be the best homemade sauce I have EVER made. Yes this sauce does happen to be one of my absolute favorites. This recipe introduced me to dates a little over a year and a half ago, and I use them in so much of my cooking now!

The items used for making this sauce have become staples in our house as we’ve learned to make most of our own sauces instead of buying store packaged ones. Coconut aminos, sesame oil, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, EVOO, minced garlic, dates, red curry paste, and fish sauce.

I always double this sauce recipe as its perfect for a meat marinade, a salad dressing, or a dipping sauce for veggies!

For my salad portion of this recipe I usually use a coleslaw mix. You can mix in a broccoli slaw as well, which is also delicious! Depending on how quick I am trying to be sometimes I add extra lettuce and sometimes I don’t. It’s perfectly fine to just use coleslaw mix, KEEP IT SIMPLE!

I do however, always add red pepper slivers and red onions slivers. I just simply slice half a red pepper as thin as possible and half a red onion as thin as possible as well. Mix in with your coleslaw mix and your good to go.

Adding Protein?

This batch I added shredded chicken right in with the coleslaw and it was so tasty. I cooked my chicken in the InstantPot because I love the way the chicken comes out. I cook it in about 1 cup of chicken broth with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper for about 10 minutes. Chicken comes out perfectly moist!

You could add steak tips as well! I might add that for my next batch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of coleslaw or 4 cups
  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • 1/2 red pepper sliced thin
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded chicken
  • 2-3 scallions
  • sesame seeds

Dressing: (This is for two batches, I always double to make a little extra!)

  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 5-6 large pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  • Add all dressing ingredients to your blender and blend well.
  • Mix your chicken, coleslaw, red onions, and red peppers in a large bowl.
  • Pour half your sauce into coleslaw mixture and mix well. If you need to add more sauce add a little at a time to ensure you don’t add to much.
  • Top with scallions.
  • Serve cold and enjoy!

WHOLE 30 FOR THE WIN, AGAIN

Another round of Whole 30 has come to an end. This being my fifth or sixth round (I have lost count) I knew what to expect and what to have on hand in order to be successful and stay motivated. I feel that this was my BEST round for many reasons that I want to share with you all.

Why Another Round?

First let me start with why I decided to do another round of whole30. This round actually wasn’t planned and I’m wondering if that is why it was my best yet?! Around Easter I was noticing a drop in my energy, stomach ache flare ups, anxious feelings, headaches, and other “not my best self” feels. The weather was starting to get nicer, the days longer so I was spending a lot of my time consuming alcohol and snacks.

I noticed my mood swings and knew immediately what was going on. So then the impromptu whole 30 happened and I am so happy it did. Here I am 34 days later and I feel incredible. My moods are more positive, those anxious moments happen less, no more headaches, no more gross gut feels and I know I have whole 30 to thank.

Growing up I was the world’s pickiest eater. I wish I knew back then, what I know now. I still find it incredible how important of a role food plays to our bodies. Now that I have experienced it and understand it, it makes sense.

What Works For Me?

After doing a few rounds I have learned things that work for me and things that don’t work for me. What’s the number one thing that works for me and helps me stay on track? FOOD PREP. I know you’ve read everywhere how crucial food prep is and your probably over hearing it BUT it is absolutely crucial. For example, if your running late and your on whole 30 (which will happen, cause life happens) and you don’t have the time to make something or find something compliant… your in trouble. We’ve all been there. Either this means you skip a meal or you cheat. Skipping a meal is NEVER a good thing in general but especially when your on whole 30.

So take the time, set aside 2 hours and prep some items that:

  • YOU LOVE- makes things you will look forward to eating. Nothing like that feeling of dreading your lunch and dreaming of something better…
  • ARE EASY- make things that are simple and don’t require tons of steps/crazy ingredients. Keep it simple. 30 days is a long time. Be practical.
  • ARE NUTRITIOUS- make things that add value. Nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, etc. Be mindful.
  • ARE QUICK FOR ON THE GO- make things you can grab from the fridge and bring anywhere. Don’t have a way of heating something up? Have a cold and hot option to grab in a jiffy! For example, chicken salad is perfect to throw over lettuce when you are on the go! NO need to heat up.

I promise you being FOOD PREPPED is going to make your whole 30 journey more successful.

What I Always Have In My Kitchen

Some things I must have hand for those I NEED FOOD moments:

  • Almonds- I use almonds for cooking and snacking. I’ve started to buy mine in bulk to save money since we consume a lot. I recently started buying this brand.
  • Cashews- I also use cashews for cooking and snacking. Love Terrasoul’s products!
  • Carrots plus ranch. You can make your own whole 30 ranch or buy one. If I am in a jiffy I use Primal Kitchen’s ranch.
  • Which brings me to mayo. Having whole 30 compliant mayo on hand is important as it is used in so many sauces!
  • Dried Fruit. I try not to eat a lot of fruit because of the sugar however I do like to mix dried fruit in with my cashews and almonds.

Why Having A Plan Is So Important

Another important part of being successful is having a plan. By that I mean know what your next meal will be and when your next meal will be. I plan a day a head always if not more. Why? So I am not rushing or stressing an hour before lunch or dinner trying to figure out what I’m going to make or eat. Not having a plan leads to laziness which leads to bad food choices. Knowing what I will be making allows me to relax and not worry about that next meal or have to think about coming up with a meal.

Most Importantly…

Remain positive! Having a good attitude is the best thing you can do for yourself on this journey. Instead of focusing on the negative such as not being able to drink, or eat your favorite snack, focus on how amazing your body will feel after a week of whole 30. Focus on the positive relationship you are building with food! Focus on learning how to cook new things and being in the kitchen a little more.

There will be things you love and hate about this journey. Keep a journal, track your feelings. Reflect on some of your best moments and worst moments so you can learn from them.

Share your journey with friends and family! I always love to hear of whole 30 journeys!

JalapeƱo Ranch Shredded Chicken Avocado Boats

I know Iā€™m not the only one who looks forward to Taco Tuesday…Ā  of course I love to enjoy a taco any day of the week but Tuesdays just seem so fitting….Ā 

My past few taco adventures have been ground beef or turkey so I decided to tackle chicken this time around. 

One of my favorite chicken recipes is cool ranch shredded chicken. SO GOOD! So I decided to blend that into my recipe. 

For my boats I went for avocados but I think this blend would pair well with a sweet potato boat, zucchini boats, or a lettuce wrap!Ā 

I would have to say avocado boats are my absolute favorite… probably because I LOVE avocados! 

The flavors here pair so well, between the cool ranch shredded chicken mixed with the jalapeƱos/onion/pepper mixture and the jalapeƱos and ranch topping.. so tasty !Ā 

Here is what you need:

Ingredients:

  • 2 jalapeƱos diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • half a green pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp Homemade Dry Ranch Mix
  • salt & pepper
  • compliant ranch
  • scallions

Instructions:


  1. First Cook your chicken. I used the Instant Pot. But you can stove top as well. I added 1 cup of chicken broth, my homemade dry ranch seasoning, & salt and pepper to the Instant Pot. *Homemade Dry Ranch Mix*- parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, and dill.
  2. Turn Instant Pot to pressure cook for 10 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to heat up.
  3. While chicken is cooking dice your onion, jalapeƱos, and green pepper. Saute in a pan over oil at medium heat until they soften. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook two more minutes.
  4. Once your chicken is finished let pressure release. Drain most of the liquid, leaving a little. Shred your chicken. Mix in the onion, pepper, jalapeƱo mix and stir.
  5. Cut open your avocados and scoop out some of the inside leaving a small well for your chicken. Add your chicken into your avocados and top with compliant ranch and scallions.
  6. Enjoy!

Ways To Deal With Emotional Eating

Have you ever told yourself “It’s okay, I deserve this, I’ve had a bad day” as you grab a tub of ice cream? Or do you ever get the idea of a specific food craving in your head and then make yourself believe that you must have it now and that it’s the only thing that will cure your hunger? AH, I am guilty of both of these. I didn’t truly realize it until my recent round (current round) of whole 30.

As I am on day 13 of Whole 30 I have officially gotten past my cravings. I’m starting to get used to sticking to my three meals a day, making sure they are fulfilling and satisfying. These past few days in particular I’ve noticed a change in the way I feel hungry. Sounds weird, I know right? But I am serious.

After each meal these past fews days I felt satisfied and full. I didn’t feel like I needed seconds, or something more. I didn’t get the urge for something sweet. I simply ate my meal and felt satisfied till the next. Thank you, Whole 30.

In the past I’ve felt guilty after eating, especially if I had a snack or dessert right after I had a meal. What I realize now, is that I would go for that dessert or that snack not because I was actually hungry but because I thought I needed it emotionally. Maybe my favorite show was on or I had the day off the next day and felt it was okay to “indulge and snack”, whatever the excuse was I fell for it.

Some signs of emotional eating are needing to eat a specific food, eating after you’ve just eaten a meal, eating after or suddenly during or after and emotional event, feeling guilty after eating, eating past fullness, hunger is brought on my sensory things (smell, sight), or hunger comes on fast and suddenly.

Um, I have experienced all of these…

Some ways to combat emotional eating are:

Think twice. When your feeling like you want food, take a second to really think about if your hungry. Do you feel it in your stomach? Is your stomach growling? When is the last time you ate?

Be patient. When you get the urge to eat or feel hungry occupy yourself for 30 minutes or so and see if your hunger craving is still there. Sometimes I feel like I eat out of pure boredom. So instead take a walk, read an article, do the dishes, fold the laundry, stay occupied and see if you actually are hungry!

Eat Fulfilling/Satisfying Meals. This seems obvious but it took me a while to catch on. My first round of whole 30 I somehow thought I had to try and make all these fancy, new things I’ve never had before. It left me feeling pressured and unmotivated to keep up. Eventually I learned to make meals that I knew I loved. Meals that I knew filled me up. Meals that I knew I would look forward to as leftovers because lets be honest…leftovers are very crucial! We all deserve a night off from cooking here and there, am I right?!

Plan Ahead. Food prep has become so important for me and it really can help anyone to stay on track. If your prepped with a plan and you know what your next meal is, it can mentally help you push through till the next meal. I have learned this trick and its actually working. For example I have each meal for each day planned out at least one day in advance if not more. I know that morning what my lunch and dinner will be. It helps me push through knowing I have something waiting at home, instead of having to figure out what to eat last minute and then emotionally eating. I used to snack as I was preparing dinner!!! So silly.

I highly suggest trying a round of whole 30! It has really helped me reset my body. I know how to fuel my body at lunch to get me through the afternoon to dinner. I don’t crave sweets or feel I need that afternoon snack. If you don’t want to try whole 30, try sticking to three fulfilling meals a day. See if you can train/teach your body to lose the cravings and feel satisfied off of your meals.

Take it day by day! One good day is better than NO good days. Stay positive and remain motivated.

5 Whole 30 Products I Live Off Of During My Rounds…

As I round up day 7 of Whole 30 my mind is whole 30 everything right now. Making sure my fridge and cabinets are stocked with whole 30 compliant items is how I succeed. As I’m beginning to run out of a few things that I use everyday I figured I would share what products I order weekly to help keep me on track and stay motivated.

If your like me then you like consistency. I find that keeping whole 30 options that I know I love on hand is what helps keep me on track. My very first round of whole 30 I had these big ideas to try all these new things and eat differently. What I didn’t realize, is that that was easier said then done. I started to understand that if I was going to be successful then I had to be food prepped for all situations.

I always like to balance things I know I love, with things I have never tried, with things I may not be a huge fan of but need (because they are healthy).

Here are my things I know I love and must have on hand when completing a round of whole 30.

  1. My absolute favorite for my morning coffee… NUT PODs unsweetened dairy-free creamer.
Nutpods Variety 3-Pack of Unsweetened Dairy-Free Creamers Bundled with Royal 100% Natural Birch-wood Stirrers – Vegan, Non-GMO, Whole30, Keto, Paleo – For Shakes, Coffee, Tea and Cooking

French Vanilla is my flavor of choice though they are all amazing. I absolutely love having these on hand as we love to drink coffee in our house. I start my mornings with hot coffee, by lunch I usually have a coldbrew, and late afternoon I’m onto an espresso. So you can imagine we go through a lot of these. I suggest always having them on hand!

2. Coconut Aminos

Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos Teriyaki Sauce, Garlic Sauce, and Aminos (Bundle) (1-Pack of 3)

I recently tried their garlic sauce flavor and it was amazing. Unfortunately my grocery store doesn’t carry it so I get mine from Amazon. This three pack is also a great deal as far as the price goes!

3. RXBARs

RX Bar Protein Bar, Coconut Chocolate, 22 Ounce, 12 Bars

It took me a while to try an RXBAR. I was so excited when I did. with 12 grams of protein in their coconut chocolate one, you can’t go wrong. I keep these on hand for those oh shit moments I have like a craving, or being somewhere with non whole 30 compliant options. If you haven’t tried them you must!

4. Spindrift Sparkling Water

Spindrift Sparkling Water, Strawberry Flavored, Made with Real Squeezed Fruit, 12 Fluid Ounce Cans, Pack of 24 (Only 9 Calories per Seltzer Water Can)

These for me, are a must have. I hate drinking plain water all day along. I need something with flavor and these actually taste great. I always have these in my fridge whether on a round of whole 30 or not.

5. CHOMPS Grass Fed Beef Jerky Sticks

CHOMPS Grass Fed Beef Jerky Snack Sticks, Keto & Paleo Friendly, Whole30 Approved, Non-GMO, Gluten & Sugar Free, 100 Calorie Snacks, 1.15 Oz Meat Stick, Pack of 10

These are so tasty and fun! Growing up I used to love eating beef jerky. These flavors are awesome and they are perfect when your in need of a quick bite. Easy to carry as they fit anywhere!

These five items I always have on hand at some point for my round of whole 30. Sticking with things I know I like and satisfy me keep me on track and motivated. It also keeps me wanting to try and introduce new things here and there. What Whole 30 Products must you have on hand? What do purchase weekly?

A BigMAC Minus The Bread

I must say I had to make this post because this recipe deserves its own blog post it’s THAT good. I sound ridiculous saying it but this recipe is life changing. It is by far my favorite Whole 30 dish for many reasons.

First, it actually tastes like a big mac. Literally the only thing missing is the bread. Sounds unbelievable but believe it, I swear its true! Between the homemade thousand island dressing, pickles, and mustard it tastes and even smells like a big mac. Quite incredible.

Second, this recipe is one of the easiest and quickest recipes. The only thing that needs to cook is the ground beef. A few minutes to cook your meat, add your flavors/spices, mix, and place over your salad and your just about done. Can’t forget the amazing whole 30 homemade thousand island that goes on top. YUM.

Third, it’s whole 30 compliant and WOW I am thankful for this one. Most items in this recipe are staples that you probably have on hand as well. This recipe reheats wonderfully and is perfect for lunch/dinner on the go!

What You Need

I used:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp pickle juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

For The Salad I Prepared:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • red onions
  • pickles
  • Thousand Island Dressing – 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1/4 cup chopped pickles, 1/2 cup clean mayo, salt & pepper.

How To Make

First brown your beef over olive oil on medium high heat. Once brown add diced onions, mustard, tomato paste, coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, pickle juice, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Construct your salad. Place your meat on your salad and top with your homemade thousand island dressing. Enjoy how well these flavors come together!

If you have any questions as usual reach out and message me! INSTAGRAM- appetiteforlifee

Top 5 Whole 30 “Must Haves”

If you have completed a round of Whole 30, then you absolutely know how important it is to be food prepped. If your anything like me, when your hungry your hungry. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t ended a whole 30 due to caving because I was not prepared.

After many lessons learned, I have realized how important having Whole 30 compliant snacks on hand are. Over many trials I’ve figured out what snacks are most satisfying to me and which ones work best for my lifestyle.

As I gear up for another round I sat down to make my grocery list for week one. I always organize my week first by which meals I plan on having then I make my grocery list.

When doing Whole 30 I don’t plan for snacks, however from experience I know they will be needed as life happens. So for each day I include 1-2 snacks that I may or may not have. The important thing is having them for the “emergencies” such as running late, thinking I must indulge or cheat, or when I’m somewhere that doesn’t offer anything that is compliant.

Five things that are consistently on my list for each week are…

1. Veggies & Dip

A must have always is veggies and dip. Whether you have carrots and compliant ranch, celery and almond butter, or mix in compliant thousand island they are all so delicious, refreshing, and healthy. My fiance loves cherry tomatoes with compliant ranch (weird, I know) but it’s whatever floats your boat! Easy to pack in a bag or small container. Place an ice pack in your lunch box and your good to go for times on the go.

I promise this will come in handy. I actually prep out 6 bags of veggies for the week so I can grab from the fridge and go. I make about 2 batches of homemade compliant ranch a week if I don’t have a compliant brand, such as The Primal Kitchen’s, on hand. I jar out my dressing so I can also grab and go from the fridge. Use my code appetiteforlifee @ Primal Kitchen for a 10% discount on all there products. There mayo and ranch are my favorites!

2. Nuts

This is an obvious one but I can’t stress enough how many times almonds have saved me. I recently tried ranch roasted mixed nuts and they are easily on my list every week now as they were life changing.

You can eat a handful or two plain or dress them up but either way they are filling and satisfying. I have a bag of almonds in my car and my purse for emergencies. They have easily held me over for an hour or two if I was stuck somewhere.

3. Frozen Fruit

I try to eat as little fruit as possible on whole 30 however I have found that frozen grapes and bananas are so satisfying and delicious. They also feel like a dessert which feels indulgent when doing a round of whole 30. They are easy as you just throw them in the freezer. As tasty as they are I don’t go overboard as they do have natural sugars.

4. Chicken/Tuna/Egg/Potato Salad

The great thing about a chicken or potato salad is that it can be eaten cold. In a rush to leave the house, grab your pre-prepped container of chicken salad with lettuce or your container of potato salad as a snack. Eat it on the way, on the go. I sometimes even dip my celery in my chicken salad (so weird, I know). It also makes for a fulfilling dinner over a salad or wrapped in a cucumber or lettuce wrap. A must have prepped in the fridge.

5. Deviled Eggs or Hard Boiled Eggs

Another no brainer, but seriously you NEED these prepped and good to go in your fridge. I hated eating eggs for years. One day I sucked it up and tried them and now I make at least 7 of these a week. Perfect for protein and so easy to make and eat on the go, they are the perfect whole 30 snack to have on hand. Eat them alone or throw them over a salad.

Many people ask me whats your best advice for whole 30 and I always say be food prepped. Even if you think you won’t be hungry or will be able to stick to your meals or plan it doesn’t hurt to have something in place just in case.

The easiest excuse is “I didn’t have anything compliant, I’ll just start tomorrow”. Don’t let that happen by being food prepared. Even if you start with having just one of these things on hand. Track your cravings and see what works for you.

Happy Whole 30ing!

Spring is Here! Spring is Here!

Building Raised Garden Beds & Transplanting Your Garden Outdoors

New Raised Garden Bed

How excited are we to finally be enjoying some consistent Spring weather! I am pumped for the season and ready to go with a flourishing garden window. As I type I hear a lawn mower off in the distance, the sun is shining on my kitchen table, and I can hear faint bird chirping… Life is Good.

Over the weekend my fiance and I build a raised garden bed outback to accomadate more of my herbs and vegetables. I must say this was an easier task then I expected. We chose to use cedar for our garden bed for a few reasons. The first being it is rot resistant. The chemicals in cedar protect it against rot. Cedar is also insect repelling which you cannot go wrong with in an herb or vegetable garden! Another reason is how dense it is. Cedar holds up very well and will serve its purpose for a long time.

Just built and Callie is quite curious!

Once you figure out where you want your raised garden bed you have to take a few things into account. How high do you want your bed? How wide/deep do you want it? How long do you want it? Once you figure out your measurements you can calculate the amount of materials you need.

Before we prepped it for the Raised bed.

We decided to buy 1″ by 6″ by 8 feet cedar planks and stacked them three tall. I wanted my bed to be at least three feet deep if not more so we measured out the sides to be 3 feet 6 inches. We ended up buying 15 cedar planks for 1 bed (1 plank being $11). Our bed is 16 feet by 3 1/2 feet.

It is very easy to construct! We used small pieces of wood to nail together the three planks standing up. We did one wall at a time and then nailed them all together. We did not build a bottom as I want my herbs to root as far as they’d like.

Before adding soil.

We read a few different articles and talked to a few different gardeners on what type of soil mix to start with. We ended up throwing some leaves/sticks at the bottom (really not much) then some compost/hummus/manure on top. We mixed that in with some soil and tilled it quite a bit. Then we finished by dumping a whopping 14 bags of soil into the bed. We made sure to till it well and make sure everything was broken up and mixed well.

Only a few more bags of soil left to add!

Once we had all our soil in there we watered and watered and watered until it wasn’t bone dry anymore. This took about 10 minutes! I decided before planting to let it sit and soak overnight.

Planting Your Plants Into Your Bed

Bringing everything out to get ready!

Then it was the fun part. Over the past week I have been designing my garden based on what grows well together and sun/watering needs. I also wanted to make sure the things I had planted last year went into my new bed this year so I didn’t plant them in the same spot again this year.

Things That Tolerate A Light Frost

The last frost date for my area is May 7th, though I doubt we will see another frost. To be mindful of that I focused on getting the things out that could survive a light frost if they had to: kale, spinach, lettuce, mint, parsley, asparagus, onions, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, dill, and garlic.

Garlic and asparagus I probably won’t see this year but they will provide for next. Everything else I had been growing strong in my garden window and it was ready to get outdoors. Here are some pictures of things once I planted them

Companions: What Pairs Well With What?

I used a few resources to figure out how I wanted to design my garden. The biggest resource I used was the Garden almanac. I learned that Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, and Broccoli work well together and require full sun so they are in the same bed. I paired my asparagus with my Tomatoes since they grow well together. I have plans to plant my peppers near my tomatoes as another companion. My potatoes will go with my pole beans, bush snap beans, and basil as good companions. My kale, lettuce, dill, and parsley are all together as they grow well together.

I was very cautious to not plant the same things in the same spots as last year. Making a new garden bed was perfect for this as I really just rotated what I did last year.

What About The Rest?

Now that most of my herbs and vegetables are outside my garden window has lots of space. I still have red peppers, yellow peppers, jalapenos, thyme, basil, and strawberries growing in the window. We have plans to get one more garden bed outback so I started some more seeds in my garden window. Those include: cucumber, zuchinni, squash, more dill, more peppers (currently have 3 of each kind growing), pumpkin, and pole beans. Once these are mature I’ll transplant them outback as well. Cannot wait to keep up with all the delicious growth this summer!

Anything I must add to my garden? Any questions I can answer? As always email me or contact me on Instagram: appetiteforlifee

Instant Pot For The First Time

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to buy an Instant Pot! I have heard about all of its glorious functions and have heard the comment “Omg you don’t have and Instant Pot and you love to cook?” all too much.

Now I finally got to witness all it has to offer and let me tell you three recipes in I am already in love… I highly recommend this!

The first thing I want to touch upon is overcoming the fear of the pressure cooker part. As I was buying my Instant Pot, a lady in line told me she had one but refused to use it because she didn’t know how to use the pressure cooker function. In my head I thought well it can’t be that hard!

Once I got home I thought hmm maybe I should watch a video or two just to be safe… So to save that step for you, let me explain. It is pretty easy and clear cut. First things first, you want to figure out where the float valve is and the pressure vent valve is. You will know it is SAFE to open when the float valve is down (not floating) that means the pressure is released. In order to release the pressure you must either turn your pressure valve or push it. If your float valve is up or floating that means it is still pressurized, NOT SAFE. Once I press the pressure vent valve it usually takes a few minutes for all the pressure to be released and for the metal pin and float valve to drop.

Once you feel comfortable with how it works your good to go! I was overwhelmed with recipe ideas and what I wanted to try first. I decided to try Pulled Pork for my first recipe as I was curious about trimming my 8 hour long crockpot version down to a jaw dropping 50 minutes. Shockingly it only took 50 minutes to cook with a preheat up time of about 10 minutes. The pork tasted just as good, a little bit on the drier side but I will remedy that next time I make it! Insanely quick!

One issue I ran into, and have quickly learned to fix, is when the Instant Pot tells me BURN. I have learned that this happens for a few reasons. I noticed it happens if I don’t have enough liquid in the pot, or if there is something stuck to the bottom. If this happens simply do a quick release of the pressure and let the pressure release before opening. Check to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Typically the best thing to do is add more liquid. Even if you just add some water. You can always thicken up your liquid again later.

Today I made Veggie Soup that pressure cooked for all of 10 minutes. All in all, from start to finish it took me about 25 minutes to make. I honestly couldn’t believe that the potatoes would be soft enough so I actually left it in there on warm for an extra few minutes. To my surprise the potatoes were soft!

Contact me for the Recipe I used

All in all I must say I am super impressed with my Instant Pot. I am excited to use its other functions such as a rice making, steaming, and yogurt making. It’s exciting to know that I have a quick way to make meals that I wouldn’t attempt to make otherwise based on how long they take. This kitchen accessory is definitely a game changer in my book! You must check it out.

What else should I try in my Instant Pot? Tell me your ideas!!

Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 3 potatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • onion powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. First prepare all your vegetables. Set up your Instant Pot.
  2. Set your instant Pot to the saute setting. Add in your olive oil and let it warm up.
  3. Once warm, add your onion and cook for 3 or so minutes.
  4. Then add in your garlic and cook for another minute. Should smell wonderful.
  5. Mix in all your vegetables and stir well. Proceed to add your 6 cups of vegetable broth and spices. Mix well.
  6. Place your cover on and set it to pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  7. When finished, properly release your pressure like we talked about earlier! If your unsure watch a quick youtube video but don’t panic!
  8. Enjoy!

All Things PICKLED

My newest food obsession is pickling… pickling cucumbers, peppers, onions, jalapeƱos, and even avocados! Last year I made my own pickles by pickling cucumbers. Since then I cant stop!!

Some of my favorites are pickled jalapeƱos and peppers. I could easily eat an entire jar of either in one sitting. I love throwing them over my eggs in the morning to add a fun flavor. Throw them in a buddha bowl, or on top of a pizza. They give a salad so much more flavor! My fiance’s favorite are the jalapeƱos and he tends to put them on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.

Pickled JalapeƱos

Recently I pickled avocados and was surprised with how tasty they came out. The trick to pickling avocados is getting the perfect avocado. Your avocado must be a little firm still. Ive tried a few different batches with different avocados.

My first batch I used a firm avocado. I bought my avocado hard and firm and let it sit out a day to ripen a little. I made sure it still felt firm the next day (don’t want it too soft). This batch came out perfect. Once I poured the brine over the avocados, I noticed that they were staying intact (exactly what you want!)

My second batch I made the next day with an even riper avocado. I let this avocado sit another day to ripen more so I could test to see what batch I liked more. When pouring the brine over the avocados I noticed that some of them were too soft and breaking. After I let them sit for an hour I also noticed that there were pieces of avocado floating around in the brine. So I concluded that the avocado was too ripe.

My second batch.. You can see pieces of avocado floating around

Another important tip to remember when pickling avocados is to make sure you cover your avocados completely with the brine. If they aren’t fully covered with the brine they will start to brown!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tbsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 12 or so cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

First you want to wash and dice your vegetables. I mixed all of my peppers together (orange, yellow, and red). You don’t have to do this you can keep them separate. Put 2-3 cloves of garlic in each jar with the peppers.

Then place all ingredients for the brine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. I like to let my brine cool to room temperature before I pour in over the veggies and into the jar. But you can immediately pour it over if you’d like.

Once your brine is in cover and refrigerate at least an hour before you try!

SOO TASTY!

Starting Your Garden Indoors…

Six weeks after planting seeds.

Alright if you’ve been following along on my Instagram you know I get very giddy over my garden window and these cute little sprouts! This is my second year filling in this window and I’ve already experienced more successes than last. My peppers sprouted this year! Yippeee!!

So let me walk you through the steps I took to set this indoor garden up. I promise you, you will find joy in checking in on it everyday and keeping it watered! It also brings Spring into the house.

I have the perfect spot for it as I have a garden window in my kitchen. However this can be done just as easily on a window sill or on a countertop that gets direct sunlight throughout the day.

The first thing I did was head over to the Garden Almanac. https://www.almanac.com/gardening

I looked up my area and looked up when the best time to plant seeds indoors was based on the last frost. Based on that information I planted my seeds indoors on February 23rd. But you can start yours indoor now! I wanted to get a head start as this is my favorite hobby :).

I bought my seeds @HomeDepot along with these cheap pots!
A shot of everything I planted. Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Onions, Peppers, Parsley, Dill, Tomatoes, Arugula.

When planting the seeds I learned that its important to make sure the soil is moist enough. So I start by placing soil in the pot, filling it about halfway, and then I water the soil and mix it around. I proceed to put more soil in and then I plant my seed according to the depth and spacing instructions on packet. Always water immediately once you plant seeds.

What To Plant?

I knew exactly what to plant based off of things I like to eat and what I planted last year. Ask yourself what do you regularly buy at the grocery store? Lettuce, kale, spinach, dill, parsley, rosemary, green beans, tomatoes, the possibilities are endless. Maybe start with 5 of your favorite things. This year I added a few new things to my garden which I am quite excited for.

My first signs of sprouts came on March 1st, only 7 days from planting! Another week later just about everything had sprouted and was growing healthy.

2-3 weeks after planting
1-2 weeks after planting

Last year my biggest failure was my water upkeep. I either over watered them and then waited too long and they become under watered. This year I knew this had to be a better focus of mine. So each day I simply placed a finger in the soil to see if it was dry or moist. I also started to get used to how heavy the pots felt by touch. When they are dry they feel significantly lighter. Thats when you know its time to water! So far so good using this method. It’s easier than you think so don’t feel overwhelmed like I did at first. Even if you forget a day here or there they will forgive you!

Here’s What my Plants Look Like Now….

Tomato
Spinach
Russian Kale
Dill
Kale

When Do I plan To Transplant Outdoors?

I decided the perfect date to start transplanting outdoors is April 28th. The next step is planning out the layout of my garden. For example, some things grow better next to other things. I also have to be careful to not plant the same things in the same spots as last year. I plan to use the the Garden Almanac again as they have a fun garden planner app. Once my plans our set I will share!

Let me know what you think! Share your garden ideas! Ask me questions!

Turkey Bacon Meatballs Over Zoodles

As zucchini season is here I am ready to dive into all the zucchini recipes! I love how tasty and easy zoodles are. Perfect with chicken, steak tips and now meatballs! I came up with this one as I have been craving bacon lately, which I always have on hand. I almost always have ground turkey or beef in my fridge as well, as I make lots of tacos. This time I saw the bacon on top of ground turkey and thought hm what a great combination!

Bacon in meatballs seems weird, but it’s actually quite tasty. I added breadcrumbs and onions and the flavor was just perfect. Since my meatballs weren’t whole 30 compliant, I decided to find a whole 30 compliant sauce. One whole 30 compliant portion is better than none!

These meatballs would taste great over pasta or spaghetti squash as well! I might tackle the spaghetti squash option next.

First I mixed my ground turkey with 1/4 cup finely diced onion, 3 strips diced bacon, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1 whisked egg.

Meatball Mix

Mix together and roll into 1 inch meatballs. Heat 2 tbsp EVOO over medium heat. Cook your meatballs in batches so they have space to brown. I cooked on each side about 2-3 minutes and did about 3 batches.

Cook meatballs over 2 TBSP EVOO

Once all meatballs are browned add in 24 OZ of your favorite sauce. I used OrganicoBello’s marinara sauce, which is delicious and whole 30 approved! You can use any sauce you’d like or make your own. I covered and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Add marinara to your meatballs and simmer

While your meatballs are cooking prepare your zucchinis. I washed and spiralized 3 zucchini’s. First I heated 1 tbsp EVOO over medium high heat on a skillet. Then I cooked the zucchini for 3-5 minutes. Not too long or the zucchini will get soggy. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook your zucchini

Once your zoodles are finished place them on a plate and top with your meatballs and sauce. Enjoy!

Turkey Bacon Meatballs Over Zoodles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3

Turkey Bacon Meatballs Over Zoodles

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • 3 strips of bacon, diced
  • 3 zucchini’s spiralized
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp mined garlic
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 whisked egg

Instructions

  1. First mix your ground turkey, breadcrumbs, onions, parmesan cheese, bacon, and spices. Roll into 1 inch meatballs.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp EVOO over medium heat. Place your meatballs in pan and brown each side 2-3 minutes. Brown your meatballs in batches ensuring to not overcrowd.
  3. Once all your meatballs are browned, add them all back to pan. Add 24 oz of your favorite sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20-25 minutes.
  4. While your meatballs are cooking, wash and spiralize your zucchini’s.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp EVOO over medium high heat. Once heated add your zucchini’s and cook for 3-5 minutes making sure to not overcook (they will get soggy). Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve zucchini on dish and top with your meatballs and sauce.
  7. Enjoy!
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