Chicken Salad

Usually during the first week of my Whole30s, I am SUPER tired, and the first few days I’m hungry between meals. It’s interesting how all of it levels out after that first week, just one more reason why I am constantly AMAZED at what our bodies can do and how adaptable they are, but that first week is a little rough.

One easy snack or meal I like to make especially that first week is this chicken salad. It is great to keep in the fridge to just grab a few bites if you are hungry or for a quick lunch. I top it on a bed of spinach usually with a side of plantain chips (fresh or store bought) and salsa!

I’m kind of picky when it comes to chicken salad, it seems like everyone kind of has their own recipe about what they like in it, so I just thought I would share mine. It’s pretty simple and straight forward so I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Chicken Stock
  • 1-2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (don’t overdo this one haha!)
  • Dijon Mustard – couple of squirts (yep. I said squirt. It’s very official and precise.)
  • Mayonnaise – between 3/4 – 1 cup (If you are doing Whole30, Primal Kitchen makes a great compliant mayo, or you could make your own, which is actually super easy!)
  • Grapes – chopped
  • Apples – chopped
  • Walnuts – chopped
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

 

What to do:

  1. Place chicken breasts in crock pot and cover with chicken stock. Cook on high 4-6 hours. (This is my favorite way to cook chicken when I need it shredded for something, its so moist and tasty!)
  2. Once chicken is cooked, remove from crock pot and shred in a large bowl. I usually just use forks to shred it because I like mine to be kind of chunkier, but if you are looking for a fast way to shred chicken, try tossing it in your stand mixer and turn it on for a few seconds!
  3. So this is another one of my “just dump the ingredients in the bowl and taste it as you go” kind of things… so at this point add the mayo, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, apple cider vinegar, grapes, apples and walnuts.
  4. Stir everything up and you’re done!

 

I thought I would put my dog in this pic because she’s cute and I’m pretty sure this is the most unappetizing food I could take a picture of for y’all at this point haha… She’s always wishing she could gobble it up anyway!

So the cool thing about chicken salad is that if you don’t like what one person puts in their recipe, you can easily substitute something for another food to make it your own. I found this “make your own recipe” outline at some point on someone’s blog or maybe the Whole30 Instagram feed, I can’t remember at this point… but I thought I would share it in case you want to change this up a bit to accommodate your own personal tastes.

Make Your Recipe Your Own:

  • something crunchy – celery, onions, apples, nuts
  • something sweet – raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, grapes
  • something acidic – dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice
  • seasonings
  • mayonaise

I would love to hear if anyone has any other additions that they love! Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy this!

 

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Whole30 – Week 4: Meal Plans


So one of my good friends sent me this last week and I totally cracked up… her and her hubby have started Whole30 last week and she had gone shopping at the grocery store haha… I could totally relate!!!

Well we are almost finished everyone!! Almost!!!


You’re going to make it!

What have I been doing this week?? Toting this kid around trying to finish our Whole30! Apparently Jude was much more interested in our meal prep than I was prepared for haha… Actually I call it bad timing because poor baby was going through a mental leap and FINALLY thank goodness cutting those two bottom teeth through so this was us a LOT this week. I told my friend that I think we may need to see if we can get one of these slings in teenage boy size because I don’t see my velcro baby changing much anytime soon!

So my sister sent this to me this week too and umm yes I laughed a lot. Because when your hubby doesn’t get home until 7 or 7:30 and you’ve been with two super active boys for 13 hours this sometimes happens haha… The other thing that made me laugh was just that I wouldn’t be serving either item in the picture right now though hehe!

So before I dive into meals for this week, I just wanted to say a few things (yep, get ready for the what Jenna Campbell things about things again haha… my mom is like, “run away everyone!”) about our experience with this lifestyle change. No, I’m not calling it a diet, because it is not a diet for us. This is a life style change. Yes, we will eat cheese again and probably gelato sometimes but our way of eating and our relationship with food has changed. And I’m hoping to continue eating Whole as much as I can because of all of the benefits I have seen and felt this month.

You know, I think the first time I heard about it from my friend Erica, I thought it was ludicrous. Who in their right mind would give up cheese and ice cream for a MONTH?! Isn’t that just impossible to do?! But you know what, it’s not. It’s only for 30 days. Not impossible.

And what I’ve realized in doing this, is that 
I have severely underestimated the impact that food has on my body.

I have always kind of been the type of eater that is conscientious and tries to make good decisions sometimes but then gives into to cravings or whatever my brain is telling me I want to eat. I try not to over eat but I had a pretty bad sugar addiction, which I was completely aware of because I had horrible sugar cravings and would have blood sugar drops that would make severely hangry. If I hadn’t eaten in a while, you better get. outta. my. way. Seriously, they should have put me in a Snickers commercial. I have dealt with insomnia a lot for a long time, having trouble going to sleep and staying asleep, especially once the little Campbells came along. My hands would swell all the time and I would be achy at the end of the day… I felt like I never had energy and just felt bleh a lot.

So I knew in my head that I needed to eat better but was just honestly kind of stubborn about it because I didn’t want to cook more, I didn’t want to clean up more dishes and I just wanted to eat a brownie like all the time. But when I started reading “It Starts with Food,” and started learning about how my body processes different kinds of food, I basically realized that I was making life harder on myself by eating the way I was. So finally, I had the motivation to get started and make some changes.

And what I have seen was almost immediate. Jacob and I both started feeling better just within a few days of eating whole, real foods. Just veggies, fruits and meats… stuff you can pronounce and stuff that you know what it is! It was kind of amazing at how quickly your body responds to making better choices. Since we finished the Whole30 plus another week and a half of it, we both have lost weight and have more energy, I have noticed my wedding rings fitting better and I am sleeping SO much better at night. I fall asleep without unisom anymore and can go back to sleep after getting up with Jude. Neither one of us ever have indigestion anymore or feel horrible after we eat. (You know what I mean, that whole, “Wow I just ate a huge burrito and need to go lie down for a minute…” feeling.) My energy is better during the day and I don’t feel like I am about to die before I go to bed. Sounds extreme? Maybe I’m being a little over dramatic but seriously, I just didn’t feel good at the end of the day. Even though weight loss is not the primary reason for doing Whole30, it has been great…Jacob has lost over ten pounds and I have lost about six… and yes that sounds like bragging but here’s why I’m saying it… because we hardly exercised at all. For real. I took a few walks with the boys, ran like twice and did a little yoga (10 min.) before bed some nights. And all of this happened because we changed what we ate. I’m just in awe, because before, I had to run my brains out to lose weight and this time it was so much easier. So again, I’m just saying… if you are thinking that you feel crummy, have any kind of health issues or you want to lose weight and feel better, just change what you’re eating. You’ll be glad you did. Sounds kind of like I’ve been hired to promote Whole30, right? haha I wish… ;0)

Alright, stepping off of my “Jenna’s view of life” box and moving on to why you’re probably reading this post at all anyway…

Breakfast Options:

  • scrambled/fried eggs – use Coconut Oil
  • bacon – make sure it is sugar free (check ingredients)
  • veggies/fruit
  • potatoes (any kind) – cut up ahead of time, boil 10-15 minutes and store in the fridge; when you are ready to cook breakfast just grab a handful and toss them in the pan on the other side with the eggs, add some rosemary to them with ghee. I also diced mine and made a hash with them.
  • smoothie – coconut water, banana, frozen fruit, spinach, avocado, water (technically Whole30 compliant, but they say to use sparingly – lots of sugar for breakfast in the morning sets your blood sugar for crashes throughout the day. I would probably use this as a snack later with just a little frozen fruit)
  • fried plantains… slice them or smash them, fry them and top with eggs or something yummy!
  • coffee – ok, but they recommend to only drink it before noon – you can use coconut milk  (this is a good brand… just check ingredients and make sure it doesn’t have any random ingredients… sometimes guar gum can upset your stomach. It is whole30 approved but some people have a sensitivity to it) instead of creamer with a little bit of cinnamon (seriously… this is what I was mourning the most, and it really wasn’t that bad this morning!)
    • How to make your own coconut milk… haven’t tried this yet but Natalie and Jessica said it’s great!
    • Last week I made my own almond milk and it was dreamy and easy! Great in coffee!
      • This link is great for making your own almond milk and almond flour. Just make sure you are careful about sweetening it if you are doing Whole30.
Lunch Options:
  • leftovers from dinners
  • crockpot shredded chicken
    • plantain nachos – seasoned with cumin, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper (check ingredients for preservatives/fillers), top with salsa, avocado… You could top this on pantacones too!
These were probably my best pantacones so far haha! So had to share! I let them get pretty brown before I smash them, and the parchment paper and meat pounder has been working out great for the smashing!!!

  • chicken salad – something crunchy (celery, onions, apples, nuts), something sweet (raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, grapes), something acidic (dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice), seasonings, mayonnaise  
  • canned tuna fish
  • salad –  use leftover meats from dinner, lunchmeat or grilled chicken
  • lettuce sandwich wraps – lunchmeat (applegate is a good brand), avocado, tomato wrapped in lettuce maybe with some mayo and a slice of BACON!
 
  • random plate of stuff – sometimes I like to just grab random stuff for lunch… orange slices, lunch meat, avocado, plantain chips and salsa, handful of nuts, grapes… get creative!
Snack Options:
  • veggies with guacamole
  • mixed nuts (no peanuts)
  • fresh fruits/veggies
  • chia seed pudding with coconut milk
  • larabars
  • fruit with almond butter (check ingredients)
  • epic bars
  • seasnax
  • sardines
  • unsweetened coconut chips with cacao nibs
  • dinner leftovers
  • smoothie (see above)
  • applesauce (sugar free, organic)
  • boiled egg
Dinner Plans:
  • Sunday Lunch – Repeat from week 1!
    •  Miranda’s Slow Cooker Roast – lay 3-4 strips of sugar free bacon on the bottom of your slow cooker and place rump roast on top, maybe put a slice of bacon on top too. Cook for 8-10 hours. I put this in Saturday night and let it cook all night on low for 10 hours but will probably do 8 next time. When we were ready to eat, I just pulled out the roast, shredded it and poured some of the juice on top, it was so moist and yummy!
    • Mashed Sweet Potatoes – Heat 2-3 potatoes in the microwave after poking holes in them for 5-6 min, rotate them and do another 4-6 min, maybe more or less depending on the size. After they are soft, cut them open with a knife and let them cool for a few minutes, then scoop out the sweet potato. Add ghee, coconut oil and sea salt or other seasonings and stir! So yum!
    • Salad – You can add any other veggies you want, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes… use olive oil with a little lemon juice, or basalmic vinegar as dressing, maybe salt and pepper if you want.
    • Steamed Broccoli & Carrots (oops, totally forgot the carrots!)
  • Monday
    • Southwestern Frittata from Against All Grain – Meals Made Easy –  Brown ground meat and diced onion (recipe says to use red onion but I prefer yellow) and add 1/2 cup peeled and diced sweet potato. Saute in a 10 in over safe skillet with 2.5 tsp of taco seasoning (I used a little more than this and made my own taco seasoning) until meat is cooked through. Add 2 cups of chopped baby spinach, 1/2 cup diced zucchini and I also added finely diced mushrooms and cook a few more minutes. Beat 10 large eggs in a separate bowl with sea salt and pepper and then pour into the skillet on top of the meat mixture. Place the skillet in the oven at 350 for 12 minutes. Once the eggs have cooked through, remove and slice, servicing with salsa and/or avocado.
      • I also sliced some plantains for chips… big surprise, right?

 
 
  • Tuesday – Ok, this was my absolute least favorite meal of the whole month. 😦 I was trying to find some kind of BBQ to make that wasn’t super involved and didn’t have sweeteners and uhh this was a fail haha… So I just listed the link in case you are interested, but I’m not taking the time to type it all out. I switched out the syrup for applesauce in this recipe to make it whole30 approved but yeah it just didn’t cut it haha… Jacob said, “Well it wasn’t horrible, but probably not my favorite…” He’s so sweet, isn’t he? I said, “Babe, you may not want to eat this tonight!” but he gave it try anyway! The spaghetti squash definitely helped, but I did not eat this for leftovers. First time food got chunked! 😦 P.S. This is a Paleo friendly recipe, so it may be something you want to try after your whole30 without any changes haha!
My don’t my green beans look HUGE in this picture haha?? Yay for odd camera angles!
  • Wednesday – Leftover night!
  • Thursday – 
    • Buffalo Chicken Sliders – Put 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts (3-4 breasts) in your crock pot with 1 cup original hot sauce  (I actually put a little less than this because 1 cup seemed to be overwhelming to me!) add 1 stalk celery diced, 2 medium carrots diced or shredded, 1 minced garlic clove. Stir contents of the crock pot and cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours. Once it is finished cooking, shred the chicken and add 2 tbsp of ghee (optional) and let it cook another 20-30 minutes.
    • If you click on the link, you will also see instructions for sweet potato sliders, which I had every intention of making! But then I realized that I used all of my sweet potatoes and already hashed them up for breakfast! So instead of the sliders, I just put my chicken on some spinach and added a little sweet potato hash to it, and topped it with Against All Grain Ranch dressing.
    • Ranch Dressing from Against All Grain – 1 cup mayo, 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, 2 garlic cloves crushed into a paste, 3 tbsp chopped parsley, 2 tbsp chopped chives, 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt – I think I might have actually left out the garlic, just kind of forgot to add it in, and I also used powdered spices just out of convenience. 
      • Whisk ingredients together, store in refrigerator 3-5 days

  • Friday
    • Steaks – Grab a couple of steaks at the store, chose your favorite cut! We put some melted ghee on these bad boys, sea salt and pepper, maybe some organic seasoning salt and then Jacob tossed them on the grill. YUM. Sorry Chick-fil-a cows, but I thoroughly enjoyed this tonight.
    • Mashed Sweet Potatoes – Really, these are truly some of my favorites… we eat sweet potato every day around here in some form! Heat 2-3 potatoes in the microwave after poking holes in them for 5-6 min, rotate them and do another 4-6 min, maybe more or less depending on the size. After they are soft, cut them open with a knife and let them cool for a few minutes, then scoop out the sweet potato. Add ghee, coconut oil and sea salt or other seasonings and stir! 
    • Grilled Asparagus – I cut off the ends of the asparagus to remove some of the harder part of the stem, brush olive oil over the asparagus and add sea salt, toss on grill for a few minutes and done! These cook much quicker than the steaks so you may want to do them towards the end so they don’t get cold waiting for their beefy counterpart!
    • Grilled Peaches – Such an easy little dessert that Erica and Randy told me about… Cut softer peaches in half and remove the pits, brush with ghee and grill or fry in a pan for a few minutes. Pretty tasty!
La Croix is a fun drink to add to meals! Sparkling water with some added flavor!
  • Saturday – So when you make plans to go hang out with friends, but then you have a horrible night with both boys and they are both crank and kind of sick that day… you stay home, pull out some frozen burgers and eat on the back porch. Because everyone knows that kids/babies are just plain happier outside. Finished grilling the asparagus, and topped those burgers with a fried egg, avocado and salsa again! Call me obsessed, I’m ok with that!
I love baby legs so much, especially the ones that prop their tiny feet on the dinner table. Probably the only time in life this is acceptable, right??
  • Sunday – Family Lunch at Jacob’s mom’s so no cooking here! She modified her brisket so we could stay whole30 but just using a rub with it. We also had salad and mashed potatoes and green beans so it worked out! Just another meal idea for you!
  • Monday
    • Shredded Chicken with Salsa Verde – Well this was the easiest thing I’ve ever made in my life… Put a few chicken breasts in your crock pot and pour a jar of salsa verde (check ingredients) on top. Cook 4-6 on high or 8-10 on low. Shred chicken and put on top of plantains or maybe some cali lime rice. I did plantains because we had some we needed to use and yeah I’m obsessed. Oops. You know this was a good meal because my labradoodle risked her life by finishing off my leftovers while I put Jude to bed. I came back in the living room and she was hiding in our playroom/office… so I knew she had done something haha… “Please mom, I just couldn’t help myself!!!” 
  • Tuesday – Drumroll please… Ta-Da! My LAST meal! (Insert cry face emoji here!)
    • Cauli-fried Rice – This was one of my favorites!!! I combined a few different recipes I found so I will list what I did. I feel like this is one of those things you can easily tailor to your preferences or what you have on hand that you need to use up.
      • Melt 2 tbsp of olive oil in skillet, add diced yellow onion and salt and pepper. Once the onions are translucent, add diced mushrooms (my new food for the week!) and then add ginger and stir. I used shrimp for my fried rice, so before I started I put the frozen small shrimp under water in a colander to defrost it and then added that to the onion and mushroom to start cooking. Add frozen peas and diced carrots to the shrimp. In another skillet, scramble 1-2 eggs and once your veggies and shrimp are cooked through, add the scrambled eggs. One recipe suggest frying a couple of strips of bacon and crumbling that into the “fried rice” so umm of course I did that because BACON. Take one bag of frozen cauliflower or one head of cauliflower and run it through your food processor or blender until it is the size of grains. Add the cauliflower rice to the skillet and season with 2 tbsp or more of coconut aminos and 1tsp of fish sauce. Cover skillet and let it cook for 5ish minutes until the cauliflower is steamed through. Top with chopped green onions and enjoy!
        • This would also be yummy with chicken or pork! 
    • Roasted Butternut Squash – How to cut up a butternut squash without losing a limb and How to peel and cut up a butternut squash – so one thing I have tried really hard to do is to try a new veggie, fruit or meat item each week. I had made a butternut quiche once before but hadn’t roasted it by itself, so I looked up a more efficient way to cut up these crazy things, then brushed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and rosemary and baked on 400 for 40 minutes, tossing in the middle around 20 minutes. I feel like this would also be good with coconut oil and cinnamon, or coconut oil and sea salt for more of a sweetened flavor. Mr. Jude loved it, he is a butternut squash fan for sure!

Well, that’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed following us through this food adventure (and reading through my super long posts haha) and that maybe we inspired you to make some positive changes yourself! Happy eating everyone! 🙂
Why I do anything that I do. Gotta keep up with these two.
Haha, actually I was a little sad it ended! So we kept going a little longer and will probably do it again later! 
If you missed my previous posts about our whole 30 experience, you can find them linked below.