Friday, October 2, 2015

Clean Eating Challenge

I had planned to post every day of our clean eating challenge, but sometimes plans don't go, well, as planned.

But before you think I didn't actually complete the challenge, let me assure you that I did! I finished it - with the exception of a small cheat day the day of Reaghan's party with some cake - and I lost 6 pounds! I was pretty happy with that.

Doing the clean eating challenge definitely made me more aware of what was in some of the food I had been buying. I knew I wasn't going to be able to sustain the no sugar, no dairy, no carbs thing for the long haul - but I think it did what I had hoped. It gave me a push to stop buying pre-packaged seasonings and realized I don't need to load my oatmeal up with butter and sugar! Putting fresh fruit it is almost just as tasty. ; )

Now that its over, I'm still trying to limit sugar, drinking mostly water and making more "clean" foods to avoid processed ingredients that I can't pronounce. I mean, like I said, we're not giving up everything all together or never eating fast food again, but its the little , every day choices that make a difference right? : )

I made some pretty yummy meals for dinner so thought I'd share some of them here!

Taco's with Homemade Seasoning:

I was really excited to make the tacos. Mark ate his on tortilla's but I just made a taco salad. I really missed putting cheese and sour cream on , but some avocado's on top helped :) 
Here's the recipe I used:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Obviously no recipe here. But I ate eggs almost every morning for breakfast. I like eggs so I didn't mind. I tried to mix it up a little bit. Usually I would put cheese in my omelets or scrambled eggs but I learned that eggs are pretty good on the savory side as well by adding things like avocados, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and/or garlic powder. I've continue to to eat eggs this way and leave out the cheese since its just extra calories that I don't need.

Quinoa Garden Salad:

Recipe: (it also called for 2 teaspoons of sugar that I omitted). I actually took this to a work potluck and everyone really liked it!

  • 1 cup plain Quinoa
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Coconut Shrimp:

  • 2 lbs wild-caught shrimp (it takes a couple pounds to feed our large group)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
  • whites of 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
Mix the coconut shavings and chili powder together, dip the shrimp in the eggs and then coat with the coconut mixture. Cook the shrimp in a skillet in coconut oil and viola coconut shrimp! Alot of the coconut shavings did fall off but I just scooped them out and used as toppings.

Sweet Potato Fries:

Don't judge this picture! Haha this was my first time trying to make them and I totally scorched them! But I figured it out and it became one of my (and Reaghan's) favorite snack! 
Just slice the potatoes into fries, toss them in some olive oil and then bake them - at a low temp like 250 degrees so you don't burn them!

 Tuna Salad:

Lunch was always the hardest part for me. I like quick lunches, like a sandwich, and the clean eating challenge usually meant I had to do some chopping and assembling. But this tuna salad was filling and yummy, and another one that Reaghan really liked.
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 1/2 of avocado
  • 1 chopped boiled egg
  • Fresh salsa that had tomatoes, cilantro, chopped onions and peppers in it
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti:

Recipe: Honestly there really isn't a recipe. You can use whatever meat/sauce you like! I used canned organic crushed tomatoes with basil and then added a some garlic and onion. This was my first time making something like this and I actually really liked it. I cooked the whole spaghetti squash in the crockpot while I was at work and pre-made the ground beef and spaghetti sauce. When I got home I cut open the squash, forked out the flesh and threw it all together. 

Tuna Cakes:

  • – 2 cans good quality tuna
  • – 2 eggs
  • – 2 Tbsp almond flour
  • – 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • – 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • – 1 tsp mustard
  • – 1 tsp garlic powder
  • – 1 tsp onion powder
  • – 2 pinches cayenne powder
  • – salt and pepper to taste
  • – oil for cooking (I used coconut oil, which did give it a slightly coconut-y taste.) 
This recipe makes 4 tuna cakes. I didn't have any almond flour so I double the coconut flour and that made things a little dry. I much prefer almond flour to coconut flour! All you do is mix all the ingredients together, form them into cakes and then cook them in a skillet over medium heat. I topped it with fresh salsa and had some veggies on the side. :)

Chicken Quinoa:

One night we were super busy and out late so when I got home I just threw together some quinoa (it takes like 5 minutes to make) some chicken that had already been cooked and some halved cherry tomatoes. I sprinkled with salt, garlic and onion powder and it was a quick easy meal. I'm loving quinoa now!

 Veggie Soup:

This one is another no brainer really. You just start with around 28oz of vegetable broth and then 14oz of crushed tomatoes - not drained. Bring that to a boil and then once it boils turn it down to a simmer and add in fresh or frozen veggies and allow it to simmer for a good 30-40 minutes. Season with garlic, thyme, pepper, and parsley to taste.

One thing I really missed during the challenge was something sweet at night. To help fight off temptations I looked up some yummy sweets.

Coconut Banana Ice Cream:

Recipe: 2 frozen banana's, about 1/4 cup of canned coconut milk. Put in the blender and mix! I put in a little too much coconut milk so I had to add in some frozen strawberries to thicken it up again and it was a great choice! haha I loved this stuff. SO GOOD. 

Paleo Apple Crumble:

  • 6 medium size apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 35o degrees and lightly grease a pie pan with cooking spray.
Whisk together the honey and vanilla extract in a bowl with the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the flour and whisk until smooth and combined.
Cut in the coconut oil and stir with a fork until it forms a crumbled mixture.  Spread the apples in the bottom of the pie pan and top with the crumbled mixture.
Cover with foil then bake for about 45 minutes until the apples are tender.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Most of these recipes can be found on my Pinterest Board "Clean Eats" if you want to see the original creators and more details! 

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