Valentine’s Day is a great day for me, because it’s a day my husband makes me dinner or takes me out to somewhere I’ve been wanting to go, and I get seafood usually and order dessert and a cappuccino and don’t care. I love cooking for people, and I love making fancy dinners for my husband or for a group of friends, and Valentine’s Day is a great day to fancy it up and make something for your loved ones – and yourself. #SELFCARE am I right??

The photo about is a great dish for Valentine’s Day this year, since it’s on a weeknight – Lemon Mascarpone Pasta. As I type this to you, I am legit making that recipe right now. It’s fast. It’s delicious. It feels fancy, but it’s got lemon so it tastes fresh. It’s vegetarian, though you can add meat to it if you’re feelin’ it.

Another great easy dinner is Chicken Enchiladas. These are a little fancier than my go-to Chicken Quesadillas, and are great to feed a family or group. You can make them with whatever beans you like (I use black) or without; you can leave the chicken out and make ’em vegetarian. (Guys, these make AMAZING leftovers.)

Paleo? On a special diet for the moment or as a lifestyle? No problem. This Paleo Scallop Salad with delicious Raspberry-Walnut Dressing is paleo but still so delicious that you will not feel at all like you’re giving anything up. Something about seafood feels so fancy to me, and yet they’re so fast they are a cook’s best friend.

Italian Wedding Soup | Garlic, My Soul

Want to cook with your significant other or your family? Make this Italian Wedding Soup. You want someone to help you because the meatball making can take some time, but with four hands you’ll move fast. This soup is so delicious – guys, it’s meatball soup. You can’t go wrong. Make it with this Baked Herb Garlic Bread and your family will be impressed (and also probably ask you to make it again, but you’ll be happy too.)

One more dish to make that’s quick and easy – Tuna Puttanesca. Another seafood, another pasta. There’s something about cold nights that make me feel like eating spaghetti, don’t you think? Make this with Ana’s Kale Salad and your night is going to be successful, I know it.

Let’s not forget about dessert. These Blood Orange Lemon Bars are perfect for this time of year because all the citrus is in season. You can also make them with raspberry, or just with plain ole lemon. Or plain over orange! Whatever ya got.

This is one of my faves – Chocolate Cayenne Affogato. This is fast. Delicious. Fulfills my need for coffee and chocolate at the same time.

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake is also a winner. And, it double as breakfast for the whole week, because shouldn’t we celebrate making it to February? I think so.

I hope whatever your plan for Valentine’s Day, you eat something homemade and delicious!


Part of my Whole30 was finding good breakfasts, as I might have mentioned. So I would often have a smoothie – easy to make, easy to store, and easy for the ride into work! I like my smoothies a little earthy, but I figured I’d make this one a little sweeter because I know you folks love your fruit, too, right?

I liked this one because I could use apples that had smushy spots I wasn’t crazy about but still use them without them going to waste. You can also use them for Apple Bread if you’ve got the time, but I didn’t. Guys, I think I just don’t like eating apples out of hand. I have prided myself over the years as someone who doesn’t have many food aversions; I don’t like apple sauce, or cilantro, but that’s pretty much the bulk of it. But I just think I don’t like to eat an apple. There, I’ve said it. (Are we still friends??)

Don’t be like me and put the apple on the bottom. This will end with you stabbing at everything in your blender and stirring every few seconds and it will take extra time for no reason. Put your liquids + spinach in first, start with a good base, then add that apple in. Just trust me – the way I did it was a horrible mistake.

The recipe is below – note: I used teeny apples, so use just one if you have regular sized apples. You can use kale for this too, but I had spinach. Plus, it’s milder in flavor. Enjoy for breakfast or as a snack or a dessert even! (too far?)

Type: Breakfast, Smoothies, Snacks
Author: Jennie
Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium apple (or 2 small)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2-1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ice

Directions

  1. Dice your apples, slice your avocado, juice your lemon, grate your ginger.

  2. Add coconut milk, lemon juice, then spinach. Blend well.

  3. Add apple, avocado, and ginger, and blend to smooth. For a colder treat, add ice until desired texture and temperature. Enjoy!

Welcome to a cloudy & rainy month of February, folks. At least here in LA, the weather had been all about precipitation, not that we’re complaining – we need it. The cloudy weather might seem like a drag, but there’s a lot of good veg in season that’ll help you forget your winter blues.

Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Citrus
Collard Greens
Endive
Fennel
Kale
Kiwi
Leeks
Sweet Potatoes
Radish
Winter Squash

So let’s take a look at the best recipes for this month. Half of this post is Thanksgiving recipes that should be eaten ASAP. Why do we only eat so many things at Thanksgiving? What a waste. Let’s bring them back all winter long, y’all.

This Chicken Curry with Bok Choy and Broccoli is perfect for time of year. First of all, you can serve this over cauliflower rice or regular rice, but either way it’s chocked full of veggies and is a great replacement for Indian takeout that might be too fattening, heavy, and expensive, am I right? Sub whatever are your fave veggies from the list above, this is delicious no matter what.

These are Brussels Sprouts with Bacon on them. Also there is chard in there. A great savory side or even a main course (serve with baked potatoes??) We made these for Thanksgiving one year and haven’t looked back. Leave the bacon out if you’re a veg, it’s still a delight.

Hazelnuts. Lemon. Pasta. This vegetarian dish is a perfect quick dinner. Add all the spinach and voila! you’ve got everything you need in a meal – and don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is coming, this is a GREAT dish for that day 🙂

Garlic My Soul | Pear Fennel Stuffing

Why do we only eat stuffing like one day a year? This is such a waste! Stuffing is a great addition to any dinner, and the winter is long, y’all – why deny ourselves? This Pear and Fennel Stuffing is legit a meal in itself because it has sausage. It’s a great casserole (and you know I hate that word) and I intend to make it ASAP. The world is a new place – stuffing is now all-year, I’ve decided.


Well guys, my last day of Whole30 was Tuesday, January 31. The last 9 days were oscillating between easy and hard, mainly because of a lack of planning and a trip to Big Bear with friends. The trip with friends wasn’t too hard because my friends are super understanding and lovely and made sure I had enough to eat the whole time. I even made a few things (like the frittata below) I couldn’t eat, but didn’t feel the temptation to have anything that was out-of-bounds. BUT the ride home took forever and I realized how hard it can be to stay Whole30 on a road trip that’s supposed to take 2 hours but takes 8 – yikes!

Here’s what I finished out the Whole30 with:

Breakfast

Another week of Chia Seed Pudding & fruit. I also made a couple of green smoothies because why not, right? The weekend was perfect for fried eggs with salsa and avocado, of course. A couple of the last mornings I had a cashew Larabar (not the best for breakfast, but it was all I had!)

Lunch

I had leftovers for most of the rest of Whole30, except a few days I got salads from the salad bar near my work. Lots of chicken, veggies, and avocado and seeds.

Dinner

We found some really great recipes to try I wish we had early. For example, these Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders were just as good as any breaded chicken I’ve had – really! Also, this Taco Salad was EVERYTHING (especially that dressing, it is heavenly). We also had a few stir fries with great sauce (love Tandoori and Korma that was Whole30 approved!) and even had breakfast for dinner.

On the days I was REALLY craving comfort food I had those sweet potato fries with garlic dip again, and it really did the trick. Also, Ana made her Kale Salad but Whole30 compliant, and it was delicious – I topped it with chicken and didn’t feel bad at all when everyone else was eating tacos on our ski trip.

Eating Out

On Friday night when we were going out of town with friends, we went to Outback (we do this every year for this trip) and I have to say, it was one of the easier meals I had! I had steak, a sweet potato, and steamed broccoli, and it was delicious and filling. That was the only time I ate out this week which made it easier of course to stay the course.

Post-Whole30

The so-called “Tiger Blood” never came for me. I didn’t necessarily feel more energized, but I did feel good. I also lost 9 pounds. Now, I know this isn’t supposed to be about weight loss, but as someone who always had to starve herself to lose even 1 pound, it’s nice to know of a method that works. Plus, my clothes feel better and I don’t constantly find myself tugging at shirts, and pants. My belt buckles one loop tighter. All great signs of health.

I also had some stomach issues with this diet, probably due to my IBS. Maybe too much raw food. Maybe not the right balance – it is all still about balance and learning. Not having some bland foods (a la bread/rice) to help calm my system was probably healthier in some ways but not others for me. Know yourself. Be careful. Do what feels good.

Adding Things Back In

On February 1, I had some non-gluten grains: oats with breakfast, quinoa with my lunch salad, a few corn chips with dinner (ok a lot of corn chips guys.) The next day, I went back to Whole30, and I felt absolutely fine. Nothing major. So you guys, yesterday I felt enough was enough and I had Indian food with some naan and rice. And paneer. And I still feel absolutely fine today.

Today I had some hard cheese in a salad from Mendocino Farms. Still feeling good. Still drinking a lot of water, not snacking too much, and avoiding wasted calories (naan the exception.) But it was nice to go to a restaurant and not worry about what I was eating.

After my “I Do What I Want” bounce, I think I am going to try to eat Whole30 on the regular. A couple of days to reset my body. For two of the three meals of the day to keep everything in check. Reach for a piece of fruit or a veggies instead of chips. Olives instead of crackers. Garlic dip instead of cheese dip.

I haven’t introduced legumes or alcohol yet, or any dairy that’s not hard cheese – like milk or yogurt. I think I will bring things back slowly, but as long as I am feeling good and sleeping well, I am a happy camper.

I haven’t had the desire to eat anything too sweet (chocolate, candy, etc.) so I am going to try to avoid those kinds of foods for the longest. If it doesn’t serve me nutritionally, bye bye it goes. In this way, I’ll keep myself in a healthy spot longer.

I’m glad I did the Whole30 to know that I could. I am glad I learned more about all the hidden preservatives and sugar and crap that I was eating – especially because I considered myself pretty aware. I think it’s a good test for anyone who wants to really know what’s going into their bodies and figure out what’s right for you.

So what do you guys think? Will you try a Whole30? Have you done one and loved it? How’s your diet now?


February is here! For those of you in cold places, maybe the end is in sight for you? Here in LA, we’re hoping the rain slows down and the mudslides stop so that traffic can let up again.

February is a good month for a lot of reasons – lots of birthdays, a three-day weekend, it’s short, Groundhog’s day…you get the idea. As we get our fill of the winter veggies that are on their way out, we thought what better way to celebrate February than with one of our fave pairings, Brussels sprouts and bacon? Thanks to Siån for another awesome and adorable calendar!

Psst…here are some tablet versions too.