My Favorite Whole30 Recipes (and a few I only tolerated)

One thing that I wanted to do during my most recent Whole30 was cook a lot, and cook GOOD food. In previous rounds I ate pretty ok food… but it was never anything that I LOVED and honestly it felt very boring. My food was very boring. And I did NOT want to do that again. So I told myself that I could only make new-to-me recipes this go-round and it turned out so well!! I ended up eating SUCH GOOD FOOD for the most part and I feel like I really expanded my skills in the kitchen, too!

I kept a detailed list of all the food I made during the Whole30 process (and included my own notes along the way!) and I wanted to share the ones I really loved, ones I liked and would still make again, and the ones that I’m glad I tried but just kind of tolerated. It can be so daunting to plan for a Whole30 and try to think about what you’re going to make and eat, and hopefully this list can help inspire you to do some more cooking during your next round!

Chicken Alfredo Bake

This was the first meal I made and it was… not my favorite. I don’t know if it was because it was my first few days doing Whole30 or because I’m not the biggest fan of zoodles or because I was wanting a creamy alfredo sauce and instead made “alfredo” sauce out of cauliflower… whatever the reason, I chose not to repeat this recipe. If I do try to make it again, I’ll definitely wait till I’m toward the end of the 30 days and my taste buds are more used to healthier flavors.

Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers

These were so good! I loved eating them with some homemade guacamole. Mine weren’t all consistent in size and I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken because that’s what my grocery store had, but they still tasted great.

Chicken Salad

I love love LOVE a good chicken salad, and I’m so glad I still got to eat it while doing Whole30. I actually made this twice, one time using store-bought compliant mayo, and another time having made my own… and both tasted great! I love taking a big scoop of chicken salad and eating it on a bed of lettuce – so good!

Turkey Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This was really good, BUT it says that it’s a 20-minute meal and I swear I was cooking mine for at least 45 minutes. I also maimed the sweet potato shells and ruined those, so I ended up just mixing up the sweet potato innards with the filling and it was very good!

Spice Crusted Steak

This was so delicious. It was what I made for a “yay I’m halfway done!” meal and I wish I had made 20 servings instead of just 4!

Orange Chicken

Ok. This orange chicken. It ended up being a lot more effort than I originally expected (you know, more effort than picking up the phone and ordering orange chicken from down the street, lol) but it was REALLY delicious! The directions on the website seemed to lack a few details, but I made this a second time and it went a lot faster and smoother after having made it before.

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Very spicy but very delicious! I only bought two peppers but used the entire filling recipe, and so I had 4 very large servings. I cut up the peppers before re-heating to eat and made them bite size chunks… and realistically I probably could have split into 6 servings and still been really satisfied.

Waldorf Tuna Salad

This was way better than I thought! The fact that it used tuna kind of weirded me out at first for some reason, but I’m really glad I made it and tried it. It made 3 really large servings, and next time I’ll probably split it up into 4.

Beef with Broccoli

This recipe was just ok to me. I feel like most people would like it, though! I don’t think I was in the mood for eating beef and so I didn’t really enjoy it. I might try to make it again during my next Whole30 and see if I like it any better.

Turkey Taco Meatballs

I didn’t make any notes about these, so I guess that means they were just fine! They’d be great for a party if you needed to make little bites to share. I bought the chipotle mayo from Whole Foods and those flavors went really well together!

BBQ Burgers

This recipe calls for bison, but I used regular ol’ ground beef and they tasted really good. I also couldn’t find the Tessamae’s brand bbq sauce at the store, so I bought a different Whole30 compliant bbq sauce. Just full disclosure. Also just go ahead and buy the bbq sauce. I’ve tried to make my own in the past and it did NOT turn out well! Not good!

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Everybody loves a good sweet potato fry! These always take longer to bake than I anticipate… and part of that might be because my oven is kind of slowly dying and the heat is never consistent… but… that’s ok! They still came out delicious and made my lunches so much better!

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10 Tips and Tricks to Complete and ENJOY Your Next Whole30!

You guys! I did it! I’m done! I completed another round of Whole30!! I started this year wanting to commit to 30 days of eating healthy foods and eating food that would fuel my body (tho Whole30 does take it a bit far at times…) and I ended up going for 52 days!!! So would I call that a Whole52? Sure! Why not?!? I was just feeling so great after the first 30 days that I decided to be a crazy person and just keep going. So I did.

But why did I stop at such a random number? Did I just fall off the wagon or make a mistake or get sick of not eating dairy? Nope- it just worked out that way with my schedule. I’m currently at my company’s annual user conference where ALL our meals are provided, which is great on the budget, but less great when trying to control what foods you do and don’t eat. So I stopped at 52 days and I feel great about it!

This was without a doubt my MOST SUCCESSFUL round of Whole30 EVER. I’ve completed two before (you can read about my first one here!) but I didn’t super enjoy the process and the “during” for them. But I wanted this one to be different. I wanted to LOVE the “during” and thankfully this time, I honestly did. I feel like there were a few key things I did this go-round that made it wildly successful, and I wanted to share them so YOU can have your best Whole30 ever, too!

1 | Plan, plan, plan. When you think that you’ve planned enough, go ahead and plan some more. Having everything mapped out BEFORE I started was probably the main reason that I was able to complete it without going crazy. I planned out my meals FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH from the very beginning which does sound a bit intense, yes, but knowing what I’d be eating and what groceries I’d need to get and what days I’d need to shop and what days I needed to cook helped me stay on top of things without making last-minute 10pm trips to the grocery store because oops, I have nothing to eat for the next day.

2 | Mentally prepare for all the cooking. Maybe you’re already used to cooking every day, but if you’re not, you need to mentally prepare for spending a LOT more time in the kitchen. I thought I cooked a lot before, but during Whole30 I REALLY cook a lot. There’s no “I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll just grab Chick-Fil-A” option here! Create an environment where you ENJOY cooking and this will become something you start looking forward to. I listen to podcasts while cooking and it really helps the time fly by!

3 | Buy what you need to and don’t feel bad about it. Whole30 is super popular now, which means that there are a lot of products that you can buy instead of make yourself. And that can be SO helpful. There are some things that I do make myself (like mayonnaise) but there are other things that I’ve learned I’d rather spend a little more money and just purchase (like sugar-free ketchup and bbq sauce). Trust me, I’ve tried making my own Whole30 bbq sauce and it did NOT go well! I’ll have another post about my favorite Whole30 products in a few days, so stay tuned for that!

4 | Know your restaurant options ahead of time. Which pretty much means don’t eat at restaurants unless you can 100% guarantee that they cook things in a Whole30 compliant way. Which is so hard. Unless you’re going somewhere like Snap Kitchen that specifies which meals are included in Whole30!

5 | Keep your “why” in mind constantly. Most likely, there’s a reason why you wanted to do a Whole30 in the first place. Maybe you wanted to lose some holiday pounds. Maybe you have a dress you really want to have fit a little better. Maybe you are having stomach issues that you want to try and figure out. Maybe you just want to see if you can commit to something for an entire month. Whatever it is, keep your “why” in mind ALWAYS. Remembering why you decided to do this will help the days pass by quickly and get you excited to make it to the end.

6 | Keep track of recipes you loved. I’ve been keeping a DETAILED list (does that surprise you, tho?!? You know I love a good list!) of all the meals I’ve had during this Whole30 and I’ve been making notes like “took twice as long to cook” or “this actually makes 6 servings not 4.” It’s been helpful to know what recipes I enjoyed so I can make them again – and I’ve repeated a few of them already!

7 | Don’t get burned out on eggs too early. During my first Whole30, I was lost when it came to breakfast. I couldn’t wrap my head around eating broccoli and ground beef or leftovers so early in the morning, and I just assumed I’d have omelettes or scrambled eggs every morning. Which is what I did. And after about 9 days, I great SO TIRED of eggs and couldn’t stand to see them anymore (and I didn’t eat eggs for probably 4 months after that!) So don’t overdo it with the eggs.

8 | Listen to your body. It can be easy to feel like you have to stick to certain rules while doing a Whole30 – if you’re going to be strict about one area of your life, it can be easy to get strict about other areas, too. But seriously, listen to your body and do what you need to do. If you’re still starving after your planned meal, have a little snack. If you’re feeling stuffed after eating only half your meal, evaluate and maybe save the rest for later in the day. If you think you should skip the gym and get caught up on sleep instead, then by all means SKIP THE GYM AND SLEEP. This is a strange 30 days where your body is very confused, so just try to take care of yourself and listen to what your body needs. (Unless your body says it needs chocolate. You can ignore that.)

9 | Ease back into working out. Speaking of skipping the gym… as a general rule, I don’t workout for the first 2 weeks of a Whole30. If you feel up for it, then go ahead, but just maybe take it easy. Your body is going through a lot and trying to get used to the sudden lack of bread and sugar and things and I just like to give myself some time to get used to the new “normal” before going back to the gym. You do you, but again, listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard at the beginning.

10 | Keep track of little wins. This right here is what really kept me going and kept me excited during this round. Some of the little wins that I noticed were: I fell asleep SO FAST! Like, crazy fast. My pants fit a lot better (and a pair of workout leggings are now “too big”) which is always nice. I’m so much less bloated all the time. I haven’t had as many breakouts over the last 6 weeks. My willpower has gotten stronger. And more!


There you have it – my top 10 tips and tricks to help you complete and enjoy your next Whole30! I enjoyed this round so much that I’m already planning on doing it again in a few months!

Have you been curious about trying the Whole30? Do you have any questions you’ve been dying to ask before you give it a try? If you have completed a Whole30, let me know what YOUR best tips and tricks are!

Five for Friday #48

Hello and happy Friday, friends! I’m so excited for this weekend because not only do I have a lot of fun things planned, but it’s by BIRTHDAY on Sunday!! And yes, I do have to work at a company user conference that starts Sunday afternoon, but I’ll still get to do lots of celebrating! As for the rest of the weekend, I have a ton on my plate. I’m getting a much needed haircut this evening, doing Zumba tomorrow morning (I’ve been going to Zumba a lot lately and I’m a little bit obsessed!), seeing the musical Anastasia tomorrow afternoon, and then going to church on Sunday before packing up and heading to the hotel for the conference! We have a bit of set up time before everything officially kicks off, and I plan on bringing in some birthday treats to share with my team as we get everything ready.

one || I am officialy obsessed with this J.Crew Factory skirt. I have multiple sidewalk skirts, but this one is SCALLOPED!!! Perfection! I’m trying to do as little shopping as possible this year but I can guarantee that this will be mine the second it goes on sale.

two || This movie looks like it will be really good! I don’t usually see movies in the theater (mainly because it’s so expensive now but also because people at the movie theater are generally pretty annoying), but I might end up seeing this one.

three || I mentioned that I’m getting my haircut this evening, and these popular 2019 hairstyles are giving me all sorts of inspiration! I have always been a fan of long layers…

four || Proud deatheater over here. You can’t just watch the movies and then have complaints about the story because most of those complaints are addressed in the books ok just read them! Or listen to them on Audible (which I’m currently doing right now!)

five || I’m not generally a HUGE lemon fan, but this Starbucks copycat lemon loaf is making my mouth water! It might be the icing. That icing looks REAL good. I’m almost done with my Whole30 stint (more on that next week!) and I might have to make this as a little post-birthday treat to bring into work!

That’s all for me – I hope you all have a great weekend and have a little birthday treat for me!

2019 Book Bingo

A few years ago I created a reading bingo board to keep track of the books that I read that year, and while there really wasn’t a point to doing it, I REALLY enjoyed it! I made a resolution for 2019 to read 25 books throughout the year, and that is just the perfect number of books to go on yet another reading bingo board. I had a lot of fun thinking about what to put in each square and then trying to find what books I might get to read throughout the rest of the year.

Seeing as we’re halfway through February, I’ve already read a few books and marked off a few squares! Here are the books I’ve read so far in 2019:

For a book written by a celebrity I read The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide. I have no interest in changing careers and moving to New York of Los Angeles to try and make it as an actor (tho 9-year-old Kelly really wishes I would!) but I love Jenna Fisher and it was fascinating to read about how she got started in Hollywood and just how much work, time, effort, and rejection goes into making a living as a performer. She did a great job giving out practical advice and sharing her wins and failures over the years.

For a book that was made into a movie, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I had a lot of friends that read this recently and so I thought I’d give it a go. It was… fine. One person in particular told me multiple times how this book was their all time favorite and the best book they read all year which REALLY made me build it up in my head. And ultimately it did not live up to my internal hype. It was a lovely story, yes, but I was just expecting… more? Yeah. I still want to watch the movie and see what is different and who knows, maybe I’ll like the movie better than the book!

For a book club pick I read The Last Mrs. Parrish. This was recently on Reese Witherspoon’s book club list, and I was in the mood for a story that might make my heart beat a little bit faster, and this one certainly got me amped up and feeling VERY anxious. It’s told kind of in two parts with one narrator in the beginning and a second narrator filling in the gaps in the second half of the book, and I love when books do that. It reminded me of Gone Girl a lot, how you read the first half and think you know everything, but then you switch narrators and you’re like OH OK I KNEW NOTHING. This book definitely made me think that every man is definitely a sociopath, and if you have any sort of abuse or trauma in your past romantic relationships, maybe skip this one. I was fine with it but I can see how it could be a little triggering for some people. I straight up told a friend “you should never read this book,” so just keep that in mind.

Just like with my 2019 resolutions, I created a page for my 2019 book bingo! You can click on the link at the top of my page and check in to see what books I’ve read and how far I’ve gotten with filling in my bingo card!

Recent Reads

Oh man do I have a lot of books to catch you all up on! I read a LOT over the past few months and honestly liked most of what I read! I feel like I’m at an age now where I’m 100% ok abandoning a book if I am not enjoying it. I even gave up on a few books and returned them to the library, which is something I would NEVER have done a few years ago! Of course I try to give a book a good chance, but sometimes you just have to let things go. I’m too busy to read bad books, and I love that feeling. So let’s dive in, shall we?

She Reads Truth

I had this one sitting on my shelf for longer than I’d like to admit, and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. The two authors (from the very popular She Reads Truth website and app, if you hadn’t made that connection yet!) share different stories from their lives and showed how no matter what the circumstance, God was always there with them and His word was always constant and a source of truth. “Sometimes it takes everything moving to notice the thing that doesn’t move. Sometimes it takes telling two very different stories to notice how the Truth was exactly the same in both of them.” I really enjoyed reading this and yes, it DID make me tear up while reading it on an airplane, but I highly recommend it!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

This book had SO MUCH BUZZ and I felt like everyone had already read it, so obviously I had to read it, too! It’s about a young woman who struggles to fit in socially and isn’t really considered “normal” but she is completely fine with the way she lives her life. But then she meets a new friend at work and he brings her into his life and world and together she starts to repair what she didn’t even realize had been damaged. I did like this book… but also this book was kind of… a downer? It made me feel…. happy sad. So I liked it, but it also took a lot out of me to read it. So I recommend it, but also you have to be feeling pretty happy when you read it or else man it will not be a fun time! It’s going to be made into a movie that comes out next year, so you still have some time to read it before you see it!

The Lies We Told

I was in the mood to read a thriller, and was so excited when I found this one at the library. It follows a few different story lines and leads to the point where they all intersect and oooooooh it gets intense! I seriously couldn’t put this down and stayed up WAY too late reading because I just had to know what happened!!! There are mysteries, family secrets, people acting suspicious all over the place, people getting kidnapped, and more. I did see some of the “plot twists” coming, but there were enough things that honestly surprised me and I love when a book can just throw a twist at you like that!

The Kennedy Debutante

This was the very best kind of historical fiction! I seriously loved this one SO MUCH! I knew pretty much nothing about Kick Kennedy (JFK’s little sister) and now I know so much! This story focuses on her time living with her family in London and how she met the love of her life and eventual husband, Billy. It gave an interesting insight to real events and let me daydream along with Kick as she sauntered through London society before and during the war. It just made me really happy while reading it and sent me down a long Wikipedia path looking up all the people, places, and events that were talked about in the book!

The Wondering Years

One of my all time favorite podcasts is The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, and one of the hosts wrote a book! He is HILARIOUS on the podcast, and I knew before I even started this book that it would be hilarious and amazing, and guess what? I was right. He shares how he’s always had a love for pop culture and how those tv shows, movies, songs, and more helped him on his journey to learning more about God as he was growing up. I listened to this as an audiobook (because I’m so used to listening to Knox talk, anyway) and it was a good, short listen! Definitely read this book if you like celebrity memoirs but are up for reading one that isn’t written by a celebrity and it contains hilarious stories with a good overarching message!

A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out

While I didn’t hate this book, it honestly wasn’t my favorite one of the bunch. I might even say it was my least favorite of this bunch. Not the worst book I’ve ever read, but certainly not the best. This story follows Casey, who works at an ad agency, and basically is becoming a sellout. She is rising in her career but becoming a terrible person in the process, and then OH NO everything falls apart and she is left at rock bottom. She slowly starts to rebuild her life and finds out that being genuine is the way to go. It had a good ending, but honestly you can probably skip this one.

And now we’re all caught up from 2018! Have you read any of these before, or have any of them been siting in your TBR pile forever?