Pantry Raid Time!

Did you have to do a dbl take on that one? Were you already having Animal House flashbacks? Me too. As promised in last week’s Refrigerator Raider post we take a few steps over to my and MMG’s cabinet to check out what we consider must-have healthy eating set up for success make it easy as possible to make what we eat items.

1. Ah yes, the humble sweet potato. We love you as a side with shaved brussels, sliced as coins with lots of spices, shredded at the bottom of a breakfast casserole and really any other way they come. Also in here, onions (used in almost everything-I like to put a few in the food processor to have ready to throw into anything and everything). And of COURSE garlic. As much as possible as frequently as possible.

2. Sea Salt. Really good salt minimally processed.

3. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil & red wine vinegar. Put a few of these together with salt, pepper (not pictured but very necessary) and some honey and you’ve got a delicious salad dressing.

4. Dates. These are chopped, which just saves a step for such things like homemade lara bars, chocolate paleo balls and paleo turtles. Not pictured is the 100% Dark Chocolate Ghiradelli bar I like to have on hand for these same recipes.

5. Coconut oil. I use this for high heat cooking in place of canola oil.

6. Coconut milk. You HAVE to read the ingredients! This one has nothin’ but coconut extract and water. I use this to make things creamy and in place of milk in baking.

7. Salsa! Again, watch what’s on the ingredient list. After all, the nutrition label and ingredient list is like the side of a medicine bottle, it’s telling you what it is going to do to your body!

8. Plantain Chips. We love these. These are flavored with garlic and salt and are from Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market and are crazy good. I bring these to Mexican restaurants to eat instead of corn chips.

9. Spices, spices, spices. I’ve got a lot of them and use ‘um up!

10. This is a homemade taco seasoning I made and use every time something calls for a little Latin flavor. ¡olé!

11. Honey. Let’s be clear, this is sugar. Don’t kid yourself. Use it sparingly and ideally it will be local.

12. Coffee. Needs no explanation, right?

Source: Decatur – Food


Refrigerator Raider

1. Almond butter! I get it fresh ground from the Farmer’s Market. There’s also some sunflower seed butter that I usually use for THIS recipe. They’re also some raw nuts and seeds. I always keep mine refrigerated.

2. Portioned out fruit salad for tomorrow’s lunch!

3. I make 2 casseroles a week that we eat for lunches and sometimes dinners. This week it’s an enchilada casserole with bison the second is one I could eat every day. I mean, it calls for an entire package of bacon, need I say more?

4. Chicken salad. Light on the mayo, salt and pepper, golden raisins and curry. You’re also seeing a little bit of leftover Brussels sprouts.

5. Defrosting salmon. When you eat casserole for lunch you’re not always keen for it for dinner. Fish is so easy and fast that it’s a regular meal at our place. This is a recipe I’ve made for salmon (switched out sugar for some cinnamon) and we love an almond meal encrusted tilapia. Sides? Usually shaved Brussels or broccoli.

6. The 3rd casserole is always something for breakfast. This week it was spicy turkey with onion and egg just cooked in a glass pie pan. The other most popular at the Gilbert-Ross is THIS one with sweet potato.

7. I make a green salad every week. Arugula or kale. For the kale I make a dressing that is equal parts olive oil, red wine vinegar, & honey. Then some salt & pepper. Whisk it together then dress the salad making sure it’s well covered & let the salad rest for at least 20 min. I add blueberries & avocado. THIS is also a great one with red cabbage I’ve made.

8. Hard boiled eggs. They’re already peeled and great for snacks and a quick protein boost. I put them in cold water and get it to a rolling active boil then turn off the burner and let them sit and continue to cook-from cold to sitting about 15 min. Then after about 10 min I put them in a bath of ice water and start peeling.

9. Fruit salad. I make it on Sundays and spoon it out for lunches. This one is grapes, strawberries, blueberries & some peaches.

Now a peek in my drawers. . . .

1. Carrot chips are always in here. Love to use them for dips/guacamole. Veggie sides also live in here. Grilled asparagus is always a winner.

2. In here? Fuji apples-I typically eat 2 a day.

3. In here is mostly bacon. Usually, I’ve already used the bison, ground chicken/turkey & chicken breasts in the above recipes. Melissa also gets some grass fed beef that she makes sliders for an additional lunch option. I ALWAYS make my chicken breasts in the crock pot. I throw it in there, cover with water and put it on low for 8 hours. BUT I usually take it out early after checking with meat the thermometer.

Have any pals needing a jump start to eating healthy? Share this post on FB or email it their way!

Source: Decatur – Food


It takes work, but not as much as you think.

If you remember in and it is work but friends, it’s not as much work as you let yourself believe eating healthy is. And you’re right, I don’t have kids and kids do take up a helluva lot of time (#understatementoftheyear) but I know people who prep like this who do have kids, I know people who do even more by making more of their family’s food from scratch. And above all else I know that there is always someone out there just as busy as you getting it done. That’s some real talk a that I have to turn on myself sometimes. Everyone has excuses as why to not do something. I’m just saying it might be time to really look at it and ask yourself if it’s as much as you think it is. SO, here’s what I do:

Sunday 9AM I go to the farmer’s market with my list separated into sections. I have our staple items listed as well as what we need for the 3 casseroles/soups I’ll make that week. 1 breakfast 2 for lunches & sometimes dinners too.

Example typical G-R list: grapes, apples, strawberries, almond butter, coconut milk, nuts, plantain chips, arugula, sweet potatoes, onions, carrot chips, yellow squash, zucchini, ground chicken sausage, 1 chicken breast, 1lb bison or second chicken breast, bacon, eggs.

I get home by 10:15 and start cooking. I make the breakfast casserole and one other. The regular breakfast casserole at the Gilbert-Ross household is this Sweet Potato & Sausage one. Other popular ones: Enchilada Casserole, Caveboy Casserole, Pizza Casserole, Chipotle Chicken Casserole, Crockpot Chicken Curry (I add yellow squash), Crockpot Pork Tenderloin or just zoodles & meat sauce. At this point I either chop extra onions (I do this in the food processor) for the second casserole next week or I get the crockpot ready for the Chicken Curry – I set it to cook overnight. I also hard boil some eggs, by that I mean I put some eggs in a pot of water and turn on the stove. All this takes (including clean up) about 1.5 hours. Later in the week -Wednesdayish- I make the second casserole and we have it for dinner that night and eat it for lunches Thurs/Friday. That’s it. That’s a weeks worth of breakfast & lunches for 2 people. For dinners we’ll often have fish or a protein cooked in the crockpot or have a night out. I will even cook the chicken I need for a casserole recipe in the crockpot-to me it’s the best and-obviously-easiest way to cook meat. Chicken comes out moist and shreds easily.

A typical packed lunch/food for the day for me: 2 apples, 2 hb eggs, casserole, small curry serving (this isn’t always eaten but there if I need more fuel!), carrot chips + almond butter or guacamole, mixed cut fresh fruit.

Is it time consuming-yes if you’re looking just at Sunday but in terms of a whole week, no way josé. Time for some REAL TALK: you have the time, its not that big of a deal, use this as an opportunity to work on your suck it up muscle. Plus, when you start doing it you like it-or at least like the connivence of having it all ready to go all week.

Source: Decatur – Food


Nom, nom, nom

When you really think about nutrition and diet it can be very simple. I mean, if you aren’t an actual human that has a food history that sometimes involves eating for reasons that are not hunger/fuel related (boredom, stress, celebration, depression etc.) it’s simple. You eat stuff you recognize and comes from the ground and not a lab and you eat when your body tells you you need to and you honor and respect that and never eat any more or less. Well, in case you and your hunger/eating habits are less black and white than that let me help you with a way to keep yourself in check. Portions. If you are able to keep around what you’re supposed to need for your body it will facilitate you knowing if you’re actually hungry or if you’re just upset about the last episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Look at your hand. Your beautiful hand with those 4 fingers and a thumb -I feel like it’s worth giving the thumb it’s own place being that it distinguishes us from other mammals. So look at your palm, you know the area that’s the main event for all those amazing high fives you’ve been throwing at camp-that is the size your protein should be. Your chicken, your bison, your fish, your pork whateva beasts you eat the right portion is your palm.

Next up, fist pumping. Make a fist like you’re at a Journey concert singing every lyric to Don’t Stop Believin’ that’s your carb portion. If losing inches is a part of your goals you may want to take that down to half a fist. That includes fruit, sweet potatoes, rice etc.

But what about all that creamy or balsamic goodness that is salad dressing? Let’ go on back to thumbkin and take a long hard look and be sure to do the “who’s got two thumbs and a love of olive oil? this girl!” joke. Your thumb is about 2 TBS and the perfect size for oils, and dressings.

Finally, take your hands palm up and put them together like you’re going to scoop up water – now fill that up with veggies. That’s right, put a bunch of leafy greens and cherry tomatoes up in there. Eat it all and enjoy every vitamin, anti-inflammatory filled bite of it.

Try it for a day-eat the portions as prescribed by your hand and see where you’re at. Were you hungry, satisfied? Were you eating more than that previously? Holla in the comments below and let me know!

Source: Decatur – Food


How a Sunday casserole will keep the peace in your home.

Monday and Tuesday nights are a little cray around the Warren Street Lounge aka our house. They are both my and the Mrs.’s long days where we get home later and therefore neither of us want to cook, prepare, or do anything. However, we are also budget conscious and like to use our eat out dollars on places we really want to go-not just lazy pizza orders. So what did I do to keep the peace and no longer have Mon & Tues nights be Annoyance Fest 2013? WELL, I stumbled upon something, dear reader, you may have never heard of: preparing a casserole on SUNDAY! I know, I know I just blew your mind.

So, if there’s a day of the week that preparing a meal is just not going to happen try this Taco Time Casserole I found on Plus I’ve included my easy shortcuts that make it so easy to do. AND you can get lots of these frozen so you can have them ready to go anytime-in case you don’t feel like shopping on Sunday either.


  • ground beef – 2 pounds, divided * I use shredded chicken
  • onion – 1 small, peeled and diced *did you know the sell them chopped up frozen?
  • green pepper – 1, cored and diced * I also have been known to get these from the TJ’s frozen section.
  • garlic cloves – 2, minced *again, you can get these frozen
  • diced tomatoes – 1 14.5-ounce can
  • butternut squash – 1 small *TJ’s sells these cubed, I use ‘um that way
  • green onions – 2, chopped
  • black olives – 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Taco Seasoning Mix
  • chili powder – 2 Tbsp
  • ground cumin – 2 Tbsp
  • onion powder – 2 Tbsp
  • oregano – 4 tsp
  • paprika – 2 tsp
  • sea salt – 2 tsp
  • warm water – 2 cups
  • Optional Toppings
  • avocado – 1, mashed
  • sour cream

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all seasoning mix dry ingredients. Add warm water and use a whisk to combine.
  • While meat cooks, cut onion, pepper, and garlic.
  • Warm another skillet over medium heat and saute vegetables for about 10 minutes or until onion becomes translucent. Add tomatoes and their juices and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Peel squash, remove seeds, and cut into large chunks. Shred in a food processor or using a hand shredder. *again, I just leave them cubed
  • When meat is just cooked through, pour seasoning mix over meat and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Layer 1 to 1 1/2 pounds seasoned beef in the bottom of a casserole dish. NOTE: I reserved about 1/2-3/4 pound of the ground beef for my kids. You can either reserve some or add it all in and have more leftovers.
  • Top with vegetable mixture, then shredded squash.
  • Cook for 45 minutes or until squash is browned and tender.
  • Sprinkle green onions and black olives on top.
  • To serve, scoop out portions of the casserole and place it in shallow bowls. Serve with mashed avocado and sour cream, if desired.

We may or may not have also thrown in some tortilla chips on the side. Do you have a go-to casserole? Holla back on Facebook!

Source: Decatur – Food


These things will change your life.

Really. No REALLY I’m going to tell you about some of the most awesome things you’ve ever heard of. I promise I’m not overselling. Below are my faves. These are the things that if we ran into each other at a party or anywhere I would HAVE to tell you about.

Dude, figuring out what to eat has gotten so much easier because of….

and include the shopping list. Everything we’ve had has been delicious and the stir-fry sauce is amazeballs. Oh and cajun tilapia with cilantro butter? Please and thank you. They’ve also got an app so you’ll always have your shopping list. Could it get any easier? You’re right, it could.

You could completely skip the cooking part and hit up PreMade Paleo. They make healthy, delicious, meals that they cook, shrink wrap and freeze. You throw them in boiling water and then eat that crazy good for you & you didn’t have to do nothin’ goodness. I also love that they have a New Family Pack. It’s made for people who just had a babe but why not order it if you know you’ve got a deadline coming up and are going to be stressed? I recommend everyone getting some sort of meal pack from these guys to throw in their freezer for those times when you didn’t plan and are tired and just want to eat not prepare.

Check out my booty in these . . .

Lululemon capris. Not the see through ones. Or maybe the see through ones if you’re doing some “indoor workouts.” Whoah! I digress, the wunder under crops are are expensive but they’re also awesome. Every time I admire someone else’s tuckus they are 9 times out of 10 wearing these. They feel great and wear really well. I’ve had mine for 3 years and you’d think they’re brand new.

And since we’re on the subject of apparel I have to tell you about Sweaty Bands. They’re headbands that stay in place, are totes cute and won’t give you a headache. My favorite one is the one with the OBC logo all over it. Obvy. They have loads of styles and widths. Especially as someone who wears a uniform regularly I love to use these to add some more color and personality. Riiiiight, cause I need more personality.

Oh and you won’t see me at camp without my Balega socks and Asics sneakers. I’ve been wearing the same asics shoe model for 7 years. I was fitted and haven’t looked back. And those balega hidden comfort socks rock my world. They NEVER do that annoying, distracting and infuriating slipping off the heel and working its way off your foot. Oh and blisters don’t exist in these things.

Argh! I need some extra motivation to move . . .

My fitbit. This thing is about the size of your thumb and tells you your steps, estimated calories burned, floors climbed and mileage. It also comes with a little wrist wrap that you use at night to track how restless or sound your sleep is. I started using a fitbit when I was trying to get a more accurate picture of my activity level. It

syncs with myfitnesspal which is a nice feature. My favorite part? When I’m near my laptop it automatically syncs and the fitbit dashboard. When I’ve used food logging apps and sites I don’t feel motivated or positive. There’s a lot of red text. The fitbit dashboard is awesome. It’s very visually pleasing and when I’ve reached my goals each circle that holds my goal number turns into a smiley face and a speech bubble comes out that says “hooray!” This motivates me and makes me happy. I’ll work for those happy hoorays. And I’ve completely personified it because of the little greetings it displays.

You need to feel better and stay healthy….

Operation Boot Camp. Obvious, I know but it’s true. When we take those weeks off I am gruuuuummmmpy. I need the early morning routine, the high fives and endorphins from running around with all my favorite people. I never liked running. I’m still not in love with it. I’m in love with how convenient it is. That I get to do it outside. I love the connection it creates between me and bod. Operation Boot Camp gave that to me.

What is your have to have service or product right now? Tell me on facebook!

Source: Decatur – Food


Salad is like plant nachos.

You haven’t gone to the store this week. You are too tired to stop by on the way home. You’re trying to eat healthier/save money/practice for your shot at top chef so you’re determined to cook. What do you do?

Relax, Jack and rest your bwain. Try one of these and don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients just make it work with what you got!

Tuna Salad over any greens you have (spinach, arugula, iceberg etc.) or served over tomato slices or avocado. Mmmmm avocado.

Orzo salad with olives, tomato (or sun dried tomatoes) and basil.

Thrown Together Cobb Salad– chicken breast chopped, hard boiled egg, bacon, tomatoes, cheese and drizzle with a little olive oil.

from suppers @ sunset

So easy Mexican Chicken Soup-chopped chicken breast, salsa, canned tomatoes, chicken broth.

Stir Fry sauce with beef, shrimp (frozen?), any veg you like over rice or noodles. 1/4 c soy sauce, 1TBS fish sauce, 1TBS hot chile sauce, 1 TBS cornstarch. Whisk together then add to cooked protein until thick.

Who you callin’ a jerk? Tilapia-grab some fish out yo’ freezer and rub some olive oil and jerk seasoning all ova it. Bake in 400˚ oven for 15 minutes. Make your dreams come true by putting a little cilantro budda on it when it comes out the oven.

And generally, shrimp sauteed with some spice mix (cajun, jerk) over anything.

Now get cookin’ so you can take a picture of it and brag on facebook or ya instagram. And while you’re waiting for all that to simmer, bake or boil look at this.

Source: Decatur – Food


Eating my bodyweight in protein.

I was an ovo-lacto pescatarian for about 7 years. But let’s not church it up, I ate dairy including eggs and pretty much anything from the sea. I went through a period that I was just grossed out by the thought of eating meat. My staying away from meat evolved into my objections about their treatment. I ate this way pretty happily and also felt and thought I looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. I attended a Crossfit Coach’s certification and met a former vegetarian who’s doctor, after a significant accident, told her she could either start eating meat again or would need a blood transfusion. This was a wake up call for what her body needed. When I heard that and her presentation on how one’s body processes animal proteins vs. other proteins I decided I at least needed to up my animal protein, ie fish for me. Before this I probably ate around 35 grams of animal protein a day. So I set a goal of 100 grams of animal protein a day. Holy shit. That’s the reaction most people would have. For perspective check out the following:
1 5 oz can of tuna 26 grams of protein
1 6 oz steak 36 grams of protein
1 large egg 4 grams of protein
So 100 is kind of a lot for a 165 lb lady. It took a conscious effort; believe me. I started eating salmon fillets on a salad for lunch, or an entire can of tuna, and something close to the same for dinner. It became about getting enough protein, enough nutrients; it became about fueling. It was a nice relationship with food. I feel like I was seeing it for what it is: fuel. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever eat just for pleasure-hello frozen yogurt!- but it removed a lot of emotions from eating that had been dragging me down.

I started this protein journey with some muscular definition. I have been doing boot camp for 6 years, I had some nice tone. After about 6 weeks my body composition became very different. I became very dense. My muscles felt more dense and strong. It as if before there was a layer on top and now it was pure beast. Yeeeaaahhhh. After seeing how important animal protein is in my body I started incorporating some meats from very specific places. Farms that were known for their animal centered raising practices. I still get 80% of my protein from seafood but now have a little more diversity in my protein sources. I urge you to do your own experiment. Try upping your animal protein intake and to really go into beast mode decrease you carb intake and get ready to take on the world, or at least your wedding.

Source: Decatur – Food


How to make a Monster Salad

I get a lot of nutrition questions. My easiest advice is to keep it simple (you can read more about that HERE) But I know what you want: explicit directions on what to eat! So here is a video explaining what I puts in my bod on a regular basis: MONSTER SALAD!!! nom nom nom

Source: Decatur – Food


Something stinks-time to clean out the fridge

I know you’re busy. I also know you want to eat healthy but opening your fridge and seeing nothing makes you head straight to the zifty menu online. Work smarter not harder darlin’ and keep your fridge stocked with the items below and make your life easier and your bee-hind smaller.

Top shelf -Trade out whole milk, sugared juice drinks and soda for low-fat milk, whole fruit and flavored sparkling waters.

Next two shelves – Exchange full-fat yogurt for low or nonfat yogurt; regular cottage cheese for fat-free cottage cheese;
and sugary snacks for fruit. Add egg substitute, Morning Star Farms sausage patty’s and Thomas Low Fat Whole Grain
English muffins … and you’ve got the fixings for a healthy, gourmet breakfast.
Deli drawer -Replace full-fat cheeses with low-fat string cheese, low-fat feta, or Laughing Cow low-fat Swiss Cheese;
and standard lunchmeats with lean turkey, ham and roast beef and reduced fat turkey pepperoni.
Produce bins -Stuff them with the freshest fruits and vegetables of the season, including grapes, melons, peaches and
berries to satisfy your sweet tooth. Add veggie sticks (celery, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers) and pre-mixed salads.
Refrigerator door – Stock up with a variety of flavor enhancers such as German, Dijon and Maui onion mustards, capers,
roasted bell peppers, fruit-and tomato-based salsas, fruit spreads,
balsamic and honey mustard dressings.
Freezer – Fill it with frozen fruit bars(100% real fruit), mixed frozen vegetables (Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Fiesta
combinations), and frozen whole fruits to use in smoothies. Toss out hamburger meat, ribs and frozen pizza to make room
for individually wrapped fish filets, chicken breast, shrimp and lean ground turkey

Make your snacks easily accessible and the first thing you see so you’ll eat that first!

What’s something you’ve always got on hand in the fridge? Tell me!

Source: Decatur – Food


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