Monday, January 21, 2013

(Not) Shopping for Groceries: Local Grocer Comparison

Happy Inauguration Day, everyone! We were in our PJs here at the Confessions house until about midday, enjoying a day off from work! It felt so great to be sipping coffee in the late morning hours in my soft clothes! What were your plans for today?

I can't believe that I am already on day 22 of my Whole 30. The time is flying by. I have enjoyed this little "reset." Although I still have cravings for things sometimes, this time has allowed me to realize that I CAN eat healthy foods, even while working a full time job, a part-time job, and being a wife and mom. I knew these things...but in the fall I had gotten out of the habit of preparing fresh and healthy meals on the busy nights. Sometimes it is just so quick and easy to pick up take out or to eat out. However, the easiest option isn't always the best option.

Working moms and dads: what are your tips for avoiding the take-out routine?

I have found that online grocery shopping has become a HUGE time-saver for me. I have also found it to be helpful with not buying junk food that we don't need. Admit it, you've done it, go to the grocery store hungry and as you walk down the grab stuff you don't need. (Please don't say I am the only one.)

Online grocery shopping cuts that out completely. You make your selections from the comfort of your own home, and voila! They are available for pickup in a few hours OR they arrive at your door.

I have been using both Lettuce Carry and Harris Teeter for my grocery shopping. Lettuce Carry delivers to your door (FREE next day delivery!) and Harris Teeter is a pickup service for $4.95.


Perks of both:

  • Someone else spends the time shopping
  • No being tempted by things you don't need
  • Both have online ordering and very user-friendly websites


Lettuce Carry Perks:


  • Offers the option of local meats and produce
  • Has lots of organics for pretty good prices
  • Delivers to your door! (Same day=$10 fee, next day=free!)
  • No tipping policy! (Drivers do not accept tips!)
  • Nice reusable grocery bags.
  • Accepts manufacturers coupons
  • Independently owned


Harris Teeter Perks:

  • Larger variety of foods available- which is a BIG perk
  • More variety of specials and sale items
  • I assume there is no tipping since there is a charge for pickup... But let me know if I am wrong!
  • Some local options- but not as many as LC- no local meats

Side note... I really wish ONE of these stores would sell plantain chips.


As you can see, there are positive points to using both services! I have found that this gives me an hour that I do not have to spend walking around the grocery store...with a child asking for everything we pass. (Again...I am not the only one who experiences this, am I?)

I thought I would share this for all you local moms who hate taking time out to go grocery shopping. Save yourself an hour or more each week and let someone else do it for you!



Monday, January 14, 2013

Confession Time: How to Eat More Veggies!

I think it's confession time. Most times, I give you recipes, or cute stories about my little girl Sadie, or stories about exercise. But this blog is called Confessions of a Former Couch Potato because I will also be honest with you. As long as you promise not to judge me. This is a safe place, right?


Here's a little secret about me. Whatever I wear to church on Sunday...I wear it to work on Monday. Pretty much every week. Getting dressed in the morning is such a chore. It's so easy to just throw the same outfit back on. dirty are you going to get while sitting in church?

You want another one? Sometimes...after I teach my Tuesday night Zumba class...I just blow dry the sweat out of my hair and skip washing it. (I know, gross, right?) But's so hard to go through the blow dry-flat iron process knowing I am just going to teach again in 2 days. (Don't misunderstand... I still shower. But the hair is dirty.) Ironically...the days my hair is the dirtiest are the days I get the most compliments. Go figure.

How about another one? I trick my kid into eating vegetables. There, I said it. And if you are a mom out there with a picky eater (or a girl out there with a picky boyfriend or husband), I am gonna encourage you to do it, too.

Today's post is:

CFCP Top Ten Tricks and Tips for Eating More Fruits and Veggies!

10. Ask the kids or significant other to help out in the kitchen. I think kids (and men and women) take more ownership when they have helped to prepare something. Give choices. But don't ask, "What do you want for dinner?" Because if you do, you are opening the door for answers like "Pizza!" Instead, ask, "Do you think we should have carrots or peas with the burgers tonight?"

9. Once you've got them in the kitchen, ask them to help taste-test. I have gotten my 4-year-old to eat more veggies and fruits this way. "Can you taste-test these cucumbers for me?" As she is taste-testing, she finds (shocker!) that some veggies aren't as bad as she thinks!

8. This tip is one I heard from a friend. It seems that kids are always looking for snacks right at dinner time. I know every night as soon as I start cooking, the little one comes wandering in asking for snacks. Often, I will cut up some veggies on the counter and leave them out. When she comes asking for a snack, I say, "Here! Have one of these!"

7. When in doubt...DIP. I know, in a perfect world, our kids would eat their veggies without needing dip. But if a little ranch helps... go for it. In the long run, I really don't think it will hurt them that much!

6. Blend. I've tried many ways to get my little one to eat spinach. She always turns up her nose. However, I threw some spinach in a blender with some ice, coconut milk, and a frozen banana. Guess what? She loved it. Here is a recipe that I love!

5. Make noodles out of them. Lately, I have been making zoodles like crazy. (Zoodles = zucchini noodles!) What kid doesn't like noodles? They come out of the womb liking them, right? Well, a simple gadget (julienne peeler) makes it possible to have noodles that are secretly a vegetable! Top them with spaghetti sauce, meatballs or make them into Paleo Shrimp Scampi (recipe coming soon)!


4. Get a head of cauliflower and make rice or mashed cauliflower. I have completely fooled my child more than once with the "riced" cauliflower and the mashed cauliflower. It really works. Try it.

Riced Cauliflower (I like this method)


Mashed Cauliflower


3. When I make chili, if I have carrots on hand, I always grate one or two and sauté them with my onions. With the orange color, they blend right into chili and no one knows they are even there!

(There are carrots in there!)

2. Make them into "fries." I hate to say it, but a packet of French fries is always gonna be more exciting than an apple. However, Sadie loves for me to make her "apple fries." I usually give her a little ramekin with organic peanut butter or almond butter to dip them in and she is happy as can be!

1. Make your own salsa! The jarred varieties at the grocery store are often full of preservatives, but when you make your own, you know it is fresh and free of chemicals! I like to put out celery or cucumbers for dipping (hello, double dose of veggies!) and let her go to town!


If you have a picky child (or significant other!) I hope that one or more of these little strategies works for you! Have tips or tricks of your own? Please share by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post!



Thursday, January 10, 2013

TGIT, Foodie Find, and Chili Beef with "Rice"

TGIT (Thank Goodness It's Thursday)! I love are over the work week "hump," and I also teach my Zumba class tonight! Woo hoo!

I wanted to share a quick "foodie find" with you all. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen that I have posted some pictures of Moroccan Dipping Sauce this week. Friends, this sauce is amazing. It is tangy and full of flavor and everything tastes good with it. Cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, chicken... pretty much everything I dipped into it became gold. So, I bet you are wondering, "What is this magic sauce and how can I get it?"

Here is a link to the recipe. I used cilantro in mine because I had some on hand already, but I bet the parsley option would be just as delicious. This would make a wonderful salad dressing- but chicken dipped into it is soooooo good. (Or you can just skip the dipping and pour it over everything on your plate-- which is what I did here.)


And now, I have a quick recipe to share with you. On Tuesday night, I taught my Zumba class, and afterwards, I was pretty tired (and hungry!) I knew I had this chicken tortilla soup at home in the fridge, but I had already eaten it for lunch and just didn't want to eat it again, you know? This is one of those times that I would have considered picking up takeout. However, since I am participating in Eat in Month, I told myself to go home and try to come up with something quick.

What could I make...what could I make?

I had just received my weekly produce via Lettuce Carry and I knew I had a head of cauliflower in the fridge... So I knew I could make more "rice." But what could I eat WITH the cauliflower rice?

And chili beef was born.

This was very simple and I was able to pull together this meal in 30 minutes. I was proud of myself for: not picking up takeout, creating a healthy meal (with LOTS of veggies), and sticking with Whole 30!

Chili Beef with Cauliflower Rice


For Beef

  • 1/2 large (or 1 small) diced onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 T. Ground cumin
  • 1-2 T. Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Dash of ground cayenne pepper
  • Dash of garlic powder

For Rice

  • 1 T. Coconut Oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 head of cauliflower florets, shredded in a food processor
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


First, brown ground beef in a skillet along with the onions and peppers. When beef is cooked through and the veggies have softened, add the red pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and salt/pepper. Cook until herbs ar fragrant. Then add the canned diced tomatoes. Stir to combine and let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes, until tomatoes are warmed through. Add cilantro and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover to keep the mixture warm, stirring occasionally.

In another skillet, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic clove and cook for about 20 seconds. Add the riced cauliflower and cook for about 4-5 minutes, just until softened. Stir often so it doesn't burn! Add the cup of beef broth and salt/pepper to taste. Cook until most liquid is absorbed.

Serve with rice on the bottom and beef mixture on top. Garnish with a sprig of fresh cilantro!

Note: this rice recipe was adapted slickly from PaleOMG.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

First 5K of 2013 & Great Eats!

Happy Saturday! I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday. Today was amazing. I was sad to see the holidays go, but now that the decor is put away (well, most of it), it feels clean and fresh again. Funny how January always feels like that.

I started the day by participating in my first 5K of the year.

It was COLD this morning. Like below 32 when we got ready to start. This was a pretty challenging course- VERY hilly! I wasn't very happy with my time of 40:56. I don't like to be above 40 minutes. However, I have to admit I didn't run during the holidays. And this week as I was doing my first week of the Whole 30, my energy was a bit down. (This is normal as you make some changes in your diet.). So... I am just going to consider it a starting point to try and improve upon for the next race.

Post race eats:

Easy Hash with sausage, sweet potato, onion, and apples.

We spent the afternoon taking down our holiday decorations. Yep, we still had them up this morning. However, I WILL say that we are NOT the last house in our neighborhood to un-decorate. ;) Here's a confession just between you and me: once, we left them up until February. Only on the inside, though.

In between all that, I managed to put together a fabulous dinner that I can't wait to share with you. This is a great comfort meal that is perfect for a cold wintry day. I threw this together quickly and let it cook all afternoon. The beef was great- but the rice you see in this picture... well, it isn't rice after all! Wait till you hear what it is!

Paleo Stewed Beef with Tomatoes and Onions

Ingredients for Beef (See notes at the end of the recipe for "rice directions.")

  • 2-3 lbs of stew beef (uncooked)
  • 2 diced onions (I cut my onions very chunky for this so they don't disappear after cooking all day)
  • 2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, until the beef is tender and pulls apart easily. (I have found that every crock pot is different, so you should check yours periodically.). Just before serving, prepare your "rice."

Now, for the surprise... the "rice!"

Rice Directions:

As I mentioned, this wasn't really rice at all! I recently saw this blog post from Juli over at PaleOMG, and I knew I had to try out this rice trick. Did you know you could "rice" a cauliflower?! This turned out to be AMAZING and was a complete hit with both the hubby and the kiddo. If you have trouble feeding your child vegetables, this is a great trick to try!

To make cauliflower rice, just follow steps 6-10 in Juli's recipe to prepare the rice. I think I could probably have subbed in beef broth and maybe a little onion powder to blend the flavors of the beef and the rice, but I am being overly critical. This "rice" was a huge surprise and I will definitely make this again!

Ok, now I am settling in after my super-productive day! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy Birthday to Confessions Hubby!

This post is going to be a quick one. Today is the Confessions Hubby's Birthday! Happy birthday, honey! We enjoyed a family dinner and then presents and cake. cake for me, since I am doing a Whole 30.

Actually, it wasn't as hard as I thought. I think that I am just about through the sugar withdrawal here on Day 5. And yes, it was withdrawal. I think that is one of the hardest parts of the Whole 30, in the first 2 weeks. You honestly don't realize how much sugar is in the foods you eat. Just for a fun (or not?) experiment, watch your labels for an entire day and see how much sugar you consume. It is hidden in weird places. During a Whole 30, you cut out all types of added sugar: brown, white, raw, agave nectar, Splenda, stevia, etc.

So, since I didn't eat cake, I played around in the kitchen and came up with this little dish.

It's so simple, it isn't really a recipe. Sliced organic bananas, coconut milk (full fat from the can) drizzled on top, toasted hazelnut pieces over the top and some cinnamon to finish it off. YUM!

Well, friends, I am going to say good night! I am off to run a 5K in the morning!

Wish me luck!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ultimate Chicken Salad & Your Photos!

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all enjoyed a safe but fun New Year's Eve! For the first time, the hubby and I stayed in. And literally did nothing. Seriously. I made mayonnaise and an artichoke. That's pretty much it. We had some fun plans, but were thwarted by a nasty stomach virus that has been making its way through our household. Oh well... I guess we saved a little money... Thankfully, I believe we are nearing the end of the tunnel!

I absolutely love January. I am always sad to see the holidays go, but there is something wonderful about starting a new year! It's great to see so many people taking an interest in their health and well-being. Yes, the gyms will be crowded and annoying, but in the grand scheme of the world, it is great to see it.

I am on Day 2 of my New Year's Whole 30! Click here to read about Whole 30. I made a delicious sausage and onion frittata (recipe courtesy of Everyday Paleo- click here for the recipe) for breakfast which will make for easy breakfasts this week. It's a big recipe, so there were a fair amount of leftovers.

Frittata + coffee fresh brewed from my new Keurig = delicious start to 2013!

I have a quick recipe to share with you today: my Ultimate Chicken Salad! This one is always a hit at parties and gatherings. If you like sandwiches, it is great on bread, but it is also great alone or stuffed into giant celery stalks or lettuce wraps. It is also Paleo and meets the Whole 30 guidelines.

Ultimate Chicken Salad


(Serves 2-3 people)


  • 1-2 chicken breasts (I used 1 1/4 cooked bone-in split chicken breasts), chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 yellow onion, chopped (use more if you like more onion flavor)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • Handful of raw almonds, chopped
  • 1 small apple, chopped (any variety will work, but I like one with a red skin, for color)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Homemade Mayo (click here to find out how to make mayo- use as much as you like- more mayo will give you a creamier salad)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve! It's that simple!

A couple of notes: I use my Pampered Chef chopper to chop the almonds. It keeps them from flying all over the kitchen. This recipe would work with store-bought mayo, but that would not be Paleo or Whole 30 compliant. However, if you aren't following that kind of plan, that would work fine! I have also used grapes in place of the apples, and I have used cashews in place of the almonds. Play around and try it different ways!


And now... Your photos! I was hosting a post-holiday photo contest. I have one major winner for the category of "Most Unusual Gift!"

Congratulations, Helen! Your can of olives was the most unusual gift that we saw!

I also have 2 honorable mentions for Deb, Erica, and Toya- for sending in such cute holiday pet photos. That wasn't a category, but they begged to send in some pet pics!


Henry (Deb's fur baby)


Fisher (Erica's fur baby)


I didn't have entries for some of the other categories, so we will save those for another time!


Helen, Erica, and Toya, I will be sending you a cookbook soon! I will be in touch!