how to survive whole 30: recipes, pantry staples, & more!


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I cannot begin to count all the questions I got when I was doing Whole 30.
 I gathered from most of the questions that most people are afraid they 1) won't have enough to eat and 2) will get bored of eating the "same thing".

So I have come up with How to Survive Whole30

1) MEAL PLAN: I don't think you can survive Whole30 without at least one of the cookbooks, if you have both then even better! Every Saturday or Sunday I would sit down with a template and a shopping list and make out our meals for the week, it takes about 30-40 minutes. So pour a cup of coffee, sit at your dining room table or on your couch, and start planning. Bonus points if your husband helps you. 

2) INCORPORATE SAUCES: You are absolutely going to get tired if you just eat ketchup with every meal. Adding different sauces to the same piece of chicken can make a world of a difference. If you don't want to make sauces there are plenty of brands that have Whole30 approved sauces, you just may spend a little more. We've done whole30 twice and the first round I bought all my sauces and the second time I made them all. I think the ones you make last longer and taste better. I also WILL NEVER BUY MAYONNAISE AGAIN. I found a fool proof recipe that is cheap and delicious. 

3) INVEST* IN AN IMMERSION BLENDER: Sure you can get by with a regular blender but for sauces you will want an immersion blender, it is the secret to making perfect dressings and sauces. I wouldn't go and spend $200 on a blender. I found this one on Amazon for only $30 and it works perfectly for me. If you want to take it a step further invest in a food processor, I recieved this one for a wedding gift and use it all the time. You will use both of these even when you aren't on Whole30. The immersion blender got me through days 11-15 with the dump ranch recipe.
Cue the song "I will survive"!!

4) HAVE BACK UP MEALS: While I am meal prepping for the week I make a "back up meal" that I put in the freezer. Once I made Shepherd's Pie as my "back up meal" and ended up having to use it when we were both just too tired and needed an off night. Having a back up meal is important when things might not go as planned in the meal category. 

5) MAKE IT PUBLIC: Post on whatever social media platform you use the most that you are doing whole 30. It makes it known to your friends and family and it gives you a responsibility to the 30 days. If you are doing it with someone else, even better. 

Here are a few of my favorite products that I cannot live without during the whole 30 or even off the Whole30.

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This is fantastic with chicken and beef
1-2 tablespoons of Red curry paste
1 tsp of garlic
2 cans of coconut milk
and diced chicken or beef 
add to pot and bring to boil, make sure chicken or beef is cooked through and serve over cauliflower rice. 

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Use this to add to mashed potatoes or use for creamer in coffee, such a versatile pantry staple!  

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I used this in place of olive oil when cooking about half the time, I also add a teaspoon to my coffee every morning. 

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This taste fantastic when using with eggs in the morning. 

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During Whole30 you use a lot of garlic, this jar of minced garlic lasted me the entire time throughout the Whole30. This jar is absolutely a must so you aren't chopping garlic every night, unless you just love that. 

Below I have also added the Weekly Meal Planner template that I used as well, I found this one on Pinterest so if it is yours let me know! I have also added the link for the Whole30 grocery shopping list and common additives that I took with me every time I went shopping to help me when reading ingredients.

Whole30 Shopping List

Common Additives Cheat Sheet

(download and select fit to screen when printing)

and last but not least! 

Easy Ranch Recipe:
(I suggest using an immersion blender for this one)

Make sure all ingredients are room temperature
1 egg 
1 cup of light tasting olive oil 
(SO IMPORTANT, do not use regular olive oil or it will taste like garbage)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup of parsley, green onions, cilantro (whatever herbs you have on hand) I think the more the better with this recipe 

add all to a tall sided bowl or cup that immersion blender can fit into

okay this next part is very important, 
place the immersion blender at the bottom and turn it on & do not move it!
the ranch will begin to form and start floating to the top, once it begins to look like ranch slowly begin to pull the immersion blender up to the top and allow the rest of the ingredients to blend well. 
Remember room temperature ingredients are key too! 
tip: place the egg in lukewarm water to get it to come to room temp faster. 


I think that is it for now!
If you have any questions or want to share any more recipes with me, don't hesitate to ask or do so!


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Beauty Counter: what takes 26 seconds?


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I met Rachel, a long time childhood friend, in the Target parking lot with her little girl. They were both dressed like they had just stepped out of a J.Crew or Anthropologie magazine, but that's another post. 
(I pray I always look cute when I have a toddler) 

She gave me a bag of goodies from Beauty Counter
If you've been living under a rock Beauty Counter is a fantastic skin care and makeup line that uses NO PARABENS, SULFATES, SYNTHETIC FLAVORS OR FRAGRANCES, along with a lot of other things I cannot pronounce. Click here to see the Never List, it's actually really interesting.

Once I read somewhere once that it takes 26 seconds for a product to sink into your skin. I hope you know and trust what you are putting on your skin. 
You only have one body, you should probably take really good care of it. 

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 Keep this mist in your purse when for when you need a refresher on your face, it's perfect for hot summer days and dry winter mornings. I love this product, the smell if like you're putting your face in a bouquet of fresh roses. 

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I tried Beauty Counter for a week and this is what I loved: 
The Smell: I wish computers had scratch and sniff because all the products I tried has an amazing fresh clean scent. Nothing was ever to heavy.
A Little Goes a Long Way: I can see these products lasting me a really long time especially the EXFOLIATER, they are excellent quality and that makes the product last. 
My Face: After using these for a week I began to see results, the redness went down on my cheeks and my skin was visibly softer. 

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If you are interested in trying out Beauty Counter I suggest you talk to Rachel, she is super friendly and will talk to you about what your skin needs are. If you want to shop around and check out all their products click here



I did receive products for this post but all opinions are 100% my own. Photos by Charity Ponter.




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Stitch Fix Unboxing

Bottoms Edit: This is a quick post about pants. I asked my stylist at Stitch Fix to send me all bottoms so I could update my closet a little bit. 
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Returned: 
these were a little bit too tight, I love the color but ultimately couldn't keep them. 

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Keep: 
these are the. comfiest. joggers. ever. As soon as I put them on I knew I had to keep them. 

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Keep: 
this skirt is perfect style and color for what I am looking for. It's a perfect addition to my closet. 

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Returned:
these would have been perfect if it weren't for the hole. I am currently not looking for jeans with a hole in them, but they fit great! 

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Returned: 
The color on these pants didn't really match my style, otherwise I liked the fit and style. 

I love getting my Stitch Fix boxes, if you wanna try it out I suggest you go on Pinterest and pin a bunch of items that you love and then link it to your Stitch Fix style profile. This is the best way to get the most out of your box! 


Click below to get started! 
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currently

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Reading: I am still reading She Reads Truth every night before I go to bed. I love reading it and journaling my prayers a little bit before bed. If you're like me and get distracted every time you sit down to pray or close your eyes, journaling has helped me a ton. I find once I start my prayers can thanksfuls just start to come out and I am able to intentionally pray. 
Eating: We are on DAY 20 of Whole 30! It's no dairy, added sugar, bread, grains, legumes, and alcohol. We did this last year and it hasn't been as hard this year. I am putting together a post on How to Survive Whole 30 soon! 
Watching: I just finished The Crown on Netflix and it was amazing. I think I want to watch it again! I love shows set in that time. Downton Abby is another favorite. 
Planning: Taylor starts graduate school soon, so we are trying to find a place to go on a weekend getaway to relax. Maybe Nashville or the Gulf? Anyone have any ideas?!
Loving: Everything about February! It's actually cold here in Alabama.

I hope you have a great weekend! We are going shopping for new pillows, ahhh married life. 
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second hand outfits

Before you snub your nose at thrift shopping let's talk about how good second hand buying is for our world & economy:
"1,142,000,000 lbs
IF 1 IN 100 AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS
SHOPPED RESALE, IT WOULD SAVE OVER 1.1 BILLION POUNDS OF CO2 EMISSIONS EVERY YEAR
that's the equivalent of planting 24 million trees per year
$1,460,000,000
IF 1 IN 100 AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS
SHOPPED RESALE, THEY WOULD COLLECTIVELY SAVE OVER $1.4 BILLION EVERY YEAR
that's enough for each of those households to pay for 2 years of college
99,400,000,000 gallons
IF 1 IN 100 AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS
SHOPPED RESALE, IT WOULD SAVE OVER 99 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER EVERY YEAr
that's about the same amount of water those same households use in a year
95,000,000 lbs
IF 1 IN 100 AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS
CLEANED OUT, IT WOULD KEEP 95 MILLION POUNDS OF CLOTHES OUT OF LANDFILLS EVERY YEAR
that's the equivalant weight of 1,500 recycling trucks
140,000,000 items
IF 1 IN 100 AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS
CLEANED OUT, THEY WOULD COLLECTIVELY GENERATE 140 MILLION ITEMS THAT COULD BE RESOLD OR REUSED
that's enough fabric to create a blanket big enough to cover the island of Manhattan
Did you know? 85% of all clothing that gets donated ends up in landfills. A meager 15% of what we donate ends up being recycled and most of this recycled product ends up overseas. 
ITEMS IN THE TYPICAL CLOSET: 93 
TOTAL COST $8,500, BUT MORE THAN 70% IS NEVER WORN!"
 info taken from ThredUP.com


These outfits and shoes were all purchased at the thrift store and I cannot wait to wear them this spring. 

Gap dress: $3.99


no label: $3.99

Isaac Mizrahi for Target: $6.99

Kenneth Cole: $6.99

Lucky Brand: $3.99


Forever21 dress: $4.99


Tahari jersey dress: $5.99


Vince Cashmere Sweater: $6.99
Ann Taylor Loft skirt: $3.99

All that totals up to $47.91, my bank account will take that any day.
 Of course there are some pieces that I still love to invest in, but thrift shopping is not only the cheaper option, it's a fun one too. I love to take a Saturday morning and go looking for clothes. It's a bit therapeutic for me. 

If you in my neighborhood and ever want to go call me up and I can give fantastic tips for smart thrift store shopping! 


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CLTIVATE + Giveaway


I am so thrilled and honored to share this story on Daily Brunch today.
Zack Gudzan founded CLTIVATE, a non profit organization, to help people recover from alcohol addiction but the story doesn't start or stop there. Here are a few lines taken from Zach's blog on the CLTIVATE website. Really take 3 minutes to read his story, you'll be blown away. 

"Everything was fine. I had a new job, enough money to do what I wanted, and plenty of friends. People knew me as a dude who just really liked to party. My weekends always started on Thursday nights…I never understood why people waited until Friday to celebrate. It was my third week on the new job, and I was really itching to go party. So I did. I got blackout, per usual - probably went to 3 bars, smoked a pack of Marlboro Lights, and drove home. I didn’t wake up until late Friday afternoon…I missed work, had several missed phone calls, and a miserable hangover.

Long story short, I got fired. This wasn’t the first time I had been fired, but it was the first time I had nowhere to turn. I had nothing. I spent my entire paycheck on partying the week before, I had already sold my furniture for cash, and I had already borrowed money from friends.
To me, the only logical option was to start stealing. So, I hopped in my truck and started scoping out some nearby neighborhoods. It was the middle of the day, so I knew most people were probably at work. I noticed a box on someone’s porch, parked my truck on the street, looked around to make sure no one was watching, pulled out my phone and pretended to be on a call, walked up to their door, took the box, and drove away. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even feel bad about it – I was excited to get home and see what was in there!
That day stands out in my mind as the real turning point for me, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Things went south. My morals, my attitude, my relationships, my work ethic, my desire to live – it all faded in a hurry. I stole like that for the entire summer. If something was valuable, I’d sell it. If it wasn’t, I’d throw it away. 
It’s pretty tough to even put this in writing. I was such a terrible human being. Even 2+ years into sobriety, it’s hard to shake those feelings of regret, sorrow, and shame. A big part of my recovery involves “making amends” to others, wherever possible. That’s the real challenge, in this context, because I honestly don’t even know who I stole from – I don’t know how to make things right.
Luckily, God has started to show me how...
I initially started hand-delivering CLTIVATE orders just to save some money on shipping. If an order came in from anywhere in Charlotte, it made sense for me to just hop in my truck and drop it off. It’s so bizarre, but I realized I legitimately enjoy doing that. And now I know why:
With every package I leave at your door, I’m replacing something I stole. I get chills every time an order comes in, because it’s another opportunity to clear away the wreckage of my past. CLTIVATE has grown to a point where I can certainly focus my time on other things – delivering packages myself is just not a sustainable practice. But guess what? I don’t care. I’m going to keep doing it, because it’s so freaking cool, and I owe this world a lifetime of service."
CLTIVATE has a story like none other and the man behind is no exception.  This is the perfect example of God's amazing grace and authority. If you have ever met Zack you know you are instantly treated like family and loved like family too.
Go follow him on Instagram and Facebook too!

Head on over to my Instagram for a giveaway of one of his shirts that have meaning behind them. Also head to his blog now to donate if you feel led, he's come a long way and I've seen how hard he is working 
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breakfast recipes + meal prepping

On the days I have to work, I try really hard to meal prep my breakfast. It is so important to eat breakfast on days that I work because I might not be able to step away until lunchtime. Getting something into my body that will hold me over is super important. 
Here are a few of my favorite recipes for breakfast: 

Country Breakast Bowls from Budget Bytes 
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I make these all the time, they freeze really well!  I am going to live off these when we do whole30 minus the cheese of course. 

Tropical Yogurt Parfait from Budget Bytes
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These can be made ahead and enjoyed all throughout the week. Plus you can add/take away so many options! 

Whole30 approved Frittata - made by me! 
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This is my favorite recipe because it can be adjusted so much to fit whatever you are feeling! This usually lasts my 3-4 days depending on how hearty I make it.

I would love to hear if you guys have any other go to breakfast recipes that I need to try! 
Comment below with your favorite go-to breakfast recipes! 



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favorite posts of 2016 + thank you

I've compiled a few of my favorite posts from 2016. It's so cool and humbling to see how far I've come on this journey called Daily Brunch. I am so glad I've kept going even when it was hard to do so. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. 







Thank you again to all who read and comment on my posts. I love interacting with everyone and think it is amazing what community can bring to the table! 

with love,
Jessica

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currently


watching: The Bachelor just started! I've been hooked for the last year. It's my reality TV fix, back off. What do you guys think of Nick? I'm also excited for game of thrones to come back this year as well.  
reading: I'm actually reading a couple of books right now which I usually never do. I just finished The Couple Next Door, which I could not put down! Next I am going to start The Nest. Lately, before I got to bed I've been getting out Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein and scrolling through some poems. They are really cute but some have some deeper meaning that's actually inspiring. 
planning: Taylor's 30th birthday trip! We are getting a bunch of friends together and heading to the most magical place on earth next week. We are pretty pumped for some 70 degree sunny weather. 
eating: Because Taylor's birthday is in the middle of January we can't really participate in whole30 January so we are starting the 20th of this month. I plan on devoting every Friday during that time to whole30 tips and recipes. 
loving: The new year! I love the feeling of January. It's a great time for refresh and restart.

Have a great weekend everyone + I hope it snows here! 
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peace + calm + disconnect


Taylor and I recently made big boy purchases and bought new chairs from West Elm, but not just any new chairs, recliners.  We love them. Now, on any given night you can find us laid up in our recliners with white russians or bourbon in hand watching a favorite movie or reading a book. 
Luckily Baker hasn't figured out how comfortable they are and still refers to the couch for her afternoon nap.

This time of year is a lot of people's favorite time of the year, something about cuddling up on the couch brings that homey feeling of nostalgia. We are lucky that Alabama actually has weather that can allow us to do that sort of thing. For the most part.
It was a cool 70 degrees here on Christmas. Taylor wore chacos and I wore short sleeves.
We still had so much fun with family, the typical dirty santa arguments, long hugs hello and longer hugs goodbye.

I was sad to see 2015 go because it was such a great year. This time I am so ready for what 2017 will bring. 2016 was a weird year, I never fell into a routine. Things were changing and just weird.
In 2017 I'm going to have peace, calm, and disconnect.
I took a month long break from the blog in December and it was so nice to not have any deadlines. It allowed me to rethink the blog and what I want it to look like in 2017.
Here's to looking forward. 
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