Category Archives: Food

Bowl of the Week: Whole 30 Taco Bowl

Hi friends!! How is everyone doing today?! Yesterday it was actually SUNNY here in Chicago which is exactly what I needed. I don’t know about you guys, but when it’s gloomy for days and days and days I just get into the weirdest little funk.

Plus, I wasn’t feeling good AT ALL on Sunday and if you watch my Insta-story you also know I had the worst chapped lips EVER and I felt like I was coming down with something. So naturally I ate a HUGE acai bowl, chugged green juice & a tonnnn of water, and made sure I stuck to my paleo-ish diet that always makes me feel like a million bucks.

Speaking of which.

Yesterday I made the TASTIEST Whole 30-compliant taco chicken EVAAAA. I’m serious. It was so freaking good that even when I was cooking it I kept sneaking bites and then I had to stop because I knew if I kept going I wouldn’t have enough leftover for my lunches this week.

So obvs I took a lot of pics so I can share with you guys!!!

One of the best parts about this recipe is how freakin’ versatile it is. I just put together a random combo of ground chicken, cauli rice, and sweet potatoes but you can really serve the taco meat however you want – including on a butter lettuce leaf or piece of iceburg for some lettuce wrap tacos!

Ingredients (makes 5 lunch-portion-sized servings!)

Seasonings & OIL:

  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Cayenne pepper (for the sweet taters!)


  • 2 lb ground chicken (turkey can also be subbed if desired)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 bags of cauliflower rice (this yielded a LOT, adjust as needed)
  • Whole 30-compliant salsa (I used Trader Joe’s chunky salsa)

Optional Ingredients:

  • Limes
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo or Tessemae’s Ranch Dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your sweet potatoes into small chunks and toss with olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper if you’re into some spice. Roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Mix up your spices (spice list above!) in a small bowl.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, spray some olive oil spray or drizzle olive oil in the pan, and add your ground chicken & seasonings. Cook the ground chicken until it’s cooked through (or balls up into small pieces).
  5. Set aside your chicken. In the same pan (it adds flavor!) add another drizzle of olive oil, cauliflower rice, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, some cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and the SALSA!
  6. Combine your ground chicken, sweet taters, and cauli rice in a bowl and serve with Primal Kitchen mayo, Tessemae ranch, guacamole or a sliced avocado, and/or a squeeze of lime.
  7. ENJOY!

I’m telling you guys, this is so quick & easy and can be made into SO many different dishes! And once you have this taco seasoning, you won’t even miss the sugar- and soy-filled stuff that comes from a packet.


So tell me… do you have a favorite Whole 30 taco recipe up your sleeve?! Is this something you want to try? Tell me everything! I will be back tomorrow with some fun new TIDBITS so be sure to check back! Xo.



Weekend Wrap-Up: Call Me Bob Ross

Hey guys!!! How have you been?! I feel like it’s been SO long since I’ve posted even though it was less than a week ago. So, as promised in my Insta-story, I wanted to explain why I was basically MIA all week.

And it’s kinda personal.

It was honestly one of those weeks where everything was kinda going wrong. Things at work were starting to get to me personally, our sweet little apartment went on the market, and I literally had no energy to work on my blog last weekend.




I feel like I hit a crossroads in my life this week. I know it sounds really dramatic but I’m kind of downplaying the personal drama that went down in the matter of like 3 days.

And here’s the thing. I feel like I’ve hit a little wall with blogging – like I’ve kind of lost my energy for it. But I want to explain why.

So I’m going to give you guys a little anecdote here.

When I was little, my dad and brother used to take me to the driving range. And I would walk right up to the tee and swing as hard as I could and the ball would go flying and I’d be super proud, right? Sure, it was only a few yards or whatever but it was still exciting to me. So I’d swing a couple more times, hit the ball, blah blah blah. And then my dad & brother would offer me suggestions so I could hit it even further.

(Hang with me, I promise this is going somewhere).

They’d tell me to change my grip.

Or bend my knees a little more.

Or put my hands this way or that way.

And then by the time I took in all the advice and tried to swing the club the way I was told, I wouldn’t hit one ball. I’d whiff every one. And then I would forget how I swung in the beginning and I would get all frustrated and want to quit.


I think I’ve been doing way too much of what I feel like I “should” be doing versus what just feels right to me. I read so much blogging “advice” and all it does is stress me out about GROWTH and MONETIZATION and NICHES and it’s kind of making me lose the desire.

Sure, maybe I won’t have 150,000 followers on Insta by doing things my way, but I’m happy with my 1,500. Maybe I won’t hit the ball out of the freakin’ driving range, but I’ll hit it. I don’t want to get frustrated and want to throw in the towel.

I enjoy blogging but I still want this to be a hobby. Would I love to do this full time? Ummm, DUH. But at the same time I know in order to make this a business I need to treat it like a business and basically ask people to buy crap so I can get paid for it. And that’s just not my style. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s amazing that people have made this into a career and I love supporting other bloggers and buying products that they link and promote.

Buuuuuut I just can’t do it. It’s not me.

So I’ve just been kind of stumped on my content because I feel like I need to always promote stuff for people to buy when really I just want to talk about life and food because they’re my fave subjects.

Basically going forward I just want to get back to swinging the club MY way. I don’t want to act like I’m some savvy businesswoman that I’m NOT. And if that means I stop growing or people stop following then so be it but I have a sneaky little feeling you guys are sick of that type of blogger too.

So. With that being said.

My weekend started with something that was the PERFECT ending to a hectic/emotionally stressful week: WINE & PAINTING (hence the title of this post, Call Me Bob Ross. Dang. Maybe it should have been Bob Rosé?!)



I partnered up with Bottle & Bottega and they were nice enough to let Ben & I come try out their class. And like I said, it couldn’t have come at a better time because it was so laid back and therapeutic and it really just allowed me to decompress and have FUN.

Ben & I went to their BFF & date night class at their Lakeview location – which is perfect because it’s super close to mi casa and also conveniently located next to Left Coast (!!).

So we aproned up, got a little wine buzz on during their happy hour (which is perfect because it allows you to mingle & meet some new friends), and got started painting!

The best thing about Bottle & Bottega is that even though they’re guiding you through a painting, you can really make it whatever you want. Ben & I branched out and got pretty “creative” I guess you could say, but you could just as easily follow the instructors and actually pick up a few tips!

what it was “supposed” to look like…
versus our final paintings… HA!!

The class lasted about 3 hours total from the happy hour till we were done but it seriously felt like it flew by because we were having such a fun time! There’s a little music playing, everyone’s chatting and sipping wine, it’s such a nice ambiance in there.


It was actually so relaxing that Ben & I basically went home and passed out at 11. But you guys – it really was a perfect date night or girls night idea and I highly recommend going!! OH AND – this coming Tuesday, the 24th, the Lakeview location is hosting a Paint Your Pet event where you bring in a picture of your pet and they will help guide you through painting it!

I thought it was pretty cool and honestly I already want to go back so I can create a Taffy masterpiece.

But anyway.

Saturday morning here in Chicago the weather was freakin’ AMAZING. After I cleaned my apartment (does anyone else do this EVERY Saturday like your life depends on it?!) Ben & I went to brunch at Barcocina (another neighborhood fave) and I got the pork belly tacos.

Def not Whole 30, but if you saw my Insta-story, it was just one of those weekends that I just had to take a moment out of the Whole 30 / Paleo mindset. Lol.


After the tacos, I met my besties Jordan & Maggie for a little lakeside walk. We literally walked for MILES and it was so beautiful I seriously didn’t want to stop.

But eventually we stopped for more FOOD because DUH.

And I got a cheeseless pizza at Happy Camper which, let’s be honest, doesn’t exactly sound appetizing but it was freakin’ good. (I can’t eat dairy if you’re wondering why I would EVER go cheeseless).

The rest of the night was spent on the couch with my girls, with a million blankets, two bottles of wine, and two movies. I watched Bad Moms for probably the 100th time in 2 weeks and we watched Room with Brie Larsen which is SO GOOD but also kind of depressing.

Sunday we slept, ate more, and watched the PATS win!!! WOOOOO!!!!

(Yes I’m a closet Patriots fan, I get it from Ben).

So there ya have it. A weekend for the books.

I really wish I could rewind to Saturday.

But tell me… what did you do this weekend? Did you have nice weather where you were, too? Try any new date spots? Eat any cheeseless pizza?!? Tell me everything!!! I will be back soon. Until then! Xo.


Bowl of the Week: Whole 30 Fried Rice

Hi guys! How is everyone doing?! I honestly think this is probably THE hardest work week of the year. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve gotten really used to sleeping in until 10 (!!), watching a lot of TV, and not changing out of my pajamas. It has been such an amazing holiday week and I’m SO sad we have to get back to real life!!!

But anyway.

New Years Resolution season has officially started, meaning there won’t be any extra room in the gym for the regulars and everyone is on a DIET.

You guys know I’m not a “dieter” but ever since doing my first Whole 30 last year, I’ve completely overhauled the way I eat. I talked about this in detail in this post but I am a former junk food addict that has changed my ways and overcome some pretty unflattering health issues.

So this month I’m buckling back down and eating as Whole 30 as I can (I have my brother’s wedding this weekend, and well… just being honest with myself here). But this week I came up with a fun little lunch bowl to take with me  on the go!


Because I love fried rice.

And I know, I know, the idea behind Whole 30 isn’t eating “cheat” meals but I like to think of it as just an Asian-inspired cauli rice dish that just happens to be fried in a skillet?

I know, it’s a stretch.

Melissa Hartwick, if you are reading this, pls don’t judge.


Back to the recipe because I know y’all wanna try. (BTW, this recipe yields enough for about 4 days of LARGE lunch portions!)


  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken and/or shrimp (I did a combo of both!)
  • 2 bags of cauliflower rice (fresh or frozen, I went with the organic frozen version from Whole Foods but Trader  Joe’s has fresh!)
  • 1 bundle green onion
  • 1 carton mushrooms
  • 1 yellow or white onion
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Broccoli (fresh or frozen)
  • Carrots (I got some multicolored organic sliced carrots from Whole Foods… They look fancy but they were literally $2)
  • Coconut amigos (this is basically naturally soy- and gluten-free soy sauce)
  • Red Boat fish sauce (this definitely isn’t necessary but it adds some nice flavor)
  • Sesame oil (not pictured below BUT if you don’t already have this, you will be OBSESSED – it’s so good)
  • Garlic powder, salt, pepper (always)


  1. Heat sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Peel shrimp and/or slice chicken. Since I used both, I sliced the chicken and got it started cooking while I peeled the shrimp.
  2. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a dash of coconut aminos to your chicken. Cook until the outsides are white. Add your shrimp & the same seasonings. Cook through.
  3. While your meat is cooking, chop your broccoli, green onion, & white or yellow onion.
  4. Put the meat aside, and using the same pan, add about 2 tbsp of sesame oil, heat, and add all veggies except your cauliflower rice. Once the frozen veggies have de-thawed, season with garlic powder, salt, pepper, coconut aminos, and fish sauce.
  5. Add your cauliflower rice and continue to cook. Let it sit so the veggies can brown. Taste test & add seasonings as desired. If you’re adding egg, go ahead and crack that bad boy and scramble it in your rice mixture.
  6. Combine your veggies & rice with your meat, sprinkle some extra green onion on top, & ENJOY.

I like to throw mine in these glass bowls from Amazon so they’re super easy to take on-the-go.

So tell me… is this something you would try? Do you have your own cauli rice recipe that you love? Tell me everything! I will be back Thursday with a new coffee talk! See you then. Xo.


P.S. MINIMALIST CHALLENGE UPDATE: I successfully spent 24 hours “offline” with the exception of researching some stuff for my blog. It literally took me 30 minutes to scroll through Instagram this morning and I was SO over it. I also had a super productive day because I wasn’t on my phone the whole time. TODAY: Meditating for 15 minutes. Will probz do this after work with some candles on to really set the mood. Will keep you updated!


7 Whole30 dinner ideas PLUS a printable PDF grocery list!

7 Whole30 Meals for Every Day of the Week

You guys!!! Happy Tuesday!! I’m coming to you with this much enthusiasm because it’s my birthday!! I am freakin’ 27! And I don’t know if I still feel 17 or if I already feel 47 that part is up for debate. Lol.


I’ll go into more detail about my 27 years of life probably during this week’s coffee talk.

Today. I have a gift for YOU guys. Because I’m kind of obsessed with y’all.

I heard from a ton of you guys during my giveaway and so many of you told me you’re starting off January 1st with a fresh Whole 30! And if you are – I think that is awesome and a perfect time to start. Sometimes, eating super healthy can be tough because it feels like the universe is against you, but typically in January everybody is trying to step up their health game, so there’s a lot of support! And also, there’s just not as much temptation to “break” it because it’s January and tbh it’s pretty boring.


With that beings said.

I wanted to get you guys started off on the right foot and share 7 meal ideas that can take you through an entire WEEK of Whole 30. All of these ideas are quick, easy, and most importantly super TASTY so you don’t feel deprived! Also, I tried to keep it with the “theme” of the day, so like on Sunday I have a spaghetti-inspired dish, and Friday a takeout-inspired dish, so you don’t feel super bummed you can’t eat your comfort foods.


SUNDAY: Spaghetti squash with Whole 30-compliant sausage and marinara.

So. Freakin. Good. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out any seeds, drizzle some olive oil, salt & pepper on each half, and toss that bad boy in the oven for 45-60 minutes at 375 degrees. Cook your sausage on the stovetop, and once it’s browned, throw your marinara on top so it can soak up the yumminess. The sun-dried tomato sausage from Trader Joe’s is Whole 30 compliant and y’all know I SWEAR by Rao’s Arrabbiata. Throw your meat sauce over your squash and VOILA. So easy.

(P.S. you can find most of the ingredients for these ideas and pictures of the labels on my Whole30 Essentials post!)

MONDAY: Salmon, cauliflower rice, and asparagus.

Most blackened seasonings and even Old Bay are Whole 30 compliant and taste amazing on fish. Wrap your salmon in one sheet of foil and asparagus in another tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, and bake them both in the oven at 375 for 25-30 minutes or throw it on the grill. Sauté your cauliflower rice on the stove with olive or coconut oil, garlic powder, and salt & pepper. Squeeze a lemon over top of all of it for an extra kick.

TUESDAY: Porkchops, spinach, and applesauce.

We like to bake our porkchops in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 350 with some Whole 30 compliant seasoning, olive oil, and a sliced onion on top. Then we sauté the spinach in some olive oil with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add a dash of cinnamon to your applesauce for a sweet treat. SO good.

WEDNESDAY: Coconut flour chicken tenders, butternut squash & Brussels.

Dredge your chicken tender cutlets in coconut flour and seasonings of your choice (garlic powder & paprika are my go-tos) and “fry” them up in some coconut oil on the stovetop. Roast your cubed butternut squash (I like the pre-cut kind from Trader Joe’s!) and Brussels in the oven with some olive oil & seasonings for 30 minutes at 375. Easy peasy.

THURSDAY: Bunless burgers & buffalo cauliflower.

Pick up some pre-packed burgers (either turkey or beef, whatever floats your boat!) and cook them up on the stovetop or grill. Throw some mustard & pickles on your burger and roast up some cauliflower tossed in Frank’s (I like to roast mine in the oven for 30 minutes on 375). I SWEAR by this buffalo cauliflower. It will taste like such a treat. Plus, this meal is perfect for game night!

(P.S. you can wrap your burger in some lettuce if you’re feeling wild. Top it with a roasted Portobello mushroom or large slice of a grilled poblano pepper for some extra oomph!)

FRIDAY: Green curry with chicken & green peppers.

Y’all know I love this. Recipe can be found here. It feels like SUCH comfort food. Just serve it as-is, no need for rice! I swear you’ll love it.

SATURDAY: Steak, roasted potatoes, broccoli.

The best combo. We love our steaks with Weber Chicago Steak seasoning (Whole 30 compliant!). For the potatoes, just dice them up and throw them in the oven with some olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, and salt & pepper. The broccoli is perfect steamed on the stovetop. It’ll feel like a fancy dinner out!


So how are you going to remember all of this!?

Oh don’t worry, I made you a little grocery list!

And YES I was so proud of this if you watch my Instagram stories lol. Feel free to print it out or save it to your phone following the link below!


[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Whole 30 Grocery List PDF”]


So tell me… do you plan on starting a Whole 30 this January? Are you trying another kind of healthy diet? Do you refuse to diet on January 1st?! Tell me everything! I will be back this Thursday with a fun new coffee talk! I’ll see you then! Xo.


Weekend Wrap-Up: Shoes, Celebs, & Popcorn Mishaps

Hi loves! How is everyone today?! I am literally FREEZING right now. And if you don’t live in Chicago – just so you’re aware so you can feel sorry for us – we’re having a major cold front move through this week meaning we have temps as low as -3 degrees and a chance of snow every day. BRRRR!!!

Honestly I don’t really mind it until Christmas, because it’s kind of cute like awww Christmas lights and candy canes and snow and Santa yay!

And then it’s like the jig is up, cold, one of us is leaving so either you need to go away or I’m moving to California.

But anyway.

Back to the point of the post.

THIS WEEKEND was amazing, restful, and somehow felt SO long?

Friday night we went to the movies and saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 3D (after a couple of margaritas at Mezcalina, obviously – their Fuego Manzana cocktail is to. die. for.) and you guys… the movie was SO GOOD. I’m not even kidding. I mean, first of all, I have to disclose that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, so I’m into this kind of stuff, but Ben hasn’t seen all the HP movies and still loved it. It honestly doesn’t have anything to do with Harry Potter it’s just a freakin’ good movie. And the effects are really cool, so I would recommend seeing it in 3D.

Sidenote: You guys know how much I LOVE popcorn and so I went to the popcorn counter, ordered it MID-MOVIE (this is a big deal, I mean – that’s EFFORT) and went to the butter stand and literally put SO much faux butter sauce all over it that once I got back to my seat my hands were covered in faux butter slime and it was all I could smell and it really grossed me out and I didn’t eat it. HOW DISAPPOINTING IS THAT. Lol.

Saturday morning we woke up and I dragged brought Ben to try True Foods Kitchen in River North. I have been DYING to try this place – everyone who has been loves it. We ordered the cauliflower starter (DELISH), turkey sausage minestrone soup (one of the best soups I’ve ever had, hands down), and I had the teriyaki quinoa which was delicious and SUPER filling.

So that’s all fine and dandy, I recommend you guys try it, it’s delicious and fresh and blah blah blah. BUT. At one point I caught a glimpse of the table right behind us and thought to myself hmm that guy looks familiar. But for some odd reason, every person in the River North True Foods Kitchen kind of resembles a fitness model, celebrity, or other type of beautiful person, especially on Saturday morning. So anyway, the whole time we were sitting there, Ben & I were watching this tour bus try to back out from behind a hotel, holding up traffic, people were stopping and staring, all that. It was like watching TV, seriously. And we saw this gaggle of tweenies standing outside of the bus, so we’re kind of musing as to who could be inside.

The table behind us gets up and walks out, the bus finally makes it out, I’m not thinking anything of all this.

And then our waiter comes up and casually says – You guys know that was Shawn Mendes sitting behind you?

UMM WHAT?!?!?!

So  yeah, Shawn Mendes and I basically had brunch together.

(I know, I know, I didn’t even recognize him on my own lol)

But still pretty cool.

I’m still just picturing myself in the background of some tween’s Instagram of Shawn with quinoa all over my face and bad posture.



So when I went to New York I had this realization that all of my shoes are wildly uncomfortable, and I legit didn’t have any shoes to just wear around when I have to walk a lot. Which prompted me to actually get correctly FITTED for shoes. We stopped at the New Balance store in Lincoln Park (the one off Clark St!) and I finally got fitted for some good shoes.

They basically had me stand on the shoe fitter (you know – the metal one that I literally haven’t stepped foot on since 4th grade, for some unknown reason) and got sized. Then, I stood on this machine that actually read the pressure points on my foot – which basically showed all of my pressure is in my heels. They also said I have a really low arch and flat foot, so I needed a little arch support to keep that bad boy lifted.

Then. You guys. This is a big deal….

They got me on the treadmill. Lol.

Not for long, obviously, I was absolutely unprepared in some stiff jeans.

But then they took a video of my walk on the iPad and actually saw how my feet hit. And it literally looked like my ankles were turning with every step. So no freakin’ wonder my feet hurt so dang bad in NYC!

They gave me a couple of columns of shoes that would support my feet, so I picked the New Balance 990’s because the chances of me using them for actual exercise are a tad slim, so I wanted a casual shoe I could wear with my stiff jeans. Lol.

But it was super easy, super quick, and everyone there was super helpful. They even helped me pick an insole that keeps my feet from turning. Honestly, it feels like a pushup bra in my shoe. HA!

I even wore them out of the store. Literally can’t remember the last time I did that.

YOU GUYS: Use code #NewBalanceChi10 at checkout for $10 off any New Balance order! Expires 12/31. I linked some of my favorite New Balance styles at the bottom of this post! ALSO – there’s a GIVEAWAY happening. You can win a $50 gift card & a free pair of shoes! So be sure to enter here!

OH – and I found the coolest freakin’ wall! It’s at the intersection of Clark & Arlington. It’s super cute, so if you’re a blogger or just love to find cool walls to take pics, this one is a new fave!

Saturday night, we binge watched Fargo (Season 1 – SO good!) until about 9, and then we went to Diversey River Bowl for some glow bowling with some friends. I wore my UGGs and got called out. lol. I’M A FRAUD!!!! But actually it was just super snowy and I didn’t want to lose my new Sorels, ok!?!

Sunday we literally hibernated ALL. DAY.

We ate Chipotle, napped, watched a lot of football and Fixer Upper, and then at night we BLASTED some Christmas music, lit some Christmas candles, ordered Thai food and decorated for Christmas (with a little help from Taffy!)

Overall it was SUCH a perfect weekend.

So tell me… What did you do this weekend? Anything fun?! Do you have any ideas for stuff to do during cold & snowy weekend days?! Tell me everything! I’ll be back in a couple of days with a GIVEAWAY for you guys!!!! It’s so good and I can’t WAIT! Xo.


P.S. A portion of this post was sponsored by New Balance Chicago, but I promise all opinions are my own! I swear I really needed some sneaks! Lol. Xo.