Easy Crispy Breakfast Potatoes

I’m cheers-ing my coffee to you, friend. How does some good ‘ol fashioned breakfast sound for you?

You know, the kind that has you drooling a bit. The soft scrambled eggs or the drippy yolk if you’re feeling wild. The freshly brewed coffee that fills the air. And, am I the only one that can be brought straight out of bed no matter the hour by the smell of bacon alone? Okay cool, glad I’m not alone. :)

Easy_Whole30_Crispy_Breakfast_Potatoes

But today, we’re talking potatoes. And, it’s up to you. You can call these hash browns, homefries or crispy potatoes but whatever you call them, they’re good. Like, you don’t really need to put ketchup or hot sauce all over them kind of good – but you totally can if you want to.

I’m a breakfast potato girl. I love the eggs, and I love the breakfast meats. But slide me a plate of warm, crispy & perfectly seasoned potatoes and you’ve got my heart. That’s where we’re going today. Straight to the potatoes.

Easy_Whole30_Crispy_Breakfast_Potatoes

And while we’re at it, no one said you ONLY have to have these for breakfast. Break the boundaries! Pair these up with a soup or a salad for lunch. Or how about swapping out the fries next to your burger and inserting these things?

Yep. I’m about it.

Easy_Whole30_Crispy_Breakfast_Potatoes

This recipe is:

  • Easy
  • Flavorful
  • Versatile

Did I mention easy?

So let’s start crisping already, okay?


Easy_Whole30_Crispy_Breakfast_Potatoes

Easy Crispy Breakfast Potatoes

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
  • salt & pepper to taste

(optional: red pepper flakes, seasoning salt)

Instructions:

  1. Chop potatoes into 1 inch cubes (you don’t want them so thick that they don’t cook all the way through)
  2. Heat oil in a medium sized skillet on medium-low heat (test that the oil is hot enough by sprinkling in water. If it sizzles, it’s ready!)
  3. Add in potatoes, season & stir.
  4. At this point, leave them be for a solid 4-5 minutes.
  5. Check and see if 2 or 3 cubes are crispy on one side. If not, don’t stir yet.
  6. By 5-6 minutes they should start to get crispy so, stir!
  7. Keep up this process (leaving them be, checking for crisp level, stirring) until crispy on all sides.
  8. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for meal prep!
Easy_Whole30_Crispy_Breakfast_Potatoes

There you have it, breakfast/lunch/dinner fiends. Don’t forget, I’m checkin’ for ya. If you make any of my recipes tag me on Instagram @lodownliving.

With gratitude,

Lo

One Pot Vegetable Ramen

During the colder months, I can’t get enough of comfort food. It’s the bowls of pasta, ladles of soup or creamy mashed potatoes that make me feel really warm inside. To this day, one of my favorite comfort foods is spaghetti and meatballs.

Whole30_One_Pot_Vegetable_Ramen

And of course, nothing compares to my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. Oh, my goodness. How is it that everything tastes 125% better when your Mom makes it? I hope that once I have a child all of Mom-ness will just magically appear within me. Because I swear, every ham sandwich, pudding cup, and glass off O.J. tasted better when I was a kid when it came from my Mom. And real talk now that I'm 30...not much has changed.

Whole30_One_Pot_Vegetable_Ramen
Whole30_One_Pot_Vegetable_Ramen

Another meal that I can remember us having around the house when I was younger was ramen noodles. That, I admittedly pronounced as RAY-MEN noodles up until like, yesterday. (LOL!) But I guess we got fancy and started calling it RAH-MEN...which, either way, tasted damn good back then.

But, now that I've been cooking on my own for a few years and have been remixing my childhood favorites as healthier meals - I think it's about time I tackled ramen. What do you say?

Whole30_One_Pot_Vegetable_Ramen

This meal is delicious. Let's just call it what it is. And the great thing about it is that there are so many options & variations you can use when you make it.

No dietary restrictions? Use the noodles from the ramen noodle packets!

On Whole30? Use spaghetti squash or zoodles!

Whole30_One_Pot_Vegetable_Ramen

Not a fan of kale? Substitute spinach!

Want some protein? Add in shredded chicken! Or shrimp!

See? I told you that you could crazy with this recipe. And crazy we will get, friends! Here we go.


Whole30_Vegetable_Ramen-Noodles

One Pot Vegetable Ramen (Whole30 Friendly)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 teaspoons grated garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth (could use any broth here. For Whole30 - check your labels!)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cup chopped kale (or spinach)
  • 1 cups shredded carrot
  • Noodle options:
    • 1 roasted spaghetti squash*
    • 1 spiralized zucchini/squash/sweet potato noodle *

INSTRUCTIONS:

SPAGHETTI SQUASH

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut squash in half
  • Scoop out the guts & toss
  • Drizzle with olive oil & season with salt & pepper
  • Place face down on a greased baking sheet
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes or until squash pulls away from shell easily

RAMEN BROTH

  1. Chop your garlic & ginger first.
  2. Then, heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped garlic and ginger.
  3. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Then add the broth & water.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the mushrooms, green onions, kale & carrots & salt to taste.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened and the broth is flavorful.
  7. Add the ramen noodles, spaghetti squash or zoodles to the hot liquid and remove from the heat.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

*These veggie based noodles hold a lot of water. Add them moments before eating to not water down the broth. If you choose to use the noodles from the packets you will want to stir a few times until they have softened in the broth. Approximately 3-4 minutes.

(adapted from Pinch of Yum)


Remember, if you make one of my recipes, be sure to tag me on Instagram with @lodownliving so I can see them!

Why I'm Embracing Minimalism And Doing More With So Much Less

What do you think of when you hear the word minimalism? You probably think stark white walls, neutral colors of black, white, gray & nude throughout a home and minimal belongings strewn about.

Just a heads up, that’s not my life. Yet, I’m embracing minimalism completely. Living in a minimalistic way has made so many positive changes in my life physically, mentally and emotionally. And real talk? I’m never going back to my old ways.

Let me tell you how I got to where I was before I decided on minimalism.

My Backstory

The farthest memory I can remember that I had an abundance of things was when I first went off to college. There is nothing like a move to make you open up your eyes and look at all your belongings. It was box after box, trash bag after trash bag, trinket after trinket being stuffed into a super tiny dorm room.

For what?

I needed to have all of the coolest things and deck my dorm room out every year, multi-colored lights, mini fridges, microwaves galore and all. But it didn’t just stop when I graduated college.

Once I graduated I stayed in my college town, (Kent State Flashes FOR LIFE!) and got an apartment with my S.O. And so now, it wasn’t just my stuff I was fitting into a small apartment, it was also my partners.

You could barely walk without stepping on something, open a cabinet without a plastic container decking you in the face, or open a closet without something flying at you. There was stuff everywhere. And I felt smothered and claustrophobic too. Something about having that much stuff just made me feel like the walls were closing in. But, I was still young and the world says that you need things to feel good and to show others you’ve got your sh*t together.

Fast-forward 2 years & a break up later, my best friend had just bought a house and asked me to move in with her. Yet again, another move under my belt. This time I filled the room with things I thought I wanted. All the colors, pillows, electronics, pictures, rugs, candles & more.

It wasn’t until I decided to sell all of my stuff & move to New York city did I realize how much of those things didn’t matter. This was a time in my life where I was trying to find myself. I wanted to really learn who I was; stop being scared & do something liberating. Moving to New York City will definitely do that for you.

My room in NYC was so small that it didn’t have a closet. My mattress almost touched 3 walls and I had just enough room for my bed, my laundry hamper, a dresser and a mirror. Everything else was under my lofted bed. When I finally left NYC and moved in with my then boyfriend (yep, another move), I had nothing to really take with me. I sold my mattress, bed frame & dresser. Gave away books I never read for free and packed all of my clothes into two suitcases and a few duffle bags. I was coming back home to so much but with a lot less.

It wasn’t until I got my own apartment did I make the decision to do things differently. At this time, I had gone through a period of depression and had moments of anxiety. My mind was constantly running, I was indecisive about things that should’ve been easily decided and I was more unsure than ever of who I was.

What do I like to do?

What do I like to where?

How do I want to dress my space?

How do I want people to feel when they enter my home?

These were questions I didn’t have the answers to. But what I did know was that who I’d been wasn’t who I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be depressed, anxious, unsure of myself and unhappy on my path. I didn’t want to hide who I truly wanted to be with things that I never used or clothes that I never wore. I wanted to enjoy myself each and every day and stop wasting time on trying to make the best decision that everyone around me agrees with.

It was too much. And so I made a conscious decision to strip it all away.


Where I Am Today

I wanted a life that was simple yet, full of all the things I truly loved. And that meant chipping away at all the things I was holding on to for fear of what it meant if I let it go. Letting these things or people go meant I no longer had something to hide behind. It meant that all that was left was putting the puzzle pieces back together of who I truly was and stand in that boldly.

So I started with my closet and sold or donated everything that I hadn’t worn in the last 6 months. Everything else I tried on & asked myself if I truly felt beautiful in that piece. If it wasn’t a solid yes, then it was a no and was sold or donated. Since then, I’ve only added pieces that I love, can be worn for at least a few years no matter the trends that come and go and currently match an item I already have in my closet.

Next, I was completely intentional about the pieces throughout my home. I bought a bed frame and a mattress that I adore. My couch was a hand-me-down from my sister but it fit my décor perfectly and I really liked it. And my TV stand works great with the other pieces in my apartment and fits great in the space. Everything has a purpose, is functional and gets used frequently.

And lastly, my favorite space in the house, the kitchen. I only keep on hand what I need. I don’t have a lazy Susan full of spices that I never use or a cabinet full of non-perishables sitting and waiting for the perfect recipe. I want to know that I have what I need and nothing more. Sure, I keep a can of coconut milk stocked in the pantry but that’s because I know it will get used. But I don’t buy that spice or ingredient just because it’s on sale and I may need it someday down the road.


Thinking Of Going Minimalist?

If you’re thinking of going minimalist I just want you to consider a few things before throwing out all your clothes, moving into a smaller space & cutting ties with relationships.

Minimalism for me isn't a trend or something cool to try on. It's a mindset and lifestyle that has lifted a weight off my shoulder and mind that I've been carrying for too long. With less "things" I now have a clearer perspective on what certain items mean to me. I also have a clean slate to start finally crafting the type of life I've always wanted. Minimalism has given me the mental freedom so that I no longer spend hours on deciding what to wear and rather more time living in the moment. Minimalism has shown me that what matters is the conversations, relationships, feelings and moments - not the act of buying things out of feeling like that's what I "should do."

Before taking the next step, think of places in your life where you need a bit more space and clarity. Where are you spending a lot of your mental energy? What in your life can be made simpler? What does an abundant life look like to you?

And from these answers, begin chipping away at the pieces and parts of your life that create a roadblock to the type of life you want and the person you want to be.

 

Over to you! Is minimalism the right fit for your life? Let me know in the comment section below. 


Want more conversations like this in your inbox? You've got it!

Pork Fried Cauliflower Rice

There's nothing like a Friday night, a good movie & some takeout. After a long week of cooking, I've always made Friday my night to grab takeout and give myself a vacation from the kitchen.

It's a bit harder to do while on Whole30 because there are very few restaurants that have compliant Whole30 food. So I took the liberty of making a takeout favorite, fried rice, and mixing it into a Whole30 compliant meal.

It's full of flavor and can all be made in 1 pot. Let's get to it, you'll never miss your usual chinese takeout with this meal!


whole30-pork-fried-cauliflower-rice

Whole30 Pork Fried Cauliflower Rice

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 12oz bag of frozen or fresh cauliflower rice
  • 1c. shredded carrots
  • 1tsp diced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 Small-medium sized pork chops 
  • 1tbsp ghee
  • Optional: mushrooms and 1 egg

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Melt the ghee & add in onion, garlic & ginger. Sauté until soft.
  • Add in carrots and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove onion, garlic, ginger & carrots from pan.
  • Dice up pork chops into 1inch pieces
  • In the same pan, (add more ghee if needed) add pork chop pieces and fry until fully cooked.
  • Add onion, garlic, ginger & carrots back in and add in the cauliflower rice.
  • Toss for 2-3 minutes just until the cauliflower rice is soft and no longer frozen.
  • Right before serving add in coconut aminos & toasted sesame oil
  • Serve & enjoy!

Over to you! How's your Whole30 going so far? Leave a comment with your favorite Whole30 meal so far.

And, as always, if you make one of my recipes please tag @lodownliving or #lodownliving so I can see 'em!

With gratitude,

Lo

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

If you're following along with me on Instagram then you know I recently started the Whole30. If you're not completely familiar with the program you can read more about it here.

One of the hardest parts of the Whole30, outside of the sugar withdraws, is figuring out what the heck to eat for every meal of the day. There are a lot of resources out there but, if you're anything like me, you never know if someone else's meals are going to be to your liking.

So, while I do have a handful that I can trust no matter what, I usually like to take what I already know about cooking and just use Whole30 compliant ingredients. Cue this butternut squash soup.

I saw the original recipe on the Pinch of Yum website and knew that I needed to create this for super simple lunches throughout the week. There were only a few ingredients, it sounded delicious and Lindsay, the blogger behind POY, is one of the few food bloggers that I completely trust.

So here we go!


easy-whole30-butternut-squash-soup

Easy Whole30 Butternut Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 12oz bag of cubed butternut squash
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 1/4 compliant almond milk ( I use Trader Joe's unsweetened original almond milk)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Dice garlic & onion and sauté until soft
  • Add in butternut squash & toss for 1-2 minutes
  • Transfer to a blender & add in almond milk
  • Blend until smooth!

**store in sealed container for 1 week or freeze and use later!


Keep coming back or follow me on Instagram to see the Whole30 meals I create this month!

With gratitude,

Lo

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

We only have a few weeks left in 2017. It’s usually right around this time of year that people reflect back on the things they wished they had accomplished and begin creating resolutions for next year. I’m sure you can relate, in the past, at least one of my resolutions was around losing weight or being healthier. I’m not sure where the tradition began that at the beginning of the year we need to refocus on our health above all. While it doesn’t usually happen this way, me included, I’d think our health and well-being would be a focus of ours all year long.

And, according to social media, blogs & more, we’re super obsessed with “wellness” and being healthy. So why do we run around like chickens with our heads cut off scrambling to get a gym membership & begin the latest diet? Honestly, I’m asking myself the same question because I’ve done that in the past too. And truth be told, there is only one time that something I did in the new year stuck with me all year long, and that's when I did the Whole30 to help me with my Candida.

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

Now, I didn’t stay completely Whole30 compliant all year long. But, I took what I learned with me even to this day and I’m so much more conscious about what I buy at the store and when I’m out to breakfast/lunch/dinner. Whether you try the Whole30 or not, if you’re looking for a resolution or goal to start in 2018 (btw you can start now, you don’t have to wait until the ball drops) I hope you choose something that you can take with you for the long haul.

That’s why I’ve created 50 resolutions or goals to make that have nothing to do with dieting or losing weight. I believe our health and well-being should be a priority every day and, for the record, I’m not just talking about our bodies either. Feeling great is all-encompassing and truth be told, when we feel great mentally it usually translates into feeling better in our own skin too. I get it though, it’s a daily practice and the process evolves over time.

But while you’re counting down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, contemplate a few of these ideas below and take them into the new year with you.

1. Put your phone down more

This has consistently been a goal of mine every day. I'm never too far away from my phone and never mind if it annoys you because it annoys the hell out of me. So yes, phone down, head up. Which leads me to my next point...

2. Try a digital detox

3. See a financial advisor about your debt &/or retirement

4. Practice more yoga

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5. Try a meditation challenge

6. Start a blog

7. Learn a new language

8. Join a MeetUp group

9. Actually call a friend once a week

Isn't it strange that it's now uncomfortable to talk to someone on the phone? I remember days when my mom would yell up the stairs "Laura get off the phone and go to bed!" and I'd be like "mhm, okay!" and keep yapping away for hours. Texting is fine but a phone call here & there would really be special.

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight loss

10. Say ‘no’ to one commitment a week

11. Say ‘yes’ to one commitment a week

12. Get outdoors by hiking, rollerblading, throwing snowballs, making snow angels, etc.

13. Join a roller derby team

14. Turn your TV off by 8 pm

I'm notorious for laying in bed & watching Netflix until I fall asleep. Lately, I've been bringing a book to bed with me. This not only helps me read more but for reason reading always makes me sleepy. So, it's always great for those nights when my mind is running a bit too fast right before bedtime.

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight loss

15. Put your phone in a separate room at night

16. Turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’ at 7 pm each night

17. Pick up journaling

I've been journaling 3-4 times a week lately and it's been really great. While I am an advocate for therapy (see #18), journaling is a great stress reliever for those times in between sessions when you can't talk to your therapist.

18. Go to therapy

19. Tell your friends to set you up on a date

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

20. Go on a date

21. Begin a book club

22. Begin a dinner club

23. Go on a retreat

24. Book a quick trip last minute

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

25. Go on a weekend road trip 3 times in a year

26. Book the big international ticket

27. Pay off your credit card each month

Credit cards give me anxiety. I have one but I literally never use it. One time I got too deep into credit card debt and it weighed on me really heavily. Now, if I use it, it's to build up the points and savings for either a plane ticket or something else. But I always, always, always make sure I already have the money in my account so that I can pay it off asap. 

28. Marie Kondo your home & get rid of what you no longer need

29. Donate your clothes

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

30. Try ThredUp and get extra cash for your clothes

31. Start a Poshmark account for extra cash

I once sold a pair of Hunter boots on Poshmark for $50! It also helps to send your buyer a little thank you note for their purchase.

32. Cook your way through a cookbook

33. Propose a new idea or project at work and ask to be the lead

34. Start a podcast or YouTube channel

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

35. Reach out to an admired friend and give them gratitude

36. Say ‘no’ to one workout a week

37. Cancel all plans one weekend a month

I've had the luxury of doing this once in November and once in December. IT WAS AMAZING. I beg you to do this for your sanity. It's a glorious thing to only do what YOU want to do for one weekend a month.

38. Listen to new podcasts

39. Start a savings account

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight loss

40. Increase your 401k contribution

I don't know much about 401k's or finance altogether, really. But I know that when I'm 50 I'll had wished I looked into it more. If nothing else, go to your HR Manager and let them know you want to increase your contribution. It's a great starting point.

41. Become an instructor (fitness or hobby)

42. Volunteer around town

43. Apply for a local TED talk

44. Read 1-2 books a month

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

45. Learn to treat yourself outside of food

46. Give up drinking for 1 week a month

Don't look at me like that. You can do this, I promise. It's not as hard as you think.

47. Grow a veggie or flower garden

48. Take an online friendship offline & meet in real life

49. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails

50 New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Weight loss

50. Unfollow people online that create negative thoughts & feelings

I recently unfollowed a lot of people on social media. With all the new algorithms, I was barely seeing anyone's posts anyways. To my point in #1, if my phone is my hand I want it to create inspiration, positivity, a few laughs & a smile. So I'm intentional about the 'Follow' button.


The list could go on and on. The world is full of things you can do that will create abundance and fulfillment outside of changing the way your body looks, depriving yourself of foods your body actually wants & over-exercising for feeling like you must burn it off. Whether you have body focused goals isn’t the question here. It’s more so if that’s the ONLY thing you want to focus on in 2018? I sure don’t. I’m hoping that my body, the way it is right now, will get me through a handful of the listed items above. If it happens to become bigger or smaller for some reason, my biggest want is that I’m still capable of booking the big international ticket, to join a roller derby team and increase my 401k contribution.

Back to you! Did any of the items inspire you to change your 2018 resolutions or goals?