Real Party: Opal Apple of My Eye Baby Shower

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Apple Themed Baby Shower for After Baby is Born

My little sister had a baby in January! Since she lives in Oklahoma and I wanted to meet the baby, I decided to wait to throw her a baby shower until after the baby was born. I’m a big fan of Sip & See parties after little ones are born and ready for company. (Check out the awesome Pumpkin-themed Sip & See my sister threw for me.)

Opal Apples had contacted me a few months earlier about the possibility of throwing an Opal Apple party. After trying out their apples and LOVING them I agreed to throw an apple-themed shindig. Luckily for me, my sister and brother-in-law are both teachers so an apple-themed baby shower was perfect for them! The party decor was all supplied by Opal Apples– they sent fun paper lanterns, fans, and poufs that really gave the whole event a celebratory feel.

We decided an “Apple of My Eye” themed open-house-style sip and see where guests could stop in for a light lunch and tasty desserts while they meet the new babe.

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Apple Themed Party Sip & See Menu

We wanted to have a light lunch with healthful options for guests since it was the middle of the day and we were pairing the food with lots of apple-desserts. Our menu included 4 salads, freshly baked croissants, and desserts:

  • Steak Salad with Arugula & Spinach, Thinly Sliced Red Onions, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Opal Apple Slices, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Chicken Salad with Romaine Lettuce, Opal Apples, Dried Cranberries, Parmesan Cheese, & Apple Cider Vinaigrette (check back tomorrow for a recipe!)
  • Chilled Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  • Pasta Salad with Ham & Tomatoes
  • 3 Cheese Croissants
  • Mini Apple Pies
  • Caramel Apple Pie
  • Apple muffins
  • Italian Creme Cake topped with thinly sliced Opal Apples

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Shower Activity

We made the event an open house style party so people could come and go so we didn’t plan a lot of activities for the party. I am not a huge shower-game fan anyways. (Check out the post about the robot baby shower my friend threw for me that had GREAT baby shower activities!) We did want a couple of things people could do if they didn’t feel like chatting.

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We had a great time celebrating my brand-new nephew and getting to see friends and family throughout the day. A big thank you to Opal Apples for the great party decor and for introducing me to the tasty, yellow apple.


This post was sponsored by Opal Apples. The thoughts and words in this post are my own. More information about Opal apples: Opal is a bright yellow apple that is like none other with its beautiful appearance, distinctively crunchy texture, floral aroma and a sweet, tangy flavor. But one of the most incredible, and natural features of this non-GMO apple is that it does not brown after cutting so it stays crisp and fresh in your salads and your kids’ lunchboxes.

A Well Crafted Man: My Whole30 Experiment and Shurky Jurky Review

Creative Commons Photo via Stephen Oung's Flikr

Creative Commons Photo via Stephen Oung’s Flikr

Cleaning out the system…

In January I changed my diet. I hadn’t been eating foods that would generally be thought of as unhealthy, so I didn’t think this would be a very disruptive experiment. My wife and I had been directed to the Whole30 idea, which basically boils down to eating:

  • meat, pasture-fed and natural, if possible,
  • veggies, in-season are best,
  • some fruit, the higher percentage of water content the better (watermelon has less fructose than mangoes),
  • and a handful of nuts.

Slightly stricter than the Paleo diet it’s based on, it rules out all:

  • sugar,
  • dairy,
  • grains,
  • and legumes.

You’d be surprised how sneaky soy and sugar infest nearly everything in the grocery store. You may also be shocked at how expensive it is to shop for meat and produce, even cutting out those expensive processed foods, and alcohol.

The Whole30 program works like a detox: eliminating food groups that are the usual suspects for food allergens for 30 days, then reintroducing them one at a time. Some symptoms I looked forward to getting rid of: congestion in the mornings, overall fatigue, and once a month headaches. With some skepticism, we decided the pros outweighed the cons, and started the day after New Year’s Day.

We struggled through the first week without too much complaining. Going without half and half in our coffee was a tiny challenge with a nice boost of pride. “Room for cream?” the barista asks. “None for me, thanks; I like it black,” I would smugly say. Going without a glass of wine at dinner was less satisfying, and cutting out beer made me sad. I think I compensated for my lack of beer by over doing the caffeine. My next detox diet will be to go 30 days without caffeine – crazy, I know.

What was most noticeable during the month was the fact that I was always thinking about my diet – even when I wasn’t hungry. It became a part of my identity. I was someone with dietary restrictions. With no history of known food allergies, I’d never had to really think about what I ate. Now, every bite was first mentally reviewed, and queried with the database of “compliant” foods. When my son left a good spoonful of yogurt uneaten, I had to catch myself from finishing up after him. But I felt good – I had clear sinuses each morning, steady energy levels all day, and I felt confident because of my self-discipline.

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Snack, snack, snacking…

When you cut out most carbohydrates – and rice, bread, and potatoes previously made up a large portion of my meals – you’re often left hungry. It takes a while for your body to look to proteins and fat for quick energy, when it’s used to getting its fix from carbs. The Whole30 authors also encourage refraining from over-snacking. Somehow, I was supposed to get by on three filling meals and be done with eating. Maybe someone with a slower metabolism could hack that, but I need to eat!

For snacks, I chose:

  • bananas
  • avocados
  • almonds
  • tuna
  • boiled eggs, until they became part of my very essence (seriously, the return on investment for owning chickens has got to be undeniably high).
  • Yams, which are very easy to cook in the microwave.

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Snackable Whole30 Compliant Protein from Shurky Jurky

But it was difficult to find snack-able proteins. I liked the idea of finding a good beef jerky for snacking. However, most beef jerky in grocery stores have sugar, added flavors, preservatives, and on and on. With serendipitous timing, the guys from Shurky Jurky had recently sent us a sample of their Whole30 compliant beef jerky. If you want to be adventurous, there’s also their chocolate covered jerky. I’m highly tempted to order their monthly subscription – monthly meat, delivered to my door. I’m not usually a fan of jerky – I find it too peppery and spicy – but this was different. It was chewable, smoky, and delicious beef. And it filled the gaps between meals.

Back to Reality…

January is over, and I can go back to eating whatever I want. It’s a little scary, to be honest. Even though I had to follow a restrictive regimen, my body felt good, and I didn’t have to guess what was causing annoying symptoms, aches, and fatigue. I weathered the gentlest cold virus ever over the last week. I’m not going to attribute mystical healing powers to the Whole30 (c’mon, you gotta admit diet programs can be a little cult-like). But I do think my immune system was strengthened. I’m looking forward to spring in the Pacific Northwest, and testing my immunity against the evil hay-fever. I think my body adjusted to higher amounts of protein from beef, pork, chicken, fish, vegetables, and nuts, and lower amounts of starchy foods. And I don’t want to ruin all my hard work. I’m in a difficult position of deciding how to proceed.

Do I want to keep certain food groups out of my diet, even though my experiment is over? Who does that make me – Brian, who doesn’t eat grains or drink beer anymore? Now, I get to choose.


A Well Crafted Party received a complimentary package of the Whole30 Compliant Shurky Jurky for purposes of review. All opinions are those of  A Well Crafted Man. The portable protein snack is created from beef, bison, turkey, or pork. It is Paleo, Gluten-Free, Primal, & Whole30 compliant. Check out the Shurky Jurky website for more information and to purchase your own gourmet jerky.

Things to Do in Portland: GoodnessKnows Wellness Lounge

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This is part of my series featuring things to do in Portland , Or. I have several PNW readers and like to share some of the fun items that residents and visitors can do in the area!

Anyone who is in the Portland area this week and want to get out for an afternoon of fun and learning is invited to the GoodnessKnows Wellness Lounge. I think this would be a fun activity for stay-at-home moms and dads looking to get out of the house for the afternoon, homeschooling parents looking for a little educational field trip, or for a fun lunch break experience to those people (like my husband) who work downtown.

The Deets:

When: Wednesday, August 7 from 11 AM to 3 PM

Where: Pioneer Square, Morrison Corner, 701 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, Ore. 97204

Cost: Free admission!

What is going on!? 

  • Local registered dietitian Megan Roosevelt joins GoodnessKnows to bring the Goodnessknows Wellness Lounge, nutrition tips, and samples.
  • Portland’s “Wall of goodness” photo mural. For each photo taken on-site, goodnessknows will donate a snack square to St. Vincent de Paul, Portland.
  • Family friendly activities like hopscotch and tic tac toe drawn by a local Portland chalk artist
  • Fun exercise sessions hosted throughout the day
  • Giveaways and prizes provided by local radio station, Z 100
  • High quality, affordable nourishment by local food truck – Thrive. (The first 75 guests are getting a $10 voucher for Thrive!)

** This is NOT a sponsored post. I thought this information might be useful for some of my PNW followers. **

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