I Think I Can! Week 3- Whole30 & New Recipes!

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A mango has never tasted so…..mango-ey?

It’s true. Week three on the Whole30 I actually taste things differently. As cliché as it may sound, I feel as though my palate is reawakening!

Suddenly, I notice that the inside of a blackberry actually has a subtly different sweetness and flavor to it than its outer drupelets, and hubby and I both don’t need as much salt on things to bring out flavor. It’s amazing how dulled my senses were just a few weeks ago!

And now for the food highlights of the week…..

Roasting & Salting Your Own Cashews

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One of the caveats of the Whole30 cleanse is that you have to avoid several kinds of oils, like canola, peanut, vegetable, etc.

Cashews are one of the “approved” nuts on the cleanse and are recommended “raw.” I prefer them roasted and salted, but every time I go to buy some, it always lists canola or some other sketchy oil added.

So, my mission this week was to figure out how to do it myself! After some trial and error, I think I may have finally nailed it!

You’ll Need:

1 LB raw cashews

1-2 TBS Olive or Coconut oil (*coconut oil gives it a kind of popcorn taste!)

Sea salt

Large bowl

A cookie sheet lined with tin foil

How to:

Preheat oven to 250.

The key is to SOAK the nuts in salt water first. Pour the nuts into a large bowl and add enough warm water to just cover them. Sprinkle about 2 TBS salt over the nuts and stir a few times. The water should be pretty salty. Let the nuts soak in the warm salt water for 15-20 minutes.

While soaking, line the cookie sheet with foil and rub a bit of oil on the foil. Drain nuts and spread out onto the lined and oiled cookie sheet. Sprinkle a bit more salt over the wet cashews and place in the oven.

Bake at 250 for 1-1.5 hours, or until slightly golden. Let cool and enjoy!

Some of the salt you sprinkled will fall off when you move the nuts to store them, but some of that saltines from soaking with remain!

 

Fun New Veggie Of The Week:

ROMANESCO!

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It’s hard to miss this crazy vegetable in the store. It is neon green, spiky, and downright otherworldly! A cross between cauliflower and broccoli, romanesco (also known as green cauliflower) packs a punch of  B vitamins, as well as A, C, and K, fiber, magnesium, protein, potassium, omega 3, and even tryptophan!

I chose to simply pull apart the flowers and sauté it in ghee, sea salt, and lemon pepper, with some carrots, zucchini and yellow squash. It was a hit! My daughter enjoyed the funky texture and asked for more!

 

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Maté Latte !

I enjoy my maté the traditional way, in the gourd, with the bombilla (see my earlier post!). But it’s also nice to just have a cup the lazy way with a tea bag sometimes.

This week I tried the Guayaki  brand. Since the individual bags contain only a fraction of the leaves you would use when drinking it in the gourd, the flavor is definitely not as strong (which some may prefer), but it did allow me to enjoy my tea as a “latte.”

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I simply added 1 TBS of coconut milk, and for extra immunity, energy, and good fats, I threw in a teaspoon of coconut oil.

The result was a smooth, creamy, yerbalicious latte !

(Might try with a tad bit of honey when I’m off of the cleanse).

Simple Salmon

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I found a lovely wild caught filet at Trader Joe’s this week and here’s how I recommend preparing it:

Drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice over the filet. Sprinkle some sea salt and chipotle seasoning (ground garlic, cumin, cayenne, and onion). Set the oven on low broil and move the top rack as high as it goes. Broil for about 10-12 minutes or until the fat turns while on the top and inside the thickest part is still a little translucent and juicy. 

Served it up with some sweet potato and kale sautéed over medium heat (covered) with ghee, sea salt, and herbs de province. Easy peasy!

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Prosciutto Egg Cups

Breakfast is so important. But eggs every morning can get a little boring. So I tried this….

Got the inspiration from a pin on pinterest, (but used prosciutto instead of ham). My finished product does not look as pretty, but they were tasty and a nice variation from scrambled eggs!

Directions:

Simply spray a little olive oil in a few cups in your muffin pan. Line the cups with prosciutto (one slice per cup should do it, but may need a piece or two extra to fill an any gaps). Crack one egg into the cup. Sprinkle with a little pepper and sea salt. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the eggs whites are cooked. If you like them more over easy, you may want to take them out sooner. These yolks were cooked all the way through.

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Speaking of Pinterest….

You may be interested in following me on Pinterest. I’ve been pinning many whole30  and paleo recipes, some of which I had tried, and many of which I have yet to try!

(**Side note** If you’re living in or new the San Diego area, you also might be interested in the Pinterest site I manage for Dining Out San Diego- The Magazine. I pin and review all the best local restaurants. It’s a helpful tool for choosing from one of the many, many amazing places to eat! We’ve also got a tumblr site, and you can follow us on Fabcebook as well!) #shamelessplug

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“Am I A Believer?” Week 2-Whole30

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I was overjoyed when my husband decided at the last minute to join me in doing the Whole30 cleanse! Not only is it great to have someone help hold me accountable, but I obviously care about his overall health and well being, and love seeing him take care of himself.

Moreover, it has been a great way to connect and nerd out about food and health issues. We both read It Starts With Food and since have had many conversations about it, over many tasty meals.

Initially, I think my husband was a bit wary of the whole “paleo” thing, though he may not have realized how many of the meals I was already making were “paleo.”  Still, ‘ya can’t knock it till you try it!’ So that’s just what he (we) have done! Here’s his recent testimony via a facebook (emphasis mine):

“Am I a believer now? For crying out loud, it’s only been 11 days. I can say this: I feel better, my energy is up and consistent throughout the day, and for some crazy reason I’m waking up early and actually feeling like a slept. We’ll see where this continues to go, but at this point I’m just thankful. It’s true, I’m quite excited for the day when I can return to a wee dram, or a bite of mintchip, but as I indulge in moderation I won’t soon loose the memory of better health.”

Music to my ears… 🙂

So, week two proved to be a bit easier (minus no chocolate on Valentine’s day!),  and I received such great feedback about the recipes from my last post, that I thought I would include a few more from this week:

Slow Cooker Parsnip Chicken Masala 

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I discovered parsnips this week and decided to try them out in a crock pot recipe. The texture and flavor is similar to carrots. It was delicious and another great starch option for the cleanse. You could easily add just about any veggie you have on hand. Sweet potato, celery, etc. 

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts, uncooked

1 medium parsnip, chopped

2 cups of carrots, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 Tsp salt

2 TBS  (or more) Garam Masala spices (or combine cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, clove, cumin and pepper )

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot and cook for 4-6 hours. Serve with kale chips on the side!

Easy Avocado Salad

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For a quick, tasty side and dose of healthy fats and omegas, toss together:

2 avocados, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Juice of  one lime


Sweet Beet Stir Fry

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We dubbed this our “Valentine lunch” since the beets stained everything pink!

Ingredients:

1 medium beet, peeled and sliced

2-3 sausages (we used Trader Joe’s garlic herb chicken sausage which is whole30 friendly)

1-2 cups of fresh kale (also used trader joe’s organic, pre-washed, and cut)

1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 TBS coconut oil or ghee

1 Tsp salt

Directions:

Warm the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the beets, cover, and let cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook until veggies are tender.

Green Chile Pork Avocado Cream Enchiladas

When I was purchasing the meat for this dish, Aria overheard me asking the man for  “1.5 pounds of pork butt, please.” Then, my sweet two-year-old announced to me, and anyone in the near vicinity, “I don’t waaaanna eat the butt!” (bless.)

I used this recipe  from PaleOMG as a base, and made a few tweaks of my own (added the green chile!).

http://paleomg.com/pork-avocado-cream-enchiladas/

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Ingredients:

For the tortillas
  • 6 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 6 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
For the filling
  • 1.5lbs pork rump roast
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 cup vegetable broth
For the avocado cream sauce
  • 2 avocados, pitted and insides removed
  • 1 TBS green chile power
  • 1 TBS frozen green chile, chopped
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 8-10 olives, halved
 Directions:
-Place pork butt in the crock pot with onion and seasonings and set to cook for 6-8 hours. Shred meat apart with two forks.IMG_2200
-Tortillas: Whisk all your tortilla ingredients together until all the lumps are gone. Warm some oil (coconut or ghee) in a large skillet on medium heat. Pour a 4 inch in diameter circle in the center of your pan and tilt the pan around to spread the batter into a large circle. Let the tortilla cook for a minute or so, until the tortilla bubbles and the edges begin to turn up. CAREFULLY flip the tortilla to cook the other side. Place on plate to let cool. Repeat with leftover batter. You should get 5-6 tortillas from your batter.
Cream sauce: Place all the ingredients for your avocado cream sauce into a food processor and puree until completely smooth.
-Turn on your broiler to high.
-In an 8×8 glass baking dish, lay out a tortilla, place a little bit of your shredded pork along with a little avocado cream sauce (be sure to save some to put on top of the tortillas later) then curl the sides of the tortilla around to make a mini burrito. Repeat with all of your tortillas so they are lined up side by side in your glass baking dish.
-Put your baking dish under your broiler and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until your tortillas become crispy.
-Then remove baking dish from the oven and turn broiler to low. Cover the enchiladas with the rest of your avocado cream sauce then place back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
-Top with cilantro and olives (and for those post whole30 experiment, I will try a bit of raw milk cheddar cheese!)

Valentine Breakfast


Sweet Potato Hash & Heart Eggs Over Easy

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For fun, I used this little heart egg shaper that Greg gave me for a stocking stuffer this Christmas, but you can just do regular over easy eggs!

Simply chop some sweet potatoes and with a TBS coconut oil in a skillet, cook the potatoes till tender. Season with salt and pepper. Another tasty variation is to add bacon bits!

In a separate skillet, fry the eggs and lay over the pile of potatoes. Mash and enjoy!

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One Day At A Time: Whole30 – Week 1

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“Do NOT Eat That Run-over Hershey’s Krackel

on the Ground in the Parking Lot!” 

No, that is not me reprimanding my two-year-old. That’s my inner dialogue (to the chocolate addict in me who is going through withdrawal) as I resist the urge to drop down onto all fours and go to town on that morsel!

I exaggerate.

But doing this Whole30 cleanse from sugar and, yes, chocolate, has definitely left me missing my Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almonds with sea salt and  having some (slightly irrational) fantasies about concrete crushed Krackels (which is really gross and sad when you think about it).

I have also had many dreams this past week about indulging in Chai Lattes and swimming in tubs full of pasta. I’m told these are all normal withdrawal symptoms (is there a support group for this?).

But seriously. It hasn’t been that bad.

Week one of Whol30 has been an adventure in discipline, and I’ve had a great time finding and making up some new, tasty dishes. It has gotten us back into meal planning, we are eating out a lot less (which is saving us a little money as well), and it has slowed us down in a good way. We are beginning to appreciate this clean eating, and are becoming more sensitive to what our bodies truly need.

Yes, Greg and I have both been a bit more feisty and foggier as our bodies begin to recharge and detox. There have been ups and downs in mood swings. We’ve had some headaches and felt “empty” and “hungry” as we learn to be less dependent on sugar and simple carbs.

BUT nothing worth doing is every easy. All in all, week one has proved to us how much we really need this cleanse, and we feel confident that hitting the “reset” button on our systems is a good thing!

Things I’ve learned this week:

1. Stir Frys are life savers!- With some pre-cut veggies on hand, meat, and a few spices, I made several tasty and easy whole30 meals using only one pan on the stove! See a recipe below!

2.Keep already cooked, or at least thawed, meat on hand. -The day would get away from me and I would be stuck at lunch time with nothing easy to prepare. This is where, in the past, I would so often reach for the fast, snacky, filler foods before like a quesadilla, or chips and salsa, or a box of mac n cheese (talk about putting Mommy to sleep!). Having some boiled chicken, or bacon left over from breakfast on hand was helpful.

3. Hard boiled eggs! – A great, quick protein snack for in between meals. Chop them up with some avocado, raw carrots, celery, and a pinch of sea salt and paprika for a kind of egg salad. The avocado could be mashed a bit to create a creamier texture (akin to mayonnaise). You could also add some bacon pieces (now we’re just getting crazy!).

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4. Maté- Yerba Maté is a wild shrub from Argentina that makes a delicious, flavorful tea. It’s a great alternative to coffee (though coffee is not banned on Whole30). I found it helpful to enjoy some in the late morning during this first week when I got cravings for sugar (as long as I knew that it wasn’t legit hunger I was feeling, but a sugar craving). As a nursing mom, I still need lots of god fats and calories, so I would snack as needed, but maté helped curb my appetite for unhealthy snacks. Maté is a good source of calcium and antioxidants and gives you a natural boost of energy without the spike and crash that coffee or caffeinated soft drinks often result in.

Here are a few of our successful meals

from this week!

 

 

 

 

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN & PROSCIUTTO STIR FRY 

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Easily thrown together from left over boiled chicken I had on hand, and some veggies.

Ingredients:

2 Boiled chicken breasts, shredded into chunky pieces

4-5 slices of Prosciutto, torn into smaller pieces

1-2 TBS Coconut oil

1 1/2 Cups torn kale leaves

2 large yellow & red bell peppers, cut into strips

1-2 cups of red cabbage, chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1/2 a medium red onion, chopped

Chipotle Seasoning to taste – I used a local mix I bought, but you could just sprinkle to taste some or all of the following: Black pepper, sea salt, oregano, gran. onion, cumin, orange peel, cilantro, spearmint, and bay leaves.

Directions:

In a large skillet pan, heat the oil on medium. Add the onion, garlic, and kale and cook for 2 minutes. Add the prosciutto and red cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cooked chicken, peppers, and seasoning. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until peppers are slightly soft, but not limp.

SCOTCH EGGS 

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A protein-packed snack, or dinner!

Ingredients:

Hard boiled eggs

Ground turkey or beef

Seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, whatever else you feel like throwing in!)

Spicy mustard for dipping

Directions:

Mash up ground meat with your seasoning of choice. Peel and pat dry the eggs. Wrap the meat around the eggs (I just used my fingers and stuck a bit at a time, some people roll out little pancakes of meat and roll it around the egg…whatever works for you!). Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with mustard, or pico de gallo, and a side salad. We added a dessert of kiwi and blood oranges!

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED

SPINACH & ARTICHOKE STUFFED CHICKEN 

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The title is a mouthful, and so were these delicious morsels! Juicy and super easy to prepare. We enjoyed them with roasted sweet potatoes and yams, and kale chips on the side.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C Spinach

1 can artichoke hearts

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 Pkg Prosciutto

8 Chicken filets, or 4 breasts sliced lengthwise into filets

Sea salt

Lemon pepper

Toothpicks

Stuffing:

Steam the spinach then combine with artichokes in a food processor. Add coconut milk gradually. Add salt and lemon pepper to taste.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350.

First pat the chicken filets with a paper towel to remove excess water. Then, spread about a tablespoon of the stuffing onto one side of the filet. Roll the chicken and wrap with one slice of prosciutto. Hold together with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining breasts.

Place side by side in a Pyrex glass baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until juicy and chicken is white through when pierced.

 

SEE WEEK 2 on WHOLE 30