Monday, July 28, 2014

My Whole30 Experience, Week 4

Day 21:  Forgot to make my eggs last night, so I took a banana, almond butter and homemade kombucha with chia seeds for breakfast.  Have I mentioned I love my kombucha?  Because I really, really do.  It was a crazy day at work and I ended up not being able to come home for lunch (the original plan), so instead I ate a bunch of roast beef and a handful of cashews.  Not my proudest moment, but I didn't go hungry and I didn't cheat!  When I got home for dinner, I browned up some local beef chorizo and made it into a chili con carne.  I also threw together a quick crock pot full of stock with last week's chicken carcass.  I've made my eggs for tomorrow and am feeling a little more on top of things.

Day 22: Woke up, packed my eggs, kombucha, banana and almond butter PLUS a piece of prosciutto bacon, which was delicious!  My kombucha exploded all over my desk, I'm using a different kind of juice this week, and it seems that it ferments much more quickly than my other batch.  Live and learn (and keep Clorox wipes in your desk drawer)!  For lunch I ordered off Panera's secret Power Menu.  I got the Mediterranean Chicken salad (with no bacon).  It was nice, if a little bland. Then for dinner I had leftover chili con carne and some strawberries sprinkled with coconut (in two different bowls, just to be clear, I didn't top my chili with strawberries). 

Day 23:  My kombucha exploded in epic fashion all over the wall of my office this morning, so apparently ALL of them got extra fizzy this time, though I'm not sure why. Had my eggs and banana as well, they did not explode upon opening. Ate leftover chili for lunch and dinner, I've got a lot on my plate at work this week and have been working a little more than I'd like.

Day 24: Kombucha, eggs, banana, almond butter, and no explosion.  Win!  I had a no-bun-no-cheese-no-sauce In 'N Out burger for lunch (get used to mustard, people).  Then I went out to dinner with a visiting co-worker for dinner at a Mexican restaurant (talk about not being able to eat anything).  I ended up with a steak salad, but it wasn't fun watching her drink her margarita and eat her cheesy, corny meal.  I lived to tell the tale, however.  6 days to go!

Day 25: Just eggs and kombucha for breakfast this morning, I'm out of bananas. Really looking forward to a full weekend (no coming in to work, just working from home!  Hooray!).  Made a date with a friend for the farmer's market on Sunday and I'm headed out to a dinner party on Saturday night, my hostess is giving me a hard time about why vinegar is okay, but wine isn't and why legumes are out, but I'll bring myself some seltzer and a dish I know is compliant and go from there!  For dinner I made chicken tom kha, and it really hit the spot!

Day 26: Slept right through breakfast time, so I made myself a brunch of sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, prosciutto and shallot hash, with an over-medium egg.  It was delicious, if I do say so myself.  For lunch I had a fruit smoothie while I prepared my dish for a dinner party.  I made shrimp ceviche (no corn) with homemade sweet potato chips for dipping (slice thin thinly coat with neutral oil and salt and bake at 250 for 90 minutes, flip halfway).  It was pretty delicious (and it wasn't just me that said so).

Day 27: Lazed about until farmer's market time, big mistake, as I didn't eat before I left.  Fortunately, I was able to avoid buying everything in sight and came home to some tuna salad and an apple with almond butter.

Then I made yellow curry with chicken over some fried cauliflower rice for dinner.  It was good, and I have enough leftover for a meal tomorrow!
Sprouts has Wild Boar and Kangaroo and all kinds of crazy meats!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whole30 Chili Recipes ~ Pork and Beef, for all your meaty needs!

My Grannie's Famous Pork Green Chili

What you'll need:

  • 2 lbs. of pork loin or butt cut into cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 T oil of your choice (I used grape seed)
  • 1 cup hatch green chilies
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 6 cups stock (or water if you don't have any)
  • 2 14 oz. cans of tomatoes
  • 1 T chili powder
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
Heat your tablespoon of oil over medium heat and brown your pork, add the onions and saute until translucent.  Add all other ingredients, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for at least 60 minutes on low (up to 2 hours).  When pork is tender and flavors have melded, it's ready.  It's even better the next day after a night in the fridge!  Or freeze some for a "heck no, I'm not cooking dinner" kind of night.

My own made up Chili Con Carne with Beef Chorizo

What you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Beef Chorizo 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 14 oz. can of tomatoes
  • 4 cups stock (or water if you don't have any)
  • 2 cups cauliflower diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups garnet yam, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t cayenne
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • avocado and cilantro for garnish
Brown your onion and chorizo over medium heat and then drain (my chorizo was SUPER fatty).  add your other ingredients (other than garnish) and simmer for about an hour.  This was really filling and lasted for a bunch of meals.  It would also freeze nicely.  I wasn't sure about the cauliflower and yam, but it ended up adding bulk and texture to the chili (like beans usually do) and I liked it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Whole30 Experience, Week 3

Day 14:  It's still a Monday, and I'm still not jumping out of bed like some kind of chipper, crazed lunatic, but I've never done that, and this is a change in lifestyle, not magic.  I should be more realistic with my expectations, I guess. Hard-boiled eggs and carrots for breakfast. Then I ran home for lunch and ate a leftover turkey burger.  I did make myself some dip out of my homemade mayo, I added a squeeze of lime, some cayenne and a little dill, salt and pepper to make a "ranch-ish" dip for veggies.  It was great!

For dinner I cooked up my marinated chicken breasts and made a big ol' salad with faux ranch dressing, roasted beets, tomatoes and cucumber on a bed of spinach and arugula. Mmmmmmm.

One tip, when cooking any meat, it's important to let it rest before slicing, that's not just for steaks.  I've eaten enough bone-dry chicken breasts in my life to take this one pretty seriously.

Day 15: Woke up to black skies - it's monsoon season in the desert. Packed up my usual banana/almond butter/egg breakfast.  I've been drinking seltzer like it's going out of style.  I switched from diet soda to iced tea and/or seltzer over a year ago and it's been really great.  I also quit drinking coffee daily, and now only have it from time to time, so I think having already done that helped me when it came time to starting the Whole30. 

For lunch a trip to the Whole Foods' salad bar followed by some cherries.  I bought some Red Boat fish sauce, so I'll need to come up with a way to try it out!

Dinner was a leftover chicken breast, a garnet yam and green beans with mushrooms and onion.  Then just a bite or two of my perfect farmer's market pineapple to finish!

I don't want to brag, but those green beans were really, really good.

Day 16:  Another day, another breakfast of hard boiled eggs, banana and almond butter.  I went home for lunch and whipped up another salad, this time with roast beef, beets, tomato, avocado and a little "ranch." And then I ate the most delicious peach.  It was truly spectacular. One of the things I've noticed is how much sweeter fruit tastes when I'm not blowing my palate with candy and...Blizzards....heaven help me.Have you seen the ingredients in a Blizzard?  It basically ruined my day.  But I will say that Whole 30 has made me a lot more aware of ingredients and what I'm putting in my gut.

For dinner, I mixed up some chicken salad with Flackers (flax seed crackers).  It was nice to have something salty and crunchy to eat, and then I had some pineapple and coconut, which tasted like candy!

Day 17: Breakfast was the same as usual, but don't let that bother you, before the Whole30, I had a Kashi Bar, Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit for breakfast basically every day.

I went out for lunch at Outback with a coworker and was able to get a 6 oz. steak, sweet potato and steamed broccoli, all without any added oil/butter.  It was really great, though I'm sure the steak wasn't grass-fed, I'm doing my best!

For dinner I browned up the farmer's market sausage and made zoodles and homemade marinara.  With a peach to top things off!  Then I watched several hours of American Ninja Warrior instead of doing any number of productive things.  Go Kacy!

Day 18: Breakfast, samesies.  Lunch, leftover zoodles.  Dinner, crispy chicken thighs.  Number of times I've wanted a beer, 100+.  Then around 10pm, I ate 2 Lara Bars and a bowl full of pineapple.  I wouldn't call it a fall off the wagon, since I didn't eat anything that wasn't compliant, I just ate all the sugary food I had on hand. It was more like hitting a pothole in the wagon, if you will.  I'll have to pull it together tomorrow. Another Saturday at work isn't making things any easier, but I can do this!

Day 19: Breakfast, eggs and an apple with almond butter. Lunch, tuna salad and a fruit/almond milk smoothie.  I made pork green chili for dinner, and it turned out really nicely.  I've eaten every bit of fresh fruit in the house, luckily tomorrow is grocery day!

Day 20:  Woke up to sweet potato hash topped with pork green chili, then headed to Sprouts and the farmer's market.

I've been really enjoying making more relationships with the local vendors.  One of the meat vendors at the market has started making a sugar-free sausage after talking with me about the program and the number of people who are leading a more paleo lifestyle. I've still been eating too much fruit, my sugar dragon is alive and kicking, though I think some of it may be do to my personal *ahem* cycle.

2/3 of the way there and 10 days to go!!!!  Let's do this. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Whole30 Turkey burgers with BUNS!


I love a good burger, and when you get excellent, locally sourced ground turkey, all the better.  Now these cauliflower buns were a great addition to my repertoire as well, gluten and grain free, they really held up pretty well.  One of the drawbacks of most gluten-free buns is that they disintegrate before you've finished your burger, but these were not too shabby, especially slathered with my homemade ketchup and mayo!

Exact ingredients for the ketchup I made can be found here.  I did the quick and easy version listed, and though it is delicious, it wasn't quite right.  I've continued to tweak this recipe, starting with thinning it out with an additional tablespoon of vinegar and even some water to make it more consistent with store-bought ketchup.  It's a work in progress. 

All I did was throw everything in a bowl and whisk it together.
And voila!
Now the mayonnaise was like magic!  All you do is put an egg yolk, 1T of vinegar, 1T of water, 1t of mustard and 1 cup of oil into a narrow vessel.  I think it being like a glass, rather than a bowl is important to the emulsification process.  Let the ingredients settle, then place your hand blender all the way down to the bottom, start with it flat against the bottom, and it will begin to emulsify the oil and other ingredients together to create the creamy, white mayonnaise we all know and love.  Once your process is going, tilt the head of the blender to the side and slowly raise it to incorporate the oil at the top. Add salt and pepper to taste at the end.

I felt a little like a sorcerer.

Put both into containers and into the fridge

Now onto your burgers!  I had a pound of turkey, about half a cup of chopped onion, 1t each of chili powder, cumin and paprika.  Then salt and pepper to taste. Form into patties.

I did two patties, but in hindsight, probably should have done 3, these were a little big.
Making the buns was actually pretty fun.  I couldn't find the attachment for my food processor, so I just grated the cauliflower on the small side of my box grater and had about 2-3 cups, so I decided to halve the recipe. I added about 6T of almond flour, garlic powder, salt and 2 eggs.  I found the mixture to be really wet, but what do I know?  I decided to go for it.  I formed them into buns and stuck them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes and then under the broiler for a minute or two until brown.  I made one mistake...

You should really grease your pan before you put these bad boys in the oven, don't be like me!

I fried up my turkey patties in a bit of ghee, and then served them all together with roasted garnet yam.

Now, there is a Whole30 concept called SWYPO (it stands for Sex With Your Pants On) that states you should avoid "paleo-izing" junk foods that are off the plan, for example a Whole30 pancake is frowned upon.  Now, I agree that we should not be trying to fit our old eating habits into a new format, but I also think it's great to find creative ways to use the foods you do have.  So, because I'm the boss of me, I'll allow it.  I know that white potatoes, though newly added to the Whole30 plan, are a bad idea for me.  So I'll continue to stay away while the 30 days last. It's about knowing yourself and examining your motivations.
Things like Whole30 buns are a fun and creative way for me to use up the cauliflower in my fridge!  But if you are really trying to break out of old, unhealthy habits, and this will trigger cravings, or make you unhappy about the food choices you're making, skip the bun (or the potato, as the case may be)!
See, the burgers were a little too big, but I'm not complaining!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Whole30 Egg Salad with a Splash of Tuna!

So, confession: I made these lettuce wraps well before I started the Whole30, but now that I've learned how to make my own mayo, these are Whole30 compliant!  Woo hoo!

What you'll need:
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • about 2-3 T mayo 
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1/4 cup cucumber (or fridge pickles)
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
Optional add-ins: Parsley, lemon juice, red pepper, tomato, whatever floats your boat!

To get the perfect hard boiled egg on my stove, I add the eggs to 1 inch of already boiling water in a small saucepan, cover for 8 minutes 45 seconds.  Drain and cool in an ice bath. Peel under water.  Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then serve on lettuce leaves for maximum smug healthiness!

This makes a couple cups of salad, so feel free to share with a friend!  Enjoy!

What's your favorite tuna salad add-in????

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Whole30 Experience, Week 2

Day 7:  Monday, blech.  I stayed up too late last night and had a hard time getting going this morning. I did remember to pack breakfast, and it still feels good to start the day with whole foods.  I have to run errands at lunch today, but I brought enough food to cover me for lunch, too.

Dinner was leftover pork and a peach.  I cooked up some eggs for breakfast, so I'll be ready in the morning.  I'm dragging a bit today and it looks like my edema is back (thanks, high heels).  But, as Scarlett O'Hara says "tomorrow is another day" and hopefully I'll be feeling better!

Day 8:  Woke up slowly again, but the timeline says I'm going to be tired, so I'm banking on feeling better in the coming days.  Ate breakfast and lunch at work from my little cooler.  This may be an over-share, but I felt really bloated this afternoon and evening (once again, right on schedule with the timeline).  I didn't skip dinner, though the thought did cross my mind.  I've really been fixating on sweets - specifically, in this moment, a peanut butter cup Blizzard. So instead of wallowing and eating more things that aren't a Blizzard, I went to the gym and did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. Can I just say that Mumford and Sons is much better workout music than you would think?  Still feeling bloated, but at least I'm sweaty too. ;-)

Day 9: Still not bounding out of bed, but it's a really stressful week at work, so I can't blame it entirely on the Whole30.  I had a banana with almond butter and 2 hard-boiled eggs for breakfast.  Catering Jimmy John's at work today, so I made sure to bring lots of healthy alternatives, it's going to be hard to resist the chocolate chip cookies *drool*.

I managed to stay strong in the face of so many carbs.  Had roast beef, cucumber, a few cashews and some cherries for lunch!

Because I was dealing with a mildly upset stomach, but still hungry, I decided I needed a sweet potato for dinner.  I baked up a garnet yam with some ghee, roasted a bunch of Brussels sprouts and ate part of a rotisserie chicken.  I checked the label on the one from Sprouts and I am good to go!  The rotisserie chicken is a lifesaver for me many nights, it's so easy and delicious and great leftover!

Day 10: Woke up a little easier this morning and I'm feeling better.  Grabbed my normal hard-boiled eggs, banana and almond butter breakfast. Once again catered from Jimmy John's at work, so I packed myself some leftover rotisserie chicken, Brussels sprouts, and some raw carrots and cucumber. Not gonna lie, I still want a cookie, but I'm feeling like I may be past a lot of the adjustment phase (PLEASE, let this be true) so I will carry on!

For dinner I decided to "paleo-ize" my mustard pork chop recipe.  I also roasted some turnips and parsnips and came to the conclusion that I don't like roasted turnips and parsnips, so there's that.  The pork chops turned out very nicely, though the coating wasn't as sticky as it normally is, and substituting almond milk for regular milk meant the sauce was thinner and a little sweeter than normal, but still good!

I made a new batch of kombucha, I have it from the horse's mouth that as long as I don't add sugar to it once it's brewed, it's Whole30 compliant.  Hooray!!!

Also 1/3 of the way done!  Woo-hoo!

Day 11: It's Friday!  Didn't have time for eggs this morning, so I made do with my banana and almond butter.  For lunch I had leftover roasted beets and Brussels sprouts along with the last of the rotisserie chicken.  I threw the chicken carcass in a plastic bag along with my other veggie scraps to make stock

Dinner saw my very first attempt at "zoodles" or zucchini noodles (I threw in a summer squash too).  I'd been craving pasta with marinara all day - this was as close as I could get.  You know what?  They're not half-bad!  Though, I was missing parmesan.

Day12 : I'm working this Saturday, so carrots and hard-boiled eggs are my breakfast at my desk.  It's hard work ruling the world, you know?

Stopped by the "normal" grocery store on my way home for seltzer.  Every single scrap of deli meat in the whole place had either preservatives or added sugar or BOTH!  I'll have to pick up some more at Sprouts when I do the farmer's market tomorrow.

Got another headache today, not sure what brought it on, but ended up taking a couple hour nap. Woke up and made Tom Kha (Vietnamese coconut shrimp soup) for dinner, it turned out superbly!  Really nice!

Day 13:  Had weird sleep last night, probably due to my afternoon nap, so ended up sleeping in a little later than intended. Got up and headed to Sprouts and the farmer's market this morning; managed to get some really beautiful tomatoes, compliant deli meat, more of the Whole30-friendly pork sausage and a beautiful pineapple.  The fellow at the farmer's market told me that the best way to pick a pineapple is to check the inner leaves, if they are easy to pluck out, it means the pineapple is ripe.  Also, you want to look at the color, a ripe pineapple will be mainly yellow/brown on the outside, rather than green.

Came home for leftover Tom Kha for lunch.  Planning on making some paleo ketchup this afternoon as soon as the World Cup is over.

I ended up making ketchup and mayonnaise. The ketchup had a bit of a strange flavor, I think I may try adding a bit more vinegar, and the mayo came together like magic.  So obviously, I had to make burgers and fries for dinner. I even found a recipe for paleo buns!  There was a lot of experimenting (and eating) in my kitchen today!

I'm going to marinate some chicken breasts tonight for lunches this week and I already have my eggs ready to go for Monday morning! Almost to the halfway point!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Avocado lettuce wraps!

Now, I made these before I started the Whole30 on July 1st, so they aren't totally compliant, specifically the corn. Corn is a grain and is not allowed on the Whole30 or in the paleo diet. But, I love it, especially raw and sweet like in this salad/dip/whatever.   

What you'll need:
  • 1 ear of corn (remove the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 avocado, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Roma tomatoes and 1 heirloom tomato, cut into bite size pieces (obviously, this is what I had on hand, use whatever tomatoes you like, about a cup's worth)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 white (or red) onion, diced (you want the onion pieces to be about the same size or smaller than the corn kernels)
  • the juice of one lime
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  • lettuce for the wraps (whatever kind floats your boat)
Put everything into a bowl, mix it up and then eat it.  Seriously, that's all. I like to make the mix a little bit in advance to let the flavors marry in the bowl, but you don't have to if you don't want to!
Enjoy!  It's a great snack for a picnic or for parking your keister for a Netflix marathon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Whole30 Green Chili Pork Roast

On this Whole30 plan, I've been eating a lot more meat than I normally would.  Typically I don't make a whole roast when there's only me to eat it, but for the next few weeks, I'll have to make an exception. For whatever reason, I've been craving pork, so Sunday I did the traditional roast in the crock pot (well, maybe not that traditional).  This particular roast came from Niman Ranch, the same place that Chipotle sources much of their pork.


What you'll need:
  • A pork roast (this one is boneless shoulder, but a pork butt or loin would work too) about 2 lbs.
  • 1 cup green chilies.  I bought these in the freezer section; here in the southwest, frozen hatch chilies are pretty readily available.  If you can only get canned, use those, but maybe supplement with some fresh jalapeƱo if you want more heat.
  • 2 cups stock, divided (I used my homemade stock, if you're buying it, make sure there's not added sugar/starches/etc.)
  • 1 onion, chopped into about thumbnail-sized pieces 
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (again, check the label for added sugar)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • salt and pepper for the roast
  • (not pictured) 1 T. of ghee to brown the roast.

Dry your roast with paper towels and then salt and pepper it generously before browning. Pre-heat your skillet on the stove to medium-high and add your ghee (ghee has a really high smoke point and is great for things like this).

Brown your roast on all sides.  I even stand mine up on the ends to brown those.  Once the browning is complete, put your roast in the crock pot on top of your diced onion. 

 De-glaze your skillet with 1 cup of stock, leaving all that good brown stuff behind would be a crime!


Add your other spices and ingredients to the crock pot, including the second cup of stock. 

Set your crock pot for six hours on low and try to stay away while it make your house smell amazing

 When it's done, it will look a little something like this.  Pull the meat out of the crock pot, cut off the strings if your roast has them.

Shred your meat with a couple of forks (or in my case a knife).  Make sure you use your most embarrassing hot pink plastic plates, if possible.

Add the meat back to the juices (though taste it plain first, it's amazing how the flavors really penetrate the meat.  You can eat the meat in lettuce wraps, which was my choice on night 1.  Then on night 2, I served it like a stew and topped it off with avocado and fresh cilantro. 

Both ways?  Completely delicious!