Whole30: It’s the Final Countdown

Great, now “The Final Countdown” is stuck in my head as I’m sure it will be for you too now.  Sorry.  Anyway, there are 9 more days left on my Whole30 journey.  Some of my friends have been asking me things like…

  • “Are you SO excited for this to be over?”
  • “Are you going to eat everything in sight when it’s over?”
  • “You’re going to eat a whole block of cheese, aren’t you?”

And my answer…drum roll pleaseNOPE.

I know, shocking.  Believe it or not, I actually really like eating this way.  Meal prepping can be kind of annoying, but as a borderline control freak, I do enjoy knowing my meals are already decided for me (and by me).  It’s been especially helpful since work has kicked into high gear.

I also feel better overall.  Going this long without a hangover is a pretty remarkable feeling.  As is not having acid reflux, bloating, or that feeling after you eat a huge, unhealthy meal and regret everything.  It’s also really great to be free of cravings.  Although, the lara bars were getting a little too good, so I had to stop eating them.  I am committed to breaking free from my addiction to sweets.

While I’m committed to eating better, I’m certainly not committed to eating better 100% of the time.  I’m thinking 80% paleo/19% ‘healthy’/1% ‘I do what I want’. Will I have the occasional cheese plate with a friend?  Absolutely.  Will I snack of three cheese sticks at work?  No.  I actually haven’t missed dairy at all (I know – weird).  This is more about choosing when a ‘treat’ is worth it.  Instead of mindlessly snacking on jelly beans, I would rather save a sweet treat for a trip to Dough (the world’s best donut shop) when friends come to visit.  Ok let’s be real, I would totally wait on line at Dough by myself.  But the point is, it will be a special occasion and not something I build into my weekend routine.

Drinking, however, is the one thing I have missed.  Being at my company party sober was actually a lot of fun…but it would have been more fun if I could have participated in the whiskey tasting.  Or had a drink at 3:30pm when our drink cart came out.  Or had a whiskey with my boss during our bi-weekly meeting.  Geeze…we really drink a lot at my job.  The point is that I miss having a drink with coworkers, friends, or sitting on the couch with my boyfriend when we’re snowed in.  Although booze will be the first thing I’m going to reintroduce, I’m going to do it (and maintain it – hopefully) in moderation.  But I’m not eager to have dairy, gluten, or even…sugar.  Pretty much, I just want one drink.  Because I’m pretty sure that I would be buzzed off of one at this point.

We’ve got more tasty recipes on the horizon, so make sure to check back for the recipes!  This week, we’re all about the single-pan dishes:

  • Shrimp, spinach, and sweet potato skillet
  • Chicken, apple, sweet potato, and brussel sprout skillet
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Sausage with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes
  • Chicken thighs with bacon, brussel sprouts, and apple
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Chicken Curry/Tandoori with Cauliflower Rice

After a long day of meal prepping, it seemed only right to end the day with a delicious meal that had been planned a week earlier.  The plan was to pick up some Thai red curry paste during our shopping trip, but life did not care about our plan; the grocery store didn’t have a Whole30-friendly curry paste.  With a hankering for curry, I refused to be thwarted by the insufficient supply of curry paste so my partner in healthy eating and life decided to get creative.  We bought tandoori paste and curry powder and hoped for the best.  We were not disappointed.

This recipe is the love child of chicken tandoori and chicken curry; it’s got that familiar curry taste with a tandoori kick.  It’s a perfect recipe to warm you up on a cold and frosty night (like this one)!  The cauliflower rice acts just like regular rice and makes the perfect vessel for sauce.  I’m amazed by all the ways cauliflower can morph into other foods; rice, pizza crust, mashed potatoes…want can’t it do?!

This is a great dinner that will fill you up without giving you that I-ate-way-too-much-what-have-I-done feeling.  Give it a try!  And, as always, feel free to post any questions or comments in the comment section.

Chicken Curry/Tandoori* with Cauliflower Rice

*This was supposed to be made with red curry paste, however the supermarket didn’t have one that was Whole30 compliant so we improvised.  I used this Tandoori paste and curry powder instead, and I regret nothing.

You’ll need:

  • 2 large boneless chicken breast, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ Tbs Tandoori paste
  • 1 ½ Tbs curry powder
  • 1 16 oz can light coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper

What you do:

Heat a wok or a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add the coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is melted, add the chicken and cook until it’s fully cooked (about 8 minutes). Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.

With the heat still on, add in all the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables until starting to brown slightly on the edges, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the curry paste, and then stir in the coconut milk. Add the chicken back in, and cook for another five minutes.

Spoon the chicken curry over cauliflower rice (see recipe below) and enjoy!

Cauliflower Rice

You’ll need:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or EVOO (optional)
  • Salt and pepper (optional)

What you do:

Chop the cauliflower into florets, and pulse them in a food processor until they become grain-like.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a cheese grater.  You can eat the rice cold or heat it up in a skillet with the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Cooking the rice will make it a bit softer so I recommend doing it, it only takes 5-8 minutes.  Heat the oil up on medium heat, add the rice, season with salt & pepper, and cover.  Give it a stir every few minutes so it doesn’t burn. I cooked mine for about 5 minutes and it still had a little crunch – I recommend cooking for 8 minutes it you like it tender.

Whole30 Meal Prep & Plan Weeks 2-3

Working for a company owned by Norwegians has its benefits.  One of the big ones being their belief in paid time off and holiday observation.  Seeing as I had the day off, thanks to the wonderful memory Dr. King, I knew what I would be doing most of the day – meal prepping and planning!

I know I forgot to post my meal plan last week (my apologies), but work kicked into high gear so I found myself having less time to write than usual.  Here’s last week in a nutshell:

  • Chicken* with broccoli (recipe at the end of this post)
  • Turkey Meatloaf
  • Sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and blueberries – not together, I was just in the mood for each of these things.
  • Pork chops with broccoli – the pork chops are seasoned the same way as the chicken and cooked in EVOO in a cast iron pan (5 minutes on each side on high heat)
  • Turkey meatballs with zoodles (recipe will make an appearance this week)
  • Lots of salads
  • Breakfast of champions: 2 hardboiled eggs, 1 banana, leftover sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.

*this is usually dinner, but this week the chicken is being cooked as we speak for lunch time salads.  This is a VERY quick and easy thing to prep for the week and have in the fridge for lunch or dinner.

Saturday night we went out Hu Kitchen on 5th Ave by Union Square for dinner.  If you live anywhere near Manhattan, or come for visit, I HIGHLY recommend you check this place out.  It’s not a sit-down restaurant, it’s more cafeteria style with counters but there were plenty of places of to sit.  They even had a coffee bar that served organic wine, but sadly I could not partake.

I spent Sunday out and about in the city with my lovely lady friends, so by the time I got home I was not feeling the whole ‘try new recipe’ thing.  I picked up a turkey kielbasa and brussel sprouts (if you can’t tell, I really love brussel sprouts) and had that with some of the organic sauerkraut I had picked up at Whole Foods.  Quick, easy, and delicious.

For this week, breakfast and lunch will be looking pretty similar but dinner will be all new recipes!  Here’s what on deck:

  • Chicken curry with cauliflower rice
  • Chicken “cutlets” with lemon and capers, served with brussel sprouts
  • Pork chops with sweet potatoes and broccoli
  • Shepard’s pie

Make sure to check back throughout the week for the recipes!  Here’s my recipe for what I refer to as “everything chicken” as it’s good with everything!  These quantities will give you enough for a week’s worth of chicken, but feel free to change the numbers if you want more or less.

“Everything Chicken”

You’ll need:

  • 3lbs boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil or EVOO
  • 1 Tsp Adobo
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

What you do:

Heat up a frying pan with oil on medium heat and cut the chicken into bite site pieces.  Throw the chicken in the pan, toss with oil, and add the seasonings.  Cook chicken all the way through – about 8-10 minutes.  If you’re not sure, cut into one of the pieces – if it’s white and the juices run clear you’re good to go.  Serve with veggies, cauliflower rice, or on top of salad.

 

 

Whole30 Day 2: Warm Beef Stew on a Cold Day

Today’s meal plan:

  • Breakfast: Egg “muffin”
  • Lunch: Shredded chicken over spinach with walnuts and balsamic dressing
  • Dinner: Beef stew round 2

It. Is. COLD!  It’s days like these I question why I still live in the North East.  Walking to the gym this morning was liking walking through the winter tundra, except with homeless people.   Fortunately, my delicious dinner from last night (and my fleece-lined, super awesome Wisconsin hat – go Badgers!) kept me warm.  

Last night I came home to a warm apartment and a big pot of the best beef stew I have ever had.  Seriously.  We’ll be eating it again tonight and I’m already looking forward to it!  

I’m very lucky to live with my amazing boyfriend.  Not only is he a great boyfriend, friend, roommate and person, he’s also a terrific chef!   What had been a frustrating day quickly turned into a relaxing evening full of soup, love, and coloring (pictured above).

Coloring has become one of my favorite ways to destress.  After work I get into comfy clothes, sit on my couch, and color.  I am almost 30 and in no way, shape, or form am I embarrassed about this. It’s a great way to practice mindfulness and create something beautiful.  I use this coloring book and these markers.  I think coloring will make an excellent replacement for my post-work glass of wine.  

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for…the beef stew recipe!

Beef Stew (in a crockpot)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes, quartered
  • 3 lbs beef stew meat
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
  • 28 oz can peeled crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz. chicken broth

Place chopped onion, carrots and quartered potatoes in the crock-pot. Add beef stew meat, season with spices, and add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Cook on high for four hours or low for 8 hours.

Note: you can also cook this stew in a large pot on the stove. Sauté the onions in 1-2 Tbs of olive olive.  Add the carrots, potatoes, and beef and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and spices.  Give it a big stir and bring to a simmer.  Cover and let the stew cook for 2-3 hours on a low simmer.

Enjoy!

For those who want to learn how to make shredded chicken (or just want to learn another way to make it) – here’s the recipe:

Shredded Chicken

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed (put a knife over a clove and give it a good whack!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • Water

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, except the water.  Use water to cover the chicken if you don’t have enough broth.  Bring to a boil and scrape off any foam that appears.  Bring down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool.  Once it’s cool, use two forks (or natures fork, i.e., your fingers) and pull the chicken apart.  Use in salads or eat it on it’s own.  Yum!