Whole 30, day 17

i totally forgot to celebrate a few days back that i was halfway through this challenge! hooray! i am so impressed with myself for sticking with it.

i’m already planning the foods i will be returning to my normal life with. first off, my last day at work is my first day OFF of whole 30. i will be baking a batch of coconut almond brownies to celebrate. second, i will be having pancake breakfast that following sunday. just cuz. i will likely have some really fancy cheese ready to devour. probably some brie i will bake up with some nuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup. i’ll serve it with tapioca flatbread. WHAT?! where did that all come from?

here are some serious goals and plans:

*i plan on retaining so many of these paleo foods i have fallen deeply for.

*i plan to continue with the restriction of fruits, nuts, and seeds. knowing that my body feels so great without dairy, i will strongly decrease my consumption of it. even though i love cheese. i mean so, so much i love cheese.

*i will continue to use ghee to fry my eggs in. i really love this flavor, and i’m so glad i’ve found it.

breakfast: sweet potato hashies, 2 strips bacon, 2 fried eggs. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: turkey, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 tomato. mixed nuts and a peach.

snack: handful of pepitas.

dinner: burger with egg, avocado, bacon, mushrooms. roasted carrot fries.

results: omg it was so good. i can’t even stand it. not to brag, but brian and i make burgers that are better than any burger i have eaten in any restaurant. honestly. i know that there are a few tricks to great burgers. first is fat content. we always chose NIMAN RANCH chuck, with an 15% content. when you buy chuck, you’ll see “85/15”, which means 85% lean and 15% fat are what make up the beef. never grill lean beef, unless you are looking for more of a jerky taste…seasoning the beef is essential, in my opinion. i use the same spices most times we have burgers. i’ll share my secret below.

and the carrot fries were a sweet and fun change-up from our sweet potato fries. really, this came out of necessity, as we had carrots in the refrigerator that i had NO clue what we would do with. ta-da!

this recipe makes 2 large servings.

awesome burger

2/3 lb ground chuck, free range & organic is always best

1/2 tsp powdered garlic

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp salt

method: sprinkle spices over meat. break meat into small pieces with your hands to combine spice into the meat. once it is well combined, form into 2 patties. DO NOT MAKE THEM TOO FIRM. you want them slightly loose so they stay tender. press the center of the patty much flatter than the outside edges. the center of a burger will puff up quite a bit as it cooks. this is why so many times you end up with a meatball burger.

grill until desired doneness. i recommend medium rare.

carrot fries

4 large carrots cut into fry shapes

good sprinkle of garlic powder

S&P

oil

method: preheat oven to 425f.

combine all ingredients in large bowl. spread over cookie sheet.

bake for 20 minutes or so, tossing at 10 minutes.

they are done when edges and ends are brown.

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WHOLE 30, day 6

still hanging in there really tight! my only weakness is dried fruits, so i have decided to eliminate them completely. i can eat a cup of raisins in under 1 minute. that’s a lot of sugar.

breakfast: sweet potato hash, 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: chicken thigh, roasted peppers, hand full off nuts, an apricot.

lunch dessert: a billion raisins.

dinner: steak with board dressing and fried smashed plantains with apricot cilantro chutney.

results? omg what an amazing dinner. i have eaten fried plantains a billion times, but never made them. it was so easy. i found it really fun to flavor them as i pleased. the chutney was perfect to summer-up the steak and for dipping the plantains. this was really a delightful meal that made me thankful that i was stepping outside of the box for W30.

here is my recipe!

steak with board dressing

1lb ribeye steak, room temp

1 tsp salt

1 tsp chile powder

1 big bunch cilantro

1 clove garlic, smashed and minced

juice of 1/2 lime

method: sprinkle salt and chile powder over steak. while grill is being prepared, make board dressing.

cook steak.

on a large cutting board, combine cilantro, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. chop cilantro and garlic until it is very fine. place in a bowl and stir in lime juice.

place dressing into glass dish. place hot-off-the-grill steak in dish on top of dressing.

fried smashed plantains with apricot cilantro chutney

2 plantains, peeled, sliced into 1″ chunks

2 tbsp chile powder

2 tbsp salt

2 apricots, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped super fine

juice 1/2 lime

method: combine cilantro, apricots, lime juice in a bowl. set aside.

get a deep skillet nice and hot over medium heat with high heat oil.

place plantains in hot skillet, flat side down. allow them to brow, 1 minute or so, then flip. cook ither side until brown. transfer to paper towels to drain. use something flat (we used the bottom of a pyrex) to flatten each chunk. return, to hot skillet and cook for a minute or so, until brown and crispy.

drain on towels. sprinkle with salt ad chile powder. serve immediately.

lemon basil squash and kale ribbons with chicken

i have been waiting for the free summer squashes to start rolling in. for those of you in a zone 5 growing area, you know what i mean. once the first of july hits, so begins 2 full months of people pushing squash on you. no problem by me, i don’t have any in my garden, so send it my way. i could eat it 4 times a week and not get sick of it.

normally we keep our squash super light by simply salting and then grilling small slices. but we wanted something a little more decadent this time around, and also i’m missing pasta a little right now, so decided on a cream sauce made with garlic from the yard and basil and kale from the garden. the thin squash and kale ribbons were a breeze to prepare, looked beautiful, and soaked up the sauce surprisingly well.

this was a refreshing summer meal, and will for sure be a repeat in our house this season.

this entire recipe serves 4.

lemon chicken breasts

4 chicken breasts

juice of 2 lemons, reserve rind for zesting

3 tbsp salt

method for chicken: marinate chicken in lemon and salt for 4 hours. grill until skin browns or chars. remove from heat and zest lemon over breasts, then let rest for 10 minutes.

bright and tender ribbons

squash and kale ribbons

1 long summer squash

several leaves of kale

1/4 cup heavy cream

method:

for the squash, simply use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons out of a long squash. avoid the spongy flesh and seeds in the middle.

for the kale, use a pizza cutter to remove the thick rib from the center of all the leaves. use the same slicer to cut noodle shaped ribbons. set into a large pot.

wait until the chicken is almost done before cooking.

pour cream over ribbons. turn heat on low and cook slowly with lid on until veggies are completely tender. stir often so the sauce or ribbons don’t burn. sprinkle salt in, stir, and allow steam out with heat off.

stir in the salty good stuff

creamy lemon basil sauce:

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

3 tbsp olive oil

3 smashed cloves smashed garlic

1/4 cup fresh basil

salt

lemon for zesting

few tbsp pesto to serve

method: combine cream and garlic in sauce pan over medium heat. once it comes to a brief simmer, turn heat to low and whisk in oil, cheese, and salt. stir briskly until cheese is melted. stir half the sauce into finished ribbons and serve over chicken. finish with more sauce, shredded basil, lemon zest, and a little pesto.

enjoy with a ton of white wine.

or red.

or gin.

whatever.

sunrise sweet potatoes

i often have half a fried sweet potato for breakfast with sausage or bacon in the mornings. i make them like i would white potatoes: cubed small and fried in lots of oil. when i say “i often have”, translate that to “4/7 days a week”. i love sweet potatoes.

vegetarians can do some lovin’ on this, too, by using tempeh crumbles or other meat alternatives to complete this starchy treat with some protein. top with sausage or bacon if you are a meat lover.

this is a great way to use left over smoky-sweet potatoes from the grill. throw on few extras for dinner to reheat in the morning for an easy, nourishing breakfast that tastes amazing. the cooked potatoes get sweeter with time, so a rest in the refrigerator turns them into an “even better as a leftover” dish. you won’t believe the sweetness or velvety texture the potato adopts overnight.

this recipe serves 2 by using one potato and splitting it in half, but is obviously flexible for halving the recipe for one person, or even doubling it for serving more people.

smoky sunrise sweets and breakfast sausage

1 leftover smoky sweet potato from the grill, cut in half lengthways

1/2 lb breakfast sausage or tempeh

s & p

method: in a small, well oiled skillet, place cooked sweet potatoes skin side down. sprinkle salt and pepper over. cover with lid, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until heated through.

meanwhile, cook up your sausage, bacon, or tempeh. i like to keep it from drying out by keeping the skillet oiled, and moving it about the skillet every 3 minutes or so, until brown.

simply top potatoes with sausage. make adjustments and additions as you so wish:

add torn basil, a pat of butter, spinach, and crumbled feta for a savory version.

top with chopped nuts & maple syrup for a sweet treat.

this meal should have you feeling full all day.

smoky sweet potatoes on the grill with bbq chicken

smoky sweet potato

let me start off by saying this: chives are so pretty!

look at those colors! and so versatile, they can be put on all kinds of savory stuff. the flower is also edible, so don’t throw it to the chickens… brian…

ready for execution!

i am way into garden cooking right now. i’ve been using my lettuce, herbs and chives like crazy. i can’t wait until the rest of this stuff comes out of the ground. -carrots, beets, kale, spinach, and peppers are all just sprouting little leaves in the garden, and hopefully by mid-summer we will have a bounty. for now, we have lots of chives, and we are working on ways to gobble these beauties up!

so very green and purple

i have a special place in my heart for sweet potatoes. -like, really special. -as in a few years ago i ate them every day and my skin turned a little yellow. it’s harmless. it was like an irish tan.

anyhow, i still eat them almost daily. it occurred to me, though, that i had never eaten them with sour cream. -i know, right?! well since we had so many chives in the garden and cultured sour cream in the refrigerator, i decided to be crazy for once and change-up my usual oven roasted sweet potatoes for grilled sweet potatoes with sour cream and chives.

gorgeous. these were beautiful. they taste amazing, they were easy, and they taste amazing. oh did i say that twice? good. i mean it. these things are crazy good. this was a great method to use, parboiling the potatoes ahead of time, then throwing them on the grill to finish and get smoky-sweet. this would also be an awesome dish to bring to a bbq, parboiling the potatoes at home, then taking them, ready to throw on the grill, all wrapped in foil and seasoned. -and don’t forget about throwing the foiled packages of potatoes into a campfire this summer. delicious.

sweet potatoes are the perfect companion to bbq chicken. i always make my bbq sauce from scratch. don’t even think about using a bottle of bbq sauce from walmart. just don’t.

try to time this meal so you can parboil the potatoes while the grill warms up., then throw them on the grill and finish them with the chicken.

one at the lips, 2 at the hips. whatever that means.

bbq sauce

1 1/4 cup of natural ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp date paste, maple syrup, brown sugar, or sweetener of your choice

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

pinch of salt

1 or 2 tsp sriracha or hot sauce

method: dump all that stuff in a bowl and mix mix mix. come on, let’s get going here. those spices won’t dissolve on their own. taste it, add stuff as needed. let it set for a few minutes before using to let things gel together. the consistency will depend on what sweetener you choose, and also the brand of ketchup you use. i highly encourage you to add more or use less of the ingredients listed as you so wish. fool around with this recipe and make it yours!

this stuff keeps in the refrigerator for a long time… like, a year. trust me.

bbq chicken

for the chicken:

6-12 drumsticks, however many you can gobble up

1 cup cold water

3 tbsp salt

2 tbsp sriracha

1 tbsp garlic powder

method: whisk all ingredients together until the salt dissolves, soak chicken for 1 hour and up to 6 hours in brine.

while grill is heating up, make bbq sauce and boil potatoes.

to cook chicken, coat grill grates with oil and cook on indirect heat for about 20-40 minutes, depending on your grill.

brush with bbq sauce during the last 5 minutes of grilling.

smoky sweet potatoes

a few clean sweet potatoes

a big pot of boiling water

olive oil

foil

s & p

sour cream

chives

method: bring potatoes to a boil in a large pot of water for 20 minutes. set them on large pieces of foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper all over the place, then drizzle some oil in there.

wrap tightly in foil.

throw onto the grill while your other food cooks, about 20 minutes. remove from foil packet and set onto oiled grill for a few minutes to crisp and smoke skin. watch them to prevent burning. top halved potato with sour cream, chives, salt, and pepper.

don’t forget to make the table look nice!

go out to the yard and grab whatever your garden provides you with, stick it into a bottle, and call it a centerpiece. why let them waste away in the yard? we bring ours in and set them by the bedside.


fluffy peony