Whole 30, day 24

less than a week to go!

i’m missing gluten-free pretzels the most today, for some reason. i’m just craving them! at my finish, i will nominate one day per week to finish off the gluten-free snacks that remain in my pantry, then vow to never buy them again once they are finished. i will miss them, but my body will not.

breakfast: sweet potatoes, sausage, 2 eggs sunny-side-up. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: big salad with chicken, avocado, strawberries, and sunnyseeds.

dinner: burger with onions, mushrooms, bacon. baked sweet potato fries.

results: today was what a standard day should feel like. i didn’t feel deprived of anything. i felt great all day. my energy levels are seriously sinking, but this is surely due to my work schedule. i sleep about 4 hours per night during the work week. i get up at 4am or earlier to feed juniper before i leave for work, then return home around 8-8:30pm. this is extremely unhealthy. it feels unhealthy every time i wake up, and every time i fight sleep at 9:00pm so i can get a few things done before bed… like, getting ready for work the following morning. ugh.. i can’t wait to start getting real sleep soon, after i’m done working outside of the home!

this baked chicken recipe saves us throughout the week. we bake 3 on sunday, then split them up for salads and such throughout the work week. so juicy and tasty. normally, i find chicken breast completely worthless. however, when prepared properly, i find it a delicious, inexpensive way to add some great protein do my lunches. i require tons of protein.

baked chicken breast

3 medium chicken breasts, free range and organic is preferable

1 cup orange juice, nothing added

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

method: combine all ingredients in a gallon size baggie. allow chicken to marinate for at least 3 hours, or over night.

preheat oven to 375f. drain marinade from chicken and coat in olive oil.

place in a glass baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, until chicken is browned on the outside just slightly and cooked through. you want the juice to run clear when you poke it. remove chicken from oven and allow to rest before slicing. this will keep the juices inside of the meat instead of running out and making the breast dry.

don’t over-bake. chicken is done when thermometer registers at 165f. people think that chicken is dry, and they don’t like it because they’ve always had it when the bejesus has been cooked out of it. don’t do that.

165f.

done.

big salad

your favorite greens

chicken breast, cut into strips

1/2 cup strawberries, chopped up

1/2 avocado, sliced

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1/3 cup olive oil

sprinkle of salt

sprinkle of pepper

method: whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. set aside.

build your salad.

dress your salad with oil and juice dressing. i use about 1/3 of this recipe per salad, and save the rest for lunches later in the week.

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.

Whole 30, day 16

things are simplifying now that i’ve come up with a few self-imposed limitations.

-only 1 serving of fruit, fresh or dried, per day. this should keep my apricot/dates/cherry addiction under control. really, i could eat about 2 servings of each daily. so when i journal that i had “dates” or “raisins” during the day, know that it was A LOT of those things. that’s a lot of fruit, and a lot of fermenting in my belly. not to mention possible weight gain issues.

-tomatoes don’t count as a fruit.

-only one serving of nuts per day.

-only one serving of seeds per day.

what do you think? i think it should keep me under control. i have lots of soft-boiled eggs in the fridge for snacking if i reach my limits on fruit, nuts, and seeds.

breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, tapioca flatbread. coconut cream coffee.

lunch: big ass salad-chicken, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds on baby greens with oil and vinegar. also had applesauce (unsweetened) with cinnamon. -today was the last day of my massive antibiotic treatment, so i needed the pectin.

dinner: sausage stuffed peppers. OMG.

results: i felt great all day. maybe it’s because i woke up around 8 since it was my day off, so juniper and i took a long walk after a lazy breakfast. or maybe it was because my eating was perfectly on track. i dunno. just a good day!

sausage stuffed peppers

2 bell peppers (red, green, whatever), halved and seeded

1 lb ground pork sausage, i like spicy italian*

1 can (14 oz or so) roasted, diced tomatoes -check the ingredients!

3 tbsp tomato paste

small handful of basil, chopped

sprinkle of crushed red peppers, and any other seasonings you may want
*ask your meat guy if he has any sausage without nitrates and other non-approved ingredients in it. if there is none prepackaged, they love to be accommodating and make fresh for you. i promise.

method: preheat oven to 450f. place peppers in a baking dish and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them. bake them for 20 minutes or so, until they’re a little soft. prepare the rest of the ingredients while they bake.

brown pork over medium heat. throw crushed peppers in there to heat things up while you’re at it!

while pork browns, stir the remaining ingredients into a large bowl.

when pork is cooked, remove it from the heat. stir it into the bowl with the tomato sauce.

spoon into peppers, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. i can imagine this would be delicious with some superb stanky italian cheese browned on top, but guess what….. it’s whole 30, and we don’t do that.

NOM!

i know, that’s not stuffed peppers!

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.

WHOLE 30: day 5

today i started craving alcohol. i’ve never battled a craving for such a silly thing in my life, even when i was pregnant. it isn’t a glass of wine or a beer i want. it is booze. liquor. i want a G&T, please. or a mojito. it is probably due to a few stresses i am going through right now, but it isn’t the drunkenness i crave, it is the flavors. -the crisp flavors of gin have great association with summertime for me. i love gin.. heck, i named my daughter juniper!

other than alcohol, i’ve only craved salty foods. no cravings for sweeties yet. this blows my mind, as i have always had a tremendous sweet tooth. right now i’ve been craving salty, fatty foods. i’m satiating it with salty nuts. it is, however, really difficult to find nuts that aren’t roasted in peanut oils or some other NO NO fats.

here is what my friday in food was like!

breakfast: 2 egg omelette with mushrooms and 2 strips of bacon.

snack: mixed nuts and an apricot.

lunch: turkey, sprouts, peppers, avocado on a tiny slice of tapioca flat bread. OH SO GOOD. also a side of pineapple.

snack: raw carrots with oil, salt, and pepper… i snacked on this while i prepared dinner.

dinner: pan-crisped chicken thighs with thyme & garlic pan gravy, roasted carrots. it was awesome.

results? this was a great food day! dinner was so tasty and excellent. carrots satisfy my sweet tooth and are fun to crunch on raw. i forgot how much i always loved eating raw carrots! other than the alcohol cravings, today was an easy day.

one note on something i’ve noticed since starting this challenge is that i wake up very hungry. there used to be mornings, heck, most mornings, where i would wake up feeling a sluggish tummy. it was almost the feeling that there was too much fluff for my body to digest at night, so i wasn’t hungry for breakfast (though i ate anyway because i love breakfast food). now, i wake up with an empty stomach, with strong signals telling me “ok, i’m ready to eat now!”. it is a sensation i much welcome, knowing that i am now digesting food more efficiently.

has anyone ever noticed such strong changes like this when doing whole 30?

i wanted to share my recipe for the dinner that filled me up and hit the spot! it is a forgotten regular in my home, and we are bringing it back, now that my diet calls for it and it is far too hot to grill (106f!?).

pan crisped chicken thighs with thyme & garlic pan gravy and carrots

5 or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

bacon fat or other frying fat

a bunch of thyme

3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

s & p to taste

1 1/2 cup good quality chicken stock

5 whole organic carrots, peeled

olive oil

s & p to taste

method: preheat oven to 350f. also, heat bacon fat in cast iron skillet on medium.

cut carrot into desired sizes. coat in olive oil, salt, and pepper. bake at 350f for 20-25 minutes while chicken cooks. be sure to give the sheet a good shake every 5-10 minutes for even browning.

place chicken “pretty side” down in hot skillet. sprinkle with salt and pepper. saute for 5-8 minutes, until browned on one side.

once brown, flip chicken. cook until brown. once both sides of chicken are brown, pour 1 cup of stock in. turn heat down just a click and place lid on pan and allow to cook through the chicken. stock will begin to reduce.

once stock is reduced to 1/4 inch or so at the bottom of your pan, place thyme and garlic in. allow to cook for a 2 minutes.

remove chicken from pan, but leave the liquids. pour remaining 1/2 stock into skillet and crank the heat back up. cook uncovered for 5 minutes or so, until liquids thicken into a gravy.

pour gravy over chicken and carrots. sprinkle a little more fresh thyme over and gobble it up!

good gravy!

sausage and sweeties

sausage 'n sweeties

i know we have visited this match-made-in-heaven combo over the summertime, cooking the potatoes on the grill, all smokey and soft, and the sausage served over the top of this remarkable root vegetable.

well, dear readers, since i’ve once again given up eggs, i’ve been on the sausage and sweet potato wagon like there’s no tomorrow. this has been on the morning menu 4/7 days a week, the other 3 consisting of porridges, pancakes, or nut and fruit creations. i’m still trying to watch carbs, as always, but now more than ever since there is a baby growing in my belly. pregnancy is a critical time for healthy eating, so avoiding excessive amounts of sugar, even those in fruits and dried fruits, is what keeps expecting mothers from gestational diabetes.

this simple and easy to prepare breakfast keeps me full until lunchtime, though if the baby is asking for a snack, surely i will have a banana with almond butter or something reasonable to get me by!

i always use beeler’s sausage because it is a respectable company and is gluten and junk free, it is uncured, and tastes delicious. they use a heritage breed animal, and are antibiotic free. -but any loose breakfast sausage will do the trick if you’re not into clean meats. i tend to geek out over quality meats. i use maple sausage, but the spicy hot is awesome in this dish, if you can stand a little heat!

honestly, this has to be my favorite savory breakfast, and really it was when i was eating eggs, too. i have always had a soft spot for sausage, and this breakfast feels like a special, cozy treat every time i eat it!

this serves one, but if you double the recipe (if you can call it a recipe), you can make enough to share!

sausage and sweeties

1/2 sweet potato, dirt scrubbed off and dried

1/4 cup of your favorite sausage

1 tbsp bacon fat or high-heat cooking oil

salt & pepper

method: heat deep cast iron skillet over medium heat, melting the fat of your choice in the skillet. while you are waiting for it to heat, cut potatoes into small cubes. add potatoes, salt & pepper to skillet and set a timer for 2 minutes. be sure the potatoes are all touching the bottom of the skillet evenly.

after 2 minutes, flip and toss the potatoes to cook the other sides. reset timer for 2 minutes.

heat up another skillet, this time not adding fat. once hot, add sausage. use your spatula to chop it into bite sizes. time this so you turn it every 2 minutes, with the potatoes.

once potatoes are evenly browned, and the sausage is browned and cooked through, you’re done.

put it in a bowl, chow.

you’re welcome.

NOW, it is time for a call out. that’s right, dear readers. i need your help. i don’t ask much from the readers out there, i don’t even do surveys or polls, so it is time to speak up!

i am in despair. i am in need.

can you help me?
i need a grain-free, egg-free cake recipe. i have been scraping the internet, high and low, and the things i can find use rice flour and “egg-replacers”, 2 things i promised to never use. i am open to tapioca starch, i am open to xanthan gum. i did come across a great looking cupcake recipe in elana’s cupcake cookbook, and i will be trying that. but a full on cake is what i’m looking for. what is in it for you? sorry, nothing. just the satisfaction that you contributed to a blogger in need. -nay, a hungry pregnant lady in need.

if you have a grain-free, egg-free cake recipe up your sleeve, please leave it in the comments section. you could also email me privately if you’re not into being famous.

any input you have will be so much appreciated and praised!

spicy peanut chicken with kelp noodles

most gluten-free noodles are made from rice or corn. these noodles, which i found at my favorite grocery, are made from a sea vegetable, kelp.the nutritive benefits of kelp are fairly unclear, but here is what we know: it is vegan, it is practically calorie and carbohydrate free, it is gluten-free. being from the ocean, it is naturally super-loaded with calcium. these noodles are an ideal addition to meals, especially those where rice is a filler. they settle lightly, unlike rice, which tends to soak up a bunch of water and sit in the stomach.

i was skeptical about the use of these. though i eat rice every few months or so as a treat with asian meals, i do love their ability to soak up all the yummy sauces that would otherwise remain on the plate. rice is just good. but again, rice is a treat.

the noodles soaked up the sauces that i carefully formulated for my meal, and their texture was a great compliment to the whole meal. if you prefer a rice style noodle, cook them a little longer, with the lid of the pot on, in a little broth or extra sauce. if you want them crunchy, get them just hot through and serve your stir-fry on top.

i like mine a little softer, like rice noodles.

they can be served cold and raw, so adding fresh veggies and topping with peanuts, soy sauce and sriracha would be a great salad idea here.if you can find these in your grocery, stock up. they are a little expensive, but oh so yummy and worth it.

if you do not have fresh ginger or garlic, you may use powdered or granulated if you must.

this recipe serves 3

spicy peanut chicken with kelp noodles

for the chicken and marinade:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated

1 tsp fresh garlic, minced or finely grated

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp sriracha

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

for the stir fry:

2 carrots, shredded

1 bell pepper, cut into long strips

for the finishing sauce:

2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 tsp fresh ginger

1/2 tsp garlic

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sriracha

1/4 cup orange juice

for the rest:

1/2 cup peanuts

1/4 cup chives, chopped

1 pkg kelp noodles, rinsed and drained

method

combine all ingredients for the marinade and let chicken swim in it for at least an hour.

mix up the finishing sauce while chicken marinates to allow flavors to mingle. taste and add stuff as you see fit.

place rinsed noodles in a large pot with a lid and a couple drops of water. heat on low. allow to warm as the rest cooks.

allowing the veggies and chicken to rest with the sauce for a few minutes is key!

heat up skillet and some peanut oil or sesame oil over medium/hot. add chicken, reserving the marinade. fry chicken until just cooked, then add remaining marinade. cook for another minute or so, then pour into a large bowl.

quickly add more oil to skillet, and fry up carrots and peppers until just soft. turn heat off, stir chicken back into skillet with veggies, and pour 3/4 of the finishing sauce into skillet to warm up a little. -just for a fast minute. pour everything back into large bowl, and add the remaining finishing sauce. stir it and half the chives in.

put noodles into serving bowls, serve with stir-fry, adding remaining chives and peanuts over. serve with more sriracha, if you like it hot.