MOJO

this recipe goes out to my good buddy, whom we had over last night for cuban pork and plantain. he loved the meal, but i think it was the dipping sauce, MOJO, that really stood out to him! i promised i would post the recipe asap, so here it is, scott!

this tart, spicy sauce will knock the socks off of your next batch of plantains. i also think it would be amazing poured over a hamburger or baked potato. it would also make the PERFECT dressing for any steak or fine cut of grilled, smoky meat.

it is one of the best things to come out of cuba, so add it to your “awesome sauce’em” list, and pull it out for guests, or even just sunday night spice-ups. i’m having it to dress my salad for lunch this afternoon!

you can add as much or as little spice as you’d like here, but a lot is the way to go!!

this recipe makes about 8 servings for dipping, or enough to marinate a giant pork butt if you choose to use it as a marinade.

MOJO

1/3 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced finely

2/3 cup sour orange juice, if you can’t locate this juice in your store, equal parts OJ:fresh squeezed lime juice.

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup chopped cilantro, to serve

method: get oil warm/hot over medium heat. do not let it roll!

add garlic and let it cook for 20 seconds before stirring the juice in, along with the spices. do not let garlic brown, you only need to cook it briefly or it will turn bitter.

cook for 5 minutes or so, allowing it roll gently & keeping it stirred well. taste and add more juice or spices as you see fit.

chill.

stir cilantro into cooled MOJO and serve cold.

seriously, people. this stuff is CRAZY good!

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Whole 30, day 26

take what you can, closest to what you want.

this is a general theme i have been trying to stick to this past month or so to help me deal with the fluxes and changes that come over us. no, not just in the whole 30 challenge. but in life outside of set challenges. especially with long (12 hours, at least) days at work and trying to take care of a baby, especially moving to a new city, especially with the very soon loss of my income… we are learning to accept that some small things will change here and there. i don’t deal well with that. i have high expectations of everything.

here is my typical cycle of disappointment:

i get home at 8:30pm. i want dinner to be done as soon as i walk in and i want it to be perfect. i want juniper to wake up be ready to nurse as soon as i finish dinner. i want to sleep solidly throughout the night so i can wake up refreshed after my 5 hours of sleep (HA) at 4:30am to go back to work. i want to remember to go to the bathroom before i leave, it could be my only chance all day (nope, forgot to go). i want my breakfast to be perfect so i’m not having cravings all morning, since i don’t get snack breaks until lunch at 1:00pm (burnt bacon, awesome). oh no, still haven’t gotten time to visit ladies’ room. i want to go to lunch on time (nope, emergency patient coming in, toothache. lunch is at 2 and i’m starving). i want my salad to be perfect at lunchtime (oh, someone accidentally dumped your $6 whole 30 compliant dressing last week and i don’t have anything to dress a salad with now? oooommmmggggg… i totally overreacted to this). i want to leave work on time at 7pm so i can get home before juniper is sleeping (oh good, she doesn’t want to nurse because she’s had bottles all day? this is a problem), and also maybe i can take a little walk tonight since i haven’t gotten to all week (nope, another toothache at 6:30pm turns into a late night marathon, call brian, be home at 8:45. also missed jeopardy. damn)… and finally, we fall back into our cycle of disappointment.

it is not the job i am angry with! it is me! i am angry at my lack of coping skills.

isn’t this a negative way to look at my life? it is. so i’m changing it. because i am not a good mommy when i feel disappointed 3 days a week.

in the mean time:

take what we can, closest to what we want!

i had eaten all of my salad greens without realizing it, same goes for avocado. my lunch was seeming like a disappointment, so i changed my frame of mind, and also added a bunch of stuff to my salad that i wouldn’t normally, and: voila! a good lunch it became! how beautiful!

breakfast: sweet potato hashies, 2 eggs, 2 bacons. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: chicken, beets, baby watermelons*, pepitas, fennel fronds, lemon oil vinaigrette (1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon), 1/3 cup olive oil, sprinkle of salt,sprinkle of pepper).

snack: 1/4 cup raw cashews.

dinner: huge portion of salmon, roasted veggies with basil. watermelon.

results: awesome. ok, so eating that many beets all week.. well, it changed my digestion. let’s just say that. but delicious day of foods, who can complain about running out of avocado and greens with an otherwise delicious salad and amazing dinner at mom and dad’s house?

*no, i had never eaten a baby watermelon until this past week. my mother in law picked up some rare and amazing vegetables and herbs for me at a celebrity chef event in huron, ohio, and i’m gobbling them up fast! baby watermelon taste like.. well, watermelon, but it isn’t sweet at all. i guess it could also be compared to a teeny tiny green tomato. so fun!

juniper, however, remains perfect. not only because she just IS, but also for practical reasons. she sleeps solidly throughout the night, about 12 hours or so. she always has. she doesn’t fuss throughout the day unless she has dropped her tootsie or if she sees that i have been ignoring her for house chores for longer than an hour. she nurses every 3.5 hours, almost like clockwork. she needs her diaper changed every 2 hours. she is predictable, laid back, and happy. she makes me laugh and smile when i am at my whit’s end. days when i drop a pan on my toe while cleaning up cat litter, nothing can be worse right now, look up….. there she is smiling at me, and giggles. my day changes. the sun comes out.

this beautiful baby is something i am never disappointed in. look at her. she is my buddy. when i AM home from work, we are inseparable. we are attached at the hip. when we get up in the morning, i put her in her moses basket and set her on the kitchen table while i make breakfast. i don’t leave her alone in a room yet, not only is she too little, but she’s too cute. i don’t want all of that cuteness to get wasted on an empty room. seriously.

these are a few of my favorite things!!!

Whole 30, day 18

we’ll be skipping a few days again as we go into the weekend. sorry, but things are getting super busy for us!

i find that, since mindless snacking is no longer an option, i have lost a few pounds. i’m still unable to really whittle-the-middle due to most of my issue being a little postpartum stretchy skin. but wherever it is coming from, i’m keeping an eye on things out of caution that my milk supply could go down.

cutting out the crazy amount of fruit that i was eating has all at once:

a) helped with my bathroom visits

b) trimmed back a little midsection bloating that i usually have that i though was inherent with being a female above the age of 20. like i said, still a little fluff around the flagpole, but what a nice surprise! cutting down on fruit is just like cutting down on any sugar!

c) gotten rid of more sugar cravings. one piece of fruit would ALWAYS lead directly to another, until finally i would give in and eat a small handful of cashews to “protein crush” all that sugar. feels good to have that under control.

tonight i had a “dinner oops”. i made a roast pork from marks daily apple. when i initially planned dinner, i thought since our butt was a pound short of his, it would require less cooking time. well it’s 9:40p, and dinner is still in the oven. we will be having it on sunday night since we will be getting in from out-of-town so late.

i had breakfast for dinner, instead!

breakfast: 2 eggs sunny side up, sweet potato hashies, 2 strips bacon. coffee and coconut cream.

lunch: turkey, tomato, avocado, baby greens, 2 soft boiled eggs. a few cashews.

snack: pepitas, a peach.

dinner: 2 egg mushroom omlette. sausages.

results: YAY! i ate half a dozen eggs today!
YUMZ!

2 egg omlette

2 eggs

slices shrooms

basil

S & P

ghee

method: beat the living sin out of the eggs. stir in pepper.

saute sliced mushrooms dry. this makes it so they don’t get rubbery!

get a big skillet nice and hot on medium heat. add ghee. turn heat down and promptly add egg, covering whole surface of skillet. quickly sprinkle salt over egg. it will not take long for this to overlook. while the egg is still mostly wet, add cooked mushrooms and basil. roll egg into omelette and slide onto a plate to serve.

no, we don’t flip an omelette.

this whole dance must happen fast, or the egg will harden and you will have a rubbery, stiff egg on your hands. instead, you want a soft, cheesy texture. believe me.

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 9

we’ve been dealing with a few extra stresses lately (more on that later), which have been driving a few cravings for a G & T pretty fast through the turnstile… but i haven’t given in. in fact, we are going to a really nice wine & booze bar that specializes in fancy alcohols and tasty cheeses this saturday. if memory serves me right, they have killer duck wings and scallops. yes, they are tapas style, but i will order them and gobble them up myself. i’m not even going to mess with a salad. i know what will happen. cheese will be accidentally placed on top, and i will be pissed beyond all whatnot.

breakfast: 3 egg omelette with mushrooms, roasted red pepper, and bacon. coffee with coconut cream.

snack: banana with sunbutter.

lunch:  turkey, avocado, red peppers, sprouts, and dijon mustard. carrot sticks.

dinner: hamburger with fried egg, avocado, onions, mustard. sweet potato fries.

dessert: a scoop of coconut cream concentrate. i got a new jar in the mail today and couldn’t resist!

results: HERE IS YOUR T.M.I. WARNING!!!!

my stomach has never felt better. any intestinal problems i have had are now far gone. i noticed this change upon day 2, but was assuming it was a come’n’go fluke. no, my digestive system is working at full capability. i’ve had no bubbles cramps, irregularity, diarrhea, constipation, nothing. all is good. to anyone out there who suffers from unpleasant bowel issues, i highly recommend this diet. i’ve never felt better. honestly.

scrambeled eggs to make a difference!

cheesy-cheeseless egg & bacon sandwich with tapioca flat bread

WHOLE 30 is still happening, so, no cheese for me. what is a scrambled egg without raw, sharp cheddar half melted and oozy all tucked into the egg’s folds?

hi, my name is liz, and i have a problem. i eat a lot of cheese. so much cheese, that i spend my free time thinking about the next time i get to eat it (23 days)!

how does a breakfast lover like myself cope? make scrambled eggs really well. it isn’t difficult at all.

here is a hint: eggs shouldn’t ever feel dry. there should be a little wet to them, and i’m not talking moisture. i’m talking goo. know the point when your eggs still have the orange/yellow gel on them during cooking? that’s when you are supposed to stop cooking them. ask any chef: a dry egg is a pathetic waste of perfectly good flavor and texture.

since dropping the cheese from my diet, i’ve found that the cheesyness of a perfectly cooked egg is enough to trick my tongue. the eggs have a cheese flavor, and a cheesy texture when they are cooked properly. this could gross people out, but don’t avoid it. give it a try. so long as your eggs are from a good clean source (get outta here, factory farm eggs), it is fine to consume a wet egg. not only is it fine, but many studies show that slightly undercooked eggs preserve available nutrients and biotin.

and no, you won’t get salmonella. if you are eating factory farm eggs, then yes. worry about disease. once you are done worrying, go out to the farmer’s market and spend 3$ on a dozen real eggs.

real scrambled eggs

2 cold eggs

s & p to taste

2 tbsp ghee (butter is fine if you are not doing WHOLE 30)

method: crack your cold eggs into a small cup or pyrex with a pour spout. using a fork (not a whisk!), beat the heck out of it until everything is one color in there. add pepper and whip again. do not add salt yet.

heat cast iron skillet over medium/high heat until skillet is hot. spread your ghee over the pan and turn heat to low or very low.

pour eggs onto hot ghee, and using fork, stir on the skillet for 15 seconds or so, until lumps begin to form. now sprinkle on your salt. stir again, remove from heat, and pile eggs into the center of pan in a tall stack. this should all be done before the eggs cook through. quickly transfer eggs to plate before the heat from skillet over cooks them.

the eggs continue to congeal off of the heat from the residual heat and steam that has already passed through them.

if you have done this right, the center of your eggs-pile will still be gooey, but not sloppy or runny.

the trick here is removing them from heat way before they are cooked. the other trick is adding the salt LAST. adding salt will make the eggs tough and dry. this is why you wait until they begin to set up before adding it.

our eggs are so bright yellow because our free-range, happy chickens eat so many bugs and protein sources in the back yard, instead of fortified feed. we do supplement their diet during dry seasons, though.