Saturday, August 20, 2016

Halfway Through Whole30

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I made it to the top of the hill, it is all downhill now!  The first 2 weeks of Whole30 can be challenging.  I love tackling recipes and keeping them compliant. The emails continue to be a great source of information, and I recommend anyone trying Whole30 to subscribe.  

True to everything they told me, I did get sick.  I was so floored to wake up feeling like I did that first day with the flu a month ago.  It was awful.  It happened on Day 13 (unlucky, right?) The fever was more mild, and it broke the following night so I didn't suffer long.  I can only hope it has been permanently purged from my energized body.  My family thinks the 7 rounds of golf I played that week may have been a contributing factor.  I just know I felt great!  And I do again.  Tiger Blood is how it's described, and I'll take it.  The sleep is lovely, the mornings I bounce up at 5am, I am great at 3 in the afternoon and not searching for a cozy cat nap spot.  I played so much golf I didn't cook much, and I missed a few photo ops.  But here is a rundown.  And a quick word on compliance.  The Whole30 isn't for sissies.  They are sticklers for every single detail to be compliant or you start over.  I'm a little easier on myself than that, and I don't find this a nuisance or a short term plan, so my little slip up didn't send me back to Day 1.  Not going to happen. My slip up? Vanilla extract.  As soon as I smelled it when I was eating my blueberry omelet I knew I screwed up.  Selling great vanilla at Williams Sonoma for years, I had a few customers who steered clear of it and stuck to beans and vanilla sugar because of the alcohol.  Yep.  That 1/4 of a teaspoon in my omelet should have sent me back to Day 1.  Seriously?  I beat myself up enough, I wasn't going there.  If I'm going non compliant with alcohol it will involve a well aged Cabernet with one of those grass fed steaks!

We did have dinner guests one night, and I am happy to report they were stuffed when they left.  I brined some amazing bone in Iowa pork chops.  We put them on the green egg and served them with a salad full of junk (tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, scallions), green beans seasoned with some compliant (and expensive) bacon and a potato salad with compliant mayo and scallions.  It was perfect.  Did I mention the shrimp wrapped in that bacon and grilled?  I mean whats a dinner party without an appetizer? 

A few nights later, Mr. Preppy and I played in a tournament and it went way longer than we had hoped.  As we waited for the results and prizes (we took second!), everyone was sipping cocktails and eating chips and dip.  We sipped our LaCroix with a lime, looks like a cocktail, and politely nibbled on nuts and grapes.  People felt sorry for us.  Ha!  Jokes on you.  I feel sorry for you.  You have no idea how amazing you can feel when you give your body whole, nutritious food.  We were pretty hungry when we got home so I took out a couple cans of Wild Planet canned salmon.  I mixed it with egg, some compliant spicy seasoning, a squeeze of lemon, ground almond meal and some chopped onion and a jalapeno right out of my garden.  I made the mixture into 5 patties and fried it up in some coconut oil.  I had a little avocado and lemon with mine and Mr. Preppy made a little faux tartar with approved mayo and dill pickle.  They were delicious and not seriously filling for being so late in the evening.  A salad and a roasted veggie would make it the perfect real dinner for sure.

Salmon Cakes for a quick meal.

Salmon Cakes

2 cans Wild Planet Salmon
1 egg
1/4 cup almond meal
1 T spicy seasoning (I use Potlatch)
half a lemon squeezed
1/2 cup total chopped onion, jalapeno and red bell pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped Italian Parsley

Mayo and chopped dill pickle for tartar knock off

Coconut oil for frying

Mix all ingredients well and you will want it to stick together.  Add anything from the crisper drawer, and any spices or herbs you may have on hand. Form 5 patties (one of mine was smaller than the others, that was Mr. Preppy's 3rd for his dinner). Fry in coconut oil, just a Tablespoon until crispy and flip and continue.  Serve with avocado and fresh lemon or pretend tartar.

eggs...ghee and bluberries

A few mornings later after barre, I was standing looking in the fridge.  I knew breakfast was eggs of some sort.  I just really wanted something a little sweet.  So I whipped up a couple eggs and a couple egg whites (my pooches like a yolk each!), some coconut milk, a scrape of vanilla bean and I cooked it like an omelet in my skillet topped with blueberries.  It looked great, until I tried to get it out.  My daughter was terribly unimpressed with this, I rather enjoyed it, a nice break from mushrooms, onions and salsa eggs.  In my old life, I would toss some old fashioned oatmeal in there to ramp up the fiber, but those days are behind me!

Blueberry Omelet

2 eggs
2 egg whites
a scrape of a vanilla bean
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 T almond meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries
coconut oil for cooking

Isn't that pretty? Until you flip it.

Whisk all ingredients to the blueberries, and place in skillet that has a film of coconut oil.  Cook over medium low heat and sprinkle the blueberries on before it is totally set.  Try as carefully as possible to flip, and when it disintegrates, say screw it, and make it a blueberry scramble.  Put a little ghee on top and enjoy!
Not pretty, but pretty good.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs
I can't really give you a recipe per se.  I boil up a dozen eggs on Sunday so I have a to go protein all week.  I took a 4 eggs and peeled them and took 2 yolks (2 yolks for my dogs!) and mashed them with some guacamole I had on hand.  It was quick and easy and great with a salad for lunch!

So here we are winding down to the last 10 days.  I am cruising along pretty good.  My clothes fit great, the giant zit has disappeared (where did THAT come from) and my fridge is bulging with great ingredients! I was alone a good number of nights in this segment of Whole30, so hopefully I'll get cooking this week.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get in there and cook whole!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

SweetiePetitti Goes Whole 30

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I'm not really a very good dieter.  My weight hasn't really changed by more than 5 pounds in the last 5 years, so as long as my Lucky jeans slide on, I'm happy.  But who doesn't want to drop some pounds? Then, I got the flu, or what the doctor suspected was the flu.  I was sick, for like 7 days.  It had really zapped me. I am back at the barre, but at 3pm every day I am curled up on the couch.  It took me 2 weeks to get through 18 holes of golf, I pooped out after 9. I just am not my old self.  I decided the best way to bounce back was to reset my body.  The whole family is on board with doing the Whole30, and kudos to the awesome website with downloads and printables to make this journey a little easier. Also, Pinterest has jillions of recipes, I am so inspired!  I also signed up for the daily email for $15.  It had great reviews, and I thought it would be full of great resources.  And I was right.  I pull snippets of wisdom and pass it on in our hilarious group text. Along with some great memes.
I won't give you a day by day of how things went, but I will check in every week with recipes and notes on the week.

So here is my post for 5 days in.

Starting to thin out the bad stuff, and pack it with veg and meat!

I am so happy that I did a little prep work prior to starting. A week or so ahead, I backed off my usual groceries, and we finished up the ice cream, the yogurt, the milk and the bread.  I pitched the last of the tortilla chips and Wheat Thins, and wrapped all my imported cheeses in foil and tossed them in the freezer.  I moved the BBQ sauce and ketchup, the Ranch and the sweet pickle relish to the fridge in the laundry room.  It made room for my new mayo, my new hot sauce, almond and coconut milks, lots and lots of veggies, and all those eggs. The worst part of the Whole30 is the eggs.  And I love eggs.  But I really do miss oatmeal and yogurt and toast for breakfast.

One of the funny memes I sent in the group text!

My mornings have been a couple of eggs, fruit, maybe half a sweet potato and some days I have tossed some peppers and mushrooms with the eggs.  On Pure Barre days, I have a little almond butter before I go.  My coffee is no problem as I have been using the Califia almond creamer forever.  No sugar, no carrageenan.  I find myself checking the downloads I printed off on a regular basis, and tucked the one with the bad ingredients in my purse.  Being a label reader is rather empowering. Who knew there were so many terrible additives? Now I know what all of them are for, and which ones are okay.  I kept it simple the first few days and ate my Greek Turkey Burgers from the freezer (no Cavendar's, it has MSG!) and quick sauteed veggies, salad etc.  I usually make my own dressing so no biggie there.  By day 4 I was hankering for something a bit more interesting.  Thankfully there are a lot of bloggers out there posting and pinning all kinds of ideas. I made the following recipes this week and froze portions to streamline my mornings and quick meals.

This stuff is great seasoning.  I use it a lot!

Some clarification on things.  Whole30 has all the rules on foods, I am not going to rewrite the program, if you're here, you are likely looking to see someone else's journey. But if you are new to the ingredients, it can be confusing. Coconut milk is found in 2 forms.  In the refrigerated section, in a carton is the drinkable, more liquid version.  In the Asian cooking section is the canned milk.  This is gold.  Thick and rich and naturally sweet, but make sure it doesn't have carrageenan or sulfates.  They are a no no. Itching for something sweet. Slice some berries and put a little of the canned, chilled coconut milk and some ground almond meal (Trader Joe's) and you have a Whole30 sundae.  It's not really ideal, but I know that many people have trouble the first week battling the sugar dragon.  This is not how they recommend killing it off, but it's better than a bowl of ice cream! It might be SWYPO but hey, we all take a different path on our journey. This is the kind of thing to deal with on week 2.

And finally the 5 day results.  Weighing is a no no.  However, one in my group has lost 6.8 pounds in 5 days.  Another, 6 and another just at 5.  The other three in our hilarious group have abided by the rules or don't own scales (smart!), but by day 5 all felt better. The headaches are real, the crappy get out of my face feelings are real, the longing for a cold beer, a piece of chocolate or one of those Chik-Fil-A biscuits that douche bag brought to your office are real.  Very real.  However, the energy level is real, the disappearing bloat is real and the sleep, my goodness that heavenly restful night, is also very real.  I know what I am loving.  Here is to the next 5 days!

Buffalo Chicken Egg Bake

I screenshot this recipe, and then I changed it.  I can't find the original source, but when I Google it there are jillions of the same thing out there.  The original I saw had spinach, some have sweet potatoes, there are as many variations as you could hope for.  They are delicious, but I agree with my daughter, you can't eat these things every day.  Change up those eggs, they are your friend!

8 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk (the kind in a carton)
1/2 cup hot sauce (we love WingTime)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
3/4# chicken meat, cooked
4 scallions, sliced
1 1/2 red peppers diced
1/4 cup mushrooms

Mix all ingredients well.  I used a 12 cup muffin tin with the reusable silicone cups, you can also just grease the wells with coconut oil. I also oiled a small 6x6 baker. Fill the wells and baker (or more muffins) I baked the muffins at 350º for 20 minutes (no jiggly eggs for me) and the baker stayed in for another 15 minutes beyond.  Cool completely and freeze the portions.  2 is a good breakfast for me.

This plus 12 muffin cups.  Good freezer to microwave breakfast!

Pork Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Zoodles

Mr. Preppy loves pasta with a hearty meat sauce.  And lucky for him he married an Italian girl.  It is super easy to make a great sauce that is compliant.  This one is with meat balls, but you could do ground meat, approved sausage or all veggies. The key is in the simmering.  Cook, cook, cook.  It makes it sweet and hearty. I use a large spiralizer for my zoodles. I used to use a julienne peeler, but decided even though the spiralizer is big, clumsy and a pain, I like the end result better.

Makes about 22 good sized meatballs

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's)
1 egg
Italian spices, salt and pepper (about 3 teaspoons)

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 onion minced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
coconut oil or olive oil for sauteing
1 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 can tomato puree
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T Italian seasoning (I use Penzey's Tuscan Sunset and Trader Joe's garlic salt grinder)

2 zucchini, scrubbed well and spiralized
oil of choice
salt and pepper

This is 2 zucchini spiralized.  They shrink up pretty good when cooked!

Mix meatball ingredients in a bowl and make into meatballs and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Freeze what you won't be cooking right away.  When the frozen meatballs are firm, toss in a freezer bag. Saute the meatballs you are eating (I ate 4, Scott ate 6) in coconut or olive oil until they are browned and cooked through.  Then put them in your pasta sauce below.

To make the sauce, saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms in coconut or olive oil until soft and browned slightly.  Add tomato sauce and vinegar and spices and simmer.  The longer it cooks, the thicker it becomes. Mine cooked for nearly an hour and was thick, dark and hearty.

My thick sauce, cooked for about 2 hours.

In a large skillet, heat oil. Drop in all of the spiralized or julienned zucchini.  Season with salt and pepper and toss constantly to cook slightly, but not browned. It takes about 4-5 min at the most.

Cooked down zoodles!

I find the best way to serve is to keep zoodles and sauce in different bowls and top the zoodles on your plate with sauce and meatballs.  You won't miss the parmesan, the sugar or the pasta! I promise!


Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks with Sweet Potato Fries

This is pretty straight forward, but after 17 years in the cooking store world, I know there are folks who need a blueprint for all recipes.  The sweet potato fries are a standard here.  Burgers, chicken, chops...and yes, you can use regular potato, they are Whole30 approved!

6 Drumsticks (buy good meat) you can use any cut of chicken
coconut and or olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Wing Time buffalo sauce or other Whole30 approved sauce

2 sweet potatoes
coconut oil or olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup approved mayo
Tabasco Sauce

Put the oil on cookie sheet and roll the drumsticks around to coat them a bit.  Salt and pepper them well and bake at 400º for about 45 minutes or until juices run clear. In a large bowl, mix the hot drumsticks with the buffalo sauce and cover completely.

After placing drumsticks in oven, peel and slice sweet potatoes into desired fry size. Place in a bowl and add oil and toss well to cover completely.  Place on baking sheet and put in oven for last half hour.  Serve fries with the mayo and Tabasco blended to desired hotness.

Oprah's Chicken Whole 30-ized

Way back in the early 90's, Oprah had a chef named Rosie Daley who published her recipes that Oprah ate.  They are lowfat, which Whole30 rather debunks, as does my favorite Dr. Hyman.  But one recipe in this book was a family favorite using yogurt and panko.  I changed it about for Whole30 and it is delicious!

Desired chicken pieces, bone in (my preference) or bone out, whatever you''l eat and maybe tomorrow's lunch
1/2 Canned coconut milk
1/2 cup almond meal
Italian Seasoning (see recipe above)
Olive oil or Coconut oil

Place coconut milk in shallow dish.
Mix almond meal and seasonings in separate shallow bowl.
Dip or rub chicken pieces in coconut milk (it is rather firm when it's chilled)
then roll in seasoned almond meal.  Place on greased sheet pan and bake at 350º for about 45 -60 minutes.  Cooking time is dependent on bones, skin and size.  They shouldn't be bloody.

Looks like KFC right?

So, what are you waiting for?  Whole30 yourself and get in there and cook!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's Tomato Season!

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My favorite snack with a glass of wine.
Summer in the South. I know, many areas of the country are still thinking about 90° days, we are living them. My garden is bursting, I have already picked hot banana peppers, snipped off bunches of basil, cilantro and parsley, and my first plum tomato is reddening as we type with about 5 friends a week or so behind. I generally do not have the patience for tomatoes, but I found these Patio Tomatoes and decided to give them a try. They seem to be okay thus far, although they are a little scorched. We have had such incredible rains followed by intense heat, it makes a sauna out of the plants and tomatoes are especially prone to suffer. I suspect if they were planted in the ground it wouldn't be an issue. But the garden thrives.

I still frequent the farmer's markets for additional produce, and the Ripley Tomatoes are the best summer delight. Ripley is a town in Tennessee famous for their tomatoes, and sadly I don't think anyone else is lucky enough to get them, I am certain they are a West Tennessee phenomenon. The Ripley Tomato Festival is in early July, but if I'm close to getting tomatoes, they must be too. The huge ones I bought at the Farmer's Market came from Hardeman County, just East of Memphis, but it won't be long and all you will see is Ripley (heck, a Ripley sign is a sure fire way to sell tomatoes).

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let them sit a little bit.
Then comes the question of how to eat them. This question in the South can stir up as many arguments as asking dressing or stuffing, Hellman's or Duke's, wet ribs or dry. Southerner's love their tomato sandwich. The white bread is a non-negotiable, a slice or two of tomato, and mayo. Here you go, Duke's or Hellman's? A little salt and pepper too.

The bread must be grilled.  Don't turn on the toaster oven!

Delicious I'm sure, but not my kind of food. I like the way we eat tomatoes in the South of Italy. A slice of bread, preferable artisan like a ciabatta or baguette, grilled dry on a cast iron grill until toasty, nice dark grill marks. Then top it with chopped tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper and fresh basil. From the garden please. Believe it or not, a little sea salt and fresh pepper can make grocery store tomatoes from another state or another country perk right up. And before you dare take a bite, drizzle with a fruity extra virgin olive oil. In the summer time, paper plate and lots of napkins, in the winter, china and a nice chianti. Now that's what I'm talking about. Last Sunday we rushed off to church and never had breakfast, so when we got home we were famished. A little tomato bruschetta was perfect and we crumbled a little bacon on top for an Italian BLT. Molto Deliciozo!

Bacon?  Why not!