Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cookie Catch Up: Colleges

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Boy oh boy!  Am I ever behind posting cookies!  I give people my card, and they must be super confused if they are solely looking for cookies.  I need to catch up and convince the cookie lookers to stick around and cook too! Here is an assortment of college, sports, some football commitment cookies and a birthday for a Vandy boy!

We love to hate them!

A popular past time for my girl friends!

A Bama/Chi O grad!

A UT Grad!

She is heading to Chatanooga!

She's heading to Birmingham Southern!

A Tennessee Volunteer is off!

A Bama girl!

Heading to U of Central Florida!

Tulane Bound!

Mississippi State!

A Germantown Tradition, The Charity Horse Show!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Final 10 of Whole30 and SWYPO

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Ten days left.  It seems crazy that I haven't had a grain of sugar (you should know I make thousands of sugar cookies every year...and did throughout this!), flour or any grain, alcohol or dairy.  Really, it just isn't that hard. I woke up on Day 20 feeling like a new woman.  I went to the farmer's market and roamed and smelled all the amazing produce.  I was alone so I cooked dinner for 3 meals, that is a key to survival on Whole30.  I also have found my quick go to meals.  I cook lots of extra chicken and cut it up and freeze portions.  I can whip up chicken salad rolled in lettuce, toss it on a salad, put it in an omelet, or just eat it as is.  I cook up a dozen hard boiled eggs at a time and eat a couple as a quick meal and I love them on a salad.  Egg salad?  YUM!  And tuna, I love tuna packed in olive oil, my goodness, I am Italian all the way through.  Again, on a salad, rolled in lettuce, made into cakes like last post's Salmon Cakes.  I told you about my batch of meatballs, they are in the freezer and can be cooked lickety split.  I'm even making a batch to take to a party.  If I can't find the lone sugar free BBQ sauce, I'll make a tahini or homemade ketchup something for them.  Maybe even buffalo.  I love that stuff! I drink lots of water and LaCroix, but also Tazo tea and coffee.  A cup of decaf after dinner with a little coconut milk is decadence for me and it feels like dessert. Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Spice tea is also a nice dessert feeling drink.

I do Pure Barre pretty much every day I'm not playing golf.  Sometimes I only play golf.  I know I should be doing cardio heavy, but my torn meniscus limits that sort of thing in many ways.  Besides, I like the strength and flexibility I get from Pure Barre.  Did I mention my awesome triceps?  Sleeveless for sure. What I'm saying is I'm sure plenty of people feel great on Whole30 without any major exercise.  I do my thing, you should do what you want too.

So some recipes I loved during this phase.  First of all, let's talk about SWYPO.  It's a funny term and basically means Sex With Your Pants On.  Apparently it's a thing, not as good as the real thing.  How this translates to Whole30 is that yes, there are recipes for pancakes, ranch dressing, pasta and more, but the idea here is to eliminate that stuff for a month.  Not remake it to be compliant.  So I was all fine and dandy with that until this came along. Vegan Coconut Ice Cream from EATMEBLOG and I decided right then, I am having SWMPO.  I am not even an ice cream kind of girl, but it is so friggin' muggy here that something cool and refreshing was what I wanted.  Like SWYPO, I was a little disappointed.  I changed it up, because that's what I do, but it froze into a brick and just didn't melt the way I wanted.  But hey, it was delicious and cold and...on plan compliant.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

1 14oz can Coconut Cream
1/2 cup salted cashews (that's what I had)
5 dates
3 T Pernigotti cocoa
1 banana

Whirl this up in the Vitamix until smooth and freeze in a covered container.  Take it out a good 30 minutes before you are ready to eat it.  It is solid! I didn't take's not pretty!

The other wonderful thing about Whole30 is the fridge and freezer situation.  I buy meat when it's on sale and then tend to forget I own it.  I decided to clean out and eat them clean.  So today I found a scrawny little pork tenderloin.  I generally grill them after a marinade or brining, but it was thawed and ready to cook and Mr. Preppy was at poker night.  So I bagged the grilling idea and made Dutch Oven Pork Roast that I found on Nom Nom Paleo.  But it isn't her recipe, and I didn't really use a pork roast, or the honey.

Dutch Oven Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin
coconut oil
salt and pepper
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
3 T olive oil
3 T cider vinegar
1 T Penzey's Tuscan Sunset
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup water

Brown the tenderloin that is seasoned with salt and pepper in the coconut oil in your Dutch Oven.  Get it crispy on all sides.  While it's cooking dump everything but the water in a Vitamix or food processor and pulverize it.  When the tenderloin is browned, remove from heat and add the sauce and the water and bake at 325ยบ.  I set my timer for 1 hr.  It was a crap shoot, and that scrawny little tenderloin cooked in about 45 minutes and was a little tough.  Just not enough fat to make it tender.  However, the aroma was intoxicating.  Next time, less water, more fatty cut, and we will see what happens. Taste?  Oh, it was wonderful.  Really, this isn't diet food folks.

So then I started thinking about vegetable ideas.  I mean, how many ways can you roast a veggie?  One as far as I'm concerned.  I was also trying to lay off some of the super cruciferous ones, but how many salads can a girl eat? Don't answer that one.  So I bought some zucchini at the farmer's market and was going to can some zucchini butter from Food In Jars blogger who published a book called Preserving by the Pint. I love this book and dig into it often as canning is a fun pastime for me!Her recipe sounded amazing but I didn't have the fresh thyme, so I found another that was a little less involved as far as ingredients go. I love The Kitchn and this is their Zucchini Butter.  The comments are from 6 years ago, and no one ever responded to them.  Hmmm.  I would respond.

Zucchini Butter

4 zucchini, scrubbed clean
4 T olive oil
2 T bacon fat (I know, right?)
1 shallot
2 large cloves garlic

Grate the zucchini on a box grater. Set on a strainer and let any water drain if necessary.  Mine was not watery and this did pretty much nothing.  Heat fats in skillet with higher sides, and cook the shallot and garlic just slightly.  Add the zucchini and keep the heat low and slow and cook until it is soft and can be smooshed into a butter.  This will take a good 20-30 minutes.  Don't rush it!

So let's be brutally honest.  It's not great.  It's not terrible, but it isn't "butterish", it still tastes like zucchini, and it's a damn mess to make.  Zoodle those zucchini.

So final notes.  The 6 of us lost just around 100 pounds.  Yep, you could say it was successful.  The men lost way more, shocker.  Mr. Preppy had the most dramatic looking loss of 22lbs.  He had that 50 year old man belly, and it just disappeared.  He now drinks less than a quart of milk a week (used to be 2 gallons), ketchup is a treat, and very sporadic.  He won't eat his beloved, and sugar laden French dressing, and I don't know the M&M status, but there isn't any here.  The second fridge still holds many of those off limit items, no one misses them.  We enjoy our wine and vodka, if we eat bread, it's damn good bread.  We have become rather picky eaters.  I am wavering between 12 and 15 pounds, but the way I feel is all that counts.  I can't wait to go Whole30 again!

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!!