Whole 30 Week 3 – It’s all downhill from here

So we made it through a weekend in Syracuse, complete with three large meals with extended family – and desserts at each!  If you’ve ever been to the Cheesecake Factory and seen their chocolate tower cake – my dad bought an entire cake of that for dessert the first night, and then when the 12 or so people only ate 1/3 of it, he brings it to the other family gathering the next night…and then there was still about half of the cake left and told us we could take some home and freeze it (we declined).  But we did get to eat some good steak and crab legs, and see a lot of family members and friends and meet some babies that were born in June!  It was a busy but great trip, as most of our visits home are🙂

So we’re back in DC and into the second half of our whole30.   Here’s a look at what we had this week, as well as links to recipes:

Breakfasts: mostly eggs, and some more of that homemade turkey sausage I shared from last week.  When we’re running late we have lara bars to grab n go and I’ve been hard-boiling some eggs in advance to have those ready to go too.

Lunches – mostly leftovers.

Snacks – bananas, almonds, pistacchios, Trader Joe’s ‘Just Mango’, lara bars (they have a list of approved ones here), apples with almond butter, and remnants of the beef jerky Matt made a couple weeks ago and  we had a few of these delicious energy bars left from the batch Matt made last week so that continued to be a treat🙂

Dinners – Last Sunday we were at a BBQ with Matt’s family and brough out own homemade spiedie sauce (bc all the bottled ones have sugar and/or MSG…which is no bueno on the whole30).  I’ve actually had the marinade recipe for a long time and have meaned to try it out but never had any marjoram, but thanks to our Penzey’s trip a couple weeks ago we have some and will probably go homemade from now on. It was delicious! For those of you not from upstate NY – spiedies are bite sized chunks of chicken, marinated a specific way, and then grilled, usually on skewers.  They’re also meant to be eaten kind of as a sandwhich on thin sliced italian bread, but obivously we can’t do that on the whole30.  Either way, it’s amazing.

On Monday we were travelling all day so when we got home we just made a quick hash for dinner (red peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, home made turkey sausage, and topped with a fried egg).

Tuesday we had a taco bar for our small group (we did provide the group with cheese and tortillas…and then made them take the leftover cheese with them, because we don’t trust ourselves).  In order to be compliant we made our own taco seasoning (if you use that recipe and don’t like spicy, cut down on the cayenne.  Even Matt admitted it was quite spicy).

Wednesday we had salmon and asparagus, because we stopped by Whole Foods on Monday (I know, twice in a month…who are we?) and the wild sockeye salmon was still on sale for $8.99/lb!

Thursday we had zoodles with Moroccan meat sauce.  We did not make the meatball ingredients into balls, it was a weeknight and who has time for that?!  But feel free to do that.  Or short cut it like us and it’s still just as delicious!

This weekend modified (olive oil instead of veggie oil) this tandoori chicken recipe, and made it with breasts instead of thighs.

We also just made sausages (we went to whole foods, a third time (!) for these compliant ones) and peppers and onions for a quick and delicious dinner this weekend.

Today we modified this chicken with lemon sauce recipe to be compliant.  We picked it up when we were at Penzey’s a couple weeks ago as it goes with one of their spice blends (which is an optional ingredient if you don’t have it, we used it to season the chicken).  This was seriously delicious, will definitely make it again.

Day 21 is in the books and now it’s on to our last full week of this!  We’re mostly having a “favorites week” of our fave recipes from the whole30, looking forward to it!

IMG_6434Sausages with peppers and onions

IMG_6413Baked salmon and asparagus

IMG_6409Turkey sausage and sweet potato hash

IMG_6415Zoodles with Morroccan meat sauce

IMG_6425Saturday breakfast

IMG_6426Tandoori chicken with pineapple relish

IMG_6348Homemade spiedie sauce

IMG_6451Chicken w/ lemon sauce and green beans

Whole30 – Still Going Strong

Day 12 is complete!  Here’s what we were up to (food-wise) this week:

Breakfasts – mostly eggs, but we did add some potatoes to one over the weekend, and I also made homemade turkey sausage this weekend – super cheap and definitely something I’ll continue to do beyond these 30 days!

IMG_6352Breakfast for lunch with some homemade turkey sausage

Lunches – mostly leftovers.

Snacks – bananas, almonds, pistacchios, Trader Joe’s ‘Just Mango’, lara bars (they have a list of approved ones here), apples with almond butter, and Matt made some beef jerky this past weekend and these delicious energy bars so that was a treat!

IMG_6402The energy bars! yummmm

Dinners:

Tortilla-less, cheese-less, ‘Rita-less Fajitas – Not as torturous as I thought it was going to be.  We still grilled up our steak and chicken and veggies like we normally would, topped it with some fresh pico de gallo I made with leftover veggies, and it was delicious!  We shared this meal with some good friends on the night before the 4th, I think this made it even better🙂

Steak and Roasted Potatoes with grilled asparagus – no recipe needed here, we just grilled some steak, tossed some potatoes with olive oil and rosemary andpopped those in the over, and then grilled seasoned asparagus.  We needed to have an extra good dinner this night (the 4th) because we ate before going to a friend’s place where everyone else would be eating pizza and cookie cake, which also went a lot better than I expected.

Paleo Sweet Potato Chili with a salad – we made this for small group on Tuesday and it was a hit with everyone.  Used some of the chili powder from our Penzy’s trip last weekend, and it came out great.  The recipe makes A LOT.  It filled out dutch oven to the top (as you can see in the photo.

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Spicy Shrimp Paleo Spaghetti Noodles – these were delicious, found the recipe from last week’s poster on the whole30 recipes instagram.

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(Modified) Spaghetti Squash Boats with Spinach and (homemade, compliant) pesto – we’ve made the non-whole30 version of these before (and check out that link for other varieties!).  The whole30 version turned out to be just as delicious.

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Grilled Chicken with misc stuff we had laying around.  I went to a movie in the park with a friend on Friday so there was limited dinner time and snacks were needed so I’d avoid the popcorn that was there! (also, not bringing my wallet helped)

We’re headed to Syracuse this weekend and have some family BBQs – our second real test in all this (the first being the previously mentioned pizza and cookie cake on the 4th of July).  We’re headed there with homemade speidie sauce (recipe to come later), so hopefully that on our chicken and the fruit and veggies will be enough to help us resist the rest of the deliciousness we come into contact with!

 

 

Whole30

So I realize that I kind of abandoned this after the holidays (6 months ago…).  Life just got busy and while Matt and I were still cooking delicious things, I just didn’t have time to type up the recipes and remember to take pictures of my food.  But we’re back, because we’re doing a whole30 and if the two of us, who love eating good food, can do this I really do believe anyone can.  We’re on day 6 of our adventure, so stay tuned for how it all pans out.  So far, so good!

I decided the one way to make this work for me is that we have to be cooking delicious meals.  And since I’m spending SO much time searching for recipes, I might as well share the goodness with everyone!  I also have a whole30 pinterest board where I’ve been trying to save ideas.  I think there’s a way for you to find and follow that, I just don’t know how….

Well, here’s what we’ve been doing so far:

Breakfasts have been pretty basic – eggs.  I’ve had to figure out how to drink my coffee black (no dairy or added sweeteners allowed), and I did find the ones way to make bulletproof coffee so it’s more foamy.  You just mix your coffee with 1-2 tsp coconut oil and some cinnamon (if desired) in a magic bullet for a few minutes and it’s magical.

Lunches are just leftovers from dinner.

Dinners (and therefore lunches) have been great, some pics are below:

  • Zoodles with meat sauce.  We had made this recipe before, with ground beef added to it, so we made it again and we just don’t put parm on it anymore
  • Chicken with pineapple salsa (too bad the salad in the post isn’t compliant!)
  • A salad bar (we have dinner with our small group every Tuesday so this was an easy way to feed several people)
  • A modified version of a Turkey Chorizo Soup (recipe below)
  • A modified version of pork chops with peach salsa
  • Grilled salmon

Snacks – bananas, cherries, almonds, pistacchios, lara bars (they have a list of approved ones here), apples with almond butter, and Matt made some beef jerky this weekend so that’ll be nice for next week!

So on day 6 we’re still doing great.  I hear the second week is the hardest, because it’s no longer this new thing and you realize you have weeks to go, and your body starts craving the things you now haven’t had in over a week.  Stay tuned for that.  I will say that this is defintely not cheap.  But we’re basically not going to eat out this month – it’s too much of a hassle with wondering how things were prepared, what kind of oil it was cooked in, what’s in a marinade, etc – so our overall food spending should still be pretty even with what it was before.  They opened a new Whole Foods near us on Wednesday and had a ton of grand opening deals and coupons so we went there today and saved a lot of money, and it was the first time that I have genuinely enjoyed my time at a Whole Foods.

Here are some pics of this week’s meals, keep scrolling for the soup recipe🙂

IMG_6123Zoodles with Meat Sauce

IMG_5751Turkey Chorizo Soup (the non-modified version we made earlier this year)

IMG_6324Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

IMG_6316Our Salad Bar

IMG_6345.JPGGrilled Salmon and Asparagus

Turkey Chorizo Soup Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Ground turkey, lean (sub other ground meat) – 1 lb
  • Chili powder – 2 Tbsp
  • Paprika – 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin – 2 tsp
  • Garlic powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander – 2 tsp
  • Oregano, dried – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Adobo sauce or seasoning – 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic – 4 cloves
  • Onions – 1, chopped
  • Kale (1 bunch = ~6 leaves) – 1 bunch, leaves torn, stems chopped
  • Potatoes, any type – 1 lb, chopped
  • Oil, cooking – 2 tsp (we used olive oil because of the whole30)
  • Tomato paste – 4 Tbsp
  • Chicken stock – 4 cups (check your labels if making the whole30 version)
  • Limes – 1/2, sliced into wedges
  • Corn kernels, frozen or canned – 1 cup (leave out for whole30 version)
  • Sour cream – 6 Tbsp (leave out for whole30 version)

Directions:

  1. Prep: Prep garlic, onions, and kale as directed. Mix together chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, oregano, salt, and adobo. Prep potatoes as directed.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and then onions, garlic, chopped kale stems, and tomato paste to heated oil. Saute until tender, ~3 minutes.
  3. Fold in ground turkey and seasonings and break up with a wooden spoon. Brown meat for 4 to 6 minutes. (If you couldn’t find lean ground turkey and a lot of fat has cooked out, drain out as much fat as possible before starting next step)
  4. Add potatoes and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  5. While soup cooks, slice lime into wedges.
  6. Once potatoes are tender, fold in kale leaves and corn (optional). Turn off heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, other spices, or even hot sauce.
  7. Ladle into bowls and serve with sour cream (optional) and lime wedges.

 

Mango Shrimp Tacos

TGIF!  We just wrapped up our last full week of work until 2016!  Yippee!!  Just three days of work next week and then we’re off to Syracuse!  The week after Christmas we both have off from work (thank you, Boeing and PwC!) so we’ll spend some time back here in Arlington that week, relaxing and catching up.  It’s been a great Christmas season so far and we’re excited to head up North and continue it.  We’ve had some great parties and good time with friends, and lots of caramel corn!  I’ve made 4 batches and I think there’s one more to go.  We’ve been blessed with new friends and such a great small group that has grown over the year, so there are lots of people to give caramel corn to for Christmas!  My mom always did this for friends and family at Christmas and I love continuing it with our circles.  Some people have asked if I’m going to post the recipe and I’m not.  Like the molasses cookies last year, some family recipes will stay off the internet🙂

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Tonight we took some time to ourselves and made dinner together.  These are a winner!  The crema and salsa can be made in advance and if you do that (we didn’t), this would be super fast to whip up.  These sure were delicious and I know Matt is already looking forward to when we make them again!

Mango Shrimp Tacos (recipe from here)

 Serves: 2-4, depends on how hungry you are🙂

Ingredients

5 Ingredient Mango Salsa

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
  • juice of one lime

Sweet Chili Lime Crema

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • pinch of salt

Mango Shrimp Tacos

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ – 1 packet Taco Seasoning (adjust for your preference)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package (Small) Tortillas (corn or flour, pick what you like!)
  • 1 batch 5-Ingredient Mango Salsa
  • 1 batch Sweet Chili Lime Crema
  • optional toppings: crumbled queso fresco, sliced avocado, extra chopped cilantro

 

Directions:

  1. Make the Salsa – Toss all ingredients together until combined. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Can be prepared up to 3 days in advanced and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  2. Make the Crema – Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Taste, and add extra salt or honey if needed.
  3. Toss the shrimp in a large bowl with the taco seasoning until the shrimp are evenly coated.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and saute for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are completely cooked through and opaque inside.  Remove from heat, transfer the shrimp to a separate plate, and set aside.
  5. While the shrimp are cooking, heat the tortillas
  6. To assemble your tacos, portion the shrimp evenly between 6-8 flour tortillas, topped with a few spoonfuls of mango salsa. Then drizzle with the sweet chili lime crema to taste.  Add optional toppings if desired.  Serve warm.

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One Pan Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

Where has December gone?!  We’ve had a busy couple of weeks to start the month.  Got back from our Bahamas Thanksgiving vacation with my family, worked a few days and then flew to Florida for Matt’s cousin’s wedding the first weekend of the month.  Last week was really busy in general, we had something every night of the week.  But this past weekend was a perfect mix of just what we needed.  A few parties, the wreath laying at Arlington Cemetery, hanging out time, a fun run, and just a bunch quality time with several friends.  Like I said, just what we needed.

Last week was so busy we didn’t have much time to try new recipes, but we did remake this one when we had some friends over for dinner on Thursday.  I re-read the blog post from when we first tried it, “It did not disappoint, we will definitely be having this again!”  It may have taken almost a year and a half to get back to it, but man was it good!  We’ll still be making it again…hopefully before another year and a half pass.

Tonight we picked up a new recipe and boy was is good!  It only takes about 30 min to cook and just hit the spot – One pan chicken and broccoli alfredo.  ONE PAN.  Which means cleaning up isn’t awful either.  When I say one pan I’m specifically referring to this pan.  It is absolutely amazing.  Matt’s aunt gave it to us as a wedding gift, saying we’d use it all the time and she was not kidding!

One Pan Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo (adapted from here)

Serves: 4+

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz can of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ½ a pound of penne pasta, or any bite-sized shape pasta, uncooked
  • 2 cups of freshly shredded real parmesan cheese
  • 2 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. Start by cutting chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Brown chicken in olive oil over medium high heat, it does not need to be cooked through at this point, it will continue cooking as it simmers.
  3. Once chicken is browned, add minced garlic and saute for about one minute.
  4. Add chicken broth, cream, and uncooked pasta to pan and stir.
  5. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes, until pasta is almost cooked through.
  7. While the dish continues to simmer, stir in shredded parmesan cheese until melted and completely mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add broccoli to the dish and cook 3-5 additional minutes
  9. Served topped with fresh minced parsley leaves, if desired.

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries, Apples and Gouda

Here’s the recipe I referenced in my blog post the other day.  I will warn you – gouda is kind of stinky so you might not want to eat it, but it is really delicious in this salad.  I was kind of skeptical at first, but this came together really nicely.  One thing I would recommend that I normally wouldn’t – definitely only use 1 small garlic clove and 1/2 cup shredded gouda.  I typically believe there can never be too much garlic or cheese, but this recipe requires a delicate balance and if you follow the recipe below it will be perfect.

Speaking of things I was skeptical of, if you live near a Trader Joe’s I know just how to make you the hero of our next holiday gathering.  They have these fig and olive crisps and cranberry chevre.  Oh boy is this stuff delicious!  They were sampling it at our store tonight and I almost didn’t try it, but man is it a good thing I did, you’re welcome.IMG_5603.JPG

 

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries, Apples and Gouda

Serves: 6+

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. whole brussels sprouts, or 12-14 oz already shaved brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. shallot, finely minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup aged gouda, coarsely shredded
  • 1 apple such as Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts. In a food processor fitted with the slicing attachment, shred the brussels sprouts. Remove to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or dressing shaker, combine the lemon juice, Dijon, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper. Add in the olive oil and whisk/shake until well blended.
  3. Add the dressing to the bowl with the brussels sprouts. Toss well, then let stand at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  4. Add the gouda, apple, cranberries and hazelnuts to the bowl with the brussels sprout mixture. Toss well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve.

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Creamy Spinach Tomato Tortellini

A week in town means time for cooking!  I printed this recipe forever ago and never got around to trying it, which really is a shame.  It was pretty quick to make, a good weeknight pick. Enjoy!

Creamy Spinach Tomato Tortellini (recipe from here)

Ingredients

  • 1 bag regular sized Barilla three cheese tortellini (8 oz) or 16 oz fresh tortellini in the refrigerated section of your grocery store
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup fresh diced onion
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (we used fat free)
  • 1/2+ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Begin by boiling your tortellini noodles until they are al dente (aka ready). Follow the directions on the bag for boiling time.
  2. While the tortellini is boiling, chop the spinach roughly.
  3. Heat a large skillet using medium heat and put the about 1 Tbsp olive oil and the minced garlic and diced onion into it. Sautee it briefly until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add into the skillet the petite diced tomatoes (undrained), spinach, salt, pepper, dried basil, and onion flakes.
  5. Cook and stir over medium high heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
  6. In another bowl, combine the flour and half-and-half. Whisk until fairly smooth.
  7. Add the creamy mixture into the the skillet along with the parmesan cheese.
  8. Heat through and reduce the heat to medium low and continue to stir and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add the drained tortellini and mix together gently.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

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