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

Advertisements

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 🙂

IMG_5693.JPG

IMG_5722.JPG

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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.

IMG_5708.JPG

 

 

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!

IMG_5602.JPG

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Bake

Well we’re finishing up a pretty solid weekend with a new recipe to share!  This weekend was just what we needed – a good mix of friends and “us time,” some relaxing, nice weather, and finishing it off with some cooking!  My friend and I babysat on Friday night for our other friends.  Which means we drank wine, painted our nails, and watched Anne of Green Gables.  Man I forgot how great that movie is!  Saturday Matt, James, and I ran the 4.01k, a free race sponsored by Prudential to raise awareness about how 2/3 (!) of Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement – get it, a 4.01K?  I signed up because it was free, a short distance, and clever.

IMG_5562

Post-race water bottles, how do you not find that clever?!

Today we went to church, hung around and caught up with some friends, and then had the afternoon to ourselves.  We relaxed a bit, took a (long) walk to gravelly point to watch the planes take off, and then came home and made this new recipe.

This recipe was perfect for a Sunday.  We had to roast the pepper and the spaghetti squash, which took some time, so we did that while relaxing before our walk.  Then everything was ready to go this evening and came together very quickly for dinner.  We’ve been trying to eat better and I’ve always wondered what the big deal with spaghetti squash was so I bought one from Trader Joe’s earlier this week, and searched for a recipe from my trusted recipe bloggers (Annie’s Eats and Gimme Some Oven).  This recipe is a keeper – a great mix of healthy and delicious!  We modified it a little from the original, added chicken for some extra protein (highly recommended).

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Bake

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small poblano peppers
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • ½ lb chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 2 oz. shredded medium sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Sliced avocado, for serving
  • Fresh diced tomato, for serving

Directions:

  1. To roast the peppers, preheat the oven to 475˚ F.  Place the peppers in a medium baking dish.  Bake, turning every 6-8 minutes or so, until the skin is blistered over most of the surface about 15-20 minutes total.  Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with a plate and let sit 15 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, peel away the skin and discard.  Remove the stem, seeds and ribs.  Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 400˚ F. Place the spaghetti squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash, cut side down, for about 40 minutes or until it shreds easily with a fork. Remove from the oven, let cool briefly, then shred the squash out of the peel. Spread on a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels (or a clean kitchen towel) and let drain about 10 minutes. Maintain the oven temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the butter, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped poblanos, shredded squash, black beans, compound butter, greek yogurt, shredded chicken, and half of each of the cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold together until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and spread in an even layer. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm topped with sliced avocado and fresh diced tomatoes.

IMG_5566 IMG_5568 IMG_5569

Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale

Happy Wednesday!

Life update – I started the new position at work this week.  Right now I’m doing more training and learning and it’s really great.  I also travelled to New York (near Westchester) today for a presentation about Investing.  Every day this week I’ve had a ‘pinch me, this is now my job!’ moment.  It’s great.  There are some obstacles to overcome, like the fact that the new office is very different from the old one and I can’t even figure out how to print stuff right now.  But the fact that I can walk outside of this office and be in downtown DC, and walk home from work outweigh that.  I did walk home from work on Monday.  It’s like 3.5 miles, but I’m in a step challenge and needed the steps.  It gets dark really early these days…

This new recipe is another quick and easy one.  Since I flew to and from New York today I needed something quick to make when I got home.  It’s pretty good, and since it’s quick and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, we’ll be adding it to our rotation for sure.

Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale

Serves: 6+

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage*, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large bunch kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for topping

Directions:

  1. In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain.
  2. In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-low until browned, about 7 minutes. Drain fat if desired.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water and cream; simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil if you drained the sausage fat.  If you didn’t drain the fat, no olive oil should be needed. Add cheese and mix until melted.  If it doesn’t seem very sauce-like add a little more oil and parmesan.
  4. Add kale; toss until wilted.
  5. Remove from heat; toss with pasta.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy.

*Make sure you use spicy Italian Sausage, even if you don’t think you like spicy things.  It give the dish a majority of its flavor.  Also, it’s not that spicy once the dish all comes together, and my tolerance for spice is very low!

FullSizeRender

Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts and Fettuccine, Apple Pie with French Crumble Topping, and Shrimp Perloo

IMG_5504

Ahh it’s been a while!  Sorry everyone, busy season got real bad at the end.  But that is in the past and I have some exciting news (and then some recipes to catch you up on)!  As of November 1 I will be transferring into PwC’s financial education practice.  I have worked on some projects with this group in the past and I am beyond excited for the transition.  This has been in the works since June and my current partner and the partner of the new group agreed that I could make the switch after busy season. So what will I be doing?  Basically companies hire PwC’s financial education to be a benefit to their employees.  We do in person presentations on financial planning topics such as cash and debt management, 401(k), pre-retirement planning, and topics like that.  We also have a phone line that the employees can call and ask us financial planning questions, anddd one of my favorite things we have is a “financial fitness assessment.”  The employees can take this and then schedule a one on one call with me or one of my teammates.

‘How did this all come about?’ you may wonder.  Well, you may recall that back in June they were doing a “money matters” series at our church that I was super pumped about.  During the first sermon I’m just sitting there on the edge of my seat, resisting the urge to yell “amen” and clap after everything the pastor said.  I quickly realized that this was a topic that stirred something up in me and started to think about how I could switch into doing more of this for work (I was also already studying for the CFP exam at the time and getting really excited about everything I was learning).  I talked to a few people at work and called one of the managers in the FEP group to see if the switch was something we could make happen.  Since I’d done a good amount of work with the group in the past the answer was a quick “yes!!”  Then it was just a waiting game until my group would give me up.  Knowing the switch was coming was one of the only things that kept me going this busy season.  I’m pumped!  Also, this group does have busy seasons at the same time as the old group (we share people in between tax deadlines and then lose the extra help during tax season), but they’re a lot less extreme and don’t require weekends.  Just icing on the cake 🙂

Alright, now to the recipes.  We made a couple during the last weeks of busy season but I didn’t have time to post them!

First up – Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts and Fettucine.  This was pretty delicious, Matt made it one night during busy season and added garlic to the original recipe – great call on his part.

Second Up – Apple Pie with a French Crumble.  We went apple picking with our friends a few Sundays ago and somebody thought that we needed 12 lbs of apples, so there were plenty around for making a pie.

Lastly – we got Blue Apron this week (thanks to my bday gift from my brother)!  The recipe from the first meal we made had fairly normal ingredients that’s easy enough to remake, and it was pretty delicious too!

Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts and Fettuccine (recipe from here)

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, sliced
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine, cooked, plus 1 cup reserved cooking liquid
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Cook fettuccine according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  2. In skillet, cook butter over medium until golden, 3 minutes. Add minced garlic during the last 30-60 seconds of cooking
  3. Add sprouts; cook until tender, 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in pasta, cooking liquid and 1/2 cup each cheese and nuts; season.
  5. Top with remaining cheese and nuts.
  6. IMG_5416

Apple Pie with a French Crumble

Makes: One 9 inch pie (8 inch pies have different proportions! Or just a bit of leftovers from this recipe)

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp shortening, or 2/3 cup lard
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4-5 Tbsp cold water

For the Filling

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 6 cups thinly sliced tart apples (about 6 medium sized apples)

For the French Crumble Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup firm margarine or butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar

Directions:

For the Crust –

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut shortening into flour and salt until particles are the size of small peas (this can also be done in a food processor or a kitchen aid mixer with the whisk add on.
  3. Sprinkle in water, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork until all flour moistened and the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl. (A couple more Tbsp can be added if necessary)
  4. Gather the pastry into a ball; shape into a flattened round on lightly floured surface.
  5. Roll pastry 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  6. Transfer crust into the pie plate and trim/shape the edges as desired.

For the Filling –

  1. Peel and slice apples
  2. Combine, sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt, then stir in apples.
  3. Pour into the pie dish (already lined with raw crust).

For the Crumble Topping – 

  1. Mix the crumb topping ingredients (flour, butter, brown sugar) until crumbly.
  2. Top pie with crumble before baking.
  3. Bake 50 minutes, cover pie with foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking to avoid excessive browning.

IMG_5414

IMG_5407

Matt helped peel the apples!  anyone seen that video of using a drill to peel apples?  He saw it and had to try it!

One Pot Shrimp Perloo

Eh, just go to the website for the recipe – https://www.blueapron.com/recipes/one-pot-shrimp-perloo.   Blue Apron has pretty recipe cards you can print too.  Picture is below, it was delicious and definitely made more than two servings.

IMG_5501