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

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Gremolata Bowties & Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry

Another week has passed!  Busy season is going surprisingly well so far, but there are still almost 7 weeks left until October 15 so I’m sure I’ll be eating those words in a week or two.  Still working overtime, but not as much as I’ve historically been slaving away at this time of year so that’s a big win!

This week was the last week of the Financial Peace class I’ve been helping out with at church.  Gosh that stuff was so good.  People can hate on Dave Ramsey all they want, and while I will admit that I don’t agree with everything he says (and that’s okay!), I will say that the man is changing lives.  And if more people could get into this and follow the principles he teaches, this world would be a different place.  It’s funny how big of a difference having a written budget makes!  It sounds so simple, but that’s really at the heart of this.  I think people hear the word budget and think they’re only for people who are poor or living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s for everyone!  It is AMAZING how much money we’ve “found” since starting to just actually keep a budget.  I could go on forever.  If you want to know more about that stuff, ask me some time.  But be warned that apparently I get really excited and talk really loud when I get going about it (Matt shhh-ed me a few times while I was on the phone talking to mom today).  I’m really excited to see where this stuff takes us.  We’re probably going to be coordinating another one in the new year, it’s going to be great!

Another two quick, easy, and few ingredient recipes for you this week!  Both were absolutely delicious, easy, healthy, and will be made again (probably in the next 6 weeks…).  The bowties are the PERFECT mix of lemon, garlic, cheese, and deliciousness.  And the stir fry I was definitely skeptical about, but ended up being very pleasantly surprised with how good it was.  That lime did a lot for it.  Thanks, Rachel Ray.

Gremolata Bowties (recipe from here)

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound bowtie pasta (aka farfalle)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup grated pecorino
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 2 tbsp. juice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to directions, reserving ¾ cup of the pasta water.
  2. In skillet, cook chicken in oil over high, stirring, until cooked through; season.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients to warm; season.

*Note that peas are not pictured in the pasta below because someone conveniently “forgot” to get them….

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Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry (recipe from here)

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 14 ounce bag coleslaw mix
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 lime (1 tsp. zest and 1 tbsp. juice)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Optional: thin sliced bell peppers

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, cook coleslaw (and peppers, if desired) in 2 tbsp. oil over medium-high, stirring, 2 minutes; season.
  2. Stir in lime zest and juice; divide among plates.
  3. In same skillet, simmer remaining oil, sriracha and 2 tbsp. water over medium-high, 1 minute.
  4. Add shrimp; cook, stirring, until opaque in center, about 3 minutes; season.
  5. Top plates with shrimp and sauce and enjoy.

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Lemon and Spinach Orzotto

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Busy season has officially started so I worked a bit on Saturday.  Not too much, but enough to feel caught up and good going into my Monday.  And not enough to make me hate busy season yet 🙂

Despite busy season starting, we made time for some fun!  Friday night our friend Katie had extra (free!) tickets to the Nats game so we went to that after work.  And they just called someone up from the chiefs so we got to see him in his first at bat.  Kid can run super fast!  Saturday I went to a movie after working and then James came over and hung out with us later.  Sunday I was with the preschoolers at church and boy are those kids still adorable!  We got some things done during the day after church and then headed to our friend’s house to celebrate our friend Chris’ birthday!  It was so much fun to have everyone together, and we got to use our cornhole boards (finally!).  It’s so fun to look back at how our community here has grown over the past two years, and even though some people will be moving away this year, we still have some good ones sticking around 🙂

IMG_5294 IMG_5287

Last week we finished off our weeknight dinners with this last quick and easy one for Thursday’s dinner.  Lemon in my dinner in the summer just really hits the spot (we had another dish with lemon in it tonight for dinner…recipe coming soon).

Lemon and Spinach Orzotto

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ cups orzo
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  2. Add the orzo and stir to combine with the shallots and garlic. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has been mostly absorbed into the pasta, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the broth gradually, about 1 cup at a time. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook until the orzo has absorbed the broth before stirring in the next cup. Continue until the orzo is completely tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach and let it wilt in the warm orzo. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

*We topped ours with grilled chicken for some added protein

Note: To reheat leftovers, add a little broth or water and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, pausing to stir once or twice.

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Week 46 – Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

Sorry for the delay, everyone!  We made this recipe a couple weeks ago on our day off for memorial day.  It’s not bad, but it’s not as great as I wanted it to be, and due to the process and sugar quantity, we’re unlikely to make it again.    But everyone has different tastes, so if you have a little time and want to try something new, have at it!

Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes (recipe from here)

Ingredients:

For the syrup
  • 1.5 cups strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey
For the pancake batter
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons poppyseeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • juice of 2 medium lemons
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
Directions:
  1. Prepare the syrup: Add strawberries, sugar, water, vanilla, and honey to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat stirring throughout until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to purree syrup (or you can transfer the mixture to a regular blended and then pulse for about one minute). When syrup is smooth with only small bits of strawberries left, allow to sit and thicken over very low heat until pancakes are ready.
  2. Preheat large nonstick pan or skillet over medium-low heat and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Prepare the pancake batter: In a large bowl combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until well mixed. In a medium bowl whisk together lemon juice and sugar. Add buttermilk, vanilla, and egg and whisk until smooth. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour dry ingredients into the well you just made. Whisk all ingredients until just incorporated (batter will be lumpy). Gently stir in the diced strawberries
  4. Make the Pancakes: Pour ¼-1/3 cup batter onto preheated pan or skillet. When edges begin to look “dry” and bubbles form and burst in the batter, use a large spatula to flip pancake. Cook 1-2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with strawberry syrup and additional fresh strawberries and powdered sugar if desired.

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