Whole 30: Day 21

So today I uttered the phrase: “So, this diet is totally a pain in the ass, but I’ve got to admit I feel really, really good.”  And it’s true. It’s a huge pain, because it turns out, pretty much everything has sugar in it, so if you want something, you have to make it. It does make me wonder, though, is this an American thing? Is it like this everywhere? I tend to think it must be. I just read something about how there’s a sugar shortage in Egypt and people are flipping out because sugar is in, like, everything they make. And now it’s going for some insane price on the black market. Anyway, it is interesting to be forced to notice everything that’s got sugar, and cream, and butter, etc. It’s an amazing industry.

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Today started out with this fatly stuffed omelet. Stuffed with an entire head of kale, Piggery ham slices (!!), scallions, and the last Piggery sausage. I browned the sausage and sautéed the greens before making the omelet, and I stirred a spoonful of coconut yogurt into the eggs before pouring them into the skillet. Delicious.

For lunch I created a Whole 30 style club salad. I wanted to finish off the ham before it went bad, so I chopped that up, threw some arugula into a bowl with the ham slices, cherry tomatoes, avocados, a few almonds, and two poached eggs. I sprinkled on some salt and pepper but otherwise opted to break the yolks and mix that up into the salad for dressing. Side note: this would also be glorious with bacon.

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For dinner I had some amazing wild white shrimp, so I thought I’d whip ’em up in a nice stir fry. I also had some gorgeous looking tatsoi, so I threw that in, too. Here’s my full recipe below:

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Shrimp and Tatsoi Stir Fry:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 tbls. fresh shredded ginger
  • 2 tbls. minced garlic
  • 1 head tatsoi,both stem and greens chopped
  • 2 tbls. coconut aminos
  • 1 tbls. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. monkfruit extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. guar gum or arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions plus more to garnish
  • sesame or coconut oil or ghee for cooking

Preparation:

  1. Combine coconut aminos, sesame oil, rice wine, monkfruit extract (if using) and guar gum in a small bowl and mix well; set aside.
  2. Put a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame or coconut oil, swirl it around and immediately add garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring, then add scallion and tatsoi. Raise heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens just soften, about 2 to 3 minutes; transfer everything to a plate and set aside.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, add another tablespoon of oil, let it get hot, add shrimp and sprinkle with salt and pepper; raise heat to high, continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink and are no longer translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Turn heat down to medium, return greens to pan, and toss once or twice. Stir sauce to make sure guar gum is well blended and add to pan. Cook until everything is warmed through and sauce thickens. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve.

Whole 30: Day 20

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Again, with the big and wonderful breakfasts. Also again, thank you The Piggery for your awesome, sugarless breakfast sausage.

For lunch today we shared the leftover taco meat in a big taco salad. It’s exactly the same as yesterday’s, but I’m going to show you a picture anyway since it’s so pretty.

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You’re welcome.

Today was meat club day (the best day) and we got a bunch of amazing meat, including a half chicken. They always include ideas of what to do with the meat which I never do, because I’m me. But their suggestion this week for the half chicken piqued my curiosity… so I tried it. It’s called oyakodon, and they say it’s a classic Japanese home style dinner.

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The photo doesn’t do it justice. I wish I had taken a photo before I transferred it to the platter…it looked so cool in the pan. I’ll have to make it again and post a photo because this even looks a little gross and this is so, good. I had to change a couple of things to make it Whole 30 friendly, but it was very little, really. Here’s what I did:

In a small pan that will just comfortably fit the chicken, sweat some sliced onion, garlic and ginger. Add a cup of chicken stock, splash of coconut aminos, two teaspoons of rice wine vinegar, salt and the chicken on top. Simmer until the chicken is 75% cooked. Flip and cook a few minutes longer. Lightly beat two eggs and pour around the chicken into the broth/sauce. Simmer for a few minutes, until the egg thickens and is almost set. Serve over cauliflower rice. Anyway, again, this is really good. It cooks through tenderly and perfectly and the flavor of the sauce is spectacular. I swear a better picture will be posted eventually.

Whole 30: Day 19

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I’m really enjoying the big breakfasts, which I’ve never gotten into the habit of over the years. I used to not eat at all until lunch, unless it was like a hang over day when breakfast was at noon or 1 (back in the day) or just once or twice a week for a real breakfast. But I’m having a love affair with breakfast lately. Who knew. Maybe it has something to do with homemade bacon!

Anyway breakfast WAS late today (hahaha) and so I went with a small quickie lunch of heirloom tomatoes and avocado, which I could eat constantly, really, I think. Of course, you can still find perfect heirlooms this time of year, so I’m looking at it as taking it while I can get it.

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I’ve really been craving tacos lately. So, I decided to have a taco salad for dinner. It fulfilled all of my desires, and then some. It actually tasted really close to a taco bowl from like Chipotle or something! Recipe below.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbls. cooking fat
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 heirloom tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups spicy salad greens
  • 1 portion taco mix (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Heat cooking fat (I used beef tallow) in a skillet over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add onions, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add ground chicken and cook until browned.
  3. Add taco mix and water and stir well; cook down until the liquid is almost all gone. Remove from heat.
  4. Throw salad greens, tomato and avocado into a bowl, and top with taco meat. Toss well and serve.

Taco Mix: (makes 1 serving)

  • 2 teaspoons Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon White Pepper

Mix well.

Oh! At the end of the day I roasted up a bunch of veggies that were getting older, now I’ll have roasted veggies ready to heat ‘n’ eat. So pretty, too!

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Whole 30: Day 18

Today was fairly unexciting. Fruit for breakfast, and a leftover stuffed  acorn squash for lunch.

I knew I was flying solo for dinner, so I had planned on a big salad with some canned mackerel on top, keeping it simple. But when I got home, all my salad greens had turned. So, I just cut up an heirloom tomato and an avocado, threw on some salt and threw the can of mackerel right on top. I included the packaging because you totally want to buy this. It’s in there with some olive oil, a pepper, a pickle and a carrot, which I also threw onto the salad. And it was great, greens or no greens.  Buy Cole’s Wild Chub Mackerel! They also have a Smoked Wild Mackerel that’s pretty delicious.

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Whole 30: Day 17

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Behold, the red pear. So beautiful, and so tasty, all at the same time. Seriously, how pretty is that pear?

Anyway, I ate fruit for breakfast. A pear (that very pear) and an orange.

Lunch was leftover hake, chard and potatoes. A full recycled meal.

Had a half an avocado sprinkled with sea salt as an afternoon snack.

For dinner I got more creative. It must be autumn, because I’m all about the stuffed gourd these days. Today’s gourd of choice: the acorn squash. I thought it worked a little better than the kobocha cause it’s smaller, and made for a more individual serving size. However…kobocha squash is so fantastic tasting I really don’t mind sharing a half. Anyway I totally improvised this dinner based on what I had in the house. And it was outstandingly delicious. I can’t wait to eat more of it for lunch.

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Chicken, Tomato and Onion stuffed Acorn Squash:

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 1 1/2 lbs. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 giant heirloom tomato, or 3 regular tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • cooking fat
  • olive oil
  • guar gum
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425.
  2. Cut squashes in half and seed them. Place on a baking sheet with tin foil and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Place baking sheet in the oven and let roast for 40 – 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add a bit of cooking fats to a skillet; once it’s warm add the chicken pieces and cook through, about 8 – 10 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  5. Add a bit more cooking fat to the same skillet. Once warm, add onions and cook until soft, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  6. Add tomato to the skillet and cook down. If needed, take 1/4 tsp. of guar gum and dissolve it in a small amount of water. Add to the tomato/onion mixture to thicken it up a bit.
  7. Return chicken to skillet and add thyme. Continue cooking for approximately 5 more minutes, to incorporate the flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the squash halves, and eat immediately.

P.S. Acorn squash skin can and should be eaten! Not only is it very healthy, it gets all crispy and tastes great.

Whole 30: Day 16

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This morning I made time to pre-cook some scrambled eggs with scallions and fry up some bacon. Another perk of the make your own bacon project is that it also provides me with bacon fat in which to cook my eggs, and other goodies. Yay!

Lunch was leftover curry, which is maybe more amazing the next day.

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Anything to perk you up in the middle of a work day is awesome. Also I’ve been finding that on this diet I never have that post lunch sluggishness that I get after many lunches. Instead I feel energized and happy.

After work I had to babysit my niece for a couple hours, which proved challenging when I showed up and she informed me that she had ordered us pizza. Which is like, my favorite. The good news was, her mom is from California, so she had ordered us Dominoes…which if you live in NYC is pretty much not acceptable as pizza. I still wanted it, though. Instead I ate another apple, and then stole a tangerine from my brother’s fruit bowl. I was a little later than I thought I would be getting home, so dinner was made for me!!! Totally worth being late. My honey sautéed some hake in some ghee with garlic and thyme, steamed some chard and whipped up some potatoes. It was great. And I was so happy that I didn’t cheat, particularly in the form of Dominoes. Day 16 success.

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Whole 30: Day 15

Man, this project is taking forever. I can’t say I won’t be happy when it’s finally time to move on to my next project.

The thing is, though…I’m feeling really good. Like, really really good. So, the project continues. Also, what’s the point in getting this far along if you aren’t going to get the answers that you’re looking for? So, pressing on.

This morning we had an early morning work thing at our local food coop. Yes, the infamous Park Slope Food Coop. So, we decided to grab some apples and jerky and make that breakfast.

Of course, the best part of working at the food coop is shopping at the food coop afterwards. I thought I did really particularly well this time around.

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Out of this, came an inspired and simple lunch:

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Made up some tuna salad, plopped it on a bed of salad greens, threw on some cherry tomatoes and splashed some Ume vinegar on the greens. Delicious.

For dinner I went a little more complicated. I had some gorgeous monk fish, and my favorite thing to do with it is make it into a mustard curry. So, I did that. I got the recipe from Mermaid’s Garden, where we have a weekly fish share. It’s pretty terrific. I alter fish for what’s on hand and also sometimes will do okra instead of cauliflower or swap out jalapeño for whatever hot peppers I have. If I’m in the mood for spicy I’ll up the amount of those hot peppers, and if not I’ll keep it as written. Usually I like to eat it with naan…but since that’s out this time around I opted for slightly less spicy since there was no starch to help numb the spice. I thought it turned out perfect. Also! This is a recipe that seems intimidating: it is really not! Pretty simple as long as you have everything prepped and ready to go. And you need the curry leaves. That’s pretty much what makes the whole dish. Recipe below:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound firm fleshed fish fillet, cut into two inch chunks
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onion
  • 4 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (or 4 tablespoons of ghee)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 1 each dried arbol chile
  • 12 each  curry leaves
  • 1 tsp.garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp. jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine (I subbed this for extra chicken stock cause Whole 30)
  • 2 cups fish or chicken stock or 1 cup bottled clam juice mixed with 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. coriander Seed, toasted & ground
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp. allepo or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 cup okra or cauliflower, sliced in ½” pieces
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Warm a sauté pan over medium heat. Add half of the oil or ghee and the onions. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes dry out and darken in color, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and puree in a blender.
  2. Heat the remaining oil or ghee over medium heat in a deep heavy pan such as a dutch oven. Add the cloves and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and arbol chile and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop.
  3. Add the curry leaves, garlic, ginger and jalapeno to the pan. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the white wine (if using), tomato-onion puree and stock. Bring this to a low simmer for 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the coriander, tumeric, Allepo/cayenne pepper and mustard powder to the pan.
  5. Season the fish all over with salt and pepper. Add the okra or cauliflower to the pan and cover. One minute later add the fish. Re-cover the pan and increase the heat to high for two minutes, then turn off the heat and allow it to sit covered for 6 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and add the cilantro.

I have made this a number of times and it is always outstandingly delicious.

Whole 30: Day 14

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So, as you might expect, I ate some bacon today. I took the block of it to my local bodega and they sliced it up for me, so nice and saved me SO much trouble. I’m going to freeze most of it, I swear! 😀

Anyhow, today was good for a few things. First of all, I suddenly was able to make a perfect poached egg. I’m pretty good in the kitchen but I’ve always struggled with the poached egg. And yet somehow, today, I woke up able to do it.

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I give you Exhibit A. Breakfast. Simple, elegant, tasty. Mix the eggs with the arugula and you have a masterpiece.

The second part of my learnings today: I realized I don’t always have to make things complicated, and I can always just have a big salad. So, I did a lot of that today.

For lunch, a BLT&A salad on a bed of arugula. Um, it was easy to make, and also incredibly yummy!! Also, I felt incredible after I ate it. So, there’s that.

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I enjoyed it so much, and was so impressed with my newfound poached egg skillz, that I decided to combine the two for dinner. I added apples to the dinner salad, too, and it was everything I ever wanted in a meal. Feeling like I can last six more weeks. Maybe.

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Whole 30: Day 13

So, still having a bit of a rough time with this day. I knew I had a really busy morning, and I really wanted to exercise before the day got away from me, so I opted to run instead of eat before it all began. Fortunately, the “busy” entailed going to the farm and running the CSF (community supported fishery) pick up, so I got to pick up my veggies and fruit and chomp on amazing apples before I had a chance to get too hungry.

Also, I knew my bacon would be ready today. Which keeps any girl happy.

When I got back from the farm I was starving, so I warmed up the leftover stuffed squash and we split that for lunch.

Then I got the cured pork belly in the oven and some jerky in the dehydrator. Running out of things to grab and go is detrimental.

In the afternoon I made up some chicken salad (and some Whole 30 Mayo) to have around the house.

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I was so excited about the bacon that we decided to do a breakfast dinner.

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It was beautiful. Also I didn’t have to cook it. Also. My bacon is ready. 🙂

Whole 30: Day 12

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Potatoes save the day. Actually they really do.

So, it serves me right for being cocky. But of course it caught up with me. This was a tough day! It’s not really that I’m craving anything in particular, it’s just that I’m wanting a break from the constant prepping and cooking and planning. Also I’m a little broke this week and it’s expensive to prep everything yourself!

Anyway, that said, it turned out to be a better day than I thought it would be. But I’ve been a little under the weather and grumpy, so I started out a little pissy.

We made up a breakfast scramble of smoked salmon, tomatoes and egg.

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It was good but I’ve still been feeling a little over it all. For lunch we had those delicious potatoes (featured above) with some leftover chili. I was really feeling over the leftovers, though, so I chopped up an heirloom and an avocado and made this deliciousness below:

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…and actually that made my day turn around. It was so good. And so easy. I didn’t have to dress it with anything. Just a little sea salt.

I totally got inspired by that salad and by dinner was feeling much happier and back on track with the whole 30 in general, which I had been cursing up till that point in the day.

And then I busted this out for dinner, which pretty much ended the food day on a super high note:

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Kobocha Squash Stuffed with Curried Turkey and Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 kobocha squash
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 4 – 5 medium sized potatoes, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbls. curry powder
  • sea salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 425
  2. Cut squash in half and seed. Sprinkle with olive oil. Once oven is hot, roast at 425 for 40 – 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in a skillet over medium high heat. Ince brown, remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the potatoes to the same skillet and add water to cover.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and cooked through. Drain, and mash.
  6. Add potatoes to bowl with ground meat, along with curry powder and salt.
  7. When the squash is ready, fill with potato turkey mixture and serve immediately.

This dish was life affirming. Also we shared one half and kept the second for leftovers.