Reintroduction: Alcohol!

So, I am a few days behind, forgive me. Or rather, blame my alcohol reintroduction!!

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We decided to have a couple of friends over for dinner on alcohol reintroduction night. That way we could keep the diet fully Whole30 aside from the booze, and still enjoy ourselves with friends. Also, just in case we got a little loopy (it HAS been 60 days), we wouldn’t have to travel and could just be home.

I also chose a nice, hearty meal to absorb the booze: I went with a Curried Shepard’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash.

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It was a big hit. It was also delicious, and probably helped a lot. Scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

Now. You see the tequila at the top. They are airplane sized bottles. We each had one. The rest of the evening I only had wine. My honey was not so wise…he kept popping into the local bar for celebratory shots. I’m so, so glad I didn’t join him.

Between 3 of us, (one was drinking white wine, the rest red) we probably drank about 3 bottles of wine. Normally, not so bad. And, we felt great all night long. We were both worried that we’d fall asleep early, or be way drunk and slur our words, or something…but no! We were fine.

The next morning, however: not so fine. I woke up feeling bad, but not terrible. I went for a run, and forced myself through it…I made it through the whole thing, feeling alternately fine, and like I might puke. But I made it. Then, I had a nice breakfast of greens, eggs, and bacon, and then I felt pretty much fine for the rest of the day. Not 100%, but not bad, either. My partner didn’t fare so well.

He had sort of the opposite effect: woke up feeling okay (still drunk, maybe?), and went for a run. He only made it halfway through his normal run, and then came home. We ate, and he felt no better. Then he spent the entire day feeling progressively worse and worse. Really I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him that hungover in my life.

Bottom line: we both way overdid it. We’re gonna have to be a lot more careful next time we drink. I think, 1 or 2 will have to do it until we can build back up some sort of tolerance. Wow!!

Curried Shepard’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients:

  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • ghee
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • salt, pepper, granulated garlic (to taste)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups peas (fresh or frozen)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Score each sweet potato, and roast in the oven for about an hour
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pot.
  4. Once heated, add onions and garlic. Once the onions have become translucent and softened, add ground beef and seasonings. Brown the beef and break up well.
  5. Add celery and carrots and cook a few minutes more, stirring occassionally.
  6. Add broth and coconut milk. Stir. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until liquid has cooked down substantially, to about 1/3 of the original amount.
  7. Add the peas and simmer for a couple more minutes.
  8. Once potatoes are fully cooked, remove them from the oven and cool to the touch. Peel, and put the meat into a mixing bowl. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of ghee and salt to taste. Blend the potatoes together until they are completely smooth
  9. Grease a baking dish and fill it with your meat mixture. Top that with the sweet potatoes and smooth to cover.
  10. Bake for 35-45 minutes in the oven.
  11. Remove and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Meal Kit Review: Green Chef

A friend offered me a free kit, and Green Chef offers a Paleo option. So, I tried it.

Oh, also, side note? Today is day 59 on our Whole60!!! Whaaat? Yes.

OK, Green Chef, paleo version. The three meals, in the order we ate them (with links to the recipes on the Green Chef site) were:

Zesty Shrimp with Collards with Root Veggies and Squash, Cashew “Parmesan”

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This was good! Being Paleo and not Whole30, there were a couple of things throughout that I subbed…in this one, I subbed the bacon. It didn’t say specifically that there was sugar in the cure but it also didn’t say specifically that there wasn’t sugar. So? Bacon was subbed. I really liked the cashew parmesan element on the roasted veggies…also I don’t often include red onion in my roasted veggies and they were a spectacular addition. Also rutabaga isn’t something I generally think of, so it was nice to eat some things I wouldn’t normally buy. However, it was a pretty standard meal, I thought.

Caraway Meatballs with Braised Parsnips, Fennel & Cabbage, Pear and Rosemary

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This one holds a special place in my heart, since, wait for it…I didn’t make it!! If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, you know that I tried Blue Apron and was annoyed that the recipes were complicated and there was a near disaster with the meal I farmed out. But Green Chef held up for that test, with my honey preparing this whole thing with zero assistance and kicking its ass. Also, something I wouldn’t really think to cook, and pretty tasty. The pear makes it, for sure. Well, you know, the pear and the meatballs.

Herbed Chicken with Spiced Sweet Potato Mash, Cranberry and Pecan Salad

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This was probably my favorite of the three. I mean, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with mashed sweet potatoes and chicken. Also, I love a simple salad with just a nut and a dried fruit. However! I did have to sub out both the chicken broth (isn’t there no sugar in paleo, too?) and the dressing, which came again, with no listed ingredients, which is a bummer. It may have been fine but this diet has taught me to just assume there’s sugar in everything. Most of the time that’s true. Anyway, Green Chef, I’ll never know, cause you didn’t tell me the ingredients. It was also the most complicated of the three to cook…though still it wasn’t very complicated. The whole thing was really yummy, too, very nice flavors.

Things I liked about Green Chef:

  • It came with simple, easy to follow recipes that anyone could follow, even if they aren’t used to being in the kitchen. (Isn’t that the whole point of these things, really?)
  • The ingredients were all organic; they looked good, they tasted good, and they were obviously fresh.
  • Certain things were pre-chopped!! If there was a service that sous chef-ed for you, I might actually order it once it a while.
  • They offer paleo options! That’s nice. They also offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. Which is smart, cause you can appeal to more types of people.

I would probably say that between the two, Blue Apron has better tasting meals. But! MUCH more laborious and complicated, and the Green Chef meals were good, too.

Would I order again? Meh. Maybe. If I was feeling swamped one week and had a little extra money to throw around and didn’t want to go grocery shopping. But, normally, I’m super geeky about my food, and I like to pick out what looks best and use that as a guide for my weekly eating. It serves as inspiration. But! If you’re new to cooking? Sure, why not.

Whole30 Thanksgiving

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So. Before I even start with this post, let me just say: I totally failed at taking pictures on Thanksgiving. And I have very, very few.

So, you may actually have to read on this one. I understand if you skip this post. 😀

We went to a friend’s house up the road. We only agreed to this cause said friend agreed to brine turkey with no sugar and make Whole30 friendly variations of mashed potatoes and gravy. They also made killer sweet potatoes and amazing beautiful green beans. In short, they are the best friend’s ever. They had a few things we couldn’t eat, but very few, and only about half the people were drinking, so it wasn’t as hard as it could have been.

It just seemed crazy with less than a week to go with Whole60 that we would abandon it just for some bread and booze.

I brought a jug of kombucha, just to have something special to drink. Also, I super love stuffing so I found a paleo version and made that. Here’s a link to the recipe. It was delicious. But. I have no photos of it.  The good news? If you click that link you’ll see lots of someone else’s images. Suffice it to say, it was really pretty and very tasty and totally fulfilled my stuffing needs. I also brought a huge salad (and I knew everything in it!). And here ya go, I DID get photos of my desserts.

Now, I already said this in a prior post, but before any of you Whole30 rules finger pointers start freaking out, this was the one thing I decided to do that was technically cheating. But! There is no added sugar in these except for fruit, and all the ingredients are Whole30 approved. Um. Not only were they both delicious, but the dish I was describing as “somewhere between a trifle and a parfait” was a huge hit. People were telling me it’s the kind of thing they just can’t stop eating, and I was getting texts about it the next day.

I think the same might have been true of my cashew cheesecake, but for one vital error…I froze it too long, and it never defrosted enough to really taste. I actually had written it off, but the next morning it called to me in my fridge and I tried it again…and it was fantastic!! Who knew. Here’s some pictures of my trifle/parfait (made with coconut yogurt) and cashew cheesecake. The cheesecake also didn’t get any photos until almost too late…but you get the gist.

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I’m not posting recipes. All I did for the trifle was cook down some blueberries and then some blackberries and layer those compotes with coconut yogurt and banana slices; raspberries on top. Then I whipped up some coconut cream and plopped it on top.

The cashew cheesecake recipe is readily available online, although I used the Douglas McNish version in the cookbook, Eat Raw, Eat Well. I subbed monkfruit extract for agave or honey.

Whole30 Thanksgiving: successful. Boom.

Sous Vide Scallops with a Grapefruit/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon; Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad; Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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I know, I know, this took forever. So? I took a little break for the holiday. Sue me. Side note: Whole30 Thanksgiving was super successful. Blog post to come. Maybe in a few weeks. 😀 hahahahaha!

Anyhoo. Here’s these recipes.

Sous Vide Scallops with a Grapefruit/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. scallops
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 ripe grapefruit, segmented
  • olive oil
  • ghee
  • 1 head collard greens, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/2″ strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Set the sous vide to 123 F. (Alternately the scallops can be cooked in a skillet, 2 – 3 minutes per side. Set aside and skip ahead to step 3).
  2. Salt and pepper scallops and place in a bag. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over them and seal the bag. Place into the sous vide and cook for 30 minutes. Drain and dry the scallops.
  3. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of ghee to a skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add grapefruit and stir to incorporate. If you want the segments to remain intact be gentle…I messed them up and ended up with a relish-like substance…which was also yummers, (hey, it all tastes the same going down) but still. Reduce heat and continue cooking for another few minutes.
  4. Add the bacon to another skillet and cook through. Once it’s cooked, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, and then add the collards. (Do not remove the bacon fat!!) Cook collards through for about 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Add the scallops to the pot with the grapefruit/red onion mixture and sear on each side, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Plate, and eat.

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Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz. (or so) prosciutto slices
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
  • ghee
  • avocado or coconut oil
  • fresh sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Salad ingredients (I’ll let you create your own. I use Ume Vinegar generally to dress unless I feel like getting fancy)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. With a mandolin on the curvy setting, slice sweet potatoes to 1/2 inch slices. If you don’t have a mandolin, they just won’t be waffled.
  3. Spread sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and three or four tablespoons of avocado or coconut oil. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes or until browned to your liking, flipping once midway.
  4. Meanwhile, lay prosciutto slices on a cutting board and lay sage leaves on each. Place chicken, one fillet per slice, atop each. Salt and pepper each, then wrap the chicken in the prosciutto slices.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the prosciutto-wrapped chicken and cook 4 – 5 minutes on each side. Garnish with some chopped sage and serve with salad and sweet potatoes.

Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. hake, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • ghee
  • coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee to a skillet over medium high heat. Once melted, add onion and cook until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes to skillet. Salt and pepper the mixture, stir, and cook through until the tomatoes are fragrant and dark, about another 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer the whole shebang to a blender. Blend at high speed until the mixture is smooth.
  4. In a deep, heavy pot like a dutch oven over high heat, add a tablespoon of ghee. Once melted, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomato and onion mixture and the can of coconut milk and stir. Bring to a boil and add the cumin, paprika and tumeric. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until potatoes a fork goes through one easily, about 10 or 15 minutes.
  5. Salt and pepper the fish, and then add it to the pot. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to sit for another 6 minutes. Top with cilantro and eat immediately.

Whole 60: Days 40 – 50

I have to admit, I’ve been really feeling this diet lately. I just, feel so good! I mean, at the same time, I can’t wait to have a drink; but really I think we’ll be eating primarily like this in the future. I’ve really learned a whole new way to cook, a whole new understanding of what I’m putting in my body, and honestly (and most importantly) what it feels like to live without all that crap in your body. And, it feels really good.

It also feels good to be approaching the holiday season feeling so healthy. We will be doing a Whole30 compliant Thanksgiving…mostly. I am making some desserts that don’t include sugar, even though you aren’t really supposed to do that. I’m using monkfruit extract in place of sugar, but only a bit…and I’m making a parfait with coconut yogurt that I think I can go sugar free entirely with…I’m gonna cook some berries down without sugar, they will still be sweet and delicious. So, it’s sort of cheating, but really not, considering we’ll have been on this thing for 53 days at that point, and considering we won’t be eating pie. Or stuffing. Or bread. So, ya know, you gotta live your life, too. We’ll just be so close to our 60 day goal at that point, seems a shame to screw it up just for a holiday.

Anyway, here’s some stuff I’ve been eating during the last 10 days. Recipes to follow.

Egg Fried in Delicata Rings with Potatoes and Bacon

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Sous Vide Scallops with a Tomato/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon

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Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad

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Mackerel Poached Egg Salad

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Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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Poached Eggs on Roasted Brussels with Bacon

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Again, I’ll post the curry recipe, the prosciutto wrapped chicken, the scallops, etc., in the next few days. In the meantime you can use the images for inspiration using whatever you have in your home! Enjoy.

Broiled Bluefish with Eggplant Chips and Bacon-y Collards

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This was an outstanding meal. For all you haters of bluefish, which I think are many (!), I say to you, you’ve either been eating bad bluefish or you just don’t know how to cook it. It’s true, bluefish doesn’t last as long as some other fishes, but it is delicious. Find it fresh, and eat it that night. I’ve had success with many-a bluefish preparation, but this one was extra yummy and also super easy.  Don’t take my word for it; get out there and find you some bluefish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bluefish fillets
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine vinegar
  • 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 head of collard greens, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • avocado oil; can also use coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Marinate the bluefish in the red wine vinegar for at least 1/2 hour, but can be for several hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 35o F
  3. Spread eggplant slices on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Generously drizzle oil over the slices and salt and pepper them.
  4. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and fold the tin foil over itself so that it creates a little packet. Set the eggplant packet aside and allow it to steam in its own juices for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Once the eggplant is out of the oven, raise the heat to broil. Remove the bluefish from it’s marinade and place on a baking sheet; then place in the broiler and cook for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 and place the fish in the oven for an additional 10 minutes until the fish is almost caramelized.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ghee to a skillet. Once melted, add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the collards and cook through for about 2 minutes and then add the crumbled bacon. Continue cooking for a minute or 2 more.
  7. Plate it all up, and eat.

Simple. Effective. Tasty.

Whole 60: Days 30 – 40

Okay, time for a check in. This 10 days has gone by fairly easily! I feel like it’s become more second nature, and so it’s not as much of a struggle. Both my honey and I feel fantastic…like, I actually have thoughts first thing in the morning,(which have always been a sore point for me) while jogging or working out, or even just having a cup of coffee, like “It’s an incredible day to be alive!” Not sure yet which foods are the culprits but it’s obvious that it’s because of the diet.

The one thing that’s kind of a bummer is that it’s boring. I could totally see having this as the base of your diet, but the strict nature of this specific time period that I’m asking myself to not cheat at all, ever, is unrealistic and not maintainable. I can do it for the 60 days (I hope!) but I do find myself trying to avoid going out to dinner, or meeting friends for a drink, or doing anything with anyone that I’m not in charge of what I’ll be able to eat. And that’s a super bummer.

But, ya know, I feel good. 😀 I’ll be happy though when I get to the part where I can ease up a little.

Anyways, here are some of the things I’ve been eating:

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More coming with recipes. These are just for inspiration. I find I eat a lot of big breakfasts and a lot of salads with a protein on top…sometimes taco meat, sometimes canned mackerel, sometimes tuna fish salad, sometimes grilled chicken, and so on.The trick is always having fresh and seasonal stuff around. I’ll keep posting recipes for the more complicated.

Onward!

Yellow Shakshuka

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I got these amazing yellow tomatoes that I couldn’t stop staring at. So I decided to make them into a Yellow Shakshuka. It was glorious. You should definitely make this.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color will do), thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 -4 cups of chopped tomatoes (in this case, yellow tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ghee for cooking
  • sugar free hot sauce for serving
  • cilantro for serving

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.

I served this with the greatest sausage ever. I also recommend that. Eat this with sausage.

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Broiled Sardines with Stewed Tomatoes and Eggplant

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Ingredients:

  • About a pound of gutted, head on sardines
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • a handful of thyme
  • 1 large eggplant, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • ghee or olive oil
  • fresh mint for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Arrange eggplant slices on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Cook in oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and fold foil over itself, sealing the edges to create a package. Set aside and allow to steam for 15 minutes or so.
  4. Turn oven up to broil.
  5. Meanwhile, add ghee or oil to a large heavy pot, melt and bring to a shimmer.
  6. Add tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, until tomatoes darken in color and cook down quite a bit.
  7. Add eggplant to the tomatoes along with the molasses. Cover and stew for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. While the mixture is stewing, wrap a slice of lemon around a couple of thyme sprigs and stuff inside a sardine. Repeat with all the sardines.
  9. Heat a cast iron skillet over a high flame. Once the skillet is hot, add sardines and transfer to broiler. Broil 6 – 8 minutes until nicely browned.
  10. Transfer everything to platters; garnish the tomatoes and eggplant with fresh mint and squeeze fresh lemon and sprinkle fresh thyme over sardines.
  11. Eat immediately.