Whole29.9

So in all honesty I didn’t make it to 30 days.  I could have, but I chose to eat off plan the very last night, a little bit.  What can I say?  Chips and salsa are my kryptonite!  I would go back and do it again, though – no regrets. 

So what did I learn from doing a Whole30 challenge?  A lot of things.  I like to think of myself as a pretty disciplined person, but this challenged me more so, and stretched my creativity as well.  Throwing a pat of butter in the pan for whatever I was cooking was second nature to me (as was throwing a pat into my mouth!).  I was able to break that habit, and cooked with either coconut oil or ghee.  On a side note, it is a lot less expensive to make your own ghee than to buy it at the health food store – like $5 cheaper.  I was using about 2 jars a week (I’m feeding 5 people here!) so that adds up.  It’s just that I would run out at the most inopportune moment.  Now the kids have accidentally recycled the jars I was using to store it, so I will have to find another way.  I really like cooking with ghee and I think I will continue to do so in the future.

I also broke the coffee cream habit (though I did use some this morning, and am paying a price.  A sneezy, runny nose price.  Yuck!) and now use some coconut oil and coconut milk in my coffee.  It’s not much different, just no nasal allergies when my cup is done.  I don’t think I will go back to using heavy cream in my coffee.  Like the way I feel after drinking alcohol, it’s just not worth it.

I am learning to like leftovers.  At least, I like not having to put together a 3- or 4-course meal every single night.  I have taken some lessons from Melissa Joulwan’s book Well Fed, and NomNom Paleo’s website for cooking up a lot of protein.  The sides are usually a quick and easy item – a salad, some sautéed greens, etc.  We are heading into an especially busy season with kid activities and copious amounts of cooking and cleaning daily will make me crabby!  For a family of 5 (yes, one of them is a baby but he eats mostly the same food that we do) I have to cook 3-4 lbs of meat in order to have some for dinner that night and leftovers later in the week.

Results.  You want results?  I’ve got results.  I probably lost about 5 lbs.  I can now comfortably wear my smallest nursing bra, on the smallest hooks; I can’t wear the ones I used a year ago at all they are so huge (since having the baby I have probably lost a total of 60 lbs).  In fact, I fit all of my pre-pregnancy clothes very comfortably; in another 5 lbs or so it will be time to go down to a smaller size.  That feels good, especially since I will have one of those big-decade birthdays in about a month.  I have always wanted to enter those birthdays feeling great – and this is the year it is going to happen, thanks to living a clean paleo lifestyle.

Energy.  I have it.  In abundance!  My eyes snap open at 6 am every morning.  I am mentally alert and ready to take on the day!  My fuzzy, foggy need for 2 large mugs of splenda-cream coffee and 2 hours of reading on the internet until I feel human is gone.  I can wake up and cook first thing (before, I didn’t trust myself until I hit that 2 hour timeframe – too foggy!) if I want to.  It leaves me with more time in my day to be active, proactive, and that is a great feeling.  No longer am I just a consumer of internet junk, television junk, whatever junk; I try to be a generator of something positive either for my family or for this blog.  Am I making any sense? 

This week I will play around with what works and what doesn’t.  Obviously cream in my coffee doesn’t.  But I will use that cream to make some homemade ice cream for our little Cavebaby’s 1st birthday!  I will also use the beautiful chocolate I bought to make a flourless cake as well.  And plan an awesome little feast in his honor!  Then, perhaps, I will return to another Whole30 challenge, or just maintain a slightly stricter paleo practice, knowing that it makes me feel great. 

If you are interested in trying a Whole30 challenge, check out this website.  There is a lot of information for free, but also a guide for purchase I think.  I didn’t buy the guide, but a lot of people have commented on how helpful it is.  I really enjoyed their post yesterday about completing your Whole30 experience: now what?

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Saffron Cauliflower “Risotto”

Ok, so this recipe is semi-original.  I needed something a little exotic to go with The Crankin’ Kitchen’s Moroccan Chicken, so I took a couple of recipes and blended them into this one.

Saffron Cauliflower “Risotto”

1 head cauliflower

1/2 c chicken broth

pinch saffron threads

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

butter/ghee

  • Pulse cauliflower florets in food processor in 3 – 4 batches until you achieve a rice-like consistency
  • In microwave safe glass/bowl, gently heat broth, saffron, salt and pepper
  • Melt butter in a large frying pan; add cauliflower and stir
  • Add broth mixture and cook over med to med-high heat until liquid evaporates and cauliflower is tender

 

Another Great Workout!

Thanks to my husband, again.  I was being a bit of a sissy about which squat rack I wanted to use.  I had tried the one that kind of balances the load for you a couple of weeks ago, but it was already in use, so it took my husband a few minutes to really convince me that, yes, I can do real big-girl free-weight squats with more than just an empty bar.  In fact, I was able to load 95 lbs on the bar and do some squats!  Yay me!  The think I really like about doing squats versus a leg press machine is that it is much harder to “cheat” and use the wrong muscles to execute the motion.  I had no trouble maintaining my balance as well.  I love success like this!

I am also getting closer to being able to do some unassisted chinups every week.  I move the pin up a notch each time I try and am able to do 1-2 chinups, then I drop the pin a little and do some more.  It is great seeing progress every week!  I look forward to our Sunday “dates” at the gym.

Mayonnaise Ideas

So I made the mayo recipe from Well Fed last week when I bought some fresh eggs.  What did I do with the bowl of eggy, olive-oily goodness? 

  • made horseradish sauce for Choucroute Garnie
  • made Creamy Italian dressing for salad from the Well Fed cookbook (it was YUM, but the cider vinegar I used made it very puckery)
  • made another round of creamy dressing using rice vinegar and grilling seasoning for leftover steak salad
  • made crab and tuna salads

Now my homemade mayo is gone.  I will have to wait until next week’s egg delivery to decide if I want to make another batch!  Do you have any other ideas of what to make with homemade mayo?

Mashed Cauliflower

We received 2 heads of cauliflower in our veggie basket this week and I was so excited!  Right away I knew I was going to make some mashed cauliflower to go with the lovely boneless ribeye steaks we were having for dinner.  Here’s what I did:

After cleaning and cutting the cauliflower into florets, I steamed them in a small amount of water with a little salt until tender.  I drained them, and put them back over a low flame to evaporate a little more of the water out of them.  Then I dumped them into the food processor.  I added some salt, pepper, 1/2 t smoked paprika and 4T ghee.  I whipped them until pureed. 

I apologize for the lack of picture, but the white cauliflower in a white bowl wasn’t that pretty.  Maybe next time I will add a carrot for color!

A Non-Edible Recipe: Toothpaste

This past fall I decided to stop using toothpaste containing fluoride.  I did so after reading this blog post from Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist and author of the book Wheat Belly.  I have been taking thyroid hormone supplementation for the past 8 years and have wanted to try a more natural way of healing my body (I have not been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s or Graves, it just seems as though my body does not produce enough thyroid hormone to maintain a feeling of well-being).  I noticed that the issues started shortly after the birth of my second child, and around that time I also started using “fancier” salt in my cooking, which did not contain iodine.  However, there are many other chemicals we are exposed to daily that contain halides, so in addition to using iodized salt I decided to refrain from using/ingesting fluoride as well.  I am not taking any iodine supplements at this time, though; I am still nursing a baby and do not want to negatively impact him through my self-experimentation.

So this past fall I mixed up a batch of toothpaste from Wellness Mama.  I used it until I ran out — then got lazy and bought some non-fluoride toothpaste from Trader Joe’s for backup.  Today I finally got off my behind and mixed up a second batch, and I am so glad I did!  The first time I made the recipe I kept it in a plastic mason jar.  This time I purchased a Go Toob at Whole Foods – we’ll see if it works like a tube of toothpaste!  I used a lot more peppermint oil this time as well, so I anticipate a mintier experience – last time I was timid with the essential oil and the toothpaste seemed more baking-soda-y. 

The Wellness Mama also has recipes for other natural living necessities – from laundry detergent to lotion!  I enjoy her blog immensely, and perhaps you would to. 

 

 

Still Eating Leftovers…with a side of Crab salad

It sure helped get through the week though!  I have discovered that most in my family are not huge fans of leftovers, but with all the running around we have to do for teenager activities after school, it’s just not possible to cook a gourmet meal, run kids around, and run around after a baby.  So they are just going to have to learn how to deal with eating leftovers!

I did make a little crab salad yesterday with my homemade mayonnaise.  It was pretty good.  I ate it with some avocado and tomatoes.  I also made 6 lbs of meatballs yesterday.  About 1/3 of them went into my Albondigas Soup.  My husband raced home from work on Wednesday and Thursday (about 40 mi away) to come home, change out of his uniform, and either eat a light meal, or (this is what a good wife I was yesterday!) hand me his lunchbucket, which I unpacked and quickly repacked with some crab salad, veggie chips, and a sparkling water.  Then he was out the door to take our son to his 2-hour lacrosse practice 45 mi away.  I knew it was going to be chilly and windy, so I figured the Albondigas Soup would be a nice dinner to come home to, and it was.  It was also a dance night for our daughter (60 mi away!) and she came home complaining of a sore throat, so she was served a nice hot bowl of soup too. 

I wanted to do a remoulade-type sauce for the crab salad, but for once I couldn’t find any capers in my fridge.  So I cut up some cornichon instead.  Next time I will make sure I have the ingredients I need!  Anyway, my lunch was healthy and colorful:

BLT Wrap

Please accept my apologies for the lack of interesting new content.  I have been eating my way through a mountain of leftovers!  I did mention in my Choucroute Garnie post that I had whipped up some homemade mayonnaise.  Since then, I have been thinking of ways to portion out my little dish of whipped gold.  Today I happened to have a package of bacon in the fridge, and an hour later I was devouring BLT wraps! 

 

Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

This is for a friend who takes amazing photographs.  I have been making this recipe for the last couple of weeks because I roasted a head of garlic one day.  Being primal/paleo has really forced me to read labels, to be concerned about what chemicals I am pouring into my body, and bottled salad dressing has too many of them.  One of these days I am going to make a paleo ranch dressing; when I do I will let you know how it is.  For now, I just make vinaigrettes.

1-2 roasted garlic cloves

1-2 anchovy filets (don’t be afraid! it will add a delightful umami flavor)

pinch salt, pepper

1/2 t honey (optional, omit if Whole30)

fresh or dried herbs (get creative here, or just use that jar of “Italian Seasoning” in your cabinet

1/4 c vinegar (creativity counts here too! Sherry, red wine, champagne, rice, etc)

Mix the above ingredients until blended.  Then slowly add up to 1/2 cup quality olive oil.  Blend quickly with a whisk or use one of those handy bullet blenders.  My bullet blender (thanks, Mom!) does such an amazing job it actually emulsifies the dressing, creating a uniform consistency throughout.  I store the unused portion in the fridge and use it again the next night!

Choucroute Garnie

Gesundheit.  I love German and French food.  Especially when the two nationalities collide in porky, beefy, sauerkrauty slow cooked goodness.  With a smoked ham shank on top. (I prefer the shanks to the trotters.  They are easier to navigate, and less weird.)

I served this with the traditional boiled potatoes for the carbivores in the family, and some sautéed kale.  On the side I had some grainy mustard, dijon mustard, and some horseradish aioli.  But Hellmans isn’t paleo, you say?  But what else am I going to do with the farm fresh eggs I picked up today?  So fresh they were sitting under a hen yesterday morning?  Oh yeah, I went there.  Not there, but I totally cranked out a batch of homemade mayo 5 minutes before I got dinner on the table.  Sometimes I’m that good.  Not always – that would be bragging, but sometimes.

Anyway, here’s the recipe.  Do what you will with this!  But if the photographs of mountains of sausage don’t tempt you, nothing will.  You are impervious to the power of ground, spiced meat in tube form and Anthony Bourdain would probably shun you.