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Yes, I am less than a week away from completing my whole30. I haven’t blogged since Day 2 because, at times, I’ve actually forgotten about this challenge all together. I’ve been so consumed with bringing all the creations in my head to life! When making the decision to participate in this challenge, I was somewhat afraid that I would run out of ideas and run out of energy to make the journey seem new and exciting every single day.

It’s funny how eating cleaner has not only cleansed my body but has also rejuvenated my perspective on life. I have always loved cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. But comfort food to me used to equate to lots of rich, buttery, and likely cheesy fattyness I don’t even really regret eating because I can’t deny it was good. Within the past 22 days, I have redefined what comfort food means to me. And, dare I say, I have surprised myself along the way.

People have a lot to say about paleo/whole30. I agree that there are negative aspects, like cutting out milk– as it is a good source of calcium. However, for the most part.. the grain, the starches, and anything with added sugar.. I realize I can really do without. I’ve learned that fresh produce can be equally as satiating when cooked well. If I’m craving something sweet, I immediate think fruit.. dessert.. yes! I’ve grilled, sauteed, baked, boiled, steamed, and Magic Bulleted my way through every meal and I’m absolutely loving how something as simple as careful and conscious preparation can make food taste better!

Let me update you on some of my creations:

Day 3: open faced omelet with sauteed peppers and onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, fresh lime juice, s+p

 

 

 

 

 

chicken salad (roasted chicken breast, avocado, lime , cilantro, onion) on a bed of romaine with apple slices drizzled with cashew butter

 

 

paleo blueberry muffins- made with almond flour, almond butter, and coconut oil

 

 

 

 

zucchini ribbons with mushrooms, coated with a light garlic sauce and topped with chopped almonds

 

 

 

 

smashed strawberry, peach, mango, pineapple, lime filled with pellegrino and finished off with some blueberries

 

Day 4: mixed greens salad with apple, avocado, tomato, green onion, and almond flour and coconut encrusted chicken

Day 5: homemade real fruit popsicle

 

Day 6: paleo pancakes with warm blueberry syrup and bacon on the side

Baked salmon with lemon pepper, steamed veggies, and zucchini bacon scallion fritters

Day 7: grilled burger with lettuce, tomato, homemade guac, and crispy bacon

 

Day 8: salmon with basil and walnut pesto.. And maple glazed sweet potato fries.

Sliced banana, almond butter, blueberries, and toasted coconut

 

Day 9: Zucchini boats with sausage and vegetable marinara filling

Day 10: Egg scramble with bell pepper, salmon, and green onion. And banana and almond butter drizzled with honey

Personal paleo pizza.. leftover sausage marinara, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, olives, arugula, tomato, and basil

Apple sauteed with orange juice and topped with warmed slivered almonds, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey

Day 11: Fried “rice” made with cauliflower.

Day 12: Frozen fruit blended with banana.. nice and thick and refreshing. Better than ice cream!

Day 13: Paleo waffles with warm strawberry syrup

Day 14: BBQed chicken over slaw.

Day 15: Asparagus and sausage frittata

Day 16: Paleo banana pancakes topped with almond butter, warm strawberry syrup, and cinnamon

Day 17: Fish and chips– white fish battered with almond flour and coconut flour, baked sweet potato chips, and roasted red pepper and garlic dip

 

Day 19: Homemade trail mix– almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, and toasted coconut. Great snack! I make a big batch so I always have some on hand!

Grilled zucchini, bell pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes, and chicken

Day 20: BBQed pork chop with grilled vegetable, avocado, cilantro, and lime slaw

Frozen mashed banana with toasted coconut mixed in.. topped with warm strawberry sauce, slivered almonds, and extra toasted coconut

Day 21: Fried egg with mixed greens salad drizzled with balsamic

Personal portobello pizza with homemade sauce, hot Italian sausage, caramelized onions, and olives. Also, simple arugula and seasoned sweet potato salad

Day 22: Turkey and spicy sausage meatballs baked and then simmered in homemade marinara sauce.. on top of a sweet potato and roasted red pepper mash.. and arugula salad with avocado, tomatoes, olives, and red onion

Clearly, I had to make up for all the posts I never wrote. As you can tell, most times I’ll use the same ingredients over and over.. but I do try to prepare them differently each time. For some things, like the paleo waffles, pancakes, muffins and almond flour pizza crust, I did search the web for a good recipes to follow. But that’s about it.. for the most part, I’ve been cooking based on my instincts and it’s worked out well so far.

Each day, I’m learning more and more about food and expanding my palate to tastes and food pairings I’ve never really tried before. Since I started my whole30, I have not used any processed foods. Everything, including all the sauces and dips, have been made fresh.

I’m finding that now when I go grocery shopping, I’m usually walking in without a real plan– which is so unlike me. Usually, I make a list and check it twice. But I truly believe that clean eating is really about how food inspires you. I spend the most time in the produce section, circling around a few times to scan all the fresh goodies. Not relying on a list is actually a very freeing experience. I also scope out multiple grocery stores to grab ingredients.. Whole Foods for the freshly ground almond butter, almond and coconut flours, and coconut oil.. Trader Joe’s for just about everything else.. And a few trips to Safeway just because it’s closer.

I hope some of my whole30 creations have made the 30-day challenge a little less intimidating for those of you who are interested. Paleo/whole30 is not difficult at all. But, like all good things, it does take time. I do have lazy days where I contemplate just eating the same meal for a few days in a row. The key to staying motivated and sticking to eating clean is avoiding those lazy moments. I literally open all my cabinets and stand in front of my refrigerator for a few minutes at least once a day– sometimes more when I feel like my creativity is fading– and asking myself “What will I make today?”

 

I’m shocked that I’ve completed Day 22 already. I’ve really never felt better! I’m definitely appreciating and enjoying food so much more and I have also established way more confidence in the kitchen. I know I have a lot more paleo/whole30 left in me! Stay tuned.. it’s not over yet!

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What a great week for food. Jenn, my favorite on Top Chef: Las Vegas, made it to Napa. She won the Quickfire Challenge but the inconsistency of her unilaterally-cooked salmon had me worried. It was Eli who was asked to “pack his knives” on Wednesday’s episode after delivering a rare, inedible steak. Sorry, Eli.

With the sun nowhere in sight and the pitter patter of rain on the windows, food is safely indoors.. being created in the comforts of my kitchen. After watching Julie & Julia for the first time last night, I woke up craving crepes. Inspired by all the French cooking, I flipped through my handy Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and examined the Basic Dessert Crepes recipe.

Basic Dessert Crepes

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients and beat with a rotary beater till blended. Heat a lightly greased 6-inch skillet. Remove from heat. Spoon in 2 tablespoons batter; lift and tilt skillet to spread batter. Return to heat; brown on one side. (Or, cook on an inverted crepe pan.) Invert pan over paper toweling ; remove crepe. Repeat to make 16 to 18 crepes, greasing skillet occasionally.

Likes: 6 ingredients. 6 staple ingredients that are most-likely stocked in the kitchen. One bowl and one batch that goes a long way.

I have always been somewhat intimidated by crepes. And now, I don’t know why. Flipping the crepe is much easier than it sounds. By spraying the pan lightly with cooking spray, my crepe remains perfectly in tact. A spatula can be used to help with the flip, as well. Also, the size of the skillet doesn’t matter. Just make sure the entire skillet is greased and it is important to eye ball the correct about of batter. The correct amount of batter is enough to cover the bottom of the skillet thinly, evenly, and completely. Use the “lift, tilt, and spread” technique stated in the recipe. It works. I suggest pouring the batter into the center of the pan and using the technique to work the batter around the rest of the pan. Drizzling around the pan will most likely leave gaps in the crepe, and gaps will cause the filling to leak out of the final product. We don’t want that! So, be careful. Make sure the skillet is only heated; if the skillet is too hot, it will be difficult for the batter to spread evenly. The most important piece of advice I can give you is: work quickly! And if you mess up, try again. You’ll get the hang of it.

As for the filling, use your imagination. Fruit filling, Nutella, cheese.. with toppings that can include (but are not limited to) chocolate syrup, maple syrup, powdered sugar.. the possibilities are endless. Mix and match some of your favorites. Be creative. The Cookbook offers a few filling recipes like Lemon-Filled Crepes. But, I decided to go with something simple using what I had laying around the kitchen. I sliced a small banana and thinly sliced a quarter of a peeled apple (with all apple and no banana, I used the whole peeled apple). In a small skillet, I sauteed the fruit with a little bit of butter (Julia Child always said that everything is better with butter!.. or was that Paula Dean?!) and cinnamon, heating until the apples were softened. The crepe was stuffed and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.

When I made the crepes with only apple filling, I cut the peeled apple into thicker slices. The sauté time is a little longer, but the final product of apple-butter-cinnamon in a crepe reminded me of apple pie.. in a lighter, somewhat less guilty, version. I also considered dicing the apple. But then I realized that I would rather fork and knife my crepe with the large apple slices than scramble with the little bits of apple. I’ll probably try it eventually.. Today just isn’t the day.

Dessert crepes can finish off a great dinner. But for me, crepes can be eaten.. well, whenever. Light, fluffy, and easy to make. Crowd-pleaser.. Guaranteed. Bon Appetit!

nom nom nom.

B

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