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This is definitely a sauce inspired from the Whole30 diet.  I normally prefer meat free tomato sauce.  Something light and fresh with plenty of herbs.  But as I’m on the Whole30 plan I’ve decided to embrace it, cooking in a style outside of my normal realm.  Each meal contains some sort of animal protein, which is a step beyond my usual.  Yes at times I do enjoy animal protein but it’s never been my favorite to cook or eat on a regular or daily basis.  Overall this change is positive.  I’m learning quite a bit about the relationship of food and my body.  I will continue to share these details in my weekly updates.

To keep myself interested in eating the Whole30 way I cook creatively.  A salad with some grilled chicken strips is not going to win me over.  The bottom line is if I can cook meals that keep me happy this diet will continue to be ‘easy’ or rather stress free.  This being said I’ve created a few note worthy meals in the last two weeks.  Here’s one of them.

This recipe is for a double batch of bolognese sauce.  I made enough to freeze for a future date.  Typically I use a minimal amount of tomato paste in my cooking.  But for this recipe I decided to use it.  Sometimes I find the paste to be too acidic and my solution was to add a can of coconut milk.  It mellowed out the strong flavor tomato paste can offer and added a subtle richness.  If you preferred a creamier sauce feel free to add in another can.  It would have worked fine in this double batch.  The end result was hearty and flavorful.  I used a blend of oregano and basil, but you can easily add in other Italian seasonings if you desire.  Since pasta is not an option right now we enjoyed this with summer squash and zucchini.  I julienned the vegetables, sautéed them in coconut oil, and mixed with the bolognese sauce.  Yum!

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Bolognese Sauce

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/3 lb sliced and diced proscuitto
  • 2lb ground beef
  • 1 26oz carton crushed tomatoes
  • 1 26oz carton diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can coconut milk
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • s&p
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 summer squash
  1. Saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in coconut oil.  Season with s&p.
  2. Add proscuitto, oregano, and basil.  Stir and cook one minute.
  3. Stir in ground beef and brown, breaking beef down into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Add tomatoes, coconut milk, tomato paste, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low, and cook covered until thickened – about an hour.  Remove cover and stir on occasion.
  5. Juelienne zucchi and summer squash into 1/4″ matchsticks.  Saute in coconut oil over medium high heat until lightly browned and tender.
  6. Spoon bolognese sauce onto veggies and stir to combine.

 

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These were good!  I started restricting my carbohydrate intake 11 months ago and sweet potatoes have become a rare treat.  Lucky for me, one of the perks of the Whole30 is they are back in.  I kept the cooking out of the house for this meal grilling both the sweet potatoes and protein.  I have not enjoyed a grilled sweet potato in years.  Probably not since the late 90′s.  Seriously.  And let me tell you I forgot how incredibly delicious they can be.  So much better than cooking them in the oven!  I’m not a huge white potato kind of girl so sweet potatoes are my thing.  I topped them with Mexican seasoned flank steak, jicama, tomato, avocado, and cilantro.  This dinner was definitely a tastebud sensation.  Lots of flavors, colors, and textures.  A complete package for me!

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Stuffed Sweet Potato (serves 4)

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4lb flank steak
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • s&p
  • olive oil
  • jicama, julienned
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • avocado, chopped
  • cilantro leaves
  • salsa fresca
  • lime wedges
  1. Marinate flank steak.  Coat in olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, and s&p.  Do both sides.  Place in a glass container, cover, and marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
  2. Poke a few fork holes in each sweet potato and wrap each one individually in foil.  Grill for 1 hour rotating every 15 minutes.
  3. Once sweet potatoes are done remove and grill steak.  Our cut was just over an inch thick so we cooked it 5 minutes each side achieving a nice sear and crust on the outside.
  4. Slice steak against the grain into bit sized pieces and squeeze a little lime juice over them.
  5. Remove foil from sweet potato and cut in half.  Top with steak, jicama, tomato, avocado, cilantro, salsa fresco, and lime wedges.

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Please don’t mind my less than stellar pictures.  I have been documenting most of my meals to share in my weekly Whole30 updates using my phone.  I should take the time with my camera, but when we eat late I’m not inspired to take the time to do it right.  Lame excuse but deal with it.  (That was for you Dad).

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The creators of Whole30 offer a handful of recipe suggestions at the end of their book, It Starts with Food.  One of them is curry.  Not only is it an easy dish to throw together, but numerous proteins and vegetables go great with curry.  If you desire you can enjoy a different version each week for easy meal planning.  And you can go the curry powder route or the curry paste route, another way to change it up.  I’m partial to curry powder.  It reminds me of the Caribbean and I like the flavor of the spices more than the heat.  I used my crockpot and let the vegetables cook all day.  Of course you can quickly cook this all in a pot on the stove too.  When it was time for dinner all I had to do was poach the fillets of wild salmon.  Why poach?  Because it was the quickest method and kept the oven off.  If you prefer to roast your salmon go ahead.

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Curry Stew with Salmon

  • salmon, 2 6oz fillets
  • onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 yellow plantain, peeled and chopped
  • fresh pineapple, 1-2 cups chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry
  • 1 teaspoon caribbean curry
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • lime juice
  1. Place onion, garlic, squash, cabbage, carrots, celery, plantain, and pineapple in crockpot.  Season with s&p and add coconut milk, chicken stock, and curry powders.  Cook on low 6 hours until vegetables are tender.
  2. Poach salmon in salt water.  For two 6oz salmon pieces 3/4” thick- place in slow simmering water and cover.  The water should just cover the salmon, and it’s best to use a shallow pot or saucepan.  Cook 7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and uncover.  Let the salmon sit one minute in water, remove, and flake.
  3. Serve curry stew topped with salmon, avocado, and cilantro.  Enjoy with fresh squeezed lime juice.

 

Whole30: Week 1

September 10th, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Personal Notes - (0 Comments)

I’m happy to report things have been going great as the first week of following the Whole30 plan came to a close.

A routine has definitely fallen into place.  I eat a protein dense breakfast around 9am.  Lunch happens anywhere between noon and 2pm, depending on my morning activities with the kids.  Dinner is around 8pm.  Snacking is out during the Whole30, which has been pretty easy to give up.  After breakfast I am not hungry until lunch hour, and after lunch I’m not hungry until ‘typical’ dinner hour.  So it’s no surprise I’m usually hungry around 5-6pm.  Since we don’t eat for a few hours after this I snack on some nuts.  Ideally I wish we could eat dinner around 6 to eliminate this need to snack, but right now it’s not an option, so I make the program work for me.

Energy: Right away I noticed improvements.  I always wake up feeling good but normally feel a slump around 2-3pm.  This has pretty much disappeared.  Eating the Whole30 way definitely promotes sustained energy.  I love this!

Symptoms: I did get one headache around dinner hour on night two.  It was definitely unpleasant but was gone when I woke up the next morning.  My stomach makes some gurgle noises every now and then, but no discomfort is associated with this.

Emotional State: My moods have been the usual.  Mornings are my favorite and I always wake up happy.  I tend to maintain a good attitude throughout the day.  I get impatient and short at times, but this is nothing new.

Sleep: Sleep has been good but not great.  I have no problem falling asleep but, all through the week I woke up multiple times each night, only to toss over and pass right back out.  Some nights this would happen 2-3 times others 6-8.  Thankfully I can fall right back asleep but it’s not ideal.  I’m sure this is my body working something out.

Knee Pain: I have noticed slight improvement in my knees.  They don’t click nearly as much when I do my exercise and the soreness I feel at night is decreasing.  This makes me happy!

Body Shape: I noticed my shoulders and chest slim down right away.  The sides of my stomach seem to have flattened out too.  True to the plan I am not weighing myself.

Exercise: Three days a week I do Barre3 and three days a week I strength train.  I have noticed a slight decrease in my performance.  I was aware of this possibility, but it’s not enough to hold me back from my normal routines.

I’m including my meal plan for anyone who is interested.  The concept for each meal is some protein and lots of vegetables.  Sometimes I’ll enjoy fresh fruit with a meal.  I do not eat fruit separate to prevent blood sugar spiking.  On day 4 around 5pm, I peeled a peach for Calen and ate the skin.  I was doing fine this day with no urge to snack, but I’m not one to waste part of a local peach so I ate it.  Literally about 20 minutes later I was ravenous.  A true lesson was learned as the program has forewarned against this kind of behavior.  I ended up snacking on some nuts to balance myself out.

A few tips in regards to meal planning.  Make enough dinner to enjoy for lunch the next day.  This immediately cuts out planning for 7 meals.  This is working great for us.  For breakfast make some sort of meatloaf, patty, muffin to be eating Monday-Friday.  This way each morning you can easily heat up your protein part of the breakfast and add some vegetables.  The weekends are scrambled eggs with whatever is going on in the fridge.  In the end you are planning 7 dinners, no lunches, and 3 breakfasts.

IMG_6997day 1:

  • eggs with veggies
  • beef burger patty from Whole Foods with lettuce and tomato, and olives from the olive bar
  • octopus with lemon juice and more olives (4pm snack)
  • ground buffalo and vegetable stir fry
  • - a few handfuls of macadamia nuts thrown in throughout the day

IMG_6892day 2: 

  • turkey meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, and cucumber
  • ground buffalo leftovers on top of greens with balsamic vinegar.  half a peach, spoonful of almond butter
  • macadamia nuts and some raspberries (5pm snack)
  • minestrone soup (lots of vegetables cooked in a crock pot with fresh herbs and chicken sausage)

IMG_7017day 3:

  • turkey meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, and olives
  • minestrone soup
  • macadamia nuts (5pm snack)
  • salmon salad, roasted vegetables, and ranch dressing

IMG_6922day 4:

  • meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and olives
  • salmon salad, roasted vegetables, and ranch dressing + banana
  • frittata and avocado dressing with greens

IMG_6940day 5:

  • meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and olives
  • frittata and avocado dressing with greens and a few grapes
  • macadamia nuts (5:30pm to balance out my blood sugar from eating part of a peach)
  • thai beef broccoli lettuce wraps

IMG_6973day 6:

  • scrambled eggs with onion and garlic, smoked salmon, black olives, cucumber, tomato
  • thai beef broccoli
  • octopus, smoked clams, and avocado (4:30pm snack)
  • tarragon cream chicken & spaghetti squash

IMG_7019day 7:

  • scrambled eggs with onion and garlic, smoked salmon, black olives, cucumber, tomato
  • tarragon cream chicken & spaghetti squash, pistachios, and raspberries
  • almonds (6pm snack – dinner was really late)
  • salmon curry

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As you’ve read I’m currently following the Whole 30 plan for the month of September.  I’m cooking large meals to carry over for lunch the following day.  A chunky soup seems to be an easy solution for this, especially when using the crockpot.  Anything to reduce the time and energy put into cooking dinner!  This minestrone was more than satisfying.  On a typical, nonWhole 30 day, I would top my bowl with a generous amount of pecorino romano and maybe even add a cheese rind to the pot as it cooked.  But as I ate this for dinner and for lunch I realized I wasn’t missing that cheese flavor.  I used plenty of fresh herbs from the garden and topped each bowl with half an avocado.  Both Josh and I were full and our taste buds were happy.  I’m never one to deny pecorino romano, but this is a good lesson for me to learn food can taste just as delicious without it.

Just a quick update to say so far I’m loving the Whole 30 experience.  I feel great throughout the day and I’m not feeling the heaviness I so often feel around 3-4 pm.  If nothing else I cannot complain with having more energy!

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Crockpot Minestrone

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1″ rounds
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 2 fennel bulbs, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • s&p
  • water
  • 1 1/2lb chicken sausage
  • avocado
  1. Place sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, fennel, onion, and garlic in crock pot.  Mix and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Add can of diced tomatoes with juice, spinach leaves, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley.  Season with s&p and stir lightly.  Add water to just cover vegetables.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. After 6 hours (about 2 hours before you eat dinner), cook the chicken sausage in a sauté pan over low heat until just about cooked through.  Maybe 10 minutes, flipping every few minutes.  Slice into 1/4″ rounds and add to crockpot, it’s ok if the sausage are still undercooked in the middle.  Cook on low for 2 more hours.
  4. Serve in bowls topped with chopped avocado and s&p.