Pastelón

October 3rd, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Mexican | Poultry - (0 Comments)

 

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I came across pastelón a few months ago through a friends social media page.  It immediately spoke to me.  How have I not heard of this dish sooner?  A combination of sweet plantains, meat, sauce, and cheese all layered up like a lasagna.  Yum!  As we are in the reintroduction phase of the Whole30 I figured this would be a great meal for trying out dairy.  I did go very light on the cheese and was completely satisfied with my results.

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This dish is the perfect balance of sweet and salty.  You use ripe plantains, lightly browned and soft, which adds the sweetness.  The salty comes from the meat and sauce.  I used cumin, cilantro, and olives to flavor meat and sauce, a sort of picadillo style.  You can always add sofrito into your sauce for flavor but I chose to leave this out and instead added in zucchini for extra vegetable.  This did not disappoint and will definitely be made again.  And soon!

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Pastelón

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • s&p
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped green olives
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 medium zucchini, julienned (or chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 large ripe plantains (yellow)
  • coconut oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4-1/3 cup mexican shredded cheese
  1. Heat up olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Once onion starts to soften add chicken and brown.  Season with s&p and cumin.  Stir in green olives and 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and stir in cilantro.
  2. Add a bit more olive oil to the pan and sauté the zucchini until it starts to soften.  Season with s&p and garlic powder.  Add the rest of the tomato sauce and simmer a few more minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Slice plantain lengthwise as thin as possible.  Thinly coat pan with coconut oil and fry plantain slices in batches a few minutes each side until lightly browned.  Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350.
  5. In a bowl scramble eggs and milk.
  6. Coat 9×9 baking dish with coconut oil.
  7. Assemble pastelon.. use 1/3 of the plantain to layer the bottom of the dish, top with 1/2 the chicken, 1/2 the zucchini, and a thin layer of cheese.  Continue with 1/3 of the plantain, the remaining 1/2 of chicken, remaining 1/2 of zucchini, and a thin layer of cheese.  Top with the rest of the plantain slices.  Pour egg mixture over everything and sprinkle on the last bit of cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Let sit a few minutes before serving.

Whole30: Week 4

October 2nd, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Personal Notes - (0 Comments)

Overall I have stayed pretty amped throughout my first Whole30 experience.  It took a lot of time and energy to keep myself organized.  I cooked every meal except one lunch for the entire 30 days.  Josh helped with breakfast but I still organized/put my time in with these meals so he knew what to prepare.  In normal, non-Whole30 life, I typically cook 5 nights a week and make 5 lunches a week.  This is a lot but I can handle it.  The few meals off keep me sane so I’m not living in the kitchen.  This being said this month I lived in the kitchen!  The time and energy I put into my Whole30 is worth it to me, but as week 3 ended and week 4 started I was feeling a little burnt out on it all.  I plugged ahead anyway and by the end of week four I was once again excited about what I was doing for my body.  After day 30 there’s a recommended reintroduction program that goes on another 12 days.  With all the time and dedication put in so far of course I’m going to do it.  I’ve already organized myself for most of this so it’s smooth sailing until the official end.

I’m really curious to see how I balance out after we are done.. what changes we will make and what becomes our new normal.  I’ll keep you posted.  I did buy beer on day 27 so my love of this beverage did not disappear.  Of course this is no surprise!  But I’m happy to report I was content looking at it in the fridge until day 31.  We even had a can in the fridge leftover from before the Whole30 that never caused us any upset or desire to cheat.

As I mentioned I was lacking in inspiration during week 4.  A few meals were great and a few were just ok.  Curry is always delicious so no issue there and I made a pumpkin coconut sauce which was better than I could have expected.  I’ll make it again to blog.  Those were definitely the highlights.  During the week I made a crockpot marinara with chicken thighs.  It was tasty but this tomato sauce really upset my stomach.  I felt heavy and bloated the following two days.  I also realized eating almonds on an empty stomach, which I did one day for a snack, also upset my stomach and left me uncomfortable for a few hours.  Following these two issues I made a crockpot cocoa coffee brisket to be eaten with coleslaw.  The brisket was delicious but the coffee made my head buzz and the coleslaw was not the right choice after having stomach bloating.  So there was a handful of days of not feeling so great.  Coming off of all this I woke up Saturday morning feeling like crap.  It’s the first day I woke up not ‘happy’, I was edgy and impatient.  Later that day I did some strength training and this pulled me out of my funk taking me back to my normal self.  Food eating is definitely a journey.  There is a good and bad to all of this.  For the good, the more you tune in and become aware of what effects you the better you treat your body.  The bad is if you choose to respect your body you have to stop or really limit certain foods, some that you wish you didn’t have to.  I don’t want to be picky, and I’m glad my sensitivities don’t overtake my ability to eat at restaurants, cook a large variety of foods, and go with the flow in group settings.  Of course I haven’t completed the reintroduction yet so I may be speaking to soon on some of this.

I know I will do the Whole30 again sometime next year.  I also know each time will be different in the foods I cook and what I get out of the 30 days.  The meals I cooked for this Whole30 were a bit heavier than my typical cooking.  The main reason for this was Josh.  His body requires protein and a lot of food.  It’s who he is.  I on the other hand can sustain on more vegetables than protein.  We all know every body is different.  In the future I can imagine I’ll cook more for me and he can add in extra protein as he sees fit.

Energy: Up and down this week.  I do know it was directly related to certain foods, which I will now limit.

Symptoms: Bloating from a few meals.. tomato sauce, almonds, cabbage.  None of these surprise me as tomatoes have been known to do this to me before, plain almond butter I avoid, and cabbage well we all know about cabbage.

Emotional State: Besides my one day of feeling like crap I’m my usual self.

Sleep: Sleeping like I always do.

Knee Pain: I realized I haven’t thought about it much for the last few days.  I do get moments where it crosses my mind but obviously it’s much better than it was before this month.

Body Shape: I feel like I thinned out during the first two weeks and then my shape changed during the last two weeks.  I lost 4-5 pounds.  I did before and after pictures.  In comparing them my thighs slimmed, my waist thinned, and my stomach flattened.  Yay!  I feel like I’ve taken on a more athletic build.  No complaints.

Exercise: 3 days a week Barre3 and 3 days a week strength training.  I love the balance of pushing myself during my strength training days while using the Barre3 to calm my mind.  But don’t be fooled Barre3 is a low intensity ass kicking workout.

And here’s my meal plan..

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Day 21

  • breakfast sausage patties with a fried egg, spinach, tomato, olives, cucumber, and salsa fresca
  • mango chicken salad and raspberries
  • crockpot sweet potato and beef curry – with plantains, carrots, broccoli, onion, and garlic.  served with avocado

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Day 22

  • breakfast sausage patties with a fried egg, spinach, tomato, olives, cucumber, and salsa fresca
  • crockpot curry sweet potato and beef stew
  • spaghetti squash with pumpkin coconut milk sauce, topped with bacon and langostinos.  side of roasted broccoli

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Day 23

  • breakfast sausage patties with a fried egg, spinach, tomato, olives, cucumber, avocado, and salsa fresca
  • pumpkin coconut milk spaghetti squash with bacon and langostinos
  • crockpot chicken marinara with zucchini and summer squash

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Day 24

  • turkey sausage, spinach, fried egg, tomato, olives, cucumber, avocado, and salsa fresca
  • crockpot chicken marinara with eggplant, summer squash, and zucchini
  • cocoa coffee brisket and coleslaw with walnuts and cranberries

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Day 25

  • leftover curry with a fried egg on top
  • cocoa coffee brisket with slaw, almonds
  • asian chicken and vegetable stir fry with pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes

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Day 26

  • egg scramble with zucchini, onion, lox, and salsa fresca
  • fresh salad with rotisserie chicken
  • roasted vegetables and chicken sausage – sweet potato, fennel, red onion, apple.  topped with bacon and a side of turnip and radish greens.

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Day 27

  • egg scramble with zucchini, onion, and rotisserie chicken, topped with cucumber and tomato
  • roasted vegetables and sausage
  • greens topped with tomato, plantain guacamole, and mexican ground beef cooked with onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, olives, and green chilies

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Day 28

  • turkey sausage patties with 2 fried eggs and sautéed radish/turnip greens
  • mexican ground beef, raspberries, almond butter
  • crockpot moroccan chicken lettuce wraps

Day 29

  • turkey sausage patties with 2 fried eggs, spinach, tomato, and cucumber
  • crockpot moroccan chicken
  • beef burgers with bacon sweet potato salad, avocado, steamed swiss chard, and sprouts

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Day 30

  • turkey sausage patties with 2 fried eggs, spinach, tomato, and cucumber
  • burger, sweet potato bacon salad, and avocado
  • korean short ribs with bean sprouts, snap peas, carrot, celery, and jicama

 

 

Breakfast Sausage

September 29th, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Breakfast / Brunch | Poultry - (0 Comments)

 

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Countless times I have read the importance of eating breakfast.  I know you have too.  In short, breakfast jump starts your body with nutrients and provides you with energy.  This really is not a hard concept to grasp yet many people skip breakfast or eat some sort of sugary crap :/.  This is because they have ‘reprogrammed’ their body to not require food, or more accurately nutrition, until they’ve been awake for hours.  I used to be one of these people.  Many mornings I could wake up and wait until lunch before eating a meal.  Thankfully I decided to stop living this way and start providing my body a more balanced meal plan throughout the day.  And what a difference it makes!

But let me take it a step further.  A typical breakfast for me normally consists overnight oats or something of this nature.  My meal is filling and satisfying, but not necessarily satiating.  Two hours later I might feel the desire to snack on something.  This is where the Whole30 comes in.  Out of everything I’ve experienced from this month the most important concept I’ve learned is to eat a protein dense breakfast.  I’m not sure I would have embraced this concept if I weren’t dedicated to following the diet correctly.  And I’m so glad I did.  Our bodies deserve to be fueled by foods that provide sustained energy.  No highs and lows in blood sugar which can cause numerous effects – tiredness, inability to concentrate, irritability, headaches, dizziness, ect..  So while it’s easy to either skip breakfast or grab something quick, which is most likely sugary pre-made crap, I suggest you try something new.  Sit down and eat a few eggs with some vegetables, a salad with grilled chicken, or leftover dinner.  I don’t by the excuse ‘eggs don’t sound good to me that early in the morning’, ‘I don’t have time’, or ‘I can’t stomach a heavy meal for breakfast’.  You are basically saying your body is not worth your time and we all know there is nothing more important than a little self love.  Realize it really is healthy to wake up and feel the need to eat shortly after.

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As I am finishing up my fourth week of the Whole30 I have made a different breakfast each week, typically some sort of meatloaf, muffin, or sausage.  The recipe to follow is by far my favorite and the easiest to prepare.  Yet again simplicity wins.  Sunday afternoon I make a batch to last 4 or 5 days.  Each morning we, or I should say Josh, heats them up for us.  He tops them with 1 or 2 fried eggs and I add in some sort of vegetable – greens, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, avocado, ect…  This morning we kept it simple: 2 patties, 2 eggs, and a pile of local radish/turnip greens quickly sautéed.  This meal sustains me for at least 4 hours.  What an awesome start to my day!

Breakfast Sausage

  • 2 lbs ground turkey (or pork)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup finely julienned apple, about 1/2 a large apple (I use my microplane for this)
  • coconut oil
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, and apple.  If you do not have a microplane with the julienne attachment finely dice apple.  Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands.
  2. Form patties using about 1/3 cup of the turkey mixture for each patty.  I prefer them to be small, eating two per breakfast.  If you lightly coat your hands in coconut oil the meat doesn’t stick to them.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a larker skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook patties about 6 minutes per side, pressing them down to flatten when flipped.  They will be golden brown and lightly crispy on the outside.  If needed add more coconut oil between batches.

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Mango Chicken Salad

September 24th, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Poultry | Salads - (0 Comments)

IMG_7285These days chicken is not my most favorite protein to consume.  I typically find it dry and chewy.  This is funny because I happily ate plenty of chicken growing up and chicken salad was one of my favorite sandwiches to get at a deli.  Our tastes definitely change over time!

But during this Whole30 month I’m trying to expand my horizons just a bit and keep a variety of foods rotating through our diet.  For easy weekend cooking I bought a rotisserie chicken.  Saturday night we had a basic salad topped with the dark meat and Sunday I made a chicken salad with the white meat.  I figured since the white meat tends to be drier it would do better mixed in a chicken salad.  I’m pleased to say this did not disappoint.  It’s busy – full of flavors, textures, and colors.

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True to myself I did not measure anything but instead started with the chopped chicken adding in as much of each ingredient as I desired.  It’s pretty hard to mess us something like this.  If you’d like it to be heavy on the chicken only add a bit of each ingredient.  I went heavy on the everything!  We enjoyed this on a bed of greens with avocado and our garden blush tomatoes.  I also added a bit of balsamic vinaigrette to the greens.

Mango Chicken Salad

  • chopped chicken – I used the white meat from a rotisserie chicken
  • mayonaise – homemade
  • spicy mustard
  • mango, chopped small
  • celery, sliced into thin pieces
  • chives, chopped
  • red cabbage. chopped
  • dried bing cherries. chopped
  • pecans, chopped
  • s&p
  1. In a bowl mix the chicken, celery, chives, red cabbage, dried cherries, and pecans.
  2. Add a tablespoon of mustard and enough mayonnaise to coat everything.  Season with s&p.
  3. Lastly stir in the mango.  Eat immediately or refrigerate.

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Whole30: Week 3

September 23rd, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Personal Notes - (0 Comments)

I’m really glad I chose to do the Whole30.  There are numerous benefits to following this plan and many many people experience life changing transformations from it.  This is not happening for me, but I am definitely gaining more food awareness and developing a better relationship with food.  Yay!

I have been reading ingredient labels for years.  I avoid preservatives, artificial ingredients, and gmo’s to name a few.  Yet I know there is always room for improvement.  During this month I have started to scrutinize foods for sugar.  I know to moderate certain products.. ketchup, granola, salad dressings, yogurt, ect.. But seeing how sugar is added to just about everything is mind blowing to me.  The solution is to create your own products from scratch when you can.  I realize most of us are extremely busy and it’s much easier to buy them from the store.  Our country is based on convenience for food shopping and intake.  But in a society where so many ailments are prevalent we really need to stop and think what matters most to us.  Taking a little more time in the kitchen or compromising our health?

Anyway, back to me.  This diet does take some organization but I have really enjoyed the experience so far.  Yes at times I feel the inconvenience of not being about to grab anything out of the cabinet or fridge, but it’s only 30 days.  I believe every now and then we all need to take a step back from our routine and reevaluate how we are living.  This month is a reset button providing me with tools and information on how to proceed in a more educated and healthy manner.  I have a much greater understanding of what foods make me feel best.  And I’m looking forward to the reintroduction phase after the 30 days to see how dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar will affect me.

Energy: This has still been the most noticeable improvement from the Whole30.  I am rarely tired.  I wake up quickly upon getting out of bed, stay energized throughout the day, and am not exhausted when I go to bed.

Symptoms: Nothing to report here.  My blood sugar stays stabilized between meals, no headaches, no stomaches, or anything else.

Emotional State: I’m happy.  Ready to take on each day with whatever it brings.

Sleep: I’m getting solid sleep every night.  No waking up in the middle of the night.  I easily fall asleep and stay in a deep sleep until I wake up.

Knee Pain: Still having improvement.  I can feel slight tinges on occasion but if I do a high intensity workout my knees do not bother me afterwards as they did before.

Body Shape: During this week I wasn’t sure if I could notice a difference.  But at the end of the week I realized my hip bones were visible.  The sides of my stomach and hips have definitely slimmed out.  No signs of bloating from any meal and even though my meals are filling I never feel heavy.

Exercise: I’ve been continuing my routine, 3 days a week Barre3 and 3 days a week strength training.  During this week I felt I was more maintaining than pushing myself.  By the end of the week I recharged into pushing myself more.

Here’s my meal plan.  I am trying to keep them simple to prepare, while also keeping them exciting.

Day 15

  • turkey meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, olives, and greens (this is a repeat of week 1 breakfast)
  • lamb skewers with coconut tzatziki
  • slow cooker beef with pineapple coleslaw

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Day 16

  • turkey meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, olives, and greens
  • slow cooker beef with pineapple coleslaw
  • grilled buffalo burgers with grilled sweet potato slices, grilled onion, guacamole, bacon, tomato, and greens

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Day 17

  • turkey meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, olives, and greens
  • buffalo burger, sweet potato, pineapple slaw, and almonds
  • crockpot minestrone with ground beef served with avocado

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Day 18

  • turkey meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, olives, and greens
  • crockpot minestrone with ground beef
  • ground chicken, mushroom, and broccoli quiche with roasted garlic avocado sauce, steamed swiss chard, and pineapple

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Day 19

  • turkey meatloaf with a fried egg, tomato, cucumber, olives, and greens
  • ground chicken, mushroom, and broccoli quiche with roasted garlic avocado sauce
  • roasted vegetables and sausage with steamed beet greens

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Day 20

  • egg scramble with zucchini, onion, and smoked salmon
  • roasted vegetables and sausage
  • salad – rotisserie chicken, beets, red cabbage, cucumber, tomato, bacon, jicama, and a homemade basil vinaigrette

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Day 21

  • egg frittata with olives, zucchini, onion, and mushrooms served with tomato and salsa
  • smoked clams, steamed beet greens, apple, and almond butter
  • mango chicken salad over greens with avocado, tomato, and balsamic vinaigrette

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