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Day 12: not cooking

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I just need a break. You know? Today I get that break thanks to leftovers. Yay, leftovers!

Breakfast:       leftover “Awesome” Salmon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Remember, rethink breakfast.)

Lunch:              leftover Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad and 1/2 avocado

Dinner:             Brats & Kraut (made by my MIL)

We’re going off the grid this weekend. Have great days 13 and 14. Two weeks in. Woot!

Day 11: sh!t day

I love P!nk’s latest album, The Truth About Love. I cannot get enough of it. And to quote one of my favorite songs “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” let me just say:

I’ve had a sh!t day.

I’m not going to go into detail and relive the frustrations of work all over again. I am racing against a deadline at work and the software I am using is not the user-friendliest! I didn’t even have time to shower today.

I work from home on Thursdays, which means that the best thing about my day was snuggling with the kids this morning. That, and I get to make myself and them a hot breakfast. This morning Finn requested omelets. I can do that! I fried up six slices of my U.S. Wellness Meats sugar-free bacon. (You will never miss the sugar. Trust me on this. Not sure why it’s used.) This bacon cooks up quickly and goes from  raw to super-crisp in nothing flat.  And it renders lots of yummy fat for more cooking. I poured some of the fat off and then sautéed a diced red bell pepper. The kids each wanted a three-egg omelet. (It’s nice to have chickens.) Finn ordered a bacon, red bell pepper, provolone and avocado omelet. Mona wanted everything but the veggies.

Cooking the omelet

Cooking the omelet

I had everything but the cheese. Y.U.M.

Day 11: BreakfastThree-Egg Omelet with Sugar-Free Bacon, Sauteed Red Bell Pepper & Avocado

Day 11: Breakfast
Three-Egg Omelet with Sugar-Free Bacon, sautéed Red Bell Pepper & Avocado


You know how I posted a few days ago that I never make the same recipe twice? Well, I am a big, fat liar. I have another recipe that has become a “Do again,” as my kids would say: Barefoot Contessa’s Caesar Roasted Swordfish, except I use salmon because my freezer overfloweth. This is so good. The last two times I have made this, I served it on Romaine that I had tossed with the extra dressing I made, which is excellent, by the way. (I made Everyday Paleo Family CookbookCaesar dressing. Meh. Did I make that on “meh” day?) It is now my go-to Caesar salad dressing. Who knew the Barefoot Contessa was Paleo? I bet she doesn’t even know.

Anyway, I had a lot of salmon leftover, so I put it in the freezer, because we have a tendency to get “salmoned out.” That’s an Enginerd term. I pulled that from the freezer last night and voila! Lunch.

Day 11: LunchBaby Spinach Salad with Roasted Caesar Salmon and avocado with Balsamic Vinegar and EVOO dressing

Day 11: Lunch
Baby Spinach Salad with Roasted Caesar Salmon and avocado with Balsamic Vinegar and EVOO dressing

Mona picked mussels for dinner this week, and Finn picked venison.

Finn went on his first hunting expedition this last October. Whether you are pro-hunting or not, you cannot deny that shooting your own deer guarantees free-range, grass-fed meat. And it turns out we all like venison. Mind you, I marinate the hell out of if, but it’s delicious. I pulled a couple of tenderloin out of the freezer, and had Finn mix up a marinade. I rarely use a “recipe” for marinade. Oil. Acid. Herbs. Garlic. Sweet. This is what we came up with this time:

Venison Marinade I

3/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1/2 Tbs onion powder
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
sea salt
black pepper

What to do:

Pour everything into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.

Mix. Add meat. Refrigerate.

We marinated two tenderloin for two days. This afternoon, I baked up a butternut squash and roasted some garlic for The Clothes Make the Girl’s Velvety Butternut Squash, vacuum-sealed the tenderloin and plopped them into my Sous Vide Supreme Demi at 120° for a couple of hours, until I was ready to deal with it.

When I was ready to deal with dinner, I made the squash and put that into the oven. I heated some bacon fat to smoking and seared the tenderloin.  As the meat was resting, I used the same pan to fry up the leftover purple “superkraut” from last week’s sausage-kraut dinner.

Day 11: DinnerVenison Tenderloin with Purple Kraut and Velvety Butternut Squash

Day 11: Dinner
Venison Tenderloin with Purple Kraut and Velvety Butternut Squash

The ramekins were 400°, so they got their own little bandannas to keep us all from burning our fingers.

Velvety Butternut Squash

Velvety Butternut Squash

Breakfast:        Three-egg omelet with bacon, red bell pepper and avocado

Lunch:               Spinach Caesar with Barefoot Contessa’s Caesar Roasted Salmon (leftover)

Dinner:              Venison tenderloin with Purple Sauerkraut and Velvety Butternut Squash

Today was one of those days where if I had not been following the Whole30 I would have had a bottle of wine…for dinner, along with a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a less stressful day.

Day 10: sunspots or brainfarts?

I don’t know if it’s the possibility of Sunspot AR1654 erupting or not, but today has been very strange. Awkward even.

It started out after my workout this morning. (I work for a great company and we have a gym and locker room on-site. I work out in the morning and get ready before I head to my desk, which means that I pack my gym bag the night before so I can just grab and go in the morning.) In the course of my long workout life, I have forgotten articles of clothing. These are usually contained to panties, socks and bras. The missing bras are always fun. I have breastfed two children. That is all I am going to say about that.

This morning I had forgotten my skirt. This is a first. And I had packed tights…or so I thought. Oh, no. I packed footless tights. I didn’t even know I owned footless tights. But I had my bra and knee-high boots. I had no choice but to put on my footless tights and then put on my too-short, sweaty, semi-shiny yoga/workout pants that have a reflective logo on the label.

My co-worker said, “It could be worse,” but I am a real-life Glamour Don’t.

On the flip-side, I did sleep beautifully again last night!

Lunch today was another disaster, the only difference between today and yesterday is that I added a small apple and more nuts, this time pistachios. Seriously. This nut addiction needs to go buh-bye. Need another munchable, because I am about to turn into a nut. Wait…

I will do better tomorrow. I will do better tomorrow. I will do better tomorrow.

I left work early today to get out of those gawd-awful pants and tourniquet-esque tights. Man, were they tight around the waist! Anyhoo…I had to bring work home and by the time I got the kids and went to the chiropractor, I had to get some work-work done and dinner was a low priority. I was not in the mood to slave. Fortunately, on Sunday I had pulled a slab of Coho salmon out of the freezer and had a pound of Brussels sprouts. Last summer I made a double batch of 101 Cookbook’s Magic Sauce. This stuff is great and keeps forever in the refrigerator. I mean, it has been months since I last made it. Still good as new. The kids love it, and have changed the name to “Awesome Sauce.” I have to agree.

I trimmed and cut the Brussels sprouts in half, tossed them with melted bacon fat and a few big spoonfuls of Awesome Sauce and roasted them at 450° for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the Enginerd pulled the pin bones and when the 15 minutes were up on the sprouts, I took them out of the oven, scooted them over to the side and then put the salmon filet in the same pan, topping it with a mix of Awesome Sauce and just a bit of bacon fat. Back in the oven for 10 minutes, and done. Finished with fresh Meyer lemon juice and served.

"Awesome Sauce" Filet of Salmon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

“Awesome Sauce” Filet of Salmon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Dinner was easy and awesome. (Do I need to type this up as a “recipe?”)

Day 10: Dinner"Awesome" Salmon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Day 10: Dinner
“Awesome” Salmon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Breakfast: Frittata (leftover)

Lunch: Coconut Amino Roasted Almonds, Honeycrisp apple, pistachios

Dinner: Awesome Salmon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Have you ever felt like your brain is your imaginary friend? Well, my imaginary friend went off to be someone else’s imaginary friend today, because my brain didn’t work at all.

Tomorrow is another day!

Day 9: rethink breakfast

The best advice I ever got while doing the Whole30 back in August was to rethink breakfast. Breakfast does not need to be eggs. If you are just eating only eggs in the morning, you will get sick and tired of eggs tout de suite. So, what else can you eat? Ummm…how about anything that is Whole30 compliant? Seriously. I often have leftovers for breakfast. You might get some strange looks as you heat up your sweet potato in the work kitchen microwave or mix homemade mayo into a can of tuna, but SO WHAT!

The Whole30 is all about changing your relationship with food. Look at my countdown calendar to the left: “Changing My Life One Meal at a Time.” It’s true. When you start to think about your meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner—nothing should differ. You want to eat high quality protein, healthy fats and vegetables at every meal. If that means eating last night’s dinner for breakfast, then do it. (Personally, I need a little break from eating the same thing twice in a row, but do what you have to do.)

I have posted my breakfasts to date. Some of them are eggy. Some are not. For example, this morning’s breakfast was a hodgepodge of what I had available. We are talking leftover pork stew, sweet potato and avocado. It was pretty decent, truth be told. (Not sure why I have such a hard time taking a non-blurry photo.)

Day 9: BreakfastSweet Potato, Country Pork Curry & Avocado

Day 9: Breakfast
Sweet Potato, Country Pork Curry & Avocado

I had really high hopes for lunch, but as often happens when I eat a nice, hearty breakfast, I wasn’t hungry. Not even a little. I did that whole “steamed fish and broccoli” visualization thing, and nope. I haven’t been hungry. I got a teensy, tiny bit hungry around 2:00 p.m., but by that point, I figured anything I ate would interfere with dinner. I don’t know. This happens whenever I eat such a great breakfast, and I will often just skip lunch and have an early dinner. Again, there is no rule that states, “Thou shalt have three meals per day.” Occasional fasting is not a bad thing. Hell, we do it every night when we sleep, unless you eat when you sleepwalk, and then I cannot help you.

Anyway, I am not at all proud of my “lunch.” I had just one small handful of the Coconut Amino Roasted Almonds I made over the weekend. And then I had another handful, slightly larger. And then another. Around 3:45, I actually did get hungry, but I’m leaving work in 90-ish minutes. Do I really want to eat my lunch now and then go home and have a family dinner? No.

Day 9: Sad Little Lunch at my DeskCaesar Roasted Salmon & Coconut Amino Almonds

Day 9: Sad Little Lunch at my Desk
Caesar Roasted Salmon & Coconut Amino Almonds

(Do not be fooled. I ate WAY more almonds than this shows. I will cease nut consumption next week.)

Another little tidbit: we have dinner together as a family nearly every night. We do not have a television anywhere near the dining area, so it’s just the four of us, all eating the same thing. Occasionally, we stop chewing and actually talk to each other. It’s nice. I miss it when one of us cannot make it.

I picked the kids up and they both said that they wanted Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook’s chicken noodle salad. As I am wont to do, I use recipes as a starting point and then go from there. I doubled the kelp noodles and cabbage and used all of the leftover chicken I had shredded previously. I cut up some Cuties and added lots of chopped cilantro. EP’s recipe called for a dressing of coconut aminos and sesame oil. Boring. Instead, I made a Vietnamese dressing. Here is my version:

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

Serves 6 – 8

2 12-oz. packages of kelp noodles (I use Sea Tangle)
4 cups shredded chicken
6 green onions, sliced
4 cups of chopped purple cabbage
2 cups mandarins (I cut up some Cuties)
1 cup (ish) cilantro, chopped


1/2 cup fish sauce (I use Red Boat Fish Sauce. It is the best.)
2 Tbsp chili oil
1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
1-inch x 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

What to do:

Open the kelp noodle packets, dump them into a colander and rinse with warm water, separating the noodles by hand.

Put all of the stuff above “Dressing” into a big bowl.

Mix everything below “Dressing” and then pour over the stuff in the big bowl.

Day 9: DInnerVietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

Day 9: DInner
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

Breakfast: Sweet Potato, Food and Wine’s Slow Cooker Country Pork Curry (leftover), Avocado

Lunch: Salmon (leftover), Coconut Amino Roasted Almonds

Dinner: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

Another tidbit: my habit was to come home from work every night and pour myself a drink, usually wine. I find that I really want something when I get home, but am pleasantly surprised that a glass of sparkling water will do the trick quite nicely. Over the summer I found Talking Rain Coconut Pineapple. A squeeze of lime, and you’ve got yourself a Nada Colada.

Nada Colada

Nada Colada


Days 5 – 8: baby stuff

I realize now that I will be unable to post every day. I want to, because I’m fairly certain all two of you are just waiting with baited breath for my next post, but it ain’t gonna happen. It’s time-consuming. I work full-time in an office and then I come home to my second job.

Why is this post called “baby stuff?” Because we are gonna talk sleep and poop. I won’t talk a lot about either of them, but at least want to acknowledge the changes in both…for the better! I am feelin’ pretty good, I must say. I have been sleeping beautifully—like a baby!  I remember this from last time. By the end of my 30 days, I was referring to my sleep as “delicious.” Last night was the true test: I watched a stressful Seahawks playoff game (about which I am still pissed), then watched Argo. Yikes! I did not need to do any cardio after both of those events. Sunday nights are usually my worst. I cannot turn my brain off, and often just take half an Ambien to ensure sleep. I did not take an Ambien, and slept so well! Even when I got up to pee at 4:30 a.m., I was able to go right back to sleep.

My energy is good. Typically on a weekend I can sleep a solid 12 hours or more! This was my weekend: We got up at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, after seven hours of sleep, to ski, skied all day, came home and made dinner (instead of ordering take-out), and then stayed up watching two episodes of Sons of Anarchy and went to bed at 11:00 p.m. Guess what time I woke up. G’head. Guess.

I woke up naturally, well-rested before 8:30 a.m. On a Sunday. Unheard of.

Let’s talk shit. I have chronic bowel issues. There I said it. I have had gut issues since high school, maybe earlier, but I distinctly remember issues in high school. I had to stop running because of these issues. Sometimes walking for a long distance is too much. I am convinced that my gut’s inability to properly process is the reason I got kidney stones last April. Anyway…pooping is not my favorite thing.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that things in that department are firming up and are sometimes even satisfying. There. I said it again, and I don’t want to share any more.

Now, it was brought to my attention today that not everyone’s gut is happy about these dietary changes. I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, but I have been studying this way of eating for a long time. Sometimes when a diet takes a complete 180° turn, your gut protests. All I can say is, “Stick with it!” I would be surprised if these issues do not remedy themselves in the next week or so.

And this is why I do it: good sleep, good energy, good poop.

It has been spectacular here in Seattle. The weather is super cold, but super clear, which is energizing in its own way.

Let’s talk food. Some of this will be from memory only.

Day 5

First, I need to clarify some of this day. My lunch was awful. So bad. My fun co-workers and I went out to lunch to play Cards Against Humanity. If you are unfamiliar with this game, it is like Apples to Apples, but for crass adults. It is not a game for the mild or sensitive. We played this game at a local dive, Marco Polo. Surely they would have a salad I could eat. Not so much. Seriously. I could not believe it. So, I ordered the Wild Salmon Burger sans tartar sauce and bun, sub salad for the fries. {sigh} The salad came with croutons and shredded cheese, which I painstakingly picked off. I asked for balsamic vinegar and olive oil. They brought me balsamic vinaigrette, which I am pretty sure was loaded with sugar. I had maybe two teaspoons. The “burger” was previously frozen and nasty. It was completely unsatisfying, so I went back to the office and ate an entire avocado. Only then did I feel good.

Breakfast:     Wild Planet Foods Wild Albacore Tuna, homemade mayo, sweet potato and ghee

Lunch:            Salmon burger and salad, one avocado

Dinner:           Everyday Paleo’s Italian Rib Eye with Sun Dried Tomato Topping and Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook Zucchini Salad

Day 5: DinnerItalian Rib Eye Steak with Sun-dried Tomato and Artichoke Heart Relish

Day 5: Dinner
Italian Rib Eye Steak with Sun-dried Tomato and Artichoke Heart Relish

Snack:            Coconut Amino Roasted Almonds

I made the almond “recipe” up.

Coconut Amino Roasted Almonds

a bunch of raw almonds (at least two cups)

1 Tbs EVOO

1 Tbs Coconut Aminos

sea salt

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread the almonds out on the baking sheet.

Sprinkle with olive oil and coconut aminos. Use your hands (best tools invented) to mix/toss everything together until all of the almonds are coated.

Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Try not to eat every last one of them in one sitting.

Day 6

Crystalline day at Steven’s Pass. I am so glad I took advantage to the gorgeous weather to go skiing instead of staying home and sitting on my ass watching a double-feature in a dark theater. This was one of my best day’s of skiing in a long time.

Breakfast:      Scrambled eggs and bacon

Lunch:             Leftover steak Caesar Salad

Dinner:            Combination of Heather Cristo Cooks’ Salmon Burger and Everyday Paleo Salmon Cakes with Ginger-Sriracha Aioli and sliced avocado with Chinese Cucumber Salad

Day 6: DinnerSalmon Cakes with Ginger Aioli and Chinese Cucumber Salad

Day 6: Dinner
Salmon Cakes with Ginger Aioli and Chinese Cucumber Salad

I used both recipes to make the salmon burgers and they turned out great. I used a fresh filet (well, frozen from The Enginerd’s summer fishing) with no almond meal, lots of herbs including Italian parsley and dill and fresh ginger and green onions. To the homemade aioli I added fresh ginger and Sriracha. Yum!

To the cucumbers, which I started before the salmon, I used balsamic vinegar instead of sugar and red vinegar and subbed coconut aminos for the soy sauce. I skipped the salting part, and it was fine.

Everything was very, very good.

Day 7

Breakfast:      Frittata made with Sugar-free Pork Breakfast Sausage from U.S. Wellness Meats and sauteed mushrooms and yellow peppers

Lunch:             Nuts and bacon-wrapped dates

Dinner:            Turkey breast with green beans

Frittata cooking

Frittata cooking

Remember those mushrooms and yellow peppers I fried up last week. Well, here they are! I didn’t quite catch a photo of the finished product before someone took a bite.

Day 7: Breakfast

Day 7: Breakfast
Frittata with Crumbled Sausage, Mushrooms and Yellow Peppers

Lunch wasn’t really lunch. Lunch was a snack, and probably not Whole30 approved, but it was damned tasty. Too bad I do not have a photo of the finished product. I ate them too quickly.

Day 7: LunchBacon-Wrapped Dates

Day 7: Lunch
Bacon-Wrapped Dates

I don’t have a photo of dinner. We had dinner over at my in-laws, which is actually a very nice Sunday night family tradition. My MIL did everything she could to accommodate my diet, including using ghee instead of butter for the turkey breast and green beans.

Day 8

Today! Hooray! I finally made it to today.

Breakfast:       Frittata (leftover)

Lunch:              Ropa Vieja (leftover)

Dinner:            Eat Like a Dinosaur’s Curried Mussels, Not Muscles

Mona picked this evening’s dinner, and did most of it herself.

Mona Making Mussels, not Muscles

Mona Making Mussels, not Muscles

We decided to sub Penzey’s Rogan Josh Seasoning for the curry powder. I had Mona do a blind sniff test between the two, and this is the one she picked.

It was really good.

Day 8: DinnerCurried Mussels, Not Muscles

Day 8: Dinner
Curried Mussels, Not Muscles

Let’s see if I can keep up, because this took a really long time. I’m off to sleep now.

Day 4: meh

That’s how I feel today. Meh.

I woke up with another (the same?) headache. If I am going to wake up with a headache, I want it to be because I partied too much the night before, NOT because I have stopped eating sugar and am eating more healthfully. The injustice of it all!

That said, I did not get any more sleep last night than I have all week—less, actually—and I feel pretty good today. Aside from the meh, but I will attribute that to our lovely January weather.

Also, I am not really hungry today. I ate breakfast, then after walking the dog I polished off the last of the cashews. I had a small handful of almonds a bit ago, and that’s it. Not in the mood to make anything for lunch. Crazy, I know. I do know from experience that I am going to need to cut back on the nut consumption if I want to lose any weight, but I am cutting myself some slack in that department right now.

After dinner last night I was jonesing for something sweet. The Whole30 gang says not to cave to the “Dessert Demon” by having fruit. Well, I had a satsuma, and then I had a few slices of dried apple, which sounds really good right now. Squirrel!

I placed my first order at U.S. Wellness Meats this week, as this is the only bacon and breakfast sausage I have seen without sugar. I placed the order on Monday and it was on my doorstep Wednesday afternoon. I do not like waste, however, so I fried up the last of the Whole Foods ultra-fatty-delicious bacon for breakfast, which I am certain was cured with some sugar. Whatever. It’s miniscule and I had one slice. Sue me.

I poured off a bunch of the fat to save for future cooking, and then fried up mushrooms and orange bell pepper in the remaining goodness. I used some of the veggies in my eggs this morning, and the rest I am going to use along with the sausage I ordered to make egg “muffins” this weekend for breakfast next week.

For dinner, I am using my slow cooker for the third and final time this week, and this is the easiest one by far. I am making PaleoPot’s Paleo Kielbasa & Super Kraut recipe. I used Bubbies Sauerkraut, which has no gluten or added sugar. And because I like my kraut on the sweeter side, I added some apple cider to the crock along with it. I had grass-fed beef sausages from Mountain Beef from my annual 1/3-cow order. We purchase a grass-feed steer along with two other families and then split the order three ways. This year at the pick-up–in the pouring rain!–they had lots of great grass-fed beef hot dogs and sausages and kielbasa, etc., so I got some. Here it all is ready to cook in the crock:

Day 4: Dinner ready-to-cook

Day 4: Dinner ready-to-cook

Breakfast:      Mushroom-Pepper Scramble, bacon, black coffee

Lunch:             Lots of nuts–cashews and almonds and some cabbage and a bite of kielbasa (I do not usually eat this way, and do not endorse it. It’s my “meh” diet.)

Dinner:            Slow Cooker Sausage and Superkraut

Thinking about my über-snacking mode, I am reminded by the Whole30 peeps to determine whether I am hungry or not.

Hunger vs. Cravings

It’s not always easy to tell whether you’re actually hungry, or just having a craving. Here are two methods to help you figure out whether you need to eat something healthy or just ride it out the next time the Sugar Dragon rears its ugly head.

HALT! This acronym stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. The next time you’re having a craving, stop and ask yourself, am I really hungry, or am I just angry (or frustrated), lonely (or bored), or tired. If you’re not really hungry, then use some of our craving combat strategies below to see you through. If you discover that you really are hungry, then eat! (We’ll help you figure out what to eat when the Sugar Dragon is spitting fire next. Hint: it’s not fruit!)

Steamed fish and broccoli: This next trick is a bit simpler, and brutally effective. The next time you get a hankering for something to eat (and are wondering if it’s just a craving), ask yourself, “Am I hungry enough to eat steamed fish and broccoli right now?” If the answer is no… you’re not really hungry, you’re just craving, so act accordingly. If the answer is yes, then you really are hungry!

I have used that steamed fish and broccoli vision before, and it is effective.

Day 3: ouch

Did anyone else get walloped with a headache today? Mine hit hard at 4:31 a.m. and has essentially been there all day long. And I am so tired! I nearly pulled a George Castanza at the office today.

And is anyone else completely addicted to cashews right now? I cannot get enough, which tells me that I really should not be eating them. I have told myself that I will not go to Costco and replenish my quickly diminishing supply. I won’t. I won’t. I won’t!

Let’s talk food. Last night I made PaleoPot’s Chili Cilantro Lime Crockpot Chicken.

I had made the rub and marinade the night before while cooking the Cuban-style rice. PaleoPot said that he used a full tablespoon of cayenne in the rub. I have children. I need to decrease the heat a bit. I used one teaspoon of cayenne and also added one teaspoon of  smoked paprika. I placed the chicken in a slow cooker liner, then rubbed it all over the chicken. When I poured that marinade in…all of the rub slid off. Nertz.

Marinating Chicken

Marinating Chicken

Oh, well. I bagged it up and let it sit overnight, then slow cooked it for six hours. I just knew that this was going to be the juiciest, most flavorful chicken ever.

Ummm…not so much.

It definitely had great flavor. That is undeniable. But the white meat was dry. And the skin was a bunch of slime. Now, chicken skin is one of my favorite foods. My sister and I only half jokingly say that at Thanksgiving we would like a plate of skin instead of turkey.

That said, the meat was literally falling off the bones and I got a nice big platter of it.

A platter full of chicken

A platter full of chicken

I chose to serve the chicken with some haricot verts. I tend to pair like seasonings with like seasonings, so I searched for “green beans and cilantro” and found Green Beans and Carrots in Charmoula Sauce on and made a bunch of changes. Here is my version:

Roasted Green Beans and Carrots in Cilantro Charmoula

2 garlic cloves, peeled
one handful (~1 cup) of cilantro, including stems
one handful (~1 cup) of Italian parsley
1/4 cup EVOO
Juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika

one pound haricot verts or green beans
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into sticks about the same size as the beans

sea salt and ground black pepper

What I did:
Preheat oven to 450°

Put the first seven ingredients into a food processor and process until saucy. 

Toss the carrots with ~1/3 of the sauce and roast for 10 – 15 minutes.

Add the green beans to the carrots and toss with another 1/3 of the sauce. Roast for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on how roasty you like your veggies. We like ours super roasty and browning.

When roasted to your liking, remove from oven and toss with the rest of the sauce.

Day 2: DinnerChili Cilantro Lime Crockpot Chicken & Roasted Green Beans and Carrots with Cilantro Charmoula

Day 2: Dinner
Chili Cilantro Lime Crockpot Chicken & Roasted Green Beans and Carrots with Cilantro Charmoula

The roasted vegetables were great. The sauce from the chicken, even with only one teaspoon of cayenne, was really spicy. My lips were burning. But…this recipe made enough chicken for two lunches and I have another 4 cups of shredded chicken that I am going to use for another meal this week.

Chili Cilantro Lime Chicken leftovers

Chili Cilantro Lime Chicken leftovers

That was last night.

So, one of the benefits of me not posting anything until the very end of the day, is that I also get to show what we had tonight, so no need to bore you with it tomorrow.

Breakfast: Sweet potato with ghee, sea salt and pepper, two slices Applegate Herb Turkey Breast (Applegate Farms is one of the few brands that does not use sugar in their deli meats.)

Lunch: Last night’s leftovers (I love leftovers)

Dinner: Seafood “Enchiladas” from Everyday Paleo Cookbook and Paleo Caesar salad

If you know me, then you know that I rarely make the same recipe twice. It is kind of like the way we vacation: there are so many places to go, why go to the same place twice? With food, there are so many recipes to try, why get stuck in a rut?

Having said that, I have made Everyday Paleo’s Seafood “Enchiladas” before, and they were good. I wanted to make them again, so I did, using Trader Joe’s frozen mixed seafood. It worked well. I paired it with a Paleo Caesar salad. I made my own mayo, which keeps beautifully in the refrigerator and is super-duper easy to make. Dinner was YUM, and the only bad part about it is that we have no leftovers.

Day 3: DinnerSeafood "Enchiladas"

Day 3: Dinner
Seafood “Enchiladas”

Until mañana, muchachos. Maybe this headache of mine will be gone by then.

Day 2: the steps required to make dinner

First, the Ropa Vieja was a huge hit last night. The house smelled amazing when I walked in the door, and the “rice” came together quickly. My kids, who complain every single time about cauliflower “rice,” declared that the rice was their favorite part. Oh, the magic of bacon.

from PaleOMG

Day 1: Dinner
Ropa Vieja with Cuban-Style “Rice”

In fact, while I was preparing last night’s dinner, I was able to prep this evening’s slow-cooker dinner of Chili Cilantro Lime Crock Pot Chicken. (Reviews to follow tomorrow.) I do not typically use a slow-cooker this often, but this week I plan to use it three times. The problem I sometimes encounter with slow cooking is that not everything needs to cook for 12 hours. This chicken recipe recommends six, which is a problem since I leave the house at 6:30 a.m. and do not return for another 11+ hours.

The Enginerd (read: “husband”) is sick and is fortunately working from home today. I have asked him to help with dinner this evening by turning on the slow cooker.

Some background: I am the primary, nay, sole cook in the family. The Enginerd will make breakfast for the kids and help with their lunches, but when it comes to dinner, as with children, it is usually a lot more trouble than it’s worth for him to “help.” No matter how simple I believe the task or the recipe to be, I am guaranteed to receive at least one phone call and/or text message. Usually it is more.

Anyone else have this issue? Anyway, I thought I would share with you the detail I provided him in order to get the chicken from the fridge and into the slow cooker and cook for six hours. I sent the following to him in a Microsoft Outlook Meeting Request:

  1. Get chicken from the fridge.
    The chicken is in two bags.
  2. Take the chicken out of the Ziploc bag.
    You no longer need this bag.
  3. Leave the chicken in the other bag.
    This is a bag specifically designed for the slow cooker and the chicken will cook in this.
  4. Give the chicken a little squeeze and rub to make sure the marinade is well distributed.
  5. Place the chicken in the bag—with the top of the bag up—in the slow cooker.
  6. Put the lid on the slow cooker.
  7. Turn the slow cooker on and set the time for six (6) hours on LOW.
  8. Press Start.

I’ll let you know if I get a phone call.

Whole30: Day 1

First, let me apologize for starting a blog and then disappearing. This was not my intention, but I had to go on vacation to a semi-remote part of Mexico and I was unable to post. So…let’s do this!

Woo hoo! We are off and running. I don’t know about you, but I am so ready to feel good again. I really let things go to the dogs these last two weeks, and I feel gross.

What did you do over the weekend? Plan your meals for the week? That’s what I did. Since we have been gone for a while, I spent most of yesterday planning meals and grocery shopping for the week. My focus tends to be on dinner, and I usually eat the leftovers for lunch or breakfast the next day. Well, I had no leftovers and even with all of my grocery shopping, so here is the day’s menu. (I plan to provide links to menu items if I can ever figure out how.)

Breakfast:           Coffee (black), hard-boiled eggs (2), mandarin (1)
Lunch:                 Everyday Paleo’s Tuna Stuffed Eggs (from her Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook), butter lettuce with Dijon vinaigrette
Dinner:                 PaleOMG’s Crockpot Ropa Vieja with Cuban-style “Rice” , San Pellegrino with lime

Not terribly exciting until dinner, but I will have great leftovers tomorrow! (I hope. I will let you know if this recipe is a winner. It was certainly easy to throw in the slow cooker this morning before I left for work.)

Take a look at “Day 1” on the Whole30 Timeline. It is spot on, and yes, my friend, it will get worse before it gets better.

I remember my first Whole30, which I attempted one year ago. Day 1: great! Days 2 & 3: not-so great. Not-so great to the point that I had a two-day withdrawal headache, and by day 3, it was not minor–and this was just a withdrawal from sugar and flour! I cannot imagine withdrawing from nicotine or heroine. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. It was ridiculous how awful I felt. Oy.

BUT…my second Whole30 was much better, and I think it’s because I had been eating cleaner. I don’t know. I am just hoping that my withdrawals this time–coming back from Mexico where I consumed cervezas y tequilas–are mild.

I will bore you soon with posts about Mexico, and maybe make you jealous with some photos.