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

Dressing

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

Cheers!

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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 FineCooking.com 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.