Monday, February 17, 2014

Whole 30: finale & recipes

It's been a few weeks since we finished Whole30 but we did make it and had a very positive experience. My goal was to reset all eating and drinking patterns in the hope of breaking some bad habits (cut back on chocolate, drink a little less wine, curb sugar cravings after meals) which I succeeded in doing. Even though I did not monitor calories or the quantity of food I was eating, I lost about 6lbs, going from 132.4 to 126.6, though I've since added back 2lbs, which feels more sustainable. I feel leaner and stronger... but I don't think I look any different. I can't really tell!

What are we eating now? While we are not continuing on a strict Whole30 path, I am endeavoring to eat Whole30 whenever we cook and eat at home. The one exception is to add Greek yoghurt to the mix as a quick, digestible (for me) breakfast before a workout.  When dining out, we aim to select  menu choices that are closest to Whole30 but without worrying if there's a little honey in a dressing or having the occasional slice of pizza, but our diet is generally dairy, sugar and gluten free.

Here are some of the recipes I cooked during our Whole30 month:

Shepherd's Pie
1-2lbs of buffalo meat
2-4 sweet potatoes cooked and peeled
1 onion (chopped)
2 carrots (sliced)
2-4 tbsps almond milk (optional)
1-2tbps Rama Rub seasoning (
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Cashew nuts

Shepherd's pie heading into the oven

Bake (45-60mins) or microwave (8mins) the sweet potatoes. Saute the onions and carrots ~ 5mins until carrots begin to soften. Add the buffalo meat and the Rama Rub seasoning (or a seasoning of your choice). Cook until meat is browned. Peel the sweet potatoes and add to a food processor along with almond milk and nutmeg. I prefer to use the Cuisinart to keep some some texture to the sweet potatoes but a Vitamix will make them smoother/creamier.

When the meat is cooked, place in a casserole dish and top with the sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle with crushed cashews and cook in over an 375f for about 15-20mins.
Shepherd's pie with steamed broccoli

Brussel sprouts
1/4 cup EVOO
2lbs brussel sprouts (trimmed and halved)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
I love brussel sprouts and in the last few years, my favorite preparation was to slather with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for ~30mins at 400f. However, more recently I have been sautéing them as follows.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add brussel sprouts, season with salt & pepper and cook, stirring frequently until caramelized (~8mins). Then add 1/3 cup of water to pan and cook until water has evaporated (~2mins). Finally, add the lemon juice and mix to coat the brussel sprouts... serve immediately!

Buffalo & sweet potato lettuce cups (adapted from Feed Zone)
1-2tbsp of EVOO
1lb of buffalo
Seasoning (I used Rama rub)
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 jalapeño (optional)
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1 lime
1-2 cooked sweet potatoes, cut in large cubes
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced,
1 onion thinly sliced
1 avocado
One head of butter lettuce

Lettuce cups with roasted cauliflower
This recipe is simple but annoying since it takes two sauté pans... one for the meat and one for the veggies. I often double up the sautéed veggies and use them for breakfast next day.

Add EVOO to saute pan with heat on high. Add buffalo and stir to stop from sticking. Add the dry spices and jalapeño (if using). Turn heat down and cook until most of liquid has cooked down. Add peas, lime juice and salt and pepper. Cook until peas are soft but still bright green.

In the meantime, to make the sweet potato filling, add 1tbsp of oil to sauté pan on med-high heat. Add bell peppers, onion and sweet potatoes and sauté until potatoes begin to crisp.

To assemble the "lettuce cups", wash lettuce leaves, add a little of each mixture then top with a slice or two of avocado. You can also add your favorite, fresh salsa for some additional spice.

Dry-Spiced chicken and figs (adapted from Feed Zone)
1-2tbps of EVOO
Dry spice rub = 1/2 teaspoon of each: cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, coriander
2lbs of chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
2-4 cups of chicken stock
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
2 onions
2 carrots
2 garlic cloves
8-10 dried figs
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

I didn't have carrots so used parsnips!
Add chicken and spices to large ziplock bag and mix well until chicken is well coated.  Add EVOO to sauté pan and heat on high. Sear the chicken pieces until golden then remove from pan. Add stock/vinegar to pan and stir in any spice that has come off the chicken. Add back the chicken along with onions, carrots, figs and garlic. Cover and let simmer on a medium heat for 30-40 mins, until chicken is tender.

Kale salad
Green garlic dressing:
2 stalks of green garlic (or scallions), rinsed & chopped
1/4 tspn of sea salt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2tbsp of ripe avocado (~1/2 avocado)
1/3 cup EVOO
1 teaspoon of honey (omitted during Whole30)
fresh pepper to taste
1 cup of farro, cooked (omitted during Whole30)
4-5 farmer's market carrots, sliced thinly (I use a grater to slice thin strips!)
small bulb of fennel
kumquats, sliced thinly (optional)
1/2 bunch of kale, washed, destemmed, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 gem lettuce (optional, to mix up the kale)

Kale market salad with kumquats but no farro/carrots
To make the dressing, add everything to food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust salt, honey, lemon to taste.

Add the kale to the bowl and add 1-2tbps of the dressing and ensure mixed well (you can even let this sit for 15mins to soften up the kale). Then add the remaining ingredients and more dressing to taste. I often find I have extra dressing which I'll store in a Mason jar and use later in the week. I've kept it up to a week.

Zucchini and cauliflower curry recipe

Zucchini & cauliflower curry
This is a recipe I found when I realized I had some zucchini and cauliflower and didn't know what to do with them... Google to the rescue! I made this dish while Blanco grilled some flank steak... a bit of an odd pairing but both tasted great!