Whole30 Days 5-10 + My Menu for the Week!

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Hey, hi, hello! With, what feels like no time at all, here were are at day 10. Day 8 brought a bit of a slump, along with some crankiness, and day 9 was similar. Earlier today I had a horrific headache that felt like it was going to turn into a migraine. I took some ibuprofen and huffed a bit of peppermint oil and now all is well. Other than the aforementioned bumps in the road, this Whole30 continues to be easier and much more enjoyable than the first.

Last weekend us Pals drove to see family, which is a 2-hour trip each way. I drive down, Pal drives back; it’s a tried and true system. I had cookbooks in tow so I spent my not-driving time flagging recipes to try this week.

Here is what is on the menu:

  • Breakfast: Hash browns with sautéed peppers, onions, and pork sausage.
  • Nom Nom Paleo’s Mulligatawny Soup via Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans – there’s fruit! coconut! spices! and it’s all blended together into a warm, tasty bowl of awesome.
  • Nom Nom Paleo’s Slow Cooker Chicken + Gravy, with mashed cauliflower and sautéed green beans. – I might be most excited about this one! We’re still working on that oven thang, so roast chicken in a crock pot sounds like heaven.
  • Nom Nom Paleo’s Southwest Cowboy Chili via Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans – CHILI. Nothing more to say here.
  • Skirt steak with sautéed mushrooms and onions over arugula with a mustard vinaigrette – same as last week’s, but dang was it good!
  • Zoodles with a sauce of pureed avocado, olive oil and garlic with tomatoes – I ordered a spiralizer and cannot wait for it to get here! It’s super fancy and has three different blades, for three different types of ‘noodles’. I feel like this will be a game changer, kids.

Whole30 Recipe Roundup!

I’ve been doing all I can to spread the gospel that is Whole30 by trying to make my meals as delicious as possible. I believe my plan is working because several people have ooohed and ahhhed over my lunches at work and a friend has decided to start her own Whole30 on Saturday! So in an effort to keep my gospel going, I have gathered some of my favorite recipes thus far. Recipes that are full of flavor and keep me wanting more.

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  • Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Over-easy Eggs: This is my breakfast go-to. I don’t have this every morning, but I surely could. I dice the sweet potato in my food processor and cook in a bit of olive or coconut oil with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Also, I’ve been cooking my eggs in coconut oil, which adds a delightful fluffiness.
  • Slow-Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry via Tasty Kitchen: Just eliminate the cornstarch and you’ve got a quick, delicious, Whole30 dinner. I like mine served over cauliflower ‘rice’. To make the cauli rice, run a head of cauliflower through a blender, food processor, or grate and sauté in olive oil with your herbs of choice.
  • Slow-cooker Salsa Verde Chicken: This might be the easiest crockpot meal on the planet. Grab jar of Whole30-compliant green salsa, a pound or two of chicken thighs, and toss it in your crockpot for 8 hours on low. Shred and serve over sautéed peppers, onions, and half an avocado. Ole!
  • Crash Hot Potatoes: These little gems that I saw on The Pioneer Woman are a complete life saver. They are proof that clean, whole foods can taste decadent and also will go well with any protein and green veggie.
  • Sweet Potato Chili: I came across this chili at Katrina Runs for Food and was blown away by how good (and how easy!) it was. It came together in a snap and made 5-6 servings. Since I couldn’t find a Whole30-compliant beef broth I opted for veggie broth. It is mild without being bland. I can’t wait to make it again this fall!
  • Burrito Bowls: A Chipotle burrito bowl isn’t hard to fake and if you squint a bit when you look at this one, you might just be convinced it’s not a fake at all. Seasoned ground beef (I like cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper), sautéed peppers and onions, and guacamole served over cilantro-lime cauliflower rice. So easy and SO GOOD. To make the cauliflower rice cilantro-lime flavored just chop fresh cilantro and squeeze in some fresh lime juice while you’re cooking. If you want to get real fancy add a bit of garlic. Phenomenal.
  • Curried Chicken Burger over salad: I mixed a diced shallot, salt, pepper, and a spoonful of curry powder in with my ground chicken and pan fried the patties in olive oil. Serve over a salad with avocado, egg, tomatoes, and any other veggies you like and a homemade garlic vinaigrette (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper). Voila! Lots of protein, fat, and a happy tummy. Not a fan of curry? Any protein will do!
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes: Load these babies up with caramelized onions and a bit of coconut oil and thank me later.
  • Whole30 isn’t real big on snacking and, while I have been snacking a lot less, I can’t always make it from lunch to dinner. When I am on the verge of pre-dinner hangry I grab a Gala apple and some cashew butter. Heaven on earth!

I hope to find many more awesome recipes before my Whole30 is over and will be sure to share with you!

On Getting Up Early

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Us Grubbs, we get up earlier than necessary (except on Sundays. On Sundays there is a gravitational pull to the bed that makes it something of a miracle to get to church on time. What is with that?). Pal has always been an early riser, but me not so much. Once I learned that, while I do not require much time to actually get ready, I am a much nicer person if I can start my day slowly and started to make an effort to give myself some time to do just that.

In our house a snooze button wouldn’t do anyone any good since the second the alarm goes off Elizabeth also goes off. Little whines and rustling, with a healthy dose of tail wagging against the wall. That blonde baby knows when it is time to eat and doesn’t have a second to spare otherwise.

We shuffle into the kitchen, Queen Elizabeef and I,  begrudgingly flipping on the light, resulting in us sleepily staring at each other with just one eye open while I fumble with the food container and dish out their portions. This let’s Lola know that it’s the magical eating hour and  she immediately morphs into a furious Pugnado, yipping and spinning in her crate, literally bouncing of the walls. I go to let her out, food scoop still in hand, and within a second she is smashed face-deep in her bowl. Moments later the food is gone, pups are outside, I fill the kettle, and sit on the couch to catch my breath (and scroll through Instagram).

By the time the kettle starts to whistle the furry ones are pawing at the back door to come in. I oblige, steep my tea and make my way back to the couch. By this time I am marginally coherent and it’s in my best interest as Lola is now at full speed. Pre-Lola I gave myself an extra half hour to sleep, but since she is still crate trained, I wanted to give her ample playtime before we left for work. The things you do for the ones you love.

With ten minutes or so left before it’s time to get in the shower I catch up on the blogs I read, play a word with a friend, and I feel like a functioning human by the time I wash my hair. It’s really a grand thing.

Post-shower I still have a minute or two to dawdle: start breakfast, pack our lunches, throw a squeaky ball down the hallway, see what has happened on Twitter since the night before. Waking up is hard.

Speaking of breakfast, have I shared my love that are sweet potato hash browns? Holy heavens above, top with two over easy eggs and it’s flat-out dreamy. If you’re feeling super fancy, throw some avocado in the mix. You might not be hungry until dinner. Whole30 or not, these are a new staple in our house.

There you have it. A morning routine for us slow pokes that want to be morning people, but can’t quite really be morning people without some gentle coaxing.

Paleo Fails: A Lesson in Reality

Pancakes! I love, love pancakes. There is a special place in my heart for pancakes. I have been without pancakes as of late, even more so than before since I’ve been avoiding grains in all as much as possible. So, when I stumbled across a paleo pumpkin pancake recipe this week, I was all over it. When I looked at the recipe, it occurred to me how crazy simple it was. Too simple? Nah, surely there is some magic in combing eggs, cinnamon, and pumpkin puree.

Photo Jul 20, 3 43 59 PMNot a chance. Allow me to present unto you pumpkin flavored scrambled eggs (with an essence of cinnamon). There isn’t enough maple syrup to save this disaster. Also, the portions are for that of a small child with little to no appetite. I took two bites and chucked the rest in the trash. I could only fool myself for a moment. Not to mention that they looked terrible – the batter burnt against my cast iron skillet (the recommended cooking vessel) and did not want to come out of there in one piece. This resulted in me eating cashews and dried cranberries during church. Whoops.

In addition to this paleo flop, my zucchini fritters were much of the same. Despite following the recipe word for word (and draining my squash as much as possible), I ended up with a bowl of grated mush that refused to brown and was slightly gritty from the coconut flour. I would love to know just where I went so terribly wrong.

I feel like I have gotten a pretty good handle on this whole cooking game, but paleo cooking can humble the best of us. There is still hope, though! In addition to my continuing love affair with Nom Nom Paleo, a dear friend gifted to me Against All Grain, which was next on my list. Danielle has some amazing looking recipes in here. I’ll be making her Allergy Friendly Breakfast Cookies this week, which is bound to be leagues above whatever it was I made this morning.

The moral of this story? Calling something a pancake when it is, in fact, not a pancake, doesn’t make it any more of a pancake. Same goes with calling something a cookie, when it’s really just a ground up grain-free granola bar that happens to be circular. Wolf in sheep’s clothing, or something to that effect.

 

Toasted Coconut, Cherry & Almond Granola

Happy Friday, friends! In need of a super-easy, healthy, and fabulous addition to your breakfast this weekend? Well, look no further. I’ve taken Shutterbean’s Maple Coconut Granola and modified it just a pinch. It’s super easy and completely awesome. We’ve been enjoying it with vanilla Greek yogurt and sliced fresh fruit.

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My additions included dried cherries (can I get an amen?), slivered almonds instead of whole (and extra at that!), and extra coconut. What’s great about granola is that it is so versatile and forgiving. Chocolate and pecans? Yes, ma’am. Dried cranberries, blueberries, and apple bits? You betcha. Get crazy. Make it happen.

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All the goodness gets mixed together and spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Take time every 10 minutes or so to stir the mix to ensure even toasting.

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Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Added bonus? All those mason jars you bought for your wedding will finally come in handy!

 

Toasted Coconut, Cherry & Almond Granola (Makes approx 6 cups)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 1/4 cup raw almonds, slivered
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine oats, cherries, almonds, coconut, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and stir to combine. Once ingredients are evenly coated, add the brown sugar continue to stir. Add in salt and spread mixture over a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring mixture every 10 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight container for up to two weeks. Serve over yogurt with fruit or with milk as cereal. Yum!

Berry and Pecan Quinoa Granola Bars

I’m a lady that likes her snacks. Somewhere around 3:00pm I am searching for something delicious to tide me over until dinner. As of late our snack choices have been of the savory variety: hummus and red pepper slices, mixed nuts with dried cranberries, chips and salsa. I decided this week we needed to mix things up. I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Lean Green Bean for quinoa breakfast bars. A sweet snack I can add quinoa to? Sold.

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The recipe is simple and easy to modify. I started out a quick homemade applesauce – chop an apple, add approximately a 1/4 cup water and simmer until soft. Run through a food processor and boom, you have the healthiest applesauce around. In addition, we have oats and chia seeds for bulk and texture, roasted pecans and peanut butter for protein and a touch of salt, and dried berries and molasses for sweetness.  You can mix in whatever you choose (next time I’ll be sprinkling in a bit of dark chocolate).

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The result? Somewhere in between a muffin and a granola bar… and the perfect late afternoon snack.

Berry and Pecan Quinoa Granola Bars (makes 10):

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup unsulphered molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg white
1 cup cooked quinoa1 cup milled oats
1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup orange flavored dried cranberries
Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 and spray an 8×8 in cooking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In the base of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment, combine applesauce, peanut butter, molasses, vanilla, egg white, and stir until mixed. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.

Pour ingredients into dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Nutrition Info:
245 calories, 9.1g fat, 36.5g carbs, 13.4g sugar, 6.6g protein

Say Goodbye to These

I always thought that I would be the one to decide what this blog’s voice would really be about. In my head I sort of imagined having some sort of “A-ha!” moment and deciding that would be the route I would seek. As it turns out, maybe that voice found me (or at least my disagreeable/intolerant body found that voice for me).

For me, this has been a year full cutting out foods I once loved. Honey, shellfish, and now gluten (and possibly dairy). Due to eczema that would not respond to at-home treatments of any kind, I decided to dig a little deeper and try to find out what might possibly be the cause. The more I read, the more I noticed a connection between eczema and food intolerance, namely gluten and dairy. This shouldn’t have been such a surprise considering the increased eczema when my honey allergy began. Several other gluten intolerant symptoms applied to me as well, so I decided to cut out both gluten and dairy for a while to see if anything improved.

I managed to maintain a gluten-free existence for three whole days. My cravings for bread had diminished and I felt great. Then I made stir fry. Who knew hoisin sauce wasn’t gluten-free? Not this girl. I read the ingredients and didn’t see anything suspicious. The next morning I didn’t feel great at first but dismissed it. After I ate the same stir fry for lunch, I felt terrible within minutes. I quickly googled hoisin and found the answer. Turns out eliminating gluten may just be more necessary than I initially thought. Dagger-like stomach pains, nausea, and acid reflux after eliminating gluten for just a few days? No thanks.

Long story short, it looks like JulieDoodles will be taking a turn for the gluten-free. If dairy doesn’t make a difference in how I feel, I may add that back in after a few weeks. I do like a challenge, though. Hopefully it’ll be an exciting foray into a whole new world of cooking. So allow me to leave you with these:

Joy the Baker’s Brown Sugar Cookies. Possibly the best cookie I have ever made. Chewy, with warm flavors that melt in your mouth. Most certainly a worthy exit from the gluten-filled ways of days gone by. Making them into leaf shapes made them that much more irresistible.

Stay tuned to see what JulieDoodles becomes. I have already done some recipe research and feel like a have a pretty great gluten and dairy free week ahead of me.

Vanilla Pear Muffins

It’s a very real possibility that pears are my favorite fruit. They’re certainly my favorite to cook with. As sturdy as an apple, but not as common in baked goods, which lends a uniqueness without losing familiarity . I came across Starkrimson pears at the farmer’s market last week and the deep red skin was too pretty to pass up.

I started off by making my own brown sugar. After seeing how simple Joy the Baker made it out to be (and with too few molasses recipes), I had to give it a shot. Like she said, it’s embarrassingly easy.


The recipe is a modified version of Pastry Affair’s Vanilla Pear Muffins and they turned out lovely. Fragrant from the vanilla and orange zest, with a perfectly soft texture from the pears that are studded throughout.

I can’t even pretend that I didn’t sneak one fresh out of the oven, even though I already had breakfast (and I’m not sorry).

Vanilla Pear Muffins (Makes 12):

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup light brown sugar, packed (or 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tbsp unsulfured molasses)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 ripe pears; 1 sliced, 1 chopped
Non-stick pan spray

Preheat oven to 400 and spray . Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray.

If making your own brown sugar, pour granulated sugar into a medium-sized bowl. Add 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses and combine with a fork until lump-free. In the base of a stand-mixer, combine brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest, melted butter, and applesauce. Mix on low until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk until well combined and fold into wet mixture.

Chop one pear and thinly slice the second. Add chopped pears to batter and gently mix in. Spoon batter into muffin pan and top with sliced pear.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Smooth Operator

I couldn’t decide whether or not to put this out there, but I figured, what the heck. Here goes: Much to my embarrassment, I was blissfully unaware of how weathered my kitchen towels have become until I pulled the pictures up in Photoshop. I’m also a complete Photoshop newbie and have not taught myself enough to correct the less-than-lovely look of said towels. So, let’s get on with it (and ignore my lackluster tableware. Thanks.)

Green smoothies have become a pretty regular breakfast in this house. They’re jam-packed with nutrients (vitamins, protein, fiber, omega-3s!) and delicious to boot. We’d been on the same combination of fruit and kale for some time, so last week I decided to freshen up the mix with apples and wild blueberries.

I’d been on the fence about adding apples. Since apples are crunchier by nature, I thought the texture might not blend well, thus leaving my smoothie not so smooth. Luckily the Galas I picked up were perfect and left my breakfast chunk-free.

I also threw in 2 cups of almond milk, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 2 cups of kale, 1/2 cup of wild blueberries, and a banana for two full servings of breakfast awesomeness.