I’m doing the Whole 30 for the first time. It’s something I’ve been thinking and reading about for a long time, just never committed to. Fast forward years, when modern medicine has failed to help me with an ongoing-what-seems-to-be-another-chronic-issue, you just can’t help but think, it has to be something within my environment that is triggering these things. 30+ medications and treatments and not a single budge in improvement, when those treatments typically help 95% of the population? Well, I mean, I know I historically reside in the 5%, but for fucks sake! Anyway, more on that later.
Needless to say, I’ve been cooking up a storm and getting creative in the kitchen! Fortunately I consider myself pretty savvy in the kitchen and love food, so I don’t feel stress or obligation to follow specific recipes while completing this Whole 30. I probably will make some recipes, but it just isn’t my style. I’d rather create random things using quality ingredients. I had plenty of leftover protein to reheat from cooking throughout the week, so I needed a side to go with it last night, and I was craving some different flavors, Asian sounded tasty. What I ended up with had the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and nutty.
Asian Inspired Stir-Fry
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 cup finely chopped brussels sprouts
- 2 TBSP minced garlic
- 2 TBSP coconut oil
- 2 tsp dried ginger
- Himalayan pink salt
- Black pepper
- Chili flakes
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- Sesame oil
- Sesame seeds
Put all veggies, garlic, coconut oil, dried ginger, and sprinkle of salt and pepper in saute pan on med-high heat, sauteing until coconut oil is mostly absorbed and onions are starting to turn transparent. Decrease heat to low-med and sprinkle chili flakes (personal preference for spice, but I used probably 2 tsp) and add coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute), continuing to saute until everything is cooked but not mushy, maybe 3 minutes more. Reduced to low heat and drizzle sesame oil over vegetables and toss. However you decide to plate this side, garnish with sesame seeds. If you think you’ll have leftovers, I’d garnish with seeds only on specific plates/bowls so the seeds don’t get mushy in the leftover portion to be reheated. Side note – I toss the sesame oil in recipes last, because it has a low smoke point and oxidizes when heated on high heat. Perfect blend of nutty, sweet, spicy flavor!
We’re on a zoodle kick, can you tell? Several weeks ago a friend of mine (via snapchat) asked if I was cooking dinner one particular evening and I replied and said, probably? Nothing specific planned though. He replied and said, oh well you should cook dinner and snap it, I always like to see what you create. So, I did and here is what I ended up with that evening.
Sausage Zoodle Marinara on Roasted Eggplant
- Zoodles (I used zuchinni)
- Sausage sliced (of choice)
- One white onion, loosely diced
- 1 stick Kerrygold garlic herb butter
- Dried basil
- Sugar free marinara sauce
- 1 eggplant
- Avocado oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
Start by getting the eggplant roasting so it’s finished at the same time as the zoodle marinara. This is my favorite method for roasting eggplant as it gets a little more crisp, rather than being more spongey/mushy. Wash and thinly slice your eggplant. Place slices on a lightly greased and foiled cookie sheet (if you don’t grease the foil it will stick really bad). Generously drizzle avocado oil on the slices and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees while preparing the rest of the dish.
Start by melting the stick of butter in a saute pan, then add the diced white onion and cook for about 4 minutes. Add marinara sauce, cut sausage and dried basil. Saute for about 10 minutes until the sausage is heated through. Add the zoodles, and saute another 5 minutes or, until done to your preference (I prefer al dente). Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Place roasted eggplant slices on a plate and top with sausage zoodle marinara! Reheated really well.
*side notes: I use avocado oil because it has a higher smoke point and doesn’t create carcinogens when heated at high heat. I use Bilinski’s brand sausages (pre-cooked) and for this recipe I used their wild mushroom with Italian herbs – they’re my favorite chicken sausages, super clean ingredients from pastured chickens. Sugar free marinara-getting easier to find! Super Target is where I buy mine, and they now carry 3-4 different brands that have zero added sugar. Last, I don’t really measure things, I just kind of eyeball and taste-test, if I think there should be more of something I add it, but I start with less and then add more since I can’t take ingredients back out
Full credit goes to my sister’s co-worker who told her about this little gem and she passed it along to me! Threw it together yesterday and it is super tasty (odd combination I wouldn’t have normally thought to put together), but nonetheless will add this to my rotation! It reminds me of a BLT in salad form. I think it normally calls for spiralized cucumber but I just didn’t have time to do that over lunch yesterday and I’m also not sure if it has an official name. So, thanks to my sister’s co-worker whom I have not met 🙂
Cucumber Bacon Salad
- Cucumber (sliced, spiralized, etc.)
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Bacon pieces
- Mayo (I use Primal Kitchen)
- Dash of salt/pepper
I didn’t measure any ingredients, I just eyeballed it so feel free to use as much of each ingredient as you prefer for your own taste. Toss them all together and enjoy fresh (this would be a great dish to make for any kind of party, tailgate, etc.)!
I’ve been buying zoodles of all types to use in cooking lately – a way to eat more vegetables without the blood sugar spike of pasta, and the heaviness that comes with eating grains. I have a spiralizer, but for some reason buying them pre-spiraled just works better for me right now, plus they literally pack them in so tight there are a ton in each container! Currently in the fridge I have butternut squash, zucchini and beet zoodles!
I was wanting something warm and comforting the other night so I decided to make zoodles with marinara – simple, and tasty. I opened up my organic sugar free jar of marinara (good until August 2017), and there was what looked like a giant slimy booger on the inside of it…which later I think I determined was a “mother” that had grown? Still, not 100% sure what it was I tossed it and had to improvise. I ended up with an almost alfredo creamy garlic sauce with Italian flavors, and it was so good. Rich, hearty, full of healthy fats and there was none leftover.
Italian Zoodle Alfredo
- 1/2 stick grassfed butter
- 1 medium white onion, mince
- 2 TBSP minced garlic
- 6 oz heavy whipping cream
- 8oz chicken broth
- Butternut squash zoodles (eyeball it – maybe 2 cups?)
- Zucchini zoodles (same as above, use as many as you’d like!)
- 1 TBSP dried basil
- 1 pkg crespone (or any uncured salami), cut up
- 1 TBSP tapioca starch
- Salt/black pepper
Full disclosure, I had random things in my fridge I wanted to use up which is how this came about (the heavy whipping cream leftover from the holidays – still if I have any dairy in my fridge it’s usually the full fat stuff). Add the 1/2 stick of butter to a pan and melt, saute the diced onion and two TBSP of minced garlic for about five minutes, then add the heavy whipping cream and stir. This thickened pretty quick, which is why I ended up adding the 8oz of broth. Add the butternut squash zoodles and saute for a couple minutes, then add the zucchini zoodles and saute for another five minutes. Sprinkle with the dried basil, cut the crespone with kitchen shears directly into pan, add the TBSP of tapioca starch (it was a little too thin after the 8 oz broth, so I thickened it back up – if you don’t mind more of a soup texture feel free to leave this out or use less broth) and season with salt and black pepper. Continue stirring until everything is well heated, serve!
Typically Seth and I vacation each year over the week of Thanksgiving, it’s always a good time for us both to be away. Last year we had a long vacation to Peru and we’re in the midst of planning another long international trip next May, so this year we decided to stay domestic. Because we had such a wonderful experience staying with Belmond (properties) on our trip through Peru and were so impressed with their organization and handling of our itinerary, we decided to stay with them again in the US. They only have three properties in the US and one happens to be in Charleston, SC…where we decided to vacation this past Thanksgiving. We have close friends that used to live in Charleston, and have always heard wonderful things about the city (food, how walk-able it is, history, etc.).
We had a lot of fun while we were there, and for the most part ate our way through the entire city. We’re huge seafood fans so we consumed copious amounts of all things seafood while in town, including She Crab Soup – goodness that stuff is amazingness in a bowl.
Now that we’re back home and I’m not traveling for work for a while I’m cooking more again, and especially soups since Minnesota is all of a sudden frozen tundra. I put this soup together the other night and it is hearty and rich. It isn’t quite She Crab Soup but it has the flavor! I just wanted to substitute for some cleaner and more nutrient rich ingredients in mine.
Not Quite She Crab Soup
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 1/3 cup sherry cooking wine
- 1 1/2 white onions, diced
- 3 TBSP minced garlic
- 6 drops of Tabasco sauce
- Couple shakes of cayenne pepper
- 1 stick garlic herb Kerrygold butter
- 13 – 16 oz lump crab meat (I used blue crab)
- 2 TBSP tapioca starch mixed with water (gluten-free thickener)
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Combine everything except the crab meat and bring to a boil, continuing to stir so the onions cook and start to become transparent. Add the crab and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes or so until more crab flavor is incorporated. I drained one can of crab meat, but used the juices in the other can for more flavor.