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
1/4 cup coconut aminos
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!
Finally getting around to blogging about this creation after a really busy Easter weekend! We had a random spring blizzard that came through Minnesota last week with non-stop snow from noon until 10pm at our house, white out conditions and a sudden craving for something warm and comforting. Since we were getting ready to head out of town I decided to make something out of what I had on hand and needed to be used. This might be one of my favorite recipes in a while – packed with nutrients, flavor and easy to make. It reheats really well – I’m having it for lunch today and it still tastes great 5 days later. Low glycemic, dairy free, grain free, gluten free – YAHOO!
Carrot Cilantro Bisque
10 larger carrots, washed and cut into 3-4 inch pieces
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cups water
2 cans full fat coconut milk (I use Natural Value, I buy on Amazon prime by the case)
1 large bunch fresh cilantro
1 tsp ground ginger
3 TBSP fresh minced garlic
Fresh black pepper
Start by boiling the carrots and onion in the 4 cups water, stirring occasionally. The water boils down, but the heat still softens the vegetables. Once they’re mushy use an immersion blender in the pot to puree them, I still had some chunks but that’s okay because once you add the coconut milk there is more liquid to blend with. Add the 2 cans full fat coconut milk and 1 tsp ground ginger, stirring until the coconut milk fat melts. Add the bunch of cilantro (I used the entire bunch stems and all, just tearing by hand directly into the pot). Blend again with the immersion blender so the cilantro is fine and any remaining chunks of carrot and onion are pureed. Season with salt and pepper (I usually go lighter with the Himalayan salt as it is saltier in taste) and the 3 TBSP of minced garlic and stir. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes and serve.
A note about the garlic: I added it toward the end because I wanted a really good garlic flavor, without it getting mushy. You know when garlic is cooked, but not overcooked? It was like that, just enough time so that it wasn’t overpowering/bitter but still firm.
I am always making some sort of dish with riced cauliflower. I know Trader Joe’s has it back in stock now (so popular it disappeared quick and they couldn’t keep up with demand), but we don’t have a TJ’s conveniently close to us so for the most part I buy Green Giant Cauliflower Bits from Super Target. The only ingredient is cauliflower, and they seem to have a steady supply of it. Each time I go I buy 3-4 bags. Cauli is one of the most versatile vegetables out there and full of nutrients.
One of the simplest things you can do with it is steam it, mash it and add whatever ingredients you choose for a “mashed potato” texture and varying flavors. The Green Giant bags can be steamed right in the microwave if you want in about 4 minutes. I recently made a garlic and gouda cauli mash, and then added ham to the leftovers the next day and it was like a creamy ham and cheese casserole!
Garlic and Gouda Cauli Mash
1 pkg Green Giant Cauli bits (or TJs riced cauli)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup dry aged Gouda (we call it crunchy gouda)
Salt and pepper
Steam cauli bits in the microwave for about 5 minutes, remove and mash in a bowl. Add rosemary leaves, garlic powder, gouda and generously season with salt and pepper. Continue mashing until all ingredients are incorporated. Feel free to microwave again if the gouda isn’t melting quite enough.
I know we all love fried egg rolls – who doesn’t? What you may not realize is you can enjoy virtually the same flavors without the gluten filled fried egg roll wrap, and the task of rolling, filling and frying them! I remade the paleo egg roll in a bowl I posted a couple weeks ago basically because it’s AMAZING and so incredibly easy, changing it up a little to make it spicy (and it was spicy)! I can’t seem to get enough of the Asian flavors lately, such great combinations by switching out or adding just a couple ingredients.
Spicy Egg Roll in a Bowl
1 bag coleslaw mix
1 shredded/thinly grated carrot
1/4 cup coconut aminos (soy free, gluten free)
1 TBSP sesame oil
2 TBSP minced garlic
1 large jalapeno, 1/2 seeded and finely minced
Chopped green onion
Shredded unsweetened coconut
1 TBSP coconut oil
Saute the coleslaw mix and minced garlic in the coconut oil for about 5 minutes until the coleslaw starts to cook down, add the grated carrot and jalapeno. Continue sauteing until vegetables become soft and pour the coconut aminos and sesame oil on the mixture. Toss to coat and saute 10 minutes more so the vegetables absorb the liquid flavor and start to “fry” in the pan. Portion desired amount into a bowl and top with green onion, cilantro and shredded unsweetened coconut.
Side note: I didn’t measure the cilantro, green onion or coconut. I love cilantro so I was fairly generous with it and as a result it had a great flavor, same with the onion. The coconut added a nice sweet crunchy flavor, although I used it more sparingly.
Pomegranate guacamole…not something I would typically think to put together (not sure why…because um hi, sweet and salty stuff) but happened to see an ad fly by in one of the apps on my phone last week, so I decided to investigate. I scanned a few recipes online and decided to make it how I would normally make my guac and add pomegranate arils (which I happened to have on hand, which is rare). I also had about 6-7 avocados that were especially ripe and ready to be mashed. It was surprisingly tasty with a hint of fresh sweetness from the arils – make for Super Bowl Sunday! Or just to eat.
7 ripe avocados (probably total about 6 as some were too ripe)
1 cup pomegranate arils
1 large jalapeno, only 1/2 deseeded, finely diced
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 bunch cilantro, loosely cut (I hold directly over bowl and just cut into recipe with kitchen shears, so much easier)
3 TBSP minced garlic
Juice/pulp of 1 large lime
Seems like a lot of raw garlic…trust me! Mash the avocados with the juice of the lime and spices, seasoning to taste. Then mix in the garlic, onion, jalapeno and arils and toss to mix everything together. We had it with chips the night I made it, and this morning I had a side of it for breakfast with eggs! Tonight, I’ll be putting it in some lettuce wraps.