Whole30: Day 1

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We are starting Whole30 today, which means yesterday was prep day. The LAST thing we wanted to do after an eventful long holiday weekend was food shop and prep, but it turned out to be a soothing and productive way to launch ourselves into a new week. After making a list of approved foods, we shopped and began cutting and chopping and cooking.

Today’s menu:

Breakfast:

  • Green smoothie (recipe here). I added half a packet of vanilla protein powder that was approved and helped keep me full.
  • Hot water with lemon
  • My new JavaBabe coffee, black. (post to come soon).

Snack:

  • Roasted, unsalted almonds

Lunch:

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  • Grilled chicken with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and olive oil marinade.
  • Roasted red onion, zucchini, carrot, yellow squash, red bell pepper.

Snack:

  • Grapefruit

Dinner:

  • Sweet potato (roasted with olive oil and cayenne), asparagus, pan seared salmon.

Don’t worry, we won’t overload you with our journey, but will be sure to share fun and delicious recipes that surprised us, or satiated us.

Whole30: How We Are Preparing

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We love a good challenge. It keeps things interesting. That’s why, post-labor day drinking, burgers, pizza, and celebrations, we decided to embark on 30 days of eating whole, healthy, unprocessed foods. You can learn more about what we are getting ourselves into on their site.

Here’s how we are preparing:

1. Take inventory of what we have. So that we don’t spend our entire paycheck shopping for these things, we are going through to see what ingredients we already have that could be useful. Most of them are non-perishable like spices, oils (evoo, coconut), and a few perishable (eggs and egg whites).

2. Eliminate what you won’t be using. I’ll admit, this is one I have been doing in a slightly different way. Trying to eat what we won’t be able to have during the Whole30 (orzo, cheese, spring rolls). It’s tempting to want to use these things up or save them for another time. I am hoping to make this into a slow and steady lifestyle change, so I am opting to eliminate things not on the plan.

3. Make a list of meals and a grocery list. Using this shopping list, we are stocking up and planning out our meals. I am planning on lots of roasted veggies on organic greens with grilled chicken and fish. Yum!

4. Prep lots of veggies. Veggies are a huge part of Whole30. For ease, it’s best to take some time to get these cut up so they are easy to grab and use. Some things we will be doing:

  • cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets
  • trim carrots into sticks or coins
  • cut celery sticks and slice cucumbers
  • prepare salad greens
  • chop tomatoes and onions

We are planning to store these in individual containers so that we can easily make salads or other vegetable dishes. Veggies are a good “legal” Whole 30 snack when you really need one.

5. Have things on hand for easy, quick meals to replace takeout. It’s easy to want to grab takeout, but nearly impossible to make sure there are no added foods that are a no-go. Here are some easy meals we are planning to use.

  • omelets
  • lettuce wraps
  • salads
  • soup
  • stir-fries

We have a lot of work to do, we’ll keep you updated on the journey.

Fresh Rolls For The Win

One of our favorite food blogs, i am a food blog, recently posted a recipe for summer fresh rolls. As  thai food/all food lovers, these are one of our favorite treats when dining out and we were intrigued to give it a try at home. We are starting Whole30 after labor day (more to come on that), so I thought this was the perfect lunch to transition me into the fall.

We very loosely followed this summer roll recipe, and made a few alterations based on how we were feeling.

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 avocado thinly sliced
  • 12 rice paper wrappers
  • 1 english cucumber cut into matchsticks
  • 2 large carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Butter lettuce

Dip one spring roll skin into warm water for about two seconds. Remove and lay, smooth-side down, on a cutting board. Act fast because the roll gets stickier the longer you wait. Lay down one lettuce leaf in the bottom center of the wrap. (If the wrap is a clock, then think between 8:00 and 4:00) Add a small bunch of vegetables and carefully roll bottom side over filling. Fold in each side of the wrap and continue to roll until it’s all bundled up.

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For the sauce: 

spicy almond butter sauce (can use peanut butter if you’re not into the almond trend)
2 heaping Tablespoons almond butter
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
squeeze of lime
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
hot water

Mix together, dip, and enjoy!

Watermelon Wendesday’s

I know what you’re thinking: It’s Thursday. But last night (Wednesday), I was feeling like something different and fun after dinner, so I put together a trifle of sorts that took 5 minutes and was delicious! So I thought I would share.

I picked up some local baby watermelons from Boston Public Market and they were so adorable I almost couldn’t eat them – but then I did.

Ingredients:

  • watermelon
  • whipped cream (homemade is best)
  • fresh fruit (I chose blueberries)
  • dark chocolate
  • sliced almonds

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After cutting off the rind of the melon, I layered it on the bottom of a casserole dish, added a heaping mound of whipped cream, slivered almonds, fresh fruit, and dark chocolate, then repeated the process again! Healthy, refreshing, and delicious!

Cashew Milk: If You Haven’t Tried It You Haven’t Lived

I’ve fallen in love. Ever since I discovered the iced coffee with cashew milk at our local gym’s juice bar (Nourish Your Soul), I can’t stop thinking about it. At $5+ for 16oz, I ventured to make it myself. Not a fan of milk? Neither am I! I promise you – this is different.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups water (divided)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Dash sea salt
  • Pinch cinnamon
Instructions

1. Soak the cashews in water at least 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse until the water runs clear.

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2. Add the cashews and two cups water to a blender. Start on a low setting and increase the speed until the cashews are totally pulverized. This could take 2+ minutes.

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3. Blend in 2 cups more water, your sweetener of choice, vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon. If your blender can’t totally break down the cashews, strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer.

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4. Store the milk in a covered container in the refrigerator. It should keep for 3 to 4 days.

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Notes
  • Yields about 5 cups cashew milk.
  • For thicker cashew milk, use less water!

p.s. Cashew milk is full of redeeming nutrients, like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and zinc. The fat in cashews is mostly unsaturated and they are a good source of protein.

Eat Clean – Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas + Feta

Since its the middle of the summer, I’ve pretty much maxed out on salads for lunch and dinner. This roasted sweet potato with chickpeas is an easy and delicious way to change up your normal lunch/dinner routine. What I love about this recipe is the simplicity – I usually have most of these ingredients on hand already!

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes/yams
  • 2tbs of olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper (for seasoning)
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • feta or goat cheese (use as much or as little as you like)
  • fresh cilantro (optional – but I found this really added an unexpected burst of flavor)

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut your sweet potatoes in half – sweet potatoes are super hard to cut, so be careful and patient!
  • Brush the sides, including the skin, with your olive oil.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set your sweet potatoes cut side down on the baking sheet.
  • When the oven is ready, roast your sweet potatoes 45 – 55 minutes depending on how big your sweet potatoes are. You’ll know they are done when they are moderately soft all the way around.
  • When the sweet potatoes are done, flip them over and use a fork to make divots into the non-skin side of the sweet potato. This will allow your toppings to sit more easily.
  • Put the chickpeas and feta on top of your sweet potatoes and place back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  • When done, use salt and pepper to season, drizzle with some more olive oil, and top with the cilantro if you’d like.

Storing over night for lunch the next day: I individually saran wrapped each roasted sweet potato and then placed them in a tupperware to store in the fridge. This will keep everything intact for you to pack a lunch in the morning.

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Coconut Oil Almond Chocolate Bark – #coconutoilseries

Coconut oil is IT right now – we’ve all read those articles that go into the 373 million different ways to use coconut oil… but honestly, we’re not about to go make some coconut oil dog treats. So, we want to highlight our favorite ways to use coconut oil in our #coconutoilseries.

To kick it off, we’ll start with something sweet (and easy!): Coconut Oil Almond Chocolate Bark.

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Time to make = 15 minutes (+20 minutes or more to freeze)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of cocoa or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (or more) of roasted salted almonds – or use plain if you prefer a less salty flavor
  • 1/2 cup of virgin coconut oil – there are so many brands out there, but our favorite is Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut OIl
  • 1/4 pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • a handful or two of Ghirardelli Chocolate 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
  • 1 large pinch of sea salt

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1. In a medium saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup of coconut oil over low heat.

2. Once melted, wisk in the 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, the large tablespoon of almond butter, the 1/4 of maple syrup, the handful of chocolate chips, and pinch of sea salt until smooth.

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3. Remove chocolate mixture from the heat, and chop the almonds into halves. Add the almonds to the chocolate mixture.

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4. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a spatula, spoon the chocolate and almond mixture onto the sheet, and even it out until its about 1/2 inch think (you should be able just to eyeball it).

5. Sprinkle any leftover almonds on top. Place your baking sheet on a flat surface in the freezer. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to freeze, but you will find it much easier to break into bark pieces if you leave it in the freezer for longer (we left ours in overnight!).

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6. Break the frozen chocolate into bark pieces.

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We recommend that you store the bark in the freezer in a Tupperware container – it will melt quickly if you leave it out on the counter or in the fridge.

Enjoy! Look out for next Monday’s installment of the #coconutoilseries!