Whole wheekend

It’s a new thing I’m trying — pronouncing all my W’s as if they have H’s behind them. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not married to it.

Anyhoo. This weekend was a grand success. I made two dinners that were hearty and delicious. The secret? Potatoes. I hardly ever eat them in my real life but they do the job in this twilight zone I’ve submitted to.

First, a mustard crusted salmon with an L. Served it with ranch roasted potatoes and brussies. The potatoes came from this recipe. I drizzled with homemade ranch (literally just mayo, mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, dill and chives). The brussies are just halved and thrown in the oven with some garlic at the same temp as the potatoes (400) until tender.

Salmon:

Rub with mustard balsamic sauce listed below.

Turn heat to med-high, add olive oil to cast iron skillet

When oil is smoking, add the salmon, skin side up.

Cook 4-5m

Don’t move salmon, Put entire skillet in 425 degree oven for 6-8m

Keep a close eye. Ours was ready in 6m. This was by far my favorite salmon I’ve ever cooked and the best meal of our Whole 30 adventure. It was the first time I’ve felt full. Both physically and emotionally. Moving on…

Last night I made this balsamic chicken with the leftover brussies and potatoes. I added kale and mushrooms, topped it with a lil avocado, some olives and voila:

This was super easy. First, we brined the chicken in water and salt for 20m, then cooked it in a 450 degree oven for 20m. So tender. The mushroom and kale were added to some garlic and shallot in a pan over medium. Throw in some balsamic vinegar and then the chicken. Toss it in the hot pan with the sauce (listed below) and serve.

Mustard-Balsamic sauce:

1 tbsp stone ground mustard

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Thyme

Chives

Salt and Peppie

This second dish was also a lesson in meal planning and not wasting food, which are two things we work extremely hard to incorporate both because the efficiency of it really gets me going (LOVE EFFICIENCY) and also because not wasting food is objectively the right thing to do.

For week 2, I’ll be focusing more on lunch prep because I was quite hungry a lot this first week. An apple and almond butter just isn’t getting the job done without other carbs. I’m thinking chicken salad and deviled eggs. Stay tuned.

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Cauliflower is better than rice

Hear me out. Rice is dumb. It takes a long time to cook, has to be heavily seasoned to taste like anything and can easily turn into mush.* I also think of it as a “nothing” food similar to pasta — it’s taking up a lot of space in my belly without bringing a lot of flavor or nutrients. I mean, I’m not best friends with cauliflower or anything, it also doesn’t have a lot of natural flavor (it’s no beet if you know what I mean) but it only took 5 minutes to cook and served the same purpose as rice underneath this sugar and soy-free beef and broccoli dish we had last night.

I’d make cauliflower like this again. The beef? Maybe. Fur sure once I can add brown sugar and soy to it. It was fine. I think I cut it the wrong way and cooked it a little too long, and everyone knows cooking beef past medium rare is letting the terrorists win.

I loosely followed this recipe. Maybe if I’d had less hubris and followed it more closely, the meat would have been more tender? Flavors were there, don’t get me wrong — I know how to make food taste good. Once again, it’s salt, people — the answer is salt.

Cauliflower is just finely chopped, sautéed in a pan with olive oil, garlic and ginger and spct (salt, peppie, cumin, turmeric — my classic four) cook over medium 5-8m. Looking forward to trying this caulirice with curry next week. Stay tuned.

*Real talk — I’m just bad at cooking rice.

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Raw fish and me? We’re married.

Truth is, I’ve never met a raw fish I didn’t like. Sushi, sashimi, ceviche, oysters, nom nom nom. But because I don’t have a professional fisherperson in my friend group (a position for which I am accepting applications by the way) the only dish I feel confident making at home is ceviche. I tell myself it’s safer from a tummy perspective because the fish “cooks” in the citrus but I honestly don’t have any evidence to back up that claim. It’s never made me sick, so that’s an n of 1 — but whatever, I’m the boss. I’ve also made ceviche before and know that it meets all the Whole 30 requirements so I will probably make it once a week at minimum just so I have something to look forward to. My life is V exciting.

Normally I make it with soy sauce and pickled ginger but those are no-no’s, so this recipe has a bit more apple cider vinegar, a touch of sesame oil and fresh ginger. I also added mango for sweetness — will be continuing that in the future. Also in my plans for eating more mango will be learning how to cut mango.

Recipe:

1. Chop or thinly slice: shallot, jalapeño, onion, mint and/or cilantro

2. Cut into cubes: cucumber, avocado, mango

3. Mix above items in bowl with apple cider vinegar

4. Take skin off salmon (just pull it off, much easier than you think) and cut into cubes

5. Put salmon cubes into separate bowl with lemon and/or lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and finely chopped ginger (normally I would also use soy sauce here, but instead I added a few drops of sesame oil). I also like to add wasabi, but found tonight that this really works much better with the soy sauce.

6. Salmon should be completely covered by the liquid — sit in fridge to “cook” for 10 minutes.

7, In the meantime, I like to crisp up the salmon skin on the stove for a little crunch, if that’s not your thing, maybe add some tortilla chips into the mix? Your call.

8. I put my ceviche over greens, tonight it was kale. Add salt. Then add some more. If your food tastes bleh, 87% of the time it’s because you didn’t season it correctly. Spices are everything.

Jared thought this ceviche was really good, I missed the soy quite a bit. He also wanted to add asparagus (to this and literally everything else we make) so I’ll be carrying on as captain of this ship for now. 3 days down. 20 to go. Math is hard.

Yes, we put kombucha into wine glasses. Cause we classy AF.

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Day 2: Attempting Positivity

After reading my first two Whole 30 entries, Jared furrowed his brow and mused, “You’re going to be like this all month then?”

I can’t imagine to what he could have been referring; I’m an extremely sunny individual. With that said, I’ve decided all on my own to approach Day 2 from a more proactive stance. In pursuit of that goal, I decided to make a proper lunch for myself rather than graze on garbage snacks all day.

Since my go-to treats, cheese plate and trail mix, are verboten, I have employed the most powerful tool available to me: vinegar. If it stands still, I will be pickling it — this week it’s cucumbers, onion and beets. Next week — the world!

Not sure if it’s my new attitude or my heavy hand with the seasoning but this salad was tasty. I’d say I didn’t even miss the bleu cheese, but no one would believe me because it would be total bullshit — I always miss the bleu cheese. It could be ice cream and I’d miss the bleu cheese. Still, a solidly delicious lunch. I’m amazing. But vinegar is the real star here.

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Whole 30 – Day 1

Turkey and mushroom stuffed bell peppers.

They were fine.

Recipe:

Heat oven to 425 degrees

Cook the following on the stove in a skillet with olive oil:

1/2lb Ground Turkey

1/2 cup mushrooms; chopped

1 shallot; chopped

4 cloves of garlic; chopped

1/2 onion; chopped

1 jalapeño; chopped

Then stuff into the following:

2 Bell Peppers; halved

Finally cook in oven for 10-15min. Top with guacamole and salsa or not, it couldn’t possibly matter less. It will still be fine. Salad optional, but you should eat it.

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Whole 30

Or as I like to call it, wholly bullshit. Any diet that allows bacon and mayonnaise but prohibits whole grains and greek yogurt is a not rooted in any principles of healthy eating. With that said, as part of his never ending quest for self-denial, my partner has recruited me as accountability buddy and culinary architect for his next personal Everest: the Whole 30 Challenge.

As if we weren’t basic enough, we will now be spending the next month living an existence devoid of sugar, grains, dairy and alcohol. What I think I’ll miss most is my personality, as I’m sure to become someone who talks about how much better I feel now that I’m off sugar. The truth is, I’ve never really been on sugar and I already eat healthier than most people I know, but if it makes his heart sing, I’ll spend a month cooking fun new recipes and pretending I don’t miss beer. What’s better is I can blog about it, thus ensuring everyone I know is subject to the nonsensical ramblings of someone who hasn’t eaten cheese for weeks. You’re welcome in advance.

Because this journey doesn’t begin until tomorrow, I did what any reasonable 30 year old woman would do — I ate cookies and pizza for breakfast and a cheese plate for lunch. Then I took to Pinterest for inspiration and created a 30 day menu. I will post the results here for as many days as it takes for me to hate life, after which I will likely not bother. The best part of doing this now is that afterward, we’ll never have to talk about it again. I expect to experience nothing earth shattering and for it to be basically fine. So, stay tuned — it should be an aggressively mediocre month.

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Reunited and it feels so good.

Finally, after 30 months, three states, nearly 50 labors (attended, not personally experienced) I have graduated from Vanderbilt and moved to Seattle to be reunited with Sugar.

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I am also glad to be back together with Jared, who has been extremely supportive of me in a way that makes me smile from the inside-out. I can’t express the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and relief that comes from having successfully completed this stretch of long-distance relationship-ing. I am hopeful we won’t have to do this again, but I know better than to make declarative statements on that front. I also have some exciting news that has to do with pregnancy — those belonging to my future clients at my new job (see what I did there).

I have accepted a position as a certified nurse midwife with Empowered Pregnancy, a new birth center opening this summer in Kirkland, WA. We will be offering full scope midwifery and women’s health services to those living in the greater Seattle area. I will now wait while you take a moment to like our Facebook page. If you chose to ignore my instructions, I am a little salty with you, but will support your choices. Speaking of supporting choices, I am also working as a clinician with Planned Parenthood which, combined with opening a new birth center, is pretty much my dream scenario.

I’ve spent the last six weeks sitting around, reading, wandering and re-watching The West Wing, which may sound like a queen’s existence, but I’m ready to get back into the world of three dimensions and put this pricey education to work. Hopefully I will be able to use my new-found lack of time to be a more active blogger, which would bring me great joy. Or maybe this is just an Monday morning energy boost, who can tell?

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