What I’ll be eating Superbowl Sunday

What do you think when you think of professional sports?

Competition? Wearing your team colors? The social aspect? Where you’ll be watching the game?

Either when I’m watching the game from a home, a bar, or heading down to the stadium, I can’t help but think of what food & drinks will complement my sporting experience.

I’m heading over to a Superbowl party this afternoon and I’m planning to bring the fixings for these Paleo Margaritas

paleomarg

They come from Danielle Walker’s paleo inspired blog, Against All Grain. She also has a cookbook I highly recommend!

A couple weeks ago, the below picture came up in my Instagram feed and I have been dreaming/drooling about it ever since. I couldn’t help but order one. So, on my way over to the party, I’m swinging by the 4505 Meats Butcher Shop to pick up one of these babies.

4505sub

It’s not gluten free or paleo but my god, will you look at that thing!?! It gives new meaning to “Go long!”

Whether or not football is your thing, may your day be filled with culinary delights!

 

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italian marinated eggplant & my whole 30 week 3 recap

melanzane sottolio
Me: I did it!
You: What have you done?
Me: I’ve completed my third week of the Whole 30! I’ve cruised through the half way point, even went out to eat and found something on the menu to suit me without a hitch. I’m feeling absolutely incredible physically, mentally, and emotionally, and now I’m headed to an awesome festival in Costa Rica for the next 8 days and I intend to stick to the plan!

[Screeching halt of breaks. A spotlight centers on the dialogue bubbles.]

You: How do you intend to do that… there?
Me: I don’t really know…
But I’m trying my best to figure out how!
I’ve packed a bunch of nuts and some other Whole 30 approved dry goods, I plan to hit a fruit stand on my way to the event to get some avocados and other tropical deliciousness, and then I hope that they’ll be serving fresh caught fish and other tasty grilled meats once I’m there. I won’t have a way to cook for myself but I have no problem asking for what I need and a majority of the people I will be with eat healthy too.

I just really hope I can resist the nectar of the agave gods while I’m down there. Good tequila is my weakness. Instead, I will drink in the sunrises and sunsets and imbibe the high vibes of all the other party goers. This will be the greatest test of will I’ve ever faced in this lifetime and it will certainly be nothing short of phenomenal. Wish me luck!

Bet you thought I was going to play the tequila song, didn’t you? Psych! I grew up on the Eagles so this is what song comes to mind first when I think about that muy bueno inebriant that makes me feel so muy bueno… lest I digress.

So, on to this week’s recipe!

I’ve been craving a burger and was wondering what I could use in place of a bun, then this recipe came to mind…
When I lived in Italy and worked in the kitchen of Casa Cares, this was a favorite of mine. In Italian, it’s called “melanzane sott’olio” which literally translates to eggplant (or aubergine, depending where you hail from) under oil. It’s simple to prepare yet it takes time, most of which is inactive, but it’s so tasty it’s so very worth it.
marinated eggplant ingredients
Italian Marinated Eggplant (aka Melanzane Sott’olio)

Prep time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Active prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 2 hours 45 minutes
Serves 4-6

1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
¾ cup chopped italian parsley
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups extra virgin olive oil

  • Slice the eggplant into half inch thick rounds. It’s important they’re all the same thickness so they roast evenly. In a mixing bowl, place one layer then salt them, add another layer and salt, and another until all the rounds are in the bowl with salt on them. Let them sit for 2 hours or more to allow the salt to leach the water out of them.
  • When 2 hours are up, preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Oil the bottom of a baking sheet (preferably non stick), drain the water from the bowl and arrange the eggplant in a single layer.
  • Roast for 30 minutes then flip each piece and roast for another 10 minutes. During that 10 minute interval, chop the garlic and parsley.
  • Find a dish with a lid and, one layer at a time, add a piece of eggplant, sprinkle with garlic and parsley, drizzle with oil, until you’ve added all the pieces, then cover with oil.
  • Cover and let marinate for at least an hour, then serve.

*Because there is raw garlic in this dish, I recommend eating it within a few days or else it goes bad. No need for botulism here!

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Since I will be in Costa Rica next week through the weekend, I won’t be able to post my regularly scheduled blog but I am going to try to continue making daily updates to my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so you can peep my adventures there.

Hope you enjoy and have fun cooking!

cashew cauliflower rice & week 2 of my whole 30

week2-bld-whole30
Some highlights from this past week (left to right):
Breakfast – Two pastured eggs, basted medium, over a bed of kale sauteed in coconut oil and cashew cauliflower rice;
Lunch – A salad of organic spinach greens, steamed yams, shredded beets and purple cabbage, plum tomatoes, pepitas, and baked chicken breast tenders tossed in my savory herb vinaigrette (sans the tamari);
Dinner – Seared ahi tuna steaks smothered in sunshine sauce over a bed of cashew cauliflower rice with a side of steamed broccoli and plum tomatoes.

Second week of my Whole 30 is behind me and I have to admit, it was tougher than my first week.

The most difficult thing about this week was my digestion. I took solace in the fact that this was to be expected – as the Hartwigs mention in their book, It Starts With Food, it can take a couple weeks or more for the body to get “fat adapted” and in the meantime there can be various side effects including digestive issues. However, now as I round the corner into my third week, things are moving along smoothly (pun intended).

Speaking of noticeable benefits this past week, I’ve had super steady energy throughout my long work days, I’ve been sleeping like a rock, and waking up early without my alarm… loving it!

Over the past week, I’ve received several requests for my cashew cauliflower rice recipe so here it is – so incredibly simple, delicious, and a great base for sauces and other gooey things (like runny eggs), you can spice it up any which way you like by adding other spices, herbs, veggies, or even dried fruit to satiate your sweet tooth.

cashew cauliflower rice-ingredients
Cashew Cauliflower Rice
tweaked from a Well Fed recipe

Prep time: 2 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

1 head of cauliflower
1 cup of raw cashews
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
dash of salt
sprinkle of pepper

    • Break up the head of cauliflower into florets and blend in food processor for 15 seconds on low, then another 5-10 seconds on medium or high – just until it reaches a grainy looking consistency. Be careful not to over blend or else it will get mushy.
    • Toast the cashews in a hot cast iron skillet or heavy pan turning every 30 seconds until nice and brown – about 5 minutes.
    • Add the coconut oil, letting it melt, then add the cauliflower and sautée on high heat stirring every minute or so until some of the moisture cooks out and it starts to get toasty – about 15 minutes.
    • Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Seriously, it’s that easy! If you’re prepping for the week, it keeps super well in the fridge and reheats nicely and gets even more toasty after just a couple minutes in a skillet on the stovetop – no additional oil necessary!

Check out my daily Whole 30 updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and have fun cooking!

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cashew cauliflower rice
As always, your thoughts and questions are welcomed in the comments section below.

My Whole 30 – Week 1 Recap

I’m happy to say I made it through my first week of The Whole 30 with shining success! No grain, no pain!

I’ve had sustained energy and an extremely steady mood. I’ve known for some time how gluten and wheat caused me to have mood swings, but in the past week, in addition to being quite chipper for no reason, my chronic back pain has dissipated and my skin is perfectly clear and evenly toned – radiant! It’s crazy to think that the foods we eat release hormones that can cause our bodies to act against us. As described in the book I reviewed last week, everything we eat sends messages through our body and when we eat things like dairy, sugar, grains, and alcohol especially, our bodies struggle to balance it out, releasing insulin and leptin and a whole bunch of other hormones just in order to not get sick.

All our bodies want to do is feel good, naturally. With the way I’ve been eating the past week, I intrinsically feel like my body is not at war with food and it’s thanking me for taking better care of it by being way more alert, steady, and ridiculously happy for no reason! Like earlier today, I had a Michael Jackson dance party in my kitchen for no particular reason! I mean, well it IS Michael – care to join me for another?

Now THAT is good cooking music!
And I have been cooking a LOT – I have turned on the burner for almost every meal over the past 6 days. I’ve been trying out some new recipes (with some epic wins and some semi fails) but mostly have been making “hot bowls” – a mishmash of sauteed veggies with a generous serving of protein mixed in. I also started a new exciting full-time job with a very fun company this past week and have been pretty busy with that, so I’m happy that “hot bowls” are so easy to make.

Day 1 breakfast: 3 pastured eggs cooked with organic red onion, broccoli and spices in coconut oil, topped with guacamole and fresh diced roma tomato. Black coffee on the side.whole30-Day1bf

Day 2 lunch: Organic spinach salad with chicken breast, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, pepitas & my savory herb vinaigrette.Whole30-Day2lunch

Day 3 lunch: Curried onions and red peppers with chicken and cashews on a bed of coconut sauteed kale.Whole30-Day3lunch

Day 4 dinner: Big winner! Onion, garlic, lamb burger topped with grilled red peppers and guacamole on a bed of spinach surrounded by steamed broccoli and carrots. YUM! Then again, in case you didn’t know, I LOVE lamb.Whole30-Day4dinner

Day 5 breakfast – I scrambled 2 pastured eggs with onions, peppers, and spinach, then topped it off with fresh plum tomatoes and guacamole. I also made home brewed coconut cream chai and savored a medley of blueberries and macadamia nuts. Easy and delicious.Whole30-Day5bf

Today, Day 6, I went grocery shopping to stock up for the next week. I bought a wide variety of organic produce and sustainable organic meats and spent around $100 for what I’m hoping will last me the next week and a half. Following the advice in the Well Fed Paleo Cookbook, I prepped a bunch of stuff this evening to help make meal prep easy and seamless throughout my upcoming busy week.Whole30-Day6mealprepThe fun included baking 2 pounds of organic chicken breast tenders that I can use in salads or toss into stir fry or other hot bowls throughout the week. I shredded cabbage and beets and steamed a large yam. I made cauliflower rice (a recipe from Well Fed) and added cashews. I made more of my savory herb vinaigrette (sans the tamari since no soy) and whipped up a jar of spicy salsa fresca. I did all this prep in under an hour! I feel like I’m ready to rock out another week!

I’m not gonna lie – over the past week, though I’ve been fully satisfied and never hungry between meals – I’ve had subtle cravings, specifically for wine and chocolate.
I’m a single woman in my 30’s, go figure.
However, I’ve resisted the temptation and leaned on ginger tea and blueberries in my times of need.

Feel free to follow my daily activity on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And I’m happy to explain any of my technique or go into more depth for any of the dishes above. Please leave your questions in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading and have fun cooking!

Austin was fun and now begins my Whole 30

eating and drinking in Austin

I just returned from spending a long weekend in Austin, Texas where I ate and drank and ate and drank and danced and sang around campfires and drank some more. It was a glorious, gluttonous time…

But that’s over now.

it-starts-with-food-cover

On the plane, I read a book titled It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I give it two thumbs way up.

They talk about all the “science-y stuff” around food – the hormones different foods cause, how they affect your brain and your gut, about leptin and insulin and chronic inflammation, and about so many common diseases and how they are so often – if not always – related to the food we eat. The best part is that they say it all in such a simple (and amusing) way, it’s so easy to understand and be inspired by.

And I am inspired.

The Whole 30 is the plan they created, based on their backgrounds in nutrition, anatomy, and physiology, and from their personal experiences. The Whole 30 is a thirty day “nutritional reset designed to restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food”… because heaven knows, after this past weekend (and past several months in general), I need it.

It’s based around the Paleo way of eating and starting today, I am eliminating the following things from my diet:

  • All Grains (including corn and quinoa)
  • Dairy (even the goat variety, but clarified butter is okay)
  • Legumes (except green beans and snap peas)
  • Sugar (not even stevia)
  • Alcohol (ouch)

What I will be consuming via 3 meals a day, 5-6 hours apart is:

  • Organic, grass fed, and pastured meat and eggs (about 25% of my diet)
  • Lots and lots of organic vegetables (about 45%)
  • Some fruits (about 10%)
  • Certain oils, nuts, and fats like avocado, olives, and coconut (about 20%)
  • One morning cup of coffee, black (like Jack Kerouac)

Do I sound completely bonkers?  I’m actually really excited to see what results after 30 days of this! I have a feeling it’s going to rock my world. I have a few other friends riding The Whole 30 train with me and personally know others who rave about it, so that support will be helpful… especially on Friday when I get home from work and all I want to unwind is a glass of wine… not so cheers.

Lest I get ahead of myself.

The rest of the book details meal planning and grocery lists.  I went shopping this evening and spent about $50 on what I hope will last me a week. If you’re interested in it, check out the book and their website for more detailed info.

I’m now coming to completion of day one and I feel fantastic. I’ve had sustained energy throughout my work day and no cravings between meals. For breakfast this morning, I sauteed onions and broccoli in coconut oil, scrambled in 3 pastured eggs, salt and pepper, then topped it with a dollop of guacamole and one diced roma tomato. With my coffee on the side, it was super yum!

whole30-1bf

Day one done, only 29 more to go… I’ll keep you updated as to my progress by posting here and on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d love to hear your recipe ideas and support each other if you decide to embark on The Whole 30 for yourself.

Best of luck!

And as always, your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section below.