Sunday, March 22, 2015

Carrot Ginger Soup

After three weeks of being off the Whole 30 wagon, I was feeling a little guilty about the beer and pastry intake that had occurred. So this weekend I reverted to my clean eating ways. Last night was a cold and rainy one and soup was on my brain.
Queue this Carrot Ginger's sweet, it's spicy, and look at how pretty it is.

What you'll need:
Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion
Minced Garlic, equal to 4 Cloves
Fresh Ginger
2 lbs Carrots
4 Cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock

How to do it:
Add olive oil (a few tablespoons) and onion to a large pot. Cook until transparent. Add minced garlic and ginger. At first I added about a tablespoon sized chunk of ginger, then I added more. 
Peel and chop carrots.
Add carrots and vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Cook on high heat for about 15-20 minutes (or until carrots are tender), stirring occasionally. 
Transfer to blender and puree until smooth. 
Garnish with cilantro and serve. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dear Heart,

I am sorry that I did not treat you tenderly during the ups and downs that we have shared over the last few years. You have been through so much during that time and, without much help from me, you managed to survive and emerge hopeful and strong. I am in awe of the light that still shines in you after what you have experienced. 

I am pleased to see that you are nearly bursting with friendship, health, and avidity again. Splitting at the seams, in fact. I hardly recognize you, you've grown so much. The weather is starting to warm and Spring has always looked so good on you. I can only imagine what Summer will bring. Bali is just around the corner and I can feel you smile each time we pass by the blue pack sitting in the corner. Lovely things are on the horizon, and I'm so excited to watch you set out on all of your new adventures.

I look forward to packing you full of mischief, romance, and peace. I want to reward you for your bravery, your positivity, and the beauty you have managed to retain over the years. So here is to you, and to me, and to our new beginning.

Cheers, Dear Heart. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Coconut Curried Pangasius

I typically roast a giant dish of vegetables on Sunday night and eat them throughout the week for lunch and dinner. I usually roast a sweet potato, broccoli florets, baby carrots, brussel sprouts, red onion, and lemon. You could say I'm mildly obsessed with this combination of vegetables.

What you'll need:

Vegetables as listed above. You can also add cauliflower, chick peas, anything really.
Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Salt and Pepper

How to do it:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
Chop your vegetables and quarter your lemon
Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper
Roast for 40 minutes or so, taking them out occasionally to mix

Though I could easily eat a bowl of those veggies for lunch or dinner (and I do, often) I like to make some sort of protein to go along with them. Lately, I'm stuck on curried Pangasius.
What you'll need:

2 Pangasius filets
Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Green Curry Paste
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic, Minced
Unsweetened Coconut, Shredded

How to do it:

Turn down your oven to 350 degrees
Spray a casserole dish with coconut oil or vegetable oil
Combine olive oil, curry paste, minced garlic and juice from half of the lemon
Coat the filets generously with mixture
Dust both sides with shredded coconut
Slice remainder of lemon and place on top of the filets
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and flaking.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chocolate Cake & Chicken Nachos.

Last night, when the clock struck midnight, our 28 day clean eating cleanse was officially over. We celebrated with a bottle of Trader Joe's Syrah and a piece of cake each that I had saved from a retirement party at work. I'd be lying if I said we didn't each enjoy a couple of girl scout cookies too. 

After the cake was gone and the cookies had been washed down with a swig of wine, we both admitted to feeling guilty. I even had a bit of a stomach ache. Though the treats were delicious and it felt good to praise ourselves for all of our hard work, we both decided to keep up the Whole30 habits we had gotten used to.  

We have been looking forward to this particular Sunday since we started the challenge. It had been decided early on that we'd have a glass of wine or beer at our favorite Whole Foods bar, order a pizza, and sit on the bar stools that we've been forced to neglect for the last four weeks. We talked about pancakes or waffles for breakfast, getting to smother them in the homemade pineapple jam that was gifted to me a few days ago. Basically, today was the day to indulge in any craving we may have had. So this morning I allowed myself to add some vanilla coconut milk creamer to my coffee.  I took two sips and dumped it out. It was way too sweet and instantly upset my stomach. I poured myself a cup of coffee that was as black as midnight on a moonless night and went on my merry way. 

After four weeks of eating real food with no additives or preservatives, I cannot deny the changes I've noticed. My body is lean and strong, my hair is shiny and soft, my skin is bright and clear. Even my roommate and I have a closer relationship from the trips to the grocery store or nights spent dancing around each other in the kitchen. I could gush about this diet and its benefits until the end of time but instead I'll share with you the recipe we whipped up last night. Spicy Whole30 Chicken Nachos.

What you'll need:

1 lb Chicken Thighs
Small White Onion, sliced into rings
2 Small Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Salt and Pepper
Green Leaf Lettuce
2 Avocado
Tomato, diced
Red Onion, diced

Turn your crockpot to high heat and add your chicken thighs to the bottom (I put mine in frozen.) Next pour your favorite salsa over the chicken. Use as much or as little as you'd like, you can always add more later. Place your small rings of onion on the top and let it go. Stirring occasionally.

I'd say it only took about 40 minutes on high for the chicken to become cooked and tender. If your thighs were not frozen I'd suggest cooking it for a bit longer on low heat. Shred the chicken using two forks. Set the crockpot to warm and set aside. 

While I was shredding the chicken, Keith had thinly sliced the potatoes using our newly purchased mandoline. Save yourself from kitchen knife cuts and invest in one of those brilliant things! 

He tossed the potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and placed on baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and BABYSIT those things. We'd remove the crispy ones and rotate the soft ones every so often. If you have a baking rack, I suggest baking the potatoes on that to avoid this whole production. But hey, it's a labor of love and food tastes better when you work hard to make it right. 

Once your chips are finished and crisp, set aside. Chop your lettuce. 
In a small bowl, combine avocados, a handful of diced tomato and red onion, and lime juice. Cilantro too, if you've got it...we didn't.

In a bowl (trust me) assemble your nachos in this order: Chips, lettuce, shredded chicken, guacamole.
And Cholula. Always, cholula.

PS: Brownie points to anyone who caught my Twin Peaks reference.