Who got me a stripper??

It has been a busy week and a half for me!  Just about two weeks ago I got to help one of my best friends celebrate her 30th birthday with an amazing party at a local bar.  I donated a hotel room to the cause, which was the site of a little girl bonding time while we were getting ready and an after party.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a party that I was at (or hosting) unless there was a random pop-in by the police.  IMG_7651No… We weren’t that awful!  I am in my 30s… I am somewhat respectful (shush).  The people a few rooms down weren’t all that respectful, though, and filled the hall with some very rank weed smoke.  Blech!  The cops heard our music, stopped by, and of course I made friends with them.  Sometimes, making a police officer laugh (in this case five police officers laugh) is enough for me.  Brings me back to my birthday when my cousin, Sarah, and I moved into together when I was right out of college.  We were pre-gamming prior to going out to the bar when there was a pounding on the apartment door.  Me, being me, got up to answer the door and on the way to the door says loudly… “Which one of you guys got me a cop stripper???”  I open the door, and who else would be standing there but  a police man.  I don’t know whose face was more red… Mine or his.  Turns out he was looking for the previous resident.  Good laughs all around for that one.

The Monday after my friend’s birthday I started the Whole30 again.  I did this downloadonce before a few years back to help get my body rid of toxins and launched into a year of paleo eating.  I have pretty much eaten clean since, taking learning’s of my paleo stint into my cooking, but felt the need to get my system clean of hormones and toxins.  I’m now a week and a half into it and feel pretty good.  Not going to lie… The first few days were hell… My body wanted SUGAR!!!!  I stayed strong and maintained composure (sorry to my coworkers if I was snappy last week).

Last night I wanted to do something different for dinner.  I was doing just meats or eggs and veggies for dinners and lunches since I was low on time, but last night I felt inspired.  I had a leftover cooked acorn squash from the previous night that I wanted to use for D and I, and I wanted to stuff it.  One of my favorite acorn squash recipes is a turkey stuffed acorn squash with rice and butter and cheese… Well, three of those things are not allowed on the Whole30, so I got to brainstorming, and this is what I came up with.

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Creamy Cauliflower and Zucchini Rice

Ingredients

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  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2T bacon fat
  • 1 cup coconut milk (canned, light or full fat)
  • 1T nutritional yeast
  • 1t sea salt
  • 1t black pepper
  • 1t herbes de provence

Directions

  1. Prepare food processor with the shredding blade attached.

2.  Slice cauliflower so that it fits in your food processor funnel, and go to town. Mini Me enjoyed helping me with this.  She was the official button-presser.

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3.  Once all of your cauliflower is “riced”, pour into a bowl and set aside. Cut the ends off the zucchini, and shred away!  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

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4.  Repeat shredding process one last time with the onion and garlic cloves.

5.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2T of bacon fat until melted.

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6.  Pour in onion and garlic combination and sauté for a few minutes (until fragrant).

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7.  Add coconut milk, cauliflower, zucchini, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12-15 minutes stirring occasionally.

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This cauliflower rice can be used alone as a side, topped with a meat, over easy eggs (yummy breakfast this morning), or as a stuffing for various other vegetables.  Hope you enjoy as much as we all did!!

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Makes around 6 large servings.

Cal – 145, Fat – 9g, Carb – 15g, Protein – 5g

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What’s After Christmas, Mommy?

IMG_6821     After all the holiday celebrations were completed in our house, the question we kept hearing from Mini Me was “What’s after (fill in blank with a holiday)?”  I would get her a calendar and explain to her when things happen, but (1) she can’t read, (2) she has no concept of time (nap time and night time are the same concept to her – she sleeps and wakes up), and (3) she will just forget anyway.  Oh, to be a young child again.

“What’s after Christmas?” Mini Me questions me one night while I’m making dinner.  I open the fridge, faced with leftovers from various gatherings.  Yes, indeed… What is after Christmas?  A fridge full of leftovers and a puzzle of how to put them all together.  One item is glaring me right in the face, taking up an entire shelf in and of itself – The Veggie Tray.  Every one of my family’s gatherings has one, and every family gathering there is one left over.  Too many other yummy things to feast on, I suppose.  My cousin was gracious enough to let me take it home (thanks, Sarah!), knowing that we eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day.  But, the holidays came and went, and the ominous Veggie Tray was still taking up shelf space instead of space in our bellies.

I decided that I was going to use that Veggie Tray once and for all, cleaning out additional fresh veggies from our produce drawer along the way!  Challenge….. Accepted!

Enter….  Veggie Tray Soup.


Veggie Tray Soup

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces celery, diced (about 6 stalks)
7 ounces carrots, diced (about 1 ½ cups baby carrots)
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
80 ounces reduced sodium chicken broth
14.5 ounce can of diced chipotle chili tomatoes
1.5 ounce sugar snap beans (about ¾ cups)
3.5 ounce grape tomatoes, quartered (about 1 cup)
15 ounces broccoli, chopped (one 12 oz bag, plus around 2 cups)
7 ounces (half package) polish kielbasa, cut into ¼” coins and quartered
1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into small cubes

 

Directions:

Prepare all ingredients as listed.  I chop all vegetables, then sausage, and finally chicken so that the raw food is the last thing to go on the cutting board.  Even though it all gets cooked together in this meal, I’m pretty methodical on how it gets prepared.

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Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add celery, carrots, onions, salt, and pepper.  Saute until fragrant and onions are translucent.

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Add all remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine.

Cover and bring to a boil (about 5 minutes).  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

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Makes 8 large servings (around 3 cups each).

Cals – 320, Fat – 13g, Carbs – 15g, Protein – 34g

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I think she is satisfied with what came after Christmas.

Starting Somewhere

The illusive first post…  Bahhh!!!!

Having some time off work for the holidays, I found myself being drawn into the kitchen rather than the gym.  (Ok, ok…  I also spent my fair share of time eating and drinking in the kitchen over break as well, but we will get to that later…)  My brain was in creative overdrive.  I was able to be creative without the constraints of work bogging me down.  I knew I needed to get back on track with eating right, and being the healthy caregiver that I am deep down I knew that had to start in the kitchen.  No more chicken nuggets for Mini Me or takeout for D (the hubs) and I.

Cooking from scratch is something that I love to do, but I usually haven’t just put recipes together on my own.  I’ve usually started with someone else’s and adjusted.  I suppose that is what most chefs do, right?

Well, yesterday I made my interpretation of a Jambalaya (no shellfish because of Mini Me’s allergies).  After serving it, D says, “This is good.  Remember this recipe to make again.”  Crap.  I was so busy winging it, I failed to record what it was… I’ve never actually turned a meal I made into a recipe before.  I was able to piece it together so you can taste it, as well. Hopefully you like it!

Jambalaya

Jambalaya 1.2.14

  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 14oz package andouille sausage (I would have prefered this, but had kielbasa to use), cut into 1/4″ coins, sliced in half
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package of frozen three color bell peppers (or fresh peppers)
  • 14.5oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1T olive oil, separated
  • 1.5T cumin
  • 1.5T paprika
  • 1T oregano
  • 1T dried cilantro
  • 1/2t cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Directions:

  1. After prepping all ingredients, heat 1/2T olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken breast to sear on all sides.  Remove from pan until later.
  2. Add remaining 1/2T olive oil to pan, and add in onions and garlic. Saute until fragrant and onions are becoming translucent.
  3. Add the package of frozen peppers (or fresh), and cook until peppers are no longer frozen.
  4. While peppers are cooking, mix cumin, paprika, oregano, cilantro, and cayenne pepper to the crushed tomatoes and stir until combined.
  5. Add chicken back into the skillet, and add sausage.
  6. Pour tomato mixture into skillet. Stir to combine.
  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Enjoy!

Serve over rice or quinoa if desired.