My Sunday is spent in the kitchen

On Sunday’s I set aside a solid 3 hours (sometimes more) to prep my food for the following week. I chop, dice, boil, slow cook, broil, bake, roast and bag. Not necessarily in that order. If I don’t put this time aside, my week is much more hectic. I spend way more time cooking, deciding what to cook and often times will settle on crap. So I know in order to stay on track, this is a must. Its better for everyone in the house. But especially me, because I don’t have to think about it. I know its prepped, in the fridge and ready for me to cook it on the assigned day. Trust me. Come up with your meal plan (or follow mine) and give it a try. I guarantee you will prefer doing it my way, then eating out every night! (unless of course you hate cooking and don’t mind eating out every night. If that’s the case I encourage you to read the book “it starts with food”)

Here is a glimpse into my Sunday –

Today I roasted two organic whole chickens.

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Roasting chickens are so much easier then you may think. I literally took them out of the package. Patted dry with paper towel, liberally sprinkled with salt and pepper then placed in a 400 degree oven for almost an hour. The chickens I bought today were larger then the chickens I used last week. Today I had to cook them for closer to an hour. If you are questioning the doneness, place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast and as long as it reads 165 internal temp, you are safe.

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Once the chickens cooled, I peeled every last bit of chicken off the bones. Placed it all in a storage container to use during the week. Some quick lunch ideas are: Chicken salad made with homemade mayo, curry powder, grapes, celery and cashews. You can eat that in lettuce cups, or bell pepper boats. You can use the chicken in soup, on salads, on a baked sweet potato, just to name a few.

I then started my bone broth in the crock pot. Last week, I made chicken vegetable soup, which I will do again this week. However, the bone broth I had left over.. I drink as a warm beverage at night. The health benefits of bone are many. It helps heal the gut (which my family has issues with) it contains collagen which is great for skin, hair and nails. And its just plain comforting. Here is how I make my bone broth:

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I take the ends and center pieces of the celery (which I had already prepackaged for quick snacks or to have with lunch), the ends to the carrots that I peeled for the week. Some left over garlic, a handful of parsley and half of the bones (I only used half this time, as there seemed to be more bones in these chickens? Not sure how that happened ha! I froze the other half of the bones and will make a second batch of bone broth later in the week) Covered everything with cold water and added 2TBSP of apple cider vinegar. This steps helps pull out all of the good stuff in the bones. Don’t skip it (you wont taste the vinegar at all)! Then slow cook in your crock-pot on high for 24 hours! Tomorrow night I will make soup!

While all of this chicken business was happening, I had a corned beef brisket on the stove.

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I boil mine for about 4 hours. I put a few red potatoes in the pot the last hour. Once the corned beef is cooled, I will chop and portion it out for quick breakfasts this week. I also chop a green, red and yellow bell pepper, an onion and the cooked potatoes. I mix all that up and add a hand full to the already portioned corned beef. This way, all I have to do is grab the bag out of the fridge and heat it up. Fry an egg and my breakfast is done. Honestly when I make this for breakfast, I am not hungry until afternoon. Plus I insure we are eating vegetables at breakfast too. Cant beat that!

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Usually on Sunday’s I try to plan a crock-pot dinner to serve then have left overs for lunch the next day, but today my hubby requested Salmon. I haven’t had salmon in a long time, so I decided to oblige. I made a mango avocado salsa to serve with the salmon.

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I didn’t follow a recipe but this is what I did: Took two mango’s, two avocados, a half of a yellow onion, a handful of cilantro, a few dashes of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. A half of a squeezed orange and some avocado oil. Mixed it all up and let sit for about an hour. It reminded me of summer. Don’t be intimidated by mango’s. They are the best tasting fruit in my opinion. All you have to do to get the meat out of the center is cut along the long flat seed. Then make a hash tag pattern and pop inside out. It should look like this

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then you just slice the little squares right off the skin. But make sure you eat the meat around the seed, because you just cant waist it!

I had a bag of green beans from my shopping trip last weekend that we didn’t eat. So tonight I made on of my favorite salads.

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I cut the green beans in bite-sized pieces. Cut red potatoes in small dice. Then boiled them both until the potatoes were tender (about 15 mins). Drained them and added two handfuls of cherry tomatoes. The dressing is avocado oil, coconut vinegar, complaint fish sauce, salt, pepper and onion powder. Mix and serve. I serve this hot at dinner time but its just as good cold the next day for lunch.

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I had to show you how perfectly my salmon was cooked (in my opinion) as I usually over cook it. Tonight it was delicious! Plus had enough to package lunch for both of us tomorrow.

Now let me say a few things about going into your third week of the whole30 (if your with my timeline and on day 14 or around there) You may be experiencing Tigers Blood, like I am. You have found your groove and are feeling great. You are noticing your jeans are bigger, your sleeping better, you have lost your sugar cravings and are motivated to keep going. But this might not be happening for you (like my hubby, who is still having ups and downs) This is not a race. Definitely, slow and steady wins in this case. I ask that you notice the small accomplishments. Stay positive and remember why you are taking this journey. Weather its to change your eating habits, or to lose weight. Whatever it may be, its worth your effort. And will pay off. You can do anything for 30 days, and your health sure does deserve it.

Much love!

Marisa

Week 3 meal plan and perp

Don’t be afraid to entertain while on Whole30. Make what you want to eat and add a nice loaf of soft bread with a sweet treat at the end. It really doesn’t have to be difficult (if bread and sweets are a weakness for you, toss them at the end of the night. Or better yet freeze it for when whole30 is over)

I love entertaining. And because my husband and I are on the whole30 didn’t stop me from cooking exactly what we wanted to eat. In fact, I made a new recipe (which will now be apart of our rotation) and everyone enjoyed the meal. Sadly, because I was having such a nice night, I didn’t snap a photo of our beautiful meal.

I made these beauties (broiled prosciutto wrapped asparagus)  http://nomnompaleo.com/post/3159900635/broiled-prosciutto-wrapped-asparagus-spears, grilled some rib eye steaks and served with my new favorite  salad. Brussels sprouts with pomegranate and bacon (recipe to come later this week)

Heading into the third week of whole30 can feel a little daunting. Even though you may be noticing non scale victories, the newness of the program has worn off, your list of new recipes are probably dwindling and you are dreading spending your Sunday in the kitchen, preparing. Now is the time to look back on your last two weeks and take note of the meals you really enjoyed, or had extra of. These are good recipes to repeat this week.
Also you have probably noticed by my meal pictures, that my menu varies from day to day. Some days I forget to take meat out of the freezer or don;t feel like something I have planned. But that’s the beauty of preparing for the week. You know you have the food there, you get to choose what day you eat it.
My week three meal plan is going to include my staple corned beef, chicken vegetable soup and chia pudding. Here is what my plan looks like:
Week 3:
Monday –
Meal 1 – Corned beef hash with fried eggs
Meal 2 – Chicken vegetable soup an avocado and some fruit (grapes, apple or citrus)
Meal 3 – Spaghetti Squash and zucchini with pork sausage and spaghetti sauce
Tuesday –
Meal 1 – Corned beef hash with fried eggs
Meal 2 – Spaghetti Squash and zucchini with pork sausage and spaghetti sauce
Meal 3 – creamy Chicken chili http://paleomg.com/paleo-creamy-chicken-chili/
Wednesday –
Meal 1 – Corned beef hash with fried eggs
Meal 2 – Chicken chili, an avocado and some fruit (grapes, apple or citrus)
Meal 3 – Lemon pepper chicken thighs with grilled veggies and coleslaw
Thursday –
Meal 1 – Chia Pudding with berries
Meal 2 – Chicken salad in bell pepper cups
Meal 3 – Grilled steaks and brussels sprout salad
Friday –
Meal 1 – Chia Pudding with berries
Meal 2 – grilled steaks with salad left overs
Meal 3 – Eat out!! Try In and Out or Chipolte for complaint meal options!
Saturday –
Meal 1 – Chia pudding with berries
Meal 2 – Chicken vegetable soup an avocado and some fruit (grapes, apple or citrus) (take the soup from the freezer!)
Sunday –
Meal 1 – eggs Benedict
Meal 2 – left over korean short ribs and mash
Meal 3 – Cracklin Chicken with grilled veg
Grocery List – (whatever you can buy from costco, get there! remember meat can be frozen)
Coconut milk – full fat, unsweetened
eggs
Chia seeds
bananas
2 heads of cauliflower
Sliced almonds
garlic
6 avocados
grapes
carrots
scallions
1 hunk of ginger
1 asian pear
cabbage
mixed bell peppers – red, yellow, green
1 jalapeno
red potatoes
spaghetti squash
onions
celery
4 zucchini
mixed berries (I use strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
no sugar added spaghetti sauce
corned beef brisket
pork sausage (Italian with no sugar added)
6lbs beef short ribs
chicken thighs – (skin on! You are going to use these for two meals, so get 2 meals worth)
2 whole chickens
Rib eye steaks
Cheers to week 3!
Marisa

TGIF

Hearing that my friends and family are benefiting from the whole30,  is so encouraging. I believe in it, that’s why I share with so many people. Honestly, it brings to your attention just how poorly you were eating before. Changing up the way you eat will eliminate many ailments. Its just that easy.

I am not going to try to sell this plan as an easy way of eating. You cant just go to the store and buy 7 frozen 100 calorie meals to store in the freezer for the week (exactly what I would do). You have to plan, you have to prepare food ahead of time, you have to have plenty of fruit and vegetables on hand. You have to set yourself up for success. But once you do it, and start to see how great you feel. You will love it. I promise!

Now remember this is not a “lifestyle” that you will be able to maintain for the rest of your life. But what its intended to do is bring to your attention what foods are causing you the pain, whether it be acid reflux, joint pain, poor sleep, acne, just to name a few. So you can easily eliminate those foods and cure your health issues. Please read the book “It starts with food” for more information on the elimination diet and how to re-introduce foods.

Today was filled with lots of left overs. I had the chia pudding and fruit for my first meal. I reheated the taco stuffed smashed sweet potato for my second meal and finished my final meal with the rainbow…

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And by rainbow I mean, rainbow of vegetables of course. I took the chicken I roasted and shredded on Sunday, out of the freezer and added it to some simmering coconut milk and red curry paste. To add a little punch, I added 2 TBSP of compliant fish sauce, a dash of oregano and some tomato paste.

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It was warm, delicious and satisfying. And essentially only took me 15 mins to put together and an addition 5 to simmer until veg was tender. I would have made some cauliflower rice to serve on the side, but really wanted to make a quick meal.

Getting my meal plan and prep ready to post tomorrow! Cheers to day 12!!

Marisa

Short and sweet

Another day of left overs, but dinner was far too good not to share. This taco meat seasoning recipe is the best I have tried. ( http://www.rubiesandradishes.com/2013/12/07/easy-slow-cooker-taco-meat/ ) Way better then the packet you normally buy and I had everything on hand. You totally could use the crock-pot to make this meat, but I made the recipe on the stove top and it was perfect. I mashed two avocados, diced tomatoes, sliced olives, opened a can of diced green chili’s and opened some compliant salsa. I threw a few sweet potatoes in the oven and baked for 40 mins. This is what it turned into. Taco stuffed sweet potato PERFECTION!

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Cheers!

Marisa

Tigers blood…

The last two days have been filled with lots and lots of left overs. That’s the beauty of cooking a bunch on the weekend and storing it for the week. Put the effort in, you will not regret it.

The chicken soup I made the other day is literally  A-mazing.. Catch my last post for instructions.

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For dinner last night, I grilled a rib eye steak with salt and pepper. Then threw together a raw Brussels sprout salad. I added pomegranate seeds, bacon and a sesame dressing. It even held up over night. If you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, raw Brussels sprouts resemble the flavor of cabbage. Give em a try. It was really good.

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Tonight I cooked some complaint Italian sausage in a sugar free spaghetti sauce (found at the local grocery store). It was the best sauce I’ve tried yet. Mixed it all with cooked spaghetti squash and refilled the hallowed squash.

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For the kids I added a bit of cheese but for ours, I added zucchini. It really turned out great. Oh and I cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave. It was a super easy and quick meal.

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We finished off our Chia puddings this morning. I asked my husband if he wanted me to make more or if he wanted to go with eggs for breakfast. He chose Chia puddings, so I just made another double batch. Its a win win for me, because the baby loves it too. So I feed him from mine in the morning. Its perfect.

Lets chat whole30 for a minuet. Tigers blood happens when you pass the nasty detox part and find your natural high with endless energy. It usually happens around day 12. Technically today is day 12 of clean eating for me, as I had the two day organic juice cleanse prior to starting my whole30. My hubby on the other hand is still kinda feeling the effects of detox. I’m hoping his days get easier and easier.

As for non scale victories (sense you are forbidden from weighing yourself during the 30 days, you must notice other victories happening) For me, my skin is FINALLY starting to clear up. Its been months sense I’ve had clear skin. Actually I can remember the exact month my perfect complexion went away. And I have yet to be able to get it back. I’ve tried new facial regimens, creams, gels, oil cleansing methods, all of which did not help. Almost made it worse. I went back to my normal cleanser, and just from eating the right foods and drinking plenty of water, its helping. At the end of this round, I am going to make it my mission to find out what it was I was eating that was reeking havoc on my skin. Dare I say dairy?!

Also… My jeans are loose!! End of story (for today ha!)

Almost half way there…. Keep up the great work!

Marisa

Chicken Vegetable soup for your soul

Today was filled with errands, laundry, toilet cleaning, kitchen cleaning and backyard play. Luckily I have all of my normal energy back, plus some. Its been 10 days sense I did the dreaded organic juice cleanse. So that’s 10 days with no refined sugar, and processed crap (day 8 on whole30). I think I am finally past all the detox and possibly finding my Tigers blood? (read the book “It starts with food” if your wondering what Tigers blood is) Or read more here: http://whole30.com/2013/08/revised-timeline/ I may be jumping the gun but Ill take what I can get.

I know you are all waiting to see what the chia pudding finished product looks like, so here goes..

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Trust me, this tastes as good if not better then what the picture looks like! Refer to my last post for a how to video. My husband even commented “Its so good, it feels like we shouldn’t be eating it.”

On the meal plan for today was left over Ropa Vieja, which was even better today then it was last night. The flavors got more intense. I’d definitely recommend you put that in your meal rotation.

For the last meal (dinner) I made a rendition of a recipe from theboxmag.com. http://www.theboxmag.com/crossfit-recipes/dinner-beef-stuffed-portobello-mushrooms-with-garlic-spinach/ Burger stuffed portobello mushroom caps with garlic spinach.

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The recipe online is only one serving, so I made enough meat for 5 mushroom caps, here is what I used:

5 larger portobello mushroom caps (stems removed), 1.5 lbs of grass-fed organic ground beef, 2 tsp cayenne pepper (this made them very spicy so I would use only 1 tsp if you don’t like too much spice), 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 cup of red and yellow bell peppers diced small, 1/2 yellow onion diced small, 1 tsp salt and avocado oil to drizzle. Mix all ingredients, put a patty sized ball of meat mixture on top of the portobello caps then place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil. Then bake at 350 for about 30 mins (or until the burger is cooked to your liking) My husband requested I make spinach.. And when he asks for spinach, I happily oblige and make my man some spinach.. And it just so happens, it was the best accompaniment. Here is what I did: I took a splash of avocado oil, 2 small cloves of garlic, one package of washed baby spinach, a dash of red pepper and sprinkled with flavor god lemon garlic seasoning (find it here: http://flavorgod.com/ ) sauteed them all until the spinach was cooked down.

Now lets chat about the chicken bone broth I’ve had in my crock-pot over night. It is finally done and ready for me to turn it into chicken vegetable soup. Now an easy way to prep your soup on the weekend is to cut all the vegetables up on Sunday. Put it in a gallon zip top bag and store until your ready to put your soup together. There is no need to cook the vegetables ahead of time, as they will get soft while heating the soup. Here is what I did:

I took the nasty looking vegetables and bones out of the crock-pot then poured the contents through a small mesh colander.

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I put 8 cups of the broth and 2 cups of water into a large pot and brought to a boil. I added:

2 TBSP Salt, 2 TBSP Fish sauce (red boat brand is whole30 compliant but this is optional to use) carrots, parsley, zucchini, 1 can of diced tomatoes, portobello mushrooms and shredded chicken. I didn’t have celery on hand or I would have added that too. Then let it all boil until the vegetables were soft. I put it in lunch containers for tomorrow and stored a larger bowl for later in the week. This could also be put freezer containers and frozen for later in the month. I always seem to amaze myself with the flavor of the food I make.. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but DANG its good! Serve with some avocado or nuts and a piece of fruit and you have a very nutritious, satisfying meal.

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Bone broth is not only so easy to make and a much cheaper alternative to buying broth in the store (plus you know exactly whats in it), but its incredibly good for you! The bone broth helps to heal your gut, is great for your skin and is comforting when your not feeling good (hints why mom always gave you a cup of chicken soup when you were sick) If you want more information on Bone Broth and its benefits, there is a great FAQ here: http://whole9life.com/2013/12/whole9-bone-broth-faq/

If this is your day 8 on whole30, you may begin feeling like its just not worth it. Days 9-11 are the hardest days. Please do yourself a favor and be strong. You CAN do it. And will not regret taking this journey. Trust me. This is my third round, and if I can do it. So can you. I believe in you!

Marisa

Guess what day it is….. PREP DAY!!!

Now let me stress the importance of preparation for a successful Whole30. If you do not utilize your time wisely the next 30 days may seem unattainable. Sundays are the perfect day for me to spend a few quality hours in the kitchen. I plan out what I am going to tackle and don’t leave the kitchen until its done. On yesterdays post, I listed what you could do for the next week. Here is what I did… (Oh and stay tuned for some chia pudding excitement!)

First I put a beef roast in the crock-pot for Ropa Vieja. Its a slow roasted beef with mixed peppers, onions, tomatoes and capers. This will be dinner tonight and lunch for tomorrow, plus have a little extra for later in the week. I followed this recipe from Paleomg.com http://paleomg.com/crockpot-ropa-vieja-cuban-style-rice/

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I cant forget to mention this. The knife you are using is probably all wrong. Make sure your using a larger chefs knife. It must be sharpened. This will insure you thin slices every time.

Second I took 2 whole chickens and roasted them. Really, this is much easier then it sounds (and more cost effective then buying the rotisserie chickens from the store. Plus you know what its in when you make it at home). I simply took the two chickens out of the packaging. I placed them flat on a baking sheet, liberally sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper and baked in the oven for 50 mins at 400 degrees.

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Once the chickens are cooled I took all the meat off the bones (ate two legs and some of the skin.. because really, whats better then crispy, salty chicken skin!). Save the bones to make bone broth (that was on my list too, but because the Ropa Vieja was in the crock-pot, I had to wait until after dinner to start it)  But here is what I did:

Take the chicken bones, a handful of carrots, some celery and a bunch of parsley and toss it into the crock-pot. Cover with water and add two splashes of apple cider vinegar. Cover and let cook on high for 24 hours. Once that is complete, we will be making vegetable chicken soup (stay tuned)

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Now lets get excited. I am going to rock your breakfast world. I am about to show you just how easy it is to make a quick, delicious and nutritious breakfast for three days!

For 3 servings of chia pudding you need 2 ripe bananas, 1 can of full fat organic coconut milk and 6 tablespoons of chia seeds. Let sit in the fridge overnight before eating. But make sure to eat it within 3-4 days. I top my chia pudding with mixed berries and slivered almonds. My husband adds extra banana to his. But this is how I prepare my berries for quick grab and go. Individually measured and packaged.

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If your on a whole30 journey of your own, you want to be cautious of the amount of fruit you consume in a day. So if you are going to be eating these chia puddings instead of say eggs and sausage, be careful with the amount of fruit you eat the rest of the day. Personally, this will be the only fruit I eat in the day.

So because I have saved you so much time making your breakfast, here is something you can tackle, which might take you a little more time and effort. Cauliflower rice. Now I am not going to lie, its a little time consuming but totally worth it. You could even do the hard part today and store it for later in the week, if you wanted.

Here is what I did: I took a head of cauliflower and took the steam out. Cut into smaller size flower-ettes then placed into a food processor. Pulsed them in small batches until the size of the pieces resembled rice.

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When the Ropa Vieja was ready, I sauteed the cauliflower rice in some avocado oil with cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. I only heated the ingredients through as to not over cook it. Dinner was DELISH!!

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Day 7 of this whole30 journey is almost over. I am thankfully feeling back to normal and ready to take on the next 23 days!

Tune in tomorrow to see what the Chia pudding finished product looks like!  Its my JAAAAMMM!

Oh and if you want to partake in this Chia pudding goodness, order your coconut milk today!

Marisa