Homemade, Restaurant Quality- Whole 30 Style

My husband and I have recently started The Whole 30. For 30 days, the goal is to cut out ALL artificial foods, added sugars, GMOs, MSG, grains, dairy, and yes, alcohol…in hopes to have a better quality of life. They preach that they are not a diet, but a lifestyle. The creator of this plan does not want participants to count calories or even weigh themselves while on this plan. Many people have claimed that by the end of 30 days their usual headaches subside, skin clears, energy levels are more consistent throughout the day, sleep improves, knowledge of day to day foods increases… and that’s only the half of it. 

The first couple of days have been hard, but I must say, this Whole 30 thing ain’t bad if I can make meals like this 🤗😋 We have organic top sirloin steak that was cooked stove top with some olive oil and rubbed with generous salt and pepper. I got the pan nice and hot before cooking the steak 3 minutes on each side to result in a perfect medium rare (more on the rare side 😊) After you take the meat out of the pan, lightly cover it with some foil and let it rest. This part is more important than it seems! If the meat does not have the proper time to rest, it can result in inconsistently cooked meat. Give it some time and let its juices distribute throughout the steak. It’s worth the wait! Moving to the right, we have mushrooms and onions that were cooked down in a pot with some garlic, coconut aminos. Next we have roasted colorful carrots that were simply dressed with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and cooked in the oven for 30 min at 400 degrees. For these golden potatoes, I cooked them stove top at high heat until they got nice and crispy! They cooked with some olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and I added garlic for the last two minutes of cooking time. I made sure to toss these often so they could get crispy on all sides. AND lastly, I cooked a Anaheim pepper over the open flame until it blistered and became soft (I’m in love with the smokey, spicy flavor). A bite of steak with that spicy pepper and some mushrooms… just wow. Bon Appetit! 

Hopefully there will be some noticeable change at the end of these 30 days (onto day 3! We got this). If anything, the Whole 30 will be a great learning experience for us. We will most likely introduce foods back in slowly, but hopefully we will become more educated about what’s in our food. This will help us know what is best to eat and what to avoid, allowing us to adapt this information into a realistic lifestyle for us. 

Restaurant L- 1st Course

On a recent trip to Jean Robert’s new Cincinnati restaurant called “Restaurant L”, my husband and I were spoiled with some of the most luxurious, and thoughtful dishes- each one better than the last. Additionally, they paired each dish with a tasting of wine to help enhance our dining experience. Throughout the day I will be posting some of our favorite courses from the meal!
Our dinner started immediately as we sat down and were given glasses of champagne with an ambouche of duck confit before ordering. (Your 3 course dinner quickly turns into 5 with the extra surprises they treat you with). We chose to order from the Prix Fixe menu. The above dish was brought out to us first. This is their “duo of soup”. On the left a warm cauliflower soup with a tempura asparagus, contrasted on the right with a cold asparagus soup topped with truffle brioche croutons. Both soups were topped with a dollop of cream. These gourmet soups were bursting with rich, fresh flavors. My tastebuds willing my brain to get another bite faster… Stay tuned for more amazing courses from Restaurant L.  

Hostess With The Mostess

I love hosting parties. There’s something about inviting people into your home to share good food, drinks and conversation. However, cooking can be quite time consuming when you’d rather be with your guests. Here’s an easy appetizer that can help with time efficiency in the kitchen and help to hold your guests over until the main course. These are my olive tamponade crustinis over goat cheese and mascarpone. To create the base of these small bites, I cut up a baguette into 1 inch thick crustinis. I laid them onto a sheet tray, drizzled them with some olive oil and popped them into the oven until golden brown. While these toasted, I started on my olive tamponade. In a food processor, I combined pitted green olives, kalamata olives, Rosemary, capers and garlic. I added some olive oil as I pulsed this combination. I wanted to keep a thicker texture to the olives so I didn’t pulse them for too long. After everything had combined together I started on my cheese mixture. I mixed together goat cheese and mascarpone. I can’t say I measured this to perfection, but I tasted as I mixed. You can find a balance that works best with your taste buds! I added some orange zest to this combination. No salt and pepper needed! There is enough salt from the olives and capers in the tamponade. Once the bread is all toasted and golden in the oven, it’s time to put these together! Spread some of the cheese mixture on the crustini and add some of the olives on top. I am an olive fanatic and goat cheese lover…so this appetizer really hit home for me! Try this out and let me know how you like it! The beauty of this recipe is that you can be creative with the cheeses you choose or toppings you add. Don’t be afraid to get creative! 

Porch Picnic For 2

When there are no trips booked on the calendar and you need a get-away from day to day life, a relaxing “staycation” can do the trick.

This is exactly what my husband and I decided to do. We both took the day off of work and made ourselves a little picnic on our porch.  We laid out a large blanket, popped open a bottle of champagne, turned on the record player and enjoyed our lunch in the sunshine. I made us a bunch of small bites for lunch, starting with an easy pear, blue cheese and honey appetizer. I sliced 2 pears long ways so they could serve as the base. I topped them with blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and honey. So simple, yet so tasty! On the same plate, I added some salami slices, as well as some slices of filet mignon topped with a Rosemary garnish. This filet was so tender and was simply rubbed with salt and pepper before cooked to a beautiful medium rare 👌🏻. I let the steak properly cook before cutting into it. 

Moving along our picnic menu, we come to my stuffed peppers! I used small peppers that were easy to prep. I simply cut the tops off and stuffed them with fresh parmesean, oregano and a grape tomato. They cooked in the oven until the peppers were softened and the cheese had melted. I added some asparagus to the oven as well with a bit of salt, pepper and vegetable oil. While these cooked in the oven, I had some mushrooms cooking down on the stove with some rosemary, capers, garlic and vegetable oil. Once the vegetables were all ready, I added them into cute and colorful serving bowls. Lastly, I chopped up some celery and added spicy salsa to a bowl. 

This was my perfect picnic! You should try it at home 🥂

Tastes Like Home 

Tonight’s recipe: Black Bean Corn Salad. I have had my food instagram and blog since early January and I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet! As I’ve improved and learned throughout my culinary journey, I have tried some great new recipes and techniques, but sometimes you just have to go back to the basics. This salad reminds me of home.. this was a staple snack in our household growing up, and I have made it a staple snack in my own home now. It is super simple and can be made in large batches so you can eat it throughout the week! It’s pretty open ended as well. You can use canned items or go the fresh route! I used canned black beans that I rinsed and drained, diced fresh green peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, diced fresh onion, diced jalapeño (you know I gotta have the kick), I boiled a couple of ears of corn on the cob and cut off the kernels once they cooled, lime juice and some chopped fresh cilantro. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and drizzled some olive oil and golden balsamic vinegar to taste.