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. 

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! 

Build Your Own

Who loves meals that are both easy and impressive?🙋🏼This meal can be so versatile and is great for parties! Guests can make their own bowls or burritos just the way they like them! We have a base of cilantro lime rice and all the “fixins” ready to be piled on top! I’ve included roasted corn, cheese, black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and lime! The chickens on the grill with a chile, garlic, lime rub 😋 You can of course use any meat you prefer: pork, steak, fish or none at all! We always finish off our plates with some spicy hot sauce from the fridge. Don’t forget to toast those corn tortillas if you choose to go the burrito route! Go ahead and get to the grocery store to prepare this EASY and flavorful meal!

*Lettuce* Be Healthy and Eat Well 

Time to detox after my birthday celebrations this week 😜 I was craving a fresh salad and whipped this up today. I love a good salad but what’s on top of the lettuce is really what matters to me (my family calls this “the fixins”). So, over my bed of spring mix lettuce, I added sunflower seeds, red onion, goat cheese and radish chips with a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The crunchy radish chips went perfectly with the creamy goat cheese. For the radish chips, I used my mandolin so I could get very thin slices. I laid the radish slices onto a baking sheet and put them in the oven with some vegetable oil, salt and pepper at 425 degrees. I let these cook and crisp up for about 12 minutes. I made sure to let them sit out and cool for a while after taking them out. They tend to crisp up even more at this point! Tip: soak the red onion slices in cold ice water before eating raw. This will take some of the bitterness away👌🏻

Fish Lettuce Cups

This evening, I was at the grocery store to get some dinner essentials for tonight’s meal. I wasn’t quite sure what I was craving at the time and was trying to gain some inspiration from the produce aisle.  I grabbed a couple of different items that would help me to create a dynamic dish of flavors and color: 

-Cabbage for crunch and greenery 

-Radicchio for a bitter bite and bright purple coloring 

-Green apple for a tart, crunchy, fresh ingredient 

-Tomatoes for a sweet, bright flavor 

-Serrano pepper for some spice 

-Lime for an acidic note 

-Oranges for a sweet, acidic addition 

I had my produce and decided tilapia was the way to go tonight. It’s a fairly inexpensive fish and looked super fresh today. I now had my protein and was ready to make these ingredients work together. I enjoy piecing together a delicious meal from scratch and not always knowing what it’s going to be from the start. 

I unloaded my bags and laid everything out on the counter. I decided on making a fish taco with lettuce cups. I washed my produce and cut into my cabbage. I pulled apart the lettuce so I could have individual cups for the food to go into. Next, I cut into my radicchio. I knew that if I was going to use radicchio, I wanted to roast it a bit to tone down the bitterness and add a crunchy quality. I tossed it in a bowl with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and herbs de provence. I laid it out onto a baking sheet and cooked it at 450 for 12 minutes on one side and 8 on the other side.

Next I cut up my sweet onion, tomato and Serrano pepper. I added them into a sautée pan with some vegetable oil, salt, pepper and a bit of cilantro. I let these cook down just a bit. I didn’t want the tomatoes to get too soggy, yet I wanted to release some of the spice from the pepper. Once the onions were just soft, I took the pan off the heat and let them cool. I wanted this to serve as a pico de gallo for my tacos. As my pico cooled, I took the radicchio out of the oven. It had shrunk a bit, but had gained a crunchy texture that I was excited about. I set these aside to cool as well. 

Next, it was time to focus on the fish! I seasoned the fish on both sides with salt, pepper and lime juice. I then softened some garlic with some vegetable oil in a sautee pan. I let this heat up and when the garlic became fragrant I put the fish in the pan at medium high heat. It began to sizzle in the oil and I added an extra squeeze of lime juice. I let the tilapia cook on each side for 4 minutes. This left it with a golden brown crust and a flakey, moist texture. 

Finally it was time to put my tacos together! Inside each lettuce cup, I laid down a piece of roasted radicchio, a spoonful of my (already cooled) homemade pico de gallo, some finely chopped green apple for a tangy demention to the dish, a piece of tilapia, and an orange slice. I topped this with some extra lime juice, a drizzle sauce that had been created when cooking the fish, and some freshly chopped parsley! 

Each bite of the taco was complex and interesting! There were so many different flavors in the dish that played off of each other nicely. It was well balanced and full of flavor!