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! 

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 🥂

Upside Down Pizza

This appetizer, I made at a family cookout after finding inspiration from Giada De Laurentiis. I am a huge fan of the food network and happened to watch her create a similar dish on “Giada in Italy”. I perceived this recipe as a creation of pizza backwards!

To create this dish, I cut up two large onions and cooked them down in a sauté pan with some salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Once they were soft and caramalized, I turned off the heat and drizzled some balsamic vinegar over the top. I flattened the onions on the pan and added dollops of whipped ricotta with lemon zest overtop the onions. I then put a sheet of puff pastry on top of the pan and pressed down (do you get how we are creating this pizza backwards now??). I cut off the edges and put the pan in the oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. When I took the pan out of the oven, the puff pastry had risen and browned. At this point you need a plate or pan that’s bigger than the sauté pan. Put the pan over the sautéed creation and flip it quickly. You now have your “pizza” or savory crostata. I let it cool and added some halved grape tomatoes, fresh oregano and arugula. This was a fan favorite and super  easy to create! Try it at home and let me know how it goes! 

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👌🏻

Yogurt Power Bowl 

The easiest of midday snacks! Healthy, tasty and pretty 😍 I used a base of nonfat Fage yogurt for my bowl, but you can pretty much use any yogurt you please! The toppings can be flexible as well. I chose to add apple slices, frozen berries, honey and a broken up brown rice cake for crunch. The honey and fruit added a much needed sweetness to the yogurt. I’d rather add my own natural sugars than buy a yogurt that’s already packed with sugars. There is a nice balance of textures, temperatures and flavors 👌🏻