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.  

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 🥂

From Fast Food to Fresh Food

When people think of fast food the word “healthy” doesn’t usually come to mind. Well, Fresh Healthy Cafe is trying to change this perception! They have lots of healthy meals and snacks made right “in house”. They do super smoothies, pure smoothies, juices, power bowls, protein bowls, salads, wraps, and paninis! They have many different flavor profiles as well… they have Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and of course American dishes on their menu. The dish I chose was the Kale Vegetarian Salad. I love a juicy steak as much as the next person… but sometimes a light, cleansing salad is just what I need! This salad consisted of kale, red peppers, red onion, feta cheese, black olives, sliced almonds, tomatoes and cranberries. It came with a lemon and olive oil dressing on the side. Fresh + tasty = sold. I’ll be back @freshhealthycafe

Orzo and Roasted Vegetables

This tasty recipe I got from my mother! In honor of Mother’s Day, here is how to create this dish! :

Start by preheating the oven to 425 and chopping up your veggies. You need to dice red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and red onion to one inch thickness. Toss this with 2 cloves minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper onto a baking sheet. Roast these in the oven for 30 minutes or until browned (flipping once). Meanwhile, start the orzo. Cook it in salted boiling water for 7-9 minutes. Drain the orzo and put into a serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the bowl along with any juices that they released when cooking. Add the dressing. This consists of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. (Super simple and fresh). Top it off with fresh basil, scallions, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese. This is a great recipe for parties because it can be made in large batches! It’s a tasty, fresh and healthy summer recipe! 

Grounded In Good Health

Rooted Juicery and Kitchen’s overall motto is “Grounded in Good Health”. They strive to give their customers healthy, and flavorful plant based foods. For me, they are constantly meeting this goal. Their food is fresh, real and always tasty. Everything is organic and made in house…including the juices, sandwiches, bowls, salads, smoothies and even desserts! This is a Zucchini Pad Thai dish with zucchini noodles, mixed vegetables, spices, almond thai+sesame sauces, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, scallions, lime and crushed almonds. The Thai dressing really brings the noodles to life and the crunch from the almonds adds the perfect texture. Looking to make some health conscious eating decisions without compromising taste?? Check this place out! 

Warm Bok Choy Salad

After a long Monday back to work and a hard workout, I got home this evening hungry and in need of something quick and easy to make for dinner. Can you all relate? I sat on my couch debating cooking a meal or gabbing some carry out. I remembered I had some fun vegetables in my fridge that were still fresh and decided to utilize what I had (and save some money).

I decided on making a stir fry. These are the best unplanned meals because they are usually made in one pan (woo less dish washing!) and you can really add whatever you like to them. The only thing that takes a bit of time is the vegetable prep. I only spent about 5 minutes chopping my vegetables: orange and red peppers, red onion, jalepeno (saving just a couple seeds for spice), mango (for some sweetness and because I love it), and some Bok Choy. I also minced some garlic and ginger. 

I heated my wok pan and added a splash of vegatable oil as well a teaspoon of sesame oil into the pan. I first added the garlic and ginger until fragrant (1 or 2 minutes). I then added the vegetables along with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and some basil. I cooked these until they were almost softened. This is when I added the Bok Choy along with a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar and a teaspoon of soy sauce. I let it cook until it wilted a bit but still maintained some crunch. At this point the vegetables have cooked and the flavors have all come together in the wok pan, and it’s time to serve up the dish!

I ate this over a bed of rice that I had leftover for some starch to the dish, but that is up to you! Enjoy this easy weeknight meal!