Category Archives: Whole30

{Recipe} Veggie Sausage Skillet

I discovered this “recipe” (method, really) last summer when I was trying to come up with creative ways to use up all the veggies in my weekly CSA box, before the next box arrived. Since then, I have consistently made it at least twice a month. In the last ten days I’ve made it three times :). It’s my go-to “what do I make for dinner???” meal, because it is quick, full of veggies and protein, and very flexible with the ingredients. Not to mention my husband and kids eat it up and ask for more.

The main idea = brown some pork sausage in a skillet, then remove it and saute the veggies. Add the sausage back on top when the veggies are cooked through. Done. But there are also ways to mix it up or fancy it up a bit. I think the reason it’s so tasty is because pork sausage has so much flavor, and pairs so well with a variety of veggies. Love the combo!

Veggie Sausage Skillet

1.5 pounds of organic, pasture raised, pork sausage (I’ve also used sliced chicken sausage links)
2-3 potatoes (I’ve done white potatoes, sweet potatoes, or a combo of both. Obviously using only sweet potatoes will make it Whole30 compliant!)
1/2 an onion (I’ve done yellow, red….whatever you have on hand will work)

Any combo of the following veggies:
(Seriously, you can’t mess this up! Just pick what you like or have)

zucchini
peppers
mushrooms
broccoli
cauliflower
green beans
asparagus
peas (fresh or frozen)
carrots
chard or kale
beets
parsnips

optional:
heavy cream
raw cheddar cheese

If you will be including the cheese and cream, go ahead and preheat your oven to 400.

Brown your sausage in a skillet. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet – 1) because they’re awesome. 2) because if you follow the *fancy* option at the end, your cast iron skillet can go straight into the oven. (Of course, this particular time, as you can see in the photo, I didn’t use my cast iron. It was in our trailer and I hadn’t unloaded it yet from camping).

Remove the sausage from the skillet, and begin sautéing up your veggies in the wonderful grease that was left behind. Add more ghee or butter or fat of choice if needed. I start with the hardier veggies first: potatoes and onions and carrots. I like to give them a head start since they take a bit longer to cook. I keep the burner on medium+ heat, and just give them a stir every few minutes. I don’t stir constantly for two reasons: 1) I like them to get a bit brown and crispy, 2) Don’t have time! This way you can wash dishes and clean up in between stirs.

After about 10 minutes I add in the next most hardy veggies: broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, etc. I save the greens and other delicate veggies for last. The point is that you’re trying to add veggies in order of which ones need the most/least cook time, so that hopefully at the end they are all equally done! No soggy ones.

Dairy Free Option:
If you are skipping the dairy, then simply add the sausage back to the skillet, give everything a stir, and you’re done! Spoon onto your plates and enjoy. The kiddos like to have a little ketchup for dipping.

Delicious Dairy option:
This is my preferred way to make the dish, but now that my husband has discovered he is lactose-intolerant, we don’t make it this way any more. *tear*. BUT, it like I said before, it’s still great without the cheese! (just a little richer with it 🙂

Once your sausage and veggies are cooked through, you are going to simply drizzle some heavy cream over the skillet, maybe a few tablespoons, or up to 1/4 cup. And then top it with some shredded cheese. Stick the skillet in your 400 degree oven for 10-15 min. You are just giving it time for the cheese to melt and the juices to bubble. I don’t know what it is, something about the starches from the potatoes, and the other juices within the skillet….but they combine with that little bit of cream and it all turns into a thicker “sauce” that bubbles up and creates some major deliciousness.

*Also to note: if you are doing the dairy option, you will want to leave your veggies slightly under cooked during the sauté stage…since they will be going into a 400 degree oven for 10+ min, they will continue to cook and soften there.

In this (terrible) iPhone photo, I just piled the sausage on one side so that you could see all the veggies underneath. Quick, cheap, easy, delicious, and in this case, Whole 30 approved!
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{Whole30} Day 29

{Recipe} Baked Chicken Thighs in Marinara with Cabbage Noodles
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I’m just going to talk about my dinner today, because I am pretty darn excited about it. It was one of those, “crap! what do i make for dinner?!” meals, and I threw it all together without much thought. And it actually turned out! It was so simple and tasty, that I thought it was worth sharing. I even took a few (iPhone) pics along the way; I guess I just had a *feeling* that it might turn out!

I threw some boneless skinless chicken thighs in an 8×8 dish (use whatever size dish you need to have it be “full” of chicken. Or use as much chicken as you need to fill your dish?!?)

Moving on!

I had a few fresh herbs, and decided to go with thyme….so I threw a few sprigs of thyme on top, and then some crushed garlic cloves. (I prefer to keep the sprigs whole, rather than taking the “thyme” (!) to pull of each little leaf and chop it up. This way, you still get the flavor imparted into the dish, and just pull the sprigs out when it’s done cooking!)
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Next, I very carefully opened a jar of organic, (no sugar) marinara sauce. And poured it on top. It was hard work, but someone had to do it.
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Then I covered the dish with foil, and baked at 375 while I took a walk with the kids to get eggs from the neighbor’s house….in other words, 30 minutes or so. When I got home I checked it and decided it could go a bit longer. Plus, I wanted to roast some green beans at a high temp in the over (425), so I just went ahead and cranked it up so that I could cook the green beans in there at the same time. I also noticed that it was way more liquid-y than I was expecting, so at this point I removed the foil covering from the dish.

I only had frozen green beans to use as my veggie side, which I think worked well for the way I prepared them. I opened the plastic bag, and filled it with warm water to defrost the green beans. Drain, and repeat once. Now they’re defrosted! I patted away the moisture with some paper towels, since things tend to roast best when they aren’t sopping wet.

Next, throw your green beans on a pan, drizzle with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and salt. Then place in the oven so they can roast at 425 for around 20 minutes. (Meanwhile, your chicken is still baking away). If you have the chance, pull them out once to flip them around with a spatula.

I also had some cabbage wedges roasting away in my toaster over. Drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, cooked at 425 for 20 min. Hey, I never said this was a one pot meal!

The chicken turned out nice and saucy and tender.
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And the green beans were roasted just the way I like em.
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To plate it up, I had my wedge of cabbage, with chicken on top, and sauce over it all. And then the green beans on the side.
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After I took this photo and started eating, I did end up adding much more sauce to my plate.

This is what I love about Whole30! I never would have came up with this meal without it. I maybe would have thought of the chicken idea. But I would have served it with rice or potatoes or something. Instead, after I thought of the chicken idea, I was thinking to myself…what would be good underneath saucy chicken to soak it up? Noodles? Then I remembered seeing something weird on instagram under the #whole30 hashtag. Someone was talking about boiling a whole cabbage, and as it cooks, the leaves come off. You pull the leaves out as they start floating to the top, and then shred up all the cooked cabbage leaves. She was saying she then just keeps it in the fridge and uses them as “noodles”, and that they’re really versatile. So, that’s kind of what I was trying to replicate with the roasted wedges of cabbage (I didn’t want to take the time or mess with boiling a whole cabbage). And it worked! The outer edges were crispy, but the inner parts were soft and the perfect texture to eat with saucy chicken.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think!

{Whole30} Day 28

Day 28! So close and yet at this very minute, 48 hours feels sooo long away :). And really, it will be more like 60 hours by the time I wake up on the morning of the 31st day and eat breakfast. I’m not gonna lie, these last few days have felt….long. I’m kind of tired of it. I think part of the trouble is that I was already fairly happy with how I was eating, pre-Whole30 (whole-foods, real-food, traditional-food diet). And since I wasn’t going from a SAD (Standard American Diet) diet full of processed foods, chemicals, and “food” from a box, this whole program hasn’t felt like that extreme of a lifestyle change. But maybe the lack of extreme change is what makes it a little harder? As in, I am feeling great and eating great, and it’s not too far off from how I usually eat, so then I start to have thoughts of “oh, what’s the problem with adding a little coconut sugar to my coffee?” Or, “a bowl of yogurt with nut granola is a healthy snack!” And I start to rationalize why I should be eating these things. I think it’s also worth pointing out that while I definitely DO feel better and notice some improvements in my overall well being, I’m not one of those CRAZY awesome over the top testimonials who’s whole life has changed. I was fairly healthy before, and am feeling good now. So I guess maybe I haven’t felt some of the extreme results I’ve read about, and therefore feel like I can start slacking off? However, I have stayed strong! I haven’t cheated! And I am pretty darn proud of myself to have made it all the way :).

As you might have noticed, I’ve kind of gotten tired of blogging about what I’m eating every day. Most of my breakfasts are similar, and I do a lot of leftovers and repeat meals, so I figure it would be a little repetitive to keep it up every day. Here’s a round  up of some of the things I’ve eaten in the last few days:

Breakfast:
I finally got some “clean” (sugar/junk free) meats from US Wellness Meats, and it’s been nice to have some different things to add to my breakfast routine! This breakfast sausage (made into patties) is delicious.
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Lunches/Dinners:
Made another pot of clean out the fridge/veggie/sausage soup
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I’ve been having that along with lots of salads for lunches and dinner.
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Also, I have to pass this recipe along. I came across this Date Coffee Creamer and knew I had to give it a try. OMG. It’s what I’ve been missing and hoping for. I might even go as far as to say that I like it better than regular cream and sweetener! Why couldn’t I have found this on Day 1?! Give it a try, you’ll be sorry if you don’t! (*recipe note: I added a few extra dates and water, figuring that I might want it a bit sweeter. Also, I did strain my date puree, I would definitely recommend doing this).

Two days to go! Wish me luck! 🙂

{Whole30} Day 23

Only seven days to go! In some ways I am so ready for it to be over. In other ways I don’t really mind and it’s easier than I expected it to be. There is so much to process through in what I’ve learned and what I’ll take away from this. I will for sure be keeping up a lot of these new habits. I love being so intentional about incorporating tons of veggies into each meal. I love being mindful of getting plenty of protein and fat in each meal. I’d say lunches and dinners haven’t been hard to make the switch, and I see many paleo style meals in our future, post-Whole30. I really love the practice of replacing the starch in your meal with more veggies.

Breakfast is the one meal that I sometimes crave something different. A BUTTER, a piece of toast, soaked oatmeal once in awhile, the occasional paleo pancake WITH some real maple syrup, BUTTER…those are things that might sneak their way back in once in awhile :). I also miss my sweeteners. I’ve said before, I don’t use refined sugar, ever. But I do enjoy some healthified paleo-style treats now and again. And coconut sugar in my coffee. And honey in my tea. Ahhhh, yes, I have learned new and important habits. But I also am not afraid of some of the ones I had pre-Whole30. I will strive for a healthy balance going forward!

Breakfast:
I’ve had this two days in a row: an egg scramble with chicken sausage, zucchini, and mushrooms, and those mini sweet peppers (my new obsession!). And then I decided to give this Sweet Beet Smoothie a try. Sounds gross, I know. It’s actually quite delicious! And the kids chugged it down. I was inspired to make it because I had a container of steamed beets in the fridge that needed using up. Then when I came across this recipe for the smoothie, I noticed that it called for cooked beets. Now, I can’t say that I would ever go through the trouble of cooking beets just for this smoothie (they’re really a bit troublesome to cook, what with the peeling and inevitable pink-stained hands). But because I already some cooked and in the fridge, I decided to give it a go. And it was so good yesterday (and I had enough beets left over) that I made it again today! Also, it should be noted that I’m not really a huge smoothie fan. I like the idea of them. But then when it comes time to drink it I usually get about half way through and lose interest. Something about the texture? But this one I had no trouble at all getting down.
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*recipe notes: I omitted the protein powder and the honey. I added about 5 ice cubes just because I like my smoothies really cold and somewhat slushie. And I added a handful of frozen kale just to see if I could get away with it – didn’t taste it at all!

Lunch:
My sweet mother in law took me and the kids out for a day downtown. We tried the Nordstrom Cafe for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to immediately find something on the menu that needed very few changes to make it Whole30 compliant! I went with the Salad Nicoise with Herb and Garlic Salmon. It was so good! In case you’re not familiar (and since I forgot to take a photo), Salad Nicoise is a traditional French salad with hard boiled egg, green beans, capers, tomatoes, red onion, and potatoes. I believe it is traditionally topped with tuna, but I was happy to have mine with salmon. I of course omitted the potatoes, and used oil and vinegar for my dressing. Very very good and I’m excited to recreate it at home sometime.

Dinner:
This dinner was a total Hail Mary that turned out as a win. We were getting ready to leave the house this morning when I decided at the last minute that I really wanted to try and come up with something to slow cook while we were gone, since I knew we would have a late afternoon and I would be crunched for time to make dinner. I literally ran out to the freezer in the garage and scanned the shelves. I found a hunk of round steak, ran it inside, cut the plastic off, and plopped it in my dutch oven. Then I poured a jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Tomatillo Salsa on top and added a little water. I put the lid on and threw it in the oven (250) and said a little prayer. When we got home five hours later, the house smelled heavenly. I pulled it out and things were looking hopeful! I cut up the meat into smaller chunks so that they could all nestle into the sauce a bit more. I had a head of cauliflower that I really needed to use up, so I decided to try making some “rice”, which I thought could be a good accompaniment for some saucy chunky meat (just take your food processor to your cauliflower until it’s in tiny pieces, and then boil those for 5-10 min and strain. Rice!). Sauteed a sliced zucchini, and we were good to go! At the last minute I decided to throw some diced avocado on top of the meat+rice. Heaven. Seriously, it was so good. Full disclaimer, though: Bret wasn’t really a fan. He wasn’t a hater, but he wasn’t excited about it. So, I’m not sure if I’m the weirdo or if he’s the weirdo. Try it at your own risk!
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{Whole30} Lately

I’ve missed posting my Whole30 meals for the last several days, due to the busyness of birthdays/Easter/life. So I figured I would just round up some of the photos that were sitting on my phone, and give a quick explanation where needed.

Eggs and chicken sausage for breakfast. Didn’t have any breakfast-y veggies so I went with some Lacto-fermented sauerkraut instead.
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The usual (eggs, sauteed veggies, avo, tomato)
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Pulled this freezer meal out on a busy day. Cranberry Ginger Pork Roast (from Mama & Baby Love’s freezer cooking e-book). I knew there was some sucanat in there, since the meal had been assembled pre-Whole30, but I was hopeful I might be able to separate it out? I lucked out and the tablespoon of sugar was a frozen clump in the corner of the bag, which I of course omitted from the meal. Score!
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Another steak and asparagus dinner
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Terrible photo of bbq chicken drumsticks and sauteed mandolin-cut veggies
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Had this for lunch the last two days in a row. I’m calling it Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs, aka bomb-diggity. I’m obsessed.
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{Recipe} Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs

Ok, are you ready to make the easiest & tastiest thing you’ve had in ages? Here ya go.

I started out planning to just make a quick chicken & veggie sautee (which really, is what this is). But once I had my veggies assembled, I realized they were the kind I like to use on kabobs (those little peppers came in a plastic package and are called “sweet peppers” and I’m loving them!).
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I started chopping and then remembered I had some sliced pineapple in the fridge, and that’s when I realized it was the perfect addition, because I REALLY like pineapple on kabobs. Then it all came together. Chicken + veggies + pineapple [sauteed] = way quicker and easier than skewering, marinating, and grilling kabobs = brilliant (did you follow that equation?).

Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs
Assemble your veggies and pineapple, slice/chop into bite sized pieces (tons of veggies per person)
Slice your chicken breasts into thin slices (1/4″ or so) (one chicken breast per person)
Saute the chicken slices in your fat of choice (I went with a combo of ghee and olive oil)
As the chicken starts to brown, throw in the veggies
Season everything with some salt and garlic powder
Add the chopped pineapple and let it heat through (give it a minute or two)
Once they are all cooked through, throw in a tablespoon or so of coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and let it sizzle and cook down a bit and coat everything.

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Enjoy your tasty, delicious, and Whole30 compliant meal that only took you 15 minutes from start to finish.

Please let me know if you try this, and what you think! I’d love to hear any feedback! Also, does this “recipe” even make sense? I’ve never actually written a recipe down before, so I’m not sure if what’s in my head is even translating into something that makes sense. Ha! Let me know 🙂

This post is part of Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid, and The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter

Hollis Turns Three (+ Whole30 Day 16}

Well, my sweet pea is three. And what a wonderful day we had together! Nothing like starting the morning out with a birthday present (fresh bedhead and all). (It was this bathtub toy that didn’t work very well. I got it off Hautelook so I need to see if it’s returnable or not. At least I didn’t pay full price!)
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Some paleo pumpkin pancakes topped with syrup, whipped cream, and mini chocolate chips was the perfect birthday breakfast for our girl. And let’s be honest, all she really cared about were the “chwocwate chwips”.
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When the weather forecast called for 60+ degree day, I knew a little party at the park with her friends was the perfect way for her to spend her afternoon! Lots of playing, yelling, and mostly enjoying the sunshine.
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Little brother and his baton (that he kept a death grip on for the first half hour we were there)
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A little picnic with snacks and treats! Including these little beauties: Food Babe’s Almond Butter Brownies layered with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. It was slightly torturous putting these together!
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Hollis LOVED her party at the park. It combined her favorite things: friends, playing outside, playing on “huge toys”, treats, her little brother, and the sunshine!
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Back home for the next round of the party….Daddy had her “big” present ready and waiting. She had to follow the string all around the house and yard.
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…which led her to her pink Strider bike! For whatever reason, she started whining and saying “Nooooo!” as soon as she saw it (?!?). She literally ran away from it and hid her head in my legs. Um…not the reaction we were going for? Within a few minutes she had settled down and put her helmet on. And was touching the bike! So that was progress. We’ll see how long it takes to make some progress on learning how to actually ride the bike.
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We had some of her favorites for dinner: hamburgers (homemade patties, no buns) and fries (sweet potato fries fried in tallow). Really, anything that she can dip in ketchup is a favorite for her! Then it was blowing out some candles and then she finally let us sing her “happy birthday”. Also, right before bedtime she said “I love my birthday, mommy. And I love all the presents you got me.” It really was the perfect day!

Three Things I Love About Hollis
1) I love her imagination. She is so into creative play right now. She is constantly busy in her kitchen, making food, cooking, and trying to feed me and little brother. She loves to play library – she wants me to be “the lady” and check her books out for her. She also loves playing with her babies, and she is the best mommy to them. She’ll turn all the lights off and say “shhh, my baby is sleeping!” (Where did she get that from?!?) 😉 She is always feeding, rocking, and cuddling her baby and telling me what her baby needs. I just love watching her imagination grow and blossom!
2) I love watching her as a big sister. She is sooo incredibly affectionate and caring with Parks. She is always looking out for him, and telling me what he needs. If he is fussy or upset she gives me ideas on what I could do to make him happy. She (sometimes) loves to share with him. She loves to make him laugh and giggle. And she loves to be excited for him when he learns new things. I just love watching the two of them together. And I love the feeling of responsibility and pride that you can see growing in her as a big sister!
3) I love how sweet and affectionate she is. Her main love language is definitely physical touch, and she is constantly hugging, snuggling, and wanting to be in close physical proximity to me. She needs her little love tank filled up throughout the day. If she’s starting to lose it or get really whiny or difficult, I know that a quick snuggle session helps her feel connected and fills her back up, and gets her back on track. She loves to brush and play with me hair, she loves to let me hug and kiss her (right now she’s into “wiping” the kisses off, but then quickly asks for more 🙂 ).
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(this was a pose she wanted to do):
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Happy Birthday to my little Sweet Pea, my Punkin, my Tootie, my Precious Girl….my love and my heart.