Whole30, week 1

The holidays are behind us and we are back on the healthy eating train. To kickstart our detoxing from all those holiday goodies, our family started Whole30 last week. I won’t go into detail about the program because their site lays it all out perfectly. In its most basic form, we’ve cut out all the junk. No processed food. No sugar. No grains. No dairy. No legumes. No alcohol. I know what you’re thinking. We’re nuts. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy. It’s not. For someone with a sweet tooth like mine, it’s downright tortuous sometimes. But this is not the first time we’ve done the program and I can honestly say that when we are on Whole30, I feel better than I’ve ever felt. And in addition to physically feeling great I also feel a huge sense of accomplishment when we finish the 30 days. Not to mention the better sleep out of the whole family, better behavior out of my kids, and my pants fitting better. So it’s worth it.

So what do we eat? Meats, veggies, fruits, nuts. For me, this takes planning and preparation. I’m not my mom. That woman can open the fridge, pull out a bunch of random stuff and whip up a gourmet meal that would rival Martha Stewart. Not me. I need a plan. So on the weekend, that’s what I do. I sit down in the middle of a pile of cookbooks and stained recipe printouts with my laptop and plan out our meals for the week. I generally plan to make more than I know we’ll need for dinner so that I have leftovers to send for lunches or to throw in the freezer for those crazy nights when the only cooking I can handle involves nuking something in the microwave.

Last week was week one. Even though the hubs was traveling all week, I was determined to start off on the right foot. So instead of winging it like I usually do when it’s just me and the kids, I actually cooked. Here’s what we had…

Monday: Beef Stew in the slow cooker. I loosely followed a recipe from the Paleo Slow Cooking cookbook by Dominique DeVito that my mom got me for Christmas. Here’s the scoop:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced (I buy the jarred kind and just scoop out a couple spoonfuls)

3-4 lbs. chuck or bottom round beef (I bought a big chuck roast and cut it into bite-sized pieces)

4 carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks

4 parsnips, peeled and cut into big chunks

2 large red-skinned potatoes, cut into large chunks

4 cups beef stock

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Then dump all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. I usually assemble slow cooker meals the night before so I just have to grab the crock out of the fridge and turn it on before I head out. Dinner ready when I get home = heaven. Kids loved this one.

Tuesday: Roasted Pork Loin with Garlic Dijon and Herbs and Roasted Cauliflower.

The pork recipe is from the bonus pack for the new Skinnytaste cookbook. If you’ve never checked out Gina’s blog before….do yourself a favor. She’s amazing. I love her blog and this cookbook. For quite a while I cooked exclusively from her recipes.  Here’s the recipe:

2 lbs. boneless pork tenderloin

1 Tbsp. lemon juice (always use fresh!)

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (I used fresh thyme and rosemary and some dried oregano)

1 tsp. kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine everything except the pork in a bowl and then massage the mixture onto the pork. Roast at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes per pound. Mine took about an hour for a little over 2 lbs of pork. Let it rest for a few minutes and then slice it up and spoon the sauce over it. It’s the bomb.com. This was a whole family winner.

For the cauliflower, I just cut a head of cauliflower into big chunks, sprayed it with a little olive oil using a misto sprayer, some salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet at 425 for maybe 15 minutes? I didn’t time it. One of our favorite ways to eat cauliflower.

Wednesday:  Grilled chicken marinara with squoodles (squash noodles).  For the chicken, I bought thin cut boneless/skinless chicken breasts and brushed them with a little olive oil, some minced garlic, some leftover chopped fresh rosemary and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Then I grilled them with the Panini plates on my new Cuisinart Griddler (thanks Fran!). Since they were thin cut and it cooks from both sides, it literally took no time at all….maybe 5 minutes. I served it with squash noodles made with yellow squash using my spiralizer. (That thing is awesome!) You could also use zucchini. After I cut them, I just tossed them with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper and sautéed them in a pan till they were hot. I prefer them a little firmer so I don’t cook them long. If you like them softer, cook longer. I also drain them before adding sauce because a lot of water comes out during cooking and ain’t nobody got time for watery marinara. Top the chicken and noodles with your favorite marinara. Make sure you read the labels if you use store-bought and that it doesn’t have any sugar or weird stuff.  The brand I used was called Simply Enjoy and I got it at Giant.

ThursdaySlow Cooked Rump Roast.  This is from the PaleOMG blog. Another of my favorite recipes and blogs. This time, I didn’t use mushrooms because the hubs is traveling and he’s the only one that actually eats the mushrooms. Served with a salad and roasted broccoli (prepared the same way as the roasted cauliflower I did on Monday).

Friday: I took the kids and some friends to dinner at Johnny Rockets and to see the new Night at the Museum movie. While the kids got whatever they wanted, I remained Whole30 compliant with a salad with grilled chicken and balsamic. I really wanted a big fat cheeseburger and a chocolate malt but the salad was actually quite tasty and I felt surprisingly satisfied.

So – that’s a crazy long post for one week of dinners. From now on I will try to do one or two per post. Enjoy!!

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