Saturday, May 16, 2015

Whole30 Cabbage Rolls

1 head cabbage
1 onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (cauliflower rice)
2 pounds good quality ground beef
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Oil (coconut, avocado or olive oil) to sautee cauliflower, onions, etc.

2 cans (14.5 oz) crushed tomato
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen in Red/Black can)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prep Cabbage Leaves:
Boil whole cabbage in large pot for about 10 minutes. Put lid on pot for last 5 minutes. Drain water and let cabbage sit to cool off.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sautee onion and minced garlic until onion is soft and just starting to turn golden.
Add riced cauliflower and stir fry for 4-5 minutes.  Cauliflower should be soft.
Put all into a mixing bowl and allow ingredients to cool.
Brown ground beef and spices, drain fat.  Allow meat to cool while you prepare the sauce. 

Add more oil to skillet and add crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Add onion/garlic mix that you prepared earlier and combine well.
Spoon a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish.

Assemble the Cabbage Rolls:
Carefully remove the cabbage leaves one leaf at a time. Try to be careful not to tear the leaves. You want them to be as whole as possible. Trim of any part of stem that is super thick. Pat dry any remaining moisture from leaves with a paper towel. The leaves should be able to lay open kind of like a bowl. Spoon about a quarter of a cup of filling into the leaf. Start at the bottom edge of the leaf and roll the meat up into the leaf, like a burrito/eggroll. Tuck in edges half way half-way to prevent your filling from falling out and continue rolling.
Lay each roll, seam side down, in the baking dish.
Pour remaining sauce over cabbage rolls and cook in oven for about 40 minutes.


Not as pretty, but this was lunch the next day. They heat up very well and can even be prepared ahead of time and frozen to heat up a quick meal on a busy evening!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My First WOD

The very first time I did a Crossfit WOD (workout of the day) was October 24, 2014.  It was the day before my amazing cousin Erin's wedding.  She is the owner of Crossfit Center City in Philadelphia. They had a Wedding WOD.  I don't remember what I did, but I do know that it was hard and I lived. I was so very sore the next day (and the day after) and I liked it!

The awesome people and Maddox (fur person) that were there when I did my first WOD

This was the actual prescribed WOD taken from the archives of their site:

MOVEMENT PREP: Foam roll/lax ball any tight spots for 2-3 minutes, Lax ball calves 1 minute/side, 30ft Spiderman Lunge + OH Reach, 30ft over the fence/under the fence, 30ft Lateral Lunge, 30ft Crab Walk Forward
A1. Weighted Step Ups x 6-8 reps/leg (20/16″), x 3 sets, Rest 60 seconds
A2. Ring Rows x 8-10 reps @ 2111, x 3 sets, Rest 60 seconds
A3. Side Plank x 30 seconds/side, x 3 sets, Rest 60 seconds
3 Rounds
60ft SA Front Rack DB Walking Lunges (45/20lb)
10 Alternating DB Power Snatch (45/20lb)
30 Sit Ups
Of course, I did a VERY modified version of this with mostly instruction from a great coach named Emily, but I did something!!
Since that time, I've been dying to get into a Crossfit gym.  It's taken us a while, but in addition to changing our eating habits, I knew we had to do more physically than what we were doing (hardly doing) at Planet Fitness.  I'm not knocking the place, but let's face it. Most people walk around gyms like that and have no idea what they are doing.  Seriously. Or maybe it was just me???...
Anyway, after much debate, we decided we would make some adjustments to our already over-stretched budget and make a way to go to Crossfit. 
Since then - April 27th - we've been going faithfully and I love/hate it.  I love it because I feel strong and I know that I am pushing myself.  I love that you get a sense of community there. Even though I don't know everybody there, I am starting to see the same people and meeting them. They have all been so encouraging.
A huge part of this is keeping track of your WODs and trying to improve your scores as you progress. I thought I might as well keep it all here in one spot!  So this is mostly for me - as a way to keep record of what I've done and what I want to do.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ghee! It Really Is Terrific!

Ghee.  Many of you have been messaging me and asking me about GHEE, so I thought that I should share a quick post about it.  Before doing Whole 30, I had not ever heard of the product either.  I started seeing posts about it and noticed that certain recipes called for it.

So what is it?

One easy description is : Clarified Butter or as I call it: LIQUID GOLD

Dictionary dot com says: A kind of liquid butter, used especially in the cooking of India, made from the milk of cows or buffaloes and clarified by boiling.

Since dairy is not considered acceptable for paleo eating, I am glad that ghee can offer that great goodness and flavor of butter without the dairy.

Ghee has a high smoke point (482*F) so it is ideal for frying and cooking.  It's rich in vitamins, source of healthy fat, and just tastes like the best butter you ever had.

You can find ghee at most health/organic food stores.  I buy mine at Trader Joe's, but I've also purchased it at a local Indian Market, and also at Wal Mart in the International Foods aisle.  Ghee can be pretty pricey.  I believe the 8 oz jar at Trader Joe's is about $3.50.  That 8 oz jar does not last long in my house!

Another way to get ghee is to just make it yourself! It's more cost effective and you can make sure that you are starting with a good quality butter for optimal results in your ghee.  I love Kerrygold butter.  Made from the milk of grass-fed cows - it is so creamy and tasty.  Like cheese I tell ya!

I use the crockpot method since I think it's the easiest way to do it.

You need:
3 or 4 -  8 oz packages of grass fed butter
Jar with lid

You can follow the directions and pictures here at Grass Fed Girl.  She has taken pictures of the process and it's really simple to follow.

But basically you put your butter in the crockpot on low, uncovered, for about 3 hours.  Different types of crockpots may make a difference in cook time, but you should be able to tell by the color when it is really done.

You put your cheese cloth in the jar and pour your melted butter right in.  I put a rubber band around the mouth of the jar over the cheesecloth just to hold it in place.  The cheesecloth should catch all the solids.

That's it! Keep the lid on your jar and use as needed.  Does not need to be refrigerated.  I keep mine right on the counter next to my coconut oil, salts and most used spices.

Here's mine right after I poured it n the jar:

I use it to cook eggs, vegetables, meat and more.  I add it to veggies that have been steamed as an added flavor or healthy fat.  I also like to make mashed cauliflower with it.  

Have you or do you use ghee?  What's your favorite way to use it?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whole 30 Round 2 Days 5 - 7

M1:Amazing Poached eggs, side of meat marinara sauce on a bed of baby greens with a side of red beets.
M2/3:Bacon wrapped chicken tenderloin, mashed potatoes (seasoned and ghee added), side of steamed veggies.

I had a Bridal Shower to attend and it was about an hour away. I ended up eating a late Meal 1 and late Meal 2 - just one of those days.
I got to the shower and of course there was NOTHING compliant, so I just went without and it was too late for me to eat when I got home.  Not too bad. Was more tired than hungry so it worked out. Not ideal - but it worked.

Egg and bacon cups with fresh basil and red/yellow peppers, mashed potato fritter on a bed of sautéed kale. Bulletproof coffee. 
Soccer game for my little guy this a.m. Spring cleaning all weekend. I need all the energy I can get!!


So. I finally did it. I tried #sardines I know that may not sound like a big deal, but I'm not a huge fan of fish that tastes "fishy".know what I mean? However, I've heard so much about it being such a good source of protein on the go that I thought I should at least try it. 
Well, I opened the can (I used boneless skinless in olive oil) and when I smelled them and looked at them, I knew I needed to do something to them. So here you have sardines mixed with wholly guacamole, dash of mustard and seasonings on a bed of roasted kale with a deconstructed bacon egg cup. Dish garnished with mini heirloom tomato slices. 
My verdict: it was tasty enough. I ate it, but I didn't love it. The texture and taste was not making me a fan. So there you go!


Cold and rainy day and night here in Riverside, CA so I made some homemade chicken soup with kale, potatoes, rainbow carrots, celery, parsley and herbs/spices. Topped with a little olive oil and chicken Cracklin. Was so good. Plenty left over for Meal 1 tomorrow.

Not pictured, but I had the chicken soup from the night before. It was more broth than soup, but I had to take it to go as I left the house early and in a hurry.

grilled mushrooms, eggs over medium and side salad with lemon 


Grilled pork steak, cauliflower mash, sautéed green beans/mini heirloom tomatoes/sweet peppers and roasted brussel sprouts.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whole 30 Round 2 Day 4


Plain egg omelet topped with salsa, 1/4 sweet potato, Aidell's mini chicken apple sausages and sautéed baby greens. Could not finish this. So filling.


Shredded chicken salad made with easy peezy homemade mayo, green onions and chopped apple, side of micro greens and beets. Fresh cantaloupe and a few blackberries. Very satisfying!


Cracklin' Chicken thigh, roasted baby broccoli and cantaloupe.

I still have a slight headache and am just thinking it's some sort of detox my body is going through. Other than that, I am feeling really good. My energy level is up - but I do need more sleep.  
If only I could get my schedule figured out.  I am really going to try and do some massive prepping.  Did a little today, but I know that once I get the hang of it, it will all be so much easier.

Tomorrow is Friday.  I am attending a bridal shower and am not planning on eating anything there because I doubt there will be anything compliant.  However, I am going to be leaving my house at 4 p.m.  It's about an hour away with perfect traffic. I may just have to bring my food with me! I've done it before and I don't feel weird or guilty one bit.  I HAVE to do this for me.  No excuses. The rest of the weekend will be busy, but I don't expect any problems or challenges regarding food.

My husband and I are excited about checking out and choosing a new place to get our workouts on... 
I'll keep you posted on that! 

What do you have going on this weekend?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whole 30 Round 2 Day 3

M1: two egg omelet, smoked pulled pork, red beets and avocado
M2:  chicken cacciatore, mashed sweet potato, steamed veggie medley drizzled with ghee and berries. 
M3: seasoned ground beef, grilled purple and white cabbage, grilled sweet peppers, avocado, Trader Joe's salsa and a variety of olives. 

So I am 3 days into round 2 of my Whole 30. I can already say that the "bloated" feeling I picked up during my "Rumspringa" is gone completely. Yay!!
On the other hand, I feel like I'm getting a slight headache tonight and I have no idea why. 
It may be the lack of sugar? Maybe all of the tomatoes and peppers I've been having? I think I read something about nightshades. Are those even nightshades? 
I guess I still have a lot to learn, but one thing I know is that I can listen to my body. I can be aware of all these feelings now. You can't pinpoint the pain, the fog, or the bloat if you feel that way all the time - if you're just used to being uncomfortable in your own skin.  
So I will ride this out. I will keep eating clean. I will exercise and move more, I will laugh and sing and I will find out what works for me - I will find out what makes me more healthy and more happy. 

Zoodles and Whatnot...

So up until now, whenever I have a hankering for some pasta or Italian flavored goodness, I have turned to the faithful spaghetti squash or the classic zucchini boat. Although it was good, I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted more.  I wanted something more "noodle-ish".  
Well, my wish has been granted. I was given a gift card to Sur La Table at CHRISTMAS. I had been saving it for something special.  The day arrived and I was not disappointed.  As I walked into that little bit of heaven (seriously - it's like a foodie's or chef's playground), I spied the item that I had been holding out for: A Spiralizer and IT WAS ON SALE!!  Oh yes. Come to mama!
[Photo Source]
It's got three different blades and worked like a charm!
This is about three large zucchinis, I did a total of 7 zukes for the whole family.
Patted them dry then tossed/sauteed them in my cast iron skillet with some olive oil and sea salt/cracked pepper. Let the zoodles sit for a couple minutes after it's done in a colander so that the natural liquid will drain from it.
For the sauce, I used the Trader Joe's brand of marinara.  It's in a green can.  There is no sugar added and only contains: Tomatoes, Tomato puree, garlic, onion, herbs and salt.  I added some quality ground beef, roasted mini heirloom tomatoes and Italian Herbs.  The kids got a bit of shredded cheese sprinkled on top.
Everybody from my four kids to my hubby loved it.  It was very filling and satisfying for all!
I am going to try sweet potatoes with my spiralizer next!
Do you have any ideas for me and my spiralizer?  Let me know in the comments!