In true new year resolution form I’ve decided to kick off a Whole 30 tomorrow. For the next thirty days
I’m going to try I WILL omit dairy, grains, added sugars, alcohol, and legumes. The focus is on whole foods with out unnecessary processing or additives. I had been contemplating starting this journey before the holidays, but now with a pending wedding it seems like an even better idea.
We already have a freezer full of free-range, natural meats so that’s some what easy for me. I just have to remember to take things out and thaw them. That’s the harder part.
Since our fridge was pretty empty after being gone for the last week I took advantage of the opportunity to only restock it with good stuff. I did a pretty big grocery run and picked up: broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, cucumbers, mushrooms, radishes, onions, salad greens, green onions, cilantro, avocados, jalapenos, Bubbies pickles, a mango, zucchinis, broccoli slaw, kale, sweet potatoes, raspberries, blueberries, a melon, and shrimp. I had it in mind to do fajita salad, cream of chicken/mushroom soup, chicken tuscan soup, and spaghetti squash (or zoodles) with homemade marinara as some starting meals. Pork chops or a steak with a salad and broccoli is a pretty standard staple around this house so I don’t have to get too creative.
In order to make sure I have good stuff on hand (and to minimize temptations) I threw a whole chicken, still partly frozen, in to the crock pot with an onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, two carrots, a couple tablespoons of homemade Fire Cider (recipe coming soon!), and a healthy pinch of kosher salt. I topped the whole thing up with water and left it to simmer on low for probably a good twelve hours. It was less about intention and more about laziness, but my house smelled AMAZING. Eight hours would have been plenty.
After the chicken was cooked I pulled out the meat, as well as I could anyway, and shredded it up in a bowl. While it was still hot I spooned in some of the cooking liquid (stock) and tossed it together. The chicken reabsorbed the liquid so I kept doing so until it stopped reabsorbing liquid. The shredded chicken went in the fridge for chicken salad, soups, and other dishes. Then I strained the remaining liquid (stock) from the crock pot in to two quart sized jars and put them in the fridge to be used for soups, or frankly, just drunk straight up.
In order to make my “cream of…” soups I filled a pint jar half way with raw organic cashews and then filled the jar to the top with water. I left it on the counter to soak for 8 hours before blending it up and putting it in the fridge as my cream substitute. I like doing this all in a standard mouth mason jar because it will fit on most standard round blenders. Just screw the blender blade part on to the jar and place it on the blender base. No dirty dishes! Here’s more information on using “cashew cream”.
Since dairy is out and I’m a big fan of cheese (mmm… cheese) I wanted to make sure I had another creamy alternative using healthy fats. Mayo to the rescue!
I made homemade mayonnaise before using the super-duper-mind-numbingly-slow oil drizzle in to a standard blender process. I’m not a big mayo fan to begin with and something about the batch I made was just off putting to me. I didn’t like it. I think I may have used extra virgin olive oil. That may have been the problem.
So this time I did some more research and made the choice to go with LIGHT olive oil (it’s lighter in flavor, not calories – let’s get that clear) and to use my immersion blender (a.k.a. a stick blender or hand blender). I was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, at how perfectly and quickly it came out. I’m never doing the stupid drizzle thing again.
The things I believe I did right this time… the light olive oil. I might try avocado oil next time though. It just sounds yummy. I also let the ingredients come up to room temperature. That was literally as simple as putting the egg, 2 TBSP organic lemon juice, and 1 1/4 cup light olive oil in to a jar and leaving it on the counter for 30 minutes while I did other things. The recipe I was using didn’t call for salt, which I think I’ll add next time. Overall, super fast, pretty cheap, and crazy easy.
My last prep activity was to try to knock off the Costco cilantro-lime shrimp. I LOVE those things and, relatively speaking, they are pretty healthy. I cranked my immersion circulator to 135°F. I had bought 1.75 lbs of shrimp and tediously deveined them (such a coy label: “deveining”. Let’s be honest – it ain’t no vein). In a bowl I added two TBSP organic lime juice, 1 TBSP olive oil, several healthy pinches of kosher salt, one diced green onion (because I felt like it), about a quarter cup of chopped cilantro, and 2-3 crushed garlic gloves (or 1 TSP of the stuff that comes in the jar – I’m not judging). I added the shrimp and tossed them to coat thoroughly. I sealed the shrimp in to two bags and tossed them in to cook for 45 minutes. After they were done I put them in the fridge to chill.
Have you done a Whole30 or another type of elimination diet before?