Okra and Heirloom Tomato Salad

The Whole30® Program, created by Whole9

I’m in the final week of my first Whole30! To be honest, it hasn’t been all that difficult, and Pre-Made Paleo certainly helped. (Yes, the long-promised review of Premade Paleo meals is still forthcoming.) Possibly because I tried to stay “close” to the paleo lifestyle even after the nutrition challenge, or perhaps because I’ve done the “no-carb” thing (processed carbs really) a couple of times in the past, but I didn’t go through the carb withdrawal or the “carb-flu” that many experience when converting to paleo or doing their first Whole30.

That is not to say these last few weeks have not been without their challenges. Initially, it was figuring out what the heck to eat – particularly when laziness and exhaustion won over the desire to eat something healthy. Lately, I’ve been struggling with “food-boredom.” A-googling I went, and -BEHOLD!- I stumbled across this amazing recipe for an okra and heirloom tomato salad. Not only did it sound yummy and different, the pictures are divine! Really, go, look! I just needed to find some okra.

I lucked out – a few of the vendors at our local farmer’s market had okra this weekend. My picture isn’t nearly as pretty, but here’s how mine turned out

Okra & Heirloom Tomato Salad

 

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A Whole30 July 4 Celebration

The Whole30® Program, created by Whole9

So, July 4 was Day 17 of my first Whole30. It turned out to be rather successful as well (even giving my husband the thumbs-up to bring beer, bread, and tortilla chips into the house . . . resulting in no temptation to me!).

Dinner consisted of a grilled grass-fed beef burger with caramelized onions, homemade guacamole, and a slice of fresh tomato; a roasted sweet potato; and steamed spinach. Dessert was a smal bowl of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries).

Recipes after the jump.

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My Whole30

Wow! So, over one month has passed since my last post, but I return to say that I have successfully restarted! Today is Day 11 of my first Whole30.

The Whole30® Program, created by Whole9

As promised and as planned, I started gearing up towards the end of May and into the beginning of June (translation: began weaning myself off the occasional candy fix and tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant). After returning from a brief business trip, my eating turned to business: enter the Whole30.

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Time to Restart

Well, the name of this blog is – after all – “trying for paleo.” Let’s just say that the last little bit truly has been trying. No excuses; just an admission that I have not eaten well lately. I will add that I feel the difference – eating like crap makes you feel like crap.

But enough of all of that – it is time to restart; time to find my way back to paleo. This time around, I think I will give myself a good kick and try a Whole30. I’m still in the planning stages for it and plan to ramp up this coming week. My goal is to start my Whole30 in June. I have a business trip planned earlier in the month and am not sure how practical it is to complete a Whole30 while traveling – so it may wait until I return. I also just discovered that a Crossfit box nearby will be hosting a Whole9 seminar and plan to attend that.

Part of my research involved finding Whole30 approved partners to help me through. Premade Paleo is one. It is a meal delivery service based out of Atlanta that offers nationwide delivery of Whole30 approved meals. I received my starter pack today – a giant box filled with all sorts of frozen proteins and vegetable sides. Quite the variety too! Stay tuned to this spot for a summary of the meals. Assuming that they’re tasty, they really could make the Whole30 process much easier.

Spiced Carrot Soup

Delicious and easy recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma:

Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp paleo cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place wire rack over baking sheet.
  2. Lay prosciutto on wire rack. Cook in oven until crisp, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  3. Over low heat, melt cooking fat and saute garlic and onion until tender, approximately 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Increase to medium heat. Add carrots and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add curry powder, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, approximately 1-2 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Increase to high heat. Add chicken stock and bring soup mixture to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  8. Carefully add soup mixture to Vitamix and blend on variable speed until smooth.
  9. Pour soup into bowls and crumble crisped prosciutto (cooled to room temperature) on top.
  10. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro.

Recipe Notes

The Williams-Sonoma recipe uses a soup maker & blender. I used a combination of a dutch oven and my vitamix. Be cautious if transferring to a conventional blender and read the user guide. Many blenders will not respond well to hot liquids (i.e., the lid will explode off sending hot liquid all over your kitchen).

I assume the soup would still taste awesome if made with vegetable broth and without the prosciutto (vegetarian style), but it would lack protein.

Paleo Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Dates are wonderful, glorious treats . . .

But, dates with bacon? Even better! Truly, everything is better with bacon! (See 365 Days of Bacon if you need more proof or validation of that assertion.) There was a time in my life where I did not eat pork; honestly, I’m not sure how I survived. Without further ado . . .

cooked date

Ingredients

raw datesDirections

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Remove pits from dates and replace with almonds (if using).
  4. Wrap dates in raw bacon.
  5. Place dates with seam-side down approximately 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes in oven.
  7. Remove from oven and place on paper towels to absorb excess grease.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

I recommend using a full piece of bacon to wrap the dates even though it may seem rather large at first. The bacon will shrink as it cooks.

Wegmans Disappoints!?

I originally hail from Western New York and grew up grocery shopping at Wegmans. When I moved to the DC Metro Area for college, the likes of Safeway and Giant replaced my glorious Wegmans. Yes, Fresh Fields (which is now Whole Foods) was nearby but far too pricey for a poor college student. Trader Joe’s was years away. Fast forward a few years WLOGOLOCKUPBLKand Wegmans made its grand debut in the DC Metro Area; well outside the beltway, but it was here! 30-45 minute drives each way were nothing more than a minor inconvenience to enable me to have my beloved Wegmans again!

When the nutrition challenge started in January, we only needed small add-on items to have on hand – no justification for the trek out to Wegmans. But as the weeks have passed, and my commitment to paleo has remained, I have tried to branch out a bit more in the kitchen. So, we ventured out to Wegmans with the excitement of kids visiting Disney World. To our shock and dismay, Wegmans did not deliver!

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