Dear Plantains, Where Have You Been All My Life?

It’s official.  I am obsessed with plantains and I have no idea why it took me so long to come to this conclusion.  A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Plantain Chips.  I didn’t think it could get much better….but then came the tortillas….and then the crackers.  I’m not going to pretend like I’m some genius who created these recipes out of thin air.  My (recent Paleo convert) mom told me about the tortilla recipe she found a few weeks ago and raved about them.   She also tried making pizza crust with them, which you better believe I will be doing sooner rather than later.  So of course, I had to share these little gems of recipes with you all!

The original recipe for the tortillas can be found here, at Fresh Tart.  The only difference is I used extra virgin olive oil instead of avocado oil because that’s what I had on hand.

DSC02028I definitely didn’t make mine thin enough but it ended up more like pita bread, which was amazing.  Matt couldn’t get over them!

Ingredients:

(Makes 12 tortillas)

  • 4 plantains, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Blend everything together in a food processor until you get a hummus-like consistency.  Spoon onto baking sheet (I covered mine in parchment paper) and spread until about 1/4in thick, or thicker if you want “pita bread”. 🙂  Bake for 10 minutes, switch racks and bake for 10-15 minutes longer.

I mixed shredded chicken with avocado to eat with the tortillas and it was really good!

IMG_20140326_185244And because there was a link on the page for Plantain Crackers, I of course had to take a gander.  Since I was in Betty Crocker mode already and my food processor was already a mess (does anyone else despise cleaning that thing?!) I decided to give them a whirl in the same night.

DSC02027I actually think I like these better than the Plantain Chips!  They really feel and taste like crackers and are much easier to make.

I found the original recipe here, at The Paleo Mom.  Again, only difference is I subbed the coconut oil for extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 plantains, peeled and cubed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until you get a hummus-like consistency.  Spread on a small baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.  Cut into squares with a pizza cutter and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, or until lightly brown and crispy. According to the original recipe, sometimes hers took up to 80 minutes to bake.

 

Happy Friday!

WIAW #14: Whole30 – Been There, Done That!

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Well, that’s a wrap!  Yesterday marked day 30 of the Whole30 challenge.  That’s 30 days without sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy…and we survived.

Sounds like borderline torture, right?

Wrong.

No, really.  I actually kind of liked it (after the initial shock wore off).  I swear I’m not crazy.

Seriously, once we got past about the 10 day mark, things really started lookin’ up.  Sure, it was hard when people around me were eating pizza and cookies and ordering out…all I wanted to do was dive right in and treat myself like I normally would, but since there was an end in sight, that helped me stay strong and committed to the challenge.

Here are a couple of the meals we ate during the last week, to keep things interesting.  There are plenty more where this came from but I’m trying not to make this the longest post in the history of blogging, so stay tuned. 😉

Sausage, Sweet Potato, Egg and Kale Bake

DSC02005Ingredients:

  • 4 sausage links or breakfast sausage (Whole30 approved, or not if you aren’t doing the challenge)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 large handfuls of kale, or more
  • 8-12 eggs, depending on how much you like

Directions:

Cook the sausage on the stovetop while you roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 20min (until tender) at 450 degrees.  You can also saute the potatoes, I just prefer the texture of them roasted.  Place kale into baking dish, pour the sausage, potatoes and eggs over the top and bake in the oven on 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through and the kale is wilted.

Easy Taco Salad

DSC02014Ingredients

What you see above!  The taco seasoning doesn’t include any sugar and is basically a mixture of several spices.

Directions

Chop pepper and onion and saute in olive oil, or you can cook it right along with the meat.  Add salt/pepper and taco seasoning and you’re done!  Add a little red wine vinegar, olive oil and avocado/guacamole and it’s a super easy, healthy and delicious taco salad!

DSC02016So, why do this you ask?

First of all, I want to emphasize that my intention for this challenge was not to lose weight.  Although I eat healthy 80-90% of the time, I was interested to see how my body would react when I removed processed foods, sugar, etc. all together, without any treats or cheat days.

The result?

We feel great!  We don’t feel lethargic or bloated after meals and we have more energy overall.  Until this challenge, I don’t think we really realized how certain foods affect our bodies.  After week two, I even noticed my post-meal sweets craving had all but disappeared, which I never thought would happen.  I’m interested to see how I think sweets taste after 30 days without them.  Honestly, a cheat meal doesn’t even sound that appetizing to me right now.  Who am I??

I only lost 3 pounds, which was a good thing.  I dropped that much in the first week of the challenge and to be honest, if I dropped any more I was going to think about quitting the challenge all together.  Instead, I tried increasing the size of my meals and that helped me stay even for the rest of the 30 days.  Matt, on the other hand, lost 12 pounds!  He looks and feels great, so I’m proud of him for sticking to the plan with me.  I’m sure some of the weight will come back on once we start introducing certain foods back into our diet, but this challenge was a good jump start to an even healthier lifestyle that we can hopefully maintain.

Now what?

Matt and I both agree that we really like the way our bodies feel with minimal sugar and processed foods, so our plan is to continue to eat this way….most of the time.  It will be nice to have the pressure of the challenge behind us, so if we are running late or just don’t have time to prepare, we can grab a protein bar, smoothie, or order out.   During the week, I’ll cook meals like I have been for the past 30 days and I’m sure we will treat ourselves every once in a while on the weekends.   And dangit, give me my dark chocolate! 🙂

Thinking about trying the Whole30?

Stop thinking about it and just GO FOR IT!  The whole idea of giving up so much for 30 days can seem really intimidating, but not if you do your homework.  If I can give one piece of advice, it’s prepare, prepare, PREPARE.  That is the absolute key to successfully completing this challenge and doing so with your sanity intact. 🙂  I constantly searched for new (and easy!) recipes that would keep things interesting and that I could prepare on Sundays for the entire week.

In the end, I’m SO glad we did it.  #1 it’s a great sense of accomplishment when it’s over and #2 I think it has opened up our eyes to an even better lifestyle (NOT a diet) that now we know we can can have.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a glass of wine calling my name….

As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting the WIAW link-up!

WIAW #13: Whole30 – Week 2

Hey hey!

Well, we are knee deep in the Whole30, 16 days down, 14 to go!  No turning back now.  Week 2 was much more tolerable than Week 1. No breakdowns and only minor panic attacks.  I kid, I kid. 😉

Both Matt and I are feeling good, we have more energy and aren’t really having too many cravings, except for the ever-present chocolate for me.  Not sure that will ever go away…and I’m ok with it, because a life without chocolate is a life without living.  Let’s be honest.

I switched it up a lot this week and made sure to have different meal options – something other than just chicken, veggies, salmon and eggs.

On the menu:

Breakfasts and snacks have pretty much stayed the same: almond butter, apples, berries, dried fruit, nuts, veggies, guacamole, etc. LaraBars have been a saving grace at times too, although they are supposed to be used as more of an emergency food, according to the “rules”.  I like to have them as a pre-workout option.  I usually break off part of it before heading to the gym in the morning.  It’s a much better option than a hard-boiled egg and/or almonds at 5am. For me, that’s less than appetizing. 🙂

Sweet Potato Chili  (SO delicious, you won’t even miss the beans!) I paired it with kale salad…which isn’t as good without the Stevia, I have to admit.

DSC02012Baked Cod (dipped in egg, covered in almond flour and baked at 400 for about 20min.), paired with avocado and veggies.

DSC02013Paleo Beef and Broccoli with cauliflower rice

DSC01998Beef & Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 small onion, chopped*
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped*
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt/pepper

*I used garlic, onion and shallots already chopped from Trader Joe’s

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Directions:

Cut broccoli into florets and steam, set aside.  Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic/onion for about 1 minute, add the steak and saute until almost cooked through.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined then mix in the broccoli florets.

Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2-1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Cut the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until it looks like grains of rice.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can probably use a blender or cheese grater.  Saute the onion in the olive oil, add the cauliflower and saute until soft.  Add the spices of your choice.

As always, check out Jenn’s blog for more WIAW posts!
 

More recipes coming your way soon, including a new breakfast casserole!

Have a great day!

WIAW #11: Butternut Squash Chili

Time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday! I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of photos this time around…it’s all the same, right?

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Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with more roasted breakfast “potatoes”. This time, the mix included sweet potatoes and turnips….I never thought I would like turnips, but they are quite tasty!

I also grabbed a sugar-free caramel almond milk latte (that’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) on the way to work. I stayed pretty full until lunch, but also grabbed a small handful of trail mix mid-morning.

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Lunch

I went to lunch with some co-workers and my boss at Crazy Bowls and Wraps, where I ordered a chicken fajita bowl, sans rice…along with a few tortilla chips.  It was really good but a little heavy on the beans and cheese, which I wasn’t expecting. No pics this time. Didn’t want to freak my co-workers out. 🙂

Dinner

Dinner was the highlight of my day. I found this recipe for Paleo Butternut Squash Chili and had to give it a try, especially since we are dealing with yet another snow day around here….is it spring yet?!

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Paired with a kale salad, it was a delicious meal…oh, and a piece (ok, two) of THIS deliciousness. Ohmygoodnessgracious this stuff is no joke. Sorry for the blurred pic. I blame the chocolate.

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I only made a couple of small changes to the recipe, but here’s how I made the chili!

DSC01961Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, diced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Texas chili powder (recipe calls for Chipotle but I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt- the recipe doesn’t call for it but I added some to my bowl (I’m a salt lover and my husband, not so much ;))

Directions:

Chop all vegetables. Brown meat in a skillet for about 5 minutes, add vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes, or until veggies are cooked about halfway.  If your roasted red peppers aren’t already diced, add them to a food processor or blender and pulse until diced (do not drain). Add the remainder of ingredients and meat/veggie mixture into a pot and simmer for 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

Again, I do not always post every single thing I eat throughout the day, just the noteworthy meals.  I don’t want to bore you too much to death… 😉

 

Make it a great day!

 

Roasted Red Pepper Salad

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve!  Mine was spent at dinner with friends and concluded with champagne, competitive board games, and party hats. Pretty good night if you ask me. 🙂

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DSC01616Every year though, I think I look forward even more to New Year’s Day when we get together with our friends for a day filled with football, food and mimosas. Per usual, we had the traditional chili, buffalo chicken dip and more carbs than I could count, but as we’ve gotten a older the spread has become a little more “mature” and a little less unhealthy…a little. 😉 I was really happy when my friend Kate showed up with a salad and I knew I needed to get the recipe to share.

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(She’s too cute not to include in the picture, right?) 😉

It was light, yet full of flavor. If you are on a bit of a detox after the holidays, like me, this is a great way to dress that boring ol’ salad!

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Roasted Peppers:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano

Directions

Marinate the red peppers in the EVOO, garlic and red pepper overnight. Whisk dressing ingredients together and add roasted peppers. Pour over salad of your choice!

Have a great weekend!

WIAW #9: New Protein Bars & Easy Side Dish

I’m linking up with Jenn again for What I Ate Wednesday and posting my eats from yesterday!

wiaw fall into good habits button

My day consisted of mostly the same old same old but with a couple newbies that I had to pass along.

Breakfast

Sweet breakfast scramble.

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Snack

Apple and peanut butter, duh!

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Lunch

You may have seen this on Instagram the other night, but I posted this to show how easy it can be to make a delicious side dish.  I melted coconut oil in a pan, then added a veggie mix from Trader Joe’s (already chopped!) and their 21 Seasoning Salute, which you have to try!  It was super easy and really tasty.  I paired it with roasted chicken and repeated that meal for lunch yesterday.  My mom gave me the idea to put a whole chicken in the crock-pot for 6hrs on low on Sunday, then we would have roasted chicken for almost the entire week.  It’s been really nice to not have to worry about cooking meat every night!

20131209181514686 (1)Snack:

A new recipe for Pumpkin-Coconut Protein Bars that I found here.  I think I may have found my new favorite recipe and bonus for them being grain-free!  Sorry, I neglected to take pictures but I think you get the idea. 🙂 I made a couple of small changes to the original recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-2 tsp stevia
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together then whisk into dry ingredients.  Pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Dinner:

Nothing special to report….fish and veggies. Sorry, I was really bad at taking pictures yesterday!

Have a great day!