August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration

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Participating in the worldwide official Whole30® challenge this month? Congrats—you’re halfway there!

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You’ve valiantly persevered through bouts of carb flu and white-knuckled your way past the infamous “KILL ALL THE THINGS” phase. At this point, that Tiger Blood coursing through your veins is feeling pretty good. But despite your newfound superhero status, one nagging thought keeps flitting in and out of your brain like that jerkwad mosquito that buzzes by your ear at bedtime:

“I’m sick and tired of cooking every meal.”

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yep. You’re thisclose to throwing out all your organic veggies and falling face first into a bag of cheesy poofs.

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I totally sympathize. Cooking and planning meal after meal (after meal after meal) can be a royal pain in the butt, so that’s why I try to make my dishes as pain-free and flavor-packed as possible. As much as it seems like a thankless chore, cooking at home with wholesome ingredients is one of the most important things you can do for your family—and it doesn’t have to suck the life out of you.

Here’s the thing: As I said in my Whole30 primer/survival guide, simple and quick does the trick. The majority of the recipes on my blog (and just about all of the recipes in my cookbook!) are Whole30-friendly, and all of ’em are rookie-proof. In fact, they all reflect the way I eat on an everyday basis. I’m the queen of lazy, so if I can do it, you can, too.

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And now, I’ve got even more Whole30-compliant recipes that you can whip up as you enter the home stretch, including essential flavor boosters, simple veggie sides, and family-friendly entrées! Best of all, these dishes pack a whole lotta bang for the buck, and belong in your repertoire even if you’re not on a Whole30.  

Ready to get reinvigorated?

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Cracklin’ Chicken

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Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The past couple of months have been absolutely bananas. Between working my zombie drug dealer shifts at the hospital, zipping through Asia, throwing a book release party, and pin-balling my way around Southern California, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest to meet readers on my book tour, I haven’t spent much time at home with my family, let alone cook for them. So you can imagine my delight when Henry and the Os finally joined me in Portland and Seattle for the last few days of my book tour—and I was even happier to return home on Monday.

After dragging our luggage into our entryway, I headed straight for my kitchen. I was dead tired, but it had been a while since I whipped up a home-cooked meal. I was itching to fire up the stove, despite having next-to-nothing in the fridge. So what’s a lazy (but hungry) mommy to do? Why, fry up a batch of Cracklin’ Chicken (a.k.a. Lil-O’s favorite crispy chicken thighs), of course!

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Longtime readers of this blog (and owners of my new cookbook!) know that my younger son is a picky and headstrong little guy who wasn’t exactly keen on this whole Paleo thing. At the age of three, he almost ran away from home when the whole-grain mac & cheese disappeared from our cupboard.

The transition wasn’t smooth, but with persistence and patience, we got our whole family eating the same dishes at mealtimes. Obviously, compromise is a necessity, and I do my best to make dishes we all can agree on. When I ask the kids for suggestions, Lil-O always asks for Cracklin’ Chicken. (That is, when he’s not throwing out made-up names for imaginary dishes like “Big Buddy with a Ham Chuddy” or “Chewy Butt Stew.”)

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Cracklin’ Chicken’s one of my favorite dishes, too. These crispy-on-the-outside, tender-and-juicy-on-the-inside boneless chicken thighs are quick and easy to prepare, and taste fantastic with whatever seasoning I have on hand—even if it’s just salt and pepper. And for those of you who care, this recipe’s Whole30- and 21DSD-friendly to boot!

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Some key tips for this recipe:

  • Buy bone-in, skin-on thighs—they’re inexpensive. Plus, the bones are easy to remove, and the crispy skin is what makes this dish. I vastly prefer thighs over breasts for this recipe—to me, breasts tend to dry out and end up more bland.
  • Use a pair of sharp kitchen shears to remove the bones. (Reserve the bones in the freezer for your next batch of bone broth!)
  • Dry the chicken thighs well, and season both sides of the thigh with salt, but ONLY the meat side gets additional seasoning and/or pepper. If you put other seasonings on the skin, it’ll run the risk of burning. Then, everyone will be sad. Tears are not tasty.

Ready for my fool-proof method for a crowd-pleasing, kid-approved chicken dinner?

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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January Jumpstart: Week Two

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Okay, gang—we’re entering the second week of our January jumpstart. You still with me? Good!

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Before we dive in, I’ve got a special treat for those of you who’ve embarked on a Whole30 this month: due to popular demand, I’ve created a free downloadable list of all the Whole30-friendly recipes in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. Click here to get it!

Spoiler alert: Over 100 of the recipes in my book are Whole30-compliant! As the review of our book on the Whole30 site points out:

A few of the sauces and dressings call for honey or some other form of added sugar, but she does her best to give you a Whole30-compliant substitute, like using a pitted date instead of honey in her sriracha. Which means the entire cookbook, right up to Page 249, is almost completely Whole30-friendly.

Haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of my book yet? No worries—here’s another nomtastic batch of recipes to try as you tackle the New Year and punch it in the face!

Easy Paleo Frittata

I love eating leftovers for breakfast, but I know that for many folks, it’s absolutely unthinkable to start the day with something that resembles dinner food. The solution? Throw your leftover meat into a sunny, eggy frittata

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Garbage Stir Fry with Curried Cabbage

This is a fantastic way to quickly and easily transform that package of ground meat in your fridge into a fragrant and hearty weeknight meal. And don’t be put off by the name—after all, one person’s garbage is another person’s stir-fry, right?

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Tonnato Sauce

Going Paleo doesn’t mean getting stuck with bland, boring foods. Instead, give your taste buds a big bear hug by making sure you’ve got plenty of delicious sauces and flavor-boosters on hand, like this classic, umami-packed Italian sauce.

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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More Recipes for Your August Whole30®!

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So: who’s doing the August Whole30® starting Thursday?

More Recipes for Your August Whole30®! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

If your hand is raised, you’re not alone. Tons of folks are cleaning out their pantries of all the bad stuff and getting ready for a month of clean, whole, nutrient-dense foods. No matter if you’re doing it for the first time or the twelfth, this month will give you an improved sense of how different foods affect the way you feel.

More Recipes for Your August Whole30®! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 7/19/13

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Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

How can summer be half over already? My kids return to school in less than a month, and I haven’t even cracked the spine of a single novel while laying out at the beach. Who am I kidding? I don’t read novels—I just scour the Internet for cool links to share on Forky Friday. Oh, and cookbooks. I’m all about those.

In this week’s edition: vegetables, meat, and Ryan Gosling—all the key ingredients for a perfect weekend.

A Whole30 August

Are you embarking on a Whole30 on August 1st? Hooray! Although it might seem like a daunting task, eating delicious, nutrient-dense food for a month is 100% doable. And besides, you owe it to yourself to eat nourishing food, right?

If you’re looking for help, you’ll get lots of free support on the Whole30 forums, and you can always refer to my Whole30 Rundown for tips and tricks for staying on track. Good luck, and get cooking!

Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

Back Away Slowly From The Bagged Lettuce

Okay, I’ve definitely bought more than my fair share of bagged, pre-washed salad greens. It can be super convenient, especially when I’m pressed for time or just too lazy to do any vegetable prep. But after reading The Truth About Bagged Lettuce in Mother Jones, I think I’ll just spend a few extra minutes bonding with my salad spinner and a fresh head of lettuce.

Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

What The %$*@ Is In My CSA Box?

Thankfully, I don’t often have to resort to bagged lettuce. I’ve been a member of my vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for almost ten years, so I’m treated to wonderfully farm-fresh lettuce and other greens every week.

Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

I love my CSA and the fantastic assortment of veggies that come in my weekly box, but I still occasionally get a few items that leave me wondering how I’m going to prepare them. Lucky for me, Buzzfeed has a great post on 31 Things To Do With Confusing Vegetables.

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Whole30® Sriracha

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I’ve gotten tons of positive feedback about the Paleo Sriracha recipe I posted back in December (thank you!), and I love hearing that many of you have whipped up batches of the stuff to serve with…well, everything. After my recipe was picked up by websites like BuzzFeed and Grist, even non-Paleo eaters have been making their own junk-free versions of the famous Rooster Sauce. Yay!

BUT…what if you’re a sriracha lover who’s doing a Whole30®, and can’t have honey for a month? It’s your lucky day, ‘cause I have a solution:

Whole30® Sriracha by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Just like the original recipe, this’ll take just 20 minutes, and yield 2¼ cups of what Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal calls “a delicious blessing flavored with the incandescent glow of a thousand dying suns.”

Ready for the recipe?

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The Round-up: 30 Days of Whole30 Recipes!

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Whole30 Roundup by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here it is: 30 days of Whole30® recipes—complete with tips, tricks, and encouragement to get you through the month!

Below, you’ll find a set of links to each of the daily Whole30-friendly recipes I posted throughout the month. Bookmark this post (or follow my Whole30 Pinterest board); then, when you’re stumped for meal ideas, come back for inspiration.

Book-lovin’ Whole30 eaters should also pick up a copy of my New York Times bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans! It’s packed with new and classic recipes—many of which can’t be found anywhere else. Plus, over 100 of them are Whole30-compliant! Here’s a downloadable list of Whole30 recipes in my books.

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And if you have an iPad, go download my Webby Award-winning app! With over 100 Whole30-approved recipes, interactive guides, a customizable shopping list, fully-emailable recipes, and a 30-day Whole30 meal plan, this iPad app is an invaluable tool for Paleo foodies and culinary newbies alike.

Now: onto my day-by-day guide to 30 days of Whole30 recipes!

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(Looking for my previous Whole30 experiences? Check ’em out here and here.)

Still in a rut? Check out my August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration post with even MORE recipes here!

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And when you’re all done? Don’t fret, ’cause resources abound:

  • First, head on over to Whole9 to gobble up their wrap-up post, including links to articles about living (and eating!) in the days, weeks, and years post-Whole30. And if you have a copy of “It Starts With Food” on your bookshelf, take another look at Chapter 20 (“Strategies for Long-Term Success”), which is packed with tips for sustaining good health.

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  • Lastly, HAVE FUN. I believe strongly that the lifestyle changes that really “stick” are the ones that are fun and exciting. Continue to foster your culinary curiosity, and play around in the kitchen. Not only will you eat healthier, but you’ll develop skills and gain knowledge that’ll make you even more awesome than you are right now (as if that’s even possible).

How did your Whole30 go? How do you feel? And what are your post-Whole30 plans?


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013)!

Whole30 Day 30: Oven-Braised Mexican Beef

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It’s Day 30! But before we sprint across the finish line, I have one more recipe to highlight.

This weekend, I’m off to New York to attend my cousin Jennifer’s baby shower. Henry and the kids will man the fort while I’m gone, but they won’t be left to fend entirely for themselves: I’m leaving them a big pot of Oven-Braised Mexican Beef. 

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Wrapped in lettuce leaves and topped with homemade guacamole, this spicy, hearty take on chili con carne should keep my family’s bellies full while they cheer on the Niners this Super Bowl Sunday.

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Follow the jump for the recipe and some announcements!

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Whole30 Day 29: Garbage Stir-Fry with Curried Cabbage

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I rarely have time to make a big production out of my meals. Between work and parenting (and blogging and app development and — shh! — a new secret project), my cup runneth over. I’m not about to make a special weeknight trip to the market to hunt down some exotic ingredients for a complicated new recipe I found in a cookbook.

Instead, when pressed for time (which is just about always), I rummage through my pantry and fridge and MacGyver something together. And that usually involves some handy-dandy Emergency Protein™. (Who says I can’t trademark that?)

There are plenty of ways to quickly cook up a batch of Emergency Protein. My iPad cookbook app shows off a method for slow-roasting meats in an oven, and you can always just throw a steak on the grill or water oven. Leftovers can form the basis of a super-simple Emergency Protein meal, too. For example, on Saturday night, Henry reheated some leftover Slow Cooker Kalua Pig, paired it with a variation on Cauliflower Fried “Rice,” and voila! Dinner was on the table in minutes.

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All out of leftovers? If you have a Defrost Bowl™ in your refrigerator, this shouldn’t post a problem at all. (What? You got a problem with me trademarking that, too?)

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Over the years, I’ve gotten lots of questions about my Defrost Bowl, but there’s really nothing all that magical about it. It’s just a big bowl in my fridge that I use to thaw a bunch of frozen meat. (Note: It’s a bowl — not a colander. I certainly don’t want to clean up the bloody goo that inevitably oozes out of my packages of meat.) Every few days, I transfer some frozen protein from my freezer to my trusty Defrost Bowl; then, when it’s time to get cooking, I grab whatever Emergency Protein is no longer icy, and then decide on a cooking method.

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My Defrost Bowl serves another purpose, too: It forces me to cook my meat before it spoils, and keeps me from stuffing my face with take-out. Win-win!

One of my all-time favorite ways to whip up supper in a flash using Emergency Protein is to make a Garbage Stir-Fry™. (Yes, I’m trademarking EVERYTHING. That’s my secret project.)

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Keep reading, and I’ll show you how to make a fragrant and zesty Garbage Stir-Fry with ground meat, curry, and cabbage. Don’t worry about the name – I call it Garbage Stir-Fry, but once you taste it, you won’t want to throw any of it away.

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Whole30 Day 28: Chile Lime Chicken Wings

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A confession: I’m not much of a football fan. But this year, I vow to pay closer attention to the Super Bowl — mostly ‘cause the Niners are in it.

I was a kid during the San Francisco 49ers’ heyday in the 1980s, and watched football on TV every Sunday (and Monday night) with my dad and my grandpa. We’d cheer on Joe Montana (who lived nearby) as he lofted perfect spirals to Dwight Clark, Roger Craig, Jerry Rice. Our family rooted for the home team in each of their five Super Bowl victories — and why not? I mean, who could possibly root against players who recorded songs like this?

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(I’ll admit it: I bought the cassingle of this song at the supermarket. But I wasn’t the only one, as evidenced by the fact that Henry started serenading aurally assaulting me with this song yesterday. HE STILL REMEMBERS ALL THE LYRICS.)

These days, football’s not exactly top-of-mind. I have a hard time distinguishing between Jim and John Harbaugh, and Ray Lewis’s dancing skills are more interesting to me than his linebacking skills. Henry’s forever rolling his eyes at my lack of pigskin knowledge. Sue me: I don’t know (or care) what a pistol formation is, or when it makes sense to attempt an onside kick. If you start jabbering about a “pick-6,” I’ll assume you’re referring to lottery tickets.

But without fail, at the end of every January:

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During the shindig, I typically keep an eye on the score, and occasionally ask questions that expose my ignorance of the game. But mostly, I’ll chat with friends, pick apart the million-dollar commercials and the halftime show extravaganza, and eat.

You see, football is only a small part of the equation for me. I’m really there to kick back with a bowl of (Paleo) chips, some sliders, and a whole mess ‘o chicken wings.

Specifically: Chile Lime Chicken Wings.

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This recipe’s new to this blog, so keep reading for the details!

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