Whole30 Day 5: Slow Cooker Chicken & Gravy

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Being stuck in the kitchen is no way to spend your Saturday. Especially if your mood is: KILL ALL THE THINGS! So today, I’m featuring a miraculously easy, set-it-and-forget-it slow cooker recipe that’ll yield a moist, tender chicken and a thick, savory gravy. That’s right: I said gravy.

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Serve this for supper, and everyone’ll lick their plates clean. Just be sure to save some gravy for later — I promise it’ll come in handy.

Keep reading for the details!

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Whole30 Day 4: Sweet Potato Hash & Eggs

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We’re starting Day 4 with a simple but satisfying dish of Sweet Potato Hash topped with fried eggs.

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Why’d I pick this recipe? ‘Cause it drives me a little nuts when folks insist that without grains, dairy, and sugar, “there’s literally nothing else to eat for breakfast.”

Really? Nothing? Not one thing?

Sure, going Paleo means chucking your toast and cereal. You’ll have to bid adieu to your cream-cheese-stuffed bagels, breakfast burritos, Barbie-themed Pop Tarts, syrup-drenched Star Trek Eggos, and pancakes-in-a-can. And no more Cinnabon-flavored instant Cream of Wheat, either. (Rest assured: They were never part of a “balanced breakfast” anyway.)

Instead, weirdos like us are stuck eating things like meat and vegetables. In the MORNING. Terrifying, right?

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In all seriousness, I know that if you’re new to this way of eating, it can seem a little daunting when you suddenly realize that you’re on a Whole30, and your usual bowl of Special K and skim milk is off-limits. But there are a bazillion things we can eat for our first meal of the day, from steak and eggs to a hearty frittata.

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Not a fan of eggs? Well, last night’s leftovers are just as delicious in the morning. I’ve been known to chow on Korean shortribs and roasted kabocha squash before taking the kids to school. And in the winter, I love waking up to a steaming hot mug of bone broth.

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Perhaps the shift from Cap’n Crunch to meat and vegetables is too sudden a change? Then Sweet Potato Hash may be just the thing to get you going in the morning.

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Take Two: A Big Update to My iPad Cookbook App!

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Right before Christmas, I proudly announced the release of an update to the Nom Nom Paleo iPad® cookbook app. Unfortunately, there was an unforeseen glitch: The wrong version of the app had been inadvertently submitted to Apple for approval. And the company’s App Store review team was shutting down for the holidays. Argh.

So for the past two weeks, we (and you) have been stuck with an old version of the app, without all the new goodies we promised. Double argh. We can’t say sorry enough times to make this right, but thanks for bearing with us anyway.

Thankfully, with the App Store team back in action, we got word late yesterday that our update — the real one! — has been approved by the good folks at Apple. And now, version 1.5 of the Nom Nom Paleo app is finally live!

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So what does this mean for those of you who own an iPad or iPad Mini? Keep reading for the full scoop!

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Whole30 Day 3: Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

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Now that we’ve mastered Ghee and Paleo Mayonnaise, let’s move onto another fundamental building block: Hard boiled eggs.

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Looks like a simple thing to master, right? But looks can be deceiving. All too often, hard-boiled eggs turn out crumbly and impossible to peel, leaving you with unsightly pock-marked eggs.

And then there’s this:

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This is why hard boiled eggs get a bad rap. You’re familiar with that sulfurous Yoda-green ring around the yolk, right? Chemically speaking, when eggs are overcooked, the sulfur and hydrogen in the egg white form hydrogen sulfide, which in turn reacts with the iron in the yolks to form ferrous sulfide — a.k.a. the ugly, smelly gray-green stuff. It’s totally harmless, but it makes your eggs less than appetizing.

In contrast, properly-cooked hard boiled eggs are odorless, perfectly peelable, and feature yolks that are nothing but a bright, sunny yellow. And let’s face it: To be a true kitchen ninja, you need to know how to consistently turn out perfectly-formed hard boiled eggs that everyone wants to eat.

Ready?

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Whole30 Day 2: Paleo Mayonnaise

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We’re just two days into January, so let’s make sure the rest of your month stays as tasty as possible with one of the best Whole30-friendly flavor boosters around: Paleo Mayonnaise!

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Unlike the store-bought gunk, Paleo Mayo isn’t made with canola oil or soybean oil — which, as my previous post made clear, are eeeevil. (Read the labels; even most varieties of “olive oil” mayo on supermarket shelves are primarily vegetable-oil-based.) There is one organic mayonnaise made with healthy oils that comes highly recommended by my pal Liz. The bad news?  It’s almost always sold out and not Whole30-compliant ‘cause it contains evaporated cane juice (i.e. sugar).

I guess you’ve got no choice: Roll up your sleeves and whip up your own!

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Whole30 Day 1: Ghee Recipe & Giveaway!

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For years, I was all about avoiding dietary fat. After all, I was a Nutrition & Food Science major in the early 1990s, when “no-fat, high-carb” was king. Sure, I gorged on frozen yogurt and bagels, but hey: They were low-fat! It became almost like a game: How could I minimize my daily fat intake? And I wasn’t the only one — after all, it was the decade of olestra, the laboratory-concocted fat substitute that promised zero calories and zero fat. As long as it meant ingesting no fat, who cared if it caused some anal leakage?

Not surprisingly, my low-fat lifestyle didn’t yield better health — nor was eating hyper-processed, cardboard-flavored food particularly satisfying. When I finally went Paleo, it was a relief to finally embrace healthy fats again.

But what exactly are healthy fats?

Follow the jump to read more!

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Whole30® Prep: Nom Nom Paleo Style!

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Raise your hands if you’re feeling the need to be more mindful about the food you stick in your belly in the New Year.

Yep, you and me both. 

But, if you’re like me, you need rules and guidelines, right?

Enter Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s awesome Whole30® program.

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You know about the Whole30, right? It’s Whole9's tried-and-true 30-day dietary reset that eliminates all the foods that could potentially mess you up. Rather than chowing on the bad stuff, you commit to a month of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Depending on what you've been eating up 'til now, the first couple of weeks might get kind of rocky, but hey: It's just a month, and you'll feel incredible on Day 30. You'll gain a better understanding of how different foods affect your body. And knowing is half the battle!

Plus, if you do it right, the food will be satisfying and delicious — and your kitchen skills’ll get sharper, too.

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Need more reasons to do a Whole30? Here are THIRTY reasons, courtesy of my culinary soul-sister Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make the Girl.

In January, I’ll be posting a Whole30-related post every day, including classic recipes culled from my archives, awesome giveaways, and other goodies to help you not just survive the Whole30, but thrive.

Want to join in the fun? Then buckle up and do some prep. Here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success in January:

1. Go to the source.

There’s no better resource than the folks behind the Whole30.

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Start by reading this post over at Whole9 to bone up on how to prepare for your month of clean eating. It’s packed with links to everything from the Whole30 program rules to the Whole30 Daily — a subscription-based newsletter with fantastic material from Whole9 and Melissa Joulwan. And don’t forget to sign up for the Whole30 Forum, where you’ll find free support from others who are on the same journey.

Last but not least, if you haven’t already, get yourself a copy of the Hartwigs’ It Starts With Food. It answers just about any question you could possibly have about the Whole30 program.

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2. Get inspired.

If you’re surrounded by candy bowls at work and skeptical loved ones who are slurping up bowls of pasta at home, a bit of inspiration may be just the thing to keep you on the Good Food Path. If you’re new to Paleo — or a rookie in the kitchen — there are tons of great resources on the web that will fuel your commitment to this way of eating. Check ‘em out on my Resources page, and bookmark your favorites for easy navigation. Prefer a book? Here are some of my faves.

As I mentioned, I’ll be here to keep you engaged and on-track with Whole30 recipes and giveaways throughout January — and I’ll also show you what I ate each day on my previous Whole30s in January 2011 and January 2012.

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Need more motivation? The fine folks at CrossFit Love will also be posting daily Whole30-related bon mots on their blog, written by Paleo chefs, bloggers, and Whole30 experts. Who knows? One of mine might even be in the mix.

3. Get ready to cook!

First things first: Chuck the crap from your kitchen and go grocery shopping. Need advice on what to buy? Download these free PDFs from Whole9, and read my recommendations about how to stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry. (And if you’ve got some holiday gift cards burning a hole in your pocket, this might be the perfect time to treat yourself to a new kitchen toy or two.)

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Yeah, I know you spy PaleoKrunch bars in the freezer door — they’ll be gone by January 1st. *BURP!*

Once you’ve got your kitchen squared away, it’s time for the best part of the whole endeavor: Start dreaming up some mouthwatering meals!

If you’ve got an iPad or iPad Mini, download my Webby Award-winning cookbook app, which contains 128 step-by-step Whole30-approved recipes and a 30-day meal plan. 

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No iPad? No problemo! I’ve got a bunch of cookbook recommendations for you:

First of all, I have to plug my own New York Times bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. It’s chock-full of Whole30 goodness—in fact, just about all of the recipes in the book are Whole30-compliant. (Want to get specific? Here’s the list of the 100+ Whole30 recipes in my book!)

You’ll also want to nab a copy of my gal Melissa Joulwan’s cookbooks, Well Fed and Well Fed 2. Both are filled with delicious Whole30-approved recipes that you’re guaranteed to love.

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This ain’t about 30 days of limp, overcooked broccoli and gray ground beef, people. If you keep your kitchen adventures fun and your taste buds excited, you’ll cruise through the Whole30 and wonder why it seemed so daunting when you began. Make this journey a delicious one, and it’ll become a lifestyle.

Ready to go? I’m all about hand-holding, encouragement, and most importantly, PEER PRESSURE — so find a buddy to take the plunge with you, and let’s do this thing!

P.S. If you have any other tips for your fellow Whole30 participants, please post ‘em in the comments!


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)!

Giveaway Time! It Starts With Food & Socks!

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I’m not proud to admit it, but I rarely — if ever — pick up a book that isn’t a cookbook. But in recent weeks, I’ve happily sacrificed precious sleep to devour two non-cookbooks: Andy Cohen’s Most Talkative and Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s It Starts With Food. And as much as I love Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development and Talent, I haven’t yet gotten past page 56 of Cohen’s cheeky, breezy memoir. Despite my love of The Real Housewives, I pushed it aside to finish It Starts With Food. Why? Because the book is a wonderfully engaging and fun read, and because being the healthiest version of me is my number one priority. (Sounds awfully Oprah of me, huh?)

Written by the dynamic duo behind Whole9, It Starts With Food hooks you in with a casual, conversational tone that immediately puts readers at ease. It’s authoritative without being preachy — just like the authors themselves. When I read the book, I can literally hear Dallas and Melissa talking to me. Yes, there’s a lot of science and references packed into the pages of It Starts With Food, but the Hartwigs have distilled it all into clear, concise, and easy-to-digest (pun intended) concepts and analogies that even those among us who failed high school biology will easily grasp.

Here, for instance, is one way they explain the critical role of leptin:

Imagine that your brain is blind, unable to see your chubby reflection in the mirror or the creeping number on the scale. It needs leptin to give it the facts it can’t see. So until the brain hears leptin say, “OK, we’re fat enough,” the brain is going to keep telling you to eat more and move less, to ensure your survival… And without that leptin message, your subconscious brain will continue to direct your behaviors as if you were too lean — despite the fact that you know you’re gaining too much weight.

Believe me: I’ve tried to explain to people the science behind the way I eat, and despite my degree in nutrition and food science, I’m often greeted with blank stares. In contrast, Dallas and Melissa make it look easy.

Like most of you, I lead an extremely hectic life. But the main reason I’m able to thrive (and I’m not using that word lightly) is ‘cause I’ve got my nutrition dialed in. I’m not perfect by any means, but the food blueprint I follow is Whole9’s. From my blog, you can see that I pretty much eat according to the Whole30 program every day, along with the addition of a few foods that I’ve reintroduced into my diet based on self-experimentation and/or because it’s worth it (like dark chocolate and the occasional bit of whole, raw, grass fed dairy). This nutritional approach is so deeply embedded in my cranium that — without even thinking about it — I developed almost all my recipes in my iPad cooking app to be Whole30-compliant. (Did I mention that my app contains a Whole30 recipe category and is officially Whole30-approved?)

The Hartwigs’ new book is a fantastic reference for EVERYONE that addresses virtually EVERY conceivable question about how best to nourish yourself. Really. I tried to stump the book, and couldn’t. Got a question about the healthfulness of fruit smoothies? Page 193. The fiber content of grains versus vegetables? Page 110. What about nutrition for pregnant or breastfeeding moms? Page 245. Vegetarians? Page 240. It’s all in there.

For readers who aren’t yet fully on board with clean eating, It Starts With Food is disarmingly persuasive. Any and every roadblock that you can throw up is knocked down by the Hartwigs’ no-nonsense, well-researched answers. 

I’m not kidding when I say that I carry this book in my bag at all times. Ever since my preview copy of the book arrived, I’ve whipped it out whenever I’ve been asked a question about the way I eat — and I get asked a lot. When a co-worker told me that her brother was feeling tired and run down ten days into his Whole30, I flipped to page 214 and pointed out the section on “carb flu.” When friends asked me what dietary fats to prioritize, I told ‘em to read Chapter 15 (“The Right Fats”). Rather than stumbling through a rambling diatribe about nutrition, I can refer to the smart, succinct answers in It Starts With Food.

I also have to sing the praises of The Meal Map in the book. Designed by my super-fabulous foodie soulmate Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl, the Meal Map is genius, filled with inventive but simple meals that you can whip up from your well-stocked pantry and fridge. It’s the perfect cheat sheet for readers who are craving delicious inspiration for innovative, healthy meals.

I’m sure some of you will discount my high praise for It Starts With Food because you know I’m friends with the Hartwigs. Yes, I’ve shared laughs and meals with Dallas and Melissa, and I’m proud to say that Dallas and I once butchered a steer together. But that being said, I wouldn’t be pals with people I didn’t consider genuine, smart, and sassy. And I wouldn’t steer you wrong. This book is the real deal. I frequently joke that the Hartwigs are like Paleo superheroes, but in all seriousness, what they’ve packed into It Starts With Food will definitely save lives.

Now, that I’ve (hopefully) got you excited about this book, who wants to win a SIGNED COPY for himself/herself (or if you already have a copy, for a loved one)? Three (count ‘em — THREE!) lucky winners will receive autographed copies of Dallas & Melissa Hartwig’s It Starts With Food AND a pair of my sold-out Nom Nom Paleo socks.
You can enter to win this giveaway in multiple ways:
  • "Like" the Whole9 and Nom Nom Paleo Facebook fan pages and let me know by posting one comment below.
  • If you own my iPad cooking app, write a review on the App Store and let me know in a SEPARATE comment below (along with the username under which you submitted the review).
  • You can get up to THREE additional entries by sharing this link (http://app.nomnompaleo.com/) about the Nom Nom Paleo iPad App via Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Facebook — and posting SEPARATE comments below for each method you used to spread the word about my App. Note that you don’t need to own my app or an iPad to do this! 
In other words, you can submit up to SIX entries if you do all of the above!
Make sure you remember to post a SEPARATE comment for each method of entry. Entries must be received by Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. PST. Good luck!
**UPDATE ON 6/23/12 at 11:30 p.m.: We’ve got three winners! The contest is OVAH!**

The Whole30 Recap: EVERY SINGLE DAY.

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I just completed my second Whole30! I’m happy I did it and glad it’s over. Doing a Whole30 isn’t that much of a change from my usual diet because I have to eat clean 95% of the time to fuel my busy life. However, I recognized that I was getting kind of sloppy during the holidays and decided to commit to a month of super-mindful eating.

It was much easier completing this Whole30 than finishing the first one. When I did my initial Whole30 a year ago, I was a brand-new cave girl and perpetually petrified that I’d fall face first into a bread bowl and never crawl out. This time around, I was much more confident: Over the past year, meal-planning has become like second nature, and I no longer have any hardcore cravings to kick. Plus, I’m really glad I was allowed to cook with  ghee this time around.

In a nutshell, at the end of this 30-day challenge, my jeans fit better and my sugar cravings (a.k.a. dark chocolate habit) were tamped down. I’m looking forward to reintroducing grass fed butter and bacon back into my eats, and munching on dark chocolate and macadamia nuts in moderation. 

For those of you too lazy to click through my archives, here’s a recap of my eats for all 30 days:

Will I do it again? Probably — but not until next year!

Looking for more Whole30-approved recipes, a 30-day meal plan, Paleo 101 primer, and ideas on how to stock your kitchen and pantry? Check out my Whole30-approved iPad app

Paleo Eats: 1/30/12 (Whole30 Day 30)

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Yippee! It’s my last day on the Whole30

During my night shift, I ate some chicken salad over mixed greens…

…and a small container of defrosted Hawaiian Sun coconut milk.

When I got home in the morning, I whisked some eggs with salt & pepper…

…plunked them in the SousVide Supreme

…drizzled on homemade Pyro Powder, and split the plate of Sous Vide Scrambled Eggs with my hubby.

I was slow-roasting the Magic Mushroom Powder-rubbed grass fed beef bottom roast for dinner, so I gave my mother-in-law instructions on how and when to pop it in the oven before I woke up (slow roast in oven at 250F until internal temp reaches 130F).

When I rolled out of bed in the evening, I braised some kale and carrots in the pressure cooker

…sauteed some mushrooms…

…and charred the slow-roasted bottom roast under the broiler.

Here’s my dinner plate:

After dinner, I picked up a dozen donuts on my way to work. Thank goodness for 24 hour donut shops!

(You’ll just have to tune in tomorrow to see if I’m joking…)