Diabetic-friendly

The Whole30, Week 1 (in Which I set a new PR for F-Bombs)

by Shawnda on April 2, 2013

in Diabetic-friendly,Menus,Whole30

Lettuce Wrap Chicken Fajitas with Onions and Peppers

I’m not gonna lie. That was ugly.

We are just starting Week 2 of The Whole30. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the quick & dirty & vague & incomplete version: it’s an elimination diet where you strip dairy, grains, processed sugars, booze, and beans from your diet for 30 days to “reset.” After 30 days, you add those things back in one at a time to identify what might be causing you issues.

The thing is, I actually know which of those foods wreak havoc on my system but I love them and deal with it. Giving them up for 30 days? That hurts.

I’d recently given up processed carbs to improve some aspects of my health, felt great, and then fell off the wagon. After reading It Starts with Food, we committed to the 30-day regimen of good protein, lots of veggies, and no pita chips. Or hummus. (That one actually hurt more than “no beer.”)

Grilled Tilapia with Orange-Avocado Salsa

The food for Whole30 is… real food. Wholesome food. Salmon and chicken. A little skirt steak fajita salad. Berries. The occasional sweet potato. And lots of asparagus and broccoli. Sounds easy, right? And the food looks and tastes great! I wouldn’t turn down a single thing in a single one of these photos (although those beans actually belonged to my 3 year old)… but on the whole, Week 1 wasn’t even remotely about pretty, picture-perfect food. Not even close.

You’re not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days but that’s unrealistic for me. As a female. After week 1, I’m -6. And I’m certain that 5.871 lbs of that was beer and pita chips.

This is what Week 1 looked like in more detail…

Day 1
Breakfast: By the time I had time to actually cook breakfast, it was lunch time. So…
Lunch: 2 poached eggs over leftover roasted asparagus with a slice of bacon* crumbled over top. Seriously, the runny egg yolk + green vegetable is a winner.
Snack: Cashews
Dinner: Grilled Salmon with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa, baked sweet potato fries, and steam-in-a-bag green beans

No one got stabbed. No one was jailed. No one hid in her closet with a bag of pita chips.

And that, my friends, is how I measure success.

*Bacon isn’t exactly a by-the-book Whole30 food. But it’s bacon.

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette

Day 2
Breakfast: 2 eggs over leftover steam-in-a-bag green beans with a slice of bacon crumbled over top. No really, the runny egg yolk + green vegetable is the THE BEST THING EVER. Oh, also a handful of blackberries.
Lunch: Lettuce-wrapped tuna salad (olive oil mayo whipped up in the blender, soy-free tuna*, boiled eggs, salt, pepper, and green onions), the last of those steam-in-a-bag green beans, and a scoop of leftover strawberry-avocado salsa.
Dinner: Grilled chicken with leftover strawberry-avocado salsa, baked sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus.
Late night snack: handful of cashews

I was not hungry between meals. Like, at all. I even felt like my standard dinner portion was too much… But then I had to fill a dozen plastic eggs for The Little’s Easter party. With candy. I could smell each individual grain of sugar in those Hershey eggs. And then I washed my hands twice because I swear I could still smell candy-coated heaven on me. So I hit the cashews and chugged water. It was not the same :(

I did manage to drink enough water today to raise the water level in the pool out back by at least 3 inches.

*Did you know that almost all canned tuna comes packed with soy? Even the low-sodium tuna has some soy in it. Kind of a bummer when you compare prices of the 1 brand of soy-free tuna to the 10 brands of soyed-up tuna… because soy is very much not a by-the-book Whole30 food.

Day 3
Feeling awesome! No carbs? Or cheese? Or beer? No problem, y’all! This is so easy – everyone should do this! And I pushed that book like a dealer on anyone who got within 6ft of me. (Sorry, Mom. And Dad. And slightly freaked-out stranger at The Little Gym.)
Breakfast: Guess what IIIIIII haaaaaad? 2 eggs over leftover grilled asparagus with a slice of bacon crumbled over top.
Lunch: Lettuce-wrapped tuna salad (see Day 2), leftover grilled asparagus, half a grapefruit.
Dinner: Leftover grilled chicken as lettuce wrap fajitas with grilled onions & peppers and avocado, and grilled broccoli with chipotle-lime butter (made with clarified butter). I really missed my tortillas.

Grilled Salmon with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

Day 4 – Now with more F-Bombs and Public Melt Downs!
Days 4-6 were mostly a blur. One big ^%$#@ gigantic, f-bomb filled blur which included two childrens’ birthday parties and a holiday and me sniffing a cookie dough candle for an awkwardly long time.

I also discovered coconut aminos* so those 3 days weren’t a total loss. But I did get desperate enough to google “Paleo sushi” and I cried in public. And then in my car in public. And then in the parking lot in public.

Breakfast: Probably eggs over something green.
Lunch: Probably not eggs.
Snack: Does the panic attack standing in the middle of Whole Foods when I saw a $4/pint strawberries (NOT organic – I think those were $6) while hissing, “Those ^%$#@ strawberries are 2/$3 at HEB! How the eff can people afford to shop here?!” at my husband count? No? Then I didn’t have a snack. But I did cry. In public.
Dinner: Tuna & salmon sashimi picked up from the HEB sushi bar topped with diced cucumber, sliced serrano, and the meat from a snow crab cluster. (My mood greatly, greatly improved.) And a bunch of 2/$3 blackberries.

*Coconut aminos, guys. I said I wouldn’t buy any specialty, expensive ingredients to do Whole30 but this will be the only one and it was worth it. It’s like soy sauce. But you know, not. And I’ll never go back. I’ve used it in marinades and drizzled over sashimi. It’s not as overwhelming as soy so I thought it went perfectly for my PPMD (post public meltdown) recovery dinner of sashimi.

Days 5
And I thought day 4 was bad! Day 5 ^%$#@ suuuuucked. The ugliest day yet for sugar withdrawals. And cheese. I really, really missed cheese. No one in this house was happy. I would have punched a baby (just kidding, CPS!) for the crunch of a single pita chip. I tried to beg my way out of the deal. I have no idea mostly what we ate. But it was all Whole30 approved, even if the almond fried chicken pushed it so much that it probably wasn’t really approved. Whatever.

It was definitely more Whole30 approved than the late-night skinny margarita I sneaked in. The psychological effects were noticed by the 3rd sip. I cheated.

And I like to think that it saved a life, even if it was my own.

And then I dreamed about cheesecake and queso. Yep, together.

Grilled Chicken with Pico de Gallo and Avocado

Day 6
The worst was over – and no one got divorced or stabbed! (And no children were punched, CPS.) There was Easter and the tempation of 1000 kinds of Reese’s Peanut Butter treats and mini Snickers in pink foil wrappers that I couldn’t have – and mostly didn’t want to. Except for the Snickers – I really wanted like 7 of those. But I made a monster batch of Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette to take to dinner and bacon made everything better so Easter was survivable.
Dinner: Grilled chicken with pico de gallo and avocado, grilled broccoli, but not the strawberry margarita in the picture. (That’s my go-to recipe for TexMex style grilled chicken. Goes great with everything!)

Day 7
The junkie carb cravings are gone (for me). No emotional roller coasters. Almost back to my normal level of F-bomb usage – that’ll happen when your 3 year-old chides you, “Momma! We say goodness - not those other words!”
Breakfast: 2 eggs over steamed-in-microwave-safe-bowl broccoli topped with crumbled bacon and blackberries.
Lunch: Leftover almond-fried chicken tenders and steam-in-bag green beans with a handful of fresh strawberries.
Dinner: Grilled tilapia with orange-avocado salsa, steam-in-bag green beans and leftover grilled broccoli.
Snack: Some cashews and blackberries.

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Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

It’s an unlikely combination, but one that works.

Like, really works.

It’s spring here in Texas, weather-wise if not quite calendar-wise yet. With all this beautiful weather comes a flood of fresh produce that no longer requires considering a second mortgage, unlike that sad-looking, coffee stirrer-thin asparagus for $5/lb that was out barely a month ago.

Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Strawberries are abundant, wonderful, and on sale everywhere right now. But since some of my favorite strawberry recipes involve flour and sugar – two things that I’m trying to avoid right now – we decided to try to be a little more creative and focus on more on non-baked-good alternatives.

Enter Strawberry-Avocado Salsa, stage right.

Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

The salsa is simply a tomato-less twist on pico de gallo… with strawberries. And avocado. And orange and lemon juices in place of lime. But other than that, you know, it’s exactly the same kind of wonderful that goes great with fish and chicken and chips and tortillas.

We whipped up a batch for a tortilla- and chip-less (but not margarita-less!) taco night on the patio – and it was pretty perfect. There’s a lot going on with the salsa: heat from the pepper, the sweetness from the strawberries, the richness of the avocado, and the acidity from the citrus. And all that goes on top of smokey, grilled salmon filet.

Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Pretty perfect.

A white fish would work pretty perfectly, too. And so would chicken. A tortilla might make it even better… as would a side of tortilla chips to handle the leftover salsa.

Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Smokey grilled fish topped with a sweet-meets-heat salsa of strawberries and avocado.

Ingredients

  • For the marinade:
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (plus extra for oiling grill grates)
  • 4 salmon filets (~6 oz each)
  • For the salsa:
  • 1/2 pint of strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (or not) and diced
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Heat your grill to medium-high and oil your grill grates to prevent the fish from sticking.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients and then transfer to a shallow dish.
  3. Place the fish skin-side up in the marinade and let sit for 10 minutes. (If you're using a skinless fish flip after 5 minutes; if using chicken, try to let it marinate for as long as possible.)
  4. Transfer the fish to the grill, skin-side down and cook for ~10-12 minutes, until the thickest part of the fish is opaque.
  5. While the fish is cooking, stir together the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl.
  6. Serve the fish, seasoned with additional salt & pepper, topped with a generous scoop of salsa.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Chocolate Crackles

There are a handful of diabetics in my immediate and extended family. And every Christmas I get a little stressed because at the very last minute, I realize that my goodie baskets are not diabetic friendly. And when he’s the one you call when your air conditioner goes kaput in the middle of the Texas summer, the last thing you want to do is alienate your father at Christmas.

My dad loves chocolate. He is firmly in the “I’ll eat whatever the heck I want, when I want” camp, sugar levels be darned. But I do try to play the responsible daughter card when I can. Sugar plays several roles in baking, sweetening only being one of them. Back when Splenda had just made it’s public splash, I tried making brownies for him. Nope! It might have sweetened like sugar but it sho’ didn’t behave like sugar.

I always make sure to include a bag of Chocolate Crackles in his goodie basket at Christmas. They’re super chocolatey. Part of the sugar is replaced with my favorite not-sugar, Ideal. I’ve actually baked cakes, cupcakes, and pumpkin bread with it and I think it performs beautifully.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Crackles

The 12 Days of Homemade Christmas 2010
Swirly Chocolate-Peppermint Bark Fleur de Sel Caramels Chocolate Crackles Tahitian Vanilla Beans Peppermint Chunk Cookies Red, White, and Green Biscotti
Cranberry Pecan Bread Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Homemade Red Wine Vinegar Homemade Granola Homemade Marshmallows

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Mixed Berry Trifle

Three day weekends around the casa are never really very relaxing. There’s always a project to be done, another item on a to-do list, or a box to check: whether it’s remodeling a bathroom, repainting a room, installing hardwoods or replacing baseboards and crown molding. We live in a perpetual construction zone. I don’t know why we don’t have our own DIY show…

Okay, so I do know why we aren’t on TV. I’m lazy. I’ll look for any excuse not to work. Post-project clean up? I’d rather do laundry. And that’s really saying something. But a family barbecue takes precedent over most DIY projects… depending on who is there :)

A typical family barbecue, the dinner buffet features 5 different cuts of meat – 14 if you count the hot dogs – potato salad and baked beans among other things. It’s like Thanksgiving, only everything is either hickory or mesquite smoked. And it’s July. And there’s no football to root for whoever is playing the Cowboys after dinner.

We could have stayed with the theme and sprinkled sugar on an Acme brick. Instead, we went bright & light with a cool and refreshing berry trifle.

Mixed Berry Trifle

A quick trip to the store for on-sale berries and an angel food cake makes this dessert come together in no time. A dessert that tastes a lot of work but isn’t is my kind of dessert!

Mixed Berry Trifle

Fresh angel food cake is layered with whipped cream and fresh mixed berries for an easy-to-serve dessert.

Ingredients

  • For the whipped cream
  • 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp orange liqueur
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Sugar, to taste
  • For assembly and garnish
  • 1 angel food cake (purchased or homemade)
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 2 pints strawberries (alternately, 1 recipe of Scotts Strawberry Sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp orange liqueur

Instructions

  1. Rinse fruit well and pat dry.
  2. Hull strawberries and slice. Place in a bowl with sugar and orange liqueur.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature while prepping the dessert. Stir occasionally.
  4. To prepare the whipped cream: Whisk cream on high until thickened.
  5. Add orange liqueur and a pinch of cinnamon, whisk until combined. Sweeten to taste.
  6. To assemble the trifle: Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into 1-inch slices.
  7. Layer the cake onto the bottom of a trifle bowl. Cover with 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture (about 1 cup), spreading evenly. Top with 1/2 of the strawberry mixture.
  8. Top with second layer of cake slices. Cover with 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture (about 1 cup), spreading evenly. Top with remaining strawberries and 1/3 of the blueberries.
  9. Top with remaining cake slices.
  10. Cover with the last of the whipped cream mixture and spread evenly. Arrange raspberries around the edge of the trifle bowl and add the rest of the blueberries.
  11. Chill until you're ready for dessert. Use a large spoon to scoop out servings.

Notes

Yields: ~12-16 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, inspired by The Gourmet Cookbook

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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