It’s mid January. And you’re probably still eating your vegetables, right?
A couple of months ago, I shared a killer-addictive recipe for roasted cauliflower. Who uses “killer-addictive” to describe cauliflower?
Someone who puts browned butter, prosciutto, and sage on cauliflower. That’s who.
Cauliflower is in the market now and the heads are abundant, cheap and the size of your head. There’s nothing wrong with raw cauliflower, especially if there’s a jar of homemade ranch or a bowl of hummus nearby. But there’s no reason to stop there.
You can do far worse things to a head of cauliflower than roasting it broccoli-style with garlic- and red pepper-infused oil, until the florets caramelize and start to crisp. Say, something like this:
But more on that later. Because to make that, you’ll need some of this:
Cauliflower roasted in garlic- and red pepper-infused oil.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
Red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a small sauce pan, heat the olive oil until hot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
Swirl the pan occasionally. In the last minute, add the black pepper and red pepper flakes and turn off the heat.
Pile the cauliflower into the center of a large baking pan and drizzle the garlic oil over top.
Toss with two large spoons until distributed and spread cauliflower to an even layer.
Sprinkle with salt and bake for 20-25 minutes, until nicely browned.
We’re in the Whole30 home stretch! When we started this thing 4 weeks ago, I imagined Day 31 to be a monstrous carb fest: a deep-fried french fry sandwich in a tortilla.
(Possibly battered and deep fried again.)
But here we are, 29 days later and I’m all like “Eh.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be really nice to have a tortilla on fajita night. But what I really want:
Goat cheese. (I’ve already pulled it out of the freezer!)
In place of tortillas, we’ve been having “lettuce wrap” fajita nights. Or just grabbing a knife & fork and forgoing the wrapping vehicle entirely.
We’ve relied pretty heavily on our go-to TexMex chicken marinade/wet-rub these last 28 days. Because when your mind already knows something is missing (like tortillas), it’s really easy to start picking things apart, looking for other “flaws.” But the wet rub is super flavorful and requires zero resting time – and almost impossible to find something to complain about.
Lettuce Wrap Chicken Fajitas
A lighter twist on chicken fajitas that doesn't skimp on flavor.
For the wet rub:
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ancho chili powder (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
For the fajitas:
1 lb chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
1 onion, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds (rings left in tact)
2 bell peppers, sliced in 1/4-inch rings
Whole romaine or butter lettuce leaves
Heat grill to high.
Place a piece of foil over half the grill and drizzle with olive oil.
Add the onions and peppers and cook for ~8-10 minutes before flipping/stirring. Remove when the veggies are nicely charred.
Whisk the wet rub ingredients together in a bowl. Add the chicken, turning to coat on each side.
Place the chicken on the grill and cook ~6-8 minutes per side, or until juices run clear.
Let chicken sit 5 minutes before slicing.
Serve chicken with whole lettuce leaves, topped with grilled vegetables.
Unless you’ve showed up at my house at 9pm with a cheer-you-up cupcake or are super close family, you probably don’t know that I have this minor heart thing. But I do.
And now everyone knows.
And in the spirit of the Whole30 – and what I’ve learned because of it – I’m going to share a little more than I normally would on the internet. But I promise you two things:
1) There will be no discussion of digestive functions.
2) There will be no discussion of lady parts.
I cross my not-always-efficient heart.
So that heart thing. I occasionally suffer from PVCs (premature ventricle contractions). Flare-ups have pretty much been traceable to my three favorite self-inflicted, jerk-face dwarfs: Over-Caffeinated, Over-Stressed, and Over-Anxious. (Sometimes Over-Beered is there, too… but she actually helps keep those last two under control )
I say “suffer” but it’s mostly a mental thing – it’s completely unnerving and rattling to suddenly feel your chest rattle with a THUNK (pause) flip FLOP (pause) KERPLUNK. For 2 &^%$@!# hours straight.
And sometimes, those pauses seem to feel like you have enough time to think, “Um, did my heart just STOP?! And is it going to start again on its own?!”
Oh, look. And there’s Over-anxious, right on cue.
According to some doctors and their tests, it’s also completely benign and mostly traceable to external factors. With some adjustments, those THUNK (pause) flip FLOP (pause) KERPLUNKs fade to less-distracting palpitations, and then barely noticeable flutters… and then away completely, of course, no where near as quickly as they show up (they do like to take their sweet time).
But on an occasion when I’m 16 days into The Whole30, doing just about everything by-the-book, and am neither over-caffeinated, over-stressed, or over-anxious (much less over-beered), a new round of THUNK (pause) flip FLOP (pause) KERPLUNKs was completely unexpected. And left me wondering:
What the heck did I eliminate from my diet that has disrupted the clearly delicate balance that keeps my heart beating on-rhythm.
I immediately re-added foods that had been in decently heavy rotation prior to starting the Whole30 (due to being relatively good sources of heart-healthy magnesium and potassium) – bananas, beans, and quinoa – and remembered to take my daily vitamin.
And after a few days, those THUNK (pause) flip FLOP (pause) KERPLUNKs have settled into the less-distracting/almost unnoticeable phases of being on their way out.
Moral of the story? Nothing is ever one-size-fits-all.
And my body will clearly do anything in its power to get a bowl of charro beans for lunch
The scale says I haven’t lost any weight this week, so after 3 weeks, I’m still down a total of 7.5lbs. I can’t wait to take measurements again at the end of next week. Things fit so differently now – far more than I’d ever expect out of “just” 7.5lbs. Like my bike helmet! And speaking of…
You know what we did on a beautiful Spring-in-Texas Sunday? Busted the bikes out and rode 10 miles on the new bike trails by our house. After not riding in ages. And it was not hard. At all.
Except for that one Tourmalet-esque climb after I dodged an 8-yr old and lost all my momentum. So then we had to take a short break to look at the resident alligator.
Here’s a quick & dirty look last week’s menu. (I’ve linked recipes and then just tweaked as necessary for Whole30 compliance. Except the beans, of course.)
Still loving those leftover green vegetables topped with the runny yolks of couple of eggs.
Also, a poached egg on top of a bowl of drained pinto beans is kind of magical.
Beans & quinoa or dinner leftovers + some of those 1/2-lb of strawberries we’re getting from the garden every day.
King crab legs + clarified butter + asparagus Filet oscar (bearnaise made with clarified butter) + roasted asparagus
^ Twice (Thank you, timely sale at HEB) Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes + grilled broccoli (using clarified butter, and minus the cheese) + pinto beans
Lettuce-wrap chicken fajitas + black beans + guacamole