stopha.com

Web Development and Food.

What I Learned from Whole30

I just finished a Whole30 – 30 days of whole food, proteins, vegetables (some fruit), and good oils. Program rules are here. Here’s what I learned:

  1. I’m way more addicted to sugar that I thought, and this diet helped me overcome that!
  2. I can get a handle on my pain with eating better. This diet is anti-inflammatory, and I’m seeing a huge difference in the way I feel.
  3. I love coconut milk in my coffee (with a sprinkle of cinnamon)
  4. Zoodles have changed my life, I can eat a TON of veggies in noodle form!
  5. Cutting out sugar will improve your complexion, my acne is almost gone and I’ve been plagued with it my whole adult life.
  6. I love to make my own mayonnaise! (Here are some of my fav recipes on my Pinterest Board)
  7. It’s HARD to say no to goodies at the office, I’ve learned to be prepared by having almonds stashed in my desk.
  8. I actually saved money from not eating out (even though it seems like you spend a lot more at the grocery store)
  9. I’m stronger than I thought!

On that last note – I never believed I would make it through the first week, let alone the whole 30 days, honestly. But I did. I feel so much better, better than I have in a very long time. A friend added me to a Facebook group that all did the program together, so it was a great source of encouragement and ideas for food. Eating on this diet can be a challenge if you eat out a lot, so take that into consideration and prepare yourself by reading as much as you can, and find meals that you love in this program, b/c there are a TON of great things to eat!

My results were that I lost 9lbs and 2 inches. I’m ready to keep going and stay accountable to myself. It’s not really about weight loss for me, it’s about feeling better, and not being in pain all.the.time. Tell me about your experience if you’ve ever done this, and what worked best for you!

Here’s a great resource on getting started!

Braised Chicken Thighs

My husband has asked me to start posting how I cook certain things that he and the family like. I like to cook simply, with easy ingredients that I can throw together and have a meal in 30 minutes or less.

Braised Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or as many as your skillet will hold)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium/high heat til the oil shimmers. Place chicken in pan and brown each side for about 4-5 minutes. You want a nice crisp brown on both sides. Lower the heat to low, and pour in chicken broth until it comes up 1/2 to 3/4 up the sides of the chicken, do not submerge. Cover with a tight lid and cook for 12 minutes. You can check for doneness with a meat thermometer. (165 for chicken thighs)
  2. Move the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to rest for 10 min. Serve with rice, vegetables, etc.
http://www.stopha.com/mblog/2017/01/braised-chicken-thighs/

Halibut Stew

My brother sent us some halibut from Alaska, and I wanted to do something with one of the huge pieces. This stew was perfect for the cold day we had here.  Give it a try, let me know what you think.  I’m hooked!

Halibut Stew

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 10

Halibut Stew

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lb halibut fillet (or salmon or any other fish you like) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 4 baby bokchoy (or half a large), chopped
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 can corn (or half bag frozen)
  • 4 TBS chopped fresh parsley (I use Italian)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large pot, add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, bokchoy and carrots, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and potatoes and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Add corn, and pour in the stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (until potatoes are soft). Add fish and cook about 10 more minutes, until fish is flaky.
  2. Add milk and cream slowly to soup and mix thoroughly. (you can thicken with corn starch if you want it thicker). Add red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with crusty bread a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  4. One variation would be to add about 1 cup of shredded cheddar to the soup. I didn't have any onhand, but that would be a nice addition and add to the creaminess.
http://www.stopha.com/mblog/2015/02/halibut-stew/

Joy’s (crack) – Avocado Salad

Avocado Salad
You will not be able to stop eating this, I guarantee it. My friend, Joy, makes this salad for every party we go to, and it’s always a crowd pleaser.  We just ate it for lunch with chips, by itself.  It sounds like regular guacamole, but the added corn gives it a sweetness, that makes it so delicious.

 

 

Joy’s Avocado Salad

3 ripe avocados
1/2 small onion, finely chopped (Joy uses red, I used a yellow b/c it’s what I had)
1 small can corn, drained
3 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
4-8oz grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste (I use kosher salt)

Directions:

Cut avocados in half, remove the pit, and slice them into small to medium chunks.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, squeeze lime over it all, add salt and pepper to taste and gently stir together with a large spoon.   Serve with your choice of corn chips.

Also, check out http://www.rocderby.com/, Joy is a mad derby girl.

Pink and Purple Birthday Cake

OK, a cake artist – I am NOT.  But I do love to bake and make special things for my family.  My food usually tastes pretty good, so when the birthdays roll around, I try to make something for them homemade.  I let my kids choose what color and flavors of cake they’d like for their birthday, and try to accomodate that as best I can.  So here goes.  For this year’s birthday, the girl wants pink and purple cake with hearts on top.  With fruit in the middle.  and Whipped Cream.  I can do that.

I recently purchased a new set of food coloring gels – the nice professional grade stuff that makes awesome colors.  (I’m giving the Ameriprise colors a shot).  So far, they’ve created great colors with a tiny amount of gel.

The Cake

Store-bought cake mixes are ok with me.  Why mess with a tried and true recipe?  I used a Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix for this one (white).  I mixed it to the box directions, and then divided the batter into two equals parts.  Pink.  Purple.

purplebatterpinkbatter

I set them to cool on wire racks (and I frosted them the next night).

pinklayer1raspberries

Layer 1 is the pink cake – I made whipped cream frosting (recipe follows).  Pink and Purple frosting, of course.  I frosted with 2/3 of the pink frosting and then put the raspberries on top.

Layer 2 is the purple cake – I added a bit more frosting on top of the raspberries, and then laid the purple down.

purpletoplayer
I filled in the holes with along the sides with more frosting.  I filled up the frosting decorator, and then used the remaining frosting to make a layer all over. After that, I put two heart-shaped cookies cutters on top, and the filled them in with purple sprinkles.  I used my Pampered Chef frosting thingy for the top.  That thing is fun to use!

 

 

 

purplefrostedcake
It turned out ok – my kids will love it, it will taste great.  I’m not a cake artist by any means, but the colors are right!  I feel like I should put up a photo of what I think it looks like in head, but hey – I made it and it’s something that I can do to make my kid happy on her birthday.  Who doesn’t love a nice cake with whipped cream frosting?

 

Frosting recipe follows – this is a ‘stable’ whipped cream frosting, which means it will hold up for a few days without melting all over the place (yuck).

 

Whipped Cream Frosting (I made two batches of this to cover the whole cake, one pink and one, you guessed it, purple).

1 C. heave cream
1/8 tsp. creme of tartar
2 TB Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
a couple drops of the food coloring of your choice

Directions
Pour heavy cream into a stand mixer and use the wire wisk attachment.  I start the mixer on medium, and slowly add the cream of tartar, sugar and vanilla.  Once it begins to thicken, add the food color if you choose to use it.

Whip until stiff peaks form, and then stop and frost away.

UPDATE:  Here is a photo of the cake after we cut it, is that FUN or what?  It tasted divine.

cutcake