#MyWholesome30 Meal Idea: Pork Roast and Roasted Veggies

It’s hard to come up with ideas for new recipes when there are so many that I’ve already shared which are both easy and quite tasty. So here’s a meal plan idea for a tasty, Wholesome meal combining a previous recipe and a quick-fix side.

Pork Roast
A couple of weeks ago, on a big shopping trip, the grocery store had Boston butt pork roasts on sale, so I picked up the smallest one they had and cooked it in the slow cooker.

Pork Roast Link

For a side dish, I stood in my fridge door a few minutes perusing, and then realized that both the zucchini and mini bell peppers were both looking good. So here’s what I did:

Roasted Zucchini and Peppers

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 6 to 8 mini sweet/bell peppers
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.

    Trim the ends of the zucchini, then halve lengthwise. Cut into half-moons about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick (or thicker, depending on just how “done” you want them; I prefer them still pretty firm, so I cut them thicker). Top and seed peppers, and cut in half or quarters, depending on their sizes. The zucchini will take longer to cook, so bigger pieces of pepper are better. Place veggies in a large bowl, toss with olive oil and a sprinkle salt until all pieces are coated, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in oven until browned (if you like your veggies with a little more “tooth” to them, roast about 15 minutes, then turn the broiler on to brown them.)

    Makes 2 servings.

    I actually cheated a bit, since all I had to do was heat the meat up in the microwave. So when fifteen minutes in the toaster oven, with a few minutes of broiler time, didn’t get the veggies brown enough, I tossed them into a skillet on the stove over high heat. I probably could have just started them that way and called this recipe “Sautéed Zucchini and Peppers.” Actually, I’ll probably just sauté them next time, to save the cleanup of the sheet pan. I’m also going to add onion. And maybe cabbage. Or whatever veggies I have in the fridge. 😉

    Pork Roast and Sauteed Veggies | LowCarbKaye.com

    Posted in Food Journal, Low-Carb, My Wholesome 30, Recipes | 1 Comment

    #MyWholesome30 Days 18–21 Check-In . . . with a Confession

    Up until Friday, I was doing just fine sticking to my Wholesome food plan, now that I made the decision to add a little dairy and a little Splenda (basically, my morning coffee) back into the mix.

    And then Friday hit. I was doing great during breakfast and lunch. Work was busy, and I ended up working a little later than planned to get a project finished and returned before I knocked off for the day. But then the evening hit. My hands and feet were hurting from the psoriasis. I found out that my personal trainer was let go from the gym (apparently he didn’t have enough clients, which really surprised me because he’s a fantastic trainer). My back had been hurting for a couple of days due to walking funny from my feet hurting. And I was just feeling stressed. So I did it. I went to the forbidden cabinet—the one that has stuff in it that I’m not supposed to be eating during this challenge . . . along with some stuff that I shouldn’t be eating at all. Like toaster pastries. Like frosted cherry toaster pastries. A brand new box of frosted cherry toaster pastries that hadn’t been opened, which was why I didn’t throw it away 19 days before, because it seemed so wasteful. So I had two of them as a snack.

    Yes, I fell. I made the decision to eat something completely off plan. That was my choice. I embraced the fact I was making that choice when I did it.

    But you know what? I don’t regret it. Not really. Because not only did it give me horrific heartburn afterward, throwing away an open box of toaster pastries while in the midst of that heartburn was really easy.

    Today, I’ve been watching food-prep videos from YouTube Vlogger Alyssia at Mind Over Munch to get myself motivated to go in and plan and prep for the upcoming week, which I’m going to do as soon as I post a few meal ideas from the last few days.

    How are you doing?

    Posted in Food Journal, Journal, Low-Carb, My Wholesome 30 | 3 Comments

    #MyWholesome30 Recipe: Curried Chicken Salad

    I’ve seen a few curried chicken salad recipes floating around on Paleo and Whole30 blogs, so on a grocery run last week, I picked up a rotisserie chicken to make one. This is a great way for someone living/dining alone to get rid of the other half of that chicken (we’re talking 2-or-so-pound Kroger chickens here, not 4- or 5-pound Costco or Sam’s pterodactyls). If you don’t have a rotisserie chicken but do have some chicken breasts in the freezer, cook them by simmering them in a pot with chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder until cooked through. Whether cooking your own chicken or using a store-bought rotisserie bird, refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, so that it’s fully chilled when you’re ready to start working with it.

    Curried Chicken Salad
    Click here for a printable PDF of this recipe.
    Ingredients for Curried Chicken Salad | LowCarbKaye.comIngredients:

    • ½ cup mayonnaise (I used my yummy homemade mayo)
    • ¾ teaspoon curry powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
    • Ground black pepper
    • ¾ teaspoon dried cilantro
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 small apple
    • ½ tablespoon lime juice
    • 1 pound cooked chicken
    • ½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts

    Tools and Utensils:

    • Knife, cutting board
    • Measuring cup/spoons
    • Large bowl + spoon for stirring
    • Small bowl (for apple/lime juice)

    In the large bowl, combine mayo, curry powder, salt, pepper, cilantro, and onion powder. Stir well to combine; set aside.

    Core and chop apple into ½-inch chunks (it’s up to you whether or not to peel it first). Place apple chunks into the small bowl with lime juice and toss to coat to keep apples from browning.

    If using a rotisserie chicken, remove skin and pull meat from the bones, making sure to remove any small bones or cartilage. Roughly chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to mayo mixture in large bowl. Add apples and lime juice and stir until chicken and apples are completely coated. You can stir in walnuts or use them as a garnish on top for serving.

    #MyWholesome30 Recipe: Curried Chicken Salad | LowCarbKaye.com

    I have to admit, the addition of the curry powder did nothing for me. Without it, this is a decent chicken salad recipe. If I’d had grapes, I’d have added those to it as well (my favorite chicken salad, from Rafferty’s, includes grapes). If you’re not worried about sugar content, it would have been excellent with Craisins in it.

    Posted in Food Journal, Low-Carb, My Wholesome 30, Recipes | 1 Comment

    #MyWholesome30 Days 6–16: Catching up and Checking In

    Recipes will follow in separate posts!

    So . . . that whole thing about getting better about checking in daily with how I’m doing on My Wholesome 30? Yeah. That didn’t work out so well. But it’s not because I’ve fallen off the wagon (though I have made slight alterations to my plan to enable me to stick to it).

    I’m not going to try to give a run-down of each day, just some highlights.

    Day 6: Saturday 8/15—Girls’ Day Out
    My girlfriends and I enjoy getting together on Saturdays for brunch followed by a matinee at either Hollywood 27 or the Green Hills cinema. Before going to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (fantastically fun movie—go see it, because we need it to make enough money for a sequel!!!), we decided to try a new place called Wholly Chow. I figured it would be more of an organic/healthy type place based on the name, but not so much.

    Based on my aversion to making special requests when ordering, I went ahead and had a couple of hard-boiled eggs at home before going. That allowed me to be good and order a side of bacon and a side of sausage. (And given their prices, that was definitely a good choice!) And it helps to have a friend who wanted to try their breakfast platter who gave me some of her bacon and sausage as well. That, combined with the eggs eaten before, kept me sated until well after the movie was over.

    Day 7: Sunday 8/16
    This doesn’t have anything to do with food and everything to do with why I haven’t posted in over a week. I’ve shared before that I suffer from psoriasis, and that my current battle with it is on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet. Well, back in July, even though I was taking weekly Enbrel shots (immunosuppressant—which is why I was sick for much of the first half of this year), it started getting worse and spread up to cover my fingers (mostly palm-side, but now starting to wrap around to the backs). Since I don’t seem my dermatologist again until Sept. 4, due to changing jobs and new insurance not starting until Sept. 1, I made the choice to wean myself off of the Enbrel, since it was obviously doing no good. In the subsequent weeks, my fingers (and toes) have gotten as bad as the palms (soles). The issue with this is that the painful cracks and splits have started forming on my fingertips, sometimes right at the quick of the nail.

    The worst day was August 16. My hands were so painful that I could barely move without excruciating pain (even just using the remote for the TV was difficult). Thankfully, I had some leftovers that enabled me to stay on plan, though I’m sure I probably didn’t even eat 1,000 calories that day. In the 10 days since then, they’ve fluctuated between almost that bad and not quite so bad. So on the good days, I’m doing some extra cooking so that I have stuff to eat on the bad days.

    The Alteration—Reintroducing Dairy and Artificial Sweetener
    20140116_183917With my psoriasis getting worse rather than better after cutting out all dairy, grains, legumes, and artificial sweeteners, I figured there was no reason to deprive myself of one of my favorite daily intakes—coffee with cream (I’m using heavy whipping cream, because it’s carb-free and because I use less of it than half-and-half because it’s so rich) and Splenda. After over a week with no sweeteners whatsoever, I have been able to cut the amount of Splenda I was using in half. And it’s the only sweetener I’m using. I’ll occasionally have other dairy—a slice of Swiss cheese in a sub sandwich roll-up, blue cheese dressing for dipping veggies or on a salad, or a little whipped cream to go with my fruit for dessert at night. And, yes, I made cream-cheese jalapeno poppers for supper one night. But I’m still drinking either water or unsweetened tea the rest of the day (even though I’ve been tempted to sweeten my tea, I’ve resisted!), and the only “sweets” I’m eating are a couple of servings of fruit every day.

    Working Out
    I see my personal trainer on Monday evenings. On 8/17, I had a good workout, adjusted from what he’d originally planned because of the pain in my hands. One of the exercises he had me do were jumping jacks—something I hadn’t done since probably junior high P.E. class. During the second set, my left knee started hurting. (Which is odd, because the right knee is the one I broke in high school and the one I usually have the most trouble with.) The set also included planks (getting up and down off the floor), and two different types of step-ups. So, lots of work on the knees.

    In a second workout on Wednesday that week, both knees were still bothering me, but I figured it was muscular, since we’d done so much leg work two days earlier. But ever since then, my knees have been swollen and painful. I’m not sure if it’s because of the workouts or because my psoriasis is starting to flare around the joint and is causing swelling (it does this with my ankles occasionally).

    When I got to the gym this Monday, I explained the issue with my knees this way: it’s like putting a pillow in the hinge of a door and then trying to shut the door. Then, if I try to get down on the floor, which includes going down on at least one knee, it feels like my kneecap is being dislocated, so that’s painful. And because I’ve been walking funny because of it—and sitting a lot more/longer than usual—my lower back was acting up, too.

    However, I lasted through three sets of squats and rows without pain (other than the good kind). But it was when we tried to go to the second set that I felt like my body was going to fall apart. I did as much as I could, and then finished the workout off with back and leg/knee stretches using a balance ball.

    Yesterday, I was sore, swollen, and moving around like the Tin Man. But I tried to make myself get up and move around as much as I could just to keep everything lubricated and from freezing up. Today, I still feel some swelling/stiffness in my knees, but because the weather has been so nice, I knew I needed to get out and enjoy it while I could. So instead of trying to go to the gym for a workout, I took a walk, up the alley that runs through the neighborhood up to the I-440 Parkway and back, which turned out to be a hair under three-quarters of a mile. For someone who hasn’t been walking regularly, I averaged 2.5 mph, and there are a couple of hills in that route, too.

    I have documented a few recipes/meal ideas that I’ll share in separate posts.

    How are you doing with your eating/challenge?

    Posted in Activity Report, Food Journal, Journal, Low-Carb, My Wholesome 30, Weight Loss Journal | 2 Comments

    #MyWholesome30 Days 3, 4, & 5 – Recaps and Zucchini-Artichoke-Tomato side dish recipe

    To go straight to the recipe, click here.

    Now that I’ve worked out in my own mind how I’m going to be working this program, combining the principles of the Wholesome food groups from Whole30 with my decades of experience with low-carb, I feel like I’m going to be able to move ahead with few speed bumps . . . as soon as I do actually take the time to plan and do prep ahead of time. 😉

    And I’m going to try to get better about posting my daily recaps in a more timely manner, too. But for now, here’s my post to get me caught up to today (Day 5).

    Day 3 (Wednesday)—So I revisited the Morning Mix on Wednesday for breakfast. Because it had been somewhat dry and tasteless in its original iteration, this morning, I added some Tony’s Creole spice and a spoonful of mayonnaise. While that made it much more palatable, I did make the decision that I probably won’t try this again. If I’m going to do something with ground pork for breakfast, it will probably be to make some kind of meatball or seasoned “burger” patty.

    Day 4 (Thursday)—Because of combining the whole-foods idea with low-carb, I decided it would be okay to go ahead and eat the sausage I’d already purchased before I decided to do the 30-day challenge. Yes, it has sugars in it, but nowhere near enough to send me over the very lowest level of net-carbs allowed on Atkins Induction. So, like some other things this week, I’m not going to sweat it. Because I got a late start to the day, I decided to go for a big breakfast, so in addition to approx. 4 oz of smoked sausage, I had two hard-boiled eggs, deviled with a touch of yellow mustard and my home-made mayonnaise.
    #MyWholesome30 Day 4 Breakfast---sausage and deviled eggs

    Day 5 (Friday)—One of the things that you’ll learn if you ever start a food program that’s a drastic change from how you regularly eat, after a few days, you really start feeling physiological effects. Apparently, I’m at that point, because without even realizing it, I slept through my alarm this morning and didn’t wake up until about 11:30. Because I work from home and can set my own schedule, this isn’t that big of a deal. But because we had a university-wide conference call/town-hall meeting, I was a little rushed. So I just stuck with the sausage this morning.

    One of the hardest changes for me to make has been giving up my coffee in the mornings. Being as overly sensitive to bitter flavors as I am, I can’t drink coffee without dairy (usually half-and-half, but occasional splurges on heavy cream) and sweetener (Splenda). Because I am addicted to caffeine and don’t plan to break that while trying to break the sugar/carb addiction, I’ve been drinking hot tea instead: Earl Grey, Lady Grey, English breakfast, and Yorkshire Gold. The Yorkshire Gold is by far the strongest and I really have to time how long I leave it to steep, or it’s so dark and bitter I can’t drink it. But hot tea (and iced tea later in the day) has really helped me get through the hungries when they hit.

    Day 3 (Wednesday)—I haven’t had a three-meal day since Tuesday due to the lethargy from lack of quick (simple) carbs. Since I already had something in the slow-cooker for supper, to tide me over between breakfast and lunch, I had a snack of an orange and grapes. I’ve definitely been eating more fruit this week than I would if I were doing Atkins Induction, but it’s really been helpful in keeping me from experiencing the massive sugar/carb cravings that I usually have in the first week.

    Day 4 (Thursday)—No lunch. Not only did I get a late start, I was super busy with projects for work and didn’t feel hungry until I was HANGRY, but by that time, it was already time for supper.

    Day 5 (Friday)—Because I ate breakfast around lunchtime, but I was a little hungry mid-afternoon, I fixed a salad. Romaine, carrots, and sweet bell peppers with a dressing of pomegranate-flavored red-wine vinegar and olive oil, with a little salt and pepper. I need to experiment with vinegar-and-oil dressing a little more and maybe even invest in some small dispenser bottles (like condiment squeeze bottles) in order to create some different flavors with fresh and/or dried herbs.

    Day 3 (Wednesday)—Tuesday, when I stopped at Publix after my breakfast out, they had bone-in Boston butt (pork shoulder roast) on sale, so I picked one up to make my Easy-Peasy Pork Roast because it makes a good base for many other recipes. But I couldn’t smell it cooking all day in the slow-cooker and not have some for supper!

    But what to go with it? Some veggies, definitely. I’d picked up some zucchini and grape tomatoes on Tuesday, and when I thought of zucchini, it made me think of that awesome zucchini and artichoke salad I made a couple of weeks ago—which also had tomatoes in it! But this time, I wanted a hot side dish. So I kind of made this up as I went, so the measurements are approximate.

    Stewed Zucchini and Tomatoes with Marinated Artichokes


    • 1 medium (about 10″ long, 1.5-2″ diameter) zucchini
    • 3/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained, 1/4 cup marinade reserved
    • 12 grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1-2 tablespoons vinegar (red wine or apple cider or other preferred flavor), optional
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Tools and Utensils:

    • Large skillet
    • Sharp knife and cutting board
    • Measuring spoon (if adding vinegar)
    • Measuring cup for artichokes and marinade

    Cut off ends of zucchini and discard. Cut zucchini into about 1/2-inch pieces. Measure out approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of marinated artichoke hearts and chop roughly. Be sure to get the leaves chopped a little more finely—and if you notice any that seem particularly tough, go ahead and pick them out. Measure out 1/4 cup of marinade from jar and set aside. Halve the tomatoes.

    Preheat your skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and let it brown just a touch. Add the artichokes, tomatoes, and marinade and let cook until zucchini are just fork-tender (this won’t take very long). Sample and add vinegar and/or salt and pepper to taste.

    Don’t overcook, or the zucchini and tomatoes will get mushy and slimy. (And I’m 100% opposed to slimy food!)
    #MyWholesome30 Stewed Zucchini-Artichoke-Tomato side dish

    Day 4 (Thursday)—I was really feeling the power of the lethargy, so I decided on another quick fix of something that I picked up from the grocery store on Tuesday, three small strips of sirloin steak for a quick-fix of steak and eggs.

    Day 5 (Friday)—As I type this, I’ve got a pan full of Pork and Green Chile stew on the stove and I’m about to go dish some up while getting caught up with Season 8 of Doctor Who.

    How has your week been, food-wise? Have you been making good choices? Tried anything new?

    Posted in Food Journal, Journal, Low-Carb, My Wholesome 30, Recipes | Comments Off on #MyWholesome30 Days 3, 4, & 5 – Recaps and Zucchini-Artichoke-Tomato side dish recipe

    #MyWholesome30 Day 2 Recap (and Recipes)–Or why two eggs almost made me quit.

    Late yesterday, I updated my Day 1 post with a new hashtag and name for the 30-day food journey I’m on, which I’ll explain below. I’m not giving up, and I’m not giving in. But I very quickly learned that for me to be successful over the next 30 (now 27) days, I must have a little bit of wiggle room. And there’s NO room for wiggling on Whole30. But I’ll get to that.

    Yes, there’s a recipe in this post . . . after my very long venting session. If you want to skip the explanation as to why I’m not doing Whole 30 anymore, click here.

    Day 2: Breakfast
    I faced my first challenge to my willpower and commitment. We went to a restaurant called the Puffy Muffin . . . so you can well (and rightly) imagine that my choices were pretty limited, since I’m not eating dairy, grains, or sweeteners. But I planned ahead by getting on the website Monday night to review the menu. I ended up ordering a la carte: two eggs (over easy) and 3 pieces of bacon. I’m sure the bacon wasn’t compliant (i.e., I’m sure there’s sugar in the cure), but I’m not going to sweat it.

    So now, here’s where I ran into a problem with Whole30. The paragraph above is almost word-for-word what I posted in the discussion forum on the W30 website. Unfortunately, it generated several discouraging and borderline negative responses from people listed as moderators. You know why? Not just because of the bacon most likely having traces of sugar in the cure (therefore, I shouldn’t have ordered it), but because the eggs were most likely cooked in vegetable oil. I wasn’t even worried about that because of what the Whole30 book says about whether or not vegetable oil is allowed:

    “Vegetable oils: some, reluctantly (because sometimes, you have to dine out) While we don’t think vegetable oils are ever a healthy choice, we don’t expressly rule them all out on the Whole30. If we did, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own kitchen, because all restaurants use them in some form in their cooking. We wanted to create the healthiest program we could, but we also need it to be possible for those who travel for business or pleasure, or simply want to dine out during the month.”

    But when I used that quote as part of my response, that just brought on further posts from the moderators berating me for not taking the program seriously enough to call ahead to the restaurant to find out what kind of oil they cook their eggs in or, once there, asking them to cook something off-menu for me [hard boiled or poached—yuck—eggs] or asking the server to ask the cook to use a different, more expensive ingredient, than the standard cooking method [olive oil rather than vegetable oil]. At that point, I was so emotionally overwhelmed by the criticism (which, yes, I’ll admit I’m overly sensitive to), I was ready to go into the kitchen and pull everything out of the “forbidden” cabinet and stuff my face. But then I reminded myself that I’m doing this for me, not for other people. So I “peaced out” on the forum and made the commitment to continue a 30-day challenge, just on my own terms.

    Yes, I probably took these posts way too personally. But, I’m sorry, I’m not going to make a fuss at a restaurant about what kind of oil (which is scant to begin with) the eggs are cooked in. If I had a medical condition which required me to call ahead or make a fuss with the waitress about what kind of oil they use for cooking (if I were allergic or had Crohn’s or some other GI condition triggered by soy or dairy or sugar), then I’d either not go out, or I’d make the fuss.

    But I don’t have a medical condition like that. And I’m not going to purposely develop even worse disordered eating than I already have and turn into one of those horrible people that makes everyone else at the table miserable and the servers’ and cooks’ jobs harder by demanding that they cook something off-menu just for me because I’m so afraid of a trace of the “bad” oil. My eating is already disordered enough without going to this level of obsession with it.

    The reason I decided to do a challenge like this is to make better choices and eat healthy foods. But I need to be able to eat bacon without feeling guilty. And if I accidentally (or occasionally knowingly) eat something cooked with vegetable oil that might have a trace of soy in it, I’m not going to agonize over it. That’s not quality of life to me.

    I’ve seen many people who’ve attested to being super successful by following the “letter of the law” on the Whole30 program. However, as I was thinking about this (i.e., obsessing over the responses from the moderators and fighting emotional food cravings) last night, I realized that one of the main reasons I was so successful with Weight Watchers six or seven years ago is because I had “wiggle room”—yes, I had a list of on-program foods that I was supposed to choose from and eat on the Core Plan. But I also had 35 “bonus” points each week, which meant that I could have that “souffle” pastry at Panera once a month, or a sandwich on 100% whole wheat + double fiber bread (for only 2 points). And never, in eighteen months on that program, did I ever use all of those points in a week. And while I’m not wanting to go to that extent of “flexibility” with this challenge, if I can’t meet up with friends for a meal out and eat what I know is a perfectly acceptable low-carb meal because I’m so worried about whether or not there might be a trace of soy in the oil used for cooking the eggs, there’s no way I can stick to that kind of a program.

    So, that’s the long explanation of why this is now My Wholesome 30—because I don’t want to call it something that it isn’t.

    Day 2: Lunch
    After the oh-so-controversial breakfast (which I didn’t know at the time), I stopped at the grocery store. Which probably wasn’t the best idea—since I had no meal plan and, thus, no shopping list. But everything I got is a Wholesome food (fruit, veggies, meat, eggs, healthy fats).

    For lunch, I went for a very “lunchy” meal—tuna, but with bell pepper slices instead of crackers or bread, with a side of baby carrots and a small orange.

    Because store-bought mayonnaise is made with soybean oil, Whole30 and Paleo, the two main whole-food programs, recommend making your own using olive oil. Since I was already almost out of store-bought mayo, I decided to try making it myself.

    It was SO easy.

    Homemade Mayonnaise
    #MyWholesome30 Mayo IngredientsIngredients:

    • 1 large egg—room temperature*
    • 1.5 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice—room temperature*
    • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1.25 cups light-flavored olive oil (not EVOO—you want the oil for the emulsion factor, not the flavor)

    Tools and Utensils:

    • Immersion (“stick”) blender**
    • 24- to 32-ounce tall/narrow storage container (mouth wide enough to fit the immersion blender head)
    • Measuring cup/spoon

    *In all the recipes I’ve read, to achieve maximum emulsion, having the egg and lemon juice be room temperature is of utmost importance.

    **While you can make homemade mayonnaise using a regular blender or food processor and the five-minute drizzle method, it’s more than well worth the $20 to get an inexpensive stick blender, even if all you ever make with it is mayonnaise. Instructions for the drizzle method can be found here.

    Add all ingredients to container. You might want to stir it with a fork a little bit to make sure the mustard powder and salt aren’t clumped up. Place immersion blender into the container, making sure it just touches the bottom. Turn blender on high and watch the magic happen.

    Almost instantly, you’ll start seeing the emulsion cloud forming at the bottom. Keep going about 30 to 45 seconds without moving the blender, then slowly, gently move it up and down and around to make sure all oil is incorporated. When all is said and done, it might take about 90 seconds to get it to all come together. Taste. If you think it needs more salt, add it and mix again for another 10 or so seconds. If it’s not quite flavorful enough, you might want to add more lemon juice, but no more than half a teaspoon at a time. The original recipe called for the “juice of one lemon.” When I checked in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, the conversion chart equated that to 3 tablespoons. However, that made it too tart. (Which was pretty well remedied when I added the remaining store-bought mayo to it so it wouldn’t go to waste.) Cover and refrigerate until use.

    #MyWholesome30 Olive Oil Mayonnaise Recipe

    Shelf life: Sources vary, but most say about two to three weeks in the fridge.

    If you can’t have eggs or you’re worried about consuming the raw egg (always look for pasteurized eggs if you’re going to make mayo), here’s an egg-free recipe.

    Day 2: Supper
    For my second challenge of the day, on Tuesdays I meet a friend for supper and an hour of writing. We used to meet at Panera, but as their prices went up, and their quality (of food and service) went down, we decided a change was in order. Since the Publix grocery store nearby (I used to work not too far from where Liz works) has an in-store cafe, along with a salad bar, hot-food buffet-style bar, and hot food in their deli area, as well as free WiFi, it’s the perfect place to meet—and we can do our weekly shopping right after! 😉

    For supper, I had a small salad (spring mix, romaine, carrots, cauliflower, bacon, cucumber, ham) with red-wine vinegar and oil (with added salt and pepper) for dressing, along with six chicken wings—two hot and spicy, two “Mardi Gras” (Cajun spiced), and two lemon-pepper seasoned.

    So, Day 2 of My Wholesome 30 is in the books (as is Day 3 as I’m writing this). So far, no major sugar cravings; however, I do have the “hungries” an hour or so after each meal. I’ve been dealing with those by drinking hot tea—unsweetened, of course.

    Posted in Food Journal, Low-Carb, My Wholesome 30, Recipes | 6 Comments

    #MyWholesome30 Day 1 Recap (and Recipes)

    MH30UPDATED 8/12/15: I’ll explain further in the Day 2 post, but please note that I’ve changed the name of the program I’m doing for the next 30 days to “My Wholesome 30,” which will be my own personal program inspired by Whole 30, but with allowances for things that might not be 100% Whole30 compliant (like regular bacon or lunch meats that might have traces of sugar, or things cooked by others which might use non-compliant ingredients, like soy products or vegetable oil). I still plan to try to stick to the core tenets of Whole30 (avoiding dairy, grains, legumes, and alcohol and choosing healthy meats, veggies, fruits, and fats instead). But I don’t want to give you the impression that everything I record here for the next 30 days is 100% compliant to Whole30. My intentions and efforts will definitely be 100%, though!

    Day 1 on My Wholesome 30 was a success! Even without having pre-planned or been to the grocery store yet, cleaning out the fridge/pantry reminded me of what I already had on hand, and there was more than enough to be able to get through the full day without going off plan or necessitating a run to the grocery store.

    Day 1: Breakfast
    20150810_105040In reading the newsletter for Day 1, I came across a recipe for “Morning Mix.” The basic recipe calls for one pound of ground pork or turkey (I used pork because I had it and because I don’t like turkey), a diced apple, and 1/8 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. That didn’t sound to me like it would be very flavorful, but I was willing to give it a try.


    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground meat. While meat is cooking (and stopping to stir it up occasionally), cut apple into approximately 1/2-inch pieces. This will help them cook through faster.

      Alteration to the Original Recipe: The meat needs to be seasoned. Many others have recommended adding chopped onion and garlic, while others recommended cooking a few pieces of bacon first, then cooking the ground meat in the bacon fat, and adding the crumbled bacon back in. I added salt and pepper and bacon bits.

    Once the meat is just cooked (it will continue cooking with the apples, and you don’t want it to dry out), add the apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. At 1/8 teaspoon each, I couldn’t even taste them. So it needs more seasoning than what’s called for. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are fork-tender.

    #MyWholesome30 Morning Mix

    Makes 3–4 servings, depending on how hungry you are.

      Alteration to the Original Recipe: Others suggested adding diced sweet potato or leaving out the apples and adding greens—spinach or turnip greens or kale (yuck!). Basically, it’s more about using a base of lean ground meat with something added for flavor and other nutritional value.

    Day 1: Lunch
    This should look familiar, because it’s the leftovers from the other night, when I made Orange-Lime Marinated Pork Chops.

    Day 1: Afternoon Snack
    Snacking is not encouraged on Whole30, but around 4:30, I started feeling really noshy (that pork chop was really small, and that was only about 1/3 cup of greens), and since I knew it would be an hour or more before I could eat supper, I decided to go for crunchy and sweet:

    Day 1: Supper
    Again, not having planned my meals for the week yet, I was trying to figure out on the fly what I was going to have for supper. But since I’d cleaned out/organized the kitchen on Sunday—and written down everything in the freezer so that I can eventually plan—I knew I had a pack of four chicken thighs in there. That’s when I remembered Nom Nom Paleo’s Cracklin’ Chicken recipe. I followed her recipe pretty much to the letter, except that I only did 4 thighs (half the recipe) and I used olive oil instead of ghee (clarified butter). So there’s no point in rewriting her instructions.
    #Whole30 Day 1: Cracklin' Chicken

    This is a great alternative to fried chicken—the skin crisps up nicely, and it’s mostly a “set it and forget it” cooking process (of course, you don’t want to leave anything on the stove unattended—but you really do just want to let these cook undisturbed until the skin gets crispy). But, as she mentions in her instructions, a splatter guard is pretty much a necessity for this! I used Tony’s More Spice on the meat side, so I almost got the flavor of Popeye’s spicy fried chicken.

    All in all, it was a good day.

    Day 2 (today) brought my first eating out challenge, but I’ll post about that tomorrow!

    Posted in Food Journal, Recipes, Whole30 | 2 Comments

    #Whole30 Day Zero

    The more I’ve struggled with sticking to a low-carb lifestyle, the more I’ve come to realize I need something more structured than just “I’m trying to eat low-carb.” Many, many people have recommended the Whole30 program to me as a great way to break food addictions and kick-start a healthy eating lifestyle. So I’ve decided to start the Whole30 program starting tomorrow (Monday, August 10, 2015).

    In a nutshell, the Whole30 plan is to eat non-processed meats, veggies, fruits, and fats/oils, and eliminate dairy, legumes, grains, and all sugars and sweeteners, natural and artificial. Oh, and alcohol—but that isn’t a problem for me—it’s been over a month since the last time I had an adult beverage.


    The last time I successfully lost weight and stuck to a healthy eating lifestyle was when I did the Core Plan on Weight Watchers 6–7 years ago. And I was successful because I was proactive and methodical. Every Sunday, before the WW meeting, I would go through my kitchen and make my meal plan for the upcoming week. Then, after the meeting (while all of that encouragement was still fresh in my mind), I’d go to the grocery store and pick up all of the stuff I needed to make all of my meals for the week. (And I saved a lot of money by shopping this way, too—planning around what I already had in the house and then just buying what I needed to complete the menu. A lot less went to waste.)

    To be successful with Whole30, I’m going to be doing that for the next 30 days as well . . . shopping from the fridge/freezer/pantry first and planning my meals for the week around that and just “fill-in” shopping.

    So to start getting things in order, I started by cleaning out my freezer . . . which included throwing out several things that aren’t on plan for the next 30 days and which I don’t want to go back to eating when I finish and start adding other foods back into the plan. (Like a frozen pizza, a couple of frozen meals that have been in there too long anyway, and some frozen biscuits and a leftover breakfast sandwich.)


    There wasn’t as much to get rid of as I originally thought . . . I’ve actually done a pretty good job at keeping the freezer stocked with low-carb options. I should actually be able to get all of my meals for this week planned without having to buy any additional meats.

    Unfortunately, I put it off until a little too late in the day to be able to do both the meal planning and the grocery shopping. But fortunately, I work from home now, so as soon as I finish a pending project first thing in the morning, I can head to the grocery store and get the fresh veggies and fruit that I’ll need to fulfill the menu for the rest of the week.

    My remaining tasks to prepare for a successful Whole30 program:

    • Clean out the fridge (hide all cheeses in the back of the freezer for re-introduction in 31 days, toss everything that will either go bad in 30 days or that aren’t on plan and I won’t be re-introducing at the end).
    • Clean off pantry shelves (again, same thing as above—I have a cabinet I never go into because it’s partially blocked by my dishwasher, and I’m very much an out-of-sight, out-of-mind person).
    • Deep clean stove, counters, shelves, fridge—this will get done a bit at a time during this first week.
    • Plan meals for the week (should have listed this first!).
    • Cook/prep ahead where possible. Even though I work from home, I’m still a big fan of not having to spend an hour or more in the kitchen prepping meals before I can eat.
    • Set the specific goals I want to accomplish during the next 30 days.
    • Weigh, measure, and take some selfies so that I can do before/afters at the end.
    • Finish reading/studying the Whole30 books (The Whole30 and It Starts with Food).
    • Remind myself daily to not watch Food Network.

    That’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure as I get a few days into the program, the list will grow.

    Have you ever done Whole30? What are your tips and suggestions? What are some of your favorite Whole30 recipes/meal plans?

    Posted in Food Journal, Low-Carb, Recipes | 3 Comments

    #LowCarb Recipe: Orange-Lime Marinated Pork Chops

    I’m at a point at which I’m trying to use up the food I already have in my house before I make another trip to the grocery store for anything but the barest of bare essentials. So yesterday morning, I took out a couple of pork chops to thaw, not knowing exactly what I was going to do with them, but wanting to make myself do something with them.

    When it came time to think about making supper and I Googled “pork chop recipes,” I ran across a couple of different recipes on the Food Network site for Cuban-style pork chops, the common thread in which was marinating the meat in a combination of orange and lime juices. I’m all into marinating to add flavor (though I wish I’d Googled earlier than 6 p.m. so I could have left them in longer!), I just picked up a bag of oranges at the store last week, and I always keep lime juice in the fridge. Not to mention a shelf full of all the spices I might need. So I was all set.

    Orange-Lime Marinated Pork Chops
    Click here for a printable PDF version.
    Orange and Lime Marinated Pork Chops IngredientsIngredients:


    • 1/4 cup orange juice (or juice of one small orange; mine turned out to be exactly 1/4 cup!)
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice (I didn’t have any fresh limes, but the juice of one lime would probably work)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for cooking later)
    • 2 five- to six-ounce, relatively thin pork chops (for thicker/larger pieces, increase amount of marinade and cooking time)
      Spice Rub:

    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea (large grain) salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seed
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

    Tools & Utensils:

    • Measuring cup/spoons
    • Quart-size zip-top plastic bag
    • Small bowl or container for mixing spices
    • Paper towels
    • Medium to large heavy-bottom skillet
    • Tongs or spatula

    Combine orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil in plastic bag. Add pork chops. Remove as much air as possible, seal, and then smoosh around until the meat is completely covered with the marinade. Let marinate in the fridge at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours (for thin chops; thicker chops can marinate longer).

    Before removing the marinated chops from the fridge, combine all ingredients for the spice rub in a small bowl and stir to combine well (make sure that you break up any lumps to ensure even distribution of all spices throughout the mixture). Remove chops from marinade and blot with paper towels—you don’t want to completely remove all of the marinade, you just don’t want them to be dripping. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Starting with 1/2 teaspoon of spice mix per side, season pork chops. Use whatever is left to cover any “bald” spots and to ensure thorough coverage of the meat with the seasoning.

    Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to hot pan and sear the chops in the pan, about 3 minutes per side for thin chops. Even though there isn’t much marinade left after blotting them, what’s there will help them brown gorgeously.

    Remove from heat, let rest about five minutes (like while you’re setting up your plating design for the final photo), and serve. YUMMY!

    Orange and Lime Marinated Pork Chop

    Nutritional Info:
    Pork chops are a relatively lean cut of meat, so even with a trace of olive oil (from the marinade and in the pan for cooking), this isn’t going to load you up on the fat grams. When the marinade has the carbs, and then you’re blotting most of it away, it’s always hard to calculate just how many you’re actually getting. I counted this as 2 grams net carbs, just to be on the safe side, and then rounded out my dinner with turnip greens (with peperoncini juice for acid/heat) and a small orange. According my calculations on FitDay, for this entire meal, it was a total of (approximately) 240 calories, 9 grams of fat, 25 grams of protein, and 10 net grams of carbs (14.1 total, 4.3 fiber).

    No, they didn’t turn out tasting sweet—but that could be because I only marinated the meat about 30 minutes. But the meat was oh-so-tender and, as mentioned above, the remaining traces of juice left just enough sugars on the meat to give it a a gorgeous brown-seared exterior, which is hard to get with pork because it is so lean.

    If you want to, once you finish cooking the chops, you could probably add the marinade to the pan along with a little bit of the spice rub and maybe some white wine or something to create a sauce—but that would add a lot more carbs. And I don’t really subscribe to the idea that meat needs sauces. If it’s well seasoned and well cooked, meat should be able to stand on its own without a sauce to either add flavor or moisture.

    Next time, I’m going to add a pinch of powdered jalapeño just to kick it up a notch!

    Posted in Food Journal, Low-Carb, Recipes | 1 Comment

    #LowCarb Budget-Friendly Shopping Tip: Spices

    One of the things that helps on any healthy food plan, including low-carb, is flavor. And flavor comes from spices. But those can be expensive. Well, I’ve discovered a secret, budget-friendly stash of spices in my grocery stores (Kroger and Publix) that have not only helped my budget, but also allowed me to experiment with spices I’d never tried before.


    Look for the Badia brand in the International (or the “Latin American”) food section of your grocery store. You should find the prices to be one-third to half (or lower) the prices of even the store brands over in the spice aisle.

    My favorite new find?  Jalapeño powder!

    Posted in Journal | 2 Comments