Plantain Bread with Raw Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

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Continuing on with my recent rhubarb prescription…

Today I adapted two recipes, and together they are super ultra delicious.  The plantain bread is an adaptation of zenbellyblog’s Plantain Tortillas.  I had ripe plantains, but wanted something fluffier than a tortilla.  I added a few more ingredients to make the finished product the consistency of corn bread.  The plantain makes this a little on the sweet side, so I whipped up something sour to go on top.  I’d been meaning to try Thankful Expressions’ Strawberry-Rhubarb Refrigerator Jam after a wild rhubarb search on Pinterest.  I added more rhubarb and strawberries, and swapped out the honey for dates.  The refrigerator jam is meant to set up overnight, which a patient person could definitely do.  I ate mine immediately, and see no reason to subject yourself to that amount of waiting.  Especially if you are hungry, and want your jam right this instant.

I think this might technically be SWYPO.  If you’re not familiar with Whole30, SWYPO (Sex With Your Pants On.  No, really.) is a term for making healthy dishes that mimic junk food.  The idea is that the healthy imitation isn’t as good as the real thing, so eventually you’ll just eat the real thing.  I decided to take it easy on myself though, and made it anyway.  Hey, someone has to look out for your best interest right?  And today my best interest was using up the rhubarb in my fridge, and eating something that tasted good when I ate it.  Easy decision as far as I’m concerned.

Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe plantain
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil (olive or coconut oil would also work)

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Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Spread evenly on greased baking sheet.  You could also bake this in a 8×8 baking dish to make it thicker, in that case I would double the recipe.  Bake at 350 for between 15-20 minutes or until the bottom starts browning. This serves 4.  I only wish I had more plantains at the moment so I could make more!  I ate 2 servings back to back.  That’s probably why you shouldn’t SWYPO.  Very rarely am I like, ‘GIVE ME SEVERAL HELPINGS OF THAT RAW VEGETABLE!’  But that’s just me.

The jam is very easy to make.  You can do it while the bread is baking.  Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  And that’s it!  Slather over the plantain bread with some pasture butter or ghee, and try to contain yourself.

Jam Ingredients:

  • 1 c chopped rhubarb
  • 1 1/3 c strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 dates

Fish Taco Bowl

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Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t need an excuse to eat Mexican food.  I have been known to eat it every day for days on end without realizing it.  But since I stopped eating, oh I don’t know…beans, rice, corn, tortillas…I haven’t been eating much food from south of the border.  Recently on Cinco de Mayo, I found myself with a powerful fish taco craving.  Ordinarily I would make a tortilla exception, but I’m doing Whole30!  A tortilla wasn’t worth starting over again.  I decided to make a fish taco bowl instead.  It was so good I may even prefer it to fish tacos.  And I felt so good after I ate it.  There is something about the Paleo/Whole30 diets that make my body feel really light and energized after eating.  Maybe it’s because there isn’t half a loaf of bread weighing my stomach down.  Hmm…maybe.

In lieu of rice, I cooked up some cilantro lime cauliflower rice.  You just pulse chopped cauliflower in a blender until the pieces are about the size of grains of rice, then sauté in a little olive oil.  While cooking, I added the juice from 1 lime and a handful of cilantro.  You can take the cilantro out once it’s done cooking, or chop it first and leave it in.  I’m crazy (for cilantro), so I left mine in.  A half head of cauliflower is enough to feed about 2 people with a little left over.  I like to blend up a whole head of cauliflower at once and store half in the fridge for later.  I’m just really a forward thinker like that.  For the fish I used a fresh Tilapia filet, but mostly because it was on sale.  Oh, you fancy?  Then throw some exotic and pricey sea creature in there! Any fresh or frozen fish you have will work.  In a shallow dish I combined the  juice from 2 limes, minced garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, paprika and salt.  I marinated mine for about 30 minutes before I cooked it.  It was plenty flavorful, but I would have let it sit longer if I had the time.  Time…does anyone else have any of this?  Maybe the fancy fish eaters do.  Don’t ask me. I cooked the Tilapia in olive oil and what was left of the marinade for a few minutes on each side, adding a little more seasoning to taste.

The best thing about this recipe (especially if you’re doing Whole30) is how many vegetables you can cram into it.  I mean…you’ve already got a veggie as your rice, but why stop there!  I threw in pretty much everything I had in the fridge.  Red cabbage, avocado, onion, cilantro, Daikon radish, jalapeño, and some fresh pico de gallo.  To finish it off, I added some lime juice and salt and pepper.  Ole!  So tasty!

Ingredients:

  • Tilapia or fish of choice
  • 3 limes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • veggies of choice
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • handful of cilantro

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Beets

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There’s nothing like going on the Paleo or Whole30 diet to make you appreciate sweet potatoes.  There was a time in my life when I didn’t see a sweet potato outside the confines of Thanksgiving dinner. You know the dish I’m talking about.  The one in which our no-nonsense tuber gets all dolled up in butter and brown sugar and is then smothered with ooey gooey marshmallows?

Yum.

But maybe not the best thing to be eating on a regular basis.  Plus the sweet potato is capable of so much more!  Since I’ve been doing Whole30, sweet potatoes have almost become a treat to me.  Does that make you feel sad for me?  I can see why it might. However, since I started the diet I’ve noticed desserts have become less tempting for me.  ‘Junk’ food in general seems to be losing its appeal.  If something unhealthy ever does sound good, I can usually think of how I’ll feel after and it immediately sounds less appealing.  I think that might be the point of the diet!  Hooray!

Back to our sweet potato discussion.  I’ve found myself cooking them with just about everything, even eating them for breakfast.  Thus, this super simple and ultra delicious recipe. The tart apples go very well with the sweetness of the beets and sweet potatoes  It’s also an easy way to sneak beets into your diet.  Don’t get me wrong, I love beets…in theory.  I love them in the sense that I know they’re good for me, but I kind of have to talk myself into eating them.  Beet lovers, please don’t take offense!

I peeled the beet but left the skin on the apples and sweet potatoes.  You can peel those too if you want.  Chop everything into uniform sizes.

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Pretty, no?

Place everything in a medium-sized bowl.  Add pecans.  Drizzle with enough balsamic vinegar to lightly coat ingredients.  Add cinnamon, rosemary, and salt and pepper.  Stir to distribute seasonings evenly.  Transfer to an unlined baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tart apples (like Granny Smith or Pink Lady)
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 beet
  • 3/4 c pecans
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • pepper

These seasoning measurements are approximate.  I don’t usually measure when I cook…so feel free to adjust according to your taste!

 

Thai Chicken Salad

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Thai Chicken Salad

Fish Sauce.  I love it.  I just try not to inhale when in its presence.  I’m realizing more and more that sometimes the stinkiest food is the best tasting.  Is that a metaphor for life?  You decide.  I, however, will probably continue taking showers.

Back to the fish sauce.  Fish sauce is used a lot in some of my favorite cuisines.  Thai and Burmese to name a few.  And for good reason.  It adds a saltiness and tang that’s hard to replicate.  Plus, it’s on the Whole30 approved list.  Huzzah!  If you haven’t used it before, don’t let the smell stop you.  In fact, just try not to smell it.  Your taste buds will thank you later.

This afternoon I found myself starving, staring down a head of purple cabbage.  I always end up wasting cabbage.  I buy it for fish tacos or something, use a tiny chunk of it and the rest grows ever stinkier in the back of my fridge.  This time I was determined to break the habit.  I had a dozen Pink Lady apples from Costco, so those needed to be used up too.  I’m really trying hard these days not to waste produce.  A coleslaw-type chicken salad sounded appealing, but I didn’t want the mayonnaise base for the sauce.  What I came up with is basically a vinaigrette with fish sauce.  And I’m so glad I did it!  This salad was everything.  The savory flavor of the fish sauce, the sweet crispness of the apples, the soft and creamy avocado coupled with the kick of the jalapeno… So good.  My husband even liked it, and he is generally afraid of most fruits and vegetables.  Once he was about halfway done eating his he said, ‘This sure doesn’t look like it should taste good, but it does!’  Ahh, the things that warm your heart after 7 years of marriage.

This salad is easy to put together if you have the chicken already cooked, so make sure to have that done first.  It made enough for my husband and I and there was about a serving left over.  Next time I will definitely double the recipe!

Core the apple but leave the skin on.  Slice all ingredients into long strips and put into a medium-sized bowl.  Remove the seeds from the jalapeno if you don’t want it very spicy.  Put the fish sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Dijon mustard in a jar with a lid and shake.  Add to the other ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 c. shredded chicken
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage
  • 1/2 Jalapeno
  • 1/2 white or red onion
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 Pink Lady apple
  • handful of cilantro

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Cholula Burgers

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So it’s been a month since I gave birth to my sweet, adorable daughter. One month. I know in the reality based portion of my brain that a month isn’t long enough for one’s body to recover from the previous nine months it took to look so terrible. But still! I long for my ‘fat pants’ to button up.  I long for the end of slimming undergarments. I long for them now. I don’t want to wait several more months to wear my normal clothes. I am sick of my fat lady uniform of stretchy pants and flowy tops.
Enter:Whole30. It sounded a little harsh when I first read about it. Now it’s sounding downright reasonable. As long as I see some solid results, I don’t care what I have to do! Bring on the restrictions! No honey? No problem! Just take my muffin top. Please. I also have some thyroid/skin issues I’d like to see improved.  Whole30 has promised me as much.  So what have I got to lose?  (Answer: my muffin top.  Pay attention!)
If you’re not familiar with the Whole30 program, it’s like a stricter version of the Paleo diet.  Not only do you forgo gluten, dairy, legumes and the like…you also cut out all sweeteners.  That’s right-no agave, honey…nothing!  You’re not supposed to snack, or cook up those wonderful Paleo recipes that try to mimic junk food.  No almond flour muffins or banana pancakes.  I love those!  And here is the real kicker.  If you falter…if you have one tiny taste of something on the forbidden list… You. Start. Over.  Oh, you were on day 29 of your 30 day commitment? Too bad!  Start over!  This diet is like the Soup Nazi of the nutrition world.  And that’s exactly what I need right now.  I need some borderline unreasonable guidelines to get things moving in the right direction.  Here is the official website for both the nitty and the gritty: http://whole30.com/ 
I’m only on day 4, but it actually hasn’t been that bad so far.  One thing it’s made me realize is how much I crave sweets. I don’t eat refined sugar often, so I didn’t think I had a problem. But apparently I eat honey and other natural sweeteners quite a bit!  I’m really feeling their absence.  I’ve also had a hard time with the no snacking thing. Apparently I’m used to eating basically all day long.  Grazing, some might call it.  Part of it might be the fact that I’m breast-feeding and hungrier than normal. Who knows.  So I do my best. If I feel legitimately hungry, I eat a little something. I don’t want to mess with my milk supply. (Yeah I know…I graze and I produce milk.  Moo.)
One good thing Whole30 has done for me so far is to make me focus on using healthier ingredients. I’ve found myself trying to fit as many vegetables as I can into my meals. Not a bad habit for anyone to be forming, yes? I think that’s the point of undertaking something like this. Focus on the things you should be eating more of instead of what you can’t eat.   So for the next month or so I’ll be sharing some of my Whole30 creations.  And here’s the best part, you don’t have to commit to the diet to eat them!
This burger recipe is a simple way to amp up the flavor quotient on your bun-less burger. Honestly, I never miss the bun. Who needs it!  You can use a lettuce wrap or just dig in with a fork. Don’t forget to pile on as many veggies as you can. Cucumbers, bell peppers, avocado, jalapenos, sprouts… Get crazy.  I chose Cholula because it’s on the Whole30 approved list.  Plus, have you tasted it?  Duh.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Cholula
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Form into patties.  Cook as desired.  I cooked mine with bacon grease in a skillet.  Top with any yummy thing you can think of.  I topped mine with a fried egg, avocado, cilantro and onion.
Whole30 never tasted so good!

Blended Mocha

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Do you know what it takes to make a delicious, naturally sweetened blended coffee beverage?

One frozen banana.

This little number brings to mind the sugar and calorie-laden Frappuccino of that one popular franchise you’ve probably heard of.  Only this version is lower in calories, free of artificial ingredients, dairy-free, sugar-free, and even has fruit in it.  Win!  So if you’re not already doing it, and I’m sure you are, slice up and freeze those brown, mushy bananas .  Then they’ll be there for you the next time you want to make a smoothie, blender ‘ice cream’, or say, this refreshing drink.  I don’t know about you, but once the temperature hits about 70 degrees I can no longer partake in hot beverages of any kind.  I’m already working too hard to keep my insides cool!  We’ve had some unseasonably warm days here recently, hence the need for a frozen concoction. I fear it’s going to be a long summer…but at least I’ll have something cool to drink!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sliced, frozen banana
  • 1/2 c. canned light coconut milk
  • 16 oz cooled coffee
  • 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder (you could also use cocoa powder)
  • 1 c ice cubes

Blend the banana and coconut milk in a blender or food processor until smooth (1-2 minutes).  Add cacao powder, blend until mixed in.  Add coffee and ice cubes, blend to desired consistency.  You can also pour over ice for maximum chilliness.

 

Skillet Apple Bake

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Phew!  What a week (or two).  The baby finally came, as much as I truly believed I would be the first woman to be diagnosed with permanent pregnancy.  I could see the headlines and everything.  Having a newborn in the house hasn’t left me a lot of time for cooking, blogging, sleeping…  And it’s really made me realize how much better I feel when I eat healthy foods.  We’ve felt so much support from family and friends through dinners and their general willingness to help.  It’s made me very grateful!  That being said, I’m really looking forward to getting back to my clean eating routine.  Especially with this strangely shaped post baby body.

I threw this together one morning before the wee one was born.  It’s so easy to prepare and really yummy.  You can almost convince yourself you’re eating an apple Danish.  Well, almost.  I guess it depends on how long it’s been since you’ve had a Danish!

Ingredients:

  • One thinly sliced apple (I used a Pink Lady, and left the skin on)
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Hemp Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 c. chopped Pecans
  • 2 tsp. Raw Organic Honey
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Dash of Salt

Cover the bottom of your skillet with coconut oil.  Slice apple and spread in an even layer in the bottom of the skillet.  Mix coconut flour, seeds, pecans, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.  Spread over the apple slices.  Pour honey evenly over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Then, eat it!  You could eat this with yogurt or OOH! on top of pancakes.  I think I’ll try that next.

Raw ‘Oats’

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This is currently my favorite breakfast recipe.  And I’m really into breakfast.

I’ve seen some different versions of it online, but this is the one I like best.  It’s quick and easy, my two favorite recipe adjectives.  It tastes really fresh, and has everything my breakfast needs – protein, healthy fats, fiber, you get the idea.  I’ve tried it with different kinds of apples.  I prefer Granny Smith, but I like things a little on the sour side. In fact, I like my food to be just shy of pucker inducing.  Also, I have a Grandma Smith…which now that I think about it is entirely unrelated.  

Anyway.  I soak the date in hot water for about 10 minutes before adding it to the blender.  I don’t have a super fancy blender, so this method helps a lot with the date dispersion.  You could use any kind of nuts you have lying around.  I’ve done a walnut/almond combination that was just divine!  This recipe makes 2 servings, one of which I occasionally find myself eating later the same day.  It’s just too good, y’all.  

1 Apple, chopped

1/4 c Pecans 

1/4 c Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)

1 Date, softened

Pinch of Cinnamon

Pinch of Salt

2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Juice of 1/2 Lime

Once the date has softened, throw all your delicious ingredients into the blender.  I would advise adding the lime juice after you’ve tasted the finished product.  You may or may not need it, depending on the apple and your taste preference.  Blend until all ingredients are chopped into small pieces.  Be careful not to blend too much or you’ll have an unappetizing paste on your hands.  You want it to be about the consistency of oatmeal.  

What’s your favorite breakfast recipe right now?