Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork over Carrot "Fries" topped with Guacamole


David and I have proclaimed this as the best meal we've eaten on Whole30. It sounds totally fancy but it really isn't. All it is is slow cooker pork that's cooked for 8 hours on top of roasted carrots and topped with homemade guacamole. It's such an easy meal to make because you put your pork on in the morning and go on with the rest of your day. When dinner time rolls around, just chop up some carrots and roast them. While the carrots are roasting, make your guac! It's really that simple.

We also think this is the best slow cooker shredded pork we've ever have. Even when we're done with Whole30 we will be making this meal on the regular. What I love about it is how versatile it is. You could totally skip the carrot fries (though, they are amazing!) and put the pork over a baked sweet potato. Or, I'd love to put this pork in a corn taco shell and make tacos. Mmm...or nachos?! Ugh, there's just so much you could do with it. I definitely recommend making this recipe the way it is. Just get the pork done with in the morning and do those two other little steps and you have yourself quite a gourmet looking and tasting meal.


Last weekend I read an article I found on Pinterest about 5 common mistakes people make when using a crock pot. One of the common "mistakes" is putting raw meat in the crock pot. It said you should always sear the meat before putting it in there to develop the flavor. Well, as you can see from the above photo, I didn't do that. I honestly don't think it really matters. This pork is super flavorful and so incredibly tender. I just don't see the point in searing it before adding it to the crock pot in this recipe, but if you want to, go ahead!


Slow Cooker Shredded Pork
Adapted from Dawn Nicole

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 dried chile pepper
2 bay leaves
2-4 pounds pork sirloin roast or pork tenderloin

1. In a crockpot bowl combine chicken broth with seasonings. Place pork in crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Half way through the cooking time, flip the pork over. Shred with forks.


The above photo is of the carrots pre-roasted. I wanted to give you an idea of how I cut them and spread them across two cookie sheets as not to crowd them. You definitely don't want them crowded or they won't get nice and brown.


Carrot "Fries"

4-8 carrots, peeled & sliced into sticks
1 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Coat carrot sticks in oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay carrots onto 1 or 2 cookie sheets. Roast for 10 minutes, remove from oven to toss carrots, and roast another 10-12 minutes.


Guacamole

2 avocados, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tomato, diced
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1. In a bowl; smash avocados. Mix in garlic and lime juice. Mix in tomato and season with salt to desired liking.


Slow Cooker Shredded Pork over Carrot "Fries"
topped with Guacamole 

Directions: On a plate; serve a handful of carrot "fries". Top carrots with shredded pork, then top with a dollop of guacamole.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Whole30 Week 4

It's so weird to think I'm starting Week 4 of Whole30! My last full week of it. It's really been going well. David and I have been eating so well and we totally feel satisfied so it really hasn't been hard. Though, I'd be lying if I didn't say I miss wine. I reallllllyyyy miss wine. Like, I'm pretty sure I could eat as strict as Whole30 80% off the time if I could just have my wine on Friday and Saturday night. Kombucha has helped ease the pain of missing beer, but nothing is replacing my beloved wine. 

Anyway, Week 3 flew by! I got in lots of work outs and I learned from Week 2 that I need a little snack before a tough workout. You'll see on Wednesday and Friday I let myself have a snack before my mom and I went on hour mountain bike rides those days. I think it helped with my energy level. I find if I'm doing a 30 minute workout the other days, I don't really need that snack. 

My breakfasts might look huge, but that's because I've found I need the most food for breakfast. I find that really interesting, but the only part of the day where I feel any hunger is usually around 11 a.m. If I don't eat a large breakfast then my stomach starts growling around 10! It's insane. Luckily I know now to just add more nuts and that addition alone can totally help me make it to lunch. 

Dinner is now my smallest meal of the day, I think. I just don't really need that much food for dinner, and I really like that about Whole30. 


Monday I had little to no energy once night time came around. All day I had been super sore from Sunday's workout. I only walked Ryder around the block, made dinner, did dishes, and couldn't get myself to do a yoga video, like I had planned. I ended up in bed at 8:20 and was definitely asleep by 8:45. I also looked very bloated on Monday night. Was still feeling sad that my stomach isn't flat yet.


Tuesday for breakfast I had leftover pot roast under my eggs with sautéed swiss chard, red bell pepper, and jalapeño. It was a tasty combo! I also am LOVING grapes at breakfast. For lunch I totally didn't eat that whole bowl of soup. I'd say I had about half of it. The soup was a recipe I made up which was pretty good. David loved it. It's a chicken, basil, curry, coconut soup, but I think it needs some more adjusting before I blog it. It was so nice to have David cook dinner on Tuesday night while I was on a walk with my friend, Michelle. I love that he's taking on the grill these days. I also got my foam roller on Tuesday so I did a Tone It Up roller video which was painful but in a good way!


By Wednesday we were running out of the veggie mixture I'd made for breakfasts. It seems to be an ongoing issue. I need to incorporate more veggies in my breakfasts. Lunch I had some more leftover soup and a big steak salad. Wednesday night my mom and I mountain biked 5.5 miles, so I grabbed a quick snack while I drove up to her house. David helped me make dinner Wednesday night which was a favorite chicken sausage, sweet potato, leek hash with roasted broc.


Thursday for breakfast I had a nice addition of butternut squash! This was a tasty treat. Egg yolk mixed with butternut is delicious by the way. Lunch was another big salad with leftover hash. I had lots of energy on Thursday. I took Ryder on a 1 mile run (1st run since my 5k a few weeks ago) and then came back and did a 15 minute Tone It Up HIIT video from their Frisky Fall series which I'm loving. I had tons of energy and felt amazing. I made up a new shredded brussels sprout recipe which I'll be sharing the recipe soon. We also had stuffed poblano peppers. David loved these. I thought they were good but not amazing.


Friday's breakfast was starting to look a little pitiful. I hadn't bought enough fruit for the week which saddened me. Lunch I totally spaced and forgot to take a picture of my lunch before I devoured the stuffed pepper. David, my mom, and I went on another mountain bike ride so I had another lovely snack. Grapes and almonds go amazing together. After our ride we shared a kombooch and I made dinner. Dinner was pretty much a disaster. I coated rock cod my dad had caught in coconut flour, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and dill. I then baked it and I think I should have fried it or something because the coconut flour tasted raw. It was not good! Luckily I enjoyed the mashed cauilflower, broccoli, and pickle!


Saturday was rough. I was super unimpressed with my breakfast which was missing anything green and no grapes. David headed off to CrossFit and I cleaned the house for over 2 hours. It wasn't fun, and I was very cranky. I knew when I was done cleaning that I would't have a good lunch either which put me in even a worse mood. I felt bad for David because I was so mean when he got home, but I warned him I was in a bad mood. I made myself a hardboiled egg for my salad since I didn't want the leftover disaster fish. I was also having a major craving for a latte. I just wanted something warm and somewhat sweet. After lunch we ran tons of errands; Target, Costco, Imwalle Gardens, and Whole Foods. Once we were ridiculously stocked up I felt much better. Weird, I know. We took Ryder on a 4 mile walk in the rain, but before we left I had a date stuffed with a cashew. This little sweet treat sent me straight to heaven! After our walk we tried a mango flavored kombooch and I finished up preparing dinner. We had our favorite meal (which I'm sharing this week!) and finished the night with tea and catching up on our favorite shows.


Today's breakfast was amazing. I was so happy to have my beloved grapes back! I went on an hour hike with my friend, Michelle after breakfast, and then spent most of the day preparing food for the week. I also took photos of two new recipes, and spent most the afternoon blogging. David and I did a joint effort on dinner. I prepped the chicken and he barbecued it. It was delish.

I'm now totally prepared for the week, so I feel ready to kick Week 4's butt! Just like Week 3 I plan to keep up with my workouts. I'm worried mountain biking might fall by the wayside since it's getting too dark to go after work. We'll see  how it goes on Wednesday evening. I'm excited to start using my new kettle bell this week. Tone It Up has a couple of videos for kettle bells that I've never done, so I'm looking forward to trying those out. I hope to do a couple jogs with Ryder, too. Even if it's only 1 mile around our block it sure gets my heart rate up and is a great start to a workout.

This weeks meal plan has less veggie sides but if it's missing a veggie side, it has plenty of veggies in the meal itself. I'm really looking forward to this week's menu. I have lots of squash in there. We may turn into one...Have a great week!

Week 4 Meal Plan

BBQ Whole Chicken with Shredded Brussels Sprouts 

Bison Chili 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chicken Coconut Curry with Acorn Squash

Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Sausage Hash

Spaghetti Squash Turkey Casserole with Green Beans 

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup with Chopped "Thai" Kale Salad

Baked Salmon with Avocado Salsa and Zucchini 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Whole30 Week 3

Hola! 
I made it through week 2 with no problems. Yay! I have to say, this month is flying by, especially when I take photos of everything I eat. There's something about going through these food photos and making these collages that make the days seem like they go by so fast. 

I have to admit that while I loved the Sweet Potato Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole I was excited for Saturday's breakfast to have something different. The casserole really did spark some ideas though for future breakfasts casseroles. I'd really love to incorporate butternut squash into a breakfast casserole. For now I bought a small butternut today, and I'm thinking I'll be eating it up next weekend for breakfasts. 

Let's see if I can recall much about the last week and how I felt each day...



Day 8 I felt like I looked bloated. I was pretty sad by that but what can ya do. Luckily, I didn't feel bloated, so that's good. My lunch was a shredded chicken salad with a side of pecans and almonds. I'm totally appreciating nuts more these days. Dinner was so delicious! I'd never made bison burgers before and they were a total hit. I only added fresh flat leaf parsley, garlic, green onion, salt, and pepper to them. I then barbecued them and topped them with sautéed onions and mushrooms. This dinner was definitely a favorite. I'll be making this again soon!


Day 9 was a cloudy day and I felt pretty low on energy. I never had the three o'clock slump like I used to, but it felt like low energy for Whole30 standards. Lunch included leftover mashed cauliflower from Sunday night, which is so incredibly tasty. I honestly could eat them over mashed potatoes with no problem. Dinner was one of my favorites. I made The Roasted Root's Spaghetti Squash with Pesto & Shrimp. It wasn't quite Whole30 compliant but I made it work. The pesto has so much flavor that I didn't miss the parmesan at all. This is another dinner I'll be making again in the future.


Day 10 was the first day I got hungry before lunch. I really thought that my breakfast casserole and apple would be enough, but for whatever reason (maybe upping my activity?) I was starving by 10:50 am. I had a teeny tiny snack of almonds and pecans which totally held me over until lunch. Lunch I had the amazing leftovers with a side salad. Since Wednesday night I did a mountain bike ride with my mom, David took over dinner. We had baked sweet potatoes, baked lemon pepper chicken thighs, and shredded sautéed Brussel sprouts. This dinner totally reminded me of Thanksgiving food. p.s. I love when my husband cooks.


Day 11 I tried making my breakfast serving of the casserole bigger which helped me last until lunch. Lunch was leftovers. Dinner I made a paleo version of Shepherd's Pie with ground turkey and sweet potatoes. I didn't have high expectations for it, but oh man, it was delicious. David loved it and so did I. I'll definitely be making this one again in the future. Hopefully I'll share it on the blog as well. Making a roux with coconut flour for it was interesting, but it totally worked. I also had my mom's pickles as a side -- soooo tasty!


Friday I decided to add some nuts to my breakfast as well as almond butter with my apple. It helped keep me full longer in the morning, so I think I'll continue adding nuts to my breakfast. Friday night David, my mom, and I went on another mountain bike ride. It was unusually painful in my legs. More than just "My legs are on fire!" Like, it was actually painful! I don't know what was going on but I feel like I didn't have enough energy for the ride. I performed pretty bad, and felt like it was my worst riding in a month. I was pretty discouraged that I was doing worse after a month of riding. I think my body is still trying to get used to burning fat and protein for energy rather than easy carbs. Dinner was a simple salmon recipe that I will definitely make again. We had it with mashed cauliflower and sautéed zucchini. We also celebrated Friday night with Guava kombucha. It's a new favorite of mine! I loved the flavor.


Saturday I was so excited to try a new breakfast. It was two scrambled eggs with bell pepper, spinach, and green onion. I had a side of half an avocado, tomato, and apple slices with almond butter. Breakfast held me over through house cleaning and until lunch. Lunch was leftover salmon salad with another delicious pickle. After David and I went on a 4 mile walk with Ryder around Spring Lake, we stopped by Whole Foods and David picked up another kombucha which we shared. He chose citrus, which was alright but not a favorite of mine. It was definitely nice to have something other than water. For dinner I had made a pot roast in our crockpot but it came out pretty dry. I had to put tons of mustard on it. The carrot fries were delicious, as always.


Today I made some sweet potato chips for breakfast. Kind of weird, I know, but they were super amazing. Except, I did burn most of them. Damn it. I'll try again! I kind of love the grazing plate of my breakfast. Eggs, avocado, sweet potato, and apples with almond butter and nuts -- yum! Again, breakfast held me over quite well, even through a leg and booty workout. Lunch included leftovers and a side of walnuts, almonds, and coconut shreds. For dinner I made Spaghetti Squash with meatballs. This dinner took a bit of prep but was definitely doable for even a week night meal. I was happy with the way it turned out.

I would definitely say that Week 2 went better than Week 1. Obviously, I wasn't sick. I could tell through my workouts that I wasn't quite back to perfect health, but I did manage to workout every day of the week. I was pretty proud of that.

I thought that I'd maybe look less bloated at this point then I do. I can tell that my pants fit better but when I look in the mirror I still see some bloat that I'd like to be gone. It's definitely getting better though, and I'm excited to work out even more in Week 3.

I felt like I didn't have that much energy this week, but then again, I can't say I ever felt "super tired". I seem to have enough energy throughout the work day and enough to workout, make dinner, and do dishes when I get home. So, I guess I can't complain there.

I still haven't noticed a change in my skin, but I did buy a new exfoliant from EO today. Maybe that will help? Who knows...I just want my chin to be less red! I thought that would have been fixed by now, but then again, it's only been 2 weeks. I guess I'm just not the patient. Oh yeah, on a side note, David and I have been using EO Soap as our body wash and we love it. We've had their Citrus & Mint, and now Coconut & Lemon. I highly recommend their products!

Week 3 Meal Plan

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs and Garlicky Green Beans

Chicken Basil Curry Soup with Acorn Squash

Spicy Pork Stuffed Peppers with Salad

Sweet Potato, Red Pepper, Chicken Sausage Hash with Salad

Grilled Flank Steak with Peppers, Zucchini, and Carrot "Fries"

Rock Cod with Creamy Cauliflower & Shredded Brussel Sprouts

Slow Cooker Pork over Carrot "Fries" topped with Guacamole

I have a couple repeats for Week 3 from Week 1 because they were so good. I also hope to possibly blog one or two of these recipes. We'll see...the sun is setting so much earlier these days. By the time I get off work, workout, and cook it's dark. Please just bare with me!
Have a great week!
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