Shit has gotten serious now, though. I am trying to make sure we have dinners, breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the week. I don't want to depend on Lara ALT bars or some of the other filler snacks, like popcorn or hummus that are not autoimmune friendly.
This is what I did last Sunday:
Cooked a pound of chicken breasts for salads and post-gym snacks
Cooked a pound of bacon (Whole Foods thick cut dry rubbed) for the soup I was making, salads for the week, and for the bacon fat.
Steamed a head of cauliflower and tons of broccoli (and used most for making a soup and put aside the rest for salads and snacks)
Roasted a butternut squash (to be put together with other friends to create a meal)
Steamed 2 heads of kale (soon to become besties w/ the butternut squash)
Chopped an onion, parsnips, and Japanese sweet potatoes... Seared 2 large bone in pork chops and baked them with the veggies. (This will be 2 dinners for us and a lunch for one of us)
Let's Break it Down.
I buy chicken (both breasts and thighs) at Whole Foods, in their 3+ pound family packages. When I get home, I break it down into 3 portions. I cut each breast in half and butterfly them, then freeze. Once thawed, I saute the chicken in coconut oil and spices. It goes into a container and into the fridge until it's needed. When I use the chicken for salads, I cut it into bite size pieces and saute the pieces in coconut oil until they get a little brown on all the edges. Just adds a little more flavor for the salads. As a snack, I just wrap a piece in foil and eat cold as is.
For the bacon. I put the oven on 425 and cover a cookie sheet with foil. I lay out each slice and put it right in the oven for about 25 minutes until it's crispy. I lay it out on paper towel and reserve the grease in a ramekin and reserve for later recipes. I am sure to cover the ramekin with foil since Henry got up on the counter overnight one time when I didn't and well... that was the ONLY time in recent memory that he didn't whine for food all. day. long. I've started giving him a few drops on his food when I have it around. He's 12. It makes him happy. Once the bacon is cooled, I chop it into little pieces for the soup and for salads and a tiny piece or two for Simcoe's kong.
|High quality bacon is a must. No nitrates. Buy the best you can get your hands on. Worth it.|
|Oh, and I added some bacon to this too. When I commit to making a pound of bacon, it goes in almost everything. How can you argue with that logic?|
The next 2 recipes come from/are inspired by Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.
If you are considering cleaning up your diet, this book is pretty awesome. I don't like going around saying I am Paleo because I'm really not. I am certainly moving in that direction for my autoimmunity and for performance and for my overall feeling awesome, but I'm not comfortable with the label. (For some reason, I see a bunch of people at a Cross Fit gym sitting around drinking bone broth and degrading others for eating an occasional cracker?? Not a fair assessment, I'm sure... but that's the internet for you.) Not only does she provide an entire education on digestion and such, she has sections for whatever your health issues/goals may be and directs you in eating appropriately. Her recipes are also fantastic. Like with most recipes, I alter them a bit to make them my own and to make them work for me, but she has killer ideas.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
Honestly, this could not be easier and it is crazy delicious and filling for how little it is. I steamed the broccoli and cauliflower together with salt and pepper in a large soup pot with some chicken stock on the bottom. When it was soft, I blended it in batches with chicken stock until it had the consistency I wanted. Oh- I did roast some garlic (several cloves, EVOO, wrapped in foil, baked for about 20 minutes on 400 or so) to one of the batches. When it was all smooth I allowed it time in the soup pot to come together and to add in some additional salt and pepper. Into a pyrex and into the fridge. I will garnish all servings with some bacon crumbles.
Last is dinner.
Spiced Pork Chops with Root Vegetables
3 large parsnips, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 large onion, quartered, then halved will do
3 Japanese sweet potatoes, cut into pieces- can be a bit larger than parsnips- the parsnips are the slowest cookers in this party.
** Japanese sweet potatoes are pretty small, like a tiny regular variety sweet potato. You can easily omit them (Original recipe doesn't include them at all) or you could use 1 large regular variety sweet potato. I actually decided I wanted to add Brussels sprouts to this recipe, but it was the weekend after Thanksgiving and there were none to be found at Whole Foods or Kroger. But, I found the pretty blue sweet potatoes instead.**
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
Bacon fat or coconut oil
2 large bone in pork chops (Original recipe calls for a loin)
Dry Rub made from:
1 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP corriander
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Bacon fat or coconut oil
Oven to 375- or to 400 if you have mine. Put your chopped veggies and orange into large bowl and warm up a little bacon fat or coconut oil. Pour enough fat over the veg and mix well so they get all glisteny and happy and evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a large roasting pan and get those into the oven for a 20 minute head start.
Once the vegetables are going for about 15 minutes, dry off your pork chops with a paper towel and coat with the dry rub. Heat up a little more bacon fat in a saute pan over medium heat and when it's hot, place the chops down for about 2 minutes- don't touch! Give them a check- do you have you have a nice golden sear? You should. If not, go another minute, and then do the same thing on the other side.
Instead, I went 30 minutes and gave them a check. They were good to go. You want them juicy and if it's a tiny bit pink, it's ok. If you're not cool with that, cook them a little longer. When you pull them out, they need to rest before you cut into them, so transfer them to a plate, and put your veg back in for about 5-10 minutes if they could use more time. It's always the damn parsnips. If all is well, let everything sit while you pour a glass of wine or pull up Real Housewives on the DVR. Go ahead, you know you want to. No judgement here since I'm likely watching too.
The chops I got were quite large, so we shared one for dinner that night and saved the other one. The next time we had it for dinner, I took all the meat off, cut it into bite size pieces and heated it up, along with the veg, in a non-stick with a little chicken stock. It ended up being enough for Mr. NU to take for lunch one day. 5 meals out of this. Nice.
In a Day...
Here's how a typical day went for me after that huge Sunday prep...
I am at the gym by 5:20am or so. Although I get up about 4:00am, I don't eat before I work out. I discovered the power of this about a year ago. For me- and that is FOR ME- I'm not saying this is the right thing for everyone- my workouts are better on an empty stomach. I have more energy and push in me. I do have my coffee, and a change I have made is using coconut milk instead of dairy half and half. Baby steps.
I usually don't eat until I get to school- I heat up breakfast around 7:45am before the students walk in. This week, most days I had the butternut squash/kale/chicken sausage combo. 5th graders smelling garlic first thing in the morning is funny- most of them are intrigued by the food I eat- asking questions, sharing their culinary adventures... I'm hopeful for the next generation and find it so awesome that my kids are open to foods outside of McDonalds and Poptarts. We talk about food and fitness a lot in Room 20. Sometimes we do pushups too.
Snack time in Room 20 is around 9:30-10:00. We usually have a working snack, so it depends what we've got going on. This week I was about some celery and olives. Have you had this combination? It is super good. I'd also have about 2-3 ounces of chicken breast cold.
We eat at 12:41pm. Yes, 12:41. I do my best to judge the between recess and lunch read aloud chapters appropriately. That was easy with our last two read alouds- Wonder by RJ Palacio (one of the best books you will ever read) and Granny Torelli Makes Soup by the most amazing author ever, Sharon Creech. It's harder to judge the time now, though. We're reading Tangerine by Edward Bloor and those chapters are crazy long. Those 15 minutes of read aloud each day might be my favorite, and I think my kids would agree.
For my lunches this week, I went for the soup. It's always freezing in my room by mid-day, and usually in the teacher's lounge as well, so soup is nice. I'd follow with an apple or any of my celery or olives leftover from snack. On harder work out days, I'd also have a packet of tuna packed in olive oil.
We did have the leftover pork, but we also did salads with the chicken a couple times this week. Just like the ones in my Autoimmune Blows post. No egg this week, but bacon sprinkles instead. And chicken breast instead of thighs. Salads are a twice a week dinner in our house. It ensures we get some raw veg and it also makes planning fairly simple. I've also discovered that even when we think we're not in the mood for salads, as soon as they are made and we have a bite, we realize we are.
And now it's Sunday again... stay tuned for my next post, I got some good stuff cooking up today!