Friday, March 7, 2014

Whole30 Challenge: Days 1 & 2 + A Couple Recipes

So as of this writing, I'm on my second day of this challenge and pretty much feel normal. I did break out in hives (not sure if it can really be called that, but I'm going with it) again today and since I had the same thing for breakfast today as I did yesterday and the same thing for lunch as I had for dinner last night, I'm thinking it's not the food. At least not food I've eaten recently. I have no idea how long food can affect you (it could be from something non-Whole30 I ate Tuesday night). But I took some allergy medicine anyway because I don't want to lose sleep constantly itching all over.

Other than that, this has been good so far. I sort of started this on Monday night with an incredibly delicious dinner I made. I made roasted chicken thighs, roasted spicy sweet potatoes, and green beans. Chris had seconds so it must have been good!

Seriously, delicious. I've never loved green beans and sweet
potatoes so much in my life. 

I've never actually liked sweet potatoes (and Chris said neither did he), and I've never been a big fan of green beans (especially frozen or canned). So this dinner was a whole lot of experimentation to see what we'd like. Surprisingly, we liked it all.

I've already been asked for the recipes for the spicy sweet potatoes and the green beans. If you want to read the official recipes and instructions, you can click on those links. Here are my versions: 

Roasted Spicy Sweet Potatoes
2 medium-sized potatoes (mine were slightly larger, and by that I mean they were huge)
2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil (light-tasting, not EVOO)
2 tsp. coarse salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper (I did about 1 1/2 tsp. and they were definitely spicy)

Preheat oven to 375
Wash and cut your potatoes into even pieces (mine weren't even--oh well)
Put the cut pieces into a big bowl
Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and then add your other ingredients. Stir to coat (add more olive oil if they aren't getting coated)
Place potatoes on greased baking sheet
Bake for about 40 minutes, flip with a spatula after 20-30 minutes (we sort of flipped these the best we could and I can't remember exactly how long they were in the oven for)
When done, the edges should be golden-brown and should be crispy with a soft, buttery interior

Sautéed Green Beans
1 tbsp. butter softened (I used clarified butter)
1 tbsp. garlic ( I used garlic powder I think)
1 tsp. thyme (I used ground thyme)
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt/black pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
Fresh lemon juice (I used about half a lemon)

Combine the butter, garlic, and thyme in a small bowl and set aside
Heat the olive oil
Add the beans and salt and pepper
Cook/stir for 4-8 minutes or until the beans are spotty-brown
Add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook for 2 minutes
Remove the lid and cook until the water has evaporated
Stir in the herb butter and cook 1-3 minutes longer
Toss with lemon juice

I think that was by far the best meal we ate all week (minus the one on Tuesday at my parents' house--that was amazing, but not Whole30). We've also had chili which was ok, but not the best. I think if we want chili in the future we will just modify our regular chili recipe (no beans allowed). 

It has been a challenge trying to balance working again, plus writing for Community News (if you click that link you can read my latest cover stories--yes, there's two!), and cooking. I've been really tired the past few days, but I'm hoping my change in diet helps improve my energy levels soon. 

I know it's only day 2, but have I convinced anyone to give this a try yet? :) If you're thinking about doing a Whole30 Challenge or if you've done one in the past, tell me about it! 

And don't forget to read the book--it really changes how you look at food!