Now that we are back from our lovely New Years trip to Florida, I decided we needed to do a little healthy challenge, to get back into a healthy eating mindset. I decided to try a Whole30 Challenge. There’s a website here that describes the Challenge in greater detail, but basically the idea is to cut out most processed foods from your diet… so it involves eating no dairy, no grains, no sugar, no alcohol and just sticking to the basics: meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, and some seeds and nuts. (Yes, it’s a Paleo diet for 30 days). It’s not necessarily a change we’ll stick to forever, but I figured a 30-day Challenge would be a good way to kind of re-set and focus on healthy eating again. One nice thing about a lot of the recipes you’ll find if you Google the “Whole30 Challenge” or even if you look up Paleo recipes in general, is that a LOT of them are Kosher since they have no dairy. Sure, there are some recipes that include shellfish or pork but if you ignore those, the rest of them are all kosher, which is pretty nice if you ask me! Some of them use coconut milk or almond milk as a substitute for cow’s milk. They also involve a lot of vegetables and I’ve been thinking for a while that as a family we need to eat more vegetables. So I, for one, am excited about this challenge. I’m looking forward to learning some new recipes and trying out new and different ways of cooking.
Another benefit people claim they experience when they do a Challenge like this is that they find that over the course of the challenge they have fewer and fewer cravings for things they shouldn’t be eating. I know that when I’m at work, every day around 3 o’clock, I get a little craving for something… usually something sweet. So I’ll go over to the kitchen near my office and see what free goodies are lying around. (A lot of the vendors that the hospital works with or the nursing homes and other services in the area will stop by to bring goodies every now and then as a little “thank you” for using our services.) There are usually some chocolates or some baked goods… and then I’ll go upstairs and grab a cup of coffee, into which I will inevitably stir some milk or creamer of some kind and some fake sugar. Of course that just makes me want one more slice of the cake or one more piece of chocolate when I go back to my desk. I am hoping that this challenge will help curb some of those cravings and instead of wanting a piece of chocolate, I’ll start to want a handful of grapes or a baggie of baby carrots.
I started the challenge with Dinner last night (since we’re Jewish and holidays start after sunset, I figured the Challenge should also start after sunset).
For the Apple Glazed Chicken Breasts, the recipe actually called for Turkey Cutlets but I wasn’t able to find any at Seven Mile so instead I used Chicken.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 Tbs fresh tarragon, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbs coconut oil
Season both sides of chicken cutlets with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional).
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add coconut oil.
Sear each cutlet 1-2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place on plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add apple juice mixture to pan.
The chicken was perfectly moist and had a very delicious but subtle flavor.
The Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples were absolutely delicious and this is definitely a recipe I would recommend using at Thanksgiving!
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, picked and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes generously with some olive oil, salt, cinnamon and cayenne. Lay the sweet potatoes out on a sheet tray, place them in the oven and roast until they are very soft and mushy, 30 to 35 minutes.
Peel the apples and cut into 1-inch dice. Toss the apples with the lemon juice, some olive oil, salt and the rosemary. Lay them out on a sheet tray and place in the oven during the last 15 minutes of the cooking time for the sweet potatoes. When done, the apples should be soft and cooked through but still hold their shape.
Sprinkle the walnuts over the apples during the last 5 minutes in the oven.
Serve immediately or keep in a warm oven and serve hot.