Taste the Rainbow Swiss Chard

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I would be TGIFing, if I didn’t have to work tomorrow. Luckily, whenever I work Saturdays, it doesn’t feel like a normal day of the week, so I fly through my day without thinking of it as a work week day but also not identifying with it as a Saturday. Kind of like a half day in school used to feel like. Anyway, I’ve got one more day to work tomorrow and then I am off Sunday and Monday. But then the following week is going to be the real tough one. I’ll be working at least one 12 hour day and at least one 16 hour day! I am already trying to mentally prepare myself for the battle of April 21st-26th. Plus, that will be my last week of Whole45! Note to self: spend your Easter Sunday and following day off work prepping meals for following work week. Blah.

Anyway, we will be leaving for my parents house tomorrow afternoon right after I get off work. Hubs is ecstatic to be spending Easter with them, because my mom will make sure there is a glazed spiral ham and a homemade coconut cake and Easter Bunny-delivered-jelly beans. I was originally going to host the Sunday lunch, but then I got in a car accident and broke my elbow and I happily let go of any plans I made that involved tons of cooking for people. This will be a perfect alternative because I can make a few side dishes for myself that nicely blend into the rest of the entrees. I have a few recipes in my head such as deviled eggs, sweet potato salad, pureed carrots, and I even purchased a lamb rack to roast so that I can have some protein that isn’t sugar-infused.

Anyway, I will stick with the retelling of tonight’s dinner recipe for now. I purchased some very colorful Rainbow Swiss Chard the other day. I have never had it before and it is so beautiful! It is one of those dark green veggies that I’ve been eyeing lately due to their Calcium-richness along with others like collard greens, turnip greens, and mustard greens.

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I took the leafy parts of the chard and threw them in a heated skillet with some coconut oil. At first, I thought I had way too much chard for the skillet; their leafy layers are thick and bountiful. Sure enough though, after a few simmering minutes, the chard shrunk in size and became deeper in color. Their taste and texture reminded me of collards but on a whole other level; thicker! I added some grilled chicken with just a slice of bacon to the mix. While my chicken and chard was cooking, I had a lovely NC-grown purple sweet potato I needed to use. At least I am assuming I needed to use it since mine had started sprouting! Crazy!

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How cool is that!? I peeled and chopped the potato and roasted it in the oven. I read only after I ate them that it was okay to actually eat a sprouted sweet potato. Ha! Apparently, it sprouted because of the humid environment it lives in. Anyway, the purple sweet potato was definitely another colorful addition to my bright dinner template.

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I diced it and then roasted it in the oven.

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I then plopped my rainbow chard chicken on top of my purple sweet potato in a (blue) bowl and ate it all!

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Now I’ll hopefully be glowing bright colors after I turn the lights off to go to sleep ;). Either that or tie-dyed like an Easter egg.

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Calcium-Rich Greens

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After writing my Got Milk? post, I went to the grocery store on a mission to buy produce that was specifically rich in calcium. It is great that I am eating all the right foods so that my body can heal as best as it can, but I wanted to try and do an even better job of making calcium more bio-available to my body in case it needed it. I know that cooked dark greens are great calcium-rich choices. I’ve always loved kale, but thought that straying from the usual and giving it more variety could do my body good. So I went back to my Southern roots: collards and turnip greens.

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Just one cup of cooked collard greens has 220 milligrams of calcium. Turnip greens have 99 milligrams of calcium per cup when cooked. Adding these rich greens into my meals along with my¬†everyday cooked kale which has 93 milligrams of calcium per cup isn’t bad at all! I found these calcium milligram measurements on Eat Drink Paleo. I also picked up some broccoli and okra which also made the calcium-rich list.

For dinner last night, I boiled a pot of water and added the greens in it. I opted for the frozen bags because not only were they cheaper, but they are super splint-friendly in the kitchen. ūüėČ No chopping required, which means no ambidextrous skills needed from me!

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I let the greens simmer in the hot water for about 10 minutes and then drained them. While my greens were draining, I browned some veal that Hubs had put in the freezer a few weeks ago.

 

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I’ve never had veal. It was so juicy and tender; plus it smelled so good¬†while browning on the cast iron.

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I removed the veal after it browned and cut them into slices. I then added the greens to the skillet and poured a cup or two of my home made bone broth in for the greens to simmer in. I also like to think that the nutrient dense bone broth enhanced my dinner to give me super healing powers.

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I then added the slices of veal back into the broth-simmering greens and covered it up for just a couple of minutes.

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Then dinner was served! I think pork would have been a perfect pairing with the cooked greens, but we didn’t have any in the house at the time. The veal was pretty damn good too! I have my second follow up appointment with the orthopedic specialist tomorrow morning and I don’t think I have ever been this excited to go to the doctor’s! I am really hoping I can get my splint off after tomorrow. That would mean it would come off a week earlier than the doctor said, but I am very optimistic about my recovery and from what my body is telling me, I am feeling great! Fingers crossed!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

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Today was an awesome care-free day; waking up knowing I had crossed off a huge “to do” task of purchasing a car this weekend…and I still had an entire Sunday to enjoy until Monday morning came!

I have been trying to stay as active as I can while my left elbow heals. I have had to skip lunchtime sweat sessions at work, but I have substituted them with 2 mile walks outside which has been so enjoyable thanks to the nice weather lately. This morning I decided to go to the gym. I walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes and did the stationary bike for 25 minutes. I brought some reading material with me which made the time fly. I have still not experienced any pain in my arm. Sometimes, I will forget it is in a splint and I will instinctively do something (like clasp something with my hand too tightly or quickly) and then I will get a sharp twinge in it to remind me that I am getting too cocky. But that is it. The pain doesn’t subside and it goes away as quickly as it came. The band that goes around my neck that connects to the splint is starting to give me a bit of a chafe on the back of my neck. I wore a tank top yesterday and we were in the warm sun while car shopping, so I was probably sweating which caused the chafing to start. Today the weather cooled off and I’m making sure to wear material between the sling band and my neck. I also rubbed some Vitamin E on it this morning which felt incredible.

In North Carolina, this seasonal warm weather brings strawberry season along with it! I made a trip to the grocery store today and they had local NC strawberries on sale to highlight their debut.. They looked so plump and red and juicy! I also snagged two bags of baby spinach for a buck each along with a few radishes that were at the quick sale produce stand. Spinach Strawberry Salad instantly landed on the dinner menu for tonight.

The great thing about baby spinach is that I could just empty it all into a bowl without chopping or shredding the produce. The less I have to chop or slice, the better for my one-armed kitchen challenges. I sliced most of the strawberries (but saved a few for the dressing), the radishes and celery. I added some cooked chicken to it and topped it with sesame seeds, salt, and a handful of pistachios. To my personal salad bowl I also added some avocado (my husband doesn’t like it–more for me!).

For the dressing I blended a few strawberries, olive oil, lemon, a teensy weensy drop of apple cider vinegar, rosemary and black pepper.

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I blended my strawberry dressing in a magic blender. The flavor was delicious, but the consistency didn’t taste like a salad vinaigrette. It felt very “whipped”, which I actually kind of liked but had to get used to.

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And the best party is that there’s more to last for tomorrow’s lunch! So¬†berry¬†good. (I’m not deleting it)

Salt & Vinegar

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So, my husband conveniently had the day off from work on Opening Day and went to watch the Red Sox play at our local Buffalo Wild Wings joint. He has been planning this for weeks. He is from Boston and loves all New England sports teams but nothing holds a candle to Red Sox baseball. I worked today and went to the gym afterwards so we both ended up getting home around the same time. He asked if I wanted anything from Buffalo Wild Wings. He is so cute; he even thought if he ordered some chicken wings to come “naked” they’d be compliant. I had to break the news to him that he also had to make sure the cooking oil that the wings are cooked in isn’t processed or refined. He then¬†reluctantly gave up…but it is the thought that counts!

I do remember the Salt & Vinegar chicken wings I had ages ago the last time I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings. I really liked them. Of course I did….I love vinegar! Remember that one time I posted a picture of my empty unfiltered apple cider vinegar bottle? I go through them so fast!

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Anyway, I got to thinking of recreating my own Salt & Vinegar chicken wings at home. Except, I didn’t have any chicken wings at home. But I did have drumsticks….frozen drumsticks! I didn’t think about defrosting them earlier today so I decided to boil a pot of water. I threw the drumsticks in once the water was boiling and let them defrost and simmer for a good 10 minutes. I then let the drumsticks dry and lined a pan with parchment paper. I also melted some ghee and mixed it with a good amount of apple cider vinegar and a bit of poultry seasoning. I then patted down the drumsticks to make sure they were dry and lined them on the pan making sure they didn’t touch one another. I brushed the vinegar mixture onto the chicken and gave a few good churns of salt before baking them in the oven. After 30 minutes I flipped them over and cooked for 10 extra minutes.

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They came out quite nicely! I wished for a stronger vinegar taste, but Hubs said it was very flavorful (granted he is a vinegar wussy and has the palate of a 5 year old). The texture was perfectly crispy though which was great! Not a bad alternative compared to the list of added ingredients that go into the BWW Salt & Vinegar wings: “SALT,SOYBEAN OIL, SODIUM DIACETATE, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, SPICES, CITRIC ACID, MALIC ACID, DISODIUM INOSINATE AND DISODIUM GUANYLATE, AND SODIUM ACETATE and Less than 2% Silicon Dioxide to prevent caking.”¬†

What’s crazy is that this list of ingredients was probably one of the most minimal compared to the other flavors.

The Red Sox lost today; but luckily I am winning. ūüôā

Sloppy Joe Sweet Potato Dogs

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I’m ready to kick March in the rear….and hopefully the cold weather with it. I wouldn’t mind basketball season ending either since UNC has already lost. Although, I am sure I will regret saying that since my husband is taking work off to see the Red Sox opening game tomorrow afternoon. Baseball season is always an everlasting holiday in our household. This weekend’s chilly weather inspired me to make some chili…dogs!

I had about a pound of some grass fed beef that I bought on sale at Whole Foods (score)! All I did was saute some diced onion, bell pepper, and garlic clove. Once the onions were translucent I browned the beef and added chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I then finished my Sloppy Joe sauce with a small 6 oz can of tomato paste and let my Joe-sauce simmer.

sloppyjoeWhile I was making my Joe-sauce, I took a sweet potato and cut it in half. I then roasted them face down in the oven at 400 for about 10-15 minutes.

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I was also cooking some hot dogs. Yes, that is right. I was simultaneously making my Sloppy Joe sauce, roasting sweet potatoes, and cooking hot dogs all at the same time. Just call me the Kitchen Kween. The hot dogs didn’t take long at all. I used Applegate’s Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs¬†and I broiled them in the oven while the sweet potatoes were finishing up their roasting. I would have grilled them, but it was raining outside. I didn’t want to deal with that. Plus, it only took the dogs about 5 minutes to cook. Can you guess what I did next?

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Oh yeah. Is your mouth watering yet? Just wait.

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Wait there is just one more thing….

sloppydinnerAvocado to top it off! The Sloppy Joe sauce was so thick and juicy. It made the perfect leftover morning meal this morning with two fried eggs in it.

I am looking forward to April. I am hoping to not spend as much money this month, get some house projects accomplished, and finish my Whole45 of course! Hubs has also already requested another repeat meal of last night’s dinner, so I’ll throw that into the mix for April to-dos as well.

 

 

 

Beetspiration!

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I received some cute little beets in my mini CSA basket a couple of weeks ago and it was about time that I use them. I don’t know if I’ve ever had beets or not. If I have, I didn’t know it. Their rich hues can make any dish instantly beautiful, but also make them pretty fun to play with too (see photo below).

I had no idea what to do with these little guys. I searched the Whole30 Forum to get some beet-inspiration or “Beetspiration” as my title implies. I figured I’d just roast them in the oven since it was my first time. I sliced them and lined the baking pan with parchment paper first. I had no idea if the beets would end up dying the pan or not, so I played it safe! I drizzled some melted coconut oil onto the indigo dices and then came the salt and pepper. While they were roasting, I wondered how the shade of¬†beet¬†would look on me.

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I needed a little bit of a sharper beet to make sure I stay within the lip lines. Homemade lip stick could be a future project…or maybe I should get some more practice in with handling beets in the kitchen first?

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Hopefully practice will make less mess. Not that it was actually messy; I just had to make sure I didn’t become the beet version of Tobias during his blue man group phase.

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So, the verdict? At first taste, they were very earthy. However, I didn’t peel the skin off and these little red nuggets came straight from the farm. I am going to need a round two do give an objective taste test. I will plan on doing a redo. But for now, they added some brightness to my ground chicken and red onion dinner bowl.

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Spring, Finally!

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Spring’s first day did not disappoint! The weather got a little over 70 today with lots of beautiful sunshine. I am so glad to be ending this week sunny side up instead of it being rainy and dreary. Ironically though, my mom emailed me today asking me if I’ve heard about the winter storm predicting to come next week. I am ignoring her for now and enjoying Spring, even if it only lasts for the first day….at least it was a good entrance.

After work I had to drive through town’s 5 o’ clock traffic to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get my best friend a present off her registry for her bridal shower on Saturday. I didn’t want to do it after work on Friday and I wasn’t able to do it any other day this week so it was today or bust. Afterwards, I stopped by the grocery store and purchased some button mushrooms, a bell pepper, and a red onion. Hubs brought home some sirloin tips the other day so, what better way to celebrate Spring than by grilling kebabs?!

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I literally just chopped up some veggies and put them on the skewer with the meat. I didn’t add any juices, spices, or fat. The only real effort I made was to make sure my husband’s skewer didn’t have any mushrooms on it because he doesn’t like them (more for me). I didn’t even salt and pepper them. I just didn’t feel like it. When I got home, I tied my running shoes up and went on a quick one mile fun run around the neighborhood to take opportunity of the lovely evening and to shake out my limbs from the drive.

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I kept it simple. No need to stress about dinner if I just don’t feel like spending as much time in the kitchen as I normally do. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the kitchen; but tonight I just wanted to run a mile outside and come home to smell simple kebabs on the grill. Happy Spring!