Whole 30/Primal Blueprint: Day 2 and Curried Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe

I didn’t get to the store until the evening, so breakfast and lunch remained boring yesterday. To be fair, my meals would have been boring even if I weren’t doing the Whole 30/Primal Blueprint because I had a bunch of leftovers that I had to eat either way. When I finally got to the store, I picked up a few essential ingredients including coconut milk, coconut flakes, coconut oil (noticing a theme?), avocado oil, apple chicken sausage, and more eggs. I already had carrots, onions, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and cauliflower on hand, so I promise that my upcoming meals will be more exciting.

I’ve been getting a lot of carrots in my winter CSA, so a few weeks ago I made this curried carrot soup and it was really good. I decided to make it again last night, and I adapted the recipe so that I could add ginger and coconut milk for a creamier and more flavorful soup. I always thought that immersion blenders were pointless, but after making a creamy soup twice in the past couple of weeks, I may have to add one to my wish list.

While making soup for dinner, I learned that Better Than Bouillon contains sugar. Unfortunately, it was the only thing I had on hand for stock, so I had to use it for my soup anyway. I guess that means that I’ve already broken one of the rules of the Whole 30, but I’m not going to sweat it. Once the bouillon is gone, I’ll either start making my own or buy a version of stock without added sugar.

Note: today is actually day 3 of the Whole 30 for me, but I’m posting about each day after it happened so that I can include how I slept.

What I ate:

Breakfast: two eggs scrambled in olive oil with green bell pepper and onion, a banana, Irish breakfast tea, with a mug of Lipton superfruit green tea later in the morning (neither tea with added sweetener)

Morning snack: smoked almonds

Lunch: leftover turkey taco meat and green beans, frozen strawberries and peaches

Dinner: leftover marinated pork and carrot curry ginger soup

How I felt: I felt fine, the dull headache I had all day the day before seems to have subsided. I was still pretty tired, but yesterday was my last day on antibiotics, so I hope that I start to improve soon. I was hungry at various points throughout the day, but not terribly so. I could barely finish my soup at dinner, not because I didn’t like it, but because I was so darn full! The quantify of food that I’m eating seems to be a lot less than usual, but I’m not nearly as hungry throughout the day.

How I slept: I slept very, very poorly last night. I had a hard time getting to sleep (not that unusual for me), and then I woke up around 5:30 when the dog starting rustling around in his crate. I think I can attribute the poor sleep to having a lot on my mind.

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Curried Carrot Ginger Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 1 onion
  • coconut oil for sauteing onion
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chop onion and saute in coconut oil until translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
  4. Blend with immersion blender or blender/food processor until smooth.

Lemon Cranberry Muffins

If I could casually bake for a living, I would. I suppose I could learn how to be a great photographer, become a more witty writer, and post more often and eventually I’d have enough followers to make ad revenue, but I’m too busy writing a dissertation to do that.

Anyway. Today, I combined my love of tart flavors (lemon AND cranberry), baking, and foods that are within a reasonable calorie count with my goal of using up ingredients in my cupboards and made cranberry lemon muffins. The muffins are are based off of raspberry lemon muffins that I found on allrecipes. These turned out great, and next time I make them I’ll add even more lemon zest and some more lemon extract. I did use fresh squeezed lemon juice (I needed lemon zest, after all!), so perhaps concentrated lemon would have given a stronger flavor.

According to the original recipes, these have 175 calories per muffin. It’s likely that the final calorie count in these was somewhat lower because I used nonfat Greek yogurt.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup eggbeaters (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar; set aside
  2. Combine remain ingredients until well-blended
  3. Blend in dry ingredients until just mixed. Do not over-mix, or the muffins will be tough and dense
  4. Spoon evenly into muffin pan (in papers, if not using a silicone pan)
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees

Yields 12 muffins.

Buttermilk Biscuits and Dissertating

A few nights ago a friend came over with all of the fixings for fried green tomatoes*, and we had ourselves a feast. It was only the second time I’d ever had fried green tomatoes, and I can now add them to the list of things that would be a compelling reason to move to the south. Not to worry, dear friends, despite the fact that I’m south of the Mason Dixon line, I don’t consider the DC metro area to be the legitimate south, and I don’t plan to move to the real south anytime soon.

We used buttermilk to batter the tomatoes, and what else to do with leftover buttermilk than to make buttermilk biscuits? I’d never made them before; the closest to biscuit-making that I’ve come is helping my grandmother make biscuits that were devoid of good flavor and fluffy texture as a kid. She was the only one who ate them, but she loved putting me up on that kitchen stool to help make them. Not wanting to recreate those biscuits, I remembered seeing this post on Smitten Kitchen about her favorite buttermilk biscuits. We opted for the drop biscuit route (easier clean-up!) and this recipe did not disappoint. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the biscuits or the tomatoes, we were too busy feasting to care.

Anyway, since I only gave you a link to a recipe and not an actual recipe (or even a photo of a completed recipe), I guess I’ll give you a dissertation update. My 20 minutes per day project went on a major hiatus for the past six weeks (or maybe even eight). I went to a conference, the end of the semester crunch hit, I had deadlines to meet for my research assistantship, and I had a bunch of family engagements to attend. Oh, and I burned out. I mean, completely. I was so burned out that I didn’t even want to read for fun. So, I put the dissertation proposal aside, trudged through all of my other work tasks, and tried to enjoy all of the time I got to spend with my family and in-laws over these past couple of months (when I wasn’t too tired, that is).

This past Monday I finally started working on my dissertation again. I’m re-implementing my 20-minutes per day rule, except this time, I’m letting myself take days off. Some might say that this is a complete failure at a 365 Project, and I suppose it kind of is. But, the difference between my dissertation and a 365 project is that my dissertation will likely take longer than 365 days to complete, regardless of whether I work on it for 20 minutes a day or not. And most days, I will be working on it.

In the future, I’ll embark on a 365 Project that entails something I actually enjoy – something fitness- or cooking-related. Something that will hopefully improve my health, and my life in general. Something that will have enough variety that when I get so busy with research that I don’t burn out from the 365 goal, too. Though I’m not following official 365 Project rules for my dissertation, I’m still sticking with a general 20 minutes per day, so I’ll continue to update about it here and there.

 

*We had a Sriracha Remoulade and a copycat of the Outback Steakhouse Blooming Onion sauce with the fried green tomatoes, and none of us could pick a favorite!

Focaccia Bread

Today, I made my first focaccia bread with my mother-in-law. This is the recipe I used, but I did all herbs and cheeses to taste rather than to the directions.

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups and 1 tablespoon flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon white sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
2/3 pinch ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons grated parmasan cheese
2/3 cup mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mix together all dry ingredients, then mix in oil. Once dough has formed into a ball, spray a bowl with oil and then place dough in bowl. Allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
2. Place on a greased sheet and form into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.
3. Brush with oil and sprinkle with cheeses.
3. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Corn and Potato Chowder

Don’t you love it when you come across a super-delicious looking recipe online and realize that you have ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS in your kitchen?! Well, I do. And that’s exactly what happened earlier this week when I found this corn and potato chowder recipe. I had just had a bowl of Au Bon Pain corn chowder and really wanted to find a copycat recipe so I could make it at home. In my search, I encountered this recipe. Though the end product is not identical to Au Bon Pain’s, it’s delicious and definitely a make-again recipe. This is a soup recipe that’s simple and hearty with no special ingredients. Considering that soup is one of my favorite foods (yes, soup, in general), I’m always happy to add another great recipe to my list.

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The soup before stirring in the cheese.

Corn and Potato Chowder

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced (optional; the original recipe called for kale, really you can put anything in, and I had peppers on hand)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (original called for 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (original called for 1 cup)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Saute onion in butter until the onion starts to be transluscent (use the pot in which you will make the soup)
  2. Add the potatoes, red bell pepper, cumin seed, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the frozen corn
  4. Mix the milk and flour together, until it’s well incorporated. Slowly stir into the soup.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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Stirring in the cheese!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Alfredo Sauce

Tonight I made a sweet potato gnocchi recipe from allrecipes.com. It turned out okay, but I blame its meh flavor on the bland sweet potato, not the recipe. Either way, I don’t think I’ll make gnocchi again because it’s somewhat labor intensive, and it’s not tremendously better than what I can buy at the grocery store.

The alfredo sauce, however, is worth writing about. It was delicious. I had seen several recipes on Pinterest for alfredo sauces using plain Greek yogurt (or light sour cream) instead of heavy cream and butter. A lot of times, the “healthy substitutes” on Pinterest are just bad all around, but I had a feeling they were onto something with this Greek yogurt alfredo sauce. Greek yogurt is a great ingredient and works well as a substitute for many things (like sour cream). So, here’s my recipe (loosely based off of one posted by Iowa Girl Eats).

Despite turning out less thick than desired, and a little lumpy, this recipe is a keeper. I can figure out how to make it smoother the next time.

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Alfredo Sauce made with Greek Yogurt

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup parmasan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add oil to a pan. Once it’s hot, add 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute or two, until it starts turning brown.
  2. Stir in flour, whisking continuously for about one minute until it starts to bubble.
  3. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, incorporating the flour and reducing lumps.
  4. Add the yogurt, salt and pepper. Let simmer for a few minutes, continuing to stir, until thick.
  5. Stir in parmasan cheese, and remove from heat

Cranberry Applesauce

My latest goal has been to use up everything in our freezers and cupboards.  I had one cup of cranberries in the freezer and several apples wilting on the counter, so the obvious next step was to make cranberry applesauce. My grandmother, always a little too concerned with the health properties of food, always served a pretty bland Thanksgiving dinner. The one thing I looked forward to was the cranberry applesauce. I guess the fruits, that are fantastic on their own, refused to be bullied into blandness. I found this simple recipe, which I halved, and it turned out just as expected.

Once I had some cranberry applesauce on hand, I made bran muffins (substituting the cranberry applesauce for the oil). They had great texture, but the flavor needs some improving. I’ll post a recipe for them once I’ve gotten it right.

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Cranberry Applesauce (adapted from SimplyRecipes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 to 2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until easily mashed.
  2. Mash ingredients together.
  3. Eat one bowl! Or, make muffins 🙂