Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry (Whole 30)

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Let's take a walk down memory lane. My food photography is nowhere where I want it to be, but compared to this Thai Curry recipe from 2014, I'd say I've come along way. Now let's just keep that hidden in the archives and focus on this updated Thai Curry recipe. 

One of my roommates, Lindsay and I first made this curry during early fall and we were obsessed. Anything Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest makes is sure to be perfect. Thanks for the inspo HBH!!

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I couldn't decide how I wanted to prepare this dish so I took to y'alls opinion. I polled you all on my Instagram story the other night to see if you were still geeking out over crock-pots or if they are old news. Results were 84% "YAS CROCK-POTS," 16% "Crock-Pots are so 2017." Well...I used my trump card and decided we were going old school and using a good old regular stovetop pot for this recipe. From start to finish this recipe takes makes 45 minutes. You can do it people, step away from the Crock-Pot. 

BONUS, this recipe is Whole 30 compliant for all you January Whole 30ers. I mentioned on my Instagram the other day that I am not participating in Whole 30 this month. Whole 30, like Crock-Pots, is also “so 2017,” in my opinion. But, I do love cooking Whole 30 style dishes and plan on posting some to give you all inspiration. 

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Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry (Whole 30)
yields 4-5 servings, adapted from Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, shredded
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
2 Tbsps. fish sauce
2, 14 ounce cans full fat coconut milk
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
packaged cauliflower rice for serving
chopped cashews, pomegranate arils, basil and lime wedges for serving

Directions:
In a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place chicken in pan and cook on both sides until cooked through. Remove from pan. Add chopped onion, minced garlic and chopped ginger to pan with the remaining oil and browned bits from the chicken. Sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Shred chicken using two forks. Add shredded chicken and broccoli florets to curry. Simmer for 20 minutes until broccoli is softened and curry has thickened. Stir in chopped basil right before serving.

Serve each bowl with a helping of cauliflower rice*, a lime wedge, chopped cashews, pomegranate arils and a sprig of fresh basil.

*I let the heat of the curry soften the cauliflower rice. If you prefer to soften it before, just place in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water, and steam in the microwave for 30 seconds to a 1 minute. 

P.S. I firmly believe the prettier your food is the better it tastes! All those toppings aren’t just for the gram. They help, but they also enhance the dish as a whole! So, invest in the pomegranate, cashew and lime toppings. #worthit

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Disclosure: If you are in a loving relationship with your crock-pot, follow Tieghan's cooking method to prepare this dish.

  Annie

Banana Chip Savory Snack Mix (Whole 30)

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Whole 30 snacks are hard. I had this conversation with my sister last week and a friend who is also doing whole 30 right now. Meals are easy, but sometimes you just get a big craving for a handful of crackers or pretzels or some kind of carby snack. This whole 30 approved savory snack mix is so satisfy for someone on whole 30 and for the average joe. Just be careful, it's highly addictive. 

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My good friend Chelsea, who actually got married this past weekend, first introduced me to Bubba's Fine Foods Snack Mix. She is a trainer, so I'm always so interested in what she is eating or snacking on. One day at the gym she was eating out of a Bubba's Snack Mix bag. When I read the ingredients I was shocked at how simple and healthy they were. Just banana chips, cashews, pecans, with spices like turmeric, paprika, apple cider vinegar etc. I was sold, but also sold on recreating the mix on my own. Because let's be honest, the bag you buy at the store is $7 for a bag of air...

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Savory Snack Mix (Whole 30) 
yields 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup raw pecans
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cup banana chips (unsweetened)* 
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Onion powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. liquid aminos**
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil 

Directions:

Preheat over to 325 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Toss and mix until nuts and banana chips are all evenly coated. 

Bake 15-20 minutes, toss halfway through. Let sit to to dry out a bit and cool before eating. Store in a Ziplock or air tight container. 

*Most banana chips you find at the store are sweetened (you don't want that for this recipe). I ordered a bag of unsweetened from nuts.com. If you can't find unsweetened, plantain chips would be a good replacement. 

**Liquid aminos are a whole 30 approved version of soy sauce or tamari. You can use either in place of the aminos, but I suggest picking up a bottle! Keep some in your pantry and you'll never need soy sauce again!

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You can buy Bubba's Fine Foods online or locally at Uptown Grocery. But, I urge you to try my recipe! It's identical (and you get more!!). Perfect snack for traveling, the 3PM slump, watch parties or game nights!

Annie 

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Sunday was a meal prep party for myself. My roommate Lindsay and I were shuffling back and forth, taking turns over the oven and in the stove, accidentally bumping into each other all afternoon. "Meal Prep" is such a muscle-y meat head sounding term to me and when I hear it I envision rows of tupperware lined up with boring chicken breasts and broccoli.  You know what I'm talking about...My meal prep is much different. It's really just about putting in a little time on Sunday, so I can then shovel food in my mouth the second I'm ready for lunch and dinner during the week. Cause I'm actually just lazy. 

On Whole 30 they preach meal prep. Simply trying to eat healthy is also about meal prep. Having healthy food prepared and ready at a moments notice saves you from caving on unhealthy options. This last week I prepped my Crock-Pot Curry Chicken and Cauliflower Rice for dinners and this Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup for lunches. I love soup for lunch. It's so much more fulfilling than a blah salad. The recipe is simple and comes together in under 30 minutes.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
yields 6 cups, about 4 servings

Ingredients:
1, 14-16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1, 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 yellow onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup water

Directions:
Heat a large stock pot with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Drain your red peppers and roughly chop them. Add to the pot with your diced tomatoes (not drained). Add salt, pepper, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir in water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. 

If you have an immersion blender, put it straight into the pot and begin to puree the soup. If you don't, add the soup mixture into a food processor or blender. I like to keep my soup slightly chunky, but just blend until you get the consistency you like. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Once blended, add it back into the pot and continue to cook for about 5 minutes then serve!

Preferred method of serving is eating it out of a coffee mug! The perfect vessel to hold onto while you curl up and eat this soup on your couch:)

Annie

Bites of My Life

By the looks of this bites post, apparently my week was full of lots of colorful. More color than a typical mid-January week. Thinking about it I guess my week was pretty colorful!

I took a little hiatus from my personal instagram account over the past week. I cut the ties last Sunday evening after realizing I had spent a majority of my day idolizing over images, people, and lives displaced on the the app. About 6 days clean of being sucked into the social media world and getting to be more present in the real world. It was fantastic and I challenge you to do the same by taking a week off. My week was still full of pretty images and experiences, but I was really living them. 

-I made parmesan garlic roasted brussels sprouts Whole 30 approved. Ask and I'll tell you how ;)
-Then I made parmesan crusted salmon Whole 30 approved. I'm basically a magician.
-Grapefruit with fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Bon Appetit told me to. 
-The new version of my go to apple and almond butter. Apple, turmeric, cinnamon, sumac and tahini. BOOM.
-The gals I've known the longest all together for a euro inspired dinner before Anna headed back to UVA Law.
-Remember my favorite salad in the city I gushed about here? It was lunch on Friday and I was the happiest.
-Killer Whole 30 approved shrimp scampi with the new issue of BonApp!
-Got to play around my kitchen last week while my talented friend Katie made it look somewhat professional. More from KGC Photography to come!
-Crispy fried eggs cooked up in my cast iron skillet using this method
-Eggs for breakfast, eggs for lunch, why not?
-Cooked up a freaking storm yesterday. Three new recipe posts are coming atcha soon! P.S. you are looking at crock-pot basil curry chicken!
-A What's Gaby Cooking inspired salad was my contribution to Sunday night dinner at mom and dads.

Annie

January Whole 30

Whole 30. A healthy whole foods eating craze that has been swirling around the past few years. 30 days of unprocessed clean eats to recharge your body and get it loving you again. It's also more than just a reset, it's a lesson on how to get to eating more whole foods and see how easy it can be. It's a way to influence your eating habits to show you how great you feel when you eat foods your body enjoys. 

I did my first Whole 30 back in August and loved it. Reflecting back on that experience I've compiled all of my tips, ideas, feedbacks and thoughts about Whole 30 for anyone who is interested in giving it a go. I'm doing January Whole 30, join me! 

Let's start from the beginning and get out there what you can and can't eat.
*this is a simplified list created by me, get the official program rules here.

What you can eat:
Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, citrus
Vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, potatoes (white and sweet)
Vegetable chips (no additives): sweet potato chips, plantain chips
Protein: beef, chicken, sausage, bacon, salami, nuts, nut butter, eggs
Fish, shellfish
Non-dairy milk (no sugar added)
Oils and clarified butter or ghee
Vinegars: white, apple cider, balsamic (no sugar added) 
LeCroix, Green tea and coffee (black, bulletproof or with non-dairy milk)

What you can't eat:
Grains: bread, oats, quinoa, rice, crackers, chips
Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts (no pb either), soy, soy sauce, tofu, corn :(
Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese, creamer
Sweets and added sugar: cookies, cakes, ice cream, sugar, brown sugar
Sugar: honey, agave, maple syrup

Don't think of it as an elimination diet or something where you can't eat anything fun. Look how much longer that list of CANS is than can'ts!! Click here for a list of Whole30 approved brands. Great products for mayo, salad dressings and snacks.

The experience is different for everyone. Each week is also different. I found some weeks to be really easy and some weeks to be more challenging. For me, the first two weeks were the easiest. I was so gung-ho and committed I never wanted to cheat. My energy was a little down with the lack of grains and dairy, but I took that as an excuse to sneak in a few extra naps. The third week was fine as far as eating and my energy was normal. The last week was the hardest. This is a little backward for most, because typically things are supposed to get easier. But by week 4 all I wanted to do was bake and eat ice cream. I admit I cheated a bit. I'm only human.

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On that note, I have another thing to admit. Alcohol is off limits during Whole 30. Not drinking alcohol is hard. So I didn't follow that rule. I restricted alcohol to just a couple drinks and only on the weekend. Fair warning, being social while on Whole 30 hard. I found myself wanting to stay in more so I wasn't tempted by treats at friend's houses or parties, or dealing with the struggle of ordering off menus. If you are eating out, cut yourself some slack because their is no way you can be for sure what someone is putting in your food unless you are making it. Just order a protein and veggies if you can, a bunless burger or salad and you should be fine. In a pinch, the hot bar and salad bar at Whole Foods are a great option if you are out of food or not wanting to cook. Chipotle is also compliant if you stick with carnitas, guac and salsa. Here are more eating out tips.

My first round I didn't notice a huge change in the number on the scale, but that's not the point. The way I felt on the inside was very noticeable. I felt comfortable in my skin, I felt healthy, I felt like my body loved me back. I felt like everything was moving and grooving the right way in there. Not like the way I feel after I gorge on chips and queso...

Tips:
Meal prep
Have a buddy do it with you
Include protein in every meal so you stay fuller longer
Keep small baggies of raw nuts or a larabar in your purse for those hangry moments!

Some of my go to meals from Round 1 Whole 30:

Breakfast:
Smoothies: using my basic combo of almond milk, greens, berries or fruit, almond butter and cinnamon
Chia Pudding (but it never filled me up, so not again)
Banana with almond butter
Eggs with fruit
Larabar (for something quick)

Lunch: 
Lunch board
Cobb style salad
Taco Salad no chips or cheese
Prosciutto wrapped apples & veggies with guacamole 

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner (eggs, sausage, fruit)
Loaded salad with protein
Roast chicken with roasted veggies
Spaghetti Squash

Snacks: (Whole 30 doesn't advice snacking, they want you to stick to 3 whole meals, but sometimes you need a little something something mid day)
Veggies and homemade guacamole
Veggie chips and salsa (check ingredients)
Apple and almond butter
Larabars

Meals I'm excited to make for Round 2:
Butternut Squash Soup (minus the granola)
Potato Soup
Tomato soup
Veggie Chili
Slow-Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce (AMAZING!!!)
Spiralized veggies with meat sauce (I got a spiralizer for Christmas!!)
Sweet Potato Crust Quiche
Egg Baked in Avocado (good for breakfast or lunch)
Sweet Potato Toast
Cauliflower Rice

Take a Bite recipes that are Whole 30 compliant:
Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Figs
Baked Egg Sweet Potato
Acorn Squash Salad Bowls (minus the feta)
Carnitas (serve in lettuce wrap instead of tortilla)
Perfect Green Smoothie
Lunch Board
Easy Butternut Squash Soup

Whole 30 Inspiration:

Instagrammers:
@emilyeatsrealfood (my fav) Known for #emilysbreakfastbowls and #emilyschiapudding
@cleaneats_cleantreats
@oliveyouwhole

Blog Posts:
The Lazy Girl's Guide to Whole 30 
Every Last Detail

30 Trader Joe's Approved Foods

My Whole 30 Pinterest Board

Comment below if you are doing January Whole 30. We are in this together!

Annie