Wednesday, 31 October 2012

More "Trick" than "Treat"

Today is All Hallows' Eve and Whole30 eve, interesting timing. It's another candy and treat filled season for most, and I am no exception. I've been good with refraining from the mini chocolate bars and the like (total count so far: one mini Snickers and and one Mars - both left me with a waxy, sugar taste in my mouth, 3 pkgs. of Rockets), but I have been "treating" myself more lately to foods I am not usually tempted by other times, knowing I'll be going thirty days without as of tomorrow. The psychological impact that has on me is really interesting and explains (but doesn't excuse) the Mexican restaurant dinner I had last night, the tortilla chips, dip and cheezies I have been indulging in since Saturday's Halloween party. It's not that I no longer enjoy those foods, but I am so much more aware of how they impact me. It's helping me decide what's worth it and what isn't  - and what constitutes a special occasion (leading me to ponder how all special occasions are wrapped up in less than healthy foods.)

As a result of the above and the cumulative effect of multiple restaurant meals recently with my colleagues, I'm feeling less than great right now. Bloat? Check. Fatigue and general weariness? Check. Indigestion? Check. Dull skin? Check. So, who is tricking who here?

You know what? I am looking forward to this Whole30 more than the first two - adhering to the framework will give me the "treat" of optimal eating for a month prior to what is arguably the most indulgent season of the year. And I'm hoping that sense of buoyancy I feel after eating well for long periods of time will continue to influence my food choices during periods of decking the halls and not so silent nights.

This post is a little late for preparation help tips (and Leanne is going to dedicate a post solely to that), but I thought I'd share some super quick and delicious recipes I often turn to, Whole30 or not. For the last couple of years, my husband and I have taken to doubling recipes when preparing fresh meats, then sealing and freezing them in two separate bags. When you take this approach, your freezer will often greet you with lovely choices the night before - all that's required is to defrost overnight in the fridge, cook the next day and prep your sides. It's a massive time saver and foods that are seasoned longer are so much more flavorful anyway. Win-win!

First up is this long-time favourite, Peruvian Chicken. It's based on a Bonnie Stern recipe and it's delicious.

Peruvian Chicken
  inspired by Bonnie Stern

2 chickens, cut in quarters or 12 pieces of chicken with bone in
2 lemons, halved
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. smoked paprika – this stuff is incredible, try not to dive into the jar
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cayenne
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towel and place in a large bowl. Squeeze juice from lemon halves all over the chicken (mind the seeds). Throw lemon halves into Ziploc bags.
  2. Make a paste with the remaining ingredients, except cilantro – garlic through oil.
  3. Rub paste into chicken pieces and sprinkle with cilantro. Divide chicken between Ziploc bags and marinate for at least four hours, overnight or freeze at this point. 
  4. Allow chicken to thaw completely in fridge, then rest at room temperature for forty minutes. Heat oven to 350. 
  5. Place chicken pieces on lightly greased cookie sheet and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 25-35 minutes, until done. Alternately, grill chicken for about 5 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

This next recipe is an original, inspired by many different recipes over the years. It's crazy good, and makes awesome appetizers as well. Definitely double it and freeze at least half prior to cooking. Make sauce the day before serving.

Curry Coconut Chicken Satay

2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated (frozen!)
2-3 Tbsp. curry powder
2-3 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup coconut milk
1 ½ lbs chicken breasts or thighs, cut into strips

Mix all ingredients together and let marinate for at least two hours.

To cook: Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with foil, bake for 15 minutes, then turn for additional 10 or until done. You can skewer chicken pieces with (soaked) bamboo sticks prior to cooking - meat on a stick is always fun.

Serve with:
Thai Nut Butter Dipping Sauce

½ cup almond  butter, all natural
1/8 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 clove minced garlic
Juice from one orange
Juice from one lime
2 tsp. tamari
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Blend all ingredients together well, add juices and/or coconut milk to achieve desired consistency. Delicious as a dip for crudités as well. Will keep for at least a week in fridge.

Another favourite, slightly altered from original recipe which can be found here

Mustard Lime Chicken Breasts
inspired by Elana’s Pantry

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. pepper


  1. Combine everything but chicken in food processor, pulse until well mixed. 
  2. Put chicken breasts in casserole dish. 
  3.  Pour marinade over chicken. Cover and refrigerate up to six hours and at least one.
  4. Let rest at room temperature 40 minutes before baking in 350 oven for 35-40 minutes, until done. 

Finally, here's a link to the pork souvlaki recipe I shared last time, super delicious and so easy!

Next time I'll share some simple side recipes, but just a reminder, try to make your plate look like this - and don't forget those healthy fats! They are the key to success. I can tell I haven't had enough of them lately because of my dull skin.

There are some websites that have pretty consistent Whole30 compliant recipes, so check those out for inspiration as well.
Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo
Whole Life Eating
The Clothes Make the Girl

Tell us what you've been doing while preparing for the big day. Any recipes to share? Any hesitations or worries? Expectations or goals? We'd love to hear. Good luck, here's to you for choosing to TREAT yourself well the month of November!

1 comment:

  1. One other tip that may be helpful for people with seriously limited time - frozen veggies come pre-prepped, often go on sale (helpful during the cold months when the local stuff is done for the year), and retain all the nutrition of fresh veggies (as long as the pieces are loose in the bag - if it's one solid mass, it means the contents have been partially thawed then re-frozen, reducing the quality drastically).