sweet potato with sautéed tomatoes and figs

Eating clean is an experiment in texture and flavor. You experiment with combinations you wouldn’t usually try because usually you’d have a Everything bagel slathered with cream cheese. Eating clean takes discipline.
mmmm. cream cheese . . . 

Ahem. Right. Clean eating.

It’s September second and the inter-webs are flooded with words about and recipes for pumpkin spice. I was initially thrilled, (because PUMPKIN SPICE!) and then amused, and then alarmed. My thoughts of adding to the glut here at EatWriteRepeat dissipated because of the overwhelming backlash. I had no idea pumpkin spice was such a heated topic! I mean, I know it’s all about rushing the season and what not, but good grief. No one grows this worked up over Christmas decor before Thanksgiving. The injustice!

Anyway. I’ll spare us all the drama. Here’s a sweet-potato recipe instead. Be warned though, I’m working on a savory pumpkin soup recipe for as soon as the temperatures dip a bit. And there’s a good possibility I’ll run by Starbucks this afternoon. *wink*

BAKED SWEET POTATO WITH SAUTÉED BABY TOMATOES AND FIGS

2 sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons clarified butter
1/2 cup baby tomatoes—halved (the Constellation mix is my fav)
6-8 fresh figs—halved
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of cinnamon

Bake sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Until the skin is slightly crisped and the potato pierces easily with a fork.

In a pan, over medium heat, melt 2 teaspoons clarified butter. Toss tomatoes and figs into the pan with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Sauté until soft and the juice from the fruit is beginning to caramelize.

Spoon over baked sweet potato and serve warm.

• Makes two servings

deviled eggs

I didn’t color Easter eggs with my kids this year. I am one third raging Mom guilt, one third relief (I didn’t have to clean up the chaotic mess!), and a final third healthier for not having to digest the dye which somehow manages to seep through the shells into my boiled eggs.
Emotions in thirds.
I love fractions.

So, when it comes to logical conclusions, it made sense to boil all the eggs I had left post Easter, and devil them. Is ‘devil’ a verb? To devil. Yes. Okay. The grammar girl in me is satisfied.

For your own satisfaction: Deviled Eggs, traditional style (and Whole 30 friendly!).

Enjoy!

DEVILED EGGS
 

6 eggs (or more if you’re serving a crowd)
Mayo (this is my favorite recipe!)
a dash of salt
a sprinkle of paprika

Boil eggs until hard. About 1.5 minute per egg, so for a batch of six eggs, 8-9 minutes. Adjust your time accordingly.

Once your eggs are boiled, drain off the hot water and cool them down ( I flood my pot and freshly boiled eggs with cold tap water) and then peel them.

Slice the cooled, peeled eggs in half, the long way, and scoop the yoke into a small mixing bowl. And then using a fork, (or if you prefer your deviled egg filling extra smooth—a hand mixer) mash the yokes until smooth. Add about 1 part mayo per three parts egg yokes. So if you end up with about 1 cup of mashed yoke, add 1/3 cup mayo. Blend well, add a dash of salt until the flavor is to your liking, and then with a small spoon (I use a baby spoon because I have a whole bunch of those on hand), scoop a dollop of yoke back into the empty egg. Do with with all of the eggs—you may have yoke filling left over (perfect for a slice of toast!). Top with a sprinkle of paprika and serve chilled.

 

guacamole and carrot sticks

Snacking is an art form in my mind and ought to be practiced often. As such, one might as well snack right. Whole30 has some great snacking options if you can force yourself to see past the typical crackers and cheese route. And guacamole and carrot sticks are a perfect option in this regard.

Whenever I’m on the road, this is my go-to snack. It’s portable, rich in flavor, filling, and good for you. Does colorful count? Let’s go with colorful too. Totally counts.
Enjoy!

I like using a food processor for this recipe because it simplifies the process. But a knife, fork and bowl work just as well for mixing up a batch of guac. Even better: a guacamole molcajete! Whatever tools you use, this is simply about blending flavors and textures.

GUACAMOLE AND CARROT STICKS
 

1 avocado, pitted and diced
1 tomato, diced
1 teaspoon diced cilantro
1 teaspoon red onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic
a dash of lemon juice

In a bowl, toss avocado, tomato, cilantro and onion together. Blend and mash with a fork until the diced pieces  begin to break down and combine. Blend in garlic and lemon juice and mix until well incorporated.
Add carrot sticks, and if you need some protein, some uncured salami.

Note: I adore cilantro. But not everyone does. If you hate the stuff, feel free to substitute diced scallions or fresh parsley.

If you are using a food processor, toss all of the ingredients, including the garlic and lemon juice, into the bowl and pulse several times until the mixture is blended but still chunky.

sweet potato hash with a soft egg

Potatoes and eggs are usually the ubiquitous American breakfast food, but if eating clean has taught me anything, it’s that anything can sub-in when it comes to meal norms. And this ‘typical’ breakfast food works just as well for dinner. Especially if you throw in a grilled steak topped with arugula, or something similar.

But for today, this was breakfast. And it was beautiful.
You can mix up the sides endlessly because sweet potatoes play nice with so many flavors and textures. Salad . . . fresh fruit . . . crudités . . .pickled beets . . . a few slices of uncured salami . . . there really is no end to the options.
In my case, it was yellow tomatoes and a slightly overripe avocado.
Hey, whatever works!
Enjoy.

SWEET POTATO HASH WITH A SOFT EGG

1 peeled and shredded sweet potato
1 teaspoon onion flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and grate/shred one sweet potato and set aside.

In a skillet over med/high-high, heat olive oil until hot (but not smoking). toss in onion flakes and allow them to caramelize. Then toss in grated sweet potato and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Turn to coat with olive oil and allow the heat to brown the edges before scraping the pan, turning again, and allowing to brown once more. Scrape and brown the potato until it begins to crisp. Then, with a spoon, hollow out two “nests” in the bed of hash and crack one egg into each nest.

Slide the skillet into a 400-degree, preheated oven and bake the hash and eggs until the egg yokes are covered with a thin while film and the whites are firm.

Remove from oven and plate with fruit, veggies, or meat.

 

Cashew Butter

Back to snacking—I started posting about some favorite snacks last week, so let’s return to that subject. Because Snacks. It’s hard to go without a few in the course of a day, and making healthy snacking choices can be tough when you are SO TIRED OF BANANAS. (Bananas are the go-to snack at my house). So. Enter cashew butter and apple slices. Think: Carmel apple dip, only with nut butter. NomNomNom.
 

I started making all of my own nut butter back in September after reading an article about what kind of miscreant ingredients are contained in a typical jar of Skippy. And considering that we go through a large jar of peanut butter in about a week at my house, (lots of PB&J) a change was needed.

Nut butter is expensive no matter which way you spin it, because nuts in general are expensive. But if you can buy them in bulk, this will save you a bit. Cashews are my favorite nut, so cashew butter has become my nut-butter of choice. But you can make any flavor of nut butter with this method.

You will need a food processor for this job.

1 lb. of your favorite nuts, roasted.
1 tsp sea salt
2 teaspoons coconut oil

In a food processor, toss the roasted nuts, salt, and spoon the coconut oil on top. Snap the cover tightly into place, and whirl on high for about 3-5 minutes. This process is kinda noisy, so warn your little people or pets if they get nervous around loud noises.
When the butter is smooth, scrape into a sealable container. Refrigerate.
1 lb. of roasted nuts makes approximately 1 quart of nut butter.

Thoughts on whole30, round 3

I did my first Whole30 in September of 2015. I read the book. I was inspired to make some long-overdue dietary changes, and found it an educational and health-inducing experience. I learned SO MUCH about my body—how it reacts to food, my brain, my emotions, and my triggers. It was amazing. And it was a  successful experience! Even though I was (and have been) unable to exercise for a long time due first to a knee injury and then to its surgical repair. So my entire Whole30 experience happened in the kitchen. That said, I still lost a solid ten pounds and dropped two pant sizes.

But even better than that, I felt amazing. I was clear-headed, didn’t suffer from the mid-afternoon sugar drop off, slept hard and deeply at night, and got rid of some very persistent headaches.

The next couple months brought the onslaught of holiday chaos, a season of sickness in my family of six unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, (strep, ear infections, stomach flu, influenza, hand-foot-mouth, pink-eye, you name it—we had it). And all of that combined to result in high stress, lack of discipline, exhaustion, and an inability to finish my second round of Whole30. Over the last several months, the weight slowly crept back on, and all the once-alleviated symptoms that are a reflection of bad eating ushered themselves back into my life and body. Bummer.
But.
If nothing else, this PROVED to me the effectiveness of dietary change, and at the end of February I vowed to do another round. Adding exercise when I could (yay for a slowly-healing knee!)

And so, here I am on Day 3 (I started Feb 29) of my third round of whole30, and I’m excited. Invigorated. Inspired. And loving my renewed adventures in the kitchen. Which is why so many of the recipes I post here at eatwriterepeat are Whole30 friendly , vegetarian, or paleo. These recipes come out of my personal journey, and I’m honored to have you following along with me!

All this to say: If you are trying to make better eating choices, cooking choices, and health choices in general, I salute you. I partner with you. (SOLIDARITY!) —Whole30, 21-Day fix, or whatever other tool you are using!
Know this: I fail with you, get up and try again with you.I choose better than mediocre with you. Health matters. Yours and mine. And in case no one has told you today: I know how hard this is. And I’m proud of you for pressing in and pressing on.

Over and out.

—Beth

skillet-baked lemon-garlic chicken breast with sautéed arugula and spinach

“Winner winner chicken dinner.”
That phrase originated, or so the tale goes, from a chicken dinner served in Las Vegas that used to cost less than $2.00. The usual bet at the time was $2.00, so when you won, you could afford the chicken dinner. Hence “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” 

This particular recipe costs less than $2.00 a serving, and considering how good it tastes, I’d say that definitely makes whomever cooks and eats this particular recipe, a winner.
So, there you have it. Congratulations!
Enjoy!

SKILLET BAKED LEMON-GARLIC CHICKEN BREAST
WITH SAUTÉED ARUGULA AND SPINACH

4 chicken breasts
2 cups fresh arugula
2 cups fresh spinach
1 teaspoon clarified butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

for the marinade:
1 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white cooking wine

In a glass dish with a lid, (or a gallon-sized ziplock bag) mix up the marinade and immerse chicken breasts. Allow them to soak, refrigerated, for 8 to 12 hours.

Heat your oven to 400-degrees and warm a large cast-iron skillet. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the pan is well-coated and then lay the marinated chicken breasts evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, turn the chicken, sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper, and return to the oven for another 10-to-15 minutes, or until the breasts begin to brown.

Will the chicken is finishing, melt clarified butter in a pan over med-high heat and toss in arugula and spinach. sprinkle lightly with salt and toss again until the greens begin to wilt. Remove from heat and plate with finished chicken.