All Posts Tagged ‘Cooking with Joanna

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Potato Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

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All of a sudden winter has hit us here in Vancouver. It’s been beautifully sunny and absolutely chilly and we are loving it! We’ve spent hours outside each day soaking up the sunshine and everyone’s mood has been lifted.

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The fresh cold air makes me crave hot soup, and so that plus the fact that kale was on sale at our local market had me coming up with this for dinner last night. This made quite a large pot, probably enough for about 6 bowls.

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Ingredients:

-6 slices of nitrate free, sugar free bacon

-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

-1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped

-2 celery stalks, chopped

-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used red potatoes but any kind will do)

-3 potatoes, diced into bite size pieces (I prefer to leave the peel on for this part)

-6 sausage links, Italian flavoured or chorizo (I did a mix)

-2 large red bell peppers, diced

-2 bunches of kale, stems removed and roughly torn or chopped

-fresh chives, chopped

-4 cups chicken broth

-1 cup water

-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) Fry the bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat. (Put the bacon in your cold soup pot and then turn on the heat to medium to get the most fat rendered out of your bacon – thanks Cherie for that tip!)

2) Once the bacon is cooked, remove it and set it to the side. Remove all but 1-2 tbsp of the bacon fat. (Save that removed bacon fat in a jar for another day…it’s gold.)

3) Fry your garlic, leek and celery in the pot with the 1-2 tbsp bacon fat until it smells wonderful, about 2-4 minutes.

4) Add in your 4 peeled and chopped potatoes and fry for another few minutes.

5) Pour in your chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 or so minutes, until potatoes are soft.

6) While your potatoes are cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat. Remove the sausage casing and crumble the meat into the pan. Cook until there is no longer any pink.

7) When the potatoes are soft, puree the whole pot of broth, potatoes, garlic, leeks and celery. Use a hand held immersion blender or remove the mixture and blend it in a Vitamix and then return it to the pot.

8) Add the rest of the potatoes and the cooked sausage. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes or until the diced potatoes begin to soften.

9) Add your chopped kale and diced red pepper and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

10) Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with chives and bacon.

Enjoy!

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Whole 30 Meal Plan – Week 3

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Week 3! Finally in the second half of Whole30 where everything starts feeling gooooooood. I can’t believe that I can wake up now and actually function without coffee. I definitely still miss the taste, but I’m so glad that I’m not relying on it.

What do you find the most challenging about Whole30? For me it’s definitely the social functions. I hate being the odd one out, not eating yummy treats at a ladies night or dinner get together. I also hate turning down food that has been cooked for me by someone who loves me. A friend of mine had me over last night and baked a wonderful looking gluten free peanut butter pie and I felt awful for turning it down. I REALLY hate being thought of as the girl who is always on a “diet”. That’s not at all who I am, but when you give the 30 second Whole30 run down to someone, it can certainly come across that way.

However, with all that being said, I’ve found that most of those people at those social functions eventually come to me later wanting more information about Whole30. I’ve seen a lot of them change their lifestyle around completely, and then it’s all worth it, right? We’re spreading the Good Food Word. Plus, no hangover, no food baby, and no extra toilet time.

Here’s what I’m eating this week.

Breakfast:

Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin”

Baked Yam and Brussel Sprout Hash

Sweet and Savoury Quiche 

Dinner:

Easy Paleo Pot Roast

Roasted Nectarine Salsa on Wild Salmon

Healthy Braised Pulled Pork

Vegetable and Mango Curry With Basil-Ginger Quinoa (Use cauliflower rice instead of quinoa, chicken instead of chickpeas, and coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.)

Cabbage Rolls

Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon

Bacon Chorizo Chipotle Smothered Meatloaf (I always skip the almond flour here and have no problem, but it IS approved to use on Whole30 for this recipe if you wish to use it.)

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Roasted Nectarine Salsa on Wild Salmon

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I am really enjoying the abundance of ripe, fresh fruit this summer and the abundance of fresh wild sockeye from our CSA. I combined my love for nectarines and salmon tonight and came up with this meal that we devoured in minutes! We enjoyed this with a side of roasted beets and mixed baby potatoes.

Ingredients:

1 large tomato

1/2 red onion

1 nectarine

1 jalapeño, seeded

1 small sweet Italian pepper

1 lb wild salmon fillet

1 avocado

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

1) Wash and dice your first 5 ingredients into small, uniform pieces.

2) Toss them in melted coconut oil and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3) Place your baking sheet on the top rack of your oven and set your broiler to high.

4) Broil for 5-10 minutes or until salsa just begins to blacken. Remove and let cool.

5) Place your salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the top rack of your oven and broil on high for 10-15 mins until salmon is cooked through.

7) While the salmon is broiling, dice your avocado and gently mix it into your salsa. Add the chopped basil and toss gently to combine.

8) When salmon is cooked through, remove and place it on your plate. Top with your salsa and enjoy!

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Whole 30 – Week 2 – Meal Plan

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Hey there! Wow, this no caffeine thing has been ROUGH. For the first 3 days I had a non stop pounding headache, was exhausted during the day, and awake in the middle of the night. By day 4 I was feeling way better though, and I’m excited to see how things improve even more over the next few weeks.

Here’s my meal plan for this week. A few breakfasts that I will double, and leftovers for lunch every day. 

Breakfast:

Yams and Eggs (There isn’t much to this “recipe” but it’s one of my favourites. I chop the yams into cubes and fry them in coconut oil and steak spice until cooked through. I remove them from the pan and cover them to keep them hot. Then I quickly fry 2 eggs and put them on top of the yams. You could partially boil the yams at the beginning of the week to make them quick and easy to fry up in the morning.)

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Potatoes with Kale and Bacon

Crustless Quiche

Dinner:

Mexican Meatza

Chocolate Chili on spaghetti squash

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque (skip the corn)

Sweet Pineapple Ginger Meatballs 

Lemon Garlic Chicken on Zoodles and Kale

Italian Sausage and Zoodles

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

I suggest tripling the Chocolate Chili and Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque and freezing them for Whole30 emergencies. Those are two of my favourite recipes…you won’t be sorry!

Enjoy!

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 1 – Whistler

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Over the course of this summer, I’ve heard a lot of this:

“I’ll start eating healthy after my vacation is over.”

“It’s impossible to eat healthy on vacation.”

“It’s too hard to eat healthy while camping.”

“Whole30 is impossible on vacation.”

Of course, I took this on as a challenge to prove that it IS all possible, and that it’s not that difficult or time consuming with a little guidance and prep work. We had two short trips almost back to back, giving me two opportunities to test out my ideas. (Read Part 2 – Camping to see how we stayed healthy on our road trip to Alberta).

First, we got to spend a weekend in Whistler with our good friend and her daughter. We stayed in a lodge with a full kitchen, making this the easier of the two challenges. Still, we only had 2 nights there, and I wanted to spend as little of that time in the kitchen as possible, so I prepped almost everything ahead of time.

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Here’s a complete list of what I packed:

Green beans

Kale/Swiss chard mix, washed and torn

Yellow carrots

1 large zucchini

4 avocados

1 bunch of bananas

Cherries

Apples

1 dozen eggs, half of those hardboiled

Chicken (2 large bone-in breasts and 2 large thighs)

Homemade sausage patties

Homemade meatballs

Partially cooked diced yams

Cooked beets

Cashews

Larabars

Date/Coconut balls

Black coffee

At first glance, all that cooked food may look like a lot of prep work, but it really wasn’t. I like to keep it simple and use shortcuts.

For the chicken, I threw it all in a crockpot the night before with about 1 tbsp of rosemary, 1 tbsp of basil, 1 sliced lemon, salt and pepper, and drizzled olive oil on it. I let it cook all night on low, then let it cool in the morning and packed it away in tupperware. This took about 5 minutes of hands on time.

For the beets, I also used the crockpot. I scrubbed them, threw them in the crockpot and covered them with an inch or two of water. I cooked them on high for 2 hours. Once they cooled, I slid off the peels and then packed them in tupperware. Maximum ten minutes of hands on time.

The meatballs and sausage patties were what took the most time, and so I doubled both recipes knowing that I could use the extra for camping the next week. For the meatballs I used the Greek version of Melissa Joulwan’s meatballs. I packed half of them in a tupperware and froze the other half in a ziploc freezer bag for camping. For the sausage patties, I used my absolute favourite homemade sausage recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo, found here. I did the same as I did with the meatballs, packing half in a tupperware container and freezing the rest in a ziploc freezer bag for camping the next week. This only took about 30 minutes of hands on time the night before our trip.

While the meatballs and sausage patties cooked in the oven, I peeled and chopped about 6 small yams. I fried them in coconut oil but left them slightly hard so that they wouldn’t get mushy over the next few days. This took about 15 minutes of hands on time, and about 15 mins of frying time. 

The morning of our trip, I threw it all in a cooler and unloaded it all in the fridge once we arrived. Over the weekend, we simply ate different combinations of all these foods. Bonus, we came home with a ton of leftovers that we ate at home over the next couple of days. All of this food was Whole30 approved, and because I’m not actually doing the Whole30 challenge this month, eating this way for our 3 main meals a day left room for treats like this that I found at the Whistler Farmer’s Market:

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Apple Bacon Pie. Seriously.

Spending the small amount of time to do this ended up saving us a ton of money (dining out in Whistler is expensive!), a lot of frustration and exhaustion trying to keep our two wiggly children quiet and entertained at restaurants, and left us with so much extra time to explore and have fun. 

Try it, I know you can do it!

(Side note: I was so happy to bump into Caveman Grocer at the Whistler Farmer’s Market. Check her out!)

Kayaking in Whistler

Kayaking in Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

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Lemon Pepper Spaghetti Squash with Scallops and Kale

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I absolutely love scallops! They are a quick and easy source of protein and completely versatile when it comes to flavour. This is one of my favourite lunches to eat post workout.

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash, cooked and threaded into ‘noodles’

8-10 scallops, ocean wise

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped, stems removed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/8 cup of Tessemae’s Lemon Pepper sauce, approximately

Directions

1) Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat.

2) Pour into the pan about half of the Tessemae’s Lemon Pepper sauce

3) Place your scallops in the pan, leaving lots of wiggle room between them. Leave them to cook for 3-5 minutes.

4) Flip over your scallops and allow them to cook for another few minutes.

5) Add your red pepper and stir to combine with the scallops. Let cook for a minute.

6) Add your kale and the rest of your Tessemae’s sauce. Mix everything and fry until kale is softened and scallops are completely cooked through.

7) Remove from pan and serve over spaghetti squash noodles. Enjoy!

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How Whole30 Changed My Life

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Have you heard of the Whole30 craze yet? It has gained a lot of popularity since I first discovered it a few years ago. I discovered Whole30 about 4 years after ‘recovering’ from an eating disorder. I had finished my therapy and was now trying to figure out how to live a balanced life. Even though I was finally eating three meals a day, my relationship with food was still so damaged. I found that if I tried to focus on getting in shape again and being healthy, it would trigger old habits too quickly and I would start to obsess and quickly become miserable again. If I went the other way and didn’t try at all, then I felt sluggish and heavy and guilty. I was using an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication to dull the guilt and anxiety surrounding food, but I knew I couldn’t do that forever. I hated my postpartum body but was too scared to try and fix it. I feared becoming ‘sick’ again, and I had sworn to myself I would never do that to my husband and daughter.

About a year and a half after my daughter was born, a friend of mine posted a food photo on Instagram with the hashtag #whole30. I asked her what it was, and got the run down: No grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, or alcohol for 30 days. This intrigued me! I jumped in without doing much research and not fully understanding the concept. I admit that I desperately wanted to lose a bit of weight and this seemed like a great way to do it. (Now, years later, I understand that the program is NOT meant for losing weight, although most people do lose weight on it).

Seven days into the program, I couldn’t believe how different I felt. My body was settling into a natural and comfortable weight. Energy was coursing through me for the first time since before puberty. I was able to eat and not feel guilty after. I was having fun experimenting with new foods and new ways to cook. My clothes were fitting differently and I had an overall feeling of lightness. I often joke that I even became more fertile than usual as I discovered that I had become pregnant with our son during the thirty days, completely by surprise.

By the end of the thirty days I felt fantastic. I was so happy with the results. I was convinced that everyone I knew needed to try the program! Unfortunately a few weeks later I became extremely ill while pregnant and could not stand the sight or smell of any protein and very few vegetables. For the rest of my pregnancy I survived on toast, apple juice, goldfish crackers and the occasional carrot. I undid all the good things accomplished during my first Whole30 challenge, but this time I knew how to fix it. I knew that as soon as my pregnancy was finished, I could do another round of Whole30 and get back on track.

Six weeks after my son was born, I did my second round. This time I researched a lot and read It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the creators of Whole30. I learned the reasons behind it, how to properly reintroduce food after the thirty days, and how to live a balanced life after. I incorporated all kinds of exercise. Again the results were so fantastic and came quicker during the second round.

The best thing of all: I learned to stop seeing food as the enemy.  I learned that the number on the scale is meaningless. I learned that I don’t have to waste my time counting calories. I learned that strength is beautiful. I learned that it’s important for my children to see me eat and enjoy food and use food to give me energy. I learned to see food as fuel for my body.

I can’t even begin to explain the freedom I have experienced. Freedom from medication, freedom from guilt, freedom from self-hatred. I used to fall asleep at night in tears, hating myself and hoping that the next day I would be able to eat less and less and less until there was nothing left of me. Now, I fall asleep knowing that I’ve done my best for that day to show my children that food is wonderful, food is energy, food is strength. 

So, now what? Almost a year and a half after my second round of Whole30, this is how I live: All the food that I eat in my home is Whole30 approved. Because I am a stay at home mom, this makes up about 90% of my meals each week. When I go out for dinner with friends, holidays, or special occasions, I enjoy myself and eat whatever I feel like eating, knowing that I will most likely not feel my best the next day. I understand that when I do this, I am not choosing the best fuel for my body. But because I do not do this often, I am completely okay with those choices. There is no more guilt associated with poor food choices. I am not ‘cheating’ on some kind of diet; I am making conscious decisions. This kind of balance works for me. My body feels better than ever. I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I am a good example for my children. I feel healed.

If you feel guilty about your food choices, if your body feels exhausted, or if you just want to clean out your system, I really encourage you to check it out. Click here to check out the official program.

If you decide to try out the program or if you have any questions, I would love to be a resource for you. Almost all of my recipes filed under ‘Cooking with Joanna’ are Whole30 approved, and I think you’ll find my Ten Tips for a successful Whole30 very helpful. I am happy to answer any questions you might have and would love to offer encouragement! Follow me on Instagram at @wellnesswithjoanna also, as I am constantly collecting and sharing Whole30 approved recipes from other recipe bloggers. Happy Whole30-ing!

And PS – so much thanks to that friend for sharing her Whole30 experience on Instagram. You know who you are.