Whole30 Middle Eastern Kafta Meatballs

 

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Whole 30, Paleo, And Gluten Free

Kafta is something I ate all of the time growing up.  It would often be made almost like a meatloaf or on skewers. I modified it a bit for convenience, and made it into meatballs.  I also used ground beef and ground pork mixed together, instead of ground lamb.  I usually make the meatballs really big.  One or two is all you need for a meal.  These meatballs freeze really well as well.

This recipe makes 12 large meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1  pound of grass fed ground beef.  ( I used a 85% to 15 % ratio from Butcher Box)
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup of parsley
  • 1/2 cup of  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon of turmeric

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees,
  2. Dice onion.
  3. Chop parsley.  I do this fairly rustically because I like seeing bits of green throughout each meatball.
  4. In a separate little bowl, mix spices and salt together.
  5. To a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef and pork.
  6. Add the onion, parsley, and spices to the mixing bowl.
  7. Add the lemon juice.
  8. Mix with clean hands.
  9. Form into large meatballs.  These will be wet, it is okay.  You will see liquid on the sheet pan and that is normal.  The lemon juice adds flavor and steams the meatballs a bit from the inside.
  10. Place meatballs on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  12. Once baked, switch the oven to broil and cook for another 8 minutes until the outside of the meatball crisps up a bit.
  13. Serve alone or with Whole30 and Gluten Free Lemon Tahini Sauce/Dressing ,

 

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Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

 

 

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Whole30, Paleo, and Gluten Free

This meal came to me after a few days of being snowed in.  I used my pantry items from Thrive Market to create this meal along with a few spices, I had and some vegetables.  This sauce could be made many different ways, adding vegetables or shrimp etc.  It is very versatile and tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews (I get mine from Thrive Market)
  • 13.5 oz can of organic coconut milk (I used Native Forest)
  • 30 oz of uncured bacon bits (I used Epic Hickory Smoked) (save 1 teaspoon and put aside for garnish)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 pound of your favorite veggie noodles- I made my own with my spiralizer using sweet potato
  • Nutritional Yeast (I use Bragg’s)

Directions:

  1. The cashews needs to be soaked before doing this recipe.  This can either be done the night before or the hour before.  For the night before, cover in water and sit on counter.  For the hour before, cover with hot water and let soak.
  2. Once the cashews are soaked, drain the excess water, and give them a rinse.
  3. Add the cashews into a blender (I use my Nutri-Bullet), along with the garlic cloves, bacon bits, red pepper flakes, and sea salt. Blend until a thick sauce.
  4. Put veggie noodles in a microwave and cook for 2 minutes to warm up a bit.
  5. Add sauce to a skillet and warm through on medium heat, stirring.  This is just to let the garlic cook a bit. Stir for 3-4 minutes and remove from the heat.
  6. Once veggie noodles are ready, either mix noodles into sauce directly in pan; or put some veggie noodles in a bowl and spoon sauce over.
  7. Garnish with remaining bacon bits and chopped parsley. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast!

Note:  This easily could be thinned out with chicken stock to make a “carbonara” type consistency.  You could add more bacon at the end.

 

Beef Stroganoff

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Whole30, Paleo, Dairy Free, Grain Free and Gluten Free

This is comfort food for me.  My Mom would make the recipe from an old Betty Crocker Cookbook. It has a tomato base unlike many stroganoff recipes.   It was my choice for my birthday meal for years.  As an adult, I would make it but tweak it with a homemade spicy ketchup.  Now that I follow a gluten free diet, I wanted to make an adaptation that would be both gluten free and Whole30.  While it does not look exactly like traditional beef stroganoff, it definitely has the flavors.

Ingredients: ( See link to shop for some of the ingredients down below Food Products That I Like )

  • 8oz of beef stew meat (I got mine from Butcher Box)
  • 16oz container of sliced  portobello mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of ghee
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cups of raw cashews
  • 13.5 can of organic coconut milk
  • 6 Tablespoons of compliant tomato paste (no sugar added)
  • 2 Tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup of New Primal Spicy Marinade
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt (broken up into 1/2 T increments)
  • 1 Tablespoon of black pepper (broken up into 1/2 T increments)
  • cauliflower rice, sweet potatoes, or spriralized vegetables to serve on

 

Directions:

  1. Soak cashews in water overnight.  Just enough water to cover them.
  2. When ready to cook, put the cashews in a colander.  Rinse with cold water
  3. Add  1 Tablespoon of ghee to a cast iron skillet, and brown the mushrooms and onions.  Remove from heat
  4. Add 1/2 Tablespoon of ghee to the hot pan and brown the stew meat.  I do not full cook this because it will cook completely in the sauce. Season with 1/2 of a Tablespoon of salt and 1/2 of a Tablespoon of pepper.
  5. Blend together the soaked cashews with 1 can of organic coconut milk (for cooking), and garlic
  6. Remove browned meat from cast iron skillet.  Deglaze the plan with The New Primal Spicy Marinade.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape all of the bits from the bottom of the pan while this marinade simmers.
  7. Add in the coconut aminos, the tomato paste, and the mustard.  Add in the remaining 1/2 Tablespoon of salt and 1/2 Tablespoon of pepper.  Whisk until it comes up to a simmer
  8. Add in the mushrooms and onions
  9. Add in browned meat.  Bring the heat down on medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  10. Serve over cooked sweet potato, veggie spirals, or cauliflower rice

My Whole30 Journey- Round 3

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So the day has arrived.  I have just completed my third round of Whole30.  I am proud, I must admit.  I never thought this would be something I could stick with.  I have been on every diet/ weight loss program/health lifestyle program out there.  The parameters of Whole30 have given me control; the changes I see in myself are immeasurable.

I am going to just put this out there for those that do not know much about Whole30.  It is not a diet or a weight loss program.  For me it has been a lifestyle change; a reset in so many ways.  That being said, I have lost weight.   I know that is not the focus of the program, and I do not believe it should be.  In fact, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I have not weighed myself like a crazy person (sometimes several times a day).  I actually have my scale out in my garage so I will not be tempted to go out there…lol  But, I have noticeably lost weight over time.  I have changed sizes in clothing, my clothes are continuously loose which is a foreign concept for me.  So, after 3 rounds…I finally did weigh myself.  I have lost a significant amount.  Now, let me be very clear. I have A LOT of weight to lose to get to a healthy point.  For years no matter what I tried, I was not able to  keep the weight off long term.  I would lose some and then gain it back and then some.  I am also in my early 40’s and it is harder to lose weight. However, believe it or not, the other benefits of the Whole30 that I have seen in myself outweigh the weight loss.

I cannot begin to try to describe how I felt for years.  I was able to “fake it’ really well.  I felt completely different from everyone around me.  My life was exhausting.  I was always having some sort of symptom; bloating, mouth swelling, hair loss, reflux, insomnia, chronic pain, inflammation, acne, eczema, depression, anxiety, panic attacks , mental fogginess. ..just to name a few.  I often felt like I was in a “gray space” where everything was going on around me.  I was part of things, but not completely.  I now recognize how much food sensitivities and allergies have impacted my life and well-being.  Whole30 has helped me identify many more “triggers”.  I feel like a veil has been lifted.  My mind is clear, and my body is functioning more productively.  I have more sustained energy throughout the day.  I am more in tune with myself than ever.  I do attribute this to Whole30 as well as other healthy habits I have incorporated as well.

I have had hormone issues for years.  Since the age of 17 to be exact.  I have had cysts, fibroids, imbalances, numerous procedures and surgeries.  My cycle when not on a pill has always been erratic and to be frank, my time of the month was often; hellish.  I feel like my hormones are more in check, I am regulated, and don’t have debilitating pain that often ensues when a cyst forms , bursts, or  feel terrible during a period.

My skin is better.  I have actually gone out a few times without foundation on, which is craziness.  I have been wearing a tinted moisturizer most other days.  My rosacea is better, I have not had any bad breakouts, and my eczema has been better.  With Celiac Disease, often comes hair loss.  I have a crazy amount of thick hair so while this never impacted me from a balding standpoint, but hair is always shedding all over the place.  I still notice some, but not nearly the amount that there once was.  I am not pulling handfuls of hair out anymore after running a brush through it.

Last but not least, but, for me the most impactful.  I am sleeping better than I have in …maybe forever.  While I do not get 8-9 hours a night, the hours that I do get are with further interruptions, restlessness etc.  I feel more rested.  This is an area that I will continue to work to improve on.  Insomnia was once such a debilitating part of my life…to have some handle on it without the use of any kind of medication, is amazing!

So, all in all… a positive experience.  I did tweak things a bit this round.

  • I eliminated fruit for the most part unless it was an ingredient in a recipe.  The only exception was blueberries which I would sometimes have with breakfast or in a salad.
  •  I started making Bulletproof Coffees a few times a week with ghee and Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.  The other days I had my coffee with Collagen and Nutpods.
  • All water that I consumed at home, had lemon in it.
  •  I changed my bowls to a smaller size when eating most meals so my portion size dropped a bit.  I did allow myself to have seconds but, only if I was feeling hungry
  • I did more Self Care throughout my week (baths, face masks, walks, reading, listening to music) and didn’t just save these things for Sunday.
  • I added a 5 minute meditation to some work days during my lunch break.  I would put in my earbuds and my @headspace app and disconnect for a few minutes.  I do think that this helped center me.

I do plan to continue with another round of Whole30.  I will be documenting my journey (especially the yummy food) on Instagram @eternalworkinprogressgal , and on Twitter and Facebook as well. Everyone has their own path.  Some of us tread water for a really long time.  It is nice to finally feel like I am swimming again.

 

Sweet and Spicy Beef and Potato Hash Stir Fry

 

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Whole30, Paleo, Grain Free, Dairy Free, and Gluten Free

This recipe came together out of desperation.  It is a sort of hash/stir fry fusion.  I had a friend pop by for lunch unexpectedly while I was doing a Whole30.  Not wanting to order out, I decided to rummage through my refrigerator and throw odds and ends together.  In the end, it tasted really good and was super easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of avocado oil (I use Primal Kitchen)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion
  • 8 oz of  frozen riced cauliflower (defrosted)
  • 16 oz of diced frozen sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite hot sauce (I use Cholula; which is Whole30 compliant)
  • 1/3 cup of coconut aminos (I use Coconut Secret)
  • 5 oz of cole slaw mix
  • 6 oz of roast beef (I actually used Applegate Organic Roast Beef Lunch Meat; which is Whole30 compliant).
  • 1/4 cup of raw cashews
  • optional top with Marinate Onions (recipe from Teri Turner @nocrumbsleft)

Directions:

  1. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger.  After mincing the garlic and grating the ginger, I put a bit of kosher salt on it, and use the side of my knife to make each one into an almost paste like consistency.  I find it mixes in better.
  2. Finely dice the onion.
  3. Add avocado oil into a wok or skillet on high heat.
  4. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic, and onion.
  5. Add the sweet potatoes and riced cauliflower and cook through until crispy (roughly 8 minutes)
  6. Slice the roast beef into strips and warm through.
  7. Add the hot sauce and coconut aminos and stir to incorporate.
  8. Add the cole slaw mix to the top and put the lid on the wok.  Cook another 5 minutes just enough time to let the flavors meld together a bit and also let the cabbage wilt down.
  9. Top with cashews.

Note:  This can be served as is or with a fried egg on top.  I have had it both ways and it was good either way.

Middle Eastern Cauliflower Rice (Hushwee)

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Whole30, Paleo, and Gluten Free

Also, Grain Free and Dairy Free

This recipe actually got me a bit emotional.  It is rare that a recipe comes together on the first try.  This one did.  The smells filled my kitchen and when I took that first bite, memories of my Mom and Sittoo (Grandmother) cooking in the kitchen came flooding back.  This is a grain free version of a Middle Eastern Hushwee Dish. The only main thing that needed to be switched out was the riced cauliflower in place of real rice.  Every Middle Eastern Family will have their own take on this dish.  This is the one that is the most similar to the one I grew up on.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb of grass fed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 16 oz of riced cauliflower
  • 16.2 oz container of bone broth (I used chicken bone broth from Kettle&Fire)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded chicken (it could be rotisserie; I used Whole30 and Gluten Free Instant Pot Shredded Chicken )
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch Oven or big pot, heat up olive oil.
  2. Start to brown the ground beef, breaking it up with a rubber spatula.
  3. When almost fully cooked, use a potato masher to break it up into smaller crumbles.  Add salt, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon and mix thoroughly until fully cooked.
  4. Using a microplane, grate in the fresh nutmeg.
  5. Add in the riced cauliflower and stir until well incorporated with the meat.
  6. Add the bone broth and bring up temperature to a boil.
  7. Cook for 10-12 minutes covered, stirring every few minutes until  the liquid has cooked through and evaporated.
  8. Add in shredded chicken. Fold into the rice mixture.
  9. In a cast iron skillet or a frying pan, put pine nuts over a medium heat to toast. Stir or shake continuously.  The oils of the pine nuts will release immediately upon hitting the heat.  You must be vigilant with this because they will burn.
  10. Serve immediately.

 

“Creamed” Kale with Bacon and Mushrooms

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Whole30, Paleo, And Gluten Free

This recipe literally came to me in a dream (I know, I am weird) and I quickly wrote a few things down on a notepad and went back to sleep.  It came to fruition today and was so, so good.  If you like creamed spinach and collard greens….this is sort of a fusion between the two.

Ingredients:

  • avocado cooking spray
  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon of garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 30 oz of bacon bits (you can certainly use real bacon, I had Hickory Smoked Bacon Bits by Epic that were compliant and used those)
  • 1/3 cup of coconut aminos (I use Coconut Secret)
  • 2 cups of greens (I used kale but you can also use spinach or collards)
  • 1/2 cup of Nutpods
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (I use Bragg’s)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Dice onion, garlic, and slice mushrooms.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, sauté the onions, garlic, and mushrooms until soft using avocado spray.
  3. Add salt and mix.
  4. Once cooked, add bacon bits and stir for another two minutes.
  5. Add mixture to an Instant Pot.
  6. Add kale and coconut aminos to the Instant Pot.
  7. Set manual to 5 minutes on high pressure.
  8. Release steam and immediately add in Nutpods and nutritional yeast stirring well.
  9. Right before serving, grate fresh nutmeg on greens and stir.

 

Note: This whole dish could be cooked stove top in a skillet or dutch oven.  I wanted to really get the bacon flavors infused so, I used the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

Delicious served with Grain Free Breaded Pork Chops