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(Paleo!) Chicken Soup

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I decided to come home for the weekend and it is cold.  And also my dad’s fridge was completely empty and he is out of town until later tonight.  So I decided that today would be a great day to make my chicken soup because it’s super ridiculously easy and we had some of the ingredients on hand.  And noooooow, I am going to have to cook again because my (non-Paleo, mind you) family helped me eat the whole pot.

So, on a cold day when you’re craving some chicken noodle soup – make this.  I promise you won’t even miss the noodles. My carb-loving sister says she didn’t even miss the noodles.

Paleo Chicken Soup

  • 8 cups chicken stock/broth (look for a “clean” chicken stock if you don’t make it yourself – no added sugar)
  • 2 medium size carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 head cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Boil and shred your chicken thighs.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat.  When it has warmed, add the chopped celery, onion and carrots.  Cook in the pan until the onions become translucent, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth or stock, chicken, parsley and thyme and allow to come to a low boil.  Add the shredded/chopped cabbage and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the cabbage is done to your liking.  Feel free to add salt to taste.



A Good Day to be Me/What Whitney Ate Wednesday

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Look at me coming back to blog after only a week.  Allow me to pat myself on the back.

I am going to give you the option right now to not hear about my super ridiculously awesome Valentine’s Day.  If you would rather not, please scroll down to where the pictures of food begin.  If you wish to hear about my awesome day yesterday, feel free to stick around and read (or skim) the entirety of the post.  Your choice.

First off, let me say that I had my expectations super ridiculously low for Valentine’s Day.  Chris and I didn’t make any plans and he seemed pretty meh about the whole day anyway and I kind of almost forgot that there are other people in the world who might express affection for me on Valentine’s Day.  Yeah. Go me.  So imagine my surprise when I show up at work at eight am and the first thing I am greeted by is this:

And then imagine my even bigger surprise when I actually get around to the other side of my desk and see this:

Yes, those are tickets to two concerts.  He did good.  So very good.

So my day is already going mega-excellently when the bell rings I am greeted by two identical flower arrangements for me and my sister from our dad.  What a good dad!

Amazing.  And then. . . as if that weren’t good enough, I got a PR on my back squat at CrossFit that evening. 105 lbs!  Also, Chris made me a delicious mango/banana/raspberry smoothie with his fancy shmancy blender.

And then this morning I walked into work and one of my lilies had begun to bloom overnight.  It was like extra icing on my great-day cake.

I can’t wait to see what that looks like tomorrow.  So amazing.  Also, can I just mention that I did not retouch that photo at all other than to resize it? I am in love with this camera.

Alrighty, enough of that.  Now onto the food.

This breakfast likely looks a little weird, but I am super obsessed with this chili right now.  So I had to have some for breakfast.  It’s the chocolate chili in the Well Fed cookbook by Melissa Joulwan.  But you can also get the recipe listed as My Favorite Chili on her website here.  Along with the chili, I had a couple of scrambled eggs and half a sliced avocado.  I would probably eat this every day.

Not pictured: a mid-morning cup of loose leaf tea with no sugar or anything else added.  It didn’t look as good as it tasted.

Lunch was fish tacos/best slaw ever/chipotle dipping sauce from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook.  I had been eating these with the coconut flour tortillas, but I ran out.  So I just ate them in some romaine leaves instead.  Also, I do have some slaw in the tacos and extra on the side because it is delicious.

And I rounded lunch out with a few sliced strawberries and some coconut manna.  What is the difference between coconut manna and coconut butter?  I have absolutely no idea.  The ingredients listed are: organic coconut.  So that’s good enough for me.  Also, it is really ridiculously delicious stuff.

And for dinner: more chili! And about a quarter of a sliced avocado because I wasn’t feeling hungry enough for the rest of the half.  You guys seriously must make this chili.  And take her advice about the simmer.

I also made some tuna salad for Chris because he kindly agreed to drive up to the Fashion Place Mall with me so I could spend way too much money at Sephora.  I am now going to go cuddle with my make-up.

What Whitney Ate Wednesday (2/8/2012)

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Oh hello there! This is my new camera.  Which is why this post even came to be.  And moreover, why this post will be heavy on the photos.

Also, please note that the above picture was taken AFTER my workout yesterday.  So all things considered, I don’t look half bad.  The cleanliness of my mirror, however. . .

On a more pertinent note, this blog post is exactly what it sounds like.  I’m just going to show you what I ate today.  Yep. That’s it.  Why?  Because it’s the internet, and on the internet you assume that everyone finds your habits and opinions fascinating and sometimes even useful.  Obviously I must be at least a little right about this, because you’re still reading.  So. . . on with the food!

For breakfast (my favorite meal of the day) – 3 eggs, scrambled with one link chicken and apple sausage and some raspberries.

Roommates brother: The raspberries are out of place.  It’s a bunch of salty and then. . . raspberries.

Me: It’s like Paleo dessert.

But, really, it is.

For lunch: the most unphotogenic salad in the whole world.  It’s just butter lettuce, avocado and some barbacoa beef from The Kitchn.  As seen on Nom Nom Paleo, who makes me drool with her daily food photos.  I was going to sautee some baby bell peppers and red onion to accompany this, but I haven’t had time yet.  This has been a heavy homework week, so I’m just glad I have the beef at the ready.

Post-class/Pre-WOD snack.  More of that beef with strawberries and nut butter.  Yes, that is peanut butter.  Yes, I know peanut butter is technically not paleo.  But I alternate between almond, peanut and pecan-cashew butter regularly.  And a few tablespoons of the stuff is not going to kill me or hinder my progress or keep me from achieving my goals.

Why am I justifying my peanut butter to you?  If you’re judging me for my peanut butter, I am judging you for judging me about something as silly as a nut that is technically a legume.

Long story short, if you’re copying me but you’re on Whole30 or you want to be strict paleo, sub in something like Sunbutter or almond butter.  And you leave me and my little jar of peanut butter alone.

Not pictured: post-WOD protein shake with unsweetened almond milk and a few slices of frozen peaches.

And here is my late dinner. I pulled that serving of cabbage out of the oven a little too early, but I couldn’t wait any longer.  I also wish I had something else prepared because sausage (even though it has no preservatives or sweetener or nitrates) is not exactly the cleanest food in the world.  That’s what happens when I go home over the weekend, though.  It’s not as easy to get a variety of foods ready for the week.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

Other things not pictured: about 100 oz of water.  Mmmm water.

WOD today was sucky.  Because I hate rowing.

But I was relatively happy with my time, even though I was scaling my pushups.  Which I’m glad I did, because my arms got all tingly in the second round.  I’m sure they’re going to feel extra great tomorrow.

And that was what my day in CrossFit/Paleo looked like.  For as long as my camera addiction lasts or as long as the habit continues, I will try to do a post like this every Wednesday.  Even though people look at me weird when I take pictures before eating.  As previously stated, however, they can take their judgment elsewhere.  My camera is awesome and deserves to be  used.

Hopefully I will also someday make up my own recipes again.  I have one for a delicious noodle-free chicken soup that I should probably get around to writing down.  And making again, because it is super delicious.  Did I mention that it’s delicious?

And now, as an apology for this post being a bit of mess in the prose department, I will leave you with one of my test shots of Chris, who was kind enough to model for me last night as I played with the settings on my camera.

That is definitely the best thing about this whole post.

Dairy-Free Tomato Soup (And Some Notes on Non-Competitive Self-Control)

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So here is something I forgot to mention about my competition eating rules in the last post: I ditched dairy.  My boyfriend has been off dairy for quite sometime, mostly because it makes him break out.  And it hasn’t ever done great things for my asthma, so I decided to give dairy-free a shot for at least the length of the competition.  The weirdest part is how much I haven’t missed it as a daily staple.  Sure, I totally love a cheeseburger every now and then, but I don’t really miss my Greek yogurt or cheese sticks like I thought I would.  And my asthma has been a lot better (even through allergy season!), so I’m going to keep dairy in the “treat” category.

Speaking of keeping things in the treat category: I am missing having a specific, measurable reward to work toward.  The great thing about participating in the competition at work was that I had a concrete goal that came with a specific timetable and monetary compensation if I won. Now, the only thing keeping me honest is . . . well. . . me.  The strange part is that I don’t want my lady abs any less, it’s just that there’s nothing on the line if I don’t get them pronto.

Despite constantly thinking “I could eat a giant bar of chocolate if I wanted to” or “I don’t really have to work out today”, I’ve actually managed to carry all of my well-established good habits over into this week.  I have just had to spend a lot more time looking at my fitspiration board on pinterest (link is on the right hand side for anyone needing some motivation) and reminding myself how absolutely crappy I felt after lazing around and binge-eating all last weekend.  My stomach looked puffy for days.

And here’s the biggest thing: I don’t want to screw up my progress by eating poorly.  I’m working really hard at least 4 times a week at CrossFit, and I am not working that hard and dealing with perpetually sore muscles to look the same.  I am working this hard to look better. Fitter. Sexier.  I am also not working this hard to suffer from headaches and nausea after eating a boatload of crap.  I am working this hard to feel as good or better than I look.

So, I persist on my quest for lady abs and optimal health.  This week, luckily, that quest was aided by this delicious soup.  Which, incidentally, was my first successful batch of tomato soup from scratch ever.  And it also helped me use up the rest of the tomatoes my dad gave me from his garden, which were starting to look a bit less than ideal.  Anyways, here’s the recipe.  Make. Eat. Enjoy.

This soup is Whole 30-friendly, Paleo-friendly and Vegan-friendly.

Dairy-Free Tomato Soup

  • 12 large tomatoes (you could use canned tomatoes in a pinch, but I highly recommend roasting fresh ones)
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • basil (fresh would be best, I only had dried so I used that)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Cut the tomatoes into halves and toss with olive oil (season with salt and pepper if desired).  Bake for 25-35 minutes until well roasted.

While the tomatoes are roasting, finely chop the onion and garlic and sautee in a large pot.  I let mine begin to caramelize before adding the roasted tomatoes from the oven.  Once all of the tomatoes have been added, let cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.  Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (you could transfer to a food processor for this if you don’t have one).  Add coconut milk, bay leaves and as much basil and black pepper as desired.  Turn heat to medium-low, cover (to prevent soup from getting all over your stovetop) and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Take it Easy (+ Clean-Out-The-Veggie-Drawer Frittata)

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I learn new things all the time.  Like this week I learned that I can get a free copy of the New York Times every single day in one of the buildings I have class in.  I took advantage of this new discovery on Tuesday morning and (after reading up the turmoil in Libya) immediately flipped over to the Health section, where I was delighted to find an article on why going easy on yourself is a good weight loss and health tool.  Finally! Vindication!  I swear I’ve been telling people this forever and no one wants to listen.

Apparently they did this study where they had two groups of women taste-test candies and doughnuts.  One group of women was reassured that they shouldn’t feel bad about eating the foods because everyone in the study had to do it, so it wasn’t a big deal.  The other group of women wasn’t given any such reassurance.  You would think that the ones who were told it’s okay to eat the sweets would be the ones who ate more, right?  But . . . no.  The group of women who wasn’t given any reassurance and were feeling guilty about what they were eating were actually overeating because of their guilt about it.  So counterproductive.

There’s more in the article about self-compassion and further details about the study.  It’s a great read, especially for anyone who is struggling to lose weight and deals with guilt eating.  Read the full article on the NY Times Well blog here.

(Keep reading for more commentary on how letting go of negative emotions helped me. . . and for the frittata recipe!)

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Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

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When brainstorming ideas of what foods I should make and put recipes of on my blog, I consulted my boyfriend, Chris (who I think is going to end up benefiting greatly from my blogging ventures).  He immediately answered: muffins!  It is, he argued, the perfect time of year for muffins and quick breads.  They’re warm and hearty and satisfying.

You can’t argue with that.

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Mom’s Cream Puffs

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My mother made the most delicious cream puffs.  No, really.  The most delicious cream puffs you will ever taste.  For my twenty-first birthday, she made three dozen cream puffs for dessert.  I ate a dozen of them by myself.  In one day.  About eight of those were in the space of two or three hours.  If I didn’t have the recipe for them, I would think that there was something illegal in them (cocaine!) that makes you compulsively go back for more.

I love this recipe because it’s simple.  It’s not easy, but it’s simple.  The ingredients are all pretty basic.  There aren’t layers of flavor.  It’s just a simple, perfect cream puff.

How does this tie in to living healthfully?  Personally, I believe that eating something just to enjoy it is an essential part of the human experience.  Labeling foods as “good” or “bad” is counterproductive.  It makes food the enemy.  But if you occasionally allow yourself to eat something just for the joy of it, you’re less likely to give up on establishing healthful eating habits.  A treat is a treat because it’s something that you don’t have often, but you enjoy it immensely when you do.  If I ate cream puffs on a weekly or even monthly basis, I wouldn’t enjoy them nearly as much because they wouldn’t be as much of a treat.

Click below for the full recipe.

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