Tag Archives: coconut

Coconut Oil: Why it is my fave Whole30 discovery and a giveaway!

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The Whole30 has opened my eyes to the taste of REAL food. I whipped up so many new dishes but it was amazing how simple they were to prepare and how much fewer ingredients I needed. That is the beauty of cooking with whole foods! The dishes I made on the Whole30 let the true flavor of delicious vegetables and fruits stand out. I did not need to add a bunch of breading, condensed soup, or sugar and other CRAP. It was so wonderful to experiment with new foods, too. I can not even count how many new ingredients I discovered that are now staples in my kitchen.

Since the Whole30 incorporates a lot of HEALTHY fats, the aroma of coconut now pours from my kitchen! Coconut butter, coconut milk, coconut aminos, shredded coconut, and something that I use literally daily–coconut oil! I mean this stuff is GOOD! Here’s just a few ways I used it on a regular basis:

coconut oil recipes

  • Badass paleo coffee creamer— the coconut oil gives this Whole30 approved coffee creamer a silky texture
  • Roasted veggies– sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, and even carrots are now always roasted in my oven at 400 degrees for 20-40 minutes slathered in this stuff! It brings out the natural sweetness of those veggies and eliminates the need for a ton of other ingredients…which is great when I am in a rush!
  • Balsamic- Glazed London broil— oh yeah, it is not just for veggies! The coconut oil brings nice balance to this otherwise tangy/spicy main dish seared on the stove-top. It also gives some moistness to a typically tough cut of meat.
  • Sautéed fruit– When I am craving a sweet treat, now all I need to do is melt some coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat, add some sliced fruit (bananas, apples, mango, peaches, etc.), cook until soft, and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over top! YUM!
  • Stir fry— Heating oil in a screaming hot pan is the first step to any good stir fry. And coconut oil’s resistance to burning makes it a perfect choice. I love Asian stir-fry but since eliminating soy sauce from my diet, I’m happy to add some extra flavor from the coconut oil. It is perfect for cooking the veggies and the meat, too!

I purchased my first giant tub of coconut oil from a warehouse store, thinking that I would never use that much. To my surprise I used half of the tub in one month! Since starting the Whole30 I have discovered the convenience of online grocery shopping. Tropical Traditions is my new go-to site for coconut products. They even sent me a sample of their Gold Label Coconut Oil to try out!  I am no coconut-oil expert, but I can tell you that this coconut oil was silkier, creamier, and tastier than the previous brand I have tried. I especially like how transparent the company is about where their products come from. I was a little confused as to whether extra virgin or virgin coconut oil was better, but actually they are the same thing! There is no distinction between the two like there is with olive oil. Whole30 requires approved oils to be unrefined and pressed (as opposed to chemically processed) and this coconut oil passes with flying colors! What I liked most about it was that it is extracted by simply using gravity–no chemicals, no antioxidant-destroying high heat. 

I am very excited about this product but I’m even more excited to share it with you! I’d like to introduce my first ever giveaway!!

Click here to enter to win a free jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

If you’re still not convinced that you need to start cooking with coconut oil keep reading for some handy info on more uses for it, how it’s made, and the best way to buy. Enter my giveaway for your chance to try it FREE!

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

***If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.***

Chicken “Alfredo” with spaghetti squash

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Since going Paleo in January I’ve been thinking about which foods I am going to miss the most. I expected that I would feel that way about garlic bread and pasta, but the truth is I haven’t missed it a bit. Olive Garden commercials were still driving me a little crazy at the mention of Alfredo sauce. It’s that sad, sad feeling when you realize how unhealthy the things that you love the most are.  So, with a little inspiration from Pinterest I managed to come up with not only a Paleo recipe, but also one that is Whole30 approved 🙂

Chicken "Alfredo"

Chicken “Alfredo”

Chicken “Alfredo” with Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 4 cups bone broth (reserve one cup for blender)
  • 2- 16 oz. bags of frozen cauliflower
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • shredded chicken, or other protein of choice
  • fresh spinach for serving
  • roasted spaghetti squash, threaded

Make it

  • Boil the cauliflower in the broth until very tender.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool so it can be added to the blender.
  • Meanwhile, add the coconut milk to a medium saucepan and put on the lowest setting to bring up to temperature.
  • Saute garlic in a small skillet in coconut oil, until fragrant. Season with a little S & P.
  • Use a measuring cup to scoop up 1 cup of broth.
  • When ready, fill the blender 3/4 full with cauliflower and blend together. When you have more room continue adding the cauliflower until it is all gone. Add broth as needed to get the cauliflower to puree and to reach the desired consistency.
  • Add seasonings and garlic in oil, and continue to blend together. You want the mixture to be very smooth. Taste to make sure it is not gritty. This should take several minutes.
  • Finally, add the mixture to the coconut milk in the saucepan slowly, stirring often to combine. Check your consistency at this point and add more broth if needed.
  • To serve, I placed fresh spinach in the bottom of a bowl, added warm spaghetti squash, a handful of shredded chicken, and then topped with the sauce.

I love this recipe because once you learn how to make the Alfredo sauce you can make it all the time without getting bored by varying the meat and vegetables. The sauce reheated well, too. I expected to need to add some water to it the next day but the tiny bit of moisture in the veggies helped everything mix together well!

Camping with the Whole30 and the Snack Attack Continues…Week 3 Recap

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Whew, what a week! I don’t know about you, but mine flew by! The hubs and I went on a last minute camping/dive trip over the weekend and we have been recovering from our jam-packed weekend ever since!

dive trip

I’m happy to report that this week things started leveling out. I feel pretty normal. No weird food dreams, no headaches, no icky stomach problems. I’m starting to feel like this is how things are SUPPOSED to be. I even forget that I am doing something different...it’s starting to come naturally. I’m realizing that I can no longer pass off all those afternoon headaches and digestive problems to other reasons. This revelation lead to one happy camper! LITERALLY! All weekend I couldn’t help but think about how sick I felt on the last camping trip…but this one, I felt like myself again! I’m sleeping deeper AND I have more energy during the day. I pushed myself to mix up my routine by trying new exercises and lifting heavier weights.

The proof? I had the stamina to last through a 90-minute Kangoo Jumps session with Badass Fitness and then hop right in the car for a weekend dive trip. I’ve been getting up at 5:00 am this week to weight train at the gym…something I have never been able to motivate myself to do on my own.

kangoo

I got into my groove in the kitchen this week, too. Planning a W30-compliant weekend of camping meals was a challenge but I think I got it right. It took two coolers, but here’s what I packed:

  • For lunch I ate a yummy chicken salad with raisins, pineapple, and carrots over spinach (recently featured on the Badass Fitness blog…check it out!)
  • Dinner I splurged and bought W30-compliant hot dogs, since I had not had much processed meat this month I felt it was ok. I paired it up with W30 compliant pickles, sauerkraut, and baked a sweet potato in the coals of the fire.
  • Although I found plenty of ideas of things to roast over the fire in place of s’mores, I passed since paleo-fying junk food is a no-no.
  • W-30 muffins (watch out for baking powder!) and hard boiled eggs made for an easy, on-the-go breakfast.
  • Some fruit, avocado, and home-made coconut carrot bars served as pre-dive snacks
Pre-dive snack! We forgot to bring a knife, so my dive knife came in handy!

Pre-dive snack! We forgot to bring a knife, so my dive knife came in handy!

My only mistake was that I included too much fruit and other naturally sweet things. I struggled with the sugar monster for the rest of the week because of this. I stayed away from dates–something I realize is a pure sugar-bomb and should only be used as an ingredient, not a snack.

The rest of the week we enjoyed cabbage roll soup with cauliflower rice, baked flounder, chicken curry (thanks, ISWF), two varieties of tuna salad for lunch, and my favorite breakfast so far– “baked” apples, breakfast sausage, and spaghetti squash.

whole30 meals week 3

The downside of the week is that I still snacked! The W30 transformed me from a grazer who eats snacks and meals based on the clock, rather than hunger, to a cavegirl who stores large amounts of food in her belly for 5 hours between meals. My morning and late night snacking is done for, but the afternoon has been more difficult. I usually end up thinking about what I can grab a tiny bite of at home before I even leave work. Then I don’t even close the fridge door before I have bites two and three. This leads to a snack attack all the way up until dinner…I nibble on fruit and veggies while I am cooking. This has gotten worse since I have no need for a pre and post work snack most evenings anymore.

Before you say, “THAT is your biggest problem?!” Hear me out.

I agree I could be doing worse things than eating a handful of grape tomatoes, but it is not just about what I eat, as why I am eating it. ISWF has opened my eyes to what is going on behind our eating habits and here’s what I think is happening:

The frankenfood I have been eating all my life has shaped my eating habits. The artificial flavors and processed CRAP that I am used to is often saltier and sweeter than what is found in real food. These tastes trigger seemingly never-ending cravings that make you think you want more and more. The habit of eating handful after handful of frankenfood has been so hard to kick that it leads me to think that I cannot have just one bite of something. Sure, it is not too dangerous on the Whole30 (although snacking is technically against the rules, no matter what it is) when I’m eating uber-healthy foods. But what about when I am done and Neolithic foods start sneaking their way back into my kitchen? Now is the time to break through this habit! I am confident that I will succeed even if it takes a round 2!

Coming up: a recipe for Cabbage Roll Soup with Cauliflower Rice and more on my lessons learned from the Whole30 as I head into my final week!

Chicken Stir-fry with Cauliflower Fried Rice

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Photo Mar 03, 10 14 14 AM

Growing up, we did a lot of stir-fries for dinner. But, after getting married and eating on the go more, I forgot how easy they are to make at home. For my first week of Whole30 dishes, I bought a lot of meat and veggies but did not really know what I was going to do with them at the time. A stir-fry was the perfect solution and it had me looking forward to lunch every day I brought it to work! I took a tip from the Badass Fitness CEO and used cauliflower to make rice. Coconut aminos served as my sauce and oh my goodness it is sooo good! I won’t ever go back to soy sauce! I don’t usually follow or write down my recipes for stir-fries, but in case you are wondering how this works on the Whole30 here’s what I did. Don’t be afraid to play around with the spices or swap out the chicken and veggies for others!

Chicken Stir-fry with Cauliflower Fried Rice:

Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. B/S chicken tenders
    • 4 TBSP coconut oil, divided
    • Blackened seasoning
    • fresh garlic, minced
    • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 package of fresh stir fry veggies (such as broccoli, snow peas, and shredded carrots and broccoli stalks)
    • 4 TBSP coconut aminos, divided
    • 1 head of cauliflower, grated (see link above for more info)
    • ground ginger
    • crushed red pepper flakes
    • S&P

Instructions:

    • Heat 2 TBSP of coconut oil over med-hi heat in a wok or LARGE skillet with high sides and lid. Season chicken with blackened seasoning on both sides. Cook chicken tenders 2 mins. on each side, or until golden. Lower heat to medium, cover and allow them to cook through. When done, transfer to a plate and let rest.
    • Meanwhile, add the rest of the coconut oil to the pan and bring heat back up to med-hi. Add the garlic and onion, season with S&P. Allow it to just start to brown, the grated cauliflower and 2 TBSP coconut aminos. Allow to mix well while stir-frying. Add the veggies, toss, cover, and let steam until they are crisp-tender and a vibrant green. Add more S&P if needed.
    • While the veggies are finishing, cut the chicken into bite size chunks. Finally, add the chicken back to the pan to heat back up and get their final seasoning with the last of the coconut aminos and a light dusting of ground ginger! I also like to add crushed red pepper flakes for a little spice! Enjoy!
    • *Note: Don’t let the extra set of grating the cauliflower scare you! It actually grates really easily and in a stir-fry with other veggies, you can even throw the nubs of stalk in there too! You can even cook the cauliflower separately if you want to make a bigger batch and don’t have enough room to mix everything up in your skillet.