Tag Archives: cooking through WF2

menu monday: new well fed 2 recipes

After a week off from cooking (since we were out of town last weekend) I had quite the cook up this weekend and tried a handful of new Well Fed 2 recipes. I’ve only taste tested a few of them since they are prepped for mid week, everything is delicious as usual.

This Weekend: A few of the usuals: eggs and bacon, take-out Pho… twice. We had Thyme Braised Short Ribs for dinner Sunday with brussels sprouts. Terrible photo, but it was delicious.


Breakfast: Spicy-Sweet Salmon Cakes (WF2) with mayo. I’m still loving salmon cakes for breakfast and each week I’m trying a new variation. There are nine variations in total in WF2 and so far I’ve tried three.


Lunch: Tod Mun Chicken Cakes + Cucumber Relish (scroll down post for recipe) + Asian Slaw (WF2).


Dinners: Leftover short ribs, pork chops and Merguez Sausage (made a double batch with lamb and liver); zucchini soup and cauliflower mash, plus whatever other veggies are left.IMG_8173_edited-1

We had a really lazy weekend but it was quite productive. I’m newly obsessed with Scandal and to feel less guilty I made myself do something productive between each episode. As you can see, Alfred can’t wait to see what Olivia Pope is up to next either.

menu monday: it’s bbq season!

Though I try really hard to enjoy and be thankful for every day, it’s not big secret that I live for summer and fall. As far as I’m concerned we can do without January through May. This weekend we celebrated what might be my favorite weekend of the year, the start of BBQ season. We had a 1pm Sounders game and 75 degree weather. How do you not follow up a 4-0 victory on a sunny day with a BBQ?


I’m still cruising along with my 12 week challenge (week three starts today!) and Whole30. I wanted to make a meal that everyone would enjoy and that would be compliant for me as well. A bit of Pinteresting later and I had decided on build your own kabobs. This is perfect for our Sounders group, as we have big carnivores (me) and those who much prefer mostly veg with a bit of protein (my dear friend Becca). With this set-up, everyone made their kabobs to order and threw them on the grill as they wanted another one. Note: the potatoes are not Whole30 compliant. 

You could totally change the recipes and do you own thing, but I went the easy route and copied  The Meanest Mommy’s plan exactly as she posted (skipped the hot dogs as we only had 7 people eating). All the meats got great reviews, though I think my favorite was the chicken. Not sure I’ve used tarragon much before and I really like it. I prepped all the meat and chopped the veggies before the game (took about an hour) and there was almost no work once we were ready to eat. I get made fun of every time, but I don’t believe a party is truly a party if there are not some sort of food labels.


We ended up with leftovers so my menu plan for the week is looking really easy. It’s one of those weeks where I’m just going to eat the same thing for each meal all week because it’s easy and, if it’s something I enjoy, I totally don’t mind the repetition. That really is the key to eating the same meal over and over. You need to make sure it’s a meal you love. I do not recommend planning to eat a chicken breast and roast broccoli for lunch four days in a row. I guarantee (from past experience) the pizza in the cafeteria will call your name by Wednesday.

Breakfast: Tropical Salmon Cakes with Spicy Coconut Mayo from Well Fed 2 (recipes not available online so go get yourself a copy!). I am loving salmon cakes for breakfast. They are easy to make ahead, something different from eggs, help me get a daily serving of seafood (a new goal I’m working on) and with a little mayo easily keep me full until lunchtime. Well Fed 2 has about 10 different variations which help change it up a bit.

Lunch: Turkish Doner Kabob with Zucchini Noodles and Tahini Sauce. A new Well Fed 2 recipe, finally! I need to do a recap of where I am with my cooking through the book. Clearly taking much longer than anticipated, but I also didn’t expect to start a complete career change this year.

Dinner: Leftovers from the BBQ with whatever veggies I find in the fridge.

The week ends in pretty much the best way possible: a super quick weekend trip to Waikiki with my hubby. It will be my first traveling Whole30 and I’ll try to write a bit about how I plan (and succeed!) to tackle that next week.

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menu monday: kitchen gadgets I love (oh yeah, and another Whole30)

I did a ton of food prep today and I’m really excited about it. I was feeling a little overwhelmed and exhausted in general so I decided to cancel plans and clear the calendar so I could stay in my pajamas all day. I’ve caught up on class work, organized the house, got myself ready for the week ahead, spent good time with G + A,  and have a ton of food ready to go in the fridge and freezer. Win, win, win, win, and win.

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 6.47.16 PMGreek Meatballs
Southwest Frittata
Jalapeño Garlic salmon
Moroccan Dipping Sauce
Broccoli Salad
Rogan Josh Spice

I’m sure I’ll go into this later, but I joined a Kettlebell gym and am doing a 12 week summer challenge (because we all know I can’t resist anything with the world challenge it in). Part of the challenge is following the Whole30 guidelines for the duration. Which I guess makes it a Whole84? Let’s just pretend it’s a Whole30 for now. Here’s what I prepped for the first week of the challenge.


I started with a double batch of Southwest Frittata. This should last Greg and I all week with an extra serving or two. I put a few days worth in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. The freeze really well and taste best if you defrost in the fridge rather than microwave frozen.


Since I needed two cups of grated sweet potato, I went ahead and grated all the sweet potatoes I had on hand. These freeze great and defrost in a bowl of water super quick. Why get your food processor dirty multiple times when you can just do it once?


Next up was lunches for the week. For the first part of the week I’ll be having lamb meatballs with kebab sauce and a tomato cucumber salad with Tessemaes dressing.


The second part of the week I’ll be having ground pork seasoned with Rogan Josh over spaghetti squash with Moroccan Dipping sauce. One of my favorite meals ever. I made the seasoning myself this time and the pork is cooked and waiting in the freezer. I didn’t find a spaghetti squad at Whole Foods this weekend and still need to track one down. The dipping sauce is in the fridge ready to go.


I have barbacoa in the crockpot right now. I found the mix called for in the recipe at Whole Foods, but it had brown sugar so it’s a no-go on the Whole30. Instead, I found a jar of compliant Red Sauce. I’m hoping it tastes okay – the ingredients were pretty similar to the barbacoa mix. IMG_8116_edited-1 IMG_8124_edited-1

We’ll be having the barbacoa with coleslaw. I love this recipe from Well Fed 2. I used the food processor for all of the veggies and I think it’s going to be even better this time.


For the next little while, until I can pass out of the basic kettlebell class, I have to work out in the evenings. I know, it’s really not my thing and will be awful. But it is what it is. I made prosciutto egg cups to have as a pre workout meal since I’ll be going after work and it will be hours post-lunch.


Since I’m heading into 84 days of super clean eating, at precisely noon today I asked Greg to open a bottle of white wine. It was delicious.

5 Kitchen Gadgets I Love

1. Crockpot: The crockpot is on our counter pretty much nonstop. I make broth in it once a week and probably use it weekly for cooking a meal as well. It is definitely a huge help when it comes to eating a home cooked meal when you’ve been at work all day. We got this one as a wedding gift to replace my old one that had become a fire hazard; so far I have no complaints.

2. Food Processor: This is one of those items I didn’t know I needed until I had one. It has made my kitchen life so much easier. I make mayo in it weekly and I use it to shred veggies all the time. It took me about five minutes to peel, shred, and package the 9 cups of sweet potatoes this morning. It’s also great for making sauces like pesto. I like the 14 cup size but I’m sure the others are great as well.

3. Meat Grinder: Since I’ve gone down the path of being a ‘nutravore’ I’m constantly trying to sneak organ meat into our meals. I’ll be honest and say that our Kitchen Aid mixer gets very little use. I don’t enjoy baking, we don’t eat grains at home, and it just rarely ever was used. Then I realized I could get a meat grinder for under $50 that runs off the mixer and it is in rotation much more often. I throw in slightly thawed organ meat to mix into ground beef recipes that have a good amount of seasoning.

4. Emersion Blender: I use this all the time. I make coconut milk lattes on the weekend and they just taste better if they’ve been blended a bit. It’s great for vegetable soups, so much easier (and safer for those of us that are accident prone) than pouring into a blender. Also good for pureeing any vegetables (hint: the more butter the more delicious). Less than $40 and probably the gadget that most makes things easier in the kitchen.

5. Zoodle Maker: A few years ago my sister bought me a little gadget that makes zucchini noodles. I can’t find it online to link to it, but it is awesome. There is much less zucchini wasted when I use this little contraption then when I used to use a julienne peeler.

Occasionally I use my mandolin and a small food processor. Even less frequently I use a popcorn machine, blender and the ice cream maker attachment to the stand mixer. They are all great and worth taking up space in my kitchen, they just don’t get used as often.

Next week I’ll share five kitchen gadgets on my wish list.

menu monday: my kitchen mojo is back

As usual, after a short break from doing anything in the kitchen my mojo came back in full force. So much so I even ventured out to the farmer’s market on Saturday. It’s slim pickings in Seattle during March.  I’m hoping to start going more and was excited to have fun conversations with my fish guy and with a lady selling local apple cider vinegar.

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I haven’t been able to fix the fuzzy display of the menu in this post, but if you click the picture it will open large and clear in a new window. All recipes available online are linked in the pictures below, except for the dairy free, nut free pesto.

I had planned to go out to eat on Friday night but was feeling like cooking so I tried Pina Colada Chicken (we did the pork substitution) from Well Fed 2. Despite screwing the recipe up (quadrupling the seasoning), we both loved it. Good thing as I doubled it. We had it for lunch as well both Saturday and Sunday. So good. The recipe I linked to isn’t exactly the same as what’s in the cookbook, but very close. We had it with coconut cauli rice.


That is not a beer. It’s my new favorite kombucha, a brand called Brew Dr. Kombucha. It is so good and totally feels like you’re drinking a cider without the crap that comes with booze. I’ll definitely be stocking these in the fridge for the summer BBQ months.IMG_7916_edited-1

We’ve not been eating breakfast on the weekends lately which is making for grumpy afternoons, so I decided to have some fun on Sunday morning and try plantain pancakes. Yum, they definitely have the consistency of ‘real’ pancakes. It’s a big plantain week for the Martins  – we’re having plantain nachos (another Well Fed 2 recipe!) on Friday night.

Since it’s a bit of an aggressive menu for the week, I made sure to prep a ton this weekend.

IMG_7910_edited-1I washed and chopped all the veggies as soon as I got home from the farmer’s markets. Took 15 minutes and greatly increases the chances of me cooking and eating them midweek.

IMG_7978_edited-1I made the meatballs and prepped everything for the Gyoza soup.

IMG_7975_edited-1IMG_7976_edited-1 A pork roast cooked away Sunday morning and I put together this parsnips and carrot puree. I’ll top my salads with pork all week; the puree is so we have a veggie ready to go.


Three days worth of lunchtime salads ready to go. Excited about trying a new Tessemae’s dressing, too.


It has been a long time since our fridge was this ready for the upcoming week.


And as a bonus, some “candy”. For our current module in class we were required to try a new recipe. I tried these gelatin gummy candies from Balanced Bites. The flavor wasn’t my favorite, but I’m interesting in trying others. I’m adding the benefits of gelatin to a long list of menu monday topics I need to delve into.

Have a great week!


menu monday: 21DSD recap

Hello friends! Another week down. The only downside to my menu monday posts are the very tangible reminder of just how fast time is flying. This week’s menu is beyond simple. I had the pleasure of spending the day Saturday with several of my classmates at NTA’s annual conference (so much fun to geek out all day with fellow nutrition nerds). Today I’m enjoying the day with my boys, which means there was little time to cook this weekend.

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I discovered last week that I can walk to Whole Foods, grab food, and walk back in less than 45 minutes. Yes it’s more expensive and I have less control over what I’m eating, but it will be a nice change this week. I’ll get in some extra walking and sunshine (I hope) and I don’t have to stress about lunches for the week today.

No progress has been made on the damn paleo meals taking up all my kitchen freezer space. Our leftovers seems to be lasting longer and work dinners and lunches continue to pop up. I’m determined to make a dent this week. In more exciting news, I made a new WF2 recipe for breakfast this week. Finally. It’s been a while. I’ve only had a taste of both the recipes below but the tastes were delicious. Looking forward to breakfast this week.


It totally looks like this when I eat it at my desk at work. Totally.

Ginger Carrot Soup (from PaleOMG, I doubled to get six breakfast-sized servings)
Chorizo Meatballs (from WF2 – I made burgers instead of meatballs this time to change things up and also doubled to make six servings)

21DSD Recap

  • I lost six pounds. My math was wrong last week and I was actually down five, then lost another this week.
  • I feel great and definitely have a better sense of all the little treats that were making their way into my diet without me really thinking about them.
  • I don’t actually feel like eating or drinking anything off plan right now. I’m sure a situation will present itself in the next little while and I’ll enjoy something, but for now there are no plans. In fact, since we’re going in to the work week I see no reason to not carry on until at least next weekend.
  • I miss fruit and definitely want to add it back in to my diet. But, I definitely don’t need to eat multiple apples every day just because they are sitting out at work.
  • My eyelid eczema hasn’t improved at all and it’s gotten worse on my right eye. I stopped wearing mascara (which is the only make-up I wear religiously so I feel very naked) which has helped some with the itching. I have an appointment with my naturopath on Thursday to confirm that it is actually eczema and I’ll go from there.
  • I wasn’t perfect. I had to eat a few restaurant meals where there were no options and I dealt with them the best I could, made good decisions, and moved on. I’m hoping this is a sign that my attempts at off-roading in the future will be more successful.
  • Aside from fruit I miss my BFF the sweet potato, but I realize I was eating them twice a day often and am not expending the energy necessary for that much starch. I’m looking forward to incorporating them back into my menus in a smarter way.

These are pictures I took in late January, so not exactly right before the 21DSD but I did nothing in February that would have changed my body much so I think they are an accurate reflection. The change isn’t dramatic, but I can see a difference. Also, side note: wearing horizontal stripes for before and after photos might not be the best outfit choice.


Why yes, that’s an almost flat tummy!


It might be wishful thinking, but I feel like my sides are looking trimmer.

menu monday: low cooking motivation

For whatever reason, it happens from time to time, I have zero interest in cooking this weekend. I find if I indulge myself I’m usually back to pouring over cookbooks and planning very quickly, so I just go with it. This might be the most boring meal plan I’ve posted, but it’s honest.

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Casablanca Carrots are a new WF2 recipe we’ll be trying this week. They aren’t a recipe available on Mel’s site, but I did find Cumin-Roasted Carrots which seem pretty similar. I love the shape she’s used for this recipe, you can almost pretend they are french fries! And Golden Cauliflower Soup is back in the breakfast rotation. I’m a little tired of hardboiled eggs so I grabbed chorizo sausages to accompany my soup.

I’m hoping this week we make a huge dent in the Paleo meals so I can have my indoor freezer space back. I’m holding off on ordering more offal as I really don’t have room to store it right now. Our chest freezer is still packed with the lamb, cow, and pork from the fall, plus a ton of pork fat I have for rendering. But clearly that’s a story for another day.

21 Day Sugar Detox Update

The two big updates this week are skin and weight. I was hoping it would be sleep, but wow did the time change really effect both Greg and me. We slept terribly the first part of the week. Is this just getting old? I don’t remember it ever being so impactful before.

I was pleasantly surprised when I finally remembered to weight myself on Saturday morning (day 13) and saw that I was down six pounds. That is just crazy. Every time I do a Whole30 I lose exactly four pounds. I absolutely love the Whole30, but I think what is making the difference in the 21DSD is forbidden fruit. We have a lot of free fruit in my office as well as a store just a block away that sells Larabars. While on the Whole30, when I get bored I can justify fruit and Larabar eating, but I can’t on the 21DSD. I have really been having to ensure that I eat big enough meals to not snack because there is nothing that is 21DSD compliant at work. On occasion I’ve had a handful of almonds or a Chomps meat stick as a snack, but for the most part I’m snack free and have really been conquering my bored eating issues by finding other solutions.

My skin is looking great, which is awesome. Always one of my favorite results of really clean eating. The only thing I’m frustrated about is not making any progress on my weird eyelid problem. I don’t think I mentioned it, but since we were in Hawaii in November I have been dealing with eczema on my eyelids. I’m pretty sure I know why it started, but I haven’t been able to get rid of it. I was hoping the 21DSD would help, but as of day 11 it was actually a little worse than when I started. (It has varied in severity for four months so I don’t think the 21DSD is making it any worse.) On Thursday I started taking my fermented cod liver oil again (it is so foul I had stopped taking it) and am going to try that for a week to see how it helps. If that doesn’t work then I’ll probably try some sort of autoimmune protocol for a few weeks. It’s itchy and the fear that it will jump to somewhere more noticeable on my face is driving me to find a solution.

5 Tips for Eating Real Food When You Lack Motivation

1. Raid your freezer. A prime reason why I stock away leftovers in the freezer is so that when I’m too busy to cook, or just plain uninterested in doing so, I can easily grab a meal from the freezer and go. I don’t have a magic formula, but I do keep an eye on what’s in the freezer that’s ready to eat (post defrosting, of course) and try to always make sure there’s at least something.

2. Accept a week of simple food. Buy a roast chicken and a bag of pre chopped salad. Eat tuna from a can with a side of olives. Scramble eggs for dinner. Food doesn’t always have to be amazing but it should (almost) always be nourishing. Putting gas in your car is not an exciting experience and sometimes putting food in your body doesn’t have to be either. Get it done in the simplest way possible and move on.

3. Stock some prepared food. Food that you can just eat with zero effort. In our house it is Chomps meat sticks and baby food sweet potatoes. (The Paleo meals will be short lived option for us since they just didn’t work well for the purpose I was hoping). I have in the past eaten a jar of baby food sweet potato and a meat stick and called it dinner. I wouldn’t recommend this daily, but sometimes it happens and it’s better than fast food.

4. Have a few take out places you trust. This weekend we had Thai on Friday night. I had bought a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods on my way home from work (I try to do grocery shopping Friday afternoon so it’s done before I get home for the weekend) and I was even too lazy to make simple veggie sides. I sent Greg out for Thai; curry over a side order of steamed veggies instead of rice and I was 21DSD compliant with no effort on my part. It’s helpful to have a sweet husband in this situation, but GrubHub or a phone call work as well.

5. Do not force yourself to go big. When I try to force myself out of my slump by buying a bunch of groceries, assuming I’ll cook them if they are there, I end up spending money on food that’s going to get wasted. Instead I try to use these times to clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry. Use up the odds and ends and see what I can make meals out of when it seems as if there is no food. I assure you I’ve never gone hungry.

menu monday: soup for breakfast

I’m already overwhelmed by the week ahead so we’ll be enjoying a simple menu with long time favorites. I was pretty disappointed in a few of the new recipes I tried last week (though the Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins were really tasty) and want to have a few delicious meals to look forward to this week.

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Between the two of us we have several work evening work events and on our one free week night we have a dog trainer coming to the house. I’m going to lose my mind if we can’t get the doorbell barking under control soon. Those of you that get to experience Alfred’s antics can understand why we’re paying a private dog trainer to put an end to it. It’s a crazy week, leftovers and simple side dishes are going to be key. This is not the week to play around with new recipes and ingredients; that will just turn into wasted food and take out.

One new Well Fed 2 recipe this week – Wasabi Mayo. I couldn’t find it on Mel’s site but if you haven’t bought the book yet, what are you waiting for!?!? (Really, I get paid nothing to say this I just love WF & WF2.)


Lamb chops + pesto finally! The pesto was so good, and even better because my sous chef, Greg, made it.

Lamb Chops & Dairy/Nut Free Basil-Pesto (finally, it actually got made + eaten tonight)
Smokey Roast
Zucchini Soup
Chocolate Chili


The spices of chocolate chili, and a little preview into my almost complete spice cupboard renovation.

21 Day Sugar Detox Update

As I write this on Sunday night I’m about to finish day seven. Since I’ve done several Whole30s this really hasn’t been too shocking. The huge difference for me is on a Whole30 when I want to take part in some “I’m bored” eating, I grab fruit. Fruit is pretty much off limits on the 21DSD so I’m finding I actually can’t eat when I’m bored and I need to move on since I don’t keep much other snack food around. It’s been really interesting to notice how often this happens.

Similarly, I always notice how I don’t eat as clean of a diet as I think I do when I take on a challenge like this. When I can’t have them, I really notice the glasses of wine, “just a bite”s of dairy, etc. that I would normally eat without thinking about too much.

Physically, my skin was pretty yucky the first few days which is always the case as detox occurs but it is getting better. I haven’t found the world of amazing sleep yet but that usually takes a little longer. I haven’t weighed myself, so nothing to report in weight loss.

5 Reasons Soup for Breakfast is Awesome

Soup has pretty much become a breakfast staple for me. I didn’t have it last week and definitely missed it.

1. Easy to cook ahead. I make a batch of soup on the weekend and it lasts me all week. Once I’ve discovered a recipe I really enjoy, I often times double it and have soup for two weeks. So that I don’t use up all of my individual containers, I will freeze half in a large jar (I have several 32 oz glass jars from IKEA). Just make sure you let it defrost in time to portion out the next week’s servings.


Zucchini soup with two fried eggs.

2. Bone broth! If you’ve been at our house lately you know there is usually a crockpot of bone broth simmering. I’ve been making a batch a week in 2014 and loving it. At first I was drinking it in the evening instead of herbal tea. But now I’m just working it into food. Most of my soup recipes call for almost a cup per serving, which is awesome. I can definitely say that using homemade broths elevates the taste of each soup. I’ll do a post soon on how I’m managing to keep a freezer stock of broth and almost never using packaged broth these days.

3. Veggies at breakfast. Soup is a really easy way to get some veggies in with your breakfast. I also like my breakfasts to be full of protein and fat to get me to lunch, and soup goes well with hard boiled eggs or any leftover meat you might have.

4. Very portable. I recently purchased pint sized jars and have been using them for food storage, especially for my soups. No leaks in my lunch bag and they stack nicely in the fridge.


Cauliflower soup.

5. It’s warm and cozy in the cold months. I love egg salad for breakfast, but sometimes when the office is chilly and I’ve commuted in the cold and rain, I really want something warm. Having a cup of soup as part of my breakfast usually keeps me to my one cup of decaf, rather than going for more cups of coffee for the warmth.

My favorite soups right now are from Well Fed 2 (gingered zucchini, golden cauliflower, sweet potato with bacon). I’m thinking about starting a petition for Well Fed 3. Nom Nom Paleo’s broccoli soup is also a great option, even when you screw it up like I did. I tried to branch out this past week and try another non-WF2 soup recipe. Unfortunately, all jars but one are still in the fridge now, desperately needing to be cleaned out.

Anyone have great soup recipes? Please share them in the comments!