Monthly Archive: March 2015

Basic Marinara

I’ve found a few whole 30 compliant marinara sauces at the store and use them occasionally when I am in a hurry to make a meal. One really has to study the ingredients on the jar because a ton of them are full of added sugar. If I have time, or have meal plan then l I try to make my own sauce. Here is the basic recipe I have been making.



2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves garlic – minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2- 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6-8 large fresh basil leaves cut into a chiffonade

Kitchen equipment needed:
1 large sauce pan
1 large splatter guard
Wooden spoon for stirring

  1. Heat the sauce pan over medium-heat. Add the olive oil and once warmed add in the minced garlic. Sautee the garlic for about a minute. You want the garlic to soften but not really browned.
  2. Add the vinegar around to coat the garlic and scrape off any bits that have stuck to the pan. Continue to cook the simmer the vinegar until it is mostly thickened and reduced by at least half.
  3. Add in the crushed tomatoes, kosher salt, and oregano and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover then pan with the splatter guard.
  4. Simmer the sauce for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. The sauce will be thickened and the volume of the sauce will be reduced quite a bit.
  5. Once sauce is at the desired consistency stir in the basil leaves. Adjust the salt if necessary.


I’ve used this basic marinara on top of spaghetti squash, zoodles, chicken pieces, or Italian sausages. It’s simple and versatile. Many times I add a variety of vegetables to the finished marinara before serving to make it a bit heartier.  Here I added some spinach, kale, mushrooms, and onions.




Peeling Lots of Garlic Quickly & Easily

I cook with a fair amount of garlic. Sometimes I find that the peels are difficult to get off of very small or very large cloves. I came up with this quick way to take the peels off of the garlic with minimal work.

All you need to do is put individual cloves into a mason jar with a lid and shake well for a little while. That’s it. Perfectly peeled garlic cloves. If the cloves are small or have particularly tough skins, you may need to shake it a bit move vigorously.




Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad

Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad

This is definitely one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes. I have fond memories of my dad making this for dinner. In his version the beef was marinated in a sauce that contained lots of soy and sugary ingredients. My version utilizes dates for sweetness and is whole 30 and paleo friendly. The flavors are simple and delicious and just as good as I remember them.

This recipe will feed 4-6 people depending on their appetites. If you are cooking for yourself or just two people I suggest cooking just enough beef for that single meal then cooking fresh beef when you want to have leftovers. Nothing beats freshly seared beef! I’ve always served this meal on a large platter or bowl but you could arrange individual plates for yourself, family, or guests.


Whole 30 Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad (Bo Luc Lac)


1.5 pounds of sirloin cut into ½ inch chunks
1 Tablespoon coconut oil

2 Tablespoons date paste
1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
¼ cup water

Marinated onions:
½ yellow onion thinly sliced
¼ cup rice vinegar
1.5 Tablespoon date paste
2 Tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon water

Salad ingredients:
Lettuce- I used green leaf lettuce but you can use other lettuce or greens like Bibb or arugula
1 tomato cut in half and sliced
½ English cucumber sliced
3-4 radishes cut into thin slices
1 large carrot cut into thin slices


Dipping sauce:
Lime juice from 1 large lime
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
A few grinds of black pepper

Kitchen equipment needed:
Measuring spoons
Containers with lids for marinating onions and beef
Wok or large pan for sautéing beef
a small bowl for the dipping sauce

  1. Start by preparing the marinades for the beef and onions. Combine all ingredients in marinades well and make sure the beef and onions are coated in the sauces. Marinate each the beef and onions for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare the salad ingredients as listed above. Layer the ingredients on the bottom of a large bowl or platter with the lettuce at the bottom.
  3. Make the dipping sauce and set aside.
  4. Heat the Wok or pan over medium-high heat (but closer to high than medium). Melt the coconut oil in the pan and once the pan is hot add the beef and sauté for 3-4 minutes until browned on the outside and cooked to desired doneness on the inside. Depending on the size of your pan you will probably have to cook the beef in smaller batches.
  5. Transfer the beef on top of the salad and top with the marinated onions.
  6. Dip chunks of the beef in the dipping sauce and eat with the salad. If desired you may drizzle some of the onion marinade onto the salad for some added dressing.


You can really make this any time of the year. It’s very nice for warmer weather though because besides the beef, nothing else is cooked. I hope you all enjoy this one. I have a feeling that once it starts getting hot this summer that I’m going to be making this much more often.

Perfectly Boiled Eggs


There are tons of methods out there for making boiled eggs- they are mostly addressing the problem people have with the eggs not peeling well. Some say you need older eggs, some say you need to add the eggs to cold water than bring it all to a boil, some methods are steamed, or even baked. I’ve been making eggs this way for a while now and haven’t had any trouble with peeling them. I’ve used old eggs and new eggs and I have done it with brown eggs too. You know where this is leading- I’m going to tell you how I make my eggs easily peel-able and cooked to perfection. I also experimented a little with the length of time cooked to get the type of egg you want. Just as a note if you use brown eggs some of the color from the shell may peel off. It must have something to do with the vinegar in the water but I haven’t found a definitive answer on why this happens.

So here is what you need:

Small sauce pan with lid
2-3 Tablespoons of white vinegar
A spoon
Bowl of ice water

Put the pan of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar. Once the water is at a rolling boil lower the eggs into the pot with the spoon. Cover the pot with the lid then turn the burner off.


For soft boiled eggs with a nice runny yolk, cook for 4 minutes.

For a medium, more set slightly runny yolk, cook for 7 minutes.


For a boiled egg with a creamy yolk, cook 10 minutes.


For a firmly cooked yolk, cook for 13 minutes.


Once you’ve reached the time to get the type of egg you want, transfer eggs into the bowl of ice water. Once cooled, peel and enjoy as desired.





Mediterranean Chicken Thighs and Eggplant Salad

I had a lot of extra olives so I wanted to come up with a way to incorporate them into something besides just putting them on top of a salad.  I’m a huge fan of cooking chicken this way- sautéing it in some brothy goodness until it is tender. It’s not a lot of work and the chicken doesn’t dry out either. I came up with the eggplant salad to go along with the Mediterranean theme. I’m very pleased with both of these recipes and my husband was a huge fan too.

Mediterranean chicken thighs

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs

4 chicken thighs- bone in & skin on
1 Tablespoon ghee
1 can whole tomatoes with juice- each tomato cut into 4 chunks
½ cup compliant chicken or vegetable broth
½ onion thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup pitted olives of choice each cut lengthwise- I used green olives from Trader Joe’s
Salt and pepper to taste

Kitchen equipment needed:
1 large skillet with lid

  1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add in ghee to melt
  2. Season the chicken thighs on each side with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on each side approximately 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Removed chicken from the pan.
  3. Add in the sliced onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté an additional minute.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, broth, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Add chicken back into pan, cover, and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, stir in olives and turn heat up to medium-high. Simmer approximately 10-15 minutes longer or until the chicken is fully cooked (internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F) and sauce has thickened.

Eggplant salad

Roasted eggplant salad
1 large eggplant
2 cloves of garlic- minced
1 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili powder- just a dash

1 Tablespoon tahini
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried mint

Kitchen equipment needed:
Baking sheet
Parchment paper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and trim the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into bite sized cubes.
  2. Mix the eggplant cubes with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, & chili powder.
  3. Roast the eggplant in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
  4. While the eggplant is roasting, mix the ingredients for the dressing and set aside until the eggplant is finished roasting.
  5. Cool the eggplant slightly then toss the eggplant in the dressing. Serve slightly warmed or cold as desired.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs and Eggplant Salad

Try out these recipes and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

My 60 Day Results

Sorry I’m a little late putting this up. February was difficult for me. I’m not sure why, maybe it was the weather, but I was definitely in a funk. I did not make my goal of drinking a gallon of water per day. I did not go to the gym as frequently. And I did not complete “meatless Monday’s”. Basically, besides eating whole 30 complaint foods, I didn’t reach any of my other goals. T

I went out of town the last weekend in February until the 2nd of March. Traveling and eating compliant was difficult. I’m so used to having the items that I prepared ready and waiting for me when it’s time to eat. With all that being said, here are my February Whole 30 results. The right side is from day 30 and the left side is from day 60.

IMG_1441 IMG_1442

Total weight lost: 5.8 lbs

Total inches lost: 4 inches from all areas combined.

I feel like when I look at the pictures I cannot really tell a difference between the two. Again, the angles and lighting between photos are different. I think it is hard to see much change in yourself. I know that when I look at pictures of myself I notice all the things I wish I could change. I should say that even though I didn’t see changes in myself, people did comment that I looked like I had lost weight.

We are already 7 days into March and so far I’m already feeling a bit better about my Whole 100. May the February slump be over!  I’ve been thinking that I’m going to extend it to Whole 120- but let’s just wait until I see what happens. I’ve been trying my hardest to give up the scale. I know that the changes on the scale are not what I need to focus on. With all this being said here are my March goals: I want to go to the gym at least 3 times a week at minimum, I want to drink 96 ounces of water per day, and I want to limit my weight taking to only one time a week and I’d want my running hiatus to be over!