I don’t wanna brag but I’ve made it through the (supposed) hardest days of Whole 30 and my bra feels looser. My tiny boobs get the weight loss memo well ahead of the rest of my body and run with it. The Whole 30 timeline says that you’re most likely to quit on days 10 and 11, because the novelty of the program has worn off and your sugar-addicted brain is desperate for a fix and 20 more days of hard-boiled eggs sounds interminable. I had the added obstacles of experiencing these days during the worst days of my period, while also being out and about around deliciously forbidden foods- glorious baked goods (and Casa Alde!) at the Buda Farmers’ Market, food trucks at the Texas Night Sky Festival, and pizza and cake at our friend Louis’ birthday party. I stuck with it though, and whether it’s a placebo effect or not, I do feel better on Day 12. I’m about to enter the phase of the program where I might have a lot more energy and I’m excited to see how it pans out.
Andy and I realized that my day 30 will fall on the day of our 10th wedding anniversary trip to San Antonio without the kids (thank you Mary!!!), which means I’m definitely ending a day early. It’ll be neat to get to eat whatever I feel like eating in a fun food city! Unless doing so makes me violently ill on our anniversary outing, in which case, less fun.
Also, Fat Chicken Noodles, our big puffy chicken is dead. She’s not the one who got her foot caught in the fence. That’s White Neck and she’s still alive. Spending her days in the fenced garden, away from the other chickens who are bloodthirsty assholes who tried to attack her because she’s weak and sickly, and her nights in that same box in our kitchen. No, Fat Chicken Noodles died suddenly, mysteriously, with no sign of injury. Otto thinks she may have just had a heart attack because she really was obese. Whatever it was, my record as a chicken-keeper is looking pretty grim.
Here’s what we ate this week.
Whole 30 Day 5: Chicken Salad with Grapes, Walnuts, and Two-Minute Mayo. I was so hungry when I finished making this that I started wolfing it down before remembering that I hadn’t taken a picture, so I fluffed the chunks back up a bit with my fork and there you have it. I miss the idea of carbs. Of putting chicken salad on bread and feeling really full after eating it. But if I can let go of that longing, the butter lettuce is pretty good too. It’s nice to finish a meal and not feel all weighed down and pasty and over-stuffed.
Whole 30 Day 6: Sugar Free Hot Dogs with Sauteed Bell Pepper, Onion, and Kale. I was checking out the meat section at Wheatsville to see what sugar-free things I could find to put in my face and came across Pederson’s sugar-free hot dogs. I picked them up and then thought, what am I going to do with a bun-less hot dog? But George saw and got super excited about the possibility of hot dogs, yelling, “Yeah! Hot Dogs!” so I bought ’em. Andy picked up a package of cheapo hot dog buns at HEB for him and the kids to eat with their fancy hot dogs. I chopped mine up beanie weenies-style and sauteed them with vegetables because what the hell else was I going to do.
Pi(e) Day Strawberry Rhubarb Pie to Give Away. I made a pie and I couldn’t eat it and I’m just gonna sit here and wait for the praise to roll in for my self-restraint and generosity. Andy and the boys had it for dessert after their hot dog dinner, and I brought a big slice to my favorite neighbor, Otto, who is always doing nice things for us which I am continuously way behind on reciprocating. He brings the chickens snacks- greens, grapes, pecans that he has harvested, shelled, and crushed by hand- almost daily. He also opens up our nightmare portal AKA cistern lid for them so they can catch and chomp up the shiny red cockroaches that scurry out whenever the light of day touches them. I’m not willing to do this for the chickens. If you are reading this blog post because you are on Whole 30 and you’re mad that I put a picture of a pie in the middle, I hope that my cockroach-eating chicken story has helped to quash any nascent cravings you may have. The rest of the pie went to work with Andy the next day. Everybody liked it! Andy said it was syrupy sweet but in a good way, and the crust was flaky and good too.
Whole 30 Picnic, Day 7: Red Pepper Walnut Dip, Hard Boiled Eggs, Salted Almonds, Mango, Apple with Almond Butter, Carrots. One week in and I’m officially sick of hard-boiled eggs. I can tolerate them now only with an obscene amount of salt and pepper. Have you seen people who eat hard-boiled eggs without salt? This is mesmerizing to me. The red walnut dip was kind of blah. It tasted watery and somehow less than the sum of its parts. But mango, apples with almond butter, and salty almonds were firing on all cylinders. Henry had asked for a picnic and then the kids fought with each other while I was making everybody’s lunch and making multiple trips to the front yard with all the plates. I brought out George’s requested quesadilla and he took a bite and said “I didn’t want orange cheese,” before setting it down sadly. Super annoying. I yelled at them a bit, just a modest amount of yelling, for being rude and fighting when I was trying to make lunch for everyone but then we sat around and had a nice time, I guess!
Whole 30 Day 7, Dinner: Creamy Mushroom Soup. My general South by Southwest rule is to avoid it. Do not go north of Ben White Blvd for the entirety of spring break. But Joanna invited us to see their family friends perform at a children’s SXSW show with their band, Red Yarn, and we went and had fun. We sat on top of a big hill and watched the bands perform, Henry and George splitting their time huddled in the small rectangle of shade cast by a stranger’s nearby stroller, or up next to the stage dancing. Then George got a balloon sword from a man on stilts wearing a fancy balloon hat and both kids ate outrageously expensive tiny cups of Italian Ice. The drive home during rush hour was interminable, and the kids wanted to listen to America from West Side Story over and over again, which didn’t help. It’s a good song, but you can only listen to it so many times in a row. Anyway, I made this soup when I got home and it was fast and so rich and delicious. Henry said it tasted like eating a bowl of gravy.
Whole 30 Creamy Mushroom Soup
Adapted from The Food Lab‘s Creamy Mushroom Soup
2 tablespoons ghee
1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, cleaned and sliced into half moons
1/2 an onion, finely sliced
2 cups chicken stock, plus more if necessary
2/3 cup full fat coconut milk (from a can)
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms crisped in a pan with a tablespoon of ghee and some thyme leaves
Melt the ghee in a medium dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have given off their liquid and started to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the sliced leeks and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they are softened, about 5 minutes more. Add the stock, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend with the coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste until smooth and creamy. Top the soup with crispy mushrooms and thyme leaves.
Henry’s Rainbow Breakfast. This was all his idea- including what food to use for each color. You’ll notice he craftily avoided eating a vegetable.
Whole 30 Day 8, Lunch: Avocado and Grapefruit Salad (minus the maple syrup in the dressing- I didn’t miss it). I had the rest of that mushroom soup too. I’m not about to just eat a green salad for lunch.
Whole 30 Day 8, Sheet Pan Dinner: Sugar-Free Sausage, Red Onion, Bell Pepper, and Broccoli. I tossed these things with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. My mother-in-law Mary comes over to watch the kids just about every Thursday. It’s the best. I can do whatever I want! Cook! Garden! Shop without children! Here’s how I know I am a certified adult- I spent two hours of this precious Mary time having our printer’s ink cartridges refilled and returning unused flooring transition strips to Home Depot.
Whole 30 Day 9: Crispy Smashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach, Roasted Mushrooms, Sugar-Free Bacon, Pile of Tomatoes, Fried Egg. The boys and I went to Sherwood Forest Faire with our friends and family as a belated birthday gift for our friend Josie. I love everything about it- the costumes, the shows, the artisans, the food. Just walking around in the pine-y woods on a beautiful spring day. It’s all golden. My favorite part this time was the falconry show. We got to hear a kookaburra’s laugh, and listen to the absolute silence of a giant owl flapping its wings. I missed getting to eat the faire foods I love but I brought lots of snacks and had a beef and mushroom-stuffed baked potato for lunch that looked a little gray but tasted pretty good. It’s exhausting though, walking in the sun all day with two demanding kids who alternately needed to be pulled up hills in our wagon. After the hour long drive home I really didn’t feel like cooking. Pre-whole 30 it would have been one of those nights where we all just ate quesadillas for dinner, but since I didn’t have that luxury, we had breakfast for dinner instead.
Whole 30 Day 10, Lunch: Kale Salad with Roasted Chicken, Olives, Tomatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, and Tahini Sauce. I ate this for lunch after going to the Buda Farmers’ Market with George in the morning and before going to the Texas Night Sky Festival in the afternoon. My tahini sauce is only an approximation of the linked recipe- a scant amount of the same ingredients whisked together because I didn’t want to sacrifice a whole head of garlic, nor take out the blender, nor have two cups of tahini sauce on hand. That stuff is so good, though! I loved it with the chicken.
I thought Henry had been more than his normal amount of rude at the ren faire the day before- getting whiny when he didn’t get to do what he wanted to do the instant he wanted to do it- but things hit a critical mass at the Texas Night Sky Festival. He just could not cope. Nice volunteer ladies would try to talk to us about being citizen scientists or about the negative effects of blue-tinted lights in our homes and Henry wouldn’t listen or say thank you or give a shit. Finally, during a solar walk that illustrated the relative sizes of the sun and planets in our solar system and their distance from one another, Henry started crying in desperation at the length of the walk and Andy had to go sit with him against a wall. So obviously we came home and he had a 102 degree fever and fell asleep at seven o’clock. I never ever remember that my kids acting shittier than normal is almost always a sign that they’re getting sick. In the moment my only thought is, why are you acting like this? I thought we were past this? And then they throw up or get a fever and I remember the lesson I thought I had learned the last time this happened. Henry’s fever burned hot for 24 hours and then he was completely fine. I don’t know what that was but I’m so grateful it was quick.
Kale Chips. I put way too much salt on these and they were inedible. That’s what happened.
Whole 30 Day 11, Dinner: Coconut Tamarind Chicken Curry. Minus the teaspoon of sugar. I hadn’t made it to the store so I turned to Made in India for a curry I could make with ingredients I had on hand. I made the sauce and tossed it with leftover roasted chicken and it was just delicious. Andy had it on rice and the kids just ate rice, Henry as a celebratory return to food after barely eating for the past day.
Whole 30 Day 12: Smoothie Bowl with Toasted Coconut, Chia Seeds, and Goji Berries. And with coconut milk instead of rice milk. I’m just looking for some breakfast variety here, beyond hard-boiled eggs or reheated leftovers. So yes, I will eat a smoothie out of a bowl with shit put on top of it.
Whole 30 Day 12: Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato, Shredded Chicken, Cilantro, Fresno Chile, and Tahini Sauce. I was writing this post last night when I went down a Whole 30 Instagram rabbit hole and spent the remainder of my evening there. Which was irresponsible, I know, but look at this lady’s whole 30 meals! I liked the way she put round slices of roasted sweet potato on her salads so I did that for lunch today, and it was such a really delicious pleasure to eat all of these things together.
That’s all I’ve got. I’m expecting that next week’s post will be on time and amazing thanks to my week three whole 30 tiger blood that’s due in any minute now. Mark your calendars.