I am never going to be the kind of person who spends hours on Sunday meal prepping for the week. My Sundays are just too busy for that even when all I do is lay in bed watch back to back to back episodes of Choppped all day. Don’t judge. It gets cold here in North Dakota and sometimes the best t way to spend the day is in bed, under the covers binge watching Chopped.
When my work schedule shifted, leaving me no time to cook after work, not even with my pressure cooker, I knew I needed to find a better way of meal prepping, somewhere between none and most of my day off doing it. I decided that instead of cooking after I got home from work, I would simply gather all my ingredients and tools (I am forever trying to find my can opener) and put them in one place. I would chop any vegetables that needed chopping and put them in the fridge. I would measure any spices I needed and leave them on the counter. That way all I would need to do in the morning is get cooking. Prepping this way only takes about 5-15 minutes in the evening, depending on the recipe. In the morning, I can throw it all in the pressure cook and go about my day or take 20 minutes and cook things on the stove.
I had all kinds of plans for the blog this week but then the dreaded allergies attacked my face with a vengeance. Seriously, I look like I have been on a week long bender. My eyes are red and puffy. My nose is brighter than Rudolf’s. My eyes are watering. My nose is running and it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. I sneezed so much and so hard the last two days I gave myself a horrible headache that just won’t go away. It totally derailed any big attempts at cooking and photographing for the blog.
I am trying not to be a big baby about this because on the grand scale of things it isn’t cancer or Alzheimer’s or anything serious. In fact, this is the first time since my Whole 30, in April, I have been bothered by my allergies at all. I should be grateful. Instead I am sitting here feeling miserable and very, very sorry for myself and I want the world to know it so here I am posting a whiney, crybaby post. Tune in next week to my next post for our regularly scheduled non whiney, crybaby post.
I did manage to throw a soup into my pressure cooker. The recipe came from my new cookbook, The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking. I love slow cooking cookbooks because the recipes are usually, easily adapted for use in the pressure cooker.
Todays recipe comes from my friend, Audrey’s, blog, Lady Melady My Castle My Food. Audrey’s blog is packed with recipes for what I call real people food. I can go to her blog anytime of day and find a recipe for things I already have on hand and for the time I have to cook. Her food is always tasty. I have a pile of her recipes in my to adapt file and have already adapted many of my favorite Lady Melady recipes for one or two.
In addition to being a great cook and an awesome blogger, Audrey is an awesome person. After talking back and forth on our blogs, we discovered that we live about an hour away from each other. We decided we absolutely had to meet. Once we did we discovered we had a lot more in common than a love of food and blogging. It’s always fun when we get together. It is also nice to have one friend who understands the cooking and blogging thing as most of my friends and family look at my cooking and blogging as that weird thing that Julie does.
Audrey’s Princess Diana carrot soup is one of my favorite soup recipes. It is deceptively simple. Just looking at the recipe you think it’s going to be bland and boring because there are no added spices and herbs beyond salt and pepper. Then you taste it and realize simple doesn’t mean bland and boring. It is an amazing soup.
2 tablespoon olive oil or ghee (to make it Whole30 compliant)
1 medium onion; chopped
2 1/2 cup chicken broth (check ingredients to make sure it’s Whole30 compliant)
1 pound carrot; peeled, sliced
1 3/4 cup potato; peeled, diced
1 1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk to make it Whole30 compliant)
salt and pepper; to taste
Peel and slice carrots about 1/2″ thick. Peel and dice potatoes in 1″ cubes.Saute onions in margarine in a kettle. Add broth, carrots, potatoes.Bring to a boil; simmer 10-15 minutes or until carrots tender.Puree half of mixture in blender with milk. Return to kettle and heat through, making sure it does not boil (milk will curdle). Season to taste. Note: I make this soup the day before it I want to eat it. I don’t want to put hot soup into a blender. It won’t end well. Besides it tastes even better on the second day.
When I decided to do the Whole30, I spent a lot of time thinking what times I might be vulnerable to making bad food choices. The biggest danger zone I could think of for me is when I get off of work. I get home from work anywhere from 7 to 9 pm. Depending on how I slept the night before and how stressful my day was there are a lot of times I stop by the deli on my way home or toss a bowl of oatmeal or some other grain into the pressure cooker for dinner becauseI just don’t want to cook. I can’t do that on while I am doing a Whole30 so I need another plan. I decided to make a pot of soup on my prep day and eat it as needed throughout the week. The first soup I made was Weight Watcher’s Zero Point Vegetable Soup.
Back when I was a Weight Watcher, I wasn’t much of a cook. I lived on Smart Ones tv dinners, Boca Burgers and Weight Watcher’s zero point vegetable soup. I ate gallons of the stuff. The soup got me through a lot of times when I had no points left for the day and I was starving. I think it is going to do the same for my Whole30.
A lot of my friends are asking how I am feeling since I started my Whole30, so I thought I would post my response here. Day two and three, I woke up feeling like I was coming down with something. I had a vague headache and felt kind of achy. The literature said that is normal and should go away soon. I also started having very vivid nightmares and dreams. I wake up in a terrified and in a sweat or crying or ecstatically happy and I don’t know why. I don’t know if these dreams are connected to the Whole30 or not, but they started the same time as I started my Whole30. The literature says that vivid dreams about eating noncompliant foods and ruining your Whole30 are common. That is not what these dreams are. I usually don’t remember what I have dreamed so this is just weird. I don’t mind the crying or being ecstatically happy but I can totally do without the flop sweats and my heart beating so hard it feels like it is coming out of my chest. The only other physical symptom I have is I fart alot. This isn’t suprising since I have eaten more vegetables in the last three days than I have in the last three months. I am sure this will pass as my body gets used to eating more good stuff.
2/3 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
1 1/2 cups diced green cabbage
1/2 cup green beans
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup diced zucchini
In a large saucepan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, sauté carrots, onions and garlic over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add broth, cabbage, green beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano and salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for around 15 minutes or until beans are tender. Lastly, stir in the zucchini and continue to heat soup for 3-4 minutes.
Have I told you lately how much I love my pressure cooker? Today all I wanted was chicken noodle soup. Not any old can or packet of chicken flavored soup like substance but real, like my mom makes it chicken noodle soup. Problem was, even though it isn’t a complicated recipe, it still takes about an hour and a half to make on the stove. I didnt get home from work until after 8 pm and was totally exhausted from a busy work day. I didn’t have an hour and a half to spend in the kitchen plus time to let the soup cool down enough to put in the fridge before I was going to be out like a light. So I decided to try making my mom’s chicken noodle soup in my 6 quart pressure cooker. I just threw everything except the noodles into the pressure cooker and about 25 minutes later had the chicken noodle soup I so desperately wanted. The best part it was sooooo good, possibly the best chicken noodle soup I ever made. Have i told you lately how much I love my pressure cooker?
2 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed
1 cup raw egg noodles
Chicken boullion to taste
Toss celery, carrots, chicken broth and chicken thighs into the pressure cooker. Lock the lid. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Use a quick release to release the pressure. Turn the pressure cooker to the saute setting and bring the soup to a boil. Add the noodles and chicken boullion to taste and cook until they reach the desired tenderness. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the bone and chop. Add the chicken to the soup. Place in bowls and serve.