Papaya Chia Pudding and a Mediterranean Feast: Whole30 Day Thirty

DAY THIRTY

That’s a wrap! 11 pounds down and my “too skinny” jeans are fitting again, you see, you should always hold on to a pair of tiny pants, they are even better than a scale! Exercise is part of my daily routine again, yay. I think I’ll stick to a low carb diet, but I miss my pulses and some grains (oatmeal) so I will reintroduce these back into my life and scale down on the meat. Overall it was a good experience, I got creative in the kitchen, discovered chia pudding and homemade almond butter, lost weight, feel great, and followed through. Is it something I could do every day for the rest of my life? Nope. But it helped me to scale back on my “bad habits” and gave me the determination and will power to move in a more healthy direction. If you’re thinking of trying Whole30,  it’s only 30 days, you can definitely do it!!!

Papaya Chia Pudding.JPGBreakfast: Good day sunshine! Trying to brighten up this grey, February day with a tropical treat.
PAPAYA CHIA PUDDING TOPPED WITH FLAKED COCONUT AND POMEGRANATE
Serves 2
Ingredients:
1/2 cup chia pudding (recipe follows)
1/2 papaya, chopped
a handful of pomegranate jewels
flaked coconut, to taste
Preparation: In a ramekin, bowl or glass jar begin layering your pudding starting with 1/4 cup of chia pudding. Top with papaya, pomegranate and flaked coconut. Enjoy

Chia Pudding
Ingredients
:
2 cups almond milk
6 tablespoons organic chia seeds
For the Chia Pudding: Place ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour into a Ball canning jar with a lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.

Mediterranean FeastDinner: Almost in time for the family day weekend, we had M back from university and Ki home from dance at a relatively decent hour, so we could have a nice, celebratory feast, Mediterranean style.

Grilled Lamb ChopsGRILLED LAMB CHOPS
This is how I made my chops, thanks to Giada, this easy and flavourful Italian recipe is one to use again and again: Grilled Lamb Chops
Baba GanoushBABA GANOUSH
If you don’t have the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, here is a recipe he shared with the BBC.Ingredients:
4 large aubergines (1.5kg before cooking; 550g after burning and draining the flesh)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice
75ml olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped mint
Seeds of ½ a large pomegranate (80g net weight)
Salt and black pepper
Preparation: Place the aubergines directly on two separate moderate flames on the stove and roast for 15-18 minutes. Use metal tongs to turn them around occasionally, until the skin is burnt and flaky and the flesh is soft. Allow to cool down slightly. Alternatively, score the aubergine with a knife in a few places and place under a hot grill for about an hour. Turn them around every 20 minutes or so and continue to cook even if they burst and break.

Peel the warm aubergines and use your hands to pull the soft flesh into long thin strips. Drain in a colander for an hour at least, preferably longer to get rid of as much water as possible.

Place the aubergine in a medium bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Stir and allow the aubergine to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour.

When you are ready to serve, mix in most of the herbs and taste for seasoning. Pile high on a serving plate, scatter on the pomegranate seeds and garnish with the remaining herbs.

TabbouliTABBOULEH
Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 tomato, chopped
4 green onions, (white and green portions), chopped
1 bunch parsle,y chopped
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
juice from 1 lemon
pinch of allspice
pinch of cinnamon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparation: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Adjust seasoning accordingly and let the flavours mingle for awhile before serving. I love eating my tabbouli atop a big dollop of baba ganoush.

Rice With VermicelliRICE WITH VERMICELLI (not for Whole30, for the kids)
Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
2 cups medium-grain rice (like this one, not quick cook or partially cooked rice)
Water
1 cup vermicelli pasta, broken vermicelli pasta 
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, to garnish
Preparation: Rinse the rice well, and soak it in a bowl of water for at least 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the vermicelli and continuously stir to toast it evenly, until it just starts to turn golden.

Add the rice and continue to stir so that the rice will be well-coated with the olive oil. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, boil 3 1/2 cups of water, once bubbling, pour into the rice and vermicelli mixture and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, cover, turn the heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat off and keep covered 10-15 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.

Stewed Okra With TomatoesSTEWED OKRA AND TOMATOES
Serves 2
Ingredients:
extra virgin olive oil
1 package frozen okra
1 small can of Italian San Marzano tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
parsley, to taste
Preparation: Heat a glug of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet and fry the okra until golden on all sides. Remove the okra and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Return the skillet to medium heat and fry the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook over low heat until the tomatoes break down and become sauce-y about 15-20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and the okra back into the tomato mixture, season with salt and pepper and cook about 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

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