It’s done! I made it! 35 days on the Whole 30 plan. I’m down 9.6 pounds and have a huge list of NSVs like better sleep, more energy, clearer skin, hair and nails growing like crazy, along with feeling WAY more comfortable in the kitchen, more adventurous in my food choices, and much more aware of what I’m putting in my body. I’ve begun my reintroduction phase and started the morning with a glass of Ionix Supreme and a chocolate whey protein shake from Isagenix (the old stand by!) that so far seems to be agreeing with me. I’ve also started a new virtual race from Yes.Fit: Alice’s Adventure: Mad Hatter! I can already picture the medal hanging with Alice, the White Rabbit, & Cheshire Cat race medals. I’ll be hitting the gym at lunchtime.
Food-wise, the last few days have been — unintentionally — all pork, all the time. We had leftovers from Friday night’s walnut-crusted pork loin, and then Saturday night I tried my hand at Babyback Ribs. I used a Whole 30 recipe and started with a dry rub of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, mustard powder, and cumin. Ribs had been on sale at Kroger, so I bought a full rack and had to double the dry rub recipe. I cut the rack in half in order to make it more manageable, and rubbed all sides with the mixture — it smelled really, really good already! Once they were rubbed, I wrapped both racks in foil and stuck them in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours. The recipe says to marinate for 3-24 hours, but because I got such a late start it was closer to 3. (Note: in retrospect, I wish I would have done this the night before and let them sit in the spices all day — I think we would have gotten better flavor).
Once my 3 hours were up, the ribs went in baking dishes for about an hour on 300, and then we took them out, fired up the grill outside, and grilled on medium for about 7 minutes on each side. The recipe calls for a homemade barbeque sauce, but I found a really good compliant sauce from Tessemae’s that we used instead. And rather than basting the racks with sauce, we left them with just the dry rub (because we wanted to taste that first!) and then just put some sauce on our plates to dip the ribs in. For my very first rack of ribs, they came out pretty darn good! I was hoping for more of a fall-off-the-bone scenario, so I may switch it up next time and cook them in the oven a bit longer, or use another recipe where they’re boiled before they go on the grill. But overall, it was a success… and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!
Easter dinner was a little different this year. Normally we have ham, but they’re loaded with sugar. So we went Pork Butt! I wanted to roast it & slice it rather than shred it, so I found this fantastic recipe: How to Roast Pork Perfectly. Because our butt was a little over 8 pounds, I had to start the cooking process at 9am in order to eat at 5. Chad took it out of the refrigerator and let it rest about 30 minutes and then I trimmed off some of the thick fat and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I wanted to eventually make a gravy out of the drippings so I put in in the super-awesome Pioneer Woman roasting pan Chad and I managed to purchase on clearance for seven dollars!! and put about a half-inch of compliant chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. I added more broth every hour or so, and let the butt roast on 300 for about 5 1/2 hours.
I also decided on baked sweet potatoes and bacon & onion green beans. Most of the bacon green bean recipes call for brown sugar, so it took a while to find a decent one without. But I was victorious! I cut about 4 slices of bacon into small pieces and threw them in the iron skillet until they were almost brown, then threw in about 1/4 cup chopped onion. Once the onion was cooked, the beans went in with a cup of chicken broth and some salt and pepper. It just needed to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.
And once the butt was done on 300, it needed to rest for about 40 minutes. So I threw the sweet potatoes in at 425 during that time to get them started and began working on the gravy. I got to use a new kitchen gadget!! We bought a gravy separator, which made this process so much easier. You just pour all the dripping in, and it catches the chunks of butt business and allows the liquid into the container. Then the fat rises to the top so you can scrape off what you need! I loved it!! I had to
alter the recipe a bit because it calls for all-purpose flour. I subbed almond flour instead, but apparently you need to use twice the amount than called for in the recipe, so it was a bit of a guessing game. I used about 5 tbsp of the fat, all of the liquid (probably a cup and 1/2) and then the almond flour, whisked together in a saucepan, and brought it to a boil. Then I set it to low since we weren’t ready to eat yet.
Once the butt had rested about 40 minutes, I kicked up the oven to 475, moved the sweet potatoes to the bottom rack, and put the pork back into the (now clean) roasting pan to brown the outside for about 15 minutes. Perfection!! We took it out, and Chad got to use our brand-new electric knife to slice it up. (side note: the dogs do not care for the noise from the electric knife.)
And it was a lovely Easter dinner with Chad’s mom. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on our traditional holiday dishes (ham, green bean casserole, bread, butter, desserts…) and I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed it. I’ll definitely roast another butt this way, and now that I have this super-awesome roasting pan I guess I need to find more roast-y type recipes to try!
And now I only have to worry about one meal a day, so I’m hoping to try some new and exciting things for dinner. Let’s get creative!!