Poultry · Recipes · Whole30

Beka’s Buffalo Chicken

Buffalo chicken has been a favorite food item of mine since the early days of high school (that’s like 15 years!) Buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken wrap, buffalo chicken… pretty much anything. Before Nick and I made the switch to Whole30 as a long-term option, one of my most common cheat day cravings was the buffalo chicken cheesesteak from Jersey Mike’s – a small but mass-produced taste of the east coast. I have missed buffalo chicken a lot, but I definitely do not miss how that massive sandwich made me feel – wheat, soy, dairy, sugar… all the inflammatory things! So I set out to recreate my own Whole30 and paleo version at home …it was way easier than I expected.

This is such a fast and seriously simple recipe that I almost feel a little silly writing it, but it only requires a few ingredients and you guys kept asking, so here it is. You’ll need chicken, tomato, hot sauce, ranch, and onions if you like ’em. That’s it. The hardest part is just finding a buffalo sauce that is actually Whole30. Tessemae’s makes a wonderful sauce in both hot and mild varieties, but my local Whole Foods has stopped carrying that item. I’m still on the hunt for local alternatives, supposedly Target is a good option, but you can also order from Tessemae’s online!ย While the brand is Whole30 approved, not all of their products are compliant. Be sure to check the ingredients for every item!

You can use any cut of chicken you like, but my two favorites for this recipe are “party” wings (drumettes and flats) and good ol’ boneless, skinless breasts. For wings, follow my DIY Default Wings recipe, toss the wings in the hot sauce, and drizzle with ranch.

For breasts, use this recipe:

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Health · Information

On A More Serious Note: Chronic Illness Update

This wasn’t meant to go up for a few more weeks, but it’s my birthday today and I realized it was probably time.

It’s been… years at this point, since I last did a dedicated post about my personal health battles. It’s never something I’ve been shy about discussing, but we’re way overdue for a dedicated chat.

Though I have always been open about my health – and struggles with managing said health, the thing that most interferes with my life didn’t have a name until this past year. Well I suppose it always had a name, but it took most of my life to find out what it was. I went pretty in-depth in a [much] earlier post about certain aspects of dealing with my invisible illnesses, but it is quite outdated at this point so be prepared for a little backstory. (I am not going to be discussing my medications in this post even though I have talked about them in the past and some have changed since then, it just wasn’t integral to the story I’m sharing here, but I will happily answer any questions).

Me, ~4 years old (grandma’s house, PA)

I guess I’ve always had health issues. Thinking back, I remember pain as young as four, I remember signs of interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel at nine and 10. Of course I didn’t have the words then, and even if I did, I don’t think I understood that what was happening was very very wrong.

My parents love to tell this story about my difficulty grasping Russian and English languages simultaneously and telling them, at four years old, that my hand felt nauseous. Knowing everything we know now, that story is a lot less funny.

I remember driving with my family from Paris to Nice (about 12 hours) and begging to stop because I kept having to pee. I was a few weeks shy of turning 10 and remember asking my mom if her panty liners would be sufficient if I couldn’t hold it between stops. (Nevermind that I was also exhausted from repeated attempts to not urinate on myself at literal-hole-in-the-floor French rest stop toilets).

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Health · Information · Whole30

What I Eat in a Week: Food Freedom

If you didn’t know, in addition to BekaNEggs (that’s the page you’re reading right now), I also run/write a makeup + beauty blog called Makeup Nerdery. That means, in addition to my seemingly endless consumption of food and fitness content, I also spend a lot of time reading about and watching stuff relating to makeup, beauty, skincare, etc. Lately I have seen a lot of YouTubers making these “what I eat in a week” videos and while they are fun to watch, and I’m not here to judge anyone else’s eating habits (unless you are my friend in real life), they are made more to satisfy our nosiness and curiosity than to actually provide any useful information. I’m here to do the opposite, or at least… a little bit of both.

A few things before we get into this: I’m not sharing this to show off or brag, I’m not sharing this to make you feel bad about your own food choices, I am not counting macros at the moment (or calories ever), and I am a Chronic Meal Repeater. I’m sharing this to show you how I make food-that-makes-me-feel-good work for me and my life. If this gives you some motivation, some ideas, or even some comfort in how little time and effort I actually spend on my food, then this week of trying to photograph everything I put in my mouth was totally worth it. I am also not measuring or weighing anything right now, but will share amounts of food whenever I actually know.

One thing I will say is that I *do* plan out my meals for the entire week every weekend and then The Boyfriend and I do all of our grocery shopping on Sunday between our local farmer’s market and the grocery store it shares a parking lot with.

For the purposes of this post, “collagen drink” refers to my morning shaker bottle concoction which consists of 10-12oz Nespresso decaf coffee, 4oz New Barn unsweetened almond milk, 2 scoops of Vital Proteins collagen peptides, and lots of ice. In addition to all the items I list, I also try to drink three 32oz jars of water every day.

So, what I eat in a typical Food Freedom week. This week included the tail end of Whole30 reintroductions,ย Whole30 and Paleo meals, and some Paleo snacks. Let me know if you want to see a full Whole30 week!

Monday – 7 August

  • Brunch: Two eggs, 9 pieces sashimi, 2oz guacamole, GT’s Kombucha “Heart Beet”ย (whole30)

  • Snack: Chompsย stickย (whole30)
  • Dinner: Buffalo chicken and leftover parsnips (made with Tessemae’s Mild Buffalo and Creamy Ranch)ย (whole30)

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Recipes

Whole30: NSV’s & More

Just a quick one today, as I suppose we should probably talk about this Whole30 thing now that it’s (kind of) over.

The NSV or “non scale victories” that Melissa Hartwig and crew suggest you may experience were… seemingly endless, actually. I went through the worksheet and was able to check off items in every single category excluding brain function and sleep (which are two areas I have struggled with all my life and was not expecting a miracle) so I am mighty pleased with those results. The Boyfriend had a similar experience – his NSVs are marked off with a check mark to the left of the boxes, mine are the x.

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Kid-Friendly · Recipes · Soup · Vegetarian · Whole30

Ultra-Faux Pho

This is… this is not even fake pho. This is a supremely lazy/fast approach to a slightly-influenced-by-Vietnamese-Pho dinner, but one that always goes off without a hitch in my house and can pretty much be done with any veg and meat you have. So here it is, my ultra-faux pho.

Your ingredients list can really go any which way you like, but here are the basics for 2-3 servings:

1 quart chicken, beef, or mushroom broth (or half and half meat/veg)
1 lb meat (meatballs, sausage, shredded chicken, etc)
1 vegetable that you can make noodles out of (zucchini, sweet potato)
1-2 handfuls green leafy vegetables (baby bok choy, spinach, etc)
1-2 handfuls chopped mushrooms (optional)
4-6 eggs
Togarashi, to taste

Using a spiralizer, julienne peeler, or just a regular vegetable peeler, turns your noodling vegetable into said noodles. You can also buy pre-noodled zucchini or sweet potato – they are increasingly available in grocery stores (Trader Joe’s sells sweet potato ribbons and they are fantastic).

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Health · Information

Why I’m Going Paleo

In the realm of paleo, primal, keto, slow carb, and Whole30…what you choose to shovel into your face each day really comes down to personal preference. For most of the last 4.5 years, I have been following the slow carb diet as per Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Body. This summer, after a second round of Whole30 (which you can read about here), I’ve decided to make a small yet simultaneously substantial change. I’m going paleo. Strict paleo, not the “here I made paleo blueberry muffins” kind of nonsense. Basically Whole30 with select days to enjoy my food freedom.

I could probably spend a full day talking your ears eyes off about why I’m making the switch, and The Boyfriend is joining me too, but instead I’ve broken it down into a few main points.

Results:ย This round of Whole30 has been so wonderfully successful for me, for both physical health and mental health and yes, weight loss too. My weight is something I’ve struggled with quite a bit since my muscle disease started showing itself back in 2010. (Which reminds me, I haven’t done a chronic illness update in years at this point, coming right up!) I made more progress in weight loss and chronic pain relief on this Whole30 than in the last few years of slow carb combined. A paleo-leaning lifestyle just works better with my body and my life and really, that’s enough on its own to make me switch things up.

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Information · Whole30

Fridge & Pantry Essentials: Whole30

In a previous post I mentioned that The Boyfriend and I (and 11 of our friends and relatives that I annoyed into submission) would be doing a Whole30 challenge this month. This is my second time doing it, and I had great results in terms of health and how I felt after the first one we did in November 2015 (pro-tip: would not recommend doing it over a major holiday).

This past week, after all the holiday festivities, I Whole30-fied our entire fridge and pantry – ditched all the things that make us sick and we should avoid longterm (anything with soy, really) and hid all the other indulgent stuff that wasn’t going to expire for a while (mostly just the hot fudge and the balsamic glaze). With so many of our friends (and my mom!) doing Whole30 for the first time, I was reminded just how much work went into the “spices and condiments” category of finding approved foods. Even for the basics, like salad dressing, the compliant options available to us are often limited at best. Five years into the slow carb game and on the heels of my second Whole30 and a new paleo life, here are the spice blends, condiments, and other pantry staples I rely on to get meals done.ย Each item will be labeled for Paleo, Whole30, and/or Slow Carb.

Let me know in the comments if you guys like this “Essentials” series, I’ve got plenty more ideas!

Teeny Tiny Spice Company Tandoori Masalapaleo, whole30, slow carb – Sadly my beloved British Curry is not Whole30 compliant due to some added maple sugar (ok for paleo), but the brand’s Tandoori Masala is an excellent consolation prize. I love to use it in my Indian style chicken curries with onions, garlic, and broccoli. It also makes a great marinade mixed with coconut milk for slow cooked chicken, crispy chicken thighs*, and lamb too.

* this recipe calls for both the British Curry and Tandoori Masala blends, you can definitely just use the Tandoori Masala! I would probably add some turmeric for good measure.

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Health · Information · Recipes · Whole30

Whole30 + Ice Cubes

If you checked out my most recent recipe or follow me on Instagram, you may have picked up on some recent little grumblings about Whole30. It’s often referred to as the Whole30 challenge, but it’s essentially a 30 day elimination diet that sounds a lot like paleo on steroids… or I guess, paleo on definitely no steroids whatsoever. The Boyfriend and I completed a round of Whole30 in November of 2015 and despite the struggle of sticking to the rules through Thanksgiving and managing the lack of local/seasonal produce in the winter, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. We learned so much about our bodies – well, my body mostly – like that I am super sensitive to soy, and for the sake of my skin as well as any living creature in my general vicinity, I should probably not consume dairy, even on slow carb’s allotted cheat days.

We’re coming up on two years since our first Whole30 and I have been itching for another one. If we could make it through a round in November, then summer – with farmers’ markets and damn near everything in bloom – should be a piece of cake (except actually not cake at all because it’s definitely not Whole30 approved).

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Poultry · Recipes · Whole30

Thai Red Curry Chicken

I don’t know what it is about Thai food, but I crave it constantly. Much to my dismay, rice noodles do not fit anywhere into our slow carb or Whole30 lives, so I’ve had to learn to cook some of the good stuff all on my own. This Thai Red Curry chicken is so easy and quick, this might be a new weekly event in our house!

I get our Thai Red Curry paste from a local brand called Thai & True, but any brand is fine as long as it is slow carb/paleo/Whole30 compliant (whichever one you need it to be). I also use a wok-style oil that’s infused with lemongrass and ginger, but this is just something I have on hand and like to use, any cooking fat will do just fine for this recipe! In general, I highly recommend avocado oil and beef tallow for most cooking needs (though beef tallow may not be the best choice for this particular recipe).

Equipment: ย 
Large non-stick pan
Spatula or stirring utensil

Ingredients:ย 
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
4 tbsp Thai Red Curry paste
1 13oz can coconut milk
1-2 tbsp fresh Thai basil, stemmed
1-2 tbsp fresh scallions, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp coriander
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

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Poultry · Recipes

Crispy Curry Chicken Thighs

I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of chicken thighs – or any dark meat really, but The Boyfriend loves it so I’ve spent…many years trying to find a way to love it. This accidental concoction (in that, I didn’t know just how good it would actually be) has been the answer to all our dark vs light meat problems and it is so quick to put together! You can even prep the night before if needed, for all you meal plan lovers like me.

Equipment:
Large ziplock bag
Cast iron skillet
Oven

Ingredients:
4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp British curry powder
1 tbsp Tandoori Masala
2 tsp turmeric (optional)
High-temp cooking oil (avocado oil, tallow/lard)
Salt, to taste

This recipe can definitely be prepped the night before, but as long as you’ve got at least four hours, it’ll be just as good.

Place chicken thighs in a large ziplock bag. Gently add all spices/seasonings and a pinch of saltย to the bag – I like to be a little strategic about this and try to pour the dried spices down the sides of the bag rather than directly onto the chicken. This will make it a little easier to distribute.

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