Category Archives: Whole30

Egg Salad

So long before I was pregnant (or knew I was pregnant) I was eating a hard boiled egg with a 100 calorie pack of Wholly Guacamole every morning for breakfast.  It’s Whole30 approved, and I’ve read a lot about eating protein very soon after waking helps with weight loss (which I can attest to – I think this trick helped me lose the 30 pounds I lost over the last year or so), plus it’s quick and easy to grab and eat on my way to work, not to mention tasty.

So luckily, even when I didn’t have much of an appetite for a few weeks and couldn’t figure out why (being knocked up throws off your appetite, apparently ;) I was still forcing myself to eat my egg and guac every morning… and I’m so glad!  Eggs are pregnancy super food and all the time super food and we should all eat them more often.  Since Whole30, we’ve been buying at least a dozen organic, free range eggs a week, and I’ve been trying to eat them every which way I can.  Lately, I’ve been craving this particular egg salad I’ve been whipping up!

I know, super stellar food photography here these days. :/

And if you always accidentally get that dreaded green ring around your yolk, click back to how I boil perfectly cooked eggs, every time.

Anyway, here’s my jam:

Favorite Egg Salad Ever

ingredients

  • 3 Perfectly Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Wickles Relish
  • 1 dill pickle, chopped (or more if you’re feeling super pregnant like me)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (yellow, dijon, deli, honey, spicy, whatever blows your skirt up)
  • 2 tablespoons Duke’s Mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

instructions

Place all ingredients in a bowl, including the whole hard boiled eggs.  Using a fork, mash the hard boiled eggs into the rest of the ingredients and then stir until mixed.  Eat with a fork, serve on top of a salad, or on white bread slice in quarters… the world is your oyster!

In other news, the bedroom we are turning into our nursery was painted yesterday… I am so excited to share the nursery in progress at some point in the near future!

Until Next Time - oysters and pearls

How to Make Kombucha: The SCOBY

How To Make Kombucha at Home - oysters and pearls
Since I did Whole30, I’ve gotten hooked on the probiotic-filled, fizzy drink known as kombucha.  Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea hailing from ancient China, where it’s rumored to be the secret to a long, healthy life.  It’s also known here in the U.S. as a fizzy, sweet, fruity alternative to Coca-Colas.  It’s full of good-for-you probiotics and B vitamins, too.  Unfortunately, at nearly $4.00 per bottle, it’s also an expensive habit.   So naturally, I had to try making it at home myself.  And it turns out, it was pretty easy and it’s pretty delicious!  I will warn you, this step by step ain’t for the faint of heart.  Kombucha is fermented using a SCOBY or “mother,” which houses the good bacteria that will eat the sugar in the sweet tea and turn your tea into ‘bucha.  “SCOBY” is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” It’s very close cousins to the mother used to make vinegar.  But it looks real weird.

So, you can purchase a SCOBY and Starter Tea online, but I opted to make my own SCOBY too.  I used these directions from The Kitchn, which I’ve shared here as well.

  • How To Make Your Own Kombucha Scoby

    Makes 1 kombucha scoby

    What You Need

    Ingredients
    7 cups water
    1/2 cup white granulated sugar (see Recipe Notes)
    4 bags black tea, or 1 tablespoon looseleaf (see Recipe Note)
    1 cup unflavored, unpasteurized store-bought kombucha (I used ginger GT and it worked!)

    Equipment
    2-quart or larger saucepan
    Long-handled spoon
    2-quart or larger glass jar, like a canning jar (not plastic or metal) (I used a gallon pickle jar)
    Tightly woven cloth (like clean napkins or tea towels), coffee filters, or paper towels, to cover the jar
    Rubberband

    Instructions

    1. Make the sweet tea. Bring the water to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sugar until it is completely dissolved. Add the tea and allow to steep until the tea cools to room temperature. Remove and discard the tea. (Alternatively, boil half the amount of water, dissolve the sugar and steep the tea, then add the remaining water to cool the tea more rapidly.)
    2. Combine the sweet tea and kombucha in a jar. Pour the sweet tea into the jar. Pour the kombucha on top — if you see a blobby “baby scoby” in the bottom of your jar of commercial kombucha, make sure this gets transferred. (But if you don’t see one, don’t worry! Your scoby will still form.) Stir to combine.
    3. Cover and store for 1 to 4 weeks. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels secured with a rubber band. (If you develop problems with gnats or fruit flies, use a tightly woven cloth or paper towels, which will do a better job keeping the insects out of your brew.) Place the jar somewhere at average room temperature (70°F), out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get jostled. Sunlight can prevent the kombucha from fermenting and the scoby from forming, so wrap the jar in a cloth if you can’t keep it away from sunlight.
    4. First, bubbles will gather on the surface. For the first few days, nothing will happen. Then you’ll start to see groups of tiny bubbles starting to collect on the surface.
    5. Then, the bubbles will collect into a film. After a few more days, the groups of bubbles will start to connect and form a thin, transparent, jelly-like film across the surface of the tea. You’ll also see bubbles forming around the edges of the film. This is carbon-dioxide from the fermenting tea and a sign that everything is healthy and happy!
    6. The film will thicken into a solid, opaque layer. Over the next few days, the layer will continue to thicken and gradually become opaque. When the scoby is about 1/4-inch thick, it’s ready to be used to make kombucha tea — depending on the temperature and conditions in your kitchen, this might take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks.
    7. The finished scoby: Your finished scoby might look a little nubbly, rough, patchy, or otherwise “not quite like a grown-up scoby.” It’s ok! Your scoby will start to smooth out and take on a uniform color over the course of a few batches of kombucha — take a look a the before and after pictures of a baby and grown-up scoby in the gallery above.
    8. Using the liquid used to grow the scoby: The liquid used to grow the scoby will likely be too strong and vinegary to drink (and if you’re not used to drinking kombucha or very vinegary beverages, it can give you a stomach ache). You can use it to start your first batch of kombucha, or you can use it as a cleaning solution on your counters.

    Trouble-Shooting

    • Your scoby is forming normally and is healthy if… You see bubbles, clear jelly-like masses, opaque jelly-like masses, stringy or gritty brown bits. Also if the tea smells fresh, tart, and slightly vinegary (this aroma will become more pronounced the further into the process you go).
    • Your finished scoby is normal and healthy if… It’s about a quarter-inch thick and opaque. It’s fine if the scoby is bubbled or nubbly or has a rough edge. It’s also ok if it’s thinner in some parts than others or if there’s a hole. Your scoby will become smoother and more uniform as you brew more batches of kombucha.
    • There is a problem if… You see fuzzy black or green mold growing on top of the forming scoby, or if your tea starts to smell cheesy, rancid, or otherwise unpleasant. In any of these cases, bad bacteria has taken hold of the tea; discard this batch and start again with a fresh batch.
    • If you can’t tell if there’s a problem… Continue to let the tea ferment and the scoby form. If it’s a problem, it will get worse; if it’s a normal part of the process, it should normalize (or at least not get any worse!)

    Recipe Notes

    • Covering for the jar: Cheesecloth is not ideal because it’s easy for small insects, like fruit flies, to wiggle through the layers. Use a few layers of tightly woven cloth (like clean napkins or tea towels), coffee filters, or paper towels, to cover the jar, and secure it tightly with rubber bands or twine.
    • Using Other Sugars: Scobys form best if you use plain, granulated table sugar. Organic sugar is fine, but avoid alternative sugars or honey.
    • Substituting Other Teas: Plain black tea is the best and most nutritious tea for scoby growth. For this step of growing a new kombucha, use black tea if at all possible; you can play around with other teas once you start making kombucha regularly. (See How To Make Kombucha Tea at Home)

I’ve included a gratuitous number of pictures of my SCOBY process for you to see the slow process.  These photos were taken over a series of 4.5 weeks before I took it out and started my first batch of kombucha.

Day 1: Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls  Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls
Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls  Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls
Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls  Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls
Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls  Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls
Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls  Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls
Starting a Kombucha SCOBY at Home - oysters and pearls

Would ya look at that?  It keeps growing with each batch of kombucha you make, and will even split and form a baby SCOBY!  On my first batch of Booch, my SCOBY sank to the bottom and a new, smaller SCOBY formed on the top, so now I have two.  It’s pretty cool!

Now you’re ready for a second fermentation for flavoring, which will be coming right up in the next post!

Until Next Time - oysters and pearls

Coconut Curry-ish Baked Fish

Heartwood Forge Chef Knife and Kitchen Prep | oysters and pearls

First off, I’d like to take a second to congratulate my friend, Will at Heartwood Forge on being selected as a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards!  I love my Heartwood Forge knives and just love Will.  Check out my old post here or his Finalist page at marthastewart.com for an awesome video.

Second, I’d like to share a really delicious recipe I tried out last week.  We are fortunate to have snapper in the freezer from our fishing trip earlier in the summer, and I’ve been trying to find new ways of cooking it.  I found this recipe on Food Network and threw it together (we had all the ingredients in the house already) and it turned out to be something Wheat and I both really, really enjoyed.  I’ll definitely be making it again!  Food Network calls it the oh-so-original name “Fish Baked in Coconut Milk,” but I call it Curry-ish.  Technically it can be considered a curry, I believe, because it has the spices that Wikipedia says make up a curry.

The main spices found in most curry powders of the Indian subcontinent are turmeric, coriander, and cumin; a wide range of additional spices may be included depending on the geographic region and the foods being included (white/red meat, fish, lentils, rice and vegetables).

But since I’m no expert in Indian food, we’ll just call it Curry-ish.  And since it’s Whole30 Compliant and Grain Brain approved, it’s a real winner!

Baked Fish with Tomato Coconut Curry Sauce | oysters and pearls

Coconut Curry-Ish Fish

only slightly adapted via Food Network

ingredients

2 pounds thick fish fillets (we used Red Snapper)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 minced jalapeno
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
Spice Mixture (below)
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

Spice mixture:
6 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons dried cilantro, for garnish

instructions

Rub fish with mixture of lemon juice and oil, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium frying pan, over medium high heat, fry onion in oil until edges are nicely browned. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, spice mixture, and salt, and fry, stirring constantly until tomato pieces break down to form a lumpy paste. Add coconut milk and simmer about 5 minutes until a thick, rich sauce is formed.

Arrange fish in an oiled baking/serving dish large enough to hold fish in a single layer. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Pour sauce over fish, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and return to oven for 15 to 20 minutes until fish is opaque.

Garnish with dried cilantro.

Baked Fish with Coconut Milk Curry Sauce | oysters and pearls

Baked Fish with Coconut Milk | oysters and pearls

This is a completely new way to cook fish for us and we loved it!  We’ll definitely be adding this recipe to our regular fish rotation.

Fish Baked in Coconut Curry-ish Sauce Recipe | oysters and pearls

What’s your favorite way to cook red snapper?

Until Next Time - oysters and pearls