I’m at day 10 of this Whole30 business, and I’m a bit cranky. We eat whole, real foods “in real life” (as Maeve would say – I don’t think she understands what that means, but she says it. All. The. Time.), so it’s not like things are all that much different on Whole30 versus off. But I miss my so-called treats. I wanted to make something extra for the Colts game (go Horse!), so I made some winter pico de gallo (without the honey) that we ate with CELERY sticks. It was not very satisfying. I may or may not have just gotten a bowl of salsa and ate it with a spoon, gazpacho style. Grant and I really wanted one of our Christmas craft beers in the fridge. I was crabby.
As I mentioned previously, I have some larger philosophical issues with Whole30/Paleo in general – mainly from an environmental standpoint. I want to give it a few more days before trying to articulate those thoughts more in depth because did I mention I’m cranky?
But this time around has me thinking more about how I use food as a reward. Last time we did this, it was May, so the garden had a variety of greens and root vegetables. Our CSA had even started, so there was much more variety than what we can do now. This has led to several questions between Grant and me about using food as a reward, which has been helpful to think those things through. But here’s where we’ve settled: what’s wrong with using food as a reward? Obviously, not to excess, but if you know you’re using it as a reward, as an enjoyment, what’s wrong with that? Food is so much more than just food for me: connection to creation, a means to community, a way for me to serve others, and, yes, sometimes a treat. It has been a few years since I read It Starts With Food (the Whole30’s founders’ book), so maybe they say part of the Whole30 is realizing when you’re using food as a reward. I don’t want to live in a world where food is only fuel. I just want to figure out if cutting out or down on certain things might be worthwhile, might help me feel better.
The last time we did a Whole30, I got sick of eggs by about this point, so this time, I’ve tried to use them in a better variety of ways. Yesterday, I made a sausage egg casserole that we could use for the week’s breakfasts. I use this as my go-to egg dish for hosting people – Whole30 or not. It is endlessly adaptable based on what you have on hand/what is in season. I’ve put some combination ideas at the end of the recipe, but put your ideas in the comments.
- 2-3 tbsp fat (I used ghee)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3-4 medium-sized potatoes, shredded
- 1 pound happily-raised ground pork*
- 5-6 dried sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried sage)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
- Large handful of kale with the stems removed (spinach or Swiss chard would work here too)
- 8-10 pastured eggs
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or whole milk if you're not avoiding dairy)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- If you're making your own sausage, add the ground pork, sage, red pepper flakes, oregano, 2 cloves of garlic, and about a half teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper to a bowl. Mix well with your hands and let sit for at least 30 minutes, if possible.
- After you have shredded the potatoes (the food processor with shredding attachment makes this SO fast and easy), dump the potatoes in a skillet with 2 tbsp of ghee (or the fat of your choice). You want the potatoes to crisp up just a bit. I like to add some salt and pepper to the potatoes too. Once they have crisped up, put them in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. The potatoes/hash browns will make the crust of your casserole.
- Use your remaining ghee/fat to saute the onions. Once they soften a bit, add the remaining garlic and kale. Continue sauteing over medium heat until the kale wilts. Remove from heat and spread over the potato/hash brown crust.
- Brown the sausage. I like to use the same pan that I cooked the potatoes and onion/kale mixture in, so that I pick up all of those flavors (and only have to clean one pan). Once the sausage is browned, add it on top of the onion/kale mixture in the casserole dish.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the casserole dish.
- Put casserole dish in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the eggs are set. I like it to brown up a bit on the top.
A SarabytheSeason original - via my mom.
*If you don't want to make your own sausage, just buy a premixed version.
- Use sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes as the base/crust. Prepare in the same way as the regular potatoes.
- Substitute in other vegetable combinations: peppers and onions, zucchini and mushrooms, tomatoes, butternut squash, greens, pretty much whatever is in season.
- If you’re not avoiding dairy, mix in some cheese with the egg mixture. I like to do a spicy sausage with sharp cheddar and peppers. Or mushrooms and Gouda is delicious.
- Double up your veggies and make this meatless. We’ve definitely used this as a Meatless Monday/breakfast for dinner meal on more than one occasion.
- This freezes perfectly, so make a double batch and freeze the second round for later (I like to always have one in the freezer so we can invite people over for brunch at the last minute).