January Whole 30! (and Kale pesto!)

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Friends! It's Whole 30 times again. If you want to read about our first go round with this way of eating, check out this post, this post, this post, this post, and this post. And if that last one depressed you about Whole 30 (it depressed me!), read this post that was a little more uplifting after I had some distance from those first 30 days. Technically speaking, we've been easing into this Whole 30 since Christmas because we lost track of how many cookies, cakes, bars, appetizers, cocktails, and glasses of wine we had during the holidays. And technically speaking, yesterday was our first day of this Whole 30. However, today feels like Sunday (even though it's Monday) and since it's the first day of the official #JanuaryWhole30, it felt like the right time to post.

This month, I'll be publishing only Whole 30-compliant recipes here and on Instagram that we're eating regularly and that we also feed to M. Because the only thing harder than doing a Whole 30, is doing it with a kid. While he's not actually doing Whole 30 with us (he'll be eating plenty of grains, legumes, and dairy), I don't want to cook much for him that isn't acceptable for us too because, a) I don't have that much self-control; b) we're making super healthy stuff, so why wouldn't we want to feed it to our kid?; and c) I'm lazy. 

A couple of things we've done to prep for this Whole 30: 
1) Roast a ton of vegetables (and I mean, A TON). At the beginning of a Whole 30, I get really snack-y and while part of the program is about checking in with yourself before grazing to make sure that you're physically hungry and not mentally hungry, the first week is really hard and doing a little damage control is helpful. And by damage control, I mean, cooking things that you can snack on that are Whole 30. Once you get into the swing of things, you can work on eliminating those extras.

2) Stock the fridge and freezer with things that are easy to throw onto a sheet pan or into a pressure cooker. In our freezer right now: Salmon, shrimp, cod, Whole 30 compliant chicken sausages, ground chicken, and skinless, boneless chicken thighs. 

3) Make/buy all of the sauces:
Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mustard
Mayonnaise
Basil Pesto
Caesar dressing
Romesco
Chimichurri
 

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Kale pesto

Adapted from The Kitchn
4 cups packed chopped kale
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl about half way with ice water. Wash and chop kale, but don’t worry about removing the tough stems because everything will be blended anyway. When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. When kale is a bit wilted (about 1-2 minutes), remove it from the boiling water and immediately add it to the bowl of ice water. I don’t drain the kale very thoroughly (I just take it out of the water and shake it a few times) because I think a little extra water helps to thin the sauce without adding more oil, but you can pat the kale dry if you want a thicker pesto. Add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 1.25 cups or 10.5 oz

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Apples and honey french toast, two ways

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

This post is a study in life with children. The once-round challah is squished from trying to coax M up the stairs and no matter how I tried, I couldn't keep his hands out of the honey. And he took a bite out of my prop apple. AND this was also supposed to be a Rosh Hashanah post, but here we are waving goodbye to Yom Kippur and I'm just now getting around to it. KIDS, AMIRIGHT?  

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

Anyway, tis the season for leftover challah, so hopefully this breakfast-for-dinner (or breakfast-for-breakfast) treat comes in handy. Since this one contains a lot of honey, remember not to feed it to those under age 1.

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

French toast with apples and honey butter

My go-to recipe for basic French Toast
Leftover challah (Cut into 4 thick slices)
1 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
½ cup milk
½ tsp cinnamon (heaping)
pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Honey butter (Adapted from here)
¼ cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp honey
pinch sea salt

2-3 apples, peeled (optional) and chopped

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

First, peel and chop the apples. In a microwave safe container, cook on high, uncovered, for 1 minute. Check and continue cooking on high for 30 seconds at a time until apples are soft, but have a little bite and shape left.

Next, make the honey butter: Firstly, if you're like me and always forget to take out whatever needs softening/defrosting, here is a really good tip for quickly softening butter. Seriously, this method has changed my life. Thanks, Buzzfeed Food! Smoosh the softened butter around with a spatula. Add the honey and a pinch of sea salt and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter. In a separate container, whisk the eggs. Add the milk, spices, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Dunk both sides of the bread slices in the egg mixture (as many as will fit into your frying pan) and leave for a few seconds to let the bread soak in the liquid. When your pan is hot, cook the bread slices until golden brown. Flip and repeat until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with all of the bread. The liquid should be enough for 4 large slices of french toast.

Serve with a spread of honey butter, some apples, and a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

Apples and honey stuffed french toast

Adapted from this stuffed french toast recipe
Leftover challah (Cut into 4 thick slices)
1 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
½ cup milk
½ tsp cinnamon (heaping)
pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stuffing
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp honey
1 apple, chopped into small pieces
Pinch of sea salt

To make the stuffing, combine the softened cream cheese, apple sauce, honey, and salt. Put the cream cheese mixture into a plastic bag and put in the fridge until needed.

Starting at the top crust, make a cut down the middle of each thick bread piece but stop an inch from each side and the bottom to create a pocket in each slice. Cut enough so that you can get some filling into the pocket, but leave enough room around the edges that the bread won't break and spill the filling.

In a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter on low heat. In a separate container, whisk together the eggs, milk, spices, and vanilla. Take out your bag of cream cheese mixture and cut one bottom corner to make a piping bag. Open each slice of bread and fill with about 2-3 Tbsp of cream cheese mixture. Squish the bread and filling together a bit. Working with one slice at a time, dunk both sides in the egg mixture and let the bread soak in the liquid. When the pan is hot, cook the bread slices until golden brown. Flip and repeat until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with all of the bread. The liquid should be enough for 3-4 large slices of french toast (the slices here are larger than those in the other batch of french toast, but I let them soak less because of the filling, so I was able to eek out a fourth slice, but barely).

Serve immediately with a drizzle of honey on top.