FFF: Andrea’s Massaman Curry

Despite it being mid-March, we’re still at times in the throes of winter so it seemed like a perfect day for my next Whole30-fied dish. My friend Andrea’s favorite, Massaman curry, is a fairly mild Thai curry with Muslim roots and is typically made with chicken or lamb. Let’s just clear the air and acknowledge that I’m clearly not upset about another curry in my repertoire.

For this recipe you’ll need a few straightforward basics and a jar of Massaman curry paste from my beloved Thai & True (or any other Whole30-compliant Massaman curry paste).

The quantities in this recipe are written for dinner for two and leftovers so feel free to adjust accordingly depending on how many you’re feeding (or for how long you want to feed yourself).

Equipment:
Large stainless or non-stick pan
Spatula or slotted spoon
Two medium prep bowls
Spoon for serving
Cutting board
Sharp knife

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken thighs
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breast
4 oz Massaman curry paste
1 yellow onion, sliced thin into quarters
1.25 lb small creamer potatoes, quartered
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 small cherry bomb pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock (sub 1/3 cup water)
2 tbsp coconut or avocado oil
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
4-5 drops Red Boat fish sauce

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Weekly Workout #2

Still working out all the options and ideas for possibly putting together a weekly newsletter; please let me know if that’s something you’d like to have!

In the meantime, I’d still like to keep sharing my weekly workouts with you guys since you seemed to really enjoy the last one. This is something that would move to the newsletter rather than be posted on the blog each week, if I do decide to put that together.

I also wanted to let you know, though you may already if you follow me on Instagram, Nick and I got a Peloton bike last weekend! It is kicking our butts and I’m so excited. If you’re not familiar with the Peloton bike, it’s basically an in-home spin class: it’s a stationary bike with a screen that allows you to join in on live classes at the Peloton studio in New York, watch “on demand” classes that have been recorded in advance, or even do some scenic rides through beautiful landscapes (like quaint European towns or famous mountain trails). I’ll slowly be adding this bike into my routine as well, so some of my bodyweight movements may change a little to reflect that, but don’t worry – I’ll be sure to update that How To spreadsheet with any movements I may add!

Enough from me though, here’s this week’s mostly-bodyweight anywhere/anytime workout: repeat 1-3x

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Mini Blog Update

Last minute change to the schedule! There will be no new post today, not a “real” one at least, but moving forward there will be three new posts per week!

In an Instagram poll a while back, you guys said you weren’t super interested in basic “lifestyle” posts, so I will not be bringing those over from my now-defunct makeup blog, but I do plan to incorporate more of the fitness and chronic illness parts of my “food, fitness, chronic illness” tagline.

You can now expect to see new posts from me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

Hoping to keep this going long-term, your support is appreciated.

Don’t forget to follow me on my other platforms for more photos, info, and other fun stuff that may not make it to the blog.

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Spicy Tomato Magic

I first tasted this perfection when my friend Dave brought some over for a game night a while back. It was an original creation of his and I could not get enough. Unfortunately, when I asked for the recipe, there was added sweetener. So naturally I stole the idea and made my own, Whole30 compliant version. Thanks Dave. This is the condiment that will change your life. Spicy tomato magic.

Equipment:
Small sauce pan
Heat safe spoon

Ingredients:
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
2 tbsp Aleppo pepper
Salt to taste

Combine the tomatoes, oil, and Aleppo pepper in a small sauce pot. Stir well. Bring to a bubble (not full boil) over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Taste and adjust seasoning to preference. I like it spicy and salty, but you can definitely go for a more mild approach and it’ll still be yummy. Just keep in mind the flavors will intensify a bit as it cooks down!

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Weekly Workout #1

I’ve been doing these little bodyweight circuits for quite a while now and several friends have been following along (some by choice, my sister because I make her), but I thought it might be time to share them with you too! I’m also toying with the idea of maybe starting a weekly newsletter and thinking about including my workouts for the week in those newsletters. Let me know if that’s something you would be interested in!

I did my second #Whole30 ever in July, and it was the first time in nearly a year that I was able to start lifting again, lift consistently, and hit all 15 workouts I set out to do that month. For this month, along with my third Whole30, I challenged myself to 18. They weren't all max effort beautiful workouts, but there's 18 of 'em! I definitely felt the lack of rest days and will scale back down to 15 moving forward, but I wanted to know if I could do it. For those curious and probably unable to read my messy af chart, I've been trying to powerlift 2x/week and do bodyweight workouts 3x/week. 💪🏻 If none of this makes sense to you and you can't understand why 12 squats or a 40kg deadlift are a big deal, you should check out my chronic illness update over at bekaneggs.com, and also probably stop being so judgmental about the progress other people are making. 🤗 . . . . #girlswholift #girlswithmuscle #girlswhopowerlift #powerlifting #workout #workouttracker #bulletjournal #bujo #bujojunkies #wednesday #chronicillness #chronicpain #chronicallyawesome #prettystrong #fitness #fitnessmotivation #weightloss #whole30life #taruidisease #bulletjournaljunkies #bekaneggs #paleo #sugarfree #gains

A post shared by Beka Vinogradov, MHA (@bekaneggs) on

Ok so, I’ve got a broken foot at the moment and consequently am missing out on a lot of my normal movements, but it’s definitely forcing me to get creative. Feel free to follow along completely with me, or if you’re looking for more, add in bodyweight squats, burpees, or kettlebell swings for some extra core and leg work. I will hopefully be able to resume my regular workouts, foot included, within the next four weeks.

Some things to know: I am using almost no equipment here. I have an ab mat that I only use for sit-ups (optional, but an incredible tool) and then I have one eight-pound kettlebell and one 15-pound kettlebell, which you can also sometimes find at places like Marshall’s and Target. A large (full) water bottle, medicine ball, dumbbell, small pet or child, or some other mildly challenging weight is just fine for almost all of these movements. Kettlebell swings are the only movement that you’d actually need a kettlebell for, pretty much everything else you can improvise.

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FFF: Simon’s Lamb Balti

When I got the idea for my FFF series, I knew I had to include Simon, my little sister’s boyfriend. Great dude of course (I mean, he’d have to be to date my sister), but mostly I picked him because he’s British so I had a pretty good feeling he was going to choose a dish I would be thrilled to shovel into my own mouth.

I was so right. He went for lamb balti – a Pakistani and Indian dish that is exceedingly popular in the UK. I am doubly excited for this one as I stumbled upon a Balti spice blend on my first trip to the magical world of Penzey’s Spices recently and it smells absolutely incredible. (I have since been back several times and have bought almost everything.) #notspon

Apparently the name Balti refers to the type of pan the dish is cooked in, and unfortunately I do not own that type of wok, but I do have a really lovely stainless sauté pan from All-Clad that was perfect for this.

If you can’t get your hands on a Whole30-compliant Balti spice blend, garam masala should be a perfectly acceptable base substitute as they have a lot of shared ingredients. If you are working with garam masala, you will also need plenty of garlic, some turmeric and ginger, and a little mustard powder. All that said, Penzey’s do have an online store and free shipping at $30.00. I am in no way sponsored by them, but I happily would be. Treat yo’self to some fresh new essentials and buy this blend.

Please note: I am not the right person / this is not the right blog if you are looking for a super authentic dish. The purpose here is to recreate dishes we love in Whole30-compliant ways, I am not trying to take over or recreate someone else’s culture or cuisine.

Equipment:
Large stainless sauté pan or Balti-style wok
Spatula or other heat-safe cooking spoon

Ingredients:
2 lbs lamb shoulder or stew meat, cubed
4-5 tbsp Penzey’s Balti spice blend
2 tsp ginger juice
1 head garlic
1 large onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1-1.5lbs creamer potatoes
2 tbsp ghee or avocado oil
1 tbsp salt

Tablespoon #1

Pre-heat your pan. Slice onions into quarter moons and finely chop garlic. Once your pan is hot enough (there’s an art to this with stainless steel), add your oil of choice and let it warm up for about one minute. Add onions, garlic, and ginger juice. Sauté for about 5 min, then add the first tablespoon of your balti spice. Stir well to incorporate.

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CSA: Golden Winter Soup

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a CSA, it stands for Community Shared (or Supported) Agriculture and works in a similar vein to a cow- or pig-share in which a group of people (they can know each other or not) commit to sharing part of the harvest from a local farm. These have grown a lot in popularity over the last few years, but I’d never tried one before until a coworker mentioned Imperfect Produce. It’s the same CSA concept, where you commit to X amount of fruits and vegetables from a local harvest, but these are all slightly imperfect – either in shape, size, color, or any other physical “blemish” that makes them “unworthy” of the American supermarket. I really love this idea, both as a way to reduce waste and save money on groceries, and could not wait to get our first box!

I signed up for the small organic box every other week which nets us 7-9 pounds of local fruit and veg for $15-20. I also love that Imperfect Produce allows you to choose exactly what you want and how much – a main reason we had never done a CSA before. Lack of customization meant high risk for receiving items we couldn’t eat due to dietary restrictions, allergies, or just something we didn’t like! Particularly where we live, summer boxes almost always include copious amounts of corn from any farm we ever looked into for CSA options. Spoiler: corn is not a part of slow carb, keto, Paleo, Whole30, or the general low-carb diet I try to stick to for managing my chronic health issues.

I meant to take more photos, but I ate it all…

Our first box arrived full of some fantastic-looking veggies and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share my winter soup that can be made with… pretty much anything. I’m making this one “gold,” to play up the golden beets we received (and to get in some extra turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties) but you can skip that if a curried soup sounds like your worst nightmare. Yes grandma, I am talking to you.

For this recipe, you will need:
Large stock pot
Small bowls (2-3)
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Vegetable peeler
Immersion blender (blender or food processor are okay too, but stick blender is definitely my preference – and the least amount of mess)

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FFF: Becca’s Winter Goulash

If you saw my Instagram post about paleo nachos a few weeks ago, you may have already realized what’s happening here, but if not – let me explain. A while back, my friend Sara mentioned that nachos were what she missed most during Whole30, so I did what I could to paleo-fy them for her. Guys, they were SO good. It was like getting struck by lightning, I had to do this for all the friends I’d talked into trying Whole30 (and some of the friends who still don’t think they could do it).

Enter FFF: Friend’s Favorite Foods – a new bekaneggs blog series in which I will attempt to Whole30-fy or at least paleo my friends’ favorite foods. Hopefully these recipes work out because I now have a long list of people waiting for a Whole30 version of their favorite dishes! (SWYPO dishes, problematic foods, and anything that is clearly not in the spirit of Whole30 will not be happening so if you’re looking for pizza, you’re in the wrong place). But I digress, let’s get to Rebecca’s dish.

***

My dad… isn’t much of a cook, to say the least – but the man knows his way around a meat stew of any variety. His super spicy goulash, an obsession that started when I dated a Hungarian boy in high school, is one of my favorite family food memories from the teenage years. I was thrilled when my friend Becca said goulash was one of her must-haves – and her reaction when I said I could make it Whole30 made me want to put it together asap.

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Laziest Whole30 Dinner: Two Ways

I’ve been pretty candid about my new job and unintentionally way too long hiatus from whole30- and Paleo writing (just the writing part, not the eating part), but I’ve got lots of recipes to share and am trying to stockpile some posts for you guys!

With that new and exciting job, I’ve got some great but also unconventional work hours which means that I am absolutely starving when I get home and Nick’s been waiting for me for nearly two hours. The point is, we’re freaking hungry and I just need to eat something nutritious and filling as soon as humanly possible so I can get on to the relaxing and the doggo snuggling!

How I feel when I get home from work at 8pm and we still need to make dinner

In case you missed it: meet our newest family member – Franklin! We adopted him from the Tillamook Animal Shelter at the beginning of November. Thank you so much to BAPBR for your courtesy listings for pitbulls at other shelters and for helping us with the adoption process! We are ecstatic with our big baby and kind of excited to eventually share some of his paleo-ish life too!

I digress. This dish – if you can even call it that – can go in either of two directions, depending on who is cooking that night and if Nick will submit to eating Thai curry again. The ingredients are pretty much the same either way with one or two swaps.

The basic concept is as follows: ground meat of your choosing, onion, steamed kabocha squash or pumpkin purée, bok choy or spinach (optional), and Thai red curry paste or Tessemae’s creamy ranch dressing.

For this recipe, you will need:
One large pan, nonstick recommended
Spatula
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Microwave safe bowl (for version B)
Plastic wrap (for version B)

Ingredients for Version A –
1 lb ground meat (pork, beef, or dark meat chicken)
One large onion, chopped
One can pumpkin purée
Baby bok choy or spinach (optional)
2 tsp avocado oil or ghee
Tessemae’s creamy ranch dressing
Fresh or freeze-dried scallions (optional)

Ingredients for Version B –
1 lb ground meat (pork, beef, or dark meat chicken)
One large onion, chopped
One bag frozen kabocha squash (Trader Joe’s)
Baby bok choy or spinach (optional)
2 tsp avocado oil or ghee
Thai red curry paste (this one is my favorite)
Garlic powder (optional)
Fresh or freeze-dried scallions (optional)

Regardless of which direction you choose to go in, start by heating avocado oil or ghee in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add your chopped onion and cook, mixing occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until some caramelization begins to form (you can of course go for much longer, but the idea is we’re hungry and impatient). Version B also works great with my meal prep pulled pork!

Version A

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Meal Prep: Pulled Pork

Over the years I’ve come across countless recipes for pulled pork, and even the paleo ones tend to add copious amounts of sugar in one way or another for reasons I have yet to understand. This is not one of those recipes.

Low maintenance, quick to prep, fall apart pork that’ll last you a full week of meals and suit any cuisine craving that might creep up on you? That sounds like my kind of Sunday. #mealprep

Note: I did actually eat this for the entire week while Nick was on a business trip. It lasted me 10 meals.

Equipment:
5-6qt crockpot
Carving fork (optional, but super helpful)
Tongs and/or slotted spoon
Large heat-safe bowl

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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! 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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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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