Whole30 Apple Pie – Maybe?

I’m a little squirmy about labeling this “recipe” Whole30 because of a little thing Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (co-creators of The Whole30) call “Sex with your Pants on (SWYPO).” Basically, the principle of the Whole30 is to reset your body by not eating any grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, or sugar for 30 days. Most of these are pretty simple, with the exception of one: sugar. On the Whole30, you aren’t allowed any sugar at all – to include things like honey, agave nectar, etc. We all have that dreaded Sugar Dragon – you know the guy, that little sneak who may or may not send you down to the kitchen at 0200 for a couple spoonfuls of Ben and Jerry’s. “Slaying the Sugar Dragon” is one of the hardest things to do – whether you’re doing a Whole30 or not. I could go on and on about the negative effects of sugar – but I’ll spare you.

bearfamilystrong.com | whole30 apple pie2

For the full explanation of SWYPO, refer to this article. Essentially, it can be summed up like this. Eating something that resembles a junk food – even if it’s made with Whole30 approved or natural ingredients – can still sometimes serve as a junk food. For example, take a look at these recipes:

Raspberry Caramel Chocolate Cups

Paleo Nutella Mud Cake

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

It’s true that these recipes all include paleo approved ingredients, but it’s still junk food no matter how you slice it. And there’s nothing wrong with eating any of these treats as long as you realize that you’re still eating junk food, albeit a healthier version. If you eat something like this every night, chances are that you have not slayed your Sugar Dragon. You’re just being nicer to him.

bearfamilystrong.com | whole30 apple pie

However, the line between what is or is not SWYPO is fairly blurred, which Melissa Hartwig explains in this Instagram post:

Is this “apple pie snack mix” #SWYPO? TL;DR: This is one of those grey areas in which I demand that you take some personal responsibility. The long version:

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Technically, this combination of foods is #Whole30 compliant. There may even be specific situations in which this snack mix is appropriate for your Whole30, like a kid’s birthday party or dessert for a special dinner. If you’ve done the Whole30 enough (and live Whole30-ish in between), you may find a conscious, deliberate choice like this during your program is actually fine, and won’t wake your Sugar Dragon.

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But this is not most people, and likely not your context. Remember the Whole30 is about changing your habits and your emotional relationship with food. Including technically-approved-but-not-at-all-encouraged foods to satisfy your Sugar or Snack Dragon or fill an emotional hole during your program is not helping your cause.

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So why am I not ruling this explicitly off-limits during the Whole30? Some of you think I’m just going soft, and that the “old Melissa” would have banned snacks like this outright. That may have been true. But I would have been wrong.

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It’s not my job to dictate every nuance of your Whole30. I can’t do it for you, and I wouldn’t want to. There are grey areas in everything, including the Whole30. And it’s your job to step in where the official rules leave off, and decide what kind of an experience you want to have.

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Do you want to feed your Sugar Dragon with technically compliant treats for 30 days because it makes the program easier? Then go do that… and own the consequences. Do you want me to tell you, “Don’t eat that, it’s not right for you, you know this?” If you tweet at me, I might… but you already know the answer. You’re all big boys and girls, and it’s not going soft to say, “Here are my recommendations; now it’s up to you as grown-up people to make the right decision.”

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In summary, it’s YOUR program. OWN IT. #melissarants #toughlove #heavyonthelove

This recipe is from @popular_paleo, who has an excellent handle on both the Whole30 and her Sugar Dragon, gets that “context matters,” and encourages you to eat responsibly.

 

Well, that’s how I feel about this Apple Pie “recipe”. I’ve completed several successful Whole30’s and I don’t tend to have a huge sweet tooth in general, and so for me this is perfectly acceptable as a snack – it doesn’t send me screaming down the aisles of the grocery store for a Snickers bar, but it does satisfy me when I want a little something sweet. Plus, there isn’t any added sugar to it and as far as fruit goes, a green apple is one of your better options. Really the only reason I’m calling it Apple Pie is because that’s what the smell reminds me of.

bearfamilystrong.com | whole30 apple pie3

Whole30 “Apple Pie”

Ingredients:

1 small green apple

1 lemon wedge

Cinnamon

Instructions:

Core and slice your apple. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with lemon juice. To really experience the Apple Pie smell, add your apple slices to a ziplock baggie, squirt in the lemon and add your cinnamon, and then shake like crazy.

Voila!

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Apple Onion Balsamic Pork Chops

It appears that I have somewhat of an apple-onion theme going on.

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Well, maybe. Does two recipes in a week count as a theme? Really I guess not, especially when you add the fact that I don’t have any more apple onion recipes up my sleeve. At least, not yet.

This recipe actually started as somewhat of an accident. (I feel like I say that a lot – is it just me?) I kind of wanted to make pork chops with apples and onions and so I threw a bunch of stuff in a pot, Kevin added a bunch of stuff to the pot, and it turned out to be pretty delicious! Except that the next time we tried to make it we couldn’t remember what we used and so we had to start over from scratch. Whoops.

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Admittedly it’s not the most appealing dish I’ve ever made, but trust me when I say that it’s 100% delicious. The apple + onion + pork combination is a total win, and when you add a couple tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar and a shake or two of red pepper flakes it’s the perfect symphony of sweet, tangy, and a kick in the mouth.

Pork happens to go really well with sweet, tangy, and a kick in the mouth, don’t you think?

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

As good as this tasted for dinner (we served it with roasted kabocha squash and sweet potatoes, delicious), I took leftovers in to work the next day and it was even better. Particularly when I paired it with – are you ready for this? – sauerkraut. Holy Yum.

(For those of you who haven’t experienced the beautiful culinary marriage that is pork and sauerkraut, you need to remedy that. Stat.)

And speaking of work – I had to take Kevin’s truck to work last week – guess who totally ROCKED backing that beast into a teeny parking spot in the garage??

awesome park job | eatwriterunrepeat.com

THIS GIRL!! Yes, I took a picture.

But I totally ducked every time I drove under one of those clearance signs because I was certain the truck wasn’t going to make it.

Sigh.

APPLE ONION BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS

serves four

INGREDIENTS

4 bone-in pork chops

2 onions, sliced

2 apples, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup aged balsamic vinegar (eyeball it)

1/4 cup white wine

2 tsp cinnamon

red pepper flakes (optional)

salt and pepper

coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat 1-2 tbsps coconut oil in a heavy pan. Add pork chops and apple cider vinegar and brown on both sides. Remove from pan.

In the same pan, add apples, onions, cinnamon, and red pepper (if using) and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. (Don’t cook them until they are soft just yet – only until they start to brown up!) Remove from pan.

Deglaze the pan with a healthy glug of white wine, scraping all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the pork and apple-onion mixture back to the pan. Add the balsamic, lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until pork is cooked through.

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Apple Onion Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Breakfast makes me happy.

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

I used to say that breakfast was my favorite meal, but admittedly that was when my favorite breakfast food was pancakes and I’d make breakfast-for-dinner at least once a week (pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. Done.). I can make a pretty mean stack of pancakes if I do say so myself, but once I started eating paleo…I stopped eating pancakes.

Sad face.

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

So breakfast may not exactly be my favorite meal anymore, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. I make it a point to eat a full breakfast every morning so I don’t dive headfirst into the office snack drawer halfway through the morning. I’m fortunately enough to have a husband who loves to cook AND makes me breakfast while I’m getting ready for work in the morning…isn’t that awesome? (And sweet and thoughtful and INCREDIBLY convenient.)

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

As nice as that is though, I still enjoy making breakfast with him when I can – and sometimes if I’m really sneaky I can make breakfast FOR him!

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

That’s where these sweet potato hash browns come in. We’ve made them before but without apples or onions, and one morning as I was making breakfast for Kevin I just…decided to toss them in.

Best. Idea. Ever.

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

I’m a huge fan of onions, and I love the extra sweetness the shredded apple gives the potatoes. Mixed with a hint of cinnamon and chili powder you end up with a crazy sweet-spicy-somewhat-savory-side (hello, alliteration) that was absolutely made for your eggs and bacon!

Breakfast is served!

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

APPLE ONION SWEET POTATO HASH BROWNS

serves: two

prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 15-20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 sweet potato

1 apple

1 onion

chili powder to taste

cinnamon to taste

salt to taste

coconut oil (approx 2 tbsp)

INSTRUCTIONS

Grate your sweet potato and apple (a box grater works best) and dice your onion.  In a bowl add your sweet potato, apple, cinnamon, chili pepper and salt and toss to combine. In a heavy skillet, heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Add onion and sautee until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add sweet potato/apple mixture and stir to coat everything with oil before evenly distributing your hash browns in the skillet. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, flipping occasionally so as not to burn your hash browns. Note: Be patient. I am terrible and wanting to constantly stir everything, and if you don’t let the hashbrowns set and cook they won’t get brown and crispy! Walk away for a few minutes if you have to, but resist the urge to stir every five seconds!

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com