Thoughts from a 20-something stumbling through adulthood

Whole30, Day 19: Stir fry saved me

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it. But then I realized what it was.

I wanted pancakes. Like REALLY bad.

Which is odd, because I swear to you, I don’t even like sweets. Give me pizza and french fries over a piece of cake any day. More than 20 days without sugar, however, is clearly starting to get to me.

Which is why I spent most of today thinking, “Isn’t Whole30 supposed to make me want to eat HEALTHIER? Why am I developing NEW cravings? Also, WHERE IS THE DAMN TIGER BLOOD THEY ALL TALK ABOUT?”

But then, stir fry saved me.

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The last time I had this much color on my plate I was eating a Nerd rope.

Let me back up.

Sundays are rarely good days for me. An old coworker of mine used to call it “The Sunday Blues.” My (cooler than me) younger brother calls it “The Sunday Scaries.” Whatever it is, I am afflicted, without fail, every week.

There’s just something about Sundays. I think it’s the combination of a) the weekend coming to an end, b) mundane chores like laundry and cleaning, and c) a lack of social interaction. (Maybe I should start going to church… or brunch. Yes, brunch would be better.)

So I’m not sure what I was thinking when I promised my mom I would come over and cook Whole30-approved stir fry. I was even less sure as I searched Whole Foods for something called “coconut aminos.” (They are, once again, with the Asian food, and one jar will set you back about five bucks.)

Nevertheless, I loaded my brand new vegetable spiralizer (when I say brand new, I mean I hadn’t yet cut it out of the Amazon box) into the car and headed south to mom and dad’s.

And you know what? Some chopping-and-sauteeing therapy was exactly what I needed (paired with some soft jazz music, of course).

Based on my history with sharp objects, dad graciously offered to handle the zucchini slicing.

After 18+ years of my parents cooking for me every night, it was really nice to prepare a meal for them while they sat in the living room and relaxed.

This was also convenient for the occasional cooking query, like, “Is white vinegar safe to eat?” and “Do I cut these nasty parts off the chicken?” (You know, really refined stuff.)

The finished product was honestly delicious. WAY better than the lackluster potato soup I attempted two days earlier. (Sorry about that, Morgan.)

But the best part? Showing off some of my newly-acquired cooking skills to mom and dad. I’ve never been a stellar cook, and have also been known to make the occasional kitchen blunder that turns disastrous (like the time I had to call 911 because I set my oven on fire).

If I ever leave ALDI without an impulse purchase, you know something is wrong.

But tonight, with my $8 wok, I was a master chef. At least as far as my parents are concerned.

If you’re interested in the stir fry recipe I used, it was this one from AllRecipes, with some slight tweaking:

  • We spiralized one zucchini instead of three. It seemed like plenty. I would advise using a mid-sized blade instead of the smallest one, and pulling apart the zucchini before cooking. They tend to clump together.
  • Instead of mushrooms, I sauteed green beans and red/orange/yellow peppers. You can pretty much use whatever you have on hand.
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Pro tip: ALDI sells red, orange and yellow peppers in a pre-wrapped package. (I promise ALDI isn’t paying me for any of this.)
  • This is one of those recipes where it really helps to have another set of hands! It took me almost two hours between the first step (spiralizing zucchini) and the final step (simmering the finished product until warm). If you have a friend, family member or partner to help you chop/clean/cook, you can cut that time in half. (Thanks dad for helping out!)

What’s your go-to recipe for a Sunday night? Let me know in the comments section. And have a great week!

-L