Apricot Chicken + Post Whole30 Life (So Far)

In Life by Amanda0 Comments

Today marks exactly one week since my Whole30 ended. First things first, I have to say: I did it! It was my second Whole30 and seemed somewhat easier than the first time. I loved the experience and am so proud of the accomplishment. Since it ended though, things have been … kind of rough. Day1 post Whole30 started out just like the previous 30 days did: I got up early, went to the gym, had my usual breakfast and then sat down to work. Then things took a turn.

Day 1 – Not Too Bad

Sometimes when I sit down at my desk in the morning I have no idea what I’ll be doing first thing that day. Since all my clients are in the U.S. I get a lot of emails while I’m sleeping, and some mornings really throw me for loop without any advance notice. This became one of those mornings, and I was so irritated by midday that my husband suggested we go out to eat for lunch. I jumped all over this, and was actually very excited (and thankful that he saw I was totally stressed out and could use a break). As most Whole30-ers do, I did not eat out the entire time during my Whole30. My original intention post-Whole30 was to slowly reintroduce some of the off-limits foods into my diet and really pay attention to how they make me feel. This concept was completely thrown out the window as we sat down at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant (right next to our apartment).

I did kind-of try to get something that was somewhat Whole30-ish (do you sense my hesitation in even writing this sentence?). It was a mostly veggie curry with fish, white rice, and a big, ice cold beer (because I deserved it. Terrible morning, remember). I enjoyed the shit out of that meal and the beer, but decided to only eat half and take the other half home for lunch the next day. The rest of my work day evened out, and we had a totally normal Whole30 dinner before I turned in early. So, not too bad for my first day. It could have been worse.

Day 2 and Beyond – Off The Rails

Then things started going downhill. On day 2 my husband and I had some errands to run, so I clocked out around 3:00 pm, we grabbed our bikes and went outside. On our way home from errand running, I thought it would be nice to grab a seat in the garden at the restaurant under our apartment and have a glass of wine. It was gorgeous outside and I have admittedly been jealous of every person I’ve seen dining al fresco for the past 4 weeks. It was my turn! We did this, and I basked in the summer glory, breathing in the fresh air as I sipped my large glass of Grüner Veltliner. It was awesome. But for some reason, I’ve always had a hard time turning off the ‘good vibes’ wine gives me, and as soon as we got home I opened up a bottle of wine to have something to sip on while I organized my closet. Later a friend messaged us and asked if we wanted to go grab a beer. Of course we do!? So then that happened, and two more large glasses of wine later I’m drunk. Not really how I imagined the day going. Day 3 was better as I tried to recoup. Luckily I wasn’t really hungover, just tired and unmotivated to do much. Day 4 also started out with good intentions, but ended similarly to Day 2 (too much alcohol leading to unnecessary food consumption).

What’s going on here?

Day 5 was Sunday. Sundays are LISS days for me (low intensity cardio), and I decided to walk outside instead of in the gym on the treadmill. I took the 45 minutes to think about my entire Whole30 experience, how I felt during that time, and the last four days following that successful Whole30. Why had I so quickly fallen back into what I had considered now ‘old’ habits? It annoyed me that I could be so diligent and compliant for 30 days, adhering perfectly to very strict nutritional guidelines, and then in one day let it all go to the wayside for complete lack of self-control. Why? How? What the hell?!

Personal Reflection

My thoughts after this self reflection on my Sunday walk: 1) I am only human, and it’s going to be okay. This is not a big deal. This is not the end of the world, nor the end of my health and fitness journey. Emphasis on journey here. It’s a lifestyle I’m trying to achieve and it will be a long process, not a point A to point B destination. I just need to keep trying, keep pushing and find what can work for me. 2) At least I know I have it in me to buckle down and finish something like Whole30. And honestly, it wasn’t really that hard. I loved it. If I can do Whole30 (twice), I can figure this out. 3) And most importantly, I have GOT to set some stricter guidelines for myself to follow throughout the week if I truly want to meet my goals. If I’ve learned anything from this whole experience it’s that I can’t just follow the 80/20 rule or ‘listen to my body’, I need rules. That’s what works for me.

What rules exactly? That I’m not sure of yet. I’ll be figuring that out over the next few days (or weeks). I hope to share them with you once I have it set in stone, for accountability and all. 🙂 I definitely want to incorporate more Whole30 meals into my everyday life. Eating this way just gives me so much energy and makes me feel good. I found so many great Whole30 recipes online and hope to develop some more of my own. Which brings me to this delicious apricot chicken recipe.

Apricot Chicken

I don’t know about you guys, but Austrians seem to love their apricots. When summer hits, look out! The apricots are everywhere, and no one is complaining. I love it too, and I have never eaten so many apricots until I moved to Austria. My mother-in-law makes some killer apricot dumplings, which I hope to share with you on the blog sometime this summer. Till then, I’m sharing a more savory use of the fruit with this apricot chicken. I love using fruit in savory dishes, and summer is always the best time because the stone fruits are in season. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, I love them all. And I’ve experimented with all of them in various summer grilling and savory style dishes over the years. While I’ve never seen an apricot chicken dish on an Austrian menu or in Austrian cuisine, it’s definitely my time in Austria that had me wanting to create a chicken dish with apricots, mostly because they are so readily available in the summer. And this one, as you might have guessed, is Whole30, baby!

 

I tested this recipe a few times and found that the quality of your apricots really make a difference in the flavor of your sauce. If they’re very firm and tart, your sauce will be thicker and more sour. If they are very soft and sweet, then you’ll have a creamier, sweeter sauce. Use your best judgement when picking the apricots you chose for this recipe. I try to use just-ripe apricots so there is a hint of sweetness, but I still have nice chunks of fruit. Let me know how yours turns out! I’m always happy to hear feedback and tweak recipes. Enjoy!

APRICOT CHICKEN

Serves: 5
Total time: 50 minutes
Great Leftovers

This Whole30 Apricot chicken is juicy, naturally sweet and deliciously savory. The perfect summer dinner with a side of cauliflower rice or roasted potatoes and a big salad.

  • Ingredients

    1 lb fresh apricots, pits removed, roughly chopped
    1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
    1.5 lb skinless boneless chicken breast (680g)
    1 Tbsp ghee (divided)
    2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 small onion, diced
    ¼ tsp red chili flakes
    1 Tbsp tomato paste
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 Tbsp chopped thyme, plus more for garnish

  • Make it

    Place chopped apricots in a small bowl. Add the apple cider vinegar and stir till it’s well incorporated. Let this macerate while you cook the chicken and prep the other ingredients.

    Heat ½ Tbsp ghee and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise, lay each half flat and cut them in half again. Alternatively, you can also pound the chicken out so it’s a bit flattened, then cut into large pieces. Basically, you want your chicken to be an even thickness and in small paillards. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.

Once your pot is hot, brown the chicken in batches, about 2.5 – 3 minutes on each side. It doesn’t have to be cooked through, just nice and brown. If your pan is getting dry, drizzle in a little more olive oil between batches of chicken. Put the browned chicken on a plate and set aside.

Turn the heat down a bit and add the remaining ½ Tbsp ghee and 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pot. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to caramelize, about 4 minutes. It shouldn’t fry or get too crispy on the edges, just translucent, soft, and starting to turn brown. Add the tomato paste and stir around until melted, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add your apricots and all the juices from the bowl, the chicken stock and the chopped thyme. Stir everything together so that it’s well combined. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Then add the chicken back to the pot with all it’s juices. Stir well, nestling the chicken down in the sauce. Cover and continue to simmer with the lid on for 8 minutes.

Take off the lid, give it a good stir and then simmer one last time, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Serve hot over cauliflower rice, throw some fresh thyme on top, and enjoy!

( Note )
The ripeness of your apricots will affect the flavor and texture of the sauce. Firmer, more tart apricots will produce a thicker, sour sauce, softer, ripe apricots will produce a creamier, sweeter sauce. Choose your fruit accordingly!

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