Sweet and Spicy Grilled Pork Chops

If you’re looking for a protein option that packs a ton of flavor and is made with all clean ingredients, this is it!

These sweet and spicy grilled pork chops have almost converted my husband into a pork chop fan (which is a big deal, because he has always hated them). The secret is in the sweet and spicy sauce that you baste the chops with while they cook to keep them from drying out. It also packs a ton of flavor, and the ingredients are all great.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Avocado oil (to grease the grill)

Instructions:

  • Season both sides of the chops with salt and pepper and set aside
  • Heat your grill or griddle to 350 degrees (I use a Presto griddle like this one).
  • Coat the grill with some avocado oil to prevent sticking (avocado oil has a high smoking point, so it’s great for this).
  • In a small bowl, mix together the honey, apple juice, cinnamon, and chili powder. Which together until we’ll combined.
  • Use a silicone basting brush (I love this one) to coat one side of the pork chops with the apple juice and honey mixture.
  • Place pork chops on the grill with the side you just basted face down. Baste the other side of the pork chops while cooking. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Flip chops and add some more of the apple juice and honey mixture to the side that’s already been grilled. Baste a few times while cooking for another 5 to 6 minutes.
  • You should have a really good char on the outside of each chop (from the honey).
  • Make sure chips are done all the way through (they should be white inside, with no pink).
  • Remove chops from grill and let rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes.
  • Slice chops into thin strips and serve with whatever sides you like (we love roasted veggies like broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, onion, and potatoes).

This recipe is gluten free!

Trick or Treat Tuesdays

Jeff and I have really been trying to eat better and start living a healthier lifestyle lately. We attempted a Whole30 last month, but I didn’t plan well enough and we fell off the wagon in the middle of the month, so we didn’t actually complete a true Whole30. However, we did stick to it long enough to experience a lot of the non-scale victories that Whole30 is famous for.

Both of us felt better when we were eating clean, and as we have reintroduced foods that were not allowed on the Whole30 back into our diets, we have really been making an effort to listen to our bodies and pay attention to how certain foods make us feel.

It didn’t take me long to discover that anything made with corn or cornmeal is not my friend (which really hurts my feelings, because cornbread and chicken dressing are pretty much my favorite foods). While I don’t know if I am ready to completely give up those foods, I have decided that I’m going to save them for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas and eat them sparingly on those occasions.

As we’ve been trying to figure out what to do post-Whole30, I’ve been reading a lot about the Paleo lifestyle. While I’m not sure that we want to go in 100% on the Paleo train yet, I am really interested in learning more about the lifestyle. One thing that I have noticed a lot of Paleo chefs do is recreate traditional recipes in a healthier way. While making “treats” is not permitted on the Whole30, it is a common thing in the Paleo world for people to use clean ingredients to make dupes of their favorite treats like cookies, pancakes, and even ice cream.

I’m very skeptical about being able to make tasty treats with no flour, butter, milk, or processed sugars, but I am willing to try it.

Thanks to Instagram, I found Vanessa Barajas, the author of Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind, which is a cookbook filled with 150 Paleo-inspired recipes. I immediately bought the cookbook with plans to choose some of our favorite treats to see if they can  trick our taste buds.

Each Tuesday of this month, I will be sharing a favorite treat of mine (with my traditional family recipe, for those of you who are not on a Paleo diet) AND the Paleo trick for recreating that sweet treat in a healthier way from this cookbook. I will be giving you my honest reviews of these recipes – what I like, what I don’t, and even Jeff’s (always brutally honest) comments.

Here are the recipes that I will be putting to the test this month:

  • Nestle Toll House Original Chocolate Chip Cookies vs. Clean Eating Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Traditional Pumpkin Bread Muffins vs. Clean Eating Pumpkin Bread Muffins
  • Peanut Butter Balls vs. Clean Eating Almond Butter Cups
  • 1001 Chocolate Chip Cake vs. Clean Eating Death By Chocolate Cake

I hope that you’ll join me for Trick or Treat Tuesdays this month!


Christina

Whole 30

Starting tomorrow, Jeff and I are going to be following the Whole 30 clean eating program for the next 30 days. I heard about this program from some other bloggers on Instagram, and lots of them have had great success using this program to improve their health. When I checked out the Whole 30 website, the program actually sounded doable, so Jeff and I decided to give it a shot.

I’m going to be sharing our experiences as we follow the program, and I’ll share recipes that are Whole 30 approved. We’re hoping this program will kind of “reset” us, help establish some healthy habits, and curb our cravings for carbs and sweets.

I read tons of things on the Whole 30 website this weekend and used their free printable shopping list to go to the grocery store this afternoon.

I had a budget of $100, and I only went over that by about $10, so I was pretty pleased (my biggest concern for this challenge was the expense of buying all clean foods). Here’s what I got for our first week of the challenge (I already had staples like chicken breasts and broccoli in my freezer):

  • Apples (golden delicious, Granny Smith, gala, and red delicious)
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Onions (white and red)
  • Green onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Avocado
  • Russet potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red potatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Ground chuck
  • Lean stew beef

I’m totally horrible at diets, so I am currently cleaning out my kitchen of any foods that are not allowed (sugars, breads, processed food, soda). Am I the only one who eats those foods like crazy the day before something like this? I think I’ve had three handfuls of chocolate chips while I’ve been going through the fridge.


I’m doing meal planning tonight. I started by making a batch of Whole 30 approved taco seasoning from Emily Eats Real Food’s blog (click the link for the recipe).

I cooked a large batch of meat for tacos tonight and to use for taco salads for a few meals this week. This taco seasoning is SO good!

I also spent some time prepping my fruits and veggies for the week so I can cut down on meal prep time when it’s time to cook.

So far, the thing that has me the most baffled is what to eat for breakfast. This is easy for Jeff, because he loves eggs. I don’t. I normally eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast or grab a granola bar on my way out the door. Since all of those foods are no-nos, I’m really not sure what to eat. I’m going to try a fruit salad and some walnuts tomorrow and see if that’s filling enough. If not, I’ll have to figure out how to get some protein in there.

For lunch tomorrow, I made a salad with lettuce, spinach, avocado, red onion, bell pepper, and pineapple. I’m going to heat up some taco meat and toss that on top.

I’m planning to grill some chicken and make roasted veggies for dinner tomorrow night, and I’ll probably make a lot of extra so I can have leftovers for lunch throughout the week.