Pork Chops with Apple, Walnut, and Raisin Compote

Anyone else out there love pork chops and applesauce? While I’m sure I could find some Whole 30 compliant applesauce at the store, I decided to just make my own apple, walnut, and raisin compote to go on top of these grilled pork chops. You could cook it a little longer and use a hand masher to make this into true applesauce, but I like it chunky. The raisins add a little extra sweetness to the apples since this recipe doesn’t have any added sugar (to make it Whole 30 compliant), and the walnuts add a nice texture. My dad even liked this, and he’s the pickiest person on the planet.

Always Perfect Pork Chops

Ingredients:

  • Lean center-cut pork chops
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Parsley flakes
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Avocado oil

Instructions:

  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a glug of avocado oil to the pan.
  • Season both sides of the pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley flakes. Place the pork chops in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • When the pork chops come off the pan easily, they are ready to flip (if they stick, give them a little more time – the crust is not ready yet). Flip the pork chops and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Stick the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes to let the pork chops finish cooking.

Apple, Walnut, and Raisin Compote

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples (I used red delicious for the recipe I photographed, but I have also made it with golden delicious and Granny Smith, so use whatever kind of apples you like)
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  • Peel the apples and dice into small cubes.
  • Put the apples in a pan over medium-high heat with the water and cinnamon.
  • Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
  • Turn the heat down to low and add the walnuts and raisins.
  • Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. (I usually cook mine for about 15 minutes.)
  • Scoop the mixture onto the top of your pork chops.

You can also serve this as a side dish, a topping on your oatmeal, or with some granola on top for a warm breakfast or guilt-free dessert.

If you want the mixture to be more like applesauce, then leave out the walnuts and raisins and smash the apples with a hand masher once they have cooked for about 15-20 minutes.

If you are not on the Whole 30, you could definitely add some sugar to this mixture to make it sweeter. I think brown sugar would probably give it the best flavor and would start with just a tablespoon and taste test it.

If you don’t have raisins, you could also use dried cranberries. Just make sure that if you are doing Whole 30 they don’t have added sugar.

My Whole 30

Losing weight and getting healthy is a pretty common resolution for the new year, and there are millions of different programs and diet plans to help people reach those goals. I’ve tried lots of them. I’ve done Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, the 21 Day Sugar Detox, Atkins, the South Beach Diet, and all kinds of other fad diets. My weight is something that I have constantly struggled with since I was a little kid. I got to my biggest and unhealthiest point when I was 25. I finally decided that I had to do something, and I cut down my portions and stopped drinking Cokes and lost a lot of weight. It just so happened that I caught mono in the same year, and lost a good 25 pounds from that, which left me at the smallest weight and size I have ever been in my adult life.

I have spent so much time running away from that girl on the left and trying to get back to the size of the one on the right. I was making some good progress before I got pregnant with Jack. I did my first round of Whole 30 in October of 2016. By the end of the month, I was looking and feeling so much better. I had lost weight, but that was just one of the benefits of the program. My skin was clear, I was sleeping better, I was in a better overall mood most of the time. Basically, the Whole 30 showed me just how great I could feel if I fueled my body the right way.

I snapped that selfie at the end of my first Whole 30. I was feeling awesome and was only about 10 pounds from my ultimate goal weight. Then, two weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant (Did you know that sometimes the Whole 30 can actually help with fertility problems? That’s not a reason that I was trying it, but I found that fact pretty interesting.) I think that doing a Whole 30 right before I found out I was pregnant helped me maintain a healthy pregnancy. I didn’t continue to eat like I do on the Whole 30 plan while I was pregnant (because, hello, cravings!), but I did make better choices than I think I would have if I hadn’t done the program prior to my pregnancy.

My pregnancy was great. Other than morning sickness (which should really just be called sickness, because it happens ALL THE TIME and not just in the mornings), it was a perfect pregnancy. I gained about 30 pounds, which was exactly what my doctor wanted me to gain, and I felt pretty good. My doctor still encouraged me to eat healthy and avoid any drinks with sugar, but I did indulge in a Chick-fil-A sandwich and sweet tea at least once a week.

After Jack was born, Jeff and I attempted a Whole 30 in September of last year, which turned into a Whole 14 (if we even made it that far…I can’t remember). We were sleep deprived, trying to figure out how to keep this tiny human we’d made alive, and very ill-prepared for a the challenge of eating clean for 30 days.

This January reset is coming at a good time for us. Jeff’s not doing the Whole 30 with me this month, but he’s very supportive and usually just eats whatever I’m eating for dinner and he’s very good to not bring anything home to tempt me. Now that Jack is (almost always) sleeping through the night and we have gotten the hang of this parenting thing (as much as one can ever get the hang of it, anyway), I’m in a much better frame of mind to complete this challenge. While I do still have some pregnancy weight to lose, the Whole 30 is NOT about losing weight. Losing weight is a happy side-effect of the Whole 30, but that is not its true purpose. The real purpose of the Whole 30 is to reset your system and kill your cravings for sugar and junk so that you are in charge of your choices instead of letting your cravings rule your food decision making (which sounds a lot like how that girl in the first picture used to live her life). It’s about learning what foods make you feel good and what foods you need to avoid to be your best you.

That’s why I’m doing the January Whole 30 reset. That’s why I chose this program over all the weight loss fads out there. That’s why I am Whole 30.

On paper, the Whole 30 is really simple. Eat lean proteins, vegetables, some fruit and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods and added sugar in any form. It sounds easy, but putting those rules into practice is hard. By day two of this round, I was already dealing with some serious cravings for sugar and feeling pretty grumpy, but I stuck with it. This program is hard, but it is worth it, and I have to keep reminding myself of that fact when I’m tempted.

The most important thing to do to ensure success on the Whole 30 is to create a plan. I always make sure to plan regular meals and to plan for emergencies (like if I don’t feel good and want to skip cooking one night or get stuck at work late). I have made sure to cook extra food to have leftovers and I’ve always got some kind of emergency snack with me just in case.

I shared my meal plan on the blog before I started my program (you can find that here). Here are some of the meals I’ve had so far this month:

Hamburger Hash with spinach, avocado, and fruit

Chopped salad with kale and brussel sprouts, grilled chicken, bacon, and berries

Grilled pork chops with apple and walnut hash and green beans

Leftover pork chop with a chopped salad and berries

Mason jar chopped salad for an easy lunch at work

Spicy pulled pork with kale and broccoli salad and veggies

Pulled pork stuffed baked potato (I also had steamed broccoli with this, but forgot to get a picture)