February 28, 2014

Fruitbowl Friday

Peaches were on sale this week, and I had to really use some self-control to not buy 5 of them - one for dessert every night. I decided that I had enough dessert last week and they would go on sale again... Not sure if that was the best decision I've ever made. Those dang Honey Roasted Peaches (Recipe Book) are SO good. This week's fruitbowl is not as colorful because a lot went in the fridge - strawberries, carrots, romaine, kale. But, I have to say, we had an awesome week of meals!
  • Breakfasts: Paleo Strawberry Muffins and Banana Chia Seed Pudding (Recipe Book)
    • I used coconut oil instead of ghee in the muffins. This is another great muffin recipe that uses fresh fruit. And, they're so pretty with the red strawberries.
    • You can't go wrong with this pudding... OMG.
  • Saturday & Sunday dinner: Turkey Chili (after being frozen; Recipe Book) and salad*
    • I simply used Balsamic Vinegar for dressing over spring mix, red onions & goat cheese.
  • Monday dinner: Roasted Greek Chicken & Sweet Potato Hash (Picture below)
    • This is one of my all-time favorite meals! It's one of those meals you can't stop eating/munching on while you're cleaning up. Everything is so fresh and flavorful!
  • Tuesday & Wednesday lunch: Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps (Recipe Book)
  • Tuesday dinner: Taco Tuesday; Tip #14: Use lettuce in place of tortillas for any recipe you like!
  • Wednesday dinner: Pecan Crusted Dijon Salmon with Sauteed Kale; Dessert: Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Recipe Book)
    • Pecan Crusted Dijon Salmon & Sauteed Kale
    • Yum, yum, yum! Both of these recipes were first-times for us and turned out great! My sister made dinner, so I can't say much as to the execution. But, she said they were pretty simple. This was my first time with kale, and I loved it! It is vinegar-y, in case that's not your thing... I'm sure you can just omit the vinegar. I found the kale recipe just by Googling "sauteed kale recipe."
  • Thursday lunch: Tuna salad over Romaine with Carrots*
    • My sister doesn't like the tuna and avocado, so I slightly adapted it. Here's what I mixed:
      • 2 cans tuna
      • 1 heaping tbs. mayonnaise
      • 1 avocado
      • 1 hard-boiled egg
      • 1 dill pickle, chopped
  • Thursday dinner: Asian Sesame Wings & Maple-glazed Carrots (Recipe Book)
    • I really liked how the carrots turned out, especially for using ghee for the first time! The wings were really good - although the baking powder gives a texture that is slightly off. I think using Arrowroot instead of baking powder could work as well. I used drumsticks rather than smaller wing-size pieces, but they were cooked through with the same amount of time.  
Roasted Greek Chicken & Sweet Potato Hash
    *Recipes that can be packed and taken to work/school

February 27, 2014

Smoothies

I've been pretty adventurous lately when it comes to smoothies. I have always been successful with strawberry/banana smoothies, had great success with coconut milk smoothies (Recipe Book), and then took a little roller coaster ride.

Source
Coconut Lime Avocado Smoothie - I thought this would be a good, beachy combination. It came out edible, but it wasn't the greatest experience. I think the chia seeds made it too thick. It was difficult to get to a pourable consistency. Fail. I couldn't finish it.
1 cup almond milk
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
4 dates

So, I gave up on the avocados for a little while. And, I tried making a green smoothie using kale for a pre-workout! This is the first time I've ever bought kale, but I have quickly become a fan.

Source
Kale Protein Super Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened almond milk*
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 cup kale
1 scoop vanilla protein powder, optional
1/4 cup orange or apple juice
2 tbs. hemp seed**

Yay! This one came out yummy! It made enough for two smoothies, although you can drink the whole thing. It's pretty thick from the kale and hemp seed, but it actually has good flavor. Adding pineapple chunks or juice would be good too!

2/28/2014 Update: I made another green smoothie this morning...
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup OJ
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 cup kale
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, optional

I really enjoyed this one! The water made the smoothie a lot lighter, and it was smoother without the hemp seed.

*I found almond milk at WholeFoods for $1.67! It's the 365 WholeFoods' generic brand and comes in a box. I even think it tastes better than other brands that are almost twice the price.
**I don't have much information about the hemp seed and need to do more research; however, a friend of mine who has started eating very clean uses it. And, WholeFoods was giving out free samples so I figured it can't hurt. I believe it provides protein and fiber.


February 25, 2014

Taco Tuesday

Ladies & Gentleman... Meet my new favorite paleo dinner. And, it's so easy! I was hoping this would turn out well but wasn't sure what the end product would be. Here's what I did to serve two:

1 pkg. ground turkey or beef
1 green pepper, sliced
1/8 red onion, diced
salsa (homemade or jarred)
seasonings (See below.)

Brown the meat using equal amounts of the following two groups of seasonings (Use about 1 tsp. of group #1 and 1/2 tsp. for group #2):
1. cumin, chili powder, paprika
2. garlic powder, onion powder
Using a slotted spoon, take the meat out of the pan and put it in a covered dish to keep it warm. Then, sautee the peppers in the juice and seasonings from the meat until they're soft.

And, you're done! Adapted from GreenLiteBites and SkinnyTaste.com  You will not notice any difference from non-paleo tacos, except that you're eating clean. :)

Optional additions:
tomato, avocado, guacamole, cilantro, crushed red pepper, chopped bell peppers, onions, salsa

4/10/2014 Update: Here's another spin on the at-home paleo Mexican food idea... Plantain Chip Nachos
  • Trader Joe's Plantain Chips
  • 80/20 Ground Beef seasoned the same way as the turkey above
  • Roasted Garlic Salsa (store-bought)
  • Guacamole (Recipe Book under Miscellaneous)
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Optional Additions: olives, bell peppers, onions, red onions, jalapenos
  • Time-savers:
    • Chop the lettuce ahead of time and store in an air-tight container until dinner (up to 4 days before)
    • Chop the tomato(es) ahead of time and store in an air-tight container (up to 4 days before)
    • Make the guacamole ahead of time (up to 2 days before)
    • Chop other toppings ahead of time and store in an air-tight container.

February 24, 2014

Newk's with a New Friend

I went to lunch today with a fabulous new friend. She and I had intentions of going to lunch together for a while, but busy schedules got the best of us. We finally made it happen today. :) In deciding where to go, I suggested Newk's because it has the typical lunch place menu of soups, salads & sandwiches, and Panera gets old after a while. We were both pleasantly surprised by their menu and food!

Source: newks.com
My order: Newk's Favorite salad without cheese & Balsamic Vinaigrette on the side. I didn't realize there were croutons on it, but they were easy to pick off. If you go, feel free to order without croutons. I then added roasted garlic from the "round table" of condiments and ended up only using a tiny bit of dressing. All of their salads seemed very paleo-friendly with a few modifications, and the selection is pretty expansive, in comparison to other places. I will definitely be back to Newk's.

1/26/2015 Update: Yesterday, my best friend and I went to Newk's for a late lunch. I ordered the Cobb salad without croutons, without cheese, and Balsamic on the side. I got roasted garlic cloves from the toppings bar and only used one of the dressings. Yum!!!



Newk's Menu

February 23, 2014

WholeFoods Obsessed

It's official... I'm addicted to WholeFoods. I went on Friday for a coffee-date with a girlfriend (Strawberry Banana smoothie), this morning for a coffee-date with my running buddy (Chai latte with almond milk) since the rain wouldn't let us run and then lunch this afternoon with another girlfriend...

Salad (spring mix, tomatoes, red peppers, roasted garlic & cucumber) with balsamic dressing, tuna salad, grilled squash, plantain & some beef that was AWESOME! Price: $8.31 + a TON of free samples
Here's the post from my first trip to WholeFoods.

Staying Organized

Source: Wikimedia.org
I have heard so many people say that they have considered paleo but don't have the time, discipline or organization to be faithful. It is a challenge with 25,000 other things going on at the same time, but it is doable. Just think of it as a puzzle, if you like those. It's really not too bad once you get the hang of it. Here are some of the things I do to stay organized and ensure that all of my meals are paleo.
  • Plan ahead, and write it down!
    • Go through your recipes (I usually use Pinterest) and put each day's lunches and dinners into your calendar. I would post a picture so you can see mine, but it would probably stress you out more.
      • Goodbye 3:00 panic of "What am I going to make for dinner?" and then ordering take-out because it's too daunting. We've all been there. All you have to do is check your calendar the night before and pull the meat for tomorrow's dinner out of the freezer.
        • Thawing Meat: I thaw all my meat in the sink with cold water and then put it in the refrigerator once thawed. This avoids the weird taste the microwave can cause!
  • Keep an ongoing grocery list. 
    • I have a Notepad document on my desktop that I constantly update. Then, I print it out Sunday morning before my trip to the grocery store. This way you'll remember all of those random things that pop into your head throughout the week.
  • Prep ahead of time.
    • You can get a lot done on Sunday that will save you time throughout the week! Here are some things I usually do after the grocery store on Sunday's:
      • chop/peel fruits & veggies, i.e. cutting a stalk of celery into pieces for snacks, chopping carrots into bite-size snack pieces, washing and separating a stalk of romaine into leaves for lettuce wraps, chopping melons, cutting the tops off of strawberries
      • bake muffins for the week's breakfasts
      • grill chicken for Monday and Tuesday lunches
      • scramble eggs and put in container with 2 pieces of cooked bacon - Just pop it in the microwave, and you have a filling, healthy breakfast.
Here's what my schedule looks like:
  • Thursday - Look at grocery store sales & plan next week's meals.
  • Friday - Make next week's grocery list for the recipes you will use. Include all ingredients.
  • Saturday - Go through the grocery list and delete anything that you already have in the kitchen - spices, meat, condiments, oils, vinegars, etc. 
    • This will also make you happy because it feels like you're saving money!
  • Food Prep Sunday - Grocery shopping! I think it is so fun to go to the store and get everything for the week.
    • When you get home, prepare everything that you can.

February 22, 2014

Concession Stands

My life becomes about 150% better this time of year because...  
IT'S BASEBALL SEASON!
 
So with that comes the loss of a really good friend... hot dogs. Long live the days that I would sit at the fields with a binder on my lap, studying for an exam, cheering on the team and eating a hot dog. I haven't quite accepted the fact that this season will not be full of Kayem franks, but I'm okay with it... I think. I'll do my best to not talk myself into one with a gluten-free bun. Why did I have to hear that those are even available?

So, what do you do at a concession stand? Before I go any further, the best concession stand will be in your purse or bag or pocket or anything you'd like to carry it in. Check out the Trail Mix or Packed Lunches posts for ideas of fun snacks. But, hey!We want to be cool and go get something from the concession stand too. Here are a few options:
Source: hallmark.com
  • hamburger without the bun - top with lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard
  • sunflower seeds (if you want to ignore the added salt)
  • sausage (without the bun) - top with onions, mustard
  • hot dog (without the bun); although hot dogs are hardly paleo due to the process by which they're made - top with onions, mustard

February 21, 2014

First Fruitbowl Friday!

I think my fruit bowl is a source of joy for me. Seeing the bright colors of fresh fruit on the counter every day can make you so happy, even doing the dishes. It adds so much color to the room! And, it's always so vibrant after a trip to the grocery store. Each week it looks different, depending on the week's menu and featured ingredients. So, every Friday I will post the week's fruitbowl with a menu of the meals I planned for the week. I'll include links to any recipes I used from other blogs and any comments about them - Successes will go into the Recipe Book. Happy First Fruitbowl Friday!

This week's Menu:
  • Breakfasts: Fresh Peach Muffins and Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding with fresh strawberries & banana
    • The muffins were really good. I added about 1 tsp. cinnamon to the batter which I think added a lot of flavor. 
    • I used coconut milk in the pudding rather than almond milk and included the maple syrup. Quick, easy & delicious!
  • Saturday lunch: Garden Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing* (Recipe in Potluck post)
  • Sunday night dinner: BBQ Chicken with broccoli; Dessert: Honey Roasted Peaches (adapted recipe in Recipe Book
    • The Honey Roasted Peaches are seriously the best thing I've had in a long time. So yummy and fresh!
  • Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday lunch: Broccoli Almond Salad*
    • LOVE this recipe! It is so out of the ordinary and delicious. The recipe makes a lot, so you'll have lunch for the week. I didn't put olives in it because I'm not a fan. I used turkey bacon and rice vinegar instead of white wine vinegar. (Also in Recipe Book)
  • Monday dinner: Grilled Pineapple Turkey Burgers with Salad; Dessert: Honey Roasted Peaches (Recipe Book)
    • Grilled Pineapple Turkey Burgers
    • The grilled pineapple adds so much flavor to the turkey burgers! I used coconut aminos instead of liquid aminos. They were great! We can't stop eating the honey roasted peaches, though... They're SO yummy.
  • Tuesday dinner: Ribeye with Roasted Asparagus & Red Wine Garlic Mushrooms; Dessert: Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Recipe Book)
  • Ribeye w/ Asparagus & Mushrooms
    • I used this method for cooking the steaks. It was wonderful!
    • The asparagus was drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic powder & then roasted in the oven at 375 for about 12 minutes.
    • The pudding is an easy and yummy use of ingredients you probably have in your pantry.
  • Thursday lunch: Tuna with avocado, red onion & tomato with red bell pepper strips
    • I never thought I'd see the day when red peppers would be sweet. 
*Recipes that can be packed and taken to work/school

February 20, 2014

Buffalo Wild Wings

Trying to find a mutually-agreeable restaurant with a vegetarian friend is not an easy task. Besides questioning your friendship, viable dinner options are hard to come by.

Source: Twitter
Counter-intuitively, B-Dubs was the solution this time... Don't ask me how this beat places like WholeFoods Cafe and Bonefish. Mexican was proposed, but considering I can't do tortillas, rice or beans, that was something I didn't feel like fighting with on a Wednesday night.

Either way, I've been wanting to eat at BWW ever since our SuperBowl party, so I was satisfied. My order: Small order (10) of Traditional Wings with Medium Sauce, carrots & celery
Mild, Medium, Hot and any other traditional buffalo sauce is fine to order. Try to stay away from the other flavored sauces like Mango Habanero or BBQ because they tend to have extra sweetener. Tip #12: Be sure to say you don't want your wings breaded.

3/30/2014 Update: We went to BWW for lunch today and, first off, I ate wayyy too many wings. But, they were great! I figured out other paleo options. My order: 5 Spicy Garlic & 5 Mild, but my mom and I mixed and matched. She ordered Mild, Salt & Vinegar and Honey Mustard. The Lemon Pepper dry-rub is also paleo. We tried the Honey BBQ but didn't like it too much.

February 19, 2014

D I Y Trail Mix

"Baseball Snack Remix"
One of my new favorite things to do is find products in the bulk section of the grocery store and make my own trail mixes. So many pre-packaged, store-bought trail mixes have peanuts, added sugar, salt or candies in them. Even if your grocery store doesn't have a bulk section where you can buy by weight, I'm almost positive it is less expensive to buy the ingredients separately and then mix them on your own. Trail mix is the perfect snack to bring with you to sporting events, meetings, long days at work/school, theme parks, on an airplane - basically anywhere. Below is a list of super paleo ingredients that can be put in a trail mix, as well as some of my latest creations.

  • Raw walnuts
  • Almonds (whole, slivered, sliced)
  • Pecans
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Cashews 
  • Pistachios
  • Pepitas
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Raisins
  • Dried Cherries
  • Dried Blueberries (Unsweetened)
  • Dried cranberries (If you choose to accept the sweetener.)
  • Banana Chips (Unsweetened)
  • Dark Chocolate chips
  • 100% Cacao chips (what chocolate is made from)
  • "Baseball Snack"
    "Mixed Nuts"
  • Carob chips 
  • Coconut (shredded, flakes, etc.)
Sister's Creation: Macadamia nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds & raisins
Mixed Nuts: almonds, pecans & walnuts
Baseball Snack: raw cashews, slivered almonds & dried cherries
Baseball Snack Remix: raw cashews, raw macadamia nuts, slivered almonds, dried cherries & raisins
Jason's Deli Remix: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, [optional] dried cranberries
Spring Break: raw cashews, macadamia nuts & raisins
Mom's Creation: Coconut Chips (Trader Joe's), roasted cashews, raisins, dark chocolate chips & almonds

February 18, 2014

Smarter than Starbucks

Matcha powder with water (left) & Iced Green Tea (right)
I'm just going to put this out there - There aren't many paleo options at Starbucks. They don't have almond milk, and I don't think there's one paleo food option on their menu, except maybe a fruit cup in the cooler. But, Starbucks consistently seems to be the universal meet-up, hang-out, study place.  And, if you're like me, you have a Gold Card and can't give up the idea of collecting stars. So, here's what I came up with... Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. My sister was actually impressed with my almond milk trick which says a lot because she's usually not impressed by me. (See below.)
Almond milk trick in action... See below.
Paleo Orders at Starbucks:
  • Black Coffee - Iced or Hot
    • Almond milk trick: Can't drink black coffee but don't have time to make your own in the morning? Be Smarter than Starbucks' lack of paleo-friendly options, and put some almond milk in a mug/cup before you go. Order black coffee in your own cup (BONUS: If you use your own cup, you save like $0.25.), and you have a perfectly (not black) paleo cup of coffee. This still saves time if you don't have time to make your own cup of coffee and need to get your caffeine for the day.
    • Same goes for iced coffee! 
    • Add some cinnamon for extra flavor.
  • Black Tea - Iced or Hot; Feel free to add honey or lemon juice! Bonus applicable.
  • Green Tea - Iced or Hot; Feel free to add honey or lemon juice! BONUS: If you use your own cup, a hot cup of tea is only $0.43!
      • Starbucks Green Tea at home
    • Try this at home! Boxes of TAZO green tea (available in bags for hot tea (pictured left) and packs for iced tea (pictured right)) are available at grocery stores. For added paleo flavor, put about 1/2 cup lemon juice in the pitcher with the iced tea.
  •  Matcha powder with water, (idea from The Healthy Sooner)
    • Venti = 3 scoops; Grande = 1-2 scoops; Tall = 1 scoop
    • It really is $0.81!
    • To order: "Can I please have [# of scoops] of matcha in a [size] cup of water?"
    • Quick info on Matcha (from some research I did): It is a powder made by crushing the full green tea leaf, so you actually get a higher concentration of the nutrients that come from green tea. It does have caffeine; although the caffeine from matcha (and green tea) is "healthier" than that in coffee. It is processed differently in your blood stream and is slowly absorbed, causing a steady flow of energy without jitters or a crash. 
      • This is what Starbucks uses in their green tea latte, if you've ever had one. But, don't order that because it has a ton of milk!

February 17, 2014

Make Friends & Pantry Purge!

Reality is that no matter how hard we try, there are always those non-paleo ingredients in the pantry that have now over-stayed their welcome. I know my pantry, at least, has become segregated with certain shelves being paleo-designated and everything else shoved where it'll fit. My roommate, who relies on sugar for calories, probably doesn't help this situation. But, hopefully, one day there will be more paleo shelves than non-paleo shelves. Realistically, it'll be once I live on my own. But, I've found a great solution to this issue! Behold, cupcakes...
My latest strategy for life is to make my friends really happy, make new friends and get rid of non-paleo junk, all at the same time! Multi-tasking is one of my specialties. The secret? ... Make something incredibly non-paleo for a get-together with friends that's super yummy (and bring your own paleo snack). Oh, and friends make this super easy because they have these things that seem to pop-up all the time which call for non-paleo goodies - birthdays. Another way is to provide non-paleo goodies to friends. I have one friend who loves to cook, so he received my quinoa. And another friend who shared (past tense for me) in my peanut butter addiction received a jar of peanut butter. They couldn't be more happy for their new products, and I couldn't be more happy to say farewell! Simply mention in conversation (when you're on the topic) that you have some of [blank] that you'd be happy to give them!
Following suit (pun intended)... this weekend, friends and I got together for our periodic Game Night - Poker Edition. With the remnants of the baking contest ingredients I had in the pantry, I made another batch of key lime cupcakes. It was perfectly fitting too because the host's birthday was a few days ago. I halved the recipe because I made mini cupcakes, instead of standard sized, because I didn't want to have a TON of bite-size cupcakes leftover.

They were a huge hit, and I am now out of key lime juice and sugar. Woo hoo! I brought pistachios and unsweetened carob almonds, so I could join in on the munching too. I'm taking the leftover cupcakes to class this afternoon to make even more happy friends.

February 16, 2014

The Egg (Breakfast place)

A friend showed me a beautiful trail last week, and it is now our Sunday morning tradition to get up and out there before 8:00 and run the equivalent of a 5K. Is it weird that I get excited to wake up super early on Sunday's? The feeling of the fresh air with the morning sun beating down on you as you run through nature is the perfect way to start the day and end the weekend. This morning dew was still frozen this morning.

After our run today, we went to The Egg for an awesome post-run breakfast. My order: Countryside Scrambler (eggs, ham, bacon, onions & mushrooms), no cheese with fresh fruit instead of potatoes and no English muffin. I was so impressed by their fresh fruit selection! You never see kiwi or grapes on a plate at a restaurant. My sister ordered The Farm House (eggs, ham and scallions), no cheese with fresh fruit instead of potatoes. She ordered the muffin to bring to her roommate.
Countryside Scrambler
The Farm House

Ted's Montana Grill

Source: Wikipedia
I remembered last night that my roommate's mom took us and a few friends to Ted's when she was in town, just in the beginning of my paleo journey. My order: Big Sky Grilled salad with a Bison Burger, no cheese, no croutons & dressing on the side. Places like Ted's are fairly easy to find something to order because it's all based around meat. You could also order a burger (beef or bison) with the fresh toppings without a bun, a steak (beef or bison), cedar-plank salmon or salt-and-pepper trout. You could ask what they use to crust the Pecan-Crusted Trout, but I'm sure they use some sort of breadcrumbs. Ted's is a great place for a nice meal, and it's different from other steak places because you can get bison or beef for every menu option. I also learned that bison is very healthy; very low fat and high protein.

Ted's Montana Grill Menu

February 15, 2014

Lunchtime

Check the Potluck post for a great Garden Salad recipe with Cilantro Lime dressing that I whipped together for lunch today but would be great for a potluck!

Also, new tradition coming soon! Check back Friday. :) Happy Saturday - have a great weekend!

February 14, 2014

Sisters' Valentine's Lunch

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just updated the Outback post to include orders from lunch with my sister! I'm sure you guessed this - I had a coupon. ;) The best part of the meal was inspiring our waitress to start paleo. She said she tried it before and stopped after about two weeks. We told her that we honestly are not extremists about health-food, nor did we grow up with parents focused on eating well. But, we have noticed SO many differences in our bodies, minds, and lives since starting. Welcome to paleo, Alyssa!

Afterwards, I treated myself to some goodies at WholeFoods... Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, unsweetened carob almonds (bulk) and dark chocolate (70% and 77%, BOGO). You have my heart, WholeFoods. My sister and I joked in the car about how different our ideas of treats are from a year ago when Valentine's Day would have a called for a Digiorno pizza and two pints of Ben & Jerry's. Really, I don't miss those days at all. Here's to a healthy, yet so yummy, lifestyle!

And for dinner, I ordered sweet potato fries again and had those with a piece of coconut chicken leftover from last night with homemade ketchup.  Let me tell you, having paleo ketchup in the house is AWESOME! Two times on the sweet potato fries isn't a habit yet, right?

Outback Steakhouse Menu

February 13, 2014

New Recipe: Homemade Ketchup

Tonight's dinner: Coconut Chicken, Homemade Ketchup & steamed green beans

You probably have all, or most, of these ingredients in your pantry! I threw the ketchup together last minute when I realized, as the chicken was baking, that I had a can of tomato paste in the cabinet.

Tip #11: Make your own condiments. When is the last time you looked at the ingredients in store-bought condiments, like ketchup or Worcestershire sauce? It's astonishing what they put in there! Stay away from hidden ingredients like corn syrup and sugar and eat confidently knowing exactly what's in everything on your plate. It's a great feeling!

Update 2/14/2014: The ketchup is even great with scrambled eggs!

Rely on the certainty of paleo.

Source: wetravelandblog.com via Google
So, this is how I've been feeling about school-work lately... barely keeping my hands, let alone my head, above water. Yesterday as I was doing some work before a lunch meeting (to which I packed chicken salad over lettuce), I had this thought...

"I am so busy these days. How is it that I've been able to stick to and have such success with paleo?"

And, it hit me. Dieting has become this fad that everyone says they're going to do, decide to do and then give-up after it becomes too constraining, or just refuse to do altogether for various reasons - one being lack of time - and then they give the word a negative connotation. But, I think people are working too hard at it.

Paleo provides the structure and tangible restrictions that make it easy. There's no constant questions like "Can I have this?" "If I have just one tonight, it won't make a big deal." Or, as this blog attempts to aid paleos with - how to eat out. It's no longer a diet or an inconvenience; it's simply how I eat, therefore how I grocery shop, cook and order in restaurants. If you are new to paleo, don't give up simply because you feel hungry all the time or don't think you can stick to it.

30 days is the magic number. After 30 days, it is said your body has transformed to paleo and processing food properly. More importantly, you will psychologically think of other foods that used to seem so tempting and sad to give-up as unappealing and toxic. OK, that sounds extreme - but, you get what I mean. You will be used to the products and know how to come up with a menu and corresponding grocery list. In fact, I seriously believe that paleo is part of the reason I have been able to get up 2 hours early each day to do reading I didn't finish the night before and still have the energy to work-out at least 3 times each week and cook dinner almost every night. "Go paleo or go home," as my sister has started saying.

February 11, 2014

Quick, Realistic Workouts

Feeling lazy because you couldn't make it to the gym today and don't want to go to bed without doing anything active? Here are a few mini workouts that only require you, yourself, and you. Do these before you hop in the shower and feel like you've done something for the day. Try not to stop for breaks - it'll keep your heart-rate up!

Source: theberry.com via Google
Little Bit of Everything:
50 jumping jacks*
10 push-ups
1 minute wall-sit
50 jumping jacks*
10 push-ups
15 sit-ups (Stretch your legs out, cross your ankles and lay down. Put your hands straight up and then sit all the way up, reaching to the ceiling with your hands.)
1 minute plank

*For a more intense adaption, finish every 5th jumping jack with a squat.

Fun Fact: 1,000 jumping jacks burns the calories of 1 pound.

Just Abs:
20 crunches
20 oblique rows (Sit in Boat position (yoga pose) with your knees bent. Interlace your fingers in front of you and rotate your obliques, tapping your hands to the floor on your right and left.)
10 sit-ups (Use directions above.)
20 oblique rows
20 crunches
1:30 minute plank

Planks are a great exercise to do in your room before you shower or go to sleep. If you do a plank every night, increasing your time about every 4 days, you'll be amazed how quickly 2:00 becomes easy.

Robin's Sweet Confessions  also has great mini-workout videos, if you need the motivation of someone else telling you what to do!

February 10, 2014

Packed Lunches & Snacks

If you're anything like me, it's basically against your religion to eat out more than a few times a week 1) because eating at home is healthier, but more importantly 2) my wallet and I would no longer be friends. I am fortunate enough to live close enough to school to walk home for lunch. But, I pack a lunch on busy days. Plus, you are guaranteed a paleo lunch if you make it yourself. Plastic containers are one investment you won't regret.

SuperBowl Monday:
1 leftover turkey burger w/ avocado & tomato
4 grape tomatoes
cucumber slices
1 leftover chocolate-covered strawberry

Obviously, you probably won't have this exact food. But, here's an idea of a light and paleo lunch. The tomatoes and cucumber are healthy, low-sugar ways to put in several bites. The turkey burger adds protein, and the strawberry is a sweet-tooth satisfier.

Steak Salad:
Have you ever noticed how meat is usually packaged by the grocery store in ginormous proportions? The recommended portion is about 5 oz. (1 lb. = about 3 servings.), and it's usually difficult to find any one piece of meat less than 8 oz. So, this was my solution to a package of two NY Strips, equaling 1 lb. of beef (for two people). For dinner, I cut 2-3 oz. off of each steak and grilled the 4 pieces. We ate the 5-6 oz. pieces for dinner with asparagus. Then, this is what happened...
Steak Salad
 


1/2 cup - 1 cup lettuce (I just used the remainder of a bag I had in the refrigerator.)
2-3 oz. steak, chopped
4-5 pieces asparagus, chopped and sauteed in coconut oil then patted dry
4 grape tomatoes
2-3 tbs. Homemade (Paleo) Balsamic Vinagrette (Recipe in Recipe Book.)
*Pack this the night before after dinner. Put the salad in one large container and the dressing in a small/tiny container. Pour the dressing over the salad at lunch-time.
Strawberry Avocado Salad

Tuna with Avocado:
1 5 oz. can tuna & 1 avocado mashed together
For more of a tuna salad, you could add a hard-boiled egg, celery, carrots or the like.
*This is also great with sliced bell peppers.

Strawberry Avocado Salad
spinach leaves
1/2 avocado, cubed
5 strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup blueberries
2 tbs. diced red onion

Top with Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe Book) or any other paleo dressing you like. I used the sauce from the Baked Tilapia (Recipe Book).

Also see Grilled Shrimp Tomato Salad in the Recipe Book!

Snacks

Celery, sunflower butter & raisins
  • Larabar - These are super easy to leave in a locker, office, backpack, etc. in case you ever forget to grab a snack in the morning. When buying Larabars, be sure to check the ingredients. Most of them are perfectly paleo, but a few flavors have some unwanted ingredients like peanuts.
  • Apple/Celery & Sunflower butter - Slice the apple the night before and put it in a plastic bag, and measure out 2 tbsp. of sunflower butter into a small container. Then, it's ready to grab and go in the morning.
    • Raisins optional
  • Hard-boiled egg(s) - A great snack to take along if you plan on heading to the gym!
    • Blueberries & Almonds
    • Tip #9: Eat 1-2 hard-boiled eggs with blueberries about 30 minutes before a workout. It's the perfect amount of energy and nutrients to sustain an intense workout like a spin class or running.
    • In case you're like I was and couldn't figure out how to actually get a hard-boiled egg to not still be runny inside - Boil water in a small saucepan. When it starts boiling, add the egg(s). Set a time for 13 minutes. Remove the eggs from the heat when the timer goes off. Voila!
  • Blueberries & almonds - 1/4 cup almonds and about 1/2 cup blueberries; If you're anything like me, you eat almond all the time. Adding blueberries to the mix adds texture and flavor. The combination is awesome!
    • Great post-workout snack!
3/20/2014 Update: This was my lunch and snack that I packed today... tuna with avocado and red onion with sliced cucumber and bell peppers for snack

February 9, 2014

Recycled Sweet Potato Fries

I told you I would not be able to stop thinking about sweet potato fries. It took me how long?... Two days? I picked up a side order of sweet potato fries on my way home from my meeting last night and had 1/2 of the order with a turkey burger for dinner. I ordered them without salt and added my own sea salt to them.

This morning I went for a trail run with a friend and my sister. Before my run, I made a quick smoothie. (We left at 7:30 for this run.) I threw this together on the fly because I am out of frozen and fresh fruit altogether, except 1.5 frozen bananas. This is what I came up with:
1/2 banana
1 cup almond milk
1 scoop protein powder (not paleo, Boo!)
2 tbs. almond butter

So, I came home and re-heated the other half of the sweet potato fries in the oven at about 400 for like 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I fried two eggs over-medium so the yolk was still runny (in coconut oil) and put them on top of the fries. This was inspired by a post I recently saw on Pinterest. It was AWESOME! I'm a little worried that I can get this many sweet potato fries within 1 block of my house for $5.00... That can't be a healthy reality.

Also check the Recipe Book for a new quick and easy lunch recipe - buffalo chicken!

February 8, 2014

Chipotle & Local Coffee Shop

Source: Wikipedia
A few friends and I met up at Chipotle for lunch before the baking contest. Chipotle gets a round of applause for the amount of paleo options on their menu!

You can order a Bowl or Salad of any filling (beef, chicken, steak, etc.). The salad is probably a better option because they'll give you a lettuce base, rather than a bowl that might end up semi-empty due to the lack of rice. Top it with any combination of lettuce, salsa (Mild, Medium, or Hot salsas are fine; just stay away from the Roasted Corn Salsa.), fajita vegetables and guacamole! Beware: The steak is pretty spicy. You can ask for a sample to see if you can tolerate the spice.

My order: Salad with chicken, fajita veggies, mild salsa, medium salsa on the side & dressing on the side. I asked what was in the dressing and was just told it's chipotle honey vinaigrette. I dipped my fork in it a few times but didn't use much. You don't really need it because the other stuff has so much flavor on its own, but the dressing actually tasted really good.

Chipotle Menu - I was really impressed with Chipotle's website and the information available. They have information on the ingredients of everything on their menu.

Then,  I went and sat with five friends while they ate at least 5 cupcakes each at the baking contest. Good news: 1) My sister was there for paleo and self-control support. Paleo's unite! 2) My cookies won first place!
I made it to the gym for a quick workout before another business meeting... Today's edition featured a local coffee shop. I really don't drink coffee, but I do love chai and green tea. Green tea is always safe, but it is hard to come by a coffee shop that doesn't use a chai concentrate for the chai latte. Note: Ask what is in a shop's chai latte. If the base is chai tea, good! If it is a concentrate, be weary. I am a little sad thinking of allll of those Starbucks Chai Latte's I drank in my pre-paleo time... So. Much. Sugar. I actually thought going into this shop that I could order a chai latte, but come to find out they make theirs with a "chai powder" that has sugar. Or, I could get a sugar-free version with Splenda. No, thank you. However, they do get a few points in my book because they had almond milk!! So, I ordered a SMALL iced coffee with about 1/3 almond milk. Nothing too exciting, but it was paleo. :)

Red Eye Menu