Thursday, December 16, 2010

BEEF!!!!!!!!!!


with guac

and onions

and spices

*amen*

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friends feed friends Paleo

My amazing buddy Jeffrey just fed me oodles of delicious food! I will be posting recipes and pics the moment I can convince him to reveal his secrets to me :D


When someone takes the time to cook for you, and to tailor the food to your dietary needs, well that's a generous person indeed~*

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Good Day


Breaky: almond milk and whey protein

Lunch: hydroponic butter lettuce leaves, cumin marinated carrots and chicken sausage

DinDin: grass-fed beef meatballs w/ a bit of tomato

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pat on the back, sorta


Tonight I was treated to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. This is one of my favorite restaurants BUT it's book of a menu and family-sized portions do not make it easy to be "good."
I had a little talk with myself and settled upon the Thai Lettuce Wraps. There was some last minute inner-dilemma about how amazing a pasta dish would be but I powered past that thought and stuck with what I assessed to be one of the most Paleo-friendly options. Requesting that the vermicelli noodles be omitted and ignoring the bean sprouts helped the cause as well. The sauces violate a few rules: one is peanut based and another definitely contains soy.
At the end of the meal I suggested we skip dessert. My dinner partner said let's just look at the menu. Now when somebody else is picking up the bill and offers me cheesecake to go, well, the demons come out! So I got the Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheesecake *I know* Indulging in two bites later this evening proved to be sinnnnfully delicious. Seriously, best cheesecake ever. No regrets

Now what to do with the rest of the slice? Anyone hungry...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Danger December

The holidays are in full swing. i don't support this merrymaking 3.5 weeks in advance of actual Christmas day but it seems the rest of the world is all about caroling and gingerbread houses. There was Promised Land Dairy: Egg Nog at my parent's house last night. Guess who fell for that trap?

However, in general all has gone well. I'm snacking on basil chicken sausage and roasted veggies at the moment. Earlier today I enjoyed some roast chicken and before that a dairy-free mango smoothie. Breakfast was my big meal of the day consisting of whey protein in almond milk, a banana and some cashews.

One month left until the New Year! Must keep in mind that I have little time and much to do if I'm going to ring in 2011 feeling triumphant.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Old hat, new trick

Not in the mood for one more lunch time salad I decided that baking a Cornish hen would be a speedy way to prep something for work tomorrow as the weekend came to a close.

Cornish hens are great since they're itty bitty, perfect portion for a single gal!

I have a heap of pumpkin pie spice sitting in the pantry from the great Paleo Pumpkin Muffin foray. Feeling obliged to make further use of it I concluded (with the roomie's enthusiastic approval) to utilize it as this poultry's seasoning.


Game plan:

one thawed Cornish hen
Pumpkin Pie spice
pinch of sea salt
Coconut oil


Mixing about 2 Tbl. of oil with heaps of spice I massaged the unctuous concoction both onto the skin and beneath it. A final sprinkling of spices all over and into the oven it went for an hour at 350F.

Our home smelled divine throughout the process and what came out was a beautifully colored chicken. A quick snack of the wings and legs delivered news of great success to my taste buds! Can't wait to eat the bulk of it for lunch today~*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Still here!


Sometimes life comes at you fast - this is one of those very times.


Staying pretty damn Paleo. The only time I falter is when I'm at the homes of family members around meal time. Not to self: avoid family as they are bad for my health ;)

Today I treated myself to lunch/dinner at "Quenna's Raw and Vegan" in Norfolk, VA. It's a really amazing restaurant where they create amazing dishes with veggies alone. There is use of WW pita bread, tofu and bulger wheat in some items so just ask for substitutions. I love eating here once a week, it always serves as an inspiring reminder about how delicious it is to eat wholesome foods. God knew what he was doing when He provided our sustenance...there has never been a need for nasty trans fats and growth hormones for meals to be palatable.

Thanksgiving looms ahead. Will I stay strictly Paleo on Turkey day? Nope.
Will I keep the cheats to a minimum? Yes!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall muffins

Happened upon a few pumpkin muffin recipes and have been trying them out. It's nice to have a Paleo treat that seems like a cheat. One recipe called for the use of fresh cranberries. Newsflash: fresh cranberries are tart as anything! They really overpowered the subtler flavors, made the consistency too mushy and now I have a bag of fresh cranberries but no clue how to use them up - suggestions?

Here's the winning muffies:

From PNW Fitness but altered for my tastes

1½ cups – Almond Flour
3/4 cup – Canned Pumpkin
3 – Organic Large Whole Eggs
1 tsp – Baking powder
1 tsp – Baking soda
1 tsp – Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/8 tsp – Salt
1/4 cup – Organic Honey
1/3 scoop – Vanilla whey mix - Not sure if this really serves a purpose -

  1. Grease 6 muffin tins with coconut oil or use a Silpat
  2. Mix all ingredients. Pour mix into the 6 tins.
  3. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes on the middle rack.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Preparation = success

Biggest hurdle I encounter when following Paleo is that is takes time to create good food. When I'm running to work or stuck at my desk through dinner time it's so easy to default to the processed crap that makes our lives "convenient." However, obesity and disease are a lot less convenient than a bit of prep work.

Yanked from one of the members at Arenal Fitness are these yummy breakfast cups with slight modifications.

Ingredients:

6 Organic eggs
6 slices turkey bacon
1 organic tomato
1/4 c. chopped onion
6 Baby Bella mushrooms
Paprika to taste

Using a silicone cupcake tray I put a slice of tomato at the bottom (makes for an easy exit after cooking) then placed a slice of cooked bacon around the ring, toss in some onion and sliced mushrooms then fill the cups with the beaten egg mixture, top with paprika.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 - give it a quick 1 minute broil at the end. Voila, breakfast for days!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Back


Summer was fun, romantic, adventurous, busy and not at all primal. But all things must come to an end so it's back to the basics for this chick.

A few new rules:

Paleo + dairy + dark chocolate

Last time I was freaking out because there was soy product in my non-stick spray. Not.That.Serious.

The goal is to stick to the Paleo guidelines but allow myself one (or 2 in a pinch) servings of dairy a day. My source of dairy will almost always be Greek yogurt. It's very low in sugar and packed full of protein. When I'm in a rush it's the perfect "go to" food source, especially for breakfast. For now I am also allowing myself to use whey protein. Again, the ideal is to only use one of these products once a day.

As for dark chocolate - come on people I'm a woman! Every now and then it needs to be paired with some fruit or just enjoyed for exactly what it is. No more than twice a week, and OBVIOUSLY, in small quantities.

I'm slipping back into the routine slowly so some whole grains will be in the meal plan for the next week as I clear the pantry out. Not really going to miss them (except quinoa), just need 'em out of the way.

There you have it and here we go~*

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Just say no to quesadillas and margaritas


I took my favorite relative (Great Aunt Mildred) out for an early Mother's Day dinner last night. We settled on Mexican and I was thrilled to see that staying Paleo is muy facil at this genre of eatery. She and I shared fajitas and carnitas. I asked the waiter not to bring me any beans, tortillas or rice. This request alarmed him and he went into a detailed explanation about how carnitas were traditionally eaten..blah blah blah. I stuck to my guns and convinced him to bring me a guacamole salad instead. I was able to avoid the chips and white sauce w/ promises of tasty meat in my future. Sure enough they payoff was worth the sacrifice. We tucked into a purely Paleo and 100% delicious dinner out. Later that evening I was within inches of succumbing to chocolate chip mint ice cream but THANKFULLY came upon some frozen mixed fruit in her freezer. The Caveman gods must have been watching :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You go Costco!

Loaded up on Paleo staples at Costco today: nuts, chicken breasts, strawberries, tomatoes, dried fruits and the like. *Yum*
Observed Cinco de Mayo at breakfast with eggs, avocado and chunky salsa. Dinner was some roasted chicken and fresh berries. I'm getting in a bit of dessert by sampling the dried fruit I bought today. Half an aisle of fruit-in-a-bag and there was only ONE brand that didn't have added sugar. America: this is why you're fat.

All is well, I'm continuing to turn down temptations and forging ahead with Paleo goodness. However, I want chocolate 24/7. Girlish hormones require it, my a$$ does not.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Branching out of bounds

It's the beginning of the last full week for my 30-day Paleo challenge. I'll admit to picking up a bar of 73% organic dark chocolate w/ almonds at TJ's one night. That thing was mad delicious with some dried apricots. So I guess the hardcore challenge would now be considered an epic fail but a serving only contained 8g of sugar so I don't actually feel too guilty. Emily of 2008 would have eaten half a tub of ice cream and a slice or two of pizza in a binge moment, Emily of 2010 feasting on half a bar of chocolate and dried fruit...yeah, not so horrible.
Moving on to the moment: today I made homemade mayo! I then utilized it to make curry chicken salad which was simply shredded white meat chicken, a hint of mayo, curry powder and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. Some scallions would have been an amazing addition but since this is meant for tomorrow's work lunch I figured I'd sell more vehicles w/ sweet breath.

Paleo Mayo

1 egg
1 tsp organic Dijon mustard
.5 tsp sea salt
1 Tbl raw apple cider vinegar
1 cup olive oil (I used EVOO but a milder pressing would fare better)

Mix the egg, mustard, salt and vinegar in your food processor for about 20 seconds then slowly start adding a bit of oil at a time. I chose to turn the machine off, pour in more oil and then continue blending rather than pour while the Cuisinart was going (less messy my way). Blend it all up and you'll get real mayo in just a minute! Goodbye Kraft

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things that make me go MMMMM


Every time I explain to people about my new diet they look at me as if I must be suffering some great hardship. "No dairy, no soy, no potatoes, no legumes and no grains?!?!?" This is pretty much the same reaction I had pre-Paleo challenge myself. Truth be told it's not a sacrifice at all. Yes I'm spending more time in the kitchen and a bit more money at the grocery store but these sacrifices are investments in my overall health so it isn't even a point of debate. As far as giving up all the "fun food" that others crave: I haven't really noticed. Yes, I drove by Hardee's yesterday and envisioned the awesomeness of a buttery biscuit but I never really ate fast food crap before so why miss it now? Chocolate has been a bit of a sacrifice. I'm a woman, chocolate is more critical than ibuprofen ;) Lucky Larabar makes two products that contain unsweetened cocoa powder so I should be able to push through.
Good news is there are TONS of new favorite indulgences. The primary one for me being sunflower seed butter. I needed to find a substitute for my beloved PB and though skeptical at first, this stuff fits the bill. It has the same signature creamy consistency of great PB and its own awesome nutty taste. I've become a hardcore convert. However, running through a jar in one week is not going to get me where I want to be so I'm having to stagger my purchases of this goody. Another indulgence jerky. I'm a huge fan of Paleokits.org and their product. When I know it's going to be an extra long day and I won't have a way of keeping a homemade meal properly refrigerated I can just grab a balanced kit and go. PaleoBrands.com also has an awesome grass-fed beef jerky product that I recently discovered. Until I find the time and motivation to make my own product these two companies will be keeping me well fed.
Today I broke out the extra-virgin coconut oil for the first time. I sauteed some chicken tenderloins in the oil along w/ some curry spice then paired it with a salad and veggies to take into the office. Now my kitchen smells like Thailand and I can't wait for lunch! Coconut oil: try it out.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Life is setting in


Crazy busy life 24/7 these days: up at 5AM for a 6AM CF session then home to prep and package the days meals, in the office by 9:30AM and not home until 12 hours after that. The days are long and exhausting but I'm pushing forward. I haven't had much time to try a lot of new recipes. I did, however, break my two year beef-free streak this week. Grass-fed ground beef was a necessary relief from day in and day out of chicken. I seasoned it with one of my favorite spices (cumin) and served it atop avocado and tomatoes. I first approached the meal with trepidation but it was alot like eating a taco salad *fat kid favorite* so I dug into that dish for a few nights after work.
This morning I woke up, walked into the kitchen and just said "I'm not cooking today." Couldn't stand the thought of pulling out all the cookware and spending what few moments I had to myself in the kitchen. Solution: WalMart. No seriously, they have small roasted chickens for under $5. I ran over and intercepted the deli lady pushing a cart full of the freshly rotisserie'd birdies to the display case. Chicken in hand I grabbed a carton of strawberries and some bananas then flew home and proceeded to go truly Cave-woman on my bounty. We're talking no plate, just me and a chicken leg standing in the kitchen. YUM***I sliced up half of the breast and paired it with some delicious mache lettuce, avocado, grape tomatoes, EVOO, s&p. It was a super-fantastic salad later at work. It seems that I have quickly transitioned from craving toast to turkey. I don't think I've eaten this much meat in all of last month. It's delicious! Proud of myself for turning down POUND CAKE and Papa John's Pepperoni Pizza at work this week. Weighing in tomorrow~*

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week One: Grand Success


It's been a crazy busy week and the daily new recipe attempts along with multiple grocery store runs have certainly been an added responsibility but I'm loving it. Everything has been delicious and satisfying save for an off-putting encounter with "Paleo pancakes." Plus I love taking responsibility of my food from start to finish. I'm packing lunch every day: a salad with protein and avocado plus lots of fruit and veggie options should I become peckish. There is always a serving of nuts in my desk when the work day runs into night. I haven't wrestled with any cravings either. *phew* My only fear is that I may be consuming too many natural sugars by way of fruit. I'm partaking in navel oranges, fresh plums, apples, the post-workout banana and fun combos of frozen goodies like mango, pineapple and mixed berries. However, I hopped on the scale today and was shocked to see...WEIGHT LOSS! I feel like I've been pigging out all week and yet the numbers are once again descending *finally* Not too shabby for 7 days' work

One such indulgent dish: chicken tenders!

Skinned and trimmed chicken thighs
1 or 2 beaten eggs
Almond flour w/ liberal additions of your fav spices such as basil, thyme, paprika and a pinch of sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat a large skillet w/ some EVOO and while that heats up dip each thigh in the beaten eggs then coat in the seasoned almond flour mixture. Place the thighs in the hot oil and turn only once to prevent flaking of the batter. Cook thoroughly~*

This was so good! I thought for sure I was violating some rule because these little goodies were better than regular fried chicken. Not wanting to overdo my fat intake with nut flour and oil I will have to ration this dish to a once a week indulgence. The chicken was great straight out of the pan and later cold on my work salad. ENJOY

Monday, April 12, 2010

Delicious day 1


This morning's workout was deceptively evil and I have a sneaking suspicion I may not have full use of my arms by tomorrow. I sped home and served up Trader Joe's Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage for a good dose of protein. This was the one sausage product they made that didn't include any kind of dairy or sugar additive so it won out by default. Pretty tasty way to start the day.

Lunch at work was a mix of Persian cucumbers, spinach leaves and TJ's organic herb mix topped with chicken tenderloins smothered in the Primal BBQ Sauce. It was fantastic! I didn't even need salad dressing to accompany the bed of greens what with the sauce and the awesome flavors from the various herbs from the bagged mix ($1.99). I think this is a necessary repeat for tomorrow.

I snacked on Buffalo jerky today as well (TJ's $4.99). It was really tasty, but as I sat happily munching away I realized there was soy sauce in the ingredients list. Day 1 and I already fouled up! Finding products without soy is a little trickier than I had anticipated but I'm not discouraged. Can anyone recommend a Paleo-appropriate jerky?

So Day 1 was a grand success, I'm feeling accomplished and looking forward to more awesome creations.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ready, set, COOK

Just came home from a final pre-Paleo meal: mushroom, brie and goat cheese stuffed chicken breast with mashed potatoes and roasted zucchini plus a slice of garlicky ciabata bread and key lime pie for dessert. Yessir we celebrated in style. Now on to business! I'm in the kitchen simmering "Primal BBQ sauce" which I yanked from The Son of Grok: www.sonofgrok.com

1 6oz. can organic tomato paste
1.5 cups low sodium beef stock
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
2 Tbl. organic dijon mustard
2 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl. chili powder
1Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt

Dice veggies and combine everything in a sauce pan. Bring to a low temp then cover and simmer for 30ish minutes.

I had to make two modifications since I didn't bother to double check my spices before starting on this first foray: my garlic was in a less than ideal state so instead of chopping up 3 cloves I sliced several cloves in half and will pull them out after it is done simmering. Also, I may be using all cumin or a 1/2 chili powder and 1/2 cumin mix. I didn't label the spice bag from the co-op so I'm not sure exactly what just went into the pot. No matter, the kitchen already smells divine! Can't wait to try this on some chicken for lunch tomorrow.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Time to say goodbye

I found the inspiration/courage to "go Paleo" at the Crossfit Games VA/MD/DC sectionals competition last weekend. It wasn't the ripped athletes in perfect form that I found as encouragement, rather it was seeing the delicious foods that a fellow volunteer was digging into as well as the "OMG WOW" taste of PaleoKits.
Weight and food have been a lifelong issue. Tall from birth I stuck out and my peers immediately noticed this difference. Whether their taunts influenced my self-image or if I really did manage to pack on the pounds that quickly I don't know. What I do know is that food became my emotional outlet from as early on as kindergarten. It was the only thing I felt I could control. It was how I rewarded or punished myself. Bored or lonely? Eat! Happy? Eat! Trying to subconsciously delay studying or chores? EAT! Boy issues? BINGE!
I understood the need for proper nutrition. I just didn't understand nutrition. As a child I would eat bread and pasta instead of steak because I thought it was healthier! *tragic* Over the years I have been moving towards a more "all-natural" diet as well as one that frequently omits animal protein. I don't eat beef at all and rarely pork. Poultry and fish still grace my plate once a day if I can manage it. I've been following the Flat Belly Diet guidelines throughout 2009 and saw a 50lb. drop on the scale *yay* but my body composition isn't where I want it to be. I've been working out at a Crossfit gym for 3 months now and while I'm getting stronger there is still no way I'd walk the beach comfortably. So here we go: PALEO. People swear by it and I'm running out of ideas. I want to see my body change and be done with the constant obsession of "weight loss." My relationship with food is a healthy one these days. I'm a beautiful, happy woman. Coming in just under 5'10" and as a truly curvy size 10/12 I am weighing in very close to my goals. I love my natural hourglass, I don't want to be a flat chested stick insect. As an opera singer I realize that if God hadn't built me with several key physical attributes I wouldn't be the instrument that I am. I'm not fighting that, I am fighting the soft belly and remaining dietary weaknesses.
So these next few days will be spent studying up on all the rules of the caveman way and stocking my pantry with essentials. I will admit that I am currently eating the bad stuff, like some pathetic chain smoker about to kick the habit taking one last drag down to the filter: some hummus, pita chips, peanut butter, yogurt and chocolate before I bid it all adieu.
Have a very Happy Easter. I'm going to enjoy some of mom's famous Bunny Cake and collect recipes~*