Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paleo coconut pancakes

Yum! Recipe below:

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut milk
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
cinnamon to taste

coconut oil for cooking

First - make sure all your ingredients are room temperature.  I don't know why all the recipe sites do not tell you this but any recipe mix like this must be at room temp - the eggs, coconut milk and the flour (i keep mine in the fridge) all must be room temp or the batter will just be too thick.  I learned that lesson trying to make cream puffs and wondering why sometimes my paleo pancakes would work and sometimes not.  So.  That said... I basically just put all the ingredients in the bowl and mix them with a fork until the ingredients are blended.  You should be able to easily pour the mix into the pan.  I use coconut oil in the pan to fry the pancakes.  Let them cook on the first side so that you see some holes in them and then flip them.

If you must have your sugar - then at least use pure maple syrup please :-)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Knuckleheads Restaurant Wallingford CT

Friday, December 7, 2012 - a holiday shop and stroll night in downtown Wallingford, CT eventually brought us into Knuckleheads Restaurant for some pub fare.  After partaking of several holiday type foods offered by some local stores for the stroll crowd, I decided to cast my Paleo intentions aside and have a sandwich.

First, since this was a planned activity night for the downtown shops to bring folks into their stores and/or eating establishments it was a very busy night.  This was hubby's first time at Knuckleheads and he was dying to try it.  The restaurant was full and the line at the back was about eight people long when we got in.  We didn't have to wait too long to be seated.   Since I decided to go totally non Paleo tonight, and there is no Chardonnay on the menu, I had the Guinness to start.  As for the meals, I think the pictures tell more than any words can.

The corned beef sandwich was the perfect size for me and I enjoyed every bite.  After the sandwich I had little room left for the sweet potato fries.  They were a tad greasy for me but still delicious.
Oh and they actually had fried cheese curds and fried pickles as a special appetizer that night.  OMG.  I thought for one moment that I was in Wisconsin.  People were friendly, the service was quick and efficient, everyone was enjoying their shop and stroll night.  It's all why I love Wallingford so much.

 Corned Beef Reuben with Sweet Potato fries.

Grilled Chicken sandwich with regular fries.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Breakfast Kale

Kale, not your average every day breakfast that's for sure! I recently ran across a TED talk from Dr. Terry Wahls that's been on the internet for a while. In the talk she tells about how she has recovered from secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis and recovered.  Her research into the disease led her to discover how important a Paleolithic diet is to human health. Visit the link here: Watching the video made me realize that I still wasn't getting enough vegetables in my daily diet.

Dr. Wahl's diet consisted of three plates covered with vegetables a day, three cups of sulfur rich vegetables, three cups of bright color, grass fed meat, organ meat and seaweed.  She says that kale has the most nutrition per calorie of any plant as it's full of vitamins B, A C and K along with minerals.   We might think we are eating enough vegetables to get by, but once you write it down and pay attention you may realize you could be getting some more into your daily diet than you had been. One way to do this is to add more vegetables to your breakfast.  So on my way to three cups of green leaved vegetables a day I figured I'd start out with a nice plate of chopped kale sauteed in coconut oil.  I added a small piece of leftover pork for some protein (not grass fed unfortunately but hey I had to start somewhere...) and ended up with a nice power breakfast.  

Is there a way you can start to add more vegetables to your diet?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

SolToro Tequila Grill at Mohegan Sun Casino

Headed to the Mohegan Sun Casino in CT last week for a mini get away.  We originally thought we would get some steak but at the last minute decided to quell a continuing craving I've had for Mexican food.  SolToro Tequila Grill fit the bill.  We sat in the bar area so we could people watch while eating.  We ended up more interested in devouring the food than anything else.

Since this was our first visit, our friendly and knowledgeable waiter Chris gave us an overview of the menu and told us about the table side guacamole since I was definitely going to order that.   First off, I had the SolToro signature margarita, very fresh and tasty, to go with the freshly made guacamole.  We watched as the woman deftly separated and scooped out the beautiful ripe avocado flesh into a bowl, mashed it up and added a garlic, onion, lime, chili, lime and cilantro to make one of the best guac's I've ever eaten.  Chris had asked us if we wanted an order for two or four and although we chose the one for two we loved it so much the next time we'll get the serving for four.  It's really awesome and you don't get any fresher than made at your table!

The SolToro Signature Margarita and the Tableside Guacamole
 The other appetizer we ordered was the Shrimp Ceviche.  Fresh lively limed shrimp served in a martini glass was tangy and so fresh tasting.  We loved the tortilla chips as well.  Nice and light and crispy.

Shrimp Ceviche
Trying to maintain some semblance of a Paleo diet, I chose the Mixed Grill.  Beautiful presentation on the plate with a piece of cilantro-marinated filet mignon, adobo chicken, and pork tenderloin.  You can see in the photo the sauces that were added to the plate to make the nice presentation.  Not knowing exactly what they were but one tasted like a black bean mixture, I tried to stay away from it as pretty as it was... On a Paleo diet, legumes are a no-no.  The mixed grill did come with rice and beans though.  I had a taste of the rice which was ok.
Mixed Grill of Filet Mignon, Adobo Chicken and Pork Tenderloin

The other dinner was the Grilled Shrimp taco. You get a choice of three different tacos if you would like.  It's also serviced with rice and beans.  The shrimp was firm and fresh and topped with chayote slaw and salsa.  I didn't hear too much from my husband because he was too busy enjoying it.

Overall we had an excellent meal with plenty of good, fresh, hearty Mexican food.  We'll be back for more!

Our excellent waiter who graciously allowed me to take his photo :-)  Thank you!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chicago Paleo (and vegan) Meals Challenge

On a recent trip to Chicago, IL I wanted to see how I would fare with dining out while maintaining a Paleo diet as much as possible.  I decided to provide a mini review of a few places that we ate at to show the Paleo choices and challenges that we encountered in hopes of helping others to make it easier to find Paleo friendly food as well.

Day 1:  Hartford to Chicago

The trip started off at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT.  Ah, my first meal challenge on the road.  As with most airports I've been in, there is the usual line up of fast food joints and then the possibility of getting a salad either to go or dine in a restaurant.  The thought flitted across my mind t just say the heck with it and just eat what I wanted for the next few days since we were on vacation.  Like vacation gives me a Paleo free pass or something.... Instead, I managed to actually order something that was as close to Paleo as I could.  At the Black Bear Restaurant I chose the Wedge Salad.  It was a nice chunk of lettuce with some bacon, tomato, and cheese although I picked around the cheese.  It was pretty satisfying especially knowing that I was going to be eating at a nice restaurant in Chicago later that night.

Wedge lettuce salad

Hubby is non-Paleo.  Here he is digging into his sweet potato fries.  He also had some kind of sandwich wrap.  It's always a challenge to eat my way and watch him eat what I believe not to be healthy for him.  Sweet potatoes are good on Paleo but I don't think fried in vegetable oil is the way to go...  I kept thinking about Robb Wolf's joke about the "five fries".   If you want to know more about that, Google it :-).  

Sweet potato fries

Dinner - Chicago 312 and my previous blog on that meal
I had planned to blog about each meal as they happened but it just didn't work out that way.  I did blog about Chicago 312 Italian restaurant though because I wanted to do more of a single review on it.  The service was wonderful and I really enjoyed the restaurant.  My vibes must have gotten through because they had bison flank steak on the menu!  If not for the bison I would have chosen the Halibut especially since it is so nutrient rich in magnesium.  I try to think about what nutrients are in the food and pay attention to what my body needs at the moment.  I got the Bison instead because I see that on menus even less than halibut.  So not only did I get a chunk of bison protein, but my meal was chock full of veggies with the kale and yellow and green beans and topped with roasted red peppers.  Win win!  

Grilled Bison Flank Steak with yellow and green beens and sauteed Kale.

Day 2:  Chicago - downtown near the loop

Oh my what was I going to do for a Paleo/Primal breakfast when I'm used to eating leftover dinner or my fresh eggs from the farm down the street from me?  I'm thinking beef.  I know it would have been a miracle if it was grass fed but what the heck.  So, the first morning we ate close to our hotel at Beef 'n Brandy.

I decided to avoid the beef and go with the California Frittata.  I really was craving an avocado so it was a hit for me.  It was made with Avocado, spinach, tomatoes and a touch of onions with potatoes, topped with low fat mozzarella for $9.50.  I had them leave out the potatoes and I forgot about the cheese so I scraped that off since it was only on the top.  Nice satisfying breakfast though.  

California Fritta (minus the potatos) from Beef 'n Brandy

Lunch:  The Vegan/Paleo Challenge at Native Foods Cafe, Chicago

My stepdaughter is now vegan.  She has been wanting to try Native Foods Cafe so we went to the one in downtown Chicago.  Suffice it to say that vegan restaurants seem a little strange to me because they have very little vegetables on the menu.  If they just put some simple plain good whole food like vegetables it would really make it a lot healthier.  What we ended up with was very tasty although with some non Paleo caveats.  

My meal, the only thing I liked that did not have wheat grain, tempeh, seitan, or tofu or some other soy thing in it was the Grilled California Caesar salad.  I had them leave the "savory tofu croutons" off.  I didn't notice any grilled veggies on it either but as far as Caesar salads go - this one was excellent.  It was very filling, fresh, crispy, cold lettuce and it had a tasty zing of lots of garlic!  I guess it had some fake parmesan cheese on it and I don't know what the dressing was made out of either so I can't comment on that but it was delicious.

Grilled California Caesar Salad (vegan)

And, of all things to have a cheat on, it was the nachos.  They were awesome.  I had been craving some Mexican food and this is the thing that did me in.  Homemade corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with corn, green onions, cilantro and jalapeƱos.  I ate the beans although as few as possible and ate the chips as well.  The guacamole was heavenly and it was all very fresh.  It was also very very spicy hot. There were a lot of very hot jalapeƱo's on it.  We couldn't stop ourselves though and kept digging into it going back for more pain and the pleasure of the taste.

Nuevo Native Nachos (vegan)

Non-Paleo hubby had this wonderful Ensalada Azteca salad.  Fresh avocado, cucumber and jicama 
salsa, and mango on top of quinoa, romaine with mango lime vinaigrette. Also topped with currants, toasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro.  I wished I had gotten it instead of mine after I saw his.  Look at all the avocado!  I'm not so sure about quinoa as a grain, vs not a grain. I'm not a biochemist or botanist. I've read blog posts and references on it and can't seem to make up my mind who to believe.   I've tried it several different ways and it's just not tasty enough for me to bother eating it. 

Ensalada Azteca Salad

Heather got the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger. Paleo version without the bread would have been awesome for me!  But no, this was Seitan [wheat meat or wheat gluten]melted cheddar [vegan], caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon [vegan] on a bun [more wheat grains] slathered with BBQ sauce [aka sugar] and ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, onions, and tomato.  She thoroughly enjoyed it though!  

Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger (vegan)

All in all, I liked Native Foods Cafe and I also liked that the menu listed whether the food was gluten free or not.  That was really helpful in choosing a Paleo meal.   It it makes your stomach feel a little iffy after eating the soy and wheat gluten, I'd really recommend eliminating that from your diet for 30-45 days and see how you feel.  Since there are plenty of GF meals on the menu it would be easy enough to do and still eat here.

Dinner:  The Grillroom Restaurant, 33 W. Monroe, Chicago, IL 

First, they have GRASS FED BEEF!  OMG.  I had been searching for days for a steak house that served grass fed beef in Chicago.  We just stumbled upon this restaurant because one of the bellhops in front of our hotel (the Palmer House) recommended it.  We didn't want to walk that far (we were in the middle of a heat wave in Chicago) and we wanted to get some beef while in Chicago.  So for once, without me overanalyzing it, we tried it.  It was very quiet in there since we were there pretty early for dinner.  Nice typical steakhouse with the warm wood, nice quiet booths.  We got to sit in the back in a nice quiet spot.  Very nice.  I opened the menu and was shocked to see that it said grass fed!  I had to ask when the server came because I didn't quite believe it was real and it was for all the cuts of beef.  It was grass fed alright!  The prices were not bad at all.  Incredible   I got the 8 oz filet.  It came with a head of roasted garlic.  I also got Bernaise sauce which is probably not Paleo but I had just enough to flavor a few bites of the beef.  It had a nice lemon hint to it.  Beautiful.  Can you tell in the pics which plate was more Paleo than the other???  Hubby is still afraid to eat too much beef (even though this was grass-fed) so he always gets the smaller cut.  I was always told to get the larger cut of tenderloin because you don't get a line of grizzle in it - or something like that anyway.  To complete the meal, I got a plate full of veggies, the broccolini and spinach duo with olive oil and roasted garlic.  I was able to order more healthy veggies on this menu than at the vegan restaurant!  It was all lovely, simply lovely.

8 oz Filet - Grass Fed Beef, The Grillroom Restaurant, Chicago
6 oz Filet - Grass Fed Beef, The Grillroom Restaurant, Chicago

Broccolini and Spinach duo w/olive oil

Day 3 - Evanston, IL

Had to get to Evanston for daughter's graduation from Northwestern.  Left early by taxi and got there a lot earlier than expected.  It was good because we were able to have a nice breakfast in Evanston before the ceremony.  Just had an omelet and hubby had a large bowl of fresh fruit filled with mostly berries.  

Lunch:  Karyn's on Green, Chicago, IL

Graduation celebration brunch at Karyn's on Green, an "earth friendly vegan approach to contemporary dining" in Chicago.  Vegan.  Raw.  What is a Primal eater to do?  
Well, I was getting a lot more nutritional veggies than I think I've ever had on any vacation!  

Again, not too many things I could eat on the menu.  But I saw the Butternut squash coconut milk, guajillo oil, fried chickpeas soup.  Tasted wonderful.  Was worried about the chickpeas but there were only four of them and they were nice and crunchy at the bottom of the bowl.  Silky smooth, tasty soup.  Excellent.  For my meal I had the Kale red cabbage, apple, cashews, sesame vinaigrette.  Best I could do on the menu besides the dandelion salad.  That looked pretty good too.  The kale for a change was much better than when I eat it at home.  It's always a little too fibrous or something and gets in between my teeth and drives me crazy.  This was perfect and tastily dressed.  The pieces of cashew were a nice crunchy addition.

Kale Salad
Butternut Squash soup

And here's hubby's meal -- the beautiful dandelion salad and... some fried crab cakes - tempeh style.

 A couple of the other diners with us got the non-Paleo French Toast w/cinnamon, maple syrup, and toasted almonds.  Way beyond my style of carb load but they were smelled heavenly!

I loved the contemporary setting and space at Karyn's.  And I loved their mission statement - written on the wall for everyone to read:  "There is no judgement here - no good or bad - no right or wrong - just a chance for an earth friendly experience - for body mind and spirit, for you and your planet.  If you don't take care of your body, the most magnificent machine you'll ever be given, where will you live?"  

I learned something that afternoon.  It's really not about the food.  It's about feelings and connections and love and soul.

That's the end of my Chicago Paleo (and vegan) food tour for today.  Hope you enjoyed the photos and info and may this help someone to easily find some Paleo (or vegan) places to dine while in Chicago.  


Friday, June 15, 2012

312 Chicago Paleo Meal

312 Chicago Italian Restaurant in Chicago, IL.  It's an italian restaurant in downtown Chicago that I found when searching for a Paleo meal to enjoy while on vacation.  Normally you would not think of an Italian restaurant as a go to choice for a Paleo meal but this one seemed to fit.  I read that it had organic foods, and gluten free items on the menu.  With our love of Italian food and the fact that it had a few items that might fit for both of us we gave it a try.

Here are a few of the items we enjoyed:  First, the appetizer.  My husband loves octopus and usually gets some kind of ceviche or seafood mix for an appetizer so this one worked well.  Grilled Octopus with shrimp and assorted vegetables.  He loved it.  So that was his paleo non dairy choice. 

Next, my appetizer was one of my favorites and if it's on the menu I usually get it.  Here's the beef carpaccio.  Nice chilled slices of rare beef with some capers, arugula and thin slices of fresh mushrooms topped with slices of parmesan cheese.  Not exactly Paleo with the cheese but since I rarely eat dairy these days I went with it.

And for my Paleo meal they had Bison Flank Steak on the menu for a special!  I asked the waiter to see if they could substitute the potatoes for one of their vegetable side dishes and here it it... Yellow and green beans with Tuscan Kale topped with the Bison steak and some roasted red peppers.  Yum!

So, yes, Paleo can be done in an Italian restaurant!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Home Baked Bread and Memories

Bread baking and cooking and eating many gluten foods are deeply steeped in cultures and rituals of family, food, memories, and love.  I grew up waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread every Sunday morning when I stayed over at my Grandmother Bentley's house.  On Saturday night after she got out of work from the night shift at the convalescent home she worked at, she would start the bread dough.  By early morning after it had risen all night long there would be bowls of yeasty smelling bread dough ready to knead by hand and put into the bread loaf pans.  The smell wafting out of the oven of those freshly baked loaves of bread and the ensuing taste of warm buttered bread slices is one of my favorite foodie memories.  

Alas, my Grandmother's bread may have been the devil at the root of her diseases.   

Both of my Grandmother's hands and fingers were horribly disfigured from arthritis. She and other family members led me to believe it was caused from years of knitting (and probably kneading the dough too..).  Grandma Bentley also had diabetes that eventually caused her feet to lose circulation of blood and so afflicted that she could no longer walk.  And worse, she ended up dying from stomach cancer.  Hmmmm.  It couldn't have been caused by the gluten from the amount of breads and pastries that my grandmother baked and consumed could it?  It seems many people do not want to consider the growing evidence that gluten is the root of many autoimmune and other diseases.  What I hear from most folks when I mention the "grain connection" and a Paleo diet is how grains are healthy and good for them.   Unfortunately for my Grandmother, the evidence about gluten intolerance was not there.  Although she, like many others, might not have wanted to give up her bread and pastries either.  

My fond memories of growing up with the smell and taste of the best bread I have ever had in my life to this day is also why part of going Paleo is so hard.  My favorite part of the meal at a restaurant has always been the bread served at the beginning of it.  So I get why so many people are resistant to the idea of living without grains in their diet.  With the research being done now and when so many autoimmune diseases can be linked to gluten I had to see the writing on the wall and cut out the bread and other gluten  foods.  I want to be healthy into my old age and not follow into my Grandmother's footsteps ending up with diabetes and an autoimmune disease, both of which my be put in check from giving up the grain.  

If you are unsure what an autoimmune disease is here's a list of some of them: myasthenia gravis, Addison's,  Lupus, polymyalgia rheumatica, scleroderma, vitiligo, ulcerative colitis, and Graves'.  Other diseases and symptoms: alopecia, autoimmune thyroiditis, schizophrenia, depression, rheumatioid arthritis, fibromyagia, and something many would probably not even associate with anything other than what it is, recurrent urinary tract infection!  

So do your research, read about gluten and disease and make your decision.  I have my loving memories of my Grandmother and time spent with her baking bread and pies.  That's the good part.  Then I think about how she died and how it could have been different, how her end of life years could have been pleasant instead of riddled with pain.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Avocado Paleo Deviled Eggs

Avocado Paleo Deviled Eggs

8 hard boiled eggs (cut in half)
1 ripened avocado
4 Tbsp Kosciusko® mustard (made by Plochman's)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried parsley

Remove the cooked yolks and mix together with the mustard, avocado, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.  Mix preferably in a mini food processor for a smooth consistency.  Spoon mix into the egg halves and top with a pinch of dried parsley or other dried spices you might like.  Enjoy!

These are a great grab and go Paleo breakfast.

Note:  The Kosciusko® mustard ingredients are distilled white vinegar, mustard seed, water, salt and spices.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Whole 30 Days Finished!

It's an official Day 30 of the Whole30 for me because I started on January 3.  As I was making my delicious asparagus frittata for breakfast this morning and thinking over the last 30 days and how I felt in comparison to Jan. 3, a couple more aha's popped in my mind.

I have to say that besides feeling incredibly bloated and unhappy about my weight for the last few months I didn't have any physical issues like pains in my knees, hips, joints, etc.  No skin problems, except that extra layer that gravity has decided to pull over my upper eye lid so I can be sure to look like I have crossed over the half century mark.  And I get headaches very rarely and when I do I freak out because I'm just not used to it.  I was never overly tired and seem to be on a pretty even keel with energy for the most part.  Most of that is because I get at least 9 hours of sleep a day and I had been doing about a 75/25 lo-carb diet for the last four years.  It was only in the last few months that everything started to slip out of control.  On January 2 when I gorged myself of the remainders of the leftover carb and sugar-laden goodies from a New Year's Day party did I feel like I hit bottom.  If that's the biggest bottom I had to hit then I know I truly am blessed! Hah! :-).

So on Jan. 2 as I was laying around in my carb-laden state, surfing the net because I was unable to focus on anything else, I happened upon the Whole 9 Paleo Nutrition site.  I was already familiar with Paleo having had Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution Book for the last year.  I was trying to put some of the food concepts into practice but figured I'd never be able to actually stay on a Paleo plan for 30 days.  It took feeling so uncomfortable with myself that the Whole 30 plan seemed like the perfect way and plan to start.  I knew I needed to get back in control.

Now that it's over I can't believe 30 days has gone by already.  As I said in my last post, I am surprised that I had no problem with the dairy.  Two things that were the biggest changes for me were having a glass of wine with dinner during the week (I like to cook and eat around what wine would go best with the meal), and foregoing the can of diet Mt. Dew that I usually had every day after lunch.  The wine habit I am happy to give up during the week now and researching about the unhealthy effects of soda has made me happy to give that up as well.  But I really do miss the taste of that Dew!  But I don't miss that "medicine head" that I get from it after drinking it.

The one thing that I wanted to know from this 30 day experiment was whether my eating/drinking habits had any effect on how clear my mind was.  It took almost 30 days but I can say that my mind does feel clearer.  It's like an invisible band around my forehead has been removed.  Was it life-changing?  Not really.  But I now feel back in control with my eating habits, I now know that I can save $300 a month by not eating at work/out just for breakfast and lunch alone, and that's with buying the "expensive" fruits and vegetables and better cuts of meat (grass fed) and organic foods.

Finally, what next?  I am continuing on a modified plan of the Whole30, eating Paleo choices, and starting an exercise plan.  I feel good.  (think James Brown's song, nah nah nah nah nah nah nah) !

In love and health,

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ten Things I've learned from my Whole 30 Paleo experiment

Ten Things I’ve learned from doing the Whole 30 Experiment:

1.              I can drink coffee without cream.  Really. 
2.              I had no problem whatsoever giving up the cheese.  It is actually possible to eat an omelet without cheese.  Who knew?
3.              I now know what the cafeteria at work uses to coat the grill with – soy spray from a can.  It kept me away from having my daily egg white with cheese omelet.
4.              I also learned that the butter the grill cook uses is clarified.  Yay!  I had a few squirts of that on some tasteless looking broccoli one day.  Saved me from getting whiney over what was for sure to be a yucky lunch day.
5.              I can make it through the week without wine.
6.              Strangely enough I didn’t have any sugar cravings until around day 11 which came disguised as a craving for Friday night wine.  Crafty sly sugar brain…
7.              I finally realized just how much money I was spending a month eating out between work and after work.   Now I can afford Cross Fit if I can actually get there to start the On Ramp program.
8.              I learned what to do with the rest of tomato paste (freeze it in an ice cube tray).
9.              I love coconut even more than I thought.  And I love Ghee too!
10.         And most importantly, it’s not about the food after all.  It’s about learning how to be non-judgmental about myself and others.

Today is actually Day 27.  It's no problem to make it through the next three days strictly following the plan.  In addition to the above 10 items, I have learned I really enjoy eating this way.  Is it tough to stick to it?  It sure is when confronted with situations outside of my home environment.  Besides going to work, I pretty much stayed home the whole month.  I don't know how I would have fared if I had a bunch of eating out, celebration challenges.  The few events I did have to attend were tough and I wasn't 100% compliant but they were little slips and I made it through it still feeling pretty good about my choices.

End result?  I'm going to go another 30 days...  with exercise this time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 20!

OH My.  Only ten days to go.  Day 20.  Time is starting to go by faster now.  The first week crawled by.  Now the days are starting to blur together.  Missed our Saturday shopping trip because of the snow storm in CT.   I was so focused on making the Paleo coconut crepes that I forgot about meals for the rest of the day.  After spending a few hours out in the freezing cold taking photographs of snow crystals I was really hungry and did not have anything for a quick bite.  Instead I munched on one tiny piece of pineapple leftover from breakfast, guzzled some water, threw some chicken legs into the oven and went back out in the cold to continue photographing.  Hunger pangs go away pretty quickly when you fill up on water and you are busy with a project :-)

An early dinner consisted of the baked chicken legs and then I made a turkey shepard's pie.   Will post pics and recipe on that later.  That was one of the tastiest meals I've had so far.  

Today, back to the "cow store", Stew Leonard's in Newington.   Look at how beautiful the rows of nice veggies are.   Not that these are organic but I really like cucumbers for lunch.  Stew's food always looks so fresh.  And I'm getting used to the maze that takes you through the store.  It used to irritate the heck out of me walking through there but when you bypass so much of it to get to just to the fruits, veggies, seafood and meats it makes the journey through the store much quicker. It is pretty funny going through the cheese section with words "gotta have cheese" sung out of the speakers by the animatronics in the cheese section.
I look at the whole shopping trip now as an experience rather than a chore.  Just another way of thinking about food!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 19 with Paleo Crepes

Woo Hoo!  It's Saturday. Thank you GOD!  A friend was going to have a cooking class for a few friends and make ham and asparagus crepes, normal style.  I was going to attend and try to make the same Paleo style.  Alas - her event had to be cancelled so it gave me a change to try it at home.  Hubby got the benefit of this delicious feast and helped in the process.

Paleo Style Crepes:

Mix together all the following ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 eggs (cage free if you can get them)
3 Tablespoons Organic Coconut milk (in a can) full fat - without any sugar
2-1/2 Tablespoons water
pinch of salt

Use an 8" crepe pan.  I used a teflon coated one which helped the crepe to just slide off.  If anyone knows where to find a non-teflon crepe pan please let me know... I'd like to get away from teflon if possible.

Heat the pan.  Add some coconut oil.  Add 1/3 of the batter or just enough to be able to spread the batter all around the pan.  The batter should have a runny enough consistency to easily slide from side to side.  It did take me until the second batch and the fifth crepe before it came out as nice as in the picture.  

I had previously microwaved some asparagus.  I used the crepe pan to heat up some baked, low sodium ham - as Paleo/Whole 30 as I could find it... added that to the crepe rolled it up and added it to the beautiful fruit plated dishes he had ready.   The coconut flour really did the trick.  The crepes had the flexibility that would not be there is you use almond flour.  The added benefit is they are slightly sweet (probably to those who have not been eating any sugar for a while).   It was an awesome breakfast for a snowy New England morning.  Gave us the energy to go out and deal with the snow later. :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 17

Still hanging in there on Day 17.   Getting into the routine of buying, preparing, and generally keeping a steady food stock in my kitchen.  My next step is finding a local farm for my supply of grass fed beef.  I did find the list of the farms on this wonderful Eat Wild website.  Now it's just a matter of going to get the beef!   Or chicken or pork.  I am so happy to find out that I can go to a local farm for some great, grain free, sustainable food sources.  We won't have time to get to any this weekend but hoping for a food run by the end of the month.

Only had one temptation day in work so far.  We had a Department social with lots of "rewarding" sweet food.  I really would have loved to have tried the butterscotch/chocolate chip brownies because they smelled so good but it wasn't that hard to leave them alone.  My observation that day was that here I was on my "plan" and avoiding the sweets and it was somewhat of a challenge to me yet no one else in the room was eating the cake, cookies, and brownies either and it was no big deal to them at all.  It was an eye opener for me.  If I wasn't on Whole 30 I probably would have been the only one in the room eating one and the last one that should have been either if one as measuring body size... So, saved again by Whole 30 and I continue on!

Today I had leftover filet mignon from New Year's day for breakfast and blueberries.  Not grass fed but it was what I had available to eat.  Therefore my need to fill the freezer with the right kind of beef.  Lunch was a HUGE spinach salad with asparagus, tuna and sliced almonds.  Dinner, leftover pork tenderloin, broccoli, more blueberries with some coconut milk on top.

Time for some eye appealing dinners for more photos.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment

Yeah - this is a good celebrating paleo night.  Just because it's the weekend, Gridiron Greats Magazine is on its way to our subscribers, we have not eaten out since December 31, and lobster was on sale at our favorite grocery store.  All good good good!

Meal of the day:  Lobster.  Lots of it.  We cooked it ourselves on the grill outdoors in about 30 degrees F weather no less.  Since we have a flat top cook top we thought the big pan would be boil the water faster and fit the two lobsters if we cooked them on the side of the grill outside.  Still had to cook one at a time.  They were pretty big lobsters.  So happy we had some awesome Ghee to go with the lobster.  So for once, hubby got to actually have some buttery taste with his lobster.  He cannot eat dairy at all so me going Whole 30 and dropping the dairy just got us on the same page.  I discovered Ghee, and now he gets to have that taste he liked without the dairy.  The added fun part is that when I take the top off the Ghee, my cat, Angie comes running.  She LOVES the taste of the Ghee.  I'm sure it helps to keep her furs and coat nice and soft as well as helping with our own skin.

To get our fill of veggies I made a broccoli salad - cooked broccoli, fried up some non nitrite bacon, sliced up some grapes, chopped up some almonds since I had no sliced almonds in the house (ut oh) , and instead of making some paleo mayo, we decided - who needs that anyway and just squeezed some lemon over the broccoli.  It worked perfectly.

Happy eating everyone!  I know I'm enjoying this immensely.  :-)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 8

Another lovely Paleo day here in Connecticut on the Whole 30 plan.  I haven't noticed any real difference in my sleeping patterns yet.  I guess I expected that I'd be sleeping soundly ALL through the night and would wake up feeling refreshed and ready to just jump out of bed with all the energy I have stored up from eating such a marvelous diet.  Alas, that is not the case.  The only thing that has improved is that my husband commented that my snoring is not as bad as it usually is so I guess that's an improvement although not as outstanding as I expected.  I also suppose that once I get into a regular work out or exercise routine that will help too.

Here's the food primer for today.  I decided to listen to my body and my body said it wanted fruit.  I haven't been eating very much fruit for some time so it was time to try something different for a change (I usually have eggs and something).  So for a real treat since I made it to DAY 8 I had blueberries and raspberries covered with coconut milk and a liberal dosing of ground cinnamon.  OMG.  Well I found my new favorite treat.  Who needs sugar when you have something this good?  And no, the coconut milk did not have sugar it in.

As I was preparing my lunch to take to work I finally realized that the reason I had gotten so out of control with my food choices is that I wasn't preparing anything!  I was running out of the house every day without making breakfast or lunch, eating at the cafeteria at work every morning then at lunch time or I would go out.  Then once I got home I had no ideas or plans of what to make so usually it was another night out at a restaurant or bring home take out food from a good restaurant but take out nonetheless.   So that was my epiphany for the day.  I didn't have the best leftovers or lunch idea for today so it was the chicken wing leftovers with lots of organic baby spinach and cucumber.  We have a great cafeteria with a pretty varied salad bar so I added some asparagus, tuna, roasted red pepper (not out of the jar) and brussels sprouts to it.  It ended up way too much to eat it all at lunch and it was very satisfying.

Dinner started out with a plan to make some talapia with a recipe off the coconut milk can.  I got it all prepped with cut up red and green peppers, onions, garlic all ready to saute and then I took a look at the pre-frozen now thawed talapia.  One of them was GREEN! gag.  For a brief moment I thought this whoe Paleo thing was really going to my head and I was seeing things.  Not.  Ok so toss the fish and make note to myself to make sure I don't buy frozen talapia anymore.   Plan B.  Chicken sausage with red and green peppers, onion, garlic.  The sausage was from my favorite Stew Leonard's store from their fabulous "naked" food product line which meant no hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, etc. just chicken, peppers, and garlic.  Not bad.  Cooked up a batch of broccoli rabe and mixed it all together.  Perfect.  I guess if my camera is not right in front of my face I forget to take a picture.   That reminds me though I did take a picture of my lovely breakfast...  And, I was not hungry again until noon.  Now that was a surprise since it was just a small bowl of fruit.  Love that coconut milk!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paleo whole 30 experiment day 7

I'm a day late posting for day 7 but wanted to get it in anyway. Yayyy I made it through another day 100% no cheating no tastes of anything off the plan. For those of you who happened to stumble across this post, the Whole 30 is a 30 day challenge to eat healthy and to put it simply, eating the Paleo way with a diet oflean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables. See their site for more info and my post from day 1.

Ifelt much better on Monday than i did on Sunday. I Took a vigorous walk and felt off kilter after that. Could have been a blood sugar drop. Don't know but i felt great Monday.

Morning of day 8

Just had a nice egg white omelet with natural cooked sliced turkey breast and spinach and finally got to use my ghee. Wow. I love the smell of that ghee warming up in the pan.

Eye round roast has been started in the crockpot for dinner and i expect that to be a tasty event. A couple of friends are stopping over for a short visit so that will be my first situation in a week where I may be presented with the social hour challenge so to speak.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 6

Day 6.   Wonderful Sunday morning.  Church in the morning at 8AM.  What did I forget about?  The bread for communion!  First time ever that I took the rice cake and the water instead of bread and grape juice.  I know there are those who would say it's only a little piece of bread... but for this plan even one piece is not what I wanted to eat.  Thankfully there are options.  I could have made my way through the grocery store the other day just tasting all those little pieces of food samples but I didn't.  You see how this way of life eating and such is about much more than just the food.  It's about choices, and willpower, and motivation, and much much more.  It's about making food at home instead of running to a restaurant.  It's about exercising and starting to feel better.  Although I have to say, that my husband and I went for a walk this afternoon and it was a very hilly walk.  Not the best way to start out because it wiped me out instead of making me feel energized.  Just goes to show us how we need to work on that aspect more.

So, I continue on and share more great meals we've been creating and eating and photographing!

Steak Soup
grass fed eye round beef steaks chopped, browned, and coooked in the crockpot with some yellow peppers, onions, and tomato paste, and beef broth.  Wow was it tasty.

For dinner, hubby made some shrimp sauteed with olive oil, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.  Using up the rest of the veggies from last nights meal.  I wasn't in the mood for anything else fried so I boiled up some of the shrimp for myself and ate a couple of those plain with some asparagus.

On to a good week 2.  We have leftovers, plenty of fruits and veggies and planned out a few days worth of meals.  We have had our seafood weekend but I will be adding in some salmon this week.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 5

Day 5 of my dramatic lifestyle change...  Today started out well with a nice egg omelet with fresh spinach and tomatoes and a slice of deli chicken.  The deli chicken was gluten free, no antibiotics, yada yada.  Let's just say it fit the list and didn't list any strange ingredients nor did it have any sugar in it.  

I started a crock-pot of what was going to be a meat chili but turned into steak soup.  I chopped up four grass fed eye round steaks, quickly browned them and threw them in the pot.  Then I added a cut up yellow pepper, some minced shallots and garlic, and then some beef broth.  I didn't have any tomato sauce that worked for me but then I realized that tomato paste is only that - tomatoes.  Unless there is some other reason why that is not a good thing, then this is what I'll be using as a tomato base for anything that needs it.  No sodium, no sugar, no citric acid.  Works for me.

I went grocery shopping and stocked up on  some things.  Got a lot of fruits and veggies, some shrimp, scallops, and all things Paleo.  By the time I got home I was really hungry.  A couple more slices of the chicken meat with a cucumber before the shopping trip just didn't hold me too well.  Then I finally started having some pings of sugar cravings.  It doesn't help that all you smell all the way through Stew Leonard's is old fashioned donuts cooking and every section it seems someone is trying to get you to eat a sample of their food.  It's a really strange store.  You make your way through this maze so that rule of shopping on the ends for the produce and the meat doesn't hold true for Stewies :-).  More on the store on another post because I took pictures of my shopping trip.  They really have a beautiful presentation of food.

But, since I was starved when I got home and it would be a while before we ate the scallops I quickly baked up a batch of what Stew Leonard's calls "naked" for their no antibiotics, no hormone, organic chicken.  I was so hungry by the time they were finished and I didn't have any other emergency snacking food that I ate quite a few of them.

How do you like the "naked" chicken wings?  :-)  Baked with nothing more than some italian dried spices on them.

For the dinner (geez all I did was either think about food, buy food, make food and eat food today all day!) I made a 

Mediterranean Scallops

I pretty much followed a recipe off of a paleo website that is now defunct.  I used cherry tomatoes and added 1/2 a bag of fresh spinach and tossed it in the pan to wilt it down at the end and put that with the dish.  

Look at these fresh scallop beauties!  Beautiful dry packed scallops to give you that nice browned look when cooked and without the preservatives!

Voila!  The finished Mediterranean Scallps dish.  It was as yummy as it looks.

Observations from today are that first I had my first sugar cravings.  Not bad but mostly because I didn't plan correctly and eat enough for lunch.  Second, I am having no desire for alcohol at all which is the most surprising to me especially since this is day 5 and it's a weekend... Third, I'm happy that I am getting to not only eat better, but I'm finally using my camera to practice food photography, and actually posting photos every day.  All good!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 4

Day 4.   And it's a Friday too.  No problem getting through the day.  Had leftover pork and cauliflower from the other night for breakfast.  Then leftover turkey muffins with brussel sprouts for lunch.  Lots of water throughout the day helped as well.   Tonight's dinner:  julienned zuchinni, nuked for a couple of minutes and added chopped fresh garlic and some olive oil.  Not sure about the olive oil thing.  I haven't used it a lot on these meals, just a sprinkling here and there. I had heard a cooking tip where you sprinkle the olive oil on the food after cooking it, not while cooking it as it will turn the flavor so I've been following that rule for some time.  The meat was baked chicken breast with herbs.  Simple meal but yummy.   

This experiment has more benefits than getting healthier.  It's been five days since hubby and I have gone out to eat either breakfast, lunch or dinner.  That's a record in itself!  The money we will be saving from this experiment will far outweigh the cost of the organic food.   Tomorrow is a trip to Stew Leonard's, a local grocery store that has grass fed beef, lots of beautiful fruits and veggies and organic food.