30 Day Paleo Challenge: Days 5,6, and 7

Today is Day 7 of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge, which means I almost made it through a whole week!  I’ll do a weekly recap with my thoughts so far, but let me tell you how the last few days.  I mentioned that I was worried about weekends in terms of difficulty maintaining this eating style, but it hasn’t been that bad.

Day 5:

Let me start by saying: Friday night was the worst day. 

Oh it wasn’t that bad…

There was a potluck at work.  I took a salad and enjoyed that.  Not eating the rest of the food wasn’t too bad.  I think a lot of it was that I wasn’t particularly hungry when noon rolled around.  Passing up Vietnamese Spring rolls and banh mi sandwiches was tough, but not the worst thing on Earth.

Friday night on the other hand was probably the worst thing on Earth.  I should probably publicly apologize to my boyfriend, because I was in a terrible mood.  I made lettuce wrap shrimp tacos (I was too meh to even take a picture of them) and after we finished them, I felt like I hadn’t eaten anything.  I ate a banana with almond butter to supplement, then I cried.  Low point of the challenge I hope.

I really just wanted bread and cheese and wine, but wasn’t going to happen.

Day 6:

Saturday wasn’t so bad.  I had a wedding to go to and I survived!

Those wedding favors were left on the table and I passed up cake…

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That I marginally helped my co-worker assemble.  But honestly, the hardest part of the wedding was not drinking wine and eating the bread that was served along side pasta.  But luckily this wedding was buffet style and had a Mexican and an Italian station, so I could pick what to put on my plate.  I had some fajitas without the tortilla and some grilled vegetables from the Italian station.  It all worked out.

Day 7:

Daylight savings totally threw me off today.  I had to be in LA at 11am.  So I woke up thinking I could have an awesome breakfast but no time for that since I woke up 9:45 NOT 8:45.  Instead I had the usual, then headed to a brunch potluck for a friend’s birthday.  I brought fruit salad.  I ate breakfast before going (the usual paleo pancake and smoothie).

While I was there, I had lots of fruit and some salmon (meant to go on a bagel with cream cheese, but none of that for me).  There were tons of delicious looking breakfast pastries and bagels and such.  I’m realized my strategy is to just not look at it.  It totally works.  I did it yesterday with the wedding too.  I just didn’t look at the cheese and cracker appetizers.  Out of site, out of mind?

After the brunch, a friend and I walked around the Melrose flea market.  By the time I left it was about 3:45pm and I was already hungry with an hour drive home.  I had packed snacks (almonds and an apple) but in my rush to get out the door this morning, I completely forget them!  So in my panic of hunger, I stopped by Costco on the way home and picked up a rotisserie chicken.  I ran in the door and threw this together.

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Really, that’s just a pile of arugula.  I can’t even call it a salad.

I can’t believe I didn’t eat my arm off, because I was starving.  I actually ended up eating about half of a chicken breast in addition to that.   Starving.

Now, all I can think about is eating an enormous brownie with ice cream on top.  Instead, I’m going to prep my lunch for tomorrow.

How’d your weekend go?

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30 Day Paleo Challenge: Days 3 & 4… Epic Paleo Dinner

Cauliflower is totally having a moment.

I’m obsessed.  A few years ago, Kale was all the rage.  Now it seems like Cauliflower is all over the world (and by the world I clearly mean the big world of food blogs and Pinterest).  Since I’ve been eating the same things for breakfast and lunch that past few days (Day 1 and Day 2), I decided I needed to make something awesome for dinner and cauliflower would be included, because all the cool kids are doing it.

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Jesse and I have dinner together pretty much every Wednesday night, so this seemed like a good opportunity to show off my paleo cooking skills.

Chicken and Sage Mushrooms over Cauliflower Puree

inspired sorta by Real Simple

1 head of Cauliflower, chopped
2 slices of bacon
3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs*
10 oz sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder

Put cauliflower in a pot with some water to boil.  Boil about 20 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime, in a skillet, cook 2 pieces of bacon.  Remove from pan and allow to cool once cripsy, chop then set aside.  Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  In the same skillet, cook the chicken until done (about 5-6 mins per side).

Remove chicken from pan and turn off heat.  Reserve that pan to cook the mushrooms in, but make the cauliflower puree.  Drain the cauliflower and put in the food processor with salt and garlic powder.  How much?  It depends on your palette.  I use a good amount of both (maybe 1/2 tsp? start there then taste it add more if necessary). Puree until smooth.

Next make the mushrooms, turn the heat back on to medium and throw the mushrooms in the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Add sage, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two.  Add in bacon, toss and turn off heat.

Next assemble the dish.  Lay some cauliflower puree on a plate, top with a piece of chicken, some mushrooms, then sprinkle with parsley and serve!  This will serve 2-3 people, depending how hungry they are

*I fit more pieces of chicken in the pan and made about 6 so that I had leftovers.  You can do the same.  This will make meals a lot easier for the rest of the week!  But if you want to make this for 2, you can also just make 2 pieces of chicken and it all works out fine 🙂

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I fed this to Jesse and his first question was: “This is Paleo?”

Yes.  It is.  And super tasty too.  I felt totally gluttonous while eating this!

Paleo Challenge Update:

Day 3:

Day 3 was the hardest so far, but even then, it wasn’t so bad.  I was just hungry and munchy (maybe a little stressed?).  Luckily, I’ve been overpacking when it comes to food at work.  I also took a bag of almonds to stash at my desk.  I’m glad I had them yesterday, because it was Bagel Wednesday at work…

I ate my lunch with a stack of bagels in the background.

I stayed strong though! No bagels!

Day 4:

Better than Day 3.   Breakfast and lunch were the same as above.

For dinner, I came home and had leftover cauliflower puree with some mushrooms, the remains of a week-old rotisserie chicken (I really hate throwing food away!), a banana with almond butter and some mango chunks to kill my craving for cake.

Now I need another epic dinner idea for tomorrow!  Any suggestions?

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Day 2

It’s only been two days, but I think during the week, this challenge won’t be that bad for a few reasons:

  1. I have a schedule, and I’m busy at work.  That means I’m not sitting at home boredom eating.  Most days I look at the clock around 12:30 and think How is it past noon already?  Time flies.
  2. I’m totally ok with eating the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch.

I had yogurt, banana and almond butter every single day for months.  Having a paleo pancake and a green smoothie is perfectly fine by me.  You’ll probably get tired of reading about it before I get tired of eating it.

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Day 2 lunch was pretty similar to Day 1, and Day 3 (today) will be exactly the same as Day 2.

lunch

Ground Turkey with leftover sweet potato “home fries” and cabbage with lime and salt (I love this combo! My mom made it all the time when I was little and I’ve loved it ever since).  I also packed an apple, some strawberries and some cuties.

My strategy is to overpack snacks to avoid having one of those moments where I feel like eating the world but there’s nothing healthy/paleo to eat.  So far it’s been fine, I ended up only eating one of the cuties and had the apple after dinner.

For dinner, I was at my sister’s house, because my nephew is just so stinkin’ cute it was time to pay them a visit.

After Graham had his dinner of breastmilk (or formula? I actually have no idea), we had shrimp with butternut squash.  Pretty tasty.

So that way Day 2.  Let’s hope Day 3 goes as well as the past two.  I have a potentially EPIC dinner planned tonight.  Or it might be meh.  I’ll keep you posted!

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Day 1

Today is Day 1 of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge!

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I’m psyched.  I’m sure my family, friends, co-workers, twitter followers, etc. are tired of hearing about it already, but I’m into it.

This morning I felt a little unprepared to begin the challenge.  Not because I wanted a hamburger, but this morning after I made my green smoothie and paleo pancake for breakfast…

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I realized I was out of vegetables.  I put away an entire bag of Costco spinach by myself in less than a week.

Womp. But I made due with what I had.

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Last night I cooked some ground turkey with onions and peppers.  Today I mixed it with frozen peas and carrots then topped it with avocado (ended up eating 1/4).  For a filling, paleo-friendly lunch.  I also had a carrot and some strawberries.  I packed some cuties in case I got hungry, but I only had 1 (wasn’t even hungry just wanted something sweet).

Looking at my lunch, it reminded me of when I was in grad school and I was too busy to cook and too cheap to buy lunch so I would pack a clif bar, a carrot and an apple and call it a day.

Today was slightly different.  My lunch today was definitely more filling.

Around 6pm, I thought it’d be a good idea to get dinner started.  If there’s one thing I’m realizing it’s that this paleo challenge is going to make me have an actual dinner.  Ordinarily, I’m used to just sort of having snacks for dinner (i.e. tortillas with beans and cheese, or random bites of left overs with a handful of chocolate chips… not my finer moments).

So today I decided to keep up with the use-what-you-have trend.  Over the weekend, since I baked a million pies (or 3), I had 5 egg whites that needed to get used.  So dinner was themed around that…

dinner

Scrambled Egg Whites with Peppers and Onions and Spicy Sweet Potato “Home Fries”

Now these home fries aren’t really home fries.  They’re just super quick sweet potatoes that I think are tasty.

What You’ll Need to serve 1-3 people:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 mini sweet pepper or 1/4 red/yellow bell pepper
  • Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Chili Powder, Paprika, Cayenne

Step 1: Microwave sweet potato until cooked (depending on size 5 mins ish? I think mine took 6 minutes)
Step 2: Chop some onions and peppers and add to a pan with a bit of oil.
Step 3: Chop the sweet potato into chunks and add to the pan with some salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika and cayenne (all to taste).
Step 4: Turn up the heat, once the sweet potatoes are browned and sort of crisp, serve with your scrambled egg whites!

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Ta-da! Dinner!  I ended up topping it with the 1/4 of the avocado that I didn’t eat earlier.  Pretty tasty.

I won’t lie.  I really wanted to add ketchup to this mix, but alas, not paleo friendly.  Also this was a HUGE meal.  5 egg whites is a lot of egg.  Just saying.

How about you?  Did you make dinner tonight?  What’d you make?

Pies before Paleo

This weekend consisted of lots of eating.  I’m definitely ready to start the paleo challenge tomorrow.  I feel like my body needs a cleanse.

Friday night, as I had mentioned, I went to Newport Landing for OC Restaurant Week.

I had Manhattan Clam Chowder, Potato Wrapped Salmon, and Molten Chocolate Cake.  Tasty!

Then Saturday night, there was another birthday dinner at an Argentine restaurant in San Diego called Puerto La Boca.  Jesse and I headed down to San Diego a bit early.  We sat at the bar and had a drink ($3 wine!) while we waited for everyone to arrive.

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By the time dinner happened (about 9pm?), we were starving.  Empanadas, Bread with Chimichurri, Meat, Salad, French Fries.  All tasty (and garlic-y like woah).

Then today, a co-worker is having an engagement party.  I offered to bring pies.

He requested Avocado Pie (because he loved it last time)

avocadopie

A Banana Cream Pie using this recipe from Epicurious.

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And Chocolate Mousse  (I’m totally NOT happy with how this one looks.  Womp.  But hopefully it will taste awesome!)

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This is by no means a normal weekend, so I definitely feel ready to eat normal food.

How about you?  Ready for the Paleo Challenge?

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I’m totally pumped!  I keep talking about it.  I think my boyfriend is already annoyed.

Pretty soon I’ll turn into one of those people…


 

“Is this Paleo?”

30 Day Paleo Challenge: The Countdown and a Paleo Pancake

It’s Friday!!!

The challenge officially starts on Monday

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But the last few days I’ve been easing into it.

Breakfast was full paleo this morning.

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Green Smoothie + Paleo Pancake+ Almond Butter + Coffee

Let’s talk about the Paleo Pancake.

paleopancake

I discovered this on Carrots N Cake a while back and have been eating it for a few months.  I’ve seen it around the web as well, but I finally found the combo (and method!) that I think is the tastiest.

Paleo Pancake

3/4 of a banana large banana (or 1 small)*
1 egg
splash of vanilla extract

Slice the banana and put it in the magic bullet cup.  Crack the egg in there as well.  Add the vanilla.  Blend until smooth.  Alternatively you can mash the banana and just mix it in a bowl, but I found that the magic bullet really made it smoother and tastier.

Heat a small skillet (sprayed with a bit of cooking spray) over medium heat.  Add the batter and turn the flame to low, cover with lid.  Cook about 3-4 minutes until you shake it and it no longer giggles (it takes a bit of time).  Flip and cook for an additional minute or two.  Turn onto a plate and slather with almond butter!  Delish!

*the other 1/4 of your banana can just be sliced on top or used in a green smoothie!  I found that if you put too much banana then your banana to egg ratio is off and the pancake breaks.  I’ve also tried with 2 eggs and that just tastes too eggy to me, but try it if you’d like!

I used to think my Magic Bullet was totally useless, but now I’m finding new uses for it!

Also I should note… Please please please don’t expect this to taste like a regular pancake.  That’s just impossible.  But it is tasty and definitely worth a try!  Not to mention that it kept me full for a really long time.

For lunch, I packed some spinach salad with peppers, pickles and avocado, left over rotisserie chicken, and cuties.

paleolunch

There were food trucks parked outside my office building

But I passed that up, not only in anticipation of the Paleo Challenge but because…

For dinner, I’m headed out.  I semi-feel like I’m going out of mainstream eating with a bang.  This week is OC Restaurant week.  So I’m going to dinner to celebrate some friends’ birthdays at Newport Landing.

Surprisingly the thing I’m looking forward to is NOT dessert!  This Potato Wrapped Atlantic Salmon sounds aaaa-mazing.

What’s on your agenda for the night?