Paleo Eats: 7/21/11

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The first day after getting off my week of nightshifts is kind of rough. There’s ALWAYS some sleep debt that lingers which makes me a wee more snippy than usual. That being said, after going Paleo for over a year, my recovery from graveyard shifts is quicker and less painful. Plus, my kids have told me that I’m a nicer mommy and that’s all that matters.

Enough blathering. Let’s get to my chow for today…

At breakfast, I was pressed for time so I chopped up some odds and ends and put them on a small plate: sliced sous vide chicken breast, chopped tomatoes, leftover roasted portobello mushrooms, and Aubergine dip.

After dropping Big-O off at summer camp, Lil-O and I played at the park and took a trip to Penzeys to restock my spice rack. I bought a HUGE bottle of Sunny Paris

…and two blends I’ve never tried before (Chili 9000 and Sunny Spain). 

For lunch, we met my parents at Jack’s Prime for some burgers. I ordered a Big Jack (double cheese burger with bacon) with extra avocado but no bun, cheese, or sauce.

I felt peckish a few hours later so I snacked on a handful of macadamia nuts, some SeaSnax seaweed, and a few Bing cherries. (BTW — the SeaSnax are Whole30-approved AND you can get free shipping if you use the code “w9fs”.)

At dinnertime, I made a simplified version of Damn Fine Chicken where I subbed in Sunny Paris seasoning for the chopped shallots/onions.

For the veggie sides, I broiled sliced eggplant brushed with virgin red palm oil…

…and finished with balsamic vinegar and chopped basil…

…and sauteed heirloom Italian broccoli with minced garlic, Red Boat fish sauce, and balsamic vinegar.

Here’s my dinner:

Time for sleep! 

Rogan Josh (Lamb Stew)

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I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Indian food. I used to trek all over the Bay Area just to taste a great masala dosa or special thali. Although I still love the complex and intense flavors of Indian food, it’s hard for me to resist the grains and legumes when I see them on the menu. Now that I’m comfortably settled on the Paleo bandwagon, my Indian eats have been few and far between. That’s why I was so excited to find Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for Paleo Rogan Josh. Rogan Josh is a spicy and aromatic lamb stew that would be uber hard to make if it weren’t for the magic of Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning. I whipped some up this morning, with some minor tweaks, and it was super easy and delicious.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 1 pound of lamb stew meat, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
  • 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning
  • ½ cup of coconut milk
  • ½ cup of water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I assembled and chopped my ingredients and preheated my oven to 300 F.

I don’t know about you, but despite what the label says, this doesn’t look like ground lamb to me…

I heated the coconut oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and tossed the lamb with salt and pepper. Once the pot was hot, I seared my lamb chunks in a single layer for about 4 minutes undisturbed on each side.

I removed the browned lamb to a separate plate and added the carrots and onions to the empty pot. When the onions were translucent…

…I threw in the mushrooms along with a dash of salt and pepper.

After the liquid had cooked off, I tossed in the garlic and stirred everything around until fragrant (around 30 seconds). Next, I added lamb back in along with the Rogan Josh seasoning, making sure it was well distributed.

Then, I poured in the coconut milk and water.

The liquid level was about ¾ the way up the meat and veggies. I covered my pot and stuck it in my oven for until the meat was nice and tender (about 1.5 to 2 hours). (I like to braise my stews in the oven ‘cause the temperature is constant, the flavors get concentrated, and you don’t have to babysit it).

Wow! This dish is awesome! Next time, I’m gonna double the amount of meat because the pot only yielded about three servings. Also, the spice blend packs some heat, so back off on the seasoning if you can’t take it.

Thanks for the great recipe, Melicious!

Paleo Eats: 2/4/11

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As soon as I dropped Big-O off at school this morning, I was left with five solid hours of ME time. My hubby dropped Lil-O at my parent’s house on his way to work and I was free to do whatever the hell I wanted until I picked up Big-O from school at 2:00 p.m.

Did I luxuriate at a fancy spa? No.

Or did I stimulate our flagging economy with a little retail therapy? A little bit.

Some laundry, perhaps? Hell no — I ain’t that selfless.

The first appointment of the morning was my virgin CrossFit workout at CrossFit Palo Alto. I’ve been really nervous about starting but I finally stopped making excuses and committed to a class. Despite the butterflies, I wanted to fill my belly with a small protein and fat-packed mini-breakfast to get me through the WOD. So before the class, while I packed Big-O’s lunch box with primal goodies, I made myself a few extra turkey and butter lettuce roll-ups and gobbled a small handful of macadamia nuts.

Then, I drove to the box and had a fantastic workout with a supportive and inspiring group of kickass ladies. (You can read all about it here.)

After the workout, I was pretty famished, so I made myself a REAL breakfast plate at home with leftover rotisserie chicken, roasted butternut squash, and stir fried Napa cabbage and bacon.

And I polished off some more macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.

Once my belly was filled, I set out to do some damage to my wallet. I hate shopping for clothes or shoes, but shopping for food-related items is a whole ‘nother story. I’ve wanted to check out Penzeys Spices in Menlo Park ever since it opened two years ago. I haven’t been able to go because it’s a place where I need to shop solo, without having to herd two small children around; I gotta totally inspect and smell each and every spice blend, herb, and extract. (It’s hard work trying to ditch the kids – it’s not like you can abandon them at the supermarket like Punky Brewster anymore.)

My interest in Penzeys was piqued once again after I started reading the awesome Paleo blog, The Clothes Make The Girl. Melissa Joulwan makes all sorts of delicious “dinochow” with a spice cabinet filled almost exclusively with Penzeys products. Since I was alone today, I drove to the Menlo Park store and spent a blissful 45 minutes slowly perusing each and every shelf and came home with this bounty:

I can’t wait to start experimenting with these spices. As Robb Wolf and Amber Karnes say, you can’t ever have enough spices!

I promised my good friend, H, that I’d stop by with lunch and visit with her and her adorable baby. Luckily, I was near Café Borrone where I picked up a scramble with spinach, onions, and feta with a side of chicken apple sausage for me…

…and a tri–tip sandwich for her. (I’m such an enabler.)

Then, the clock struck 1:30 p.m. and my Accord turned into a pumpkin. I picked up Big-O at school and we drove up to my parent’s house for a Chinese New Year dinner. My parents are so awesome. Not only do they willingly and happily help with babysitting when I’m working (and when I’m not!) but they’re totally open-minded about the Paleo diet. For dinner tonight, my mom made us a fantastic Paleo-friendly dinner: grilled lamb “lollichops,” braised daikon, and steamed bok choy.

My parents don’t eat Paleo but they are slowly coming around. It’s nice that they’re receptive about learning about the diet and don’t think we’re crazy. They’ll morph into cave people soon enough. Mark my words!