Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 2/9/11

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I’m starting another workweek of seven graveyard shifts in a row tonight so I had a ton of crap to accomplish in the morning before I caught a couple hours of shut-eye later in the afternoon.

After taking Big-O to school, I came home and quickly threw together a pot of Rogan Josh that I stuck in the oven. While the lamb stew was slowly braising, I reheated some leftover Asian cauliflower fried rice for breakfast.

Then, I roasted some bell peppers on the stove…

…turned off the oven with the pot of stew still inside, and escorted Lil-O to his gym class. After the class, we made a stop at Whole Paycheck to stock up on groceries before returning home.

Once we were home again, I took the Rogan Josh out of the oven. It had cooked at 300 F for 1 hour and then sat in the shut-off oven for two hours.

I’m going to pack this for some of my work lunches.

For lunch, I made myself a frittata with 3 eggs, diced prosciutto, nuked frozen broccoli, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a healthy dash of Sunny Paris seasoning.

After I tucked Lil-O in his blue car bed for a nap, I went back to the kitchen to finish making the bell peppers.

I also filled and preheated my SousVide Supreme to 140 F so it would be ready to reheat a pre-cooked brisket when I woke up. Around 3:00 p.m., I went to my room and took a two-hour nap.

When I woke up at 5:00 p.m., I took the brisket packet out of the fridge and placed it in the water oven. As it was coming up to temperature, I made some garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes,” sautéed mustard greens and bacon

…and broiled some asparagus drizzled with macadamia nut oil, salt, and pepper (broil for 6-8 minutes).

When my vegetable sides were finished, I removed the brisket from the water bath and dried off the meat. Then, I seared it in lard over high heat.

Here’s my dinner plate:

After dinner, I practiced some kipping pull ups (without much success), packed my lunch, and got ready for work. Now it’s back to the grind…

Paleo Eats: 2/3/11

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Today, I switched back to being diurnal and my schedule for the day was jam-packed. To fuel me through the morning, I made myself a frittata with three eggs, leftover roasted broccoli and bacon, and a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt.

Yes, I’ll admit it was kind of over-done. I couldn’t check on my frittata because I was stuck for a good 15 minutes helping Lil-O drop some kids off at the pool. Did that make you lose your appetite? Not me.

After eating breakfast, I took Lil-O to a “kitchen chemistry” class. They made buttercream frosting, which was served with “healthy” graham crackers. Argh. Next, we drove to Sigona’s to stock up on veggies and meat for our casual Super Bowl party on Sunday. I’m planning on serving mostly Paleo fare to our non-Paleo friends: roasted veggies, crudités and dip, slow roasted pork butt, and sous vide beef brisket. I don’t even know who’s playing ‘cause it’s all about the commercials, n’est-ce pas?

When we got home, I ate a lunch that consisted of fried chicken and spinach sausages, leftover cauliflower puree, and roasted parsnips and carrots.

Shortly thereafter, my hubby and I accompanied my mother-in-law to her oncology appointment. As soon as we got back,  I decided to sous vide some pork chops and chicken breasts. I bought some Niman Ranch bacon-wrapped pork chops from Costco a few days ago…

…and out of sheer laziness I opted to just cut the package in half and plop both packets into the SousVide Supreme (140 F for 2 hours). (Per the customer service folk at Niman Ranch, the plastic used is safe to dunk into a water bath.)

Since I always sous vide pork chops with chicken breasts, I recruited Big-O to help me season a couple with lemon pepper and salt before I vacuum sealed them and dumped them in the water bath as well.

Once the chops and chicken were placed in the SousVide Supreme, I took a grass fed beef brisket and Boston Butt bone-in pork roast out of the fridge. I liberally seasoned both meats with salt, pepper, and Fajita and Taco seasoning.

Here’s the pork butt…

…and the brisket.

I vacuum sealed both the pork and the beef but I’m only sous viding the brisket. I’m letting the pork roast marinate in the fridge until Saturday night, at which time I’ll slow roast it in the oven overnight.

You’d think with all this meat preparation that I’d be all set for dinner — but you’d be wrong! We came back from the oncology appointment late so my sous vide meats wouldn’t be finished cooking until 7:00 p.m. Consequently, I sent my hubby to Calafia to pick up a rotisserie chicken (after phoning ahead and reserving one).

I decided to serve the chicken with roasted butternut squash

…and stir fried napa cabbage and bacon.

Here’s my dinner plate:

The chicken breast was kinda dry but, overall, it’s a tasty and reasonably priced take-out item.

After dinner, I took out the sous vided chicken and chops and dunked them in an ice bath for an hour.

I’ll probably eat the chicken later this week but I might freeze the cooked chops and serve them when I go back to work. Before going to bed, I cranked the temperature of my water bath to 147 F and dropped in the seasoned beef brisket.

I’ll let the beef bathe for 48 hours and I’ll take it out on Saturday night. I’m not sure I’ll serve the brisket at the party because grass fed beef is always an iffy prospect coming from my SousVide Supreme. I’ll just make hubby and myself choke it down if it’s gross. Good times.

Paleo Eats: 1/31/11

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I can’t wait for this work week to be over – it’s been busy EVERY single night. Come to think of it, by my fifth night shift in a row I think I start getting whiny no matter what the workload. Oh well. Luckily, I packed a bunch of Paleo eats to fuel me through the night.

At around 2:00 a.m., I ate a box of sous vide Tabil-seasoned chicken breast with leftover sautéed spinach and bacon and nuked green beans.

A couple hours later, I snacked on a small container of coconut flakes and toasted almond slivers…

…and coconut milk and mixed berries(!) from the farmers’ market.

Even though it’s January, the berries were really sweet. Could it be that I’m just more sensitive to sweetness now that I’ve cut refined carbs out of my diet? Maybe.

My last meal of the night was a leftover box of kelp noodles. See? It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

When I returned home, I took the kids to school to drop off Big-O. As soon as we got back to our abode, I went to bed right away because I knew I’d have a lot to do when I woke up. My mother-in-law’s MRI was scheduled in the evening at 8:00 p.m. and I needed to feed everyone, pack my meals for work, and shower before we left.

When I awoke, I took my previously sous vided pork chops out of the fridge to come up to room temperature while I prepared the vegetable side dishes. I grabbed my ingredients for roasted broccoli and bacon (organic broccoli, Fatted Calf slab bacon, and avocado oil)…

…tossed everything together with some salt and pepper, and placed it in the oven to roast at 400 F for about 35 minutes.

I also minced 2 shallots and chopped up a head of cauliflower for cauliflower fried “rice”. Since I made a platter of braised cabbage the night before, I just reheated it in the microwave.

I heated a couple tablespoons of lard in my cast iron skillet and I seared the pork chops for 90 seconds on each side. I wanted to char them longer but they were only ½ inch chops so I didn’t want to overcook them.

Once I removed the chops, I prepared my cauliflower fried “rice” in my “dirty” pan. I added a splash of boxed chicken broth to deglaze the skillet and a little bit of coconut aminos for additional seasoning (besides salt and pepper).

The dark color is definitely from the pan frond and not the coconut aminos. Those are some tasty browned bits.

By the time I finished preparing the “rice,” the roasted broccoli and bacon was ready as well. I drizzled on some aged balsamic vinegar and brought it to the table.

Here’s my dinner plate (on the table in about 45 minutes):

After dinner, I had to hustle to get myself ready for work and the imaging appointment. As I was packing my meals for work, I realized I only had one box of leftovers available. Was I worried? For a split second, yes. But then I remembered that I can always throw together a frittata in about 15 minutes that could be split into two servings. I dug through our fridge and made a frittata with 5 eggs, diced Fatted Calf bacon, nuked frozen broccoli, and a heaping tablespoon of full-fat Greek yogurt.

I know a lot of Paleo eaters avoid dairy but I don’t experience any untoward side effects and I really love the taste of cheese, full fat yogurt, butter, and ghee. Plus, if it’s okay with Dr. Harris of PaNu and handsome nerd scientist, Mat Lalonde, it’s okay with me. Or that’s who I’m hiding behind if I get confronted about consuming dairy by an angry caveman.

After I finished packing my stuff for work, the three of us left to go to the MRI appointment.  We’re all anxiously awaiting her results because we’ll finally know the staging of her breast cancer and how best to tackle it. I get paid to have sleepless nights – they don’t.

Day 28 of Whole30 Eats

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This morning’s schedule was jam-packed, so I made sure to ingest enough protein and fat to power me through ‘til noon. Yep, another frittata was just the ticket…

This breakfast frittata was made with ready-to-eat ingredients straight out of the refrigerator: 3 eggs, roasted bell peppers, and sauteed greens. I’m glad I got off my lazy ass and prepped these veggies on Sunday.

After my weekly volunteer stint at my older son’s school (it was a lifelong dream of mine to be a library helper), my hubby and I accompanied my mother-in-law to her oncology appointment. We’re super-relieved that she’s finally hooked up with a great breast cancer clinic and we have a definite plan of attack — the uncertainty was the source of a lot of stress these past couple of weeks.

When we got home, I had five hungry adults to feed: myself, my parents and my in-laws. Again, I thanked my lucky stars that I had tons of prepared goodies in the fridge with which to assemble a quick-and-easy chicken salad for everybody. Today’s salad was composed of mixed greens, baby arugula, sous vide chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, roasted bell peppers, shredded carrots, cucumbers, and toasted slivered almonds.

After feeding all the adults, I kicked ‘em all out. While Lil-O napped in the afternoon, I spent some quality time with my older kid, Big-O, playing board games and reading books. Before I knew it, two hours had passed. Lil-O woke up and joined in on the fun.

By 5:00 p.m., I was worn out. I started preparing dinner, but I was seriously half-assing it. I’ve already spent enough time in the kitchen this week, so my goal was to whip up a no-fuss, no-muss meal.

Taking inventory of our pantry and fridge, I decided to cobble together some braised chicken with artichoke hearts and pearl onions. While the chicken sat in the oven, I tossed some broccoli with avocado oil and roasted it in my toaster oven for a super-quick veggie side dish. (Just TWO MORE DAYS ‘til I can add bacon back into my veggies! Not that I’m counting or anything.)

Braised dishes are my favorite! You do a little bit of work and — provided you’re willing to wait around for 45 minutes — you’ll be rewarded with a dish that’s tender, hearty and full-flavored. Plus, the smells from your oven’ll have you drooling before the food’s even plated. Braising is perfect for winter.

Here’s our dinner:

Yes, there’s chicken underneath the veggies. See?

Day 24 of Whole30 Eats

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I have less than a week of Whole30 left and I can’t wait to finish it. I do feel healthier, more alert, and stronger — but it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been able to go out to dinner at a restaurant and not worry if my “Paleo” entrée meets the strict Whole30 standards. For God’s sake, I CHOSE to go to a Chipotle instead of a more foodie appropriate restaurant just because I could check online if the ingredients were Whole30-compliant.

Plus, I’d love a nice piece of dark chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad I’m doing the Whole30. It’s good to be more mindful about what I’m eating. Still, maintaining this level of super-Paleosity isn’t sustainable for me. I’m glad to read that Melissa and Dallas feel the same way.

So what did I eat today?

For breakfast, I ate some pancakes and a chocolate croissant. Okay, I lied. I had another frittata. This time, I made one with three eggs, sautéed mushrooms, diced shallots, and nuked frozen broccoli.

I had little helpers who helped me cook the frittata…

…and make sure it didn’t burn in the toaster oven.

They did a great job! I ate the frittata topped with Primavera salsa and spicy guacamole.

After a morning spent with the rugrats at our local kiddie zoo, park, and library (they’re all within a one block radius of each other - I wouldn’t have attempted it otherwise), I came home and heated a leftover box of seasoned beef and roasted green bell peppers.

I topped the meat with Primavera salsa and diced avocados.

I snacked on coconut flakes and nuts throughout the day. I’ll never tire of coconut. In fact, I tried to order a gallon of coconut chips today, but they’re sold out at Tropical Traditions. Argh. Guess I’m not the only coconut fiend.

At dinnertime, I remade some items we ate last week: David Lebovitz’s roasted chicken with caramelized shallots, cream of tomato soup, and nuked green beans. I also served the leftover vegetables from last night’s chicken in the pot.

For tonight’s version of roasted chicken, I cooked 4 whole kosher chicken legs.

While it roasted in the oven, I made the tomato soup with three large diced shallots in place of the leeks I made last time.

My Vitamix is pretty awesome. It pureed the tomatoes…

…in 20 seconds.

After I poured half the pureed tomatoes into the saucepan, I added the sautéed shallots and garlic…

…and blitzed it again for 20 seconds.

I’m glad I’ve found a reason to break out my blender again. Since going Paleo, I’ve stopped making fruit smoothies, and already had a spot picked out for the blender in my appliance graveyard in the garage.

The green beans were a breeze because I bought the “ready to use” variety at Trader Joe’s.

I microwaved them with a splash of water for 3 minutes straight and then in 30 second increments until they were the right consistency.

When they were finished, I splashed on some extra virgin olive oil and added some salt and pepper.

After the beans were finished, I reheated the leftover veggies from last night’s chicken in the pot. I timed it perfectly, so the chicken was ready to take out of the oven when all the sides were finished.

This meal was company-worthy (and we did indeed have a guest over for dinner) and it was on the table in a stress-free hour.