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: 2/8/11

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Today was long and tiring but I’m going to bed with a smile on my face because my eats were yummy and I had a fun playdate at the park with my kiddies.

Here’s a quick recap of my grub today:

I was going to my second CrossFit class in the morning so I wanted to make sure I had some fuel in my belly before I started. For breakfast, I fried up a spinach and feta chicken sausage and ate it with some carrot sticks, sliced bell pepper, and leftover broiled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.

After my class, I traded places with my hubby who had accompanied my mother-in-law to her oncology appointment(s). We finally finished at 1:30 p.m. and I was hangry! (Coach Trish, that’s for you!) Because all the food at the hospital is disgusting and unhealthy, we wandered over to Tootsie’s where I ordered a Tootsie’s burger sans bun and asked for a side salad in place of the shoestring potatoes. 

Tootsie’s is a super cute and delicious Italian cafe located behind the Stanford Barn. When I come here, I order the spinach salad or I get one of the sandwiches without the bun. This place has tons of super-tempting baked goods and freshly fried zeppole so if you don’t think you can resist them, stay away. That way the lines will be shorter for me…

At home, I read books with Big O until Lil-O woke up from his nap. Since the weather was unseasonably warm and I was trapped in a doctor’s office all morning, I really wanted to play outside with the kids. We all walked to the park and horsed around in the sun until 5:00 p.m. When I returned home, I made some Asian cauliflower fried rice and nuked the remains of the overnight oven-braised pork roast.

Here’s my dinner plate:

I’m pooped from a whole week of full-time mommy duty. Good night.

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: 1/30/11

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Tonight should’ve been less hectic than the previous night, but we were slammed at work yet again. As a result, I didn’t get around to eating until 2:30 a.m.

For “lunch,” I ate a salad with mixed greens, sous vide Tabil-seasoned chicken breast, avocados, shredded carrots, red bell peppers, cucumbers, and slivered almonds.

At snack time, I ate some crudités with Aubergine dip…

…coconut flakes, a hard-boiled egg, and sauerkraut. (Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.)

My final meal of the day was a box of leftover kelp noodles.

Since my workweek has been so crappy, I decided to treat myself to a square of Valrhona 85% dark chocolate and macadamia nuts.

It was so effing good. Because I’m clearly an addict, I’m gonna have to impose the same rule I’ve laid down for the kids and limit my dark chocolate intake to “S” days (i.e. Saturdays and Sundays).

When I got home, I persuaded the entire family to pile into the car and drive to the Mountain View Farmers’ Market to pick up more veggies and meat. The sky looked ominous…

..but I was hopeful that we would escape the rain.

Boy, was I wrong. We got totally drenched.

BUT: I did manage to buy a variety of veggies, a wild King Salmon filet, pork butt roast, pork chops, and beef shanks. Thank you, hubby, for indulging me.

After I got home, I changed out of my wet scrubs, filled and preheated my SousVide Supreme to 125 F (I was gonna make some sous vide salmon when I got up), froze two small containers filled with extra virgin olive oil (for the sous vide salmon), gulped down my vitamins, and conked out.

When I woke up, I split my salmon filet in two and seasoned them with Tabil, Kosher salt, and pepper. I vacuum sealed each one with a frozen blob of extra virgin olive oil…

…and dunked the packets in the preheated SousVide Supreme for 20 minutes.

I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of time to prepare Monday’s dinner so I decided to make some braised cabbage ahead of time. The Savoy cabbage I picked up at the farmers’ market was as big as my head, so I lopped off a wedge before chopping it up and sautéing it with grass fed butter (I missed you, KerryGold!), sliced shallots, and a splash of chicken broth.

I also nuked some green beans and seasoned them with (more!) butter, Kosher salt, and pepper.

Man oh man, it sure is nice to ingest butter again now that the Whole30 program is over. I know you strict Paleo eaters out there are cringing, but let’s face it: Butter makes everything taste better!

Here’s my dinner plate:

I really like the taste and texture of sous vide salmon cooked at 125F. I contemplated brining the fish so there wouldn’t be as much white albumin coagulated on the surface, but since it’s just cosmetic, I’ll most likely continue to skip this step. Nom Nom Paleo’s all about the lazy, remember?

After dinner, I took the braised cabbage out of the oven, packed my meals for work, and cranked out a quick WOD (running, thrusters, box jumps). Then, it was off to work to bring home the bacon (which I can eat again!).

Paleo Eats: 1/29/11

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Work has been busy, busy, busy this week and tonight was no exception. I didn’t get my first bite to eat until around 2:00 a.m. but since I’d stuffed myself silly with brisket and veggies before coming to work, I didn’t feel the need to gnaw off my own arm.

Here’s what I noshed on at work tonight:

For my “lunch,” I ate some sous vide Tabil-seasoned chicken breasts with leftover sautéed Southern greens and roasted celery root and carrots. My snack was some pistachios, coconut milk, and blueberries. The last meal I ate at work was leftover brisket, roasted butternut squash, and sautéed spinach with bacon, mushrooms, and shallots.

On my way home from work, I picked up my veggie CSA box for the week.

It’s kind of a small haul, so I’m gonna supplement with some veggies from the farmers’ market. My hubby and the kids were going over to my in-laws for a big multi-generational Chinese New Year party tonight so I snuck in some quality play time before getting some sleep.

Since the house was empty and quiet, I slept in until 6:00 p.m. I could’ve reheated some leftovers when I woke up but then I wouldn’t have anything new to bring to work. So after rooting around in my fridge, I decided to make some kelp noodles with egg omelet, ground pork, leeks, broccoli slaw, and spinach.

I assembled and prepped my ingredients…

…and stir-fried a whole mess of noodles.

I miss fish sauce something fierce. I gotta buy me some sugar-free and wheat-free fish sauce soon. However, Paleo cooking queen Sarah Fragoso uses Thai Kitchen fish sauce (which contains unrefined cane sugar) when she cooks her go-to Thai Green Curry so if it’s okay with her, it should be okay with me. Right?

After packing up my meals for work, I practiced a few thrusters, and then left for work. Only 4 more nights of work! Damn. That still feels like an eternity to me.

Day 30 of The Whole30 Program: LAST DAY!

My last day of the Whole30 program came and went without much fanfare.

At the stroke of midnight, I started in on some of the Paleo grub I packed for work. I’d packed a box of leftover sous vide chicken breast with roasted bell peppers, artichokes, and pearl onions for “lunch;” coconut flakes and macadamia nuts for a “mid-day” snack; and leftover slow roasted pork shoulder with roasted celery root and carrots and sautéed Southern greens for “dinner.” I polished off everything over the course of the night, and when I got home, I scarfed down another handful of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes before rolling up my sleeves for more cooking.

I quickly prepared some meats for future meals by vacuum sealing some rib eye steaks, chicken breasts, and pork chops. Immediately after dropping the steaks into my trusty SousVide Supreme, I hit the sheets for some shut eye.

After sleeping the day away, I got up to finish making the organic rib eye steaks and a bunch of sides: green beans, garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes,” and herb gravy with sautéed mushrooms and leeks. Dinner (or, as I like to call it when I’m working the graveyard shift, “breakfast”) was on the table in just one hour.

(But that’s not all. I’m getting pretty damned good at multitasking — after lifting the steaks out of the water bath, I cranked up the temperature on the SousVide Supreme to 140 F and plopped in the chicken breasts and pork chops for a couple of hours.)

After tucking the kids in bed, I worked on my pull ups in the garage, packed up some grub, chilled my newly sous vided meats before storing them in the fridge, and headed off to work.

The final items I ate on the Whole30? Sauerkraut, a hard-boiled egg, and some coconut flakes. Not too exciting — but Whole30 compliant to the end!

When the clock struck midnight, I gave myself a mental fist bump ‘cause I’m gonna get me some butter, bacon, and dark chocolate tout de suite! Well, sometime in the near future. I’m not gonna gorge on cheats just ‘cause I can; it’s gotta be worth it.

Congrats to me!

Day 27 of Whole30 Eats

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Today was a fairly typical full-time-mommy-mode day. After walking to school with the kids to drop off the older one, we came home. While the little guy entertained himself with his ever-expanding collection of Thomas the Tank Engine trains, I re-heated some leftover seasoned ground beef, garlic cauliflower puree and mixed veggies.

After scarfing down my breakfast, the two of us went to the park and synthesized some vitamin D while we goofed around on the swings and jungle gym. At lunchtime, we swung by the school to pick up the kindergartner and then headed home to eat.

For my lunch, I made a salad with a bunch of items I’d prepared yesterday, including mixed greens, roasted bell peppers, roasted beets, a hard-boiled egg, sous vide pork chop, cucumbers, and shredded carrots.

It’s a snap to whip together a meal when your ingredients are ready to eat. I gotta keep this in mind the next time I’m feeling too lazy for meal prep.

By the time lunch was done, I was already thinking about dinner.

The Food Lover’s Primal Palate just posted a tantalizing recipe for Paleo spaghetti and meatballs on their blog — and that’s EXACTLY what my older son has been nagging me to make this past week. (Okay, he didn’t specify that it had to be Paleo. Whatever.) So after I put the three-year-old down for a nap, the six-year-old and I began making Paleo meatballs for dinner. 

We gathered up the ingredients…

…and set to work.

My kiddo helped blitz the onions — though his itchy trigger finger lingered a bit too long on the “pulse” button, which just about liquefied the onions.

Another unwanted side effect: The whirring of the mini-prep woke up the napping rugrat (sigh), who then decided to groggily join our kitchen antics. 

See his bed head? He gets that from his dad.

After we incorporated the onions and other ingredients into the meat and formed the raw meatballs, we stowed ‘em in the fridge and drove off to the big kid’s kung fu class.

When we got home, I began making dinner in earnest by preheating the oven to 350 F and grabbing the meatballs out of the fridge. After sitting in the refrigerator for three hours, the slushy wetness of the too-finely-minced onions had combined with the meat to produce some brown ooze which pooled around the balls o’ meat. The stuff congealed as the meatballs baked. Not pretty. Next time, I’ll make sure the onions aren’t pulverized to death, and if they are, I’ll just add a little coconut flour to absorb the moisture.

While the meatballs browned in the oven, I sautéed some sliced mushrooms…

…and added half a jar of store-bought sauce.

Sorry folks, but I’m too lazy to make my own marinara sauce. I love Rao’s but Cucina Antica is tasty, Paleo-compliant, and cheaper to boot.

I simmered the sauce and mushrooms for a few minutes and set it aside until the meatballs were finished.

Then, I cooked up some green beans to go with the meatballs. I don’t really like the texture of spaghetti squash and I wasn’t gonna go out and buy one.

Since the meatballs weren’t super browned at the 25-minute mark (due to the excess moisture), I cranked on my broiler and blasted them for an additional 4 minutes. When I took them out…

…I scraped off the aforementioned goo around the meatballs…

…and tossed the meatballs in the sauce.

I plated the meatballs with some green beans and we dug in.

These meatballs were really easy and yummy — my favorite combination! (I mean, who in their right mind wants difficult and gross?) I can’t wait to revisit this dish and rectify the minor mistakes we made today. My older son was beaming with pride over the meatballs he made AND he wolfed down two helpings. Of course, the younger one didn’t like it at all (he covered his mouth with the crook of his arm and refused a second bite) but that’s another story entirely. He’s one stubborn mo-fo. We’re just relieved that he’s willing to eat scrambled eggs now, albeit reluctantly.

Thanks Bill and Hayley for another great kid-friendly recipe!

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.

Day 22 of Whole30 Eats

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My last night at work! Halle-effing-lujah!

So here’s the late-night nosh I brought to work:

Starting clockwise from the top left: coconut milk; blueberries; pistachios; can ‘o sardines; green tea; sauerkraut; macadamia nuts; coconut flakes; dinner box with leftover grassfed sous vide top sirloin steak, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, and braised cabbage; and leftover cream of tomato soup.

Yes, I ate every last thing pictured above. I’m a growing girl.

When I got off work, I walked my older son to kindergarten, trudged back home, and promptly conked out. (I knew I’d be getting less sleep than normal on my “flip day.”) After I woke up at 1:00 p.m., Fitbomb and I drove to the East Bay to meet his mother at her initial oncology appointment. We then fought our way through rush hour traffic back down the Peninsula to pick up my monthly meat CSA box before returning home.

By then, I was exhausted. I was THIS close to caving in and ordering non-Whole30 takeout — but I remembered I had some sous vide chicken breasts and salad greens still sitting in my fridge.

In about 10 minutes, I managed to cobble together a salad with sous vide chicken breasts, mixed greens, cucumbers, shredded carrots, avocados, and sweet peppers.

Then, I scarfed down a s-load of coconut flakes and some macadamia nuts for dessert.

I’m so relieved that my workweek is FINALLY over. Feeling physically taxed at the end of a 7-night stretch isn’t new to me (I’ve been on this schedule for years), but due to recent bad news, this week has been emotionally draining, too. Time to get some much-needed sleep so I can focus on getting all our ducks in a row for what’s to come.