Nom Nom Paleo

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5)

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5) by Michelle Tam

“Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.” ― Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Snicket. I know exactly what goes in my meatballs. And I happen to think they should appear at least once every couple of weeks on my dinner table and/or in my LunchBots.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5) by Michelle Tam

For today’s lunch: Asian Meatballs with Bell Peppers & Blanched Broccoli.  

Yes, that’s right: BALLS OF MEAT.

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5)

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5) by Michelle Tam

Custom-made fancy lunches are fun, but in all honesty, my packed work lunches almost always consist of leftovers. Why should it be any different for the rest of the family? 

Today’s LunchBots Duo is packed with: My Sister’s Phenomenal Green Chicken, Roasted Rosemary Almonds, and crudités.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5) by Michelle Tam

I always make extra Green Chicken so I can munch on the leftovers. These drumettes make for an an easy and delicious grab-and-go lunch option. Go ahead and pack your lunchbox the night before; everything tastes great cold. (Of course, if you don’t share my love for cold chicken drumettes, you can always keep them in an insulated container like a LunchBots Thermal.)

And if eating leftovers means I get to sleep in a teeny bit more the next morning, that’s just icing on the cake. 

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5)

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam

Who’s ready for another Paleo lunch idea? (If you missed yesterday’s box, read all about it, and also check out last year’s five-part series of packed lunches I made with Jackie Linder of LunchBots!).

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam

In today’s LunchBots Duo, we’re packing breakfast for lunch: Prosciutto & Egg Roll-Ups, Mini Cinnamon Apple Scone, and Mixed Fruit Salad.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam

I know what you’re thinking: cold eggs?!? But these simple omelets make great wrappers, and they’re pretty darn good at room temp or cold. (I place an ice pack under my kids’ LunchBots.) In fact, Lil-O insists on eating his eggs cold, tamago-style (but sans sugar, soy, mirin, etc.). 

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam

Silverware is optional, but your fruit salad should really be portioned into a silicone cup or a separate compartment to prevent any juices from running into the rest of your food. I know it all ends up in the same place eventually, but I HATE soggy food.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam

Wanna see how easy it is to put this lunch together?

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5)

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[UPDATED: My entire five-part series is done! Check out all the lunches here—and don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a motherlode of stainless steel LunchBots swag, too! (Entry deadline is August 28, 2013!)]

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam

Every year, it seems like summer ends just a little bit earlier. It’s only mid-August—Labor Day is still two weeks away!—but my kids are already back in school. (Just before his first day of kindergarten began, Lil-O announced to the kids clustered outside the classroom door that he farts out of his butt. This is going to be a looong year.)

Once again, we face the Dreaded Morning Scramble: a desperate race against the clock to get the boys scrubbed, changed, fed, and out the door—but not before getting their lunches packed. In the chaos of the morning, it can be a frustrating chore to make and pack fun, healthy, and easy mid-day meals. You know the feeling, right?

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam

With this in mind, I partnered last year with my buddy Jackie Linder of LunchBots—my favorite stainless steel lunch containers in the world—to come up with a week’s worth of Paleo-friendly packed lunch ideas. (Check out our five-part series here!) This year, we decided to put our heads together again to whip up another week of Paleo lunches.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam

One thing to keep in mind before we kick off our new series of lunches: these are just ideas that are meant to inspire you to pack wholesome, healthful foods in your lunch boxes. Feel free to disregard the specifics, and pack whatever real foods you and your offspring will actually eat. After all, even if you’ve packed the most delicious and nutritious meal possible for your kids, it’ll all be for naught if it ends up in the garbage or traded away for a bag of chips and a can of soda.

Encourage your little ones to choose their own lunch items from your Paleo-friendly pantry and fridge. And have them help you make their lunches the night before. This way, the food you pack will actually stand a chance of getting eaten.


And remember: lunches don’t have to be fancy. Lil-O still insists that his favorite packed lunch is cold scrambled eggs. (Weird, I know.)

Ready to read about a lunch you can pack tomorrow?

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam

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Paleo Eats: 11/15/12

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Okay — deep breath. Before I dive right into my eats for the day, I have a few PSAs for y’all:

Now, where was I?

On my first night back at work, I kept my eats simple and portable: a can of Vital Choice Wild Red sockeye salmon…

…a LunchBots Dips filled with sauerkraut…

…and a couple of squares of Slitti 90% dark chocolate.

I was detained at the hospital for a mandatory training session and came home just in the nick of time to take Lil-O to his gymnastics class. By the time I got home, I was thisclose to abandoning my meal prep plan, but I soldiered on. The show must go on, right?

I seasoned some cubed chuck roast…

…softened sliced onions and garlic with some tomato paste and ghee…

…and simmered Mexican Braised Beef on the stove. Sadly, my oven is busted (AGAIN!), and that makes me want to smash things. (Not joking.)

I gave my mother-in-law instructions to turn off the burner when the beef was tender (in about 3 hours) and trudged off to bed.

When I finally stumbled back out into the kitchen, it was already dark o’clock. I reheated the braised beef…

…mixed in a big dollop of butter into a bowl of organic squash purée…

…and stir-fried a bag of baby kale seasoned with fish sauce and coconut aminos.

Dinner: Done!

I wasn’t exactly thrilled to once again transmogrify into a drug-dealing zombie, but I know the sooner my workweek’s over, the sooner it’ll be Turkey Day. Based on my work schedule, this’ll be the last year I have Thanksgiving off for the next seven years(!). It’s weird to think that Big-O’s going to be a gawky teenager the next time I celebrate Thanksgiving with him, so I’m really gonna try to savor my time off with the family. It’s almost been a year since Anna passed away, and I’ve made a conscious effort in 2012 to prioritize my family and friends above all else. Life’s just too short, yo.

Paleo Eats: 11/2/12

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I’m back on the zombie shift at the hospital. Hooray — I can pay for more bacon and cookbooks! I guess that balances out the sky-high cortisol levels caused by sleep disruption. Sorta.

At work, I ate leftover Damn Fine Chicken and veggies, and guarded the narcotics ‘til the sun came up.

I got home just in time to kiss Big-O good-bye for school and watch Lil-O prance around the family room impersonating Weird Al. I’d managed just two hours of shut-eye before starting my shift, so I needed to get horizontal pronto.

Alas, my sleep was fitful and abbreviated — which is fairly typical after my first shift of the week. Even after twelve years of working graveyards, it takes a day or two before I get back into the groove of sleeping during the day. With less-than-adequate sleep, I wasn’t about to prepare a fancy feast. Instead, I opted for a simple, no-fuss dinner: garbage soup and burgers!

I posted a different version of garbage soup yesterday, and I meant it when I said that you truly can make it with just about anything in the fridge.  After taking a peek in the crisper, I found a head of Napa cabbage…

…and some carrots, which I cooked with shallots in the pressure cooker.

I added a handful of crunchy dried shiitake mushrooms (they soften under high pressure)…

…chopped cabbage…

…and leftover bone broth to the pot.

I locked the lid in place and cranked up the heat ‘til the contents reached high pressure. Then, after lowering the heat to a simmer, I cooked the soup at high pressure for seven minutes. And then the soup was done. Really. That’s all it takes.

I rarely plan ahead, so a pressure cooker is the perfect appliance for a busy, disorganized mom like me — especially when I’m craving rib-sticking comfort food and I’ve only got an hour to get food on the table. I’ll definitely be visiting my buddy Laura’s site, Hip Pressure Cooking, to get more tips. (Her Morrocan Lamb Tagine recipe is on my to-cook list.)

As I waited for the cooker to naturally release its pressure, I seasoned a pound of ground beef with Magic Mushroom Powder and formed them into patties.

I fried them up…

…and plated them with leftover Oven-Roasted Tomatoes.

Before I ladled soup into our bowls, I cut a fistful of dulse into each one.

I got this idea from my buddy Diana, who’s been encouraging me to get more nutrient-dense sea vegetables into our bellies. I’m going to spike all my soups and stews with dulse ‘cause it also adds a bolus of umami (due to its high glutamate content!), too.

Speaking of nutrient-dense traditional foods…who’s heading to Wise Traditions 2012 in Santa Clara next week? I’ll be there with my pals Diane, Bill, Hayley, and Liz. Come say hello if you spot us!

Paleo Eats: 10/4/12

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With our trip to the snow-capped Rockies already receding into memory, I find myself reminiscing about it with the same fondness I feel for the one and only season of Freaks and Geeks. (I’d be such a proud mama if the Double-Os grew up to be Asian Sam Weirs.) Oh, well. Back to reality.

Since returning from Colorado, I’ve been making up for lost time in the kitchen. I hadn’t veered off-course too badly on this trip, but I’d experienced a bit of GI upset that I wanted to remedy with some clean eats. No, I’m not embarking on a full-blown Whole30 like Mel or a coffee-free protocol like Holly, but I did dial in my chow for a few days. I simmered steaming pots of meaty bone broth and chocolate chili, roasted a tray of sweet potatoes, and filled up my defrost bowl with meaty surprises from the freezer.

The payoff? I was Well Fed (punny!) on my first night back at the hospital after diving into a LunchBots Thermal filled with chocolate chili-topped microwaved spaghetti squash.

In the morning,  I put on my chauffeur cap and shuttled Big-O to school and Lil-O to gymnastics before coming home to pass out ‘til dinnertime.

Like a vampire, I skulked out of the bedroom after the sun dipped below the horizon, and headed to the kitchen to suck blood make dinner. When I’m groggy, I have to keep my dinner plans simple. I roasted a tray of green beans…

…coated with coconut oil, Red Boat Fish Sauce, and freshly ground pepper…

…and threw together some Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice using chopped-up dregs from my fridge. 

For the “rice,” I sliced the florets off a head of cauliflower…

…pulsed them in batches in the trusty Cuisinart

…and set the bowl of “rice” aside.

As I waited for the coconut oil to melt in my cast iron skillet, I diced half an onion….

…and sliced a handful of mushrooms.

I whisked four eggs with pepper and fish sauce…

…and ladled it into my cast iron griddle to make thin omelets.

Then, I dumped the onions…


…and garlic into the skillet to soften.

I added the mushrooms…

…and dumped in the cauliflower once the ‘shrooms were cooked through.

I seasoned the rice liberally with coconut aminos and (more!) fish sauce before covering the skillet with a lid to allow the veggies to steam.

Once the cauliflower was cooked al dente, I added some thawed leftover carnitas (emergency protein from the freezer!)…


…minced cilantro and scallions…

…and the egg omelets, cut into ribbons.

When the rice was ready, I plated the roasted green beans…

…and liberally dressed ‘em with balsamic vinegar.

Not too shabby for a garbage meal.*

After putting the kids to bed, I rifled through mail and found a shiny gift addressed to moi from Sarah at Fashletics:

I’m gonna wear this necklace proudly all the time. Like a boss. That way, if I get lost at the mall, someone will be able to Google “Nom Nom Paleo” and figure out how to contact my mommy.

*Garbage Meal: gar·bage meal \ˈgär-bij·ˈmēl\ a portion of food made from ingredients that would otherwise be discarded

Paleo Eats: 9/24/12

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Just in case I encountered another crazy-busy night shift, I packed a no-frills lunch that I could eat without reheating: smoked wild salmon, leftover greens, tomatoes, and broiled summer squash

I hate being right. Work was non-stop.

After arriving home, I conked out for a solid 7 hours and 7 minutes, registering a whopping 99% sleep efficiency. How do I know? My FitBit told me so. Don’t worry: I’m not using this handy clip-on activity tracker to obsessively monitor my caloric intake/output. Instead, I wear it to remind myself to get my butt out of my chair and run around the hospital — and to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m determined to minimize the hazards of sitting at work and working nightshifts.

When I popped up in the evening, I took out leftover Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs from the freezer, which was conveniently coated in a layer of protective ice. (Five points if you got that reference.)

I plopped the slushy stew in a pot…

…and as the beef thawed on the stove…

…I preheated the toaster oven…

…and prepped a kabocha squash for roasting.

(You can find the step-by-step recipe for Roasted Kabocha Squash here.)

As an additional side, I threw together a pot of Pressure Cooker Kale and Carrots.

When the squash was finished…

…I ran cold water over my pressure cooker to quickly release the pressure….

…and drizzled on some aged balsamic.

I ladled the stew into a serving bowl, topped it with chopped cilantro…

and brought all three platters to the dining table.

One more thing before I sign off: Colorado food lovers, I need your help! 

I’m excited to be joining Melissa and Holly in Estes Park, Colorado this weekend for our Paleo seminar

…but where should we chow down?

I’ve had zero time to research dining options in the area, so I need you to fill me in on the best eats in Boulder. I know Internet strangers never lead anyone astray, so please leave your recommendations in the comments! Thanks in advance!

Paleo Eats: 9/23/12

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Graveyard shifts at the hospital are always unpredictable. Normally, the variety keeps things interesting, but every single night this week, I’ve been stomping out fires for ten hours straight. This old pill pusher’s tired. Calgon, take me away!

I knew I was in for another hectic shift, so I purposely packed food that I could eat straight from the fridge. But it wasn’t until daybreak that I finally had a moment to scarf down leftovers from my dad’s birthday dinner. 

I was ragged when I came home, and wanted nothing more than to conk out. But duty called; the meat in my defrost bowl demanded attention. Damned needy protein. 

I quickly seasoned a Porterhouse steak, lamb leg roast, and brisket with Magic Mushroom Powder before shrink-wrapping them in vacuum-sealed packages.

Don’t have Magic Mushroom Powder? No worries — just use your favorite all-purpose seasoning salts or spice blends. As long as you’ve got a reliable flavor booster in your kitchen arsenal, you’ll always end up with something you want to eat. It’s no fun eating blah food, right?

Once the water in my SousVide Supreme reached 130°F, I dunked in the meat.

Each packet will finish cooking at different times, so for easy removal, I made sure I stacked them so that the quickest-cooking are on top. As Lil-O likes to say: “I used my brain, because I have one. The zombies haven’t eaten it yet.”

Although snoozing’s preferable to cooking, the 10 minutes I spent on meat prep were well worth it. I now have plenty of emergency protein ready to sear off at a moment’s notice.

Less than seven hours later, I crawled out of bed to prepare dinner. I was itching to roast vegetables in my new countertop toaster oven

…but it was too shiny and pretty to soil just yet. 

Instead, I cooked our whole meal in my trusty cast-iron skillet and griddle. Clean-up would be a snap; at the end of the meal, I just had to scrub ‘em with hot water. (Alternatively, I could just leave the dirty pans on the stove. You know, to add to the seasoning. Yeeeeah…that’s the ticket.)

I dusted a pound of pristine black gill rock fish fillets from Siren SeaSA with Magic Mushroom Powder (deja vu all over again!)…

…and pan-fried them in butter.

My kids aren’t big fans of fish, so I pulled the sous vide porterhouse steak out of the water oven and seared it on the griddle.

(The Double-Os ate half the steak for dinner. The rest was packed in their lunchboxes for school.)

Once the proteins were finished cooking, I stir-fried onions, broccoli, and shiitake mushrooms in butter.

The addition of bone broth and Red Boat Fish Sauce elevated this simple stir-fry into something that even our family’s pickiest eater (hello, Lil-O) devoured.

Before digging into dinner, I sliced a few cherry tomatoes…

…and piled them on my plate.

Part of me wishes my kids liked fish, but the other part of me is secretly happy there was more for me and my hubby.