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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 6)

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I bet the last thing you wanna do on this glorious Friday (before a three-day weekend, no less!) is think about packing a lunch, but I’m hoping I can nudge you in the right direction with the sixth installment of Paleo Lunchboxes 2014. Who can resist a beautiful and satisfying salad tucked into a lovely LunchBots container? Not me!

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 6 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Besides, even if your wee ones gag at the thought of tucking into a salad, there’s nothing that says these boxes have to be for kids. Last time I checked, adults need lunches, too.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 6 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

If you’ve got a peach, some thinly sliced prosciutto…

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 6 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…fresh salad greens…

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 6 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and a handful of pistachios…

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 6 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…you’re in business: make my Watercress with Seared Prosciutto + Peaches! You’ll love the balance of savory and sweet—and the fact that prepping this salad takes almost no time at all.

Remember: If peaches aren’t your cup of tea, you can always use apples, nectarines, or pears instead. Not a fan of watercress? No problem—substitute your favorite leafy greens. Just promise me you’ll make your lunch, okay?

Here are a few tips to ensure that your salad tastes great when you crack open your LunchBots at mealtime:

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 5)

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Out of packed lunch ideas? Fear not, Nomsters: I’ll save the day with Part 5 of Paleo Lunchboxes 2014, my collaboration with the super-stainless-steel-container-makers at LunchBots!

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 5 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Today’s packed lunch shines the spotlight on one of my favorite finger foods: Egg Foo Young patties! These portable protein- and veggie-packed savory pancakes are totally customizable with whatever you have sitting in your fridge. (Except for maybe that mushy pile of melting vegetables that you forgot about in the back of your crisper.)

My original recipe for Egg Foo Young is up on this blog, but readers of my cookbook know that I’ve since published a streamlined version in Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans. (If you don’t have my cookbook—shame, shame! Lucky for you, I don’t hold a grudge. You can find adaptations of my Egg Foo Young recipe here and here.)

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 5 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m not pulling your leg when I say that Egg Foo Young’s a crowd pleaser and so dang easy to make. Seriously: I even made a batch for Chef Pete Evans when we cooked together back in March—on camera!—because I knew there was no chance I’d goof.

For today’s lunch, I’ve paired these tasty patties with a warm thermal LunchBots container filled with Garbage Soup because they’re a match made in lunch heaven.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 5 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready to make this lunch? Then read up on my pro tips to ensure perfect Egg Foo Young patties!

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 4)

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Can a new week be upon us already? Well, turn that frown upside down: Part 4 of my Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 collaboration with LunchBots will chase away your Monday blahs and beat them into submission!

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After all, Cracklin’ Chicken is the real food answer to all your woes. I know it makes me feel better whenever I’m in a funk.

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Don’t tell me you haven’t made my Cracklin’ Chicken yet. You really have no excuse—it’s ridiculously easy and totally tasty. Peep the recipe over here!

Cracklin’ Chicken tastes best right out of a cast iron skillet, but like all fried chicken, it tastes fantastic cold. Believe me: I routinely crisp up extra thighs so that I can have extra to nibble on straight from the fridge.

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not sure if your kids will eat cold chicken? Offer them a piece and see how they like it. It’ll be good news for you either way ’cause if they turn their noses up at it, more for you!

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But believe it or not, no one can live on Cracklin’ Chicken alone, so I’m stuffing this packed lunch with tons of veggies and a sweet treat as well.

Paleo Lunchboxes (Part 4 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3)

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Ready or not, here comes Part Three of Paleo Lunchboxes 2014!

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know it’s Friday, and the last thing you want to think about is preparing food and packing a pretty LunchBots for yourself and/or your kiddos. I feel your pain. That’s why today’s box is filled with a variety of leftovers that you can throw together in a flash.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yes, I said LEFTOVERS. And no, it’s not a dirty word.

Before I starting eating Paleo, I never contemplated making extra food to save for later. But now that I cook virtually all of our meals, I always make sure to have leftovers. Eating out (while staying Paleo) can be an expensive hassle, so for me, cooking is a necessity. It’s kinda like flossing: you just have to buck up and do it. That’s why having ready-to-eat proteins and veggies in the fridge is a lifesaver.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 3 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Besides, having a bunch of ready-to-eat veggies on hand that we can nosh on at any time means we’re much less likely to reach for something unhealthy. Am I right, or am I right? (Answer: I’m right.)

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2)

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hello again! As promised, here’s the second installment of Paleo Lunchboxes 2014, my collaboration with our pals at LunchBots—the gleaming stainless steel food containers you see in these posts. Our mission is to demonstrate that packed lunches can be simple, nourishing, and magically delicious for kids and adults alike. 

Like the first box in this year’s series, today’s lunch can be assembled the night before, so all you’ll need to worry about in the morning is dragging yourself out of bed and eating breakfast. And wiping the sleep from your eyes.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Spicy Tuna Cakes are a big hit with our whole family…almost. (Big-O digs these portable veggie-and-protein cakes, but Lil-O doesn’t like spicy foods, so he’s less of a fan. Man, six-year-olds have no taste.)

Bonus: these tuna cakes taste great cold, too.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You can whip up a dozen (or even double the recipe!) in advance, and pack the next day’s lunchbox(es) before you go to bed. Your reward for planning ahead? Getting to hit the snooze button a couple of extra times in the morning.

My recipe for Spicy Tuna Cakes has been around for a while now; it was first introduced in my iPad app, and since then, it’s popped up in my cookbook and on my blog). So if you haven’t tried ’em yet, what are you waiting for?

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1)

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With a new school year just around the bend, it’s time for the 2014 edition of Paleo Lunchboxes—my annual collaboration with our friends at LunchBots. And this time around, I’m presenting 7—that’s right, SEVEN—new ideas to jumpstart your creative engines.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

These lunchbox ideas are great for your school-age spawn, but trust me: the meals in this series aren’t just kid stuff. In fact, this first one’s a fast and satisfying lunch you can eat with your bare hands. Plus: we’re talking HOT DOGS.

“But wait a minute! How are hot dogs even Paleo?”

Fine. They’re not technically “Paleo™,” but I’ve got nothing against convenience foods that are made from wholesome, healthy ingredients. Most hot dogs on the market are filled with all sorts of chemical additives and cast-off CAFO animal parts—we should all avoid these freaky franken-weenies like the plague. There are, however, other options.

I’m lucky to have a brother-in-law who hand-makes his own hot dogs out of grass fed beef short ribs

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…but most of the time, I just look for commercially-available wieners made with sustainably-raised grass fed beef and a few simple seasonings and spices. The two brands I buy for my family are Applegate and Fork in the Road (I don’t sweat the small amount of sugar in the latter), and you can find them in most grocery stores. (For additional recommendations for high-quality grass fed hot dogs, check out this link.)

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hot dogs have always been a kid-friendly favorite, but I recently hopped onto the bandwagon in a big way after discovering Flame to Fork’s game-changing idea to use the wiener as the “bun” (a.k.a. #hotdogasthebun) on Instagram.

Since then, I’ve been playing around with different fillings every time I make hot dogs for the kids. (The best thing about using the wiener as the “shell”? Sneaking extra veggies into your kiddos’ bellies!) Unlike hot dogs on bread buns, you can assemble ’em the night before; they won’t get soggy, and they taste great cold. Or maybe I’m just a weirdo for loving cold hot dogs. 

Personally, I like hot dogs piled high with sautéed peppers and onions or kraut and pickles, so for this lunchbox, I made both. Properly cooked onions take a while to sauté, so I always start them in the skillet over medium heat with my favorite cooking fat before I do anything else.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 Preview!

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Kids: Put away the gadgets ’cause it’s time to head back to school!

As in years past, I’ve teamed up with our friends at LunchBots to show you that portable Paleo lunches can be healthier and more satisfying than a soggy PB&J sandwich. From tomorrow through Labor Day, I’ll be posting a myriad of midday meal ideas that’ll (hopefully!) inspire you to take a few moments out of your day to throw some meat, veggies, and fruit into a container. These aren’t just for kids, either—grown-up eaters will have plenty to feast on, too.

Plus, for those of you who’ve requested heartier fare for bigger eaters, I’ve got you covered! This year, you’ll find even more rib-sticking meals in this lunch series. 

Come back tomorrow for the inaugural post—and in the meantime, check out the previous years’ lunches!

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration

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Participating in the worldwide official Whole30® challenge this month? Congrats—you’re halfway there!

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You’ve valiantly persevered through bouts of carb flu and white-knuckled your way past the infamous “KILL ALL THE THINGS” phase. At this point, that Tiger Blood coursing through your veins is feeling pretty good. But despite your newfound superhero status, one nagging thought keeps flitting in and out of your brain like that jerkwad mosquito that buzzes by your ear at bedtime:

“I’m sick and tired of cooking every meal.”

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yep. You’re thisclose to throwing out all your organic veggies and falling face first into a bag of cheesy poofs.

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I totally sympathize. Cooking and planning meal after meal (after meal after meal) can be a royal pain in the butt, so that’s why I try to make my dishes as pain-free and flavor-packed as possible. As much as it seems like a thankless chore, cooking at home with wholesome ingredients is one of the most important things you can do for your family—and it doesn’t have to suck the life out of you.

Here’s the thing: As I said in my Whole30 primer/survival guide, simple and quick does the trick. The majority of the recipes on my blog (and just about all of the recipes in my cookbook!) are Whole30-friendly, and all of ’em are rookie-proof. In fact, they all reflect the way I eat on an everyday basis. I’m the queen of lazy, so if I can do it, you can, too.

August 2014 Whole30 Inspiration by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And now, I’ve got even more Whole30-compliant recipes that you can whip up as you enter the home stretch, including essential flavor boosters, simple veggie sides, and family-friendly entrées! Best of all, these dishes pack a whole lotta bang for the buck, and belong in your repertoire even if you’re not on a Whole30.  

Ready to get reinvigorated?

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Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache

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Doing a Whole30 this month? You rock. But QUICK! LOOK AWAY! THERE’S NOTHING TO SEE HERE!

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Really—this post ain’t for you…or at least, not right now. Go check out my Whole30 recaps, or better yet, go make yourself some Cracklin’ Chicken or Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs. Come back in September—this ice cream’ll still be here. 

Still with me—and looking for a cool, dairy-free treat to beat the heat? Then follow along as I crack open my copy of Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream and whip up some vanilla ice cream with chocolate ganache!

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ever since a review copy arrived in the mail, I’ve been eyeing the vanilla ice cream. You’d think I’d make a beeline for the chocolate ice cream recipes in Kelly’s beautiful new book, but NOPE. Know why?

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

’Cause of this little guy.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As soon as he spied me dragging my long-neglected ice cream maker out of the garage, my six-year-old vanilla ice cream fanatic knew what was up. And he wasn’t shy about pointing out precisely which recipe he wanted me to make.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Vanilla packs a huge wallop, and is anything but boring. According to Cook’s Illustrated, vanilla’s a “flavor potentiator” that not only increases our perception of sweetness, but also our ability to taste other ingredients that accompany it—like nuts, fruit, coffee, and chocolate. 

But as much as I share Lil-O’s love of vanilla, there’s no way I was going to let someone who can’t even tie his own shoes keep me from my beloved dark chocolate. 

The compromise? Ganache, baby. GANACHE.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As Kelly points out, ganache (a.k.a. fancy chocolate sauce) can be made dairy-free, too; just substitute full-fat coconut milk for the heavy cream. Drizzle some ganache over a scoop (or three) of Kelly’s rich, dairy-free vanilla ice cream, add a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds, and you’re all set for one of the best frozen treats you’ve had since going Paleo.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Who’s ready to scream for some ice cream?

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Forky Friday: 7/25/14

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Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know: it’s hot, you’re tired, and you need to rest your sweaty noggin. The remedy? Pour yourself a large glass of pineapple coconut water and lose yourself in my favorite links of the week!

Jimmy Kimmel’s No Master Chef

If your gut is friends with dairy, Gordon Ramsay’s method for making creamy scrambled eggs is well worth a try. The dish appears dead-simple to whip up—especially when Chef Ramsay (yes, that’s Ramsay with an “A”—caution butt photo ahead) makes it on TV—but looks can be deceiving. His recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live proves that not everyone can be a Master Chef. 

Don’t worry, Jimmy—practice makes perfect!

Hot Tubbin’ Steaks

It saddens me to report that my “defrost bowl” now sits empty most of the time. I’ve just been too lazy and forgetful to keep replenishing it with frozen meat from the freezer. 

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Still, I don’t sweat it if all my meat’s frozen solid ’cause I know of a sure-fire way to defrost steaks in a flash. You may have heard that you should only thaw meat in the fridge or in cold water, but in fact, you can dunk frozen meat in hot water to get it ready for the grill in just minutes.

Food scientist Harold McGee was recently interviewed on The Splendid Table about how it’s perfectly safe (and smart!) to thaw steaks in 100°F water. (And by the way, if you’re a self-proclaimed food nerd and you don’t have copies of McGee’s Keys to Good Cooking and On Food and Cooking on your bookshelf, I’m calling you out RIGHT NOW.)

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Slice and Dice Like A Ninja

You already know that the most important weapon in your kitchen arsenal is a sharp chef’s knife (and not just because it’s all sharp and stabby), but are you cutting your veggies in the most efficient way possible? If not, check out this great video by Andrew Zimmern as he demonstrates how to cut perfect batons, matchsticks, ½” dice, and brunoise (a.k.a. super-teeny-tiny dice).

Bonus round: Want an ingenious tip for slicing a bunch of cherry tomatoes all at once?

Grab two plates (or container lids), a sharp knife, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. And watch this video. Don’t forget to take a moment to admire how the posh British narrator calls ’em to-MAH-toes.

Really—this works like a charm. See?

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mind blown, right?

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