Nom Nom Paleo

Day 26 of Whole30 Eats

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Yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. I wish I could spend every day just hanging with family and friends, but laundry doesn’t do itself and I had to make a bunch of food for the coming week. So today, it was back to the grind.

Before I set about doing any chores, though, I made myself a quick breakfast of leftover shredded roast chicken thigh and green beans.

Then, I got my ass handed to me at my kickboxing class.

Post-workout, I replenished my depleted glycogen stores by eating half a banana, some coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, and a coconut milk and blueberry sundae.

For lunch, we headed to Calafia Cafe, where I ordered a rotisserie chicken salad with radicchio, pears, and walnuts. I asked for no blue cheese and vinaigrette on the side.

Fitbomb ordered 2 poached eggs…

…and house-made lamb sausage, and bacon.

As soon as we got home, I tucked the little rugrat in bed for a nap. As soon as his head hit his pillow, I set to work immediately, prepping meats and veggies for the week ahead.

Our three-year-old loves roasted, unsalted cashews, but we just found out that the nuts we get at Trader Joe’s are roasted with canola oil (or rice bran oil, depending on the package). So this afternoon, we dry-roasted a tray of raw cashews for him by spreading them on a baking tray in a single layer and sticking everything in the oven (350 F for 10-15 minutes).

As soon as they were finished…

…I turned down the oven to 250 F and finished preparing my pork shoulder roast (which I started prepping yesterday) by slicing up two yellow onions and spreading them on the bottom of my dutch oven. Next, I topped the onions with the seasoned pork shoulder and 1/4 cup of chicken broth.

I placed the lid on top and popped it in the oven for four hours.

In the meantime, I seasoned and vacuum-sealed four chicken breasts and four bone-in pork loin chops (purchased this weekend from Full of Life Farm)…

…and submerged them in my preheated SousVide Supreme (set at 140 F).

Next, I roasted four bell peppers directly on my gas range…

…hard boiled a dozen eggs…

…and roasted and peeled some beets in my toaster oven.

At 5:30 p.m.,  the pork roast was fork-tender. I removed the lid from my dutch oven and I broiled the pork for 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side).

After hand-shredding the meat, I tossed in the softened onions from the bottom of the pot.

I can’t wait to eat this dish later this week. (Yes, I’m getting pretty good at avoiding the temptation to indulge in instant gratification.)

For dinner, I seared off the sous vide pork chops

…and served them with garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes straight out of the Cuisinart…

…along with sauteed lancinato kale, baby spinach, beet greens, and shallots.

Here’s my dinner plate:

After today’s marathon cooking session, I have a s-load of ready-to-eat proteins and vegetables, so I have no excuse not to eat well AND Whole30 approved (for four more days!).

Day 17 of Whole30 Eats

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Work was super busy tonight so although I normally eat a snack at 10:30 p.m., I didn’t get to eat anything until I snarfed down my “lunch” at 3:00 a.m.

I hate when I have to actually work at work.

My first meal of the night consisted of some leftover beef stew, nuked green beans, and baked sweet potato.

Snack time came at around 4:00 a.m.: crudités with Aubergine dip and sun-dried tomato pesto.

At 7:00 a.m., I had my last meal at work: leftover roast chicken thighs with caramelized shallots, braised cabbage, sautéed chard, and winter squash puree.

After I returned home, we took the older rugrat to school. When we came home I treated myself to some macadamia nuts and coconut butter. Then, I filled up my SousVide Supreme and set it for 135 F and got some shut eye.

When I woke up at 5:00 p.m., I dunked the pork chops I sous vided the other day into my preheated SousVide Supreme to reheat while I prepared some garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes”

…and roasted kabocha squash tossed with avocado oil, Kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper (400 F for ~30 minutes). I drizzled some aged balsamic vinegar over the squash when I took it out of the oven.

Then, I seared off my chops in my some melted lard in my cast iron skillet (medium-high heat, 2 minutes on each side). For boneless pork chops, I like to sous vide at the lower temperature of 135 F (I still do 140 F for bone-in chops) so they stay moist.

When I finished browning my chops, I sautéed some spinach in my “dirty” skillet.

Dinner was on the table in about 45 minutes.

After a quick metcon session (I finished the whole thing in twelve and a half minutes!), I scarfed down a few macadamia nuts and rolled into work. Only 5 more nights to go!

Day 13 of Whole30 Eats

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Another day of Whole30 nosh while keeping my full-time mommy hat on.

This morning, I awoke to the sound of my six-year-old stomping/sprinting down the hall to tinkle in the toilet. So much for squeezing in some exercise before the kids got up.

After getting our older rugrat all presentable and decent-smelling for kindergarten, all four of us trudged the 0.2 miles in the crisp chill to drop him off. It was frigid today (for California, anyway); the grass at the school was frosted white. And shivering makes me hungry.

When I got home, I made myself a frittata again — this time, with three eggs, a ton of shredded chard, and half of a thinly-sliced onion.

While whisking the eggs, I threw in a large pinch of smoked paprika along with some salt and pepper. Smoked paprika adds a rich bacon-y taste to the dish. Man, I effing miss bacon! Today’s frittata consisted of more veggies than egg, but it was filling and tasty, especially after I topped it with salsa and homemade chunky guacamole. 

Lest you think I’m turning vegetarian, I also filled a little ramekin with a mini-portion of the beef stew I’m serving later this week.

After I returned from my younger rugrat’s yearly check-up (to my surprise, he’s growing quite nicely despite his refusal to eat anything but Neolithic agricultural products), I made myself another Chipotle-inspired lunch salad with shredded pork, greens, sliced jicama, shredded carrots, sweet peppers, sliced tomatoes, salsa, and a humongous dollop of guacamole.

Post lunch, my three-year-old settled down for a nap, so I recruited my older kid as my sous chef. We baked more kale chips

…and made some garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes.” It’s amazing how much pride kids take in the  foods they help cook. Sarah Fragoso at Everyday Paleo, who cooks with her adorable sons all the time, has definitely inspired me to get my kids more involved in my Paleo cooking adventures.

I felt like I was snacking all afternoon: I downed a hard-boiled egg, tons of coconut flakes and macadamia nuts, and whole handfuls of kale chips. I gotta stop with the mindless snacking. Luckily, I’m returning to work in a couple days, so I’ll be sleeping most of the time I’m actually home.

Tonight for dinner, I made a roasted rack of lamb seasoned with Dukka and I served it with garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes, roasted Portobello mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, and sautéed spinach and orach with sliced shallots.

And because Melicious says I should eat some coconut butter when I feel like a cookie, I ate a heaping tablespoon for dessert.

30 Minute Lunch: Crispy Chicken Thighs, Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes,” and Sautéed Spinach with Shallots

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Luckily for me, I had four sous vide chicken thighs in my fridge, just waiting to be crisped up. Unfortunately, I was out of veggie sides and I didn’t want to eat another bowl of nuked frozen veggies.

After surveying my crisper, I realized I could make TWO quick veggie sides, garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and sautéed spinach and shallots, AND I could have everything on the table in thirty minutes. Sweet.

First, I cut up an orange cauliflower and steamed the florets with seven sliced cloves of garlic.

While the florets steamed, I crisped the Dukka-seasoned thighs in my cast iron skillet with some macadamia nut oil.

When the thighs were finished…

…I poured out all but a tablespoon or two of grease from the pan and I tossed in a diced shallot. Once they were softened, I put in a pound of prewashed baby spinach and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Lastly, I blitzed my cauliflower and garlic in my food processor with 2 tablespoons of butter until it was smooth.

Here’s my lunch plate:

Yummy.

Frittata With Leftover Tabil-Spiced Pork, Spinach, and Tomatoes

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This morning I threw together a frittata with some leftovers and a couple wrinkly tomatoes on the counter.

After I whipped up three eggs with some salt and pepper, I heated some coconut oil in my little cast iron skillet over medium heat. I added about a cup of leftover Tabil-spiced pork and spinach and sautéed for about a minute until it was warmed through.

Then, I added some diced tomatoes and stirred that around for an additional minute.

I added the three eggs and let the bottom of the frittata set for a few minutes.

I popped the skillet in my toaster oven and broiled the frittata for ~10 minutes.

The middle was set and the edges were puffed and browned.

I split the frittata with Fitbomb and served it up with some nuked frozen broccoli.

I originally thought Fitbomb broke his fast because my breakfast was just too tempting to pass up but then I found out he had an ass-kicking WOD this morning.

Pork and Spinach Stuffed Kabocha Squash

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I was inspired to come up with this recipe after reading Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good. Actually, it’s stuffed with lots of Paleo-unfriendly badness (though I would’ve scarfed it down a few months ago). I decided to stuff a Kabocha squash that was taking up real estate on my counter with pork and spinach. Dorie’s recipe takes around 2 hours to complete which is totally unacceptable to me so I nuked the squash first to halve the cooking time. Also, Kabocha is a drier and starchier squash so make sure to add the chicken broth to the filling.

What to assemble:

  • One 2 pound Kabocha squash
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cups of frozen spinach
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Tabil seasoning
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

Take the top off the squash and scoop out the seeds.

Season the inside of the squash with salt and pepper. Put the squash upside down in a microwaveable container, add a splash of water, cover with a lid, and nuke for 8-10 minutes to soften.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Then, add minced shallots and sauté until they’re translucent. Throw in the minced garlic and stir it around until it’s fragrant (~30 seconds). Add the ground pork and cook it until it’s no longer pink.

Season the pork to taste with salt and pepper  and add 1 tablespoon of Tabil.  Add 2 cups of frozen spinach (bagged spinach, not the frozen block spinach) straight from the freezer and stir everything until the spinach defrosts.

Remove the squash out of the microwave and place it on a foil lined baking tray. Fill the squash up to the top (I had about 1/3 of the filling left over that I will chow on later this week).

Add the chicken broth to the filling and cover with the top of the squash. Place the stuffed squash in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the flesh is easily pierced with a knife.

Fitbomb and I split the squash in half…

…and ate it with some sliced tomatoes and nuked green beans with butter, salt, and pepper.

Tasty and easy – just how I like my dishes!

Sous Vide Pork Belly

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Tonight was the first time I ever served pork belly, let alone sous vide pork belly. Thanks to my SousVide Supreme, it wasn’t a disaster and I didn’t have to order takeout as a back up.  In fact, it turned out pretty yummy.

A few nights ago, I brined two ¾-pound bricks of pork belly per the guidelines I found on David Barzelay’s site, Eat Foo. 

(Yes, the brine has brown sugar in it.)

The following morning, I removed the bellies out of the brine, dried them, and vacuum sealed them. 

Then, I dunked them in my SousVide Supreme (set at 160 F) and let them hang for 24 hours.  After a day passed, I put them in an ice bath and then stored them in the fridge until I cooked them off tonight for company.

I wasn’t sure whether or not to reheat the pork bellies in my SousVide Supreme before searing them so I opted to dunk them back in for 30 minutes at 160 F.  It might have been a mistake because when I tried to weigh the pork bellies down to flatten them post bath, the fat layer sheared right off the meat. Oh well. I decided to brown the four pieces separately and reassemble afterwards.

To sear the pork belly, I heated my cast iron skillet to medium high with 1 tablespoon of lard.  Then, I removed the pork bellies from their bags, pat them dry, and scored the fatty side with a sharp knife.

I browned the fat side for a good 4-5 minutes undisturbed and flipped it over to cook for an additional minute on the other side. 

The other two pieces were meatier, so I just seared them a minute on each side.

I plated them and then reassembled them to look like two solid pieces again.

Since I wasn’t sure we’d have enough meat to eat, I crisped up my last two sous vide chicken thighs straight from the fridge (6 minutes skin side down…

…then 2 minutes on the meat side).

Here’s our meat on a chipped serving platter:

For veggie sides, I served spinach and shallots sautéed in lard…


roasted butternut squash in lard

…and curried cream of broccoli soup.

Here’s my dinner plate:

The pork belly was tasty but the chicken thighs were awesome! I love that I can fry them straight from the fridge!