Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 6/18/11 (Last Day In Kauai)

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Why is it that all vacations are over before you’re fully able to savor them? Suffice it to say, we were all sad to leave paradise today.

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On our very last morning in Kauai, we woke up with the sun (and the loud-ass crowing roosters) to pack up our belongings.

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I swear, there’s free-range poultry running around all over this island! I wonder if people grab and butcher these scrawny buggers at home. 

The refrigerator in our vacation home was still broken so our breakfast was cobbled together from shelf-stable food we had remaining in the pantry. I nuked some purple sweet potatoes, cracked open a few cans of sardines, and sliced some avocados. As a finishing touch, I drizzled fresh lemon juice and a light dusting of Pele’s Fire Hawaiian seasoning salt over everything.

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We had a few hours to kill before lunch, so we ventured to our favorite store on the island… Costco! Seriously, we roamed the aisles of this warehouse on three separate occasions during our weeklong stay. If you’re staying in a place that has a kitchen - do yourself a favor and stock up on eggs, meat, and veggies right after your plane lands.

At lunchtime, we decided to eat at 22 North, a farm-to-table restaurant tucked away in Lihue’s old Kilohana Plantation.

We ordered a few appetizers to share, including roasted spiced macadamia nuts…

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…sweet and spicy meatballs…

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…and a Manoa lettuce salad with bacon, mac nuts, and blue cheese.

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For our entrees, hubby and I split the smoked fish salad…

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…and a bun-less grass fed beef burger topped with feta, corn, and cherry tomatoes.

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Yep, there was cheese on both AND tons of grilled potatoes on the salad.

I kinda wish I’d known about this hidden oasis earlier in our stay because I was pleasantly surprised with the peaceful garden setting, high quality ingredients, and reasonable prices ($10-15 for entrees).

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Let’s hope this place is still around the next time we return to Kauai.

After lunch, we rolled into Lihue airport and trudged onto the plane with heavy hearts. In anticipation of our flight home, I’d packed a grass fed Paleo Kit, grass fed Just Jerky, Noniland Hawaiian coconut crisps, coconut flakes, dark chocolate, and raw almonds in my carry-on backpack. We ate it all, plus some salami we pilfered from the kids’ purchased in-flight snack packs.

I’m really digging the Noniland coconut crisps…

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..they’re crunchy, salty, spicy, and tangy. Too bad they cost beaucoup dinero — $7.50/bag! I gotta figure out how to make these snacks at home.

Sixteen hours after we woke up in Kauai, we were finally back home. As much as we enjoyed our week relaxing on the Garden Island, it’s nice to come back to our humble abode.

Plus, I’ve still got a week and a half of vacation so I’ll remain blissed out for the next few days!

Paleo(ish) Eats: 6/17/11 (Penultimate Day In Kauai)

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Our last full day in Kauai…

I’m so sad I can hardly blog. That, and I’m beyond tired.

We started the day bright and early. Before hitting our last 6:00 a.m. class at Kauai CrossFit, I downed a heaping tablespoon of almond butter. Why no real breakfast? We woke up and found the fridge was busted. The internal temperature was 70 degrees, so everything in it was probably spoiled. I guess it’s a blessing we’re leaving tomorrow.

Post workout, I scarfed down a purple sweet potato and shared a package of grass fed Just Jerky with my hubby, and washed it all down with a big cup of coffee (and heavy cream).

After heading back to the house to join up with the rest of the clan, we all walked down to Kong Lung Historic Market Center with the intent of stocking up on Aloha Spice Company seasonings. Yes, the stuff is that good.

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It was super hot and muggy, so the adults ordered ice-cold coconuts at Kilauea Bakery and happily sucked out the contents.

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Only then did we head over to the nearby Banana Patch studio, which houses an enormous selection of Aloha Spice Company spices and flavorings.

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My mom, sis, and I went CRAZY as we loaded up on seasoning and salt blends.

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After lugging everything (and our two kids) back to the house, we were exhausted and hungry. So for lunch, we headed to Hanalaei Dolphin and enjoyed a pleasant but pricey meal out by the water. I ordered a salad with Cajun-spiced seared ahi and a side of guacamole…

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…and hubby ordered a bunless burger — also with a side of guacamole.

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Once we filled our bellies, we wandered around Hanalei. To beat the heat, the kiddies got shaved ice at Wishing Well. (Yeah, it’s sugar syrup on ice. We’re on vacation, so shut up.)

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The remainder of the afternoon was spent splashing around in the pool and soaking in the hot tub until our fingers were prune-y.

At dinnertime, we drove down to Kapa’a and ate at The Eastside restaurant.

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We quickly discovered that it’s pretty tough to order Paleo at this restaurant because there’s soy or sugar in EVERYTHING. Still, we managed to find some Paleo-ish options. Hubby and I shared a green salad with beets, avocados and mac nut dressing…

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…and a tuna poke appetizer in a halved coconut…

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…before digging into his and hers rib-eye steaks, served with purple potatoes and asparagus (hold the onion rings).

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The verdict? The food was a little overly fussy and too fusion-y for my taste, but my expectations weren’t high, so I wasn’t overly disappointed.

After dinner, we stopped by Kilauea Video and Ice Cream and Candy to get some dessert. Wha—? You heard me. We fed our kids shaved ice AND ice cream ON THE SAME DAY. Even I ordered a scoop of chocolate, coconut, and macadamia nut ice cream.

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To be honest, though, it wasn’t fantastic. After a few bites, I tossed my cup of ice cream before I could mindlessly gobble it up.

That’s all for tonight. I’m passing out. Gotta catch some zzzz’s…

Paleo Eats: 6/16/11 (Fifth Day In Kauai)

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When we woke up this morning, we retuned to Ono Family Restaurant but this time we brought the whole gang. I mean the place IS called Ono FAMILY Restaurant so it just felt right to come with our motley crew.

For breakfast, hubby and I split two omelets: one filled with bacon and avocado…

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…and the other stuffed with spinach and mushroom.

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Again, we subbed out the starches with fruit or steamed vegetables.

After moseying around Koloa Town and Poipu in the morning, we retuned home and repurposed a bunch of leftovers into a tasty lunch.

My sister transformed the sweet potato hash into a delicious frittata and I plated a slice along with tomato and green bean salad, roasted broccoli and garlic, and half a chicken apple sausage.

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At snacktime, I cut off a hunk of frozen coconut milk…

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…and ate it like a popsicle along with some macadamia nuts and dark chocolate.

Wow! This treat was a really yummy indulgence. I’m gonna scope out the Asian grocery stores in the Bay Area to see if they carry this item in the freezer section. The only ingredients are coconut and water and you don’t have to worry about BPA!

For dinner, my chef sister whipped up some macadamia nut oil mayonnaise by just eyeballing the measurements…

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…and crafted her own version of a simple crab salad.

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She served the salad with a zesty cole slaw…

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and sliced avocado sprinkled with sea salt.

My minor contribution to dinner was roasted Alii mushrooms tossed with Aloha Spice Company’s Pele Fire Hawaiian seasoning salt.

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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After watching my sister finesse her way in the kitchen all week, I realized that I have a shitload to bone up on. She’s an amazing chef with an impeccable palate and mad skillz. I’ve been prodding her to use her super powers for good (Paleo personal chef!) instead of evil (vegetarian/vegan recipe developer) and I think I’m making some headway. Trust me – if any one in the Los Angeles area needs a badass caterer or personal chef, my sis is absolutely amazing. I miss living in the same city as her and mooching her onolicious food…

Paleo Eats: 6/14/11 (Third Day In Kauai)

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Another fun and relaxing day in Kauai…

We woke up this morning at the crack of dawn since the kiddies don’t know you’re supposed to sleep in past 5:00 a.m. when you’re on vacation. Since everyone was awake, my sis and I cooked breakfast together. She threw together a purple sweet potato and onion hash…

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…and I made a frittata with leftover Kalua pig, sautéed local Alii mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

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Another tasty Paleo breakfast brought to you by Costco…

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We spent the morning swimming in the pool and I grazed on nibbles at every turn. I snacked on a Paleo Kit, homemade smoked wild salmon (courtesy of my absent brother-in-law), leftover roasted broccoli…

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…and spicy poke from Fish Express.

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I gotta admit that the spicy poke was not my favorite even though I tried to salvage it with some extra seasoning, avocado, and chopped mac nuts.

For lunch, I chowed on leftovers: Kalua pig, braised cabbage, green beans, and sliced tomatoes.

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I was excited to check out the Waipa farmer’s market in the afternoon but even though there was a large sweaty crowd waiting to stream in exactly at 2:00 p.m….

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…the pickings were slim and the prices were astronomical. I bought myself a fresh coconut because it was so flipping hot — but it cost me $6!

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I was really disappointed with the market and probably won’t be checking out any more this week.

Afterwards, we headed to Banana Joe’s

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…where we ate some frosties (frozen banana, pineapple, or both pushed through a juicer)…

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…and we checked out their goodies.

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This small shack is chock full of Paleo goodies: pastured eggs, organic produce, assorted macadamia nut oils, spice blends, and roasted macadamia nut butter. Love this place!

Then, we stopped by Kilauea Fish Market where we picked up some fresh raw prawns.

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At dinnertime, my sis and I divided cooking duties again. I was in charge of the proteins so I sautéed prawns and onions seasoned with Aloha Spice Company’s organic aloha seafood seasoning…

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…and nuked the remaining lau lau.

My sis prepared a green salad tossed with a yummy, perfectly-balanced vinaigrette…

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…and a zesty tomato and green bean salad.

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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Eek! Our vacation is half over! 

Paleo Eats: 6/13/11 (Second Day In Kauai)

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We started off our first morning in Kauai bright and early with one hell of a chipper at Kauai CrossFit. You can read all about it in great detail on Fitbomb’s blog. My two big regrets were that I didn’t eat breakfast beforehand and I forgot to pack my contact lenses for our trip. I was super peeved that my near-sightedness caused me to miss the beautiful ocean views AND the second half of the WOD.

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I thought I was finished after the 20 burpees so you can bet I let out a string of profanities when I realized I still had a bunch more stuff to complete. I was wiped when I was finished but it was a blast CrossFitting outside in paradise with my hubby.

Post workout, I quickly gobbled a baked purple sweet potato in the parking lot. When we got home I was super delighted to discover that my sis had already cooked us a delicious Paleo breakfast: roasted broccoli and garlic, hard-boiled eggs, seared Canadian bacon, and baked purple sweet potatoes.

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I love my big sis! It’s such a special treat to be spoiled like this PLUS it tasted kickass.

After our breakfast/post workout meal, we took a quick stroll outside…

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…to check out the gorgeous views.

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Then, we walked over to Healthy Hut to pick up some snacks.

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This tiny, family-owned natural food store has a nice selection of organic produce, meats, and groceries. Yep, it’s pricey but I was happy to fork over the moola for some high quality organic Hawaiian spice blends, coconut water, and 85% dark chocolate.  

For lunch, we stopped by Duane’s Ono Char Burger

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…and I ordered a Nui-Nui (double patty) burger sans bun and extra bacon.

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It was a well-seasoned burger for a reasonable price ($7.15). I’d definitely return for another.

We spent our afternoon scoping out Wailua Falls

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…and shopping at Fish Express (spicy ahi poke!) and Costco (more eggs!).

By dinnertime I was pretty tired and didn’t want to make anything complicated for supper. Luckily, we had some Paleo-ish, Costco-purchased Kalua pork in the fridge.

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My sis braised some cabbage, carrots, onions, and diced Canadian bacon on the stove…

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…while I reheated the pork in the microwave…

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…and broiled asparagus in the oven.

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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Yummy, quick, and reasonably priced!

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Check out my Double-O’s showing off the muscles they’ve developed eating Paleo in paradise!

Paleo Eats: 6/12/11 (First Day In Kauai)

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Traveling with kids is never a bowl of cherries – especially if the little ones are dragged out of bed at 5:20 a.m. Luckily, my kiddos are becoming better travelers — provided we zombify them with iPads or iPhones.

So what did I eat today?

Pickings were slim at Mineta San Jose International Airport, but I picked up a chef salad before boarding the plane. While en route to Kauai, I chowed on a grass fed Paleo Kit, the chef salad…

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…some strawberries, and assorted nuts.

I love, love, love flying Alaska airlines to Kauai! The flight attendants were super-nice, the price for a direct flight was reasonable, and they passed out complimentary Mauna Loa macadamia nuts as a snack! My mom was stoked that they gave out free Mai Tais, too…

After we arrived in Kauai, we stopped by Costco on our way to our rental house. I love Costco but I REALLY love Costco in Hawaii. Why? Because you can stock up on the same great Paleo goodies available at home AND plenty of unique local items, too – for a lot less money than any where else on the island! Plus, they carry tons and tons of macadamia nuts. I went a little nuts (pun!) and ended up filling TWO shopping carts with meat and veggies.

When we got home, we loaded all our cold items into the fridge…

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…and I ate some garlic shrimp poke and limu poke (Pro Tip: skip the limu poke).

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I also shoveled some mac nuts and coconut flakes into my mouth before we returned to the airport to pick up my sister.

We spent the rest of the day soaking in the pool, so we wanted to throw together something quick and hearty for dinner. We reheated the chicken and pork lau lau we bought at Costco…

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microwaved some steamed green beans with butter, salt, pepper, and lemon juice…

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…and my sis created a delicious salad (shaved asparagus, greens, local tomatoes, and a simple homemade vinaigrette).

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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The chicken lau lau was good, but the pork lau lau was really tasty — it was definitely the bigger crowd-pleaser.

After dinner, I baked some Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes

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…because Fitbomb and I were planning on hitting Kauai CrossFit in the morning, and we needed some starchy post-workout carbs at the ready.

Can you believe all my eats in Kauai today were courtesy of Costco? Awesome.

Survival Tips for Eating Paleo When Traveling

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1. Stay somewhere with a kitchen so you can cook breakfast and stock up your fridge with Paleo/Primal-friendly treats. Here on Maui, we’re staying in a place with  a full kitchen and gas grills outside. This way, we can always eat breakfast in (or not eat it if you’re Fitbomb) and cook one or two nights during our stay.

2. Find grocery stores that offer good local and/or organic produce and proteins to stock up your fridge. Yelp and Chowhound are my top two resources for finding great local shops. On our first night, one of us always goes to the grocery store to stock up on essentials after the rugrats are sleeping.  Our favorite store used to be one nearby called Lahaina Farms. Yes, it was expensive but it was a local, Hawaiian version of Whole Paycheck/Bristol Farms.  The produce was impeccable and the meat and fish counters offered really phenomenal stuff. But since our last visit, it’s been bought out by Foodland and renamed Foodland Farms. It kind of sucks now. It’s still expensive but the pickings are really slim — with very little in the way of organic or local products. And no coconut products except for the sweetened stuff. Wha? I left disappointed.

This morning, I took a walk to one of our old standbys, Farmers Market and Deli Store in Honokwai, and was happy to find it was still as hippy-dippy as ever, and stocked with coconut butter, coconut oil, coconut flakes, organic produce, and yummy homemade guacamole. No meat in sight since this is strictly a vegan/vegetarian place, but at least you can stock up on some basics.

3. When going out to eat, check out the menu on the restaurant’s website first so you have a game plan before you even get there. I did this pre-Paleo because I’m food-obsessed, but nowadays I do it to make sure that the places we do go to have enough options that are Paleo AND tasty.

4.  If you want to order something with no grains or potatoes, ask if you can sub them out with veggies or salad.  Most places are very accomodating.

5.  Enjoy yourself!  But make sure the cheats are worth it.  You know what I’m talking about.  Back away from the chocolate molten lava cake.  That’s so fricking early-’90s, Roy Yamaguchi.