Around the World, Paleo Style

This weekend was another busy one – E.J. and I visited my alma mater, and walked around the Texas A&M campus all day yesterday before attending the Aggie game vs. New Mexico State.  It was a great day, and while our food options were definitely limited while on campus, we still managed to stay mostly Paleo and didn’t have any adverse effects from our choices (always a bonus).

So today was back to the Paleo prep routine, and I decided to go international with my selections for the week.

img_2071First, I started with some old favorites.  The Paleo TexMex Casserole from Popular Paleo isn’t exactly Mexican fare, but it’s got some lovely southwestern flavors, thanks to the sugar & corn-free taco seasoning, and is one of our earliest successes in the kitchen.

Then I went for another favorite (E.J. and Brendon both love this one) with some classic Indian flavors in the Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala from Today in Dietzville.  I paired this with roasted broccoli for our lunch packs. img_2069

Next, I went off the reservation a little bit and tried a couple of new recipes.  The first is a Cajun Cauliflower Casserole from Food Faith Fitness that turned out pretty well.  It didn’t set to solid pieces (I think I still had too much liquid in the tomato mixture) but it smells really good, so I am looking forward to trying this one for lunch.  I guess that one’s not technically international, but if you’ve ever been to Louisiana, it’s kinda like a whole other country…

img_2067Then I made a double-batch of these Gyro Meatballs from Paleo Cupboard.  The tzatziki sauce is really flavorful, even if it is a little runny, and the meatballs themselves are really good with the lamb and the lemon accents.  I served these with a side of Greek style green beans with Tomatoes from Greek Paleo.

For dinner tonight, we thawed some Italian Meat sauce I had frozen from a few months ago, and served it on top of roasted spaghetti squash with these really cool Garlic Breadsticks from Paleo Grubs.  Yum!

As a bonus dessert recipe, I highly recommend this German-style Paleo Apple Strudel recipe made with cassava flour.  It’s a little hard to work with, but the end result is fantastic.  I made this as a healthy alternative to the regular ones I made for my company potluck last week.

Bon Appetit!

 

Halloween (Mostly) Paleo Party

As I’ve mentioned before, E.J. and I do a lot of entertaining.  We have 3 major parties every year (New Years, Summer Birthdays, and Halloween) and many minor ones scattered in between (St. Patrick’s Day, July 4, Memorial Day, etc.) and then there are the big family holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.  All in all, we do a lot of big meals and big party spreads on a fairly regular basis, which is particularly challenging when it comes to a major shift in your diet like our transition to Paleo.

More and more of our close friends have made the transition, or are at least trying to eat more like E.J. and I do, so that takes the pressure off a bit, but in the end the goal is to make a tasty spread without a ton of leftovers we can’t eat.

Here is what the menu looked like for the Halloween party we had this past weekend

For the non-paleo folks, I added:

  • Tortilla & potato chips
  • Green onion dip
  • Rice Krispy treats

These last few items were special request from my mom on the understanding that any leftovers would be quickly handled so they wouldn’t tempt me or go to waste.

There were lots of compliments on the food options, and all in all, I think the party was a success.  Special thanks to Elaine and Anita for their help getting ready Friday so I could get all of it done!

 

Falling off the Wagon Gracefully

This weekend, E.J. and I had short vacation in Nacogdoches, TX where we went zip-lining, hiking, and shopping.  We also fell off the wagon a little bit, which is honestly bound to happen occasionally.  As tough as E.J. is on sticking to his plan, travel (especially for vacation) just requires a little leeway.  What’s interesting though is HOW we choose to go off the rails, now that we’ve been Paleo for over a year.

First, it is done with great care and consideration.  Neither of us mindlessly eats junk anymore. We think about each option and opportunity, and consciously choose when we’re going to eat something off-plan.  Here are a few of the things that go through my mind when I’m making that decision:

  • When was the last time I had this food?  Is there a Paleo analogue that I’ve enjoyed recently?  Am I likely to have the opportunity to have it again in the future?  Local delicacies and special occasions or holidays warrant some extra consideration too.  (i.e. when they buy you a cake for your birthday at work, you eat a small piece of cake.  Period.)
  • When was the last time I had something non-Paleo?  Today?  Last Week?  Last month?  When on vacation, I try not to be bad more than once a day, and even every other day if possible.
  • Am I willing to suffer the intestinal consequences of this choice?  At this point, every time I eat something off the plan, I end up with bloating at a minimum, and in many cases, severe abdominal pain, nausea, and/or gas.  Is the food I want to eat really worth it?

Generally, these internal questions guide me away from the common junk (chips & salsa, pasta, rice, bread, etc) and allow me to only step out of bounds when the occasion truly calls for it.  This weekend, we stayed at a bed and breakfast where the breakfast included biscuits and pancakes.  Was it worth it?  Yes, if for no other reason than because it pleased the grandmotherly lady that ran the place (though they really were delicious), but I certainly suffered for it afterward.  I was glad to be back on-plan today.  I just feel so much better when I stay the course.