Paleo f(x) & Memorial Day Meal

Tonight it took me until after 8:30 to get home from work due to more massive flooding on the north side of Houston.  I don’t mind flooding when I’m cozy and comfy at home, but there should be a rule against flooding at rush hour when I just want to get home.

Sigh, at least my car made it one piece – there were plenty of others I saw along the way that weren’t so lucky.

Anyway, this past Memorial Day weekend was awesome, as expected.  Not only did we get to go to Paleo f(x) and try all kinds of new paleo friendly foods, but we had another successful get-together with friends who enjoyed some new  recipes I tried out on them.

We grilled sugar & nitrate free sausage from Bellville Meat Market and served it with this Sweet Potato Salad with Avocado Pesto from FoodFaithFitness and Watermelon Salad with Basil Ginger Dressing from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.  Both of these recipes were a little outside of my comfort zone when imagining the ingredients together, but the resulting dishes were very tasty.

I also tried a recipe from this month’s Paleo magazine called Bacon Peach Crunch which involved a bed of bacon with peaches and honey covered in walnuts… definitely interesting, but I think if I make it again, I’ll use unsmoked bacon as it recommends.

As for Paleo f(x), here are some of the awesome foods we tried and purchased because of how awesome they are:

Check them out, and if you’re interested, I have some coupon codes for discounts off of many of the items.

Stay dry, everyone!!

Pot Roast Win

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I am new to the whole pot roast thing… and traditionally I haven’t been a fan, but this week’s Slow Cooker Pot Roast from PaleOMG is just awesome.  Super tender meat combined with a slightly sweet, thick vegetable gravy makes this recipe a total win!

IMG_1430We also tried a few other new recipes that turned out fantastic including these Zucchini Fritter Muffin Cups also from PaleOMG and this Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry Salsa from Sweet Peas and Saffron (which I baked instead of grilling due to nasty weather this week) and a new  Paleo Thin Mints recipe from Lexi’s clean Kitchen.

 

The cookie dough for the Thin Mints didn’t IMG_1433behave well for cookie cutter use during my attempt, so instead I pretty much just made balls of dough and flattened them by hand on the cookie sheets.  I ended up with way more cookies than the recipe indicated it would yield, and I added some melted coconut oil to my chocolate chips to get a smoother coating of chocolate.  But the end result is awesome… these are crispy and dark, just like the real thing.

This coming weekend is Memorial weekend and we’re excited about driving out to Austin on Saturday to walk through the big PaleoFX convention.  I’m hoping to bring back some new food and lifestyle ideas to try and will share what we learn.  Stay tuned!

Waffles!!!

E.J. is out of town this weekend visit a cousin who’s recovering from surgery, so that leaves me in the kitchen alone… well except for Buddy who misses him and keeps putting bones and toys on my feet while I work.

But generally speaking when E.J. is gone, that’s an opportunity for me to try dishes that wouldn’t typically rate as his favorites, like waffles.  I wrote about the fantastic pancake recipe we’ve been using on Saturday mornings and that’s definitely E.J.’s preference, but there’s just something about the crispy waffle that really does it for me.  So today I decided to try out this Almond Butter Blueberry Waffle recipe from Ambitions Kitchen.

All I can say is Yum!  I made them just the same way IMG_1422I would have done a regular waffle in my Belgian iron, and the outside was crispy with a soft inside.  It completely satisfied the expectation… and it’s Paleo!!  I followed the recipe exactly (except for the part about 1/2 a waffle being a serving) and instead of regular honey or syrup on top, I drizzled this Orange Cinnamon Honey we picked up at Pike’s Market in Seattle.  It’s REALLY yummy, and complimented the blueberries and cinnamon in the waffles very well.

I’m stuffed from eating more than I should, but I’m happy and ready to start my day.  I’ve got lots of errands to run, and I’ve got plans to meet up with friends later tonight.

This Week’s Winners

This week I tried two new dishes for Sunday – Sweet Potato Buffalo Chicken Casserole from Paleo Leap and Paleo Swedish Meatballs from Plated with Style.

On the casserole, I ended up doing a half & half sauce with half Frank’s Red Hot and half Bone Suckin’ BBQ sauce.  The flavor on this is absolutely amazing – we all really enjoyed it, but the sweet potatoes didn’t cook through all the way, so I would suggest chopping them pretty small (like half inch cubes).   I will most definitely try this one again, but next time I’ll probably do 3 lbs of chicken, and only 3 large sweet potatoes so there’s a little more protein.  All in all though, this one is total win.

The meatballs were also really good – pan fried in bacon grease with all of those pieces of onion and garlic… MMM!!!  The sauce was a bit thin, so when I do this one again, I think I’ll add more tapioca to thicken it up a bit more.  I added mushrooms to my sauce and felt it needed some extra garlic salt to really bring out the sauce flavor.

I’m really glad to have the pre-made meals again this week – the new job has me heading for the office early and leaving late, so it’s nice to not have to feel like I’ve got to scramble to make dinner when I get home.

Catch-up Saturday

Today was one of those Saturdays where we did nothing but run errands and catch up on IMG_1415things that we had been needing to get around to.  It was a highly productive day, but we spent an incredible amount of it sitting in traffic due to the nearby Iron Man festivities taking place all over town.

After hours of running around, E.J. and I decided to have some Paleo Pizza for dinner and settle in to some T.V. watching to catch up on one of our favorite shows, “Castle”, which will be having its final episode on Monday.  We’re sad to see it go, but it’s had a nice long run and I can’t wait to see what Nathan Fillion does next.

We’ve done pizza a couple of times since the paleo diet began, but we’ve never been super happy with the crust.  Typically I did a cauliflower or almond flour based crust, and it always ended up crumbly and never quite held the weight of the toppings the way I had hoped.  Tonight we tried this recipe from Primally Inspired, and had a MUCH better result. The crust was crispy but doughy, and honestly tasted and felt just like a regular thin crust pizza…. even if it was a little green from the avocado oil.  Brendon happened to be home for dinner and gave it 2 thumbs up also.  I think this will have to become my new standard.

IMG_1417.JPGI also had some leftover melted chocolate in the fridge that needed to be used, so I dropped in some of the natural no-sugar-added dried cherries we picked up at Pike Market in Seattle and made up a new chocolate “cluster” recipe with shredded coconut and tiny pecan pieces.  I can’t wait to try one later!

…And We’re Back

E.J. and I had a lovely vacation last week full of adventures.  As a direct result of all of our weight loss, we were getting up early every morning and pretty much going non-stop until bedtime.  E.J. had so much energy that he was literally running across streets and up hills, and through forest trails.  I had to push to keep up with him, and that’s definitely a first for our vacations.

Here’s a short list of things we saw and did:

  • Ate salmon for breakfast (multiple times)
  • Had AMAZING sushi and Indian food
  • Visited lots of awesome Seattle museums like the EMP Museum, the Museum of Flight and the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
  • Had dinner in the Space Needle
  • Got a tour of the Boeing plant and watched airplanes being built
  • Walked all the levels of Pike Market and visited the Gum Wall and the Fairmont Troll
  • Watched an Improv show
  • Sang in a Karaoke bar
  • Watched (and E.J. participated in) a Can-can/burlesque show – be sure to ask him about this one!
  • Took a horse-drawn carriage ride tour of Stanley Park
  • Shopped all the stores on Granville Island
  • Walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge and across all of the platforms and trails in the park
  • Took a Seaplane tour above Vancouver
  • Rode the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain
  • Walked and played in the snow (and threw snowballs)
  • Visited the waterfalls along the Sea-to-Sky highway
  • Visited Whistler
  • Watched F-18s fly overhead as we drove across Whidbey Island and enjoyed the views of the ocean

13055420_10206166732316386_1108829993677692875_nWe consciously decided that we would allow ourselves to go off-diet on the trip, though we tried to stick with some of our good habits like avoiding sugary drinks and breads at mealtimes and trying not to snack during the day.  Still, we found ourselves choosing to try some local desserts (there were some irresistible chocolate and cobbler-like desserts) and delicacies like poutine and fried pork belly.

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As expected, we gained weight on the trip, but oddly enough we were both ready to get back to our regular diet by the time the week was over, and we’re both within a couple of pounds already today of being where we were before we left.  I consider that a win.

We flew back Saturday, so I spent Sunday doing laundry, unpacking, and making chili and an Enchilada Bake along with some Sweet Potato Bites for lunches this week.

I’m also starting a new role this week with a lot more responsibility, so I’m happy to have my lunches completely covered so I don’t have to leave the office to eat well… yay for planning ahead!

Vacation Pancakes

Today E.J. and I will be heading out for vacation, and we’re both really excited.  So excited that we were up at 5:30 am this morning and wide awake.   So what do you do when you have time to kill and are feeling that vacation high before sunrise?  Blueberry pancakes, that’s what!

We tried this recipe for Fluffy Blueberry Paleo Pancakes from Civilized Caveman, and OMG were they good.  Fluffy, soft, and every bit as mouthwatering as advertised.  This blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites because it’s regular food that tastes nothing short of amazing.  I highly recommend you check it out if you’re new to Paleo and looking for some familiar flavors within the context of a Paleo diet.

I’m excited about all of the great foods we’re going to get to try in the Pacific northwest (we’re headed out to Seattle and Vancouver), but it’s every bit as awesome to start it all off with a Paleo treat.

We’ve been scoping out some Paleo-friendly restaurants in the cities we’ll be visiting, and I’m sure we’ll have some great ideas to bring back with us.