The first week is easy and filled with enthusiasm. Then reality hits you as you realize the old stand-bys of spaghetti or tostadas are no longer available to you. You have to make a whole new list of "go-to" recipes. And that is a daunting task. This is a journey I have just started. I am keeping my food journal here so that when you are in a rut or are starting to panic you can look here for ideas and perhaps even inspiration.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Greek - Style Chicken

Bored with grilled chicken? Try topping with with something fabulous!
Stop the monotony and add a few extra vegetables to your dinner.
This recipe came into existence by not having 1 critical ingredients to 5 different recipes. So, I threw out the cookbook and threw a lot of things in a pan. The result: yumminess! My husband doesn't really care for onions but cleaned his plate.

Serves 4
4 grilled chicken breasts to top
1 red onion, diced
2 strips bacon, cut into small strips
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (a good way to sneak in a tablespoon of this fabulous oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet. Add bacon and red onion - saute until onion is soft and bacon is starting to crisp. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and kalamata olives and cook until just warmed through, about 2 minutes. Top your already cooked chicken and enjoy.

Chipotle Cream Sauce

This is a great sauce for either fish or chicken tacos. 
*Tip: since you will only use a small portion of the can of peppers you will have to purchase you can freeze the remainder in individual portions for use later.

o    1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
o    1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice (enough to thin the yogurt to a nice, creamy consistency)
o    2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce 

Finely mince the chipotle pepper and mix all indregients, adjusting measurements to taste.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week 6 Food Journal

My birthday was this week. A week fraught with food issues! Cake and eating out. Luckily for me I never really liked cake - in my family it was all about pie. But, alas, neither pie nor cake is a viable option anymore. I honestly didn't really care one way or another, but it is important to my kids to have a "birthday party." So, to appease the 3 and 5 year olds we set out in search of a good, semi-healthy choice. We came up with cheesecake - what turned out to be a great alternative. And, in the end my husband came through and also surprised me with a giant pink kettlebell. It's a competition bell, so no matter the weight they are all the same size. This one is a 10kg, and that's a 12kg next to it. Let me tell you: the fact that I was actually excited to get this and not mad says a LOT about how much I've changed... But: I'm also firm in places that weren't a few weeks ago, so what can I say? It works.
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix
  • Guacamole and bacon sandwiches, handful of grape tomatoes and almonds
  • Grilled chicken with guacamole and grape tomatoes
    • FireWOD #1: firebreather; for time: 100 clean/press, 8kg and 100 squats; Time: 10:57. Plank: 48 seconds
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix
  • sardines and avocado
  • almonds
  • Pot roast (from frozen leftovers)
    • FireWOD #3: firebreather; 8RFT: 20 12kg 1H swings and 8 forward lunges: Time: 10:06. Plank x 3: 1:23, 2:00, 0:53
  • 2 fried eggs
  • Chickpeas and tomatoes tossed with lemon juice, EVOO and Parmesan cheese
  • Greek style chicken and green beans (recipe to come)
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • almonds
  • deli roast beef "rolled" with lettuce
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • Out for birthday dinner: chicken vesuvio, chicken with peas, onions and potatoes, red wine and calamari
  • Birthday Cake
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix
  • leftover chicken vesuvio
  • Orange chicken stir-fry
    • FireWOD #5: smoke eater; 5RFT; 8 & 10kg; 5 thrusters/hand, 10 squat thrusts, 15 swings: Time: 15:10. Plank x 3: 1:19, 0:26, 1:10
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • deli roast beef "rolled" with lettuce
  • party: deli meat and cheese from sub sandwich, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and peppers
  • Fish tacos with yogurt-chipotle cream sauce (recipe to come)

Birthday Cake

Obviously the "cake" has inherent problems when it comes to eating Paleo. But, this week was my birthday and while I didn't really care about having a cake - my kids did! So, being a good man, my husband set out on a quest to find something that we wouldn't feel too guilty eating. He landed on cheesecake. Perfect! Once you substitute out nuts for crust all that is left is the sugar. And, since we haven't eaten anything sugary in a long time it is also easy to cut way back on that too. If you want to you could use coconut sugar in place of the granulated sugar - but as far as your body is concerned sugar is sugar, so why bother? Plus, if 80% is the goal, then I think a little sugar on your birthday is an ok splurge.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds or walnuts
1/3 cup melted butter
2-3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together all ingredients until well combined. Press into the bottom of a 12-inch spring form pan that has been tightly wrapped around the base with aluminum foil.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding filling.

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar (less if you can handle it - I only put in 1/2 cup)
5 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 pound ricotta cheese

In a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until well incorporated, smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add lemon zest and continue to mix, remembering to scrape down the sides as necessary. Slowly add the ricotta cheese to the batter and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake in the middle of the oven until it starts to set, about 45 minutes. Lower the oven temperate to 325 and cook for another 20-25 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown and it should have risen above the edges of the pan by this point. There should be no "jiggling." Remove from the oven, use a thin sharp knife and run the blade around the inside of the cake to loosen the sides. Loosen the outer ring (but don't remove!) and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving.
Serve with fresh berries or dark chocolate if desired.

Orange Chicken Stir-fry

 Servings: 4        Prep Time: 35min          Total Time: 45min

o    1 1/2 Tablespoons potato starch
o    2 cups orange juice
o    1/3 cup soy sauce
o  1/3 cup rice vinegar
o    4 garlic cloves, minced
o    1 to 2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes (optional - only if you want spicy chicken)
o    Coarse salt
o    1 tablespoon coconut oil
o    3 skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch strips
o    1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
o    1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

Place potato starch in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in orange juice until smooth. Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and red-pepper flakes if desired; Set aside.
In a 5-quart nonstick pot, heat oil over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken on one side until slightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add broccoli, carrots, and ½ cup water to pot. Cook, partially covered, until water has evaporated and broccoli is bright green, 3 minutes. Add reserved chicken and liquid mixture (potato starch has a tendency to separate, so stir before adding); bring to a boil. Cook until chicken is opaque throughout and sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
*You can serve this over rice to those family and friends who has still think they need a grain with their meal.
To Freeze: Without rice, allow to cool completely. Freeze in 1 ½ cup servings in airtight containers.
To Cook from Frozen: Remove from container and place in a medium saucepan with ¼ - ½ cups of water per serving. Cover and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 10-12 minutes. 

Roasted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts

Servings: 4        Prep Time: 10min          Total Time: 35min

o   1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
ΓΌ  OR: 8 medium leeks (3 pounds) whites and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise and halved
o   4 skinless salmon filets (about 1 ½ pounds)
o   2 tablespoons olive oil
o   Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450. On a rimmed baking sheet toss brussels sprouts or leeks with olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Toss vegetables and push to side of baking sheet, place salmon in center. Roast until salmon is opaque throughout and sprouts are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Paleo Trail Mix

I love this mix. I am a cereal girl at heart and this is a great substitute. I eat about 3/4 cup with coconut milk or 1/3 cup mixed with about 1/4-1/3 cup plain, greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons of almond butter. It also makes a great snack.

I buy all the ingredients from either the bulk foods section of my local mega-mart or the local health foods store, guestimate the quantities and dump them in a huge bowl to mix. So yummy, you won't regret giving this a try!

16 oz roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
16 oz raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
8 oz roasted, unsalted almond slivers
6 oz dried pineapple, diced
5 oz dried flaked coconut (I can never find this though and just use shredded), toasted if you have time. And, of course, unsweetened

*Recipe borrowed from Nom Nom Paleo

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Coconut Oil?

So what is the deal with coconut oil? My cousin posted a great article here that I recommend you all read. And this is another great source for information.
Coconut oil seems to be one of the world's best kept secrets! It is thought to help in both weight loss and weight maintenance, lowering cholesterol, risk of heart disease, prevention of routine illnesses as it has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, it increases metabolism and promotes a healthy thyroid. Not to mention it can also help rejuvenate your skin and help prevent wrinkles!
However: the key is to make sure you maintain a constant level of coconut oil in your body at all times. For the average person age 23-50 you should try to intake about 1.5 tablespoons a day (up to 3 T if you are ill). I put about 1/2 a tablespoon in my coffee in the morning. It takes a little getting used to, but I don't need as much chapstick throughout the day anymore either! I also cook with it and use it as a hand moisturizer at least once a day.
The only other thing I can add is: last week my entire family was hit with a terrible cold and cough... everyone but me that is.

Week 5 Food Journal

I finally feel like I'm getting in the groove of things. I no longer crave crackers and chips. The thought of bread is actually unappealing! The questions from people are changing from "you're doing what?!? When do you get to start adding things back? You DON"T?!?!?!?" To: "really? how does this work? what do you eat?" the last with sincerity and not incredulous disbelief. I went to a super bowl party and my considerate sister made Paleo Poppers with me and Andy in mind. And, it was fairly easy to navigate the buffet table - I did not feel guilty overloading my corn chips with a lot of guacamole to help compensate for the chip! I'm not quite to the point where I will eat it off a spoon (in public) but I'm getting there. Every week is still a battle, and some days are hard. But, they are getting easier.



  • Coconut flour pancakes
  • Sardines and 1/2 avocado
  • Grilled steak and zuchinni
    • FireWOD #2: Death by: 1 forward lunge each leg, 3 2H swings; add 1 rep every minute until reps exceed 1 minute. 2 rounds. Round 1: 6 sets. Round 2: 6 sets
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • Steak and spinach salad
  • Cashews
  • Grilled Chicken with zuchinni and peppers
    • Rest Day
  • 1/2 cup plain, greek yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix, honey to taste
  • Sardines and avocado
  • 1 apple
  • Cauliflower pizza crust take 2 (with olive oil, spinach, pepperoni and mozzarella)
    • FireWod #5;  8kg: 50 1H, 50 2H; 12kg: 80 1H, 120 2H

Natalie's Paleo Poppers

A Paleo take on the jalapeno popper. For this recipe instead of stuffing the pepper with cream cheese we used chorizo instead. (pictures to come!) There are 2 ways to prepare these, choose the one that works best for you.
 Makes 1 dozen poppers:
12 jalapeno peppers, of consistent size for even cooking
1/4 pound chorizo (uncooked)
6 slices thick bacon
12-24 toothpicks

Prepping the peppers:
Option #1
First slice off the top of your jalapeno. Using a parring knife remove the ribs and seeds by inserting the knife and working in a circle around the inside. Shake to remove ribs and seeds.
Put the chorizo in a quart size plastic bag. You will want the heavy gauge plastic for this or the seams will break. Snip the tip from one corner and squeeze into the cavity of you pepper, like a pastry bag.

Option #2
Slice the top off you pepper and then cut a slit the length of the pepper to expose the inside. Using a parring knife remove the ribs and seeds. Using your fingers fill the cavity with chorizo and then close to seal it in.

Once your peppers are stuffed take 1/2 a slice of bacon and wrap around the pepper. Because you are using chorizo and not cheese you do not need to worry covering the exposed top. Secure the bacon in place with toothpicks.
These will keep up to 2 days in an air tight container in the fridge.

Heat your grill over low heat. This is important: If your grill is too hot the bacon will burn before the chorizo and the pepper have had enough time to properly cook. Place poppers on the grill and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Chorizo should reach a temp of 145 and the bacon should be crispy. Keep an eye on them to make sure your bacon isn't burning. If you have a "popper rack" you can also sprinkle with a little shredded cheese if you wish.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

o 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
o    2 tablespoons olive oil
o    4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
o    Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and browned in spots, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature

To make ahead: Cool asparagus completely; cover and refrigerate up to one day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

An interesting alternative to traditional pizza this recipe takes a little more work than calling your favorite pizza place - but isn't really any harder than making your own from scratch with flour would be. It's just different.
In the end the texture holds up as more of a foccacia than "pizza" with a sponge-like texture thanks to the egg and cheese, and loses most of the "cauliflower" taste. You can pick it up and eat it with your hands, but I found it easier to eat with a fork. I saw this recipe online and have "tweeked" it a little. You can see the original recipe here. I am still experimenting a little, trying to get a crispier "crust." When I figure it out I will update the post.
The ingredients:
1 cup "riced" cauliflower (see below)
1 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for toppings
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 clove of garlic, finely minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
coconut oil

Make ahead: "riced"cauliflower.
With a head of cauliflower, remove the leaves and stems. Break florets into about 1 inch pieces chop in a food processor until the consistency of couscous. You will want to work in small batches or you will find chunks of cauliflower in the the mix. Don't over process though or it will turn to paste. Put in a microwave safe bowl and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes. There is enough water in the cauliflower itself to eliminate the need to add more water. This will make about 3 cups and can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the crust:
Mix together 1 cup cauliflower, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 egg and seasonings. (Seasonings can be adjusted to your taste: I found the raw garlic and oregano suggested to be over powering, so adjust to your personal taste.) Once this is thoroughly mixed it will make a thick batter, transfer to a pizza stone (See note below). Using a spatula or spoon work in circles to spread out mixture into a circle that is about 1/4 inch thick. This will make either 1 9" crust or 2 4.5" pizzas. Give your crust a slight lip at the edge and then tuck under the edge. This will help keep the edge from spreading too much and burning during baking. Using a pastry brush apply a light coating of coconut oil to the top to aid in browning. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until a golden brown.

Once your crust is done remove from the oven and top with your choice of toppings. Try pesto, grilled chicken, spinach and cheese; Olive oil, pepperoni, spinach and cheese; whatever you like! Toppings will need to be pre-cooked (if needed) because they are only in the oven for a few minutes.
Once your pizza has been dressed pop it back in the oven under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. When the cheese is bubbly and brown it is ready to eat.

*Note: What is the best thing to cook this crust on? This is where I am still experimenting: the first time I made it on a cookie sheet with aluminum foil that was greased with coconut oil. Complete disaster! It stuck terribly and was soggy (although the taste was still good enough to make we want to try again). The second time (shown above) I used a pizza stone for better heat conduction that I covered with parchment paper and again greased with coconut oil. This was a much better outcome but it was still a little greasy. Next time I am going to try it right on the pizza stone, still with a small amount of coconut oil.

"The Riann" Protein Shake

To your favorite protein powder add:
Almond milk (instead of water), 1 T almond butter, 1 T cocoa powder, 2 T plain yogurt and ice. Blend and enjoy.

Lemon Chicken Salad Wrap

This is a great salad to make with leftover grilled chicken from the night before...

o    5 tablespoons mayonnaise
o    2 tablespoons shallots or 2 scallions, minced
o    1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
o    Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
o    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
o    5 cups shredded or diced chicken (or turkey)
o    ½ cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped or 1 cap full dried tarragon
Wisk together mayonnaise, shallot, mustard, lemon zest and juice, pepper and salt to taste in the bottom of a large bowl. Add chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated. Mix in tarragon. Serve in endive or as a sandwich filling.