Paleo Challenge Thoughts & Recipes

As you know, I am doing a paleo challenge with my CrossFit box.  We are one week away from the final day and I am dreading the end.  I think this time I may stick with it, though.

The challenge this time was much easier as we were allowed to eat brown rice, quinoa, and corn, albeit in small quantities.  When I was craving sushi, I was able to have it (with brown rice instead of white and no soy sauce).  I may not have been able to satisfy my spicy tuna urges (it has mayo), but I was able to experiment and found a delicious combo: tuna, asparagus, and avocado in the roll with a slice of mango and a drizzle of mango jelly on top.

For breakfast, I made scrambled eggs over (or under, depending what I added to the Tupperware first) roasted sweet potatoes (in lieu of hash browns).

For the sweet potatoes – I usually make them at night and leave them in the fridge as they are good cold for one or two days after:

  • Pre-heat oven to bake at 425 degrees or convection bake at 425
  • Peel 1-2 sweet potatoes (the amount is your preference and based on size)
  • Dice the sweet potato and place on a foil lined baking tray
  • Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and some fresh black pepper
  • Toss with your hands until all of the pieces of sweet potato are covered in oil and seasoning
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes

For the eggs – I make these in the morning:

  • 2 eggs cracked into a bowl – prepare as if to make scrambled eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt and 2 turns of a black pepper grinder – mix again
  • 1/2 an avocado diced
  • 1 tablespoon of frozen sweet corn kernels
  • Mix again
  • Pour into a small frying pan that has been greased if necessary and heated while you mix the avocado and corn with the eggs
  • Scramble the eggs

For lunch, I made tuna salads:

  • 1 can of tuna in water (I use Trader Joe’s no salt added)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of cooked quinoa (this is optional; I find it makes the salad a bit more filling)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • Mix the above ingredients together, mashing the avocado into the tuna to give a similar consistency as if you were using mayo
  • 3-4 baby carrots cut into quarters
  • 3-4 grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 3-4 slices of cucumber diced
  • Mix again
  • Sprinkle 1-2 small pinches of salt to taste
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil and a drizzle of a quality balsamic vinegar (I use an 18-year-aged I bought when I went to Portland, ME in 2012)
  • Mix one more time so all flavors are distributed evenly
  • Enjoy!

(Picture is of the tuna salad before I discovered the effect of adding balsamic vinegar and olive oil.)

A deli near where I work came out with a paleo menu that is subject to change daily.  Options range from chicken meatballs to hamburgers to herb-crusted cod.  All proteins come with two veggie sides.  They also have paleo brownies (yum!).  When Boyfriend D is able to get out for lunch, we would meet here as they have table service and serve the food warm.  Because they are so close to work, I would sometimes get takeout and bring it back to the office with me.  Having a restaurant you can trust to supply paleo meals was a huge bonus.

One Saturday date night, Boyfriend D and I decided to do dinner and a movie.  We made dinner at my place, went to see How To Train Your Dragon 2 (great movie!), and came home for dessert.  Boyfriend D found this dry rub recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup paprika

Since sugar is not paleo, we omitted it.  He mixed all of the other spices together and coated the ribs.  To contrast the heat of the chili powder and cayenne pepper, we poured a single line of honey down the middle of both sides of the ribs.  Boyfriend D heated the grill to 350, put the ribs on foil, placed them on the grill, then covered them in another sheet of foil.  We left them for about an hour, turning every few minutes.

While he prepared the ribs, I made dessert as dessert needed to be cold.  For dessert, we had chocolate pudding, which we ended up eating right out of the food processor:

  • 2 soft avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and let it go until you have a smooth pudding
  • Place in the fridge to chill (it tastes better cold)

(That would be Boyfriend D’s hand.)

Once the ribs were on the grill, we prepared our sides: breaded zucchini sticks and onion rings.  For both, we made a breading that consisted of almond flour, salt, and garlic powder mixed together.  We covered baking sheets in aluminum foil that we then coated in olive oil (poured a little olive oil on the foil then smeared it with a paper towel).  We baked the zucchini sticks at 425 for 14 minutes, flipped them, and cooked for another 14 minutes.   We cooked the onion rings at the same temperature for 12 minutes on each side and we used a sweet onion.  The recipe for the zucchini sticks comes from Cave Girl In The City and we used the same for the onions.

Happy Eating!

(Side note…I originally began writing this post on July 2, 1 week before the challenge ended on July 9.  As I left for vacation on July 5, this post got pushed to the side so I could prep and pack.  Now that I am home and no longer on “island time,” my posting schedule will be more prompt.)

Vacation Prep: Sunglass Hunt

I have a dilemma.  I’m going on vacation with Boyfriend D and his family and I need sunglasses.  The sunglasses I currently own are about five or six years old.  They are prescription lenses (I have issues with distance and I will not wear contacts) from Costco in a Louis Vuitton frame (no biggie…I’m not much of one for brands).  They don’t really fit my face very well:

I have seen these Ray-Bans on a number of blogs and I love them.  I tried them on and they looked terrible on me.  The “tear-drop” of the aviator lens is not flattering on my face.

However, when I went to Sunglass Hut on the day my laptop had issues, I found a pair of aviators that did not have the “tear-drop” but flattened out at the bottom.  I also discovered that I need the smaller diameter lens (55 or 56 mm instead of 58 or 59 mm).   I ended up buying these cockpit-style in the solid color (gray) mirror lens:

Unfortunately, I did not realize I bought the glasses with the bigger lens.  The lenses also aren’t prescription.  Thankfully, Ray-Ban has a 45-day return policy and offers free returns.  Otherwise, the glasses look really good:

Resolution: Bring the sunglasses on vacation and return them when I get home.  When I have my next eye doctor appointment in September, I’ll get my doctor to write a prescription so I can get new sunglasses with prescription lenses.  And I’ll probably get them from Costco.

*As an aside, the Ray-Ban website offers a virtual mirror that is pretty neat.  It uses your webcam to take video of your face and you can “try on” the different sunglasses in “real-time.”  My issue with it is the true aviators looked good on me.  It wasn’t until I was in the store and smiling that I realized my cheeks hit the bottom of the lenses and giggling was uncomfortable.

Do you have a summer vacation planned?  Where are you headed and how do you prepare?