It’s Been A While

It has been waaaaaay too long since I last posted here.  If you stopped by at some point in the past few months, I greatly appreciate it.  If this is your first time here, then welcome.  I hope you enjoy your stay.  Thank you, Fitters, for allowing me to come back with open arms.

I figured I’d start with where I’ve been since it hasn’t been here, hanging out with all of you.  Even though the week is Sunday to Saturday, to me the week begins on Monday.  Monday is the start of the workweek after all.  So, Mondays.  And Tuesdays.  And Wednesdays.  And Thursdays.  And Fridays.  I sit here for five straight days from roughly 9 in the morning until 5:30-6 in the evening, sometimes later; in other words, I spend more time here than I do in my bed:


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Perilla and a Cheat Meal

I hate cheating.  I hate taking a cheat meal.  But I had to.  An opportunity to meet Kenji Lopez Alt and Chef Harold Dieterle presented itself and I couldn’t say no.  The event was part of Kenji’s book tour for The Food Lab and it was at Chef Dieterle’s restaurant Perilla in NYC.  There was a 4-course dinner (snacks, first course, second course, dessert).  There were cookbooks for sale.  There were complimentary gifts for buying both books.  There were the personal autographs and the meet and greet.  I couldn’t say no.  There was a cocktail (not okay) – the Perilla 75.  The snacks consisted of 4 items like 4 amuse bouche or 4 petit fours.  The first was a chicken liver mousse (okay) on cornbread muffin (not okay).  The second was baba ganoush (okay) on a cracker of sorts (not okay).  The third was ham wrapped fig topped with blue cheese and balsamic (I didn’t eat this.  I don’t eat ham.).  The last was a shot of curry cauliflower soup with yellow raisins and pine nuts or pumpkin seeds (okay).  I used bread to get every last drop of soup out of the cup (not okay) then my finger to reach what the bread couldn’t (okay).  The first course was a salad with bibb lettuce, heirloom apples, shaved fennel, blue cheese, spiced walnuts, and a spiced walnut vinaigrette (okay except for the cheese).  The second course was served family style: chicken broken into 6 parts and fried twice southern style (not okay), braised green beans (not okay), buttermilk biscuits with honey butter for dunking (not okay), and mashed potatoes with gravy (not okay).  Dessert was a banana & milk chocolate financier with concord grape compote and peanut butter ice cream (not okay).  I met Kenji and Chef Dieterle.  I had both cookbooks personally autographed.  I was invited into the kitchen and took a a picture with both gentlemen.  I had a terrible stomachache the whole car ride home.  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat.  Meeting Chef Dieterle was a dream come true.  I gave myself 2 cheats, one for dinner and one for evening.  This is my first cheat in the 3 years I’ve been participating in the Lurong Challenge.  I can’t beat myself up but I can go back to eating strict paleo.  I can take Chef Dieterle’s recipes from his cookbook and make them paleo friendly.  I can remember and revel in the memories of a wonderful night and move on.

An All-Women Shabbat Dinner

To continue with the theme of religion, I want to tell you all about a Shabbat dinner I hosted the last Friday of May.

Step 1: Figure out the guest list
My initial intentions were not for an all-women dinner as I wanted to invite Boyfriend D (the break-up happened the day after the dinner).  I tried to figure out a way to have an even number of men and women and I just couldn’t.  So the dinner became an all-women affair.

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I’m Back!

And I’m better than ever!

It has been waaaaaay too long since we last met.  I could insert a whole bunch of lame apologies, but I’m not going to waste your time or my time.  Part of my being away was pure laziness.  After sitting in front of my Surface at work all day, the last thing I want to do is open it at night or on the weekends when I don’t have to.  Part of it is Finn’s eyes.  Who am I kidding?  It’s all Finn.  When she just wants to snuggle, I oblige.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Case in point:

I can't resist when she wants to sleep in my lap.  Can you?

I can’t resist when she wants to sleep in my lap. Can you?

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My Annual Holiday Shindig – The 2014 Version

Holy cow!  Last night I hosted this year’s version of my Annual Holiday Shindig (read last year’s here).  I had 30 people in my house.  Let me repeat…I had 30 people in my house!

By the numbers:

  • 26 invitations
  • 44 people invited, all from different parts of my life
  • 30 people came
    • 1 friend I’ve known since elementary school
    • 2 friends since college
    • 2 friends from grad school
    • 1 friend from synagogue
    • 2 friends of Boyfriend D
    • 4 CrossFit current or former coaches
    • 6 co-workers or their spouses
    • 4 family members
    • 1 gym friend from my days before CrossFit and her boyfriend
    • 2 book club friends plus 1 boyfriend
    • 1 is a neighbor
    • 1 is Boyfriend D
    • 1 is me

This is the one time of the year when I invite friends from all aspects of my life and they all come together.  I am utterly astounded.

You saw the invitations when I had a bit of Writer’s Block a month ago.  I asked people to kindly RSVP by December 21 and I was still getting RSVPs the day of the party.  (OY!)

I spotted this cocktail on Pinterest about 2 months ago and decided it would be this year’s drink.

Raspberry Slushy

For the champagne flutes, I bought these at Bed Bath & Beyond.  They look a lot nicer in person and they are sturdy despite being so inexpensive.  I put two small spoonfuls of crushed ice at the bottom of each glass before pouring in the slushy.  To make the whipped cream, I used 6 cans of full fat coconut milk (I like Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk, which I buy at my local Fairway) that was refrigerated for 24 hours.  Open the can at the bottom and pour the liquid out.  I used a spatula and a spoon to scoop out the cream into a large mixing bowl.  I added 4 tablespoons of vanilla, 4 tablespoons of honey, and 8 teaspoons of cocoa powder to the cream.  Using a handheld beater, I whipped the cream then placed it in the fridge until I needed it.  To make the slushy, I put 1 bag of Trader Joe’s frozen raspberries and 1 bottle of Pindar Sweet Scarlett red wine in a blender and let it blend for approximately 1 minute.  I had to make 3 batches (that’s 3 bags of raspberries and 3 bottles of wine) to fill 24 glasses and I had some leftover.  I did not strain out the seeds.  I poured the slushy into the flutes.  My friend B followed, scooping the chocolate whipped cream on top.  My friend J from Book Club placed a straw into each glass after.

The slushy cocktail inspired the theme for the rest of the food of the party with its sweet red, wintry look.  I decided all of the food would fit a green, red, and white theme.  Boyfriend D and I made a list identifying all of the foods in these colors and came up with a menu from there.  We made 2 protein dishes, 3 vegetable side dishes, and 3 desserts.  Since everyone wanted some recipe or other, this post is for you.

Red: Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs

The recipe for the ribs is a very easy one to follow.  The most labor intensive part is making the dry rub, coating the ribs, and searing them.  Boyfriend D did everything with the ribs.  You can find him here for any questions.  The first time we made this recipe, we followed it exactly.  For the party, we left out the dates and didn’t notice much of a difference.  We made 3 batches using a total of 10 lbs of ribs.  We also have always used boneless ribs out of sheer laziness.

Red, Green, & White: Paleo Turkey Meatloaf

The recipe for the meatloaf is very easy.  I’ve made this for multiple dinner parties and it is always a big hit.  I used turkey this time and it was so juicy.  I’ve used beef in the past and love it just as much.  To feed 30 people, I doubled the recipe and used 2 loaf pans.  I prepare all of the veggies together (doubled) then split it in half when I need to mix it with the meat.  We cover the bottom of the loaf pans with the BBQ sauce, place the meatloaf mixture into the pan, then cover the top with more BBQ sauce.

I use her recipe for the BBQ sauce, which Boyfriend D made the night before.  We store it in empty, washed out salsa jars from Trader Joe’s (awesome recycling and cost-saving).  You’ll notice one of the ingredients in the sauce is beef stock.  As I keep a kosher kitchen and try to make it a paleo kitchen, I make my own beef stock.  I pour all of it into a large tupperware and leave it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, I scrape off the fat and measure out 1.5 cups and place that into Ziploc baggies.   I then leave these in the freezer and pull them out when I need them.

For 2 straight dinner parties, Trainer J takes home half of the leftovers of meatloaf and mixes them with scrambled eggs the next morning for breakfast.  Hello, Protein Heaven!

White & Green: Cauliflower Tater Tots with Avocado-Lime Dipping Sauce

We loosely followed this recipe for the Cauliflower Tater Tots.  We use 1 2-lb bag of chopped cauliflower from Costco instead of the 1/2 head of large cauliflower (it saves us time in the clean up process).  We added the Herbs de Provence this time and it made a huge difference.  We tried making our herb/spice blend the first time and they were okay.  We used truffle salt in lieu of the unrefined sea salt the second time and they were delicious.  For the party this year, I wanted the Herbs de Provence.  These were hard to find but Fairway finally had them in stock.  We decided to bake the tots as frying them takes forever.  To bake:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Using a small spoon, scoop out tots one at a time and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets
  • Using the back of the spoon or your hand, flatten out the tots (they will have some thickness to them, you want the tops to be smooth)
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are golden
  • Flip the tots (we used a fork for this)
  • Continue baking for another 10 minutes until golden
  • Remove from oven and let cool (or serve hot)

For the sauce, we doubled the recipe.

Red, Green, & White: Shaved Brussels Sprouts with [Bacon], Leeks, and Pomegranate Seeds

For this recipe, we made 3 batches (and had way too much food) of Against All Grain’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Leeks, and Pomegranate Seeds, minus the bacon.  I found the recipe online for you.  Our modifications:

  • Trader Joe’s sells shaved Brussels sprouts by the bag.  We used 2 10-oz bags for each batch.
  • We omitted the bacon (you know…the whole kosher kitchen thing).  In lieu of bacon grease, we used olive oil.
  • We bought chicken soup and a pack of pomegranate seeds at Aron’s Kissena Farms

Red & Green: Arugula, Citrus, [and Bacon] Salad

This salad was a last minute addition.  We tried making white sweet potatoes and that backfired completely (we wanted to make gnocchi but they were too starchy so we decided to mash them – they turned black after we baked them and went to grab dinner).  Thankfully, I had Against All Grain’s Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well and Feel Great: Over 150 Gluten-Free, Grain-Free and Diary-Free Recipes for Daily Life sitting on the kitchen counter (I borrowed it from the library – awesome paleo cookbook if you’re looking for one).  She has a 2-page spread of 4 “starter salads” recipes.  We used the Arugula, Citrus and Bacon Salad and omitted the bacon.  We also used blood oranges and ruby grapefruits instead of a regular orange and grapefruit for the red factor.

  • 1 lb (or less) of arugula
  • 4 blood oranges (or more) – segmented (you want just the juicy part, not the membranes)
  • 3 ruby grapefruits (or more) – segmented (same as the oranges)
  • Toss the above ingredients together in a large bowl

We tripled the dressing, pouring the ingredients into another empty Trader Joe’s salsa jar, sealing it, and shaking the jar to mix everything together.

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Remember – we tripled the dressing recipe.

Red & White: Strawberries & Cream

I decided to make 3 desserts where each dessert reflected one of the colors in my theme.  Going with the whole red and white theme of the cocktails and the whipped cream (who doesn’t like whipped cream?), I decided to make strawberries and cream using Grand Marnier-infused whipped cream.  I bought 4 lbs of strawberries at Costco (two 2-lb containers) that B removed the leaves from and sliced in half the long way.  I made the whipped cream:

  • 6 cans of full fat coconut milk (the same kind I used for the drink and the same process)
  • 4 tablespoons of vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  • 4 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

Using a handheld beater, whip the cream until the ingredients are mixed in.  Place the bowl back in the fridge until you’re ready for it.

A note for both whipped creams – you may need to adjust your mix-ins to your taste to cut the coconut flavor of the cream.

White: Paleo Cookie Dough Bites

We made 4 batches of this recipe.  We use dry, unsalted cashews and add the 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Boyfriend D is much better at rolling these in his hands into smooth balls.  We freeze these on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper.  These are best eaten frozen.

Green: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’m pretty sure I linked to this recipe before.  Elana’s Pantry and Against All Grain are two of my favorite websites for paleo friendly dishes.  Anyway, I make only a few changes to the muffin recipe:

  • I use walnut oil instead of grapeseed oil and keep the quantity
  • I mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl then add the wet ingredients into the same bowl and mix again.
  • I use a standup/hand grater for the zucchini.  1 large zucchini = approximately 1.5 cups but it’s okay to use extra.
  • Mix the zucchini in then add the chocolate chips and mix again.
  • I line my baking sheet with paper muffin holders – it saves on cleaning time
  • Store extras in the fridge

I believe those are all of the recipes.  Happy cooking and happy eating!

The one and only picture I have of the food and the evening:

holiday shindig 2014

Thank you for being my friend.

(A special shoutout by request: Boyfriend D is amazing for taking off Friday to help me shop and start the prep work then cooking with me all day Saturday and letting my OCD hostessing take over Saturday night.)

Wishing all of you, dear Fitters, a happy and healthy and wonderful 2015.  May next year be your best year yet.

Let’s Talk

Week in and week out, you’re guaranteed to hear about something going on with me.  For example, Finn is passed out on the couch next to me after an hour playing at the dog park this morning and an hour fetching in my neighbor’s backyard this afternoon:

I have diced sweet potatoes cooking in the oven to go with my breakfast eggs this week.

Boyfriend D and I made the most delicious dinner ever.  The best part?  It’s all paleo!  There are balsamic short ribs, spaghetti squash with avocado-pesto, and cauliflower tater tots.  For dessert, we had zucchini chocolate chip muffins.

My newest music obsession is The Maccabeats.  If you don’t know them, listen to them on YouTube (my favorite is Lecha Dodi).  I’m playing through their videos in the background and I added them to my shuffle mix on Pandora.

I always hears the expression “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  I’ve been attempting to do this but can’t find clothes that fit.  Fitters, help me!  Where do you buy business casual clothes for an athletic CrossFitters body?

It’s that time of the year when I need to start getting the invitations out to my Annual Holiday Shindig.  I picked these cards up at Target the other day:

And now I’m going to wrap this up because I need to start writing these invitations and you don’t need to hear any more of my rambling.

Let’s talk about you.  What’s going on with you?  What would you like to talk about?  Most importantly, what do you want to see here?

The End

Dear Fitters,

Thank you for putting up with my delay.  Since yesterday marked the end of the 2014 2014 Lurong Living Paleo Challenge, let’s talk about that.

The good:

  • I have made progress like never before.  I was hitting PRs left and right throughout the month of October: 13 double-unders in a row; first unassisted pull-up WOD; 125-lb 1 rep max hang clean.
  • My body measurements have changed in a ways I didn’t think they would: lost 1 ¼ inches in both my waist and chest, gained 1 inch in my hips, lost ¼ inch in one thigh and ½ an inch in the other (they’re even now), and lost ½ an inch in both arms.  Trainer J attributed the loss of arm size to burning off whatever fat is (was) left.  And my abs?  I took a selfie (that you won’t be seeing).
  • Keeping paleo is EASY!  You need to be creative and willing to experiment in the kitchen and constantly mix up what you’re eating.  The way CrossFit is defined as constantly varied functional movement, what we eat should be constantly varied as well.

The bad:

  • Will I continue PRing or will I plateau?

The ugly:

  • I want to keep paleo pretty strictly now that the challenge has ended.  What is the easiest way of doing this without falling down the steep slippery vertical slope that is a cheat or non-paleo dish?

This year’s challenge was by far easier than last year’s challenge.  I set a schedule of cooking on Sunday evenings so I would have a refrigerator full of meals for lunch and snacks.  I kept bags of pre-torn kale (you can find it at Trader Joe’s) on hand to make kale chips for snack every morning. 

I enjoyed this year’s WODs a lot more than last year’s.  This year’s WODs just made sense.  They didn’t try to do too much but were just enough.  My favorite was the infinity ladder of squat cleans and pull-ups.  This was the very first time I did a WOD with unassisted pull-ups.  Trainer J gave me a goal of 5 rounds…I got 6.

During the challenge, I had no problems keeping strictly paleo.  My one craving, randomly, was for cheese.  I made a spaghetti squash baked ziti to satisfy that craving.  The addition of small amounts of cheese is probably the only thing I will add back to my diet.

Did you take part in the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge?  What did you think of it?  Did you see enormous results?  How will you be keeping paleo now that the challenge is over?

A Very Paleo Yom Kippur

Every year, usually in September, sometimes in October, the countdown to Yom Kippur comes around.  Considering I eat all day long, I usually dread Yom Kippur and the 25-hour fast that comes with it.  I love the meaning that surrounds the holiday and the traditions and time with family, but I could do without the fast. 

This year, Yom Kippur fell in the middle of the third week of the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge.  What in the world was I going to eat on Friday night that would keep me full for 25 hours?  In the past, I would have matzah ball soup and mashed potatoes and load up on carbs and grains.  By the middle of the holiday, I would be starving.  I thought I needed the grains to help keep me full.

I was very wrong.

My awesome stepmom made the dinner you see below.  Instead of matzah ball soup or plain chicken broth (filling at the time of the meal, not really going to keep you full the next day), she began with zucchini soup.  Then the rest came out: sweet potato fries, roast,  Brussels sprouts, and fried rice made from cauliflower.  For dessert, she made red-wine poached apples.  Everything had so much flavor and tasted so delicious and was so filling.

So that 25-hour fast?  Piece of cake.  I was not hungry at all during the day.  The protein and vegetables kept me comfortably full and satisfied.  I did not feel sick after dinner like I normally do.  The only thing…I was thirsty allllll day Saturday and that is probably attributable to the seasoning (salt) on the food.

When it was finally time to break the fast, my family has a tradition of going to the H family’s house.  This year I represented the family as my father was sick at home with a 102 fever and my stepmom didn’t want to leave him alone.  The break fast had your traditional break fast foods: bagels, challah, cream cheese, white fish salad, pasta salad, lox, sable, white fish, noodle kugel.  I was very limited and ate some of the lox, sable, and white fish.  For dessert, they put out a fruit platter along with all of the “good” stuff I couldn’t eat.  I ended filling up on fruit.  I did not realize how hungry I was until I started eating.

Tell me, Fitters, how do you prepare for a fast and then break it when you’re paleo?

Vacation Prep: Paleo

 A fellow CrossFitter from my box asked me how I keep paleo when I travel, whether I’m going on vacation or traveling for work.  As my work travels both this year and last year take place during the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge (yes, I’m doing it again) and my vacation took place during my box’s 30-Day Paleo Challenge, I have to have a food plan.

 Let’s go in chronological order:

Fall 2013 – Work travels to Jacksonville, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Fontana, California.  Not exactly food meccas unless you’re looking for fast food (Waffle House, What-A-Burger, Raising Cane’s, In-N-Out Burger, respectively).

Since Delta only offers non-paleo snacks – pretzels, peanuts, and cookies – I brought my own.  I made my own trail mixes in Ziploc baggies consisting of raw cashews, raw almonds, and raisins.  I brought slices of a homemade paleo banana bread or paleo blueberry or raspberry muffins (pictured below).  I also dropped a handful of Larabars in my bag.

I tried to find hotels that serve a continental breakfast or have a restaurant open for breakfast.  I ordered scrambled eggs or a vegetable omelet.  I brought avocados from home that I sliced on top of the eggs.

Since lunch is always take-out from a local fast food place, I knew I was SOL there.  I made my own “breaded” chicken that went into the refrigerator as soon as I arrived.  I bought thin sliced chicken breast, coated it in egg, then “breaded” it with a mixture of almond flour, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.  These were then baked for about 10 minutes on each side at 350.

Dinner was easy.  As I am usually the only female on these trips and men like meat, we often wound up at a BBQ joint or steakhouse.  I would get a plain grilled piece of fish or steak and a side of vegetables (steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus, plain baked sweet potato).

My work trips are usually fly in early Thursday morning, fly out Friday evening or Saturday morning.  I don’t usually have the time to visit the hotel fitness center or local CrossFit box.  As the 2013 trip to Ohio had me coming home Sunday morning, I had the time Saturday afternoon and WOD-ed at CrossFit Grandview.  The space was enormous and they must have had at least 50 people show up for the class to do a Hero WOD.  They were very welcoming and I left with a t-shirt.  My only issues were the large ratio of athletes to coach (about 50:1 with a camera) and the lack of warm-up time to build to working weight.  With so many other boxes in the area, I’ll go to another one to add to my CrossFit t-shirt collection.

Summer 2014 – Vacation to Aruba

My food for the flight was the same – trail mix and blueberry muffins.

Boyfriend D and I were fortunate to share a suite with a kitchen with his sister and her family.  We picked up eggs, avocados, and sweet potatoes and made breakfast in our hotel room.  We roasted the sweet potatoes in the oven and scrambled the eggs with the avocados.  When we bought the sweet potatoes, we had no idea the only sharp knife in the room was a steak knife:

By making our own breakfast in the hotel room, we also saved quite a bit of money and were able to indulge on nicer dinners with an extra glass of wine.

Being on a Caribbean island, the fish was fresh and the fruits and vegetables were tropical.  Lunch was at a restaurant either on our hotel property (Marriott Ocean Club) or the hotel next door (Ritz).  I typically ordered grilled fish with a side of vegetables.

Dinner was just about always off hotel grounds and, like lunch, I would stick to meat or fish with vegetables.

When the paleo challenge ended while we were away, I broke it with a delicious piece of halibut that came with champagne risotto and chocolate mousse for dessert.  Needless to say, the romance of the night ended pretty quickly after that.

Fall 2014 – Work travels to Dallas, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio (North Carolina and Florida were before the challenge started, California will be after it ends)

I ate breakfast at home before my flight to DFW (spinach and mushroom frittata with roasted sweet potatoes).  I picked up a banana from the Delta Sky Club and added it to the bags of Wonderful Pistachios in my tote for the flight.

I am very fortunate to work near a deli that serves a strictly paleo menu in addition to their regular deli foods.  Their paleo meals all come with a protein and two vegetable sides and they carry paleo brownies.  I bought two meals (chicken meatballs with mashed sweet potato and roasted cauliflower and chicken chili with mashed cauliflower and sautéed kale) and two brownies that served as my lunch both days in Texas while the rest of my crew ate What-A-Burger.

Dinner that night was at Outback, where I had grilled mahi and a side of steamed broccoli.  Dinner was waiting for me when I get home.  Boyfriend D said picked up steak and asparagus at Morton’s. 

Tell me, Fitters, how do you keep paleo when you travel?  What do you bring on your flight when you know you won’t be able to eat any of the snacks the flight attendants give out?

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.)