Friday, November 30, 2012

Protein-Packed Breakfast 11-30-12


2 Fried eggs
Turkey kielbasa with red, yellow, and green peppers-sauteed
Chopped sauteed onion
Grilled pineapple slices
Orange-strawberry juice

   So far, my cholesterol is great and my heart doctor has not limited my meats and eggs. In fact, he continues to encourage me to "eat like a caveman", following the Paleo Diet.  When I make a fruit smoothie, I try to add a raw egg.  Protein is important in my diet, in addition to fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Sometimes I don't want to go to the trouble to add a protein to my breakfast, other than the eggs I eat every other morning. I try to have a variety of meat options available, and I am open to more ideas. I have not gotten the appetite for fish in the morning yet, but I think I might like tuna or salmon patties. This is a list of some of the meats I have tried so far.

Small slices of steak
Hamburger patties
Roast beef au jus
Pork chops
Ham slices and chopped ham
Bacon, crisp
Pork roast
Pork link sausage
Chicken tenders
Cubed chicken (in an omelet)
Chicken livers
Roast turkey slices
Turkey breakfast sausage
Turkey kielbasa sausage
Turkey patties
Turkey bacon
Turkey link sausage

    Eggs are big on the Paleo Diet, and easy to fix for breakfast. My favorite way to prepare them is fried, over medium. I have made my eggs fried sunny side up, scrambled, poached, and boiled. I prepared many types of omelets and frittatas. Fillings for the omelets and frittatas have been: mushrooms, chopped or sliced peppers and onions, chopped spinach and kale, fresh oregano leaves or basil, dried Italian seasoning, steak seasoning, and other herbs and salts. No cheese allowed, but for non-Paleo eaters, cheddar, parmesan, cream cheese, cottage cheese, American slices, and other cheeses would be delicious.

   I usually like a little sweet with my breakfast, especially with salty meats. I grill pineapple slices on the stove, fry apple slices in a little chicken stock, have chopped or sliced fruit (drained, if canned), or add a teaspoon of jelly, jam, preserves, syrup, or honey. Of course, any 100% fruit or tomato juice is great, as well as an orange, tangerine, necterine, peach, apple, grapes, or any berries. Sliced tomatoes or cherry, cherub, grape or other baby tomatoes count as a fruit, too.

   The most important thing to remember is: Don't skip breakfast, keep to good nutrition guidelines, and don't get sidetracked with sweet rolls or donuts, even Krispy Kreme. Happy breakfast!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

You're chicken. No, you're chicken. No, you're chicken. 11-29-12


     Cooking for several meals at a time can be challenging, but it is often efficient. I bought two pounds of chicken tenders and decided to cook them all at once, but in a variety of ways. I only had about an hour, so I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (Please forgive the joke.)

CHICKEN SPAGHETTI (for my husband): I boiled a few strips of chicken in water, some mirapoix (onions, celery, bell pepper), and pepper.  Meanwhile I made a white sauce with 2 % milk, cornstarch, salt and pepper, and Worchestershire sauce. I also cooked 4 oz. of spaghetti, drained it, added the sauce and the chicken with the veggies and most of the water (now chicken stock.) Then I added shredded cheddar cheese, some Parmesan, and a little white cheese. This dish will serve Kenny 4 times. (He loves leftovers/cook aheads as much as I do.)

SAUTEED TENDERS: My trusty steak seasoning made these tasty, cooked in a little canola oil. I will chop these up and add to various veggies to make different dishes, or just eat them with sides.

CHICKEN SALAD: (Paleo style) I boiled a few more strips in water and chicken stock, then shredded the chicken. I added raw chopped celery, onion, oregano (a gift from friends!), dried basil, a chopped boiled egg, salt, pepper, and olive-oil based mayonnaise. I eat this as a regular salad with lettuce or spinach, or as a stuffing for a char-grilled bell pepper half or a scooped out tomato.

OVEN "FRIED" CHICKEN: I use almond flour and milled flax seed, cayeene or chili pepper, with salt and pepper, as a coating, spray both the pan and the chicken with Pam, and bake for about 15-20 min. in a hot oven. Since I used tenders, they are small and thin, so they don't need much time. (There are other nut flours, but at $8 a pound, I only buy one at a time so far. Cashew flour sounds great, and I have found it online.)

BBQ CHICKEN:  I pre-boil the chicken just a little, then coat the chicken in BBQ sauce, and bake it for 15-20 minutes. BBQ sauce can be used with Sauteed Chicken, but it can get hard if not eaten soon.

That's a lot of chicken, but I will spread it out over two weeks. Each of my preps will make two or three servings for me or my husband. And I have a steak in the freezer when I need a break!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Menues" and another Menu 11-28-12

"Menues" and another Menu

     Cleaning out a drawer, I came across a few pages written by my granddaughter Reagen, probably when she was six or seven, who is now a senior in high school. She had written a cafe-type menu, and I almost remember her writing it while I was cooking. A sample:

egg's and biscuts bacon too $3.00
towst and jelly, Butter, and jam ect.
stake with vegteble's $2.50
rolls for apatisers
Sweet potato with marshmellow

   I love menus, so here is one for appetisers and such: (any misspelling is my mistake!)

Paleo Style Sort-of Cocktail Party

Appetisers and Tapas
Pecan crusted salmon squares
Lettuce wraps w/grilled chicken and hot pepper jelly
Thin-sliced meat rollups w/grilled bell pepper strips
Grilled portabello mushroom caps w/salsa and black olives
Pan-fried green tomatoes w/roumelade sauce
Shredded cabbage, carrot and pineapple coleslaw w/pepitas
Almond butter-stuffed celery sticks
Baked sweet potato chips w/steak seasoning
Garlic kale chips
Avocado halves with olive and onion tampenade

Almond flour cookies
Coconut macaroons
Grilled pineapple spears
Baked apples

Coffee w/caramel flavoring
Hot apple juice w/cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice (or Red Hots)
Crystal Light slushies

   This coud likely be my menu for a pre-Christmas party, although I have to admit, I would probably add a bunch on non-Paleo items out of habit and indulgence. Perhaps this will inspire you, too! Thanks, Reagen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yummy for my tummy -- computer glitch

To finish:

Choose the form your cake will take. This amount will make 2 dozen mini-muffins; 8 full size muffins; 3-4 mini-loaves; 2 small loaves; one 9-inch layer; 2 8-inch layers.  The flexibility of the recipe allows for other ingredients and flavorings to be added. This cake is especially good in slices with soft cream cheese, or a cream cheese-orange icing.

Sometimes even a Paleo Dieter needs a sweet snack, and a mini-muffin is a tiny choice that includes both dates and nuts, which is good, and only a little flour, sugar, and icing. Have a treat!

Monday, November 26, 2012

An Onion a Day (Keeps EVERYONE Away) 11-26-12

An Onion a Day (Keeps EVERYONE Away)

   I bought a three-pound bag of onions, planning to use it over a month's time. Instead, I started cooking a bunch of dishes, and used almost the whole bag. Onions are so full of vitamins and low in calories, and add so much flavor without taking over a dish. Some of my dishes:

Stewed onions, squash, zucchini and carrots: As the veggies were stewing, I let the liquid reduce, added some chicken stock for the fat and flavor, and added only salt and pepper. I eat this as a complete dish, but it would be easy to add meat or other vegetables.

Grilled chopped onions, red and yellow pepper strips, diced green bell pepper: with black pepper and a little soy sauce, I use this as a base for grilled/charred turkey link sausage. I make rice with water and a little chicken stock for my non-Paleo husband. This is not a Chinese stir-fry, but it could easily be made into one.

Roasted onion quarters, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash: I roasted this dish until the veggies were caramelized, adding a little chicken stock when the roasting liquid got low. About any vegetable can be roasted, and the flavor changes the longer they roast.

Stuffed baked onions: I love this, but not using bread crumbs was a challenge. I peeled the onions (leaving the root end), then carved out some of the center, leaving about 4 layers as the outside "cup". I diced the onion from the center, added chopped yellow squash and diced tomatoes, and some milled flax seed and almond flour, with salt and pepper. It doesn't take much to refill the cups. I set the onions in a casserole dish, with some chicken stock in the bottom for moisture. I covered the dish with foil and baked it for 30 minutes, then I removed the foil and baked for 15 minutes more.

Onion and turkey ham omelet: Without cheese, you really taste the other ingredients, and I experiment with lots of combinations. When I use onions, I think this tastes more like a brunch dish than a breakfast dish. For the onion and turkey ham omelet, I chop the ingredients small, almost to a dice. Sometimes, I saute the onions before adding them to the omelet, and sometimes I add them raw.

Onion rings: Not the same as the heavily breaded, deep fried version I love, especially from The Varsity in Atlanta, Ga., but a Paleo version I enjoy. I use almond flour, salt, lots of pepper, and milled flax seed for the breading, with an egg dip first, then the breading. I "fry" the rings in a little canola oil, not enough for deep frying, just enough to reach about half way up on the flat rings. The pan should be hot so the onion rings will crisp quickly, and not let the onions get soft. You may have to experiment with these, but I liked them any way they turned out.

Pico de gallo: I can't take really hot food, but I love to make my own pico de gallo to use as a relish. I combine diced onions, bell peppers, tomatoes with the juice, and the least amount of jalepeno I can get by with.  Sometimes I add diced celery, different colored bell peppers, or canned mild green peppers. To make my homemade salsa, I use chunks of the same vegetables instead of diced. My versions might not please a true Mexican food fan, but it is spicy and delicious to me!

   Of course, I add onions to cornbread dressing, all sorts of casseroles, and many fried meat dishes, but these dishes are not on the Paleo Diet so I can't have them. I still enjoy preparing these dishes for others.

   Onions are one of the "miracle foods", like blueberries, beets, and tomatoes, which can be eaten almost without limit in normal portions, and one of my favorites. Maybe you can use some of my ideas to add to your own menus.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kale Chip Birthday Cake 11-25-12

Kale Chip Birthday Cake

     This year, my husband and I decided not to send gift cards or money to our sons and daughters-in-law for their birthdays. We weren't giving them much money, anyway, but it was a little something extra in their cards. This has not worked out for me--I have felt like they were not getting the recognition they each deserved for their birthdays. I made it until November (with two birthdays earlier in the year), but Carrie's birthday is tomorrow. No money, but I asked her what little thing she might like. She said, "The only thing I want is your kale chips." What? Not cake, or even brownies or cookies?  Nope, kale chips.  So that is what she is getting. I made her a batch tonight (at her house, while she was gone, so they would not get broken during transport.) I hope she likes them! Here is my usual recipe:

Seasoned Kale Chips

   The biggest hint is, buy a bag of chopped kale (less than $2.00 at Kroger's this week.)  This way, you don't have to cut out the thick stems or chop up the kale. Kale is pretty messy to work with because it is curly, sticky, and needs to be in small pieces.

   Use a big bread or baking pan, but not a cookie sheet. Fill the pan with a thick layer of kale, which was half a bag for this batch. If the kale is damp, use a dishcloth to pat it dry, but don't crush the kale. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive (or canola) oil to the pan, and gently toss the kale to get a little oil on each piece. (You can use cooking spray for even fewer calories.) To season: shake two or more of these seasonings over the kale, which needs to be a little salty:  salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, steak seasoning, paprika, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, a little red pepper flakes, sea or kosher salt, or some other flavoring you like. Toss a little to make sure the seasoning is even throughout.

   Bake the kale chips in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Take out, toss lightly, and bake for 5 more minutes. Most of the chips should be crisp, but some will be chewy. Some of the kale will probably be almost powder. Kale is not like potatoes--it is tender, so it will vary in texture. Gently move the kale chips to a bowl or plastic container to serve or store. They should stay fresh for 2-3 days in a sealed container, but moisture may affect this. Eat one small piece at a time because each piece may be chewy. This is definitely a delicious change from potato chips, and may require some rethinking of expectations of a snack, but for virtually no calories, kale chips are a good choice.

   Another birthday next month, and I know what that son is getting. And for the two earlier birthdays, we will see that son and d-i-l at Christmas, and they will have an extra treat from my kitchen. Let's just say, each treat will have "sugar and spice, and everything nice." (And one is Paleo-approved, and one treat is not.) Happy birthday, kiddos!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Eating at "Another Broken Egg" on a Paleo Diet 11-24-12


   My husband and I ate at Another Broken Egg on Buckner in Dallas today for the first time. Finding items that are on my diet is sometimes limited to meat and eggs, but I had a wonderful salad. It included:

Baby spinach
Crispy bacon
Sugared pecans
(I cut the goat cheese--dairy)
(I chose honey mustard dressing instead of balsamic vinaigrette just because I preferred it.)

   My husband had a sweet potato pancake with pecan syrup. I took a bite and it was scrumptious. The pancake is not Paleo Diet food because of the flour, and the syrup was not pure maple. We both had coffee with non-dairy creamer, but I had some sugar in mine.

   I love to eat out and I love to go to new places. I'm thrilled to find a place with food this good. The decor and theme were cute, but not too cutesy, and the Casa Linda shopping area has lots of stores and other varied restaurants. I can't wait to go again.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Leftovers Paleo Diet Style 11-23-12


   Turkey and Turkey Ham are easy to see as Paleo Diet leftovers, but what about all the other food? Celery sticks and carrot slices just don't call to me as much the day after Thanksgiving as some of the other dishes calling from the fridge. No, cheesy corn casserole, cornbread dressing, and cream gravy don't make the Paleo Diet cut, but several other dishes do.

   Deviled Eggs: made Paleo with mustard, no mayo, herbs and spices. Approved.

   Green Bean Casserole:  made Paleo with an almond flour-almond milk white sauce; onions tossed with almond flour and milled flax seed, fried in canola oil; sauteed mushrooms. No dairy, no grains. Approved.

   Cranberry Relish: naturally Paleo with cranberries (I love to hear them pop in the boiler), orange zest, lemon juice, pomegranite juice, chopped pecans. Approved.

   Pineapple Raisin Sauce:  naturally Paleo with pinapple bits, raisins, orange juice, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Approved.

   Misc: Cherub tomatoes, grilled pineapple slices, pickles, apple salad w/olive oil mayo. Approved.

   Problematic:  the filling of the pumpkin pie that I made is Paleo (no dairy), but not the crust. Approved.

   No way, Jose (or Paleo): the buttermilk pie, the pecan pie, or the spice cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting.  Maybe a sliver? That 85/15 % rule is being stretched to the limit.

Remember:  This is just the dry run before Christmas feasting, and there are reasons you are on the Paleo Diet. Life is more than lemon meringue pie. (Really?)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu 11-22-12


What ended up on the table:

White Meat Turkey Roast* with Gravy
Turkey Ham*           Giblet Gravy
Orange Raisin Sauce*    Cranberry Compote*
Jellied Cranberry Sauce      Cornbread Dressing
Sweet Potato Casserole w/Praline Topping
Mashed Potatoes      Deviled Eggs*
Pickles and Cherub Tomatoes*
Green Bean Casserole w/Grilled Onions*
Cheesy Corn Casserole      Yeast Rolls
Seasoned Walnuts and Pecans*
Pecan Pie     Pumpkin Pie     Cool Whip
Buttermilk Pie     Spice Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Frosting

*Prepared to meet Paleo Diet requirements

With all of this, there was plenty to choose from for the Paleo Dieter (me) and all the starch eaters. I so enjoyed being able to prepare all of this, and sharing it with our younger son's family: Kevin, Carrie, Claire and Kayla.  My husband and son cleaned up everything, even putting the leftovers away. What a wonderful day.

Roast Onions, Squash, Mushrooms*

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Flipped Meals 11-21-12

Flipped Meals

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have already been cooking for days. To keep temptation down with all the good food around, I decided to eat carefully on my Paleo Diet today. I didn't realize until after lunch that I had prepared two flipped meals.

Breakfast: Spinach and Bacon Omelet, with Fried Apples and Fruit Juice. I beat two eggs and started them in a saute pan. When they were 2/3 done, I added 1/2 cup of previously-cooked Spinach and Bacon on top, then I folded one half over the other. No cheese on Paleo, but this was very tasty and filling, especially with the Fried Apples and Fruit Juice.

Lunch: Fruit Crepe, Sliced Chicken, and V-8 Juice. The Crepe was the last of a batch I made three days ago: almond flour, almond milk, an egg, and a dash of salt. The Fruit was a plan-ahead, too: pineapple, blueberries, orange juice, pecans and cinnamon, cooked until the pineapple was soft. The Crepe was perfect: tender but done through, thin and tasty, and the Fruit was even better than when it was first cooked.  I had sliced chicken for protein, and V-8 for veggies. Maybe a strange combo, but it was a delicious meal.

Tomorrow I will definitely be counting on the 85/15% rule for the Paleo Dieter. If you are strictly Paleo for 85 % of the time, you can eat off-diet for 15 % of the time. That generally means, out of 21 meals in a week, 3 can be off-diet. However, if you skip breakfast, you can only go off-diet for two meals in a week. And if you cheat on several items on various meals during the week, you will probably use up your 15 % pretty quickly. Tomorrow, I will not be a mathematician; I will be a happy eater. I also plan on leftover dressing and some casseroles which are not Paleo-approved, but I will try to limit myself to tiny portions and lots of other lean meats, non-starchy vegetables, and fresh fruits and nuts. "I've come too far to turn back now."  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Paleo Recipe Ideas

Random Paleo Thoughts

Instead of French Fried Onions for Green bean Casserole: I mixed one diced onion with 1/8 c. each of milled flax seed and almond flour. I fried the onions in about 2 tbsp. of canola oil in a saute pan. The onions get tender first, but if you keep frying and stirring them, they will turn crispy. They taste really good on top of green beans, worchestershire sauce, a little almond milk and steak seasoning (salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder.) Totally Paleo.

Steak Seasoning:  I use this a lot. It is a powder in a shaker, in many varieties. I have found it at Dollar Tree, and at Tom Thumb and Kroger for $5, and there is very little difference between them all. Salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, maybe red pepper flakes, sometimes parsley and other herbs, and other spices.  Although I keep steak sauces, salad dressings and mixes, soy sauce, etc. available, steak seasoning is Paleo-approved and makes a good dry rub all by itself. It even browns nicely and adds flavor to meats, fish, fowl, pork, and vegetables.

Seasoned Pecan and Walnuts: nuts tossed with a little melted olive-oil based margarine, with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar,and toasted for 20 min. Sometimes I use Pam instead of margarine. I tried Stevia instead of sugar, but it changed the taste. I make several varieties, but I avoid Parmesan for my own snacking.

White Turkey Meat Roast with Gravy: (bought frozen)  I thawed the roast, removed it from the pan, seasoned the outside with steak seasonings, and baked it win a little chicken stock. The gravy is much too fatty, salty, and has too many other ingredients to be Paleo, so I won't eat it myself. I made a gravy with coconut milk, almond flour, cream of tartar, salt, pepper, chopped baked chicken, and boiled egg white. (Go for the whole cranberry relish instead of the gravy, or for both.)

Whole Cranberry Relish: cook 1-2 c. of rinsed whole cranberries in a c. of water, until the berries are tender and start splitting open (mash a little if you want softer berries.) If you have a fresh orange and a lemon, put their juice in the berry pan, and grate some of the peel into the mixture. If you don't--add almost any fruit juice you have, along with a little honey, syrup, or sugar. I like a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg or spple pie spice. (Jellied cranberry sauce has much more sweetener than homemade whole berry relish, but about the same as canned whole cranberry sauce.)

Turkey Pineapple Ham: Regular ham is allowed on the Paleo Diet, but I like turkey ham and it is available in a convenient 2-lb. roast size. Take the ham out of the plastic and wipe off the outside. (Cover the surface with slices of pineapple held in place with sharp toothpicks if you want it to look "traditional.") It is precooked, but bake until the turkey ham is hot inside, then slice. Serve with a sauce of chopped/diced/chunk pineapple, brown sugar or honey, margarine, and worchestershire

Deviled Eggs:  Eggs are certainly on the Paleo Diet, and deviled eggs are possible with a few tweaks. Use mustard instead of mayo, or add in a little olive-oil based mayo. Pickle relish can have a lot of sugar, nitrates, and other additives, but I use it anyway. Pickle you make yourself, then chop, and add to pimento would work, but first you have to make the pickles. I sprinkle the tops of the boiled, stuffed eggs with one of the following: paprika, chili powder, Italian seasoning, chopped dried parsley or other herbs. I love to make many kinds of deviled eggs, but I can't figure out a good substitute for cream cheese or sour cream yet, so Paleo puts these on hold.

Sweet Potato Casserole: Whip cooked sweet potatoes with coconut milk, butter flavoring (like vanilla flavoring), and a little honey. Put in a casserole dish, then top with chopped pecans, milled flax seed, and some brown sugar. Marshmallows-no way.

No substitution will make these Paleo: Corn casserole with cream cheese and green chili peppers; macaroni and cheese; broccoli cheese casserole; marshmallow jello salad; English pea and diced cheese salad; pecan pie; pumpkin pie; buttermilk pie; coconut cake; etc. You can eat tiny portions, or go off-diet.

Salads, cole slaw, lots of green, yellow, red, orange vegetables--almost no limit.

A Paleo Thanksgiving may take a little more creativity, but no more work than the traditional preparation. Have fun, eat a good meal, and be very strict the next few meals (allowing for leftovers!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving 11-19-12

On Nov. 1, I came across a couple of friends on Facebook who wrote "Day 1" and listed something each was thankful for. It took me a few hours to catch on, then I realized this was just what I needed. I have had a long period of pain and illness when I have had to focus on myself to survive. I tried to do things and pray for other people, but not as dedicatedly as I had done before. Now that I am feeling some better, I can finally see the world around me again.

Each day, many people and I post one thing we are thankful for. Some days, I have posted about specific people or groups of people for whom I am thankful. Some days, specific causes or blessings come to mind. Some day's topics are lighter than others, but all are heartfelt.

I challenge each person who feels led to do this to join us. No rule says you have to start on Nov. 1 as Day 1, or stop at Nov. 30, or even list every day. I will probably stop posting on Nov. 30, and then post occassionally as I feel the need. But if this speaks to you, please post your own thanksgiving messages.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Caramelized Fruit Crepes 11-18-12


   I just ate a scrumptious plate full of almond flour crepes covered with caramelized fruit and walnuts, with no dairy or wheat flour or sugar, and I made the whole dish in about 15 minutes. One of my favorite breakfasts is Cheese Blintzes at IHOP, so I didn't expect to be thrilled with my own crepes, but I was surprised and very, very pleased.

The Crepes:  (made 3, each the size of a small saute pan)   1/2 cup almond flour, 1 egg, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 tsp. of vanilla flavoring. I mixed this up the night before and kept in the fridge in a plastic container. It thickened a little, as I wanted it to, but I could have done it in a couple of minutes at breakfast time. I used Pam-type spray for the pan, kept it very hot, and used 1/3 cup of mix for each crepe. The first one, I flipped the crepe in the pan. After that, I just let them cook a little longer on the first side and slid them onto the plate. These are very tender, meaning they tear apart easily and may not roll up tightly as a flour crepe or tortilla would, and I decided to use them as a base instead of rollups. Same taste, easy to pour the fruit onto, and a lovely base.

The Fruit: Sliced pineapples which had been packed in their own juice (no added sugar)--I sprayed the pan, placed three slices in my small saute pan, let them cook in a little of the juice for about two minutes, flipped to get a little char on the other side, and started adding other fruit.
   Banana slices and a palmful of tiny blueberries (on sale last week at Kroger for $1--not the fat expensive kind I get when I can, but a dollar well spent) went in the pan with the pineapple slices. Then I added a big splash of caramel flavoring (like flavored water, no syrup), and let it all simmer.
   Chopped walnuts--I couldn't let well enough alone, so I added about 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. They made "well enough" even better. The almond flour crepes have some grainy texture, but the walnuts really enhanced the texture with crunch.

   I poured the fruit right on the crepes from the pan, except I kept about 1/3 for a future meal. One thing I would have done differently is to save the blueberries for a topping instead of adding them to the pan. The blue color masked the charring on the pineapple. I can honestly say, this breakfast was delightful, and I didn't miss the sour cream, cream cheese, or whipped cream from IHOP. Much.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meals Only I Would Plan 11-17-12

   One night, I realized that my meals that day might only appeal to me. I had a variety of foods on my Paleo Diet, and they are pretty much interchangeable if you are willing to experiment a bit. Nothing crazy, just unexpected. What do you think?
 Breakfast: Shrimp gumbo and a banana-almond butter-almond milk smoothie. I wanted something spicy and something soothing, and this combo filled the bill.
Lunch:  Stir-fry chicken, squash and zucchini; and fruit cocktail in pear juice. Filling and flavorful, but not my usual mealplan.
 Dinner: Baked fish almondine, squash and zucchini mash, and steamed broccoli. Much more traditional, but I don't often have fish and almonds on hand. The mash turned out great, with enough chunks, salt, pepper, and cumin, and a little olive oil-based margarine to bring out the bland flavors. I love steamed broccoli with cheese sauce, but no cheese/butter/cream on Paleo, so I fixed a little sauce with chicken stock and almond flour and a touch of mustard. Not terrific, but ok for a first try without a recipe. I'll keep working on sauces and gravies that fit the Paleo Diet since they add a little variety to the many vegetables and meats I love.
 These meals might not seem weird to you, but it was a tiny adventure for me; one which I will continue. Boredom and temptation can sink any diet, and I plan on eating Paleo as long as my doctor tells me and my body likes it. Still losing weight!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Eating Paleo on a Crazy Day 11-16-12

  Today was a crazy day, in and out of the house, fasting for medical tests, hungry but not prepared, then busy, busy, busy.  I still was able to eat Paleo, but it was a challenge. Here is what I ended up with:

Breakfast, after fasting for blood tests early in the morning: A super smoothie, with a banana, a can of sliced mango in light syrup, almond milk, strawberry-orange-banana juice (Tropicana), milled flax seed (1 tbsp.), and some blueberries. I don't usually add dark berries or seaweed because I don't think I would like green or brown smoothies, but this was not dark, just spotted from the flax seed and blueberries. Not as sweet as the syrup might imply, but filling and tasty after all. I didn't drink this until almost 11 AM, and I wanted to keep close to my regular schedule, but this was just right.

Lunch, at 2 PM, I ate some of the shrimp gumbo I made a while back, kept sealed in the fridge. It was spicy, filling and tasty; again, just right, with some hot Coke and lemon for a sore throat.

Dinner, at 6 PM: a small piece of roast beef au jus, seasoned green beans, kale, and sweet potatoes with walnuts.

While doctor's appointments, blood tests, starting prep work for Sunday dinner at church, cleaning the house kept me busy most of the day, I am happy I was able to eat mostly correctly, and I did not panic and grab a burger on the go or a milk shake. Nine pounds down and holding!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Eating Paleo at Cheddar's, Part 2 11-15-12

   Yum. This is the second day in Cheddar's menu, sorting out some Paleo Diet choices, and I am getting hungry. Read yesterday's post for Appetisers through Classics. Today finishes with Steaks through Kids' Meals. With a name like Cheddar's, and Paleo allowing no dairy, grains, legumes, soy, you might think the list would be short. One of the reasons my husband and I love Cheddar's is because no matter who we take there, they always find something they like to eat. My 95-year-old mother-in-law wants to know when Cheddar's is coming to Georgia. I am your server, and today's specials are:

STEAKS AND COMBOS: (Sides listed separately.) These are served with Onion Straws, which are sometimes oily and limp, and the breading is not Paleo, but they have lots of flavor. Choices: Sirloin or Ribeye, several ways; Steak and Grilled Shrimp; Steak and Grilled Chicken (strips or breast); Steak and Baby Back Ribs; Chicken Tenders and Shrimp--only if both are grilled; Baby Back Ribs and Grilled Shrimp. You stand a better chance of getting the tenders cooked without breading if you go when they are not packed, since this is definitely a special request.

BURGERS: NO BUN, no cheese, with Coleslaw or another Paleo side (no fries or beans, including edemame, no mayo). Original; Bacon Cheeseburger-no cheese (what's the point? but their bacon is terrific and allowed); Mushroom Burger; 3-Cheese Hickory Burger--get the Original and ask for Hickory BBQ Sauce--much cheaper; Smokehouse Burger--ask for BBQ sauce, not BBQ Ranch. I request that the bun be left off, but you don't have to--just don't eat it. Lettuce, mustard, ketchup are ok. (I'm ignoring the sugar in the sauces, but you can always leave those off. "Diet" sauces usually are loaded with soy and artificial sweeteners. Pick your battles.

SIDES: NO SOY (edemame.) Ask for Fresh (Steamed Vegetables), although this seems to be the bagged broccoli, carrots, squash, and zucchini, not fresh food. Add steak seasoning, and they are tasty. Steamed Fresh Broccoli (does not come with cheese sauce, and is usually charred a little--a good choice); Sweet Baby Carrots; Coleslaw (not enough dairy to matter for Paleo); Southern Green Beans. NO WAY: Rice, corn, french fries, mashed potatoes, baked potato, broccoli cheese casserole, or red beans and rice.

DESSERTS: NONE so far, since no grains (bread/cake/crust), and no dairy (creams, ice cream, pudding). You could ask about the Virgin Daiquiri IF it is not dairy-based.  I haven't found any "fresh" fruit here, but some of the toppings pretend to be fruit. I tell myself, "Eat More Carrots."

KIDS' MEALS: (no bread, dairy, soy (edemame), or potatoes. One of these meals might fit your hunger, and I have never had a server refuse me one. Since I take leftovers home, I usually go for the adult meal and have extra for later. Junior Burger, fresh vegetables, broccoli, carrots, coleslaw, or green beans; Grilled Chicken Breast with fresh vegetables or other Paleo side; Monte Dog--IF not pre-breaded and they will cook it bare, with fresh vegetables or othr Paleo side. Some kids are eating Paleo, too, of course, but if you have to consider true allergies, do a lot more research and don't be afraid to ask your server to find out what you need to know.

Now, go out to eat somewhere. Don't use the restaurant as an excuse to go off your Paleo eating, but you have to be responsible for your choices. Cheddar's, here I come.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eating Paleo at Cheddar's, Part 1 11-14-12

   Cheddar's is my favorite "casual dining" restaurant. If you don't have one nearby, I would compare it to TGIF or Chili's. The menu is eclectic. I have enjoyed every dish I have ever ordered here, and I tried to keep experimenting so I wouldn't order the same things each time. Now that I am trying to eat Paleo, I was afraid I would have to give up eating out, one of my greatest pleasures. I have found, however, that every place we go to has at least a few things that are "legal", and some restaurants have lots. An exception so far is Taco Bell, since (of course) every dish is based on tortillas, rice, or other grain products, and sour cream and cheese are not allowed, either. Since almost every chain restaurant has its menu posted online, I can go through the menus category by category and make choices before I ever leave home.
   Paleo "rules": meat, veggies, fruits, nuts are all allowed. No grain products, no starchy veggies, no soy or beans (or peanuts), no dairy.
   Cheddar's menu is so enticing to me, that I will post this in two parts to cover everything. If a menu item can be Paleo with only small changes or deletions, I am listing it. If it would take several changes, I might list it, but it is probably too much trouble for you and for the cook/server. Some things are "no way" because it just can't be modified enough to be Paleo. Here goes:

APPETISERS: NONE, since cheese, chips, soy (edemame) are not allowed. You might want to ask for these, if the place is not busy: grilled onions or mixed veggies, with no added butter; chicken tenders without breading (since they are advertised as hand-breaded, maybe that means they can skip the breading; if they come to the restaurant pre-breaded, NO WAY.)

SALADS: (no cheese, pasta, sour cream, croutons). Asian Chicken and Shrimp Salad (no noodles, or pick them out); Roasted Pear Spring Salad (no Parmesan) with Chicken (grilled); Hawaiian Chicken Salad (no tortilla strips); Crispy Chicken Salad, but with Grilled Chicken (no cheese); Grilled Chicken Pecan Salad (no cheddar cheese); House Salad (no cheese, croutons, non-dairy dressing.) (As it happens, I can't eat iceberg lettuce. Cheddar's uses a Spring Mix, so I can pick through it; baby spinach would be better but is not offered.)

SANDWICHES: NO BREAD: World Class Chicken and Hawaiian Chicken (no melted cheese); Double-Decker Club (no cheddar or mayo); Philly Cheesesteak (no melted cheese); Napa Chicken Ciabatta (no Fontina cheese); Grilled Portobello Ciabatta (no Fontina Cheese, pesto mayo on the side and just dip the points of your fork in to get a taste). NO WAY: Monte Cristo, Buffalo Chicken Wraps--90% is non-Paleo.

THE CLASSICS: (no croissant, add a Paleo salad; SIDES are listed separately in tomorrow's post.) Lemon Pepper Chicken and Dijon Chicken and Mushrooms (no rice); Chicken Tender Platter (only if grilled, not breaded); H. S. Baby Back Ribs; Grilled Salmon, Grilled Catfish, and Key West Chicken (no rice); Beer Battered Fried Shrimp (NO BATTER, grilled); Grilled Fish Tacos (no tortillas, no tartar sauce); Grilled Tilapia w/Mango Salsa (no rice). NO WAY: Chicken Pot Pie, Grilled Chicken Alfredo, Baked Spasagna, Veggie Pasta Alfredo, Shepherd's Pie; Cornmeal Catfish, or Country Fried Rice.

   If the NOs seem overwhelming, make your own list and take it with you. You might be less tempted. Tomorrow: Steaks and Combos, Burgers, Sides, and Desserts (don't get your hopes up), as well as Kids' Meals.

Monday, November 12, 2012

100 Calorie Paleo Snacks (that I eat) 11-12-12

     Most of my Paleo meals have been so hearty, I haven't needed many between-meal snacks. Getting stuck without handy food when I am shopping or traveling leads to the temptation to eat whatever fast food is nearby. Sometimes I keep an apple or a banana in my purse, although it occurred to me, Kroger/Walmart people might think I have stolen it. (I have such a guilty mindset.)
     Only a few weeks into the Paleo Diet, however, I have a pretty good list of 100 or less calorie snacks, treats or munchies. Remember: no grains (bread, chips, wraps, etc.), dairy (milk, ice cream, cheese), soy (edemame, tofu, most dairy replacements), legumes (peanuts or beans), or a few other Paleo restrictions. Some are portable; some I need to be at home with a fork and table handy. Hundreds of 100-calorie snacks are listed on the internet, but these are the ones I actually try to have on hand and eat. Enjoy, and add your own favorites.
SEEDS AND NUTS: About 1/4 c. of Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are high in fat, but only about 3-4 will fit into a 1/4 c. measure anyway. Any non-butter or sugar-seasoned variations should be fine.
BERRIES: About 1/2 c. of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or cranberries, even with almond milk, is good. You can have a whole cup of strawberries since they are mostly water. Dried blueberries and cranberries are pretty easy to find in most snack aisles. Be careful-read labels if you buy these in a snack pack: they probably have added sugar.
SOLID FRUITS: You can have a whole medium apple, pear, orange, tangerine, banana, bunch of grapes or other fruits that are easy to find in the stores. Strict Paleo proponants say they must be organic, wiped clean of wax, etc. I just wipe them off, peal if needed, and eat one. If you slice or chop these, you will end up with 1/2 to one cup of fruit, and they are good mixed in a fruit cup, too.
JUICY FRUITS: Peaches, mangoes, papaya, necterines are great, but 1/2 c. usually has 100 calories. These (and bananas) are very easy to add to smoothies and add great sweetness, but the calories add up if you drink a whole blender-full, which I do for a smoothie meal.
RAISINS/DRIED FRUITS: Including craisins (cranberry raisins), and all sorts of fruit trail mixes are handy; just limit to a palm full if you want to stay about 100 calories.
MEATS: and fowl and fishy things, about 2-3 oz.. Amazing how good a leftover slice of roast beef can be and can make me feel more satisfied than raisins sometimes. Seasoning salts are basically calorie-free (watch the salt if you need to), and can add more punch to each bite.
ALMOND BUTTER: and cashew butter, sunflower butter, etc. are ok but peanut butter is not. If you want 2 tsp. of almond butter, eat 1/2 the amount of fruit for 100 calories.
UNLIMITED VEGGIES, ETC.: celery, carrots, cabbage, salsa, picante sauce, veggie soups (no potatoes or corn), jimaca sticks (you gotta try these), mustard, vinegar--adding these to a snack or meal really adds bulk and taste, but very few calories. If you ate a pint (2 c. usually) of these, you might have a problem, but you can usually eat all you want of these.
JUICES: orange, peach, apple, grape, cranberry, tomato, etc.--usually 1/2 c. is about 100 calories. Unless you make the juice yourself, you will probably buy them at the grocery store like I do. Read, read, read those labels. Fruit punches or "peach drink"-type choices are usually loaded with sugar and calories. Even "100% Fruit Juice" can be tricky; sometimes that just means no artificial fruit juices or flavors are added, but lots of syrup can be in there. If I end up with some sweet juice as my only choice, I add club soda, sugar-free ginger ale, or just lots of crushed ice.
MISC.: a small baked apple with just a touch of honey or sugar, plus cinnamon and a little olive-oil based margarine is about 100 calories. 1/2 c. fruit smoothie (no dairy), 2 small dill pickles, or 1 egg fixed about any style are each 100 calories. 1/20th of a pie, which breaks several Paleo rules, is 100 calories.
   Snacks or tiny meals may get you through a tough spot, if you plan ahead and have food ready to eat. Leave that sleeve of crackers, hunk of cheese, or candy bar where they belong--in somebody else's tummy. You can do it!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Little Meals (that might be just enough) 11-11-12

   Paleo Dieting has NOT left me hungry. There are so many options with meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts that my plate has been full every meal. I like variety in my food, so I keep several items in each category prepared ahead. I like using a divided plastic dish so soupy foods don't mix the flavors. Now that I have lost 9 pounds, however, I really think I am eating too much too often! For a few days, I am eating lighter meals. I have not been hungry yet, and here are a few of my selections, still keeping close to Paleo rules.

Grilled breakfast #1:  Leftover roast beef, eggs, and orange juice.
Grilled breakfast #2:  NY strip steak (bought on sale!), eggs, apples, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. The mushrooms got crispy and were delicious!
Fruit and nut plate #1: Apple slices, concord grapes, blueberries, pecans, walnuts, almond butter.
Fruit and nut plate #2: Almond butter fried apples, peach juice spritzer.
Meat and smoothie #1: Petite sirloin steak, peach/almond milk smoothie.

Chocolate confession: I found some leftover Halloween chocolate minis in my purse; they didn't last long.
Meat and smoothie #2: Grilled beef weiners, coleslaw, parslied baby carrots.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fatty Paleo 11-10-12

Fatty Paleo
   One of the more controversial guidelines of the Paleo Diet seems to be whether meat fats are good and to be encouraged, or are intrinsically bad and to be avoided. Since I am trying to lose weight, I feel I have to avoid fats, yet some proponants of the diet say that the added far will eventually help the body to even out its own nutritional balance, and I will lose weight that way.
   Chicken is pretty easy to trim of unwanted fat because the fat is in little yellow or white pockets, so it is easy to see. The skin not only is high in fat, the skin will absorb lots of fat from the pan. Boneless, skinless chicken is easy to find in most grocery stores, and often on sale, so this is my greatest source of chicken for my recipes. Nothing need go to waste, and it is so versitile. Strict Paleo Diet followers say to buy only organic, free-range chickens (and other meats) for better nutrition and flavor. I am a practical cook on a limited budget, so my Paleo beliefs are tempered by my budget (and my friends in Georgia and Louisiana who are in the chicken business!) I still haven't bought Omega 3 eggs, but I'm thinking and reading about it. Turkey is still pretty much seasonal, but I love to use it.
   Beef and pork are plentiful in my stores, and most of the solid meats I buy are already trimmed. I seldom buy a well-marbled steak anyway so this hasn't been a problem for me, but choosing ground beef is almost a philosophical decision. More fat=less price, but more calories; less fat=higher price, less waste, and somewhat fewer calories. For meatloafs and such, 70% has always been my decision in the past, because I was adding flax seed, oatmeal, bran, and other ingredients that absorb lots of fat, or at least dilute it. For a hamburger steak, I like 90% ground beef, but Bobby Flay says go for 70%. Hmmm.  Except for bacon, I have usually avoided pork, but with the Paleo Diet, I am learning to cook and enjoy pork roast, sausage (but I often go for turkey anyway), pork chops and ham.
   The Paleo Diet books suggest using bison and other meats that are hard to get in my local stores. I am sure that Whole Foods, Sprouts, and other high end stores carry those, plus goose, duck, quail, etc., but I haven't shopped those yet since they are not in my city, and more expensive. I'll get to them!
   I am staying with olive oil (extra virgin and light), canola oil, and now coconut oil. I have generic vegetable oil, but it is soy-based, so I use it for recipes for other people who are not doing Paleo. Spray Pam (and generic) is a mainstay for me, but I have switched to canola oil type instead of butter flavored. No dairy=no butter, and I don't want to be tempted even by flavoring.
   Fat, or less fat. I'm trying for low fat because of my weight and other issues, but I am continuing to read and learn about this issue.

A breakfast I really enjoyed recently:
   Petite sirloin steak (leftover)
   Peach smoothie

Have you tried any Paleo recipes or meals yet? Let me know your reaction.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coconut Sweet Potato Pie (Pumpkin), Paleo by a stretch

From my long-lost cousin, Phyllis Woods Mosteller:

Crust: 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (not Paleo)
   1/4 c. shredded coconut (not sweetened)
   1/3 c. coconut oil, softened (I found it at The Vitamin Shoppe; looks like mayo)
   1/3 c. granulated sugar (try it with Spenda)
   1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
   pinch of salt
Blend and press into a pie plate. Chill one hour before using.)

Filling:  2 c. mashed sweet potatoes (pumpkin is Paleo)
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1 tsp. cinnamon
   1/4 tsp. each nutmet, ginger, cloves (pumpkin pie spice sounds right)
   1 c. coconut milk (mine comes in a carton like milk)
   1/2 c. maple syrup (acceptable on most Paleo lists)
   3 Tbsp. coconut oil (see note above)
   1 tsp. vanilla
   1/4 c. cornstarch (not strictly Paleo, but you need a thickener)
Mix all the ingredients and pour into the pieshell; bake at 425 for 15 min., then at 350 for 45.

To shave a few more calories, I cook the pie in a 9-in. plate, and cut it into  16 slices. "Lite" Cool Whip is Paleo-acceptable, but just barely because of all the chemicals. Still tastes great.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fiber without Grains? 11-8-12

For the last few years, I have worked to hard to add whole grains wherever I can, but the Paleo Diet says "no grains." Every meatloaf was loaded with meat, celery, onions, peppers, oatmeal, oat bran, whole grain breadcrumbs, and egg, broth, and seasoning. I added bran to oatmeal, bran flakes to many dishes, and bought low far high grain bread for sandwiches. Cheerios, bran flakes, shredded wheat, whole grain or high grain crackers and other items--my pantry was full of brown. How could I be getting enough fiber if I weren't eating grains?
   Just like we learned in health and nutrition classes in school, vegetables are FULL of fiber, and the more natural the better. All of the dark greens like turnip, mustard, collard, and kale are loaded with calcium and fiber. Sweet potatoes are full of potassium and fiber. Celery, carrots, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuces, broccoli, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. can't be beat. Add in berries, nuts (all but peanuts), tree fruits like peaches, apples, oranges, apricots, etc., and you have as much fiber as your body needs. Eliminate those you can't stand, enjoy those you can, knowing you are not missing any fiber or other essential nutrients, even without crunchy cereals and breads.

Lunch:  Lemon Pepper White Fish with Coleslaw (or undressed House Salad) and Baby Carrots--Cheddar's treat. (No rice or pre-dressed salad with croutons.)  A nice change from cooking at home.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Milk without cows? 11-7-12

    Just today, a friend asked me why coconut milk and almond milk are called that, when there was no animal to "milk". Funny, but the names exist. I love dairy and on the Paleo Diet, dairy is not allowed. I had to search at first, but I found two acceptable "milks" and found they are very different.
   Coconut milk--so far I have just used it like chicken stock. It's wet, but to me has no flavor. But then, how much flavor does my old 2% milk have? Just like colored water compared to whole milk, but I got used to that, so bring on the coconut milk. I read a recipe for whipped coconut milk, but it was loaded with "baker's sugar": confectioner's sugar, I guess. I'll do more research and experimentation.
   I fell in love with almond milk right away, and, no, it has almost no flavor, either, but the texture is closer to "real" milk. I read labels carefully, because I found that there is dairy milk flavored with almond flavoring, and soy milk with almond flavoring. But even Kroger has its own store brand of almond milk, plain or with vanilla flavoring. I like the vanilla almond milk. I use it in almost all my smoothies because it adds a creamy look without a strong taste. That would be good enough, but lots of recipes call for almond milk, so I know it will be usable. I am on the third half gallon so far, compared to still on the first of coconut milk. They both have calories, but nothing like dairy milk, unless you buy brands that are loaded with sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners.

Meals for the day:
Breakfast: Apricot Smoothie:  canned apricots, peach juice, almond milk, and a raw egg, in a blender, with crushed ice to make it bulkier.
Lunch: Rotisserie chicken wings; garlic Italian green beans and cherub tomatoes (the garlic Italian dressing was what was left from a jar of seasoned mushrooms); parslied baby carrots; and toasted walnuts and Concord grapes. This made a gorgeous, colorful plate of food. Yummy!
Dinner: Spaghetti squash and tomato meat sauce; sauteed broccoli, zucchini and yellow squash; almond butter fried apples.

Still experimenting--my criteria--reasonably priced, attractive and enticing to eat, available in my town, and not too weird to try.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Paleo Diet Breakfasts 11-6-12

Paleo Diet breakfasts can easily be stuck in the "bacon and eggs" and "fruit smoothie" groove. I was warned about that! Sure enough, breakfast is the meal I have been the least creative in so far. I do have a few suggestions that I have actually made, and a recipe I am going to get to--maybe tomorrow.
   I love fried eggs over medium, so I cook these in a Pam-sprayed pan, or sometimes a dab of olive oil-based margarine. Adding a little chicken stock to the pan get the eggs closer to poached, but I like to flip the eggs, and more liquid makes that messy. I used to salt my eggs while they were cooking, but I found that just a sprinkle after the eggs are on the plate has the salty flavor, but in smaller amounts.
   I eat scrambled eggs, poached eggs, and boiled eggs for breakfast, but given a choice, I am going fried or an omelet or fritatta. An egg breakfast soufle' is just too much trouble.
   My omelets are often made with whatever add-ins are easiest to get to. I love to add mild salsa or picante sauce, or even a package or two from a fast food place. I have used chopped fresh parsley, but I usually do not have fresh herbs in the house (although I love them), so I used dried herbs: Italian seasoning, basil, herb mix, even the seasoning mix for dips and marinades. Chopped fresh tomatoes or stewed tomatoes with seasoning (like Mexican style, Italian style, etc.) are great. I have not found a substitute for cheese, but I am still looking! Any chopped cooked meat such as crispy bacon, beef weiners, sausage (turkey or pork), brisket, or chicken adds more protein and good flavor. If the omelet gets too well done before I add the extras, instead of folding the omelet, I just let it keep cooking until everything is hot, and call it a frittata. Scrambling the eggs and add-ins together makes a more authentic frittata, but I don't fret the precision.
   All my fruit smoothies so far start with a banana in a blender, then I add whatever fruit, fruit juice, or fruit jelly, jam or preserves I have; then I add almond milk, and sometimes club soda or Sprite or a little lemon or lime juice; sometimes I add crushed ice from the ice maker in the fridge.  I have added milled flax seed, chopped pecans or walnuts, and artificial flavorings. I seldom use artificial sweetener, but once I added honey. I don't want to try seaweed or spinach so far, but some people do. A few seconds in the blender, and I have two big glasses of smoothie. (The second glass is often my morning snack, with some seasoned nuts.)
   I sometimes have turkey bacon, turkey or pork sausage, sausage links or BBQ sausages, or a small hamburger pattie with my breakfast, or add an egg to a smoothie, for a little more protein, but I keep the serving size small because of the fat and calories.
   Almond flour pancakes were a mixed treat:  it looked like bread (not on the Paleo Diet), but was flatter and did not brown the same. The taste was bland, but I'm sure the pancake batter could have been seasoned better when I have more experience. Mix 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup almond flour ($12.99 at my local grocery--I'm going to look for a better price, but freshness counts), 1/4 cup water or club soda, 2 T. oil (I used canola), 1/4 t. salt, 1 T. sweetner (I will try fruit juice the next time.) Fry in a little oil or spray the pan with Pam. Top with (sugar-free) syrup, blueberries, cranberry-orange relish, strawberries, chopped pecans, or cinnamon sugar, or something more creative. My batter made two omelet-pan-sized pancakes, and I ate one each at two breakfasts. The batter for the second kept fine for three days in the fridge.
   Almond Flour Muffins (the recipe I plan to try soon): 2 cups almond flour, 1/4 t. salt, 1 stick butter, melted (how can I substitute for this in my non-dairy Paleo Diet?), 4 eggs, 1/3 c. water, and 1/3 cup sweetener or fruit. 350 degrees for 20 minutes, estimated. I regular muffin, or a couple of tiny muffins, is a serving. I'm sure that with herbs or bacon, these would be a completely different taste, too.
   Don't skip breakfast, even if it actually is a mid-morning meal, with a lighter lunch. Happy eating!

   Recipe for the (near) future: 

Monday, November 5, 2012

4C's: cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and kale 11-4-12

OK, kale does not start with a C, but it ought to.  All of these are great Paleo Diet foods, with almost no calories, no fat, plenty of bulk, and lots of vitamins.
   Cabbage is a Southern favorite, fried with grease to a caramelized taste, with tons of butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Now let's get healthy. I still like fried cabbage, but I call it saute'ed now. I slice the cabbage into ribbons or wedges. I use just a little canola oil, olive oil, or olive oil-based margarine, some chicken stock or water, lots of pepper, a little salt, and maybe just a 1/2 tsp. of sugar. I cook it until tender, and just a bit beyond if I want that caramelized flavor. This really is as good as the original and goes with about anything, but I really like it with pork.
   Carrots come in big whole sizes, or baby carrots, or cut into slices, pennies, or sticks. My favorite is to buy a big bag of baby carrots on sale, then fix them a few different ways. Carrots are easy to roast when you are baking any other veggies, or in a foil pouch in a pan with roasting meat. I like to boil some, then add chopped parsley or Italian seasoning, and maybe a little margarine. My favorite carrots are braised with very little chicken stock, with a touch of honey or brown sugar, and some cinnamon. Carrots seem to be pretty flexible with other flavors, and cook very well with crock-pot dishes, too.
   Cauliflower is one of those foods. You know them, you either love them or hate them, but I encourage to try them even if you turned your nose up before (literally!) Besides boiling, braising, etc., I do like to boil then puree' them in a blender or food processor, with some margarine (olive oil-based, of course), salt, pepper, and sometimes a little forbidden shredded cheese. Believe it or not, if you are trying to stay strictly Paleo, these are an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes. Not too much stock, or you have runny whipped cauliflower , but that is better than lumpy cauliflower!
   My favorite in this group is kale. I first made kale chips last Christmas to give me something crunchy to eat at parties instead of the chips and dips and cheese spreads and crackers that were everywhere. My first batch was seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but I have tried all sorts of shaker-type seasonings, and steak seasoning is great. After washing the fresh kale (comes in a bunch, sometimes in a plastic bag), dry it, then use kitchen scissors or a knife and just cut out the stems. I stack a bunch of leaves and do them all at one time. For chips, chop the kale into small bite-size pieces, place on a big baking pan sprayed with Pam, and sprinkle on the seasoning. Toss, then bake for about 15 minutes at 350. Watch carefully--you want crunch pieces, not burnt.
   For sauteed kale, use a big frying pan with a little olive oil or canola oil, a little chicken stock, and seasoning. If you have some diced onions or garlic, that's good, too. Cook until very tender. Kale can be very chewy, so small pieces and bites are best. Kale looks like a lot of other greens like collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc., but have a distinct flavor. I hope you like it!
Meals for 11-5-12:
Breakfast:  Peach smoothie: peach drink from concentrate, banana, almond milk,1 tsp. peach jelly (mine was a gift--fresh peaches would be great, of course), and ice, in a blender.
Lunch: Baked chicken; pureed cauliflower; sauteed kale; broccoli, squash and zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.
Dinner: Cube steak strips, parslied carrots, cabbage, and "peanut butter" fried apples. (Apples: put sliced apples in a frying pan with a little olive oil-based margarine, some cinnamon sugar, and some caramel flavoring --just flavored water with no calories, and to be special, a couple of tbsp. of almond butter, which will not "melt" all the way. Seems really indulgent, but actually good for you.)
   Play with your vegetables--it's ok.

All Paleo Meats Are Fair Game 11-5-12

One of the delightful things about the Paleo Diet is that all meats are usable. Calories and fats are a conderation if weight, high cholestoral, or health issues require it. My husband does not eat pork "just in case" it might harm him. My go-to meats are beef and chicken, but I decided when I studied the Paleo Diet to be more adventuresome more often. I have access to Kroger, Walmart and other grocery stores, but they usually don't carry goose, duck, lamb or even much seafood (which is almost always previously frozen, even if the seafood is laid out as fresh.) The pork roast ribeye was the first I had ever cooked, and cooking fish and shrimp at home is very unusual for me. I love chicken livers, but can't stand beef liver, and I have only tasted goose and duck liver in the form of premade pate'. I have yet to eat heart, tongue, calves' feet, brain, or even sweetbreads. Tripe and other forms of intestines repulse me, but since menudo is available, I may find some way to like this. I promised myself to try something new at least once a week, so we'll see.
Yesterday's meals:
Breakfast: a banana (running late)
Lunch: Sirloin steak; sweet potato whip; fried pickles, green tomatoes, and onion rings (one each); and sliced tomatoes. (We picked up lunch at Black-eyed Pea, lots of different things, but most of them were fried and/or starch.)
Dinner: Kosher beef weiners, green beans, cole slaw. BBQ sauce, 25 cal. for the one tbsp. I ate.
Getting in meat or eggs 4-5 times a day is a big challenge for me, but the veggies on most days are easy, since I love tomatoes, squash, okra and other non-starchy vegetables. I've got to do some cooking today to make sure I have the right things ready to eat. When I'm hungry, I'm starving!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Spaghetti Squash -- big but not scary

Nov. 3, 2012   Paleo Diet says no grain (bread, pasta, corn, etc.), so I am certainly trying replacements for some of my favorite foods. I had eaten spaghetti squash as a salad (Italian and Chinese) at church dinners, but I wanted to see if I could use it instead of wheat pasta.  The first step was allowing myself to buy one of those giant beige squashes. Quite intimidating, and I was afraid it would feed an army.
   I cut the squash into fou large pieces, placed them in a foil lined pan and spread a thin coating of olive oil on all sides of the squash. Cut side down, I baked the squash for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It was properly done, but another 10 minutes would have made it even more tender. I cooled it for 10 min.
   I took a fork and gently scraped down each surface of the squash, over and over. Each time, the strands separated and came out smoothly, even when I tried scraping in different directions. I think I got about 4 cups of spaghetti-looking threads.
   The first dish I tried was one cup of spaghetti squash with meat sauce (spaghetti sauce with ground beef). The texture was more al dente than I usually have, but perfectly edible. The squash absorbed enough of the sauce to give it some flavor. Most definitely a good substitute. Even better the next day!
   If you allow  yourself cheese, I'm sure that would be good, too. But I am trying very hard to stay Paleo, and dairy is not allowed.  Barely sauteed vegetables (or a can of mixed vegetables) and Italian seasoning or dressing seems a very good idea. I'm certainly going to experiment more with this veggie.

Meals for today:
Breakfast:  Omelet with eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and crispy bacon; strawberry-banana juice over ice; (at Alfredo's in Forney, TX)
Lunch:  Sliced smoked turkey with BBQ sauce; roast zucchini, onions and carrots; slaw with broccoli, tiny onions, raisins and shredded carrots.
Dinner:  Grilled KFC chicken, green beans and cole slaw (had to get drive through, and this meal seemed a better choice than most; gave my husband the biscuit.)

Tomorrow is Sunday. That often meals Lunch out, so we'll see what happens. I miss my Sunday morning donut in Sunday School, but I just eat at home. I really love eating out with the family.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Paleo cook ahead tips and meals (served 10-18-12)

Breakfast: Mushroom and salsa omelet; pecans
Lunch: Salad with chicken, baby spinach, avocado, sliced boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, with honey-mustard dressing ("lite") and walnuts and olives; apple juice and club soda.
Dinner: Pork roast, onions, carrots, green beans, baby beets; salad of apples, raisins and walnuts.

A big part of being able to stay on the Paleo Diet is planning, purchasing and cooking ahead so that you are ready to put your meals together without being tempted by convenience foods. I spent more than I normally would at the grocery store the first couple of times, trying to build up a pantry and fridge of Paleo-approved foods. My food budget is limited, and my time and energy even more so, so planning ahead makes a big difference to me.

   A package of mushrooms was split in half so I could have raw mushrooms for salads, and the other half I sauteed in a little olive oil, then a little chicken stock.
 I boil three eggs at time, peel them, and wrap each one in plastic wrap before putting them in the fridge for easy use.
 I found a small pork roast ribeye (didn't think about pigs having ribeyes before) for $5. I crusted the entire surface with cheap steak seasoning from a shaker ($1 for a big container), and had the best seasoned pork roast I ever baked. Slicing half the pork roast at a time also meant I had meat-ready-to-eat.
   At the same time, I roasted a drained can of baby beets, onion halves, baby carrots from a bag, one yellow squash and one zucchini. (I put the beets in their own foil package to keep everything from turning purple.) Just about any vegetable can be roasted with a little chicken stock or water; the same veggies can be steamed, sauteed, or stir-fried for a little more variety using the same foods.
   I am fortunate to have lots of shelled pecans in the freezer, and I splurged on a big bag of walnut halves at Sam's Wholesale some time ago, so I have "approved" nuts on hand. (No peanuts allowed, remember.) I bake some with salt, pepper, and a little sugar; others with garlic salt, olive oil margarine, and a shake of hot sauce. I also use pecans and walnuts raw, of course, since they can add the crunch of croutons; finely chopped, they can be a crunchy "breading."
   Almond butter is more expensive than peanut butter, and harder to find, but just a little can add a lot of flavor. I plan on making some Chinese chicken stir-fry with almond butter sauce very soon.
   An omelet of 1-3 eggs is definitely Paleo, and you can add any kind of meats, herbs, vegetables, seasonings, salsa/picante sauce, etc. No dairy allowed, so no cheese--that has been the biggest loss to me so far. No soy either, so tofu and other pretend dairy products are not in my meals.
   I usually buy boneless skinless chicken breasts which I boil and shred, or saute, or bake, roast or braise. Whole chickens are actually more expensive at my store than pieces, but when I do have a whole chicken, I put all the extra parts and bones in a separate pot to make broth for more cooking.
   I'm hungry now--gotta go eat some Paleo for lunch.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nov. 1, 2012   Paleo Diet within reason and budget:  I have been on the Paleo Diet since Oct. 4 when my heart doctor said this is what I need. Basically, the Paleo Diet means lots of meat (all kinds), begetables, and fruits, with no grain (bread, oats, soy, etc.) or dairy. My cholesterol is good, so I don't have to be as concerned about meat as my husband, who needs whole grains in everything possible. I have kidney stones, so I have to limit dark greens, and my long-lost gallbladder left me with an aversion to iceberg lettuce, especially wilted.  All tree nuts are good; peanuts and other legumes are not allowed.  I have made two exceptions so far:  I eat green beans, but no other beans. I eat sweet potatoes, but no other starchy veggies (corn, potatoes.)
     One day's meals (10-16-12):
     Breakfast:  Smoothie with an egg, a banana, canned peaches (in pear juice), frozen strawberries, and almond milk. (I add crushed ice before blending if I want it more like a milk shake.)
     Snack: Pecans and walnuts, toasted with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sugar.
     Lunch:  Hibachi chicken with squash, zucchini, carrots, onions and mushrooms (at Iron Chef Japanese Grill. You can order just what you want, with no potatoes, rice, or soy sauce. I ordered the $6.50 lunch special, and had enough left over for two more meals.)
     Dinner:  Pork roast and onions, sauteed apple slices with walnuts and raisins, sauteed green beans, cherry tomatoes, and sauteed kale. (I saute' many foods, which just means fried without much fat, usually with spray Pam, with chicken stock or a little olive oil if needed.)
     The hardcore Paleo Diet proponents demand organic everything, no processed sugar, and no artificial sweeteners except Stevia. To stay on budget and actually be able to find the foods I want, I decided organic is not necessary for my lifestyle, but I buy organic if it is available and close to the price of regular food. I try to buy fruits fresh, but I buy canned if I need to, packed in water or fruit juice without syrup when possible. Frozen fruits and veggies are fine with me. I use a sprinkle of sugar, or a little honey or brown sugar, but Stevia gives me a headache, so I only use a little of that if it fits the recipe. I add seasoning, nuts for crunch and fiber, and olive oil-based margarine when I can. Mostly, I am really striving for variety so I don't get bored, and I depend on leftovers, but I try to have them for a different time of day the second or later  time.
     What about it? Are you on or considering the Paleo Diet? Share your experiences, please.
     I have lost eight pounds in 25 days.