Some new supplies

By this point, I have read through about 142,367,879 different paleo recipes – some more complicated than others. While I have always been intrigued by cooking and different, more unique, recipes – I am making a point to try and keep things as simple as possible. I want to be realistic with our meal plans…yea it would be awesome to cook a full chicken and do this and that with it…but, that ain’t gonna happen. ANYWAY, through reading these recipes I have found that people are using a couple of different tools/utensils to make their paleo adventures as easy as possible. So I obviously went and bought my own, because I want to be as awesome as everyone else out there preparing their paleo-style meals each day.

SO…after a trip to target (which is seriously WAY too close to our apartment, literally I could walk there) and a purchase order on Amazon – I am pretty pleased with the kitchen set up that we have going on. (I think I left out that R’s mom, once again, really hooked us up with basically EVERYTHING else we could ever need in the kitchen – so amazing.)

1. CALENDAR (this is a MUST HAVE for planning weekly meals/corresponding shopping lists, and I really do love a good dry erase board)

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This week’s dinner menu: (recipes to follow)

  • Tuesday: Grilled pork chops and pineapple rings with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli
  • Wednesday: Sausage and peppers with zucchini and tomato ratatouille
  • Thursday: LEFTOVERS!
  • Friday: Chicken kebabs
  • Saturday: Farmer’s Market pick (I’m thinking grilled chicken or fish and whatever awesome vegetables we can find!)
  • Sunday: Either leftovers or we will think of something else! (Sunday is the shopping/cooking day for us)

2. Chopper (say good bye to almost slicing my fingers off every time that damn onion slips!!!!!)

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3. Julienne Peeler (HELLLLLLLO ZOODLES! – zucchini noodle look-a-likes)

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4. Salad spinner (R and I have been wanting one of these SO badly – we will definitely be making some savings buying heads of lettuce instead of the pre cut/washed bags)

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5. Teapot (coffee is ok-ed for paleo, BUT you have to drink it black… UH, NO THANKS! tea it is for me!)

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Now I feel prepared to conquer the world of paleo living!!! (Until next week when I find a new recipe, with a new tool that I just HAVE to buy…) Recipes from last night will be posted later this afternoon – both were SUPER easy and more importantly DELISH!

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This week’s staple meals

To prepare for the rest of the week, R and I spent last night cooking away in the kitchen after our “Last Supper”. (Which was obviously mexican because… have I mentioned that I am obsessed with queso?) Anyway, we are really loving the egg bakes lately. They are so easy to throw together and you can literally put anything you want into it! (We are going to get more creative as the weeks go on I hope…) We also like to have a lunch ready to go for each morning that R can pack up and take for work – the perfect solution to that is one of our new favs, avocado chicken salad. The key though for these “weekly staples” is making sure that they taste good throughout the entire week, and these two pass the test!

So, onto … the recipes!!!!!

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Egg Bake:

  • 1lb italian sausage (thank you Edgewood Locker!)
  • 26 eggs (might seem excessive, but it ends up being 3.25 eggs/serving)
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 1 yellow pepper – diced
  • 1/2 onion – diced

*We made this into 8 servings, but it could definitely be split into 10 (which we will probably do moving forward so we can both have breakfast Mon-Fri!)

Complicated instructions: Brown sausage, chop vegetables, scramble eggs, mix and pour! We baked it for about an hour at 375 degrees. I always stick a butter knife into the middle of the bake, and if it comes out clean … then it’s done! (Thanks for that tip, Mom!)

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Avocado Chicken Salad:

  • 1lb chicken (can use any amount and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly)
  • 1 1/2 RIPE avocados
  • 1/2 onion – diced
  • Approx. 20 green grapes – halved
  • 2-3 tsp lime juice
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

This recipe is so great because you can just add the ingredients to your personal preference by tasting it as you go. We cooked the chicken in our crockpot (last time we baked the chicken in the oven) and then shredded it to our desired consistency. The key to the avocados being able to combine all the ingredients is that when you purchase them they are ripe, ripe, RIPE! (Translation: a little mushy) Half the avocados and scoop out the inside, adding it to the bowl of shredded chicken. Mix the avocado and chicken well, so that all the chicken is coated. Add the remaining ingredients and ENJOY!

Today I ate the chicken salad by itself with carrot chips and cherry tomatoes, but I have also eaten it in lettuce cups before too (which is delicious).

Well, the pork chops are off the grill – which means it’s time for dinner! (On the menu tonight is grilled pork chops with pineapple and roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. More to come on that later!)

Stocking up

Our Fridge

Happy Tuesday!

When I got back from New Jersey on Sunday night (I guess technically it was early Monday morning) the last few remaining items in our fridge were: 3 cans of miller lite, butter, milk, and three eggs. I thought, “maybe it’s time to make a grocery run.”

We’ve cleared out the bad…time to stock up on the goods. I decided to go to my new favorite sanctuary, Costco. My GOD that place has everything. I want to mention how impressed I was with Costco’s produce section. Maybe it doesn’t take a lot to impress me in this category, I don’t really know. But being able ot buy a 3 lb bag of broccoli and 5 DOZEN eggs each for just $5 – well that’s my kind of place. After my rendezvous there, I had to stop at Fred Meyer (think Hy-Vee or Safeway or Shop Rite on CRACK) for a couple of items that I didn’t feel like purchasing enough of for a small country.

Here was my shopping list yesterday to get us started for the week:

  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • zucchini*
  • green grapes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • onions*
  • green onion*
  • broccoli
  • mixed peppers
  • eggs
  • avocados*
  • chicken*
  • almonds

*things I bought at Fred Meyer

You might be thinking, “Where did the rest of the meat in the freezer come from?” We were BEYOND lucky that R’s mom sent him out here with some quality meet from Edgewood Locker in Iowa. I will be trying to plan as many meals as I can around the items that we have in the freezer first – so stay tuned for that.

Later today I will post recipes and pictures for our two “go-to” meals we made yesterday for the week: egg bake and avocado chicken salad.

An Introduction

I guess first things first, my name is Shauna and I am currently living in Portland, OR with my wonderful boyfriend (R). We moved to Portland a few weeks ago for R’s job and have been loving it so far.

Now.. why paleo? Well it all started when one of R’s friends got interested in it. R was explaining it to me one day…no bread, no dairy, no beans. And honestly, I thought it sounded like hell. I have tried the South Beach Diet before – which I guess as far as dietary restrictions is similar. But that was only for a couple of weeks and the premise behind becoming paleo is that it’s a lifestyle change not just a diet. I wasn’t sure if that was something that I could realistically ever commit to, but did find it interesting. Then, a few months ago R registered for his first triathlon, which is on September 21st here in Portland. He knew that it was going to take a lot of training and dedication to get him ready for it, so we started talking about different things we could do TOGETHER. (Because really, no one likes being on a training regimen when your other half is sitting on the couch eating oreos and peanut butter – hypothetically.)

So with a little brainstorming and discussions we decided to look into the paleo lifestyle a little more. R bought us both the book  It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. (I HIGHLY suggest making this purchase) This book was so eye opening because it not only explained what it was we were and weren’t supposed to be eating, but it also went into the scientific reasons for WHY. And on top of that, the scientific information that they used was broken up by easy to understand analogies, so that common-folk like me could understand what the heck they were talking about.

The idea is, give your body 30 days of the paleo lifestyle and you will begin to see and feel the difference for yourself. At that point, you can add different items (maybe a little dairy here, a few black beans there…) and see how it effects your body. If it doesn’t help you feel better – why would you eat it? It’s a great question that I usually ponder while I have a oversized glass of pinot grigio and a Chinese takeout container in front of me.

So now it’s game time. R’s triathlon is in 7 weeks from this Saturday and there is no time better than the present to start making positive changes to our lifestyle. While the “It Starts with Food” recommends 30 days of paleo in order to see the improvements – R and I are committing to 50 days, bringing us from August 1st to September 21st.

Each day I will be recording our journey to becoming happier and healthier by posting our meal plans, our shopping lists, our recipes, our struggles and our successes.  Here’s to a new city, a new apartment, and a new lifestyle.

CHEERS! (using a glass of ice water because alcohol is strictly a no-no as a paleo)