Sunday, March 31, 2013


I feel like once you buy a big bag of kale, you've got to commit to making a number of dishes with this voluminous super food. This week I made a couple of basic kale salads, creamed kale, and then attempted my own kale chip. I was in a seriously snacky mood today and needed something crispy & quick..... so I looked at a couple chip recipes and decided to venture out on my own...

Kale Chips

1 1/2 tbsp melted ghee
4 cups kale, roughly chopped
1-2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Kitchen items: parchment paper; baking sheet; bowl

Preheat oven to 350. Melt the ghee and let cool; then add to kale and massage the leaves until they are all covered. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, place the kale on the sheet as flat as you can (it doesnt really get that flat...). Bake for about 11 minutes. Immediately add old bay (or other seasoning). I put mine on a drying rack for a few minutes and then ate them all promptly!

And then for Easter dinner...

Well Fed Chicken with Kale, Cranberries & Sweet Potato

Paleo for dummies

Getting started is hard. Most of you know I did this slowly over the past year and then went whole hog in January for the Whole30. Originally, it was because after hearing 15 years of tummy complaints, college bff Heather suggested I give up gluten. HOLY LIFE CHANGE. And interestingly enough, now she is trying Paleo after her doc suggested it as a healthier eating option :) So that inspired me to share a few of the things that made this transition a bit easier for me.... b/c one year ago when I joined crossfit and heard about the paleo crazy, I thought there was no way on the planet I could give up pasta. But apparently, I can, I did, and I don't think I'll go back (although when it Italy....)

These are my go-to cookbooks. Not only do they have yummy recipes, most contain tips on meal planning, eating out, exercise, or general health (science-y stuff) information.

Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan- this is a basics book. How to prep for the week; how much to buy; how to cook ahead to virtually make anything during the week (she calls them "hot plates"- basically mixing up pre cooked veg + meat + spices).

Paleo Comfort Food by Julie & Charles Mayfield. I live in the south now... and let me tell you, a girl gets used to southern soul food. This cookbook has really good paleo-fied recipes of some favorites like fried chicken, creamed spinach, and a couple dessert recipes!

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo- this is a cliffs notes version of It Starts With Food; basically a nutrition 101 (for science idiots like me, its understandable). And I haven't tried a recipe I didn't like. Yet.

Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso- my first purchase. Exercise 101 (especially for the crossfitters) and paleo basics. Some of the recipes are hit or miss, but a lot of good info in here.

Kitchen Basics

Pantry items I can't live without: coconut oil, sea salt, honey, coconut aminos (good sub for soy!), ghee, EVOO, coconut cream (TJs brand).

Cooking utensils I can't live without: food processor (mine just broke...argh.), measuring cups (courtesy of Leigh I have like 800 measurement options), measuring spoons, spatula, tongs.

Wish list: XL wooden cutting board (I got one for Xmas but still waiting on sister to send....)
Better knives/sharpener

Hints to survive that first month:

Make yourself some treats. Paleomg's granola or a paleo-fied muffin will definitely do the trick when you need something sweet or crunchy or just something that feels indulgent. In the beginning, I found it easier to ween myself off my old diet by including some treats.

MAKE YOUR FOOD ON SUNDAY. Or whatever day works, but plan ahead. You will hate yourself if you don't (believe me, you will dive headfirst into cheating if you do not have good choices on hand. that or you will get extremely sick of eating eggs for dinner b/c its the fastest thing you've got going in your fridge).

When I started, I let myself eat without limits (counting calories, etc). No need to be feeling the burden of tracking your food and restricting it!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

This week in food and a thought going forward

Here is what I will be eating this week.... AND in record prep time: only 1h15m!! Now to eating & sunday night tv.

I was thinking about the Whole30 this weekend... and the thing is, that is soooo January. I completed the 30 days, sugar/dairy/alcohol/legume/gluten free and definitely did see some changes. Especially with my energy levels. And although I'd like to lose some lbs and decrease my % in that water tank next month.... I think I might take these 30 days to proactively work on moderation. I am still going to eat paleo, but maybe on a saturday I can eat a paleo-fied muffin, or have a glass of wine. I am going to New Orleans in 2 weeks, and Italy later this year....and so really, I think moderation is what I need to work on. So I'm giving myself a pass, at least once a week, to indulge in something not Whole30 but not wholly terrible for me. This has to be the key to sorting out how this works in real life, right? like actually doing it in real life... ah maturity....eventually I will have you totally under my belt!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Girls night in!

Tonight my friend Mary and I cooked up a mean, 100% paleo compliant dinner & dessert for a cozy saturday night in!

I decided to mix some of my faves together and this is what we came up with: Everyday Paleo Sundried Tomato Meatballs over Pesto Spaghetti Squash with a side of Creamed Kale. The tablescape is not nearly as good as the food was! We used a different take on the pesto- a pine nut/walnut mix (1/4 cup v. 1 cup) and nixed the sundried tomatoes in the pesto. For the kale- just heat up some kale in a little coconut oil and garlic. Once it starts to wilt, add a teaspoon or two or coconut oil and add desired spices (we used a blend of cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, salt- I had this middle eastern mix on hand; its probably just as delicious w/ sea salt & pepper!). Then add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and some toasted pine nuts.

And for dessert.... berries with my coconut creamer and decaf organic french roast! Feeling so grown up (read: super old) with a healthy, caffeine free meal :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 2: On Struggle

Part of me feels like I should have skipped crossfit last night.... I couldn't get up to my 89% front squat, and at 85% it was still pretty sketchy on rep 3. Not exactly the kick start I wanted after learning my body fat % (poor to fair....apparently in that order!) and my benchmark wod that left me breathless. Literally. How did everyone else do??

In better, actually BEST NEWS EVER! I booked my flight to Italy w/ my bff from high school Laurie! So in honor of that incredibly fattening & financially sketchy decision, here's what I'll be eating for dinner tonight:

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti- super easy/lazy version

1 spaghetti squash
1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 lb beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
cumin, garlic powder, salt/pepper to taste
basil to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Cut around the spaghetti squash w/ a small/paring knife first; then take larger knife and slice open (sooo much easier this way). Place in baking dish w/ about an inch of water. Bake 40 minutes or until outside of squash is tender.

Meanwhile at the stove.... heat up some coconut oil and add your onions until translucent. Add meat, garlic and spices. Cook until browned and then add the can of tomatoes until they are heated through. Then scoop out the squash with a fork and add sauce. E si รจ fatto la sua facile! (and yes I had to look that up. I know 0.0 words in Italian).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Whole30 Approved Coffee Creamer

Here is my recipe for Coconut cream, which can be used for coffee or with some berries for dessert...yum!

1 can TJ's Coconut Cream (you can use milk too but the cream gets thicker)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Put your can of cream in the fridge over night. Open from the bottom and pour out the liquid. Scoop out the cream and mix with hand mixer (using the whisk option works best) until it forms a whipped cream-like consistency. Mix in vanilla & cinnamon. I keep mine in the fridge for about a week. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Cleaning!

So today begins my second attempt at the Whole30. Except this time, I am getting a body fat test done (T-7 hours until I face the bathing suit....scary) and have the support of my fellow crossfitters joining in on the fun. I thought it might be nice for us to have a place to share recipes or discuss sore muscles or you know, be held accountable for following through (that's directed at me, not you obvs). 

In addition to clean eating, I'm also going to commit to at least 5 workouts a week which must include at least 6 miles of running. Although I love my Crossfit box, I have GOT to start running again. I just do not think my thighs will respond to anything else. boo.

So here's to us being better than yesterday! :)