Happy January folks! We’re about to get lean and mean in 2015. It’s that time of year when everyone has had their fill of the excesses of the holidays and are ready to get back on track. With this in mind, I wanted to create a post to show people what a week’s worth of paleo meals might look like and recipes to go with. For some people just starting out, going paleo can feel overwhelming. Whole food groups are missing for crying outloud. It does take some planning and a willingness to experiment in the kitchen. But like anything worthwhile, it takes practice. And it does get easier over time!
I logged all my meals for the first full week (M-F) in January and tried to remember to take pictures so you could see what a typical week looks like for me. I hope this helps you see how to plan, make use of leftovers, and open your mind to the endless possibilities!
Sunday afternoon – I headed to the grocery store armed with a list of ingredients needed for some of the week’s meals. I knew I was going to be busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest preparing for the week ahead.
When I got home, I made a batch of paleo mayonnaise, my favorite pico de gallo, and the best jalapeno green sauce you can get your hands on. Strict paleo means getting creative with your food and pulling out all the punches in the condiment department. Makes things interesting, the food tastes great, and your deprivation factor is 0.0.
I also made a batch of Breakfast Cookies from Against All Grain. These little treats have no added sugar and are nice in the morning with a cup of coffee or during the day as a little snack.
Sunday night dinner: Crockpot Paleo Thai Stew from Against All Grain
I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe. First, I added lots more broccoli and added in snap peas. I like seeing more green in my dishes. For the carrots, I bought the baby carrots and quartered them lengthwise. Did not take the time to julienne them. I used yellow curry paste instead of red because the red has shrimp in it and my husband is allergic to shellfish. I’ll save the red for the next time he gets on my nerves. Kidding…
Monday Breakfast: I know it looks sparse, but on M, W, F mornings, I have minimal time to eat and have to grab something quick in order to get my daughter to school and myself to the gym to teach my class. This is my “get ‘er done” breakfast and will get me through the morning.
Boar’s Head Tavern Ham, strawberries and a breakfast cookie.
Lunch: Since breakfast was small, and I didn’t get my eggs, I decided to have eggs and spinach for lunch. The eggs are from my backyard chickens and they never disappoint. I added about 2 big handfulls of spinach. Since it shrinks up so much, it is an easy way to get a lot of veggies in without getting too full. Broccoli slaw made with paleo mayo, a side of strawberries, and a touch of the jalapeno green sauce round this flavorful lunch out. With the broccoli slaw, I simply bought a bag of rainbow salad which is basically shredded up carrots, cabbage and broccoli, added the mayo and a little Vom Fass Apple Cider Vinegar and called it a day. The quick slaw version.
Dinner I marinated a grassfed flank steak and skirt steak (from my cow share through MAC’s Local Buys) with my favorite “Olin’s Marinade” which is my dad’s recipe that we grew up on. It literally makes all meat taste amazing. Even though it was flippin’ freezing outside, we grilled the meat on the gas grill. I sauteed some red and yellow peppers and onions in olive oil, roasted some okra, and pulled out the slaw I made at lunch. I served it with pico de gallo and green sauce on the side. I made sure to grill enough meat for dinner and for lots of leftovers during the week.
Breakfast was easy since I was able to use steak from the night before. Being able to wrap your head around eating things not normally considered breakfast food (cereal, bagels, and rolls) is the first big step in eating a healthy breakfast and getting a little more protein into the diet.
Sauteed spinach, fried egg, leftover skirt steak, jalapeno green sauce
This is a pretty basic lunch, easy to throw together, and tasty. I grab 3-4 pieces of Boar’s Head mesquite turkey, spread on a little paleo mayo, sprinkle some Penzey’s Sandwich sprinkle on that (it is soooo good), and add some mixed greens. Roll it up and chow down. After the first roll up, I decided that I wanted a little more of a kick. I recalled that my addicting hot sauce and pico de gallo were in the fridge, so I whipped them out and doused the remaining two. Then I imagined I was eating tacos.
I also cut up half an apple and put some almond butter on the plate to dip in. Yes, that’s sea salt sprinkled on top!
I baked a salmon (sprinkled with Penzey’s seasoned pepper, dill and lemon juice and topped with lemon slices), made a mixed green salad with tomatoes and beets, and topped with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Green beans (haricort verts from Trader Joe’s) with sauteed bacon rounded it out. For a dipping sauce, I mixed my leftover paleo mayo with capers, dill, horseradish and pepper…no recipe, just a concoction of things that I thought would taste good in a dipping sauce.
No time to make a production on Wednesday mornings so it’s another quickie.
Hard boiled egg, slice of ham (that’s all that was left or I would have had a bigger piece, and a small piece of apple.
Our evening was busy and we were eating in shifts so I made some Buffalo Chicken Egg Cups to have for dinner and breakfasts later in the week and pulled out the leftovers we still needed to work on. We made a big salad and grazed on egg muffins and whatever else was in the fridge.
I wanted to make something easy and with what I had on hand. Luckily, I bought a head of cauliflower on Sunday and I always have ground beef from my cow share in my freezer so I had a good start. I flipped through one of my favorite cookbooks, The Ancestral Table by Russ Crandall and came across a recipe called Loco Moco . (I linked the recipe from his site but the version I used from the cookbook is just a little different). You need to add his site, The Domestic Man to your favorites. His Shephard’s Pie is amazing. The Loco Moco is basically a hamburger patty with a fried egg that sits atop cauliflower rice and it has a nice gravy to ladle over the whole thing.
It’s the end of the week and we have dinner plans at a friend’s house tonight. Today is the day I try to finish up all leftovers and then head to the store over the weekend and do it all over again!
Is this breakfast starting to look a little familiar? It’s my quick fix because Fridays are limited in the time department. I also don’t like to have a lot in my stomach before I work out so this is perfect and holds me over till lunch.
strawberries, hard-boiled egg, Boar’s Head ham, breakfast cookie
Spoiler alert: My lunch looks very much like last night’s dinner! Grass Fed beef patty with jalapeno green sauce on top, leftover cauliflower rice, green beans, beets, and a buffalo chicken egg cup. I am crazy about leftovers and I don’t even mind if they are cold. This lunch is higher in protein and lower in carbs. My goal is to lean out and improve body composition, but I don’t want to under eat and I want to get adequate protein levels to maintain and improve muscle mass.
Here’s another drink option for you. It’s a quick pour of Vom Fass Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with sparkling water. You can probably use any cider vinegar, but the Vom Fass kind is sooooo smooth. (Vom Fass is an oil and vinegar shop in Maplewood and if you haven’t splurged on one of their vinegars, you should. It makes all salad dressings taste better.) Another option is a nice balsamic vinegar with the water. It adds a unique flavor and is supposed to be good for digestion.
I like to sip on this during the day or in the evening when I want something other than plain water or tea.
For dinner, we were invited over to a friend’s house with some other couples we hadn’t seen in a while. Luckily, one of the other couples going to the dinner was also on a Whole30 so we were in the same boat. When we got there, my friend Steve asked if I was going to have a drink. He jokingly said he was looking for absolution and if I did, he would. I held firm and told him I was still running with my post holiday motivation, so we both enjoyed a nice glass of water, relieved to have structure to keep us on the straight and narrow.
They say when you go to a dinner party, you should always bring something you know you can eat. I wasn’t sure what my friend was making but I told her I would bring fresh berries. Luckily, she made a beautiful salmon, some delicious green beans and a tasty salad. I had to pass on the potatoes that looked divine but were filled with cheese and cream. Next time…