Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thoughts on Fun Paleo Treats

Some people think the words fun + paleo + treats do not go together.  Well, if you are a family with kids like ours, they do.  Especially when on vacation.

First, let me say that last week we spent several days with extended family, who are generally supportive of (even if non-participatory in) our food choices.  I appreciate them not making it difficult or purposely undermining our intentions.  I am so thankful for that.

However, you must also know that our kids spent several days alongside their cousins, who have no clue what eating paleo means and taught my kids to "not like" tomatoes - haha.  (I am happy to report my children are now eating tomatoes again upon our return home.)  Seriously, though, you must know that we love our cousins dearly, and I am so happy when our children get to spend time with them.  Outstanding kids, SO kind and patient with mine who are younger than them.

Anyways.  As all 13 of us cooked and ate together at the lake house, these standard foods were being offered: coffee cake, pancakes, waffles, brownies, etc.  I had just recently begun to educate my just-turned-5-year-old on making paleo food choices, and I didn't want to confuse her by saying, "Scrap-it for a week/it doesn't matter that much/just do what everyone else is doing."

So, I made alternatives for my little family of 4.  Fun paleo treats.  My goal was to minimize the processed sugar, and keep grains out of the picture.  Was it worth it?  It was to me!  Because I got to eat them, too :)  And they really were tasty!

  • Instead of homemade cinnamon streusel coffee cake, my children received dark chocolate chip breakfast bread.
  • Instead of boxed mix Belgian waffles, margarine, and Aunt Jemima, my kids got paleo waffles, real butter, and maple syrup.
  • Instead of regular lasagna, I made zucchini lasagna, with no noodles and less cheese.
  • Instead of Pillsbury brownies, my kids got flourless zucchini brownies.  Well, that was the plan, but an honest mistake was made in my absence.
  • I made some snacks like coconut milk pudding pops (1 can + a little H2O + 1 box) and also homemade cashew cookie Larabars (recipe coming soon).
  • We had corn tortilla chips/salsa/guacamole, too (hopefully at least gluten-free?)
  • But, on s'mores night I gave in 100% (cringe).
A couple times during the week my daughter would tell me she wanted the "other" kind of item.  I would just whisper in her ear that I was making a paleo kind for her.  Since she had just read the Paleo Pals book the week before, she seemed to think that was pretty cool and was OK with that alternative.  Phew! :)  And my 2 year old didn't even notice.

Would I do it all again?  You bet.  And probably feel even less guilty for being strict with my kids.  Because I would know they were not "missing out" on anything!

Eventually, like everyone, my children will have to make all their food choices themselves.  And like all of us, I'm sure they will learn many lessons the hard way.  I just hope I will have provided happy and healthy food memories which encourage them to take good care of themselves and give them the knowledge to do so.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading Now...

Eat Like a Dinosaur

I bought this book with the intent to share it with my daughter, but I may just keep it for myself for awhile.  It is quite a thick book, mostly chock full of delicious looking kid-friendly recipes.  I made the frozen waffle recipe over vacation, and I have to say it is by far the best paleo waffle recipe I have ever made.  Unfortunately for you, I honestly can't think of an improvement or tweak to make, nor is the recipe already posted anywhere that I can find, so you'll just have to buy the book so that you can have the recipe, too!

It Starts With Food

Wow.  Really explains the messed up relationship so many of us have or have had (me included) with food.  The best part: offers clear-cut freedom from that.  Very thorough and yet fairly easy to read.  Has me contemplating once again giving up milk and cheese.  Can't wait to keep reading (and then reread) it.  Same concept as The Paleo Solution (which was the turning point for me), just another perspective and source of encouragement.  I've borrowed this book from the library.

I like both of these books!  Both are worth the read for me.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Paleo at Aldi & the Weekly Menu

We're back!  A week of sun & water therapy at the lake was terrific :)  Amazing, really.  Did ya miss me?  I've got some stuff to share, but first, the groceries and plan for the week.

It can be difficult to get excited about cooking this time a year.  I remarked to my husband on the way home that I didn't want to think about food; I was tempted to just go to Trader Joe's and buy a bunch of frozen food.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet), TJ's is not that convenient for us.

Yesterday (Saturday), I went shopping.
Once again, I bought a large box of small peaches from the local orchard for $15.
And, I drove to Aldi and got some basics to partially fill the EMPTY fridge for $53.

Super crappy phone pic - Instagrammed in an attempt to improve it, but didn't so much achieve that :)

We have been without our raw milk for nearly 2 weeks, due to vacation... I didn't notice any difference one way or the other.  We still ate some good cheese.  I bought a few atypical (for me) dairy items this week at Aldi... because cottage cheese & fresh peaches just sound good.

eggs and fruit
paleo waffles - the best! (from Eat Like a Dinosaur)

apple slice & cheese sandwiches
(just stick cheese slices between apple slices, no bread of course, - not that novel, but my daughter loves it)
cottage cheese & peaches
cold shrimp & dip
hot dogs
carrots & celery
veggie chips
trail mix

Saturday - ground turkey & vegetable goulash
Sunday (today) - zucchini pizzas
Monday - shawarma chicken salad
Tuesday - zucchini pizzas
Wednesday - hawaiian chicken kabobs (omit sugar)
Thursday - chicken & green bean stir fry, with cashews
Friday - meatloaf? or TBD

...Now I gotta go get used to doing a strictly land-based workout again!  Boo!

More meal ideas at Musings of a Housewife.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Groceries: Shopping Paleo at Trader Joe's and Aldi

Grocery shopping going on around here yesterday and tomorrow.  I hit Trader Joe's and Aldi yesterday and plan to make a big trip to Costco after work tomorrow.

I spent $21 on these items from Trader Joe's.

$42 on these items from Aldi.

I also bought some other non-food products such as disposable baby diapers (my nearly 3 year old still wears them at night).  I have always been happy with Aldi diapers - quality is good and price is hard to beat at $5/pkg!  I loved cloth diapers on my kids, but not for at night past a certain age... just a side-note - sorry! :)

We will be spending some time with family this week, and so I have some special recipes to make, which is why you see more chocolate than usual :)

In just the past 3-4 days, I have been doing better with my sleep and eating, which helps me feel sooooo much better.  I am by no means 100% paleo, but I can tell by my mental outlook when I have been sliding too much and need to get back on track.  So thankful for the opportunity to do that!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekly Menu

Chicken week here.  My husband's favorite.... not really.  At lest we won't be eating chicken for lunches!  Hopefully it is a pretty simple cooking week.

spinach, bacon, & egg scramble

zucchini pizzas*
hot dogs
apple sandwiches* (cheddar cheese or turkey or almond butter & raisins sandwiched between circularly-sliced apples)
hardboiled eggs
fresh peaches
carrots & guac

Monday - chicken & vegetable stir fry
Tuesday - crock pot enchilada chicken, spinach salad
Wednesday - shrimp cocktail, salad
Thursday - chicken/onion/bacon/spinach stuffed sweet potatoes*
Friday - grilled chicken & vegetables
Saturday - BBQ pulled pork, corn on the cob, salad (non-paleo, with family)
Sunday - steak, vegetables (with family)

*These 3 recipes are from the book Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship.  I gave it to my daughter for her birthday.  Although I am not a fan of the superhero outfit illustrations - my daughter asked why the girl had on shorts (I think it is a skirt) but the boys had on underwear! :), I like the book and it's message a lot.  I think it is worded very well for kids to understand.  It held my daughter's attention, although she loves all books.  She was excited to read it multiple times and cook some of the kid-friendly recipes at the end!  A great book for getting kids excited and knowledgeable about eating paleo.

The dog days of summer are here... soak up that sunshine! :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

(Mostly) Gluten Free Party Menu

There is really no such thing as mostly gluten free.  It should be called non gluten free.  But I am labeling this as such because with just a tweak or two, I think it could be GF!

We hosted a birthday party that included little kids, as well as siblings, and parents.  The was our menu.

  • crock pot meatballs* in BBQ sauce (I used this sauce, so it would be pretty sweet for the kids.)
  • crock pot lil smokies in BBQ sauce
  • organic corn tortilla chips & homemade pico de gallo with chopped avocado added
  • chicago caramel and cheese popcorn (from Costco)
  • fresh strawberries
  • baby carrots & celery sticks with ranch (I used store-bought this time.)
  • string cheese (my daughter's request)
  • go-gurts (ha! this was not planned, they were leftover from another function)
  • homemade lemonade (equal parts organic lemon juice + sugar, add water)
  • Betty Crocker GF cake mix cupcakes (instant pudding packet + 1/3 c. H2O added) with buttercream frosting (used store-bought sour cream instead of our heavy cream - didn't think my friends would appreciate raw dairy)  P.S.  I love this frosting.  Found via Pinterest.

*I used store-bought meatballs from Costco - definitely not the healthiest kind.  I'm pretty sure these were the only item that contained wheat.  So if you could find some that were GF, or make your own, plus check all the sauces/dressing used, this could be a GF party menu!

I know that GF (gluten free) does not equate to paleo or even to healthy, as some seem to think.  But when we are compromising on allowing more sugar and dairy than normal, keeping it gluten-free seems to at least keep our tummies a little happier.

I REALLY should have remembered to take a photo of the food!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekly Menu

Let me catch you up since last week's dinner menu ended on Friday...

Saturday night, we had zucchini noodles with meatballs and sauce.
Today (Sunday), we will be eating a crockpot version of chicken enchiladas (no tortillas) and salad.

Now, here's the plan for this coming week--

Breakfasts: (need a break from eggs)
coconut flour waffles with fresh peaches
sausage & sweet potato hash
coconut milk almond butter banana smoothies

blt + avocado + turkey roll-ups
dry roasted almonds
party leftovers?

Monday - bun-less burgers with sautéed mushrooms & caramelized onions, oven fries
Tuesday - tuna stuffed avocados, salad and dressing
Wednesday - chicken & vegetable stir fry
Thursday - korean beef & broccoli
Fri - Sat - Sun - ?  Too far out to know.  I will grocery shop again by then...

We are having a party over lunchtime on Monday, so any leftovers from that we will also eat for lunches on later days.  I will post our mostly gluten-free party menu later in the week.  I'm excited to be making the same cupcakes I was so pleasantly surprised by last time... I hope they turn out to be just as good!  I am also going to attempt some homemade pico de gallo today...

Thoughts on eating out...
We rarely go out to eat.  When we do, it is usually for a special occasion.  We went out last week for my daughter's birthday.  Since we are steak lovers, and rarely buy or fix it ourselves, we went to Longhorn Steakhouse. (Plus, we had some gift cards to use up.)  Longhorn's has one of my favorite out-to-eat meals.  It is not cheap... but it is good.  Garden salad with ranch, 9 oz. fillet mignon cooked medium, and seasonal vegetables.  I passed on the bread, which was not that hard to do.  I wanted to save room for the good stuff!  Now, I'm sure the steak was not grass-fed, and the salad dressing and probably the steak seasonings and whatever else is used (oil? margarine?) are not paleo, but the bulk of the meal was.  And I sure enjoyed it! :)  And if I were going to... say, Olive Garden, I would get the chicken marsala with roasted potatoes (borderline primal, I know) -and the salad, of course.  I just wanted to show you some ideas of what I would order when out at a "typical" restaurant!

OK, this week will be busy, but hopefully a good one for one and all.

Now go find some new paleo recipes for us among Musings of a Housewife's gluten-free recipe linky! :) 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Primal Grocery Shopping: Walmart, orchard, Aldi, & Costco

I did some major grocery shopping on Thursday and Friday.  I hauled a cooler with me in my car because of the heat.  Definitely summer!  :)  Besides the items in the photos, I also had to pick up some things for my daughter's party this coming week.  Party items are not pictured because they came from another budget category.  Here are my paleo/primal grocery purchases.

Walmart (on the left): $11

Peaches from a local orchard: $15 (These are like candy, they are amazingly sweet and juicy!)

Aldi: $43

Costco: about $70 + a pizza (Yes, totally cheating for dinner tonight - this holiday week has been weirdly tiring.  Being out of routine does that to me.)

I spent another $50 or so on the party items and food to take to church.

This week's menu plan will post on Sunday!  Have a good weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Paleo Travel Snacks

2 of my favorites from Costco.  I enjoyed these together this past weekend.

Note: these contain some less-than-desirable ingredients for the paleo purist.  Preservatives in the jerky and soybean oil on the nuts - eek!  But, they are good tasting, in convenient resealable bags, and a good price.  I think they are healthier than a lot of other options you will find on the road!

I am not a huge fan of jerky, and this is the best kind I've ever had.  I really like it.

Trader Joe's is another good option for jerky and macadamias (I think theirs are dry roasted) if you don't go to Costco.

Oh, yeah, I also packed my cooler with zip-locs filled with pre-peeled hardboiled eggs, fresh fruit, primal fudge, and then some bottles of iced coffee and water.  It was the perfect combo for my 10 hour drive!

Weekly Menu

Rather simple this week.  I will probably grocery shop at the end of the week.  I just got back into town... my husband did pick up $12 worth of eggs, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and frozen peas at Aldi to get us through the week.  Thanks, hon!

turkey sausage and sweet potato hash
scrambled eggs and fruit
milk, coffee

grilled chicken
carrot sticks with ranch
macadamia nuts
celery and almond butter

a birthday dinner out!
something with chicken
4th of July cookout, taking something??
weekend is TBD

*If you have nut allergies, you can totally make this without the almond meal, I've done it before.

Hope you have a good week!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weekly Menu...coming Monday

I am recovering from a road trip and will update the meal plan for the week sometime tomorrow!  Hope you had a great weekend, too!