Friday, August 30, 2013

Phone Food & Other Stuff

For some reason, I took pictures in the kitchen this week.






I wanted to share this post about carbs with you. My favorite part begins about halfway with "Everyone has their own context..." and ends about 5 small paragraphs later. And then I was reminded of this post on how to spot an a-hole from a year ago (because I like it as well).

More seriously? Why we work.

But sometimes you gotta take a sick day to restore your sanity (i.e. sleep).

I am going to the pool this weekend. Among other things. What are you doing?

Wanna add some fun to your living room coffee table? Buy some of these(affiliate link)  My kids love them and I do, too. Wish we had more. Worth every penny. Wait, I didn't buy them.  So, thanks grandparents!

Maybe I'll add an Amazon store or something on here before the holidays with some of my favorite things. Either way, if you shop through the link currently on the side to your right (at any time, whatever your purchase may be), it supports this site in a very small, but much appreciated way.

These muffins were a hit with my kids.  Plain or with blueberries.  Definitely not pastry shop-like in texture or anything, but my kids are used to these kinds of things by now.  I also made some of these :) My not-so-paleo sister couldn't believe they just contained 2 ingredients!


Happy Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekly Menu

I have no photo for this post.  It's late and I don't care :)

It's time for the plan for the week.  I already shopped.  So, here we go.

Breakfasts:
eggs, kale
amylu chicken breakfast sausages
blueberry muffins (new recipe)
coffee, creamer

Lunches:
roasted boneless chicken thighs
fresh veggies w/ sour cream ranch
fruit

School snacks:
raisins, apple sauce, kettle popcorn chips

Dinners:
Monday - easy pulled pork, BBQ sauce, coleslaw (cabbage + dressing), alexia fries, pickles
Tuesday - "cooking" for others (Trader Joe's mandarin chicken, broccoli, rice)... not paleo. I'll make some non-breaded chicken for the rest of us.
Wednesday - sausage & sweet potato hash, salad
Thursday - repeat of Monday
Friday - pumpkin chicken chili (new recipe)
Saturday - taco salad

Got zucchini??  Elana has a recipe roundup.
Or tomatoes?  Make some blender salsa.
AND HEY.  Even if you don't need it now, save this list for when holiday parties roll around.  From Greatist: 51 Paleo Snacks Anyone Can Love.

Happy Sunday :)

Gluten Free Recipe Roundup via Musings of a Housewife

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vitacost Coconut Oil



Lately, I've bought coconut oil from Costco for $15.19 per 54 oz. container.  However, if you don't have that opportunity and want a decent amount of coconut oil, this is a good deal:

At Vitacost.com, you can get the same size of their own brand of organic extra virgin coconut oil for $19.99 right now (the usual price of $21.49 isn't shabby, either).  If you purchase 2 at once, you get free shipping by spending $25 or more on Vitacost brand products.  And if you join their refer-a-friend program for the first time with this link (super easy), you and I both get a $10 credit good towards any purchase of $30 or more.  So that brings your total down to $29.98 for 2 containers, which is even less than the Costco price.

I've definitely appreciated any credits I've been awarded in the past (thanks to you readers!)  And the quality seems superb, I've never had any issues with it.

How do we use that much coconut oil?  We use it in coffee creamer, roasted sweet potatoes, body moisturizer (including before-and-after sun skin therapy), the occasional stove top popcorn, primal fudge, and any other baking recipe that calls for shortening or oil.  I know there are many more uses, those are just what I can name off the top of my head right now.

Vitacost also had many other products you probably use, so if you haven't looked around their selection already, go check it out!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Food

Hi.

I went grocery shopping today and spent more than usual.  In case you care, I'll share.

Small trip to Aldi, big trip to Costco.

Here's what I got for $26 at Aldi.



Here's what I got for $143 at Costco.  Keep in mind these are bulk packages.



Stocking up really adds up fast.  I buy white potato Alexia fries (gluten free) once in awhile.  You'll also see some "fun" snacks for the kids.  With a coupon, those applesauce pouches are only like 30¢ a piece; they are regularly like 75¢ each at Trader Joe's.

I bought some other items that are either non-food or not for us, so those don't count here.

Plus, I spent $10 on 5 dozen farm fresh eggs

Earlier in the week I stopped at Price Chopper and bought beef roast, pork loin, pork tenderloin, 2 jars of peppercinis, and eggs & coffee (to get us by for a few days).  I spent about $25, but some  of that would count as last week's grocery purchases.

Still, expensive week.  Close to $200.

My kids are eating me out of house and home.  They must be getting ready to go through a growth spurt.  My just-over-40lb. kindergarten daughter ate 1/2 pound of grass fed beef burgers in her lunch one day this week!

Do you like to read about personality type stuff?  This article on introverts is interesting.

That is all I have.  Time to recover from the week :)  Have a good weekend!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekly Menu + Groceries + Etc.

We love our hot sauce around here.  We've been out for several weeks, and I finally got some more.  It has a tiny bit of sugar and whatnot, but I don't mind it.  It's so little that it doesn't register as any grams per serving.  Perhaps I should buy it in bulk? Ha.


Just an FYI on school day food: to keep it simple and low-prep, I am trying to follow my "rules" for the kids on "packed lunch" days... I know they are not 100% paleo, but as long as they are gluten-free that is fine with me, considering the circumstances.  (This explains the chips below, if you are like "what the heck?")

I successfully window shopped.  Well, and I got a new pair of shorts.  And if anyone wants to buy me some articles of clothing from lululemon, I won't put up a fight.  I previously made fun of people who wear their exercise clothes everywhere all the time, but if I had clothes from there, I think I might join in.

I have a special place in my heart for shift workers.  You may have seen this if you are an avid paleo blog reader, but in case not, it is worth mentioning...  Here is some great advice on surviving the night shift from a paleo person who has thrived on the night shift for over a decade!

And the plan for the week-

Breakfasts:
eggs & spinach
lemon poppyseed muffins
coffee, creamer

Lunches:
lunchboxes-
grass-fed burgers, nitrate-free mini hotdogs, or gluten-free chicken taquitos
sweet potato chips or carrots w/ homemade ranch
fruit
other days-
grilled chicken sausages or turkey sausage and sweet potato hash
salad w/ dressing

School snack:
(Don't get me started...they are only there 3 hours!)
fruit leather or raisins

After school snack:
greek yogurt w/ berries & honey
sliced bananas, cashews, dried coconut

Dinners:
Sunday - zucchini spaghetti w/ beefy sauce (didn't have it last week)
Monday - everyday chicken curry*, broccoli
Tuesday - balsamic roast beef, roasted brussels sprouts (not sure the kids will eat, but I love 'em), salad
Wednesday - shrimp taco salad
Thursday - crock pot roasted chicken, salad, sweet potatoes (make chicken stock)
Friday - chicken marsala (from this book), roasted green beans
Saturday - chocolate chili, guac
Sunday - organic corn nachos w/ leftover chili (weekend treat)

*I have never made a curry that I've liked, but this looks easy enough to try again.

Here's the loot from Trader Joe's, $68. No mini chicken tacos :( so I got taquitos, instead. But yes on almond butter!


I'll add my trip to Aldi on here afterwards, so check back if you want to see it.

Updated: $49 at Aldi



Have a good week!
sharing here

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Randoms

Help! I'm really tempted to cut my hair off. But the last time I did, I regretted it. I really love a pixie cut and have had one several times, but then I get tired of it and the growing-out stage is awful. I think I'll just go get a haircut and then maybe I'll be satisfied without getting rid of it all?

Are you experiencing an almond butter shortage, too? None at Costco. None at Trader Joe's.

The kids started school this week, and we are easing into our fall routine. The schedule is picking up again. I need to remember my goals. And instead of trying to do too much, and do it all mediocre, I want to be focused, and do each thing the best that I can.

My sister asked if I wanted to go shopping on Saturday. Shopping? What's that? Just kidding. I generally enjoy shopping, even if I mostly do window shopping. I like ideas. I don't like spending money unless I am 100% sure of something. But just thinking about where I want to look, since I don't get out much, is a little overwhelming. I won't let it paralyze me, though. We are GOing!

Time to menu plan...

Thinking about fall makes me think about new cozy pillows.

It's Friday and I'm done.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Groceries

(from Monday)

Aldi & Costco: $128, total

We picked up cheap chicken instead of pork loin. I will have to alter the menu slightly. We did buy pretty good beef and tuna, though.  With some more produce later in the week, we won't be much under our budget of $150 but crossing fingers that we won't be over...

not pictured: more sweet potatoes, bananas, and dark chocolate
That's red and white wine vinegar in the upper left. Found it at Costco again. Will use it for salad dressing. The white vinegar in the lower left is for cleaning.  The chicken caesar salad is for lunch because we had nothing in the house after being gone over the weekend.  Farm eggs are scarce right now... I miss them!  The neighbors share garden tomatoes with us, which are delicious.

Goodnight!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekly Menu


What do you do when your coworker leaves unwanted beets from her Door to Door Organics box on the counter at work for anyone to take home?  Add them to some chili :)  I had heard about some paleo person making chili with beets or pumpkin when allergic to tomatoes, so I figured it couldn't hurt to add some cooked mashed beets to my go-to tomato-based chili recipe.  Worked fine!

I am going for an economically thrifty menu this week.  I'll let you know if I come in significantly under budget.  Wish me luck.

Breakfasts:
eggs, kale
coffee, creamer

Lunches:
salads w/ tuna, sun-dried tomatoes
beef & spinach muffins (still haven't tried these)
salami roll-ups, cucumbers w/ ranch (kids)
fruit

Dinners:
Sunday - leftovers
Tuesday - zucchini spaghetti w/ meat sauce
Wednesday - carnitas bowl
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - homemade primal pizza
Saturday - burgers, sweet potato fries

Have a good week!

sharing here
Gluten Free Recipe Roundup via Musings of a Housewife

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Paleo Packed Lunch List (Part III)




It's that time again, when we start the school year fresh, inspired, and full of ideas, right?  I bet we all can use an annual refresher on some ideas to apply to the endless routine of packing lunches.  Let's be prepared so that we avoid the unhealthy options that await just around the corner from work or in the school cafeteria.

I will be packing lunches 3-4 days a week this year for my children (yay, less than last year!), and I am going for keeping it simple.  I like to use these containers - they are sometimes hard to find.  I've found them at Target, Hy-Vee, and Walmart (in the cooking section).



I tend to think that if I were single and minus kids, I wouldn't really need a list of lunch ideas because I would just make more food of whatever I was making for breakfast or dinner. Paleo food isn't really constricted to "breakfast food", "lunch food", or "dinner food". As someone who loves leftovers (it feels like a free meal that I didn't have to cook!), that is what I would eat for lunch if I were in an environment all day with access to a microwave or toaster oven. Well, sometimes I am, but sometimes I am not. And my kids are not. It is most practical to send them something that can sit in their lunch bag with an ice pack for the majority of the day and that they can eat cold with their fingers without getting super messy. Sometimes leftovers fit into that category, sometimes they do not. So, I am going to brainstorm beyond that.

I cook dinner most evenings. I don't really like having to cook lunch for the next day in addition to that.  So, I gravitate towards precooked lunch meat and sausage options.  Not the healthiest option, but it is the truth.  I usually throw them under the broiler to brown them a little if they are a sausage type item, but then I chill them again. Gross? Sorry. Costco is my favorite place to buy lunch meat with less additives and fillers and junk. And the selection varies some so it gets us out of ruts. Trader Joe's is another option, but they are slightly pricier, I find. P.S. - I was a PB&J sandwich kid every single day growing up, and probably still would be if it were paleo :)

They key to getting my kids to eat what I make them is to let them get hungry. Not to fill them up with other junk before mealtime. If they are hungry, mealtime goes much better. They don't get a lot of options at each meal, but they do get a lot of food. And, I think they do get a good amount of variety/exposure across the board when it comes to foods, at least compared to most kids I know.

Enough rambling. Here's my list for this fall, for my reference and yours.

My kids get 3-4 main things in their lunch.

1. cold meat item (we usually have eggs at breakfast so I try to avoid them at lunch for variety's sake)

  • deli roll-ups (endless varieties, my kids like them a lot, but I find them tedious to make)
  • hamburgers, chicken burgers, turkey burgers w/ something to dip them in: mustard, BBQ
  • gluten free meatballs (these tend to be out around the holidays)
  • chicken sausages
  • nitrate free hotdogs
  • roasted chicken thighs*  These require cooking ahead, but are SO easy. We like to get the boneless ones from Costco.
  • chicken or tuna salad with chopped veggies to scoop w/ (this is almost too involved for me, but it is good for some variety)
  • cold mini chicken tacos from Trader Joe's (not paleo, but gluten free)

2. raw veggies
...but sometimes chips win out.

3. fruit

4. a dip (optional. for either the veggies or fruit. I like adding some more fat to sustain them.)

  • guacamole (usually store-bought)
  • homemade sour cream ranch (add salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried onion, parsley and/or chives)
  • cream cheese (slightly sweetened) or hard cheese (dairy is not paleo, but my kids eat some)
  • if you are hardcore and don't do any dairy, how about this creamy italian or ranch, instead? (that's a little more prepping involved)
  • sunflower seed butter or almond butter
  • sunshine sauce
...or some trail mix (we have no allergy restrictions on nuts this year).

I really want to try to keep it basic. Sure, I could make it all cute (for example, they like kabobs), but that takes more time and usually doesn't fill them up as well. Sometimes I am feeling inspired and bake some special muffins or make some special paleo-ish dessert, but only if I really want to. That takes more time and money and is not that nutritious. Plus, I like to keep the "special" foods for when we are at home and can all relax and enjoy them together.

OK, that's it for now!  I'm happy to add more ideas to the list so feel free to share ideas in the comments!

*One morning over the summer my little boy saw me putting this chicken in his lunch, and he wrinkled his nose and told me he was only going to eat his carrots for lunch.  His teacher told me later that when he opened his lunch he exclaimed, "YES!  I LOVE this chicken!" Kids are weird :)


Previous years' posts on packing paleo school and work lunches are found here and here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Simple & Delicious: Shrimp Taco Salad

Shrimp + Lime + Cilantro = Summer Love

not awful for a phone pic, right? :/

Adapted from this recipe.

Salad:
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
carrot, shredded, optional, for color
fresh cilantro, chopped
12 oz. pre-cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
chili powder
cumin
salt & pepper
lime juice
avocado, optional

Dressing:
1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise or sour cream (primal option) I like it either way.
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/2 Tablespoon chili powder

1/2 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweetener, optional (honey, maple syrup, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Directions:
Place cold shrimp in a bowl.
Season lightly with chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper, fresh cilantro, and lime juice to taste.
Stir to coat and let sit, chilled, while you prepare the rest.
Finely slice or shred the cabbage and carrot and place in a large bowl.
Or use bagged cole slaw.
Mix the dressing ingredients.
Pour over the cabbage mixture and stir to coat.
Add seasoned shrimp.
Add chopped avocado and additional cilantro if desired. (Yes, please.)

Serve and enjoy!

I happen to think some fresh chopped peach would taste delicious on top.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekly Menu

Where did summer go?  I want the sun back!

I bought this cookbook yesterday (affiliate link). Most of the time, I use the library, but I decided to purchase this one at Costco for $18.99.



Good words.



I feel like our menus have fallen into some repetition this summer, but that's OK.  When the season changes, I'll probably want to mix it up again.

Breakfasts:
eggs, turkey sausage, kale
banana or lemon poppyseed muffins
fruit
coffee, creamer

Lunches:
grilled chicken sausages
(kids: mini chicken tacos)
carrots & cucumbers
fruit

Snacks:
greek yogurt & blueberry parfaits

Dinners:
taco salad
shrimp & slaw
shawarma chicken salad
chocolate chili, guac
balsamic-glazed chicken (use boneless thighs), broccoli
burgers, fries
(several salads this week, but hey, it's summer)

Have a good week!
sharing menus and recipes here.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Thoughts

Thoughts that I wrote down last Monday - 

I'm so glad my family likes cilantro. Because I really like it. It would suck to be someone who gets a bad taste from it - like my friend who says it tastes like a copper penny to her.


I have a salad recipe to share. But I put a T. of sugar in the dressing. Can I still share it? I think I will, because it turned out surprisingly well. You can leave the sugar out and use olive oil or paleo mayo for the sour cream if that makes you feel better. It needs one more round of taste testing first, though.

I am dorkily excited for my dorky shoes that I bought with my birthday money to arrive in the mail. I hope I don't hate them. Lime green was my color of choice but of course they didn't have my size and I was feeling practical so I went with another, less expensive color.

I almost got sick from my workout this morning. It was that good. I don't do it everyday, don't worry.

My sister is coming tomorrow to live with us for a month!!!!! :) She better not use up all my coffee creamer. I am attached to that stuff.

In the works: an annual paleo school lunch ideas post. (Previous ones here and here.) Definitely keeping it simple this year.

....and now it is Friday!

Oh, Jimmy Fallon, you crack me up.



Happy weekend!

This post contains an affiliate link.