7.31.2012

Ma! The Meatloaf!

A few days back I pulled out an armload of frozen meat from my freezer with nary a plan for what I was going to prepare.  I always like to have a meat assortment "at the ready" so I'm never stuck without a last minute back-up for lunch or dinner.

Once the two pounds of frozen grass-fed ground beef and one pound of frozen compassionate certified pork became a cool, pliable mound of meat... I knew it was time to dig for a recipe.  Then it came to me - why not try to make meatloaf?  Not only would it make an abundance of meals for the week, but it opened the door to many a Will Ferrell joke.  And anytime I can laugh about my food before, during, and after eating it - I know it is a dang good meal.

If you have not seen Wedding Crashers, feel free to enjoy the "Meatloaf" scene with Will Ferrell.  Word of caution: subject and language is NSFW.


I giggled to myself as I sorted through recipe after recipe, thinking how fun it would be to scream "The Meatloaf!" every time Matt and I sat down for dinner.  I found a recipe online that was not only Paleo friendly but included BACON.  And sure enough, it required two pounds of ground beef and one pound of ground pork.

The recipe I used is located HERE at Health-Bent.  But if you Google "Paleo Meatloaf", there are plenty of recipe options from which to choose.  As usual, I made a few small tweaks to the original recipe:

Instead of the 9" cake pans, I went old school with 3x one pound loaf pans
I lined the bottoms of the pans with bacon as well as the top of the meat loaf.  The more bacon the merrier.
I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chilies in my tomato sauce - which made the sauce taste much more like a salsa than a "homemade ketchup".
Total cook time was closer to 1 hour 15 minutes, once internal temp of each loaf reached 160 degrees F.

I didn't get many pictures, but trust me - the final product was DELICIOUS!  How could it not be when the meat is encased by tasty pieces of bacon?


One pan was immediately sliced and placed into the freezer for future meals and Matt and I have been delighting in the other pans over the past few days.  To be honest, I have lost count of how many times he has called me on the way home merely exclaiming "MA!  THE MEATLOAF!  I WANT IT!" in my ear before I could even squeak out my initial "hello?"  

Definitely keeping this tasty little recipe at the top of my files for future use and one I will be using for a non meatloaf-loving crowd!





7.29.2012

You know why? Chicken thigh - savory and slow cooked!

Lately I've learned that the only way I can survive the Sunday afternoon crowds at Costco is to just lean on my cart and peregrinate throughout the store at the slowest of paces.  By doing this, I am forced to look at shelves I once blazed by, no longer missing out on new and unique merchandise and provisions.

One great discovery I made lately - an oversized can of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts.  A month supply for normal folks, a week supply for me and my potentially elevated Omega-6 levels.  More on Omega-6 and nuts can be found HERE.  Immediately into the cart went my new can of sweet Hawaiian pearls.

I tend to be picky about my meat and when opportunity and checkbook balances align - I opt for grass-fed, pastured, free-range, etc. whenever possible.  But when the fridge is empty and the closest sources are an hour drive or two-day shipping away... I'm okay with picking up what is readily available.  I will still read labels and be discriminatory - avoiding at all costs mystery sourced meat full of hormones and antibiotics.

Passing by the ominous human thigh-sized tubes of Kirkland "ground beef", I eventually stumbled upon a two-pack of Coastal Range whole organic young chickens.  I could do without the vegetarian-fed, but the organic caught my eye and I read that the chickens are not treated with hormones, antibiotics, or steroids.  A whole chicken is a blank slate in the kitchen and will make plenty of food for meals and snacks during the week.  In the cart the little birds went!

Once I got home, I Googled my way around "whole chicken recipes" until I found a very Paleo-friendly and super savory option utilizing the slow-cooker

I started with THIS fantastic recipe and made a few tweaks to the seasoning blend...

All of my seasonings were from Penzeys
I substituted additional fresh ground black pepper in place of the white pepper
I used two cups of thick sliced red and white onion to line the bottom of the slow-cooker



After cleaning, rinsing, and drying my chicken, I rubbed the seasoning blend underneath the skin of the thighs and breast, then all over the entire outside body.  Then I tossed the chicken in the slow-cooker on LOW and set the timer for six hours.  


Next time I will check the bird after four hours and the monitor continuously after that.  I will also monitor my chicken by temperature and not just time.  When I went to remove the bird from the slow-cooker it completely fell apart.  Tender meat - guaranteed!  Remnants for gravy - not so easy with all those little bones in my stock.

I separated all the meat onto a serving platter and then strained what was left in the slow-cooker ensuring no bone fragments made it through.  I needed the juices to make a gravy...

Savory Gravy:
• Two strips of bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon Kerrygold Grass-Fed Garlic & Herb Butter
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 c. almond flour
strained juices from slow-cooked chicken

In a sauce pan, I cooked the chopped bacon over medium-high heat until it started to give up its fat.  Then I added the butter and onions to the pan of bacon and bacon fat, stirring every so often.  Once the onions were soft and translucent, I added the almond flour to the mix and continued to stir slowly until the almond flour started to brown.  Then I slowly added in the juices from the chicken and stirred until everything was well mixed together.  I stopped at this point, but the next time I make this I will either put the gravy in my food processor to blend it all together or use an immersion blender to make it smooth.  Since there was so much seasoning from the original chicken and salt from the bacon, I didn't see any need to add more salt to the gravy.  I did add a few grinds of black pepper and might even suggest a squirt of fresh lemon juice to add a fresh light, note to the gravy.

Matt and I loaded up our plates with moist, tender chicken and a bowl of side salad and we were both very satisfied with the outcome.


Now I'm looking forward to my next Costco adventure, only to see what other new discoveries I will stumble across when I am not stumbling across the toes of hungry little children pushing their way to the free food samples.

Any special items you've found at Costco?  Or favorite ways to cook a whole chicken?  Please share in the comments!




7.26.2012

Dining Out Paleo: Tender Greens

Welcome to my Thursday series: Dining Out Paleo

Every Thursday I post a recent dining out experience and how I chose the best possible options to stay true to my Paleo lifestyle and avoid grains, sugars, dairy, and soy to the best of my ability.  Unless informed otherwise, I always assume that the restaurant uses vegetable/canola oils for cooking.

Since last week's post posed quite the challenge, I thought I'd opt for an easier dining out adventure this week.  Today's post is how I navigated the already (mostly) healthy menu at Tender Greens in Culver City, California.


I like to frequent Tender Greens whenever I am lingering around the 405 and 10 freeways, since I know I am going to get a hearty and extremely tasty helping of veggies and meat.

Here is what I ALWAYS order:

Backyard Steak Salad - red and green butter lettuce, radishes, red and gold beets, horseradish vinaigrette.  Sometimes I order the salad without dressing as the flavor of the beets and the steak is more than enough to keep each bite tender and moist.  But most times I just really enjoy the horseradish vinaigrette.  It is extremely light and the kitchen folks tend to not overdress their salads.  I've never had a meal where my food was swimming in dressing.  Always the perfect amount!


On the particular day that I happened to be dining, one of the daily specials was a chilled gazpacho soup.  After extensive inquiry about the ingredients and listening to a list of about five or six vegetables - I decided to give it a try.  Well worth the order!  It was smooth and full of flavor.


The options at Tender Greens are limitless... fresh veggies and a variety of meats abound.  The food is sourced locally, but the beef and chicken are grain-fed.  There is an abundant selection of vegetables - grilled and fresh.  Salads, sandwiches if that is your boat, and a fantastic listing of soups.  Great restaurant, great atmosphere, and a perfect place to grab a Paleo lunch or dinner!






7.23.2012

Rekindling An Old Flame, One Step At A Time

I was first introduced to her in middle school.  It was behind the building in the teacher's parking lot during P.E. class.  I hated her.  I'm pretty sure she hated me, too.  We didn't get along so well and I vowed I would never deal with her again for as long as I lived.

Somehow I managed to get all the way through high school and college with only a few moments of exposure, nothing too in depth.  And that was just the way I liked it.  I had plenty of other friends to keep me occupied, busy, and happy.

Then in 2002, I was living in Detroit and the comfort of my high school and college friendships had slipped away, falling victim to the distance between us all (hard to imagine life WITHOUT The Facebook).  Winter was dismal, cold, and especially lonely.  That's when she made her second appearance.  I never expected to see her again - in the middle of a Detroit winter.  At first, I spent as little time with her as I could.  I still didn't enjoy being with her and I felt she had nothing to offer me.  But there was a spark that started to grow.  And after awhile, I realized that I enjoyed our time together...  most importantly, on those chilled dusky evenings - she kept me warm.  I spent most of my winter with her.  She became my closest buddy and I looked forward to every minute we'd have together when I got home from work.

After I left Detroit, she followed me through every relocation... ultimately ending up in California.  She was always there for me.  Our relationship grew stronger in the warm California sun.  We'd wake up together.  We'd finish our evenings together.  There was something about the perfect Southern California weather that idealized our relationship.  We were together every morning.  Every night.  I couldn't get enough.  She made me so happy.  With her, I was in the best shape of my life.

My thoughts were always so clear when I was with her.  I could write.  I could think.  I came up with great ideas.  Great dreams.  She was a muse.  She could erase everything else in the world that was going on around me.

She introduced me to some of her good friends who ultimately became my good friends.  We even traveled together - San Diego, San Francisco, San Antonio... but our best times were always on the beaches of Southern California.

I met Matt in 2007.  She was still a big part of my life then.  But as my relationship with Matt grew, my other one started to fade.  She spent some time with Matt and me when she could... but it was always an uncomfortable situation.  He had known her previously, as well.  In a much different capacity.  His relationship with her was more competitive and focused, whereas she and I were much more casual together.  The three of us tried time and time again to make it work.  All three of us would head out into the hot desert sun, trying to share the morning between us... but my jealousy raged as they were always ten steps ahead of me.  I felt betrayed.  I felt left out.

Then experts who really knew a lot about her started saying how horrible she was for me.  How sick she would make me.  How bad she was for my health.  Hanging around with her for extended amounts of time would be detrimental to my body.  I was told if I wanted to see her, it would have to be in short spurts.  I'd have to expend all my energy with her in a very short amount of time.  It was all too much for me.

I broke up with her.  I swore I didn't want to see her ever again.  It was that same middle school hatred.  When she was finally gone, completely out of my life - Matt and I got married.  Happily ever after.

But lately, my body has been fidgety.  My mind is restless.  I miss her.  She was such a big part of my life.  I watch movies that remind me of our relationship.  I see her out around town with other people.  And she's ALWAYS down in Santa Monica at the beach.  My life just isn't the same without her.

Two weeks ago, I was able to sneak in a short morning visit with her.  She was a little rough on me.  The anticipation of our visit was so great, but our time together just wasn't how I remembered it.  I didn't care.  I wanted more.  So I saw her again two days later.  And two days after that.  Each time, I hoped for just five more minutes.  Five more minutes.  We started to get along a little bit better... and now it is as though the hope of "old times" will get us through.  I like to picture what we used to be like.  And that's what keeps me scheduling more time with her.

I think we're in a different place now.  And I know Matt supports my relationship with her - we just can't mutually share our time with her.  The dogs love her.  And I'm doing my best to ensure that our relationship continues to grow back into something wonderful.  I know we'll never be like we used to - but I can't wait to see where we go this time around.
My sweet, sweet Running... my precious Marathon Training... oh how I've missed you.  It feels so good to lace up my shoes and head back out on the pavement again.

And now, my plan is to travel to Las Vegas and run the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in December.  Running and I have been apart for a long four years, but I'm pretty confident we'll get along just fine.  Especially with Matt cheering for us along the way.

The only other person that I have been able to share my running with for miles upon miles and hills upon hills.  She's always been supportive of my ups and downs with running... and always encouraging me to get back at it!  This was my very first marathon.  It was hellacious, but I would absolutely do it again!


Training updates and all the time I spend with my runs can be found HERE from now until December.






7.19.2012

Dining Out Paleo: Gino's Italian Restaurant

Welcome to my Thursday series: Dining Out Paleo

Every Thursday I post a recent dining out experience and how I chose the best possible options to stay true to my Paleo lifestyle and avoid grains, sugars, dairy, and soy to the best of my ability.  Unless informed otherwise, I always assume that the restaurant uses vegetable/canola oils for cooking.

Recently, my sweet husband had a hankering for Italian food.  And as much as I wanted to dive face first into a sweet zesty pepperoni pizza, I knew exactly how uncomfortable and miserable I would feel in the moments and days following that type of indulgence.  But I was up for a dining out Paleo challenge.  Matt selected a little Italian restaurant that he used to visit when he was a wee little boy, hidden on the east side of Lancaster, California:  Gino's Italian Restaurant.


We walked in and were seated in a dimly lit booth where we were serenaded by your stereotypical Italian restaurant music.  I started my order with water.  Safe enough!  Then I proceeded to scour the menu for the most meaty and vegetabley options I could find.  Challenging, of course, but not impossible!

(I apologize in advance for the picture quality - like I mentioned... dim lighting.  And iPhone.  Never the best combination.)


Here is what I ordered:

I started with the Antipasto Salad for One (although I was tempted to get the larger size).  Mixed greens with sliced meats, cheese, beans, artichokes, olives, and pepperoncini.  I asked for the salad without cheese, beans, and olives.  The first two for the sake of my health, the last one for the sake of my taste buds.  I just really don't like olives.

The salad was served with a bottle of homemade vinaigrette.  It was delicious.


 
In an effort to round up a heartier portion of protein, I also ordered the Sausage & Peppers.  Grilled sausage and peppers topped with parmigiano.  Of course, I asked our server if the kitchen could prepare the dish with just the meat and peppers, no parmigiano.  He (and the kitchen) happily obliged.


Since it was a pretty hearty helping of meat and veggies, Matt shared the sausage dish with me in addition to his meal.  Overall, I was satisfied with my choices.  Everything was very flavorful.  Service was accommodating and patient, which is hard to find sometimes.

I will admit, it is hard to walk into an Italian restaurant and not order every feel-good carb laden dish on the menu... but it is an even better feeling walking out without GI issues, bloat, and an immediate appointment with the nearest restroom.  

There ya, go friends!  It IS possible to eat out Italian and Paleo!






7.16.2012

Can we eat it yet? A short garden update.

For those of you who have inquired lately... here is a photographic diary of the current status of my garden.  All I am going to say is "thank God for grocery stores."

I realized that the hot desert sun and 100+ degree days were roasting my plants... even with my well timed drip line dispensing water twice a day.  Matt and I finally put up a shade structure for my sweet little plants.  The structure isn't the most wind resistant, but it works and requires minimal maintenance.


Here is one of the many blossoms that I have seen on my zucchini plant.  Plenty of bright yellow flowers.  Not so much zucchini.


If you look very very close, almost at the center of the photo, there is an Anaheim pepper that has made an appearance.  My first piece of produce!  And it is actually about five times the size it was when I took this picture.  Let's eat!


After the shade went up, my cucumber plant started blossoming in crazy fashion, too!  Tons of little yellow blossoms... well, not tons.  But even two or three got me all excited.  Hopefully someday before December, Matt and I will enjoy homegrown cucumbers in our salad.


Even if my garden growing efforts are falling short, Matt and I have succeeded at creating a backyard haven for hummingbirds.  We placed a new feeder out by our pomegranate tree and have slowly watched at the hummingbird population in our yard increase.  Each morning at breakfast, they all arrive and take turns at the feeder and in the pomegranate blossoms.  They even sit on the little fence around my garden for minutes at a time.



Total hours and dollars spent on garden?  Too many to count.  Total veggies consumed?  Zero.  Guess, for now, I'll keep hanging out at farmer's markets to stay on top of my kale chips cravings.





7.12.2012

Whole30 - June 2012 Summary

Why would I try to subject myself to another round of a regimented Whole30 program in the middle of summer?

Here's why...

My most successful Whole30 was shared with my husband somewhere between February and March of this year.  I had been eating according to the Whole30 rules for most of 2012.  In fact, somewhere along the line I forgot how to RELAX.  (This is pretty normal for me)

When I lost focus at the end of March, I couldn't seem to pull myself back together.  Every time I went out to eat, it was like a "special occasion" in my head and I couldn't remember how to just not order grains and sugar.  April and May were like a free-for-all.  The clothes that fit so well after my Wedded Bliss Whole30 now required great effort to squeeze myself into.  I didn't feel happy about my choices.  My knees and ankles were achy every day.  My stomach was cramping.  And I started getting dull headaches.

My goals for going into a new round of 30 days of strict eating:

1) Reestablish a healthy mental connection with food choices
2) Reconnect with my pre-Whole30 Paleo eating roots - I wanted to remind myself it was okay to NOT be perfect
3) Get rid of the bloat, aches, headaches, and cramps
4) Slip right back into the pants I was wearing in March

I needed the concept of the Whole30 to get me back on track... since I am such a "rules" girl, I forgot how to bend them without completely turning my back on them.  And that's what I needed to get back to.

Honestly, if I had known ahead of time that a good percentage of the month of June was going to be spent in airplanes, rental cars, and outside of the comfort of my own home... I probably would've picked another 30 day month to conquer an eating program as regimented as Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's Whole30.

Instead, I spent part of June in Dallas.  I spent part of June in Las Vegas.  I spent part of June in Monterey, CA.  And I spent A LOT of June in a car.  What resulted was actually a very good exercise in sparking my memory of how to live a Paleo life in an everyday world.  The safety of my own kitchen walls was stripped away and I was forced to ask questions, make smart decisions, and plan ahead.  I may not have met all the requirements of fulfilling a true Whole30, but I got really really darn close.

Here are the successes of this round of Whole30:

1) I am no longer scared to drink iced tea at restaurants for fear of soy lecithin.  I need to RELAX.
2) I was reminded how to make smart decisions at restaurants for the sake of preserving my health.   I no longer feel like crap after making ridiculously stupid meal decisions (no more chicken tenders and fried pickles with ranch in weekly frequency)
3) Bloat is all gone.  Grumbly, gassy tummy is gone.
4) I learned how easy it is to fly/road-trip and pack Paleo snacks for the long travel days
5) My jeans are back in the apparel rotation.  Even better - clothes I haven't worn since Matt and I were dating four years ago have made their way into the rotation as well.
6) I'm getting some really great nights of sleep again... BONUS PERK!
7) My fingernails and hair are growing thick, strong, and very quickly... BONUS PERK!

Will I still eat Ben & Jerry's?  You bet.  But not a pint every night for a week.  I will dine out from time to time and not obsess over the oils, the hidden sugars, or hidden soy.  The bread has never really been an option as that was the first thing to be eliminated almost three years ago... I don't crave it.  I don't like it.  And there is never any satisfaction when I eat it.

Like I posted on Day 15 - this lifestyle is all about consistency.  I fall down.  But I am getting better at picking myself up, dusting myself off, and moving on.  I've learned that I don't need to beat myself up when I make a bad choice.  I've learned that if I don't see the results I want in 30 days, to keep on going.

Here is wonderful snippet from It Starts With Food, one of the most straight to the point, easy to understand, and accurate sources of nutritional and health information...
We're not food robots.  We like to indulge from time to time, just like the rest of you.  But we're honest about our reasons, and we want you to be honest too: "This food/drink is not making me healthier, but that's OK, because it's delicious/special/culturally-relevant/emotionally-significant."
...
When it comes to less healthy foods, understand that the less (and less often) you indulge in them, the healthier you'll be.  Where you draw that line is totally up to you. (p. 96 It Starts With Food)

This month I watched my mom go into the hospital for a heart catheterization.  And we received the greatest validation a healthy meats/fats/veggies lifestyle can provide... a strong heart with clear arteries... contrary to what Mom's family history had written for her destiny.  I started to look back to my Paleo beginnings in 2009 and realized just how far I have come both physically and mentally.  Almost 3 years and I feel great.  I haven't been 100% every day of every week.  It is unreasonable to think any one of us CAN be... but being consistent and hearing my Mom's good news is a reminder to keep on going.  Keep doing what I'm doing.

This month... the Whole30... and everything that transpired were just what I needed to get my head focused on the positive and remind me that I'm on the right path.






7.10.2012

Whole30 - Day 30

The finish line... Day 30 of my June Whole30.

Matt and I spent the night in Monterey, CA with our two pups... and staying in a hotel with two large dogs means getting up early and taking them for a walk to "do business."  I am so grateful we live in a house with a patio door and a backyard.  Hmm... perhaps grateful = lazy?

Volt, Miss Ellie, and I started the gray drizzly morning with a nice long walk down Cannery Row, out to see the harbor seals, and back to the hotel.  It was relaxing, enjoyable, and reminded me just how much I miss living close to the ocean.

By the time we returned to the hotel, it was time to load the truck, check out, and go grab some breakfast.  A quick Yelp search led us to First Awakenings and their extremely dog friendly patio.

The menu was brimming with a variety of egg and meat concoctions.  I couldn't choose wrong!  I did ask about their cooking oil - vegetable - as I was prepared to hear.  (Why should we avoid canola oil and other vegetable oils?  Read this Q&A with Mark Sisson at Mark's Daily Apple.)

Breakfast: 
• glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
• omelet with chorizo, avocado, jalapeƱos, and green chiles - I requested the sour cream and cheese be left out
• bowl of fresh fruit (substituted for hash browns and toast) - the bowl was HUGE and delicious



After a nice leisurely walk back to the truck, it was time to say goodbye to Monterey and start the long drive back home.  


We made a quick stop near Spreckels, CA to take a picture:


And then continued on our way.  I was pretty hungry when we finally made it back to the house, but was faced with a nearly empty refrigerator.  Make the most of leftovers!

My last meal on my last day of my June Whole30:
• scrambled eggs with 505 Southwestern green chiles
• leftover sauteed cabbage and red onions
• kale chips



Then Matt, the furballs, and I curled up on the couch with our newest Netflix delivery and zonked out for the remainder of the evening.





7.09.2012

Whole30 - Day 29

Day 29 (and Day 30) were spent...

On the road again!

Matt had work to tend to up near Salinas, California so we decided to turn the trip into a short family getaway.  After breakfast, we threw the pups, a change of clothes, and a few snacks in the truck and were on our way north.

Breakfast:
• scrambled eggs
• leftover sauteed onions and red cabbage


Miss Ellie watched excitedly as the desert moved quickly past her window.  We were "GOING!" and that is her favorite activity of them all...


Sometimes Volt's head can get a little heavy, so he'll rest it on the closest available prop.  The water bowl is especially convenient as he doesn't have to move anything other than his tongue when he gets thirsty.


At least he had enough energy to give the sniff of approval for my mid-morning snack: grilled chicken tenders and SeaSnax.


When we finally arrived to the job site, Matt did a little work while Volt oversaw the effort...


After Matt tied up all his business for the day, it was time for lunch.  A diligent Yelp search led us to an INCREDIBLE eatery in Salinas, CA... Salinas City BBQ.



Salinas City BBQ is a quaint little spot that smells so good, I could spend all day just standing outside breathing in the delicious smoky aroma.  Service was quick and friendly.  My dinner salad looked (and tasted) as though it had been freshly plucked from the nearby farm fields.  Each of the salad dressing selections is made from scratch on-site in the restaurant kitchen.


My tri-tip and pulled pork combo plate was one of the best plates of BBQ I have ever had.  The meat was tender, moist, and deep with flavor.  No sauce required.  The coleslaw was also fresh and crisp.  (The slice of garlicky toast made its way off of my plate and across the table out of sight.)


I would absolutely consider another five hour drive just to eat here again. 

After lunch we all piled back into the truck and drove out to Monterey for the night.  Matt, the dogs, and I walked around and took in the sights.  I loved all the bright gardens we passed.




Before we knew it, tummies were rumbling and it was time for dinner... the closest, pet friendly place was a BBQ spot near our hotel.  After the mindblowing, taste bud explosion at lunch - our experience at Henry's BBQ was just so-so.  Note:  the saucy meat and the coleslaw would be acceptable for any other Paleo day, but for a Whole30 - they don't quite make the cut.




Volt was more than thrilled to help clear away what I didn't finish.  After dinner, we returned to our hotel and settled in for a nice relaxing evening.


Our choice in hotels certainly got Ellie's stamp of approval.  Sweet dreams!




7.07.2012

Whole30 - Day 28

28 of 30!  Day 28 of my Whole30

I can see the freezer light at the end of the tunnel... and it's the Ben & Jerry's train coming right for me!  Okay, okay... I'm kidding.  The whole point of this round of Whole30 was to get my head back in the Paleo game after being significantly derailed at the end of March.  Sometimes life reminds you that there are other important things to focus on than what to make in the kitchen for the week.  Check back in a few days for my summary post and the successes that have come from this round of eating clean for 30 days.

After a crazy couple of weeks of travel, excitement, and general busyness... Day 28 found me caught up on sleep and waking up with a hearty appetite for protein and fat sustenance.

Breakfast:
• scrambled eggs with Penzeys Turkish Seasoning
• roasted green chiles from 505 Southwestern
• ground pork seasoned with Italian Seasoning from Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat 
• Brussels sprouts tossed with olive oil and salt, then roasted at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
• fresh picked Rainier cherries



In the afternoon, I was down in Lancaster running a few errands and decided to check out the Lancaster Farmer's Market that I have heard so much about.  The market is set up along Lancaster Boulevard from 3 pm to 8 pm in the summer on Thursdays.

My only goal was to find some type of vegetable to prepare for dinner... I didn't realize how challenging that would be at a farmer's market.  After I made my way past the craft and apparel vendors, the fast food stands, and a radio station... I finally happened upon a small handful of vendors that were actually selling produce.  I ventured past a few that were not labeled then stopped at the first one that actually had a company banner located at the stand with name and location clearly identified.  I purchased a head of red cabbage and a few bunches of kale.  Less than $3 total!

Dinner:
• grilled grass-fed t-bone steak
• red cabbage and sweet onion sauteed in coconut oil and Penzeys Sunny Paris seasoning
• sweet potato with chili powder, salt, and a teaspoon of grass-fed organic ghee
kale chips








Whole30 - Day 27

Day 26 was incredibly busy (with sleeping)... so I had much to do come the morning of Day 27.

Since I wasn't particularly hungry when I woke up, I set out on my day knowing I'd have an empty tummy eagerly awaiting my second trip of the month to the Villa Del Sol Cherry Farm!


Breakfast/Lunch:
• an overwhelming amount of cherries.  I was surprised any of them even made it home... fresh fruit is just SO good!

The rest of the day I spent unpacking, picking up, and settling back into the comforts of my own home.  Before I knew it, it was time to prepare dinner.  I had previously defrosted a few grass-fed t-bone steaks from my giant grass-fed stash and set them in a bowl of my new balsamic vinegar to marinate.

-----

The previous weekend, at the Ojai Valley Lavender Festival, I had the delight of sampling an assortment of cooking oil blends, balsamic vinegars, and vinaigrettes.  Gianni's Fine Foods offered everything from a Garlic Blue Cheese & Toasted Walnut Vinaigrette (which I did not try) to a chocolate balsamic vinegar.  Believe it or not - it is Paleo!  And richly delicious!

The young lady easily complied with offering samples on a plastic spoon in place of a bite of bread and her peppy personality and fantastic salesmanship kept Mom, Matt, and me lingering around until we had our fill of fancy oils and vinegars.  Mom went home with an assortment of flavors, Matt brought home a Classic Cabernet Marinade, and I went for the Peach Lime Cinnamon Balsamic.


-----

Dinner:
• grass-fed t-bone steak marinated in Peach Lime Cinnamon Balsamic Vinegar.  This is certainly a flavor intended for pork, but I was eager to give it a try even in our temporarily porkless household.
• baby spinach wilted with minced garlic and coconut oil


Delicious!!