Paleo Strawberry Salad

My favorite go-to #paleo salad recipe:

  • Organic lettuce – I like romaine and bibb lettuce the best.
  • Organic sliced carrots
  • Organic sliced strawberries
  • Uncured cooked bacon – I will cook up several slices at a time, let them completely cool, then chop it up and place in a BPA free plastic sealed container to use throughout the week.
  • Organic sliced baked chicken – Coat in 100% pure olive oil (my favorite is California brand), Real salt, and fresh ground pepper. For 1lb. bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Check that the temperature inside the chicken is above 165 degrees with a meat thermometer.
  • Olive Oil & Vinegar – I like to shake up some olive oil with red wine vinegar before drizzling on the salad.

The carrots and the strawberries add a little sweetness. The bacon adds a little saltiness. And the olive oil is your good source of fat that doesn’t overpower any of the other flavors when mixed together.

What are your favorite #paleo salad ingredients?

My paleo staples

After reading Mark Sisson’s post “How Important Is Food Variety,” inevitably it made me think about my regular paleo eats and how often I have to switch it up to ward off food boredom.  I do believe that food boredom is something everyone experiences whether you stick to a particular diet plan or if you eat willy nilly as well as if you eat out a lot or cook at home. Growing up, my family ate out a lot, so we would eat at the same restaurants within in fairly small radius. I continued eating in that fashion even after I ventured out on my own. I worked in restaurants through high school & college and usually brought home leftovers, so cooking for myself consisted of grilled cheese, french toast, soup out of a can and eggs. I may be the exception more than the rule here as going primal opened up a whole new world of food options for me. I also cook more meals now than ever before, and by “cook” I mean actually cook with pots and pans, usually from scratch & without involving the microwave.

Crazy thing is, my life certainly hasn’t gotten any less hectic in the last year, but I’m able to find the time to cook more. I think my “usual paleo eats” have a lot to do with this. I have refined my favorite paleo foods and found ways to make them even simpler. And it’s your lucky day because I will share them all with you! (Note: It is likely that you will not share the EXACT SAME tastes as me, so please modify as you see fit.)

Mornings

My morning staples are usually coffee and either  a smoothie or leftovers. The key to a good smoothie is a good blender. My favorite is the Ninja, partly because of the name, partly because it’s a blending badass.

Here are my favorite smoothie ingredients:

A combination of fresh and frozen berries (strawberries & blueberries are my favs)

Unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk (from the cold section at the grocery store)

Fresh ground almond butter (just almonds, no oil or salt)

I’ve tried coconut milk from a can and find it disgusting in a smoothie. I have tried every type of berry possible, but the sweeter berries usually work out the best. There are a lot of almond butters out there that have all kinds of crazy oils added to them. Therefore, I just stick to the freshly ground stuff from Earthfare. I think it tastes the best too.

Lunchtime

With so many varieties, you can’t really go wrong with a salad. Leave off the cheese (unless you get some raw milk cheese) and throw on some oil & vinegar or lemon and you’re set!

Here is a list of my favorite salads when going out:

Panera – Greek salad with grilled chicken or Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad

Bravo – New Balsamico Chicken Cobb Salad – leave off the cheese & pasta strips

Gourmet Market – Greek salad with grilled chicken or Market Salad with grilled chicken, their tuna salad is also pretty rockin’.

Lenny’s – Grilled Chicken Philly Salad w/ everything but no cheese

Dinner Specialties

Dinner is where I will mix it up a bit. I always cook with organic grass-fed or pasture raised meats. Most often I choose a grass-fed helping of ground sirloin or pasture raised chicken. Spices are what make these meals great. I most often use chili powder, fresh garlic, sea salt, ground pepper, red pepper flakes, dill, oregano, tumeric, cumin, or cinnamon. You can’t really go wrong with dashing your food with spices. I try to keep cooking simple by always having good veggies on hand like spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, celery, or asparagus. I’ve finally learned it’s more important to use REALLY good ingredients than spending 1-2 hours on a really fancy dish. You wear yourself out trying to cook like that all the time.

Paleo Recipe: Margarita

If you know me at all, you know my favorite adult beverage is by far a margarita. Soccer Taco, LaCosta, Chez Guavera, all have excellent margaritas but they aren’t very paleo friendly. So here is an alternative to the oh-so-delicious margarita.

Ingredients

Tequila

Soda water or sparkling water

Real lime juice or fresh squeezed

The part that makes this margarita great is the quality of the lime juice. My favorite I’ve had so far is the fresh squeezed lime juice and puree from EarthFare. I’ve also muddled berries and added to the beverage for a fruity flavor.  Your drink should have just a faint yellow color as not to put too much lime juice in. Just a splash does the trick.  Ole!

Paleo Recipe: Baked Chicken Taco Salad

My favorite food hands down is Mexican. So with starting the Paleo Challenge, I immediately went looking for recipes that will give me that spice I crave so much. Well, this one hits the spot.

Ingredients

1-2 lbs. boneless chicken breast (preferably free range)

Olive oil

Romaine lettuce

Chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms (any veggies you really like)

6 strips bacon (preferably uncured)

Taco Seasoning Ingredients (per 1 lb of meat) – From Mark’s Daily Apple

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teasoon garlic powder or minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in baking pan. Lightly coat with olive oil and cover top with taco seasoning. Cook for about 40 minutes. Check that chicken temp is above 165 degrees before taking out.

While chicken is baking, cook 6 strips of bacon in a large pan. After bacon is finished, pour enough bacon drippings out to where only the bottom of pan is lightly coated. Add all chopped veggies to same pan and cook until desired tenderness.

Start your plate with a bed of romaine lettuce, add chicken, bacon, and sautéed veggies. Cooked veggies add enough to the meal to where you don’t need a dressing.

I liked this recipe so much I’m making it again this week. Try it out and see what you think! (and let me know what you think)

The best ever paleo smoothie

Mornings have been the most difficult to find an easy, fulfilling paleo breakfast. Sure on the weekends, it’s easy to scramble a few eggs and bacon with a side of berries, but that’s not such an easy task when you’ve got to be in the office at 8am. This past week, I asked the Twitterverse to recommend some great paleo smoothies. Within a few minutes, I had 4 different recommendations all with fairly similar ingredients – fruit, coconut milk, paleo nut butter, eggs, whey, and avocado. I myself had heard lots of paleos eating almond butter or drinking coconut milk, but this was not something I had ventured into just yet. My determination for a great smoothie pushed me to try it. Earthfare carries all kinds of nut butters other than peanut (peanuts are actually legumes, so they are not paleo) – almond, cashew, hazelnut and coconut milk – currently there’s a coupon for $1 off their coconut milk attached to the half gallon carton.

Here’s the recipe for my current favorite paleo smoothie:
a cup of frozen berries
1 banana
2 tbsp almond butter
coconut milk filled up to ingredients in blender (about a cup or 1.5 cups)
a little crushed ice

I like for it to be really cold, so the frozen berries and little bit of ice help. I’ve had this smoothie the past 2 mornings in a row, and it has been delicious! Usually I’m starving by mid morning, but this has helped tremendously with that. Also, you can certainly add some eggs for a little extra protein, especially if you work  out in the mornings. Enjoy! And let me know of any great paleo smoothie recipes you come across. I’m always looking for recommendations.