Planning = Success: our weekly menu plan

I’ve been trying to plan and track our meals and cooking schedule each Sunday so we’re never at a loss for what to eat. Nothing thwarts your good intentions faster than finding yourself with an empty stomache and an empty fridge at the same time. What’s not shown on the board are the left-overs planned for post-workout meals, which I’ve been taking to the gym with me and eating right in the change room as I dry my hair and get ready to go back to work. These meals are typically 1/2 cup of yams and 4 oz of whatever protein we cooked the day before. Dave and I are a family of two, but we always cook larger portions of food because left-overs are essential to keeping us on track and minimizing kitchen time.

Tonight we put a few good hours prepping food. Dave made a dozen green salads, I made our favorite Meat-lovers Breakfast and we had some pretty tasty (albeit fatty) Dry-rubbed Beef Short Ribs from Food Lover’s Primal Palate for dinner. The spice rub is incredibly tasty, but I think next time I’ll boil the ribs first to cut down on the fat. If you’re into paleo eating, you’ll know that fat’s not a problem when you’re eating good meat. And this was – local and drug free, but it’s just not our preference.

As the week progresses, We’ll snap some photos and share more recipes. In the meantime, what’s on your menu this week?

 

Advertisements

Whole 30, Days 21 & 22 – Sunday Cook-off & the Superhero Salad Dressing

four photos: salad dressing, broth in a pot, stew in a crockpot and baked eggs in containers

Here’s what we managed to get done & checked off the list today:

  • kale chips
  • beef & venison stew
  • meat lover’s egg bake
  • delicious citrus salad dressing
  • cucumber salad
  • tomato salsa
  • chicken broth
  • whipped butternut squash
  • clean berries
  • cut & marinate chicken

By the time the end was in sight, I realized we really didn’t have food ready for tonight, so I whipped together an impromptu omelet (would you call that I brinner?) with pan fried Portobello mushrooms and spinach, topped with the salsa I just put together, side of coriander spiced butternut squash and wedge of purple yams. Yum.

plate with omlette, yams and whipped butternut squash

Of all the things we made, I’m particularly excited about the salad dressing, not only because it tastes absolutely delightful, but also because I used Carlson’s Orange Flavored Cod Liver Oil, which makes it a Double Agent: part condiment – part nutritional super-hero. I love double duty foods.

Delicious Citrus (“Super-hero”) Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup Carlson’s orange flavored cod liver oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the ACV and spices in a food processor and blend;
  2. Drizzle in the oil slowly while the blender is going;
  3. Adjust spices to taste; and
  4. Pour those yummy Omega 3’s all over your salad completely guilt-free!

Whole 30, Day 17 – Beef Crackers (aka dry beef jerky)

bowl of home made beef jerky

Alright, so our batch of jerky wasn’t our best effort this time. Still edible – and still about 1000% better than most store-bought crap, but definitely  a bit on the dry side.

We started with a good cut of meat recommended by our butcher Rob at Brady’s Meats. Trust me, you only pick the wrong cut once because what you end up with is akin to beef flavored chewing gum. We’ve also been experimenting with marinades and are faced with the added challenge that most paleo jerky recipes use coconut aminos, which aren’t available in Canada. Why not? Who knows? Maybe for the same reason you couldn’t buy stevia for years. Actually, this calls for a little tangent…

So way back when I first heard about stevia (for those in the dark, stevia is a herb used as a sweetener, it’s related to the chrysanthemum flower, 300x sweeter than sugar and doesn’t elevate blood sugar, cause cavities or feed candida – brilliant stuff) but back then, not available in Canada. I had to try it so I found a supplier willing to ship to Canada. Since it wasn’t legal here, the supplier filled out the customs label with Anonymous White Powder. No kidding, that  they let into Canada, but a harmless herb – no way. Crazy!

Anyhow, so my search for jerky marinade sans coconut aminos led me to jensgonepaleo.blogspot.com and her A Really Tasty Beef Jerky Recipe, using apple juice as the base. I didn’t have the Penzey’s BBQ 3000 spice she recommends, so I used an equal amount of ground black cardamom, which gave it a nice smoky barbeque flavor. I think next time I’ll also add a little balsamic vinegar to replicate the tangy soy sauce flavor I’m guessing the coconut aminos would give.

Just a note for those who don’t know. Tamari is NOT a good substitute for the aminos. Despite how many paleo jerky recipes you’ll find that use it, It’s made from soy, which of course is a legume and doesn’t belong in a paleo kitchen. Not to mention the questionable effects it has on hormones and the fact that virtually all soy grown these days is GMO. No thanks.

For those toying with idea of making your own jerky – try it! The Food Lover’s Primal Palate has a great post (and a good recipe if you can get your hands on coconut aminos) plus step-by-step instructions using the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator.

Like making your own mayo, it’s one of those things that fills you with pride when you’re done. Even if you do accidentally leave them in too long at too high a temperature and end up with tasty beef  “crackers” like we did, you can still feel proud that you’re eating a healthy, home-made, 100% paleo and Whole 30 approved snack.

Whole 30, Day 15 – What’s In & On Our Fridge

Fridge full of prepared food

If a picture is worth a thousand words, have a gander at our packed fridge. We spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening in the kitchen preparing food for the days ahead.

Last week we were in the kitchen every night.Not this week, man! We’re going to have a few batch cook nights and rely on high volume dishes like sheppard’s pie and stew, but we’re planning one three nights per week without kitchen duties! To help make that happen, I decided to rearrange the whiteboard on the fridge to track not only what we wanted to cook for the rest of week, but the groceries we’d need to do so and the resulting leftovers we need to eat.

Here’s what we netted for our Sunday efforts: a week’s supply of layered green salads, an apple avocado salad dressing, six portions of a hearty egg casserole with lean beef and turkey sausage, a double batch of chunky tomato salsa, a thick stew made with grass-fed beef and local organic root vegetables and a batch of jerky waiting to go into the dehydrator. It took a little longer than we thought it would, but it feels good to start the week with a fridge full of nourishing food.

Whole 30, Day 8 – A Kitchen Marathon

Today we celebrated day 7 of the Whole 30 in the kitchen batch-cooking. Even before the Whole 30 it was a practice we got into and really one of the major KEYS to success when it comes to healthy eating. It’s just WAY to easy to grab something less than healthy when you’re starving and the fridge is empty. So what did our hard work get us today?

Dave’s the salad king in our house and ended up making 17 servings of salad. Yup, count ’em, 17! We eat A LOT of salads and we like to make them in individual containers so they’re easy to grab’n’go.

I started with making a batch of my Lean Green Super Soup (you can see the video I made last summer on our youtube channel. I’ll also share the recipe here in another post).

Then I made a double batch of mayonnaise. Now, we’ve never been big mayo eaters, but let me tell you, if you’ve never tried making your own home made mayo, are you in for a treat! I was licking the bowl like it was cake batter and Dave said “Why would anyone buy miracle whip?” Actually, he also said “Too bad you can’t taste a picture!” hee hee  Here’s the kick-ass recipe from Mel at www.theclothesmakethegirl.com. The key to success with homemade mayo: everything MUST start at room temperature and you gotta drizzle the oil –s–l–o–w–l–y–… Get your feet wide, your hands supported, tuck your elbows into your sides (trust me on this one!) and get ready for the long haul. With my double batch, I drizzled for a full 15 minutes! Yup, my shoulders were burning but it was worth every second! 🙂

Next, I moved on to an egg casserole, which we love for breakfast. I made today’s with grass-fed ground beef, portobello mushrooms, spinach, a dozen eggs and a glug of egg whites. I don’t measure – just enough to cover the casserole. Maybe I’ll take a snap of tomorrow’s breakfast.

To go with the casserole, I also made another batch of sweet potatoe hash browns, using Caribbean sweet potatoes, which have become one of our new favourite things. Ridiculously good. Seriously, they taste like candy! I also baked a few extra to eat post-workout.

Next was a lamb and beef stew, which is still happily bubbling in the slow cooker on the counter. I added turnips, carrots, parsnips and rutabaga (which I’ve had a strange love for since I was a kid). The meat is from my beloved butcher and all grass-fed goodness. Can’t wait to get into it!

Finally, I made some good old fashioned meat balls. I love meat balls. I find it so strange that so many paleo meatball recipes on the internet use almond flour. I find you don’t need any kind of flour to make a good meatball. I started with Mel’s Paleo Czech Meatball recipe, which her hubby says should be called “Czech Out My Balls” (hee hee)  but instead of caraway seeds, I used the spices from Caveman Strong’s “Not your typical grandma’s Paleo Meatballs“. Dyno-mite!

Anyhow, now that all is said and done, it’s time to go enjoy some of the fruits of our labors…Bon Apetite everyone!