Thursday, February 3, 2011

Please, pack your knives and go.

I think the first thing I learned when trying to lead a Paleo lifestyle is preparation.  It's the key to success.  In my early efforts I would fail to buy the right things at the grocery store.  Overbuying some weeks and falling short on others.  I would sometimes get home with three different types of squashes and no other veggies.  I was a disaster when it came to grocery shopping and awful at preparation.  I'm doing a little better now and I must say that I really like the menu lists and shopping lists that Paleo Plan provides me.  The past couple of weeks I have ventured out on my own and haven't used the lists.  I think I've done a fairly good job with purchasing and preparing my meals without guidance.

Another obstacle is my work week.  I work 12 hour shifts and every other weekend I put in 4 days in a row.  During this time I don't like to do anything except get up, shower and grab a bite for breakfast.  I then gather my lunch and dinner out of the fridge and put it in a sack and head to work.  When I get home I go right to bed.  So I try to prepare all my meals in advance for this little stretch.  That's my key to eating Paleo during this time.  In my pre-Paleo days I would hit the drive thru, order take out, raid the candy bins in the cafeteria and eat whatever meal I brought with me (spaghetti, enchiladas,etc).

I truly enjoy cooking and while I may not be a top chef in the kitchen, I think I do a pretty decent job for someone who just started cooking in the past couple of years.  Sure, sometimes I bomb and from time to time I make something inedible but since it's just me eating this food I don't really worry about it.  I'm just glad I'm not cooking for these three.  

Here are some pics of what will be on my lunch and dinner menu while I work this week.

Omelette Muffins for breakfast so I don't have to cook in the morning!  I just chop up whatever veggie I have, saute some onions and sausage and put a scoop in each muffin tin and fill with beaten eggs.  I bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  I use a jumbo tin so for a regular size tin just cut back the time.  They freeze up great and I just pop one in the microwave in the morning to heat it up.  Great time saver!

Mashed Rutabaga is going to be a side dish for some leftover braised shortribs that I had earlier in the week.  I just cubed up the rutabagas and tossed them in a small pot with some water and boiled, covered until they were soft and then I mashed them with a little chicken stock.  I found the recipe for the braised shortribs here.  I simply made whatever adjustments I needed to the recipe in order to make it my style of Paleo.

Baked chicken leg quarters using a recipe in one of my Rick Bayless cookbooks.  This one called for making a little marinade with orange juice, mexican oregano, diced garlic, ground canela, cloves, apple cider vinegar and pasilla chile powder.

Sauteed Kale in tomato sauce.  I find that I always make kale with a tomato sauce so the next time I'm going to search for a recipe sans tomato.  I suspect I do this because I'm still trying to get use to the taste of kale as well as other dark greens.  I never ate these in my pre-Paleo days so I'm trying to acquire a taste for them.  I simply soaked some ancho chiles and then ground them up in my vita-mixer with some crushed tomatoes and chicken stock.  I sauteed some onions in a skillet and then added the tomato-chile mixture.  I let it cook for a minute or so then added the chopped kale and covered it so the kale could steam.

Jumbo pork chop braised in some apple juice with aromatics.  I mix in some crushed ginger with the apple juice and then chopped up some celery, apple and onion.  I put this all in a baking dish and baked the chop until I thought it was done.  I think I may have over cooked my protein which would get me booted off Top Chef.  Thankfully Tom, Gail and Padma  aren't critiquing my dish.