It is Day 1 of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge. The chocolate chips have been hidden. The grain/dairy/legume/sugar ban has been instituted, and breakfast time has arrived. To add some excitement and intrigue to my food safe zone and to attempt to curb my toast-loving daughter from taunting me with scraps, I purchased a loaf of Paleo bread yesterday. Our neighborhood Jimbo’s grocery store stocks a coconut flour based bread made by Julian Bakery. I was quite looking forward to trying it out. I delved right in, putting a generous schmear of almond butter on the piece of toast and paired it with some apple slices. The toast wasn’t bad. It was a little dense and spongy, but nevertheless a decent alternative to the conventional insulin-spiking, gluten-rich counterpart. I would definitely buy it again. My daughter tried it, but didn’t go for it. Although I was fully aware that she wasted $0.46 of that $6.45 loaf, I consciously kept myself from eating her scraps. I was proud of my restraint and that I did not engage in any mental games about it.
The whole family attended the Paleo Challenge Kickoff Potluck for lunch. It was a great way to get excited and inspired for the month of healthy eating. Participants will eat strict Paleo and be awarded a series of points for how much weight is lost, how many inches are lost, and how much time is dropped on the benchmark workout between the start and end of the challenge. I brought avocado deviled eggs and tomato bruschetta. I’ve been making those simple appetizers for years and have always just put them together by sight and feel. However, I made sure to pay attention to measurements when I prepared them this morning so I could post the recipes. I served the bruschetta with sesame crackers, which are based on the recipe for sesame crackers in The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam.
Avocado Deviled Eggs
12 eggs (hard-boiled, sliced, yolks removed, whites set aside)
1 large avocado (mine was really huge)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
Blend everything but the egg whites in a food processor until smooth. Scoop or pipe the yolk/avocado mixture into the egg white halves.
5-6 Roma tomatoes, diced (I remove a little of the seed goop first before dicing)
12 (appx) fresh basil leaves, chopped/chiffonade
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together. Let marinate overnight or at least 5-6 hours.
1 ½ cups almond meal (ground almonds with skins on; Sprouts has this in bulk bins, Trader Joe’s sells a sealed 1 pound bag.)
½ cup sesame seeds
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix the almond meal, sesame seeds, and salt together. In a separate bowl, mix the oil and egg. Pour the oil and egg over the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined and a sticky dough is formed. Use your hands to pull together the dough into one large ball. Flatten the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and flatten to about 1/8 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter to trim edges and slice into one-inch squares. Bake the dough on parchment paper on a cookie sheet for 15-18 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
When we walked back into the house after the potluck, I was faced with dread over the sight of the disastrous kitchen. Every inch of the counter space was covered with mess from prepping the crackers and eggs. Plus, my husband had begun prepping two pork roasts for carnitas for lunches later on in the week. We had abandoned the dirty rolling pin, food processor, piping bag, cookie sheets, cutting board, cast iron skillet, etc. in order to get to the potluck on time. My first reaction to being surrounded by the seemingly insurmountable pile of dishes would have been to creep over to the chocolate chips or to check my phone to procrastinate on the task. Instead, I broke the task into smaller pieces and got it done. I did have to stop at certain times throughout this 90 minute cleaning extravaganza. Standing over the sink doing dishes is something I do so often, and each time, the fridge and cabinets just seem to beckon me. Today, I made a conscious effort to implement a coping skill of drinking a few sips of water when those hungry thoughts crept in and return quickly to my dishes. I told myself that if I was still “hungry” two minutes after my little water breaks, I could go eat something, but ended up not being necessary.
We ended up having the opportunity to have a date night, so we went out to The Linkery. We knew there would be a few Paleo-friendly options there and the locally-sourced organic veggies and pastured meats would be a treat.
When we returned to pick up the kids from my mom’s house, I found my son in the pantry. I had to laugh because when I crouched down to grab his hand and lead him out of there, I was eye-level with a very full Costco-sized bag of chocolate chips.