Day 30 ~ Wrapping Up With Routine

Despite the time change, we managed to make it to church.  Thankfully we still had a few of those baked pumpkin pancakes leftover, which we now know reheat nicely (and super quickly) in the toaster, so we could have a little sustenance on the way out the door.  Once little kids came into my life, it didn’t take long for me to discover that that the switch to daylight savings time means losing more than just that one hour of “spring forward” sleep.   Not only do you lose that morning hour for several days in a row, but you also lose a few hours over the subsequent evenings attempting to convince the kids that although it’s not quite dark yet, their bedtime is still the same time as it always has been.

Maintaining routine when some changes are occurring is not only a comfort but a proven strategy for coping with that change.  Now that we’ve gotten to 30 days on the Paleo Challenge, I have come to realize there are certain things we do on Sundays that have become routine and quite helpful for perpetuating our Paleo lifestyle.  For today, other than making adjustments for the time change, we stuck to those Sunday routines.  We got our weekly menu planned.  For the menu, we just decided to continue with what’s been familiar and working well, so that meant a week’s worth of Paleo meals.  We acquired the groceries for those meals, had a (late) brunch, did some batch cooking for weekday lunches (grilled chicken and steak fajitas, bell pepper, onions), did a lot of clean up (dishes!!!), and took advantage of the afternoon at home to prepare a dinner that required a longer cooking time (pulled pork with Paleo BBQ sauce and an apple cabbage slaw, see below.)  We were all set to launch a smooth-running week.

That evening, my husband and I never got into specifics about doing a big celebratory splurge the next day.  Our fantasies about grilled cheese, pizza, and ice cream sandwiches that we had started developing weeks ago while dining at Stacked never came up.  We were too close to the final obstacle of the challenge to talk derailment.  I think we were convinced that even thinking about bad-for-you-foods could add stress weight to tomorrow’s weigh-in/measurements.  We were already nervous enough over going in tomorrow to perform the benchmark workout that we did at the start of the challenge.  Every second dropped off the original time is a point earned in the challenge, but nobody likes the Fran WOD!  Thankfully we were well fueled by some good eats!

Brunch- Scrambled Eggs with Bacon, Green Onion, and Bell Pepper


Dinner- Pulled Pork with Paleo BBQ Sauce and Apple Cabbage Slaw

For the pork:

4-5 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder picnic roast

2 Tablespoons of bacon grease, coconut oil, or ghee

1-2 teaspoons of each: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 bottle of sorghum beer (12 oz)

Trim off any twine and unnecessary fat off the roast.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of grease in a large pot on the stove over medium high heat.  Rub the dry spices all over the roast to coat all sides.  Set the roast in the pan and sear each side for about 3 minutes.  You may need to turn the heat down to medium to avoid charring.  Once all sides of the roast have nice coloring, turn the heat back up to medium high.  Pour in the vinegar to deglaze the pan and scrape the brown bits off the bottom.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Pour in the beer.  Add water until just an inch of the top of the roast sticks out of the liquid.  Cover.  Simmer for about 3 to 4 hours.  Transfer meat onto a cutting board and let stand for about 15 minutes until cool enough to handle.  Pull meat off the bone and discard bone and large bits of fat, placing shredded meat into a separate bowl.  Serve meat on its own or tossed in BBQ sauce.

For the sauce:

The sauce was inspired by this recipe here.  However, my husband made some additions/improvements.

1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)

1 cup onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced/pressed

1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)

1/2  cup beef broth

1 Tbsp. dry ground mustard

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. hot sauce

1 Tbsp. chili paste

2 Tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. salt

2 capfuls of liquid smoke

1 can crushed pineapple with juice (20 oz.)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Stir.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover.  Simmer for 1 hour.  Puree with an immersion blender.  Serve with pulled pork.

Apple Cabbage Slaw:

1 lb. bag shredded cabbage with carrots (or 7 cups chopped fresh cabbage, 1/2  cup julienne carrots)

1 apple, peeled and grated

1/4  cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/4  tsp. salt

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, and apple.  In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, and ground mustard to make a vinaigrette dressing.  Sprinkle the cabbage mixture with onion powder, ginger, and salt.  Toss to season.  Pour vinaigrette over the cabbage mixture and toss until coated.  Cover the mixture and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.  We both loved this, and my husband was impressed that this was a completely original recipe that I created on a whim.



Day 24 ~ When Dinner Fails, Make Dessert

Breakfast was the leftover Paleo Spirit porridge.  It was still delicious, but the chalet fantasy was lost somewhere between standing over the sink to eat it and my son putting his shoes on the wrong feet.


Today I focused on curing my dehydration.  I made myself drink a half liter of water during the morning commute.  I made a goal of finishing another one before lunch.  Speaking of lunch, lunch was soup and a sandwich!  A sandwich doesn’t sound very Paleo, I know, but I assure you it was Paleo, and it was a masterpiece.  I call it Chicken BLTA.

On Sunday, we batched-cooked a bunch of boneless skinless chicken breasts so we could have these awesome delights for lunch all week.

Chicken BLTA

Preparing the Chicken:

To prepare them, first pour some olive oil in a small bowl.  Add salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried rosemary to the oil.  Arrange the chicken breasts on a sheet pan.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Dip a basting brush in the seasoned oil and paint the chicken breasts until they are generously covered with the oil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool and store the chicken breasts.

Assembling the Chicken BLTA:

Using a serrated knife, slice the chicken breast to make a top and bottom “bun.”  Put a leaf of romaine lettuce on the bottom “bun.”  Add 2 slices of bacon.  Top with tomato slices.  Arrange some avocado slices on top.  Season with salt if desired.  Add Dijon mustard to the top piece of chicken if desired.  Place the top piece of chicken on the top of the “sandwich.”  DE-LISH!!!



We had a lot of the No Pasta No Fagioli soup leftover from yesterday, so the intention was to have soup and a sandwich for lunch all week!  Conventional with a twist!

I kept chugging the water, and it not only helped keep me level-headed during the afternoon WOD, but it helped curb the afternoon snacks to just a small bowl of plantain chips and a small serving of dried apples.

Thankfully, I had eaten well throughout the day because when dinner rolled around and we dove into the Indian curry, it was a disappointment.  I hadn’t made it to Fresh and Easy to restock our stash of  Sukhi’s brand of curry paste we like.

I figured a similar brand available at our Ralph’s would do for simmering a pound of chicken thighs, an onion, a couple carrots, a bell pepper, and some butternut squash cubes.  I was wrong.


This paste from Kitchens of India was bland, too watery, and just kind of icky.  I choked some of it down, but my poor husband basically abandoned his bowl after a few bites and came back to the table with a Larabar.  Rather than rummaging around to piece together another dinner, I just opted to expend my energy on producing a dessert.  Urban Poser’s Mexican Chocolate Coconut Macaroons saved the day.

I always seem to have the simple ingredients for this recipe in my freezer (coconut) and pantry (everything else!)  The recipe can be whipped together in a flash—seriously, within 10 minutes these will be in the oven.  The only dishes needed are two bowls, a measuring cup, a measuring spoon, and a stirring spoon, so very little mess.  Most importantly, they are friggin awesome, Paleo or not!  We ate them right off the pan.


Day 20 ~ Fueled By Simplicity

Another quick breakfast of an apple and a fried egg with chopped green onion got me going and out the door this morning.  I was busy and away from food for almost four hours, but I kept my water nearby.  I had worked up an appetite, and I had the batch-cooked fajita meat and veggies again for lunch.  Even after having this meal for the fourth time this week, I was still excited to eat it.  It is good to be excited about what you eat, and it is good to eat food that makes you feel good.  Really, it’s a good thing.  No, I have not been hypnotized.  Yes, I still love cinnamon rolls, and I plan to eat them again.  However, in the moment, healthy food is working for me– nourishing me, fueling me to be more functional in life.  That’s all the raw honesty I have for today.

I knew all day that I would be facing 25 Rx thrusters, a mile run, and 25 more thrusters at CrossFit this afternoon.  Wanting to be ready for the grueling workout, it was easy to stay away from anything that would make me feel sluggish or heavy.  I did take a few bites out on a Banana Larabar right before heading over to CrossFit for a little boost.  That sullen feeling from earlier in the week was replaced by a slight nervousness.  Again, when I showed up I was not “pumped” per se, but today I had a little adrenaline going on, felt adequately fueled, and got it done.   And I’m really glad it’s done.

I had a recovery smoothie with my hemp protein and ate the other half of the Larabar.  The rest of the afternoon was a blur.  My daughter had a performance this evening, so quickly executing dinner was of utmost importance.  I had planned ahead when grocery shopping last weekend for tonight’s very simple meal.  It is truly ready in 15 minutes, including prep and cook time.

Sauteed Cabbage with Sausage

Slice a head of cabbage and one onion while heating two tablespoons of bacon grease in a stockpot over medium high heat (could substitute olive oil, ghee, Kerrygold butter.)  Add the cabbage and onion to the pot.  Season generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried thyme.  Turn the heat down to medium and toss and turn the cabbage so it is coated in the grease and seasonings.  Put a lid over the pot, but leave the lid “cracked/venting.”  Slice 4 prepared sausage links such as Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage and toss the sausage slices in and stir into the cabbage.  Replace the “cracked” lid.  Heat 5 minutes until the sausage is hot and the cabbage is soft.  Yum, yum, yum!


We ate super early, so just a little while ago (four hours after dinner), I stuffed myself with a bunch of pistachios (like 40!) and a handful of dried apples, but it’s all good.  I meant to do that.  Well, maybe a pistachio binge wasn’t exactly in the plan for today, but I have realized that I don’t do well if I go to bed hungry.  Call it a coping skill.

Day 19 ~ Thank You, Dear Readers

Wow!  I am thrilled to announce that the blog surpassed 500 views today.  I am so flattered to have such loyal readers!  Thank you for your support.  Your encouragement and validation has made this journey fun and motivating.  That you keep coming back to follow this saga has held me accountable.   Thank you!

I’ve got the same old story today.  Again, I’m not feeling energized or pumped.  I went into an afternoon CrossFit workout feeling somewhat sullen.  However, I had a strong workout.  We worked on establishing a heavy 5 rep max for deadlifts.  I did 40 deadlifts, working up to 5 reps at 185 pounds and then knocked out the ladder of cleans and burpees consistently.  I had what it took today, so I must have been adequately fueled.  Maybe I am just misinterpreting what I perceive to be dull, lack of energy for what is actually even-keel mellowness.  I’m finding that eating a bit more—more of the clean, whole foods that is—but being less concerned with the portion control and being more at peace with snacking is leaving me much more satisfied.


Fried egg, 2 breakfast sausage links, 1 apple



Apple Cinnamon Lara Bar



1 cup Carne & Pollo Asada, 1 cup Fajita Veggies, ½ avocado


After WOD:

Dirt Smoothie: 3 T hemp protein, 1 cup almond milk, ½ banana



Handful of plantain chips, handful of dried apples, 2 scoops of cashew butter



This was the first time trying this recipe.  I thought it was delicious.  It got kid-approved, and it was relatively easy (once I looked up a youtube video on cutting up a whole chicken!)

Cornell Chicken

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

Arrange cleaned/trimmed asparagus on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder over top and toss.  Chop 2-3 slices of raw bacon.  Sprinkle bacon over asparagus.  Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.



Against All Grain Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake (unfrosted)

Day 16 ~ Daytona Food Plus Another 8 Hours in the Kitchen

It was a great, productive day, having spent almost all of it in the kitchen.  I tested out yet another pancake recipe for breakfast.  It is the winner so far!  It looked, smelled, cooked, flipped, and tasted like a pancake.  I didn’t even use syrup.  Delish!  I also made a batch of Against All Grain’s Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (unfrosted this time for simplicity and for longer storage) just to have around for a sweet snack/dessert.  I tossed together a tray of kale chips, and I cooked a pot of bison chili for dinner.  My son begged me to make chocolate chip cookies with him, and I gave in.  It was a nice bonding time with him, plus I snuck in pumpkin I had leftover from the pancakes into the cookie dough.  At one point, I had my fingers covered in butter and sugar since my son dropped the spoon in the batter, but I didn’t take one lick.  It wasn’t even that hard for me.  I just stayed close to the sink and rinsed off those hands.  I, of course, had to handle chocolate chips, which was more difficult, but they were mini, which is just not as tempting for me as those perfectly-shaped, popable, responsibly-sourced, 51% cacao morsels.  What was I saying?  Oh, right.  I did not eat chocolate chips.  I did stop with my head over the bowl, and inhale deeply though.  Now that doesn’t count, right?  (Insert any number of Bill Clinton jokes.)

My husband grilled carne asada and pollo asada, and also sautéed a bunch of bell peppers, onions, and jalapenos with fajita seasonings to have for our weekday lunches.  Since he partook in watching the Daytona 500 today, he also made a tray of hot wings for the occasion.  We were well fed!  The rest of the day was spent doing the massive amount of dishes!

Breakfast and Winning Pancake Recipe:

Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes by Running to the Kitchen



Husband’s Paleo Hot Wings

Served with Carrots, Guac, and Kale Chips

Bake chicken wings on a sheet pan in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Drain the pan halfway through the cooking time and flip the wings over.  When the skin is crispy, remove the wings from the oven.  Toss wings in Frank’s Red Hot.  No need for butter or flour!

See Day 2 for kale chip recipe or click here.



Bison Chili by Fast Paleo

I ended up using an acorn squash instead of a yam.  (What a chore to peel and cut that thing! But, I discovered my stash of yams had gone bad.) The acorn squash tasted more like a white potato, which I enjoyed.  I was very pleased to get to use my new jar of smoky paprika and the jar of ground chipotle pepper in this recipe.  Very flavorful!


Hubby’s Batch-Cooked Fajitas

Marinated and grilled chicken breasts and skirt steak with olive oil, oregano, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Sauteed bell pepper and onion with the same seasoning as above.  Roasted jalapenos over open flame.


Day 14 ~ I am FULL! Thank you, Snickerdoodles!

It took me two weeks to get to this point, but I finally went to bed feeling full and happy.

The fullness definitely didn’t come from the bowl of the apple cinnamon hemp chia breakfast porridge.  I think the sun has set on that dish.  The kids and I actually had the day off together.  We had a wonderful time spending the day at a symphony concert and at the zoo.  This was a great distraction from the feelings of frustration and irritation with being hungry and tired lately.  It was also great at keeping those thoughts of grilled cheese sandwiches pushed back, although I did buy the kids kettle corn when we left the zoo because they had eaten every last crumb from the thoughtfully-packed backpack of snacks, and were still asking for food.  I carried that friggin bag of fresh kettle corn all the way to the car, tortured by its warmth and sweet, buttery aroma.  But I didn’t cave.  I didn’t have a single kernel even though I spilled a few right on my lap when pouring some out into the kids’ bowls!

We did a late-afternoon CrossFit workout, which I was not super enthused about or adequately fueled for.  I had just packed some pistachios, strawberries, an apple, carrots, guacamole, and plaintain chips in a backpack for us to munch on while at the zoo.  The kids were extra ravenous all day long, so all I ended up getting to eat was the apple, 2 plantain chips, maybe 8 pistachios, and about 10 baby carrots with the 100 calorie Wholly Guacamole pack.  So, I felt like I was muddling through the workout.  I made a decent 70 pound snatch, which was heavy for me but not a PR.  I was really irritated with the number of rounds I did on the AMRAP of pull-ups and wallballs though.  My husband has been feeling equally frustrated with feeling slow and tired for the workouts too during this Paleo challenge.

On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store to buy Larabars, some cashews, and some sorghum beer so we could start throwing ourselves a pity party.  I destroyed a cherry Larabar in about 3 bites before I had even reached the car.   After we had split a beer, scarfed the meatloaf from last night and a whole tray of roasted asparagus with bacon (see Day 6 for picture and recipe or click here), I continued to pout.  When I get wrapped up in a pouty, defeated mindset, my usual patterns have been to eat myself out of the funk without measuring, evaluating, or even thinking about ANYTHING, until I feel good again.  I had intended to give in to the mindless emotional eating binge but make that binge food a Paleo chocolate chip cookie dough recipe that my pal who writes Clean Eating With A Dirty Mind made from

After I had already mindlessly popped back a few cashews, I started the “cookie dough” process by blending .75 pounds of raw cashews into a powder.  I drizzled about 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil into the cashews to make cashew butter.  I, of course, sampled each stage in this process with generous licks of the spatula.  It was already tasting and looking like cookie dough.  I was impressed.  The next step in the Girl Gone Country cookie dough recipe was to add butter, which is not ok for the Paleo challenge.  I wasn’t even sure that I’d be ok with ghee (not that I bought that anyways to have on hand for this recipe) for the challenge since, although the lactose has been removed, ghee still would not have been a pre-agriculture food.  I was debating between using melted coconut oil and melted palm oil when I sampled some more of the cashew butter as it was and thought about the chocolate chip situation.  I didn’t think even evaporated cane juice, which is the sweetener in Enjoy Life chocolate chips, would really be ok for Paleo in a strict sense either.  I had purchased unsweetened baking chocolate and had intended to use chopped bits of unsweetened chocolate in this cookie dough recipe, but after chopping a square and tasting it, I knew it would just be too bitter and ruin what a beautiful thing I already had going.  That’s when it hit me.  Why not leave out the extra oil—the cashews already tasted and looked like real deal cookie dough?  Why not leave out the chocolate altogether too?  I asked myself what cookies do I love that don’t contain chocolate?  That’s an easy answer—snickerdoodles!

Immediately, I added a touch more coconut oil, some honey, vanilla, and cinnamon to the cashew “dough” and then rolled dough balls in a mixture of coconut crystals and cinnamon.  My husband and I popped back those suckers until they were almost gone.  Yes, it was probably close to 60 grams of fat that we each ate between the cashews and coconut oil, but I didn’t even stop to ponder the calculation until the next morning.)  It felt so good to just eat and not think.  It was so satisfying to be stuffed!  My happy belly and I went to bed with a contented sigh and a smile.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Balls


3/4 pound raw cashews (raw versus roasted makes a difference for this!)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4  teaspoon salt


1-2 tablespoons coconut crystals

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a blender or food processor, chop cashews into a fine flour.  Stream in a tablespoon of melted coconut oil until the flour comes together into a thick paste.  Use a spatula to scrape the down the sides and ensure all the cashews get incorporated into the paste.  Add the remaining coconut oil, the honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.  Blend to incorporate everything until it looks like cookie dough!

Measure out the coconut crystals and cinnamon and pour into a wide dish like a pie plate.  Roll the cookie dough into balls the size of walnuts and roll each ball into the coconut crystal/cinnamon mixture until lightly coated on all sides.  Makes about 16-18 cookie dough balls.


Day 13 ~ Give Me Some Cheese With That Whine. Really. Please. I Want Cheese.

I thought I had this thing down.  I didn’t think I was supposed to be having severe cravings now that it has been almost 2 weeks, but I just want to EAT– eat and eat and eat until I’m so stuffed I can’t move.  If you could just pass me some cheese and some cookie dough, that would be great.  I am so close to tearing up the house to shovel those chocolate chips that are supposedly hidden somewhere right under my nose.

By some miracle, I didn’t fly off the handle today, but I want to!  I am scowling at my herbal tea and resenting the stupid berries I have here for dessert.  Really, they are beautiful and delicious, and the tea is my absolute favorite.  I even topped it with a scoop of coconut cream.  I’m devoured all of it, but it is not at all what I want.  I want to throw darts at this picture.


I know I said I had an even-keel, cool demeanor, but it just seems more like a blasé (and now I’m realizing perhaps with a streak of hostility.)  I miss energetic me!  I had a normal breakfast and lunch and even some carbalicious plantain chips before CrossFit.  Since yesterday was a rest day, I expected to be more “pumped.” I did the WOD, working up to a decent 115 pound front squat, and completing 80 kettlebell swings @35lbs and 170 lunges (ouch!) but I sure wasn’t excited about it.  I just did it.  And now I feel like Jell-O.  Thanks a lot lunges.  I even had a “dirt” recovery smoothie, followed by a couple scoops of almond butter (right out of the jar– no intention, plate, or portion-control.  Take that!)  I had 2 dates while dinner was cooking.  All of my meals were lovely quality and delicious today.  I had dessert.  I ate more than usual today.  But, I still want to eat!!!  My dear friend who currently does GAPS/Paleo and who also obsesses and worries about food just as I do sent me this hilarious, gasp-for-breath-between-hyperventilating-laughter blog post she discovered.  Is there any way to win?  Really, it sounds like I’m doomed.  I’d better get some perspective and buy-in soon, or this is going to be a long fight of a 2 ½ more weeks.

The Menu Today:

Breakfast- a sliced green onion and 2 slices of diced Canadian bacon fried in a pan with 2 eggs

Some plantain chips

Lunch- Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Veggies

Spoonful of Almond Butter

After WOD Recovery: Dirt Smoothie (3 T hemp protein, 1 cup almond milk, ½ banana, 5 frozen strawberries)

3 more spoonfuls of almond butter

2 dates

Dinner- Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Bacon

*And don’t roll your eyes about the Brussels sprouts!  They’re good!  They aren’t bitter.  They aren’t mushy.  Granny didn’t boil them for an hour and a half in a pot of water on the stove and then force you to plug your nose and swallow 3 bites before being excused.  THESE Brussels sprouts are the comeback food on the yuppie culinary front!  They are rich, crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, and each layer envelops the salty, bacony flavor.  Try it!


1.25 pounds ground turkey

1 small onion, chopped

1 eight ounce can tomato sauce

1 egg

½ cup almond meal

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Several generous pinches of salt

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl until incorporated.  Pour into a loaf pan.  Turn the formed meat out onto a sheet pan.  Set the loaf pan aside.  Bake the meatloaf in a 400 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.  Serves 4 to 5.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots with Bacon-

10 Brussels sprouts, washed, base trimmed, and halved

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼” pieces

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 strips of uncooked bacon, sliced into ½ inch bits

Toss everything onto a sheet pan.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.


It should be noted that one of the best parts about this meal is that it uses very few dishes since it is so easy to prepare!  Woohoo!