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On The Menu {week of Mar. 12}

When I first started eating Paleo-Style, I really benefitted from seeing a few weekly meal plans.  I knew that I could make “meat and vegetables,” but I needed some examples of how to make those things take shape on our plates.

Every weekend I sit down and plan my meals for the week.  I usually go to the Farmer’s Market first, and then make a plan based on what is in season. 

This is mainly just a dinner menu.  We usually have eggs, frittatassmoothiesPrimal Oatmealdiced chicken, etc., for breakfast.  

We always have leftovers from dinner for lunch the following day.

I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

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Great things on the menu this week!

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Monday

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On Monday, we’re having Butternut Squash Lasagna… best Lasagna I’ve ever had!

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Tuesday

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Tuesday will be Spice-Rubbed Roast night!  My husband LOVES this recipe.  We’ll have sweet potato fries and some greens on the side.

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Wednesday

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On Wednesday, we’ll have meatloaf and brussels sprouts.

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Thursday

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I’m going to try a new recipe for Beef Stirfry on Thursday… I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Friday

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We’re having some friends over on Friday night.  I’m going to make Puerto Rican Beef for them!  We LOVED this recipe, so I hope they enjoy it too.

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Saturday

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On Saturday, I’m making Mexican food.  This just never gets old…

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YUM!  What’s on your menu this week?

Interview Series: Melissa Joulwan!

There are so many bloggers, writers, and smart “paleo-people” out there!  I thought it might be fun to ask some of them a few questions to see what is going on in their “neck of the woods.”   I am hoping to make this a weekly element on my website…  If you are a blogger, and would like to be featured on EasyPaleo.com, be sure to comment on this post so I can contact you.

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This week we’re talking with

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Melissa Joulwan

Author of Well Fed

I am Melissa’s biggest fan.  Period.  She is an amazing Paleo Powerhouse with more creativity than most of us have in our pinky fingers.  If you have never tried her recipes, you are missing out!  

One of my favorites is her Chocolate Chili.  Her cookbook is fantastic too… see my review HERE.  

Melissa was kind enough to agree to an interview, and I have been SO looking forward to sharing it with you!  What fun!

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Easy Paleo: If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?

MJ: She is relentless, in spite of herself.

 

Easy Paleo:  How did you discover Paleo, and what is the BIGGEST difference it made in your life?

MJ: I’d been eating grain-free Zone for about a year when I started working with Melissa Hartwig of Whole9 (http://www.whole9life.com). She suggested (insisted?!) that I give up dairy for a week to see how I felt and gently encouraged me to eat a little more fat. That was in 2009, and I’ve never looked back. The biggest difference it’s made in my life is that food is no longer the enemy. I spent over 25 years of my life on a “diet” of some kind; that is not a loving way to treat oneself. Now, I know how to eat healthfully and it’s made food a pleasure instead of a source of stress.

 

Easy Paleo: Do you have an all-time favorite recipe?

MJ: To this day, my favorite food is buttered popcorn — the tiny white kind, not the big, fluffy yello kernels. But my favorite paleo recipe? I really love the Rogan Josh in Well Fed, and I’m proud of the grain-free Chicken Bastilla recipe (http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2011/08/02/paleo-chicken-bastila/) I created because the traditional Moroccan dish is both stunningly tasty and packed with non-approved ingredients. It felt like a pretty big triumph to figure out an acceptable alternative.

 

Easy Paleo: What has been your biggest Paleo challenge, and how did you overcome it?

MJ: Socializing is one of the hardest parts of paleo, and I still work on it. When I’m feeling optimistic and energetic, it’s not a big deal to pack food or skip cocktails or say ‘no’ to an invitation to go out for pizza. But on those days when I “wish I could just be normal,” it’s still a challenge. I get over it by reminding myself that “normal” in the modern U.S. is now overweight, unfit, unhealthy, and probably, unhappy. I don’t really want that!

 

Easy Paleo: What do you wish EVERYONE knew about Paleo?

MJ: You will not feel deprived; the food is delicious and you can make it work without always feeling like the weirdo in the room.

 

Easy Paleo: Paleo-eating does not have to be difficult… how do you make this lifestyle an easy element of your life?

MJ: One of my biggest success factors is that my husband Dave is 100% supportive. I do all the cooking and he has never once complained about missing non-paleo foods. In fact, if a meal comes out boring in my opinion, he usually defends it and thanks me for cooking. That makes it easier to stick to the plan. Preparation is also essential for me. As I explain in Well Fed, I always do what I call a “Weekly Cookup” so there’s grab-and-go food available. I’m a terrible decision maker if I’m hungry, but I will always choose healthier foods if they’re ready for me before I reach the point that I want to gnaw on my own arm.

 

Easy Paleo: If you could go back to eating a particular food that you choose not to eat now, what would it be?

MJ: POPCORN! And feta cheese. Sometimes I really miss feta cheese.

 

Easy Paleo: How did you come up with the name of your cookbook?  It’s super-creative!

MJ: The book title is the result of gathering some of my favorite people around our dining room table, feeding them a bunch of food made from recipes included in the cookbook, and plying them with wine. Then we had a brainstorm of names that ranged from silly to rude to terrible to boring… and eventually found a gem: Well Fed.

 

Easy Paleo: If you could drop everything right now and take a month-long vacation, where would you go, and which recipes would you want to be sure and make while there?

MJ: Right now, I think I’d pick Paris because I just read Julia Child’s book My Life in France and I’m inspired to follow in her footsteps. I think it would be really fun to make some Moroccan and African food since there’s a France-North African connection. When we were Paris last Fall — for a few days, not a month! — I ate some traditional Ivory Coast snacks cooked to order by the most regal, friendly African woman… in an outdoor market in a residential neighborhood in Paris. The market was amazing! It was like the world had shrunk down and come to that street to sell everything delicious to us. I would love to be in that environment with some great recipes and my knife.

 

Easy Paleo:  Is there a food item (Paleo or not) that you absolutely can’t stand?  Or are you pretty “equal-opportunity” when it comes to grub?

MJ: I really don’t like capers, and I don’t like cilantro in Mexican food. I can only eat cilantro in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Also, chicken hearts; not a fan. Although I do love chicken livers.

 

Easy Paleo: Tell us about the success of your cookbook!  It has done so well!

MJ: I didn’t set a sales goal before the book was published. I wanted to force myself focus on the project being its own reward. But the response has far surpassed anything I could have imagined!

It’s been so rewarding and so much fun to see people fall in love with Well Fed. I’m very happy that readers are finding the Weekly Cookup and information about how to streamline cooking to be helpful. I got email from a woman who said she was able to spend more time playing with her kids because she got all of the “heavy lifting” cooking out of the way at once. That made me feel successful.

But… we’ve had sale success, too! Well Fed has been out for a little less than three months, and we’ve sold over 12,000 copies.— but the cookbook has made it possible for me to resign from my dayjob so I can focus on writing full time. That is a tremendous gift!

 

Easy Paleo: Tell us why your blog is called “The Clothes Make The Girl.”

MJ: I know that, really, it’s what’s inside that counts, but I love fashion: little black dresses, stompy black motorcycle boots, sparkly things. Sometimes I wear all black just so I can pretend to be a spy who might need to outrun a bad guy.

I started my blog in 2008 to write about clothes, but I also started CrossFit around that time. Before I knew it, the changes taking place INSIDE my body were more interesting to me than what was hanging on the outside. I kept the title as a snide reminder that it’s what inside that counts — and if you work on the inside with solid training, clean eating, meditation, and yoga, the outside will look great.

 

Easy Paleo: What is your FAVORITE kitchen tool or appliance, and why?

MJ: This is totally unsexy, but I have a sauté pan that I use for almost every meal, every day, and I love that workhorse. I also couldn’t get very far without my food processor, and right now, I’m in love with the julienne peeler because I had a very tasty batch of zucchini noodles for dinner last night. It’s also essential for any cook to have one very good, reliable knife that makes them feel confident; keep it sharp!

 

Easy Paleo: How did you learn so much science behind Paleo/food?

MJ: I just look like I know a lot because I trust other smart people: Melissa and Dallas of Whole9, Robb Wolf, and Mark Sisson are the experts I rely on to help me understand enough of the “why” so I can focus on how to translate that into things that taste really good.

 

Easy Paleo: Tell us about Smudge!

MJ: Smudge started life as a stray cat who wandered into our neighbor Stefanie’s pottery studio and refused to leave. Stef asked us to “babysit” her for one afternoon, and that was pretty much it. That little cat totally tricked us into loving her, and now, she’s the boss of the household. We named her Smudge because she has a black patch on her nose. She reminds me every day to be glad to be alive and to make time to have fun. She likes to hide around corners to play hide-and-seek with us. It’s the most delightful thing ever. I have destroyed whatever meager punk rock cred I might have had by posting Smupdates (http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/tag/smupdate/) to my blog; Smudge has made me the crazy cat lady.

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Links:

My Blog – http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Clothes-Make-The-Girl/200689133301047

Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/melicious11

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/melissajoulwan/

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Thank you SO much, Melissa!  You are fantastic!
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Best Chicken EVER.

My husband and I LOVE the Chicken Bryan from Carabba’s, or a similar dish from Bonefish Grill (pictured here).  On Saturday, I went to the Farmer’s Market and picked up some fantastic local goat cheese.  I knew right away what I hoped to do with it…  so last night I began my re-creation of the expensive chicken dish we love to order.

 I have to brag… MINE WAS BETTER!  

Try it.  My husband agrees that this is the BEST chicken EVER!  We were literally gasping and sighing with almost every bite.  The tangy goat cheese works perfectly with the lemony chicken and the savory mushrooms and bacon.  Oh my word… I cannot wait to make this again!

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Best Chicken EVER

10-16 chicken breast tenderloins

1/2 C grass-fed butter, divided

1 white onion, diced

1 lb. mushrooms

1/4 C coconut aminos

salt and pepper to taste

1 TBS garlic powder

2 C grape tomatoes

1/4 C lemon juice

goat cheese (as much or as little as you like)

1 pound bacon

Start by baking your bacon (see HERE for instructions!).

While the bacon is cooking, begin by melting 1/4 C of butter in a medium skillet.

Add onions, and saute until they begin to soften.

 Add mushrooms and coconut aminos.

Cook on high heat until onions are soft, and liquid is almost completely evaporated (you want a little caramelization here.

Meanwhile, melt the other 1/4 C of butter in a large skillet.

Add the chicken tenderloins and lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Cook until chicken is about half-way done.  Then add the grape tomatoes, and turn up the heat.  Cook on HIGH until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and the liquid has completely evaporated (you may need to pour a little liquid out if the chicken cooks faster than the liquid evaporates).  You should have some caramelization on the chicken, and the tomatoes will be very soft.

Finally, it’s time to plate!  Layer the onion/mushroom mixture on top of the chicken/tomato mixture.  Using kitchen shears, cut your bacon into pieces as a delicious topping. Finally, spoon a little goat cheese onto the plate.

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This made enough for dinner, with leftovers for lunch today.  Enjoy!

On The Menu {week of Mar. 5}

When I first started eating Paleo-Style, I really benefitted from seeing a few weekly meal plans.  I knew that I could make “meat and vegetables,” but I needed some examples of how to make those things take shape on our plates.

 

Every weekend I sit down and plan my meals for the week.  I usually go to the Farmer’s Market first, and then make a plan based on what is in season. 

 

This is mainly just a dinner menu.  We usually have eggs, frittatassmoothiesPrimal Oatmealdiced chicken, etc., for breakfast.  

 

We always have leftovers from dinner for lunch the following day.

 

I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

 

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We just finished our Whole30 (read about it HERE)!!  It was fantastic, so not much will change!  
Check out our menu for this week…
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Monday

On Monday, we’re having grass-fed NY strip steaks, sweet potato fries, and roasted asparagus.  We haven’t had sweet potatoes since before our 21-Day Sugar Detox, to I’m pretty excited about tasting one again!

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Tuesday

Tuesday’s dinner will be Chicken Salad over spinach… YUM!  I never get tired of chicken salad…

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Wednesday

My husband will be off work on Wednesday, so I’ll make a brunch of omelets with goat cheese!

On Wednesday evening, we’re going to a ball-game!  I’m making burgers with an onion/mushroom saute, tomatoes, and avocado slices.  We’ll wrap them with bib lettuce, and have Brussels Sprouts with Bacon on the side.

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Thursday

Thursday evening will be Butternut Squash Lasagna… WE LOVE THIS DISH!!

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Friday

On Friday, we’re taking dinner over to eat with some friends.  I think Mexican food with tons of guac and salsa sounds amazing!

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Saturday & Sunday

This weekend, we’re going to visit my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew!  We’re taking a huge pot of chili to share… we’ll also take corn chips (for them), and lots of guacamole.

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Good eats this week!  What’s on YOUR menu?

 

Wrapping it Up: The Whole30

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WE MADE IT!

My husband and I completed our second Whole30 on March 1st.  Our first Whole30 was definitely life-altering.  We went from being grain-addicted, dairy-filled, and chubby to being energetic, strong, and healthy (with clearer skin and smaller waistlines!)… read more about that experience here.  That first Whole30 was in July of last year.

On the recommendation to do a Whole30 every 6 months, we planned our second round for February.  Honestly, it was time.  We had allowed ourselves to get a little lax with our food standards (cheating with corn and sugar a little too often, not caring quite as much about preservatives, etc.).  We welcomed February with gusto, and added several other goals to the mix (read more about our February goals HERE).

I knew that I would learn alot from this second Whole30 experience, but I was not prepared for how much I would learn.  Honestly, this challenge has not been very difficult… it’s not too far off from the way we usually eat.  However, I did not realize how many little things I had allowed to slip into our regular diet.  When they are just little things (like a few preservatives in So Delicious Coconut Milk, etc), we don’t see them as being very serious (it’s not like we were eating gluten!).  But during the course of this month, I was very fastidious about checking every single thing… we ate super-clean, and we feel SO good!

As with our last Whole30, we both trimmed up a little and feel better in our jeans.  We have been getting much quicker results from our workouts (three cheers for MUSCLES!).  We have slept better.  And the biggest difference has been our overall sense of feeling good.  All this from making a few tiny tweaks in the extra ingredients we were allowing to sneak in!

So until our next Whole30 (coming up in July), things will be different than they were before.  Sure, we might have a few corn chips  when we go out to eat.  We’ll splurge on some 85% dark chocolate occasionally.  We might even spread some goat cheese on our chicken.  BUT… our standards will be higher.  Except for a little dark chocolate here and there (it will ONLY be 85% or higher, and Mark Sisson says it’s okay!), cheats will only be “allowed” when we are out with friends/family (no corn, sugar, or preservatives will enter this house).  And even then, we will try to avoid them.  They truly just are not worth it!

So, in a nutshell, we learned this (it was more of a reminder, really…): we feel better, look better, and ARE BETTER when we eat simple, real, whole foods 100% of the time.  What a concept!

If you have never experienced a Whole30, YOU MUST.  If it’s been at least 6 months, YOU MUST AGAIN.

Click Here for the excellent guidebook… your best tool for making it through successfully!

Food Diary: Red Pepper & Artichoke Chicken Ba...

Last night I had chicken, artichokes, and roasted red peppers, so I decided to experiment.  I used the basic template that you see here… there are so many options for baked chicken!!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

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Red Pepper and Artichoke

Chicken Bake

4 chicken breasts

1 16-oz jar roasted red peppers

1 16-oz jar artichokes (make sure ingredients are clean!)

salt and pepper to taste

4 cloves garlic

2 TBS garlic powder

2 TBS dried basil

spinach

 

Lay chicken breasts in a 9×13 glass baking dish.  Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and basil.

Mince and spread 1 garlic clove on each chicken breast.

Top with roasted red peppers and artichokes.

Bake in 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute as much spinach as you would like in a saute pan.

Serve chicken on a bed of sauteed spinach.

 

Enjoy!