UPDATE: I completed this goal! Check out the picture post here.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out yesterday’s post, where I share my 8 BIG GOALS for these 43 days.
And be sure to read to the end of this post to check out my exciting giveaway!
Big Goal #2 has already been super-fun, and I am so excited to share it with you! Here it is:
In an effort to broaden my Paleo food horizons and experiment with some new styles of cooking, I’ve decided to make each and every recipe from Well Fed during the next 41 days (kinda “Julie and Julia” style, ya know?).
We started our challenge on Tuesday, and our meals have been INSANELY DELICIOUS so far! To be honest, I was starting to get into a little cooking rut – only cooking things that I’ve made a bazillion times (hey, they’re easy and delicious, so why not?). But my sweet husband has hinted around a little lately that maybe we should try some new recipes. That sounded like a challenge!
This kinda goes against one of the “keep it simple” tips in my eBook (Easy Paleo: 21 Practical Ways to Simplify Your Paleo Life, $4.99), but it’s just for a one-month challenge, so I can handle it! Generally, trying to use a recipe every night isn’t the best idea… but this is going to be SO fun!
As I read through my new favorite book of all time, It Starts With Food, I learned that Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed is completely Whole30-approved and recommended (except for one very desserty recipe at the end). This was really exciting to read! I LOVE Melissa’s work (check out my interview with her here – what a cool chic!). She has an amazing website, and her book is so lovely. I’ve made lots of recipes from her site (including Chocolate Chili), and they have all been delish, so I knew we were in for a treat!
Here’s a look at what we’ve had so far, and a peek at what’s in store for the end of the week!
Good grief, this was good! Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water!
First on the list, Salmon a l’Afrique du Nord (Well Fed, p. 103). Wow. That’s basically all I have to say. To be honest, I’ve never cooked salmon on my own before, so this was really a challenge! And to top it off, the recipe has you cook the entire 2-pound filet in one piece… yikes! So when I went to Whole Foods to pick up a few things, I stopped by the meat and fish counter and spotted a beautiful piece of wild-caught Alaskan salmon. The clerk was even able to tell me exactly where in Alaska it was caught (Anchorage), and who the fishermen were… very cool! This was not a cheap piece of fish, so I was a little nervous about botching the recipe!
I followed Melissa’s instructions to the letter (except for the fact that we don’t have a grill… I used my oven broiler instead), and the fish came out beautifully. I’ll tell you how it tasted in a moment.
Next up, we had Cumin-Roasted Carrots (Well Fed, p. 115). Wow again. Who knew that carrots could taste so freakin’ good? The spices blended perfectly with the salmon, and the carrots were juicy and succulent with the tiniest little crunch deep inside. Amazing.
Finally, we added Turkish Chopped Salad (Well Fed, p. 141). This blend of chopped, raw veggies is perfectly spiced, full of flavor, and so good for you! And I loved the excuse to use raw radishes… YUM.
All in all, this was seriously the most gourmet-tasting meal I have ever cooked. My husband and I were saying “wow…” with almost every bite. And the best part? None of it was difficult! The most time-consuming part was probably chopping all the veggies for the salad… but turn on a good podcast, and you’re good to go.
On Tuesday, we had another delicious dinner!
First off, Meatza Pie (Well Fed, p. 77). Now, this is what I call a pizza crust… MEAT! This recipe does not look complex, but the flavors are insane. I started off by making Melissa’s blend of Italian Sausage Seasoning (Well Fed, p. 49), and then pressing it into the beef before forming a crust in the bottom of a baking dish. Once that is cooked, you make up the simple sauce recipe, which includes Pizza Seasoning (Well Fed, p. 49), and just toss on whatever veggies you have available. I have ALOT of yellow squash right now, so I used that, some broccoli, some onions, and some bell peppers. This dish was easy, spicy, and delicious!
As a side dish, we had Greek Broccoli (Well Fed, p. 117). What a cool recipe! I would never thing to toss broccoli with tomato paste and a bunch of fabulous spices, but it totally works! We really enjoyed this dinner.
Last night’s dinner consisted of Grilled Chicken Thighs (Well Fed, p. 29) over Steam-Sauteed Veggies (Well Fed, p. 33). As I mentioned above, we do not have a grill, so I followed Melissa’s “No Grill?” instructions… very handy! Why in the world have we not been eating more chicken thighs?? They are DELICIOUS! I don’t know why, but we usually spring for boneless, skinless breasts… and now I know that those are far less flavorful! I picked up some organic thighs from Costco, and boy, they were tender and juicy!
As a side dish, we made a big salad with Creamy Italian Dressing (Well Fed, p. 59). Most amazing salad dressing I have ever had. Period.
My salad consisted of mixed greens, baby spinach, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, avocado chunks, slivered almonds, and cucumbers. So, so, so good. The dressing was so amazing that we actually “sopped it up” on our chicken thighs and scarfed it down.
We didn’t get enough chicken thighs last night (seriously, we both wanted them again!), so I baked this again, but with a different spice mixture: Ras el Hanout (Well Fed, p. 47). What an amazing spice blend! It contains cumin, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Can you smell it already? I can! It is amazing. I sprinkled the seasoning over the chicken before baking, and it gave it a beautiful flavor.
As a base, I also made Creamy Spice Market Kale (Well Fed, p. 111). Have you ever had moist, juicy kale? I hadn’t before tonight… the coconut milk in the recipe truly does make it creamy and wonderful. But be prepared – it is definitely spicy! We loved every bite.
We had a good amount of salad and dressing leftover from last night, so we were thrilled to enjoy that again!
Tomorrow night we are having dinner with some friends, and I’m bringing the food. I’m making Shepherd’s Pie (Well Fed, p. 97), and I am so excited! This will be my first experience with ground lamb, and I can’t think of many things I love more than mashed cauliflower (Well Fed, p. 113), so I’m sure it will be delish!
UPDATE: Check out the picture! This was delicious… My lamb didn’t arrive in time, so I made the “Cottage Pie” variation from the book (ground beef instead of lamb).
On Saturday, we’re going to visit some Paleo friends who live near our beef farmer, so we’ll pick up an order on the way! Blair and I met through my Facebook page, and we’ve had lunch a few times. We’ve had so much fun, that we decided our hubbies should meet as well! Three cheers for Paleo meet-ups! Blair is cooking for us, and I’m bringing a few side dishes (probably the Cumin-Roasted Carrots and Turkish Chopped Salad recipes that I tried earlier in the week – they are definitely winners!).
On Sunday, I’m making Waldorf Tuna Salad (Well Fed, p. 67). I have recently fallen in love with tuna, so this is sure to be delicious!
Update: Here’s the picture, and YES – it was amazing!!
Also, as a snack this week, we enjoyed Carmelized Coconut Chips (Well Fed, p. 153). I cannot believe how much these crispy little goodies taste like popcorn! I will definitely be cooking up a batch before our next movie outing. Fo’ sho.
Who loves a GIVEAWAY?
Seriously, people… not only is Melissa Joulwan a culinary genius, she is also such a sweetheart! She emailed me today and offered a SIGNED COPY of Well Fed to one lucky winner… cool, huh?? I’m also throwing in a copy of my eBook, Easy Paleo: 21 Practical Ways to Simplify Your Paleo Life. What a great combo!
Here are the rules:
1. Commit to doing a Whole30 yourself!
2. “Like” the Easy Paleo Facebook Page
4. SHARE this giveaway post with your friends on your own FB page (I will be able to see the “shares” under the post).
(The “share” button is directly under the FB post ON FACEBOOK – right beside the “like” button).
5. Comment on this post, letting me know that you’ve done all the steps above, and the dates of your own Whole30.
Easy peasy, huh? Get on it! You NEED both of these books!
Drawing will be done on July 1st, 2012.
Be sure to check out the next post: Natural Skin Care!