All posts by Aaron

Paleo “Beer” Battered Fish & Chips Review

Everyday Paleo Fish & Chips
Everyday Paleo Fish & Chips

Doesn’t that look nice? Even though I couldn’t stand it and took a bite of fish before I took the pic?

On Wednesdays, I work from home most weeks, which gives me the opportunity to do things that are a bit more involved for supper. Tonight was definitely one of those nights because there was a little prep in making the tartar sauce, and cutting the potatoes. The fish was oddly the quickest part of this whole thing.

This is the “Beer” battered fish and chips recipe from Everyday Paleo, which we used sparkling water and turned out great. I have been trying to find a good way to do fish that we really liked, and I think this is going to be it. It was super simple, and even Baby Girl really enjoyed it. We used tilapia and grouper, and it turned out really, really well. We also made the “chips”, and they were pretty easy other than just the simple act of cutting them all up.

And the tartar sauce is from the same recipe. That did take longer than I expected because I thought we had something I could use for mayonnaise, but we didn’t have enough to make the tartar sauce, so I had to make the Everyday Paleo Mayo, then use that mayo to make Everyday Paleo Tartar Sauce. So, the whole process was not quick, but the tartar sauce turned out pretty well, and was a really good compliment to the fish, though it didn’t taste exactly like the tartar I am used to from the store as the dill was a little more overpowering than I expected. But it was a good sauce that I may end up using on things other than fish, which I wouldn’t do with regular tartar.

We will definitely be doing this again as soon as I can get another good deal on fish.

Paleo Grilled Plantains Review

I have never gotten a fresh plantain from the store before, so I thought I would try it. And once I got one, I had to figure out exactly how to fix them. I have seen a lot of recipes, but somehow I wasn’t sure what to do. So I searched through my evernote account and found the recipe that looked the best. Grilled Plantains.

Grilled Plantains
Grilled Plantains

So, I took the original recipe which included Plantains, fried eggs, avocados, and cherry tomatoes and added some cheese, because I do really well with high quality cheese, and some green onion.  And, even though I think the original author of the recipe planned to use this for a breakfast, I did it for lunch and it was quite filling.

Overall, it went well, and wasn’t too shabby. The next time I would probably add some sort of cooked meat like ham or bacon or something. The plantains were decent, though not amazing. It may be the way I fixed them, but I think with the right recipe they could be pretty tasty. This one just wasn’t my favorite meal. Very different though, and a neat experiment if nothing else.

My Go-To Lunch

My Standard Lunch
My Standard Lunch

So, this is my normal lunch. And I know it doesn’t look amazing, but it is easy to store, quick to eat, and fairly cheap.

It is Sardines and veggies. This is what I eat at least a couple of days a week. I get 6 cans of the Wild Planet Sardines from Costco for $10, which is a fairly cheap protein, then put that with some mustard and sriracha and, if I have the forethought to pack one, a half or whole avocado. Then I steam the Organic Normandy veggies from Costco and have those frozen in individual ziplock bags so I can grab one in the morning or leave a couple at work for when I need them.

I have looked and looked for options for paleo lunches that are truly portable and easy, and this or the BA Salad are the easiest and best things you can do if you don’t have leftovers waiting on you in the fridge or freezer that you can heat. The Sardines are a great source of Omega-3’s, as well as Vitamin D, and have so many other vitamins in it, it doesn’t make sense to list here.  Check out the Vitamins and Minerals on this page.

Plantain Chips from the store
Plantain Chips from the store

Now, a couple of months ago, I looked in the clearance section of Kroger and found something that I grabbed every single one of. Plantain chips! These little guys are fantastic for dipping into the sardine mix. I will eat about half the bag at lunch, and it gives me some good crunch, salt, and carbs, and the only ingredients on the bag are plantains and palm oil. Not too shabby Kroger. Too bad they don’t have them anymore since they were on clearance, because these are really nice. Guess I need to go to a more ethnic store to get some of my staples.

Meatballs and sweet potato fries

Some days I have something very specific for lunch and other days I am just grabbing something as I go out the door. Today was an “out the door” type of day.

Last night I made some sweet potato fries with olive oil, old bay seasoning, paprika, and salt. I put them all in a bowl and just mixed them up really good and put them on parchment for 30 minutes at 400*. They were great last night and just as good today.

Yummy SP Fries
Yummy SP Fries

I brought those to work with me along with some Aidell’s mango and jalapeno meatballs. While the meatballs aren’t paleo since they have soybean oil, cane syrup, and are cooked in vegetable oil, they are fairly minimal in the ingredient category, though not as minimal as the Caramalized Onion ones, which you buy as a large pack together at Costco.
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It’s so hard for me to find real examples of what Paleo folks eat for regular lunches when they aren’t making some fantastic concoction, so I am hoping to do this more to show people some options you can have when you can’t eat strict paleo without totally derailing your results.

 

 

Paleo Ultra Low Carb Almond Flour Pancakes Review

Every so often I will fix these Ultra Low Carb Almond Flour Pancakes from athlete.io and they truly are really good. I typically add both a little bit of honey and some vanilla, plus I load the butter on top. I have been meaning to double up the batch and freeze them for work mornings but hadn’t gotten around to it. So this morning I made an effort while the kids had their gluten free bisquik pancakes to do so. Pancakes and bacon are a weekly occurrence for us, so it’s nice to have a cleaner version for those days I want to feel my best. I don’t put syrup on, but instead simply add a nice pat of Kerrygold butter to the top and let that melt to create a nice sweetness that doesn’t overwhelm my blood sugar later. 20140601-093242-34362381.jpg

Do It Yourself Primal Pacs

The real Primal Pacs
The real Primal Pacs

 

I love Primal Pacs. These shelf stable packs are vacuum sealed containers of jerky, nuts, and fruit that make for a very good snack, or even a good meal on the run. I have had some of these in my pantry for some time, and had taken one to work a few weeks back. I happened to have a crazy day that day and saw this thing sitting on my desk. I looked at the back of the package to the macronutrient numbers and thought, “This could actually make for a good meal since I can’t leave my desk.” So, guess what I had for lunch that day? And ended up being quite satisfied. So, I took another one to have in case I needed it down the line and had it a few days later.

When you can’t take a sandwich, this may be one of the easiest things to have on hand to eat without much trouble. The problem is the price, and it’s not to say that the price is outlandish, because it’s not, but for a regular person who just wants to try and stay close to the paleo line, it is a bit more than I want to spend on a meal. At around $7 each, it isn’t crazy, and I used to spend more than that at Taco Bell without blinking, but when you are at your desk, you want something quick, and cheap.

So, I started looking into the best way to recreate this since all that it contains is jerky, dried nuts, dried berries, and some mango. I thought, “I can make some of these, and make them fit me a bit more.”

Below is the result.

DIY Primal Pack Contents
DIY Primal Pack Contents

My wife had bought this Reynold’s Handi-Vac system sometime ago for like $3 at a yard sale and we didn’t really have a specific use for it. It came with 3 bags, so I put it to use. I used the bags, some dried mango and blueberries from costco, some Macadamia Nuts, and some unsweetened coconut to create my bag. Now, you may have noticed I didn’t say anything about the jerky. The first time I did this, I actually used some pork strips from Costco as well, and had great results, but this time I used the actual Primal Pac jerky with the same result, just different ratios. Since not all of us can afford to buy jerky from a steer that was raised on arugula in the Andes mountains on a regular basis, I am going to show you the ratios I used for creating my bags with the Costco jerky instead. And the Costco Beef Strips are really good too, a better fat/carb/protein ratio for sure as the pork has more sugar and less of the good stuff. But both are gluten free.

DIY Primal PackHere is my DIY primal pack. I used the Handi-Vac to suck the air out and they keep in my desk for weeks without me even thinking about them, and then I’ll have a week where I can’t get away from my desk, and will devour these things in no time.

So, here are the things I was looking at when I ate the real Primal Pac that first day.

Protein: 48g
Fat: 28g
Carbohydrates: 28g
Fiber: 4g

Not a bad for a total of close to 500 calories. There are no veggies in it for obvious reasons, but other than that, it is a good, solid meal.

So, here is how my pack came out.

Protein: 26g
Fat: 33g
Carbohydrates: 50g
Fiber: 5g

While not as good as the real deal because of the added sugar in the jerky and dried fruit, it is still not too bad, and comes out to over 600 calories with all of those carbs.

And, here is the coolest part, when I do the packs myself, the first time would include the price of the bags and the sealer, but after that, if you take those out of the equation, since I plan to use them over and over again, the cost of all of the food is only $4.38 per bag. I end up saving a couple of bucks each time I do this.  Not a bad deal, and it is so super convenient for me.

I know it is just a couple of bucks, but over time, it can add up, and you have to cut costs and make decisions based on your own personal stances on things. I won’t do gluten, so that’s easy. I am okay with a little bit of added sugar here or there, especially in such small amounts, and I need to save money where I can while not completely defeating my goals, so this is one way I can handle this without much work. If I had a super high paying job, I would love to just get the Primal Pacs every few weeks and have them on hand whenever I needed them, but this is reality, and reality means you make cuts where you can in order to keep moving forward. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so Paleo Police, sorry.

 

Paleo Pizza and Baked Squash Fries Review

Some nights you go for hardcore paleo, and some nights it is about keeping everyone happy within reason. Tonight was somewhere in between.

Tonight the plan was to have pizza and a veggie. We’d had some grilled squash and zucchini earlier this week, and we had just a couple left to use for something else. I had remembered saving Against All Grain’s Baked Squash Fries and thought that might be a good addition to pizza night.

Typically we just use the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough. Not because it is paleo, since it’s not, but because it is really tasty and gluten free. So no one in our house has to have stomach troubles afterward, and pizza night is always a hit.

But tonight I wanted to change it up a bit. My kids still had the Bob’s Red Mill, but I tried out a Paleo Pizza dough that looked simple enough to put together without much thought on my part. Because, honestly, a lot of nights, that is what helps me choose what route we go for dinner over a more complicated meal, especially when it’s just me and the kids.

So, the results.  Obviously I am not a chef, nor an amazing food photographer like a lot of other bloggers I follow, so this is the real deal. Below is my plate for the night. My Baked Squash Fries look totally different than AAG, but they still tasted very good when dipped in marinara sauce.

My Plate Tonight
My Plate Tonight
Baked Squash Fries, not as pretty as AAG
Baked Squash Fries, not as pretty as AAG

The kids’ pizza was partial Kerrygold Dubliner cheese and part Daiya Tapioca cheese since the little man can’t yet have dairy. Both had tomato sauce and pepperoni.  Baby girl wanted red pepper and little man wanted green pepper, so they added those and, as always, it was a hit.

Bob's Red Mill Pizza - minus egg
Bob’s Red Mill Pizza – minus egg

My pizza, at least what was left on the pan, was sauce, pepperoni, Dubliner cheese, red and green pepper, and onion. I wasn’t sure about this recipe just because in the article, the author commented that it was more of a batter than a dough, and he was right, but it was surprisingly tasty. It was almost more like an italian breadstick with toppings rather than a pizza dough.  Not as crunchy and hard as pizza dough, but packed with flavor.

Paleo Pizza
Paleo Pizza

Lessons Learned

The next time I make both of these, I will probably back off on the italian seasoning. It was a bit overwhelming with all of the basil and oregano in the mix, but still good. But I think the squash fries would have been more of a hit with the kids if I had used less since their palates are a bit more tender than mine.

Overall it was a very good and successful meal that I will likely do again, especially since pizza night happens at our house every week or two and squash and zucchini will be coming in over the next few weeks in the garden.

My Paleo Journey

From My Story

My life has revolved around the health of myself and those around me.

At the age of 8, I lost my mother in to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She had slowly deteriorated to a point where the most communication she could get to us were small movements and moans. She had been diagnosed with it years earlier and we saw her health waste away to a sad point. The only way that we saw much improvement on her from day to day is when she would go see a local chiropractor to help with some of her pain. This was our first example of how the body can heal when given the proper stimuli without putting foreign substances in.

Continue reading My Paleo Journey