WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: practical paleo

Greek Style Salad

I literally brushed dust off my laptop when I grabbed it tonight. Lately I’ve been doing lots of things that don’t really involve being on my computer.

Two weeks ago, my CrossFit boxed suddenly closed. I had some free passes I was using so I’ve spent the last couple weeks trying to decide what to do with myself. I’m seriously addicted to CrossFit. I’m also playing soccer and will be training for a half marathon though so I definitely can’t justify the cost of joining a new box on top of both of these commitments. I finally made the decision today to sign up for a weekly outdoor CrossFit class. It’s run by CrossFit Calgary and is in the park a few minutes walk from my house. It starts tonight and I’m pretty excited about it.

The weather in Calgary has been fantastic, so I’ve been spending a lot less time inside on my computer and a lot more enjoying the outdoors. We’ve been getting back into running more and bought a Frisbee this weekend for sunny days in the park. I even got a mild sunburn on Saturday, which is pretty rare for me!

Work has been busy too. I spent most of last week down at geoConvention talking to clients about our software. It was lots of long days in heels, but I actually really enjoyed it. It’s nice to get out and talk to clients, put names to faces, and not be glued to my computer for a few days.

On to the point of this post, I guess! Greek Salad is one of my very favourite salads. Unfortunately, one of the best parts of it is the feta cheese. This month we were making a solid effort to eat Paleo at home so feta was out. I don’t even have any in the fridge right now, which is pretty shocking. Olives are the other delicious piece of the puzzle though, if you ask me. I took a really simple idea from Balanced Bites and edited my Greek Salad recipe a bit. I don’t even know if this counts as a recipe.

Greek Style Salad
In a large salad bowl. combine cucumber, grape tomatoes, and pitted olives. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil. 
Easy, Simple, and Delicious.

Meal Prep Monday

I’ve talked before about how important and helpful I find meal planning and prep. These tools are one of the only reasons I even come close to sticking to both a budget and a lifestyle. N and I have been following the Primal Blueprint since the end of our month of Paleo in December. The Primal Blueprint is very similar to Paleo except more lenient in terms of dairy, rice, wine, and beer.

Veggies for the week

This month we’ve decided to do 30 days of Paleo while also cutting out drinking. Not only does it save us some money (no cheese, no alcohol!), but I also feel a lot better cutting these things out. What’s a month, anyway?

We honestly didn’t get off to the best start with this challenge, but we’re back on track now. Sometimes I find myself looking at others and thinking they never have setbacks. I know this isn’t true though so I don’t want to come across as one of those people who never falls short. I do. Frequently. But I try to keep it in perspective. There’s no point in dwelling on a few beers or a couple french fries you shouldn’t have eaten.

Cutting up colourful peppers for snacks

One of the best ways we’ve found to be successful in our day to day lives is to prepare snacks in advance. This doesn’t always happen Monday, but usually early in the week. (Meal Prep Monday just sounds better than Meal Prep Sunday or Tuesday). I find it easiest to do everything for the week at once, so I’ll cook up any bacon we plan to eat for breakfasts, cut up veggies for snacks, make egg bites, or bake muffins. I’m lazy so this works for me.

Breakfast for the week: Bacon Acorn Squash Patties 

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut so I’m more than grateful for websites like Civilized Caveman and PaleOMG and books like Practical Paleo. I would probably end up eating the same thing every week if it weren’t for these awesomely talented and creative people!

Bacon Beef Butternut Squash

Yup, we eat a lot of bacon. 

All of these sources have inspired me to be more creative and taught me how delicious life can be, even without my beloved grains. We tried a ridiculously good pasta recipe with George’s Sweet Potato Pasta and our own sauce creation. I’ll try and get some decent pictures of that one next time since it’s one of my new favourites and it’s ridiculously simple!

Pumpkin Pancakes

I love brunch. It’s one of my favourite things about weekends. We live down the street from 2 amazing brunch spots and a short drive from a handful of others, but most of the time we try to do brunch at home.

Pumpkin Pancakes are one of our favourite weekend treats. They are delicious, easy, and paleo. Triple threat brunch. Sounds good right?

I’ve instagrammed photos of these pancakes so many times that I figured it was about time I blogged about them. I even convinced N to photograph for me (believe me, not an easy feat!). And yes, I always look this put together on Saturday mornings. (I hope if you make these pancakes you enjoy them in your pyjamas too. No makeup necessary.)

I really wish I could take credit for this awesome recipe, but sadly I cannot. This is from what has quickly become my favourite cookbook, Practical Paleo. Follow the link to Diane’s recipe online or check out my very similar version below.

Pumpkin Pancakes
grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, nut-free, nightshade-free

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 servings


* 4 eggs
* 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
* 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil   (I use coconut oil)
* 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
* 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (unless you’re going sugar free. You can also use honey.)
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (we don’t have this so I added a pinch of nutmeg)
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
pinch of salt (I’ve forgotten this many times.)

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl.

Add the pumpkin puree, pure vanilla extract, and pure maple syrup. Whisk together. Sift the spices and baking soda into the wet ingredients. (I am usually too lazy for sifting, so I just add them and mix until everything is combined.)

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter (or coconut oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. Then, mix the butter into the batter. (I let it cool for a bit so it doesn’t cook the egg.)

Continue to whisk the batter and butter until they are completely combined. 

Grease the skillet and spoon the batter into the skillet to make pancakes of your desired size. When bubbles appear, flip the pancakes once to finish cooking.

Serve with butter, cinnamon or bananas. Personally, we usually go with extra maple syrup and nice cup of fresh coffee. 


Meal Prep

Daylight savings gets me every time. Somehow this week is already getting away from me and it’s only Tuesday. Between upcoming deadlines at work and CrossFit on a regular basis, life feels busy. 

I wrote a post back in December about our experience with the Paleo Diet. It changed the way I look at food and how we eat and we haven’t really looked back. We’ve both seen some awesome benefits from cutting our grains so it just makes sense to stick with it. 
We also attempt to abide by some semblance of a budget, so we both bring our lunches to work daily (or at least we try. We’re mostly successful with this, although I give into lunch with the girls sometimes). I know this sounds like a lot of work, especially after I just said that life feels busy, but it’s actually not. 
A mostly Paleo meal we made for my parents

I don’t have some crazy secret or a tip you’ve never heard before. We honestly rely completely on meal prep and leftovers. Every night we make dinner at home so we just make a little extra so we can both have lunch the next day. It’s one of the easiest things. I’m fairly certain my mom would laugh and say I told you so if she were to read this. I can’t count the number of times she told me things like this.

Sometimes our planning doesn’t work out perfectly, so I also keep canned tuna and spinach on hand all the time so I can throw together a large salad if need be. (That’s what we’ll be eating for lunch tomorrow, in fact.) Every morning, I make a smoothie that we drink before we leave the house. I prep large batches of bacon that we keep in the fridge and we cook up some eggs to go with it once we get to work. This has become a habit but I still don’t always feel like doing any of it. Of course, I’m always pretty glad I did once I get to work the next day. How can you go wrong with leftover lamb meatballs or steak?

Lamb Meatballs and Balasmic Fig Compote
Another great “trick” I rely heavily on is meal planning. I’m not going to tell you this is something that I love or even remotely look forward to, but I find it pretty essential to staying on track. Sometimes it gets altered during the week and sometimes we end up going out still, but it’s incredibly satisfying not to have to worry about thinking up dinner that night. It takes me 10 minutes on Sunday and then we’re ready for the week. 
Wasabi Salmon “Burgers”
I’m not going to pretend we’re perfect. A lot of this is an experiment, but most of what we end up eating is pretty delicious. Don’t worry, we still eat out more than we should and go over budget sometimes (that bacon is expensive!). We’re pretty human in that way. For the most part I think we do pretty well, though and I’m proud of us for that. 
What are you tips and “tricks” to saying on your budget or diet? 

Paleo Challenge

Making Olive Tapenade

I’ve been hearing about the Palaeolithic Diet for a while now. When you do CrossFit, it’s only a matter of time until a Paleo Challenge comes up so I’d been reading and thinking quite a bit about it for a while.

I’ve never believed in diets. I don’t believe they work. I’ve always thought eating well and exercise were the only way to go. While I still believe this, what eating well means to me has changed significantly this year.

Cooking my first whole chicken

This summer, a friend recommended the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. I was looking for a new cookbook with some good recipes and Diane’s book seemed great so I ordered it online. N and I had been making an effort to eat better and I’d already been introducing some paleo recipes to our meal plan. (Yes, we’re big nerds and do a weekly meal plan. It helps with budgeting.) Diane’s book is great. The recipes are beautiful and she does a great job of explaining a lot of the science behind paleo. Between her book and Mark’s Daily Apple, a lot of what I was reading was starting to make sense. I still wasn’t sold on the idea though. I’ll be the first to tell you, I love bread and cheese. Part of why I loved living in France so much was the food. I love everything about good food. The more I read though, the more I wanted to try 30 days of paleo. I just wasn’t sure if I could convince Nathan to give up his cereal in the morning. By the same token, he thought I’d never give up cheese.

One of our easy go-to recipes:
Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Two weeks into November, my friend told me her and her boyfriend were doing a 30 day paleo challenge. This was just the motivation I needed to propose it to N. He agreed and we ate through what we could of our grains and legumes before Nov 15. It wasn’t the best time to be doing a paleo challenge (we had Christmas and Birthday Parties and were training for a half marathon) but I figured there would always be a reason why now wasn’t the time. So we decided to cut grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils from our diet as much as possible. We knew that most weekends would probably involve a “cheat” meal of some sort, but during the week we stuck to paleo as much as possible.

One of N’s favourite foods is pizza, so I kick started our month with a paleo pizza. It turned out pretty well for a pizza without grains or cheese and it was definitely a fun experiment. We made a cauliflower crust and then topped it with some delicious tomato sauce, meat, mushrooms and asparagus. N still says it’s not really a pizza, but he enjoyed it anyway.

Paleo Pizza

We finished our paleo challenge Dec 15, just in time for my Christmas Party. I really enjoyed our month of paleo and it has definitely changed the way I think about the food I put in my mouth. We’ve since added back in a few things, namely dairy, but are mostly still excluding everything else. I found after the month was over, I didn’t want to go back to eating grains.

Feeling awesome! 

I would never say I’m gluten intolerant or that I’ll never eat gluten (we still love to go out for dinner!), but I’m definitely more aware of the effect both have on my body. A lot of people are horrified that we eat bacon every morning and cook with bacon fat and butter, but I honestly feel great eating this way. One of the biggest changes I noticed was the sluggish feeling I used to get after my lunchtime sandwich was gone.

I didn’t go into this thinking I was going to lose a ton of weight. I don’t really weigh myself that often anymore anyways, but I did take note of my weight at the beginning and then again at the end. I lost about 10 pounds, which was a wonderful side effect. I’m mostly just happy to feel like I look better. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments which also makes me feel amazing.

I really have nothing but great things to say about the experience. I know it’s not for everyone and I know a lot of paleo enthusiasts can get kind of preachy, so my goal is to stay far away from that. At the end of the day, I think everyone should do what makes them feel good.

So I’ll leave you with this: Try new recipes. Eat bacon. Experiment with food. 

Eat, drink, be merry. 

Here’s a few favourites for our month-long challenge. Check out Diane’s book for the actual recipes. 

Chinese Five Spice Lettuce Wraps

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese 

First delicious attempt at lamb chops with olive tapenade

Butternut Squash Sage Soup
Shrimp and Pesto Zucchini Fettuccine 

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

Typical Breakfast: Rutabaga Egg Nests with Avocado and Bacon

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