So most of you know that I’m taking part in Crossfit Durham’s Paleo Challenge. Essentially our family is eating the caveman diet for 30 days. What’s the Paelo/Caveman Diet? This oversimplifies things, but basically if it had a face or you could pick it you can eat it. We’re two weeks into the four week run. I’ve posted a couple of links to recipes that the family enjoyed on FB, but I’ve come to understand that more folks beyond my Crossfit circle are paying closer attention than I realized.

Plus a few of those friends who are already eating much cleaner than I have been have been super helpful in providing resources/links/recipes etc. It seemed like it was my turn to reciprocate. So with that in mind, here are a handful of links to recipes that we’ve cooked over the past two weeks with our thoughts about each. I bid you all good eats! Please note: none of these recipes are our own. I’ve provided links to the source where we found them.

Sausage
Meat Crust Quiche
http://paleomg.com/meat-crust-quiche/ — This one was pretty fabulous. Tasty enough that the kids devoured it. Tasty enough that Erin noted that it was flavorful enough that she didn’t miss the lack of cheese.

A couple cooking notes: 1) We used Neese Country Sausage 2) Erin used 8 eggs, not the 4 listed in the recipe 3) Erin used 2 cloves of garlic and eliminated the garlic powder that the recipe called for. 4) Erin also made a note that the sausage shrunk considerably as the quiche cooked. She has a note to herself that next time she wants to bake this with another pan resting on top.

Breakfast Lasagna
http://paleomg.com/breakfast-lasagna/

This one was a let down, but we think we know where the issue lay. We cooked with this chorizo as the recipe calls for. However, the chorizo we found was very mild and greasy. The entire dish ended up sweet and greasy even after draining the sausage extensively. We’re confident that with a different sausage this could have been a hit. We’re certain because one of our favorite family recipes is a pouch meal of thinly sliced sweet potatoes layered alternately with country sausage sealed in a pouch of aluminum foil and tossed on the grill. We’re going to revisit this one again with a different type of sausage.

Beef
Oven Braised Beef Stew
http://nomnompaleo.com/post/2727452571/oven-braised-beef-stew-with-carrot-parsnip-and

The adults enjoyed this one a lot. The kids ate it, but weren’t overly excited about it. It’s not a meal you’re going to bang out after work either. Erin’s cooking notes say: 1) She used beef broth over the listed chicken broth and that she probably used closer to two cups rather than the 1 cup listed. She also has a note that she browned everything in batches in a dutch oven (which took an hour by itself), tossed it all into a pre-heated crockpot and left it for 3 hours. Apparently, we also forgot to add the kale. This fed a family of 4 comfortably and provided a few lunches/left over dinners beyond.

Paleo Farmers Pie
http://nomnompaleo.com/post/11177387703/paleo-comfort-foods-farmers-pie

This one was a surprisingly pleasant meal. I’m not a cauliflower fan. Neither is Erin and she loves traditionaly Sheppards Pie with the baked on potatoe enough that she was really skeptical about the cauliflower subsititute. Another one that the grown ups enjoyed. The kids ate what they were served, but didn’t go back for seconds. There were also plenty of leftovers. From a logistics standpoint, this one also takes time. Erin easily spent an hour on a Wednesday night prepping ingredients. Which meant Thursday all I had to do was puree the cauliflower, layer it on and bake the dish for 45 min in a 400 degree oven. But again, probably not a quick after work sort of recipe.

Other cooking notes, we used 3 pounds of ground beef, but no lamb. It’s simply what we had. erin alos has a note that we only used roughly 3 cups (1 large head) of cauliflower rather than the 6 listed. It was enough to cover the entire 9×13 baking dish, but not by much.

Chicken

Chicken Burgers

http://paleomg.com/herb-spinach-chicken-burgers/

This one was pretty convenient and quick as I recall and I really enjoyed them. The kids thought they were just fine. Erin wasn’t thrilled with them. For her the experience of actually mixing the ground chicken and other ingredients was unpleasant enough that she couldn’t get past it when it was time to eat. It was a matter of it all smelled wrong to her and the ground chicken she purchased was too fine for her taste so the meat ended up gooey. Having not been part of that, I had no issue with making and grilling patties and enjoying them. My only issue with the meal was that I was jonsin’ to put them on a quality bun! I liked them because they were light. I actually ate one or two on following mornings in place of a pork breakfast sausage.

Spinach Stuffed Chicken
http://paleomg.com/bacon-and-spinach-stuffed-chicken/

This one was FABULOUS! Might be my favorite meal that we’ve tried so far. Erin enjoyed it thoroughly, and if I recall correctly, the kids also demolished theirs. Erin says this one was straight forward and that the author’s 35 minutes total prep/cook time is pretty much on point. Erin and I each demolished a full breast. The kids split one, so there was only lunch for one the next day.

Chicken in a Pot
http://nomnompaleo.com/post/2634103005/whole30-deliciousness-dorie-greenspans-when-in-doubt

First up, we used Turkey (drumstick) rather than chicken. It made the meal more substantial to me, which I really enjoyed. As I recall, the adults loved it. The 9yo enjoyed it, but didn’t have seconds. The 4yo wasn’t overly impressed. Erin doesn’t have a lot of notes on this one other than she browned all in Dutch oven in batches. Held it all in bowls then put it all back inthe dutch oven to bake. This one left our family of four with leftovers for lunches and dinners for a couple of days.

Dessert

Ok — first, I’m trying to wean myself off desserts, so I’m trying really hard to avoid them. Mostly, I’m trying to change my mindset that dessert has to consist of chocolate. I’ll be honest, I’m struggling too. Erin is not eliminating desserts, but is being supportive and only preparing paleo-friendly desserts. So here a few things we’ve tried.

Paleo Maple Pumpkin Custard Cups
http://www.health-bent.com/treats/paleo-maple-pumpkin-custard-cups

These were suggested by a friend at CFD. Thanks Beth! Erin thought they were ok, but a bit watery. She plans to try them with eggs next time. I believe in place of the gelatin. Me? It seemed just like eating the business portion of a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. They were tasty enough that I had to fight the urge to layer on whipped cream. 😉

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
http://thebitesizedbaker.com/2013/01/23/paleo-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Fabulous! Most of you know that at holiday times, my wife and her mother bake thousands of holiday cookies and that is no exaggeration. My wife also bakes and decorates cakes for the kids for their birthdays, so she knows her way around a cookie sheet. I made these today and she tried one and said, “MMMMMM. Now THAT’s a cookie.” I can think of no higher compliment.

These were easy, quick and very tasty. The kids love them. The author says in her recipe that she usually gets two dozen out of a batch. She must be making cookies the size of saucers. I scooped each cookie with a standard kitchen teaspoon and made 5 dozen healthy sized cookies from a single batch of dough. One other issue, these cookies are not cheap! A single pound of almond flour cost me $12 at Whole Foods. For that reason alone, these will be a fairly special and rare treat around this house. Thanks to Dave Rubin, owner of CFD, for introducing everyone to this recipe!

Another thought. The recipe calls for cocoa nibs. At Dave’s recommendation I found and used Easy Life dairy, gluten, nut and soy free chocolate chips. Could only find mini-chips at my local Whole Foods today. They seem to work just fine for us.

Pancakes —
http://paleoparents.com/featured/easy-peasy-pancakes/

You all know what pancakes mean to me and the kids. If you don’t read this and then come back. I will not compromise on pancake meals each weekend. It’s time I treasure with both of the kids and I’m not giving it up for anything. I was willing to make our “traditional breakfast” my weekly cheat meal and simply take the points and nutrition challenge be damned. Now, thanks to our friend Karen Gledhill, who shared this recipe with us, I don’t have to. Thank you Karen!

There’s enough mixing and measuring going on to keep the 4yo entertained as she helps me prepare them. The adults enjoyed these. The 9yo ate one. The 4yo balked. They’re different enough from what our kids our used to that it threw them the first time. I think if we try them again periodically, they’ll come around.

So there you have it. Two weeks into a 30 day challenge and that’s the bulk of what we’ve been eating. Like I said. None of those recipes are my own. I’ve tried to attribute to the appropriate originators where possible. Thanks to all who have shared with us so far. Please keep the suggestions coming. We’ve got two weeks to go in this challenge. Enjoy.

 

 

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