We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Whole30 Challenge: Michelle's Paleo Journal—Days 3 and 4

by Michelle

Perseverance—the secret of all triumphs. ~ Victor Hugo

Beef Meatballs with Marinara over Spaghetti Squash.
This time I refrained from adding the Parmesan.
My Paleo adventures continue after my first installment:

Day 3
Breakfast: Cup of Coffee and 2 scrambled eggs and crumbled meatball cooked in ghee
Snack: Paleo Breakfast Cookie (I might gnaw my hand off for a Medjool date right now)
Lunch: Leftover Beef meatballs and marinara over spaghetti squash (no parmesan... sob)
Dinner: Shredded Pork with Whipped Cauliflower and Peas cooked in homemade chicken broth

Due to rising early, I could not fathom foregoing my normal cup of Joe this morning. I was a bad, bad girl and added, once again, honey, truvia and half and half to the brewed coffee and got on with my life. While my coffee was brewing, I reviewed the day ahead in my mind and exhaled a big sigh. Besides having to drive to Phoenix and back by noon (a little less than 2 hours each way), the other thought that weighed me down was contemplating my food choices throughout the day. I know from my Weight Watcher days that pre-planning food is a good habit to form. However, it ain't easy thinking about dinner tonight when I haven't yet had breakfast.
   I remembered I had purchased earlier in the week a 3.5 pound pork shoulder from Whole Foods Market. I knew if I moved quickly I had just enough time to line the bottom of the crock pot with bacon, rub the pork shoulder with Hawaiian salt and place it in the crock pot. Normally I add the fresh garlic recommended by Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo, but I didn't have the extra minutes to spare to peel five cloves. I switched the crock pot to high to jump start the cooking process, and I transitioned to preparing myself for the rest of the day by applying make-up and putting my hair up in my daily updo. Before dawn I departed the house in a hurry and remembered three stop lights later that I forgot to turn the crock pot to low. Thank goodness for mobile phones. A quick call placed to my husband, who works from home, remedied that situation.

Linda was so very happy to meet Michelle Tam and Henry Fong of Nom Nom Paleo
last year at the Whole Foods Market where she worked in Marin County.
   When I arrive home I'm jonesing hard for tortilla chips or a generous slice of cheese. I don't succumb. Even though I really, really want to. Boy do I ever! But, because I am in control of my eating habits (my new mantra), I opt instead for a couple slices of mesquite flavored sliced chicken breast. It's deli meat, so God only knows if it's on the naughty list, but I figure it has to be a better choice than cramming down crave-worthy, crispy, salty corn or delicious dairy. Although I happen to read that Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. and author of Perfect Health Diet recommends a good fatty cheese as a healthy snack. I look forward to adding good cheeses back to my diet after 30 days have passed. Even my standard poodle, Django, is wondering what happened to the cheese. He has grown accustom to his daily snack of Tillamook cheddar.
   My husband just bought a pineapple two days ago. The spiny skin looks fresh and yet there are fruit flies circling it. He makes a benign comment about using the pineapple soon. I snarkly reply, something along the lines of, is tonight too late? It's for the pork. Then I give him the look, as if to say, "Wanna take it one step further, well, do ya, Punk?" I'm channeling my inner Clint Eastwood, squinty eyes and all. He looks at me in bewilderment. I instantly feel bad over my quick trigger emotions. Clearly, I feel bitchy. Clearly, I'm acting bitchy. It's only day three. This must be what rehab is like—just wanting to rip people's faces off for making mild observations about any subject out loud.
   For the record, I did not make coconut "rice". I did not cut that insufferable pineapple. My daughter, Maddie, walks through the door right as I'm in the throws of pulling the dinner together. My Paleo-resistant daughter announces that she just ate dinner with a friend and won't be eating. This mildly irritates me, but I'm running late and have to concentrate on the task at hand. I quickly knock out whipped cauliflower. I make it "exactly" the same—I was sure of it—as the other night when it was downright delicious. Unexpectedly delicious, I might add.
   We sit down to the ho-hum dinner. The pork is good, but the whipped cauliflower puree is off. What happened? I keep mulling it over until I finally figure out by process of elimination that I used ghee in the cauliflower, not butter. What a huge difference that one simple substitution made. Butter is WAY more delicious than ghee. The cauliflower made with ghee tasted incredibly flat. Thank goodness I can add butter back into my diet in February. The peas are uninteresting, but a little sweet, which is nice with the pleasantly salty pork and the not-so-very-tasty cauliflower. Jay really wanted barbecue sauce. That's his Achilles' heel in the food category. Yep—barbecue sauce and baked beans. He could eat baked beans with every meal of the day. I'm pretty sure that in a past life he has.
   I just want to go to bed and start over the next day. Jay and I are mutually unenthusiastic about dinner. There's no hiding it. This is the dinner we have in front of us, so we eat it, and do our best to be thankful for the sustenance. I tell myself a blah dinner is among my "first world" problems. Maddie sits with us while we eat. By the expression on her face she seems pretty pleased that she made the choice to go out for dinner instead of eating at home.

Nom Nom Paleo's Asian Cauliflower Fried "Rice" with Pulled Pork.
Day 4
Breakfast: Coffee with 2 hard cooked fried eggs
Lunch: Chef's Salad with no cheese (sob) and crappy Italian Vinaigrette
Dinner: Asian Cauliflower Fried "Rice" with Pulled Pork and Pineapple Chunks

   The key to not thinking much about food is to stay very busy. I toured an ammonium nitrate plant today. Good thing I didn't have to catch a flight afterwards. Security personnel would surely invite me to a strip search and cavity check. This is not something I randomly think about on my own. One of the employees shares with me that he buys new shoes before taking a flight. That's the difference between men and women. I have about 50 pairs of shoes in my closet, so no need to wear my work boots on vacation.
   Before departing the house this morning, I quickly fry eggs in coconut oil. There is no mindful eating—I quickly cram them down. I put on my steel toe boots, and verify that I have the bag in the car that contains my hard hat, pink rimmed safety glasses (the safety manager, displaying a sly grin, gave them to me as my standard issue "personal protective equipment" or PPE as we say in the biz) and reflective vest.
   Lunch was late with my co-worker and manager at The Horseshoe Cafe in Benson after the completion of our bid walk. There are four pages of menu and barely anything to choose from without breaking the insufferable Whole30 rules. I remind myself that I am doing this by choice. No one is forcing me. I ask our Western-wearing server with pinned curls in her hair if breakfast is available all day. I enjoyed hearing the word yes slip from her lips. Isn't "yes" a beautiful word? It has always been one of my favorites, along with the words such as ubiquitous, apoplectic, free, and sublime, to name just a few. Steak and eggs sound delicious, but I opt to ingest some leafy greens for my midday meal telling myself the road to food heaven is paved with vegetables.

Hatch chiles roasting outside of The Horseshoe Cafe in Benson, Arizona in the late summer.
   The Chef's Salad seemed like the best choice of the salads offered. My colleague, James, predictably orders dessert after lunch. This is his habit. James vacillates between the Chocolate Cream Pie and the German Chocolate Cake. Our cowgirl attired waitress, who speaks with a subtle drawl, nudges him towards the monstrous slice of German Chocolate Cake, one of my favorites, too. I wish I took a photo of the cake with my iPhone just so you could see for yourself how big ginormous is in the pastry world. I decline James' kind offer to take a bite. Not on the program, I vigilantly proclaim. One bite won't hurt you, he retorts. "How do you know?", I ask him. "One bite might send me into a carb frenzy and then life will be over as you know it right now, right here." He laughed and enjoyed eating half his cake. Bite after surely delicious bite. He took the other half to go. I held strong. No succumbing to a single bite—victory will be mine. I now see how some people would feel morally superior holding the strong line. "Dessert is for the people with no self control"—sounds like something my dad would say to my mom during her 10th round with Weight Watchers.
   For dinner tonight, the fried "rice" made with cauliflower was begrudgingly so-so. I love Michelle Tam, but as a family we did not love this recipe. Edible, but not great. Maddie took a look at the pile in the cast iron pan and looked pained, as if I was serving her dog shit for dinner. I know, without asking, or prying it out of her, that Maddie is wishing she was out for dinner once again with her friend. Being the smart girl that she is—my daughter has the good sense to keep her thoughts to herself. This is not an episode of I Dream of Jeannie. You can't just bob your head and snap your fingers and disappear. Now, sit down and eat your dinner!
   The fried rice recipe is from Nom Nom Paleo. I will not be making it again. Alternatively, for future reference, I read about a technique with the faux-rice from the Tasting Table food blog. The chef blanches the cauliflower "rice" in heavily salted boiling water for one minute, then transfers to an ice bath to cool. Drain the "rice" well, then squeeze the bits of cauliflower in a clean towel to remove excess moisture. Use as you would for a grain based salad, such as tabbouleh, or whatever. I think might be more in the right direction and maintain a better texture.
   I will definitely need to spend time this weekend planning meals so we knock up the flavor. I'm craving Mexican. Beef Fajitas over shredded lettuce with guacamole and pico de gallo. Or maybe a nice red mole, with boneless breasts of chicken. Curry—made with coconut milk—is a great option, too. I never really thought of myself as a rice eater until I started this challenge. Now I just want to ladle some kind of sauced deliciousness over rice. I'm craving rice more than potatoes. I find this an odd discovery, considering how much I adore potatoes, but that's how it's going down on the fourth day.

Please join me in my further adventures as I rise up to the Whole30 challenge in the New Year.

Baked Beef Meatballs are easy to make and freeze well.

1 comment:

  1. I could never get into the cauliflower rice or the spaghetti squash when I did low carb... sounds much the same, but even more restrictive. I had my best luck with repetitive meals. I made my own ground sausage with Penterey's sausage and chorizo seasoning and ground meats to avoid added sugars and nitrates. Lots of egg and sausage breakfasts, and grilled meats with spinach or salad or asparagus and tons of Cheyenne pepper to kick things up. Spicy helps when you can't do sweet. Also, good cuts of steak help you feel like even a boring meal is a nice dinner. And yes to the avocados. I am wondering if you can whip up some sort of paleo friendly creamy dressing? If so, please share.


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