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.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Whole30 Challenge: Michelle's Paleo Journal, Days 18-21

by Michelle

   "The secret of happiness is variety but the secret of variety, like the secret 
of all spices, is knowing when to use it." ~Daniel Gilbert

Liberal use of herbs and spices will amplify the flavors of your meals. 
Here I am toasting spices to prepare Ten- Spice Powder to add to a stir-fry sauce.
Day 18
Breakfast: Coffee and a Banana
Lunch: Mexican Surprise Chicken with Peppers and Chilies Served with White Rice
Dinner: Paleo Chowder with Chicken and Bacon, and 1/4 slice of Toasted Paleo Hamburger Bun

   On tap for the work schedule today is a visit down to the copper mine for a project kick-off meeting. Thank goodness I check the weather forecast before heading out the door. The sun is shining, but the wind is violently shaking the limbs of trees and pushing shrubs to and fro in the yard. The high temperature will only reach 64 degrees in Tucson and it could be cooler at the mine. I drag on a pair of black 501 Levi jeans, pull a long sleeve t-shirt over my head, slip on a down vest for core warmth, and wrap a cashmere scarf around my neck. I verify that I have my hardhat, safety glasses, reflective vest and required mine safety training documents (that I must carry with me at all times when I'm on-site) in the dedicated canvas bag that holds my personal protective equipment, or PPE as we say in the biz. I put on my steel toe boots just before I leave the house, so I may thoroughly wash my hands before I head out the door. I'm such a chick.

That time I got caught on a roof looking at air handlers during
 a torrential downpour. #SheWorksHardForTheMoney
   I meet the guys for lunch in Green Valley before heading out to the mine. Thank, God—it's a Mexican Restaurant so I have a couple of decent choices to choose between.
   I arrive home at 5:30 and I know I need to hurry to get dinner on the table. Using my good knife skills, I chop up a bevy of vegetables to finish the soup. After dinner I'm craving something sweet. I resist. I'd love to pour myself a nightcap, but I don't. I resist, resist, resist.
   I must admit that I've been sleeping much better since going on a more restrictive diet. Since I stopped everything simultaneously, I'm not sure if it is the diet that is responsible or if it is mostly related to abstaining from alcohol. Who cares? I'm sleeping so soundly. It's divine.

Jay's life is now complete that I adapted the Four Bean Salad to a Paleo-friendly
 version made with a honey vinaigrette and subbing red bell peppers for the kidney beans.
Day 19
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Sausage with Salsa Garnish
Lunch: Same ole, same ole
Dinner: Wine Butt Chickens and Vegetables and More Vegetables

   I'm not sure why, at this juncture, but I'm craving sweets. I finally cave into my sugary desires and eat two dates. I chew the dates thoughtfully. As if it is my first time giving them a go. The craving quickly subsides. Thankfully, I don't have to loathe myself afterwards. I always feel compelled at times like these to think of the film Chocolat, and the scene near the end of the story when Alfred Molina, playing the town's righteous elder, decadently succumbs to his cravings. Linda, Maddie and I watch this delightful film annually, typically at Easter.
   After nearly three weeks of restrictive eating, I now feel overwhelmed by the fact that I'm in an eating rut. I need to regroup. I begin scrolling through the blog again looking for recipes that will adapt to the Whole30 plan. I come across Chia Pudding, and think, yes that will do nicely. Mix things up a bit.

Fried potatoes extended by adding mushrooms, yellow bell peppers and carrots.
Day 20
Breakfast: Chia Pudding made with Coconut Milk and a Little Honey Syrup
Lunch:  Mixed Vege Salad with Protein and Vinaigrette this is my often repeated lunch mantra
Dinner: Grilled Flank Steak with Nom Nom Paleo's Cherry Barbecue Sauce, Special Fried Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli

   Jay said that if he had to choke down one more chicken or steak dinner without a sauce that he'd want to commit sipiku. Those really aren't his words, just my interpretation of his facial expressions and the limited words he used to describe his feelings at this juncture in the Whole30 eating plan. That's what couples do. We infer meaning in each other's words. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
   My husband is the king of barbecue sauces. And, it has been difficult for him (and me) living without a great sweet and sour sauce with a ketchup kick to enjoy dinner that much more. I recalled reading a recipe for Cherry Barbecue Sauce in the Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook. I sent Jay on a shopping mission to find frozen sweet cherries. The only grocery store that stocks the sweet cherries, at least in our neck of the woods, is Whole Foods Market. A zesty sauce is now in our future.

My take on a homemade "Burrito Bowl". It might as well be called Mexican Salad.
Day 21
Breakfast: Coffee followed by Kombucha and Kale Smoothie
Lunch: Bunless Hamburger in an Iceberg Lettuce Cup with homemade Russian Dressing and Fixins
Dinner: Paleo Friendly Burrito Bowls: Oven Fried Cali-Rice, Sausage, Guacamole and Salsa Fresca

   Even though I love eggs, I am way overdue to begin introducing new breakfasts to the morning routine. Back in the summer of 2011, I made smoothies ritually over the entire summer, including Misty's Coconut Whey Protein and Blueberry Smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of nutrition into the first meal of the day.
   I was so excited over the prospect of oven roasting Cauli-Rice. I have to say with complete disappointment that the technique was a complete bomb. At least for me. The roasted Cali-Rice had a deep cauliflower flavor and smell to match. Life is full of trials and tribulations. Onward!

Now all the bunless burger needs is a drizzle of my Russian Dressing,
and slices of tomatoes and dill pickles.

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