WIKA Paleo – Meal Plans and Groceries

Welcome back to What I Know About Paleo (WIKA Paleo)!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Someone asked me recently what my grocery trips look like and I thought “That’s a good idea for a blog post!”  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my shopping trip starts two steps before walking in to the actual grocery store.  For me – and this might not work for you for any number of reasons – the week’s prep goes like this:

  1. Inventory – What’s in the fridge, freezer, and pantry?  What needs to be eaten?  OR What is on sale?!?!?
  2. Meal Planning – What can I make out of what I have?  What else do I need to pick up to make it?
  3. The Grocery Trip – Get in.  Get the right stuff.  Get out…  with nothing else that will derail my week.

So let’s start with Step 1 – INVENTORY

Following a paleo diet solution means having lots of stuff around that can go bad pretty quickly.  And I am as frugal as they come so throwing anything out feels like a HUGE failure to me.  Not to mention, a HUGE waste of money!  So I start by making a list of what I have on hand.  (SQUIRREL – Have I mentioned that I LIVE off my lists?  I have lists for everything!)

Fridge – This week I had some kale and spinach I didn’t get through.  That spinach won’t last long.  I have a crap ton of carrots and some brussel sprouts that I need to eat up.  I also bought some plantains last week to try and I’ve got some of those left too.  And there’s half a drawer full of broccoli stems.  (SQUIRREL – Oh yes, I keep those stems after the florets are cut off.  Have you ever seen those bags of broccoli slaw in the store?  That’s exactly what they’re made of!  I told you I was frugal.  😉  )  Green beans were on sale last week so I have some of those.  And chicken wings were on sale last week and I have a 2 huge packages of those too.  My whole family likes those and it’s possible we’ll have company for dinner on Sunday, so I’ll make those and something else to go with it…  WAIT!  I’m jumping ahead to meal planning.  Enough of that for now.  Back to inventorying…

Freezer – I’ve got lots of ground beef, chicken breasts, various cuts of beef, and some liver.  If you dig liver, ooooooooh just you wait because I’ve got some killer recipes to share.  If you don’t dig liver, that’s cool too.  More for me!  HA!!!  I also have some bags of frozen fish and shrimp that I picked up the last time they were on sale.  These don’t stay UN-freezer burned for a super long time in those bags, so I’d better come up with something to use that too.

I won’t go through all the stuff in my pantry.  It’s got my staples (and I already wrote about this…  HERE).  LOTS of them.

Now what’s on sale?  My local grocery store let me sign up for emails and they send me a preview of the next week’s add on Thursday or Friday.  So I do this inventory (as well as meal planning and grocery list making) on Friday nights.  Does this chick know how to party, or what?!?!?!  So this might be one of those things that doesn’t work for you.  Let’s say you have a life (obviously, I do not) and you can’t do this on Friday.  Well, what DOES work for you?  Saturday, Monday, next Wednesday?  Whatever.  Just tweak so it makes sense for YOUR less busy times.

This is when I START my grocery list.  If there is something on sale I usually buy or I want to try, it goes on the list and is now part of the inventory.  See how this works?!?!?

Step 2 – MEAL PLANNING

Now it’s time to start searching!  I’m an avid Pinterest-er.  I pin a lot of stuff from the paleo sites I follow so that’s where I start my recipe search.  Each week, I average 3-4 main dishes and 5-6 side dishes so that’s what I plan for.  I also plan for the days that I have time to cook.  I can cook all weekend but because of our schedules, I only have a little time on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays to actually make dinner after work.  So I meal plan for that.

Saturday – I found this Beef and Butternut Stew with Pears and Thyme.  (SQUIRREL – I’m following Mickey pretty strictly at the moment because I’ve put myself on an autoimmune paleo diet.  More on that another day.)  I’m using up that kale and spinach by making Braised Greens similar to THIS recipe.  And I made myself some Liver Pâté out of the liver.  Here’s the best part…  All of these can be frozen for meals another day!

Sunday – I know I’m making chicken wings.  I actually have 9 lbs of wings to feed 6 people so there will definitely be leftovers.  I’m making Paleo Glazed Chicken Wings, or Honey-Garlic Chicken Wings, or just regular old wings with hot sauce… probably a combination of all of these.  I mean, c’mon.  I’ve got 9 pounds!  To use up the broccoli stems, I’ll also whip up something like coleslaw or Broccoli Fritters.  (Those fritters are AMAZING!  I totally heart Juli B from PaleOMG.)  To use up those carrots, I’ll do these Rainbow Roasted Root Vegetables.

Tuesday and Thursday – Ground beef is such a great staple.  If I fry some up over the weekend, it’s ready for whatever I have time for during the week.  Most of the time, it gets made into taco seasoned meat and that suits the whole family.  TIP – fry up a couple of pounds at a time then package and freeze them.  Then you have them all ready for a quick mid-week meal!

I also have that fish and shrimp.  I’m thinking Zucchini Noodles with Scallops and Bacon but replacing with the shrimp and/or Coconut Crusted Cod with Mango Salsa. (SQUIRREL – I bought Mickey’s Cookbook shown on this recipe link.  I also bought The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne – aka The Paleo Mom – so I can learn more about autoimmune diseases.  Like I said earlier.  More on that later.)  Knowing I’ll have limited time on those days, I’ll have to prepare as much as I can ahead of time so that I can heat and eat.

This plan gives me 4 main dishes and 4-5 sides (with an additional lunch or snack from the pate).  By adding Bacon Pecan Brussel Sprouts, Fried Sweet Plantains, and sauteed green beans (green beans were on sale last week), I’ll be all set.  I need to make sure I have the ingredients on hand for everything above or add them to the grocery list.

Meal Plan DONE.  (Caveat – There are no breakfasts or snacks/treats covered in our plan.  LOL – This might have to be ANOTHER post for another day.)

Step 3 – GROCERY TRIP

I like to treat my grocery trips like an Olympic event.  I’m going for speed and accuracy.  Paleo means a whole lot of cooking.  Ain’t nobody got time for a long grocery trip.  Caveat – When I fist started paleo, my trips took forever.  Unlearning everything you knew and relearning how to buy everything takes a long time.  Be patient.  It gets better.

Here are MY (again, these might not work for you) tips for Olympic style paleo grocery shopping:

  1. Create a standard path through the store.  Mine is dairy, eggs, (frozen if needed), paper goods, meat, produce.
  2. Write your grocery list in order of the path.
  3. Shop the perimeter.  The processed (BAD) stuff is in the middle of the store.  Skip it so you won’t be tempted.
  4. Go early in the morning.  I try to be there before 9am on Saturday or Sunday.

This may seem a little TOO anal retentive, but I split my list into 2 columns: Produce goes on the right and everything else goes on the left (in order of my “path”).  Fruits and veggies comprise almost HALF of my grocery list.  I get a whole week’s worth of groceries in one trip and I can make it in and out of the store in less than 45 minutes (which includes standing in line for what feels like FOR-EV-ER).

A couple of final thoughts…  It took a loooooong time before I got this down to a science.  I spent my first paleo year working off of meal plans from my nutritionist which means I didn’t have to do steps 1 and 2.  Also, my trips took a lot longer and cost MUCH more before I built up my staples (which I can now replenish and stock up when they go on sale).

So there you go!  My easy-peasy paleo prep plan.  TA-DA!!!

WIKA Paleo – Paleo Staples

Welcome to What I Know About Paleo (WIKA Paleo)!

While I was drafting another blog post idea (about my grocery shopping trips), I started thinking about all of the stuff I have in my pantry/fridge.  These things are just a “given” when I am meal planning for the week because I keep them on hand all the time.

Some of my paleo pantry items

Some of my paleo pantry items

Fats

  • Coconut oil – For frying and baking because it holds up to high temperatures, also spray
  • Ghee – It’s kind of like clarified butter
  • Butter – Preferably Kerrygold, but always organic
  • Olive oil – For cold dishes and salads because it does NOT hold up to high temperatures
  • Sesame oil – For Asian-style dishes
  • Avocado oil – Mostly for making my own mayonnaise, but for lots of other stuff too
  • Bacon grease – Saved from any time I make bacon
  • I intend to add LARD to this list, but I haven’t rendered my own or found a source I trust yet.

Nuts and Seeds

  • Raw almonds, almond flour, almond butter
  • Sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Sesame seeds, tahini
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitos)
  • Flax seed, whole and then ground myself when needed

Flours and thickeners

  • Tapioca flour
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Agar agar – not used often, but I keep it on hand
  • Gelatin – grass-fed (I have both the red can that thickens and the green can that doesn’t)
  • Brown rice flour – NOT considered strict paleo, but I use it occasionally

Sweeteners

  • Turbinado sugar
  • Stevia – powdered, liquid, and leaf
  • Raw honey – preferably from a local source
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses

Dried fruits – unsweetened and unsulfured

  • Dates
  • Raisins
  • Apricots
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Cherries – living in Michigan makes this pretty easy  🙂

Coconut – gets its own category!

  • Coconut flaked and shredded – unsweetened
  • Coconut flour
  • Coconut water
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut cream
  • Coconut butter

Extras

  • Chocolate chips
  • Cocoa powder
  • Fish sauce
  • Anchovies – teeny tiny jar because I don’t use it often
  • Lemon/lime/orange juice
  • Broth – homemade beef bone, poultry bone, and veggie broth
  • Canned tomatoes – crushed, diced, sauce, paste; preferably organic
  • Garlic – big jar of minced is quick and convenient
  • Ginger – little jar of pureed is quick and convenient
  • Vinegars – apple cider, balsamic, coconut
  • Vanilla – I make my own!  Easy and inexpensive
  • Mustards – organic dijon, stone ground, and yellow
  • Tamari – gluten free soy sauce (I prefer aminos though)
  • Liquid and coconut aminos
  • Crap ton of herbs and spices

It took quite a while to build up these staples, but I find that that these are the things I need to keep on hand.

Hope you found this helpful!

Random Thoughts – 3/17/2014

Frinkles, The Barbie Cat

Frinkles, The Barbie Cat

1.  Happy Wear Green Day!  I blew it today.  Didn’t wear green.  Didn’t put my kids in green.  Didn’t even remember until I dropped them off at school.  Oops.

2.  Related Note:  If that’s the worst thing I forget today, it’s a banner freakin’ day.

3.  My youngest named her Barbie’s pet cat Frinkles.

4.  I have to keep reminding myself that I am not defined by my job.  (“It’s not who I am, it’s just what I do.”  Repeat until infinity.)  Good thing too or else that’d make me a big fat pain in the arse.

5.  Oh Sons of Anarchy…  you had me at “the crow flies straight.”

6.  Related Note #1:  Opie’s death, and then his funeral, kept me awake for 2 days.  I literally couldn’t sleep.

7.  Related Note #2:  I might take my TV dramas a little too seriously.

8.  Related Note #3:  Well done incorporating all of those actors from The Shield.  Well done!  (SQUIRREL – When “Shane” was introduced as Aunt Venus, I nearly fell off the couch.)

9.  I’m ready for this bone-aching cold weather to be done.  Hey!  Let’s all wear shorts tomorrow to try and force it to be Spring!

WIKA Paleo – How I Spent My Sunday

As I mentioned yesterday, it is GAME ON with getting back to clean eating.  I made a lot of food yesterday to prep for the week.  But there was still more to do today.

I started with dinner.  Wait… WHAAAAA????  Yep, I whipped up a crockpot roast for dinner today based on the Crockpot Beef Roast and Cabbage recipe from Paleo Table.  I didn’t realize it until I started writing this post that I get a ton of ideas from this site.  Her meal plans have helped me immensely on my paleo journey.

Anywho, I changed the recipe a little because 1.)  I had this English Roast that I didn’t know what to do with, 2.)  I didn’t have leeks so I used sweet onion, and 3.)  I’m not in the mood for star anise today.  More on that later…

Then I started on some homemade sausage.  I’ve been anxious to make this recipe for 3 weeks now.  The stars finally aligned and I made Homemade Maple Apple Breakfast Sausage.  Jiminy Christmas!  This sausage is AMAZING.  I’m so glad I did a double batch.  (SQUIRREL – Do you like my new Bobby Flay frying pan?  I DO!)

While I was hand-mixing the ground pork and sauteing my onion, garlic, and apples, I noticed something in my back yard.  We have these goofy turkeys that wander around in the back yard and even eat from my apple trees.  It’s times like these that I wish I had a crossbow.  I’m a good shot with an arrow and I have plenty of room in my freezer.  So I got a little distracted and overcooked my stuff a little.  No harm done though.  It might have even made them better.

I turned out about 18 of the patties (and scarfed down 3 while I was frying up the rest), froze some, and used some in some roasted acorn squash (from my harvest this year!).  So the acorn squash is another…

MSU Meal!  (That stands for Make Stuff Up Meal)

Here’s how that recipe went…  Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, spoon in the raw sausage, bake in the oven for maybe 45 minutes at 350 degrees, and stand back and drool.  (SQUIRREL – I’ve realized that I don’t get enough complex carbs and that I work out enough – and am too high energy – to NOT have something like that on a daily basis.  These squashes will be a good dose of nutrient dense complex carbs with protein and fat after my workout.  Zumba + sausage squash = best. night. ever.)

Back to dinner…  English Roast, purple cabbage, roasted carrots and broccoli (SQUIRREL – If you have never roasted broccoli before, try it SOON.  It will change your life.  I promise.), and some maple-glazed acorn squash (the leftover pieces from earlier).  Sorry I don’t have pics of the finished products.  I got distracted… then hungry.

I did also bake some chicken so I have that for lunches/dinners/whatever during the week.  And while I was finishing up roasting my veggies, I got distracted again from the back yard.  This time, it was our neighborhood deer.

So I say again, that freezer ain’t gonna fill itself.  Maybe I’ll ask for my crossbow for Mother’s Day.  😉

Last thing I did was decide I needed some candy.  So another MSU Meal.  😀  I melted and entire bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips with a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and about 1/4 cup of almond butter.  Then I added chopped pecans, shredded coconut, and flaked coconut until it wasn’t too soupy.  Then I dropped them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and stuck those puppies in the freezer.  Oh. Baby.

Dessert - Paleo chocolate candies (MSU-ed)

Dessert – Paleo chocolate candies (MSU-ed)

On a somewhat related note, does anyone know how to get melted chocolate off of a laptop keyboard?  Just kidding!!!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend!  (((HUGS)))

WIKA Paleo – How I Spent My Saturday

Hi there!!!!  Long time, no “see.”  🙂   Welcome back to “What I Know About” (WIKA) Paleo!

I’ve been a little “off the wagon” lately with regards to following my clean eating habits.  I’ve also been super-sucking at getting enough sleep and keeping my stress levels low. My biggest problem recently is that I do not have enough (and haven’t made enough) time to prepare my meals.  Therefore I grab whatever I can to get by, and then I feel like arse, which keeps me awake at night, so I’m more tired the next day and get further behind.  Notice the cycle of insanity here???  (SQUIRREL – My definition of insanity is exhibiting the same behavior over and over but expecting different results.  Well duh, that’s Ca-Ra-Zay!!!)

But I’m desperately trying to get back on track and I’m putting some serious effort in today.  So I thought I’d share what I am doing to try and make it better.  THIS is what I’ve been doing today…

C O O K I N G ! ! !

One of my biggest problems is breakfast. If I don’t have something quick and portable, I don’t eat.  Not good.  So I found a recipe for some breakfast bars from one of my very first paleo heros, Ms. Juli B. from PaleOMG.  These Blueberry Pumpkin Muffin Breakfast Bars are the shiz-nit.  I will probably eat these for dessert too.  I got a tiny bit lazy with them so mine aren’t as pretty as hers, but they’re still wicked tasty.

Blueberry Pumpkin Muffin Breakfast Bars (ala PaleOMG)

Blueberry Pumpkin Muffin Breakfast Bars (ala PaleOMG)

I have to do some serious damage control because of what I’ve been doing to my poor old body, so I thought I’d better start hitting the bone broth pretty hard.  SQUIRREL – Have I told you guys that I make my own broth?  I make chicken/turkey, beef, and have even tried veggie broth now.  Bone broth is super duper muper gruper (throw some more -uper rhyming words in here because that how extreme this is) good for you.  So I decided to make a soup base!  I did not follow a recipe for this.  Thus, this will be my first post for…

(wait for it)

MSU Meals!  Which stands for Make “Stuff” Up Meals.  😀

(Those of you who know me personally know that “Stuff” was NOT the first word I came up with.  Tee hee hee.)

This soup is made with my homemade beef bone broth, carrots (a birthday present from my wonderful friends, Anne and Jim), green onions, some shredded zucchini and oregano (frozen from last year’s harvest), and purple cabbage.  My soup is PURPLE.  How cool is that?!?!   So all I need to do is throw whatever leftover meat I have on hand in there, and VOILA!, instant lunch.  (SQUIRREL – I’ve also been dabbling with having these soups for breakfast.  Problem being that it is not terribly convenient or portable.  But when I can sit down and eat, breakfast soup is the BOMB.)

Purple "MSU Meal" Soup

Purple “MSU Meal” Soup

I have also been struggling to eat enough veggies lately.  That’s one reason for the soup, but I also decided to make a dish that I LOVE to keep on hand this week so I can really up my veggie intake.  What I made is based off of the ZuSketti with Bacon and Roasted Tomatoes recipe from Paleo Parents.  I got a little lazy with this one too and chunked up my zucchini instead of zoodling it and then I roasted it with bacon.

Roasting my veggies... with BACON!

Roasting my veggies… with BACON!

Zucchini and Bacon with Roasted Tomatoes (ala Paleo Parents)

Zucchini and Bacon with Roasted Tomatoes (ala Paleo Parents)

After all of that cooking today, I needed to do an easy dinner.  Baked Chicken Wings.  Boom.  I’m not a fan of hot sauce (gasp!) so I whipped up a honey mustard sauce for mine.  No recipe for that.  Seriously, it’s just honey and dijon to taste.

Chicken Wings!  with honey mustard dipping sauce

Chicken Wings! with honey mustard dipping sauce

The plan was to have lots of leftovers so that I would have a quick protein/fat snack whenever I needed it, but we pretty much pounded those wings.  These are all that are left.  Oops.  🙂

Chicken Wing Leftovers... they might not make it til tomorrow

Chicken Wing Leftovers… they might not make it til tomorrow

I still have several recipes to make tomorrow, but this is a darn good start.  GO ME!  😀

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!!!  Talk to you again soon!!!