Paleo Challenge Update: Week Two

Another paleo week down! Honestly, this is a lot easier to do than I thought! It requires a little creativity on occasion, but I’m really enjoying eggs and bacon for breakfast and almond milk in my coffee every morning. Plus, I’m getting much more versed in what it means to eat a paleo diet, so it’s getting much easier to explain to people what it all means.

Favorite Meal

I can pick two, right? I’m picking two. The truth is, there have been way more than two incredibly delicious meals this week, but let’s not belabor how spoiled I am at dinner time. So I’m picking one home cooked meal and one meal out.

Over the weekend after taking one of the LA Conservancy’s walking tours through downtown Los Angeles, we spent the rest of the day wandering around downtown… an old used and collectable book store, the fabric district, and the arts district. We stopped at one of our favorite sushi spots for lunch, and since rice is out for paleo we ordered a mouth watering collection of sashimi. Yum!.

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Then, a few nights ago the hubby brought home a flank steak, grilled it to perfection and put together a sort of broken down fajita. We had the steak with roasted zucchini  eggplant, and peppers. I even got to use the leftover guacamole for a cobb salad the next day for lunch, so I’d call that a double success!

DSCN0544Favorite Snack

Ok, this has been by far my favorite discovery of this week. For No Tech Tuesday this week we decided to do a little paleo baking. Yes, that’s what I said. Paleo baking. We made this recipe for “‘I Can’t Believe It’s Paleo’ Banana Bread“, and it was so delicious!

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Great as a snack for sure, but my favorite way to eat it was pan fried with a little butter and a side of eggs for breakfast. It was almost like having french toast! I will definitely be making this again this week. (By the way, if you are gluten challenged, this is completely gluten free and definitely worth a try!)

DSCN0569Something Learned

This week I was learning to limit my snacking. Especially with that delicious banana bread, I wanted to just keep eating more. Same with almonds, they are so easy to grab a handful and snack away! But part of a paleo diet is balancing the kind of foods you are eating. Remember last week when I mentioned there are a lot of gray areas for what foods are ok or not? Some of them (like almonds, and I’m sure all the stuff that’s in that banana bread) are considered “paleo, but…” Meaning it’s paleo, but in moderation. The idea is to limit yourself to the amount of food that you might come across if you were actually in a forest somewhere gathering your meal.

How I Feel

I feel balanced. Ok, how do I explain that… My energy level has been pretty consistent throughout each day, which I’m attributing to the lack of my usual sugar highs followed by sugar crashes. I surprisingly have not been having crazy cravings for things though. I think I’m actually getting a reasonable amount of sugar to satisfy my would-be cravings just by eating delicious things like pineapple and mango on occasion. This little “challenge” of mine has been surprisingly easy to adapt to. Now, onward, to week three!

I would love to hear about your paleo experiences! Leave ’em in the comments!

Spring Garden: Cozy and Delicious

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the flowers that overhang our back patio

We’ve been diving into Spring, and we’re so excited it’s here! I know, I do live in Southern California, and it’s pretty temperate most of the year. But still, Spring is the best time of year. The temperatures stop dropping into the low 40’s, the Winter rain takes a break, and just like on the East coast everything becomes new and green and lush again.

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our back patio (the “lounge”), great for reading, grilling, and chilling

On the first warm weekend, we jumped at the chance to get our outdoor space ready, starting with a refresh of our back patio (which I lovingly like to call our “lounge”). Last week I mentioned our first bbq of Spring; this is where the ladies watched from as the guys battled it out over a game of bocci ball!

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I love to cozy up here with a book

Plus, we have long aspired to be herb gardeners, and since this is the first Spring since we moved into our house last year, we finally have the space for a modest vegetable and herb garden. The hubby cleared out the garden left by the last owners, mainly because it was mostly berries and berries can be impossible to wrangle! (If you’re not familiar with growing berries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are travelers so they can quickly take over your garden if you’re not careful!) We put in a 4×4 raised garden bed and a collection of pots (most of them found around our yard in unexpected places, left lying around by the past two owners of the house).

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our raised herb and vegetable garden

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4 x 4 raised garden bed for the vegetables

We included all our favorite herbs, the ones we use the most in the kitchen.

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thyme

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cilantro

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basil

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rosemary

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chives

We have four types of peppers and a tomato plant, which we hope one day to combine with our young lime and avocado trees (they live in the front yard) to make completely home grown guacamole.

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4 kinds of peppers

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tomato

We threw in a zucchini and a cucumber, because you can’t go wrong with either of those.

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zucchini

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cucumber

And as lovers of strawberries, we decided to replace the ones we pulled out of the original garden with a few in large pots, so they can travel all they want within the confines of a controlled environment.

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strawberries (and one of the inherited gnomes that live in our garden)

I love peeking over at the garden to see how it’s doing, while lounging out back. And it’s especially satisfying when we need some thyme or basil for a meal and we simply go outside and snip off a sprig from our garden. Hooray for Spring!

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the view of our garden from our lounge (and another inherited gnome; we decided to let them stay for good luck)

What have you done to prepare your outdoor space for Spring?