At the fish counter in Central Market, they carry these little tubs of gorgeous, fresh crab claw meat… Every time I go in, I stare longingly at them, wishing I knew how to make something other than crab cakes. Well, the day has finally come… I ran across a Martha Stewart recipe for a salad with peaches and crab meat, so I adapted it last night to be Paleo-friendly (and to my liking!). The only downside was that it took a little longer than I planned, so I was on the ravenous side when I finally gobbled it up. I also had to stop myself from just eating the crab meat straight out of the tub. Don’t tell.
Just flew in from London, and boy are my arms tired… I mean my brain. I mean my neck. I mean pretty much every part of me. I just got back from a super-quick business trip to London over the weekend, and my poor body doesn’t know what hit it! Here’s what the last four days looked like:
- Flew out Thursday night and arrived in the UK on Friday morning (sat in the cheap seats, so I only got about 1-2 hours of sleep)
- Worked from the hotel during the day Friday and was able to drop in at CrossFit London for a jet lag-busting workout (more on that below!)
- Worked all day Saturday and took my team out for a fab dinner at the Spice Market (short ribs! slow-cooked ribeye! yum!) in central London
- Spent the entire day Sunday flying back to Austin (long, long day, but… I did get unexpectedly upgraded to business class on the Heathrow-JFK flight – woohoo!)
Needless to say, I’m ready to get back into my food and workout routine – that much travel is just hard on the body. I will admit that I wasn’t 100% Paleo over the weekend, although I was pretty darn good. My biggest non-Paleo indulgences were dessert on Saturday night at the Spice Market (it was simply too good to turn down!) and a couple of pints of lager with my team. When in Rome, eh?
I did get to enjoy the very Paleo-friendly English breakfast during my stay… these guys do bacon right:
One of my very favorite parts of the trip was getting to drop in at CrossFit London over in the East End.
This is one of my husband P.J.’s go-to dishes… He’s a vegetarian, so he’s been a great influence on me in terms of incorporating more vegetables into my daily diet. He’s also one of those guys who can grab four seemingly unrelated things from the fridge and create something awesome. It’s an incredible skill, and I love it about him. He created this dish to round out our main course options at the inaugural Paleo Dinner Party. I take no credit for this dish – it’s all him!
These were a HUGE hit at our Paleo dinner party last Saturday. The combo of sweet and savory paired beautifully with our pan-seared roasted pork chops, and they’d also be great as a fall/holiday dish. I highly recommend peeling/prepping your squash ahead of time… it’s not the most fun thing to do, and it seems to take a little longer than you’d think. Not much fun when you’re trying to pull together your dinner at the last minute.
At my core, I am a baker. I LOVE baked goods… cupcakes, cakes, cookies, caramels, etc. I loved baking so much that I had my own cake design business for several years. One tiny little problem… everything I used to make was loaded with gluten and processed sugars. Sure, I used the highest quality ingredients out there – imported chocolate, European butter, Madagascar vanilla. But, at the end of the day, there was a lot of not-great stuff in those tasty treats, and that just doesn’t jive with my Paleo lifestyle these days.
That said, I’m still not willing to give up the OCCASIONAL baked treat, and figuring out how to make “healthier” versions of past favorites is going to be an ongoing goal. I am super excited about this recipe… my husband and I test-drove it this weekend, and it is stinking delicious. Seriously. I had to get it out of the house as quickly as possible. An extra bonus? It was ridiculously easy to make.
Time for a new protein! I wrote recently that I’ve always been intimidated by cooking steak. As it turns out, same goes for pork chops. I’ve had some dry, icky pork chops over the years, and I was also nervous about under-cooking the pork (as we know, you definitely don’t want to under-cook your pork…). With the recent changes in cooking guidelines for pork and the fact that I’ve made beef filets for the last 4 of 5 meals I’ve cooked for friends/family, I figured it was time to try the pork chop.
I REALLY enjoyed these pork chops, and they were super easy to make. This is going to become a regular weeknight protein for me.
My husband P.J. is a HUGE fan of watermelon and arugula, so I’d been meaning to adapt and serve this recipe for a while. I actually stumbled across it in my pre-Paleo days and had it earmarked for summer. At the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, we stumbled across some seedless yellow watermelon (crazy!) – that was all the prompting I needed to make this salad.
I have a confession to make. I had never purchased a fig before this weekend. In fact, I didn’t even know what a fig looked like. (Whew! Thanks for letting me get that off my chest…)
So, how did I end up making this app over the weekend for our Paleo Dinner Party? Honestly? I scoured my loads of cookbooks (Ina Garten! Bobby Flay!) to find something that sounded fancy but that would be easy to make as well. Since I’m a huge fan of cured pork AND this fabulous Ina Garten recipe (from her book, “Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?”) sounded sufficiently fancy, I figured I’d give it a try. This recipe is so stinking simple, there’s not much to change! Here’s what I made:
Years ago, there was a restaurant here in downtown Austin called Crimson… I think the restaurant was only open for about 8-10 months, sadly, but they were the wonderful folks who introduced me to spiced pecans. Rather than bread and butter, they would bring you bowls of these delicious, addictive spiced pecans to munch on while you picked out your meal for the evening – I loved it!
When I was thinking about what to make as an easy snack food for our friends this weekend (at our Paleo Dinner Party), the idea of spiced pecans came to mind. Easy, delicious, and they’d pair really nicely with the very non-Paleo German beer we were having. For inspiration, I looked to a variety of places, including the wonderful Elana’s Pantry. This recipe is my adaptation… I hope you enjoy it!
I LOVE a good dinner party. Seriously. I honestly can’t imagine what I enjoy more on a weekend night than having friends in our home, eating food we’ve prepared, drinking good wine, and having a great time. Pre-Paleo, this was a pretty regular occurrence: whether it was hors d’oeuvres for 30 for my husband’s birthday or an intimate multi-course meal, I reveled in cooking for others. (We’ll just ignore the fact that my typical menus included bread-and-cheese trays, fried risotto balls, Italian pasta with cream sauce, and loads of gluten-rich baked goods. No one needs to know… it’s our little secret.)
In fact, one of my original reasons for resisting the change to a Paleo lifestyle was that I wasn’t sure I could still create delicious, gourmet food that was both Paleo and appetizing to our guests. I couldn’t have been more off-base! The Paleo lifestyle has such an incredible range of possibilities for creating incredible food, and I’m beyond excited to keep experimenting.