Paleo Cooking Demo / Day 9 – 10

Day 9
Didn’t need as many groceries as last time since I still had some food leftover from the previous week. I wanted to make a stir-fry at some point but realized I couldn’t use soy sauce. After some research I learned that coconut aminos would be a great substitute for soy sauce. Can’t wait to try it.

Sundays are the perfect time for me to wind down and get a lot of cooking done for the week. I had quite a few hours on my hands, so I made lots of yummy things.

I love making chicken stock. All of the effort I put into saving and freezing my veggie trimmings finally comes into play. Plus it makes the house smell like heaven. I put all kinds of stuff in with the chicken carcasses (I usually use two) and water: carrot tops, celery stalks that were on their last legs, shallots and onions with the skins still on (adds color), garlic gloves, leek fronds, random savory herbs, and my favorite addition: a Parmesan cheese rind. Salt lighty.

I also made a big pot of meatballs in a really simple tomato sauce so that I could have a meaty, filling snack throughout the week. I was getting kind of sick of eating fruits as snacks.

While all that was going on, I also roasted a chicken. Yep, I may be insane, but roasting a chicken is not as hard as it seems because you barely need any ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Rub the chicken down with olive oil, salt and pepper, then stuff the cavity with a quartered onion, some smashed garlic cloves and a sliced lemon. Put the chicken on a roasting pan, stick it in the oven, and turn the heat down immediately to 400 degrees F. Cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes per pound of meat. For some reason my 5 lb chicken was perfect around the hour mark (it’s ready when the temperature reads 175 degrees F because when you let it rest it will hit 180 degrees F, which is what you want).

So yeah, take out the chicken when it’s close to being ready, let it rest for 15-30 minutes, then carve that bird up (YouTube is useful here). I served myself a fat chicken breast with lots of roasted Brussels sprouts. My favorite part of the roasted chicken is the combination of the soft, moist meat with the crunchy, fatty skin.

Day 10
Breakfast: eggs, zucchini (randomly found on the zucchini plant in my front yard that I thought was producing nothing!), mushrooms, baby spinach and hot sauce. Tried black coffee again. Still good. I always forget to take a picture of breakfast. I’m usually too distracted by sleepiness.

Lunch meeting at work. My co-worker Jessica made an amazing pot of chipotle sweet potato soup. She was extremely sweet and asked me about all of the things I couldn’t eat and went way out of her way to accommodate me when she didn’t have to at all (I asked her not to, actually). I was so touched. The soup was spicy, smooth, and so very comforting. I’m making butternut squash soup for my first time ever later this week and I hope it’s as successful as Jessica’s soup. Topped with chipotle cinnamon pecans.

Crossfit WOD:

    Pistols – 3 Worksets of 2 (each leg)
    Max Rep Pushups
    2 min Rest
    Max Rep Unbroken Jump Rope (single or double)
    2 min Rest
    Then:
    Rowing – 1 min on (hard), 1 min off x 8 (min off should be light rowing)

The pistols were much harder than they looked. My max rep pushups was 31 (on my knees). My max rep jump rope was 165 (singles), though I know I could have gone on much longer if I hadn’t been so careless.

Once we got to the rowing it was definitely one of the hardest WODs I’ve done to date. If I was rowing by myself at a different gym I would have happily stopped at the third round. When I found myself hitting the fifth and sixth rounds I couldn’t believe I was still alive. During the eighth round I tried to think about anything except the rowing, anything to get my mind off the pain and struggle. Of course I was grunting and moaning throughout the whole round (sorry, fellow CrossFitters) but it helped me get through. It was such sweet relief when I unstrapped myself and recovered on the floor. I ended up rowing 2,490 meters.

After the workout Catalyst Meals stopped by the gym to give a paleo cooking demo. The chef made three amazing meals: roasted vegetable soup, southwestern chicken salad wraps, and chicken with cashew sauce. Everything was really great, but I gotta say: the chicken with cashew sauce absolutely blew my mind. It had the consistency of (and was close to the taste of) fettucini alfredo! It made me completely rethink what a paleo meal could be. I’ll have to try making it ASAP.

I also learned a couple useful tips: use arrowroot in place of cornstarch, but add it at the END of the cooking process in order to let it thicken the sauce. If you add it too early and heat it (like you would with cornstarch) it loses its thickening ability. Another tip: boiled almonds make a great substitute for beans in chili. Why didn’t I know this when I made my beef chili?! Next time.

The last thing I wanted to do was make dinner when I got home since it was already 9:30 pm, but I purposely planned something super easy: pan seared rib-eye steak with a big side of asparagus. Even though I thought I was full from all the samples I had at the demo, I still managed to demolish this entire plate of food.

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