Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Day 28 - Perfect Paleo Breakfast

Like all good things, practice makes perfect.  We discovered a recipe similar to this one, early on in our paleo challenge. Over the last 28 days, we've evolved the recipe into what we think is far better than the original.  It's sweet, easy to make, and just the right amount of 'heavy' to keep you full until lunch.

What you need - 2 servings:
  • 12 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond hazlenut fruit & nut butter
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp zen matcha premium chocolate
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • sliced fresh fruit to top
  • mix all ingredients in small pot 
  • turn stove-top on to medium heat
  • stir continuously for 5-10 minutes, until it starts to bubble
  • serve in your favourite cup/bowl with fresh fruit
For the longest time, we didn't know what to call this dish.  It has the consistency of oatmeal, looks like porridge, but tastes like a rich dessert.  You can call it what you want, but to us, it's simply the perfect paleo breakfast. 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Day 23 - Mini Paleo Meat Loaf

Meat + veggies are paleo fundamentals. In this recipe, we pack mini meat loaf with herbs and spices to bring together an easy, quick, and delicious food to go.  Great for lunch, dinner, or a snack, these literally are the closest thing to a 'man muffin'.

What you need:
  • 2lb of ground beef, turkey, chicken - whatever you like
  • chopped fresh cilantro - handful
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 to 2 cups of finely chopped veggies - I used a zucchini, onion and carrots
  • salt and peppers
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Grease muffin tins in coconut oil
  • Mix all ingredients until well combined
  • Form mixture into 12 balls/loafs and place in muffin tin
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes - cut one in half to make sure its cooked

Recommended to us by our friend Ariel, she runs her own holistic nutritional consulting practice and she is as smart as she is talented.  This recipe makes about 10-12 and it may just be my new favourite dish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Day 21 - Challenge Update

20 days in and only 10 to go - we never expected this challenge to be so enjoyable.  Sure, there's been a rough days and quite a few temptations along the way but overall, it's a very feasible culinary shift. We've found incredible paleo recipes and such a massive community online - also living in Vancouver has definitely helped, with a ton of great gluten free options at every turn.

Dave at Granville Island Public Market
That being said, the last 10 days are likely to be the most challenging.  Pat will be traveling across the country and Dave will have to cook it out solo, before some visitors make it into town this weekend.  We'll be updating our Paleo to-go section and posting as many new recipes as possible over the next few weeks. Until then - a huge thank you to everyone for their ongoing support, recipe ideas and inspiration! 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Day 17 - Super Size Breakfast

Everyone already knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For those new to Paleo, it can also be one of the hardest, as nobody loves to eat meat + veggies first thing the morning. Our simple solution, you don't have to! 

On the menu:
  • Fresh fruit smoothie w/ 1 banana, 1 avocado, 1/2 pear, blueberries, coconut meat, splash of blackcurrant juice & cinnamon
  • Paleo Crepes w/ fresh fruit + agave (1/2 cup almond flour, 5 eggs, salt - blended + cooked in coconut oil) 
  • Paleo blueberry banana muffin
  • Paleo oatmeal (4 tbps almond butter, 12 tbps unsweetened apple sauce, 2tbps coconut milk, cinnamon)
  • Green tea
  • 4g Omega-3 + 2,000 IU of Vitamin D-3
We tried our best to eat all this in one serving, and to be honest, it's nearly impossible. So if you're like us, space this out and you'll have enough energy to get you through any morning. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Day 16 - Blueberry-Banana Paleo Muffins

As the saying goes, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' So when we decided to switch up our muffins from the original, delicious pumpkin muffins we made, we braced ourselves for something that most are afraid of: change. Ok, I might be exaggerating. In fact, the adrenaline was pumping when we knew we'd be enjoying some banana-blueberry goodness every morning this week. I've dubbed these 'bluenana' muffins. It just rolls off the tongue, ok?

If you'd like to follow our lead and be wildly adventurous, try this out!

3 cups almond meal or almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
4  eggs
2 cups (roughly five or six) mashed ripe bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed and drained

UPDATE: Recommendations for a slight variation
  • sub blueberries with cranberries
  • add 1 tbsp of coconut flour for slightly larger muffins
  • sprinkle cinnamon in the batter for more aromatic muffins
  • add 2 tbsp of sliced almonds or walnuts for crunchier muffins

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tray with coconut oil
2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted, cooled coconut oil
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined
5. Stir the bananas into the batter - mix well
6. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

This recipe was slightly easier than the pumpkin muffins, and tasted much sweeter because of the bananas and blueberries. I can honestly say that I dream about these at night, and am delighted when I wake up and get to eat one. Let's face it - who doesn't like a dream come true?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Week 3 - Meal Plan

Somehow we're already entering our third week on this challenge.  We learned week one, that going hungry sucks - a lot.  The following week, we learned how to properly feed ourselves - thankfully. And this week, we're hoping to have the best tasting meals yet.

Here's the meal plan:


Banana Blueberry muffins (everyday)
Pretend Porridge (everyday)
Fresh fruit smoothies (everyday)
Eggs (1 egg x 2 days)
Crepes (3 days)


Chicken Salad
Pear + Butternut Squash Soup




Green Zeus Bowl
Asian Pork Tenderloin w/ broccolini & sweet potato
Salmon w/ cauliflower & green beans
Veal Marsala

Our groceries didn't break the bank and although Sunday night was filled with a lot of food prep,  we're finally entering an 'auto-pilot' state on this diet.  With food in the fridge and money in our pockets, we're feeling confident that this week will be our best yet.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Day 11 - Salad on a Stick

It was Friday night and as always, we were strapped for time. Our friend's dinner party started in an hour and we needed something quick, fresh, bite-sized and full of Paleo nutrition to bring over.  As were getting ready to go, Pat comes up with this genius idea for a dish, 'Salad on a Stick'.

1 cucumber
Fresh cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil
3 chicken breasts, baked in 5-spice + tamari
Tahini Sauce, blended (garlic, parsley, lemon juice, tahini)

Once everything was chopped and ready, Pat skewered the salad and I went to work on the homemade tahini sauce. We packaged everything up and were on our way in record time.

Salad on a Stick was a hit and our friends prepared amazing courses that included Cornish hen, mashed cauliflower, salad and a paleo-friendly apple crumble. We couldn't leave without party favours, and this super cute gift came courtesy of fellow food blogger Kate and Nathan. Full to the brim on guilt free foods and good wine, I can't think of a better way to start the weekend with amazing friends.

Day 11 - Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

As we near the end of week two on this wondrous and beneficial challenge, we've learned that a full stomach is a happy stomach. We've also learned that there's a limit to the amount of almonds one can snack on. Enter the paleo pumpkin muffin, our morning saviour and belly-pleaser. This hearty, almond-flour-based muffin is the perfect thing to kick start your day, or tide you over when you hit that 3 o'clock wall.

1/4 cup coconut oil
6 eggs
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated finely
3 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups almond flour
1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
Coconut oil for oiling muffin pan

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In a food processor or stand mixer, combine coconut oil, eggs, ginger, coconut flour and salt. Blend well, making sure the coconut flour is well mixed in.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Grease muffin pan with coconut oil. Fill nearly full with batter and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Et voila! Savour all that this delicious, crumbly muffin has to offer with your morning coffee or as an afternoon appeaser. And, if you add a pinch of nutmeg to the mix, and throw a decorative pecan atop the muffin before it goes in the oven, you basically have a handheld Thanksgiving fest. Just the best.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Day 7 - Green Zeus Bowl

I love nothing more than when a random weeknight turns into something special.  The surprise of flowers, candles and a freshly prepared Green Zeus bowl can transform a typical Monday night into something extraordinary.

3 chicken breasts
2 Broccoli heads
1 Swiss Chard
1 large Bok Choy
1 Spaghetti Squash
Tahini Sauce (garlic, parsley, lemon juice, tahini)
Simple Sauce (tamari, sesame oil, ginger, lemon juice)

Warning: preparation for this dish isn't lengthy but it involves a lot of cleaning, steaming and multi-tasking.  I promise you the result is worth it and this vegetable packed dinner will be the perfect start to a new week and even possibly, a new you.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Guest Blogger: Meet Elizabeth (and her soon to be abs)

Dear abs,

I f&*%ed up. We had something pretty great and I acted like a selfish jerk. Life got busy and difficult and I took you for granted. I was weak and let my vulnerability get the best of me. I threw away everything we had for some wild fun with poutine, beaver tails and those other trashy pub food that were just so charming and exciting at the time. I miss what we had and was foolishly tempted by those bastards and now all of my memories of you are buried under layers of… well… fat. 

I’m sorry. I know I’ve said that before, but this time I mean it. I am going to change. We’ll see each other again soon. I promise.


Hello friends of Dave and Pat. Who am I? My name is Elizabeth and Dave and I are friends from work. There was a time when every time Dave and I would talk, I would have some scandalous tale to share. A time when life was super exciting and I had the time and energy to get into buzz-worthy trouble.

Unfortunately, in the past few months, the story-well has run dry. I moved across the country, got a dog, continued to tackle an MBA in my spare time, and started a new and fairly demanding job. All of these things are fantastic. However, they’ve left me feeling tired, stressed, and just kind of grodie (that’s totally a word). It also doesn’t help that I’m an awful cook and extremely lazy in the kitchen. Cue take-out food.

Recently I was starting to feel like something needed to be done to stop this madness. I know what good feels like and this ain’t it. Not even close. Sure I could use to shed some of these pub-pounds and it wouldn’t hurt me to find more time in the day to exercise. But this need for change was more about doing a better job of fuelling my body so that I can take on all the hectic things on my plate and still have energy left for tomfoolery.

What happened next was totally serendipitous; I saw Dave’s first blog post about his paleo challenge. I had actually just been researching the paleo way but seeing a friend commit to it really motivated me to want to get my ass in gear. So, in true tag-along form, I decided to also embark on a 30 day paleo challenge as well. I mean, with Dave and Pat making it look so damn easy and delicious, how could I not?

So here I am on day 5 and so far so good. While my ‘cooking’ is limited to chopping, boiling, and stirring in a combination that cannot contain more than three steps, I’m actually having fun. My goals for the next 25 (and probably more) days are as follows:
  • Continue the paleo lifestyle
  • Play outside of my culinary comfort zone and see what I can actually create in the kitchen (with the help of Dave and Pat’s recipes!)
  • Be patient while remember that this is a wellness journey and not a fad diet
And, if at the end of this, I am reunited with my beloved abs… well that will be the cherry on the top of my sugar-free, dairy-free sundae. 

Thanks for the inspiration, boys!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Day 5 - Paleo 'n' Pigskins

Every year, without fail, we gather with good friends to witness the final chapter in yet another NFL season. And every year, without fail, I seem to be much more interested in the food at the Super Bowl party than the actual game. This year was no different, save for the fact that we had to be paleo-conscious while we gorged. And we quickly learned that this would be no problem at all.

First 'down'

An assortment of veggies - red peppers, cucumbers, carrots - to dip into homemade guacamole and pico de gallo. So fresh, so filling.

Pico de Gallo:
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 red or white onion, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Simply place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. It's best to hold off on the lime juice and salt till the very end, and add these to taste.

1 cup of previously made pico de gallo
4 large avocados
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
Salt to taste

Start by scooping the avocado, in chunks, into a large bowl. With a spoon, gently mash the avocados, while keeping them somewhat chunky. Add the pico de gallo, garlic, and jalapeno, and mix together. Finally, add lime juice and salt to taste.

This guacamole has never let me down, and I hope you enjoy!

Second 'down'

Our good friend Jennie came over, bearing the gift of chili. But not just any old recipe. This chili was tailor-made to suit our paleo diet. Like I said, she's a good friend.

As you can see, this chili made everyone VERY happy. Nothing like hot a bowl chili on a crisp February day, is there? And to everyone's delight, the lack of legumes in this dish means no unfortunate after-effects. Deeeelightful.

Third 'down'

In keeping with the (very loose) Mexican theme, the final dish during our Super Bowl party was tacos. And I know you're all thinking: "Hah! We caught you, Dave and Pat! You can't eat corn tortillas on paleo!" Well, joke's on you! Renelle, culinary genius and neighbour, cleverly replaced tortillas with large lettuce leaves. Such a great concept, and so delicious.

With a little leftover guac and salsa, these tacos were fresh, healthy, and oh-so-paleo. Yum!

There you have it! Though we were bombarded with pizza and beer commercials all afternoon, we survived the Super Bowl like paleo superstars.

Stay tuned as we take on a dinner party this week, paleo style!

Day 6 - Power Breakfast

Nobody loves Monday's but I had a feeling that today would be different.  With our alarm turned off, I walked into the kitchen and was greeted by an incredible west coast sunrise and knew instantly, today was going to be a good day. 

On today's menu:
  • Fresh fruit smoothie w/ 1 banana, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 pear, blueberries, coconut meat, splash of blackcurrant juice & cinnamon
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Paleo pumpkin muffin 
  • Paleo oatmeal (almond butter, unsweetened apple sauce, coconut milk, cinnamon)
  • Green tea
  • More fresh fruit

Both satisfied and stuffed, it was time to go to work. It's only Day 6 and I'm already feeling more energized and ready to take on anything, even Monday's. 

Week 2 - Meal Plan

The first few days on Paleo, weren't easy.  Our hunger seemed unstoppable and the tension between us was escalating as we consisted off mostly almonds, almonds, and more almonds. We decided week 2 would be different.  So after a 2 hour stop at the grocery store and $300 later, we felt more prepared than ever to take on our second week as Urban Cavemen. Here's the meal plan:


Homemade Paleo Pumpkin muffins (everyday)
Almond butter + apple sauce (everyday)
Fresh fruit smoothies (everyday)
Eggs (3 days)
Crepes (3 days)


Chicken salad
Pear + Butternut squash soup


Green God Bowl
Cuban salmon w/ rapini
Irish Stew
Tilapia w/ green beans + cauliflower
Pork Tenderloin w/ broccoli
Asian chicken w/ sweet potato mash + cucumber salad

Snacks - almonds, cashews, apples and grapefruits

As we complete this journey, we'll make sure to post all the recipes.  Until then, you'll have to keep following along. Happy Monday :)

Friday, 3 February 2012

Day 3 - Carrot Thai Chicken Squash

A wise friend once told me, "true happiness comes in things that others can't take away from you" and I'm reminded of this every time I watch the sunset. 

Pat in English Bay
After an amazing after-work run to English Bay and beauty February sunset, we were back at home making this delicious gem.  It definitely sounds like a weird combination, but trust us, it tastes amazing! 

1 spaghetti squash
3 chicken breasts
Thai carrot sauce, simmer for 30 minutes (ginger, garlic, grated coconut, chili powder, orange juice, carrot juice, paprkia, and tamari)

After a long work week and tough first few days on Paleo, it has all the right elements to keep us full before a night out.  Best part, it's tangy and packed with flavour, so this interesting dish won't disappoint. 

Day 2 - Tilapia w/ Cauliflower + Green beans

Day 2 proved to be harder than expected. Stomach growls were constant and the thought of eating another almond was on par with eating a piece of chalk, so enter 7PM and time for a big Paleo feast.

4 pieces of fresh Tilapia
1 caulilflower, chopped
1lb of green beans
4 cloves garlic, chopped
cherry tomatoes
1 lemon, squeezed
Salt & pepper
Green beans are questionable for some hardcore paleos out there, but I trust Wikipedia in that they are in fact a vegetable and not a legume.  This cheap, filling, super easy to whip up and totally west coast meal comes in at just under $15 for 2, proving that Paleo can be equally as delicious as it is healthy.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Day 2 - Lunch - Soup and Salad

This lunch may look familiar. It's your traditional soup and salad... the paleo way! A crisp, refreshing salad with a simple vinaigrette, paired with a ridiculously flavourful soup won't fail to please your tastebuds.

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup (inspired by the 'refresh' cookbook)

1 inch ginger root, peeled and minced
1 cinnamon stick
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups homemade, organic vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion peeled and chopped
1/3 cup organic white wine
2 pears, cored and sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 red pepper, diced

1. Put ginger, cinnamon stick, squash, and sweet potato in soup pot. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

2. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add onion and cook until caramelized, roughly 5 min

3. Add white wine and pears to pan. Cook for 5 min until wine is reduced, then add to soup pot.

4. When the squash and potatoes are cooked, roughly 30min, add the coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. Remove the cinnamon stick.

5. Puree in food processor or blender after soup has cooled.

6. Garnish with finely diced red pepper and serve!

Simple Paleo Salad

4 cups mixed greens (loosely packed)
1/2 orange pepper, diced
5 grape tomatoes, halved
1 breast of chicken
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp five spice
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Combine avocado oil with cinnamon and five spice, and pour over chicken breast. Bake for 40 minutes.

2. Fill bowl with mixed greens. Add pepper and tomatoes.

3. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix.

4. Once chicken is cooked, chop into strips and lay over the bed of veggies. Dress with vinaigrette.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Day 1 - Rainforest Stir Fry

By 6PM, I was running on nothing but a grapefruit and pure adrenaline. I arrived home to the best surprise, a steaming hot and fresh off the stove Rainforest Stir Fry.

4tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
4 roma tomatos, cut in wedges
2 red onions, peeled and cut in wedges
1 chopped baby bok choy
1 spaghetti squash, baked and stringed
1 green jalapeno, sliced
1 batch spicy mango sauce (pure mango juice, tamari, olive oil, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, lemon juice, salt and water)

Inspired by a recipe from one of our favourite restaurants in Toronto, ironically a vegetarian spot, we've adapted this recipe to make it Paleo friendly and west coast edgy. Dig in!

Day 1 - Breakfast

It all started with an alarm, 8 hours of sleep now behind us, it was time for our first Paleo meal of the challenge.

Fresh smoothie w/ 1 banana, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 pear, blueberries, splash of blackcurrant juice, & cinnamon
1/2 avocado 
2 scrambled eggs w/ jalapenos 
Lemongrass green tea
Omega3 & Vitamin D-3 supplements

After some hurried bites and a little CBC news, it only took 20 minutes to realize my plate was empty and my stomach full.  Breakfast 1/30, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.