Holiday Wrap Up

Despite contrary sentiments I noticed on Facebook, I was quite sad to see the end of 2014.  For us it was a great year – one of strength, stability, growth and success.  Perhaps most importantly, we felt healthy and strong, committed and comfortable with our paleo lifestyle.  On the flip side, we’re looking forward to carrying this into 2015 and making this year just as great.

The holidays were the perfect time for us to unwind, relax and hang out with family and friends.  There’s not much that can compete with sleeping in, mom’s (paleo) cookies and dad’s fresh squeezed oj 🙂  Did we keep it paleo through all the parties and travel? Duh, totes. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite things and what we ate.

Santa knows us pretty well.  These are a few of the awesome gifts we think you should know about:

  • Mala Beads: These are beautiful, handcrafted pieces.  I got the Strengthening Agate Mala for its ability to ground and balance emotion as well as its healing properties
  • Mascara: This is my go to mascara that is gluten free
  • Salad Spinner: This has saved me loads of time in the lettuce washing department
  • Cast Iron Skillet: We’ve literally used this every day since we got it
  • Smart Wool Socks: Amazing, comfortable and feet don’t get sweaty or cold.  We also love the Defeet brand.

As for food, we don’t travel light.  We ordered groceries ahead of time from www.doortodoororganics.com and www.freshpicks.com.  We packed the car with the food, a box of our spices and even a crockpot.  Here’s what we feasted on:

  • Christmas Eve: Paleo Chili from Against All Grain cookbook.
  • Christmas Day: Eggs*, Bacon, Avocado and Fed and Fit’s Blueberry Scones.*  Grass Fed Pot Roast, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Paleo Pumpkin Pie.  For the pie, I used this crust and this filling.
  • The next 2 days were spent in Peoria, where we ate leftover scones, more avocados, salads and veggies. We also had a new pot of Chili and some Grass Fed Italian Beef (Thanks Dave!)  We went out to eat one night where we ordered burgers with no buns and a side salad.  Chuck also finished off the rest of our cookies on the drive down when I fell asleep!  We had some backup larabars, renola and almond butter if we needed it.

*I have a sensitivity to eggs so I don’t eat them.  My accommodating mom made the scones by substituting one banana for the egg and they turned out amazing!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday as well.  Happy New Year!!

New Years Day

New Years Day Selfie at the University Club of Chicago

 

Veggie Selfie Contest for $50 Door to Door Organics Gift Card

Super cool giveaway!  The prize? An awesome $50 gift card to Door To Door Organics Chicago.  To enter, Just snap a pic of yourself with your favorite vegetable.  Post your Veggie Selfie on Instagram with the following hashtags #veggieselfie #doortodoororganics #mepaleo.  Or post your Veggie Selfie to Facebook and Like MePaleo and Like DoorToDoorOrganics Chicago.  Easy peasy!

Check out Rene and her greens…

Rene's Veggie Selfie

Rene’s Veggie Selfie

Cuckoo for Coco-Jack

This is one of the things you never knew you needed.  My particular story started in the Whole Foods produce area.  I saw a girl comparing two of those white coconuts, one in each hand, and I couldn’t help but ask what she was doing.  She nicely explained that they are young coconuts, full of coconut water.  They are pricey at $2.99, so she was trying to figure out which was heavier to get the best value.  Packaged coconut water is more expensive and there are always concerns with additives or BPA in the packaging. A fresh coconut seems like a great way to get coconut water directly from the source, right?  Well, after trying to hack one open with a cleaver, I can see how the packaged stuff has its place and its price.  Is fresh coconut water worth a trip to the emergency room?  Hmmmm, I pondered this but still continued to open coconuts the only way I knew how… brute force.  I must admit, there is something primal and fun about my method.  But, there was an increasingly worried look on Rene’s face every time I assured her that I knew what I was doing.  That encouraged me to scour YouTube for a better solution.  That, friends, is the day I found Coco-Jack.  I ordered one up for myself and also got one for my dad (makes a great gift!).  The Coco-Jack is simply amazing.  Why the heck didn’t I think of this?  It’s cool, works perfectly and has made opening young coconuts a super fun spectacle of wonderment.  The Coco-Jack is simple.  Basically, it is a mallet and a leverage device.  You hammer the circular part of the device into the top of the coconut and push down on the handle part.  The leverage pops the top of the coconut into a little round lid.  You can go Gilligan’s Island style and pop in a straw the top or, for you sophisticates, pour the coconut water into the wine glass of your choice.  I’ve been getting about 2 cups of water out of each coconut.  I saved the best part for last… They also came up with a little scooper tool that lets you get all the coconut meat out without smashing the shell open.  Again, genius idea!  I was pretty pumped about this, so I contacted Coco-Jack.  They were nice enough to provide a Coco-Jack discount code for our readers.

Use code “MePaleo” at check out and get a whopping 10% off of your purchase!

Here are some technique videos for your viewing pleasure.  This thing is great!  Cheers!

Getting Jacked

Getting Jacked

Coming Soon to a Door Near You!

We are really excited to be working with Door to Door Organics – Chicago!  Throughout October, stay tuned for giveaways, new recipes and more great blogs.  As a special gift for you, start shopping and get $10 off of your next order with this exclusive MePaleo coupon code!  We can’t wait to get cooking!!

Door to Door Food Box

Door to Door Food Box

Door to Door Organics Logo 2

No Mo GMO – Corporate Buzz Kill

This past weekend, we got our protest on and joined the March Against Monsanto rally in downtown Chicago.  The group of a few hundred people gathered at Federal Plaza included families, hippies and a lot of regular folk.  I learned a lot from just being there, listening to speakers and reading flyers.  It was eye opening and impassioned.

Luckily, most major GMO (genetically modified organism) crops aren’t part of the Paleo lifestyle… soy, corn, wheat, alfalfa. But, there is an indirect effect on those of the Paleo persuasion and long reaching affects for our non-Paleo friends.  The modified crops have genes which allow them to stand up to high doses of weedkiller and pesticides.  These extra strength genes increase the yield of crops, but have unknown long-term effects in humans.  Bees that pollinate all fruits and vegetables are being damaged and killed by the increased use of pesticides.  These are the same bees that pollinate fruit and vegetable crops that we all consume.

Some legislators are recognizing the problem. In 2013, U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced the “Saving America’s Pollinators Act,” which seeks to suspend the use of neonicotinoids on bee-attractive plants until EPA reviews all of the available data, including field studies. Interestingly, the European Union has already banned some of these pesticides and has very strict GMO regulations in place.  The EU is always so fashionable and green.

What are 3 things we can we do today?

1) Know your food/ farmer and buy certified organic whenever possible

2) Spread the word to friends and family (good info here)

3) Insist on proper labeling of GMOs and vote for candidates that support GMO labeling

Angry Townspeople

Angry Townspeople

 

Box Me In

Today, we got our first local, organic delivery from Irv and Shelly’s.  It was perfect timing because we put out a bag this morning for the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive. The outgoing bag was full of pasta, lentils, processed sauces and other fine examples of our previous diet .  Kind of interesting the way the timing worked out, but out with the old and in with the new!  I’m really impressed with the variety in the Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks Veg/ Fruit Box.  It was almost like an episode of “Chopped” when we got it.  There were a couple things that I’ve never cooked and have barely heard of… like ramps and parsnips.  Other items in the box were a mini watermelon, bananas, oranges, spinach, chives.  It is like a cornucopia of organic goodness.

We decided to get creative and work with some new ingredients, so tonight we made lamb burgers stuffed with sauteed onion, garlic and ramps.  Then had some amazing sauteed parsnips sprinkled with fresh chives on the side.  Whoa!  What a flavor packed and delicious meal!  Ramps rock and parsnips were surprisingly sweet and super tasty.I’m already excited about out next delivery.  It’s really a cool service.  You can pick out the right sized box to fit your appetite.  It’s actually a bag, but that’s ok… they will recycle the bag on the next delivery (am I turning into a hippie or what?).  Anyway, they fill the bag with fresh, local organic produce and then you can add on extras like organic avocados, Gunthorp Farms pasture raised organic chicken, organic grass fed beef or anything else from their site.  They deliver to our zip code on Saturdays and bring it right to the door.  Is it a good value?  I really think so.  If I went to Whole Foods and bought the exact same stuff, it would cost more and take at least an hour out of my day.  There is a similar service that has more meat items in their inventory, so we will be trying that one, too… and will post the experience as well.

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