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A day in the life of Peach’s Clean Eats (and Instagram addiction)

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Yeah, yeah… I know I Instagram more food than is probably necessary. So be it. I own many of the stereotypes so accurately and hilariously depicted in this parody.   I recently even stooped to the crazy CrossFit handstand shots. Sorry, you don’t get to see those. Yet.

However, there is a reason for all this IG nonsense. These pics make posts like this one way better, so that I can share my latest FAILS adventures with clean eating and Paleo-ish foods with pictures! Because I know you’re all just on the edges of your seats to know what my daily calorie intake looks like.  Admit it. Or not. The hell with my self-esteem. I’ll go cry in the corner now.

Breakfast:

Savory choice: Egg scramble with veggies, sometimes with leftover protein. Depends on the leftovers… I haven’t quite adjusted my system to crave crock-pot chicken curry at 8am. *burp* The ingredients: 1 whole egg, 1-2 egg whites, 1 cup of veggies, 1/2T coconut oil.  Heat the oil, add the veggies and cook until warmed. Push to one side of skillet, then add egg/whites and let those firm up. When almost firm but still wet, mix with veggies and cook until eggs are desired doneness. Top with leftover turkey burger, meatloaf, ground beef, steak, bacon, sausage…you get the idea.

Sweet choice: I go this route far more often, but try to keep the choices high in protein, low in fat and low in carbs. I experimented last week with a recipe for some Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Fritters. From the final pic, you’d think this was a breeze, right?  WRONG. Here’s what really happened.

making smaller ones worked well enough...

making smaller ones worked well enough…

let's make a BIG ONE!

let’s make a BIG ONE!

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Flip….FAIL.

maybe if I arrange it pretty enough on the plate and add a fancy label it won't suck so bad?

maybe if I arrange it pretty enough on the plate and add a fancy label it won’t suck so bad?

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A way less messy option is my Cake Batter Yogurt Fruit Bowl:

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1/2 C Fage 0% greek yogurt
1/2 medium banana, mashed
splash of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Milk
2TBSP PB2 w/ Chocolate
Top with fresh fruit, nuts, more nut butter or a drizzle of honey/maple syrup

Recently, I brought back an old favorite by Lauren at The Informed Health Nut – Protein Pow Pow Pancakes  (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

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in YO FACE.

1/2 of a small, ripe banana
1 scoop protein powder (~1/4 cup) I used Jay Robb’s Strawberry Egg White
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut beverage, or almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
stevia, to taste (I omitted)
dash salt
slightly less than 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp butter or coconut oil, to grease pan between pancakes

Directions – Mash banana in a mixing bowl. Add the egg and egg white and mix. Add the protein powder and coconut flour and mix well. Add the coconut beverage, vanilla, stevia, and salt and mix well. Add the baking soda and mix well. Turn on the stove to medium lowish heat and place a pan on the burner. Add enough butter to coat the bottom. Once heated, pour the batter in the pan. When there are LOTS of bubbles, flip the pancake. Repeat until the batter is gone. Serve with grass fed butter, nut butter, sugar free maple syrup, shredded coconut, etc.

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Lunch and Dinner Options:

I’ve discovered I actually love roasted Brussels sprouts. Who’da thunk it?? And they are SO easy: Wash em up, cut off the ends, chop in half or quarters if they’re big mommas, toss in olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Roast for 10-15 min at 405 degrees.

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the crispier, the better! YUM.

If I’ve learned one thing eating Paleo/Clean, it’s that you need to be creative. Sometimes you’re staring down an empty fridge/pantry and you’re so hangry that you could step on a small child*. Going to the grocery store is not gonna happen. You need to EAT. NOW. Your available options are:

  • A sad looking avocado on the counter
  • a small spaghetti squash chillin’ in the veggie bowl
  • frozen broccoli florets and Jenni-O’s frozen turkey burgers in the freezer
  • a wheel of Laughing Cow Light Herb and Garlic Cream Cheese wedges in the fridge

Let’s do this. Stab some holes (carefully!) in the squash and microwave 6 min on each side. Then microwave the broccoli until just tender. While those are cooking, throw a turkey burger into a skillet and cook until done. Cut up half of the avocado into bite-sized chunks. De-thread the spaghetti squash and put about 1-1.5 cups into a large bowl. Add the drained broccoli, then immediately add the Laughing Cow wedge and stir until it’s all melted into the hot veggies. Top with diced turkey burger and avocado. EAT. Fork is optional.

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lunch

dinner

dinner

* No children were harmed in the making of this meal.

So tell me, What quick and easy meals do you cook when you’re HANGRY?  

Clean Eats – The Greek Yogurt Edition

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Who else is glad that it’s almost the weekend???

My work laptop decided to roll over and DIE ON ME last weekend. Since I’m a remote employee, I had to wait for our guys to ship me a replacement. Well, I also have shit to get done so… I took a deep breath, opened my office closet door, and pulled out this baby.

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Needless to say, my productivity this week has been in the shitter. That’s what happens when you go from modern technology to a 2002 caveman OS, not even 1GB of memory and a turtle-speed processor. Luckily the replacement arrived in record time and I’m now back up and zipping along! It’s not a Mac, but it’ll do, pig. Wait… I just discovered that MS office isn’t installed. What the f***.

Come on, weekend.

Today’s Clean Eats post is all about my love for Greek Yogurt. First up is my Creamy Curry Dipping Sauce.

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  • 2TBSP Plain 0% fat Greek Yogurt
  • 4-5 shakes of curry powder
  • 1TBSP Dijon Mustard

This made an excellent topper and healthier alternative to tartar sauce for my Salmon Cakes. The Salmon Cakes can be found here and they are gluten-free and dairy-free!

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what? I was hangry.

Next up, I love to snack on red bell pepper, so I decided to whip up something southwestern as a dip for them.

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Southwestern Dipping Sauce

  • 2TBSP Plain 0% fat Greek Yogurt
  • 4-5 good shakes of Mrs Dash No-Salt Chipotle Seasoning
  • let these sit and get to know each other for a bit to open up the flavors
  • It’s super cute if you serve them in mini-Mason jars.

People, I understand this snack is not quite the Guacamole and Scoops mind asploshun I caused my friend Eric…. guac3 …but it’s still tasty and much less guilt-inducing.

Next up are two of my favorites when the sugarmonster is getting the best of me. Rather than killing an entire bag of Oreos, I’ll grumble but eat this instead.

Coconut Cinnamon Apples with Fruit Dip

  • One small to medium apple of your choice, cut into slices or chunks.
  • 1TBSP of coconut oilz

Saute the apples in the oil until they’re softened but not mushy. Mushy is no bueno. Unless you want chunky applesauce. Then go for it.  When they’re done, sprinkle them with cinnamon.

Now for the dip!

  • 1/2 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • Splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 TBSP plain or chocolate PB2
  • shake of cinnamon

Mix all this up together in a large bowl, then dump those cinnamon apples over it. Proceed to die and go to heaven.  PS – thanks to CarrotsNCake for the apple genius! appleWM I originally posted the next recipe back in September, and it’s worth mentioning again.

PEACH’S BANANA CAKE BATTER

  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed till it’s nice and mooshy. Isn’t that a fancy description?
  • 1/4 to 1/3Cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt, Plain
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • splash Coconut/Almond Milk, unsweetened
  • Organic unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

Mix it all up and eat as-is. Or serve it over waffles. Or as a fruit dip. Or use it as a hair mask. Not really. That would be weird. But you’d smell delish.

If you’re bored of your usuals right now, you can also find these recipes/links in my previous Clean Eats post:

  • French Toast Scramble
  • Mini Crustless Quiches
  • Peach’s Veggie Saute
  • Peach’s Spaghetti Squash Bake
  • Salmon Cakes
  • Italian Meatloaf
  • Peach’s CrockPot Curry Chicken
Mason jars > tupperware.

Mason jars > tupperware.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Recipe Share: Clean Eats Galore

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As explained in my FoodWars post, I’ve decided to take a more relaxed approach in my diet because trying and failing to be strict Paleo was driving me batshit crazy. I’ve been way happier in my new plan these past three weeks with some good old common sense clean eating. I’m still figuring out the balance, but I can tell you that my body knows the difference. I am already leaner. I feel better. And that rocks.

Here’s a sneak peek into my clean eats…

Breakfast:

French toast scramble – courtesy of CarrotsNCake, I was skeptical about the banana/egg combo, but found I enjoy it on the mornings I want something sweet. One mashed banana, 1 whole egg, a few egg whites, cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. Scramble it up in a bit of coconut oil and top with a scoop of almond butter or PB2. Full till lunch.

Everyday Paleo Egg Cupcakes – not a fan of this name. Let’s call them Veggie and Sausage Mini Crust-less Quiches, mmkay? These lil nuggets are easy and portable, they let me play with my new destroyer of food processor, and they are delish. Make em the night before and you’re set for more than a few days for breakfast. The recipe states specific veggies to use, but bollucks to that. Throw in whatever you want. These had: zucchini, squash, carrots, onion and spinach plus low fat breakfast sausage. But word to the wise. Too much spinach and they WILL turn out quite St. Patty’s Day-inspired. You’ve been warned.

1st batch = WHOASPINACH. 2nd batch = better.

1st batch = WHOASPINACH. 2nd batch = better.

Snacks:

Greek yogurt and fruit – if I need a quick pick-me-up I’ll just cut up an apple and dip it in 0% fat plain greek yogurt that I’ve mixed with a splash of almond milk and a scoop of PB2. <– If you haven’t tried this, you must.

You can also spend an extra 5 minutes and make Coconut Cinnamon Apples to go with your yogurt/PB2 combo. Here’s how easy: Take your choice of apple, slice it up, saute it for a few minutes in a teaspoon of coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon at the end. HEAVEN, I SAY.

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Cereal w/ Almond Milk – I have a confession. I love cereal after dinner/before bedtime. Um. I may or may not have gone through a whole box of Peanut Butter Multi-Grain Cheerios in five days. Wee bit obsessed? Nah.

Lunches/Dinners:

Let’s face it, when you cook at home 90% of the time, you will get bored and some nights you’re just not feeling very Domestic Goddess-y.  When that happens, I’ll treat myself to a Chipotle salad or some other healthy eat-out option.

But here are a few of my no-fail at-home standards.

Peach’s Go-To Veggie Saute

  • Heat 1T coconut oil (or olive oil or bacon grease) in large, shallow skillet. (not a stock pot – potatoes become mushy if they don’t have air while cooking.)
  • Add to oil: 1 sweet potato, cut into 1in cubes. Cook potato until it becomes browned but not yet soft.
  • Add 1 sliced onion and 1 sliced red bell pepper. Cook together until onions and bell peppers are softened, but still firm.
  • Add 1 medium yellow squash and 1 medium zucchini, cut into quarter or half moons
  • Cook all together until potatoes are done and squash/zucchini are slightly softened but not mush.

I use this veggie saute for everything: breakfast scrambles, omelets, frittata (frittatii?), as a base for pot roast, shredded pork, or in my Spaghetti Squash Bake. I even throw it into salads.  I’d be lost without it!

Everyday Paleo’s Salmon Cakes were super easy and turned out wonderfully, minus one thing.

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HOW THE HELL AM I GONNA EAT ALL THESE?

The freezer was my friend. Next time half the recipe, Peach!

PaleOMG’s Italian Meatloaf? Whoa, momma.  It was so good it was gone before I could take any pictures. But then again, when are pictures of meatloaf ever sexy? Regardless, this is definitely a keeper in the recipe arsenal!

Hands down, saved the best for last.

curryWM

Peach’s Crockpot Curry Chicken  (adapted from PaleOMG’s Brazilian Curry Chicken)

  • 1.25-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken boobies.
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3 chunks each.
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth
  • 4 TBS yellow curry powder
  • 1 TBS ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the coconut milk, broth and spices in the crock pot.
  2. Add the chicken boobies and sweet potato chunks. Make sure chicken is submerged in liquid.
  3. Cook for 3 hrs on medium, then flip the chicken boobies over.
  4. Cook another 3 hrs, or until the chicken boobies fall apart when you fork them. (Where is my brain today?!?!)
  5. Once here, I removed the chicken/potatoes from the liquid and set aside. Then I strained the liquid, because the coconut milk had gone kinda separated/weird on me. (Does this happen to anyone else?)
  6. Once liquid is strained and back in the crockpot, shred the chicken boobs with two forks and put the chicken into to the liquid to cook on low for another hour. This lets all the little chicken boobie-bits soak up all the yummy curry liquid. I left the sweet potatoes out of the crock pot at this point because they were plenty cooked and about to disintegrate.
  7. Serve it up with the sweet potatoes, a veggie saute and some avocados.
  8. Devour.

Mighty Peach Life List #62 – Try Foie Gras…DONE!

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The intro to this Life List item is here.

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Russell’s research led us to The Iberian Pig in Decatur, GA. If you’re worth your weight in the Atlanta foodie scene, you’ll know that Decatur is actually challenging Atlanta “proper” in regard to the food & bev industry. The Iberian Pig not only stood up against but surpassed the few restaurants I’ve tried in Downtown or Midtown. Our outrageously knowledgeable and charming server aced our barrage of menu questions and threw in fun facts about our selections as the night progressed. I dig a server who guides your choices instead of tapping their foot impatiently waiting for you to decide. Whether it involved our wine selection or inquiry on salad portion size or which cheese HE preferred – ours rocked.  He handled our raucous table of nine as efficiently as a timid two-top. We were never without drinks and each round of plates came out as if they’d been choreographed. We always had just enough time to enjoy the afterglow, but never so much time that we were missing our next course. Have you ever booked a reservation at a pricey lovely restaurant and then felt hurried along to free your table for the next seating? Nope, didn’t happen here. We felt relaxed and were able to enjoy the meal along with each other’s company.

Another bonus: unlike most upscale restaurants that require one check and auto-add the gratuity, we were appreciative that we were allowed to split our check 5 ways… and I’d bet you anything that our server came out with way better than 18%! The restaurant itself played a big role for us, too.  Russell, awesome organizer that he is, called ahead and gave a fellow named Ian a heads up about our special evening’s focus. You see, their menu’s foie dish was a play on french toast (“Foienche”)  but my friend wanted my first tasting of foie gras to be more traditional.  After inquiring with Ian, Russell was assured they could accommodate us!

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And that was just the service and experience. Let’s move on to the food.

The Iberian Pig boasts a menu that can seem overwhelming at first. How can one possibly choose a *reasonable* amount of food from the vast array of charcuteria and cheese plates, salads, flatbreads, tapas, entrees, desserts and cocktails?!? Ummm, can I have one of each, please? There were so many unbelievable flavor combinations we all wanted to taste, so we decided to stick with the tapas menu as the bulk of our meal.  This way, we could share and taste more than if we’d all gotten a single entree.

Hold on for the culinary ride, folks.

First we needed booze. Because, duh. Terrazas de los Andes, Reserve Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2009

First we needed booze. Because, duh. Terrazas de los Andes, Reserve Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2009

Traditionally prepared foie gras, served on a crostada with slivered pears and honeyed nut medley. I didn't catch what the sauces were.

Traditionally prepared foie gras, served on a brioche crostada with slivered pears and honeyed nut medley. I didn’t catch what the sauces were.

My first taste of Foie Gras. LifeList #62? Check! It was... interesting. Crisp outside, creamy inside, slightly fatty-bacon tasting but not as pork-y. The texture and flavor were not what I expected! It wasn't grainy or liver-esque at all. Kinda made me tilt my head to the side and go, "... Hm. It's weird, but it doesn't suck". Do I crave more? Not really. Would I eat it again? Certainly.

My first taste of Foie Gras. LifeList #62? Check! It was… interesting. Crisp outside, creamy inside, slightly fatty-bacon tasting but not as pork-y. The texture and flavor were not what I expected! It wasn’t grainy or liver-esque at all. Kinda made me tilt my head to the side and go, “… Hm. It’s weird, but it doesn’t suck”. Do I crave more? Not really. Would I eat it again? Certainly.

    Didn't last long at a table of nine...

Didn’t last long at a table of nine…

#2 Cheese plate - Manchego, Mahon, and Canja de Oveja with blackberry, apricot and fig? fruit compotes. Served with artisan bread with the most amazing olive oil.

#2 Cheese plate – Manchego, Mahon, and Canja de Oveja with blackberry, apricot and fig? fruit compotes. Served with artisan bread drizzled with the most amazing olive oil.

On to the other tapas! #3 Crispy pork belly with candied fruits over goat cheese creme fraiche. #mouthgasm

#3 Crispy pork belly with candied fruits over goat cheese creme fraiche. #mouthgasm

#4 Pulpo a la Parilla - Grilled Mediterranean octopus, roasted fingerling potatoes, garlic, watercress pistou, Benton’s bacon salbitxada

#4 Pulpo a la Parilla – Grilled Mediterranean octopus, roasted fingerling potatoes, garlic, watercress pistou, Benton’s bacon salbitxada. This wasn’t my first rodeo with grilled pulpo. I found this one very well executed and it avoided being rubbery. The little suckers made me laugh. 🙂 The seasoning and sauces were a great addition, but potatoes were a bit underdone.

#5 Vieras - Pan seared scallops, butternut squash-morcilla puree, saffron roasted cauliflower, tempura artichoke. I'm a new lover of scallops after this one. They were sweet and buttery with a caramelized sear on one side and sitting in a delectable puree. #wantedmore

#5 Vieras – Pan seared scallops, butternut squash-morcilla puree, saffron roasted cauliflower, tempura artichoke. I’m a new lover of scallops after this one. They were sweet and buttery with a caramelized sear on one side and sitting in a delectable puree. #wantedmore

#6 Manchego Mac 'n' Cheese - Garganelli pasta, Manchego-pork belly cream, butter toasted panko, thyme. After I tasted this, I wanted to run to the kitchen and grab the nearest chef and hug him/her. This was a table favorite, but was so rich we couldn't finish it. #incredible

#6 Manchego Mac ‘n’ Cheese – Garganelli pasta, Manchego-pork belly cream, butter toasted panko, thyme. After I tasted this, I wanted to run to the kitchen and grab the nearest chef and hug him/her. This was a table favorite, but was so rich we couldn’t finish it. #incredible

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Copa Catalan – Bruleed Espresso custard served with fresh berries

Closer. #8 Cappuccino. When brought to me, the server mentioned that it may not be up to par because he had a colleague make it and to let him know if it was not good.  It was milkier than I prefer, but I didn't mind enough to send it back.  It was a comforting end of the meal nightcap instead of a smack-your-mama jolt of caffeine.

Closer. #8 Cappuccino. It was a bit milkier than I prefer, but a comforting end of the meal nightcap instead of a smack-your-mama jolt of caffeine.

And there you have it. You can’t say I didn’t go big for this experience!

We left The Iberian Pig happily stuffed and all smiles. I’d finally gotten to try foie gras for the first time and having my friends with me for the experience made it so much more fun! I feel so grateful that I have adventurous-eater-foodie-people who are willing to help me tackle my dreams. Love you guys! And just to make him blush again – thank you again, Russell!

If any of you are in the Atlanta area and want an amazing food experience (and not just another expensive meal) – try this place. And take me with you. 😉

Later, y’all.  I’m off to New York to take on Life List items #58 and #10. Happy New Year, everyone.

Mighty Peach Life List – #62 Try Fois Gras…happening tonight!

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knife-fork2

GoMighty.com link here.

Thanks to my Southern upbringing, I’m no stranger to deep fried, covered in Hidden Valley Ranch-style comfort foods. As a half-Cajun I learned young how to de-head and peel a crawfish, but never came around to liking their fishy taste. I didn’t mind gumbo as long as the okra didn’t get slimy, but loved the hell out of some Low Country Boil. My mom is a Texan so there were many a chicken-fried steak and mashed potato dinner. The worst I remember was the corned beef and cabbage. She and Dad loved it. Big bro and I thought it smelled like feet, tasted worse, and we staunchly refused to eat the boiled, salty pink meat. “Fancy” veggies like brussel sprouts rarely made an appearance in our house and my first encounter with asparagus was as a mushy, broccoli-turned-bad tasting thing from a can. I didn’t consider myself a picky eater, as long as it involved normal things. Like mac and cheese, fish sticks, shake ‘n baked pork chops, chicken nuggets, tacos, or chicken pot pie.

There’s nothing wrong with these humble foods, but I’ve come a long way since then.

Moving to the Midwest for grad school helped – it was a very large and very diverse college town with a plethora of international cuisines my palette had never tasted. Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, and Mongolian were a few. Who knew I’d love Butter Chicken or sushi so much? But I also came to know and love better quality ingredients. I fell in lust with fine cheeses. I worked at a winery and educated my palette on wines from sweet to dry, white, red, port, late harvest and ice wine. My favorite spot’s filet with port reduction and desserts so good I wanted to hump the chef paralleled my awakening to the understanding: with better ingredients came better tastes. Brussel sprouts and asparagus when fresh and cooked to perfection? Now a whole different story. This was around 2005, the front end of the farm-to-table movement. If it meant food tasted this good, I was fully supportive.

Then I moved to the NY area and my food world exploded. I wanted to try it all, from the salty boiled bagels with lox to matza ball soup to real New York pizza. From Little Italy’s gelato and gnocchi to Morimoto’s steamed pork buns to Mario Batali’s Lupa, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, wild boar pasta from some place in the Village and 2am Korean barbecue-it-at-the tables with steaming cauldrons of bibimbap.  My ex was half Ecuadorian and introduced me to maduros, chicharones, papa rellena, chuletas, adobo, yuca fries, ropa vieja, pan con bistec, churrasco, ceviche and the list goes on.

Good grief, I’m a grown-ass foodie but it’s amazing to me that there are still so many types of food I haven’t tried.

Next up on my life list is a controversial one.

Here’s where I say that I’m just a girl… standing in front of a boy… telling you that I want to try foie gras. Be nice.

A lovely friend with many Atlanta chef contacts decided he wanted to tackle this item with me. He not only tracked down the best foie gras place for me, but handled inviting all our friends and booking the reservations. Thank you, Russell!  (ps – Russ is awesome. And blushes easily, which is why I’m doing this. He’s probably red to the tips of his ears by now.)  I decided my Paleo diet is being put into time-out for the evening, too. Gimme the bread, bitches.

Excited doesn’t cover it and we plan to make an evening of it! My friends don’t know this yet, but I want everyone to try a food they’ve never tasted tonight.  Because it’s not just about the foie gras, it’s also about the whole experience. Being brave. Trying. Living.

Now excuse me, I have to go figure out what I’m wearing since the temperatures decided to drop from humid-rainy to BALLS-IT’S-COLD. I’ll report back soon on how it went!

What foods have you never tried, and are a little scared to try!, but are going on your Life List anyway?