Crusty Chicken

About a week ago I cooked chicken drumsticks. I was looking for a new chicken recipe, and this one seemed to be pretty good. At least it was different.

It was good, but it wasn’t impressive. One thing that I like about cooking Paleo is all of the options available as far as spices go. I love sauces because they add big, bold flavor to food. While sauces aren’t forbidden on a Paleo diet, it is hard to find sauces that add wonderful flavor without added sugar or crap ingredients. But spices are totally okay on a Paleo diet, and they are so versatile – you can mix up spices in different ways and create entirely new dishes with your creations.

This is what I did with my chicken tonight. I looked at a few different recipes, got an idea of what I wanted to do, and began to mix it up. I can honestly say that this was a huge experiment since my knowledge of what spices work together is pretty small, but it worked so well that my fiance named the resulting dish “Crusty Chicken.” So, here is the recipe:

Crusty Chicken

4 to 6 chicken quarters

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp paprika

4 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the coconut oil, then mix the all of the spices into the oil. rub the spice mixture onto the chicken quarters and place in a shallow cooking dish. Cook for one hour.

You may want to watch the chicken as ours came out a little dry. I’m considering trying the recipe again using a baking bag for the chicken. However, I do like the crust of the spices on the skin of the chicken – it gets kind of crunchy which adds a nice texture. I know that I won’t get that with a baking bag.

Advertisements

Losing…What?

I have been doing a bit of online research this morning, and I came across a blog post about weighing yourself when on a diet. A woman named Deb is featured in the post, with pictures of her at 155 in the before picture, looking very unhappy, and at 155 in the after picture, looking much more fit.

Wait…what?

Yes, you read that right. She weighs 155 in both pictures. She is on a Paleo diet.

Reading this is great for me, because my scale hasn’t budged an inch in a few weeks, which is usually pretty frustrating for me. It would be this time, too, but I feel so great eating this way that I have stopped caring about the scale. Not to the point where I won’t get on it, but I get on it less. And still it hasn’t moved.

And yet coworkers tell me that it already looks like I have lost more than the scale tells me I have. I look at them unbelievably when they tell me this because I can’t believe it. But I go on eating this way because of the way it makes me feel. And I work out, too.

But then came another blog post.

What? No cardio?

Now here is the point where my fiance is going to get a little frustrated with me. He and I are very big into researching things. I usually research along the way (hence the reason for all of the “along the way” blog posts) and he researches beforehand. He’s been telling me about the no cardio “thing” for a couple of weeks now, and telling me I need to read “Body by Science” by Doug McGuff and John Little. He has formulated a workout that he does every time we go to the gym that incorporates weight lifting and no cardio. And he finishes his workout while I am still struggling along on the elliptical machine, usually finishing his whole workout at about the same time that I stagger off of the machine, about to die – when I am ready to begin my lifting. So I am happy to report to him that the book is the next thing on my immediate reading list. I will let all of my droves of readers (ha ha, joke) know how the book was.

So Deb achieved this amazing feat without losing a pound and without doing cardio. Not only that, but one part of the post says that she counted her calories for one day and ate….(wait for it)….”slightly over 3900 calories per day.”

WHAT???

Oh wow. This Paleo thing isn’t a diet – it is a freaking miracle! One of the most wonderful miracles that I have found, and I am taking advantage of it! (Or I will be when I get myself off of that elliptical machine – I have been telling my fiance that it is no joke, and now I’m starting to be convinced that it is of the devil!) I can’t wait to be able to blog about the information I find out about these new finds of the day!

*I must also throw in a disclaimer. I am not a religious person, so any mention of devils or miracles in the above post should not be construed as religious zeal, whether positive or negative, toward any particular diet or workout machine.

*I must also throw in another note: While Deb is eating 3900 calories a day, I believe from some of the tags on the posts that she is doing Crossfit, which to me means that she is also burning a heck of a lot of calories. Using common sense, I do not advocate or think it wise to start eating calories like nobody’s business simply because Deb is eating 3900 calories a day.

Paleo Stuffed Peppers

I have been working my way slowly through the book “Everyday Paleo” by Sarah Fragoso. It has some wonderful recipes in it, including the Garden Fresh Meatballs that I mentioned previously on this blog. I feel weird posting a recipe from a cookbook that someone else wrote on my blog, so I am going to just tell you to buy the book! It definitely has some wonderful recipes in it (and I haven’t even tried half of them yet).

One of the recipes that I tried this week while I was on vacation and had some extra time to cook was the Stuffed Peppers (this is the link to the recipe on the Everyday Paleo blog). I am used to having the stuffed peppers that my mom used to make when I was little: rice, ground beef, some vegetables, and whatever spices she threw in. Now, don’t get me wrong; I loved my mom’s stuffed peppers. But they couldn’t hold a candle to this recipe. These peppers were quite possibly the best stuffed peppers I have ever eaten in my life. My fiance absolutely loved them, too! Even my five-year-old, who I am trying to get to eat Paleo, tried a few bites. We have already agreed that this recipe is definitely one that we need to do again – soon.

My Vacation – Thoughts about Cravings and Sleep

I take my vacation every year in October, and this past week was it. I have enjoyed the time off, doing things around the house that needed to be done, as well as homework for school as well.

This is the first time that I haven’t been concerned about cheating during my vacation. On other diets that has been a huge stressor for me: what if I go out and the temptation is too much? I haven’t had all that much temptation on this diet, and when I do start to crave something, I know that I’ve eaten something that I probably should have.

Case in point: On Friday my boss called me around noon and told me that she needed me to sign something that she had to fax to corporate that afternoon. This was a totally inconvenient time for me, but I went ahead and left the house. I hadn’t had lunch yet, so I was thinking about what in the world I should stop and get. I decided to stop at Hardee’s and get a low-carb thick burger with no cheese and no ketchup. (Ketchup has so much sugar in it, and I’m really sensitive to sugar!) Well, after I ate it I began to crave things like ice cream and pastries, which hasn’t happened for three weeks, since my body got over its sugar tantrum. The cravings were manageable, and I went on with my life.

On Saturday I went out again, this time with my daughters, around lunch time without eating lunch. We had a birthday party to attend at 2, and we left the house around 12 with the intent to buy a gift and our Halloween costumes before the party. The kids were hungry, so we stopped at Wendy’s and got chicken nuggets for them and a single with no cheese, no bun, and no ketchup for me.

After I ate that burger the cravings were ridiculous! I was on my way to the grocery store after the party, plotting out how I was going to see if they had coconut milk ice cream in the freezer section because I was craving ice cream like nobody’s business. (I had already talked myself out of going to Cold Stone.) I have told myself that I wouldn’t get that ice cream before, because it is sweetened with agave nectar, and I don’t know how my body will react to it. But apparently I don’t need to be getting burgers from fast food joints, either, because my body isn’t acting to positively to them.

A lot of places, especially fast food restaurants, use fillers in their meat. I was already aware of this, and it was in my head the whole time I was eating each of the burgers. I feel that sometimes it is okay to experiment, though, so that you will know how your body will react to certain things. I know now that I should probably stay away from fast food burgers. I hate arguing with myself about eating anything. I have certainly not focused on food like I used to; it doesn’t occupy nearly as much of my quality thinking time as it used to. Yesterday when I found myself arguing with myself about ice cream, I was shocked to realize that this is what I spent a lot of time thinking about before I started eating Paleo. I would think about eating muffins from Lowe’s Foods (MAN those things are good!) or Chinese for lunch from the Panda Express, or ice cream from Cold Stone, or other things that I loved to eat – and I would fixate on that, as well as my justification for eating those things and spending the money on them, for hours until I had acquired the food that I was fixated on! I realized yesterday, in the midst of what could have been the coconut ice cream meltdown, that I haven’t had these fixations in weeks. My mind has been free to think about my job (which I love to think about) and my school work (which is connected to my job, so I also love thinking about). I don’t find my thoughts about these things that I love to think about being interrupted by thoughts of food, because my total thought process has changed. And it has changed because my body is happy with the food that I’m giving it, and it doesn’t need or want anything else.

This is a really good realization to have, especially since there will come other times when I will eat something that my body doesn’t get along with. Knowing how I am going to react, as well as the thought processes that I will go through, will help me get through those times – hopefully relatively unscathed. But for now, I am proud that I didn’t succumb to the pressures of my cravings for ice cream because at the time of this writing (which is the morning after) I am not craving anything. I am enjoying my first ever completely black cup of coffee (I ran out of coconut milk, but I don’t think I need it any more) after waking up from a really good sleep (the great sleep I experience while on Paleo still amazes me).

Speaking of sleep, I used to be an avid napper. I would take a nap at the slightest provocation, and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Especially when each of my daughters were very small, I felt that the greatest sleep was from naps taken with them. One day this week I was driving somewhere and it was about the time of day that I usually love taking naps. I thought that maybe I would when I got home. But as I took a step back (figuratively – remember, I was driving) and evaluated how I felt, I realized that there was no way on earth that I would be able to get to sleep if I laid down in the bed. This has been the case for about three weeks now. I don’t have an afternoon slump, or a morning slump, or any time of day slump. I power through each day, and when I get around two or three o’clock I am constantly amazed that I still feel like I have energy to make it through the day. The only exception to this has been when I’ve gone to the gym. Weight lifting always seems to take it out of me, but still I haven’t felt like napping. It is amazing the boundless energy that I have experienced to get through the day. And every evening – usually around 9:30 – I can feel my body start to shut down for the night. I get so incredibly tired that it is almost impossible to keep my eyes open. So I go to bed and I wake up in the morning absolutely refreshed and ready to tackle the day again.

That was something else I noticed after I ate the burgers, though – particularly the one from Wendy’s. I felt incredibly sleepy after I ate them. I would probably use this information to guess that Wendy’s uses more fillers than Hardee’s, but that may be unfair to both. In either case, I will not be eating any more of either, because they obviously do not work well with my body. After I ate the burger from Hardee’s, I visited my fiance while he was on his lunch break. I can remember sitting there yawning while he was talking, afraid that he was going to think that I was incredibly bored with what he had to say. Nope, not the case! I was just suffering from the effects of eating something that I shouldn’t have eaten!

I do want to say in closing that it is absolutely wonderful to be able to think about food – or not think about it – in the ways that I have been able to for the last three weeks. It is complete and total freedom to me, and that freedom has translated to freedom to use my mind for other, more productive things. And that is one of the best gifts I could have given myself.

The Fair

The fair was in town this weekend, and my fiancé was all ready to go – because of the food. While I was excited about going to the fair, I was not excited about the food. What in the world could I possibly eat while at the fair? Everything that I’ve seen at the fair is fried anything-you-can-think-of, meaning that they usually bread the items, meaning that they were out when it comes to my consumption. While it was slightly tempting to think about having a cheat day to get through it, I have absolutely no desire to go through two more weeks of feeling like crap and fighting cravings simply because I couldn’t show any self control while at the fair. So I planned on eating something before we went.

Well, fair day arrived and it was a busy day. Somewhere during the day I remembered the turkey legs they have at the fair, and how I’ve always wanted one. I felt better about things after that.

When we got there we went through and looked at the fair entries, and then our crew started getting hungry. My fiancé knew exactly what he wanted and we followed him through the entire food section until we found what he wanted. It was a good opportunity for me to scout out the situation and find something that I could eat. I noticed a trailer set up, selling steak tips. I immediately got excited about that, and after everyone else was taken care of (including a funnel cake for my oldest daughter – yum!) I went back to the steak tip display.

When I got there, I took in the menu, and lo and behold – they had a low-carb platter! Steak tips with green peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Green beans. A salad! I had hit the jackpot! And what a jackpot it was – the steak tasted even better than I expected. It was a perfect meal – and I found it at the fair!

I am still very proud of myself for sticking to my guns and getting through the fair experience with my lifestyle choice intact. I did go and get the turkey leg that I had been looking forward to, as well, and that was the dessert to the best Paleo fair meal that I could have hoped for.

Sleep and Dreams

I have been amazed lately at my body’s ability to tell me when it is tired. Every night for the past week at 9:30 it feels as if the sleepy time Mack truck has hit me. It is an effort to just get ready for bed because I am so tired, and going to sleep is absolutely no problem. I told my fiancé last night that I felt as if it wouldn’t matter if I was laying on a rock; I’d be able to go to sleep regardless.

This is a lot different from life before Paleo. It was so easy to stay up late, and when I felt like crap the next day I knew I could reach for a muffin or a pastry or something and feel better.

Speaking of muffins and pastries, I actually dreamed about bread last night. For some reason it was mostly biscuits. I remember going through this when I stopped smoking; I would actually dream about smoking. I’m not sure if this is the way my body mourns for its drug of choice, but I am highly amused by it. Maybe it is my body’s way of sending me messages: “Give me bread, please!!!” I find it even more curious that I would dream about bread at the precise time that I feel like I’m getting over the carb withdrawals. Well, at least I am physically. Sounds like I still have some work to do mentally.

Garden Fresh Meatballs

Tonight I decided to try a new recipe: Sarah Fragoso’s Garden Fresh Meatballs. They were soooo good, and the recipe made about twenty eight large meatballs. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who is looking for something new to try. They would make a great snack or dinner.

The weekend has gone great, with the grilled steak last night and the meatballs tonight. We had Italian sausage and vegetables for breakfast. I didn’t really have lunch because I was getting my car worked on, but I ate an apple and some pork rinds. Since I had such a skimpy lunch, the meatballs were very much enjoyed.