This is a special edition of What We Ate Wednesday because I want to highlight for you how my family chooses to splurge on non-paleo foods. Admittedly, my husband and kids eat more non-paleo foods than I do, but I do splurge on occasion. It’s enough so that I don’t feel deprived, but not so much that I end up sick. Well, sometimes I do eat more no-no foods than I should, but I feel so bad afterward that I don’t do that very often – not intentionally anyway. Keep reading for details.
Meal #1: Mother’s Day! My dad, husband and kids always fix a meal for my mom and I on Mother’s Day. This year, we had steak, roasted root vegetables (sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots and parsnips), okra, a big green salad, and SPLURGE #1: a gluten free roll with a nice, big pat of grass-fed butter. I’m linking the bread mix I use from Amazon, but I can buy it in most local stores here. Thrive Market also carries it for a lower price.
We even had dessert of fresh berries with real whipped cream, sweetened with a touch of stevia. SPLURGE #2: I had some cream on my berries and it was so decadent!
Meal #2: My in-laws have recently moved to the area so that has changed our Mother’s Day tradition a bit. Since before my son was born, it has been our tradition to pack a picnic lunch and head to one of our area state parks for a relaxing lunch and hike. Because of accommodating time with both moms this year, we had lunch with my parents at my house, then headed to visit my in-laws and hiked after that. Instead of packing a picnic dinner, we decided to eat out. There is a pizza chain called Blaze that we have heard about, but never visited. This is one of those places where you go through the line and build your pizza then they cook it in something like two minutes. Most of these places offer a gluten free crust, but their preparation policies make cross-contamination a certainty. Blaze was different though. Everyone we saw changed their gloves when we ordered. They make their dough fresh, even the gluten free. They cleaned the dough press machine so that there was no residual flour from the regular crusts. They even baked the crust on a special mat. The pizza was delicious, a bargain at just under $10 each (we had two pizzas for the four of us) and no one was sick afterward. We will definitely be back. Thank you, Blaze, for such a nice treat!
For the adult pizza, we chose some meats and vegetables and topped the whole thing with basil pesto. Yes, there was a small amount of cheese too. I loved every bite of it. I popped a couple Digestzymes (this is the exact brand I use) afterward and was good to go. This was a very much appreciated SPLURGE #3.
Look at these faces enjoying their pizza! The little one is enjoying it so much, she can’t even keep her eyes open. 😉 P.S. I feel like I’ve won the lottery when I get a picture of this one with her eyes open!
So we eat pizza in our house a lot, but it always takes the form of either Pizza Popover or Paleo Pizza Crust, which are both delicious, but there’s something about picking up a piece of pizza in your hands that is just different. We all enjoy this treat from time to time.
Meal #3: Back to one of our favorites: Jambalaya. My favorite way to serve this is with cauliflower rice and as much as it pains me to do it, I no longer make this myself. I buy the Bird’s Eye brand in the freezer section. I microwave it in the bag and everything. Here’s the thing: ricing cauliflower makes a huge mess and I just don’t like the texture or strong cauliflower flavor, but the way the folks at Bird’s Eye do it is magical. The flavor is very mild and the texture is just right. I actually enjoy it. I consider this SPLURGE #4 because I’m spending an arm and a leg for this rather than making it myself, but it’s still a healthy choice.
Meal #4: Chicken with Cranberries and Mustard Sauce served with Roasted Vegetables (leftovers from Mother’s Day) and green salad. This recipe is a blast from the past and I have it almost ready to publish so check back. It’s quick and easy and perfect for a weeknight, but fancy enough for special occasions.
Meal #5: Steak Tacos. So here’s the thing: I had just made a video showing how to make these AIP tortillas and was proofing it before publishing and it made me really want to eat those tortillas! I was already planning to grill the steaks for dinner and serve with roasted sweet potatoes, but made a last minute decision to do steak tacos instead. I ended up tweaking the dressing for the salad so much that I really need to make this again and note all the measurements accurately before I can give you the recipe, but you could easily make your own by grilling some steaks rubbed with your favorite taco or fajita seasoning then piling your tortillas high with thin slices of meat, lots of veggies and some fresh lime juice.
Meal #6: Anniversary Dinner at Bonefish Grill
My husband had the grilled shrimp and scallops served Oscar style (plus asparagus and crab) with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and green beans.
I had the grilled Chilean Sea Bass with Mango Salsa, served with jasmine rice and green beans. This was SPLURGE #5 because I ate every bit of the rice. Whereas this food was very good, there weren’t many gluten free options. In fact, the green beans, rice and sweet potatoes were the only side choices offered. I went with the rice because I figured the potatoes would have a lot of added sugar, which was indeed the case. The rice had so much flavor, I ate every bit of it.
Before dinner, we had gone for a bike ride on the greenway and dinner wasn’t until around 9PM so we were both pretty hungry.
They offered a flourless chocolate brownie with ice cream and raspberry sauce so we SPLURGED on that too. I only ate a few bites, but it was heavenly! And since it was our anniversary, Bonefish offered us a complimentary Champagne Toast. I ate the strawberry that was used to garnish my glass, but my husband drank all the champagne. Alcohol is one of those things I just know I cannot tolerate.
Meal #7: Grandma’s Beef Tips with roasted mixed vegetables. The Beef Tips recipe is found in my book. It generally looks much better than this, but I totally threw this together at the last minute (thank you, Instant Pot) and chose not to splurge anymore with rice or potatoes (I served my family mashed potatoes) and just ate the meat, sauce and veggies as is. It was delicious, but didn’t photograph as nicely. I’m trying to keep it real here.
That’s it for this week! I hope it was helpful for you to see how I choose to splurge carefully. Mother’s day and my anniversary are always in close succession so I have to be extra careful and intentional about what kinds of treats I am going to allow myself. Maybe what I chose to splurge on wouldn’t even count as a splurge for you. Maybe you want to eat real bread, but could never eat dairy. I’ve been at this food as medicine thing long enough to know how far I can push the boundaries without going over the deep end. You have to figure out what works for you.
The fact is, I feel so good when I eat at home and stick to stict paleo, actually even Whole 30 guidelines, that it’s just not worth it to veer from that very much or very often. See more about the concept of “worth it” in this post.
I hope you have a great week full of yummy, healthy food!