Alright all you goal setters out there. Are you ready? Goal setting is great, I’m a big fan of the idea but I’m not a big fan of setting goals only at the New Year. I hate to be a party pooper, but statistically folks who decide to turn over a new leaf starting January 1 are usually setting themselves up for failure. Yikes. I think I just turned off anyone who wanted to go paleo starting Saturday and are likely giving me the bird through the screen. I’m sorry, I really am, but it’s not me that’s talking it’s STATISTICS. Ok, so please do not stop reading, I’m only here to help and I WANT you to stay on track so start by reading this article that gives very practical advice as to how one is more likely to reach his or her goals as well as continue onward with the positive changes that one has decided to make. Now, let’s look at a few paleo related ideas that will hopefully get you ready for the New Year, including some tips to keep us all on track!
What Sarah always wants you to have in your pantry:
- Coconut milk
- Canned organic diced tomatoes (no salt added)
- Organic tomato paste
- Organic Free Range Gluten Free Chicken Broth (Trader Joe’s carries a great brand)
- Coconut Flakes (keep in the fridge after you open them)
- Coconut Flour
- Almond Meal
- Raw Almonds
- Raw Pecans
- Raw Walnuts (all nuts actually keep better in the freezer after you open the bag)
- Almond butter (again, in the fridge after you open)
- Beef Jerky (gluten and soy free from Paleo Brands or Trader Joe’s is best)
- Canned Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon
- Canned Tuna
- Artichoke Hearts
- Dried unsweetened Bing cherries
- Dried unsweetened figs
- Dried unsweetened apricots
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- El Pato hot sauce and enchilada sauce
- Canned diced green chilli’s
- Sun dried tomatoes
- As many freaking spices as you can get your hands on!! With spices you NEVER have an excuse to eat a boring meal!!
What Sarah always wants you to have in your fridge:
- Eggs – preferably free range (not fed soy) or omega 3 enriched
- Grass fed Ground Beef
- Free range chicken (thighs are my favorite, or the whole darn bird is my next favorite – you can make my amazing roast chicken and then boil the carcass for soup) chicken is so versatile it should always be around….)
- Nitrate Free Deli Meat (great for on the go, kids lunches, and fast snacking)
- Hot Sauce
- Chili Oil
- Thai Fish Oil
- Thai Curry Paste
- Homemade Paleo Mayo
- So Delicious Brand unsweetened coconut milk
- Organic Lettuce Mix
- Romain Lettuce
- Any veggie and fruit that you can get your hands on that is as fresh as possible and in season!
Ok, now that your pantry and fridge are stocked, let’s talk about preparedness! Set aside an hour on the weekend to plan you meals. Think about your week ahead and start gathering your “go to” meals. For example, my Tuesday afternoons are consistently crazy thanks to kids activities and life in general so I know that Tuesday night is always lettuce taco night. I can make this meal with my eyes closed and I usually prepare it in the afternoon and have everything all ready to eat before dinner rolls around. Thursday’s are usually my soup day or slow cooker day because I am usually away working on my book or my blog and I need to have dinner ready to go for the family. I always make enough on my slow cooker days for leftovers, in fact I always try to make enough of everything I make for leftovers so that John and I have something prepared for our hectic lunch schedules on the following day. Use your weekend to shop. Nothing sucks more than trying to shop on a weeknight when everyone else is doing the same thing, your kids are cranky and so are you, it’s dark, rainy and cold, and all you really want is a glass of wine and a chicken pot pie. Don’t let yourself go there. Instead, shop when you are clear headed and fresh with shopping list in hand. Being prepared gives you a sense of freedom, capability, and no gosh darn excuses to eat crappy food!
Now, get the kiddos ready. Get a cool lunch box like one from here. The night before have your kid or kids help you pack their lunches. If they are old enough, have them pack their own! Let them decide what paleo items they want – they’ll be more excited about what you are sending and even more excited about the groovy lunch box they get to pack the fun food in! Think turkey slices wrapped round avocado, broccoli slaw, or purple cabbage. Carrot and celery sticks with almond butter, coconut flakes, dried fruit, and for fun a few dark chocolate covered almonds now and then. I even like to send chicken salad, beef jerky, and leftovers if I know they will be tasty cold. My book will have 2 weeks worth of school lunch ideas so hopefully that will help fill the void of what to pack!!
Keep the kids excited about food at home by letting them help you meal plan. Look at blogs together and let them choose a few meals that look good to them. Let them help you pick out new veggies or fruits at your local farmers market. Bring them with you in the kitchen and give them important jobs to do while you are preparing food. Praise them, make them super stars at cooking, let them make a mess, let them explore your spice cabinet, let them sample what’s simmering and have them tell you “what’s missing!” Have them choose a spice to add. Give them their own little drawer with their own kitchen utensils. Do not make a fuss when they do not like something or they don’t eat as much as you think they should. Always know that the next day will be easier and that your kids will survive. More about this in the book too!!! : )
Alright, enough rambling for now, but hopefully this will give you all a jumpstart into another healthy, happy, goal-reaching, productive year! Do you want to know what my goal is for this year? Ok – I’ll tell you. My goal is to be more attentive. I want to be a better listener. When my kids are talking to me, my goal is to try harder to really listen, without distraction. They tell me the coolest stuff and sometimes I miss out on what they are saying because my mind is going too fast. Rowan, my three year old, is now talking up a storm and he loves to tell stories. He will look at me and say, “Mom, what’s YOUR story is?” And I’ll tell him one, and then he’ll tell me one, and I don’t want to miss any of those stories because before I know it, he’ll be as big as my 15 year old Coby and I’ll wish that I had sat still long enough to really really listen….
Now, on to a recipe. I think this post wins as my longest ever and I love you for reading this far and I promise the time you took is worth it because this soup is so amazing. So satisfying. So good I want some right now as I type here in Starbucks thinking about my family eating the leftovers without me.
Everyday Paleo’s Spin on Mulligatawny Soup
1 ½ lbs grass fed ground beef
2 shallots, diced
3 carrots, chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 leek, halved, and sliced (make sure you clean these guys really well)
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies except the parsley and saute for another 7-8 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, brown the ground beef in a separate skillet. Once the meat is browned, add to the soup pot and mix in with the veggies. Add the parsley and all the dry spices and mix well. Add the chicken stock and coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Happy, safe, wonderful New Year to you all and as always, Enjoy!