Paleo Meals Lately: Newborn edition

Monday, February 23, 2015

 Even though 4:30-7 pm is probably my most stressful time of the day (newborn witching hour + "hangry" toddler time), I still try to cook most nights. I would say my meals lately have actually been more inventive and thoughtful than ever. With all the repetition of the day (nurse, change diapers, swaddle, repeat) I need a creative outlet, and since I have to cook dinner, might as well try something new and interesting.  

I actually used to find cooking really stressful.  Early in my marriage, I'd yell at Joe in a hangry rage (hungry anger runs in the family), "I have no idea what I want to cook! Just go get takeout!"   But now that I'm a stay at home mom, feeding my family is a big part of my job description, so I may as well put together a repertoire of good easy meals.  And I may as well have some sort of plan for the week because on the paleo diet, there is no such thing as just resorting to spaghetti or grilled cheese sandwiches. 

My meal planning is not very detailed.  That just doesn't work well for me because I like a little spontaneity in the kitchen (If I were working away from the home, and more detailed plan would be necessary). I just write out 5 or 6 basic protein ideas for the week, like "sauteed salmon", "pork stir fry", or "something with ground beef." I use recipes as a jumping off point to do my own thing.  I can't think of a time when I actually stuck to a recipe exactly.  We get a big box of veggies every other week from our CSA program, so I incorporate whatever we get.  Joe buys our meat from a handful of different sources, as he is picky about meat.  

Some of our meals lately: 

Home grown broccoli tossed with diced chicken, almonds, apples and bacon, with balsamic vinegar and paleo mayo for the dressing. 

My dear friend Rachel made all this gorgeous paleo food for my "Sip and See" party, and we enjoyed the leftovers for quite a while!  I froze the meatballs and had them for lunch 4 days in a row.

Beef Stroganoff (made with cashew sour cream, because I'm completely avoiding dairy while I'm nursing. Except butter.  I eat lots of it, but it is mostly fat and very little lactose.) Roasted spaghetti squash on the side.  This picture doesn't do it justice, it was fantastic.

The beef stroganoff recipe came from the Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple cookbook.  I'm really impressed with this cookbook!  Some of the recipes have more steps and require more pots than I usually prefer, but they are all truly delicious and foolproof.

Our new crock pot has a liner that can go on the stove, so we can brown the meat and then slow cook it in one pot.  It's wonderful! I've only had it 2 weeks, and have already used it 5 times.

But sometimes it's nice to slow cook the old fashioned way.  This is Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast.  At the end, I blend half the veggies with a few cups of the broth and extra wine to make the most flavorful gluten free gravy.  

Lobster is a splurge, but less so when you get it on sale at the Asian market.  This guy was 4 pounds, and was almost the same size as Matteo. 

These pics are from the Summer, but all our lobster dinners are the same.  Pressure cooked lobster, drawn butter with lemon, and steamed artichokes brushed with olive oil and balsamic. Easiest meal ever.

This one was a real crowd pleaser.  I made paleo naan, which is only 3 ingredients (almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut milk) and is so chewy on the inside/crispy on the outside when cooked in butter.  It would also make a great pizza crust I think.  I also whipped up a samosa-inspired ground beef filling with masala spices, cinnamon, and pureed sweet potato all sauteed together.  Sounds weird, but it was so tasty. On the side I made an apple-mango chutney.

Paleo Sloppy Joe stuffed peppers. 

Sauteed salmon with greens and roasted sweet potatoes.  

We don't eat chicken much because organic free range chicken is so expensive and relatively less nutritious than other meats, so for us it's a splurge.  I think whole roasted chicken is such a treat, and so ridiculously easy to make.  

Messy wedge salad with bacon bits, blue cheese and homemade dairy free ranch dressing.  

Made a nourishing chicken broth from the chicken carcass (the only way I can justify spending 20.00 on a chicken!) and turned it into tom kha goong (Thai coconut soup with shrimp.)  

And if you're curious, Sisi's lunches usually consist of leftovers and random finger foods.  That day it was quiche and paleo naan with lamb, swiss cheese and frozen peas (peas are not paleo but she eats them in moderation.)

Another simple lunch- cheese, plantains, carrot, big ol strawberry, and tuna salad.  I am a lazy mom and don't peel, let alone cut, the carrot.  

Is anyone else obsessed with these salt and pepper pistachios from TJs?  Sisi doesn't like how spicy they are, so they are the only snack I don't have to hide from her.


Matteo is 2 Months!

Friday, February 13, 2015

I know it's totally cliche to say this, but I really mean it: it's hard to imagine my life without Matteo.  He's only been around for 2 months, but he has eased his way so easily and peacefully into our family.  He just belongs here. Being Matteo's mommy is easy (well, motherhood is never really easy, but natural.) I know I'm supposed to be really frazzled and sleep-deprived at this point, but I'm not.  I'm actually full of energy and joy.  Total opposite of the first time around. It helps that Matteo is a pretty contented baby.  He seems to enjoy life and its' pleasures- loves to eat, loves to sleep, loves to observe. His smiles are crooked and squinty and soooo cute.  They are still rare and fleeting enough to be ambiguous (gas or smile?) but there are moments when he will look right into my eyes and his face crumples up into the sweetest smile (definitely not gas) and I know we belong to each other.  My dear little boy.

Baptized on January 11th at 5 weeks.  

 Personal space?  What's that?? 

 Loves his Grandpa Sam.  I so wish he could have met his other Grandpa, but he is blessed to have 3 adoring grandparents.  

 His eyes are that steely grey baby color, but I can already tell they are turning brown.  Sisi's were already pretty blue by this age. 

 Morning ritual: reading books to Sisi while I nurse and cuddle Matteo.  A great way to start the day!

At this age, he could care less about toys. We just stare at each other all day long and are both entertained.

 I love his little round face. His head is not so round due to torticollis (prefers to look and sleep with head in one direction.) It's very oddly shaped in the back.

We are already practicing independent play.  We put him on this soft beaver skin for 10 minute increments throughout the day to give him "alone time".  We did that with Sisi and I really believe it's part of the reason she plays so well on her own.

 Mama-baby selfies!  #nomakeupdon'tcare :)  Well, I do kinda care. 

Matteo at a glace:  
  • nurses about every 2.5-3 hours during the day (cluster feeds at night from 4:30-7:30.)
  • loves to be swaddled, but can bust out of the miracle blanket (aka baby straight jacket) already! just bought the "swaddle strap"- we'll see if it works! 
  • started sleeping through the night (or as the French say, "doing his nights") at about 5 weeks. first 11 hour stretch at 6 weeks.  no, that's not a typo.
  • sometimes he hates baths.  sometimes he thinks they are alright.
  • 11lb 6oz. wearing 3 month clothes. 
  • started cooing and smirk-smiling a few weeks ago.  reserves his biggest smiles for his big sister. true social smiles started about a week ago.
  • nicknames (mostly given by Sisi): matay, teo, theo, taters, tater tot.