Around the house. 

Every time I’m in STL I stop by Trader Joe’s on my way home. Everytime I find some new things I love. Here are my new favorites. I actually saw the seasoning in my sisters kitchen first so thanks for the tip Am! It’s nothing fancy but let’s me be a lazier cook by adding more flavor without having to dig through my spices. I also like that it’s a grinder, so everything tastes fresh. The coconut oil isn’t perfectly paleo, but it’s close enough for me, and I love the convenience of a spray.  

And as promised here’s a peak at one of the updates we did, this room was beige and boring before. We have a lot of natural light in here so I went with an antique white and then made a stencil and painted a high gloss coat of the same color over the top. Easy one day project that brightened up our space. 🙂 


Why we love our Butcher


Rob and I are both big fans of our local butcher shop Hörrmann Meats Farmers Market. We buy almost all our meat there. As well as other goodies like roll butter, seasonings, and locally grown produce. Here are some of the reasons we love to shop there.

We’ve shopped here at least once a week for the past 4 months and I’ve only ever worked with 3 employees. They know us, and we know them. They are always polite, knowledgeable and helpful.

They offer a wide variety of products. Including seafood, deli meats and cheeses, local wines, seasonings, omega 3 eggs, all kinds of beef cuts, and lots of different gourmet sausage products. They also sell some obscure meats like frog legs and duck and turtle meat, although I’m not that adventurous yet. I like that they offer such a wide variety.

In the cooler they also have freshly processed beef and chicken. This is where we buy our steaks, (pro-tip, the “stew meat” we buy there is usually sirloin, that’s what we use for steak soup, usually around $4 a pound)

The freezer section is organized by different types of meats and each section is labeled with signs like these.


So you can buy your meat after educating yourself on where the animals lived, what they were fed and how they were cared for. The beef we buy us 100% grass fed, not grain finished. It’s lean and full of flavor that’s different then grain fed cattle.

Very reasonable. Veg comparable to the prices at Hyvee, and locally grown. Grass fed beef, and locally made sausage runs about $1 a pound higher then grocery store prices. We’re happy to spend a few dollars more to support local farmers and business’s.

They also offer the “Carnivore Club,” for every $125 you spend you get $10 free. It sounds like more them you’ll spend on meat in a year but we’ve actually received a lot of free product from them.

Directly across the street from our grocery store. Close to our house, always available parking.

I post this to encourage you even if you don’t live here in Springfield, there is an excellent chance there is a good butcher selling quality products near you. Start asking around, do a web search. Ask you grocery store butcher about grass fed beef. It’s great to know where your food comes from. I don’t live in a major metropolitan area. But there are a lot of quality grocers around. If you do live in the Springfield area stop by Hörrmann’s or check them out here:

How to make a grocery list.


Grocery day!

Rob thought we should post about how we approach our grocery shopping. So since today is grocery shopping day here is the list I made today:20130901-201253.jpg

I kind of geek out about my list making. There are a few steps.

First we look at our schedules. We know we are more successful eating paleo when we are intentional. So success starts with the grocery list. First we look at what days are we working late, what nights are going to be busy, what nights are we not going to have energy to cook.

Rob and I also share cooking responsibility. Usually whomever gets off work first makes dinner but on the days we both work late we work together and try to make dinners that don’t take long to prep.

From there, we make a meal plan. I try to plan for 6 dinners, with enough leftovers for lunches, plus some fruit eggs and meats for breakfast. I’m ready for fall foods, so we are eating a lot of hearty soups and sweet potatoes this week. Yum!

I write the meal plan on the grocery list, because it comes in handy as a reference in case I need to make changes. -Sometimes something unexpected will be on sale or something we didn’t think of will be in season. Here is this week’s menu:20130901-202054.jpg

From there I break the list into 4 categories. I do this to avoid cross crossing the grocery store. Here is my breakdown:

Fresh– everything found in the produce section
Protein- chicken, fish, beef, salted meats, and eggs
Specialty-anything found in the “health mart” section of our grocer or anything we get from a separate store, like our butcher
Other– this can be dog food, household items like light bulbs and toothpaste, or just general pantry items like chicken broth

When I make my list I start with the menu and go dish by dish writting everything I need for that dish under the corresponding heading.

Then we add the odds and ends we need to for around the house. Any snacks we want etc.

The last thing I do is estimate how much each section will cost. We don’t buy many exotic ingredients and I can usually guess within $10 how much the total will be. Which is handy for our budget (and maybe a chance to win the showcase showdown.)

We shop the same way we make the list, section by section, totaling up our purchases as we go. That way there aren’t any surprises when we check out.

It takes a little bit of time. It usually takes about 20 minutes to do this planning. But 20 minutes on my day off means I can feed my body and my family quality fuel. Success doesn’t happen on accident. Plan for it, plan for the busy days, and ask for help when you need it. It’s the best choice you can make for your family.

Grocery lists

I love making grocery lists! I can nerd our for an hour at least plotting and scheming and looking up recipes. I can get pretty ridiculous with it but I think the scribbles help my creative process. Anyway, if you’ve been reading a long you know we made it through the paycheck gap, but a few of our bills have also been waiting. So in order to get back on schedule the next couple of weeks are going to be on the frugal side at the grocery store. Rob and I both felt like we were still eating like kings last week. But we’ve pretty much depleted our pantry so this week will be a bit more of a challenge, and on top of that Rob’s birthday is this week, so I definitely want to make him something special that day, it’s going to be a challenge but I’m up for it!

I’m making my list and searching for creative inspiration stay tuned to see what I come up with! If you have any great budget recipes, or any recipes at all, send us a link or a comment! We’re hoping to add a blog roll soon!

And this is what the process looks like today. Note Sophie’s enthusiasm..


Day Five $50 Grocery Challenge – Southern Style Chicken Soup

So this morning I woke up to my wife having made the last of the eggs and a pot of coffee, which I had with liberal dollups of natural wildflower honey. I had gotten to the point before where I was drinking an entire pot of coffee every morning, with milk and sugar and not a little of either, but these days I rarely have coffee and when I do it’s only with honey. It’s more of a treat now than a staple.

For lunch I had a LÄRABAR® . I’m still waiting to get my first paychecks at my new job and as I posted earlier, the food court isn’t exactly “paleo friendly.” So I’ve been taking these to work with me to eat while I’m “on the job.” But here’s the thing, nuts and fruit, almost nothing else, about 200 calories on average, and they get me through an entire nine hour day. Now, full disclosure, I’m not chopping down trees in the adirondacks. I’m standing in a kiosk in a mall. Mostly I’m leaning. My caloric requirements are probably pretty low. But these things get me through the whole day, and I’m not hungry at all.

Before I left for work this morning, I made some soup in the crockpot. I set it to low and let it cook all day so that when I got home it would be ready to eat. This is super easy, and cheap, and it makes a ton of food.

Southern Style Chicken Soup

1 can Swanson Beef Broth
3 cups Swanson Veg Broth
1 can diced tomatoes in olive oil with garlic
1 can french style green beans
1.5 tablespoons butter
8 oz. rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup diced bell pepper
1 cup diced red onion
1 sliced jalapeno
1 slice raw bacon
2 cups of sliced fingerling potatoes

I put all this in the crockpot, with a slow cooker liner, which you always want to use when you crockpot. Makes it a thousand times easier. Times a thousand. According to myfitnesspal, this is roughly 1325 calories for the whole pot. I love soups like this. You can eat a huge amount, it tastes fantastic, you get all the nutrients from the meat and veg and a little fat and there’s always plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.

Again, this simple variation on an easy soup theme makes a great dinner that’s cheap and simple to prepare. Veg, broth, meat. It’s hard to go wrong. Throw it in a pot with some salt and pepper and cayenne and come back eight hours later. Dinner. And lunch tomorrow. And the whole thing probably only cost about 15 bucks. For at least three individual meals, maybe four? I make a lot of these “kinds” of meals. And really enjoy them.

So we made it to payday. Pretty easily. With only fifty bucks, some frozen poultry, and a couple of canned tomatoes we had in the pantry. More or less. And we ate great all day, every day. You can spend a fortune on the fanciest meats and veg, and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. But “cost” isn’t really a barrier to eating well. In every sense of the word. Cut out the grains and the milk and the sugar. Meat and veg. It’s easy, healthy, delicious. You won’t ever regret it. You won’t ever think it’s a mistake. You can do it.

We did it this week for ten dollars a day. With leftovers.

$50 grocery challenge + chicken marsala

Day 3 of the $50 challenge! For breakfast sweet Rob made us bacon and scrambled eggs. Lunch was left over stuffed peppers.

Dinner was one of my all time favorite dishes, Chicken Marsala.

This recipe has a lot of steps but none of them are hard!

First I melted a little butter in a skillet and added minced garlic, (the fat doesn’t matter thats just what I had olive oil or coconut oil would be fine too) To make the sauce I started with some Marsala table wine, some veggie broth and some red onions then let this reach a low boil and just let it roll, a lot of the liquid will cook out.

While that’s rolling I defrosted the chicken cubed it and browned it in another skillet, then I added the wine reduction as well as some diced baby Bella’s mushrooms, until they cooked down, then I tossed in a few handfuls of broccoli at the very end, to add a few extra nutrients. Voila yummy dinner!


$50 grocery challenge day 2

Day two
Rob made amazing omletts for breakfast,with eggs and pico de gallo he’s such a good cook!

For lunch I used a serving of chicken, topped with pepperoni, marinara sauce a few spoonfuls of tomato and onion and a few dashes if Italian seasoning, all heated together for an awesome easy and filling Italianish lunch.


For dinner I made stuffed peppers
For the filling I browned the turkey on the stove, and sautéed cauliflower onion, garlic, a few mushrooms, and a little bit of sliced pepperoni then mixed it with the meat and the leftover marinara from lunch. Filled the peppers and put it in a casserole dish in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Yum!


$50 grocery challenge day 1!

$50 challenge is off to a tasty start!

For breakfast we both had two skillet fried eggs (in coconut oil) and coffee. I also had a kiwi.
(Rob doesn’t like kiwi he thinks they are slimy)
We had the day off so we made a crockpot of soup that was enough food for us to eat for both lunch and dinner (linner) We made one of our standby recipes, Chicken tortilla soup.

Ingredients of this crock:
Chicken broth
Veggie broth
1/2 rotis chicken
1/2 bag frozen peppers
2 cans of tomatos

Very simple. Very delicious. Very filling.

Here’s a pic of one of many bowls I enjoyed 🙂

*this is a recipe that is completely dependent on what we have on hand each time we make it. Use what you have. That’s the magic of crockpots.


$50 grocery challenge!

$50 grocery challenge!

Rob just started a great new job but until the gap between paychecks is bridged we are trying to be extra frugal with our spending, and that brings us to the $50 grocery challenge!

Our goal was to use our pantry+$50 to ourselves for the next 5 days. Here is how it worked out:

What we had on hand:
-1 lb Frozen chicken breast
-2 lbs Ground frozen turkey
-We had a few odds and ends of leftover salted meats like pepperoni and summer sausage
-Various broths (chicken, beef and veggie)
-Canned vegetables: tomatos, green beans, tomato sauce
-Frozen vegetables,a few varieties
-Dried dates and cranberries
-Fats, coconut oil, olive oil
-Fresh vegetables: bell peppers, lettuce, cilantro, onions

What we bought:
Rotisserie chicken
Marsala cooking wine
Frozen peppers
Fresh pico de gallo
Red bell peps
Baby Bella mushrooms

We keep a pretty well stocked pantry, and that is definitely going to make things easy this week, but I’m sure we’ll get creative. Stay tuned to see what we come up with this week 🙂

I’m pretty dang good at keeping things under budget! But this was a close one!

Why you don’t have the will to win

I have a pretty high opinion of myself. I’m intelligent, charismatic, attractive. I’m a winner. People like me. And yet despite all my awesomeness, most of my life I was controlled by my desire for food. I knew I was fat. I was ridiculed and abused and bullied for it. I knew it was unhealthy. I knew it was holding me back. Socially, athletically, romantically. Being overweight was an unhealthy way to live. But seemingly no matter what I tried, I couldn’t fight it. I came to the conclusion that I must just be weak.

And that’s an unpleasant way to live. I tried and I tried, but I couldn’t get control of it. I would go out as a young person and try to work out. I lifted weights. I tried running. People kept telling me I just needed to eat less and be more active. Just eat less, and be more active. But I couldn’t seem to control my diet, and I wasn’t a very active kid. I felt really helpless, and was just sort of resigned to my fate.

As I got older, I would try to practice portion control, but it always seemed like torture. If I ordered a six inch sub I just desperately wanted the “other half” of the sandwich too, and regretted not getting it. I always wanted every dish on every menu. I actually got to a point where I asked my wife to point out to me when I was ordering two entrees in a restaurant. It didn’t seem like how much I ate, a large pizza, a super deluxe sandwich, two cheesesteaks, plate after plate at a buffet, it seemed like I was never full. I would stop eating when I was in pain, but I never felt a feeling of being full. If I wasn’t so fat, I might have thought I had a parasite. There were times I wished I had a parasite. I tried a lot of different approaches to this problem over the years, but without finding any solutions.

When we first started reading about how to get started on Paleo we saw several sources recommend that you just get all the bad stuff out of your pantry and throw it out. In Chapter 11 of The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf there is a section where he describes the powerful addictive qualities of grains and sugars, comparing the way the chemicals in them effect your brain to the effects of heroine, opium, and crack cocaine. The cards are stacked against you. You simply won’t be able to resist the junk food if it’s still in your pantry. His advice? “Clean Out Your House.”

So the first weekend that we started eating Paleo my wife went through all our cabinets. She took out the soda and the twizzlers and the ramen and the chicken and stars and the hamburger helper and the minute rice and the oatmeal and the flour and the granola bars and the cereal and the chips and the noodles and all the other stuff that we don’t eat anymore and we threw it all away. And then we didn’t have to worry about fighting the will power battle anymore, because the food simply wasn’t there anymore.

But that’s only the first part. The second is not replenishing your supplies. You can’t win the will power battle. If you have twizzlers in your pantry you WILL eat them. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually. The High Fructose Corn Syrup will win. It’s stronger than you are. It’s a drug, and you’re addicted. The time to exercise will power isn’t at dinner time when you’re standing in front of an open fridge trying to decide between carrots and chocolate cake. It’s when you’re at the grocery store.

You are an adult. Nobody’s putting a gun to your head and forcing you to buy or eat the foods that you KNOW are killing you. You decide what goes in your body. You decide what goes in your fridge. And you make that decision when YOU DECIDE what goes in your CART.

Don’t pick up the Captain Crunch. Don’t go down the chip aisle. Don’t grab the box of cookies. Don’t put that stuff in your cart. Walk around the outside store, buying fruit and vegetables and meat and eggs and then hit the registers and LEAVE. Don’t subject yourself to a battle you will lose. Don’t bring temptation into your home. Falling prey to your drug addiction, and that’s what it is, doesn’t mean your weak. IT MEANS YOU HAVE A DRUG ADDICTION. Alcoholics don’t belong in bars, meth heads shouldn’t hang out under bridges, and you aren’t gonna do yourself any good standing around in the ice cream section thinking about the good old days. Don’t buy drugs! Buy medicine instead.

Fresh vegetables, organic meats, brightly colored fruits, those are your medicine. They will break the cycle of addiction, heal your body, and make you healthy and strong. You make a decision about the food you’re going to put in your body every time you put food in your cart. Drugs or medicine. One will take your eyes and your legs and your heart and rot your flesh and you will die. The other will heal your skin and your joints and your spirit and you will thrive and you will still die. Nothing you can do about that. But you don’t have to die so soon, or so terribly.

You can’t win the battle against those foods. If they are in your diet, even a tiny little bit, the addiction will continue to grow until it crowds out all the good foods. But once you give them up entirely you break that cycle and in a very short period of time you don’t crave those foods anymore. You see them for what they are. And you see the healthy foods for what they are too. And then you’re making conscious rational decisions and not just succumbing to a chemical addiction.

You aren’t weak, or stupid, or lazy. You are fat because for most of your life you have been given false information about nutrition and have succumbed to powerful cultural programming that is increasingly destructive. You have been fed lies and corn and wheat for years and that’s what’s killing you. Start feeding yourself some information and everything else will follow naturally from there. You may not have the will power to resist eating those foods, but you can resist buying them and then you don’t have to worry about it. And the more you learn the easier that becomes. Fight the right battles and winning the war becomes a breeze.

You can do this. It’s not hard, it’s not expensive.  Just throw out the drugs, fill your fridge and your pantry with medicine, and start healing.

You can do this!