Gather no moss?

This week’s motto is encouragement to keep moving. Whatever it is you are doing or pursuing, difficulties always arise. While it seems like they’ll never pass, if you just keep moving, time will put things in perspective and what once seemed large becomes small. This doesn’t directly relate to meal planning and eating, but it kind of does. We are on a life-long journey of eating and have the choice to eat well or not. Sometimes, we choose not to and this can be depressing. The key is to keep moving and realize that you are only one meal away from eating healthy again.

Just because I know how to cook does not mean that I am immune to this. I love brownies and peachy-o’s just as much as the next person. So, let’s be steadfast in self-control and prudent in planning and preparation as we “gather no moss” this week!

The meal plan testers this week were: David and Katie Hernandez of Dallas, Texas. They workout at CrossFit Success in Crowley, TX and buy their meat from Woods and Cuds butcher shop in Alvaredo Texas.

David and Katie were some of the first one’s to volunteer to be meal plan testers. David works as a field rep for Brooks Running and Katie is a 5th grade reading teacher. They have two awesome dogs and they did a bang up job with this week’s plan. When I say “bang up”, I mean outstanding, amazing and impressive. Not only did they select an amazing list of meals, they also created a PowerPoint presentation to recap the experience. If you’d like to see their presentation, please click on the icon above and be amazed.

Here are a few pics of their experience that I pulled from the PowerPoint:

15.9 Groceries
Coffee Ribs with Peach Compote
Three Pepper Turkey Chili
Watched Nachos

A huge thanks to David and Katie (and their dogs)!!! You guys went above and beyond what we asked and your PowerPoint is proof positive that this stuff is simple! I look forward to the day we can cook together. Until then, keep teaching young readers and outfitting world class runners! I appreciate you both :))

Make it a great week, guys! Gather no moss, keep moving and…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Rocking it with “The Bro!” on the top of the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. I love this little guy!)


Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store (Kroger): $125.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $105.00

The amount you will spend will depend on your geographic location and how much you rely on bulk purchases. As an example, you can get 1 quart of extra light olive oil at Kroger for $19.99 or you can get 4 quarts at Costco for $16.50. You follow? Meat and produce will also be less at the warehouse stores, but might require you purchase more than you’ll need for this plan.

Customize Your Plan and Shop It Up!

I have created a customize-able grocery list in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. Even if you’re not good with Excel, I’ve set it up in a foolproof way that even “The Jo!” could handle. Follow these instructions:

  1. Open the document and click on the tab at the bottom that says “Menu item & Ingredient Brkdown”.
  2. At the top, you’ll see the number “1” in bold just below each menu item. You can change this number to correspond with the number of portions that you’d like to make. Say you really like muffins and want 3 dozen, you’d change the “1” below Bacon Berry Muffins to a “3” and the grocery quantities will be updated.
  3. Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 15.9 Grocery List” and your quantities will be updated.
  4. Print out the grocery list.
  5. Compare what you need to what you have on hand and finalize your list. Then, head to the grocery store and make your purchases swiftly and efficiently.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

I want you to knock this out in one shopping session, two cooking sessions, and one short finishing session. I’ll explain these now, but want you to scroll down to read my notes on each meal below. They are listed under each picture.

In cooking session one:

  1. Prepare your Three Pepper Turkey Chili, place it in the slow cooker, set the slow cooker on a foil lined sheet pan, and place it in your garage to cook overnight.
  2. Prepare the Shrimp Scampi with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes. Eat a portion to fuel your cooking session. Package and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
  3. Prepare the Peach Compote and Rub your ribs. Place both in the fridge. You’ll cook the ribs in the second cooking session, but want the flavors of the rub to marinate and penetrate the meat.
  4. Clean up the kitchen, and be sure to floss before brushing on this night as shrimp has a tendency to get stuck between your teeth!

In cooking session two: 

  1. Fire up the oven and get the ribs a cooking.
  2. Portion out your Three Pepper Turkey Chili and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.
  3. Clean out the crock of your slow cooker and load it up with the 80 clove garlic chicken. Place the slow cooker on a foil lined sheet pan and set it up in your garage to cook overnight
  4. Prepare the Banana Currant muffins and bake them while the oven is hot as the ribs cook.
  5. Prepare the Paleo Nachos, eat one portion and container up the rest. This is a great meal for re-heating, just leave the plantain chips in the pantry until it’s time to eat. Do not refrigerate them with the meat mixture as they’ll become soggy.
  6. Allow the muffins to cool on a rack overnight covered with a potato sack towel.
  7. When the ribs are done, allow them to cool at room temperature for half an hour, then transfer to the fridge to cool.
  8. Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!

In finishing session:

  1. Portion out the 80 clove garlic chicken and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.
  2. Cut your ribs into one rib sections and portion out with peach compote. I usually do 2-3 ribs per portion. Refrigerate or freeze.
  3. Package up the muffins in gallon Ziploc bags. You can fit one dozen in a gallon size bag. Suck the air out of the bag, seal it up and freeze. Pull these out the night before you intend to eat them and let them thaw on the counter covered with a potato sack towel.
  4. Sit back and take it all in. Your Paleo Bank Account is stocked and you are ready to rock the CrossFit Open! You are a Culinary Ninja who is ready to tackle life with energy, clarity, and confidence. Be sure to tell your friends about!

Guajillo Coffee Ribs with Balsamic Peach Compote

Notes: The meal plan testers recommended only making one rack of ribs for this one as it was plenty of food for a couple. If you are looking to stock the Paleo Bank Account, then loading up on this one is good, so 3 racks will do. I like to make the most of a hot oven for 4 hours so I usually cook 3-4 racks at a time. They were unable to find Guajillo chile powder, so subbed regular chili powder.

Shrimp Scampi with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes

Notes: This meal is simple and delicious, but only makes a single portion. If you want make-ahead meals, then be sure to multiply this out on the grocery list. David and Katie had difficulty making the sauce creamy like I do in the video. The key to this is to continually move the pan after you add the butter. Shake it back and forth and side to side until the butter melts. Then, pour over the shrimp or into a side dish immediately. If it sits in a hot pan, it will likely separate.

80 Clove Garlic Chicken

Notes:  The basic ingredients for this recipe are included in the grocery list with an asterisk next to the optional ingredients. Be sure to tweak it as you desire. Also, David and Katie said that one chicken would have been sufficient for them, but, again, I like to make the most of a hot crock pot, so if two chickens will fit, then I usually go that route.

Paleo Nachos

Notes: You can purchase plantain chips at Trader Joe’s or make my Super Radical Plantain Chips.

Three Pepper Turkey Chili

Notes: Not much to say here, just a good old, reliable crock pot recipe.

Banana Currant Muffins

Notes: David and Katie did not care for the pumpkin seeds in this one and I have to agree. As you can see from the video, this is an oldie and probably needs revamping. I made this recipe up on the spot and, while it works, it is a little earthy for me. They had great success making the same recipe, but excluding the pepitas.

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