I really don't like having a "stocked" pantry or fridge. There are a few reasons for this: 1) I move so often for work that I like to be as minimalistic as possible. I typically only buy items that I know I'll use within a week (length between grocery trips), unless it's something that's almost impossible to use that quickly (flour, sugar (ah!), spices). 2) I have OCD, and I don't like being overwhelmed with things to organize. 3) I am horrible at making decisions, so it would stress me out to choose a container to store perishables (plus, they HAVE to match). 4) I am terrified of bugs, and I like to minimize the number of things they could be hiding behind, hiding in, crouching on top of, etc. Anyways, I've been reading on a lot of blogs that tuna packed in olive oil is the way to go. I was perusing the aisles of Trader Joe's, saw these olive-oil-tuna cans, and impulsively threw 2 in my cart. They've been sitting in my cupboard for a couple weeks, and it's been really bothering me.

After seeing a picture of a tuna cake on the internet (I'm constantly looking at food), my pulse quickened at the thought of using these cupboard space-hogging cans. I Googled "paleo tuna cake", and found this. I'm not a fan of "dried bell peppers" (never heard of this), and I wanted more of a kick. So, my adaption of Raf's recipe is below.

I didn't want these tuna cakes to sit on a plate all by their lonesome. I've been side-eyeing kale for awhile now, and have been subconsiously searching for a friendly recipe. Enter: Guy Fieri. I was watching the Food Network (seriously, I'm constantly looking at food); he was blabbing on about how kale is his favorite green, and then he threw this great recipe at me. Great side dish. I actually liked the kale; my lips quivered a bit before my first bite, but they taste like a slightly-bitter version of spinach. I totally shortcutted the recipe, and used frozen kale and pre-roasted beets (Trader Joe's didn't have the fresh versions).

Spicy Tuna Cakes

2 cans tuna (packed in olive oil)
2 large eggs
4 tbsp almond flour (or coconut flour)
2 scallions
2 tsp Paleo Mayo
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 diced bell pepper (I used green)
1 minced jalapeno pepper (adjust quantity to your spice preference)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
salt, to taste
cayenne pepper, pinch
hot sauce, optional (I use Frank's Red Hot)
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Drain olive oil out of tuna cans. Mix all the ingredients together (minus olive oil), and let rest for 5 minutes; this allows the flour to absorb some of the excess moisture.
2. Heat skillet over medium with olive oil. Fry tuna cakes, about 4 minutes per side.
3. For a sauce, you can use leftoever Paleo Mayo. To make a tartar sauce, just add in some minced pickles, lemon juice, minced onions, and salt/pepper. I used leftover Charred-Pepper sauce.



I've been cooking from recipes for a while now, and I want to start creating some of my own. I'm not a classically trained chef, so the only way to do this is to draw inspiration from others. Inspriation can come from all kinds of sources - you can tweak a ZoLeo (Zone + Paleo) recipe to better suit your palette, or you can "ZoLeo-fy" a favorite recipe from your pre-health-conscious days. So, don't shun a blog or sinfully delicious Pinterest picture because it doesn't fit the ZoLeo mold - save it and get creative!

Today's meal was inspired by The Tasting Table (a non-ZoLeo site!). I showed my edits to the original recipes, so you can see how easy it is to adapt a recipe to your lifestyle. I also don't have a grill, so I used my oven's broiler (upside down grill) and a grill pan. It serves 2 people.


2 4oz grassfed ribeye steaks
Salt and pepper
Coconut oil

1. Let steaks come to room temperature (about 30 minutes out of the fridge); this allows the steaks to cook more evenly.
2. Heat up the coconut oil in the grill pan on the stove at med-high.
3. Season your steaks liberally with salt and pepper.
4. Grill for about 3-4 minutes/side.

Charred-Pepper Steak Sauce

1 small red bell pepper
⅔ cup tomato purée
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses raw honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1. Adjust an oven rack to the top position and heat the broiler to high. Place the red pepper on a baking sheet and cook until charred on all sides, using tongs to turn it often, about 8 minutes total. Remove the pepper from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.
2. Place the pepper in a fine-mesh sieve* set over a blender jar. Open the pepper with a knife (the blender jar will catch the juices) and remove and discard the seeds. Add the roasted pepper and its charred skin to the blender along with the tomato purée, orange juice, Worcestershire, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, molasses honey, salt, mustard, ginger, pepper, onion powder and allspice and blend until smooth.
3. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the sauce and cook until bubbles start to break on the surface, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool and serve alongside the steak. (For a very smooth consistency, strain the sauce before serving.)

*If you don't have a sieve (like me), just removed the seeds and stem from the red pepper before placing under the broiler. After it cools, remove the skin by hand - the skin should peel off easily.

Creamed Spinach

½ tablespoon unsalted grassfed butter (I like Kerrygold)
1 garlic clove, smashed and thinly sliced crosswise
1½ tablespoons heavy cream coconut milk (stiff cream)
6 cups baby spinach
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place the butter and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the butter is completely melted, 15 to 20 seconds. Add the cream coconut milk cream and continue to microwave to warm the mixture, about 10 seconds longer. (Alternatively, if your grill is already hot, add the garlic, butter and cream to a disposable foil pan, cover and place on the grill. Warm until the butter is melted.)
2. Place two 10-inch-long sheets of aluminum foil on the counter. In a medium bowl, toss the spinach, butter-garlic mixture and salt. Place equal amounts of spinach in the center of each sheet of foil and fold and crimp the ends of the foil together to seal, making two airtight packets.
3. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium. Place the foil packs on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Use tongs to remove the packs from the grill. Carefully tear open the packs, place them on plates and serve.


Recipe: Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Around 5pm, I decided that I would die if I didn't have some chocolate chip cookies. Luckily, I happened to have these Enjoy Life chocolate chips laying around (translation: bag was open on my kitchen counter, and I've been sneaking handfuls). No guilt trip here - they are gluten, dairy, soy, and peanut free. I found them at my local Whole Foods.

Around 6:30pm, I was stuffing my face with some chocolate chip cookies.  If you can, try to predict your chocolate craving about an hour in advance. There are 2 reasons for this, and they are explained in the directions. This should be easy for most, because the chocolate craving is always there.


1 1/2 cups sifted blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

1. Let egg and maple syrup come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (Reason #1)
2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) together in a bowl.
3. Mix the wet ingredients (coconut oil, vanilla extract, maple syrup, egg) together in a separate bowl.
4. Pour the wet into the dry. Incorporate well.
5. Mix in the chocolate chips. Throw in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. (Reason #2)
6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
7. Spoon batter onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. I made mine about 1" in diameter.
8. Throw in oven for 7 minutes. Push down the top of the cookies with the back of a spatula (gives them a better shape - not necessary). Continue baking for 5 more minutes.
9. Let cool, and enjoy!


Taste Test: Ropa Vieja, and Round 2 Recipes

Look what I got in the mail! The new addition to my kitchen "staff" - a Hamilton Beach slow cooker!

There's this ropa vieja recipe from PaleOMG that I've been wanting to try. You should check out Julie's blog - she's hilarious.

Ropa Vieja

1.5-2lbs chuck roast
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 (6 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste

I gathered up the players, and de-virginified the crock pot with sliced peppers and onions.

I stabbed 4 cuts into the chuck roast, and pushed garlic cloves into their little nests.

The roast went on the top of the veggies, and seasonings went on top of the roast.

Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and a bay leaf blanketed the meat. Slow cooker was set on HIGH for 6 hours.

6 hours later... (I ladeled the sauce over the meat every 2 hours, but I don't think you need to do this).

The roast was done at 2am... no joke. I need to plan my cooking out better.

Round 2 Meal (well, in this case - Round 1)

I couldn't wait til dinner, so I used the roast for breakfast.  I had "huevos rancheros". I shredded the roast with a couple forks, laid it on a plate, ladeled some peppers and onions on top, fried on egg, and threw on salsa and guac. Yes, please.

After work, I got to work on the second part of the recipe - the f'rice (faux rice).

Cuban Style Rice

1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and roughly chopped
3 thick sliced of bacon, diced
1 (4 oz) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste

I chopped up the califlower into tiny florets, and threw it all in my blender (Don't have money to purchase a food processor at the moment, but the blender worked fine. Just had to shake and stir it around a bit).

Looks like rice, right?

I microwaved bacon for the first time. It was so easy.  All you do it wrap paper towl around the slices, and zap them for 2.5 minutes.  Check them, and zap them for a little longer if you have to.  They were crispy! Or you can throw them in the oven (400 degrees for 15 minutes on a wire rack).

Mixed everything together on the stove, and ta da! My final plate.

I plan on making a chipotle style salad with the roast for lunch. That's a lot of meat, and you have to mix it up to keep it interesting!


2012.07.24 - FOOD and Roasted Butternut Squash

Once I open a package of meat, I like to finish it within a few days. Any longer than that, I get weirded out that it's been sitting for so long. So, plan on seeing a few more meals with kielbasa in the near future... like my breakfast.  I ate eggs, kielbasa, salsa, and guac.

For lunch, I reheated the remaining pad thai, and topped it off with kimchi for some crunch. Thai/Korean fushion? I liked it.

Dinner included another semi-homemade ingredient. I bought pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe's - now, if you've ever had butternut squash, you know that it is super yummy and easy to prepare, but you also know that it is a total b!tch to cut.  I've bought a whole squash before, and let it sit in the fridge for weeks because I was too lazy to deal with it ($ down the drain).

The chunks were fairly large, so I just took a knife and cut them down into bite-sized pieces. I set the oven to 400 degrees, and tossed the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Into the oven for 45 minutes (toss every 15), and you've got roasted golden delight!

I sauteed some kielbasa with fresh spinach leaves in olive oil.

Threw in an egg for some more protein, and plated it all together with salsa and guac.  Voila!


Taste Test: Sunshine Sauce and Pad Thai

I was running a little late for work this morning, so I made and ate my breakfast in 10 minutes (phew!). I scrambled up a couple eggs, diced up some kielbasa sausage, and topped it off with Sriracha sauce. Simple yet effective.

For my other meals, I took a tip from my favorite Food Network star, Sandra Lee, and went "semi-homemade". I was a little crunched for time after my weekend in Chicago, and knew it would be challenging (aka I'd be too lazy) to create my meals from scratch.  At Trader Joe's, I bought pre-made salsa, guacamole, and pre-cut/washed broccoli. There is nothing wrong with a shortcut, but make sure you read the ingredients list to avoid any scary/suspicious items. Then, I took out a couple recipes from the wonderful Melissa Joulwan, and started cooking away - semi-homemade style.

"Sunshine Sauce"
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (I used the Sunbutter brand)
dash ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup coconut milk

I whipped up the Sunshine Sauce (super simple) last night, and stored it in the fridge for today.  Lunch was a simple salad with greens, salsa, guacamole, and grilled chicken with the sauce drizzled on top. It was SO delicious.

"Pad Thai"
1 batch Sunshine Sauce
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons coconut aminos
2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise broccoli
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash julienne-peeled zucchini
6-8 ounces grilled chicken thighs, diced
+ Garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Dinner was just as simple, and just as delicious.  I was so in love with the zucchini pasta I made last week, so I subbed that for the spaghetti squash.  Remember to let your "pasta" sit with salt for 20 minutes! This will draw the moisture out of the zucchini so your pasta doesn't end up soggy.

I fried up my eggs first, then sauteed the onions and broccoli (I used broccoli instead of sugar snap peas). I grilled my chicken in my trusty George Foreman, and tossed everything together in the pan with the Sunshine Sauce. I added some garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes for some more flavor on the pasta.

Yup, I'm pretty happy with today.


Meal Plan Template

Inspired by a template I saw on Google, I customized my own meal plan template to include a grocery list.  The challenge is to have more produce and meat on your list than canned foods!  This should also help to cut down on grocery costs - by planning out your meals ahead of time, you should stick to buying only the items you need for the week. Less waste!

If that button doesn't work, click here.
This is what this week's meals look like for me:


Recipe: Almond Crusted Chicken

Almond Crusted Chicken

1 chicken breast
1 egg
1/2 cup almond meal (or grind blanched almonds)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. I seasoned the chicken breast with salt and pepper.  This will give the chicken some flavor beneath the almond crust.  Then, whisk your egg in a bowl, and dip your chicken in it; let the excess egg drip off. Then, roll around in the almond meal to get a thorough coat on the chicken.

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat, and cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side.  This will help the almond crust stick to the chicken. Throw the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes, and voila! You have a nice juicy piece of "breaded" chicken. And it's Paleo!

For my side dish (carbs), I sauteed some broccoli and spinach in Kerrygold unsalted butter. Next time, I'll cut the raw broccoli into smaller chunks so it cooks more evenly with the spinach.  Enjoy!


2012.07.12 - 2012.07.16 FOOD

This post is dedicated to the food I've been eating for the past few days, cause that's the fun part, right?

Dinner: Baked coconut chicken over a bed of spinach and caramelized onions.  I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, dipped it in egg, and rolled it around in coconut flakes.  While the chicken was in the oven (at 425 degrees for 35 minutes), I caramelized some onions on the stove, and threw in some frozen chopped spinach towards the end. I like using frozen spinach because then I don't feel pressured to eat all of it within a week.  Next time, I'll make an additonal side since the portion seemed a little small.

Lunch: I was a bad girl, and forgot to take my chicken out of the freezer to thaw for my lunch.  Luckily, there was free food at work. Isn't it funny what other people consider to be healthy? I swear, sometimes they only have granola, danishes, and cereal for breakfast meetings - where are the steak and eggs? Anyways, I grabbed a couple hamburger patties and a hot dog, coleslaw, and some raw toppings. The coleslaw was in some sort of creamy sauce, but I had to make do since there was no raw salad.  I think it made my stomach feel all grumbly later.

Dinner: I love my George Foreman grill. I think it's the best for grilling up chicken and burgers indoors. I grilled up a lemon garlic chicken breast (salt, pepper, minced garlic, and lemon juice), chopped it up, and threw it on lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados.  It's been so hot here in Omaha; salads seem like the perfect food to offset the heat.

Breakfast: Ah yes. The "it's the end of the week, and there are scrap ingredients in the fridge" garbage breakfast.  I scrambled up a couple eggs, frozen spinach, and sausage.  Topped off with fresh tomatoes and avocados. Yummy.

Lunch: On Saturday, I met some people from CrossFit Omaha at a sports bar to cheer on the athletes in the CrossFit Games. I ordered a bunless 1/3 lb burger with sweet potato rounds.  How disappointing - the burger was bland, and the sweet potato rounds tasted really weird (I think they added some sugar).  I guess it was better than anything else on their menu.  I don't like to feel guilty about meals like this, because I am doing my best to stick to healthy foods - no need to beat myself up over something that's not in my control! You shouldn't be too strict with your diet, or you won't have any fun (and you won't be any fun to be around)!

Dinner: This was DELICIOUS. I decided to consult the "Well Fed" Paleo cooking book, and was excited to discover that I had the ingredients for zucchini pasta in my fridge.  The most important part of making the pasta was to let it sit with salt for about 20 minutes.  Then, I rinsed it with water, patted the strands dry with a paper towel, and then threw it on the stove.  Mix in some olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes - you've got delicous pasta!! I've been a little sick of red meat, so I grilled up another chicken (salt, pepper) for my protein.

Lunch: Oooo, I LOVE grocery shopping days. I'm a little OCD, so I only buy ingredients that I know I will use and finish within the week.  Naturally, by Sunday I have nothing to eat.  I was getting pretty hungry roaming the aisles of Whole Foods, thinking about all the delicious meals I had planned.  Their hot buffet is full of non-Paleo foods, but you can usually find something that will work.  I grabbed some kielbasa sausage that was sauteed with onions and peppers, and then made a little side salad (spinach, carrots, egg, balsamic vinegar). My stomach was appeased.

Dinner: Another recipe from "Well Fed" (this is a really good cookbook, and I also love her blog).  These are Bora Bora Fireballs (spiced pineapple pork meatballs rolled in coconut flakes), with a side of broccoli.  I think that 30 minutes was too long in the oven for these babies, cause they turned out a little dry. I cut the recipe in half, and only used a pound of ground pork, but that provided 4 servings of meatballs (aka 4 meals). Not bad!

I'm excited for what I have planned for the rest of the week.  And then, I jet off to Chicago for a completely reckless, non-Paleo, disgustingly good weekend with some of my lovely friends!


2012.07.10 - 2012.07.11 WOD and FOOD

My mom was right - soccer ruined my calf muscles. I have HUGE calf muscles, and the only solution to thinning them out seems to be long distance running. CrossFit does not do long distance running - WOD distances usually stay between 200m-800m; sometimes more, sometimes less. Since I don't have to be at work til 8am, I don't see why I can't fit in a run in the mornings. I'm doing good so far; I ran on Monday, and I ran today (Wednesday). I'm starting slow, because I'm scared I'll hurt my knees again (anyway, I am by no means a quick runner). I just want to work up to a comfortable 5 miles, and be consistent with it. Maybe do a longer 7-8 miler once in a while. It's going to take a while, but I'll get there! Side effects? SLEEPINESS DURING WORK. But that may not be the running.

20 minute AMRAP
3200m Run (100m = 1 rep)
300 reps combined: Burpees, Wall Balls (14#), DB (35#) Walking Lunges, Double Unders
Customize your own rounds - stick to 200m-600m runs, combined with at least 8 reps/movement.
I did: 400m with 10 reps each, 400m with 10 reps each, 400m with 15 reps each, and 400m with 30 DU's = 178
How I feel about it: BLAH. Really wanted to finish 4 rounds.

Not for time:
3 rounds:
[3 sets:
2 weight pull ups (scaled: pull up negatives)
3 strict pull ups (scaled: banded strict pull ups)
4 kipping pull ups (scaled: jumping pull ups)
Rest 1 minute
30 sec AMRAP: shoulder to overhead (63#)
Rest 2 minutes]
I did 2 sets of 4 kipping pull ups and then my arms turned to jelly. Wasn't really in the mood to be there; I'm ready for my rest day.

Here's what I've been eating lately (can you tell I have a lot of ground beef and avocados?):



1. Applegate Red Pepper link, eggs, tomatoes, and avocado. 2. Mahi Mahi tacos with pineapple and watermelon. 3. Sliders with spinach/zucchini and kimchee. 4. Bunless burger with toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, fried egg, jalapenos, and avocado), and sweet potato fries. 5. Salmon, asparagus, and kimchee.


2012.07.02 - 2012.07.09 Catching Up

Find 1RM (one rep max) for Power Clean
= 99.2# (Beat my old 90# score on my last attempt!)

"Brenton" (15 min cap)
5 rounds:
100 Feet Bear Crawl
100 Feet Standing Broad Jumps w/ 3 Burpees every 5 Jumps
=  I have my time written in my WOD book; I know it was over 12 min but I FINISHED!

"Tumilson" (20 min cap)
8 rounds:
11 DB Burpee Dead-lifts, 30#
200 Meter Run
= 7 + 1 rep

Conditioning: 1x5 Deadlifts = 165# (Yay)
Jumping Pull Ups
Anchored Ab Mat Sit Up Air Squats (scaled to 2 separate movements)
= 11:50 (Finally, a WOD that I KILLED)

I spent my 4th being really bored, watching an insane amount of TV (mostly 'Drive-Ins, Dine-Ins, and Dives'), and cuddling with Jimi. It was really boring. Boo hoo, sucks to be in a new city with no friends. I walked over to the fireworks show; it was kinda lame until the end when they set off a bunch in a row, and there were pretty sparkly colors everywhere. I also saw a ton of floating lanterns; I need to try this.

Boy came to visit over the weekend. We ate steak, ate tacos, gambled, bar hopped, ate sushi, saw Savages, ate breakfast, gambled some more (I won $10!), and then he was gone. Weekends need to be longer.

I'm going to spend this weekend trying to perfect my skills for the girl's weekend surprise. I hope I can pull it off, cause I'm pretty excited about it! And I hope I finally get around to painting Jimi's bed. Also, I have an appointment to get my hair colored, but I'm kinda freaking out about it. I was looking at getting the ombre/melt (really like Jessica Biel's color here), but it's been so long since my virgin hair has been touched by chemicals.  NOT SURE WHAT TO DO!


2012.06.28 - 2012.07.01

Friday's WOD:
AMRAP 20 min
6 squat clean thrusters (63#)
12 kb swings (1P)
18 push ups (knees)

I completed 4 rounds plus 10 reps (6 thrusters and 4 kb swings). My hand ripped on the last thruster (dang it!). I need to work on squats; I get all wobbly at my lowest point. Spread your knees!


Did Pilates through the gym in the morning. Fact: I need to work on my flexibility. Aren't all girls supposed to be somewhat naturally flexible? This has never been the case for me. I remember not getting the Presidential fitness awards in grade school because my Far Reaches were not-so-far reaches... I need a good stretch routine to run through after the WODs.

I stayed for the Nutrition seminar, which I have mixed feelings about. The trainer, Ricky, talked a lot about Paleo and the Zone diets (which I'm quite familiar with), but focused more on the science behind it. I'm glad that he reminded me of the Zone, because portions MATTER. I sometimes think that just because I'm eating clean, I don't need to pay attention to how much I'm eating. I think that my experience lets me "eye" a good meal portion, but this is not the case. You need to look at quality (Paleo) AND quantity (Zone). That's the most I got out of the seminar - just a reminder. It was hard for me not to roll my eyes and disengage when Ricky started talking about how cancers and other forms of diseases and illnesses can be cured by eating clean. Well holy shit! CrossFit has cured cancer!... puh-lease. Anywho, I know a lot of people disagree with Paleo and Zone, and sometimes I am one of those people. But it has worked for me in the past, and I am a fan of anything that gets me to eat clean, fresh, natural food. It's not perfect, but it's a starting point.

With the remainder of the weekend, I checked out an inflatable luminarium, the Olympic Swim Trials, and got a haircut (Much needed. Mirror Mirror on the Wall told me I was the scariest of them all). It still really sucks that I don't know anyone here, but I'm trying to make the best of it. Treat every weekend here like a "stay-cation". Explore explore explore!