challenge cheat sheet

Here we are on day 2 of our 30-day challenge.  The interest and words of support have been incredible.  We even have a few more folks joining in the fun.  But I have seen a pattern of similar questions like …where do I even start with this?  Or …what do you suggest for breakfast?  Or lunch?  Or, for that matter, dinner?  Let me see if I can be of assistance.  How about if I share the details of my first day with you?

For breakfast, I had an omelet.  Not just any omelet.  I sauteed some shaved brussells sprouts and garlic in olive oil.  Then added some chopped kale and tomato.  My omelet was filled with that combo along with crumbled goat cheese.  I wish I had taken a picture for you, but, believe me …it was a great start to my day, as well as a delicious challenge launch.

Here’s what I had for lunch.  Not too shabby, right?  I started off with a bunch of spring mix and baby arugula.  Then added chopped scallions, thinly sliced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, a hard-boiled egg and a handful of kale micro greens.  I happened to have a piece of grilled salmon in the freezer.  Once I added that my salad was transformed into a solid meal.  The blue cheese crumbles on top were then added before a sprinkling of balsamic vinaigrette.  My daily lunch will most likely consist of salad fixins.  I’ll try to vary the toppings here and there …just so it doesn’t get boring.  Like adding grilled chicken or shrimp.  Maybe throwing in some grilled or roasted veggies instead of the cucumber and tomatoes.

Our go to dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette made with Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix.  It’s one of my favorite shortcuts.  I always mix it with good quality extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

As I was thinking about what to have for dinner, I made an executive decision.  I would spend some extra time and roast a substantial amount of vegetables to enjoy over the next few days.  I find that if I take the time to prepare foods in advance, I am more likely to stick to a plan.

I roasted a tray of baby red potatoes along with sweet potato wedges.  We like to leave the skin on but you can peel the potatoes if you prefer.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (helps prevent sticking not to mention that whole easy cleanup thing).  Wash and cut potatoes in wedges.  If using baby red-skinned potatoes (they are amazing) cut them in half or leave the tiny ones whole.  Place them in a gallon-size Ziploc bag then add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Just enough to moisten and coat each piece.  Seal the bag and gently shake it to combine all ingredients.  Pour contents onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.  (Save that bag for the next batch of veggies if you are on a roll.)  Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven and how charred you like them.  Remove from oven and immediately top with lemon zest, freshly shredded Parmesan Reggiano and chopped fresh parsley.  Plus any other fresh herb you might like.

While the potatoes were roasting, I added a tray of purple cauliflower using the same technique.  They may be done a bit sooner than the potatoes, it all depends on how large the florets are.  Just keep an eye on them.

I was on a roll.  There was no stopping me.  So I then prepared some brussells sprouts and red beets.  For more specific instructions, check out these posts …glazed brussels sprouts and roasted beets.

While all of that was going on in the oven, it was time to get some broccoli rabe (my favorite) and sauteed mushrooms cooking.  I’m so sorry to do this to you, but I must refer you to my post on grilled veggie pizza for the detailed instructions on preparing the broccoli rabe and mushrooms.  Just try not to look at the pictures of the crust!

So that’s how I spent my afternoon on the first day of our challenge.  Time well spent, I’d say.  For dinner, I grilled a generous amount of chicken breasts (had some on my salad today).  I brushed them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Seasoned them with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Then grilled them on the gas grill.  That’s it.  I had an amazing dinner consisting of all of the above.  I just went light on the potatoes, especially the white ones.

Let me give you an example of how great this whole “prepare food ahead of time” thing is.  First thing this morning, I was thinking about what to have for breakfast.  It was a no-brainer.  An omelet filled with broccoli rabe, mushrooms, sliced cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese.  With a bit of roasted cauliflower on the side for good measure.  And it took about five minutes.  I can get used to this.

I hope this has been helpful.  There are quite a few recipes that I’ve posted that would fit within the Primal guidelines.  I plan to edit each of those posts so that when you search for the word – primal – you’ll have every option presented to you.  Here are just a few possibilities…

summer seafood stew

herb grilled pork tenderloin

monterey chicken

hearty minestrone

grilled swordfish with butter, lemon & caper sauce


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