Great new recipe – Ham and Potato Soup

This recipe is perfect for a rainy day. Central Pennsylvania has been very rainy  lately, so this soup was ideal. I know that summer is coming and this is more of a winter recipe, but it’s too delicious not to share. The main reason I decided to make this soup now was because of Easter leftover ham. My aunt asked who wanted the ham hock and the juices, and I said “ME!”

ham and potato soup

That picture definitely does not do the taste justice. But here we go.

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ham hock (optional, but really adds flavor)
  • 6 cups ham broth (juice from the pan. If not available, any stock will be fine)
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 can white beans (optional. Not paleo, but go very well with this soup)
  • 1 bunch baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz leftover cooked ham

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic. After they sweat out a bit, add the almond flour. DO NOT salt this soup. The ham broth and the meat are already very salty, so taste before you salt. Add the bay leaves and sage. Stir until the flour has cooked some. Add the ham hock and meat. Combine and add ham broth. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes. Add the chopped potato and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans if desired, spinach, and almond milk.

Enjoy!

My Whole30 Experience

Day 1

Breakfast: 0.75 serving Gluten free protein shake with egg whites

Lunch: 1 serving fritata with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, carrots, bacon, and hot sauce, 10 baby carrots

Dinner: Salmon cakes with guacamole and baked zucchini, 4 dill pickle spears

*I was hungry most of the day and had a terrible headache. IDK if this was the diet or just the day. I also clarified butter myself for the first time last night. Cooking with it tomorrow.

Day 2

Breakfast: 1 serving Gluten free protein shake with egg whites, green tea with lemon

Lunch: 2 servings fritata with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, carrots, bacon, and hot sauce, 4 baby carrots

Dinner:  1 servings stir fry with chicken, shrimp, miracle noodles, onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, carrots, hot sauce, 4 dill pickle spears

*Felt better today. I ate more, so I think that was the headache problem. It’s kind of hard to keep my calories up.

Day 3

Breakfast: 1 serving fritata with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, carrots, bacon, and hot sauce, hot water with lemon

Lunch:  1 servings stir fry with chicken, shrimp, miracle noodles, onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, carrots, hot sauce, 5 baby carrots

Snack: Half cup cucumbers with guacamole

Dinner: Chicken and bacon salad with avocado, tomatoes, and Greek vinaigrette

*The major test is this weekend. Weekends are where I usually fall apart, but I have to remember my goals. I’m going to suggest restaurants that I know have healthy options.

Day 4

Breakfast: None

Lunch: Fajita steak and vegetables, guacamole

Dinner: ½ baked chicken, mashed sweet potatoes

*I was challenged by a friend who said I couldn’t eat entirely paleo at a Mexican place. I just ordered fajitas with no tortilla. HA

Day 5

Breakfast: Protein shake with egg whites

Lunch: Chicken bacon chopped salad with egg, tomatoes, cucumbers, and oil & vinegar dressing

Dinner: 10 chicken wings with red hot sauce

Day 6

Breakfast: protein shake with spirulina

Lunch: 1 servings stir fry with chicken, shrimp, miracle noodles, onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, carrots, 5 baby carrots, 2.5 tbsp almond butter

Dinner: zucchini-carrot-bacon latkes (3)

*I’m feeling good today. Making it through the weekend gave me more confidence that I can do this. Plus, the initial headachey period is over. 20% done.

Day 7

Breakfast: 1 serving fritata with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, carrots, bacon, cold water with lemon

Lunch: 0.75 servings stir fry with chicken, shrimp, miracle noodles, onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, carrots, 1 zucchini-carrot-bacon latke

Dinner: 12 brussels sprouts braised in butter and roasted, 1 oz lamb shank (bad), 2 slices turkey, 1 handful pistachios

*I’ve been doing some minor lifting and major running. I have sooo much energy these days.

Day 8

Breakfast: 1 serving fritata with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, carrots, bacon, hot water with lemon

Lunch: 1 serving cabbage soup, 2 slices turkey, 2 tbsp guacamole, ½ cup cucumbers julienned, 1 tbsp paleo mayo

Dinner: 1 stuffed peppers with ground beef and cauliflower, 1 dill pickle

Day 9

Breakfast: 2 carrot-zucchini-bacon latkes

Lunch: Cabbage soup with leftover stuffed pepper filling, half cup cucumbers with 2 tbsp guacamole mayo, 5 baby carrots

Dinner:  Celery root and cauliflower puree, 4 oz halibut, small handful pistachios

*Growl, I really wanted a piece of chocolate today. Didn’t help that Irina brought me a big bar of bubble chocolate from Russia, which is my favorite. Grrr. I have to leave it sitting in my desk for a while. My lunch was delicious though. Cabbage soup is great when I can add a little butter and meat to it.

*Ahhhhh!!! I want chocolate!

Day 10

Breakfast: 1 carrot-zucchini-bacon latke

Lunch: Cabbage soup with leftover stuffed pepper filling, half cup cucumbers with 2 tbsp guacamole mayo

Snack: cauliflower and celery root puree

Dinner: Steak, shrimp, and roasted veggies at Applebee’s

*Steph brought in lemon blueberry bread today. It about killed me. I’m fine when I don’t see these things, but there’s a little party today and the good stuff is everywhere. Ahhh!!!

Day 11

Brunch: Bacon and eggs at Friendly’s

Dinner: A ton of watermelon, a hot dog with mustard (no bun), a chicken salad with veggies, and 4 clams

*I know my dinner was huge, but I was hungry from my lack of food earlier. I know a hot dog is not the best thing ever, but I wasn’t at home.

Day 12

Brunch: 2 scrambled eggs, 1 cup strawberry slices, 3 small slices watermelon

Dinner: chicken tenders, cucumber salad, fruit salad

Day 13

Breakfast: Protein shake with chia seeds, grande pike place from starbucks

Lunch: cabbage soup with leftover stuffed pepper filling, half cup cucumbers with guacamole mayo

Dinner: 4 oz halibut, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and celery root puree

*Awesome 5.6 mile run today. I’m feeling awesome even though yummy food is still tempting me.

Day 14

Breakfast: 2 eggs, onion, spinach, pepper, 1 pc bacon omelet

Lunch: Picked at a chicken/bacon chop salad from Joe Mama’s

Dinner: tomato/spinach/onion stuffed mushrooms caps with salami, Brussels sprouts, 2 dill pickles

*I feel like crap, but it’s not from the diet, just Mother Nature. Nothing looks good as far as food. I’m hoping all these cravings I’ve been having are hormones and this will get easier.6.3 mile run though.

Day 15

Breakfast: 1 hard-boiled egg, hot sauce

Lunch: 4 oz halibut, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and celery root puree

Dinner: Grass fed ground beef with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms

*Ouch, uterus. Ouch. Going to the farmers market today.  Dinner will depend on what I find there.

Day 16

Breakfast: Omelet with bacon, onions, peppers, and scallions

Lunch: Salad from cafeteria – iceberg, tomatoes, cucumbers, turkey, onions, olives, cauliflower, watermelon, oil and vinegar dressing, a nectarine

Dinner: Pistachio crusted chicken with garlic, roasted zucchini and Brussels sprouts, some watermelon and strawberries

*Almond or pistachio crusts on meat are pretty much the best thing ever.

Day 17

Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce and paleo mayo

Snack: Nectarine and coffee

Lunch: Watermelon and Grass fed ground beef with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms

Snack for drive: Strawberries, blueberries, pistachios

Dinner: Lobster tail, 15 small shrimp, broccoli (Red Lobster)

Day 18

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 pc bacon, 2 sausage links, 1 slice ham, tea

Snack: Pistachios

Dinner: Burger with onion, tomato, and a pickle

Day 19

Breakfast: Coffee, almonds and cranberries from Starbucks

Lunch: Gluten-free cheesesteak at the ball park with crabfries. Delicious, and the fries were a total cheat. Oops

Dinner: Pear and walnut salad

*Yeah, I know. But the crab fries were awesome. Have you ever had those things?

Day 20

Breakfast: Coffee, pistachios

Lunch: Salad with cucumber, broccoli, onion, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, almonds, oil & vinegar, watermelon

Dinner: Almond crusted chicken, roasted beets & zucchini, detox tea

Day 21

Breakfast: Nectarine, hard-boiled egg with hot sauce and paleo mayo, detox tea

Lunch: ½ Can of tuna, strawberries and melon, 1 cup red pepper and ground beef soup, Earl grey tea

Dinner: almond crusted chicken with butter and chia, roasted beets and Brussels sprouts, detox tea

*I’ve been running 5-7 miles/day and lifting! Just call me “The Champ.”

Day 22

Breakfast: Omelet with bacon, onions, peppers, and spinach, detox tea

Lunch: Salad with veggies, turkey, almonds, red pepper tomato beef soup

Dinner: Homemade red pepper, tomato, and beef soup with chia, beet greens, and green onions, strawberries, super cookies (lemon not ginger, made with nuts and seeds from Whole Foods)

ginger snaps

Day 23

Breakfast: Naked green juice, detox tea

Lunch: almond crusted chicken with butter and chia, sautéed spinach and beet greens

Snack: Baby carrots and Whole Foods fresh ground almond butter YUMYUMYUM

Dinner: Cajun almond salmon, 1 large chopped zucchini roasted, detox tea

*Feeling great. Working out almost every day, sometimes twice a day. I went on a Whole Foods binge, haha. Got all kinds of good stuff to finish up this Whole30. But then I might just decide to keep doing it and take over the world.

Day 24

Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled-eggs with hot sauce and paleo mayo, detox tea

Lunch: Homemade pepper, tomato, and beef soup with chia, beet greens, and green onions

Snack: Cantaloupe and honeydew

Dinner: 2 Cajun almond chicken thighs, cauliflower and celery root puree with spinach, 1 slice ham, 1 slice turkey, 2 slices hard salami

*Chia seeds are wonderful. They make everything more filling.

Day 25

Breakfast: Cantaloupe and honeydew

Lunch: Turkey, ham, salami roll-up, watermelon

Dinner: two gluten- and nitrate-free chipotle chicken sausages with mustard

*These chipotle sausages from Whole Foods are really delicious grilled and make a great, quick paleo dinner.

Day 26

Breakfast: Turkey, ham, salami roll-up, watermelon

Lunch: Baby carrots and almond butter

Dinner: two gluten- and nitrate-free chipotle chicken sausages with mustard

Day 27

Breakfast: watermelon juice with chia seeds

Lunch: Homemade pepper, tomato, and beef soup with chia, beet greens, and green onions

Snack: ½ can tuna, almond butter

Dinner: 2 Cajun almond chicken thighs, cauliflower and celery root puree with spinach

Day 28

Breakfast: 2 slices turkey, 3 slices hard salami, coffee

Lunch: Homemade pepper, tomato, and beef soup with chia, beet greens, and green onions

Snack: Baby carrots and almond butter

Dinner: 2 Cajun almond chicken thighs, cauliflower and celery root puree

Day 29

Breakfast: Coffee

Lunch: almond crusted flounder filet, beets, cauliflower and celery root puree

Dinner: 2 cajun almond chicken thighs, steamed broccoli

Day 30

Breakfast: 2 slices turkey breast

Lunch: Homemade pepper, tomato, and beef soup with chia, beet greens, and green onions

Snack: Baby carrots and almond butter

Dinner: Big green salad from Giant Eagle

*I actually feel like I could do this all the time. The hardest part is eating anywhere other than home. If I’m with a friend’s family, I feel bad telling them I won’t eat something. And when I’m at a restaurant, I’m very tempted to drop the rules. But overall, I feel amazing. Good food makes you feel healthy.

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Wherever I cheated, and I did cheat once or twice, I have it marked along with whatever poor excuse I had. This just gives you an example of how you could do it. Don’t judge me 😛

I’m not going to tell you that Paleo is easy

Living fully paleo takes some work. You will have to shop. You will have to cook. You will have to read labels, and be that annoying person at restaurants who makes special requests. But no matter how you handle it, everyone likes to hear how others have overcome their difficulties. Here are a few examples from my personal paleo journey.

1. I am not a morning person. I have no desire to move, converse, or even eat until about 10 am. I do understand the importance of a good nutritional start to my day, but when trying to eat paleo, “quick” breakfasts are hard to come by. Fruit is acceptable, but usually gives me a tummy ache if that’s all I eat. Eggs and bacon never fail, but I usually don’t give myself enough time to cook. I posted the recipe for the fritata that just needs to be warmed up, but sometimes, I really just need something more grab-and-go. So I came up with this recipe which I adapted from this site: http://www.againstallgrain.com/2012/02/10/dark-chocolate-peanut-butter-granola-bars/

This recipe is paleo, but because of the honey and chocolate chips, it is not Whole30 approved. This is my adaptation.

1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup natural unsweetened almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
(2 cups of any raw nuts will do. Mix however you want)
5 dried unsweetened apricots
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup chocolate chips, Enjoy Life brand (allergen-free)

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Combine honey, coconut oil, and almond butter over low heat. While this heats, grind nuts, seeds, and apricots into a fine meal.Mix in coconut shreds and chocolate chips. The online recipe recommends waiting and sprinkling the chocolate chips on top. I like them mixed in. Combine liquid ingredients with the nut mixture. Scoop mixture into a Saran wrap lined pan (I use 8×8) and press the mixture out to fill the pan evenly. Freeze. I have this nifty tool called an ulu that I used to cut the bars after they’re frozen.

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A pizza cutter could work, but it won’t get the edges. I’m sure a heated butter knife would be fine. I put Saran overtop of the dish in the freezer so they don’t get freezer burn. Yummy grab-and-go breakfast/snack.

2. I have always liked pasta. Never LOVED it, but liked it. With paleo, sometimes meat and veggies doesn’t feel like enough. It is, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the mentality that I grew up with ingrained in me that a complete meal is meat-veggies-starch/carb. So when I’m really craving starch, I have a few little tricks.

  • Cauliflower and celery root puree – half a head of cauliflower and half a chopped, peeled celery root boiled until soft and blended with clarified butter, salt & pepper, and garlic. It’s like mashed potatoes, maybe even better.
  • Squash and zucchini – these veggies have a more starchy feel to them, but are way more nutrient-dense than potatoes. Sweet potatoes are allowed on the paleo and Whole30 plans, but I don’t like them.
  • THIS is the lifesaver. Miracle Noodles – http://www.miraclenoodle.com/ They are allergen-free and take on the taste of whatever you cook them with. They look like pasta, feel like pasta, but they are made of shirataki which comes from a tuber called a konjac yam. The noodles are very low carb, gluten-free, and nearly calorie-free. Their sole purpose is to make you feel like you’re not deprived!

3. Always be prepared with paleo snacks. The fridge where I work is half full of my stuff. I stash it everywhere. I carry a little baggy of my grain-free granola bars, a bag of raw almond, or… my favorite paleo snack in the whole world: baby carrots with fresh-ground almond butter from Whole Foods. HEAVEN. I have another favorite snack that most people think is gross. It’s fresh sliced cucumber with vinegar and pepper. Like a quick pickle. A QUICKLE!! I dunno, it’s just delicious. Get up off my back about it. To make this more palatable, some people dilute the vinegar with a little olive oil, add tomatoes, and make sort of a salad. But that seems like extra work.

4. Get your sleep 7-8 hours. It makes cravings so much more bearable.

5. Tequila is paleo. –> http://ultimatepaleoguide.com/norcal-margarita-recipe/

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