Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Success! ...and some of that other stuff

First I'll talk a bit about the successes. After a rough first day, when I didn't eat nearly enough for breakfast, didn't bring nearly enough with me for lunch, and was starving (as we've discussed) and grumpy when I got home, I planned a bit better for the second day. I roasted up enough sweet potatoes to last through tomorrow, prepped veggies for the next morning's sauté, and whizzed up three days' worth of a banana-strawberry-almond milk-chia smoothie. I added some chicken sausage to the veggies to boost the staying power of breakfast. At the hospital, the meal special was all items that - in their basic form at least - would comply with my diet: honey mustard chicken, mixed veggies, mashed sweet potatoes. I'm sure there were several ingredients added to some or all of the above that I'd rather not know about, but I'm going to demand flexibility from myself when I'm eating away from home.

When I got home last night, I made myself a most lovely dinner. Would you like to see?

Spaghetti Squash, Tilapia, Tomato Sauce

I mean really, isn't that just lovely? So lovely, in fact, that I had the same thing for dinner tonight, and managed to get that photo in with some lovely (!) evening light. This is definitely a dish I'd like to keep in my mental recipe book long after I go diving back into a giant pool of bread and butter on May 1st.

Spaghetti Squash and Tilapia in Tomato-Caper Sauce
Serves 2

  • 1 spaghetti squash, 1 1/2 - 2 pounds
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 one small onion, sliced
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste (I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset - it's awesome)
  • 2 4-oz tilapia filets
  • 1 tbsp good olive oil
Stab the squash (and not yourself) with a knife a few times, place on a plate, and microwave at full power for ten minutes. Leave in the microwave until you need it later.

Sauté the garlic and onions in the coconut oil until softened, then add the tomatoes (with juice), capers, and seasoning. Let cook until reduced to just thicker than you'd like the final sauce to be. Reduce heat to very low (barely a simmer), and nestle filets in the sauce. Cover and cook 10 minutes, then flip and cook ten minutes more.

After squash has rested for at least five minutes, cut in half, remove seeds, and scrape out the flesh of the squash with a spoon or fork. Portion into bowls, and when fish is done, place on top. Increase heat on sauce again, and reduce further. You'll want it thicker than you'd expect - because the squash is so moist, a normal sauce will end up watery on the plate. At the very end of cooking, mix in the olive oil. Spoon sauce over squash and fish.

I'm honestly a bit flabbergasted by how delicious this was, though I think I have to attribute at least some of it to using farmers market tomatoes we canned last summer. Like I said, definitely a keeper. So there you have it, success! Thanks for stopping by!

Oh, yeah. The other stuff. Okay, so obviously my first day was a little rough. Yesterday, I decided to donate blood. For the first time. I do not have a 100% positive track record of post-blood-draw consciousness. It had been a few hours since I'd eaten, and I pretty much felt like I was going to die when they were done. Finally, after about 20 minutes of lying on the blood donation... furniture, I was able to stand up and made my way over to the desperately needed food. Sandwiches. Cookies. Candy bars. Not a thing I was "allowed" to eat. I'd received a voucher for the cafeteria for donating, but I knew there was no way I was making it out of that room upright without food. I sighed and ripped into a packet of fruit snacks. Packed full of carbs (mostly sugar) and not even that good.

I'm in the process of forgiving myself for said transgression. While it'd be awesome for me to make it through this challenge without slipping up, I think the threat of fainting is a sufficient excuse for "seriously, just eat anything." This matches up with my experience of most people eating Paleo. It's great most of the time, but sometimes you honestly just need something, and that pretty much trumps all. Go ahead and let it.

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