Meat. Vegetables. Fruit. Nuts. Seeds. So begins the Paleo Challenge of 2011. It’s simple but hard. One might wonder why a “Paleo Chef” would participate in a Paleo Challenge? Well, since paleo is not a strict religion for most, it has a tendency to be a bit flexible, with adherence generally holding around 70% paleo and 30 % other stuff. After all, we live in a modern age with things like fish tacos, bags of trail mix, and my personal favorite; almond horns from Trader Joes (yes, they are gluten-free and made from almond flour… and sugar.)

All to say, this primal chick could use a chance to reassert her wild and free rights. Enter Crossfit West’s challenge, to maintain a paleo diet for 3 months including pre-tests, post-tests, potlucks, and prizes. Sounds great, right?!

The first potluck was this past Sunday. Here were my contributions to the delectable feast:

Cashew Curry Chicken Salad

Salad

3 c. 3 oz. chicken breast, poached or baked

1 c. cashew pieces

2 stalks celery, chopped finely

½ c. unsweetened coconut shreds

½ c. currants (optional)

½ c. red onion, minced (soaked in water/apple cider vinegar)

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp. curry powder

Pinch cayenne

Dressing

¼ c. olive oil

1/8 c. vinegar

Juice from ½ lemons

 1 Tbsp. coco milk

Salt

2 heads cabbage

  1. Shred and chop the cooked chicken
  2. In a large bowl, mix together salad ingredients with the chicken
  3. In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients. Add to salad and combine thoroughly.
  4. Remove outer leaves from head of cabbage and steam for 5-10 min. until leaves pull away without tearing.
  5. Take steamed leaves on a clean surface and spoon 1-2 Tbsp. of salad into the center of the leaf. Fold in the sides of the leaf and roll until closed. (like a dolma or spring roll)

 

Cashew Curry Chicken Salad with a Carrot Curry Sauce. (I like alliteration)

Here’s a delicious sauce, straight from my Bauman College education. 

Carrot Curry Sauce

 3 cups fresh carrot juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small shallot, minced

1 Tbs curry powder

¾ tsp salt

3 Tbs olive oil

  1. Simmer the carrot juice, uncovered, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it is reduced and thickened to a sauce consistency, 30-45 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  2. Combine the reduced carrot juice, curry powder, salt, and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Serve.

 

 I also made some dessert. My favorite dessert to be exact. This has been a “go-to” recipe when I’m in the mood for creamy chocolate goodness. Keep in mind, this recipe does not need sugar or sugar substitute. It is sweet enough on its own, especially for those who have been paleo or low-sugar for a while.

Sweet Potato Fudge

 2 cups sweet potato puree

½ c. coconut oil, melted

¾ c. cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Sea salt to taste

Stevia to taste (optional)

  1. Blend all ingredients in a bowl or food processor until smooth.
  2. Line an 8 x 8 dish with parchment paper leaving a little extra on the sides to lift out the fudge with ease.
  3. Chill for an hour or so until firm, cut into desired pieces.

Options:

  • Add nuts, cacao nibs, coconut shreds into fudge.
  • Toast nuts or coconut and garnish.
  • Sprinkle coarse sea salt or cacao nibs on top before chilling.
  • Can also be made with same amount of black bean puree (NOT PALEO), but must add ½ – ¾ c. sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.)

 

Sweet Potato Fudge

 

On a personal note, my goals for this Paleo Challenge are as follows:

1. Diet to consist of mostly leafy and cruciferous vegetables, fish, seeds, free-range organic eggs and poultry. I am going to be limiting my nut consumption considerably. Yams and sweet potatoes will be limited as well. Squash and root vegetables are good and seasonally available. Beverages will include water, coffee (cause its awesome), tea, and coconut water. Chocolate must be unsweetened (sounds gross i know, but I’m a huge fan. Most sweetened chocolate is unpalatable to me.)

2. Crossfit Total over 400 lbs. ( 1 rep max; backsquat, strict press, and deadlift)

3. Focus on getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours), sun, and supplements (Omega-3 (including EPA and DHA), Vitamin D, and SuperEnzymes)

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