Trying to Get Back on the Paleo Plan

Sad, but true:  when life gets crazy, the first thing to suffer is my diet.

How about you?

breakfast 09.22.2014


A lot of people don’t eat when they get stressed out.

Not me.

I eat.  And I eat the quick and easy stuff:  like potato chips and snack cakes.  For breakfast?  A bowl of cereal.

Those are really bad choices for me.

Not that it’s a valid excuse, but my dad was in the hospital for week with some pretty serious health issues.

Now he’s in a nursing home / rehab center.

And, instead of getting better, he’s getting worse.

My brother and sister and I have been spending a huge amount of time with him.  And it’s starting to take a toll.

I have to get a grip and get back on the Paleo plan or I’m going to gain a bunch of weight.

And that will cause health issues for me.

Life is crazy right now.  But I’m smart enough to make better choices.

So.  Here we go.


The photo above is today’s breakfast.  You can learn how to make Microwave Eggs here.  I added a Campari tomato and 1/2 an avocado.  Yum!

A Quick Tutorial: Salad-in-a-Jar

three canning jars


Several of my Instagram followers have asked me about the photos of I post with food in canning jars.

First, as much as I’d like to claim to be the original “food jar guy”, I’m not.  Hey, honesty is a virtue.  Just being straight up with you, okay?

I also know a good thing when I see it.  So…I want to share some food-in-a-jar ideas with you.

[Read more...]

Produce For Kids and Meijer have Teamed Up Again for Great Meal Ideas

DISCLAIMER:  I was compensated for this post.  However, all opinions are my own.

My good friends at Produce for Kids and Meijer have teamed up once again for some super-great recipes.

If you’re tired of the same old food, week after week, then  you owe it to yourself to check these out!

[Read more...]

Pasta Salad Recipe — with Chicken

pasta salad with chicken

Here’s an Easy Pasta Salad Recipe.  This one with grilled chicken!

This  is one of the College Boy’s favorite foods.  He made a surprise trip home this weekend so we made a batch of Pasta Salad today and sent him back with a big container of it.

This recipe makes several servings of pasta salad.  Since it keeps for a few days in the refrigerator, we make it with an entire box of pasta.  It ALWAYS gets eaten up.  And, the dressing acts as a marinade, so this recipe tastes better the day after you make it.

Let’s get to it!

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CRAFTY DAD TIP :: Preaching the Planning Sermon Again

Organizer - daily planner over white

Today’s Sermon is All About Planning

I’ve been preaching this for a long time:  PLANNING is key to your success.

I tell my kids how important planning is.  I share the concept with my team members at work too.

Simple truth:  Winston Churchill was so right when he said, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”

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Making Paleo Food Choices when Dining Out

Paleo Choices when eating out

Choices.  It’s all about choices.

Seriously.  It is.  There are about a million choices you’re faced with every day.  And when it comes to food, sometimes your stomach tries to outsmart your brain.

Don’t let it happen to you!

[Read more...]

Produce for Kids at Meijer — Get Healthy, Give Hope

DISCLAIMER:  I was compensated for the post.  However, the opinions expressed on this post (and every other blog post here on are mine, and not those of anyone else.  Ever.

strawberries on sale


This past weekend, we did some shopping at our local Meijer store.  We were there to pick up a giant, decorated cookie that my wife ordered to celebrate our oldest son graduating from high school.  His commencement was this past Sunday.  His open house is NEXT Sunday.

We had to have SOME way of celebrating, so the decorated cookie was a perfect choice.  Nate and Matt both love those cookies.  :-)

Also on the shopping list was a tablecloth, a casual belt, some cinnamon roles and whatever else might be on sale.  Sound familiar?

Strolling through the produce department (on the way to the bakery to pick up the cookie) we passed a few bargains.

With strawberries at three pounds for $5.00, we couldn’t resist.  So we bought two packages.

One of our favorite ways to enjoy strawberries is to toss them with some sugar and spoon them over slices of pound cake.

Topped off with some whipped cream, they are de-licious!

During our shopping adventure we noticed that Meijer has teamed up with Produce for Kids.

Here’s my youngest son, Matt, next to one of the Get Healthy, Give Hope display.

Matt at Meijer


About Produce for Kids®

Produce for Kids® is a philanthropically based organization that brings the produce industry together to educate consumers about healthy eating with fresh produce and raise funds for local children’s non-profit organizations. Since its creation in 2002 by Shuman Produce Inc., Produce for Kids has raised more than $4.2 million to benefit kids. To learn more about Produce for Kids and healthy eating, visit, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

Raising Money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

The more fresh produce Meijer shoppers add to their shopping lists at local stores, the more hope they can give to local children. All participating fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers at Meijer stores will make a consumption-based donation to local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

To learn more about the campaign, shoppers can visit the Produce for Kids in-store display that features easy-to-prepare recipes, helpful materials with additional information on the campaign and links to visit more than 90 easy Ideal Meals®recipes online. The display also features characters from the popular Sprout® health-focused children’s series LazyTown and The Chica Show, along with tips on healthy eating for kids.


Speaking of recipes, here are some summertime produce-related recipes you might want to try.


Banana FroYo

Banana FroYo

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • 2 bananas, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cups lowfat yogurt
  • 1 cup pineapple, cored, chopped
  • ¼ cup caramel dip

1.     Place bananas in freezer bag and freeze overnight.

2.     Blend bananas, yogurt and pineapple in blender until thick and smooth.

3.     Portion and freeze for 25 minutes.

4.     Drizzle with caramel dip and serve.



Smoothie Pops

Smoothie Pops

Serves 16
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • 1 large peach or mango, peeled, chopped
  • 1 large nectarine, peeled, chopped
  • 2 medium bananas, peeled, sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, leaves hulled
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup orange or fruit juice
  • 2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 16 paper cups

1. Place all smoothie ingredients in a blender and blend until just smooth.

2. Place 16 paper cups on a baking tray.  Pour smoothie into paper cups.  Place tray in freezer and freeze until slushy, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove tray from freezer and insert one popsicle stick into the center of each cup.  Return to freezer and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

4. Tear away paper cup and place on plate.


Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothies

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 banana, peeled, cut in half
  • ½ avocado, pitted, peeled
  • 1 cup spinach, gently packed
  • 1 cup green apple, cored, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 2 Tbsp. honey

1. Blend milk, banana, avocado, spinach, apple, flax seed and honey in blender until smooth.



For those of you unfamiliar with Meijer:

About Meijer

Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 200 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. As a pioneer of the “one-stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive electronics departments, garden centers and apparel offerings. Additional information on Meijer and the ability to shop for more can be found at Follow Meijer on Twitter and or become a fan at

Produce Sponsors

The following companies proudly support the Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign at Meijer locations and your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals: Bolthouse Farms®; DOLE® Salads; Earthbound Farm® Organic Mixed Baby Kale; Grower Direct® California & Washington Cherries; HMC Farms, Fowler Packing Company, & SunWest Fruit Company – California Peaches, Plums, & Nectarines; T. Marzetti® Company – Marzetti® Refrigerated Salad Dressings; SUNSET® Tomatoes on the Vine; NatureSweet® Glorys™ Perfect Ingredient Tomatoes, Cherubs® Heavenly Salad Tomatoes, & SunBursts™ Sweet Golden Snacking Tomatoes; Potandon Produce – Green Giant® Fresh Klondike Rose® & Red Potatoes; Shuman Produce – RealSweet® Vidalia® Onions; Well•Pict Berries® Strawberries.


Please visit for more information.

Busy Days and Nights Call for Make-Ahead Meals

Hotdog stew collage


It’s been a long time since I’ve made hotdog stew.  And while it may not sound very appetizing, it’s really quite tasty.  Matt, my soon-to-be 13 year old loves the stuff.  So tonight, after dinner, I made a big pot of Hotdog Stew.  For tomorrow night’s dinner.

We’ve had a lot going on the past few weeks.  Seems that end of the school year time is ultra-hectic.

Make-ahead dinners are a very good thing.

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Back on the Paleo Plan

paleo breakfast salad

I’m overweight.

There.  I said it.  No sense trying to skirt around the issue.

I’m fifty-one years old.  My thyroid has been broken for many, many years.  (I take medicine, don’t worry.)

I have a beer belly.   But I don’t drink beer. 

The Paleo Plan works for me.  When I follow it.   Pretty much ANY diet (or lifestyle change) works if you follow the rules.  Life is like that too.  It works…when you follow the rules.

But that’s a subject for a whole new post.  For another day, perhaps. J

I’ve done the Paleo thing before and was very successful.  I lost about 35 pounds and felt really, really good.  I was running several days a week, too.  In fact,  I had to buy new pants.  I went down three waist sizes!

And then.  I let life get in the way and I went back to my old (bad) habits.  I ate too much of the wrong things. I became a couch potato.

I’m not looking for sympathy.  Just telling you like it was.

My wife, bless her heart, has been on my butt about my overweight condition.  She says she doesn’t want to be a b—- about it, but she’s concerned.  I love her for that.

Oh, and my dad had quintuple bypass surgery when he was fifty-five.  Uggh.

Last night (at dinner of all places) my oldest son (Nate – 18) starts asking me about the Paleo diet.  I tell him it’s based on the premise that humans were built to eat the same foods that cavemen ate.

The plan allows you to eat lean meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruit (in moderation).  However:  No bread.  No pasta. No rice.  No legumes (beans + peanuts).  No dairy products. No sugar.  No artificial this or artificial that.

Yes, it’s a bit restrictive.  Buy hey!  It works for me.  And that’s a big deal.

Nate remembered that I had great success so he was thinking about jumping on the Paleo bandwagon.

I’m going to share a ride with him. 

Nate and I are officially on the Paleo Plan.  I’ll be documenting our successes and failures here on the blog.

This morning’s BIG breakfast is shown above.  (It’s really enough for two servings.)

Here is what’s in the bowl:

  • About ¼ head of (boring) Iceberg lettuce*torn into pieces
  • ½ a Roma tomato, sliced
  • 1/3 cup of fresh, sliced mushrooms
  • ½ a cucumber, sliced
  • ½ cup of shredded pork roast
  • Coarsely-ground black pepper
  • My homemade oil + vinegar dressing (recipe will be shared soon)

*A head of Iceberg lettuce was all we had in the fridge today.  I try to have Romaine or a spring mix of fresh greens, like this.  I eat a LOT of salads on the plan, so I make them as interesting (and tasty) as possible!

I am really excited that Nate and I are going to be doing this together.  It’s going to be a fun ride!

If you have ANY questions on the Paleo diet, please:  leave a comment or send me an email.  I am not a nutrition expert; HOWEVER, I have been-there-and-done-this.  I will be happy to help you in any way I can.

Stay tuned for recipes, food photos and progress reports.

Low Carb Recipe – Chicken Salad

Here’s a quick and easy recipe to use up left-over chicken breasts.  Whether you cooked extra on purpose, or you have a few left over, here’s a great way to make something tasty.


making chicken salad rt 1


Super Easy Chicken Salad

In a large bowl, combine the following:

  • 4 cooked skinless-boneless chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs (diced)
  • 3/4* to 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 T. dill relish (OR sweet relish)
  • 1 t. celery seed
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

*Start with just 3/4 cup of mayonnaise and add more if you need to.  You want a nice creamy salad.

Mix well and taste-test.


Here’s what you should end up with:


making chicken salad 2 rt


Let me know what you think. We LOVE this stuff.

All by itself with a sprinkle of paprika.

On toast.  Really good with a slice or two of home-grown tomato.

In a salad.

Hey, it’s a multi-purpose recipe.



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