Tag Archives: Paleo

Quick Recipe: Spicy Smoked Chicken Salad

P&P Spicy Smoked Chicken Salad

Hey, where’s this week’s meal plan? I know, I know.  I’d like to know the same thing.  Life is kicking my tail and we’re living on leftovers and freezer meals this week.


Something wonderful happened over the weekend with some slightly overdone smoked chicken breasts! They magically turned into one of the best chicken salads I’ve ever had (and I love me a good chicken salad!).  Happily, I made mental notes as I went and have this recipe to share with you!

Spicy Smoked Chicken Salad – Serves 2 as a salad meal


  • 2 smoked chicken breasts (or breasts you’ve roasted with a healthy coat of good seasoning rub);
  • 1/2c mayonnaise (my favorite homemade; my favorite premade);
  • 2-3Tbsp hot sauce (I use Frank’s);
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered;
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (optional)


  1. Chunky or smooth? If you like chunky chicken salad (think Whole Foods), dice your chicken breasts.  If you prefer a smoother consistency (think tuna salad), pulse in the food processor.  I tried it both ways, and both were winners.  It just comes down to a matter of preference.
  2. Mix all ingredients.  If at all humanly possible, let sit for at least an hour.  If you can’t wait, I understand, but it’ll get better as the flavors from your chicken meet and mingle with the mayo and hot sauce!
  3. Serve over lettuce, on raw zucchini or cucumber rounds, on crackers or bread (preferably Paleo, of course!).



Back-to-School Meal Plan {Posh Paleo Bonus}

I am beyond thrilled to be featured in this month’s edition of Posh Paleo Magazine with some of my favorite meal planning tips for the crazy back-to-school season.  As you already know, I {heart} meal planning! But if you’re not as wild for it as I am, relax!  To go along with my article in Posh Paleo, I’m giving you a one-week back-to-school meal plan based on the tips from my article.  (What? You don’t subscribe to Posh Paleo yet? Well, get on it! I’ll wait . . .)

Breakfast – Even if you don’t do a Sunday cook-up, I want you to make breakfast this week.  Why? As I explained in the ‘zine, a big change in morning schedule is a prime opportunity to get off your morning nutritional game and that is a recipe for more nutritional slippage throughout the day.  Head it off at the pass by prepping PaleOMG’s Easy Breakfast Casserole on Sunday.

(Psst . . . while your breakfast is baking, don’t forget to chop your veggies for the week.  You can sweat those zoodles ahead of time, too.)

P&P - Dinner Sign

Below you’ll find your dinner menu.  I’m practicing what I preached and loving my slow cooker this season! I put the Slow Cooker Cheater Pork Stew on Monday because that’s the night my son has soccer, so move it around if that’s appropriate for you.  Nom Nom Paleo’s Pork Stew is a gift that keeps on giving – it makes SO much leftovers that you can do a leftovers night AND still have enough for a lunch or two.

I also let you off the hook on Friday.  Remember when I said good enough is perfect? By Friday, I rarely want to cook.  It’s the perfect day to stop off at the grocery store for some gorgeous veggies and a chicken and have dinner on the table five minutes after you walk in the door.

I also gave you a favorite recipe that takes too long for a weeknight on Sunday.  Sunday is a great time to make a more involved meal – especially one that will give you enough leftovers for another dinner.  You’ll thank me next Wednesday.

But wait, Vik, what about lunch? Leftovers, my friend.  Most recipes feed my family of 3.5 (my four-year-old doesn’t eat full servings yet) with enough leftovers for one dinner serving and one or two lunch servings, so I’m assuming you’ll feed your crew of 4ish and have lunch the next day for you.

Happy Cooking and be sure to let me know how it goes!

Monday Slow Cooker Cheater Pork Stew (Nom Nom Paleo)
Tuesday Teriyaki Chicken Thighs and Bok Choi (Fed + Fit) & basic caulirice
Wednesday Grass Fed Meatballs (Grass Fed Girl) & basic zoodles
Thursday Leftover Slow Cooker Cheater Pork Stew
Friday Big Salad topped with rotisserie chicken
Saturday Buffalo Wings(Against All Grain) & veggie crudités
Sunday Rogan Josh (Mel Joulwan)

The Ultimate Meal Planning Guide

Hi, my name is Victoria, and I’m a cookbook addict!  Though, to be fair, I think I’m in good company (I’m looking at you Prime Minister Theresa May!).

P&P Cookbooks

This is only part of my cookbook collection.  The “most used” section.  Mostly Paleo, some well-loved non-Paleo cookbooks that I’ve found to be readily adaptable, and some great resource books.  I definitely do not lack for choices or inspiration when it comes to deciding what I – and my family – will eat in a given week.  The problem is really that of a child faced with too many ice cream choices, who is crippled by indecision.

Whether you own one cookbook or, (ahem) twelve, or keep a binder, or Pin the heck out of recipes, meal planning can be daunting.  Before you sign up for a meal planning service (don’t get me wrong – some of them look fantastic!), give my meal planning template a try!

P&P Meal Planning 3

  1. Find a planner that works for you

This looks different for everyone.  My favorite planner is from Refined Side and allows me to plan all three meals each day.  You may only need to plan dinners.  There are a plethora of blank calendars and planners to be found online and, if you want to sketch it out yourself, the back of the flyer about your kid’s school bake sale works, too.

  1. Make a list of what you need to use up

When I start meal planning (usually Friday evening), the first thing I look at is what needs to be used first.  Maybe it’s leftovers from Thursday that we can have on Sunday (or that I’d rather freeze for a rainy day).  Maybe it’s that random half-head of cabbage from the side dish you made last week.  If you keep a deep freeze list, also keep in mind what is nearing the end of its shelf life.

  1. Source recipes for #2 first

Let’s take my cabbage as an example.  I recently made the Bacon and Cabbage side dish from Paleo Kitchen.  The recipe called for ½ head each of green and red cabbage.  Which left me with the remaining half of each (or the equivalent of a whole cabbage) patiently waiting in my veggie drawer.  Sometimes, I have something in mind based on a recipe I’m craving or that came across my Feedly or Facebook or Pinterest feed recently (that was the case here – I made Nom Nom Paleo’s Cheater Pork Stew).  If not, I grab a few cookbooks off the shelf and turn to the index, or run a search on Pinterest (first of things I’ve already pinned, then widen the search if I need to).

  1. Decide what else you want to make – starting with dinner

This step will depend on your mood.  Is there a sale you want to take advantage of (salmon on sale at Whole Foods for $9.99/lb, for example!)? Something in season you want to cook with or that you have an abundance of from your CSA or farmer’s market? A favorite recipe you’ve been craving?  I alternate between these motivations when making my weekly picks.  Or (confession!) sometimes I just sit down and drool over my cookbooks like they’re the Tiffany & Co. catalogue until something jumps out at me.  Whatever works, right?

  1. Go ahead and plan what you’ll do with leftovers from #4

The reason I plan dinners first is that, invariably, the leftovers from planned dinners will usually fill in some of the other meal slots.  If I make a frittata on Monday, I can count on having at least two servings available for a breakfast or lunch, which is two less breakfasts and lunches I have to plan.  This step also shows me when I’m being too ambitious and have too much food planned for the week.  Better to adjust accordingly now than when I have a fridge full of food!

  1. Fill in the gaps

If Monday’s frittata will only give me breakfast on Tuesday and Wednesday, I need to have a plan for my A.M. meal the rest of the week.  By now, I’ve filled in dinners, plugged in a few breakfasts and lunches, and I look for something easy to fill in the last open meals.  Or maybe I want to build in a lunch out with my officemates.

  1. Finalize your plan and notate where the recipes are coming from.

I promise, we are almost there! This step is critical! Nothing is worse than coming home on a Thursday and facing a meal plan that says “Orange Chicken” and having no idea (because it’s Thursday and your brain done 50 million things since you made this meal plan) which Orange Chicken recipe you’d planned for or where it is.  I make a key in the corner of my meal plan to remind me where to find the recipes when the time comes.

  1. Make your grocery list.

Et Voila!

P&P Meal Planning 2

I know what you’re thinking – Do I really need eight steps, Vik?

Well, I do.  I’ve learned the hard way that if I want to use my grocery dollars effectively, minimize waste, while keeping my menu varied, this level of planning works for me.

How do you meal plan? What are your best tips and tricks?

Review: The Eighty Twenty Magazine

8020 Vol 1

Apparently I’m not the only one who believes that refined tastes and real food are not mutually exclusive!

Have you met The Eighty Twenty?  The are, to quote their luscious website,

. . . an online magazine and community, built by and for women who lean toward the Paleo lifestyle. This site is for those who crave balance in all things. For the woman who knows what makes her feel better: more sweat, less complaining, more vegetables, less sugar, more fat, less grains, more books, less television, more fresh air, less desk jobs; the same woman who knows sometimes you just have to work late, skip the gym, eat the cookie, drink the second glass, sleep in, binge on Netflix, splurge on mascara.

It’s like they read my mind!

8020 quote

I discovered The Eighty Twenty through their gorgeous Instagram photos and was immediately in love.  Why? Because one of the things I’ve struggled with most on a personal level since adopting a Paleo nutritional approach last year is retaining space in my daily life for indulgences.  For “girly” things (which frequently don’t seem to prevail in the mainstream Paleo community).   I feel like these women are kindred spirits.  We both (in the words of Eighty Twenty editor Jenna) “have designed a life we are proud of, and a handful of vices that we can’t live without – or rather – can live with.”

Needless to say, I jumped on ordering the first edition of their magazine as soon as it was available and I’ve been delighted with the content!

8020 Sw Potato Gnocchi

The magazine is a balanced blend of four food recipes and three DIY beauty recipes, interspersed with personal stories and lifestyle features.  The recipes have a seasonal tone and for the winter include mouth-watering selections like Cider Squash Soup and Sweet Potato Gnocchi (which I can’t wait to make as soon as Lent is over – I gave up bacon – Egads!).  The personal stories are positive and inspiring, as well as sometimes humorous.  Sprinkled throughout are quick healthy lifestyle tips as well.

The only negative I see is with the price.  The print edition (which included a digital copy as well) at time of my purchase was $14.99 exclusive of taxes.  The Eighty Twenty have since temporarily suspended the print edition to look for a more cost-effective means of publication.  As much as I LOVE having the printed version to satisfy my tactile needs, I can’t see making that kind of splurge again for 38 pages when twice that dollar figure will get me a whole new Paleo cookbook.  The digital version is an easier-to-swallow $7.99 which is still a bit steep, but acceptable for a luxury product.  The file is one of those lovely flip-book views, as opposed to a PDF.  However, the downside to that format is that the recipes are not printable, which is a strong preference for me given the unclassy hot mess my kitchen becomes on meal prep day.  Nevertheless, I fully expect to purchase the digital version of the next issue (and cross my fingers that they find a way to make recipes printable in the future)!

Keep up the beautiful work, ladies! I sincerely look forward to seeing what your spring issue has in store!

New Year, New Beginnings {+ A New Recipe}

Hello! Happy first real week of 2015 and happy first real post on Peonies & Paleo!

Wondering about the name “Peonies & Paleo”?  The Reader’s Digest version (in case you missed the introductory post) is that I started this blog to combine my love of refined things as well as my passion for real food.  Because it’s more than just ok to carry Kate Spade to the CSA pickup. And you don’t have to be a hippie to be healthy!

There are so many exciting things I have planned for this space! To kick things off on a healthy note, I’m sharing a new recipe I developed based on a friend’s go-to winter soup.  Chock full of protein, “good” carbs, and nutrient-rich kale, this Paleo-friendly, Whole 30-friendly soup eats like a meal in under an hour.

Sausage, Sweet Potato & Kale Soup

Sausage, Sweet Potato & Kale Soup


  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 4 Chicken Sausages – quartered & sliced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes – peeled & diced
  • 1 large gold potato – peeled & diced
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 4C chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale or spinach


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  2. Add sausage and brown for 5 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes, diced tomatoes, & broth. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add greens and continue to simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.

This recipe yields 4 very generous servings.  I’ve just started my second Whole 30 (my first was exactly a year ago) and started my Sunday food prep with a pot of this.

I’d love to hear how you’re starting the New Year!!