Paleo Tuna Salad in Avocado Cups


One of the first things I really learned to “make” on my own was my dad’s tuna salad. I distinctly remember living in my own apartment with my own kitchen for the first time and thinking that I could make anything, ANYTHING! So I made tuna salad. Anti-climatic, huh? Still, sometimes these baby steps are the sort of affirmation you need to feel confident doing more complicated things (see: pasta. What? It was college after all).  I remember calling my dad up and asking him what he put in it. His answer was simple: sweet relish, tuna, mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, and seasonings.  Sometimes, he said, he’ll serve it  inside half an avocado. You know, because avocado makes everything taste better.

Easy enough and delicious in its simplicity, I made a lot of tuna salad over my college years, and sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I still pull out dad’s old recipe. I even bought sugar-free sweet relish one time (do not recommend), before foregoing the relish altogether, just to try to “healthify” the recipe some more. I also, over time, started to add some veggies into the mix so that it would be a more complete meal of protein and carbs. Sometimes I add the hard-boiled egg, but most times I can’t be bothered to wait long enough to make it. To me, tuna salad had always been and should always be one of those standing over the counter and throwing things together kind of meals. Hard-boiling an egg? You gotta plan that, brah.

Which brings me to my Whole30. This week for some strange reason has turned out to be a week of throwing random things together at the last-minute recipes. Once I was in this mindset, dad’s tuna salad jumped up from the well of my memory and was like, hi! I’m perfect for this! So, I set out to make a Whole30 compliant tuna salad with a homemade mayonnaise. Mostly because I wanted something in an avocado cup.

Paleo Tuna Salad in Avocado Cup
Paleo mayonnaise inspired by The Paleo Kitchen
Serves 6



1 large pastured egg
3/4 cup olive oil or other oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 7-oz cans albacore tuna
3 celery stalks, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and diced small
1/3 cup red onion, diced small
3 tbsps fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 avocados, cut in half around the seed and pitted


1. Add the egg, olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and 1/8 tsp salt to a medium container (I used the container that came with my immersion blender). Place the blender in the bottom of the cup, then turn it on high-speed and blend until the bottom begins to turn white and frothy. Then, slowly lift the immersion blender blade up through the rest of the mixture so that the oil mixes in well. Once everything is mixed in, which should take no longer than 30 seconds, turn off the blender. Pour the mayonnaise into a mason jar or other airtight container for storage, but reserve 1/3 cup for the tuna salad.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to break the tuna up into small pieces. Once small, add the celery, the onion, the parsley, the reserved 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, the garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

3. Mix until everything is well-distributed and the mayonnaise coats the fish. Feel free to add more mayo if you like a creamier tuna salad.
IMG_86204. On a small plate, put down one half of the avocado and then use a spoon to top with the tuna salad. . Garnish with extra parsley and serve!

Whole30: Week 1

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I’ve now officially started my second week of Whole30, and I’m happy to report that it’s going pretty well. There were some definite challenges this week, but I think mostly because I was already eating pretty well before I started the Whole30, I haven’t experienced some of the worse parts of the infamous Whole30 timeline, but just for fun, I’m gonna go through a mental recap using it as a guideline.

“Day 1: So what’s the big deal?” Yup. Felt that exactly. In fact, for breakfast day 1, I made the same thing I’d been eating for the whole week prior: bacon, mushroom, onion, and red pepper scrambled eggs. Breakfast scrambles are the best for using up any bits and pieces of random vegetables you have in the fridge, so that’s what I’ve been doing until I get tired of it. I also had leftover pulled pork and stir-fried veggies from the week before for lunch, and for dinner I ended up throwing some lamb shoulder chops on my grill pan and making a side of theclothesmakesthegirl’s silky zucchini soup. And, it did feel good to be consciously aware that I was making good choices.

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“Days 2-3: The Hangover” Not so much (at least not compared to the one I had the day before I started whole30). My breakfast continued to be my scrambled eggs, my lunch was leftovers of lamb and soup, and for dinner I threw together paprika roasted chicken thighs with pastured chicken we’d picked up at the farmer’s market a few weeks before and a wilted bacon spinach salad.

Not the greatest pic, sorry

Not the greatest pic, sorry

The only real challenge of these two days was  a pre-scheduled Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance happy hour at Sushi Zushi. I contemplated over and over again whether I should just skip it but when I saw that they had riceless rolls, I decided to go.  It was definitely difficult, and more than little disappointing to not be able to eat about 90% of the food they offered, but the shishito peppers and the riceless roll that they special ordered for me were both really really good.

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“Days 4-5: Kill ALL the things!” Again, not really. Or, at least, not sure, because these two days also coincided with a big deadline at work so I was already stressing out about that. My breakfast these days consisted of leftover bacon spinach salad with a fried egg and fruit and more scrambled eggs, this time with Mexican chorizo that made my week. I did, however, get tired of both my zucchini soup and lamb leftovers at this point though, so I used up some leftover sweet potato, cabbage, and bacon and made a sort-of stir fry that was very satisfying. And Friday Mr. Little Fish and I had a small, last-minute dinner party of grilled steak with caramelized mushrooms and onions, crispy salt and vinegar potatoes, and oil and vinegar coleslaw (that I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of). Our friends also brought sausage, cauliflower rice, and spaghetti squash. The whole meal was decadent and fantastic, and no one ever would have guessed that I had a particular “diet.” It did sort of suck not to be able to drink, but waking up without any of the aftereffects was kind of great.

“Days 6-7: I just want a nap….” This is an interesting one, because last night, having forgotten about this timeline, I was trying to theorize with Little Fish about why I was having such a hard time waking up this weekend. I thought it might’ve been because I’d started taking my allergy medication at night and it was knocking me out. But now I’m wondering whether it is indeed because of the Whole30. In any case, the food we made this weekend included a DELICIOUS Mexican chorizo, red potato, and spinach scramble for breakfast with a side of banana drizzled with some homemade cinnamon macadamia nut butter (heavenly).

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It also included some grilled salmon that I marinated in coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, but unfortunately for me, resulted in my only fail of the week when I accidentally burned it. It was still delicious; we just lost some to the pan. We ate it with leftover oil and vinegar coleslaw and cauliflower rice that I drizzled with some homemade ghee (see my instagram for some process photos)! I also made the happy discovery that Applegate grass-fed beef hotdogs are Whole30 compliant, so we rounded out the weekend with hotdogs and grilled onions and, you guessed it, coleslaw. And, of course, at some point I snacked on some apples and macadamia nut butter.


Overall thoughts: I know I’m not supposed to weigh myself and count calories and whatnot, but for me this is as much a fitness tool as it is a nutritional reset. So I’m pleased to say I lost at least 2 pounds this week and, even despite all the food I’ve been eating, I’ve continuously clocked in at below my calorie goals. I still get sugar cravings every once in a while, but I’m actually pretty impressed with my willpower, especially at the sushi happy hour. I am sort of preemptively sad that  I won’t be able to enjoy a nice, fun meal out for my birthday next week, but Little Fish and I will be scheduling a birthday dinner for when I get back from Mexico so patience I must have.

Whole30 Ready, Maybe

By December of 2014, I’d gained back about 10 pounds of the 30 I’d lost the year before. I’ve run the gamut of emotions on that one, but one of those, luckily, is a tepid sense of accomplishment, because, even though I weigh more on the scale, my measurements have more or less remained the same (everywhere except my hips; thanks, Latina side of me). I know I have weightlifting to thank for this, as I have actually been consistently going to Bodypump (weightlifting classes) with a good friend/coworker of mine since last summer. I went from barely being able to carry my own groceries to seeing visible, measurable muscle on my body that I’m actually pretty damn proud of. It turns out, I like being strong. Like, really like it. And it also turns out that my body likes building muscle (and still mostly hates cardio).

But, while I can attribute some of the weight gain to muscle, I know it’s probably not realistic that all of it is just dem gainz (despite how hard I tried to convince myself that I was eating so much because I was bulking haha). I knew I needed to get my eating back in check, especially after the decadence that was those winter holiday months. Don’t get me wrong, I actually eat pretty healthy most of the time. I am a big believer in the spirit of the paleo diet–meat and veggies and fats–and I’ve grown to actually really like those things. I don’t eat pasta or grains or most dairy not because I’m just blindly following some rules but because I actually don’t really want any of it. I like food, and I like a lot of it, and the amount of veggies I can for the same calories as a plate of pasta is truly astounding. To me, clean eating is nice because it appeals to my psychological desire for quantity.

But my one real weakness? Sugar. Oh sugar. Even with all I know about sugar (you should really see Fed Up if you haven’t already), even with as much rationalizing as I can do about it, it’s just so hard for me to quit it. Sugar is the one thing  I know I can actually trim from my diet and would help. I also knew that I needed to cut back on portions, and while I think the idea of intuitive eating is great, I prefer measurable data so I started calorie counting in January. It’s helped, some. I’ve had some losses and some gains, but with a bachelorette trip to Mexico approaching, it’s time to hunker down.

So, starting Monday, a couple friends and I will be starting our first ever Whole30 (which will turn out to be more of a Whole27 or so because we had a Supper Club meeting planned Sunday and rather than cheat early on, we decided to start the day after, but I digress). The good thing is that Whole30 (a pared down intro to the paleo diet) is really not that different from my everyday eating. But those few things I will have to actually change, mostly concerning my Badboy-friend Sugar, is gonna be hard. I will try to update you on the journey here so that it can help keep me accountable, but, as you know from my lack of blogging, sometimes it can be hard to sit down and write. In the meantime though, I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever tried Whole30? Did you enjoy it? What were your results? Did it have any lasting impact on the way you eat? Are you interested in trying it down the line?

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. For me, if I wanna set a goal for myself to do something, the flipping of the calendar isn’t typically enough of a motivator. I’m also more deadline-oriented, since I need something that overrides my usual procrastinatrix tendencies. Like Mexico in March. Hence, my Mexico diet. So, for those of you who, like me, might be looking to revamp your diets a bit, I found this visualization from TheKitchn of your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables to be very helpful!


Pacific Northwest Eats: Portland


Last week I posted about the fantastic things I ate during the first half of our trip to the Pacific Northwest, so this week I’m finishing it up. By this point in the trip, I was a little less excited about taking pictures of ALL THE FOODS, but I did manage to get a few in! Especially of the beer. So much beer.


After some early morning hiking in Mt Rainer and then taking the scenic route through the forests to Portland (on unfortunately the only non-sunny day in our trip), we arrived in Portland famished. Luckily, it was pretty early in the evening at this point, so I decided it would be worth going to the restaurant I looked forward to eating at the most before I trip: Pok Pok. Pok Pok is owned by Andy Ricker,  a James Beard-award winning chef, who specializes in Northern Thai food served in a cozy, eclectic setting. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of the street-food scene in Thailand, which I really hope I get to experience for myself one day (ahem::Little Fish::cough).  I already knew going in that Little Fish wasn’t going to be on-board with this one, since he’s not a fan of Thai food in general, but I tried to find a couple of less scary options on the menu. We ultimately went with my favorite ask-the-waiter route and told him that Little Fish is typically a fried-rice kinda guy. I was pleased when the waiter suggested the famous fish sauce chicken wings and the boar collar dish because they were both things I wanted to try! So we ordered that plus a side of sticky rice for me and a side of jasmine rice for Little Fish.


Little Fish, ironically, is not a fan of fish sauce so he didn’t really like the wings, but I thought they were DELICIOUS! Sweet and sticky and loaded with umami flavors, they were even better when we sprinkled some chili pepper on top! The boar collar with the sticky rice was also a fantastic combination, although I would’ve loved to have a bigger portion. I finished off my meal with a Thai tea and was a very happy camper, made even happier when we went to sample some ciders at Bushwhacker Cider after dinner.


The next day we decided we couldn’t leave Portland without visiting some food trucks, so we stopped by after our visit to Powell’s Bookstore.


Coming from Austin, the food trucks are not really a novelty, but I do like the low-key and fast service you get. We choose Korean Twist, a Korean and Mexican fusion food truck, for our lunch, and I also picked up a lychee drink from the truck next door to round out the meal.


The tacos were really tasty! I got beef bulgogi tacos with kimchi on top. We enjoyed them in the perfect weather in a nearby park, and then went to visit the Portland Japanese Garden. After the gardens we were thirsty for some Oregon beer, so we went to Deschutes on the recommendation of a friend.

We had just visited Colorado in May, so Deschutes had a high (hehe) standard to meet, and, sadly, did not quite live up to it. I did really enjoy the bison burger with pomegranate pork belly and sweet potato fries though!


We decided to spend the following day driving out to Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge to hike for a bit, so we fueled up with some really great Venezuelan arepas at Teote. Our eyes were far bigger than our stomachs so we ordered way too much, but we made an earnest effort to eat it all. My favorite was the El Diablo–pork belly in a sweet and spicy sauce with pickled onions and queso fresco.


After our afternoon in the Falls, we knew we couldn’t put off getting some Voodoo Doughnuts any longer, so we decided to forego dinner (and my waistline) in favor of the famous donuts (meal of champions). Voodoo definitely blew Top Pot out of the water!

We got three doughnuts to share: the Old Dirty Bastard with oreos and peanut butter, the Maple Bacon Bar, and the No Name with rice krispies and peanut butter (see a theme?). Talk about sugar overload. We were kinda sorta disgusted with ourselves afterwards, so we decided to drown our sorrows with more Oregon beer. Totally makes sense. This time Yelp had suggested Upright Brewing, which turned out to be a small, more craft brewery instead of the giant brew pubs we’d gone to so far. They do a more French/Belgian style beer, which we both like more than the IPA-style, so we were excited to see what they offered.


And boy were we glad we went a little off the beaten path. The beers were, frankly, the best we’d had in the Northwest so far, and the place was a small, intimate cellar that only opens three days a week because the other days they are actually brewing. It would be the kind of place we would take out-of-towners as our “little secret” if we lived in Portland. But, despite how great the beers were, the doughnuts+beer combo was not sitting well with us, so we called it a night pretty early, since we’d be spending our final day driving out to the Oregon Coast, where we didn’t have any memorable meals but had incredible scenery instead.

Overall, I was quite surprised by the eclectic-ness that is the Portland food scene. The bright, bold flavors of every place we went was a stark and welcome contrast the simple, fresh food we’d had in Seattle. An extremely successful food trip!