Good Morning! And Happy Monday! Hope everyone had an awesome weekend! I am happy to say I managed to stay on track with my RP Strength diet even though we got together for yet another cousin’s night on Saturday night.  It’s not always easy to resist delicious food and drinks, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, make up your mind, and tell yourself you’re going to do this.  In my family, we don’t wait for holidays to roll around, to get together.  We actually make up holidays so we have a reason to get together and we make it a point to get together even when we can’t find a reason.  My point in saying all of this, is simply because I feel like every time I turn around, there is a reason to indulge in something that is not part of my daily diet, and as much as I enjoy the treats in that moment, I know all too well, that familiar feeling of frustration, defeat, and guilt, that often times, follows..

There is never a good time to give up drinking, unless of course, you are pregnant, sick, or addicted, and in need of help.  Outside of a handful of scenarios, there is always a party, gathering, or holiday, just around the corner, and most of us don’t get excited about attending, unless we are ready to eat and drink, like everyone else.. And the same goes for food! It’s never easy to show up for a holiday and resist foods that maybe you only get to enjoy once a year, on that particular day.  Take my grandmother’s pizzagaina for example, we only get to enjoy that dish on Palm Sunday or Easter, and everyone gets anxious as we pass it around the table, making sure they get at least one square.  A lot of people make pizzagaina, but my grandmother’s is truly the best.  What I love most about hers, is that she slices the meat really thin as opposed to cutting it into chunks.  Last year she taught me how to make it, using her recipe, and until I can manage a paleo version, I’ll be enjoying hers for years to come.  Anyway, my point is that it is really hard to adhere to any diet, and sometimes a lifestyle such as paleo or vegan, when the average person celebrates at least eight holidays a year, not counting events such as Superbowl, not to mention, football Sunday tailgates, Valentine’s Day, or vacations.. so when is enough, enough??

I almost skipped out on Saturday night’s cousin night because the thought of resisting my father’s homemade pizza and a glass of wine, seemed like torture, but what’s more torturous is the thought of not reaching the goals I set for myself, early on in the year.  It’s exhausting to work out five days a week, eat the right foods, the right portion sizes, lean meats only, low sodium, drink lots of water, try to get eight hours of sleep, read the ingredients.. do you see where I’m going with this?? It’s a chore and then the holiday comes, and in one day, you can literally wipe out all of the good you did in one week.  Don’t get me wrong, you’re always better off eating good even if it’s only one meal a week, that’s better than nothing, but my point is, sometimes those treat days can be overwhelming and more exhausting than staying on track.

Since I can’t realistically live with skipping out on family gatherings and social events, I need my mind to continue to be stronger than my desire for homemade pizza.  After Easter, I decided to commit to RP Strength for twelve weeks without a single cheat.  That means twelve more weeks of not drinking and eating clean.  I began the year with the Whole30 which totally reset my system and got me back on the paleo band wagon.. I spent most of February and March, reintroducing mostly paleo foods that did or did not cause me to crave sugar or carbs.  This helped me to identify what foods work for me and which ones don’t, which is key to my long term success in being able to maintain my weight without fluctuating like I typically do, going up ten and down ten.  I toyed with RP Strength because it was somewhat challenging for me, but with a lot of help from my sister, I decided to complete the full twelve weeks no matter what holiday, gathering, business travel, or cousin’s night, made it’s way onto my calendar.

So, I did two things I never did before, I forced myself to go food shopping even if it made me late in meeting up with everyone, and I ate my RP Strength balanced meal before I went, so at the very least, I wasn’t hungry. Extreme hunger can lead to worse decision making then under the influence of alcohol.. And it did help that my brother in law made me a cookies & cream casein shake, so I wouldn’t be tempted by the 200 desserts my mother puts out for a simple Saturday night gathering.

Long story, short.. I’m really glad that I was able to enjoy everyone’s company and stick to my diet at the same time.  Because giving up alcohol for the time being was a conscious decision that I chose to make proactively, I’m able to bar hop with my friends and enjoy some yummy mocktails.  I’m pretty loud, and sarcastic anyway, so I don’t really need alcohol.. I’m naturally out of my shell, but resisting traditional italian favorites that I grew up on.. that’s the hard part.  I’m just thankful my father made homemade pizza, and not his homemade calamari, the night may have turned into to an epic fail!

So enough about me resisting pizza.. let’s talk about this delicious recipe.  Who doesn’t love the instant pot?? It’s like the greatest invention ever.  I can literally create the most complex meal in twenty to thirty minutes, and there’s virtually no clean-up.  Not to mention, it’s like seven appliances in one.

I decided to tweak this recipe so it would be geared toward breakfast because I had this yummy pork sausage by Butcher Box in my freezer, and I was dying to use it.  As summer nears and we hit the shore, I love making one pot dishes for breakfast that serve everyone such as frittatas or quiches. So in thinking along those lines, I thought what’s better than some loaded up baked potatoes with Butcher Box pork sausage, topped with poached eggs, and some Tessemae’s Hot Buffalo Sauce??!! After all, I didn’t pick up an instant pot for my sister and brother in law because I didn’t plan on whipping up with some epic summer recipes.

Instant Pot Loaded Breakfast Potatoes

 

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 lb Butcher Box Pork Sausage
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Primal Palate Meat & Potato Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • handful of green onion, sliced
  • Tessemae’s Hot Buffalo Sauce

Poached Eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Pour 4 cups of water into an instant pot and insert the steamer rack
  • Place the potatoes on the rack
  • Lock the lid, close the valve, and cook the potatoes for 20 minutes in the instant pot
  • Spray a cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray and saute the onions until slightly translucent
  • Add the pork sausage, using a fork break it up until it’s almost completely browned
  • Add the meat & potatoes seasoning, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and peppers and saute everything together until the peppers are tender, about a minute or two
  • Remove the potatoes from the instant pot, allow to cool before cutting into them
  • Lightly scrape the sides of the potato with a fork
  • Using a slotted spoon, stuff the inside of the potato with the pork mixture
  • In a small pot, bring a few cups of water to a boil, add the apple cider vinegar, and one by one, crack each egg, and carefully drop it into the water
  • Turn the heat off, and cover the eggs for 5 minutes, do not remove the cover until the 5 minutes are up, then scoop the poached eggs out of the water, using a slotted spoon, and place them on top of the potatoes
  • Drizzle with Tessemae’s Hot Buffalo Sauce and spinkle with green onions

*I used an 8 quart Pressure Cooker XL.  If you’re using a 6 quart instant pot, you may only need 1 cup of water instead.  Follow the steamer instructions that came with your instant pot, but the cook time of 20 minutes will remain the same.

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