All posts by cna2013

My husband and I are newly married and trying to figure it all out. Currently we are trying to figure out how to eat more whole foods and less processed ones. This blog is being used to document our whole 30 and talk about the recipes were making, the struggles we're having, and the successes and failures that come up along the way

Annndddd we’re at it again

When I started researching Whole30 I began with their website and they mentioned a sugar monster. I thought “How LAME.” Sugar monsters don’t exist, I have complete control over the amount of sugar I eat! Boy was I naive. After we completed our first whole 30 in January, we tried to stay true to the paleo lifestyle but were often derailed by cookies, brownies, pasties, ice cream, muffins, cupcakes….. Get the picture? We (mostly me) have a sugar monster problem…. What a bummer. Well we’d like to slay this monster and return to our good eating habits. It seems we do better with extreme measures where all sugar and sweeteners are forbidden so here we are again. Chris and I had a trip planned for Nashville and decided we would once again pursue a Whole30 when we returned.

We’ve returned and the meal planning has started. I thought I’d post my meal plan along with all the amazing websites where I found the recipes.

Tuesday:
Breakfast- egg scramble (my own made up recipe)
Lunch- left over chili (my husbands random recipe)
Dinner- enchilada stew recipe

Wednesday:
Breakfast- prosciutto muffins recipe
Lunch: chicken salad w/ celery (chicken, mayo, celery, onion)
Dinner- leftover stew

Thursday:
Breakfast- prosciutto muffins
Lunch- chicken salad
Dinner- beef fajitas in lettuce wraps (new recipe for me) recipe

Friday:
Breakfast- fruit smoothie w/ kale and spinach
Lunch- leftover fajitas
Dinner- bunless burgers

Saturday:
Breakfast- sweet potato hash this recipe rocks and so does this one
Lunch- whatever is left over
Dinner- Mexican beef recipe

Sunday:
Breakfast- lara bar
Lunch- left over Mexican beef
Dinner- steaks, green beans, and sweet potato chips

I think the second whole30 will be much easier than the first. I’ve learned so many tricks and found so many great recipes!!! Specifically I love nomnompaleo.com. Majority of the stuff we make comes from her site. I REALLY need to purchase her cookbook 🙂

Time for me to feed the pup and finish up dinner

Until next time,

Ash

Whole 30 complete, bring on the baking!

Yesterday marked 30 days of clean eating. We weren’t perfect in our endeavor but we stuck as close to the plan as we could. I am beyond ecstatic to dive into the world of paleo breads and desserts. Last night I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to celebrate with. They are soooooo delicious but taste very different from the chocolate chip cookies I’m used too. I think it’s the maple syrup used as the sweetener that gave them the bizarre flavor. If you’re interested in making these yummy treats check out the recipe here. I think it would be okay to use butter instead of coconut oil and regular flour instead of almond flour. Almond flour is so stinking expensive!!!!! I am actually working on my own batch of it as we speak. I conjured up some more almond milk, this time with honey as a sweetener, and kept the almond bits that were left over. I laid the almond pieces on a cookie sheet and am baking them as we speak at about 170 degrees to dry them out. All I have to do is put them in my food processor for a few minutes and voila, almond flour. It’s kind of like a 2 for one deal 🙂 I am seriously turning into one of those hippy chicks, which is apparently cool right now.

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Yesterday turned out to be a snowy day here in Georgia and that meant no school for me today. Chris and I are lucky to live north of Atlanta and were not apart of the snowjam on the highways. My poor sis had to walk home from her college yesterday 😦 I don’t think we expected to get any snow up this way and therefore were not prepared for the repercussions of snow on roads. I am thankful for a day off with my darling husband. We’ve enjoyed a fire all morning and have been playing around in the kitchen. Look at the mess we made

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But it was totally worth it!! I made coconut cinnamon pancakes this morning that were incredible. Nomnom has the best recipes. Her recipe is so simple and uses minimal ingredients. We both enjoyed our breakfast tons! Please excuse my pancakes in the pic, I am a HORRIBLE pancake maker.

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Chris and I are going to have to be careful because I LOVE to bake. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so sad the last month about food 😉 I was daydreaming this morning about how fun it would be to own a bakery that only made all natural treats. I bet I could get my Grandma to come work for me, she’s an incredible baker! My little bakery would also have a cafe where we sold almond milk lattes with homemade almond milk. Oh boy would it be heaven on earth for me. The best part is I could hire someone to clean up the kitchen 😉 hahahaha just kidding, I would help. I admit that though I love to dirty a kitchen but despise tidying it up. A girl can dream, until then I’ll be inspiring teenagers.

If I could sum the past 30 days up in a few words, I would say difficult but rewarding. Isn’t that the truth in all things that require lots of work? I am so glad we set our minds on something and saw it through. It is very rewarding to make a goal and then achieve it and it’s even sweeter because it was something my husband and I did together. We learned so much about food, moderation, and preservatives. I have seriously had my mind blown this past month. There was so much I didn’t know and understand and there are still some things I’m trying to figure out. By the way, if you’re looking to lose weight this plan is perfect. I’m down around 15 pounds (still don’t have a scale to give an exact answer), I’m down a pant size, no more bloating after meals, no more heavy feeling after meals, and my skin, nails, and hair look better. Couldn’t ask for better results after just a month. The only thing I’m sad about is that my husband has also lost some weight. UGHH he needs to gain weight! But now that I can bake, I can maybe help with that problem. I feel so much better in several ways. Not only is my body operating like it should, I feel much more confident in myself. I don’t put clothes on anymore and feel uncomfortable. That’s been a hard thing to explain to my husband who looks great in everything he wears. In general, I’m happier and if that’s all I got out of this crazy ordeal then I’d still be satisfied.

Everybody needs to stay home and be warm today 🙂 I will certainly be doing just that with my little family.

Ash, Chris, and Alfie

Day 28: we’re 4 weeks in WHAT?

I have been the worst blogger ever…. These past 2 weeks have been so busy with work. I’m teaching a brand spankin’ new math course so I’ve been spending a lot more time prepping for it than I would for any other class. We have been cooking up a storm lately and have made a bunch of new items. For instance, we made this amazing tomato soup that tasted very similar to Panera’s creamy tomato soup. We both really enjoyed it and will be cooking it again this week. We also made an oven braised Mexican beef Friday that was to die for and I have a great story to accompany it 🙂

This is our last few days of whole 30 and I must say its one of the best things we could have done for ourselves. We literally changed everything about our diet and gave up many things that we love (oatmeal, yogurt, pizza, bisquits,…. The list could go on forever). And by reading that you probably think we weigh 300 lbs a piece (totally not the case, my husband is a stick) and can see why we needed to change up our habits. We have also had our eyes opened to the copious amounts of preservatives and sugars that are laced in everything we used to eat. I had a salad at chick fil a the other night and the dressing had tons of sugar and other junk in it as well as the walnuts they gave me and the granola (not sure why they gave me that).I wouldn’t have gone there normally, but Chris and I were meeting someone from our church and salad was our only option. What I used to think would have been a very healthy meal, I now realize can have MANY hidden Ingredients which don’t really offer much in the way of nutrients. I find that incredibly annoying and a touch depressing. I never wanted to be one of those girls that read all the food labels to check for preservatives, oils and sugars. I would like to trust the grocery store and food places that they are feeding me real food. Reality is, however, that you can’t trust ANYONE when it comes to food! Not even those high dollar organic food stores like trader joes and whole foods. Oh yeah, I’ve found plenty of items in their stores that have yuckies in them. I think the point I’m making is that you have got to be aware of what you’re putting in your body and be well educated about those chemistry sounding ingredients.

Since I’ve brought up whole foods, let’s talk about the fun experience Chris and I had there this weekend. I’ve been dying to go there because I knew they carried whole30/paleo friendly salad dressings (yay no more ranch making). They carry Tessemae dressings which are delicious and completely all natural and super expensive if you order online. Unfortunately the closest store is in Roswell, GA and we live over an hour away from there now. While my husband was in college he lived and worked in Roswell so we had actually been there a few times. We finally had an excuse to go down there, so we made a day out of it. That place is humongous, larger than Walmart and maybe even SAMs club! I was like a kid in a candy shop. There was sooooo much to see and almost all of their produce is organic. The downside to organic is that it is very costly 😦 but we did find lots of new veggies to try like Japanese sweet potatoes (yum in my tum). I also went ahead and bought vanilla extract and almond flour and the most exciting part was that they had ghee!!!! Yay finally some butter in our lives. While we had so much fun we spent almost double what we normally do and we certainly can’t maintain spending that kind of money every week. And I will never buy almond flour again. I’m already making almond milk at home and the remnants in the strainer can be baked and turned into almond flour. Hello I pay $14 for a bag of almonds and I at least get 3 batches of almond milk and flour out of it verses $11 for the smallest bag of flour I’ve ever seen.

My sweet darling grandmother has been asking me what we’re going to do when we’ve finished this fast so I imagine many of you are wondering as well. I’ve somewhat mentioned our plan but I think it needs more explanation. Before we began this fun little adventure we had already decided to research the paleo lifestyle and continue with it after this “diet.” Paleo is not much different from what we’re doing now. We will be eating only whole foods that are preservative free and minimally processed. What we can add back in is sweeteners (honey, vanilla extract, maple syrup, agave, etc), desserts and breads. There are tons of recipes out there that are paleo friendly for desserts and breads. Instead of wheat we use coconut flour and almond flour and instead of sugar we use honeys and vanilla extract. There are so many ways to substitute out oils and even eggs. I’ve made muffins before using applesauce and a banana to cut out the oil and eggs. I think it’s fascinating how yummy the product is even though it’s made with non traditional ingredients. I plan on making bread this week and will post about it later on to let everyone know how it turns out. We do plan on having a “cheat” night every now and again but we have really liked the changes our bodies are making and don’t want to get back into old habits. I think the point of all this is to realize that a biscuit every now and again is okay and that moderation is key. If you want to go out to a meal with your family and splurge a little then you should. As a matter of fact Chris and I are celebrating at one of our favorite restaurants, Chow Baby, on Wednesday. But we will continue to eat paleo for the remainder of the week.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that change takes time and while our minds desire instant gratification, our bodies do not and cannot recover instantaneously. The results are incredible and worth the hassle. I think I’ve lost nearly 15 pounds since the end of December and I feel so much lighter. I checked my blood pressure yesterday and it’s gone down considerably. My energy levels are the same from the moment I wake up until I go to bed and I sleep so incredibly well every night. My skin has cleared up a lot and I no longer have heart palpitations. Like I said, the results are worth the suffering. Speaking of suffering, I had some medical issues in December and needed a ct scan to figure out what was wrong. Holy moly at the bill I got in the mail!! The reason why I bring this up is because my darling in-loves were over for dinner tonight and my husband brought up a lovely thought: What if we took care of ourselves from the inside? What effect would that have on our health later on? He is such a brilliant man and is absolutely correct, taking care of ourselves now will lead to less medical bills and doctor visits in the future (by goly I’m NEVER going to another doctor again for the rest of my life). Just wanted to share his thoughts with you all.

Earlier I said I made this amazing Mexican beef. My father in law tried it tonight and immediately asked for the recipe. I wish I could lie and say that I came up with it myself, but I did not. Nomnom’s done it again. I have got to buy her cookbook since I’ve been borrowing all her recipes from her website. The recipe can be found here. I was very excited last week about this recipe but unfortunately did not read the full recipe and therefore did not know it would take 3 hours in the oven. So I get home Friday all excited to make this dish and realize I’m short an onion. So I called the hubby and asked him to pick one up for me and when he got home I started putting the meal together. Well…it was 6:45 when we got started and when it got to the part where it was time to put the dish in the oven I read it was going to take 3 HOURS!! Oh boy, I about passed out when I figured that out and was not a very happy camper. But we had already put it together so in the oven it went and we had an egg and sausage scramble to hold us over. I tell you, that beef was worth every minute of every hour it was in the oven!!! It was so scrumptious and would be awesome in a taco or fajitas, it was like meat candy. Haha, I hope you all enjoy my mishaps because I sure do find them funny later. We have really had some successes in the kitchen and we have had multiple failures in the kitchen. I suppose it is what makes life fun and unexpecting.

Have a wonderful evening and sorry for the lengthy nature of this post,

Ash, Chris and Alf the pup

Day 21: When in doubt, make it yourself

I can see why women in the ’60’s started buying TV dinners, pizzas, and anything that would take less than 20 minutes to prepare. With women working along side men, it is much harder to have the time and energy to create a gourmet meal every night. I’m starting to dread coming home from work because I know I have to start the tedious task of creating dinner. Sure Chris is helpful but he is as tired as I am. I think all of this would be so much more enjoyable if it was my only job. Unfortunately my husband didn’t like my idea of being a stay at home wife so I’m beginning to ask myself “How do I manage working full time and a clean eating lifestyle?” I do not have the answer……yet. Hopefully with enough practice we’ll figure out how to make our diet fit into our schedules. One thing I try to do is create a “to-do” list so I know exactly what I’m responsible for each night and to be more efficient. Sundays typically have the most items because I can spend more time in the kitchen. Boy do I resent spending so much time standing in the kitchen (although I do get out of doing laundry). There are so many other things I’d like to do and people I’d like to spend time with. Is eating better worth the hassle? Well……maybe! It’s hard to say no because there are lots of benefits but it’s hard to say yes because I’m lazy :). If only there was a way to do eating healthy in an easy manner. I will say that I did find a website that delivers a weeks worth of paleo meals to your house for the whopping low price of $325 🙂

Another thing that is super frustrating is the amount of additives and preservatives that are in so called “organic” items. I have been wanting to try to almond milk and went to a fresh market store thinking they’d have something for me and EVERY brand had something in it that’s illegal to whole 30 and most were illegal to paleo (if you can’t have cane sugar in paleo, then they were all illegal). So I did the rest of my grocery shopping and when I got in the car I googled almond milk and basically the only way I was getting it was if I made it on my own :(. AHHHH how many things am I going to have to make by hand?? I found a simple recipe that called for soaking 1 1/2 cups of almonds in water for 12 hours then draining and blending with 3 1/2 cups water for 2 min. The last part consisted of straining the mixture through cheese cloth into a bowl (I used a mesh strainer). The bits left in the strainer can be baked to create almond meal and the liquid left behind is the almond milk. The entire process (minus the soaking) took < 5 minutes. Here's the kicker, the milk only lasts for 5-7 days. No wonder there are so many preservatives in the store bought crud! When we're finished with this business in 9 days I will add some honey and vanilla to the mixture so the milk is sweeter. Here's a pic of the end result (we had more than what's in the jar, I put it in a container for a friend to use)

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Looks neat eh? I also looked for organic salad dressings yesterday so I didn’t have to keep making ranch. I had no luck in that area either. Every one of them had vegetable oil or soybean oil and then another 20 ingredients. I can’t imagine why it takes so many items to make a salad dressing when my ranch dressing uses 6 (mayo, coco. Milk, garlic, dill, salt, pepper). Looks like I’ll be making it myself for a while. I will say that you can find a recipe for just about anything you want that is paleo approved and that is very encouraging (minus the fact that I have to make it myself). I also hope this little rant of mine encourages you to check your labels at the store. I can’t even begin to count the amount of grocery store items that have ingredients I cannot pronounce and cannot have. It’s depressing! For one, I can’t eat things I used to and two, the stuff is so bad for your body.

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Here’s a pic of what my fridge looks like going into a new week. There’s fresh mayo, fresh ranch, lara bars, fresh almond milk, chicken salad, coco milk. All sorts of goodies we’ve created. The coolest thing is that we eat everything that’s in our fridge throughout the week. By Saturday it is completely empty and ready to be filled again. I love that we aren’t wasting produce and are using everything we buy. I always feel so guilty when I have to throw food away because it’s gone bad. I can’t help but think of all the starving children :(.

That’s all for today, we’re still making it through this crazy weird “diet” and are definitely reaping tons of benifets. By the way…. My teacher friends have noticed my face isn’t so fat! Woo hoo. I hope it’s encouraging to people who see us everyday and get to see the results we’re experiencing. That’s wayyyy more important to me than actually being healthy and sometimes is what gets me through.

Have a blessed Sunday,

The Burroughs

Day 16: with success comes failure

I have been feeling extremely defeated this week. I feel like I can’t do anything right. I ruined Chris’s ranch dressing and I burnt the crap out of some zucchini chips. I have a lovely picture of those chips and you’ll see the crazy difference between the outer ones that are super crispy and the inner ones that are half crispy and half uncooked. Last night Chris made spaghetti sauce and it was wayyyyy too spicy. I couldn’t stomach it and settled for a banana. I am counting down the days until this is over. I am LOVING the energy and the amazing sleep I’m getting, but I’m tired of being hungry.

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^^ lovely aren’t they? Haha well we have had some successes that I think I should share. I made a great frittata the other night and it’s been a life saver for breakfast. I grilled some great chicken the other night with an amazing cilantro sauce. And the best news I can give is that I discovered a great protein bar that is whole 30 approved. I found it through my friend Emily and thought we could try them out. They’re approximately 240 calories a bar and I tried the blueberry one tonight! INCREDIBLE! Oh man they are delicious. Downfall is that they’re super expensive. Chris and I bought a sample pack to try them out ($12 for 4 bars). I figured they would be a great way for me to get the calories I need and figure out if we wanted to spend that kinda money.

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Not much else to report just trying to muscle through these last 14 days. I know we can do it, but boy am I losing the will.

Have a great hump day

The Burroughs fam

Day 14: I’m surviving

What a gorgeous Sunday!!! Alfred really enjoyed being able to go outside and play. I, on the other hand, spent the afternoon in the kitchen prepping food for the week and restocking some of our essentials. I made another batch of almond butter, ranch dressing, and lara bars. And I made a big pot of chili for our lunches throughout the week and if you’re looking for a great recipe check here. Chris tried a little and said it was amazing. I am very into easy lunches that cover all the bases (protein, veggies, fat) and that can span a few days. I’m so glad I remembered that chili recipe when I was meal planning yesterday.

I’m starting to see why this thing only lasts 30 days. I don’t know that I could live the rest of my life worrying about what ingredients are in everything. I’m starting to get depressed about not being able to go out to dinner or go hang out at a friend’s house. We will definitely continue to utilize the mindset behind Whole30 but I think we’re going to try and reintroduce some things back. For instance, I’d love to have bread again. I need to double check the paleo rules but I think I could find a recipe for a whole food bread, plus I really want to use the bread maker that we received as a wedding gift from my beautiful sister-in-law. We will NOT be adding back dairy (ahhh cheese!!!!). I know dairy is the culprit for my upset tummy and frankly I think we were consuming too much of it (I’ll miss the cheese).

Something neat that Chris did yesterday with the remains of our whole bird was make a homemade bone broth. Holy cow at the amount of broth it made. Chris tried some and said it was delish but I really wasn’t in the mood to taste it. He has been such a great help today. I only spent 4 hours in the kitchen this Sunday and he is part of the reason why I’ve cut down on prep time. He made us some ballin steaks on the grill and steamed up some green beans. You’ll love this, I DESPISE green beans and with a passion. Well Chris was determined I needed to try them because we had a large amount of them. That led to an argument…well sorta. Since we’ve started this thing Chris hasn’t had to eat 1 food that he didn’t like. I on the other hand have had to eat several (cauliflower, broccoli, squash, zucchini,….the list could go on forever) and my defense for opting for a salad instead was that I’m tired of eating stuff I hate. I know that’s silly but I’m so sad about all the gross things I’ve eaten to help my body. To make him feel better I decided that I would try a few green beans and guess what…. They aren’t as bad as I remembered (I have some traumatizing memories involving those green sticks). I seriously couldn’t believe that I actually like them! Please don’t tell my mom because I refused her crazy bacon green bean concoction at thanksgiving (it looked absolutely disgusting) and I’m pretty sure it hurt her feelings.

Not much else to report in terms of this whole 30 biz, I’ve already covered the amazing results we’ve had in the last few updates. I think I’m going to enjoy this incredible roaring fire my husband built for me and continue reading my new book 🙂

Have a wonderful Sunday evening,

Ash, Chris, and the pup

Day 13: I cheated :(

Wellll…. Today has been super fun. I slept in just a little and woke up to coffee and an egg scramble. My husband is the bomb. I have been feeling so weighed down with all the responsibility of preparing meals 3 times a day. I make breakfast for us, I pack our lunches, and then we typically cook dinner together. He was so sweet yesterday and made us burgers and sweet potato fries and then made us breakfast. I absolutely needed the break from cooking. I really enjoyed sitting on the couch making my meal plan and grocery list. It took me about 2 hours to compile those two items….. That would be because I was looking up new recipes and trying to figure out what in the world we were going to eat for breakfast. I’ve noticed that a lot of these paleo people love to wake up and eat soup or leftovers from last nights dinner. That just isn’t my style because I LOVE breakfast foods. Anyways, I thought I’d post my meal plan to just give you an idea of what we’re eating throughout the week.

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I just love the personalized notepad. A few years ago Chris got them as a Christmas gift from his employer. I find that so funny even though I love using them. I found majority of the recipes from http://www.nomnompaleo.com and the chili recipe is from http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com. These are both great resources for recipes and information about paleo.

As the title suggests…. We accidentally cheated today. Chris and I were heading to the grocery store and there is this amazing BBQ restaurant close by. So I figured we could get some smoked chicken sandwiches and ditch the bread. Unfortunately there was a light amount of BBQ drizzled on the meat. Chris also ordered some Brunswick stew (he should have known better). So….that was our slight cheat today. I don’t feel too guilty because all I ate was the chicken….I’m pretty sure that my husband absolutely regrets the cheat because he was NOT feeling super. Poor fella :(. Other than that little instance we are being strict about what we’re eating.

Tonight we’re cooking up a whole chicken in my crockpot. I’ve never bought a whole chicken before so WOWZERS at how inexpensive it was. Speaking of food, Chris and I are saving loads of money. We’re spending about $125 a week on food (we buy meat in bulk) but neither of us are eating out during the week so that’s where we are a saving so much money. That helps make us feel better when we spend $5 on raspberries or $7 on bacon. Yay for that. I hope everyone enjoys their evening I know we are 🙂

Toodles,

Chris n Ash