#FridayReads: I’ll never eat the same way again

I recently read I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson, and at the end of it I was completely freaked out.

We’ve been paleo for quite some time and mostly refined-sugar free, and thoroughly enjoy it.  I thought this book would be somewhat similar to what I learned, but instead I had massive panic attacks at how much sugar is in everything.

Although I highly doubt we’ll actually follow the 8 week sugar detox plan outlined in the book anytime soon, there were definitely a few ideas in the book that I’ll definitely be implementing, such as

  • limiting fruit intake to 2-4 servings a day.  I’ve already stopped allowing fruit at dinner time, and will probably stop making it a side dish at lunch since it’s an easy snack and breakfast add on
  • read even more labels!  This reason is pretty much why it takes me about 4 hours to shop at the grocery store, but I’m going to just continue doing that.  I’ve already learned that the almond milk I buy has sugar in it, and so does the all-organic Greek yogurt so I’m going to just read more labels.
  • there were a few tips/recipes for sugar-free pick-me-ups:  things to eat if you’re craving sugar but don’t want to actually eat sugar

I Quit Sugar was informative, pretty, colorful, and easy to understand. But I have to admit, the parts I found most helpful and applicable were the parts on meal prep and ingredient buying.  That’s the hardest part about eating natural, whole foods–all the food preparation and time spent in the kitchen that has to be done–and this book had some tips to make it faster and easier.

I also commend Sarah on leading a basically sugar-free life, but I’m coming to understand that will probably not really happen for us.  Not because I believe in everything in moderation, especially since sugar is basically a drug and definitely shouldn’t ever be eaten, but because I’m being realistic.  We live in America, where sugar is in absolutely everything and all foods are processed.  We live in the age where friendships are made over coffee and scones and romance is kindled over candlelight dinners with Chinese takeout.  But if I can be 80/20 paleo and 80/20 refined-sugar free, then that’s about 80% better my body and my life would be if I didn’t try.

Paleo problems and a call for HELP!

What usually happens is we do Paleo pretty good from Monday to Wednesday night.  And then the system just breaks down somewhere at dinner on Wednesday night and we lose all restraint and all paleo will-power.

I LOVE Paleo.  My body can totally tell when I’m eating better and I just mentally feel better knowing I’m eating healthy.  There’s no food guilt, no diet-cheating guilt, nothing.  I just feel good.  So I really want to stick with it.

I don’t know how to break out of that mid-week rut.  For some reason we’re struggling with the quantity of food that we’re buying–meaning, I don’t think we’re not buying enough because we’re always hungry and scavenging the fridge for more food.  Sometimes it really does feel like a cave-man diet because the husband and I are opening doors, rustling through packages, picking up things and sniffing them, and grunting when we can’t find anything to eat.  And there are those nights when neither of us feel like cooking and we’d really rather pop in a frozen pizza and call it a night.  But alas, cavemen didn’t eat pizza with it’s soft dough covered in cheesy goodness.

And it’s becoming something of a problem.  All I ever do is think about food.  Which is weird, because making dinner has become a helluva lot easier now that all I do is meat and veggies and nothing with 8 bazillion ingredients or a million steps. I don’t think about what I want to eat, more about what’s good to eat and what’s not.  Or what to buy at the grocery store.  Or what cookbooks to look at.  Or how I can stay Paleo and still have an after school snack.

I know that I don’t neeeeeed to go all Paleo all the time, but I’d really really like to try it for at least a solid week.  Maybe two.  Because I just know that I’m going to find freedom in this new way of eating.  Freedom from refined-sugars and processed foods and unnatural chemicals.  Freedom in knowing that I’m fueling my body and not giving into cravings.  Freedom in knowing that future children will benefit from this lifestyle.

So, all you Paleo-ites.  Help me out!  How do I cook and have leftovers?  How do I curb my hunger in that in-between time when I’m home before the husband.  How do I eat breakfast that’s not just eggs?  How do I shop?  What cookbooks do I need (besides Practical Paleo or food blogs)?

My mom is coming! My mom is coming! And here’s a recipe.

Today my mother comes into town.  A woman that has taught me a lot about life.  Like how to curl my hair with a curling iron.  And what clothes and accessories to invest money in and what to buy on the cheap.  And that buying used is okay, but not when it comes to refrigerators or sheets or underwear.

This is a woman that will call me on the phone just to talk for 45 minutes about what kind of new jeans she bought for her trip up here.  This is a woman who recorded Sharknado and sat down to watch it the way one would get all excited about a movie in a theater.  This is a woman who retired from teaching in May only to start subbing a few times a week  (Yes, she quit teaching first grade when I quit teaching first grade and now we both substitute.)

She’s one of those mothers who has an intense love for nagging other people to death, which means that by the time she will have left she will have nagged our spare room into a beautiful bedroom for future child.  She will nag all my clothes into order, she will nag my husband into order, and she cook me potato soup because I’m still doing it wrong.  (But honestly, I really am doing it wrong, because it never tastes the same.)

Future child is lucky to have a grandmother like her.  She will be a novelty, since she lives in Texas and already has a giant room filled with our childhood toys ready for grandchildren to come visit.  (A little creepy, I know.)  She will the person future child will beg to go visit when I start inheriting her nag-ness–because let’s face it, I already have.  She will tell stories to him or her about my childhood that I have long forgotten.  And she will tell these stories correctly, even though I will have to retell them later and replace my insubordination with awesomeness.

I pick her up from the airport in a little less than 3 hours, and I’ve already spent too long worrying about if my house is clean enough for her visit.  And what she will think of the new paint on the walls.  And if she will like my ideas for future child’s room.  And whether or not she will like my friends when she meets them at our adoption shower this weekend.

Yes. Future child is so lucky to have this woman as a grandmother.  We’re still trying to come up with a name for her, because “Grandma” doesn’t do her justice.  “Grandma” makes her seem old, with curly hair, and giant glasses, who sits around making pizza bread for her granddaughters….. 🙂

I’m going to celebrate my mother becoming a grandmother by posting one of my favorite grandmother’s recipes.  A quick and easy dish that I absolutely cannot wait to make for my future child’s homecoming.

Dorito Chicken

Dorito Chicken:  Serves 1 (because you won’t want to share)

Ingredients:
-Chicken
-Enchilada Sauce
-Mexican Shredded Cheese
-Doritos
-Chicken Broth
-Cream of Chicken

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Don’t forget to hop on over to @caitlinmfrostscloset or the Facebook pageI’m selling a bunch of stuff in my house to get ready for future child and I’m donating 100% of the profit to Compassion International’s Child Survival Program.  I figure, if I can’t help my baby survive, I can help someone else’s make it into the world.

Directions:1. Shred your chicken.  You can do this one of two ways:  buy a rotisserie chicken and shred. Or buy a whole roaster and boil it or stick it in your crockpot and cook, then shred.
2. Layer your pan with Doritos, then chicken, then Doritos, then chicken, etc. Think “lasagna.”
3.  Pour chicken broth (from a can or from your boiled or crockpot chicken), a can of enchilada sauce, and a can of cream of chicken in a bowl.  Whisk together. Pour over the Dorito chicken in a pan.
4.  Top with as much cheese as you want.
5.  Bake in over until cheese is melted and everything is hot.
6.  Eat it so fast that you forget to take a picture of it for your blog until it’s half gone.
7.  Eat it again for leftovers the next day.

Apple Recipe Roundup

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Now that we’re in that weird in-between stage when fall is turning colder, but it’s not quite winter yet, I thought I’d share some of my favorite apple recipes.  After all, what do you do with 2 pounds of apples but chop em up and put em in stuff?

My Apply Blackberry Walnut Crisp recipe
Fresh Apple Cake from Kruizing with Kikukat
Maple Apple Pie from Lulu’s Sweet Secrets
Smile and Wave’s Extra Fancy Caramel Apples
Apple Chimichangas (for the Mexican foodie) from Seasons Come, Seasons Go
Another Apple Cake recipe from Life {R+S}

What are your favorite things to do with apples?

 

A few more of my favorite things: Fall Edition

DIYs

DIY "You Are Special Today" Plate for Kids

BOOKS, MOVIES, TV, MUSIC

MISC.

 

Apple Blackberry Walnut Crisp: A Quasi-recipe

When I was a junior in college, I was enrolled in this creative writing class called “Writers and their Regions.” We studied a specific region of Texas, in this case East Texas (cause Texas is that big, y’all) and we read books and poetry written by authors who called East Texas home.  During spring break we went to East Texas an stayed in a cabin for the whole week, with the point that during the day we would work on our semester project–mine was writing a book–and at night we would come together for a meal and talk about the authors we were reading, some abstract ideas that we came across, and how our projects came along.  We had three professors that went with us, and another four or five that came to visit throughout the week.

It was all very pretentious.

But even so, I LOVED it.
It was right up my alley.  In fact, when I was asked by my professor to attend the trip my senior year, I was at the same time honored that I was asked back (one of the few) and angry that I was getting married and that my fiance lived a million miles and had insisted I spent spring break with him.  Since, you know, I hadn’t seen him in 3.5 months. But whatevs.

Anyway, the girls were usually in charge of dessert while the guys were in charge of the nightly meals.  For some reason the boy chefs outnumbered the girl chefs.  Feminism at its finest.  So one day one of the girls wanted to make apple blackberry crisp, and she put all of us to work making enough for 20+ people.  We had the most awesome conversations about life, love, and books while we peeled and cored apples and stirred up the crisp.

I can’t eat this without thinking of her.

apple blackberry walnut crisp

This is my version.  And I’ll admit that this time I made it I took the easy way out and used one of those store bought crisp mixes, because we had it leftover from last year when my husband insisted we buy it in bulk.  We were going for dinner with friends, and I needed a quick, delicious dessert I could make.  Usually I would balk at the idea of making a dessert from anything less than scratch.  But to be perfectly honest, we’re in the throes of community building over here, and every.single.time I turn around I’m having to make an extra dinner for a neighbor, or we’re having people over and I have to cook double (or triple) the amount I usually do, or we’re invited somewhere and I’m requested to bake dessert.  After stressing out each and every time about making everything perfectly from scratch, I decided to heck with it, and gave in to the aid of box mixes where appropriate (or where the budget necessitates it).

So this is why it’s a quasi-recipe.  But whatever you want to call it, it’s darn good.

crisp 2

Apple Blackberry Walnut Crisp

Ingredients:

Apples (duh)
Blackberries
Walnuts
Crisp mix or crisp ingredients
Lemon juice

Directions:

1. Peel the apples.  Or don’t.  Whatever.
2.  Cut the apples into however thick of slices you want and line the bottom of whatever size pan you’re using.  This is a non-negotiable, because using whole apples just won’t work.
3.  Throw in as many blackberries as you want.  I ended up halving mine because they were humongous.
4. Douse the thing in lemon juice.  Or sprinkle the juice.  Whatever you think is necessary.
5.  Mix the crisp mix.  (Or find a from-scratch crisp topping you like and make that.)  Add extra oatmeal to whatever crisp mix you’re using.  Add tons of walnuts.  Mix the crisp with twice the amount of butter it calls for on the box (or recipe).  Your crisp needs to be thick.  Like, if you wanted to make crisp cookies you could totally roll up the dough, that’s how thick of a crisp it is.
6.  Layer the thick crisp topping on top of the apples and blackberries.  Put in the oven at 350 until the top is browner than when it was when it went in.  Maybe 10 minutes?
7. Add more lemon juice to the top when you take it out.
8.  Cut a giant slice and give it your husband.  Then take a spoon to the pan and eat that yourself.

Any leftovers?  Eat them for breakfast.  Taking this to a friend’s house?  Tell them you made it from scratch.
It’s all good.

High Five for Friday Linkup

This week I’m linking up with Lauren from The Lauren Elizabeth to share 5 things about this week.

Friday

 

1. We went to the dog park on Sunday.  If doggy heaven was real, I swear this is what it would look like.
2.  Little by little I’ve been making my way into the local public schools through substituting.  So far only Math and Spanish (double blegh) and I’m just waiting on the moment when I get called to do a little more of something I’m used to.  (English anyone???)
3. The husband and I are working on creating a cookbook based on Instagram photos and the Printicular app (I LOVE that app).  I was inspired by this.  Hence the overabundance of food pics, which I don’t normally post. (Taking pictures of your food is gross, guys.  Unless you’re going to print it and put it next to a recipe.)
4. We’re going apple picking tomorrow!  And above all else, apple picking is my absolute favorite fall activity.  It’s the only thing in fall I look forward to.
5. I finally got my library account cleared, so I can check out books again.  I was like a kid in a candy store the other day.