Status

Having An Unprocessed Thanksgiving

Mini Squash

How is everyone doing so far for unprocessed month?  Things have been going well here at the HQ!  Bread products like English muffins and sausages are the only things that we have been eating that are technically processed.  However the ingredients are as clean as I can get with them so I feel good about those choices.  We did recently dine out over the weekend but the food left us feeling blah.  I’m pretty sure that dining out is going to be something we eliminate almost completely at some point (unless we’re traveling or it’s a special occasion).

It’s cheaper to cook at home even when cooking with high quality ingredients.  Plus it’s more satisfying eating a meal that I personally made.

I believe in going unprocessed so much that I want everyone to give it a shot!  If you’re not doing it now, then let’s talk about the holidays and how we can keep the junk out of the house.

While it may seem daunting at first, cutting out processed foods from our diets becomes easier with planning, prepping, and having a well stocked pantry.  That’s the challenging part, adopting those habits and getting a groove with this new lifestyle.

In an effort to help keep everyone on track and staying unprocessed once October is over, I was thinking of doing an Unprocessed Thanksgiving.  Providing recipes, tips, a grocery list, and a plan to help everyone get through the holiday while having an amazing meal that is full of flavor and has no unwanted junk in it.

Does this sound like something that would interest you?  

How about fresh cranberry sauce this year and not something out of a can?  Brined turkey and slow cooked greens?  Fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy made with homemade stock?

Let me know what you think about going Unprocessed this holiday season!

Status

Kicking Monday’s Butt

 

Asian Noodle Soup with 5 Spice Meatballs

Oh Monday.  It did not start off well.  I was having tech issues that were finally resolved by rebooting my computer.  As much as I love Apple, I become more and more frustrated with their products all the time. Well let me clarify this a bit.  The computers work when they are brand new but get a couple of years in them and they start to falter and some stuff won’t even work on them any longer.  That’s the part the frustrates me. I’m definitely leaving my iPhone in the dust and will be switching over to an Android based phone.  I’m a Google girl through and through, and it only makes sense to have a Google based phone verses an iPhone where I have to install apps or run Google through Apple Apps just to access stuff.  Bah! Ok, I’m done rambling. I’m sure you don’t care about my tech bitching.  On to food!

Yesterday was on the cooler side and I finally decided to make some soup.  I had been dreaming of an Asian inspired noodle soup with mini meatballs for days, so that’s what I made.

Homemade chicken broth seasoned with a little garlic and soy sauce.  Rice noodles (passes the kitchen test for unprocessed month, only has two ingredients), wilted spinach, and some pork meatballs.  The meatballs had green onion, soy sauce, and Chinese 5 Spice added to it.  They were roasted in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes and then added right to the soup.

Delicious!  A late lunch/early dinner meal.  Take that Monday!

Later in the evening we had some slices of a chocolate bourbon cake (that I made, no box mixes here) drizzled with a chocolate bourbon sauce. I tried taking a picture but that much dark stuff on a plate in the evening does not photograph well. Trust me.

Soup and cake? We totally kicked Monday’s butt!

How did your week start off?

Status

Weekend Getaway Takeaways

w00tstout 2.0 from Firestone WalkerScott and I headed down to Denver last weekend for The Great American Beer Festival (If you’re interested in beer, you can read my article here).  I was covering the event for the beer blog that I write for so we decided to make a weekend out of it.  There was lots of events going on around town as well, like extra special beer tappings and we spent the weekend exploring and sipping on fantastic beers.

We kept our eats clean while in Denver which is easy to do because Denver has plenty of restaurants that use high quality ingredients.  One of our favorites is Freshcraft which offers up amazing food and great beer.  I had cassoulet, and oh man and it was so rich and delicious.

Many lessons were learned from this past trip down and our next trip will be tackled much differently.

Changing up our approach to dining out

Currently when we go to Denver and Boulder we gravitate towards pizza and burgers because we don’t care for the options here in Fort Collins. It’s hard to find a good grassfed burger!  Yet this past trip, going for those types of dishes left us feeling bloated and crappy.  Bah!  So our focus is going to switch to quality veggie and meat dishes (which thankfully Freshcraft has!).

Going for a rental instead of hotel reservations

LoDo is our preferred place to stay when in Denver but it’s expensive as hell.  The hotel rooms we’ve stayed in have been nice but there’s no fridge and no wifi.  No fridge means we can’t bring back leftovers (along with no way to reheat them) and no wifi means we can’t work while away.

Rentals tend to be cheaper and come with a full kitchen and wifi.  We’d be able to cook breakfast at the rental saving us some cash and frustration (breakfast places in Denver serve horrible coffee for some reason and don’t provide enough creamer).  Along with the ability to bring back leftovers and reheat them.  Plus wifi that doesn’t cost extra.  The tricky part will be trying to find a rental that also offers a parking space.

So the next time we go (which won’t be for a while) we’re changing up our approach!

I was definitely ready to be back home and back with the pups, who were totally pissed off that we left them.  They gave us the cold shoulder for hours when we got back.  I was ready to get back in the kitchen and have control over what went into my food and I wanted a good night’s sleep. Down pillows at hotels are for the birds.  Bah!

Egg sandwich

For breakfast yesterday we had fried egg sandwiches on 365 Whole Wheat bread with romaine, pepper jack, and crispy prosciutto.   On Monday we had huge bowls of oatmeal and even though I added fruit and grassfed butter to it, that didn’t last all of two hours before I wanted to gnaw my arm off.  No more oats for breakfast for a while.

In the middle of the day, I had a small snack of yogurt and granola (just oats, no nuts or seeds).

Dinner was glorious!

Chicken and sweet potato coconut curry soup

I made a coconut curry soup with leftover chicken and some sweet potatoes.  I stupidly bought a rotisserie chicken from Costco when we were there on Tuesday.  I thought it would be clean but after checking the ingredients realized that it is in fact full of junk.  Hopefully your Costco has better quality chicken!

I used the leftovers in soup and this was super easy to make.

Andrea’s Quick and Easy Coconut Curry Soup with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

  • One small onion, finely chopped
  • One green pepper, finely chopped
  • One jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Leftover roast chicken (I used breast and leg meat)
  • 1.5 QT Chicken Stock
  • 1 Can full fat coconut milk
  • Pinch of salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2.5TBSP mild yellow curry powder
  • 1TBSP Ghee (or butter)

In a soup pot, heat ghee over medium heat and add in the onion and peppers.  Saute for about 5 minutes or until softened.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Add in the stock, chicken, and sweet potatoes.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Add in the curry powder and stir.  Cover and reduce heat to where the soup is just simmering.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes then add in the coconut milk.  Simmer for another 10 minutes, remove from heat and serve.

So easy to throw together and transform leftover chicken.  We’re having leftovers tonight for dinner.

Asparagus and tomato fritatta

Breakfast this morning was a fritatta with chopped asparagus and sliced up tomatoes.  I love fritattas because it also provides enough for breakfast the following day as well.   This also had some chopped red onion and a little dijon mustard added in for extra flavor boost.

Loving the eats this week!  How’s everyone doing this week?

 

 

 

Status

Resources for October Unprocessed

Whole Roasted ChickenAs I mentioned earlier this week, I’m taking the October Unprocessed challenge.  A whole month of eating whole foods and kicking the unprocessed foods to the curb.

The thought of that can be a little overwhelming at first, especially once we realize how much processed foods we currently are eating.  I’ve got resources, links, and guides to help us get through it!

Definitely make sure you go over to Eating Rules because Andrew has a ton of information to help with this challenge including a free PDF! The PDF goes over everything you would want to know including what to do about dining out.  This is helpful to me because Scott and I are going to be exploring Denver and I plan on dining well and eating at restaurants that do most of their dishes in-house (like handcut fries instead of frozen bagged fries.).  Thankfully it’s not hard to find great restaurants in Denver that fit my food philosophies.

For those of you that have families and are feeling like you can’t make this work when you have to feed kids, don’t fret, there’s resources for you too!

100 Days of Real Food has loads of information and resources for cutting out processed food and tips for feeding the kiddos.

Nom Nom Paleo has a lunchbox series that gives you tips, ideas, and recipes for sending your kids to school with a lunch full of real foods.  No snack cracker packs here! This isn’t just for kids though, you can definitely alter this for work lunches too.

Meal planning and prepping gets easier the more we are prepared and ready to tackle the week. Popular Paleo lists 9 things that she always has on hand and ready to go so that there’s no temptation to fall back to packaged snacks.

Good Food For Bad Cooks has a free downloadable weekly menu planner.  You can print this out and stick it right on the fridge so that you can stay on track for the week.  There’s also lots of other great guides and resources as well, so take a peek around the site.

None of these links are affiliates or anything like that.  These are resources that I use and that I feel can be helpful to all of us to make this month a success.

Starting next week, I’ll be posting our eats, how meal planning and prepping is going, and my thoughts about the process.

If there’s sites or sources that you find helpful, feel free to share!  Your comment might go into moderation but don’t worry, I’ll make sure it gets approved.

Here’s to a healthy month full of delicious foods!

Status

30 Day Streak Wrapup And October Unprocessed Month

Scott and Andrea runningWe did it! We have made it through the 30 Day Streak Challenge!  How did everyone do?

Did I run or exercise everyday?  Short answer, no.   Longer answer, there were a few days where either the weather wasn’t cooperating or that I didn’t have the energy or time to head out.  I learned a lot during this streak though and realized a few things about myself.

For one, I am not a runner.  At least for this period in time running and I are breaking up.  But I did find an activity that I love and have put the passion I used to have for running into cycling.

I’m not ready to call myself a cyclist just yet but I hope to become one.  I have also realized that I’m ready to give the gym another chance. Before when I tried the gym, I didn’t go and got frustrated with it because it wasn’t running.  I still had it stuck in my head that I needed to run for exercise and to lose weight.

Very foolish thoughts.

Next week I’m going back to the gym to sign up and start taking classes.  Spinning, Body Pump, and yoga are the classes I’m going to start off with and we’ll see how it goes.

During this challenge I learned that one of my biggest obstacles was exercising on the weekend.  I struggled trying to figure out when to add it in and then ended up not doing it at all.  I made it more of a bigger deal than it should have been, which is something I tend to do.  This is not OK.

New goal is to workout at least one day during the weekend but also respecting my bodies signals.  If it’s telling me I need a rest then I’ll rest.

I am also committing to another challenge for the month of October!

Veggies noodles in a peanut sauce with curry shrimp

October Unprocessed run by Andrew over at Eating Rules.  This is the fifth year of this challenge and each year it grows bigger and bigger.  The idea is to cut out processed food from your diet and to start cooking more meals at home.  It sounds simple BUT we as a society eat a lot of processed foods and we don’t even realize it.

I cook a good bit already but I’m committed this month to cook even more at home.  Aiming to get us back on track and ready to tackle the winter holidays properly and in a healthy way.

Since Andrew has been running this for a few years now he has loads of resources ready for you and any questions you might have.  Like The Kitchen Test to help you determine what is processed and what isn’t.  Along with a lot of guides to help out including a free PDF download.  Make sure to head over to his site clicking any of those previous links and you will find everything you need to know.

Yes cutting out crap means more time is going to be spent in the kitchen but is that a bad thing?  If everything is planned and there’s a prep day that means less time in the kitchen during the week and only one major cooking day.

We can do this!

I’ll have a post up later this week with some resources that will help keep us on track and tips so we can make this month a success!  Let’s do this!