Chipotle + Lime Chickpea Salad

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Just wanted to hop on here quickly to share my new favorite lunch! I often make chickpea salad sandwiches when hummus gets boring. This latest variation is a real keeper! Especially if you are as addicted to chipotle Vegenaise as I am. We put it on everything!


What you'll need . . .

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pickles, chopped into bits
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped into bits
  • Handful fresh cilantro, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle Vegenaise
  • 2 teaspoons time juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method . . .

  • Mash the chickpea in a large bowl using a potato masher or a fork. The texture should resemble canned tuna or chicken.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. Season to taste.
  • Then toast bread, top with spinach or other greens, and scoop out the salad.

It's so good!


Crazy Carb-Monster Me

>> Monday, August 22, 2016

I haven't written much about my diet post-baby. Holy hell, it's been bad. Like really, really bad by anyone's definitions. Permit me to just lay it out on the table for you . . . because admitting you have a problem is the first step. My name is Ashley, and since my second baby was born, I have been existing on mostly white bread, cookies, and all other forms of crap because I'm tried, stressed, and lazy. And eating this way is just making me feel more tired, stressed, and lazy.

Now that Eloise is almost 10 weeks old, I need to stop this craziness. I need to stop excusing my poor eating habits with the whole "but I'm breastfeeding" or whatever. You guys know that I struggle with sugar. I'd say over the last two years, I've struggled more than ever because I am an emotional eater and, well, my emotions have been put to the test over and over again.

As I've gotten older, these habits have gone from being unhealthy from a purely nutritional standpoint to worse. I'm just going to say it -- I'm at my highest weight ever. Yes, I "just" had a baby, but I was actually at my highest not-pregnant weight before I even got pregnant with Eloise. It's still a healthy weight for me, but now that I'm 10 pounds above that highest weight (which is almost 20 pounds over my before-Ada weight) . . . well, I'm starting to see the landslide effect.

I don't like to bring up matters of weight too much. And weight isn't the best indicator of health -- I know this. I've shared a few times that I had an eating disorder. I have healed from that experience for what's now been over 8 years (go me!). So, this isn't that rearing its ugly head. It's more that my metabolism is slower than ever now that I'm older. My eating habits still haven't changed despite knowing the "right" way to eat. And I plain need to stop using food as my coping mechanism. I'm 33 years old, for goodness' sake!

I am really fortunate to have access to healthy, wholesome foods. I am lucky that I enjoy cooking and creating recipes. I need to use these things to my advantage. So, I am. Of course I'd like to see the number on the scale creep lower, but that's not the whole goal. Yesterday I started what I am hoping is my last attempt at eating like an adult.

What does this mean to me?

  • It's not restricting. All things in moderation, right? I will still want to eat sourdough bread. (Just maybe a piece or two versus half a loaf.) I will still want to drink champagne and have cookies from time to time. And I definitely don't want to do calorie counting on the regular. 
  • It's not flavorless. I hate when I've tried dieting in the past and all the foods I make are bland and, well, the same thing a million times because I know that meal is "safe" or whatever. I want to enjoy cooking vibrant, flavorful meals. Food is one of life's pleasures, and healthy food can be really darned good. I need to remember that.
  • It's not obsessive. Because I've spent lots of years of my life obsessing over the things I put into my body. Even when I started "healthy" eating, it became this weird game of having to eat only "clean" foods or feeling awful about myself.

But, yeah. It means getting over my salad aversion or actually drinking a green smoothie again. Choosing to eat the carrots instead of reaching for the potato chips for crunch (which I've become obsessed with lately for some reason). Filling up on protein even when an egg doesn't sound as good as a slice of pizza or cookie.

My body craves so much so often, but I would like to re-train it to crave nutrition. I know it's worth it. It's just going to require foresight -- planning to make things convenient. I totally see why people gain weight once kids are in the picture. Life . . . is . . . exhausting. There's hardly time to shower, and I've started working again -- so, yeah. Planning!

Is anyone else at this point with their eating right now? I think many of us -- myself included -- tend to go on bouts of being really all about the healthy foods and then cycling back to eating poorly. I give myself some grace on this matter because, yes: I did just have a baby. And, yes: I've been through a lot and my emotions have been tested. But now I am able to get back into running and can do other things to help my mood and general wellbeing. The food has to stop being the crutch.

So, here's lunch from yesterday:

A good start! It was incredibly delicious, full of healthy fats and veggies, and it was exciting to eat. It didn't even take too much time to prepare. But it was more difficult than just grabbing last night's dessert and calling it lunch. We'll see how day two goes, but I hope to check in with you guys from time to time.

Happy Monday. To new beginnings!


Sourdough Starter + Other Kitchen Things

>> Friday, August 19, 2016

The two-month shots sort of took us for a loop this week -- sorry for the quiet! I had planned to share a couple recipes, but I'll only manage to start the discussion on sourdough bread. I love baking bread. Specifically, sourdough. But keeping my starter alive has been difficult for me for whatever reason. I get really into it, and then my interest wanes in the warmer weather. I'm sure some of you out there can relate.

So, I decided to get another one going before autumn using the super simple instructions over at The Kitchn. No grapes, no yeast, no voodoo. Just flour, water, and patience.

Oh, yeah . . .

And just like that . . . after only five days . . . she was fed and ready! The first recipe I decided to make was my favorite bread of all time. Do you guys remember this beautiful sourdough loaf from a few years back? I sure do. It was the first time I successfully made bread that was bakery quality.

Like so:

And then I started Googling and discovered that there's way more you can make with starter than I even imagined. Go check out this recipe for Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies! They're sweet with a hint of tang and a great texture. I want to try these Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls next with an orange glaze.

While we're on the topic of fermenting, we have a few other things going on in the kitchen as well. Stephen just made his first batch of pickles for the season. We have three gigantic jars of these guys in the fridge just waiting to be gobbled up.

He uses the recipe in Put 'Em Up, if anyone is wondering. That's a great book, and it basically lives in our kitchen in August when the harvest is plentiful. Other preservation books we like include Food in Jars, Preserving by the Pint, and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars (all the same author).

Stephen also made another batch of kombucha, which he says he'll write about for me another day. ( (Do you remember my epic fail when I tried several years ago?) He is relatively new at it (only a year or so), but he's getting on point with flavors. My favorite this time around was a cucumber basil variety he made by juicing some of our CSA produce. Very refreshing.

That's what's going on in our kitchen this week. I hope to get a delicious slow cooker recipe to you early next week (YES! It's hot, but slow cooking season is upon us!).


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