The Season of Change

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” 
― Robert Tew

Hey. Hi. Hello.

It’s been awhile since I last published on this space. But it feels like the thing to start doing now that life has significantly changed.

So what has changed?

My better half was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery and has been declared cancer free in a mere two week period. All of this happening grossly close to the Christmas holiday and during a busy work period for me. Isn’t life funny like that? It always makes you slow down and take stock of what is really important at the most inopportune times.

But that is why I’m writing now. I want to be able to share all the things we learn about how to live our best life as we prepare for routine scans and the anxiety that comes with that. It’s just another season of life, but it won’t slow us down for one minute.

So what does this season of life look like?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. I know I want to be in the moment more than ever before. I know I don’t want to dwell on the little things. I know I don’t want to worry over what people think. I know I want to live my best life with Brad and our puppies in our home that we share. I know we will be eating very clean. I know we will start a routine of exercising (yoga for me…not sure what Brad will want to do once he is fully recovered from surgery.)

And I know this is the space, as well as my Adventures to Wellness Facebook page, where I will share what we are doing to accomplish and thrive during this new season.

Gratitude for All the People

A cancer diagnosis for someone as young as Brad is super unsettling. Most people don’t really know what to say to us. So they just not to say anything (not judging, just an observation) or they say something off the wall. It can be quite comical. And yet I feel a little guilty typing that out because so many people have been so good to us during this time. It’s just the truth.

There is a small population of people that know exactly what to say and how to say it. Very, very small. And I can say we have been blessed beyond measure on having key people in that category. And people in the category of just coming to spend time with us….because spending time is the most valuable thing someone can do for another person.

The Restart

When I thought about what I wanted to say in this first post, nothing really feels adequate. Most starts or restarts are horribly awkward. (This one is shaping up to be pretty awkward, too.) I’ve found, most of the time, the fear is in starting.

I’ve started over on this blog lots of times, but no other time has it been more important to me than now.

2019 will be the year of weeding out what and who doesn’t serve, grow or make me happy.

I know that’s a bold statement. But when the one person you love most in the world faces a scary beast like cancer and wins, you have to celebrate life because every single day from here on out is a gift. A straight up gift.

So what can you expect to see here?

  • Paleo and Ketogenic recipes and food content
  • Clean eating philosophies
  • Clean beauty and skin care for men and women (B’s tumor affected his endocrine system)
  • Books on gut health, general health and wellness, food, personal development and spiritual development
  • Outside resources (mostly on the Facebook page) we feel warrant sharing with a larger audience
  • Life updates on B’s condition, our life, etc.

This space will be what I intended it to be when I first conceived the idea. It will be with some regularity, but maybe not daily, and I welcome you to follow along.

This is no longer just my space of wellness, but Brad’s, too. And, ultimately, yours…if you want to be a part of it.

With all my love and positive energy,
Ashten

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January Whole30 Week 1 Recap

It’s been six days since I gave up sugar, dairy, gluten, beans and alcohol. I’m sure there are other things, but these are the big ones. It’s my second Whole30. We did the last one in June 2016. That was a fun time…to give up beer in the hot of summer.

This time has been better. Same detox symptoms. But better because I know what to expect. It’s funny. Now that I’ve done it before, I know I can do it. And do it well. And I can say without a doubt, the food and preparation in Round 2 has been on point. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it’s true. Good food tastes better. The reason junk food tastes so good is because it is tricking your brain to think it’s better than it actually is.

It’s addictive. Junk food is addictive.

Hi, my name is Ashten, and I’m addicted to melty cheese, small chocolate candies and consuming the occasional glass of wine…or margarita.

That having been said, I know my psychological response to certain foods is what keeps me from living my healthiest life. That, and the fact that I don’t run as much as I use to. But I digress.

When I did Whole30 the first time, I was not prepared mentally, physically or emotionally. I know it seems crazy. It’s just food. But food is everything. It makes your mind tick and your muscles strong and you emotions stable…when you don’t abuse the foods you eat.

I could preach on this all day. I believe it. To my core being. But I’ve also done my research. I’ve read the Whole30 book and It Starts With Food. But it wasn’t until I finished It Starts With Food until I realized just how unhealthy certain foods can create negative biological and psychological and emotional responses AND increase overall chronic systemic inflammation. It’s fascinating and completely terrifying.

My advice is to read It Starts With Food. The science makes so much sense. And it helps you understand why eliminating delicious foods for a 30-day time period is important to learn more about your overall health.

But enough of that.

I know you came here for the food pictures and the recipes.

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Day 1 Breakfast: Two Egg Scramble with Broccoli and Orange Bell Pepper topped with lots of Wholly Guacamole. Super easy.

When I have time to make breakfast, which is usually on the weekends, I make something like this. During the week, it’s two boiled eggs with an avocado or a side of whatever veggie I had for dinner. The thing about scrambled eggs is you can add whatever you have on hand, and it’s almost always delicious. I suggest you make this as often as you can because of said deliciousness.

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Day 2 Lunch: No Fuss Salmon Cakes on a bed of fresh green with a drizzle of Tessemae’s Creamy Ranch and a squeeze of lemon.

This recipe came straight out of the Whole30 book (see link above to get yourself a book). But I didn’t have canned sweet potato or almond flour so I improvised. I had roasted four huge sweet potatoes in the oven so I mashed up some of those. The recipe called for almond flour so I chopped up some raw cashews and called it done. Y’all, these little beauties are so freaking good. And the ranch is Whole30 approved and absolutely amazing. Get some of the ranch, promise me.

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Day 3 Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore with Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato

For the win. This is so good. I adapted the recipe out of the Whole30 book. I had chicken cutlets, not bone-in chicken thighs. I had most ingredients, but not all. But my kitchen smelled amazing. And it tasted just wonderful. The broth/sauce/juice is heavenly. I mean it. Remember those sweet potatoes I roasted on day 1? They fed us for two days. Not too shabby when you live in the land of I-work-full-time-and-commute-and-don’t-want-to-be-a-slave-to-my-kitchen-yet-want-to-be-healthy.

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Day 4 Dinner: Taco Salad

I browned some ground beef until almost cooked, and then I added diced green bell pepper, onion and half a can of Whole30 compliant diced tomatoes and their juices. I created my every own taco seasoning using ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and a few shakes of cayenne. Now, I don’t measure anything (sorry, I know that doesn’t really help you) but you can still make your own. Just add those things together until you get a blend you like. Be smarter than me, and write it down. I topped a bed of mixed greens with the taco meat. And then added all my favorite things. cherry tomatoes, crunched up plantain chips, Wholly Guacamole, Tesserae’s Creamy Ranch and Cholula’s Hot Sauce.

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Day 5 Dinner: Lemon Pepper Chick with Sautéed Kale, Garlic and Onion

Simplicity is key. And this one is simple. Lay some lemon slices down on your baking sheet. Put the chicken breasts on the bed of lemons. Season the chicken generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Squeeze half a fresh lemon over the top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked throughout. While the chicken cooks, tear the kale from the stalk. Heat a large pan with coconut oil on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until onions begin to soften. Then add the kale and splash of Whole30 approved chicken broth. The broth will help the kale to wilt. Season generously with salt and pepper. And I want to say I threw in a little squeeze of lemon, but not much, as well as a couple shakes of cayenne pepper. When chicken is done and the greens are done, plate it up and enjoy.

I plan on posting recaps each week of Whole30 Round 2, but you can follow the @whenigrowupiwanttobeachef Facebook page and Instagram to see what I make throughout the week.

Happy Whole30 Journey to you!

Eggs in a Bell Pepper Basket

You know the classic way to make eggs in a basket. Cut a hole out of a piece of bread. Crack the egg in the  hole. Cook until perfection. 

While I had bread in the cabinet this morning, I don’t want to eat a lot of it. So I improvised. 


I had a slightly wrinkly orange bell pepper. It was on the verge of going bad. So I sliced it into rings and sautéed them in a little oil with some salt and pepper. 

I cracked farm fresh eggs in a ramakin one at a time and poured them into each ring. Right before I poured the egg in, I put a pat of butter on the hot pan. 

I toasted two slices of wheat bread. One for me and one for the boyfriend. Flipped the eggs. I cooked them a little too long. No runny yolks today. And I topped the eggs in a basket with Parmesan cheese. 

Amazing! Extra veggie kick with the bell pepper. Definitely a brunch treat you want to try. I know it will be a staple in our house. 

What did you make for breakfast this morning? 

Grilled Chops with Black Eyed Peas and Parmesan Rice

I would eat this meal every day. 


Seriously, it’s that good. 

The boyfriend picked up a couple bone-in pork chops from the butcher. Yes, we are lucky enough to live near an old school butcher shop. 

He seasoned them with a delightful peppercorn rub and grilled them to perfection. I had some jars of my Mamaw’s canned black eyed peas so o whipped those up. And I made a batch of Riceland’s Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice and added Parmesan cheese and a little butter, salt and pepper. 

Amazing. Delicious. Easy. And everything I wanted on this Thursday night. 

What’s for dinner at your house?

Asparagus Lemon Chicken 

This recipe is a knock-off of one on the Whole30 Recipes Instagram page. 

Instead of broccoli, I used asparagus because it’s what I had in the fridge. 


Thinly sliced lemon, cherry tomato halves and coconut milk take this to the next level. 

So much goodness. I can’t even tell you how much I love this. 

I even remembered to remove the lemons from the pan. Last time, the boyfriend thought the lemon slices were squash, and he didn’t enjoy this meal. In his defense, it did look like squash. 


What’s for dinner at your house?