Current Reading List: American housewives and servants

How to be an American housewife by Margaret Dilloway

housewife I couldn’t get into this one. It’s the story of a Japanese woman and her adult daughter living in America. The hook is supposed to be when Sue, the daughter, travels back to Japan and discovers some family secrets, but honestly it just didn’t grab me.










Longbourn by Jo Baker


This was chosen by my book club as our July-August pick. It’s the story of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the servants at Longbourn. I really liked this book! It’s the kind of easy fiction that I can dip into like a bath and just curl up inside until it’s done. I don’t always finish every book club picks, but I did finish this one and I’m glad I did. I won’t give anything away, but there are mostly happy endings all around. If you liked Jane Austen, you’ll probably like this book. Some of the reviews on GoodReads were from hardcore Austen fans who didn’t approve of some of the creative liberties that Baker took, but I can’t say I minded.

Finishing Whole30

So it’s Day 28 and I’m almost done with my Whole30 challenge! Woohoo!


Pretty soon I’m going to start adding foods back into my diet one at a time in order to see how they affect me and decide whether or not I’ll continue eating them now that I know I can survive without them.

First up will be grains. Specifically, I’ve always disliked Kashi cereal because it’s not sweet and sugary the way most cereals are. I’m going to eat a single serving (3/4 cup) of Kashi Go Lean Crunch and see if it tastes sweet to me, after a whole month without added artificial sugars.

Then I’ll add rice. I like sashimi, but I’ve missed sushi rolls and nigiri SO MUCH this month! I can’t wait to treat myself to a delicious sushi lunch!

After that, I think I’ll make those Greek Meatballs with Avocado Tzatziki and include the Greek yogurt. It was a really good recipe on its own, but I really love a good tzatziki sauce with Greek yogurt. Also, I’ve never liked Greek yogurt on its own because it’s not as sweet and sugary as strawberry Yoplait, but I’d like to try it again now that giving up sugar has proved to not be the end of the world.

After that, I’ll probably test out some hard cheeses, then a day later try soft cheeses, then soy products like Soy Delicious ice cream, and then maybe I’ll give regular ice cream a try (the diner up the street has a Peppermint Stick ice cream that tastes like Christmas).

Slowly but surely, I’ll figure out a diet that works for me and that I can live with. I’d like to continue cutting back on alcohol and sugar for a while, but I’m not going to completely remove either.

I’m really glad I did this as a way of resetting myself and my eating habits. It was definitely worth the trouble and I would highly recommend it to anyone!

Helpful Links:

Sweet potato nachos – A Whole30 Recipe

Firstly, I got this recipe for oven-baked potato chips from Martha Stewart and then I followed this recipe for the rest of the nacho stuff from It’s Me Charlotte which calls this recipe for avocado crema.

I used my little mini mandoline to slice one sweet potato and one russet potato into thin chips. Then while those were in the oven (400 degrees for 10 minutes) I whipped up the avocado crema in the blender and diced my onions, peppers and tomatoes.

Blender filled with garlic and avocado

It. Was. Wonderful!

Kevin and I both ate until we were stuffed and happy! I couldn’t help think that this would have been better with some cheese, but for now this recipe is definitely one of my favorites.

Brioche Scarf – Finally, a knitting pattern that I can do in front of the TV!

Can I just talk about how much crocheting is better than knitting?

(ducks to avoid thrown knitting needles)

Ok, maybe that statement is a bit subjective, but for me personally I’ve found crocheting to be easier to learn, easier to fix mistakes, and easier to modify patterns to fit my needs.

Knitting is still very complicated for me and I have to do things like count my stitches (bleh) and remember whether I was supposed to be purling or knitting this particular stitch (double bleh).

This is extremely difficult because my favorite part of any craft is letting my mind wander and then bringing my consciousness back to the task at hand to discover how much closer I am to having a completed project.

That’s why I was so excited to find this pattern for a Brioche Infinity Scarf on Ravelry!

It’s a lovely simple ribbed scarf that a friend of mine asked me to make for her, and then liked it enough to request two more scarves for her mom and her daughter.


There was a little bit of a learning curve for me, and I did have to rip out and start over at one point very early on, but now I can knit this pattern while watching Netflix or listening to an audiobook or just day dreaming. It’s delightful!

So the moral of this story is that maybe I’ve misjudged knitting in the past. Maybe I just needed to find a pattern that would work for me. Maybe I need a little motivation to not give up on a project the first time something goes wrong.

Either way, I highly recommend this pattern! Give it a try and enjoy your thick, fluffy, warm scarf Also, post pictures of your project! I wanna see :)

Crockpot Minestrone Soup – Whole30 Recipe

This recipe for crockpot paleo minestrone soup comes from Our Paleo Life.

I didn’t make it in the crockpot because I was already hungry when I started cooking and didn’t want to wait 4 hours for it to finish, so I just threw all the veggies into a pot with some oil to let them soften a bit (maybe 4 minutes) and then added the broth, canned tomatoes, and spices. I left the frozen spinach out at this point and I didn’t add any meat to the soup.

Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to mid-low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Then add the spinach and continue to simmer for maybe a minute or two to let it warm up.

Serve after a very long, tiring day and it will help bring you back to life.

Also, because it was a long, tiring day, I forgot to take pictures while cooking. So this photo is of the leftovers, which are also very delicious but significantly  less photogenic.

So yummy, so not pretty.

It would be better paired with some bread, but that’s not Whole30 compliant. Oh well, only 9 more days to go and then I can consider adding bread back into my diet!

Day 15 of Whole30 – Vivid Dreams about Doughnuts

I’m at the halfway point of my Whole30 challenge! Woo hoo!


I know you’re not supposed to weigh yourself on this plan, but did it anyway and so far I’ve lost 9 pounds. I also feel significantly less bloated, have fewer tummy problems, and have more energy in general.

I’ve been alternating between deep sleeping (an elephant stampede couldn’t wake me last night) and waking up in a cold sweat after a vivid dream where doughnuts chased me down the street screaming EEEEEAAAATTTT MMMMEEEEE!

According to the timeline, that’s all completely normal.

I couldn't find an image of a running doughnut, but I DID find this dancing doughnut and that's way better!

I couldn’t find an image of a running/screaming doughnut, but I DID find this dancing doughnut and that’s way better!

So far my nasal allergies have not disappeared (most likely seasonal allergies from trees) and my skin is exactly the same as usual (mostly clear but some occasional hormonal acne) but there’s still another 15 days left for those things to change.

I’m also getting kind of tired of cooking every single meal and being an insatiable black hole when it comes to food. I ate a skirt steak the length of my forearm at Tia Margarita last night and still could have eaten more, if any more was available.

I’m going to finish out this month strong, slowly introduce foods back into my diet, and then start training for my very first 5K this upcoming September. I hope that will keep me motivated to exercise and not overload on junk food after this experiment is done.

So you’d better watch out, little dancing doughnut. I’m gonna eat you the day before the race and call it carbo-loading!

Whole30 chicken nuggets!

This recipe for Paleo chicken tenders comes from Generation Foodie.

I substituted chili powder instead of cayenne pepper but now I think maybe they could have used a little kick. Maybe next time I’ll add just 1/8th of a tsp of cayenne to my spice mix.

Almond flour, paprika, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder

Ready for the oven

Just dredge the chicken in egg and roll in the flour/spice mixture. Then bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Also I know that fries are not Whole30-compliant but I feel like if roasted Rosemary potatoes are okay, baked sweet potatoes cut into fry shapes should be fine. It’s not like I ordered fries from McDonalds.

I was wishing for some kind of dipping sauce. I guess I could have used yellow mustard or homemade mayo (did you know that store bought mayo contains sugar? How weird is that?)

Cashew Beef Stirfry – Whole30 recipe

Last night’s dinner came from Paleo Foodie Kitchen: Cashew Beef Stirfry

I’m still riding the hunger train from the day before, so I ate two helpings and both were delicious! Water chestnuts are totally the best part of any stirfry and I ate probably a whole can of them.

My energy levels are still low, but I don’t feel dizzy anymore so I think I’m finally eating enough. I tracked my calories and even though I’m eating a lot, it’s mostly fruit and veggies so the total calorie count is around 1500 per day (counting all the second helpings and snacks)

The other day when I felt dizzy and terrible it was probably because I’d only eaten 800 calories at that point in the day (half of which were probably from the bananas). So that’s a lesson learned.

Day 9 of Whole30 – EAT ALL THE THINGS

Today is Day 9 of my Whole30 challenge and I am the ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal. I am seriously a black hole when it comes to food. So far today I’ve eaten three bananas (three!) plus a giant plate of pork and grilled veggies for lunch and I’m still hungry.

This is me now:


I would have eaten more, if I had more available to me. The cafe close to my work is sold out of fresh fruit (except for bananas. Maybe I’ll make it four!) and Starbucks only has the fruit that’s pre-mixed with yogurt, trail-mix containing chocolate and peanuts, and pre-made salads with cheese.

I was planning on just whipping up some taco bowls for dinner tonight, but maybe I’ll also roast some potatoes, onions and mushrooms together as an extra snack.

I’m definitely NOT feeling the “boundless energy” that the timeline says should have kicked in yesterday.

Maybe I just need to eat more?

Greek meatballs with avocado tzatziki – Whole30 recipe

Kevin made dinner tonight! We used this recipe from Primally Inspired but left out the Greek yogurt to make it Whole30 compliant.

Avocado and fresh mint in the blender

Onion and garlic in the meatballs

We ate ALL of them!

Seriously, we both went back for second helpings and then before I knew it, all the meatballs were gone! They were delicious and the avocado tzatziki was good, but I still really missed the Greek yogurt part, so I think after Whole30 is over I will try this recipe again in its entirety.

Om nom nom!

Om nom nom!