Whole30 – April 2012

29 Mar

It has been a loooooong time since I have regularly used this site (like almost 6 months), and it’s about time to revive Como Cocino, especially because I have changed a lot of how our family eats in the past six months — and we’re about to make a few more changes this coming month!

For a while now, maybe almost two years or so, I have been reading about the Paleo diet.  It started when R brought home some information about the “Green Faces Diet” which is a stricter version of a Paleo diet for 28 days.  You eat only green vegetables, very limited green fruit (maybe 1 serving a day), and only proteins that have a face or would have had a face when it grew up (like an egg).  He actually did this for 28 days and lost a bunch of weight, then followed it up with a strict protein shake diet for another month, and he lost about 25 lbs in two months.  The protein shake diet is a topic for another post, but my point is… this was my first introduction to Paleo, when he brought home The Paleo Solution Quick Start Guide printed from Robb Wolf’s website.

Green Faces was too restrictive for me, but the Paleo diet made sense to me.  About six months before that, I had read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, which my brother gave me for Christmas.  That book was the tipping point for me in terms of really starting to think about what I was putting my body (and in my family’s).  Unfortunately, we were probably eating less food and more “food-like substances”.  (I partially blame this to coupons — foods that are bad for you are also cheaper and tend to have lots of coupons.  And why shouldn’t they?  Food is a business after all!)  In Defense of Food made me understand the psychology and business of marketing food — well, food-like substances — but reading about Paleo gave me a guideline to put what I read into action.

As I started reading online articles and blog posts about the Paleo lifestyle and stumbled  information about The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.  At first, I thought it was another one of those “results not typical” paid advertisements, but as I was scrolling through the information and testimonials, a name and a face caught my eye (scroll down to Son of Grok – he has taken down his site, which was full of recipes!  Boo!).  He went to my high school and graduated with one of my brothers.  Usually I don’t put much thought into all the diet advertisements out there because I don’t know those people and what they looked like before, during, and after, and so I never know if I should trust them.  This, however, was different.  This was someone I knew — barely, but I could probably track him down through a few other people to grill him about this Primal thing if I really wanted to!

Seeing his name and face was another tipping point for me.  I read his blog and his story, saw his before and after pictures, and I ordered The Primal Blueprint and the Primal Blueprint Cookbook.  I put Mark’s Daily Apple in my blog reader, checked out some of the blogs he follows, and blogs they follow, etc.  I couldn’t believe how many resources there are out there — the recipes, the photos, the stories.  It all looked delicious, inspiring, and just plain made sense to me.  But I still wasn’t fully practicing it — it was like an extended “research stage”!  I tried out more and more recipes with my family, but it was a slow process for us.

Then a coworker mentioned a Seize the Deal promotion for a local gym — 10 sessions for $50.  It was a CrossFit gym, and I knew nothing about CrossFit except that R had a grad student who was really into it.  R thought it was a little cult-ish, but couldn’t really explain to me why he felt that way (or at least not in a way that I understood).  I didn’t have anything to lose but $50, so I went with her to the orientation, which included a large section on fueling your body — by eating Paleo.  It was starting to click into place.

At the end of the orientation, we had our first introduction to CrossFit workouts — seven minutes of hell: as many rounds as possible of 7 burpees and 7 squats in 7 minutes.  I honestly don’t remember how many I did (I want to say it was 6 or 7), but it was the shortest and worst workout I had ever experienced… and I was hooked.  Ten sessions flew past, and I didn’t think twice about signing a one year membership for 3 workouts/week.  Suddenly I was surrounded by information about CrossFit and Paleo/Primal… there wasn’t really any excuse not to do it now.

In the fall, I did great.  I went to CrossFit pretty much every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from September to early December.  In November, we had a Paleo challenge.  I can’t remember how much it was to go in ($10?), but winner took all based on based on the before/after pictures.  We stopped buying bread that month and cut back on the amount of cereal in the house for the kids.  I was strictly Paleo until Thanksgiving and lost 6 pounds.  People were commenting on my weigh loss.  I looked and felt phenomenal — thinner, firmer, stronger!

And then things started to unwind once we traveled to Tulsa for Thanksgiving… and then we came upon the end of the semester… and then traveled a lot over the Christmas break… and I didn’t get into the gym for about 4 or 5 weeks straight.  Quite honestly, since January, I don’t think I’ve gotten in for all three sessions each week — usually just once or twice.  And even though the weight loss has stayed off,  I’m getting physically soft — and I don’t like it.  I feel squishy in the belly, and my arms don’t feel as rock solid as they did before.  When I go into the box to workout, I feel like I’m going backwards in how much I can lift, rather than forward.

At some point in January, instead of embracing the challenge and looking forward to working out, I found myself mentally and physically frozen.  The one year mark of doing the long distance thing with R was at the end of January/early February.  We spent most of February trying to get things ready in the house to put it on the market by March 1.  I finalized my law school application and spent a solid month waiting in agony about my admissions status.  I signed up to to a 100 days of wellness challenge with coworkers.  I rolled over last year’s half-marathon registration and committed to running this April (ha… not going to happen!).  And, of course, I am still working full-time, raising two kids and a college kid, paying all the bills and trying my hardest to keep up with the house cleaning and organizing.  Control just started to slip away from me, to the point of mental paralysis because the feelings of being overwhelmed mentally and emotionally.  I felt like I was making excuses, but I really, truly, absolutely was just overwhelmed and exhausted.

At the end of February, I found out I didn’t get into law school.  As disappointing as that was, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders just because I had an answer and could mentally start to move forward.  Around the same time, we made the decision to hire a housecleaning service because I just couldn’t keep up.  R agreed to a one-time deep cleaning followed by every other week service until the house sells.  (Seriously, this is one of the best decisions we have ever made!)  And shortly after that, once the house was as organized, cleaned, and staged as we could get it, we officially listed it for sale.

And then, of course, after all the chaos and stress and hurry/fury of doing all these things, my body crashed, and I found myself unable to get out of bed two weeks ago.  No fever, no vomiting, nothing.  Just a body that was beyond exhausted and refused to let me get up out of bed until about 2:30pm.  ON A MONDAY.  So unlike me.  The rest of the week, I felt useless.  When I got back into the gym, I felt defeated, and I admit to being teary-eyed because I felt terribly weak.  Atrophied.  Pudgy.  Squishy.  Just soft, physically and mentally.

I knew I needed to change a few things to regain control.  I decided to rally up some friends and coworkers to do Whole30 with me, to reset and restore my body (and my mind!) and to actually get on track with my nutrition and my family’s.  I put it out on Facebook, and I got some interest.  And then a little more interest.  And we started sharing resources and information, and now there are 21 of us to date, almost all of us fully committed to doing Whole30 for the month of April.

I have made a deal with myself — 3 days of CrossFit this week (final week of March) and for the full month of April.  I want to get back on track, nutrition-wise, fitness-wise, mentally and emotionally.  I can’t control when my house will sell, or how many people will walk through it, or knowing what job I might have in October, but I can control what I put in my mouth and what I do with my body.  I felt great in November when I was strict about doing Paleo and religious about getting into the CrossFit box… so why I wouldn’t I want to get back to that place?!

So… I’ll be attempting to document our journey through Whole30 as best I can via The Adventures of Moco and Bubba and Como Cocino, as well as Facebook.  I’ll share recipes, food porn (don’t forget — I’m still an amateur! ;)), and how we’re doing/feeling.  I might even post before/after pictures of my journey, which I have been documenting since August for my eyes only… let’s hope that I’m lucky enough to be a decent testimonial!  :)

If you’d like to join us for 30 days, please let me know, and I would be more than happy to add you to our Facebook group and get you started with some resources!!!


Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip Chicken Drumsticks

29 Mar

Disclaimer: I am trying to use up, donate, or toss food that we have in the house prior to starting our first Whole30 program in April.  This is not Whole30 or Paleo/Primal compliant, and I don’t want anyone to think I’m being a hypocrite by posting this recipe and a post about doing Whole30 back-to-back!  I haven’t been 100% perfect doing Paleo/Primal, and I know we will still battle our food demons… but, really, I just wanted to use up food items in our house before April 1st!!!

We had a jar of Robert Rothschild Farm Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip that I got as a white elephant gift during an office holiday party. It says on the jar that you can use it as a baste for chicken and pork. I’ve only ever had it with pretzel chips, but basting it sounded like a fabulous idea for the package of chicken drumsticks from at Sam’s Club!

Unsure if I should just pour the dip over chicken drumsticks, I went to the Robert Rothschild Farm website and found some recipes using this particular dip… so I put my own spin on this recipe and made my own baste:

3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp ghee (or butter)
1 jar of raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip

This made more than enough for the amount of chicken drumsticks I used (approximately 12, or half the package of fresh drumsticks from Sam’s Club — saved the other have for teriyaki drumsticks with Soy Vay’s Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce).  In fact, there was more than enough to baste the entire package.  So, if you’re using my recipe, hopefully you’re feeding a lot of mouths — otherwise, reduce the amount by at least half because you’ll have a lot leftover!

I let the drumsticks sit in the baste, more like a marinade, before re-coating it and baking it in a glass dish for about 40 minutes at 350F. We don’t have a grill (for shame — I know!!!), but my guess is these would be even more awesome basted on the grill!

My only concern about the pretzel dip is that the first ingredient is sugar. However, most of the baste ended up still in the dish once it was baked, so the amount of sugar actually on the chicken is probably not very high.  I cut the meat off the bones over a bowl full of baby spinach leaves drizzled with a little olive oil for a quick, easy, tasty salad, but it’s also finger-lickin’ good right off the bone!  :)


This Week’s Supper: 10/22-10/27

23 Oct

It’s been 2 1/2 months since I posted… and my meal planning has been abysmal, to say the least!  Today was the first Saturday that we haven’t had anything already scheduled, and I finally had a  chance to inventory our cupboards, fridge and freezers and plan ahead for the week.  I found recipes that worked around things we already have and grocery shopped to fill in the gaps for supper and lunches.  As much as I’ve been trying to stick with a paleo/primal diet, this colder weather has gotten to me (although today turned out to be quite nice) and all the traveling in the past two months is draining me… This will be a short cooking week, as we’re traveling again this next weekend.

Meatloaf in a Bacon Weave – I used our standby meatloaf recipe, minus the glaze, and with sauteed diced onions, bell peppers, garlic & green chile.  The bacon weave is much easier than it looks… and this recipe is heavenly!!!
Nutella Crescents with Cinnamon Walnut Crumble – Found this recipe on Pinterest.  Similar, but not even close, to the Nutella Pizza at Marco’s Coal Fired Grill Pizzeria.

Memphis has two soccer games out of town, so it’s a slow cooker Sunday!
Slow Cooker Chicken  Tortilla Soup – The only changes I’m making to this are: Rotel instead of the whole tomatoes, chicken bouillon instead of canned chicken broth, and store-bought tortilla chips (not strips) rather than making my own.
Avocado-Cucumber Toss
Strawberry Whipped Sensation – we had all the ingredients on hand (thawed frozen strawberries instead of fresh) except Oreos.  I sent Mariah to the store to get a package… I’m not sure what’s more sinful: eating Oreos or sending her to the store to buy them for me.

No Noodle Lasagna – I am going to attempt to combine ingredients and steps between these two recipes: Everyday Paleo’s Paleo Lasagna and the No-Noodle Lasagna recipe posted on Fast Paleo.  I’ll write down what I do and share the recipe if it turns out!!!
Spinach & mandarin salad – substituting mandarins for strawberries
Grilled bananas – almost like Bananas Foster without all the other stuff added!!!

Bacon Beef Butternut Squash
Spinach & mandarin salad
Bite Sized Apple Pies – another Pinterest discovery… recipes calls for tart apples, but we’ll be using Honey Crisps.  I really should just cut the pie crust out of the equation and just do simple baked apples… but I’ll test out this recipe and let you know how it tastes, okay?

Asian Sesame Salmon – I found these Recipes Inspirations spice packets at the store a few weeks ago, so I’ll be trying them out for the first time.
Brown rice
Grilled bell peppers & onions

Beer crockpot chicken – R has 3 bottles of beer sitting in the back of the fridge that have been untouched for months… time to use ’em up!  I’m going to add parsnips and carrots and maybe some cauliflower to this recipe in the crockpot.
Mashed potatoes – Yukon golds!

Recent Recipes

2 Aug

I haven’t been posting much lately, but I also haven’t been cooking as much either!

Here are three recipes that I have used recently that are pretty darn tasty:

I need to get back into the swing of things, meal planning, preparation… probably should even do some freezer meals to stockpile!  It will be busy when everyone gets back and school starts all within a few short days of each other!

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

5 Jun

I saw this recipe in a coupon booklet at one of the local grocery stores.  Simple ingredients, easy to make, definitely refreshing on a hot summer day! 

1/2 cup Country Time Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix (we used Pink Lemonade)
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
3 cups ice cubes

Blend drink mix, water and strawberries in blender until smooth.  Add ice; blend on high speed until thickened and smooth.  Serve immediately.

Can substitute other fruits for the strawberries.

Shrimp with Avocado Mango Salsa

29 May

This morning I received the June issue of Self magazine in the mail, and as I was mindlessly flipping through it, this recipe for Shrimp with Avocado Mango Salsa caught my eye — so I immediately added the ingredients to our grocery list.

My modifications: I didn’t grill it.  Instead, I made the couscous on the stovetop and added the spinach, shrimp, cilantro, EVOO, and salt after the couscous was done.  I used Israeli couscous, frozen shrimp, and ataulfo mangoes and extra jalapeño.  This will definitely on the regular rotation around here, especially in the summer!  

Vegetable oil cooking spray
8 cups baby spinach
1 cup couscous
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 medium avocado, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  1. Heat grill.
  2. Fold four 18-inch-long pieces of foil in half; unfold and coat inside with cooking spray.
  3. Place 2 cups spinach in center of 1 half of each piece of foil.
  4. Combine couscous with 1/4 cup water; divide evenly among packets, placing on top of spinach.
  5. Combine shrimp, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl.
  6. Divide shrimp evenly among packets, placing next to couscous.
  7. Fold foil to close and crimp edges to seal; place on grill; close lid; cook until packets are fully puffed, 10 minutes.
  8. Combine remaining 1/4 cup cilantro with remaining 1/4 tsp salt, mango, avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeño and lime juice in a bowl.
  9. Carefully cut foil to open; stir contents; garnish with salsa before serving.

This Week’s Supper: Update

27 May

Just a quick note to say that I likely won’t be doing any more pantry challenges with pre-packaged/processed foods as the main course.  Seriously, I feel disgusting and super thirsty (presumably from the insane sodium content) this week.  I have thrown out a lot of food because it’s just not very good.  I feel like I’m killing my family slowly feeding them like this!!  Besides that, we’re headed to the beach later this summer, so I need to be swimsuit ready — and this is NOT helping.  Yuck!


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