What I Ate Wednesday • Week 3 - Skillful Cook
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What I Ate Wednesday • Week 3

What I Ate Wednesday header.

Time for our weekly review! What I Ate Wednesday, comin in hot.

This week's highlights (and lowlights!) include:

  • Naturally sweet desserts - and my mixed feelings on them.
  • A big batch of granola that is giving me so much good snack-age.
  • An accidentally terrible lunch. Just... it's embarrassing.
  • A new vegan pasta recipe that is my new BFF.


Bottle of fresh orange juice.

I woke up early with Solvi and was a) thirsty, and b) not thirsty for water. I know it's super healthy to do the whole water / lemon / chug it down at 6am thing, but mornings are just not my favorite time to drink water. Give me coffee. Give me tea. Give me juice.

I stayed away from all fruit juices for the first two weeks of Sugar Free January, but this week I made a splurge impulse buy and got myself a big ol' jug of reeeeally good orange juice. Like, REAL orange juice, where it's the actual juice of the actual oranges.

Guys, I love, love, love orange juice. But even though it's *naturally* sweet, it's still... how do I put this... like, REALLY SWEET.

I'm planning to just approach this as a one-small-glass-a-day kind of treat. And it is a TREAT. I love it.


Granola with tea latte and blackberries.

Okay! The breakdown:

  • Coconut oil granola (remix) with whole milk! Here's the older recipe if you want to take a look and I'll be posting this exact remixed version tomorrow!
  • Blackberries.
  • Chestnut tea latte = strongly brewed tea, half and half, and a quick swizzle of honey. IT IS SO GOOD. Also worth noting that it is about the most caffeinated drink that I can handle. Just the right amount of pick me up without the frizzed-out brain.


Sprouted toast with peanut butter and cinnamon.

I started making a recipe in the Instant Pot for lunch, but then realized: I am way too hungry to wait for this to be done.

So I made myself a piece of sprouted toast with peanut butter and cinnamon to hold me over. Plus a glass of milk. Very adultish.

Pre-Lunch Again

Lindsay and baby Solvi.

Ooops, how'd that get in there?

Actual Lunch

Lunch tacos with Solvi.

This lunch story does not have a happy ending.

The sweet potatoes and lentils that I had waited for in the Instant Pot turned out, for lack of a better and more descriptive word, GROSS. I thought I would try to salvage the whole thing by combining with last night's chicken, fire roasted corn from the freezer, salsa verde, and cotija cheese to make “tacos,” but wow. Bleh. Not good.

I really don't like eating food that is gross, but this was a moment where I needed to eat SOMETHING so as not to become a monster by 3pm, and didn't have time to make anything else, so there I was, eating the world's weirdest tacos and knowing that I'd need to share it with you because WIAW is always honest!

Better luck next meal.


Vegan vodka pasta.

And luck did strike for dinner.

I whipped up a very simple, very creamy, very vegan vodka pasta using those fun little spirals, and dusted the whole thing in a lot of salt and pepper, and finished it with an extra drizzle of olive oil, and you guys. It was so carby and comforting and I can think of no better meal for my weekly sweatpants / couch / Bachelor dinner. It was a moment of sheer happiness.

This recipe will be coming to the blog SOON.


Naturally sweetened chocolate chip cookies.

I'm currently all out of energy bites (BAD BAD BAD I need to make another batch ASAP), but we were watching the Bachelor and it was just too cozy not to have a treat, so I decided to try making sugar free-ish cookies.

I worked off of this recipe and used maple syrup instead of sugar, a little less butter, a little more almond flour, and less-sugary dark chocolate chips.

The verdict: medium.

The cookies themselves were pretty good. And yes - there were totally naturally sweetened! But I found myself just doing what I normally do when I make cookies: eating huge spoonfuls of cookie dough and inhaling approximately 50 cookies fresh out of the oven.

So even though it's naturally sweet, I'm not sure that it's necessarily helpful if the goal is to reduce my overall dependence on / desire for sugar.

I feel like a better scenario would be having a hot spiced tea, a really crispy apple, and a swipe of almond butter. Things that have less of that sugary-addictiveness.

How do you guys feel about naturally sweet desserts? Helpful during Sugar Free January? Not helpful?

Also how much are you judging my lunch? Don't even answer that.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m an absolute nympho for delicious and buttery soft Chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been trying to behave myself and not eat them cause they sell them @ Royal Farms and I’m proud of you for using Maple sugar instead of regular sugar for making those cookies. Which reminds me that I do need to try Maple sugar soon as a regular sugar substitute. 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these posts SO much, Lindsey. Please keep doing them beyond sugar free January. I love a food diary with amazing narration and sweet baby photos snuck in! I do the EXACT same when making cookies lol. Made me chuckle. You are my kind of people dear!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Anything in moderation. I can actually “binge” on anything I love that isn’t necessarily sweet. I really have to measure portions and eat mindfully–but that’s me. I think with a baby, you are very busy and likely to burn off a healthy portion of naturally sweet foods. Curious, what kind of pasta spirals you used – a regular pasta or a vegetable based type?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Good point about the substitute desserts! I find that I’m much more satisfied eating a bit of the real thing rather than trying to sub a “healthified” version (frozen yogurt vs. ice cream… I’m lookin’ at you!). Fruit all the way though!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m with you naturally sweetened desserts do the same thing-they just are not helpful. I just end up eating a lot of them and it defeats the point.
    I’m also a mom and someone who gets HANGRY so there is absolutely no judgment on lunch. I would do the same thing!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I know it’s “ Sugar-free” January buuuut if I’m going to have a mini break, and stuff my face with cookies, they’re going to be your amazing soft choco chips ones 😉

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Appreciate you for keepin it real! Definitely in the same boat when it comes to “naturally sweetened” or dupes for sweets. If it’s in my house, I will binge. Recently I’ve been having coconut yogurt + almond butter after dinner and it’s a delightful “dessert” if anyone is looking for ideas 🙂

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can you post the recipe for the Chestnut tea latte? It sounds amazing!
    And by the way, I would never judge your lunch! I love how you keep it real. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and recipes and following the sugar-free January.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    The dinner pasta looks so good and the cookies not too bad. I will pretty much take a cookie any way I can get it and those look pretty darn delicious!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ahhh! I love your realness. Lunches and food don’t always turn out and hunger calls. I am amazed that some people don’t feel hunger the way it seems I do. I love your post and have been following you for years! Thank you for being awesome!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m anxiously awaiting your recipe for vodka sauce. I need a fast easy tomato-based pasta sauce for weeknights when we succumb to mac and cheese again.
    But what I really want to know is how do you get your fridge to look so empty? I need tips. Fast!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I only crave a sweet thing after dinner and it’s the hardest craving to ignore…. I’m best if I just put the kitchen closed sign up when dinner is done and stay out of that space. When I’m baking, I’ll put a piece of tape over my lips to remind myself not to sample…it usually works, but sometimes the tape ‘slips’. I am appreciating no sugar January and would also like to see it extended.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    OH MY GAWD that picture of Solvi that got in there. I’m so happy it did! It made me giggle. Also, I CANNOT wait for the vegan vodka pasta! What a treat!

    No judgments here on your lunch. Just empathy and the saddest heart because when you are excited for lunch and it’s less than meh, that is total devastation.

    I’m with you on those naturally sweet desserts. I can’t make any cookies ever, even if they are made with better ingredients because I lack all the self control.

    Loving all these posts! Please keep ’em coming forever. 🙂

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Juice! This is such a frequent topic of conversation between my mom and I. We love orange juice but too much is definitely whoa so we still use the old fashioned juice glasses. Tiny little things that are like three inches tall and skinny but the PERFECT amount of juice. We have a few vintage ones and she poured my juice in one everyday before school when I was little. 🙂 Have you heard of these?

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    In order: Solvi is the CUTEST!

    Thank you for posting a bleh lunch. Everyone posts about how amazing certain recipes are, but the reality is that sometimes stuff just doesn’t taste good (or as good as it looks, because the photo of the tacos looked pretty tasty!)
    And sugar? It’s called a sugar dragon for a reason, and it’s a really hard foe to defeat! Giving in a little is all it takes to “release the dragon”!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wonderfully honest post!
    I have been “there” too many times to count with trying to rescue a meal gone wrong. Love your sense of humor!

    Solvi is so adorable. Her eyes are amazing!
    You sound so happy and relaxed.

    Cheers to great orange juice!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    You have been inspiring me with this whole sugar-free thing. I am planning on trying it for lent this year, although I will probably bake some with honey and coconut sugar so we have some sweets, just healthier. I made a big pot of creamy cauliflower soup last night and it is always so good! https://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/creamy-cauliflower-soup Also, Solvi is so stinking cute. You can see my little stinker here. https://www.instagram.com/p/BslhBSRAE97/

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I need need NEED to know where that high chair / baby seat is from. Please, please share if you can!!! It’s exactly what I’m looking for. It seems comfy and actually looks nice. And I also need need need the pasta recipe 🙂 Thank you!!!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m with you on the naturally sweetened desserts! It never quite satisfies my sweet craving, and I overeat it anyway, so it’s lose lose 😉 After dinner just hanging out is definitely the time I am struggling most with the whole no sugar thing! I’ve been surprisingly in control at work when there is always candy in supply, but at home is a whole other story. I originally told myself no dried fruit, but I have ended up buying a couple no sugar added options so I can have a couple bites of something with my evening tea.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Confession: last night I had a spoonful of crunchy (natural) peanut butter and a square of dark chocolate after dinner and it was so uh-MAZingly satisfying. Sometimes an apple will do, sometimes it just will not! Anyway, love these posts and your honesty! It’s so weirdly fun to see everything someone ate in a single day. I personally love finding recipes for naturally sweet desserts! Restrictive eating makes me sad and I don’t want this challenge to feel that way for me. So it does me good to focus on all the great stuff I CAN have instead of what I cannot have and whenever I can satisfy a craving with a more nourishing version, I consider it a total win.

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    These look like lovely meals! The coconut oil granola and toast are food GOALS. The advice on the cookies are very helpful too. It’s important to find a threshold for what sweetness you want without the refined sugar. For me, I would have probably topped the cookies with a little bit of Stevia or monkfruit! Not sure how the Stevia would taste, but hey, it does add some sort of sweetness kick! Also, I’m sorry that the tacos didn’t result as marvelously as you desired. Hope your next attempt nails it!

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have had the same dilemma about naturally-sweetened desserts. There are healthy desserts and then there are health-ier desserts, and just because a recipe uses maple syrup instead of white sugar doesn’t make it necessarily healthy, although it is healthier than the normal version.

    I love treats that are actually nutritious, because they satisfy my sweet tooth but I still feel great even if I eat a bunch of it–like frozen bananas blended up with a little peanut butter and almond milk. Amazing. Or cookie dough made with garbanzo beans, or your healthy-ish breakfast cookies that have bananas in them.

    …and Solvi is so precious! Every picture of her makes me happy for you!

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    I agree 100% on the naturally sweetened dessert thing. I try to be sugar free almost all the time, including natural sweeteners. Whether a treat is sweetened with regular ol’ sugar or maple syrup, I can feel my body/mind having the same reaction: GIVE ME MORE!!! But when I eat an energy bite made with dates or 88% dark chocolate heaped with peanut butter, I feel mostly satisfied without the craving and subsequent inhaling of more.

  24. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh my, I made something gross recently, too! I was working on a recipe, black bean pasta carbonara with salmon and peas. Turned out terrible. Had to throw it out! Hope you figure out the tacos. They sound interesting! (hopefully I’ll figure out black bean pasta, too…)