Saturday, July 12, 2014

Frustrations and Such - Paleo Sweet Potato Hash Brown Patties

 Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get frustrated? Seriously, it's the easiest thing. Something doesn't go your way, or you take a misstep or make a mistake, and it is SO easy to just fall into a rut and feel the pressure all around.

I've noticed that feeling a lot lately. Frustration. Things not going according to plan. Not having time, or money, or energy to do things that I feel like I want to do, or should do.

"When all else fails... pet the dog."

Like this blog, for example. I've been slacking so hard, and I know it. I get frustrated. Why don't I have the skills to make amazing recipes and take amazing photos? Why do I feel like I'm talking to an empty room? Why have I been doing this for four years when it costs me more money than it makes? And then I remember the answer: because I need to PUT time, and sometimes money, into it to make it work and get it to the place I want it to be. Do the good work and good things will follow.

At least it doesn't look like this anymore...
This was a REAL RECIPE POST circa 2011, yikes.

It's easy to get frustrated, and then it's easy to get envious. Don't get me wrong, I am SO happy for blogs I love to "go viral" or get a book deal or even hit the 5k, 10k, 20k marks on followers. But I do get jealous. I think the two can go hand in hand.

Also, all the frustration feelings (not just blog-related, but this is my blog, so that's the example I gave) could totally be PMS. It happens.

And often, the frustrating feelings often subside, and I am able to focus on the positive again. I love what I do. I love where I live. And I love the rush of creating a recipe totally from my own head. I love this blog, and while I knowww it needs a lot of help design-wise and my photography could be better, it's mine.

Another thing I get frustrated about? My diet. I haven't lost the weight I keep saying I want to, keep making excuses. So I made brunch. And I made it Paleo because that's the diet I feel like I can stick to the best. One that is still filling and satisfying. The exercise will come, once I can find a plan I'll actually stick to.

These hash browns are gluten free, paleo, and delicious. I use them as a vehicle for drippy, gooey eggs and avocado. With a splash of salsa they make the perfect brunch.

Sweet Potato Hash Brown Patties
1-2 large sweet potatoes, shredded (squeeze out excess moisture with a paper towel or cheesecloth)
1 egg
2 tbs almond flour
1 tsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
cooking oil of your choice (I used coconut)

-Heat cooking oil over medium-high heat. If doing a large batch, turn on oven to 250 degrees F to keep hash browns warm in between batches.

-While oil is heating, mix together the shredded hashbrowns and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients.

-With a fork or your hands, mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Form mixture into patties and press together firmly.

-In small batches, fry in oil until crispy on both sides--about 2 minutes per side. Serve on their own or as a base for a delicious eggy brunch.


  1. You are not talking to an empty room! Hi :) These sweet potato hash browns look seriously awesome... I have sweet potato hash on my menu for the week! I totally know how you feel though. One of my fave blogs tells her readers how much she makes every month (Pinch of Yum) and last month she made more than some people make in a year. SO happy for and proud of her (she works her butt off) and also totally inspired, but also a little sad I'll never find a quarter of that success.... But then I remember success isn't just money; you obviously love cooking, writing, and blogging, so finding a hobby you love is a kind of success all in itself!

    /endrant :)


    1. I totally agree, but I do think it's natural to get a little twinge of the green-eyed-monster from time to time. I'd been feeling low lately and kept trying to force myself to do blog things, and I had a moment of UGH WHY DO I EVEN BOTHERRR??? After seeing empty comment fields from the past few posts.

      But then I remembered--I haven't been commenting. And I haven't been pinning or submitting to the food-porn-ish sites. So it's my own fault. And I need to start getting back to 1. Blogging and generating content people want to read, and 2. Promoting it so people actually see it.

  2. Ugh, attempt number 4 to write a comment -- I don't know why my computer hates me! I know those feels, girl. I feel like other people make it look so effortless and perfect, like the pretty girls in high school who made a million friends without trying while I'm all socially awkward in the corner talking about cats. But even if my victories seem small by comparison (was super pumped earlier this week about reaching 800 facebook likes, ha), they're still my victories and I'll still be proud of them and you should be proud of yours. Let's sit down and celebrate with some hash brown patties? Feelings make me hungry and these look delicious.

    PS, I'm still reading when I'm not commenting! I love your voice that comes through in your posts, but our tastes in food don't always intersect. I'd feel a little fake commenting on a chicken recipe when I don't even eat chicken ;-) but I'll still read about it!

    1. Oh no worries, I totally get it--I always feel weird commenting on like, a vegan blog wanting to say "yeah I like this but I'd totally add some dead cow for flavor!" haha. AND you're one of my top commenters, and I feel like a butt for not being as good to you. So, <33!

      And, um, I totally am the person in the corner talking about cats, haha.

  3. First off, before I get on my soapbox about blogging, the sweet potato cakes sound delicious. I like that they don't have a zillion ingredients like more veggie pattie/"meatball" thing too.

    Second, I love, LOVE that you wrote this post. So many bloggers are so coy about wanting their blog to be read/looked at. I love the idea of being honest on your site.

    Now I'm getting on the blogging soapbox, and I really don't mean any offense so please forgive me if I say something questionable - I honestly think that blogging is a LOT OF WORK if you want to be successful. Not just developing your skills as writer, photographer, AND recipe developer - and those aren't skills anyone's born with but they develop over time and with a lot of practice - and there's a bunch of things I don't understand (nor really want to) - SEO optimization, networking, etc. It's an over-40-hour-a-week job. Having a photographer boyfriend seems to help a lot bloggers too though. Though I will also say that you don't need a fancy camera for good photos.

    I really really hope I don't offend you, but I don't really like the idea of getting internet-famous or promoting via Instagram/pinning own pics/submitting your photographs to Foodgawker/Tastespotting/etc. Part of that is that those sites have some ownership of your work - especially FG and TS (I'm a lawyer, and paranoid about the copyright to my stuff). I really wish I could tell ALL bloggers this, but Foodgawker and Tastespotting, et al - their disclaimers pretty much say they can do what they want with the work you submit. And the other part of it is that I'm a very idealistic person who wants to think that good content will win the internet :)

    1. Omg, no offense taken at all, and thanks for being honest as well! I think it all boils down to the reason we all put things on the internet is so that it WILL be looked at--for whatever form that takes. Some people want advice, or a community, or money, or just to be heard. I think the last bit is the one that kind of trumps all others--if we're not being heard, why put it on the internet at all? I realize it takes work, and sometimes I have the time/money to do that, and sometimes I don't. That's why I kind of give myself a reality check when I start to get envious of other bloggers who have "made it" because it's likely they have a whole lot more time and energy to put into it than I do. Working full time plus a part time job, paying a million bills, and still having a social life... it's understandable that I can't blog multiple times a week, and sometimes that IS what it takes.

      That's a good point about the photo sharing sites! I think they can be a good tool, but once you're actually making money off your work, they can be dicey. I always forget to submit to them, but I feel like if I ever do "go viral," that's when they'll have served their purpose, and I'll stop, or at least slow down, heh.

      My fiancé is a former photographer! lol. Our free time rarely aligns enough for me to want to bother him with it though. Plus, our aesthetics are waaay different. I'm more bright and happy, he's more dark and brooding.

      Thanks again for the response! Absolutely no offense taken, and your soapbox was definitely helpful :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I always appreciate it.

    2. I'm glad you weren't offended. I was actually worried about it for a while.

      There's an article by Deb Perlman (of Smitten Kitchen) that I read years ago - she talks about how much work and what type of work she does behind the scenes on her blog - to have gotten it to the point it's at now. If I find I'll send you a link, maybe it will help :)

  4. I definitely remember when I was talking to myself... :D Try not to compare your site with others. People have different goal and a lot of times it's luck, too (I'm pretty sure we can all agree we spent much time equally as other bloggers). Yet I often wish that I have the time to blog... having two young kids, my time is mostly used for my family. So I usually stay up late till 2 am to work on the blog and have to wake up by 6 to get the kids ready for school...and weekend is used for video shooting/photo shooting... it's tough! But I have to accept people have different goal, priority, and lifestyle and I can't compare. I just focus on my work and try to improve to make it the best. So don't be too harsh on yourself. We just do our best and learn and use time wisely... Use other blogs to get inspiration, but don't compare. ;) Good luck! I love your sweet potato hash brown patties! :)

    1. Oh definitely. And my goal isn't even to make tons of money off my blog, not at all. It'd just be nice if it covered the cost of ingredients, or hosting space, or to get a re-design... something. But in the end it's a fun hobby to help me better my cooking and photography skills, and that should be enough for me. Thank you for the support through the years! :)

  5. i definitely understand and go through the same frustrations ashley, especially comparing yourself to others, which is so easy to do! i just try not to be too hard on myself and try to push myself further to be the best version of myself. thanks for sharing a great recipe too - i really enjoyed the read.

  6. I'm sending you hugs on this honest post. I think we all feel these things and go through them. It's really hard not to compare, it's something I battle everyday. Here's some virtual cupcakes I'm sending to you. And another hug.

  7. I hear ya - I have many of the same feelings. The ugly comparison bug that I just can't shake sometimes - and then I get down on myself when there really is no reason to! But when I step back and remember how much I love doing it and look at how far I've come in the years I've been at it - then it's all much better :)

    And these hash browns look awesome - I can never ever get enough sweet potatoes in my life!

  8. Yes! I am feeling this same thing. And posting much less. And just generally feeling the financial strain of recipe testing and subsequently feeling very unmotivated/uninspired. But please know that your name came up recently in conversation when I ran into Sally Ekus. And I always like to pass it on when this sort of coincidence happens - she just LOVES you! You have a lot to be proud of. Loads of people think your blog/your ideas/ your recipes are so so great. You can do it! :)

    1. Aw, that's so nice! I love Sally. And having her representing me is a sign that I AM doing something right, but it also feels like I'm so close and so far at the same time. It all comes back to building my platform, which is difficult. Having her behind me and having all the support of my bloggy friends is a wake up call that I should just relax and let things happen... while still continuing to work my butt off as much as I can ;)

      I'm also sad we never met up while I was still in the valley--while I'm back in September we should do lunch!

    2. Totally! :)

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  10. I am definitely guilty of playing the comparison game also. Like, why do these bloggers always get picked to go on these trips or get these sponsored post opportunities, etc. It can be a total mind game. But so long as you enjoy doing it, then it's worth doing!

    1. Oh the trips. So jealous. I still have not been to a single blogger conference... I can't afford them on my own, but the brands don't look at me to sponsor because I'm too small :\

  11. I get you! And I'm reading. I just don't have time to comment on every single post (yours and others- and I know your comments about that aren't directed at any one person etc.). Last night I was frustrated I didn't write a blog post, but then I remembered I made an awesome dinner that my husband loved (a frittata with mushrooms, yellow squash, & corn; rolls; green beans), went on a walk with him, and had time to read before cleaning up the kitchen & going to bed. And that was awesome. I've learned that there are times I can get blog posts written and times I can't, and that's okay. My blogiversary is actually Sunday... 4 years, woohooo, and I'm planning to write a (scary) post about my thoughts on blogging, frustrations with the blogging world, etc. Okay, I think that's it...but I wanted to comment to say I enjoy reading your blog & seeing your recipes. You're awesome! And these hashbrown patties look so fun :)

    1. I totally get what you mean--I get sad at lack of comments, but then I don't go comment on my favorite blogs or even the blogs (like yours!) that comment on my page regularly. I gotta give love to get love, and I do appreciate everyone who does take the time to say something :) Can't wait to see your post! It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who feels like this.

  12. I'm just going to repeat what everyone else is saying - you're doing great! Blogging is so much more work than I ever thought; between photo editing, typing posts, commenting around the internet, and actually cooking/baking, it's a never-ending process. After 2 1/2 years I wonder sometimes why I'm still doing it and my reason is simple: I love it. Maybe I'll never make a lot of money (any money, really) or become famous or get a cookbook deal, but this is mine, something I've built all by myself. It's my hobby and it gives me the excuse to bake, cook, and make cocktails I would have never made before.

    As long as you're doing it for yourself, that's all that matters! Good luck Ashley, you're not alone!

    1. Oh definitely, I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it :) It's just hard not to play the comparing game sometimes... It's good to know I'm not alone!

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