Friday, May 30, 2014

havarti stuffed chicken, olive tapenade, brussels and my love for food.

Almost 6 months after deciding to live "clean", 
food that is,
(I'm still convinced) I'm living life to the fullest with the right foods.
Occasionally, I choose terrible foods, and let's be honest, it's totally intentional. 
For 26 years of my life, I've understood that if you like it, you eat it.
I love grabbing the whole container of ice cream from the freezer and a spoon. And making a meal.
I love sushi, I love Mexican food, I love Italian food.
I love chips and dip, I love junk food, and I love healthy food.

I just love food.
Mostly, I love to eat.

So, the decision was made for me, my own fault I left myself feeling horrible for too long…
I decided I still loved food. That's never going to change.
No choice but to make what I eat beneficial to my body.
Of course this isn't every meal... but most of the time.
And after buying clean foods, 
life is still delicious, friends.
And it's more fun actually, because I've learned so much in the kitchen!
The kiddos watch me cook, they love to help, and they're even eating their greens.
I'm a proud mama.

-havarti stuffed chicken breast with 
olive tapenade and brussels sprouts-

This meal was the kind after you wake up, you sail through your day with 
this on your mind as the prize. 
Crazy or not, that's me.

The chicken I cut a 2" pocket in the thickest part of the breast, and stuffed them with sliced havarti. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, baked in a sprayed glass pan,
 in a 350 degree oven for one hour. 
Half way through, I added (real) butter on top of the chicken…

Brussels sprouts, I trimmed ends and sliced each into three pieces, threw them in a pan heated on medium/low heat, with a little olive oil to coat, and salt and pepper to taste. 
(I'm sure butter would be fantastic here too!)
Keep them moving around with your spoon here and there, not to get too done…
Sometimes I cover the pan to almost steam the brussels sprouts to soften them.

and the best part...

A few years ago, I found a recipe. It was one of those recipes that you just don't forget.
It's amazing. It's versatile, it's unforgettable! 
It's olive tapenade.

-olive tapenade-
1 can (average can size, I can't remember ounces) whole pitted black olives, chopped
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (I use more, thyme is my favorite!)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries, (I cut these in small pieces)
Olive oil

Drain the can of olives and pour olives into a food processor. (Or you can chop by hand) Pulse until the  olives are chopped enough to mix well.  In a bowl, combine first four ingredients, and drizzle enough olive oil in the mixture to lightly coat the mix. Not too much olive oil. That's it. (Of course you can add more/different ingredients to make it yours!) I've served this on crostini and goat cheese (OMG.), in pastry wrapped brie, and …on chicken! 

So, that's that. That was the recipe of the 
week that made me so entirely happy!
Please cut me some slack on the direction description, I've always been terrible at explaining things…

Enjoy this recipe!!! It's colorful and delicious and it's wonderful as leftovers too!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Family Days and Water Food.

I spent yesterday with my babies on the lake. 
With family that is wonderful enough to have us over for the day to enjoy the sunshine and laughter and food and missed time together. This time I have missed with my family, 
and I'm so very thankful to share that with my kids.

No doubt, a day around water is 
definitely a day full of snackin'. 
I mean, all day long.
You know, water food. Call me crazy, but there's the type of food you're supposed to eat on the lake. My favorite from yesterday was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a Dr. Pepper. 
You know, that kind of food.

We also snacked on this, which is my
 favorite summer "throw-together" recipe...
My favorite salsa. I first found a recipe in Southern Living as a spring salsa recipe a couple years back, and I've changed it so much, 
that it just is what it is. 
But it's good, I promise.

 here's what you need…

one can petite diced tomatoes (28oz)
one can white shoepeg corn, drained (11oz)
one can blackbeans, drained and rinsed (15oz)
half red onion, diced
fresh cilantro (I chopped half a bundle store bought)
1 tsp/tbsp (how much do you looove garlic..) minced garlic 
1 tbsp (or more!) diced jalapeƱo
juice of half a lime
sea salt to taste
adding a little taco seasoning to the mix is great too!

I love it with chips, on top of my burger, on top of grilled fish, on top of my omelette, 
in a crockpot with chicken... 
Make a triple batch of salsa and throw it in gallon sized freezer bags with chicken breasts, and freeze for an EASY make ahead crockpot meal. Salsa chicken is another favorite of mine!!
(I could talk forever about food…)

This is just my favorite. 
I make it a million times during the summer!

I hope you all enjoy your beautiful memorial weekend relaxing and loving on friends and family. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life and Good Food.

Life's been a 100mph with little sassy pants and my best buddy.
It's truly amazing.
 God's blessed me tremendously on a daily basis. 
These children shine beautiful moments of His Light on my life!
I'm living my dream, this is all I've ever wanted to be.
A wife and a mother.  
And a cook every now and then.

Y'all, I love to cook. But more importantly, I love food.
More than the average person loves food. 
More than the food lover loves food.
I love good lookin' food. 
I love lots of taste. 
I love easy. 
I love healthy. (Sometimes not so much.)
And because of babies screaming for my attention at 6pm, I love quick.
I try new recipes so often, then forget where I found them…
Here's a favorite from an old Real Simple Cookbook.

Ravioli with Grape Tomatoes and Wine

hands on time: 25 minutes/ total time: 25 minutes 
serves 4 (unless you love it like i do...)

16 to 18 oz cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup dry white wine
salt & pepper
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

-Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

-Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and simmer until the tomatoes begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.

-Add the pasta, butter, and parsley to the skillet and toss to combine.

This is exactly how the recipe was written in my book, although everyone has their own way to change it up! I hardly ever use heat as high as the recipe calls for and I used dried parsley. I also added a little spaghetti sauce over my pasta.

The asparagus was trimmed, tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. I sprinkled it with mozzarella (had no parmesan!) a couple minutes before cooking time was finished! 

Super easy dinner. I had leftovers for lunch today, they were even better. 

The wine and the tomatoes… oh my goooooodness. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Almond Coconut Fudge is where I'll begin.

This post ends with Almond Coconut Fudge, 
so bare with me.
I have two napping babies, and you know, 
you've got to make the most of that...

After a nearly a year of feeling miserable, and learning to deal with it day by day, I realized (along with friends and family telling me to see a doctor) it was time to get rid of whatever made me sick.
I started missing out on plans from severe stomach cramps, my dry skin has suffered long enough, and I'm just plain tired of being tired. Once I began reading about gluten intolerance, and candida (even celiac disease symptoms) I knew. Last week after seeing a doctor of alternative medicine, taking blood for food allergy testing and leaving with a million supplements and food lists...she said "I want you eating meat and vegetables for three months. You can have berries if you need sugar."
Once I got back to my car with my list, it's safe to say I was in shock.
Not because I didn't know this was coming, 
but because I knew I had no choice but to change my habits.
Which I choose to see as a blessing, because otherwise, left up to myself, I'd still be downing Starbucks and eating the kids goldfish crackers for lunch. 
The chain of events that led me up to this point began with taking conventional medicine rather than alternative. Being that I'm so sensitive to everything anyway, the side effects to what I was taking began another series of problems that led to more problems....and here I am today.
Story short- I'll never treat anything with conventional medicine as long as I live (if I have the choice, that is) 
and I now get to learn the habits of the healthy.
And truth be told... I am excited.
So that's that, and here we are. 
I'm the cook for this family of four, and darn it, we will have sweets.
You know, sparingly and all...
I've found clean (made-over) recipes for everything that I craved!
The most exciting is homemade bread from this amazing cookbook.
(Which I will be making a ridiculous amount of and freezing.)
Exciting food like avocado pesto and oh...vanilla frosted cupcakes.
The list goes on and on...

The original recipe that I found, I changed, so here ya go....

Almond Coconut Fudge
3/4 cup pure coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup raw honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp sea salt 
A couple handfuls of sliced almonds

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk well until the chocolate and coconut oil are both smooth. Spread out over a (small) parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle almonds over the fudge and chill in the fridge or freezer overnight. Cut and enjoy. 
(I'm not sure how long these freeze for, but this is great to store when you've GOT to have that chocolate fix faster than lightening.) 

I'll be posting lots more clean eating recipes,
 probably mostly sweets if you want the truth... 
Hope y'all enjoy!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Living with Intention.

    Between December and this very second, 
life has been a whirlwind. 
I read that "Type A's" are very sensitive to stress... I assume you understand
 how "Type A" I am by now. 
I know, I hate it too. 

December held for our family, like everyone else, a lot
Life intensified, packed all into one month.
Christmas was wonderful.
Birthdays were wonderful.
Being with family was wonderful. 

The kids birthday party was great. I was exhausted, and I'm sure all my wonderful family that helped was too. My babies are just growing so fast! I am l o v i n g  it though...growing independence is slowly happening to both of them, and I can't even tell you how much I embrace that. No huge diaper bag, no formula, bottles, burp cloths and bibs to tote around. Hallelujah!!!!
Marcy's learning to walk. 
Brady acts like he's 25.
 He thinks she's his child. 
They love each other and it's a beautiful thing.

2014 is the year. 
Today I had a heart to heart with someone about
living with intention. 
Intention, from the very small things to the reason why we are alive.
It affects every decision we make from the 
breakfast we eat to how our children are raised.
Intention is a powerful word. 
It gives purpose to our lives, and it molds our character.
Why we do the things we do.
Why we don't do the things we did.

I've been praying for new beginnings, discernment in relationships, 
but most importantly, 
I've prayed for my heart to be filled with God.
God is changing this family and it's amazing.
He has surrounded me with friends that love Him, 
that encourage with love and support for each other.
I am forever thankful for His grace.

Being intentional takes effort. It takes will and drive. It's not lazy. It doesn't make excuses. It leaves behind the unnecessary and embraces truth. 
It hurts me to see people I love turn their faces 
against what they know is right.
It's a decision we all make. I know why that path is chosen. 
It's easy. It's "normal". 
It's an excuse.
I must sound awful right now, right? 
Not one person alive is perfect.
 God didn't create us to be successfully independent. 
We need Him.
This year, I've made a promise to myself to live intentionally. From communicating with God, to the relationships I keep dear to my heart, to the food I prepare for my family. Everything.
 Because a decision is a decision whether you choose the right path or wrong. 
It would be foolish to choose the wrong path just because. 

There are things that stick with you that you'll never forget. 
Conversations with folks that just stood out to you. 
Those talks can remind you who you are.
They'll remind you what you stand for,
and you're faced with a decision to say the right thing or the wrong.
 and you can confidently walk away knowing that you may very well be headed a different direction than they are. Still, love. Forgive.
But move on confidently.
Making the decision to live in the Light doesn't just happen.
I've learned it's intentional. And you will be blessed.

I'm looking forward to a beautiful year.
And I'm thanking God for holding our family in His hands.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

No worries, mama.

      The past two days I've felt lucky to have the kept the kids alive and survived myself.
I can't tell if it's getting a little easier with both babies at the age they are 
...or if I'm just telling myself stories. 
One and three years.
We've had one wonderful year with this beautiful baby! She loves to be in the middle of it all. While we shopped today for birthday decorations, she screamed throughout the whole store. 
Not because she was mad or fussy. 
She was excited!  
I'm so thrilled that both babies have such strong personalities. 
...Which leads me to tell you that they're both 
Capricorns and yes, I definitely did my reading.
Things like "Capricorns carry the great strength of willingness to work hard and determination to succeed." and "Their ambition is boundless." 
...I'll take it.
Regardless of the things we choose to believe or not, 
raising babies is no simple task. 
It's no simple lifestyle. It's 100% selflessness and 100% sacrifice. 
They don't just become responsible, well-rounded adults 
because their sign says so.
Darn it.
But all while we try to be the parents we want to be, daily life happens and you feel like pure insanity.
It's making a complete fool of yourself in a store while you try to keep the baby happy and your toddler in the buggy. (Cart. Whatever.) You're trying to pay in line and your phone rings. You remember you had a coupon. Where the heck did it go... Your kid is carrying on a conversation with someone behind you, the baby just saw you reach in your purse and there was her bottle. She's hungry. She screams.
You're a lunatic. 

Life is crazy and life is good.
My husband made me laugh today when I told him
 I put a grand dent in my car.
It's the little things. The crazy days. The big whoops...
Tis' the season for the crazies.
With the easy days and the tough ones, 
 God created us to be dependent on Him. Always.
So, life is good. Life is wonderful because even in the middle of the chaos, it's our opportunity to call for Him. Through beautiful moments, truly difficult times, or even making a 
family scene in a store...even that. 
Even the tiny things take a toll after so long. 
It's called gray hair. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Crazy Month.

It's that season again!
That chilly, comfy, cozy, crazy season.
Thanksgiving holiday really got to me last week. 2013 is almost over, but that's fine by me. It's been an exciting, mostly exhausting year learning life with two babies and work, then shifting to no work at all, (which meant more work) life at home, and learning more about myself as these two grow. 
A few things I've learned as a mother of two little ones...

First, two it is. Two is the magical number for us. 
Two is perfect, and two is plenty.
I hope I'm not speaking too soon.

 Second, I'm a doer. I love crossing things off my lists.
 I love to get things done and keep moving. 
And guess what. You can't always do these things with two babies.
 You just can't.

Third, I love to work. I love that good feeling, I'm pleased with my long day kind of exhaustion. I miss it already. The long hours, the funny requests, the many jobs that a hairstylist can do. We cocktail products, formulate color, we're your therapists, 
(you're ours too, you know) and on and on. 
It's amazing.
I love what I do, and I love the company, too.

My heart was torn between my love for work and my life at home.
You know what? The way time is passing, these precious babies will be both be in school before I know it... and back to work it is.
 Life at home has been a blessing, and the hardest thing 
physically and emotionally I have ever done in my life.
It's only been 4 months.
I'm still pushing through, some days are wonderful and others are just not.
God gave each of us unique gifts...and all the gifts you need to be a stay at home mom, like patience and the gift of being still 
(whatever that may be called)... 
I'm definitely a work in progress.
My husband has been a saint through it all. I wouldn't know where to begin. He has the all the patience that I lack. When I go weak, he takes charge. 
He's my hero.

The month of December is wild, and within two years it's 
become even more of a big deal.
Christmas on the 25th, Marcy's 1st birthday on the 26th, New Years day right before Brady's 3rd birthday on the 6th. The smartest thing seems to pace myself... Christmas shopping, birthday shopping, 
decorating, planning, lists galore!

How is shopping going for y'all? I made my list today and I was surprised!
I've got a LOT more to do than I thought...
Cyber Monday is tomorrow, whatever that really is...maybe I can find a good deal here or there while I sit in my pajamas. Dragging two kiddos out to look for Christmas gifts just ain't happenin' friends...

Today was the first day of the last month of the year. I hope you all actually enjoy this month! The music, the company, the lights, the food & drinks, 
the parties...
it can get a little wild, but just enjoy.
Every day, I'm waiting on little Marcy to take her first step. 
Brady's ready to start school.
It's flying by friends.
Enjoy this happy season!

About Me

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Living with intention. Life in the south as a wife, mama, hairstylist, and food lover.