1, 2, 3… Jump!

Jump

So here I am 3 years later… and ready to blog again. Too many things have happened to “catch up” on so I am just going to jump back in and update as I go. I know that this time I will be writing about more than just food. This blog will share our life, the stories and the crazy world that I am living in with my husband and now three kids.

At the park this week I was watching my one year old jump. She loves to jump and I mean really jump. We have never had a child be so young and actually have the coordination to jump. Usually they are doing some sort of butt sticking out slide thing off of whatever surface they are trying to “jump” from. You know what I am talking about where they either barely miss the edge some how or their rear gets caught on the edge and they hit hard. Well, this child is different. She gets it and she loves it. At some point during the day she finds something to stand on and you can here her saying 3,4,7… jump. Or some other number sequential that is not in the right order but when you hear the numbers being yelled, you know she is about to take off from somewhere and JUMP.

So she was jumping at the park. And jumping off anything. No fear, just joining. Jumping from heights taller than she is and just laughing and having fun. Complete abandon. I realized in watching her joy that I need to jump more. I need to let go and jump. Maybe not physically because I am sure these knees and ankles could use a little conditioning strength training right now but in more of the spiritual and emotional areas, I need to put myself out there and jump. I need to take some of the wild abandon my one year old has and let go. Over the past few months I have been dipping my toes into the world of meditation and mindfulness and before you get turned off by those “buzz words” as I know in the past I would have been, it has really made a huge difference for me. I have seen so many positive changes through exploring my own meditation practice that I feel like I am at a place where I am starting to see some really positive changes. I haven’t figured it all out yet but I am daily seeing how just quieting my mind even for five minutes is having a huge impact and I feel like I am ready to share some of those experiences and our life again. Maybe this will just help myself … or maybe it will speak to someone else out there who has also been struggling and holding back but is now ready to JUMP too!

 

Jump

Jump

Whole30 Week 2

Whole30 Week 2

This post is a little tardy but here is a quick summary of what we ate during Whole30 Week 2. This time things have been much easier and we are definitely branching out more and having fun with new sauces like the Whole30 mayonnaise, salad dressings and stock. I think we know the basics and what we need to do to “survive” so we are having more fun trying to fit yummy food in the Whole30 box. And boy, have we been eating well!

Let’s get started…

Day 9:

Breakfast – Scrambled backyard-fresh eggs with parsley and onions, half a mango and bacon

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Hand full of almonds

Lunch – Warmed homemade turkey broth to drink with leftover steak and a boiled backyard-fresh egg

Whole30 Week 2

Dinner – We went to a friend’s house that is also doing Whole30 this month. We brought a couple of sides and they made meat and a side. It was a great dinner. But I forgot to rake a picture, whoops!

Ribs marinated in a dried cherry glaze that was then turned into a Whole30 compliant BBQ sauce. Brussels sprouts with bacon, asparagus salad and sweet potato fries with a garlic aioli

 

Day 10:

Breakfast: Blackberries – It was not the most filling breakfast but I was in a hurry this morning to get to church.

Lunch – Burger with lettuce bun and leftover asparagus salad

Snack – Ramekin of mixed nuts

Dinner – Salmon over spinach with sweet potato fries and garlic aioli

Whole30 Week 2

 

Day 11:

Breakfast – Leftover onions, red peppers, arugula and steak with a fried backyard-fresh-egg

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Lemon Lara Bar – Before doing Whole30, neither Chris nor I was a fan of these bars, not sure if it was the sugary treats we were used to or what but we are both huge fans now and we have boxes sent on a monthly basis from Amazon. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime, especially because Charlie has also become quite the fan and can take down more than one at a time if you let him! But seriously, these are a great on the go snack and I have learned to keep a couple in my bag and the car for emergency moments when I need something immediately.

Whole30 Week 2

Lunch – Leftover Salmon, spinach, sweet potato fries and aioli

Snack – two handfuls of almonds

Dinner – Pan-seared duck breast, marinated grilled Portobello mushrooms, artichokes and roasted beets – This was Chris’s birthday dinner that he made himself.

Whole30 Mayonnaise

Day 12:

Breakfast – Hard-boiled backyard fresh egg and fruit cup with strawberries, banana, pineapple and blackberries

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Mixed nuts

Lunch – Leftover pan-seared duck with marinated grilled Portobello mushrooms, and roasted beets

Snack – Lara lemon bar

Whole30 Week 2

Dinner – Burger with lettuce, tomato, onions and mushrooms, with half an avocado and homemade Whole30 mayo on the side

Whole30 Week 2

Day 13:

Breakfast – Backyard fresh hard-boiled egg and handful of cashews

Lunch – Grilled chicken breast with half an avocado and small side salad

Dinner – Eggs with red peppers and onions

Snack – Figs and nuts

Day 14:

Breakfast – Fruit cup with blackberries, strawberries and banana with a hard-boiled backyard fresh egg

Snacks – Nuts and Lara Apple Pie bar

Lunch – Grilled chicken breast with half an avocado and small side salad

Snack – Apple

Dinner – Burger with homemade Whole30 mayo, onions and mushrooms and homemade sweet potato fries with a side of garlic aioli

Whole30 Week 2

*I was starving all day and was ready to throw in the towel. It was not that I wanted something sweet as we actually had a birthday party at work and there was cake but it was not a temptation at all. I wanted to go out to eat and have a burger on a bun or something like that to satisfy me or that was how I was feeling. But I made it through and had a fantastic burger at home and was not sorry at all!

Day 15:

Breakfast – Hard boiled egg and fruit

Lunch – ½ a burger with a half an avocado and sweet potato fries with grilled onions on the side

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Nuts

Dinner – Chicken fajita salad with lettuce, red peppers, onions and homemade dressing

Whole30 Week 2

Two weeks down and only two more to go. So far so good. I feel great and I am really enjoying Whole30 this time around. I had a moment during the week where I wanted to quit but I think that is normal. We have quite a few new recipes to add and make sure you come back next week for Whole30 Week 3.

Any tips you want to share with me? Any good recipes I need to try this week?

Whole30 Week 1

Whole30 Week 1Like was mentioned in one of the previous posts, Chris and I decided to get 2015 off to a healthy start with our second round of Whole30. Unfortunately, we never formally blogged about our overall experience when we completed Whole30 for the first time back in August, like we had planned to. So this time we will do a weekly recap and at the very end we will each write about our experience this time versus last. I can, however, say that so far, this time has been much easier. Maybe that’s due to being past the initial learning curve we experienced last time, but after a month of sweet holiday treats, we were both just dying to get back on board with meat and veggies and having an actual meal plan. So far, so good! Whole30 Week 1, done!

We started the week of with some basic meal prep. I am very lucky to have quite the kitchen warrior and Chris spent much of Sunday in the kitchen making clarified butter (ghee), homemade mayo, curry chicken salad and boiled eggs for us in preparation for our first week. (We will be sharing many of these recipes over the next couple of weeks so make sure you stop back by!) And boy was it worth it! From experience, the biggest key to being successful with this plan is having some basic essentials available throughout the week so in a moment of weakness or desperation you can reach into the fridge and grab a boiled egg or make a chicken salad lettuce wrap and survive until the next meal. For me, leftovers are also key for both breakfast and lunch. One of my favorite breakfast meals now is leftover veggies from dinner the night before with a fried egg on top. And – it is quite funny – I have become the girl who cannot live without leftovers. If you would have met me three or four years ago, I would have told you I hated leftovers, but now I cannot live without them. So, onto what we ate this week.

Our first day of Whole30 was talked about here, so this posts starts with day 2 and covers day 2-8. Here is our recap of Whole30 Week 1.

 Day 2:

Breakfast – Bacon, two backyard-fresh-eggs scrambled with onions and parsley and blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Banana and fig

Lunch – Missed it! Whoops! *see below

Dinner – Stuffed acorn squash – Acorn squash roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper. It was then stuffed with a shaved Brussels sprouts hash consisting of grass feed ground beef, chicken sausage, red peppers, onions, calamata olives, salt, fresh cracked pepper, thyme and oregano.

Whole30 Week 1

 

*I had a horrible headache around and after dinner. I drank water all day but I do not think I had enough to eat. This was the only day during the week this happened so I think it might have been because I accidentally skipped lunch.

 

Day 3:

Breakfast – Chicken sausage, scrambled eggs with onions and peppers and blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Lunch – Three Romaine lettuce pork tacos with bacon, apple, pickles and thinly sliced onions

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Lemon Lara bar

Whole30 Week 1

Dinner – New York Strip Steak seasoned with salt and pepper, ½ sweet potato and asparagus

Whole30 Week 1

Day 4:

Breakfast – Fried backyard-fresh-egg over leftover broccoli and cubed sweet potato with blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Apple

Lunch – Leftover acorn squash

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Apple Pie Lara bar and apple

Whole30 Week 1

Dinner – Seared pork chops with cauliflower rice, mushrooms and collard greens

Whole30 Week 1

Day 5:

Breakfast – Leftover veggies (mushrooms and cauliflower rice) and fried backyard-fresh-egg with blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Almonds and dried figs

Lunch – Leftover seared pork chops with cauliflower rice, mushrooms and blackberries

Dinner – Ground beef breakfast casserole with eggs, red peppers, onions, spinach and green onions with half an avocado on the side

Whole30 Week 1

Day 6:

Breakfast – Ground beef breakfast casserole with eggs, red peppers, onions, spinach and green onions with half an avocado on the side and strawberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Hard boiled backyard-fresh-egg

Lunch – Two romaine lettuce wrap boats with curry chicken salad and pickles

Snack – Apple

Dinner – Marinated pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes and collard greens

Whole30 Week 1

 

Day 7:

Breakfast – Today I tried something new. For years my husband has made stock from a variety of leftover bones after we cook. Last weekend he made turkey stock and I had a cup of warm turkey stock that many people call bone broth. It was so good and warmed me up from the inside on a VERY cold morning and I was quite surprised how filing it was. Definitely interested in doing this more.

Whole30 Week 1

Lunch – Curry Chicken salad with an apple

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Almonds and a hard boiled backyard-fresh-egg

Whole30 Week 1

Dinner – Leftover steak and pork tenderloin topped on a wonderful salad full of a variety of veggies and cashews. Chris made a homemade dressing from our homemade mayo, avocado and mustard. It was an amazing salad and I would eat it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I was so focused on the salad and how good it was I forgot to get a picture.

Day 8:

Breakfast – In a hurry this morning so I grabbed a Lara bar and a boiled egg. I am finding that if I have a little protein even for a snack, I am good for a couple hours and not hungry again until the next meal.

Lunch – Curry chicken salad with a boiled egg and a pickle.

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Apple

Dinner – Skirt steak with dressed arugula side salad with cooked onions and red peppers. This was a really great dinner.

Whole30 Week 1

So that is the recap of Whole30 Week 1. All of the pictures above were taken on my iPhone and in real time so you can see how we have made Whole30 work for our family both at home and work. This was a quick run-down of what we ate last week but Chris is writing up the recipes that we will share over the next few weeks. Have you started Whole30 recently? Is it your first time or are you doing it again? Do you have any secrets to share? One thing I have really enjoyed about this experience in addition to feeling good is the Whole30 community and all the recipes and inspiration that is shared. Feel free to ask us questions or let us know what is working for you. I love to get feedback and hear about other people’s experience.

 

Happy and Whole30

Happy and Whole30

Hope you had a wonderful end of 2014. We had a great night celebrating at our home with goods friends and enjoying quiet a feast of wonderful treats and homemade eggnog. And the kids had a blast with sparklers.

Chris and I had planned to wake up the next morning and start our next round of Whole30 but at the last minute we changed plans and enjoyed one last day indulging ourselves, primarily so we  could take part in the traditional southern New Years Day good luck feast that our friends invited us to and boy, it was worth it! This picture was taken on my phone so it doesn’t do it justice. The flavors on this plate were out of this world and hopefully will lead to lots of luck and goodness throughout the coming year.

Happy and Whole30

So today then marks our official first day of our next Whole30 journey. I had big plans to do a lot of food prep but that was side stepped with getting down all the Christmas decor so I will work on it tomorrow. I am hoping to document and provide a weekly Whole30 update every Friday or Saturday. Pictures will be included similar to below with some recipes and ideas that you can follow and hopefully help you on your own journey. Chris and I completed our first Whole30 in August of 2014. We continued to eat the same way most of the fall but have felt through the holidays we were really missing the structure and had thrown some of the principals out the window so it is a great time to start. I knew when I said more than a couple of times “I really miss eating vegetables!” that I was definitely game for the challenge again. This time I am sure we will expand what we were doing on a daily basis and hopefully try some new things as well. I am looking forward to sharing our plan with you and hope we can help you too!

Day 1 – complete!

Happy and Whole30

Are you taking the Whole30 challenge? Did you make other resolutions? Chris and I have some big goals for this year that we will share more of in the future, but other than healthy eating, I think as a family we are working on quieting and organizing our house and our life. We want to be intentional about the choices and commitments we make and not just say “Yes” to things all the time. Have you sat down and made plans for 2015? Any ideas you want to share? I am always encouraged and challenged when I hear people talking about the areas they want to change. Good luck to you all and I hope when we look back at the end of this year that we all made more progress than we could have ever imagined!

Simply merry and bright

2014 ChristmasOur December has been busy. And I am sure you would say the same thing about yours. Lists have been made. Lists have been lost and then remade.  And I now wonder, did I ever finish even one of my list? Does it really matter? Here I sit two days before Christmas feeling tired and like I have not done enough but as I scroll back through the pictures from this month, I know I have. It was the simple things. Not the productions. Christmas to a child is simply merry and bright. This was our first Christmas having a child at the age where they are starting to get it. The twinkle of a strand of lights. Driving past a neighbors home with a blow up Ho-Ho (Santa). One candy cane. Seeing a live camel in “Bethlehem”. An unexpected wrapped gift from a neighbor.  Decorating the tree. Sitting in big church for the first time and hearing the children’s choir. A candle. Adding to her felt advent calendar everyday in anticipation for adding baby Jesus. Learning the words to Away in a Manger and getting excited every time we hear it. Jingle bells. And a small taste of the childhood magic of Santa. I can go on but you know what I mean.

Christmas 2014

In these photos I see the simple moments we have had with our children. No, we did not get to all the events on “my list” but we made memories. We created new traditions and continued old traditions. We laughed. We sang. We ate. And the best moments were when we experienced life like a child. Many days I am so busy with my list of “shoulds”, rushing us through the day and then I hear from the back seat, “Look mama, lights!”. Or I see Mary Stewart and Charlie carrying around Mary and Joseph blocks and fighting over who gets to hold baby Jesus. And I have to ask myself, why do they get it and I don’t. They see so simply what is important and I miss it. HE is the reason for the season! I’m worried about how well my house is decorated and if I have the right gifts and not the gift that was born in a lowly manger so long ago. So this week I have been making more of an effort to focus on the real moments. It has not been perfect but it is a start.

2014 Christmas 2014 Christmas-2-3

Here are photos from our month. Not all are food. Not all are perfect. But this has been our Christmas month. Be prepared there are a lot. It is hard for me to pick just a few…

Some of the food we made…

2014 Christmas

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2014 Christmas

A few of our projects…

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2014 Christmas

Decorating our tree…

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2014 Christmas

 Decorations around our house…

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2014 Christmas

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Our family memories…

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2014 Christmas

And at the end of the day all we really want is joy, love and laughter.

Luke 2:14

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

If you are still with me at this point, wow! Thanks for sticking around and seeing our simply merry and bright moments in December! May we remember to make memories and moments like this throughout the whole year!

Bourbon Carrot Cake

Bourbon Carrot Cake

We’re not crazy people, I swear, but for both of our children we have made all of their baby food up until they were consistently eating regular table food.  This is actually a lot easier than it may sound and is just one small thing we can do to give our kids a healthier start in life.  We hope that this early experience with wholesome foods, prepared with love, will plant the seed of appreciation for real food and because we are not limited to the menu in the grocery store’s baby food isle, we can introduce them to endless flavor combinations.  As a parent, the aspect of making our children’s food from scratch that I appreciate the most is the control we have over what we put into our children; we actually know all the ingredients in their food and can pronounce everything on the ingredient list.  What a novelty!

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Smile: Charlie is One

Charlie is one

I can not believe it has already been a year and Charlie is now one year old! There are many things to reflect on when I think back on the past year of my life learning to raise a little boy, but I have just one quick thought before this day is done.  This year has had its up’s, down’s, and many sleepless nights (as every year with a newborn has) but there has been one thing that has been constant, no matter how tired or weary I have been. It has been the one thing that has blessed me and was given to me, especially me, as a way to see life in a new way — Charlie’s smile. My boy can smile. It is a contagious and light-up-a-room smile. It is real and it infects you when you see it. When Charlie grins, you can’t help but grin back.  It is a gift and I pray that this smile leads him through his life. Charlie has brought our family so much joy this past year and I pray that as he grows and matures, we are able to love and guide him, as parents, to be a strong and loving man of God behind that amazing smile.

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