Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I know, I know...another video?  Yes.  But-in my defense, this one is amazing....and had me in tears by the end.  It's only about 6 minutes and everyone should watch it.

And I know it's been quiet around here but I promise I have been cooking up a storm and have some yummy recipes to share soon!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy Friday!

Hooray!  It's Friday!  Finally!  I have two quick videos I wanted to share with you all.  You may have already seen them, but I just love them both so much I had to share.  The first is one of the most creative engagement videos I have ever seen.  So much joy and so wonderful to watch!  And then I realized that the same guy who filmed his proposal shot a beautiful video honoring his family.  It doesn't matter how many times I watch that one...I tear up every single time.  It's simply beautiful.

Best Proposal 

Yes to Love

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are able to get outside!  Spring is finally starting to show up!!!!!!  We are ready for a weekend of blowing bubbles, riding bikes, running around the yard and long walks!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blessed beyond measure

So I celebrated my birthday over the weekend and welcomed 33 with open arms, for many reasons really.  First off, I love odd numbers, far better than evens.  Call it weird but I'm always happier when I am on an odd number birthday year.  Secondly, this past year has been a little rough to say the very least.  It has also been filled with good and wonderful things, but I am happy to finally move onto the next lap around the sun and see what this year has in store for me.

Because I love birthday's I sort of turned the whole weekend into my birthday! :)  Friday night I made some cupcakes while we watched some of the NCAA basketball games.  We ended the evening by watching This is 40, which was pretty funny!

Saturday morning I had a few sweet friends come over for a delicious brunch.  It was fun to have a slow and relaxing breakfast and visit with friends.  I made a yummy quiche-recipe coming soon!  My friends brought delicious food too like monkey bread, donuts and fruit salad.  We ate and drank coffee and just took a few moments out from our hectic lives to share some time together.  It was lovely.

Once they had left, Pat and I packed up and dropped Lucy off at my parents before heading to Fort Wayne for a few hours.  Pat and I went shopping around town at all the places that we never have time for with a toddler in tow.  Then we headed to my favorite restaurant, Granite City for a late lunch.  We sat in the bar and enjoyed a pitcher of beer while watching the MSU game.  Then Pat talked me into ordering their big Cookie Pie dessert.  It was HUGE!  And yes, we polished that puppy off.  I'm not sure I have words to describe how good it actually was.  Of course, we should NOT have eaten the entire thing....but....that's what birthday's are for, right?!?!

Amazing shrimp tacos!

Death of a cookie :)

 We shopped a bit more in Fort Wayne and then headed home to my parents house where we had another small birthday celebration.  Lucy sang Happy Birthday to me and it was the sweetest thing ever :)  We stayed for a few hours and then put Lucy in her jammies and headed home where I received the sweetest birthday surprise ever.

We grabbed the mail on the way in and I saw I had a small package from my sweet friend Andrea.  Andrea is a friend I have had since the second grade.  We took dance class together from my mom, celebrated birthdays, commiserated over terrible teachers (Mrs. K), cried together over break-ups, and celebrated achievements in one anther's lives.  She is one of those friends where time and distance make no difference, which is good since we live 3 hours away from each other and don't get too see each other often.  She even took me in and let me stay with her while I attended the Influence Conference this past October and was the most wonderful hostess ever.  It was so fun and relaxing waking up to coffee already made each morning, playing with her sweet kids, and then staying up way too late into the night chatting over glasses of wine.

So when I saw a small package from her in the mail I was intrigued and super excited.  I opened it up and read her card to me and began crying a river of tears.  Oh, my sweet friend knew just what my heart needed this birthday.  She wrote me the most beautiful message of love, hope and prayers.  It was one of those cards you have to read twice because it is so good, so thoughtful.  She had also included a beautiful handmade clutch for me (that she made herself!!!), a Starbucks gift card and some adorable stickers for Lucy, along with a note to Pat that beer just wouldn't fit in the envelope :)

It was one of the most thoughtful and surprising gifts I have received in a long time and it gave me the opportunity to realize how truly blessed I am.  Even though I feel like I am in this lingering and murky season of loss and pain, I really am blessed beyond measure.  I have a husband who would do anything for me, a daughter who makes me laugh and find joy in each day. I have my health, a job and a beautiful home. A health coaching business I am slowly but surely putting together.

My sweet girl!

And friends.  Friends like Andrea who brighten my day and remind me to smile and know just when to send the perfect birthday surprise.  Thank you sweet friend!  You are one in a million!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crying in the car and notes on waiting.

When I was reading Cold Tangerines (or possibly Bittersweet, I can't remember which one) there was a chapter where she talked crying in the bathroom.  She talked about the yearning and longing for a baby and how each month that passed with no baby resulted in tears in her bathroom.  Truthfully, though I don't typically cry in the bathroom, I cried when I read this chapter. I cried because I understood her tears as my own tears.  My tears just fall in a different place.  My crying happens in the car on the way to work or on the way home from work.  Or sometimes, on dark days, both ways.  The house is very busy at home (thankfully) with two working parents and an active toddler so my brain doesn't get much time to let my thoughts wander.  But I have a 30 minute commute to work and often times that is where my tears flow. 

We have started trying for another baby and just thinking about another baby can make me cry.  And now, each month that passes without a positive test at the end of it leads to several car rides full of tears.  I begin to doubt and worry and despair that we will never be able to grow our family.

Last month was an exceptionally tricky month.  Our first miscarried baby was due.  A date that came and went for many, but left an empty place in my heart for several days.  And then in a matter of three days I had four friends deliver beautiful, healthy, delicious babies.  Four adorable babies covering my facebook feed when we should have been bringing our own baby home.  And then I started my period, meaning no new baby still.  To say it was a rough week would be like putting a bandaid on a severed limb to stop the bleeding.

But then I started a new reading plan through She Reads Truth.  The Songs of Ascent.  Oh did I need this plan at this time.  On the first day they just had us read through Psalm 120-134, just to take it all in.  I stopped in my tracks when I got to Psalm 130.

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
I will wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 
I probably read that verse 10 times as it met me right where I am.  I am waiting.  A thing I am rarely good at.  Waiting feels like the opposite of planning, and while I am not a total type A planner in most areas of my life, when it comes to babies I am a planner all the way.  I check Baby Center each month to see what the due date would be if we were to get pregnant that month.  Then I start planning how we would tell our families.  I start planning when we could host a gender reveal party, depending on what time of year it is.  I start to calculate how old Lucy will be and feel a gripping on my heart as she continues to get older with no baby in sight when I had PLANNED on my babies being much closer in age.
I will wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Waiting feels like the opposite of doing.  It feels like I am letting life happen to me instead of being an active participant in it.  In waiting, there is no control.  None.  How am I supposed to plan my life with no control?  And so I read it again.
I will wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Hope.  In him.  It starts to come together for me.  I remind myself over and over that I am not in control.  I remind myself that when I give up my tight grip on my plans, I can rest assured that God's plans are far better than my own.  And so I wait. I wait with my whole being.  I wait for that sweet baby to be in my arms.  I wait with my hope in Him.  Waiting is the ultimate test in patience.
I am reminded of a scene from Evan Almighty where Morgan Freeman (God)  is talking to Evan's wife.  She had given up on her husband at that point in the movie, but Morgan Freeman asked her a really poignant question.  "If you are praying to God for patience do you think God gives you patience, or an opportunity to be patient?  If you are praying for a closer relationship with your family do you think he zaps you with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give you an opportunity to be closer to your family?" (this is paraphrased but I have included a link to the clip below).
I may not have prayed specifically for patience, but through my prayers it became clear that I needed to work on who I put my hope and trust in.  I feel like so much of my life is about waiting right now and I truly believe God is telling me that my wait may be long, but good.  And so, even through my tears and long car rides to and from work, I will put my trust in him.  I will wait, with my whole being knowing that I don't have to know anything more that his true, deep, abiding love for me.  He is unfailing in love and full of redemption. I will wait.  I will put my trust in him.  And I will be thankful.
And then, because I think Mumford and Sons is a truly genius band....I listen to what feels like my theme song at this point in life, I Will Wait.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I realize it's been a bit quiet around here.  Life just gets really busy sometimes and I think about blogging so many times a day it's just not funny.  But when push comes to shove, it usually ends up being low priority.  Which truthfully, is probably where it should be for right now.  It's my outlet so it will always be a priority....but when you have an adorable 2-year old, a full time job, a husband, dinner to make, nutrition info to be studying and are trying to build a business.....well, blogging just ends up in the backseat sometimes.

So to give you a glimpse into my life for the past month.....

Recently, I have been reading Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet.  I feel like I deserve Bittersweet a post all on its own.  It was a book that came along at the right time and moved and stretched and comforted me in ways I didn't even know I needed.  Basically I was in tears the whole time I read it.  But oh, did I love that beautiful book.  Cold Tangerines was the same, but Bittersweet will forever hold a place in my heart.  If you haven't already read them, I would highly recommend them!

My Lucy girl is growing up.  I am sad and happy about it all at once.  I caught a glimpse of me holding her in the mirror this morning and was shocked at how big she now looks in my arms.  What happened to my tiny little bitty baby?!?  Of course, she is quite hilarious too!  She loves talking on her toy phones and could carry on a conversation with Grammy or Grandma Cindy on that phone for hours.  She loves just walking around the house chatting away....something she must have seen me do at some point eh?  We have been working on teaching her fun little sayings too like "See you later alligator" and "After while crocodile".  So now every time she hangs up her little phone she says, "Bye Grammy!  See you later, Crocodile!"  Pat and I crack up laughing every single time.  And now we find ourselves saying it the wrong way like her just because it's so funny!

On a whim a few Saturday's ago I was running errands with Lucy while Pat was working on taxes at home and decided to take her into our local coffee shop.  I was really in the mood for one of their hot teas and suddenly thought that Lucy might get a kick out of drinking a hot chocolate.  We ordered and headed over to the kids play area and she couldn't have been more thrilled to be playing with puzzles and drinking a "coffee".  It was such a sweet moment to share with this fun little kiddo of mine!

While there have been lots of fun things...there was also LOTS of sickness.  Pat and I both got sick last Sunday and while his ended up being pretty minor, mine turned into full blown stomach flu!  It was one of the worst flu's I have ever had.  By Tuesday I knew I was severely dehydrated and called Pat and work and asked him to take me into the ER.  Two bags of fluids and I was feeling much better but still needed the rest of the week to fully recover.  Being that sick makes you all kinds of grateful for your mom and husband who took turns nursing me back to health.  So blessed to have them both!

By Sunday I was finally feeling better!  The weather actually cleared up a bit and we hit a high of about 50 degrees!  It was beautiful and called for some much needed outdoor playtime!  Lucy had so much fun running around the driveway.  It was like her little body needed that fresh air in a way that she couldn't even fully express!  I think we all felt that way though.  We ended up taking a nice long walk through the surrounding neighborhoods before heading home and feasting on some yummy Mexican.  I may not have eaten for 4 days when I was sick, but my appetite came back with a vengeance and all I could think about were making these tacos!  They did not disappoint! 

I hope you have all had a great March so far and hope that things are starting to look like Spring where you live!  It still seems like winter here, sadly, but I am hopeful that warmer weather will be arriving soon!  Have a wonderful Thursday!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Veggie Buffalo Bites

Since giving up most meat from my diet, there have been a few times where I came across a recipe that looked really good, but I had no idea how to make it vegetarian.  I was thrilled when I came across this recipe for vegetarian buffalo bites.  I always loved hot chicken wings, and this seemed like a great swap-out!

I made them a while back for one of the Colts playoff games that we watched at my parents house.  I was a bit nervous how the recipe would would turn out but these little veggie buffalo bites were a hit!  The game didn't turn out so great, but everyone loved the bites!  My mom and brother even made them again a few weeks later for their Super Bowl party!  Even though football season is over, these are still totally snack worthy for basketball games, or just for when you are really hungry!

Veggie Buffalo Bites
adapted barely from The Curvy Carrot


1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unbleached AP flour
2 tsp garlic salt
1 cup Frank's Buffalo Sauce
1 tbs unsalted organic butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

In a large bowl whisk together buttermilk, flour and garlic salt.  Whisk until mostly smooth.

Very gently place chopped cauliflower in the bowl and lightly toss.  Completely coat with the buttermilk mixture.

Place coated cauliflower in a shallow baking dish and bake for 15-18 minutes, making sure not to let them get too browned.

While the cauliflower is cooking, combine the buffalo sauce and melted butter in small bowl.

Once cauliflower is done, remove from oven and pour the buffalo sauce mix over, stirring gently to coat.

Return to the oven and bake for another 5-8 minutes.  Let cool slightly and serve with celery and dipping sauce.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Words to live by.....

The wise words of Barney Stinson to send us into the weekend!  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

This week is a bag of mixed emotions for me.  Valentine's Day is a day for love and giving and warmth and hugs and I can't get enough of all that stuff.  Pat and I even got engaged on Valentine's Day 4 years ago.  And while we just got back from a wonderful trip, and have a sweet little family celebration planned tonight....I can't help but think about the baby that we could have been having right now.  Nine months ago I took a test that took my breath away.  Two pink lines stared at me while my body was wracked with fear thinking how on Earth were we going to have another baby.  And before I even could wrap my mind around it....the pregnancy was over.  Just like that.

I knew this day would be coming but truly didn't know how to resolve it or what to do with it.  I haven't really talked much about it because sometimes I feel there isn't much to say.  We were going to have a baby.  And then we didn't.  But I read my friend Lindsay's blog which encouraged me to get the words out.  To tell my story.  If only so that I believe it myself.

So here we are, middle of February and no baby.  I know there is a reason and I know it's part of God's plan....but that sure doesn't mean I don't hurt over it.  And truthfully, one of the biggest pains to my heart is watching Lucy with her baby dolls.  She is so sweet and kind to them.  She hugs them close to her chest, bouncing up and down.  She gives them little kisses on the head.  She pats their tiny butts and whispers "Shh, shh, shhh" in their ears.  She shares her bed and she shares her snacks with them.  And as sweet as it is to watch, its like a dagger straight to my heart each time.  A reminder that I can't seem to give her a tiny baby brother or sister to watch over and hug and "shh".  It kills me to watch what an amazing big sister she would be and not be able to fill that role for her.

But then I remember that is pain and guilt I'm putting on myself.  Kids are great in that they are free little spirits who love and don't hold grudges or guilt.  She is a reminder that there is hope in each day and joy.  Hope and Joy. Two words I have been praying over and focusing on this year.  And God is the great redeemer.  He can take someone who was a broken mess at the end of last year and turn them into someone who is full of hope and finds joy each day.  And more importantly, joy in the unknown.  I don't have to know what the future is because that just isn't my job.  So I'm working on loving more.  And hoping more.  And finding joy in each day.

And while I am sad and I do think about the little baby that could have been joining our lives this week, I remember that I already have so much.  And that love is the great healer.

So tonight I am looking forward to scooping my sweet girl up, and kissing my handsome husband and celebrating a day devoted just to love, but knowing that in my heart, every day is a love day.

A cheerful heart is good medicine
Proverbs 17:22

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Waffle Heart Sandwiches

Now that Lucy is a bit older I am excited to try new things with her to celebrate various holiday's throughout the year.  When I saw the post for these Waffle Heart Sandwiches over at Weelicious I just knew she would love them!

We used almond butter, whipped cream cheese (a luxury item around here), some fresh raspberries and honey.  We had so much fun cutting out the hearts and filling the sandwiches with yummy stuff!  While I thought about it too late, I think adding some sliced bananas would be really good in them too! Feel free to play around with what ingredients your family likes best!

Waffle Heart Sandwiches
adapted from Weelicious


6 slices of whole grain bread
3 tbs whipped cream cheese
3 tbs almond butter
handful of fresh raspberries


Preheat your waffle iron

Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut each slice of bread into a heart shape.

Slather the bread with almond butter, whipped cream cheese a drizzle of honey and 3-4 raspberries and the put the pieces of bread together to make a sandwich.  Add heart sandwiches to the waffle iron and toast for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly and enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Fresh Life

I can't even tell you how excited I am about all this!  I have been busy studying and working hard learning all I can at IIN recently.  I have also been spending much time brainstorming and thinking of just what I want my health coaching practice to look like.  After much prayer and thought I finally have it.  Set your eyes on....
 The Fresh Life will be offering Holistic Health Coaching and Wellness Consultanting programs and I am just so excited about it!  I will be working with clients trying to overcome sugar cravings, achieve an optimal weight, find easy ways to prepare healthful meals for your family, and have more energy to enjoy fresh and joyful living.

I feel like God truly blessed me with this opportunity and it came at just the right time.  While I still have a few months yet before I can start seeing clients, I do have a Facebook page up and running and would love for you to take a moment and "like" The Fresh Life to keep up-to-date with new program information and healthy living tips!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto Spaghetti with Kale, Mushrooms and Feta

Are you ready for Valentine's Day???  I am super excited for Valentine's this year.  Pat and I are actually heading to a cute B&B up in South Haven MI in the next week for a little get-away, just the two of us :)  I also found some really cute heart themed food to make with Lucy next week too!  I can't wait to share everything with you!

But for now, here is a super easy, healthy and totally yummy meal you can make for your loved ones.  Even my meat-lover husband thought this was filling and delicious, but if you wanted to add a little extra protein, some sliced grilled chicken might be really nice.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto Spaghetti with Kale, Mushrooms and Feta
adapted from A Couple Cooks


2 12oz jars of roasted red bell peppers
1 6.5oz jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp salt
1 bunch kale
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
12oz to 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Feta crumbles


In a food processor combine roasted bell peppers, sundried tomatoes and oil, 1 tbs olive oil, 1/2 cup walnuts (or more if you want a nuttier pesto), and 1/4 tsp salt.  Process until smooth.

Boil the pasta according to package instructions.

In a dry skillet, toast 1/2 cup chopped walnuts over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted.  Set aside and clean out skillet to use again.

Wash and chop kale and mushrooms.  Heat 1tbs olive oil and red pepper flakes in the previously used skillet over medium heat.  Add kale and mushrooms and sauté.  Add a pinch of salt.

When mushroom and kale mixture is done add to the pasta and mix in pesto according to your taste preferences.  Top with toasted walnuts and feta crumbles.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Simple things....

It's like feast or famine around here isn't it?!?  I will go days/weeks without posting a thing and then suddenly, boom-boom-boom I have so much to share with you all!  Actually the truth is I always have so much to's just finding the time to do it :)

Anyways on Monday I just had one of the most lovely days.  Actually the entire weekend was nearly perfect!  A day-date with Pat on Saturday, a whole day to myself on Sunday (Pat and Lucy headed up to MI for the day) and then a sweet day with my little girl and my mom.  AND, it was Inauguration Day!  I love Inauguration day and was so happy to be home and able to have the tv on in the background all day and keep and eye on the coverage.  Plus, Beyonce was there, whom I adore.  So much that once Lucy got up from her nap that afternoon we had ourselves a little dance party as I put in my Beyonce concert DVD.  I was filled to the brim with joy as my little girl and I busted a move all over the living room.  The fireplace was on.  The snow was gently falling.  And there was my hilarious kid throwing her hands up in the air to "Single Ladies".  It was one of those moments where I chose to be aware and ever so grateful for the life that God has given me.

But before the dancing and before the nap, my mom had come over for the day.  We ate a yummy lunch together and then Lucy played while my mom helped me brainstorm ideas for my health coaching business.  Lucy requested Grammy be the one to rock her before her nap and once she was asleep my mom and I enjoyed a great conversation over hot cups of tea.

It was just one of those perfect days.  It didn't go by too fast or too slow and it was full of simple moments that make me so happy to have been home to enjoy.  Days like that don't come around very often...but when they do I always want to make sure I fully embrace and enjoy the moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


So here's the deal....for the past year, this blog has contained really no meat at all.  I gave up meat (beef, poultry, pork) about a year ago and haven't looked back since.  I feel healthier (and AM healthier) due to the change.  However, when I made the switch I wanted to be flexible with myself and knew that I may potentially eat meat again, but it would have to be pastured, grass fed, organic meat.  We are lucky to have a poultry shop here in town that provides fresh and clean chickens.  On very rare occasions I will add a tiny bit of chicken to my diet (still no red meat or pork at this point).  As long as I know where it comes from, and treat it like a condiment (a flavor enhancer to my veggie based meal) then I am ok with it.

Around Christmas, Lucy and Pat both came down with the yucky flu that was going around.  We were lucky because neither of them got terribly sick, but I believe it's because I made sure to nourish them completely.  I made sure both got plenty of rest, lots of miso soup for Pat (and for me!) and this healing Chicken Pho.  The garlic and ginger are both so healing and we all know how comforting chicken noodle soup can be when you are sick.  This asian twist was just what my two sickies needed.  Both slurped up their bowls and asked for seconds.  Make this for the sick loves in your life...or just on one of those cold blustery will heal your soul!

Chicken Pho
adapted from Eat Live Run


1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs fresh minced ginger
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
6 cups veggie broth
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 bok choy, chopped
5 oz rice noodles (half package)
Sriracha sauce and cilantro for toppings (optional...but not really :))


Place chicken thighs in your crockpot with enough water to cover and cook on high for about 3 hours, until cooked through.  Remove chicken and shred.  Place in fridge until needed later.

Heat sesame oil over medium high heat in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot.  Add the minced garlic and ginger and briefly saute for about 30 seconds.  Add the bok choy and saute for another three minutes until the bok choy becomes tender.  Season with salt.

Add the veggie broth, green onions and reserved chicken thighs to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes until the flavors have a chance to blend.

Meanwhile cook the rice noodles according to package directions.  Set aside.

Add the rice vinegar and soy sauce to the pho and stir.  Add the noodles to the pot and top with chopped cilantro and sriracha sauce.

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Meatball" Subs

This past Saturday Pat and I were able to enjoy a great day-date!  We dropped Lucy off at my parents and headed down to Fort Wayne for the day.  We were there to pick up a new storage unit for the living room to help contain the always-growing toy collection and spend a little time together!  It was pure heaven strolling through Target just the two of us.  No toddler to chase through the store.  No little one to keep entertained.  Just us.  We picked up a few things (and of course a surprise book for our sweet love back home) and headed to Granite City for a few beers and mid-afternoon appetizers.  We got a pitcher of their Two-Pull (so good!) and split the asian-glazed shrimp (SO GOOD!).  It was so fun to just reconnect.  And while I loved spending time with my hubs, it was also so great to get back home to our sweet girl.  However I wasn't willing to end our "date" just yet, so I decided to make us a yummy "meatball" sub dinner.

I ran across this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, but of course, she used meat in her meatballs (imagine that!).  I loved the idea, but wanted something that was veggie based and still tasted good.  I searched high and low and found a recipe straight from the famed Meatball Shop.  Let me tell you, they did not disappoint!  Like, at all!  They were the most succulent, tasty, incredible "meatballs" ever!  And then when topped with the pesto aioli and baked in the oven....perfect-o!  Like seriously, these little subs were insane!  They do take a bit of prep, but I promise they are worth it all!

"Meatball" Subs


2 cups lentils
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt
6 tbs tomato paste
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
3 large eggs
3 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs (plus more if needed)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 finely chopped raw walnuts
Pizza sauce for topping 

Combine the lentils and 2 quarts of water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to low and simmer until lentils are soft but not falling apart, about 25 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large sauté pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, or until tender and beginning to brown.  Add tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until all liquid is absorbed.  Transfer the mix to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.  When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mix.

Add the eggs, Parmesean, ketchup, bread crumbs, parsley and walnuts to the cooled veggies and lentils and mix together until thoroughly incorporated.  Place in the fridge for 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil into a 9x13 baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface.  Set aside.

Roll the veggie/lentil mixture into round golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mix firmly.  Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4 inch of space between the balls. Scoop a dollop of pizza sauce on top of each meatball.

Roast for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.  Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish.

note: this made a lot more then what I made so I flash froze what I didn't need and will save for a later date!

Pesto Aioli

2 tbs roughly chopped garlic
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped arugula
1/4 cup chopped basil (or 2 tsp squeezable basil blend-which I use in the winter months)
1/4 cup raw almonds
3 tbs olive oil (more if needed)
2 tbs freshly grated romano cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 cup vegenaise

Combine everything except the vegenaise in a food processor and process until a smooth paste is formed.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

To assemble the subs

whole grain buns
sliced smoked provolone cheese

Adjust the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the top half of the bun with some of the pesto aioli and the bottom half with the pizza sauce.  Place a few meatballs on the other side and top with a bit more sauce.  Add a slice of cheese and put the sub together.  Wrap in a piece of aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the bread is toasted.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pan Seared Salmon with Light Dijon Cream and Garlic Butter Croutons

Health food this is probably not...but good food it is!  I made this for dinner one lovely evening I had the house to myself and plenty of time to cook in the kitchen.  It was fun to make and delicious to eat.  And then I curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and watched the odd movie Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.  Odd.  Kinda cute.  Sweet ending.  But odd.
I'm not sure how I feel about low-fat evaporated milk.  Actually I do, I'm nervous about it.  But I haven't experimented enough to figure out what what I can use to replace it.  So there you have it...proceed with caution on the evaporated milk, but know that it does make this meal taste fabulous.

Pan Seared Salmon with Light Dijon Cream and Garlic Breadcrumbs
Source:  How Sweet It Is
1 lb salmon filet, skinless
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small shallot, diced
1/2 Tbs dried sage
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup low-fat evaporated milk
1 1/2 Tbs dijon mustard
Prepare breadcrumbs first by heating a small pan on medium-low heat and 1 Tbs of butter.  Add 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant, then stir in bread crumbs well, tossing for a minute or two until the mix is slightly golden.  Place into a bowl and set aside.
Rinse the salmon under cold water and pat dry.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper and then place in the skillet and cook until opaque in the center and golden on each side, about 5-6 minutes for salmon that is 1-inch thick.  Remove salmon and set aside under a foil tent.  Then add remaining 1/2 Tbs of butter, shallot, garlic and sage.  Stir well to coat and then cook for 1-2 minutes until sizzling.  Add in the white wine.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing it to bubble and slightly reduce, then whisk in milk and mustard.  Continue to whisk and cook while milk bubbles on the sides and thickens, stirring for a minute or two.  Taste and season additionally or whisk in a bit more dijon if desired.
Serve salmon immediately, drizzled with dijon cream and then top with breadcrumbs.  Serve with roasted potatoes and asparagus.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas 2012

Lots of catching up to do this week!  Next up, a Christmas recap :)

Christmas this year was busy but wonderful.  We started out Christmas Eve morning with a visit from my dad dropping by so we could celebrate.  We had a yummy breakfast quiche and then opened gifts.  Lucy was so excited about her gifts and had a great time with Grampa Scott!

Opening presents!

Look at all this fun food!

Crafting with Daddy

Christmas Eve night we headed out to my mom and Craig's house for another Christmas gathering.  We had a yummy fish fry and hung out with the Unc, Abby, Kendra, Kendra's friend Nate, Papa and a sick Grammy.  We were all glad that Grammy was feeling just good enough for us to still come and visit!  It ended up being a really fun night and Lucy loved her tunnel tent she got!  We also had a ton of fun with a super crazy gift from my mom.  She got each of us our own Moo Popper.  I don't have any pictures of the actual war that was waged, but let me tell you it was hysterical!  Below is a quick video of what it is.  So fun!

Opening her tent!

And then it was time for our very own family Christmas.  Lucy woke up around 7am and I quickly headed out and plugged in the Christmas light and started the fireplace.  Lucy walked out and was surprised by all the presents under the tree.

Here she is probably telling me it's dark out...her favorite thing to point out! :)

Yay!  A new chair!

Lucy had gotten sick with an ear infection a few days before Christmas and was still a little punky on Christmas morning which quickly turned into a bit grouchy and whiney.  So......although it was a lovely morning...we are hoping she is her usual perky self next Christmas :)

Then we were off to visit our Knox family for the day.  Lucy actually perked up there and even let some of the cousins hold her and play with her which is a huge step! :)

Trying to get a picture with all the little cousins!

Lucy makes fast friends with anyone willing to share their phone with her :)

Family picture with the Knox clan!
Being silly!
Then we headed home and crashed in the basement for a few hours.  Lucy ran around and played with her new toys and Pat and I just vegged out and watched the best Christmas movie ever....National Lampoons Christmas Vacation!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lucy turns 2!

So much catching up to do!  Turns out our sweet little girl turned 2 about a month ago.  How did that even happen!?!  She makes us laugh on a daily basis and says the sweetest and funniest things!  As we all know, she has been on the slow side of things in terms of hair growth.  Poor kid gets that from her mama! :)  She has recently hit a growth spurt for her hair and it seems everyone, including Lucy is noticing.  Many family members in addition to Pat and I have taken the time to stroke her thin and wispy hair and tell her how much hair she is getting and that it is growing!  So of course the other morning Lucy comes up to me and holds my face her in hands and says, "Mommy, wook at me.  Your hair is reawy growing!"

She is also quite the chatty Cathy!  We often hear her just talking to herself or repeating anything we say to her.  And in addition to chatting, she loves to sing.  She sings her ABC's, Twinkle Twinkle, Jingle Bells, Jesus Loves Me, Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider and a few daycare fav's, Are We Ready?, and Clean Up Everybody.  Sometimes she will even make up her own words to songs.  The other day she starting singing Jesus Loves Me, but tweaked the lyrics a bit and was singing, "Yes, Jesus loves Grandma Cindy.  Yes, Jesus loves Grandma Cindy......"  It was hilarious!

She was pretty into her birthday this year and was excited to have a day (or a few) for just celebrating her!  Here is a sneak at some of her birthday moments!

Waking up to balloons all over!

Streamers on the door were a big hit!
Favorite dinner?  Pumpkin pancakes and eggs!  Yum!
Sweet birthday girl!
My little love!
SO excited to see Daddy bring the presents in!
Notice her babies on her blankie....we can't go anywhere without babies!
Yay, a baby stroller :)
Celebrating with Grammy and Papa

Stylin' in her new vest
Happy birthday sweet girl!
I know there is all the talk about Terrible Two's, but so far Pat and I love this age.  Sure she has her moments of screaming and throwing herself on the floor when she doesn't get her way, but for the most part she is a hilarious, beautiful, sweet, smart little girl.  Our sweet baby is growing up way too fast, but we are loving every single moment with her!  Looking forward to another great year with our favorite kid :)