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 :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflections and Visions

I have been reflecting a lot  the past few days on 2012 and what it meant for me.  I would say it was a year of highs and lows.  A year of loss and heartache, but also a year of self-discovery and growth.  The sadness of losing two babies is not something that goes away easily.  I work on myself daily to not live in fear of losing another baby in the future.  I know that I must believe and continue to hope for good things.  However, in the midst of my messy storms this year, came the most sweet appreciation for the baby girl I do have right now.  The older she gets the more she makes me laugh and think and just flat out feel joyful.  She was my bright spot and my shining star to guide me through some of my darkest days.  I have said numerous times that I will forever be grateful that I already had my little Lucy before I went through these losses.  I would have lost all hope had it not been for her cheerful face each day.

There were some really great moments to this past year too.  Pat and Lucy and I took a mini vacation just down to Indy for a long weekend and I still think about all the fun we had.  Pat and I were even able to go away for a few long weekends just the two of us a few times as well.  And while I always struggle leaving Lucy behind, I feel I am getting better about embracing the moment at hand and knowing that she is safe and loved where she is and that it is good for her to see that Mommy and Daddy have special time together.

I attended the Influence Conference this year as well which I think about daily.  It was so out of my comfort zone, but I know God directed me there as he placed some wonderful and amazing women in my path during that trip.  It was also the first trip away from home where I wasn't wracked with homesickness.  Instead, I was able to fully enjoy and be present in each and every moment.  I learned that trying new things can just be really incredible!

This past year also lead me to the start of a new adventure for me in Health Coaching.  I am currently 9 weeks into the program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and am totally and completely loving it. It is certainly hard to balance a full-time job, being a mom and wife in addition to my classes, and I would be lying if I said I felt like I was devoting enough time to any and all of them.  But, I am learning how to remain calm and find my center and not get too overwhelmed by all of it.  I think that was one of the biggest surprises to come out of the program so far.  In addition to the nutrition piece included in the program, they spend a significant amount of time looking at your lifestyle (stress, happiness, money, act) and how that can play into your health as well.  It's so holistic and so healing and I just can't wait to start working with clients!

As I set my sights on all that 2013 has in store, I remind myself that I don't need to wait for a whole year to roll around before getting a fresh start.  Each morning is a new chance to try again.  Each day I can strive to do better.  And each night I can remind myself that it's ok if I messed up somewhere along the way.

I pray that 2013 offers hope and peace and joy and love.  I will strive to be kinder, bolder and more gracious with my actions.  I hope to be adventurous and curious and to let go of fear.  My prayer and vision for 2013 is for a happier and healthier life...and to never lose hope.

Wishing each and every one of you and incredible and wonderful Happy New Year!