Monday, April 30, 2012

A Few Favorites

Hey All,
I wanted to share a few of my favorite Paleo recipes.  These recipes are all tried, tested and true to their deliciousness :).   
  1. This "cream" has been amazingly good.  I've already made two big batches thus far!  I use it in my coffee.  Black coffee is pretty good; but I really enjoy cream in my coffee.  This concoction is a very close second to cream.  I also suggest using it as a treat with frozen berries.  Thank you Ann for recommending this! 
  2. Ok Folks, this chili is incredible.  Josh even said it may be his favorite chili of all time.  You've got to try it out.  I got this recipe from a friend.                                                                                                         Paleo Chili
    6 slices of uncooked bacon, cut into small pieces
    2 celery ribs, chopped
    1 green pepper, chopped
    1 red pepper, chopped
    1 medium spanish (yellow) onion, chopped
    3 14oz cans diced tomatoes (w/ NO sugar)
    1 15oz can tomato sauce
    1 1/2 lbs ground beef
    4 cloves of garlic
    2 teas cumin
    2 T chili powder
    1 teas. smoked paprika (or more to taste)
    1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teas. oregano
    3/4 c. beef broth
    - cook bacon in a large skillet til crisp
    - Remove cooked bacon from skillet, and reserve bacon fat in a separate container.
    - Toss chopped vegetables with 1 T of bacon fat and cook in separate, large skillet on medium-high
    - start browning your meat along with your garlic in your bacon skillet
    - Remove meat from skillet and mix with bacon pieces in stock pot. add cooked vegetables, tomatoes, sauce, and spices.
    -simmer for a few hrs. Then top with bacon crumbles 
  3. Try this chicken marinade tonight.  You'll be happy you did.  It is so flavorful!  It's found under the title "grilled chicken".  It was another recipe Josh claimed to be his "all time favorite" for marinades.
One last favorite I'll leave you with.  Have you tried coconut milk smoothies before?  Oh goodness, they are good!  I just whipped two up this morning for our breakfast.  They are so easy too.  Here's what I did... 
I put all of these ingredients in the blender:
one can of coconut milk
frozen mangos
frozen strawberries
one ripe banana
frozen pineapple
a splash of orange juice

*You can add any type of frozen fruit.  We've even added spinach to make it a "green monster" smoothie.  The possibilities are endless :).

What are a few of your favorite recipes 
that you are always coming back to?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whole 30 Half Completed

I write to you from the comfort of my living room.  Feet up.  Deep breath in.  It's been a little busy this morning.  All good things of course.  Earnest decided he wanted to get up and stay up at 6am.  So, we've been busy with the babe, making quiches, doing dishes (our dishwasher has been broken for two weeks), grocery shopping, going to bridal/baby showers, and doing more dishes.  Ernie will probably be waking up from his nap soon but I thought I'd attempt to fill you in on life lately.
We have officially completed 2 weeks of the Whole 30 (woohoo!).
Here are some positives:

  1. We feel good.  Not only have we been eating healthier, but we've been going to sleep earlier.  Also, Ernie has been sleeping better which means we've all been sleeping better :) (not sure if there is a correlation between Ernie's sleep and my new eating habits?).
  2. We have had fun new dates!  Our dates have not included dinner out, so we've had to be creative.  My latest favorite date?  Coconut milk smoothies and the first season of Downton Abbey. Both were SO GOOD!  
  3. Josh has been coming home for lunch on most days.  It's been working out to have Josh come home for lunch instead of me packing his lunch.  It's been nice for Ernie and me to see him in the middle of the day.  He sure can brighten the rest of our afternoon!
Now, those are the positives.  There have been some challenges too.  Cravings still come and go.  Today and yesterday were good days for me.  I even resisted delicious looking caramel rolls at the shower today (and the candy dish :) ).  Other days though, I will crave a good piece of bread or a side of rice to accompany dinner.  Josh does too.  I've heard these cravings subside...we'll see :).  For the most part though, we've been quite pleased with meals.  

Another thing, this might sound strange, but I think this meal plan has helped with discipline in other areas of my life, especially Bible reading.  I've had a hard time in this season of life to consistently be reading and spending time in God's word.  But, as of late, God's been helping me to see how important His word is, and how much I need it.  I've been listening to audio scripture as I do the dishes.  I've been studying Hebrews and commentaries for a little bit of Ernie's naps.  I think I just feel plain needy and thirsty for Him.  It feels good to drink it all in again.

I hope to be back later this weekend 
to post a few recipes we've enjoyed.  
Until then, have a great Saturday!  

Monday, April 23, 2012

making it meaningful

Ernie Boy went down for a nap a little while ago.  I'm enjoying my cup of coffee with a coconut milk concoction (cream substitute) that a friend gave me.  It's very good.  Well, here we are, over one week into the whole 30.  Today, I'm doing well.  Today, I haven't even craved bread, or sugar, or chocolate.  Yesterday was a good day too!   

I want to start by telling you a few tidbits about the whole 30.  We are not on a "diet".  At least in the way I think of "diet".  We did not decide to do this to lose weight.  We are able to eat as much food as we want and we have more than enough.  We are getting all of our vitamins and nutrients from vegetables, protein, and fruit.  Did you know that you can get your daily value of calcium in vegetables like kale, broccoli, peas, orange juice, and coconut milk?  I don't even have to take my prenatal vitamin during the whole 30 because I'm getting all the vitamins I need from what I eat.  I thought that was pretty neat.  Another thing, we aren't doing this forever.  It's just 30 days to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle.  We will re-introduce grains and dairy slowly after the whole 30.  We are hoping to not use as much grains and dairy after this.  Also, in case you were wondering why we are even doing this.  

Here's a few reasons: 
1. I wanted to learn how to cook healthier meals with vegetables being more central.  I thought that this 30 day challenge would be a great start to that because I have to be creative and learn how to cook and prepare veggies in new ways for each meal!  It's worked so far :).  
2. I wanted to get my sugar cravings under control and Josh wanted to support me.  I seriously have the best husband.  He is such a good guy for not only encouraging me to kick the sweets, he's right beside me, battling with me.  He's awesome!
3. We heard from friends that the Whole 30 gives you more energy throughout the day.  As tired parents, that sounded pretty good. We will try anything :).

Now, let me tell you a little about our week.  It started off great.  We had all of this motivation and excitement to try new meals and cook with fresh ingredients; we were all in!  After about three days of eating TONS of vegetables though, we started to long for a piece of bread, or a donut, or SOMETHING sweet.  Here's a funny text I got from my husband...
He's always making me laugh!  But seriously, sometimes the cravings really hit you.  For example, going to the grocery store and passing by the bakery.  Oh goodness, the smells and sights of those scrumptious treats were almost too much for us.  We had to walk faster and not look back.  Haha!  And we may or may not have considered doing the "whole8"...until I read on the website of whole30 that the first week (or two) are actually the hardest and that this whole thing does get easier.  So, we decided to continue along. 

We also noticed how often we were thinking of food, specifically sugar and grains.  Instead of wasting thoughts on foods we "can't have" right now, we decided to make it meaningful.  We are committing these next weeks of whole 30 to the Lord.  When we crave something, we want to turn to Him and ask for His help.  We want to fully believe that He is better and more satisfying than a piece of chocolate.  We want to dwell on His Word and His promises.  We want to glorify Him in our eating and drinking (1 Corinthians 10:31).  

You know what?  Yesterday, was better.  Not only was it refreshing to realize the whole 30 as a means of becoming closer to God; it actually was easier yesterday.  Yesterday was the first day I did not crave bread.  I was completely satisfied with our breakfast: 2 eggs, sausage, and an almond flour biscuit with preserves, lunch: tuna salad with homemade mayo, sugar snap peas, carrots, melon, mango, and homemade guacamole, and dinner: steak, pepper, onion, and mushroom kabobs with melon.  
Here's a picture of lunch:
I enjoyed all of our meals fully.  I was thankful to God for our food and didn't need any more.  Today is a new day and I'm trusting God to reveal more of Himself to me through this.

Do you crave salty or sweet foods more?  How do you combat cravings?

P.S. I had an engagement photo session yesterday.  The last part of the shoot was in an ice cream parlor.  The smell of creamy goodness filled the place.  And, they had samples.  I politely refused though :).  Whew, that was a tough one.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

starting fresh

  How was your weekend?  Mine was filled with good things- extra time with my husband, a last shared piece of turtle cheesecake (read below), grocery shopping with my boys (and getting there before the place even opened), and church.  Earnest has been joining us in the church sanctuary for the praise and worship and then he heads down to the church nursery.  It has been a blessing to really focus on the message each Sunday.  I think Ernie enjoys it too; last week, when I dropped him off, he started breathing rapidly and moving his arms excitedly as I handed him off to the nursery worker :).  

  Another good thing we started this weekend is called the "whole 30".  We had heard great things about it and our friends had just finished and really enjoyed the process.  Basically, it's VERY healthy eating for 30 days.  In a nutshell, we won't be eating any type of sugar, grain, dairy, alcohol, or preservative.  We will be eating lots of fresh foods!  It's only been 3 days but I've already been eager to prepare and enjoy our meals.  A few meals we've tried so far: chorizo quiche, chicken salad on a bed of broccoli slaw, grass-fed beef with roasted veggies, grilled salmon, egg salad lettuce wraps, and tonight we had rotisserie chicken with cauliflower, pepper, and onion "cous cous".  

It's definitely taken a TON of planning- huge grocery lists, extensive meal planning, going to several different grocery stores to get the best prices on items, prepping meals at night for the next day.  It also has been pretty expensive because of the new kinds of oils we are cooking with, along with lots of produce, and high quality meat.  All of the food has been very delicious though!  We're hoping next weeks grocery bill will be a little lower now that we've got our basics on hand.  It's funny that it's only been 3 days but I've noticed after meals that I am craving "something sweet", especially after dinner.  I always knew I had a sweet tooth, I just didn't know the extent!  I've found that having fruit at the end of the meal has helped.  Also, I made this delicious "dessert".   I fried apples in coconut oil, added raisins, and then topped that with coconut milk and cinnamon and let heat until melted.  It was so good!  Hopefully I'll be able to post a few other recipes soon.

  Have you heard of the "whole 30"?  What are your thoughts on the "whole 30" or Paleo lifestyle?  I'd love to hear them... :)     

Friday, April 13, 2012

some cute baby photos to start your weekend off right

Hey There!  I just finished up posting some photos from a newborn session I did a few weeks back.  His name is Isaac, and he's one good looking fella!  Here are a few:

The whole newborn session can be found here.  You can also find Kitestrings on Facebook.  
Have a splendid weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Earnest at 8 months

What a busy month it has been!  Ernie Boy has enjoying it all!  He has loved: spring walks in the stroller, grocery shopping, sitting on the porch and watching the cars go by, laughing at the silliest things (especially wild games of peek-a-boo), and going to a wedding celebration!  He has even started "talking".  He says "mama" and "dada" even though he's not quite sure what he's saying yet :).  We love our little Earnest!

Monday, April 2, 2012

a short week

Hello Friends!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend enjoying this wonderful spring weather.  We sure did.  Our weekend is extra long because of spring break!  Our little family is packing up the car (full to the brim) and heading to granny and grandpa's house tomorrow for a little stay-cation.  Can't wait!  It will be nice to slow down a bit.  Life has been so busy lately!  We are looking forward to spending time with family, stroller walks in the sunshine, and Josh and I are eager to sneak in a few dates :).  
Hope you all are off to a great week as well!
Much Love,