Family Yearbooks

I was looking for a way to organize my photos from over the years in a book, but in a more creative way — Pinterest to the rescue! I saw a neat idea on pinterest and decided to adopt it for our family.

Using Shutterfly I started taking all my photos from iPhoto, organized by year, and began creating books complete with Alex’s and my descriptions of events, thoughts, feelings, and even funny pictures of our pets. Then, on the back pages we each sign them with our hopes and wishes for the next year.

I can’t wait to look back in the years to come at all God’s done in our lives and I’m looking forward to reading all the funny and sweet things our future kids will write in these yearbooks as well.

Happy Pinning and Creating!

Recipe | Southwestern Salad

This tasty salad is extra filling. Add whatever your heart desires, but these are some of the ingredients I love.

Serving Size: 2
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

What You’ll Need:
TJ’s Precooked Chicken
Canned Corn
Turkey Bacon (optional)
Canned Black Beans
Shredded Cheddar
Trader Joe’s Parmesan Ranch Dressing (surprisingly low cal)
Tomato or Rosted Red Pepper (optional)
Lime wedge

What You’ll Do:
> We buy the “heads” of romaine, so simply chop it up and place it into a large bowl.
> Layer in the precooked chicken
> Add 1 cup of corn
> Add 1/2 an avocado
> Add 1 cup black beans (rinsed)
> Add 1/4 cup shredded cheese
> Add chopped tomato (optional) or roasted red pepper
> Garnish with chopped cooked turkey bacon (optional) dressing and lime wedges.


Recipe | Waldorf Salad

If you’re like me, eating hot food for lunch in the summer doesn’t sound so hot. I find myself craving fruits and salads or tuna sandwiches but I often get bored with the same old salad. So, I thought I would do some research and start mixing it up a bit! This week (and as I find more to make/share) I’ll be posting about yummy, awesome, and pretty low cal salads.

First off, my favorite. The first time I had this salad was with my friend Bree at the Glen Ivy Day Spa for her birthday a million years ago. It was magical and tasty and I crave it always. I hope you enjoy.

Serving Size: 2
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

What You’ll Need:
Spinach (yes, I’m aware I used romaine in the photo but spinach is where it’s at)
Chicken (I buy pre-cooked from TJ’s)
Berries (blue, straw, and/or rasp)
Walnuts or Almonds
Red Apples (you can do green if you want, but I like the sweet reds)
Crumbled Feta
Pear Vinaigrette or Balsamic (my fav)

What You’ll Do:
Take two LARGE handfuls of spinach, chop it on a cutting board and place it in a large bowl.
> Cube chicken (that sounds gross — like artificial chicken or something. Nevertheless, do it) layer it on top of the spinach.
> Core and chop the apples. Layer them on.
> Cut up strawberries (if using) and layer them with the raspberries and blueberries.
> Crumble feta cheese on top.
> Sprinkle walnuts or almonds.
> Serve with Champagne Pear Vinaigrette from Trader’s (if you do this you actually might not need the feta as there is cheese in the dressing) or Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Recipe | Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serving Size: 3-4
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes

What You’ll Need:
1/2 lb lean ground turkey breast
1 cup onions
1 heaping tbsp of taco seasoning
2 cups of cooked rice (we used brown)
3-4 organic bell peppers
1 can of black beans
½ cup of corn
1 (16 ounce) jar of salsa
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour cream

What You’ll Have:
Olive Oil
Taco Seasoning

What You’ll Do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
> Half bell peppers and seed them.  Coat them in olive oil and place in a baking dish.
> Cook for 20-25 minutes.

> While the bell peppers are cooking, cook turkey meat AND cook the rice (20 mins for white and 40 mins for brown).
> In another pan cook chopped onion until browned. Then add cooked rice, black beans and corn until heated through.
> In a large mixing bowl add the taco seasoning, cooked ground turkey, chopped onions, black beans, corn and rice. Add in the jar of salsa and mix well.

> Stuff the turkey into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish.
> Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes.
> Sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese. Place back in the oven to melt the cheese.
> Top with avocado slices and sour cream just before serving.


P.S. You might have some stuffing left after — it’s perfect to mix with some scrambled eggs in the morning for a Spanish Scramble!

P.P.S. For a vegetarian meal, cut out the meat and add quinoa and sautéed veggies.

Thoughts on Motherhood

I was a single mom for four days last week to my little friend, Tenley and boy… was it eye opening.

First off, kudos to you stay-at-home, working, parents to multiple children, and single moms (and dads) out there.

You are my heros.

I don’t know how you do it all! I worked during Tenley’s naps and after I put her to bed, had absolutely no privacy, didn’t shower for two days, spoke in crazy high-pitched voices, watched Veggie Tales three times in one day, and said, “What is that?” and “What do you want?” a billion times.

All that being said. I love little Tenley girl so so so much. I cannot wait to be a mother. I never even knew I could love someone so much that wasn’t my own child, but I do. It makes me excited for what God has planned for our family. Whether he blesses us with biological children or adopted children. How we’ll make jobs works, where we will live, what we will teach our children. How we will discipline them and embarrass them. Train them to make a difference in their world; to stand out and stand up for what they believe. How they will grow into adults, learn a trade or two and make a living for themselves. Then how they will, eventually, marry and start lives of their own. I can’t wait for all of it.

Bring it on.

Worry is for the Birds

Some of you may already know, but I got a job. I’m 1099’d so it’s flexible hours and such which has been great, but boy… getting back into the workforce after 6 months off is a trip, I tell ya.

It has been quite an adjustment, but I am really enjoying it. I have had to learn how to re-balance my life all over again, though. Who cooks? Who cleans? When will I be able to work out again? Why am I so tired?!

The answer: Stop. Take. One. Thing. At. A. Time.

This is not a new concept, for some. For me, it’s more like, “what do you mean I can’t do everything at once all the time and be perfect?” But, I truly believe that I was given these past 6 months to re-organize and prioritize my life for moments like this — when things are so turned around and I need stop, breathe, and march on.

I don’t overwhelm myself with every little thing and I allow thing to slip past that don’t really matter. It’s quite liberating actually. I’m getting back into a routine and I actually got back on the treadmill after three weeks! Life and time are not only precious but short. Why spend it worrying?!

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” — Matthew 6:25-27

Recipe | Brussel Sprouts

I know what you’re thinking… “What in the heck?! Brussel Sprouts? NO.”

Well, I’m here to tell you, “YES!” These little super foods are actually super delicious. Hear me out, I’m not talking about steamed and mushy brussel sprouts. I’m talking about olive oil and garlic and roasty-toasty brussel sprouts. Its amazing. I promise. Even my husband likes them.

Serving Size: 2-4 (but probably 2, because you’ll want to eat them all!)
Cook Time: 20-30 depending on the size of the sprouts

What You’ll Need:
1 Bag of Brussel Sprouts
2 Cloves of Garlic

What You’ll Have:
Olive Oil

What You’ll Do:
Rise sprouts and cut ends. Then cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size.
> Mince 2 cloves of garlic.
> Place sprouts in a Pyrex dish with olive oil and toss.
> Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
> Roast for 25-30 mins, until just browned.
> Toss in minced garlic and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes until sprouts are browned.


Healthy is the New Skinny

About a month ago I started going to a personal trainer once a week. I know what you’re thinking… “Dang big money!” But, seriously it is expensive. I have approached these last four weeks as a crash course in fitness and overall health, because let’s just say this band nerd who ate/drank Dr. Pepper and hot Cheetos all through high school does not know the first thing about proper nutrition nor about lifting anything except a pair of cymbals (yes, you can laugh now).

My trainer Joe has been amazing.  Alex and I have been doing combined sessions and Joe has been teaching us about eating healthy and targeting specific muscles including our hearts, glutes, abs, legs, and arms (which is pretty much your entire body, right?).  Joe’s goal for us both has been:

Don’t weigh yourself.  This isn’t about weigh loss.  If you eat healthy, and work out a minimum of 20 mins a day, the results will come.  Slowly, but surely, they will come.  This is not a crash diet… it’s a lifestyle change.

Further, as some of you may know, but both Alex and I have lower back issues (his is sciatica and mine is scoliosis) and Joe has given us some great modifications for typical work out moves to aid in building back muscle, while taking the pressure off our lower backs during other work outs.  It has been inspiring and so extremely helpful.  I have hurt in places I didn’t even know muscles existed and it is fantastic.  Honestly, if you’ve never had any personal attention in the fitness/health area I recommend getting a trainer or taking a course at your local community college.

Finally, I told Joe that Alex and I would like to start planning for a family this year, but that I wanted to be healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout my pregnancy.  He was honest and encouraged me to lower my body fat index through a workout/food regimen and he has me keep a food journal.  He’s been extremely encouraging and told me that I’m honestly not eating that bad, but that I should eat more often (to keep my metabolism working — never get too hungry) and consume more water (to aid my body is flushing out toxins).

So, I’ve been trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle through what I believe to be a few simple steps:

1) Work out at least 20 mins a day
2) Alternate cardio and weight lifting every other day
3) Consume a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily
4) Eat more frequently (5xs a day)
5) Eat more veggies instead of more carbs
6) Eat fruit in the mornings

I’m not entirely sure how this is working for me weight loss wise, but I sure feel healthier. And if Joe is right, the weight loss will come.  But hey… it’s not about being skinny right. It’s about being healthy. Healthy is the new skinny, dontcha know?



Hey, hey, hey.

Yup, it’s Me — I’m back!! At the urging of my hubby and a few friends, I’m back-in-action.  Life has changed quite a bit for me this past year.  I graduated from college with my B.S. in Business Administration (woot!) and my amazing husband received a job offer in Thousand Oaks as the Director of User Experience and Web Design at RICO Technologies (double woot!). We became and aunt and uncle for the first time (baby woot!). I turned 26 and on the first try we found a church that we LOVE. We have put off starting a family and have been transiting back and forth between Riverside and Thousand Oaks for the past six months.  It’s been crazy, emotional, and has taken a lot of faith on both of our parts to make this journey.  But here we are and blessed are we!

Anywho, I’m back to blogging.  Expect recipes and rants, DIYS and fantastic failures, food for thought and junk food for thought.  It’s not going to be pretty (well it can’t be all the time) folks, but it’s a work in progress (ain’t we all?).

It feels good to be back. Oh, and hey… because I like ya’ll so much I posted two recipes (what?! I know.. I know.. ya love me).

Egg & Spinach on Toast
White Bean Veggie Soup

Happy Day!

Recipe | Egg & Spinach on Toast

This is my FAVORITE breakfast recipe.  I make it every chance I get and it doesn’t take very long.  It’s nice to take a break from traditional scrambled eggs and it’s a nice mix between that and the super fancy, eggs benedict.

Serves: 1-4
Cooking Time: 10-15 mins

What You’ll Need:
1 egg per person
1 slice of provolone cheese per person
1 cup spinach per person
1 slice of toast per person
1 slice of turkey bacon per person

What You’ll Have:
Garlic Salt
Salsa or Cholula or Tabasco Sauce

What You’ll Do:
> In one skillet heat up spinach with garlic salt.
> In another skillet crack eggs and cook until over-easy.
> While the eggs and spinach are cooking, pop in the toast.
> Place turkey bacon between two paper towels and heat on a microwave safe place for 2 mins.
> Assemble each plate with toast, then bacon, then spinach, and egg.  Top with slice of cheese and let melt.
> Drizzle with salsa/Cholula/Tabasco.