Garden {Part 2}

Remember when I posted about our garden back here? Its still going strong and we love it. After the initial get ready and planting it has been so fun. We love going as a family and watching everything grow. The boys love going, they found a pole that they play baseball with, Westin throws up a rock and hits it. Parker wanders around trying to scare off any animals he sees. 

Speaking of animals, we have something that hangs around and eats the leaves on our cabbage, broccoli and all our squash. Its pretty frustrating we tried to put up some blocks and deterrents this week so we will see if they work.

The pictures here are from a week after planting. Which was back at the end of April. A lot of things have grown really big and we have even harvested some arugula. I’m not sure how I will use it yet but I will.

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We have somewhere around 8 tomato plants, an anaheim chili pepper, and a bell pepper growing in one corner. Those have gotten much bigger since this picture and seem to be doing the best out of everything. A few other things we have added are sugar snap peas, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkins. A couple other squash but they aren’t doing that well because of the rabbits.garden-7 garden-8garden-10Something I would tell anyone to do when starting a garden is to write down the date you planted, how many days until sprouting and when you should harvest. It has really helped us to map it all out and to keep track of it. It is especially helpful to have them labeled where they are. We have used paint stirrers and popsicle sticks.

 

Whole 30

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From the middle of April to the middle of May I did the diet Whole 30. I decided I would jot down some of my thoughts just in case anyone is thinking about starting it. I should say from the beginning I didn’t follow the rules exactly. If you want to know the exact rules you can check them out here. Their website has tons of information and I even just noticed support groups which could be helpful. I didn’t buy grass fed meat and I didn’t buy organic. I felt that would be too expensive for me and all my family. I also, started the 30 days a couple days before my sons birthday and Easter so I told myself it was ok to have cake with my family and to eat Easter dinner like normal, although the only thing that wouldn’t have worked at our Easter was the rolls well and the dessert I guess. So I obviously I didn’t do it perfectly but in my mind I still completed what I set out to do. 

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I think if I was more addicted to sweets it would have been. What was hard for me was not eating the kids snacks, I never realized how much of a habit it was the give each boy a graham cracker and then eat one myself. I also noticed how strong I felt when I was in a situation where other people were eating foods I couldn’t but I stayed away. 

In the beginning I told my friend I would be happy if I made it 3 days so I totally surprised myself. A lot of my friends have asked me if I thought it was worth it and I always answer absolutely. Although it didn’t change what I was hoping it would change it did teach me how to eat more vegetables. Before whole 30 I barely ate any vegetables. I was eating vegetables with every meal. My day usually started with omelet with saute’d mushrooms and asparagus. My snack was a frozen blueberry, frozen banana and coconut milk smoothie with spinach if I had any.  Lunch was usually left overs from the night before or I would brown up some meat and saute some vegetables something really easy. Afternoon snack I would have an apple with almond butter (my new love). Dinner was a lot of new recipes we tried but some of our old favorites worked too. I also ate a lot of fruit and nuts which you weren’t really supposed to do but its a big reason I was able to make it through. 

Almost immediately I noticed a lot of difference in my body, especially the feel of my stomach. It didn’t feel as bloated and definitely looked better. Something I also noticed was I never felt full. I never walked away from a meal wishing I could be rolled away. I think that has something to with not eating grains, bread, rice, and chips are the things that would normally make me feel stuffed but I wasn’t eating any of that. 

My best tip to help you get through is to plan your meals. If I didn’t have my meals planned out I never would have made it through. I didn’t do as much prep as I should have but when I did it made a huge difference. I’ve started to realize that the more I plan and prepare for in my life the easier everything is.

 

Let me know if you have any questions. Remember you can do anything for doing 30 days.

 

Kids Are Hard

I’m pretty sure I could fill an entire book about why kids are hard. I”m guessing everyone with kids could.  When I had Westin I was pretty naive and he was very easy. He slept great, he ate great he was happy. He used to do this huge smile where he looked like he wanted to laugh but he couldn’t quite do it. Westin was very mellow, he would sit on our lap and play with a toy all through church.  So easy. I had this feeling that because he was so easy it meant that I was going to have a crazy second child. I think crazy might be an understatement. Before I go on, I want you to know that I love Parker. I’m not sure what our family would do without this little man. Parker is just plain crazy. The other day I was in the shower and both boys were awake. Westin comes running in to tell me Parker had a knife and was trying to cut strawberries. I jump out of the shower and run out to find Parker in the hall with a strawberry, a knife and a HUGE smile. He was so proud of himself and I about died. So obviously I can’t shower while he is awake and we might need to move the knife magnet stripe. 

 

There are so many other Parker stories good and bad. I’ll have to share more of them sometime. Heres a cute one to leave you with.

 

The salsa I made over the weekend Parker loves. I’m glad I ended up making three batches so he could eat as much as he wanted. He dips lots of things in salsa but he was loving the chips.

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Carnitas

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Our anniversary is May 5, Cinco de Mayo. I was still doing the whole 30 diet so we had a nice dinner at home with our kids. These carnitas were awesome. I’m not even sure how to tell you and they were so easy! The night before you want them, smother it with salt. Seriously smother it. Turn the crock pot on low and let it cook for 16-18 hours. Sounds like too long right? Its perfect. If your meat finishes before you need it turn it to warm until you are ready for it. Don’t shred it in the juice in the crockpot it could turn the meat too salty. Take it out, let it rest and shred it on a plate. I promise you, it will basically fall apart. 

Now, if I hadn’t been doing the diet I would have had a freshly cooked tortilla, blacks beans, cilantro lime brown rice and cheese on it. Instead, I baked cabbage in thick slices with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. It was tasty.

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Roasted Salsa

Last week a friend of mine posted that she got cherry tomatoes for super cheap at a produce store near us. Since I finished my whole 30 I have been craving chips and salsa so I jumped all over the deal. I wasn’t sure if the cherry tomatoes would work, maybe they wouldn’t be juicy enough but they were. In fact matt told me it was the best salsa I had ever made. I guess that is saying something. I’ve made this recipe before and I even canned a bunch last summer and loved it. This time I modified the recipe to what I had, which is what I got at the store trying to remember what the recipe called for. 

Original recipe here. My modified version is only slightly different.

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Roasted Salsa (adapted from The Yummy Life)

  • 8 to 12 roma (plum) tomatoes (approx. 2 lbs.)
  • 2 anaheim peppers
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (1 for less heat)
  • (weight of the combined Anaheim and jalapeno peppers should be approx. 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 t. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar (may reduce or omit for less tartness, or substitute additional lime juice)

Roasted the Tomatoes cut in half, a quartered onion, and the peppers for 30 minutes at 450 degrees in baking dish or a cookie sheet with a rim. After the vegetables are roasted, cover them for 10 minutes to  steam the skins off. Pull the skin off the tomatoes (or don’t, I’ve done it both ways) Take the stems off and the seeds out of the jalapeno peppers. Place everything in a blender and pulse until desired consistency. Place in the fridge for an hour to cool.

I Always Cry.

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It doesn’t matter what I’m doing I always cry. If I’m in front of a big group and start talking I always cry. Last night was no different. I was in a CPR class our church set up for us.It wasn’t a certification class, it was for basic knowledge and to help get you more comfortable with the idea of CPR. I was asking a lot of questions about near drownings because I feel that if I ever have to do CPR its going to involve a child and a pool. I’m not even sure what I asked now but I started crying, I couldn’t even finish my question because I couldn’t hold it together. The teacher told me not to apologize and gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever had form a stranger.

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I have felt so strongly recently that I need to be so careful with my kids around water. After growing up in Arizona, reading an article about how drowning is the silent killer(which I always knew) and having my oldest be very nervous to swim by himself and my youngest have no fear in the water I have been majorly stressing out about pools.

With summer here and everyone in pools I hope all of you do whatever you can to be safe around water. Also, take the time to learn whatever you can about CPR, its not hard and always better to be safe than sorry.

Heres the thing.

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So I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Thinking about my life, where I want to take it and what I want to do with it. It stresses my out to no end. What I have finally decided on was that I like blogging, I like the idea of connecting people with similar passions and ideas. I tried posting only about recipes then I tried to post only about clothes and fashion thats when i realized I LOVE a lot of things, why would I want to focus on only one of them.  It scares me to put myself out there for everyone to see. Although I would love to make my world look perfect, I know it is far from it and thats hard for me. My new plan is to post about what I think about. Sometimes its going to be about a delicious recipe I found, 

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other times it might be about I dress I sewed.

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Maybe it will be about an awesome deal I found but its mostly going to be about my life with two fun boys and my husband. How I try to make it work while keeping it simple. Sorry I may be super random and the most terrible writer there is, but I want to be done being afraid and just go for it. Please join me.

Jerk Chicken

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I think it was last summer, my sister introduced me to Jerk Chicken have you had it? You probably should try it. The recipe I linked calls for sugar but I left it out it didn’t change the taste a ton but it was still yummy. I made around 8 chicken breasts with it had some for lunch then froze the rest of it for dinner in a week or two. I added cauliflower, asparagus and mushrooms all sauted in coconut oil.
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Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potatoes

 So I probably should have done a better picture of this but I was pretty excited to eat it I forgot to get a good shot of it. Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins, I got the recipe from Half Baked Harvest The only thing I did differently was I added no cheese and used the filling of the potato back in the mixture. It reminded me of twice baked potatoes we had growing up that I loved! I’m not a huge fan of the plain sweet potatoes so I love finding something I can add to it. 

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A New Thing

 

So I’ve never been a fan of diets. I don’t really have a good reason except I’m not good at it. I haven’t ever been a very discipline person so if I want a treat I eat a treat.  I heard about this Whole 30 “diet” and I was very intrigued. I wondered if I could do it and I wondered how it would benefit me.  When I first thought about it I didn’t tell anyone, not even my husband. I was kind of scared to talk about it. Afraid that if I told someone I’d have to do it, you know the normal feeling a lot of people have. Long story short I started it and I told a few people like my husband and I’ve been loving it. Today is Day 15 so I’m half way through. I seriously told my self in the beginning I’d be happy if I made it 3 days. I stuck with it and loved it. I’ve been eating more vegetables then I ever have before. 

I thought I would maybe post some of the meals I make and like. This one is ground turkey with asparagus and cauliflower. I usually brown the meat with salt and pepper and occasionally Spike seasoning and set it aside. Then I saute the vegetables with salt and pepper when they are just about finished I add the meat back in to get it re-heated and all mixed through. This is actually one of my favorite. I think its easy to make for lunch because it doesn’t require all my attention so I can go back and forth between cooking and helping my boys. I can also double or triple the recipe and have lunch for a couple of days. 

This isn’t a new recipe, nothing I make is. Just a fresh idea.

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