Monday, May 18, 2020

52 Recipes | S'mores Pie


An easy but decadent pie. We made ours for Pi Day (3/14) this year and it was a huge hit! Great for a a fun homemade dessert at home or to take to a get together or even to a dinner party.

Recipe:
I adapted my recipe from Gimme Some Oven's recipe

ingredients
  • 2/3 c. heavy cream
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chips or chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • pinch of salt
  • graham cracker pie crust (store bought or premade)
  • large marshmallows
directions
  1. Preheat oven at 325*F
  2. Whisk cream and milk together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. Add in vanilla and salt. Remove from heat.
  3. Slowly add in the whisked eggs and continue whisking until smooth.
  4. Pour chocolate filling into a graham cracker crust. Bake for 30-40 mins or until the filling is set and jiggly.
  5. Remove pie from oven. Add marshmallows on top of the pie until the surface is covered. Ours was in the shape of a pi symbol. 
  6. Set oven to lowest broil setting. Then place in the center rack and lightly toast the marshmallows until they are just golden brown. Keep careful watch so they dont burn. 
  7. Serve warm or chill for 2-3 hours. 

Adjustments:
I used a store bought graham cracker pie crust because that it what we had. Gimme Some Oven's recipe includes instructions for making your own crust if you wanted to do that. I also decreased the amount of milk and cream from the original recipe. We live at a higher elevation and fillings often rise quickly and have a higher potential for overflowing. Even with the reduction of wet ingredients we had a little overflow. Lastly, the original recipe listed a 20 min bake time. It took us 40mins and was still a little jiggly.

Results and Thoughts:
We really liked this pie. Outside of the lengthy cook time, it was a really easy bake with simple ingredients. It also is really easy to adapt for different chocolates based on our liking.

Monday, May 11, 2020

May | Currently


settling into some sort of routine again just in time for Fire Season to fully hit and disrupt the normalcy we are finally finding
feeling so incredibly blessed for the extra time with Berke and the privilege to fully follow our shelter in place orders while others have no other choice to be on the front lines
hoping other people that have the ability to think of others and act in ways that keep their fellow humans safe
thanking those doing the hard work every chance I get
dousing all the things in all the Thieves Cleaner
so freaking happy to have amazing, and clean, products for our home
working on a new project that I am super excited about
printing so many photos to get ready for it
stoked our driveway was redone and we don't have to worry about it washing away again
chasing the kids out of the culvert daily
celebrating 5 years with our boy 
wondering where time has gone
doing our best to make him feel special while maintaining social distance

loving
 my mornings again now that the plants are blooming and the birds are singing again
eating the best chocolate truffles I bought myself for Mother's Day
making a plan to FINALLY finish my chair project from over two years ago 
watching the 2019 Little Women movie and not loving it
reading Friendship Bread and a ton of titles by Lisa Jewell
liking those a lot more
listening to all the "made for you" Spotify playlists extra loud
journaling as much as possible as I work through some unresolved trauma
diffusing a new favorite blend: Thieves, Stress Away and Valor
helping the kids with little lessons each day as Kindergarten nears
loving all the little random things they remember leaving no room for rote memorization of letters and numbers

Monday, March 30, 2020

Book Report | 2019 Reads Part Two

I posted my thoughts about the first 6 books I read in a previous post here. Below you will find the other six titles. I try not to give away too many plot points, definitely no spoilers, and I leave the decisions for you to add to your TBR pile up to you, for the most part. You can find my "star ratings" and what I am currently reading over on GoodReads as well!

Boss Up! by Lindsay Teague Moreno  // This book was written for female entrepreneurs, specifically with mothers in mind. That said, I don't feel like it is limited to just moms. LTM gives some great business building advice, including finding your specific niche and starting out with the end goal in mind and how you can scale to the level you want. It is no fluff but also has humor and real life truth to keep you engaged.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green // Another John Green titled with tragic, almost pretentious teens that deal with life struggles more rationally than adults do. Not saying that it can't happen but it is all too idealized sometimes. Which I know it is ironic to say about characters struggling with markedly less than idea lives. Just saying, this is typical John Green. All that aside, I did like the storyline enough. This does tackle mental illness and details self harm, and obsessive thoughts and compulsions, so if that is something that you struggle with, take caution.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell // A cozy thriller that is dark and edgy. I dont feel like I am doing a great job reviewing this book to anyone. I enjoyed it and finished it in a day while traveling, but I did feel like I was predicting the twists before they were happening. I wasn't 100% on all of them but for many, I was close. I do feel like Jewell took a different approach to the "missing child" trope. Also her characters were incredibly well fleshed out. Maybe that is why I felt like I knew what was coming next.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena // I am a True Crime junkie. I love thrillers and suspense and a good ole whodunnit. This one just missed the mark. The story kept me engaged but the ending ruined the whole book. I feel like the actions at the height of the plot just didn't seem true to who the author portrays them to be throughout the rest of the book. 

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen // I really enjoyed this one. I felt like it was a truly unique twist on the Husband, Wife, Mistress storyline. I was completely thrown off by the plot twist. I was worried it would be disjointed with two authors but it was a great read. Definitely a page turner!

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen // After The Wife Between Us, I wanted to try something else from Hendricks or Pekkanen and was excited to see they cowrote another. This one was really good as well. It was a lot more creepy and unsettling than The Wife but a touch more predictable. Still really good!

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March | Currently


searching for some sort of routine with the ever changing 
balancing Berke's telework and staggered office work days with two very active kiddos that love doing everything with their dad
hanging out with pirates, princesses, and superheroes regularly
using our imagination to make the days more fun
trying to not worry so much about all the little messes
preparing ourselves mentally for the long haul
washing all of the things; hands, clothes, doorknobs, etc.
thankful for all the Thieves
hoping people stick with social distancing so things slow down
feeling quite bummed that almost all of our coming plans may be canceled
knowing that keeping us all home and keeping distance helps keeps others safe makes it okay though

thinking
 about making Lopez Fried Dough and Dolmas this year to cheer us all up
celebrating new growth on my neglected oregano plant 
dreaming of ways to start our backyard gardens early without worrying about an inevitable late spring freeze 
looking for all of the supplies for the trellis teepee I was planning last summer
working my way through my 20 in 2020 list
focusing on the little things to help build up to the big stuff
watching the Hulu series based on Little Fires Everywhere and not loving it
diffusing a new favorite blend: Thieves, Orange, and Bergamot
eating cookies and pie
enjoying the experimenting and the creating with the kids
doing my best to practice patience while helping them learn these new skills
loving the memories we are making

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday Fave | My Daily Perfume

I have always been sensitive to fragrances of all sorts. There have been few perfumes I have really liked. Then I feel in love with using essential oils. It started as a way to help with our youngest daughter's skin condition and has blossomed into so much more! That is a story for a different day, though.

Today, I wanted to share my daily perfume using essential oils!

Valor and Lime were two of my favorite oils from the beginning and then I mixed them together and I love it!! Valor is a blend that has a well balanced woodsy, slightly floral aroma and it is great for calming anxious thoughts. Lime is bright and uplifting! Both are incredibly supportive for emotions. I think that is why I love it!!

My favorite way to wear it is adding equal drops to a lava bead bracelet. I also have a small roller bottle with 10 drops each topped with carrier oil. I roll it behind my ears and along my collarbone as well. It lasts all day and getting little whiffs of it throughout the day make me smile and feel happy.

Monday, March 9, 2020

52 Recipes | Crockpot Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowls

Cold, winter days are some of my favorite days for setting up the slow cooker. Something about the soft smell of slowly cooking meat and aromatics is so warming. Plus, I feel like most slow cooker meals are so filling as well. Perfect for winter!

Today's recipe is a mix of a couple recipes to make something new. I was really craving fajitas but we didn't have all of the ingredients and I didn't feel like putting all of the necessary work of making them. So, instead, I cooked it all in the slow cooker and then served it over a warm fluffy bowl of quinoa.

Recipe:
I adapted a Woman's Day recipe for Cuban-style Braised Steak and Peppers for this one.

ingredients

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion 
  • 2 red peppers 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
  • kosher salt and pepper 
  • 1 lb. chicken

directions

  1. Slice onions and peppers, mince garlic. Stir the tomatoes and juices, onion, peppers, garlic and apple cider vinegar into the slow cooker. 
  2. Slice the chicken. Season with salt and pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Place the chicken among the vegetables and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high, depending on your slow cooker.

Adjustments:
According to package directions, I cooked up enough quinoa for our family. Into each bowl, I spooned in some quinoa and then served the chicken and peppers over top. The kids got a little bit of cheese and sour cream. I ate it as is.

Results and Thoughts:
This was a really tasty and easy weeknight fajita option. We will be making this again, regularly.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Book Report | 2019 Reads Part One

Last year, I got serious about reading again. Between free time laying in bed recovering from surgery and our library joining the OverDrive/Libby network, I was able to finish quite a few more books than I have in the years prior. Or at least it feels that way. Here are the books I read in 2019. It isnt a massive haul but it felt good to be enjoying books again. 


Jesus Calling by Sarah Young // I have some mixed feelings about this devotional. I do enjoy that it gives an easy, daily reading plan. The author's intentions seem genuine. However, it bugs me a little that she provides her thoughts and inferences as Jesus' own words. That is dangerous to me as humans are fallible. Our worldviews and experiences impact how we perceive and study scripture. Writing those thoughts down as messages directly from Jesus, allows for human error to twist the true word of God and in a way contradicts the infallibility and sufficiency of scripture itself.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn // I listened to this during my road trip to San Antonio and I hated that it ended. It is dark, like seriously dark but I could not stop listening. It is twisty and turny in all the right ways and much better than Gone Girl!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty // This one was kind of meh for me. I listened to it on my way home from San Antonio. I did not feel any particular connection with the characters and if I wasnt in the car for 12+ hours, I would not have finished it. This is a situation where the "twist" was not good. It was convoluted and, after a long weekend that started with amazing writing that was Dark Places, I was having a hard time following this mess. The ending was the best part.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens // I absolutely loved the story of Kya Clark! I also really enjoyed the imagery of the swamp and all the different lifeforms within it.

Energy Bus by Jon Gordon // Short, very simple read on shifting mindset. The overall message and practice is great. However, the delivery is a little juvenile. There are probably better books with more in depth with the same message.

You Are The Girl For The Job by Jess Connolly // This is a faith based personal development book. I love that is focuses on being who our Creator made us to be and leaning into His strength and power instead of the false belief that we must do this all ourselves.

I'll share my thoughts about the other six books in a week or two and then it will be onto my 2020 titles. So far I have read four books for myself and I started The Little House series with the kids. I am waiting on four or five holds to become available. What are you currently reading?

Monday, February 17, 2020

February | Currently


finishing up the Ali Edwards Pieces of Us self portrait adventure
loving every day of it and the community it has created
sharing my photos on my Instagram feed
reading The Little House books to the kids
listening to all the audiobooks
waiting on all of my holds to be available
living in my Pair of Thieves socks 
working (slowly) on getting all the words in my head typed out in blog posts
making time each day to move and stretch my body in new ways
panting and sweating my way through a mix of barre and pilates
cursing my body and its limitations most days
trying to not feel defeated with the healing process
dousing myself in all the emotional support oils
getting through the first third of 21 days of training 
managing lots of big emotions with the tiny humans
stacking all the firewood
filling and refilling the wood burning stove
learning that I really love living in a place that requires endless amounts of firewood to keep the house warm

Monday, February 10, 2020

52 Recipes | Smokey Chickpea Stew

Another year, another round of 52 new recipes in a calendar year. After a really great go around in 2018 (even though I didn't keep up with documenting it here), 2019 was a lousy year for this challenge. Between travel, surgery, and mental health struggles, I did not cook nearly as much as I would have wanted and stuck with easy and comforting favorites. This year, we hit the ground running. I am so excited to tackle 52 new recipes this year.

Recipe:
I used Budget Bytes' recipe found here.

Adjustments:
I made it with some leftover frozen chopped spinach instead of kale. I would love to make it again with sweet potato instead of russets as well! Lastly, I would want to try this in the Crockpot. Elevation does weird unsuspecting things to recipes. Sometimes potatoes dont cook the proper way and at the expected amount of time. It can be different every time but the Crockpot works magic on them!

Results and Thoughts:
We all really enjoyed this one. Easy, and simple ingredients made a hearty and filling meal, even without meat. It is perfect for cold autumn and winter nights!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cleansing in 2020 | January Recap


Last week, I did my first cleanse! I almost backed out but my digestive system had a little freak out on Thursday afternoon. It made things interesting but I pushed through and I am really glad I did!

How did it go?
Overall, things went really smoothly. I was expecting the worse. When I was pregnant with our oldest I did a modified anti-inflammatory diet and cut out gluten, dairy, and refined sugars cold turkey. It was awful and I fully prepared myself for something similar. That didn't happen and this cleanse was really gentle and has proven to be a great reset and transition into clean eating for me.

I will say that I was not a fan of the second day. I felt pretty lousy and had a persistent migraine. Most of the day was spent in bed, sleeping through movies. The kids were exceptionally sweet and had fun joining me for little bits. That all was gone by the third day. I almost felt energized compared to the previous few days and most of the past month. My mind definitely felt clearer and my sugar cravings have subsided.


I am really glad I stuck with it though! By doing the 5-Day Nutritive Cleanse, I was supplying my body with great nutrients and support while allowing my digestive system a chance to relax and reset. I also have noticed huge improvements in my candida symptoms. My skin is looking and feeling better, the brain fog is clearing, and my digestion has improved.

What's next?
I am slowly coming off of the cleanse and transitioning to a modified Anti-Inflammatory diet. For me, that looks like limiting my gluten, and dairy intake and cutting out caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars. Then adding in a ton of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. This also means I need to be more intentional about my meal times and making sure I am prepared.

Oftentimes my meals revolve around the kids and include munching on a handful of crackers or quickly eating deli meat while making sandwiches for the kids. Then at dinner time I feel like I am starving and then overeat which is an awful feeling and so unhealthy for me. So that was another great thing about doing this cleanse. I spent 5 days consciously planning out my mealtimes and it has been a game changer.