gazpacho.

One of my favorite things about summer is the vine ripened perfection of tomatoes.  Just this week my neighbor across the street brought over a bag full of homegrown goodness for our family to enjoy.  The tomato is undoubtedly one of God’s greatest gifts to men.  So, in ode to my favorite summertime “fruit” I decided to make one of my favorite soups… gazpacho!

There are many varieties of this rustic Andalusian dish.  Growing up my mom and I would often frequent the cafe “Shulers” down the street from our house in Michigan and order gazpacho blancho.  I was hooked from the first bite!  That particular gazpacho was cream based… delish!

This week I decided to make a tomato based gazpacho, although the basic composition is the same… chilled, acidic, rich.  

This dish cost less than $9.00 to make, and yielded approximately 8 cups of soup.  I’d say that is pretty good!  I used a basic recipe from allrecipes.com.

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I simply combined into my food processor:

4 cups organic tomato juice

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 cucumber, chopped

2 cups diced tomato

2 green onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tsp. dried tarragon

1 tsp. dried basil

1/4 chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. sugar (I omitted this)

salt and pepper to taste

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I pulsed the mixture until the components were roughly chopped into little beads of vegetable goodness (choose your chunkiness).

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There is just something about this soup that cools you to your core…

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I poured my gazpacho creation into a big, lidded Portuguese painted pot and chilled it for about an hour before serving.  Days later the pot is still in my refrigerator, and the soup is tastier than the day I made it!

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if i had a penny.

If I had a penny for every time I told myself “tomorrow I’m going to start working out and feeling great…” I’d be rich.

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Two back-to-back pregnancies have taken their toll on my body (not complaining here… just stating the obvious).  So I decided to do something about it!

I had just found out I was pregnant with Elijah two weeks before this pic was taken… Kinsley was just 5 months old.  My babies are close in age!

 

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The Challenge Package came in the mail today, and I find myself on a carpet floor littered with toys sifting through instruction manuals, recipe booklets, and workout DVDs.  I jumped head first into a new lifestyle of no excuses.

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I am going to hit the floor hard with my PiYo (pilates and yoga) workouts!  I joined an online challenge group to keep me accountable!  I really am giddy with excitement at the thought of accomplishing my fitness and nutritional goals!  Plus, these shakes I’m on are super low carb, GMO free, gf, and tasty!  Yay!  I’ll update my progress as I go… it really helps to bolster my commitment and confidence as I go!

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So I’m emptying my penny jar and cashing in!  No regrets!

 

hats.

Last weekend I stumbled upon the most unique collection of vintage hats imaginable from a little thrift store down the street from us.  I mean the kind of hats where you say to yourself “what in the world was that person thinking when they wore that?”  Did she frequent the Kentucky Derby?  Was she a little old church lady?  Or perhaps was she a 1960’s fashion plate?  Either way, these hats speak for themselves.

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For 50 cents/ piece Kinsley hit the jackpot in terms of her dress-up wardrobe!  She adores her feathered, bejeweled hat collection.

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I might add that she looks quite smashing!

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Easter 2014.

Easter for me carries tremendous meaning.  The story of Redemption, the love of a sacrificial Savior.

His power!

The celebration of new life!

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We had quite a celebration!

Amanda and Randy opened their home to us this Resurrection Sunday!  It was just lovely!

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The food was fabulous, the family was together once again, and we had a ball!

Kinsley and Elijah participated in their very first egg hung!  Needless to say, Elijah was totally blown away!

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So… right at about this point in the afternoon Kinsley started to look a bit sick…

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Just as we were packing up to head to my parent’s house to celebrate, Kinsley showed the first signs of Noravirus…

Poor thing, she (and the rest of the family) were sick for days!  We ended up heading home after Kinsley’s stomach settled down somewhat and put the babies to bed.

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For dinner Adam and I enjoyed the Paleo carrot cake that I was bringing over to my parent’s house.

Lets just say we’re never eating carrot cake again… !

 

 

paleo berry waffles.

This morning my husband had one request… waffles.

Now I have to admit, I was not crazy about the idea of making waffles.  Paleo waffles require the patience of Job to make, and end up tasting like cardboard anyway.  So naturally I told Adam… “I’d love to make you some waffles!”

My only pre-requisite was that he had to provide the recipe so that I was not at all responsible for the way these things would taste!

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He linked me with a waffle recipe on PaleoOMG… So I got crackin’!

I ground up some almonds and unsweetend coconut flakes for my flours… two eggs, coconut milk, sea salt, cinnamon, baking soda, raw honey.  Not much to them at all!!  Here’s the link to the recipe:

http://paleomg.com/almond-flour-coconut-waffles/

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The waffles were absolutely fabulous!! I did decide to make a berry compote for my topping!

I combined:

1 cup frozen mixed berries

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp. honey

I brought the ingredients to a boil over high heat.  Once the berries began to boil I cut the heat and added 1/2 tsp. Vietnamese cinnamon.  I then stirred and smushed the berry compote and drizzled it over the waffles!

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I feel totally rejuvinated! Is that even possible after a big plate of waffles?  Many thanks go out to PaleoOMG!  Now onto the grocery store… time to get my Easter cooking on!

 

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april showers bring may flowers.

A storm whipped through these parts today. Large gusts of wind and rain left behind sloppy puddles, mushy azaelas, and one restless toddler.

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A perfect day to sip on some tea, listen to some acoustic, play “kitchen” with my little miss, and blow rasberries with my little bear.

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While these days as a young mother are often long, sometimes lonely, and routine, I know they are producing a great harvest.  I love watching my babies explore, learn, grow, and giggle.  I love this season, hard as it may sometimes be.

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You see, I know that my April showers will bring May flowers.  The drip drop of today will bring forth something magnificent and stunning that points to the Creator God.

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As I drove in the car today with rain pounding on my windshield and my hair sloppily pulled back in a wet bun on the top of my head (too busy to dry it these days), I reminded myself of this eternal truth…

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

2 Cor. 4:17

paleo shepherd’s pie.

Braveheart happens to be one of my all-time most favorite movies…  So when Adam told me he had never seen the movie a couple years back I jumped on the idea of preparing a classic Anglo-Saxon dish to celebrate the heritage.  I prepared none other than Elana’s Pantry shepherd’s pie!

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If you haven’t heard of Elana, well now ya have!  She is a pioneer in the gluten free/ grain free movement.  She adopted a gf lifestyle decades ago to combat Celiac disease.  Heralding from Boulder, CO, her blog and countless cookbooks have both inspired and challenged me to think creatively when preparing gf/paleo dishes.

While I love her recipe (which I have included with a link to her blog), the topping is a pain in the rear to prepare.  So, I have altered her recipe in a way that is both delicious, easy, and… friendly to all breastfeeding moms out there!!  (Cauliflower and babies don’t mix well)

Instead of making her cauliflower topping, I baked four large sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for a couple hours.  After letting them cool I scooped out the potato, whipped it all up with two tablespoons of grass-fed butter, and let that serve as my topping.

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I followed Elana’s recipe to a T, except for the topping!  I have bracketed the altered steps… here it is!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound turkey or pork bacon, cut into 2 inch slices
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 pound organic grass fed ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ((2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft))
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Heat olive oil in a very large frying pan
  2. Saute onion for 15 minutes until soft
  3. Add bacon pieces to pan and sauté until cooked, about 10 minutes
  4. Add carrots and celery to pan and sauté in bacon fat for 10 minutes until soft
  5. Add ground beef to pan and sauté until brown, just a few minutes
  6. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika
  7. Add chicken broth and cook down broth until 60% evaporated
  8. ((Place cauliflower in food processor and puree with olive oil until smooth))
  9. Pour ground beef mixture into a 9 X 13 inch baking dish
  10. ((Pour mashed cauliflower over beef mixture))
  11. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes

http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-shepherds-pie/

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We usually make this recipe when we watch “The Hobbit,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Braveheart,” or “Far and Away.”  The warm, peppery, savory flavors of this dish go so well with a Black and Tan!  It’s a family favorite for sure!

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