::cleanse:: Day Three! baking chips & chili

It's Day 3 of this cleanse business and my cravings are seriously ganging up on me. 
Glass of wine with dinner? No. 
Cheese on top of my chili? No!
 A bitty lil' piece of chocolate after eating cheese-less chili? Nooooommmaayyybe?
::proceed to rummage through every cabinet and drawer in seek of anything resembling chocolate:::
Hmm? ::pull out bag of semi-sweet baking chips::
 they'll do.

this is how I felt while eating baking chips in lieu of chocolate:

booo. hooo. 

Anyway. We are alive and well over here and are cleansing away the days with tact and poise. Last night, we had yummy Veggielicious Chili for dinner and the good boy even took some with him to work for lunch! He's not actually doing a "cleanse" so the idea of him having a meal lacking bread, cheese, and meat- not once, but twice!- is quite the victory! Therefor I thought it worthy of sharing...

Veggielicious Chili

2 cans pinto beans
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
4c vegetable broth 
1/2c: red bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, broccoli... finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2tsp chili powder
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp cumin
1tsp coriander seed
1tsp ground allspice berries
1tsp hot sauce (pepper sauce... i.e. Tobasco. +/- to taste)
1/4c bittersweet dark chocolate chips (trust me).
1tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
1 small lime
cilantro & avocado for garnish

1. add olive oil and broth to a large sauce pot. Stir in garlic and chopped veggies. Bring to a broil.
2. Add in beans, tomatoes. Dump in your spices and stir thoroughly.


3. Stir in chocolate chips, salt, pepper, to taste. Simmer for 30-40 mins.
4. Mix in lime juice before serving. Top with avocado and chopped cilantro to garnish.


this man.

My amazing husband.
Yes, he is just the cutest ever...

But he's also the most hardworking, loyal, and dependable person I know.

He also gives great backrubs in the morning.
And takes the dogs out for their business without complaining.

He also doesn't judge me (overtly) when I whine that the TV wouldn't turn on...
even though he knows I may not move from the couch for the first 90 minutes of my day...
while he drives an hour to (and from) work. 

I love you babe. 
You're all I could have ever hoped for.
I promise to be showered and dressed by the time you come home. 


Thrifty Thursdays: Potato & Chickpea Coconut~Mint Curry

Potato & Chickpea Coconut~Mint Curry
$8, serves 4

2c diced potatoes (I used frozen southern style hash browns...yup).
1 can garbanzo beans
1c cashews
2/3 can coconut milk (add the rest to rice while cooking)
1.5c water
2tbsp olive oil
1/2c chopped onion (yellow or white)
1tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
5 bay leaves (for flavor, don't try to eat these...)
2tsp chile powder
1tsp turmeric
1tsp salt (to taste)
1tsp hot sauce 
cilantro as garnish

1. Heat o.o. in a medium skillet pan. Pretty much add everything at once... (is this why they call me a "dump & pray" cook?) 
2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly... simmer on low for 30 mins
3. Serve hot over steamed rice, top with cilantro to garnish. Yum!


:::cleanse::: Day Two!

I am 24hours into my "get-healthy-before-hibernation" cleanse and so far, so yummy! I spent some time yesterday browsing websites and this wonderful place for tasty recipes and got super excited about making my next grocery list. Now, grocery shopping is something close to nirvana for me thanks to this health-food resort  so it's not unlike me to look forward to perusing the produce and browsing the bulk aisle. I believe that the healthiest, happiest meals begin with the healthiest, happiest ingredients... flavors in their true forms and food enjoyed as it was designed to be. 

People think I'm crazy, I know, but being a good steward to our planet, and all of it's creatures big and small, is dear to my heart and cooking (well...eating) delicious food is a passion of mine, so it's easy for me to justify. 

Anyway~ I am excited for the changes and challenges that this cleanse will present... especially when I have to take the fact that my bean-pole husband has the appetite of four triathletes into consideration at every meal.  But we got off to a surprisingly good start last night with a yummy meal I was able to throw together after staring blankly into our sparsely stocked cabinets for a good 30 mins... and we both had enough for lunch leftovers! It may just need to be featured as today's Thrifty Thursday recipe!

Here's what is on the menu for today~
           Pumpkin & Banana Protein Smoothie:
                2 tbsp pumpkin puree (canned)
   1 ripe banana
                1 scoop vanilla protein powder
                1c vanilla soymilk (but I prefer oatmilk)
  1tsp honey
                sprinkle of "pumpkin pie spice" (or cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)
 apple slices with peanut butter
Potato & Chickpea Coconut~Mint Curry
hummus & rice crackers
I'm thinkin... Veggie Chili & Sweet Potato frites... mmm, mmm!


::cleanse:: Day One!

We just got home from our quick trip to Las Vegas and I am in recovery mode. Besides cleaning the house, doing laundry, and getting things from everyday life back in order I am definitely feeling like it's time to do another ::::cleanse::::

I found a great guide to an easy cleanse routine a few years ago and have done it 1-2 times a year since then to refresh my body and get things back on track. It includes a simple list of foods to eat and foods to avoid... basically just trying to eliminate the amount of processed (bread, soy) and saturated foods (cheese, sugar) so that the food you intake is streamlined to help detox your body from the inside out. Boosts digestion, tones skin, and flushes your organs to get them all up to speed... no nazzz liquids or capsules or chanting required!

I am going to start it today and commit to two weeks... which hurts a little to even type (cheeeeeese!?)...but I am an advocate for listening to your body and mine is begging me for a fresh start. So wish me discipline and dedication~ or do it along with me and we can encourage each other!

What's two simple weeks... with the sugar-coated Holiday season right around the corner!?! And you can't tell me that these recipes don't look super delish!

Our trip to Vegas!

Well, I officially survived my first trip to Las Vegas... but I must say I am in no hurry for us to go back...ever. A "successful" trip to Vegas is certainly subjective, since it's easy to leave feeling like your mind and body suffered quite a beating, but I guess it depends on what your initial expectations are. Let's revisit my list of must-do's to see how our stay stacked up!

1. Lounge by a fancy pool with a fancy drink... Check!

2. Play a slot machine in a fancy casino... Check!

(it was a Penny slot, not a Nickel... but it still took 100% of my money...no mercy!)

3. Wear a fancy outfit... Check!

... we got suckered into doing one of those dumb Oxygen bar things... 
yes, we may have been inhaling fruity air for all we know,
but it came with a back massage so we were happy! 

4. Eat a fancy dinner... Check!
cute teeny desserts at the fabulous Bellagio buffet :)

5. See a fancy show... Check!

We saw Mystere by Cirque du Soleil at Treasure Island.
I actually saw it once before when I was about 10 with my family, 
but this time around was just as spectacular. It was Dan's first time 
seeing a Cirque show, and he loved it. Fancy, indeed!

Well...check, check, check, check, and check! 

Since shamefully losing our gambling allowance in record speed was not on the list, I guess our trip was successful after all! Now my senses are adjusting to normal life away from neon lights and nonstop noise... There's certainly no place like Vegas...but we are happy to be home! 

and we missed these... a lot...


Cashew & Lemon Basil Pesto!

I didn't get around to putting together a full Thrifty recipe this week but I wanted to share an idea for a delicious fresh pesto I made with the last leaves from our little basil plant. I threw them into my food processor with a few handfuls of raw cashews, a cup of parmesan cheese, lemon juice, a bit of garlic, o.o, s&p, and the result was a full-flavored, sweet & nutty pesto perfect for spreading on garlic toast, tossing onto pasta, sandwiches and more! Yummy!

1.5c fresh basil leaves, rinsed & roughly chopped
1c raw cashews
1c parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more if too dry
pinch of salt, pepper to taste

Toss it all in a food processor and blend away until smooth and creamy!

We had it on buttered rigatoni with oven- roasted tomatoes for dinner! 
SO yum!!


the first hours of the day

Up until last Monday I was working 40 hours a week, Friday-Tuesday, anywhere between 7:55 am and 9:30pm... needless to say I found myself utterly exhausted every day and felt that I was not giving my best at work or at home. So for several weeks I asked myself what had to give, what was more important in the long run, and where did I need to be focusing my time and energy right now? I knew the answers were not in favor of my job.

So I gave my 3.5 weeks notice and mentally prepared myself to once again face the deep, dark hole called "unemployment". This is a truly exhausting place to be when just starting out, fresh-faced and glossy eyed, trying to get my 'foot in the door' of my dream job. But for some reason, doors close, opportunities pass, and I'm left wondering what the hay am I supposed to be doing with my life?!

Thankfully, I have a wonderfully supportive husband, extremely encouraging family and friends, and an unbridled imagination that is always eager to dive into my wild daydream du jour! This time around I have decided to consciously change my perspective- strive to seek peace and pursue patience, not misplace excitement with worry, or let anxiousness defeat my optimism... If no one is going to open a door for me, I'll crawl through the window darn it!

However, I am still very much a person that needs a steady dose of structure, consistency, and predictability. I'm also a workaholic and don't feel satisfied unless I believe that I've stretched every minute of my day to the limit (healthy and realistic)! So I decided to make a conscious effort to fill the first few hours of each morning with the same simple motions until they become habits that help me to begin the day with a renewed mind and refreshed spirit.

(which wouldn't be so hard if I woke up to this view... Whitianga, NZ)

~ Anyway, they look something like this ~

6:35am~ alarm goes off, I lay in bed semi-consciously listening to music until coherent enough to form full sentences. Pray a simple prayer asking God to help me have peace, patience, and discipline today (energy, trust, etc. depending on the day)

7am~ get up, immediately make the bed, open the blinds, crack the windows if they weren't left open all night.

7:05am~ splash cold water on my face, put on comfy clothes, shoes. Head downstairs, start coffee.

7:10am~ leash up the dogs, head out for a 20-30min walk, restrain Wilson (the problem child) 4-5 times as he enters breakdown mode every time we see another dog, squirrel, bird, person, moving object, or something he imagines.

7:40am~ pour 1st cup of coffee, check email, face book, twitter, blogs, pinterest.

8:15am~ pour 2nd cup of coffee, head upstairs to shower, get dressed... or convince myself that it's okay to stay in comfy clothes because I have every intention of exercising at some point today. Make to-do list.

9:00am~ if I haven't worked out by now, it isn't going to happen today... time to get dressed and be a functioning member of society...and get crackin' on that to-do list.

~ Do you have a daily routine that helps you start the day off well? If you work from home or are a stay-at-home mama, how do you stay motivated and productive throughout the day?~


Teal me all about it!

Although Fall does not officially begin until Friday signs of summer coming to an end are lingering all around. The crisp air in the morning, tiny leaves dropping from tree branches, stores packed to the brim with adorable scarves and sweaters...

This is a favorite time of year for many people, myself included. What's not to love about  curling up under a cozy blanket, coffee in hand, pumpkin muffins in the oven...while the wind outside twirls through the trees?

Not to mention the palette of rich, earthy tones that beckon us into the season. One that I seem to be stumbling across everywhere this year... Teal! Here are some of my favorite finds below~

four.                                     five.

What colors are you being drawn to this season?