Life Lately…

my life in pictures lately…can’t believe that we’ve been here a month. finally beginning to learn my way around and feel settled. looking forward to getting the rest of our things to NJ soon!

 

Fall Is Here!

Fall Is Here!

Lobster In Asbury Park

Cotton Candy Skies Out Our Back Door

Candy Color Houses On Long Beach Island

October Beach Day Long Beach Island

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Homemade Pizza Night

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I Found Starbucks! PSL For My Road Trip

Verrazano Bridge. Hello NYC

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Mom’s Apple Cake!

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Meal Planning. Coffee. Sunshine. Cake.

We Went To A Party!

Found This Little Guy Antiquing

Stopped By The Beach On My Walk

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Storm Is Rolling In. Can You See The Rainbow?

Clouds Over The Ocean!

 

happy Tuesday!

 

 

Brrrrrrr!!!!

Good Morning and hello Monday! We woke up to temps of 27˚ outside this morning! What the what?! I was so not prepared for the bitter chill that temperatures that cold bring into the house. Especially when you don’t turn on the heat (whoops!) Luckily we learned that our house warms up quickly and our heat does indeed work.

After a long and busy weekend all I wanted to do last night was to head out to a bar and grab some dinner and watch football. I wanted nothing to do with the kitchen or dishes. We were both beyond tired though and opted to stay in, throw on jammies and watch more Breaking Bad. We are seriously addicted and almost done with season 3.

We decided on Gyoza Soup, otherwise known as clean out the freezer/fridge soup. It’s so good and so filling. I’m glad I made more than enough for lunch leftovers today! You can tune this soup to your liking and add in pretty much anything that sounds delicious or any vegetables that are about to turn. The first time we made this soup we used fresh spinach which was really yummy!

When the soup was done cooking I set up the perfect picture and snapped away. Then I set my phone aside and quickly dove in only to later realize that my phone didn’t actually take the pictures. My iPhone 5S is giving me a run for my money these days and it’s only 6 months old. Guess I’ll have to make a trip to the Apple Store this week.

Enjoy your Monday!

gyoza soup

1 medium onion {cut in half, then sliced thin}

4 carrots {peeled and sliced into circles}

2 celery stalks, diced

6-8 large mushrooms, sliced

8-10 Trader Joes frozen Gyoza {we used pork this time}

1 container Trader Joes organic chicken broth

2 cups water

1/2 bag Trader Joes frozen Kale

salt

pepper

ginger powder

garlic powder

hoisin sauce

olive oil

sauté onions in olive oil until they are slightly translucent, then add in carrots and celery. cook until veggies begin to soften. add in mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown. season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger powder {we didn’t have fresh ginger or I would have used it and I was too lazy to deal with fresh garlic!}

add in the container of chicken broth and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. once boiling add in the frozen kale and bring back to a boil. allow the soup to boil for 5-8 minutes depending on the size of the kale pieces. add in gyoza and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes. don’t let the gyoza over cook!

serve immediately! this is delicious when you drizzle in hoisin sauce but just as good without it. we had some leftover rotisserie chicken so I shredded it and placed a little bit in each of our bowls. I ladled the soup on top and when we sat down to eat everything was nice and hot. this soup was super filling, we each only had one bowl!

have some fun with this recipe and add in vegetables to your liking. Trader Joes has other gyoza as well, there’s a vegetarian version and a chicken one too.

Beef + Butternut Squash Stew

This week’s meal plan had not one but two new recipes! While all of our cookbooks are still in storage in Denver {insert loud sobs!} I somehow managed to bring along a binder of recipes from magazines that I’ve cut out over the years. We’ve been working with that and checking out books from the library to fill in our meal plans. Last night’s dinner was a Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash served with couscous. I added more spices than the original recipe called for and I think I’d even bump it up a notch again next time.

This recipe came from a Cooking Light magazine in the January/February 2011 issue. I bought beef stew meat from Whole Foods because it was on sale. I think because of the cut of meat I used this was not a 40 minute recipe, which worked out well for me. I also believe this could be a great dish cooked low and slow in the crock pot or even in the oven on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I’ll be experimenting with this because we both thought that the flavors were so awesome and because the boy, ahem the husband requested lots of butternut squash in the future!

I’ll apologize in advance that there isn’t a single photo of this dish. It was dark + gloomy + rainy and I never took a single picture. {Must be better about that!!} The photo below is from the Cooking Light website.

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Beef Tangine with Butternut Squash

adapted from Cooking Light


2 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds beef cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 small onions, cut into thin wedges

4 garlic cloves chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

3 cups (1 inch) cubed and peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the beef, toss to coat. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat (I used my large Le Cruset pot, it was the perfect size.) Add onions and let them begin to brown. Add in beef, stir occasionally until browned. Add in garlic, stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn but make sure it gets cooked! Stir in broth and deglaze the pan, scrape up all those yummy brown bits!! Add in tomatoes and bring everything to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then add squash. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Serve over couscous.

{The cooking ingredients are what the original recipe suggested. My beef and my squash weren’t ready at this point. I allowed them to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. I believe it’s because of the cut of beef I used but nonetheless it was a delicious dish!}

treats, treats and more treats!

Did you know it’s National Dessert Day? Thank goodness for social media or else how would we keep track of all these fabulous “holidays” :) I’m currently trying to decide what to make later today but here are a few goodies that sound irresistible!

** These little chocolate salted shortbread bites sound so yummy!

http://www.doughmesstic.net/2011/12/22/dark-chocolate-and-salted-caramel-topped-shortbread/

** Caramel + apples + cheesecake? Has to be a winner in my book!

http://goboldwithbutter.com/?p=1790

** I’m not a brownie lover (gasp! I know!) but blondies speak to me. These sound so so good. They might be the winner today as I bet I have all the ingredients!

http://www.shutterbean.com/2012/chocolate-chunk-blondies/

** These are by far the BEST chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. Probably because it uses brown butter. Make these. Make these now! Also I can’t WAIT to get my hands on her new cookbook! The cake on the cover? Swoon.

http://joythebaker.com/2014/05/the-best-brown-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

** Then this cake. I mean seriously?! How gorgeous is it? This is one of my new blog finds and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites!

http://mynameisyeh.com/mynameisyeh/2014/9/funfetti-cake

 

Are you making anything for National Dessert Day?!

Hello from New Jersey

Hello! It’s been quiet around here for a long time. I didn’t feel like I had much to say or share and so I went into hibernation. But now? Now I have lots of things to share, pictures to show you and recipes I’ve tried that I feel like I should share. And it’s all coming at you from our new home in New Jersey. Goodbye West Coast living and hello East Coast. I think once we get to know one another a bit better we’re going to be really good friends. Right now though my heart hurts and I miss Colorado terribly.

So for now while I get my bearings straight and get settled here is something that I have been loving!

One of my MOST FAVORITE new discoveries is the Project Life App by Becky Higgins. I’ve been feeling so far behind on my PL’ing this year because of all the packing and moving and things being in storage…which is where they still are. Then the new app got released and I’ve been a scrapping machine! I think that I am still a fan of doing everything by hand but when I’m this far behind I’ve found it super easy to catch up. I can’t wait to embellish all the digital pages though! Here are a few pages I’ve made using the app. Can’t wait to print them and get them in my album. Happy Friday!

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I Quit…

I quit the whole 30 challenge after six days. I got violently ill and my body couldn’t handle it. I slowly worked my way back into eating food and I’ve definitely paid more attention to what I’m putting in my body. I’d like to think that I’ll try it again someday but for now I’ve gone back to healthy eating my way. Lots of clean food with an occasional treat and coffee although I’m REALLY trying to just enjoy coffee on the weekends. 

 

Tomorrow is May 1! I’m trying to find one specific direction for this little blog to take, all the randomness makes my brain hurt! Until then….

Egg Muffins

In preparation for the start of my Whole 30 journey I spent a lot of time in the kitchen the past two days! One recipe that I’m excited about are my egg muffins. Don’t let the word muffin fool you, they’re simply baked in a muffin pan. They are 100% Whole 30 compliant! The recipe is below, feel free to make it your own as it’s pretty much a blank canvas for breakfast. If you’re starting on your Whole 30 journey tomorrow leave me a message! Do you have a blog or Instagram account you’re using to track your journey? I think support is going to be a huge part of the success. Let’s support one another! Find me on Instagram or here, I’ll probably be over sharing food pictures but that’s what I do :) 

Egg Muffins (adapted from Nom Nom Paleo

12 eggs

1/2 onion, minced

5 large mushrooms, sliced thin (I used large white mushrooms, you can use whatever variety you want!) 

1/2 pound asparagus, trim the ends, chop into pieces

1/4 bell pepper, diced 

3 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil

salt

pepper 

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Preheat oven to 375˚

Heat your fat in a skillet over medium high heat. Once it is shimmering add in the mushrooms and allow them to cook until they’re light brown. Add in the onions and continue to cook together until the mushrooms are a deep golden brown and the onions are soft and translucent. Add in the peppers and asparagus and cook for another 2-4 minutes until your asparagus is tender. 

In a large bowl, crack all 12 eggs and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper. 

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While you wait for your veggies to cool prep your muffin tin. Liberally oil each cup or line with cupcake liners and grease the inside of those.

Once the vegetables have cooled, stir them into the egg mixture. Evenly distribute the eggs into the muffin tin.

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Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs have set. 

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Notes:

* I used entirely too many vegetables. Or rather, next time I would prep 2 muffin pans and distribute between 18 instead of 12. Mine puffed up like crazy and poured out of the pan slightly as well. Go easy on the fillings or use an extra muffin tin :)

* I used coconut oil to grease my muffin tins and while they came out easily it made a HUGE mess. Next time I think I’ll try the foil cupcake liners and grease those instead. 

Keep in fridge and reheat as necessary throughout the week! I’ll be serving mine with a side of fruit and either some avocado or some chicken sausage. 

Testing Testing

Sunday dinners are one of my favorite family rituals. We cook dinner at my inlaws house every week. It’s time spent together in the kitchen, talking, catching up and goofing off, always ending with a yummy home cooked meal.

Lately I’ve taken to using Sunday afternoons to prep food for the week. A good relaxing way to start the week and it’s helpful to have a good base for healthy eating. It makes packing lunches so much easier, not to mention throwing dinners together. Meal planning is one of my favorite things to do.

Tonight we took our weekly Sunday trip to the grocery store. We had a meal plan in our heads and when we got to the store we found that the selection of fish was subpar for the fish tacos we were going to make. Quick change of plans and we decided to throw salmon and flank steak on the grill. I also figured it would be a good test run for my upcoming #whole30!

The flank steak got tenderized and a quick marinade of lime juice, ginger and soy sauce. (Need to figure out a replacement for the soy sauce to make it whole 30 approved.) The salmon got a dusting of lemon pepper. We also tossed some asparagus with salt, pepper and olive oil. Thrown on the grill as well, 75% of our meal was done, you have to love quick and easy meals! The salsa that we made would be so good over many different proteins, I’m thinking next time shrimp!

No pictures today, we were so hungry we dove right in!

Mango Jicama Salsa
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 jicama, diced
1 mango, diced
1 jalapeño, reseeded and minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Dressing:
Juice of 3 limes
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup Olive oil or avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over salsa. Serve immediately.

The Right Time Is Now (Well April 1st)

I adore Instagram. There are so many amazing people on there and it’s such a friendly and inspiring community. Recently I’ve seen a Whole 30 being mentioned a lot and it intrigued me. I’ve heard of it before, skimmed the book before but apparently I wasn’t ready to commit at that time. This past week I picked up my very own copy of the book  It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I read the entire thing in 3 days and decided it was past time to reset my body.

I’m uncomfortable in my own skin these days. I’ve been eating like crap for some reason and that’s so not me. I drank soda THREE times this week and I haven’t done that in months. Why did I do it? I have no idea. It wasn’t even good but I kept drinking it until my cup was empty. I also ate fast food one night this week and that pushed me over the edge. It’s like I’m trying to torment my body and punish it. I rarely eat fast food, I love eating fruits and vegetables. I think that my body is screaming at me that it wants help and my brain has finally caught up to the idea. So now I have a plan. Beginning April 1 I will start my Whole 30 journey. I’ve found two new friends on Instagram who are going to start then as well and we’re going to form a little support group which I believe will be incredibly helpful and keep me accountable even more.

This isn’t going to be easy. I love sugar. I also highly enjoy coffee with cream, milk with cereal and cheese and crackers. I’m fairly certain my body does not. So by doing this little reset I’m hoping that my body will take some time to heal and allow me the chance to see what really makes it unhappy. And let’s be honest, I’m also hoping to loose some weight and feel better about myself.

I spent 45 minutes wandering around Whole Foods yesterday and I think the mindset is on it’s way. I picked up items and then debated if they would be a good choice and ultimately they were not. I left with 2 cartons of low sodium organic chicken broth (approved) 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (approved) 1 container of fresh chopped soup veggies (zucchini, green beans, onions, carrots and celery are approved, potatoes are not) 1 can of cannelini beans (not approved) and some fresh pears. I’d say overall that was a good start to resetting my brain!

If you’ve done this before and have tips, please share! If you want to join in that’s great! The more the merrier, go grab a copy of the book and see what it’s all about. I’ll be sharing my journey here, and trying to share pictures and recipes as well. Come back April 1 and join the journey!

 

Life Lately…In Pictures

March roared in like a lion, how did that happen?! So much happened in February, here’s a sneak at what I was up to. You can find more on Instagram {michellenaomi81} here’s hoping spring is on it’s way because these teasers that we’ve had are killing me!

Have a good week :)

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[ windy but sunny weather for much of February, definitely warranted a picnic or two || coffee date with the boy, ahem the husband. he came home for a few days!! || someone had a birthday and we had a blast celebrating. love that sister in law of mine || bathroom selfies are a must when you’re all dolled up || he’s home!!! || reunited and so happy || gorgeous denver day calls for a trip to the zoo || signs of spring ||