Friday, June 22, 2012

Quinoa Fruit Salad

It seems like once you go public with a goal, the universe makes every attempt to thwart your efforts. Just as I expected, I wasn't anywhere close to weekday veg during my week in Houston. For one, I had no control over the boxed lunch options at my continuing ed conference. Secondly, I ate out a bunch with my parents. This week I'm doing a little better, but I've eaten quite a bit of organic, grass-fed beef we got on sale at Sprouts a few weeks ago. I'm okay with that.

Over the last two weeks I did discover a new vegetarian side dish that I love. The recipe comes from a diabetic cooking magazine my mom has. Unfortunately I took a picture of it with my phone, and now I can't remember or see the name of the source...

Here's what you'll need:

*I substituted agave nectar for the honey because that's what I had in my pantry.
*I chose a Granny Smith apple.
*I just bought mixed nuts from the bulk section instead of walnuts and chopped them in my food processor.
*I omitted celery because I think it's gross.
*I recommend adding a little more Greek yogurt than the recipe calls for to make sure everything is nice and coated. 
*Definitely let it chill in the fridge before eating. It will taste so much better.

 I've now made this twice, once at my parents' house and once at my own house. Initially I thought it could pass as a dessert, but now I'm reconsidering. Maybe if you paired it with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla? Jury's still out. But I do think it would make a very refreshing side for a summer picnic or potluck. Yum.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some Things You Take for Granted

Have you ever tried to help someone create and email a Word document over the phone who does not have the following concepts:

-Windows toolbar (he thinks once you click on a new window the other ones disappear. If he could see my screen right now, he would be in for the shock of his life.)
-saving a file and remembering the location of that file
-figuring out the name of said file
-searching for a file
-how to "Save As" a second time to strategically place the file on the desktop--never could get him through the steps necessary to do that one...unfortunately he has the older version of Word on his computer...
-copying and pasting
-the difference between a program on your computer and an Internet website
-how to attach a file to an email

etc., etc., etc.
lol if it wasn't for my dad...
who honestly has impressive skills for someone born in 1930...

Thankfully we inserted and formatted the majority of the pictures and text while I was with him in person.
And fingers crossed that I don't get a phone call to troubleshoot printer problems...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Vegetarian Recipes

Once upon a time, I decided to institute Meatless Monday in my life. And I was committed to it for quite a while. Sure, I'd skip and have a meal with meat on a Monday here and there (usually due to poor planning), but I'd try to have a makeup veggie meal later in the week when that would happen. I felt like I was doing a great job of decreasing my meat intake. It turned out that once I decided to eat vegetarian on one day of the week that I was more inclined to have meatless meals other days of the week too.

Then I got pregnant and became super lax about my Meatless Monday observance. Then I was the first time mom of a newborn just trying to survive, and well, I scarfed down what I could when I could. Not that everything I ate was bad, but I let a lot of junk food back into my diet.

Anyway, now I'm trying to get back on track. My goal for the summer is to be a "weekday vegetarian" (a term I heard in this TED Talk). I'm giving myself some time to ease into it. This week I've had only 3-4 meals containing meat, and with a little more planning and preparation, I think I can be up to full weekday veg in two weeks. (I would say next week, but I'm going to be at my parents' house...)

Since better meal planning is the key to eating better, I'm also working on a meal planning visual system to use at home. I hope this will help to eliminate the dreaded question of "what do you want for dinner?" When that happens a lot of times we'll just end up picking up fast food.

So, step 1 of developing my meal planning system is gathering recipes that we like. I thought I'd share a few we've tried recently.

Rice, Cheddar & Spinach Pie

We made this for dinner, and hubs and I both really liked it. I really liked the brown rice and egg combo. Kept it from being too eggy. We threw in some mushrooms and garnished with feta cheese. 


Black Bean and Brown Rice Burgers

Super yummy. Would definitely make again. Hubs liked them too, which hasn't been true of other black bean burger recipes we've tried. 


Baked Hummus and Spinach Dip

Such a yummy dip with baby carrots. I added a little extra garlic, curry powder, and turmeric. I also chopped the spinach a little longer than I think the author intended. This would be perfect for St. Patrick's Day bc it is BRIGHT green! 


Oatmeal-Rhubarb Porridge

I made this for brunch this morning, and I thought it was decent. It was my first time to ever try rhubarb (I bought some frozen at Sprouts a couple months ago and wanted to use it)...I kind of liked the tangy kick with the oatmeal.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thoughts on a Good Friday

Oy. I've been debating all week whether I should post this or not, but ultimately I am because 1. it might help someone and 2. it's my story of hope and faith and so it deserves to be told. It's just hard for me to post something so personal on here. Makes me anxious. So if you feel inclined to leave a positive comment, please do. =)

But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. 
2 Nephi 2:24

One year ago this week, I took my first positive pregnancy test. I was surprised and excited by the news. After months and months of disappointment, it meant that my body was working like it should. I couldn't believe it. And three days later it all ended. That was exactly a year ago today. If I hadn't taken that test I wouldn't have suspected anything abnormal was happening to my body, but...instead, I sat at my desk, moments after reality began to sink in, and "The World Spins Madly On" began to play on the Pandora station I was listening to. It was too fitting, cruel, heartbreaking. 

Last Mother's Day was really hard. I went to church and took the carnation, dangit (actually it was chocolate in my ward; must've been a Relief Society directive), but I wasn't happy about it. At all. My heart was aching.

Now, if the story ended there, it might be quite depressing, but as you know it does not. It's my belief, by the way, that no story has to end there, at that low spot, unless you choose for it to. No story has to end there because God is loving and merciful. As Elder Wirthlin said, "We will all have our Fridays. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."

Even though I had no idea what the future held, I could see that Heavenly Father was gently leading me to my Sunday.  He taught me things I needed to know about faith and hope. He guided me to read and hear things that helped me tremendously. He gave me role models like Sheri Dew and Ardeth G. Kapp and Natalie Holbrook. One day I was reading in Philippians when this verse struck me: 
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
That was exactly how I felt: abased and abounding, full yet hungry. 

Then, at the end of June, I found out I was pregnant again. This time for keeps.

So what are my thoughts on this Good Friday? Life is beautiful, but only because the gospel of Jesus Christ makes it so. Because of His Atonement and Resurrection, we are eternal beings. As I'm sitting here holding my daughter, watching as she gives me the most adorable smile I have ever seen!, I realize that. You and I are eternal. My role as a mother is eternal. Without beginning nor end. During our trials, time slows. We grieve, we desire, and hopefully we grow. But then miraculously, when the blessings come--and they will come--we see with new eyes. The hardship was but a small moment.

She was well worth the heartache. She was worth the wait and then some.

Get over your hill and see what you find there with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Austin Maternity Shoot

I always knew I wanted to take maternity pictures. I wanted to document this special time in our lives, our transition from a family of two to three, with some nice photographs. So I asked my nephew Shannon to help us out. He's not a professional photographer (he is a filmmaker), but he agreed to do it because he loves his aunt. I think we still owe him dinner.

It was an exhausting day for me--temple attendance that morning, rushing to a friend's baby shower in the early afternoon, and then getting ready and walking all over creation for this shoot--but I am as pleased as punch with how the photos turned out. I'm so glad we did it. Thank you, Shannon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Pregnancy in Photos

The text says:
"For the most part, being pregnant was not what I expected. Your dad and I both braced ourselves for the hypothetical “worst”--lots of vomiting, over the top emotions--but the truth is, I think I make an excellent pregnant person. Yes, nausea was my daily companion throughout the first trimester, but I didn’t actually throw up until 12 weeks, & then it was only a few times. Instead of having crazy mood swings, I felt happy and confident. I count those as huge blessings!  Most importantly, you & I stayed healthy. It seemed like it took me forever to actually “show.” As proof of that, I didn’t officially announce my pregnancy at work until I was 6 months pregnant! Even though people continually told me that I looked “so small,” I gained an appropriate amount of weight, & my doctors were never concerned with your size. That was probably the weirdest part of pregnancy for me: having so many people comment on my changing body.  I attribute feeling & looking good for so long to lots of walking, both in my daily activities at work & weekly modified workouts at the gym. My favorite part of pregnancy, the thing I miss most, is feeling your kicks and wiggles, but I don’t miss you pushing against my ribs or my bladder."
For the record, I did tell my boss right away at 3 months so that she could plan for my maternity leave. However, I did hide fail to mention my pregnancy to the principal and assistant principal at one of my schools until Thanksgiving! There just didn't seem to be a good time to bring it up before then...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Baby on the Way

Well, my baby girl is a month old today! I can't believe it! Now that I'm on maternity leave I spend almost all of my time at home. It's weird. It's been a bigger adjustment than I anticipated, but I am getting used to this slower season in my life.

Being at home has allowed me to get back to my design roots. This week I started working on creating my daughter's baby book. I'd like to start blogging here again, so I'll be sharing pages from her book as I complete them to tell our story.

My first page goes back to the beginning, to when we first found out we had a little one on the way. =)

The text at the bottom says,
"Those early weeks of pregnancy were filled with worry for me. One of my pregnancy hormone levels was low, so I took supplements daily and had my blood drawn weekly throughout the first trimester. On June 29th, my doctor requested an ultrasound to make sure you looked healthy. That afternoon I wrote this in my journal:
        'The ultrasound made me feel MUCH better! The nurse and doctor said the baby is measuring about 6 weeks. We could see its little heartbeat flickering on the screen. It was amazing. The nurse said its heartbeat is 114, which is a little low, but since I'm only 6 weeks, its heartbeat is probably very new. I got my first baby picture too! I'm so excited that this is really real. I'm ridiculously happy that everything seems okay. I just hope the little guy or gal continues to grow!'”