Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

New Year, New Job, New Snacks!

Standard

I am proud to introduce Rachel, my yoga mentor, as our third guest blogger.  Enjoy her post about the new things in her life.  Thank you, Rachel! 

It may seem a little late for a “New Years” post, but this year brings many new routines for me. After working as a freelance yoga instructor by day and pet-sitter by night for a year, I returned to my field in marketing services on January 3 of this year. It’s amazing that after only a year of being away from a 9-5 it’s such a new experience to be back in the corporate life again.

Pre-new awesome job, the boyfriend and I enjoyed our favorite ways to ring in the New Year: make new awesome foods, watch way too many episodes of Jeopardy and cuddle with our cat, Cookie.

image

Our new years menu included many delicious things including goat cheese with red pepper jelly on flax crackers, cedar plank roasted salmon with lemon and thyme…and the kicker – DESSERT HUMMUS!

I know what you’re thinking…beans cannot be dessert, that’s just crossing the line. But, trust me – sweet hummus is amazing (especially when you add lots of dark chocolate chunks;). I kept reading recipes on many healthy living blogs and eventually made up my own version based on many that I saw. Oh man, it was delicious and tricked me into thinking I was eating raw cookie dough for dessert. We served ours with apple slices, mini graham cracker sticks and marshmallows.

image

“Cookie Dough Hummus”

Ingredients:

· 2 cups chickpeas

· 1/4 cup natural peanut butter

· 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup

· 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (or anything else you want to add in)

Drain, measure, wash, and peel your chickpeas. Peeling them isn’t absolutely necessary but it makes for the creamiest hummus and really is worth the effort.

In a food processor, add the first 4 ingredients and process until the hummus is smooth and emulsified (the one thing no one wants for dessert is chunky chickpea pieces in their dessert).

Remove and lick the blade and fold in the chocolate chips. Consume like a Cookie Monster!

image

Blog posting is also new to me, so thank you to Stephanie and Sarah for letting me stop by to post my two cents on Newly Everything. These ladies are so amazing and inspiring! Hope you all enjoy some new blessings this year and lots of Cookie Hummus:)

❤ Rachel

image

Advertisements

Chasing Pavement

Standard

With the end of January approaching and thoughts of spring (which I hear arrives pretty early in Atlanta) on my mind, I have been researching some fun races to participate in.  I’m always looking for a reason to train. One source of motivation for pursuing these races is my sister, Katie.

Katie successfully completed her first half marathon a week ago this morning. One year after recovering from a broken foot sustained during a training run for the half marathon we were meant to run together in 2010. I asked Katie if she would share her reflections on her renewed love of running and races with newlyeverything…

and now I turn it over to the lovely and wonderful KATIE

“Should I give up? Or should I just keep chasing pavement?” – ADELE

It’s funny how just a few music lyrics can bring you back to a specific moment in your life. You remember how old you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing and exactly how you felt. The above song, although addressing a bad breakup, leads me to think back to the day I broke my foot only 3 shorts weeks prior to running my first half marathon.

59302_1475602808258_1179330011_31220886_7041443_n

Ever since, it has been my goal to cross that finish line and last weekend, in Naples, Florida…. I DID IT!

 photo

 

The night before the race was filled with a little carbo-loading, football watching, and nerves. With my support crew by my side, we went to Naples Tomato, a fantastic Italian Restaurant only a few minutes from our condo. Being surrounded by family and one of my close college friends was exactly what I needed to relax and distract my self from the task at hand.

 

P1000818

 

I awoke the following morning, anxious and excited. Being the late sleeper I am, I was surprised to be so alert and ready to go at 4:30 in the morning… talk about new experiences. Having completed 2 half marathons herself, not to mention her accomplishment of finishing the 2009 Chicago Marathon, I took Sarah’s advice and enjoyed a breakfast of 2 plain English muffins with peanut butter and a banana. An hour later, I was out the door and headed to the starting line.

0116_NCSP_GK_HALFMARATHON17_t607

 

7:00am…the moment I had been anticipating for some time was here. I was off and running!!

396856_2622261632985_1148520132_32592586_629313145_n

And with a little hidden reminder of what this race meant to me.

photo_1

The air that morning was brisk and  50 degrees, a comfort to a Chicagoan such as myself, but cold for most of the Florida runners, including my Aunt and running partner Judy. It was humorous seeing the various articles of clothing being thrown to the curb by fellow runners as both the sun and the temperature began to rise.

The race itself was what you’d expect, lots of Gatorade, water, sore muscles and varying emotions of adrenaline and fatigue. However, it’s the little things, the experiences past runners don’t tell you about, that really give you that extra boost. For example, the sprinkling of holy water from a priest of a church conveniently located at mile 9 or the sign that read “You’re amazing, keep it up…total stranger!”

And then, when least expected… I saw it…THE FINISH LINE!!! All the energy that I thought I had lost, all of the emotions I didn’t know I was feeling, suddenly burst out of hiding and provided me with the push I needed to finish this journey the way I always wanted to…in fact, better than I initially imagined. I ended up finishing under my goal time of 2 and half hours and instead finished in 2 hours, 20 minutes, and 23 seconds.

P1000821

I crossed the finish line, was awarded my medal and, before I was able to fully catch my breath, was in the arms of my family. Tears of joy I didn’t expect, instantaneously began to fall down my cheeks. I had finished what I started. I started the race unsure of my ability and came out the other side a stronger individual. A new Katie.

P1000819

I can’t believe it’s all over, but I am confident it’s a day that I will never forget. How do I know this? It’s easy! “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas was playing when I finished the race…and you know what they say about music lyrics and memories…

Foods for Little Tummies

Standard

Jessica Reineke is our first guest blogger!  Welcome, Jessica!  She is my best friend and lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and baby boy, Braver.  Enjoy her post about making homemade baby food!

My baby is about to turn one in just under a month….Each day he jumps into the world, constantly curious. No matter how hard I have tried to stay on schedule, he frequently reminds me that “Mom, you might try to be in charge all the time, but you don’t have control over everything.” It is hard to believe that we have gone from nine feedings a day, I did not think I was going to make it, down to five fun meal times. For right now, one piece of the puzzle that I do have control over is what food is served at meal times.

As soon as Braver turned four months old, he began devouring baby cereal. From there, we started on jarred stage one baby foods at five months. I was giving him store bought foods and just hadn’t taken the leap to preparing my own baby food. Two friends reminded me that they had been making their own baby food. I was inspired. I can do this! (…and in mommy terms- I got a little competitive…) I want him to eat healthy, fresh foods.

My husband jumped on the bandwagon as well, and we were off. He’s actually much better in the kitchen than I to tell you the truth. Two cookbooks fueled our first foods and helped us learn the process – Top 100 Baby Food Purees and Baby Love. Also, the website wholesomebabyfood.com provides a wealth of information. We try to make four recipes at a time, which helps us feel like we are not always having to cook baby food.

To begin, find recipes that are appropriate for your baby’s age. Early on, we started with basic purees like apples, pears, and a dash of cinnamon or just steamed carrots. Now, we have moved on to slightly more complex purees, but so far, he does NOT like it when we get too creative with our combinations – for instance lentil soup (took me a longer time to prepare and it made a ton) had too strong of a flavor for him. Like all things with my little one, it’s a guess and check to see what he’ll like.

One of my favorite experiences this year has been using my father-in-law’s fresh spinach. Talk about straight from the source! I had a feeling Braver would not enjoy just spinach. So I searched through our cookbooks, combined a few ideas and decided on apples, pears, and spinach.

Spinach-Apple-Pear Puree

-Large handful of fresh spinach-the leaves were huge!

-One large pear-chopped

-One large apple-chopped

-1/2 cup water

First wash the spinach thoroughly and then steam the spinach on the stove. Then, in a different pot combine about ½ cup water, apples and pears. Let them boil for about five to six minutes or until soft. Combine spinach, pears, apples and some of the liquid from the steamed spinach into a blender. (We love our Vitamix!) Make sure the puree is well blended. Next, pour the puree into ice cube trays. Basic ice cube trays work well. I let the trays cool a little before placing in the freezer to harden.

spinach in a blender

spinach in ice tray

Usually the next day, I remove the cubes and place in a labeled baggie and back in the freezer they go until needed. I hate using all the baggies but it is what it is right now.

spinach in bag

At mealtimes, I take out two cubes, defrost and voilà – homemade baby food!

braver

Perks:

-I know what’s going into my little one’s tummy.

-I save a ton of money making my own food.

-It tastes better! I taste everything before I give it to him, and I can honestly say I love the purees way more than store bought food.

-My husband and I make Braver’s food together.

What would you put in your baby food puree combo?