No more excuses!

Just like I have neglected this blog (I couldn’t even remember how to make a post!), so too have I neglected so many other areas of my life. Friendships…ask me the last time I met the girls for cocktails or talked on the phone “just because”…I don’t know! Health…who has time for that? I didn’t, I gained 20 pounds this year! Sleep…that’s when you close your eyes and don’t open them again for a few hours, right? My sleep tracker tells me I am currently in debt over 40 hours of sleep. Yikes! Baking…I couldn’t even tell you where my kitchen aid mixer is, and my heels have been in storage for 9 months. You know this girl bakes in her heels! Writing…well, the dust on this blog is proof to that.

My excuses? I made a big move to Austin in August, I started a new job, I’m a busy teacher, I’m a heartbroken caregiver; simply put, I’m a girl in transition. But in the eloquent words of Jordan Belfort “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” So… NO. MORE. EXCUSES!! My bullshit stories are a thing of the past! Today is the day! This year is the year! I will set goals, and by golly, I WILL achieve them! (or at least tell everyone that I did!)

So first things first. Although my previous choice to focus on the health and wellbeing of my dear mum with alzheimer’s was well intended, I am reminded that I am useless as a caregiver (and a friend, teacher, daughter, etc.) if I do not focus on the health and wellbeing of myself. And so on May 6th (my 32nd birthday) I began my health journey…a journey that has introduced me to some wonderful people, created new friendships, provided an opportunity to help old friends, and changed my vision of what health means to me. On this journey so far, I have been made aware of terrible eating habits, I have begun to practice (or try to practice) mindfulness throughout my day, I have lost over 20 pounds, and have gained the confidence to set new goals. And most importantly, I have returned to the kitchen with energy, enthusiasm and creativity! So get excited as my culinary adventures commence! I will be trying new, healthy, recipes and sharing them with you; the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly (and by ugly I mean foul tasting or burnt kitchen disasters)!

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” So Julie Child, what you’re saying is…I’ve got a chance?  Readers…I’M BAACK!!!

Holy Crap! You’ll also want to recreate this!

This gallery contains 9 photos.

My parents just returned from a three-week vacation touring the islands of British Columbia all the way up to Alaska. Isn’t it funny how everyone seems to feel the need to take an Alaskan Cruise the first year of their … Continue reading

Journal Entry 1: The Search for Balance

A quick background on me: I love to bake and share recipes, I love to travel and share pictures and stories, I love being social and sharing my  new experiences and fun memories, and as every other human out there I  struggle through life’s challenges and will share those as well. Although Journal Entries may not always be the most lighthearted and fun reading material, the thoughts make up who I am and I blog to share parts of me with you.

June 13, 2013

This morning my emotions are out of control. I’m incredibly sad, and honestly really pissed off. All I want to do is call my mom, because that’s what we do when we’re sad. We revert to our inner child who wants to curl up on their mother’s lap, be told everything will be ok while having our hair stroked, and then be left with some impacting insight that comes only from a mother’s wise heart and love for their child. But I am upset because I feel like my mother has been taken away from me. When I sit with her, we most often sit in silence. She rarely participates in conversations, and when she does have something to say, it’s simple. My mother has not been taken away from me. I know I am so fortunate to have her here on Earth and in my life. I know that I am so lucky that I can pick up my life and move in with my parents to be closer and enjoy as many moments as possible with her. I know these things and I know that I am blessed, yet I feel anger and overwhelming sadness that what I have for a mother feels sometimes like a ghost. I feel betrayed that I am only 31 years old and have a mother who has been prescribed Alzheimer’s medicine.  I feel alone in this grief and am struggling to accept that I am allowed to feel this way.

My faith is strong, I know that God is always with me, available to comfort me, a provider of deep peace, and there to carry me through any hard times. But my struggle is trying to figure out if it’s allowable for me to have feelings of bitterness about a future that doesn’t exist but that I fear one day will. Or am I’m supposed to let go, let God, move on with my day and pray for peace within that day? Can there exist a balance between the two?

As Christians, can we allow ourselves to be pissed off with the hand that’s been dealt, cry about fears of your future, and feel as though you’ve been cheated and robbed? Even though, in our hearts, we know God promises to give us only what he knows we can handle, that he has an amazing plan for our future, and that his gifts for us are plentiful? Is it possible to balance conflicting emotions and if so, how do we find, accept and allow that balance to exist within our lives?

Spinach & Egg Cups for Brunch

Over a year ago, my dear mum (she’s British and prefers to be referred to as “mum”) discovered that she is gluten intolerant. Though she doesn’t have celiac, through an elimination diet she realized that her digestive issues were solved after taking gluten out of her diet, and returned once she brought it back in. In addition, she very recently has started showing signs of memory loss and is undergoing testing for cognitive impairment. Findings to be revealed another day. As a result, we as a family are very interested in research and suggestions to improve cognitive memory functioning. Not surprisingly, a diet low in refined foods, sugars, and trans fats, with a focus on lean proteins, fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and Omega 3 fatty acids is recommended for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s (further reading on this topic). Last weekend was mum’s 65th birthday, and as she is not allowed to eat flour and other grains nor cow’s milk, she feels as if there is very little for her to enjoy. I am on a mission to show her she is wrong! For her birthday brunch, my sister-in-law and  I prepared a completely gluten-free and paleo brunch, and it was fabulous! The main feature and provider of protein were these egg cups. I was inspired by a recipe I found over at PaleOMG and made only a few minor modifications. These didn’t last long at the table, they were a hit and demolished by everyone. I highly recommend them to everyone, even if you don’t like spinach, because they are simply delicious and so good for you!

A Paleo Brunch

Spinach & Egg Cups “A Paleo Birthday Brunch”

Spinach & Egg Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Size Sweet Potato/Yam washed and peeled
  • 2 egg whites
  • Coconut Oil Spray
  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbls Coconut Oil
  • 12 whole farm fresh eggs
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Process:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 12-Cup muffin tin with Coconut Oil.
  3. Grate the sweet potato using a coarse grater or the grater attachment to your food processor.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the grated sweet potato with the egg whites.
  5. Spread the sweet potatoes into the bottom and across the sides of the muffin tins, to create a nest-like cup.
  6. Bake the “nests” in the over for 10-15 minutes, until browned but not crispy.
  7. While the nests are baking, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the garlic and scallions for about 1 minute, but not until they are browned.
  8. Add the spinach to the skillet, toss it with the garlic, scallions and oil, cover the skillet and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Uncover the pot, turn the heat to high, and then cook the spinach for another minute, stirring until the spinach is wilted.
  10. Once the nests have finished baking, remove them from the oven and spoon the spinach evenly into the muffin tins, saving room for the egg.
  11. Carefully crack 1 egg into each muffin tin, then sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt & cracked peper. (You may want to crack the egg in a cup, and then pour into the muffin tin).
  12. Bake the egg cups for 8-12 minutes, monitor them carefully and bake until desired doneness (Soft/Runny eggs, Medium or Hard).
  13. Allow egg cups to cool for 2 minutes before removing from tins. Plate and enjoy!!