Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spicy Chicken & Garbanzo Beans

I did it!  I made a meal that was healthy, organic, and almost paleo!  I absolutely LOVE this recipe, because I'm an absolute sucker for any casserole-type dish that gets thrown in the oven all at once.  Just fair warning, you'll notice that I'm SUPER precise at measuring.  I measure "some" perfectly every time.

You'll need:

  • Some oil (I use Safflower or coconut for everything)
  • Enough chicken breasts to cover a 9x13 pan
  • A small container of greek yogurt (or omit for a paleo meal)
  • Canned organic tomatoes (28oz)
  • 2 regular cans of organic garbanzo beans
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime Juice

I usually don't preheat my oven at the VERY beginning, but this recipe is fast to assemble, so if I don't, I end up waiting on the oven.  I bake this at 450.  

Put some of each of the spices in the greek yogurt, and some of each in a bowl with only a little oil.  The goal is to make it very flavorful without making it very oily.  I like my food to have a ton of flavor, but you may want to back off a little from what I've done, or it will end up wonderfully spicy.  



I keep adding until the oil is thick and dark red, and the yogurt is a creamy bright orange.  I taste test the yogurt (it becomes a sauce) and find it usually needs a good 2-finger pinch of salt.  



Put the chicken in a 9x13 pan, drizzle with a few teaspoons spiced oil, and then rub it in on both sides until your fingers are sufficiently gross.  

 





In a separate bowl, add drained tomatoes and beans, then top with a crapton of chopped cilantro.  Mix in the remaining oil then cover the chicken with the mixture.  Top that with salt and pepper and just a few squirts of lime juice.  Then it just goes in the oven!  I typically check after 20 minutes, but find that (in my oven) its perfectly done after 30.  Then toss it on a plate, top with a good spoonful of the yogurt mixture, then sprinkle on more cilantro.  

I like to eat my food all in a pile, but every time I give it to Giordy that way, he insults the chef by separating it all and scraping the topping off the chicken.  I gave up and just served it to him that way.  Here are each of our plates.  



Its so easy to make this and its such a delicious, hearty meal with things I usually have in my pantry.  AND, because there are just the two of us, we have leftovers.  I coarsely chop up the chicken, add in the beans/tomatoes and sauce, and then we eat it in a sandwich or topping a spinach or kale salad the next day.  


 




In under an hour today, I made a delicious dinner for tonight, and a great lunch for tomorrow.  #mommywin



BONUS:  This is a frequent dessert in our house.  Almost nightly.  I just top a little over a half cup of honey greek yogurt with a little under a quarter cup of granola (I only measure because the measuring cups make good scoops.)  Today, we had Love Crunch Apple Crumble, which tastes straight like the topping on Apple Crumb Pie, but is organic and GMO free, not to mention...its not pie.  Next, I think we'll try chocolate.  Probably this one...it's calling to me, and probably to Giordy's inner female as well.  


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aisley's Blessing Box

Giordy and I didn't christen Aisley. We don't participate in any local church,  we would never have the opportunity to gather everyone together, and while we will share and encourage her with what we believe, we want her to feel welcome to any belief she has. 

I spent quite a bit of time looking for alternatives. The only two I found were the name ceremony, and the mothers blessing.  Both required the same type gathering we were needed to avoid, and we were a little late anyhow(after all, the mothers blessing is done over a pregnant woman. Oops.)  

So we were stuck coming up with something on our own, which is not really our forte. We wanted to come up with something capable of spanning different belief systems. We liked the idea that in many churches, friends and family dedicate themselves to the spiritual upbringing of the child, and wanted the same for out child-we wanted a "village" of people blessing and supporting her in their own way. After much thought, we finally came up with an admittedly complex system.  

It all started with the flowers Giordy brought us in the hospital, with a handwritten card blessing our family. I was so in love with the gesture and his words.  We came up with a way to recreate this type of keepsake over and over. Its a similar system that makes up her "blessing box."  In the box is a bottle, a smaller box, and various bags, vials, and papers collected from friends and family. These will be her "blessings." 




The box contains small pieces of card stock. The patterned sides face out, and on the plain side, a written prayer or blessing for Aisley's spiritual life in reference to any religious or spiritual preference the writer has. We will not discriminate against any belief system of someone who loves her.  




The bags and vials each are each a nature-oriented item that represent her life on Earth. Some are representative of a hope or dream for her on earth, others are less sentimental. She even picked out a rock for herself in Sedona. (Seriously, she WOULDN'T put it down)  Maybe, one day she will be able to tell me what kind of meaning there was there.  




The bottle contains soil, dirt, or sand from different places we've taken her and places where she has been blessed. This will be the grounding tie between her bodily and spiritual blessings. 




Each time we take her somewhere new, with someone new, we intend to ask them to contribute to this box.  Its also easy to have those who won't have the chance to meet her until she's much older to contribute, even when they would never be able to attend a specific-day ceremony.

I wish I had something to do that was a little more eloquent or maybe even a little more ceremonial, but it just wouldn't work for us.   My daughter has less of a "special ceremony" day, but she's more likely to remember some of the things we do and will have special keepsakes forever.  She won't have two wholly dedicated godparents, but instead, many people who love her and have contributed to her spirituality.  At the end of it all, my daughter has something totally unique to her.  And I'm just fine with that.  :)


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday: The Shame Edition

Welcome to a new segment called What I ate Wednesday!  (#WIAW)
As a mom, I've never felt more like a failure as a cook.  I used to cook a lot, but now I literally just don't have the time.  We started eating so much bland and plain food just because it was easy.

In walks "What I ate Wednesday."  I'm challenging myself to post what I ate for an ENTIRE day, at least once a month.  This is the shame edition.  This is what I don't want these posts to look like.  This is what I want to improve from.

I'll be honest, we strive to eat as fresh and as naturally as possible (within our budget, of course) and stray away from gluten more often than not, with the exception of a few whole grain pastas and bread. Today....it just wasn't happening.

Breakfast:  Apples and Cinnamon Oatmeal--While this is fairly natural, AND comes in mommy-friendly pouches that you can measure water in, I'm not impressed with myself.  I used to make eggs and hashbrowns straight from potatoes in the mornings.

Lunch:  Leftovers.  We had some leftover quinoa pasta with a cheese and broccoli cream sauce.  Not a win.  Not a fail.

Snack:  Chia OJ.  I used 1 tbsp of this Chia, and 8 oz of orange juice in the first lidded cup I could find.  It makes a grainy juice that I somehow love.  Considering I had somewhere to be in less than 15 minutes, I considered this an easy win.
  


Dinner:  Burgers, Potatoes and green peppers, and cauliflower.  While this was technically my idea...it had to be executed by my husband, because a certain little princess was especially clingy from a doctor visit.  The buns were organic whole wheat, so I'm gonna say this was a win, but a win on his part.


On the bright side, Aisley had a probiotic, a half ounce of coconut water, her monkey's tail, and that guy's face for dinner.  At least we all know where my priorities are.


For the love of god, if you ever see anything on #WIAW that is this pathetic again, internet shame me.  Internet shame me until I'm eating chicken curry, or quinoa fried up with veggies, or even making a decent breakfast.  I should be eating food like that looks like this, not food that looks like the BRAT diet.
 

Seriously. I need to step my game up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vacation!


Our vacation was AMAZING. To say we loved it would be an understatement. "Loved it" would simply have been spending a few days away from home. Instead, were spent a week in a beautiful town, huge resort, and visited magical places.

The drive down was better than expected. We had a few minor meltdowns, but once we dropped off the dogs there was nothing major. We managed to make a six hour trip with only three stops (and one was admittedly a Target run).  We took everything we could. The car was a mess. And in the end, we just amused Aisley with our iPhones. #badparenting 
  

           





We LOVED taking Aisley swimming.  She is a completely different baby in the water.  She's more relaxed and just loves to cuddle and watch the sun reflect off the water.  We hiked.  A lot.  Every day.  Sometimes twice a day.  A huge shoutout to mu husband who went on every hike with my daughter strapped to him in the Ergo.

In Sedona there are locations called vortexes, similar to a tornado swirl. However these vortexes are moved by uplifting spiritual energy.  We came across different areas with different levels of energy, and came up with a wonderful way of blessing my daughter for her spiritual life-something we have not done by any traditional religious means.  We each even put a single drop of Frankincense (I use this one) on each of our foreheads for grounding and introspection.  

I think the only thing we managed to really forget was bibs.  No big deal.  We brought both the Pack N Play and the stroller and Aisley slept in the stroller more than in her bed.  She even slept 7 hours straight!  I dont think its a trend that will continue, but it was a welcomed vacation surprise.  We did forget a few food things, but there were multiple natural stores, and not a damn one was a Whole Foods.  :)  I even picked up some dry goods for my pantry.  

It was so amazing.  I dont even have the words to describe it.  No matter how much I said, it just wouldnt measure up to the experience.  So on that note, I'll just flood the rest of the space with photos.  
At Montezuma's Castle


She's a natural at "hiking"
She loves her toes in the water!!

The top of Baldwin Trail
Overlooking the Valley






Looking up from the halfway point
Watching the sunset over Bell Rock








 And my favorite!  This was Devil's Bridge.  It was a little bit of a challenge, but SO worth it.
All of us on Devil's Bridge
Hubby and I up on the bridge. 


I am so in awe.  None of these are edited.   This is the world they way it is meant to look.  I know I could throw them into Lightroom and adjust some light and shadows, but I don't want to.  I want these photos as is.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How Full Can We Fill This Car?? +My Epic Win from Baby Jogger

Last week was mess of baffling statements and anger, so I'd like to say that this week, my family was back to some normalcy. Unfortunately, that's not the case. In a few days, we do the unthinkable.  We take a three month old to a four star resort about six hours away.  Every day that goes by, I feel like I think of more things to do.

Just for my dogs, I have a list a mile long.  Find a kennel?  Check.  Owner of the kennel wants a favor?  Sure.  Great.  Buy marrow bones and make coconut peanut better...pack up paperwork/shot records/beds/food/bribes for them?  Ugh, we'll get back to those ones.

I'm also considering what to do with Aisley.  Right now she sleeps in a Pack N Play in our room rather than her crib, so I can pack that up, but the bastards who made it never tell you that the INSERTS aren't portable, just the "toddler" type crib.  I also needed somewhere else to set her that was portable.  After much thought, I bought a Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up.  It folds flat, and since Aisley is so big on sitting up lately, it may be a godsend on vacation.

Let's face it: babies are messy.  I'm torn between packing six extras of everything or being forced to do laundry on vacation.  I'm not sure which is worse.  Right now, I plan on bringing her Pack N play with no inserts (pray for us), this chair, and drum roll, please.......my new baby jogger!!  I'm so thrilled about this.  This is a stroller that is originally $400, and I scored it for $184!  I sold my Quinny that I hated as well, so I basically spent around $11 for this upgrade.  This was seriously my face when the box showed up:

For those who don't know, my family is also into a very healthy lifestyle.  We eat organic and GMO free whenever possible, so we are staying at a condo style resort with a kitchen rather than eating out.  Our family has coordinated to bring different organic and gluten-free food to retain a healthy lifestyle.  We plan on making kale salads, quinoa pizza, curry, spaghetti squash and the like.  I'm even going to be making some coconut milk ice cream!  I'm so excited to be around like-minded people!

So I have to put three people, and two dogs in my car...along with a Pack N play, a stroller, a baby chair, a box of diapers, a box of food, a cooler, 2 dog beds, a dog kennel, 20lbs of dog food, dog bowls, dog treats, and at least 2 suitcases, if not 3.  A little over a half hour into our drive we drop off the two dogs (thank god) and have to pick up dry ice for breast milk and somewhere along the way find a Target, because god forbid we take Aisley swimming without Charlie Banana diapers.  I mean really, who can resist how adorable these are?

Besides all this, I know I'm forgetting things.  I have to bring my laptop.  I have to remember to bring all the account numbers so I can still pay bills and get things done while on vacation.  This is such a serious stress on me that I have yet to actually think about ENJOYING vacation.  I'm still trying to get everything prepped to get there.  

This is my first time going anywhere farther than Las Vegas with my princess...and this little girl is a SERIOUS princess.  Send all your prayers, well wishes, and magical tips my way, because I'm going to need them.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Near and Dear to My Heart

Today, I'm talking about something(s) near and dear to my heart.  Quite literally.  I'm not going to beat around the bush.  I'm a breastfeeding mother, and I'm talking about my boobs.  First things first, I'll have you notice I said I was talking about MY boobs.  Not your boobs, not her boobs, not his boobs, not communal boobs.  MY boobs.  My breasts that are the sole nourishment for my daughter.  


Recently on Facebook, a friend of mine had all of her breastfeeding photos reported.  Her photos were innocent, and she was feeding her helpless brand new baby.  Due to her security settings, she knew it had to be a so-called friend of hers.  We all rallied and defended her, and the same day, TWENTY mothers, including myself posted fresh pictures of ourselves and our little tots getting the best nutrition they will have in the entirety of their lives.  This was the first time I had the courage to publicly share myself and the special bond I share with my daughter.  My photo was liked by many of my friends, I received uplifting comments, and a few shared my photo with their own friends.  And then the shit storm started.


This morning, a male "friend" of mine with no children spoke out against breastfeeding mothers.  At the end of an exhausting and infuriating two hours, I was still baffled.  
      "Amen [name] this is exactly why I said something about being mentally mature even when I point it out they try to argue and defend something I wasn't even regaurding what I said is that nobody cares what you do. Do your own thing and keep it to yourself instead being attention whores"  


      "ALL YOU ARE TRYING TO DO IS VICTIMIZE YOUR SELF AND GET ATTENTION"


      "Beth breastfeeding fine in public as long as you use a camisole or a blanket over your shoulder they make specially designed, camisoles that are meant to go over your shoulder even if you cover yourself and your baby while you're breastfeeding we all still know what you're doing it's not like you're smothering the baby under there is a blanket have some respect for yourself and for your child"


So now we are attention whores for feeding our babies.  We aren’t metally mature.  We are told how we may be allowed to feed our children, even though last time I checked, I was in charge of my own breasts.  To all breastfeeding moms: Take note that if you are not using a cover, feeding your child is disrespectful to said baby.  


Not ten minutes after this wave my photo was reported for nudity, and another friend with no kids stated that girls who breastfeed in public have no respect.  Moms were getting upset with other moms.  


As a mom it kinda feels like the ones who breastfeed and post pictures doing it are like ‘look at me I breastfeed I'm a better mom than those who don't’ so yeah it is quite annoying. Plus I feel that is special bonding time that should be kept private.”


We are “annoying” for sharing our lives with those who should be our friends.  And to anyone who is curious, the following is directly from Facebook.  Even Facebook says its natural, beautiful, and important to mothers.



I was so upset that my picture, and my memories preserved on facebook may be erased forever.  But soon after, a sweet friend reposted my own photo on my wall, and my godsend of a husband posted this:

This concludes the argument of who has the best husband.  Its me.  Its always been me. :)


This whole day got me thinking.  It’s 5 pm, and I still can’t get over it.  I have never once had a mom walk up to me or say on Facebook “OMG why is your daughter wearing a DRESS, she should be wearing a ONESIE AND PANTS”  nor have I ever heard someone say “Why in God’s name would you use A&D instead of Desitin.  For shame!”  So why do mothers of all people believe they can say anything to each other about how babies are fed?  Each and every one of us is doing the absolute best we can.  


My beliefs on breastfeeding are clear.  If you use formula, great. You breastfeed? Also great. For my own baby, I believe in the value of breastmilk.  It is the most perfect, balanced, and pure meal she will ever have.  I need virtually nothing but love and some tough skin to breastfeed.  And I'm saving a buttload of cash.  I believe my baby and every other baby has the right to be fed anywhere they are hungry without the hindrance of eating in a dirty bathroom or sweating under a nursing cover.  If you are uncomfortable seeing such, I apologize.  It would be equally uncomfortable for everyone if I left her crying.  I’ll do my part to nurse discreetly, and if you’re still uncomfortable, that’s your right.  However, it is my right to breastfeed and my daughter’s right to eat.  I won’t put your comfort above hers.  She is innocent and perfect, and just wants to eat.  

This is what gave me my biggest satisfaction today.  And it wasn’t even me who posted it.  :)


Captioned: Isn’t this how everyone eats?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Introduction

For those who know me, feel free to skip ahead.  For those who don't, I'll provide a quick breakdown.

My name is Beth.  I have the best husband, a badass little daughter, and two obnoxious dogs.  I'm passionate about my beliefs, have the utmost love for my family and friends, and am (you guessed it) just a little snarky.

For the time being, I'm a SoCal dweller. But before you jump the gun and think my life is LA-type glamour, I'll throw in just one tiiiiny detail.  I live in the Mojave - the "butt hole" of the Mojave to be just slightly more accurate.  My house is 39 miles to the closest teensy Walmart, 73 miles from civilization, and 118 grueling miles from the nearest Trader Joe's.  The coolest thing to surface in my area in recent years is the "Secret Swimming Pool" that recently went viral.  It's a sweet concept, but after driving 150 miles with a baby who hates the car to get the key, and then drive/hiking 90 miles to the pool itself, while carrying said infant AND water to replenish the pool...?  I'm a sucker for social experiments,but I think I'll pass on this one.

So we stay home.  We spend time as a family.  We make new "family".  We share memories, laughs, tears, and everything in between.  And now, we share with the world, one snarky (or maybe sweet) paragraph at a time.
This is the man who changed the direction of my whole life.  

My badass little princess doing her thing.  
And my two crazy boys.