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Horse Rides, Can-It-Forward Day, and a *Giveaway*

Hey ya’ll! I think that’s an appropriate greeting given my recent adventures in the mountains. We have been crazy busy over here with family. All of my husband’s family have been in town over the past two weeks. We also celebrated a big birthday!

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My little baby Willow turned 1! She is officially the cutest and sweetest baby on the planet…although I might be biased.

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I also got the opportunity to go on a horse ride with my Cowboy husband and sister in law.

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Check out my brave (almost) three year old riding by herself!


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This was only my second ride since moving out to the mountains. We had a really great time; I’d love to do it more often!

 

So, let’s talk about Can-It-Forward Day!

I am certainly not a canning expert (only canned once). But, I’d like to think one day I will be. What can I say, I dream big. I just love the idea of canning fresh jams, pickled foods, and dare I say, meats? I think I’ll start with fruits and veggies and maybe graduate to meats someday.

I’ve canned applesauce and it took a little time, but it was a fairly simple process. I used Ball’s Home Canning Discovery Kit. It has all the tools I would possibly need while canning and the Amazon reviews to back it up (includes canning rack with lifter, 3 regular mouth pint jars, and recipes).

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So, Can-It- Forward Day actually sounds pretty cool for anyone who cans or is interested in starting to can or preserve. It’s a webcast that will broadcast live online at FreshPreserving.com from 11 AM-4PM Eastern. It will include a chat function so viewers can submit questions and receive their answers in real time. There will also be a celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the broadcast involving reality starts and celebrity chefs!

I think my first question would be what are the best recipes or foods for canning beginners? I’m guessing applesauce, pickles, maybe some salsas or chutneys?

The Ball folks were nice enough to send me the Home Canning Discovery Kit, Design Series Lids with Bands (in red…ooo la la), this awesome Guide to Preserving book, and Fiesta Salsa Mix.

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I need to get my buns to a farmer’s market and get to work! Better yet, grow myself a garden and can it all up.

Anyway, giveaway time!

One reader will receive a coupon for a free case of jars!! 

To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment. Any comment. Do you can? Do you want to can? Do you like the color red? Whatever you’d like!

Don’t forget to check out FreshPreserving.com from 11 AM-4PM Eastern for the canning webinar!

Tips for Traveling with Small Children

Here’s tip #1: stay home. Ha, just kidding. Sort of.

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I’m definitely not a world traveler or anything, but I do feel like I have quite a bit of experience traveling with kiddos. A decent amount of my trips have been solo too so they’re especially fun :).

Just to give you a little background, we live in rural Colorado so the closest airport is either Denver, which is 3 hours away (and also hell on earth), or Grand Junction, which is 2ish hours away. So, when I say we travel, it’s an all day affair no matter where we are going. Our kids are about 1 and 3.

I recently took our kids to Phoenix for a week by myself so this fresh in my memory. Here are a couple ways I try to numb the pain:

  • Pack Snacks: If you have kids already, or you’re a normal human being traveling by yourself, you probably already know snacks are a must. This gets a little tricky the more kids you have. Let’s just say your shoulders will be screaming by the end of the day (so much crap in your bag!). I usually pack snacks for the car ride and sometimes sandwiches too. Once we are at the airport through security I’ll get the kids a snack.  A “new snack” is more exciting for some reason and kind of keeps them busy while we wait to board.
  • Allow Lots of Time: The Denver airport is a nightmare. It takes forever to get through that place no matter what time of day or year. I think it took me an hour and 15 min. this past time through. That’s nuts. It took me 20 minutes to get to my gate in Phoenix. Anyway, since Denver is horrible, we allow for LOTS of time. Security with 2 kids is a little complicated since I have to hold the baby and walk through.

I’ve seen a lot of parents take babies through airports in a carrier which definitely seems like a great idea. It probably depends on your baby and their age. My little one is at the age where she wants to move around constantly and the carrier I have (Ergo) keeps her so close to my body I think it drives her nuts. So, I use a stroller.

  • Use the infant car seat/stroller combo- I  like the stroller/infant seat combo because I need the car seat anyway, it keeps the baby off of me, I can use the space below the stroller to carry stuff, and I can check all of it at the gate. If my baby’s going to fall asleep, she falls asleep easier in the stroller than in a carrier. Again, I’m sure this depends on your babies age and probably the carrier. The challenge with a stroller is I have to take it apart during security. It’s not horrible, but I have to keep the 3 year old near me, take the seat off, fold the stroller, take the baby out, then place the seat on the security belt. Usually, there are people around to help out. I still prefer this method to the carrier. So, if I’m traveling by myself, I usually have 1 rolling bag, the stroller/car seat, and diaper bag. I check the bag no matter what because I cannot deal with all the crap. Then check the stroller/car seat at the gate. If the flights not full, they usually let you take the car seat on the plane if you wanted to try and have your baby sleep.

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  • Use a harness. Or as I like to call it, a leash–  We’ve all seen those parents walking through airports or theme parks with their kids on leashes and I TOTALLY GET IT. This idea is genius. I’ve absolutely made fun of these people at some point in my life, but what an awesome idea! 2 or 3 year olds can be erratic little crazy people. Airports are not the place to lose a toddler. I call our 3 year old’s a backpack (because it is essentially) and she actually likes it. She has a little pocket where she can put stuff like stickers, snacks, or books. It’s a great way to hide little surprises and get them out during the plane ride. It also keeps your kid near you! If you’re traveling solo, it’s a life saver.
my child on a leash!

my child on a leash!

On the plane:

  • Entertainment for your toddler– I really tried to avoid gluing our oldest child to cartoons during plane rides but eventually, I caved. I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner? Plane rides are basically tough on everyone so why not just ease the pain a little? I download episodes of her favorite cartoons or Sesame Street and set her up on my Ipad (risky) during the flight. She will usually sit back and watch her shows almost the whole ride.
  • Window Seats- Our toddler always gets the window seat. It kind of contains her in a way. She usually doesn’t show much interest in looking outside but she actually did this past trip to Phoenix. We looked at other planes driving around then at the clouds. She liked waving goodbye as we left too.
  • Lollypops– These are my secret weapon. I give my toddler a lollypop when we’re taking off. I think it helps with the ear situation since she’s swallowing a lot. I also know that she will absolutely eat it. I can’t guarantee she will drink water, but I know she will suck on a lollypop. It also keeps her busy for a while.
  • Breastfeed or Bottle for the Baby-I’m not longer breastfeeding, but if you are, breastfeed that baby! That used to always guarantee that they would fall asleep. I never loved getting my boobs out but I’m telling you it’s worth it. Luckily, our baby girl will take a bottle so I bottle fed her throughout the plane ride. She never fell asleep, but at least she was full and didn’t have any ear problems.
  • Play with the Plane– Babies are so into seeing and touching everything so I just look around and use what I got on a plane ride.  For example, I take out the magazines and the flip through the pages which totally entertained her. Then I’d rip out a page and crinkle it up. Ask the stewardess for a cup. Babies like those plastic cups! When my toddler was a little older (maybe like, a year and a half or 2) we would look through SkyMall like, nonstop finding pictures of dogs and cats. Seriously, it’s the little things.
  • Show baby the people on the plane- I did this with both of my kids. When the baby gets kind of fussy, I lift her up over the seat so she can look behind us at all the people. Our 1 year old loved this this past week. People interact with them (or don’t) and they just love to look around. It’s almost like peak a boo if you lift them up and down. Just don’t bang their head into the ceiling (my husband did that with our first and you could hear the gasps behind us hah!).

Some things I still haven’t conquered:

  • Seat Belts-Sometimes I can get the toddler to put her seatbelt on, but most of the time, she squirms out. The stewardess’ always ask me to get her belted and when I’m traveling alone, I literally have no idea how I’m supposed to do that. I usually just fake it and hold her down.
  • Getting out of her seat–  She’s contained next to the window, but sometimes she will get out of her seat and down on the floor. Since I have a baby in my lap, it’s basically impossible to get Brooke off the floor. Eventually she gets back up.

Probably others too but my 1 year old is being a crazy person so I gotta wrap it up!

 

Bottom line is: be patient and remember that it will be over before you know it! It can be pretty awful, but we all get through it. Don’t worry too much about the other people on the plane, they will be fine!!

If all else fails, Tylenol PM ought to do the trick.  Either for you or the kids :). (Kidding of course).

 

What are your tricks when traveling with small kids?

Homemade Sauerkraut

I made sauerkraut! And I think I spelled it right, right?

Okay, so a couple weeks back I bought a fermentation book for beginners. I think I’ve mentinoned this before, but I’ve been listening to way too many health and fitness podcasts (lots are Paleo) and fermented foods come up quite a bit. After doing some research, I decided fermenting foods can’t be that hard…right? Say yes, please.

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Well, sauerkraut was really pretty simple…although a had a few hiccups I’ll address in a little bit. Basically, I thought I screwed it up, but I didn’t. Yay! I love when that happens.

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This recipe is very basic. Definitely a good place to start. The book goes into tons of fermented food recipes like Kombucha, kimchi, beer, sourdough bread, and lots more (I can’t wait to make sourdough bread).

The first thing I did was clean. I cleaned the daylights (I had a really difficult time finding a word that was not a cuss word here) out of my mason jars.

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Next, I chopped up the green cabbage (just a medium green cabbage). I chopped it into pieces then put it through the food processor. I probably could have just chopped it because the cabbage kind of falls apart on its’ own. But, regardless, it was chopped/grated evenly at least. Next, I added caraway seeds and sea salt and mixed everything up.

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Now the fun part (at least my two year old thought it was fun): squeezing time! We placed the cabbage mixture in a big bowl then squeezed it for about 10 minutes to release all the juices.

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So, once I thought it was ready, I placed it in a mason jar. At first, I placed all the cabbage in 1 jar because it just looked like it fit better.

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Then I changed my mind and split the mixture between two large jars.

After splitting it, I pressed the mixture down as much as I could with my knuckles to make sure the juices were well over the cabbage. The directions said to make sure the juices were an inch over the cabbage but I couldn’t get that much juice out. So, maybe I didn’t squeeze my cabbage as much as I should have? I will try it again…

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Anyway, I split it into two jars, placed them in the pantry, and left them alone for about 5 days.

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So, since I didn’t have an overabundance of juices, I assumed the fermentation process wouldn’t take place…but it totally did! We took the jars out after 5 days and took 1 bite (just in case it was going to make us sick ha). Well, it didn’t make us sick and it tasted exactly like sauerkraut should.

From what I read, the sauerkraut can stay in the fridge (after opening) for a couple of weeks. Does that sound right fermentation people? I’m constantly scared of making myself sick hah.

 

We had a fun weekend this past week! We took our two and a half year old to see a movie for the first time (Inside Out). It was really nice to have some one on one time with her. I’ve had some alone time with our baby girl but not as much with our older one.

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It’s so easy to forget, by the way, how crazy the whole movie experience is in the theaters. Those screens are huge and the movie is SO loud. My daughter did great and watched the whole thing but sat on my lap the entire time.

The movie itself was cute! It had some pretty “deep” undertones so I think a lot of it went over Brooke’s head but I’m sure it entertained her enough.

I just can’t get over what a kid she is..ugh, so crazy. Everyone always says this but that’s because it’s true: it goes so fast. These kids grow so fast it’s nuts.

 

Anyway, my rant it over!

How was your weekend? Have you ever made any fermented foods?

Homemade Cashew Milk *Recipe*

So, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, which is pretty incredible, but I got a Vitamix!! It was a Mother’s Day present. Pretty sweet! They are as good as they say by the way.

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I’ve made several smoothies with the Vitamix so far and it did not disappoint. That thing pulverizes anything you put into it. I was flipping through the recipe book that came with it and nut milk was listed-almond to be exact. I happened to have a container of cashews AND had was about to run out of the store bought cashew milk I had in the fridge. So why not try cashew milk?

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Homemade Cashew Milk

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, then rinsed
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

I measured out 1 cup of cashews and let it soak for about 2 hours (maybe soak them longer if you aren’t using a high powered blender).
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Next, I rinsed the cashews then added them to the blender along with 3 cups of water, 1 tsp of honey, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and a little cinnamon.

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I blended it all for about 30 seconds- that’s it!!

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So, if you’re using a regular blender you’ll probably have to strain the milk through a cheese cloth or use a nut bag (you may have to blend a little longer too).

I love this recipe!! Cashews are just creamier than the other nut milks I’ve tried. The flavors remind me of horchata (I think it’s the cinnamon). I’ve been using it as a coffee creamer in the morning.

You could definitely add more sweetener, or none, or even try different sweeteners like maple syrup or dates.

 

Do you drink almond or cashew milk? Ever made your own?

Paleo Strawberry Crumble (or bars) *Recipe*

This recipe has been toying with my emotions the past 24 hours. My intention was to make strawberry bars, but immediately after taking this out of the oven, I assumed bars were a no-go.

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They seemed way too gooey so I thought they would just fall apart and, well, crumble. So, needless to say, I decided that I made a crumble and not bars.

I saw this recipe originally on Against All Grain. It looked like the perfect spring treat; just too pretty to pass up.

The original recipe used rhubarb and strawberries but I didn’t have any rhubarb (or enough) so I just loaded it up with strawberries. I’m sure you could sub in other fruits if you’d like like blueberries or peaches. I couldn’t even find rhubarb at the store. Isn’t it rhubarb season? Maybe not yet.

Anyway, here’s the recipe I used:

Paleo Strawberry Crumble

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Crust:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Strawberry Center:

  • 4 cups strawberries, chopped ( I used a mix of frozen and fresh)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp Tapioca flour

Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • pinch of sea salt

The original recipe uses maple syrup as a sweetener, arrowroot powder as a thickener, and of course, rhubarb with the strawberries.  I didn’t change a lot of things in the recipe, I just didn’t have maple syrup or arrowroot powder. I’m sure you could use a little flour instead for a thickener? Maybe start with a little less since you could always add more if you feel like you need to.

This recipe has a few different parts to it,  but it was so simple to make. First, I combined the ingredients for the crust then pressed it down into an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper.  I baked it for about 15 minutes at 350 or until it was slightly browned on top.

my little helper

my little helper

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Next, I cooked the strawberry filling. I cooked the filling for about 20 minutes on the stovetop on low heat (stirring frequently to prevent burning). You basically just want it to thicken up a bit to a texture resembling jam. Once that was finished, I spread it evenly over the crust.

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Finally, I mixed the crumble ingredients together then sprinkled it on top of the strawberry center.

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I cooked the crumble for about 35 minutes.

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Of course, I tried it right out of the oven. It was definitely not ready to be cut into bars so I ate it as a crumble!

It turned out delicious. I will make this again since it was so easy. I’d love to try it with rhubarb if I can find it! I think peaches would be yummy too.

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After I was done taste testing, I put it in the fridge. Well, turns out refrigerating it for a night solidifies the goodness enough so you can actually cut it into bars.

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serious deliciousness

serious deliciousness

So…good news!! You can have this as a crumble or cut it into bars if you’d like. Either way, tastes yummmm.

What are your favorite summer desserts? Nothing like a pie or crumble with some ice cream!

Freezing Avocados and ENLIGHTENED Giveaway Winners

Happy Friday!

I heart avocados. But sometimes I get little too excited and buy too many. We eat them pretty often but sometimes they just all become overripe at the same time! I try to get a little variety in ripeness but a lot of times, they’re literally all the same. I’ve thrown away one too many avocados. Ugh, I know, life is hard.

So, I recently wondered if I could freeze them. Turns out, you can!

I found two different ways to freeze them. One seemed more geared towards making guacamole…which definitely sounds lovely. I don’t make guac too often though so I decided to freeze them a different way: cutting into quarters. This also appears to be the easier way..which I enjoy. The other way (potentially for guac) is to mash the avocado up, drop some lemon juice on it, then place in a freezer bag. Definitely look that up though before trusting my word since I haven’t tried it. Here’s how I froze my avocado:

I cut the avocado in half, then halved the half.

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Then I placed them in freezer friendly bags. Pretty tough stuff :).

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I’ve been using avocados a lot lately in green smoothies so freezing them makes for awesome consistency.

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Love it!

Okay folks! Here are the giveaway winners:

Jordan D!

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Smitha!

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And Laura!

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I’ll shoot you guys an email on how to claim your delicious prize.

 

Thanks for entering everyone!

*sorry about the weird pics I posted this on my iPad. It is the worssssst. I know, first world problems.

ENLIGHTENED Crisps Review and *Giveaway*

enlightened crisps

enlightened crisps

I am so excited about this giveaway!!

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by the good folks at ENLIGHTENED. You may be familiar with ENLIGHTENED ice cream which can be found in several retailers across the country. I actually haven’t had the chance to try their ice cream yet but I really want to.  Their ice cream bars come in lots of yummy flavors like Sea Salt Caramel, Mint Chocolate Swirl, and more. Each bar is between 70-80 calories with 7-8 grams of protein, and no more than 5 grams of sugar. I need to find these! Anyway, on to the crisps!!

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ENLIGHTENED recently launched a line of savory snacks: ENLIGHTENED Crisps. The Crisps are actually roasted broad beans ( or Fava beans… I believe they’re the same thing?). There are only 100 calories in a serving, 7 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. Pretty amazing stats. They are also GMO free, vegan, gluten free, and soy free.

enlightened crisps

enlightened crisps

My honest, honest opinion of these are that they are delicious. I love the idea of roasted beans because they’re healthy!! They’re an incredibly convenient and nutritious food. I always find most convenience foods to be highly processed, high carb, and high sugar-these are none of those things. I think they did a really awesome job with these so I’m excited for you guys to try them! Here are the flavors:

Wasabi

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This might be my favorite. I don’t love spicy stuff…but I guess wasabi isn’t spicy? I’m not sure how to describe it but it is addicting. Something about it. The wasabi flavor is perfect. If you like wasabi you’ll love these!

Mesquite BBQ

I think this is my least favorite. It tastes good but sort of weak in my opinion on the BBQ flavor.

enlightened crisps mesquite bbq

enlightened crisps mesquite bbq

Garlic and Onion

They nailed the garlic flavor! These are my husband and daughters favorite flavor.

enlightened crisps garlic and onion

enlightened crisps garlic and onion

Sea Salt

I love just plain and simple Sea Salt. You can’t go wrong with a little sea salt. These are great! Not too salty which is usually a complaint of mine with savory foods.

enlightened crisps sea salt

enlightened crisps sea salt

Sriracha

Yum. Like I said, I generally don’t like hot or spicy foods but sriracha is another exception. In moderation :). This sriracha flavor is actually not that hot at all. I think it’s a little sweet actually. If you love that burning hot flavor you might not love this, but if you like a subtle sriracha…you’ll like it! My two year old daughter ate this and liked it so definitely not too hot.

enlightened crisps sriracha

enlightened crisps sriracha

 

So, this is the best part: ENLIGHTENED will give away a sample pack and (so you can try all the flavors) and ice cream coupons to 3 winners!! Here’s how to enter:

  • Follow ENLIGHTENED on Twitter (leave a comment below and let me know) @eatenlightened
  • Follow ENLIGHTENED on Facebook (leave comment)
  • Follow ENLIGHTENED on Instagram (leave comment) @eatenlightened
  • Follow ME on Facebook :)  (leave comment)

I will pick THREE WINNERS on Friday. Good luck!!

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Firmoo Glasses Review

Nerd Alert!!!

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I have terrible, awful vision. Like, the worst ever. I typically wear contacts except at night and in the morning when I wake up. However, lately my eyes have been acting up….especially the left. My vision is so bad that it is incredibly disruptive to my life.

I bought a pair of glasses oh…I donno…probably like, 7 years ago at this point (because again, only wore them for short periods during the day). I picked the cheapest frames I could find because even with cheap frames, the high prescription of the lenses bumped up the price dramatically. I’m talkin’ 40 dollar frames and 200 dollar lenses. Crazy.

Anyway, my eye irritation combined with old, scratched glasses have been causing major frustration in my life lately. Firmoo, an online optical store, contacted me a few weeks ago asking me to review a pair of glasses. Their timing was pretty much perfect!!

I took this opportunity to order a pair of glasses that I like to call “nerd chic.” I picked a pair of tortoise colored glasses with a rectangular frame.

look at that adorable photo bomber!

look at that adorable photo bomber!

I love the tortoise color! To me, it is so classic. My old glasses are pretty plain jane so I feel like I finally have a pair of “adult” glasses.

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This was my first experience ordering prescription glasses online. I was a little unsure at first because it seems like something you should try on? I guess shoes do too and I’m totally fine with ordering shoes online so why not glasses? I also wasn’t sure if they could accommodate my crazy prescription but they did!

Anyway, the Firmoo site was really easy to use. I picked the glasses I wanted, then uploaded my Rx (I happened to have a hard copy of my prescription. You can always ask your eye dr. for one or just for the information you need).

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They have a great feature on the site too where you can upload a picture of yourself and virtually try on the glasses you like.

firmoo glasses

Honestly, the best part of my experience is their price point. My glasses were around $50 dollars. They have tons of options ranging from around $26 dollars to $60.

I have to mention their customer service too. They responded right away when I had questions and followed up with me making sure I was happy with my glasses.

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Ok..I don’t know how to take selfies. Why do they look so grainy? Help! Do I need a selfie stick? I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited about my new glasses. They are sturdy, beautiful frames with no scratches. I can actually see! I will definitely order glasses from Firmoo again. The glasses are cute AND affordable. Love it.

 

Do you wear glasses? Where do you buy yours from?

 

*Firmoo sent me a pair of glasses but the opinions expressed are all my own*

Lightened Up Chicken Salad *Recipe*

My lunches are normally really boring. I always cross my fingers that I have enough leftovers and I typically don’t. It’s very sad. Is anyone else really lazy at lunch time or just not creative? I try to have at least some turkey around so I can work with that but usually it’s eggs, eggs, and more eggs. Eggs are the best aren’t they?

Anyway, my husband recently asked me to pick up some canned chicken breast from Costco. Honestly, it sounded pretty gross to me. For some reason canned tuna fish works but canned chicken sounds super weird.

I was actually pleasantly surprised when I opened the can up. It’s pretty chunky, NOT mushy. It came with a mini recipe book so I decided to whip up a chicken salad inspired by one of their recipes.

chicken salad

Lightened Up Chicken Salad Recipe

  • 2 cans Costco chunk chicken breast (12.5 ounces each)
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers
  • half chopped apple
  • raisins to taste (not sure how much I used just tossed them in)

lightened chicken salad

I had it as a sandwich, but it would be great over lettuce too. Next time I’m going to try to use even less mayo….maybe slowly phase it out? I don’t know that’s a little risky. I love my mayo :).

lightened up chicken salad

I am loving this recipe! It’s really easy too and just such a perfect lunch. It’s a nice break from tuna salad. You could probably add some relish, hard boiled egg, grapes, celery- lots of variations!

 

On a totally unrelated note, I found a replacement for CoffeeMate coffee creamer!! A little background: I love flavored coffee creamers. They just make me so happy in the morning when I’m sipping my coffee. The thing about coffee creamers is…I don’t know what the hell they are. Like literally. They have no dairy which is sort of bizarre, right? So…they’re just artificially made chemicals that taste delicious? Yes, I think so.

Anyway, I’ve been drinking Premier Protein shakes lately and had the idea of putting some of the vanilla flavored shake in my coffee as a creamer replacement (I know, brilliant). And it totally works! It adds the flavor that I’m looking for without the sugar AND added protein. Love it.

premier protein

 

Finally, my kids say hi :).

Willow, my little baby, is 9 months!! She is officially the sweetest baby of all time. She apparently hates to sleep which is a damn shame….but she’s such a little lover so I forgive her :).

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Have you ever tried to take a picture of a two year old? Because it is impossible.

Brooke is 2 1/2 and (I think) is officially potty trained! I never though I’d see the day. When people say to train them when they’re ready….they’re totally right. She, out of nowhere, decided to use the potty. It was so weird. We weren’t even actively trying. Yay for only one in diapers!!

 

Happy Wednesday!!

Minty Greens Earth Day Shake

First and foremost, I wanted to announce some exciting news with you guys: I am now an ambassador for Premier Protein! I’m so excited to be working with this company because I love their products. They make tasty protein shakes, smoothies, protein bars, and protein fiber bars. My favorites are their shakes and fiber bars…major noms.

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The shakes taste great and pack a serious nutritional punch. They come in three flavors: chocolate, vanilla bean, and strawberries and cream. My favorite is actually vanilla. Usually, I’m a chocolate person but their vanilla shake tastes exactly like vanilla milk. Here are the stats on their shakes:

  • 30 grams of protein
  • 160 calories
  • 1 gram of sugar
  • low fat
  • 24 vitamins and minerals
  • no artificial colors
  • proprietary protein blend

Good stuff! I love the low sugar count. Sugar stats are one of the first things I look at when buying packaged foods. Anyway, on to the shake recipes!

 

It’s Earth Day! I feel like I don’t appreciate my beautiful surroundings as much as I should. I’ve started running again lately and during each run, I try to stop and take a look around. We live in an unbelievably beautiful area in Colorado…way up high in the mountains. We have skiing, mountain biking, climbing, biking, you name it you can do it here in Colorado.

vail, colorado

colorado

beautiful fall

beautiful fall

vail!

vail!

Spring and Earth Day are both a reminder of how precious life is…does anyone else feel like that? Everything looks so beat down and dead after winter. Seeing grass grow, birds chirp, and flowers start to bloom is pretty incredible.

Warmer weather equals smoothies! The folks at Premier Protein sent me a yummy looking recipe for an Earth Day inspired protein shake. They call it their “Dirt Shake” (love the name).  It looks pretty amazing too.

Premier Protein Dirt Shake Recipe

Premier Protein Dirt Shake Recipe

Right? That’s a fancy lookin’ shake.

Inspired by Premier Protein’s “Dirt Shake” and Earth Day, I came up with a delicious, mint chocolate green shake. Here’s the recipe:

Minty Greens Earth Day Shake

  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 Premier Protein Chocolate Shake
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • top with cacao nibs and shredded coconut (optional)

mint chocolate shake

 

This turned out so good. The avocado and banana make the shake super creamy. I usually add xantham gum to my smoothies to make them thicker but I didn’t have to with this one.  You absolutely cannot taste the spinach or avocado, by the way.

The mint taste is so refreshing-perfect on a warm day!

stats on premier protein chocolate shake

stats on premier protein chocolate shake

Peppermint extract is great…in moderation. Too much can and will ruin your shake. My recommendation would be to use 1/4 teaspoon first, then taste it. If you like more mint, add slowly. Like, really slow. A hint of mint is the way to go.

mint chocolate shake

 

Take a look around today and appreciate the world you live in. Life is good! Happy Earth Day everyone :)