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Garlic cubes

Hello friends and happy Friday! Summer officially kicked off yesterday! Every summer I try to keep things low key, but they always end up getting busier than planned, mostly with travel!  This time next week I will be in San Diego for BlogFest and Idea World Convention along with attending Les Mills Live! I am a WEEE bit excited! If you have any recommendations for where to eat and what to see (in my limited free time) please pass them along!

This week brought me back to reality after a month of different travels and close to 2 weeks off work.  I am very grateful for the time to spend with family and wonderful friends!

I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for food blogger love.

It is no secret that there are tons of food bloggers in the blogger world.  So many of them inspire me to try new things, make new food combos I have never thought of and to get over different fears I have had in the kitchen.  I am grateful for each person who has inspired me over the years.

One thing I love to do in the kitchen is find ways to make things easier and more simple, especially with ingredients that I used very often.  One of those ingredients is garlic!  I LOVE cooking with garlic, but I don’t always love the time it takes to chop up what I need in the moment!  Recently I received a huge batch of organic garlic from my CSA! I was really pumped but then realized there was no way I would use it all up before it went bad.  Do I decided to make it into garlic cubes and freeze them.  Then each time I need garlic I can just grab what I need!


Ingredients

Ratio of 1 cup garlic cloves to 1/8 cup avocado oil

  • Avocado oil
  • Fresh garlic cloves
  • Parchment paper

Directions

  1. Peel garlic cloves and place them in a blender.
  2. Chop garlic till broken into small pieces.
  3. Add in the oil and gently pulse just until oil and garlic are combined.
  4. Pour garlic mixture into a square or rectangular cake pan that is lined with parchment paper, spread evenly.
  5. Freeze for 1 hour
  6. Remove the garlic and cut garlic into 1 inch cubes.
  7. Return to freezer for 30 more min.
  8. Remove from freezer again and wrap smaller chunks of the garlic in plastic wrap and store in a zipper freezer bag.
  9. Pop out garlic to use when need.  Each square is about 1/2 Tbs or 2 cloves worth.
  10. Store for up to 4 months.

Make sure you check out the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂Join us next week for some cookout  recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Back to Reality

Hi friends! Happy Monday.  Ha, I just wrote that and then had to check that it is really Monday! Lol  I have been on a work break for close to 2 weeks so all my days have kind of run together!

For those of you who didn’t see, my grandmother passed away suddenly 1 month ago.  So since then things have been a little out of whack.  We ended up traveling to Minnesota to be with my family for her service and work on her estate. Although the circumstances were crummy, it was really wonderful to see so many family members and spend quality time with them.

It was really fun to get to do a little exploring and spend time with some friends, double date with my sister and her husband, enjoy some yummy food and see a play with one of my uncles and cousins.

I love the beautiful sights and views of my city of birth!

We had a lovely time with family and friends in Minnesota.  We were home for a few days and I was able to spend time with some of my favorites here. Then it was off to my next trip.

Next up was a quick 5 day trip to PA.  I was able to spend quality time with my sister and her family.  It was fun playing games with my nieces and nephews, go swimming, celebrating birthdays, work on my t-shirt quilt (YAY), running hills, leading my family through a workout and see wonderful friends!

A few weeks ago we also had a really fun day in the studio finishing up the background vocals for the Hubs upcoming album!

Life has been pretty out of the normal routine, but that is what summer is all about right? Tomorrow I am sort of back to reality, and then next week is BlogFest at Idea World (let me know if you will be there too)! I will also be participating in Les Mills Live and I am SO excited about that!  I will be doing more updates on Instagram, mostly stories, so come join the fun!

I didn’t really do a goal post for this month, but in the back of my head, my goals are to enjoy time with family and friends, stay active, get some sleep and take care of my mental health as I mourn the loss of my beloved gram.

One of the ways that helps me to process and work through loss is staying active.  A few runs have helped me clear my head and running in the rain allowed me to cry.  Working out with my friends and getting together after is good for my soul.  Teaching my classes has given me something to look forward to and also a good distraction when needed. Taking a long walk with the Hubs and just talking through things has begun the healing process.  I know it is not the same for everyone, but I am oh so grateful that I have such a strong fitness community around me as I walk this path.

I am linking up with Wendy and Holly for their weekly wrap!

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May you be filled with joy and health!

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Chai Tea Latte Ice Pops

Hello friends and happy Friday!

I am back after a few weeks away from the blog and most social media. My beautiful grandmother passed away suddenly on May 18th and I have been taking much needed time away with my family and for myself. I appreciate so many of you who reached out and expressed your love, prayers and care.


The loss is still pretty raw in my heart and soul, and I will be taking more time soon and in the months to come to take care of myself in different ways.
Spending a lot of time with family over the past month has had some challenges, but has also been really refreshing. It was so wonderful to see so many of my extended family members who I do not get to see very often. We had a fun reunion with all the girl cousins and had a lot of laughter in the midst of sadness. The hubs was able to meet a lot of the family who he has not met yet, and we had valuable time with many of my family members.
Although this loss has been very hard, I am so very thankful for the wonderful years I had with my grandmother and for all the memories we have to smile about. I am so very thankful the Hubs and I took a trip up there last summer to see her along with a few other family members. And most of all, I am thankful for the hope of heaven and that I will see her again one day!

 

With all the traveling over the past few weeks, I have not been doing that much cooking or recipe creating. As I settle back into life I will be back in the kitchen more and also sharing some new things that are going on in my personal world. But this week, I am back to sharing a fun Foodie Friday recipe!

I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for frozen treat themed recipes. Summertime is in full swing and with hot summer days here in Texas, I feel like I am always reaching for a frozen treat. I am a huge fan of making homemade popsicles, freezing fruit (berries, watermelon chunks, grapes, banana chunks, etc) and eating those after a hot sweaty workout, or just spending any amount of time outside. Sometimes just bringing groceries in from the car requires a rest break with a cool treat! Haha

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup chai tea (concentrate, or homemade)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients together well
  2. Pour into popsicle molds (this made 6, so adjust ingredient amounts accordingly)
  3. Freeze for 4-6 hours
  4. Enjoy on a hot summer day

Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some Food Blogger Love recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Fruit and Walnut Chicken Salad

Hello friends.

Another Friday is upon us!  How are these weeks going by so fast.  We are on the edge of summer…unless you live in a place like Houston where it is already breaking 100 degrees with the heat index! Bring on pool days!
img_8930I actually am a person who doesn’t mind the heat for the most part.  I will take it over freezing cold weather anyway. Just give me a spot on the beach and I am a happy girl.

Since it has been so hot I decided to whip together some of my favorite ingredients into a sweet and tangy cold salad. I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for a salad themed week.

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Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked, cooled and cubed
  • 1/4 gala apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • Sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil

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Directions

  1. Place chicken, apple, mango, walnuts and avocado in a bowl, gently stir together.
  2. In a separate bowl blend the balsamic vinegar and avocado oil together.  Drizzle over the chicken mixture. Gently stir in.
  3. Top with desired amount of goat cheese.
  4. Enjoy alone or atop a bed of greens or in a wrap!

Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some salsa recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Gluten Free Berry Swirl Cheesecake

Hi there friends!
It is finally Friday! Can I get an amen?  These weeks lately have felt extra long even though I have been cutting back on outside activities and working on getting more restful sleep in my life.  The week was pretty good overall, and I was able to accomplish several things each day on my to-do list.  I have been posting some of the projects on my insta-stories.  Check them out for some daily laughs 🙂

This week I have been really craving berries.  Thank goodness our local grocery store had some great deals on berries! I think I ate through several containers by myself 🙂 Berries are so fresh and perfect as it has begun to feel like summer is breaking thought in the weather.  By mid afternoons this week, we were hitting close to 90*! Bring on summer, swimming and all things outdoor eating!

I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for an eat what you want themed week.

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Like I said, I have been ALL over berries the past week.  The other night I also had a really strong craving for some cheesecake.  I normally eat some sort of cheesecake with chocolate involved, but this time I wanted something more summery!  Enter the berry swirl cheesecake.  I used coconut sugar that simply enhanced the natural sweetness of the berries.  It is not overly sweet, but it hits the spot just perfectly.  I used lactose free dairy ingredients and it did not cause any tummy issues!  I am SO happy about that! The crust is made with gluten free graham crackers.  Paired with the berry cheesecake topping it just screams summer!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 11 small gluten free graham crackers (makes about 1½ cups when food processed)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup melted refined coconut oil

Berry swirl

  • ½ cup fresh blackberries, washed
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries, washed
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
Cheesecake
  • 16 ounces lactose free cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup lactose free sour cream, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • 1⅓ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 organic large eggs, room temperature

Note: If normal dairy products don’t bother you, you can use normal cream cheese and sour cream 🙂

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325*
  2. Prep an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper
  3. Place graham crackers in a food processor.  Pulse till crumbs form. Pour crumbs into a med size bowl.  Add in the coconut sugar and coconut oil. Mix until all ingredients are fully combined. Pour crumb mixture into the 8×8 dish and press firmly down, evenly covering the bottom of the dish.
  4. Bake for 10-12 min.  Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack.

    While the crust cools, prep the berries and cheesecake filling.

  5. Place the berries in a blender.  Pulse till liquefied.  Add sugar and pulse till mixed together. Strain the berry mixture through a mesh strainer into another bowl. Set aside.
  6. Place the softened cream cheese into a bowl (use a stand mixer or a hand held mixer).  Beat till smooth. Add in the sour cream, coconut sugar and vanilla extract.  Mix well until combined and smooth. Add in each egg and mix on low until just combined.
  7. Pour the cheesecake filling into the 8×8 pan with the prepped and cooled crust.  Spread the filling to ensure it is distributed over the crust evenly.
  8. Add small spoonfuls of the berry mixture on top, spacing it out slightly.  Using a knife, swirl the mixture gently till the desired pattern is made.
  9. Bake for 30-40 min, until the cheesecake is set.
  10. Remove cheesecake and set on a cooling rack. Once it is fully cooled, place a lid on the pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  11. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some salad recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Perfect Sweet Potato Fries

Hello friends and happy Friday!
I can not believe it is already the first week of May! The end of the school year is just around the corner and summertime is almost here!

I am linking up with my fav girls, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for a Spring Foodie Friday themed week.

Springtime reminds me of newness of life.  New plants, new babies, a new season.  Fresh perspective on life and trying new things for the first time or trying them again.
I have been receiving such beautiful sweet potatoes from my CSA lately and I wanted to break away from my typical roasted or baked sweet potatoes.  I wanted to try some new techniques I had been reading about when roasting different veggies!  A few of the ideas I first thought would be a little odd, but now I have been incorporating them into all my cooking and it has been making a difference!

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Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, washed
  • 2-3 Tbsp avocado oil
  • Spices to taste- Himalayan salt, paprika, garlic
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions

  1. Slice sweet potato into thin slices then long stripes.
  2. Place in an ice bath for 30-45 min. (helps remove starch to make them crispier)
  3. Pre-heat oven to 425* and place baking sheet in oven to also pre-heat.
  4. Once ice bath is finished, drain and dry off sweet potatoes.
  5. Coat sweet potatoes with a very thin layer of avocado oil
  6. Place on the pre-heated baking sheet leaving space between each fry.
  7. Bake for about 30 min, flipping the fries half way through.
  8. Turn off oven and let fries sit for 10 more min.
  9. Remove fries from oven and sprinkle on spices to taste. I used tongues as the fries are still hot to touch.
  10. Enjoy immediately!


Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some new recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Out with April and in with May

Hi there friends!

I have to say I am happy it is May!  April was not the best month.  Nothing really major made it rotten (other than food poisoning), but overall a lot of little things just sucked me dry and left me depleted.  When May arrived yesterday I breathed a slight sigh and took a look at what happened to April.  I just want to pretend most of the month didn’t happen but that is not really possible, so here is to a MUCH better month.

April goals kind of went out the window after the first week so they almost all get a big F in my mind.  But that is life sometimes.  And failure isn’t always a bad thing if it gives me a boost and motivation to get back at it.  I have learned over the years that I can take a stinky day/week/month and turn it into fuel to push me further for the next days/weeks/months to come.  I allow myself a little wallow space then I jump back in it!

Here is what I had hoped would happen in April

Fitness

*Workout 5-6 days/week
*20 min of stretching/rolling daily- Establish an actual plan and follow through
*PT for hip

Health

*Stress management tools
*Refocus on eating plan
*Rachel’s challenge
*Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep

Relationships

*Cut out more social media time
*Plan anniversary trip
*Send birthday gifts
*Enjoy time with friends before they move

House

*Guest room closet
*Linen closet

*Plant garden

What actually happened

Fitness- C
I got in at least 3 workouts each week. Dealing with some pain in my hip and extreme fatigue really did a doozy on me this past month.  It def takes a toll on my well being in general when I am fighting sleep issues and physical pain.  Thankfully my hip has settled down a bit and I am in a better place for the start of May.

Health- C+
Again, lack of sleep causes me to have a lot more anxiety and then things stress me out more than normal.  There were also a lot of really busy days where I didn’t get much downtime and those also tend to give me some more anxiety when I do get to sit down for a minute.  I am still working on the eating plan (waiting for some materials to arrive).  I was getting ready to make more changes when I came down with food poisoning.  That is really just horrible!  It took me almost a week to fully recover physically.

Relationships- B-
I have been doing a lot better cutting out social media time.  I have not been as active on some sites as I used to be, and that is ok.  I decided it is better for me to not be so focused on trying to post everyday and then try to reply to people the as quickly.  I know some really rock it out with replying and that is amazing for them, but for me to de-stress more and have more quality time with those I want to be with in real life, I have cut back.  I am working on plans for our anniversary trip!  I came across 2 I was looking at and some of the information made me laugh! This one hotel would cost $20,000!!! Um NO!  And another potential trip the travel time, including layovers, was over 50 hours each way. The Hubs would def not be happy with that.  So back to the drawing board for that!

House- D-
Well, I have yet to plant my garden, I did not do anything for the linen closet except buy some new baskets and the guest room was a complete disaster until I threw everything back in the closet on Sunday when I thought an expected quest may need a place to sleep overnight!
Even thought it was not on my goals for April, I ended up redecorating our master a bit!

Before & After

So man, those are just a few areas that fell through the cracks during April. Looking back I was trying to figure out what went wrong.  I am not fully sure yet, but I am starting over with some goals for May and giving myself some grace to work through whatever needs to be worked through 🙂

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May Goals

Fitness

*Workout 4 days/week
*20 min of stretching/rolling daily- Establish an actual plan and follow through

Health

*Stress management tools- Sunday rest days!
*Refocus on eating plan
*Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep

Relationships

*Plan anniversary trip
*Plan trip to see family
*Enjoy time with friends before they move

House

*Plant garden
*Plan party for background singers to celebrate album

So I am dialing back a bit.  Leaving some of the goals from April and also being more realistic with what I will have time for this month.  The weekends have been pretty full and as much fun as that is, I need to get back to having a real rest day!

There you have it.
What is one of your goals for May?

May you be filled with joy and health!

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