Saturday, February 7, 2015

How she cleaned it up - White Chicken Chili

How She Cleaned It Up

* I have been asked many times if I eat solely Organic, to which I respond: "I like to eat clean". This is something that I am very passionate about, and it is coming up more often in my day to day life. I recently got someone to switch over a few things and start their journey, which inspired me to start this series. I want to share some tips, tricks, & any knowledge I come across with you. Like with any of my posts, all of this is said in love and concern for the greater good. However, that being said, I find more and more ridiculous things the further I dig!

 I am saddened by what is happening to children, sometimes without their parents knowledge. I was not educated on any of this for a long while. When I did learn some of these things, I was outraged, I had been feeding my growing babies things I wish I hadn't! I want to help people make a change, but some people HONESTLY think you are borderline elitist if you tell them you eat organic! What is most important in life? Health? Don't get me wrong, we are not necessarily eating "healthy". We are eating  just how my grandmother use to eat when she was young, and she loved her sugar! 

First thing I changed was milk, eggs, & bread. These are the things that we go through the most in our home, and it wasn't a huge challenge to my budget. As I grew and changed more, I am not going to lie, my grocery bill did go up. It was not the money that I was spending the most on, rather the "time spending" that was most difficult for me personally. The more difficult thing for my family, however, was not wasting food. My humble opinion is that we waste a lot of food in today's culture. If we spent more on what we actually eat, throw less away, our grocery bill doesn't have to sky-rocket. Overall, I believe that we need to get back to simpler times in more ways than one (waste, chemicals & pesticides, waiting to have dinners around the table with family)... Like I said, all said in love & no offense meant. Now back to your regular scheduled post:

White Bean Chili

I started off by finding this recipe, and gathered all my ingredients. Knowing that I wanted to make white bean chili, I had soaked beans the night before and pre-cooked them according to the bag instructions. I then put them into a glass jar I previously had. I try not to use canned anything overall. (key word is try) 

As you can see I then used organic chicken broth, I usually like to use "better than bouillon" paste mixed with water. (yes, they have organic as well) This boxed broth was on sale at Sprouts, so I went with it instead. Yes, you caught me, I am using canned chiles... I am not familiar enough with this product to know my other options.

We, as a family, just don't care about having a ton of meat "in" our stuff. Sometimes we just crave a steak, but overall recipes that call for meat get halved. I have noticed a lot of recipes call for two pounds of ground beef... you just don't need that much! So I halved the chicken breast to two and cut them into chunks instead of pulling it apart.

I loved this chili, my oldest did as well. My youngest, well she just doesn't want anything to have any "spiciness" to it, so she did not want it. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

One year ago today...

I know Elsa likes to sing about "the past is in the past...",
 but I have learned some life lessons from my past, so I am not going to "let it go". 
*Hey I'm cheezy like that sometimes*

A year ago today I took this picture:

While it may look like an ordinary winter picture to you, it symbolizes so much more for me.

Last year at this time, my husband was away for work.. we got to see him more than military families get to see thier loved ones. This did not make it any less difficult on our little family however. We made a choice, together, that it would be for the better of our family in the end, and it was!

Like with any good tale, there are two sides of a story...
I can not tell his, as I was not there. I know that it was not easy for him to be away from wife and kids, but I will not speak for him. I will, however, speak for myself. 

While I had an amazing support group behind me (you really do find your true friends through struggles) it was still trying at times to raise two little girls through that time. WELL, the only truly hard time was WINTER!

I mean it wasn't like Little House on the Prairie, where I had to chop wood for fire, but hey for some first world problems, I did good. As all of my friends would remind me regularly, "Of course this winter had to be one of the worst we've had in a decade".

When you are not one to regularly do push-ups (or anything else), you need to get up at 3:30 am to shovel snow, then get kids up and breakfast, and shovel snow again, then get lunches packed, then shovel snow again, and kids  re-motivated, and shovel snow again... 
you get the picture! Hence this picture above, this is one of the many pictures I took to remind myself...

You CAN do everything you put your mind to. 
You can push your Camry out of the snow by yourself with two kids inside about to be late for school. You CAN escape all the accidents by taking the country roads slow to work. The metaphors could keep rollin, but the point? You CAN make sacrifices when you know there are greater things to be had.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Valentine's in T-minus 10...

We have officially hit February 4th, ladies & gentlemen. I know that this day might just be another day in the neighborhood for some of you parents, but I challenge you to make your feelings known!
Some days I feel like I have fallen into a day to day routine now that I have children, how about the rest of you?

 However, on a side note, I have also recently made a major life breakthrough, mentally. Not to get to sappy, but once you loose someone close to you, you really start to appreciate how short life is. So again, make it a point on this "Hallmark Holiday" to participate.

I understand the cheesiness of it all, but remember when you're on the receiving end of it, you truly do appreciate it, right?! So write a cute lil message on their morning banana....

Put a quick note on their dashboard....

Or if you are feeling extra LOVING <3 p="">

How about my treat from last year.. I made a brownie box mix, added a couple drops of raspberry extract into the mix & once it was cooled I cut them out with a heart cookie cutter. For the "sauce" I mixed raspberry jam with a little apple juice to dilute it and shook it in a shaker till it was thinned down. I then just spooned a few droplets to add color to the plate. 

SO what do you think? Will you take the challenge?

Sometimes these little, very unexpected things are better than the standard card and flowers.
Surprises are a lovely thing <3 p="">

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Now that we are in a new city, with new things & new places, new traditions have begun. We all have those special things that we do throughout the year, magical things that occur year after year. What are your favorites? We, as a family, have a ton of them that we will continue, but now that we've moved some of them will have to change. I don't mean to say these things in negative connotation... in fact the opposite! 

These last two weekends we did some really fun things that would have never been an option in Indiana! I am excited about exploring the city and all the new opportunities it has to offer. While we are melancholy about our friends in the MidWest (pictured above), we hope to get them to Colorado to enjoy all our new favorite places!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Giving warms the heart

If you're like me, you want to give and give and give some more around Christmas. I give till I get myself in trouble. I like to shop anyway, and then I continue to see things that "remind me" of this person or that... I have to let them know that I was thinking about them, right?!

Well to keep myself out of trouble, in more than one way, I stay at home one weekend in December and bake & make candies. My munchkins and I have a blast, create memories, & mama spends less dough. {pun intended}

Creating these treats helps me to give baskets to people that I love and think about without breaking the bank. On this occasion, however, I found myself without enough actual baskets to pack in. So here was my innovative solution! Remember the boxes that cuties come in? Yes! I wrapped that sucker in some gift wrap and viola! Instant Christmas basket!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tis the season.. for Baking

There is no time more than the holidays, that I love to bake! Unfortunately this year my mixer is in storage... I've been hunting recipes on Pinterest that do not require a mixer. If you have anything for me, please comment, I would love to know what "works" for you, & of course, what tastes delish.

In the mean time I found a site that shows how to cream butter and sugar, but I am now debating how the rest of the process would work?!

I may just look into some pre-made, do they make that in organic dough? :) I'll let you know what I decide, but in the mean time.. enjoy my trip down memory lane with these most adorable pictures.

Monday, December 8, 2014

No place like home for the holidays

Let me start off by saying, overall, we have been adjusting quite nicely here in CO. I have loved the weather thus far, one day it might be 27º F, but not to worry, the next is 72ºF... not lying. We are in an apartment at the moment, and as a mother and wife I can appreciate how little space I have to clean. I can in fact attest to the fact that we are "closer" by living in an apartment in fact. I kinda like it :)

In the midst of the Holiday season, I am starting to miss my house however. I miss my huge tree, my picture windows with snow outside, and most of all my mantle. So today, I am sharing this nostalgia with you. Is it not beautiful? *sigh*

Life is give and take right?! <3 font="">