Sunday, September 29, 2013

Life Lately...

Here's a quickrun down of what we've been up to lately...mostly in picture form!

My co-worker, Diane, and I ran in Des Moines University's 5k. It was a fun event for a 
Friday night with perfect weather!

I visited my parent's house last weekend. Like every other weekend I make the trip back home, we did lots of fun thing! First, we stopped by a friend of my brother's and picked apples and pears from his tree! We picked lots and all for FREE!! 

Such yummy flavor! We've been eating them fresh and whole and I've also made some pear/apple sauce using this recipe! So good!

Josh and I also did some harvesting in the garden and dug up some potatoes. There were quite
 a few interesting ones we found :)

I had a new dessert I wanted to try over our bonfire, s'mores pie!

When I mentioned I wished I had a kitchen torch on hand because the marshmallows weren't melting as fast as I wanted, Dad retreated to the shop and came back with one to help them along a little! 
Gotta love being on their property when almost anything you need is probably in Dad's possession...somewhere! :)

We also spent a good amount of time chopping veggies to make by Grandma Lyon's recipe for vegetable stew. Sorry though, that's another family recipe that can't be shared ;)

This week I've been partaking in some good eats!

Thanks to Lauren and Kind for hooking me up with this peanut butter granola at hls13! Love this stuff!

For a quick supper one night this week, I sauteed some beet greens, fried a couple eggs and threw some feta on top for the perfect finish! Easy and so good!

One afternoon before the gym I had a perfectly ripe tomato sitting in front of me. I planned to eat it as part of my lunch but never got around to it. I decided to just cut it up and dust it with salt and pepper before it got too ripe and I had to toss it. There's nothing better than a garden fresh tomato!

This weekend was Children and Families of Iowa's annual Princess Party. Tim a board member for this organization so we've been partaking in this event for a few years now. This year Kaydin was VIP and got her hair and nails done and even got a fun gift bag to take home!

 This weekend I finally tended to my out of control basil plants. I cleaned all the leaves, chopped them up and put them in some ice cube trays and filled with olive oil. Now I'll have basil on hand to use through the winter!

Last night Tim and I ventured out for a long overdue date night. We ate at Alba, a contemporary American cuisine restaurant in downtown Des Moines. Neither of us had been there before. It's hard to find one that is new to both of us and Alba didn't disappoint! I chose the duck breast and besides there being more fat than I like on my meat, it was really good! After dinner we ventured to the northwest side of town to look at some lots and neighborhoods and ended the night checking out the clearance and dollar section of Target. A good night out with my love! And I need to add, too, that the Urbandale Super Target has the best dollar section! They have some super cute fall decor this season!

And now we start a new week! I hope everyone has a great Monday! :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Zucchini Pasta with cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, and basil

Do any of you grow your own garden? If you are one that can raise your hand to this question, I'm super jealous! I can't wait until I have my own garden in my yard! I told Tim that's a must for the new house! Right now I grow herbs in containers and steal as much harvest from my parent's house as I can!

I made this zucchini recipe earlier this summer. I decided it was high time to get this baby posted because we're hitting the end of garden season. Many may be loaded up with zucchini and needing more ideas of how to use them all up.

I have a quick, delicious recipe for you involving lots of fresh garden goodies! I used my vegetable peeler to make some ribbons of my zucchini. Then I also shucked some corn and then halved some grape tomatoes to another another flavor dimension and pop of color. A quick saute in a pan and topped off with fresh basil, salt, and pepper and you have a healthy, fresh, nutrient packed dish!

Zucchini Pasta with cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, and basil 

2 cups zucchini, ribboned with a vegetable peeler
1 cob sweet corn, cut from the cob
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomato, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil or garlic infused oil
fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a skillet.
2. Add zucchini ribbons. Cook for just a couple minutes until slightly softened.
3. Add corn and tomatoes. Cook just for a minute or two to warm through.
4. Remove from heat and add fresh basil and salt and pepper.

If you're headed to the farmer's market this weekend, don't forget to pick up a couple zucchinis! Or if you are lucky enough to have your own garden, use the ones piling up on the countertop.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Poppyseed Coconut Muffins

I've got a quick and easy recipe for ya today!

These poppy seed muffins were a favorite of mine while still living with my parents. My mom has had this recipe forever! It's not a clean and healthy recipe by any means but it's a good one! Quick, easy and oh, so good!

I've got a few notes, though, to make a couple improvements in the nutrition facts here and there.

Poppy Seed Muffins

1 package white cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil (I would use coocnut oil)
1 cup hot water
1 package instant coconut pudding
1/4 cup poppyseeds
Optional: 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Optional: 2 tablespoons hemp or flax seeds.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water and oil until blended.
3. Fold in the poppy seeds and coconut.
4. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 35 minutes.

Enjoy these! They won't last long! :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happiness...{+ quick hls13 overview}

It's not everyday I sit back realize how happy I am with my life. I mean, yeah, I'm pretty happy on a daily basis, but some days I really take it all in and acknowledge how blessed I really am!

I attended the Healthy Living Summit this past weekend in Minneapolis and met some pretty awesome women I can now call friends. And also got to hang out with some Blends I had already met and can say we became closer friends! It was great to hang out with a bunch of like-minded women all weekend! The feelings inside of knowing we just get each other with this whole healthy-living-but-still-indulge-and-take-pictures-of-all-your-food blogging world is amazing!

I'm also seriously happy and blessed because even though this blog is a fun hobby of mine that I wish I devoted more time to, I really love my day job. I'm proud of the work we do and like going to work everyday for my organization, Des Moines University. I am happy and confident knowing I have an office to go to every day and have my routine established. I'm grounded in my life that I'm not wishing I could stay home and blog everyday for my career. I know that because of who I am and how my personality is, it would not leave me as fulfilled as having a career outside of my home.

And with that said, I am so blessed to have an office of co-workers that I enjoy seeing everyday! I have gained some new friends and really made a few strong connections in the almost two years we have worked together.

Some days I really feel like I don't have many friends that fill my social network. But when I sit back and think about it that's not true at all. We have just grown and have other priorities and many more responsibilities these days. I really do have a strong network of women that I call friends, though, and am so grateful for that! And after this weekend that network just keeps growing! I met a few new people from the state and beyond to connect with.

Of course my biggest blessing is my family. I have to be one of the luckiest girls in the world because I get to call Tim my other half. If I think about it too deeply I just make myself cry. I have been through a few trying times in life since I've met him and he's been my rock through it all. The level headed one that always knows how to handle situations. I turn to him for advice on many aspects of life. And then there's the fact that he's been there to help my raise my daughter. It amazes me that he took her in and loves her the way he does. You would never know he wasn't there from the moment she was born. The bond and connection they have with each other is just magical to see.

Kaydin is also at the top of my list for bringing me happiness. She is just the coolest little girl! So funny, smart, sweet, independent, and full of personality. That personality sometimes causes me frustration and unhappiness, but she's awesome and I wouldn't have it any other way. She's my little companion and best friend!

I also can't leave out my parents and brother, Josh. I didn't have an extravagant childhood. It wasn't perfect and wholesome with no fighting- we all had our fair share. But I look back on my childhood and smile. Smile because of all the memories, the fun we had, and the closeness we shared and still do to this day. My family supported me always and I'm thankful and blessed to have them. I still smile today because we all still have great relationship. I don't see them as often as I would like but always truly enjoy the time we do spend together. We still do not lead an extravagant life but build awesome memories and are always having fun.

I am truly happy!! Not everything is perfect, but life is pretty damn good!

I think some of my high is from coming off of an awesome weekend! It was so fun and so motivating! I learned some things, got some new ideas, and am so happy to have this little hobby called healthy living blogging that allows me to connect and meet so many cool people.

I'll get to the full recap soon (hopefully) but here's a few highlights...

Great food

Fun friends

and awesome sponsors!

It was such a great weekend I'm so happy and blessed to have been a part of it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Guest Post: Words from Mom, part 9

My mom is back at it wrapping up the story of my brother's accident that occurred five years ago today. 

Did you miss her previous posts? Catch up at the links below!
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

It was one of the hardest things I had ever done...

leaving Des Moines after Josh was finally released from the hospital.  I did have some peace of mind knowing Mollie was there to help take care of him, and even though I needed and wanted to get back home, I hated to leave him. I had tried to get him to come home with me but he insisted on remaining in Des Moines, which in the long run was where he needed to be. He needed to be close to the hospital and doctors, as he had so many appointments. Josh went back to his apartment and Mollie checked in on him daily, and of course I made numberous trips to Des Moines taking him to appointments, also, and helping with all the medical supplies Josh needed.  He even had a hospital bed for quite a while as he had trouble laying down.

Josh's recovery was slow. He was in so much pain and so weak. He seemed to be wasting away, nothing like the active young man we all knew. As time went on with his not even being able to walk but a few steps or even sit up, he was being isolated by the injury and was alone a lot of the time; something he has never liked.  I became worried about his emotional and mental state, and although we tried, we had little success in pulling him out of the depression he was struggling with. The one person who did make him feel better was Kaydin. She was just over a year and a half at this time. She was and still is light of his life.

As time passed, Josh learned how to take care of his medical needs. He also had a nurse that came to check on him and help him with any questions and medical problems he had. 

In early November I went to work, thinking it would just be a normal work day, but also knowing that Josh had one of his many check ups with the doctor scheduled for the day. Mollie had taken him to the appointment and called me after, explaining that they had found something they described as a "mass" and that Josh was being admitted into the hospital again.  My boss was so understanding during all of this, I told her the situation and left work heading for Des Moines. Josh was in the hospital for five days, having tests and being examined daily. They determined that the mass was blood that had settled in his colon from his bleeding internally for so long. He was finally released after that cleared up.

Josh had some good days and some bad days, but every one was a blessing considering what he had been through.  We celebrated the holidays and heading into February they determined that they were ready to do the reconstructive surgery to connect his colon. We were hopeful that everything would go well as this meant he could get rid of the colostomy. He went into surgery upbeat and excited at the prospect of being "normal" again.  After several hours the surgeon came out and told us that the surgery went well and barring any complications, in time he would be fully recovered.  I never thought I would hear those words, I was so grateful. After his surgery, Josh's body was slow to recover and it was a struggle for him in finding out what he could and couldn't eat. He also needed time to build his strength up which was also slow in returning. But we now knew Josh was going to make it. He had survived a totally freak accident and had overcome something no one should ever have to go through.

I am so proud of my son, he is amazing. It hasn't been easy for him; he had trouble learning how to really live again after his accident. It took time for him to get back on track, but we have always been there for him and always will be. He's doing great now. He is healthy again, has a job he seems to love and a wonderful girl, Kerstin by his side.

Today is the five year anniversary for Josh's accident, not exactly the type of anniversary most people would choose to remember, but for me I will always remember it and smile because it reminds me of all the love and support we received from our family and friends. And most of all it reminds me that I still have my son. My kids are the love of my life...always have been...always will be...
So the accident happened September 18, 2008. He was released from the hospital about two weeks later at the very beginning of October. In the first few days of November he was admitted to the hospital again for five days. And finally in early February he had the reconstructive surgery. It was a long six months for us all but especially Josh. We spent a lot of time together through all of this between doctor appointments, visits, and medication deliveries.

In March, Dad, Josh and I rescheduled our Florida trip we were supposed to leave for just a couple days after the accident. It was a happy vacation to be able to take. Josh was still here with us, all put back together and healthy enough to travel! 

We also took a quick family vacation to Los Angeles in August 2009.

It was really hard to watch him go through all of that but I am so proud of how he's come out of it today. Yesterday he celebrated his 26th birthday. We are all so blessed and grateful he is still with us today. I'm even more proud that he recognizes how lucky he is and knows everyday is a gift. 

It really truly is and I hope everyone takes advantage of every minute they have with their family. I know I try to.