Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catching up on the last few weeks...

Forgive me for not posting ANYTHING the last few weeks....they have been insane, to say the least! To recap:

-Tim had been suffering from a horrible cough/wheezing/chest tightness/difficulty breathing since mid-December. We initially assumed it was a normal cough, so we didn't worry. It didn't go away, however, and eventually we found ourselves in urgent care more than a few times. I'll spare you the details, but the doctors have diagnosed it as allergy-triggered asthma, although they have yet to figure out what allergy (based on testing it is not one of the common ones). They finally put Tim on medicine which seems to be working and he now feels ~80% better, praise the Lord! Thanks to all of you who were praying/thinking of us during this difficult and scary time.

-I began working. 2 weeks down now and...oh my...I feel like I have begun an entirely new career! The specialized care/skilled nursing setting is entirely different than outpatient. I am being challenged and stretched, but it is good. I know that new jobs have a learning curve, but it can sometimes be a painful process. I am trying to be patient and do my best...I can't wait for everything to just "click"!

-Tim surprised me last Monday evening with a day-early Valentine's date to a European Bistro I have been wanting to try. It was pretty good...but didn't blow us away. But we had a fun and relaxing evening!

-We had some special guests in town this best friend Kristin and her husband Tim came in town for a wedding and stayed with us!! They live in Peoria, Illinois, so I don't get to see them often...I have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. I actually haven't seen Kristin since my own wedding, and it is so wonderful to get to spend time with her. We visited the monuments in DC, as well as Old Town Alexandria. I was very sad to see them go :(

-My recipes have simplified since I began working. I no longer can start thinking/prepping dinner at it's a little more challenging! Here are my latest recipes:

Cranberry Almond Granola 

This is so delicious. And nutritious. Tim and I love granola, but the store bought kind is usually really sweet and full of artificial flavorings and preservatives. Gross. So I decided to make my own. I burned the first batch (not my fault, the recipe was wrong!), but the second batch turned out much better. Feel free to tweak this recipe to your taste/texture preferences. The only problem is that all the "good stuff" (chia, quinoa, wheat germ, flax) will sink to the bottom of the bowl, so be sure to fish it out of the milk! I adapted this recipe from one I found online, so here is my version:

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons water

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Combine oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, cinnamon, almonds, pecans, coconut, quinoa, chia, and cranberries in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl combine vegetable oil, brown sugar, honey, and water.
4. Add the honey mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all the oats are evenly coated.  Transfer wet granola evenly on to two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper
5. Cook ~25-30 minutes, keeping an eye on it and stirring thoroughly every 10 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and allow granola to completely cool before serving.  Don’t worry if the granola doesn’t seem completely crunchy after coming out of the oven.  It will crisp up once completely cooled.

Butternut Squash Cranberry Spinach Salad

I sort of made this up based on what I had in the fridge. Excuse my lame recipe recollections...
Drizzle some olive oil over some diced butternut squash and red onion. Coat thoroughly and season with pepper and a little salt. Roast in the oven until squash is tender. Pull the squash out of the oven and immediately pour over a bed of organic baby spinach. Add dried cranberries and toasted pecans. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over the top and toss everything together. This is delicious...Tim had 4 bowls of it!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (you can use regular or flavored...I used pear cinnamon)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper together until well blended. Add olive oil slowly and continue to whisk until combined.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Quinoa

This is another "use whatever you have in the fridge" recipe. It's just a combination of lots of delicious things I already had:
Roasted sweet potatoes
Roasted red onion
Baby spinach
Black beans (drained and rinsed)
Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
Cooked jasmine rice
Cooked quinoa

Combine and add desired spices. I used fresh cilantro, cumin, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder.

Lastly, something happened that got me pretty excited the other day. Our wedding photographer featured our wedding on her blog! Check it out by clicking HERE!

Until next time...


  1. Mmmm, definitely going to make the Cranberry Almond Granola mix--looks healthy AND yummy. Thanks for inspiring me to eat healthier--between you and D, should have it mastered soon! LYM

    1. you definitely need to try it!! i have made 3 batches (it disappears quickly!) also...i found out you can add 1-2 more tablespoons of water if the wet mix does not fully coat all the dry mix. let me know if you end up making it :)

  2. Love reading all of your cooking posts. I've been crazy busy baking the past two weeks with three orders! Baseball cupcakes and cake balls, S'mores cupcakes, and now Almond Joy Cupcakes! You need to move back so we can open up a shop with healthy vegan dishes and terribly sinful sweets!