Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Read it and eat it: HEALTHY & HOMEMADE Chipotle bowl

It's the middle of the week, my hubby is out of town, and I wanted something easy.
So, I present to you the homemade and much healthier "Chipotle Bowl"...
I generally have a ginormous Tupperware actually I don't think I've seen that brand since the nineties, it's probably Ziploc or something, anyway... full of prepared quinoa on hand to use in a bunch of different meals. It came in handy here, and I recommend doing the same; it can be used in so many ways.
Get yourself a bowl and layer as follows:
  • Cooked quinoa & squeeze half a lime all over it (this replaces the turns-into-sugar-carbs aka rice.)
  • Cooked black beans (I prepare mine on the stove with diced onion, jalapeño, Cholula, S&P, and cilantro)
  • Grilled chicken (Cook your chicken how you please, I already had some left over grilled, and just cut into slices.) PS. If we're trying to stay healthy; chicken is your best bet, I don't need to tell you red meat is much fattier.
  • Sautéed onion, bell pepper, squash, jalapeño, and mushroom (This honestly took the most work; to dice and sauté , but even then was still simpleton.)
  • Shredded greens (I used spinach, kale, and swiss chard... I like more nutrients than iceberg "typical taco salad lettuce" has to offer.)
  • Sliced tomato
  • And obviously, the best for last; GUACAHOLY, I mean guacamole. No, I think I do believe it to be a holy concoction. Everyone's got their own recipe for guac, but mine goes like this and mine's the best!(;
    1/2 avocado, 1/8 red onion, few sprigs of cilantro, 1 jalapeno, S&P, red pepper flake, and squeeze of lime; dice each ingredient then mash/stir with fork until it's evenly blended with a few good chunks.
AND VOILA! Easy-peasy, healthy and satisfying meal that can be customized to everyone's tastebuds. Bon appetit!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eighteen Months!

Wait a minute, eighteen months? I have a one and a half year old?
Time truly does fly guys, it's unreal.
22.2lbs (18%), 30.5in (18%), and 48cm head (87%). Her height and weight have both jumped up to the 18th percentile, but she's still our bitty peanut with a big brain! She's got 12 teeth and wears size 3 diapers. Clothing is all over the map, because brands are inconsistent; anything from 6 months -18 months fits, and she wears a size 4 in toddler shoes.
Favorite & Least Favorite Foods:
Chicken, salmon, beans of any variety, hummus, guacamole, blueberries, banana, oatmeal, strawberries, almond butter, and any smoothie/fresh juice to name her top favorites. She's still eating wonderfully and my previous posts cover all of her diet. Still successfully avoiding sugar, processed junk, and fried foods.
What's Brooklynn up to:
We've got ourselves a little dancing diva, she loves to move and groove to music. Like mama like daughter. She's also really into her walking, and now pseudo-running skills and will take off anywhere to adventure. She's really good at sharing, and likes to bring you things she finds. Definitely my little helper too, though she does take every toy or book out, she's also really good about putting things back, she helps me with the chores too... Now if only we could get her daddy to follow suit. haha. She loves the park, playing hide & seek, and playing with a plethora of toys (I really can't narrow down favorites). We love story time together, and it warms my heart to know she's growing that big brain of hers every time she brings me a book and sits in my lap to read. Tickle fests and goofing around with daddy get the best belly laughs, and my heart melts when she runs to the door with the happiest grin when he comes home. Still a curious cat and constantly wanting to know what new things are by saying "daaaaaaat?!" until you tell her. I love her eagerness to learn. She's managed to figure out how to work my iphone, and enjoys swiping through pictures, especially when she sees myself or her Daddy or an animal; she stops and points with a smile and says who she sees. The kid loves to eat, like as much as her Daddy and I, but our little piglet is an incredibly healthy eater, so we totally allow it. We're still nursing regularly and I don't see that stopping anytime soon. (ps. Stay tuned for a blog post on the subject!) She loves movies, and points to the tv when she wants to watch something; Frozen and the preschool channel are her go tos. She's a snuggly bug and loves to cuddle with us and the arm around the neck hugs and kisses are the best, and of course we soak every bit of it up. Sleep is getting much better, as she's going for longer segments at night and usually giving me a thirty minute to hour and a half nap in the afternoons, when else would I have time to blog? Her vocabulary continues to grow; she meows at kitties now, rawrs at all other animals that aren't meows or woofwoofs, she also said wall as she pointed to it, and the best new word is "gaga" to her gaga (Travis' mom), of course that made her year. B loves to clap when she accomplishes something or hears others clapping, she's learned how to get into and open everything that's not child locked, and can now also climb onto the couch. Summertime is treating her well, because she's the biggest water baby; whether it's bath time (and recently shower), playing in the sink, and of course the pool... this little mermaid loves to splash. Balls are one of her favorites to throw, and stuffed toys are best for cuddling. She's generally pretty darn happy, but isn't the biggest fan of diaper changes (hit or miss), wiping her face clean, being told no, and nine hour car rides (but, seriously, who is?) We love watching her personality and skills develop and we're excited to her grow.
Baby Bear,
You're becoming miss personality, and you keep us entertained with every bit. You're quite the baby genius and you make us so proud. We love our daily adventures and look forward to all that's to come. You're asleep in my arms right now and I'm just soaking in your itty bitty self, because I know before we can say slow down you're going to be a big kid. We love you with all of our hearts angel, forever and always!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fourth of July!

We had a wonderful holiday weekend! The best part is that Travis was off for a majority of it, so we got to spend lots of time with him, always our favorite!
Thursday night we met Travis' Aunt Julie and Uncle Steve, his cousin Amanda and her hubby Antanas with their little ones Alayna and Aaron, and his cousin Blake and fiancé Molly. We all watched fireworks from their hotel rooftop, and they were of course greatness. With three toddlers this could have been chaotic, but all of them kind of watched like they could take it or leave it, none super impressed, but we're just glad they weren't freaked out! After us mamas got our babes to sleep or playing contently with Aunt JuJu and Unky Teve, the adults were able to go out on the town for a fun night. We thank you endlessly for the night off, guys!

Friday was a day spent by the pool at Travis' mom and step-dad's, or as Brooklynn calls it play time with Uncle K, gaga, and pappy. The men prepared an awesome festive feast of lamb, a kale, onion, and mango salad with champagne vinaigrette, "red, white, and blue" beans, roasted golden cauliflower, and a cabbage and peach salad with mint, feta, and toasted quinoa.

Saturday morning we started our wedding registries, I wish I had pictures of this, because Travis is hilarious. He gets a real kick out of using the scanner gun and running around like James Bond and making pew pew pew noises... at things like standing mixers and wine glasses. hahaha. That night we went to dinner with his mom, step dad, and little brother at Cane Rosso (fantastic Neopolitan style pizza in Dallas) to scope it out as a potential rehearsal dinner venue. They've got an awesome modern patio that would perfectly accommodate our group with delicious food. I had a prosciutto e rucola (prosciutto, mozzarella, parmesan, garlic, arugula, and mushrooms) and the dessert for the table was a cinnamon and peach pizza. MMM.
And finally Sunday we had a relaxing lunch (Brooklynn slept through it) at Mi Cocina and just splashing in the pool all afternoon.
It was a fantastic weekend and we are proud to be Americans! We thank all of the brave souls who protect our freedom, so that we may enjoy all of these precious moments. GOD BLESS THE USA!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Chocolate: The Super Food, but seriously folks, chocolate is amazing for you,
grab your nearest cacao treat and read on...
Let me start by saying HAPPY NATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY!
This post couldn't be more appropriately timed.

To set the record straight, the cacao bean is what carries all of the benefits. Milk chocolate, or even worse white chocolate don't contain very much of cacao itself, and are instead full of sugar, butter, and milk... You know, the not so friendly to your waistline ingredients. However, dark chocolate, specifically 70% or higher, have as you read 70% or higher of cacao in them. This means that though there is still sugar and what not, there is less, and you can still reap the benefits of cacao in your tasty treat. 

So what are the benefits you ask? Well, cacao is packed with healthy chemicals called flavonoids and theobromine; both of which have amazing capabilities. Such as...
Steady Heart, Stable Blood Sugar, Satisfaction, Stress Relief, Sun Protection, Smarts and Smiles to name a few.
Studies have shown that having a piece of dark chocolate daily lowers blood pressure and reduce risk of heart attack or stroke by thirty-nine percent. Indulging in the goodness can lower risk of heart failure by a third. In another study done in Italy, subjects who ate a candy bar's worth of dark chocolate daily for fifteen days saw their potential for insulin resistance cut in half. "Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production, and that helps control insulin sensitivity." (lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of L'Aquila in Italy) Other studies show (University of Copenhagen) that dark chocolate releases more satiety than other sweets, thus giving you satisfaction after a just small piece and curbs cravings and keeps you from over eating it or other fatty foods. If you're able to get your fix in a much smaller quantity, you're preventing weight gain due to junk food; basically chocolate makes you skinny.(;
. Another study shows that drinking flavonol rich cocoa boosts blood flow to vital parts of the brain, which can improve performance and alertness for a few hours. So giving a presentation or taking an important exam? Pop a square in prior, just be sure to brush your teeth before that big meeting. Other researchers (Oxford University and Norway) looked at chocolate's long-term effects on the brain in studies of the diets of over two thousand elderly (above 70) with conclusions that those who consumed flavanol-rich chocolate scored significantly higher on cognitive tests. Swiss scientists, go figure, found that when given an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their anxious participants' stress levels were significantly reduced and the metabolic effects of stress were partially mitigated. Researchers in London discovered that after three months of eating chocolate with high levels of flavanols, their subjects' skin took twice as long to develop the beginning effects of a sunburn. So spend the day on the beach nibbling dark chocolate covered coconut, and be sure to moisturize with cocao butter afterward. The sun releases endorphins as well, so this makes for a happy happy day. So you see, it's science people; EAT MORE DARK CHOCOLATE!
As if you needed another reason to love cacao, besides the plethora of health benefits and the rocking happy dance it makes your mouth do... it can also save endangered species. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. This bean is a super hero! In a recent trip to Grocery Heaven Whole Foods, I came eye to eye with this beautiful black beauty; the jaguar on the wrapper of a candy bar that read Endangered Species 88% Dark Chocolate. Proceeds from the sales go to conservation of endangered species. Go ahead and just take my wallet now, because the darkest of chocolate and animals are my weakest spots. On that trip I only got the one flavor I saw, but I immediately looked up the genius brand and discovered they have several awesome varieties of chocolate and adorable creatures to swoon over. (Update: I then found the gloriousness that is 72% with espresso beans, which is pretty much my what my blood is made of. See the precious tiger at the top of this post.) Obviously, I plan to stock up on a jungle-safari-forest-ocean full of these perfect products. In fact, I vowed them to be my only chocolate purchases, as they are for such an awesome cause.
You're welcome!(;
***I was in no way compensated for my opinions of Endangered Species Chocolate, I truly just love their products. However, I would totally be open to making a deal should they contact me.(;***
ps. Facts in this post are my own writing from several bits of research I've done on the subject, I've credited to my best knowledge where certain studies were from.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Father's Day

Our Sunday started off with all three of us sleeping in, which never happens. We spent the morning just hanging on the back patio by the pool and just relaxed for a while. For lunch we went a wonderful sushi lunch, which is Travis' favorite (mine too, but this is about him ha!). Normally, I would have photographed all eight dishes as they came out, but quite frankly we were too hungry and I wasn't going to let instagram interfere with Father's Day lunch. Afterward, we spent the evening at Travis' dad and step mom's house for dinner and basketball... of course there was basketball. We had a relaxed and happy day.

Of course, Brooklynn put her heart, hands, and feet into making all of the dads in her life sweet crafts.

We actually split our celebration up in to two weekends, so that we could spend time on Travis' mom's side with his step-dad Matt aka Pappy. We surprised the two with a day at the spa for massages and had delicious Mexican food waiting for them when they got back. They definitely enjoyed it!

A fantastic couple of weekends with family. I'm truly grateful for all of the wonderful fathers in mine and Brooklynn's life, especially our Travis. He truly is the most incredible dad to Brooklynn and watching their bond melts my heart. I can't wait to see all they will do together. I know he already has and will continue to teach her so much in life. Her protector and strong brave arms, her comedian to make her giggle with tickles and sillies, and to love and adore her forever. Melts a mama's heart!