Clean Eating – Full of Surprises!!

So y’all know we embarked on a clean eating journey starting a couple of months ago. We’re really enjoying a cleaner way of eating!! We’re learning as we go…trial by error… We aren’t looking to be extreme about it, instead we’re making better choices more often. I’ve been finding some of the most outrageous recipes online…weirdo stuff…at least to us. I don’t think it has to be all that difficult. More like the simpler the better!! But…I am learning a whole bunch of good stuff while researching online too. Sometimes it still amazes me how much great info is out there to be had!!

We have been surprised at how much less real food we’re eating than we were of the processed stuff. One of the books I read, sorry I can’t remember exactly which one, said that our bodies crave real food and our brains are smart enough to know when we aren’t getting it, thus making us hungry again and again until our bodies get the nutrients we need. I don’t pretend to understand the science behind it but if what we’re experiencing is any indication there just might be some truth to it.

We have actually been able to decrease our food budget while buying more veges, only the best cuts of meat and all whole grains. I was hoping to keep our budget the same, I never imagined it could go down!! One of the easiest ways to keep the cost down is cooking at home, besides, that’s the only way we can know whats really going into our food…if you think about it… Anywho, when I cook something I make a whole bunch at once. Saves a lot of time too which is a huge plus when nearly everything is made from scratch. If I didn’t I’d be spending all of eternity in the kitchen!! That’s a total deal breaker for me. I like to cook and all but I have other things to do too!! For example the other night I made a huge batch of chili. We had chili and cornbread (from a box, I haven’t tried it from scratch yet) for supper. Then I divided the leftovers between tupperwares for the freezer, some for chili mac and others for chili over baked potatoes. One batch of chili will provide at least 5-6 suppers for us over time. Not bad for browning some hamburger and dumping everything else in the crock pot to simmer all afternoon. Great time saver, easy on the budget and a great way to spread out 1 pound of hamburger!! I’ve made spaghetti sauce, granola, roast beef hash, broccoli cheddar soup and an asian inspired chicken salad in bulk for us to either freeze for later or eat on for a whole week of lunches.

Another budget saver is making the absolute most out of everything, waste not want not. I save every scrap from cleaning veges. It may seem extreme…Chris thinks I’ve lost my mind…it’s ok…it’s like a game to me now… I save all my peelings and trimmings in a gallon bag in the freezer. That way when it’s time to make chicken stock I have all my veges ready to go without using good veges that are going to have to be thrown away in the end anyway. Last week I was able to take 3 good size chicken breasts and make 2 batches of chicken stock for the freezer, a chicken pasta that we had for 2 suppers and 2 lunches, then a couple huge chicken salads and still enough chicken left over to try out a new recipe using quinoa for the first time. No waste!!

The newest tid bit of wisdom that I just gleamed from the internet is how to grow veges at home from the scraps you normally throw away while cleaning veges. Say what?!?! Oh YES!! Those green onions that are so fabulous in any number of different kinds of salads or all on their own… We trim the roots off the onions every time we clean these babies to eat, right? Silly me, I’ve been throwing these in the freezer for my stock collection…not anymore!! These are going directly into a glass of water for those roots to sprout!! Once the green onion starts to regrow simply leave in the glass of water being sure to change the water every couple of days or plant your new roots in a pot in the kitchen to harvest whenever the need arises. Then rinse and repeat!! How amazing and ummm FREE!! So guess what my new project is?? Oh Hell Yeah!! I already have some garlic that’s sprouted and is ready to be planted. I’m definitely going to have some green onions too and I’m going to give romaine lettuce a go too!! All inside with my beautiful herb garden!!

As for the outside garden…I’m lucky enough to have a patio at our new Mini. A very very small patio but a patio nonetheless!! We’re still debating on exactly how to do the garden though. I’ve found some stackable planter pots that will allow me to have more of a variety of veges while only taking up a little space…but they won’t hold all veges, just some. I also have an abundance of rubber totes that I could use to plant in…bonus being their FREE!! Another option was suggested to us today of buying a kiddy pool to hold our whole garden. The pool would take up the majority of my patio area which could make it very difficult to plant or weed… I need to get cracking on whichever option I decide to go with… Suggestions?? Ideas?? HELP!!

We’ve made a lot of great progress in moving our way of eating to more real foods and less processed but we still have a way to go. I’ve nearly kicked the soda habit and now enjoy coffee, water or iced tea instead. We are hoping to switch over to homemade bread next month since finding true wheat bread without all the extra crap is impossible at the store. If only a good, cheap bread maker would find its way to me!!

Now that I’ve bored y’all with food stuff next post will be the craft projects I’ve finished up – full of pictures!!

With Much Love

Kristy

One Year in Paradise

I can’t even tell you how happy I am that the cold arctic weather is done… To put it in perspective we got down in the 20s with freezing rain the beginning of this week but today I woke up to a warm 63!! Sure it’s going to rain today but I’ll take our warm rain over inches upon inches of snow any day!! The locals have been telling us that this is the coldest winter they can remember having in 30 years!! I know it wasn’t anything like this when we got here last year…

That’s right!! On January 29th we hit our one year Anniversary with the best company in the business doing the best job in the whole wide world!!! It’s hard to believe where we were just one little year ago… We were moving into our old Mini right about now since we had to go somewhere with the Big Game being in New Orleans. Moving out of Snowball and into the apartment was such a relief. No more worries about the water problems or the roof…just a safe comfortable relaxing space to call our own. And we sure did make it our own with lots of upcycling and lots of homemade goodies.

When we first landed we weren’t sure if this was our new home or just a rest stop to regroup. We didn’t know if we’d like the job or the area so everything was on a wait and see basis. But this is home now, we are staying put!! I used to see the birds flying and wish I could fly with them to places unknown, to go on great adventures, see the world… But now I’m more than content to stay right here and visit places on vacation rather than run around chasing happiness. Finally had that AH HA moment!! If happiness was what I was after I found it quadruple fold!!

Now we’re less than a week away from moving into our new apartment!! Its hard to believe we packed up everything at the old Mini about 12 weeks ago, some days it feels like it’s been a lifetime since we were in our own space but other times it’s like it was yesterday and we’re wondering where all the time went!! Everyday we look at the apartment and big huge changes are happening, it’s going to be absolutely amazing, more than we could have dreamed of only 1 short year ago!! However…we have no plans of ever transferring Minis again. No thank you!! The displacement is hard but missing the old Mini is worse and I don’t want to leave our tenants ever again!! I’m very attached and I don’t want to say good-bye again…not until retirement that is. 😉

One short year has brought so many blessings into our lives it’s impossible to sum them all up in one little post… The highlights…the perfect job for us…a great city with so much to see and do…the bestest friends in the whole wide world…financial stability…and hope for a great future!!

So many great things are about to happen I can hardly stand it!! This time next week we’ll be moving in and starting the next chapter of our fabulous Mini life!!

With Much Love

Kristy

Happy Birthday ALEX!!!!

Today is Alex’s (Twinks-in-law) Birthday and we all have to work cuz of course it’s auction day so we started his birthday weekend Saturday night!! Y’all know how big Birthdays are to me…it’s your own personal holiday after all…nothing better to celebrate than the blessing of you coming into this world!!

DSCF1733 So the party started with a first for us – Vietnamese food. We had traditional Spring Rolls and Pho soup. Neither of us really knew what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised!! We discovered we both prefer hot egg rolls over the cold spring rolls and we love Pho soup!! Now, I’ve never been real big on soup…once in a great while maybe but just not my favorite. But this…Pho…that’s something I’m going to have to start making at home!! It’s beef broth based with cilantro and brisket (other beefs can be added or substituted) with a thin rice noodle as the base. It’s then served with Italian basil, fresh jalapeno slices, lime and bean sprouts to add according to your own personal tastes. I added a good squeeze of lime, 1 jalapeno slice and a bunch of bean sprouts for crunch. It didn’t take long for the jalapeno to heat things up so that bad boy had to be fished out!! It was absolutely fabulous!! Now if I had read that combo in a cookbook I’d have thought they had done gone lost their minds…that combo just wouldn’t have sounded good to me at all but the flavors complimented each other perfectly. Definitely worth a try!! And all natural, unprocessed, whole food…just sayin…

DSCF1738First thing Sunday morning the party continued with all of us piling in the car for a family drive along the scenic route heading to Baton Rouge. We passed several old plantations, cute little towns, big refineries, beautiful Spanish Moss trees and mansions you have to see to believe!! By the time we made it to the city the gloomy clouds burnt off so we could shop in the sunshine. After just a few stores we headed to Weinerschnitzel for lunch, another first for me.  Apparently Weinerschnitzel is a super fancy German way of saying hot dog…whoda thunk?? Hot dogs for all my friends!! It just so happens that lunchie was just a few blocks away from the Louisiana State University campus. Gotta go take a quick peak at that!! It turns out, news to me at least, that LSU has a real live tiger as their mascot. So of course we have to go visit Mike…the mascot…a beautiful but BIG tiger. Isn’t he something?? Truly gorgeous!!

DSCF1742We played around on the campus for a short while…didn’t take long for Chris to jump up on the tiger statue and strike a pose…

 

 

 

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Couldn’t leave our Twinks out of the photo opt!! Fun pic!!

 

 

 

 

Next stop… Starbucks of course!! After Chris’ Kofy 30 feeding we all had renewed energy to hit the outlet mall on the way home. Just a little more shopping before picking up pizza for supper and calling it another successful day of the birthday weekend. Our birthday celebration theme was Food from around the world…Vietnamese, German and Italian all in one day!! Mission Accomplished!! I smell Chinese or Mexican in our future for tonight… 😉

Well I’m off to get ready for our first auction at the new Mini… Hope the rain holds off just a little bit!! *fingers crossed*

With Much Love

Kristy