5 Days of Clean Eating.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Monday and Happy Eclipse Day! I hope you have an awesome weekend. Welcome back. 

The last few months of our lives have been full of constant travel. Don't get me wrong, traveling is so fun but traveling creates a crazy life. Travel for us means eating out, drinking cocktails, little to no sleep and just busy busy busy. 

We are gearing up for one more summer wedding and then we are done traveling for a while. To get our lives and bodies back on track, we're doing a mini cleanse/strict clean eating starting today. I don't call it a diet because I'm eating, and eating a lot. I am just being very choosy about what I am eating. 

Please know I am not a doctor. I cannot tell you what the best thing for you is. But this works for me. It's a great re-start after eating like crap for months. I usually incorporate certain rules when I start super clean eating. Keep in mind, if you're doing hard workouts or extra long days you may need to modify this. You don't want to starve your body. Clean eating doesn't mean no eating. 

My top 7 rules for clean eating: 

  1. Choose Fresh Foods over Refined Foods. You'll see in these recipes that everything is fresh. 
  2. Stock Up on Protein. This is where you'll get your energy. I usually stay away from red meat and stick to fish and chicken. 
  3. Stop eating sugar
  4. Feed yourself. 5 small meals during the day rather then one large dinner or breakfast. 
  5. Don't Drink Your Calories. I'm talking to me here. No booze, no pop, no coffee, just stick to water. I usually give up coffee when I first start and drink green tea but usually get back to black coffee later. 
  6. Listen to your body. You may find yourself a little hungry since you are regulating meals, but if you go on a 10 mile run and are starving, you gotta eat. Just keep it clean.
  7. Cook with a friend/spouse. The key to success with this is prepping your meals and snacks. Life is so busy during the week, don't make it harder by not being prepared. Also, if you've prepared everything, it makes it easier to stick to your meal plan.
I usually do clean eating for 21 days straight. Its the easiest way for me to see results and feel better. This is a mini meal plan. But, if you need more recipes, be sure to check out my paleo tab and this other meal plan

Get creative, clean eating doesn't have to be gross. Heres a quick shopping list. Keep in mind, again, I leave out red meat and pork when I first start a reset. 
 

DAY ONE
Breakfast
 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or for dairy free, So Delicious coconut milk yogurt
• 1/4 cup muesli
• 1/4 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack 
 2 clementines

Lunch 
Avocado-Egg Toast with a Garden Salad
 1/2 medium avocado,
 2-3 large eggs, cooked in 1/4 tsp. olive oil 
Season egg with a pinch each of salt and pepper
 1 1/2 cups mixed greens
 2 Tbsp. grated carrot
 1/2 cup cucumber slices
Top salad with 1/2 Tbsp. each balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Dinner 
 4 oz. cooked chicken breast, cooked in 1 tsp. olive oil and seasoned with a pinch each of salt and pepper
• 4 zucchini, sliced into quarters; Zest of 1 lemon; ½ tsp. dried oregano; ¼ tsp. garlic powder; Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all zucchini ingredients and grill for 2-3 minutes

DAY TWO:
Breakfast 
Avocado-Egg Toast
 1/2 medium avocado
 2 tomato slices
 2-3 large eggs, cooked in 1/4 tsp. olive oil 
Season egg with a pinch each of salt and pepper

A.M. Snack 
• A handful of Kale chips


Lunch 
 Grab a can of tuna and an avocado with some salad greens, oil, and vinegar, and mix it all up.

P.M. Snack 
• 1 cup blueberries with 20 raw, unsalted pistachios

Dinner 
• 1 serving chicken soup (great for leftovers)

DAY THREE:
Breakfast 
 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or for dairy free, So Delicious coconut milk yogurt
• 1/4 cup muesli
• 1/4 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack 

 Frozen berries with a drizzle of coconut milk and honey 

Lunch 

Veggie Sandwich
• 2 slices sprouted-grain bread
• 1/4 medium avocado, mashed
• 1 Tbsp. hummus
Add veggies of your choice (try cucumber, tomato, carrots and greens).

P.M. Snack 

• 1 plum
• 5 walnut halves

Dinner:
• 2 chicken tacos 


DAY FOUR:
Breakfast:
• Breakfast scrambler. Store in an air tight container and use it for leftover lunch/dinner or breakfast.

A.M. Snack 
 8 dried apricots

Lunch 

Veggie Sandwich
• 2 slices sprouted-grain bread
• 1/4 medium avocado, mashed
• 1 Tbsp. hummus
Add veggies of your choice (try cucumber, tomato, carrots and greens).

P.M. Snack 

• hard-boiled egg

Dinner:
• 1 serving of baked mushroom chicken


DAY FIVE:
Breakfast:
• Breakfast scrambler. Store in an air tight container and use it for leftover lunch/dinner or breakfast.

A.M. Snack 
 Half an avocado sprinkled with sea salt and balsamic vinegar

Lunch 

 Salad with roast chicken, dried cranberries, pecans, apple slices, and vinaigrette

P.M. Snack 

•  2 Tbsp. hummus
• 1 cup sliced cucumber

Dinner:
• 1 serving of salmon with avocado salsa


Happy eating friends! I hope this meal plan helps get you back on track to healthy and delicious eating!




Guest Post: Beautiful Honeymoon Spots around the World

Friday, August 18, 2017

Your wedding day is bound to be wonderful. With all the hustle bustle and planning that surrounds it, you and your partner deserve a beautiful break! Your new beginning should be filled with romance, love, and happiness. What better way than to invest in a beautiful honeymoon to start your life together!

If you’re trying to figure out which are the best spots around the world to go to, we’ve got you covered. Katie from Orla James prefers a variety of choice when selecting beautiful honeymoon spots. We decided to assist them with a few gorgeous, yet romantic spots around the globe. Whether it's adventure, culture, or romance you crave, we’ve got options for you to choose from.
Let’s look at some of them.

BALI, INDONESIA: Bali is popularly known as the ‘Isle of the Gods’. With gorgeous mist-shrouded temples, pristine beaches, and warm welcoming people, Bali is the perfect honeymoon destination spot. The beautiful mountains and cultural hub made it a popular location for the hit movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Take a trip to the famed Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple that stands 200 ft. above sea level. The sunset from this point is one from your dreams! You should head to Bali to experience romance that lasts a lifetime.


CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town has everything you could imagine! From gorgeous landscapes, wild party scenes, exquisite beaches, and a bustling city, Cape Town has something for everyone. You can also visit the plethora of wineries and indulge in a safari or two. Ideally, you should take the 90-minute drive from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas and stop off at Boulders Beach to meet the famous warm-weather penguins! If you’re unsure of what sort of honeymoon to invest in, Cape Town is the perfect location for privacy, romance, and fun!



MARRAKECH, MOROCCO: Indulge your senses in this colorful city! Brimming with sights, sounds, scents, and people, Morocco has you covered. If you’re up to it, you can go surfing, binge on delicious seafood and kebabs, drink coffee at roadside cafes, do some street shopping, get your fortune told, and visit the never ending mosques and museums. You can also head to the ancient city of Fez and trade your car for donkey carts and walk old, narrow alleys. Whatever your preference, you are bound to have a memorable honeymoon in Marrakech.



PROVENCE, FRANCE: If it’s an uber romantic location you want, you must head to Provence. Known for rolling lavender fields, wine, art, and history, Provence in France is a beautiful getaway for honeymoon couples. Explore the rugged landscapes that Provence has to offer and the wonderful outdoor sports that are available there. You could also go horseback riding, take a picnic in lavender fields, explore quaint villages, and take French cooking classes. If you and your partner want a peaceful, yet romantic honeymoon, you could consider Provence to be your ultimate honeymoon destination!


LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA: Langkawi Island in Malaysia is an unforgettable destination! Crystal clear waters, dense jungles, and virgin beaches are some of the things that you can expect to see in Langkawi. Experience the famous Malaysian well-being spas, fresh seafood, and juicy local fruits, and go bird watching. Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark is located in Langkawi, so you simply must take a wildlife tour! Some wild animals you can look forward to are otters, snakes, the famous walking fish, monkeys, and eagles. You can also visit neighboring islands by taking a boat and island hop!



MUSCAT, OMAN: Oman is a hidden jewel in the Middle East. This beautiful Arabian oasis is rich in culture and beauty. A favorite holiday destination for many Europeans, it is filled with charming beaches, gold souks, bustling markets intermingled with shopping malls, theatres, cultural centers, and world famous food chains. In Muscat, you can visit the Grand Mosque, Muttrah Souk, and Al-Bustan Beach. If you and your partner would like a road trip, you can also drive down to the beautiful fishing village of Sur while taking stops at the historic Nizwa Fort, and the silversmith and handicrafts markets in Sohar. Oman makes for a beautiful sandy playground and is a wonderful place to spend your honeymoon!


After months of planning your wedding and finally tying the knot, you should spend quality time with your new spouse and leave all your worries behind. Invest in a beautiful unforgettable honeymoon to start your life together in bliss and harmony. Whether it’s a tropical retreat or an adventurous one, make the most of this time together and start your new life with happiness.
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Recipe: My Go-To Recipe & The Best Recipe!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday nights are the nights where I hate cooking. I've done by job Sunday through Wednesday, cooking great healthy meals. But, by Thursday, I want my glass of wine and an easy meal! Usually, Thursday nights result in take out something and a glass of wine on the couch. Tonight is the first Bronco's game of the season, so I have a feeling our night is going to center around football. It's back!

My tune drastically changes on Sundays. Sunday is my day to experiment. I love trying new recipes, especially the ones that are so messy I spend three times the time cleaning than we did eating. Sundays are for the meals you always remember and say, "man that was so good."

Luckily for you, I've got both of these recipes.

THE GO-TO RECIPE: I have two of these. Both salad options. When I asked Adam what his favorite easy recipe was that I make, his immediate response was the almond butter chicken salad. My immediate response was my new thai chicken salad. It's the battle of the salads people!

Thai chicken salad v. almond butter chicken salad. Both of these recipes make enough for Friday-lunch leftovers and both are incredible. Plus, I usually have all these ingredients in my fridge and pantry.

Paleo Chicken Salad


Ingredients:
  • 4 cups shredded chicken (this is about two large breasts) 
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced (use red if you can, but yellow is good too!) 
  • Butter lettuce, bread or wraps to eat it with. Or a fork. Let's be real, it's that's good.

How to Make: 
  1. Shred the dang chicken. Get this part out of the way. (To make shredded chicken, place chicken in a saute pan. Cover the chicken with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer. Takes about 25 minutes. Flip the chicken half way through.)
  2. Make the dressing. Mix the almond butter, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt. Taste it. Last night, ours tasted too much like almond butter, so I added a little more apple cider vinegar and a titch of salt. This is up to your taste buds! 
  3. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, celery, cranberries, almonds and onion. Don't be afraid to add other things. I used some seeds last night. I even thought about adding red cabbage. 
  4. Wait to toss the salad with the dressing until ready to eat. Toss, serve, enjoy! 
Thai Chicken Salad: 


Ingredients:
For the thai "peanut" dressing (I doubled everything) 
  • 1⁄4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • juice of 1⁄2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes\

For the salad
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato or yam, shredded 
  • 6 to 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • handful of sliced carrots
  • handful diced tomatoes 
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • roughly chopped green onions, for garnish
How to Make: 
DressingPlace all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 
Salad:  
  1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee. 
  2. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt, garlic powder, and pepper, then place in the hot pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains. 
  3. While the chicken cooks, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the shredded sweet potato and a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft. 
  5. When the chicken is done, let it rest for 3 minutes, then slice it at an angle into strips.  
  6. Arrange the salad: Place the greens in a large bowl, add as much dressing as you like, and toss to coat. 
  7. Add some greens to each plate, then top with the chicken strips, sautéed sweet potato, cucumber, coconut, and cilantro. 
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!
THE BEST RECIPE: Paleo ravioli. It was hands down the greatest cooking accomplishment of my thirtys. (I'm 45 days in!). It's one of those meals, where I envision my girl friends sitting at my counter with red wine while I prepare ravioli and then we sit around and tell each other stories and secrets. Dream life amiright?

Ingredients:
Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves gargle, mined
  • 1 can (24 ounces) diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon truffle salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
Mushroom Filling 
  • big handful of mushrooms (about a cup), diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 dried ground sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

How to Make: 
  • For the filling, saute all the ingredients over medium heat until they are nicely browned and softened. 
  • For the sauce, saute the onion and garlic with olive oil or ghee until nice and sodt. add the remaining ingredients to a blender, mix until smooth. Add back to the sauce pan, stir into the onion, garlic combo. 
  • For the ravioli; 
    • Like I mentioned, I used Capellos lasagna noodles. 
    • Make sure you have a small cup of water nearby. 
    • I laid the noodles out and took about a teaspoon of filling and spaced them about 6 inches apart. I made two rows of filling. Once all the filing is set, wet the edges pretty well. 
    • Take another sheet of noodles and lay it over the other, press down on all sides. 
    • Then I just used wet fingers to make the squares around the filing. Pizza cutter to cut the squares and set them aside. I made all the ravioli before I put them in the boiling water. 
    • When they're all made, boil a large saucepan of water. 
    • Once it's bubbling, add the ravioli in. 
    • I cooked mine for about 90 seconds! That's the joy of Capellos. You don't want them mushy, so make sure to check! 
  • Cover with sauce, top with fresh parm and dive in! 
Happy Thursday friends and Go Broncos! I hope I helped make meal planning a little easier! And remember, cooking is better with wine and friends.

We're almost to the weekend! Let's do it!

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The Bachelorette: It's over and the winner is...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rachel picks Bryan! Peter goes home bawling, Eric still loves Rachel and I'm over here trying to figure out who in their right mind sends Peter home.


Eric says it all, Bryan was Rachel's second pick. You can see more of what Eric thinks here.

If you don't like the Bachelorette or have been living under a rock, Rachel had the saddest breakup with Peter in bachelorette history (in my actual honest opinion) on Monday night. It was that kind of breakup where they kept kissing, couldn't leave each other, telling each other they loved each other but Peter still went home.

It was very clear from day one that Rachel wanted to get married. She wanted whoever "won" to want to get married too regardless of the man. That sounds harsh, but I think that was made clearer on Monday when Rachel told Peter she loved him, but if he couldn't propose the next day, he wasn't the winner. Harsh. Peter kept telling her he loved her and wanted to spend his life with her, but he wants to propose once in his life. And he wasn't ready to do that in 6 weeks. For real life, sounds normal, for bachelorette land, it's crazy talk.

You can watch their devastating breakup here.


You can see why, it's hard for me to understand how, the next day, bright eyed, Rachel vowed forever to Bryan. If I were Bryan, I'd have some heavy questions.

But they appeared on Good Morning America, People Magazine and every TV station that will have them, proclaiming their love. So, good for you guys, I'm one of the few rooting for you. Adam always tries to tell me that Bachelor couples never work, so I have to prove him wrong. Ahem, JoJo and Jordan.


Let's recap back on how we got here:

THREE WEEKS AGO: The gang heads to Switzerland. Geneva would be such a cool place to go. This is the reason this show is the best. They go to the best places.

  • First ONE-ON-ONE: Bryan. They are darling. I think they are super pretty together. She looks like an absolute dream in that white outfit. I'm obsessed with her today. She just bought him a matching Breitling. I mean, I kinda think ABC bought the watch, but still. I think lit's safe to say they're obsessed with each other. I like Bryan, I think. I sense a little sleeze, but also sense some good. One thing I do know, they love to make out. Miami, here we come.
  • Second ONE-ON-ONE: Dean. Rachel walking the streets on cobblestone in heels. Girl, get it. My feet hurt looking at you. Old town Geneva is stunning! I have to go here. I know Rachel says its not the day to talk about faith. But next week is hometowns and if religion is important to you, isn't it the time? To Aspen we go.
  • Third ONE-ON-ONE: Peter. I think they are so so cute today. Dog sledding is pretty cool, but I'd rather just cuddle the pups. And here they are having a deep convo in the freeeezzzzing cold. It is interesting watching Peter cry regarding his ex girlfriend. Here's the thing I like about Peter. He's honest. We're in the Bachelorette people. I appreciate that he realizes the idea of what he's doing. Let's go to Wisconsin.
  • GROUP DATE: Let's go. Matt, Adam, Eric. Adam has some false confidence here. Strongest relationship eh? His opinion will change when he watches this show back. "Hard but worth it." I appreciate that comment Eric. But, I'm bored with this group date. I really enjoyed watching Matt and Rachel. I think he's very kind and sweet. He's making her cry. She made me cry during this and it kinda of breaks my heart! Nooo Matt. Sad. To Baltimore we go. Eric, don't mess this up.

The remaining men: Bryan, Peter, Dean

HOMETOWNS:

  • Baltimore: I am not Eric's biggest fan. But the start of his hometown has me liking him a lot more. He's very authentic and very kind. I appreciate this. Oh and Rachel's ring is amazing. She's very nervous and I'm wondering if those nerves are due to it because she's not sure about Eric, because she loves him or because he is nervous. His family is so cute! Ah. I love them. The phrase "you marry the family" would be so fun with this family. They are so loving and sweet. His aunt verna is such a bun. I wanna hang out with her. My only issue with Eric is he seems young to me. But I love him and his heart. And I think they would make a good pair. I would be worried that they're in different places. "I really love this girl, but lemme tell ya what this means." Yikes.
  • Miami: so it's clear that they are very very sexually attracted to each other. But oh hey Bryan talking in Spanish. You sound good. This trip has made me want to go to Miami. Who's with me? Honestly if they haven't had sex I'd be shocked. Ugh oh. The mom is already crying. I don't think his last relationship had anything to do with the ex girlfriend but more the mom. We are blood. The mom actually turned around her attitude. She was very very sweet to Rachel. I love you.
  • Madison: so Madison is super cute. I wanna go there. I think they are so darling together. Like his salt and pepper hit. His hidden tats and his gap in his tooth. I love it. They are so good. Peter is definitely the one who thinks this through much more than feeling just with his heart. He's way more logical. It semi seems like he is talking himself into this situation. First guy out of the rose. First one on one. That says a lot. 
  • Aspen: how did I not know dean was from co? I would have liked him even more. What kind of siek is his dad? Does anyone have any idea of what it is? Seeing dean talk about his dad is heartbreaking to me. Watching his giggle his way through this really hard time is so sad. I want to give him a huge hug. Wow. So I'm crying during this hometown. So now the dad doesn't want to talk to Rachel. He's not being very kind. I'm falling in love with you. I'm falling in love with you too.
CHRIS HARRISON. WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?! Do you think as the boys line up for their rose ceremony that they talk to each other? Or do they have to stand in silence? DEANNNNNN. NOOOO. Rachel. You said you were falling in love! That's just mean.

The remaining men: Peter, Eric and Bryan


FINALE:

  • Peter- I really think he's being genuine in his feelings instead of just forcing feelings of "love." I think it's very clear that she adores him. I think it says a lot that after all the crying she gave him the over night key. It would have been very easy for her to not give him the card. She really likes him - like a lot. Plus he's dang cute. I appreciate that peter asked for her permission to take the key. He didn't assume it or jump at it. He was respectful and kind.



  • Bryan- it seems like to me he's trying to prove he loves her by constantly saying "the woman that I love" we get it bryan- you thin you're the front runner and you have for a while. She seems distant from Bryan. Look at her face in the inset picture. I feel like she pics him hence why she's being so standoffish. Gross Bryan. Basically tell her that you want to get in bed with her. "Without any cameras" bleh.
  • First Rose Ceremony: Peter looks so handsome! Rachel, those are some good shoulders on that dress. Bye Eric. Damn he is so kind. She's not crying saying goodbye to him. She cried for allllll the last few goodbyes. I never saw that working.
At the end of the day, Bryan proposed and Rachel said yes. Cheers to you two. 

Alright bachelor folks, it's over. Thanks for sticking with it. Plus Bachelor in Paradise starts NEXT WEEK! I'm so pumped. I won't be blogging it, but you better believe I'll be tweeting the drama. Make sure to follow me on twitter (kristengrace1) for all the insights! 

Happy Wednesday friends! 



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What Inspires you?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Happy Monday! It's the Bachelorette finale tonight! Can you believe it? Who do you think wins? I'll be live-tweeting it tonight, so make sure to tune in! I'll have a HUGE recap on Wednesday detailing all things Rachel, why Dean went home and the winner!

How was your weekend? Mine was so nice. I had a sleep over with one of my girlfriends on Friday n night. When is the last time you had a sleepover? It was so fun. She lives in Denver, but kinda far away, so I offered a guest room and she said yes. We happy hour-ed, ate delicious food and drank wine on the couch. It was so fun. Saturday was such a chillll day with my hubs. Restarting ourselves before a new week started.

Today's post is a little deep. I'll warn ya. But it's my heart, I hope ya like it. PS. If you got the newsletter this AM, you had a heads up for this weeks posts, congrats!

Anything specific you wanna see in the newsletter? Let me know in the comments! Missed your chance at a newsletter? Don't fret, sign up below!


My brother-in-law Ryan posted a video of Matthew McConaughey's Oscar acceptance speech from a while ago on Facebook and I absolutely loved it. It was so good, I saved it on Facebook and I've watched it probably over 10 times. Ya know those videos that kind of give you goosebumps and maybe some tears to your eyes. This is that video.

It's incredible. You can watch it below. It's only 2 1/2 minutes, but so powerful. It brings tears to my eyes to listen to such a successful actor speak with so much humility. If only all actors and actresses could speak with such humility at awards shows. But, that seems like a blog post for another time now doesn't it.


The theme of Matthew's speech is something to look up to, something to look forward to and the third is someone to chase. His speech got me thinking about how these three themes speak to my life.

Who would I thank if I won a Grammy (because let's be real, it would be a Grammy due to my dream to be Adele). What would drive me? Who would inspire me, be my hero? My favorite part about blogging is when I get an idea (sometimes via an someone elses idea) and I have the opportunity to really examine things in my own life.

My something to look up to lines up very close with Matt's. I'm gonna call him Matt because we're basically BFFs now. When I look up to someone its due to their inspiring nature. God is obviously the thing I look up to. He's where I find peace, grace, unconditional love and the main thing that gives my life meaning. My husband. He's the hardest working, kindest man I've ever known. I never knew love existed in this form until I met him. I look up to my mom, the most amazing woman I've ever known. She's been raising kids and grand-kids for the past 35 years, no complaints, just love. She's creative, kind, loving and literally the only person who lets me call them 34 times a day and doesn't get annoyed. My dad for constantly telling me he believes in me and to do good. His voice is the sound of my conscious. His voice is the reason I work hard. I could literally list 10000 other people. My brother, my sister, my in-laws, my friends, my dogs. I'm so lucky to have the best humans to look up too.

Something to look forward to. I look forward to tomorrow. And tomorrow, I'll look forward to the next day. There was a period in my life where I looked forward to things wayyyy in the future. I wanted to go to law school, I looked forward months. I wanted to graduate, I looked forward three years. I wanted to get married, one year. When I look back, I hope I didn't waste those moments in between the years that I was waiting to get somewhere else. I'm super comfortable in this season of my life and only looking to tomorrow. It helps me live in the today, instead of the future. It helps me appreciate the Mondays because soon they're Fridays. And the hard seasons give more joy to the great seasons.

Someone to chase. This one directly relates to this blog. I chase the bloggers. I chase the bloggers with one follower doing what they love and I chase the blogger with 100,000 followers, living what appears to be the dream blogger life. I chase the girl with the great captions and the guy with the traveling wanderlust spirit. I chase the mean comments on my blog with the good comments on my Instagram. I chase those bloggers because chasing them helps me chase my ultimate goal of making this blog my career. Even if this blog does become my career one day, I'll never stop chasing.

Happy Monday friends! Let's make it the best week yet.  Remember, you can sign up for the newsletter here! 



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Guest Post: How to Host a Vegetarian BBQ

Friday, August 4, 2017

So, you want to host a BBQ party in your backyard but are worried about how your vegan-friendly friends will feel surrounded by so many ribs, steaks, and chicken?
Then, I am going to show you how to host a vegetarian BBQ, so everyone will have a good time and enjoy the food.
How to Host a Vegetarian BBQ
Different cultures have different meanings for BBQ but the concept stays the same: Barbecues are all about spending a good time with your friends and family while you are preparing fresh food outside your house, usually on the back yard.
With so many people coming at your BBQ, there will be a huge diversity of preferences and sometimes it can be hard to satisfy everyone.
Barbecue parties are usually full of meat products, burgers, hot dogs etc. and meat lovers will enjoy them to the max.
But, what about the vegetarians? If you have a few vegetarians friends that are coming to your BBQ, then don't worry. You can actually host a barbecue for vegetarians.
Apart from the traditional BBQ menu, you can serve up a few vegan-friendly options for your vegetarian's friends, so they don't feel bad and enjoy the food.
If you stick to the traditional BBQ menu, then I would start by thinking about a couple of items that can be easily transformed into vegan-friendly. I know it may sound a bit weird, but you would be surprised about how many items from classic BBQ menu can be transformed into vegan-friendly.
The key to a great party food is to prepare a variety of foods with small bites so people can try many things. Luckily for you, vegetables are very easy to cook and to combine them with other foods is even easier. Here are some vegetables which taste amazing when you grill them and are a perfect option for a vegan-friendly BBQ party: Very healthy vegetable. It is recommended to be cooked on High heat for about 10 minutes, by turning one; about three to four minutes per side.
1. Asparagus: Very healthy vegetable. It is recommended to be cooked on High heat for about 10 minutes, by turning one; about three to four minutes per side.

2. Broccoli or Cauliflower: Both these vegetables are recommended to be cooked on Low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your preferences. Just break them into smaller pieces, rub them with oil and put them on the grill. After they are cooked, you can add curry powder to cauliflower and just a bit olive oil and lemon juice to the broccoli.
3. Carrots: Just wash and peel them, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and place them directly on the grill grate for about 20 minutes on low heat.
4. Onions: Onions are very common when it comes to grill cooking. Cut them into 1/4 thick pieces and grill them for about 6-10 minutes on Medium Heat.



5. Potatoes: Potatoes are recommended to be grilled after they are boiled for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes of boiling, drain them and cut into slices, rub with oil, salt, pepper and grill over medium heat for about 15 minutes. If you want to go for a whole potatoes grilling, wrap them in foil and place directly on the grate of the grill for about 30-40 minutes, based on your preferences.
If you already know how to grill vegetables, you can try the combinations of spicy dishes with cooling sides such as:
  • Cold cucumber slices with unflavored yogurt, garlic powder, vinegar, salt, and pepper. 
  • Sliced squash and zucchini, placed in a foil packet with vegetable seasoning and olive oil. Grill them for about 15 minutes.
  • Smoked peppers, sliced into strips and pack in garlic infused olive oil.
  • Wilt spinach in the side burner if the grill with a little balsamic vinegar and garlic/herb seasoning.
What about sandwiches? They are a BBQ classic food and are very easy to prepare and very delicious. Here it is a quick and easy recipe for vegetarian BBQ sandwiches:
Vegetarian BBQ Sandwiches & Coleslaw
Ingredients
Coleslaw
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cups vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. of celery seed
Sandwiches
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Whole-Grain or Gluten-Free Sandwich Buns
Directions
  1. Grate carrots using a food processor and slice cabbage into thin ribbons. 
  2. For the coleslaw preparation, combine half cabbage or carrot mixture with other slaw ingredients, mix well and refrigerate for a few minutes before serving. 
  3. For BBQ, warm BBQ sauce and then stir the remaining cabbage or carrot mixture and cook until the vegetables become softener. 
  4. Serve it on toasted buns and add additional BBQ sauce as desired.
This is just a quick and easy example recipe of a Vegetarian sandwich. There are a lot of other combinations and sandwich recipes for you to try.
I hope you liked these examples and have finally completed planning your next BBQ party with a few vegetarian options. If you want, you can go and host a full vegetarian BBQ but not everyone is a fan of eating only grilled vegetables or other vegan-friendly dishes. So, it is better to prepare traditional BBQ foods for meat lovers and a few quick and easy vegan-friendly option for your vegetarian friends.
Just remember to be creative and you can transform almost every classic BBQ item to a vegan-friendly with just a few resources and a few minutes. You will be surprised by the end results and your vegetarian BBQ cooking will make even the meat-eaters in the group impressed.
Author Bio: Kendrick Kotter is a food lover and a grilling/outdoor cooking passionate. He loves to share his knowledge and passion about cooking with the world at FuriousGrill.

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Is it just me, or does summer feel like its end is coming quick. Today on the news, our weather lady said it was gonna be 65 degrees tomorrow. That is not acceptable summer happy hour weather.

Lately, Pinterest is full of thanksgiving recipes, Michaels is full of christmas decor and I am not ready. My jackets are still shaking off the snow from last season and I just want to stay in my sundress forever. Call it the Arizona girl in me, but I am not ready for boots and snow.

To banish the "Winter is Coming" blues (that was a game of thrones reference people, don't even get me started on last weekends episode) let's chat about all the good stuff.


USHER AND JAMES CORDEN KARAOKE

First, I love Usher. I have loved Usher since the 90's. Coti and I listened to his Confessions album our entire trip to Europe in high school. We belted to let it burn, cried when he cheated on Chili and danced our butts off to yeah! Enter Usher and James Corden. Oh man, I've watched this 100x. Enjoy.


NORDSTROM SALE ITEMS

If you don't know, now you know. The Nordstrom sale is still going strong! It ends August 6, so you've got a few more days to grab some essential fall items. This sale is one more reason summer is ending quicker than usual. Guys, these rag & bone jeans are everything. They fit like a glove, but with the right amount of stretch that you don't have to undue the button after a big dinner (that's not just me right?). This Free People sweater, ahh, all the fall dreams. And those Vince booties. Guys, I'm in clothes heaven. Get to shopping before you miss all the deals!



THE NINETIES

It's no secret the 90's were the best. Days when shows like Full House, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World, Beevis and Butthead and everything Nickelodeon ruled. MTV showed music videos, VH1 told you secrets about the songs and Boyz II Men was cooler than sexier than anything. 

Those were the days. CNN is currently running a docu-series on the 90s. MTV just announced they are bringing back TRL and I guarantee, grunge will only become more popular.  

To commemorate the 90s, how about a playlist. I love the 90s.

90s

A playlist featuring Hanson, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, and others
THIS THAI CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE

Adam has made it clear that my go-to grilled chicken over a boring plate of lettuce is not his favorite meal. It's a good thing we didn't live together in law school because that is all I lived on. 


When I'm making salads, I try to make them as fun as possible. I had a ton of veggies, great homemade dressing and portions large enough to fill an army. 


This salad was a game changer. First, the dressing is the best I've ever had. Plus, the sauteed sweet po's and all the delicious flavors mix perfectly. I doubled it because I like homemade leftovers for lunch. Enjoy! 


Ingredients
For the thai "peanut" dressing (I doubled everything) 
  • 1⁄4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • juice of 1⁄2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes\

For the salad
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato or yam, shredded 
  • 6 to 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • handful of sliced carrots
  • handful diced tomatoes 
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • roughly chopped green onions, for garnish
How to Make: 
Dressing: Place all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 
Salad:  
  1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee. 
  2. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt, garlic powder, and pepper, then place in the hot pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains. 
  3. While the chicken cooks, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the shredded sweet potato and a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft. 
  5. When the chicken is done, let it rest for 3 minutes, then slice it at an angle into strips.  
  6. Arrange the salad: Place the greens in a large bowl, add as much dressing as you like, and toss to coat. 
  7. Add some greens to each plate, then top with the chicken strips, sautéed sweet potato, cucumber, coconut, and cilantro. 
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!
THIS



LINKS I AM LOVING
Happy Thursday friends! What are you loving today?


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