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Well ya’ll…. I think I’m back.

Maybe.

After a 7 month hiatus (can I even call it a hiatus??) I’ve been getting the itch to start blogging again.  But who knows, I could write this post and then take another 7 months off.  Let’s hope that’s not the case though. . .   

Originally, I took a break because, let’s be honest, we were living in a horrible tiny apartment with a horrible tiny kitchen that I hated to be in every second… both the kitchen and the apartment.  There was nothing even remotely inspiring about that kitchen and for that, I blame my hiatus.  Also…. sometimes I really wonder how many people even read this thing, but after looking at the numbers today, apparently people DO read this!  So… no time like the present!

Some things have definitely changed since my last post.  Brad and I bought a house in November and moved in the weekend before Thanksgiving.  It’s an absolute dream come true.  We now live about an hour south of Nashville in a small town called Columbia.  They have a day called “Mule Day”.  Yea, we live in a country town that has a day devoted to mules and it’s sort of the greatest thing ever.  Our house sits on just under 2 acres of wooded land.  It feels more out in the middle of nowhere than it actually is, which is perfect for us.  It’s super quiet, we only have a few neighbors and on any given night, we can see more stars than you could ever imagine.  We are slowly but surely making our home, well… our home.  We built a fence in the backyard (yea, you read that right, we BUILT one), we’ve gotten most of our stuff unpacked and settled into position, and just yesterday and the day before, we painted the dining room and living room and finally got to hang up our wedding photo collage that we have missed so dearly.  This weekend we plan to tackle painting the kitchen which I am beyond excited about and over the next few weeks, we hope to get all the other rooms painted.  

Yes, we’ve been very busy.  But that’s how we like it!

The holidays were nice but very chaotic for us.  We had pretty much the same schedule we always do around the holidays, but this year it just felt more crazy because of the whole driving 5 hours thing.  We were so glad we got to see all of our family.  Unfortunately, Indianapolis didn’t get any snow while we were up there, so we have yet to see snow this winter.  But that’s probably a good thing, I’m just missing it.  

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For New Years this year, I decided I wanted to approach the menu a little differently than I have in the past.  See, we didn’t have the best luck in 2013, what with having to move unexpectedly among a list of other things, so I was determined to do everything I could to bring us some better luck with 2014.  So I made Hoppin John!  It’s a southern thing I guess.  But it has black eye peas and collard greens which are both supposed to bring you good luck in the new year.  Also, I heard something somewhere about it being good to eat things in the shape of circles, so I made donuts the next day.  Or maybe I just wanted to make donuts, who knows.  Anyway, I had never made Hoppin John or ate it for that matter, so I was really going out on a limb.  I got on Pinterest and searched for Hoppin John recipes and settled on a combination of a few different ones.  One was to be made in a crockpot with sausage links, which I didn’t want to do either of and the other I didn’t feel had enough to it.  So I combined the two to make, what I think, was a really freaking good Hoppin John!

It’s got a little kick to it from the jalapeno and the can of Rotel.  But if you wanted to, I’m sure you could skip the jalapeno and sub regular diced tomatoes for the Rotel.  But really- the spiciness makes it for me.  However, I am a lover of all things spicy, so I have a biased opinion.  Either way, it’s served over rice (I went with brown rice to make it a little healthier) and a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce.  I know it’s past New Years, but I am pretty sure this is a recipe I’ll make again any time of the year!

Happy New Year!  I hope 2014 is a great year for everyone!

Hoppin John
Makes 4-6 servings
Adapted from This Mama Cooks and Holley Grainger 

2 slices of bacon, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can of Rotel Original Recipe
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
About 2 cups of collard greens, ribs removed, roughly chopped 
2 cans of black eye peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup uncooked rice
Salt
Hot Sauce

Cook the rice according to directions on package.  When done, set aside.

In a large pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until a little bit crispy.  Add the onion and jalapeno and saute until soft.  Add the tomato paste and Rotel and stir until the tomato paste is mixed in.  Add the black eye peas and chicken broth.  Stir.  Then add the collard greens.  I didn’t measure how much I used, I just sort of eyeballed it.  When it looked like there was enough in there, I was done.  Simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes until it starts to thicken.  

Spoon the rice onto a plate and pour the black eye pea mixture over it.  Serve with hot sauce if desired.

That’s it!!  I forgot to tell you how easy it is!!

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Holy cow you guys.  I’ve been working on another post but keep forgetting to finish it.  Then I made this delicious beverage and realized I had to stop everything I was doing to post about it.

I stumbled upon this recipe while wasting time on The Berry and knew as soon as I saw it I needed to try it this week.  I don’t know if any of you have had an Orange Julius, but they are pretty good.  But this is actually better.  Not only is it vegan, but it’s freaking healthy!  And it’s super easy!  This is what you do:

Throw a frozen banana, the juice 2 oranges, a splash of vanilla extract and some ice in a blender and blend it.

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Yea.  That’s it.  I had to make some changes though, as our we got rid of our old blender and I gave back the one we were borrowing to my mom, so currently we only have an immersion blender.  It works really well, except not on frozen stuff.  So I didn’t freeze the banana all the way and I added hardly any ice.  And it was still so good.

This is perfect for breakfast, a morning snack, an afternoon snack and even dessert!  I think I’m going to start freezing some bananas and buying oranges from Sam’s Club so I can make these all.the.time.

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Vegan Orange Julius
From Girl Makes Food 
Makes one small serving (I wish I doubled it!)

1 frozen banana
2 oranges, juiced
splash of vanilla extract
1 cup of ice (or less)

Combine everything in a blender until smooth.  And enjoy!


Hi!  I decided that after a good 3 1/2 months off from blogging I might start back up again.  A lot has happened in those last 3 1/2 months so I will try to catch you up on some of it and maybe you’ll understand why it’s been so long since I have blogged. . .

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… oh wait, no, that’s Star Wars.

Ok, sorry.  I couldn’t help myself.  Let’s start with the most important things first.  Brad has a completely new job in a completely new city.  We now live in Nashville, TN.  Yep.  We are Volunteers now instead of Hoosiers.  Let’s be honest though, I never called myself a Hoosier b/c Hoosiers are people that go to Indiana University and I most certainly DID NOT GO TO IU.  I would say I was an Indiana-an.  I loved living in Indiana.  We were certain it was the greatest city for us and that it was a great fit.  However, things happen and plans change and we landed in a tiny one bedroom apartment in Nashville.  We sold our house in record timing (well, we agreed on an offer within a week of putting it on the market anyway), packed up everything we own and moved it 4 1/2 hours south to Tennessee.  Half of our house is in storage and the other half is shoved somewhere in this apartment.

We have learned though that Nashville is actually a SUPER cool city and believe it or not, Nashville is a totally foodie city.  Never would have thought it.  There are a million things to do here and a million places to eat.  It’s turned out to be a pretty great move, minus that fact that all of our family lives in Indy still.  It’s ok though, phones and FaceTime are miracle workers!

So I figured, while I’m unemployed and don’t have much to do expect for look for jobs during the day, I might as well start blogging again.  This way I’ll at least feel like I talk to someone other than the dogs and Brad.  Let me go through the recent happenings that I have documented with my iPhone.  Photos are always nice.

photo 1_3_2_2I went with Brad to Nashville for his job interview.

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Cash had his 1 year birthday and Etta had her 4 year anniversary with us.  So naturally I made them a doggie cake and wrote on it with peanut butter.  We also took them to a park and they cuddled in Etta’s bed.

photo 1_3_2Brad accepted the offer for his new job and we put the house on the market.  That was a weird day for sure.

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We went back to Nashville to check out apartments and ate at a crazy good cafe called Fido.  Yum.

photo 4_3_2Then I turned 26.  That was pretty fun.  My mom made me a brownie, chocolate pudding and whipped cream trifle.

photo 1_3We went out for Brad’s brother’s birthday where I got accidentally drunk and ended the night with an Irish Car Bomb that I actually didn’t drink much of.

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We went to opening night for the Indianapolis Indian’s and then went the next night too.

photo 3_3We got Cash a backpack so now he and Etta match.

photo 1We saw somehow scored almost front row seats for Joe Rogan.

photo 2Brad helped me pack.  I made a point to be crazy organized and it totally paid off.

photo 3We moved Brad down to Nashville where he lived in the apartment with 2 lawn chairs, a tv, an air mattress and a trunk for two weeks.  Total bachelor pad.

photo 4I drove home with both dogs, who decided the front seat was the best spot for the two of them to be the whole 4 1/2 hours.

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We went to Nashville, IN for Brad’s mom’s birthday and spent 4 hours trying to build a fire using a bow drill kit.  We ended up having to give up.  They built a massive fire though!

photo 3_3_2_2_2I packed some more.

photo 4_3_2_2_2Picked up the giant U-Haul.

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I went to the Taylor Swift concert with the most bestest friend ever.  And damn near lost my voice from singing and screaming so loudly.

photo 3_2_2_2Then we moved.  And I took photos of our empty house.

photo 4_2_2_2And we took photos in front of the house.

photo 1_2_2_2_2And in the back of the house.

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We moved all of our things into a one bedroom apartment (we had lots of help of course!).

photo 1_2_2Cash watched Nashville with me one day.  He liked it a lot.  It’s a pretty freaking good show.

photo 4_2_2_2_2The dogs got muddy at the dog park.

photo 2_2_2I’ve been doing a lot of cuddling with the dogs.

photo 4_2_2I made fresh margaritas.

photo 3_2_2I also got my first pair of cowboy boots that I want to wear all day everyday.

photo 1_2I made my first carnitas.  They were crazy good. I served them with a guacamole salad.  (the carnitas were a cross between this recipe and this one)

photo 2_2Cash decided he wanted to chew on one of my old tshirts and was carrying it around like Linus with his blanket.  But then he shredded it to pieces so we had to throw it away.  (it’s a blurry photo but you get the idea!)

photo 4_2I was asked to make a birthday cake for a coworker of Brad’s.  I thoroughly enjoyed that!  It was chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and buttercream for the decorations.

photo 1_2_2_2_2_2We’ve eaten some of the best food ever.  All I ever want to eat is BBQ so that’s been a change.  We did find the best pizza place we have ever eaten.  It’s also the coolest place we have ever eaten at too.

photo 2_2_2_2_2_2The dogs have become very close throughout this whole move.

photo 3_2_2_2_2_2And today I made chocolate/chocolate chip cookies.

There’s definitely more that we have done but that’s all stuff I have actual photos for.

So my plans for this blog now is to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on in our lives in Nashville.  With not working, I have been doing a LOT of baking to keep myself occupied so I do plan on posting recipes still, but my hope is that I will start writing more and sometimes it might have absolutely nothing to do with food.  We’ll see what happens.

This weekend should be interesting.  It’s our first weekend back in Indy since we both moved.  But we won’t be there long.  We’re doing Tough Mudder on Saturday in a suburb of Chicago.  And we’ll be busy doing last minute stuff at the house so it will be ready for the closing.

Anyway, that’s that.  I’m sorry it’s been so long.  It’s been a quick, stressful and crazy past few months!

Oh- by the way.  Some of these photos are from my Instagram.  Feel free to check that out.  I am a little addicted and love posting on there!


Week 1 is officially over… We have made our way into Week 2.  That means two liquid meals a day, one solid meal a day and snacks (thank god for snacks).  We started this morning with a juice that consisted of fennel bulbs, apples and lemon.  Not too bad if you are a fan of fennel!  We ate leftover stir fry that we ate for lunch yesterday (first meal I forgot to take a photo of… Of course) and we are getting ready to make a smoothie for dinner! We’ll see how we feel in a few days now that we are in full on cleanse mode… eek!

So along wit the cleanse comes other things… like supplements. We are taking digestive enzymes and also garlic in a pill form.  Sorry, but you couldn’t pay Garth eat a whole, raw garlic clove.  Ew.

Also a part of the cleanse is drinking tablespoons of olive oil at night.  This is to help “lubricate your digestive system”.  To me… it just sounds like a bad idea.  Well, Brad’s digestive system wasn’t running as smoothly as he had thought during the pre-cleanse week so he decided he would start the olive oil drinking early.  And we made sure to video it.  We might even video me doing it tonight, but I feel like my reaction will make people not want to do this, rather than our hopes of encouraging people to do it.  We’ll see what happens…

Either way, here’s the video we took of Brad drinking two tablespoons of olive oil.  Lord help us both…


We made a video last night and I decided to go to bed before I was able to put it up here.  Things are going pretty well actually!  And believe it or not, we have lost weight.  I can’t really believe it!  Later today or tomorrow I will post recipes for the meals we have liked the best!

 


Ok… so here’s the deal.  Brad and I are going on a little adventure.  We have decided that with all the heavy eating we have done since Thanksgiving and all of the not working out we have done since… well… June… We needed something to kick our butts into shape.  As you know, we are doing another Tough Mudder in May… but we have lacked quite a bit of motivation and this could be the key!  Anyway… I’ll be posting recipes online and I’ll post our videos here as well so that everyone can stay updated.  I hope you enjoy watching our videos and by gollies wish us luck because this is going to be a loooong 4 weeks!

Oh and here’s a link to the CLEAN website!

And a link to the book we bought!


Welp, I guess today is the last day of 2012.  Is anybody else trying to figure out where the year went??  I thought I would take a second to write a New Years Eve post while my cannoli tart is baking in the oven.  I feel like this every year and I’m really starting to wonder who is making time go so fast.  Whoever it is better stop it.  Now.

We had a pretty busy yet fun year… the superbowl was in town,

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we did Tough Mudder,

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we got a puppy (and Etta hated us for it),

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we did the Mutt Strut,

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we went to the Indy 500,

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we went to lord knows how many baseball games (including one in Cincinnati!),

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I turned 25 (and we went to New Jersey to celebrate it!  Oh, and Brad had a huge beard then),

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Brad turned 28,

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we had our 2 year anniversary (that I recreated our wedding meal for),

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we went to the Brickyard 400, we went to the motorcycle races at the track (I have no decent photos from those),

Brad took me on my first trip to the State Fair and I ate fair food for the first time,

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we went hiking and camping a few times,

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we went on our annual vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my family,

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we went to a couple Purdue football games,

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I got a new job working at a bakery, I started this new blog website, and we had a blizzard!  Dang!  That’s a lot of stuff!  Crazy thing is… there’s probably a lot more that I just can’t think of at the moment!

Yea, 2012 was a really great year.  I’ll miss it, that’s for sure.  As for 2013… who really knows what will happen.  I’m stumped.  I know that we’ll do Tough Mudder in May and we’ll go to the 500… but that’s about all we have planned.  I’ve never really been big on New Years resolutions… I’ve tried them but they never really work.  I think it’s because new years never feel different to me.  Like tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be 2013.  But it will mostly be just a Tuesday.  So in my mind, since it’s a normal Tuesday, why would I magically change??  Nah.  There are always things year round that I like to work on improving.  Maybe eating healthier (something’s definitely brewing on that subject, you’ll find out soon enough), skipping eating out, not worrying so much about things, maybe get off my butt and exercise… it’s all the same ol things.  So I think rather than making resolutions, I’ll just keep working on what I have already been working on.  That makes more sense… right??

I don’t know.  2013 could be a life changer for all I know.  But what I do know is that I am happy where I am.  I love Brad, I love the family Brad and I have created with our 2 dogs.  I love our house, I love my job, I love living in Indy, I love all of my family… I just love it all.  And I guess what it all comes down to… is that I am just really excited and fortunate to live another year of my life.

Well, my tart has been out of the oven for awhile now, but I need to go cover my nails with sparkles and get my beef bourguignon going…

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Years Eve tonight.  And most importantly, I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2013!!

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Oh, and I just thought everyone needed to see this to start their night off right.

Happy New Year!!!!!!

 



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