Latest Posts

Married Up: Apricot Ginger tempeh/chicken in the Crock Pots

IMG_8984I’m falling in love lately. I’m already head over heals for my son & husband, so this relationship is new. I notice myself excitedly making plans with this new love. Gawking at pictures on-line. Dreaming about all the extra time that I will get to spend–not WITH my new love, but BECAUSE of my new love. And if you are a new mom, or a working woman, or just a human in this frenetically paced world in general, time is a luxury.

What is this new love? Our slow cookers. We have two. The big one for meat. And my little vegan version. I’m thinking it might behoove me to get another larger one for me too. But for now, these babies are where it’s at. Which is funny, because I’d always assumed they were just to make icky thinks like lil smokeys or buffalo queso dip in the past. Wrong. So wrong.

In addition to my love for our slow cookers is my new past time of scouring the internet for slow cooker recipes. Healthy ones. Ones that I can make vegan & marry. Since I’m a vegan married to a meat eater (in case you’re new around here). Anyway, I have a whole Pinterest Board for this–and as I pinned away, I noticed a theme. I was really inspired by her recipes. This is my own version of a recent one from the New Leaf Wellness blog.

IMG_8938 On my plate: Apricot Ginger tempeh, lightly steamed bok choy topped with Ume plum vinegar, & kimchee (this brand). Topped with brown sesame seeds.

IMG_8943On His plate: Basmati Rice, topped with Apricot Ginger Chicken and scallions.

The Recipe

Screen shot 2015-01-22 at 4.01.27 PMScreen shot 2015-01-22 at 4.01.40 PMThrow everything in the crockpots and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Best to put in around lunch so it’s ready for dinner. I think it would be burned if you left it in all day.

When you get home, put some rice in the rice cooker and lightly steam some bok choy. To make a paleo version, skip the apricot jam, use coconut aminos,  don’t cook rice, and eat the kimchee and bok choy. Although the apricot jam makes this really tasty. We both couldn’t get enough.

*Make sure to use apricot jam that does not use HFCS, and if possible, one that uses as little sugar as possible.

With Love for Meat Eaters and Vegans Alike,

Keri

Meatless Monday with Classic Pasta Night. Married Up.

IMG_8930His and Mine. Pasta is about the only meal my husband will eat without meat. In the beginning, when I was vegetarian, this was an easy meal for me to make for both of us. It would even be easy now–but I’m not so in to pasta lately. Don’t get me wrong–it tastes great! And sometimes I love a gluteny good treat. But I’m experimenting to see if gluten and I should break up indefinitely (for the second time). So my noodles are spaghetti squash.

From first glance, this might seem like two completely different meals, but they do have similar components. So here is the recipe for both. Cook them simultaneously, following the steps below the ingredients in the recipe.

Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 7.06.55 PMScreen shot 2015-01-19 at 7.07.29 PM

1.  Bake squash. (I do 40 minutes at 375). Boil water and get pasta ready.

2. In two sautee pans, coat with the olive oil, and sautee chopped garlic. Add in artichokes when the garlic is just brown. We do not use marinated artichokes, I buy the quartered artichokes canned in water. Save the remaining artichokes for salads later. Turn down heat.

3. I buy my sundried tomatoes in the bulk section of our natural grocers. They are in an air-tight bag. I find it’s easiest to cut them into strips with scissors while they are still dry. Then I let them soak in a covered bowl on the counter for a few hours before cooking. Add the drained tomatoes in to both sautee pans next.

IMG_8576

4. Add in kale (if it looks dry, add in a bit of water). At this point, add in the canned tomato sauce and tomatoes. Save the remaining for later.

5. Add the spices & lemon juice to the vegan spaghetti to each & let simmer.

6. I like mixing the pasta in to the sauce & spaghetti squash in to the kale/tomato/artichoke mix.

7. Add the beans for protein. The SAD eater can top with parm (I miss it). If you are paleo, omit the beans, maybe add some sausage & eat the vegan version!

Enjoy!

With Love for ALL types of eaters,

Keri

Those Balls Smell Like Heaven.

IMG_8654While my little one sleeps, I’m blogging and making wool dryer balls this morning. What are dryer balls and what do they have to do with your health? Read on.

Our skin is the largest organ we have. What we put on it winds up in our bloodstream and effects our cells. I believe what we put ON our body is almost as important as what we put IN our body. And here’s a list of some of the harsh chemicals used in most commercial dryer sheets & fabric softeners:

  • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer.
  • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant.
  • Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders.
  • Limonene: Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant.
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
  • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled.
Read more HERE.  And then ask yourself if you want frequent exposure to all of those things. If not, maybe you need some dryer balls too! You can purchase them here and here and plenty of other places. But they aren’t cheap, and they are a fairly easy thing to make yourself if you have a bit of extra time. Here’s how:
1. You need a crochet hook and 100% wool (NOT washable wool) and a pair of old tights or nylons.
2. Make a ball (any size from a tennis ball to a softball will do) out of your skein of yarn. Start by wrapping the yarn around two of your fingers 12-15 times. Then remove that loop from your fingers and begin to wrap the yarn around the middle of the loop, creating a bow. Finally, keep wrapping the yarn around and rotating it until you have a ball.
IMG_86523. Using your crochet hook, tuck the one loose end of yarn in the ball 3-5 times. I like 5 for good measure.
4. Stuff the ball into an old pair of nylons.
5. Tie the nylons with ACRYLIC yarn at either end.
IMG_8653
6. Wash the balls with a load of towels on HOT/COLD cycle. Dry at the highest heat setting.
7. Remove from the nylons and run your fingers along the ball to see if the wool comes loose. If it does, you may need to repeat this wash cycle 2-3 more times before they are ready to remove from the nylons and use for good.
8. Once you have them, use about 4 per load of laundry every time you dry. Using wool dryer balls saves on dry time & energy costs in addition to saving your skin and the air from all the harsh chemicals in traditional dryer sheets.
9. I like to make mine in a few colors and use a couple drops of essential oil on each dryer ball. I have purple ones that I use lavender on, the brown here I plan on using Sandalwood, and I have light orange that I use Grapefruit or Citrus Bliss essential oil with. Make sure to use a high quality Essential Oil or you may wind up with oil spots on your clothes. I use these and have never had a problem.
Well, that’s not completely true. I do have a little problem. I like to stand outside and catch wafts of the dryer vent. Those balls smell like heaven.
Enjoy <3 !!
-Keri

Marry the Meal. One.

10-13-12-103I, primarily plant-based eater/sometimes vegan, take you steak & bacon eater to love–in sickness and in health, till death do us part.

True story. By now, I’m sure the whole world knows about Oh She Glows and also knows of many other blogs aspiring to be like it. When I started two blogs before this one, I wanted to blog about healthy plant-based recipes too. But here’s the thing. My blog isn’t like hers. My food photography skills are nowhere near hers. My vegan recipes are a constant work in progress. My husband isn’t like hers. Mine won’t eat plant-based. If he does, it’s rare & the plants he will eat must be on his approved list. Okay, there is no list, but there are a handful of vegetables he will eat (within a week’s time) and leaving meat out of a meal makes him question food heavily.

Foods my husband eats are primarily, but not limited to: steak, pizza, tacos (with beef of chicken), bacon, eggs, sausage and egg sandwiches for breakfast, biscuits and gravy, pork roast, chuck roast, grilled chicken, potatoes, bread, corn, corn and bread-like products,cheese, red and green bell peppers, onion, an occasional sweet potato, cucumbers, carrots (rare), bananas, apples, spring mix, romaine lettuce, maybe a bite of broccoli every 4 months.

Foods that I eat primarily, but not limited to: bananas, apples, berries, persimmons, pears, oranges, grapefruits, pommegranates, kiwis, mangos, all fruits, brussel sprouts, kale, radishes, cabbage, spring mix, red & yellow bell peppers ( I don’t like green), swiss chard, squash of all kinds, mushrooms, tomatoes, egg plant, potatoes, quinoa, millet, rice, barley, kasha, beans of all kinds, some tofu, limited eggs, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts of all kinds.

Foods we have in common: red peppers, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, bananas, apples, Spring mix and onions and garlic. Can you make a meal out of those things? Maybe. but it would get boring pretty quickly. So what’s a cook to do?

IMG_8573Marry the meal. His is on the left, mine is on the right. It’s possible to love someone who is very different from you. It’s probably something the world could make a better effort to do. Paleos & vegans, can’t we just get along? Can’t we look for what we have in common and love each other in spite of (or maybe even because of?!) our differences? This is my goal. One small step for different/picky eaters, one giant leap for confused and frustrated cooks in houses that might otherwise be divided. Or so I hope.

The above are close ups of two different slow cooker soups. They started much the same:

IMG_8511Black beans, quinoa, canned diced tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, onion, corn & sweet potato.

IMG_8513

But then. His got chicken broth and mine got veggie stock. His got chicken chunks (EW!!), and mine got kale. Here are the recipe/s:

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 2.17.09 PMScreen shot 2015-01-07 at 2.17.31 PM

Put all ingredients in the crock pots (mine is the small size). Let them simmer on low heat for5-6 hours. His is garnished with Sriracha and chopped cilantro,

 

This year, I plan on writing an e-cookbook with many easy meals to Marry–for any and all who eat as differently as we do. We can’t be the only ones, right ?!

 

With love–for meat and plant-eaters alike,

Keri

 

 

 

 

Please Excuse the Mess & PSA

IMG_7877Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a beautiful Christmas and that you are enjoying the excitement that the new beginnings of the fresh start the New Year brings.

We spent a late Christmas in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was beautiful, fun, and I had some time to reflect while we were there. I feel like 2014 was a year that I spent both losing myself completely and finding myself in new motherhood. I am incredibly grateful for the past year. Grateful doesn’t even seem to describe how I feel about the gift of becoming a mom. I finally feel that I have a purpose beyond any I have ever known and beyond anything I could have even imagined before having my son. Being a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend are & will always be my purpose above anything else.

IMG_8374But I still have a passion that I can’t help but want to share with everyone. It’s the passion that inspired me to quit a successful teaching career and cash in on my retirement to pay for California College of Ayurveda and Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It’s the passion that guides me to my yoga mat and inspires me to teach (even though I am not nearly as flexible and strong as many yoga teachers or as good at asana as I once was). It’s the passion that makes me care more about packing vegetables than clothes when we go on vacations like the one we’ve recently returned from. It’s the passion that inspired me to become a DoTerra Wellness Advocate & start sending out samples of all the oils I have. It’s what I read about late at night and early mornings and any chance I get. It’s changed my life and because of that sparked my desire to help other people looking to create balance, health, and happiness in their lives.

So, I’m in the process of changing some things around here. This year I’m excited for all that I have planned for this space, and I can’t wait to share them with you! But. In the process, things will be a little messy for a bit. Hopefully, not longer than a few weeks. I’m grateful for all of you who will bear with me and keep reading despite my absence over the holidays and despite the mess around here right now.

IMG_7906Life is messy sometimes too. Yesterday afternoon, while I was out on my run, I was thinking about this. And when I came home, I shared this short PSA on Instagram, so I’ll reiterate here:

Maybe you were up most the night nursing a teething baby. Maybe you couldn’t sleep because you are in love. Maybe you are feeling heavy-hearted because you are in loss. You’re tired. There is no maybe about that.

Go anyway. Find the nearest park, woods, or trail and go. Walk, hike, run. Hear only the sound of your footsteps and breath. It will give you new life. I promise.

In the belly of a fish.

IMG_7501We read Jonah’s prayer this week in my Friday morning women’s small group:

Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish’s belly. And he said, ‘ I called by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah, And he answered me; Out of the belly of Sheol cried I, And thou heardest my voice.For thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas, And the flood was round about me; All thy waves and thy billows passed over me.And I said, I am cast out from before thine eyes; Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; The deep was round about me; The weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed upon me for ever: Yet hast thou brought up my life from the pit, O Jehovah my God.When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Jehovah; And my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.They that regard lying vanities Forsake their own mercy.  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation is of Jehovah. And Jehovah spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”

We read this and were given the back story through this lens: God wants Jonah to go to Ninevah. He doesn’t want to go and makes plans to go to sea in the exact opposite direction. When they go out, a massive storm starts rocking their boat and Jonah thinks it’s his fault. So he decides to jump overboard–sacrificing his life to please God. But instead of drowning, he gets swallowed by a whale. Swallowed by a WHALE! A whale that God PROVIDES. From inside the fish he prays this prayer, and then three days later the fish vomits him onto dry land.

IMG_7342In my own mind, I picture it happening like this:

God says to Jonah, “Hey, I need you to do something.”

Jonah and his big ego says, “No.” Or rather, he says nothing and runs. Away from God.

He runs to catch a boat, and a crazy storm hits. Old testamenty thinkers say it’s because God is mad, but I don’t really believe in a God who punishes people for their actions in anger or jealousy. What happens is nature, one massive, maddening storm that maybe Jonah could have avoided if he would have listened and surrendered to what he heard. But he didn’t, and he’s in the midst of a major problem. He thinks God’s mad, and instead of choosing to talk to God or get quiet and still and pray, he throws himself overboard–further into the mess and madness. Further into the depths and darkness. Into despair.

God rolls his eyes and mutters under his breath, drama queen. And then God sends him a Whale. To save him. Because he’s not done with him yet. He has hope and love and plans.

Why does he send a whale? Why three days? It’s a time out. To think and get really still and sit and surrender. In the middle of a fish. Slimy and stinky and funky but also angelic and holy. A way to save him, in a way we might not recognize. Not every angel is shining and dressed in ethereal white. God’s like that. He sends us here like that too. In the belly of a woman, where we are birthed in slimy, primordial fluid and flesh. Miraculously messy. Awfully holy.

IMG_6444In my own life, I think of how many times I’ve repeated this Jonah pattern. Over and over.

One day I’m sitting still, and I get this undeniable urge that I am supposed to do something (quit throwing up when I was bulimic, sell my house and quit teaching to go to Ayurveda school, use my knowledge to help people with health coaching, do acts of kindness every week and blog about it, etc.) I could go on and on about what God has nudged me to do.

The next day, instead of listening to the voice within me that is not me, I start panicking and listen to my fears instead. And then I’d find myself with my head hovering over the toilet, staying in my house while the market crashed, doing Ayurveda school on-line and then switching directions and doing IIN, not use any of it and working in water conservation instead (while feeling massively in over my head, like a fish on dry land, anxiety ridden & depressed ), etc.

And God probably looks at my fearful actions or worse–my fear-induced paralysis, and mutters under his breath, good freaking grief.

Until I wake up, in the belly of a fish. Or with a baby in my own belly–that I am powerless against. I have no choice but to surrender to the biggest craziest whale-sized love that this is. That God sent.

And now I must grow and change and choose love over fear for my son. I must learn to sit still and be quiet to listen and pray to God even in the busyness of new motherhood. Because in my heart I know that my son will learn to live by the way I choose. Because in my heart I know that my son will see the world the way I do. Because daily he shows me God, and how God must feel when he watches all of us.

IMG_4834

With so much big, crazy, beautiful love.

My Happy Place

I was asked to share My Happy Place by one of my favorite mommy bloggers  Three Boys And a Mom (check out her blog if you haven’t!), and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. It’s funny. Sort of….

IMG_7459

We just got back from my Mama’s house. We went for Thanksgiving. A long weekend. I snapped this picture from the car as we were leaving and sucked in my breath. In ways it feels like I’m still holding it.

They say home is where your heart is. It’s an idiom meant to express that home can be with the ones you love. But they got the saying wrong. They should have said, home is who your heart is with. My heart is with my husband and son. I’d be completely lost without them. But my home is not Denver. We just live here.

IMG_7399

My home will always be on the West slope. That’s my where. It’s where I grew up, in a tiny little town that you’d miss if you blinked your eye while in passing. It’s where I returned after college, after park rangering a summer, and personal assisting in Aspen a year, to teach–at the same high school from which I graduated. It’s where I bought my first (and still only) house-a tiny town home that my once fiance said I’d never be able to do on my own. It’s where I run into the only Starbucks in town and see 5 people I know and nearly run out of breath catching up in quick conversations with. It’s where I explored–mountain meadows, canyon trails, desert runs, and the inner workings of my soul. It’s where I feel like I can breathe, every time we go back to visit my mom & dad for a day or a few.

IMG_7460

My happy place is there–in that small town with the ones I love most. Watching the deer with my dad and son from their front window. Leaving Easton with my parents (the first time in 10 months since we don’t really know anyone in Denver well enough to ask) to take a walk around the lake I used to bike past so often. It’s seeing my brother become an uncle. Seeing my sister as a mother.  Seeing former students with their own children at the grocery store. Seeing former teachers, and though I worked with them as a teacher, still not being able to call them by their first names. Seeing more open space and clean, blue skies–hearing cows and chickens in the distance instead of traffic sounds. It’s the gentle ebbs and flows that the mountains seem to make–as if they were waving to me like a familiar friend.

IMG_7361

That’s my happy place. And these last few years, I haven’t really been happy like that here. I know it sounds like I’m complaining. I don’t mean to. I’m incredibly blessed to have a husband who works hard everyday, who is my best friend, who is willing to grow and learn and share and change with me everyday. I’m insanely in love with my son–his curiosity and sweet personality that is showing itself more and more each day. Nothing beats that. I’d chose them over that place any day.

I did choose it. I left my happy place for love. Love isn’t a place. Home isn’t where my heart is. My home is on the West slope, but as long as I’m with my husband and son, there’s no place I’d rather be. And it took writing this to fully understand it for me.

IMG_7458

So there it is. And if you’re reading this, I’d love to hear what your happy place is or about the ones you love most. Let me know in the comments or write a post & link back to your site.

You can never hear enough good news, you know?

Xo.