Any other mamas out there desperately trying to settle back into a routine after the holiday madness? This year, more than any other I can remember, I was ready for the holidays to end and for us to get back into a normal schedule. I know that is bah-humbug of me to say, but somewhere in the middle of the never ending stomach bug I found myself praying January would get here.
Routines work well in the Vaughan house so this week has been dedicated to finding our new one. We started meal planning and snack prepping again which has decreased our HANGRY meltdowns by about 100%. We also had spring-like weather in Austin the first part of the week which made it easy to get back into our long walks. After virtually stopping these in December my body was a little "hill shocked" on Monday but boy did it feel good. It was a good reminder why I need to be active each day. My mind needs this time to de-stress and I'm a better mama to Lincoln with this little break.
To continue on that note I thought I'd put together a few of my favorite workout pieces. There are some major sales on active wear over the next few weeks, so no better time to stock up than now!
Before we start, can I confess something? I almost didn't post this soup recipe because the quality of these pictures leave much to desire. My train of thought went something like this last night...As I'm dishing up the soup, I thought maybe I should share this with my friends - it's cold/flu season and there has to be some busy mamas that might need a simple, hearty meal for their families. So I snapped a picture while my little man was screaming for me to pick him up and my family was waiting patiently to eat. I didn't bother with lighting, staging or even my actual camera...and you can tell. After I got my little guy down, I quickly typed out the recipe while I still remembered all the correct seasonings amounts, because mom brain is a real thing, and went to go add the pictures. As I clicked preview, I was hit with the loud thought, "You can't post this, your pictures are awful!" Then, I stopped myself, "Who the hell cares, Ashton?!" I don't live a perfectly staged life and sometimes all I have is 15 seconds, with a blood curdling scream in the background, to get a picture of a recipe I think might help someone else. So cheers to unpolished, yellow, grainy pictures and a whole lot of REAL in 2017. My promise to you is to share even when my pictures aren't insta-worthy because it might just be what you need to see. Alright, on to the good stuff.
Is there anything worse than a winter viruses? Over the last three weeks the stomach bug has made it's unwelcome way through Lincoln, myself and finally Tanner. It was 50 shades of not pretty and we have been babying our guts to make sure they heal before welcoming anything spicy back into our lives.
One of my favorite comfort foods while sick is chicken soup and this crockpot version always hits the spot. It is a dump-and-forget kind of meal that tastes a whole lot like chicken and dumplings without the actual dumplings. We are off dairy right now, so I opted for organic almond milk but coconut or cashew milk would be perfect as well. We also like our dishes more flavorful so I'm heavy-handed on the celery salt and thyme. If you like things a little more bland, follow the notes on alternative amounts mentioned below.
1 Cup washed uncooked Brown Rice
1 LB Chicken Tenders or Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Chopped Sweet Onion
1/2 Cup Chopped Celery
1/2 Cup Chopped Carrots
4 Cups Reduce Sodium Chicken Broth
4 Cups Water
4 Tsp. Minced Garlic
1 Tsp. Pepper
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp. Adams Best House Rub (Includes: Pepper, Sea Salt, Garlic)
1/2 Tsp. Reduced Sodium Chicken Bouillon
3/4 Tsp. Celery Salt (Decrease to 1/2 Tsp. if you would like it more bland)
1/2 Tsp. Ground Thyme (I love Thyme but if you don't just use 1/4 Tsp.)
1/4 Tsp. Reduced Sodium Season All
1/2 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbl. EVOO
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Cups Organic Almond Milk
1. Place all ingredients until EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) in crockpot. Cook on low (8 hours), or high (4 Hours).
2. Remove chicken breasts and shred meat then place back into crockpot.
3. In saucepan, heat 2 Tbl. EVOO over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup flour and whisk for one minute. Next, add 2 cups organic almond milk or coconut milk and simmer while whisking until it thickens. Once complete, stir into crockpot and fully incorporate into soup.
4. Serve with french bread or biscuits.
NOTE: This is perfect to freeze for up to three months. Simply place in saucepan with 1/4 cup of water to reheat.
Some milestones are clear, like this year I will turn 30. I will watch my little boy turn two, our family business turn three and my marriage turn SEVEN! I know I will face sadness and hopefully more joy then I'm imagining as I write these words. Some things are unknown and will present themselves as God reveals this year's story.
I also love challenging my self to be better; better for his kingdom, better to my husband and son, better to my family and friends and better to my community. Each year I like making a little list of things I want to work on each month. I don't label them "resolutions" but they are pretty much that. I write them in my planner and at the start of each month I pull a few out to focus on. I'm human and get lazy with lifes excuses. This exercise helps me refocus and put tactical things on my calendar that realign my time with what maters most. Tanner and I talk a lot about the balance between being relaxed and being disciplined. It is hard for me to not float the extreme of each. I struggle with rigid disciple and having grace with myself and others...they just seem opposite to me. However, I can also see how disciple can grant you freedom. I'm going to keep finding my balance this year but for now, I have my list and my focus for this month.
I'd love to hear how you approach the new year. What are you dreaming about this year?
Cheers to a bountiful 2017!
Happy Thanksgiving from Tanner, Lincoln and I! We are getting things ready for lunch at my Memaw's house and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is playing in the background. Lincoln was up before the sun this morning and while he was drinking his bottle, my heart was breaking, in a good way. I'm just so thankful for my family, our health and our freedom. All the other stress and setbacks don't matter when I look at how much love I have. God is so good.
Love and blessing to your family from ours!
Happy Tuesday! I've been drawn to emerald pieces lately, so I thought I would share a few that are on my wish this Fall. My favorite pieces are the Kate Spade backpack, J. Crew Coat and Topshop ruffle sweater!
Linking up with: SHOE & TELL, WALKING IN MEMPHIS, FASHION CANVAS, STYLE ELIXIR, JESSICA, RACHEL, GOOD HUES-DAY, SANDY, LEANN, #WIWWLINKUP, GRACE, SHEREE, ALISON, KELLY, THE PLEATED POPPY, ADA, A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING, SEPT FARM, CLAIRE JUSTINE, BIRDIE SHOOTS, LIZZIE IN LACE, FASHION SOULD BE FUN, HELLO HAPPINESS, RACHEL THE HAT, XOXO REBECCA, NANCYS FASHION STYLE, A POCKETFUL OF POLKA DOTS, THE BLOSE BY CHRISTIE, JO LYNEE SHANE, OSY, COLOR AND GRACE and POSH CLASSY MOM.
With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I know there might be a few of you who are stressing a little about the menu and decor. There are a ton of great menu options here, so I thought I might help you out with a few simple table setting ideas. Enjoy and happy crafting!
1. Tips on how to set a beautiful Thanksgiving table without breaking the bank!
2. Keep the kiddos entertained with a little crafting at their table.
3. Pick up pumpkins of all sizes and paint them to match your holiday style.
4. Add a personal touch to each place setting with family pictures.
5. Keep the conversation in the spirit of thanks with this cute idea.
Have a great weekend!
1 Acorn Squash: washed, de-seeded and sliced in one inch disks
1 Box (5 oz) Organic Baby Spinach
1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
Roasted Pecan Pieces
Organic Maple Syrup
1/3 Cup EVOO
4 Tbl. Apple Cider Vinger
1 Tbl. Organic Maple Syrup
Dash of Smoked Paprika
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a light spray of EVOO.
2. Add acorn squash to baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika and rubbing sage. Rub in, then repeat on opposite side. Finally, drizzle with maple syrup.
3. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then flip squash and bake for another 15-20, or until golden brown and fork tender.
4. While squash is baking, mix all the dressing ingredients in mason jar and set aside.
5. Once squash is done, remove from oven and cut in half. Finally, plate spinach and top with squash, pomegranate seeds, roasted pecans, goat cheese and dressing.
Note: If you need a little extra protein, add roasted chicken as well!
I hope you enjoy!
Linking up with these great ladies today: Full Plate Thursday, Home Matters Linky Party, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, The Creative Exchange, The Inspiration Gallery, Artsy Fartsy, Thursday Favorite Things, Handmade Hangout, Weekend Blog Hop, Create It Thursday, Fabulous Foodie Fridays, Foodie Friday and Everything Else, Foodie Friends Friday, FoodieFriDIY, Freedom Fridays, Friday Favorites, I’m Lovin’ It, Weekend Potluck, Our Mini Linky Party, Link Party Palooza, Pretty Pintastic Party and Allergy-free Thursdays.