Tag Archives: giveaway

Dottiebox

Dottiebox LLC

In my next life I want to be a crafter.  I have a great love for it, I just lack the time.  Luckily I satisfy most of my “DIY” cravings by perusing Pinterest and Etsy, gawking at all the unique and amazing homemade creations.  There is so much good stuff out there, it can be hard to know where to start.  Thanks to Dottiebox, I am able to enjoy some of the best in homemade goods delivered straight to my doorstep for only $20/month.  Sounds like an awesome deal, right?

Check out what arrived in my first Dottiebox…

Dottiebox Goodies - In Her Chucks

Dottiebox LLC Hazelnut Latte Lip Balm–  I LOVE lip balm.  I take it wherever I go, and if I forget it, I pick up a pack at Target.  Or I can plan ahead and stock up on this deliciously smelling Hazelnut Latte Lip Balm.  This stuff has definitely taken my addiction for soft lips to a whole new level.  I find myself applying it to my lips even when they aren’t dry because I love the smell so much.  It makes me feel like I just devoured a naughty dessert that left my lips feeling silky and smooth :)  Heaven.

Sharee Boutique’s Quality Cosmetic Hair Chalks–  Did I ever mention that I used to have pink hair?  It was a while ago but I got in pretty big trouble for it (a teenage mistake that I neglected to run by my mom).  Anyways, now you can enjoy the excitement of colorful hair without the commitment (or the punishment).  Sharee Boutique’s Hair Chalks are vibrant and beautiful but are also temporary.  And I love the variety of colors they offer.  I think I’ll go with teal this time.

Make it Stick Mustache Nail Decals–  Mustache’s are all the rage.  And these nail decals take the trend to a whole new level.  But Make it Stick doesn’t stop there.  They have chevron, bow ties, and my favorite, stars.  I love how easy they are to add to your most colorful manicure or to jazz up a nude nail.

1love Candles (‘Butt Naked’ Scent Votive Candle)-  The aroma of a fragranced candle can either make me sick or make me smile.  This candle did the latter.  The fresh scent of this candle takes me away to a special place.  Sweet, clean and light, it’s the perfect candle to warm up your home and set the mood for a relaxing evening.

Jen Ramey Designs Two Tone Wine Charms–  My mom always taught me to never show up to someone’s house for dinner empty handed.  So I am always on the hunt for cute and thoughtful hostess gifts.  And these fit the bill.  Whether you are purchasing them for a friend or for yourself, Jen Ramey Designs has a variety of wine charms to choose from.  I love this idea of his and hers.  In my home, I am the only one who drinks wine (and my wineglasses happen to be stemless) but I can see how these would come in handy for a couple (possibly a pair of newlyweds…)

Baby Off the Hook Coffee Cup Cozy–  Ever since Conscious Box encouraged me to live more consciously in 2013, I have been successful in utilizing my reusable straw and reusable hand towel on a regular basis.  So adding a reusable coffee cup cozy to the list is a perfect way to reinforce my resolution.  Plus, it’s way cuter than those disposable ones anyways.  And for only $6 a pop, I could easily justify picking them up in a few colors (just don’t tell my husband…).

Pretty sweet box of goodies!  Want one for yourself?  Test your luck in Dottiebox’s giveaway.  Not one to gamble?  Then subscribe today for only $20/month and be inspired by a variety of beautiful homemade goods.

*Full Disclosure: Dottiebox did provide me with a box free of charge. I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

Beef and Butternut Squash Stew - In Her Chucks

After what seemed like a pretty cold winter for us Californians, the temps are finally starting to rise.  The days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner.  But I can’t say goodbye to winter without sharing a great stew recipe that is sure to warm you up from the inside out.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 pounds stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup Marsala wine

1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes

1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

3 to 4 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and sauté until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes.  Toss the beef cubes in salt and pepper and flour.  Turn up the heat to med-high and add the beef to the pot.  Cook until the beef is browned and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala wine.  Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the butternut squash and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine.  Add enough beef broth to just cover the beef and squash.  Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.  Season the stew with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Recipe from Giada De Leurentiis via FoodNetwork.com

The flavors in this stew are incredible.  You have the sweetness of the squash, the rich smokey flavor of the Marsala wine and of course the fresh aromas of the rosemary and thyme.  And like most soups and stews, this dish is even better the next day once the flavors have had the chance to meld together even more.

As excited as I am to start breaking out my shorts and flip-flops in anticipation for beach weather, I am going to miss the hearty and delicious comfort foods of the colder months.  What are some of your favorite recipes to keep you warm during the winter?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

PS:  Congratulations to Katie of Baking and Swimming for winning the 3 Month Subscription to Conscious Box!  Thank you so everyone who entered.  Stay tuned for more awesome giveaways coming your way soon :)

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Lime Squares with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust

Lime Squares with Pistacio Graham-Cracker Crust - In Her ChucksBecause it’s Saturday, and I am sitting home relaxing, by myself, while Harper and Freddie enjoy some daddy daughter time, I thought I would sneak in one of my new favorite recipes.

As you know, I have been doing my best to stay on the straight and narrow.  But yesterday we had company over for dinner and I couldn’t help but be a little naughty.  For the main dish I whipped up a delicious Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherd’s Pie using the 2 pound garnet yam I got in my box.  On the side I served a fresh green salad topped with persian cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, shredded carrots and candied pecans.  It was a yummy and healthy meal that left our tummies satisfied.

But I couldn’t let our guests leave without a small sweet indulgence.  And this simple and easy dessert hit the spot!  The flavors are clean and refreshing and the pistachios give the crust an extra crust that complements the silkiness of the filling.

Ingredients

For The Crust:  

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan

2/3 cup shelled pistachios

1 cup (4 ounces) graham-cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon grated lime zest (about 3 limes)

For The Filling:

2 large egg yolks

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

Preparation

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with melted butter.  Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.

2.  In a food processor, finely grind pistachips with graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, and zest.  Blend in butter.  Press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan.  Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes.  Cool crust, 30 minutes.

3.  To make the filling:  In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk.  Add lime juice; whisk until smooth.  Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread to edges.

4.  Bake until set, about 15 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack; then chill at least 1 hour before serving.  Using parchment paper overhang, lift out of pan, and transfer to cutting board.  With a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping knife with a damp kitchen towel between each cut.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Even though this recipe is easy to make, it does take some time to complete (mostly because the crust has to cool and the bars need to chill).  So allow yourself a few hours to prepare these.  But once made, these will last a few days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.  That is, if everyone doesn’t eat them all at once :)

PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  You only have until March 11th to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway.  Good luck!

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What’s in the Box? #64

boxquestionintrowhite

Today was a big day!  Today, Harper and I dropped off all the paperwork for her preschool.  Which means her first day will be Friday.  I can’t believe my little girl is going to start school already!  Where did the time go?

I actually hadn’t planned on Harper starting school until the fall.  When looking into preschool options after Harper was born, I learned about some co-op preschools in town and loved the concept of being able to work at the school one day a week.  However, those programs start when they are 2 years, 9 months.  Which, to be honest, sounded perfect to me.  But Harper had other plans.

Ever since her first experience with daycare at church, Harper asks if she can go to “church tomorrow” everyday.  Through a mommy friend of mine, I learned that the church offers a preschool as well.  So we went ahead and looked into it and were very happy with the program.  After two weeks of working on the large packet of paperwork, we finally turned it in today.  Which means, it’s official.  My baby is going to school.

So in the spirit of celebrating this important milestone, let’s get wild and crazy with another weekly produce party :)

Last week we had 6 link ups!  And from the looks of it, everyone is ready for St.Patty’s day.  Greens all around.  There was Green Eggs No Ham, Kale Pesto, and a delicious Broccoli and Cheese Pizza.  My Irish roots have me doing a little jig over these delightful dishes.  Thanks ladies for sharing your festive eats :)

Now let’s take a look at what I will be working with this week…

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After 2 years of participating in my CSA, it is rare that I receive a veggie that I have never tried before.  So this box will go down in history for my introduction to Romanesco broccoli.  Thanks to this party, I have seen other folks get it in their box before, but I have never had the pleasure of trying it for myself.  I can’t wait to start looking up recipes.

I am also excited to see another 2 lbs worth of red garnet sweet potatoes.  I was immediately inspired to whip up another batch of this Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherd’s Pie.  We have company coming over for dinner on Friday and this will be the perfect meal :)  I plan on serving it with a side salad using that gorgeous head of red leaf lettuce.

Apparently I am on a comfort food kick because those turnips make me want to spend my weekend cooking up this Beer-Braised Beef with Onion, Carrot, and Turnips dish.  It is DIVINE!  I would love to make this for my company except for it takes hours to cook, and on a Friday night after a day of music classes and toddler fun, I just don’t have the time.  So I like to save these recipes for the weekend, when I can start preparing it early enough that dinner can be served at a decent hour.

Speaking of the weekend, I love to juice on the weekends.  And those grapefruits, apples and beautiful bunch of kale would make a killer combo.  I might even have a few carrots left over from last week to throw into the mix too :)

I have been on a Greek yogurt kick lately (maybe because they were on sale at Ralphs and I bought a boatload).  And I love the addition of fresh berries sliced on top.  It is a delicious daytime snack or after dinner treat.

Finally, I will be making this Apricot Pork Chops recipe and serving the sugar snap peas on the side.  I like to give them a quick boil and then toss them in butter, lemon zest and garlic.  Yum!

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipe, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  You only have until March 11th to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway.  Good luck!

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Homemade Granola Bars & A Giveaway!

Homemade Granola Bars- In Her Chucks

I love a good, healthy, and hearty snack.  It curbs my hunger between meals and helps perk me up during a midday slump.  Unfortunately, many of the “healthy” snacks you find at the grocery store aren’t really healthy at all.  Instead, they are full of unnecessary ingredients such as corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial flavors.  You might as well make a beeline for the donuts (a personal weakness).  Or, to ensure that you are giving your body the fuel it needs to get through the day, make your favorite snacks at home.  And these Cranberry Almond Granola Bars are a great place to start.

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup ground flax-seed

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 1/2 ounces chopped dried cranberries

Preparation

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and ground flax seeds into a half-sheet pan.  Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook until the brown sugar as completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F.  Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine.  Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Recipe slightly adapted from FoodNetwork.com via Cupcakes and Cashmere

Not only are these bars super delicious, they are super simple to make!  In fact, I might even go as far as saying they will have you swearing off packaged foods forever (Unless of course you are starving and stranded at a gas station in the middle of nowhere without your homemade stash.  Then you might make an exception).  And like my homemade granola, the possibilities are endless.  So you will never get bored with all the combinations you can think up.

Hungry for more healthy snacking ideas?  Conscious Box is full of them!  In fact, they were the ones who introduced me to Amazing Grass which sparked my Fresh Start Challenge.  They are always inspiring me to live a healthier, happier, more sustainable life.

There are lots of exciting things happening over at ConsciousBox.com.  For starters, they have a brand new website.  One of my favorite features is that you can earn points for rating the samples in your box which can then be used towards some great discounts on your favorite products.

And in celebration of their new site launch, Conscious Box is giving away a 3 month subscription (a $59 value) to one lucky reader.  

Here’s how to enter…

1.  Head on over to ConsciousBox.com and create a profile (this is totally free) and leave a comment here telling me you have done so.

2.  “Like”  ConsciousBox and In Her Chucks on Facebook and post a comment on their wall telling them what you thought about their new site (ps: don’t forget to tell them “In Her Chucks” sent you!).

3.  “Share” Conscious Box’s new page with your FB friends and leave a comment telling me you have done so.

4.  Subscribe to this blog and leave a comment telling me you have done so.  If you already subscribe to my blog, then leave me a comment telling me that you are already subscribed (and thanks for the support!).

5.  Pin this giveaway and comment here with a link to your post.

The more entries you have, the better your chances are to win.  The giveaway will close at 12:01 am on March 11th.  A winner will be randomly selected and announced on March 12th.  Make sure to include your email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!

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Tomato Basil Bisque

Tomato Basil Bisque - In Her Chucks

I am a meat eater through and through.  No meal is complete without a big lump of protein on my plate.  So when I went through my Fresh Start Challenge meal plan and saw that there was a vegetarian soup on the menu, I was skeptical.  I mean, I love veggies, and I love soup, but can’t we toss some chicken in there to boost up the heartiness factor?  Well let me just say, this soup is perfect just as it is!  Not only was it incredibly delicious, but it was definitely hearty!  The quinoa and goat cheese help to bulk up the texture and give it enough protein to keep you full and satisfied without weighing you down.

Ingredients

4 large carrots, chopped,

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tsp Tamari

2 tbsp coconut oil, divided

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained

1 cup organic marinara sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 tsp honey

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (more or less to taste)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Dashes of dried thyme, rosemary and oregano

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 cups chicken broth

Prepared quinoa

Goat cheese

Preparation

1.  In a large soup pot, heat the Tamari and 1 tbsp coconut oil over med-high heat.

2.  Stir in the chopped onions, celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic, carrots and about 1/2 cup chicken.  Sauté another 5 minutes.

3.  Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, basil, broth, salt, marinara sauce and remaining spices (wait to add the remaining 1 tbsp coconut oil and nutritional yeast until the very end before pureeing).

4.  Let soup come to a boil and cook on low-med heat for about 1/2 hour, allowing all of the flavors to meld together.

5.  Pour all of the contents from the soup pan into a blender, along with 1 tbsp coconut oil and the nutritional yeast.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.

6.  Portion out soup into bowls and add prepared quinoa, mix until combined.  Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Recipe slightly adapted from Amazing Grass:  Fresh Start Challenge

What I love most about this dish is how super duper easy it is to make.  Just throw everything in a pot, let it hang out for a bit and then toss it in the blender.  And with enough soup for 4-5 servings, there is plenty to share or hide away in the freezer for later ;)

PS:  Congratulations to Tiffany T for winning the Amazing Grass Giveaway!  And a big thank you to everyone who participated.  Cheers to a Fresh Start!

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Two Totally Terrific Years

2 years

It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I was snuggling up to my 7 lb, 9 ounce newborn baby. She has grown so much since then and I love her more every day. As I was looking through all her pictures from this last year, I began to tear up. This tiny creature has changed my world forever. She brings me a joy I can’t explain. Her laughter is magical, especially when she is playing around with her Dada. I knew I always wanted kids but I had no idea how awesome a journey motherhood would really be. And as difficult as parenting is at times (and trust me, the “terrible twos” are no joke…), the good times make all the hard work worth it. Thank you Harper for being who you are…our lives are brighter because of you :)

Harper’s Firsts:

First Time to Disney World- Freddie had a conference at Disney World last month so Harper and I tagged along. I wasn’t sure what she would think of the whole experience as she has no clue what Disney is all about (except for a short trip to Disneyland a few months back), but we had a blast! While we were there we visited Animal Kingdom and Epcot. It was the perfect way to enjoy the magic of Disney for a child who is unfamiliar with all the characters. However, it didn’t take long for Harper to learn who Mickey was. After seeing everyone else taking pictures with Disney Cast, she wanted us to snap a few pics of her with them too.

Disney World

First Petting Zoo- Harper sings about farm animals all the time, but it is not often that a city girl gets the chance to meet them up close and personal. Luckily, while we were at Animal Kingdom, Harper was able to pet a sheep, a pig and a goat and she thought it was very cool.

petting zoo

First Live Show- Since Harper is still too young for most of the rides, while at the parks we took advantage of all the shows that they offer. We were unsure of whether or not Harper would sit through them but she ended up LOVING them. So after a few successful shows at the parks, we decided to take her to Cirque Du Soleil. And she was completely enthralled for 2 hours! Can’t wait to take her to some more shows soon :)

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Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy- Harper loves to paint. So for Christmas, Santa brought her an easel. Now she is creating masterpieces daily. She also likes to practice her alphabet using the white board and magnetic letters. And mommy likes it to because it keeps her busy long enough for me to do the dishes (that’s when you know a toy is a success!).

Favorite Song- This month in my music classes we are singing and dancing to songs all about the jungle. One of Harper’s favorite songs is “5 Little Speckled Frogs”. We have been singing this song together since she was an infant, but now she does it all on her own. And she will make sure to have a pair of rhythm sticks to accompany her, even if they happen to be in the form of crayons, silverware or straws.

Favorite Book- Harper is getting to the age where she can “read” books to us. “That’s Not My Fairy” is one of her favorite ones to read because it is simple and follows a pattern. She also likes “the touch and feel” part of this book as well. Check her out as she shows off her mad skills…

Harper’s Last Year in a Nutshell…

At the end of all of Harper’s monthly post, I used one word prompts to share information about what she was up to. For her 2 year post, I thought it would be fun to revisit those prompts as they apply to Harper today. And if you care to stroll down memory lane with me, each prompt is linked to its original post.

Harper Sits: When we moved into the new house, it was time for Harper to get a new seat at the table. So we said goodbye to our trusty dusty highchair, and hello to a new booster seat. Now Harper can sit at the dinner table like a big girl :)

Harper Do: Harper does quite a bit by herself now. The shorter list might be what she still needs my help with, but I will do my best to keep it to a few. Some of Harper’s newest skills are her chores. She loves to help. This includes sorting the cutlery in the drawer, putting her dirty clothes in the hamper, helping me start the laundry, and throwing things in the trash. She is always willing to help out around the house and I appreciate the extra set of tiny hands.

Harper Says: Like the prompt above, Harper can pretty much say anything now. However, since turning two, her favorites are “no” and mine”. I promise you, she woke up 2 days before her 2nd birthday and magically started using these words. None of my mommy friends seem surprised. Looking forward to this phase passing quickly.

Harper Has: Harper is fortunate to have so many wonderful friends. Most of whom she has know her entire life. Two years after our first get together, Harper and I continue to love and appreciate our mommy group. Looking forward to many more years of happy memory making.

Harper Wears: Harper loves to wear her big girl underwear. Thanks to our journey with Elimination Communication, Harper has been out of diapers for a while. Now instead of bring a diaper bag around with me, I have graduated to carrying a pink toilet seat. The lugging never ends :)

Harper Still: Similar to the original post where I first wrote this prompt, Harper is still breastfeeding and still co-sleeping (she is too big for me to still carry her on a regular basis, but if I need to, the Ergo still works great!).

Harper Knows: Harper is a smart little cookie. She has learned so much in this last year and is always looking to learn more. She knows all her numbers (and is able to count to 20), all of her shapes (including an octagon which is her favorite), her colors and her letters. We have officially moved on to phonics. Harper loves watching this awesome video and playing with this fun toy to help her practice.

Harper Helps: Like I mentioned above, Harper is a great helper. Not only does she love to do her chores, but she loves to help mommy cook. Our favorite meal to make together is breakfast. She likes to help me measure out the ingredients and stir the pancake batter with a whisk.

Harper Makes: Harper loves to build with her blocks. Her favorite thing to make nowadays is an igloo. Igloos with very tall towers.

Harper Snacks: Harper still loves to eat the snacks I wrote about in the original post. But she has added a few more to the list. Harper loves to snack on nuts, popcorn, rice cakes.

Harper Goes: After her first trip to church daycare, Harper now asks us if we can “go to church tomorrow?” on a regular basis. She loves it so much, we have decided to enroll her in their preschool a few days a week. I can’t believe my baby is going to school!!

Harper Sees: Harper loves to point out all the cool things she sees. She says, “Look Mommy, a (fill in the blank)”. And if she doesn’t know what it is she says, “What’s that Mommy?”. Always looking to learn :)

Even though Harper is growing up way too fast, she will always be my baby. The memories we are creating together are ones I will cherish forever. I recently came across this poem that a friend posted on Facebook, and I thought it was a perfect way to end this post.

“I won’t always cry, Mommy,

When you leave the room,

And my supermarket tantrums,

Will end too soon.

I won’t always wake, Daddy,

For cuddles through the night,

And one day you’ll miss,

Having a chocolate face to wipe.

You won’t always wake o find my foot,

Is kicking you out of bed,

Or find me sideways on your pillow,

Where you want to lay your head.

You won’t always have to carry me,

In asleep from the car,

Or piggy back me down the road,

When my little legs can’t walk that far.

So cherish every cuddle, remember them all,

Because one day, Mommy, I won’t be this small”

Happy 2nd Birthday Harper!!! Mommy and Daddy love you to pieces….

PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You only have a few more hours left to get your entries in. Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks. Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway. Good luck!

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What’s in the Box? #62

boxquestionintrowhite

Today is a very special day because it is my precious little love’s 2nd birthday.  And boy did we have fun!  I know I say it often, but time really does fly.  It feels like yesterday that we were celebrating her 1st birthday.  While I was working on her monthly post last night, I was in awe of how much she has grown.  It is such a joy to watch her become her own little person.  She is pretty darn cute :)  Here she is blowing out her candles on her hot pink ice cream cake…(ps: she only wanted to eat the “sparkles”…aka sprinkles).

Harper is 2!

Happy Birthday baby girl!  Mommy and daddy love you to pieces…

So now that Harper has us all in the mood to party, let’s celebrate our fruits and veggies :)

Last week we only had a total of 6 link ups but these ladies clearly came to party!!!  I mean Roasted Beet, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza, Pineapple Kale Juice, and Split Pea Soup?  I wish I could reach through the computer screen and sample a taste of each.  They all look and sound spectacular :)  Thanks for sharing ladies.  I am officially craving each of these dishes for my next three meals.

Speaking of meals, what the heck am I going to be doing with all this loveliness this week?

In Her Chucks- What's in the Box? #62

Well, let’s start with the chard.  I have been hoping and praying for some chard.  I recently came along another chard soup recipe, and after the success of my last soup experiment, I am feeling confident about trying something new and of course, looking forward to sharing with you :) (ps: speaking of soup, look for the Tomato Basil Bisque recipe soon…I’m shooting for the weekend).  And we all know soup goes perfectly with salad, so that head of lettuce will be delicious topped with some sliced avocado and homemade dressing.

I am thrilled about the strawberries again!  And I love the pairing of strawberries with kiwi.  Kind of brings me back to my first taste of Snapple when I was in elementary school.  Our student government put in a vending machine, but we weren’t allowed to have sodas so it would dispense Snapples instead.  Kiwi Strawberry was my favorite flavor.  Now I take a sip of it and almost keel over from diabetes.  Too sweet.  But I can’t get enough of the real thing.  Yummy, fresh and organic fruit simply makes me happy :)

Another fruit I am excited about are the mandarins.  I just can’t decide if I am going to eat them or juice them.  Guess it depends on if they make through the weekend or not.

So after all the delicious fish recipes I made during the Fresh Start Challenge, I am on a mission to cook fish more often.  Here is an amazing recipe I plan on making to help me use up that cilantro.  Served on a bed of my favorite potatoes with a side of broccoli and that is one scrumptious meal!

And finally some lovely leeks.  It’s been a while since I have whipped up this quiche so I think I will have to revisit the recipe.  I love that it can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, making it easy to meal plan for the week :)

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipe, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!


PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  You have until February 25th to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway. Good luck!

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Fresh Start: The Final Days & a Giveaway!

It’s hard to believe just two short weeks ago I began this Fresh Start Challenge.  The time has flown by but I am feeling better than ever.

But now that the challenge is over, where do we go from here?

The most important thing to take away from this challenge is the lifestyle changes that will last beyond the two weeks.  This includes a commitment to choose fresh, raw foods that will help fuel my body, giving me the energy I need to get through my days.  I am fortunate enough to get a weekly delivery of local and organic produce to support this goal.

I am grateful for the variety of delicious recipes I picked up during this challenge.  I am looking forward to sharing them with you and making them a regular staple in our weekly meal plans.  I am also excited about the new ingredients such as coconut oil and Celtic Sea Salt that I am not only aware of but a big fan of thanks to this challenge.

Here’s a look at my last few days of eats during the Fresh Start Challenge…

Day 121.  First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  In addition to all the yummy recipes I learned during this challenge, I am most grateful for being introduced to this delicious and energizing drink.  It has become such an important part of my daily routine and I look forward to continuing it beyond the challenge.

2.  Breakfast: Fruit Salad with Walnuts and Dates-  Starting my day out with a fresh bowl of fruit topped with nuts really puts a smile on my face.  It was a great excuse to enjoy some more of  those fresh strawberries that came in my box this week as well as the leftover bananas from all the pudding.  Refreshing and delicious.

3.  Lunch:  Goat Cheese Quesadilla-  The plan for lunch today was supposed to be a bowl of Tomato Basil Soup but since I didn’t have time to make it the night before, I settled for another Goat Cheese Quesadilla…which was amazing!  I layered in some leftover sautéed kale which helped to make this a well-rounded and filling meal.

4.  Snack:  Raw Coconut Fudge-  This snack was actually on the menu for Day 10, but I neglected to read the directions which suggested you soak the nuts for 6-8 hours.  So I soaked the nuts and then made it on Day 11, but again neglected to read the directions that suggest chilling the fudge for 2-3 hours.  So I had to wait until today to enjoy it.  Luckily, it was worth the wait.  And I am excited to share the recipe with you soon.

5.  Dinner:  Baked Salmon with Sautéed Kale-  Believe it or not, I was so busy Friday, I completely forgot to eat dinner.  I happened to be talking to my mom around 10pm and I noticed that I was unusually hungry.  Luckily, I had this salmon marinating in the fridge and my mom walked me through cooking it in the oven while we were on the phone (usually I refer to google for such a thing but since I have Verizon, I can’t talk and surf).

6.  Snack:  Young Coconut-  After such a yummy and flavorful meal, this was the perfect way to cleanse my palate.  I always save the coconut water for the following day (way better than bottled) and then scrape off the meat from the walls using a spoon.  A great way to end the evening.

Day 13

1.  First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  The Amazing Meal is delicious enough to drink with coconut water or your milk of choice, but can be easily added to your favorite smoothie.  It is a wonderful way to jump-start your body in the morning or can also serve as a pre or post workout snack.  The possibilities are endless :)

2.  Breakfast:  Naturally Sweetened Goat Yogurt–  I went ahead and tried another new flavor today and to be honest, it’s not nearly as good as the strawberry or the mango.  It’s not terrible, but without the fruit to mask the pungent goat milk flavor, it was a little tart for my liking.  Especially first thing in the morning.  So for now on, I am sticking with the flavors I like best.

3.  Lunch:  Lettuce Wraps Stuffed with Tuna Salad-  Choosing to wrap your sandwiches in lettuce instead of bread is an easy and delicious way to cut back on processed grains.  Since I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with Harper, this was the only way I could enjoy my lunch most days.  And to be honest, I have come to prefer eating my sandwiches wrapped in lettuce now.

4.  Snack:  Apple Topped with Peanut Butter-  Knowing that we were going to be out and about running errands, I got my snack all ready to go before we left the house.  When the time came for me to enjoy it, I realized I had left it on the kitchen counter…darn!  Enter Trader Joes…they always come through :)  Bought a bag of organic sliced apples and a new jar of unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter and snack was served!

5.  Dinner:  Black Bean Tostada-  I am in LOVE with these beans.  If you thought I was into beans before, these beans take the cake.  This will definitely be a recipe I plan to share…once I make a new batch of them ;)

6.  Snack:  Almond Milk Ice Cream–  Sometimes, ice cream just tastes better out of a carton.  And this almond milk frozen dessert is no different.  Since there was only a few bites left anyways I decided to skip the bowl and just grab a spoon.  PS:  I am totally hooked on this stuff!

Day 14

1.   First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  To think this whole journey started with one green drink…For those of you out there who are skeptical about this cup of greens, I encourage you to give it a try.  If you like the taste of fresh juiced greens, they offer an original flavor and for those of your who prefer something sweet, why not try a vanilla chai or chocolate?

2.  Breakfast:  Raw Steel Cut Oats-  I don’t know about you, but whenever I eat cereal with fruit, there has to be an equal fruit to cereal ratio on my spoon.  And when the fruit is all gone but there is still cereal left?  Better slice up some more fruit so I can enjoy the rest of the cereal.  Does that mean that instead of eating Raw Steel Cut Oats with fruit, I am really eating fruit with Raw Steel Cut Oats?

3.  Lunch:  Tomato Basil Bisque-  I finally had time to whip up a fresh batch of this amazing soup.  And then proceeded to eat two bowls of it.  It is just so darn tasty!  I have plans to post the recipe later this week so stay tuned.

4.  Snack:  Naturally Sweetened Goat Yogurt–  After an unsuccessful experience with the Vanilla, I went back to my old faithful, Apricot Mango.  And it really was the perfect snack while I was in the midst of prepping dinner.  Soooo creamy :)

5.  Dinner: Stir-fry Chicken and Vegetables with Soba Noodles-  It’s not often that I eat pasta, but since I haven’t eaten it in nearly 2 weeks, I was very excited about this meal.  And the recipe delivered!  Silky soba noodles, tossed with green onions, red bell pepper and diced chicken drenched in a homemade cilantro peanut sauce, this dish is a definite winner.

6.  Dessert:  Kombucha-  I have never jumped aboard the Kombucha train.  I guess I just don’t know much about it.  But this delicious drink was a great way to end the evening.  It was tasty and refreshing and has loads of health benefits.  Might just have to get hip to the Kombucha craze.

And with that, the 2 week Fresh Start Challenge is complete.  It was a wonderful journey and I truly learned a lot about how to make better choices in the food I eat.  Plus, I have more than enough recipes and ideas to keep me going down the right path.

Now it’s your turn for a Fresh Start.  The generous folks over at Amazing Grass have offered to giveaway 1, 15 serving bottle of Amazing Meal to one of my faithful readers.

To enter: “Like” Amazing Grass  and In Her Chucks on Facebook and leave a comment telling me that you have done so.

For additional entries…

1.  Subscribe to this blog and leave a comment telling me you have done so.  If you already subscribe to my blog, then leave me a comment telling me that you are already subscribed (and thanks for the support!).

2.  Follow @amazinggrass on Twitter and leave a comment on this post letting me know you’ve done so.

3.  Follow Amazing Grass on Pinterest and leave a comment on this post letting me know you’ve done so.

4.   Pin this giveaway and comment here with a link to your post.

The more entries you have, the better your chances are to win.  The giveaway will close at 12:01 am on February 25th.  A winner will be randomly selected and announced on February 26th.  Make sure to include your email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #5

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I’ve never missed my box more than I do at this very moment.  Even though me and the fam are enjoying a fun-filled week at Disney World, local, organic and fresh produce isn’t something you see a lot of around these parts.  I do my best to order the most veggie friendly thing on the menu but despite my efforts, I feel like all I am eating is a boat load of pesticides.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am a total produce snob, but these bags of baby carrots and sour grapes aren’t cutting it for me.  I am counting down the days until I can enjoy a nutrient rich home cooked meal (T minus 2).  But in the meantime, you can find me in the food court with my face planted into a Mickey Mouse Pizza (hangs head in shame…).

So since I can’t have my veggies or eat them too…let’s take a look back at last week’s party.

With total of 6 inspiring link ups it was the leafy greens who were partying it up the most.  Spinach, kale and chard were being dressed up and pampered in sinfully creamy and cheesy pasta and fancy dancy Quiche recipes.  Who knew eating your veggies could be so ooey, gooey and delicious :)  Thanks ladies for sharing your yummy dishes with the rest of us.

Now it’s my turn to pass on some of my favorite recipes from the last few weeks.  These dishes are sure to fill you up and make your tummy smile.

January 9, 2013: What’s in the Box? #57

In Her Chucks - What's in the Box? #57

Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherds Pie: As much as I was looking forward to devouring a batch of Meghan’s Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes I changed my plans when I remembered that I was hosting my cooking club for our monthly meeting.  I needed a dish that was simple, delicious and served a crowd and this recipe fit the bill (so did the size of this sweet potato).  This healthy take on a classic comfort food was a huge hit!  I plan on making this over, and over, and over again :)

January 16, 2013: What’s in the Box? #58

What's in the Box? #58 - In Her Chucks

Classic Baked Acorn Squash:  After using up the majority of my chard and carrots on soup, it was time to get busy with the squash.  Baking and roasting veggies is so darn easy and the results are so darn delicious.  Add some brown sugar, butter and maple syrup and you have yourself a party :)  I served this dish alongside some steak and steamed broccoli.  It proved to be the perfect way to round out the meal.

January 23, 2013: What’s in the Box? #59

What's in the Box? #59 - In Her Chucks

Chicken and Sun-Dried-Tomato Meatballs:  It seems silly to revolve your recipe search around a bunch of parsley but that is exactly what I did.  And even though it was just used as a garnish, it was a good excuse to execute another delicious meatball recipe.  The end result was a bit too spicy for me so I plan on cutting back on the jalapeño next time around but other than that, I highly recommend giving these bad boys a try.  

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite CSA recipes?  Feel free to link up some of the CSA inspired meals that you are the most proud of.  Looking forward to drooling over your dishes :)

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!


PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You have until February 1st to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks. Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway. Good luck!

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