Category Archives: Personal

Creamy Chicken with Kale and Mushrooms

I love chicken thighs. Like, seriously love chicken thighs. And so does my family.

Butter, cream and garlic… I’m in! 

In the past few months I’ve packed on a few extra pounds ( OKAY, a lotta extra pounds ) through the changes and things my family has recently endured. One thing that has always been the constant in my life is … food. I’m sure everyone relates to this in one way or another.

I am now on the road to shedding that weight and finding new versions of my beloved recipes.

This is a concoction of various recipes that I’ve always made throughout the years, and tonight I added kale and mushrooms. If you’re a Mama like me, I’m always trying to find ways to get my kiddos to eat the darkest leafy greens and other veggies that they hate otherwise and since my body has packed on the weight, my hormones have sky rocketed. I’ve really dedicated myself to balancing my body out and learning about foods that do specific things.

Soon you’re probably wondering how the heck I’m shedding weight using butter and cream, AND PLEASE, hold your judgment! I was diagnosed with PCOS years ago… my diet is low glycemic and I hold the carbs when I can. I’ve eliminated gluten and I try to buy organic as much as possible. I’ve also included essential oils into my routine. You can read about that here… Everything is a balance and although I could drink half and half by the gallon – I have learned that everything. is. about. balance!!!!!!  Knowing that this dish was on our menu for dinner, my breakfast and lunch were pretty light today! Enough about that and back to the recipe…

A side note of mushrooms… 

Mushrooms are low in calories, fat free, gluten free and low in sodium. They are a huge source of riboflavin ( this turns carbs from food into glucose and helps our bodies metabolize proteins and fat), niacin ( provides healthy skin and makes sure the digestive system is working properly), vitamin D, potassium and calcium.

And KALE: 

If you’re cool, you eat Kale. Period. It’s the cool thing to do these days. Kale is ridiculously high in antioxidants. In fact, it has the very highest than any other veggie. It’s also high in vitamins A, K and B6, riboflavin, niacin, iron, protein, fiber and I could go on and on and on. It’s insanely good for you. We’re pretty lucky that someone decided to throw this stuff in a pan instead of keeping it as a decorative piece. Even better, most grocery stores carry it always stemmed, washed and ready to go. And if you live in BFE like me, you can find it frozen if the fresh stuff isn’t available… but please, if the fresh stuff is there for you, get that! Fresh is always best!

You can adjust this accordingly. My husband will eat a couple plates of this and my son… at least 3 plates!!!! And we always love this the next day for lunch. If you’re going low carb like me, I take out a couple of servings before I add the pasta.

Meat:

8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Produce:

2 boxes of mushrooms. ( I love the already sliced and cleaned brown mushrooms.)

2 bunches of fresh kale or 2lbs. OR 1 bag of frozen kale.

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 sprig of rosemary

Baking and Spices:

Himalayan Salt

Black Pepper

Dairy:

1/2 stick of butter

1/2 stick of garlic and herb butter ( I love kerrygold )

2 cups of half and half

3-4 egg yolk, beaten

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

Pastas and Grains:

1 box of Gluten Free Penne Pasta ( I also love using bowties with this recipe! ) Gluten free pasta can be tricky and it’s taken me some time to perfect this pesty pasta. Before I do anything, I start boiling the water for my pasta it has to be cooked in a rolling boil! (That’s a big big boil and it takes forever to get it to that.) By the time I’m half way through this recipe, the pasta water is typically ready for me to add to it. And just so you know – we’re pretty picky about our pastas… I promise, if you learn how to cook GF, you won’t know the difference!

Steps…

Start by browning your mushrooms over high heat with 2 tablespoons of the herb and garlic butter. Don’t crowd your mushrooms, otherwise, they won’t brown! One they are cooked through, set aside.

Add a couple tablespoons of the herb and garlic butter to the pan. I cook the chicken almost completely, each side about 4 – 6 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste before turning.

Add the kale, until heated through.

Set the chicken and kale aside.

Cream Sauce: 

Melt the remaining butter. Add the cream. Bring this to a slight boil and SLOWLY add your egg yolks. SLOWLY, you don’t want to scramble them. If you do, just pretend like you didn’t! This is a perfected task, and I’ve messed it up plenty of times! Heat this through and add the cheese, melting it through the sauce. Let this cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until it comes to a slight boil.

Add the chicken, kale, mushrooms, garlic and rosemary to the cream sauce. Toss together and continue to cook this on low for about 10 minutes. Add your pasta and a few tablespoons of pasta water. Let this sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

 

And, you’re welcome!

If you happen to cook this deliciousness, send me a pic or two and tag me! xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep it steady…

southbay_photographer-1We are officially back in the grind of school, sports, play dates, homework, family dinners and trying to find the balance in it all.

I grew up in a small house with a Mom who never took anytime for herself. I watched her slip away into a deep darkness that was the culprit to her life ending way before it was meant to. I specifically recall watching her move through the motions of laundry, cooking and everyday mom things with a blank look on her face like she felt nothing at all. Run down, and exhausted with zero inspiration.

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My personality has always been very different from my Mom’s. Although I have core beliefs that are the exact same and our laugh is pretty identical, my Mom was an A type personality… always wanting to be in control of everything around her. She existed in the mundane because the mundane was predictable. It was safe.

I’m haunted by the mundane. It’s the artist in me. 

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Out with the old…Change and balance.

The older I get the more I’ve become afraid of change. I guess when you’re younger and a little less experienced, change is exciting and new. Change is fierce and wonderful.

I’ve become comfortable with the not changed things in my life. Routines. Traditions. Relationships you think will be there forever. People and family that you hold on to. These are comforts and comfort is nice. It’s being in the know. It’s familiar and warm.

Our Easter was anything but traditional. I’m learning that separation from tradition is sometimes ok. When things aren’t working, you just have to fix it. Find the problem, find the resolution… and move on. Easier said then done. 

This holiday weekend started as all good weekends do. Two pots of coffee. Homemade, gluten free, unbleached flour pancakes.

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blog-5Bike rides on the beach in March when the sun is shinning and the air is crisp and cool. The wind from the bike blew in my hair and my babies giggles trickled passed me as we rode and rode and rode. I’m now seeing it all clearly… I’m soaking up all the sights and sounds. 

blog-18We ate greasy bar food for lunch. Because balance is important. Gluten free, organic pancakes for breakfast makes way for a greasy, not organic, corn fed patty melt with fried fries and ranch dressing that was for sure loaded with GMO’s and preservatives

We talked about our week and Cole and Savannah told some pretty cool jokes.

Big Brother leads the way, always… with discovering, learning and being creative. SpencerJoy is right in his tracks…blog-10Ladies and Gents, this girl has discovered crayons. 

blog-14We walked the pier and ended up at the arcade. These kids walked around and shot at gross, ugly, scary looking clown like things… rode sticky, germ filled rides and made more memories that will last a lifetime, for me at least.

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This day was followed by with a not so typical Saturday where a 4 hour trip entaled a purchase of two really great things for Cole and our Nannie that will for sure rip my heart out of my chest over and over and over. But it makes them smile and we haven’t heard the last of it since we brought these two new purchases home.

Out with the old… 

Our baby had her last bottle just a couple of weeks ago. I knew that this was coming. She was drinking less and less of her end of the day, I’m going to bed – bottle. I was secretly hoping she was going to hang on to this night time ritual just a little longer because there’s nothing more baby then a baby with her bottle. But she was done. I packed up all of her bottles and caps… it was another part of her baby self gone. Growing. It was yet another change I needed to accept and although it was sad for a minute – I realized in that moment that we all need change. Change means that we’ve evolved. We’re growing. And growing is good. 

A moment I will forever cherish… 

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Sometimes it takes not knowing where you are going so that you end up somewhere better then you’ve imagined. At least that’s what I’ve read and it’s a little bit of hope I’ve hung to, going through these spurts of change.

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blog-15Another thing I’ve learned…

These little people and the way they see this world is my everyday goal. To see it how they do. To be open, not reserved, and kind. Forgiving and ready for the change that is meant to happen. To let things be. Like John Lennon said ” Let it be, let it be. ”

blog-3Well… I’m lettin it all be. 

blog-6While change has taken its toll and my heart was heavy, I can’t say I’m entirely over the hurt and the disappointment. I’d be lying if I did. But I can say that my head is finally clear. I can see the horizon… and I see good.

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Her First Day…

The night before this day was ….

Nerve-wracking.

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The entire week before was nerve wracking.

My belly hurt.

Every time the vision came to my mind, thinking how it’s going to change everything. How she will change… grow. My heart would leap and my breath would be lost. Tears would make my eyes fuzzy before I’d quickly snap out of it by a fight I was breaking apart or yelling from the kitchen, loud enough for them to hear in their bedrooms — ” Turn IT DOWN!”

Cole had it. Owned it. Went to bed like he was getting paid for it. 1st grade was only a big deal because now he’d be allowed to play on the “blacktop” and he would be apart of the ” big kids!” Because now he was — a big kid. He laid out his outfit and he was awake when I stumbled out of bed… at 6:45am. Dressed, his teeth brushed, backpack by the door with his snack and water bottle ready to go. He’s got it. 

My girl, though — couldn’t sleep. She tossed and turned until 11pm rolled around and I realized if I wanted her to sleep at all, it would have to be with me. So I grabbed her hand, her little hand… interlaced her fingers into mine and walked her to my bed. We snuggled, tight. She whispered ” I’m nervous!”        And I died.

If you know our Nannie-Bear… she is fierce. She’s strong, brave, and nothing gets to her.

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And here she is, the night before kindergarten and she’s nervous. 

I simply said it would be ok and to ” rest… Rest your mind. Rest your heart. Close your eyes and just …rest.”

I found myself tossing and turning. Listening to her sweet breaths and my mind flashing back to her being so small. Such a baby.

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We spent the entire day before, together – just she and I. We got her hair done. Her nails done. Had coffee and talked about the changes that were on the horizon. The friends she’d make. The choices she’d be faced to make, all on her own.2015-09-16_0003Isn’t that our role as MOM? To build them up and lead them down a path of being secure… being confident. To teach them how to make decisions on their own and decipher between right and wrong. To be kind and compassionate. All of those days and nights lead up to moments like this…

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2015-09-16_0016When they strap their backpacks on, tie their shoes, blow you a kiss… and boom. There they go.

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For my Nannie,

I thought about you all day. And the night before… I couldn’t sleep either. My heart beat so hard that it made me lose my breath. I wanted to be there with you… all day. I was scared you’d be scared and I wouldn’t be there to comfort you. I wouldn’t be there to hold your hand that has always given you that unspoken security. I couldn’t help but go back to your baby days and trying to wrap my brain around how this time has flown by so quickly. Everyone has said that it would be fast. That the days would turn into years and before we knew it, these little moments would be memories. I wish that this advise would have reached my heart. But I have realized that nothing and no one would have been able to prepare my heart for this…

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I can tell you were nervous. I was too. Every feeling you felt, mine was the same.

I am sad you won’t be here with me everyday.  For the last 5 years, you’ve been my sidekick… Singing, fighting. Driving me absolutely crazy which would lead me to dream about this day and wishing it would come sooner.

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Well — sooner has arrived and I wish now that I could turn back the clock. If time allowed, I’d buy a rewind and indulge in the moment when you were so small. The baby who depended on me. The baby who needed me.  I’d read one more book. I’d kiss you 1,000 times more before laying you down. But this is apart of life and you growing. Growing into being your very own -you. Learning and sharing your own stories so that at dinner, you’re not making up tales to try to keep up with your brother. You will now have your very own, real life memories. You will make friends and learn to read. You’ll dance and create super cool things that we’ll proudly display around the house. And they will be yours! Made from the perfect, beautiful Savannah Marie.

And you will fly. Just as you did when you learned to walk. Just as you did when you learned your first words. Here is your next step. And you will be GREAT.

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Love you…Our hearts are one… forever and for always, my girl!

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xoxoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When actions speak louder then words…

It has been an insanely long time since I have shared a personal post.

My blog was once a place where I weaved personal stories and pictures. I’d hit the ” publish” button and it provided this magical outlet to express myself, all while documenting special-everyday happenings in our lives. This soon progressed into a photography hobby –turned business, turned being crazy busy… and gone were my ramblings and sweet pictures of my babies, our life, and documentation of every little thing we love.

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Life got the best of me. If I’m being honest. 

What was once a passion turned into a job that took priority and blog posts became a fogged memory.

And just when you think you have the ‘ bull by its horns ‘ life has an ironic way of showing you that sometimes, you are anything but in control. 

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Our very big “surprise ” baby made her debut into this world this past February and our lives have been moving full speed ahead into the future.

2015-09-02_00032015-09-02_00042015-09-02_0005Baseball games. Dance recitals. Teething. Endless amounts of diapers. Afternoon swim sessions. Brother and sister fights that drive me absolutely bat shit crazy. Yes, I said shit.

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2015-09-02_00072015-09-02_0008Messy floors that get cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, all to get dirty again. I’m constantly repeating in my head that fun quote you see floating around on social media and pinterest ” Dirty house, happy kids… blah blah blah ”

Barking dogs. Baby learning to wave. Baby loving being dunked into the water. Baby growing, fast.

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And vacations… all not being shared.

So. Here I am. Kids swimming. Music on. Baby on lap.

Writing. And placing specifically chosen images that bring me to a happy place.

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You see, back in my blogging days there was this unseen force that allowed me to see the good in the madness of the day. It always reminded me that these everyday -Mommy adventures that I get overwhelmed with, are gone just as quickly as they surface.

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In moments of feeling like I’m going to loose my mind because of the endless mounds of laundry and the floors that continuously get dirty over and over and over and over again, the fights and long days of work, being exhausted from work, baby not sleeping… It’s easy to forget I am first Mommy to these perfect three babies who know I love them. But it’s so important to teach our kids and show those around us that actions speak louder then words. Instead of becoming lost in the everyday routines of breakfast, laundry, reading the same favorite book – again, lunch, emails, laundry, swimming session, on and on… I am now resurfacing my blogging skills and I’m going to be in awe of it all.

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Fitting all of the days madness is simply like putting a square peg in a round hole.

At times, it feels even unreachable. Impossible.

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But in this space, I will open up my Mommy-heart again.

I will make an extreme effort to setting aside daily chores and checklists and go back to the most important checklist in my entire universe.

Have I made these people happy today?

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2015-09-02_0021Have I taken enough pictures, today?

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2015-09-02_0019Have I told them how special they are, today?

2015-09-02_0009More importantly, have I made them feel special… today?

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The memories we no longer see or touch are those that are embedded deep in our hearts. But all to often it’s easy forget that these people are growing, changing, evolving each and every day.

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To write about it.

To capture it. 

To share it.

xoxo

 

 

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