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Showing posts from February, 2014

Types of Facebook "Friends"

Hey guys! If real world relationships weren't complicated enough, now the world of Facebook has made things even more complicated. YAY. I spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook and how it's emergence in 2004 has completely changed the way we interact with people. I was about to say "the way we interact with loved ones" but then I realized that I have approximately 600 friends on there, and this is after a major "friend" deletion, and many of these people I do not love. (Some I do, so don't get your feelings hurt, people.)

Thus, the topic of this post. I have, several times, attempted to widdle down this friends list. But... it gets complicated. I have issues. A friend deletion is serious business. What if you see them somewhere? Awkward. And there are so many types of Facebook friends, and each plays a role, a purpose if you will, in the world of Facebook.


Family. Duh. Parents. Sisters, brothers, cousins. Aunt, uncles. Maybe nephews and nieces, depe…

Why I Love Erin Condren Daily Planners

I am an incredibly Type A, who loves to-do lists, calendars, stickers, highlighters, pretty pens, sticky notes, school supplies, notepads, binders.... my heart is fluttering to the thought of ALL of it!

A couple of years back, one of my dear friends Amy (who shares my love of all things organization) gave me an Erin Condren life planner. Not only was it personalized with my name and a picture of my then-boyfriend/now-husband and myself on the front, but it was jam packed with things to help me organize my day-to-day life.

Among the things I like about it, other than the amazing colors and themes offered, is there are several add-ons that really sing to women who led busy ass lives (for lack of better words). You can get stickers for appointments; you can add picture stickers of friends; you can add a notepad that sticks to the front or the back for your daily to-do list. You can even add those pretty colored pens that look so pretty when you write with them.

Anyway, I finally got on t…

Deconstructed Tomato Salad

Hi! My name is Tara, and I watch too many cooking shows. Apparently not enough though, because I'm fairly certain that the title of this recipe is false advertisement. Really I created a tomato salad to go with dinner the other night, and in doing so, I realized that many of the ingredients I used where also what we used to make our delicious salsa... so hence the term "deconstructed" came into play.

Anyway, it's delicious and fresh, so you shouldn't care! It is also easy to make, so that is a plus as well.

So, this is super simple. You are going to grab these items:

- 2-3 plum tomatoes
(I like these because they are firm and hold up well when you dice them up. Also minimal tomato guts in these.)

- 1/2 large white onion

- 1-2 jalapenos
(cored or not cored, depending on your preference of heat, I left mine uncored because we like it hot.)

- 1/2 green bell pepper

- 1 garlic clove
(don't want it to be too garlic-y, so I left it at one)

- olive oil

- balsamic vin…

Citrus Brussel Sprouts

I am one of those weird people who LOVE brussel sprouts. Like, Tara-and-brussel-sprouts-sittin'-in-a tree-type love. So, for me to say this recipe is delicious doesn't necessarily say much, but trust me y'all... it's really good. 
Last week, I was really happy to see a decent selection and quality of produce at our local commissary. It is hit or miss with the produce section. They had beautiful brussel sprouts (somehow calling food beautiful makes me feel old), so I filled up a bag and decided to make them for dinner that night with these spicy chicken sweet peppers.
Instead of my go-to shredded brussel sprouts with pancetta and shallots, I decided to venture outside the box, and boy am I glad I did!! Ever since I made the caldo de pollo that called for lime juice at the end, I've had this obsession with lime juice. (Interesting fact: I also was obsessed with lime juice during my pregnancy with Beulah.) I just love how it brings this different flavor to foods and m…

Yummy Spicy Chicken Stuffed Sweet Peppers

These spicy chicken stuffed peppers are yummy and easy to make. I whipped them up in seriously 15 minutes. and I don't have skillz :)




Warning: This dish is *highly customizable* - I hope you don't mind. :)

What you will need:
- a food processor
- toothpicks
- 2 chicken breasts*
- 2 jalapenos*
- smoked chipotle tabasco sauce
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese*
- 20 sweet peppers

*the meat, pepper and cheese that you stuff with can be whatever you have on hand

1. Cook chicken breasts, and chop it up in the food processor to your ground consistency of choice.
2. Dump chicken into a stove top pan on low heat.
3. Put two jalapenos (I didn't seed or core mine because I like the heat) coarsely chopped into the food processor to chop more. Add jalapenos to the ground chicken in the pan.
4. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese.
5. Add 2-3 tablespoons of smoked chipotle tabasco sauce.
6. Heat up on pan and stir until cheese has melted and the mixture is all mixed up and conformable.
7. Preh…

5 Things to Do When Your Fat Pants Don't Fit

Let me just preface this post with this: I write you today from my couch, in my yoga pants, having just polished off some chips and salsa. My husband just snagged me a beer. So..... do what I say, and not as I do, right?? 

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with another military wife during a play date yesterday. As we discussed the status of our waistlines, I was inspired (only momentarily) to do something about it! We live in the suburbs of Chicago, and let me tell you guys.... The hibernation issue is REAL. All I want to do, day by day, is eat my weight in chili covered in cheese, definitely drink some beer, and maybe also have some chocolate, then promptly go to sleep.

When it is subzero temperatures and the millionth day of snow in the forecast, what else do you have to look forward to in life besides eating something really comforting and bad for you? (The answer is nothing; nothing else matters.)

So, here are a couple of things you can do to guarantee some movement …

What to Do When Your Baby is Choking

I almost didn't write on this topic -- of infant choking--, as it sheds some light on not-my-proudest parent moment. But I decided to hell with that, because what parent out there is perfect? None. And shedding some light on this could help out another parent big time.

Let me preface this with: Boo is fine. Happy as a clam and completely unaffected. She was not choking, but she could have choked, hence my freak out.

So, my little Boo is at the equally cute and terrifying stage of putting EVERYTHING in her mouth. Tonight at dinner we had a bit of a scare when she started gagging on what appeared to be a small piece of paper in her mouth. She was not choking, but it scared the pants off me.

What I did (at lightning speed) was finger swipe her mouth to see what was in it (shouldn't have done that, even though it ended up ok). I then yanked her out of her highchair, at which point she gagged again and spit the chewed up paper piece out of her mouth. She was gagging because somethi…

Tips to Get 'em Talking - Facilitating Communication with Your Toddler

One of the many hats I wear is that of a speech-language pathologist. I have worked in what seems like every facet of my profession - from babies to senior citizens, from hospitals, to homes, to schools, to nursing homes, to rehab facilities.

When we moved to Illinois, I found myself in one niche of my job that I really enjoy - doing speech therapy in Early Intervention for the state of Illinois' 0-3 program. Maybe not every day, but very often I have friends or even people I have just met ask me questions about how to facilitate communication in a little person in their life.

So I decided to write up my most common suggestions that I give to parents and caretakers of our little people. Each kiddo is different, so this obviously isn't an individualized plan, but a lot of these strategies can be applied to many children in many scenarios.



Tips to Get 'Em Talking Facilitating Communication with Your Toddler 
1. Give choices. All day, every day. Give choices! "Do you want…

Jeans.

Absolute truth.  Might sound vain, but wouldn't every woman be a little happier if at least she didn't feel like her jeans doubled as a sausage casing?  Just sayin'.  Happy Sunday!

Tips on Survival with a Sick Baby

Any parent can tell you that life can be turned upside by a sick child. Sleepless nights, lots of crying (you and the baby!), routines are thrown out the window... it's just for the birds. And to make it even worse, you as a parent are playing a guessing game of what is ailing your child specifically in some instances.

So, I don't know about y'all, but this winter season has been a real fun one for Boo. We have had 4 ear infections, a stomach bug, and RSV. I don't even know how to quantify the runny noses, because it has been constant. I know that I am lucky that she is otherwise healthy, so I will go knock on a million pieces of wood now.

I have learned from experience (at least 5 trips to the emergency room and 2 hospital stays unfortunately) that earaches/throw up/fever hits in the middle of the night 9 out of 10 times, and at least the first time, you are GROSSLY unprepared. I hope this blog post can change the second part for some new parents out there.

(Editor…

Taking Control of your Table - Dinnertime Questions

Is it just me or is dinner time a traditionally stressful time of day during the week?

A lot of times during dinner I feel like I do sometimes on Sunday when I'm sitting at church thinking about what we are going to eat at lunch (sorry it's true sometimes) - I'm not present! I am physically, but mentally I am totally somewhere else. During dinner, I'm usually thinking about all the things I wanted to get done before dinner so I could relax after dinner, but I didn't get them done, so I can't relax. I CAN'T RELAX!!!!! Ok, so that is a little dramatic, but it's kind of true.

So, tonight we tried something different at dinner. I asked my sweet, sweet husband some questions. Not just the regular "How was your day?" because I am pretty sure I know the answer to that one. :)

I asked these four questions --- in an effort to be more present and more involved. And it worked. I felt very present and had a wonderful conversation with Chef Husband (who m…

Caldo de Pollo - Paleo Style

Caldo de Pollo is a delicious dish that is absolutely perfect for a cold, wintery day like today has been in Chicago. It is a basic chicken soup, but let me tell y'all - it is far from basic-tasting!!

Other than a considerable amount of prep work because of cutting up all the vegetables, this is a relatively easy one pot recipe (which translates to a quick clean up - extra points given there!).

Traditional caldo de pollo is served with rice, but my version is completely paleo. Let me tell you that I honestly didn't miss a grain of rice one bit.

Without further adieu, I present the yummy recipe for paleo-style caldo de pollo!

Ingredients for soup:
- about 2 lbs worth of chicken (I used organic skinless, boneless breast tender strips)
- 3 liters of water
- 7 chicken bouillon cubes (opt for low-sodium for healthier option)
- 3 zucchinis
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 bunch of celery
- 4-5 carrots
- a package of sliced mushrooms
- 1 floret of broccoli
- 2-3 garlic cloves whole
- salt and …

Mommy Time Management

Let's be real, y'all. I'm one missed nap time away from a mental breakdown. I guess that it just comes with the territory of being a new mom. Which, in the big scheme of things, I'm still very new - 7 months new, at this whole "mom" thing. 
It seems as though, overnight, laundry has tripled and the hours in the day have reduced by at least half. It continues to boggle my mind as to how such a wee little person can create so much extra work!


So - here are a couple of things I have observed/learned about time management as a mom.

1. The days of leisurely nap time and/or reading a magazine are OVER. Like, way over, like "what's that?" over.

2. Your husband or child asking you if something is done that is, in fact, yet to be accomplished is perfectly deserving of a death stare.

3. The amount of things that you can get done in a 2-hour nap (of your child) is deserving of an Olympic gold medal.

4. People who say that being a mom OR, even more so, a s…

Baby Swag: Hunting Inspired Outfit

Although we are temporarily relocated to arctic tundra of Chicago, we are from Texas - loud and proud! What's cuter than a baby in pink hunting camo? (Hint: answer is nothing.)

I put together this little girl hunting outfit, centering my outfit decisions for Boo around this RealTree Pink baby camo hoodie that Boo's grandaddy and bamom got her for Christmas.

I paired the jacket with Carter's pink leggings , a staple in Boo's wardrobe. We have a ton of leggings in a variety of colors. I prefer leggings to loose pants because it's cold here and I think these leggings keep her more warm.

I rounded out the outfit with these super cute Baby UGGS Bixbee (affiliate link), that I purchased with my mom at a store in Santa Fe -- they are so super soft and cuddly.

Boo has crazy long hair that falls in her face, so baby hair clips are a necessity with every outfit. I found these baby flower hair clips (affiliate link) that are a variation on the ribbon bow we see so often.

I l…

Lung Leavin' Day 2014 - What's YOUR fear?

One of the things that I love about blogging is the opportunity to interact with my friends and fellow bloggers. Because of my blog, a fellow blogger Heather Von St. James reached out to me with a special request -- to spread the word about a day very special to her, a day that forever changed her life. After reading her story, it resonated with me. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma when she was around my age, having just given birth to a sweet baby girl.

One important thing cancer taught Heather is the importance of acknowledging these apprehensions that prevent us from living life to the fullest extent. 

8 years ago on February 2, Heather underwent a risky surgery to remove a lung... and it worked! She now celebrates her "Lung Leavin' Day" with her family, when each year they get together and write their fears onto plates and smash them into a bonfire.

I love Heather's approach to life and about verbalizing her fears and literally smashing them into a billion pie…

Paleo Bacon Bowls

So, I think we can all pretty much agree that bacon is awesome. So, when I saw these amazing bacon bowls (affiliate link), I knew that they had to be mine. Well, amazingly enough, my husband thought the same thing, and these bad boys ended up wrapped under our Christmas tree this year for ME! Yesssssssssssss.

So, this morning, Chef Husband did some culinary magic in the kitchen. Not only was this magic paleo, but it also looked awesome. So, the crowd appeal factor here is high, people.





Paleo Bacon Bowls
1. Start by putting your bacon bowls in the oven. We made 3 bacon bowls, and used 9 stripes of bacon (3 strips per bowl). The steps to crafting your bacon bowls are relatively easy, but even if you don't have a bacon bowl (affiliate link), you can also follow these instructions to make bacon bowls with an inverted muffin tin on Cave Girl Eats' blog here
2. While the bacon bowls are doing their thang, you can start crafting your bacon bowl filler. This is where you have the op…