Peanut Butter Protein Balls & An Announcement

Yikes! No blog posts in over a month! I am feigning shock because lets be honest, this happens every summer (insert emoji with the grimmacing face here). Life is always busy but it seems to get infinitely busier when the weather is warm and despite school being out, I always seem to find myself with less ‘free’ time than ever. One of my goals for the coming year is going to be getting serious about practicing the art of saying “no”. That and more organization. Always more organization 😉

So why don’t we begin with a life update. Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to over the past month, besides not writing blog posts of course: In June, school ended, I put on a yearly event for the non-profit I work with (our biggest yet!), we attended two out of town weddings, Robert and I celebrated our three year anniversary with a fancy dinner out and a weekend getaway to Sea Island, Ga. (I hope to recap that little trip here soon) AND our favorite aunt and uncle officially moved to Hilton Head (Welcome Vanessa and John)!

John and Vanessa

In July, my whole family visited for the 4th, Robert’s whole family visited for a party at his aunts, we moved a LOT of furniture around (our house, friends houses, families houses…and by we I mean Robert), we hosted 3 dinner parties, had two sets of friends come stay for the weekend and a surprise visit from my grandparents. And that’s just the fun stuff!

4th

So now it is officially August and I am trying to get back on track, with blogging and with life in general, for now.

I say for now because there is still one big change that has added to life’s ‘busy-ness’ that I’ve yet to mention; as of this week I am officially 4 months pregnant.

Since discovering we were expecting again I have experienced a whole range of emotions; excitement, terror, awe, immense worry, sweet relief, an odd sense of guilt, pure unadulterated joy. You name it, I’ve experienced it at one time or another over the last few months. Losing a baby, especially your first pregnancy, changes your experience, or at least it did for me. Despite my best efforts, I worried through the first 11 weeks. I hoped that passing the point which we got to with our last pregnancy would calm my fears, and in a way it did, but I’d be lying if I said the worry didn’t creep back in…daily. Over the last few weeks, thanks to the passage of time, a finally visible baby bump and some scriptural words of wisdom I feel like I am finally turning a corner. I’m not yet at the point of visualizing a nursery, but I have begun to say, “when the baby comes” instead of ‘if’ the baby comes. It is both a scary and exciting time, and more than anything I am very, very happy.

ingredients

I am also very hungry. I typically have a hearty appetite but being A. pregnant and B. home for summer exacerbates it immensely. I tend to eat more if the food is close at hand so when I have access to my fridge all day long instead of only before and after work, I find myself opening it frequently. I consider myself to be a generally healthy eater, but if I don’t have something quick and healthy to grab when a hunger pang strikes, I have been known to substitute with a few bites of ice cream. Also don’t ask me to define “a few” when it comes to ice cream. I mean really.

Enter peanut butter protein balls. These perfectly fit the bill for quick and easy. They are also equally as tasty and definitely a lot better for you than ice cream. I got this particular recipe from a friend but as with any “ball” recipe, it is endlessly customizable. Sometimes I add coconut, or cinnamon, or whatever else I have on hand that will mix in well. So feel free to swap ingredients in and out as you see fit.

So with that, I leave you with these final thoughts: I’m going to try to start blogging more regularly again (and re-claiming some ‘free’ time while I still can), I hope you enjoy these protein balls and if you are the praying sort (or even just the finger crossing sort), say one for our little one ❤

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Ingredients:

1 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (I actually use almond butter so any nut butter works)

1/2 Cup Ground Flaxseed

1/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1/3 Cup Honey

1 tsp Vanilla

Optional: chopped nuts, shredded unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, almond extract, etc.

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together thoroughly. I find it easiest to add the chocolate chips and any other chunky mix-ins last and fold them in.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  3. Roll into 1-1.5 inch balls. Keep refrigerated in an air tight container and enjoy at will! They will keep for at least a month in the fridge but I doubt yours will last that long 😉

 

Beef Tacos with Radish and Avocado

I know Taco Tuesday is all the rage and I love alliterations more than the average bear but today it’s Taco Monday. Literally, we’re meeting friends out for Mexican food tonight.

Robert and I eat a lot of Mexican. It is hands down our go to when we want to eat out during the work week. It’s fast, cheap and delicious. Have you ever noticed how all cheap Mexican restaurants have the same menu. And I don’t just mean in the sense that the food is all the same, although that is pretty accurate too. I think most Mexican dishes are the same 10 ingredients just rearranged differently, but I mean they literally have the EXACT same menus. The dishes are called the same thing, the pictures are the same, they even have the same typos! The only change is the name of the restaurant on the front. I’ve noticed this in TN too but we frequent three Mexican restaurants in Hilton Head/Bluffton and they all have the exact same menu, this amuses me to no end every time we eat. Where do these menus come from? Is there a company who makes generic Mexican food menus and literally every restaurant at a certain price point uses them? When you open a Mexican restaurant do you just order the menus first and then decide your cooks will make whatever is on them? Such a mystery.

Taco Ingredients

As much as we love to go out for Mexican, I rarely make anything Mexican at home. That changed a few weeks ago when I discovered the unique and tasty pairing that is radish, avocado and ground beef. I know, I know, radishes? Sounds so weird but tastes oh so right, trust me. You may be wondering how I stumbled upon this deliciousness and of course I want to give credit where credit is due and the answer to that is Hello Fresh.

Continue reading

Lemon Dill Chicken Orzo Soup

I am going through a soup season in life right now. I have always been partial to soup but lately I have really been craving warmth. Fuzzy slippers, flannel pants, seat heaters, you name it. I’ve never been big on hot tubs (aesthetically or hygienically) but I’ve recently found myself day dreaming about them on more than one occasion. This can maybe be attributed to the fact that after replacing our hot water heater upon moving in, our shower, much to my dismay, just doesn’t get very hot 😦 Is there anything worse than a ‘warm’ shower? The answer to this is of course yes, there are about a million worse things and this is a total first world problem…I know…. but when I’m standing under that less-than-hot spray, the burn your feet off jacuzzi day dreams come on STRONG.

Veggies

So, if I can’t have a hot shower, at least I can have hot soup, right? Or perhaps I can use the hot soup to bribe my husband into calling the plumber again. You reading this babe? I think I’m on to something.

This soup is loosely based on a recipe my mom clipped out of the newspaper and became obsessed with a few years back. Hers was delicious, but I think mine is heartier. If you aren’t into orzo you could use rice (or pearl cous cous) and it would still be equally as yummy. The feta is also optional but adds a little something something I would hate to see go.

Soup with Feta
Beautiful? No. Delicious? Yes.

Continue reading

Slow Saturday Breakfast: Creamed Eggs on Toast

After a pretty heavy last post, let’s get back to something lighter…at least in tone, maybe not so much in calories. Most of my breakfasts tend to be on the healthier side, oatmeal, egg and veggie scrambles, protein pancakes, the occasional green smoothie, BUT balance is important and occasionally you have to indulge. Robert’s special breakfasts are usually of the french toast variety, but I tend towards the savory side of life to start my day. This recipe is a favorite, partly because it’s delicious and partly because it’s inextricably linked to two of my favorite people; my grandparents, otherwise known as Nana and Papa.

nana-and-papa
My grandparents on their wedding day ❤

Grandparents are literally the best, especially mine. My childhood is full of wonderful memories of time and summers spent with them and even in my teen years, when we lived 9 hours away from them, they never hesitated to jump in the car and make the drive to be with us. They were always there for the big things; birthdays, graduations, surgeries and the seemingly insignificant, like seeing us get ready for high school prom. When we went through the miscarriage they drove 6 hours just to give me a hug and take me out to lunch ❤ Like I said, the best.

ingredients

When we go to visit my grandparents there is no shortage of good food for any meal, but my grandmother always makes creamed eggs on toast for breakfast at least once during our stay. She told me it was one of the very first things she learned how to make in Home Ec class when she was in high school. I remember exactly nothing that I learned in my high school Home Ec class other than never put dish soap in a dishwasher. One of my group members made that unfortunate error and we all had to come to Saturday school for flooding the classroom.

Continue reading

Maine! And Homemade Seafood Stock

It’s Wednesday! Hooray!

Ok, so Wednesday’s aren’t always the most exciting, BUT this one is pretty great. In just a few hours I’m flying to Maine for a long weekend with my college roommates Anna and Michelle!

red-hot-chili-peppers
Probably the most recent picture I have of just the three of us! Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in 2012!

We have been trying to plan a reunion/girls trip for at least two years so the fact that it is finally happening is pretty exciting. The fact that we are going to Maine, all as first timers, is also pretty exciting. We are flying into Portland, spending the night and then driving up to Bar Harbor for the remainder of our trip. We have a rough itinerary but would welcome any suggestions! I’m ready to eat all the lobster rolls and Maine blueberry pancakes my little heart can handle!

Segue time…. speaking of lobster rolls and fresh Maine seafood, how about a recipe for homemade seafood stock?

ingredients

So a few weeks ago, the beautiful island we call home was the unfortunate landing locale for Hurricane Matthew. The governor called for a mandatory evacuation, which we reluctantly followed, and it was a little terrifying  quite an adventure.

tree
Robert cutting the tree off of our house and simultaneously giving me a heart attack

Robert, his parents, Renly and I all evacuated to our Aunt Teen’s house which is just off the island. She had a generator (lifesaver) and welcomed us and all three dogs into her home. After 4 days together with no power/AC or phone service, she deserves a medal!

hurricane-team
The whole gang! Before we lost power…

Now, this was my first hurricane evacuation, and packing the morning before we left was nerve wracking. Its amazing how little most of your stuff actually means to you in a situation like that. My bag basically consisted of comfy yoga pants, plenty of underwear and our wedding and travel albums. It took me all of 5 seconds to throw together and then it was time to worry about the important stuff: Food.

I packed all the non-perishables we had in the pantry and then made a few careful selections from the freezer knowing that we would probably lose power and all of our food (which we did). *side note: food gone bad was a VERY small price to pay compared to others who had extensive damage to their homes.

Our careful selections: Air-dried sausage that my grandparents bring us and I use sparingly because it is the best sausage ever; a bag of boiled peanuts (Robert’s choice) and last but certainly not least, several pounds of shrimp Robert caught this summer that we were saving for a special occasion. No special occasion like a hurricane party eh?

shrimp-shells
A small portion of our bounty

Continue reading