Chicken Sausage Kebabs + Roasted Cauliflower

My Daughter and I- Chicken Sausage Kebabs + Roasted Cauliflower

So I mentioned awhile back that we were eating a bit differently lately. While I feel like I’m mostly healthy eater, I enjoy pizza, pasta and bread often! And don’t even get me started on beer!

The gym where Jordan and I work out offers these weight loss challenges on a regular basis and even though I’ve worked out there for almost three years, I’ve never taken part in one – until now. However, I didn’t do it to lose a bunch of weight. I did it to see if I could actually do it, and also to try something new with my eating. I went through a difficult period of time where I was bedridden due to chronic pain issues. After months on pain meds and more tests and doctor appointments then I care to recall, I was still in pain and my liver was damaged due to the meds. After months of pain, tests and meds; one doctor suggested that I might have an autoimmune disease. By then I was so over doctors and I decided to do something different. I started moving more – moving even though I was in agony, and you know what? It worked! I’m off all meds and feeling really well. I remember about four years ago going to my first stand up paddle board class and crying because I was able to do it. It was such a turning point for me. I started walking slowly around our house, and then eventually adding more distance and speed and after almost a year of that I got up the nerve to join a boot camp for one month on a Groupon. I was weak and so afraid to get hurt, but I kept going. It’s been the best thing for me. I love it and I feel like it has made such a huge difference in my overall health.

Over the past several months I have really increased my training. I still go to boot camp four mornings a week but I started incorporating yoga once or twice a week along with some serious hikes. Jordan and I are heading out on the JMT in July and I needed to get trail ready. We did a portion of the JMT last summer, but our goal this year is to do the whole thing. So I needed to get myself ready. One of the ways I am doing it it is by eating as healthy as I possibly can – fueling my body well for all the hard workouts. We cut all processed sugar, flour, grains, pasta, beans etc. I was a little worried if I’d be able to do it, but it was easier than I thought and the results have been amazing. I feel so much better. I don’t have the stomach aches that I had before, my energy level is higher and I’m drinking less coffee. My pain levels are much lower too. The six week challenge ends this week, but I plan to keep up a lot of the dietary changes. I will still eat pasta, bread and pizza – but just not as often as I did before the challenge.

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So with all of that said – here is a recipe I made the other day to go along with our new way of eating. We roast a lot of veggies, eat a lot of salads and grill fish and chicken. But I got it in my brain that I wanted to make kebabs but with sausage pieces. I found some amazing and delicious chicken sausages at Costco that were organic, gluten free and nitrite free. They were flavored with spinach and red peppers and were delicious.

Chicken Sausage Kebabs
1 bell pepper (any color), cut into 1″ pieces
1 red onion, cut into large pieces
1 package sausage of your choice

Thread the chicken, peppers, and onions onto water soaked wooden skewers. Spray lightly with olive oil or coconut oil spray and grill until everything is heated and has a bit of grill marks on it.

You can add any veggies you like such as squash, mushrooms etc. Because the sausage is precooked, this meal just takes minutes to heat on the grill.

Roasted Cauliflower

You can make this recipe with almost any veggie – it is definitely a favorite around here. I have made a yummy combination of cauliflower and broccoli before and we also follow this basic recipe when roasting asparagus, Brussels sprouts and even butternut squash.

I started the cauliflower first and got it roasting so everything would be ready at the same time.

1 head cauliflower, cut into chunks.
Minced garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Creole seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 425* and put the oven rack on the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put washed, cut veggies on tray. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle on the garlic, seasonings of your choice, grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to cover and stick into a preheated oven. Stir veggies after about 10 minutes and keep checking on them. You want them to brown up a bit – but don’t over cook them. I usually cook mine for about 20 minutes.

 

Cindy

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Mini Banana Cream Pies

My Daughter and I- Mini Banana Cream Pies

Quite a while back, we posted our famous Faux Banana Cream Pie and it’s still one of our all-time favorites. It’s the perfect combination of easy and totally delicious. Not only is it a favorite in our family, it’s also one of our more requested desserts for bringing to potlucks and events.

We had a friend’s bridal shower a few weekends ago, and the hostess asked us to make banana cream pie. For a fun twist, we decided to make them single serving, displayed in little mason jars. Even though serving the dessert in jars made prep a bit more time-consuming, the end result was so fun! It was such a cute and perfect for the bridal shower.

My Daughter and I- Mini Banana Cream Pies 1

Mini Banana Cream Pies

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 packages, crushed in food processor)
2 T sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 bananas, sliced
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened (I use low fat)
2 packages instant vanilla pudding, 4 serving size
3 1/2 cups milk ( I use 1%)
1 8 ounce tub Cool Whip, thawed

Melt butter, and mix with the crushed graham crackers and sugar. Mix well, and then press into the bottom of the mason jars. I used a cookie scoop to measure and press the crust down into the jars. Arrange sliced bananas on top of crust. Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth, gradually beat in milk and pudding mixes. Beat until well blended – but don’t worry if you see some cream cheese globs, it’s fine. Spread pudding mixture over the banana slices. Spread Cool Whip over pudding. Refrigerate 3 hours or until ready to serve. It’s good the next day, but after a couple days the bananas start getting sort of funky, so eat it for breakfast!

Cindy & Jordan 

Happy 3rd Birthday Callie!

doggie biscuits 1 edited

Whew! Long time no see, huh? It seems like every time things start getting busy, blogging flies out the window. Hopefully I’ll be better about posting consistently because we missed you guys!

Wednesday was our sweet Callie’s third birthday!

callie's b-day 3It’s crazy to think that this was taken nearly three years ago- the majority of the time, she still acts like the adorable little puppy in the photo above.

Last year around this same time, we made Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats as a celebratory treat for Callie’s second birthday, and we thought we’d repost that same recipe now. The funny thing is we normally aren’t the type to make a big deal out of pet’s birthday’s- no cake or presents around here that’s for sure. But these doggie treats are too fun to pass up. Plus, having some leftover canned pumpkin lying around this time of year is a given, so this recipe is perfect for using it up.

doggie biscuits 4

 

Clearly, Callie loved her treats! (This is her “please, please, please! say that it’s okay for me to eat it” face :))

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats
2 1/2 cups flour, I used all purpose but the recipe recommended whole wheat
2 eggs
3 T peanut butter, I used chunky
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350*.

Put all ingredients together in bowl and mix well. I used my KitchenAid mixer. If you need a bit more moisture add water to the mixture one tablespoon at a time. The dough should be pretty dry, so don’t add too much water. I didn’t need to add any water. Once mixed, turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 to 1/2″ thickness. Cut out to desired shape. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for a total of 40 to 50 minutes. I turned the cookies halfway through the cooking time. Keep in an airtight container.

Jordan 

 

Coffee & Coconut Oil Body Scrub

My Daughter and I- Coffee and Coconut Oil Body Scrub

Ahhhhh… coffee. I love everything about it: the taste, the heat and, of course, the smell. Using coffee grounds in a body scrub may seem a bit strange, but it exfoliates skin well, and the smell is to die for. Also, because the coffee is packed with antioxidants, it’s a great anti-inflammatory, and the caffeine also makes your skin feel softer and firmer.

I’ve made coffee body scrub before (here’s the original post), but I used olive oil in the recipe. We had a jar of coconut oil floating around in our pantry, so this time, I found a recipe that included coconut oil instead. The coconut oil is a lot more moisturizing then the olive oil, so you probably won’t need to put lotion on after you shower.

My Daughter and I- Coffee and Coconut Oil Body Scrub 2

 

Coffee & Coconut Oil Body Scrub

3/4 cup coffee grounds (Used or fresh. Coarser coffee grounds seem best, but anything works)

1/2 brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil (or olive oil)

1 tsp. cinnamon

 

Mix all ingredients well and store in airtight container.

 

Here’s the original recipe (I made quite a few modifications.)

 

Jordan

 

Yes, I know that my hair is pink

I’ve been dying my hair for about a year now- mostly it’s been a dark red that eventually fades into a slightly more natural looking orange-ish brown. My  hair was also a more purple red at one point and then most recently, I dyed my hair a bright purple-y pink. It’s way brighter than anything I’d tried before and it’s been an interesting experience, that’s for sure. I expected surprise from my friends, and knew that there would be a few who weren’t a fan of the bright color.

What I wasn’t expecting were the constant (and not very positive) comments from people I didn’t even know. When the first words from a newly introduced stranger are, “Wow. You have very red hair”, it tends to throw me. If someone had really long legs, or had crooked teeth, you wouldn’t dream of commenting on it, especially when you don’t even know the person. But somehow, that doesn’t apply when the unusual feature is on purpose; like dyed hair, or tattoos, or piercings, or unusual clothing decisions. Those sort of choices become free game for discussion, and too often, judgement.

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^^^The hair dye I used- Manic Panic’s Hot Hot Pink. Keep an eye out for a post in the near future talking about what I thought of Manic Panic’s dye.

Don’t get me wrong- I’ve had a ton of positive feedback- the majority of the people actually do seem to like my hair. If nothing else, they think it’s fun for a short period of time. In fact, it’s started some interesting conversations with complete strangers who I would have never talked to otherwise. Like the gal at Costco who I talked to for 10 minutes just because she asked about my hair. It seems to be a good ice-breaker 😉 And I really do love to hear people’s thoughts about my hair color- it’s interesting to see the variety of opinions.

The comments and the strange looks I get have begun to open my eyes to how judgmental I myself can be. I see someone who looks a certain way, and I immediately make a snap judgement of their character and personality. I always knew that wasn’t a fair or accurate representation of anyone, but until I was in their shoes, I didn’t realize how annoying it can be. None of the comments I’ve received are downright rude, or mean, but they still hurt- knowing that the only thing someone knows me as is “the girl with the purple hair” is a strange experience.

The qualification of, “You can take her word for it. She’s actually a stand-up person, despite her hair”, was one of the more shocking things I heard in regards to my appearance. It made me realize that every time we do something to our bodies, or wear certain clothing, we are directly influencing how others perceive us.

All in all, I just want to be better about giving people the benefit of the doubt. I need to stop judging people by their appearance, or by their actions. I need to wait until I have more information about a person before I decide what I think of them.

Like I said, having a bright hair color has been interesting. Despite the sometimes negative responses, I’m so glad I did it, and hope that I’ll  to continue to have fun, unnatural hair colors. I wonder what people will think about rainbow hair? 😉

Jordan