Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 will be our year

 Wintery Ocean. It was rainy all but one day while we were there, but it was still so pretty! I love the ocean. 

So I'm super excited for the new year to start. Here's why...this year, I'm going to do the following (hopefully):

Get in remission with Lyme Disease
Get pregnant
Only eat gluten and sugar on birthday, easter, 4th of july, clay's birthday, thanksgiving, and christmas (except for after I get pregnant, no gluten/sugar until the baby is out)
Exercise lots!
Cook more
Grow a garden (just a small one)
Get a 3 month supply of food storage in my basement
Be a CPA!

Well, I know that looks like a lot...but really it's not. The first four are all kind of connected with my 2012 word "HEALTHY". Remember my 2011 word was "ATTITUDE"? Well I really think I stuck true to that cause I'm at the end of the year and my attitude is great! 

Clay's main resolution is to work out. I am so happy for that! My big change in feeling better started when I was able and determined to work out. He got this awesome weight bench for Christmas and a bunch of weights, so it'll be awesome.

The other thing I want to do more in 2012 is be more aware of others and more and reach out more. I feel like it's been so hard this past year to do that just cause I've been trying so hard to get better. This year, I will try and be more focused on others. 

I always pile on a lot for the new year, but I just can't help it. It's my clean slate start and something in me gets all revved up when the new year starts. 

I really am so excited for this year! Clay and I just KNOW it will be a good one.

My mom's Christmas Tree! So beautiful.

Christmas was great! Great presents, great company, so much fun and relaxation. LOVED it. Now today we get to go to Clay's parents and have a super fun time with them playing games, having a late Christmas (yay!) and eating some goods probably. I'm excited. Not to mention I haven't seen my sweet Dante yet! We got home at 2 am, so he just stayed at their house till we go over there today. Clay's still snoozin. 

Clay in his new hat and shirt! We were on our way to the aquarium. Something funny about Clay- never been to the Swamp exhibit before, and he was teaching us all about each of the animals/fishy things. He knew the most random things.

To end, 2011 has been a great year too. I'm so happy! Clay and I had a HELL of a 6 months there at the beginning. My word. Sometimes I forget how it was so poopy...but it was! We were both so tired, sick, and depressed. We wondered if we were ever going to get better. It was a rough uphill battle that we didn't understand fully. Our doctor told us to keep going, our family told us to keep going, and we have had so many people praying for us. We kept going...and some sort of change happened a few months ago. All of a sudden, we felt better. We were happier. We realized...holy smokes, this is working! I realized that I was super unhealthy and had just gotten used to it and forgotten what healthy actually felt like...cause once I felt better, I couldn't believe how good I felt! Clay too. We both have just made so many improvements we can't help but be grateful and happy. Clay actually said, "I can't wait to start my new pills"...which basically has NEVER been an attitude of his. Thank you, thank you, and thank you...for praying for us, boosting us up, and sending good things to us. We have had family members just surprise us with packages and family fasts and help in so many ways, I just don't know what we would've done without all of you. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. Even you strangers that have popped in here every so often. 

Life is good. Sooooooooo good. 

One last thing- I got to snuggle my sister's new baby a LOT this week. I think my heart has grown 3 sizes, just like the Grinch.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas! 

I have been eating way too many sweets. My grandma made basically enough for a candy store and said, "there's not too much of anything"....the amount of candy and sweets she brought fills an entire countertop. Plus some in the fridge (cheesecake...heavenly cheesecake). 

Dante's with his grandparents and aunt. That picture above is their doing :) He looks really happy about those antlers huh? 

Anyway, GREAT Christmas. Just you wait till you see the most gorgeous shoes I've ever seen in my life that Clay surprised me with! I keep putting them on my feet just to look at them. 

The ocean is beautiful, and my newest niece is beautiful too. Madison Danielle is just the sweetest thing...I keep saying, "I just love her"...or "She is so perfect". So inlove. 

Alrighty...time to make a shake and get some sort of nutrition in this body of mine. 

Oh- PS...our doc appt went really well. We are right on track, and Clay got the okay to go back to church! YES! It's been over a year since he's been. 

Hope everyone is having a happy time :) Already thinking about my new years resolutions.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sugar Free Gluten Free CINNAMIN ROLLS

Made these this morning...pretty tasty. For anyone interested, I replaced the flour the recipe called for with 1/2 my gluten free blend, and 1/2 sweet rice flour. Also, I used coconut sugar for the rolls, and agave for the filling and frosting. I'll post the recipe once it's perfected (which it ALMOST is!), it's just slightly more grainy than the average person would want. I totally ate two of these they are really quite good! But yeah, my whole goal here with these recipes is to make them so basically EVERYONE would enjoy them. Not just gluten/sugar free peeps like me. But seriously- if you want to step in a good direction when making normal cinnamon rolls...replace the sugar with coconut sugar, and make the frosting with agave! So much healthier than normal sugar and powdered sugar. And it tastes JUST as good. 1/3 cup agave + 2 tbs cinnamon for the filling.....1/2 block cream cheese + dash of vanilla + agave to taste for the frosting. I'm NOT even lying. The flavor/taste is JUST as good as any cinnamon roll I've ever had. I'm just perfecting the bread consistency to be less grainy :)

Need a quick present for someone you just haven't been able to figure out anything for? Look at last post.

Need a last minute Christmas Gift?

My co-worker is doing this as a gift for some of her good friends/neighbors. She got them each a frame, and printed each of these prints, and is putting them all one behind another in the frame for each person to have so they can rotate throughout the year! SUCH a fun gift. You can get them printed in 16x20, 11x14, 8x10, or even smaller if you really want! I print them as 16x20's for myself, and my coworker printed them as 11x14's for her friends.

Does this sound like something you want to do? Go to my etsy shop, and buy the digital files, and print each one for about 5 bucks at Costco or Sam's Club (or Walmart...wherever). You could have the present printed, put together, wrapped and under your tree by TONIGHT! So easy. If that's too much of a hassle and you want ME to print it, I can do that just need to order the prints SOON cause if I ship past Tuesday there's no way you'll get it by Christmas.

Want to see one of the prints in an actual house setting?
My sister Lizzie has all of my prints and just switches them out in that same frame.

Woohoo! Just thought I'd throw it out there incase anyone was in a bind for gifts. Also, I have some other stuff on there that if you order, I can get shipped out on Monday or Tuesday and priority mail gets there 2-3 days later. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Brownies

Say what?

Yeah...I have made MANY batches of brownies that were NAST-AY. These ones actually were GOOD!

Brownie Recipe

3/4 cup butter
1 3/8 cup cocoa
1 1/8 cup coconut sugar

Melt butter, and stir in cocoa and coconut sugar. Set aside.

3/4 cup of gluten free blend (see my favorite blend here)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Set aside.

1 cup coconut sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Mix coconut sugar, eggs, and vanilla for 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Slowly add flour mixture until combined.

Grease 8" square pan and pour batter in. Cook for 30-35 minutes in 350 degree oven. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

The mint frosting was kinda crazy. I just kinda made it up randomly and ended up putting way too much agave. So then I tried adding a bunch of stuff and didn't keep I'll have to try that again sometime to come up with a solid recipe. It basically consisted of butter, milk, agave, cream cheese, and some corn starch! :)

WARNING- These brownies are RICH. That's why I decided to put some mint frosting with it to lighten it up a bit. I had a small square and was like...WOAH. But they are pretty tasty! I am thinking I am gonna try and tweak this a bit to not be so so so rich. But, it is pretty darn good as is. BY FAR the BEST gluten free/sugar free brownie I've ever tasted. Clay even said this was the best textured brownie I've ever made- which says A LOT for gluten free/sugar free. Seriously, thats the mondo problem the texture is nast.

A note on my gluten free blend. These brownies? Though they don't include much flour...the flour that is in them contains lots of whole grains like sorghum, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat. These all have lots of nutritious values that say...white flour that you normally make brownies with doesn't! Also, coconut sugar has lots of health benefits. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc, and well as many b vitamins. So basically what I'm saying is...its pretty easy to convince yourself that these brownies are actually healthy ;)

If you don't want to go through the deal of all those could probably substitute in wheat flour. Don't know for sure though, as I haven't tried it. YUM!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A note on living sugar free

Okay guys. I am going to go a little silly here. But I just can't keep it in.

I have been sugar free and gluten free for almost 3 weeks now. And seriously? I just feel SO GOOD. My body feels clean, I have more energy, and here's the big one...I am HAPPIER.

I have heard people say that when they go off of sugar, they are happier. I have even read of people struggling with depression that went off of sugar...and suddenly they weren't depressed anymore (coming from a family with major depression type histories, I know this isn't the case for everyone. And I'm NOT advocating dropping sugar and then dropping meds. Consult your doc please.) Anyway...the point is. I just have been feeling REALLY happy lately. And the one common thing I can think of lately since I've been feeling happier is that I haven't had any sugar or gluten! I seriously believe in this. Sugar is POISON to your body. It's the truth. Your body is ROBBED of nutrition in order to digest it! Your body is also ROBBED of energy when you consume it. And I think the reason it can wear people down emotionally is...when we eat sugar, we get this short term boost. But it DOESN'T LAST. After your immediate emotional reaction, your body is overwhelmed with the sugar that is stealing nutrients...and then you lose energy and just feel bad.

I know, I know. Half of you are going to say, "Moderation in all things!" but...seriously? That is such a cop-out. I really admire you if you can seriously have like a couple cookies once a week or something. But I really think most of us can't do that in life. Anywho...I've kinda decided that I am only gonna partake of sugar/gluten on the holidays. I just feel too good to not do it!

Good news- I made gluten free, sugar free brownies tonight. With a mint frosting. And the crazy part...they are GOOD! I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow with some pics.

Tonight I did it again. I made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, made BROWNIES, cleaned the kitchen, worked on Christmas presents, and even ran an errand. Life is so good!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The best way to spread Christmas cheer....

Is dressing festive as the holiday draws near :)
I've been a bit obsessed with dressing all Christmasy lately. I love it! It makes me happy.

Well, I am so proud of myself. I worked, came home, made dinner, and...DID THE DISHES. All of that! Seriously, I'm celebrating. Not too long ago...I really couldn't handle that! I'm not exaggerating. Life is good.

Well, there are 6 presents under our tree!!! None of them are for me yet...(hint love). But I do have to say- its been so fun getting everyone's presents put together and stuff! I love gifting. However, I kinda go crazy like a psycho woman with gifts as well. I think of the perfect gift, LOVE IT, and then all of a sudden when its finished and everything...I have these majorly anxious feelings that the person will either HATE IT or already have something like it or think its stupid or whatever.

I have been off of sugar and gluten for over 2 weeks now! THAT is cause for celebration! I've gotta say... I feel good. My body feels clean inside. I like it.

That's all for now. Till next time :)

OH- PS...I read "Divergent"...and I really really liked it a LOT! It's so funny cause my sister Lizzie read it at the same time and she kinda hated it. But anyway- it's basically a dystopian theme that is really popular right now...society is supposedly perfect...even though its pretty messed up...rebels...some love...blah blah. I know I'm not selling it very well, but seriously- its a pretty good book!

Friday, December 9, 2011

I slept 12 hours

When was the last time that happened??!! I have no idea. Seriously. I am not much of a sleeper-inner. This morning it just felt so good. So I let myself just stay in bed till I felt ready, and it turned out that was at 11:30!!! I don't even feel like I've wasted my day. Cause I feel so good. I think I needed to catch up or something. But, on today's to-do list...I have plenty of things. I just don't know what I want to do...I kind of decided I don't want to pressure myself to get TONS done. It's too stressful and disappointing when I don't get everything done! Here's what I NEED to do:

Our bathroom
Chocolate pie
School work

Yep, Chocolate pie is on my need list. Did you know I haven't had sugar or gluten since November 27th? I am holding strong. The goal is set until Christmas Eve. However, I'm even starting to doubt that I even want to cheat then. Just cause I am feeling so great without that stuff in my body. I know that I definitely want some rolls though! We'll see. But I have a chocolate pie recipe that I'm going to make today that will be sure to blow your mind. Sugar free, and gluten free...and yummy? Yes. Yes. and Yes.

Oh, and before any of you say things like, "Wow that is really impressive if you can get all that done" or something...remember I don't have babies...its just me and Dante.

Well, I better get my shake- which by the way I added a HUGE amount of spinach to yesterday and it still tasted lovely. I just love that. Adding healthy deals to your food that you don't even notice a change in taste.

I will end on this note: I am so thankful for my body. I'm so thankful that I am not in worse shape than I am! Zumba was last night and I just love that place (besides the fact that I appear to be allergic to the middle school it's at...I always leave sneezing, with sometimes a swollen eye). There is a routine they do to the song "I'm a survivor" by Destiny's Child...and my friend always jokes, "it's your song!" cause I told her it's how I get my aggression out. The reason I said that is basically most of the song we are punching it out and crunching our abs and stuff. Anyway, now...its not so much aggression, but this will sound so I'm punching the air to pieces, with the words, "I'm a survivor, I'm not goin give up, I'm not goin stop, I'm goin work harder, I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I will survive, Keep on survivin" I kinda get this mindset like...look at what I'm doing with my body? I am beating this Lyme down, and I will survive! I told you it was cheesy. But seriously, it boosts my spirits every time. I just am intensely reminding myself that I can survive anything, including this danged Lyme Disease, and I'm working hard, and I will continue to work hard till it's out of my life. Yay for Zumba. And yay for my body, being capable and all.

Alright, time to get crackin on that list :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Saweet and Annoying things...

I got a poinsettia at work and they put this bow on it...and the poinsettia was pink. No no. Not attractive.

So guess what? Clay went to the chiropractor because he threw out his back when playing football during thanksgiving...and HOLY SMOKES. His lower back and hips are MESSED UP! It's so crazy cause it makes us so happy. Here's why...this past year both of us have made major improvements with our health since being treated for Lyme Disease...however, Clay's joint pain just seems to stick around no matter what! We started thinking that he would kinda just have that his whole was permanent damage or something. Well, all of a sudden this is all making sense because HELLO? His lower spine is twisted, AND curved, and his hips are in not straight like a bunch of other junk. So it kind of makes sense why his hips hurt ALL THE DAY LONG DAY. And haven't gotten better. Of course the Lyme probably contributed to it just cause you know...when your body is taxed and you aren't functioning well anyway, other things are bound to slack off his back. I dunno. Anyway- we are so freaking happy because he is going to go to the chiropractor and get adjusted over and over and over until its good as new. Can you believe it?! And this is bound to just make the Lyme treatment go better too, since his body wont be working so hard to make up for his bad alignment.

So I have this new dream and I'm totally motivated. I for REALS want to make a cookbook that is ONLY sugar free/gluten free treats. TREATS ONLY. There are lots of cookbooks out there that are gluten/sugar free but they are mostly meals. I saw one gluten/sugar free TREAT cookbook out there but I read that there aren't really any pictures that go with the recipes...which basically is not okay. So...this is my new dream. I think I could do it. I am crazy, because I'm really picky and gluten/sugar free treats are tough. But seriously? You probably don't realize this...but this could save so many people. I've been on Lyme forums and SO many people struggle like me with the diet...cause they love treats so much! And there are SO many gluten-free treat recipes...and there are SO many sugar-free recipes...but both? Not so common...especially yummy tasting ones. This would seriously help lots of people. Also, it'd help me! That's how I really was thinking about it originally cause I just feel like I am kinda stuck with this diet for life if I don't want Lyme babies. Which you know...I don't! So it's time to get some super sweet recipes that make it not so hard. We'll see how it goes. I just may end up compiling some recipes for myself...but I really would love to have a legit cookbook out of it. OH- and I plan on having pictures for every single recipe.

Did you know I'm taking online classes right now? They are so annoying. It's like...I have to do these random assignments that help my life in no way...I'm so annoyed.

That's pretty much it. So excited for the weekend. Hoping to get all my Christmas gifts done. We'll see....

Monday, December 5, 2011

New layout

After a ton of begging, clay redid my blog for me and I LOVE it! So pleased. Thank you my love. You are a genius of a man.

Got back to Zumba tonight. Boy do I feel good :)

New Skirt

So I found this sweet red velvet dress from a thrift store for a couple bucks....and immediately had a vision of this:

This is what it looked like at first:

PAHAHAH- Clay and I laugh our heads off everytime we see these pictures...depicting me as a giant.

Now it looks like this!

Inlove! I love it so much. One of my favorite skirts now. All I did was cut off how long I wanted it (just kept the hem it came with), and then I used a waist band from a pattern I had. Then I gathered the skirt part and attached it to the waist band! YES! So festive! You may not be able to tell, but I am wearing olive green tights in those pictures. I felt so Christmasy and happy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One of my fav breakfasts

Blueberry Smoothie

This is so easy, so healthy, so tasty!

Plain Greek Yogurt

That's it. Of course you could make it even more healthy by adding random stuff...but I have found that simple is key for me. 3 ingredients. Easy enough to make myself do it and not feel like its a big deal.

PS- Have you not hopped on the agave band wagon? Well...a word to the wise. It has been researched and found that xagave brand, is superior to all others. There are a lot of agave brands that are processed so much it's basically no different than corn bueno. Xagave (you can get this at Winco!), is the actual healthy version. If you don't know anything about agave, it's basically a really great alternative to sugar. Natural and guilt-free like. And I'm allowed to have it! The little Lyme buggers don't eat it like they eat sugar :)

PSS- Did you know about Greek Yogurt? How it's like...super high in protein? The first time you try it, it might be a little strange. It's got a different taste than regular yogurt. But now I think I may even prefer it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Deck the halls!

Well, my house is FINALLY decorated. I've never waited this long before! Seriously...I've just had the worst of luck lately. Lets start with a month ago...I had a week long HORRID cold. Quickly after that I THREW OUT MY BACK. A week later, STREP THROAT! I am just getting over that. Anywho, I am happy cause I put some spicy scent in the scentsy thing, decorated, and am finally done. I forgot how many decorations I have. And I bought more last year after Christmas! I seriously have never been more happy with my tree. I think its so gorgeous. I love Christmas decor!

Of course, I was in my Santa apron the whole time :)
Want to make one for yourself? Buy the pattern here. It's soooo easy to follow, and so festive!

I am pretty much inlove with garlands. I finally got lights on all of them this year. (They are basically in every location possible upstairs)

Interested in a Christmas Word Art Print?! I just made a new one.
Buy the digital file for $4, or I could send you an actual print for $15. Go here, if you are interested.

Well, I have so much to do. But I just couldn't do anything until I was all decorated. While sick and wishing I was dead (not kidding...I had like 103 degree temp and I just kept saying, 'this isn't fair')...I watched lots of ABC Family Christmas movies on netflix! There are a couple that were kinda silly. But I really loved 'Mrs. Miracle', 'Holiday in Handcuffs', and...this one wasn't ABC Family, but Santa Claus 2 was pretty cute. I don't think I've ever seen that one all the way through. One to skip would be 'Christmas Cupid', and maybe even 'Snowglobe'...that one was pretty silly :)

Till next time, have a good weekend!