healthy eating

and the detox starts now.

today marked the first day of my no sugar detox. and after a day of no sugar, i’m thinking i may have been a wee bit cocky when going into this whole thing.

you see, in my head, i am super healthy. i eat lots of whole foods, i broke myself of the coffee habit, and i exercise on a regular basis. i am convinced that i don’t eat a lot of sugar or processed food. until today. today, i learned that i really like crackers and things made from simple carbohydrates. and i learned that i don’t like being hungry. oh no i do not.

the detox isn’t actually as intense as it could be. i’m not doing some sort of crazy juice cleanse or a cayenne pepper smoothie crazy thing. it’s mostly a reboot of your diet to make you more aware of how much sugar you’re putting into your body, and it’s just made up of whole foods and lots of veggies and protein. but it’s still so hard!

detox beet salad

(photo c/o kali, mastermind of this detox)

my meals today consisted of the following:

breakfast: cold muesli with raspberries.

lunch: beet/carrot slaw salad, hard-boiled egg, 1/2 grapefruit with flaxseed meal.

dinner: salmon with spinach/onions and sweet potatoes.

i mean, not bad, not too different from what i normally eat, even fairly delicious. (but that lunch! do you see why i’m hungry? work makes me want to eat ALL THE CHEETOS and i can’t eat any of them!).

the other thing with this detox is that it requires a lot of cooking and food prep. and it takes so much time out of the day, i was actually a little surprised. not being able to throw a sandwich together for lunch takes a little more thought than what my menu is for this week (surprise, surprise). so if i’m a little quiet on the blog front this week, chances are it’s because i’m chopping vegetables in the kitchen, while trying to keep up with the normal household stuff.

here’s hoping i come out of the other end of this detox alive!

have any of you ever tried a detox of any kind before? how did it go? was it worth it?

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHEN I GO ALL HEALTH NUT ON YOU.

these days.

this week was simultaneously the fastest and the slowest week i’ve had in a LONG time. i’m pretty sure i woke up thinking it was friday at least three mornings out of the last five. so now that it’s here, i couldn’t be happier! we’ve got a fun weekend planned, with a wedding and a workshop and my baby sister is in town from school. so if the next 8 hours could go really fast, that’d be great. please and thank you!

this week, i want to introduce you to another one of my sponsors.

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stacie from happiness in bloom is just a darling person. she is so genuine and friendly and sweet, that you can’t help but want to read about her life with her sweet little dog and her guy down in florida. i personally am jealous of the fact that she lives in such a gorgeous place where it’s warm ALL THE TIME, but i don’t hold that against her at all. i’ve also been fangirling all over her little home with the front porch of my dreams…her blog’s got a little bit of everything, and i bet you’ll find something to fangirl over too.

Hey y’all! My name is Stacie and I blog over at Happiness In Bloom! In a nutshell my blog revolves around finding happiness and beauty in every day life. If you love laughing, a little sarcasm, and a positive perspective, come on over and hang out with me! I love meeting new people and can’t wait to meet you!

happinessinbloomyou can find stacie at her blog, happiness in bloom, and also on twitterbloglovin’, and instagram. head over to get a little dose of positivity and sunshine (and tell her that erin sent you).

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these days i’m…

eating oatmeal, oatmeal and more oatmeal. prepared for me by my husband every morning this week, because i haven’t been getting my butt out of bed early enough to make my own damn breakfast. and i’ve decided that oatmeal tastes better when someone else makes it for you.

making my first project from darby smart. this company is brilliant. you can order boxes full of everything you need for some incredible craft projects. you can order one project just for yourself if you’re feeling like you need some creative jumpstarting, or (and this is my favorite thing) you can order “girls night” boxes that have enough for you and some friends as a fun thing to do while drinking your wine at girls night. i’m participating in the “polish challenge” they’re throwing this month and just got my box…now i’m trying to get my creative juices flowing to see how i can create something cute and crafty with the supplies and julep nail polish they sent!

darby smart

wearing tights and booties! because it’s sweater season, yes, but tights are the sweaters of our legs, and so it’s tight leg sweater season too! i’ve been put on a boot-buying hiatus (an unwilling one!) by my husband, because of our lack of closet space, but i might need ONE MORE pair of booties in taupe. because look at them! (i’m thinking something similar to the ones chelsea is wearing here…)

tights and booties

(dress: CAbi, booties: target via hanna)

drinking wine with some bloggers. if you missed the blitz on social media about #happyhourhangout the last two days, 1) you’re following the wrong people, and 2) read here for more info.

planning how i’m going to survive my sugar detox that starts next week. i’m going to the moon river wellness “replenish, relax and renew: 7-day mind, body and spirit detox” kickoff tomorrow morning, and then starting my detox on monday. not going to lie, i’m pretty nervous. i’ve already kicked caffeine, and i eat pretty healthy anyway, but there is something about the idea of giving up sugar entirely that gives me shivers. updates will be given if i survive.

listening to Mister Man’s wise words during a “this is our life” conversation yesterday. you know how sometimes us ladies just want the guys to shake their heads yes, and tell us they understand how we’re feeling, but not give us any advice? yea, i’m like that too a lot of the time. (“just support me!”) but there are times when he knows (and He knows) just when i need to be given some actual words of wisdom to make me feel better. so i’m listening.

working on the house, surprise surprise. take a look at my hot demolition man. he cleaned out the 85 year old garage and now you could eat off the floor (if you were into that sort of thing). i made him take the necessary safety precautions, and now i have this amazing photo. pretty happy that i have him to do the (literal) dirty work for me!

demo man

loving that i get to have a little lunch date with mama hools today! i haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk to just her in weeks, and i’m so excited to get away from my desk for a little break as well.

not loving: not applicable this week. i feel super content and i like that.

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND HERE THESE DAYS.

of dinner dates and happy hours.

do you want to know the thing that surprises (quite a lot of) people the most about Mister Man and me?

it’s not that we didn’t live together before we got married. it’s not that we’re practicing catholics who go to church every sunday. it’s not that we were only engaged for 7 months before making it official.

it’s that we eat dinner together every night that we’re home together.

i know! WHAT?! i had NO idea that so many couples ate dinner separately. now, this is not the first time that i’ve been incredibly naive about things that are common knowledge to most people (see: how i used to think airplanes took off). but because of both his and my upbringing, i just assumed that families ate dinners together when they were home. add that to the fact that he travels so often, and you get a pair of people who both value dinnertime with each other a ton. sometimes it’s the only chance we get during the week to spend real time together, talking and catching up.

pre-spaghetti

(monday night’s dinner. except we ate the meat fully cooked.)

and we love preparing for dinners together too! MM is an amazing cook, and one of our favorite things is planning meals together. last night, for example, we made grilled cheese sandwiches with caramelized onions, green peppers, turkey and chipotle cheese, served with good old-fashioned tomato soup. gourmet all the way baby.

chicken dinner

(not last night’s meal either, but a delicious one nonetheless)

i know that it can be hard to make time to eat dinner together. i know this. someone wants to work out, while the other wants to finish a project around the house. someone has to work late, or the other has an after-work happy hour (or #happyhourhangout) to go to. but here’s the thing. i believe that making the time to eat together is one of the most important things you can do as you start a family. it’s an automatic time set aside to talk to each other, without having to make special dates to do it. it builds a habit that continues well into your lives together, when you have babies, then children, then grown children with grandchildren. it carries through all the way to the time in your lives when you’re alone with eachother again.

eating dinner together helps you learn to “just be” with each other.

so that’s my rant for the week. and you know what? i hope the next time i tell someone that Mister Man and i LOVE eating dinner together, they’ll be like, “yea, us too!”. and then i’ll know that my job here is done. life lessons for everyone!

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and now, a note about my night last night.

i was able to get on a google hangout with a bunch of lovely ladies to chat about life and blog business (as a note, i usually try to treat my blog like fight club….the first rule about my blog is that you don’t talk about blogging on the blog, but i made an exception for this amazing event). the happy hour hangout was started by ashten and amber as a sponsorship, and a way to get a lot of bloggers in one place to pick each others’ brains and drink booze together. mainly the drinking booze part.

i had no idea what to expect from 10(!) ladies on an online video chat, but let me tell you, i was so pleasantly surprised at how fun it was! everyone was so honest and positive (and hilarious), that even some technical snags didn’t take away from the girl-bonding that took place. i learned so much from each and every one of them, and i am newly inspired to continue with this little space of mine, however slowly it decides to grow.

i will absolutely be a part of this in this future (although fyi, the november hangout is totally full…go click on ashten and amber’s faces in my sidebar to get signed up in advance for the next one!). i’ve found some lovely new blog friends to spend my time with, and i think i may even get to meet a couple in person now! thank you to you all for a fabulous night of wine and chats, let’s do it again!

click on these links to see for yourself why i’m raving about these lady friends:

(and ladies, i’m sorry i had to leave early to eat dinner with the Mister. now you know why!)

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHEN I GIVE YOU ALL SOME GOOD OLE’ LIFE LESSONS .

 

recipe: grandpa’s potato-leek soup.

first of all, i want to thank everyone who made my grandpa’s tortellini soup that i posted a couple of weeks ago. it warmed my heart to see people loving his recipe and keeping his spirit alive through cooking. that’s why we pass down recipes, and i’m so thankful to be able to share these with all of you!

last week i asked the wise people of facebook and twitter what soup i should make next out of his cookbook. the overwhelming response was for this one, potato-leek soup, also known as vichyssoise (pronounced vishy-swah). pumpkin soup came in at a close second, so for all you pumpkin lovers, get ready for that one in a week or two!

SONY DSC

this recipe is one of the easiest soups i’ve ever made. if you don’t count the seasoning and the garnish, there are literally only four ingredients. FOUR! i mean, even if cooking scares you, you can handle four ingredients, can’t you? i think you can, you’re the best!

one of the best parts of grandpa’s cookbook is that on many of the recipes, he adds a note. most of them talk about where he first found the recipes, and some of the good memories attached to it. and don’t we all have those notes for the food we make? we all remember the first meal we cooked for a dinner party or significant other, or the recipe that our mom passed down to us, or even the one you randomly found online and never stopped making because it was so good. grandpa wrote his memories down for us, so we can add those to the memories we make with his recipes. i’ll be sharing these notes at the bottom of a recipe when grandpa included one.

making this soup was extra-special for me because both my sister and my cousin stopped by while i was cooking, and we got to talk about grandpa and remember when he made certain soups for us. i’d forgotten eating a lot of these when i was little, and their memories helped jog mine. if i had any doubts about working my way through this cookbook, they’re gone after making this one.

if you’ve never had potato-leek soup, you might be like “wtf erin?! you want me to eat soup made of potatoes and onion-type things??” just trust me on how good this is. potato-leek soup is a creamy soup, with a light flavor of potato and leek, but it’s not too onion-y. it’s incredibly easy to eat, and best served with some crusty bread to dip in it. i hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

potato leek soup

potato leek soup2

potato leek soup3

potato leek soup6potato-leek soup (aka vichyssoise) makes a large pot of soup, enough to serve 4-6 and freeze half

  • 4 C. potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (i used six medium potatoes, because i wanted it thicker)
  • 3 C. leeks (white part plus 2 inches of green), thinly sliced (note: you can also substitute 3 C. thinly sliced onions)
  • 2 qt. fresh chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  • 3 T. fresh chives or parsley, finely chopped

in a heavy, 6-qt. saucepan or soup kettle, simmer the potatoes, leeks, chicken broth and salt partially covered for 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables until the soup is smooth. you can leave some potatoes and leeks whole, at your preference. (if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup into a blender and blend it smooth, then transfer it back into the pot. caution: be careful when transferring hot liquids!) [note: grandpa’s original recipe said to “force the soup through a food mill or sieve into a large bowl and then pour back into the pot.” thank goodness for electric blenders, huh?]

season the soup with salt and pepper, and stir in the cream. before serving, return the soup to a simmer. ladle into a soup tureen or  individual soup bowls. serve garnished with fresh chives or parsley, and with some hot, crusty bread. this soup can also be served chilled.

note from grandpa: “we first served this soup on new year’s eve in the early 1960s after acquiring the Time Life International Cook Book series. we all enjoyed it so much that from that point forward, it became a tradition and always appears on our new year’s eve dinner menu.”

potato leek soup7

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE MY GRANDPA’S RECIPES.

recipe: grandpa’s tortellini soup.

you know how sometimes you just need a good bowl of soup? and not that crappy canned stuff (although there is a place and time for that). you need real, homemade, hearty soup.

this soup is the soup that you need to make when you’re in that mood. bonus points: you can make this using just one pot for everything!

basil

my grandpa bill, who passed away this past february, was a pretty amazing guy. he was a military captain and doctor, an anesthesiologist, a wonderful husband to my grandma, a father of eight, a grandfather of 24 (plus some spouses), and a great-grandfather of two. he was the kindest, gentlest man you’ll ever meet. in addition to all that, he was also a fabulous cook, and soup was something of his specialty.

tortellini soup

last christmas, he gave each family member their own copy of a cookbook…his cookbook.

it’s full of his best soup recipes, along with recipes for the snacks he used to make for all the big family get-togethers (that we are pretty sure he put crack into, that’s how addictive they are).

well, i’ve been planning on working my way through this cookbook for some time, and now that summer is over, i think it’s high time to roll up my sleeves and get going. i’m not putting any sort of timeline on myself, i have too many of those at work, but i’m going to check off the recipes in grandpa’s book until i’m done. and i’m going to love it, because he would love it. (i’m totally going to cry into each and every pot of soup that i make, but that’s to be expected)

tortellini soup

tortellini soup

so without further ado, here is my first attempt at cooking my way through grandpa bill’s cookbook. cheers!

tortellini soup

tortellini soup

tortellini soup makes a large pot of soup, enough to serve 4-6 and freeze half

  • 1 lb. italian sausage (sweet or hot, we used 1.5 lbs. of hot)
  • 1 C. onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 5 C. beef broth (can substitute chicken or veggie broth)
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1/2 C. red wine (deep red)
  • 2 C. chopped, seeded tomatoes, about 4 (we used 1 can of diced tomatoes instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. basil (1 Tbsp. if using fresh basil)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce (we used the stuff my mom and i canned last summer!)
  • 8-9 oz. tortellini, refrigerated or dried (we used refrigerated cheese tortellini)
  • 1 med. green pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C. zucchini, shredded
  • 3 T. parsley, chopped

brown the sausage and pour out most of the oil, reserving around 1 Tbsp. of the oil for sauteing the onions and garlic. saute onions and garlic in the reserved oil with the browned sausage until the onions are translucent.

add the beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, basil, oregano and tomato sauce and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

stir in the tortellini, green pepper, zucchini and parsley and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, covered.

because this makes a lot, you can freeze as much soup as you want and leave out only what you want to eat right away. it’s great to thaw out on a night where you want a good dinner but don’t feel like cooking!

tortellini soup

tortellini soup

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHEN I COMBINE THE BEST OF FAMILY AND COOKING.