Not too long ago, I hit a point where my body was in the best shape it had ever been. I don’t mean I have ripped abs or buns of steel, it’s just that there isn’t anything WRONG. I have as much energy as anyone could ask for, I sleep through the night, for the most part. None of my joints hurt and my stomach isn’t bloated. I don’t get headaches or allergies and, if I feel like getting up and running three miles, I do. Continue reading
Confession: I am a smelly person. I have been since I hit puberty. My feet don’t really smell. And neither does my breath. But my armpits, WOOOEYYY! Let’s just say you definitely don’t want to hug me in an unprotected B.O. moment.
The Background: But it’s not just the smell, I also just sweat a lot. When I was in middle school, I would suffer through the 95°F weather with a sweatshirt on just so kids wouldn’t laugh at my pit sweat. Continue reading
I don’t wash my hair. Say what?? Well, I don’t wash my hair with shampoo or conditioner. And I haven’t for 2 months now. It’s quick, it’s effective, it’s super easy, and holy bajolies it is CHEAP. I love it. (Don’t forget to check out the UPDATE at the bottom of the page.)
There may be many of you that have heard of the “No Poo” shampooing. It’s a natural beauty trend that’s been sweeping the blogosphere. It’s for those of us who are trying to get away from chemicals BUT only if the alternatives actually work. And I’m here to tell you, this works better than conventional shampoo and conditioner. Continue reading
Happy Tuesday! In an effort to cut back on our grocery bill, I’m only buying produce for the entire month of April. It seems that it’s really the organic, natural packaged crap that’s expensive, so we’re doing a lot of fruit and veg this month. In that vain, I had no idea what to pair with the salmon I cooked the other night, so I made it up … sweet potato home fries! These babies keep great in the fridge. They’re delicious warm and really yummy cold too.
Sweet Potato Home Fries (serves: 4, cook time: 30 minutes)
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup high heat oil
- sea salt and ground pepper
- Chop the potatoes, mushrooms, and onion into bite-sized chunks. Mince the garlic on top of the potatoes.
- Heat the skillet to medium first, THEN add half the oil. Coat the bottom of your skillet.
- Add sweet potatoes, garlic, and onions and spread in an even layer in the skillet. Cook on medium-high heat, uncovered until potatoes are browned and onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the oil, slowly, as needed. Take care not to mess with them too much, flip potatoes once or twice in the entire 10-ish minutes.
- When your mix is pretty well cooked, add the mushrooms. These are already soft so they don’t take much cooking. Cook for a few more minutes to heat up the mushrooms.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!
Ashley Life Update: I had a wonderful weekend at a friend’s wedding in Louisiana. Got to hang out with my immediate family (see my sister’s and I above) and a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a long time. And the 13 hour drive there and back wasn’t too bad. We set up a bed in the back of the car and then whoever was driving listened to books on tape. Man those things pass the time!
We also stopped at an epic Country Buffet in Arkansas (the best in the state). I swear I had no idea that America had areas like that. Just VERY southern. That’s why I love road trips, you see cultures you never would have explored otherwise.
AND, another plus, we finally got some communication from Mike’s job. We should be finding out our next stop in the next couple weeks and the options are looking good!
I hope you all had great weekends too! Love and hugs – Ash
What do you cook when the entire meal will be appetizers? I knew that most people wouldn’t be hungry for a full meal so I planned out four appetizers instead. They all worked perfectly, except for this one. This took two tries but it was SO worth it. I got the original recipe from Sammie Kennedy. This stuff melts in your mouth. It’s gooey and chewy and crunchy. Salty AND sweet. YUM
I still had the microwave at this point but I was trying to wean myself off it. Turns out popping popcorn on the stove can be kind of tricky. This is where the first attempt failed. When I tried again the next day I was significantly less distracted and followed the instructions below to a tee. And of course it worked.
How to Pop Perfect Popcorn on the stove! – Simple Recipes
Sweet and Salty Popcorn (servings: 6, cook time: 25 minutes)
- 2 cups popped kernels
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar (barely increases blood sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- Pop the popcorn in an air popper or over the stove.
- In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and coconut sugar. Stir in the vanilla, honey, and cinnamon. Stir frequently. When it reaches a boil, remove from heat.
- Pour the liquid mixture over the popped popcorn. Add the salt on top. Mix gently with a wooden or plastic spoon so you don’t crush the kernels.
- Lay popcorn out on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until hardened.
- Break off the sheet and serve. Enjoy! It will keep a couple of days until the popcorn goes stale.
Ashley Life Update:
We went and got the Vitamix last night! I’m so flippin’ excited. My week is insane so I won’t have much time to experiment but I’ll be using it whenever possible and I’m sure you’ll all be hearing about it. Also, we found a fantastic deal on Stainless Steel cookware. 20% off and a rebate for a Cuisinart bowl set. It’s gonna take a little bit of saving to bounce back but I am SO excited to use this stuff. This night was better than Christmas. YAY!
I still haven’t finished the book. It sits on my dining table, my bedside table, and the couch and every once in a while, I pick it up and read a chapter or two. But it’s not because it’s a slow read, it’s because I’m savoring it. There are very few books that make me feel the way this one does. It calms me but motivates me. It reminds me that my life is about making me happy and nothing else. I know it sounds selfish but a lot of making myself happy means helping other people be happy too. 🙂 I’m talking about the Happiness Project. It’s amazing. Read more about it in my Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project post.
So, as promised, I will continue my efforts by revising and adding to my March Goals.
First, My Commandments. I read a list of these every morning. It reminds me what to focus on when I start to lose my footing.
- Just because it’s fun for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s fun for me.
Me is the perfect person for me to be.(< I realized that I don’t actually have a lot of trouble with this one)
- It’s NOT “doing nothing,” it IS “active relaxation.”
- Life is play, not an endless stream of work.
- A true smile and laugh can change a whole conversation.
- Want what I already have.
- I don’t have to be good at everything
- When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and make that moment happier.
- Be happy when I succeed.
Second, a review of March Goals.
- Take a 5-minute walk down the block, every morning between shower and work. SLOWLY. (This was amazingly effective. It slowed me down after rushing around all morning like a headless chicken. It helped me be more productive and relaxed during the work day.)
- When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and try to make that moment happier.
(I actually didn’t have too many unhappy moments in 2 weeks but I anticipate that they will happen. So I’m adding it to the commandments.)
- Choose a day of the week to talk to each parent and sibling. Like I do with Gran. (Did this!)
- Read this list every day. (Great reminder and totally necessary for this project)
- Remember to be happy when I succeed. (Something I DEFINITELY need to work on. This is added to the Commandments.)
And finally! My April Goals:
- Continue the daily, 10-minute walks.
- Create a folder for design inspiration. I read lots of design magazines and websites. Visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright designs in Chicago this weekend made me realize how much pent-up design energy I have. I want to have a folder on my computer for digital archives and a physical folder for magazine and newspaper articles. I’m hoping this will help me start sketching again too.
- Learn to cook with the Vitamix: juice, smoothies, soup, and ice cream. I got my tax return so I’m going to buy it today. YAY!!
- Finish the two health books I’ve been page through for the last 2 months.
- Eat at least one raw meal per day.
- Have at least one entirely vegetarian day per week.
- Read this list every day.
I’ll keep you updated with part of this that are working and parts that aren’t. Did anyone else read this book and love it?
Ashley Life Update:
Mike and I spent this weekend in Oak Park, a suburb just outside Chicago. We were celebrating our 1-year anniversary and seeing a few sites that we hadn’t got to yet. We don’t know where we’ll be moving in June so we want to see as much of Chicago as possible. We stayed at an eccentric yet absolutely lovely Bed and Breakfast. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about opening my own Healthy B&B. To the extent that I’ve designed most of the rooms in my head and know the general rules that I’d like to operate under (ie. huge, comfy beds and soft towels, simple healthy meals, and a gym for sure). Now I just have to figure out where the money will come from. Hah.
Mike took the NRA intro to guns class I got him for Christmas well I slept off the lingering and oh-so-annoying flu. Then he met me at FLW’s Robie House in Hyde Park. That night was spent out on the town. We don’t like to party much but when we have a free night and a city full of entertainment, we take advantage. Mike treated me to a very chic, very delicious dinner at an underground jazz/prohibition bar and then we went dancing uptown.
Sunday (Easter!) was spent touring the FLW house and studio around the corner from our B&B and visited Trader Joes (man I miss that place!) before the 3 hour drive back to Peoria. We sort of just ignored easter. Much to my chagrin, without any kids or parents around, there wasn’t any good excuse for an Easter egg hunt.
I hope you all had relaxing and family filled holidays! Love and hugs – Ash