The Dinner Table: The Reality

You know, I would love to tell you that we sit at the table every evening and share witty banter while using our manners when we ask for someone to pass the beet root salad. Ok, my kids would never ask me to pass the beet root salad.

The reality is that our dining table is often the dropping point of mail, dog leashes and coats. Then there is the breakfast table, while I try to keep it tidy with a bowl overloading with fruit in the center, which is home to homeschool math books and papers that the kids bring home for me to sign and write a check for whatever activity is coming up. There are times that the table has an on going game of Life or a puzzle close to being finished, but that is not often.

Let’s face it, life gets busy. My son is now in public high school, I still home school my 12 year old girl and their activities have me running them here and there. Our homeschool days are truly quite lovely, but the lovely means that there is a mess in the kitchen because we wanted to make homemade pizza dough. It means that we were busy making snacks for her American Girl History Club….while 15 awesome girls would be showing up at any moment. It means that we did not want to clean that day because we were too busy researching the Titanic after watching another documentary (and the movie for the 4th time). Then my son gets home and is starving (always with the starving). So he makes his snack, plays with the dogs and then does his homework…often at the table. I then take the kids to dance (thankfully it is only minutes from the house) or to youth group (not so close to the house). More often than not I am making early dinners so that I can send the kids off with a healthy meal on those late nights.

I am quite aware that I could simplify my life by running through the drive thru or packing them a simple sandwich (truth, I often just pack a sandwich for them to eat on the ride from dance to youth group…egg salad being the latest). The thing is, I am cheap frugal and I don’t love for my car to smell like fast food after my boys have cleaned out my car for the umpteenth time.

Back to the table.

How to make the most of your time together as a family? How to change habits to truly get the family engaged? How to bring laughter and communication back to dinner time on the nights that you are together.

Confession: We got into a rut of eating every meal together in front of the TV. Sometimes the kids in my son’s room watching TV while my husband and I ate watching something else. I know, there is a time and place for that. We love watching shows together, everything from Girl Meets World (coming to an end sadly) to Undercover Boss to the Carbanaro Effect to the new Netflix series One Day at a Time.

Good news: We are getting out of the rut.

My husband building a fire in the fireplace the past few days in combination with us fasting a few things for our 21 days of prayer have played a major role in the shift. We are mindful now while eating, we are thankful for what we have and I really hate the fact that a fire is going  in one room while we sit and watch TV in the other room. In Texas, the cold days are few and far between, so we love when there is a chance to make fire! So, the past week has been more family time together. Some nights it is dinner at the ottoman in front of the fire (the fireplace is in our reading room, no TV allowed. Music IS allowed) and some nights it is at the breakfast table after we clear all of the papers asking for money off of the table). To prolong the time in front of the fire, we have begun playing games after dinner. This time is precious and I have so enjoyed it.

Last night, we got the big table set and had a delicious meal in the dining room while watching the fire. My husband and I enjoyed a glass of red wine (we are doing the Mediterranean Diet) the kids had fancy glasses for their cranberry juice and kombucha.  My daughter said the prayer…she loves to hold hands while praying, even if it means that her big brother does a creepy handhold to make her giggle. We ate a beautiful meal, I gave what I could not finish to the boys and we talked. We laughed. We were together. We then cleaned up together. Thanks to my son cleaning the kitchen earlier that day, it was quick and easy. My house still smells like salmon, but hey, cleanish kitchen for the win.

After a few rounds of a game of Family Feud, we retired to the TV room while the girl skyped her friend and boy watched TV. I did not at all feel bad about that. It was the good stuff.

What steps can you take to spend more quality time together? Are you already doing the right thing? I would love to hear your thoughts, confessions, reality or just your love.

XOXO

Kandi

 

 

 

Friendsgiving Brunch Menu: Part 2

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Crescent Roll Baked French Toast, Sausage Balls and Orange Scented Cranberry Sauce

I have to be honest, I want to make all of these yummy dishes for Friendsgiving one day…I do. It just was not in the cards for me this year. I totally want to host a Friendsgiving next year but make it a pot luck and to also make it a potluck. Making all of this and the food from the last post could be quite challenging and not as fun. I want to have fun. Fun rocks.

 

Another confession, the previous post stated that I would be featuring stuffing bites (or you can call them stuffin’ muffins), but I am waiting to make those AFTER I make my  stuffing on Thursday. Getting ready to host thanksgiving AND making even more stuffing had my head spinning.

So, I ended up making my mom’s sausage balls. When she was on this earth, she would make them every Christmas and some Thanksgivings when she was adventurous. That being said, I stayed true to form and kicked up the recipe for you guys. Her original recipe was the basic three ingredient recipe that you can find on any Paula Dean sight. She would switch up spicy sausage with mild, because she was thoughtful like that and wanted everyone to enjoy them. I used the amazing sausage from Let Them Eat Local. It is a gazillion times better than Jimmy Dean (Sorry Jimmy).

I then made cranberry sauce. I know three types of people:

  1. Those that hate any kind of cranberry sauce (my daughter)
  2. Those that only prefer the only canned kind that you slice (not me)
  3. Those that crave the homemade sauce with the chunky cranberries mixed with the sweet sauce (my son and husband fall between 2 and 3….you can guess which on I am?)

So if you are a 1 or a 2, keep scrolling down for something that is so very good.

You did not have to scroll far, huh?

Crescent Roll baked French toast y’all. Not just any crescent rolls…. they were huge and fluffy and buttery and awesome. My family loved it. We sent leftovers (I made a lot and it was a big breakfast!) to neighbors and they gave it a thumbs up! It is easy and a huge win. It isn’t beautiful, but it is good. Did I say easy? It is, and you can make it you own. I can explain further in the recipe.

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See, not pretty…but oh so tasty!

Remember the mention of a surprise recipe on the previous post? This is it! Healthy(ish) granola balls that I whipped up for an after dance snack for my daughter. The not healthy part is marshmallows. The healthy is a cranberry almond granola that would also be amazing and filling in a parfait (possible with left over cranberry sauce?).

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Well, off to clean this kitchen.

Or nap. I have been up since 2:30am (I was in bed at 8 though because I had been up since 1am….vicious cycle).

I should probably clean.

Happy Thanksgiving week all.

XOXO

Kandi

 

 

Crescent Roll Baked French Toast

3 large crescent rolls or 4 smaller ones

1 C Heavy Cream (you can use milk, lowfat or maybe even flavored coffee creamer to kick it up and make it your very own! Can you imagine the possibilities? I bet coconut milk would not be bad)

1/4 C Maple Syrup

3 eggs

1T vanilla (or you can do almond for another flavor)

1/3 C brown sugar

1/4C pecans (or nut of choice, can be omitted as well)

3T chopped cold butter

1/2 T of spice of choice (I used pumpkin pie spice but you can do cinnamon or apple pie spice)

Preheat Oven to 350

Tear apart crescent rolls and place them in a buttered baking dish (I used my round cake pan to make the slices look like pie)

Beat together the cream, syrup, eggs and vanilla. Evenly distribute this over the rolls. I used a fork to mush the drier bread into the wet mixture. Stir if you need to.

In a food processer (or I used the attachment that I got from my immersion blender) blend together the brown sugar and nuts. Slowly add in the butter until the mixture becomes crumbly. Here is where some people also add flour, but I did not and it was perfect.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the bread mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it is cooked through!

Sausage Balls

1 pound breakfast sausage (again, I used this sausage from Let Them Eat Local)

3 C baking mix (I made my own similar to this)

4C shredded Cheese (I used cheddar, but I think asiago would rock)

1/4C sour cream

1T rosemary

1/2T sage

Combine and form into balls about the size of a walnut and place on a baking sheet

Place it in a preheated oven on 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through

Orange Scented Cranberry Sauce

I used this recipe but I made it in my pressure cooker. I just dumped in all of the ingredients and cooked it for 2 minutes. Bam, done.

Cranberry Almond Energy Bars

1C Cranberry Almond Granola

1/2C small marshmallows (you could have dates but it’s the holidays)

3T chocolate chips

2T peanut butter

optional: toppings such as powdered sugar, hot cocoa and cinnamon

Put ingredients together in a microwavable bowl and cook on high for 15 seconds. The marshmallows should be soft enough by then. Form into small balls and sprinkle desired topping on them. Enjoy!

 

Friendsgiving Brunch Menu: Part 1

Happy Fall friends!

The weather here in Texas is finally feeling like Fall and I could not be more thrilled! I adore cooler weather months for many reasons, the main one being that there are so many opportunities to gather with friends and family. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means that Pinterest boards are being filled with things like clean eating cranberry sauce and how to fry a turkey.

I like trying out new recipes each Thanksgiving. I know many families that have a tradition of making the stuffing together and only eat Aunt Betty’s green bean casserole. I did not grow up with Thanksgiving traditions (Christmas and Easter, yes!) nor did I have a favorite Thanksgiving food as a child. Now that I am an adult, I have a new appreciation for the traditional dishes that are found on Thanksgiving tables across the country.

This year I started thinking about testing out a Friendsgiving Brunch menu. What is Friendsgiving? I will take the definition directly from Urban Dictionary: The celebration of Thanksgiving dinner with your friends. This usually occurs on the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, since Thanksgiving is usually reserved for family gatherings. Pretty cool, eh?

When I found out that a local friend started an amazing new business, I thought that this was the perfect time to try out a few recipes using local and organic based recipes. Get this….Let Them Eat Local is a “Food Hub”.

You ask what is a Food Hub? Let me share with you Let Them Eat Local’s mission:

What IS Let Them Eat Local?

LTEL is not a grocery store, exactly.  LTEL is a Food Hub.  We serve local farmers by providing the infrastructure necessary for them to bring their goods to market.

Our goals are fivefold:

  • Support and serve local farmers by marketing to their customers and offering delivery
  • Educate consumers about their local food system and healthful eating
  • Provide a convenient service to consumers who desire to support local agribusiness
  • Be the link between a family and a farm. We will use social media, our blog, our website, videos and photographs to connect families with the source of their meals.
  • Feed our own growing family of eight!

Let Them Eat Local believes in supporting local farms.  We are small, we are a family business, and we are passionate about good, clean eating and loving our neighbors by supporting their farming adventures and hard work.

Is that not an amazing idea? I am so proud to know this family and so proud that I get to use this service.

Now, on to the recipes. I want to share with you the goodies that I ordered from LTEL.

LTELI ordered their half share of their organic produce box. You never know what you are going to get and that is totally cool in my book. It challenges me to get creative and to think outside of the box. Here you also see pasta, cheese, yogurt, bacon, sourdough bread, Apple Pie pecans and eggs. Yes, I have chickens, but I only have one laying an egg a day, not enough to feed a family quite yet.

I am sure you are wondering how I made Frindsgiving brunch out of these ingredients….remember that I think outside of the box and also use ingredients that I always have on hand. I also want to encourage you to think beyond cranberry sauce and giblet gravy.

 

Friendsgiving Menu Part 1 (Scroll to bottom for reviews and recipes)

Spicy Maple Candied Bacon

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Spiralized Beets with Pistachios, Goat Cheese and Tangy Yogurt_mg_3908-edit

Massaged  Kale Salad with Apples, White Cheddar, Apple Spiced Pecans and Candied Bacon_mg_3955-edit

Spicy Sautéed Bok Choy with Bacon and Soft Boiled Eggs_mg_4244-edit

Rosemary Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Crunchy Chickpeas and Wilted Spinach  img_4294-edit

Next on Friendsgiving Part 2:

Stuffing Bites with Spicy Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Overnight French Toast (I tried French toast with the sourdough bread, and while the bread was tasty, the recipe lacked something….round two will hopefully be a hit)

Two Surprise Dishes:

Recipes:

Spicy Maple Candied Bacon

This Hickory Smoked Bacon is perfect for this recipe. It added a subtle smoky flavor and did not fail to impress. You can taste the difference between store bought bacon and this nitrate free goodness.

About a pound of bacon

1/3 C Maple Syrup (not pancake syrup!)

1/4 C Brown Sugar

A few pinches of cayenne

Preheat oven to 400. Place bacon on a wire rack on a foiled lined baking pan. Brush both sides of bacon with maple syrup and then sprinkle both sides with brown sugar and cayenne (more or less to your liking). Bake for 10 minutes and then flip the bacon and cook until it is to your desired crispiness. For me it took about 7 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy! Save a few pieces if you are using it in another recipe such as my kale salad.

Spiralized Beets with Pistachios, Goat Cheese and Tangy Yogurt

Let it be known that I am not a huge fan of beets, neither is my family. I have, at one point, enjoyed a white beet hummus at a friend’s home. I have wanted to like beets, just like I want to like shrimp. So when I received beets in my produce box, I thought that it was a perfect time to try them in a way I have never tried them before. I am thrilled to say that I am so very glad that I did. This is a simple recipe that does not have measurements. You just add the ingredients to your liking. Also take note that beets stain your fingers, so if you have a hand modeling gig for a new lotion that day, please wear gloves.

I spiralized 2 beets (I got my spiralizer off of Amazon. I love it. Spiralized sweet potatoes are the bomb…raw or cooked. Zucchini “zoodles” are fantastic) and sautéed them in a drizzle of avocado oil. I have to say that next time I will try this Meyer lemon infused olive oil from LTEL, because yum. Once the beets are a little crispy, plate them. Squeeze a lemon over them and top with pistachios, goat cheese (feta would work too) and plain yogurt. I got my yogurt from LTEL but they are no longer offering it at the time. Top with sage, which really brings the ingredients together.

Massaged  Kale Salad with Apple, White Cheddar, Apple Spiced Pecans and Candied Bacon

That is a mouthful to say….speaking of, this made my mouth happy. My husband truly enjoyed it, he kind of devoured it after my taste test.

I know, I know! You are asking why massage kale? My 12 year old daughter asked the same thing. She actually, while she messaging it for me, said that kale was so spoiled. Kale tends to be bitter, so massaging it in an oil (avocado oil in this case) and a sprinkle of salt can break it down making it tender and sweet. Pretty much you massage it down (it will shrink much like spinach does when it wilts) until the bitterness is mostly gone. So if you do not like kale normally, try it this way. I have also simply massaged it with an avocado, but I decided not to in this recipe, it did not seem to go with it.

Torn Kale (I used the bunch I received from LTEL)

1T oil of choice

pinch of salt

1 diced apple

one handful of chopped Apple Pie Pecans

1/3 C diced Cheddar Raw Milk Cheese

3 slices candied bacon (recipe above)-chopped

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette(recipe below)

In a large bowl massage kale in oil and salt until softened, roughly about 3 minutes.

Toss with remaining ingredients and pepper to your liking.

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

You will not need all of this dressing, keep to use on future salads and veggies.

In a jar combine:

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 T Dijon mustard

2 T Maple syrup

1 T Mustard, whole grain

2 T White balsamic vinegar

6 T olive oil

S&P

Shake Well

 Spicy Sautéed Bok Choy with Bacon and Soft Boiled Eggs
I have to be honest. I have never had bok choy until I made this. I got it in my produce box and thought that I would check that off of my “scared to try but I need to” list. It was very good, even for my husband, who did not have a chance to eat it for an hour after I made it. So…it did well at room temp as well. I have to add that my soft boiled eggs were done in my pressure cooker. If you do not have a pressure cooker, please think about it. These were made under pressure for 3 minutes and then tossed in an ice bath. They were super easy to peel, even for soft boiled. If you do not have a pressure cooker, use the normal stove top method for soft boiled.
2 strips Bacon – cooked crispy
3 bunches of boc choy-chopped
2 clove garlic
1 tsp Ginger, fresh and finely chopped (I use a garlic press)
2 T Soy sauce
1/4 tsp Red pepper
1/2 tsp Sesame oil
2 T avocado oil
s&p
2 soft boiled eggs halved
Heat oil in  skillet over medium heat. Toss in bok choy, garlic and ginger. Sauté until softened. Add the soy sauce, red pepper and sesame oil and sauté for one more minute. Plate and top with bacon, eggs, salt and pepper.

Rosemary Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Crunchy Chickpeas and Wilted Spinach  

Ok y’all, this pasta is the best I have ever had. There was a time I made my own pasta and it did not come close to this. My poor high school son misses out when I test recipes, so my home schooled daughter gets to be my sampler most of the time. She is the one who tried the pasta straight from being drained and said that it did not need ANYTHING! I explained that this was for the blog and I wanted to add a fall twist to the dish, so I would save her some for lunch as is. She then requested for me to save some crunch chickpeas for her too, they are the best treat.

Note, I made my chickpeas in my pressure cooker too, but you can use a can of drained and patted dry chickpeas and it will be fine.

1 pound of the best pasta in the world cooked to instructions

 handful of spinach-wilted (you will place the spinach at the bottom of the colander and it will wilt when you drain the pasta in the colander)

2 peeled and diced sweet potatoes

1 C drained and patted dry cooked chickpeas

1 t finely chopped rosemary

2 minced garlic cloves

Olive Oil (this oil would be amazing with it)

s&p

Spring of rosemary for garnish

Preheat oven to 400

On a baking tray, toss chickpeas and sweet potatoes lightly with oil. Season to taste (you can just do s&p or you can use any kind of Italian seasoning you have on hand). Bake for about 8 minutes and then turn the chickpeas and sweet potatoes and then continue baking until crisp (about another 8 minutes).

While that bakes, fill the very bottom of the pan with oil, rosemary and garlic…just enough to coat the bottom of a large pan. let it sit on low until the chickpeas and sweet potatoes are done. put the cooked pasta in the pan with the oil and toss everything together to coat the pasta. You may want to add a splash of your favorite vinegar if you want some twang to your pasta. Combine the roasted chickpeas and sweet potatoes to the pan and top with s&p. Garnish with rosemary and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did!

Thank you to Let Them Eat Local for providing the community with quality products and for supporting local farmers and vendors. The world needs more of you!

Also check out their Facebook page and follow them! They often have giveaways and more!

American Girl History Club

My daughter, Jordan, was part of a homeschool American Girl History Club for about a year. She loved it so much and looked forward to going twice a month. When we started going to a homeschool co-op at the beginning of the school year, we were no longer be able to attend because they fell on the same day and time.

She asked if she could start one locally. So I put out my feelers to see if there was any interest…and boy was there interest! Soon we were planning our first historic American Girl who happened to be Kirsten. We had so much learning about her and ended that series with a Swedish/American Christmas party where to girls took turns dressing up as St. Lucia and sharing food and games that were of that era.

Our next girl was The Great Depression Era Kit. During this series the girls watched Great Depression Era Cooking  (and even made a couple of her meals!), listened to Shirley Temple songs on an a record player, interviewed the kids’ great grandma who was a child during that era, talked about how The Great Depression started and so much more.

I thought that I would share with you the last Kit meeting.

Although I did not get pictures of this, the Junior Leaders (the ones who have been around, have shown leadership skills, are old enough to help the littles with crafts and are respectful of everyone) sit at the front and the girls all talk about the good stuff that has happened, prayer requests and sometimes just random thoughts coming from the littles. Then one of the Junior Leaders pray over the girls.

After they did that, it was time to head into the kitchen where the girls would create a hobo stew with the ingredients that each of them brought!

Kitchen Photo Credit: Jordan

The girls also each brought items to put in a care package to keep in the car to give someone who is down on their luck or struggling. They brought items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks, deodorant, Band-Aids and more items similar to that.

This is a proud mom moment. While in the kitchen making sure the stew didn’t boil over, I heard Jordan tell the girls that God already knows the armpit that will need that deodorant (I did giggle at this) and He already knew the injury that would need the Band-Aid that we would put in the backs. She then led a prayer that was so beautiful….all of these girls are so precious.

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Jordan and I came up with a last minute craft minutes before the meeting! So a few girls made these before heading outside!

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We then headed outside to write in Hobo Code. This was so much fun.One of the moms realized that many girls drew a cat, which means “nice lady lives here”….how sweet.

As always, the girls have free play while they wait for their moms to pick them up. Ranger always gets in on the action.-146-2

A club like this doesn’t have to be only for homeschoolers. This would be a fun summer thing for any girl!

XOXO

Kandi

 

 

Rainy Morning Brunch

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There are mornings that I let the kids sleep in (homeschooling perk) so I can simply have alone time before the crazy day begins. This particular day they slept in until almost 11. A first for my 11 year old girl and not the first for my 14 year old boy.

How did I spend my morning you ask? Well, I began by catching up on Food Network and that was followed by me spending about twenty minutes making my breakfast to enjoy outside while mist came down over my little acre of land.

I had some chickpeas that I had made in my pressure cooker the weekend before and I had a sweet potato that was calling my name.

Speaking of sweet potatoes, I never liked them until I was almost 30. I only knew them as that sweetened mushy Thanksgiving food. I also never liked avocados until I was 20. Now I can not get enough of either. Kids are weird and picky sometimes. My son says that avocados make his head itch and my daughter can not eat any squash without being close to puking. They eat any other vegetable/fruit for the most part, so I am ok with this.

There really isn’t a recipe for this. I just melted coconut oil in a skillet, tossed in the chickpeas and sweet potatoes and seasoned it with my Pampered Chef Garlic and Herb Rub (I don’t sell Pampered Chef, I just really like the spices that I got at a freezer meal party). I sautéed them until that were just crispy enough….I then fried an egg in coconut oil and Bam! Sliced avocado and tomatoes with cilantro from the garden and some blackberries (with cream…shhh!) that my bestie brought us from her Daddy’s garden. Oh, and I can not forget my Yogi tea. It makes me happy.

Ok, so back to how I spent my alone time…I watched two cheesy Hallmark movies and curled up with our snuggly Boxer named Ranger.

How do you spend your rainy mornings?

Summer is Coming… And So Is Aunt Evea…Infused Water

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I am ok with water. Actually that is what I usually prefer. That being said, when you KNOW that summer is coming up and that you have been a little naughty (hello barbeque chips, cheese and crackers and Astro Pops), you realize that you have to buckle down and make the water drinking a little more fun.

Enter infused water. I am well aware that this isn’t a “WOW! Isn’t Kandi a genius?! Who would have even thought about infusing water?” kind of post. People have infused water forever…or at least for a long time. Not sure if Adam and Eve infused water. Hmmm.

This is more about creating new flavors together….or even stealing the flavor combinations from the Whole Foods infused water (because I totally did). This post is also to see what your favorite flavored waters are. You see, one of my bestest (that is a word) is coming with her sweet kids for the weekend. She and I love our carbs and wine. She just has a better metabolism that I do (she has so many other awesome qualities by the way). When Aunt Evea comes over, the kids make sure that we have plenty of cheese, jalapenos and tortillas. That is how we roll. I also know that she is also prepping for summer, so infused water is how we will stay on track. I will make up several mason jars with the following combinations: cucumber mint (shown above), blueberry basil (also above) and strawberry basil. We will maybe drink our water while eating bacon, but hey.

Share with me your favorite flavors and also how you prep for summer!

XOXO

Kandi

 

Sprink Mix Chicken Salad Kicked Up with Blood Orange/Fig Vinaigrette

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My sweet friend brought me an oil and vinegar blend from a store called Oil & Vinegar. The blend was of a blood orange olive oil and a sweet fig vinaigrette. Each are amazing on their own, together they are even better. Wowza. Then when a few other things are added to the mix, it screams to become the spotlight of a salad.

Blood Orange/Fig Vinaigrette

3 T Blood Orange Olive Oil

1 T Fig Balsamic

1/4  t garlic granules (I used Pampered Chef Garlic and Herb Rub because it is amazing)

Pinch Cayenne Pepper (maybe more, I like spicy with sweet)

Pinch Salt (to taste)

Directions:

Combine everything and whisk together

Salad

Bag of spring mix salad (or combine your own favorite greens)

2 chicken breasts lightly seasoned (mine were baked but they would be just as good grilled)

Wedge of bleu cheese crumbled

1/3 cup walnuts (toasted)

1/4 cup cranberries

Combine and enjoy!

P.S. I had a few asparagus stalks in the fridge, so I baked them with the chicken with some olive oil tossed on it all.

XOXO

Kandi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minty Green Tea Kiwi Smoothie (plus a little background on me)

When we moved into the house, I was gifted (by the previous owners) with oh so many plants, flowers and little spouts coming up in the raised beds. I am very new to gardening. We had a garden in our old home, but my husband was the one to care for it while I created menus based on what was growing. My husband had only seen me truly work in the yard a handful of times in the 16 years that we have been married. I had never pruned anything….and I still don’t know most of the things popping up here and there. That being said, my husband now is used to seeing me with any mix of gardening tools in my hands.

See, you thought I had it all together? I am just winging it. Winging it to the point of realizing that I planted certain things at the wrong time. My radishes that I expected to harvest this morning after 4 weeks are just roots with no bulb. I will research that later…after I tell you about this.

I DID recognize mint in the raised beds days after moving in…mint is easy to spot (I smell any kind of thing that pops up). I also know that it could take over the garden and a little bit of mint goes a long way. So I removed it from the bed into a pot (that the owner also left behind). As mint does, it thrived and is totally happy in it’s little spot in the yard.

So yesterday morning I was craving greens, I had carbed it up the day before and my body was screaming for crisp and clean. I had a few kiwis on the counter and I thought that mint and kiwi seemed as refreshing as it could get (at least with what I had on hand).

So, enter the Minty Green Tea Kiwi Smoothie. I simply used a large cup and my immersion blender to whip it together and then I poured into my mason jar.

Minty Green Tea Kiwi Smoothie (makes 2 servings)

2 cups brewed green tea cooled

3 kiwis peeled

1 banana

1 handful of spinach

6-8 large mint leaves

ice cubes (I don’t like mine super icy so I used about 5)

Blend and enjoy!

XOXO

Kandi

 

 

 

 

Spiralized Zucchini & Sweet Potato with a Spicy Avocado Cream (plus bacon!)

IMG_0639 You have got to love a healthy meal with a naughty kick. You don’t feel too bad eating that bacon when the rest of the dish is quite good for you.

Spiralized Zucchini & Sweet Potato with a Spicy Avocado Cream (plus bacon!)

Feeds 1

1 small sweet potato spiralized

1/2 zucchini spiralized

1/4 C cherry tomatoes quartered

1 slice of bacon crumbled

Combine in a pretty bowl that makes you happy.

For the sauce:

1/2 large avocado or one small whole

1/2 t of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

juice of 1 small lime

1 T toasted pine nuts

1 T of apple cider vinegar

dash of salt

dash of chili powder

Puree all of the sauce ingredients and top your spiralized bowl and enjoy!

I added a sprinkling of pine nuts because they are awesome.

Oh, and see that little touch of green garnish? Sunflower sprout my friends. I am saving the rest for a crunchy wrap for later this week. That may get blogged….we shall see.

 

Why Dancing Oaks Acre?

I would like to begin by welcoming you. For those of you who do not know me or had no idea that I blogged…check out my first few years of blogging here: http://www.kandilooandhercrew.blogspot.com/.

Blogging life slowed down as real life went into warp speed. I did not have much time to form any thoughts outside of where I needed to be and when. The kids got older and more active, my photography business took the back burner as did so many other things and then life happened.

So here I am, with a new blog and a new name.

Why?

Let me back up.

It began with chickens. Chickens that I do not own yet…but lucky you gets to be a part of my new chicken owner experience this summer. You think I have it all together…but I SO do not.

We lived in a lovely neighborhood. A neighborhood that I never wanted to move out of. When you have neighbors that are a part of your best friend circle, it makes it hard to leave. The sad thing about living in a neighborhood with an HOA is that you do not have the freedom to paint your house….let alone have chickens. Oh how I truly wanted chickens. Want chickens. I truly WANT chickens.

What I wanted more than chickens was a place to land. Not a piece of land. A place to land our family. A place where the kids (who are now 14 and 11) could create memories, memories that they never would have been able to create in our old home. Don’t get me wrong, some of the best memories were in that home. I simply wanted a place where the kids could come back to once they were grown and want to bring the people that they loved to share in the memories. I wanted a place to bless my children once they had their own children. I wanted a house that could hold so much love, people and memories.

It took many prayers…prayers for my husband to be on board with this, prayers for the right house to come along and prayers for the decision to be His decision.

Along came a house that I just kept going back to on real estate websites. A house that was built in 1981 and had so many lovely and quirky qualities that I just had to see it in person. A house that felt like home to all of us when we first saw it. A house that I didn’t want to fix up…because I knew that it would become our home over time without making it better immediately. A house that sat on 1.14 acres, just enough for these city folks. A house that is just a few minutes further from the church and a few miles closer to dance. A house that is literally a bike ride away from our old neighborhood friends. A house that feels like it is in the country but isn’t. Not a house…a home.

So, we sold our home to the sweetest young couple who will create so many memories there. We bought our dream home from a couple who lived a lifetime in this home. They now have a ranch a couple of hours from here where they are living their dream life. It was a smooth and beautiful move thanks to an awesome realtor and her crew along with God’s hand in it all.

Because I am me and I have to put a name to most things, I wanted to name our little acre. I had many suggestions and we even considered to name it after my mom or my husband’s dad, both are no longer on this earth. My husband said that naming them after our loved ones would be fine…but this land is for new memories and he wanted it to be about our little family of four (plus Ranger, our crazy boxer). We will honor our loved ones in a different way in this home, but that is another post.

One night, the name came to me. The home is loaded with oak trees…and I have always loved the symbolism of the Mighty Oak. Then I visualized the oaks dancing. You see, I met my husband dancing. Anytime we need to reconnect, we dance. He always makes me feel safe in his arms while at the same time makes clumsy me feel like a good dancer. I remember going with my family to Fort Worth and showing the kids Billy Bobs Texas years ago (it was during the day and empty). The kids wanted us to dance, so we did. The look of love on the kids’ faces was so sweet. They loved watching us dance and were swooning over it the entire song. Fast forward a few years and the kids started dance. My 14 year old, Andrew, is a hip hop dancer. His nickname is Justin Timberlake, the kid is good. My daughter, Jordan, takes so many classes because it is her ultimate passion. She dances everywhere she goes. Between dancing and our family’s love of music, the name Dancing Oaks Acre was a no brainer.

I know some people think that it is silly to name it this…but it isn’t silly to us.

Right now we are just a little acre with a name. I started this blog to challenge myself to grow, to share our random stories, to share recipes (even the fails), to talk about homeschooling (and sometimes the back to public school thoughts), to share what we are reading, to involve the family in this blogging adventure, to kick back up my photography business (possibly under a new name) and to just talk to you. Sometimes I need your advice and inspiration as much as you need mine.

So, let the adventure begin!

XOXO

Kandi

P.S. Below is a picture of J on the tire swing that my son said must happen…that branch was grown for a swing. Picture of my son to come…he isn’t as fond of the camera. 😉 Teenagers (rolling eyes).

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