Sunday, December 25, 2016

Bacon Jam



It was a nice record breaking warm Christmas Day here in North Texas.  We had an amazing day filled with gifts, food, games, and the most important family time.  We laughed so much today.  Try the Pie Face game.  Laughter was definitely needed.  Hope your day was the best yet. 



Christmas Eve was spent baking with the kids.  I added in some bacon jam because I just couldn't get it off my mind.  I have made it before but couldn't find the recipe I used last time so I scoured Pinterest for some recipes that sounded similar. The ingredient lists varied from one to the other from brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, various alcohols, shallots, onions, no spices, lots of spices, the list goes on and on.   I decided to go off on my own and add the elements that I like from each.  Turned out sweet, smoky, with just a hint of bite at the end. 

The problem is that I can't stop eating it.  Assuming it is not too early for resolutions, I resolve to bring the leftovers with me to work on Tuesday to share with my coworkers.  They are always up for food adventures.

If you are looking for something different that goes on everything (including a spoon) try this.

Bacon Jam

Serves:  somewhere between 1 and 30 or so.  I trust you will share ;)

2 lbs Bacon
2 large yellow onions (cut into large wedges and separate)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBLS Instant coffee
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1 chipotle in adobo (whole)
1 tsp of the adobo sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 TBLS sugar (I only had Sugar in the Raw)

Chop the raw bacon into 1 inch pieces and lightly brown in a large pot.  It doesn't need to get super crisp, just cooked.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate.  Leave 2 TBLS or so of the bacon grease behind in the pot and add the yellow onions.  Sweat them out until they are a light tan color and are tender. 

Mix the remainder of the ingredients together and pour into the pot with the onions.  Add the bacon back into the pot too.  Set the dial to simmer, cover and simmer for up to an hour just until it has come together and most of the juices have evaporated AKA become Jam!!!! 

Remove and discard the chipotle now unless you want it super spicy.  It has imparted plenty of flavor and spice just by simmering with the rest of the ingredients. 

Carefully transfer the jam to a food processor and pulse a time or 2 until it comes together, but still has some integrity.  You want to be able to tell that it is bacon and onions. 

Spoon into a mason jar or your favorite container and store in the fridge, unless you want to eat it by the spoonful from the food processor.  I won't tell. 

I would love to know if you try it and what you think.  Oh, and if you have any idea what to do with leftover chipotles in adobo, leave that tip here too.  I always feel bad leaving behind leftovers.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Resolutions

Resolving not to wait on another new year. 

Typically we make resolutions and goals on January 1 and typically these revolve around fitness, weight loss and health

But today, right this very minute is different.  NO MORE DIET GOALS!!!! and no waiting for a new year, for a Monday, for some obscure date in the future.  I resolve to start today...to be more and do more NOW! 

Starting today...

1. Read a new book every month 📘
2. Take the kids on a hike
3. Take a hot yoga class
4.  Say what I mean and mean what I say
5.  Surprise my husband 🎊
6.  Watch the planes come and go at the local airport with the littles
7.  Dress up
8.  Show up
9.  Bake with real ingredients....real sugar, real milk, real butter, no "healthy/trendy" substitutions
10.  Encourage another mom to love herself as she is...perfectly imperfect
11.  Learn to use my camera for real 📸
12.  Compliment strangers
13.  Paddleboard
14.  Be brave
15.  Dream 💭
16.  Be my husband's true love 💑
17.  Listen to a live band outside
18.  Feel all the feels
19.  Lift heavy things just because I can 🏋
20.  Explore somewhere new locally
21.  Photograph beautiful things
22.  Dance
23.  Read the Bible out loud to the kids
24.  Pray
25.  Go camping in a tent 🏕
26.  3 words:  60 second hugs
27.  Learn to make a perfect cup of coffee and not depend on my Gold status quite so often #Starbucks
28.  See a waterfall
29.  Watch a sunrise and a sunset
30.  Take a walk
31.  Create something
32.  Play with the kiddos
33.  Be grateful for a crazy past that got me here today in this equally crazy present

So, live, love, experience.  Your turn! 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Giving up perfection



I am not a work in progress.

I am not on a journey.

I am neither perfect nor imperfect.

I am a daughter, a wife, a mom, a friend, an employee, a boss, an adventure seeking, outdoor loving girl.

To define me simply by my looks is to minimize the millions of other things I am.

Friends,

It's okay to better yourself for you.  It's okay to have goals. 

It's also okay to just be and enjoy each day with no expectations.

A life spent in love and exploration is a good life.  The rest is just minor details. 

How are you embracing life and living it your way?

Recent photo shoot with KT Photography




Saturday, March 5, 2016

Oliver Nature Center


I got to take a little time alone this morning so I decided on a nature walk with a side of photography.  The pictures pretty much speak for themselves.  The park is peaceful and beautiful.  Not much more needs to be said.


I saw a lady add a rock to the top of this sign.  There were 5 or 6 rocks on the right side and none on the left.  When I made it back around the park, I noticed the rocks had been separated.  What does this mean?
Monarch area.  I was shocked I got the sun like that.  







No wild flowers yet. 
Have you been here?  Great for a nice walk or family pics.  Definitely go past the entrance.  Lots of good little nooks and crannies. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Quitting the fitness mlm scene



After 4.5 years of being signed up as a "Coach", I quit.  These are my reasons.  If you have found a way to authentically market yourself and have the training {aka certification} to give good advice then I wish you the best.  This is not for you.

I took this post down for awhile and this is the revisions.  Honestly, I was BULLIED into believing I didn't have the authority to share my own experience.  I have since realized that is just not true.  This is my testimony and my experience.  To be honest, I felt led to share this in a need to protect women and mom's from ever believing the lies that you have to live an extreme life designed by someone else or that your physical or mental self is not good enough.  This life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.  Please do not let an extremist tell you how to live and find fulfilment in life.  You alone are the captain of your ship.

So without further ado.

1.  Perfect will never exist.  It is hard to view the thousands of selfies with captions like "not perfect", "still so much work to do", "it's a journey" etc as anything more than a need to be validated rather than a desire to inspire.  I get it though.  Social media is a new outlet for expression and who doesn't want to have millions of people telling you good job, but it is hard to determine the heart's true desire from a selfie and a blurb about how everyone can get this supposed and imagined  "Imperfect", yet obviously desirable figure (are you confused yet?) just by spending x amount on the latest and greatest product.  It's not just the weird sales pitch though.  These are tiny "perfect" beings with self confidence issues.  If you aren't perfect looking like that then what must I look like to you????  I'm having confidence issues just thinking about it.  I actually have fat, like for real, not imagined. 

2. I was seeing more and more coaches offering advice they had no training in.   When did we suddenly decide to get our information from random strangers with zero credentials?  The idea behind coaching was to be an encourager of healthy habits not a know it all with zero training.  It is so easy to dole out advice, but at what point is it irresponsible?

3.  This is a business.  I have zero problem with that.  I just think that any business person should conduct themselves with integrity and always ask if this is how they would want to be treated.  When you are in business for yourself it is so easy to find ways to "cheat" the system.  Sometimes you win big that way.  I have seen it many times, but most times you end up the loser and by loser I mean your money.  I saw so many down line coaches oversold on what is "possible".  Sure, anything is possible.  I can find you a million quotes and memes on Pinterest to support that thought, but at the end of the day sales is not for everyone.  I hate to see people conned into believing that by signing up family members they would suddenly be successful.  Let's make a pact to leave family out of it.  Ok?  I mean I want them to be healthy, but if I love you I am going to sneak healthy treats into your life without making you pay me.  Like long walks on the beach?  Yep, me too.  Oh, that's not exercise is it?  Oops.  You still love me though.  Like pizza?  Yep, me too.  Betcha didn't notice all the veggies I pureed and snuck in the sauce.  Nope.  Can't taste it can you?  Looks like I gave you a nutrition freebie too.  I must really love you!  My point is that you will never be a success by attacking your friends and family.  Give your family an opportunity sure, but then leave it at that. 

4.  The sacrifice is too great.  My goal is to be a good wife and mom.  Truth is I was suffering and failing at both because I was spread to thin.  My guilt was all over the place.  I felt guilt if I worked out or worked on "my business".  I felt guilt if I spent time with my family.  Guilt is not worth the sacrifice.  I struggle with being a good wife and mom under even the best of circumstances.  Put me through added stress and I am fairly worthless.  

5.  It honestly felt like a cult. You know how many times I saw people in leadership roles tell their community of followers and down line to forget the people not on the same path?  That if they weren't willing to join you then they were not good enough to be around, like health and fitness are the only worthy goals in life.  Aw yes, being a good person is out, fitness perfectionist is in.  Got it!

6.  I lost my love for health and fitness completely.  The social media version of health has become a source for bullying.  We all know what works for us, but there is a huge difference between sharing what works for you and shoving it down people's throats.  Mostly I was tired of feeling inadequate because any dedication I have to my health and fitness is never at the appropriate level.  Let's examine the over used #noexcuses.  Am I the only one that realizes how much this reeks of bullying?  Go hard, give it your all, but stop putting people down for living life and being actual humans.  The only reason most people have any inclination to work on some kind of fitness goal is because society and these fitness "professionals" are telling them they are not good enough unless they subscribe to this mantra.  In the words of my 2 year old and 4 year old, this is ridiculous. 

7.  I joined hoping I would make friends with people that had the same goals as me and what I found was just another version of junior high except now there is money and prestige involved so the ego is large.  I wanted that elusive tribe of women I hear about in the mommy community.  Friendship is apparently only based on your amount of success and for the most part felt fake and forced.  I suppose that is life though. {sigh}

8.  The insane focus on being a stay at home mom.  I never intended to be a SAHM and I am not.  I work outside the home.  My kids go to daycare and they thrive there, but the constant PSA that SAHM is the way, the truth and the light was just too overwhelming.  I love that it works for you, but quit bullying me into believing my situation is not good enough, because it most certainly is good enough. Again, I don't want to be the person that makes you feel like you are not doing enough.  Being a mom is a super tough gig.  We don't need other mom's adding to the drama.

9.  I'm all for getting my family healthy but having my kids around while I workout is not safe.  I lift heavy.  I move fast.  My kids are young and they think mom is a jungle gym anytime I get down to their level.  The trend is to show pics of your kids in the background while you are working out or even them joining in because supposedly that makes you a good mom.  My kids don't need to watch me do a 30 minute workout.  They need to see me active.  They need to go on walks with me in nature.  We need to play at the jungle gym together.  We need to wrestle on the ground and chase each other in the backyard with spray guns.  We need to ride bikes together.  I never want them to feel self worth from a 30 minute workout.  I want them to feel loved and just plain alive.  I want them to have experiences and use movement in life to keep them healthy.  I don't want it to be a chore.  One day when they are older if they want to join me and add to what they are doing then great, but showing them at this age is a bit unsafe and unrealistic.  Aren't we over the perfect mom social media staged photos yet?

Mainly I just didn't feel safe or happy in that environment.  I removed my Coach and all the other coaches I followed from my Facebook account.  They were more of a distraction of perfection than a source of inspiration.  I hope that any affiliation you have with MLM fitness communities help meet your needs and fulfills you.

What has your experience been with the various fitness and health MLM's out there?