Moms Meet

Monday, July 27, 2015

My crazy busy life

Well World, it’s been awhile since I last posted anything…that’s because nothing was happening, but more along the lines of life was kicking my butt!!!
Since the last post we’ve all packed up and moved closer to where both Rob and I grew up in Virginia. In many ways it’s nice to be home and closer to family. However, packing up, moving across states, getting one house ready to sell while looking for a new home and having family divided between homes are exhausting. So that’s what’s been going on here, how have things been with you? Seriously though, we’re all here together now, so all I can do is smile, hug and roll with the changes!

Warning, that’s about all the pleasant that I can muster, I’m about to seriously gripe now, just thought I’d let you know in advance. The nice Amy will come back towards the end, so feel free to skip ahead if you'd rather not hear any more whining and griping today. Or just keep reading and join the gripe fest!

Unfortunately some things still haven’t changed, new state new doctors and still they don’t seem to know what the hell is wrong with me. The doctors back in Raleigh were certain that it was Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia even though my symptoms seemed to jump around and none of the suggested treatments ever really worked. These past few months have been absolutely horrible. To say that I have the energy level of the walking dead would be a slight over exaggeration. In addition to all the non-specific symptoms of fatigue, nausea and pain that I’ve dealt with for years, I started having heart palpitations, a very low pulse, panic attacks and major stomach issues. New doctor, new tests, she thinks it might be my thyroid causing all my problems. From what I’ve read about it, it seems to be a likely culprit. I’m starting to feel relieved that at least someone is pursuing some other direction than take these NSAIDS and call me when the ulcer it causes is bleeding…and then the test results come back. Thyroid would appear to be fine. So she’s sending me off to be a Guinea pig with a Gastroenterologist and a Cardiologist. I’m not holding out much hope, but at least she’s looking for an explanation other than it’s all in your head. I just want to know what it causing all the problems so that it can be fixed and I can be “normal” again.

Not having professionals “get it” is beyond frustrating, but I think the very worst thing for me is that my husband is clueless. To him I’m still the 300 mph whirling dervish he married and anything less than that is laziness. This is the man who lays on the sofa and acts like he's dying when he gets a cold, but I digress. I’d like to slap him silly if he says any of  these things to me one more time, 
  • “Just take something so you’ll feel better!” (Ok, so what do you suggest dear, because Rite-Aid was out of feel all better pills.)
  • “Well, have you done anything about it?” (Really???? where have you been the past 14 years?)
  • “If you got more sleep you’d probably be fine!” (Cause I haven’t thought of that one at 3 AM when I’ve had 30 minutes sleep and you are snoring louder than the dog) 
  • “So what have you done today"” (Do you really want to go there, because even though I feel like shit, I PROMISE YOU, I’VE DONE MORE TODAY THAN YOU DID AND WHAT I DID TOOK WAY MORE EFFORT THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.
Have you heard any of these before? Can you add to the list?

So while not sleeping, waiting for the feel all better pills to kick in, unpacking boxes for the entire family, looking for full time work in my field, working part-time as a cook and all the while cooking for the family, cleaning up after and caring for the kids and the dog, doing endless mountains of laundry, juggling doctor’s appointments all around a new town that I don't really know how to navigate yet, being a chauffeur, seamstress and general do everything for everyone person, I managed to google a few of my symptoms and some possible causes. We’ve eaten clean for years now, so I don’t typically worry about the typical kinds of problems associated with the standard American diet. After all that I’ve read, I’m starting to think maybe a food allergy might be causing at least some of my problems. So I’ve been reading up on elimination diets and so far I’ve found lots of what NOT to eat, but what would really help me is a menu. Something like these 3, 5, 7 whatever meals are ok to eat. I’m still looking and thinking right now, but that’s where I am right now.

Happy Amy is returning, Grumpy Amy doesn't get out much, only on long rambling phone calls to her sister... so it's safe to start reading again :-)

I decided to come back to my blog right now for a couple of reasons. No, it wasn’t because I didn’t have enough going on right now, ha ha! I cook a lot and love to share my creations with family and friends but my bad photography skills have held me back from really posting many of them to share here. I figured that I’m never going to get better unless I practice – so just like the kiddo with training wheels I’m learning. That being said, if you read something that sounds fantastic, but the picture looks um, questionable, please just take a chance and go for it. Just know going in that I’m a much much much better cook than photo stager and photographer! Long time friends have been encouraging me for a while to write a cook book and I thought I might pursue it, but first I thought I’d throw a few recipes out into blog land. One of my other reasons for taking this up again is that I have learned so much from reading other’s blogs and as I am going through these crazy health issues and trying to figure out what’s going on I’d like to be connect with and possibly even be able to help someone else.

So the next few things I’m planning on writing about are meal planning to be able to have a freezer full of food and along the way I'd like to share some yummy recipes. I'm sure that I'll be consumed with the crazy adventures of painting and decorating this new to us house and will probably want to show off some of my redecorating treasures from time to time. I also really excited about putting in my veggie and herb gardens and would love to share that experience. All that great stuff and lots of random goodness. I’d love to hear from anyone who reads this, so please be in touch!

Much love,


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hungry kid approved fig cookies

Do your kiddos come home from school like they haven't eaten in a week? Ok, you can put your hands down now. I hear ya, I'm right there too. I *try* to always have something somewhat healthy in immediate sight before the locus strip the pantry bare guys come home. So this week I decided to make some cookies. I had picked up a beautiful basket of figs from Trader Joe's earlier in the week that I needed to use soon. Usually I make a fig tart out of them, but I had cookies on the brain. I also have this thing (ok, my family might call it an addiction, but they aren't writing this) about hiding healthy things in everyday foods. No, honey there isn't anything strange about this pasta...

I remembered that an old friend of mine would make fig cookies every year at Christmas, but I never did get her recipe. I remembered that they were some sort of Middle Eastern delicacy and it was an old family recipe. Her cookies were so good that usually my husband and I would eat the ENTIRE TIN in one day. And that was before we had to hide them from roving bands of locust. Over the years we have both moved and our families have lost touch, so I turned to my trusty friend Google. I couldn't really find what I was looking for, but I did find a few recipes for Italian fig cookies. After reading a few different versions of what sounded like old Italian family recipes that were all just slightly different I figured I could surely come up with something. And I did. It's not quite the delicacy of my memories and it's not a true Italian fig cookie, but boy are they good! So good that the dog came in to sniff, beg and search for crumbs (which we never have on our floors, lol).

If you look closely at the uncooked cookies in the picture you can see the fig chunks. My guys really loved the cookies, and I never told them "exactly" what was in them. They didn't ask, they know better now. Feel free to share these little gems with your band of roving locust.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

#ZeviaStyle and Moms Meet Zevia Giveaway

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Have you tried Zevia Zero Calorie Soda yet? I’ve had Zevia before, I used to pick it up from Whole Foods along with lunch when I worked part-time. I hadn't had any in a while and I was happy to learn that now it can be found in most grocery stores. Want to try some of your own? Don’t forget to enter to win a coupon to try Zevia for free.

We are not big soda drinkers in this house, so when a big brown box filled with shiny cans of soda arrived from Zevia Zero Calorie Soda and Moms Meet at the very end of a long, hot, boring summer…well it might as well have been a box of gold as well received as it was from this crew. We waited for it to cool and shared it with our family group the next day. Truthfully, everyone else waited and I snuck one that night, cuz um, well you know quality control, and Mama wanted to make sure she got a cream soda.

You may not know that Zevia Zero Calorie Soda is made with their own unique blend of US grown Stevia and Monk Fruit. It has no (let me repeat that NO) calories, sugar or artificial sugars. Happy dance! We also noticed that many of the flavors were clear. Fantastic (not just better for us but for all the places it may be spilled). It’s Kosher, Vegan and Gluten-Free. Even. More. Awesome.

I know, I know you are thinking, I want some icy cold ginger root beer right now. No? Maybe that was just me. Zevia comes in 15 different flavors so there is sure to be one for everyone. We sampled the cola, caffeine free cola, black cherry, cream soda, grapefruit citrus, ginger ale, lemon lime twist, orange, grape, ginger root beer, mountain Zevia and Dr. Zevia, but the website also lists strawberry, lime cola, and cherry cola. The little ones had fun “taste testing” the clear sodas trying to guess what they were. Eventually they ended up mixing them together, but apparently even then it was still tasty (I'll take their word for it).

Would you like to learn more about Zevia Zero Calorie Soda? There has been lots of discussion about Zevia on Moms Meet and Zevia also has many ways to connect and learn more. Here are all the ways that you can connect with Zevia to learn more about Zevia and the #ZeviaStyle Challenge. 

Zevia is giving away lots of great swag, t-shirts, soda and oh yeah $100 Target cards every day until September 5th. Just share what makes you original and you might win. You can learn all the specifics at Zevia. September 5th is just around the corner so you might want to connect with them soon. But not until you enter to win one of the coupons that Zevia and Moms Meet provide for me to share with you. Click on the rafflecopter to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Plum Oatmeal Bars and Spiced Plum Muffins for back to school

Plum Oatmeal Bars and Spiced Plum Muffins

Are you smack in the middle of back to school craziness? Well, we sure are here!!!! Just wish the weather felt a little more fall like…

My quest to have something healthy for an after school snack mixed with sneaking fruits and veggies into places they've never gone before this week. For my crew, I knew it would need to be sweet, but I didn't just want oatmeal cookies. I wanted healthy, but know they are only going to eat so many apples. As I was going through the cabinets looking for inspiration I came a container of dried plums and had a genius idea (cue the magical mom sound effects). Something sweet and tasty enough for the teenage boy yet nutritious enough for mom and dad. Yep, plums would be perfect. So I went to work to create my masterpiece! Originally I was just going to make oatmeal plum bars but I got on a roll and made plum spice muffins for a quick breakfast too.

With oatmeal, peanut butter, pecans, coconut and chocolate chips you wouldn't even know that the plums were in the oatmeal plum bars. They add just a touch of sweetness and really if you chop them small enough you don’t even have to tell anyone about the secret ingredient. 

Same with the muffins, they could pass for plain old spice muffins. Feel free to not share the secret ingredient that makes them both so moist. As you can see from the picture, the muffin batter is a little thin before you add the plums and nuts. Also has anyone tried Challenge butter yet? I know it's been around on the West Coast for awhile, but it's new out here in the Southeast. This was my first time using it and I really like the hormone free pasture raised butter. I'll certainly be buying it again.

So if you have been searching for a healthy after school snack or quick morning breakfast, give these a try. Hope your family enjoys them as much as mine has!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ten things I've learned this summer...

I've been working on ideas for the blog recently. Boy has that been eye opening, so without further ado, here are some things I've learned:

1. I take horrible food photos. Seriously, I would consider myself a great cook and baker but my photos do not do my creations justice. They are just plain embarrassing. Just like some socks mysteriously go on vacation, dust bunnies multiply in the dark, and small children can't keep a white shirt clean for more than 5 minutes dirty dishes and spilled flour actually move towards the flash, everything looks messier when you are trying to take beautiful foodie photos.

My darling dog, ie the vacuum
2. The dog, husband, teenage boys and small children do not wait for you to clean the kitchen and get a good photograph when they can smell food.

3. The dog knows you bake her treats, therefore anything that comes out of the oven must be for her, right? That's why she guards the oven and thinks the biscotti is for her. Sounds perfectly logical to me.

4. I was taught to open the cabinets and cook with a little of this and a little of that. It makes for great eats, but not so wonderful reproducible recipes.

5. Not writing down the recipe as I go along, guarantees it will be fantastic and everyone will want me to write it down for them. There is no way I will ever remember what I threw into the pot or that one special thing I added at the last minute, just saying...
Nutella tarts and an almond danish

granola bars
6. Make Nutella poptarts and your kids will never want to eat anything else for breakfast, make peach bourbon poptarts and your husband will eat them before the icing dries, make granola bars and you get to keep them all for yourself, lol

7. Bake shortbread, drizzle it with caramel, dark chocolate and sea salt arrange it beautifully to photograph and your house will suddenly be filled with hungry teenage boys.

8. You need special skills to fill lip balm tubes with hot, did I say HOT?!?!?! homemade lip balm. I know know that I do not possess such skills.

9. Whenever I find a DIY beauty recipe I want to try, I am out of or very close to out of one the ingredients. Does this happen to anyone else? Seriously, who uses up all the essential oils around here????

10. I'm still looking for high quality spray nozzles that won't die after a month to screw into recycled Pelligrino bottles. Brilliant, I know, they are green so no degradation of the essential oils. And cheaper than Bragg vinegar if you want to pick up a 6 pack and make several things at once. Now if I can just find a good sprayer. Suggestions anyone? I'll get some photos of my cool bottles and homemade labels up soon.

So that's what's been happening around here. I'm going to keep working on those photos, but until then I may just add my humor and thoughts alongside some bad ones. Until then I'm off to do some back to school shopping, prep for the upcoming year and sneak the last hurrahs of summer into the schedule!