Author Archives: Sarah Grace
Oh happy day! I’m sitting in the hospital with my little sister, she just had a kidney transplant and is doing great. This has been a long long time coming and we are so grateful. It’s a new life for this sweet little 16-year-old!
So it’s been almost three weeks since things clicked and we decided to drastically change Brielle’s diet. I’m excited to write an update on it! I feel like I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth because I’m taking an Instagram break and have been totally off the grid. Who knows, if I continue to like it as much as I do now we just might break-up permanently. So far I’m loving this new Insta-free Sarah.
For example, old Sarah would sip this (my delicious homemade chicken bone broth, not currently in my hand, this is from last week) and I would take a picture of it and post it to Instagram. I would take my time constructing the perfect caption, posting it, and then proceed to scroll mindlessly through hundreds of other similar images.
By the time I was done with all that racket I would look down and my broth would either be gone (consumed distractedly) or cold. Then the process would start over again with something else. Another post about another topic, another moment instagramed away.
New Sarah just sits there, and sips. Hot rich flavor with a hint of lime and fish sauce. enjoying every taste… for real enjoys it, not just hashtag “#enjoylife.” What a zoo. Anyway, like I said, all that’s for another post!
Back to our clean eating journey. There have been plenty of ups and downs but here we are, (yesterday) with Brielle standing in the kitchen watching Brenden season a big hunk o’ ribs saying: “Let’s cook it!!”
Do my ears deceive me?? In the end she preferred the smoked chicken over the ribs, but still, it’s huge progress. Three weeks ago she wouldn’t touch chicken unless it was in nugget form.
And she ate Chili the other day. Chili. With a blob of sour cream in it. This is a huge deal for so many reasons.
1) The beef. Three weeks ago she wouldn’t taste it except for a couple times in spaghetti sauce. Now she eats beef tacos, meatballs, and now Chili!
2) The mixing together of things totally weirds her out. So eating chili, (beans, tomatoes, onions, corn, beef, spices, etc.) all together is just way out there.
3) Chili is my favorite go-to meal and the fact that all four of us are finally on board with it just calls for a celebration.
There have been so many positive results from just being consistent in this area. My health is benefiting from it too. We used to always find a reason for a “treat,” now we have to find other ways to entertain ourselves, reward ourselves, pacify ourselves. It’s stretching us and growing us in ways I never imagined it would! And what started as a pretty exhausting uphill climb is starting to feel more like a lifestyle.
Once Brielle got used to the fact that this was the new normal and there wasn’t a treat hiding behind every corner she decided to start really participating. And the more she participated the more she realized there wasn’t anything to be scared of. It’s amazing how much her confidence increased just by her ability to try new things. She’s like a whole “nother” (as Michael says) person.
And of course we have treats. But they are thought out and planned for, and not nearly as frequent as they used to be. And dare I say we enjoy them more. Way more. Because they really are “treats,” and not just everyday occurrences. Yesterday after dinner we had this:
Ridiculous ice cream sandwiches made with Tate’s chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream. Michael thought it up. And Brielle requested a root beer float. They ended up having both, because in the end I’m still a pushover. And I wanted both too.
We still have days where it’s like pulling teeth and I have to remember that this isn’t something we will ever be finished with. I need to just try to take it slow and steady. It’s a new life of making one good food decision after the other and teaching them to do the same.
Excited about a new week of trying new foods!
Changing our diet this drastically isn’t just changing how we eat… It’s changing how we think about food, how we relate to food, how we relate to each other through food (hello, no more bribing,) and how we see food simply as a nourishing blessing and not as a reward.
Easier said than done.
I’ve realized over the past three days how reward based I am. I’m always like “if you do this we’ll get this.” Or “after this we’ll go get this.” Talk about unhealthy. Now every minute is met with a higher level of consciousness. We have to mentally get ourselves out of emotional lows, not just snack ourselves out. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for treats and special occasions in this life, trust me, but I am saying that limping through life holding on to the promise of the next “fix” is no way for my kids to live. Or me.
Our days are different now. It’s weird to be out with the kids because normally we would get snacks here or there, or a “treat” at every corner. Something that makes my brain buzz and my dopamine flow. A drug. Something that gives me a quick fix and makes everything all better. Except that’s why we’re here in the first place.
This is not a diet. This is a way of life. And I have to remember there is no short-cut to lasting change. Brielle’s health for the rest of her life dependents on it. And it is so worth it.
Our day yesterday: Her breakfast sat untouched except for the bacon all morning. And she said she was hungry. I said “look at all the yummy breakfast you still have to eat. Once that’s gone we can talk about other food. Or you can wait until lunch.”
She waited until lunch. Which was realllllly problematic because I asked her to eat chicken in her quesadilla. No bueno. And I served avocado and black beans on the side. Talk about yummy. It makes me want to cry that this food, so obviously delicious and wholesome is so heartily refused by my daughter.
She said: “I ate a bean, how much more do I have to eat?” No Brielle that’s not how it works. You need to eat your lunch. “How much though? How many more bites??” Brielle you can eat as many bites as you want. It’s your lunch. Just enjoy it and eat it.
No eating was done. But there was lots of irrational crying and whining. I packed her lunch and we piled in the car to go to gymnastics. I never thought I would be that mom carrying around my kid’s uneaten lunch. But there I was, browning avocado and all, ready to say “here it is” to the first person who dared say they were hungry.
By 4:30 everyone was famished. Perfect time to ask them to eat something outrageous. I fried up some eggs and added it to some whole grain brown rice. Then I told Brielle what I hope was not a bribe: “We are going to American Hertitage Girls tonight, and there will be an award ceremony with snacks after. If you eat your dinner you will be able to have snacks. If you don’t eat your dinner you won’t have snacks.”
The train was in motion. Snacks! She took some bites and then said “how many more?” It’s those kinds of questions that happen all the day long that will make a mother crazy. So I finally said “six bites.” And took a spoon and scooped out six adult sized bites into another bowl. This is very different than six tiny Brielle-sized bites. She ate it all. Which is a huge huge huuuuuuge deal. Big pieces of scrambled eggs, down the hatch.
And then, as promised, we went to her sweet little girl’s club where in true American form, the social bonding agent of the evening was refined sugar and trans fats. (I can say that with almost certainty.) They had two treats each and were happy as clams. Until about 10 minutes later when they were both complaining of a tummy ache.
A couple observations about our journey thus far:
The more Brielle branches out food-wise the more confident she gets. And not just with food. It translates into so many areas of her life. I think she felt inadequate when she would sit at the table, not being able to eat what the rest of us were eating. Now she realizes how capable she is. She is gaining confidence and it’s coming in strong waves. She ate a taco with beef and she felt a swell of pride “I can do this!” and then eggs, “Wow, I actually like this!” And then fish, “I hate this so much!” But at least she tried it.
And she feels more loved. I can tell. What I don’t give her in jelly beans I give her in hugs. What I can’t give her in donuts or ice cream I give her in reading books and cuddling on the couch. She feels the love. She feels the attention and care for her little body and she sees what we are trying to do. She knows it’s for her good. She feels loved.
This post is all over the place for so many reasons. I’m just trying to get it all down so it’s here. But also, my emotions are all over the place. It’s been a crazy few days. So full of growth and realization and new experiences. I never thought changing one aspect of our lives could ripple out and effect so many other areas. And I have a feeling it will just keep going.
Very very excited.
Monday morning was day two of our family clean eating journey. It’s funny how no matter what we decide to do in life, we can be very sure that there will be derailments and even train wrecks along the way.
For example, as I type Brenden and Brielle are both sick in bed. It’s pretty cute actually, Brielle is eating her bacon and (exactly) a quarter of a boiled egg, and Brenden is sitting talking with her and keeping her company on her arduous mission of actually eating this food. They make a good sick team, and I’m just praying that Michael and I stay welllllll.
High.. she ate bacon.
And then she had cashews and raisins and fat head pizza (she loves it!!) and carrots and red pepper for her homeschool co-op lunch. She ate it all. Then she came home and asked for more carrots and I gave her ranch and for the first time in her life she tried ranch dressing. I feel weird because I’m all excited that my kid ate ranch dressing (because don’t all kids love to “dip??”) Not mine. This was a big deal.
Brielle brought her “rug” she made in Spanish class home and gave it to Michael. I love their little friendship so much. When they aren’t fighting they are lovvvvving.
The “low” came at dinner-time, when we asked her to eat chicken in her cheese quesadilla. She eats chicken; this shouldn’t be the end of the world. But apparently putting it in other food is just asking too much.
I ended up holding her as she cried and I thought, “what are we doing wrong. This is the worst.” It was so stressful for me. The reason she has these eating issues in the first place is because I can’t follow through. I cave and let her eat what she wants. I just do.
But not this time. We are track to somewhere healthy. Somewhere new. Somewhere where we all sit and eat the same good food and we are better for the struggle. God please help us.
The night ended with a plan. Brielle and Brenden sat down and drafted a menu for the next day. This simple act caused her to feel more in control of her life. They talked about what they would eat today, and came up with this:
My favorite part is the “quarter” boiled egg. Which she still has yet to touch this morning, but I have hope!
Gabrielle Elise Grace I am so proud of you.
I was sitting with Brenden Saturday night watching a documentary called The Magic Pill, and something just clicked. We started watching the movie out of curiosity, expecting the usual… Radical people warning us of the evil of sugars and carbs and how the food industry is killing us.
But this was different. I sat with my mouth open, jaw literally dropped.. and the morning couldn’t come fast enough for me to throw it all away. Throw it all away. The cereal, the pancake mix, the crackers, the chips the …. I couldn’t wake up soon enough to begin our new lives and start trying to get it right.
Brenden and I eat a mostly low carb high fat diet and we have seen a ton of health benefits from it, so now it’s a no-brainer. We would never go back to our old way of eating.. The quality of life on this side is far too good. Between the two of us we have seen reduced inflammation, chronic knee pain and arthritis disappear, mood swings (mine) diminished, anxiety reduced, weight loss achived, etc etc etc.
And as I sit here right now I’m embarrassed to say that Brielle doesn’t eat at all like we do. Michael will eat whatever we eat and then whine about his veggies (he’s three) but Brielle is a different story all together. She’s a heat seeking missile directed toward any simple carb she can find. And because I’m a push over, I let her.
When we go out to eat Thai food (yum) she’ll eat the rice. When we go get fun Mexican she’ll eat the chips. When we go out anywhere else and she’ll eat the fries or the pizza. We took her and a sweet friend of hers to dinner and her friend had Lo Mein and Egg Drop soup. Brielle declined everything except the white rice.. even the stir-fried rice was too mysterious.
We asked her pediatrician about it and she said “it’s okay, she’ll grow out of it.” Meanwhile, she’s 14th percentile for her age and she doesn’t seem to be growing at all.. She doesn’t eat enough calories because we don’t let her eat crap all the time.. and crap is all she’ll eat.
So what clicked with me on Saturday night as I was watching the documentary is that it’s possible (and not cruel) to tell Brielle cold turkey, “you are going to eat what we eat. Period.” Because what we are eating isn’t ‘adult’ food it’s ‘healthy’ food. And healthy food is for everyone.
This documentary showed me that junk food is not Brielle’s rite of passage as a kid. I’m not denying her a fabulous childhood because I don’t let her eat junk every day. In fact I may be stealing her vitality and health as a teenager and adult and old grandmom by not insisting that she eat real food, and now!
I’ve done her such a disservice by allowing her to develop such a reward-based mentality. It will not serve her well in life, in any area. But the good news is, it can be reversed. This documentary showed me that amazing proof, and I’m leaning in.
Our first attempt at a family “everyone eats the same meal” was Sunday night. And it was awesome. By awesome I mean, Brielle cried, and then resorted to eating a lime for dinner. I kid you not, a lime.
Michal sipped away at his broth and was happy as a clam.
Brenden got his birthday present from me (early) an instant pot; and the bliss that came from that pot still has me drooling. In one hour he had an entire chicken cooked fall-off-the-bone tender and a pot of bone broth that blew my mind. He used the instant pot to do the whole thing. He sautéed coriander seeds, cloves, onion, bruised ginger and then added water, the chicken and some Fuji apple and cilantro. Closed the lid and the pressure started to build. The result was incredible Chicken Pho. Here is the recipe.
The toppings were jalapeños and lime and cilantro with miracle noodles (low carb, vegan, soy free amazing miracle noodles made out of mushrooms or something) and Brielle said no thank you to all of it. Except the lime.
She even said no to the toast with almond butter because 1) It wasn’t peanut butter 2) It didn’t have honey on it 3) The bread was “weird.” The bread was indeed weird. Dave’s seed bread, only 1g of sugar and “sweetened” with fruit juice. Why bread needs to be sweetened at all is beyond me, but sweetened or not Brielle said no way.
Even after all this apparent failure this was still the best start I could imagine. All of us sitting around the table, not a “kid food” in sight, no extra stress for me. No extra meals to make or debating or pleading or bargaining. Knowing that we were on the right track, knowing that this will take time. Knowing that all I have to say is: “This is dinner, and wow it’s good. One day you’ll like it.”
And when that day comes I will literally cry with joy.
The one small victory we had yesterday besides moving one huge foot in the right direction was that Brielle drank (happily) whole plain milk at bedtime. Usually she’ll ask for almond milk (it’s sweeter and less fatty and she can taste it) or chocolate milk. But last night there was no option. It was whole cows milk along with Michael drinking his usual whole cows milk, or nothing. Glug glug glug.
My prayer for Brielle is that she begins to enjoy good food the way the rest of her family does. I want her to savour it and appreciate it and be healthier for it. Food is a gift from God. Made to nurture and comfort us and keep us well. She has lived with substitutes long enough.
Wish us luck!
I’m sitting here at a coffee shop, kid-free and soaking up every minute. I ordered a coffee with almond milk, extra hot, in a to-go cup please because I don’t want it to cool down too fast. I want hot hot hot coffee while I sit and do whatever the heck I want for two hours.
If I let my mind wander it goes to all the undone chores, the loose ends, the fact that Christmas is in 21 days, (I just googled that) and all the things that have to be done by me, only me, and asap. But they can wait. I’m going to take some time for me. I hear the low murmuring around me, people leaning over their laptops and coffees, everyone quietly sipping and being Monday-morning-productive.
So this Thai food… I want to get it on my blog so I never lose it, but also I just want to feel my fingers fly across the keyboard. I miss writing!! I miss the creative part of it, the slow filling of an empty page with thoughts and words. This time of year is just so so busy. I need to slow down and hear this ‘click click click’ more.
Last weekend we had some dear friends over for dinner. Well, they came over for dinner but we didn’t end up eating because we had to rush to urgent care (sob!) The best thing about friends who are also parents is that they understand the crAziness that comes with having kids. Flexibility is key. Anything can change in a second and everyone just has to adapt and hope for the best.
But back to dinner: Our friends are vegetarians so I wanted to make something that they would like, and us too! I decided on a red curry. It’s such a versatile dish because you can throw in tofu, shrimp, chicken, veggies, whateves!
Brielle helped me chop the peppers with a little steak knife. I watched her closely and she was so careful.
Then she helped get the moisture out of the tofu. I’ve never cooked tofu before, but I assume the dryer the better before it’s cooked?
Then she helped tear the basil. Fresh delicious fragrant basil!
Brenden took the kids on a walk to get shrimp. Whole Foods is about two miles away by car but they hiked through the woods and had so much fun! Brenden sent me pics of their journey along the way. I was very impressed that M only asked to be held a few times. My babies are getting so big!
They came back tired and happy.
Time to make the meal:
2 cans coconut milk (15 oz cans)
3 tablespoons red curry past
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup bamboo shoots (I used from a can)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons fish sauce
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
My plan was to have the curry sauce, rice and the proteins all in serving dishes. People could choose what protein they wanted and then add the sauce to the top, over the rice.
Cut the veggies, put in a bowl and set aside.
Put the coconut milk and red curry paste in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Simmer for five minutes.
Add the basil, bamboo, sugar and fish sauce, simmer for 10-15 minutes. I brought it to a boil and then lowered the heat and let it simmer.
While it’s simmering saute the veggies in some olive oil just until tender-crisp.
Then saute chicken breast, or shrimp, or tofu, or nothing! Just veggie red curry is amazing too.
That’s literally it. It’s the easiest meal ever, and the payoff is amazing.
Anyway, dinner was almost ready and smelled delish, our friends had just arrived, and we were sitting in the living room talking about how great it was to have playdates at this age, now that the kids can run off and play outside and we can actually finish a conversation and enjoy ourselves… and then from outside we hear “Wahhhhhh!!!!” and little messengers ran in to tell us that Brielle had fallen.
Play date ended. 🙁 The rest of our evening looked like this:
With lots of M trying to make Brielle laugh:
He is such a good little brother.
And Brielle was so so brave.
The boys went back to the house before us because, my, those emergency room experiences take a while, and it was getting late. When we arrived home M had the biggest hug for his sister. It touched his little heart that she was wearing a cast.
Finally it was time for food. We were famished at 9PM at night!
It did not disappoint. I can’t wait to make this again for our friends, raincheck!
Okay, my coffee is gone and I feel so grateful for this moment to myself. Time to pack up and look for an Advent wreath, four days into December. I already got a weird look from the staff at Michael’s this morning, like “where have you been lady?? They are all gone.”
Have a beautiful week everyone!
*I found this recipe on geniuskitchen.com. I removed the mushrooms, yellow onions, green peppers, but if they sound good to you, add them!
Every now and then I find a recipe that makes me think: “How am I just now discovering this??” That’s what happened with this rice… And now I make it all the time. Veggies disguised as carb-loaded starchy bliss! Yum.
Don’t let the prep time scare you. It’s well worth it, and you can make it in bulk and store it for the week.
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 slices bacon, diced
2 large eggs
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I never mince my own.)
1 teaspoon ginger, minced (I use ground if I don’t have fresh on hand.)
First, put the cauliflower into a food processor. In my case that’s a little Ninja. One day I’ll grow up and get a real food processor.
Move all the processed cauliflower to a cookie sheet and press with a paper towel. The goal is to remove ALL extra moisture, And I had no idea cauliflower was so full of it!
Once it’s dry to your satisfaction (and resembles little grainy pieces of rice/grits) you can set it aside.
Now cut and fry up the bacon and set aside.
Next add the cauliflower to the bacon fat in the pan – Cook for a moment and then add the soy sauce and fish sauce. Mix well.
Push the cauliflower off to the side of the pan and add the sesame oil, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook for a few minutes – yum.
Now mix everything together and cook for a few more minutes. This is where I add copious amounts of pepper. It adds so much flavor!
Delicious. Seriously. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life.
(Thank you ruled.me for the best keto stuff ever!)
I wanted to make this again and it wasn’t on my blog. For shame!! I really have enjoyed having all our favorite meals in one place. With little naked pictures of my sous chef and his super cute dirty face. Seriously, can life get any better?? And then throw in a napping cat out the kitchen window and I’m just in heaven… What is it about a napping cat?
So this dish: Let me just say, if you like Chinese take-out but you also like to stay on track heath/diet-wise, make this asap. It’s the best of both worlds. Healthy AND delish.
2 medium chicken thighs, bone in skin on
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt and pepper
1/4 cup peanuts
1/2 medium green pepper
2 large spring onions
4 red Bird’s Eye Chilis, de-seeded (I used 2 Serrano peppers instead)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. chili garlic paste
1 tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. maple extract (I used a couple tablespoons of maple syrup instead, yum!)
10 drops liquid stevia (I didn’t use this because of the above)
First I began the painstaking task of cutting up the meat. Granted, you could probably use boneless/skinless meat as well, but I think the skin adds extra flavor and fat to the dish.
I’ve experimented with different ways of cutting chicken, and point down/handless cutting with shears wins for me. The less I have to touch raw poultry the better. And it ensures I don’t cut myself too!
De-bone and cut into tiny bite sized peices. I removed any huge pieces of skin but a little skin attached to the meat is good! It will fry into little crispy golden pieces of heaven in the fry pan.
M added the salt and pepper and ground ginger after it was all cut up.
Mix up the sauce and cut up veggies (green pepper/onions/chilis) and set aside.
Next heat a pan over medium/high heat and add some oil. Once the pan is super hot add the chicken. Let chicken cook until browned (about 10 minutes). You will start to recognize little Kung-Pao-like pieces. In your very own kitchen. Yay!
Once the chicken is browned, set aside and cook the veggies and peanuts in the same pan (with some oil) for a few minutes until a tiny bit tender. After a few minutes lower the heat and add the chicken and the sauce to the veggies and peanuts. Stir and cook a few minutes until the sauce has reduced a bit. The end result will be a little sticky (aka Delishhhh,)
I don’t believe in Chinese food without some steaming hot rice so thank goodness for this keto fried cauliflower rice recipe. I had no idea a non-rice “rice” could be so good!
And of course we never shy away from hot sauce over here.. bring it on! I hope you try this recipe.. it’s so worth it!
To keep this recipe Keto-friendly, follow the stevia/maple extract instructions and leave out the maple syrup. And Thank you Ruled.me for this crazy good recipe!
Did you know “Carnitas” means “little meat” in Spanish? How cute is that? And delicious.
These are the best Carnitas we’ve ever made in our own kitchen. I’m speed typing this and hitting publish so I have it in my “slow cooker” search whenever I’m meal planning for the week.
Start with a 4lb pork shoulder. I found this at Whole Foods: (I haven’t seen any change since the Amazon switch, I wonder if/when that’s coming?)
Mix the seasonings.
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Rub it all over the meat. I put it back in the paper and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours but you can use it straight away as well.
Cut two onions in quarters and peel four cloves of garlic.
I usually use jarred minced garlic but I used whole fresh garlic for this recipe because it calls for whole, not diced. And as long as I don’t have to cut it, that’s fine with me. 🙂
Juice two limes and two oranges… Smells so fresh!
Place garlic, onions, orange juice, lime juice and pork into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. You can also do high for 4-5 hours but I highly recommend low and slow heat. 🙂
Then go about your day!
For us that that looked like dropping M off at preschool and going on a walk to the library to do homeschool:
And I bought myself an extra hour and a half sans Michael by putting him in lunch bunch (which he loves) so I could go to the semi-annual consignment sale down the street. So glad I went. I got some great Fall finds. Michael said “thank you for these shoes mommy! Are they super-fast running shoes?” Of course the answer is always yes.
Next we went to piano lessons for Brielle. This is when M and I get to read all the piano teacher’s great books!
Eventually we got to dinner time (around 8:30 actually, after we got back from church) and what I had planned to be black beans and salsa and tomatoes and lettuce bowl with our Carnitas turned into “Let’s do this! we are starving!”
So the last step: Remove the pork from slow cooker and shred it into pieces (hence, “little meat”) and put it back in the juices in the crockpot. We did this in super-fast motion, with kids under-foot.
Then we put the pieces of meat in a hot frying pan (using a tablespoon or so of the drippings in the slow cooker) and fried it up in small batches until it was crisp on the outside. (The original recipe says to broil for a few minutes in the oven, so that is an option too but this tastes better to me.)
And don’t forget to add salt at the very end. It takes it from “wow this is good” to… “Damn this is good!” Which is actually the name of the site where I got this recipe! Damndelicious.net. 🙂
Serve the ridiculously delicious “little meat” with black beans and rice or on a (heated) tortilla with salsa and etc etc etc.
Tonight we ate it with salsa and nothing else. Well, corn on the cob and some rice made an appearance toward the end of the meal after it was done cooking, but we were too famished to wait for it!
Yum! This will be on our meal planning rotation until we get totally sick of it. 😀
This dish is just as good as it looks! Lucky for me I don’t like dark chocolate plain, so this made it into the recipe and not into my mouth. 😀
2 lbs chicken pieces bone in breast – Skin removed
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp ghee
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed or minced
two cans of tomatoes, crushed, 15 0z each.
Two tomatoes chopped
2 dried chipotle chilis
1/4 cup creamy Almond Butter
2.5 oz dark chocolate 70% or above
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon power
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
avocado cilantro and jalapeno, all chopped
Generously salt and pepper the chicken.
Place a pan over medium heat and add the ghee.
Once the ghee has warmed, add the chicken and brown on all sizes. This may need to be done in batches.
Move the chicken to slow cooker.
Add onion to the same pan and saute until translucent.
Add garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer onion and garlic to the slow cooker.
Add the tomatoes, chili peppers, almond butter, dark chocolate, salt and spices to the slow cooker.
Cook on low to 4 to 6 hours or until the chicken is tender and pulls apart easily.
Top mole with the avocado, cilantro and jalapeno and serve!
The curiosity of chocolate chicken kept them in the kitchen. 🙂
I couldn’t wait until dinner to taste it. Wow, it was even better than I expected!
I served it over roasted cauliflower.
Delicious! I can’t wait to make this again.
I love how beautifully complex life is. How can we be in love with so many places and people? How can those places and people stay with us, be a part of us, no matter where we are?
We are home sweet home, but this will forever be in our hearts:
Nanny, oh how we love you. You are our last grandparent; the kids last great-grandparent. Your beautiful smile and energy… Your laughter and your eyes. Thank you for your life and what it means to us.
It’s weird that there was a time in my life where I didn’t even think about this being a thing… It just didn’t cross my mind… and now here it is. It just is. We have Nanny and that is all.
But I’m happy to say we lived up every moment with her… No regrets. And we get to see her again in a couple of weeks!
Dinner at the ChopHouse and playing tic tac toe.
As our vacation wound down we did our best to live it up! The kids finally rode the carousel. Maybe next year they will try to reach for the golden ring. This is such a cool activity in Watch Hill.
This is Michael’s “I’m having fun” face.
Lots of walks. “Mommy, look! My shadow looks like I am six!” – Brielle.
M rode (again!) on a boat, and looked just as thrilled. I wonder what’s going on in that big head? I know he loves it…
We made it to the Cooked Goose for breakfast which seemed like it would be fun, because it always is, but for some reason with this crew on this specific morning, it wasn’t.
I think it was a combination of it being 7AM, and rainy, and Michael having to poop (sorry) and us over-exciting ourselves to finally go to the Cooked Goose again. We were a hot mess. My breakfast was deeeeeeelicious though. And I wasn’t going to let two whiney kids ruin it for me. 😀
Three summers ago we met some new friends at the Cooked Goose and have kept up with them ever since. Every year our vacations have somehow coincided and I’m so glad it worked out again this year! What a blast!
Drew is the best at catching random sea life. It was critter-heaven on the ski beach. This was a gorgeous Horseshoe Crab, it was so fun to look at him and then watch him bury his way back into the water.
Spider crabs are exactly what they sound like. Eeeek!
Eating is a serious passtime for this crew.
We had dinner in the backyard and the kids sat and ate Manfredi’s corn for what seemed like an hour.
Then it was time to put on a show! Next year I’m sure the show will even be more of a production, which I look forward to! This year it was impromptu outfit changes into whatever clothes were available, (Aka Brielle’s t-shirts and dresses.) And Reagan’s first nail painting ever! She is so proud. 🙂
An after dinner walk to the dock provided more crabs and even more skinned knees. (See Michael crying in the back on B’s shoulders??) Whyyyyyy.
Our friends left us with hugs and a tear (the tear was from me after Jen gave me this sweet book, I mean, wahhhhhh.)
The next day was Thursday and we spent the entire day at the beaches, starting at Fenway beach. I love how a fun frolicky morning can turn into a whining mess… Kids, I tell you. There is just no consoling Michael after he’s been hurt. Give me all the bandaids please.
After lots of first aid on a very tiny stubbed toe, we headed to Westerly beach.
Grammy building roads and towns for M’s cars:
Brielle was a culinary genius on the beach. Seaweed and pebbles and sticks… She was in heaven.
So many walks. With kids there’s no time for reading, only walking and talking and exploring.
They reminded me of ponies more than once.
Sand angels. Must be sooooo uncomfortable.
Especially when you do them this way. 😀
Ah, Michael James.. He discovered a “boogie board” and I’ve never seen him so possessive and particular. He wanted to hold it, stand on it, but never ever let it get wet. And when it did get wet we couldn’t dry it fast enough and a time-out ensued. Because lawd… Tantrum city. He is one hard headed amazing boy! I always say “he’s your son” to Brenden. And I get the same glaring eyes right back at me. Okay, so he’s “our” son. Genes are a pretty incredible thing.
“This rock is so warmmmmm.” Reminds me of the walruses in Finding Dory. Or were they Sea Lions?
M’s favorite activity. Being splashed by Brenden over and over and over.
Enjoying (way too many) treats at the snack shack.
Thursday night Brenden and I went out. We somehow scored two date nights on this vacation! Looking back it’s just so special to have had that time together. Vacationing with kids requires being on constantly, and being able to drive away without that is just amazing.
The following night we went to the beach at sunset. Why don’t we do this more often? Oh, because we are all sunned out and exhausted by then! Either way, it was so nice to sit and enjoy the salty air and warm waves without the blazing hot sun.
The seagulls were always around, chillaxin.
I just love this face! He has grown so much emotionally and mentally on this trip. What a big boy. And the sun and water was exactly what his bumps needed! (See the weird raised places on his trunk?) It’s so funny being a mom sometimes.. The things we have to navigate!
Okay, the end! Back to reality and life. I’m so grateful for all these photos and words that will keep our past memories alive!
And this, just so it never ever falls off my radar….