easter past. and a piña colada salad recipe.

We spent most Easters on my grandparents’ farm in Hoopeston, Illinois. My Grandma Rosemary loved a good holiday gathering. Her house full of family and friends–and all the good food–was her idea of nirvana. She and I are a lot alike.

She’d serve ham and cheesy potatoes–and pressure cooked green beans. Bread and butter. And about a hundred different Jello salads. Yum.

We’d have to eat and wash *all* the dishes before we could hunt Easter eggs (same thing at Christmas, those dishes had to be done before we could open any presents). Here are some old Easter photos of us over the years–because who doesn’t love reminiscing?!

image

My first Easter, 1982. With Grandma Rosemary and Great-Grandma Helen.

image

And Aunt Mimi.

image

A little family Easter photo action. Probably 1985.

image

I had lace gloves too, obviously.

image.jpeg

Socks with jellies. Rad. And also a pretty rad mullet. Thanks, mom.

image

Working that tongue.

image

Same spot, same technique.

image.jpeg

Sponge-curlers. I always loved a good wave.

. . .

And here’s a good Jello salad recipe my mother-in-law shared on Facebook this week–because who doesn’t love a good Jello salad?! I made it this morning to take to our Easter gathering today. It’s reminiscent of something any of our grandmas would serve at a holiday gathering–crushed fruit, pudding mix, whipped cream, cream cheese and sugar. You can’t go wrong with that combination, right? Boom. Enjoy.

Piña Colada Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 (3 ounce) package instant coconut cream pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup white sugar

Directions

Mix crushed pineapple and juice, pudding mix and coconut.

image

Fold in Cool Whip. Eat a little first.

imageimage

Cream together cream cheese and sugar in separate bowl. Then fold into pineapple mixture.

imageimage

Cover in Saran Wrap like Grandma did. And chill before serving.

image.jpeg

Happy Easter. XOXO

. . .

Here are just a few shots of our Easter present too. We had a good day loving on our family and friends–and feeling the love right back.

And I’ve been eating all their candy since.

imageimage

image

The kids’ table. And for the record, neither of them touched my Jello salad.

image

Kit Kats and Twix, babies. Hand them over to your mama who loves you.

image.jpeg

on saying goodbye to the crib.

I remember shopping for their cribs years before we had them. Back when we decided to start trying. Back when I thought you decided to have a baby–and had one nine months later. Back when I thought *that* was how it worked.

It would be years before that crib–or the babies it held–would finally make their way into our home.

. . .

012

My friends bought us his crib when he was a few months old–the second best gift anyone’s ever given us–second to him. He’d slept in a bassinet in our room since he was born. Because I wanted him there–right there next to me. But it was time.

I remember the first night he slept up in his nursery. I sat in the rocking chair across from his crib for almost an hour after I’d laid him down–watching his little chest rise and fall through the crib’s slats.

I remember thanking my lucky stars for him–for all of it. I remember thinking it was going so quickly though–he was growing so fast. And I remember crying–because I felt like I was saying goodbye to my baby.

. . .

It’s been four years. We’ve had two babies sleep in–and climb out of–that crib. And we’ve decided we’re not having any more babies. So it’s time to say goodbye.

Goodbyes are hard for me–especially this one. And I’ve shed a few tears. Because I’m saying goodbye to the crib–and to the babies. And because I’m realizing time really is fleeting. It’s precious–and it’s fleeting.

No more nights spent with my arms hanging over the crib rails–humming and singing–and rubbing tiny arched backs. No more stealth exits creeping from the floor next to the crib to the door–after staying until they were really asleep. No more way-too-early morning smiles from a happy baby who couldn’t wait for his mommy to scoop him up above the sides of the crib he loved to gum.

Goodbye crib–and goodbye babies. That’s a hard goodbye for a mom who wasn’t sure she’d ever have either.

And goodbye time–precious, fleeting time. I’m keenly aware of your passing now. Thanks for the memories.

007

. . .

Sometimes it’s all too much–this world of ours.

Thinking of all the mommies who lost their babies this morning (because no matter how old they are, they’re always our babies)–and holding mine a little closer this evening. And praying for peace there, here and everywhere. XOXO.

easy paleo salmon patties.

On Fridays we (sometimes) eat fish. Here’s an easy, healthy recipe for salmon patties–a long-time favorite of ours. My Grandma Eleanor made these for us all the time when we were younger–almost every Friday night during Lent. And my mom carried on the tradition as we got older. I’ve adapted their recipes a little–to make them Paleo and Whole30 compliant. Enjoy.

Grandma Eleanor’s Salmon Patties-Paleo Style

Ingredients–Makes 8 Patties

  • 1 can premium salmon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoon coconut flour
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon to taste
  • Coconut oil cooking spray

Drain salmon and dump in a bowl. Use a fork to mash salmon into flakes. Mix in eggs, dill, basil, coconut flour and lemon zest.

imageimage

Use your hands to form mixture into patties. Spray your pan with coconut oil cooking spray and gently place four patties in the pan at a time.

image.jpeg

Fry on medium-high heat until both sides are golden brown.

image.jpeg

Serve with a little squeeze of lemon and a big squeeze of ketchup–Nanny Carol is a fan.

image.jpeg

wcia 3 current

I’m headed out the door to chat with Cynthia Bruno LIVE on WCIA 3 Current this morning between 9am-10am. I’ve had a lot of coffee–I’m pretty fired up. And I even wore green.

image

So tune in, ok?

No worries if you miss it–I’ll post the video here as soon as I can.

Here’s the link.  Oy. I was so nervous. But I survived. Ha.

. . .

Are you stopping by the blog for the first time today? Well then–hey there and welcome, first-timer. Start here. Or here. And keep stopping by, ok?

Here’s a link to the big, bad house decluttering series we discussed this morning on WCIA 3 Current. And here’s proof that I finally figured out how to fold a fitted sheet–thanks to my Aunt Cathy. Boom.

imageimage

And here are a few of my favorite posts.

Enjoy. And Happy St Patrick’s Day. I’ll be back tomorrow with a easy salmon patty recipe for your Friday. See you then. XOXO.

 

stream of consciousness. and stream of photos.

Oh hey, Saturday. I’ve been waiting for you.

We’ve had a pretty solid week over here. One of those weeks where the days go fast–and slow. And you’re busy–and not busy. I love those kinds of weeks. I’ve been soaking it all in. Because you know me–I love a good yin with my yang.

I have plans for some deeper blog posts very soon. But today I’m feeling like nice and easy is the way to go. And some light, bright photos too. Because spring.

Enjoy. And happy (spring forward) weekend. XOXO.

. . .

Kona Ice stopped by our house this week. So basically this means summer is here. Yesssss.

I got so excited when I saw the truck roll up–I ran out into the street. With no bra. Still in my pajamas. At 4pm.

image

What can I say? I love that Tiger Blood. It’s the best shaved ice flavor of all the shaved ice flavors. And I also love my old buddy, Wes Hanner who owns Kona Ice Champaign. Because he was a perfect gentleman and pretended not to notice my sweet chariots, swinging low. Mad props to you and your Tiger Blood, Wes.

. . .

This. This right here. This is my new jam.

image.jpeg

It’s a London Fog–a sweetened earl grey tea latte with some vanilla. Yum. My girlfriend Brook told me all about these  last weekend and now I can’t get enough. I’ve been making two (sometimes three, don’t judge) a day. Try one. You’re welcome.

. . .

We’re into all things dinosaur right now. We found a cool dinosaur bone excavating kit and an even cooler dinosaur egg that hatches in water at Art Mart this week–both priced under $5.

image.jpeg

“Billy” the dinosaur finally hatched after the longest 68 hours of Deano’s life.

image.jpeg

And he’s been carrying him around the house like that since. He even made him a little bed out of washcloths–right next to his bed. Um, yikes. We should probably get a dog.

. . .

Gymnastics class is over for the season. We had a great session. It was *technically* our first organized sport–and we survived. Ha.

image.jpeg

They had a blast. And I had a blast watching them do their thing. Until next winter, CGA.

. . .

And House of Cards. All night, every night this week. There’s a little bit of Francis all of us. No? Just me? Alrighty then.

image

The Underwoods. How I’ve missed you both–especially your wardrobe, Claire. And Neve Campbell? Get out of here with that. This may be my favorite season yet.

. . .

Oh, and one more thing. Tune into WCIA’s Current this Thursday morning at 9am. I’m going to be on live with Cynthia Bruno talking all things hatandhermarkers.com–and maybe trying to fold a fitted sheet. It should be good, so good. Boom.

paleo meatball nests.

Here’s an easy, healthy dinner everybody will love, even the kids. Plus, nests. Because spring–it’s here, it’s finally here!

I’ve tried every recipe out there for Italian meatballs. This recipe from www.changeofpaceforme.com is the winner. I bake mine in a mini-muffin pan, so I adjust the cook time accordingly. I love to bake a huge batch every so often and freeze the leftovers (just throw a few in the microwave anytime you need a quick, healthy weeknight dinner).

You can serve these meatballs on top of any pasta–we love zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. I plopped ours on top of these spaghetti squash nests and covered them in pasta sauce–and they were a hit.

Paleo Italian Meatballs

  • 1 pound grass fed beef (you could use pork or a combination too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced (I throw mine in the food processor)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (I’m a big fan of garlic in the jar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond flour

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a mini muffin tin. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

image.jpeg

All the seasonings are in there, they’re just hidden under the egg. And is there anything more gross than working that raw meat into a meatball? No, no there isn’t.

Form the meatballs into one inch balls. Put the little guys in your muffin pan and bake for about 15 minutes.

image.jpeg

image

Mmmmmmm…try not to pop them straight into your mouth. It’s hard. Ha.

Spaghetti Squash Nests with Meatballs

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 egg, beaten
  • meatballs (use the recipe above)
  • warm pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Halve your spaghetti squash. Remove seeds. Microwave each side separately for 7-9 minutes, face-down in a Pyrex dish filled with one inch of water. Once cooked (you should be able to push a dent into the skin with your finger), shred the inside of each squash with a fork and place the strands in a bowl. Press down on those strands with a paper towel a few times to soak up any extra moisture. Then mix in your 1/2 beaten egg. Press that mixture into each muffin tin in the shape of a nest.

image.jpeg

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops start to brown. I had to dab mine in the middle with a paper-towel half-way through baking to remove some more moisture. Put a meatball in each nest and cover with pasta sauce. Dig in.

image.jpeg

Isn’t this just the prettiest little lunch you’ve ever seen?! Thanks coffee–for making me an over-achiever-mom since 2011. Ha.

. . .

It’s easy to make both of these recipes at the same time. Just get your meatballs in the oven. Steam and shred your spaghetti squash while the meatballs are baking. When the meatballs are done, throw them in a skillet with the pasta sauce on low. Then lower your oven heat and bake your nests. Voila–thirty minute meal, start to finish. Enjoy.

strawberry banana coconut muffins.

My Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon 10K training started this weekend. When I pump up my running mileage, I always pump up my calorie intake too. So we’re eating lots of protein, lots of good carbs and lots of good fat around here these days.

We baked strawberry banana coconut muffins this morning and they were delicious. They were also just the right mix of protein, carbs and fat to fuel day one of my 10k training plan. Plus, who doesn’t always have over-ripe bananas sitting on their kitchen counter? These are the perfect way to use them up before they go bad. Boom.

I adapted this muffin recipe from Simply Taylor’s blog. I did use the optional honey–and I used fresh strawberries instead of freeze-dried. (You could use pineapples, blueberries, mangoes, whatever. They would all be good with bananas.) I baked mine about 30 minutes.

These strawberry banana coconut muffins are so tasty and healthy–and they’ll keep your body and mind fueled with the good stuff all morning. So make them and bake them today. And enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup strawberries, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin pan with liners.

img_0230

Combine bananas, eggs, vanilla and honey with a hand mixer.

img_0231

image.jpeg

In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

img_0233

Add dry ingredients to wet, mixing until all ingredients are well incorporated.

image.jpeg

Add in coconut oil (must do this last since the coconut oil will harden in cold ingredients). Fold in strawberries.

img_0235

Fill muffin cups a little more than 3/4 way full with batter (I got 9).

image

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack.

image.jpeg

Eat, eat, eat!

image.jpeg

Thumbs up from these two.

image.jpeg