Love Isn’t All You Need, But It’s a Start 

It has been an interesting and emotional week to say the least. I am trying to distance myself from social media (as best I can) because it is starting to feel overly toxic and overstimulating. Don’t we all need to take a moment and assess where we are? Everything has felt so reactionary and I’m not even sure how I fully feel yet because I’m still taking time to process.

These things I do know: I will hold true to my beliefs, I will hold true to embracing love, I will hold true to supporting my fellow ladies, minorities, law enforcement, and everyone else I hold dear that needs an ally and has felt targeted and isolated this election season (and for much longer than just this year). I will not sit here and complain. I will take control of my life and my actions within my community, because we all have to start somewhere. We are not a perfect being, but we need to start uniting as a community and a nation. We are feeling divided more than ever and our fear is running rampant. I am choosing to lift my eyes, peel myself away from my phone and make eye contact with someone on my commute and say hello. Acknowledge someone else that I don’t know and smile at them. I am also choosing to take a moment and reflect on what I am grateful for this past week.

  1. Cup & Bar – I took a few days off last week and got to spend some quality time with Tim. I don’t know when we’ll get time like that again because the rest of this month already has a forecast of completely opposite schedules. We ran some errands and made a pit stop at Cup & Bar before picking my parents up from the airport. You guys, this place is SO Portland. A chocolate and coffee collaboration tasting room? Tim got a vanilla latte which had flecks of vanilla bean and I got a hot chocolate that was so rich and decadent. The decor is open and airy and there’s a really neat art installation on the wall that represents each person in the vicinity as a dot of light. You can walk around the room and see how your movement alters the different colored dots on the wall, I was mesmerized. More importantly, you can sign up for a tour and chocolate tasting – yes please!20161107_131342

  2. Pumpkin Won Tons – At first I wasn’t completely sure on whether I was going to include this recipe in this week’s post. To be honest, the assembly is a bit time consuming and only half of my won tons made it out alive after I fried them. However, these are SO GOOD! I ended up with 27 won tons total and a little more than half of them didn’t end up spilling their delicious filling into boiling oil. I’m not sure what my problem was, whether I overfilled them, got crap won ton skins or if the oil was causing the explosions, but even after the filling spilled out they were still good and kept their pumpkin filling flavor. Please make sure you have a oil splash guard if you choose to make these, it was very necessary. The dipping sauce is amazing and I highly recommend making it to accompany the won tons. I don’t see us replacing a pumpkin pie with these won tons come Thanksgiving, but they were a fun experiment and would be a fun sweet treat at your next Fall gathering.

  3. Banana Applesauce Muffins – My overripe banana collection was starting to get unruly so I put together some banana applesauce muffins to keep around as snacks for us throughout the week. I froze half of the batch (they’ll keep for about 3 months but I doubt they’ll last until then) and sealed the other half up in a tupperware. I try to eat two small snacks a day between meals so I wanted to give these a try to mix it up and give me some variety. The muffins come together super fast and I will definitely make them again. I used honey instead of maple syrup but next time I’ll try the maple syrup just to experiment. They aren’t overly sweet but they hit the spot and would be really yummy topped with some chopped pecans or walnuts before baking.

  4. Marinara Sauce – For those of you who are like me and enjoy cooking but don’t consider yourself gourmet, this is for you. It also may be that I’m totally late to the game and everyone already has this figured out, but I finally tried making my own marinara sauce! I’m not talking about standing over the stove for hours letting the sauce simmer and come together, although that yields delicious results – I don’t have time for that! I totally get the ease and use of getting jarred marinara sauce but making your own can be so easy! I found this recipe online and accidentally put in a full teaspoon of oregano. Totally worth it and will be an adjustment I continue to make. If you have an immersion blender you can use that to smooth out the onion bits, but I kind of liked having the chopped pieces in my sauce. Pair with your favorite pasta, veggies, meatballs, whatever you like! It would be a great sauce to use for a make your own pizza night. This sauce comes together in a matter of minutes and is so yummy.

  5. Protein waffles – You are all well aware that I’m a waffle lover and nurture my waffle relationship by making a batch and freezing the rest. I found a giant box of Kodiak Protein Pancake mix at Costco and I’m in love. We’re not much of a pancake house but waffle instructions are included on the box and I am so pleased with how these taste! I’m not one for fancy kitchen gadgets (even though our wedding registry begs to differ ?) but having a waffle iron is probably the best and most important kitchen gadget we have. I made a double batch of these waffles and now I have an easy protein packed meal for after I get done with lifting weights. Oh yeah, I started lifting weights because I stopped making excuses and because Tim is the best motivator and coach…only one week in so more on this later.?

Veteran’s Day was on Friday and I am incredibly grateful to those men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. It is a great honor to know some veterans and even be related to a few 🙂 To those who have served and to the families of those who have served – thank you so much.

Have a great week!

Dear Baby Leal

Hi baby. Your auntie has been waiting patiently to finally meet you and I am so glad you’re here. It has been so fun watching your mommy and daddy get ready for your arrival. They are already such great parents to you and I can’t wait for you to feel their love. Do you know how loved you are? You’re about to get so spoiled by everyone!! Get ready for lots of nicknames, laughing, adventures and hugs. I’m sorry if your ears turn out like mine, but I promise it won’t impair your hearing! It’ll just be something we can always share in common 🙂

Your mommy and daddy are so strong. They have always been a team but witnessing their interactions the other day was such a great example of love and companionship. They will provide such a good balance for you. You will learn to work hard, not take life too seriously and laugh your ass off. I wonder if you’ll like playing soccer like your daddy. Or if you’ll be spunky like your Scorpio mama. Whatever you end up liking, just know that I love you and so does all this family that’s surrounding you. You have some pretty amazing cousins that are so excited to meet you and I hope you all grow up to be close friends. I can’t wait to get to know you, baby. Thank you for coming into our lives!

Love,

Auntie Juice

This week I am grateful for my new little bub of a nephew and my amazing sister and bro-in-law! Their little family is perfect and healthy and so wonderful.

Have a great week!!

Why was the mummy so tense?

He was all wound up! 🙂 On the eve of all Hallow’s Eve I of course have to have a Halloween themed post!

  1. Meatball Mummies – The pictures from this recipe were so adorable and I just had to try it. These crescent dough wrapped meatballs would be perfect for a Halloween party and they come together in no time at all. I used packaged, frozen meatballs that were pretty small, so one strip of crescent dough a little stretched out was plenty for my mummies. After 12 minutes in the oven these little guys were done and I finished them off with two dots of sriracha for eyes.

  2. Milano Mummies – Another easy recipe that would be a perfect sweet treat to add to your Halloween party or to package up and give as a gift. I don’t use vegetable oil so I mixed a little bit of coconut oil in with the white chocolate chips and coated each cookie with some of the white chocolate. I don’t have frosting bags or tips so I put the remaining white chocolate in a Ziploc bag and cut the corner off of the bag. It worked perfectly and looks like it’s a lot more work than it actually is. I also didn’t have any black pearl sprinkles, nor do I really know where to find them, so I used some black icing to make the eyes. I can’t get over how cute these turned out!

  3. My DIY Costume – I wanted something easy to throw together if I needed a costume. I found this helpful tutorial and thought it was a super cute idea. Snapchat filters have become all the rage and the butterfly filter (which now doesn’t seem to exist anymore…) was quite popular for a while because it made everyone look flawless. This tutorial is a lot better than the 12 minute video I filmed last night while trying to show how I did my makeup. You guys will probably get more from her instructions but I’ll at least show you a picture of my finished look 🙂 I created the butterfly clips with these butterfly cake toppers and after I removed them from the toothpick they come attached to, I hot glued them onto bobby pins. In less than 10 minutes you too can have a super easy, DIY costume!

  4. Party Favors – I obviously had mummies on the brain this Halloween. I wanted to make something for my niece and nephew and thought these DIY Halloween poppers were a perfect gift. I put a tube of mini M&M’s in each toilet paper tube, I drew on some eyeballs with a sharpie and then used cut up Kleenex as the mummy wrap. Some of you may have streamers or googly eyes in your craft closet but I didn’t have any so I had to get creative. Honestly, you just put some double sided tape down and then wrap the toilet paper tube up. This page has easy to follow step by step instructions and each tube only took a few minutes to put together.

  5. Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oats – How do you recover from a sugar coma? Create a delicious breakfast that will keep your energy up when your sugar crash inevitably comes around. I’m a big fan of overnight oats and think it’s a brilliant way to save time in the morning. A few minutes of prep time the night before and it’s one less thing to think about before rushing out the door to go to work. These oats are packed with Fall flavors and if you like pumpkin flavored things like I do, you’ve got to try this recipe out. Top with a few chopped up pecans to add a little crunch and you’ve got a flavorful, easy and ready to go breakfast.

Have a great week and Happy Halloween!

I’d Eat That

Well…based on my wedding timeline I’m supposed to be starting my “fitness plan” so I can be wedding dress fit in a year. I mean, I’m all for being healthy and working out, but I was a little put off being told that I need to have a fitness plan. I think it’s great when people use a wedding as inspiration to make healthy life choices, but it shouldn’t stop right after you say “I do”. Aren’t we all trying to do our best health and fitness wise everyday? Maybe I’m being overly sensitive to it all because I literally ate my way through this past week and said screw it to my “fitness plan” 🙂

  1. Orange Rosemary Muffins – I made veggie lasagna this week (originally mentioned here) so I had some leftover ricotta cheese. I never know what to do with the leftover ricotta but I found this recipe that needed the exact amount I had leftover. These muffins assemble quickly and easily and are so delicious. The combination of flavors is sophisticated and the presentation has a nice rustic feel. The recipe says to only fill 9 muffin cups, but I felt like my muffins were abnormally large so I probably could have gotten away with making 12 slightly smaller muffins. I really wanted a subtle hint of rosemary so I didn’t top each muffin with a rosemary sprig and instead topped it with some additional orange zest to really bring out the orange flavor. P.S. for the glaze I did not buy half and half, I have no use for half and half and instead I substituted some almond milk I had on hand, it still turned out fine! As you can see below I did not skimp on applying the glaze 🙂 These work perfectly as a sweet treat but would also pair well with a brunch menu when you’re trying to impress your guests. The combination of ricotta cheese and olive oil creates a perfectly dense but crispy muffin your taste buds will thank you for.20161017_201956-01 20161017_202024-01

  2. Rosemary crusted chicken – Now what to do with all that leftover rosemary!? I found this recipe for rosemary and almond crusted chicken and thought it sounded amazing. Once again, Tim stepped up to the plate and did the grocery shopping and cooking this week. His review: prep for this meal was messy (I came home to a sink FULL of dishes and little almond rosemary bits everywhere) but overall it was an easy meal to make. I got home almost an hour later than expected #pulictransportationlife and Tim was giddy with excitement to share this meal with me 🙂 The chicken stays moist and the combo of rosemary and almond as the crust is absolutely delicious. He knocked this one out of the park and we will definitely make this dish again. It would be a perfect dish for a smaller holiday get together because our house smelled like Thanksgiving when I got home.

  3. 20161019_074151Blossoming Lotus – This past week two of my cousins and I met up for lunch and a movie date to watch Harry Potter. In case you missed it, select theaters re-released all the Harry Potter movies in IMAX for a limited time to help promote the new Harry Potter world movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which comes out next month!!). If you did miss it I’m pretty sure they still play marathons of Harry Potter movies on ABC Family or Free Family or whatever it’s called these days. Anyway, our lunch spot Blossoming Lotus was a fun surprise! I knew going in that it was a vegan restaurant but their creativity and flavors were outstanding. I had the BLT which included tempeh bacon, pickled onions and a garlic aioli. We also tried the roasted delicata squash which had a kale pesto and hazelnut parmesan! Hazelnut parmesan? What even is that?? I don’t know, but it’s SO GOOD!

  4. EZ Orchards – This weekend was spent in Salem so we could have a girls weekend. We had been planning this for a while because there was talk about apple cider donuts and I couldn’t get them off my mind. EZ Orchards is an amazing market, pumpkin patch, almost fair-like experience that’s located in Salem, OR. The line for donuts was well worth the wait because we got fresh pumpkin donuts and apple cider donuts. As you can see from the picture above, they coat each donut with cinnamon sugar and there is nothing quite like a freshly made, warm donut. Be right back, I have to go get some more! 😉  We topped off our trip with a half gallon of fresh apple cider and some cool greenish pumpkins! It was crowded and a little hectic, but this would be such a fun place to bring some kiddos to experience the pumpkin patch. We really only went for the donuts, so once we got those and walked around the market a little bit, we decided to get out of there and start exploring downtown Salem.

  5. 1859 Cider Co. – It’s so fun to explore Salem because it’s a place I’ve never spent much time in and there are so many neat restaurants and bars that have recently been added to the downtown area. We ate lunch at Ritter’s and then went to 1859 Cider Co. to try out their small batch ciders. Every single cider was absolutely perfect. They have 5 on tap that you can do a flight of and their menu gives you a detailed breakdown of all the different kinds of apples and flavors in each cider. You can tell how much they genuinely care about their craft and ingredients. I loved the variety of flavors in their ciders and ended up getting a glass of their 1859 Autumn Strawberry cider that uses Mt. Hood strawberries! For all my fellow cider lovers, it’s definitely worth a visit.20161023_103033-01

P.S. just look at how cute this photo booth photo is (@ Victory Club)!

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Have a great week!

Popularity Contest: Round 1

This week I took 5 things I found on the “Popular” board of Pinterest to see what all the hype was about. The Popular board is the top styles, recipes, crafts, tutorials, etc. based on what you typically look at, like and pin. I’m always curious if the tutorials will work, or if the workouts are worth doing so this week I figured I’d pick out 5 and give my review. As you’ve probably already figured out, I find a lot of my crafts and recipes on Pinterest so I really wanted to test a variety of things out. I’m hoping to do this a couple of times to see how it goes so you can benefit from my triumphs or failures 🙂 I’ll provide the link to Pinterest so you can pin it if you want! I would like to say one thing, what the H is up with people making pins that lead to nothing? Thanks for that cool picture of a hairstyle that I’ll never be able to figure out because there are no instructions. I get that people use the images for inspo but I’m trying to actually figure out how to get rock hard muscles thank you very much! I don’t want to just stare at a picture of shoes without being able to find them <end rant>.

  1. Tieks – I’m going to be 100% honest with you. I had no idea what Tieks were until Tim bought me a pair as a gift a year ago. It doesn’t matter what day I browse the Popular board, without fail there is always a post about Tieks. As I mentioned, Tim got me these as a surprise gift and I wasn’t really sure why people were so obsessed with them on Pinterest. I’m not big into flats because they don’t give me enough support, and although I’m mostly sitting at work, having comfortable, supportive shoes is SO important! Holy cow these flats changed all my feelings. They’re beautifully made, so comfortable, can pack down super small and come in a variety of colors. Plus those iconic, bright blue soles pop regardless of what color you get. Ok, yes, the price tag is a little extreme. Why would you spend that much on a pair of flats?? To me they’re worth it, I’ll have them forever and the quality and comfort trump any other excuse. Tim got me the cardinal red color and I love pairing them with some cuffed jeans, striped t-shirt and comfy sweater.

  2. Stretching – Now this is what I’m talking about, give me a pin that not only has a helpful graphic, but then it leads to an article and that article has even more stretches to try out! This link gives you visuals as well as step by step instructions on how to do the stretch. My personal favorite stretch of all time is cat/cow so I spent a little time doing that stretch as well. The heel kick was a great stretch and I could definitely tell a difference when I did it wrong and didn’t bring both legs about 5 cm from the floor. If you do the heel kick and have your straight leg still on the ground, you’ll feel a tightness in your lower back that is not right. Maybe the next time I do one of these reviews I’ll actually try and do a workout 🙂

  3. Recipe – I’ve always wanted to try making a mug cake and have never actually followed through with it. The planets aligned because I happened to have one very ripe banana, some cocoa powder and an egg – which is everything you need for this recipe! I didn’t use a blender and instead combined everything by mashing the banana with a fork and then mixing in the other ingredients. It’s kind of cool to watch the cake come together in the microwave and after a minute and a half you have a cake! I opted to not do the chocolate glaze on top but I think this is something I’d do again. It was so fast, easy and when you have that sweet craving but don’t want to eat a whole bowl of ice cream, I feel like this is a good alternative. Just be aware that you will burn your mouth if you try to eat it right out of the microwave, it was piping hot. Who knew that mug cakes actually worked! Not a very glamorous photo, but proof that I made it!20161016_075541-01

  4. Beauty Hack – Is there really an truth in the beauty hacks that you see online? I mean, you’re telling me that I make some home remedy and then bam! all my blackheads go away? I decided to test this out while weathering the “storm” yesterday and as you can see above, I looked like I had weird boogers all over my nose. First of all, this pin doesn’t tell you how much to use of the lemon or baking soda. So I started off with half a lemon which yielded about a tablespoon of juice and then I started by adding a tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of baking soda. It was kind of a neat science experiment because the baking soda and lemon juice reacted but I quickly realized that I just needed to start dumping baking soda into the lemon juice in order to get a paste-like texture. I honestly lost count of how much I put in, but I eventually ended up with a paste. Smear it on your nose (do this over a sink because my stuff kept dropping off) and then let it sit for 20 minutes. I’ll be honest, this stuff felt gross and I only left it on for 10 minutes. The results didn’t really clear my blackheads but did leave my nose feeling super soft. Maybe I didn’t get the results because I didn’t leave it on the full time, but to be honest, this was kind of a dud – but it made for another great photo shoot opportunity 🙂 Oh and P.S. the actual pin leads to a YouTube video about make up brushes. Lame.20161016_075352-01 20161016_075423 20161016_075452

  5. Something That’s “Life Changing” – We’ve all seen these posts claiming to be “life changing” but do they really change your life? I decided to read this particular post to see what they suggested. I’m always skeptical of these articles because how do they know it’ll change my life? Do I want to change my life? Why do I need an article to tell me what to do? But inevitably I get sucked in because I’m just so darn curious! This one had a lot of things I agreed with that fit how I get ready for work in the morning. I wake up at 4:30 each morning because 1. I start work at 6 am, but 2. it gives me some time to myself. I’m definitely one of those people that start browsing my phone as soon as I wake up, but then I set aside ~5 minutes to read from my meditation book and sit quietly. During those 5 minutes I set intentions, affirmations and focus on my breathing and then end with “thank you, thank you, thank you” – it also doesn’t hurt to smile, like physically sit there grinning 🙂 All in all I think it’s important to set aside some time for yourself in the morning regardless of what that means to you. Setting your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier isn’t too much of a difference and giving yourself some focused, dedicated time is a great way to start your day and maybe it’ll change your life 😛

Have a great week!