Where the hell have you been?

Well, I’ve been moving across the country, starting my own business, having a baby, and buying a house. It’s all in the little things. Those are all terribly huge things though.

I stepped away from blogging because life got busy and I wasn’t sure I wanted to share the parenthood part of my life in such a public forum. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m “back”, but I was feeling nostalgic and in the mood to write tonight. So here goes!

I got pregnant with a teeny tiny fetus last year, and Jonathan and I decided it would be best to raise our tiny tot in the midwest. It’s where my family lives and it feels like home. So much so we decided to buy a house in the heart of the city. It’s our first home and it’s almost 100 years old. Amazingly enough, we are only the fourth owners since the house was built in 1918!

Pregnancy was not…the most wonderful time of my life, but I might save that for a different post. Highlights: 1) Gaining 20 pounds of water weight in the last month (hello…swelling!) 2) Feeling like I had the worst 24/7 hangover of my life 3) Craving tequila and donuts 4) At a certain point the only shoes I could wear were hideous clogs. Basically, my body was rebelling against this foreign creature invading my uterus. Luckily there are moments like tiny kicks and rolls that make the pregnancy portion of events bearable.

That tiny tot who caused such a fuss in utero is now a 9 month old wild and crazy baby girl. She is the most active child I’ve ever known, which is crazy because Jonathan and I are basically sloth-people. She’s constantly smiling and recently learned how to wave and to shake her head “no”. Child prodigy. Easily.

There are a billion things people don’t tell you about having a kid, but one of the biggest things is how your love for your partner grows exponentially. Jonathan has been my best friend, partner, husband, teammate, lover, etc. But seeing him become the father of my child is an entirely new experience. I didn’t think I could love him more, but I do, and we will always be connected by our beautiful baby girl.

❤ Mads

Maple Pear Oats

A few weeks ago I posted about going on an elimination diet and then I disappeared from the internet.  Well, I did 10 days of strict elimination dieting, but then I went out of town for about 3 weeks and had a hard time updating my progress…obviously.  The plus side of my time off was that I got to meet my new baby niece (SO EXCITING) and meet some of my blogging friends in Houston (ALSO EXCITING).  The downside is that you were left hanging.
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For 10 days I avoided dairy, gluten, eggs, citrus fruits, nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, alcohol, and chocolate.  I did all this because my acid reflux was getting out of control and the next steps would have been surgery.  Yikes!  I tend to roll my eyes at “natural remedies” because I am a researcher, and pseudoscience without evidence doesn’t sit well with me, but I was in so much pain I was willing to try anything.

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The results were astounding.  To be clear, I went off of my acid reflux medication (and all other medications), did the 10 day “cleanse”, and removed significant stress from my life all at the same time, so I’m not sure which contributed the most to my health.  Whatever it was, I feel incredible.  I can wake up without pain for the first time in months, maybe even years!

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I still have some heartburn when I eat large meals and if I eat right before bed, but even that pain is limited.  Alcohol almost always causes a great deal of pain, so our relationship is still tumultuous.

I am thinking about trying another elimination diet soon just to see if I feel even better, as traveling interrupted my plans to try the diet for 30 days. I would highly recommend trying this for anyone who has mysterious health problems, as long as they have the go-ahead by their doctor.

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As you might imagine, an elimination diet is not really exciting for your palate, but I did find a few foods that I really loved.  These are healthy and can translate easily into any diet.  First, check out my Beetberry Smoothie recipe here.  I also made these fabulous and easy maple pear oats!  It’s so easy, it’s hardly a recipe, but you still need this in your life.

maple pear oats
Maple Pear Oats
1/2 cup dry oats
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 tab butter
1 pear diced
1 pinch cinnamon
1.5 Tbsp. maple syrup
toasted walnuts and shredded coconut (optional)
  1. Bring water to slow boil in saucepan.
  2. Add oats, vanilla, and salt to boiling water and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until oats are cooked to your liking.  I usually like softer oats, so I cook them for the full 10 minutes, adding water as needed.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter, then add the pear, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  Cook until pear softens slightly and syrup thickens a bit.
  4. Pour pear mixture over oats.
  5. Top with toasted walnuts and coconut and enjoy!  
Notes on this recipe:
-Toast coconut and nuts and cook a large batch of oats at the beginning of the week so you can have quick pear oats on hand before work.  Ain’t nobody got time for toasting nuts before the work day.  hehe nuts hehe
-You can easily substitute peaches, apple, banana, etc. for the pear.  I make variations of this recipe several times per week and it never gets old.
-If you are on the elimination diet and don’t want to eat the trace amounts of gluten in oats, you can use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Hot Cereal, which is mostly whole wheat brown rice.  That’s what I used during my 10-day cleanse.
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To toast the walnuts and shredded coconut, simply place them in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.  The coconut will turn a golden brown color and the nuts will start to smell really nutty and delicious.

To toast the walnuts and shredded coconut, simply place them in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. The coconut will turn a golden brown color and the nuts will start to smell really nutty and delicious.

Have you tried an elimination diet?  How did it go?
-Mads

OKMH: Houston Edition

Hello!

You might remember previous posts about my One Kitchen Many Hearts friends…you know, the ones who mail each other boxes filled with goodies every other month?  Well, we all haphazardly met through our blogs and decided it was kismet and became friends.  In February, we met in person at Jeanne (Inside NanaBread’s Head) lovely home in Houston, TX!

Jeanne made us all feel welcome with hand-crafted monogrammed pillows (see tutorial here), individual coasters, and lip balm.

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She and her husband, “The Complete Package”, cooked feasts for us for every meal.  I didn’t take a single food picture because I was too busy shoving my face full of deliciousness.  None of my pants fit by the end of the weekend, but that’s precisely how it should be.  Noteworthy favorites: homemade horchata, peach cobbler, ranch beans, smoked brisket, french toast waffles, fried pies, Mexican martinis, and biscuits and gravy.

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After a huge debacle with Thrifty rental company (I will never use them again), we finally rented a molester van from Avis.  I was able to drive it and my pal, Kevin the Donkey, all around Houston for the weekend.

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Besides feasting, we also chatted late into the night, shopped until we dropped, laughed until we cried, and hung out with real donkeys!  I’ll show the rest of the weekend in pictures before this post turns into a TLDR post.

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The donkeys who became our fast friends…one was pregnant!

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Sipping beers with the pineapple farm and tiki torches. This beer was phenomenal and I need to source it somewhere in California.

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Buc-ee’s the best place to source all things Texas. I found a lovely American flag beer koozie here and I cannot wait to break it out at the cabin this summer.

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Jeanne taught us how to make fried hand pies because she is the best woman in the world. #grateful #pieislife #shegetsme

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These were my traveling partners in crime! They were all so wonderful. I don’t know how we lucked out and found such a normal and fun group of women from across the US.

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One of many antique/kitchy shops we visited in Houston. Al Porccino, the metal flying pig, was acquired at this particular stop.

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Holding hands and frolicking like weirdos. Perfectly choreographed by our sorority representatives.

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A creepy prom photo with Kevin. If you look closely, you can see Kevin is crying because we were leaving that day.

On top of the entire weekend of festivities, we were also able to exchange our gifts in person.  Kirsten (Comfortably Domestic) got me such wonderful treats.  Thank you, Kir!

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She got me a book for my flight, Eden Close, which looks riveting. Isn’t the detail on that scarf beautiful? The James Dean purse cracks me up and the necklace is so fun! She did a great job finding things I will cherish.

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Obviously no gift is complete without a hilarious pug magnet. hahaha

I had an absolute blast and I cannot wait for our OKMH: 2015 reunion.  A year is so long to wait!

Thank you to Jeanne and The Complete Package for letting 7 women descend upon your house!  Thank you to Kirsten for the wonderful gifts!  Thank you to Allison, Kat, Beka, and Megan for being such wonderful travel companions!  And thank you to Katie for meeting us in Brenham for a day of fun!  I seriously loved every minute of our adventure.

-Mads

LA vs. Minneapolis – Major Differences

Hello all,

I’ve been living in SoCal for almost 4 years, and I’ve noticed some major differences between California and Minnesota, particularly LA vs. Minneapolis. There are so many differences, but these stand out to me as the most absurd:

If you go anywhere in LA (including running errands) and you are not in full hair and makeup, you might be suffering from a complete emotional breakdown. In Minneapolis, it is perfectly acceptable to wear sweatpants, boots, and a messy bun almost anywhere.

This leads to my next point…on a scale of attractiveness, if you are a 5 in LA, you are a 7 in Minneapolis. There is an automatic 2 point increase on the “hot or not scale” when in Minnesota. I was hit on more often in my week visit to Minneapolis than my entire 4 years of living in SoCal.

LA is a dog eat dog world where individuals only care about surviving the rat race and will mow you over in the process. The perfect example of this is what happens at bus stops. You can be the only person at a bus stop waiting for 15 minutes, but two minutes before the bus arrives, hoards of people will bust out of the bushes only to budge in front of you and steal the last open seat on the bus. This has happened to me countless times, elbows fly, and no apologies are made, except for perhaps a quietly murmured, “Sorry you weren’t fast enough.”

This is not to say that Minnesotans are any better with their sugary sweet niceties that are often disingenuous. If a Minnesotan ever invites you to “get together sometime”, please know that they have no intentions of getting together with you. Ever. Phrases like “that’s interesting” are the Minnesotan way of saying something is terrible. Merging onto the highway in Minnesota is the most excruciating process because everyone thinks, “You go first,” “No, you go first,” “Please, I insist you go first,” for an eternity.

People in Minnesota talk endlessly and enthusiastically about the weather. It’s not just small talk, it’s whispered between lovers in dark corners of coffee shops. Minnesotans love talking about the weather so much, sometimes it’s the only news reported for weeks on end. Similarly, Californians could talk about traffic until they are blue in the face. What’s happening on the 405? I’ll tell you in lengthy detail and discuss possible alternate routes and the pros and cons of said routes. Are you late to work? Of course you are; let’s chat about it.

Those thin papery toilet seat covers provide almost no protection between your body and whatever butt diseases are on the toilet seat. LA provides them in every restaurant, bar, and public space. If toilet seat covers don’t exist, you might be in a sketchy part of town. In Minneapolis, those seat covers are almost non-existent and
the minuscule bit of OCD relief they provide is sorely missed.

Can you think of any major differences that I missed? What crazy things are different about where you live?

-Mads

Elimination Diet: Beetberry Smoothie

I’ve officially started the elimination diet to try to cure my acid reflux with clean eating!  I’m giving up dairy, gluten, eggs, citrus fruits, nightshade vegetables (like tomato and eggplant), and chocolate.  It’s going to be a challenge, but I hope it will reduce my symptoms.  This recipe works perfectly with my elimination diet.  

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Truth: I love fruit smoothies.  I could eat them for breakfast every single day.

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This particular Beetberry Smoothie is no exception to the rule.  My friend suggested I add vegetables to my routine, and offered up beets as an option.  I gaped at her with my jaw on the floor because vegetables?  BEETS?!  Disgusting.  In my absolutely perfect smoothies?!  Get out of my life!  But since we have been friends since kindergarten, I decided to not disavow our friendship immediately.  I decided to give it a shot.

Friends, it was DELICIOUS.

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Now, I didn’t even really know what to look for at the grocery store or how to prepare them.  Because BEETS.  Gross.  My only memory of beets were when my grandmother forced me to eat pickled beets when I was a little kid, and I harbored hatred toward her for it.

Anyway, the point of this story isn’t to turn you away from smoothies, in fact, it is to show you that vegetables can be put into a miracle smoothie and turned into something tasty.  If you have the right combo and ratio of fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t have to taste like dirt.  I promise.

I am a vegetable smoothie convert.

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I fell in love with this smoothie instantly, and I actually prefer the beets to spinach.  The avocado gives it a rich smoothness without a strong flavor.  The banana and honey do a great job adding sweetness, while the blueberries come through as the shining star.  Yum!

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Beetberry Smoothie (Serves 2)

You will need:

  • 1 carton blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 beet–peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 cup water (you can omit this if you have a powerful blender)
  • 3 ice cubes

I used all raw and fresh fruits and veggies, but you could easily use frozen.  Simply combine in a blender and blend until smooth.

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Do you add vegetables to your smoothies?  What is your favorite combination?

-Mads

Pineapple Pie for Pie Week

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It’s Pie Week on this little corner of the internet.  We did a similar Pie Week last year and it was so successful, we decided to do it again!  Plus, who doesn’t need more pie?

pineapple pie

As of this week, it was 90 degrees in California, so baking a toasty warm apple pie seemed out of the question.  I decided to get a bit more tropical and try making a pineapple pie, which I had never tasted before.

Disclaimer:  It turns out I don’t like pineapple in a pie, but my four taste-testers disagreed.  They loved the pie and told me I needed to put it up on the ole blog. 

The recipe was very simple to put together.  I used Kirsten’s fail-proof “No Excuses Pie Dough” recipe for the crust.  Her recipe takes approximately 5 minutes to throw together and it freezes beautifully.  That recipe single-handedly helped me conquer my fear of pie-making.  Now that I know how simple it is, I want to make pie every day.  Plus, the filling came together in no time at all.

For the pineapple filling, you will need:

  •  1 pineapple chopped small (or canned diced pineapple)
  • 3 Tbsp. pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Step 1: Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Step 2: Stir in pineapple, juice, and corn starch.

Step 3: Fill pie crust and cover with second crust.

Step 4: Crimp the edges of the pie with your fingers or a fork.  Cut 4 small slits in the pie crust.

Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

I topped mine with a simple whip cream and toasted coconut.  To toast the coconut, simple heat shredded coconut in a pan over medium low heat until lightly golden brown.

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Enjoy!

Have you ever had pineapple pie?  What is your favorite tropical pie?

-Mads

p.s. Don’t forget to check out all of the wonderful pies being made for Pie Week.  Check them out each day this week:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday: