An adorable puppy in my lap, jazz piano trills on in the background from our theatre and this is my view.
I couldn't love this season more...
As I lay here with this happy little ball of fur bouncing around the living room, I take in our book collection. Our random, lovely little book collection that is all ours.
It makes me happy that if anyone was to walk in and survey our collection, they'd know the real us.
Growing up, with my devout love for reading, writing and the written word, I always envisioned a book collection that was impressive. Or smart. Or extensive in title selection.
But it's so much better than the library I envisioned as a child. No leatherbound books that I've never read. No titles I bought just because they were trendy. It's authentic. It's a collection of books that have found their home on dusty shelf after dusty shelf of mine over the years. There are new ones, shiny and unopened. Old ones, tattered and re-read over and over.
The collection mixes books by friends and authors I admire, women like Jen Calonita or Sandy Lo. Books on music touring, music law and life on the road, (Me). Books on anatomy and crazy science books I don't attempt to understand the pages of, (Him). Books on healthy eating and overcoming various health issues, (Guess who). Travel books, Christian literature, Bibles and books on our hopeful future pregnancy, (Us). Sometimes it's nice to take a fresh perspective on parts of your home. Parts that are uniquely you. And from where I'm sitting, with this bouncy little ball of pure joy in my lap, I got to see something pretty neat.
Church on Sunday was beautiful. Mr. Charming and I invited some friends to attend with us. Dave Ramsey spoke on God and finances, and though it was a little basic to what we are already doing, its always motivational and inspiring to remember that God provides, that this is all His, and we are blessed to be able to do with it what He moves us to do with it. It's a big step for a girl like me who grew up pretty materialistic, I'm fortunate He is teaching me value and importance of people and time, more so than things.
I have some AMAZING recipes coming your way this week. Oh man. My friend came over last night and we whipped up one of her famous soup recipes and she is letting me share it with all of you! It's PACKED with veggie, superfood goodness, but is still hearty, creamy AND filling while remaining gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free and sugar-free. I told you it's amazing.
I would love to hear what you guys have cooking for Thanksgiving. I'm also wrapping up my Whole 30 posts to share the rest of our Whole 30 journey and a photo series of "Whats On My Plate" for my Paleo Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving lovelies!
I like the word porridge. I realize this is totally random, but I've been thinking about oatmeal pretty much my entire Whole 30 experience, and it's cold and gloomy here today and it sounds really good. But I like the more proper, British term for certain things, and porridge is one of them.
Sadly I do not have a porridge recipe for you today. Maybe someday.
Today Mr. Charming and I are headed to California for a weekend with my record label. Taking time to just get caught up, celebrate God and music and one another. I get to meet some of my labelmates that I've never met before, and reconnect with others I toured with or recorded with. We are going to eat healthy food, relax, bonfire, write, sing... it's trips like this that are good for the soul.
I realize I haven't put up a November "Recipe of the Month" and that is because on the Whole 30 I haven't been doing much recipe development. We are eating pure, whole foods, and those in themselves are not "recipes" so I will be putting up some special holiday treats I have in the works once we complete next week.
Speaking of connecting to others and celebrating family & love... Mr. Charming and I are planning our first big trip to Washington D.C.! I will be reconnecting with a lot of my family on my father's side and am so excited to get to know them as an adult. I met some of them when I was just little, but they have been so gracious and have opened their homes to us to spend time with them in the Spring, getting to explore the city together. I am so giddy and spent a good hour the other night at Barnes & Noble ( I would have been there wayyyy longer had they not closed and turned the lights off on us ) pouring over a million guide books of what I want/neeeeeed to see while I am there.
If anyone in D.C. knows of great gluten-free or dairy-free eateries or coffee shops PLEASE let me know! I like to plan ahead!
I will also be doing a travel food post and a travel fashion post for Runway.
I am also excited to announce I am a featured blogger for Soy Nut Butter Co. An affiliation I am SO excited to share with all you ladies, gents and kiddo's who can't have nuts but love tasty spreads & granola. NON-GMO too!! :) See my nut-free autumn granola that I made with their products.
Hope everyone is having a beautiful Fall so far! Remember, I am doing a guest post series on holiday food. Starting next week I'll be featuring selected recipes from fellow bloggers, so contact me if you are interested in being featured.
Work has kept me so, so, so, busy lately. I feel totally blessed by the work I am receiving but am missing the blog a bit and getting to get into the kitchen and experiment with baking for this wonderful season. I'd like to feature a couple gluten and dairy-free guest recipe posts on the blog this season, so if you're interested, send me a message on what you'd like to create and I'll choose a few guest posters.
I had a major fertility appointment yesterday. I was at the doctor for close to three hours and my wonderful Mr. Charming and his mom came and sat in the waiting room for support. We got good news and some news on my MTHFR condition and some things we will have to work on to overcome obstacles, for I'm hopeful and my doctor is a sweetheart and seems to know what she is talking about, so we left feeling positive that we can keep trying. So prayers requested on our journey towards future Baby P.
Today's Tickle Me Tuesday was easy to put together, as I am feeling energetic and light on Day 17 of the Whole 30 diet challenge. Much, much better than the napping, constant headache, hangover-feeling of the first week!
1. Mr Charming & I are getting organized. Last weekend we both took a full day off and organized our kitchen cabinets and he built me shelves in our home theatre so I could alphabetize our film collection. You have NO idea how happy this makes me.
2. Mr. Charming's Au Gratin Sweet Potatoes. Seriously, they are Whole 30 Compliant, delicious and so comforting for Fall. I keep eating them & talking about them, yet I realize I havn't posted the recipe. And I am so sorry. I don't know why I am keeping such goodness from you all. I will post them soon.
3. My new carpet. I got a new kitchen rug. This is a big deal because I've been searching for one FOREVER. Mr. Charming built us a gorgeous dining room table (that he built for our wedding and we ate at it on our wedding night *swoon*) but its massive, and I havnt been able to find a run big enough that didn't cost our savings, until now. Thank you Target. Photos coming soon of the before and after kitchen design, once I get a little more work done on it!
4. Christmas Shopping. I am a quarter of the way done and it's still early November. I feel really grown up this year.
5. Good news. God has blessed us with amazing family, friends, love and career. It's nice to sit in silence with Him and just be thankful. I am thankful and hopeful that our road to our own little family is in His plans for us and just pray to stay close to Him as he unfolds our story before us.
Week 2 started out rough. Not going to lie. I don't think I've ever craved a donut that hard in my life. These donuts. (don't click if you're on Whole 30, it'll just make you cry.) As gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free they may be, they still have the Whole 30 no-no's that are chocolate and honey.
Mmmm. Chocolate & Honey. Lettuce is good too, I guess.
For those of you that are just starting your Whole 30, or thinking of doing so, I will tell you IT DOES GET BETTER. I didn't believe any of the blogs I read that stated that when I was in my angry phase, craving phase or the I-just-want-to-sleep-until-Thanksgiving-phase. But now that I am coming out of the "detox-flu" tunnel, I can see a little light.
I guess what shocks me most about this process so far is how hard it hit me when I already eat a mostly paleo diet. It goes to show that morning fruit smoothies, raw honey in my muffins and organic coconut sugar in my creamer really can accumulate in my body and detox in not-so-fun ways.
For week two we made a lot more vegetable based dinners, and didn't focus as heavily on meats. We made "pasta" using the shredded broccoli and carrot method and topped with an organic, no sugar tomato-basil sauce. For a dessert one night we sauteed apples in a pan and sprinkle with cinnamon, shaved almonds and a little drizzle of full-fat coconut milk.
Lunches consisted of chicken salad and soups mostly. As seen below, we tossed a shredded chicken with a little paleo mayo, grapes and avocado and served it with organic broccoli soup.
And breakfasts were a lot of eggs and sweet potatoes to keep us full because it was a busy, busy couple of weeks that called for a lot of sustained energy. I am learning to love broccoli as a breakfast food though, which I never thought I would.
Week Two Recap
I have to laugh. After reading so many Whole 30 Challenge Recap blogs I could almost cut & paste the emotional and physical challenges, and benefits, the others before me have experienced.
Mr. Charming and I decided to do this together, in an effort to clean out grains and sugar for a while. To get healthier, a little more fit for the holidays and to ultimately help our fertility situation as I mentioned in my last post on Day 1 of our Whole 30 journey.
It's funny how things happen, too. I had learned about Whole 30 months and months ago when recipe searching for gluten and dairy-free meal ideas and thought "another fad, I don't diet I just eat healthy." Then I started following some bloggers and instagrammers who were posting their yummy recipes, the info on the book "It Starts With Food" and I realized that even though it has a name, it isn't just another fad. It is just simply that, eating healthy. And though I believe I make good choices for myself and my family, sometimes it's good to clean up the diet, to eliminate the sugars (no matter how natural), detox & reset.
Where I went wrong was believing that I would have a really easy time with the change and that it would be Mr. Charming that would need to adjust more. (He still consumes organic dairy and gluten on occasion, when not eating with me.)
And boy, was I wrong. His willpower is insane and he is not experiencing this awesome "Detox Flu" or "Carb Flu" everyone talks about. The first few days were easy-breezy because it was mainly meals we eat anyways. Bunless grass-fed burgers, salads, green smoothies, eggs and veggies.
Then around day 4, my body realized I wasn't enjoying my coconut milk cream splash in a mug of warm choffy. Or a helping of rice pasta with organic sauce. Our bodies tend to burn our sugars and carbs first for fuel, not that my body is void of those things it's using up all my energy to compensate.
And, I. Am.Exhausted. Still on a journey to learn more about MTHFR (My genetic disorder that basically makes detoxing harder), I'm sure its one of the reasons why I feel more like I've been hit by a bus that my darling partner, but his inspiring willpower to keep going and not give in to the gluten-free donut I so badly want to bake because it's Fall now, is keeping me on track.
Mr. Charming takes a great multi-vitamin, whereas I cannot because my body attacks folic acid as if it's an invading toxin. So I'm wondering if that's something that is helping him not feel as much fatigue. I know he's had some sinus issues too, but his energy is in tact. And my hormones right now. I'm just glad he loves me so, and I have hopes week two will get easier.
Week One Recap
Overall, I will be honest, it's a hard diet to follow, but I am excited to see if week two brings less cravings and a renewed energy! Will keep you all posted. I would LOVE to hear your Whole 30 or Paleo challenges and triumphs! The encouragement would be good, especially now, since everything aches and I am craving a nap and a brownie.
Welcome! My name is Mandi & I hope you stay in this happy little space a while. I'm a Christian, a wife to my Mr. Charming, mama to baby Greyson, healthy food-lover, traveler, professional journalist and Personal Nutritionist who hopes to inspire others with my story...
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