one little word-2011

My one little word for 2011 is savor. 

Savor life. 
Savor love. 
Savor each bite I take. 
Savor time. 
Savor moments that pass too quickly. 
Savor the here and now. 
Spend less time thinking about the future, and what if. 
Savor my blessings.
Savor it all. 

Savor it now so I can cherish it always. 
Take nothing for granted. 

What's yours?


mmel intentions

Have you written out your intentions for MMEL 2011? 

My intentions are somewhat simple.
 I intend to be healthy again. 

And that doesn’t mean never eating another french fry or cupcake again. To me, being at my healthiest means feeling good, both inward and outwards. In order to get there I intend to find a form of exercise I love and commit to it and to eat cleanly and track what I eat. I intend to lose weight.

I intend to be able to go shopping and feel confident. I intend to reduce my risk of getting cancer. I intend to continue living a full, authentic and happy life-just in a more healthy way. I intend to look at pictures of myself and not cringe at love what I see.
I intend to take good care of, and respect, this one body that I have been given, not only for today- but because the choices I make affect my tomorrows. I intend to take this one day at a time.

I intend to move more and eat less.
(renovations to come on me and the bathroom) 

What are your intentions?



Dear friends, 
I am on a mission and I hope you can help. 

I am trying to find interesting healthy living blogs and websites. Would you mind sharing your favorites? They could be about food, yoga, holistic living...pretty much anything that has to do with leading a healthy lifestyle.
I will be happy to share the list once it is compiled. 
Thanks for your help!

christmas time is here


is anyone planning to MMEL in 2011?

I am. 
I have been ruminating over it quite a bit. One might almost say grappling with the decision.  

I have a long string of broken resolutions in my history. 
I am horrible at them.

Every year it is the same old thing...think of things I want to resolve. Make a plan. Get gung ho about it. Do it for a little while. Let life interrupt. Forget about said resolution.  

This year is different though. 
The things that motivate me are different.
My attitude is different. 
My planning will be different. 

Truth be told, I love to be healthy. 
I love cooking and eating clean food. 
I love planning menus. 
On most days I would rather choose a ripe juicy apple over an ice cream sundae.  
I love a good sweat after a good yoga or dance session. 

I just.don' 

So here we are. Days away from the new year, but does that matter? It shouldn't. 
This is not my new year's resolution. 
This is my resolution to get healthy once and again. 
Once and for all. 
It's my resolution to be good to myself that just happens to be simultaneously taking place with the turn of the year. 

Are you joining? 
Will you move more and eat less in 2011 (and beyond). 
I hope you will. I could use some company. 


bake week 2010

Well, it is official. I have been bit by the baking bug! 

FYI, I got my Christmas apron from here, which is definitely one of my favorite places to get beautiful aprons!  
Back to the baking...So far this year I have made red velvet candy cane cupcakes, gooey butter cookies, and peppermint fudge brownies. And I want to make more!

I can't believe Christmas is next week.  I feel a baking surge coming on. Thankfully, I have plenty of willing coworkers who double as my taste testers ;-) And a very pregnant best friend
Also, when one has an apron that is just so cute, shouldn't one put it to use?  There are so many treats I want to try my hand at, so I have decided to put together a list of recipes I would like to make next week. 


I LOVE snickerdoodles. It could have to do with my love for vanilla and cinnamon. Pretty sure it does. 
I found this amazing recipe that I cannot wait to try, but I think I might give it a little twist...

We have a couple of unopened containers of eggnog leftover from our party that I need to use up before they go to waste. mmb loves the stuff so I figured I would give this recipe a little try.
Another option, might be eggnog ice cream.  Or maybe eggnog pancakes?

Don't these sound so like they would perfectly complement a steaming cup of tea?

mmb's mom makes this for us and my coworkers are more than psyched when I bring it in. They have coined it the "evil breakfast" because it it so irresistible! Since it is the last week before vacation, I think it is the perfect time for it!

The big guy requested these a few years ago after hearing the recipe on NPR, and they have become a tradition every since. 

Another tradition! The first year we made these they were a success! Unfortunately every year since, they have failed! Is this the year to redeem ourselves???

Well, I have made my list and next week I will be checking it twice. I might make some, I might make all. All I know is that this kitchen of ours is going to be busy and smelling festive. 
Oh, and I get to wear that cute apron ;-)


conquering risotto

I would like to consider myself pretty fearless when it comes to cooking, but for some reason risotto has always seemed a bit intimidating. 
Until now, that is. 

Friends, meet my risotto...

My delicious mushroom and leek risotto with roasted butternut squash. 
I was THRILLED with the way it came out. 

mmb thought it was absolutely delicious. His was served with slices of thyme rubbed pork on top- no thanks for me, but he found it to be the perfect complement. 

Would you like to try? I have to give credit to Rachel over at Heart of Light for this recipe, but here is my version...mostly the same, but with just a few tweaks. 


2-3 tablespoons of butter
1 shallot, diced
  3 large leeks, sliced and washed
20 oz. sliced baby bella (portabello)mushrooms,
1 cup arborio rice
4 - 5 cups hot liquid (I used chicken broth)
Small handful of sage leaves, diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Handful of shredded Parmesan

1 large butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and coarse pepper

Before you begin risotto, heat oven to 475 degrees, slice squash in half (you could also use pre-cut), scoop out seeds and drizzle with olive oil. sprinkle salt and pepper on top and roast in oven until soft (usually about 35-40 minutes) 

Now onto the "good stuff"...

1. Saute shallots and leeks in the butter over medium heat until soft 
2. Add mushrooms and cook until soft
3. Add rice and toss to coat with leek, shallot and mushroom mixture
4. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot broth (or water if you choose to use that) and stir
5. Add 3/4 cup of the hot liquid
6. Add sage and thyme
7. Once all the liquid is absorbed, adding another cup- continue this process until the risotto is nice and soft, but not mushy 
8. When risotto is the texture you prefer add the Parmesan cheese 
9. Add cubed roasted squash (I prefer mine on top instead of mixed in)

Things to remember when making risotto: 
*it needs to be stirred often and watched carefully 
*you may not have to use all 5 cups of liquid, use your best judgement
*it is an art, take your time and savor the is well worth it

I can't wait to try more flavors! I am thinking of something with cranberries, pecans and rosemary... yum!

So what do you think, will you try this recipe? Or if you have already made risotto before, which flavors have you made?


a christmas survey

I found this neat little survey over on Heather's blog the other day and have decided to give it a go. How fun, I think it will make a great scrapbook page! Perhaps I will add it to my December album
Ready? Here we go...

20 Christmas Questions
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper, definitely. With pretty ribbons :-) Although I do use a gift bag here or there. 

2. Real tree or Artificial? 
Real tree. 
Every year we go and pick one out at a lovely little family owned business that has a very magical country store attached to it.  I walk around (like a nut) sniffing every tree until we find "the one". hehe. 

3. When do you put up the tree? 
Either thanksgiving weekend or the weekend following. I want to enjoy it for as long as possible.

4. When do you take the tree down? 
On the saddest night of the year :( Just kidding, but I do hate to take it down. Usually a week or two after New Year's.

5. Favorite gift received as a child? 
I don't have one that comes to mind, I remember certain Christmases, just not the gift part
6. Hardest person to buy for? 
My dad
7. Easiest person to buy for? 
8. Mail or email Christmas cards? 
 Mail, when I actually get around to sending them. 

9. Favorite Christmas Movie? 
Miracle on 34th St and Charlie Brown. 
I actually don't think there is a Christmas movie I don't like (Lifetime Network movies included, HA!)

10. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
At midnight on Thanksgiving! Unless there has been something I have come across prior to that I know would be meaningful to someone.

11. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? 
Green bean casserole! 
MMB's sister makes amazing desserts that I always look forward to as well.

13. Lights on the tree (colored or clear)? 
14. Favorite Christmas song? 
Yikes...just one?!
O Holy Night or Silent Night

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Wherever the family is. 
16. Angel, star or ribbon on top of tree? 
We have a star this year, but in other years have had nothing or an angel. 

17. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? 
One on Christmas Eve when we put the cookies out for Santa, the rest on Christmas morning 
18. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? 
Commercialism and the seemingly missing aspect of the true meaning of Christmas :-( 
Also...the "desensitization" of the holidays; why can't we all just celebrate and appreciate all of the different holidays this time of year for what they are without generalizing them?

19. What do you want for Christmas this year?
I have everything I need. 
20. Traditional colors (red and green) or other colors? 
It varies, but usually includes red for some reason! 

So there it is! Now, how about you? Please let me know if you decide to fill out these questions, I'd love to hear your answers! 


a christmas cocktail

My sweet friend Katie introduced me to a very delicious and elegantly simple way to enjoy a holiday cocktail. 

3 parts prosecco sparkling italian wine
1 part vodka
pomegranate seeds

Isn't it just beautiful?

I think you could even use a flavored vodka to add a little extra interest to it, perhaps vanilla?

For tips on how to seed a pomegranate, check out this video.



Oh Christmas Tree!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)


december album

Holy moly did the holidays creep up this year! Please say I am not the only one who is in disbelief that today is December 1.

Even with this seemingly sudden occurrence of the holiday season I do have to say that I am somewhat prepared, which in and of itself is a Christmas miracle as I've barely had time to utter the words "Christmas is coming" in between brush strokes of primer. In fact, as I type this my fingers are covered in the leftover paint I could not get off of my hands from last nights living room priming session! 

This December I have decided to get my album prepped ahead of time (another miracle) and I have to say that I am happy with the simplicity of it and I truly think I will be able to keep up with it this year.  You can read about the products I decided to use here.

And here are the bones. I have a few more things to add to it here and there, but the contents will be a combination of Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas, Ali's December Daily and Tracey's Picture the Holidays.

And since fixing up our house is such a huge theme in our lives right now I added a little spot at the bottom of each day to journal what projects we were working on that day. I can't wait to look back someday and reminisce about this time in our lives :) 

Happy December! And for those of you out there who celebrate Hanukkah, have a great first night!