I’ve spent more time in the kitchen in the past week than I have in the past few months combined and it has felt SO good. Cooking all of your own food at home is a fun/challenging process which I’m learning to love. As I wrote a few days ago, Josh and I have embarked on a re-do Whole30 journey. We’re wrapping up week 1 and both feel great!
Some of our favorite meals so far have included this incredibly tasty meat, pulled pork carnitas. The original recipe comes from the new Whole30 book. If you haven’t bought it yet, DO IT. It is so important to read it and It Starts with Food before you start on your Whole30 journey. I can’t stress that enough! Anyways, this recipe was a quick favorite and could not be any simpler. We had plenty of leftovers so we enjoyed it all week long.
My cut of meat was larger than what was suggested in the book, so I simply doubled the ingredients and called it good. I also was missing a thing or two so I improvised. I opted to use my crock-pot for this recipe so that I could set it, work all day, and come home to dinner finished. You could easily make this in a dutch oven in the oven. If you choose that route, bake it (covered) for 2.5 hrs at 350. The recipe below is similar to the original found in the book.
YUM! I want to make more of this right.this.second. The cinnamon adds a warm note while the cayenne and paprika add a bit of heat. It’s great on it’s own, mixed with eggs, or in a hash. SO GOOD! Enjoy!
Likelihood is that you’ve heard of the Whole30 by now. It is very similar to a paleo diet, but has a few more restrictions for a 30 day period. Apparently, it’s a millennial “cultish” fad diet. I think that article is a bit off with their facts but oh well. If you don’t know much about the Whole30, here’s a quick “elevator pitch” straight from their website:
Established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.
So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.
Last Time: A while back (like over 2 years ago!), we jumped on the bandwagon and gave it a shot. Well, long story short, we failed…big time. We got to like day 15, got bored, and threw in the towel. So lame, right?! I think there were many different factors to why we didn’t finish the whole 30 days, but a few that stick out to me now are these three:
We had a very limited knowledge of why we should be doing it. I did some internet searching, but I didn’t take the time to get the book(s) and really dig into the purpose of the challenge. I figured that I knew enough about the purpose from 30 minutes of searching online. Wrong!
My main purpose last time was purely weight loss. Although that’s a pretty great perk of the plan, it is not and should not be the main goal. Resetting your “relationship” with food is the main goal and I think I totally missed that.
We had very limited range of what we were eating. We mostly ate the same. thing. everyday. It got old, really fast.
This Time: This time, I’m approaching it with a totally different attitude, purpose, and appreciation for the program. I’ve dealt with hormonal and autoimmune issues for a good majority of my life and am tired of medicating to mask the real issue. I’d wake up with unexplained migraines multiple times a week, was relentlessly out of energy, and just overall bummed about the way I felt in my skin. Not to mention a good amount of weight that just kept hanging out no matter how much or how little I ate. I craved sugar like no body’s business and had an unhealthy relationship with butter and cheese. I needed to reset my system, badly! I’m 98% sure some or all of my issues stem from diet, so duh Terra! Make some changes!
A few months back, Josh and I were talking (probably more like, I was complaining to him) about my health and how utterly crappy I felt. He suggested that we try the Whole30 again. I said, “Uh huh, sure. I’ll get right on it” and then promptly did nothing about it. I just wasn’t mentally prepped to start a challenge where I’d eat the same thing all day erryday. Fast forward a month or so and I stumbled across an amazing gal on Instagram who was in the middle of a Whole30 (you can find her at @mollyrunsforlife). She posted photos of her meals and I kept seeing these plates filled with delicious looking food that looked nothing like the boring stuff we ate over and over in our previous attempt at the challenge. Seeing her encouraging posts and tasty meals really kicked me in the butt to actually try again. So, thanks Molly! :) I picked up the new Whole30 book and read it cover to cover, a couple of times. I made notes, flagged pages, and let the info sink in for about a week before we jumped in. Thankfully, my great hubby is doing the challenge with me – which makes it so much easier! He’s great encouragement and cooking for 2 is much easier than for 1.
I’m so proud to say that we’re almost at the end of our first week. Surprisingly, it’s been relatively easy (for me at least, I can’t really speak for Josh although I think he’s doing okay). Knowing that removing a few things from my diet could help me figure out what’s been causing me issues for so many years is a great motivation. And seriously, there is so.much.food that you CAN eat! Holy moly! I think one of the hardest things for me has been figuring out WHAT I want to eat out of the ton of fresh food we have in our house. I fully know that this entire challenge isn’t going to be rainbows and butterflies, BUT I do know that it is worth it. My health is worth it! One Whole30 motto that I’m really taking to heart this time is this: Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and remember that it’s not 30 days – it’s just one day. One meal. One bite. Do this one bite at a time, if you have to, because it’s for the most important and worthwhile cause on earth – you.
I’ll be posting some easy recipes that we’ve been making and a few recaps throughout the rest of the 30 days. I’ve found a TON of inspiration on Pinterest and have saved some of my favorite recipes to my Whole30 board if you’d like to check that out. I’ve also started a new Instagram account so that I’m not flooding my friends with photos of my food (because apparently everyone does not love that). You can follow along at @edwards_eat for some fun and easy recipes :)
Hello, blogland! I’m not even going to try to explain my 1.5 year hiatus…there’s really no great reason! But here I am feeling crafty so figured I should fire up the rusty ol’ blog again. I can’t make any promises as to how often I’ll be posting, but hopefully more often than every 18 months :)
In our dining room we have a sliver of wall space between the china hutch and doorway to the kitchen. I’ve always wanted to place something there, but nothing felt quite right. While browsing Pinterest, I happened upon this photo that I had pinned years ago. Plates! I could hang plates there. All I needed was…plates. And a way to hang them without them crashing down. So I started slowly collecting plates here and there. Most of them came from a local thrift store called Abbots and others from Goodwill. I don’t think I spent more than $2 on any of them!
The final thing to figure out was how to hang these things. I’ve never loved the plate hanger things that clamp on to the plate, so I started searching for a way to hang them without any visible hardware. I found these adhesive plate hangers, but at about $3.50 each, I figured I could come up with something a bit cheaper. We visited Josh’s parents a few months ago and my mother-in-law had just finished a plate wall in their dining room and it looked great! Lo and behold, she had figured out how to hang them without the visible hardware and didn’t spend a small fortune doing it. All credit goes to Debbie for this one :)
I started by washing my plates in warm, soapy water. Mostly to get the thrift store gunk and grime off of them, but also to ensure that the glue had a clean surface to stick to. Next, I traced all of my plates out on paper, cut them out, and taped them up on the wall to get an idea of the placement I wanted.
Once I had my arrangement down, I took a dry erase marker and marked the center top of each plate (making sure that the design on the front lined up). This gave me a mark to line my hanger up to.
You may be able to find adhesive hangers that don’t have the little hook on them, but rather only an eyelet. Mine had the hook, so I simply took some tin snips and cut it off of each hanger. Easy fix!
Once I had my plates prepped, I took the E6000 and got to gluing! This stuff is SUPER sticky, but pretty forgiving for a while. On a few of my plates I didn’t get the hanger lined up on the first try, but it was really easy to slide it into the right spot. Be sure to get your eyelet above the rib or edge of your plate so that when it hangs, it lays flat. I let the adhesive dry for at least 24 hrs.
After my hangers were really dry, I placed each plate on our copier and printed off a picture of the back side. Once cut out, I taped them up on to the wall over the other cutouts. This let me figure out the exact spot to place my nail. I hammered the nail right through the paper.
Once all the nails were in, I pulled the paper down and hung up the actual plates. And (unless you look REALLY closely at an angle) you can’t see any hardware!
I think this projected turned out really well! It was SUPER easy and affordable! We already had the glue, so buying the plates and the hangers…I think I came in under $15!
I think this adds the right look to that awkward spot next to the hutch. I may keep my eyes out for a few more plates to add a couple to the top of the arrangement!
First of all, let me apologize for the silence over the last couple of months. One of my goals this year was to post at least once a week and we can all tell that didn’t happen. I don’t have a great reason, other than letting myself get busy and distracted. I can’t promise any huge changes, but my hope is to give this ol’ blog some more attention in the coming months.
So, lets get down to the business of why I’m here right now. Today is the first day of fall! And we all know what that means, right? Pumpkin.
I’ve been impatiently waiting for this day all summer and it’s finally here! The day that I can give in to my obsession of pumpkin infused food and drink and not be scolded for it still being summer. The day that fall wreaths and harvest scented candles are socially acceptable. Ah…a good day indeed.
A couple of years ago, I brought you a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup. Although that recipe is a good one, I think I may have come up with a new one that is at least 2 times better. For starters, it calls for about 1/2 of the ingredients and is ridiculously easy. Instead of white sugar like the old recipe, I used brown sugar. That was a brilliant idea (if I may say so myself). It has a rich, molasses-y flavor that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside (if brown sugar can do that, and I propose that it can). Enough small talk…here’s the recipe!
I’m not sure what it is about my Mom, but she has the BEST luck finding things for free on the side of the road. I hope to someday inherit her roadside-freebie-snatching skills. For about a year I’ve been keeping my eyes open for metal chairs to revamp. Ideally, I wanted ones with a cushioned seat, but any old metal chairs (that were less than $10/chair) would do. I wasn’t having any luck finding anything within my price range. Lo and behold, my Mom found 4 folding metal chairs WITH cushioned seats along the side of the road in my hometown. Score!
The problem was, they were in desperate need of some lovin’. Cue angels singing and my name being called from the craft store. For about $30 I was able to breathe some new life into these roadside freebies. Here’s how I did it!
Step 1: I began by removing the seat of each chair. One thing that I didn’t do but would definitely do next time is number each chair and seat as well as separate the screws according to which chair they came from. I ran into some issues getting the seats to fit back onto the chairs because I got them all mixed up. This may not be an issue with newer chairs, but you’ll be thankful if you do it with old used ones!
Step 2: I removed all of the staples and took off the old vinyl. Thankfully, the foam was in great shape (although a terrible color of neon yellow!) so I was able to reuse it. If you need new foam, now is the time to trace your seat base and cut out your foam and/or batting.
Step 3: I cut my fabric into 17″ x 18″ pieces. I probably could have cut them a bit smaller, but I found it helpful to have a little extra to pull snugly and then to trim off the excess.
Step 4: I lined up my fabric so that the pattern went in the direction I wanted it to face. I laid my fabric right side down, centered my foam and then lined up my chair seat. Once everything was lined up, I began stapling my way around the seat. I found it easiest to begin on one corner and work my way around the entire seat. It’ll probably take you a bit to find your groove, but once you do it should go pretty quickly! I thought the corners would be tricky, but they actually ended up being pretty easy! (See photos below for how I folded the fabric around the corners so that it would lay flat.) Once you get your fabric stapled down, trim off the excess.
Step 5: I repeated steps 3 & 4 with my vinyl. I ended up using a ton of staples to get it to fit snugly but hey, nobody will see them!
I should point out that my husband picked out the seat fabric. Great choice, huh?!
Next it was time to paint the metal chairs! It was too breezy to paint outdoors, so I moved my chairs into a well ventilated workshop. Please be sure to work in a well ventilated space, spray paint fumes are not good for your brain cells and future offsprings.
Step 6: I pulled/cut off the old rubber feet and sanded the entire chair with 220 grit sand paper. Basically, I wanted to remove any rust spots and rough up the entire surface. Once I sanded down the surface, I went back over the chairs with a damp cloth to remove the dust & dirt.
Step 7: Paint. I chose Krylon indoor/outdoor gloss spray paint in “Bright Idea.” I ran out midway through the project, and had a heckova time finding more since I had bought the last can at our local hardware store. Thankfully, Walmart ended up being the ONE place within 50 miles that carried the brand/color. Word of advice, make sure you have enough paint to start off with! I used about 1 can per chair.
Also, I HIGHLY recommend using this fancy contraption called the Can Gun. My hubby got it for me for Christmas and this was the first time I broke it out. It makes spray painting a dream! No finger cramps or over-spray on your hands. Seriously, go buy one right now!
The essential to spray painting is to do multiple thin coats. Seriously, take your time and wait the manufacturers recommended time between coats. You’ll regret going too quickly because you’ll instantly get drips and splatters. I ended up doing about 3 coats on each chair and they turned out pretty well! I do have a few drips here and there, but nothing that I am going to lose sleep over.
This is what my chairs looked like after one coat of paint:
And after the third coat of paint:
Step 8: I reattached the cushions and voila! New chairs! (See my note above about numbering the cushions/bases/screws).
I still need to get new rubber feet for the chairs. I bought some but accidentally got the wrong size (mental note – measure twice, buy once!). Overall, I’m ecstatic with how these free roadside chairs turned out! They will work really well as additional outdoor seating for our next BBQ or indoor seating for our next movie night. The best part is that if I ever get tired of the fabric, I can easily pop off the seats and change it out! Yay for free chairs that turned out fabulous :)