Day 2 of the photo shoot, can you tell I was getting a little tired at this point?!
If you have seen my Facebook or Twitter pages lately, you probably know that I have been busy the past 5 or 6 days prepping/cooking/hosting some photo shoots at my house for my upcoming cookbook! It has been pretty exhausting juggling our little guy and all of the work that went into this, but so totally worth it! I am just thrilled with the photos for this book, I had a truly amazing team over here. Stephanie Bell was the amazing photographer, Teresa Blackburn worked her magic with beautiful food styling, and my editor, Healther Skelton with Thomas Nelson, was a huge help me to me with the grocery shopping and prep for 30 recipes!
Check out the video below for an update on when you can get your hands on this book! Beware, this is a totally low budget film, I was only in hair and makeup for about 2 minutes…
Here are a few of the pictures I snapped during the shoots, oh and just remember I am not the photographer. Thank goodness!
Just a few of the recipes and styling from the shoots…
Stephanie and Teresa doing their thing…
Of course, dad had to pop in for some of the yummy food.
My mom was a wonderful babysitter, Mav is like how much longer are you people gonna be here?!
My latest peanut butter creation are my No Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars. These are yummy, super easy, and full of fiber and protein, a great grab and go snack. Which is exactly what I am looking for with a 4 month old at home!
Check out the video below to see just how fast and simple these are to whip up…
No Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars
makes 16 bars
1 cup natural peanut butter (no stir)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (if your peanut butter does not contain salt)
3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries (may sub chocolate chips or raisins)
Optional: 2 tablespoons flax seeds
Place the peanut butter, honey, coconut oil, and salt (if using) in a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave the mixture for 1 minutes and stir everything together well.
Now stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
Press the mixture in 9 inch square dish lined with aluminum foil.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then cut into 16 squares.
I’m back! Back to making recipe videos that is, so you can expect a new one to be uploaded to my Youtube Channel every Wednesday!
So, to kick things off we have everyone’s all time favorite soup during these cold, winter days. I have seriously been trying to make a low fat version of Broccoli Cheese Soup for years. I have managed to make them “skinny,” they just haven’t been thick and creamy like the ones at the restaurants…until now!
This recipe is to die for, it has everything you want in a Broccoli Cheese Soup without any of the butter, heavy cream, or half and half. Check out the video below for my tricks on how to make this low fat soup so rich and creamy!
Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 large russet potato, scrubbed and dried
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth/stock
1 can low fat evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (12 ounce) bag frozen chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Coat the potato with 1 teaspoon of oil and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Place it directly on the oven wrack and bake for 1 hour. Allow it to cool slightly and peel the potato. Mash the peeled potato with the cream cheese as if you were making mashed potatoes. This step can be done ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to make the soup.
In a large pot, cook the bacon until it is crisp and then drain it on a paper towel.
Pour the bacon drippings out of the pot and then the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it for 6-7 minutes, or until softened.
Add the garlic and flour to onion, stirring for about a minutes. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and evaporated milk, stirring continuously to break up any chunks.
Next stir in the mashed potato mister, salt, pepper, and broccoli. Bring this to a low simmer for 8-10 minutes until it has thickened.
Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese until it has melted. Serve the soup with the reserved chopped bacon.
Well I’m back at it! I made my first Youtube video in 4 months, yikes, it’s been so long! This was just a quick informal video to kickstart my regular videos again, which I will be posting every Wednesday beginning next week. So be sure to look for those on Wednesdays, and Subscribe so you will get the videos in your inbox every time I upload a new one.
Go ahead and watch this one to see me in mom mode, made this one during the little man’s nap! I have shared a healthy snacking idea for new/busy moms and dads. And the star ingredient is…EGGS!
No Fail Hard Boiled Eggs
Place the eggs in a medium to large saucepan.
Cover them with water, and bring the water to a boil.
Once it begins to boil, set a timer for 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes, drain the eggs and put them in some ice water.
That’s it, just refrigerate them and peel before eating!
1/2 of an avocado
1 hard boiled egg
1 piece of toast (whole wheat)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
dash of salt and pepper
With the back of a fork, mash up 1/2 of a ripe avocado and squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Spread this on a piece of whole wheat or Ezekiel bread, I prefer it toasted.
Slice up one hard boiled egg and place the slices on top of the avocado spread.
Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Power Chicken Salad
1 cup diced chicken breast
2 hard boiled eggs
1 ripe avocado
1 tbls fresh lemon juice
1 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
Dice up 1 cup of cooked chicken breast, 2 hard boil eggs, and 1 avocado.
Place the ingredient in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
Doing some final edits to my cookbook one morning last week, working looks a little different now!
I have mixed emotions every year during the first few days of January. It’s not that I want Christmas to last forever, but I love the excitement, the anticipation, and the joy that December brings. I have always gotten a little sad when something I look forward to is over. On the way home from vacations, for example, I always get this sense of disappointment, it’s just over, that was it, back to the real world now. That’s probably why my husband says I am always trying to plan our next trip as soon as we get back from one. I just want something else to look forward to.
So when the holidays are over and January begins, I guess I just want something new to look forward to. So I turn to the new year, as most of us do, and I decide what I want it to look like. I can usually find some things to get pretty excited about, and the anticipation of all that I am going to do that year brings an eagerness to move forward again.
But this year it’s different. You see, it’s always just been me. I was in control (for the most part) of accomplishing my goals or not. As long as I could get myself motivated, then that was all there was to it. But it’s January 2nd, and I didn’t get a full night of sleep last night. In fact I haven’t had a full night of sleep since September 20. I have a 3 month old, and as I have been telling Zach, it’s his (Maverick’s) world, we are just living in it.
So I sit here, with the anticipation of a new year with my baby boy, but with the heaviness of knowing that it’s going to be hard. We will have many firsts this year, some good and some not so good, I’m sure. As exciting as it will be to watch my son during his year first full year of life, I can’t help but wonder how I will do it all. How do I accomplish my own goals without a good night’s rest? How can I get all of the things done that I so badly want to do when his needs always come first? How do I do it all if I am just really tired? Heck, how do I accomplish much of anything other than just taking care of this baby? That is never something I have had to think about before when planning for a new year. I don’t have the answers to these questions. I do know that when I look back at the past 3 months I feel like I have accomplished more than I ever thought I could. So many times in the middle of the night, I have found myself singing the song “I need you, oh I need you, every hour I need you.” Oh how true it is.
The Lord has been my strength when I wasn’t sure how I could do it. You see, no one really teaches you how to be a mom. You can have good examples, but it’s really just something you have to experience to learn. I certainly didn’t think it would be easy or come naturally. I was never really the babysitting type, babies in general have never really been my thing. But God does something to your heart when you have a child. There is no way to explain it. All the hard things, all the lack of sleep, all of the after effects of childbirth, you just bare them. If I would have known six months ago all that I would go through as a mom just in the first 3 months, I would have wondered how in the world I would do it. I would have probably thought that there was no way that I could get through it. But I did.
So I guess that is my answer for now for this new year. I don’t have to do it all or do it perfectly, but with the Lord as my strength I can do the things He is calling me to. I can keep going even though it will be hard. I may not “do it all,” but I will take baby steps (no pun intended) in the direction of the things that God is nudging me towards, because I am a mom now. And moms can do really hard things. We can actually do lots of hard things at once, with very little sleep. I am learning this about moms. I admire them more than ever, I actually feel pretty honored to be part of this mom club.
And so it begins, 2015. And it’s not just me this time, and I think in some way I’ll be better because of that this year. And when I think I can’t do it, I will look back on what I have done so far, and I will be reminded how I need Him and that, oh yes, I certainly can do it.
I am thrilled to announce that my first cookbook, "The Outdoor Table," published by Thomas Nelson Published is available to purchase wherever books are sold! This beautiful book includes 175 EXCLUSIVE recipes, not found on this site, perfect for all of your outdoor entertaining! Find out more and order your copy here...
Hey Y'all! Well I'm a southern gal, raised in Tennessee, where I still live with my husband and baby boy! Creating fresh and simple recipes with a southern flare, while sharing bits of my life with y'all on camera is what this site is all about. Also, my very first cookbook with Thomas Nelson Publishers will be out Spring of 2015, and I just can't wait to share it with you all! Read more about April...