Beet Greens for Breakfast

 - by laurieg

Now that Fall has officially arrived (YAYY!) squash, pumpkins, greens, and root veggies are readily available and I couldn’t be happier! For those of you that know me, you know that I am a pumpkin junkie. For those that may not know, I am a pumpkin junkie. But we’ll save that for another post. So I made a sweet potato and beet hash the other night (which was delicious, by the way, check out the link to the recipe below), and remembered to save the beet greens. Save the beet greens? To the less experienced foodie, yes, you can eat the leafy part of the beet too! I added them to some scrambled eggs and, voila! A breakfast dish that even my 1 year old wouldn’t let me share! Loaded with vitamins and minerals, dark leafy greens are a healthy addition to any meal. Here’s my beet greens and egg scramble recipe (serves 1 adult and 1 hungry toddler…almost):

Beet Green Breakfast Scramble

1/4 cup of diced sweet onion

1 cup of raw beet greens, washed, dried, and torn

2 tsp chive and onion cream cheese

3 eggs, lightly beaten

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

-Sauté the onions in olive oil until softened

-Add the beet greens, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until wilted and a dark green

-Add the eggs and cook until mostly set, stirring occasionally

-Stir in cream cheese until eggs are set and enjoy!

Feel free to sub whatever greens you may have on hand and regular cream cheese would work too!

Oh, and here’s the recipe for the Sweet Potato Beet Hash. Seriously, amazing!

Creamy Avocado and Banana Smoothie

 - by laurieg

Spring Break is finally over and today was the first day back at school. Can I get a Hallelujah? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed having a week without having to get up and be anywhere unless we wanted to. I even got to sleep in until 8:30 (gasp!) a few times. We were blessed with beautiful weather and enjoyed a few field trips to get out of the house. We visited the Blue Bell Creamery and learned how ice cream was made (definitely worth the trip if you’re near one of their three creameries), and went to the railroad museum to see old train cars, an impressive model railroad exhibit, and even a short ride on a no-longer-in-service track. But without preschool to take 4 hours out of each day, there’s a lot of downtime between games of Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, puzzles, and trips to the park. After a week of “mommy, can you play with me”, “mommy, I’m borin’” (we’re still working on the difference between “bored” and “boring”), “mommy can I go to so-and-so’s house?”, “mommy can we do something fun”, “mommy, mommy, mommy…” I was ready for some relief. So, as I dropped him off this morning and blew him a kiss goodbye, I did a little happy dance in my head. Judging by the smile on his face, I could tell he was happy to be back too.

By the way, today is St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not Irish, but I did try a new smoothie recipe that I thought was fitting for the occasion. Enjoy!

Creamy Avocado Banana Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used regular, not low fat or fat free…it tastes better anyway)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 avocado (did you know these things have more potassium than bananas?)
  • 1 scoop vanilla Mochatonix
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (trust me, this makes the smoothie!)
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp. flax seed (optional)
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (optional)

smoothie

Mornings

 - by laurieg

I’m not a morning person. I don’t like to sleep until noon or anything, but I prefer to wake up slowly, and be left alone until that process is complete. Ask my husband. I am a certified grump if I’m asked to do anything more than lay in bed undisturbed until I’m good and ready to get up. Or I’ve had my coffee. Unfortunately, those mornings are few and far between. Usually, I’m woken up by either an alarm, a baby that’s fussing for food and a clean diaper, or a preschooler accusing me of wasting all of the tissues in his room, or asking me where his Batman car is. Then it’s a rush to get everyone ready, fed, and out of the house so that we aren’t late for school, church, etc. If I do happen to wake up  voluntarily before the kids, I’m greeted by the dog or cat with way too much enthusiasm before I even get to the bathroom.

This morning, however, was different. Today I woke up to a quiet house with nothing on our schedule, even the dog had decided to sleep in. I was able to enjoy my coffee alone while watching our resident cardinal enjoy his breakfast at our birdfeeder in the yard. When the baby did wake up, we had a few quiet uninterrupted moments to snuggle (after her breakfast, of course), which gave me time to be thankful for having two amazing kids. Those are moments I cherish. The peaceful ones that are filled with love, the ones that allow me to count my blessings. After mornings like this morning, I’m ready to face whatever mommy challenges come my way. Poop explosion? No problem. Missing puppy blanket? On it. Everyone, including the animals, hungry, no, starving at the same time even though I haven’t gone to the bathroom since I got up? Piece of cake. Because there’s always hope that there’s another peaceful morning around the corner. And Starbucks.

White is Dumb

 - by laurieg

I love wearing white as much as anyone else, whether it’s a neutral backdrop to an accent piece, or a breezy sundress that screams summer. However, as a mom and a champion food klutz, as my bestie pointed out on a recent outing with our kiddos, white is dumb. It’s just a bad idea for anyone around kids younger than 10 or food that isn’t, well, water. The funny thing is, despite this truth, not only do I still wear it, I dress my kids in it. My son is incapable of eating a sandwich without getting peanut butter, jelly, or Nutella (or a combination of the three) from ear to ear. When I tell him to go wash said mess off his face, do you think he just walks to the sink and follows directions? Or even uses a napkin? Nope, he wipes his sticky cheeks with his sleeve first, and more often than not, that sleeve is white. My daughter has a super cute onesie she received as a gift, it’s one of my faves, but don’t you know that she has a blowout in that thing. Every. Single. Time. She wears it. I’m not even exaggerating. It goes from the wash to the baby and right back again. OxiClean and SOS (a hypoallergenic and more ecofriendly stain remover) get more use than my vacuum cleaner these days. And of course, food and spit up have some sort of magnetic attraction to the color, much as powdered sugar has to black (ever tried eating a beignet in black pants? Absolute disaster.) Example, the baby’s favorite game at mealtime lately is to blow raspberries. With a mouthful of (insert any jar of baby food here). Of course it’s adorable, especially when she gives you that melt your heart grin afterwards, but despite your best efforts to stay out of the spray zone, the damage is done. So much for wearing that outfit the rest of the day. And then there’s the inevitable coffee spill. Something so necessary to the morning routine can also be it’s undoing. And it often goes undetected until lunchtime when you look down and realize your travel mug lid wasn’t on as tight as you thought it was. So why do I continue to take the risk of donning or even purchasing white?  Your guess is as good as mine, maybe I should just buy stock in stain remover.

46 Day Fast

 - by laurieg

It’s Sunday, and I read a thought provoking article concerning our overuse of the word “blessed” this morning and am moved to discuss a religious topic today. Fat Tuesday is upon us, followed by Ash Wednesday, marking the  beginning of the season of Lent. As we approach the countdown to Easter, a common question among Christians starts popping up: “Are you giving up anything for Lent?” and we often start contemplating what we might give up for 46 days. Yep, 46 days. Most people think “40″ days of Lent, but that doesn’t include Sundays, so go ahead and tack one more week on to the total. Usually it’s some type of food or drink in which we tend to over indulge, in an attempt to reboot our long abandoned New Year’s resolution of getting fit. Now, I am Methodist, and I don’t pretend to understand or even know all of the subtleties of how other denominations observe the season, but I think it’s safe to say that, in general, we should take a minute to remember why we give up something during the season of Lent. I have, in the past, given up sweets (which was going great until the ice cream truck passed by while walking on an unseasonably warm spring day, the week before Palm Sunday…I remembered my sugar fast about three licks from the end of my strawberry fruit pop), but I didn’t feel like it had accomplished anything or brought me closer to God. After all, isn’t that the purpose of our “sacrifice”? To get rid of something that distracts us from our relationship with God? For some, maybe it is food. I’ve known Christians to fast completely during the day, reminding them of what Jesus went through while in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. For others, it might be a behavior. I tried giving up road rage a couple of years ago. Perhaps kinder thoughts and less swearing in the car would make me a better Christian, if not a better person. Unfortunately, that was an epic fail. But I felt like I was on the right track. This year, I went through my day and thought about what I could eliminate that would free up more time for meditation, reading (yes, I have a dusty stack of books on my nightstand, but the Bible is one!), and even counting my blessings. Something that I might actually miss. I had considered my iPhone, but since that’s the only means of communication with my out of state family and overseas husband, I opted for something a little less extreme. This year, I’m giving up television. No morning news, no HGTV, no Swamp People, no Big Bang Theory, no Walking Dead. It will all have to wait until after Easter. I spend far too many evenings after the kiddos are in bed, wasting precious ”me” time in front of the television, watching reruns and late night tv. This includes movies too…which reminds me, I need to cancel my Netflix account. So, as I prepare to binge before the purge with tonight’s Oscar Award Show, (that’s what Mardi Gras is all about anyway, right?), in the spirit of the coming season, I ask you: What will you be giving up for Lent?

By the way, HERE is the article I mentioned reading earlier. Worth the read.

Sweet (and healthy!) Valentine’s Treats

 - by laurieg

As Valentine’s Day approaches, the amount of sweets in my house (mostly thanks to my son and his V Day preschool party) has about doubled, just as we were finally finishing what was left of Halloween and Christmas candy. Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous how much one child can accumulate in one night of trick or treating. And don’t get me started on Santa’s helpers’ contributions. At this point, I figure we’ll just coast on into Easter and then maybe do one of those trade candy for fun activities deals, to get the rest out of the house. Until then, however, I’ve been resisting temptation with a little help from a few not-so-bad for you (dare I say, healthy??), but just as satisfying alternatives.

The first is one of my favorite go to’s for breakfast. I’ve been in kind of a smoothie kick, and this particular combo is in honor of Valentine’s day. And it helps curb that craving to buy that box of chocolate covered strawberries that the grocery store so desperately wants you to take home…not that that’s the worst temptation to avoid :-)

Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use full fat, it has less sugars and tastes way better. Besides, you’re only using half a cup)
  • 1 Banana
  • 5 or 6 Strawberries
  • 1/2 to 1 full scoop of Chocolate Mocha Mochatonix (or Chocolate protein powder. I like Mochatonix for the flavor and the energy boost, and there’s plenty of protein in the yogurt anyway.)
  • 5 or 6 Ice cubes

photo

Ok, so this next recipe I got from a friend who got it from another friend, which came from some gal named Ali (probably her blog). These keep me from raiding my son’s peanut butter cups (my Achilles heel where chocolate is concerned), and even receives a ”Mom, these are so delicious!” from him. I would like to send a big thank you! to Ali, because these things are awesome.

No Bake Energy Bites

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Method

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

Ali’s Tip: Substitution ideas can abound for just about any of these ingredients! Feel free to substitute in your favorite nut butter (almond butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.) for the peanut butter. And you could also add in some wheat germ in place of some or all of the flaxseed. I would caution, though, against substituting agave nectar for the honey, as the honey’s thickness helps hold things together.

Some other fun substitutions for the chocolate chips (or an addition to them) could include:

  • chopped dried fruit (apricots, dates, raisins, etc.)
  • dried berries (cranberries, cherries, etc.)
  • chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds
  • other chips (butterscotch, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, M&Ms, etc.)
  • other grains (different kinds of oatmeal, rice cereal, etc.)

So. good.

A New Beginning

 - by laurieg

I return to my blog today after a longer than anticipated hiatus, and I realize it has been almost a year and a half since my last post. Since my last post, my family of three became four, my husband has been deployed overseas, and I am preparing to transfer to our next duty station in a different time zone in a few short months. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I am a military wife. After spending the last few months single mom-ing it with a newborn and a preschooler, I’ve decided I need an outlet, a place to share funny stories, experiences, and maybe even vent a little (only once in a while, I promise!). Thus, Laurie’s Corner is my designated space for such adventures. I know I’m not alone out there, as a military wife or as a “single” mom (I am very aware of the temporary nature of my “single” situation, and to all moms out there in a not-so-temporary situation, God bless you, I have the utmost respect for anyone raising and supporting a family on their own), so feel free to share, commiserate, and comment as we go along! I look forward to sharing tips, stories, even recipes in upcoming posts, but for now, I have to tend to the baby who just woke up from her nap :-)

Ken Paves Hair Extensions on Today Show

 - by laurieg

For anyone who has ever wanted to try bangs without the commitment, or is regretting a recent hair cut, or just likes to change it up on a regular basis, just do what the celebs do…hair extensions. Ken Paves was on the Today Show this morning showing everyone how to use his hair extensions, Hair Do, that look so natural, you’d never know they weren’t real. The best part? You can get the red carpet look without breaking the bank. Hair Do extensions go from about $25 to $99 depending on what length you’re looking for. (You can get cash back on the extensions if you get them at Shop.com!)  Check out this video from the show:

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What do you think? Would you wear hair extensions?

Destress With a Vitamin Cocktail

 - by laurieg

We all deal with stress, between work, family, and everything in between. By the end of the day, we’re ready to put our feet up and relax with a glass of wine to the easy tunes of John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk. Not everyone has this luxury of course, especially anyone with kids, so we are forced to push on until our head hits the pillow, only to start again the next day. A good way to destress without the help of vino is to make sure you’re getting enough B complex vitamin. Taking B vitamins with Calcium right before bed will help you fall asleep, but if you’re looking to destress and energize, mix your B vitamin with some Acai. Try to find vitamins with minimal amounts of fillers, since they tend to prevent absorption into the body. An isotonic vitamin is the best and will get into your bloodstream the quickest. The easiest way to figure out what vitamins and supplements best fit your health needs, take a free Nutriphysical and get recommendations for a customized vitamin cocktail.

The Chic Boutique

 - by laurieg

This past summer I discovered the beauty of the boutique. I wandered into a little shop called Langford Market in the Heights and fell in love. The perfect clutch, the statement necklace, the shift dress paired with a great belt and blazer, I wanted one of everything. It wasn’t my first time shopping local, but it’s only recently that I’ve really appreciated the true uniqueness and personal shopping experience without the distractions of King Street or the French Quarter. A good boutique can be your go to shopping destination when you’re looking for a specific occasion or just looking! They often hold events that include champagne and cupcakes and you’ll often find you’re on a first name basis with the manager or even the owner. Probably my favorite aspect of the the boutique, though, is the fact that they offer only a few pieces of each style and when they’re gone, they’re gone, which means you end up with some fabulous pieces that are truly original! As the temps (finally) cool down and fall really starts to settle in, I’m excited to refresh my wardrobe with one of a kind styles from Langford Market and Ella Zane (another new favorite!!). How about you? Do you prefer Boutique or Department Store?