Happy Birthday Steve!

It is the day of  your 25th birthday and I ponder how we got here how time passes so quickly.  I have said it once and I will say it again you will always be my little boy no matter how old you are.

You were my second born and last and although I thought I had the parenting thing figured out the second time around came with new challenges and amazement’s.

I take time to share with you my insight on the amazing young man you truly are by sharing 25 things that your dad and I love about you.

1.   Gentle Spirit

From the day you were born you had a gently spirit to you.  Although your entry into the world was hard and even quite scary for your dad and I you rarely gave a peep.  Quite content to what was given to you and never asking for much more.

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2.   Easily entertained

Maybe it was because you were the second child but your never needed much of our attention content to sit and play with cars, dinosaurs and blocks much different from your older sister.

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3.  Enjoys the simple things

You were and still are  pretty easy to please not asking for much and happy with the simple things.  Never wanting for things just to have them but focusing on the the things that truly mattered to you.

4.  Sensitive

It was apparent from a very young age what a sensitive person you were.  I recall  times being told that  you cried in school worried that you may have hurt some ones feelings. It was a good day when the teacher reported that you did not cried in class that day.

5.  Kind

With your sensitivity came kindness.  You cried because you cared for others a wonderful trait to have for a man.

6.  Love of condiments or the lack off

We often joked that you were much like your grandfathers when it came to your food choices.  But you sure have grown in that area since a little boy but not so  sure about the condiments.

7.  Sense of humor
Your dad and I tried to fill our home with laughter. The sense of humor you have comes through both your dad and I. Laughter is always the best medicine.

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8. Committed

Although you are quiet and reserved, your true character was revealed  when you found a sport you truly loved.  You committed to the task of doing the work and it showed by being moved up to the varsity team your sophomore year and going on to play college football.  It was an honor for your father and myself to witness it.

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9.  Love of cooking
I tried to always provide your sister and you with home made meals at home and always a homemade birthday cake. It gives me great joy to see your love of cooking.

10.  Our time together in the kitchen
I love when you come home and we spend time together in the kitchen.  There is just some thing about spending time with you making a meal that brings me such joy.

11.  Intelligent
Your dedication to your studies in college while playing football at the same time  gave your dad and I great joy and reminded us of how intelligent you are.

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12.  Eager to learn new things

Your dad and I read  bed time stories every night when you were a child. Although you are not as much of a reader as your sister I think you are still eager to learn new ideas and things and I would like to think that came from us instilling the reading of stories to you as a child.

13.  Hugs

I can still remember the days when those little arms wrapped around my neck to give me a hug. Although your arms are much bigger now the feeling that is in my heart is the same.

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14.  Ability to work toward goals

Both your dad and I wondered how you would manage without us when we dropped you off at college but we were truly amazed that you left a boy and came back a man.  Your ability to work toward goals is amazing.  Never underestimate the things that you can and have achieved.

15.  Responsible

Some may say a rule follower and you may or may have not gotten that from your mom.  But taking ownership of what is required is a honorable trait which not everyone has.  Doing what is right not always what is easy.

16.  Mind of your own

You have always been your own person and I am hoping your dad and I had  some part  in that but in a world where conforming is encouraged it is refreshing to know that you have embrace who you are and what you believe.

17. Frugal

Some may say cheap ( right Calli?)  In a world where we are told to consume, consume it is refreshing to see that material things are not always the most important things.

18.  Phone calls to stay connected

With the distance we have from you, your dad and I are touch that you take the time out of your life a few times a month to touch base and stay connected.  It is a phone call we are always eager to receive.

19.  Willing to accept new ideas

You are always willing to try the foods that your dad and I now eat when you are home to visit.  Some thing I have to say that you have far outdone  your grandfather on.

20. Staying connected to people that matter

You were always pretty selective on the people you had in your life but those were the people that matter to you most and still do.  It is nice that you have stayed connected with the guys that stood by you on all those hard long college football practices.

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21.  Overcome obstacles ​​
Life is not always easy and often times things must be sacrificed in order to do the things you need to do but don’t necessary want to do. You have shown this by your discipline to pay off you student loan early  where most struggle just to pay the minimum.

22.  Contentment

Your ability to be content with what is gives a sense of peace to people around you.

23.  Handsome

It was evident you were a good looking boy when you got runner up in a baby contest and you only have gotten more handsome as you have grown up.

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24.    Eager to keep learning.

Going back to pursue your masters degree and learning to become a football referee.  It makes us proud to see that you are continuously seeking greater knowledge.

25.    You are a showcase of the love, support and guidance your dad and I have given you the past 25 years and we could not be more proud.

We love you Steve for all that you are and all that you will become!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday!

As I sit to write this I can hardly believe that is has been twenty five years since I held you in my arms for the first time. I can still recall the big brown eyes and tons of hair as I beamed down at you with pride and amazement. There was no handbook given to your dad and me as we took you home, but I knew if our home was filled with love that everything else would work out.

I thought how fitting it would be on your 25th year to share with you 25 things your dad and I love about you.

1. Big brown eyes
I can still remember those big, almost black eyes you had as a baby. They were so dark that we could hardly see your pupils.

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2. Sense of independence
From a very young age you began to show both your dad and I that you could do things yourself. Your dad still recalls the time that he had you in the pool and you were determined that your dad did not need to hold you. This was just the beginning of the independence you would show us along your life.

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3. Love of books
Your dad and I instilled the love of books with you by reading bed stories every night. The love of books still continues although your dad and I no longer read them to you.

4. Love of music
Although I love music I think your love of all music came from your dad. The sharing of music continues to this day between you and your dad.

5. Sense of humor
Your dad and I tried to fill our home with laughter. The sense of humor you have comes through both your dad and I. Laughter is always the best medicine.

6. Beauty
There is no denying the beauty you have both inside and out.

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7. Love of cooking/baking
I tried to always provide your brother and you with home cooked meals at home and always a homemade birthday cake. It gives me great joy to see your love of cooking and baking.

8. Our time together in the kitchen
I love when you come home and we spend time together in the kitchen trying out new recipes.

9. Unending love
Your unending love for you dad and I fills our heart with joy and we love when you leave and send us note reminding us of it.

10. Intelligent
Your dedication to your studies in college and receiving honors at graduation gave your dad and I great joy and it reminds us of how intelligent you are.

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11. Free spirit
You have always been your own person and in a world where conforming is encouraged it is refreshing to know that you embrace who you are and what you believe.

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12. Hugs
I can still remember the days when those little arms wrapped around my neck to give me a hug. Although your arms are much bigger now the feeling that is in my heart is the same.

13. Sense of adventure
You are always willing to experiencing something new and out of the ordinary, never judging it before you give it a try at least once.

14. Sense of style
I often marvel at your ability to put things together. At a very young age you had a sense of your own style and your dad and I always encouraged you to be your own unique self.

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15. Love of the park and feeding the ducks
I can still remember the Saturday afternoons taking you to the park so that you could run free and always bring bread to feed the ducks. It is one of my fondest memories.

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16. Way with words
I know that your dad always enjoyed proof reading your papers for school, often so impressed by your way with words. You’re totally blessed with the ability to express in words your thought and feelings and the many years of writing in your journals only helped to foster that for yourself.

17. Creativity
I always enjoyed your creations from the covering of your journals to the makeup you wear. Your creativity and uniqueness is one of a kind.

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18. Amazing knowledge of pop music
Your dad is always so fascinated in your knowledge of pop music, often stating you know more than him and that is truly a huge accomplishment.

19. Ability to have lasting meaningful friendships
Often friendships come and go but you have been able to keep many meaningful friendships in your life. Many of those friends we consider part of our family.

20. Social butterfly
You so often are going to concerts, parties and gathering to stay connected with the people you care about and possibly meet new and interesting people along the way.

21. Vivacious
Your energy and zest for life if often contagious and it wonderful to see and be a part of.

22. Not afraid to stand up for what she believes
I love to see your dedication and commitment to the things that you believe in no matter how much others may disagree.

23. Overcome obstacles ​​
Life is not always easy and often times things must be sacrificed in order to do the things you need to do but don’t necessary want to do. But I know that your dreams and desires are still there and will come to fruition

24. Kind and compassionate
You are kind and compassionate with your words and actions often doing for others before doing for yourself.

25. You are a showcase of the love, support and guidance your dad and I have given you the past 25 years.

We love you Sara for all that you are and all that you will become!

Stuffed from Thanksgiving

Hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving with wonderful food and surrounded yourself with the people you love. Normally we travel to Wisconsin to be with family but this year we decided to stay home. Of course with this decision I went to panic mode what would I make to satisfy everyone needs. I can thank abby enough. I was thankful I decided to attend her webinar during this crazy time of the year with her help I came up with a plan I thought everyone could enjoy. This reduced my stress and anxiety significantly.
I bought and Organic Turkey breast from Whole Foods which made me feel better feeding that to my family. I also went with traditional mashed potatoes and gravy that would satisfy the men at my table. I have to admit the thing I love about Thanksgiving is the stuffing I am definitely a carb kind a girl. I knew Thanksgiving would not be completely without stuffing. So I went to work looking for a stuffing I could feel good about eating. Of course being the Internet recipe queen it take me long to find the perfect fit.

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Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

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This stuffing contained all the traditional herbs and flavors of traditional stuffing but with the added bonus of quinoa. Quinoa is actually a seed that is made up of a complete protein and helped me get my protein in at my Thanksgiving table without having to eat animal protein.

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 Bay Leaves
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chopped Field Roast Vegan Sausage(optional)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan margarine
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices of whole wheat bread
1 1/2- 2 cups vegetable broth

To Soak or Not to Soak Quinoa: Quinoa naturally comes with a bitter coating called saponin which must be rinsed off. Most quinoa that you buy in the U.S. has been pre-rinsed and dried, but I’m a bit anal, so I soak it 5 minutes just in case, to loosen up any residue of saponin, or dust or chaff that remains. Skip soaking if you like, but always rinse quinoa.

In a medium size saucepan add soaked quinoa, 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 bay leaves and bring to a boil. Once it comes a boil reduce to a simmer cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and removed bay leaves and fluffy with a fork.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

While quinoa is cooking and oven is preheating in a large skillet, sauté onions, celery, vegan sausage, garlic and vegan margarine until almost soft. Add thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and tear the bread into small pieces and add to the onion mixture and stir to combine. Gradually add enough vegetable broth to well moisten the bread pieces.

Add quinoa and gently toss to combine.

Transfer to a casserole or baking dish, bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes

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I enjoyed this along with some homemade cranberry sauce, roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted sweet potato apple Soup and autumn salad. The perfect Thanksgiving with the peopleI love. Of course there was traditional pumpkin pie request by my son.

Did you attempt any new healthier recipes to your Thanksgiving table? I would love to hear about it.

Time to Prepare

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. I have been attending How to Stay Sane, Sexy and Slim during the Holiday being presented by Abby from Bliss Holistic Health. I have had the honor of attending several of her webinars and they have all been wonderful. Each one I attend I learn some thing new to apply to my life. With the holidays quickly approaching I become overwhelmed and I most admit a little crabby. This year I am attempting to ease into the Holidays with a happy heart and enjoy the holidays with my family. So in preparing for Thanksgiving today I chopped and chopped this will be all the thing that I will need for Thanksgiving dinner. I know this will make a big difference when Thursday comes. I am also planning on making my pie ahead of time and make up the apple crisp so that is ready to be put in the oven while we eat dinner.
I also think planning my menu ahead of time will help me stay on track with what i need to do. I know that I handle things much better when I have a plan. Our Thanksgiving meal will be a little healthier this year and I am not quite sure how it will be received. I did keep some of the favorites like mashed potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie but I added some new healthy things to the menu this year. These include: Quinoa Stuffing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pomegrantates and Hazelnuts and Autumn Harvest Salad. Several of these new additions are from Abby’s webinar and I am excited to give them a try.
I have been trying to make a more mindful act of incorporating more vegetables to my diet this week. I have enjoyed some new vegetables this week one of these is called a Delicata Squash. What I love about this squash is that you can eat the skin. When I saw this on Oh She Glows I had to give it a try and it did not disappoint. I cooked mine in coconut oil and cinnamon.

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What I loved is that it got brown and slightly crispy. I loved it so much that when I saw Delicata Squash had Whole Foods two more where put in my shopping chart so that I can enjoy them again this week.

I have also been enjoying purple cabbage. I really enjoy cooked cabbage and I am not sure why I don’t buy it more often. I enjoy cooking it in some coconut oil and then add some brown rice syrup and mustard. I know it sounds like a strange combination but it is quite good.

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This dish I added some Kale to get those healthy greens in to my diet. I ended up buying more red cabbage this week and even went out of my way to slice it all up and but it in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator. I thought this would help me when I want some thing quick when I get home from work. Often when I get home I want to grab the most convent food which isn’t always the best choice. I thought if I had quick cooking vegetables ready to go it will help me making healthier choices.

I plan on keeping my meals simple this week and my husband/sons dinners planned ahead as much as possible to keep the stress level down. I planned to do more Yoga this week to help stay relax and grounded. I am hopefully with these small changes I can truly enjoy this Thanksgiving with my family. Stay tune I can’t wait to share with you the Friday muffin I made for my coworkers.

Orange you glad you asked?

I mentioned last week that I have been bringing homemade goodies to work and last week I had a request for orange cranberries muffins so I got busy searching the web for the perfect recipe. It did not take long to find the perfect muffin.

I don’t have much experience working with fresh cranberries so I was a little nervous how it would turn out. I decided to go with organic oranges and cranberries to insure the very best flavor. Since I didn’t have pecans I went with walnuts. This recipe did not call for a topping but I decided to add a little sugar topping which was the perfect touch.

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Everyone who sampled these gave them a huge thumbs up. I think this will be the perfect holiday muffin and I plan on making them again for Christmas morning.

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I have not received any request for this week I have debated about switching things up and make a coffee cake or maybe some bake donuts. I made a delicious baked goody this morning and I can’t wait to share it with you soon.

Fitting Fall Delite

I have been for the past few weeks making delicious muffins to bring to work it is my evil plan to open people’s eyes to the delight of vegan eating. I often get asked what I eat and what better way to show them by offering some delicious sweet muffins. I took a toll to see what people wanted me to make for my Friday Muffins and I was told and apple muffins. So I got to work searching the web for the perfect apple muffins. I came across thismuffin that I thought was perfect. Thursday night I prepared all the dry ingredient in a bowl to make for easier muffin assemble the next morning. I woke up about 430 to make sure the muffins were fresh for the morning coffee.

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I mixed the wet ingredient with dry ingredient and got busy filling the muffins tins. This recipe made 12 muffins but I would soon find out that 12 was not nearly enough.

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Once I filled all the muffin liner I just felt like it needed a special finishing touch. I thought about trying this muffin and had remembered it had the perfect topping. So I added the topping from this muffin to mine.

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With the delicious topping added I popped them in the oven and while they were baking I went about getting ready for work. As I descended from the upper level of the house the delicious smell of apples and cinnamon hit. It was a wonderful way to begin my Friday morning. I removed the delicious muffins from the oven and admired my work.

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This simple act of bringing homemade fresh goodies to my co workers bring me great joy and I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoy making them.

Next weeks request is for orange cranberry muffins and I have been busy searching for the perfect recipe. I have also been asked if I was only going to make muffins so not sure what will be in store for me as the weeks go on but if I can educated other in a more earth friendly diet I am up for the challenge.

Falling For Fall

Now that the weather is turning cooler I am craving all the warm winter foods like squash, stews and soup. This afternoon I decided I want to roasted up some butternut squash to make a wonder curry butternut lentil stew. As I was cleaning out the seeds from the squash I got the idea of roasting the seeds. I have roasted seeds but never attempted to roasted the seeds from a butternut squash.

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I first rinsed the seeds very well and made sure all the flesh from the butternut squash was removed.

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I placed the seeds in small pot of water with salt and brought it to a boil. Once the water came to a boil I turn it down and let the seeds simmer for 10 minutes. I drained of the water and placed the seeds on a towel to remove most of the water.

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Toss the seeds with oil to make sure the seeds are coated well. I used about a 1/4 tsp of oil. Then add some salt. Place in at 325 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes watching to make sure they don’t burn.

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Remove from the oven and toss with more salt and enjoy!

Unlike a pumpkin you don’t get a lot of seeds from a butternut squash but they were quite delicious. I always feel guilty about tossing these seeds in the garbage so know I can just roasted them up.