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Reserve Judgment

25 Nov


This weekend I had incredibly debilitating pain in my chest. It hurt so much, it radiated into my upper back. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest, and it was hard to breathe. Normally I would panic in a situation like this, but since it’s happened before and went away, I just dealt with it. Normally my heart burn has been quite manageable during my pregnancy. Papaya enzyme pills and Tums helped. In the past month, nothing has really helped. It constantly feels like there is bile in my throat, I’m burping a lot (sorry), and often get close to throwing up. Luckily I haven’t lost any weight, as my doctor has told me I don’t have any I can afford to lose.

To make sure everything is normal, I went to my doctor today. We discussed my symptoms, went over remedies (one of which included eating smaller meals throughout the day which I already do). I have literally tried all of them. I made the decision to go on a prescription medication for the heart burn. The drug I will take is graded B for pregnancy (the scale is A-F, with A being the best; pretty much the only thing graded A is water), so that makes me more comfortable.

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve been trying to do everything I can to protect our baby. I try to get in all my veggies and protein. I try to eat as much organic food as possible. I’ve even started to eat more dairy products again (again, organic) for the calcium. I meditate, take walks, and do stretches/yoga when I can. Taking medication during my pregnancy sometimes makes me feel like a bad mother. It’s not even so much how I feel about it, but how I feel others feel about it.

A friend of mine added me to a moms’ group on Facebook recently. It’s nice to have a support network, however, I feel some of the mothers in the group can be quite judgmental. Instead of “Oh, this works for me when my child won’t sleep,” some moms will say, “Well, you should really be co-sleeping with your child until they are such and such age.” Granted, most of the mothers aren’t like that, but when you are a mom, a mom-to-be, or new to the whole mom thing, you can be a little sensitive. My cousin’s wife posted on Facebook that she needed a C-section due to some medical reasons, and some moms went on to tell her some very insensitive things about C-sections. A C-section might not be her first choice, but she is going to do what is right for her and her baby’s health, under the consultation of her doctor who she trusts.

It seems like sometimes women can be so competitive when it comes to “finding” a man, competing for jobs, and in relation to children. I feel like we should all be more supportive of each other. We are all in this together, and are all trying to do the best we can with what we have. Each and every child is different; not every child will respond to something the same way as another. As long as your child is happy, you are not physically or mentally hurting anyone else, you aren’t doing anything illegal, and everyone is healthy, I say do what you need to do. Don’t judge another mom for using formula; you don’t know what is going on with her, her child or her body. You don’t know if she is crying on the inside each and every time she gives her child formula. You don’t know if she is suffering from a medical condition that prohibits her from breastfeeding. You don’t know if her child might have an illness that requires them to be on a special kind of formula. You don’t know if she has been yearning for a child for years and was finally able to adopt. It all boils down to this—you do not know what it’s like to walk in another mom’s shoes. You only have your experiences. Use those to try to help someone, and not lecture them. And don’t judge them if they choose not to use your advice.

Tomorrow, if you see a mom struggling, go give her a hug. That may be all the support she needs.

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

18 Nov

I promised you this recipe over two weeks ago, so I apologize for the delay. I think it’s quite worth the wait, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

(Serves 6: Two Cups Each)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, minced with 2 teaspoons sauce

2 cans black beans (15 oz each)

3 cans diced fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz each)

3 cups cubed butternut squash

2 cups vegetable stock

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried cilantro

1-2 tsps chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1) Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in large stock pot or dutch oven. Add minced garlic cloves and diced onion; cook until onion is translucent, about five minutes.

Prep time!

2) Add the butternut squash cubes and cook about 3 minutes. Add all the spices; cook for another two minutes.

Cut the bottom of your squash off to create a flat surface for cutting in half. Scrape out the seeds, and begin to peel off the skin. This squash yielded about six cups of cubed squash.

3) While cooking, put one can of beans into a bowl, one can of tomatoes, and the chipotle chilis with sauce. Blend with immersion blender, food processor or blender. If you prefer soupy chili, you can omit this step, but I like the thickness it adds.

Blended beans, tomatoes, and chilis

4) Add one cup of vegetable stock and deglaze bottom of pot. Add the remaining ingredients, including the other cup of vegetable stock.

5) Bring ingredients to a boil, then turn heat to low to simmer. Cover and cook for one hour.

Thick and hearty

You can add more chili powder if you like. The chipotle chilis already add quite a bit of heat with the seeds and some great smokiness.

Remember to stir up your chili before you dish it out, as the onions, garlic, and pureed goodness sink towards the bottom when cooking.

I’m going to use the rest of my cubed butternut squash for an easy and healthy recipe for Thanksgiving, courtesy of the Tone it Up gals.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

5 Tips for Raising Healthly and Adventurous Eaters (Guest Blog)

5 Nov
Hi there! My name is Kayla and I blog over at . My blog focuses on health and wellness for moms and their growing families, offering support, advice, tips and inspiration. I am wife to Brent and mom to Audrey (3) and Mari (14 months) and our yellow lab fur child, Moab. My “real” job is in public health, but I am passionate about maternal and child health as well as fitness, thus…Fit for Moms was born.

Jessica and I played high school soccer together back in the day. Now that we’re both busy bloggers, we decided to swap guest posts for each other. She just featured some awesome recipes on my blog here (

As a mom to two young girls, I am very focused on creating sound and healthy habits that will carry through their lives. I know that the foods they eat (and enjoy) now will truly lay the foundations for a life of good eating. In this post I will share 5 tips to provide your youngsters with the best start you can when it comes to their eating habits.

When Audrey was a baby and approaching the age to start eating solid food, I did A LOT of reading on the best first foods to offer your baby. As with many things when you are a parent, there is conflicting information out there. Some pediatricians will tell you to offer rice cereal first, but otherswill tell you to skip the cereal and instead offer something like mashed avocado, banana or sweet potato first. Our pediatrician was very much on the anti-rice cereal wagon. This made a huge difference for us!

Tip 1: Find a pediatrician who is on the same page as you!

Personal preference…I made all of the food my kids ate (and still do). I found baby food prep to be relaxing and a great way to show the girls my love for cooking. Audrey (and eventually Mari) started out with sweet potatoes and then we kept introducing a new food (only fruits or veggies) each week. We based the foods off of this chart. (In fact we absolutely love this whole website). What we loved about this was the variety they were being exposed to.

Tip 2: Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean your baby won’t! Offer them a wide range of fruits and veggies – you may even surprise yourself and enjoy something new. (Example: I love parsnips…who knew??)

As soon as the girls were ready to try to pick up their food, we steamed veggies from our farm share and let them dig in.

Tip 3: Let them get messy and really explore food. They build self-confidence and start to really decide what they enjoy to eat!

One of the greatest things I learned from our pediatrician is that toddlers will self-regulate. Studies have been done that prove that if you place a toddler in a room with a tray of healthy foods, they will literally eat what their bodies need. One day they’ll chow down on the citrus to get Vitamin C, the next day avocados for healthy fats and some days they will graze over the entire selection.

Tip 4: Don’t worry if your kid(s) don’t eat their whole meal. They will eat what they need! Offer them healthy choices and let them make up their mind on how much they need to eat.

Because of that, we actually have a tradition of eating out of muffin tins one night every other week. I call it our “Muffin Tin Monday”dinner. I fill each slot with healthy choices and let the girls just eat what they want. If they finish and want more, I let them pick which healthy food they want more of.

Neither of our girls had sugar until their first birthday (again personal preference) – when they got to try cake for the first time….

But, as Audrey has gotten older, she has been exposed to certain sweet treats.  A common question in our house is “Momma? Since I ate lots of healthy food today can I have a treat?” The answer is usually yes.

Tip 5: Treats are okay…in moderation.

The biggest thing of all when it comes to kids and food…you know what is best! As a parent, you will find what works for you. What works for me…well, it may not be the best fit for your family. And vice versa! So with all of these tips, please take them and use them if you wish. They are just my experience and my family’s choices.

Wishing you happy, healthy and adventurous eating!

Clean Eating in November!

1 Nov

I was cruising Facebook last night and came upon this post my friend shared from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

He went 150 days eating clean. Um, say what?! I mean, I can eat clean for a week, but then I’ll cave and have some candy. This post inspired me. If he can go 150 days eating clean, how many could I actually do if I put all my effort into it? I decided to brand November, Clean Eating Month (for myself). Please feel free to join me; we can all support each other. There are many great resources out there. You can invest in some of these great cookbooks—

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2 by Tosca Reno

Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook by…Tosca Reno!

The Best of Clean Eating by Editors of Clean Eating Magazine

The Best of Clean Eating 2 by Editors of Clean Eating Magazine

You can also buy the latest edition of Clean Eating magazine (that I discussed earlier this week) and use the 14 day meal plan. Low on cash? Go to their website and get a winter 14 day meal plan for free!

Tone It Up also has some great recipes on their blog, AND the Tone It Up nutrition plan has many clean recipes and suggestions. I know it’s $150 up front, but it’s honestly worth the investment if you get some Christmas money. You receive a lifetime membership, and they are constantly sending updates and member e-mails.

Also on the agenda for this month, 21 days of meditation from Deepak Chopra. I saw an ad on the O network and decided to register. Click on the link and sign up! You will receive daily guided meditation, which is really essential for me since my mind wanders. Just think how peaceful and less stressful November will be if we all signed up for this great challenge.

What are your plans for November? Do you have any goals or tasks you would like to accomplish?


1 Nov

Who inspires you? I’m lucky to know so many great people who I am inspired by daily. A few weeks ago, I met with a friend of mine who was diagnosed with colon cancer over five years ago. At that point in time, the doctor gave her a year or less to live. But Angela has refused to give up.

She’s always been a spunky gal, wearing the sassiest cutest shoes with TALL heels. Angela doesn’t eat all organic and doesn’t eat a raw diet. She doesn’t perform yoga for hours or meditate. She just lives every day to the fullest with a positive attitude. She doesn’t say, “Why is this happening to me?” or want people to feel sorry for her.


It reminds me of a Oprah Lifeclass I watched with Joel Osteen. He said, “You are what you put out into the world.” So if you say, “I’m sick,” you will continue to be tired. If you say, “I feel better,” you will start to feel better. He also said that if you are still on this Earth, you haven’t fulfilled your purpose.

I feel Angela’s positive outlook, refusal to give in, and her desire to live a normal and enjoyable life outweigh the cancer. She fights it this way every day. When I told her I wanted to write a blog about her she said she wasn’t sure how inspirational she could be. She just does what anyone would do—keep on living. She feels lucky to be surrounded by great family and friends.

What do you think? Can positivity change the way we feel and fight illnesses? Who inspires you and why?

Also, it’s quite fitting that the winner of the Halloween Giveaway is Angela! The only one who entered. 🙂 Congrats, Angela!

Beautiful scenery inspires me

Indulgent Vacation

28 Oct

I’ve been on vacation for a week and was busy at work so I apologize for the lack of posts. But boy did I need this vacation, and was it indulgent. I had some of this–

Chocolate Mousse Cake infused with Blackberry Liqueur

And a little of this…


Chocolate Chip Pie

And a LOT of this…

Visited seven breweries!

We went on a trip to Bend, OR which has over twelve craft breweries in the area. They also have many parks, hikes, water sports, and biking trails. We pretty much partook of the food, beer, and hiking.

For as active as we were, I still feel like I overindulged. It could be the beer, since I don’t drink very much and the desserts, since I typically don’t eat them. But this week it’s back to the grind and back to a regular schedule.

This week, I’m following the latest issue of Clean Eating Magazine. They include a two-week meal plan with each issue. I substitute some things out and switch a few things around so I’m not cooking so much, but I try to follow it pretty closely. One snack called for some gluten-free crackers, which I love but can be very pricey. After all the shopping and traveling we did on vacation, I wanted to give my wallet a rest. Also, after googling for recipes, I came across one where I only needed to buy one thing–everything else was in my pantry.

I found this recipe from Oh She Glows, and was quite pleased. Instead of putting in the thyme and rosemary, I used one and a half teaspoons of Herbs De Provence. If you’ve never tried it, you must! I bought mine from Cost Plus World Market and it contains a perfect blend of marjoram, savory, thyme, rosemary, basil, fennel and lavender. When I am cooking healthy, I try to pack as much flavor as I can into every bite. This way, I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not eating the real thing. I tried some of my crackers with some string cheese for a midday snack. After making the crackers, garbanzo beans (from their dried form), and steel-cut oats for the week, I needed a little pick me up.

I still have some Bulgur Chicken Stew leftover in my freezer for two lunches this week. I also have a Chicken Taco Soup I whipped up last night for lunch tomorrow. I’m saving that recipe for a guest post that will hopefully come out within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Dinners will include salmon with steamed spinach, a veggie spaghetti, and turkey burgers. If you would like more details, recipes, or meal planning, check out the November/December edition of Clean Eating Magazine. You can also go straight to their website and download some older meal plans at this link.

Get everything prepped today for a fun easy week! Enjoy.

Also, take a look at my new header! Thanks to Bestie Lelia for the sweet hookup!

What is your purpose? Super Soul Sunday on OWN

30 Sep

Since I have quite a bit of food stored up in the freezer for next week (including my Bulgur Chicken Stew and curried chickpeas with quinoa), I had a free Sunday. I spent a majority of the time watching football with my family (the in-laws came up), and reading Lauren Groff’s new book Arcadia.

But there was just a little something missing today. The night before we went to the casino and I won $200 at a Sex and the City slot machine.


This certainly made me happy since I never win at the casino. Then my husband won $100 on another slot machine. After that we went to the buffet at the casino and then to the bar for a drink. I will have to admit, I did not keep up with my clean eating this weekend, and now I’m paying for it. I feel lethargic, I have a headache, and I just feel bad. But rather than beat myself up over it, I just have to start anew right now.

Since I was feeling off, I thought I would watch a show that always cheers me up and gets me thinking. As you k now from one of my posts last week, I’ve been slightly obsessed with Oprah lately. I’ve been DVRing her Super Soul Sunday shows for weeks now. This particular show featured Caroline Myss. I’d never heard of her, but as I’ve learned from watching many an Oprah show, that was no reason to write her off.

Caroline focuses on spirit (as she describes it, spirit is the hope in you, the part of your mind that won’t give up hope) and  your own path in life. Within the first fifteen minutes of the episode, I had light bulbs going off everywhere. One particular quote I liked was, “If you have life, you have purpose.” I’ve often thought, “Why am I here? What is my purpose for being here? Am I living the life I was supposed to?”

Caroline believes we each have a purpose in our life, but some people don’t know their purpose? Oprah was asking, “How can you not know your purpose?” They discussed that in this time period in our society, we tend to get lost. We want to live someone else’s life, someone else’s purpose.

This really struck a cord with me, as it was a topic I discussed with a dear friend of mine a couple weeks ago. We don’t live near each other, but have known each other since middle school and try to connect as much as we can. I was telling her about my frustrations about not being happy but not knowing the reason. She was sharing her challenges with me. But after watching this episode of Super Soul Sunday, I realized the things that were problematic for us, were things that aren’t necessarily “ours”. They were things that belonged to other people, and were perhaps part of their purpose. For example, I was telling her about my frustration that we weren’t ready to have children yet, and I was feeling a little lost in my goals for the future career-wise.

It all goes back to the quote Iyanla said on Oprah’s Lifeclass, “Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against oneself.” My friend and I were comparing our lives to others, when that wasn’t even our purpose. Lightbulb!

How do you get to your life’s purpose? Caroline Myss says, “Have no judgments about yourself, no expectations, and give up the need to know what happens tomorrow.” WOW. It’s like a big red flag telling me to LIVE IN THE PRESENT. I’ve heard this for weeks now, and been reading it for the same amount of time.

I caught myself doing it today when I was relaxing with my family this morning. I kept thinking, “I should really test that pumpkin protein pancake recipe for my blog now. I should make some tomato soup since I have all those tomatoes in the fridge. I should be watering the plants.” I caught myself doing it, and stopped! I said to myself there was plenty of time left in the day and if not, there is always tomorrow. I have plenty of food in the fridge and freezer to get me through the week. There is nothing else that I “should” be doing or “have” to be doing. I can choose to do those other things or I can choose to relax with my family. I chose my family.