Creamy Parsnip & Sweet Potato Soup

Ah, mondays. Maybe one day I will learn to love you.

One thing I do love is a good fair on a beautiful fall day, and this past Saturday our little family had fun at one of the most popular fairs in CT (if not the most popular), the Durham Fair.

There was cuteness overload, as well as indulgence in fair food. Raised donut, yes. Bloomin’ onion, yes. Falafel gyro, you bet. Massive roast beef sandwich, definitely (all joe on that one lol).

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Needless to say, I was thankful on Sunday for the tasty & nutritious homemade soup I had leftover, inspired by one of Joe’s favorite vegetables: Parsnips. During the week we were in a local market and he spotted some and said, “You have to come up with a recipe for parsnips…” Well, that I did.

The flavors of parsnips and sweet potato make it buttery and sweet; its warm from the perfect amount of cinnamon and spices, and nice and creamy from a silky cashew cream that I could have eaten all by itself!

Here is the recipe:

{For the cashew cream}

Ingredients:

1 c raw cashews

2 cups of water

1/2 c non-dairy milk (I used plain unsweetened almond milk) (veggie broth could also work here)

Directions:

Combine cashews and water and soak for at least an hr or up to overnight. Drain the cashews and add to a blender with the milk or broth. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

{For the soup}

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

pinch of salt

1 & 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp nutmeg

5 leaves of fresh sage, minced (or 1/2 tsp of dried sage)

2 tsp salt (I used kosher, but sea salt would be fine.)

fresh ground pepper to taste

1 Tbsp coconut sugar (You could also use brown sugar or agave; I like coconut sugar because it is unrefined.)

6 c veggie broth

6 small sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed (Trader Joes bag of organic sweet potatoes tend to have small potatoes, about the size of my fist or a little bigger. If you have larger or average size ones use 3-4.)

3 parsnips, peeled & cubed

Directions:

Drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, carrots, celery and pinch of salt & stir. Allow the veggies to cook for 5-6 min. While they are cooking combine all the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, salt, pepper) in a separate small bowl. Add all the spices and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the veggie broth and coconut sugar, then add the sweet potatoes and parsnips. Bring it up to a boil then lower heat, cover & simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes and parsnips are soft. Remove the lid and remove the pot from the heat.

Now the fun part… 🙂

Blend all the contents in the pot with an immersion blender – start on low then move to high. If you don’t have one you can use a regular blender, but always be careful putting hot liquid into a blender. Do a little at a time and I allow the steam to escape! Add the delicious cashew cream and blend some more until it is all incorporated and smooth! If you used a blender add some of the cashew cream to each batch, or you could try whisking it in later.

And thats it! Super easy!

Ladle into bowls and garnish with a couple sage leaves….fancy!

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In response to this soup my husband sang the following little song:

“Soup you’re amazing just the way you are

And when you simmer, you make the whole family come for dinner

Soup you’re amazing just the way you are.”

Maybe if you make it, your spouse or significant other will start singing its praises to the tune of recent chart topper also…orrrr maybe that’s just mine?! 😉

Hope you all had a great weekend and good start to your week!

Jackson’s Birth Story.

The Story:

It all started Wednesday the 15th of May into Thursday, the 16th. I got a chiropractic adjustment Wednesday afternoon and by that night, after I watched American Idol and had a glass of wine, I went to bed with contractions 10 minutes apart. By 1 or 2 am they were 7 minutes apart, but then they stopped by 3 am. I was slightly frustrated considering I was now going on 10 days late. Some background: starting at 37 weeks I was literally doing everything I possibly could to help naturally encourage labor; i.e. primrose oil, walking, squats, sitting on an exercise ball, climbing the stairs multiple times in a row, eating pineapple, spicy food, adding basil & oregano into everything possible, etc. I learned that he was not coming out until he was ready!

I woke up Thursday with no contractions, but had a midwife appointment with Laura that morning to monitor the baby for 30 minutes, followed by an ultrasound to check fluid levels; standard post date stuff. While at the doctors Laura swept my membranes, which she had done the previous Monday as well; then while hooked up to the monitoring machine, I started having contractions recorded at 5 minutes apart. This was around 9 or 9:30am. They weren’t super strong, but definitely noticeable. Joe was with me, but had to go back to work. I didn’t want to go to my ultrasound alone in case things were to progress to the point where I couldn’t drive, so I drove to my sister’s house and she came with me. It was around 11am when we arrived at the Yale office where I’d get the ultrasound. At this point I was saying “ouch” to the contractions, still 5 minutes apart or so, but again it was more like a severe menstrual cramp than anything. After the ultrasound we drove back to my sister’s, picked up her family and headed to a local library to get some Sugar Bakery cupcakes since their truck was there for the afternoon. Once I had my cupcakes I headed home to eat some lunch.

I was dicing up veggies to make salsa and remember my mom texting me asking me how I was doing. I told her I was having contractions 5 minutes apart and making salsa. She thought it was funny that I was having contractions and making salsa. I was hungry! 🙂 At this point it was around 1:30pm. After I made the salsa I texted Joe and told him he should come home soon in case anything were to progress. I ate lunch and waited for him. He got home around 2:30pm, he ate lunch, and then we went for a walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day outside!

Back home from the walk we decided to eat one of our cup cakes! It was around 4:30pm now. I sat on my exercise ball and thoroughly enjoyed my Snickers cup cake while conversing with my husband. I think I literally had just swallowed the last bite when I felt a contraction, and then all of a sudden kind of pop in my stomach, almost like a water balloon popping, and Jackson’s head drop really low. The contraction immediately became like 20x more painful. Oh boy. I thought to myself, “Oh God…I felt a pop, the baby’s head pretty much just dropped into my pelvis, and this contraction suddenly SUCKS. Holy crap, I think my water just broke.” Sure enough I stood up and started walking to bathroom and with each step: gush, gush, gush. I pretty much just stood in the shower and let it all come on out. Then…I had to poop. And let me tell you I pooped more than I have ever pooped in my ENTIRE LIFE (haha). {Listen, this is my birth story, and I like details, so you’re getting all the details. ;)} Joe called the midwives to tell them my water broke. Because the fluid was yellow and Jackson was 10 days late Laura advised us to go to the hospital right away to make sure there was no meconium in the fluid. So, I got changed, we grabbed our stuff and Joe told me to head to the car and he would tell my dad we were leaving. Joe got to the car with my dad trailing behind him. He came to my side, kissed me on the head and told me to remember what his mom always said, “Women are stronger than men, that’s why they are the ones who have babies.” Lol, thanks Daddy.

We were going to be delivering Jackson at Yale New Haven Hospital. On the drive there I remember being like “ooooooowwwww!” Once we arrived and checked in the attendant asked me if I wanted a wheel chair, but I declined thinking of what Louise, the nurse whose birth class I attended had said, “When they offer you a wheel chair say no. You can walk. You’re not sick; you’re just having a baby.” That was her mantra, “You’re just having a baby.” Well, I half regretted not getting the wheel chair lol. But knew it’d be best to walk.

By the time we got up to the L&D floor it was around 5pm and the contractions were making me nauseous and faint. We were greeted by a nurse who informed us that there were no rooms left in triage so I would have to be checked by my on-call midwife, Elise, in the C-Section recovery room, which is like it says – where women recover after having a C-Section. Now, at some point I am pretty sure I already started kind of grunting or groaning through the contractions; just what these poor women who are recovering from surgery want to hear. I remember then getting ready for Elise to check me and realizing that blood comes out when you have a contraction. And it was now on the floor near my feet. I also remember hating the fact that I had to climb up on a bed and be checked during a contraction. After checking me out, Elise said that, 1.) I was only 2.5 cm, 2.) there didn’t seem to be meconium , which meant I technically did not have to stay at the hospital, and 3.) it was too soon for her liking to admit me. She suggested I go back home or go walk around the hospital or outside, basically wherever I would be most comfortable.

My state at this point was dizzy and faint, a bit overwhelmed at being in the hospital in an unfamiliar/uncomfortable environment, as well as by what I was feeling and experiencing in my body and being in very little control of it, and distressed at the thought of experiencing this in the car, outside on the public streets, or at home where my parents were (no offense mommy & daddy). I looked at Elise with the saddest face ever and told her I can’t get back in the car, and not to make me go out there (downtown new haven). Elise, being the most glorious woman and best midwife ever responded by saying, “Okay listen, go up to the 7th floor. There is a healing garden on the roof up there that is quiet and peaceful, and there is usually no one up there. Go out there and walk around and come back in a couple hours and we’ll check to see how you’ve progressed.”

Joe and I got up to the garden that had a pretty landscape of plants, a stream, benches and a path intertwined through it all. I definitely enjoyed the scenery and fresh air right away; it made me feel like I wasn’t in a hospital anymore. As nice as it was I confessed to Joe at this point that I just wish I had a pillow to put my head down on because of feeling faint and tired. I was thinking to myself that I really didn’t know how I was going to get through this entire labor if I was already feeling like this. I decided to go kneel in front of a bench and put my head down. Joe took the inserts out of his shoes to pad my knees. Such a great hubby. I think he started playing some music also. Even though I was outside with the evening sky and breeze, with my husband, listening to worship music, I just did not feel comfortable, or as comfortable as I could be while having contractions. I needed my doula, my dear friend Chrisy Kendrick. Joe called her to come meet us, and after Joe and I had been up there for about an hour she arrived. The first thing she did was get down next to me to encourage me and pray for me for the rest of the delivery. I finally felt the faint and dizzy feeling lift and decided to get up and walk around. Now with each contraction what felt best was for me to put my arms around Joe’s neck with my face in his chest and squat a little in front of him. Chrisy would rub my back and hips through the contraction. This pretty much got me through my entire labor. We circled the garden like this for about an hour and decided to go back down to get checked out; back to the C-Section recovery room for my labor sounds to disrupt the recovering women.  I remember walking by the waiting room where families were waiting to meet new babies right outside the L&D doors, getting a contraction, and thinking “Why God?!”.  I really did not think I was going to be one to make loud noise while in labor, but that was not the case. I was definitely a deep guttural, pit of your stomach noise maker. It was just how I needed to deal with the contractions; unfortunate for innocent by-standers. So, turns out in those 2 hours or so I went from 2.5 cm to 3 cm. I was not too happy about that; I wanted to progress quickly, but who wouldn’t really? At this point I think that Joe or Chrisy had gotten in touch with my dear friend Alayna Wetherhead who I also wanted there. She met us back there at this point. Elise told us that they were going to get me the tub room (Yale L&D has one room with a big tub in it), which I was incredibly thankful for, but that it could take about 1.5 hrs, so I should go back to the garden. I found out afterwards that she told Joe, Chrisy & Alayna to keep me up there as long as possible. It was around 8-8:30pm at this time.

The worst part about going up to the garden was walking the hallways with contractions. There were multiple times when I would be having a contraction and a random doctor would ask, “Is she okay?” Um. Really? She’s having a baby. Have you never seen a laboring woman before? Other times I would be having a contraction in the elevator and it would stop at a random floor. When the doors opened and revealed my laboring self, the person waiting on the other side would usually give a half smile and say, “I’ll wait for the next one.” Good idea.

Back up in the garden we walked around for a while but it got to the point where I just wanted to kneel and lean forward over a bench. I remember shoving my fingers between the slats in the bench, gripping it, shoving my face into my arms and half yelling, half groaning through the contractions. I also remember feeling more and more pressure and thinking if it wasn’t intense before, it was pretty freaking intense now. Joe said afterward as we were reflecting on it all that this particular time – seeing me go through what I was going through and hearing me in pain was rough for him to. All I had in my mind was that I heard Elise say it would be around 1.5 hrs at most before the tub was ready. So, after I really couldn’t stand it anymore I asked my birthing crew if it was time to go down yet. Chrisy confirmed that it had been 1.5 hrs and that she could tell a difference in the intensity of the contractions and we could go down.

THANK THE LORD when Elise checked me this time I was 4 cm; she said I was in a new phase of labor – active labor, and I could finally be admitted. I was like yes a new phase; get me the heck out of the old phase. I want the TUB! Bad news: they needed 15-20 min to fill the tub. My thought: “There was already 1.5 hrs to fill the tub!!!” I hated having to sit and wait in that C-Section recovery room, but tried to remain patient. I took the time to change into the birthing attire I spent $37 at target on (that made my husband happy… 😉 he was like why did you spend almost $40 on clothes that are going to get ruined?!) (They didn’t get ruined by the way.). Once the room was ready, around 9:45pm, I made a bee line for the tub. The warm water felt amazing. I really was so happy that I could labor in the tub, it was a Godsend. I continued to labor through the contractions just the same as before, leaning over the side of the tub onto Joe while Chrisy or Alayna rubbed my back. Elise put a pillow on the edge of the tub so I could relax in between contractions. At one point I heard Will Reagan & United Pursuits “Endless Years” album playing in the background and I was thankful for whoever put that on (Alayna, I think.). I started to get hot after a while so one of the girls put a cool cloth on my neck and forehead which was comforting. They were constantly offering me water and juice in between contractions to make sure I was staying hydrated and energized. In the moment I couldn’t even think of eating or drinking and could barely take the little sips, but I was thankful for their care and knew it would be best to stay hydrated. For 2 hours I continued through the intensifying contractions with the increasing urge to bear down into that pressure. I was making the typical laboring sounds trying to keep the sound out of my throat and into my stomach. At the end of those 2 hrs, around 11:45pm, Elise checked my cervix during a contraction and found I was 5cm. I was thinking dear God help me. She said that because Jackson’s head is right up against my cervix, my bearing down and groaning into my stomach is causing too much pressure against my cervix. It isn’t ready for that yet so it’s not dilating, or even worse could swell or tear. She suggested we bust out the typical 70s labor method of the “hee hee hee hoo” with each contraction, keeping it very breathy & up in my head, if that makes sense, and asked Joe to do it with me to help me keep with it. This would keep pressure of my cervix and help me progress faster, hopefully. I prayed, “Please Lord, let Elise know what she is talking about.”

The next contraction came and it took all my strength to keep my body from going back to what I was doing before. I wanted to be all crazy intense, aggressively getting through the contraction, but this was very calm and soft; I think it made me focus on the pain more. Basically, the next 2 hrs were the hardest 2 hrs of my entire labor. I was thankful for those who were with me praying for me, and for the prayers from those praying at home. My contractions were getting more and more and more intense, the pressure was getting more and more and more intense, and along with dealing with that, I had to fight against what my body naturally wanted to do. If Joe was not there with me during every contraction, especially the “hee hee hee hoo” ones, I don’t know if I could have made it. He is such a servant, often putting himself last, that he did not even pee when he had too! Finally around 8 hrs in he decided he needed to relieve his bladder and stretch his legs that were asleep. Elise came to take his place, letting me lean on her. She was so sweet whispering encouraging words to me, and rubbing her finger on my forehead to relieve tension. I remember playing with her hair while I was hugging her trying to calm my breathing after a contraction was over; for some reason it was just comforting to me. I had an incredible team with me.

Drawing near to the end of those 2 hours the “hee hee hee hoos” started sounding sadder and sadder, with the “hoos” extending into half crying. Elise and the sweet nurse, Rachel, would say let that contraction go, it’s over, let your breath be normal, but I would say but it still hurts and I still feel pressure!! Probably around 1:30am I looked up at Chrisy and Rachel and said/cried, “I can’t do this for anymore hours! I can’t.” I remember Chrisy saying, “It’s not hours it’s just the next contraction. You just have to get through the next one,” and Rachel, “Every contraction is just bringing your baby closer.” Me: “No. No more. I can’t do it anymore.” Joe chimed in there, “The Lord has given you the strength and everything you need to get through this, you can do it.” Me: “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M FEELING RIGHT NOW.” Clearly I was done!! 😉 Later on Rachel said she knew in that moment I hit transition, and she was right. To the grace of God Elise did know what she was talking about; she checked my cervix and with a little help from her I was finally 10cm dilated. Can I just say that I thought that moment was never going to come and I was going to die in that tub? Not really, but kind of.

Just as much as I wanted the tub before, I wanted out of the tub now. I hopped out of it so fast; I was SO ready to push. I went from on the verge of delirious with my eyes rolling in back of my head to lets freaking do this.

I pushed for a total of 2 hrs. I started with squatting with the squat bar, went from that to laying back and pulling myself forward with a towel wrapped around the squat bar; from that I went to all fours, followed by sitting on the toilet. I mean, where is the most natural place to push like you’re pooping? I remember practically jumping out of the bed to get to the bathroom. I was in beast mode. I asked Elise if he was going to fall in the toilet…She said he wouldn’t, but if he happened to she’d get him out (haha). She also laughed at me because she would tell me not to keep pushing if my contraction was over, but I always gave one extra little push at the end. Listen, I wanted to meet my kid. She was all geared up for him to come out on the toilet, but decided that she thought I did the best with pulling myself forward with the towel, so we went back to the bed to try that method again. It soon became clear that this is how he was coming out. They put a mirror up for me so I could see what was going on down there, which I found very motivating. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember being so happy pushing and even joking around. I loved hearing Joe’s reaction every time Jackson’s head would show. I don’t really remember what he said, but I got the sense he was like oh my gosh this is crazy and that looks nothing like a baby’s head and is that really my kid?! He and Alayna were holding my legs and cheering me on while Chrisy was encouraging me on the side. I constantly heard everyone saying great job, and that was an awesome push, etc. I also heard Elise joking that she was wearing goggles because she thought a flood of fluid was going to come out behind Jackson and hit her because there hadn’t been that much fluid before. Ok, so finally after almost 2 hours of pushing his head half emerged. Can I just be frank? The boy’s head was half way out for a lot longer than I would have liked. I heard Elise or the nurse tell me to just relax and let him stretch me out. Yea well, they don’t call it the ring of fire for nothing. Finally, after a few more contractions and crazy with all my strength pushes I felt our little boy make his way out and he was plopped on my chest. The cord was wrapped around his neck so Elise cut it right away, which Joe didn’t mind as long as Jackson was safe.  Apparently he did some fancy move on the way out, and both shoulders came out at the same time with his arms crossed in front of him with his hands by his face. Typical Jackson. Oh, and the first thing he did was poop all over the place. Also typical Jackson. 🙂

Literally everything I had just been through faded away when our son was in my arms. I couldn’t believe he was finally here and laying on me! I just kept saying “oh my gosh,” and Joe and I both could not stop saying hi to him. We were in awe of him and his sweet little face. I think the first thing I really noticed were his hands and finger nails. His hands were big! He had long fingers and long finger nails!! I thought that was so funny. Piano hands, just like his dad and Grandpa Jacobs. And those gorgeous eyes as he was blinking in front of us for the first time – breathtaking. At first Joe just saw this purple creature that looked more like an alien than a baby. He was amazed that by the time he was plopped in front of us his coloring was normal and he actually resembled a baby…a very cute baby at that! We were so so so in love.

All in all I was 11 days late, and my labor from the time my water broke was 11 hours long. Jackson was born on May 17th, 2013 at 3:44am. He was 7lbs 15oz and 21.5in long. I did the whole thing completely natural, which was my plan.

I held him while Elise and the Rachel continued to work on me. Rachel kept trying to get a good cry out of him, so she eventually took him for a minute to do a deep clean of his throat because he wasn’t really giving her the screaming cry she was looking for. To this day he rarely cries like that! Such a good boy. She was thoughtful in doing that so the nurses on the recovery floor wouldn’t have to take him from us to clean his throat later on. Finally, I was in a wheel chair ready to head up to the recovery floor and Rachel handed me Jackson all bundled up. She told me some nurses won’t let women hold their babies up to recovery, but she was so cool and totally fine with it. Joe was alongside, and we were on our way to start our first night (or day really) of this new adventure together as a family.

Things we learned about Jackson in the hospital those first few days:

  • He busted out of swaddles and loves his hands near his face.
  • He loves to hold things: our fingers, shirts, blankets, etc.
  • He is very alert & curious.
  • He was great at pooping.
  • He learned to latch almost immediately, and was a great eater.
  • He liked to suck in his bottom lip.
  • He smiled when he ate & slept.
  • He was born incredibly cute & loved; the nurses there loved him…along with everyone else. We got many messages from friends saying he was the cutest newborn they had ever seen.

My reflections:

Labor was definitely more intense than I anticipated. I knew it was going to be hard work, but I imagined it more like a challenging yoga class or something that I would just have to power through. No person, book or piece of advice can really prepare you for what you experience. It is a pain like no other, but the reward is also like no other. I can’t say it was easy, but it was perfect. I would not have had it any other way.

I am so so so so so so so blessed by my husband. We really labored together for our little one. He was there for me every single second, emotionally and physically. He does not have good shoulders or a good back, and he sacrificially let me lean on him for pretty much 11 hours straight. We were both sore the next day. We have always been all about being a team and this labor and birth was no different. He is my MVP. 🙂

My birth team was all around amazing. It was such a wise move to have a doula, and close friends there who have been through it before. It was great support for me, but also for Joe. It was so special for me to share this amazing miraculous experience with them, and I am so incredibly full of gratitude for the sacrifice of time and sleep they made to be there with me.

If anyone lives in the New Haven area and is in need of a gyno/midwife practice, do yourself a favor and go to Women’s Health Associates. Joe and I loved all three midwives from the start (Deb, Laura & Elise), but after our birth experience we cannot be more fond of or speak more highly of this practice. When you are in labor it is so hard to think clearly at times. You need to have someone you trust to know what you want and what you need to guide you. I didn’t know it in the moment but looking back, it was as if Elise knew exactly what I wanted and what I needed when I couldn’t realize it or verbalize it myself. Childbirth is crazy. It is a rollercoaster ride, and she helped make it so I had the birth I wanted, as well as facilitated a pleasant experience in the midst of something that could easily go off track and be not so pleasant.

Overall, I see the hand and favor of the Lord over me and my growing family. I know that He is the one responsible for blessing me with a great birth experience with no complications, creating a perfect little boy for us, and keeping him safe throughout it all. Every single person involved was ordained to be there by Him. It was truly a gift. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Lights in whom there is no shadow or variation. He is GOOD.

Pictures:

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Joe & I enduring a contraction in the tub.
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So grateful to have this man by my side!
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Elise stepping in for Joe, Joe encouraging from the side & Chrisy massaging my back/hips.
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Me wanting to be done, and Joe giving me some motivation.
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Husband & Doula helping me make it through the final stretches.
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He is here. Jackson Bruno Jacobs.
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Family

Expressions on a Rainy Wednesday

Disclaimer: long post ahead.

Today is May 8th.

That makes me 40 weeks & 2 days pregnant.

I know that everyone says majority of first time pregnancies will go over 40 weeks, but I have to say, I’m kind of not feeling that.

This last week or so has probably been the hardest for me so far, mainly on an emotional and hormonal level. It is something that I can’t quite explain, but if you are 9 months pregnant, or ever have been, maybe you understand. Maybe not. I kind of feel like hiding away until he decides to make his appearance. As a 9 month+ pregnant lady who was expecting to be holding her baby by now, being asked everywhere you go about it doesn’t make me feel happy. I get it, people care and are excited, and that’s nice and all. But yea. Like I said, I’m emotional and hormonal, and overdue and YES I’m ready to have him, YES I’m large and how the heck do you think I am?! 🙂

Throughout my pregnancy I have imagined & prayed for what I want my labor to look like, getting to have him in my arms on Mother’s Day, also things I did not want to happen. I DO NOT want to be induced. The thing about pregnancy, especially waiting for labor to start, is that you have no control. From the very beginning you can’t make yourself get pregnant. You can’t make your baby grow a certain way or any faster. There is no getting around waiting around 9 months before you can meet your baby. There is no microwave that speeds up the process. And there is no making yourself go into labor. I have literally done everything humanly possible to try to naturally induce labor, or at least help the process along. I am still pregnant. 🙂 Bottom line is…it doesn’t matter what you do. The baby is coming when the baby is good and ready. The reality is that things don’t always go the way you anticipated, wanted or expected. That isn’t always an easy thing NOT pregnant. So again, I say: GOSH the last week or so is HARD. I think the world should know this and love on pregnant women every where.

If there is one thing I have been learning in this realization of how little control I have, is how desperately I need patience, and to trust in the Lord’s perfect timing & care for me. Why????? is. that. so. HARD? I’ve actually been joking that it is taking me back to when I was waiting to get engaged. Haha. Those days of wondering when it will happen, feeling like it might never happen, and knowing it is completely out of your hands. And the day comes & you absolutely can’t believe it!

Jackson Bruno Jacobs will be here soon enough, this I know. I cannot wait until the day we meet our son!

Now onto another topic that I have been wanting to touch on, also relating to pregnancy: Pregnancy & food.

As most people who know me know, I adopted a plant based diet about a year and a half ago. Over the course of being pregnant my diet has changed a little bit. Before becoming pregnant I was completely vegan for a 9 month period. About 3 months or so into my pregnancy I had a craving for eggs, and so one day I ate them. That was pretty much the only non-vegan food I ate for a while, but over the remaining course of my pregnancy I have also eaten dairy in the form of some cheeses, milk & cream. Everything I prepare myself, for myself or my husband, from meals, snacks, desserts, beverages, etc., other than eating eggs for breakfast, has remained vegan. Basically, if I eat non-vegan I am usually out to eat, at a party, or at a friends house.

When I started a plant based diet, I did not do it for the sake of animal cruelty like many vegans out there, although I think it is wrong how animals are treated by the food industry; I did it for personal health and wellness. I felt better and the healthiest I have ever been on a plant based diet and I think that all people should eat in a way that makes them feel physically & mentally great. So, I planned on keeping my plant based diet throughout my pregnancy. Every test that I got done regarding vitamins, nutrition and overall health in the beginning of my pregnancy I passed with flying colors. I was not deficient in anything at all. It is possible to be pregnant and healthy eating vegan! So don’t let anyone tell you other wise! 🙂 Why did I reintroduce some animal products back into my diet then? Simply because at the time I wanted to eat them. I was a pregnant girl and wanted eggs…or froyo…or eggplant parm. It’s not often or every day that I eat non-vegan, but it happens and that is ok.

Another thing I have realized in this pregnancy is that life is to be enjoyed, and part of that is with food. I completely believe in a plant based diet for so many reasons, but I also am not holding myself in any kind of bondage or going to feel bad if I eat something that is not plant based every now and then. I am a person of conviction and passion, and I believe in being committed to eating in a way that is healthy for yourself and the environment at large. That is why I will continue to eat a mostly plant based diet, as cleanly as possible, and as consciously as possible.

My dad came across a very interesting article in our local news paper entitled A New Beef with Meat, Eggs?, by Dr. David Katz and I wanted to share a part of it that fits perfectly with some of these thoughts:

“There are many ways to be an omnivore. In our culture, the most common kind of omnivore is a devotee of the typical American diet. The typical American diet isn’t just a mix of plant and animal foods, however; it’s a mix of real food and junk. A third to half the calories in the prevailing version of modern omnivorousness come from junk food.

In contrast, vegans tend to be among the most conscious and careful eaters today. Being vegan generally indicates a commitment to some blend of health and ethics, and both require thoughtful choices.

A balanced, prudent vegan diet isn’t just totally plant-based, it is substantially junk-free. A comparison between a group of omnivores and a group of vegans is likely to be a comparison between one group eating badly, and another eating well. That such differences would influence metabolism, intestinal flora and health outcomes is far from shocking.

…There are excellent arguments for veganism. Eating only plants, done well, figures among contenders for the most healthful diet, although it’s not the clear winner.” (you can read the entire article here)

What matters is caring for your body and the environment, of which we are stewards. Veganism or a plant based diet is just one way to go about that.

So, now you are up to speed on the status of my pregnancy & food thoughts. I will continue to be sharing amazing vegan recipes, and CAN NOT WAIT to share pictures and stories of our little man when he finally arrives.

Peace & love!

Escarole (Pronounced “Shkodole”, FYI) & Beans Inpsired Soup.

Let’s just start off with the very predictable comment on this weekends weather… oh. my. gosh. SNOW. More snow than I have ever cared to see at one time. But, I will say that seeing my busy city neighborhood completely quiet and shut down was pretty nice.

Thankfully we live on a main road that that lies perpendicular to two other main roads. Our friends Kiki & Cheech live on a one way on the street that is parallel and directly behind ours. That street does not get paved.  A bunch of our awesome friends cleared a path to their car, and through the street because Kiki is getting sort of close to the due date of their second kid; a boy. He and Jackson are gonna be buds.

Anyways, Saturday night  we were fortunate enough to be able to walk around the corner, and through that path they worked so hard to clear, and have quality time with some of our best friends! As Joe and I were making the familiar stroll down familiar streets, I couldn’t help but realize it was a completely different experience. No traffic. No noise. It was so still. Looking to the left down the long stretch of road that borders our street I could see two more people walking in the distance in the middle of the road. To the right there was a man walking along on his way. It made me wonder what life would be like if it was always like this. What if there weren’t so many cars that rushed by or crowded streets? What if we all had to walk every where we went? Was this what is was like back in the day? What would life be like? I liked the thought of it honestly. I guess it was just a really great change of pace in that moment.

Out of my head and back to reality we arrived safely and spent the evening communing, eating, and playing a game that is kind of like a cross between Catchphrase and Charades. It was amazing fun. We had so much fun that we went back Sunday morning to share breakfast, worship, and listen to a recorded sermon by our friend and lead pastor Justin Kendrick. It was City Church‘s first ever “Church on the Couch” since service was cancelled due to the weather. Nothing better than sharing a meal and having church in the living room with your closest friends. Pretty close to how the New Testament church did it! I must also add that one of my friends is gluten free, so for breakfast I made the best ever blueberry muffins  sans gluten by subbing oat flour for the wheat flour and they were a hit. Still completely amazing and the best ever vegan gluten free blueberry muffins.

Along with all of that was lots and lots and lots and LOTS of shoveling. I am happy to be pregnant, but am even more happy that I am pregnant because of the fact that I did not have to shovel. HA! Is that selfish? 😉 Man my friends and husband worked their butts off. The hubs didn’t go into work today, and yet more work had to be done un-burying  my car and our friends Teresa’s car that were parked at the top of our driveway. I thought it would be the perfect day to make a comforting pot of hot soup. I could not help but think of one my cute Italian grandma and mom prepared, and still prepare, often as I was growing up: escarole and beans. Only 1. I’ve never made it before. 2. I didn’t have escarole. 3. If I had escarole I wouldn’t want to clean it. One day I will actually make escarole and beans, but today I made a soup inspired by the idea of greens and beans. 🙂 (Is it just me or is it fun to say “shkodole”?! It just sounds better that way. If you don’t say it that way, you should.)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 c soy chorizo (You could use any of your favorite soy sausage, crumbled, or even crumbled tempeh if you prefer.)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 c veggie broth (I used low sodium.)
2 15 oz cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 c packed kale, chiffonade (rolled up and sliced thin) (You could use any green of choice really: spinach, swiss chard, a combo, etc.)
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp sea salt (If using a higher sodium broth you may want to start with 1/2 tsp and add more if needed.)
fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Heat a large pot on medium heat. Drizzle oil, add onions and pinch of salt.
Once the onions begin to brown and turn translucent add the chorizo. Sautée until browned, about 5-6 minutes, then add the garlic. Sautée for another minute then add salt, pepper & veggie broth.
Cover, turn up heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling remove lid, reduce heat to a simmer and add in the beans.
Let the beans cook for 3 minutes then add in the kale or greens of choice. Once they have wilted stir in the basil.
Turn off the heat, cover and let the flavors meld for 10-15 minuted before serving. Unless you are ravenous, then eat it right away. 😉 Serve over quinoa, pastina, orzo, or some crusty bread.

Note: I used a spicy chorizo, but if you are not using a spicy protein you can add some crushed red pepper for a nice kick and added flavor.

Now I am going to enjoy the rest of this quiet rainy snow day with my hubby before it is somewhat back to the hustle and bustle tomorrow.

How are you all holding up after Nemo?? Any comfort food that’s been getting you through?

Forever & a Day.

That’s how long it seems to have been since I have posted!

So, today I am going to fill you in on some important news AND update you all on what’s been filling this past week with amazingness.

Well, to start… … …

I am 3 months pregnant!! 🙂 Baby Jacobs is expected to enter this world on May 6th & we could not be more thrilled! You may have seen a picture on instagram or twitter (follow me at @foodformyhouse), but here is the little cutie at 10 weeks.

Our sweet little guy or girl.

This week started off with some Fall fun at Bishops Orchard in Guilford, CT. We had our annual pumpkin picking and carving day with some very good friends of ours. Here are our creations all lit up:

Joe did the Giants logo & I did a baby sucking it’s thumb. So fitting.

My vegetarian friend Cory found this picture this week which I got a kick out of & thought I’d share it with you all. I’m thinking about framing it & putting it my kitchen or something.

Onto FOOD.

NEW. FAVORITE. RECIPE. I am not a huge chinese food fan, but lately I have had some cravings for it. Sooooo, I did what I do & found a vegan recipe for orange “chicken”. It is made with battered & friend seitan. Omg. Make this. Please. And never get take out again. I don’t know where you’re from, but CT does not have a good reputation in the Chinese restaurant department.

mmm mmm good.

What is Fall with out all things pumpkin & delicious warm beverages???

I love love love love LOVE Sarah Matheny’s blog, “Peas and Thank You” and her fantastic recipes. They are a staple in my kitchen. This week I tried her pumpkin pie ice cream sandwiches, and, as usual, was not disappointed. Give ’em a try!

Pumpkin Pie in frozen form. And vegan. And much healthier.

Hot Chocolate. I haven’t been drinking coffee since I’ve been pregnant and this so hits the spot. It’s my own recipe of 1.5 c of almond milk (or any non-dairy milk), 2 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder & 2 Tbsp of agave. If you like cinnamon add a couple dashes. Wisk on medium heat until hot and serve. Perfection.

Another thing I will never buy packaged again.

Food for the soul. Just as important as food for the body. I have had my nose in Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman for this entire month…pretty much since it came in the mail from Amazon. Life. Giving.

So good.

So that’s that. What’s been going on in your life? New recipes, exciting news, awesome finds you don’t know how you lived without?!?

Stay tuned because soon to come is my vegan version of a chocolate chip oreo fudge brownie concoction that you will want to try for yourself!!!

New Seasons & Complete Faith

The last few days have brought that crisp fresh fall air, hinting that a new season is just around the corner.

Yes, I am a summer girl at heart, but the changing of the seasons always leaves me excited for something new.

{Plus, Fall means colored leaves, apple cider, all things pumpkin and some of my favorite spices.}

Just as the seasons are changing from Summer to Autumn, the seasons are changing here in the Jacobs household as well.

“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:19-24, 26

This has been a season of learning the completion of faith. Not just believing in faith. But acting in faith.

This month I left my “safe” and “familiar” office job, complete with benefits and a guaranteed sufficient paycheck to nanny a 2 year old 2 days a week.

I had been feeling the restlessness of needing to make a move for quite sometime; but the husband got a new job that was starting out part time and was settling into that, so he felt it was best for me to stay put for the time being. {Patience, Melissa, patience.} It was a good time to learn contentment and faithfulness, even when I was in a situation I did not want to be in anymore.

When August came around I started describing my job as a relationship where you know you need to break up with someone, but you just don’t because it’s easier to just stay in it; where you know it’s not healthy but you almost can’t picture your life with out it…yea. It was time to make a move. But to where?

That is when I heard that my friend, Alayna, was looking for someone to nanny her son 2 days a week. “Hmmm…” I thought, “I’d actually really like to do that.” “But that doesn’t even make sense.” “Why would I leave a 5 day a week 9-5 to watch a toddler 2 days a week?” “But I reaaalllllyyyy want to.” “I know I need to leave my job and start doing what I am passionate about. I love kids. I should do this.” {Don’t you love conversations with yourself? Anways…} Suddenly it clicked, do what you love. The only person who would make me stuck in a “hamster’s wheel”, going through the motions is myself. Or I can take a step of faith. Even when it doesn’t make sense. Even knowing I would need to get another job to make up the difference, and not knowing where or how.

So, after prayer and consideration with my husband, I took the nanny job.

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

I told my boss hoping he’d let me stay part time and forgo the need to find another job. But not so much. God doesn’t always let us take the easy road. Why? Because He loves us. Because He has the best for us. Because He cares about the dreams & passions of our hearts.

So, to Craigslist I went, searching for cafe jobs in the area, and low and behold I found a listing for a brand spankin’ new cafe opening less than 5 minutes away from my house. The owners seemed super cool, the food would be from local farms in the area, and I thought it would be an overall perfect fit. I went to the open interview session, got called back for a 2nd interview, and GOT. THE. JOB. Wheelers Market Cafe y’all. Come visit us for the grand opening on Monday the 17th!

Not only do I get to serve people food, make smoothies & delicious lattes, amongst many others, I ALSO get to spread my writing and social media wings working on their online properties. Which is completely awesome, and a perfect opportunity for me.

Finally, my boss at the office told me that my last day would need to be September 7th. That same day Joe found out from his boss that they would like him to start full time on September 10th, much earlier then expected. Talk about perfect timing.

The moral of the story? God is faithful.

When we don’t have eyes to see, He sees.

When we don’t know where the path is leading, He leads.

He is good.

Here is to a good God and a great new season.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!” Psalm 105:1-2

Thank you, Lord.

A Few of My Favorite Things.

Happy 4th of July my friends!

July has always been my favorite month. I was reminiscing about this to my hubby as we were driving through some back roads near our home town a couple of days ago.

For one, I absolutely LOVE summer. Sunshine, waves crashing, sand beneath my feet, a cool breeze blowing through my hair…it all rejuvenates my soul.

It is the season for picnics, the char of grill flames, bonfires and fireworks. Utter delight.

And it also helps that my birthday is July 6th. 🙂

Every single year growing up my parents had a HUGE 4th of July party that doubled as a birthday party for my twin, Erica, & me. I am pretty sure that every human being that my parents ever had contact with came to this shin dig. Even family from out of state – Long Island, Staten Island, California, etc – would come. It was so exciting to see everyone, and it became such a highlight of the summer.

As you can imagine, Erica and I were in our glory. We had a massive in-ground pool and decent sized back yard, and we would run around and play with our friends and cousins like party animals. There was always a clown, or some form of entertainment, that undoubtedly picked us out of the crowd to be an assistant, or make us a balloon animal because we were the birthday girls. It may not seem that thrilling now, but back then it was a kid’s dream!

As the sun went down my daddy prepared an awesome fireworks show. One year he destroyed the grass in our front yard with “The Waterfall”. I just remember a long wire being tied from one tree to another one across the yard, and a colorful blast of glittery sparks cascading down to the ground for what seemed like FOREVER. It was a hit with everyone, except for maybe my mommy when she saw the big patch of dirt that was left where lush green grass once grew. Worth it.

These are such fond memories. Looking back now I understand why a love for summer, and this month especially, is engrained into my being! I look forward to making special memories like these with my husband and the children we will have.

Today, we are going to be celebrating this day at a picnic with some dear friends from our church community, City Church. The hosts, Joe & Nancy, dominate on the grill. They make a mean burger & grilled pizza! They were also kind enough to provide veggie burgers…yay!

As a vegan, especially just starting out, it can be intimidating to go out to typical functions that are meant to be enjoyed with loved ones. Maybe vegetarian or vegan options are not always provided, which leaves you worrying about what you can or can’t eat.  Or, you end up eating something you really don’t want to, then potentially start feeling guilty about it. Who needs a damper like that getting in the way of fun and making fond memories?!

I have learned to not set myself up for failure and stay prepared. It may seem simple, but you’d be surprised!

Amongst all of my other loves is my love for home made veggie burgers. There are a couple veggie burger recipes that I adore, one of which I am sharing with you today. When ever I make them I wrap 2 individually in plastic wrap and throw them in the freezer so they will be ready to take with me when needed. This has been a life saver multiple times already this summer!

Now, this recipe is super simple & super easy – whether you’ve been in a hospital for 7 hours and need a quick dinner, or want a tasty veggie burger to take to take to a picnic, it’s a winner.

Puttanesca Inspired Veggie Burgers

(recipe adapted from Isa Chandra’s Quinoa Puttanesca)

Makes 6 Burgers

Ingredients

1 c cooked quinoa

2 cups oat flour (old fashioned oats + food processor = oat flour.)

1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, pureed in food processor (chick peas work fine too.)

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water, whisked together)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c kalamata olives, sliced

1/4 c capers

1 c crushed tomatoes (+ some for topping, optional)

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp marjoram

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use 1/2 tsp if you don’t so much care for spice)

2 tsp fennel seeds

Directions

Add all ingredients – except the crushed tomatoes – into a large mixing bowl and use hands to combine until incorporated.

Once incorporated add 1/2 c of crushed tomatoes and combine with hands. You want it to be kind of like the consistency of chop meat, so slowly add as much of the remaining crushed tomato as necessary to get a mixture that is moist, but slightly sticky & able to hold the shape of a burger.

Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, drizzle with olive oil and mold 6 patties while the pan heats up.

Cook the patties for about 6 minutes or so on each side, or until they have a nice brown.

Serve on a delicious bun of your choice & enjoy!

For toppings I enjoy warm crushed tomato sauce, roasted red pepper, fresh basil leaves, lettuce & a pickle on the side!

dee-licious.

Great news – they taste even better on the grill – so get out there and fire it up! 😉

What fun traditions do you & your family have? Do you have any tricks or tips that help you stay prepared for picnics and BBQs?

Have fun at all your holiday festivities!!

Running, Colors & Love.

I’m sitting in the grass in the sun right now.  Glory.

My husband is about 10 feet away working on our garden.

I love that man for so many reasons.

I promise this isn’t going to get super mushy, BUT it is almost our 1 year anniversary, which we are pretty excited to celebrate, and I am just feeling grateful for my guy! Maybe, if you’re lucky, I will share our *story*. It’s a pretty good story. Just sayin.

Reason numero uno that I adore my hubby (besides that he loves to grow veggies): We have a lot of similar interests, one being running (and growing veggies).

Not everyone enjoys running, but we both do, and it is so much fun to be able to share that part of our lives together.

When we first starting dating I couldn’t run for crud, but I really wanted to start getting into it. Joe was a more experienced runner. So, one day he met me at my dorm, we walked to the nearby track, and he literally ran by my side giving me tips and checking in with me the whole mile. He totally could have smoked me if he wanted to show off or something. I knew I had a real keeper.

Since then we have trained for and ran a 10 mile race with our awesome friend Chrisy, which was quite the accomplishment.

Recently, knowing that Joe and I are runners, our good friend Roo over at NiceGirlNotes approached us to be on her team for a 5k she found herself committed to. Not just ANY 5k…The Color Me Rad 5k. Oh. Dang.

Color Me Rad is a 5k (3.125 mile) race in which participants not only get dyed corn starch hurled at them from every direction whilst running or walking the course laid out, but also receive bags of this colored fun to brighten up themselves & friends with. When is the last time you and your friends had the excuse to throw paint around at each other, or run and play in the biggest rainbow like explosion ever?

Clearly we said yes immediately.

While Joe & I enjoy running, the awesome thing about the Color Me Rad crew is that they don’t time the race. You can run, walk, hop, skip or jump. It’s all about one thing:  Fun. Fun, fun, and more fun. It’s for anyone, any age.

Straight from their mouth: “Color Me Rad is the best time you’ll have all year. Plain and simple. It’s like a food fight without food. It’s a race with no glory for the victor and no shame for the loser – only large slops of color plastered all over you and your friends’ smiling faces. It’ll brighten your day literally and figuratively…” Want some more from where this came from? See FAQs.

It was truly a blast.

The race took place in Hartford on Saturday May 26th, and driving up to the venue we could hear music pumping through the speakers, pretty much all top hits right now, and crowds cheering in excitement. Walking in it was a mob of people in white t-shirts, the occasional tutu, and even a man in tightie whities (could of gone without seeing that, fyi), waiting to be tie dyed with blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow & green.

Our team ran in the 10:20am heat. It was nearing the end so there weren’t too many people lined up. We got right in the front and at the end of the kick off countdown we all dispersed! It was awesome coming up to what looked like a mile marker, but finding the “color bomb squad” there with dyed corn starch in hand determined to dirty up your white t-shirt. I vividly remember getting a blast of purple to the neck. There’s definitely still a purple tint to my chest & upper torso!

Some of us ran and some walked, but all shared the sheer enjoyment of the experience.  A few of my amazing friends who did run ran longer than they ever had before, which was a great feeling of accomplishment in the midst of the fun.

Here are some pictures of the day:

currraaazzzzyyyyy colored rad fun

The first picture is me about to cross the finish line. Pretty epic. Props to my girl Madison for taking such a great picture.

The second is me in the car afterwards, desperately in need of a shower.

The bottom is all of us friends who came out!

Let’s just get a second, closer look at that first picture…

Joe already finished the race a minute or two before me, but he came back a few hundred feet before the finish line to run alongside me and cheer me on. We’re a team.

Like I said, he’s a keeper.

Special thanks to NiceGirlNotes for having us on her team!

Hope you all are enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend & maybe we will see you at the Color Me Rad 5k next year!

Weekend Wins

Hey friends! I feel like it has been a while since my last post…it has certainly been a busy few weeks in the Jacobs home, but taking time to relax and enjoy this restful Sunday afternoon.

Last weekend we were in Plymouth, MA hosting the annual Brave Generation conference with an organization we work with called Holyfire Ministries. It was a beautiful weekend to be on the shore, worshipping Jesus with almost 1000 people, in a town that holds so much heritage for our nation!

Beautiful view from our boardwalk stroll

This weekend, April 28th-29th, was the very first ever CT Vegetarian and Healthy Living Festival held in the Hartford Convention Center.  Joe & I spent the afternoon there with our good friend Annie; it was a lot of fun to be a part of it!

Happy vegfest goers 🙂

Many (mostly local) organizations and companies who support and promote the vegetarian, vegan & holistic lifestyle were there offering their products and services to the attendees. There was an array of soaps, jewelry, beauty products, apparel, energy saving systems, local farms, kitchenware, LOTS of food and more on display, and being served up for all who inquisitively approached each table.

Here were some of my favorites:

SuperSeedz, by Kathie Pelliccio at Kathie’s Kitchen in Branford, CT – Amazing shelled pumpkin seeds that come in a variety of flavors including, Super Spicy, Sea Salt, Sugar & Cinnamon, my favorite: Coco Joes & more.

Good Neighbors Foods – Delicious Salsa & Hummus from Derry, NH. I loved the Peach & Pineapple salsa.

Mama Micki’s All Natural Bakery – out of Scituate, Ma offering Cookies & Biscotti that will delight your taste buds. The Chocolate Orange & Molasses were the bomb.

The Fanciful Fox – Soaperie & boutique located in Scranton, PA. I love soap & natural handmade anything; put the two together: perfection. These soaps and other beauty products not only smelled amazing, but were all so creative, and well, fancy. I wanted them all!

Ok, on to the item I probably tasted the most of: CHOCOLATE. I am a chocolate lover and there were a couple of products that won my heart.

Taza Chocolate – This chocolate factory based in Somerville, MA makes stone ground organic chocolate inspired by age-old Mexican chocolate traditions. They have flavors like Salted Almond, Vanilla Bean & Guajillo Chili. My fave was the Ginger Chocolate! You can take tours of their factory, and that is definitely on my list of things to do this summer!

Chocoholistic – This was my favorite product at the entire event, mainly because I ADORE chocolate and all things HEALTHY. Kenzie Harrick, Certified Health Counselor from East Norwalk, CT created raw, organic, sugar-free, super food, medicinal chocolates containing health promoting ingredients like: chlorella, chia seeds, passion flower and reishi, just to a name a few. It was really yummy!

We had a blast experiencing this *first ever* festival and already can’t wait for next year! Check these guys out and let me know what you think!

The free samples made for a great car ride snack back home. Thanks Hint & Cedars! See you next year!

Passionate Human Being

Here’s a little detail about me: I am a passionate human being.

When I am excited about something (doesn’t take much really), or acquire a strong belief, pretty much everyone I come into contact will most likely hear about it.

“This nail polish is AMAZING. You have to try it. No really, you do.”

“Oh-my-gosh, yoga is the best work out ever…my body has never felt better…you have to come sometime.”

“I love my church. We give goats away. Wanna come?”

“Read this book, it’ll change your life!”

You get the point. I share. I pour my heart out. I voice my opinion.

[Side note: It’s kind of fun because my husband is the complete opposite. Perfect combo!]

Lately, you may have heard about the “pink slime” junk that the meat industry has been using as filler in beef products. If not, “pink slime” is a term that has been dubbed to describe scrap, inedible animal product, like sinew, cartilage, or cavity where the cow’s guts were, that has been processed and packaged to be used as meat filler in at least 70% of chopped meat products in America. Jamie Oliver, Chef & Food Revolutionist, compellingly explains the process in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBkwUt-bqIo

Typically, this unwanted meat product is sold off to rendering plants which turn it into something like dog food, you know, because dogs have digestive systems that can actually digest it. What people in the food industry (i.e. chefs, butchers, restaurateurs, etc.) consider barely acceptable to feed animals, the meat industry, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), considers acceptable to serve in school lunches and to the general population.

I was not ok with that. Of course, I spoke my mind about it, along with many others. People stopped giving their money over for food that isn’t really food. Beef demand dropped. A lot. And you know what? Major beef processing companies got the hint. Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) closed 3 plants, and AFA Foods has begun filing bankruptcy due to the public’s response to “pink slime”.

I am passionate about a lot of things, and good quality, healthy food is only one of them. I shared a Yahoo article a few weeks ago on Facebook about this issue simply because I cared. I did not know that in such a short time the meat industry would be massively impacted. It wasn’t just me, obviously, but it was my voice combined with everybody else’s. It was my passion mixed up with somebody else’s passion, which created something powerful enough to budge a mountain.

We all have passions stirring up inside of us; substances that make us come alive. When we take hold of that, and nurture it, and LIVE it, we offer something genuine…we can change the world.

I am on a mission to actually live what I am passionate about.

What about you? What are you passionate about? Are you living your passion(s)?