Friday, June 24, 2016

Food I Ate Fridays - Aloo Gobi (Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes)

For me, Indian food is something really amazing. The flavors, the smell, the textures… it’s just it for me. I truly swoon.  Flavor bomb... in the best way.

I also am a sucker for something that goes in the crock pot, so when I ran across this recipe on Pinterest I tried it very quickly. The amount that I loved it should be wrong… and guys… it’s pretty healthy.  so basically it makes me feel like a rock star.

Indian cauliflower and potatoes (#vegan #glutenfree).


1 large cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 jalapeƱo peppers, stemmed and sliced (seeds and all, if you like it very spicy; otherwise, remove the seeds)
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste (original recipe calls for 1 Tbsp cayenne; see reader comments)
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp turmeric
3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 heaping Tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


In a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except the cilantro. Stir well to distribute the spices.
Cook on LOW for 4 hours, stirring once or twice, if you're around.
Add the cilantro just before you're ready to serve the aloo gobi with rice or naan bread.

THATS IT!  And your reward is so good... try it and tell me what you think!

Very soon I will start sharing recipes with you inspired from our garden and all the fantastic veggies that it is producing, but for now, I am catching up on a few other ones I wanted to share. 

Have the most wonderful weekend friends. 

So much love for you.

As always, original picture and recipe can be found here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Be Encouraged - My Heart on Summer and Insecurity

It has been awhile since I did a drop everything and get vulnerable post about something I am struggling with, but I never want anyone to think I have it all together, so here it goes.

Lately, in every yoga class, my teacher’s seem to always mention that summer is here and bikini season is upon us and I cringe every time. However, it is not because I do not feel comfortable or confident in a bathing suit, but because things like that make me feel like I SHOULD NOT feel comfortable or confident until my body is rock hard and perfect by society’s standards. Let’s get something clear, I do not think a perfect body exists. I think it is something so many people are trying to attain and they miss out on all the life they could be living. There will always be something you want to change. Health is important, but the two DO NOT go hand in hand. Excess weight is not good. But having a six pack IS NOT IMPORTANT. You cannot convince me that God wants you to be the most chiseled version of yourself and that is how he wants you spending your time. Being healthy does not equal having a hot body, and this mentality rips people apart. 
My recent realization has been that my struggle is not with myself, but it is with the constant need to compare perpetrated to me by others. Anyone can take anything too far, even things that are intended for good. I am not here to attack, but to simply suggest that finding balance is to remove the extreme. If something becomes an obsession how can it be healthy? Obsession by definition is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind. If we are constantly pre-occupied with our body shape and diet and exercise plan we will not be able to focus on what actually matters, i.e. loving our neighbors as ourselves and loving the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. Y’all, release it and accept yourself in the body that God gave you. Nurture that body. Give it nutrients and take care of it, but do not let that self-care turn into something that overshadows everything else. So many conversations revolve around “when I lose ten more pounds” and I want you to release that mentality and start living now. Exercise can be a form of therapy, but it shouldn’t be your only form. Make sure that along with doing the things to care for our body we are also doing the things needed to care for our minds and hearts. A perfect looking person that is lacking depth is not what the Bible calls us to.

Anyways, as I climb off my soapbox I am reminded that I am only human and currently wrestling with the way my pants are fitting and anxiety about my yoga class this evening and feeling like it is going to kick my butt and make me feel self-conscious, so trust me I am preaching to myself as well. I think of it like the faith of a mustard seed argument though. Imagine how much it would affect you if just like 1% of your mentality about your body image could change?! You know what is the most beautiful thing… when someone is really, genuinely and completely happy. That is my goal; the joy of the Lord to renew my strength.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Maui - Highlights and Recommendations

Bill and I had such a blast in Maui, and I had a few recommendations to pass along for anyone visiting this beautiful island in the future!  Most of them revolve around food and drinks, because, well... duh ;) 

We affectionately call this restaurant on the water "Al's Bar" because I am pretty sure Bill's uncle Al would live in a hammock here if it was possible.  This was one of the first places we went when we arrived in Maui and one of those places that seemed too beautiful to be real.  It was such a gorgeous day and we shared pupus and drank a round of mai tais and just sunk into it.  

5 Palms is a condo building and this bar/restaurant is on the ground floor and there is also a yoga studio below along the water where I took a class one morning.  The waves crashed and the class was gentle. I wish I had done that every single morning.  It was glorious. 

Overall, I wouldn't miss this location.  It was blissfully wonderful.

This was our first stop on the island and it did not disappoint.  I think between the 6 of us we tried most of the beer they have available, and the tasting room is beautiful.  The coconut porter was my personal favorite, but honestly everything we tried was absolutely fantastic and it is nestled in a lovely breezy setting.  We sat on the patio and took our time... It was the best way to begin the trip.  I fished out a tank top in their discount bin on the way out and I love it - the perfect summer tank to remind me of a wonderful experience.

When traveling I am ALL ABOUT local/cultural experiences, so of course I jumped at the chance to have what is considered "Hawaiian" breakfast.  Bill and I split a "Loco Moco" and some other items, but I just loved how unique this was.  Two eggs (made to order), ground beef patty, white rice and brown gravy... Delicious.  Maybe I should become Hawaiian, and take up a running hobby because I will need to if I am eating this kind of breakfast everyday!

This little cafe was also a very special stop because Bill's grandparents went to Maui together every year for many years with some of their dear friends and went to Kihei cafe every morning whenever they were on the island.  So special to experience a place so close to their hearts!

Every time I told people I was going to Maui and asked for suggestions everyone said to go to Mama's!  So the place was hyped up for me, and let me tell you, it really lived up to it.  Amazing cocktails, beautiful view, ridiculous food... it truly was the entire package and I understood why it comes so highly recommended.  

I got a traditional Hawaiian feast and, you guys, every single element was so fantastic.  It came with Mahi Mahi and Wild boar cooked in a ti leaf with a few small sides (that completely rocked my world).  It is one of those places that every single element is handled with such care and our waitress knew everything about each accompaniment.  The fish caught for this restaurant are caught that morning and the menu says what the fisherman's name was and where it was caught... doesn't get much fresher than that!  

This restaurant is right down the street from Ho'okaipa Beach known for tons of sea turtles that come ashore and swim right off the beach.  We went over and saw the turtles and drank coconut water straight out of the coconut (picture in previous post).  Gorgeous, clear, perfect water... such a cool place and experience.

This restaurant gave me major heart eyes.

Someone Bill’s father works with is associated with it, and it was more than just good food.  We had a table reserved at the rooftop bar and live music began a little after we arrived.  Everything was amazing… the food, the service, the music and the view.  At sunset there was a traditional Hawaiian ceremony and we learned about some of the Maui culture.  I cannot even explain why this meal and place were so wonderful, it just had magic.  We all relaxed and enjoyed and no one wanted to leave.  The person singing had such an incredible voice and the ambiance was lingering even after we left.    

This place was probably my favorite place of the trip.  We went to the Southern most point of the island that we could drive to from where we were and we walked along the water.  There is lava rock and live billy goats in this area and it was such colorful and incredible scenery.  The walk along the water was truly breathtaking and somewhere I would go often to clear my head if I lived near by.  Bill seemed really happy here too (which always makes me love a place more) and the drive to this location was fantastic.  

Wow, I guess I had a lot to say - this turned into a very long post!  

 I have so many more places worth mentioning, but these were some of the many highlights of our trip.  I can't wait to go back and have more to tell from my next visit :) 

Aloha friends, have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It's the Little Things - Simple Moments of Weekend Bliss

This weekend was lovely and I thought I would share a few reasons why:

1. Mimosas with OJ squeezed from the oranges in our backyard always make me happy, and drinking out of champagne glasses is so fantastic.

2. Bill and I went to a community event a few miles away with a friend this weekend at an aquaponics farm in the middle of a neighborhood with grilled cheese and good beer and a DJ and it was just wonderful and we all left feeling inspired. 

3. A sunflower started growing under our tangerine tree and it has finally bloomed!  Every day I look out my kitchen window at it and smile.  I feel like it should be the center of a motivational poster with a saying like “Never Give Up “

4. I love my Rifle Paper Company calendar and every month when I get to flip to the new page I get more excited than I probably should.  I am loving June (major heart eyes).

Hope your weekend had moments of happiness that caused you to be thankful for the air that fills your lungs.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Adventures in Home Owning - The Rogers Family Garden

Oh my gosh you guys... We have been having such an adventure learning how to garden in our backyard (Well, I have, Bill gets it and is teaching me the ways, which is fun for him, so we all win!).  We built our own raised planter beds and filled them with compost and garden soil.  I never got it, the appeal was lost on me.  But I am WAY on board now.  We planted almost everything from seed (a couple tomato plants as the exception). It is about more than just the produce and the end result, there is just a therapy in getting your hands dirty and working in your own backyard.  I think it is giving both Bill and I a whole new round of pride of ownership.

The pictures above are before and after, the before is right after we prepped the dirt for the boxes (it looked much worse with some rocks randomly in this open area when we moved in).  The end result looks fabulous, and it has spurred us to dream of owning a farm one day.  We have plans to continue to make it beautiful and put rocks down in between with pavers and more, but in the meantime I thought I would share our joy.

In those boxes we are growing corn, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, green onions, a Paris market mix of lettuce, rainbow beets, radishes, brussel sprouts, eggplants, kale, rainbow carrots, jalapeno, serrano, and Thai chili peppers and three different kinds of tomatoes.  We also have a herb garden (not pictured) that has lavender, rosemary, cilantro, sage and dill.  There are sunflowers and dahlias planted too and this weekend we are buying berry bushes!  

We are looking forward to our summer tomato and pepper harvest, and everything that comes in between.  We are coming to the end of the oranges currently on our trees, and we know that come August the tangerines will be ready and we will go full speed ahead again with all our citrus.  We have made our own pickles and limoncello in the last few weeks and wow it has all been such a fun process!

I am sure this is the first of many posts about the garden and everything that comes from it.  I plan to post garden inspired recipes as we navigate the best ways to enjoy these veggies at their most fresh.  

Can you feel my excitement?