Friday, October 19, 2012

Feast and forage

A foodie, I am not. Not a nwaFoodie. Certainly not a Fancy Pants Foodie. Not even on Fridays. But I do love to cook and search out new ways to bring healthy, tasty food to the table. Ever since I began my grain-free, sugar-free and a whole-lot-of-other-stuff-free diet, people have come to me asking for healthy recipes. At the same time, I hear a lot of "I could never follow your diet." I tell these folks to imagine their dinner plate. Usually it will contain some kind of meat, vegetables and then some kind of starch or grain. If you simply remove the starch then you are eating my diet. It's not really that simple (especially since I've never eaten a lot of meat), but if you think of it that way it is a lot easier to swallow (I know).  So, for this Foodie Friday edition of BLOGtober Fest, I would like to share the top recipes that I tend to share when asked.

Brussel Sprouts --From my absolute favorite food blogger, this recipe calls upon white beans and pecorino cheese to make those sprouts oh-so-tasty!

Texas Turkey Chili --A really fast and easy recipe. I prefer to use the beer it calls for, but you could easily substitute chicken broth.

Salmon patties --Kind of like crab cakes, but with salmon and almond flour. A favorite in our house.
Chicken with sage roasted vegetables --Perfect for a busy week night, this recipe uses rotisserie chicken and frozen veggies, then you can use the left-overs to make Chicken and Roast Veggie Stew

Mediterranean Chicken --this was very good, but I would recommend serving it over brown rice or even pasta (neither of which is allowed on my diet, but I think it needed something.)

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew --the recipe says to sprinkle on feta cheese if desired, but I would say that the feta cheese makes this recipe! Be sure and add a lot!!

Chicken Stir-Fry Lettuce Wraps --I love these just the way they are. Jeremy prefers the stir-fry over rice or in a tortilla instead of the lettuce.

Finally, this is similar to the recipe I used to make the vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free (did I mention delicious?) cupcakes pictured above. There are many more recipes to be found on my Pinterest board, Feast & forage. Kinda thinking this could be a series here, foodie or not.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Im'ma come back

Wow, this year has gone by so quickly. When I wrote this post in January about traveling to New Orleans for my friend's 30th birthday, I wondered what the year would bring. I also wondered what it would feel like to make that transition from twenty-something into thirty-something. I can't say that it feels a whole lot different. In fact, someone asked me my age this past weekend and I told them I was 31 without skipping a beat. I won't be 31 until March, but Jeremy had just turned 31 three days prior, so I must have just decided to go ahead and be 31, too.

One funny little antidote from my trip to N'awlins that I didn't share in my previous post was when we went out to dinner on my friend's birthday. We called and called restaurants trying to find one that was still serving their Christmas/New Year's Reveillon dinner. I had read that some restaurants continue theirs until January 6, but we did not find a single one. So, instead the birthday girl decided she wanted breakfast for dinner. We asked the girl at the front desk for a recommendation of a local place that served breakfast all day long. She sent us off to a diner down the street from the hotel. When we got there we thought we had struck gold. It looked like a little hole-in-the-wall place where only locals would eat. We were partly right. It was not a chain and there seemed to be a table of "regulars" sitting a few feet away from us. However, the food was not "local flavor" by any stretch of the imagination. The coffee was horrible (and not just compared to Cafe Du Monde), and the food left much to be desired, but our waitress was the worst! We were looking at our menus and not taking any longer than what is normal to decide on what to eat, but she kept coming back and just standing there, waiting for us to order on the spot. Finally, she realized that we were not going to just throw out an order to appease her and she announced, "Im'ma come back," and just disappeared. The rest of the trip we laughed about it and it kind of became a new catchphrase for me and my traveling companions!

I hope you enjoy this flashback to my "Love Song For the Crescent City". It's BLOGtober Fest over at Arkansas Women Bloggers, and today was promote a post from the past day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The fair is a veritable smorgasbord

Every year around September, I get a hankering for pumpkin spice lattes and the Texas State Fair. Since massive amounts of sugar preclude me from indulging in the former, I'm always trying to find a way to experience the latter. Not just any fair will do. It has to be Big Tex. This past weekend, on a trip with my sister to visit my papa in Central Texas, I was able to feast my eyes (if not my sadly restricted digestive system) on my old friend in Dallas.

I didn't ride the ferris wheel or eat anything deep fried, but I did allow myself a taste of the best root beer in the world. Yes, it probably had just as much sugar in it as the aforementioned pumpkin spice latte, but it was so worth the ache I'm still feeling from it today, 3 days later.

I am so glad that we were able to go! Have you ever been? Are you as terrified of the ferris wheel as I am? (I love roller coasters, but the ferris wheel just gives me too much time to think about how high up I am!)

Also, this print cracked me up. Reminds me of my dad.

This post is part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers BLOGtober Fest. Fair print via Fab.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ghosts of Halloween past

While fall is my favorite season, Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. I don't wear a costume or put up decorations. And I confess, more often than not when the 31st rolls around, I just leave the porch light off. So when the topic of Halloween arose as part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers BLOGtober Fest, I drew a big, ol' blank. 

Then I started thinking. I could write about the time I was trick-or-treating in North Carolina and walked onto a porch to find an unattended (so I thought!) bowl of candy sitting next to a scarecrow decoration. As I reached out to take my piece (only one, of course) the scarecrow moved! Or, I could tell the tale of my first (and last) experience going to the haunted houses in the abandoned warehouses of the Kansas City West Bottoms neighborhood. For me, the terror began even as we stood in line waiting to enter. Inside was a maze winding through the dark. I feared every corner, around which came some new horror. 

However, my fondest Halloween memory has to be watching Arsenic and Old Lace with friends. It became a tradition of sorts. One that I try to keep even now. Last year, I added the Cary Grant flick to my Netflix queue and then put it aside to watch on Halloween. I ending up sending it back unwatched. I hope to make up for that this year. 

"It's not a nice thing to do. People wouldn't understand. He wouldn't understand. What I mean is...well, this is developing into a very bad habit!"--Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster addressing his elderly aunts after they've poisoned and killed their 12th lonely, old man.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I fancy fall

Ah, fall. The season of cooler weather and scarves, crunchy leaves and boots, bonfires and sweaters, and steaming hot beverages and jackets. Okay, clearly for me fall is as much about fashion as it is about anything else. I'll just go ahead and say it, I'm pretty sure I dress better in the fall. It might have to do with the fact that I tend to do more shopping in the fall than in any other season. Or it may be that I'm much more comfortable in the layers, sleeves, tights and boots of fall than I am in their warm weather alternatives. 

A quick peek at my Fall Fancies board on Pinterest reveals that I'm loving leather, dots, colorblocking and those oh-so-fall textures like houndstooth and tweed. Not to mention the fanciest of my favorites for fall--peplum. Be it on dresses, tops or jackets, I'm in love!

As for the image above. I have been watching all of the old seasons of Frasier on Netflix and I've decided to channel Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle this season. I'll leave the hair in the 90s where it belongs, but so far I've spotted her in maxi dresses, chambray and again my favorite, peplum.

This post is part of Arkansas Women Bloggers BLOGtober Fest. Check out all of the fun here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why I'm wearing teal this Friday

I am an ovarian cancer survivor.  So many emotions bubble up inside of me when I make that statement. Believe it or not, shame is the one that registers highest on the ol' feelings-o-meter. Why? I have long struggled with the feeling that my cancer experience pales in comparison with those of other survivors' so greatly that I downplay it at best and flat-out pretend it never happened at worst. I have first-hand knowledge of the kind of cancer that takes every last vestige of hope and energy away from you, ultimately ending in the loss of precious life. My family and I were all right there with my baby brother, Russell, when the heavy burden of a brain tumor was laid on his slight, young shoulders. We watched him battle through surgery, chemo, radiation and other treatments that left him weak and sick. We saw him lose range of motion and slip into a coma. We gathered at his bedside when it was "time" on more than one occasion, including that October day when his suffering was ended.  

However, that same painful path was not planned for me. And, I might as well just say it, I feel guilty that what was laid on me was such "a walk in the park" in comparison. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012


File this one under “better late than never.” I have been remiss of late in posting here. It seems all I have time to do is post my weekly guest series on my good friend’s photography blog. If you are planning on getting photos taken for any reason, jump over to Rebekah's photo blog and see my photo-tastic outfit options. The last three weeks I've been focusing on what couples should wear for engagement photos.

Speaking of couples...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fashion Friday blog series

I’m excited about a new blog series I get to be a part of on my friend, photographer Rebekah Wright’s blog. We’re calling it Fashion Friday and it’s a weekly series that gives styling ideas for photo shoots.

Rebekah and I have been friends since our college days and spent 2 years as roommates in Dallas. Much of our free time was spent planning photos shoots or going on spontaneous photo shoot excursions. That, and shopping.

While we have collaborated a lot with our respective photography and fashion expertise, this is the first time we have done a series like this and I am really excited about it!

Check out the initial post here. And if you need a photographer, Rebekah comes highly recommended from this girl! See my lovely blog header? That design is also courtesy of the very talented Rebekah.

Here is the first Polyvore collage of the series:
Minty fresh

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Age is but a number

It's so strange how my mind judges age and the passing of time. As a married woman without children of my own (excepting our dog Neko, of course), I always automatically assume that anyone with kids is older than me. I am always shocked to find that people with children are the same age or even younger than I. Logically, this makes no sense, but I find myself thinking this all too often. Take one of my favorite bloggers, Ashley Rodriguez of the beautifully written and photographed Not Without Salt, who just posted about taking the plunge into her 30s. A step I myself will take in a little over a week. To be as accomplished as she and have 3 kids (!), and she's the same age as me? It seems impossible. I hope that I will accept it as gracefully as she.

A few months ago, I told a friend that I didn't feel like I was where I thought I would be when I reached 30. I didn't have any real specific goals, but where I was did not match what I had in mind for myself when I pictured what this decade would bring. Her answer back to me was to point out all of the good things I had to be thankful for. Since then, I have made it my goal to replace thoughts of doubt, fear and jealousy with thoughts of gratefulness instead. I know it sounds cheesy, and truthfully, there is a part of me that wants to punch myself in the throat, but it works. It has completely changed my attitude about everything. I'm not saying I don't still get in a funk for a few days when things don't go my way now and then. I do. But, eventually I realize, hey, things really are good. 

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" --Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV) 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This morning, all I wanted to do was sleep in. Who wouldn't with this cutie snuggled up with them?

I felt so tired and achy that even the massage I had scheduled sounded like too much effort. Several months ago, I bought a coupon from the local paper's version of Groupon for a 1-hour massage at Regeneration Fitness in North Little Rock. It's something I never do, but the price was unbeatable. I had never heard of the place before and judging by the "Grand Opening" sign outside when I arrived, it hasn't been around very long.

If you know me at all, you know that I have had the aches and pains and stiff joints of an old woman since my early 20s. I have tried physical therapy, chiropractic, pain relievers, etc., to no avail. Along with the diet I adopted 6 months ago, a good massage is really the only thing that seems to help. Key word here being a "good" massage. It seems to just make me more tense if I go to someone who wants to do a relaxing, rub-you-down kind of massage. On the other hand, they can go the other direction and leave me in pain and bruised. You know that song by Deena Carter, "Did I Shave My Legs for This?" There have been many times when I've gone to get a massage and thought immediately of this song. Not to mention, did I pay good money for this?

My massage today with Lisa was neither of those things. It was literally the best massage I've ever had. (To fully understand this, you have to imaging me saying "literally" like Rob Lowe's character on Parks & Recreation, Chris Traeger. See a video here.) I was so glad that I got out of bed and went to see her. She addressed the issues we discussed beforehand, and also used hot stones and stretching to really help with the pain. I had never experienced the latter two methods in a massage before. I always thought that hot stones were just laid on the back, etc. during a massage like you see in the photos at spas. I never realized they could be used as a tool for massage the way she used them. I really need to start doing this more often because, as Lisa so aptly pointed out, I have "issues with my tissues." Now if I could just have her with me every day to remind me to "take a deep breath."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gray Matter

During my junior year of high school I took a liking to the color gray. That's not really a strong enough statement. It was a borderline obsession. Not just any shade of gray--a dark, charcoal gray. It was a time when my youngest brother, Russell, was battling an aggressive brain tumor. Maybe it was a manifestation of mourning.

The Woods Crew (Russell is the cute blond)
Riding bikes at DeGray State Park

One of my favorite sibling photos at a rest stop

Photo op on the Carolina coast

If it was, I didn’t realize it at the time. Each time I went shopping I would come home with at least one item in a dark charcoal. Each time I reached into the closet I would invariably pick out an outfit with this color as the central theme. So pervasive was this color in my everyday wardrobe that a friend’s mother began calling that particular shade of gray, “Julianne Gray.” Soon, many of my friends were calling it the same. Even now, each time I’ve picked up a paint brush to paint the living room of the two houses we’ve owned, I have chosen a shade of gray (a much, much lighter shade). 

Russell (with a posse of cousins) at a family reunion 

Me with Russell after treatments began
In "Julianne gray"

It feels appropriate that I remember my little brother with the color gray. My parents gave Russell a family name: first name Russell, after my mom’s grandpa, Russell “Rusty” McGlothlin; and middle name Gray, after my dad’s grandpa, Virgil Gray Davenport. 

That brain tumor eventually did end his short life on this Earth, and the world has been grayer ever since. So in part, the name of my blog is a dedication to his sweet soul. More so than I ever realized before penning this post.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love Song for the Crescent City

A couple of weeks ago, I took a road trip with some friends to New Orleans for my best friend's birthday. The passing of another year is not usually marked with such an indulgence, but this year carried with it a significance no other birthday has before or will again. I speak of that uneasy transition from 20-something to 30-something.
Sunset on Lake Pontchartrain