A blog about intentional living.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Simple Cast Iron Cornbread and Chili


This has been my favorite go-to winter meal, for two years in a row. You can easily double the chili recipe to feed a crowd, which makes it the perfect take-along for parties. The chili also freezes well, so it’s a great meal to have ready any time.

Dairy Free Cornbread
Prep: 5-10 mins
Cook: 19-22 mins

This is intended for a 10 inch cast iron skillet. However, a cake pan would likely work just fine. Do not attempt the preheating method in Step 1 with a cake pan.

Ingredients:
1 cup corn meal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
4 Tbs Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 eggs
1 cup dairy-free milk (almond, oat, rice, or coconut)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. If a crispy crust is desired, preheat your skillet in the oven for 10-15 mins, with 1 Tbs of vegetable oil in the pan. Before pouring in batter, swirl the oil around to coat the pan well.

2. Combine all ingredients in medium mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

3. Pour batter into oiled cast iron skillet and bake for 19-22 mins

Variations:
To make Gluten Free: Substitute your favorite Gluten Free flour blend for the all purpose flour. My favorite is King Arthur's Measure-For-Measure. To make Vegan: Omit the eggs and add 1/2 of a mashed banana


Weeknight Chili
Prep: 15 mins.
Cook: 3-8 hours in slow cooker, or 30 mins in pressure cooker (Instant Pot)

Ingredients:
16 oz each of the following beans (already cooked, canned works fine): black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
2 medium tomatoes, diced (or one can)
16 oz tomato sauce
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
1 Tbs Cumin
1 Tbs Chili Powder (use less or more, depending on how much spice you like)
1 Tbs seasoned salt
3 Tbs brown sugar (seems weird but trust me)
Optional: 1-1.5 lb ground beef or turkey, browned and seasoned with salt and pepper

Directions:
1. If using meat, brown it in a skillet or directly in your pressure cooker, drain any fat

2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker or pressure cooker

3. Slow cook on LOW for 7-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours. If using a pressure cooker, cook on Medium for 30 mins

Other Delicious Variations of this Chili to Try:
-omit the sugar and add one small sweet potato, diced
-serve the chili over baked potatoes instead of corn bread
-garnish with avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, and corn chips instead of corn bread


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Friday, December 14, 2018

Life Update: Mom of 2



Hey all! It has been a while since I've written anything. The past year has been unlike any other (in a good way) and I am so excited to be back on this platform and sharing all the fun things I am learning about being a mom, trying to live more sustainably, and really just enjoying life instead of being overcome by it.

Our daughter was born on September 18th of this year and her big brother is adjusting to the new lifestyle really well. Being that my body has now been a home to two tiny humans, it has changed a lot. I embrace, love and appreciate many of the changes. The softness and squishiness does not bother me. The part that bothers me is that I feel SO WEAK. I stayed pretty active in my last pregnancy up until about 30 weeks. From that point forward, I struggled to maintain muscle mass and just general stamina due to a wide variety of reasons, some of which I may go into in a later post. As a result of losing so much muscle and generally becoming inactive, when my pregnancy ended, I struggled to get my energy back, to feel at home in my body, and even to do simple tasks like put kids into carseats and carry laundry.

Around 10 weeks postpartum I decided to make major changes and began working out daily. That was just a few weeks ago and I already see great results by feeling stronger and much more energized. I will likely post little tidbits of this aspect of my life, but will try not to go overboard as this is not a fitness blog. I just truly believe that all moms should feel strong and safe in their own bodies, so when I find things that work for me, I want to share that so other women can feel empowered to do the same for themselves. Sometimes we know we want to change things, but we don't know how, and it takes someone else who's been in our shoes to go before us and teach us how. I hope to do that for anyone who wants or needs it.

A big shift in our sustainability journey has also occurred. I find myself using plastic and convenience items a bit more since Normandy was born. But in some ways, I also find myself being more mindful and in-tune with reusables because they have become such a habit for me. I'm trying to do what I can and find the balance. There are certainly areas where I could make progress, and there are other areas where I have improved dramatically without even realizing it! I'll try to get better about sharing more of the struggles, as well as the victories.

The main things I hope to grow from and share here in this space, are ways to continue living slowly. To really soak up all the love and sweet moments that being a mom has to offer. To begin each day with intention and purpose. We live in a crazy, scary world. And as a homemaker, I feel a strong urge to make our home a safe haven. A place of rest and contentment. I think we can all use a little more contentment in our lives, so rather than searching for it, I want to share ways that you can create it.

Please feel free to comment or message me with any topics you are interested in hearing more about. Whether they are things I have written about in the past, or ideas of stuff you think I may be able to share more of. As always, I hope to leave you inspired and hopeful.


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