Graduation, Veganism, and Number 5….

Friends!

Nate did it.

He completed his PhD in Neuroscience.

This post is way overdue because Nate defended his research and walked the graduation stage last August.  But I have yet to write about it because our lives have been on one big journey ever since.

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We tossed various options back and forth.  We almost put a house in the gorgeous North Carolina under contract when the opportunity of a life time came around.  Sometimes dreams are so big that you don’t dare whisper them aloud in fear that they never will come true.  When the opportunity to train at The Ohio State University and subsequently transfer to the Mayo Clinic came around, Nate was beyond excited!  His alcohol addiction research has now transferred into neuromuscular rehabilitation and anyone who really knows him wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he has found a way to combine all of his interests.  A lot of his time now revolves around researching the knee and that includes so much more than just the knee.  I know he will be excited to share more of it here.

 

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As for me, I’ve got to be honest.  I started sharing recipes and tips on this blog when the China Study was the new, big thing.  Our family went strict vegan with little gluten and minimal sugars.  We all felt great at first and I was so excited to share the things I was learning with you here.  Perhaps it was the stress of four kids, homeschooling, moving three times in one year, and finding out that I am pregnant again (with number 5)… but my mind has been grappling with the concept of the “perfect diet.”  I am super happy to announce that our family is no longer vegan, but the transition has been a mind wrestling transition that I am still coming to terms with.  There are so many fads and diets out there, it is hard to discern what is the right way to eat.  Maybe you and I can have more conversations about that here?

Did I mention that another little girl will be joining our family in December?

We are all excited.  Except boy #3, he wanted a puppy.

Sorry, honey.  Doesn’t work that way.

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Nate and I are excited to step back into Circadian a little more now that our life has settled down in one place for more than six weeks again.  We are so excited and grateful for the people who have backed us up and supported us through the years.  To all of you, thank you.

||Family Favorites Right Now||

  • So excited about these Vera Bradley Backpacks.  Carrying kids and water bottles and supplies on one shoulder always puts a kink in my back and hips.  Do I really have to wait a week for shipping?
  • Carlee still begs to ride in her toddler sized Tula.  Best baby carrier ever.  Anyone agree?  I am so excited to splurge on an infant one soon.  I’m loving the grey and yellow in this one.
  • I had no idea how much Colton would love this puzzle.  Giant puzzles are the best.
  • Naturally Ella’s Dutch Baby Pancakes with Spiced Apples are the best.  Seriously.  We would eat these for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I substitute Almond Flour in place of wheat flour to add a tad more protein.
  • Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Dressing is amazing.  I cut up cheddar string cheese sticks into cubes for the cheese and add an extra can of beans in place of chicken.  Love this salad so much.
  • Core Power Yoga Online is my sanity.  I love that I can do it at 5 AM or at midnight without needing to worry about who is watching my kids.  Plus, the subscription prices are awesome.

Vegan Strawberry Apple Butter

Life is always worth celebrating… especially when jars of strawberry-apple butter are in the refrigerator.

 

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Strawberry Apple Butter

12 medium apples, unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
4-5 cups washed and pureed strawberries
1 tsp. liquid stevia

Toss apples, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, strawberry puree, and stevia into an oversized crock pot.  Bake on medium to high heat (for approximately four hours) until apples are soft.  Transfer apples and strawberries in small batches into a blender or vitamix.  Blend until smooth.  Store jam in the freezer or refrigerator in mason jars or specific freezer containers.  Tip:  Leave 4-6 inches of air space at the top of containers that will be placed in the freezer.

 

Strawberry-Pear Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Strawberry-Pear Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Salad greens of your choice – washed and prepared
Strawberries – washed and cut
Pears – washed and cut into cubes
Pecans – crushed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons mustard – with no sugar, coloring, or preservatives
1 pinch Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a salad dressing container – combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, curry powder, mustard, and salt/pepper.  Shake or stir until smooth.

Toss together salad greens, strawberries, pears, and pecans on a plate or in a bowl.  Drizzle dressing over salad and enjoy.