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Monday, December 30

Monday Meal Planning: Whole30 January 2014

With the holidays behind us and 2014 just around the corner, husband and I decided a Whole30 was in order. I'm actually pretty pleased with the way we handled holiday eating this year, only indulging ourselves with sweets and not going crazy with breaking our diet. That being said, I still feel the need for a cleanse, a restart if you will. And January seems like the obvious time for just that. Giving up bread and even dairy is easy for me... but start taking away all sweets and things get hairy. I am well aware of my sugar cravings and addiction {yeah, I said it} and am ready to finally face the reality of what is happening. I don't want to crave dessert. I don't want to bake 'paleo' sweets regularly. I want to feed my body with whole, truly healthy foods {I'm looking at you, food pyramid} and reap the results. 

So, now that the soap box portion of this post is over, here's our plan for a successful Whole30:
Plan and prep like it's your job.

That being said, you absolutely have to make it work for you. For us, that means prepping meals on Sunday because we both work Monday thru Friday. And I also know that the days that I work late, we need a meal that simply requires reheating. Because when you are exhausted after a long work day, and it is 7pm and your feet hurt, that drive thru/Chinese take out/local pizza place looks oh so appealing.

 I put my organizational skills to work and  created a spreadsheet of meals and snacks for the entire thirty days. I also made shopping lists and provided links to the recipes we will be using. And all of that is available to you here. And the shopping list for week one can be found here.

Today and tomorrow are technically day(s) zero for us, but we are already on the clean eating schedule. We decided to allow ourselves black coffee in the mornings since it's just so. cold. outside, and sweet potatoes are fair game but must be consumed in moderation. Other than that, it's on. No honey, no maple syrup. No paleo pancakes or breads. I am really looking forward to feeding my body with all of the nutritious things we have in store.

Here's to a successful Whole30! I do hope you will join us! Please let me know if you do!

copyright Hiking in Stilettos 

Wednesday, December 18

Egg-less Breakfast: Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I am admittedly one of those paleo eaters that often says "I have no idea what to eat for breakfast." The vast majority of paleo-eating types will quickly tell you to eat eggs or leftovers or some version of meat/protein + vegetables. Well, unfortunately, that is somewhat difficult for me, especially when I'm leaving the house by 6:30am. Sometimes I reheat a frittata or cover my eggs in avocado and salsa, but it can still be difficult to choke down. So as I discover them, I will share some of my favorite egg-less breakfasts with you. Recently I made this simple, delicious butternut squash breakfast soup.

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
{adapted from this Whole Living recipe

1 large {or 2 small} whole butternut squash
1/2 to 1 small yellow onion, depending on your taste {remember, this is your breakfast.}
1 small apple {I used a gala}
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, depending on your taste
1 inch freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamon
a dash of ground cloves 
coconut or olive oil

Preheat over to 425. Using a sharp knife, prick a few long holes in the butternut squash and place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Roast the squash whole for 60 minutes or until completely tender. {You can easily tell by just touching it to make sure it is very soft.} Once the squash in done, let it cool for 15 minutes on the counter. While it is cooling, add oil to a skillet and saute the onion and garlic until the onions are translucent. Add in the carrots and apple and cook for about 15 minutes or until they are tender. Add in the spices and let it all meld together for about 5 minutes. Let cool, then transfer this mixture to a high-speed blender. While the onion and carrot mix is cooling, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds of the butternut squash. {If you want, you can keep the seeds and roast them for a snack or to top off your soup!} Then use the spoon to scoop out all of the squash from the peeling. This should be a very easy process. Place the squash into the blender and mix until your desired consistency is achieved. If the soup is too thick, add almond or coconut milk or vegetable broth to thin it out.  

Top with crumbled bacon or sausage, pepitas or roasted squash seeds, coconut flakes, a splash of almond or coconut milk and/or cinnamon. It's a delicious and filling breakfast that I can easily stomach in the early morning hours. Also, it's quite easy to make, so if you feel like making a double batch, it freezes* well!

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*We are gearing up for a Whole30 starting January 1st, so I am making a big batch of this soup over the weekend to freeze and have on hand. It thaws quickly and makes a great go-to for breakfast and even as a mid-afternoon snack. 100% Whole30 approved ingredients!

Monday, December 16

A Shabby Chic Christmas

This past weekend we held a small surprise birthday party for my sweet mother at my parent's house. I shared a few of her Christmas decorations before, but I was amazed yet again by how festive and cozy their house is a Christmas time. 

My mother's style is what I would call shabby chic glam. Gold and white, glitter and lace, fresh greenery and birch wood, twinkling lights and fireplace logs. I love the tree placed in a wicker basket, the handmade cloth and lace garland, and the red-orange flicker lights on the birch logs under the mantle.

 I can't believe that Christmas is merely a week away!

copyright Hiking in Stilettos 

Friday, December 13

A Special Birthday Wish...

to the one woman in my life who...

... is always there with an encouraging word
.... will tell you the honest truth, even when it is difficult to hear
... sat up into the early morning hours with me as I studied in college
... clapped the loudest at my pharmacy school graduation
... is always ready to give a gift 'just because'
... has always been an amazing role model -- as a mom, a wife, and a strong woman
... is the most caring and thoughtful grandmother I know
... embraces people into her life and family as if they were always a part of it
... is the perfect partner in crime when it comes to Anthropologie or antique store dates
... I can't imagine life without.

Happy birthday mama.

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Tuesday, December 10

Black & Mint // Maternity Style

Finding clothes that actually fit and look decent enough to wear outside my home has admittedly been proving more difficult than I anticipated. Most of the actual maternity clothes are a bit too long or too baggy for me, especially when it comes to pants. So lately I've taken to wearing my favorite pre-pregnancy brands in a size or two larger than normal {hello half off sale at Loft}. I love that this top is a silk blend, fancier than the many cotton tees that I live in these days. It pairs equally well with dressed down cords for the weekend and fancy black skinnes for work. 

Loft top, J. Crew cords, Macy's jacket {old, but I love this one}, Forever 21 heels, vintage bracelets, Anthropologie necklace, Michael Kors watch 


copyright Hiking in Stilettos

Friday, December 6

Week Ending


How was your week?
Mine went by pretty quickly and was a mix of ups and downs. I'm definitely feeling pregnant {read: huge} these days, so after a discouraging doctor's visit* on Wednesday morning, I spent a little time with my mom. We decorated my Christmas tree {pictures soon!}, placed fresh greenery all around the house, drank cinnamon coffee and chatted. It was so uplifting.

Today I am so incredibly grateful for the encouraging people in my life -- my girlfriends who can always make me laugh, my twin star who reminds me to never allow other's opinions to determine my fate, my sweet mother and sister who know just what I need, my father who tells me to 'be careful' on my morning commute, my husband who is a constant source of strength and encouragement and who knows when I just need to cry and when I need a little tough love. 

I am really looking forward to the weekend! We are having some friends over Saturday night to hang out and eat dinner and play with all their new babies. So fun! I'm going to try and make a paleo key lime pie and coconut whipped cream to compliment our shredded chicken tacos, fresh salsa and guacamole. 

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*Everything is just fine. Little bean is healthy as can be and so am I. No worries!

Wednesday, December 4

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving came twice for us this year. On Thursday we hosted husband's family at our house, which was a complete success! Our turkeys turned out perfectly {I will probably never use another recipe since this one is so good.}, the nephews had fun feeding the horses behind our property, the pumpkin pie was topped with homemade whipped cream, and everyone enjoyed catching up and making plans for the little one on the way. 

On Sunday, husband and I headed over to my parent's house to have Thanksgiving with my family. Spending time over there during the holidays is always so special. It just doesn't feel like the holiday season without the smell of mom's apple cinnamon candles and fresh greenery on the mantle. Her decorations fill every room, with no corner left bare. There are gently flickering lights on the mantles, vintage trees and twinkle lights in all the rooms. It's perfect, really.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were surrounded by those you love. I certainly was!

copyright Hiking in Stilettos

Tuesday, December 3

Chambray Uniform // Maternity Style

Lately I feel like I've been living in different versions of a chambray shirt and skinnies. Open with a fitted tank, buttoned with a chunky scarf and topknot, a chambray popover with colored denim, and even lounging around the house with leggings and sweater boots. But when only a small portion of your wardrobe fits, you work with what you have. And I happen to have chambray.

Levi's shirt, Target tank, Gap maternity skinny jeans, Madewell pumps (old, here is a similar pair and I also like these), Michael Kors watch, Apple of my eye necklace via Etsy


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Monday, December 2

Weekend Adventure: Standing Indian Campground 2013

It's taken me quite a while to post these pictures, but looking at them again reminded me how much I love our annual camping trip to Standing Indian in North Carolina. Since husband and I both have birthdays in October, we have made it a tradition to spend three or four nights at Standing Indian Campground for the last four years. The agenda is low-key, with a couple good hikes, a sunrise on the mountainside and plenty of campfires. This year was no exception.

We left on a Friday and spent three nights at the campground. Saturday morning we made a delicious breakfast and headed out to one of our favorite hikes with an amazing view, Albert Mountain. There is an old fire tower at the very top of the mountain that provides an incredible 360 degree view of the mountain range. The fall colors were so beautiful! 

{Sambo was really cold so we bought him a child's sweatshirt in an attempt to keep him warm. Needless to say, he didn't like it very much.}

Sunday morning we went for a sunrise hike* along a ridge line that followed the AT. It was only three miles in to a perfect opening on the edge of the mountain. The sky was a beautiful crisp blue, and the sun was peeking through the clouds. We shared coffee and trail mix and sat for a while just enjoying the scenery and each other. It was perfect. After we returned from our hike, my family came up for lunch and birthday pumpkin mousse pie. My nephews had a great time chasing Sam around the trails, picking up leaves and sticks and playing in the river. 

Sunday morning we made breakfast and warmed ourselves by the fire before packing up and heading home. Just like the previous years, it was the perfect weekend getaway to regroup and refocus, spending time in creation and enjoying the peace and serenity of each other's company. We sat by our campfire at night and talked about raising children, living healthy lives, new research and hypotheses in cancer origins and treatment, changes we want to make in our own lives. It always makes me so thankful for a husband that I can connect with, from the incredibly meaningful to the trivial and conversational. I wouldn't want to brave this world with anyone else by my side. 

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*A sunrise hike usually goes like this....
Alarm goes off, it's pitch black so we hit snooze. Fifteen minutes later it goes off again, so husband climbs out of the covers and turns on the propane heater. We hit snooze again. Fifteen minutes later, the alarm is ringing a third time, so husband gets up, turns off the alarm. changes clothes and leaves the tent to go make coffee. Sambo and I continue to sleep snugly under the warm covers and next to the heater. Sometime in the next fifteen to twenty minutes Sambo makes his way to the top of the air mattress and snuggles down in the space that husband vacated. When husband comes back to peek his head in the tent and tell me that coffee is ready and he is warming the truck, Sam and I finally make our way out of bed. The tent is warm from the propane heater, and when I get dressed, I find that my hiking boots have already been placed in the truck beneath the heaters in the floorboard. Sam and I exit the tent and climb into the warmed truck, and husband hands me a mug of steaming coffee. It's still pitch black outside, but we are warm and excited about the hike ahead and the gorgeous sunrise on the horizon.