Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flaming Sundaes Tutorial - a special holiday treat!

Enjoy a Flaming Sundae this New Year's Eve!
It's been a Christmas Eve Tradition in my family since I can remember.
Any holiday is a good excuse to light these babies up!

Let Tanner show you how!

What you'll need:
Peppermint Extract
Sugar Cubes
Dessert of Choice

Pour extract in shallow bowl
Quickly dip sugar cube in extract - not too much
Place sugar cube on dessert
Light sugar cube
Turn off lights and enjoy!

Like Magic!

Happy New Year 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

baby {...GIRL...} brown

That's right! A GIRL! We're having a baby GIRL! And we're thrilled. The first 14 weeks I was sure it was a boy, but as the weeks went by and the baby grew I started to think girl. So that was my final vote. (I'm glad I was right!) And so were most of you...

For the ultrasound we invited my parents and Tanner's parents to join us in the room and my sister joined us through video chat on the phone! It was so much fun to have everyone there. I can't wait until they're all in the labor room with me too! Maybe we'll do a live stream here on my blog....  haha. Yeah, right. Everyone, but Tanner of course, will have to wait until she's out and we're both cleaned up a little!

Here's the video of us in the room finding out! (Listen for when Tanner's dad asks, "How do the white lines tell it's a girl?" Haha. :) And hello, belly... just ignore that....

Most of the time I couldn't tell what we were looking at and the nurse didn't say much. Probably didn't help that we were all talking. But at the end I asked, "So everything looks good?" And she said, "Yep, your baby is exceptionally healthy." I wanted more detail, but I guess that's all that matters! And I love that she said exceptionally! Makes me a proud mama!

Here are the pictures of our little papoose!

Her little leg
Profile - I think she smiling!
Bum and "girl parts"
(Will she be embarrassed by this one when she's 16?)
This one is my very favorite! She is covering her face with her arms bent.
You can see her lips and nose. She wouldn't move them for us to see her face!

I'm sure all you moms (and dads) know the amazing feeling that comes with seeing a little baby inside of you- especially for the first time. Before my own experience, I would look at ultrasounds and think, "That's cool." But when I was experiencing it for my self I kept thinking, "Holy Crap! That's amazing!!!" (You can tell in the video how excited we are!) It's amazing that she has a little brain, and liver, and heart, and fingernails. All inside of me!

After the appointment we went to lunch with our parents and who did we see? BYU Basketball Coach Dave Rose! Tanner was so excited. We got a picture with him and told him we just found out our baby is a girl and we are thinking of naming her "Rose." We all got a good laugh. Tanner's mom gave us a Cougar Pillow Pet as a gift just before, so we got it in the picture too! We have affectionately named the pillow pet Rose. But I really don't mind the name Rose, how does Rose Jimmer Brown sound?

I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity and the special blessing that has come into our lives!

(I've seen this on other blogs - expecting moms write to their unborn child - so I thought I'd try it...)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Baby Girl Brown,

I'm 22 weeks along now! Before I was pregnant I never could speak in "weeks" like all the pregnant woman did, but once you're pregnant, everyday, and every week is important so you start counting that way. But in other words - we're 5 1/2 months, or 22 weeks or 154 along already!

It has gone by fast and it's hard to believe I'm more than halfway there! Sometimes it's even hard to believe I'm really pregnant and you're in there... and then I feel you move and remember... Wow! You're in there! (and it's not indigestion.)

You are quite the little mover! I don't have brothers or sisters to compare you to, but during your waking hours I feel your little feet and legs kicking my lower tummy. It tickles and I love it.

Now when I see little girls I wonder what you'll be like! I sat next to a little 18-month old girl at church and almost started crying because I was filled with a little glimmer of love that I have for you that's continually growing.

When we found out you are a girl your dad asked, "Will she like building tree houses? I don't know what little girls like to do." It was so cute. But I told him that as long as our little girl is doing something with her dad she will love it! He is so sweet to you. He tells you he loves you a lot and sometimes kisses my belly to send you love!

I have been feeling really good lately. Thanks for being such an amazing pregnancy! I have felt really great the majority of it. Mostly I just need to keep food in our bellies and get enough rest.

I've been eating a lot of sweets lately because of the holidays, but I have greatly reduced my sugar intake as we head into the new year, so you won't get too much of a taste for it and will be so healthy!

I wonder a lot what Type you will be! Thus far I am thinking 1 or a 3 (or a 2 with a high secondary). I've sort of ruled out 4 - because you seem to move so much. But I just don't know. I hope to have a better idea as my mother instincts develop. But whatever you are, you are perfect and amazing and YOU!

You have a lot of people who are excited to meet you and who love you already. Your Aunt Jenny is pregnant with your cousin! Is it a boy or a girl? Do you know?! Either way, you'll be great pals.

We haven't thought of any names for you yet; although we like to tease people we'll name you "Barbara." They get a funny look on their face and say, "Really?" "Yeah!" we say, "We'll call her Babs!" Haha. No offense to any Barbaras, just when is the last time you met a  baby Barbara?!

If there is a name you want, I'm always available in my dreams and while you're at it tell me if you have curly hair. :)

Well, Baby Girl, I love you so much. I'm so excited to meet you, but in the meantime stay cozy and warm.


Your Mom
(Mom? Me? That's weird and exciting!)

Monday, December 26, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas

I love it when I get an amazing idea and then it works perfectly!!! Let me share one of my most recent successes.

I was chatting with my sister one day at the beginning of December and she seemed a bit homesick and sad she wasn't going to be able to join us for Christmas. She lives in West Virginia with her husband and 2 adorable boys! Tony is doing his residency for Ophthalmology. Another year and a half and hopefully they will back in Utah!!

Jenny loves her family and we love her, so when she's not around it's a little blue. So shortly after chatting with her I was doing dishes and I had a flash of inspiration, "Do the 12 days of Christmas for Jenny!" {The flash of inspiration was the Spirit whispering and I am so glad that I decided to keep the TV and noise off while I did dishes so I was ready to hear!}

So I quickly started rummaging up my ideas. And it turned out amazing!!

I sent her 3 packages with 4 gifts each. Most of them were for Jenny or her family as a whole and just 1 or 2 for just the kids. The point was to make it special just for Jenny from her siblings.

I wrote a poem to start it off:

Here's a list of what I sent her each day:

Day 1:  A book about the Christmas tales of old! - A collection of Christmas stories and coloring books for the boys.

Day 2:  Two Cuddly Teddies - When I was little I collected teddy bears and I have quite the collection sitting in a bag in my closet, so I sent each boy a little teddy from my collection to take care of!

Day 3:  Anne’s Favorite Christmas CD’s - I love good Christmas music, much of the music played on the radio is so redundant. My favorites include: Sarah McClachlan, Kristen Chenoweth, Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Hillary Weeks, and Amy Grant.

Day 4:  4 Kinds of Chocolates -  Every year we get See's Chocolates from my Grandma Wagner for Christmas, so I selected some of my favorites for her.

Day 5:  Homemade Peppermint Bark - My mom made Peppermint Bark every year growing up so it was only right to send her some!

Day 6:  A fun Christmas movie! - Gotta love a great Christmas movie. I sent her Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas - it's actually REALLY good!

Day 7:  Memories of when we were little  - Click here to see the video I made her.

Day 8:  An 8-piece Nativity Set - A kid's set they can play with while she reads the Christmas Story.

Day 9:  Brightness and Animation - A selection of goodies from our Type 1 shelves at the Dressing Your Truth Store.

Day 10:  A Christmas Eve Tradition - Every year we have "Flaming Sundaes" on Christmas Eve. You dip a sugar cube in Peppermint Extract and light it and voila - magic! Place it on a brownie with ice cream. So I sent her a Flaming Sundae Kit.

Day 11: A Christmas Morning Goodie - A Coffee Cake mix. We grew up with Coffee Cake on Christmas Morning.

Day 12:  The True Meaning of Christmas - A heart felt slide show featuring images and scriptures of Christ. 

*Day 13: All Our Love -  I couldn't stop the amazing ideas! So I added one more day. Check it out. 

In addition to each day's goodies I added a memory from one of us to go along with the gift.

It was so much fun to share these gifts and memories with her! Each day she would call or send a text and share how excited she was! On the first day she called crying, "Thank you so much!" And on the 9th day she said, "This is the BEST Christmas EVER!" 

I am so grateful for such a wonderful sister! She is so sweet and kind! I am so grateful we could share our love with her this year!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Professional Bow Tying Tutorial

Watch my tutorial to learn how to professional tie all your bows so your Christmas gifts look first-class this year! (Consider this my gift to you!)

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

And the song in the back is from my favorite CHristmas CD.
Wintersong by Sarah McClachlan. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Delicious & Nutritious Macaroons (Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free)

I'm a big fan of food blogs! I find all sorts of great recipe ideas. In my musings I have noticed that most food bloggers write an entire story before they get around to sharing the actual recipe. (They must be writers as well as bakers.) They share the history of the recipe or how it made them feel when they were younger... but I don't really care to do that (or to read it), so I'll just get right to it with my recipe!

This Macaroon recipe is soooo good! I found it in Diet Rebel's Cookbook and have since made my a few of my own adjustments.

I'm not a fan of the classic cooked Macaroons. I find them too sweet, but these are just fabulous and everyone loves them!

They are raw (except for the chocolate on top), Vegan (except for the milk in the chocolate chips) and Gluten Free! (You could use Carob Chips if you want them 100% Vegan.) They are full of good Coconut Oil (a healthy fat) and Almonds (another healthy fat) so I guess they are full of fat, but you need that every once and a while! :)

Here's the recipe:

1 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 Almonds ground into flour 
(Or you can buy Almond Flour at the Health Food Store. I prefer fresh ground Almonds for the thicker texture.)
1/4 tsp. real salt
2/3 cup coconut oil at room temperature
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup Almond Milk

1. in a bowl, whisk together the coconut flakes, almond flour, and salt
2. in another bowl, blend coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla
3. blend dry with wet
4. spoon onto cookie sheet
5. melt chocolate chips and almond milk on low
6. drizzle chocolate on macaroons
7. store in fridge and enjoy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pregnant and Tired

I thought I was lazy, then I remembered I'm 16 weeks pregnant. Phew. Last week I made one meal and it wasn't even on my weekly meal list I shared with all of you. Just a simple spaghetti. No shame though. I'm just realizing that there really is a baby inside of me and I'm kind of feeling it.

I slept in until 11AM the other day too! Boy oh boy, I guess I needed some extra z's. My friend said, "Enjoy it while you can!" I am waking up in the middle of the night to relieve my bladder now. I guess that's a sign the baby is growing! The only fun part about waking up at 4AM is realizing you get to sleep for another 3-4 hours! It's neat how your body naturally starts training you for what's ahead - a lot of sleep interruptions.

(This next part, it was written a few days ago on Saturday morning...)
I'm still not showing. I thought I was for a second there, but unless you catch me at 11PM you wouldn't be able to tell. But I think it's normal for a first-timer to not show for a while. Plus my uterus is tipped, so maybe that's hiding it. And I still can wear all my clothes, so no complaining here!

(Now back to today...)
So, now I am showing. Saturday night we were at the BYU game and I was all bundled up in my sweater and coat and my tummy started really hurting. I thought it was something I ate, but once I unzipped my coat (...and my pants) I felt so much better, baby just needed room. I thought it was just because it was late at night, but when I woke up on Sunday morning the bump was still there - and it's here to stay. It really just popped up over night!

We went to the doctor today for our 16 week check-up and all is well! Tanner got to play doctor and check for the heartbeat. I really love the Women's Clinic I go to. All the midwives are so kind and helpful.

Just 4 more weeks and we find out what the little babe is!!! Crazy. I can't believe I'm almost half-way done. I could do 5 more of these...(<--- that was also written on Saturday morning.) Yeah, we want 6 kids, but we'll just take it one by one. Tanner is already planning when to have the next! I tell him we'll just wait and see...

Most of you think it's a girl, I still think boy, but we'll see. Cast your vote if you haven't yet (see right side up top).

The strangest thing right now is my belly growing. I can feel my skin gently stretching (like when you eat waaaay too much). And I'm slowly growing out of my jeans. These feelings are so new for me and I have to remind myself, "I'm pregnant. I haven't overeaten, this is normal." It's a fun journey!

the bump
I posted the above picture on my Facebook page and I was surprised by a common response I received..."So CUTE!" If you are familiar with Energy Profiling, you will know that "Cute!" is a Type 1 word and I'm a Type 2 and Type 2 words are, "Beautiful" or "Elegant." So being called "Cute" and "Adorable" is very new to me. But it makes sense because it's a baby (which is obviously a very youthful and fresh movement) and my bump is round (a Type 1 shape) - it all represent the Type 1 movement, which apparently is very CUTE on me! Anyways, just a funny observation!

Overall, me and baby are doing GREAT!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Hunger Halloween

This morning I watched a short segment on Good Morning America that premiered the upcoming movie The Hunger Games! I am soooo excited. I listened to the books last January and then Tanner got hooked on them on our trip to Europe. He would listen while I would chat with friends in Bulgarian, it was great for both of us.

The books are so good, you can't wait to get through them but then you're sad it's over. We been searching for a replacement ever since. We recently finished Matched and just started the sequel Crossed. We love to listen to books in bed!

Although, that series is fun to listen to it's nothing compared to Katniss. Seriously, if you haven't ready the books you NEED to. Man or woman. You will love them. I have to warn you though - don't read while eating. It's a little graphic. I would actually get woozy in the tummy while listening to it!!

Well, we tried to bring back the magic for Halloween. When we were trying to decide what to be Tanner had the brilliant idea to be Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! And although most people didn't know what we were without asking, we thought it was the best costume ever. And we won Most Creative at our Halloween Party.

I found these pictures online and made our costumes after them.

Peeta Mellark

Katniss Everdeen

And here we are!!

I love Halloween (for proof see here)! I love dressing up! I think we did a pretty good job this year!

Here are the guests from our Halloween Party, they all look great too!

What were your for Halloween?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Giving Thanks

Some of you may remember my post from last November where we wrote 1,000 plus thankfuls together. It's been a family tradition for 15 years. This year we shared the tradition on my mom's blog here.

As you will learn in both posts, I have been doing this tradition for all 15 years - even when I was out of the country or away at college. So true to form, I got out the Brown Family journal to start writing - but I just wasn't feeling it. Every time I sat down to write I wasn't excited about this tradition anymore - well at least this year.

I thought, "What is wrong with me? Do I have nothing to be grateful for?" Of course I have 1,000 things - 1 million - billion things for which I am grateful, but I guess I just wanted to express it differently this year.

Thanks to Tanner, I have learned to let things go and not get so caught up about "how something should be done." Two years ago I would have probably forced myself to continue this tradition like it or not. But now I think, "Does this sound fun?" "Will this make my life simpler?" And it just wasn't jiving.

I think it is wonderful to have a fun tradition of expressing gratitude throughout November. I have seen some people who post what they are grateful for on Facebook everyday. So I was trying to think of another way I could show a little extra gratitude and appreciation this Thanksgiving Season and this idea came...

I have decided to write 1 thank you note to someone each day leading up to Thanksgiving. At first I thought, I should write 1,000, maybe 100 cards, but then I decided to keep it simple - I'm pregnant, remember?! I can do that. :)

So, starting yesterday and up until Thanksgiving I am writing a thank you card to whomever pops into my head just to express my gratitude and appreciation for them!

I love getting special notes at random, so I know it will be a lot of fun to share the appreciation!

Do you do anything during the month of November to show a little extra gratitude?

On Thanksgiving Day I try to make all my prayers just gratitude prayers, rather than ask for anything. That's kind of fun - it makes you think extra hard. Maybe I'll do that  little more this month too!

Share your ideas and then go add to the list here, I'll keep adding there too!

Happy Thanks Giving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

On the table this week. 11/7-11/13

I just got off the phone with a friend who was asking me about my diet and she asked me what I make for dinner. This is usually a hard question for me to answer - I get a brain fart and can't think of what we eat. We do eat. I just can't think anything on the menu when I get asked, so I thought I'd start posting my menus here to share with you!

I usually plan the week's meals on Sunday and go shopping on Monday. I try to stay within a $50-$60 weekly grocery budget. Planning ahead has really helped me stay within a budget and enjoy yummy meals. There's nothing worse than the clock nearing 6PM with no idea what to eat!

I also try to be realistic about how many days we will be home eating. Usually we eat out twice a week. And I go easy on myself if the plan changes. But most weeks I make all meals or at least 4 out of the 5.

This is what I create on Sundays (and I include the shopping list underneath the grid):

And here it the above menu (readable) with live links:

(I don't write in Breakfast, unless it's something special. I usually have Instant Oatmeal with these Blueberries, Almond Milk and Granola. If I'm in a hurry I'll have a rice cracker with PB and Honey.)

Monday: Lunch - Salad Bar at Whole Foods; Dinner - EAT OUT: Veggie Salad at Costa Vida

Tuesday: Lunch - EAT OUT with Company at Spencer's; Dinner - Meatless Stroganoff from the book E2 Diet

Wednesday: Lunch - PBJ and Salad; Dinner - These "Enchiladas" with refried beans, peppers, mushrooms and corn tortillas, and these Muffins

Thursday: Lunch - Leftovers; Dinner - Puffy Pancakes, with pure Maple Syrup, Organic Cage Free Eggs, Berries and Oranges (We like breakfast for dinner!)

Friday: Lunch - Tuna Salad and Salsa and Chips; Dinner - Sweet Vegetarian Chili and Sweet Potato Fries

Saturday: Lunch - I don't plan Saturday lunches; Dinner - EAT OUT

Sunday: Lunch - I don't plan Sunday lunches either; Dinner - Eat at the Brown's

Some extra treats I want and maybe will try: Pumpkin Bars, GF Cookies

So there you have it! Let me know what you think and share your recipes!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Meatless Tacos

Tacos have always been a favorite of mine. In fact, when we first got married we had tacos about once a week! I love a good crunch in my food and tacos deliver and I love the flavor.

More recently I have come up with a great Meatless Taco recipe and it is just as good as meat tacos.

That will be tomorrow's lunch!

So check it out...

(I made enough for 2-4 people so you will probably want to double it.)

1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1-2 peppers (green, red, yellow)
any other miscellaneous veggies (I added carrots)
handful of cilantro chopped
1 can drained black beans
1/2 package Lawry's (my personal fav) Taco Seasoning
1/2 tomato
1 avocado for guacamole
1 head Romaine lettuce
hard shell tacos or soft corn tortillas (gluten free option instead of flour tortillas)

1. Dice all the veggies in your Chop Wizard (or spend a lot more time and energy and do it by hand - seriously, every kitchen needs a Chop Wizard).

2. Throw chopped veggies in lightly oil panned (I used my Misto again) and sautee for 3-4 minutes

3. Add black beans and taco sauce - cook on medium for 2-3 more minutes

4. Remove from heat and add cilantro and fresh tomatoes

5. Prepare Guacamole - 1 avocado, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cilantro, more fresh tomatoes

6. Shred lettuce

7. Prepare taco and enjoy!

Add chips and enjoy! 

It was a lovely meal! I even turned my second helping into a Taco Salad. Tanner's brother was over for dinner and enjoyed our meatless tacos too!

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

BTW - there was a grand total of 5 dishes for prep!!! Love it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Yummy Vegetarian Dinner

We enjoyed a delicious Vegetarian dinner tonight.  The best part was that it was soooo easy. It took about 15 minutes total and I only used about 6 dishes. (Dish quantity is a huge factor for me when choosing what to make!)

So I thought I'd share -

Creamed Avocado and Lime Pasta with Quinoa (keen-wha) (gluten free) pasta. I've tried other GF pastas and Quinoa is the best! Most regular pastas are made with refined white flour, so going for another option is much healthier. Tanner even likes the quinoa pasta, it has a similar texture and taste. Your local grocery store should have it. (I know Macey's does.)

Took 5 seconds to whip up.

The avocado cream tastes very similar to Cafe Rio's house dressing. You wouldn't think to put it on pasta, but it is quite tasty and the side dish helps balance the flavor. I used Veganaise instead of Mayonaise. Veganaise is a wonderful vegan alternative to mayo. Follow Your Heart brand is my favorite. It's lower in fat and healthier for you because there are no animal products.

Then as a side dish we had baked Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese on top. Yummy! To make it lay parchment or wax paper on a cookie sheet and then after washing the Asparagus lay them in a row. They coat with oil. I use Grape Seed Oil whenever I am cooking with heat. Olive Oil doesn't have a high heat tolerance, so Grape Seed Oil is a better option. Most health food stores carry this.

And there's what's left of it!

I used to brush the oil on, but not anymore! I use my super cool Misto. You put in any oil you like and then pump and spray. It made the job a whole lot easier! Then top the Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese and cook at 425F for about 10 minutes.

Absolutely delish!

Last night I made these yummy GF Blueberry Muffins. So, I'll pass those along too.

Make it and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Do you always eat that healthy?

Recently my friend asked me, after I served up some of my non-sugar, gluten free treat, "Do you always eat this healthy?" I thought about it and said, "Yeah, I guess." I don't really notice "how healthy" I am . It's just the way I eat now. Healthy eating is like a hobby for me. I love food documentaries, food books, learning more about whole living and eating. It just interests me.

I think it started after I graduated from high school and started cooking for myself. I started exercising and wanted to live a healthy life. It was easy at home, my parents are both active and my mom is an excellent and healthy cook. So when I was on my own I started doing my research and getting more interested of how to keep it going.

The first few books that really made an impact in my journey were: The Schwarzbein Principle, French Women Don't Get Fat and The Fat Fallacy.

They all talk about eating a whole diet - balanced with vegetables and fruit, good proteins, healthy fats and whole carbohydrates.

Back when low-fat was a huge craze (still is) and all my roommates were buying skim milk I was getting Vitamin D milk (now I don't drink milk). And my body responded well to the full fat.

I've always been thin, so I've never been motivated to eat healthy to loose weight, but rather to maintain and improve my health. I am strong believer that all ailments can be healed by an improved diet. And you can reach optimal healthy by supporting your body with the best foods possible.

So what do I eat? Over the years I have become more educated about diet and lifestyle and slowly have built a very healthy lifestyle. So when my friend asked me, "Do you always eat this healthy?" I had to think about it, because it just is the way it has become.

Okay, so... I don't have milk or butter in my home. I use Almond Milk and Grapeseed or Olive or Coconut Oil instead. And I don't use Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil.

I don't use White Sugar. I use Sucanat, Agave, Stevia, Maple Syrup, Honey or Coconut Sugar.

I don't use White Flour. Actually, I have recently gone Gluten Free, so I don't use any Wheat Flours anymore either. I use a Gluten Free flour blend, Rice Flour or other such gluten free flours.

I don't eat regular pasta, but use Quinoa pasta.

I only use organic cage free eggs, either from the store or our chicken coop.

I eat meat about 1-2 times a week. I try and cook vegetarian meals most of the time. When I do cook meat at home I use Grass Fed Beef and Range Free Chicken.

I don't drink soda. Never been a fan. Although Natural Brew Root Beer is delish! So if it's on sale I'll splurge a little. But I usually end up with a headache afterwards due to sugar overload.

I don't eat packaged-processed foods - chips (except tortillas), cheesy crackers, sugar cereals, packaged dinners, etc.

I drink phytoplankton and clay in the morning. :)

I eat fish occasionally (Salmon and Tuna).

I drink a green smoothie about 4-5 times a week.

I eat lots of raw nuts and seeds.

I use organic ketchup and other sauces.

And recently I have started buying mostly organic produce, but in the season I use items from the garden!

I'm not writing this to brag. Not at all. But to give and share ideas.

There are definitely people that are healthier than me! See here. I tried her way for 5 days and almost died! Eating is a personal thing and "to each their own." But I believe that most people just need more education to know what is out there and the options that are available.

You may look at the way I eat and be overwhelmed. I probably would have been too, if I read this 2 years ago. I have slowly become this way little by little. And you can too. If it feels right. That's important too. Going at your pace and listening to your body along the way.

And I'm

I love Red Mango.

I eat ice cream occasionally - especially if it's really good - like Strawberry Hagen-Daaz, or a Magnum bar.

Mine and Tanner's favorite (and only) fast food joint we hit up for a quick snack is Del Taco. We like the 49 cent tacos and the bean cup. (Although I did some research and I think the beans have gluten in them....)

I love chocolate and eat it. Chocolate chips with Almonds, Lindt balls.... yum!

I have tried to go off cheese as I would like to avoid dairy, but cheese is yummy! So I'm not there yet, but trying alternatives.

Tanner and I love to get Cafe Rio's Vegetarian Salad to share (I don't eat the flour tortilla). It's only $7 and so filling. We eat there at least once a week. I also love their Chicken Tortilla Soup so I'll eat the chicken in that.

And although I think HFCS is nasty and should be avoided at all costs, I do have a little candy every once and a while. Some of my most recent temptations include Peanut M&M's and Tootsie Pops (funny, huh?!). I don't ever buy it, but if someone has a candy bowl I just might help myself.

So there you have it. A little briefing on my diet or "eating lifestyle." I am excited to share more of what I make and eat - now that I'm not taunted by food pictures anymore. :) I have already posted a few healthy recipes and tips on here on my blog. I hope you have been finding those helpful!

What have you done over time to improve your diet?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten and Sugar Free)

I got together with my friends today and made some healthy treats to take to the get-together. They loved the Chocolate Zucchini Bread I made and wanted the recipe. Sometimes I hesitate to post my recipes and makings on my blog because I don't want to go to the trouble to type it all up and take fancy pictures of the end product. I guess I could just take a picture of it on my iPhone and call it good. Food is food, right?! That's what I always say when I mess something up while serving it.

Me and my beautiful friends and their sweet babies!

I love fancy food photos - they make the food look so tempting! But I always forget to take the pictures, if I was planning to. Plus the lighting in my kitchen isn't good for photos, and I don't want to clean everything up in order to take the picture - I just want to sink my teeth into what I just made. :)

So.... I'm just going to share the link.

You'll love this recipe. It is like chocolate cake... but better!

So without further is the recipe (with pictures and all!)

(Well, after I posted this I thought I'd take a picture (my style) of what was left!)

I made 5 changes.

1. I used Sucanat (bought at Costco) instead of Coconut Sugar.
2. I used plain liquid Stevia, not Vanilla. (You can find Stevia in the healthy section of the baking isle of most grocery stores.)
3. I used a Gluten Free flour blend instead of Coconut Flour. You could use regular Wheat Flour or any kind of flour and I think it would turn out fine.
4. I added Pecans! (About 1/3 cup)
5. I also added a chocolate icing made with melted chocolate chips and a little Almond Milk. Yum!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baby Update - 12 Weeks

I'm thrilled to report that Baby Brown is doing great. We had our 12 week check-up yesterday and the heartbeat was nice and strong! And the doctor said my pulse was as healthy as can be!

I have been so excited to go to the doctor just to get an update. The riskiest time of pregnancy is the 6-12 week mark so I was so happy to know we were doing great and everything is looking good. I knew in my heart that all was well, but I would still get little worries sneaking in every now and then. But not anymore!

My sweet grandma made Baby Brown a little beanie and it's sooooo tiny. When I opened the gift my heart dropped a couple inches - "Holy cow! I'm going to really have a tiny little baby in my arms soon - that's MINE." Wow!

The other night I had a quick glimpse of how different our lives are going to be once child #1 comes into our lives! I'm sure I still don't even comprehend the changes. But I'm excited. It's time. I've always been super excited to be a mom and I know it will be amazing.

I am feeling much better this last week (although I did throw up this morning...that was unexpected). I have more energy and I am able to exercise more. I get less nausea with food. So all in all things are looking great!!!

The next fun thing will be finding the gender!!! I have an inkling I am having a boy, but my mom thought I'd be a boy to the day I was born and I'm not... So... who knows?

What do YOU think it's going to be?! Let's have some fun! Answer the poll on the side and we'll see what everyone thinks!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Forks Over Knives

I just watched the new movie Forks Over Knives and found it very interesting and educational. I would highly recommend it to anyone that's ready to make some food changes - or to anyone that wants to know why they are sick.

It features Colin Campbell who wrote The China Study, which I am currently reading. And is basically an expansion on that book.

The overall premise is that you should eat vegetables (with your fork) and no animal protein (a knife). It claims that animal protein (meat, dairy and eggs) cause heart disease and other diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, etc., etc.

It is amazing the studies they have done to prove it's validity. There is one man in the movie that was on 8 medications to keep his cholesterol and blood sugars from getting any higher. He switched to a whole-foods, plant-based diet and within 3 weeks he lost 30 pounds, his cholesterol dropped like 120 points, he was completely off the medications that were costing him $200 a month. He was noticeably happier and healthier.

I totally agree with this movie. It makes soooo much sense and it's amazing that all the proof is staring us in the face. Americans are getting sicker and sicker every year - and it's all because of what we eat!!!

As most of you already know, I am a pretty healthy eater, but since being pregnant I have been desiring more processed foods, sugars, ice creams, etc. and have allowed more of those into my diet. And in my need to EAT I have let some commercial (restaurant) meats and menu items slip into my diet as well.

This movie came at a good time, as Tanner and I have been more focused on what we want our diets to look like.

I struggle in the kitchen sometimes - what to eat?, how to make it?, will Tanner like it?, want it to be healthy, but how?, etc. So last night after spending way too much time in the kitchen on dinner, Tanner and I sat down and came up with 17 dinner meals, 6 lunch meals and a few breakfast and snack ideas that we are going to pull from this month. And once a week I will make a new vegetarian dish and if it's good we'll add it to the mix. We chose items we know we love, are easy, have few dishes, and are inexpensive.

Not all of them are vegetarian meals, which I would like to get to eventually. I tend to freak out after seeing movies like this and want to change everything dramatically. But I am going to take it one week at a time. And when I do cook with meat I will use it as a flavoring and not the main dish.

I think it's important too after learning this kind of stuff to ask yourself, "That's what they say, but what do I say?" In other words, what is going to work for my life, right now? (Although the evidence is pretty astounding and makes me want to do what they say, all in good time.)

Here is a copy of our menu for the week:
(I didn't include breakfast which will most likely be a Green Smoothie or oatmeal and fruit.)

If you have any yummy plant-based menu items, please share!!! Go watch the movie and let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

BIG news at the Brown's!

Well, I'll just get right to it...

That's right folks, (if you did your math correctly) we're having a baby! Baby Brown #1. And we're so excited. It happened a lot faster than expected so I was a little shocked and naturally anxious, but now that the news has settled we are so thrilled and so grateful!

I am almost 10 weeks and due on May 1st. The perfect time to have a baby - I guess...

So I found out August 20th - the night I got home from our HUGE Dressing Your Truth Annual Event. I was suspicious I might be pregnant (for the obvious reason) plus I was breaking out and had an unusual amount of un-welcomed zits. And 2 weeks prior I opened a fortune cookie from Pei Wei and found a fortune that read, "Your dearest wish will come true within the month." I knew.

And of course,  I saved it.

Right after we found out we went on a family vacation to Hawaii and I kept my lips shut. Seriously, the last 5 weeks have been so long. I have had to check myself from blurting it out or saying anything too obvious that would give it away. Some people figured it out though. 

We told Sarah and Chris first - they guessed it. And when I told my friend Veronica, she said, "I knew when you bought Junior Mints, something was up." Haha.

We went to see my midwife at 8 weeks (I thought I was actually a week further when we went in) to check the heartbeat. She couldn't hear it right away so she got the ultrasound machine out and we got to see the little peanut and the heart beating! It was soooo cool. I have seen ultrasound pictures before and they are just fuzzy black and white pics that don't really mean a lot, but man, when it's your own - it is the coolest thing ever!

We then waited until my birthday weekend to tell family.

In my Type 2, want-to-be-prepared-and-plan-ahead-ness, I thought long and hard about how I wanted to tell everyone. I had so much fun doing so!

Here's how I told...

My sister, Jenny: She lives in West Virginia, so I sent her an unannounced piece of mail with the 1+2=3 picture and a copy of the ultrasound. She had no idea and called me screaming and shouting! She said, I am laying down. She was sooooo excited. It was so much fun!!!

The Brown Family: We did a little early birthday celebration on Saturday and Tanner gave me a BYU onsie. When I opened it they knew immediately what it meant - well, except for my mother-in-law who thought it was BYU socks for a while. But she figured it out. They were thrilled. (Listen for when McKinley gasps and says, "You guys..." She figured it out first.) I think Tanner was a little excited and forgot to turn the camera to them, but you can see them at the end!

The Tuttle Family: We celebrated my birthday on Sunday and before I started opening my gifts I gave a small gift to my parents. A family picture we had taken in Hawaii that I got framed for them, as well as some individual pictures of each couple, in which I snuck the ultrasound and the 1+2=3 picture. When my mom got to the ultrasound she didn't put it together until she saw the 1+2=3 picture behind it. You can see the shock in both my parent's faces in the video.

Friends: I mailed out the 1+2=3 photo to a few friends. I love to think of the look on their face when they open it.

Work: We had a work party the other night and I said I had a quick work announcement, "As the head of Events and Products, they needed to mark May 1st on their calendar for a very important package that will be arriving." They looked at me funny for a second and then I said, "In other words...I'm pregnant!"

So fun!

For the most part I have been feeling really good. I have had a few occasions of morning sickness. The worst has been food aversion and feeling sick because I'm not eating enough. I had a little bit of a cold for a few days as well. But overall, I feel blessed to feel so good.

I am so excited to share the news with all of you!!! Thanks for your love and support.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hawaii with the Fam!

Aloha! I've been to Hawaii about 26 times in my life! I know! Crazy. My grandparents have a beach house over there so all we have to do is get ourselves over there and there's a camp waiting for us. It's hard to say no to. Plus, my mom is a Type 3 and she likes to do stuff - so for a while we were going there twice a year! 

But I have to say there are definitely a few trips that stand out among the rest. And this was one of them!

I mean look at those faces!!! I love my little nephews. They are sweet like sugar!

Joseph, 2 years, Type 3

Seth, 4 years, Type 4

We had a lot of fun playing in the water! Joseph is fearless! Seth likes to take his time.

Seth was more a sand guy.

I'm amazed how kids know how to navigate technology so well.
They love Angry Birds!
Look at that little duck face!
Well, I guess they learned it somewhere....

Just can't get enough of it!

Oh yeah, Tanner was on this trip too. He's such a good sport - he knows how much I love these little boys and lets me play with them to my heart's content.

Love these pictures!

 At the Dole Plantation on the Train Tour.

Pretty Rainbow! 

I love my family! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a great trip!