Hello Fall! Moroccan Soup and Kale Salad

Happy October! We are loving this awesome Arizona fall weather! With 80 degrees being my favorite degree, this is my favorite time of year!  Time to bring out the long sleeves and pants, for the morning at least! By lunch time it starts to warm up again and we have to put back on our tanks tops and shorts.

Maeve demos fall wear. IMG_6339

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We took our family vacation a little late this year and headed over to Coronado Island, CA. It was the perfect time to go! Warm in the day, chilly in the night. the tourist (expect for us) were MIA and only the locals seem to be going about their daily business.

We stayed in a guest house of one of the many charming houses on the island. It was small but had a kitchen, a little living area with a futon, bathroom, and porch with a grill. Perfect for all our needs!

Since I am doing Body Back with Stroller Strides, I wanted to make sure I could make most of our meals at home, plus going out to eat with an active 15 month old is not the most fun thing to do. 2013-10-15 05.49.35

Everyday we headed to beach. Maevie was not a fan of the water but she LOVED playing in the sand. Running and rolling in it, she had the best of times!2013-10-15 23.31.08

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Everywhere hubby and I have traveled to we take a picture of our feet in that location. We have pictures in Poland, Berlin, Prague, Kaui, and the all places we have visited in US. This is the first time we have been on vacation with our little monkey. 2013-10-15 23.31.51

One of just us. Then we added in our sweet pea. 2013-10-15 23.32.24

So much fun to add in her little chubby feet! 2013-10-15 23.32.29

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Daddy is so much! 2013-10-19 21.26.352013-10-19 21.26.382013-10-19 21.58.02

After a wonderful, relaxing week I was happy to get back to our bed and my spice cupboard! I had been searching for a new soup recipe when I came across a few that looked good. I combined them and poof it was magic, this delicious soup came about. You must really try it! Next time I think I’ll add zucchini and put in a little less quinoa other than that it was awesome!

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I also made a Fall Kale salad to add a little freshness to our meal. It turned out great as well. 2013-10-21 05.28.322013-10-21 05.28.362013-10-21 05.28.432013-10-21 05.29.232013-10-21 05.29.36

Moroccan Soup

Ingredients:
2 tbs coconut oil
1 medium onion, small dice
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp chili flakes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 dates, pitted + chopped
4 carrots, chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 large sweet potato, peeled + chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
4 cups vegetable stock (or more, depending)
1 yellow pepper, stemmed and chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
2 cups (or a 14-15 ounce can) cooked chickpeas
salt + pepper
1 cup of finely chopped kale

1 cup of dry quinoa, cooked according to directions, I like to cook mine in chicken broth

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and lower heat until they are sizzling kind of quietly. Once the onions are a bit soft and translucent, add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and chili flakes. Slowly sauté and stir this mix until the onions are really, really soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped dates, carrots and sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices and oil. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are just tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Add the chopped yellow peppers and chickpeas and stir the soup. Season the whole thing again with salt and pepper. Simmer until the yellow peppers are tender and the sweet potatoes are quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked quinoa to the pot. (I added all of the quinoa, but use as little or as much as you like). Add the greens to the pot (and more stock if necessary) and cook for 1 minute, or until just-wilted. Serve with a bit of fresh parsley on top for garnish, and good looks :)

Fall Kale Salad

Ingredients
1 bunch of flat leaf/dinosaur kale
1/4 cup of very finely sliced red cabbage
half a granny smith apple, finely sliced
5 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/8 cup of pepitas/pumpkin seeds (or your favorite nut!)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs raw honey

Combine the top four ingredients. Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Taste the dressing and make sure it is to your liking. If you like sweeter dressing add more honey. More sour you say? Add more lemon. Top the dressing into the salad then toss with the pepitas. Enjoy!

What Makes Me Feel Good

Finally! Fall has arrived! For us Phoenicians fall is like the rest of the country’s spring. We suffer half the year and the other half we brag.

When snow storms and blizzards are keeping people in doors for the winter we are celebrating with dinner on the patio and street festivals.

It is the end of September and change is in the air. People aren’t quite as grumpy. Flowers blooming. The pool doesn’t feel like a bath tub. Yes, fall is here.

Children at night

A few weekends ago we took a not so pretty drive northwest from Phoenix through Wikenburg to Date Creek Ranch. They opened their orchards to people who bought their beef. We were able picked apples and pears. It was a great time. (Check out my mom’s full blog post here to learn more! Visit to Date Creek Ranch)

family picking time

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Since I am trying to kick my nightly habit of desserts I haven’t been trying any new recipes but last night I was weak and I gave in. I had to use my pears before they went bad you know!

I ended up making this delicious Pear Custard Pie (SCD, Grain/Refined Sugar Free) from a great cooking blog Flip Cookbook. Oh boy, let me tell you, it was good!

Pear Custard Pie

I always feel so loved when I am baking. Hubby all the sudden starts telling me how much he loves me and appreciates me, gives me little kisses as he walks by. Then at the end of cleaning up, I figured out why. He just wants me to make him treats!!!!

I understand the love for someone who makes you happy and I guess treats make him happy, therefore he loves me when I makes treats. I get it. But I do feel a little used…

The other thing we have been using our apples for is apple sauce! It is the best thing ever! It is easiest thing ever to make, it makes you feel silly buying it from the store. All you do it peel and core your apples (you don’t even have to chop them). Put them in your crockpot on low for a few hours. That’s it! I love love love cinnamon so I add a ton of that too. Like a tablespoon or more to five cups of sliced apples.

We like to add a little bit of greek yogurt and a few pecans for a scrumptious breakfast.

Maeve digging into the apple sauce-greek-yogurt-pecan-delight! Breakfast

This is what else is up around the Cheney house hold:

With lot’s of Maeve’s little friends turning one, we have been to lots of parties this summer.

All ready maeve

Party time

giggles

OOO Maeve

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First Birthday – My Wish

Happy Birthday to my sweet darling.

This year has gone faster than I could have ever imagined. I can almost certainly say that time doubles once you have a baby. It seems just like yesterday that I was rocking my newborn baby. Now here she is, giggling and laughing. Moving so quickly I can barely catch her. I love every little thing about her. Sometimes I can hardly stand it.

Now that I have a one year old I can confidently tell younger mothers to cherish every single moment, because even those never ending nights of crying that seem like they will never end, do. And maybe not too quickly for an over exhausted mother, but before you know it she is going to be wiggling out of your arms yearning to be let down to run free. Really, before you know it.

Now that I sit down and take a moment to reflect on the past year it reminds me to appreciate the time that I have now. To bathe in and embrace each moment. To put down my phone or book and observe her play. To absorb the little chatter noises that she makes. To memorize the soft curves of her hands that lay gently on my chest as she sleeps. These are the moments that go all too quickly. I can’t stand thinking of letting that get away from me. Even though I know I can’t stop it.

I can document it though. And that is what I wish to do. A memory is made with stories and pictures. Each memory I have as a child comes with it an image in my mind or picture from a photo album. I want my sweet pea to remember the love that surrounds her at this time in life. This is why I wish to take pictures and write stories. Then, when she gets old enough we can sit together, read the journal I have been keeping for her and look at pictures that hold more than words can describe. What fun it will be.

So, to my little monkey bear, this is what I wish for you…

Stay true to yourself.
Don’t let what others think of you determine what you think of yourself
Laugh all you want
Cry all you want
Know it’s okay to be beautiful on the outside
Strive to be beautiful on the inside
You don’t have to be perfect
Listen to others, even if you don’t agree.
Know what you believe and be able to defend it
Always keep learning, expand your brain
It’s never too late to try new things
Love in all things
Love God
Love your mom
Most of all, know that I love you, no matter what

Love, mommy

She’s loves music so much. Here she is being sung to for the second time on her actual birth day.

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A few pictures playing about here and there. Then pictures from her birthday party. What fun it was to plan a party for my sweetie.
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Easy Stuffed Zucchini

IMG_5446With zucchini busting from every corner of the garden (and the grocery store) it’s hard for me not to think about zucchini bread. I sure love my carbs and what sounds healthier than vegetable filled carbs!? But I can only make zucchini bread so many times in one week, and can I really feed just bread to my hubs for dinner? The funny thing is I probably could and he would love it!

Fortunately zucchini is a great base for many dishes. One of my favorite is stuffed zucchini.

Here is my version of stuffed zucchini. There are so many ways to make this dish but this is how I usually do it. Feel free to get creative and use what you have on hand.

Ingredients

4 zucchinis
1 cup of cooked qunioa
1 onion, chopped
1/2 large tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Add any other spices you like
1/4 cup black olives, sliced or chopped
1/2 cup cheese grated, I used half extra sharp cheddar and half mozzarella

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash the zucchini. Slice them in half length-ways. I leave the ends on, makes for less chopping!

Spoon out the insides (leave about 1/2 an inch in) until you end up with boat like shells.

Now give the zucchini pulp a good chop, also chop a small onion and 1/2 a tomato while you’re at it.

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In a pan heat olive oil on med. Add the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. When onion is fragrant and translucent add the tomato and seasonings. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

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Transfer the cooked onion/garlic/tomato mixture to a large bowl. Add the zucchini pulp and olives, then mix together with the cooked quinoa.

Line a baking pan with tin foil or parchment paper. Put the zucchini boats in. Grab a spoon and fill the shells with the mix. Sprinkle some cheese on top.They’re best served straight out of the oven.

Cook about 20 minutes and then turn on the grill until the top is golden brown.

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IMG_5447 IMG_5448 IMG_5449What’s your favorite ingredients for stuffed zucchini? Leave me a comment below!

Caitlin

Paleo Chocolate Cake with Coconut Honey Frosting or Baby’s First Birthday Cake

As you know baking is one of my favorite past times. I frequently search Pinterest for gluten/grain/dairy/sugar free deserts. With the rise of Paleo eating people (paleoites?) it has been much easier to find fun, creative and delicious recipes.

A while back I was looking for a birthday cake recipe for my baby cousin’s 1st birthday. I wanted something that he could dig his chubby little hands into and smash in his mouth, without him having the high’s and low’s of a sugar filled cake.IMG_5542IMG_5547

As I scanned through my pins I found this Paleo Chocolate Birthday Cake. It was a perfect fit for this occasion. So I went ahead and made it, twice actually. 

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The cake ended being perfect! I’ve made it several times since then and it is now in the running for my baby girl’s first birthday cake. IMG_5517