Friday Favs: Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Happy Friday! Little man could wake up from his nap at any moment but I really wanted to get this post out so I’m making it snappy!! I noticed the theme of this post is chocolate and peanut butter…it doesn’t get much better!

FRIDAY FAVS! Linking up with my lady, Katie!

1. Shrimp, veggie, and black bean noodle fresh spring rolls. Inside the roll: black bean noodles (from Costco), carrots, green onions, cucumber, shrimp and basil. The best part of this whole plate: the peanut sauce! 

shrimp spring rolls

2. This trio of oils to help me fight through seasonal allergies…allergy trio young living

3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse pie made by yours truly for Easter. I used this recipe: Chocolate Bottomed Peanut Butter Pie and used almond milk instead of cow’s milk because that’s what I had on hand. This pie did not disappoint!peanut butter chocolate pie

4. Thieves household cleaner. We use this to clean our entire house! Chemical-free is the way to be. I love love the cinnamon smell!thieves cleaner

5. This snack mix from my Easter basket that I demolished in less than 48 hours. My favorite part was the large M & M eggs of course!snack mix

6. Watching Bode grow and develop such a fun personality! He is giggling so much and snickering and nothing makes me happier than hearing those sweet little sounds!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Ham, Bacon & Potato Soup

What oh what to do with those delicious Easter leftovers from yesterday’s celebrations? Make some soup of course!

Ham, bacon, potato, veggies…..you know you want to.

ham bacon and potato soup   ham bacon and potato soup

I whipped this together in about 45 minutes and was SO pleased with the end result!

After I snapped these photos I sprinkled a generous handful of cheddar cheese on top so that it melted into this perfect bowl of soup. Um, YUM!

Recipe adapted/inspired from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cheesy-ham-chowder

Ham, Bacon & Potato Soup
Print
Serves: 3-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 5 pieces of bacon (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1½ cups potato, chopped into about 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup corn
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup ham, diced
  • cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • green onions, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon until crispy using your preferred method. I cooked mine on the stove top in a large pan. Remove from heat once cooked through. Let cool. Once cool, chop into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. In that same pan, saute onion, carrots, and celery in butter. Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  3. Add potato, corn, chicken broth, water, and black pepper to the pan. Simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Add cooked ham and cooked bacon to the pan. Stir. Let simmer for 10 more minutes.
  5. Serve hot with cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions (all optional).

Go get busy in the kitchen.

Pumping Breastmilk While Traveling Without Baby (Stress-Free)

This post is still food related, just in the form of food for baby: breastmilk! I have been through quite the whirlwind of a breastfeeding journey. I would love to share that story some day but first I want to share my experience with pumping breastmilk on a vacation to the Bahamas without baby in tow. I learned a lot in planning and executing and would love to help anyone else who may be planning to travel away from baby!

I bet you didn’t even know I went to the Bahamas huh? We went for a few days while little Bode stayed with Grandma and Grandpa. Saying good-bye obviously brought me to tears but I was still able to enjoy myself while we were there. How could I not with these views?

bahamas bahamas

And these chocolates waiting for us in our room…

bahamas

And this handsome husband…

bahamas

And swimming with the dolphins!

bahamas

Ok, back on subject now. Pumping while traveling away from baby.

Now, mind you, I am someone who really doesn’t mind nursing in public with a cover on. I realize some people aren’t comfortable with this and that is okay. But you know what, we all eat in public, and baby needs to eat too!

Pumping while traveling away from baby took some planning. I needed to figure out how I would pump with the flying and travel time, what I would do with the milk once it was pumped, how I would get it home, etc.

In my carry-on bag:

  • Breastpump including all of the parts
  • Covers for the pumped milk in medela bottles
  • Quick clean wipes (Medela makes these to use when you don’t have access to water to clean your parts)
  • Gallon ziploc bag for the used pump parts after they were cleaned
  • Nursing cover
  • Pump bra
  • Breast pads
  • Breastmilk storage bags (used while at the resort, not on the flight)

What I wore:

On the way out, I made sure to wear something that I could easily slide down inconspicuously underneath the nursing cover. I wore a maxi skirt, a tank top and nursing bra with a cardigan. A nursing tank would be great too. On the way home I managed with a different t-shirt and it worked out ok because I knew I didn’t have to pump in flight.

Pumping on the Plane:

Did you know most planes have electric outlets by the seats? I learned that on this trip (hubby told me ahead of time). You can use them to charge your phone, laptop, or for a breastpump!

When it came time to pump, I got my pump all plugged in, grabbed the pump parts, draped the nursing cover over my head, put on the pumping bra, got all set up with the pump parts, plugged her in and turned on the pump! The plane’s white noise is so loud that no one even heard the “wee-wop” of the pump!

Once I was done pumping, I casually cleaned up. I took off the pump parts and the nursing bra, situated my clothes, took off the nursing cover, put the covers on the medela milk bottles, cleaned the pump parts, turned off the pump and put everything away.

TA DA! It can be done!

On the way home I pumped in the airport in the Bahamas. Unlike other airports, there was nowhere private for me to pump (that I knew of anyway) so I plunked myself down in a quiet area of the airport and did my thing. There was one older lady walking laps and she gave me a weird look—I gave her a weird look right back. :wink: Kidding. Kinda. I don’t care.

pumping airport

Storing Pumped Milk

Before we arrived at our resort, we contacted them and asked for a room with a fridge. This was arranged and all of my pumped milk went into the fridge. We were only staying at the resort for three days so the plan was to refrigerate the milk for those few days and then freeze it when I got home. Otherwise if I were to freeze it at the resort, and then if it were to thaw in flight, I would have to use it within 24 hours “technically.” The milk can be refrigerated fresh for five days. Another huge time saver was I bought some medela pump bags that attach right to the pump so you don’t have to worry about pumping into the bottle and then pouring into the bags to refrigerate or freeze.

Getting the Milk Home

Again, some pre-planning involved here. I bought a little collapsible cooler and brought it along. Right before we left for our flight home, I double checked that all of the pumped milk bags were sealed tightly, placed them upright in the cooler bag and headed to the airport. Once we were at the airport, we had a bartender fill up a ziploc bag (one we provided) with ice. We placed the bag of ice on the milk. This kept the milk cold and at safe temperatures all the way home! Once we arrived home, we froze the milk!

Ta da…again, it can be done!

Other Thoughts

  • When we got to the resort, our room wasn’t ready. At this point it had been about six hours since I had last pumped, and I was getting uncomfortable. I was bummed that the resort didn’t offer me a space to pump when I asked them. I did bring a manual breastpump and in hindsight I should have just gone somewhere and used that but manual breastpumps really suck. HA! But it is good to have it along in case of emergencies.
  • On vacation, it is easy to get dehydrated. Make sure you are drinking PLENTY of WATER!
  • If you are going to enjoy a Bahama mama, make sure you plan it out accordingly with when you will be pumping. Ex: pump and then enjoy soon after.

Did I miss anything? Let me know!

This may all seem like a lot of work, but in all honesty, it wasn’t that bad. If it’s worth it to you, you will make it work!

If you have any questions fee free to email me at beautifullynutty@gmail.com. Obviously I’m no expert, but I did do it once and feel pretty good about what I learned! I would love to help others be successful with this and make it as stress-free as possible!

I Wish Someone Would Have Warned Me…

I am feeling incredibly warm and fuzzy (and emotional) after reading a post written by Jen Hatmaker titled, “I Wish Someone Would Have Warned Me About All These Big Feelings.”

Link: http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/i-wish-someone-wouldve-warned-me-about-these-big-feelings

She puts into words how it feels to be a mom and describes the way we feel about our kids.

The love that we have for our children is a love that we could never imagine in our wildest dreams. It’s a kind of love that almost scares you because it is so BIG and it is the best thing in the world. You can’t ever imagine the thought of loving your child more than you already do and then you wake up the next day, and see that sweet smile, and you realize that you love them even MORE than you did yesterday. How is that possible? The heart is capable of so much love. How can one little human have so much power over a person?

I don’t need to add much more because her article speaks for itself. Please read it!

I love my little Bode with all of my heart and soul.

How to Make State Canvas Art

A lovely friend of mine wanted me to share how I made this little beauty…

minnesota state art

And I’m not about to let her down, so here it goes!

How to Make Canvas State Art:

1. I went to the craft store and bought:

  • A white canvas: choose whatever size works best for your space
  • A piece of heavier duty gold glitter paper
  • Navy blue spray paint
  • Red puffy paint
  • Super glue

2. At home, I sprayed the canvas (outside) covering the surface completely. I let it dry and did a second coat. Again, let dry.

3. Meanwhile, google your state and print out it’s shape. I had to copy and paste mine into a word document and then enlarge it to get the size I wanted. Once printed, carefully cut out the paper state.

4. Lay the cut out state onto the backside of your glitter paper (making sure that the state will be the correct way, glitter side up once cut out; this means the state needs to be backwards when traced on the back of the glitter paper. Think about it). Use a pencil to trace the state. Carefully cut it out.

5. Once canvas is completely dried, carefully super glue the glitter state onto the center of the canvas.

6. Use puffy paint to draw a heart where your home city lies!

7. Hang art where you desire and enjoy!

Imperfections are not a big deal! They give the art more character. :wink:

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve with Almond Breeze

Thank you for all of the love on my last post. It means so much to us. Each day is getting a little bit easier but I still find myself doing things like closing the bathroom door when we leave the house (so he doesn’t sneak in and raid the garbage) and waiting for his howl when the UPS guy comes by. It will take a long time to get used to not having our big guy around. Forever loved and remembered.

moose

 

*************************

On a different note…

I teamed up with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and whipped up an incredibly delicious (and healthy) dessert or snack!

I’ve mentioned it before and I will mention it again: Banana Soft Serve. This time I added cocoa powder and peanut butter to create Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve!!

chocolate peanut butter banana soft serve

This is the EASIEST dessert ever!

All you need is:

  • frozen bananas (about one medium or large banana per person)
  • A few splashes of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop of peanut butter (I generally use Smuckers Natural but used Smart Balance this time)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of cocoa powder (add more or less to your liking)
  • Optional: vanilla wafers and sprinkles to top the creamy soft serve

almond breeze banana soft serve

In your blender, blend bananas, almond milk, cocoa powder, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy.

banana soft serve

banana soft serve

Serve it up and eat right away! Feel free to top the creamy soft serve with vanilla wafers, fresh berries, sprinkles, chocolate chips, whipped cream, or whatever you have around!

Smooth and creamy and such a naturally sweet little dessert!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

The Best Pup Ever

This past week, we lost our little fur baby way too early at just 7 young years. Moose passed suddenly from a massive tumor that had been growing around his spleen, under his rib cage. He showed no signs of pain or change. Dana and I were away on vacation when he passed and the vet said that was his gift to us; that we didn’t have to see him suffer at all. We got to see him as our happy big bear.

I never allowed myself to think much about what it would be like when he was gone, and now that I’m living it, it is so much harder than I could have even imagined. He was such a huge part of our lives and a loving member of our family. Everything we do reminds us of him. We keep thinking he is going to come running around the corner with one of his toys or greeting us when we get home from grocery shopping. It’s so strange not letting him outside, petting him as he goes by, and having him always by our side.

We miss him so dearly. He was seriously the best dog ever. His biggest fault was that he gave too many kisses. He was such a lover.

We will forever remember and love you our big Moosebear. I hope you are enjoying endless peanut butter, glorious runs, and lots of puppy friends in heaven. Thank you for all of the great memories!

moose and dana moose kisses for moose Moose polar dash 2013 moose moose and melanie moose moose

Chocolate Chip Date Cookies

Happy Friday! I’m keeping it short and naturally sweet…

MAKE THESE NOW!

chocolate chip date cookies chocolate chip date cookies

 

K, that was a little bossy but seriously, you should make these. These cookies are sweetened with dates and dark chocolate chips, are grain free and insanely delicious in my opinion!

Chocolate chip date cookies recipe courtesy of:  https://cheffingit.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/date-sweetened-chocolate-chip-cookies/

This girl knocked it out of the park.

YUM.

xoxo

Spread the Kindness & Giveaway WINNER!

Random acts of kindness day is coming up on February 17th, but you don’t have to wait until then to do something nice! Here are some ideas of how you can spread the kindness around everyday…

  • Smile and say hello to a stranger
  • Pay it forward
  • Bring treats to friends
  • Send flowers to a friend
  • Send a relative a hand-written note

Here are some more ideas! http://greatist.com/discover/february-challenge-kindness-2015  #28daysofkind

WINNER WINNER

Thank you all for playing along in the KIND bar giveaway! Random.org (random number generator) randomly selected….

Barbara Montag! 

Congrats to you, Barbara! Please email me at beautifullynutty@gmail.com with your address by next Friday, February 13th so that we can get your Kind bars shipped out to you!

Happy weekend to you all! Do something KIND today!

My KIND of Giveaway!

So here’s what happened…I wrote up this post on Friday to link up with Katie’s Friday Favorites but neglected to post it. I realize it’s now Monday but you know what? I’m still going to post because there is a serious treat at the end of the post!

My “Monday” Favs:

1. My family. My family is ALWAYS on my favorite list because they are incredible day in and day out.

2. My first postpartum outdoor run. On Thursday, I bundled up and hit the pavement for a 2.25 mile run! I was kind of nervous about it because I hadn’t run for over a year and I was afraid I would be disappointed with how out of shape I am, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went! Moose was my motivator through it all. Plus, the frigid wind got me running faster too—it got me home faster! To think that this run was about 30 degrees warmer than this one…

Polar Dash 2013

dana and melanie polar dash 2013

I have some toughening up to do!

3. Supportive moms.

4. Caribou Coffee. K, so really this may be a least favorite to my wallet, but a favorite to my tummy and to-do list. So delicious. I’ve actually informally vowed to myself not to buy any signature ($5) drinks from any coffee shops for the whole month of February.

caribou

5. The KIND Snacks company for sending me these delicious bars! They are the perfect on-the-go snack.

KINDLogo_Pantone_Pos

kind snacks

They sent me:

  • Kind Fruit and Nut bars: whole nut and fruit bars
  • Kind Plus bars: whole nut and fruit bars plus a nutritional boost
  • Kind Nuts and Spices: made with whole nuts flavored with delicious spices
  • Kind Healthy Grain bars: granola bars made with five super grains: Gluten Free Oats, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth and Buckwheat

Talk about spoiling me, right?!

What I love about these products is that I can pronounce all of the ingredients and they are absolutely delicious and healthy.

And you know what else I love about them?! They are offering all of you 15% off and free shipping on a case of KIND using the code KINDNUTRITION! You have the entire month of February to use it (limit one per customer)!! Don’t miss out on this!

And if that weren’t enough, they are also going to give away a prize pack of 10 BARS to one of my Beautifully Nutty readers!

kind bar

Enter to win by :

1. Like Beautifully Nutty on Facebook

and/or

2. Tweet “I want to win @KINDSnacks from @NuttyMelanie! http://www.beautifullynutty.com/kind-giveaway/”

Do both for two chances to win! Just make sure you comment on this post telling me what you did! 

You have until Thursday, February 5th to enter. On Friday I will randomly select one winner!

Have fun, be KIND!

Disclaimer: I received free products from KIND but all opinions expressed on the products are 100% my own!