Dairy Free and 15 Meals in My Freezer

So far in this venture I have given up coffee, only to add it back the next week, and dairy. I know some people would argue that dairy is, in fact good for you. I am not interested in arguing. What I do know is that I have given up dairy twice in my life, once while I was vegan in my twenties and once when N was still nursing and had a cow’s milk intolerance. Both times  my skin and sinuses were clearer; and I felt overall better.

So I’m giving it a go again. Unlike when I was vegan, I don’t plan on dreaming about gelato at night (I literally did.) and constantly thinking about the the tablespoon of real cream I want to put in my coffee. If I really want it I’ll have it. But overall I’m going to try to cut it out. This, along with my plan to add more veggies , led me to Pinterest last night and the grocery store today where I got all of this edible goodness for just $210.

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I cooked for at least four hours. And now there are fifteen freezer meals in my freezer not counting the taco soup we had for dinner! I’ve only done freezer cooking one other time (when N was getting ready to make her world debut). It feels really really good to know that there is a freezer full of meals in my kitchen and that I won’t have to worry about cooking dinner for several weeks. I love that all of the meals are relatively goood for us too. That I saved a ton of money from buying in bulk and not letting anything go bad before I had a chance to cook it is an added bonus.

Here are the recipes I used. I doubled most of them to make two meals for the freezer.

Chicken Barbeque Roast

Red Beans and Rice

I used turkey instead of beef in the next three recipes.

Taco Soup


Sloppy Joes

Vegetable Soup

Red Lentil Curry

Cilantro Lime Chicken

I’ll let you know how they come out. ❤



Music Monday: Alabama Shakes

I’m a person who wakes up with a song in my head. When I was a kid, staying with my dad on the weekends, I spent hours going through his CDs: Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, The Rolling Stones, The Temptations, and Otis Redding were the soundtracks of my childhood weekends. In my twenties I djed for my college radio station and became fascinated with female vocalists and the power behind voices like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lucinda Williams, Kathleen Hanna, Kimya Dawson, Jolie Holland and Wanda Jackson. Why was it so rare to hear such amazing stuff from ladies on the “real radio?” I  started an all female vocalists show with my roomie and spent all my free time looking for more musical sheroes to introduce to my listeners.

Those two periods still heavily influence my musical taste. So when my husband, who has a seriously enviable record collection and some of the best taste you’ve ever seen, said, ‘you’ve got to hear this’ a few years ago, I listened. And… yes! The Alabama Shakes are like everything I ever loved all thrown together. And its good. If you don’t know them you should take a listen. Good music is good for your heart.



Goal: Add More Veggies


My goal for last week was to add more vegetables to my diet. Now I’m going to whine. It is really hard, like I’d rather just give up all carbs and call it a day hard. Its hard because M and N don’t like vegetables at all. And its hard because it takes planning and cooking. I love planning in theory (year long list of small healthy habits planned out in advance anyone?).

But in reality, my house is a mess, I have a class full of 27 pre-Christmas fourth graders, 1,000 calls to make, a toddler to raise, a husband to hang out with, lessons to plan and I need at least an hour a day to watch my latest bad science fiction show on Netflix. Woe is me. I don’t have time to make kitten shaped veggie nuggets from scratch that N may or may not spit right back into her plate like a little savage.

So yeah, it didn’t go that well last week. The victories of the week were discovering a decent bottled veggie smoothie at the 24 hour Kroger on my way to work and making an edible last minute stir-fry that N refused to eat. I’m not giving up though! I’m not giving in. Here are some recipes I plan to make this week brought to you by Pinterest. I’m leaning heavy into the freezer meals and crock pot cooking because I have a hunch they could be my saving grace.

Pinterest Inspiration One

Pinterest Inspiration Two

Pinterest Inspiration Three

Wish me luck!

Music Monday: Woody Guthrie


Years ago, before I ever thought about my own small changes I found this list of Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions on yum-and-yuck.blogspot.com. Not suprisingly, they’re spot on. And now for Music Monday, here is one of my all-time Woody Guthrie favorites performed by Wilco and Billy Bragg on Mermaid Avenue Vol. II. This song does not get old. ❤


I want to be here for a while.


A year ago tomorrow my mom died. I still don’t completely have words for everything that means to me. I don’t know what to say, not here, not to people who check in to make sure I’m doing okay, not to my two year old when she asks who my mom is in pictures. My heart is no less broken than it was a year ago.

My favorite sympathy card (never thought I’d have one of those) was sent a year ago from my friend Kathy. She said, “Hug your little girl. And know that the way you feel about her is the way your mom felt about you.”

A few weeks ago my mom’s sister sent me this photo from a Christmas about 26 years ago. When my husband saw it he said, “That’s how you look at N.” And it is the way I look at her. And I know the ‘I can’t believe I can love someone this much’ feeling that is behind that look. It makes me believe that if there is anyway my mom can still be with me spiritually then she is.

I still want to call her when something goes incredibly wrong or incredibly right in my life and visit her when I get time off work. It kills me to know that N won’t know her the way I wanted her to and that if I have another child, they won’t know her at all.

I think about my own kid(s?) and pray that I will know their children. That is part of my reason for writing this blog. I know I need to live better. My mom’s health was complicated. I won’t go into it except to say that she couldn’t have done much to change it. But I think of the way I live (stress, pizza, coffee, pasta, stress, tv) and I know that I not only am not doing everything I can to make N and the husband (M) have me for as long as possible, but I’m also teaching N to live a pretty unhealthy life.

So three weeks ago I started thinking about doing a cleanse, the one from Clean by Dr. Junger. I’ve done it before and felt 1000% better afterwards. But then I had a novel idea. What if instead of doing something drastic for two weeks and then going back to my normal routine, I made small changes overtime? I know myself. I know I go big and then lose interest. So maybe small goals, weekly resolutions if you will, could hold my attention and allow me to make real change over time.

I used Dr. Junger’s elimination diet as inspiration as I started making a list- week one: take something unhealthy away, week two: add something healthy, week three: add something to make me more active. As I made my list for the year ahead (I’m a planner) I found myself adding things like “read a book a month,” and “call a friend every week.”

I should say here and now that I am technically overweight. And I should state for the record that when I say “healthy” I don’t mean obsessing over being within a healthy BMI range. What I do mean is eating vegetables, being active, drinking water, finding new music that I love, nurturing my spirit and teaching my daugher that it is important to appreciate her body and treat it well.

My mom once told me that she always admired how I just went for it in life. She said even when I was little she was always like ‘Go, Jessie! Go!’ I hope somewhere she’s saying that now. And I hope I can make her proud. ❤