Jeffrey’s Summer Recital 2017 at Forte Academy of the Arts San Diego

Jeffrey bean had his piano recital over the weekend at Forte Academy of the Arts in Vista. ¬†He played Sonatina 1 and Cruella De Vil. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. ūüôā

Jeffrey¬†has been taking once-a-week piano lessons with Ms. Marla Morrison since August of 2012 when he was just 3 and a half years old. He¬†has come such a long way and it’s so cool to go back and watch all of his recital videos (they happen twice a year) and see how he has progressed over the years.

Forte offers all kinds of music lessons and even art lessons. ¬†When we started there we were a homeschooling family and found that Forte¬†helped to round out the kids’ education. ¬†Music is so great for the brain—and for the soul. If you’re looking for¬†private music lessons in north county San Diego (for children and adults alike) we¬†highly recommend Forte Academy of the Arts in Vista, Ca. ūüôā Should you sign up, tell them the Silvas family sent you. ¬†Thanks for reading, friends! I hope you enjoy the video.

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe

Back in 2012 when our family adopted an organic lifestyle, one of the hardest things to give up was store-bought Ranch dressing.  Ranch dressing made it very easy for us to feed our kiddos fresh veggies and salads.  We tried some of the organic Ranch dressings on the market, but none of them tasted anything like what we remembered, and most of them were full of sugar and other things we were trying to avoid.

Conventional dressings contain health-harming ingredients like nano-particles, GMO high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, brain destroying MSG and the list goes on. ¬†No matter how yummy Ranch is, we couldn’t do that to our bodies anymore and especially NOT our kiddos’ bodies.

I resolved to make Ranch dressing myself, and after much experimentation this is what I landed on. ¬†It is kid and Ranch-loving-husband approved, and it’s been a family favorite for 5 years now. ¬†I hope you guys love it too!

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Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe
This recipe is flavorful and doesn't have any of the harmful chemicals of store bought Ranch. It is creamy and delicious over salads or veggies.
Servings
2 Tbsp servings
Ingredients
Servings
2 Tbsp servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large glass measuring cup, combine milk and lemon juice, stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add sour cream and whisk well til the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Add all of the herbs and seasonings and whisk til thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour into a glass mason jar and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks! Be sure to shake before each use.
Recipe Notes

Note: this Ranch dressing has a thinner consistency to be pourable over salads. If you want a thicker consistency to be used as a Ranch dip, simply add more sour cream until you reach your desired thickness, and double up on the seasonings!

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As I said, this dressing will last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, however it never survives that long in our house because we eat it up so quickly!

Bonus tip: I am a total mason jar junkie and I love storing food in glass to avoid the toxins in plastics. I keep painter’s tape and a Sharpie marker in my kitchen junk drawer to label my food jars with contents and dates. Painter’s tape is easy to remove and doesn’t leave a sticky residue behind!

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today.  Let me know what you think of the dressing when you try it!


Easy Pumpkin Chili Recipe With Ground Beef and Black Beans

 

This chili is one of my go to recipes when I need to get dinner on the table fast, or if I don’t want to dirty more than one pot, or if I want comfort food, or if I am going to a potluck. ¬†So many reasons, because it’s great. I actually brought this to our friends’ Super Bowl¬†party because it was requested, and it was a real crowd pleaser. Even the kiddos love it, and the best part of all is that it is SO easy to make, and requires no MSG-laden chili seasoning packets from the store. We especially love topping it with fixins like shredded cheese, sour cream and green onions, sometimes even avocado,but it’s good all on its own. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

Print Recipe
Easy Pumpkin Chili Recipe With Ground Beef and Black Beans
This chili is thick, hearty and oh-so-satisfying on a cold day. Even the kiddos love it!
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef in a heavy bottomed pot, then add chopped onions.
  2. Dump in the black beans, pumpkin and crushed tomatoes and stir well to combine.
  3. Add all of the spices, stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Tip: This chili tastes even better the next day so if you're making it for a pot luck, make it the day before and it in a crock pot.

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Biggest Loser Weight Loss Challenge Day 8 + Starting Something New!

Hey friends! ¬†Thanks for checking up on me! ¬†Week 1 is officially over and I had my second weigh in this morning. (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about you can check out last Wednesday’s blog.) ¬†I am happy to report that I am down 2.4 lbs from last week! Woot! I still have a ways to go but progress makes me SUPER HAPPY!

Progress! I’m down 2.4 lbs from last week!

Last week I ate around 1,500 calories each day, except on Friday night when I didn’t eat a proper dinner and Sunday when we went to a Superbowl party with our really good friends. I let myself indulge in a few things I REALLY wanted but I still kept things pretty reasonable.

On Saturday I worked my essential oil booth at the Vista farmers market and had to wake up very early. ¬†I used my noggin and packed myself a healthy snack and lunch so I wouldn’t indulge in all of the farmers market goodies, although I did have a bite of Spring Hill cheese. Worth it. ūüôā

I also drank my essential oil infused water every single day last week. ¬†I added 4 drops grapefruit, 4 drops lemon and 2 drops peppermint to my alkaline water in a glass water bottle. ¬†(Never put essential oils in plastic containers as they will pull out the toxins from the plastic and then you’ll end up drinking it! No bueno!)

This week I decided to try something new and different! ¬†Back when I went to Young Living Convention in Salt Lake City last summer they released a brand new herbal weight loss supplement with some pretty impressive claims. ¬†It was called Slique CitraSlim. ¬†I loved that it didn’t have crazy ingredients or even caffeine, because I took some weight loss pills in my late teens that made me feel like I was going to die and I decided I’d never do that again. These ones had me intrigued.

I used my Essential Rewards points (Young Living’s loyalty program that earns me free stuff) to finally get a box of their Slique CitraSlim capsules and it arrived yesterday afternoon. It has 15 days worth of capsules.

They come in individual packets and you take 2 powder capsules in the morning and 1 liquid + 1 powder capsule in the afternoon before 3 pm. I took my first two capsules this morning before I started making breakfast and I am about two take my next two after I eat my lunch.

You can check out the ingredients in the photo below:

Back when I lost the 90 lbs in 2004 I was in my very early 20s and the weight just fell off of me with diet and exercise.  Now in my 30s?  Not so much.  I am hoping this boosts my metabolism so that my efforts are rewarded a little faster, and I am hoping it bumps up my energy because I am weaning off of coffee (again.)

I am excited to see what my number will say next Wednesday. Let’s see if this stuff really works. ūüôā

Oh, and I mentioned on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram last week that I’d be transparent about what I’m eating and how much I’m exercising, but I decided I didn’t want to clutter up my actual blog so I created a weight loss page on here that tracks all of my progress. ¬†It’s also where you can sneak a peek at what I’m eating every day, the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks again for following along with me! ¬†All of the encouragement I’ve received¬†on my social media accounts has made my heart SUPER happy and has been inspiring me to stay the course, this time for real. ūüėČ ¬†Until next time…

 

Biggest Loser Weight Loss Challenge February 2017 – Day 1

Young Living Weight Loss Trio

A mama in one of the Facebook groups I’m in invited me to join her in a weight loss challenge. ¬†Each of us put $10 into the virtual pot and the one who¬†loses the most weight at the end takes home all of the money. ¬†I put on a lot of weight over 2016 and this was just the little nudge I needed to get off of my bum.

This morning we each weighed in via Facebook Live and I was pretty shocked at my number; I haven’t weighed this much since I was 9 months pregnant with Chloe. ¬†No wonder my clothes aren’t fitting.

I took a picture of the scale, which was not a fun thing to do, and I had Keith take a “before” picture of me—also not a fun thing to do. ¬†And since I said on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that I’d share these things with the world, here they are:

2/1/17 – Day 1

 

 

 

 

 

Deep breath…

I definitely have my work cut out for me. ¬†Fortunately, I know exactly what I need to do, and I know I can do it¬†because I’ve done it before; I lost 90 lbs back in 2004 and kept most of it off for a long time, so losing 30-40 now¬†is doable. ¬†Now to take action!

My plan of attack is to plan my meals ahead of time, track my food¬†on My Fitness Pal, add exercise back into my life and use¬†my oils and supplements. ¬†I will be adding the “weight loss trio” to my water: lemon, peppermint and grapefruit essential oils. (I did this last year and dropped 8 lbs in a month! I get my oils from Young Living. You can read why here.)

I failed to go grocery shopping yesterday and had to make due with what we had in the house, but we did get some groceries this evening after dinner so I can actually stick to a solid plan going forward.

Day 1 wasn’t perfect, but it went like this:

Breakfast: 1 slice of toast topped with 1 egg, 1/2 oz pepper jack cheese, and 1 slice of ham. Coffee with a 1/2 tsp sugar and 2 Tbsp milk.

Lemon/Peppermint/Grapefruit essential oil infused water sipped throughout the day.

Snack: vanilla yogurt topped with sliced strawberries, walnuts and coconut chips.

Lunch: leftover rice & beans with salsa

Dinner: Chicken bowl at Chipotle. White cilantro-lime rice, black beans, grilled chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese and guacamole. I ate about 2/3 of it.

Tomorrow I will be writing out my food plan for the rest of the week. ¬†And I’ll be incorporating exercise. ¬†Thanks so much for reading this, and especially to everyone who has reached out and offered support on Facebook. ¬†I really appreciate it! ¬†Until next time…

Einkorn Honey Pancakes Recipe

I’m generally a savory breakfast kind of person; I will almost always choose a big veggie omelet or breakfast sandwich over pancakes or waffles. ¬†I just don’t have much of a sweet tooth in the mornings. ¬†My kids on the other hand would eat pancakes every day if I let them, so while I would much rather fill them with protein and veggies every morning I do compromise on the weekends and I make them pancakes on Saturday mornings. ¬†It’s something they look forward to every week, especially because they usually get to put their aprons on and help!

While we don’t have any gluten allergies in our house, we do notice a difference in our bodies when we avoid gluten versus eating modern wheat—even organic modern wheat. ¬†Then we learned about einkorn flour and found that we didn’t get puffy or bloated or lethargic when we ate it. ¬†It’s because it’s not a hybridized grain; it’s in its original, ancient form, just as God intended. ¬†Its genetic structure is totally different from that of modern day wheat (organic or not); referred to as the original “staff of life” grain of biblical times, it has only 14 chromosomes. ¬†Compare that to modern wheat’s 42 chromosomes. ¬†So what does that mean? ¬†It means its gluten structure is completely different from typical wheat making it MUCH easier for the human body to digest.

This means I can make my family a pancake breakfast and we don’t feel heavy or lazy after. ¬†I have experimented with einkorn flour a lot over the past year or so. ¬†(We buy Gary’s True Grit Einkorn flour from Young Living¬†because I have visited one of the farms where it is grown and I love and trust the company and its integrity.) ¬†I have found that the biggest difference when cooking and baking with einkorn versus conventional flour is that it requires less liquid, maybe about 20% less. ¬†We also like the taste, although it doesn’t taste exactly the same as traditional flour. ¬†We’re ok with that, and it is Jeffrey and Chloe approved.

When I’m trying to be good and avoid the organic cane sugar we love, I make pancakes with honey instead. ¬†This is my tried and true recipe. ¬†I hope you love it!

Print Recipe
Crystal's Einkorn Honey Pancakes
This pancakes use einkorn flour and are a bit healthier than their conventional flour counterparts, but they are kid approved!
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
pancakes
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
pancakes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl beat the egg with a wire whisk and thoroughly mix in the oil and honey. Then add the milk and stir til well incorporated.
  2. Add the einkorn flour, salt and baking powder to the wet mixture and stir well with the whisk until all of the dry ingredients are well incorporated. The batter will be somewhat thick. This batter is a bit like gluten free batters in that it falls apart easily in the pan, so I like to make smaller pancakes with them using 1/8 c. scoops.
  3. Preheat a cast iron skillet and coat it well with butter over medium heat. Using a 1/8 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter on to the hot skillet and keep a watchful eye on them. Unlike a thinner batter, these won't bubble up in the middle when they're ready to flip, so you'll know you can flip them when they begin to look a little bit set. You can use a spatula to take a peek on the bottom of one and flip when it's nicely golden. Flip them and cook just a couple minutes more.
  4. Serve with butter and real maple syrup (or fruit or whatever you like) and enjoy!
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Thanks for reading, and if you like it please let me know or share it with your friends!

 

Jeffrey bean’s 1st go on a sewing machine

Chloe let Jeffrey bean have a go on her new sewing machine, and not surprisingly, he¬†was a natural too. ¬†He caught on so quickly! ¬†I was his age when I got my first sewing machine, a hand-me-down from my grandma’s tailor shop in Fallbrook. ¬†Sewing is in our blood. ¬†I can’t wait to see how the kids progress, and what beautiful creations they’ll be sewing in the near future. My heart is happy.

Day after Christmas 2016

I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing day post Christmas. ¬†Jeffrey and Chloe spent a good chunk of their morning and day out in our front yard with their new Stomp Rocket. ¬†They had an absolute blast. ¬†(See what I did there?) ūüôā

I went to Crunch fitness to have a free training session with a personal trainer because one of my goals in 2017 is to fit into some of the clothes in my closet that I really love. ¬†I did a bit too much baking in 2016. ¬†Anyway, the trainer pretty much kicked my butt and I’m so going to feel it tomorrow.

In other news, Chloe got to use her brand new New Home Janome sewing machine for her first time ever, and she completed her very first machine sewn project!  She made a cloth napkin out of leftover floral fabric from a dress I made her a couple years ago.  She did really well for her first time!  She caught on pretty quick and she is SO proud of her first project.

I’m so proud of my little Chloe Michelle belle. ¬†She sure is growing up fast. ūüôā

Christmas Day 2016

Today was a great day and my heart is full. ¬†The kids woke up this morning to find that Santa made all of their dreams come true. They got their sleds and their “flying” broomsticks, Chloe got her camera and Jeffrey got his sketch paper and pencils for drawing. ¬†They played with their new things for a short time while I made us bacon, eggs and potatoes for breakfast.

Then we headed off to church for Christmas Day service and the kids’ Christmas pageant, which was Wizard of Oz themed. ¬†The kids got to stay in their jammies for that one, which was really convenient. ūüôā

Then we went to my parents’ house in Oceanside where the kids opened gifts and we all ate tamales—one of my favorite Christmas Day traditions!

When we got home the kids played, I read from my new book and then Keith and Jeffrey played a game of Harry Potter Wizard Chess.  (Thank you, grandma and grandpa!  Jeffrey has been eyeballing that at Barnes & Noble for such a long, long time!)

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful day with your families.  So much love to all of you.  Merry Christmas!