Autumn without the treats

Just two years ago around this time, you would have found me in the kitchen using up all the flour & sugar making some deeeeelicious treats. Fall has always been my prime time for trying out special recipes and getting into a good grove with baking my favorites (I still have a fall baking magazine from 2012 that I just cannot bear to get rid of because there are so many goodies inside!). But for nearly the past two years, I’ve been eating paleo.

Last year, I pretty much relied on Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain books. They are so good. And it was fun to learn grain-free baking! But in recent months, my restrictions have increased (boooo!) and I am now grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, egg-free, nut-free (almonds/cashews), garlic-free, and mostly sugar-free. This pretty much puts me in the AIP camp (autoimmune paleo).

I’m usually pretty good at eating as I should (and trying to make it interesting!), but man oh man! the fall goods! the pumpkin! It’s sometimes depressing walking into Trader Joe’s and shielding my eyes from what used to be some of my staples. I know that a more virtuous person than me would accept these limitations and not dwell on them. Me, however – I need to get creative and find ways to keep me satisfied without lusting after Kevin’s english muffin with pumpkin cream cheese (which I still do…).

Some of my saving recipes as of late that still give me that taste of fall (all paleo/AIP):

  • Crockpot Clam & Pumpkin Chowder from the Urban Poser – I haven’t made it with clam yet, but usually incorporate some sort of protein (turkey patties, prosciutto). It is delicious and we’ve had it once a week for the past several weeks.
  • Pumpkin, Bacon, and Chive Biscuits from the Urban Poser – THESE BISCUITS! They are fantastic and totally compliant. Well, they call for eggs, but I instead used flax-eggs with great success.
  • Squash Porridge from the Urban Poser – one week I had this four days in a row – any type of squash works. It’s that good. I did have to remove the chocolate chips (even the dairy/soy/nut free ones!) as well as the honey when my doctor and I decided I should avoid allllllll sugar. But with the strawberries and a bit of coconut manna, it’s still pretty dang wonderful. And what a breakfast to wake up to on a fall morning! I pop the squash in the oven immediately upon waking, do my morning things, and then enjoy this bad boy.

Other things that I’ve daringly incorporated into my diet for the sake of their incredible health benefits are sardines (actually pretty good as long as I do NOT mistakenly get the ones with skin & bones….gross), chicken liver (the first time I cooked these I had to mentally get over what I was eating, but have since enjoyed them!), and more collagen. So it’s been a new type of fall for me, but I’m surviving :). Let’s pray this is all temporary, though, and that full healing will come!

Lately, in the fall

Linking up with Kelly & gang!

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  1. Kevin and I seem have a lot going on right now (who doesn’t?), but we’ve also had a really nice pace of life. September kind of came and went, leading right into the perfect autumn weather I crave all year round. Actually, it’s been pretty dang perfect for the past month, which makes me question why Minnesotans are often complaining of the weather (remind me of this in three months)!
  2. I am loving my new job and all that comes with it (prayers are appreciated for the success of this campus ministry!). But I’m also incredibly grateful that this new phase is allowing Kevin to spend more dedicated time on his art. He’s got some fun part-time work and is able to focus the rest of his time to his creative projects. I look at him work and gain profound respect for fine artists. He is integrating geometry, calculus, philosophy, history, drawing, and more all into one. I admire him like crazy. And am very excited to see what comes of all this!
  3. Our mornings have been SO nice. Maybe it’s because I actually enjoy the work I have to do in my day, but I have no problem getting up early and sticking to routine (most days). And our apartment! It is the first place we both feel totally at home since getting married. Every apartment has their drawbacks, but I think this one may be my favorite physical space I’ve ever lived in (apart from my home home). fullsizerender1
  4. We recently took a day trip to Wisconsin, which was…an adventure. We got up crazy early to drive along the Mississippi (Minnesota side) through some fun looking towns, eventually landing in LaCross, WI. I’ll admit, I get a wee little judgy of places because I’m so used to East Coast charm (colonial feels, all the brick, cobblestone streets, quaint facades), BUT I still enjoyed seeing the place. It was not our final destination, though, so we got some coffee and moved on. To Viroqua. Here’s where the real disappointment comes in. I read all about this area and the surrounding region – the reviews were wonderful and I was half-expecting Stars Hollow. It was the most boring place EVER. And instead of finding a world-class farmer’s market, we found an Amish horse race (literally, HUNDREDS of Amish men riding horses). Not to mention that at this point our phones received no reception, so we pretty much drove around with our atlas for five hours looking for an apple orchard. All in all, it was still a good day, and the fall weather did not disappoint me. We found an orchard (a huge difference apple picking in New England vs. midwest), and then made our way back to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe! That was a treat. And I cannot wait to go back there.fullsizerender-1
  5. I’m on a huge Joaquin Phoenix kick. Why, you ask? Well, Kevin was itching to watch Signs, and while I normally stay far away from anything remotely scary, I gave in BECAUSE the movie was filmed in my hometown. At the beginning of the film, it literally says “Bucks County, Pennsylvania…” It was filmed there AND takes place there (double win!). I also actually really, really enjoyed it! After that, Kevin got me to watch The Village (another M. Night movie with Joaquin). While the story has a lot of flaws and was a bit disappointing in the end, there were many redeeming features: the music (tearfully wonderful!), the love story (simple, yet so lovely!), the location (Pennsylvania…duh), and some really magnificent shots that I’ve re-watched over and over for their beauty. Then I proceeded to watch Gladiator (one of my favorite films of all time). I believe that was Joaquin’s first performance I had ever seen, and I remember thinking him the creepiest of men. I was also profoundly impressed with his acting range. So, it’s been a good week – now time to read a book or something.
  6. Kevin and I are godparents! This should be number one, not number six…but we are SO excited! And so grateful! A couple of our best friends had their second child, a beautiful little girl named Abigail,  on October 8th and we are overjoyed with the role we get to have in her life.
  7. We are going to Coldplay again! I was NOT expecting them to do another round of North American shows for the Head Full of Dreams Tour, but they are! And they’re coming to Minneapolis next August! So we got tickets. Much closer seats than when we went in Philly (which was still awesome), and a lot more expensive. But who can say how much longer they’ll decide to tour in the US?! We can’t miss this type of opportunity.

Alright, now gonna enjoy a relaxing weekend with some continuing lovely fall weather (it could go away any day now…).

P.S. – Kevin discovered he can draw on the iPad mini (no, we don’t have a stylus pen yet…just his hands). This is one of his many fun doodles that takes him no more than a few minutes. img_6451

A feast to start the month off right!

A feast for one of our favorite Saints and for the beginning of our favorite month! On me and Kevin’s first date, we spoke of our favorite Saints and why they were so important to us. It was well-known from the beginning that I had a special place for St. Therese (along with most of the Catholic world!) and Kevin felt very close with St. Patrick.

It was actually under an image of St. Therese that we met! At a young adult gathering at a friend’s apartment, Kevin was inquiring to some ladies about their love for St. Therese (pointing to the painting) – I forced my way in there, did my thing, etc.

After dating for a few months, dear Mother Olga suggested each of us pray to the other’s favorite Saint each day in a special way for the other. So Kevin bought for me a medal of St. Patrick and a medal of St. Therese for himself, which we both wore from that day forward.

Engagement!

Our engagement also took place at the feet of a St. Therese statue at my home parish in PA. It was a beautiful full circle (and she was there on our wedding day!). Soooo…Kevin and I are quite fond of her and super grateful for her intercession in our lives and, more specifically, our relationship.

I had the joy of visiting the National Shrine of St. Therese outside Detroit this past Easter when I visited my close friend, Elise. It was super beautiful and peaceful, and I just cannot talk her up enough. She is true to her promises, that little one. She does so much for us up in heaven, and I’m grateful to have such a powerful intercessor by my side!

So for our celebration of this beautiful day entering such a glorious month, Kevin and I enjoyed a little feast of our own. A nice autumnal meal if you will. Cider-Dijon glazed pork chops, hot spiced apple cider, and homemade pumpkin ice cream (dairy-free!). A delicious evening indeed! Happy feast day!

Some fun things :)

This past weekend was a busy one…well, by busy I mean I had something to do both Saturday and Sunday. I’ve been trying to figure out my social life as a married woman. It’s different. Given that I work two jobs and Kevin teaches on Saturdays, we try to protect the time we have together. But I’m still an extrovert and I still need my lady friends.

So while it’s an ongoing transition, I’ve tried to reach out a bit more to the friends I haven’t spent much time with since the wedding. And as much as I’d looooove to have one-on-one coffee with everyone, there’s just not a ton of time for that. So the solution for the time being: casual group get-togethers.

This past Saturday, we had a DIY Bouquet Brunch. I have been itching to do this ever since I saw the idea on Verily. Basically, each person brings one type of flower/greenery, and we make our bouquets from the selections. We all brought some brunchy food, hung out and chatted for a few hours, and left with lovely fall-looking bouquets.

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It was so refreshing to have that time with other Catholic women. Some of the women were former roommates, some are younger ladies who have followed a couple years behind from BU, and others are fresh new faces that I’m enjoying getting to know!

Since everyone is so busy nowadays, and rightly so, we’ve decided we need to schedule (in advance) time hopefully once a month for us women to get together. Otherwise, we go 3 months without really seeing one another (ahem, this summer). And an activity like the bouquet brunch was a perfect setup! So I look forward to more of that in the future.

All About Autumn!

To anyone who knows me, it is no secret that autumn is my favorite season. I know many people lovelovelove this time of year, and it’s no wonder why. The crisp cool air, sweaters & boots (and no winter coat), apple picking, fall baking, pumpkin flavored everything, all the smells. It’s pretty much perfection. And while I normally despise the summer months, this one has been quite delightful with its cool mornings and walkable evenings. And it’s gotten me even more excited for the full outbreak of autumn. What am I most looking forward to this year? Quiet weekends with my husband! Talk about a whole new world – it feels like since we’ve been together it’s been GO GO GO. Dates all the time, social events, getting engaged, wedding planning, social events, getting married, more social events. And now, we have no planned trips (well, except for a little one-nighter trip to Albany I have for a baby shower) until Thanksgiving! We’re excited to get into a routine, have our apartment in order (finally!), and take some nice long walks around the neighborhood. Baking, obviously. I have one specific fall baking magazine that has been my absolute favorite for the past two years. I still haven’t made everything in it – I’ve been making my way through the autumn produce. Our tiny apartment should have a nice, consistent aroma for the next few months. Seasonal crafts! Sarah and I have a plan to coordinate a decor calendar so we are prepared for each season. We’ll make time for frugal & creative crafting to make our homes as homey as possible. Fall Events like apple picking, pumpkin carving, movie nights and all the like with some great people. Since we don’t have a car and we live more in the city, going to an orchard is a real treat. Getting out of the city to see the autumn beauty is the BEST. Albany in October! Sarah and I will be making this trip through Western Mass for Ashlie’s baby shower, and in addition to being thrilled we get to throw this for her with her mother-in-law, we’re pretty pumped about the beautiful stops we’ll make along the way through all the beautiful foliage. I promised a beautiful maternity photo shoot with the mama and the baby’s non-biological aunts (meaning us, the friends). Autumn in Newtown, PA Serious goodness to come.