Hamilton County Fair

Posted by Stephanie on October 4, 2012 in Chattanooga

Last Sunday we took the kids to the Hamilton County Fair. We parked at Northgate Mall and rode a school bus out to Chester Frost Park which was right on a lake with a nice campground area.

They had all sorts of fun exhibits including this big one on all kinds of bugs. James loved the big (and fake) spider.



Nate was actually a little too scared to take a picture with the fake spider so we forced him to pose with the giant statue of a praying mantis!


There was a large petting zoo area where you could walk in a big pen with the animals. There were calves and goats roaming around and they were not shy! Nate actually fed them – so cute!


James wasn’t quite sure about this calf that was following him around!


They had another area for livestock and we saw a donkey, sheep, several different breeds of cow and two huge bulls.


The boys favorite things was the antique car exhibit!


This is a fire truck from a volunteer fire company from the 1940’s.


Jim loves a Karmann Ghia!


They loved this police car. “Looks like the one in Lightening McQueen, Mom!” declared James.


James saw this rock and said, “Mom this would be a great place for a picture!” I love it when they actually want to pose for me!


What fair experience is complete without a huge giant slide?


Me and and my sweetie!


There was a free train that rode around the fair and we rode it on the way back to the buses.

I was really impressed with the fair! We’ll definitely be going back. Very clean and a great facility. Lots of fun exhibits and we had awesome cool weather that day. The boys had a blast!



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Meals at My House: September 30 – October 6

Posted by Stephanie on October 1, 2012 in Food

I can’t believe it is already October! Fall is flying by! I just want to hold on to it because it’s my favorite time of year!

Can I also just say that my husband has got me drinking tea more and more. His friend sent him some tea in the mail and I began trying it out. Then he found his incredible Moroccan Mint tea at our local tea store. So good! I’ve been slowly cutting back on my coffee consumption because I suspect it is irritating my stomach and messing with my sleep. I’m firmly on a one cup in the morning routine and I’m enjoying being able to drink tea as a hot beverage in the afternoons. At night I drink a nice cup of herbal tea before bedtime and it really has helped my sleep!

OK on to my meal plan for this week!
Sunday Dinner I got some veggies from a friends CSA share so I sautéed up some leeks and Bok Choy and roasted some carrots, kohlrabi and green beans to go with our leftover beef from Saturday night.

Monday Dinner Meal Share from Erin – she’s making us Chicken Fajitas on Romaine – awesome!

Tuesday Dinner I’m adapting a Stephanie O’Dea recipe called Pizza Soup to make for my Meal Share with Erin.

Wednesday Dinner Good Day Sunshine Burgers – this is one of my favorite burgers from Urban Stack . It has lettuce, tomato, onion and a fried egg on top of the burger. I’m going to recreate it and add some sweet potato fries for a delicious dinner.

Thursday Dinner The Paleo Parents have a Pineapple Curry recipe in Eat Like a Dinosaur that I’ve been wanting to try. I have some random steaks in my freezer that I plan to use for the meat.

Friday Dinner Clean Out the Fridge/Leftover Night!

Saturday Dinner We are headed to Nashville for the day to celebrate my nephew’s 6th birthday and to drop the kids with the grandparent’s for their fall break!
So Jim and I are planning to meet up with some old and dear friends for dinner after we drop the kids off. So looking forward to some fellowship and a meal with friends and no kids! :)

I plan to make up a batch of chicken salad and salmon patties with tartar sauce on Monday to use for lunches/breakfasts.

Oh! And Saturday night I made this recipe for Sweet Potato Brownies from PaleOMG. I used only half of the raw honey called for and only 2 eggs and they were so delicious! My boys absolutely loved them! I will be making them again very soon!



Fall…in a bowl!

Posted by Stephanie on October 1, 2012 in Food

So I never got around to posting my menu this week because I was sick in bed for 2 days last week and it takes about a week to catch up from that! Boo!
However, I was feeling much better this week and we did end up having a couple of really great meals. My favorite I have posted below.

I had kind of forgotten about one of my favorite Slow Cooker bloggers – Stephanie O’Dea – and pulled out her a cook book for a browse. Her stuff is gluten free but still has dairy, soy, corn etc. so I do adapt things a bit.
I decided to use her Autumn Sausage Casserole to make as my meal share with my friend Erin.
It is really delicious and totally easy!

Autumn Sausage Casserole
Adapted from Stephanie O’Dea’s recipe on Crockpot365 Blog

2 cups of butternut squash in small cubes
2 cups of carrots in small rounds
2 – 3 apples diced with peel on
1 large onion diced
8 fully cooked chicken and apple sausages (I used Aidell’s brand from Costo)
3/4 cup of Craisins

Chop and then Mix all these ingredients together in your 6 quart crock pot

2 T. dried parsley
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper

Pour all the spices over ingredients in crock pot and mix well

2/3 cup of chicken broth or water (I had chicken broth on hand)

Pour chicken broth or water over ingredients in crock pot and cover

Cook on low for 5 hours or so – you want the carrots and squash to be tender. Check on them around 4 hours and stir to get the carrots/squash on top rotated to the bottom if needed. A few of mine were still a little crunchy on top.

The original recipe calls for rice in the dish. I made some arborio rice on the stove and for Erin and family and my husband and kids, served the autumn sausage casserole over the rice.
I ate mine plain and it was just as delicious and filling! The spices are awesome and it really tastes like fall in a cup!

Next time I may try sweet potato instead of squash or even pumpkin!

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Rainbow Lake

Posted by Stephanie on September 30, 2012 in Home School

James and I are a part of a local homeschool co-op that meets on Tuesdays. Once a month they have Adventure Club, where we take the kids out to explore an aspect of nature. This past Tuesday we went to Rainbow Lake right here on Signal Mountain. You have to hike through some woods down a pretty steep and rocky path to get to the lake/pond area. There’s also a dam with a water fall. So beautiful!

It was so fun and amazing that I decided to take the boys back on Friday (especially since Nate was in preschool and didn’t get to see it) It was just as fun and exciting on Friday! We took snacks and our magnifying glasses and sketchbooks. We’ll definitely be going back again and again!









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Meals at My House: September 16 – 22

Posted by Stephanie on September 16, 2012 in Food


Fall is here! I’m loving the cooler temperatures. I want to make big pots of soups, stews and chili all the time!

For Breakfasts we’ve been doing lots of eggs, chicken sausage and veggies and I love it! I’m glad my kids are eating more vegetables (and at breakfast!) and I find that I stay full longer when I add lots of yummy veggies. Last week we did leftover steamed broccoli, baked sweet potato that I caramelized in a saucepan and peppers and onions with avocado.

Sunday Lunch Made my favorite chicken salad from Nom Nom Paleo yesterday so we’ll eat that and leftover Chicken Chowder from last week. Speaking of Chicken Chowder – here’s my recipe that I adapted from The Gluten Free Goddess’ Chicken Corn Chowder:

Chicken No Corn Chowder

1 rotisserie chicken – all meat pulled off and roughly chopped OR about 3 cups of cooked chicken roughly chopped (breasts or thighs – either works great!)
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red chili paste
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into uniform pieces
2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced finely
1 large sweet onion, diced
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 quart of chicken broth (home made is best!)
4 oz can of diced green chiles
1 14 oz can of coconut milk (full fat)
Toppings – diced avocado, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime

To make this really easy on yourself, you should chop and prep the veggies in the following manner:
Dice onion and garlic and stick in a bowl together
Dice heirloom tomatoes and sweet potatoes and stick in a bowl together with cans of diced tomatoes and green chiles close by

Heat olive oil in a stock pot
Add cumin and chile paste and stir until fragrant
Add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or so
Add heirloom tomatoes, sweet potatoes, diced tomatoes and green chiles and stir for one minute
Add chicken broth
Turn heat up to high, cover stock pot and bring to a high simmer
As soon as it is bubbling, turn heat down to medium low or whatever it takes for it to simmer gently, covered for about 20 minutes (Or until sweet potatoes are soft)
Add coconut milk and chicken and stir until heated through (DON’T let it boil or get too hot with coconut milk in it
Season with salt and pepper
Serve in bowls topped with diced avocado, sliced cilantro and fresh lime juice
THIS is even better the next day so make it a day ahead of time and reheat – so good!

NOTE: if I wasn’t serving this to my kids I would have used a 28 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced and maybe added some diced jalepeno to the onions/garlic mixture. Then when serving, I would add a drizzle of raw agave to cut the spicy flavor. I love spicy stuff but it wouldn’t fly with my kids or hubby!

Sunday Dinner One Pot Chicken Drumsticks and Roasted Green Beans

Monday Dinner Chocolate Chili. I’m taking this to my Meal Share Partner Erin too! I’m also using 1 lb ground beef/1 lb ground bison and adding 2 – 3 cups of diced butternut squash. So excited to try it!

Tuesday Dinner Salmon Patties from It Starts with Food (We never got to have them last week) and sweet potato fries

Wednesday Dinner Erin’s bringing us dinner!

Thursday Dinner Leftover Night!

Friday Dinner Meatball Salad from Eat Like a Dinosaur
Meatball Salad is so versatile. You make whatever kind of meatballs you want (lamb, ground beef, ground turkey etc) and serve over romaine lettuce. Top with diced olives, green onions, roasted red pepper, tomatoes etc. – whatever veggies you have around. I like to serve with a splash of balsamic vinegar OR make a home made dressing. I made Nom Nom Paleo’s citrus vinaigrette two weeks ago and it was fantastic! It’s from her iPad app and I love that thing!
Citrus Vinaigrette

1 small lemon
1 small navel orange
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
Preparation Steps:

Grab some fresh citrus. If you buy the stuff in the plastic lemon-shaped containers at the supermarket, you’re dead to me.[1 small lemon 1 small navel orange]
Juice the fruit. Each piece of fruit should yield about an ounce of liquid.
Combine the juices, and…
Pour in your favorite high-quality extra virgin olive oil. The ratio of olive oil to juice should be about 2:1. (Some say vinaigrettes should be 3 parts oil to 1 part acid, but I think those end up overly slick and bland.)[½ cup extra virgin olive oil]
Add the mustard…[1 tsp Dijon mustard]
Throw in the salt, and…[1 tsp salt]
Grind some pepper into the dressing.[pepper]
Whisk vigorously until…
The oil and juice are emulsified.
Be proud: You just saved yourself from an overpriced bottle of salad dressing made with soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup.
Use some of the vinaigrette to dress your favorite salad, and store the rest in a tightly closed container in the fridge.

Saturday Dinner We’ve got a busy day with a soccer game and a birthday party so my plan is for my sweet hubby to take us all out to dinner!

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September 9 – 15: Meals at My House

Posted by Stephanie on September 8, 2012 in Food


So excited that it’s September!
I made a dairy-free Pumpkin Spice Latte three times last week. So delicious! I used to love the Starbucks version and I even got one on September 4th when they first came out. Even asking to decrease the syrup pumps it was way too sickly sweet for me. And of course the milk didn’t do me any favors so I’m happy to make this recipe at home when I want that pumpkin goodness in my coffee cup! Bonus was James helped me make one and it was fun to teach him more about measurements and following a recipe etc.

As I’m writing this it’s in the lower 60′s with a low of 53F forecasted for later tonight! Hurray! I know that we’ll still have some hot weather. It never really gets cool until later in October but I’ll enjoy any little bit of fall weather that I can so I added a Chicken (with no) Corn Chowder recipe to my line up this week.

Sunday Lunch Chicken sausage with veggies (probably squash, peppers and onions)

Sunday Dinner Pot Luck at church. I’m taking some crock pot Italian meatballs and sauce via Everyday Paleo. I’ve had her first cook book for awhile but haven’t made this particular recipe. It says to use 3 lbs of meat and make the meatballs baseball-sized but since I’m taking it to the pot luck, I’m going to make them smaller to feed more mouths.

Lunches this week are leftovers, turkey roll ups, tuna salad in Pure Wraps etc.

Monday Dinner My Meal Share Partner Erin is bringing us dinner!

Tuesday Dinner My husband is out of town at a speaking engagement so I plan on doing something super simple for me and the kids. I have a small pork shoulder that I may throw in the crock pot for some simple pulled pork BBQ and veggies and fruit.

Wednesday Dinner Chinese Pork Fried F’rice from The Clothes Make the Girl. I haven’t done a chinese meal in awhile so I’m looking forward to some yummy Chinese fake-out!

Thursday Dinner I’m adapting a Chicken Corn Chowder recipe from The Gluten Free Goddess. I’m making in in my crock pot and taking some to Erin and her family for Meal Share!
I am not quite doubling it but I’m adding extra chicken and sweet potato and omitting the corn. We’ll top it with diced avocado, cilantro and fresh lime juice when it’s served.

Friday Dinner Meatball Salad from Eat Like a Dinosaur by The Paleo Parents. It’s an old standby and I’ve already got some jarred roasted red pepper and olives in my pantry. I’m actually going to put some of the meatballs from Sunday in my freezer and pull them out to thaw Thursday and reheat for Friday’s dinner. Easy-peasy!

Saturday Dinner Salmon Patties from It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I made these last week and LOVED them! I doubled the recipe and made the home made tartar sauce and it was amazing! I’ll serve them with some veggies that I get from the Farmer’s Market on Thursday.

No-Fuss Salmon Cakes from It Starts with Food
Serves 2 – 3 (I double recipe to make 8 hamburger patty sized cakes)
1 can (14.75 oz) wild-caught pink or red salmon
1 cup canned sweet potato (last week I had shredded leftover and just sauteed it in a pan to cook it a bit before adding to recipe)
1 large egg
1/2 cup almond flour
2 T. fresh parsley, minced or 2 tsp dried
2 scallions, white and green, very thinly sliced
2 T. fresh dill, minced or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 T. coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Drain liquid from salmon and using your fingers crumble fish into large mixing bowl while removing bones
Add all remaining ingredients except coconut oil and mix with spoon until well combined
Pop into fridge for 5 – 10 minutes
Grease parchment paper with coconut oil
Use 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop out salmon to form patties on the parchment paper
Bake for 20 minutes then flip with a spatula and bake for 10 more minutes until brown and crispy
Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and tartar sauce

Tartar Sauce from It Starts with Food
1/2 cup Olive Oil Mayo – This mayo recipe is my favorite!
1 T. minced dill pickle
2 T. fresh parsley, minced
2 tsp capers, minced
2 tsp fresh chives, minced
1/2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp pickle juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Add all ingredients to bowl and mix with spatula. Allow flavors to meld for 30 minutes in fridge before serving.



September 2 – 8: Meals at My House

Posted by Stephanie on September 3, 2012 in Food

Labor Day Weekend!
We’re spent the night Saturday/Sunday with our good friends Michael and Erin and had a food-fest! Pulled pork bbq, sweet potato pancakes, cole slaw, spinach artichoke dip, cherry pie and ginger-peach coconut milk ice cream. It was so fun!

This week had to be super easy for me because I’m starting Home School with my Kindergardener and my 3 year old is in 3 day a week Preschool. Plus MOPS group starts up on Friday so it’s a busy week!

Lunches this week include: Leftovers, Madras Chicken Salad, Lunch Meat Roll-Ups

Sunday Dinner Leftovers from Saturday night and whatever I’ve got left in my fridge – gotta get ready for a new week!

Monday Dinner Easy Grain Free Salmon Cakes from It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday Dinner Chicken Sausage (Bought from Trader Joe’s last month) sauteed with peppers, onions and mushrooms in olive oil

Wednesday Dinner Erin – she and I do a meal swap once a week

Thursday Dinner Halupiki Casserole from Eat Like a Dinosaur by The Paleo Parents. It’s basically a deconstructed cabbage roll with marinara sauce. Yum! This is also what I’m taking to Erin’s family along with some Tafouleh Salad

Friday Dinner Sirloin Steaks, Salad with home made citrus vinaigrette, leftover Tafouleh Salad and Roasted Cabbage

Saturday Dinner Leftovers or possibly eating out. I’ve been craving some Urban Stack!



Am I Really Starting Home School In A Few Days?!?!?

Posted by Stephanie on August 26, 2012 in Home School

Why, yes! Yes, I am!

I am alternating between several emotions. First is the obligatory – “Where has the time gone? My first born son is ready to start Kindergarten?” That is seriously huge. I can still remember the excitement of going to the hospital and then bringing him home and the blissful early days of holding him and feeding him etc.

Little Baby James!

The next emotion is just the enormity of moving into this next season of life. Sure, there’s some doubt. “Can I do this?” The answer is “Yes! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Doesn’t mean it will be easy or there won’t be days that I wish I had sent him to public school this year, but I’m determined (along with my wonderful husband) to see this year through.

And lastly there is definitely some excitement! Organizing my curriculum and things in our house to facilitate school and gathering supplies and books is so fun! In looking through the lessons I already have extra idea and ways to make things more interesting and exciting to James.

So now I just have to keep my own expectations of how this is all going to play out under control. I am a perfectionist and like everything “just so”. I hate this about myself and yet I’m real that this is where I’m at right now. I like my lists and I just feel better about myself and my life when I see those things checked off each day. It’s totally unrealistic, mind you, but it’s the thing in my head that I have to keep coming up against and keep making the choice to live in the moment, go with the flow etc.

I’m getting things started officially around the first of September. Prayers appreciated!


My little man is almost 6!

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August 26 – September 1: Meals at My House

Posted by Stephanie on August 26, 2012 in Food


Last week went pretty well. Changed a few things around and but it was all good. Especially enjoyed the pork chops we grilled over at my friend Erin’s house.
This is the marinade I used and everyone loved it!

Pork Chop Marinade:
1/3 cup of olive oil
A few splashes of balsamic vinegar
Zest of a whole lemon
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. of fresh rosemary, minced

Put pork chops in a large zip lock bag
Put all marinade ingredients inside and rub onto chops
Refrigerate for 2 hours
Bring to room temp before putting on grill to cook!

Also the little stand where I buy produce gave me some overripe bananas so I made a double batch of this banana muffin recipe. They turned out wonderful! I froze a bunch for future breakfasts.

Also I tried this recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl for Cocoa-Toasted Cauliflower. You had me at “cocoa”! It was seriously good! My kids gobbled it up!

Sunday Lunch Salmon Burgers that I got on sale at Greenlife with cabbage/carrot cole slaw with home made mayo and roasted lemon garlic broccoli

Sunday Dinner Crispy Smashed Chicken from the Nom Nom Paleo iPad app and Candied Carrots from my newest cookbook acquisition Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

Candied Carrots from Practical Paleo page 340
8 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
4 dates, pitted and chopped
2 T melted butter or coconut oil
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375F
Place the carrots and dates into an oven-safe dish, and top with the melted butter or coconut oil. Toss to coat, and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
Bake for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until carrots are fork tender.

Monday Dinner Lemon & Artichoke Chicken from Practical Paleo page 260 and green salad with veggies and home made citrus vinaigrette

Tuesday Dinner I am making a double batch of Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Balsamic-Fig Compote from Practical Paleo to take to Erin’s house along with some Grilled Squash and Pineapple also from Practical Paleo

Wednesday Dinner Erin’s bringing us something yummy! Check out her blog at Reardon Family Cooks

Thursday Dinner Leftover Night! My husband is speaking at a conference in town all week so the kids and I will eat whatever’s in the fridge and have a movie night!

Friday Dinner Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Practical Paleo page 270
Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (I’m using breasts because it’s what I have)
2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 T coconut oil
1 head of butter lettuce (I’ll probably use Romaine)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 T chopped green onions

Slice the chicken into 1/4 inch strips. Toss the chicken in a mixing bowl with the chipotle powder, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and then place the chicken in the skillet. Cook for approx. 5 – 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve in lettuce wraps and top with avocado, tomatoes and green onions.

Saturday Dinner We’re headed to Erin’s house for a sleepover! On the menu is BBQ pork shoulder, sweet potato sandwich stacks, cole slaw and fruit. And of course some sort of fabulous dessert. And we’ll probably do something special and fun for breakfast on Sunday morning. Some of PaleoMG’s Cherry Jam Crepes sound good!