Thursday, September 22, 2016

Friday Morning Iced Coffee Date + “Get To” Versus “Have To”

Good morning and a very HAPPY FRIDAY to you!

I’ve seen a few bloggers have virtual “coffee dates” with their readers, and I just love the idea so much. So I wanted to have one with you guys, too. Of course, it would be an ICED coffee date since I don’t drink the hot stuff all that often… unless it’s a pumpkin spice variety in the fall. That’s pretty much the only time I’ll switch things up for hot coffee. Anyway, just wanted to chat with you and share some news/thoughts/ideas that have been on my mind lately. And I would love, love, love to hear from YOU! I realize blogs have changed quite a bit in recent years and commenting is down overall, but I miss you guys and want to know what’s going on. Fill me in! 🙂

iced coffee date

When I was in Santa Barbara last week, I heard an incredible motivational talk from John Jacobs, one of the co-founders of Life is Good. One thing he said that really resonated with me was the idea of “get to” versus “have to”. I’ve actually blogged about this same idea in the past, but related to exercise. I never think of exercise as something that I “have to” do. It’s ALWAYS something that I “get to” do, which never makes it seem like a chore. But, of course, this idea relates to so many things in life besides exercise. A great example from John Jacobs: You have to go to a meeting? What about: You get to go to a meeting because you are lucky enough t0 have a job? It was such a nice way to spin that negative thinking. And it’s crazy how that one word shift makes such a difference in our gratitude and what we are thankful for.

If we were chatting over iced coffee, I would also tell you that this idea of “get to” has been following me around for quite sometime now.

When I met Lindsay from Pinch of Yum in Canada last month, we talked about “get to” with regard to creativity and our jobs as bloggers. When it comes to full-time, professional blogging, there are a lot of moving pieces, which, like most jobs, can be overwhelming, stressful, and just plain ol’ frustrating. Lindsay suggested instead of getting bogged down with all of the tasks that you have to do, remind yourself that you get to do them. Develop a new recipe? You get to create it. Attend a media event? You get to have that opportunity. I immediately loved her way of thinking, and she even took it one step further by telling me about Elizabeth Gilbert’s “it’s better to be a trickster than a martyr” from the book Big Magic. You can read a full explanation here, but, basically, you can suffer and trudge through your work like a martyr or stay light on your feet and have fun while doing it like a trickster.

This “get to” stuff has changed my thinking about a lot of things in life. So much, in fact, I want to have a custom sign made for my office that simply says: GET TO. I’d just love to have this daily reminder/motivation. I could probably have something made on Etsy, right?

Image result for "get to" "have to"

Ok, so I just went on and on and on about that. What do you think about “get to” versus “have to”? What reminds you to be grateful in your everyday life? Do you have any motivational signs/quotes hanging in your home or place of work?

Year after year, I visit Barrett’s Haunted Mansion with friends. Once again, our friends invited us to go, but, this time, I’m going to stay home because I just don’t like being scared. I go every year, thinking it will be a good time (and it is… sort of), but I’m done with being scared for “fun.” It’s just not my cup of tea. Anyone else hate being scared?

Image result for carrotsncake haunted house

When I picked up Quinn from daycare the other day, one of his teachers told me that he was the “line leader.” Basically, the kid at the front of the line that led the other children from the classroom to the play area outside. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud in my entire life. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when he learns to ride his bike or graduates from Kindergarten.

There are only 4 days left to purchase a “Happy Hour Starts Now” tank top to benefit the CCFA. They’re only available for a limited time, and I would appreciate your support so very much.

happy hour start now tank top

If you guys have questions about Designed to Fit Nutrition (FYI: I started a custom meal plan business with my friend Kerrie), please leave them in the comment section below. I am planning to write a blog post on CNC soon, but I don’t want to just regurgitate what’s on the website, ya know? Any sort of direction about what you guys want to know would be super helpful!


Stitch Fix for Men is now live, and Mal is SO PUMPED! He was always jealous of my “fixes,” but now he can have his own! If you have a guy in your life who needs help with his wardrobe, definitely sign him up for a fix. He’ll have instant style! Stitch Fix would also make a great birthday/anniversary/holiday gift, especially for the guy who seems to have everything!

stitch fix for men

Question of the Day

Your turn! What’s on your mind this morning?

What would you tell me at our Friday iced coffee date?

P.S. Did you know Carrots ‘N’ Cake has a weekly newsletter? That’s right. It’s a lot of fun and you should definitely sign up for all of the latest news, deals, and updates! Just enter your email on the right side of the main page under “Weekly Newsletter.”

from Carrots 'N' Cake

6 Lighter Ways to Cook and Bake with Apples

Ready your wicker baskets: It’s apple-picking season. If you’re planning a trip to your local orchard, you’re probably already dreaming about the wonderfully sweet, tart and spicy dishes you can make once you get your apples home. Maybe they’re destined for a rustic galette — or maybe you’ll bake them whole with a medley of warming spices. Of course, the butter and brown sugar used in many apple dishes are just as craveable as the fruit itself. But even if you’re using the new season as an opportunity to get back into good eating habits, you don’t have to miss out on this fun autumn pastime. With a few simple modifications, you can make your favorite apple dishes a healthy staple rather than a once-in-a-while indulgence. From firm and tart Granny Smiths to sweet and tender McIntoshes, here are six lighter ways to use your freshly picked apples this fall.

Baked Apples with Oatmeal and Yogurt
When it comes to baking apples whole, Bobby Flay opts for sweet Galas, which he dresses up with fragrant spices and light brown sugar. Top each one with high-fiber oatmeal, low-fat Greek yogurt and a drizzle of apple cider reduction.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Other recipes of its kin might call for heavy cream or half and half, but Ina Garten’s hearty soup relies on little more than McIntosh apples, butternut squash, cider, olive oil and fragrant curry powder. The combination of the sweet apples and the nutty squash yields a well-balanced, lighter-than-average fall soup.

Green Apple-Sourdough Pancakes
The key to turning these dense, apple-packed pancakes into an energy-boosting breakfast is to enjoy them in moderation. And you won’t need more than one or two to curb your hunger, especially if you garnish with a handful of filling pecans. For efficiency’s sake, make the sourdough starter the night before; that way, you can griddle the batter in minutes the next morning.

Pork Chops with Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes
These cider-braised pork chops are quick enough for a casual weeknight dinner, but sophisticated enough for an elegant dinner party. The tender red onion and Granny Smith apples combine to form a perfectly balanced, sweet-tart topping for the chops.

Kale and Apple Salad
Add extra crunch to antioxidant-rich kale salad by tossing the leafy greens with matchstick-sized strips of sweet Honeycrisp apple, along with slivered almonds, dates and cheese. A little pecorino goes a long way in giving this nutritious salad a satisfying depth of flavor.

Apple Crisp
Easier than apple pie but every bit as American, crisps are a quick, delicious way to showcase fall fruit. And, by eliminating pie dough from the equation, you’ll save yourself quite a few calories — enough to justify topping the crisps with a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For more creative takes on apples, check out these recipes from our friends:

The Lemon Bowl: Tuna Salad with Apples
Creative Culinary: Boozy Snickerdoodle Cake with Apples
The Fed Up Foodie: Green Apple Butterscotch Macadamia Nut Cookies
Hey Grill Hey: Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp
A Mind “Full” Mom: Salted Caramel Apple Butter
Dishin & Dishes: Chicken with Cider Sauce and Apples
Foodtastic Mom: Ketucky Apple Skillet Cake
Healthy Eats: 6 Lighter Ways to Cook and Bake with Apples
In Jennie’s Kitchen: 9 Amazing Apple Recipes
Mom Loves Baking: Chocolate Turtle Apple Slices
Taste with the Eyes: Red Lentil Penne, Apple, Walnut, Mint, and Gorgonzola Sauce
Swing Eats: Apple Roses (gluten-free)
FN Dish: Kick Off Fall with Food Network’s Favorite 5-Star Apple Desserts

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

4 Surprising Ways Other People Affect Your Health

What I Have Learned About Programming from Sheiko

3 Cleaning Products That Actually Work


It’s been a long time since I’ve written something for Home Neat Home. I’ll say though, that my home is probably neater and cleaner than ever. First and foremost because I have a bigger house and less stuff (“room to breathe” as I like to say) but also because time has allowed me to find products that work well. I think all three of these were recommended to me by some of you (why I love blogs so much!) so I wanted to do a post for those who might not have noticed a comment of mine buried deep in another topic.

Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser

This was recommended to me years ago, by one of you, to get the stains off of my pans. It will make anything stainless, aluminium or copper cookware shine like new. My kettle lives on the stove and was covered in splotchy brown oil spots. I really wish I had taken a before photo but it was the after that inspired this post idea! I had tried cleaning the kettle twice with a sponge and dish soap and remembered I had Bar Keepers Friend under the sink. Now that worked!!

Foodblog (1 of 1)-5

Bona Hardwood Spray Mop

I’ve been using Bona since I moved into this house, and it does the trick. You may recall I have written about hardwood floor cleaning several times before, and what works in one house hasn’t always worked in another. The Bona system makes the floors here look great. But the real reason I am sharing this is because I discovered that there is a Bona mop with the sprayer attached! I must have gotten a cheapie version the first time because I always had to use a hand sprayer and then put it down to mop. This combo version is so much more efficient. I also now have two pads so I can put one in the wash while using the other a few days later.

Foodblog (1 of 2)

Amodex Ink and Stain Remover

I asked a while back on social media how you guys get stains out of your kids’ clothes. Regular laundry detergent fades them, but the stains persist. One person swore by Amodex, and when someone swears by something I usually give it a try. Karen recently bought Mazen a pair of pinstripe pants to wear to a wedding this fall. I had him try them on and as usual he didn’t want to take them back off. Add in a ketchup-heavy dinner, and you can imagine where this story is going. I spoke to Karen that night and she casually said “Don’t let him ruin those pants.” Uh oh. I immediately washed them (and even sprayed on some OxiClean) and started to sweat when the stain was still visible. I then remembered the Amodex and applied that next, washed the pants again, and…..the stain was gone! Whew. Saved the day.

Foodblog (2 of 2)

Because I always learn about “swear by” products from you guys, please share the one cleaning product you can’t live without!

from Kath Eats Real Food

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup – Fall Desserts

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup - Fall Desserts

So it’s fall, the leaves are turning, we have foggy mornings here in Sonoma County and I have a log in the fireplace. Something about this time of year really inspires the dessert recipes. Maybe… Read more →

from The Gracious Pantry