Product Spotlight: Mary & Martha

Product Spotlight: Mary & Martha

I ADORE dishes. Let me clarify- I’m not talking about the act of doing dishes. No, not so much. I adore pretty dishes. Anytime I’m in TJ Maxx or Target, I tend to gravitate towards the kitchen and serving ware isles. I especially enjoy looking at all the colorful designs and reading the words printed on the mugs. (Isn’t owning a great mug just awesome!?) Maybe I’m alone in my pursuit to find a great mug, but having the right cup just makes a difference to me. I guess I can explain it in the same way a great outfit can impact how you feel in those clothes, a great mug can impact how you feel as well. At least it does for me. (Little secret– I will always opt to dine-in at a cafe if it means I can use a real mug and not a paper cup to-go.) Coffee mugs are one of the things that we didn’t register for before getting married. My hubby and I both enjoy a unique cup, so we left those purchases to be something we gather eclectically. For our plates and bowls, on the other hand, we went classic and opted for solid white. And I love them. The plain white is the perfect backdrop for letting the food stand out as the star. But then I was given these little beauties and I am even more in love! Mary & Martha Dishes These two pieces are from Mary & Martha’s Melamine Collection called “This is the table before the Lord”. Just like my favorite mugs, these have beautiful colors, words that...
Homemade Mint Chocolate Larabar Recipe

Homemade Mint Chocolate Larabar Recipe

Ahhh mint! One of my favorite flavors. of. all. time. I have always enjoyed eating anything minty- thin mint Girl Scout cookies, peppermint frappes and mint chip ice cream, to name a few… (Do you see a sugar connection between all of those listed? Totally. Me too. It’s no secret.) But I also enjoy mint tea and using fresh mint in Mediterranean-style meals.  I actually have some pretty fond memories chewing on fresh-picked mint leaves from my family’s old backyard as a little girl. I’m just a mint loving girl! So when I was doing some online shopping at Thrive Market, and saw Simply Organic’s Peppermint extract for a super low price of about $3, I clicked “add to cart” without hesitation. Because why resist having yummy mint extract in my pantry for all my baking needs? 😉 It was delivered in less than 3 days and in that time, I had already decided I’d compliment the mint flavor with the addition of chocolate. (Because, again… why not?) YUM! I went for a date-sweetened mint chocolate Larabar (adapted from my JOY Bar recipe) and this was the result. It’s so yummy! I posted this pic as a little teaser on my Facebook and Instagram to see if I was alone in my mint obsession or if you wanted the recipe and the vote was unanimous- I am not alone. So here it is for your tasting pleasure. So Long Thin Mint Cookies, Hello Homemade Mint Chocolate Larabars! PrintHomemade Mint Chocolate Larabar Recipe Prep Time: 5 minutesTotal Time: 5 minutes Ingredients1 cup dates 1 cup almonds 1 tsp peppermint extract 3 TBS cacao powder ¼ cup chocolate chipsInstructionsAdd everything to your food...

How Food Can Say “I Love You”

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” -Alan D. Wolfelt Isn’t that the truth?  Sometimes words really aren’t enough.  But food can be a powerful and yet simple expression and extension of love. I’ve been on the receiving end of meals more times than I can count.  They’ve come in celebration of our son Isaac’s birth and moving to a new home.  They came when I was on bed rest and dealing with severe morning sickness.  They came when I tore my rotator-cuff and was recovering from surgery.  Whether in times of hardship and desperate need or times of joy and celebration, the times my family has received meals are times I think of with deep gratitude.  There’s just something special and warming to the soul about having a meal prepared for you. A neighbor of mine recently had a death in her family.  I don’t know their family well, but I know circumstances enough to know that they are grieving.  I decided to step up and be neighborly, but a sincere gift of flowers and words on a card just seemed to fall short of what I wanted them to feel.  I wanted them to feel loved.  Thought of.  Cared for. Not forgotten during this very difficult time.  I wanted them to know that even when things like this happen and things don’t make sense, that there is still something worth living for.  (Granted, only God can comfort them in ways that they are craving in this time of grief), but I just felt that there was something more I could do to assure them that...
Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Steak Fries

Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Steak Fries

Roasted veggies make their way to my family’s table at least once a week.  Roasting just does something seriously good to veggies.  I always say: “If you don’t like a vegetable, try roasting it before you rule it out altogether, because eating it roasted just might change your mind.”  We roast sweet potatoes in all different shapes and sizes depending on our given mood. And the other night, my husband hit the sweet potato jackpot! He was helping prep the veggies while I was focused on coating the fish in a cashew crust (I was making paleo fish sticks– a recipe that may or may not make it’s way to the blog, but will definitely be on the menu for spring). Anyway, he decide to cut the sweet potatoes into long and thick wedges and oh.my.goodness! The result? AMAZING!!!  Comes together in less than 30 minutes. Give it a try! PrintOven-Roasted Sweet Potato Steak Fries Prep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 16 minutesTotal Time: 26 minutes Serving Size: 4 Ingredients4-5 sweet potatoes 1 TBS oil (coconut or olive oil) salt & pepper to tasteInstructionsPreheat oven to 425. Rinse sweet potatoes, dry and peel. Slice into long wedges. (As shown in our lil home video.) Put wedges into a bowl and drizzle with oil & season with salt and pepper. Mix around to evenly coat wedges with oil and seasoning. Set out on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or well greased pan). Bake for 16-18 min or until lightly golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside. (You can definitely flip half way though, but not necessary. The results will still be delicious!) 3.0http://www.savoringjoy.com/oven-roasted-sweet-potato-steak-fries/...
1 Simple Tip To Radically Simplify Meal Planning

1 Simple Tip To Radically Simplify Meal Planning

Want to know a super simple tip to radically simplify meal planning? Use theme days! One theme for each day of the week. To be honest, I was not too excited about the idea of theme days for a very looooooong time.  I always felt like having a theme set for each day would be constricting and not allow for creativity.  My fear was always, “What if that theme day rolls around and I’m not in the mood for that meal?”  Silly? Perhaps. My husband, on the other hand, loves the idea of having theme days.  (And I do mean love as in love love LOVES the idea.)  He’s all about order, routine, and not having to (watch me) spend hours and hours meal planning or staring into the fridge wondering what to cook.   Well, after much resistance, I finally decided to give this whole “theme day” thing a try.  Just to see how it would work.  And I have a confession….  I like using theme days.  Me- the former “theme-day-hater” has converted.   You see I learned that having some set of parameters in place (like theme days) doesn’t restrict my creativity, it actually increases it!  Having some structure to create in and around brings quite a bit of freedom.  A theme for each day of the week really reduces the overwhelm of meal planning.  Instead of having to come up with several random meals for the week, you just have to decide one theme for each day and a few meals that fit that theme. Simple, right?    I highly suggest you give this time-saving and highly effective tip...

8 Things I’ve Learned From Breaking Up With Meal Planning

Image Source: Walt Stoneburner   Meal planning and I have had an extensive love/hate relationship.  I loved the benefit and rewards that meal planning brought to my life, but hated the effort and attention that meal planning demanded.  We have a long and complicated history of being on again & off again. But like all relationships, you always learn something. Here are 8 things I’ve learned from breaking up with meal planning:   1.     I spend a lot of money on last minute take out.  Dinner time rolls around and the question of “What’s for dinner?” spurs on a conversation that ends with me ordering take out for my husband to pick up.  Team work at its finest. 😉 2.    I often go hungry.  Sometimes I actually forget to eat because I don’t have anything planned.  And then I get over hungry and the result is lesson #3. 3.    I have the potential to be a very anxious and “hangry” person.  Familiar with that word? That’s when you are hungry AND angry.  It’s not a pretty combination.  Angry about being hungry. Angry at the world.  Enough said. 4.    I have the ability to get totally and completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of making food for my family. Without a plan, I can walk in and out of the kitchen several times a day until I just collapse from emotional and mental exhaustion. 5.    Food stored safely in the confines of the fridge has the mysterious ability to disappear and only reappear when its at the point of no return.  Money (& yummy potential) down the...