Pop Culture Drama, Recent Eats & BLW meals!

Good morning, everyone!! I hope y’all are well out there. I am UNWELL given all the Vanderpump Rules drama. I meannnn (!!!!!). IYKYK. I’ve put more productive things, like reading my book club book, on hold while I drink from the fire hose that is this drama.

Anyway! For those that don’t melt their brain with trash TV, I am going to treat ya to a maybe somewhat boring, but somewhat more wholesome, recap of our last few weeks, ha!

The last few weeks have been a bit tough for us. Poor Quinnie had a double ear infection, eye infection & stomach bug. All her dairy intolerance symptoms came back too, so we are once again halting the dairy trial. DJ and I also got the stomach bug, so that’s twice in a few months- no bueno!!! We did have a somewhat healthy stretch though until all this thankfully. Also Quinn’s in Leap 7, and it’s kicking our butt. And to top it all off, while driving home from work, a tire flew off a truck in front of me, hit my bumper and now it’s only hanging on by some tape. Back to the collision center we go :/. Feeling very thankful I was totally fine and Quinn wasn’t with me when it happened.

Enough of the woes though!!! We did have some fun and wonderful moments despite functioning sub-optimally and the stretch of poor luck.

February 18th we started the day with a trip to Walmart to grab a few miscellaneous items and to get Quinn out of the house. She has been loving the grocery trips!

We returned home, and I started immediately into some food prep! Miss Independent has pretty much free rein of our kitchen and living room area. It’s nice we have a pretty open layout to keep an eye on her and already had baby gates installed for the Moose.

Back to food prep- I have been really enjoying leaning into baby led weaning! I do have days where it feels overwhelming, especially when time and groceries are running low; however, I’m learning all the time how to make nutritious and convenient meals for Quinn. I have some of these combinations to share today, and it helps me to look back at what I’ve done recently for quick ideas too.

One of my favorite go-tos for her is eggs mixed with various ingredients (eggs have been a great way to introduce new foods and incorporate greens), avocado and toast. She always eats the toast, where the eggs and avocado is a toss up.

I also made these cauliflower nuggets with sweet potato. I used these to introduce onion and parsley. I didn’t quite dry out the cauliflower enough because they were tough to crisp up, but Quinn still gobbled them up.

The next day, February 19th, we wanted to go to the land to let Moose run around. Quinn cried from the moment we got in the car, so we decided halfway there to scrap the drive and just walk the towpath instead.

It actually ended up being an unexpectedly special walk. We walked past where DJ asked me to be his girlfriend on this bridge in January of 2010 ❤️. It felt extra nostalgic and sentimental returning there with Quinn & Moose.

It was a great temperate walk for February and reminded us how much we enjoy that trail.

After our walk, we stopped by Corelife. Usually I’m all about getting a salad there, but I was craving a wrap instead. I loaded up lots of veggies and tofu. Now that I’m able to have soy again, I’ve been craving tofu more often!!

That afternoon I made Quinn a “basil Alfredo” spaghetti squash with a coconut yogurt/avocado/spinach/basil/Italian seasoning/nutritional yeast blended into a sauce. She ate every bite.

We decided to venture over to Krieger’s to pick up some items for a meal I wanted to make from my Half Baked Harvest cookbook. I’ve discovered I am way more diligent about making recipes if I choose one from a cookbook vs saving them electronically. I’m still a decade behind with my hard cover cookbooks and paper planner, hah!

February 20th, we started the day playing with Moose!

The recipe I made that weekend was a real winner (so far all the recipes have been from HBH!). This was chicken saltimbocca with prosciutto, arugula and capers. Here’s a similar recipe from her site!

February 22nd, I made Quinn egg/oat/banana pancakes with a boiled blueberry compote. I think pancakes are her favorite food right now! I use them to introduce finely crushed nuts too.

She is still obsessed with her walker. She also is recently obsessed with the hanging hand towel in the kitchen. She rips it off the oven handle and runs around with it like she’s a flagger at the Grand Prix.

That afternoon, I made Quinn a lunch of toast with mashed edamame spread, tomato wedges and artichoke hearts. I try to balance her meals over the day with fruits/veggies/proteins/grains, but it’s always a mystery what she will actually eat.

For dinner, I made DJ and myself lamb salads with vegan feta and a fattoush dressing. We agreed this simple meal was one of our favorites of late!

One very exciting new skill Quinn has been working on the last few weeks is waving!! She really does it the best when I wave to her in the car mirror. I was able to capture it while we were at a stoplight that week (one of the rare times she’s not wailing in the car!).

February 25th, I was craving Thai food, so I made these green curry bowls from HBH with shrimp added.

They were yummy! Not our favorite recipe so far, but it gave me my Thai fix! I served with the Bfree Naan bread- I don’t recommend, they’re pretty flaky and have an odd flavor. I do like the Bfree pita though!

February 26th was prep for the week. I made the Jennifer Aniston salad again for book club the next day!

That afternoon DJ and I took Quinn and Moose to Bath Nature Preserve for some fresh scenery on our family weekend walk.

A fun little detail on this trail- there is a Solar System Walk that has a marking of all the planets in our solar system spaced on the trail scaled to how far apart they are in reality.

February 27th, I made Quinn a Banza penne with beef bolognese and zucchini. She loves this! A new favorite meal for sure. I try to make a nice sized batch of these meals, so I can easily send her food to daycare too.

That evening I had book club. Gigi stopped by to watch Quinn before DJ got home so I could make it on time. So so sweet of her! It was a great book club- we read The Love of My Life. It’s a good read! I’d give it maybe 3.5/5 stars – it’s a fast one with some decent twists.

February 28th, I dropped Quinn off at daycare for a couple hours so I could take Moose on a run. It worked out beautifully as it was during her wake window.

It felt soo good to get that run in! And it was nice to have one-on-one time with Moose ❤️.

Here is a pic from Marie while I was at work that week with Moose’s new friend, Wilson. 😊

Quinn was definitely under the weather that week. I tried to take her to the park and do bucket swings, but she was not having it. She did enjoy sitting in my lap though and swinging.

I took her after to the pet store to see fish, birds and her personal favorite, gerbils.

She was refusing food mostly that week and wanted to nurse nonstop. I think if I had to guess it was a combo of not feeling well/teething & Leap 7.

The tides started slowly turning on March 5th. We all seemed to be feeling a bit better. Quinn ate up some of her favorite pancakes & gave us some big characteristically Quinnie smiles. I was so relieved she was eating again!

That afternoon, we took Quinn to the park! We did the swings again and the slide. She was way more happy about it this time!

I still wasn’t feeling 100%, so I ordered sushi, my go-to comfort food when not feeling well. I realize this is a very odd choice of a comfort food, but I crave it when I’m feeling off. I think it’s the sodium I crave. (This is from Ichiban sushi, my favorite around here!).

Once Quinn started feeling better, I jumped back into making her meals. She really enjoyed this combo of pinto beans, broccoli, tofu and kiwi.

Not much else is going on around here! In my spare time I’ve been planning Quinn’s first birthday party, reading The Measure for the next book club, watching Married at First Sight and trying to keep us all healthy!

Questions for you:

– Are you following the VPR drama? Must discuss!

– What is your go-to comfort food?



Valentine’s Recap!

Hey hey! It’s a chilly, yet beautiful, Saturday morning here on this long weekend. It’s not even noon, but I’ve managed to have breakfast, complete a continuing education credit, go grocery shopping (so fun with Quinn in the cart!) & do the dishes! This is unusually productive as Saturdays are usually a more lazy day. I feel very well rested after yesterday (I’ll recap yesterday later in this post!). Hope your long weekend is off to a great start! (Although, may be later in the week when I finally publish this!).

Rewinding back to last Saturday, February 11th, I met up with Rachel for her birthday brunch! We met around 1 pm, which was perfect timing as Quinn was well rested after a long nap and feed. DJ kept things under control at home while I whipped up Route 8 to celebrate my dear friend!!

Rach always keeps her eyes out for fun new spots for us to try! She’s my go-to person for foodie ideas all over the Cleveland/Akron area and beyond! For this meal, we met at Pub Frato in Chagrin Falls.

This place had an industrial vibe with warm, cozy lighting. reminding me a lot of Burntwood actually.

After enjoying the Bloody Mary at Burntwood a couple weekends ago, I decided to try Pub Frato’s “garden bloody”. I’m pretty sure they brought the wrong one out because it had a big ol’ piece of bacon in it with minimal veggies. I wasn’t upset though, it was delicious bacon!! A happy mistake for sure.

Rach tried the mimosa flight! Pic of the gorg birthday girl!!

I had the salmon over arugula/beets/blue cheese & pomegranate! I’m starting the dairy introduction very slowly. So far, so good! This meal was scrumptious as could be.

When I returned home, the deliciousness didn’t end! Gigi and Gordie spoiled me for Valentine’s Day by sending these dairy/soy free cookies from Pacific Northwest. How stinking thoughtful are they?! These are very tasty, especially for being dairy/gluten/soy free. You would never guess!!! I keep them in the freezer and have been taking a couple bites a day. My favorite flavors of what I’ve tried so far are the chocolate chip and molasses 😋.

It didn’t stop there either- they generously gifted us Baked by Melissa vegan cupcakes. Again, you’d never know they’re vegan. Amazing!

I took Quinn’s ninth month photos that day (again a bit delayed, at least I’m consistent 😄).

While playing in the nursery, Quinn decided to try standing with minimal support- I could hardly believe it!

That afternoon we went to Kendall Hills with Quinn and Moose to let Moose frolic around. These hills were a little easier when I didn’t have a 18 lb. + babe strapped to me, but I got a good workout hah!

After Kendall, I was craving Raising Cane’s something fierce!!! I think we’ve had it before after Kendall Hills because I couldn’t get it out of my mind the whole time we were there. Isn’t the brain funny that way.

I looked up allergens on their site and at this point I was having a little soy daily and very little dairy. Since I already had a little cheese that morning, I wanted to make sure not to overdo it with any more dairy. I saw they had something called naked chicken tenders that were dairy free & the sauce actually was dairy free too according to the allergen list! I was doubtful these naked tenders actually existed considering we’ve never seen them on the menu…… but we zoomed into Cane’s parking lot, DJ went inside to order and returned with the naked tenders! I was stoked! And they were goooood!!

Not pictured: me downing these fries and tenders in the car while Quinn fusses in her car seat, because, yes, she still hates the car! We even have tried switching to a convertible car seat, and that hasn’t even seemed to help 😵‍💫.

Quinn was ready to go on Monday morning, February 13th. I had a later shift start that day, so I was able to drop her off at daycare. When I dropped her off she cried and put up a little fight which absolutely broke my heart. Ugh.

Thankfully I was off February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and could spend every second with my little Valentine!

For breakfast I made her these banana egg pancakes with a raspberry compote (simply boiled raspberries, smashed).

She LOVED them. She actually giggled as she ate them, and I refilled her little plate three times.

Had to show off her outfit without covering it with a silly bib, of course 🤪.

After breakfast, we crawled around the living room, and this girl found particular fascination with my shades. Why does she look like she’s about to say “yeah, ok mom, bring me my bottle please” as she pushes the shades up? 😆.

We then went on our FIRST jog together! 3 miles!! This is so very exciting for me. Usually I can only workout when DJ is home to watch her since we’re still doing mostly contact naps, so this was AWESOME!

Back to playing. This time she thought it would be fun to venture into Moose’s crate 😅.

After her afternoon nap, we went to CVS to get a few things. I also picked up the Lily’s Sour Gummy Worms at checkout, which I really enjoyed!!

Quinn put together a little Valentine Surprise for DJ, complete with one of his favorite sweets- Daisy Pops Cake Pops (the owner was actually a high school teacher of mine), a heart shaped pizza from Marco’s and some toys for Moose. (I added some books in for Quinn too). 🥰.

🥰🥰🥰. DJ was pretty smitten by his Valentine!

And he surprised me with this spectacular sunset inspired bouquet 🥰.

Quinn was also very spoiled by all her grandparents this First Valentine’s Day!

DJ and I don’t always make a big to-do of Valentine’s Day, but this year was so much fun celebrating with our mini Valentine.

February 15th, Gigi came by to spend the afternoon with us! We were both craving Subway, so it was an easy decision for lunch. I don’t know if y’all remember, but I lived on Subway veggie delights when I was pregnant. I even considered making Quinn a subway sub for Halloween 😆. Since Subway has soy in the bread, it was a no-go when I had to give that up. But now that I could finally have soy again, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this sub!!! I added my own vegan cheese…. Still just being cautious with the dairy.

This tasted so good!

Thursday, February 16th, was a tough day. It was my Dad’s birthday, which is always just difficult in its own right, missing him. But then everything seemed to go wrong. To start, I spilled my breast milk when making bottles & spilled my coffee on the carpet. Thennnn, get this- I left the car seat in my car on accident so DJ had no way to get Quinn to daycare since he leaves after me. He called me right as my shift was starting, and I had no clue what to do. Thankfully, he called Gigi who graciously drove right over with a spare car seat she had for our nephew. She saved the day! What would be do without her? I really do not know. I thought the chaos was over, but then I had one of the hardest days at work since I’ve started. By the end of the day my nerves were just shot. But when I picked up this girl and had her napping soundly in my carrier, I felt like I could take a deep breath. ❤️

She’s wearing her sweet Corgi shirt from her Aunt Amy!

Thankfully this rollercoaster of a week ended on a wonderful note 🥰. We were planning on going away for President’s Day weekend as a fam, but that fell through. DJ had already opted to use a vacation day for that Friday, so we decided to use it as a full “date day”.

We dropped Quinn off at daycare around 9 after her first nap of the day. We also dropped Moose off at Camp Bow Wow since it was a little chilly for a walk; this way he could get his energy out, and we would just pick him up after lunch.

Returning home, we had breakfast, blasted country music, caught up on some easy house chores, talked & laughed just the two of us. We watched Yellowstone then got ready to go to lunch!

I wanted to eat somewhere kinda romantic, but that’s hard to find on a random afternoon, hah! We ended up going to Beau’s on the River in Cuyahoga Falls. Funnily enough, this was located in the Sheraton where my baby shower was held. I missed Quinn immensely all day, but it was really important and wonderful for DJ and I to have that time together.

The main dining room wasn’t opened, so we were seated in the lounge. The lounge had a calm, relaxing vibe as it overlooked the water.

We were seated with the best view in the house!

As I gazed out at the snow flurries over the water, I said to DJ, “this is just magical”. He couldn’t help but laugh at how I said this while overlooking a muddy river situated on a hotel embankment overcast by the grayest of clouds. Then we were both laughing because, well, he made a fair point. But look, if you take a mom anywhere that serves a good meal she can eat without rushing, she’s probably going to call it magical! 😄 ✨

Given the frigid day outside, I ordered a cozy glass of red wine. DJ ordered their seasonal beer, and I loved how they served it in a Cavs mug. I had a sip & it was delicious!!!

For an appetizer, we tried the white cheddar shrimp & grits. DJ had never had grits before and was a big fan!! I have always loved them, and these were really tasty. I only had a couple bites, since I’m sure there was quite a bit of dairy.

I also had their beet salad with feta, prosciutto chips (yum!!) over a massive bed of arugula. My kind of salad!

DJ had their veggie stir fry with steak added over sticky rice.

I savored their salmon ALT (aioli, lettuce and tomato) with the aioli on the side. It hit the spot as did the fries!

Post lunch car selfie 🙃. I think I’ve used every emoji in the book at this point of the post. My millennial is showing 🤪.

We then picked up our Moose!

He was one sleepy boy after Bow Wow. We gave him a lot of one-on-one attention which he hasn’t had simultaneously from both of us since Quinn was born. He ate it up! We fell asleep watching Yellowstone then picked up Quinn from daycare, looking forward to a full long weekend all together. ❤️

It was a really special day!

Thanks for reading & sharing in these fun memories in our little cut of the world.

Question for you:

– How was your long weekend if ya had one?

– How was your regular weekend if you didn’t?



Fire Alarms, Random Eats & A Girl’s Trip to Columbus!

Hi, Everyone!! How are you doing? I am so ecstatic to report we are on day three of a successful crib nap. Going to try to whip this post out at lightening speed before she wakes up.

January 17th I received this adorable photo from daycare of Quinn spelling out her name with letters.

January 18th was a day of planning meals, prepping for work the next day and getting the house organized. January 19th I also worked, but afterward, I walked Quinn outside on the surprisingly warm Thursday afternoon (I think it was in the 50s?!).

I love this new jacket!

That day I made a really easy pot roast with homemade gravy. So tasty. I didn’t use the extra lean beef in this recipe though, just regular.

January 20th out of nowhere (I wasn’t cooking or anything) our fire alarms went off through the whole house. It was so loud, I genuinely was, and still am, concerned about Quinn’s hearing after the exposure. I got us out of the house and bundled as quickly as I could to face the now bitter cold while covering her ears, but it was so loud it physically made me dizzy- which I’ve never experienced before. Out of desperation I called Gigi and Gordie who luckily were home and able to swing by and help inspect what was going on. Nothing was found as a cause (we suspect it was a power surge issue after speaking with a technician), and the alarms just stopped on their own right when they arrived.

Even though chaotic and a little concerning, I met the sweetest neighbor who insisted I sit in her car while waiting for my in-laws. I may have gained a new friend out of the whole fiasco.

Also it was fun to unexpectedly get some time with Gigi and Grandpa! I know I’ve said it a million times, but I really am so grateful to have them nearby.

That evening I made (aka heated to a scorching hot temp on the stove) Amy’s quinoa, kale and lentil soup with a tortilla lightly fried in some earth balance vegan butter for dinner. I add a couple scoops of collagen powder for a boost of protein to my soups. I like to have these and other Amy’s soups on hand for quick dinners, last minute lunches for work and chilly days that call for a cozy meal. Side note- any one else prefer their soup so hot it’s nearly inedible?

We were low on groceries, so I didn’t have my usual berries to add to my morning oats on January 21st, so I added some applesauce. This sounds so simple, and it is, but my goodness the combo of applesauce in oatmeal with peanut butter is really yummy!

Mr. Moose tired after a playdate at Aunt Marie’s!

That afternoon, we went to my younger sister-in-law’s basketball game where my other sister-in-law cheered! Quinn loves going to sporting events and is always mesmerized when we have football on. We joke it’s her favorite sport.

I love this pic of Quinn with her Aunt Kori 🥰.

That evening, I made air fryer chicken with the multipurpose umami seasoning from Trader Joe’s with parmesan broccoli (the violife parm block is out of this world for a dairy free parm!), potatoes and brown rice. It all was pretty good! I feel like it needed something else- like a glaze with the chicken or something. Maybe a cranberry salad for a sweet and savory type thing. But overall, tasty!

Once again low on groceries, on January 22nd, for lunch, I made this brown rice bowl with leftover garlic Alfredo sauce from Primal Kitchen with an egg over top and chopped red onion and green peppers. This last minute hodge podge meal was actually so good!! I’ve started putting that sauce on everything when I have the chance, which is surprising because I didn’t really know how I felt about it at first, but it’s really grown on me! I love mixing it with grains like rice and quinoa bowls.

For dinner that evening we did a pizza night with Mike’s hot honey and crushed red pepper! DJ had CPK’s Margherita and I had the Vegan Harvest Flatbread (sooo good & way better than some of the other vegan pizzas I’ve tried).

And that brings us to the week of January 23rd! We started the day out with a trip to Nervous Dog coffee. I brought along the teether crackers Quinn is obsessed with, and we FaceTimed my mom and Pete. It was Pete’s bday that day!

For Christmas, my mom gifted Quinn this iPad so they could FaceTime on it instead of my phone. It’s been awesome! She even covered it with this adorable butterfly stand.

Quinnie wanted me to make sure I got a pic of her cute boots too ;).

At this point we entered into the thick of winter, and I’m weirdly enjoying it? I greatly appreciate these seasons after being away from them for so long!

We discovered that evening that Quinn has a new favorite food- green beans!

With a new grocery order in the house, I made us wedge salads, parm crusted tilapia and brown rice for dinner. I *thought* I used the vegan parm, but accidentally used regular (speaks to how real the fake stuff looks!). Anyway, this meant I accidentally re-introduced Quinn to dairy earlier than I planned, but she’s tolerated it well!

On Tuesday, January 24th, Quinn and I went out for breakfast with Gigi to one of our favorite spots, Garrett’s Mill Diner. The chef was so sweetly concerned about my allergies that he even brought out the containers of what he cooks with to double check it was all ok. I do admittedly feel bad being this high maintenance out to eat, but gosh that was kind of him!

The food is always so good!!!

We came back home and crawled around in her nursery while I folded laundry.

I had a salad for dinner (the usual with veggie burger and hummus), but made DJ his favorite soup from the Dixie Stampede. This is the best copycat recipe I’ve found yet.

I was craving avocado toast with an egg for breakfast on January 25th.

That day I scoped out a venue for Quinn’s first bday! We don’t have enough parking/space at our townhouse, so we’re going to do her party at a park.

I also realized Quinn loves looking at photos on the fridge! I made a new collage for her, and she is obsessed. I’m going to try to make a book with all our family for her to flip through when time allows!

On January 26th I did something I haven’t done since Quinn was born. I had a full girl’s day with a friend! I didn’t have any shifts that week which is unusual, so I used a daycare day to meet with a friend in Columbus (she lives in Indianapolis, so it’s a great halfway point!). She’s a nurse too, so it worked that she didn’t have to work that day either.

I dropped Quinn off around 730, drove home and got ready/packed my pump bag, snacks, coffee and water then hit the road!

I met Laura, one of my dearest friends from college, around 11 AM at a fun brunch place called Drunch Eatery.

After chatting away and forgetting to look at the menu, we realized “oh yeah, probably needs to get an order in!”. We decided to start with mimosas to kick off a proper girls day. Drunch had more flavor options than anywhere I’d ever seen. I tried the strawberry rhubarb, it was good, but very sweet (I don’t love super sweet drinks, but it was still good!).

For my main, I got their quinoa bowl with an additional egg and a side of their breakfast potatoes. Everything hit the spot! I’ve been on a quinoa kick since this brunch.

After brunch, we headed to an adorable little downtown area to visit a candle shop like the couple of basic gals we are!

If it wasn’t so cold I would have loved to walk around more. There were a lot of cute boutique-type shops that lined this street.

Back to the candles! The shop we ventured into was called Penn & Beech. You actually can make your own candles and diffusers here, but we didn’t have quite enough time, so we just grabbed a couple to go.

How cute is this place?

What I love about these candles too is they are nontoxic. Even after smelling probably every single candle in the store we didn’t leave with a headache. I bought the Christmas Ale candle and Wild Currant. They both had unique scents that I couldn’t resist! When I burned them at home I couldn’t believe how they so beautifully filled the house with the delicious scents. Highly highly recommend!

And what would go better with a candle than a good book? We marched (drove about three miles) into German village to go to the famed Book Loft. This bookstore has 32 rooms of discounted books with every genre you can imagine!

Yes, we did get lost several times 😆.

I picked out a few books for Quinn and grabbed the Half Baked Harvest Every Day Cookbook for myself. I cannot wait to make all the recipes in there 😍.

It was around 230 pm at this point, so we said our goodbyes, promised to not let so much time pass before we did something like this again, I pumped once in the car and then headed back to pick up my girl! It was tough being that far away (about a two hour drive), but that girls day did something good for me & felt much needed!

I’ll get into our February in the next post ☺️.

Question for you:

– Would you rather live somewhere with seasons or somewhere it was warm all year round?

– What type of candle scents do you prefer?



Trying a New Diner, New Foods & New Recipes!

Hello! Hope you all are doing well & staying warm out there! Today I’m catching up from November, the month I call “the month of sick”. We had one thing after another- it was a pretty rough month, but thankfully we are ok at this moment in time (knock on wood). 

November 1st, we introduced Quinn to salmon. I had to share her adorable reaction. She actually ended up loving it and ate a lot of it after getting over the initial shock, lol. 

She and Moose are quickly becoming best friends- it’s so stinking cute. Quinn lights up and laughs when Moose walks into the room. Moose is so careful and gentle with her too. He’s a great big brother. He’ll often go over and sit right next to her as though he’s keeping an eye on her. 

I’ve been on a real kick lately with avocado toast and arugula together. Add a few drops of Frank’s Red Hot sauce- YUM. 

November 2nd, I took Moose out on a nice fall walk <3. 

I love how creative they are with Quinn at daycare!

November 3rd, I got this sweet girl ready to go out for her first breakfast out!

Gigi, Quinn and I went on a chilly walk on the hike and bike trail and then went to Molly Brown’s Country Cafe for some food.

Molly Brown’s has a cozy, local feel and smells like a traditional breakfast diner: toast, coffee and cooking oil. I also get a hint of cigarette smoke, but obviously that’s been banned for a while indoors, so I think it’s probably my brain playing tricks since I went to so many diners growing up when smoking was still allowed. 

We placed Quinn in the high chair and used diapers on either side to help give more support. She did great! No fussing the entire time. She just loved looking around and people watching. 

We ordered some smooth and yummy coffee and lots of food. I tried the veggie omelette- It was delicious! 

November 4th was camo day at daycare. Just had to share her cute little outfit we got off Amazon. 

November 5th, we woke up to the most beautiful sunrise. It was a special moment watching it with Quinn. She loves the cool air too- I’ve discovered she way prefers being on the cooler side than being warm. She naps best on cold walks outside in my carrier right now. 

And fall is officially over!

After our morning family walk, one of my good friends from childhood, Sarah, came by with her dog to meet Quinn! It was soo good to see her and catch up.

Sunday, November 6th, I met up with Rachel for brunch at the Burntwood Tavern in Cuyahoga Falls. 

We sat outside on their deck over looking the water. It was a beautiful morning!

I ordered a delicious omelette with some of the best darn sea salt breakfast potatoes. 

Rach came back after and hung out with us and Quinn for a little bit <3.

The 6th also happened to be Quinn’s six month birthday, her golden month birthday if you will! <3.

That evening I made a garlic shrimp toast recipe. It was pretty good, but not sure I’ll make again.

November 8th,  I took Quinn into the pediatrician’s for an eye infection. She got put on antibiotics, but I started feeling under the weather the same day. We went for a walk on our way back from the office to get some fresh air.

That evening we hit the polls, I just put her in my carrier which worked out well. If she’s in the carrier, she is happy. Do not know what I’d do without this thing!

That evening, I made cast iron salmon with rice, spinach and mushrooms. 

November 9th, I had to call off work since Quinn needed to be on antibiotics 24 hours before returning to daycare. Her eyes improved quickly after a couple doses thankfully! I hate calling off work, but Quinn is my #1 priority now. I didn’t mind the extra cuddles and time together the next day one bit <3. 

That evening was rough though! During the day, I realized my eye started looking quite red and started feeling a cold fully coming on. By the evening, I knew I had picked up Quinn’s eye infection, I felt awful overall and my ear started hurting. Around 11 pm the pain in my ear became excruciating and then my ear drum perforated. I did a teladoc appointment– thank goodness for that technology–and DJ ran out to get my meds from a 24 hr. pharmacy. Bless him. 

November 10th, I had to call off work again. I’ve never called off twice in a row- or hardly ever to begin with- but thankfully my manager has been so supportive and understanding. I’m just praying we make it through the winter without too many more call offs since I know the first year of daycare is tough on the sickness front as the little ones build that immunity. 

I was craving soup that evening, naturally, so I made a veggie bone broth that hit the spot. Ya got your veggies, ya got your protein- it’s great! I’ve made this several times since. If we have any leftover grains like farro or brown rice, I’ll throw those in too and sometimes top with vegan cheese. (And always a piece of buttered bread on the side).

I also discovered one of my new favorite pastas that week! This Banza Rigatoni pasta is made from chickpeas, packed with protein and soo delicious. I topped it with regular parm for DJ, vegan parmesan for myself (Follow Your Heart has a great one) along with a little parsley. 

We had some naan bread leftover after using most of it for Indian food, so I decided to try it out for grilled cheese & tomato soup! DJ loved this!! 

November 13th, Quinnie was introduced to a small amount of regular yogurt! She did well with it as far as we can tell. Her eye infection ended up coming back, and then she got put on oral antibiotics for an ear infection later that week, so we put the dairy introduction on hold and just gave her probiotic drops. She liked the yogurt though, that’s for sure! We’ve re-introduced it one other time since, and her reflux seemed to worsen; however, she was battling a cold and cough that week- so it was hard to tell the culprit. We’ll try again when she’s all better! And if she does well with it, that means she no longer has an intolerance (woot woot) & I can start having dairy again! I feel like we’re almost there :).

That evening I made an artichoke chicken that I’m obsessed with! (I substituted mushrooms for the tomatoes, and loved this combo). 

November 14th was picture day for Ms. Quinn at daycare, so we sent her off with a bow :). 

November 15th, I used naan we had on hand to make a pizza in the air fryer. I topped it off with basil & it actually turned out pretty good! I think it would have all around crisped up better in the oven, but it was fun to try in the air fryer (and faster).

November 16th, I took Quinn out on our first super cold (sub-40F) walk. I was eager to get out of the house, and Quinn seemed to love it. She had one of her longest naps to date all cozied up. 

That evening I made air fryer shrimp tacos. Still one of my favorite meals to make through the week. 

This is how pretty much every meal looks right now. So fun & oh so messy!!

This week, we also started getting full on giggles which make my heart burst 100x over!

November 19th, I made more caulipower pappardelle mixed with veggies and topped with vegan parm. I could eat this every night!

And that brings us to the week of Thanksgiving

Questions for you!

  • Favorite memory of this holiday season so far?
  • Have you tried any new recipes lately? Would love if you have a link to it too!

Have a very Merry Christmas, all <3!



A sorta different…but still tasty…Thanksgiving!

Good morning everyone! Currently, Quinn is sleeping in her crib for her nap. Admittedly, I have become very lazy with doing crib naps after I realized she was just fine napping in the crib at daycare while doing carrier naps at home with me. But, with travel coming up here for the holidays, I’d really like to be able to put her to nap in a pack and play so I don’t miss out! I know, I know- a lofty goal to accomplish in a couple weeks.

Anyway, I’m skipping one recap that I have yet to write and jumping into our Thanksgiving recap, since it’s a bit more timely!  

November 20th, my sister, Halston, came to town! She was here for a few days before driving to Cincinnati to be with Kevin’s family for Thanksgiving. While she was calling me to give me an update on where she was en route, Quinn started pulling up to stand on our pouf in the living room. I couldn’t believe it!

My sister arrived later that evening right on the verge of us putting Quinn to sleep. When Quinn saw my sister, her eyes got very wide and she looked between me and my sister several times, clearly confused. I feel like she was thinking, “wait, which one is mom?!”. It was too funny and cute. We went to sleep shortly after, and then we all worked the next day (Hal worked from our home). After work, I was eager to drive home to pick up Quinn from daycare and see Hal! 

I’ve been trying lots of new recipes lately and have been trying to be more creative in the kitchen. I was getting into a bit of a rut making the same things over and over, but cooking always brings me such joy and makes me feel productive. The evening of November 21st, I made scallops with couscous and a veggie medley of zucchini, mushrooms and a broccoli slaw. 

Dancing to Christmas music with Aunt Hally <3.
Tuesday, November 22nd, was a chill day at home for me and Quinn. She slept through the night for the first time ever the night before! I got so much sleep too, I couldn’t believe it- I was actually more tired than usual the next day because I think my body isn’t used to that much sleep. Anyway, my sister still had to work, but she was able to sneak out for a walk with us. 

That evening I made one of the best recipes I’ve tried in a long time- these Buddha Bowls! Hal and I couldn’t believe how delicious they were. We made them with Japanese sweet potato rather than regular, and I think that made them even better (although we were then missing the orange “pop” of orange). 

Wednesday, November 23rd, we dropped off Quinn at daycare in the morning and had a sisters morning at home. I worked one day less than usual that week so I could prep for Thanksgiving, so I used half of the other daycare day she usually goes to get all our cooking done! We started the day with cranberry orange mimosas. Mine heavier on the cranberry, Hal’s heavier on the orange.

We had two Thanksgivings planned this year- one with my dad-in-law’s side and one with my mom-in-law’s side. With Hal’s help, we prepped the following dishes: 

My cranberry pistachio acorn squash

Vegan Cornbread (Holy moly, this is going to be a new staple). 

And vegan cauliflower mashed potatoes (I sorta winged this one, but we couldn’t believe how delicious they were, I’ll have to post a recipe for it soon, so I remember how I made them for next year). 

After listening to holiday music and cooking away, we hit the trail for a 3 mile run together. 

Then we picked up Quinnie from daycare and went to a nearby neighborhood to go for a walk and nap. Hal requested to wear the carrier, so I helped her put it on, and it was so special they had that bonding time while Quinn caught some snoozes. 

Then sadly, Hal had to hit the road. It was a tough goodbye, but I’m grateful I’ll see her for Christmas!

The morning of Thanksgiving, things took a wee bit of a turn. DJ woke up with a horrible case of hand, foot, mouth which, unfortunately, Quinn had battled over the weekend. DJ got it worse though- thankfully, Quinn had a super mild case. Due to how contagious HFM is, we had to cancel all our Thanksgiving plans.

We were determined to still have a good day and make it memorable for our family. I just wish DJ had been feeling better. We started out with an off-trail walk in the woods with Moose and Quinn. 

Then when we returned home, DJ kindly watched her while I actually “got ready”, a rare thing around here. Even though, we weren’t going anywhere, I still wanted to dress like a civil human being on the holiday. And then I got Quinn dressed in her outfit too :).

I whipped together an impromptu spread with whatever we had. It was an oddly fun challenge to see how I could make something that resembled a Thanksgiving dinner so last minute. We used a couple of the Waygu steaks that were gifted to DJ for his bday as our main course, cauliflower mashed potatoes, vegan mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, biscuits, vegan cornbread and leftover of the quinoa mix to go over a spinach salad (I already had devoured a stuffed squash for lunch and wanted to save the rest to drop off at Gigi’s since I know they like it!). 

I laughed when DJ randomly yelled out during the meal, “Thanks for the rolls, Quinnie!”. 

It ended up being a great meal! The star of the show was the steak (thank you, Gigi and Gordie- you saved Thanksgiving!)- I don’t think I’ve ever had that quality of steak in my life. It was like butter. The flavor was so well rounded, tender- absolutely incredible. And I’m just glad I didn’t butcher them in the air fryer! 

For Quinn, we loaded up this vegetable turkey dinner we got from the store. She ate the whole jar and loved every bit. Girl LOVES turkey. I was hesitant to feed her much else from our table for this meal since it was all loaded with sodium, but she did not mind one bit sticking to her personal turkey dinner.

The next day, I put her in outfit #2 even though we wouldn’t be able to show it off in person. I still sent pics around to the fam. My mom sweetly gifted this to Quinn <3. 

Here she goes trying to stand again!

She is so intrigued by our little Christmas tree, trying to brainwash this girl early to LOVE Christmas! <3.

For dinner Friday evening, I made a leftover salad with the quinoa/cranberry/pistachio mix, leftover steak, fresh cranberries and vegan cheese with a balsamic drizzle. 

Our family so sweetly stopped by over the weekend to drop off food for us too, and we had a drive by hello <3. It was also a very productive weekend, and we just spent a lot of quality time with Moose and Quinn. As I write this, thankfully DJ is totally recovered- but woah, hand foot mouth in an adult is no joke!

Hope all my USA friends had a wonderful Turkey day!

Questions for you: 

  • Do you have any stories about turning a rough situation into an unexpectedly good memory? 
  • What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast? I will say I really missed Gigi’s pumpkin pie and my brother-in-law’s green bean casserole this year! And, of course, what I missed more than anything-seeing all our family.



Wrapping up Fall!

A Wonderful Wedding Weekend & A Flying Object!

Trying Oats, Burning Muffins, Eating Blue Habernero & Enjoying Fall! 🍁

Hey all! How are ya doing? I discovered a new way I can get some blogging in my life! I have my laptop propped up on a cake stand and am typing away while Quinn sleeps in my carrier. So far, so good! Also, I’m listening to Midnights as I write this- I really like it so far. 

Finishing out the first weekend in October- October 2nd, we introduced Quinn to some *quite soupy* oatmeal for the first time! This is the first time she’s had anything except breastmilk. She seemed uncertain but also seemed to like it as she kept grabbing the spoon from me. Although it was hard to tell if she just wanted to teeth the spoon, hah. I have to say- introducing solids terrifies me. Especially after the choking episode in the hospital, my blood runs cold any time she makes the slightest gagging sound. I do think we are going to try baby-led weaning, but I am nervous about this whole endeavor. At the same time, I’m very excited to introduce all these new foods to her. Our goal is to get her to try 100 foods in her first year!

We used a smaller spoon moving forward (I actually just bought some