The Truth About Nesting (at least for me)

Happy New Year!!

I love this time of new beginnings! Our new beginning in 2014 comes a lot of nesting to be done. I've always heard about the "nesting" period that comes when you are expecting - just bursting at the seams to declutter, organize, paint and decorate ... and I think that without even knowing it, I've looked forward to it. For me, the reality has been a bit different from what I expected.


BIG news!

Hello everyone,

I hope all you in the USA had a great Thanksgiving!  Once again, I have to apologize for the lack of posts recently.  I believe I had mentioned before that as soon as I returned from our mission trip to Greece in June, I started a new job.  Well as I was making the transition into this new job, I found out that I'm pregnant!!!!!!

This pregnancy is a miracle.  We had been trying for some time and were planning on pursuing more invasive methods this month (December 2013) if nothing changed.  By the grace of God, we were able to conceive naturally and we are insanely grateful and excited (maybe a little nervous too).



Of course between the new job and the first trimester slump, I hardly cooked anything at all and blogged even less!  I am currently in my second trimester and my energy is better, so I am hoping to update at least periodically from here on - very little for a while after the baby is born, obviously.

So what does this mean for Naturally Awesome Eats?  Aside from the continued random posts, I expect to be exploring a lot of new topics as I encounter them. The transition to clean eating and living is enough of a challenge for just my husband and I, but now there is a new life in the mix ... I've had to consider things like how our modern diet affects fertility ... what about cloth diapering, natural birth?  What kinds of toys should we register for - and beyond that, how will we plan to raise our son on healthy, whole foods and avoid relying on processed convenience foods when things get crazy all the time?  How is this going to change how we organize our time and our home?  I hope to document as much of this journey as I can while still posting recipes and typical NAE topics that I love. :)

To all of you who check in regularly or just happened to stumble upon my little corner of the internet - please let me know if there are any issues you have faced along this journey and what you have learned!  Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks!

Ashley

I'm not dead :)

Ack!  So sorry for the ginormous hiatus! I promise I have a good reason ... first I started a new job.  Then I got laid off.  Then I heard about an opening - emailed my resume - got a call for an interview within 4 hours - had 3 interviews in one week - found out I had the job just hours before leaving the country for a week, and now I've been in my new job for two weeks.  It's been a crazy whirlwind, but I'm really enjoying it!

I will be posting a few recipes from my "Spanish Mama" soon, as promised; including paella, garlic mushrooms, pisto manchego, and tortilla Espanola - good stuff!!


I'll also share some stories from our trip to Greece and share my adventures in work-ready brown bag lunches thus far.

Stay tuned!   :)


Tuscan Soup with Kale and Sausage

So sorry for the slow down - it has been a crazy (good crazy) couple of months!  We recently discovered that we are going to be traveling to Europe twice this summer doing mission work - and we have been super busy preparing for the trips (more on that in a future post)!  Plus, my husband's "Spanish mama" (a family friend) is flying in today and visiting for a few weeks!  Hopefully you'll see some Spanish recipes up here soon!



I know this is the second soup in a row - but I love soup!!!  We probably make a batch of this soup every other week when it's cool out - but we eat it in the summer too! For an extra nutrition punch, add chia seeds at the end.  I've also been known to make a double batch and freeze half for a night when I'm short on time! 

20-Minute Pantry Minestrone

This simple minestrone is rustic, healthy, Italian, and always there for me (sounds like my husband!)



   This was one of those "I'm staving and need to eat healthy but I'm exhausted and haven't gone grocery shopping yet" kind of meals.  As I mentioned before, I recently started an awesome new job.  New job = new flow.  New flow = new quick, healthy, go-to recipes.  I call them pantry meals - chances are that I'll have all the ingredients on hand and all the ingredients will keep for a long time.  Basically, pantry meals are awesome meal-planing back up plans. This recipe is super easy to customize, so feel free to add extra veggies, switch out the pasta, whatever you like!


West African Peanut Soup

Sorry for the hiatus!  I got a new job couple of weeks ago (a huge answer to lots of prayers) and now that I'm getting a hang of the new "normal", it's time to start blogging again!

West African Peanut Soup ...



I know what you're thinking.  If you've never had a peanut soup before, the idea can be a bit off-putting.  It's not a new idea to me ... I ate peanut soup as a kid when stopped in Williamsburg, VA on vacation.  But that was the very basic American colonial version - not the veggie filled West African version - and this soup was still a little out of my comfort zone when I first tried it.  However, I am SO glad I did!  Despite being completely vegan, this soup is creamy, hearty, and packs some protein without using any meat-substitute products.  Of course, you can always add some chicken to the mix if you like!

I try to plan on having this meal the same week there's another meal with rice.  That way I can add cooked rice at the end, making the cooking time much shorter!
*You may be thinking, "That's some funny looking rice in that photo ..."  You're right.  It's orzo.  I didn't have cooked rice and I got lazy.  :)

To add some green to the meal, I serve this soup with a side of roasted broccoli - YUM!


Super-Guacamole

Thinking about taking some chips and guacamole to the Superbowl party?  Take a good look at the ingredients before you buy a commercial "guacamole dip."  Some of them contain less than 2% avocado!  That's just wrong.   Instead, try whipping up this simple homemade guac with a twist - pomegranate.

Guacamole is super simple to make, and the pomegranate seeds add little pops of sweetness and a punch of antioxidants that take this vegan dip to the next level.  For a meal, try pairing it with blue corn tortilla chips and vegetarian pineapple enchiladas!




CAUTION: If you are not used to working with pomegranates be careful, the juice will stain very quickly!  Some stores carry pomegranate seeds which will some you some work, so keep your eyes out for those.  

If you want a more traditional guacamole, omit the pomegranate seeds and add some chopped jalapeno for some heat. 


SPOTLIGHT ONAvocado
Avocados are high in monounsaturated "good" fat and are a great source of healthy fat for vegan diets. They are also high in fiber, and vitamins C, E, K, and folate.