Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ode to 60 Beautiful Years

What does 60 look like?  It looks like love and joy, family, smiles and contented sighs.  It looks like laughter, good food, sunshine, and cake...of course cake.

60 looks like this...

My Momma turned 60 this January...and look what she created.  A room full of smiles, hearts full of joy.  Daughters, son, son-in-laws, granddaughters...a family that loves each other so. damn. much.

We decided to celebrate my Momma's six decades of life by meeting in Phoenix for a long weekend together.  We didn't do a whole lot, but the weekend was full.  Full of just being, together.  There is something absolutely luxurious about plunking down in one spot, surrounded by the people you love, and just  hanging.  There were no plans, no expectations and contentment was all around.

We had a birthday party on Saturday to celebrate this amazing woman who brought us all together.  We ate a huge dinner (spinach ravioli per the birthday girl's request), ate cake, opened presents and talked about how lucky we are to have this woman in our lives, and especially how much we love her.  Oh we love her!  And this is why...

Our Momma has the biggest heart of anyone I know.  She opens her heart, without judgement, to everyone she meets and allows them to linger there.  She always welcomed new faces in our home while we were growing up with open arms and a huge grin.  In fact, both the brother-in-laws said at separate times that weekend that this was the first thing they loved about her.

Our Momma is incredibly laid back, in a very relaxing sort of way.  She has planted herself in our home several times over the years, for a week or two at a time, and never has it felt like work to have her around.  It is so easy to sit with her, to laugh with her, to talk to her and just be with her.

Our Momma loves our girls to the depths of soul.  She is their Nana, and they all love each other so.  It is so beautiful to watch this relationships between them blossom and grow.  Even when it has been months since Anna has seen her Nana, she always runs to her with a huge hug and a grin as if no time has passed at all.  I am eager to see this love grow as Claire becomes more aware of the people in her world.  Nana, her Angel and her Boo...heaven.

Our Momma loves unconditionally.  Her heart is huge and her forgiveness is immediate.  If only the whole world could love like this, the earth would be peaceful.

To celebrate these 60 years was to celebrate a life full of love, joy, and family.  Happy Birthday Momma, we love you so much!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Curried Cous Cous Salad with Chicken & Apple

Children, without a doubt, model their parent's behaviors, both good and bad.  Therefore, I firmly believe that if I take care of myself, my children are bound to follow.  We generally eat pretty healthy in our house, but I have been making an effort to kick it up a notch post-baby to get my body back in shape and keep my energy level up.  Two things I have done recently is joining the YMCA and cooking quick, healthy meals every night that both satisfy and taste delicious.

With these small changes, the baby weight is starting to shed itself and my energy level is back to a place that doesn't make the demands of a toddler and newborn unbearable. (It also helps that Claire, has been a pretty good sleeper.  So, the sleep deprivation is minimal compared to my first newborn experience...which was sleep deprivation hell!)

This cous cous salad has quickly become a new staple in our household.  It literally comes together in 15 minutes and it is crazy delicious and packed with nutrition.  I serve it warm the first night I make it, but is great cold out of the fridge the next day too.

Curried Cous Cous Salad with Chicken & Apple
Adapted from Weight Watchers

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain cous cous
1 (15 1/2 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red apple, unpeeled, cored and diced
1 cup chicken breast, chopped, from a rotisserie chicken
2 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces spinach

Bring the water, 1 teaspoon curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the cous cous, cover and remove from the heat.  Allow to stand for 5 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and then fluff the cous cous with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the chickpeas, apple, chicken, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon curry and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Add the cous cous and stir to mix.  Divide the spinach among 6 bowls and top with the cous cous mixture.  Then hurry up and...