There is nothing that brings me more pleasure than going to the farmer's market, getting some beautiful produce and turning them into something totally delicious... and totally simple.  Something about homemade makes everything taste better.  You taste what is put into it + the dedication of the person making it.  But most importantly: it is good for you.  Yes, there are times when we must grab a can of tomatoes or beans but whenever possible I like to go for the fresh stuff.  

Here is what I like about fresh food: what you get is what you see.  A radish is a radish and an apple is an apple.  It is honest and humble.  You eat it when ripped and it nourishes the body.  I was all about eating fast foods and whatever I could find and then I remember reading this quote:  

It stopped me on my tracks because it was simple but boy-- did it bring the point home.  Especially when you start reading about "pink stuff" in meats or food that does not melt even when put to the fire.  And so I made a conscious decision to eat more foods in the natural state and the farmer's market became my new favorite place to shop for food.

This past weekend the market was full of so much beautiful produce {yes, I find food beautiful} and my eyes immediately focused on tomatoes, peppers and herbs.  I am a person that eats with my eyes first and a ranbow of color produce always makes me smile.  So how did I decide on what to make?  I follow one rule of thumb: try to keep the produce as close to natural as possible.  In the end I settled for two recipes: a roasted peppers and tomato soup.  And also a tomatoes and green bean salad.  It does not get any fresher than that. 

Ever since I came back from Minnesota with the tomatoes my future MIL grew in her garden, I wished I had more to make some tomato soup.  It is my favorite soup in the world and really had a taste for it this weekend.  Thankfully the market fixed that.  The best past about this soup?  It is only veggies and veggie broth.  It is creamy without the heavy cream which mean is does not pack the heavy calories and fat content canned or others have.  Plus there is the whole freshness. 

The flavor was pretty amazing and it gets better the next day.  It is creamy without being too rich with a slightly subtle sweet taste thanks to the roasting process which brought out the natural sugars and caramelized them beautifully. 

I am also a huge fan of eating raw tomatoes which is why I made a tomatoes + green beans salad dressed up with nothing but olive oil, Maldon salt and pepper.  The trick was simply cut the tomatoes in half and let them marinate in olive oil an hour before I served them.  Then I added to them some blanched green beans and it was a delicious and healthy feast. 

Again, the whole point of these two recipes was to enjoy the freshness of the produce and let their own summer flavors shine. And that they did.  It was a perfect way to nourish my body throughout the weekend especially in this heat when heavy foods just do not sit well in my stomach.  Both dishes were light and summer perfect.  I hope you have gotten to enjoy the bountiful of fresh produce that summer had to offer.  Have a wonderful day!





4 lbs. tomatoes, chopped into quarters (do not seed them)
1-2 red or yellow peppers, seeded and chopped into quarters
1 bulb of garlic
1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
olive oil
Herbes de Provence olive oil (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
a handful of fresh basil
1.  Preheat oven to 400F. 
2.  In a bowl combine tomatoes (including any juices you gathered while chopping) and peppers, then add enough olive oil to coat them, and salt & pepper to taste.  Toss and spread on a baking sheet. 
3.  Take the garlic bulb and cut in half.  Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil.  Put the foil packet in the same baking sheet as the tomatoes.  And roast for the same amount of time.
3.  Roast for 30-35 minutes.  Once everything is roasted, let it cool a bit.  Transfer the tomatoes and peppers to a blender.  Add 4-5 leaves of basil and squeeze the soften garlic out of the garlic casing and into the blender.  Give it a quick pulse to combine together.  Add the vegetable broth (add water if you want the soup thinner) and blend away until the soup is smooth and silky.   Taste to make sure the flavors and seasoning are good, and adjust as necessary. 
4.  Once done, serve, granish with chiffonade basil leaves and croutons (I used ezequiel bread croutons), drizzle a little of the herbs de provence oil and enjoy.  It is that simple!



Ooooeeh!  This was one hot weekend.  This summer has been fairly cool here in Kansas but this weekend summer decided to come out and play and did it! Saturday it was blistering by 1000 when I went to the farmer's market to pick up some stuff.  And it did not help that I was feeling rotten.  Luckily I was able to be in and out of the market in 15 minutes.  Afterwards, I went home and took a nap trying to feel better.  Later in the afternoon, I practiced some more calligraphy.  I started this week and I am loving it so far. 


Sunday I woke up feeling much better, enough to go for a run after church.  The temperature was not too bad when I got to park where I run but by the time I was half way the temperature went to 100F.  Yeap... that sucker got 10 degrees hotter while on the run.  And as you can see below-- not a lot of shade.  Luckily there was a summer fest at the park and the Fire Department had misting fans going.  You better believe I stood in front of them for a while to cool off.


By the time I made it home I was ready for shower, dinner and movies.  Yes, it was so hot I did not want to do anything outside.  And I was in the mood for wine-related movies.  Probably because I still have the Napa earthquake in my mind {how scary was that?}.  When I heard about it this morning the first thing I thought of was of friends I have in the area and of bloggers I follow who may have been affected.  I hope they are all ok. 
Back to the movies: I spent the afternoon being lazy and watching Bottle Shock (my favorite wine movie) followed by a documentary called A Year in Burgundy.  If you get a chance to watch this documentary, please do.  It it follows wine makers in Bordeaux as they shape their wines and explores the ins and outs of wine making against the backdrop of beautiful chateaux and vineyards.  It was simply blissful and a lovely way to end the weekend.
How was your weekend?  Anything exciting?  Is it hot in your area?

 Mingle Monday. Monday Morning Gossip. Monday Link-Up


Hey guys!  For a while know I have been thinking about writing a special weekend post dedicated to nourishing the body and mind.  And this is the first of those posts.  It will include a topic and various links related to it.  And this is the first of those posts. 
This basket of produce {below} is beautiful and the first words that come to mind are fresh, nourishing and healthy-- among others.  Nourishing vegetables can heal the body and there have been many articles that break that topic down to Barney level {because I do not do complicated}.  I love talking and reading about food because I like to learn from others and engage in meaningful discussion about our food sources, how to use food to heal the body, bring people together, etc. 
Yet this beautiful basket, while very healthy for many, is not very good for me-- a hypothryoid.  This is very frustrating because these foods have been linked to healing the body and in maintaining a healthy weight, which is VERY important (and hard to do) for hypothyroids.  It is always interesting to see people's expression when I tell them that I cannot eat certain veggies because they are not "good" for me. The look? Confused.  So today I want to talk about the impact of some veggies due to a substance called goitrogens.


If you have heard the term "goitrogen" before it is probably related to thyroid function or thyroid disease.  And when used in this context it is referred to naturally occuring substances that interfere with thyroid function most specifically enlargement of the thryoid gland.  There are many substances that can contribute to a enlarged thyroid gland or "goiter" and some of it is naturally occuring in foods, mostly cruciferous and soyfoods. 
I have to clarify that these foods DO NOT cause a goiter when consumed and they do not interfere with the thyroid function of a healthy person Goitrogenic food are not "bad foods" they are healthy foods containing nutrients which under certain circumnstances can also interefere with thryoid function.  What causes problems for certain individuals is not the food itself but the mismatched nature of certain substances within the food to their unique health situation. (WHF.org).       


The good news for hypothyroids is that there is a little light at the end of the tunnel: many health professionals believe that cooking may inactivate goitrogens.  So if you are just dying to have some of these foods make sure you cook them.  Also, some health professionals believe that if you have had your thyroid removed surgically, you should not worry too much about goitrogens {still, I do}.  


Believe me when I tell you that after I learned about goitrogens I felt as if there was no way of eating healthy.  It was frustrating because I like all these foods but I should not eat them.  But with a little bit of patience and planning I started making changes to improve my nutrition.  How?

1.  I had to have to find other options for veggies intake.  That is the major bottom like.  I literally had a printed list of the "no" foods with me when I went shopping to help me.  And then I discovered that there were still plenty of veggies and foods that I could eat. 
2.  Go green.  It has been found that green vegetables are essential to the immune system, which can be stressed during intense athletic activities.

3.  Quality protein.  I once tried to go vegetarian, but it lasted about two months.  Towards the end I was ready to eat me a big ol' steak.  And I did!  But this showed me that I am a carnivore.  One interesting thing I have noticed about looking GF blogs is that the majority of the recipes I have come across are for baked goods.  I however, tend to go towards two things mostly: salads and meat.  So I think in that area, I will be good.  Because I am not allergic to eggs, another good source of protein, I like to use them for breakfast mostly.  Hypothyroids, one source of protein that is the cause of much controversy is soy, and whether it interferes with the body's ability to absorb the medication. The verdict still out on this but it is food for thought.  I personally avoid it.  The world of proteins is immense, so pick the one that best fits your lifestyle.

4.   The delightful beet.  I'm on a beet kick right now, and I am eating them anyway I can.  Beets are jam-packed with nutrients.  And they help to cleanse the blood and create more red blood cells.  One of the best effects for me is that it helps with age-related eye issues.  This is huge for me because when I had Graves disease it affected my eyesight-- which was awesome up until that point. 

5.  Turmeric. The spice with the exotic name is really good for joint pains.  And it is one of those spices that is good to alleviate thyroid inflammation.  After a long hard workout I like to end the night with a cup of warm almond milk with cinnamon and turmeric.  Really hits the spot and it does a body good.   

6.  Let's talk gluten-free.  I am not crazy about gluten-free YET it is basically the only way I see results in combating the hypothryoidism associated weight gain that some hypothyroids (not all) experience.  So I am basically back to semi-gluten free.  I found that if you keep saying " I am on a GF diet" it feels very resctrictive.  However if you stick to fresh veggies, fruits and meats you will be on a GF diet by default. 

And there you have it, an oversimplified look at goitrogens and eating healthy as a hypothyroid.  Do you have hypothryoidism?  any other tips?


I seriously need to take a knee and take a deep breath because the past three weeks have been go, go, go!  I am not kidding.  It is ridiculous.  But it is necessary.  It is preparation for my next life.  I can get a really freaked out thinking about the what if's.  But I am feeling unusually peaceful which is good.  So today, I am sharing my craziness and what I am thankful for.
NO. 1 // I drove up to Minnesota this past weekend to deal with wedding stuff and spend time with D and the kids.  So much fun.  I always love spending time with the kiddos.  They are hilarious and so loving.  Plus it is always a good weekend when I get to see my love. :-)  But I tell you, the way there was stormy and not optimal for driving.  When I saw this in the distance while driving into Iowa, I knew I was in for a rainy drive.

NO. 2 // We finally sat down and started on the guest list for the wedding.  Save the Date cards are in and the major details of the wedding have been decided, mostly the concept-- and I am loving it.  D and I want a romantic wedding but a super fun reception-- not stuffy-- where the guests enjoy themselves.  And in honor of my love for North Carolina we are going with a very Southern food menu {it is going to be soooo delicious!}. 
NO. 3 //  I got to go running while I was in Minnesota.  It was super hot, but I love running in the little town that will be my future home.  I get really motivated to run when I am there.  Very picturesque and beautiful.  Summer in Minnesota is hotter than I thought it would be but talk about excellent for gardening.  I came back to Kansas with a basket full of veggies straight out of my future mother-in-law's garden.  She is so good at gardening and I hope I can one day be as good as she is. 
NO. 4 // Beautiful images to remember my roadtrips.
NO. 5 // The most beautiful skies.  For some reason Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota have the most stunning sunsets and sunrises.  Maybe it is because of the wide open spaces but I am always in awe.  These are two of my favorites this week:
There was only one bad thing this weekend: running was about the only exercise thing I managed to do because I pulled a muscle in my upper back on Friday.  Mr. Jack tried to jump in the back of the Jeep which is much more higher than he is.  And me, so he would not get hurt, jerked to catch him and pulled the muscle-- NOT FUN.  It was so painful that the first hour of the drive to MN it hurt every time I breathed.  So painful.  It has gotten a little better but still there.  So taking it easy on the upper body workouts.  But it has allowed me to slow down and enjoy the world around me.  And that is something else to be thankful for. :)
How has your week been?


Hello, dolls!  Wow, it seems like I have not posted anything fitness related in forever.  Honestly, training has been... well, training.  With life, wedding planning and starting the process to transfer for active duty to the National Guard, it has been crazy to post my big ol' boring training.  So a little update:


Running has been going good.  With the unseasonably autumn-like temperatures it has been a delight to run.  Truth be told, I have been running for me more than anything instead of time.  I have found myself using my running time to think about all the changes going on and going over my to-do lists.  Always a Type-A.



I am doing Crossfit but had to scale back on the amount of days I was doing it.  By the end of the foundation classes, I was feeling broken.  My knees started killing to the point that I was running with knee braces and my left hip joint felt like it was on fire after anything squats related.  Scaling back has really helped though.  And I am glad because Crossfit makes me feel like a bad-momma jamma! :D
I also started going to the Crossfit gym on post because honestly the 30-minute driving to Kansas City was getting old.  Not so much going but coming back.  After an intense Crossfit workout I was super dead to get on the road and drive.  Luckily I found a great Crossfitter who has been helping me here.


Last week I had to go to the normal gym-- or what Crossfitters call "globo gym" {if you have seen the movie Dodge Ball you know where this is coming from}.  With work and the Crossfit gym closing by 6:00 PM, this is what worked.  And I have to admit: it was like coming back home (oh, I'm getting teary thinking about it... lol).  I loved lifting weights and I could tell that Crossfit is improving my fitness because I went up 15-20 lbs. on all the weights.  Yeap!  Feeling like a bad-momma jamma again!  


I wanted to touch on this because I think my thyroid levels are all wacked out {hello tiredness}, however I have been able to maintain a good balance or exercise and nutrition.  On the scale the change is not much (booo!) but I am fitting into clothes I have not in many months and that is reassuring.  Little baby steps that make everything worth it.
And that is for me my friends.  How has your training been going?  Tried any new workouts lately?


I am a Type-A personality.  If you add to that a love for organizing and planning, stationery, pretty binder and journals you will get a highly organized bride-to-be.  I bought a wedding planning book when I first got engaged but after getting it home I found it is not what I was looking for.  It was more of a guide to planning a wedding instead of a planner book-- which is different and what I needed.  

Still in looking at the various options available for planner books I was not impressed nor found what I wanted.  I like a clean look.  Just because I am a woman does not automatically mean I like frilly and flowers.  I wanted classic because this would be a keepsake for a lifetime.  So I took matters into my hands I made my own using various resources and tools I found online.  What I created is my perfect wedding planner book and in the process discovered that truly a wedding planner must have a few key components.


This is essential in keeping everything together and handy.  While some may think that I am too detailed, I was looking for something in my favorite color: Martha Stewart "green".  If you are detailed oriented, you know that when one hones on a particular color none other would do. :-) 

Fortunately for me Martha Stewart has an office line at Staples that has everything I needed.  Even better? When I went everything was on sale.  The textured binder is the perfect size (extra wide) to fit dividers, checklists, protectors and safety pouches for receipts/contracts.  I really like that it has an eazy-touch ring that keeps everything in place while making it easy to open like some binders are.  I also purchased a notebook for notes. 


My new favorite word as a bride-to-be is "free printables" especially if they reflect your style.  Wedding wise I {heart} the Martha Stewart Wedding Workbook.  In true Martha style this is a no nonsense compilation of essential checklists.  I particularly like it because having a small wedding, I do not need all the fluff in the other wedding planners I have seen.  



The second printable I am loving is the 2014 printable calendar from Tomkat StudioTomkat Studio is a fantastic blog I came across last year.  It has all kinds of stylish ideas from decorating to party planning/event ideas to cute printables.  What I love about this particular calendar is that it has a beautiful modern font {I have a thing with fonts} without being too busy + it has plenty of space for all of your calendar notes. 



Yes! A quick reference that is handy to have when planning and you need to quickly make decisions or reference dates. For a once over calendar, this one just has me swooning.  How gorgeous is this one from Love vs. Design?



I did not take a picture of these but they are extremely necessary for receipts, contracts, notes, swatch samples... you name it.  It helps protect these items and keeps them secured.  

And that is it!  It really threw me for a loop how expensive these books are especially when you can make your own  to fit your style for almost half the price.  It is about shopping around, my friends.  One thing I learned? It is amazing the amount of free tools and printables available these days online for the Type-A {or any other type) bride and to fit any particular taste.  The choices are endless.   

And speaking of choices, I am beyond thrilled about our honeymoon plans.  From the moment we started talking wedding, we both agreed we will be going to Norway to visit D's Norwegian relatives. But we also wanted to do a second location.  We were back and forth between a beachy area, a historical place or a distilleries tour of Scotland.  Well after this past weekend at the vineyard we started thinking wine country and since we will be in Europe, D recommended we go to France's wine country.  

So it is with the utmost delight that I can share the news that we will be going to St. Emilion in Bordeaux for our honeymoon after Norway!  If you read this blog, you know this is THE one place in Europe that I would love to visit.  So much that I shared why in THIS post.  So, this is shaping up to be a great planning effort!  Now with this motivation and my fancy new book, I am set for some major wedding planning with my future MIL and the fiance over the weekend. :)  Happy planning!


This past weekend D and I spent the weekend in Ames, Iowa.  We like to do this not only because it is half way for both of us but because D went to college there and we both enjoy it.  Without a doubt one of the best times we had was enjoying a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon at Prairie Moon Vineyards.


I found out about this winery while doing an online search about events in Ames this weekend.  I am so glad we found it because it was truly a lovely place.  We got to taste some delicious wine, listen to live music and meet new people.  I think of the entire afternoon my favorite moment was D singing along to the Iowa State University "Cyclones" Fight Song. OMG, give him some wine and this song, and he is a completely different guy!  I loved it!


I have always had a love for vineyards and wineries.  Learning about the operations of the vineyard, thee grapes and everything that goes into making it work, regardless of how small was fantastic.  Especially because one day I hope to one day have a small vineyard operation in Minnesota.  There is a new world of viniculture in Minnesota that D and I have been talking about exploring, and this visit just made our gears turn even more.  We will see.  In thee meantime I will cherish the loveliness of the day.


As much as I love a good recipe with tons of steps as a way to purge the mind and soul in a healthy and productive way, I am not always in the mood to do so... nor have the time to go all Dorie Greenspan during meal time.  Especially in the summer.  Whenever possible I want to be out enjoying the sunshine, exploring or it if it is too hot-- just relaxing under the fan. 
On days like this I go for easy to prepare meals and sometimes I prepare something that is so good, I cannot stop eating it.  This SUPER EASY salad is that.  Do not tell me this does not look like summer on a plate.

This is so simple that it does not even require a recipe...

Just assemble a bed of your favorite greens {I love mesclun} and drizzle some of the vinaigrette {see below}.  Then sprinkle as many sliced fresh strawberries as you want, slice a half avocado and sprinkle some feta cheese. 
For the vinaigrette just mix 1/4 cup champagned vinegar, 3/4 cups olive oil, salt and pepper.  That's it!  You can add some garlic but for this salad I prefer it without.  
I am not big about adding fruit to salads but in this one it just works.  The juiciness of the strawberry and the creaminess of the avocado works really good with the vinaigrette.  It really is super easy, delicious and so refreshing especially on a hot summer day. 


I am the first to tell you that I am all about comfort.  I practically live in my Army boots or running shoes.  But when I am off-duty I turn to cute shoes.  High heels is where my afinity lies however my heart belongs to ballet flats.  Maybe because of my ballet years or maybe because I am very tall-- but I have always loved them. 
So it is no surprise that for my wedding day, this is the route I am going (plus I am a bit taller than the groom).  But that does not necessarily mean ugly shoes.  Many designers are realizing the niche in the fashion world for ballet flats and are coming out with gorgeous ballet flats worthy of the big day.  These are some of the ones I am loving so far.



Nothing says festive like sparkle and glitter.  Personally it just makes me happy.  And flats in these mediums are fun, flirty and girlie while maintaining the classic look by keeping colors neutral and the style simple.  




Is there anything more romantic or feminine than bows?  I LOVE BOWS.  I remember growing up and putting bows on everything.  I think of all the flats in this post, the ones from Something Bleu are my favorites.  Satin bows + ballet flats are a match made in heaven.


BHLDN (from Anthropologie) VIA // KATE SPADE VIA


The "something blue" tradition has not been the same since Carrie Bradshaw's blue satin Manolo Blahniks made an appearance in the movie Sex & The City.  And with all reason-- they are gorgeous!  And how fantastic it is that Manolo thought of girls like me who would love to wear flats on the big day by transforming the beautiful satin pump into a flat.  They look so French court, don't you think?  I also love the slightly more dainty flats from Christy.  They are so girly.

Ballet flats are the perfect compromise for the bride looking for comfort and classic style.  There are so many choices to meet a brides' taste and budgets that the only problem will be deciding which one to go for.  But the best thing about these flats is that they are so beautiful that I will be able to use them after the wedding instead of staying relegated to the back of the closet.  And I am all for that.  Happy wedding inspiration!

Lovely {A Weekend In Photos}

I love a weekend when I enjoy myself to the point of such contentment that I drift through the days without even noticing.  This weekend started very lazily for me and handsome Jack.  I kind of hung around in bed reading and enjoying breakfast while Jack snoozed away (while keeping me within eye sight, of course}. 

After a good breakfast I packed the pup and we headed to the Leavenworth Farmer's Market to walk around.  It was such a gorgeous day and when I arrived at the market it was jammed packed and the produce was out of this world!  It was foodie heaven.  I got some green/purple beans for Sunday supper and was excited to try a new kind of apple I've never had before: honey cider.  It is a little tart and perfect for baking.  I also found some beautiful lilacs at the market.  I thought they were out of season but apparently not.  And who am I to question it?  All I know is that the scent caught my nose and I had to get a bunch,

Once done at the market I stopped by the library.  Am I the only one who loves a library?  There is nothing like walking through isles of books and that smell-- you know that peculiar smell of library books.  I love it.  I found some good fiction books and a cookbook from The Blackberry Farm.  I have read so much about this self-sustained farm and poured through the book enjoying the stories, photos and recipes.  Foodie heaven indeed.  

Sunday arrived with thunder, lightning and a deluge of rain, which made for another lazy morning.  Jack is not a fan of stormy weather and he just relaxed in the cocoon of his quilt.  As gets older he sleeps more and more.  After church- latter and chocolate muffin in hand-- I headed to the town of Atchinson, KS which is 30 minutes from where I live.  It was a gorgeous day by then and the drive through the beautiful farmland was just beautiful.  

Because it was Sunday not many things were open but I managed to visit two beautiful historic homes:  the Amelia Earhart Birthplace and the Clay Historic Home which was exquisite with its facade reminiscent of a Scottish castle.  I loved everything about this last home and the historian in me loved every minute of it.  Later in the week I will share the interior of the homes.  

By the time I made it home it was time for dinner and food preparation for the week.  Then I cuddled with my snugglebug and watched Saving Mrs. Banks, the story behind the movie Mary Poppins.  It was so endearing and moving.  A perfect way to cap the night and the weekend.

How was your weekend?  Anything exciting?

Mosaic Monday. Mingle Monday.  Monday Morning Gossip. Monday Link-Up.