Year One in Review

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Well, y’all, we made it. A whole year of marriage in the books, and what a year it has been. This time last year, I was getting ready for the biggest party of my life. Hair done. Nails done. Makeup done. All primped and purty.

This year, I’ll consider it a victory just to get out of my pajamas. You can go ahead and hashtag that #newmomlife #reallife #nosleep #overit #idontknowthelasttimeishavedmylegs.

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Thoughts on Mother’s Day from a Soon-to-be Mom

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Well, it’s been a while. And by a while I mean a little over a year. But in my defense, it’s been a busy year: I’ve gotten married, we’ve sold two houses, as of next week, I will have moved twice and, to top it all off, I’m 37 weeks pregnant. Our little butter bean could come at any point within the next 2.5 weeks and I couldn’t be any more overwhelmed…I mean excited.

I don’t know why I all of a sudden got the blogging bug again. Maybe it’s the hormones making me sentimental. Maybe it’s a way for me to calm the nerves over the change about to happen to my life. Or maybe it’s that I now feel like I actually have something meaningful to share. Parents are supposed to know everything, right? I’m kidding.

Regardless, it seemed appropriate that my first post back should be about Mother’s Day. It has always been a special day for me, but this year it seems even more so.

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Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad Re-make

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I’m a creature of habit. I like my comfort zone. I have no interest in grocery shopping anywhere but the I-55 Kroger, 99% of my closet has come from Ann Taylor LOFT and my fiancé already knows that between 7:00 AM and 7:30 AM, I will be sitting on the couch watching Good Morning America and drinking my coffee – DO NOT disturb me.

So it probably comes as no surprise that when I find something on a restaurant’s menu that I like, I stick to it. Save your breath and skip all that Daily Specials talk. I’m going to order the same Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad from Char every time.

But as much as I love the salad, my wallet cannot afford the habit of eating at Char too often. So I had to find a way to make it on my own. And the recipe that follows is a pretty darn close replica.

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal

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Over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to branch out and try new vegetables. I’ve actually discovered that I like a few…asparagus, brussel sprouts, cucumber. But try as I might, I CANNOT seem to handle carrots.

I can manage to get them down when they’re shredded up in salads and drowned in dressing. Or dipped in hummus with about a 100:1 hummus to carrot ratio. But then, that kind of defeats the purpose. Doesn’t it?

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Eggplant Pizzas

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Pizza has always been one of my favorite foods. Not the gourmet, wheat-crust, arugula-topped, “healthier” stuff. I’m talking Domino’s extra-cheese, meat-lovers supreme. And throw in some cinna-sticks while you’re at it.

My brothers and I even used to rationalize eating so much pizza by pointing out that it did hit most of the major food groups. Grains, meats, dairy, vegetables…never mind the fats, sugars and carbs. Can I have my teenage metabolism back, please?

As I grow older, I’m learning to be (a bit) smarter about the foods I eat, and while I usually allow myself a couple of cheat meals every week, this year, I gave bread up for Lent. Which, in hindsight, was maybe a tad ambitious. Do you know how hard it is to have a decent cheat meal without bread?

So with domino’s obviously out of the question, I decided to try these eggplant pizzas to see if they would be an adequate substitute for my mild, pizza addiction. And were they ever?

One bite of these delicious, veggie pizzas and you will forget all about how you used to crave that over-buttered, carb-stuffed crust. I will be enjoying this recipe long after my 40 bread-less days are over.

And bonus: Eggplant is high in fiber, iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and B and can help with things like controlling diabetes, lowering cholesterol and fueling brain health. In fact, I’m feeling smarter already.

Ok, so there’s still a tiny whole in my heart from no Domino’s, but these will more than suffice for a healthy, quick weeknight meal! I hope you enjoy!

For more healthy recipes and fitness tips, be sure to like LIFE Unraveled on Facebook.

Eggplant Pizzas

1 eggplant, sliced 3/4 inch thick
salt
pepper
extra virgin olive oil
dried basil
dried oregano
tomato sauce
mozzarella
toppings (I opted for veggies, but you could even add some lean chicken or turkey)

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Place the sliced eggplant on a paper towel and salt generously. This will pull a lot of the moisture out of the eggplant so your pizzas won’t be mushy. Let them sit for about 30 minutes and then pat dry and wipe off excess salt.

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Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Place in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I let mine cook for about 25 minutes, which I think was too long. Next time I will cook them for less.

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Since I was topping mine with peppers and onions, I sautéed the veggies for about 5 minutes, just to soften them up. But this step is completely optional.

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Top the pizzas. I topped mine (in order) with a spoonful of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, pepper and onion sauté, black olives and some parmesan. I know, probably too much cheese. But it was a cold, nasty day and my soul desperately needed some warm, gooey, melted cheese. What’s a girl to do?

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Place the pizzas under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Then plate up and serve with a fresh salad.

One Little Leprechaun

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I love the burlap door hangers I see in the stores, but have never purchased one because I’ll think to myself, “I can make that.” Yeah right. My famous last words…

However, on a whim this past weekend, I actually decided to get crafty. This happens about once a year, usually around a holiday. And if there is one holiday we love to celebrate in Jackson, it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

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Summer Dreamin’

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With the time changing and the weather (finally) warming up, I’m starting to shake my winter blues. It’s time to pack up my sweaters and boots and start running full speed ahead to a world filled with flip flops and sunshine.

I don’t know about you, but my whole attitude seems to change with the arrival of spring. There’s the anticipation of summer being just around the corner, and the world starts to turn green again. I find it impossible to be anything but happy.

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