Monday, February 6, 2017

Quoted // Sally Clarkson


"All people need a place where their roots can grow deep and they always feel like they belong and have a loving refuge. And all people need a place that gives wings to their dreams, nurturing possibilities of who they might become."
-- Sally Clarkson, The Lifegiving Home

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Easy Entertaining // Deviled Eggs with Bacon


Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Need a last minute appetizer? Here you go!

We love deviled eggs over here. Every time I make them, they are gone in a blink. So, I always double the amount I make for next time. Guess what? It doesn't matter. They still disappear. Anyway, it's another easy appetizer to keep in your back pocket because the ingredients are simple, and typically on hand. But your presentation can make them look fancy and impressive. 

For whatever reason, I think most people either forget about this option, or think they are difficult to make. That being said, if you show up with a platter of these babies at your next party, you are basically going to win the appetizers.

Here's the basic recipe and a few tips and tricks to make them even easier.

Deviled Eggs with Bacon

Hard Boiled Eggs
Mayo
Mustard
Paprika
Bacon

For the hard boiled eggs, I follow Martha's recipe and it's foolproof. The trick is to really wait for a full boil, not just a simmer before pulling them off the heat.



Once the eggs are cool, cut the eggs in half as evenly as you can. Dump the yolks into a bowl and lay the egg whites, dent up, into a tupperware for refrigerating. I've had better luck assembling on site than trying to take them with you pre-assembled. If I had a deviled egg container, I'm sure this wouldn't be an issue!

Once you have the whites separated, you can store them in the fridge until you are ready to assemble. 




Let's make the filling! In a bowl, mash the yolks with a fork or masher so they start crumbling. 

Now here's where I might lose novice cooks since I don't actually measure but trust me, you've got this! Trust your instincts and go slow. You can always add but you can't take away. 

Add a spoonful of mayo and mix in with the yolks. We're going for creamy texture, no bumps. 

Add a teaspoon of mustard. This is purely a matter of taste. I don't love them super mustardy but others do. Either way, you want the filling to be very creamy but not liquidy. How's that for directions?!

Once you have it mixed and tasting the way you want it, put it in a ziploc bag and toss it in the fridge.

You can use the ziploc bag to pipe the filling into the eggs. Just snip off a corner and you have a homemade pastry bag. This is where having a good consistency on the filling comes in handy so you don't get clogs while piping.


Now, you can be done right here. Or you can take it one step further. We like to add bacon to our deviled eggs, because what doesn't taste better with bacon?

Cook a couple strips of bacon on the griddle, in a skillet, in the oven - however you do. Once they are cooled a bit, dice up the strips and set aside until assembly time. 

When you are ready to assemble your deviled eggs, lay out they egg whites and pipe in the yolk mixture until full. Then, sprinkle the paprika on and add the bacon on top. I usually try to make sure there are a few chunks of bacon bits on each egg.



Then, stand back, because there will be a stampede of people coming at you trying to devour these Deviled Eggs with Bacon!

xoxo,
Alex

P.S. Try this delicious dip or these stuffed mushrooms for more gameday appetizer options!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Currently // February 2017


Well, we blinked and it's already February. Here's what I'm currently up to:

ANTICIPATING // Girls In STEM is next week! I love this event because it combines my full-time job with my full-time passion.

READING // Just finished Missing, Presumed and am in the middle of The Lifegiving Home. Recently, I was pretty entertained by The Assistants (a light read). And I kicked off the new year with Make It Happen.

LISTENING TO // Gaga. I can't wait to see her perform tomorrow! Will she top Bruno and Bey?!

PLANNING // My garden! I've ordered seed catalogs and am deciding what to grow this summer.

LEARNING // To find peace in the tension between being a mama and a professional.

LOVING // Watching Declan grow! I can't believe he turns one next month. Cue tears.

WORKING ON // A gallery wall for our family room. It's time to put a little life on these walls!

WEARING // These boots that Santa brought. I'm in love.

DREAMING OF // Sunshine and somewhere warm. February is always a bit blah, don't you think?

WATCHING // The Crown. Anyone else watching?


What are you currently up to?

xoxo,
Alex

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Thrive


"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."
-- Maya Angelou

“I always thought that the “thriving” would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good.”
-- Joanna Gaines


I'm consciously not trying to add anything to my plate this year. I feel like I'm in a good spot, a really good spot. My goal is to dig in and thrive. Thrive at home, thrive at work, thrive as Alex. Thriving right where I am, right now.

In working through my PowerSheets, I uncovered 7 goals for the year. For the sake of accountability, I wanted to share them. In no particular order, here we go:

CULTIVATE A LIFE-GIVING HOME
Why: After finding our new home last year, it's really been at the forefront of my thoughts that this is where Declan will grow up. It's so important to me that this house be full of love, family, and friends. Full of life. A safe place for all of us to put down roots and spread our wings. 

Starting Steps: De-cluttering! I love to hush the house after the holidays. For January, I want to get at least three bags full for donation or trash. Simplify, simplify, simplify! While I don't think I'll ever be a minimalist, I can definitely appreciate paring down and focusing only on what matters and brings us joy.


HONOR MY BODY
Why: After being pregnant and having a baby, my body went through quite the transformation. My stomach stretched, my boobs sold themselves to my pump, my hair fell out, and 5 (or less!) hours of sleep became standard. All totally normal but hard to transition to after I had gotten into a good rhythm with my health. When I had Declan, I gave myself a year of grace to not worry about getting my body back. Because let's be serious, that's never going to happen. I have a completely new body, one that made a baby, and evicted him after a grueling 30 hour labor. I'm continuing my quest to give myself grace to respect that a miracle happened here and to honor that. So, this is less about getting back to the old me, and instead being the best me that I can and honoring my body.

This goal originally was START WEIGHT TRAINING but I realized that it's more than that. So I'm changing it, two weeks into the new year. And I love that I'm okay with that. Honoring my body means taking care of it with good food and exercise, as well as checking in on my mental health throughout the year, especially during stressful times.

Starting Steps: I launched into a January Whole30. I'm on day 8 since I waited until after our company party to start. I'm also going to one group exercise class each week. I'm also planning to start lifting weights at home once a week. Little by little it all adds up!


GROW A GARDEN
Why: This is something I've been wanting to do for the last couple years, but never had the space to do it. But now we do, and so my big project of the year is going to be grow a garden. My grandparents had a large garden at the lake and I loved going out there to pick our salad for supper. Growing our own garden gets us outside after work, an activity to do with my boys, and incentive to keep eating healthy. Win win. Plus, growing something and digging in the dirt is just so therapeutic. It will be good for my soul.

Starting Steps: Right now we're in planning mode! At the end of the summer we picked out a spot and need to just finalize the size and shape. I've ordered a few seed catalogs to get inspiration. The first one arrived this week!


DATE MY HUSBAND
Why: Why not?! Seriously though, I love that man more than ever. Finding alone time, however can be a bit tricky with a new babe. We are committed to building a strong marriage and partnership, so we are committing to go on a monthly date without Declan. But since we love that boy, we're also want to make family adventures a priority with at least one adventure a month.

Starting Steps: Scheduling a date for this month. We love trying new restaurants and have a few on our list to get to. But since variety is the spice of life, I'm always looking for fun date ideas!


READ AND WRITE MORE
Why: These things give me joy and moments to pause and reflect.

Starting Steps: Turn on my Kindle. I have loads of good books on my reading list so I just got to find time. One way I'm doing this is having a social media free weekend. Instead of scrolling Instagram, I'm reading. I've already finished one book and am on to the second!


AMPLIFY THE CGL
Why: More than ever, we need to empower women and girls. The Center for Girls' Leadership does just that and I couldn't be more proud of all that we've accomplished over the last five years. But now is the time to amplify our efforts. We can't give up now.

Starting Steps: Our third annual Girls In STEM event is in February (tell a friend!) and we're working on a new curriculum to launch our mentoring program late this year. If you felt that 2016 ended with a kick in the pants to take action, there are plenty of ways to get involved.


CHOOSE FAITH OVER FEAR
Why: Because I believe. I believe in good people. I believe in doing the right thing. I believe in giving back. I believe in my faith.

Starting Steps: I'm praying daily. And reading something from the She Reads Truth app each week to keep me focused on my faith.


Are you still reading?! So there are my current goals for the year. All focused on thriving in the present. I'll do a refresh in a couple months and will keep you posted on any progress. 

Now, I'd love to hear from you. What are your goals for the year? How can I encourage you in cultivating what matters? Remember, progress not perfection!

xoxo,
Alex

P.S. Any fun date ideas for us?




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