Monday Mantra: bloom

Happy Monday to you!  Life has been a BIT crazy lately (so I’m sorry for being so absent) but my mind (and body) have  been in a million different places lately as we prepare for this next chapter in our lives!!  With only a few weeks left, I can say that I am ready in mind and spirit but NOT ready physically (as in the to-do list is still INSANELY long).  I just keep reminding myself that in the end…it really doesn’t matter what gets done and what doesn’t…soon it will be the time and the timing will be perfect!!  SO all that being said, I hope you are doing well and I promise to be better about staying in touch!!

Life moves so fast these days, with instant gratification at every turn.  It makes it insanely easy to compare your life with others.  See what people are doing in real time and comparing it to what you are or aren’t doing.  I recently ran into a sweet sweet friend that I haven’t seen in ages (we literally ran into each other in a random parking lot in the middle of no where…total fate).  I met her children for the first time although because of all the pictures posted and stories written I feel like i know them!  As they grew tired of us adults chit-chatting and started getting restless, she said…see this is actual reality…I guess I should start posting pictures like this instead of just the cute ones right?!

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it,
it simply blooms.”

Beautiful_blooming_flower_in_garden_of_Sultan_Ahmed_Mosque

Stay true to yourself, no matter what.
Choose Joy
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: Grow

Happy Monday to you!  Things have gone a little silent over here at HSE the last few weeks (SORRY!!!) But we have been busy!  Busy preparing for baby girl’s arrival.  Busy getting ducks in a row for work.  Busy celebrating and spending time with family (we had some FABULOUS out of town visitors that made this soon-to-be-momma feel so blessed and happy!!!)  Just plain busy!  But busy in a good way for sure.

I feel like I say this all the time, but I feel so overwhelmingly blessed these days.  So many things in our lives to celebrate and look forward to that being busy and sometimes feeling a little overwhelmed seems so much less like a big deal!!  The beauty of it all is knowing that we have such support and love surrounding us on a daily basis.  I’m overwhelmed by the selfless kindness my friends and loved ones have sent my way over the last few weeks that I literally have no words.  Our little girl isn’t even here yet and she already has a giant fan club that is ready to wrap her up in love, kindness and joy.

“People grow when they are loved well.
If you want to help others heal, love them without an agenda.”

grows

Love well.  Be selfless. Choose Joy.
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: love

I hope you are nice and warm today where ever you are!  The weather here in Georgia has been wacky!  Sunny and lovely turns to threat of snow back to sunny but with crazy winds…Mother nature can’t seem to make her mind up!  We took this Valentine’s weekend to do something a little different then the usual romantic date night…we made it a Get Stuff Done Weekend!  This pregnant lady is TIRED after two days of hanging curtains (living room & master bedroom!!!!!!!!), cleaning house, organizing and crossing things off of our to do list!!  Felt good to get some of those “we really want to get to that but its not an immediate priority” things done!  (for example…I’ve had the curtain panels for our master bedroom sitting in a box waiting to be installed for several months now…YIKES!)  Spending the weekend with my honey being productive around the house (and watching him up and down that ladder all day long) was the best V-day present a girl could ask for!  I hope you and yours enjoyed whatever it is that makes you feel happy and in love!!!

“When someone else’s happiness is your happiness,that is Love”

smiling-chihuahua-24

Have a fabulous week!!
~ Jillian

A day for Love

Valentine’s Day.  A day for love!  A day devoted to celebrating the people in your life that hold a special place in your heart.  For those of you that have followed HSE for a while you may know that Valentine’s Day has taken on a different meaning for me in the last few years.  We lost a super special lady on Valentine’s Day several years ago which has changed my perspective on the holiday.  It is even more about LOVE then it ever has been.  It reminds me to stop and appreciate all of the amazing people in my life.  To celebrate the over abundance of love and joy in our lives!  This year the blessings are too many to count.  I am so excited about the future and know that all of my loved ones, both with us in person and in spirit, are rolling along on this journey with us!

SO on this Valentine’s Day…Celebrate!!  Celebrate all of the love in your life.  Hold on to the joy you feel and be thankful for all of the amazing blessings this life has to offer us!

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Sending you lots of Love and hoping that your Valentine’s day is full Joy!

~ Jillian

Yummo: Homemade BBQ Sauce

Feeling hungry?  Well this BBQ sauce recipe is so simple to make and so yummy I can promise it will absolutely become a staple in your kitchen!  We love some BBQ around here but I was so grossed out when I started reading the ingredient labels of a lot of the popular store bought sauces!  So to the internet I went…and found this gem of a recipe.  It was simple to put together and oh so delicious!  Make a BIG batch…it keeps great in the fridge or even the freezer if you get really ambitious and make a giant batch!!

Homemade BBQ Sauce

bbq sauce
(Recipe source)

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic onions, finely diced
  • 6 cloves organic garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 2 cans organic tomato sauce (29 ounces each)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup organic honey
  • 1/2 cup organic unsulphured black strap molasses
  • 1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice
  • 3 tablespoons organic chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon organic smoked paprika
  • 2-4 teaspoons (to taste) organic ground red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a large pan, saute the onion and garlic with the coconut oil until the onions are soft.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer the sauce for approximately an hour.
  4. For a smooth sauce, allow it to cool and then run thru a blender or use a hand blender to mix until the desired consistency is reached.
  5. To can the sauce, bring it back to a boil and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle into 4 hot, sterile pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Fit with hot, sterile rings and process in a hot water canner for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and test lids.

* To freeze, allow the sauce to cool and then ladle into airtight freezer containers. Freeze the sauce, and take it out in advance to allow it to thaw.

Yumm-O
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: be the reason

What a beautiful weekend we had here in Georgia!  The weather was a spring tease that we might just pay for later…but I don’t care!!  It was blue skies and lovely temperatures, just right for being out and about all weekend!  We did LOTS of bouncing around, catching up with family, visited with friends and eating some YUMMY food!  Such a fun weekend.  After all that visiting this pregnant girl may have found her limit.  Let’s just say I spent the whole of sunday evening recovering, trading off between the sofa and the ball.  (It’s hard to stop when there is so much fun to be had!)

“Be the reason someone smiles today”

smiling cupcake

Happy Monday
~ Jillian

Yummo: Flourless Cranberry Chocolate Chia Cookies

Today seemed like a day that we needed something that hits that sweet tooth.  (let’s be honest…pretty much every day feels that way…but today even more so!)  SO if we are going to satisfy our sweet tooth, we might as well try to do it with a little bit of health mixed in there.  Healthy cookies equals guilt free snacking!  Have an extra…its good for you!!

Flourless Cranberry Chocolate Chia Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Cranberry Chia Cookies
Image & recipe source

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 15 drops liquid stevia (or ¼ cup coconut sugar, optional for sweetness)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cranberries, chopped (I used dried)
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (optional but really lovely)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  3. Mash banana in a medium bowl.
  4. Add almond butter, chia seeds, cacao powder, stevia, vanilla,baking soda, and salt. Stir well to combine.
  5. Fold in cranberries and  chocolate chips.
  6. Using wet hands, roll dough into balls and flatten slightly with hands.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until set.
  8. Store in refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Yumm-o
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: roses

Happy Day after Super Bowl!  Hopefully you got some good rest and were able to get moving today!!  We had a lovely weekend, doing a little baby sprout preparation, visiting with friends and spending time with family!!  No complaints here!!  After a pretty chill weekend spent with loved ones, it makes me realize how truly blessed we are.  Life has definitely tossed us our share of challenges lately, but when all of that falls to the wayside, there is lots of love and joy in our world and I’m so grateful!!  So CHEERS to a beautiful week filled with many moments of joy!!

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

Rose Bush on Street Corner(Image Source)

Happy Monday!
~ Jillian

Kitchen Envy (again)

This post might look a little familiar to some of you…surprise it is a repeat!  2014 was quite a year for HSE so we wanted to look back and review some of our favorites!

Now we do have a wonderful new kitchen in our new house that I am loving, but there are always beautiful things out there worth looking at for further inspiration!

{From the lovely Martha}

I love love love the wood beams, the butcher block counter with the metal legs, the amazing pendant fixtures and all of the natural light!!

{Image found at Lavender & Lilies}

So much to love about this one…mildly obsessed with the white subway tile, painted bead board walls, large white farmhouse sink, cabinet color and the hanging baskets.

{From Elle Decor}

The built in L-shaped bench behind the counter is a MUST for my next kitchen…how brilliant is that!!  such a great casual dining layout right in the middle of the action…NEED IT!

I think everyone needs at least one chandelier in their house, why not two…over the kitchen island…YES please!!  Also love the detail over the sink window and the different cabinet colors.

{From Better Homes & Gardens}

I’ve shown you this one before…but i just love it.  Such a funky cabinet color, love the lead glass cabinet fronts, the painted bead board back splash is amazing and the copper pot open storage is the perfect touch of metal loveliness!

{Found at Young House Love}

The lit open glass shelving in this one is A-Maz-Ing.  and with all those cabinets…i bet her dishes stay nice and organized!!

{From Better Homes & Gardens}

The color combo in this kitchen makes me smile!  I enjoy the rug, the touches of turquoise & yellow, the texture from the woven chairs and the X detail in the glass cabinets!

Have i given you a case of Kitchen Envy?!  What are the things you love most about your current kitchen?  What do you day dream about for your future kitchen loveliness?

~ Jillian

Yummo: Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad

Who doesn’t love a great salad?  Or should I say…the only way to love a salad is if its great!!  It’s no secret that i’m a veggie girl, there are very few fruits and veggies that I don’t love and salad is no exception.  The kicker is to make a great salad (and to keep you coming back for more day after day) you need lots of added goodies and variety!!  Because let’s be honest a boring salad is…well boring!  This salad will NOT disappoint I promise!  So yummy, so healthy and full of bright wonderful flavors!!  Enjoy!

Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad

apple cranberry pecan salad(Image & Recipe source)

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils (optional)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions

  1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and poppy seeds in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. To assemble the salad, place spinach in a large bowl; top with apple, pecans, pomegranate arils, cranberries and goat cheese. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  3. Serve immediately.

Yumm-O
~ Jillian