texas forever

-if you’re a friday night lights fan, that post title was for you-

i recently had the opportunity to go out to dallas to visit my older sister and her husband + 2 kids! i had hoped to be out there shortly after vivian’s birth, but tickets were way out of our price range. thankfully, southwest had a great deal going on where i was able to get 20% off my flight just a few weeks later! 

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obligatory photo from the sky

so earlier this month, i left ike (for the first time, tear) and made my way to dallas for 3 whole days. jennifer had let me know ahead of time that the kids were just getting over a cold, and she was coming down with one. i decided to go anyways because i figured a sick mama with a newborn and a toddler could use an extra pair of hands! and because i was dying to meet the chunky monkey that is my new niece.

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how incredibly beautiful and chunky is she?! vivian hit the two month mark while i was there and she’s already a full 14 pounds! mama is feeding her well.

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this little man is such a ham— he’s always doing things to try to make everyone around him laugh. the picture on the left is the face he gave me when i asked for a picture, and the one on the right is us before we headed outside to play some “bah-ba” (basketball). and if you’re wondering what the heck is on his head, it’s a cloth hat that he’s outgrown but had to wear because it was chilly outside. if you’re an office fan, please tell me michael scott’s “prison mike” impression comes to mind with the purple cap.

need more proof that i have a precious niece and nephew?

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it hurts just thinking about how much i love these two! i wish uncle ike could have been there to hang out with elliott and meet vivian, but i definitely made sure that elliott practiced saying ike’s name. it usually came out more like “ahhk,” but it was so sweet. 

i got lucky because dallas had some beautiful weather while i was out there! jennifer and anthony’s dog georgia and i soaked up lots of sun together while i was out there. georgia is such a sweet mama to those kids— she’s extremely gentle when needed and also loves to “rough house” with elliott whenever he’s playful. i hope scout’s like that when we have kids!

you may be thinking, “what’s so special about that salad?” well i’m here to tell you that IT’S THE BEST SALAD IN THE WORLD. or at least the best salad i’ve ever had, and i’ve had my fair share. every time i’ve been out to visit jennifer, i’ve insisted that we go back to Eatzi’s, which is basically a smaller version of whole foods or fresh market. they have incredible food, but i get the same salad every single time. since jennifer had moved since the last time i’d been out there, we had to make an hour-long roundtrip drive to get these salads, but it was so worth it. there used to be an Eatzi’s in Buckhead, but unfortunately they’ve closed. so if you ever encounter one, you have to either get a salad or one of their colossal sandwiches (ike and anthony’s favorite). seriously, they’re life-changing.

two more pictures of this cutie pie, just for good measure. 

this happened the morning i was leaving. elliott loves his baby sister, and vivian is obsessed with elliott. so before i left, elliott decided to smother vivian with lots of kisses, which made it that much harder to leave!

i’m so thankful that ike made it possible for me to go out there! i’ll forever be grateful that i got to be with vivian so soon after her birth. 

today was a day full of delicious food. after church, ike and i headed to publix for our weekly grocery trip. we grabbed everything we needed, and then decided that we needed one more thing: a buffalo chicken sub from the deli. if you haven’t had one, go get one immediately. they’re so good and i like to pretend they’re healthy. 

for an appetizer tonight, i made one of my mom’s signature party foods. it includes only three ingredients: mini sweet peppers, garlic and herbs cheese, and craisins. they’re super simple to make and always a favorite. we had them at the engagement party our parents threw for us and i’m almost positive i ate half of the plate. 

 

they definitely don’t look beautiful, but i promise they’re really tasty.

and for dinner, i decided to try my hand at homemade shrimp & grits. on our recent trip to thomasville, we ate lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, jonah’s. their shrimp & grits are seriously incredible, even southern living magazine agrees. ike ordered a bowl and from then on i’ve been wanting to try to make it. luckily, publix had their shrimp on sale, so we grabbed almost a full pound (make sure you get the ones that are de-veined and de-tailed). we also grabbed mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and green onion to go in the dish. without describing every step, i sauteed all of the veggies together while the grits cooked on the stove. then i sauteed the shrimp and garlic afterward. that order worked well for me because the grits were still hot when the shrimp finished. 

ike claims to not be a huge grits fan, but he said the meal was “fantastic,” so i’m happy. it’s definitely something i’ll make again because the homemade version cost about half of what most restaurants charge! 

as i’m writing this, ike is on an emergency oreo run (his own, not mine). before he left, he said he would make me a latte when he got back so we could enjoy our movie night. excuse me while i fall into a food coma…

clean eating

this post is about 2 weeks late, but i wanted to let y’all know about the week long sorta-detox that ike and i did out of curiosity. we eat pretty well on a regular basis, where a normal day includes eggs + vegetables and bacon, a salad, and some sort of meat and vegetables. don’t get me wrong, we love to munch on barbecue flavored kettle cooked potato chips like it’s nobody’s business. i had contemplated doing a juice fast for awhile now, but i decided it would be too difficult to maintain if i’m constantly preparing actual meals for ike. i don’t have that kind of willpower. so imagine my surprise when ike asked me if i’d like to try a juice fast! 

we did some research and decided to make it a raw foods + smoothie fast, since we don’t have a juicer (and they’re stinking expensive), and we like the sensation of chewing. we made a shopping list and the next morning, we headed to kroger to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables.

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now for those of y’all who don’t usually purchase this much produce at one time, you’re in for a shock. i always hear about people complaining that eating healthy costs way more than eating fast food, and that’s their excuse for not maintaining a healthy lifestyle. well i’m here to prove you wrong: we got all of this for just under $60. that includes POM pomegranate juice, six cans of V8 juice, organic bananas, two tubs of strawberries, sweet potatoes, avocados, oranges, apples, spinach, etc. while i admit that a fruit + veggie smoothie doesn’t hit the spot as well as a #1 from chick-fil-a does, it sure felt good to eat like this for a bit. 

this was our first smoothie, which included kale, celery, apple, banana, a tomato, and orange juice. truth be told, this wasn’t bad except for the tomato. i am not a fan of tomato juice so it kind of ruined it for me. but for the rest of the week we made smoothies or ate raw carrots/bell peppers/broccoli dipped in balsamic. and by the end of the week, ike and i had lost 9 and 6 pounds, respectively. not too bad for our first try! the diet wasn’t just to lose weight, but to also sort of detox ourselves from meat and the occasional junk food. this way of eating is not something i plan on pursuing forever, but we’ll probably try it every few months! 

if you’re thinking of giving it a try, here are a few sites full of good recipes!