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Need Hope? Take a Walk March 23 2015

We’ve had a brutal winter, and I really try not to complain about the weather but the record-breaking freezing temperatures were even starting to get to me. I suppose that’s why the thaw has made my step so…well, springy.

Yesterday was heavy sweater and hat weather, and after a long commute home (working on Sunday, yikes!) I bundled up the kidlets who were all too happy for another opportunity to abandon chores and enjoy their rip sticks. We parents took the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely stroll down our secluded road, breathing in the fresh country air and I was amazed at how this brief, simple departure from our typical Sunday routine filled me with wonder and hope.

Here’s a little list of some of the early spring wonder I witnessed through the eyes of my children, particularly our toddler who is two and a half and in love with everything:

Puddles for jumping and splashing in

Mud for squishing under rubber-booted feet

Slushy, crunchy snow

Bubbly streams

Red-winged black birds who have returned

Mouse houses! We discovered these perfect little spheres of dried grass revealed by the melted snow and deduced that they must be little houses woven together by the mice. They were little wonders of architecture

Lambs at the farm next door. We couldn’t see them because the dirt road is currently a small river, but we could hear them bleating away in the barn

The squishy wonder of our melted snow saturated lawn

The endless joy of throwing stones into puddles

Silly walking competitions

The moist, healing smell of fresh spring air

The healthy dinner time appetite and deep, blissful sleep after time outside

If you’ve had the winter blues, treat yourself to a walk outside, in whatever green space you can find. Try to take it all in through the eyes of a child, and keep open to any discoveries that await you. Even in the most sprawling urban centers, change is happening and we can look forward to the return of warmth. What are the signs of spring in your neck of the world?


Slow Cooked Paleo and Vegetarian Meals March 02 2015

I count myself among the lucky that I get to work from home and spend my "office hours" gazing out across our wild, snow blanketed field. Today I've promised myself a romp in the woods after lunch, despite the knee-deep drifts of white. It will be good to cleanse my lungs with the crisp air and I can get my heart pumping too. On these rare occasions when I feel less like hibernating, I want to take advantage of these bursts of energy and come home to a simple, hearty meal that's already been prepared. That's why I love slow cooking; just throw it in the pot and then forget it until you're ready to sit down and eat. Today I've patched together some of our favorite hearty paleo and vegetarian slow cooked meals. I hope that you and yours will enjoy some of these!

Paleo Sesame-Orange Chicken With Cauliflower "Rice"

This flavorful dish takes about four hours in the crock pot and is served over mealy coconut infused cauliflower instead of starchy rice. Originally from the cookbook Against All Grain (and all of these are a real treasure!) we found the recipe on the blog Paleo Yummers. Pair this with some sauteed bok choi or Chinese broccoli and you'll have a real hit on your hands.

Paleo Beef Stew

A cold weather classic in our house, this simple and hearty beef stew is perfect on a bed of shredded kale with a glass of red wine. You can find the recipe here at Mom's Recipes.

Paleo Crock Pot Chilli

I love the simplicity and versatility of chilli, and it's always a crowd pleaser with the kids. You can substitute ground beef for the meat of your choice, or make this vegetarian by swapping the meat for the bulk of added legumes. I'm personally very fond of the crumbled bacon and chuncked avacado garnish! Get the recipe here at Paleo Newbie.

Slow Cooked Vegetarian Lasagna

I haven't tried this with gluten free pasta yet, but if you do please let us know how it works out! Use your crock pot to whip together a lasagna and whittle away the time it takes to make this family favorite. The recipe we've used can be found here.

Kale and Red Pepper Frittata

This isn't an overnight recipe, it comes together pretty quickly, but it's a perfect idea for brunch. My tummy is grumbling just looking at these photos! Find the recipe here at Kalyn's Kitchen.

Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

Nope, not a joke. Can you imagine anything so delicious? This recipe is both vegan and gluten free, so enjoy it before you start a busy day! Recipe and photo from 86 Lemons.