04/24/19

Roasted beets and green beans with lemon

I didn’t used to like beets.
As a child the only exposure I had to beets were the bright red, floppy, mushy discs in salad bars and the Piccadilly cafeteria line. 
I could never bring myself to try them, even when my Abuelita begged me to.
“They’re good for your eyesight!” she’d exclaim. “They have lots of iron!” she’d proclaim.
But they never, ever appeared appetizing to me.

Then, one day, I ate them roasted.
And they were DELICIOUS. Caramelized, sweet, tender. 
Beets make my heart beet. Continue reading

04/11/19

Grief becomes joy

7 years passed by in a blink.

And in these three years I have learned more about myself than in the 32 years prior. 

When I first lost my mom, it was difficult to look into the future and envision a normal life. I was 31 going on 32, and could not believe that my time with my mom was over; just like that. 

For weeks and months my nights would be filled with thoughts of sorrow. How she would never get to see all the milestones my brother and I still needed to reach, and how my future children would go without knowing their maternal grandmother. My mind was littered with worry, and sadness and until I learned to cope with it all, it would turn out to be one of the hardest times of my life.  Continue reading

04/11/19

7 years

My mom’s heaven is a house on the seashore where she awakes every morning to the sound of gulls and crashing waves.

Her mornings are filled with homemade pancakes and bacon, walks on the beach, and swims in crystal turquoise waters. Sometimes she floats. Sometimes she snorkels. Sometimes she wades up and down the shore casting out her fishing pole hoping for a bite. Sometimes she lays in the warm sand, working on her favorite word search puzzle soaking up the perfect sunshine without a care in the world.

Friends and family of days gone by come to visit her beach house and they feast on old family recipes, chatting about the good old days over sweet cups of piping hot cafe con leche. The sound of dominoes clicking and sliding against the table can be heard until the wee hours of the night as they enjoy each other’s company, with loyal pups curled up by toes. 

Sometimes days are filled with trips to her favorite places, driving around in a red convertible singing along to songs of Donna Summer, shopping at big retail stores, crunching on bags of freshly popped popcorn, and sipping ice cold cups of Coca Cola as she pushes her cart along the aisles. 

When the days get cooler, her heaven is a campground where her and her mom sneak away for cozy mountain trips. Conversations about life and family fill their days as they sit by warm campfires under millions of stars picking up where they left off years ago.

At night, my mom sleeps and dreams of us, just as we sleep and dream of her here on Earth. In her dreams she sees our successes, hears our worries, and laughs with us during our craziest of times.

And on the quietest of nights, when the stars align just right, we reunite in those dreams, talking about our lives, and creating new memories that no photograph can capture.

I’ll miss you forever mom, but the last 7 years without you have made me strong and soft, brave and vulnerable, grateful and still.

Until we meet again…

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02/8/19

You are, and will always be, OK

A few years after losing my mom I made a big career change. 

After 13 years, I left the safety and security of the four walls of my classroom, and took a leap into a position working for a educational non-profit where I would be able to make a greater impact on students and teachers on a national level. And because I would be working with educational systems all across the country, this new role would bring a new adventure into my life- a schedule comprised of traveling and working from home. It was also around the same time my husband and I tied the knot, which made it an even more exciting transitional time in my life.  Continue reading

01/2/19

Low carb, keto friendly buffalo chicken meatballs

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! I know I did!

Wait, who am I kidding? The holidays are still in full swing around here! Although we are taking down our tree today (so the hens can enjoy it in the backyard for a while!), Christmas movies are still on the tv, holiday scented candles are still burning, twinkle lights are still sparkling, and that festive feeling is still very much in the air.  Continue reading

12/2/18

Cinnamon apple waffles #EnvyApples

Disclosure: I received free product and compensation because of a partnership with Envy Apples, Publix, and the Tampa Bay Bloggers. All delicious thoughts and words are my own. 

Actually, I wanted the title to be “Fluffy and buttery almond flour waffles topped with sweet carmelized sliced Envy apples, toasted pecans, and a drizzle of warm apple cinnamon tea glaze” but that was a little wordy. 😉 Continue reading

11/21/18

Low carb green bean casserole!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

If I had to decide on one dish that was my all-time-favorite Thanksgiving side, it would have to be STUFFING.

I know, I know… the title of this post says Green Bean Casserole! I’m not confused, don’t worry. I just haven’t finished preparing my low carb biscuit stuffing yet! That recipe is coming though, so stay tuned! Continue reading

10/20/18

Low carb, sugar free pumpkin spiced cinnamon rolls

The other day I was chatting with a friend about childhood memories when Grandy’s came up. 

When I was a kid, we’d make trips to our local theme park, Busch Gardens, quite often. And we always, ALWAYS stopped for breakfast before heading into the park at a place called Grandy’s nearby. Although it’s not there anymore. I have fond memories of those breakfast stops- full of excitement and anticipation of what was to come that day- and full of the BEST cinnamon rolls ever.  Continue reading