Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year

I am really looking forward to 2012. I have such a good feeling about this year. I realize that sounds very cliche, but its true! The Salas family needs to have a good year! The past few months have been really stressful between school, finances, and the emotional toll of experiencing a miscarriage.  God has carried us through everything, and I am grateful.  Okay okay, I hate making resolutions because most of the time people make ridiculous resolutions that they cannot keep. I am making my resolutions because I want to see how many things on my list will happen. I think it will be so fun to look back on this list next year and see my accomplishments and growth. Think of these as goals rather than resolutions. Goal just has a nicer ring to it, don't you think?

New Year's Resolutions (goals)
1.Graduate with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. Can I get a woot woot! I am scheduled to graduate fall 2012.
2. Band success. This is more a goal of my husband's than mine, but it is also my goal because I support his dreams.  It is my hope that the release of their new album will bring a lot of success and greater opportunities to play music and spread His word.
3. Have a baby! I realize that this is really not in my control. I guess this is more of a desire than a goal. I desperately want to ring in the new year for 2013 with a little baby in my arms. My heart is aching for another  baby in a way that only my fellow mothers can understand.
4. Get our finances in check. We have some debt right now that I am really stressed about and sometimes it keeps James up at night thinking about... I'll spare the details here, but I hope that this year will be the year to get us to a very financially secure state!
5. I want to be more assertive in my desire to feed my family organic, unprocessed foods. This is a really hard topic to try and make our families understand. A few family members will continue to try and give Sophia junk food and I hate feeling like the bad guy and having to repeatedly tell them that we don't like to eat processed food. I want people to have an understanding of why I choose organic and to not think that I am a crazy ridiculous snob for not letting my daughter eat very much junk food. I guess my goal is to help my family have a greater understanding and maybe even hop on the "whole, unprocessed foods bandwagon" with us!
6. Possibly my greatest goal for the new year is to delve deeper into my faith. I have recently had a really strong realization that teaching my daughter about her faith does not start at any certain age, it starts now! I hope that this year we can develop stronger prayer habits as a family and begin to teach Sophia in more and more ways about the church and our beautiful Catholic faith.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Jesus' Birthday!!!

I am still in shock by how quickly Christmas came this year! I wanted this year to really be about traditions and family rather than the gifts. I wanted a simple and meaningful Christmas and I think in a lot of ways that is what I got. We did a lot of celebrating (too much if you ask me) which was a really great reminder of the reason for the holiday. Being surrounded by family and traditions that I grew up with made Christmas feel special. My dad makes delicious sticky buns and a festive meat pie that are both to die for! (Probably shouldn't tell you how sick I got over the week of Christmas because I ate so much meat. My GI tract hates me right now. I haven't been eating animal products lately.) I think both James and I are still trying to figure out how to separate from our parents and start our own traditions. It will be a work in progress as our family grows.  My favorite thing about this Christmas was Sophia's fixation on Baby Jesus. I spent a lot of time telling her that it would be Baby Jesus' birthday soon and that it is a very special day. A few family members told Sophia about Santa, but she wanted nothing to do with him! She spent the days leading up to Christmas completely fixated on our nativity scene and singing songs to baby Jesus. Knowing that my daughter has a small understanding and Knowledge of the true reason of Christmas brings me so much more joy than any amount of gifts ever will.

My parents gave us this nativity scene last year and I love it so much!

She is holding Baby Jesus and marveling at the sight of him! I am so glad that I was able to capture this photo. She was completely fixated on Him and trying to hold Him like a little baby in the same way she holds her dolls :)

I have to include a few more sweet photos from December. My dad really wanted to bake cookies this year and so we had a cookie extravaganza at my parents' house. It was a lot of fun but also drove me a little crazy too. Sophia does not understand the concept of baking yet. She wants to eat whatever is in front of her and keep eating it non stop. She threw a fit when I wouldn't let her eat the batter and I think she ate at least 4 cookies that were covered in frosting! UGH. Its Christmas right... Hopefully next year we can keep the cookie eating under control. It was a fun afternoon needless to say. Oh yeah  and we also celebrated my birthday... I had to include a few cute photos:)

So much frosting! ugh. I really need to look for some organic frosting that doesn't involve yellow #5 and blue lake #6. GROSS!

Sophia and her Grumpy eating (a very small piece)  birthday cake*
*Shame on me! This is not my birthday cake as I originally thought it was! This is from my sister's gender reveal party. In case you can't tell by the pink cake, she is having a girl in early May! So stinkin excited to be an auntie!

Happy Birthday to me! Yep that's right, I'm 25! I am all of a sudden feeling old. I'll be 30 before I know it. eeek.

Me and my big sis. Can you tell who is who? Yeah me either. Did I tell you she is preggo? Baby Evangeline is due in early May. I am so thrilled to be an auntie!!! I wonder if I will be as crazy and protective of her as I am of my own daughter...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Photos 2011

When Sophia was a baby, we used to take her to portrait studios for all of her photo sessions and every time we left, I would be angry because the photos were always so mediocre! I got fed up with photographers who were lazy and only took 3 shots and expected them to be good. I think this was the start of my love for photography. I wanted desperately to be able to capture photos of my daughter that expressed her personality and that I could be pleased with. I am definitely still learning, but it is something that I enjoy A LOT! These photos may not look very professional, but there is so much joy in enjoying an afternoon with my daughter and capturing all of her sweet smiles! Its just too bad she is so darn squirmy at this age. As she gets older, I hope it becomes easier to get her to sit still!

This one makes my heart melt!

Any kid will smile when you give them a snickerdoodle!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Birthday Dinner

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with delicious food! Most days of the week, I eat ridiculously healthy, but when there is a special occasion I like to eat my heart out! My birthday was this past Thursday. I really wanted to go to Postino's Winecafe, but due to our very tight budget, I knew that going out to eat was not a good idea. My genius husband had the amazing idea of recreating Postino's bruschetta in our very own kitchen. It really was an amazing idea because the end result was delicious! I honestly probably ate more cheese than most people should eat in an entire month! We started with a caprese salad loaded with fresh mozzerella and basil. I even impressed myself by making a balsamic reduction to drizzle it with. We also made a green salad because even though its a celebration, I am not okay with not eating my veggies! We modified a salad that we are obsessed with from Cibo. It is mixed greens with shaved parmesan, pine nuts, grilled potatoes, and cherry tomatoes with balsamic. YUM! Last but not least, we made bruschetta with brie, apples, and apricot preserves, and another bruschetta with an artichoke spread. We also drank two bottles of wine.... Is that too much?

Oh and want to know something awesome? One of my nutrition professors saw some of my food photos, and she told me they were "beautiful" and said maybe I should start a business on the side. Food for thought I guess....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going Veggie

A few weeks ago, my sister inspired James and I to watch a movie called Forks Over Knives. This movie talks in great detail about how detrimental meat and animal products are to our bodies. There are all these crazy and extensive studies that show that a lot of meat can dramatically lower our life expectancy and increase our rates of numerous cancers.
After watching the movie, James and I decided to take the plunge and see how long we could last without meat. It has been about 4 weeks now, and in that time, I have only had meat twice. Let me remind you, that the average American eats meat for lunch and dinner everyday, which means consuming meat 14 times a week. That's a lot of meat!!! I bet even by slashing that number in half, you can dramatically reduce your disease risks.  I'm no doctor, but I do know that nutrition is a medicine that gets overlooked way too quickly. Eating a plant based diet can give you more health benefits than any pack of pills will ever do. Like I said, I have drastically reduced my meat intake these past few weeks, and I am proud to say that I don't miss it at all. I thought I would be hungry all the time, but I'm very satisfied with eating lots of beans, quinoa, etc.

This whole process has been really fun because it has allowed me to experiment so much with different foods that I would not normally try. I have found so many ways to use beans! I have also discovered tempeh- similar to tofu but very rough and grainy. Below I have posted some of my favorite recipes that we have enjoyed.

Tempeh Curry Stirfry: Modified from 

1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes quartered
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp organic butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 tsp curry seeds
4 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp turmeric
dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
1 can organic  light coconut milk
8 oz tempeh or tofu cut in strips
cilantro to taste
Bring a few inches of water to boil in a large pot. Place the potatoes in a steamer (see head notes), sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook until tender throughout - about 20 - 30 minutes, depending on how large your potato pieces are.
In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil, add the onion and cook over LOW heat until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin seeds, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, wait about thirty seconds, then stir in the tomatoes, coconut milk, and the other teaspoon of salt.
Once the curry is back in the pan, add the tempeh and bring barely to a simmer. Let the tempeh cook for 5 minutes or so, then add the potatoes when they are finished steaming. Transfer to a large family-style bowl, and sprinkle with cilantro before serving. Serve with brown rice or quinoa if desired.
Serves 4 - 6.

Ridiculously awesome veggie burgers :
These burgers provide all the heartiness and substance of a normal burger and they are loaded with monounsaturated fats and tons of protein. Delish!!

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Flax eggs: 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
  • 1 cup oats, processed into flour* (other flours might work)
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of Ezekiel bread until fine crumb)*
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed
  • Heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or fresh herb of choice)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped (toasted if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (toasted if preferred)
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp kosher salt)

1. Preheat oven to 350F (if baking). In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.
3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. I made 8 medium patties.
4. Place burgers on a heated skillet. Cook on each side until brown. Apporximately 6-8 minutes per side.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My heart is hurting right now, and yet at the same time, God is giving me so much clarity. We found out two weeks ago that our baby didn't have a heartbeat. This news was possibly the most devastating news of my life. Losing a child that I already love so much has not been easy. My husband and I tried so hard to get pregnant. When it finally happened, we were so overjoyed. Our plan for our family was in accordance with God's plan! My morning sickness was completely unbearable for 7 very long weeks. I had to give up any form of exercise and I was eating nothing but crackers and Sprite. All of these small sacrifices were so worth it when I thought about the joy that would come in the next few weeks as we heard the heartbeat, felt the baby kicking, and found out the sex. Little did I know that we would never hear our baby's heartbeat again because God took her to heaven before we could meet her. 

The pain and realization of all of this hit me like a ton of bricks as I laid there on the table with two doctors frantically trying to find a heartbeat. The rush of emotion when they tell you your baby is dead is excruciating. My emotions have changed in every way these past few weeks. I find myself screaming at God in anger and then the next minute I am filled with a sadness that makes me think I won't survive such heartache. I have a baby in heaven that I won't meet until I go to heaven. I took part in the creation of this soul, and yet God says that He needs to keep her for Himself. I don't understand this. I will probably never understand it, but I have to accept it. I have to believe that God has a perfect plan for my life and for our family. God knows the desires in my heart. He knows how much my heart is aching for another baby. I can only hope and pray that he will allow me to experience this happiness again.

This post may come across as morbid to anyone who chooses to read it, but I need to post this. I need to talk about this baby. This baby is just as much a part of our family as Sophia is. I know that this baby was alive in me. I heard her sweet heartbeat when she was only 6 weeks along. I saw a picture of her on the ultrasound monitor. I am so grateful for that ultrasound. Typically, my doctor doesn't do ultrasounds so early on, but we needed to know how far along I was, and this was the only way to be sure. That picture is the only picture I will ever have of this sweet baby. By writing this post, I am acknowledging the life that I value and love.  If nothing else, I am writing this post for myself. As a way to sort my thoughts. I have to put my thoughts out there because writing them down makes me believe that all of this is real. Sometimes it still feels like a really bad nightmare that I can't escape.

A few days after going to the doctor, I was driving Sophia to preschool. She was being silly in the backseat and kept saying things like, "baby, where are you? Baby, baby, baby. What are you doing baby?" I looked through the car to find her baby doll that she was talking to. When I couldn't find a doll, I said, "Sophia, are you talking about the baby that was in Mommy's belly?" She answered and said, "Baby Mary, Baby Mary, Baby Mary." I then said, "Is the baby in heaven?" She answered and said, "baby with Jesus."  These words pierced my heart. I have to believe that in some small and intimate way, God revealed to my sweet girl that she has a sister in heaven. I don't know why she repeated "baby Mary." I don't know if this means that Mary the mother of God is with my baby, or if the baby is named Mary. Ever since I first became pregnant, James and I felt strongly that it was a girl. We wanted to give this baby a special name. Something that seemed out of the ordinary and yet also classic. The decision was easy. The name just sort of popped into my head (and Sophia's head) and James loved it too!

Our sweet MaryRose, we love you. We trust that the Lord took you for a special purpose. You are a gift. I anxiously await the day that I will meet you and hold my sweet baby girl. In the meantime, we will pray for you, and please pray for us too. We love you MaryRose.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy Gripes

I will start this post out by assuring readers that I am THRILLED to be pregnant. The joy that comes with taking part in the creation of another life and carrying that baby for 9 months is indescribable.  I count myself very blessed to be able to bring life into this world and I am so looking forward to expanding our ever growing family. Okay, so now that I stated my disclaimer, I think I am entitled to vent (just a little) about my pregnancy gripes. Here is my list of things that suck about being pregnant.

1. The nausea. I am one of the few who suffers from extreme morning sickness. There were a whole two weeks where I couldn't drink water without vomiting. Everyone says it will be over soon, but with my first baby, it lasted the first 2 trimesters!
2. All this morning sickness means that I am eating nothing very healthy. White bread, macaroni, saltines, cereal, hard candy. I envisioned things like: wild salmon, steel cut oats, fresh produce. Ha! I was in for a rude awakening. This baby doesn't like produce of any kind and definitely doesn't like anything whole wheat. UGH!
3. Exercise? For get about it! First of all, the nausea makes me completely off balance, and second of all, I have no energy. Seriously, I think if there was enough time in my day, I would take three naps. I sort of envy women who can continue their exercise routine through pregnancy. I considered myself to be really fit before getting pregnant, but 5 weeks of no exercise has turned my muscle to mush.
4. Feeling sick gives me zero motivation to shower or do my hair. Sorry if that's an over share, but I definitely don't shower seven days a week. It makes me so dizzy to stand there and tilt my head back. And doing my hair? No way Jose!

These are my pregnancy gripes. Obviously the good outweighs the bad. In 8 months I will have a beautiful new life to nurture and love.  I will gladly take on the morning sickness and the unhealthy food that makes me embarrassed to call myself a future dietitian!  As far as exercise goes, I'll worry about that after the baby comes. No matter how uncomfortable I am for these next few months, I will continue to give God thanks everyday for the opportunity to be a small part of one of His creations. When I really try to wrap my head around this, it overwhelms my heart. This is absolutely the greatest gift that God can give to me and I am so grateful!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Horseys and Choo Choo Trains

I must say that I complain about where we live A LOT! It is so darn hot here and sometimes I just want to know what its like to live in a place with four seasons! We don't really have a winter here; at least I don't consider it winter. Needless to say, once October comes, I am usually grateful to live here. The weather this past week has been perfect. We took advantage of it by going to the park everyday this week! Our favorite is the railroad park. It is complete with a carousel, train, splash pad, and an awesome playground. Every child's dreamland basically. I'm glad I have these photos, because it was such a joyful day for Sophia.
"I ride Horsey Mommy!" She really is a natural, what can I say?!

All Aboard!
She went down the big slide all by herself for the first time! 
She really is growing up faster than I can keep up with. 
I was so proud of her for this accomplishment though!

Monday, October 3, 2011

We are Finally Pregnant!

I cannot begin to express how overjoyed I am that God is blessing us with another child! We have wanted this for a long time, and we are grateful that God has finally said its time! Having patience these past few months has not been easy, but we know that the Lord's plans are greater than our own. Sophia and the new baby will be three years apart and the baby will be due May 10th just as I finish my second to last semester of school. The timing really is great!  I am also super excited because my older sister is due to have her first baby on May 2nd. I am so looking forward to taking this journey with her. I am still in shock and filled with such incredible happiness.  Sophia really has no idea what is going on. I am trying to explain to her that there is a baby in Mommy's tummy, but she just looks at me like I am crazy. Our first big step in helping her become a big girl was moving her from her crib into a big girl bed. She took it surprisingly well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Food Debunked- Salmon

Salmon is a topic that I have a lot to say about. Everyone I know always feels so proud of themselves for eating fish on a regular basis. That's great! Fish is excellent for your body, especially the fish that are not high in mercury content. Unfortunately, if you are eating farm raised salmon, you are basically wasting your time.  The trivial amount of omega 3 fatty acids in farmed salmon is comparable to what you can find in lean ground beef.  Farm raised salmon is only pink in color because it is pumped with dyes! Wild salmon is pink because wild salmon eat shell fish naturally as part of their diet. Farm raised salmon is higher in fat and lower in protein than its wild counterpart. Its fat content is primarily omega 6 fat, rather than omega 3. Omega 6 fats are important to our body, however, most of us get plenty from the rest of our meats and too much can be very inflammatory to your cells. Farmed salmon is also highly contaminated with PCBs (poly chlorinated biphenyl) which is highly toxic. I know that you are all reading this and thinking, "I can't afford wild salmon." Yes you can!!!! Fry's grocery store always has it on sale. I just bought 3 pounds of wild king salmon on sale at Sunflower Market. The trick here is that when its on sale, STOCK UP!!! There are no excuses to not eat wild salmon. Its usually about the same price as farm raised when its on sale. Your family deserves the best possible nutrition. Feed them well!!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Skip, Hop, and pack your lunch

Okay so I tend to get excited over very silly things. And this is just one of those things. As most of you, we are a family of 3 very healthy eaters, which means I usually pack food for my daughter whenever we go out somewhere so that we don't have to resort to fast food. Its always a hassle to pack everything in tupperware and try to keep it cold. Problem solved! My genius sister found this set of BPA free containers at Buy Buy Baby and they come with a tote bag and freezer pack. There are endless possibilities for Sophia's lunches now!

No yucky Bisphenol A!

I love the brand Skip Hop. They make everything from feeding supplies to backpacks and toys!

It actually comes with six containers. We were using one for a snack. It has an elastic band to hold the sippy cup too. Absolutely awesome.

Let's Organize!

 An organized mommy is a happy mommy. I will be the first to admit that I am NOT organized! Clutter tends to build up around me even when I think messy thoughts in my head. Since having a baby, the toys have been piling up. I hate cluttered toys. I hate Sophia not being able to find her toys when she wants to play with them. I hate that Fisher Price is taking over my house. We headed to Ikea the other day with one goal in mind: Organization of the Toys!!!! I'm pretty happy with the results.
This is our little toy nook under the stairs. Yes that's a Staples box. Clearly its time for an organization intervention :(

These are the new bookshelf cubbies that we filled with toys. Doesn't it look great?!

I LOVE this basket! It came with the little chalkboard on the front. Such a great way to organize the stuffed animals and baby dolls.

Ta Da! A nice cute little nook under the stairs!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Food Debunked

This is the first post of my new blog concept: Food Debunked. My goal is to debunk a specific food or drink once a month to inform my readers of foods that may appear healthy but in truth might be more detrimental than good. My first debunk is the Capri Sun Roarin Waters. Every birthday party we went to this summer was serving these drinks. They are so low in sugar and calories, they must be healthy right? Think again. I HATE these drinks. I HATE that the FDA gets away with calling them "all natural" "no artificial colors or flavors". Do you want to know what the ingredients are? High fructose corn syrup, Splenda, and water. I am guilty of being a Splenda user once in a while, however for a young immune system, artificial sweeteners can be really dangerous! Studies show that they cause neurological problems in children over an extended period of time. I don't care if you are worried about sugar or if your child is overweight. Please don't give your kids artificial sweeteners. If you want to cut back on the sugar, make your own "Roarin Water' with water and a small amount of 100% juice. Hope you all enjoy the post! Let me know what you think.