Rule #5: The little things are always bigger than they seem.

My Daddy was a thief. Not a big one, just the low-level kinda thief. You see, I loved me a good turkey pita sandwich for lunch. I loved a good turkey pita sandwich exponentially more when it had some mayonnaise on it. You know what doesn’t jive well? A soggy mayonnaise-laced turkey pita sandwich. So, my Daddy decided he’d ‘take a few extra’ mayonnaise packets from the hospital cafeteria every day when he ate lunch at work. That way, I could just squeeze a little fresh mayo onto my pita sammich when I was at the lunch table.

mayonnaise packets

Lemme tell ya. Our condiment drawer was overflowing with mayonnaise packets. And my good turkey pita sandwich was exponentially better because of it.

daddy

That’s what we do when we love somebody. We steal ridiculous handfuls of mayonnaise packets. We fold shirts a special way. We buy that certain kind of bread. We secretly buy that pair of earrings for a friend that were sold out months ago. We drop everything and rush to help someone who needs a ride. We make coffee for our spouse every morning just the way she likes it. We answer our phone in the middle of the night even when we’re exhausted. We do all kinds of random, little things for the people we love.

The small things are what make the most impact over the long-run. I love me a good piece of David Yurman, don’t get me wrong. But I have to say that the things I treasure most are the little things like the mayonnaise packets. The impact of that memory is a very powerful one that I’ve tried to shift into how I parent and live my everyday life. It showed me that my Daddy was thinking about me in the middle of his crazy day which made me feel so very loved. He knew I hated soggy pita sandwiches. He knew he could make my day a little better with a minor theft.

daddy

This brings me to this absolutely gut-wrenching memoir left by Holly Butcher. {Please, please, please read it. But grab a fistful of tissues.} All of her words resonated with me down to my very pineapple core. Lately I’ve been focusing so much energy on comparisons between myself and everyone and everything else around me. You’d think by now, after all of my “life lessons”, that I’d get the clue. But I have to tell you that I lost focus for a while. Holly’s words were a proverbial leather-glove-slap-in-the-face. “How dare you, Lilly!” Her letter couldn’t have been published at a better time of the year. It’s a time to start fresh. A time to refocus our energy. It’s a time to focus on what matters: the little things.

corey douglas

My encouragement to you and to myself is that we all focus on the little things. The mayonnaise packets, the kiss goodbye, the simple, “I love you,” can all make the biggest difference. I can almost guarantee that by relishing in the little things, we will gain better focus of the big ones.

Rule #79 : Window shopping is good for the soul.

We’re overdue for a little ‘Loving Lately’ around here. I’ve been ooing and ahhing over these pieces. Lots of great sales are still going on these days folks!

It’s the time of year for chunky, cozy sweaters that still look stinkin’ adorable. Here a few I love:

BP Cozy Mock Neck Sweater (Marked down to $30)

Currently on my Wish List. I love this one for the neckline and how chunk it is.

BP Cozy Mock Neck Sweater

Leith Easy Circle Cardigan (Marked down to $45)

This is probably my favorite cardigan… ever. I’ve posted about it a few times already, but I just love it. Love it I say!

Leith Easy Circle Cardigan

BP V Neck Long Sleeve Sweater ($39)

This one would be perfect to pair with leggings + a puffy vest.

BP V Neck Long Sleeve Sweater

Gap is having a MAJOR sale right now (75% off)! If you’re wanting to stock up on some great workout gear, I’d highly suggest hitting them up.

Gap Breathe Stub Roll-Sleeve Tee ($24)

I have this tee in 3 colors. They’re breathable, light, and a great fit for being active.

Gap Breathe Stub Roll-Sleeve Tee

GapFit Breathe V-Neck Tee ($20)

GapFit Breathe V-Neck Tee

Gap Breathe Crop Hoodie ($39)

Gap Breathe Crop Hoodie

GapFit Ultimate Hoodie ($90)

GapFit Ultimate Hoodie

Sam Edelman Hazel Pointy Toe Pump ($120)

I LOVE these pumps. A good neutral is always a necessity in any closet.

Sam Edelman Hazel Pointy Toe Pump

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer ($26)

The BEST concealer I’ve found so far. I saw this on a beauty blog that I follow and love, and decided to give it a go. I’m in love. It’s a perfect texture: lightweight but gives full coverage.

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner ($25)

Another great find from Champagne and Chanel is this eyeliner! It goes on smooth like an eyeliner pencil but lasts as well and as long as liquid eyeliner. I’m in love.

Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner

Baublebar Pinata Tassel Earrings (Marked down to $18)

I love a good statement earring. These lovelies are on sale for 50% off right now!

Baublebar Pinata Tassel Earrings

Free People Intimately FP Adella Longline Bralette ($38)

I’ve seen this in tons of recent blog posts, and I love how it pairs with so many outfits. It looks adorable under sweaters, layered with tanks + tees, and simple t-shirts.

Free People Intimately FP Adella Longline Bralette

BP Foldover Crossbody Bag ($40)

I love the color and size of this little lovely. Perfect for shopping!

BP Foldover Crossbody Bag

I could give up shopping but I'm not a quitter

Rule #257: Cheese is always a good idea.

‘Tis the season to shed the L-B’s and eat a lil’ healthier, am I right? Well then my dieting friend, if you’re wanting to find a good substitute for rice for your every day dishes, this is just the doozy to do you in. It will take you less than 15 minutes to throw together, and it comes in at about 160 calories per serving (this recipe makes 2 very good-sized portions).

cauliflower rice

By browning the cauliflower bits for a good little while, you start to break down the pieces into tender little morsels. Adding the cheese and toasting it a little bit gives the texture an added thickness.

cauliflower rice

We love to have ours with Mexican Pork, Caribbean Pork, Mexican Taco Bowls (recipe coming soon), and many other things where we’d normally have cooked white rice.

cauliflower rice

The starting lineup: “caulibits” (finely chopped cauliflower – if your store doesn’t sell this, shred or chop 1 head of cauliflower in a food processor), shredded cheese (we use Colby Jack, but you can use cheddar or whatever you fancy), extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), Kosher salt, and black pepper.

cauliflower rice

First, you’re going to heat your EVOO to shimmering over medium-high heat. Add in the cauliflower, toss to coat in the oil, and let ’em toast until they get deep brown (about 10 minutes).

cauliflower rice

Make sure to stir it all around every once in a while. Ain’t nobody like burnt cauliflower.

cauliflower rice

So – I’m going to commit to an entire post on weighing your food, but I wanted to give a little preview to how I do it. I use a scale (this one to be exact) to weigh out the ingredients I’m using. Before you even turn on the scale, set whatever ingredient you’re using on top (in this case: mahhhh cheeeesse). Turn on the scale. It will automatically set its weight to ZERO, so, anything we use will then be a negative on the scale later on. Let me show you:

Here’s my full bag ‘o’ cheese. Scale is at ZERO.

cauliflower rice

I give a nice, healthy sprinkling of cheese on my cauliflower.

cauliflower rice

Then, I put the same bag back on the scale minus the cheese I just sprinkled. Voila! It shows a negative of 1.3 oz., so I know I’ve used that much in my recipe. (And yes, I did accidentally throw in that extra .3 oz. of cheese, my bad). Using a scale like this one is so much easier than you think! It’s not for everyone, but for data people + OCD folks like myself, I’m in love.

cauliflower rice

Give everything a good stir and melt the cheese down. Then, add in your salt and pepper.

cauliflower rice

Healthy Side Dish: Accomplished.

cauliflower rice


Cheesy Cauliflower Rice

2 tbs. EVOO
1 bag cauliflower “bits”, or 1 head cauliflower, grated
1 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded (or cheddar)
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the EVOO until shimmering. Add in the cauliflower, stir to coat, and sauté until browned (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle on the cheese, stirring constantly, and cook an additional minute until cheese melts. Stir in salt and pepper.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Cheesy Cauliflower Rice

Rule #92: Necessity breeds invention.

They say that necessity breeds invention, and well, this little dish is no exception. Wayyyyy back in the day, when Jon Boy and I were just young pups in love, we were living in Dallas when a major ice storm hit almost out of no where. We both barely made it home after work because the roads were absolutely terrible. Delivery was out of the question for dinner because everything had shut down already. So, we peeked into the fridge praying there was something in there to scrounge up for dinner. Lo-and-behold: The Sh*t Mexican Pork was born.

Okay – so I obviously didn’t name this dish that because I’m trying to act like a grown up now, but… it is… the sh*t.

pork tenderloin

You wanna know why it’s the sh*t? (I know, I can spell it out, but it’s more fun not to.) It only needs FIVE (ish) INGREDIENTS, each serving (this recipe makes 4) is 170 calories each, and it’s friggin’ delicious! It got it’s name because after his first bite, Jon Boy literally said, “Woah! This is the sh*t!”

mexican pork

Now then, let’s do this.

You take 1 1-lb. pork tenderloin (you can definitely use two tenderloins if you’re cooking for more than 4 or if you want heartier portions). Make sure the silver skin is trimmed off as much as you can. Dice it up into about 1/2″ pieces.

mexican pork

Liberally season the pork all over with Kosher salt and black pepper. (BTW – I didn’t include those in the ingredient count because well… they’re just not. Five sounds better than seven.)

mexican pork

Now, here are the performers in our little Mexican Pork Parade. Vegetable (or chicken) stock*, green bell, red bell, white onion, fresh salsa, and salt + peppa.

*You may not end up needing the stock depending on how thick the sauce is.

mexican pork

We use fresh salsa for this recipe – you can find it in your produce section near the prepared veggies and fruits. Choose whatever heat level you like. We go for the mid-level serrrrrrrrrano type. I like the fresh salsa more than the jarred because it’s a little thinner and has (as the name states) fresher ingredients.

mexican pork

Slice up yer bell peppers and yer onion.

mexican pork

Now, you have a choice here. You can either spray a large skillet or Dutch oven with cooking spray or pour in a little vegetable or canola oil. Your choice. I usually just opt for cooking spray, but for the pictures, I used a little oil. I honestly think I prefer it without the oil – fewer calories, and it all turns out just about the same.

Brown the pork on one side, flip, and brown on the other side over medium-high heat (about 3 minutes per side).

mexican pork

You don’t need the meat to be all the way cooked through at this point. That will happen later when we add the salsa and stock.

mexican pork

Make a hole in the middle of the pan.

mexican pork

Throw in the veggies.

mexican pork

Give it all a stir and sauté until the veggies are tender (about 8 minutes).

mexican pork

This part is totally optional, but I like to sprinkle in some Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning for a little flavor. If you don’t have this or don’t want to buy it, just skip this and move on down.

mexican pork

Once the veggies are tender, make another hole in the middle of the pan.

mexican pork

Throw in the salsa (carefully). Add a little stock (about 1/4 cup) to thin out the sauce. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

mexican pork

Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice with your choice of garnish. We love us some avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. You could also get down with red onion, radishes, a little shredded lettuce, and maybe even some more salsa.

mexican pork

So, in about 30 minutes, you’ve got a healthy + yummy dinner. De nada, amigo!

pork tenderloin


Mexican Pork

1* 1-lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin, cut into 1/2” pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 white onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
A few dashes of Adobo all-purpose seasoning (optional)
1 container fresh salsa (heat level of your choice)
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock (optional)

Liberally season pork with Kosher salt and black pepper.

Spray a large Dutch oven or skillet with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, brown the pork on all sides (about 3 minutes per side).

Make a hole in the middle of the pan, add in the onion and bell peppers. Sauté until veggies are tender (about 8 minutes). Sprinkle on some Adobo seasoning (optional).

Once the veggies are cooked, make another hole in the center of the pan and add in the salsa. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until pork is cooked through. If the sauce seems too thick, add in the stock.

Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice with your choice of garnish.

Garnishes
Avocado
Sour cream
Cilantro
Red onion
Radishes
Salsa
Shredded lettuce
Tortilla strips

* If you want heartier portions, or if you’re cooking for more than 4, feel free to use 2 pork tenderloins. Just add in some extra salsa or stock to extend the sauce.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Mexican Pork

Rule #301: Beets are delicious.

Yes, yes it is a rule now. It’s just how things are. I promise once you taste these unbelievably good for you bites of yummy, you’re never going to remember beets as that “yuck” vegetable ever again. Time to get rid of that, “I’ll give you beets for dinner if you don’t stop that @$&^@*#” stigma.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Apparently, beets are good for you. Like really good for you. Check out this article that tells you more, but basically… here’s what they can do for you:

They make your heart work better.

They make your brain work better.

They make your liver work better.

They make your tummy work better.

So, to summarize: beets are good for you. But also, they’re delicious.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Let’s be real though… beets are messy. I mean, all that pink goodness can leave your hands looking quite questionable in a county jail line-up if you know what I mean. I’ve ruined too many a good manicure making these little puppies. So, to combat this Pink Peeling Predicament, I decided to purchase some gloves at the local Target (pronounced Tarrrzzjjjjeeiiigghhht). I wore these while I peeled the beets, cut them, and when I tossed them in the vinaigrette. I’m happy to report my manicure is still well intact.

gloves

First things first, ya peel yer beets (same as ya do taters).

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

And here’s our cast of characters for this evening’s side dish: beets, red wine vinegar, rosemary, pinch ‘o’ sugar, Dijon mustard, Kosher salt, black pepper, and EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil).

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Measure all your ingredients in a large measuring cup.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Give it all a good whisk until it looks like so:

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Cut your beets into wedges (highly suggest the gloves for this step), then pour the vinaigrette over the beets.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Give them a good toss and pour everything into a glass baking dish (I use my trusty 13×9 Pyrex). Make sure the beets are in as even a layer as you can get them.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Roast at 400 for about 50 minutes, sprinkle with some goat cheese and extra rosemary and voila! Healthy, delicious beet-y goodness.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

I’ve had tons of non-beet-leivers (get it? wait… was that too far? too pun-ny? okay, sorry…) who’ve tried these and LOVED them. I promise that vinaigrette + goat cheese will not steer you wrong, my friend.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese

Meet your new favorite vegetable.

roasted beets with dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese


Roasted Beets with Dijon Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese

1/2 cup EVOO
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of white sugar
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
2 lb. beets, peeled and cut into wedges
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a large measuring cup, measure out the EVOO and red wine vinegar. Add in remaining ingredients through Dijon mustard. Whisk until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine beets and Dijon vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Pour into a 13×9 Pyrex dish (or other oven proof dish). Make sure beets are in one even layer.

Roast at 400 for 50 minutes, tossing and flipping the beets halfway through.

Sprinkle goat cheese over the beets and garnish with more rosemary if desired.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Roasted Beets with Dijon Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese