Sloppy Joes, Sloppy Sloppy Joes

I used to enjoy Sloppy Joes as a kid but for some unknown reason stopped eating them for years. It wasn’t until I moved in with Michelle in Baton Rouge (who LOVES Sloppy Joes) that they even popped up on my radar again. and again. and again. Now they are a ‘go-to’ on our weekly menu! Of course, I searched for the BEST recipe out there and then made it even healthier. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Modified by Mariah Rutter
Recipe type: Main Dish, Entree, Beef
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 4-6 servings

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons Grass-fed Butter (KerryGold or another similar brand)
½ Cup Onion, diced fine
1 Red Bell Pepper (I actually use more to add veggies in. I will also be adding cauliflower next time for more sneaky veggies!)
1½ Teaspoons Garlic, minced
1 Pound Ground Beef (we use 93% lean) or 1 Pound Ground Turkey
1½ Tablespoons Coconut Sugar
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
¾ Teaspoon Liquid Smoke (Wright’s Liquid Smoke is a good option. Check the labels!)
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Cup Ketchup (My suggestion would be Annie’s or another healthier option)
¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Buns for serving (We don’t always do the buns, but when we do I use GF ones)

Instructions

Heat a dutch oven or skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, quickly add the onion and stir occasionally until translucent. Add the peppers and garlic and stir occasionally for 1 minute then add the ground beef/turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon, stirring it all together. Allow to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the coconut sugar, mustard, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, chili powder, and paprika. Stir for 30 seconds and then add the ketchup and vinegar. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, season to taste and serve or cook up to 1 hour on low and then serve. The longer it cooks the better the flavor.
Scoop onto buns that have been brushed with butter.
Notes
This can be made in the slow cooker, but you may want to double it if your slow cooker is a regular sized dish. Make sure you stir every now and again and only cook on low up to 3-4 hours as you don’t want it to scorch.

ENJOY! If you try this I would love to know what you think in the comments. 🙂

Advertisements

A Life without Pizza Is Not the Life for Me

Pizza, oh Pizza. Is there any other way to start this post than with a Haiku I found via Google? I think not.

5NMlCYu

Simple. Moving. Accurate. Delicious.

I have a very hard time choosing ‘favorites’ in nearly every category, but when it comes to food, you really can just forget it. Too many delicious options to pick one. However, let’s just say that if I had to make a Top 8 List, Myspace style, Pizza would definitely have a permanent spot.

url

I couldn’t resist this reference.😂

My appreciation for pizza and all the never ending options out there is serious, so you can imagine the internal struggle I faced when I willingly decided to embrace a paleo way of eating. I knew I felt better when I ate this way, but, but pizza. No grains or cheese? No problemo my friend! I’ve GOT this. That doesn’t apply to pizza though, right? RIGHT?! In the timeless words of the Arrested Development cast, I couldn’t help but think to myself “I’ve made a huge mistake.

Slowly, I came around to the idea that this was what I wanted to do for myself and health and if I didn’t do it then, I don’t know if I ever would have. Many of my processed and unhealthy favorites (i.e. junk food) got the boot when I changed my eating habits and I truly did/do feel better, but it was a process getting to where we are today where I very rarely miss them. Vanessa, the mastermind behind Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind , put it perfectly in her new book regarding the “stages of paleo.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.00.57 AM

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Part of the journey to acceptance and where we are now is an 80/20 approach. We stick to the paleo guidelines 80% of the time, and the other 20% we enjoy foods that fall outside those guidelines and ‘treat’ meals that are SO not paleo. This helps us to keep our balance and feel our best. Another part of the journey was learning how to cook and bake. I am a big fan of spiralized veggies or spaghetti squash in place of noodles, cauliflower rice/mash/crust, etc., and all substitutions that help you enjoy close to your old favorites without feeling deprived. There are plenty of Pinterest recipes out there that can get you close to the real thing, (I’ve pretty much pinned them all!😁) but when I need to recreate something as dear to my heart as pizza, I don’t mess around. I go straight to the genius that is Brittany Angell. This woman knows what’s up. She never ceases to amaze me with her skills of taking healthier ingredients, often grain/dairy/sugar free so that people with allergies and intolerances can enjoy their food too, and turning these ingredients into masterful dishes you would NEVER guess are healthy. I discovered her Grain Free Thick Pizza Crust about a year or so ago and it has been a staple in our household ever since. I thought I’d pay it forward and share that with y’all today.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 2.39.45 PMNotes:

I didn’t have Psyllium Husk when I first discovered this recipe, so I have always substituted Xantham Gum in its place.

Brush the partially baked crust with a little oil before adding the toppings. Confession: I use Olive oil spray to grease the parchment paper, my hands when spreading the dough, and the partially baked crust. I’ve found it to be easier and less of a mess.

Brittany mentioned that this crust doesn’t absorb much sauce and she was definitely right! (I may or may not have learned the hard way.) I personally use tomato paste cut with a little oil or watered down and seasoned to my liking. If you do use a pre-made pizza sauce be mindful about how much you use, or else you could end up with a mess on your hands.

The great thing about having a tried and true crust like this is that you are free to tailor it to whatever type of pizza you’re feeling that day. Go paleo and do a ‘meatza’ with just sauce, toppings, and meat of your choice! Go Hawaiian and add pineapple and ham! I’m personally a big fan of mushroom, onion, green pepper, garlic, black olives, spinach, and some sausage. YUM! The more veggies, the better in my book. James loves his sausage or pepperoni. If you tolerate it well, go classic and even add your favorite cheese…in moderation of course! 🙂 Another option that we have used from time to time is Daiya, a non-dairy ‘cheese’ that is a close enough substitute when you’re avoiding dairy. What is your favorite kind of pizza? I’m always up for new suggestions for us to try and would love to hear from you!

See, what had happened was…

https://i0.wp.com/stream1.gifsoup.com/view1/20140618/5054349/what-had-happened-was-o.gif

Um…So I know it was over two nine(?!) months ago  a really, really long time ago that I last wrote about the adventures that I call life. I had just filled you all in on my move to Baton Rouge and a very newly reawakened faith. I would love to share in detail the ups and downs that transpired over the last few years following, but so much has changed so quickly that I think I’ll hit fast forward and write about a few occurrences until we’re all up-to-date. This way I can write in the present tense and save myself lots of confusion. Okay? OKAY!

I completely fell in love with Baton Rouge and to this day miss it regularly. I have already bragged on Michelle, so you know my roomie was the greatest, but the people in my life were amazing and made the biggest difference. From my classmates and faculty in the grad program, to the friends through church and small group who really became more like family, I couldn’t have asked for greater relationships. My faith was continuing to grow and this shaped every daily experience. I felt myself slowly growing and becoming little by little who He was calling me to be.

Now that I knew there was a calling on my life-not that I knew what it was just yet- I was better able to be obedient when I felt the Holy Spirit leading me. It wasn’t always easy, in fact, there were (and still are) many times when it was hard, overwhelming, or just down right scary, but I rested in the Truth of who Jesus was, is, and will always be, and stepped out in faith. This confidence, not in myself or my abilities, but in Him, got me through some of the lowest valleys and brought me to some of the highest mountain tops. As I experienced this ever growing love for The Lord, my faith was put to the test as my family went through one of the most painful experiences we had ever faced. At the same time, to my surprise, I began to feel very strongly that Speech Pathology was not what I was supposed to do with my life. I decided to take a break to discern what my next step was supposed to be.

While on this break Michelle decided she was going to get healthier and invited me to join her. I was (VERY) hesitant and (REALLY) skeptical at first because I doubted that anything would work for me at this point (more to come on this later!), but I saw her have amazing results beyond the scale and decided to give in. I had no idea that this simple invitation to a lifestyle change would completely transform my life in every way. My weight and size were numbers I thought I had long laid to rest without absolutely starving, but there I was eating more than I had in years and looking and feeling my very best! I couldn’t believe that something as simple as fantastic nutrition and focusing on quality over quantity had allowed me to achieve this. My confidence and determination to become the best version of myself, in every area of my life, was greater than ever. I found myself surrounded by even more people of character and integrity and my vision for my future began to grow. I certainly had a long road ahead of me and was (and still am!) very far from perfect, but once again things were working to move me closer to who God was calling me to be. I also made some wonderful friendships that added so much value to my life.

IMG_7053

You said it, sister!

Danielle was one of these friends that I was grateful to have. She helped me every step of the way with patience and encouragement as I worked toward my goals. When you’re talking almost daily it’s just natural to grow close and I was thankful for the wisdom she shared with me on relationships, faith, health, etc. and a whole lot of laughs! She’s one wise woman with a great sense of humor! (Or at the very least, she’s kind enough to always laugh at my jokes and awkward situations 😛 ) Turns out, she is also a fabulous matchmaker! I had no idea that when she introduced me to her friend, James, that she was introducing me to the man I would marry. Our story deserves its very own post, so at the rate I write, be sure to look for that in the next few years haha!

10403085_622893056490_5873923592036646272_n

Seriously, doesn’t she just look like a professional matchmaker?! I owe you one, Danielle 😉

On a more serious note, James was truly an answered prayer. I had been regularly praying and journaling throughout my move to Baton Rouge regarding a variety of things and very early on prayed for my future husband. I prayed for who he might be, protection over him, for his heart, for us, traits and characteristics that I valued in a man, and more. I had no idea when or if this prayer would be answered, but I knew that I wouldn’t say ‘yes’ to someone who didn’t love Jesus more than he loved me. I was ready to wait and truly had peace with being single, so imagine my surprise when Danielle introduced James and me over Thanksgiving of 2013 and it was an instant connection. After dating for several months we were engaged on January 18th and married by May 9th, 2014! It was a whirlwind of a time highlighted by the most beautiful wedding we could have asked for and hearts overflowing with joy and love. Never in a million years did I think that would be my love story. I had always been a ‘long term dating’ kind of gal, but everything with James was so different and covered in peace, that I knew it was exactly how it was supposed to be. The few doubts that creeped in momentarily were rooted in what others might think and that’s a pretty silly reason to do or not do anything in life, don’t you agree?

11200896_2901995306399_3514417285674874073_n

A little photobooth fun with the love of my life ❤

With two and a half months of marriage under our belts-we were practically pros- and completely open to the blessing of children whenever the day was meant to be, we found out we were expecting! A whole lot of life was packed into those 40 weeks and 8 days in more ways than one, but finally, in March of 2015 we welcomed our sweet Camille into the world. 🙂

 

12321685_3212874118175_2035176622210565452_n

So much joy from such a tiny person.

Oh, the sweetness of being this little girl’s mommy and daddy!! I always relate to the Grinch because every. single. day. my heart grows more and more with love for her!

the-grinch-heart-grows_1578300_GIFSoup.com

My heart also grows more and more with gratitude for the opportunity that we said ‘yes’ to because since day one of Camille’s life I have been able to be home with her as the primary influence in her world. This simple fact is why I am passionate about paying forward the opportunity afforded to me and sharing what is truly possible here. I never saw myself working from home like this, but I also never saw myself at home with my kids aside from in my dreams, and those usually entailed a large inheritance or marrying a surprise millionaire. Anyone know the odds of those coming to fruition? 😛

Motherhood certainly has not been easy every step of the way, but knowing that I’m the one that gets to sooth Camille when she’s upset, kiss a boo boo and make it better, instill our family values in her (okay, at this point we’re working on the fundamentals, but one day we’ll get there 😉 ) or laugh at something completely nonsensical until we’re both about to burst, makes all the less glamorous moments pale in comparison. James and I are abundantly blessed with the happiest little girl and truly wouldn’t trade this vocation for anything. Over the last 14+ months, we learned to grow together even more during the late nights, teething, the scariest experience with RSV, and everything else in between. And I have to say, seeing James love our daughter so well, better than I even knew he’d be capable of doing, makes me fall even more in love with him daily. I’m undoubtedly chopped liver when Dada is around, but I don’t even care! In fact, I am grateful! Our little girl gets to experience what so many in this world do not; a father who ADORES her, cherishes her, guides her, and reveals just a portion of our Father’s love for her.

11109813_2868873998387_7649557761579738935_n

An oldie, but goodie of my two loves.

Their bond is an even greater confirmation that we are doing exactly what we have been called to do and before too much time passes us by, James will be home full-time too. Oh what a day that will be! I will love it for a plethora of reasons, but come August or September, depending on if this little peanut takes after his or her perpetually late mama, there will be TWO little Rutters running around and Lord knows I’ll need the help! 😀  So that’s about it! Clearly there has been much more amidst the highlights I have shared, but I believe we are up to speed and maybe, just maybe, I can write regularly now? 🙂 We shall see!

A Thought for Tuesday

Here’s what I’m reflecting on today: As school is starting back up I am reminded of all my teacher friends who pour their hearts out into their students. They do their very best for so many children making quite the impact, I know it!! Thanks y’all! You are overworked & underpaid, but please know how much you are appreciated!
With that being said, it is NOT their responsibility to ensure that our youth turn out to be model citizens. It never has been and never will be. This responsibility has always belonged to and will always belong to us, the parents! WE are the ones who determine the future of our families and country by how well we raise up our children. This can work in combination with the other mentors our kids have (teachers, coaches, etc.) or it can work against it, but it still is the primary influence. So what does this tell me? It tells me that I have to get to work!! I have to stay dedicated to becoming the best version of myself, so that Camille & any future children we have can have a model of virtues and values. When I think of the most well rounded children I know, the ones I am constantly impressed by, 9 times out of 10 I can look at their parents and find a mentor. They are men & women who are constantly seeking wisdom & serving others. These are the parents I hope to be like. 

 Sometimes it can feel like we have an uphill battle, I know it. However, what would happen if we swapped out complaining about the way this world is, worrying about the direction it’s heading, or worst of all remaining indifferent, and instead did the most impactful thing we can do? Change! Grow! Can you even imagine how different things would be in our homes, communities, states, country on a short term & long term timeline? 

That’s what I will be working to do, at least. I don’t want to simply raise good kids. That’s nice, but I know that we can do even better if we set the bar higher. I know James & I will be dedicated to raising great kids who grow into great adults. 

Honey, Listen, Listen! (goldfish thought número uno)

  
Anyone that knows me knows my mind runs about a mile a minute, or it stands still. I’m either thinking about a million and one things at a time, on to the next big thought, or practically nothing at all. Very rarely do I have a happy medium. This has led me to develop several bad habits like interrupting or only half listening and I HATE it.

We-don’t-learn-from-talking-we-learn-from-listening I can only imagine how frustrating it is to be on the other side of a conversation with me feeling like I don’t care about what that person has to say, because I DO care. I WANT to be a good listener. I want to take in what my friends and family are saying to me because what they have to say is valuable and deserves to be heard. Even if it’s just a casual conversation, I want them to know it matters to me. YOU matter to me! 24159-one-of-the-most-sincere-forms-of-respect-is-actually-listeningThis is even more important to me now that Camille is here. I want that sweet baby girl to know how precious she really is to me and I can’t do that by giving her my divided attention. SO…I’m going to put an end to this bad habit ASAP…but I need your help! I might not like it every time, but if you and I are speaking on the phone, or face-to-face and it seems like I’m not giving you the attention you deserve, PLEASE call me out on it. I am a big fan of constructive criticism. Sometimes we really need a little outside perspective to grow and become the better version of ourselves. (Although I can guarantee that I’ll respond better to gentle and respectful feedback vs. harsh critics 😉 )PR_Take Leadership from the Most Impacted_Accountability Cycle

I want to grow and get better in this area. I want people to know how much I love and care about them. Whether you’re my husband (hey James!) or the cashier at the grocery store, you deserve that from me. So please…help a sista out! I WILL BECOME A GOOD LISTENER!ToLoveIsToListen3

bafaff3796101f5ee291392ce806c832

c43824d6cce3b98d2685c3a30d37e820

Paleo Fruit Cobbler/Crumble

Hey friends!

Remember when I had high hopes and grand dreams of catching y’all up-to-date on my life, keeping you posted on my pregnancy, and sharing lots and lots of paleo recipes? Well that clearly didn’t go as planned. I have started to write again  and will have a post that actually will catch y’all up-to-date, but to hold you over while you’re waiting here is a favorite dessert (and sometimes breakfast) recipe of ours!

Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry Crumble

Paleo Fruit Cobbler/Crumble

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds blueberries
  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour (we use Honeyville – click here for the ingredients we use)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter or palm shortening
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine almond flour and salt, (melted) butter, maple syrup, and vanilla
  2. Spread a thin layer of your dough on an 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  3. Once the bottom is covered, pour your blueberries on top of it
  4. With the remaining dough, roll small balls (crumbles) to place on top of the blueberries
  5. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, then cool and serve

img_3312

img_3313

This really is a favorite around here! It is extremely easy to make and tastes delicious! I had a random craving, began throwing some ingredients together, and in the process stumbled upon a similar recipe at Elana’s Pantry for “Peach Crisp.” We didn’t have peaches in the house, so I went with what we did have- blueberries. James is more of a blueberry kinda guy anyway, so this worked out in my favor. I also added an extra layer of dough on the bottom because I thought I was making a pie to begin with and changed my mind half way through. I tend to do that, but it works out for the most part. If you’re not a blueberry fan it’s okay! You can make this recipe with any fruit you’d like 🙂 If you are feeling extra ambitious and want to really treat yourself, you can make healthy ice cream to go along with it! You won’t need your Carb-Ease®Plus or Crave Check SR™ for this one! 😉

I’d love to hear what you thought if you give this one a try! Always looking for ways I can improve and not afraid of constructive feedback! 🙂

An Open Letter to Our Daughter (From Her Daddy)

James wrote this precious letter to our baby girl this weekend (featured on his blog) and we read it to her. This man melts my heart! I am left without words to describe how grateful I am to call him my husband and Camille’s daddy! His love for her shines through constantly whether it’s making it to every single OB visit or reading to her from her Bible. And I love love love how his eyes light up when he gets to talk about his sweet baby girl. We cannot wait to meet her, hold her, and love her in just a short 7 weeks 🙂 Without rambling any more, here is James’s letter to our Camille:

camille-collage-small

My Dearest Sweet Camille,

As I write you this letter, you are being snuggled inside your mommy’s tummy. We know you must love it in there because you’re apparently having a solo dance party 24/7, but soon it’ll be time to meet us face-to-face. That’s when the real fun starts and you’ll get to meet all the people that love you so much. Oh, and by the way, if you think the climate and temperature changes in there are crazy just wait ’til you get out here. And yes, I’m very aware that your mommy’s body heat turns up to a degree only a kiln can reach when she sleeps.

You’re growing like crazy right now and a few months ago you grew ears so you could hear us say how much “we love you.” That’s why we read you books every day. Your favorite one that we read to you, the one you always move around during, is called The Bible. That’s a special book and you’ll learn why soon.

A couple weeks ago we got to see your eyes and your beautiful eyelashes. I still can’t believe how long they are already! We can’t wait to see your eyes starring back at us and watching them squint as you smile and laugh (we’ll be doing that a lot because your mommy is HILARIOUS)! Once you’re able to open them up out here you’ll get to SEE how much we love you too.

You’re also going to get to see these bazillion outfits you have that are taking up all the room in our closet. Your mom also bought you some pretty funny cloth diapers. Just wait until you see them. I’m telling ya, your mommy has an awesome sense of humor and I can only hope that you take after her. I put together your stroller that you get to ride in when we go for jogs and walks around the park where you’ll get to see other children too.

There are a lot of other children in this world, but you’re going to live a life that most children only dream of having all because your mommy and I made a choice not to settle for “normal.” We’re very fortunate to have friends that opened our eyes to something better than going to work every day after dropping you off at a daycare. You’ll never know that life my sweet little girl and you’ll never know the inside of a daycare. Instead of paying someone else to raise you, we will be the primary influence in your life because we will be full-time parents. How cool is that!? That means we’ll have even more fun time together!

I know we are going to have a lot of those fun times, but I’ve got to tell you that your daddy was scared when we found out that God gave us you. Your mommy and I prayed and promised God that when He was ready to give you to us that we would be ready too. My fear was not that we weren’t ready to take care of you. My fear was that I did not know how to do the best job of raising you to find the man that will take the best care of you one day. You see, the day will likely come when I hand you over to someone else, but don’t worry… I will always be your daddy. By the way, while we are on this subject, if you want to join a convent then you will make things a lot easier on me. Devoting your life to God by becoming a nun is a very noble vocation. 😉

Although I was scarred, I want you to know though that in the past few weeks I realized that I am not scared anymore. I know exactly what I have to do. If I want you to marry a man that’s going to treat you the way you deserve then you need to see me treat your mommy that way. I have to be the man I want you to marry. I have to go to mass with you every week and make sure we read God’s word together. I’m going to have to take you on dates so you have an example of how that should go (I’m very excited about our first one!). I have to live my life out as an example of the Godly man that will take care of you one day. Believe me when I say, your daddy is going to set the bar high my sweet pea.

We love you so much and we cannot wait to hold you and we get to do that in only 7 more weeks!!! BUT please don’t get too excited as well and come out to hug us early. Seven weeks isn’t that long Camille. You can hang in there. We’ll see you soon my love, but now it’s time to read you your favorite book again.

Love,

Daddy

P.S. If you want to sleep through the night so that mommy gets a good night’s rest I promise she won’t be upset by that. 🙂