Strawberry Salad

Sometimes salad sounds boring to me. That might sound weird since I’m kinda a veggie nerd (totally exists) and my kids could tell you the same. However, this summer I’ve experimented with some sweeter salad ingredients. This has kept me more interested and excited to eat my lunchy greens. On the menu today – strawberry salad.

Strawberry Salad

I’m a sucker for fresh berries, mangos, and melons. Every lunch I’ve been looking around my kitchen and topping whatever greens I’ve had with some sort of fruit. This strawberry salad is juicy and combines the perfect sweetness with crunch. On top of that, my other new favorite salad topping is sliced mushrooms. Seriously the perfect combo of sweet, soft, and crunchy. I’m not a huge raw mushroom fan, so this topping has been a bit surprising for me. The meatiness of the mushrooms has been awesome and I love their soft texture combined with something fruity…. 

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Raspberry Nutella S’mores Repeat + Summer Vacation

raspberry smores

Anyone else having some fun family vacations mid-summer?

The past two weeks around here we were visiting both sides of the family in Idaho and then in Montana. We were constantly on the move which made the time pass quickly and we did more fun things than we can count.

One of the important things we’re trying to teach our kids is how to enjoy every moment of our adventures, not just the “got there” part. We reminded them that all the parts of our trip were going to be fun because we were together and we were going to enjoy every moment, including the long driving. It was very much part of the trip.

For me, the driving is some of my favorite time. Not the part where I’m fetching things for the kids and entertaining, but the part where Tyler and I get to talk with unlimited time. It’s amazing how we can just go on and on and on and on and on. A lot of our conversation was about Carrot Bowl (which always makes me excited) and I have some fun things in store for the future. Hopefully sooner than later and I can’t wait to share them with you.

I’m going to count some of our vacation adventures for you, because you probably want to know:

Made these Raspberry Nutella S’mores (an amazing sometimes food that you should not pass up…and consider yourself warned that you can never go back to regular s’mores)
Went to Yellowstone National Park
Hiked in the Tetons – Hidden Falls
Saw buffalo and moose
Took family pictures twice
Swam and dinnered at a lake
Went to a rodeo where I dressed a cow with my sister and SIL (seriously a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat)
Celebrated the 4th of July
Swam at cool swimming pools
Drove for a long long time
Hiked in Montana
Rode a carousel
Saw the movie “How to Train Your Dragon 2″
Helped the kids launch water balloons at Grandpa
Joined the kids in a sleepover
Rode a tour train
Visited my grandparents
Had a family game of wiffle ball in the mountains (so picturesque)
Made Quick Vegan Nachos for the family
Had a family white elephant gift exchange to celebrate everyone’s birthdays
Played games
Visited all my siblings homes and visit
Celebrated my Mom’s birthday early
Went bowling
Did a garage sale scavenger hunt
Saw some beautiful country

Really it was an awesome vacation. The kids were sad to leave both places. But when we got home, it helped to get back into regular things by having the two older kids signed up for day camps. It gave me a routine and helped them stay busy as they were/are reprograming from our trips.

Here’s a couple shots from our trip. Enjoy your vacations this summer and stay safe! Where is the farthest you are going?


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Running Mantras

mornings at the track

Running is hard work.

But there’s something about getting up early before the day gets going that makes me really happy. It’s one of my favorite things to run when the birds are singing. When I wake up and they’ve long since started their conversations, I feel like I get to be a part of the party.

I know not everyone loves to run. Sometimes its painful and not very fun. Some runs are just like that. For some, they all might be like that.

I really believe that the longer you do it, the more you will enjoy it. I know you can do more than you think you can! I’ve run with friends who don’t think they can even go 1 mile, just to then prove to themselves that a mile is not only achievable but also easier than they thought.

Running with friends can also make a new running habit a lot easier to transition into. It’s fun to talk and run, social + physical all together = awesome day. Seriously though, when you know there’s someone else counting on you, it can really help to get up and going. Use this for running, going to the gym, or starting a new fitness class. When you have someone to cheer you on and maybe even compete with a little, it can be the perfect motivation.

Recently, I’ve been running with mantras.

I’ve found in the last week that I really like have a goal mantra to repeat as I’m running.

Some of my mantras from this past week are:




There are so many words or phrases you could use. I think a run can be made even better my thinking of the mantra the night before – you wake up ready to go with a goal in mind. Mornings that I might be discouraged to wake up early have been made even easier with a goal mantra running through my head.

How about you? Have you run with a mantra in your head to help spur you on?

Before you hit your run…or workout…or gym date…think of your mantra and kill your workout! Working hard is rewarding mentally and physically and you deserve both! I feel like I was strong this week as I’ve done this and I’m excited to see where it takes me. Happy running!

Fruit Flag

Fruit Flag

Independence has meant different things through my life. If my kids glean one thing from me, I hope it’s how to be independently strong, confident, and kind.

I loved cooking in the kitchen by myself when I was younger. It made me feel knowledgable – little did I know that you don’t cook fish chopped up into tiny little shredded pieces rather than a big chunk. My parents very graciously ate that meal. I redeemed myself by whipping up some awesome rhubarb crunch.

For almost four years I got up to play basketball at 6 am before school. This is when I was 11-14. I loved feeling the power to follow through on decisions and see myself get better through dedication. I felt independent in my hard work.

Fruit Flag

I remember at the end of high school I was really excited for college away from home (not unlike most of us – I just might have given my parents a good challenge). I was so looking forward to the independence that would come from being totally in charge of myself. I don’t even want to think about this with my children, watching them out the rearview mirror as I drive away like my mom did, not really being successful at holding in tears.

One time at school (go BYU Cougars!) I saw a girl in the middle of a path standing, crying silently, and not moving. In my independent desire for kindness, I went to her and hugged her. It sounds kinda weird, and kinda weird to be telling you this, but it was a moment. She was a stranger and I was a stranger, but for that moment she wasn’t alone. I honestly don’t remember what devastating news she had just received, she told me through muffled tears. We never learned each other’s names and never saw each other again, but for that simple moment, we declared our ability to independently come together to make each other stronger.


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Coconut Strawberry Ice Cream \\ Vegan

Coconut Strawberry Banana Ice Cream - Vegan - via carrotbowl

I remember making ice cream in a wooden mixer that stood on the ground when I was a kid. It used rock salt packed around the mixer machine to help freeze the cream and took forever. It was so intriguing as a kid that we could actually make ice cream, however, it took so long that I don’t remember us making it often. I’m glad I have the memory of making it.

With this recipe, I’ll be making ice cream all the time. I didn’t use an ice cream maker, but you certainly could and I think I’ll try it next time. I simply mixed with beaters and froze. If we wanted to eat it after it turned rock hard, I stuck it in the microwave for a minute or two so I could scoop it out. This is too easy to pass up!


I love how this homemade ice cream is creamy, versatile, and tastes so light! Although we occasionally eat animal products, ice cream is not typically one of them. If we happen to have a little, it sits heavy and just isn’t as satisfying as before – before we started eating more whole foods. It’s so sugary and so thick.

Thank you coconut milk for reinventing ice cream.

Coconut Strawberry Banana Ice Cream - Vegan - via carrotbowl

I recently went to a baby shower at the park where the host brought three homemade ice creams for the dessert. This is roughly her recipe inspiration. Thank you Cecily and your never-ending skills! (Next I’m going to make her Kamut Kitchiri). Cecily is one of those people that when I come away, I feel like I still have so much to learn from her. She home schools six children, raises chicken, has a Tubby Towel business (check out the adult sized ones!), is an amazing cook, has mad sewing skills, and is one of those silent servers who knows who and how and when to take care of other people, doing it all-out in a real way. … 

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Simple Salsa with Tomatillos

Simple Salsa

Homemade salsa is one of the things I crave. After I make it, I wonder why I didn’t make it sooner. Especially since it’s gone within two day of making it. This is a super simple salsa that will win you major crowd points and you’ll want to find excuses to put it on anything and everything.

I eat it straight up with chips (my favorite are the multigrain ones from costco), on enchiladas, vegan nachos, mixed into vegan posole or black bean stew, or combined with simple hummus for an amazing dip. You’re covered with options to choose from.

This recipe is inspired from Tyler’s Grandma Eveyln. We were lucky enough to live by his grandparents when we were ungrad students at BYU. They were the first family I met when Tyler and I were dating and we visited often to play games, eat some good food, and enjoy their cozy home. It was nice having them close to us and I’ll treasure that time I got to know them. Go cougars!!… 

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