30 Day Happier Challenge September 

Back by popular demand, I’m doing my 30 Days Happier Challenege for the month of September! 
  
Here’s how it works:

For the month of September:
Follow me on Instagram @stayatworkhousewife 

Each day post either:
Something in your life you are grateful for.

Something little that made you smile.

Something thoughtful you did for someone else.

Something special you did for yourself.

With each post use the hashtag #30dayshappier and tag me @stayatworkhousewife

Let me know who is joining me by posting the picture below with the caption:

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“I am joining The Stay At Work Housewife’s 30 Days Happier Challenge for the month of September! @stayatworkhousewife #30dayshappier

OHIO WHITE TENT EVENT: KNIGHT’S ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE FAIR PART TWO

Next weekend is finally the Ohio White Tent Event in Springfield Ohio, and since that is my hometown, I thought I would share with you guys some of my favorite places to go in Springfield, and some of the vendors I’m looking forward to seeing!

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Now, if you’re not too full from all of the amazing food trucks they’re going to have at the Ohio White Tent Event (I’m pretty excited for the Graeter’s Ice Cream Truck, and The Ohio Farm Direct Truck, which sells 100% organic grass fed cheese, burgers and ice cream!) I highly recommend heading over to Mike & Rosy’s Deli.  They are known for their steamed sandwiches, and in my pre gluten free days my lunch of choice was their turkey, swiss and mayo on white, with a side of macaroni salad, a cup of Lumber Jack bean soup (which I can still eat!) and an orange soda.  If you’ve never had a steamed sandwich, you had better make this a priority while you’re in town.  If three days of shopping hasn’t worn you out, you have to check out Young’s Jersey Dairy, which is only 20 minutes away from Heart of Ohio Antique Center!  Once you wear yourself out playing putt-putt, feeding the goats, and hitting some home runs in the batting cages, head to the Dairy Store for ice cream and sandwiches, or down the road to The Golden Jersey Inn for a good old country home cooked meal!

On to shopping! There are a few vendors showing there, that have collectively decorated my house. In fact, I purposely left my kitchen a bit unfinished because I was anticipating hitting up Knight’s Antiques, Flower Child Vintage, and of course Abbey Knight’s perfectly curated booth of mid-century modern and industrial finds.  But there are also a few booths that I’m looking forward to discovering for the first time next weekend!

  • I already know that I need to make a pact with my Mom ahead of time, to stop me from buying every serving tray from Fourth Coast Design Co. to use as props for my food shoots.  (Actually, I better make it a pact not to buy everything from Fourth Coast Design Co.).
  • I need another piece of jewelry like I need a hole in the head, but after taking a peak at Hendersweet’s Etsy store and Phyllis & Hazel’s website, I think I’m going to need to add more necklace hooks above my vanity!
  • Since my husband gets to miss out on all the fun next weekend, I think I’ll be nice and pick him up a candle from 419 Trading Co. for his man cave.  With scents like ‘Bourbon & Tobacco’ and ‘Midwest Firewood’, they’re perfect for him to burn while he writes the next great American novel.

Well I hope to see you all there! Look for me, I’ll be the girl lugging around a bunch of wooden serving trays and trying to write an Instagram post! (@stayatworkhousewife)

 

 

My Endometriosis Story

It’s time for me to share a very personal story. I was recently diagnosed with endometriosis, a chronic disease where the endometrium grows outside the uterus and results in internal bleeding, lesions, inflammation, and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems. Although this is my experience, endometriosis affects 1 out of 10 women, it is the cause of nearly 75% of cases of chronic pelvic pain, and yet the average time it takes a woman to find a diagnosis is seven years. This is simply the story of my journey for a diagnosis, but I hope to continue posting my experiences as I try to live my best life with endo, in hopes that it will help others live theirs.

  

At age 25 I just started realizing that the symptoms of my period I had been writing off as normal for the past 13 years, are not “normal”.  I started questioning my symptoms about a year ago when I thought my appendix was going to burst and I almost went to the hospital. Now for me to even consider going to the ER, you have to understand how much pain I was in. You are talking to the girl who jumped right up after slipping on ice and getting a concussion, and continued to run the salon and take clients that day without taking any time off to recover. The same girl who fractured the top of her foot after someone accidentally stepped on it at an amusement park, and continued to walk around on it and ride roller coasters for another six hours. The same girl who stepped on a broken wine bottle at her wedding in bare feet, and continued to dance in heels for the rest of the night when I probably should’ve gotten stitches.  The same girl who… Never mind you get the point, I have an insanely high pain tolerance. My rib cage is tattooed from my underarms to my hips and that was more annoying than painful. So for me to even consider going to the hospital for pain scared everyone around me. I didn’t end up going to the hospital that day for appendicitis, (thanks WebMD), but I did however begin hearing theories from other people when they heard about my symptoms. 

A coworker: “you sound like my friend who has endometriosis, has your doctor ever told you that?”

My sister’s RN friend: “has she ever been checked for ovarian cysts or endometriosis?”

My mom: “are you on your period? I always had a horrible pain like that until I had a hysterectomy.”

I was on my period at the time, but I had never even considered that there could be something abnormal about it, until I started researching my “normal” symptoms.

I guess it pretty much started right away, my periods were very heavy and so painful than I would stay home from school or go lay down in the nurses office. Then at about 15 I had a period that lasted 27 days. My mom took me to the gynecologist and they put me on birth control to regulate it. Things improved a bit, but I still had horrible cramps. One day in high school, I was sitting in class and the pain from cramping was so bad that I fainted (This would happen again years later while I was home alone). My gynecologist at the time ignored my claims that I had passed out due to the pain, and decided that I was anemic. Also “just in case” it was a side effect of the pill, he switched me from the pill to a birth control patch. 

As years went by my symptoms got worse: the horrible cramping was still there, but instead of just affecting me the week of my period, cramps would start showing up the week before, and would hang around until a few days after my period ended. The pain ranged from a dull ache to an intense stabbing, and was always constant. It began to affect my daily life for two weeks out of the month. It sometimes prevented me from falling asleep, and would wake me up once I had. Not to mention the back pain, nausea, headaches, urinary tract pain, and total exhaustion. My mother was very sympathetic to my issues, as she herself suffered from “really bad periods”. So bad in fact that in her early 40s she had to undergo a hysterectomy due to complications from her menstrual cycle. While they were operating they also had to remove a lot of “scar tissue” and “lesions”, the cause of which were never discussed with her.

Most girls learn about their periods from their mothers, and since my ‘normal’ was also her ‘normal’; I didn’t think there was anything abnormal about my symptoms. So I just popped Midol for two weeks out of the month like it was candy, became best friends with my heating pad, and didn’t ask questions.

Eventually I would discover that I have a gluten intolerance, and began blaming some of my symptoms on that. I gave up gluten and noticed a reduction in cramping, headaches, and exhaustion. Months went by and although my health improved I was still waiting to feel 100%.

Here we are two years later, back to the “appendix incident”.  At the advice of my sisters friend, I googled endometriosis, and while reading the symptoms it was like a lightbulb went off. The next day I called my new gynecologist to schedule an appointment. I was feeling optimistic, I’d been living in Columbus for years, and chalked up my previous experience with a gynecologist to the fact that he practiced in the small town I grew up in. I came prepared with my ‘appendix’ story, and a list of the symptoms I’d been experiencing since I was 15. I also brought up the possible family history of endometriosis.

My doctor listened to me that day for a total of 8 minutes, and then asked me one question:

 “Do you experience pain during intercourse?” 

The answer was no, and just like that my problems were waved away with this response: 

“Periods are not supposed to be fun. Try taking midol, and laying around with a heating pad when you experience the cramping. Honestly, you’re just not in quite enough pain for me to think you have endometriosis. Besides if you did have endometriosis, the treatment I would prescribe, would be to put you on the pill, and you’re already on birth control, so there’s really no point in diagnosing you. In the future, if you have trouble becoming pregnant, we can return to this discussion.

(I would later read a statistic that only 45% of women with endometriosis experience pain during intercourse.)

I cried in the car for a half an hour after this appointment. I knew something wasn’t right, but she made me feel that something that affected my daily life, caused me to cancel plans, and didn’t allow me to be as hard-working as an employee as I knew I could be, was all in my head, and I was just being dramatic. 

This sent me into a depression. My loved ones encouraged me to get a second opinion, but at this point my trust in doctors was lost. I never wanted to feel the way she made me feel ever again. I also started to convince myself that it was pointless to seek a diagnosis for something which there was no cure. I decided I knew my body and I would figure out how to treat it. I began eating Paleo 90% of the time to reduce inflammation and started feeling some relief. 

But the depression didn’t go away, not only was I in pain, I also thought I was crazy. Was I just imagining things were that bad? Was I being dramatic? Maybe I did have a normal period, but I was overreacting. My work suffered, relationships suffered, and although I thought I was putting on a good face, someone I barely knew asked me if I was going through something, because I hadn’t been myself for a while.  A year after my nightmare gynecologist appointment, it was time to try again. I just needed someone to tell me my pain was real.

At the suggestion of a good friend, I began seeing a holistic doctor. At my first appointment he listened to me and asked thorough questions for two hours before he even began the physical check up. 

At the end of the appointment he said: “It is my opinion that you have polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, but the only 100% sure diagnosis for endometriosis is laparoscopic surgery, which I do not recommend.” I had no idea how happy hearing that I have a chronic disease with no cure would make me. Well, not that that part made me happy, but some one finally listened and took me seriously! 

He then devised an all natural treatment plan for the symptoms, and we’ve been working together for about 3 months. I have been feeling better, but I accept that I will probably never feel 100%. As I’m writing this now I’ve actually been having and endo flare up for the last 48 hours. But things are looking up and I’m no longer depressed. 

I hope my story helps you to find the courage to seek answers if you know that something isn’t right. You know your body better than anyone, even your doctor, so if someone brushes you off when you know something is wrong, it’s time to move on from that relationship. This includes friends and loved ones, endometriosis is not something you want to experience alone, you should surround yourself with people who love and support you, even if they’ll never understand how much it really sucks. 

Champagne Floats

 Blood Orange sorbet champagne float. 

I think I invented this a few years ago when we hosted an Oscar party and I decided Champagne just wasn’t fancy enough! I started calling them “Oscar Floats” and they’ve been a Stay at Work Housewife party staple ever since! They couldn’t be easier, simply pour some sparkling over a scoop of your favorite flavor of sorbet! (I highly recommend blood orange sorbet). I can’t even call this a recipe, it’s too easy; and I promise all of your party guests will think you’re a genius! 

RAW WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA NUT ENERGY BITES

Raw, vegan, paleo white chocolate macadamia nut energy bites are the perfect no bake protein snack on the go!

  

You may recall from my previous energy bites post (sea salt, fig and pistachio) that I’m obsessed with these because they take minimal effort in the kitchen, and they’re super easy to grab and go! There’s a white chocolate macadamia nut granola sold in some of the markets here, that’s made locally and has been an obsession of mine for about two years! I was inspired by the flavor combination for my newest raw energy bites!

*Makes about 25

Ingredients:

2 cups almonds

3/4 cup dates, pitted

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp maple syrup 

1/2 cup White chocolate chips

A pinch of sea salt

Place almonds into a food processor and pulse until they’re the consistency of crumbly sand (not quite as fine as almond meal). Add the macadamia nuts, dates, maple syrup, honey, sea salt and cinnamon to the ground almonds. Pulse until the ingredients start to cling together and form clumps. Add the white chocolate chips and pulse a few more times until incorporated.

Form mixture into bite sized balls, a little more than a Tbsp size. You can use your hands, or I have a silicone cookie scoop (kind of like this one) that I spray with coconut oil non stick spray, and pack the mixture into. If it seems crumbly at first and doesn’t stick together, keep working with it, the warmth of your hands will heat the honey and dates up to help it stick together.  
Place on a piece of parchment and continue until you’re out of the mixture!

These will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 7 days, in the refrigerator for a month, and in the freezer for 6 months! Enjoy!

Domestically Dani Episode One 

Well here it is!!!! The first episode of my new cooking show, Domestically Dani! My first guest is my lovely sister, who never learned how to cook, so the theme of the episode is “So easy Mandie can do it!”.  Enjoy! 

Click here to watch!

Paleo Bacon Wrapped Dates

Maple glazed bacon wrapped dates stuffed with pecans, or Devils on Horseback   

Maple, bacon, pecan? There are few combinations that make me say “GIMME!!!!” faster than this flavor trifecta! I went to a wine tasting event once that had free hors d’oeuvres and I swear I ate my weight in the Devils on Horseback. I didn’t even care that the woman standing by the table definitely started judging me. Traditionally these are stuffed with goat cheese, but since I’m a texture freak, I like to stuff them with a pecan for an added crunch (I’ve also stuffed them with the “ricotta” recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook)! Plus, removing the dairy totally make these Paleo! If you’re making these for a party, make about five times more than you think you’ll need, they go as soon as you set them down!

*Preheat oven 415 degrees  

Ingredients:

12 dates, pitted

12 pecans

6 pieces of bacon

1 Tbsp melted butter 

1 Tbsp maple syrup 

Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut bacon in half to make 12 pieces.

Stuff each date with a pecan, then wrap with a half piece of bacon. Place in baking dish.

Mix melted butter with maple syrup, and drizzle over the bacon wrapped dates.

Bake at 415° for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.

Serve while still warm. Enjoy!

Spicy Honey Balsamic Roasted Green Beans 

Spicy honey balsamic roasted green beans, the perfect paleo, vegetarian, vegan side dish. 


We’ve had a ton of rain in Ohio this summer (want some of ours California? There’s plenty to share!).  I unfortunately ran out of time to plant my usual patio container garden, but luckily my clients have more than enough squash, green beans, and tomatoes to spare and they kindly bring me extras! I’m obsessed with slow cooked, smokey Mountain Green Beans and Potatoes (you can find my recipe here!), but after one of my regulars dropped off a gallon bag of green beans she had just picked that morning, I wanted to experiment with a recipe that would preserve their fresh, crispness! That’s how these spicy honey balsamic roasted green beans were born! They’re a great side dish, I’ve been known to just pick them up with my fingers and eat them like fries, and since green beans are great at any temperature, they can be served hot, cold, or room temp, perfect for picnics and cookouts! Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of spicy foods, omit the smoked chipotle powder and they’re just as delicious!

Ingredients: 

2 cups fresh green beans

1 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

pinch of pepper

pinch of smoked chipotle powder

Sea salt

*Preheat oven to 420 degrees

Lay a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet and spray with non stick cooking oil. Spread green beans on the parchment lined cookie sheet. (If you feel the green beans are too crowded on one sheet, use two, if they’re too close together the green beans will steam instead of roast).

In a small bowl, mix honey, balsamic, olive oil, pepper and chipotle powder. Pour over green beans and toss until lightly coated.

Roast the green beans at 420 degrees for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt.

Enjoy!

Domestically Dani

I’m excited to announce my new monthly cooking show that premiers in August! The first video was meant to be the promotional video, but after seeing the blooper video and deciding its waaaaaay better, the second one is the “official promo video”.  Enjoy!

 

Green Juice Smoothie Cubes

Fresh green juice, frozen and divided so they’re ready to go for smoothies!   

I love juicing and all the benefits that come with it, but with my busy Stay At Work Housewife schedule, I have a difficult time doing it as often as I would like. Between going to the grocery for fresh fruits and vegetables, the actual juicing process, and the clean up, it’s definitely time consuming! I find it easier to just throw some stuff in my NutriBullet and make a smoothie, but I have a hard time drinking the texture of the blended greens. One morning while laying in bed (instead of just getting up to make juice!) I thought “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make a huge batch of green juice once a week like I meal prep my lunches?”.  I personally own a masticating juicer, which are known for producing juice with a longer shelf life ( 72 hours, compared to centrifugal juicer’s 3-5 hours), but even then, they’ve lost some nutrients since you first made it. The longest I’ve kept juice in the refrigerator is 24 hours (sealed in a mason jar, filled to the top). Then it hit me: Freeze the green juice! Scientists from Leatherhead Food Research and University of Chester, carried out tests to measure nutrient levels in produce that had been sitting in a fridge for three days, compared to frozen equivalents; in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and veggies packed higher levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein, and beta-carotene. This study supports previous research, which found that freezing produce does not destroy its nutrients. So the same should be true for freezing green juice! 

It takes me about 30 minutes to juice a big batch of kale, broccoli, and romaine lettuce, then I just pour it into icecube trays and freeze it! Once frozen, I divide the green juice cubes into ‘smoothie packets’ with everything but the liquid I’ll eventually add, and store in individual ziplock bags in the freezer. Depending on my mood I’ll throw in some frozen organic bananas, berries, peaches, and/or avocados. Then when I’m ready for a smoothie, I dump the frozen ingredients into my NutriBullet, along with a liquid (coconut milk, filtered water, or green tea), add some flax or chia seeds, honey or tumeric (an anti-inflammatory spice), and in under one minute I have a delicious smoothie! The best part is, it has all of the benefits of a green juice, without having to drag your juicer out every day, or gag on the texture of drinking blended kale!