30 Days Happier Recap

The Stay At Work Housewife 30 Days Happier Challenge Recap!

  
Well, as of yesterday, I went 30 days expressing gratitude, appreciating the little things, indulging in self-care, and doing thoughtful things for others on a daily basis.  I have to admit there were times where I found this difficult; but even on days I wasn’t feeling very positive I still tried to find something to post. (If you followed along on Instagram @stayatworkhousewife you might remember a day I was in a funk and was only grateful for coffee).  Honestly I wasn’t sure 30 days was going to make a huge difference, but I’m happy to report that it did!  I’m not saying that I walk around like a ray of sunshine, but I find myself looking for the silver lining in every situation, expressing gratitude every chance I get, and appreciating the small things every day.  The best side effect of the 30 Days Happier Challenge was the more positive energy I put out, I got it back in tenfold!  Almost a week into the challenge little amazing things began to happen!

In my short one month of being happier, these awesome things happened:

  • A local newspaper featured a story about me, the blog, and my upcoming cooking show (debuting in August), in their “People” section!
  • I finally found a doctor who would listen to me long enough to give me the diagnosis I’ve been searching years for.  Not only that, he has devised a treatment plan that follows my wishes to pursue natural, holistic treatment options!
  • Green Bean Delivery’s PR team contacted me to offer my readers a discount on their produce delivery service because they read my review and liked it so much!
  • I got recognized from my blog in public by a complete stranger for the first time!
  • The Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in all 50 states! (Ok, so my Happiness Challenge didn’t have anything to do with it, but it’s still incredible news!!!!!!)

That is a lot of amazing things to happen right out of the blue, so I can’t help but feel that the happiness I have started putting into the world has something to do with it!  I have decided that I will continue to live by the rules of The Stay At Work Housewife 30 Days Happier Challenge, and we’ll see what other fabulous things the universe has in store for me!

Chilled Strawberry Cracked Pepper Soup

Vegan, gluten free, paleo chilled strawberry soup with cracked black pepper.  

I never crave real food in the summer. For me to sit down to a full entrée and eat it is rare, especially if the food is best served warm. I usually end up sitting down to a meal that looks more like I need to go to the grocery and I’m just eating whatever I had left in the refrigerator. My normal summer dinner usually consists of an avocado, a sliced tomato with lots of salt and pepper, some chicken salad, and a fruit salad. I do miss soup in the summer, but I have to be honest here, I do not like traditional tomato gazpacho. I have tried it over and over again, and it always tastes like I’m eating salsa with a spoon, leaving me craving tortilla chips. It wasn’t until I went to the most adorable tea house a few years ago (The Cambridge Tea House in Grandview), that I even knew there are other versions of chilled soup! It was there that I had chilled strawberry soup for the first time, as well as chilled spiced cantaloupe soup (look for my version of that recipe soon!) and it has been an obsession ever since! Plus, it’s pink!!! I like to use frozen strawberries that I’ve thawed for this recipe because they’re a better texture for blending and they tend to be a little sweeter. 

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed

1 cup orange juice

2 cups coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp honey

3 drops Doterra Peppermint oil (or any food grade peppermint oil or extract) 

In a blender or food processor blend all of the ingredients until smooth. Place in the refrigerator until well chilled. Serve topped with a sprinkle of cracked black pepper.

Enjoy! 

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Paleo Chocolate Banana Cream Pie Mini Tarts

 Raw, vegan, paleo, gluten free chocolate banana cream pie.  

There is something about a cold creamy dessert on a hot summer day! Two things make this recipe awesome, you don’t have to turn your oven on, and you don’t have to feel bad about eating the whole pan! You know I love a no bake recipe, and this one is quickly becoming one of my favorites (as well as my friends and family)! Who doesn’t love the chocolate/banana combo, and the fact that this recipe is paleo, vegan, gluten free, and raw?! Tha’s just a bonus! 

*makes 24 mini tarts

Ingredients:

Raw Pie Crust-

8 dates, pitted

2 cups pecans

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

In a food processor, pulse ingredients until combined, but still a mealy consistency.

Line a mini muffin tin with paper wrappers. Divide crust evenly between the 24 wrappers, then press the crust firmly to form a little cup inside the wrappers (I find the back of an oiled teaspoon works best).  

Filling-

2 bananas

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Prepare whipped coconut by using Tasty Yummies recipe, and add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. 

Slice bananas into 24, one inch pieces. 

To assemble the tarts, fill the crusts with cocoa whipped coconut cream, top with a slice of banana and a little more whipped coconut cream. 

Enjoy! 

The Stay At Work Housewife in Columbus Alive! 

Exciting news! I was recently featured in a local paper, Columbus Alive, where I talk about what inspired me to start this blog, balancing my professional and social life, and the new cooking show I’ve been working on! Check it out HERE!

  

Cauliflower Crust Mexican Pizzas

 Paleo, gluten free cauliflower crust Mexican pizzas.
 

If I had to pick a favorite type of food, with no hesitation it’s Mexican food.  I don’t know if this is because it’s all my mom ate when she was pregnant with me, or if just grew to like it on my own, but if nothing sounds good, we go for Mexican.  This has been a little challenging going paleo, with all the cheese and corn tortillas, I usually just end up getting taco salads. Until now! These cauliflower crust mexican pizzas satisfy my cravings salad free! (Don’t get me wrong, I love salad, but one cannot live on salad alone).  Plus the homemade chipotle sauce is so delicious I put it on everything! It’s not insanely spicy, it’s more like a smokey sweet heat.

Ingredients:

Pizza Crust-

1 head of cauliflower 

2 eggs

1 Tbsp olive oil

Chipotle Sauce-

3 dried chipotle chiles 

8 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup water

Put chiles in a sauce pan with 1 cup of water, simmer 10 minutes, remove from heat and cover, letting sit for 20 minutes. 

Remove the chiles from the water, and slice open to remove the seeds and stems. Return chiles to liquid and add the diced onion, tomatoes and salt. Place back on heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Blend until smooth. 

Prepare the crusts from the recipe here, omitting the Italian seasoning. (Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe)
Top with chipotle sauce and toppings of choice, I usually go with chicken and avocado, but you can go with whatever you have on hand! 

Enjoy! 

Paleo Baked Plantain Hushpuppies with Caper Aioli Tartar Sauce 

 Paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, baked plantain hush puppies with caper aioli dipping sauce. 

Blame it on there being like 3 Long John Silvers in my hometown while I was growing up, but I love hush puppies! (The best is when we would go to the Long John/A&W combo drive-thru and I could get hush puppies, extra crispies, a burger and a root beer float! Delicious!). I have missed hush puppies, but as delicious as they are, it’s hard to justify faileo-ing over a hunk of doughy cornmeal; that is until I discovered plantain hush puppies!  There are some Paleo versions of things that don’t quite hit the mark and satisfy the craving, these on the other hand, are even better than the original!  They are the perfect balance of sweet and savory, and the right amount of crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside; plus they’re baked instead of fried so you can’t even feel guilty! 

There’s a place in Columbus that serves their hush puppies with a honey butter dipping sauce (which is incredible!) but I prefer the classic tartar sauce, with a little update: Caper Aioli!

Ingredients:

Hush puppies 

3 green plantains-peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks

1 large carrot

1 egg

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil-melted

1 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup almond flour 

2 Tbsp chives-minced

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil, add plantains and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool a bit.

In a food processor, add all of the ingredients, including the cooked plantains, and pulse until well incorporated into a dough-like consistency.  Remove the dough from the food processor and knead it a bit to ensure the ingredients are evenly combined. 

Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls, and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Spray the hush puppies with coconut oil spray (this is optional, I just think it gives it a more golden, crispy outside).  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside.

Caper Aioli Tartar Sauce

1 egg- room temperature 

1 Tbsp lemon juice 

1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 

Pinch of salt 

1 cup extra virgin olive oil (measure out in something with a pouring spout)

1 Tbsp caper berries 

In the beaker that your immersion blender comes with (or you can use a mason jar), add the egg, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth. Then, with the immersion blender on low, slowly pour in the olive oil (the mixture will start to whip up and thicken, turning to a light cream color) once all of the oil is added and the aioli is well combined and creamy, add the capers and pulse a few time to chop and distribute throughout.

Now dip away! 

The Stay At Work Housewife 30 Days Happier Challenge

I have to admit that at this time in my life, I have everything I have always wanted.  A wonderful, supportive husband, the career of my dreams, a beautiful home, three healthy rescue animals, and I’m surrounded by amazing, loving people.  A few weeks ago, after a busy day at work, and a nice dinner with my husband, I sat on the couch practically buzzing with excitement.  The kind of warmth and giddiness I get after having a few glasses of wine, only I hadn’t drank that night, and there wasn’t anything terribly exciting going on that day or the next.  “What is going on with me?” I wondered.  Then I realized: I am happy.  I’ve walked around these past few weeks addicted to that feeling and wanting it back!  Now before anyone starts thinking that I usually walk around mopey and depressed, this is not the case.  Sure, I get into the occasional ‘funk’ for no reason, where I just feel kind of blah, but I am not an unhappy person.  In fact I would describe myself as a generally happy person, like I said earlier, I have a million reasons to be happy, but I rarely feel happiness for an extended period of time.  

I’m a pretty cynical person, that might have something to do with it, but I try to see the positive in everything.  I recently read a study that the area of your brain that controls creativity is also responsible for negative emotions; so the more creative you are, the more likely you are to feel frequently melancholy. However, I’m going to go ahead and say that it is a product of my generation.  We want and want and want something, and then when we finally get it, instead of taking time to feel grateful, we move straight into wanting the next thing.  Take technology for example: Some people stand in line for hours waiting on the latest version of a phone, then not too long after you get it, they announce that your ‘new’ phone is old, and there’s a better version, so there you are again wanting the next latest thing.  I’m guilty of that, never once have I taken the time to think “I love my phone, I worked very hard to be able to pay for it and it serves me well every day.” It’s usually more like “Stupid phone! I can’t wait for my next upgrade!”. Instead of appreciating the things that I already have, I’m constantly looking forward to the next thing, and it’s robbing me of feeling daily happiness.  I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with setting goals for yourself and working hard towards achieving them, that’s how you become successful, but I do think you should allow yourself time to revel in your accomplishments.  After all, why work so hard for them without taking time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?! 

That is why for the month of June I am challenging myself to live happier! Nothing really big, just things I can do on a daily basis to bring myself joy, that are small, free, and not at all time consuming!  Here’s what I have decided work for me personally:

  • Take time to think about the things in life I am grateful for.  I will not discount all of the hours of hard work it has taken me to get to this point in my life, personally, professionally, and financially.  While remaining humble, I will take time out of my day to be mindful of all of the amazing things in my life that I get to enjoy each and every day!
  • Take time to admire something that makes me smile.  There is beauty all around us, and like the old saying goes “Stop and smell the roses!”  It is easy to get hung up on all of the negative things going on in the world, which is why it is important to take a moment to appreciate the little things that make you smile. From the art in your morning latte, to the beautiful sunsets every evening. 
  • Do something thoughtful for someone else.  I always find I get more enjoyment out of making someone else happy, than doing something for myself.  Whether it’s letting someone know how much they mean to me, sending my mom flowers for no reason, letting someone at the bank who seems to be in a hurry cut in front of me, or simply paying a stranger a compliment!
  • Eat healthy.  I am at my very best when I follow a strict Paleo diet, so for the month of June I will be doing The Whole 30 challenge.

I invite you to share this journey with me, and join The Stay At Work Housewife’s 30 Days Happier Challenge!  By doing this together we can provide each other with support, hold each other accountable, and find joy in our mutual happiness, all while growing together! 

Here’s how it works:

For the month of June

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.

On Sunday’s post the highlight of your week!

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

Remember everyone’s journey is different, maybe one day a simple quote inspired you, or you started a savings account, or finished an incomplete project around the house.  Alternatively, maybe instead of looking at a dent in the wall you’ve been meaning to patch and feeling frustrated, you look at it and smile, appreciating that your life has kept you busy doing so many amazing things, that you haven’t had time to get to it!  There are no rules, just be happy!

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

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

  

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

Mark your calendars for September 5th & 6th (Labor Day Weekend) and get ready for what is sure to be the swankiest antique and vintage fair in the Mid West! It takes place at The Heart of Ohio Antique Center at 4785 E National Road in Springfield, Oh.

  

You might have picked up on my love for all things vintage, especially the hunt for the perfect find! (If you haven’t picked up on it, here’s a few posts that make it pretty obvious: 2014 County Living Fair, 2013 Country Living Fair, Antiquing).  One of my favorite places to hunt is The Heart of Ohio Antique Center in my hometown of Springfield Ohio!  Don’t get me wrong, I love digging through stacks in a place that looks like it could be my Grandmas attic, but there is something about a clean, perfectly organized antique mall, like The Heart of Ohio, that makes this OCD/vintage loving girl very very happy!  So when I heard that Abbey Knight (daughter of the owners of The Heart) was organizing her own antique and vintage fair, well there’s no word strong enough to convey my excitement!  

According to Abbey “The Knight’s Antique and Vintage Fair will not be your average show!”  It is a juried event where participating vendors were picked based on quality, product variety, originality, and display.  Not only will there be over 60 dealers in the tent, there will also be food trucks, and The Heart of Ohio Antique Center will be open, with over 120,000 square feet of antique, vintage, and repurposed items! With Abbey’s passion for Mid-Century Modern items, she’s a girl after my own heart!   You can be sure with her in charge of hand selecting the dealers that this is going to be an amazing event that you will regret missing once you see my post on all of the cool things I end up buying!  

Stay tuned for my Country Living Fair style post, where I’ll tell you how to make a weekend/day out of The White Tent Event in my hometown, complete with my favorite local food and attractions! 

GREEN BEAN DELIVERY REVIEW

Is there anything more Stay At Work Housewife friendly than groceries that magically show up to your front door? Green Bean Delivery is a service I recently signed up for that delivers produce and groceries straight to your door. As I mentioned before, my salon’s busy season is upon me, along with the social engagements that come with warm weather, like weddings, cookouts and graduation parties, not to mention its patio drinking weather!  This is prime healthy eating failing time for me, I barely have time to cook, let alone go to the grocery store, and we all know the most convenient things to grab while out are also the most unhealthy! So when I heard about a service that brings you organic and mostly local produce to your door, I had to sign up for it! It’s similar to a CSA bag, which I have done before, but I like Green Bean Delivery a lot more; here’s why:

  • You choose the size of your bin, they range from small (family of two), medium (family of three), large (family of four) and other customizable options. 
  • You choose how often it’s delivered, once a week, every other, or once a month.  I personally get the medium bin every other week for my husband and I and its perfect!
  • The bins are customizable! On Monday, like a CSA bag, they let you know what is going to be delivered Friday. However, unlike a CSA bag, you have until Tuesday night to log in and take out whatever you don’t want, and replace it with something else! 
  • You can also add groceries! In addition to fruits and vegetables, they also offer local and natural artisan products like eggs, meat and condiments.
  • You don’t have to be home when they deliver.  Just specify where you would like your bin left if you aren’t home! 

It has made my life a lot easier, and it also has gotten me to cook a little more creatively since I have to think about how I’ll use my bin ingredients!  See if your area has Green Bean Delivery here!

Here’s what was in my latest bin:

  

Click here to see how you can get $15 off your first order!