Easter Day

NOTE: I was debating posting this family picture because, despite our many attempts, we did not get a decent picture with all of us looking at the camera and where the sun wasn't assaulting our eyes. But I'm posting this one anyway because a mediocre picture is better than none at all :)

Sadly, this was the only good picture I could get of Sawyer. He has something against looking at the camera plus the sun was behind me. Between those two things I never had a chance. Let's just pretend this one is ultra-artsy and he's looking off into the distance :)

Between pregnancy and moving I have had little time to blog, but I have to take the time to post a few pictures from our Easter Day. This past week has been so wonderful. We've spent more time than usual with friends and making new ones. I love it! It makes me realize how important it is to stay connected with friends, family, and your community. It makes sense that strengthening bonds with friends, family, and neighbors is so good for your health.

Sawyer and I were invited to a toddler playgroup Easter party. Sawyer had a good time making friends and I think I had an even better time talking to other moms. 

Yesterday we had lunch with our neighbors/friends. They have a son that is around Sawyer's age, so those two always have a grand time together :) We ate tacos and enjoyed visiting with our friends and later listened to General Conference. It was a good day to say the least.

Today we had an Easter brunch and egg hunt with our good friends the Maddens and Logies. It was a delicious brunch and Sawyer loved the egg hunt! Unlike his first egg hunt (he cried and clung to my leg), this time he knew what was going on and ran around chanting "Double time!" Aaron told him to gather eggs "double time" and like a little parrot Sawyer chanted it the rest of the egg hunt.

I feel so blessed for my Savior and the opportunity to repent and be with my family forever. Because He lives I can live my life with the knowledge that I can be forgiven and be with my family forever. Like my friend Matisse mentioned today, Easter is so wonderful because we celebrate our Savior and what He did for us, even the earth celebrates this through rebirth and renewal. 

Sawyer, Aurelius, Rachel, Rockwell (and Chelsea running away)



Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

After a brutal winter filled with record breaking snowstorms and temperatures, the snow is melting and it is a blistering 50 degrees! Spring is finally coming to Connecticut and I can hardly wait.

Part of my menu planning is to rotate recipes depending on the season. March is when I stow away all my heavy winter recipes and start making light, fresh meals.

Spring is the perfect time to detox and shed some of the weight and toxins you accumulated during the winter. During the spring, I use more seafood and seasonal produce (greens, asparagus, sprouts) and less fats, meats and dairy.

Most of the changes I make are small, like growing alfalfa sprouts at home and adding them to sandwiches and salads, or adding some greens to smoothies or omelets.
This is a really good time eat light and fresh since so many of the fruits and veggies in season are designed to help you detox and lose that extra weight accumulated from heavy winter foods. For example, herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, spring onions), asparagus, greens (spinach, dandelion, chards, etc.) are full of nutrients and actually help you gently detox your body. Just including them in your meals makes a big difference!

I have to be honest with you and admit that I really, really don't enjoy eating greens. I've tried sauteing beet greens, chard, and spinach and I just don't like them. I really like a spinach salad with some flavorful dressing, but overall I have a love-hate relationship. This spring I'm going to try and be creative with greens and I'll post any recipes I find that aren't gag-worthy :)

One of my all-time favorite spring recipes is this Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta. Excusing the small amount of dairy, the recipe is perfect for spring time; light and refreshing (especially if accompanied by a spinach salad). This recipe has been on my favorite list since before I was married, and quickly became a favorite with Aaron.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Adapted from Food Network

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.