Food Geek Friday: October #Unprocessed & Beets with Kale, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese

Have you heard about October Unprocessed? If not, it’s fantastic. Put on by Eating Rules, the challenge is to eat only unprocessed foods for the month of October.

What counts as unprocessed?

Simple.

It all comes down to the “kitchen test.” Can the food be made in a reasonable home kitchen by someone of reasonable skill. So you don’t necessarily have to make it yourself. It just needs to be able to be made by actual human beings. So cheese with additives, chemicals and random unnecessary crap? Out. Homemade cheese and/or cheese without all the additional junk? In.

Booze fits into the test as well.

You can do it for a day, week or the whole month. Feel free to add in your own personal parameters. My personal parameters are that I won’t worry about it if I’m with friends, family, clients, or some other situation where I can’t control what I’m eating. When I eat out, I’ll choose a local restaurant over a chain. It’s rare that a restaurant has a fully unprocessed kitchen but if I’m at least supporting a fellow locally owned business then I can be OK with it.

The main point behind this challenge is to be more mindful of what we eat. I learn something new every year. Also, as I read labels, I notice that companies change their formulations from year to year. The first year I participated, I could only find ONE milk company that didn’t add anything to their milk. The next year, they had additives too.

This will be my 4th year to participate and my 2nd year to contribute a guest post. There are SO many fabulous and informative posts to help you along the way. The social media support is fantastic. Each October I set up a column in my TweetDeck just for #unprocessed. It’s easier to keep going when you see what everyone else is doing alongside you.  I still keep contact with people all over the country that I met through the challenge. Almost 4,000 people have signed up so far. Come join us!

So as October and the Unprocessed Challenge approach I’ll be posting recipes that fit within the guidelines. With a little planning, it’s not much more challenging to eat only unprocessed foods. Promise.

I love this combination of foods. It’s filling and gives me energy. I like it best at lunch because it gets me through the rest of the day without needing a mid-afternoon nap.

Beets with Kale, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese

#Unprocessed Beets with Kale, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous BlogIngredients

  • Beets, peeled, chopped and cooked. (I use the steamed beets from Trader Joe’s.)
  • Kale, washed and chopped
  • Quinoa, rinsed
  • Fat of choice ( I like bacon grease or coconut oil.)
  • Fresh chevre, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Any additional seasonings as desired. (I like to use Trader Joe’s 21 Salute seasoning mix.)

Directions

  1. Cook Quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Warm up fat of choice to medium high heat. Add Kale. Sautee until about half-way done.
  3. Add beets to kale. Continue cooking until beets are heated through and kale is finished cooking.
  4. Add cooked quinoa to kale and beets. Add salt, pepper, and any other seasonings.  Thoroughly mix.
  5. Transfer mixture to bowl. Top with goat cheese.

Enjoy!

She Owns It: Because Less Than Fabulous is Just Unacceptable

Less than Fabulous is UnacceptableOnce upon a time, I was an event planner. Through the years of planning galas, benefits, weddings, and everything in between, I spent a LOT of time chilling out my clients. The phrase that worked with even the most anxiety-riddled client was “Don’t worry, darling. Less than fabulous is just unacceptable.”  I said this phrase so often that when I started my events company my tagline HAD to be “Because less than fabulous is just unacceptable.”

I was reminded of this phrase the other day.

Continue reading on She Owns It…

Food Geek Friday: Summer Chowder

Fall is tricky for this Texas gal. It’s my absolute favorite season. I love the colors, flavors, and textures that come with it. Fall squashes, which I love, arrive at the farmers market. Food takes on more warming spices. Clothing gets cozier. And the best part is the cooler weather after months of searing heat.

The downfall here is that often that searing heat lasts until October-ish. It’s hard to get jazzed about knee-high boots with sweater dresses when the weather still screams flip-flops and shorts. The question becomes indulge in fall when it feels like it or when the calendar says so?

I regularly vote when the calendar says so because I want to indulge in as much fall as I can.

Roadside stand in East Texas.

Roadside stand in East Texas.

I concocted this soup about a month or so ago when we had an unseasonably cool and rainy streak. Just prior to that I had been on a yoga retreat that reminded me that even in the heat of summer, a great soup can be perfectly comforting. On my way home from the retreat I stopped at a roadside farm stand and picked up a BUNCH of just-picked veggies. When I saw it was going to rain, I knew I wanted to make some soup. This particular “recipe” was concocted when I was mid-prep for a corn chowder and ended up not having enough corn. Since I wasn’t exactly working from a recipe to begin with, it was pretty easy to toss other ingredients in for a complete dish.

Even though I originally concocted this a while ago, its combination of summer veg with a comforting fall soup makes it a fantastic option to straddle the “calendar vs. cool weather” fall in Texas dilemma.

And if you live somewhere that’s already starting to cool off and have a proper fall, consider me officially jealous.

Summer Chowder

Summer Chowder - Organizing with a SIde of Fabulous blog Ingredients

Note: Since I just tossed things together, I don’t have specific measurements. Have fun. Be bold. Use good judgement. If you make alterations that turned out great, let us know in the comments below!

  • mirepoix (diced onion, celery, and carrots. I used a pre-chopped mix from the grocery store. Sometimes called “soup starter.”)
  • chopped garlic
  • butter (or other fat of choice with high smoke point)
  • fresh corn sliced off the cob
  • potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • broth of choice (chicken or veggie are best options)
  • cream (I used regular dairy. Coconut cream or cashew cream should work as well. We’re going for the creamy texture here.)
  • dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in mirepoix. Cook until onions are almost translucent. Add in garlic and cook all until fragrant – a couple of minutes.
  2. Add in broth, white wine, and cream. (I tend to work with a 3-2-1 proportions – ex: 1 cup broth, 1/2 cup wine, 1/4 cup cream. Play around with it until you like the flavor.) Also add in potatoes. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are a couple of minutes from done.
  3. Add in corn and cook until finished. I only cook for a couple of minutes because I want to heat up the corn while leaving the crunch.
  4. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Variations: I topped mine with some cheddar. It’s also great with bacon. This would also be good with some cooked shrimp.

Melinda Mae and Eating the Whale One Bite at a Time

Have you heard Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Melinda Mae?” If not, here’s a quick refresher:

Melinda Mae by Shel Silverstein

click for source

Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,

Who ate a monstrous whale?

She thought she could,

She said she would,

So she started in right at the tail.

And everyone said, “You’re much too small,”

But that didn’t bother Melinda at all.

She took little bites and she chewed very slow,

Just like a good girl should…

click for source

click for source

…And in eighty-nine years she ate that whale

Because she said she would!

 

I always had an affinity for this poem. First is obvious – we’re both named Melinda. And when I was a child, I too was quite small but could pack away the food.

Not to mention how stubborn I was. If you said I couldn’t do something, it was happening.

Much like adult Melinda.

Secondary, my mother’s name is May. Sure, it’s spelled differently but I just *knew* Mr. Silverstein wrote this for me.

So why am I taking this stroll down poetry lane? I was reminded of this poem the other day. I’ve been stressing the importance of taking small, consistent steps to one of my email clients and she responded with, “You know how you eat the elephant don’t you?” In that moment, even though I hadn’t thought about it in decades, this poem leapt to the front of my brain.

If you’re facing a massive amount of  clutter (or any other daunting task), it’s OK. Just as with Melinda Mae eating a whale, when you take small, consistent steps towards getting rid of your clutter, it will happen. You will be able to make the clutter go away. You will be able to clear space and create a welcoming home that you want to spend time in. Start at the “tail” and systematically work your way through it.

And unlike Melinda Mae, it won’t take you 89 years to accomplish.

I would’ve never guessed way back then that this poem would be the perfect reference for my profession now. When facing a giant heap o’ clutter, take it one bite at a time. No matter whether others think you can do it or not, I, and Melinda Mae, know you can.

One bite at a time.

If you need a little Melinda-Mae magic in your home to help, contact us today. 

Food Geek Friday: Nectarine and Spiced Rum Poptail

I’ve been completely remiss is providing you with boozed up frozen desserts this summer! To remedy that just in time for Labor Day weekend, have a poptail using one of my favorite summer fruits.

Disclaimer: 21yo and up, only.

Prior boozy popsicles can be found here and here.

Nectarine & Spiced Rum Poptail

Ingredients:

Directions:Nectarine Popsicle wm

  1. Blend fruit and liquor until blended to desired texture.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and place in freezer. (If you don’t have popsicle molds you can use dixie cups or shot glasses.)
  3. One hour later, add popsicle sticks. Replace back into freezer until frozen. (approximately 4-6 hours.)
  4. Remove from molds and enjoy your frozen cocktail! (If poptail doesn’t release immediately, run under warm water for a few seconds and try again.)

Variation – I added in some thin slices of nectarine before putting in the freezer the first time. This added a nice textural different while eating the popsicle.

Quick Tip: Be Kind to Yourself

via Creative Commons

via Creative Commons

It’s so easy to beat ourselves up, isn’t it Sunshines?

But here it is, darling.

No. Good. Can. Come. Of. It.

Seriously.

None.

All too often I hear my clients say horrible things about themselves and the state their home has devolved into. This, of course, just comes from the overwhelm and frustration they’re feeling. Yet even when it’s said under the guise of a joke, it erodes at their energy, heart, and head no less.

We beat ourselves up and feel bad so then we don’t do anything about our home. Which makes us feel worse and beat ourselves up more. So then we continue to do nothing about our home. Which makes us feel bad. So we do even less. And beat ourselves up even more.

See the vicious cycle?

Instead of beating ourselves up over what’s happened in the past and gotten us to this current state of our home, chose to accept it and move forward. Next, chose reasons and motivations that are positive instead of fear driven. Or reframe current fear-based reasons into positive ones.

Example:

  • Fear-based: I should clean up the house so I don’t have the “oh shit” moment when someone unexpectedly comes by.
  • Positive reframe: I want to create a tidy and organized home so I can entertain friends and family in my home. Especially when it’s unexpected company.

Both of these examples are valid and common among my clients. However, the reframed one makes you feel better. It empowers you to take action. The fear-based tends to land my clients in a state of overwhelm paralysis which is the exact opposite of how we should feel when taking action in our homes.

Fear driven and negative motivation only lasts for so long. And it sure as hell doesn’t feel good along the way. Create positive reasons for why you want to let go of your clutter and organize your home. Then be kind to yourself throughout the process. It can be a slow one – especially if you have a lot of negative emotional juju to release. Being gentle on yourself will feel SOOOOOO much better through the process as well as help you make all of that hard work stick for the rest of your life!

She Owns It: Banishing “Make Do” or Why That Ugly Chair Has Got To Go.

Make Do isn't good enough, SunshineI currently hear a phrase swirling around too often. This phrase does nothing but keep people stuck in their clutter.

Make do.

You know:

  • This will make do until the right thing comes along.
  • This will just have to make do until I find the time to do it correctly.
  • This will make do because I can’t be bothered to deal with it.

Side note: “Make do” is not to be confused with “good enough.” Good enough is when it’s not perfect, but we still like it. Make do, on the other hand, is something we don’t like but force to work anyway.

The problem with make-do is that 1) we don’t like it thereby breaking the cardinal “need, use, and love” rule of organizing and 2) it occupies the space that could be taken by something we do like.

An example many of us can relate to is the “ugly chair.”

Continue reading on She Owns It…

Blogging Your Business with Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp

I’m super-excited to tell you about a blogging class I’m teaching this Saturday, August 9th at 1pm for the Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp. If thoughts of starting up a blog to market your business have been dancing in your head then Sunshine, here’s your chance to make it happen.

Details below:

Fort Worth Writer's Boot Camp Logo

Blogging for Business

In this class, you’ll learn the ins and outs of blogging for your business with strong emphasis on using your blog as a marketing tool. We’ll discuss defining your target market and ideal client, the benefits of blogging, as well as finding your own unique voice and expressing that to your audience. Also included will be:


• Logistics – what style posts are most popular
• Editing calendar – creating a schedule for consistency
• Promoting posts
• Writing guest blogs for other sites
• How to keep the ideas flowing
• And much more.


This class is for anyone either interested in starting a blog for their business or bringing in more marketing knowledge and structure into their current business blog. Come prepared to take lots of notes and to think about what sets your business apart, who your target market is, and what ideas you want to share with the world. All levels welcome.

Registration is $65 (plus tax)

Join us! Click here to register.

When a Short-Term Hit is Better than a Long-Term Contract; or Why DirecTV can Kiss My Lily-White Tush

UnicornRedheaded rant alert…though you may have already gathered that from the title of this post.

I recently switched from DirecTV to AT&T U-Verse. Once my U-Verse was successfully up and running, it was time to make the dreaded cancel call. You know the drill – we ignore our current customers in lieu of bringing in new ones until the current customer leaves for greener pastures. Then it’s, “Oh please let me kiss your ass and feed you bon bons and give you discounts and blahblahblah”

Yeah…too little, too late, Princess.

I predict the fuss will be minimum since my original contract is expired.

Or so I thought.

When DirecTV was originally installed I received a shoddy DVR that froze and died in less than a year. Customer service was fabulous and said they would send me a new receiver. However, in a less fabulous move, they didn’t bother to tell me that my contract was extended 24 months from that new point. I’m now told I’ll be hit with a $100 early cancellation fee for leaving.

Klassy.

Yes, the “k” is on purpose.

This rep is insistent that she’s trying to save me the cancellation fee money while also offering me discounts and unicorns farting glitter rainbows. However, she is absolutely NOT saving me money and here’s why, Sunshines:

In the switch I’ll save $80 per month meaning I’ll recoup the cancellation fee in less than two months. MUCH better than being saddled with the added expense on a service I didn’t like for 5 months. In the end, I’m still saving money (as well as frustrated energy) by switching and taking the $100 hit.

Do you have a similar situation happening somewhere in your life? Is there something you’re hesitating on because you don’t want to pay a cancellation fee of sorts. Well Sunshine, it’s time to do the math and see if your money is better served taking a short-term hit for the long-term gain.

  • Add it up: what is the cancellation fee vs. the monthly fee for the remaining time left on the contract. If the cancellation fee is less, go for it. Perhaps the situation is like mine that the overall savings to switch is so great that you’ll easily get that money back very quickly.
  • When making the cancellation, stand firm. Their job is to keep you and take your money. Your job is to keep as much of your money is possible. If the person on the other end of the line was setting your money on fire, you wouldn’t stand for it right? So don’t let them convince you otherwise. This is why we crunch the numbers first. It’s easy to stand firm when armed with knowledge. (Side note: don’t be an asshole about it. At the end of the day, their job kinda sucks. There is NEVER any reason to yell. Just tell them you’ve done the numbers and nothing they say will sway you.)
  • Celebrate having taken a close examination of your numbers and whittled away things that were taking your money while not serving you. Just like with the physical clutter, there are often random monthly services that are taking up space in our budget. Clearing these away creates the space so that we can use that money for things that we will need, use and love!

Have you recently cut things out of the budget that you weren’t using, even if it came with a hefty cancellation fee or pushy salesperson? Tell us about it in the comments!

She Owns It: A Tale of Two Homes or How Design Affects Organizing

Round library with fireplace, bar, hidden and open storage. Photo via Brants Realtors.

Round library with fireplace, bar, hidden and open storage. Photo via Brants Realtors.

Gather around Sunshines as I tell you a tale of two homes.

Home A is spacious. On the outset everything seems like it will work in good order. Then you try to function in it. There’s barely any storage. The roof angle cuts off the tops of upstairs closets. There aren’t drawers where you’d conveniently need them for organizational efficiency (i.e. – having a drawer for silverware near where you would logically put plates so that meal prep is quick and efficient.) The walls aren’t long enough for proper furniture placement.

In short, the design of the home SUCKS. It will take a LOT of creative wrangling and releasing of things to make this home function “well enough.”

Home B is spacious as well. However, the rooms are small and aren’t traditionally shaped. At first glance it would seem that you’ll never be able to fit all of your things. Then you dig in. Everywhere you turn there’s more storage built into the walls. What looks like interesting wall panels turn out to be large cabinets with fully adjustable shelves. Or narrow drawers so that you’ll never lose anything at the bottom of a drawer again. Even the bathrooms work around the pesky under-the-sink storage issues by having bins that angle out, thus avoiding having to organize around plumbing.

In short, the home is so impeccably designed that you may never have to get rid of anything ever again.

Not that I recommend that, Sunshine. After all, you still can’t take it with you.

So why am I telling you about these two homes?

Continue reading on She Owns It…