looking back on 2016 and December Declutter

This year has been intense. We were rocked by an election and lost too many talented souls. It was filled with extreme highs and lows with very little grey area in between. A lot of changes were made that at the time seemed overwhelming and scary but in my opinion those are the ones that produce the biggest reward. This year has proven that broken links weaken the entire structure of your life and removing those links creates strength. There is something to be said about the law of attraction. The energy you put out into the universe is the energy you will receive. I removed a lot of toxic energy from my life this year. That includes people and situations that were no longer benefiting me, my life and my purpose. In removing these things I opened up space for new amazing friends and wonderful experiences. Once I made the room, the good came flooding in. Change can be frightening but is necessary to move forward on a positive an productive path.

“Coincidence is Gods way of remaining anonymous.” Albert Einstein

Amidst all the crazy that happened, this year gave us our third son. So for that it will go down in the books as  a great year for our family. Its also the year I started this blog! February 1st marks one year for Bohemian and Barefoot. So crazy!! I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people, bloggers, photographers  and businesses. I can wait to move into a new year with this blog.

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I have been feeling the need to purge all of my belongings and start fresh. I have felt the sudden the urge to declutter mentally and physically. This has actually been my focus for the past few months. Getting rid of unnecessary clutter. Ive filled bag after bag of households items and clothes in an attempt to clear out and keep a minimal mindset. Its crazy how many articles of clothing you accumulate over years and I end up wearing the same few basics everyday. As far as home decor, I have only recently found an interest in it. I have always appreciated others ability to create a wonderful space but up until the past few months I never connected with any particular style so I just didn’t bother to focus on it. Lately, I have found myself drawn towards more neutral tones and natural materials. I am really embracing a more simple and minimalist lifestyle. I am looking forward to continuing the process of removing and creating a more fresh and open space.img_0651

We created so many amazing memories this year. We explored, ventured out and really saw what Utah has to offer which is a whole lot of magic!! This is a wonderful place and this year I found a new appreciation for it. We have always been big time crunchy, granola,nature loving people and we found some amazing places to wander. We spent our summer camping and swimming in ponds. Utah in the fall is something that everyone on the planet needs to see at least once. We fell in love with Cascade Springs and hiked long, beautiful trails. iIn the spring we spent Sundays driving through the canyon and having picnics n the mountains. And this year was by far best Christmas of my life. The snow held off. Kept us anxious in anticipation. Until we woke up that morning in a thick blanket of snow. Surrounded by white in all directions.

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This year we got serious about providing our own food. Of course we still rely  on the grocery store and farmers markets but we cut out a good amount of store bought items that we now just make ourselves. Our chickens started laying eggs, we expanded our garden, made kombucha, almond milk, bread, butter, pasta and my husband started his own little mushroom farm! Which i will also elaborate on in a future post.

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Seeing as blogs are basically like big online journals, I thought it would be fun to document some things that impacted my life in one way or another this year. It will be interesting to see what I was enjoying in 2016 a few years from now.

Photography:

I have always been a person that loves to create and loves every art form. Whether I am dancing, cooking, painting, or recreating characters with makeup I NEED to be creating something. Purchasing our professional camera this year really brought my love for capturing moments to life again. I remember walking around Rhode Island during a summer visit snapping photos of old churches with my polaroid. I was probably around 14 at the time. This year has reignited my passion for photography. Of course my kids are easy to photograph because they are beautiful but I really enjoy capturing natural elements. And the editing process is all new and exciting to me.

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Books 

I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this year as I was swept back into the late night netflix routine but I did read  a few.

`A Course in Miracles (I have revisited this many times and have yet to complete it but it is always good when I need a spiritual reboot)

`The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – Many tears were shed but really gets you thinking about life, loved ones and time.

`The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls- Family dysfunction always makes for a fun read 😉

Music

My playlist was pretty folk heavy this year. Soft, unoffensive music. That just made me sound mega old! But really when you have 3 boys you just need to put on some chill music to mellow the vibe in the house.

`Fruit Bats

`Alt J

`Xaviar Rudd.. have to get my reggae in there 

`Jake Bugg

`Bob Dylan ….always Bob Dylan

`Simon and Garfunkel…. a forever favorite 

`Angus and Julia Stone

`Wake Owl 

`have to add that our 3 year old has developed a love for Dave Matthews that makes us so proud! His favorite song is “Crash” and he sings every word.

Television:

I hate to admit that I was sucked back into the black hole that is Netflix but… it happened. I don’t sleep and this is what I do at 12am.  I got hooked on a few shows and they were all really good!

`Bloodline- That family dysfunction again. Makes for great TV

`The Crown- More Family drama but of the royal variety!

`Black Mirror- This show makes my head explode!

`Gilmore Girls…..I admit itThis is my guilty pleasure. I can’t stop. Its involuntary. I am so sucked into the word of Rory and Loralai that I sometimes forget its not reality!!!

There ya have it. My 2016.  Have  Happy New Year Folks!

 

 

A Slow Approach to the Holidays and StoveTop Potpourri

 

 

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My goal this year was to focus simply on creating memories and enjoying moments.  Every year I become so worked up and stressed out trying to make sure things are “perfect” what does that even mean?? I vowed to take a more laid back approach this time around. Turns out that you can get far more done when you remove the pressure. Nothing was forced. We did things spontaneously and everything turned out to be more prefect than if I had sat down and wrote out list upon list (like I usually do). I took things  as they came (not something that comes naturally to me). We attended parties with friends, we put together our own version of the classic gingerbread house with things we already had in our kitchen, we hopped in the car on a whim and went to see the most magical Christmas lights display I have ever seen. All of this creating memories that our children will remember forever. Rather than memories of mom running around frantically trying to check off ridiculous items on a meaningless “To Do” list. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of organization, lists and schedules but not when they come at the cost of your happiness. Because at the end of the day enjoying time with your loved ones is really all that matters. Did I slack on some things? Sure! We haven’t taken the obligatory family Christmas photo, we haven’t even wrapped presents but Im not stressing about it. My kids have experienced so many wonderful things this holiday season and its not over yet. Tomorrow morning we will wake to wrapped presents under our tree because it will get done. We will put on Christmas music, make mom a huge pot of coffee 😉 and open gifts without a single care of the mess in my living room.

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I made play time a priority. And rather than stress about spending a ton of money on decorations we made most of them at home and found a ton of unique items at the thrift store. I prefer thrift stores over mainstream stores for the simple fact that I can find higher quality items and ones that I know everyone in the world doesn’t already have. Like these beautiful stockings!!

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And of course made sure our home smelled like christmas.  I love candles. Especially holiday scents but they aren’t so great so to burning and breathing in all the time so instead I made with this easy stove top Potpourri.

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I just added about a 1/2 cup of cranberries, a few orange slices, 3 cinnamon sticks, a few cloves, some ground nutmeg and a few teaspoons of vanilla to a saucepan with 2 cups of water and turned the burner to low. Allow this to simmer for as long as you want just add water as the liquid will reduce over time. Hope everyone has had an amazing holiday season so far and Merry Christmas!!

xo,

Brittany

 

 

Smoked Salmon and Mushroom Tortellini

I am sure everyone has a restaurant that they frequently visit for one particular dish. A dish that can not be done the same anywhere else.  I know I do. Or did. In our case this restaurant happened to be one that my husband worked for when we first started dating and for years after that. They had the best seafood dishes I had ever tasted. In fact it wasn’t just this one dish that I loved, I loved everything on their menu. Well like most amazing businesses these days, corporate came in, took over and decided that the menu needed to be revamped. Horrible idea. They ended up removing every single one of our (and everyones) favorite items and replacing them with things that weren’t half as good. Not even close. Customers left, employees left and my husband was one of them. Long story short we had to try and replicate these dishes at home since we could no longer get them. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I actually enjoy this dish much more when I can control the ingredients that are going into it (grass fed butter, organic pasta and so on) and dare I say I think its better!!

 

This pasta dish is rich and filling. Not a low fat meal by any means but such a treat when you are in the mood for a decadent meal. The combination of salty smoked salmon, savory mushrooms and creamy sauce is unbelievably comforting. I can’t really explain how amazing this is. Sometimes, the morning after I’ve made this for dinner, you can find my husband and I eating it cold, straight out of the leftovers container because we wake with such a strong craving that we don’t want to wait the amount of time it takes to reheat it. There’s a pretty mental picture for you!

Here’s what you will  need:

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Ingredients:

1 lb bag of your favorite tortellini (I use a four cheese)

3 tbsp butter or favorite cooking oil

8 oz sliced mushrooms

3 tbsp flour

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups milk

1 cup grated parmesan

1 smoked salmon filet

Instructions:

Boil water and prepare your tortellini according to instructions and set aside.

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Melt your butter in a large pan. Add your mushrooms and sauté until tender.

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Toss in the flour and stir to coat the mushrooms

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add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Once this starts to thicken I add the milk.

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Let this simmer on med heat whisking every so often to prevent clumping. Once thickened add the cheese.

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At this point I lower the heat and if you feel that your sauce is too thick you can always add more milk. While that continues to simmer, chop you salmon. We like ours in bigger chunks. Add it to the pan.

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Add the tortellini, salt (not much is needed with the salmon and parm both being salty additions) and pepper to taste.

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Stir to coat you pasta and serve!! Always with fresh shaved parmesan, pepper and some fresh herbs on top!img_9919-1 img_9923

Enjoy!!

xo,

Brittany

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Almond Milk and All Natural Kinetic Sand??

I have developed the outlook that the more I can make at home, the better.  I like knowing exactly what is going into the things that we consume. The thought of making certain things at home can be intimidating at fist but the more I made the more I realized that most things are really simple.

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I have been a fan of almond milk (cashew and coconut also) for years now. My husband and kids love it as well but once we discovered all of the other unnatural things that go into store bought milks we were no longer happy with what we were buying. Lots of sugar and thickeners and things that we really do not need to be putting into our body. So I decided to look into making it myself and it turns out that its really easy. Ive been doing it this way for awhile now and the taste can’t even be compared! Although store bought is obviously way more convenient and cheaper, I think the pros far out way the cons in this situation. The cons being that raw almonds can be expensive and you do have to put forth a small effort to make the milk but if you can find a store that sells in bulk and if you own a blender or Nutri Bullet you should totally try making it yourself. We have a store called Winco here in Utah and that is where we buy all of our bulk items. They pretty much have everything you could ever imagine in their bulk bins.

Here is what you will need:

2 cups of raw almonds

3-4 cups of water

6-8 pitted dates

tea towels (cotton) or a nut milk bag

I bought a pack of tea towels at Michaels for $7. They came in a pack of 3 and I found them in the baking section or you can purchase a Nut Milk Bag on amazon.

I use my Nutri Bullet and make in small batches.

This recipe should make 3-4 cups of Almond Milk.

Instructions:

Soak almonds for 8-12 hours. Over night is what I usually do. Once they are done soaking, drain them and throw them in the blender with fresh water and dates. Dates are a great natural sweetener. I like my milk sweet so we add a good amount but you can add more or less depending on personal preference.

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Blend for a good minute or so. You want to make sure the almonds are completely pureed.

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When done, your mixture should be pretty thick. Like the texture of oatmeal.

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I lay my cloth over a 4 cup measuring glass and pour half of the mixture in the center. (I only do half at a time to make sure I get all of the liquid out and to make it easier to manage.)

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Squeeze the crap out of it!! Your hands may get tired so little ones are great to have around.

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You should be left with this dry almond meal!

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We store our Almond Milk in mason jars in the fridge.

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Now back to that almond meal:

What do I do with all of that left over almond meal??? 

I asked that very question the first time I made this milk. My husband decided that we would give ours to our chickens. But thats not all its good for. You can use it in baking (cookies, breads, muffins.) You could also toast it and dry it out to sprinkle on top of yogurt or salad.

The next thing I am about to say may sound crazy and I would not recommend doing this all of the time because its a bit wasteful and there a far better uses for it but….

On this particular day my toddler wanted to help me make the milk. Which meant that he got to feel that amazing almond meal and well.. it kind of feels exactly like kinetic sand. So I let him play with it. We are all about creative play and experimenting in our house and he was so interested in the texture of this stuff. He played forever. He said he felt like he was at the beach so I gave him some sand toys and sent him outside.

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The baby got in on the action also. He loved smushing it through his fingers and he may have eaten a handful or 2. With play doh I would have not allowed that ever! but this is all natural food ingredients so I was able to let him explore an have fun and not worry about it.

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Hope you guys enjoy this recipe and feel free to comment any questions! let me know if you try it out.

xo,

Brittany

 

Creamy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Fusilli

I have really come to look forward to the nicknames my kids come up with for meals in our house. Do anyone else’s kids do that? My boys will name dishes based on varying characteristics and it sticks and thats what the dish is called from then on. This particular dish has been renamed “Christmas pasta” for obvious reasons. It is made up of red, green and white ingredients. Then theres the fact that my kids call broccoli “trees” and I guess grated parmesan looks like snow. So with that being said I figured what better time to post a recipe for Christmas Pasta than right now!

This recipe is based off of a pasta dish from one of my favorite restaurants in California. I would order this dish almost every time we were there. I think the first time I ordered it, I was in high school. Once I started cooking I had to figure out how to make it myself. I decided to make a few changes. Theirs did not have a sauce. They simply tossed everything in olive oil which is also delicious but I am a sucker for cheesy sauce on pasta. So I took the fresh ingredients they used and added my own rich and creamy sauce. I think its a winning combination.

**You can make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Ingredients:

1 box of fusilli pasta (rotini would also work)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup of broccoli florets

1/2-1 cup of sun dried tomatoes chopped (I love them so I like a lot! but they are potent so use as little or as much as you like)

Salt, Pepper and Italian Seasoning

Sauce:

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

3 cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions: (If using chicken, make your sauce in the same pan that you cook the chicken in!!! If not then skip straight to making a roux! )

Get the water boiling for your pasta that way its ready by the time you are done prepping everything else. In a smaller pot, boil water to blanche the broccoli. You dont need to cook it too long. Just long enough to become tender but not mushy!!! Just around 8 minutes should be enough. Drain and then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

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Sautee’ your chicken in your cooking oil of choice. I used olive oil for this recipe. I usually use coconut oil but ran out!!! Season with salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning.  Make sure not to over cook your chicken since it will continue cooking a bit in the sauce. Cook until just golden brown on the outside and no longer pink on the inside. Then set it aside to rest before cutting it into cubes.

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Lower the heat and add butter to that same pan you cooked the chicken in. Let the butter melt, add flour and whisk to make a roux. Let that cook for a minute or so.

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Add the chicken (or veggie) broth. Let that simmer until thick.

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Add cream!!

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Whisk until incorporated. Then add the cheese…

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Whisk until everything is combined. If you feel like your sauce is too thick at this point you can always add more broth if you have some left over or some milk.

Chop up your sun dried tomatoes and toss them in along with your chicken.

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Let that simmer for a few minutes to allow the tomatoes to soften a bit. Then add the broccoli and the pasta.

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Top with pepper and more grated parm to add to that “snow” effect!

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Happy Holidays!!

XO,

Brittany

 

Magical First Snow

Ive recently hopped on the Gilmore Girls wagon and all of this talk of snow being magical has come at the perfect time. We just got our first big snow of the season and that magic and excitement took over my  house. We woke a few mornings ago to our entire neighborhood and backyard completely blanketed in the most beautiful and brightest white you could imagine

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We all gathered on our couch to look out and watch the snow fall. The kids were so excited and the baby was just instantly mesmerized. He sat and watched completely spellbound for longer than I have ever seen him sit in one place.

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We turned on the heater, lit candles and well… my coffee tasted better on this particular morning.

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The kids were so anxious to get outside and play and with my toddler being insistent on dressing himself these days he took on the challenge of putting on his snow clothes which ended up being a bit small. That didn’t phase him at all.

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Luckily the next day we received a package from grandma and grandpa with all new snow clothes and the kids did not hesitate to put them on and run out into the yard. This was the babies first snow suit and I probably laughed for a good 20 minutes after putting it on him. He could barely move and would just roll over to one side.

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But he was just happy to finally be able to get in the snow with his brothers instead of watching from the side lines. My toddler refers to icicles as “ice carrots” and kindly shared them with his brothers.  Watching kids experience things like this for the first time has to be one of my favorite things about being a parent.

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My kids are outdoor boys especially when it snows so they ended up being outside for hours. Then some friend of our invited us to take the kids sledding. This was probably the most fun my kids have had in a long time. They were frozen solid by the end but their smiles were priceless.

I have recently been asked how I dress my babies for the snow. I will put a thinner one piece pajama underneath whatever snow suit or fluffy one piece they are wearing. My babies tend to get hot quickly so any more layers than that and they would be too hot. I will also put a warm hat or beanie on them that covers their ears and mittens or gloves if the outfit they have on doesn’t have them built in. If I know I am going be outside for a long period of time I will bring my baby wrap and a warm blanket to wrap around . Being wrapped tightly against mom or dad is like a furnace!! In the summer I couldn’t wrap the baby unless he was just in a diaper because we would both get too warm so its perfect for cold weather. For my older boys I make sure they have on thick socks and snow boots of course!

* The red snow suit pictured above covers the babies hands perfectly so that he can play in the snow without his hands getting cold. Snow suit and my toddlers grey jacket and pants are from Old Navy! (thanks granmda and grandpa!)

I 100% agree with Mrs. Lorelai Gilmore “Everything is magical when it snows. Everything looks pretty”

XO

Brittany