Tag Archives: lent

Because I’m happy

I’ve decided to start each morning with this Pharrell phrase. Seriously though. I’m going to use it and you should too. We should listen to the song together and purchase replicas of his magical hat.

Too much?

Well let’s just try the positive affirmation thing then.

I’ll admit I was a little grumpy when I took Finn out for our morning walk today. It’s March 4th, it snowed again yesterday and wind chill temps are hovering at zero. If you’re wondering that’s approximately 42 degrees off the average. I’ve worn my severe winter essentials nearly everyday since October and even they are begging to be taken to Goodwill at this point. I’m. Over. It.

Finn’s not though. He wakes up so happy every morning. He spins in circles as I gather his leash. He yanks me down the stairs and outside, smiling ear to ear as he inhales the brisk, cold air.

I love our morning walks. We are typically out the door just after 6 and aside from other dogs and owners, we have the neighborhood to ourselves. It’s a rare period of near silence in the city. Soon the sirens will echo the streets and honks and chatter will fill the air.

finn, dog park, skinner park, chicago, west loop, greater swiss mountain dog puppy, swissy

So imagine my surprise to hear Pharrell blasting from a car as we turned the corner on the final leg of our walk this morning.

“This is my jam!” the driver yelled over the parking lot to her friend who had just pulled in.

“I’m happy!” she said as she cranked up the volume and danced along to the song before starting her day at a local school.

“I’m happy! Are you happy?” she bellowed out to me as Finn and I walked past, his ears perking up as he wagged his tail to the beat.

I couldn’t help but smile. Two blocks ago I was grumpy, but after hearing the song and feeling her energy I too changed my tune.

greater swiss mountain dog

My goal over these next 40 days is to wake up as energized and happy as my pup. He has no clue what the day will bring but he wakes up with eager enthusiasm each and every morning. Literally. I have to shush him when we get back inside because he wants to tell all of Chicago how very excited he is just to eat his breakfast.


Make it your jam too.

Almond Butter Love

This is less of a what I ate Wednesday and more of a what I can’t stop eating every day of the week. My name is Sarah and I’m addicted to homemade almond butter.

homemade almond butter

Hi Sarah. 

It started as an experiment really. A few years ago for Lent I gave up over-processed foods. What are over-processed foods you might ask? I considered additives like MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yellowsubmarinenumberfive and the like. I was cleaning out my fridge one day and I realized that a lot of items in there were way past their expiration date. Only problem was even though the dates had expired, the “foods” themselves seemed perfectly fine. Smelled fine. Looked fine. Tasted fine. Yes, I know they tasted fine because I likely ate them just a few days before my discovery. Go Sarah.

That’s not fine.

As I set off on my clean-eating Lenten journey, I started to actually read labels before buying food. And I’m not just talking about fat and calories. I’m talking about scanning your way to the bottom and reading the ingredient list. And wasn’t that just depressing in itself. I’ve always tried to eat healthy but suddenly grocery shopping was harder than the 40 days I gave up Super Nintendo when I was 12. Oh how I missed you Mario Kart!

I’ll admit I wasn’t forced to go through a complete detox. Most of the meals I ate I made myself and consisted of mostly raw foods. I was astounded, however at the amount of unnecessary fillers that were unsuspectingly added to everyday foods. My homemade cliffbars for example called for puffed rice cereal. In the past I’ve used organic puffed rice, good old Rice Krispies and Target Brand Crisped Rice. Imagine my surprise when I noticed the second ingredient listed on the box was High Fructose Corn Syrup. Crispy Fail.

I like to eat and cook healthy, but I’m not one of those girls that will pay ten times as much for organic food versus regular. Sometimes my apples are the size of my head and I’m ok with that. Especially if they are Honeycrisp or SweeTango’s. I just try to wash them well and make up for it elsewhere. I equate it to the idea of letting your kid eat dirt every once in a while. They’re bound to gain a little resistance to bacteria later in life if you let them do it versus keeping them in a bubble their whole childhood. But that’s another tangent altogether.

The point is there are some foods you can make yourself in less time and money than it takes to buy the equivalent. And in many cases you get an end product that is healthier and just as tasty as the packaged version.

So after tiring of all the fillers they put into the various “butters” of the world and decided to try my hand at making my own almond butter. And perhaps I should go back to the additives because this stuff is more addicting then drinking corn syrup straight from the jar.

Homemade Almond Butter

  • 1 pound plain roasted almonds
  • Honey
  • Salt

Here’s where it gets difficult. Using scissors, cut open bag of roasted almonds. (I’ve also bought plain and roasted myself but watch out now I’m just talkin’ crazy!)

homemade almond butter

Pour almonds into food processor and close lid. Turn on food processor. Leave it alone. Tell your dog to stop sniffing at the machine because this batch is for you.

This is where the magic happens. It sounds like troops just invaded your kitchen but be patient as the nuts turn to powder and the powder turns to paste. Finally, the paste turns to a creamy goodness that will make you forget you ever bought a jar of JIF again.

homemade almond butter

Add honey or salt to taste. I’ve been in a battle recently between my local produce market’s smokier flavor and the softer flavor or Trader Joe’s roasted almonds. The choice is yours folks. Choose wisely.

homemade almond butter

Eat by the spoonful. Or on something that it is actually meant to be eaten with.

You’ll hate me later.