Trader Joes Healthy 8

Life isn't slowing down anytime soon. But I hear murmurings that my metabolism will someday.
I've never been one to shy away from a great workout, a nutritous meal or a good nights sleep. But with the pace of life with three kids, the discovery of after school sports (yowza), business endeavors, etc...~ sometimes I just want to sink my teeth into a Snickers bar and a cup o' joe and call it breakfast.

I'll be real. I'm not sure I necessarily feel better eating well. But I sure as heck feel worse when I eat poorly. At the beginning of 2012 I did some radical cleaning house of my diet habits. After reoccurring sinus infections and overall sluggishness I kicked most carbs, sugars and fats to the curb. The lifestyle changes have stuck and a year later, I know without a doubt, what I put in my mouth each day (or don't) has contributed a lot to not only how I function throughout the day but my productivity level.

There are certain things I keep in the fridge that make eating great throughout the week a cinch. One of them? This amazing container of Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix from Trader Joes ($2.99). We only recently got our own Lexington Trader Joes. If you don't have one nearby~ mix up a big ol' batch of your own and keep it in the fridge for the week ahead.

The Healthy 8 are:

Green Cabbage
Red Cabbage
Green Bell Pepper

The great thing about this mix (and I'm no dietitian...but I know this much) these cruciferous veggies are not only chock full of amazing goodness but they are really filling and keep you fueled through car line and 2 hour tennis practices.

So here's the deal. I love this stuff. I really do. Its SO versatile. I typically never eat it plain but I use it as a launching pad for some amazing creations. I've even heated it on the stove top and made a great stir fry or taco bowl. Here are some fridge goodies that make it shine:

Leftover Grilled Salmon (yum)
Blue Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Sesame Seeds
Ground Turkey 
A drizzle of Olive Oil and Honey

This afternoon, it was a mixture of:

Roasted Beets
Grapefruit segments (the juice drizzled over the whole thing last minute)
Yellow Pepper
Sea Salt

Really, its like this bowl of culinary genius waiting to happen.

Quintessential Banana Bread

By the age of twenty I was starting into my third year of training to prepare for a life of overseas missions work. I had moved from Ohio to Wisconsin and then to the top of a mountain in eastern Kentucky to spend my days learning and practicing all that I would need to know to survive...and thrive long term in a third world, remote location.
Although I always had a keen interest in cooking (some of my favorite Saturday morning memories are clipping recipes from the food section of the Columbus Dispatch and filing them in my well organized, pink index card holder), it wasn't until my time in the mountains and later in the backwoods of Mississippi, that my skills in the basics were honed. 
Those years, first as a young single woman ready to conquer the world and later as a young married woman ready to tackle the world, were some of the most foundational, growing, impacting years of what would become the life I now live and love today.
I have a handful of recipes I still use repeatably from the worn cookbook journal I kept during that time in the tiny mission house kitchen. This Banana Bread recipe is one of them. I've tried others over the years....many, in fact. But I always come back to this. Its sweet~ but not overly sweet. And what lies beneath that amazingly, thin and crispy shell is a moist, yet sturdy, full flavored, perfectly perfect banana bread.
No bells or whistles. No nuts, cinnamon, swirls of flavor or chocolate chips. Of course, feel free to add any or all of those. Here at The Smith Homestead though, we remain banana bread purists. 

Quintessential Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 lg eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1t vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1t baking soda
1t salt

Move oven rack to the lowest position. Heat to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of one large loaf pan. Sprinkle with sugar. 
Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl. Add eggs until blended. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. 
Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir, just until combined, into the banana mixture. 
Pour into bread pan. 
Bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. 
Cool 5 minutes in pan and remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 


Working Backwards....

I have no idea why:
#1 this post has taken so long to actually come together
#2 I've hesitated sitting down to write it

But I think I now know why. Bear with me as I work my way backwards.
I love this blog which means I will never close its doors. Its my true north. It keeps me grounded to everything that is real and true and pure and good in my life. It keeps me in touch with what really matters at the end of the day; home. No...not my house. HOME. The pattering feet, the feel of cold dough between my fingers, the late night chats on the couch with the Mr., the afternoons in the backyard. Which means, I need to get my act together and start sharing some more goodness from the home, shouldn't I?
There's been some long periods of silence in recent months. I know. It isn't that I haven't thought endlessly about sharing the new recipes I'm trying, the crafty little projects I still find time for or the fun dinner parties we still make time to host. Its just that...well, I started a magazine. And boy-oh-boy....if no one has ever told you, those sorts of things are real time suckers!
The magazine is here. In print form. All 100 pages of it. Right next to me as I type this, in fact. Let me officially introduce you to CAKE&WHISKEY; the Sweet & Spirited World of Business.

Most of my longtime readers and dear friends know how much I adore business. Dreaming them up, starting them, launching them, growing them..... its the biggest surge of energy and creative boost for this churning mind of mine. C&W is the culmination of lots of years of business experience, freelance writing, making connections, reaching for goals and taking bigger and bigger leaps.
I really can't believe its here. I can't believe the journey that we have been on to get it here. I can't believe the amazing amount of support and love and work that went into it from around the globe. I can't believe the amount of interest its generated over the course of the past few months and I certainly can't believe the little idea that was sparked literally while baking a cake in my kitchen,  actually came to fruition.
I would love for you to pick up a copy. Easiest way, here in our early days, is through the online shop. If you're local, you can grab one at a bookstore nearby. With each issue the reach will grow and we'll be fully global by fall. Crazy.

I'd love for you to "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Also, I'd love to know about any amazing stories of businesswomen (both corporate and entrepreneurial) that you'd want to put on our radar.
And if you'd like to see a sneak peak of the first issue....

So with all of that said, lets go back to the beginning of this post. Art of Homemaking is my truest passion and love and I can't wait to pour into it for years to come. Thank you for hanging in there with me as the cycle of life has pulled me away for a bit. I'm back. xoxo