Thursday, September 29, 2011


I thought I'd be really good at this blogging thing, but apparently I'm just a slacker, ha ha!  Well, not really, but that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  :)

We've just been enjoying life and all that comes with it.  Fall has been amazing this year!

As you can see, my office is very inspiring!

I've also been busy creating in preparation for my first craft fair.

Become a fan of my Facebook craft page by clicking the link at the top of this page.  You'll then be subscribed to updates about my home-based business, and get to see more of these wonderful items on display.

So until the snow starts seriously falling, (which by the way isn't very far off)  we'll continue to enjoy our "backyard" and all that it has to offer.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Adventures in Dairy Free Cooking

Over the past year and a half, we have been working with our pediatrician on resolving our youngest son's constant congestion.  It's been hard though to decifer whether the congestion has been due to living at 8,500ft where it snows almost 9 months out of the year and almost zero humidity, or the dust from burning wood in our wood stove in the winter, or allergies in the summer from blowing dust and pollen, or from just a plain head cold.  We've tried every allergy & decongestant medicine out there, along with a variety of nasal sprays and washes.  Nothing really has helped.  I've always known that seasonal allergies run in my family, but up until now, have never really thought about food allergies possibly being a cause.  So at our recent well child check, we discussed testing for food allergies.  Since he was already receiving a lovely dose of immunizations at this visit (the prize for turning 5), we decided to opt for the elimination diet versus another stick with a needle for a blood draw.

Though we eat a fairly healthy diet (no HFCS, and try to eliminate additives and preservatives),  it never dawned on me that milk, or dairy products could be the cause.  From the overwhelming amount of information I've been reading so far, milk and milk proteins cause our mucus membranes to thicken, and consequently can lead to chronic sinusitis among other things.  So, first up on our elimination diet is dairy products, since this makes the most sense right now.  This is no easy feat, as just about everything has milk or milk proteins in it.  Try to find a sandwich bread that doesn't have these things in it at your local grocery store (not specialty store, as we have none up here) to make a PB&J for your five year old, and you won't get very far.  The same goes for snacks in which five year olds will actually eat.  Thankfully right now, a lot of fresh fruit is in season and on sale, so there are lots of options.  But come winter, I feel I may be doing a lot more cooking and baking things like granola bars since the price of fresh fruit will once again skyrocket.

We've only been into the dairy free elimination for a week now, but holy cow!  I can tell a huge difference already, especially when my son is sleeping.  I feel better already knowing that he's getting more rest from being able to breathe better.  While I can control what goes into his foods at home, I know our biggest challenge has yet to arrive when he starts school this fall.  Class snacks, treats for birthdays, etc.  Believe me, I WILL be talking to the teachers and making sure we are all on the same page.  At least I know that what I put in his lunchbox is dairy free.  So for now, I'm arming myself with a barrage of information, recipes, and patience, as we continue along this dairy free journey.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Move along...

Ok self-defeating attitude.....we are breaking up!  I am not going to let you drag me down anymore.  I was weak, and let you take me for a ride, and for a brief time, you were fun.  But now, all you do is complain and make excuses, and make me depressed and tired.  I have a lot to live for, and don't want to miss out on anymore opportunities.  I have a new love...motivation.  Please understand, as we part ways from here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Progress.....slow, but steady

I started a new online Biggest Loser challenge on June 13th, and to be brutally honest, my progress has been slow, but steady.  But, since then, I've lost just under 6 lbs.  Yay me!  I know it's only been two weeks, but celebrating the small things helps keep me motivated.  While I haven't gotten a ton of exercise in, I've been increasing my water intake to a minimum of 64 oz each day.  I've also been spending more time in the kitchen chopping away, preparing lots of travel snacks like cucumbers, carrots, snow peas, apples, grapes, pretty much anything I can put into a lunch box and keep in the car since I'm in the car a lot more this month with softball games, baseball games and practices.  And, I've really made it a point to steer away from bread products.  Not always successful with that one, but I guess it could be worse.  Another goal I'm working on is only eating when I'm truly hungry, and stopping when I feel full.  So, as we near this holiday weekend, I'm going to raise a glass (of water) and drink to sticking to my goals.  Cheers! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summmmaaahhhh tiiiiimmmmeee!!!!

Yay!  Finally summer!  Living in the mountains, it's hard to really tell exactly when summer will start.  Seriously!  Two weeks ago, it was snowing like crazy, and  I have flowers, and very very tall grass which I need to take care of somewhere in-between chasing my kids around with baseball practice and games.  Heck, I think I have food spoiling in the fridge because I really haven't had time to cook it!  Had to put the crochet projects on hold for a bit after preschool graduation. I made these really cute butterflies for the kids out of yarn and pipe cleaners. Check them out on my Facebook craft page, Diamond Street Crafts. The classes are as follows: Caterpillars (2 1/2-3 yo.) and Butterflies (3-5/6 yo.) The kids loved them!  The yarn butterflies I made signified the caterpillars becoming butterflies, and the butterflies leaving for Kindergarten.  June is always busy for us, but this year just seems more so than before.  Oh, did I forget to tell you that I'm also on a softball team which plays once or twice a week?  Yep, add that into the mix, and we pretty much either don't eat dinner before 9pm any given day of the week, or I creatively pack a few lunch boxes to get us through the 4-8pm timeline.  I'm usually doing the latter.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything, because as short as summer is up here at 8,000ft, we cram as much as we can into our sun-drenched days.

Talk about cramming stuff in.....this weekend also marks Chaz & I's sixth wedding anniversary.  What are we doing you may ask?  Watching baseball games of course!  Oh, and we may also take our annual drive over Trail Ridge Road, where the snow up there is still about 25-30 feet deep!  I know, we're crazy around here with the snow.  Hey, it's not in my yard, so it's all good!  But it's always so impressive to see the towering banks of snow while driving through Rocky Mountain National Park.  We'll probably have lunch on the other side in Estes Park before hitting a playground, then driving back over to our side.  That pretty much sums up our anniversary weekend.  I'll post pics soon from the drive.  It's just one of those things you have to do when you live here in Colorado, or visit for sure.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Putting myself out there

I finally got the gumption to put my craft business out there for the world to see.  While I'm still new to being a business owner, I feel confident that I can offer a high quality product for people to enjoy for years to come.  Interested?  Then follow me on over to Facebook.  Here's my url:!/pages/Diamond-Street-Crafts/146055252134470

Up until now, I've been fairly reserved about putting myself out there for fear that one, I wouldn't be able to offer a high quality product, and two, fearing that not having a decent amount of stock on hand, would make me look foolish for trying.  (Big sigh of relief here)  I'm not really sure what took me so long to start promoting myself, but at this stage in my crafting career, I feel that no time is better than the present.  So for a teaser, here are a couple of my recent completed projects.

You can find more of my work on my new Facebook craft page.  Thanks for visiting my new site!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flu, Sports, and Crafts oh my!

Wow!  What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been.  It literally snowed almost every single day in April this year.  Hopefully, Mother Nature has gotten it all out of her system now.  Just as I was starting to cruise along in a great motivating spring workout routine.....BAM!  My entire family was thrown to the floor with the flu.  I was getting excited last week thinking that after 3-4 weeks of everyone being sick, I had escaped it.  Of course that's not how it goes, as we mom's all know.  So, I respectfully stood in line for my turn as well.  *Sigh*  Thankfully, with the timeliness of the snow and flu, (if there is ever such a thing) we didn't have to worry about missing any little league practices....because they were all cancelled!  Gotta love spring mud season in the mountains.  While I didn't get very many any (let's be honest here) workouts in, I did find time to devote more of my attention to crafting more fun hats.  I've been slowly teaching myself to crochet over the past year or so, and have been successful with a few very basic stitches.  However, I've also been itching to broaden my horizons, and learn some new techniques.  A great website out there, The Art of Crochet by Theresa on You Tube, has some awesome teaching videos for both left and right handers.  The creative juices are flowing again, and I'm super excited to try my hand at some of her patterns.  I must admit, I've become a bit of a yard addict, and my husband cringes whenever we get anywhere near my favorite store, JoAnn Fabrics.  Lucky for us, the nearest store is two hours away, ha ha!  But now that it's finally May and we have grass again, I also look forward to dusting off the grill, spending time outside with my boys, baseball, and start preparing the yard for our yet elusive summer.  Stay tuned for more recipes geared toward fun in the sun, as well as pics of my newest hat creations!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Power Breakfast

I have been living in a war zone for two weeks now at my house, dodging landmines sick family members, while disinfecting everything like crazy.  The kitchen has been my safe zone so far, since the landmines sick family members, have mostly infiltrated the rest of the house.  Lucky me.  Arming myself with power-sustaining foods to attack the front lines, has been the key to my success so far.  I was suprisingly stuffed after eating just two of these breakfast bar bad boys.  Once again, many thanks to Love Veggies and Yoga for the inspiration!

Power Breakfast Bars

5 lg - xl Bananas, mashed
4 Cups Gluten-Free Old-fashioned Rolled Oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 Cup Ground Flaxseed Meal
2 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
2 Cups Frozen Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas.  Next, add the rest of the ingredients, except for the blueberries.  Mix well.  Lastly, fold in the blueberries.  Coat two loaf pans with cooking spray, and evenly divide the batter between the two pans.  Press mixture into the pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the batter sets up.  Allow the mixture to finish setting up in the pans, on top of the oven.  Turn out loaves to cool on a wire baking rack.  Slice each loaf and serve.  (I yielded 7 slices per loaf.)  Refigerate leftovers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Going Coconuts!

I've been up since 4:30am this morning attending to a sick four year old, as well as a sick hubby.  So after consuming nearly a 12 cup pot of coffee, I decided I needed fuel for myself.  After perusing the Love Veggies and Yoga blog, I became inspired to create her simple coconut flavored rice with veggies.  Don't ask me why I chose a rice dish for breakfast, but it definately took care of my mexican food craving....for now anyway.  I am now pleasantly stuffed, and ready to deal with my ailing family.  Many thanks to Love Veggies and Yoga!

Coconut-Infused Rice with Veggies

1 Cup Lundberg's White Basmati Rice
1 1/2 Cups So Delicious Coconut Milk
2 tsp. Dried Cilantro, divided
2 tsp. Garlic Powder, divided
2 tsp. Cumin, divided
1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper, divided
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 - 15oz. can Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Approx. 1 1/2 Cups Veggie mix (any veggies you would like)
        -- I used a mix of Zucchini, Mushrooms, Red Onion
1/4 Cup Pineapple, diced

Cook rice according to package directions.  Instead of using water or broth, use the coconut milk, and also add in half of the seasonings.  While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the veggies and beans, season with the rest of the seasonings, and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Reduce the heat to simmer and add the pineapple.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes.  When the rice is ready, add the veggie mixture into the rice and mix well.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sweet Potato-Spinach Pasta Bake

I'm constantly searching for new and healthy recipes to make for my family.  Lately, I've felt like I've been in a bit of a rut.  Maybe it's because of the weather, or the fact that my oldest son has been out of school for "spring" break, or due to dealing with sick kids over "spring" break.  Yes, I keep quoting the word spring, because even though it's almost May, it seems that spring has taken a very looooonnng detour from here.  The crockpot has definately been on overtime for most of the winter.  So begins my quest for more colorful food.  I found this recipe on one of the many blogs I follow, The Vegan Version.  While our family is nowhere near being vegans, (maybe someday, right?) I have been slowly adopting a more vegetarian diet with my family.  It's a start, anyway.  The original recipe was called Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.  As I usually do with most recipes I find, I like to adapt them and with this one, took it one step further.  I only had sweet potatoes on hand, and wanted more color for the dish, so also added spinach and mozzarella cheese.  At that point I decided to just throw it all in a pyrex baking dish and make it a casserole.  This recipe makes a lot.  It will be two dinners for my family of four.  Thanks to The Vegan Version blog for helping me bust out of my rut.

Sweet Potato-Spinach Pasta Bake
(adapted recipe from The Vegan Version blog)

2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chunked
1 Tbsp. Melt Buttery Spread (made with coconut oils)
1/4 Cup Water
1 Rib Celery, diced
1/2 Cup Sweet Onion, diced
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock
1/2 Cup(for cooking)+ 1/2 Cup (for food processor) So Delicious Coconut Milk
1 tsp. Ground Thyme + 1tsp. for sprinkling on top of casserole
1 tsp. Nutmeg + 1 tsp. for sprinkling on top of casserole
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 - 12oz. pkgs. Lundberg's Organic Brown Rice Pasta - Elbows (Gluten-Free)
Approx 2 Cups Organic Baby Spinach, rough chopped
Approx 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large pot, boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender.  Drain and set aside.  In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the celery, onion, garlic, 1 tsp.thyme, 1 tsp. nutmeg, salt & pepper.  Stir well.  Add the water and allow the vegetables cook until very soft.  Add back in the sweet potatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk.  Mix well, and cook until sweet potatoes begin to fall apart.  Place mixture in a food processor.  Slowly add in the other 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk while blending, and blend until smooth.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Place pasta and sweet potato mixture back into the large pot and mix well.  If you have a deep dish lasagna pan, this will almost fill it.  Otherwise, use 2 9X13 baking dish's.  Spray baking dish with cooking spray, then place the pasta mixture in the baking dish.  Spread the mixture evenly.  Layer with spinach on top, then layer with mozzarella cheese on top of spinach.  Sprinkle 1 tsp. Thyme, 1 tsp. Nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. Pepper on top of cheese.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting back on track

Our "staycation" is officially over.  I have mixed feelings about it, but realize now that I really do enjoy routine!  :)  I'm bummed, though not suprised, that I gained 3lbs. over the past week.  Time to cleanse (water, water, water) and focus on the goals.  Before we left for our fun weekend in Denver Saturday morning, I got up super early to make the family breakfast consisting of a veggie quiche made with coconut milk.  Thank goodness for leftovers, because I was able to start my week this morning with a healthy meal.  I won't go into detail of my poor food choices from last week, but will just say that I'm very happy to be cooking again.  Had some hummus & veggies for afternoon snack while unpacking and cleaning house. Then made a nice light veggie & rice dish with tomatoes for dinner.  Since we're still in spring break mode with the kids out of school, I will finish out my week by dusting off my P90X dvd's and getting in at least one hour a day with them.  Hopefully the weather will hold out this week so I can also supplement with evening walks while the kids ride their bikes. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comfort Food

I know this isn't really leaning toward super diet friendly, but today was just one of those days I REALLY needed some comfort food.  Let me back up for a minute....I've been in extreme vacation mode since Sunday morning.  The day before, we had just finished our first huge preschool fundraiser, and now, this week, was my 12yo.'s spring break.  My husband also has this week off, so we had a great plan lined up for our "staycation."  Sunday was our re-coup day from all the pre-planning and working the event.  But as of this morning....I was all raring to go to Denver and enjoy our family time of hiking and visiting some cool museums.  Well.....of course, it dumped snow overnight and ALL DAY!  As a result, the pass is closed.  Booo!  For those of you that don't know, we live at approx. 9,000ft in a gorgeous valley, next to a destination ski resort.  Don't get me wrong, I love the snow.  Otherwise, why would I live here?  But I just wanted a brief break and enjoy some well needed sunshine.  Okay, sob story over....really!  So, since we're house-bound now for today, and maybe even tomorrow by the looks of it( dumping hard!) I've decided to share this super-yummy soup recipe I created a while back after visiting Olive Garden last year(or at some point, I can't remember when.)  Enjoy!

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

By Amy Fox

3 ribs off a stalk of celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 tsp. minced garlic
Approx. 2-4 tsp. of each; thyme, rosemary, & marjoram; divided
Salt & pepper to taste in veggies & chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
4 Tbsp. Olive oil, divided
2 16-oz jars of Ragu's Light Parmesan Alfredo sauce
1 15-oz pkg Ricotta cheese, part skim
1/2 of a 32-oz carton of low-sodium chicken stock
10 oz. Fresh Baby Spinach, washed & chopped
16-oz pkg Gnocchi, cooked according to directions

In a 6-8 qt. pot, heat 2 Tbsp. of Olive oil on medium high heat. Add minced garlic, and sauté for 1 min. stirring frequently. Next, add carrots, celery and onion, 1-2 tsp. of each; thyme, rosemary, and marjoram, salt & pepper to taste. Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender. In the meantime, heat remaining olive oil in a skillet and cook chicken, remaining herbs, salt & pepper to taste, until chicken is no longer pink. Transfer chicken mixture to veggie mixture & mix well. Add stock, alfredo sauce, and ricotta cheese. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow soup to begin to thicken.  Stir frequently. While soup is heating up, cook the gnocchi, drain well, and then add to the soup. Reduce the heat of the soup to a simmer. Add the spinach, and continue to stir frequently. Once the soup is thoroughly heated, serve immediately.

Yields: Approximately 1 – 1 ½ Gallons of soup.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Blog Ever!

So, I've been contemplating this for a while, and decided it's time to create my space, so to speak.  I've posted lots of creations on Facebook, and get great response.  So, now you will be able to find some of my recipes, creations, whatever as well as my weight loss journey along the way.  And I'll throw in some pics of my fun-loving family as well.  Welcome to my lifestyle journey!