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Easter Weekend Recap

Hi friends – I’m back! I had no intention of disappearing last week, but in typical Katie-fashion, I decided to take on a last minute project that took up all my blogging time. I had a friend coming into town and decided two Fridays ago, that I should use her visit as motivation to makeover the guest room/office. Which, shockingly, did not take one day, like I decided it would in my head. After working on it over the weekend, I was up at 5am and up until 11pm each night painting and painting and painting.  Anyway, it’s almost done, I had a great visit with my friend, and I’m back on the blog…until I take on another last minute project. I’ll do a room reveal when all the details are in place (when the second round of wall decals arrive and all the outlets are switched out etc.), so today is a recap of our fantastic holiday weekend!

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Oftentimes, things don’t feel like weekends around here. I travel for work a lot and TimTheFarmer has worked every.single.day since January. We were so grateful for a visit from a friend to refocus our energy and take a bit of a break from the running around. 

We started out the long weekend with a girls’ day on Friday. After wrapping up work meetings in the morning, we headed out for a long lunch in town, followed by pedicures, and a bit of shopping at local stores. I NEVER do this, so it was such a treat to spend a relaxing afternoon, sipping prosecco while we got foot massages and catching up on the last 6 months with a best friend. We ended the day on a high note, with more amazing burgers from Panzur. They are just so good. And, TimTheFarmer is developing a reputation as that guy who orders a burger with both pig belly AND bacon jam. #gobigorgohome

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On Saturday, the kiddo and I woke up early and snuck out of the house to go take care of the pigs at the farm, as a treat for TimTheFarmer so he could sleep past 6 AM one day in 3 months. Two things to note here: the kiddo did ALL the work with the pigs #idontdopigs and he did so good! And, TimTheFarmer totally knew we were up to something, but he still pretended to be asleep and let us do this for him. #thankshoney

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We decided to enjoy the beautiful day and go on a local hike I’d been hearing about. We had nothing (paleo) for lunch, so I quickly baked some almond flour rolls and we decided to have PB&Js at the top. Except, we all eat different kinds of nut butter and the rolls were still warm when we left the house, so we also packed up each of the nut butters (peanut, almond, and sun butters) into little containers as well as some homemade blueberry jam. I wish I had taken a picture of our nut butter sandwich bar on the top of the mountain – it was pretty ridiculous, but totally delicious!  I’d heard the hike up Stissing Mountain was a shortish, steep hike up to a fire tower, and they weren’t kidding about steep! Holy crow. We were huffing and puffing after the first 5 minutes. But, it was totally worth it! Once you climbed the rickety tower, you could see the entire Hudson Valley. 

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Otis, the hipster from Brooklyn, enjoyed his first journey up a mountain and Taz hung in there like the short-legged champ that he is. And, Otis alternated between rolling in the leaves and dirt, and keeping his tush clean by sitting on my legs #weirdo.

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That night we broke out the only store-bought eggs we buy each year and got busy dying eggs. We have a tradition in my family of decorating the eggs with crayons before we dye them. In addition to being cute, there’s a strategy here – after the egg hunt, we have an egg fight where you tap your eggs against each other. Often, the waxier the end, the better your chances are at winning fight.  

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We’d asked the kiddo, who is now 13, if he still wanted to do an egg hunt. He totally played it cool, like “Whatever…”, but he finally admitted he’d wanted to do the hunt, so the eggs were hidden. It’s way more fun to watch kids try to collect eggs than I ever would have thought, particularly when they walk right past the most obvious ones over and over (and over and over). It might have actually been worse this year with a sleepy teenager trying to find the obvious eggs.

Post egg hunt, we did some serious meal prep, which included making these ridiculously absurd (but tasty) deviled chicks. 

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My FIL joined us and we ate and had an egg fight and then ate some more. The kiddo made the “silver bullet” egg and it was the egg fight champion. It literally took down every other egg in the basket. 

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We also revisited my thoughts on how my life is a country song, when ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy’ come on Sonos. My friend and I agreed that men do, in fact, often look good on tractors and that that’s ok. Then, she made this statement, which is for sure a keeper.

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All in all, we had a weekend that felt more like a weekend than one has in a long time. I loved spending time with friends and family! I hope your Easter weekend was fabulous as well!



Paleo: Why we eat what we eat.

All the recipes I post on here are grounded in paleo concepts – gluten, dairy, grain and sugar free. Organic. Unprocessed. Full-fat. Free range, grassfed, pastured. I know, I sound like a jerk. But there’s a reason for it (aside from it’s what we’re meant to eat) so I thought I’d give you a quick run down of our story.

I love food. I love to cook. I love to eat. I always have, but I think our culture can make you feel guilty for loving food and to eat. I remember feeling incredibly liberated when I read Eat, Pray, Love because Elizabeth Gilbert said she was a food tourist. Yes!! I had never heard anyone admit that when they travel, it was about making sure every meal was amazing. In my head, travel was supposed to be about experiencing the sights, the culture, the history and the activities. Which it is. But for some—me—it’s also about food. I got way off topic there, but to say I’m always thinking about the next meal would be an understatement. For me, food is about the satisfaction that comes from eating something delicious while experiencing someone’s art and culture. It could be a meal prepared by a James Beard Award-winning chef, or it could be my nana’s tortillas, or it could an Oreo (although I find (slightly) those less satisfying these days). If a meal is mediocre, it feels like a wasted opportunity. Yes, this is an exhaustive and often disappointing relationship I have with food, but I don’t think I chose it. I’ve realized in the last few years that it’s where I find joy.

So, with that, how the heck did we end up eating a generally paleo diet? Where there’s no bread or cheese or pasta or beer or cheese or chicken pot pie or cheese or tortillas? For us, it sort of came together all of the sudden about 18 months ago.

I have fibromyalgia. I have had it since I was 18. From day 1, I was told I should eat paleo because grains and sugar are inflammatory. But, back in 2001, paleo looked very different than it does today, and fibromyalgia was even less understood than it is now. I tried, but couldn’t stick to the low-fat, no carb structure and looking back, wouldn’t have had the understanding of processed foods or nightshades to make it effective. Instead, I spent 10 years on muscle relaxants not paying attention to what I was eating, or my digestion. I kicked that habit and discovered it wasn’t even doing anything. I had some success with network chiropractics, but moved away from my chiropractor. I also tried massage and acupuncture and various forms of exercise and regular chiropractics and tried taking all sorts of supplements (but never really knew how to take them). I did learn that the digestive system was a big part of fibromyalgia, but didn’t know what to do about it. For the most part, I just ignored the chronic pain and fatigue – I had a life to live. Then, we unknowingly moved into a moldy house and spent the last four years battling a crazy combination of health issues.

TimTheFarmer is generally a healthy guy, but when we moved into our last house, he started having major stomach issues. We couldn’t eat a meal out without him getting sick, and half the dinners I cooked also made him sick. It was awful. We had no idea what the problem was.

Then all at once, I saw the cover article on Time Magazine, “Eat More Fat” and started hearing about bulletproof coffee. I read the article which lead to reading The Big Fat Surprise, which blew my mind. We started drinking the storied bulletproof coffee, which rocked our world, but I knew we couldn’t add all that fat into our diets without changing the rest of our diet, so I got the Bulletproof Diet book to learn his approach. This is when I got exposed to the new paleo. The full fat (good fats only though – grassfed butter, coconut oil, lard from pastured pigs, etc.), big meat (from pastured/grassfed animals), organic produce version of paleo. The switch to paleo was almost instantaneous and because this new version encourages the eating of fats (which makes you feel full much quicker than flour and sugar and processed food), it was easy. What I think is most surprising is things I used to love, are generally not that satisfying anymore. Although, lately I’ve been craving a good, homemade mac and cheese with a crunchy, cheesy breadcrumb topping.

TimTheFarmer was getting better, but would still get sick when we’d eat out. After moving out of our house into our new home, we both started working with a nutritional therapist who quickly identified the likely source his issues to be the moldy house. We were floored. My symptoms made sense – respiratory issues, chronic colds and allergies, fatigue, more sever fibromyalgia symptoms – but we had no idea how different everyone is and that it could affect your GI system. I’ll post more on this, but she prescribed an even more restricted version of paleo with a host of vitamins and supplements (different for each of us). That’s where we’re at today. Working to detox from the neurotoxin illness we developed after 4 years in a moldy home. Eating paleo is at the core with an emphasis on local, fresh eating.

So for us, this is about seeking health and actively trying to find a way to eat and live and thrive. This means what we eat will continue to evolve and we may throw some things strict paleo folks would never dream of touching into our diets from time to time. We also avoid things that are popular on paleo, because they send me into an asthma attack and curl Tim up on the floor due to the high histamine content i.e. bone broth. 

Because I find joy in delicious food, I’m always trying to make eating paleo just as delicious fresh crusty ciabatta topped with St. Andre’s triple cream cheese and a glass of Cabernet. If I post a recipe, it’s because it makes for awesome eating. End of story.

I expect I’ll share more about our health journey, but for now, I guess this is our paleo manifesto?



2015 Year in Review

First, I had these grand plans to post a kitchen renovation plan yesterday, but our power was out for the first half of the day and my computer was dead, soooo that will come Monday. I’m so excited for you to see what we have been working on and what we have planned!

Now, on to our 2015 Year in Review. As a warning, this is basically a short novel. For better or worse, this year, the first year of our marriage was a doozy. We had the highest highs and the lowest lows, but if it did anything it brought us closer together as a family. 

January

I started 2015 by chopping off 18 inches of hair and donating it in my friend’s name as she prepared for a fight against breast cancer. The chop was a long time coming, but I was glad to be able to do it for her.

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Her sweet cousins hosted a “Walk Down Mammory Lane” party to support her as she prepared for a double mastectomy. We were tasked with bringing boob-themed treats, so I turned to Pinterest, obviously. A couple friends were in town and I put them to work helping me make mammo-grahams and titty-pops. I wish I had a picture of the spread at the party – it was hilarious and endearing and tasty. Somehow we managed to get it past the 12 year old kiddo (boy) what these treats were meant to resemble.

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TimTheFarmer and I then embarked on our belated honeymoon to Puerto Rico. We went 4 months after our wedding to accommodate our work schedules and in the dead of winter, we were thrilled with our choice. We spent the majority of the time in a little VRBO bungalow in Vieques 4-wheeling out to Blue Beach every day, which we had all to ourselves, and it was awesome.

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February

I then headed to Arizona for a conference and stopped in El Paso on the way home to see my sister and her family. My mom came down too and we promptly worked on digging a tunnel to Juarez and sent Benjamin exploring.

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The kiddo entered our favorite beet recipe—he called them Nate’s Boyled Beets— into the Top Chef-themed cooking competition at school and got 2nd place!

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March

The was the month our whole world changed. We lost Rose, my husband’s mother, out of the blue, and without clear cause. She was a core part of our daily life as she lived 10 minutes away and meant everything to the kiddo, and us. We barely knew how to process such a sudden loss, let alone support a 12 year old and we just hoped we were doing it half way right.

View More: http://casiezalud.pass.us/katietim

Rose was an incredible woman, a mom, a grandma, a breast cancer survivor, the voice of a convent and retreat center, and became a best friend to me when I was living in a town far away from most of my friends and family. Her wake was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. We stood in the receiving line for four solid hours and there was a line out the door for the entire time. Every person who walked through that line told me what a kind person Rose was and how she touched his/her life. If I took anything from that day, it was that kindness really does matter. I often try to be tough and can be a bit of a ball-buster to get my way. Rose got her way, and she was always kind, so I often try to channel her and bring a softer approach to my conversations. We miss her every day.

Our friends and family rallied around us and in one of the coolest gestures, Rei, a local chef – who is seriously talented, but don’t tell him I said so – invited the kiddo to join him in the kitchen of his restaurant, Panzur as he recreated his award-winning recipe for family meal. The kiddo absolutely loved it and it was awesome to see him learn what it’s like in a kitchen.

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April

The highlight of April was a trip to Boston. TimTheFarmer’s cousin is the head coach of the Boston College baseball team and a former minor league baseball player. He set us up with tickets to a Red Socks game and passes to get on the field during batting practice. It was awesome. Fenway Park is such an iconic field, so it was really amazing just to be there, let alone to be escorted down onto the field like VIPs! We had an insane sprint through multiple T stations to get there on time and at one point thought we’d gotten on an express commuter train that was going bypass Fenway and take us right to the ‘burbs, but somehow we walked up to the gate right on time. Having attended baseball games my whole life, it was a whole other experience to be at the level of the players and watch them at bat. During the Orioles’ warmup, we tried to catch fly balls out in right field and then settled into our seats behind home plate to enjoy the game. Thanks Mike!

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The next day we went to watch the Boston College baseball game and the kiddo got to hang in the dugout with the college players for the whole game. Who knows what he heard in there :). He loved the whole experience and now hopes to play for BC someday. 

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We ended the quick trip with a visit to the New England Aquarium – TimTheFarmer’s favorite. We then walked to the North End to a classic Italian bakery that we visit every time we’re in Boston and visited Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop on the Freedom Trail to watch the chocolate making demo, which is alway cool.

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May

May marks the start of farming season around here. TimTheFarmer found a secret stash of ramps and foraged a few buckets in early May. Yum!

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Then, the first group of piglets arrived at the farm and the boys made sure they felt at home in their new environment.

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June

June was a doozy of a month. First, I headed to California for a conference and our annual family reunion. I stayed with grad school friends outside San Diego and had a great time making fresh squeezed OJ from an orange tree in their yard with their daughters (for mimosas of course).

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After the conference, I headed up to Newport for the family reunion where Benjamin used the piñata as a hat and we had an arm wrestling throwdown. JoJo beat Carolyn and is almost strong enough to beat me, now that he’s 18 :).June2

June3We put an offer in on our house(!) and watched the kiddo play his last year of Little League. 

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A colleague got married in an event tent on campus that has a circus-carnival-cabaret feel to it and we enjoyed a date night and beautiful celebration.

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I then headed to Colorado for another conference. I was thrilled to be able to head out early to spend a few days in southern Colorado in the San Luis Valley. The drive from Denver to the valley is my favorite. My stepfamily has roots in the San Luis Valley that date back to the conquistadors and it’s a place that’s truly special to me. It has a magic to it and I love visiting. My nana makes the best tortillas which I’ve missed, so it was treat to have some while I was there. We also visited a (very) rural church that my grandpa attended as a child and has worked to restore. 

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After the conference, I headed up to my mom’s to spend more time with my nephews. Benjamin is just too cool for school and made an awesome paddleboarding copilot. 

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July 

July was another doozy, but for other reasons (read on). There was lots to be done to get all our ducks in a row to buy our home (which takes FOREVER in NY) and lots of berry picking. July1Through work, I volunteered with coworkers and students to count trees in NYC as part of a massive tree survey effort. It was fascinating to see how this process worked. 

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The kiddo went to his first sleep-away camp. It’s run by NY DEC and is the same camp TimTheFarmer went to growing up; in fact, the kiddo ended up in the same bunkhouse as his dad! He learned all sorts of outdoors skills and to bow hunt. He loved it!

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After we dropped the kiddo off at camp, we headed to Saratoga to watch the horse races (which were really fun) and then to Lake George for a night.

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Then, I got Legionnaire’s Disease. I know. What?!? It’s a super bad form of pneumonia that swept through NYC’s outer boroughs this summer which I must have picked up when I was getting sprayed by air conditioner sweat while counting trees. It was awful – I’ve never been that sick. To add to it, the antibiotics, which also treat the plague and anthrax, made me hallucinate like you wouldn’t believe and I thought I was losing my mind. It confirmed my hunch that hallucinogenic drugs wouldn’t be my thing. It took weeks to get my energy and lung function back to normal.

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August

After emerging from the fog of Legionnaire’s, we picked more fruit and made lots of peach whisky BBQ sauce. Oh, and I got a ticket for texting and driving when I WASN’T actually texting. I was SOOO mad. I’d be ok with the ticket if I’d actually been doing it. Ergh.

Aug1We saw the Zac Brown Band at Bethel Woods (the site of the original Woodstock concert) – they were amazing!

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As always, we spent a couple days at the Dutchess County Fair. The kiddo is hoping for one of these pig trophies next year.

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We also celebrated our one year anniversary with a peach picking date at Rose Hill Farm. We’d befriended the owners over the last few years and LOVE this farm. On this day, they told us they’d finally found a buyer for the farm and they’d suggested the new owners hire TimTheFamer to run the farm. It was no coincidence to us that this happened on our anniversary and that the name of the farm was Rose Hill. It’s taken another 4 months to come together, but we’re thrilled that starting tomorrow, TimTheFarmer is the new farm manager for Rose Hill Farm and that the new owners are super cool. More on this soon!

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September & October

Phew! If you’re still with me here, you get a gold star – thanks for tagging along! In September, Matt and Lindsay (of El Paso fame) visited and we took them picking at Rose Hill Farm. We also took them to Panzur for an awesome meal and weird looking beer.

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We then FINALLY closed on our house. Yippee, yippee!! 

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Our last home was cozy and served to start our life as a family, but it was tiny with no closets and worse, it had a serious mold problem which has caused chronic health problems for all of us. It felt AMAZING to step into a spacious, clean home and know it was ours.

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I had lots of plans for the house, but spend each fall on traveling for work, so I had to put most of them on hold. In September and October, I travelled to Philadelphia, Washington D.C. (twice), Chicago, Steamboat Springs, Fort Collins, Portland (OR), Atlanta, Milledgville, and NYC. 

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While in Fort Collins (my hometown), we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday which may or may not have included the birthday girl doing a summersault to impress her grandson and cheered on the Colorado State Rams with a crew of friends and family.

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I also started this blog!!

We did make some house progress like our accent wall and quick bookshelves. I also painted the bathroom, which I’ll show you soon.

In the free time between trips, I made lots of cauliflower fennel soup, applesauce, and came in 4th in a local apple pie competition.

October also marked the loss of our cat, Dash. He’d been with Tim and Nate since Nate was a toddler. He took a walk into our woods one day and that was that.

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We wrapped up October the boys dressing as Han Solo and Chewbacca to make the CSA deliveries to Brooklyn. #awesome.

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November

My mom and stepdad were our first houseguests in November, so we got the guest room set up (sort of) and welcomed them, and the carload of my stuff. We put them to work painting and building shelves while they were here. 

I rewarded them for their hard work with oxtail soup, which totally freaked everyone out when they saw the tail come out of the freezer. Then, they tried the soup and couldn’t get enough. Recipe coming soon!

Nov1

We scrambled to get the wooden skis my parents gifted us hung and all the moving boxes unpacked (or hidden in the basement) in preparation for hosting 2nd Thanksgiving. 

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It was wonderful to host our first party with our closest friends and family!

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December

November flew by and before we knew it, we were cutting our first tree for our new home. 

Dec1 We got the tree up and then got on a plane to El Paso for a quick trip.

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When we got home, my FIL came over and we decorated the tree.

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TimTheFarmer and I then headed to New Hampshire for his conference where I hoped to ski. Buuuut, it was raining and the mountains weren’t open, so I worked from the hotel and did some final Christmas shopping at the LL Bean outlet. #bust

We celebrated Penny’s first birthday (how sweet is this dress?!) and brought Otis home.

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Then, it was time to celebrate Christmas!

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Wow!! Are you exhausted? I am. 2015 was quite a year. Losing Rose, the stress of buying a home, and getting Legionnaire’s Disease made for some low moments, but I love doing this recap because we can look back and see all the amazing things we got to do as a family. 

We wish you and your family a wonderful New Year and can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store!