Easy Overnight Oats ~Oats 3 ways~

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Who has time to make healthy tasty food in the mornings? Oh, then take time to eat it in peace and bliss with your cup of coffee and then clean it all up?

I know I don’t! Well I like to make more time for that extra snooze…And if you have a home full of mouths to feed its easy to be at the bottom of the totem poll by nature. I know I eat last and fast in the mornings. Often times I even forget to eat. I then feel like grabbing those sugary salty greasy snacks all day long.

WELL NOT ANYMORE! I created my variation of overnight oats and I have been sold for oats since!

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It hits all the categories on my list of what I look for in a meal especially in the morning. Is it healthy, yes√. Is it easy to make, yes√. Does it taste good, yes√. Will my toddler eat it, yes√. Is there a lot clean up, NO√. TELL ME MORE√!

In general I have had to grow to love oats since becoming more health conscious and I can say now after trying a few variations of oat prep I am convinced this is truly a food of champions! I personally have a hard time reaching for oatmeal in the morning. You have to grab the cooking pan, measure your oats, milk, water, boil, not over cook, not under cook and how many times have I forgotten them on the stove top and created a burnt-on mess!

I say eating oats three ways are going to land in your breakfast each week alternating them to your liking.

First :  4 ingrediant banana muffins 

Second: Dressed-up hot oatmeal (as pictured above). Its your typical prepared as instructed hot oats with a splash of Macadamia nut milk (or any milk) a little butter, sliced assorted fruits, hemp & chia seeds, a drizzle of honey and almond butter. YUM!

Third: My favorite! OVERNIGHT OATS all the way!

You simply combine the ingredients, let them sit overnight and you have a perfectly nutritious and delicious breakfast. You can consume it cold as I like or warm it up on those colder mornings.

There are SO many variations and creations you can make with this new staple recipe in your breakfast makings.  All the different fruit, nuts, nut butters, seeds, milk options etc. Possibilities are endless!

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Here is how to create Overnight Oats…

Measurements per 1 serving.

Ingredients 

1 cup Oats

1 cup Almond milk (unsweetened)

1/2 cup blueberries & sliced banana

1 TBLs unsweetened coconut

1 tsp honey or agave

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp hemp seeds

1 tsp almond butter

Start with your preferred container. I found these adorable glass jars at the dollar store. They work perfect for this recipe! Or just use a simple cup with saran wrap over it.

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I like to start and end my oats with fruit so layer your blueberries and bananas on the bottom. (reserve some for the top)

Measure & pour your oats, chia seeds, almond milk & honey together. Stir them together until roughly incorporated. Add the remaining fruit, hemp seeds, and almond butter on top including some coconut. Get creative!

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Close the lid and store in refrigerator overnight. Wake up to your breakfast! 

Enjoy!!

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10 must haves for new Moms

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We just got off of a full Mothers day weekend and I want to wish all the mama’s grinding away this fine Monday and each and every day, Happy Happy Mother’s Day and  thank you for all that you do. ( I love you MAMA)

I also want to encourage you that you are doing so good and continue making the difference in your family in your home and to all those surrounding you! You are amazing!

It can be pretty overwhelming. You are expecting your first baby to arrive soon and you are starting the next chapter of your new life, caring for your newborn. That is a lot to process mentally, then physically carry and deliver your baby. All you want is the best for you little one when you come home to a beautifully prepared oasis for yourself and new bundle of joy. Your nursery.

I remember walking down the baby aisle at Target half way into my first pregnancy just feeling MANY emotions (as many pregnant ladies do) I had  ALL THE FEELS. Yes,I was excited and happy but I felt lost, super overwhelmed, and unprepared seeing the amount of baby products out there. There was an endless selection of diapers, pumps, creams, nursery items, and many many other products I didn’t know existed or had knowledge of until after giving birth to Naomi. I would read magazines catered to new moms and still have the same question at the end, ” But, WHAT DO I ACTUALLY NEED?”

Besides the basics of your nursery your crib, changing station, rocking chair what are the everyday things you just can’t do without?

I’m going to go on a rant real quick…good luck picking your stroller because OMG there are SO many to choose from! But we went with Uppa baby from many recommendations and we love it! We got the Vista model and its fantastic. We went for a convertible stroller because we saw that it will last us through multiple kids and hold multiple kids which we do now! It’s the stroller that grows with you and is customizable to your liking. It was a higher end purchase among our baby purchases but we absolutely love it and use it everyday and have only had a positive experience with the brand.

Oh…one more thought, and your choice of diaper brands. I love Honest diapers with the mission behind the brand how adorable they are and stuff, until I found out that we go through up to 10 diapers a day and that quickly changed our minds to see so much money literally going into the garbage can. Coming from my experience we ended up using Huggies with Naomi as she was a long and lean baby and with Chloe only Pampers fit just right around her chubbiness.

They say it all depends on your baby and each baby is different, that is actually true. That is why we have SO much to choose from! 

With all that was at my disposal then and now & with what I’ve experienced so far with fist and second baby…

Here are my 10 must have for new moms

  1. The Diaper Genie: It really works! I tried as much as possible to have the minimalist look in our nursery and with baby gear in general. I was skeptical on this one until I realized I couldn’t go on without it!  Its sleek,  super convenient & odor proof! It fits lots of diapers, you will surely need it.c26-B001BMWABI-1-l
  2.  Stretchy cover for car seat & nursing. I love these stretchy covers. Its so useful for nursing. Unlike other covers this one doesn’t fall off or flap with the wind. It breathes, its light and it doubles as a great car seat cover. They come in many cute & fun prints like this one!71gi5NaceWL._SX522_
  3. Mustella products: baby shampoo, lotion & cleansing wash. Its my favorite for its gentle formula, mild scent & the cleansing wash is a good alternative to a sponge bath.
  4. Lansinoh nursing pads & Lanolin cream This was a huge life savor for a nursing mom. (A whole other world opened up with having your first baby and subject I will write about in a later post.)I love the light and super absorbent pads & the super helpful cream to help with nursing.
  5.  Bourdeas Butt Cream Its my favorite for diaper rashes The thickest formula I’ve tried and it really sticks to your babies butt!81tNYlCPdDL._SX522_
  6. Rock n’ Play Its been a life savor! A great alternative place to put your baby for naps and as a bassinet for a short while. Especially if your baby likes to be held in your arms for sleep and it helps with acid reflex. We have the automatic rocking options and sounds I’d recommend the extras. It’s super light and folds easy for travel. We absolutely love this thing! 71DPyVxGATL._SX522_
  7. Colic Calm The handy helper when you have tried it all and your baby just needs help calming down. It helps gas and colic in babies. Its homeopathic and we call it the magic sauce. It really works! Ask your pediatrician before use for uses and dose info.81+p1EoyglL._SX522_
  8. Diaper changing pad liner Where were you all my life?! I only got this with my second it has saved me countless times when diaper changes go rouge. I haven’t had to wash our pretty changing cover once in these 4 months of use.81E9bnzHtpL._SX522_
  9. baby swing (We use the Craddle & Swing) Which ever one you go with just get one! As much as we love rocking and holding our littles we need a break too. It is just perfect for naps and its another safe place for your baby to be entertained in for many months of pure baby bliss. 61fDYPr69BL._SY679_
  10. Bath sponge cushion. This one is so simple yet so functional. I love that its so soft, keeps baby warm during the bath, and its is so economical. The contoured shape forms to your little one perfectly. For bath time we tried all the fancy-shmancy products and we would come back to this one every time!61U3kXH5fDL._SY679_

Technically speaking only you need a 3 things to be ready for your baby: a crib, blanket, an outfit & yourself (for breastfeeding). That is how I imagine its been since the beginning of time. But of course now we want all the creature comforts for our baby and ourselves and ONLY the best for our little ones. And that is good. I am so grateful for the time we live in because we are just too BLESSED with how good we live.

With all that in mind I hope my top ten baby must haves were helpful or insightful for your baby registry, or add-ons to your current baby repertoire, and that these things make your day to day baby life just a little easier!

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My cute babies ❤

San Diego!

FullSizeRender (4)We got the opportunity to take a little vacation before Dmitry begins his new position at work. To celebrate a promotion and a year spent of hard work, TOO MANY moves and a lot of changes we wanted to take a spontaneous family trip to San Diego. We cant help it, spontaneous is our M.O.

We jumped straight to the web to search for the right home for us. In a matter of a few clicks we booked our perfect home away from home. We were just SO LUCKY to find a dreamy Spanish cottage a street up from the beach and a short drive to downtown all under budget! (One of the many perks to go travel during the week. We saved a lot just by going on off days.)

I grew up an hour North San Diego in O.C.  and it has always been a mysterious city that I never quite got to experience fully. A day trip here and there and the rare stop at the San zoo or Sea World where the only memories to have there. Until this trip. We decided that a house would best fit our family needs and what better way to experience a locals perspective than to stay where one would live.

It was the perfect trip! Just a short drive with the kiddos both sleeping and happy. We had amazing Instagram worthy photos taken of us for us. We got to dive in and experience some amazing fine dining and the weather was sunny not a cloud in the sky. From start to finish it was ALL PERFECT.

Nope. I lied. I was the start of what could have been a catastrophic disaster of major proportions. Well the recipe was there for it from the start. We all happen to catch a cold so the kiddos were just more cranky than usual, therefore we heard all but silence for the NOT so short drive to the rental house. We get to a very beautiful but overcast cold beach, not kid friendly, couldn’t check in early so a lot of trunk makeshift diaper changes, a lot of vitamins, tissues, cold medicine and ZERO tropical drinks with little umbrellas vibes happening. Many places to eat yet never the right time of day for the kids and the hostesses at these restaurants take one look at us with a double stroller and written all over their faces is, “umm…  can you leave them at the door?” Please and thank you.

Vacation with the family at the moment isn’t so much vacation with kids, its just kids.

I love my family and all we are but sometimes whole reality vs. expectations thing really gets the best of me and it can be a soul crushing in the moment. THIS IS REAL LIFE. But I just need that time to myself, that time to ourselves or that magic button for the kids to be on their perfect behavior and all be super put together so they don’t shame us and just be mirror images of perfection we as parents are. BUT, that’s not real. Its not us. Its my character being formed. 

So instead of trying really really hard to pretend like it was that kind of vacation: feet up drinks with umbrellas kind of vacation, we embraced every part of the unexpected and just made some beautiful memories from the hot mess we are.

Crossing out a lot of plans and lists we had made we started from scratch and went to the market to get some meals cooked from home. It was a dream come true, a kitchen to cook in hasn’t been a reality for the last year, so I got to pretend that this viking stove, sparkling subway tiled & farm house sink kitchen was all mine! I was in heaven.

What better way to spend time together but to cook together also? We decided to make our favorite build your own homemade pizza and Naomi’s favorite Caesar salad.  We had so much fun together! It topped any 5 star yelp reviewed restaurant in San Diego.

It was so easy and fun, I should say its semi-homemade for an easy quick meal.

Here is what you need for build your own pizza night:

  • Pizza dough (I like the garlic herb one from TJ’s), marinara sauce, shredded cheese blend like mozzarella & provolone, I used salami instead of pepperoni & veggies like mushrooms and bell peppers.
  • Spread out the dough with some flour nice and thin. Don’t be shy and really work the dough to make it stretch out nice and thin, remember it expands when it bakes.
  • One dough makes two small pizzas or one large pizza.
  • Add ingredients as you wish, Naomi and Dmitry like a lot of cheese! Its fun and economical as the dough costs less than a frozen pizza and the ingredients can get fun by using what you have on hand.

I highly recommend the following places to see when in San Diego with kids or not, its just must see spots!

  • Coronado Island. So much charm and history here. We unfortunately had to leave shortly after arriving due to a very grumpy Naomi but worth coming back to for sure. You get gorgeous views of the city and its just so darn cute. Loved driving and coveting the houses the yachts and just people watch. You can also rent bikes, swim on the sandy shore or take a ferry to and from the island into downtown. Very nostalgic of Seattle for us which is a whole other post I will share. As my husband Dmitry put it, “San Diego is like a tropical Seattle.” It has a similar look and layout just with the touch of California vibes everywhere.
  • Seaport Village Perfect for families and couples to get some gifts and souvenirs. I can remember my parents taking me here upon one of my first visits to San Diego. There is a giant gorgeous carousel to ride for any age, cute shops, darling village to explore, specialty foods.

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  • Puesto – right across from Seaport village there is an outdoor courtyard of newer resraurants and shopping. We stumbled upon this AMAZING DELICIOUS MUST HAVE Mexican restaurante where we ate the best gourmet tacos! You have to come here.It was packed on the Wednesday night so that means something. SInce it was getting late we order them take out and it was well worth the extra step because we devoured them. Pork belly, lamb barbacoa, fillet migneion and surf and turf all AMAZING! GO HERE!
  • Gas lamp district its the hipest place in downtown forsure! You got restaurants on top of restaurants, pubs, gastropubs, every cultures food, fancy, divey, nightlife. Its all here including some shopping and plenty of people watching. We were amazed at how busy this place was on a Tuesday so make reservations in advance! I here Juniper & Ivy is the hottest spot for some fine dinning and for your late night cravings the crack shack is a popular place. We will go here for a weekend getaway as a couple and dive striaght to this mecca of Downtown San Diego. 

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  • Tall ships They are just beautiful there are about 5 of them parked at the port and you can get a tour or just stand next to one and take a picture. We also spotted a soviet submarine and down the street the USS Midway which is also a facinating museum. For families there is a giant fun park for kids right accross from the ships we certainly made use to get some fun in for my toddler.

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  • Old Town I can be a tourist trap so watch out for that but its a historic place with some charm. We made this our last stop before leaving SD and it was fun getting transported in time to a REAL village. We were so hungry and needed to grab some lunch before we headed home and there was this unexpected gem we stumbled upon right in the heart of town. It was a real old small building and was converted into a coffee roasting house and Bavarian bakery. They are well known for their hot sandwiches on yelp. By the looks of this place from the outside and not gonna lie the inside you would not believe how good these hot pressed sandwiches were. I love roast beef so I got that one and Dmitry got the caprese salami and they were equally amazing and they came with these delicious house made spreads that just added a depth of flavor to the sandwich. I don’t know the name of this place but its right next door to the old hotel and accross from the courtyard. (you will see it when you are there). That fresh herb baked bread was just all too good and it came with a little old fashion licorice and gummy candy to top off the experience. TRY IT!
  • Ocean Beach (O.B.)- This is the small beach city we stayed in just a short 12 minutes from down town. When we first pulled up to the cliff side with the sprawling waves and sea breeze looming in… it was love at first sight. Simply gorgeous views known for the cliffs and majestic sunsets, you must got here and take a long walk and be mesmerized by the ocean. During our stay we needed that hipster coffee place to make our mornings a little easier, so we were recommended by our host to come here and now to you, to go to the nest coffee company. It was just spot on. This little town was the slow rhythm we needed that was accessible to us with kids and within walking distance to the near beach and its own downtown.

It wasn’t bad at all it was perfect the way it was. The highlight for us for sure was the house we stayed in. Upon arrival to our oasis we were greeted to a spotless, gorgeous home including a welcome package catered just for us with cold juice, a thank you card, extra towels, everything and more than we would need or use for the three night stay. Some highlights was a soaking tub for me, a roof top deck with an ocean view and the private patio off the master suite. We were lucky that the kids slept through the night all three nights so we got to watch a couple movies like La La Land & binge watch some shows on Hulu. Dmitry hand selected this “cheap red wine”.  It was just what we needed. To do nothing. Enjoy our kids and just go with the flow.

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Thank you so much for reading,  following my new blog, & going on this adventure with me.

Here is a promo code for your first stay with Airbnb! Click here & get $40 off with my code! Thank you Airbnb!

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Citrus & Brew Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

FullSizeRenderThese tacos are good ANYDAY of the week! I love Mexican food and I think its either got a reputation for being too complicated or too simplistic. Well lets meet in the middle and you won’t compromise on flavor or work too hard to get some gourmet tacos at home.

I grew up south of the border so I have been eating Mexican cuisine my whole life and can say that its the food I have experimented & created most in the kitchen & crave especially in the hot climate of SoCal. In this recipe I will share some must have steps and ingredients to perfect your next taco night. Its all about developing flavors and textures to make one DELICIOUS BITE… & another & another.

Traditional carnitas are slow cooked in oil or fat and that is why they are so darn good.

This is a healthier option that I think is very comparable to the real thing.

There are FOUR parts to this recipe. ALL which are important.

  1. The citrus & brew marinated pork
  2. Toppings/prep
  3. Fried Tortillas
  4. Sides

1.CITRUS & BREW SLOW COOKER CARNITAS 

(Recipe yields for 12 servings or 24 tacos)

6 lbs pork loin or boneless pork chops

1 packet taco seasoning mix

4 tablespoons honey or brown sugar

1 can beer

1 orange (fresh squeezed)

6 cloves of garlic minced

1 sweet onion chopped

generous pinch of salt & pepper as it cooks

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Separate all ingredients into two zip lock bags and add the the pork. Zip tight and store in fridge overnight.

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Line the pork fat side up (for the meat stays moist and more tender) and place the garlic and onions in with the pork.

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Add and additional splash of fresh squeezed orange juice.

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Cook in slow cooker on high for 5 hours, when tender and cooked through remove some of the liquid and set aside. Next shred the pork and allow to cook in its juices for another hour on low for the meat to absorb. Add saved liquid if needed to keep it juicy. Shred the pork using two forks until pulled apart with the onion as it adds flavor to the pork. Give it a punch with some cayenne pepper, salt and pepper as needed. I also add about a 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce just to give it that extra sweetness and flavor profile. But definitely don’t drench them in bbq sauce or the flavor you have developed maybe lost. Place on warm until ready to serve.

2. Toppings: Get as creative as you want and make it your own! I choose the following…

shredded cabbage

sliced thin- grilled portobello mushrooms

moms quick pickled red onions

queso fresco- crumbled

julienne carrots & cucumber: lemon juice & toasted seseme oil vinigrette with seseme seeds. Toss together and refrigerate a couple hours before using.

salsa verde or mild salsa

cilantro & chives for garnish

3. Tortillas & Sides Don’t skip or overlook the sides! They complement the meal and can be so good on there own.

  • FRY THE CORN TORTILLAS!– I discovered that frying the corn tortillas is what makes these tacos delicious and more authentic. Using a skillet & grape seed oil (this one works well on high heat) heat skillet add two tablespoons of oil and fry the tortilla on each side, turn over after a min or so on each side and place onto paper towel. Repeat for all the tortillas. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! The corn tortilla changes in texture & flavor, it becomes sweeter and more bready to marry well with all the ingredients inside.
  • HEALTHIER MEXICAN RICE. I say healthier simply because I use brown rice. I even used Trader Joes frozen precooked brown rice. Simply in a small pot add two of the freezer brown rice packets, add 6 oz tomato juice, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1 cup of frozen peas, & a can of green chilies. Stir together on medium heat until it bubbles and cook on low for about 8-10 min. Warm up and use an  ice cream scoop to plate for a prettier presentation.
  • Black beans. They are not the star of the show but are the supporting side dish you want! Just use 3 cans of organic black beans, drain the cans,  get a medium saucepan, heat on medium heat stirring regularly. When boiled bring down to low and cook until they are starting to fall apart almost melt together. Serve on the side with crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheese. Yum!
  • Grilled corn– using a propane grill, place prepared clean and dry corn onto grill, using olive oil and garlic salt mixed into a bow,  with brush cover corn. Get some grill marks and char on the corn and its ready to serve!2017-05-03_18-25-44_988.jpeg

Serve the sides with avocado slices to separate. Bring all the ingredients together buy building the taco with the shredded cabbage on bottom, carnitas, the juiliene carrots & cucumber, sliced portabello mushroom, pickled red onions, queso fresco & the garnish. Now how can you say that doesn’t make your mouth water? Yumo.

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And in the words of the one and only Ron Swanson, “That would be all, good day.”