Remembering Why We Eat This Way

It's been awhile since I've written anything about the way we eat. Clean eating is such a normal, everyday way of life for us that I forget to say much about it...until something provokes my passion. Yesterday, I got just the prod I needed to pipe up again!

But first, let me back up to the weekend. My husband spent hours in the kitchen, lovingly preparing a belated birthday dinner that made our house smell like the finest restaurant. It's truly heaven when he cooks! {I call it "love on a plate" because he puts his whole heart into it!}

An assortment of cheeses...always a hit in our house!

Short ribs served on goat cheese grits with root veggies...
topped with a hearty red wine reduction.

{FYI: food photography is always better looking in
the natural light of day if you have that option. I didn't.}

It was a delicious birthday gift, and I felt so loved! But there's another side to this story.

If you've followed the way we eat, you know how important eating the right food is to our family. We eat as fresh as we can and LOVE IT, but every now and then, even fresh and natural causes a problem in our family, and the one who pays most dearly is our youngest daughter.

We shared the special birthday dinner with the girls...forgetting all about the GRAPE in the red wine reduction.

And boy did our youngest suffer yesterday. She woke up in a foul mood, couldn't look me in the eyes, got in trouble at school, melted down at Whole Foods, ran into people with the grocery cart, sassed me to no end, slogged her way through homework, slid out of her chair at the dinner table, attempted cartwheels in between bites, then melted down all over again on the kitchen floor while the rest of us wondered what in the world was going on.

[I know I've said this before, but it's worth noting again: I thought all the behavior described above was "normal" for my second child...until we started the Feingold Diet. I still get misty-eyed thinking about the huge change we witnessed almost four years ago.]

Every now and then, despite being four years into this, we forget to connect the dots between food and behavior. I miss the obvious clues and give way to my own impatience and frustration...forgetting how hard it is for my daughter to control the craziness she feels inside. Just when I was about to give up on her at the dinner table Monday night, my husband finally made the connection: Sunday night's dinner with the red wine reduction. {Yes, a full 24 hours later, she was still suffering.}

"Why didn't you tell me the dinner had grape in it?" I'm so sorry, sweet girl. We got carried away in the celebration and just plain forgot. It was meant to be a grown-up dinner, but you loved the smells and wanted to celebrate your mama, so we couldn't resist sharing it with you.

A good reminder that what we eat really does matter.

And then the second thing that caught my attention: an article called "Ritalin Gone Wrong" published in The New York Times this weekend. It's not a perfect article, but it reminded me of why our family turned to the Feingold Diet in the first place. Long-term medication just didn't feel like the right solution for my child. Exploring alternatives required patience and discipline, but it was worth it.

My best advice for young mothers wondering what to make of your "challenging" child {other than feeding them well and giving Feingold a serious try}: do your research, then trust your gut. God has given you incredible instincts!

Have a wonderful week!
P.S. My friend Missy {a seasoned blogger who makes me laugh out loud} is sharing her Feingold experience HERE. Keep it up, Missy! Your story is so encouraging!


Refreshing My Table + World Market Finds

Thank you to those of you who responded to my "Tell Me About You" post. You're few in number, but big in heart! I'm grateful to know your name and love knowing there are kindred spirits on the other side of this computer screen. I hope you'll let yourself be known more often!

Now for a little inspiration around the house! My dining room table was in need of some serious refreshing {as in, get rid of the Christmas runner already!}. I'm a creature of habit, so I usually replace the Christmas decor with whatever was there before, but I'm always grateful for fresh inspiration!

I saw these on Pinterest Saturday morning and went to World Market Saturday night! That never happens! By the time I get around to buying something I spotted online, it's usually long gone! But my girls LOVE World Market, so we went out for a family sushi and shopping date. They were in heaven!

And to replace the Christmas runner, I found this one at BHLDN {Anthropologie's wedding store, but they have some lovely tabletop decor as well}:

I love the simple elegance.
Linen & cotton with lace at the ends.
{Looks almost heirloom for only $48.}

It helps me to look at things through the camera.
Photos reveal what I like and don't like about a space.

I prefer a flat runner to a gathered or styled one.
Effortless and easy...just my style!

Before we leave my dining room...
a little something funny.

Yep! The Christmas wreaths are still hanging.
No telling what the neighbors are thinking this time.
{They should see my mantle!}

Oh, and a tip: the apothecary candleholders
are shallow and need a little help. Here it is:

And now to share a few other
World Market finds that caught my eye:

I stayed true to my mission and only came home with the apothecary candleholders {plus some jasmine tea and a few dark chocolate goodies}, but the rest has been added to my "finds for the home" pin board. I love that Pinterest allows me to gather beauty without having to buy it!

Have you found a simple little something that's inspired you to freshen up lately? Sometimes that's all it takes...one little something.

Have a great week, Sweet Readers!

P.S. A little known fact about me: I've never liked Tuesdays. It tends to be my gloomy day. {Does it rain more on Tuesdays?} But tomorrow is no ordinary Tuesday, so I'll have to rally. Let the birthday marathon begin!


Tell Me About YOU!

A sweet blog friend recently asked me to participate in a "getting to know you" post with all kinds of fun questions. I loved reading hers, but I'm opting out. Because the truth is, I'd love to know something about YOU!

Beginning with...

Knowing who you are sure would inspire me! Imagine what a conversation over tea would be like if I did all the talking...and never even knew your name!!! Blogging can feel that way.

So after two-plus years of me rambling on about myself, it's your turn! Don't quite know what to say? How about a few questions to get you talking:
  • What INSPIRES you...or makes your HEART skip a beat?
  • What are you DREAMING about these days?
  • What would the PERFECT DAY look like for you?
  • Do you have a favorite HOBBY...or something NEW you'd love to learn?
  • What DRAWS you to this little ol' blog?
  • Is there anything you're hoping I'll say MORE about? Or photograph more often? 
  • Do you have your own BLOG? I'd love to visit!
I hope you'll indulge me with a comment today {even if it's just your name}, because I'd love to know who you are! {Email subscribers need to click here to leave a comment. Feeling shy? Send me an email!}

***Added note: feel free to tell me about you ANYTIME...even if it's months later. I'll still be here!

Love and hugs,

P.S. I have no idea how many people read my small potatoes blog, but I'm astounded to see that there are 6,000 people following my Pinterest boards. Not quite sure what that says! Write less? Oh, but the writer in me can't stand it! Plus, I love getting to know you here!


New Cooking Inspiration

Well, friends, it's official: I'm back in the kitchen and responsible for feeding our family again. You'd think with a gorgeous kitchen and a love of fresh food, this would be great news...

...but the truth is, I'm out of practice and under inspired. You see, I've been spoiled for the last four months. During my card season, my amazingly talented husband prepared meal after fabulous meal for our family. I know...DREAMY!

But now it's time for him to put extra hours into his business and time for me to feed the family. Fair enough, but where to begin? I need a pretty picture and a small number of fresh ingredients {preferably five or less} to get inspired. 

Last night, I had organic chicken in the fridge and was craving honey. {One of my favorite meals during my first trip to Provence 10 years ago was Roasted Garlic Chicken drenched in honey. I didn't have enough garlic to pull that off, but I was fixated on the honey.}

Thank God for Google! I Googled "honey chicken" and was mostly uninspired until I found this:

Lavender Honey Chicken
{I skipped the red pepper flakes.}

Talk about French-inspired! Anything with lavender reminds me of Provence and excites my senses. Thank you, Inspired Taste! I've never heard of this blog before. Have you? Great find! The photography is stellar, the ingredients are simple AND they provided side dish recipes!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
{I had Baby Yukons on hand. Meant to be!}

I had broccoli that was on its last leg of crispness, so I roasted it with sea salt and olive oil {super easy}, but they suggested another great side that I'll definitely try next time:

The highest compliment of all: my family ate every bite and said these recipes are keepers! {Not to mention the house smelled like Provence!} I'll be adding Inspired Taste to my list of go-to food resources for sure! Here are a few others I like:

How about you, friends? Where do you turn for cooking inspiration? Any favorite recipes, cookbooks, blogs or websites? I'd love it if you'd share a link!

Happy cooking!

P.S. Note to family: tonight, it's leftovers! I'll replace the broccoli with roasted brussel sprouts just to give us something fresh and new. {Would you believe brussels are my youngest daughter's favorite veggie? Crazy! I wouldn't have touched them with a 10-foot pole when I was her age! She gives her daddy the credit. He makes EVERYTHING taste good!}


Talk About A Gorgeous Kitchen!

I love my kitchen to the max, but today, I'm enjoying and appreciating this beauty:

{For more photos and details, visit Traditional Home.}

So much beauty to absorb:

1. that ceiling!
2. wide plank floors with the perfect patina
3. gorgeous French range {looks like a La Cornue "Chateau" series}
4. regal vent hood
5. white cabinets & countertops with a dark island
6. mirrored corner cabinet
7. lots of windows and natural light
8. fresh, living things {tall topiaries & flowers}
9. copper pots
10. lanterns

SERIOUS beauty and attention to detail! I can't stop staring! I think I'll come back often to admire this kitchen. How about you?

Happy weekend!


Am I Willing?

Here we are...10 days into TWENTY TWELVE, and I'm not ready. I'm not ready to get organized, not ready to get back to blogging, not ready for a New Year. But time doesn't wait for me to be ready. The days clip by whether I'm ready or not.

The truth is, I'm never really ready for newness. {My first post of 2010 and 2011 reveal that plain as day!}

{Beauty hunting last winter in Maine. Seeing the
world through my camera always cures the blues.}

Yet as soon as I say I'm not ready, a question rises up in my spirit: Am I willing? So subtle, but it's an entirely different question than "Am I ready?" 

Am I willing to embrace a New Year? Yes. Because I trust in the One who is making all things new {Revelation 21:5}. I trust in His promise to prosper me, not to harm me...to give me a hope and a future {Jeremiah 29:11}. New and unknown isn't so scary when you think of it in the context of a promise like that!

Am I willing to get back to blogging? Yes. Because God made me a writer. {And because my girls have begged me to blog again. They love to read it!} If blogging is His way for now, here I am. Trusting Him for the frequency and giving myself full freedom not to adhere to any artificial pressures to post. All of which means you'll never hear me apologize for not writing, but I hope you'll be blessed when I do. {By the way...I'm beyond humbled that you even want to read what I write, much less leave a comment from time to time. Thank you!}

Alas, am I willing to get organized? Yes. But only when the inspiration strikes, because it's certainly not a necessity! {Remember the nativity scene I left out front until mid-February last year? I've learned to give myself lots of grace!}

So here's to being willing in 2012...even if you're not ready!

With joy and peace,
P.S. To the few of you who left comments for the first time recently, thank you! I wish I could reply to you! Knowing you've been out there reading quietly inspires me.
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