I think we all need some funny in our life this week, don’t you?
This time of year is my favorite for so many reasons, not the least of which is my love of fall foods. But while everyone is going gaga over all things pumpkin, I am over here eating apples by the fistful.
Last week I joined Michigan Apples in a tour of local orchards and processing plants. I learned so much about apples in Michigan, the third largest producers of apples in America. And then I came home and immediately pinned all things apples. Here are my favorites:
1. Apple Sandwiches: I had a friend who used to make these in the morning on a group camping trip we took every year. They were perfection. The crunch of the apple and granola. The sweetness of the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Just perfection.
2. Apple Butter: Growing up we had an apple tree in the backyard and my mom used to make apple butter. I love the texture better than jelly and just want to slather it on a warm piece of toast every morning. Anything in the crockpot is my happy place these days so I love this recipe from Practical Stewardship.
3. Easy Apple Breakfast Cobbler: I am terrible at eating healthy breakfasts (or sometimes eating breakfast at all) because morning is such a frantic time getting the kids off to school. This recipe from Michigan Apples is an easy way to jazz up store bought (or homemade) granola and bring some apple-y goodness to your morning.
4. Apple Salad with Candied Bacon and Goat Cheese: This salad from Michigan Apples pretty much had me at hello. Well actually at bacon. I love adding apples to salad for that nice sweet crunch. Throw in walnuts, bacon and goat cheese and I am in salad heaven.
5. Michigan Apple and Butternut Squash Soup: I have mad deep love for butternut squash soup. It is seriously one of the things I most look forward to when I go out to eat in the fall and winter. I love that this recipe from Michigan Apples adds apples into the mix. I have a butternut squash in the fridge right now so this is going to get made real soon.
6. Kale, Apple, and Bacon Stuffed Chicken with Maple Mustard Pan Sauce: Nearly every fabulous flavor of fall is represented in this recipe. I get so tired of boring chicken breasts so I am very thankful Iowa Girl Eats has this recipe to change things up. It just seems like a warm and cozy dinner doesn’t it?
7. Roasted Chicken with Apple Stuffing: I have a confession to make. I hate Thanksgiving food. Well maybe hate it too strong a word, but it definitely isn’t my favorite. This recipe from Michigan Apples might change my opinion. I am hopeful I can talk my family into celebrating with chicken and apples instead of turkey.
8. Apples Roasted with Root Vegetables: We get a lot of root vegetables in our CSA and for a long time I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Now I know the answer is. Roast them. Always. I love this recipe from Michigan Apples that adds apples to the roasting. And the vinaigrette on top sounds amazing too. This would be perfect at Thanksgiving as well.
9. Apple Nachos: Shouldn’t we throw one of my recipes in the mix. I love caramel apples, but they are complicated to make and even more complicated to eat. These are easy on all fronts. Well I guess they are a bit messy to eat, but so very worth it. They are a hit with kids as well.
10. Apple Crisp Pizza: Apple crisp is seriously one of my most favorite desserts. I love how this takes that idea and turns it into a PIZZA!! I think I might take this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything and try it with a gluten-free pie crust. In fact I might have to try that real soon…..
After spending the day with the Michigan Apples, I am even more committed to making sure my apples are local. Every farmer we interacted with was so committed to sustainability and putting forth amazing products. These are not huge corporations, these are family farms that have been around for generations. So it is even more important to them to put out the best apples and to do so in a way that takes care of the environment around them. I really appreciate them hosting me and providing a meal and gift bag. My love for apples somehow got even deeper.
I have been pretty open about my health journey over the past year. And the saga continues.
Adrenal fatigue is a tricky one. The symptoms are vague and hard to describe. I mean not for me. I would describe them as a general feeling like poo and wanting to sleep all the live long day. But to a doctor, more complex. What is clear is that adrenal fatigue is caused by stress. So in theory, eliminate the stress and your adrenals can heal.
Tell that to my calendar. Because after 6 months of feeling really REALLY good suddenly all the yuck is back. And I have a feeling the “back to school grind” might be killing me. My calendar could make you cry. I have a lot of balls in the air and am working hard to keep them all up.
It has become clear that I need to seek balance.
I am calling my doctor this week and seeing about changes I should be making, supplements I should be taking, diet adjustments that might help. In the meantime I am trying to be patient with myself and my health. Take time to rest. Learn to say no.
It is not easy for me. Running at 112 mph is. But I have now felt good for too long to go back. I’ll keep you posted.
Back in September, at Family Forward, our family was introduced to Animal Jam. It was during an unforgettable sponsor session with Brady Barr and some of his crocodile and alligator friends. Live animals are always exciting for kids, but when one jumps off the table into the crowd things. get. interesting.
My kids love computer games and I don’t mind them playing them as long as they aren’t mindless entertainment. I truly want them to have some educational value and was truly impressed with what I learned about Animal Jam. It is an online playground where kids learn about animals and the world around them while they interact with their friends. And when I heard it was a partnership with National Geographic Kids (one of my favorites) I knew my kids would want to check it out.
Lily got on right when we got home and immediately found some real life friends in the game and invited a few more to join. I can’t of a better way to recommend it than to tell you that lately she has been choosing to play Animal Jam over Minecraft. This is a big deal. And unlike Minecraft, what I love about Animal Jam is that all my kiddos can play. Silas is a little young, but he and Lily engage together and she helps him navigate his way. He is really able to figure out quite a bit with a little help. Hannah has been less into computer games lately, but she has played a bit and enjoyed it too.
As a mom, I love that even though my kids have the ability to interact with other kids there are a lot of precautions in place to keep my kids safe. There are two levels of play, a free level and a paid level. This is similar to many other sites and it can be a little frustrating to have your kids begging for the paid level. But it is a fairly reasonable cost to join and if you chose not to, there is still a fair amount that you can do.
Lily made a little video to teach you and your children about the way Animal Jam works. I gave her very minimal help and think it turned out adorable. Not that I am biased at all…..
Animal Jam is a hit in our family and a great educational game if you are looking for a way to keep your kids occupied for short periods of time or as a reward for good behavior (seriously working around these parts). I am thrilled they were a sponsor of Family Forward and that we found this award winning website!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Animal Jam in partnership with National Geographic. I was provided with a year long membership to Animal Jam in exchange for my review. As I stated above, we were already using the site previously. Lily has more than earned her year membership with her video participation, don’t you think?
Last fall I shared with you my favorite fall pieces from J. Jill. This fall I am at it again and am absolutely in love with their fall line.
Once again, I was blown away by the level of customer service when I walked into the store. The sales associates are so attentive and helpful when putting together outfits. Plus they kept telling me how awesome I looked so they pretty much had me at hello.
J. Jill believes in relaxed, timeless, uncomplicated fashion. And what fits that mission better than a cream fisherman’s sweater. Classic and forever in style, it has been on my wish list forever. But classics like this are not something you want to skimp on. This was an investment piece and I wanted to get it right.
This sweater makes me want to curl up on the couch in front of a fire. Or put on some Hunter boots (also on my wish list) and head out for a hike in the woods. Today I paired mine with leggings and boots. But I would love it with jeans or even my cream cords. I think this will be getting a lot of wear this winter.
J. Jill’s Pure Jill line is the heart of their brand. Here are some of the new October pieces from the J. Jill line:
I love my pieces from J.Jill and their brand philosophy. And now I’m off to find that roaring fire…..c/o J. Jill Scarf: c/o J. Jill Leggings: Old Navy Boots: c/o Wolverine Purse: Old Navy Disclosure: This post is sponsored to you by J.Jill & The Motherhood. As always, all opinions are mine.