Healthy Living Survey

Those of you who know me well, or have even just read a few of my blog posts, know that I’m really passionate about healthy living – especially when it comes to food. I’m by no means a stickler about never eating fast food or anything – I give in to the cravings too – but I’m very intentional about “shopping the perimeter”, cooking at home, and buying things like whole wheat, raw fruits and veggies, lean meats, etc. I often even recreate my childhood favorites with healthier ingredients as a challenge and a treat! I love cooking and there’s no reason that I can’t buy fresh, healthy ingredients and create a delicious and nutritious meal in my own kitchen.

On the other hand, I also realize that many people don’t have the time, resources, skills, etc. to do this. Busy schedules, inconvenient grocery stores, a disdain for cooking, you name it! We all have our reasons, but I would really love to be intentional in what I share to help everyone live a healthier lifestyle. SO! I’ve made a survey. All of the questions are optional, but the more you answer the better. So take my survey, share it with your friends, and stay tuned for more healthy living advice from me and my collaborators on Musing Sally!

-Shelby

 

The Only Rice Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Okay so I have to admit – this is not my recipe. A wonderful woman taught me how to make rice years ago and I will forever love her for it! I used to always under or overcook my rice and it was so bland, but never again! Most of the time, especially if I have several meals planned that require rice, I will make a lot at once (2-3 cups dry rice) and save what I don’t need for later meals or to take as a side for my lunch. So here it is step by step!

  1. Pour about 1-2 Tbsp (depending on how much rice) of olive oil in your pan and put on medium heat.
  2. Mince 3-6 cloves of garlic, or more if you love garlic! And sauté in olive oil.
  3. Once the garlic is sizzling a bit (don’t let it brown) add your rice DRY! Sauté the dry rice until it starts to turn brighter.
  4. Add warm water, a dash of salt, and place a lid on the pot. Let cook (stirring occasionally) until all of the water is absorbed or evaporated and DONE.

FOR WHITE RICE: Use a ratio of 2 cups of water for every one cup of rice and tilt the lid a tiny bit while it cooks. Will take 15-30 minutes to cook depending on the quantity.

FOR BROWN RICE: Use a ratio of 3 cups of water for every cup of rice and leave the lid placed normally on the pan. Will take 30-40 minutes to cook depending on the quantity.

As far as the kind of rice I use, I definitely prefer Jasmine but I’ve used this method with other varieties and have had no issues. If you’re interested these are the exact brands I stock up on (at Aldi – big surprise!). However, I almost exclusively buy brown rice now, wheat pasta, and whole grain bread because it makes a HUGE difference with blood sugar control for me.

Specially Selected Brown Basmati RiceSpecially Selected Jasmine Rice

 

May you never have mushy, crunchy, or bland rice again!

-Shelby

A Fresh Perspective on Wedding Planning

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On September 4th, 2016 Jon and I put it on paper and threw a party like never before. Really that’s all it was. We wanted a wedding that truly celebrated who we are, individually and as a couple, our love for each other, and all the amazing people in our lives as well though!

While I thrive on planning and decorating and cooking and hosting – the list goes on and on – I did not want to give in to the trap of incorporating certain things just because it’s tradition. So much of the culture around wedding planning has, in my humble opinion, diluted what it’s really all about! Two people, committing their lives to each other and their community coming together to celebrate that commitment. All too often that beautiful focus is lost in the sea of invoices, appointments, budgets and fulfilling the never ending list of traditions and expectations.

So, in case you’re curious, here’s how we did it…

Set measurable goals for yourself.

Figure out what your priorities are first. For us, the biggest priority was a beautiful and flexible venue. The prettier the venue, the less we’d have to decorate; the more flexible the rules at said venue, the less money we’d spend trying to jump through hoops. We eventually chose to rent a six bedroom home in Gatlinburg, TN.

Maybe for you the most important thing is the honeymoon, the photographer, or the food. Talk about it and reach a compromise before making any big decisions.

Now you can set goals based on your priorities. Being able to measure your goals is important to being able to hold yourself to them, especially with budgeting. Here are the main goals we set for ourselves:

  1. Keep the budget under $10,000
  2. Spread out the planning as much as possible to avoid stress
  3. Spend more time and less money
  4. Keep attendance under 100 people
  5. Write our own ceremony and vows

We were able to meet all of these goals, and it was all because our community of generous and talented friends and family surrounded and supported us in making it happen.

For our bachelor/ette parties we went out for dinner with a small group of close friends and our two parties met up at one of our favorite bars after dinner. We had a cookout at the venue for the rehearsal dinner. A family friend and one of my biggest heroes came in to coordinate for me and I didn’t worry about a thing! My mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, bridesmaids and friends helped with decorating and set-up, one friend in particular put together all the floral arrangements, and my aunts led the army that prepared all of the hors d’oeuvres. All hail the matriarchy! My brother walked down the street from the rental house where everything was held to ask a neighbor if we could borrow a weed-eater! Other friends of ours also helped according to their own talents: one friend who works for a wine distributor gifted us a case of wine, another (Shane Hunter) did the photography, another did my makeup and help my bridesmaids with theirs, and yet another friend last minute offered to come do videography for us which we were planning to skip altogether!

The most overwhelmingly beautiful thing about that weekend was knowing how much love our friends and family put in to make it happen. It wouldn’t have been nearly as meaningful to us if we had simply paid a bunch of strangers to do everything for us. And the most important thing? Everyone had SO much fun! There was way too much food (which both the mothers had worried about) and the kegs and wine ran out just when they needed to haha! We played music off of my computer through a sound system that my brother-in-law loaned us and danced on the patio under lights my dad, grandfather, and brother were able to string up. It was all beautiful. Perfect really if you ask me. 🙂

Some cool things we did that I would recommend for EVERYONE:

  • Rent a house – NOT a “venue” Doing this ended up being about the same price as getting a venue, but we got it for four days instead of one! This also gave us a ton of freedom when it came to decorating, food, and booze. We weren’t limited to a venue’s requirements for a caterer, bartender, florist or photographer which happens often. Talk about a money saver. PLUS we got to stay there the whole weekend.
  • Kegs, cases, and Costco. When it came to food and booze, we saved a ton of money by buying and prepping the food ourselves. My aunts and a couple friends helped with prepping it all, but I planned the menu and specified the shopping list. All in all we ended up spending around $700 for food for the whole weekend, and we had WAY too much honestly. (That price doesn’t including the cake.) While the majority of the food came from Costco, we also purchased some items from Aldi and Gordon’s.
  • Alter your mother’s dress. Yup, I went there. I understand that not everyone can do this, but I only spent $350 for a custom veil and major alterations to a lace neckline and sleeves. And it looked gorgeous. Other than that I spent $20 on a pair of sandals at Target that I still wear and $15 on a pair of earrings at a boutique and viola! I did get lucky because I’m practically a carbon copy of my mom and there were no changes to the size or hem needed, but I’m so glad I did it!
  • Don’t do tuxes. Just don’t. It’s expensive, you have to return them, and they will all be miserable wearing them. My husband picked out the same pair of pants for our groomsmen to buy, asked them to wear brown shoes and a white shirt, and gifted their ties and suspenders to them. It was all pretty simple if you don’t count my husband toiling over what he wanted. ❤
  • Don’t squish all your bridesmaids into the same dress. I think this is just mean… to each their own but… not all women are built the same. I specified the length and color at David’s Bridal and asked them to confirm with me before they bought it just in case I hated the style or something, which I never did. Because I did this, two of my bridesmaids were even able to buy second hand dresses for way cheaper!
  • Buy your flowers wholesale! Everyone knows someone that can throw a flower arrangement together like nobody’s business. And boy did I! I bought all of our flowers at Costco, some online and some in store. Altogether I spent $250 on our flowers plus some small expenses for things like ribbon, floral tape, wire, and foam.
  • DIY people!!! Some things we did ourselves? I made chalkboard signs, wine bottle tiki torches,  and put together our guest book in a gorgeous blank leather book my mother-in-law bought for us. My husband made seed packets for our favors by printing the labels on blank seed packets and harvesting seeds from plants he propagated himself. My father-in-law built an arbor for us that was masterful. My mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and myself all brought decor items and serving-ware from home. My grandmother made a silk flower arrangement for the the foyer. AND we made our own invitations!!! I purchased 200 blank invitations that had envelopes, R.S.V.P. cards, and pretty little silver stickers for $13. My husband painted a watercolor mountain scene that we then scanned in for the background, then I designed the the text and hand wrote the addresses with a calligraphy pen.

There were a lot of ways that we could have done things even more affordably and opted not to, but ultimately I think that we successfully planned and hosted a wedding that we feel genuinely shared our love for each other and  the values we share as a couple with our friends and family. That is what made it perfect for us. Check out the pictures below and feel free to ask questions or share your wedding planning wisdom in the comments!

Cheers!

Shelby

Decor & Venue

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Pre-Ceremony

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Ceremony

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Reception

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Photo Credit: Shane Hunter

 

Taco Salad Meal Prep

My husband and I are really intentional about bringing our lunch to work. You save so much money AND it’s way healthier than eating out all the time. While he is content to eat peanut butter and jelly EVERY day, I’m too much of a snob for that. I gotten a lot better at cooking just enough for the two of us, so there aren’t always leftovers for me to grab for my lunch. Hence the meal prepping! I love cooking, but even my husband was a little confused when I finished making our dinner and proceeded to throw some chicken in the oven afterward haha!

This recipe is super easy, cheap, healthy, and tasty! So everything a girl could ever want in meal prepping right?! Okay. The cilantro pest was something I had to pull out my food processor for; which I love don’t get me wrong, but it is SUCH a pain to clean. You could probably get away with a nice blender or an electric coffee grinder though! This made enough for 5 meals for me, and you could even eat it with some tortilla chips, as a burrito, a taco or even just add rice to beef it up!

  1. Bake 2 chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. (40 minutes at 400°)
  2. While your chicken is baking – make your cilantro pesto: one bunch of cilantro (stems and all), 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, dash of salt, juice of one lime.
  3.  Let cool then cube and mix with 1 can of rinsed black beans, 1 package of frozen corn (cooked), juice of two limes, more of the same spices and Valentina!
  4. Cut up any other toppings you want! I did cheddar, onions, and cherry tomatoes. I would have done avocado too but I don’t think there is ONE ripe avocado in America right now!

And because I’m a super-fan of how affordable their groceries are, how awesome their produce is, and how eco-friendly their business model is … y’all should know that I got all of these ingredients except the olive oil at Aldi! Olive oil is one thing that I use SO much of that I normally buy it at Costco.

Happy prepping!

Shelby

My Type 1 Pregnancy

I am slowly learning that being a first time mom is full of surprises – and lots of belly butter! – but being Type 1 Diabetic adds some extra tidbits along the way. My conception story is a little less than conventional for a T1. You really pick up on that when the doctor seeing you at your third prenatal visit asks you, “So when are you planning to get pregnant?” … #awkward

When you have T1, pregnancy is supposed to be SUPER planned for. Or should be at least. When I found out I was pregnant I was still working to get my body into optimal baby mode. My sugars were wacky and my A1c was way too high…. 8.2 to be exact. At 8 weeks and 5 days (about a month and a half later) my A1c was down to 7.7! Small victories.

Today, at 10 weeks, I got set up on a Tandem insulin pump and I’m loving it already! I’m hoping that not having to deal with rounding my bolus units and having a flexible basal will fix the over/under correction problems I’ve been having and eliminate the crazy nighttime lows.

Because of my somewhat less than conventional T1 conception I was scrounging for resources as soon as I saw those double lines. I hadn’t had the month’s of tight control and training from a high risk OB to tell me what to expect! For any T1 ladies out there who are having a little surprise, or even if you are planning on getting pregnant, here are the things I couldn’t have lived without that first month! (both diabetes related and not!)

  1. JDRF’s Pregnancy Toolkit was so informative and comforting. If you are a type A Type 1 Diabetic this is the most comprehensive and least complicated guide to what steps you should take before pregnancy and how pregnancy changes the way you manage you diabetes – and it’s FREE! You can download the PDF from the link above and they’ll also send you a paper copy in the mail.
  2. What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I realize seems a little cliche and typical, but I LOVE how this book is organized and the way things are explained. Some books explain things in a more confusing way than your doctor, but this one talks you through things in a realistic and comfortable way. This latest edition also has great sections for your partner!
  3. Joining the Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy group on Facebook has been so comforting! I am only the second in my friend group to get pregnant and I don’t have any Type 1 friends near me that are women. In other words – this group is a wonderful resource for advice, product recommendations, and even just emotional support! It is a closed group so you will have to request to be added but it’s definitely worth the wait!
  4. My CGM. I’m not sure that I would recommend starting on a CGM after pregnancy because, since conceiving, my numbers have occasionally been inaccurate. HOWEVER! Since conceiving I have also had a much harder time feeling lows coming on and, had I not been wearing my CGM, I may not have noticed until it was too late. I’m very confident that my CGM has saved me from going to the ER on multiple occasions.
  5. SNACKS! I haven’t really struggled with morning sickness all that much but I am FOREVER hungry. We shop mostly at Aldi and some of my favorite snacks are their unsalted almonds, SimplyNature Organic Popcorn, Fit&Active string cheese, and oranges… or just fruit in general really!! My favorite thing about these snacks is that they’re all low carb and contain healthy fats and fiber.
  6. Coconut Oil and Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter – Two words ladies: BUTTER UP. My mother in law has had four kids and she told me to start lathering early. Not that I would argue with a little pampering, but this is one thing where I’m not really sure I want to take my chances. I like these two products because they don’t have crazy smells mainly, but I’m planning to try at least one more recommendation that I got from my cousin before I set my heart on one product. I’ll update when I do! 🙂

**disclaimer: I have not been paid by any of these companies to review their products, this is all my guaranteed very biased opinion.**

Real talk. Weird things are happening to my body AND my diabetes. Highlights? I had a lot more low blood sugars, my CGM readings were occasionally WAY off, and my bellybutton feels weird all the time! Haha 🙂

I’m so excited to be joining the ranks of motherhood and hope you fellow first time moms out there find this post helpful!

Cheers!

Shelby