Sweet Potato Walnut Mason Jar Salad

Mason jar salads are my go-to for quick and easy prepped lunches.  I'm obsessed with how fresh the keep everything and it's so easy to customize them to never get bored.  This week, I made sweet potato walnut jar salads and they turned out delicious.  I used mega mason jars (thank goodness for Irish Wake glasses!) to make big salads and they were super satisfying for lunch.
Mason Jar Salads
Making homemade dressing takes two extra minutes of work but really makes the salad.  Plus you aren't getting all the sugar and chemical additive junk that comes that regular dressing.  The recipe makes enough for four large jar salads so prep them for the week or share them with loved ones.
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Can't beat greens fresh from the garden!
21 Day Fix Mason Jar Salad
Sweet Potato Walnut Mason Jar Salad
1 Large Roasted Sweet Potato, cubed
2 Apples, cut into matchsticks
4 Cups Kale, Lettuce, Spinach Mix
1 Cup Toasted Walnuts
Honey Mustard Dressing (see recipe below)
Blend dressing and pour evenly into the bottom of four large mason jars.
Add walnuts to each jar.
Add apples and sweet potatoes.
Add lettuce, kale, and spinach.
Seal with lid and place in fridge.
Shake well and enjoy!
Sweet Potato Walnut Salad
Honey Mustard Dressing

2 T Honey
2 T Mustard

2 T Chopped Onion
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Add honey, mustard, onion, vinegar, salt and pepper to blender and blend until smooth.
Turn to low and slowly add olive oil until emulsified.

Go Green Meridian

While having lunch with my sweet friend Caitlin last week, she mentioned getting involved with Go Green Meridian.  It seemed like fate when a few days later we met Craig from Go Green at the farmer's market who told us to come check out the working hours on Wednesday.
Go Green Meridian Mississippi
Go Green Meridian is a club that "gather to talk about the ongoing sustainability initiatives in Meridian and how we can better serve our community."  More specifically, they are the organization that founded Love and Peas Community Garden, located behind Cater's Market.  The community garden is designed to support the local community in a couple of ways.  First, it is run by volunteers -avid gardeners to clueless but interested people like us - and encourages people to embrace the idea of "growing your own".  Second, a major portion of the produce grown in the community garden is donated to LOVE's Kitchen, providing local, fresh produce to the community in need.  Finally, schools and organizations bring their kids to the garden to learn about living sustainably and eating locally.Love and Peas Community Garden Meridian MS
Rob and I showed up on Wednesday, not sure at all what to expect.  We were put right to work - picking collard greens and bagging them for LOVE's kitchen.  We ended up sending two giant bags full of collard greens to the kitchen.  Next up was a little weeding to prepare for the next session of planting.  We ended our working session with planting some tomatoes.  I'm excited to see how these grow throughout the season (and how they compare to our tomato plants at home!)  It was fun to get involved in the community, get our hands dirty, and learn a little more about gardening.
Volunteer Community Garden Meridian MS
Whole Foods Meridian MS
Working hours from the Love and Peas Community Garden are 4-5 on Wednesday evenings and 9:30-10:30 on Saturday mornings.  Everyone is welcome, simply show up with a positive attitude and a willingness to work!  I am so excited to make it back to more working sessions and see how the garden progresses in the summer!
Eat Local Meridian MS

Friday Favorites

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"Treat Yo Self!" is the name of the game!  Sometimes you just need a little extrinsic motivation and hot pink sneakers and the polar fitness watch I've been eyeing were just the push I needed for my next challenge.....

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The Tone It Up Bikini Series!  I'm super excited to mix this challenge into my usual routine.  I have been a part of the Tone It Up Community for about two years and their philosophies on food, exercise, and life are very closely related to mine (now if only my abs could look like theirs! haha).  I plan to incorporate some parts of this challenge (the bombshell spells, the bootycall workouts, the daily challenges) with my normal 21 Day Fix routine (the meal plan, the workouts, etc).  I plan to post most of my check-ins here so come follow along!

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Shutterfly books are a labor of love but when I see that bright orange package in the mail, it makes it all completely worthwhile!  I wish I could say I am one of those people who can just upload the photos and hit "complete" but we all know I am a little too much of a perfectionist for that!  Trying to sort through 14,000 photos and narrow down to 20 pages worth is also a struggle!  BUT looking through the pages of our yearly books makes me so nostalgic and grateful for this beautiful life we've created.  I make a book for each year and our 2014 book finally arrived in the mail this week.  It's been so much fun looking at all of our books and reminiscing over our favorite places and memories.

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In an effort to pre-plan on a crazy busy weekday, I threw this super simple white turkey chili in the crockpot and it really saved the day!  It made enough for two big servings that night, and then two mason jars full to put in the freezer for "dinner in a pinch".  To make it, I browned some ground turkey (maybe like 2lbs?) and threw it in the crockpot with a can of salsa verde (I used this one), a mason jar of bone broth (beef broth would work fine too!), a chopped onion, a chopped green pepper, some cumin and some chili powder.  I let it cook all day long and then topped it with greek yogurt and fresh mozzarella for dinner.

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Last night we went to Harvest Grill to celebrate Blair's birthday and everything was delicious!  I had pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes, grilled brussel sprouts, and bacon and completely cleared my plate!  And the bread pudding that they brought out for dessert?  Amazing!

Earth's Bounty Meridian Farmers Market + Easter Weekend Recap

April 4th has been circled in my planner for months!  Not because of Easter weekend or any out of town visitors but because April 4th was the day the Farmer's Market re-opened for the season in Meridian!  Not only that, but it was supposed to be a BIG event downtown called Earth's Bounty to kick off farmers market season.  Rob and I loved going to the Palafox Market on Saturday mornings while we lived in Pensacola so I had my fingers crossed that we could continue that tradition here in Meridian.
Mimosas in Meridian, MS
 earth's bounty farmers market meridian
The Meridian farmer's market was not huge but, as usual, made up for what it lacked in size in extremely friendly vendors.  It was a cool morning but we grabbed mimosas/bloodys from a street vendor (only in Mississippi lol) and walked up and down, checking out all of the booths.  Everyone from the sausage guys to Denise with her sweet treats were more than happy to strike up a friendly conversation.  There is nothing I love more than friendly, welcoming people!  We left with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, sausages, and gluten free cinnamon crumb cakes.
farmers market in meridian ms
Meridian Farmers Market
On the way home, we managed to snag a couple of pallet and immediately headed back to town to Lowe's to get supplies for a little project.  It's still a work in progress but I will report back with the final results when we finish!
pallet projects
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We had a low key but wonderfully relaxing Easter at home in Meridian.  I made an Easter feast and we spent most of the day relaxing together before a busy week.
easter feast for two

Friday Favorites: 5 Minute Meals, Solo Flights, and Free La Croix

The Gathering At Livingston Mississippi
1.  The Gathering at Livingston
Is it reasonable to become "regulars" at a place an hour and a half from home?!?!  If so, we are going to be regulars at The Gathering.  This place just gets me.  Farm-to-table local food (and EVERYTHING is amazing!), the most drool-worthy decor, fun snacks and things to take home, the coolest location...everything is just so wonderful.  Not to mention, they have awesome free events like the gardening seminar we went to a few weekends ago.  Oh the things I would do have this place local!  For now, it will just have to be a treat when we visit Jackson...which let's be honest, is pretty often ;)
Five Minute Meals
2. Five Minute Meals
If you haven't tried this frozen garlic cauliflower, you are missing out!  We saw it at Sam's Club last week and after checking the ingredients (cauliflower, EVOO, sea salt, parsley, garlic) knew this would become a staple on our grocery list. (We eat a lot of cauliflower!)  It is perfect for making mashed cauliflower because it is ready in 3 minutes and already seasoned.  With just two more minutes, you can have dinner on the table and everyone convinced that you spent all day in the kitchen ;)
Solo flight in the T-45 NAS meridian
3. Rob's ridin' solo...again!
Rob flew his first solo flight in the T-45 this week which was super exciting!  I feel like this will be the turning point of our time in Meridian and that the rest will just fly by.  It's crazy to think that this is the third plane that he has flown in solo (solo in the T-6).  While he is excited to get his wings and finish, I just want to stay in this bubble of flight school forever :)  We celebrated with tableside s'mores at Harvest Grill which is officially one of my new favorite spots in Meridian!
The Best Yes Meridian Bible Study
4. The Best Yes
The neighborhood bible study that I am part of is currently reading "The Best Yes" by and I can't believe how perfect the timing has been of reading this book.  I feel like recently every time I have a question in my heart about how to handle something, the next chapter addresses it.  It's really helping me re-focus my anxious energy and prioritize my quiet time each day.
free la croix for a year
5. FREE La Croix for a YEAR!
This happened during a super busy time so I kind of forgot to share but I won a year supply of La Croix!  For this La Croix addict, it's a HUGE deal!  I go back and forth all the time on my favorite flavors: coconut, strawberry kiwi, or grapefruit but I also love passion fruit and apricot!  Like I said, I'm addicted!  (You can see my winning entry picture here!)

Acai Bowls + Shakeology Bowls {My new obsession!}

It's seemed like for months everywhere I turned I saw bloggers on vacation eating these mysterious "acai bowls" of what looked like delicious goodness.  I swear every time we visited a new city, I would google to see if I could find any smoothie shop or little cafe that sold them.  After a lot of empty searches, I decided to just try it out myself at home.  So what is an acai bowl?  Basically it's a REALLY thick smoothie, designed to be eating with a spoon out of a bowl, and topped with fresh fruit, granola, coconut, honey, peanut butter, whatever!  YUM, sold!
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The first step to making one at home was figuring out how to make this yummy but thick acai base.  While wandering around Whole Foods in Jackson, I realized that they sell these frozen Sambazon acai packets.  They are simply unsweetened (0g of sugar) frozen acai and the perfect base for an acai bowl.  I blended mine with a little bit of water until it was the thick consistency of ice cream.  As for toppings, feel free to get creative!  I always do something crunchy (granola, cereal, nuts), something fruity (strawberries, bananas, kiwi), something special (coconut, chia seeds, pomegranate seeds) and a little drizzle of something sweet (peanut butter, honey, maple syrup).
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I love acai bowls and they are such a tasty treat but since I am already drinking Shakeology everyday I thought to myself "I wonder if I could ever get my Shakeology thick enough to make a Shakeology acai bowl?!"  And with that, MAGIC!  This is my new favorite twist on my daily Shakeology and I love that the options are endless for flavors and toppings.  Plus Shakeology is already sweet enough for me that there is no need to add any honey or other sweeteners.  Tasty treat and healthiest meal of the day?  Sign me up!
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Shakeology Bowl
1 packet Shakeology
1 cup frozen fruit
1/4 cup liquid (almond milk, water, coconut water)
Toppings (fruit, granola, nuts, coconut, peanut butter, chia seeds, etc)

Add Shakeology, liquid, and frozen fruit to the blender.
Pulse on low and gradually increase speed, just until evenly blended (it should be thick like ice cream!)
Scoop into a bowl and add desired toppings.
Enjoy with a spoon :)

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