Cooking with Blue Apron.

August 31, 2015

I have to admit, I tend to have a set of recipes that feel comfortable to me and I normally just stick to them. But in the past 6 months I have really tried to break out of that. And when Blue Apron a service that delivers fresh ingredients in a refrigerated box, all packaged in the right amounts for the recipes to make three different meals, reached out I got so excited to branch out and try something new in the kitchen!

Plus, all their recipes are so incredibly gorgeous, I can never actually believe it that I cook these dishes all on my own! 

To me, it can be so intimidating to tackle a new recipe filled with new ingredients but what I love SO much about Blue Apron is that everything you need comes right to you!! Including step by step instructions and even photos! All beautiful, fresh ingredients right to your doorstep. 

^ step by step instructions with photos! ^

Not only did it push us to try new recipes but also because the ingredients come in the exact proportions, we aren't wasting anything since I don't have to buy a huge jar of expensive spices for a recipe that I may not make again for awhile. 

^^ When it comes to your door, everything is labeled in individual packages making it incredibly easy to work with. Once I pulled what I needed for the first recipe, then I just poured my ingredients into individual bowls. ^^^

^^^ aren't these cards amazing?? seriously, takes the intimidation out of the kitchen! Six simple steps all written out for you with photos. ^^^

A couple other recipes I’ve been eyeing to try is the Turkey Sloppy Joes and Summer Corn & Vegetable Chowder! Check out all of the amazing recipes here!

All of the recipes take 40 minutes or less and my kiddos absolutely loved getting in the kitchen with me and helping step by step! 

Being in the kitchen together is so special. Having my babies throwing chopped potatoes in a pot, having them help me set the table. Special memories happen around a table. 

“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It's about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” ― Shauna Niequist,

Blue Apron allows you to create delicious, chef-designed recipes at home. Seriously gorgeous recipes! 

They deliver the all the farm-fresh ingredients you need, right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions. Offering two types of plans, the 2-Person Plan and Family Plan, you will be sent a curated menu of three recipes based on your dietary preferences

The 2-Person Plan will set you up with one delivery a week, each with three inventive meals for two. The price for this plan is $9.99 per person per meal. Shipping is always free.

The Family Plan is perfect for feeding a family of four. With this plan you can opt to receive one or two deliveries per week, each delivery consisting of two meals to be served family-style. The price for this plan is $8.74 per person per meal. Shipping is always free!!
~ their recipes are delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients will stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives. 

There’s no commitment – you can skip or cancel the service at any time!  Isn't that great?! 

Ingredients are incredibly fresh and sourced from quality local suppliers and artisans. 

Chefs in training around the world wear blue aprons – it’s a symbol of lifelong learning in cooking.
AND Blue Apron is available nationwide and FINALLY IN TEXAS! woot!

I have been asked this before and wanted to share, each menu is between 500-700 calories per person.

First 20 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order!

* post is sponsored by Blue Apron but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

lately in photos.

August 30, 2015

simple life. oils in the morning.

August 28, 2015

In September I am going to begin sharing about how simple oils have made my life. I know, the opposite of what you think. New way of doing things? Intimidated, overwhelmed.

 Not so much, they have made everything more simple. I will do a series of posts and show you some of the ways. 

So, here goes. One post a little early!

This is our morning routine involving oils and Young Living products! 

The kids wake up with something wonderful diffusing, lately it is lavender but it's always changing! 

"Lavender’s aroma is great for relaxing and winding down before bedtime; add to bath or diffuse to create a calming and comforting environment."

In the morning, wake up and use the Thieves toothpaste and Thieves mouthwash
The kids use the Kidscents toothpaste.

" This safe, yet effective, blend promotes healthy teeth without the use of fluoride, dyes, synthetic colors, artificial flavors, or preservatives."

Let me stop you here, get the "think dirty app" and start looking at what is in alot of your "everyday" products, eeek no thanks right? They are sneaky! Even ones I thought were okay really snubbed me! 

Chris makes a smoothie with either Young Living's Balance Complete or new Pure Protein complete. I grab various pre-made rollers that I have made specifically for Aiden and roll them on him before school. 

We also love all of the vitamins from Young Living and take these in the morning. The kidscents "mighytvites" vitamins are awesome! 

For me, I put Joy, Valor and Stress Away on. 
They are my everyday musts! 

If you are a mama, the kidscents collection is AMAZINGGGG.
all already mixed and formulated for your little ones. 

" This arsenal of proprietary blends has been formulated in the appropriate strength to meet the needs of children, and they are safe, natural alternatives to comparable products found on many store shelves."

The neat thing about oils is that I believe they are empowering. I really believe God has provided us with these natural tools, they are the best! 

For the morning routine, I use the Mint Scrub on my face - loveeee the way the mint makes me feel early in the morning! Then I throw a load of laundry in with the Thieves laundry detergent. I also use wool dryer balls and throw a few drops of my favorite oils on those when moving clothes over to the dryer. 

So here I am keeping things simple, this is just a few oily things we do in the morning...a new post soon for what comes next in our day! 

And you can always find more info here

The price of the starter kit goes up after this weekend- ( right now it is $10 off)! 

while you are away.

August 26, 2015

There are visual reminders of you everywhere. Sweet little dinosaurs and dragons, little drawings taped by my desk, a jersey by my bed, your shoes slumped by the back door, your empty carseat.

Oh how we long for 3:00. 

I often feel silly or alone in these feelings but for the sensitive mama that is missing their baby off to school for the first time, these vulnerable words are for you. 

Ainsleigh and I say over and over all day, "don't forget to tell Aiden that when he gets home!"
Then she asks every hour how much longer?

The jump from 2 day kindergarten to 5 day first grade is stretching me. It's stretching you. Us navigating all of it together. 

I am not sure if I have ever second guessed my self more than I did that first day.
But then today I feel better. My confidence is rising back up. 

We were walking into church and I had that huge lump in my throat. I had been teetering on the edge of tears all day and knew at any moment the floodgate was going to breakthrough. The huge change of going to school everyday and busy weekends was already creating that anxious feeling in my heart. The huge change of going from us all being together every second to now one of our own gone for such a huge part of our week..... All those sneaky lies " did I make the right choice?" " are we doing this right?".

Recently we did a day of "life maps" with our community group through church and one of the many things that I took away was how much our childhoods shape us, the gravity there. The lies sealed into our hearts, the circumstances, the people we meet and how they shape us, those feelings that are hard to navigate as a small child. I can't help but realize the weight of responsibility in my hands. 

It is so so hard for me to let go of my kiddos. I KNOW it's best in my heart, but it doesn't make my struggle any less hard. Will it always be so hard for me? 

This morning as I was reminding myself of all the prayers and confirmations that have gone into our Aiden's school. A school we LOVE, that he LOVES, a teacher he adores, priceless friendships, the way he thrived last year, a school that shapes souls just as much as they teach education....that He is with him always, even when I cannot be. Those hard situations that happen away from me will help him grow. Giving him that chance to spread his precious wings. Giving him the chance to bless other people and also to learn from them and be blessed in return. 

Even just in 2 days the nervous conversations have faded and the excitement has taken over. Already I can see you beginning to take flight. 

I love them each so much, if I could shield them from everything always I would. I would take every last heartache so that they wouldn't have to. But that isn't how He designs it right? 

He makes it so that we give them the right tools to handle the falls.
Reminding myself its a BLESSING to have the opportunity to watch them grow and move through stages. It's a blessing to watch our kiddos gain their independence.

We miss you my sweet A... hope these school days start to feel shorter for your mama little man! 


August 25, 2015


Mary Beth Johnson is a wife and mum to four schooners, as she's dubbed her children. On a normal afternoon, you would find her in moccasins, skinny jeans and a comfortable tee, camera in hand. Recently moving to the suburbs of Atlanta, Mary Beth spends her days homeschooling, sneaking away to the bookstore, trying to act the part of a southerner, and sifting through recipes in The Vegetarian Times. Food is her love language.

I have a half-marathon planned for the fall. 
I say "planned" because I have done this once before and became pregnant with our little Hugh midway through the program. Unlike the last time, I am going at it alone here and I have learned much along the way. The runs on the weekends are longer and quieter (and hotter!) and I miss the laughter with the distracting chatter of my girlfriends, but in the stillness and the open spaces between heavy breaths I am learning new and different lessons. Lessons on prayer and discipline and bringing our thoughts captive to God. Lessons on living with less and ordering our days with purpose. In the blissful quiet I plan and dream and hope for the future. Things I probably wasn't ready to learn or hope for two years ago, but through God's grace I am able to now.

I have a deeper appreciation for the process of living and becoming with every bone that aches just a bit more than the previous year. These quiet moments remind me that there is no fast track or easier route, we must plug in the miles and run each step with resolve. May we be found faithful.

Most mornings after a run I crave a smoothie for breakfast. It's still so hot here and even the air conditioning in our van can't keep up. ;) I wanted to mix things up last weekend and tried this banana shake with vanilla protein powder - it was so refreshing. The original recipe calls for coconut milk, but I used almond instead. Feel free to mix and match with your own preferences.

Makes 2

2 cups almond or coconut milk
4 large pitted Medjool dates, chopped up
1/2 scoop vanilla protein of choice (optional)
one small banana, preferably frozen
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 cups crushed ice
splash of orange juice

In a blender, combine the almond/coconut milk, dates, protein (if using), banana, cinnamon, ice and splash of oj. Blend everything together well until the dates are in tiny pieces and everything is smooth. Adjust with as splash of this or that as desired and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon. Enjoy cold.

Q Handmade Giveaway.

August 24, 2015

Words can't really describe what these beautiful necklaces mean to me. 

My word for the year was freedom . So having this sweet visual reminder of something I am confident God placed on my heart has meant the world to me. A necklace that will always be cherished. Then to have a second necklace with all my loves names is so priceless. 

I can imagine what a meaningful gift this would be or something special to purchase for yourself. 
Excited to share Q Handmade with you today!  

"I am a native Southern California girl. Mama of two sweet, wild boys (ages 8 & 5) and wife to an amazingly talented filmmaker. Before becoming a mama, I worked in television as a Camera Operator, traveling all over the world shooting shows. I started making necklaces after my first (Tanner) was born and it took off. I have a workshop in my home and make everything from hand-stamped jewelry to handmade wire wrap earrings and other pieces. It's been such a blessing to have a creative outlet and a flexible schedule so I can be home with my boys. When I'm not making jewelry, I shoot photos as well as playing guitar, writing music & hitting the beach. I love that each piece I make tells a story: whether it's names, a phrase, verse,'s inspiring. I have been honored to be a part of proposals, weddings, TV shows, births & passings. I am grateful for the moments I get to chronicle through my jewelry."

Use coupon code CASEYLEIGH15 for 15% off your order, good through the end of August.

Giveaway: Sterling Silver Twist Necklace or 14K gold-fill bar necklace.