Results

This moment is one I will always remember.

“It’s really bad. The results are bad”. My heart sank and I pulled into the parking lot with my chattering toddler in the back seat. I hadn’t gone with my husband to his infusion this time, like I usually did. We were waiting on the usual biopsy results from his most recent endoscopy. This was our normal now. He had Infusions every 6 weeks, and multiple endoscopies each year. However, up until this moment, things have been improving. Not today.

When my husband and I first met, he was open in sharing with me that he been dealing with Ulcerative colitis for years. I learned about the history of what he had been through since being diagnosed in high school. He had been on tons of medication, struggled to live a normal life, even being housebound for almost a year. At the time, I had never even heard of it before. As we started dating, I quickly learned what colitis was, and how drastically it affected his life. Dates included multiple bathroom trips. I was often left alone for long periods of time when we would spend time together. He was always in pain, though he rarely let on. It was something that affected his work, his sleep, his eating, and his free time. Everything.

He was always happy. He never complained about dealing with it all. Some days were better then others, but it was always there.

It was hard to learn my place in this. To know that he was suffering, locked in a prison of a bathroom, bleeding. Always bleeding. I learned how to be supportive however I could.

I knew that signing up to do life with this amazing man meant being along for the ride of his health struggles. It didn’t matter. I was so quickly falling in love with this incredible person. I knew no matter what, I wanted to be a part of his future.

In the beginnings of our relationship, he was on prednisone. He hated it. As does basically everyone who has to take it. It made him angry, short tempered, itchy, and he had an insatiable hunger. Although his colitis symptoms were improving, there was an entire new set of issues to deal with. We continued to monitor his health through semiannual endoscopies.

Shortly after we were married, he had another test, and this time his Doctor became concerned that what we were doing to treat his colitis simply wasn’t enough. She encouraged us to consider remicade. The idea of him becoming immunocompromised was scary, but after much research and prayer, untimely something we decided to do. And thus began our new routine of Michael receiving regular infusions. It’s a jarring reality when you see “chemo” come up on a statement from your insurance company. As nerve-racking as it was to begin his treatments, we were so thankful once he began. It was incredible the difference he felt with the new medication. His newfound freedom with Remicade helped us through our first season of marriage, my first (and difficult) pregnancy with our son, and us deciding to build our first home and relocate. It was a Godsend. Not only was he feeling so much better, but his new scans were reflecting what we suspect was happening internally. His Colitis was improving! There was less inflammation, and much of his colon (apart from his left side) looked considerably different.

We were hopeful.

And then I got that call. That call, when I was going grocery shopping. When I normally would have been with my husband at his appointment. “It’s really bad. The results are bad.” We didn’t see it coming. And didn’t anticipate the journey it would take us on. But ultimately, that dark day brought on one incredible blessing:

Michaels Healing.

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Sheppards Pie

I’ve been craving this for a few weeks now. So today, on this rainy Sunday I decided to make it! I seem to make it a little differently each time, but this one was particularly yummy so I thought I’d share.

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Here is what you’ll need :

  • 1 lb Lean ground beef
  • 2 TBS of olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup corn (defrosted)
  • 1/2 bottle of Guinness (trust me)
  • 1/2 cup of beef stock
  • 2 1/2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1TBS worcestershire sauce

For crust :

  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

(to prepare potatoes: boil peeled potatoes until soft. Mash with mixer or by hand, and add in half and half, butter, and salt and pepper to taste)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400

  1. Heat up olive oil in a large pan until warm.
  2. Add onion and carrots and cook through until soft.
  3. Add in ground beef, and brown with the onion and carrot.
  4. sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. If there is any excess grease, drain.
  6. Sprinkle in flour, and stir to combine (this will help thinking sauce later).
  7. Add in the tomato paste, beef stock, worcestershire sauce, and guinness.
  8. combine, stirring well, and bring to a boil.
  9. reduce heat, and let simmer for about 10 min, or until sauce has thickened a bit
  10. stir in peas and corn
  11. transfer meat mixture to baking dish.
  12. top with a thin layer of prepared mashed potatoes.
  13. sprinkle potatoes with the sharp cheddar cheese.
  14. Bake for approximately 30 min or until you see the potato crust turn golden brown.

Let rest 10-15 min once you remove from the oven before serving.

Eat. Smile. Savor. 🙂

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(look at that amazing crust!)

Although this recipe is a bit labor intensive, it is SO delicious. It also makes for a great make ahead meal. You can freeze a prepared pie, and pop it in the oven whenever you’d like to have it!

*if you wanted to save time, you could always used the already prepared potatoes from the grocery store.

* I had lots of extra potatoes as I decided to use a smaller pan. I just popped them in the fridge to use later this week for the kids.

Crock pot Italian chicken soup

It’s been raining. For basically three weeks. It’s starting to get cool outside, so I’ve been itching to start in on fall recipes. I woke up today I woke up with a killer headache, so I was thinking I wanted to make something in the crock pot in case i still wasn’t feeling better later. Nothing screams “comfort food” like a day such as this.

I wanted to use up some of all the extra veggies I had in before we started another week of meal planning. I used what I had leftover, however, this is definitely one of those recipes that you could use basically anything you wanted, and it would be delicious! This is my list of ingredients :

  • Three chicken breasts
  • 1 TBS of olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery (rough chopped)
  • about cup of baby carrots ( rough chopped)
  • one small onion ( diced)
  • 2 small white potatoes (rough chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cut green beans
  • 1/2 can of cannellini beans
  • one 32 oz box of organic chicken stock (homemade would be great!)
  • 1 seasoning packet of italian seasoning
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • white pepper

I cleaned the chicken breasts and put them at the bottom of the crock pot. I chopped my veggies, and sautéed the onion, carrots and celery for a few minutes until they started to soften. I then put them on top of the chicken, and added in the chopped potatoes, green beans, and 1/2 can of cannellini beans. I emptied my packet of seasoning into the chicken stock, whisked to combine, and poured it on top of my chicken and veggies. I cooked on low for 5 hours. I then removed my chicken breasts, shredded them, and returned the chicken back into the crock pot. Next, I added a little black pepper, and white pepper to taste ( We like a lot of our soups a little spicy). I stirred everything well, and I cooked for 1 more hour. Serve, and enjoy!

I served it with a few shakes of Romano cheese on top 🙂

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(sorry for the lack of a better picture. My head is still pounding, so I just snapped one with my phone)

It was super delicious! I think next time I’ll also throw in some diced tomatoes. We’re limiting carbs, so I chose not to add any pasta, but I also think it would be great with some tiny pasta, like ditalini.

This was hubby and kid approved.

What are your favorite fall soups to make?

Sweet Potato Brownies?

We’re back to eating clean.

However, today I needed chocolate. ha.

I saw a post yesterday on instagram from fit2fat2fitwife for brownies. The picture was amazing, but then I read “sweet potato brownies”. I was hesitant. We decided to give them a shot since I had the ingredients around.

This is her Recipe, but I wanted to repost because they were really really good!

Sweet Potato Brownies:

servings : 9

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, Melted
  • 1/2 cup sweetener ( I used Agave, but you can use Xyitol, honey, sugar or sugar substitute)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • optional ( can sprinkle on a few chocolate chips on top before baking)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. use a knife or fork to puncture the sweet potato before baking it until cooked through (mine took about 40 min)
  3. Once your potato is cooked, peel the skin and mash it up in a bowl
  4. turn oven down to 350 degrees
  5. Add sweetener, vanilla, whisked eggs, and melted coconut oil. Mix
  6. Add coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix
  7. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with coconut oil and pour in mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if you decide to add them!
  8. Bake for 30-35 min or until toothpick comes out clean
  9. let them cool. enjoy!

Each serving has (without chocolate chips) 102 calories, 3 g protein, 8 g fat, 113 mg sodium, and 15 g carbs.

We really liked them! My hubby (who i refused to tell the ingredients to until after he had tried one), and my son loved them! Definitely satisfied the need for something sweet!

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Simple and Delicious Chicken Thighs

I don’t know that you can even classify this as a “recipe”. It’s basically just simple roasted chicken, using thighs. I make whole roasted chicken fairly frequently around here. It’s easy, healthy, and everybody likes it! We planned on grilling out some chicken thighs one night, and it started pouring. So i decide to roast them in the oven instead!

So. Good.

The Skin gets super crispy, and the rest is just fall of the bone tender. Plus, it’s budget friendly. For tonights dinner, I got 2- 4 packs for $3.72 each. I usually make double what we will eat, because it makes for great left overs as well!

You simply Clean however many chicken thighs you want to cook. (I made 8 this time around). Once your chicken is cleaned and patted dry, you can lay them in a roasting pan, or even better on a rack in a roasting pan. I wasn’t able to find mine, so I put them right at the bottom of the pan.

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Once they are lined up, lightly sprinkle with Whatever seasoning you desire. I used a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper,a little salt and a bit of dry mustard. Basically anything you have around would work great. Lightly top each thigh with each of your seasonings.

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Now, just pop them in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour (Or until skin is nice and crispy and chicken is cooked through).

That’s literally it.

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Your house will be smelling amazing, and I promise these are yummy! When they’re done, serve them up with a simple green salad, or some brown rice and steamed veggies.  You can even make a quick pan gravy to top your rice with if you’d like!

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Why am I starting this, anyway?

The past year has been life changing. Michael and I have walked through some things that have changed our future. With what started as a terrifying few months last year, God unfolded into a beautiful testimony which we are eager to share. Since most of it is Michael’s story, Im gong to be waiting to share in full detail until he first has the opportunity to.

I am so thankful and so humbled when i think back to where we were last year, and where we are now. We knew after receiving our news, that if God was going to allow this to take place in our lives, there must be purpose in it. We want to help others who have to make the same decisions we did.

In a season where we battled so many fears, had so many questions, and were holding on to Gods promises as closely as we could, God put so many people in our path to encourage us with hope for the future. And now were living it. So what better way to celebrate our gift of life, then to encourage others who may have to walk the same path.

So, we decided to blog. It seems like a good place to start. Creating a place to share our story, our struggles, and ultimately our joy.

I’m going to use this blog as a source for thoughts, information, hope, and transparency.

I hope to be sharing about our story of the past year. I also want to share about my life as wife to Michael and mama to my precious babies. I will be writing about  faith, my current journey to health, and my passion for cooking, creativity, and all else that is Kaitlyn.

I Know Michael’s story will help someone. I’m hopeful that my story is of relevance. I will write with the optimism that can share my perspective of things and encourage another spouse who may be walking the same path.

Here’s to blogging!