What is that Mitchell’s Project all about? Part 1

If you follow me on social media you may have noticed that I have been posting a lot about Mitchell’s Project. 

Back in early December a friend of mine asked if I would be willing to help with paint colors etc on a local construction project for a young man (her brother-in-law, but also my sister-in-law’s cousin- confused yet? :)) with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

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Mitchell has suffered from a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) since he was born. This disease does not allow his muscles grow and therefore his condition similar to that of a quadriplegic – someone that is paralyzed from the neck, down.

The house he lives in with his parents is very small and it makes life difficult for Mitchell while trying to get around in his wheelchair. Mundane tasks like preparing a meal, going to the bathroom, showering, or brushing his teeth are overly complicated and take up much of his day.

Despite his limitations, Mitchell is an extremely generous person. He volunteers hours of his time every week to a local organization that helps those with drug addictions overcome their personal obstacles. 

So a group of people got together to help Mitchell overcome some of his own daily obstacles that are due to his debilitating physical condition.
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They have converted the unfinished basement in his parent’s house to a fully handicap-friendly living environment for Mitchell.

The basement is complete with wheelchair-height counters, refrigerator, and remote control doors and windows.

And here is where I come in.

While they had lots of donations for labor and materials, not much had been done in the way of furnishings etc.

After helping with paint colors, counter-tops, tile – I got on the phone to local and online businesses asking for donations or discounts on furniture and accessories.

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Thankfully I had great success. Almost everyone I contacted was so generous.

We are finalizing all the finishing touches on Saturday. Next week I will post the DIY desk project that my husband made and after photos.

They are still short on funds for finishing up some of the construction. If you would like to give click on the photo above for the gofundme site. 

*photos and description taken from the Mitchell’s Project facebook page.

Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins | thedomesticlady.com

Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had a bag a kale in the fridge and bananas in the freezer, and I needed a breakfast item for the week.

And that’s about as hard as I thought about creating this recipe.

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 Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
(printer-friendly version→ Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins)
Yield: 12 Muffins
Ingredients
  • 3 small bananas, over-ripe
  • 1 cup kale (chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or sub dairy milk)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 1-1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all purpose and 2/3 cup whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Topping

  • brown sugar
  • old fashion oats
  • chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or electric mixer),  mash the bananas and kale. Add the vanilla, egg, oil and milk. Mix well. Add the sugars and stir again.
  4. Using a spatula, stir in the cocoa powder, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until the cocoa is completely incorporated. Stir in the salt and baking soda, then gently fold in the flour and chocolate chips, until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, brown sugar, and oats.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the muffin tops look set. Remove from the oven and place the muffins on a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room-temperature.
  7. Keeps up to 5 days, refrigerated.

Back Problems, My Undiet, and Fitbit

I started working out again on a semi-consistent basis back in May 2014.

Since then I fell off the bandwagon twice and changed gyms once.

Mid September I hurt my lower back (because I just overdid it at work) but ignored it which is never a good plan.

By mid October, I was in so much pain. I could barely walk for two days, and I missed several days at work.

I am not a wimp when it comes to pain, but it was SO BAD. I cried as I tried to get off the sofa.

After about 5 weeks of therapy I am pretty much back to normal.  (Thank you, Dr. Shride!)

But it was a huge wake up call. I need to take better care of myself.

And at this point it’s not really about losing weight, I just want to feel healthy again.

So since December I have been working out 4x to 5x a week (usually only 30 min).  I mix yoga, Pilates, cardio, and weight machines so I don’t get bored during the week.

And eating wise I am not on any sort of “diet.”

I am simply watching my calorie intake, increasing plant based foods, and reducing animal fats in my diet (dairy and meat).

Some days I do really well and other days we go out to eat for dinner and all the calorie counting goes out the window.

But for the first time in my life I am not stressing about it.

And the reason why is because I am using FitBit.

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It has been life changing.

Instagram: Christmas arm candy #fitbit #citizenecodrive #baublebar

Seriously.

I have used pedometers in the past, but I was never really happy with the ones I owned.

Tracking food/water consumption and exercise has never been easier. All the info downloads to my phone.

And it makes me SUPER aware of how much (or how little) I am moving which I have found is really important when you sit at a desk all day.

I am actually excited to to grocery shopping because I know I will be able to get more steps in:)

It even tracks my sleep habits.

If you are looking for assistance at getting healthier this year, I highly recommend it.

Kudos to my husband for gifting it to me for Christmas!

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I will try to give a monthly update for at least a couple months to let you know how I am doing.

Monday Randomness: The Thing About Vacations

I am still on my social media fast for a few more days, but I thought I would share what I have been up to.

I wish I could say I accomplished lots of home DIY projects during my time off over the holidays.

But let’s be honest: all I wanted to do was eat fudge and binge watch TV in my pajamas.

At one point Joe left for a errand and when he returned at 5pm I had already put my pjs on for the evening. He said, “Isn’t a little early for those?” Don’t worry, I set him straight.

During my time off I did discover two new favorite things.

The Serial Podcast.

And the cooking show Nigellissima (found on Hulu and the Cooking Channel).

The great thing about podcasts is that I can work on cleaning out my pantry while listening which I actually did while eating fudge. 2014-12-15-serialsociallogo

Nigellissima is sorta seductive in it’s production, but I have already made her meatballs with sauce. They were divine! So I will suffer though the lounge-esqe music in order to get those low-maintenance recipes.

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I hope you had a great holiday season.

Have a great week!

What I Bought My Husband for Christmas

While I would consider my tastes rather high maintenance because I like what I like and rarely stray, my husband’s tastes are a whole other breed of high maintenance.

High maintenance in the sweetest way.

Beware, this is going to get a little sappy.

He prefers the familiar which is difficult when buying gifts because how can I buy something new that is also familiar too?

I am a poet and didn’t know it.

Anyway, this is especially true when it comes to clothing.

The longer he has owned it the better. Holes in garments does not mean they are no longer worn.

And he will only purchase one brand and style of socks. No other brands are even under consideration.

But I digress.

I realized two years ago that the best gift to him would be to find new versions of the same shirts he loves so dearly but I refuse to let him wear because they have SO many holes.

So I set out on a ebay quest to find and replace his shirts.

So the long story short is I bought him gently used shirts for Christmas.

Shirts that he already owns but without holes. Thankfully most of them are the Columbia brand so they aren’t too hard to find.

And I loved the look of confusion/delight when he opened of box of what looked like his laundry on Christmas morning.

And he said, “Hey the shirts won’t even need to be washed a bunch to be comfortable because someone else has already broken them in.”

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Chipotle Raspberry Meatballs | thedomesticlady.com

I hope Santa brought you lots of presents, and you are filled with peace and joy from this Christmas season.

But now we are on to the New Year’s holiday so put your tree away and put on your party hat.


These meatballs cannot be more simple.

Gourmet? No. But delicious? Yes!

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wpid-img_20141221_152241.jpgChipotle Raspberry Meatballs (printer-friendly version →Chipotle Raspberry Meatballs)

serves a crowd

  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 1/3 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 jar of raspberry preserves
  • 3.5 lbs frozen meatballs (2- 28 oz bags)

Oven Directions:

In a food processor or blender combine the first three ingredients. Set aside the BBQ mixture.

Place meatballs in a large baking dish, pour the BBQ over the meatballs and toss to coat evenly.

Bake uncovered at 350ºF for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm.

Slow Cooker directions: 

In a food processor or blender combine the first three ingredients. Set aside the BBQ mixture.

Place meatballs in the slow cooker insert, pour the BBQ over the meatballs and toss to coat evenly.

Heat on low for 2-3 hours. Serve warm.

My Cheap Chic Wedding Outfit | thedomesticlady.com

Around Thanksgiving my baby brother James and his girlfriend  Virginia surprised my family with the news that they would be getting married Christmas Eve.

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While the fact that they would be getting married was not a surprise (they have only been “dating” since 6th grade or so), the fact that the formal wedding was only 30 days away was a surprise.

And like any girly girl my first thought was “What will I wear?”

And since it is Christmas time which is usually very expensive I set out to make my outfit as inexpensive as possible.

I purchased this jumpsuit from Target which I thought was really cute and appropriate for a formal evening wedding.

But unfortunately it had REALLY ugly buttons on it (not pictured in the photo online). They looked like spikes from a dog collar.

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So I took a trip to Hobby Lobby for some buttons for about $2.

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I simply replaced the buttons and had a new outfit for the wedding for under $25!

And of course I forgot to get a picture of myself in the outfit but I promise it was cute :)

Congrats James and Virginia!

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photo stolen from my sister-in-law’s facebook page :)

White Chicken Chili | thedomesticlady.com

I have never tried a chicken chili that I liked.

Usually the texture/blandness turns me off.

This recipe on the other hand is a winner.

Winner winner chicken soup dinner. And to top it off it’s dairy free and gluten free.

It is definitely worthy of a Christmas or New Year’s get together.

Although I can’t take credit for the whole recipe, I changed it enough that I can call it pretty original to me.

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White Chicken Chili (with no canned soups or mixes) printer-friendly version → White Chicken Chili

serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 2 cans white beans (drained, and rinsed)
  • 1 tube of frozen creamed corn (2 cans of creamed corns also works)
  • 1 package frozen corn
  • 1 can chopped mild green chiles
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4-6 tbsp. salsa verde

Garnish options:

Sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese, tortillas chips

 Directions: Cook onion, garlic, cumin in hot oil in a Dutch oven, uncovered over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover and let the flavors combine over low heat for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour.

Slower cooker: Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.
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I used my homemade frozen chicken stock for this recipe.
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Food Christmas Gifts for 2014

This year I am putting together Christmas tins full of goodies for neighbors, friends, coworkers etc.

And you know the best part?

All the items (except for pretzels) can be made in advance and frozen making for a stress-free holiday season.

Here are the recipes I am using this year. I specifically picked items without frosting making freezing a breeze.

(click the photo for the full recipe)

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Funfetti Gooey Butter Cookies
Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sticks
Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sticks
Reese’s Pretzel Bites
Reese’s Pretzel Bites
Cinnamon-Chocolate Fudge
Cinnamon-Chocolate Fudge

And if your loved ones are not close enough to hand deliver homemade goods I highly recommend Dorthy Lane Market for shipped baked goods.

I have used them many times with great success.

Original Killer Brownie
Original Killer Brownie

Monday Randomness: I have been peeling a banana wrong my whole life and cold-pocalypse

How did I not know how to peel a banana properly? With no strings attached literally?

Apparently I have been doing it wrong my whole life.

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 In other news, I convinced the Grinch Joe that we needed to get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

It took some persuasion, but I won in the end.

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I got the whole house decorated in under 4 hours which totally made me feel like super woman.

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There is not a torch at the top of my tree. Those are just my fine photography skills (aka I look a picture of the side of my star topper on accident)

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But it was good that I did  get it done early because shortly after I was struck with the plague and have been suffering with cold-pocalypse.

Seriously the cold/allergies of the decade.

Ugh. 12 days of this nonsense.

This bottle has been my besty for days.

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I am hoping that by the time this posts I will be feeling better because I can’t take another day of walking around with Kleenex stuck up my nose just to function semi-normally.

As semi-normally as one can function while having a Kleenex stuck up one’s nose.

It’s just too much to bear.

Happy Monday!