Things To Be Thankful For

So this week has pretty much  been dominated by one thing: snow! I had no idea what was ahead on Monday evening when I went on a walk with my sweet grandlittle. The weather then was a bit chilly, but bearable. Who would have thought that the creek that we traipsed across on Wednesday afternoon would have been frozen solid the next day? Not this girl.

On Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to spend the entire day in the comfort of my own home unlike so many others. I slept in a bit and was so happy when I woke up to a winter wonderland. However, I panicked when I turned on the TV to see roads in the metro area were becoming impassable, especially knowing that John was working at the hospital and would be for awhile. I had pretty much given up on the idea of him coming home for the night- until he called after he'd finished work to tell me he was walking home. As you can imagine, I was not happy about the idea of him walking up icy hills in the dark with a dying cell phone, but he was adamant. So, I prayed really hard and before I knew it- he was home! Thank goodness he is in shape and had fairly warm clothes on! As soon as he walked in the door I handed him some hot cocoa (not compliant to WLC, but who cares?)and ran him a warm bath. Even after walking 4 miles uphill in the snow, he was in such good spirits and kept talking about what a wonderful story it was going to make to tell our children. Even though it made me a nervous wreck, I was happy and felt pretty loved knowing that he would walk through those conditions just to be home with Henry and me.

The next day, John and I braved the icy roads for a trip down to the Western because we heard that it was open. John has made friends with one of the employees there since we go in 2-3 times each week. So, we wanted to make sure that he was ok and had everything he needed. Luckily Western has an amazing deli plus it's a grocery store. So, food wise he was good, but he was exhausted! The man told us he had walked to work from Glen Iris on Tuesday and had spent the night on the check out counter!! What a dedicated employee! When we asked if he needed anything, he jokingly said that he wanted a "hot tub". I told him we had a bath tub with hot water, but no hot tub. He laughed and said to John "Aren't you a doctor? You should definitely have a hot tub!" So, as soon as John gets his M.D., I guess a hot tub will go on the wish list.

Excuse my appearance. I have no warm clothes. So, I'm dressed in the John Lyles Collection.

In other news, Whole Life Challenge is in full swing here at the Lyles' household. Even though I was afraid it would be a little difficult to go cold turkey on sweets (among other things), it hasn't been half bad! I feel that the Challenge has also made me become really creative with my cooking and so far (knock on wood), everything has been tasty! Here's a look at some of meals that I've been cooking up...

From L to R: Grilled Chicken and Berry Salad w/Homemade Apple Cider Vinaigrette; Turkey Meatloaf, Sauteed Spinach, Cauliflower "Rice", & Carrots w/Hummus; Lemon-Basil Salmon & Shrimp, Spinach & Pepper Salad, & Cauliflower "Rice" (leftover); Chicken Sausage with Tomato Sauce, Grilled Peppers & Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes 
Some of my other favorite meals have included: chicken-avocado salad, homemade turkey chili full of veggies, & yummy almond milk smoothies. Even though we don't ever really eat unhealthy things, with the exception of sweets and baked goods, this is most definitely the healthiest I have eaten in my life and I love it so far! Of course, I'm not going to lie- I caved on Tuesday during the snow storm and ate some delicious homemade M&M cookies that our friends delivered to us (thank you Elizabeth and Geoff)! No regrets about that either. Another one of our neighbors brought us some home brewed beer during Snowmageddon which we will probably tap into at some point.

These are seriously some of the BEST cookies I have ever tasted. I'm going to try and snag the recipe soon! 
Home-brewed Porter from our awesome neighbor! Disregard what the labels say.
Since roads were kind of iffy on Thursday, the residents told John just to stay at home for another day. I am so glad that he did for many reasons, but especially because I found out something very exciting. When I took my board exam last week, I had figured that I would find out my results on Friday, the 31st. So, I was shocked to find that my results came in on Thursday afternoon! I was even more shocked to find out that I PASSED! I am officially an occupational therapist. Praises!!

To top off the joy and excitement, John surprised me with a huge box that he said was from Henry. When I opened it, it held a beautiful pair of Frye boots. If there's one thing I love, it's a pair of pretty boots. I have quite the collection, but none that are flat and none of them in such a beautiful color. As soon as I got them, I put them on and paraded around the house in them for hours.

I thought about breaking out a glass of wine or some of the Ben & Jerry's that I tucked away for "emergency use", but I was good and made a healthy celebratory treat instead. Of course, tomorrow night is a whole other story and I may sneak a cheat in since John is taking me on a date to celebrate. Anyways, it wouldn't be a Sassy in the South post without a recipe. So, here is my secret and simple "healthy" sweet treat:

Banana Ice Cream w/Date-Caramel Swirl

Ice Cream
ripe bananas, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup almond milk
pinch of salt

Date-Caramel Swirl 1 cup medjool pitted dates
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Mix ice cream ingredients together in a blender and set aside in a freezer safe container. Mix date-caramel ingredients together in blender and swirl into ice cream. Freeze for 2-3 hours.
*Mine came out sort of Popsicle-esque consistency. You could use an ice cream maker to churn it until it's a creamy texture if you so choose. It would taste great either way! 
I hope as you read this you are somewhere safe, warm, and cozy! It's been a crazy week, but one that has made me thankful for a lot of things including: my tiny but warm home, good neighbors and friends, my resilient city and state, and my loving husband who would walk through fire or ice to be with me.


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