Holy grass fed cow! This year has simply flown by. Scott’s just turned one year old, we rocked some fun times in Tennessee & are clearing the deck for 2014. Hope each and every one of you had a joyous Christmas and are looking forward to some amazing things coming down the pipe for you in the coming year. Got a fun recipe for you all this fine Monday. But first, I’d like to tell you a little story about our trip and hopefully lend some perspective to those “tough situations”.

So, for starters, Julie and I have been spending the last 23 days doing a daily reading and sharing our thoughts on maximizing the joy in our lives. We are pretty tickled pink, mind you. That said, we are always looking a ways to improve our thinking, communication and overall approach to life. The project has been very fun and has us spending time each day talking about all the positive things in our lives (versus dwelling on the ‘not so positive’). It’s all in what you devote your thinking to. Now the story:

Julie managed to land herself a slightly used GMC Yukon over this holiday season. We’d been shopping for a while and all the pieces fell together while we were in Tennessee visiting my parents. Traded in and brought home the slightly used vehicle on Christmas Eve (Merry Christmas lovely bride!!!). Two days later, we are on our way back to Atlanta and decided to take some back roads and enjoy a lovely day on the road. About 1 hour into our trip, baby Scott had a post-holiday-diaper-blowout of epic proportion. Julie was in the back seat and gave the order that we needed to pull over soon so that we could change that diaper out. If you’ve ever travelled on highway 411, you know that there are slim pickings for restaurants and other finer establishments for which to make a bathroom stop. Ultimately, I made the decision to pull into KFC (next to the McDowell’s). I volunteered to change our Scott’s dirty diaper and proceeded into the joint to secure a changing table…no changing table in the men’s room.  Snuck into the women’s room…no table their either. So, back outside I go and with a loaded down vehicle, decide to change Scott on the driver’s seat.

There’s a car parked next to us. I’m very careful to avoid letting my door touch their car and I get started with the 5 alarm poopfest going on in Scott’s pants. Seriously, it was everywhere. What felt like a few minutes into this process, I hear a voice behind me say “Excuse me sonny, I need to pull my car out”.  Turning my head, I see an elderly gentleman standing there at the drivers side door of the adjacent car. Still elbow deep in poopy palooza, I said “Yes sir, if you can give me just a minute, I’m changing a really dirty diaper”. He responds that is fine and I return to my work. Twenty seconds later, I hear a BONK and the driver’s side door pinches in on me as he decided to back out of his spot and his passenger mirror scrapes/dents our driver’s side door. What to do? I’m still trying to keep poop from going everywhere in the car. I keep my head down, thinking that he’ll stop and we can assess the damage.  Nope. The man pulls out, is wife walks over and gets in the passenger door and they leave. So, Julie’s brand new (to us) Yukon now has a dent and huge mark in the driver’s side door…not 100 miles into our ownership. Tensions were high, I finished the diaper change and we got back on the road.

It took me the remaining drive back to Atlanta to figure this out…I’m glad that we got dinged. It lends some perspective to the bigger issues in our lives and allows us to see the silver linings in those clouds. After returning home and unpacking the car it hit me. Julie was in the house feeding Scott and I came in a whispered in her ear “I figured out what I’m going to think about every time I see that dent on our car”. She looks up and asked “what?”. I reply “Every time I see that dent, I’m going to be incredibly grateful that when we are that age we won’t be eating at KFC the day after Christmas”. How’s that for a positive spin?

I’m so very blessed to have my family, my health and an incredible list of great things going on all around me. We’ve been touched by so many fine folks in this past year and I fully expect that 2014 will offer up many more cherished moments of joy and growth for us. I hope that each and every one of you find the positives in your lives and dwell on them often. It’s easy to look at the dents in our lives and forget about all the really awesome parts.

Now on to the good stuff. Have you ever seen one of those holiday cheese balls? They seem to pop up everywhere this time of year. A ball of cheese adorned with nuts. They are an easy find at the grocery store and one of those commonplace grab and go items that folks bring to your party as some sort of statement saying “here’s my half-assed contribution to the food”. I encourage all of you to try this little number. We’ve tested this out three times over the past few weeks and folks LOVE IT!

Paleo Party “Cheese” Ball

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 2 tbs. tahini
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil
  2. Toss squash with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes, turning over half way through
  3. While squash is cooking, toast your nuts in a small non-stick frying pan, reserve for later
  4. Place squash, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and paprika in food processor and blend well
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste as you blend and check your flavor along the way
  6. Line a non-stick bowl with plastic wrap and pour your dip in to make a round mold
  7. Chill in refrigerator overnight
  8. Remove from refrigerator right before serving and garnish the round top with the toasted nuts
  9. Serve with herb crackers, celery, carrot sticks or zucchini slices

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Try this for your New Year’s party and get 2014 kicked off with a huge culinary hit.

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