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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Creamed Forest Kale Over Wild Rice

It's been a while since I last shared a recipe.  I'd say I'm a little overdue.  For Christmas, my mom bought me the "Eat To Live Cookbook" by  Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  I was so excited to start using it because all of his recipes are super nutrient-dense.  You really can't go wrong with them.  The only way I went wrong after I received the book was by just perusing the recipes and not actually trying any of them.  Silly me.

When Scott returned home he said:  "Kirsten, let's eat healthy.  I don't care if some of the meals don't have meat in them.  I'll eat them as long as they're healthy."  WOW!  Scott's permission to go meatless was huge... I mean monumental!  He's a meat eater through and through.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Dr. Fuhrman, he's a huge advocate for consuming a plant-based diet.  So, with Scott's thumbs up, I dove in to try my first recipe from the "Eat to Live Cookbook".  I decided to try the Creamed Forest Kale Over Wild Rice.  I think I made an excellent choice (I'm sure I couldn't have gone wrong in that cookbook).  I was shocked by how much flavor it had; we both loved it! And the recipe made so much, there were leftovers...bonus!

Here the recipe:

Creamed Forest Kale Over Wild Rice
Serves 5


1 cup wild rice, rinsed (I used brown rice since that's what I had on hand)
2 bunches kale, tough stems and center ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
3/4 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup hemp, soy, or almond milk
1/4 cup onion flakes
3 tablespoons raw, unhulled sesame seeds


  1. In a sauce pan bring wild rice and 4 cups water to boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 50 to 60 minutes or just until kernels puff open.  Remove cover, stir, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. 
  2. In a large, covered, skillet, water-saute the kale, mushrooms, onion, and peas over medium heat, until kale is tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally and add water as needed. 
  3. Meanwhile, blend the cashews, milk, and onion flakes in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth and creamy.  
  4. Stir cashew cream sauce into kale mixture. 
  5. Serve over wild rice, topped with sesame seeds. 
  6. ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fitness Challenge Throwdown...Round 1

Okay, I'm looking for a few motivated people who want to join my team for Round 1 of a Fitness Challenge Throwdown.  The exercise may not be everyone's (or anyone's) favorite, but it makes for a great workout...Push-ups!

Check out this video to learn more about the challenge:

Let me know if you want to join my team, it's going to be fun!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Micah 6:8

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Here's a message of hope from Hope for 365 Days.  To view more images/messages, check out:  www.hopefor365.com.  You can subscribe to receive messages delivered right to your email for FREE. 

Masese, Uganda 

Linking up here:
Sweet Shot Tuesday
Inspire Me Monday

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where are YOU going?

Me in Nepal
So, there I was, typing a quick note on The Foreign Domestic Facebook Page to accompany a link to this blog post by someone else and then I realized my quick note was turning into something a bit longer.  Since it was running long, I thought I'd just make my post for today about this.  I had other things in mind for my post today, but those can wait.  When you're inspired, you're inspired...right?

One of my good friends posted something on Facebook the other day that caught my attention.  It was a link to a blog post entitled:  "3 Reasons To Travel While You're Young"  I loved reading it because it reminded me of why Scott and I made it a goal to travel to a new place out of the country once a year, and it reaffirmed our desire to do just that. A simple reason:  the world is SO big and there's so much to see...and if we can see even a fragment of it, it would be incredible.

There are so many people out there who stay cooped up in their towns, their states, their countries and never get out to see anything else.  If you're one of those people, I want to challenge you to explore!  You may not like what you see, or you may LOVE it.  How will you know if you don't check it out first?

I hope Trey (and any other children God blesses us with) develops a sense of adventure and a desire to travel.   I can't wait until he's a little older and can join us on our adventures (he already has his passport)!  It's something my parents instilled in me & my siblings from a young age and I'm so thankful for that.  I'm also thankful that Scott is just as passionate (if not more) as me when travel is concerned.

Me & Scott in Japan
So get out there and travel, folks!  And let me know where you're going so I can check out all of your amazing photos when you get back :).

Monday, April 21, 2014

I NEVER Do This...

Hey Everyone, 

Well, I'm about to do something I NEVER do...are you ready for it?  I'm about to post some BEFORE pictures before I have AFTER pictures.  I NEVER do this.  I always wait for the after and then share the before.  Anyone else with me on this one?  It's kind of like "Hey I don't quite look they way I want to look in my before picture, but look at me now!"  Not this time.  Nope.  Now it's a "Hey, I don't quite look the way I want to look, but wait for it....wait for it....keep waiting....wait....."  Basically, I've got nothing to counteract my before right now.  But you know what?  I'm okay with it because I consider this post the ULTIMATE act of accountability.  I've been a bit lazy on my workouts since Scott's returned home and with vacation, parties and lots of date nights...well, things were starting to get a little out of hand.  Okay, I actually can't believe I'm doing this.  It's WAY outside of my comfort zone.  But, alas, here I am showing you my before shots:  

You may be wondering why I'm posting these before pictures.  Simple answer:  because I'm planning on a HUGE after reveal!  As of today, there are only 60 days until summer and I'm going to make the most of each day.  I have a question for you all:  what motivates you toward improved fitness and better health?  I have a few things that motivate me.  Health is a BIG motivator for me.  I also have something else that has helped motivate me to achieve the biggest weight loss of my life.  Would you like to know what it is?  Read on, my friends...

Well, after I gave birth to Trey I was sitting on the couch one day (with all that extra weight) flipping through a magazine with my mom and mother-in-law and came across some cute dresses.  After having put on all the weight that I did during pregnancy, it was hard for me to even imagine fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes...really hard.  But I decided to make a deal with myself and with my husband.  I handed the magazine over to Scott & told him to pick out two dresses.  One dress would be for a date night we would go on when he returned from deployment, and the other dress would be the one I would wear to pick him up after he came home from deployment.  And then I'd pick a third dress as a mid-way celebration for getting back in shape.  I made a deal that I would purchase the dresses ahead of time in the size I wanted to be when he returned home and I told him that I'd wear the "redeployment dress" he chose when I picked him up to bring him home.  Of course he chose one of the most formfitting dresses in the entire magazine hahaha!  But his choices kept me challenged & motivated me to reach my goal.   

Here are the dresses Scott picked: 

Blue dress on left = date night. Black dress on the right = redeployment dress. Yellow dress = my pick.


And so I purchased all three dresses before he deployed, worked my butt off (literally and figuratively), and wore the dress he chose for me to pick him up when he returned home.  Here are two pictures.  BEFORE:  This is from the exact day I told Scott to pick out the dresses for me.  AFTER:  The night I picked Scott up from his deployment!  I did it!  A 50 pound difference, a healthier me & an excited husband.

So now, 60 days out from Summer, I have a new goal in sight.  Again, I handed Scott the magazine and let him pick out my beachwear  (why do I do this to myself?? Oh yes, for the motivation & challenge!):

So, what's your motivation?  And who's joining me for the next 60 days?!?  I'm doing a few fitness challenge groups and I bet there's one perfect for you.  Email me if you want to join in:  kirsten.harr@yahoo.com.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Things You MUST Do In Nepal (Part 2)

And the list of 5 things you must  do in Nepal continues...  If you missed the first part, you can catch up here.  

Number 2:  Explore Kathmandu

Exploring Kathmandu, the capital, is a must if you decide to visit Nepal.  When we arrived in Kathmandu, we were amazed by how sprawling it is.  Surrounded by mountains and sitting at an altitude of 1,336m above sea level, Kathmandu is home to many ancient towns and monuments.  The majority of the population are Hindi; Buddhists are a close second.  Consequently, there are approximately 2,000 temples and shrines in the bustling city.

Scott and I had the chance to spend a day exploring Kathmandu with a personal driver/tour guide provided by Good Vibe Adventure.  Here are some highlights of our Kathmandu tour and places for you to check out:

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square, the plaza in front of the old royal palace of Kathmandu Kingdom, is filled with beautiful architecture.  Walking around here made me feel like I was in a movie--it was surreal.  This durbar square is one of three royal palace squares in the Kathmandu Valley and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  If you'd like to learn more about the history of Kathmandu Durbar Square, Click HERE.

Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)

Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)
Swayambhunath Stupa, the Monkey Temple, is an ancient religious complex that sits on a hill in the Kathmandu Valley.  Swayambhunath has a variety of shrines & temples, restaurants, shops, and hostels.  We found a neat art shop where we purchased a couple of beautiful paintings (we should've gotten more).  To reach this destination by foot, you must climb 365 stairs--or you can drive up on the other side (like we did).  Swayambhunath is considered the most sacred site for Buddhist pilgrimages.  Oh, and in case you were wondering--yes, there are monkeys there.  I even included a picture of a monkey at the bottom of this article for all of you monkey fanatics.  If you'd like to learn more about Monkey Temple, click HERE.  


Thamel is the tourist district of Kathmandu.  You may be wondering why I'd send you to a tourist district.  Well, it's what I consider a "safe" zone.  The streets have tons of shops and vendors that sell everything from food and beverages to mountain and hiking gear.  Anything a tourist may want (including Wi-fi) can be found in Thamel.  Oh, and if you want to eat a good meal in a place that feels miles and miles away from the city while you're in Thamel, I suggest you check out Garden of Dreams--amazing!!  To learn more about what you may find in Thamel, click HERE.  

Coming Soon....Part 3 of 5 Things you MUST Do in Nepal

Monkey from Monkey Temple

Monday, April 14, 2014

Carefree Monday

After a busy weekend, I woke up this morning just wanting to be a little carefree.  So, I dubbed today "Carefree Monday."  At least it's "Carefree Monday" in our house...for me.  Okay, I may be the only one participating in "Carefree Monday," but that's okay.

Today, carefree means wearing a 'fro, no makeup, and no contact lenses.  There was a time in my life when I wouldn't be caught dead walking around with my hair like this--no, I'd be running for cover.  But here I am, sporting my 'fro for the world to see! It's funny how things change as you grow older, isn't it?

This is what "Carefree Monday" looks like for me:

What does "carefree" mean to you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

True Confessions: I Am NOT Betty Crocker

Trey's 1st birthday is coming up.  Yes, our little boy will be 1!  Ahhh, time flies.  I've had a vision of his first birthday cake for a little while now.  My vision is to have a round cake with two layers (one chocolate and one vanilla) decorated like a baseball.  Simple but cute.  Just my style and, by extension, Trey's style too...until he can protest which will be happening much sooner than I can even imagine, I'm sure.  I actually thought about making Trey's first birthday cake from scratch.  Thought.  There's a big difference between thinking about something and doing that something.

Alright, I really need your help.  Anytime I formulate a sentence using these four words, "make" "cake" "from" "scratch", someone please try to talk me out of it!  You're probably thinking that my vision, as simple as it is, would be so easy for me to bring to life.  Yes, you would think that, right?  But please don't forget the name of my blog: "The Foreign Domestic:  Adventures of a New Housewife & Mom".  All things housewife-like are considered adventures to me, and for a good reason.

Baking is very housewife-like in my book; when it comes to baking cakes (aside from carrot cake and cheesecake) from scratch, I am no Betty Crocker!  I had to add the parenthetical side note because those are two of my all time favorite types of cakes and I taught myself to make them from scratch in middle school--a deliciously dangerous skill to learn so young.  But I don't have a very good track record when it comes to this housewife-like activity with other cakes.  I was so close to attempting to make Trey's cake on my own--too close.  The only thing that stopped me were my mental flashbacks to previous experiences.

My first cake fail
I chronicled the first cake I made from scratch on this very blog over two years ago.  Do you remember the red velvet cake I made from scratch?  I mentioned the dryness in the post, but thinking back on it, that cake was a mega fail.  I don't think it was "a little dry" (as I described it in my post), I think it was borderline concrete.  Seriously, another hour or two and it would've been ready to help build a house.  I should've just chucked it in the trash and bought something else from the store to take to Bible study--something that wouldn't have put people at risk for a dental emergency.

Fast forward a year and a half and you come to my next attempt at making a cake from scratch.  There I was, 7 months pregnant & tired of unpacking boxes.  I sat on the couch and watched a baking show:  how to bake a strawberry cake from scratch.  It looked SO easy and I wanted to do anything but unpack the rest of the day.  I thought it would be fun to bring tasty strawberry cake to Bible study since it was Valentine's Day.  We were new to the Bible study, so I asked someone if it would be okay to bring it.  With an "Of course!  We'd love it!" response, I hurried off to the store for my supplies.  I don't know what it is about me and Bible study cake flops, but my strawberry cake was as much a literal flop as it was a figurative one.   Until now, this attempt was only recorded in this cell phone photo accompanied by this caption & posted on Facebook:

My second cake fail
 "Well, I decided to take a break from unpacking/organizing/moving in to make a strawberry cake to bring to Bible study tonight. Well folks, here it is!...MAJOR FAIL hahahah. At least it tastes good . Now back to unpacking/organizing/moving in! (Anyone want some cake crumbles??)"  
The photo says it all, doesn't it?  As dry as my red velvet cake was, the strawberry cake turned just as moist.  It tasted great, but it was so moist it fell apart--it literally flopped.  I guess I overcompensated after what happened with my concrete red velvet slab.  This time, I didn't bring the cake with me.  I didn't bring anything with me and I thought (really hoped) all would be forgotten about my question to bring something.  But it wasn't...and I was empty-handed.  Thankfully, someone else brought a sweet treat for everyone to partake in.  Whenever someone needs a good laugh, I show them the picture of my delicious strawberry cake...crumbles.

I will try again at some point (3rd time's the charm, right?  I hope!), but I won't be making Trey's simple but cute birthday cake from scratch this year.  I can't have his first taste of cake ruin it for him forever! Seriously, that would be a true culinary tragedy.  Maybe I'll get the hang of it one of these days.  Until then, I realize that I'm NOT Betty Crocker when it comes to making cakes from scratch, but I know where to find Betty Crocker products in the grocery store...and, even better, I know how to place an order with a professional!

Monday, April 7, 2014

5 Things You MUST Do In Nepal (Part 1)

Scott and I are just getting back from our week-long vacation in Nepal.  We had an amazing experience on our first visit to the home of Mount Everest.
Overlooking Kathmandu, Nepal
I don't believe I've ever shared this with you all, but we're pretty low-key when it comes to traveling--especially to foreign countries.  After we returned from our trip, I came across a quote from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu that pretty much sums up our approach to traveling:  "A good traveler has no fixed plans..."

When we arrived in Nepal, the only plans we had were to stay at a well-known chain hotel in Kathmandu (the capital) for two nights to help us get the lay of the land before getting out for more exploration.  We like to travel with minimal plans; I'll explain more of why later.  Minimal plans in a foreign country?  You may think we're crazy.  Trust me, I know that not everyone likes to travel this way.  Many of you like to have plans solidified and a good itinerary in hand before you travel.  That's why I'm writing this.  I understand your desire to have a good solid plan, and as a tribute to you thoughtful explorers, I've compiled a list of 5 things you must do while visiting Nepal.

{Side note:  To allow for more in-depth explanations, I've broken the list down into 5 posts}  

Number 1:  Get A Great Travel Specialist

Patan Temples, Nepal
Are you shocked that I have this on my list first?  Maybe you're shocked that I have this on my list at all--especially after sharing Lao Tzu's quote on what makes a good traveler.  For a couple that doesn't like to solidify plans in a foreign country until we get there, we definitely appreciate when someone who knows the country and customs better than us does--especially in a country where we speak little to none of the language.  We initially thought we'd arrive at our hotel and book some activities through the hotel, but we were fortunate enough to meet one of the owners of a great travel company, Good Vibe Adventure, as soon as we stepped foot outside of the airport.

Baby Elephant in Chitwan, Nepal
When we arrived at the hotel, Scott checked Trip Advisor and other sources for reviews on Good Vibe Adventure; everything he found showed them to be a reputable company (and now we can back that up with our personal experience).  Good Vibe Adventure, owned and directed by brothers Keshab and Kisan Thapa, is one of Nepal's leading providers of adventure travel and they specialize in trekking.

We had our initial meeting with Kisan the evening we arrived in Nepal.  That evening, I also received an email from my dad that included travel & sightseeing recommendations from a Nepalese friend; the recommendations helped us generate a few ideas to run by Kisan to help develop a plan.  He arranged for a driver to pick us up the following day to take us to his office in Thamel, Nepal so we could discuss a more detailed itinerary and figure out prices.

When we met Kisan at Good Vibe Adventure headquarters, we shared what we wanted to do.  He listened to our requests and he tailored our itinerary to exactly what we asked for in a price range that worked for us.  Our package included:  resort and hotel lodging, a private driver who took us all over the country, hotel expenses, 90% of our meals (including a special Nepalese dinner our last night), a flight to see Mount Everest, bungee jumping, white water rafting, canoeing, an elephant safari, and city & village tours.  To put it simply, it was incredible!

Kisan and his staff ensured we were well taken care of our entire trip--he personally saw to it.  We felt as though we were given the best of everything we asked for.  I'm sure there are other good travel specialists in Nepal, but based on our experience in Nepal, I highly recommend booking your trip Good Vibe Adventure.

**I am not receiving any compensation from Good Vibe Adventure for this post, I just really appreciate their stellar service & want to spread the word!

P.O.Box 23509, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
Mobile: +977 9851167996 | 9808567996
Phone: +977 1 4414663 | 4413906
Email: info@goodvibeadventure.com

Coming Soon....Part 2 of 5 Things you MUST Do in Nepal
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