Brighton Walsh, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author

Whatcha Cookin’ Wednesday

I’m baaaaack! Just in time for another Whatcha _______ Wednesday post. I had a lovely time on vacation, but I came back to a to-do list seventeen miles long—just how it always seems to be.

First on that to-do list? To share with you all this glorious, glorious deliciousness for Whatcha Cookin’ Wednesday. I’ve been modified (read: lax) Paleo for over two years, but we just did the switch to the whole family in January. And when I say the whole switch, I mean we detoxed the kids off of sugar for two weeks and everything. It actually wasn’t as bad as you would think, and my uber picky seven-year-old whose favorite foods were mac and cheese and PB&J is now eating vegetables. Without harassment. It’s a Paleo miracle. We are now a happily 90/10 Paleo family, which means we eat Paleo (or primal) 90% of the time and cut ourselves some slack that other 10%.

The thing that’s made it easy for my kids to do is that I search high and low for great food that doesn’t taste like they’re getting cheated. Who wants to eat plain brussels sprouts when you know the delicious, cheesy goodness of mac & cheese? Not me, I can tell you that.

That’s where Pinterest comes in. It’s a treasure trove of awesome food. While, yes, I’ve tried some doozies there, for the most part, the recipes are top notch.

My absolute favorite Paleo dish I make is this chicken pot pie. I promise you’ll love it and you (and your family/friends) will never have the foggiest idea it’s paleo. After making this no less than a dozen times (I’m not kidding…this is on our menu at least twice a month), I’ve changed up a few things. And you, my fine friends, are going to benefit from my trial and errors.

IMG_6413First, I make a double batch of the crust so I have one already prepped in the freezer and ready to go every other time. And, actually, now that I’ve snagged the Mac Daddy of all food processors, I think I might make a quadruple batch so I only have to go through that pain once a month.

Second, I only use 1/2 a pound of potatoes, and I use them all for the creamy sauce. I feel like I can be honest with you and you won’t judge me, so the first time I made it, I screwed up and pureed all the potatoes instead of leaving chunks. I didn’t notice (and I actually liked it better), so I continued on that way. I just decreased the amount so the “thickening” sauce was creamy instead of gloopy.

Third, I tend to just pour the coconut milk into the food processor until I get it the consistency I want. Of course, on your first time, it’s always good to follow the recipe (unlike I did as mentioned above), but don’t be afraid to add a bit more if it’s gummy. And for those of you who are turning your nose up at putting coconut milk into your potatoes and afraid everything will taste like coconut, to you I say: HAVE YOU NO TRUST IN ME?!

IMG_6415Lastly, I only bake mine for an hour, then let sit for 10 minutes. Mostly because the first time I made this, I didn’t plan appropriately for time, and everyone in my house was moaning over their roaring stomachs.

And I know I said lastly, but a couple more tips for you:

  • Prior to rolling out your crust, lay your wax paper down and place your pan on top of it (upside down), tracing around the edges with a sharpie. Use that to guide how big to make your crust.
  • Bake this sucker on a pan underneath it because parts of the crust will come off. Also, eat those. They’re delicious.
  • The recipe creator recommends trimming excess off the sides and throwing it away. Um. No. That crust is like gold, so keep all that you can. (tip one will help with the reduced excess and tip two will catch everything that is and then you can shove it in your pie hole.)
  • Lastly, if for some strange reason you are not a fan of potatoes, you could sub cauliflower. I’ve never tried that because I hate cauliflower and I love potatoes, but I’m willing to bet it’d be doable. And that your kids still wouldn’t notice.

That’s it! Make this and then come back and tell me how amazing everyone thought it was and how you tricked your kids into eating something totally healthy and 100% clean.

Also, I’m leaving you for another Friday post. I’m sorry! But I have a writing retreat this weekend, and I imagine I will be running around like a chicken with its head cut off Friday morning. But next week, I’ll be back with three posts!

*This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, that means if you purchase something from these links a small percentage of the sale comes back to me (at no cost to you!). It’s Amazon’s way of saying, hey, thanks for mentioning this product! Here’re some pennies. I promise I will never post about things I think suck. I’ll only ever recommend items I really, truly love!


#ListifyLife Spring Challenge: Books I’d Want to Live In!

listifylife2It’s Monday (boo), but that means it’s time for another #ListifyLife post! This week’s challenge was Books I’d Want to Live In For a While. And it was actually harder than I’d anticipated to come up with some books for this. I read a lot of books. I read a lot of great books. But I’m not sure I’d want to actually live in the worlds I read about all that much. For instance, Elle Kennedy’s Killer Instincts series. I love the books. I love the world. But being in constant danger every second of the day? I’ll pass, thanks. Same with several of the paranormal books I’ve read and loved. Hell, even the books I read the most—contemporary romance—are hard to pick which world to live in, because they’re already set in my world. That’s the beauty of the contemporary novel.

So I sat and thought about this topic this morning, wandered over to my bookshelves and took a gander at my books, reminiscing about old favorites. And I plucked out three worlds I would absolutely love to visit.

books listifyJill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor Series

Jill is my favorite author, hands down, because I know exactly what to expect with one of her books. I’m going to get an alpha male, a relatable heroine, a side-cast of fantastic characters, and a quaint town I’m going to want to live in. In the Lucky Harbor series, she gave me the homesick feels the same way Gilmore Girls did for Stars Hollow. How can I feel homesick for a fictional place? I don’t know, but it happens. I’d love to get transported to this idealistic little town and live for a bit (or forever).

Stephanie Perkins’s Anna & the French Kiss

Anna is one of my favorite reads, and definitely in my top 5 YA books. Yes, it’s contemporary, but it’s set in Paris! While I wouldn’t love going back to school, I think I could tough it out for a chance to see Paris in all its splendor. Plus, Etienne.

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight

How could I leave out the book that started me on this crazy, fantastic journey? Twilight is the book that got me reading and writing again, and I’d love to spend a while in this world. (So long as I was a vampire and had some sort of cool power… I don’t want anything lame like sensing emotions.) It’d be like catching up with old friends. To be honest, it’s why I still read fic. It is and forever will be my happy place.

That’s it for this week’s #ListifyLife post! And I actually won’t be posting until Wednesday next week, as we are off for a little Spring Break vacation. See you then!

*This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, that means if you purchase something from these links a small percentage of the sale comes back to me (at no cost to you!). It’s Amazon’s way of saying, hey, thanks for mentioning this product! Here’re some pennies. I promise I will never post about things I think suck. I’ll only ever recommend items I really, truly love!


Friday Round-up!

Friday Round-upEeek! I just about didn’t get this one posted, guys. When I set out with my ambitious posting schedule, I sort of forgot that Wednesday afternoon marked the start of Spring Break for the kiddos, which means it’s been a zoo in my house for two days.

Because of that, this is gonna be a quick one. But before I get into that, I want to tell you what Friday Round-ups are! If you don’t know about the amazing Pocket, you need to head over there now and sign up for a free account. I love it. It saves me from having to keep 12,000 tabs open on my computer and phone because I can save them to Pocket and access from anywhere! The Friday Round-up is just gonna be a post of some of the things I’ve saved from the previous week that I think are cool.

First up: Uppercase Box! I saw this review about the different boxes, and thought I’d give it a try. I’ll admit, the only reason I signed up for April was because it’s supposed to be for Harry Potter fans, and Oldest is a diehard one, so I thought I’d see if it’s worth the monthly subscription.

Next is something that you never knew you needed until you click on the link. But beware: it may cost you hundreds of dollars and hours of your time. Now that I’ve warned you…DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN DESIGN YOUR OWN SHOES?! Omg, I’ve fallen hard and fast for this site. And I may or may not have already designed four pairs of shoes. They’re just sitting there in my design folder, waiting to be purchased… Someone throw some money at me.

Then we’ve got something for all the #girlbosses out there. In my lovely FB group of writer-planners, one of the girls linked a video on Marie Forleo, and I was hooked. Marie’s videos are short enough to keep me interested but long enough to have substance to them. And they pertain to me and my life a lot. If you’re your own boss, or even if you just want to get control back in your life, go take a peek at her stuff.

Even though I saved wayyyy more than this last week, I’mma end it with this last one because my kids are running around like hooligans and the pizza crust is going to burn. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I absolutely looooove Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook. I seriously have not made a single bad recipe from there, and in fact have made several dishes more than once (or twice…) because they’re that damn good. Anyhoodle, I was browsing her site and saw this review and figured I’d better check out the cookbook that has highly recommended brownies. Plus, with a name like Every Last Crumb, I knew it’d be my jam. I’m hoping it’ll give me what I’ve been searching for: Paleo brownies as good as boxed. Because so far, I’ve tried three different recipes and none of them come even remotely close to the deliciousness that is boxed brownies. Have a recipe you love? Shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment. I’m begging you.

That’s all for this week! I’ll see you guys on Monday for another #ListifyLife entry! Have a great weekend, and a Happy Easter if you celebrate!

*This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, that means if you purchase something from these links a small percentage of the sale comes back to me (at no cost to you!). It’s Amazon’s way of saying, hey, thanks for mentioning this product! Here’re some pennies. I promise I will never post about things I think suck. I’ll only ever recommend items I really, truly love!


Whatcha Lovin’ Wednesday

See? I told you I’d be back on Wednesday, and here I am! It’s a miracle.

For this ongoing weekly post, I’m going to talk about things not at all related to writing (probably). It might be a new recipe I tried and loved (Whatcha Cookin’ Wednesday), it might be a book I read and loved (Whatcha Readin’ Wednesday), it might be a mix of both or none of the above (Whatcha Lovin’ Wednesday). You’ll notice a theme here—it’s all about things I love. I’ll be honest…talking about only writing stuff all the time equals burnout. Major, unavoidable burnout. So I’m bringing my love of other things to the blog, because, hey, you might love them too.

So what am I loving today? My precious, precious bullet journal. I am a huge planner, and I switched to a paper planner last year (the EC ended up not working for me, but it might work great for you. Bonus? They’re 40% off right now, so if you’ve ever wanted to give them a try, now’s the time). I loved the idea of a paper planner versus digital because lots of studies show that actually writing something down cements it further into our brains.

Alas, come summertime, it sat unused, tossed in a corner somewhere gathering dust. And worse, I didn’t pick it up again after summer ended, the kids went back to school, and I dug back into work full time. That told me that particular planner wasn’t the right fit for me.

IMG_6149At some point in the fall of 2015, my friend showed me her Traveler’s Notebook, and I really loved the versatility of it. I could print whatever I wanted for inserts! If something wasn’t working, I could toss it out after a month or a quarter and do something different. And the covers! Tell me these aren’t the prettiest things you’ve ever seen…

I’ve been using the Inkwell Press A5 quarterly inserts for about a month in my TN, and I really like them. But for those of you who are planners, you know planner peace is elusive, and you’re always looking for something that might bring your productivity and organization to the next level.

Thus I started watching these videos and all bets were off. I was lured to the dark side by someone named Boho Berry. What did I love about this new-found Bullet Journal? There was something appealing about the fact that I could make and create this to be exactly what I wanted it to be. It was the same idea with the inserts for the Traveler’s Notebook, but with a bit more of an artistic flare.

While Boho Berry loves the Leuchtturm, I decided to go with the Rhodia journal because of the paper quality. My friend (the same one who lured me to the TN side has since switched to Bullet Journaling as well) brought samples of the three main players (Moleskine, Leuchtturm, Rhodia) to dinner last week, and I was sold.

Moleskine is probably the most readily available (Target sells them), but I found their books to be the least impressive. The paper was thin and scratchy. Leuchtturm was much nicer than the Moleskine, and if I didn’t have the Rhodia to feel, I probably would’ve gone with them. But when that buttery-smooth paper was put in front of me, the others didn’t stand a chance.

There are a couple of things that may sway someone to the Leuchtturm side, though. For one thing, they come in lots of pretty colors. Rhodia was only available in black or orange. *sad face* I’m going to combat this by adding some rub-on stickers to the front to give it a little pizazz, yes I said pizazz. The second and third things in the Leuchtturm’s favor are a built-in index and pre-numbered pages. The reason this wasn’t a deal breaker for me was because I can add those just fine myself. Yeah, it’ll take a bit of time, but I’ll take one for the team if it means I get this amazing paper.

The problem I’m facing now is fear of the blank page. See? It afflicts writers even on non-writing things. Right now, I’m basically planning to plan. I’m doing research to see what I want to include in my BuJo and one day soon, I’ll mark up those buttery soft pages with some of my fancy new pens.

Okay, so that was super long-winded, but I also wanted to throw a book rec in here. As I’ve been mesmerized with bullet journal videos, I haven’t been reading much, but my kids have! Oldest (boy, 11, with a love for fantasy, humor, and magic books) has been reading this series for the second time, but he declined to be interviewed. LOL His reading level is tenth grade, but these books would work for someone as young as third or fourth grade, I’d say. He gets through them in about two days, and while they look daunting with their number of pages, the print is larger.

Youngest (boy, 7, with a love for magic, humor, and superheroes) had absolutely no problem being interviewed about what we’re currently reading. We’re working our way through the Magic Treehouse series. His teacher is reading them to the class, too, but he liked them so much he wanted to read them again.

IMG_6139Vacation Under the Volcano verdict: “I thought it was very, very good.”

Three things you liked:
“I liked how Annie kept running and didn’t stop their mission.”
“I liked how exciting this mission was.”
“I liked learning about Roman times.”

Anything you didn’t like?
“Jack stopped to read too much and he should’ve just focused on the mission.”

So those are his thoughts on it. My thoughts? Holy crap, my mom senses go off like crazy when I’m reading these books. Morgan sent them to an active volcano on the day it was set to erupt. That’s a real dick move, Morgan. I guess that’s why these books are geared toward kids and not parents. LOL

That’s it for this week’s post! I’ll be back on Friday with a round-up of what I’ve saved on Facebook and in my Pocket account!

*This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, that means when you click on a link here, a small percentage of the sale comes back to me (at no cost to you!). It’s Amazon’s way of saying, hey, thanks for mentioning this product! Here’re some pennies. I promise I will never post about things I think suck. I’ll only ever recommend items I really, truly love!


#ListifyLife Week 1! Spring is…

Welcome to #ListifyLife week one! And would you look at that? I said I’d post on Monday and it’s Monday and I’m posting. You might want to watch out for other signs of the apocalypse, in case the end is near…

I gave an overview of the #ListifyLife challenge in this post, but just to recap: anyone can participate, you can list your answer to the prompt however you’d like (handwritten, scribbles, pictures, digital, whatevs), and it goes for the entire season. Posting is only once a week, so pretty easy to keep up with!

This week, our prompt was: Spring to me is

IMG_6105I love spring. It’s my second favorite season behind fall (because fall). I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been a Midwesterner the majority of my life and I’m desperate for those nicer temps and some time outside, but I love it.

Around these parts, 40º in March means we go outside without a coat (and my kids beg me to wear shorts). We are woken up by chirping birds (seriously, they’re so loud), but I forgive that because I’m also greeted by newly sprouted tulips, and my gorgeous lilac bush blooms out front. It’s rain puddles and the dirty brown of winter washing away. It’s long road trips with the family (seriously long…usually 20+ hours in the car). It’s Easter brunch and my kids (at least one of them) believing in the Easter bunny. It’s the countdown to summer, where I realize I’ve pissed away most of the school year and man do I need to get some work done. It’s so many birthdays, I usually forget one until the day before and then scramble for a perfect gift. It’s fresh and it’s new and it’s spring. 

You may be wondering why I wrote my list on a child’s handwriting pad… One of my new obsessions interests is hand lettering. I’ve may or may not have spent hours on Instagram watching hand lettering videos in total captivation. There is something so mesmerizing about seeing how the letters form, how the artist’s hand moves, and, of course, the final product. As per usual, I get obsessed interested in something, and I immediately get any/everything I need to do it myself. Hence why my list is on my first grader’s Learn to Letter notepad. I was skeptical using it, because I figured any/all of my pens would bleed through, but I was seriously impressed with the paper thickness! After watching this brush pen review, I grabbed myself the Zig Cocoiro (Spring to me is…), and I also stocked up on this 20-pack of Staedtler Triples pens (all other designs and lettering). Both are seriously amazing to this newbie and very easy to use.

If you’re interested in hand lettering, or even if you have no idea what I mean and want to check it out, here is a list of a few of my favorite Instagramers who seriously rock at the hand lettering:


And if that doesn’t keep you busy, I don’t know what will.

I’ll be back on Wednesday, talking about things I love this week. Not sure if I’mma do a post on cooking or reading…or both. I might even sweet talk my kids into giving brief reviews on books they’re currently reading, because I know it’s hard sometimes finding books your kids will love.

See you Wednesday!

*This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, that means when you click on a link from this post, a small percentage of anything you buy comes back to me (at no additional charge to you!). It’s Amazon’s way of saying, hey, thanks for mentioning this product! Here’re some pennies. I promise I will never, ever, ever post about things that I think suck. I’ll only ever recommend items I really, truly love!