This Will Be My Last Recap Blog…

As a 26-Year-Old…GOTCHA!!!
Good Morning! Welcome to my last blog post as a 26-year-old. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was celebrating my 26th birthday in the smoky mountains. Where does the time go? I was just talking to some of my friends from back home this morning about how fast time flies, and it is a bit scary. When you’re young, it feels like time is the slowest thing on earth (mainly the school hours between 8 am and 3 pm) As you get older, the time seems to go faster and faster. This is why it’s important to enjoy every moment, and never take a single second for granted. I’ve been blogging for seven and a half years, and I know some of you have been here since the beginning. I just wanted to say thank you for helping me grow and being there for me throughout the years. This space here has been a big blessing in my life. I appreciate every comment and every email from you all. I feel fortunate to be doing this.

Now, it’s recap post time ♥ Isn’t that what you’re here for? 
I finally feel like we are on a great weather streak (Minus the 45-degree weather we’re getting today.) It’s been pretty mild here. I know 45 would be mild for most of you around the U.S.

On Monday morning, I spent about an hour sitting on the porch having my coffee. I was out there before the sun was up, and I loved hearing the birds chirp. It gave me this exciting feeling for spring. It’s funny that I’m always craving the next season. Can we just alternate between fall and spring all year round? That would be the life!

Speaking of spring. I have been doing some spring home DIY planning. Hint: PLANTS.
After finishing up Monday’s recap post, I took both dogs out for a three-mile walk. I’ve been working hard on their training. We FINALLY got heel down. Every time we stop, they sit. Even their paws are aligned with our feet. It’s the best. It makes walking so much more enjoyable. Grumples is still a bit more stubborn, but Leo has it down to a tee. 
For breakfast, I had my lemon & ginger tea. I can’t get enough! Sometimes I’ll have my tea before coffee, but some mornings, I simply need my coffee. It’s been a month and a half since giving up ALL coffee after 9 am. I can’t even explain how much better I feel. I have less anxiety, fewer stomach aches, and I’m much calmer. I can sit in one spot and get stuff done instead of pacing around. I drink my tea about three times a day. This is the best coffee replacement. My use two lemon & ginger Yogi or Stash tea bags, the juice of a small lemon, and 1/2 tablespoon of ground ginger. I also feel like this has helped my skin and blemishes. I can confidently say I don’t have one single breakout on my face.

I also had my protein bowl. I’ve been having this for the past two weeks because it tastes like pudding. Sometimes I’ll make chocolate, and sometimes I’ll do vanilla. I mix plain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (SoDelicious) with my plant-based protein powder (Vanilla Orgain or Chocolate Orgain) and top it with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
For lunch, I had an omelet (1 yolk + 3 egg whites), sauteed brussels sprouts and zucchini.

I was so sore from my Sunday workout, so I ended up going for a long walk with the dogs and spending thirty-minutes on the driveway stretching. It felt so good! 
I headed out to my parent’s house so we could watch The Bachelor together. My dad’s commentary is hilarious. For dinner, I tossed arugula with Tessemae’s Green Goddess dressing and sunflower seeds to go with a side of sauteed chicken. I added an onion and pepper seasoning to the top of the chicken. 
Tuesday morning lemon & ginger tea! 🙂 It was 55-degrees when I woke up 🙂 I had a waffle with banana and then headed out for a dog walk. I couldn’t get enough of the weather!
Before heading home to get started on some work, I decided to do a backyard workout. It was a great workout! The only downfall was how muddy it was from the night before, and my dogs were running all over the place while I was working out. I had a white t-shirt on, but it’s now tye-died with red dirt pawprints. I love workouts that don’t require the gym, especially during flu season! 
After my workout, I had my go-to protein bowl! This one had chocolate protein powder topped with the new peanut butter nature-valley granola. General Mills sent me a package to try along with some new cereal, and I almost fell over after the first bite. It was so good. Luckily, Kyle thought it was good too, so he ate it all before I could. It’s funny because Kyle has his own little cabinet here with all of his favorite foods like peanut butter, cereal, and stuff I don’t want in sight. Out of sight/out of mind! 
I spent the afternoon working on the computer and roasting vegetables. I decided to make a giant batch to eat throughout the week. It only lasted like three days! I added the vegetables to almost every single meal. I blogged the entire process here! Check it out, even if you do not like vegetables
On Wednesday morning, I made a giant vegetable omelet with my food prepped veggies. I stuffed one yolk + three egg white omelet with all the yummy meal prepped vegetables.

For dinner on Wednesday night, I cooked up some chicken with black pepper, broccoli, zucchini, and mixed it with roasted garlic pasta sauce. Homemade pasta sauce is always better, but if you don’t want to spend time making it, look for a “no added sugar” pasta sauce. This was such a delicious meal!
It was gorgeous out on Thursday morning. After walking the dogs and catching up on work, I did a thirty-minute yoga video on my back patio. The yoga studio in my gym is really small, and I’m not sure I want to be that close to people during flu season. I’ll be doing yoga at home for a while. There are so many great free yoga videos on YouTube. Sometimes being alone in the backyard with real nature sounds is better for relaxing the mind. I have a hard time getting into the zone when I’m surrounded by a ton of people in a tight space. I’m more concerned about falling over or bumping into the person next to me. Or, I’ll start focussing on someone’s sweat dripping, and I get totally grossed out. My focus is much better when I’m alone. I had my lemon ginger tea after yoga! 
My go-to vanilla protein bowl for breakfast 🙂 
For lunch, I had my leftover chicken, carrots, hummus, half of an RXBAR (I ate the other half in the morning with coffee.) I sometimes wish I didn’t have to explain myself when I only have half of a bar on my plate, but I don’t want people thinking that I just ate half because one was “too much.” I find myself explaining things a lot because I know I’ll get the questions. So again, I have to say this! Not everything I eat is on this blog! Please do not use this as a guide, or assume this is all I eat. You are only getting a glimpse into my real life. 🙂 I don’t want you thinking “oh, she only ate half, so I should only eat half.” Please know, I ATE THE WHOLE THING! I don’t want you comparing my lifestyle with yours. I just love giving ideas on some of the things I’m eating! 
Afternoon tea, work, and cuddles! Sometimes I have to put Leo behind the baby gate while I’m working (currently doing that now) because all he wants to do is lay on top of me. It’s cute but annoying! Kyle calls him my minion. 
For dinner, I had a cup of sauteed broccoli and a three-eggwhite omelet + one yolk. 
I was hungry before bed, so I had a chocolate protein bowl topped with powdered peanut butter.
Their faces say it all. Grumples and Leo got the cutest box in the mail on Friday morning! How adorable are these bandanas that K9 Sport Sack sent them?! I think they look so handsome! 
They also sent the boys some vegan dog treats, dog bowls to-go, and some fun toys! I also wanted to mention that starting in February, a portion of each month’s profit will be given to a different rescue shelter! It’s their “no dog left behind promise” 🙂 I love it. 
I had to share something so fun I did on Friday. It was a fun project, and I can’t wait to make more! I drink a lot of Yogi tea. What I love about each tea bag is the words of wisdom on each strand. I found myself saving them because they were amazing reminders. I had some leftover tree stumps from making coasters this Christmas, so I thought it would be cool to collage them together and make a tea coaster out of them! That way they are all in one place and I can use it for my tea 🙂 I made another one this morning. The cool thing is that I used a top coat that made everything smooth like glass on top. What is cool is that you can do this with almost anything! If you have a photo or letter you don’t want to lose, add it to wood:) Kyle and I often write each other little love notes and letters. I think it would be fun to do a little project like this on a board with them. 
I bought a fifteen piece pack of tree bark coasters on Amazon. They are perfect for projects! They come sanded and unfinished. I painted a white area and stuck the little pieces of paper to the paint. I had to cut some of them to make them fit. 
I used high gloss varnish to coat them. I added one coat of the varnish every two hours! I wanted it thick as glass. I let it dry completely overnight, and that was it! 🙂
Here is the set I made for Kyle’s mom to go with the butterfly painting on Christmas. They are great little DIY gifts. 
On Friday, I made a new avocado brownie recipe! My old avocado brownie recipe has been a favorite throughout the years, but I made one EVEN BETTER! This may be one of my favorite recipes for the blog! It’ll be up on Thursday! I’ve already made three batches since Friday. My parents came over and wanted to take a bunch home because they were so obsessed with them. Kyle went nuts for them! They’re gluten free, dairy free, low carb, grain free, no added sugars, and insanely delicious! I added sprinkles to the Sunday night batch to kick off my birthday week! 
I cooked up the leftover veggies on Friday night to eat throughout the weekend. I pledged a while back to limit going out to dinner, and I’ve stuck to it. I like to go out a bit more in the summer, but I have loved the healthy at-home meals. This pan is filled with broccoli, garlic, peppers, onions, and carrots. I cooked up french green beans in a separate pan and combined them. 
For my protein, I made beef and chicken burgers. I know it’s a random combo, but this is how I love to use up my groceries, and it was a perfect combo! I mixed the meat with garlic, pepper, and red chili sauce.
I browned the outsides of the burger in a pan with cooking spray and then finished them off in the oven at 375 degrees.  Before I put them in the oven I sprinkled more garlic powder, onion powder, minced onion, and oregano on top!
Nothing better than a huge batch of vegetables! I just finished these up last night. 
My Friday night dinner! I also made some oregano garlic rice for the side. How about these cat slippers? The are the WARMEST and most COMFORTABLE slippers ever!!! They’re the closest thing I’ll ever have to a cat. I wish my dogs liked cats because I’d have like ten! It’s hard enough keeping these away from the dogs.
On Saturday morning, I had a photoshoot planned or Kyle, the dogs, and I. I wanted to do something fun for my blog for a Valentine’s day post. Valentine’s day is one of my favorite holidays, and I want you guys to get to know Kyle better. He’s one of the most special, sweetest, kindest, most amazing person! I thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A with some photos. I wrote down all of the questions from my DM’s and my last recap post for us to answer. We are going to work on it together while we are out of town this weekend. If you had some questions, feel free to add them. And just a heads up, this post is going to be fun and light! Nothing personal or too deep.
This is why I don’t get ready often. HAHA! And YIKES! I need a trim. Winter does wonders to the hair…See the photo on the left? That’s what I look like 85% of the week. Frizzy and pale 🙂 
After taking the photos, I had a lunch with the leftovers, and I worked and watched movies on the couch with Kyle while he worked. It was a very quiet and a chill afternoon. 
For dinner, I made an orange glazed steak stir-fry.

I cooked up broccoli, shallots, garlic cloves, and sweet potatoes with olive oil until they were lightly browned. I then added steak, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, two tablespoons gluten free soy sauce, 2 teaspoons red chili paste, and one teaspoon of sriracha. It turned out AMAZING!!!!! 
I was so excited to make homemade yogurt on Sunday!

FAIL. BIG FAT FAIL.

On to the next batch……
Our dog trainer had to cancel, so we spent the morning working with the dogs.

I had a late breakfast on Sunday morning. It consisted of an omelet and a leftover burger. That reminds me! I need to make more of those burgers. They were so convenient. I’ll probably use ground turkey next time. 
I headed to the gym around one on Sunday for an awesome workout! I was obsessed with this treadmill workout, and I’ll probably do this tonight, but for five rounds.
I finished the circuit rounds in the gym after stretching. 
After the gym, I had a soup that my dad brought over, and it was probably the best soup I’ve ever had. I added in some of my leftover veggies and rice just to make the flavors last longer. I couldn’t get enough! It took me a while to build the trust back up with my dad and soups. When I was a kid, we’d have soup, love it, and then he’d tell us that it was venison. I hated venison as a kid, and mostly because I had to stare at the deer’s head on the wall while eating it. I was terrified. Now that I know he’s not hunting anymore, it really IS NOT venison in the soup.

My dad added sautéed peppers, sautéed onions, two cups cooked up Italian sausage, cut up carrots, chopped sweet potatoes, diced squash, two cans diced tomatoes, five cups low sodium beef broth, pepper, salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and a half cup of hot salsa mix to a crockpot on high for 4-6 hours.

I plan on making this, so look out for the whole recipe tutorial!

Second batch of avocado brownies for on Sunday night! I’m so excited for this recipe to go live on Thursday. I am going to spend the morning at the coffee shop working on the post. Treating myself to a birthday latte! 
I even tested the leftover batter from the bowl to see if it worked in the mug, and it did! This is also microwave friendly!
Can’t live without my birthday sprinkles! If you are interested in all-natural rainbow sprinkles, check these out on Amazon! No artificial colors, or flavors. I just ordered these for a fun birthday cake post! I’m making a gluten free/dairy free/ no added sugar fun-fetti cake with them.

I ended the night with spaghetti squash, pasta sauce, and apple chicken sausages. I was so hungry that I forgot to take a photo!
My recap post didn’t go live yesterday morning because I put up a fun blog about periods and products! 🙂 Here is the coffee I had yesterday morning. I have been drinking this for the past week and I can’t get enough! IT’S SO GOOD! Here is the link for the Whole Beans and the link for the Ground Beans. I am going to start sharing which coffee brands I drink. I like to change it up a lot! I also highly recommend getting a coffee grinder! It makes your coffee super fresh, and it stores your beans. I have a really inexpensive one that I love! Here is the link if you’re interested
Afternoon tea time 🙂 
For my breakfast/lunch, I made an omelet stuffed with my leftover vegetables and spaghetti squash from the night before!
I love filling my omelets with spaghetti squash instead of cheese. I’ve been doing this for the past five years! It’s also really good with pasta sauce on top. 
I also had apple chicken sauces, strawberries, oranges, and tea on the side! 
Later in the afternoon after a three-mile dog walk, I made a protein bowl and some tea before heading to the grocery store to pick up some more coconut milk yogurt (after my fail.)
Later in the evening, I had some sparkling water with lemon drink mix, and a big bowl of spaghetti squash marinara before sitting down to watch The Bachelor!
I am loving the lighter evenings! It doesn’t get dark until 6 PM now:)

I hope you all have an amazing week! Make sure to check back on Thursday for the brownie recipe! You won’t want to miss it! 😀 I’m ready to go pack up my stuff, head uptown, walk the dogs, go to the gym with Kyle, and enjoy my last day as a 26-year-old.

Questions for you!

  1. Do you like Valentines Day?
  2. Are you terrified of getting the flu? (I am)
  3. How many times do you go out to eat per month?

Comments

  • Joi

    Happy belated Birthday!! This made me feel really old too 😀 (we are the same age – my 27th is in April ;-)) I first started reading your blog in 2011 or 2012 and then read it for years and years every morning at work. Feels like a lifetime ago. Now I’m a busy twin Mum, have moved from Germany to New Zealand and while I’m lying next to my sleeping son I remembered your blog! I am so happy you are still “here” and blogging as always! What an incredible achievement !! Sending lots of love and I will definitely come back more often now 🙂 Joi xx

    Reply to Joi
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Joi!!

      Can’t believe it’s been that long!! Thank you for the support over the years!

      Would love to visit New Zealand one day! Bet it’s amazing! 🙂

      Congrats on starting a beautiful family!

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ashley Breanna

    Have you ever tried making Coconut Chia Seed Pudding instead of yogurt? Tastes similar and is MUCH easier!
    https://herheirloom.blogspot.com/2017/08/chia-pudding.html

    Reply to Ashley Breanna
  • Hannah Schwartz

    This kind of title is not fair!! I think you scared us all.
    I have never liked Valentine’s Day. Never been in a relationship so it has never held a special meaning. Growing up my mom would get my brother and I Valentine’s Day gifts!
    Honestly, I haven’t gotten sick in years and I am so happy about it. This season I have gotten a sore throat twice, but that’s all and hopefully nothing worse!
    I am not a huge fan of the restaurants near me. They are mostly chains and just don’t serve the kind of food I like. If I lived in a city like you, I would definitely go out to eat more! I hope one day I can live somewhere where going out to eat is fun and not just something you do when you don’t want to cook!!

    Reply to Hannah Schwartz
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hahahaha sorry, Hannah!

      I think that is why I love Valentine’s Day so much! I makes me think back to when I was a kid. My mom always got us gifts, and I loved putting together the school cards. I grew up in a town like that! It does make a difference!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie

    Happy belated birthday! I hope 27 is wonderful to you!
    And please don’t tease/scare us with another title like that again – we love you too much!!

    Reply to Susie
  • Alison

    Yes I love Valentine’s! I’m not one that hates on the holiday like many do. Even when I was single. I even liked it as a kid. Most are like blah, blah who cares – shouldn’t take one day out of the year to show your love – and it’s nothing but a commercial holiday. And on and on. My boyfriend and I enjoy it. Our anniversary date is the 11th. (10 years!) We have always done something for Valentine’s. Bed and breakfast’s are our favorites. He always gets me roses which I love. (I’m a gardener and I love all flowers) But he also gets me flowers all through the year too. So yes…I love it. I look forward to your Valentine’s blog! ❤️

    Reply to Alison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Alison!

      I have always liked it too! Even when I was single! 🙂

      Congrats on 10 years! so awesome! I’m so happy you guys take the time to celebrate!

      xo xo xo xo I just love all the love stories!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kyla

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! 🎉

    *I enjoy Valentines Day – any extra reason to celebrate, I’m in! <3
    *Very terrified of getting the flu! So many people I know have it right now – eek!
    *Used to eat out at least once a week, but have cut down a lot! Yay!

    Reply to Kyla
  • Lindsay

    Hey! I clicked on the link to the cat slippers and it looks like they are kids slippers? Did you order kids sizes or do you know where to buy adult ones? They are so cute!

    Reply to Lindsay
  • Sarah

    Hope you have a great birthday celebration (and thanks for giving me a heart attack I’ve been a reader for about a year now and was going to be bummed if you stopped doing recaps. I love reading them with my morning or night cup of coffee)! Also cannot wait to see that avocado brownie recipe it sounds divine (:

    Reply to Sarah
  • Traci

    Happy Birthday, Taralynn!! Hope you had a great day! The tea coasters are too adorable! And I cannot WAIT for your avocado brownie recipe! 😀

    Reply to Traci
  • Naomi | How To Heat Press

    Like everyone else, I thought by the title you were shutting up shop. I’m a long time reader, first time commenter! I like the ‘Blogging Day’ mug in the photo near the top. Did you make it yourself? Is is with adhesive vinyl, HTV, or sublimation? Haha, or maybe you hadn’t thought about it? It looks like adhesive to me…

    Reply to Naomi | How To Heat Press
  • MG

    Looking forward to your Dad’s soup recipe. It looks delish. I am a vegetarian so I can tailor it for me and my fam. Love your blog. You and your man are the cutest. xo

    Reply to MG
  • Bethany @LuluRuns

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY girl! I so love following your blog and your recap posts are my FAV! Hope your day today is extra special <3

    Reply to Bethany @LuluRuns
  • Jessie @ The Acquired Sass

    1. I think a lot of the V-day hype is too much for me. Vendors raise prices, restaurants are packed, etc. I definitely won’t turn down heart shaped candy, or a fancy date night out, but my husband and I tend to pick a random day a week or two after the fact and celebrate then instead so we don’t have to deal with crowds.

    2. I definitely wouldn’t want the flu, knock on wood, I’m okay so far. But, I’m also the person who makes an awful face, and grimaces when someone sneezes or coughs in public and doesn’t wash their hands. And the person at the office “yelling” when someone comes in sick to work instead of staying home since we can work from home.

    3. Honestly, I think I’ve been out to eat 4 times in January already, but that is QUITE the exception for us. Usually it’s less than once a month. Part of that is due to my husbands crazy work schedule, it just isn’t feasible for us to go out most nights. I enjoy entertaining when we are inviting friends over we haven’t seen recently, the wine is “free” and we can stay and chat as long as we want, versus taking up a table at a restaurant on a busy night.

    Also, couldn’t help myself replying to one of the comments above. People are too much sometimes. And had to laugh at the venison statement. I didn’t try venison until a few years ago, but I love it now, and we pretty much use it exclusively in place of beef. Most times I can’t tell the difference.

    Happy Birthday!

    Reply to Jessie @ The Acquired Sass
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jessie!

      That is smart that you and your husband do that! We did that last year, but this year we are going full force and dining out on the big V day lol

      HAHAHAHA so funny you just mentioned that. I was on the treadmill at the gym yesterday and the guy three treadmills down was basically hacking up a lung and coughing all over the treadmill. I didn’t know if he was just severely out of shape (didn’t look like it) or sick! I was making faces hard! I always scrub the treadmill before and after using it.

      You’re always good about meal prepping and cooking at home! 🙂 I love all the fun recipes you come up with. It’s sometimes hard in the winter.

      And thanks for that comment!:) Sometimes I get too exhausted replying and I just have to let it go and let them get it all out. It’s usually laughable. I’d love to have a scientific reason not to eat animal product and a great since comment than a command. I’d probably reply to one of those.

      xo xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    1) I like Valentine’s Day! It’s another excuse to go out for dinner. 😉
    2) I got the flu on Christmas Day. I almost never get sick and I had to cancel my plans. I was so bummed.
    3) We go out to dinner at least once a week. Sometimes more.

    Reply to Lauren
  • Sarah

    Hi Taralynn! Love your recap posts. I thought you were taking them away from us! Happy early birthday 🙂
    1. I do not like Valentine’s Day. While my hubby is amazing and loving, he doesn’t care about it, so I stopped getting my hopes up 🙁
    2. Are you terrified of getting the flu? Absolutely! I’m a teacher who works with germs 9-10 year olds! I love them, but they’re nasty haha. Knock on wood, I haven’t got the flu!
    3. We go out maybe 1x monthly. We love to cook, so we would rather spend money on fresh and delicious ingredients and good wine than restaurants 🙂

    Reply to Sarah
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Sarah!

      I wont be doing that 😀

      awwwww well if you guys are on the same page about Valentine’s day, then it’s ok! But if you do like it, you should say something 😀

      Lol I bet all teachers are feeling like that!!

      Thats a great number!!:D

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Angela

    Hey I have a request! Well let me start by saying I love your blog, I work at a desk 40(+) hours a week and often take a mental break to read your blog 🙂 That being said, can you create easy simple exercises that can be done at a desk? I try and walk around the building sometimes, I have a standup desk so I occasionally stand but I think I should be moving, stretching and working my muscles more throughout the day! Thanks and happy early birthday 🙂

    Reply to Angela
  • Camilla

    Please consider giving up dead flesh and body secretions. It is unhealthy and extremely unethical. Stop harming innocent beings. Stop viewing chickens, cows and pigs as less worthy of life than dogs, cats and humans.

    Reply to Camilla
    • Jessie @ The Acquired Sass

      Hi Camila —

      I’m not one for responding to others comments on a blog, but you compelled me to. While I disagree with your thoughts as a whole, I respect your right to have them. I WOULD, however, encourage you to present them in a more respectful, fact driven manner in the future. I find it is truly difficult to take something like this seriously when it is presented from such a place of opinion and anger. And on such a personal forum, with no facts, studies, or literature as to why a particular lifestyle is better than another.

      I personally think Taralynn eats a very varied diet, and presumably one that makes her feel good. And I come to this space with respect for that and to commend her for being a positive role model. I hope you can do the same in the future.

      I’ll stop myself here before I get onto a rant about ethical wages & treatment for farmers who tend and raise crops for more plant based lifestyles to exist. 🙂

      Reply to Jessie @ The Acquired Sass
    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it’s up to you to tell her how to live her life. You live it your way. She’ll live it her way. End of story.

      Reply to Anonymous
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’ll take that into consideration. Thanks.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Whitney

    Hi Taralynn!!!

    I have been wanting to do a container garden for a long time, but I definitely do not have a green thumb. Have you ever thought about doing one? I can definitely see you being great at it!

    Reply to Whitney
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Funn you should mention this, I’ve actually been working on building and planning a little backyard patio garden! I’m excited to get it going this spring!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Whitney

        YES!!!! I cannot wait to see this, and to read about your tips on it. I’m sure it will do great! Happy Birthday!!!!!

        Reply to Whitney
  • Katie

    Ahh love this! You almost got me.. I was like what last recap what no!!! lol 🙂 Happy almost Birthday girlfriend!! Hope it’s a great one! All of those meals look delish!! I’m also afraid of getting the flu this year bc of how bad it’s been!! I usually go out to eat 2-3 per month .. but it all depends! It’s usually fast casual food, and maybe like 1 sit down restaurant.

    XO, Katie | http://www.meshkomoments.com

    Reply to Katie
  • Jackie

    My stomach dropped when I read that title girl! Please don’t ever stop blogging.

    Reply to Jackie
  • Nilya

    Hi Taralynn,
    concerning home-made yogurt … I make it all the time. The key is: the right yogurt to get the cultures into the milk!! If you use store-bought yogurt for the cultures, it does not work (for me at least .. tastes funny). To make home-made yogurt, you need some home-made yogurt to start with! For that jar on the picture, you need one tablespoon. And you need to know what milk it is made from (the fat %).
    I don’t know if it’s possible to make yogurt out of fat-reduced milk. I use 3,5% fat milk. Others don’t work. But I’m from Germany, I never made yogurt in the US. Skim milk is still creeping me out … 😀
    If you can organize to get your one table spoon of home-made yogurt, I could write you “my” way to make yogurt. It does sound harder than it actually is … 🙂

    Reply to Nilya
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I ended up buying the vegan cultures starter! I figured that would perfectly. 🙁 I was trying to make almond milk yogurt instead of dairy yogurt, so I think that is what the issue was. It had directions for it, but didn’t work too well for me!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Vanessa

    Do you like Valentines Day?
    I never really cared about it tbh. To me it just seems like a decent way to trick people into buying even more. I’d rather show my partner my love every single day!

    Are you terrified of getting the flu? (I am)
    Not really, as long as everyone around me is healthy.

    How many times do you go out to eat per month?
    Just once max, it is just so incredibly expensive

    Reply to Vanessa
  • Amy

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TARALYNN

    Reply to Amy
  • Quinn

    I’m single and still love Valentine’s day! It was more fun when I was a kid.

    Reply to Quinn
  • Sara

    Happy birthday, Taralynn!

    Reply to Sara
  • Brooklyn

    Girl you nearly gave me a heart attack! I’ve been a reader for about 6 and a half years now, and was so sad to see no more recaps haha. I’m glad they will still be here!

    Happy early birthday!

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    Reply to Brooklyn
  • Chelsea

    I can’t believe you’re 27! I remember following your bog when you first turned 21! I followed you when you were living in Chicago. Have a great birthday, Taralynn.

    Reply to Chelsea
  • Britt

    Love the new picture on the meet taralynn section!

    Reply to Britt
  • May

    1. I love Valentine’s Day! We do it up every year with pink and red and the kids get really into it. My husband is a fun gift giver lol so that makes it fun too.
    2. Yes, I am also terrified of the flu. We actually got H1N1 in 2009 and it was scary.
    3. I’m going to assume ordering in counts 😉 We usually order in once a week.

    Reply to May
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Awwww I bet! My mom used to always give me something special on Valentine’s day!

      OMG THAT IS SCARY!!

      I don’t blame you! 🙂 Ordering in is always fun!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    Happy early birthday !!!!!!

    One question – what lemon drink mix do you use? I love flavored sparkling water, but I think adding something else to it would be awesome!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Amanda

    Hey Taralynn,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 5 years now, but have never commented.

    My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago and just started chemo. I’ve been making a point to have my parents over for dinner on the weekdays and just made your chicken enchiladas tonight. They were really delish and enjoyed by the whole family. I just wanted to say thanks for letting me share my love through food with my family and especially my mom. Keep up the good work!

    Reply to Amanda
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Amanda!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      I am so sorry to hear about your mom! I will keep her and your family in my prayers. Stay strong for her! <3

      I hope I can bring more recipe to the blog for you and your family.

      Head up girl!

      God works in wonderful ways!

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    Happy birthday! Is there a reason you make everything -free? Gluten-free, etc.

    Reply to Anonymous
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I have a lot of readers that can’t have milk, animal products dairy, nuts, soy and things like that, so I like to make my recipes fun and accommodate everyone. And sometimes we simply do not need those things, so why add them? When a brownie can taste just as good without the butter and sugar, then that’s what I’ll do 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Hanna

    1. I love Valentine’s Day! I always have, even when I was single. It’s just a fun day to share love – and now that I have kids, it’s another layer of the day. My three year old is working on his valentine’s and it’s so sweet to watch him cut them himself and sign his name.
    2. I haven’t even thought about the flu haha … hopefully it doesn’t arrive at our house!
    3. We eat takeout maybe once a week but we go out to eat maybeee once a month, but we have a 3 and 1 year old so it isn’t easy to eat out. I ate out a lot more before them and I don’t regret it! Embrace each season of life and enjoy what you can when you are there!

    Reply to Hanna
    • Taralynn McNitt

      aWWWWWWW Kids are the sweetest on Valentine’s day!!!

      lol I watch too much of the news and that’s all they talk about lol

      Lol thanks for the words of wisdom!! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kristen

    I love Valentine’s Day, even when I was single. This year my boyfriend is going to make me some seafood pasta 🙂

    I am currently recovering from a “flu like” virus! I am coughing up a lung & I sound like a man.

    I’m not sure how much I got out to eat …maybe once a week?? Not including running to subway for lunch at work…..

    Love your recaps!

    Reply to Kristen
  • Chloe

    You have a new profile picture! I love it!

    Reply to Chloe
  • Steph

    Woah, you got me!!!! I really thought this would be the last post from you, and I was worried!! Happy early birthday! I can’t wait to see what you accomplish at 27!

    Reply to Steph
  • Jordan

    I don’t mind Valentines Day, but I won’t say that it’s my favorite “holiday”- I like more family oriented ones like Thanksgiving or Christmas rather than “romantic” ones.

    I’m not too worried about getting the flu. I work in a hospital, so exposure is a definite possibility, but I just make sure to be extra careful about washing my hands and taking care of myself too!

    We don’t go out too often. But there are times that weekends get super busy and we seem to eat out for every meal. Both my husband and I need a detox after that and the next few weeks we eat all of our meals at home again. It makes you just feel so much better!!

    And if you don’t mind me asking, are you trying to go gluten-free and dairy-free? I recently read that doing so may help thyroid issues (something I struggle with) but I wrestle with the idea of giving up dairy! I’m from Wisconsin (the Dairy State for goodness sakes!) and just can’t seem to say no to cheese or yogurt!

    Is coconut yogurt comparable to regular yogurt??

    Thanks for sharing! And I’ll say some prayers of comfort for you too!

    Reply to Jordan
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jordan!

      I can see that!:) I more like the cute hearts and pink, and it’s the LAST holiday before spring! 😀

      You are so good! I know the hospital is a scary place to be with the flu going around right now. xo

      Yeah, I totally understand!

      I have definitely gradually cut back on both. I’m nearly 100% dairy free now, and it has a lot to do with my endometriosis. I haven’t really talked about it on the blog yet, but I’d like to see where I’m at in about a year.

      YES! I love it.

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Jordan

        Good work being close to 100% dairy free – and I certainly hope that it helps your recovery process! I look forward to the yummy recipes that you will be posting because I am trying to cut back on both as well. And now I have to go buy some coconut yogurt!

        Reply to Jordan
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    HAPPY (early) BIRTHDAY! I remember when I turned 27 I totally freaked out because it seemed so OFFICIALLY close to 30. And now I turn 30 this year, and I’m actually really excited haha. The years really do speed up like crazy the older we get. But I hope you have a wonderful birthday! I know Kyle will spoil you!

    After 10 years together, Ben and I now use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to go out and eat somewhere delicious haha. And Ben does this super cute thing where he makes me cards out of construction paper with hearts and pictures and the whole 9 yards. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever and I look forward to them every year!

    I am SO terrified of the flu! Funny thing is, I’m not afraid of getting it from my 1st graders because I almost never get sick from my kids. It’s ADULTS that spread all the germs! So I avoid the gym too, and wash my hands like crazy.

    We try to limit eating out…. But… We fail. So maybe 4-5 times per month? Yikes. We need to save that money for travel!

    Happy birthday again! 27 is going to be a fantastic year!

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Susie!

      Thanks so much!!:D Kyle turns 30 this year, so I can’t complain about my age too much! I remember when I used to think 25 was SO OLD, and I still feel the same haha!

      Lol that is what Kyle and I are doing too! 😀

      I’d be terrified at a school (mainly because i just watch the news all day.) Glad you’re staying on top of the hand washing! lol

      And thanks so much for the kind words!!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Phyllis

    Dumb question. How many coats of varnish. Love the coaster idea.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEK!!

    Reply to Phyllis
  • Patricia L

    1. I love Valentine’s Day! My husband and I make plans together so there is no pressure on if he will remember etc. (although he does always remember to bring home flowers or something.) This year we asked my parents to keep the kids for the day and are going to spend all day at the theater watching at least three movies.

    2. I am worried about my kids getting the flu (2&9). We wash our hands as soon as we get
    Home from anywhere.. we do it normally but especially during flu season. Remember going out to eat when you were little and your parents made you leave the table to wash before eating… we are those people! Lol

    3. We go out to eat a lot! My husband works all day and I’m inside with my son all day so we like to drive and relax in the evenings and grab a bite to eat. We budget going out in out budget. I’d guess 3 times a week. Normally always after church on Sunday.

    And I loved your giving things to the Lord paragraph. We’ve got an amazing God that’s got our back…. we just have to let him!

    Reply to Patricia L
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Patricia!

      Your husband sounds so sweet! 😀

      It must be scary for sure! Especially since they are so little!

      There is nothing wrong with dining out! Especially when you have your hands full.

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ally

    I WOULD CRY IF THIS WAS YOUR LAST POST!

    Reply to Ally
  • Amber RayAnn

    Thank you for posting that verse, it’s such a good reminder ❤️

    I didn’t used to like Valentine’s Day because my birthday is on the 9th and I felt like it conflicted. Haha but now it’s really fun to write cards and eat chocolate. Looking forward to your special blog post!

    Also I try to cook at home and only go out on the weekends. My husband and I have been obsessed with suhsi so that’s our go to! But always inspire me with your yummy meals! You should make a cook book 😋

    Does the coconut yogurt you like have the same benefits as dairy yogurt? Seems yummy!

    Also spring can’t come soon enough!! I live in the mountains and can’t wait for it to warm up so the smell of pine comes back, it’s so peaceful and refreshing!

    Reply to Amber RayAnn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      XO

      Lol that is funny! I used to feel that way when we had to celebrate the Superbowl on my birthday weekend! It falls on it sometimes.

      mmmm now I want sushi!!!

      There is less sugar, less carbs, and less protein in my yogurt, and that is why I always add my protein powder!

      MMMM I bet you’re excited for spring for sure!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    You got me wìth the tìtle!

    Are you generally hungrier on days you workout? What type of workout makes you the most hungry?

    Also what do you think òf during that hour on the porch with your coffee? I would be perfectly happy if we rotated between winter fall and spring but never summer 🙂

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hahaha whoops!!

      MMMMMMM when I first start up a workout regimen, I’m definitely more hungry! It eventually goes away!

      I normally check emails on the porch lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sarah

    This might be a dumb idea but…have you ever made a post about all the different ways you cook eggs? They seem like the simplest thing to make (at least for everyone else), and yet I struggle! Hard boiled, fried, scrambled, omelets – would you mind maybe one day sharing your go-to, fool-proof methods? Mine eggs come out so inconsistent and yours always look so beautiful!

    Reply to Sarah
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Not a dumb idea at all! I could probably make it with the 1000000 photos of eggs I have on my blog lol I think that would be a fun post! 🙂 Thanks for the idea!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Tory

    You just instastoried an espresso mid day the other day…are you not counting that as coffee?

    Reply to Tory
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Tory!

      I use decaf espresso pods in the afternoon. Sometimes, I just like the taste of a latte! Also, I only made that because I was doing food photography for my upcoming brownies post.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kelli

    Sending prayers your way for positive feedback from the doc!

    I really do like valentines day, I try to downplay it for my husband because he’s on call for work a lot but I love a cute, quiet valentines dinner/date night.

    In terms of the flu, YES! Since I work in a public health office, everyone comes in sick and they infect everyone! I’m the person with 84357348975348957 bottles of hand sanitizer, lysol, etc. I hate it when people come in the office sick…I can’t go home because YOU came in sick

    Umm we eat out way too much. I am trying to cut back though! This adulting thing is exhausting, working full time, and going to school part time wears on me and my husband and sometimes going out to eat is the biggest relief. But, we spend a ton of money and it definitely doesn’t help with my weight loss goals…

    Reply to Kelli
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Kelli! <3

      Just the simplist thing can make a Valetine’s day special. Even if it’s a card.

      YIKES! I’d be so paranoid if I were you hahaha

      I don’t blame you! I went almost three years eating out at restuarants ALL THE TIME!!!! Now, I just love meal prepping and keeping a ton of things in the house to keep me from going to restaurants. Like last night, I knew I was going to Kyle’s so I packed my dinner! I normally always find something to eat when I’m uptown!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kelsey Weissner

    First and foremost–HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVE!!!! <3 I hope 27 is your best year YET! And please don't ever scare me like that again about this being a "last recap post" hahaha 🙂 I snorted out loud when I read the part about the venison soup as a kid with a deer head on the wall! My dad is also a hunter and I've spent many years gazing into the eyes of deer heads on walls lol!! I absolutely loooove the coaster idea so I plan on making some of those for gifts soon! Thank you for sharing the mini tutorial, I can't believe how easy that is to do. Can't wait to see the avocado brownie recipe! I've said a little prayer for you as well while you wait to get answers from doctors. Although we may or may not be in a similar situation, I can definitely relate to how you feel and not knowing always cranks up my anxiety. Whatever you results may be, I know you're strong enough to overcome them and you will come out on top! <3

    As for your questions, I do like Valentine's Day! I get some yummy chocolate and then we go to dinner, what's not to love?! I enjoy letting my boyfriend know how much I appreciate him and it's the perfect day to do so. I am absolutely terrified of getting the flu! I'm a pretty serious germaphobe so the minute I heard someone near me say that they feel sick, I whip out the disinfectant and create a distance lol! I also start downing ACV in water because it's such a great first line of defense against illness in general. I maybe buy lunch out 2 times a week which is something I'm really trying to scale back. As for dinner, we usually go out 3-5 times a month now which is MUCH better compared to last year.

    Sorry for the long comment! I hope you have an incredible birthday! xoxo Kelsey

    Reply to Kelsey Weissner
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kelsey!!

      Thanks so much!!!

      Sorry for the scare 😀

      Glad you can relate to the deer story!! hahaha I never trusted ANYTHING he made!!!!!

      The coasters are so fun! I bought a ton of the wood pieces on Amazon!! xoxoxoxox

      You have to LOVE the LOVE holiday! lol I’m also a germaphobe!! I scrub the treadmill before and after and scrub everything I tough when I go to the gym.

      and no worries! I love the long comments just as much! 😀

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Christy

    I love when you do workout write-ups.

    Reply to Christy
  • Aileen

    Happy Birthday, girl.

    Reply to Aileen
  • Sarisha

    Happy Birthday Week Taralynn! I hope this year is your best year yet!!

    I’m really looking forward to that avocado brownie recipe!

    I also spent the morning in and out of doctors offices, waiting for answers, and getting more and more anxious. I agree with you completely, God is capable of taking our worry, and we should just give it to him. Easier said than done sometimes, but I hope everything comes back okay for you. I just finished a book called “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado and it’s great for worry and anxiety.

    Happy Tuesday from Upstate NY!

    Reply to Sarisha
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Sarisha!!

      I’ll be posting that recipe first thing tomorrow morning!:D

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll add that book to my list. I’m so far behind on reading! I still need to finish my book for the book review! I’ll be getting a ton of reading done this weekend.

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jessica Brown

    Happy Early Birthday Taralynn. Love your recap like always!

    1) My husband and I don’t like Valentine’s Day for us by it’s a treat filled day for our pup!
    2) I am a germaphob and totally willing to admit it. If someone is sick, I’m not their friend for a week haha!
    3) We go out once maybe twice a month but we loooove to cook at home. We are actually headed to Charlotte in April but rented an Airbnb so that we could cook some while we are there.

    I cannot wait for your updated brownie recipe!

    Reply to Jessica Brown
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jessica!

      Thanks so much!!

      Haha love that you celebrate it with your pup! 😀

      I don’t blame you at all!! LOL I’m like that! Even with Kyle!

      Lol we do that too! We love having a kitchen to cook while we are out.

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    Do you like Valentines Day? I always said I didn’t like Valentine’s Day but as I’ve gotten older and now that I’m married I like it 🙂 It’s a fun day to do something sweet for my husband and I usually make some fun Valentine’s treats. His birthday is the 13th so we usually combine Valentines wit that.
    Are you terrified of getting the flu? (I am) YES. Especially because I am 13 weeks pregnant. I’ve been avoiding any public places for awhile now. If I have to go I make sure to bring hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes!
    How many times do you go out to eat per month? We eat out probably two times per month, at nicer restaurants. We eat at fast food, like Subway or Jimmy John’s more often, maybe four times.

    Reply to Katie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I love a combination celebration too! 🙂 Even though mine is two weeks before Valentines day, we kind of combine it!

      PLEASE be careful! 🙂 And congrats!!!!! How exiting, Katie!!

      LOVE Jimmy Johns!! lo l

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Audrey Cason

    I love your blog sooo much! you scared me with the last blog post!! But happy blessed birthday! Thank you for inspiring me!! I eat lowcarb and i can do a lot of your dishes wt just a few tweaks!! Your dishes always look so amazing too! I will be in prayer for you over your doctor visits. God bless you and be with you. 💗

    Reply to Audrey Cason
  • Krista

    Happy (early?) birthday!! I was totally confused at first with that title, LOL!

    I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day person, but we do try to make a special dinner that night anyway each year– we don’t have a ton of options for restaurants in my area, and with flu season not having hit its peak yet, I’m not super keen on going out. He’ll be on a business trip on Valentine’s Day, though, so we’ll probably celebrate later!

    I got the flu vaccine and read that it’s actually around 30 percent effective this year, but my boss had the flu a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t gotten it yet, so there’s hope.

    I hope all is well with your answers from your doctors; it’s hard waiting for answers when you’re just not sure what’s happening and you feel like they’re taking forever :\

    Reply to Krista
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Krista!

      Thanks so much! Sorry for the confusion 😀

      We always celebrate Valentine’s day early or later! 😀 Especially since it’s pretty close to my birthday!

      Yikes! scary! I’ve never had a flu vaccination in my entire life because I’m paranoid! Also I hate shots so much.

      Thank you for the kind words! I did get a call back and things got cleared up and I’m a little LESS concerned, but will be having a follow up!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lina

    Question about your dog training – why did it take you so long to start doing more proper training with Grumples and Leo? Would love to know what was that breaking point from able to handle it yourself to needed help from a professional. I ask this not to criticize, but more bc I’m in a similar situation and feel like I failed as a dog parent by not being more proactive when he was a puppy.

    Reply to Lina
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Lina!

      Well, we tried many things before breaking down and spending thousands of dollars on training. Mainly, it was because when it was just me and Grumples, it was easy to walk him. He didn’t have the energy of Leo around him, vice-versa. Eventually, it just kept escalating and getting worse! There were times where Grumples was just absolutely perfect! And then months later he just changed again! I was just tired of the inconsistency. He has a very unusual personality. He is so fun, sweet, playful, energetic, but if something sets him off…he’s done. At one year, Leo started copying Grumple’s traits. Since I am with them most of the time, I find myself extremely stressed, upset, and anxious when I have to deal with them both. I just want to be able to walk my dogs, not have them bother me while I’m working, I want to trust them, and take them places together. Kyle and I talked about it for a while, and it also took us a long time to find the perfect training situation. A lot of the training facilities we looked at wanted to take them for months at a time, and I just wasn’t OK with that. Now that things in life have been consistent, we wanted to get the dogs trained and be able to live a less-stressful life with them! It’s honestly never too late.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Rebecca Forney

    (1)I love Valentine’s day! I love to celebrate any Holiday, really, but I think Valentine’s day is especially fun. I celebrate the whole month of February and I even have a heart shaped muffin tin that I use!
    (2) I am not too worried about getting the flu but more worried about my family and my nephews staying healthy. It has definitely been a bad flu season! (3) I go out to eat probably more than I should, you are so good about it! I think we usually eat out every Friday and Saturday night, but try to cook mostly during the week. Definitely something to work on in the new year! I hope you have a great birthday and I can’t wait for the brownie post! They look delicious!

    Reply to Rebecca Forney
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Lol love your LOVE for Valentine’s Day!!!!

      It really has! I feel like everyone around me is getting it and there have been schools shutting down all over the U.S. because of it! So many deaths and it’s so sad!

      There is nothing wrong with dining out to eat, I love it! Just lately I’ve been all about having meals at home:D

      Thanks for the kind words! I’m currently at a coffee shop blogging about the brownies!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Haha, you got me all right! I actually thought this was your very last recap post by the title! 😀

    I’m not terrified of getting the flu, since I have quite a good immune system and rarely get sick. But it’s sort of ironic I’m typing this right now because I’m actually sick with the flu at this moment! It feels terrible. 🙁

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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