LOA

DSC_1410 blogToday, my daughter turns four months old.

So, I think it’s appropriate that I announce the decision she has helped me make today: The Charming and yours truly are going on a temporary leave of absence.

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of months and I feel like I’m only just now starting to catch my breath.  Between my dad and now my grandfather’s health, getting this whole motherhood thing down, my marriage needing some TLC, and my work/life balance, some things have needed to be shifted around.  And at the end of the day, my daughter still has to come first.

I love blogging.  I love this wonderful community.

I have so many plans, hopes, and dreams for the blog.  My husband even knows how much I have a passion for this “hobby” of mine.  However, the last thing I want to do is – pardon my french – half-ass the dreams and plans I have for my blog.

So, I’m going to take a few months to get my act together before I come back and full force and in the meantime, I’m going to take one day at a time.  I don’t want to miss these incredible moments I have with my daughter, I want to make sure I fully devote the necessary time to my family and friends, I want to get back into the swing of things at my job – one that I am so thankful for every time I go to work, and also somehow make sure I take the me time that I need for my own sanity.

Microblogging

During my leave of absence from www.thecharmingblog.com, I will use my Instagram account as a “microblog” to continue showing glimpses into my life, share things I learn, and try to connect with all of you.  So, I encourage you to follow along there, say hello, and we’ll keep in touch via IG.

Some of my most popular posts for you to read while I’m gone:

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Eating Healthy for Healthy Skin

Eating Healthy for Healthy Skin
Eating Healthy for Healthy Skin

Many people of all ages are faced with skin conditions such as acne, dry skin, rosacea, or oily skin, to name a few. While more research is still needed to iron out the specifics there is strong evidence to suggest that proper nutrition can influence the health of your skin.

For starters staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to help flush toxins from your body and keep it running smoothly. When you are dehydrated your skin is one of the first places in your body that suffers, causing it to become dry, and often flushed. Dry flaky skin can cause a buildup of dead cells on the surface of the skin which can become irritated and eventually cause acne. It is recommend that the average person should drink about 2 liters or a half gallon of water a day.

It is well known that B vitamins are extremely important for healthy hair, skin, and nails. These vitamins are essential for cell reproduction and the renewal of skin. Good sources of B vitamins include fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Other sources include leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.

Omega-3 Fatty acids help to maintain the body’s essential oils; these are not the ones that are known to clog pores, but the ones that keep skin cells from drying out and flaking. They also are great for their anti-inflammatory properties which help in healing acne break outs. Main sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are typically found in fish, specifically salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna. Additional sources include flaxseed, and chia.

Collagen is a protein that helps give skin its plumpness and elasticity. Vitamin A is a necessary vitamin for the production of collagen. It is also an antioxidant which helps to remove free radicals which can cause damage to skin cells eventually lading to sagging and wrinkling. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and bell peppers.

In addition to eating well, and keeping hydrated it is important to remember that keeping your skin healthy requires good health all around. Fitful sleep, low stress, and physical activity will all take part in the health of your skin. It’s also important to keep your skin safe from the sun’s harmful rays and other environmental conditions.

Spring Couscous

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Spring has sprung! Grocery stores and farmers markets are filling with wonderful, luscious, and vibrant colors. Rainbow Swiss chard, purple asparagus, green peas are just the beginning. After an incredibly long and desperately cold winter I think we can all agree that these fresh veggies are more than welcome.

This dish is a great way to celebrate this special time of year. It can be a meal on its own or a great side dish with almost any other recipe. It has a simple and light flavor that lends itself well to so many others and this is what I love the most about it. The light flavor with the fresh crunchy vegetables and softer couscous pearls is just devine. I swear it’s like I can feel the sun shine in every bite that I take.

Cooking the couscous in vegetable broth sets a good base for flavor. To save on dirty dishes I simply added the fresh veggies right into the pot at the very end of the cooking time. This not only adds a bit more flavor to the base but also keeps the vegetables crisp and looking vibrant. Now all that’s needed is a handful of fresh herbs and maybe a tiny bit of cracked red pepper and you have yourself a wonderfully flavorful salad type thing. I also topped the leftovers with some fresh alfalfa sprouts for a bit more protein, and a cooler contrast to the warm salad.

It’s really enough to feed a group of 4 without anything else, but if you wanted to stretch it I’d grill up some meat or veggies and then you could feed more like 6 or 8.

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Spring Vegetable Couscous

1 1/2 cups dry couscous
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 lb asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of fresh or frozen green peas
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tbsp fresh mint chopped small
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ cup alfalfa sprouts (optional)

Cook couscous according to package instructions with the broth substituted for water. 5 minutes before cooking is complete, add asparagus and peas. Once finished toss with herbs, and adjust seasoning. Serve warm or cold with sprouts on top.