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Whole30 Butternut Squash Leek Soup

June 4, 2014




I recently discovered this book via Instagram and I decided I’d buy it. It was so intriguing, that I also decided to follow the program for 30 days. Whole30 is basically a strict paleo diet intended to both cleanse your insides and break you of your unhealthy food addictions. Mine is sugar for sure. Somehow, I convinced Evan to do it as well which is awesome because we’ll  ride it out as a team. I love doing cleanses a few times per year. Whether juicing, fasting or eating whole foods only, a cleanse diet is always a good thing for me– mind, body and soul. So for the month of June, we’ll be omitting sugars, grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, soy and all processed foods from our diet. What’s left you ask? A plethora of clean eats– all proteins, leafy greens and veggies, fruit galore and healthy fats (i.e. coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, etc.). We often eat paleo so I don’t think this will be a huge departure from our regular diet but I will miss the occasional morning muffin or crumbled chèvre on my salads.

I’ll be sharing our favorite recipes with you – as long as baby allows, that is! It’s hard enough to cook with her around, let alone style, photograph and write a blog post. But I’ll do my best!

Today, I’m sharing one of our favorite soups. I know it’s not exactly soup season but this recipe is a staple at our house all year long. It can be made with any gourd or root veggie really, but we like butternut squash the best (sweet potato is a close second). This one pot meal includes all sorts of good stuff and it’s big enough to serve the whole family or have leftovers for the week. Plus, you can throw it together in minutes, but it’ll taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy!

p.s. If you’d like to learn more about Whole30, check out the website hereRead more…


Cielo’s Room

June 1, 2014


So I have to admit, preparing for Cielo’s arrival was not at all fun for me. There were so many little teensy tiny decisions to make and they all seemed important! Disposable diapers or cloth? Co-sleeper or bassinet? Finding the right monitor, breast pump, baby wash…heck, even what diaper bag I needed was overwhelming for me. It was so bad that I had an anxiety attack at Babies R Us one afternoon!! …okay, it wasn’t a real anxiety attack but I was so overwhelmed with how much stuff we needed and how to choose it all, that I literally broke down crying (pregnancy hormones are real people!). But when it came to designing Cielo’s room, I had no anxiety. I knew exactly what I wanted: a modern, pieced together feel that wasn’t too girly, with only a smidge of “baby”. We still have a few missing details but below are some pictures of Cielo’s nursery if you’d like to see.

p.s. She turned 10 weeks old on Friday…time really does just fly right by!

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Cinco de Mayo Round-up

May 2, 2014


Happy Friday! And happy almost Cinco de Mayo!! It’s one of my favorite celebration days of the year and while margaritas aren’t exactly conducive to breastfeeding, I think I’ll be making an exception for my favorite spicy libation
(sorry baby! Momma needs a drink!)). Here are some fun posts to inspire any Cinco de Mayo fiesta! Have an awesome weekend! -xo

(clockwise from top left: Chilaquiles, spicy cucumber margarita, pull pinatas, churro pancakes)

Breastfeeding is hard

April 22, 2014

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I’ve been wanting to write this post since Cielo was born but I thought I’d wait a little to see how things pan out. One month in and I stand by the statement that breastfeeding is hard. And you know what? Every single mom that I have spoken to since Cielo’s birth has said the exact same thing. One even told me she thought it was almost harder than labor itself!

So why is this something I never knew before having the baby? Why isn’t this topic shared in more birth classes and prenatal appointments? Why didn’t my midwife tell me I may have a hard time with one of the most elementary aspects of being a mom? Breastfeeding has been the number one topic of conversation concerning the baby in my household. And after speaking to so many moms and hearing similar stories to mine, I thought it was time we had an open and honest conversation about the trials and triumphs of breastfeeding. I want to know your stories. Did you find it hard to nurse your baby? How did you cope? Were you more successful? What can you share with new moms to help them along?

I encourage everyone to comment on this post (the more advice, stories, knowledge, the better), but let’s all be supportive of each others thoughts and parenting philosophies (including mine). How you feed your baby can be such a hot topic and I don’t believe in parent shaming. We all do what we need to do to keep our kids safe, happy and healthy, right? Right!

So let’s talk about breastfeeding…

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Make ahead meals: Short Rib Shepherd’s Pie

April 14, 2014


Sometimes you take two days making a recipe – you gather your ingredients, you season your meat and let it sit over night, you chop, you dice, you mince, you carefully style each and every detail, you take hundreds of photos…you delete all of said photos, you stare at your computer for the next fifteen minutes in complete disbelief…then, you smile, you pick yourself up, you remember you took photos with your iPhone, you take a deep breath, you write this post.

Short Rib Shepherd’s Pie, my friends. So good, nothing could stop me from sharing.

p.s. I originally made this recipe close to two months ago and we’re having it for dinner tonight! Keep reading for the freezer directions.

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Hello, I’m Cielo Love

April 10, 2014

Cielo Love

Cielo Love First Hours-6


Friends, she’s finally here! Meet my new best friend, Cielo Love Parsons. She was born March 21, 2014 at 7:37am, weighing 8lbs and measuring 21 1/2 inches long. She.Is.AWESOME! There really are no words to describe the feeling. I love her. So much. I have so much to share about her birth and our first few weeks with her but for now, I just wanted to share the news of her arrival.  You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything new to the blog in over a month! Needless to say, I’ve been busy. This little girl is my full-time job now so until I get a better grasp on this stay-at-home-mom thing, the blog will be taking a back seat. I really can’t say when I’ll get back to regular postings but I’ll do my best to check in every so often and CANNOT WAIT to get back to recipes and DIY’s. Please stay tuned! xoxo, Paola.

P.S. It’s been easiest to stay active on Instagram so follow me there for more regular #cielolove pics. My handle is @loveandcupcakesblog.

Make ahead meal: Chicken Tortilla Soup

March 11, 2014



Chicken tortilla soup is one of my absolute favorites but I’ve never made it at home – it always seems way too complicated and full if complex ingredients, like it took all day to make (but really, it couldn’t be more simple). So when Evan requested soups for some of our make-ahead meals, it was first on my list. Store-bought rotisserie chicken is my secret ingredient for making any delicious chicken soup. It takes a few steps out of the process and you can make your own stock from scratch which is something I love to do. This chicken tortilla soup is the right amount of spicy, savory, brothy and hearty. It was one of those meals where we couldn’t stop “Mmmmmming” and smacking our lips, and talking about how delicious a bowl of soup was. It was exciting to know that we’d have a few more servings waiting for us once baby is here. And the fact that one little store-bought rotisserie chicken could make so much food was really satisfying – like getting an extra discount at the register when the item you’re purchasing is already on sale. This soup was a true triumph! Ready to make it? Let’s go!

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