Savory Sundays: Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I am not eating many grains so I am limiting my consumption of breads, pastas, and rices, as well as staying away from white potatoes. That means I am attempting to be as crafty as possible when it comes to carb-infused and starchy foods. Cue the riced cauliflower, zucchini noodles, and sweet potatoes!

This particular recipe caused some hesitation with me. I love buffalo chicken and I love sweet potatoes, but I am not a fan of mixed foods. (I’m that person who cannot have her food touch. I even have a special separating tray at my aunt’s house to use at holiday gatherings. Ha!) So contemplating eating this slow cooker buffalo chicken inside a sweet potato had me debating my life choices.

Then I tried a bite and my world changed.

This recipe is unbelievably tasty. The spiciness from the hot sauce and the sweetness of the potato make for a dynamite flavor! G and I already looking forward to the next time this little dish is made for dinner.

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The Ugliness of Self-Care

Today I want to talk about self-care. True self-care. Not the romanticized and trendy version the world is constantly pushing down our throats. Not the bath bombs and face masks and #treatyourself high-dollar purchases and ritual meditations the world seems so eager to focus on for peak lifestyles.

No, I’m talking about real self-care. The self-care that is often a very unbeautiful thing.

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5 Things I Would Do Differently While Wedding Planning

For those of you who have been following Uncorking Peonies since September 2017, you know I had big dreams when it came to my wedding. Having coordinated and planned over 100 weddings and events, it was finally my time to plan my own Big Day.

My color palette was dusty rose and navy with silver accents. I’ve always loved the more rustic and laid back parties, and my wedding was no exception. I opted to have my bridesmaids choose their own dresses to fit their personal styles and budgets. I created my own decorations with hodge-podge findings and borrowing from family members and friends. I utilized my resources to design the look and feel of the perfect wedding. And the perfect wedding it was.

I loved our wedding day down to the very last detail. But would I do anything differently? Yes. Now that I am past the sparkle and glamour that made our wedding so spectacular, here are five “bigger picture” details I would consider changing should I ever happen upon a time machine:

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Biggest Loser Challenge: Starting Line

A friend of mine posted on Twitter and Facebook a few weeks ago inquiring if any of her friends might be interested in a weight loss challenge this summer. She said it has been a goal of hers for months to lose some weight and get back into shape but that she needed some sort of challenge to push herself. She needed the push for positivity, accountability, and fun during her journey to a more healthy lifestyle.

Her post rang a bell inside me. Truth be told, I’ve gained more weight over the past six months than I care to admit. Where most brides attempt to lose weight for their weddings, the stress of planning my Big Day actually caused me to gain enough weight to bring the scale to the heaviest I’ve been in years. Not only is the scale glaring at me, but my own reflection is too. I can see the weight gain. I can feel it in my clothes. And I can feel how my confidence levels have shifted and the changes in the way I carry myself — I’m slowly resorting back to Old Ashley. Someone I do not wish to meet again.

Unlike the old days though, I know what caused my physical change. Even though I was keeping to weekly meal plans, my weekend habits hung me over a cliff and my scarce workout sessions threw me off completely. While some may fast during stress, I tend to overcompensate by snacking. I also allowed myself to have one (or a few) beers each night to “calm myself.” All in all, my healthy habits have been on a standstill for 2018.

Fortunately, choosing one’s health can never come too late. And today begins a six week journey with 26 other people towards the starting steps of losing weight, gaining fitness, and getting back on track. Today begins our own Biggest Loser’s Challenge.

And I aim to win.

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Wedding Pictures Sneak Peek

What?! Two posts in one day? Whoa, Ashley, what’s gotten into you? Our wedding, friends. Our wedding is on my mind today and I MUST share this post with you. Right. Now.

Our wedding was the thing dreams are made. I am still in awe of how beautifully powerful the entire day was, and I will forever hold the memories made during that celebration as one of the best days of my entire life. One of the worst parts about your wedding day is how quickly time passes. It seemed one moment I was eating breakfast with my bridesmaids, then I was nervously standing in front of the altar holding G’s hand, and then I was walking through a tunnel of sparklers leaving the party. The day could have moved a fraction of the pace it did to allow all those memories to have more time to form in my memory bank. But alas, it did not.

Fortunately, our amazing photographer Staci of Dear Olive Photography is a goddess in her trade and documented our day flawlessly. Seriously, guys! Look at these sneak peeks she leaked on social media this week:

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Savory Sundays: Lemon Rosemary Chicken

The day before our wedding I went to the local grocery store and purchased a bag full of lemons, limes, and fresh rosemary sprigs. My plan was to make my own mosquito repellent candles in canning jars to sit on the guests’ tables during the reception. Not only would this have added some more color to table decor, but also been useful in fighting the hungry little varmints throughout the evening.

Of course, I forgot all these ingredients as soon as I placed them in the fridge drawer.

So this meant I had quite a few fresh produce items to make recipes with once G and I returned from our honeymoon. Thus came this recipe for lemon rosemary chicken which I pulled out of thin air. I warned G prior to eating this meal that we may be ordered take out. I am personally not a big fan of lemon, so I was hesitant to sample this dish. It was a pleasant surprise though! The rosemary was not overwhelming, and the lemon flavors only intensify the other flavors happening in the mix (and the lemon is especially good with the sweet potatoes.) I will definitely be making this again in the future, especially since we still have a healthy amount of citrus and rosemary.

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5 Reasons To Hire A Resume Writing Service

G and I have been trying to truly #adult now that we’re all married and whatnot. Meaning we’re dead-set on knocking out all our debt, working out ingenious ways to not cause additional debt (like cooking all meals at home and creating no-cost date nights), and casually house hunting to ultimately tumble into “better” debt someday in our future. Basically, we’re carefully stepping onto every floating log across the wide moat of adulthood.

While continuously praying we don’t slip…

In all honesty, though, I am proud of how reasonable each of us are discussing the budgeting and financial talks that make up all marriages. We’re no longer two people working two separate jobs with two separate pocket books to buy what we please. We’re a family aiming for specific goals. We’re a team.

And as a dutiful teammate, I have been thinking about possible ways I can increase our household income to push my student debt out the window and allow another door (hopefully a LITERAL one) to open. This means I have been taking a good, long look at my personal resume and how I might tweak it to fit a part-time job and added responsibilities.

I like to think I am a gifted resume writer. I took a technical writing class in college solely focused on professional documents like resumes and cover letters. Yet when I talked with some of my friends about the elements I should and should not include for a part-time job resume, I was a bit surprised when one friend mentioned inquiring into a resume writing service. Little did I know there was such professions out there! Some research into this unique career gave me a bit of fodder for an #adulting post, and I thought what better place to share my findings than with you all! So for anyone else seeking a little bit of a push in their professional arenas, this might be the exact sort of service you’ve been seeking…

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The Vows

G and I both wrote our own wedding vows. It took me several weeks to come up with the exact phrasing I wanted to vow to my husband while at the altar. And since I wanted to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually present when I wrote them, I waited until the night before our rehearsal to finalize them completely.  For once, I was intentionally last minute!

As we stood before the Lord and our family and friends to exchange our vows for the first time, we met one another’s eyes and shook our heads in acceptance and agreeance of the promises being made.  It was the moment that I looked forward to the most on our wedding day: becoming one before God and the people we love. As beautifully surreal as this moment was, I was so caught up in emotion during the moment that it was difficult to focus on the words we were vowing to one another. I remember the sincerity of G’s voice though and the genuineness of his words.

With two weeks of marriage behind us, I decided to reread his vows to me and WOW.  His words have an impact on my heart, but a thousand-fold more than on our wedding day. I do not believe I can ever read his promises too many times. My heart is so full.

Exchanging vows beyond your wedding day is a powerful thing. For years to come, G and I will have these written promises to one another to revisit. In hard times, during fights, when that honeymoon phase finally diminishes — our crumpled paper vows will be waiting to remind us of the plans we have as a couple and the reason why we made those plans.

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Savory Sundays: Blackberry Cheesecake Oreo Brownie Bars

Throwing myself back into cooking as soon as we finally had all our luggage unpacked, laundry washed, and wedding gift organization completed meant a fun recipe had to be tested. Thankfully, one of our favorite couples is celebrating each of their birthdays this weekend (a “dirty thirty” yesterday and her husband today.) Plus, G is an Independence Baby with his own “dirty thirty” on the 4th. So the four of us went on a double date to a local restaurant and competed in a few board games last night while enjoying this tasty dessert.

I found the original recipe on Domestically Blissful and opted for a few switches to the recipe to attempt in making it a bit “healthier.” For those of you health-conscious, though, still stay clear — it is definitely not the healthiest option out there! But for those who aren’t afraid to splurge every now and again, this recipe was a HUGE hit among everyone and will be taking a permanent place in my own cook book for future use.

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