6 years

There are few people who know every little detail about me.

Come to think about it, my parents and my baby sister are probably the only people that know me, every little scar, freckle, talent, and experience I have been through.

That’s probably because they have each played essential roles in my life.

Plus, they are blood…the only people I can trust.

I’ve been in remission for 6 years.

No, I wasn’t addicted to drugs or sex or shopping.

It was deeper than that.

When people think “eating disorder,” they may automatically assume that it has to do with food.

But really, they are completely and utterly wrong.

An eating disorder has absolutely nothing to do with food and everything to do with what that person is going through, or has gone through, or circumstances in their life that they can’t control so naturally…

FOOD becomes the only thing that they can control.

That was it for me.

In college, I was always hard on myself.

I felt that I owed it to my parents to make good grades as they were shelling out thousands to give me a great college education.

So, I worked hard. I graduated with honors.

My eating disorder began when I was a freshmen in college.

I was skipping meals and exercising until my calorie balance was in the negative.

I probably dropped 30 pounds my first year of college.

I think my parents assumed that this was typical for a girl who was super type A and an excelling student.

It wasn’t until my junior year of college when my sister and I moved into an apartment together that she noticed what was going on.

I wasn’t leaving the house or interacting with friends because everything involved food.

I controlled every bit of food that went into my mouth and ate on a schedule.

If I was one minute past 6 a.m. for breakfast, I would skip it.

I never ate lunch.

I ate dinner for about 3 people because I had anxiety about school or work or life in general.

I remember my sister calling my parents and telling them to get up to Austin as fast as they could.

If she hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

That was only the beginning.

My parents were going through an extremely rough time in their relationship during my senior year of college.

I being the oldest of two daughters carried all the weight on my shoulders.

Nobody asked me to, but I felt as though it was my job to be the glue that held my family together.

I remember the day I graduated college like it was yesterday.

My little sister took photos of me dressed up with my hair in curls and told me I looked beautiful.

How could I be beautiful when I was a skeleton?

I wore 4-inch heels across the stage to receive my diploma and I thought that my knees were literally going to buckle beneath me.

It wasn’t until my doctor diagnosed me with osteoporosis of the spine at age 23 that I decided I could no longer abuse my body.

And here I am today…healthy and stronger than ever.

6 years recovered from my eating disorder.

This picture of my spine isn’t of me trying to be sexy or sultry.

I’ m not that type of girl.

It’s real and raw and it’s of the very thing that scared the shit out of me.

People always ask me about my relationship with my sister.

It’s unbreakable.

If it wasn’t for her intervening in my life…I would be dead.

It’s the truth.

There is so much more to this story and I will be sharing my story with a group students this year.

Today is the first day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

If you know someone who is suffering with an eating disorder, please reach out…you may be that one person who can help them when everyone else has turned a blind eye.

Thank you all for continually supporting my blog.

MANGIA!!!

29

Happy Birthday to me!

I can’t believe I have been alive 29 years!

I’m in my last year of my 20’s.

I live alone, with my 4-year-old puppy child.

I have zero children.

Some people would stress about this.

Especially, being so close to the 30 year mark.

Buuuuttt those people are not me.

I’m excited for 30.

I really want to live this last year of my 20’s up as much as I can.

I want to travel more for sure.

As with all years, this one has been a year of learning experiences for me.

Some good and some bad but I don’t have any regrets.

Here are 29 little tid-bits about my past year (in no particular order):

I experienced my first heart break (in the relationship department).

Then I experienced my second heart massacre.

People aren’t always what they seem.

 I can handle any situation with the utmost grace (but I’ve been told that in certain situations, I should have gone H.A.M. on some people).

I started going back to church. Not every Sunday, but as much as I can. This was a big one for me. I feel that I don’t have to go to church to be close to God. I am close to him regardless, but I almost feel like I had lost a sense of my faith and community without church.

I have the ability to love unconditionally, without judgement, with my heart wide open.

I cannot turn my feelings off like a light switch. Love is love is love is love.

I am an extremely forgiving person. Almost to a fault (in my opinion).

A bottle of wine will fix almost anything. Or at least help take the pain away for a few hours.

No matter what, your mother is still your best friend.

Your sister is your one and only confidant. She will take everything you tell her to the grave.

Your little sister can be your voice of reason when it comes to dating/relationships.

I can watch football in my sweatshirt and house slippers, but give me a pair of high heels and watch out world!

My values and beliefs are extremely important to me.

There are still great men out there…ones that will bring you flowers & your favorite candy on the first date, expect nothing in return, and treat you like the princess you are.

I owe everything I am and the person that I have become to my parents.

No matter how many times you ask yourself why a relationship ended…it was never your fault.

There actually are emotionally unavailable people in this world…they have been through a lot, respect them.

You are beautiful…inside and out. Don’t ever let a man make you believe that you are less than that.

I feel most beautiful in sweatpants, hair-tied, chilling with no make up on.

It takes a looooooong time to repair your heart after its been broken.

Your smile is your best asset.

The love your parents have for you is one of a kind.

Eat all the cake, cookies, and pie you want.

A small circle of GREAT friends is better than a large circle of crappy friends.

You can never trust someone with a terrible handshake.

Surround yourself with people who put 100% of the effort into friendships as you do. Nothing less.

Pancakes are acceptable at any time of day.

Sometimes you need a  girls night, a bottle of wine, dancing in the living room at 3 a.m. to George Strait in your pajamas and slippers.

Here is to year 29…bring it.

MANGIA!

Pecan Praline Cheesecake

Here we go y’all.

I’m back and I’m motivated.

The reason I started this blog was out of sure passion.

Passion for food, passion for writing, passion for story-telling, passion for life, passion for family…I guess you could say I’m a passionate person 😉

This past year has been kind of crazy/interesting/a roller coaster ride is how I would describe it.

Earlier in the year, I had my heart ripped out of my chest, stomped on, and broken by a guy whose name doesn’t even matter to me now.

Typical.

I started dating someone a few weeks ago.

This past Sunday wasn’t the best day if ya know what I mean.

I’m not going to go into details.

I really, really, really like this guy.

I mean, EXTREMELY.

See those all caps? Mhhhhm I don’t mess around 😉

And no, I don’t fall fast and hard for every guy I meet.

In fact, it was super hard for me to open up to anyone for the longest time.

This time though…this time was different.

I’ve never felt so comfortable with someone in my life…dating wise.

I know, i know, dating can be scary, nerve-wrecking, especially when you start to really like someone.

But not for me. I get super excited.

I truly have to say, I am sooooooooo proud of the woman that I have become.

I have a huge heart.

Especially when it comes to respecting another person’s life situation/feelings/what they have been or are going through.

I’ve learned that sometimes someone may be going through something in their life that they are struggling with.

So, I don’t judge. I’ve been through my hell.

Not to say it doesn’t hurt when things crumble, I mean…I’m human.

Butttttttttttt I can’t fault that person.

Unfortunately, I spent my time chasing the wrong guy last time and now I don’t have the energy left to chase the absolutely, without a doubt, right one. It’s also my turn for someone to come after me.

I deserve it. I’m worth it. I can also make a killer cheesecake 😉

Anyway, y’all know I’m a dessert person and one date night, we shared this amazing pecan praline cheesecake.

Y’all…pralines are my fave and let me tell you…there were chunks of sweet pecans inside of this cheesecake.

I died.

Project!

Y’all know I’m a crust type of gal.

Y’all…this crust. Well…this crust is 100!

I just can’t even begin to tell you.

And then there is this perfect creamy cheesecake filling.

 Now, I didn’t put pecans inside this cheesecake but….the topping.

Oh my TEXAS!

It’s over the top…basically everything you love about a chewy pecan praline.

I mean, I have absolutely no words.

I believe this is what dreams are made of.

I’m also pretty sure this is what heaven tastes like.

I think I really channeled all of my emotions into this damn cheesecake.

I don’t have any regrets about this cheesecake…none at all.

I think I’m in love.

I’m also 100% positive that if someone were to marry me based on my ability to make cheesecake…I’m a shoe in. 😉

Pecan Praline Cheesecake
Author: 
Recipe type: cheesecake
Cuisine: dessert, sweets
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A perfectly crispy honey graham cracker crust with a sweet, smooth cream cheese filling, topped with a pecan praline sauce that is out of this world!
Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 2 c. honey graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ c. melted coconut oil
  • For the filling:
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ c. coconut milk (or regular milk, coconut milk is all I had on hand)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 T. mexican vanilla extract
  • For the pecan praline topping:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • ½ c. heavy whipping cream
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1¼ c. pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 t. mexican vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the crust ingredients together until full moistened and combined.
  3. Press the crust mixture into the pie plate.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until set and golden brown around the edges.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven and let cool. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees F.
  6. For the filling, beat together the brown sugar and cream cheese until smooth.
  7. Add in the milk, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Spread the filling evenly into the baked crust.
  8. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the middle is no long jiggly. Let the cheesecake cool completely.
  9. For the pecan praline topping, combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  10. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and cook for 3 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and a smooth caramel sauce forms.
  11. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the toasted pecans and vanilla.
  12. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then pour the warm pecan praline mixture over the cooled cheesecake.
  13. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight if preferred before cutting slices with a sharp knife.
  14. Enjoy!

 MANGIA!!!

Easy and Nutritious Beef Bone Broth

Happy October y’all!

I’m sad to announce that summer is over and that means winter is right around the corner. It’s already getting super chilly with temperatures dropping to the 50s. Since there’s nothing better than getting warmed up by a hot cup of bone broth, I figured it’s the perfect time to show off my new beef bone broth recipe!

First off, this bone broth recipe is the real deal. It’s not the same as the ones you buy at the grocery store. This beef bone broth recipe is full of vegetables and animal bones that have been cooked for a looong time. For the readers who don’t know about bone broth, here’s a quick bone broth 101!

Animal bones are jam packed with a protein called collagen. But since we can’t digest bones, we need to simmer the bones in water for 12-24 hours to break down the collagen into a more digestible form called gelatin. It’s this gelatin that has many amino acids and antioxidants that are great for improving your joints, gut, and for detoxing your liver.

Now the only crappy thing about this recipe is the long cooking times. It’s super easy to make, but it takes a lot of time and patience. Also, depending where you live, it’s tough to get high quality bones. You’ll want to make sure the beef bones you use are grass-fed to ensure it comes from a healthy animal.

So if you’re like me and want to consume bone broth regularly, but have a hard time setting aside the time, Kettle & Fire is a great alternative! The ingredients they use are very high quality, but most importantly, they’re shelf-stable so you can stock up your pantry with bone broth for when you’re too lazy to make your own. Check them out on their website and if you use the promo code “MANGIA15”, you’ll get 15% off your first order!

Anyways, let’s get started with the recipe! First you’ll want to preheat your oven to 400F. While you wait for the oven to heat up, place your mixed bones on a baking tray and drizzle with oil.

apply-olive-oil

Once the oven is nice and toasty, place the baking tray with the bones in for 30 minutes on each side, for a total of 1 hour.

roast-bones

While the bones are getting nice and roasted, start chopping up your carrots, celery and onions.

cutting-carrot

When the bones are finally ready and your veggies are chopped, combine it all into a large stockpot. You’ll then add enough water so it covers all the ingredients by a couple inches.

immerse-in-water

Cover the stockpot with a lid and put it on HIGH setting until it comes to a rapid simmer. Then you’ll want to lower it to LOW setting and let it simmer for 12-24 hours. Go to bed or take a nap, you deserve it!

After 12-24 hours, your house should start smelling like bone broth. Don’t worry, it’s an amazing smell! Turn off your stockpot and start draining out all the bones & vegetables into a strainer.

strain

I personally like to store it in mason jars so I can refrigerate it. Whenever I want some bone broth, all I have to do is reheat it and I’m good to go.

final-product

Check out this adorable step-by-step video and get cooking!


Easy and Nutritious Beef Bone Broth

Ingredients:

3 to 4 pounds of mixed beef bones (short ribs, oxtails, knuckles, and neck bones)

2 carrots

3 celery stalks

2 yellow onions

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 bay leaf

olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place mixed bones in a single layer on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.
  1. Place the tray in the oven, roasting for 30 minutes on each side
  1. Roughly chop up the celery, carrots and onions.
  1. Combine all the ingredients into a stockpot and cover with water so that the ingredients are under 2 inches of water.
  1. Turn your stockpot to a high setting until it comes to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the broth and let it simmer on low for 12 to 24 hours.
  1. Strain the bones and veggies. Store the broth in mason jars and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place it in the fridge to chill. Scrape off any solidified fat that rises to the top before using.
  1. Reheat your bone broth for a steaming cup you can sip on its own, or use it as a powerful ingredient in your favorite recipes.

Serves about 4-6 people

MANGIA!!!

Tuesday Ten

I’m keeping my promise and we are going to keep up with this Tuesday Ten business.

Uno: If you live in Houston, come hang out with me at Tacolandia.

I mean, beer + tacos + me…winning combo. 😉

Dos: I had breakfast with my cousin a few Sunday’s ago. I have a million + one first cousins on my Italian side, but this dude is basically my brother. I’m pretty protective over him b/c he technically is two years younger than me. Long story short: his psycho ex-gf if trying to screw him out of a joint company social media acct. that they share. Plus, she is like 40-something. Not cool. Real mature of her. Are you in 1st grade? I wouldn’t give her that much credit.

Tres: I had a mini heart attack as my fave guitarist of all time has released an album after what seems like a century hiatus and I’m going to see him in concert in November. Here’s some background history: Doyle Brahmall II. His dad was also a famous guitarist and he grew up with Stevie Ray Vaughn in Austin. When Vaughn passed, Brahmall II formed a band called Arc Angels with Vaughn’s Double Trouble duo Tommy Shannon + Chris Layton and another badass guitarist, Charlie Sexton. The group split b/c of drug issues/typical rockstar stuff in the late 90’s. Anyway, my dad raised me on this Tx blues/rock music and I’ve been following Doyle ever since. Should be a rocking good time. See what I did there?

Quattro: Football season (uhhhh pre-season) has begun and I’m already obsessed. It’s definitely the Texas girl in me. I grew up on the Houston Oilers + Dallas Cowboys. I don’t associate with the Texans except for JJ Watt b/c do I really have to explain that one? So, Dallas has a special place in my heart. This crazed, yelling, cursing woman comes out in me and I start yelling at the refs on the t.v. I will invite you over for chili and cornbread and we can watch a game when it’s not sweltering hot outside.

Cinco: Speaking of hot, it’s like a freaking sauna here in Houston. Plus, it’s been raining for what seems like a decade. I have barely seen the outside. It’s a nightmare.

Seis: I keep running into ppl I went to high school with. F.Y.I. this year I will have been out of high school ten years. It’s a strange feeling. It’s kind of like, “oh, hi…I remember when you used to talk shit about me and didn’t even know me, but look at me now” feeling mixed with a “it’s so good to see you” or “it’s so good to see that you are eating your words” feeling. 😉

Siete: I’ve been having headaches associated with drinking too much coffee. But I don’t necessarily want to pop a ton of migraine meds so I have been using lavender oils. Yes, my mom taught me this. Yes, she’s a genius. Yes, this is my hippie side of life. No drugs for me. Unless I’m about to have a child. Then, give me all the meds in the world.

Ocho: I need a freaking vacation, but staycation. Austin is my home away from home, so I am feeling a weekend trip coming up soon. Coupe and I need some down time. Pool + trail hikes + massage + room service is the best medicine.

Nueve: I miss my baby seester. She is a colorodoian (?) or boulderian now and our texts now consist of her asking me for the netflix password.

Diez: I have been drinking decaf americano’s lately so as to avoid too much caffeine intake and it’s a sad, sad, shame.