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10 healthy dinners that my whole family loves!!!

Lets talk about something that has absolutely nothing to do with photography.

Something that is only one step above my least favorite daily thing I do every day.

Something that CREATES my least favorite thing to do…

Cooking food.

I know…  There are a lot of people out there that LOVE cooking.  I just don’t.  AND it creates dishes.  I hate doing dishes. So I play this game while I am cooking, to see how few dishes I can use to create dinner. Lol.  I am also a firm believer that no “unitasker” belongs in my kitchen (thank you Alton Brown <3)

So why am I writing this?

It’s complicated.  You see, as much as I have an intense dislike for cooking, I actually care about the food we eat quite a lot.  Health starts in the gut, and through my Hashimoto’s diagnosis last year, I strongly believe that our food really matters.  My mom was always a bit “crunchy”.  Growing up, she often baked our bread to avoid the preservatives, there was always a veggie tray on the counter as our snacks, fruit was the go to sweet treat, and most everything she cooked didn’t require a box.

I started off with a good model of what “healthy eating” looked like, but matched with my distaste for cooking, and how much more work creating meals with fresh items is, and 6 years in college (working full time AND going to school full time) I developed a more “simplified” way to eat (packaged food on the go) After that came about 4 years of seriously struggling with my thyroid levels, and barely keeping my head above water.

Fast forward a few years and we moved from Alaska to Alabama.  We were on a tight budget, and I hit couponing HARD!  It got us through the lean times, but it truly wasn’t a healthy way to eat.  Slowly, I started to shift.  I found a local co-op where I could order high quality food in bulk to get the price a bit lower.  I found a source for raw milk and I started cooking from scratch.  All the while, I was popping Sudafed and Motrin like there was no tomorrow!  For the past 8 years, I easily had a headache that bordered on migraine 5-6 days a week!  It wasn’t always like that, but around the time my thyroid crashed, I started getting them, and it slowly started to take over my life.

My husband finally got mad at me. “JENNI, you are spending a ridiculous amount of time providing healthy food for our family, but you have got to stop “just medicating”, and figure out what is wrong!  Its not healthy!”  He was not nice about it… but it was said in love with lots of frustration.

 

He was right.

I started researching different supplements that might help treat the cause instead of the symptoms…  It took 6 months to finally stumble upon Turmeric.  Apparently, my headaches were driven by inflammation (something that makes complete sense now that I have my Hashi’s diagnosis) and Turmeric helps decrease inflammation.  Once I had that figured out, I learned that there are 5 main foods that contribute to inflammation in the body.

Sugar   –   Wheat   –   Soy   –   Corn   –   Conventional Dairy

I began to pay attention and keep a food journal.  I noticed that sugar gave me an instant headache, and wheat made my joints feel 20 years older.  I could eat some corn and soy in moderation, but too much would give me a lot of edema in my hands/feet and make them ache like I had arthritis.

I can’t even tell you how amazing AND frustrating it is to FINALLY figure out why I have felt like crap for the last FOURTEEN YEARS only to realize I will never be able to indulge in Christmas morning cinnamon rolls and birthday ice cream cake without serious consequences.  I had figured out the puzzle to feeling better, but the answer was difficult to accept.

You know what happened though?

The headaches went away.  I don’t feel like there is sand in my joints anymore, and I actually have motivation to DO things again! So when I talk about “eating clean” or “healthy food”, I’m not just talking about something trendy or a way to loose weight.  I am talking about dramatically improving the quality of my life, and actually enjoying living it again. <3

All that to say, I have gotten really good at cooking healthy foods that don’t require a ton of time or require you to use every dish in my kitchen! (I know, I know…  Took me long enough to get to the point. lol)

 

So, here you go!  My favorite 10 healthy dinners that my whole family loves!!!

 

Rainbow Chicken Salad (My kid’s favorite salad!)

BBQ Ranch Salad (Probably MY favorite salad in the whole world!  I replace the onion with avocado, swap the tortilla strips for crunchy onions, and make the BBQ dressing by thinning BBQ sauce with seasoned rice vinegar and a dash of cyan!)

White Chicken Chili (Had this last night and they ALL went back for seconds and thirds.)

Home Made Spaghetti (I always make a huge batch of this and freeze the extra for a quick dinner.  It’s the same sauce I use for ratatouille, meatball marinara and spaghetti squash bake as well.)  This is a family recipe, so don’t loose it!!!

  • 1 lb. Hamburger
  • 1 tbs. Dried Onions
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 2 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbs. Sugar
  • 2 Trappeys Jalapeños chopped
  • 2 tbs. Jalapeño Juice

Brown hamburger with dried onions. Then add basil, oregano and sugar. Salt and pepper to taste. Dump in cans of tomatoes, sauce and paste. Add jalapeños and juice. Simmer for about ½ – 1 hour. Cook noodles for 10 min and eat.

Tacos (I normally skip the tortilla and put it all over lettuce.)

Hamburgers (Just add a package of Lipton’s Beefy Onion Soup Mix and a splash of Worcestershire to the meat before making patties.)  No sugar apple sauce and sweet potato fries to the plate and call it done.

Breakfast Casserole (I add spinach, mushrooms and sausage to this as well.  I also intentionally make extra and my husband eats it for breakfast the rest of the week.)

Chicken on the grill with mashed sweet potatoes, cooked mushrooms and broccoli. (I also do the meat in my instant pot if the weather is crappy.)

Beef and barley soup. (It is SOOO good!  Shout out for the Eating for Life cook book!)

Pork Tenderloin with asparagus and sweet potatoes. (Love me some Alton Brown. <3 )

 

I plan to share more recipe/food ideas in the stories on my Instagram account in the future (all mixed in with pretty pictures of course) if you would like to follow along.  <3

 

I get my chicken from Zycon Foods

I order a lot of stuff from Azure Standard

I also order a lot of stuff from Amazon

 

So that’s pretty much it…

I hate cooking, dishes are even worse… college, couponing, headaches, medicating, buying in bulk, autoimmune disease…  and all along, the thing that “fixed” me wasn’t medicine (although I do take thyroid daily), it was food.

If this helps even one person, it was worth the time to write it. <3

Leave any questions in the comments. <3

Huntsville & Madison Family Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography – Bailey

It isn’t often that I get to document a little ones first birthday ON their actual birthday!!!  I can’t even tell you how cute he is.  His personality, so sweet, his looks, so handsome, his family, so loving and the evening was absolutely beautiful.  There aren’t many things that children remember from this young age.  It is more of an imprint of love and care that they carry with them in to the future.  Even though I am not one of the important people in his life, I love being a part of giving him some images of what his family looks like “right now” and how well they love, so that he can see how cherished he is at such a young age.

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I specialize in “Family” Photography (Children, Newborn, Birth and of course Families)
and focus on showcasing the unique bond and beautiful connections that are found
in your own relationships. For more information about my packages click HERE.

I also accept a limited number of Weddings each year.
You can find my collection details HERE.

To book a session call (907-942-2358) or email jenniMphotography@gmail.com
I would love to hear from you!

Huntsville & Madison Family Child Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography – Carpenter

This family was so sweet!  I haven’t made a secret of how I have a soft spot for big families so when this Mama contacted me and said she had 7 children ranging from 15 to 3 months I was so excited!  I am from a family of 6 and I am also 15 years older than the youngest in our family.  Big family’s have such a sweet and special kind of crazy.  It may not be the easiest but the relationships are priceless and it’s one of the biggest reasons I have 4 of my own. <3

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The firefly’s came out to play as we visited for a few minutes.  He ran and chased the lights!  It was such a beautiful evening <3

I specialize in “Family” Photography (Children, Newborn, Birth and of course Families)
and focus on showcasing the unique bond and beautiful connections that are found
in your own relationships. For more information about my packages click HERE.

I also accept a limited number of Weddings each year.
You can find my collection details HERE.

To book a session call (907-942-2358) or email jenniMphotography@gmail.com
I would love to hear from you!

Lifestyle Madison & Huntsville Family Photographer- Stocks

I can’t even tell you how much I love how these images turned out.  I have been talking with Holly for a while now about outfits, styling, locations and all of the other little details that go in to a session like this.  Holly’s hair and makeup were done by the very talented Brittianna J. ;-)

I think it is safe to say all of our hard work paid off!

We met up at a new location that I found in Madison and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Holly specifically asked if I would focus on capturing their relationships and love for each other and not so much “looking at the camera”.  All I could think to say was YES!!!  This is they style of photography that makes me all giddy.  I try and work a good dose of “lifestyle photography” in to all of my sessions, but to have a whole session devoted to all of that wonderfulness was amazing!!!

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I want to help you create affordable, custom and sentimental art for your own home!!!

My packages offer digital images as well as print products.

I specialize in Family, Children and Newborn Photography.

To book a session all you have to do is call (907-942-2358) or email

(jenniMphotography@gmail.com) I would love to hear from you :-)

Family Photography – Madison & Huntsville Alabama – Balala Family


I am always a little surprised when I find out that a family of more than 3 has never had their family photos taken.  I grew up with a mom that was religious about taking family photos at least once a year.  As a result, we have a visual history dating all the way back to when I was born of our family and how we changed over the years.  Now that I have kids of my own I realize what a gift that was.

I feel honored that this family chose me to take their first photos as a family.  I know the value of visual history and I am so happy to have helped them document their own! :-)

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-1Doing what boys do best!

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-2She only smiled a few times the whole session but who needs a smile with those eyes and those lips? <3

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-4This boy loves his Mommy SO much!  I love capturing that look!!!

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-3One of my favorite family poses.

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-8Have I mentioned her eyes???  And just look at that bottom lip! <3

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Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-5He loved being taller than everyone else!

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-9There it is!  Sweet smiles <3

BalalaThis boy LOVES his trains!

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She is just PRECIOUS!

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-11Towards the end…  He was so happy to just play!

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-7I can’t even tell you how much I love this one!  The way his eyes are lit up, the way her hand is resting on Mommy’s face <3

Huntsville Madison Alabama Family Children Lifestyle Photographer Jenni M Photography-12I try really hard in every family photo session to get at least one photo of Mom and Dad by themselves.

When was the last time you have had a photo taken with your spouse?

Every couple should have at least one special image with the person they have chosen to spend their life with. ;-)



I want to help you create affordable, custom and sentimental art for your own home!!!

My packages offer digital images as well as print products.

I specialize in Family, Children and Newborn Photography with a lifestyle focus.

To book a session all you have to do is call (907-942-2358) or email

(jenniMphotography@gmail.com) I would love to hear from you :-)

Family Photography – Madison & Huntsville Alabama – Stang Family

This family is special to me.  Jenny is one of my best friends and when I found out that they hadn’t had a family picture taken since before their last 3 children were born I just knew we would have to fix that!  You know I love photographing large family’s.  They are more challenging and I spend lots of extra time editing but I just love producing great photos of large families.  They are worth all of the extra work and the time that these babies are going to live at home, all together, is so short.  It is just worth it :-)

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She just turned 1 not long ago

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This family has the best sense of humor of any other family I know.

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They just love life and have fun at just about everything they do!

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She just learned to walk.  She was SO proud of herself!!!

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She is just so sweet <3

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We had the most beautiful evening.  The light was gorgeous!

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He is the only boy, smack dab in the middle.  Two sisters older and 2 younger.

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Bust out the bubbles!!!

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My favorite part of the session!  It’s time to PLAY!

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These girls adore their Mom.

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And this one thinks her big sister is pretty awesome too ;-)

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Sunsets and bubbles <3

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The most perfect way to end a photo session <3

 

 

 

I want to help you create affordable, custom and sentimental art for your own home!!!

My packages offer digital images as well as print products.

I specialize in Family, Children and Newborn Photography with a lifestyle focus.

To book a session all you have to do is call (907-942-2358) or email

(jenniMphotography@gmail.com) I would love to hear from you :-)

Senior Photography – Madison & Huntsville Alabama – Taylor

I don’t normally take photos of seniors.  In fact, Taylor is only the 2nd senior shoot I have done.  I make it no secret that my focus is Family – Children – Lifestyle but I have to say, it was so much FUN to take Taylor’s senior photos!!!  We got to go to 4 different locations, lots of different outfits and having a partner while chasing the light was a blast :-D

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know what you think ;-)

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Wana guess where she is going to school? ;-)

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Baily has been with their family just about Taylor’s whole life.  She has been in both of her big brothers senior photos too ;-)

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Just cute

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Taylor’s mom was along for the first part of the shoot.  She can get just about anyone to laugh on cue! lol

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The lamp that is painted right in front of her is a part of the painting that the foreign exchange student they are hosting this year worked on :-)

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I always have to get a moody/serious black and white in there ;-)

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This blue door was an awesome find!

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Lots of character and the color couldn’t have been more perfect!

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“LOOK!  Flowers!!!  We have to stop really quick!”

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AND the sunset <3  We chased this light and caught it in all of its golden warmth.  These are always my favorite!

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I want to help you create affordable, custom and sentimental art for your own home!!!

My packages offer digital images as well as print products.

I specialize in Family, Children and Newborn Photography with a lifestyle focus.

To book a session all you have to do is call (907-942-2358) or email

(jenniMphotography@gmail.com) I would love to hear from you :-)

 

Jenni M Photography Grand 2014 Give Away!


Congratulations Jacqulyn R., you have won the Jenni M Photography Grand 2014 Give Away!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

On Christmas day I will be looking for one lucky participant to give away a FREE full family session to!!!

 

I have a passion for capturing beautiful authentic moments for family’s and I want to give a lucky someone the gift of “tangible memories” this year.  The problem is that I just couldn’t choose who because I have so many wonderful clients, so I decided I needed a little help!  You do not have to be a client of Jenni M Photography to participate but you do need to live in or be willing to travel to the Huntsville area for your session.  Are you wondering what is included in a JMP Family Photography Session?  Here is the link <3

http://jennimphotography.com/photography-pricing-and-contact-info/

 

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Do you want in on the excitement?  Enter below and make sure to get as many entries as possible!!!

 The contest begins at midnight on Thursday December 11th and will end on Christmas day at 6pm.  The winner must use their FREE session before August 30, 2015.

I can’t wait to see who wins!!!

 

Family Photography In Madison and Huntsville Alabama – Mr. Hubbard In the Cotton

This little boys Mama contacted me hoping beyond hope that she hadn’t missed the opportunity to get some photos of her son playing in the cotton.  We scheduled the earliest date I had available and crossed our fingers that there would still be an unharvested field close enough!  Days went by and as I drove around, one by one the Alabama snow disappeared…  I started worrying that I would have to tell his Mama that we would have to wait until next year.  I drove past the cotton field I wanted to use the day before the session and to my relief it was still there! (in all of its white fluffy glory)

The next day I pulled up to the field only to find that they had begun to harvest the cotton.  We worked fast and I employed some of my fancy Photoshop tricks and voila!  A little too close for comfort but the end result turned out great!

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Did you know you get a FREE large print (up to 20×24) with all of my full sessions?  I want to help you create affordable, custom and sentimental art for your own home!!!

I specialize in Family, Children, Lifestyle and Infant Photography but I would also love to help you capture your Maternity, Senior and Couples memories as well.

To book a session all you have to do is call (907-942-2358) or email (jenniMphotography@gmail.com)!  I would love to hear from you :-)

http://jennimphotography.com/pricing-info/

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Allee is 2!!! – Madison Alabama Family Photographer Jenni M Photography

Our first session got rained out…  Bummer right?  Well, I couldn’t be happier with the images I got!  This location is one of my favorites in Madison Al.  It has so many natural elements and all nice and close together.  I love the job of using natural light in an outdoor environment.  The textures and changing variables are always simple and challenging at the same time.  It makes it almost impossible to duplicate the same image twice!  It keeps me on my toes and forces me to stay creative and not fall in to a rut ;-)

After a session, I always rush home to play with the images!  This session was no different, I got home only to find some images that were so simple and genuine…  Oh how I LOVE these!!!  I have been working with Allee’s mom for about a year now and we have become really great friends.  I have also had the privilege of being her photographer as well!  I say “privilege” because who could not consider it something special when she has children that look like THIS!!!  (you can find their Family Photos and Ella Brook’s Birthday Photos  here) Good grief!  This was a mini session and I had the most horrible time choosing my 10 favorites.  She is simply adorable!  Happy birthday Allee :-)

 

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I recently started including a FREE large print (up to 20×24) with all of my full sessions to help you create your own affordable custom sentimental art for your home!!!

I specialize in Family, Children, Lifestyle and Infant Photography but I would also love to help you capture your Maternity, Senior and Couples memories as well.

To book a session all you have to do is call (907-942-2358) or email (jenniMphotography@gmail.com)!  I would love to hear from you :-)

http://jennimphotography.com/pricing-info/