Monday, November 24, 2014

.thanksgiving recipe: maple-dijon green beans.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

John Steinbeck


Yeah, I bet you're not counting on me for help with your Thanksgiving menu anymore, huh? I had such great plans! So many tasty recipes to try!

But this month has been just stinky. I've been sick. My kids have been sick. My husband has been working 60+ hours a week. It's just been a November to forget.

And chronic nausea makes it a bit hard to want to try new recipes.

BUT, I do have one to share with you today! However, when I went to look at my pictures, they all turned out blurry. Typical of this month.

When I was pregnant, I pretty much survived off of canned green beans with bacon. I ate it almost every single day.

And, surprisingly, I still love green beans! This recipe is amazing. My husband and I have had to arm wrestle for the right to finish off the bowl. (Not really, B would definitely win, but there have been no leftovers!)

Although this recipe has a lot of the same ingredients as my bacon and pepita salad, the end result is completely different.

Even without a picture, definitely give this one a try!

Click the read more below for the recipe.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

.family sunday.

B - We made it through one of the hardest weeks, Love. Thank you for supporting me through the bad parts. I love you.

J - You and I have gotten to do several craft projects together this week - I love to see your creative side and I can't wait to do more projects with you!

W - It's been a hard week, sweet boy, and I'm sorry about that. But you continue to touch my heart with your affectionate ways towards those you love.

A - Poor baby, you had your first bad cold this week. But you have been practicing your crawling like crazy, too; I think you'll be moving along no problem soon!



Monday, November 17, 2014

.thanksgiving recipe: bacon and pepita salad.

Salad is a "safe" food for me, so I eat it a lot. Not to mention it's delicious and good for you! And who doesn't love bacon, really?  
This salad is so satisfying for me; I often have it for dinner just by itself. And it's definitely on my Thanksgiving dinner menu!
Because many store-bought salad dressings contain soy, dairy, or food coloring, we have started just drizzling our salads with an oil and balsamic vinegar. If you haven't done this before, this is the perfect salad to try it!
Click the read more below for the recipe

Sunday, November 16, 2014

.family sunday.


B - This week was the Marine Corps birthday and the seven-year anniversary of our engagement! I am so glad I said yes, Sweetheart.

J - You got to help me decorate the house this week; it was so fun to see you think about where to put things and see your joy at unwrapping decorations!

W - You have been working this week on what the different numbers look like; I am so proud of you and your love of learning!

A - Happy five-month birthday, baby girl! We are so grateful every day that you are a part of our family!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

.a spirit of thankfulness: service.

I thought it would be easy to write about Veteran's Day. I'm married to an active-duty Marine and almost all of our friends are also active-duty families. Many of our friends are combat-veterans who are still serving.

But I've written and rewritten this post a dozen times today.

It is not so simple after all to share how precious these men and women are.

It is not so simple to explain the unique camaraderie or the pride of seeing my husband in uniform every single day. It is not so easy to share how much these military families mean to me: how special it is to be able to share life with them.

It is not so simple to share the impact this life has on my children. My children don't know any other way of life but this military one. They think nothing of going through a security checkpoint to get on base, or of seeing someone in uniform.

It is not so simple to share with you the tears that have been cried: tears of sorrow at partings, and tears of joy at homecomings. Tears of frustration and loneliness, and tears at finding a friend.

It is not so simple to share how much this life means to me. But, today, it means everything.



Monday, November 10, 2014

.thanksgiving recipes: popcorn.

Okay, okay, I know popcorn really isn't part of Thanksgiving. But it's so tasty! I'm actually thinking I might make popcorn earlier in the day as a snack when friends are over early to help cook the dinner.

Popcorn is easy, it's fun, and almost everyone loves it. I use a Whirley-Pop to keep it allergen free.

Without butter, popcorn can be a little disappointing. So I recently tried something new: cinnamon sugar. Yum!


I do like to make my cinnamon sugar unique, so this time I added a sprinkle of ground cloves as well. It is subtle, but adds an extra bit of flavor that is just wonderful!

I just drizzled a teensy bit of oil on it to make the sugar stick and sprinkled away!

What do you like on top of your popcorn?


Sunday, November 9, 2014

.family sunday.

B - What a week, Love. So glad that we could have such a relaxing weekend together.

J - We took you to see Big Hero 6 this week; you were so into it I loved hearing your exclamations at the exciting parts!

W - You continue to develop such a wonderful sense of humor, sweet boy. I love that we can joke together!

A - You were sick this week, baby girl. Which meant lots of snuggles with Mama. Although I'm so sorry you were sick, it was sweet to know that I'm the one you want when you don't feel good.



Saturday, November 8, 2014

.thanksgiving recipes: sesame-date treat.

After a long week of sick babies, sick mama, and hard-working dada, I'm back with an easy and unique recipe!
I'm not quite sure what to label these: appetizer, dessert...I just don't know. But they're tasty!
Dates and tahini lend a very unique taste to these little bites.
I think they would be delicious for either before dinner or after dinner.
The only downside to this recipe is that these need to stay frozen. Otherwise they turn into an ooey-gooey mess. BUT, if you make them ahead of time, just pop them in the freezer. And you'll be good to go! (Maybe it would be a tasty morsel with a cup of after-dinner coffee).
Click the read more below for the recipe

Thursday, November 6, 2014

.a spirit of thankfulness: sickness.

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!

Henry Ward Beecher

Sweet A is feeling under the weather. Nothing too bad, just a low-grade fever and the sniffles. But enough to make my happy, content little girl very snuggly and sad. I spent the night on the couch with her bed right next to me and the humidifier, listening to her stuffy breathing.

Although I definitely do not feel rested, and my boys woke up early filled with an energy I just don't have, I am so thankful.

It is such a sweet privilege to be a mama. And although sometimes it can be tiring, it is always special to be able to comfort my babies. And my family is generally healthy; something which I am SO grateful for.

The laundry needs to be done, the dishwasher emptied and reloaded, but today is a day for snuggles.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

.thanksgiving recipes: breakfast.

Although breakfast isn't usually part of a Thanksgiving menu, I really wanted to share this recipe with you!
This pumpkin loaf is delicious. Everyone who tries it has loved it! It's moist with a delightful crispy, sugary crust. And it's easy! And it's easily adaptable yo be allergy free. This is the first loaf of bread that I have made allergy-free and liked. In fact, I almost cried when I tasted this - I had been that disheartened about my diet. And it's that good!
I plan on making a day or two before Thanksgiving and serving it with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and fresh fruit. Yum!
I'll include my adaptations in parentheses that I had to do to make it dairy-free and nutmeg-free (buckwheat-flour and rice flour are naturally gluten-free)
Click the read more below for the recipe

Monday, November 3, 2014


You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces
- just good food from fresh ingredients.
Julia Child
Let's talk ingredients.
Before we jump into sharing ingredients, I want to share my philosophy about the foodstuffs that are included in all of the recipes that I will be sharing.
Where do I buy my ingredients?
Back in Seattle, I had access to many specialty grocery stores: Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, local Farmer's Markets, and other natural health food stores.
Here in Florida, I have very limited access: Target, Publix (a higher-end, regular grocery store), and the Commissary (the grocery store on base). I do have Amazon Prime, but really try not to use it for grocery items.
So that means: you should be able to find everything I am working with. Every ingredient will be coming from one of those three stores. If, on the off-chance, an ingredient doesn't come from an easily-accessible grocery store, I'll include the link.
What about allergen-free ingredients?
Gluten-free is becoming a very common dietary restriction, and every week it seems that there are more and more gluten-free alternatives available. BUT, they can be expensive, and tricky to work with. Although it is ALWAYS prudent to read EVERY LABEL, my goal is to provide recipes that highlight ingredients in their natural forms (with the exception of just a few things). There is a bounty of delicious ingredients available to us, and just focusing on something marketed directly for gluten-free diets may cause us to miss something wonderful! And, truthfully, allergen-free items (such as cookies, flour, and butter) don't taste the same most of the time, which leads to frustration and disappointment. Find ingredients you LOVE, and your recipes will SHINE! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

.family sunday.

This week was packed full of excitement, but I wanted to highlight how much I loved your costumes.

B - This week we were able to perfectly balance hosting a party together - it was so fun! I am so grateful for your strength and help this week.

J - I am so glad you decided to be a firefighter. You are always pretending to be a fireman, and I love that it reflects your servant's heart and generous spirit.

W - You dressed up as a dragon, and you are my little dragon. You will fight for yourself and your siblings fiercely, and you love roaring. It was simply perfect.

A - You have been our ladybug since the day we found out you were a girl. You are sweet and feminine, and continue to bring gentleness to our lives.


.allergy-free meals.

I love good food as much as the next person. But good food doesn't always love me. A multitude of crippling symptoms have led me to a very strict diet.

Last month I spent mourning the loss of a LOT of my favorite foods. It was frustrating to know I couldn't eat anything I didn't prepare from scratch in my own home without running a very high risk of spending the next three or four days sick. And, truthfully, it is still frustrating. I'm hungry. But, I'm scared to eat a lot of the time. So my diet has become mostly scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and fruits and vegetables, because those foods are safe.
I am challenging myself this month to create a full Thanksgiving menu (from wakeup to leftovers the next day) that I can eat. And that is DELICIOUS. I want my guests to not even notice that they are eating allergen-free. I want the dishes in my dinner to be delicious enough to be included in anyone's Thanksgiving menu.
So that means no: gluten, dairy, soy, artificial sugars, artificial dyes, garlic, cabbage, pork, beef, chicken, safflower oil, and more.
None of that. Yikes. It's going to be a big challenge.
Are you struggling with dietary restrictions in your home? Please share what your specific challenges are and I can make sure to include recipes that YOU can eat. Because, Friend, I know it's hard.
Please, please know that I am sharing my emotions here. I am actively working with naturopathic doctors to get a specific and correct diagnosis on my chronic health issues.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


It was November--the month of crimson sunsets,
parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea,
passionate wind-songs in the pines.
Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park
and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind
blow the fogs out of her soul.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
I loved writing every day last month, and cannot wait to continue to write more. I would like to "blow the fogs" out of my soul this month. Join me as I share a little bit about cultivating a heart of thankfulness as we enter the holidays.
I will also be sharing recipes for an allergy-free Thanksgiving dinner.
Join me on Monday as I discuss what my specific allergy parameters are, but all the recipes I share will be gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free at the very least!