Friday, September 18, 2015

Vegan Cucumber Dip

Today is Treat Yoself Day in our home :)  I love my grandmothers cucumber dip with a passion!  I often want it for a treat.  However, for me, her version is no longer a possibility because it is made with real cream cheese.  We are a no-dairy home.  Up until recently, I have not found a great cheese- anything sub that I just really, really love!  Especially in the cream cheese department!

Enter: Kite Hill Cheese.  This stuff is made only for Whole Foods, I believe.  I found it a couple weeks ago and now it is a staple.  It is the. best. cream. cheese.  I'm serious.  And it's vegan, made from almond milk and cultures.  Go get some.  (no, they are not paying me :) it's just that good!)

This is my Grandmother's Cucumber Dip recipe made with Kite Hill vegan cream cheese.  It will make a great vegan-friendly party dip or for your chips and dip on your own "Treat Yoself Day".  You're welcome ;)

Vegan Cucumber Dip

Gluten-free , Makes 8 oz.


  • 1 tub Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese Style Spread (can also use plain and add salt to taste)
  • 3" of an organic cucumber, peeled
  • 1 small piece of raw onion, about a quarter sized amount


  • Empty the tub of cream cheese into a bowl.
  • Using a Microplane or a zester,, shave the peeled cucumber into the bowl of cream cheese.  Do the same with the onion.  You can also scrape it into tiny pieces (smaller than minced) with a knife, but only if you are awesome like my Grandma :)
  • Stir all ingredients together and enjoy.
  • Save the tub and store the leftover dip in it.
  • Serve with chips or raw veggies.  It's also great with the rest of the cucumber from the recipe!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Imperfect People Going Forward

Oh, world of Parenting Strategies!  How you love to intimidate and imply that there are ways to be perfect....or better yet, that there are ways to get our children to be perfect!

Oh, wait!  You don't love to do that?  That isn't a thing?

Then WHY do we all feel so much shame and guilt after reading a book, hearing another parent's success story on Facebook, or after a parenting strategy goes wrong (read: it didn't fix it!).  From tips to getting your baby to sleep to our Facebook news feed to the parenting paradigm that I train parents in, Trust-Based Relational Interventions, there are ways to hear strategies, others' stories, and information through the lens of our own insecurities.  There are ways that shame will creep in...

And there isn't really any blame to be given to the person who wrote that book, gave that parenting lesson, or who encouraged you to try ____.

The culprit is Shame itself. 
Can we all join together and fight it as one united front?  Embracing our Not-Rightness and choosing to be with one another in Love?

Very often, I am wrestling with the fact that I train other parents but also very much mess up with my own children a TON.  I sometimes cry out, "How has someone allowed me to be in this role???"  David, my ever-wise husband, usually responds to me with this mantra he made up:  "We are not here to model how to be perfect or how to do this perfectly; we are here to model how to be on the Journey as an Imperfect Person!"

Imperfection Going Forward!

It's a thing.  I promise.
Notice I didn't say Imperfection staying Stuck!  Imperfection does NOT equal "Stuck".  I think Shame has succeeded in keeping so many of us parents stuck as well.

Do you feel yourself going round and round in your head ending up back where you started with a certain problem?  Do you feel like there is so much that you "lack" that you don't even know where to begin?  Do you feel like you are fine one minute and then the next time something hard comes along, whether it be your children screaming or another outside circumstance, you feel like a fog has descended and you cannot remember how you were fine before?  These are all examples of feeling Stuck.  Stuck-ness is not moving forward.  Sometimes there are paths that we need to face and step forward in so that we may continue on our journey, not a journey toward perfection, but simply a Journey Forward towards healing and Hope.

I have decided that Imperfection Going Forward will be my new motto!  This is the way I will lead my children through the Journey by going first myself! 

So often I find myself wanting my children to take a journey that I haven't even begun yet.  For example, I want my 8 year old to be "OK" when she is stressed out by my 5 year old who yell-sings about 60% of the day, BUT I'm not OK when he does that!  I'm not even a little OK!  I have auditory sensitivities to that; I get triggered by it; he cannot hear me and it feels like my voice isn't important; I am tempted to lash out and control his little voice at all costs so It. Will. Stop!  I have to journey forward in this area before I have expectations of her.  I cannot expect her to go further along than I have in an area we both struggle in.  When I learn how to give him grace when he struggles, then she will be able to do that too.  When I learn how to hold tight to who I am when I am triggered, she will see how to do that too.  When I hold tight to Hope in the midst of struggle so that I can move forward, she will learn how to do that too!

And Hope going Forward, even with all my mistakes and mishaps I have made and will make, is indeed Possible.
I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when it is painful!  Sometimes that looks like remembering the Truth about myself when my outside circumstances seem to descend on my brain with a fog of lies.  Sometimes it looks like talking to someone when I feel stuck.  Sometimes it looks like giving myself Grace.

No matter what it looks like, each day, I will try to model being an Imperfect person, but one who continues on the Journey and is moving Forward!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

Here is a quick recipe for an afternoon frozen treat because: school!  Mom is jazzing up afternoons because it's been one of those weeks!  Three kids adjusting to school, trying to make new friends, and being just plain exhausted is, well, exhausting!  So quick and easy Frozen Raspberry Yogurt it is, with only 3 ingredients (Dairy, egg, and soy-free of course over here;).  This stuff can save homework time!

Vegan Raspberry Fro-Yo


1 bag organic frozen raspberries (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp lemon juice or 2 drops lemon essential oil (brings out flavor of raspberries)
1 container of Co-yo coconut milk yogurt or other plain yogurt of choice
Optional: sweetener of choice


Blend all together in a high powered blender and eat!  Top with fresh raspberries or Enjoy Life

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Real Life Parenting

"How do you do it?"
"How does she manage to do it so well?"
"I don't know how (insert name of mom who looks like she does it well on social media) does it so much better than everyone else."

"If I could only just______ then I know my child will get better."
"Is it really OK to not get it right, to mess up a lot?  Is it more important to say you are sorry than to get it right?"
"What if I damage them permanently?"
"What if they grow up and hate me?"
"What if they grow up and never forgive me for ____"
"What if it's always gonna be like this?"
"I had no idea things would be this hard..."

This is in no way an exhaustive list, but it is a list of things I have heard so many time from either myself, or other loving, dear parents who only want to be good at parenting and love on their kids well.

I have had something brewing in my brain over the past couple years.  We did not become parents in the conventional way; however, we have learned that there are common themes of struggle that all parents share and common misconceptions that keep parents isolated, where fear seems to win out and shame can reign unchecked.

This is what I want to fight against.

So in my small attempt to combat shame, fear, and isolation, I have started Periscope-ing!  What is Periscope?  It's like Instagram with least that is how I think of it as an old-fogie!  You can find me @pumpkinspantry with the search feature if you have the app.  You don't have to have a log-in, you can watch them from anywhere if you know the link.  However, if you do create a log-in, it will notify you when people you follow are broadcasting live. 

I will be interviewing people.  Our first one is here, but will expire at the end of today.  I'm working on creating a Vimeo channel in order to keep them online for longer than the 24 hour periscope period.  Also, they will be done with a pod-cast like feel so you can listen to them while folding laundry, washing dishes, headphones in the car so you can't hear your kids type settings :)

Looking forward to highlighting the real, the hope, and the grace with these interviews!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mocha Grasshopper Cookie Pie

Yesterday was my 33 birthday.  I always make my own birthday treat.  It's the one day out of the year where I let myself ignore all my responsibilities and do what I want to do, which is usually bake something chocolatey :).  My older recipe for grasshopper pie is a favorite and very paleo-friendly.

I wanted to make another one with some gluten-free sprouted grains so I came up with a new version.  And to make it extra yummy, I added some espresso powder in the mix.  This is one of my favorite desserts, thus why I chose it for my Happy Birthday to Me treat :).

This recipe uses sprouted flour.  We eat less nuts these days because of food allergies, and thus the limited paleo-friendly options for deserts :).  I try to buy sprouted flours when I can.  I can now find brands like One Degree and To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. in a couple different places in Memphis!  Woot!  This must translate into these kinds of healthy products becoming more available to the world if I can find them here :).

Both of these companies have excellent standards for their food; however, if you want a larger selection of gluten-free sprouted grains then To Your Health is the company to look for or request in your local grocery store.  Sprouted flours are your friends, easier for our tummies to digest.  I don't always eat grains, but when I do, I prefer sprouted (said in the voice of the Dos X man;)

Mocha Grasshopper Cookie Pie 

vegan/gluten-free friendly, nut-free 
makes a 10 inch pie and serves 10-12


For the crust:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/3 cup sprouted oat flour or sprouted brown rice flour (can substitute 1 cup regular oat or brown rice flour if not sprouted) 
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar for more of a caramel-like, brown sugar flavor
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil  [can substitute 1/2 tsp peppermint extract]
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips, I use the Dark Chocolate kind 
For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 6-8 dates (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil [can substitute 1/2 tsp peppermint extract]
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder 
For the top layer:
  • a 3 oz or 4 oz chocolate bar, I use Endangered Species Dark 72%
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk from a can, full fat
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil 


Cookie Crust:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease a large glass pie dish with coconut oil.
  • Blend coconut oil and bananas for crust together in blender.
  • Add all other crust ingredients to a bowl and whisk.
  • Stir in banana mixture into dry ingredients.
  • Press the cookie crust into the prepared pie pan by layering parchment over so you can press up the sides of pan.  This will help since the dough will be sticky and wet.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to brown slightly.
  • Let cool for a while before filling.  When I'm in a hurry- I put the pie pan in the fridge for 15 minutes while I make the filling and the ganache topping.
  • While the crust bakes and cools, blend all filling ingredients in a high-powered blender or food-processor. 
  • Pour into your cookie pie crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until set before pouring on the ganache (you can also freeze for 15 min if in a hurry :).
  • While the filling sets, heat water for a double boiler or in a small pot.  
  • Use double boiler or a stainless steel bowl over a small pot of simmering water to gently melt the chocolate and coconut milll together.  Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Stir in peppermint oil after this is liquid and pour over pie and tap the whole pie gently to knock out air bubbles from the ganache.
  • Set in refrigerator for 1 hr or freezer 20-30 minutes before pulling out to serve and enjoy! 

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