Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Healthier Holiday

A couple good friends and I are putting on a Facebook event tonight for tips, recipes, and ideas on how to have A Healthier Holiday season.

Just click on the link and join in through Facebook tonight at 7:30 PM CST.  Would love to have you join us!  I always love hearing what others share what they do to de-stress, or what recipes they love.  I get such inspiration from other people's good habits ;)

I will be sharing quite a bit about allergen-friendly holiday tips too!

And to kick us off, here are three of my favorite Thanksgiving Recipes:
Cranberry Carrot Slaw
No-Bake Black-bottom Peanut Butter Pie
Lemon Oil Chess Pie

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pineapple Marshmallow Walnut Salad

This was one of my most favorite treats to have growing up (although, to be fair it was often served and eaten as a "side" here in the South :).  With the recent upgrades in the non-dairy world, I was super pumped to find this dairy-free Coconut Cool-whip alternative!

I will be bringing this to Thanksgiving this year as a side dish, in true Southern fashion ;).  It's also great to take to potlucks so there is an allergy-friendly treat there.
It's nothing fancy, but super yum :P

Pineapple Marshmallow Walnut Salad

dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, can be nut free if you leave out walnuts


  • 1 Tub Coconut whipped topping
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 small, 6 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained of juice
  • 1/2 cup marshmallows of choice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • Stir all ingredients together in bowl.
  • Let sit in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to re-set. 
  • Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Post Adoption

Our First Family Photo
Yesterday was World Adoption Day.  Inspired by all my adoptive mama friends who were posting pictures, I went back and looked through my first pictures of my children.  

These are our first pictures taken as a family, and while you may notice that our kids are super cute, I can't help but remember the feelings of that woman in this picture!  Overwhelmed, excited, nervous, inadequate, fearful, unsure about what the next hour would hold.  We had only been a family for a week in this photo and I was exhausted by the adjustment!  

I loved seeing all the excitement about adoption yesterday!  It's a great time of year to increase awareness about what can be done for children around the world.
This post, though, is for those moms and dads who have already brought their children home.  Post-Adoption Day/ week/ month/ year is where we need each other the most.

Maybe you feel like this woman in this picture, like I did.  Maybe you feel scared and afraid to hope for much.  Let me say, "It gets SO much better!  You don't have to risk hoping if you can't do that right now- call someone who will step in and hope for you!"

Maybe you feel exhausted, let me validate that feeling for you!  The beginning is nothing short of a marathon run, bringing two or three families together at one time, meeting so many needs in such a short time while trying to remember to eat and sleep is overwhelming.  If you feel this way, you are not alone!

Or maybe you feel numb.  You have taken on a huge responsibility and this child is having such a hard time!  Your love for your child grew and grew in your heart until you took them home, and then all of a sudden your expectations of how it would feel were shattered.  All that you have tried doesn't seem to help much and you are feeling the beginnings of some darkness you didn't know was there before all of this.

I have not talked with an adoptive mother yet, and I have talked with many, who has not gone through at least one of these things.  Here is where many would say, "reach out to people" or give you a list of things to do to "make it through".  I'm less about the doing these days and more about the being.  Be vulnerable with friends and family.  If you know reaching out is hard, let them know.  There are trustworthy people out there that know what you are going through and want to reach out to you!  

To your friends and family, those who know and love you and know you have recently adopted:  You are the ones who are called to support.   It doesn't have to be complicated, and in fact, it's better if it is simple; more begin with and less trying to do the exact best thing.  If you know someone who you haven't seen for a while and who has recently adopted:

  • call them or send them a note without expectation
  • encourage them with just listening and not trying to fix but sitting with them in their struggle
  • bring them food unannounced
  • you may not be able to stay and chat, but you can give to them in their time of need
  • do their laundry without permission
  • set up times to pray for them throughout the day and let them know your heart for them
  • invite them for some mindless time outside of the house.  
These are the things that got us through and the things I now do for my newer adoptive-parent friends.  People who just sat with us in our pain and struggle were miracles in our worst times.

All the post-adoption feelings, even the ones you are surprised by, are NORMAL feelings.  This is the hard that comes with adoption.  This is also the beauty that grows a work in you that deepens your faith, removes the scales from your eyes to see how God is different from what you thought He was.  How He is much more giving, less micromanaging.  How He has more faith in you, less disappointment.  How He grieves with you, not asks you to do more.  You may not be here yet, but I pray you have someone pouring into you who gives to you in these ways that God does.  And then you can give to others out of being poured into!

These children who I love now with a fierceness came into my home and changed my world.  At the time, and still sometimes, I did not feel the overwhelming calling and goosebumps I did when I knew we were called to adopt.  I also know that it shouldn't have to be this way- adoption is not God's first plan, Wholeness is.  I'm living out a Restorative Story that came about through grieving, struggle, and trauma, but is guiding me toward more wholeness than I thought was possible.  I pray that I give to my children more and more out of my whole-heartedness.  And I pray for you new adoptive parents- that you may have people in your life that give to you out of their whole-heartedness too.

And because they are insanely precious and I can't stand how tiny they are here, I'm posting a few other pictures of our first two weeks together as a new family:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Semi-Homemade Strawberry Frosting

There once was a time when I made everything for our family from scratch.  Lately, I have been more in a semi-homemade mode.  Or, to be honest, a lets go get something out and supplement with green smoothies afterwards mode!!

So I will be posting more recipes for those of us who are just plain busy, tired, or simply need some inspiration in the kitchen!  Did I used to bake professionally?  That feels like another person in another life!

Every now and then a product comes along that I get super-duper excited about!  These pre-made frostings from Miss Jones are one of those products!  They are dairy and egg FREE!!!
And BONUS: They are made in a nut-free facility so you can send them to school for cupcakes or cookie decorating parties.  This is huge since most schools will only allow pre-packaged goods in classrooms!

This frosting recipe also uses organic freeze-dried strawberries.  Freeze-dried fruit is a great way to add color to a frosting without any artificial dyes.  I'm beginning to feel great about not making this from scratch ;)

Semi-Homemade Strawberry Frosting

(gluten and dairy-free, dye-free, and vegan-friendly)
Makes enough to abundantly frost 14 cupcakes 


  • 1 jar of Miss Jones Organic Vanilla Frosting
  • 1 bag of Organic Freeze-dried Strawberries (I usually find these at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Trader Joe's)


  • TIP:  If your jar of Miss Jones Frosting has separated a bit, it might be because it got too hot in shipping or in your car home from the store :)  Don't worry- it doesn't have any unnatural preservatives or stabilizers so that can happen.   Just beat it in a bowl with a hand-held mixer for 1-2 minutes.  
  • Blend the bag of freeze-dried strawberries in a high-powered blender until they are a fine powder.  I use my Vitamix.  Be sure to remove anything from the bag that is not strawberries!  The TJ's brand sometimes comes with a pouch in it!!
  • Add the powder mixture to the frosting in a bowl and mix with a hand-mixer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Fill a piping bag and pipe, or just frost with a knife.
  • I refrigerate in an air-tight container if there are leftovers.
Enjoy with some dairy-free coffee.  Check out my Instagram for the recipe :)

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!

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