Eat

In Blog, Dinner, Food, Recipes, Vegetarian on
May 2, 2018

Naan Pizza

I grew up with a mom who made homemade pizza- we rarely did pizza delivery from big chains- no, she made the most amazing dough from scratch, chopped tomatoes and herbs and simmered homemade tomato sauce on the stove, cut fresh veggies, and baked the pizzas to perfection. I would definitely say I have high pizza expectations because I was spoiled in this way! Homemade pizza has actually become our family’s Christmas eve tradition. My mom preps the pizzas, we leave for Christmas eve service at church, and we come home and bake them, chow down, and then watch Elf. It is one of my very favorite traditions.

Well, about a year ago I had a hankering to make homemade pizza but I don’t have a bread machine to make the dough like my mom does so I googled and googled for recipes but didn’t find one that satisfied. I have been making a homemade naan bread for years now and I had a brilliant idea to make pizza with my naan bread and boy it did not disappoint!

Pizza is fun because you get to be as creative as you want with it. So many options for sauces and toppings etc. I am going to share my naan recipe below and how I like to build my pizzas. Once you’ve made the naan you can pick and choose how to dress it all up.

Get ready to unbutton your top pant button cause you’re gonna want to eat a lot of this, folks. Enjoy some photos and scroll down for the recipe.


Ingredients: 

Naan-

1.5 C warm water

1 tbs sugar

1 packet of active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)

1 tsp salt

3 cups whole wheat flour (or regular flour)

Pizza-

A jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I love Bertolli or DeLallo)

Pesto adds a beautiful, bold flavor

Fresh chopped veggies- I love bell peppers, onion, artichoke, pepperoncini’s, tomato, spinach

Cheese- I love using fresh mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, feta, or goat cheese

a small drizzle of olive oil + dash of salt and pepper on top is amazing

Instructions:

Naan-

  1. in a bowl combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. No need to stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes and when you come back to it, it should be all foamy.
  2. add salt and flour. Mix. Once all of the ingredients are incorporated turn out onto a floured workspace. A silpat baking mat is best. Knead dough into a ball and add back into an oiled bowl which prevents the dough from sticking to the sides. Cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for 45 minutes (not necessary but helpful to be in a warm area).
  3. once 45 mins is up the dough should have risen about 2-3x it’s size. Turn it out onto your floured workspace and separate into 3 even balls. With a rolling pin roll out the 3 dough balls to a circular shape (sometimes they are misshapen and that is totally fun. It still tastes the same, I promise).
  4. Add a small amount of olive oil to a stove top skillet and heat over medium heat. Add one thing of dough and cook about 1-3 mins on each side.

***If you have a stand mixer with a bread hook use this once all ingredients are incorporated!

Pizza Assembly-

  1. add a nice layer of tomato sauce to the naan and dot with pesto if desired.
  2. add on your veggies
  3. add on your cheese
  4. add salt and pepper if desired
  5. Bake on 350 F for 15-25 mins or until cheese is melted and slightly golden/beginning to brown.
  6. ENJOY!

 

 

 

In Blog on
April 25, 2018

January 27th, 2015: A dream deferred

January 27th, 2015

This was the morning I woke up and wrote these words in my journal.

“Last night Steven and I got on the same page and we agreed we feel ready to start our family. I know we have only been married a little over a year and we thought we would hold off a few years having kids but it just feels right! We long to be parents so what is the point in waiting any longer? I am so excited for this journey and can’t wait to be a mom.”

Oh how I wish I could go back to that version of myself on that morning. Oh how I wish I could sit down with her and tell her it was going to be a long, hard, painful, unexpected, grief filled journey. How I wish I could take away the naivety that it would happen so easily and so quickly and that I would have a baby in my arms in my timing. It makes me so sad to think of that Adrienne: excited, hopeful, expectant that my body would “work the way it should” and get pregnant and bring my husband and myself a healthy biological child. That my body would give us our dream come true of being parents and getting all of the beautiful moments every parent dreams of. It aches me to mentally go back to the places I drudged through. The emotions, the pain, the longing, and what never was. So much hope, so much anticipation, only to be grief stricken every time. It is so painful to put myself back in the shoes of wondering if I would ever be a mom. My greatest fear was that I wouldn’t get that gift.

Friends, if you are someone who got to start your family easily, that is such a precious gift that many do not receive. Do not take it for granted. There is an unspoken population that suffers through infertility. People who are living in the pain of not getting the experience that many people believe to be a right, to be parents, to experience the miracle of a kicking baby inside their body, to give birth, to cut up cute little sandwiches, to wipe up sticky little faces, to get slobbery kisses, to cheer on and point at their kid on the field saying “that’s my baby!”, to help with homework, to go on family trips, to experience the magic of childhood all over again, to watch them walk across the high school graduation stage, to walk them down the aisle as they marry their soulmate, to get a lifetime of memories that only being a parent could give you. Some people long for this and never get it. Or maybe they do get it but it takes YEARS of expensive, heart wrenching, body aching, treatments. If you’ve never spent time crying and wondering if you would ever get to experience these things, lucky you. I hope you don’t ever have to deal with it. Thankfully more and more people going through infertility are coming out and sharing their stories. The pain is slightly more manageable when you realize you aren’t alone.

Infertility is a pain that I have warred with and by the grace of God alone found healing over it. This is not everyone’s story who deals with infertility. My healing came through a dream deferred. By processing every emotion of my infertility, by letting go of my dream of having a biological child and saying to the Lord, I’m done, this is too hard, you do what you want with this and help me to trust you. My dream was deferred but given to me through the beautiful gift of adoption. For some, adoption is not the answer and please don’t push that idea on someone suffering through infertility. That is my story though and while I would never wish infertility on someone, my journey through it has shaped me as a person. It has shaped the way I love people through hard situations, it has shaped my faith, it has shaped who I am as a wife, as a woman, as a friend, and now as a mom.

If you are going through infertility, my heart is with you. It is often a pain that can’t be spoken. Every single tear is reasonable. Don’t you ever feel silly for how hard this is on you because it is freaking hard. I hope the Lord answers your prayers. He answered mine. I didn’t expect him to answer my prayers in the way he did, but oh am I grateful. May infertility bring unexpected miracles into your life in the best way possible. May it shape you into a better person- someone who is more caring, more grateful, more faithful- someone who has a story to share that could change someone’s life.

                                                                                                                                                           

In Blog, Cancer, Infertility, Mama on
April 18, 2018

Surgery, recovery, and anticipating life changing news (that time i had cancer pt. 2)

 

Hey friends. There’s been an awkwardly long gap in between posting about my health journey and cancer diagnosis. Life has been crazy and we’ve had a major unexpected thing happen that we are trying to sort out. I know that is so dang vague and I’m sorry but until it’s sorted out I don’t want to share about it. I will say that we are all healthy, no one is in trouble, and we are striving to find joy amidst a confusing and stressful time. ANYWAY all that to say, I already feel so far removed from my cancer journey because we have this new crazy thing we are dealing with. But I definitely want to sit down and share the rest of my cancer story, so here goes part two.

I left you off last with this “It felt like YEARS waiting for 8 am to roll around so that I could call my doctor’s office to get an appointment ASAP.”

I called and they didn’t have an appointment open until a week later.  I asked if they could get me in sooner and she shared they couldn’t but if they had a cancellation she would call me. God is so good and not but 10 minutes later I got a call back that someone cancelled and I could be seen in two days! My appointment day rolled around and my doctor was great. She sat and listened to me and my explanation of my odd symptoms and then did a physical exam. She touched my abdomen and immediately made a shocked face and asked if I had a family history of cancer. Wow that’s not a great question to be asked so quickly. That definitely freaked me out but as the appointment went on and she affirmed me more and more that it was so unlikely it was cancer. She sent me off to get some ultrasounds and bloodwork done and ordered STAT results so that we could find out immediately what we were dealing with. An odd thing while I was getting one of the ultrasounds is when the tech said “did you know you have a retroflexed (backwards) uterus?” I replied I didn’t because going through infertility I had a pretty good knowledge of what my uterus was like (lol) and it was not retroflexed (turns out my tumor was so big that it flipped my uterus backwards. What.).  Anyway, the next morning came around and I was headed to a play date with some of my mama friends and our babies. I was just about to get out of the car when my doctor called. She shared that I had a 21×21 centimeter ovarian cyst with some concerning dark features. It did not surprise me. Something was obviously going on down there. I had what looked and felt like a pregnant belly but definitely no baby inside. We made another appointment to talk about surgery and talk options and then I nonchalantly strolled into the play date and shared the news with my friends. They were shocked that I was so chill about it but after going through all of the crazy reproductive health issues I had this seemed super unideal of course but not shocking.

The next day I went to my appointment. My husband came too because we knew it would be a big appointment with some big decisions to be made. My doctor shared all about the tiny so small eensy weensy chance that my giant ovarian tumor could be cancerous. We talked about all of my options. Seeing an oncologist, getting my surgery with an oncologist, my doctor doing the surgery but making a 12 inch incision in my abdomen so as not to rupture the tumor, or just trusting that the crazy one in a million odds of this thing being cancerous were so low that we would just do a simple laparoscopic surgery with my doctor and she would drain the cyst and cut it up inside me to get it out so that I wouldn’t have an intense multiple month recovery. She talked with the oncologist too about this and he agreed I was probably fine, had me do tumor marker blood work which all came back normal, and then left us with the decision. Ultimately we chose to do laparoscopic with her because we have a busy life and a toddler and we felt so comfortable with the incredibly low odds of cancer that it seemed overkill to do any of the other options.

Surgery day rolled around. The surgery went well and I awoke to the news that my ovarian was in fact a dermoid cyst which is so weird and rare. Y’all.  It had hair, teeth, and rib cartilage in it. What. WHAT.? Fascinating but ew! Oh and we wouldn’t find this out for another week or so but it also had cancer all up in it too. I stayed in the hospital for most of the day and was finally released to go home that night.

The first 3 days of recovery were HORRIBLE. I was in so much pain and so dang nauseous. I guess when you have a 21 cm part of your body removed you don’t feel too cool for a bit. Anyway, we had amazing family and friends doing everything for us. I was on strict bed rest the first 2 weeks so I couldn’t do much of anything for myself or my family. The love we received in form of babysitting, food, gifts, and house cleaning was so beyond anything I could have ever dreamed up. People were SO kind to me and my family and I am forever grateful for that in our great time of need.

 

Where I spent my time recovering.

One week and one day passed. It was a Friday morning and I was lying in bed reading when I got a phone call.  A phone call that changed everything and took away my naïve sense of being totally fine and healthy. It was my doctor’s nurse. She called and said “the doctor received the pathology results and she would like to see you today at 5 when her office closes.” Sucker punch to the gut. I simply said “ok” and said I would be there and hung up. I was so scared. I was too scared to ask or say or hear anything else. My doctor had assured me multiple times that I didn’t need to be seen or looked at until my two week  post op appointment but now all of a sudden she is in a rush to see me on a Friday at the end of a long workday for her with my pathology results. I knew exactly what it meant. I immediately felt like I was dying. Mentally I went to the worst case scenario thinking “my daughter has already lost one mom and now she is going to lose another.”

Friday March 2 was a curveball. One of those curveballs that will forever change your life. Friday March 2 was one of the most difficult, emotional, anxiety ridden days of my life. I was alone most of the day with the knowledge that I was probably not ok but I had no idea what exactly was wrong with me other than it was something big. It felt like a lifetime waiting from 9 am when I got the call to 5 pm when I got to my doctor’s office.

After many hours of the kind of anxiety that takes away your breath and stabs your stomach I told my husband that I just wanted to have an hour with our little family. It was a gorgeous perfect spring day outside so we went to a nearby park and this was also my first time outside in over a week. I chose to block the impending doom of some unexpected diagnosis that would radically change my life just for that hour. To exist, to be a mom, a wife, a person who loves soaking up the sun and gorgeous spring days. We took that hour together and it was perfect. We needed that before all of the crazy hit.

A treasured photo taken during this time at the park.

 

 

In Blog, Dairy Free, Dinner, Food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian on
April 9, 2018

Chickpea balls with coconut curry peanut sauce and cauliflower rice

I have wanted to post this recipe for a while but life has been quite crazy lately. 2018 has been really rough for us so far. We’ve had some pretty big blows but funny enough I feel like so far this year I’ve experienced a lot of joy and through all of this hardship we’ve made some really great friends and got to spend a lot of sweet time with family. It’s not always easy but you can absolutely choose joy through hard times.

ANYWAY- back to the main event. The reason why you’re here- THE CHICKPEA BALLS, well really the coconut curry peanut sauce cause dadannnnng y’all it’s good. Like slurp spoonfuls straight out of the saucepan good. This recipe is one you could feed the naysayers who think you can’t eat a proper meal without meat or if you are a meat needy naysayer (jk I still love you and I eat meat too sometimes) who would like to possibly venture into the world of plant based cooking. This recipe is filling, delicious, and super flavorful.

If you have a food processor with a cheese/veggie shredder piece you are in luck because that will make your life 12302930x easier with this recipe. If not, well best of luck. You can still make it work one way or another!


Ingredients:

Chickpea balls

2 15 oz can chickpeas

2 carrots shredded or finely chopped

½ red onion shredded or finely chopped

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Coconut curry peanut sauce

1 tbs minced garlic

1 tbs minced ginger paste (or minced ginger with 1/4 tsp olive oil)

1 tbs red curry paste

1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

Juice of 1 lime

1-2 tbs coconut sugar or maple syrup (depends on how sweet you want it)

Cauliflower rice– 1 head of fresh cauliflower or you can purchase pre riced cauliflower

Instructions:

Chickpea balls

1) In a food processor or blender mash up chickpeas. It doesn’t have to be a fine paste, there can be chickpea chunks, you just want to make sure they are ground up enough they will stick in balls.

2) Shred or dice your carrots, onion, and cilantro.

3) Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.

4) Form 2 inch balls and put on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet.

5) Bake for 20 minutes or until outside is crispy on 350 F in the oven.

Coconut curry peanut sauce

1) Heat a small sauce pan on medium heat and add in garlic and ginger paste. Whisk and let the two mingle for 1-2 minutes then add in the red curry paste and whisk, let them all get well acquainted for 2 more minutes.

2) Add in the can of coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice, and sweetener and mix well. Let it heat all together on medium low and whisk occasionally. Sauce will thicken slightly then remove from heat.

Cauliflower rice

1) Take your fresh head of cauliflower and cut it up so that it will fit in your food processor to rice it through the veggie shredder. If you do not have this then buy riced cauliflower.

2) Add 1 tbs of water or olive oil to a pan over medium heat and add cauliflower rice. Let it heat thoroughly for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Assemble your meal by laying down some cauliflower rice in a bowl, add chickpea balls on top, and then pour on the coconut curry peanut sauce. Enjoy!

In Cancer, Infertility, Mama, Mi Familia on
March 25, 2018

When you get the best of the worst: that time I had cancer pt. 1

Hello dear friends. It’s that time, that time where I sit down and tell you all about my unexpected cancer diagnosis in the last month. That time where I sit down and tell you about my journey through hearing those three little words “you have cancer.” That time where I tell you why I chose joy through the whirlwind of shocking news. That time where I tell you about my God who answered prayers and performed miracles. Wow. Wow. Wow. I put off writing this post for a while because honestly I have been kind of at a loss for words for all that has happened in the past month. I sat down with the intention of this being all in one post but I quickly realized I have a lot of words on this to share, so I am going to break it up into three separate blog posts. Part one (which is this post here) will be about my symptoms and everything that happened before seeing a doctor. Part two will be from the time I saw a doctor, to getting surgery, up to before my cancer diagnosis. Part three will be from the time I was diagnosed with cancer to now. This series of posts might come across a little more dry than my typical writing style because I am sharing a lot of facts. My hope is to share my story for a multitude of reasons some being- I would like to share my signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, to encourage you to see a doctor if you are having obvious concerning issues, to share how and why I could choose joy in a crappy situation, and just because stories are powerful and maybe this will mean something to someone.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? I have PCOS and a history of developing less than ideal lady issues like painful ovarian cysts and uterine polyps and I have had surgery twice in the past for these things. Well, in November of 2017 I noticed every time I would pee I would have a super intense crampy feeling, it was always quick and momentary so I ignored it for a while but after a few weeks I told my husband about it and scheduled a doctor appointment. We prayed over it and guess what, it went away. Like immediately. For the next few weeks I didn’t get this crampy feeling anymore so I canceled my appointment in faith that God had healed me. I’ll explain in the next paragraph why I was so quick to cancel my doctor appointment. I didn’t continue to have this symptom but a couple of weeks later I started having intense cramping again off and on but not related to peeing, it would just randomly happen. I felt pretty discouraged because we had prayed and God had taken away the pee cramping, why was I experiencing this new pain? So yet again, we pray, I am fine the next day.

The most concerning symptom started becoming obvious around mid December. I work out a lot and like to stretch, and also like to lay on my stomach on the floor and I started to notice it felt like something hard was in there. I was also having a hard time bending over to put on my shoes without feeling out of breath and I noticed my pants weren’t fitting well. My first thought was could I possibly be pregnant…? Likely not knowing my infertility history but I needed to rule that out so off I went to buy a pregnancy test. Sure enough, it was negative. That was fine. I was not sad, I have processed, accepted, and come to peace with my infertility story. So now I knew I wasn’t pregnant so why in the actual heck did I have this weird hard feeling in my abdomen? This is not a normal thing. Well friends, we are in this stage of life where we are kinda pretty poor, (but we are rockin it and making it work) my husband is back in school and I am working part time to stay home with baby girl. Instead of doing the wise thing and scheduling a doctor appointment with this obviously concerning issue I decided I would wait until my annual appointment in March so that I wouldn’t have to pay for it. Well, in hindsight I would do that differently knowing what was really going on (yikes).

Ok, fast forward to the end of January. The feeling in my abdomen is becoming more and more weird and obvious. I even felt like I was starting to actually look pregnant too and I worried I was just gaining weight and I was super frustrated about this. Well the straw that broke the camel’s back finally happened- I went to work out on a Friday morning at 5 am. At the end of the class we were cooling down and laying on our backs and the instructor told us to pull our knees into our chest and clasp our arms around them. Y’all, I used to be a dancer- this is something I have done thousands of times. Well, I could barely even touch my fingers together, I was so uncomfortable, and so out of breath. I came home confused and kind of worried. I laid down on the ground on my back and had my husband come look at my stomach and push around on it. He immediately felt something hard and from that moment on I went into panic mode. I felt like I was dying, I felt like I had a monster inside of me, I wanted it out right that very second. It felt like YEARS waiting for 8 am to roll around so that I could call my doctor’s office to get an appointment ASAP.

Not a pregnant belly..

To be continued.

In Blog, Dairy Free, Food, Healthier sweets, Recipes, Vegan on
March 21, 2018

Healthier Almond Joy Treats

Wow, it’s been a hot second since I last blogged. I had this crazy thing growing in my abdomen and had to have surgery and oh wait, it turned out it was cancer. Dang. A lot can happen in a month, but hey i’ll dedicate a whole post to that here soon and you will want to grab all the snacks to sit and read it because I am sure it will be a novel.

I wanted my first post back to blogging to be something fun and light hearted- cue these delicious and decadent healthy(er) Almond Joy treats! If you know me at all you know one of my biggest life issues is battling my desire for healthy living and my ridiculous sweet tooth. Those two things often contradict each other so I have found some win win recipes and even made some of my own over the years and this sweet treat is a go to that I made up.

If you LOVE coconut and dark chocolate then this recipe is for you. You will learn to keep a small arsenal of these in your freezer for sweet tooth emergencies. These little babies are full of healthy coconut fat and sweetened by maple syrup or honey. While I wouldn’t recommend shoving a whole pan of these into your mouth, I would at least say this is a healthier choice for when you need something sweet and sometimes we absolutely NEED something sweet.

Ingredients:

coconut layer-

1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

1/4 cup liquid coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut butter **you will need 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes. Recipe at the bottom**

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

chocolate layer-

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup liquid coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

to top-

almond slivers

sea salt

Instructions:

1) for the coconut layer combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spread in the bottom of a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

2) combine all of the chocolate layer ingredients in a bowl and mix well. pour into an even layer on top of the coconut layer.

3) top with a sprinkle of sea salt and slivered almonds.

4) put into the freezer to harden for 30 minutes.

5) place in a freezer bag and keep in the freezer until they are all eaten! The coconut oil melts quickly and that is why these little guys need to live in the freezer unless they are being eaten.

**Coconut butter: place 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes into a food processor or magic bullet. It will take 5-10 minutes of blitzing and stirring but be patient and wait until it turns into an easily spreadable texture. This will save you so much money doing it yourself! 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes will yield about 1/4 cup of coconut butter.

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat!

 

In Blog, Dairy Free, Dinner, Food, Lunch, Recipes, Vegetarian on
February 19, 2018

Sweet Potato Hash Brown Stack with Eggs and Guacamole

You know those days where you really don’t want to put more than one ounce of energy into figuring out something deliciously healthy to eat? Yeah, I know those days. This recipe is a go to for those days. I recommend making everything homemade because when you make it yourself you know exactly what is in it, the quality of it, and you can give yourself a big ole pat on the back because you’re awesome. BUT this is the kind of recipe where if it ain’t gonna happen, if you don’t have time or energy to be a goddess of all things homemade, you can buy frozen hash browns and pre-made guacamole.

There are only 3 components to this: make some hash browns, make some eggs (anyway you like) OR tofu scramble if vegan, and make some guacamole to top it all off with. If that isn’t simple, I don’t know what is! This recipe is filling and full of healthy fats. It is one that will taste like comfort food, but give you all the energy to do all the things! Oh, and you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is that versatile.

Could you just picture this on your brunch table with mimosas, a little spread of fruit, and some of your favorite people sitting around laughing with you? Make it happen.


Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes

Olive oil/coconut oil/ or butter for cooking sweet potatoes

4 eggs (scrambled, fried, or poached- one per person)

Season hash browns and eggs with salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Guacamole:

3 avocados

1 vine ripe tomato diced

¼ small red onion chopped small

2 tbs chopped cilantro

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to season

1/8 tsp cumin

Juice of one small lime

Instructions:

1) If making your own hash browns, peel your potatoes and use your food processor with shredding attachment, if you really want to get down and dirty you can make your own hash browns by grating your sweet potato with a cheese grater and bonus- you get a great arm workout!

2) In a nonstick skillet add your oil or butter to thinly coat the bottom. Add your sweet potato shreds in on medium high heat. Continually stir, add in more oil or butter if needed to help with the sticking, and add in your salt, pepper, and garlic. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook. You will know they are done when they look like hash browns and are soft.

3) While hash browns are cooking make your guacamole. First mash up your avocados, then add in the rest of your ingredients mixing well unless you like it chunky. Set to the side.

4) While hash browns are cooking, cook up your eggs whichever way you would like. One per person. Season with salt and pepper.

5) Once everything is cooked it is time to assemble. Scoop some hash browns onto a plate; next add your egg, and then top with guacamole. Add salsa if you’d like for a flavor boost!

*Cook hash browns according to package if opting to use frozen hash browns.

In Blog on
February 15, 2018

What you don’t see

Smiling faces, beautiful places, happy couples, happy babies, besties hanging out, amazing looking food, and the list goes on and on. That is the majority of what we see of each other on social media. It makes sense. Why would you want to showcase anything but the happy and good stuff in your life for all to see. It isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t a bad thing at all until you start looking at everybody else’s pictures and thinking that there is nothing past the happy photographs.

We all have issues. Hey, there’s a song about that! Ok wow, back to what I was saying. Behind every Instagram account there is a real person. A real person who has incredible days, sucky days, mundane days, good news, bad news, you get it. So many people have started writing about this topic and thank goodness. It is so refreshing and helpful to see people being vulnerable and real in this day and age of social media. Thankfully more and more people are pouring out their heart and their stories and it benefits so many people to see more than just a happy photograph. You never know who you are helping or who can relate to you when you share your struggles. I am not saying everybody has to put out the worst of the worst for all to see but let’s be real with each other as much as possible.

What you don’t see in my feed are pictures relating to my constant reproductive health issues- for instance the 8×8 inch ovarian cyst that is currently very uncomfortably filling up my abdomen and being surgically removed next week. Or the time I bled for 6 months straight due to uterine polyps. You don’t hear about how tight our finances are while my husband is back in school working his butt off to get his PhD and I’m doing my best to work as much as possible while staying at home with our daughter. You don’t see me being impatient with my daughter or rolling my eyes at my husband when we aren’t agreeing on something. You don’t hear about how my daughter is often the grumpy/unfriendly baby when I take her to playdates (she’s starting to get better, hallelujah!) You don’t see pictures that depict my insecurities and occasional self-doubt. And that’s ok. You don’t have to know about all of that all the time. But what you do have to know is that we are all REAL people with REAL life struggles and issues. Don’t you dare look at somebody’s happy Instagram feed and assume their life is all unicorns and rainbows while you are struggling and things aren’t going as well as you’d like. We are all struggling in one way or another. I am certain there is someone on this earth dealing with the exact same difficult thing you are dealing with at the moment and how nice is it to know you are not alone.

I hope this is a small encouragement to A) not compare your life or your situation to other peoples (preaching to myself because this is hard) and B) when you are tempted to compare and be sad and sit in your own suffering- bring it to the Lord! He cares, oh he cares about you so much. He gave you a beautiful story no matter what chapter you are in. So yes, you see the happy Instagram feeds, you see the success, you see the smiles, but friend, don’t hold up your own life to that .That is a highlight reel of someone else’s life. You have your own highlight reel and the person who’s Instagram feed you are looking at, well, they have their own very real and difficult struggles. Your story is just as exciting especially when you understand it is being written by an all knowing, almighty God. He loves you. He cares about you. He is gracious enough to give us all “Instagram worthy” moments and he is gracious enough to let us struggle so that we can be reminded how much we need him and how fulfilling it is to experience his love and care in the hardest moments.

 

In Adoption, Blog, Foster care, Infertility, Mama, Mi Familia on
February 4, 2018

Adoptive/foster mama, you are not a second rate mom

I’ve heard you talk about it, I’ve felt it myself. The feeling like you or others consider you “less of a mom” because you did not birth your children. I’ve heard you share the hurt of no one offering a baby shower for you when you have announced you are adopting/fostering, or no one starting a meal train for you when you finally get to bring your baby home or after a caseworker drops off your child at a random hour of the night. I see you being left out of the pregnant belly pictures all of your friends take together. The people who consider hand me downs a better option for your foster or adopted child instead of a nice new outfit like your friend who is about to give birth might receive for her child. It’s so frustrating. It hurts. Why can’t you be celebrated in the same way your pregnant friends are being celebrated if in fact you too are just as much of a mom as they are?

Well mama, you are not second rate. Some people might say things that make you feel as such and you might even tell yourself at times you aren’t as much of a mom because you didn’t give birth to your child  or because you didn’t get to nurse your child or maybe you missed months or even years of your child’s life. But guess what- you are just as much of a mom as anyone.

Adoptive mama, you fought hard to bring your child home. You might not have conceived your child, spent 9 or so months growing them, and birthed them but you spent months and possibly years preparing for your child. You prayed about it countless hours, you had difficult conversations with your spouse and family members. You sat through hours and hours and hours of classes. You went through piles of paperwork. You sat through meeting after meeting exposing every tiny and embarrassing part of your life and finances so that someone could judge if you were “good” enough to foster or adopt a child. You prayed fervently for the health and safety of your child and how they would come to you when you didn’t even have the slightest idea of who they were or where they were coming from. Everything about you worked so hard to become a mom and it was all a choice. You didn’t have to do it. But you chose this path and you did it because you are an amazing mom. You are a first rate mom.

Last May was my very first mother’s day. I was 6 or so months into this “momming” gig and I was so excited and grateful to finally get to be recognized as a mom on mother’s day. Six months I had spent keeping my tiny human alive. Feeding her, bathing her, changing her diaper, taking care of blowouts, taking 8,000 photos of her, scheduling dr. appointments, scheduling caseworker visits, cleaning my house from top to bottom for every one of those caseworker visits, buying clothes, going to play dates, YOU GET IT I “mommed” like every other mom out there. Well friends, can I tell you on my very first mother’s day I had someone ask me “so are you celebrating mother’s day today or no…since you aren’t technically a mom?” Wow. Major punch to the gut. For those reading this who aren’t adoptive/foster parents if anything, please take away from this post- don’t do that. Don’t you dare question how much of a mom someone is because their story looks different from yours or what you would expect.

Adoptive mama, you are an amazing mom. God chose such a beautiful path to motherhood for you. It was a hard path to motherhood but you deserve to be celebrated. You are doing the same job as every other mom on the planet. I hope you never doubt how much of a mom you are.

 

In Blog, Dairy Free, Dinner, Food, Recipes on
January 31, 2018

Taco Tuesday Sweet Potatoes

When I started writing this post it was Tuesday, hence the Taco Tuesday frame of mind! But it is now Wednesday. Don’t judge. In my opinion we should treat every day like its taco Tuesday though! That is the old San Antonio(n) coming out of me. In San Antonio, TX tacos are the norm. All day. Everyday. Well we don’t live in San Antonio anymore but tacos or taco inspired things are always still a good choice in my book.

As many of y’all know I ventured out on a 3 month journey of no dairy, no sugar, and no bread/wheat based pastas, etc. So taco Tuesday had to look a little different for us this month! And no, we don’t really eat tacos every Tuesday. It’s a fun idea though. This recipe incorporates a sweet potato as your “tortilla” and you stuff it TO THE BRIM with allllll the taco goodness. We are talking flavorful ground taco meat, onion, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, and even black beans if you would like. It is a hearty and filling meal. To keep it whole 30 compliant say no to the black beans. To keep it vegan say no to the meat (duh) and simmer/season your black beans as if it was the ground beef. Here we go! 

 


Ingredients:

2-3 large sweet potatoes

1 lb ground beef

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce

2 cloves of garlic minced

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp onion powder

¼  tsp chili powder

Small red onion

Tomato

Avocado

Cilantro

1 can black beans- optional

1 lime-optional

Instructions:

1.       Preheat oven to 425º. On a baking sheet, prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and then wrap in foil.

2.       Bake until tender, test by poking with a fork, 40-45 minutes.

3.       While your sweet potatoes are cooking brown the ground beef and add in tomato sauce and all of the seasonings. Stir it well and allow it to simmer for at least 10 minutes to absorb all of the flavors.

4.       Chop up your onion, tomato, avocado, and cilantro.

5.       Once your potatoes are done let them cool for a few minutes, then split the tops open with a knife.

6.       Add in a hearty scoop of taco meat and top with all desired toppings. If you would like, add on black beans for extra flavor and protein and lastly squeeze a little lime juice over the top for an extra flair.

7.       Dig in! You won’t even miss the cheese, I promise!