Monthly Archives

December 2017

In Food, Healthier sweets, Recipes, Vegetarian on
December 18, 2017

Oatmeal Banana Bread Cookies

There are two types of people in this world: those who always have super ripe bananas in the freezer and those who do not. Which one are you? I am definitely a bananas in the freezer kind of gal. This is a great trait if you are one who likes to make banana bread. Well, I’ve discovered something I like even more than banana bread..drumroll please… BANANA BREAD COOKIES! Y’all, it’s the same delicious comforting taste of banana bread but like a quarter of the time in the oven, no slicing and dicing and fighting over who got the bigger piece out of the pan because it is banana bread in individual cookie forms.

While I would definitely not call this health food, I would say this is slightly healthier than your average cookie/average banana bread because it is made with coconut sugar instead of refined cane sugar. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index and gives you nutrients found in coconut palm which is why some people might consider this a slightly better option than your average cane sugar.

Let’s get to the more fun stuff though- these Oatmeal Banana Bread Cookies are fluffy yet moist, satisfying for a sweet tooth, a fun twist on regular ole banana bread, uses up the bananas you have laying around, and would be great at any holiday cookie swap.

I hope y’all enjoy and OMG one week until Christmas day!


Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 18 cookies


Ingredients

·         3 ripe bananas (could be yellow with brown spots or super brown and in your freezer for months)

·         1 cup coconut sugar

·         1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)

·         2 eggs

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         2 cups all-purpose flour

·         1 cup old fashioned oats

·         1 tsp cinnamon

·         1 tsp baking soda

·         ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

1.       Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.       Beat together the butter and sugar for 30 seconds, then add in eggs, vanilla and bananas.

3.       One cup at a time, mix in the flour and oats, then cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, until just combined. Don’t overmix or they will not be as fluffy as you’d like. 

4.       Drop a spoonful onto your lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Don’t expect dough balls, batter will be wet and will just plop down on your sheet.

5.       Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn a light golden brown.

6.       Cool on a cookie rack for 5 minutes and then enjoy!

 

In Infertility, Mama on
December 11, 2017

Never an Afterthought

When I was a kid I always wanted to be a mom and once I got married I had this naive thought that I would get to have my big close knit family the way I had always pictured it. As a kid, not only did I dream of being a mama through having biological kids but I also dreamed of adopting. You see, I thought we would first get pregnant and have a kid or two and then we would start adopting/fostering. Literally as a 10 year old child I wanted this; I even did my 5th grade project on adoption. I remember checking out multiple books and autobiographies from the library on adoption and being so intrigued that I would stay up reading with a flashlight under my covers for hours beyond my bedtime. Adoption was never an afterthought; it was never a plan B whenever we weren’t getting pregnant. I wanted to be a mom through pregnancy just as bad as I wanted to be a mom through adoption. It is really cool how unique and diverse we all are, what we want, what we hope for, what we desire, and I truly believe my heart was always woven in a way to be passionate about loving children that I did not birth.

Even though adoption was just as big of a desire as pregnancy for us, we still had to grieve the hard and unexpected situation of infertility and infertility is HARD let me tell you. That will be another post for another time. In the deepest, darkest throws of infertility I cried out to the Lord one night “if you aren’t going to let me have biological children, you are going to have to take that desire away.” It wasn’t an immediate change of heart but over months of praying this I can tell you he completely changed my heart. We began the foster licensing process and through these months of anticipating a child through this way, the Lord took away my desire for pregnancy. How could it be? Even to this day I am still dumbfounded that thinking about my infertility is not that hard for me anymore. I had always longed for pregnancy, I begged the Lord over and over and over and over. I had some of my hardest moments crying out for healing for my messed up body and fulfillment of my biggest dream, becoming a mom. I noticed as we were wrapping up the licensing process and especially in those first days of having Evy placed with us that I was 100% fulfilled with being a mama in this way. Over time I noticed even more so that I was rarely thinking about pregnancy and even better I was starting to have little to no sorrow whenever I would consider the likelihood that our family would be built through foster care and adoption alone. That reality even became exciting to me.

Y’all, can I just tell you that the Lord is faithful? In my loudest cries to him he heard me and he knew his plan was better. He knew he would mold me and change my heart in a way I couldn’t have expected. The suffering I experienced waiting to become a mom was absolutely worth every single second because it meant I would become mama to my sweet Evy girl. It is so freeing to entrust your life to a God that knows better even when you are pleading and tugging in the other direction. I think many people unfortunately feel quite the opposite, that it is constricting to be a Christian, that it is stuffy and just a book of rules to follow. But there is freedom in Christ. Freedom to throw your hands in the air and just say “Lord, I don’t get you, but I do trust that your plan is better and that I can become closer to you through this and I can become a better and stronger person because of it.” Every now and then I’ll have a little moment of sadness over my infertility. I absolutely believe that it is normal and good to grieve through hard things, but we have to accept them and make the best of them. My infertility has made me a better version of myself. It has opened up so many doors, allowed me to meet so many people and bond with them in an intimate way that I couldn’t have in any other circumstance. It allowed me to become a mama in the exact way God intended for me.

It is totally not impossible for me to become pregnant one day- that would be super cool and miraculous, but I can tell you this- my heart is so full right now. Can I encourage you to bring your hard things to God? He listens, he answers, whenever we seek him and ask for things that align with him, he gives them to us. He gave me the gift of motherhood through foster care and adoption. It was never a plan B for us, never an afterthought, it just happened a little (or a lot) differently than expected, but our story is playing out exactly as it should for our little family.

Today I was at the grocery store and a woman about my mom’s age came up to me. I had noticed she had been eyeing me and my daughter for a few seconds but I figured she thought Evy was just cute. Anyway, she said “can I ask you a fun question?” I thought in my head…fun question..? But out loud said “sure, of course.” The woman asked “is your daughter adopted?” I told her yes and she shared “How wonderful, I have 5 children of my own, all adopted and it has been the biggest blessing of my life.” We talked there in the freezer section for 5 or so more minutes. It was so sweet and encouraging to hear this woman’s story about her thriving family, all adults now, all adopted, but all very much her and her husband’s children. It gave me hope that maybe I’ll be sharing my story one day talking about my big family, all of my children, born from my heart and the desire that God gave us to foster and adopt. I can’t wait to meet all of my children as they come to our family over the years. They are already in my heart. They are so wanted, never an afterthought.

 

Photographs by First Delight Photography. 

In Blog on
December 7, 2017

Pressed pesto, Hummus, and roasted vegetable wraps

It is a COLD COLD COLD day in Texas and I am LOVING it! Sorry for the caps and enthusiasm but this just doesn’t happen here too often, people. Y’all might have noticed a pattern with my food- I know, I know, we eat a lot of hummusy and roasted vegetable(y) foods here but hey, there is nothing wrong with that! I promise I will be more diverse over time with what recipes I post. BUT today I will post a true to me kind of recipe that I love.

This is yet another go to or us. When I am meal planning and I don’t literally want to use a single brain cell, I put this down for a couple of dinners. It is easy, healthy, versatile, colorful, warm, and even the meat eaters i’ve made this for love it too. There is no deprivation here, it is a filling meal between the thick and hearty hummus and all nutrient dense roasted veggies. If you really need to get this ish done and on the plate in no time just buy some good pre-made hummus and pesto.

 

I realize the that this is not the most aesthetically pleasing picture..lol


Time: 30 mins or less

Serves: This recipe is pretty easy to judge how much to get to serve your crew but let me know if you have any questions J

Ingredients:

·         Tortillas ( I prefer Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas)

·         Hummus

·         Pesto

·         Red bell pepper

·         Yellow squash

·         Zucchini

·         Red onion

·         Cherry tomatoes

·         Olive oil

·         Salt

·         Pepper

·         Goat cheese or feta cheese (optional)

Instructions:

1.       Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper

2.       Chop all of your veggies, add them to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, toss on salt and pepper and stir

3.       Place chopped veggies in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet and put into the oven for 12-15 minutes or until tender.

4.       While your veggies are roasting make your hummus and pesto OR pull out your pre-made hummus and pesto.

5.       Once veggies are roasted and out of the oven it is time to assemble the wraps!

6.       Take a tortilla and spread on some hummus in a line liberally, next spread a line of pesto. Add on a good amount of roasted veggies and if you would like, top with your goat cheese or feta. Cannot even tell you how good this is with goat cheese…And the cheese helps bind these together while they are being pressed.

7.       Heat up your panini press or a pan on the stove top and add your carefully wrapped bundle of goodness to it, hold everything together with a spatula before you close the panini press or put onto the stove top with the opening side down. The goal here is to just combine all the lovely flavors together for 2-3 minutes.

8.       Take it off of the panini press or stove, let it cool for 5-10 minutes, then shove it in your face!

In DIY, Mama, Mi Familia on
December 5, 2017

Evy’s First Birthday

I’ve been waiting to do this post until after the adoption was final so that I could show our sweet girl’s face. So here it is! Evy’s first birthday party! It was such a lovely day. This is the kind of day I dreamed about for so long- planning my baby’s first birthday party. When you go through infertility you wonder if you will ever get the chance to put all of your dreams and cute little ideas for milestones together one day or if it will only be something you have to file away in your head as something you won’t ever get to do. God’s goodness to us in giving us our daughter still blows me away daily. What did I do to deserve this gift? Well, I didn’t do anything, it is all God’s grace in my life that I would get to be this girl’s mama.

If you know me at all, you know that I love flowers and nothing too over the top so I wanted that to come through in how I planned Evy’s party. My absolute favorite was making her flower crown. She looked like such a little angel.

We had cheese and crackers, mini spinach and veggie quiches, bruschetta, rice crispy treats, and of course, cake.

My mom and I made the big cake for everyone- it was a spice cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting and I made Evy’s smash cake. In an effort to keep her away from refined sugar as much as possible I made a cake that was sweetened with apple sauce and banana. For her frosting I made whipped coconut milk.

I think we can all agree that the best part of a one year old’s birthday party is watching them tear into the cake and oh did she do just that! This girl loved the cake and as you can see she just ended up picking up the whole thing and going to town.

I made these little rice crispy treats with This cookie cutter from Amazon and coated the bottoms with soft pink dyed white chocolate.

I had so much fun planning this sweet day and I know our girl felt loved! Thank you to everyone who came and made Evy feel special. It’s fun (and sassy) to be one!