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In Blog, Dinner, Food, Weekly meal plans on
February 11, 2019

Well fed weekly meal plan #5: Money saving meals

Happy love month my people! You know what, now that I say that I take it back because every month should be love month, right? Really though, let’s work on loving our people and those around us and beyond every day of every month. Easy enough? Haha we can at least strive for that. Ok now that I’ve gotten sidetracked I will share the point of this post: another weekly meal plan! Whoop whoop! This week I bring you our family’s favorite healthy money saving meals. On a budget? We sure are. Here are some tasty and satisfying eats that will keep you on track with your budget!

Any recipe I add in these meal plans are my own or recipes that I have found over the years and have been tried and true winners for our family. Of course, you know the size of the crowd you’re cooking for, so if you are going to follow this week’s meal plan, look at the portions to decide if you will need to double/triple/whatever the recipe.  This meal plan includes dinner, lunch, and breakfast. Yes, we eat a lot of leftovers, yes we eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch 7 days in a row (usually) but it saves money and time and that’s why I spend so much time looking for recipes and coming up with recipes we love. I hope you enjoy!

Hey, stop. Before you go any further, if you haven’t read how I meal plan, you might want to check it out to understand this a little better. Cool, thanks.

Dinner 1(M/TH): The Garden Grazer’s Black Bean tacos with Avocado Cilantro sauce

Buy the beans in bulk, cook what you need and it will save you so much over time in eating your beans this way. This kind of meal is almost a no brainer and doesn’t require very many ingredients. Filling, satisfying, full of protein, and customizable.

Dinner 2 (T/F): Budget Byte’s Thai Curry Vegetable Soup

When you click on the link this recipe has the cost of the ingredients broken down for you. How cool is that? A creative and flavorful soup made with rice noodles, veggies, and a comforting broth. Perfect for winter and perfect for saving some green.

Dinner 3 (W/Sat): Pass the Plants’ Best Damn Vegan Lasagna


This was one of the first intentionally vegan meals I ever made. I thought it sounded kinda weird using tofu….but omg let me tell ya’ll- it is ingenious to use tofu (herbed and spiced up) as a ricotta substitute. Also it is full of healthy protein. Check this recipe out for sure. And not purchasing meat is a major money saver.

Dinner 4 (Sun): Minimalist Baker’s Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews

How fun does this recipe sound? Or am I the only one that would consider recipes fun..? I know, I’m weird J.  A hearty green salad kicked up with carrots, homemade curried cashews (it’s just tossing nuts in some stuff and roasting them in your oven) and then a delicious sweet thai peanut dressing. Sign me up please! Another quick, easy, money saving meal to add to your menu this week.

Lunch for all: The Food Charlatan’s 20 minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet


To pull of feeding 3 of us lunch for a full week I make a GIANT pot of this and we all typically have some kind of fruit alongside it. I’m telling you- this is a go to on a week where I don’t feel like putting ANY effort into lunches- it is so quick and easy to throw together and then you have lunch for the whole gang for days!

Breakfast for husband and toddler: Old fashioned rolled oats with berries, bananas, and peanut butter every dang day because it is cheap, filling, and nutritious.

Breakfast for me: Well Fed Familia’s Vegan Morning Power Protein Smoothie

I get fixated on a breakfast item and eat it for breakfast everyday for about a month and then I get sick of it and take a few months off before I eat it again. Well in September I got on a smoothie kick. Loads of goodness and healthy protein keeps me fueled and full for the morning until lunchtime and my toddler always steals at least 10 sips as well. If you don’t want to do the protein powder just throw in ¼ cup of oats which will give you extra protein and help to fill you up.

I hope this helps give you some ideas for your weekly menu. Whether you use just one of these recipes or the whole meal plan, I wish you happy cooking and eating. As always, stay well fed my friends!

In Blog, Cancer, Infertility, Mama on
February 5, 2019

Let’s talk about Sex(ual intimacy issues after cancer) baby

Cancer. The very word makes most people shudder.

It comes in all different forms. It comes with all kinds of journeys. For some it is quick, for some it is a battle to the end. There are so many different and unique experiences for those who are diagnosed with cancer and no matter how cancer affects you; there isn’t a rulebook for how it will touch your emotions.

My time with cancer was easier than most as far as the treatment plan. I had major surgery but other than that I did not have to take invasive drugs, chemotherapy, radiation, or anything else. The initial diagnosis of course was scary and emotional but once I understood what I was dealing with and I felt the peace and comfort of my God and had the rally of family and friends behind me I felt brave and strong and knew I could get through whatever was ahead. What I didn’t expect was that almost a year later I would be having a harder time processing my emotions through the aftermath of cancer than I did in the midst of it.

I have now had 3 gynecological surgeries, a handful of CT scans (with rectal contrast.. yes it is as horrible as it sounds), hours and hours and hours spent in gynecologist and oncologist offices, too many transvaginal ultrasounds to even start to count, invasive procedures that I wasn’t warned about, the presence of medical students without my permission during awkward procedures, and so on and so forth.

Something they don’t talk to you about when you’re going through cancer is how it will impact your sexuality. At least nobody talked to me about it. Every time I go in for one of these invasive procedures (and for me they are in very intimate regions…) I put on a brave face as if it’s just totally normal, I can tell if an ultrasound tech or nurse is uncomfortable and I usually say something like “oh I’ve had so many of these, no worries, it’s all good.” I think I hardened myself from feeling the actual real and vulnerable feelings that come with hundreds of people needing to be all up in your business to keep you healthy on a regular basis.

I first started noticing that anything to do with sexual intimacy (with my beloved husband, people) sounded like a big fat nah, not interested, no thank you, eh maybe another time, hmm thanks but no thanks, pretty much every single time starting pretty quickly after I was deemed healthy enough to…ya know. I hated feeling that way; I constantly felt guilty and confused, what is wrong with me?! I am young and in love and everything around me says I should be feeling my best and having the time of my life! Months passed and the same feelings or really lack of feelings in regards to sex were still sitting with me. I had another round of scans and exams and something happened that was incredibly uncomfortable and I came back from that appointment enlightened as to why I had ZERO sex drive, ZERO interest in anything in regards to physical intimacy…. I sat down with my husband and poured out my heart and emotions for the first time on how hard it is to be so physically vulnerable all of the time with doctors; everything that to me is reserved for beautiful private intimacy was now just routine this and that. I had become so numb or tried to become numb to all of the doctor’s visits and tests, etc.  that I lost my sexuality all together. My husband put it into words that made perfect sense “you must feel as if you have been robbed of your sexuality.” This made the tears flow even more to be so validated by the one I love most.

I am not writing this today because I have it all figured out now. I am writing this today for a few reasons: 1) I felt all alone. I thought I must be the only one struggling with sex after cancer. I am writing this to you ladies who have had gynecological cancers, breast cancer, or any cancer that has required you to constantly bare yourself to so many people that you did not ever so desire to be a part of your most intimate parts. If you struggle with this too, you are not alone. 2) To encourage you to start a dialogue with your spouse, partner, whoever is that person in your life; it doesn’t have to be about this  struggle in particular, just anything in general that is hard for you right now. You don’t have to keep it in. If anything the discussion will likely be liberating as you invite someone you trust into your struggle. Starting this conversation for me opened the door to finally working through it. 3) Vulnerability is so important. I think it truly does change the world to share your story, even when it might feel embarrassing to do so. I didn’t know if I would ever share this and I didn’t really want to, but I know that sharing this might help someone else even if it is just to know they are not alone and that they can get through a hard circumstance.

As stated earlier this issue isn’t solved, fixed, blown away all together- but I feel in a much better place with it. This is now a normal conversation with my husband. I am now able to comfortably and freely discuss it with him because I invited him in to the struggle and he kindly chose to walk alongside me in this. We pray about it. We give our burdens to the Lord and he helps to heal. I’ve shared this burden with multiple people in my life that I trust and I know they have been praying for me too. Also, this has opened up real, honest, and beautiful dialogue with other women who struggle with sexual intimacy for a variety of really hard reasons. It has been SO healing to have heart to hearts with other ladies who get it and it reminds me that I am not alone. We can love and support each other through this.

Now that I have shared one of the most awkward, (I guess it doesn’t have to be awkward) intimate things I will probably ever share on my blog… I will choose to go forward, I will choose to continue to find healing, I will continue to share my story. I am not alone in my struggle and you are not either. I’ll end with a quote from the ever so wise Brene Brown ““Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

In Blog on
January 24, 2019

Vegan Indian Spice Bowls

Hello everyone! I know that many times when I am using a recipe on somebody’s blog, I don’t want to go through a lot of fluff to get to the recipe. So today, no fluff. Just know that if you like Indian flavors, Buddha bowls, chick peas, potatoes, and cabbage, you are in the right place. Also I have a grouchy toddler who is refusing to nap, so not much time to put into this intro at the moment. Peace and blessings and happy eating!

Vegan Indian Spice Bowls

In a bowl add Indian spiced cabbage, roasted lemon spice potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes and chickpeas, and couscous and peas.

Indian Spiced cabbage:

1 head of green cabbage shredded (cut into thin strips)

1 large yellow onion

Olive oil to coat pan

3 cloves garlic chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp coriander powder

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp salt

Instructions:

1)      Chop onion in half and then into strips. Heat oil in large pan on stove and add onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes on medium heat then add garlic. Stir together and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Next add all of the spices, stir to coat everything. Add shredded cabbage and a little bit more oil if needed. Stir to coat cabbage with spices. Let everything sauté until cabbage starts to look slightly translucent.

Roasted lemon spice potatoes

2 russet potatoes

2 sweet potatoes

Juice of 1 lemon

Olive oil

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp dried thyme

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

1)      Preheat oven to 450.

2)      Peel and chop potatoes into small cubes. Place into a bowl and add olive oil to coat, juice of 1 lemon, and spices, salt and pepper to taste.

3)      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread potatoes in a single player. Place in oven to cook for 25 mins or until potatoes are easily penetrable with a fork.

Fire roasted tomato chickpeas

1 15 oz can chickpeas

1 15 0z can fire roasted tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1)      Combine ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil on the stove, then reduce to simmer while the other components of the dish are cooking to allow flavors to come together.

Couscous and Peas:

Pearled couscous

Frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1)        Cook amount of couscous desired according to package directions. Once cooked add 1 cup frozen peas and salt and pepper to taste. Frozen peas will defrost from the heat of the couscous

In Blog, Food, Indulgent sweets, Mama, Mi Familia on
January 15, 2019

Going to war with sugar

I don’t know about you but I love dessert. I love chocolate. I love cookies. I love pie. I love cheesecake. I love tarts. I love all the baked goods. For my whole life I have had a mega sweet tooth. I used to joke about it and talk lightly of it but the older I got the more I would wonder if I had a problem with it. It’s always been this weird thing where I value whole and healthy foods and love cooking healthy recipes- I know my stuff about what fuels our bodies and minds and what hurts them but I would always overlook that stuff when it came to sugar. Life without sugar sounded/still sounds miserable! Baking is a love language to me, going out for coffee and a treat with a friend stirs my soul, having a late night glass of wine and chocolate with my husband gives me life. So what’s the big deal? Sugar makes me happy; it brings forth pleasure and merriment. The big deal is that I have little to no self-control with it. The big deal is that the more and more I take the time to dig into this the more and more I realize I am addicted to sugar.

 Anytime I get a craving for something sweet I feel like I need to satisfy it. Whether it’s something more “innocent” like keeping a bag of dark chocolate chips in the pantry and having a handful, or buying a special sweet treat for myself at the grocery store each week, or feeling the sudden need to bake a whole batch of cookies and eat spoonfuls of dough as I go. I haven’t shared this or wanted to share this publicly before because I think it is embarrassing. It feels like this dirty little secret that I’m a human too and I lose control with certain things in my life and can’t get a handle on them. Every year I think “how am I going to tame my sweet tooth?” How am I going to learn to appreciate baking and eating sweets occasionally without feeling a loss of control anytime I have a sugar craving or access to a room full of goodies? I never choose to share publicly because I know I am going to lose the war with sugar. I know I am weak and will cave in so why share? Why don’t I just save myself from the world knowing I am a failure in this area? Well this year, 2019, the same exact thoughts are still running through my head but the difference is this year I had the courage to put it out there to the world that I struggle with self- control when it comes to sugar and I want to change it. I am scared because I worry I will fail, a whole year is a heck of a long time to keep a goal in my opinion. Giving up sugar all together for a long or extended time seems impossible to me and I don’t think I need to do that. What I want to do is to learn how to value my health first and to gain self- control where I can enjoy sugar occasionally without letting it rule me.

My solution to this is my 2019 goal: Eat sugar only once a month. I came up with this because as mentioned earlier, baking is my love language, it is therapeutic to me. Also, I want to be able to have a special dessert date here and there. Those things are ok, we don’t need to beat ourselves up about that, but because I am recognizing I have a problem with sugar and a lack of self-control, I need to set up some rules for myself to work through it. Now if I fail at this goal I will be disappointed with myself and I don’t need shaming from anyone else because I will already feel shame about it, but I feel like this is the strongest I’ve been mentally going into a sugar centered goal and I am excited about it. I think I can do it. So I will describe my “rules” below and if you feel like this is an area in your life that has gotten out of control I invite you to join me! I would absolutely love the accountability and to see what you choose to spend your one day a month sugary treat on.

2019 Sugar once a month challenge guidelines

* One day a month (12 times this year) choose a sugary treat to enjoy.

* You can bake it, go out somewhere and order it, have it at a gathering/party, or just choose something from the store.

* I am allowing myself to still have local honey for my allergies and to sweeten smoothies as well as maple syrup for recipes occasionally.

* I am not going to use coconut sugar or other sugar alternatives for healthier baking as this can become a slippery slope for me.

* Be mindful of labels and if there is added refined sugar. I will not be ridiculously strict on this as my main goal is to get a handle on the dessert kind of sugar cravings, but I will be mindful to avoid sugary drinks and sauces, etc.

* Eating fruit is absolutely allowed and encouraged

So what do you think? Is this a good challenge for you? If you decide to join me in this New Year challenge feel free to let me know! Tag your monthly sugary treat on Instagram with the hashtag #wellfedsugarchallenge2019. You are stronger than you think and so am I. It’s time to stop letting sugar have control!

In Blog on
January 7, 2019

Well Fed Weekly Meal Plan #4: Light and healthy recipes

Happy New Year! Can you believe that it’s already a new year? 2018 was crazy and hard and wonderful and I think that is why it flew by so fast. Who ate way too much during the holidays…? I did. Whoops. I know my body will be thanking me as I strive to put healthy, nourishing, food back into it so I concocted a nice light meal plan for this week. Oh and healthy, light food can still be filling and satisfying. I hope you enjoy this week’s meal plan.

Any recipe I add in these meal plans are my own or recipes that I have found over the years and have been tried and true winners for our family. Next to the recipe I will note any changes I made and any dietary specifications. Of course, you know the size of the crowd you’re cooking for, so if you are going to follow this week’s meal plan, look at the portions to decide if you will need to double/triple/whatever the recipe.  This meal plan includes dinner, lunch, and breakfast. Yes, we eat a lot of leftovers, yes we eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch 7 days in a row (usually) but it saves money and time and that’s why I spend so much time looking for recipes and coming up with recipes we love.

Hey, stop. Before you go any further, if you haven’t read how I meal plan, you might want to check it out to understand this a little better. Cool, thanks.

Dinner 1 (M/TH): Pinch of Yum’s Avocado Kale Caesar Salad with Sweet potato Fries 

Photo by Pinch of Yum

Pinch of Yum is always dishing out some of my favorite go to recipes if you haven’t noticed already. This meal is quick to throw together. Chop up your sweet potatoes and season them as you like, throw em’ in the oven for a while and then as they cook make up your quick and easy avocado Caesar dressing and toss it together with some kale, nuts, and parmesan. Who doesn’t love the salad, French fry combo…?

Dinner 2 (T/F): Well Fed Familia’s Fall Vegetable Soup

I know I am biased because I came up with this recipe BUT this has got to be one of the coziest most comforting soups I have ever eaten and when you live in the frigid snowy north, you need cozy soups. It is vegan, full of nourishing veggies, and oh so creamy, thank you coconut milk! My husband agrees with me on this one too. It is the middle of winter so why not get cozy with this delicious soup?

Dinner 3 (W/Sat): Pinch of Yum’s Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Glow Bowl

Photo by Pinch of Yum

This nutritious and vibrant dish is so satisfying that you won’t even realize how light it is. The flavor packed Moroccan chickpeas go along so nicely with the couscous and crunch of sliced cucumbers and the tanginess of yogurt. Totally a mouth party. Two thumbs up.

Dinner 4 (Sun): Well Fed Familia’s Squash and Lemon Rosemary Empanadas

Overall I am enjoying winter but a little part of me is starting to long for summer. I think that is why these wonderful vibrant little empanadas made it into the meal plan this week. If you are from the South you know all about empanadas but up here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the people here would consider this a pasty. Funny how similar foods are called something else in different regions. Anyway, these empanadas are light, fluffy, and filled with healthy veggies and goat cheese and light flavors such as herbs and lemon. Make some hummus and dip them for extra flavor points.

Lunch for all: Cookie and Kate’s Spiced Vegan Lentil Soup

Photo by Cookie and Kate

To pull of feeding 3 of us lunch for a full week I make a GIANT pot of this and then a giant pot of rice because my husband eats 3-9x as much as an average human. This soup is a favorite around here. It is such a healthy and light soup but the full flavors definitely don’t leave you lacking. It is quick and easy to throw together and then you have lunch for the whole gang for days!

Breakfast for husband and toddler: Old fashioned rolled oats with berries, bananas, and peanut butter every dang day because it is cheap, filling, and nutritious.

Breakfast for me: Well Fed Familia’s Vegan Morning Power Protein Smoothie

I get fixated on a breakfast item and eat it for breakfast everyday for about a month and then I get sick of it and take a few months off before I eat it again. Well in September I got on a smoothie kick. Loads of goodness and healthy protein keeps me fueled and full for the morning until lunchtime and my toddler always steals at least 10 sips as well. If you don’t want to do the protein powder just throw in ¼ cup of oats which will give you extra protein and help to fill you up.

I hope this helps give you some ideas for your weekly menu. Whether you use just one of these recipes or the whole meal plan, I wish you happy cooking and eating. As always, stay well fed my friends!

In Blog on
December 17, 2018

Vegan Peppermint Fudge Protein Popsicles and my vegan morning power protein smoothie

Hello everyone and happy holidays! Today I am excited to share that I have partnered with Vegan Smart to share two fun and fabulous recipes with you! The first recipe is for Vegan Peppermint Fudge Protein Popsicles. This was such a fun one to make. I got my toddler involved and she loved helping however I think she more so just anticipated eating one of the delicious pops we made. She also thoroughly enjoyed crushing the candy canes in a bag and stealing little bits as we dipped the popsicles in them. These lovely pops are delicious, festive for the holidays, and a fun way to get in organic plant based protein. Vegan Smart Protein Powder is Vegan, non gmo, soy free, gluten free, dairy free, and has no cholesterol. Cool beans! Definitely something I feel real good about putting in my body.

My daughter crushing the candy canes with a soup ladle

The second recipe is for my Vegan Morning Power Protein Smoothie. Now a funny thing about me is I get fixated on a breakfast item and eat it for breakfast everyday for about a month and then I get sick of it and take a few months off before I eat it again. I do this with oatmeal, granola, smoothies, etc. Well in September I got back on a smoothie kick. I typically don’t like smoothies very much but I perfected my smoothie recipe and I have been obsessed with it for almost three months now. I wake up and get excited about it everyday it’s funny actually. Loads of goodness and healthy protein keeps me fueled and full for the morning until lunchtime and my toddler always steals at least 10 sips as well.


Vegan Peppermint Fudge Protein Popsicles

Yield: 6 Popsicles

Ingredients: 

For the popsicles-

2 scoops Vegan Smart Chocolate Fudge Organic Pea Protein Powder

1 15oz can full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk

2 drops peppermint therapeutic grade essential oil OR 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

*need a popsicle mold

Peppermint fudge shell-

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

4 crushed candy canes to sprinkle on top

Popsicle Instructions:

1) combine all ingredients for the popsicles in a blender and pour even amounts into popsicle mold. Leave in freezer 3+ hours.

2) When you are ready to remove the popsicles to dip them, carefully run each popsicle mold under warm water for 5 seconds and carefully pull off the molds. Set on a tray to dip and consume immediately or put back into the freezer with a lid or foil on top.

Peppermint fudge shell instructions- 

1) Combine all of the ingredients except the crushed candy canes in a bowl. Dip each popsicle into the fudge shell and immediately sprinkle the crushed peppermint candy canes on top while the shell is still wet. Work quickly as the shell hardens fast.

2) The cold frozen popsicles should help the shell to freeze on very quickly.

3) Enjoy!

Vegan Morning Power Protein Smoothie

1 scoop Vegan Smart French Vanilla (or chocolate fudge) Organic Pea Protein Powder

1 tbs milled flax seed

1 tbs hemp seeds

1 tsp chia seeds

1 small banana

1 handful spinach or kale

1 tsp spirulina powder

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 spoonful peanut butter

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix well. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

 

 

 

In Blog, Mi Familia on
December 10, 2018

How to thrive after a cross country move (and the hard reason we had to move)

The last few years have been really hard in general. We have had so many challenges and soul crushing hoops to jump through. We couldn’t have survived it without putting our hope and trust in the Lord as he kindly held our hands and helped us see his path. One of the biggest challenges was when my husband lost his job last April. Let’s back it up- my husband is truly an amazing guy. He is honest, smart, skilled, patient, true, loyal, and such a hard worker. Unfortunately he was working under an incredibly unfair, unpleasant, and even malicious mentor in his last PhD program. It was making our life so incredibly stressful and miserable on top of the fact that we had just lost our dog very traumatically, gone through our foster/adoption journey (which was one of the few highs (and highest high) of last year, and then my cancer diagnosis. This guy had threatened poor outcomes for my husband if he took a day off for our daughter’s adoption and made my husband feel bad for asking for a day off when I had major surgery to take care of me. Yeah, it was that bad. We don’t miss being under his unfair and vicious rule one bit.

Many challenging months came and went. In late March I was finally given the green light of health after many oncology appointments. Right after this news was shared, my husband was unfairly kicked out of the PhD program. Anyone who knows my husband was in absolute disbelief. After all of the crap we had just trudged through now we had no vision of our future. It takes months and even years to get into PhD programs and to match with a mentor who is willing to take you on. This was all thrusted on us in April when PhD programs were already filled and mentors had no room for more doctoral students. What the heck were we going to do? How were we going to make a living? We had just moved our life from San Antonio to Dallas and less than a year later we are finding ourselves in this position. How would my husband get to the career he wanted which is impossible without a PhD? We were at a total and utter loss. I will skip the details for time’s sake but God…really that is all I can say.

Our tearful prayers on our knees, our family and friends and church prayed alongside us and we were granted an incredible opportunity that only God could have come up with. In a situation that should have been impossible, too late, too many obstacles we found ourselves moving to the tippy top of Michigan’s upper peninsula. I literally didn’t know Michigan had an upper peninsula until the day my husband brought up this crazy opportunity. We were on the edge of our seats for a good couple of months waiting to see if this was too good to be true, but indeed it all worked out!

 In July we made the move from Texas up to Hancock, Michigan. My husband has almost completed his first semester at Michigan Tech which is a wonderful and very prestigious university. He is respected and treated kindly and fairly at work. It is actually a healthy environment.  It is a vastly different way of life up here. We live in an isolated area surrounded by unreal beauty. The shores of Lake Superior, snowy hills, and waterfalls now surround us. We don’t want to be here forever but what a cool opportunity this is. We are so far from family and everything familiar but we have been able to thrive in our new home. This was the longest intro ever to say that today I wanted to share 10 tips with you about how to thrive after a cross country move.

Saying hello to our new house!


1) Find a church/group to be a part of

For us finding a church that supports our beliefs was key. Church is very different up here and we are still trying to get used to it but we have been able to plug into church and a small group that loves us, prays for us, and most importantly points us towards God.

2) Explore! Moving can literally feel like a vacation for the first few months, enjoy it!

Find all the places, see all the things, find the hotspots that everyone talks about and the less known places that can become special to you. For us that has meant hiking waterfalls, finding sled hills, playing on the shores of Lake Superior, enjoying local bakeries and beautiful views in our new city.

3) Find a favorite restaurant

If you couldn’t have guessed, we are major foodies and good food is important to us. It was so hard to move away from a booming food scene in TX to where we are now. Thankfully we have found a few restaurants we really like.

4) Find a coffee shop or a space you can enjoy being at

I am all about having a place with a nice aesthetic, preferably a good coffee shop, for having time with a girlfriend or getting some work done. There are a couple of coffee shops here that fit the bill for me and have become places I can look forward to spending time at.

5) Check out the grocery stores around you and pick the one that works best for you

This one was hard for me when we moved up here. We are in such an isolated area so we don’t have as much up here. I am used to having any and every store within a 10 mile radius but now I make do with the stores here. Thankfully I have been able to figure out of the handful of stores here who has what and how I can get almost all of the ingredients and products I need. Online shopping is a life saver up here!

6) Put yourself out there to meet new people

This one can be big and scary but you just have to do it in order to thrive. We were made for community with other people. I started going to the library story time with my toddler and that was an outlet to socialize, I added some moms on Instagram that I saw lived in the area, I showed up at community events and talked to people. You have to put in the work to meet people.

7) Join some kind of group that meets regularly

There aren’t many groups up here where we are but we do have a MOPS group (mothers of preschoolers) and that gave me an outlet to meet other women in the same season of life as I am. There are all kinds of groups to find people you might get along well with, especially if you are in a bigger city. It is well worth the effort to find one!

8) Invite people over, don’t wait for someone else to invite you

It can be easy to feel like as the new person in town that you should wait to be invited to other people’s homes, but you can actually be the first to have people over. Just another way to love on others and start building your community.

9) Download the Marco Polo App or facetime regularly with your people; it is good for the soul

Oh goodness this has saved me time and time again. When I am having those sad, homesick moments, longing for familiar faces or friends and family being able to see actual faces has been so good for the soul. Thank goodness for technology. I am able to keep up with my best friends from home and talk with family “face to face (face to phone?)” regularly.

10) Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do in your new place

When you move somewhere new make a big list of things to do in your new area for your time there. This gives you something to look forward too. Things to put on the calendar and new adventures to be had.

Totally new climate means totally new adventures!


Well that is all I have for now. Anytime I open my maps app I still can’t believe my little dot is up almost in Canada. What a crazy journey we have been on. We are making the most of our time here on the Keweenaw Peninsula and it’s been such a fun adventure. As much as we hope to move back to TX or at least closer to TX after Steven finishes school, I would say we are thriving up here. I hope these tips help you too!

In Blog on
December 3, 2018

Grab and Go Trail Mix

Howdy howdy!

Another Monday, another blog post. Does Monday work well as a blog posting day? I am not sure. Honestly it seems like people are starting to prefer no blogs and everything shared on Instagram. What do you think? Do you have an opinion on this? I have so much to learn about in regards to finding success in this whole food and lifestyle sharing thing. I might as well grab a snack as I try to figure this all out. What should I eat…OH! How about my grab and go trail mix?! How is that for the cheesiest most lame segway into today’s blog post? I’m sorry, I really couldn’t not do that.

Ever since I met my husband he has been nuts for nuts. Another lame joke, are you really surprised? He is all about the trail mix or GORP as the true outdoorsy people call it- Good Ole’ Raisins & Peanuts. This little trail mix is one I have been making for him every week since we got married. I love a store with a good bulk bin section and that is the best for making customized trail mix. If your store doesn’t have a bulk bin section then just find bags or cans of all of the individual trail mix components and mix at home.

This is my husband’s tried and true favorite mix. If it were me, I would totally add some dark chocolate chips in the mix because #chocolateislife. Am I right or am I right?

This isn’t a super fancy or complex post at all but here it goes-

1 cup raw peanuts

1 cup raw pecans

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup raisins

1 cup banana chips

1/2 cup dried coconut shreds

Add everything into a big Ziploc bag and shake and mix around, maybe even shake your booty a little bit for a good time.

You can of course do a ratio and amount that you like and add or subtract other nuts or dried fruits, etc. He used to really enjoy the honey sesame sticks in the mix. This is what we do around here and it makes for a healthy, protein rich, sweet tooth satisfying snack. Hope you enjoy! Do you have a favorite pre-made mix you buy? Or do you prefer to make your own?

In Blog on
November 28, 2018

Adoption Day

Hello friends,

Today is our one year adoption anniversary! I sat down to write some words about our adoption day and this is what came out. It is more of a walk through of what our adoption day looked like. It is informal and maybe put together in an odd format but this is it. This is adoption day through my eyes.

Coordinating outfits, people gathered, judge in a happy mood because he finally has a happy thing to do in court. Smiles, tears, and celebrating. Months and sometimes years of paperwork. Choosing to love a child for better or for worse after initially choosing to love a child whether they will be with you for a day or for the rest of your life. Ups and downs. One might call that an emotional rollercoaster.

The family court hall is full of people. Some are there for the worst day of their life. Their family is in the process of being broken apart. Some are there for the best day of their life. Their family is legally saying yes to being together forever. If you are lucky like us you have a ton of people rallying in a tiny court room. You have family, friends, siblings in another state watching via facetime, college roommates, and if you are really lucky your foster and adoption journey has extended your family even further by welcoming your child’s biological siblings and their families into the mix.

The judge smiles. The judge goes through the legalities to make it official. The judge cracks jokes that he can only crack during adoption court. The judge asks you if you will provide for, love, and care for your child forever. With a confident but emotional crack in your voice you say yes.  You look at your child, you look at your spouse, you look at all of the loving and caring faces in the room that supported and loved you through this journey to get you to this point. It feels surreal.

So many pictures are taken. Picture with the judge, picture with the CPS workers, picture with your child’s guardian ad litem, pictures with every single one of the people who came to share this day. You leave the courtroom and go back in to the halls of the family court unit. You are reminded again that your best day is someone else’s worst. You don’t let that sit lightly and choose to remember that. Hugs are given, tears are shed, babies are getting grumpy and overwhelmed, but your heart is so full. You officially share the same last name as the small person you call your child.

Thankful. Honored. This is adoption day.

In Blog, Dairy Free, Dinner, Food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian on
November 20, 2018

Fall Vegetable Soup

Happy Thanksgiving week! It really doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving where I live because everything is COVERED in snow. Like multiple feet of snow already. WHAT?! So my brain is already in Christmas mode BUT I love Thanksgiving and I love Fall so I am going to reel it back a bit and throw out a wonderful warm fall vegetable soup that will keep you warm and satisfied this season. This fall vegetable soup would even do great on a Thanksgiving table this week as a unique healthy option.

My fall soup combines butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, apples, and onion all together with buttery and sage undertones. HECK YES. Mmmm. Major mouth party. Ok, that got a little weird, sorry.

Make it and pair it with a good ole salad and something to dip in it, you know a good soup vessel to soak up all the thick creamy goodness in your bowl. Ok, let’s get to it. This soup doesn’t need any more of an intro!


Ingredients: 

1 yellow onion

1 small butternut squash

1 medium sweet potato

2 medium carrots

2 Honeycrisp apples

4 garlic cloves smashed

2 fresh sage leaves finely chopped

1/4 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)

2 tbs butter (use vegan butter to make this recipe fully vegan)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

4 cups vegetable broth

1 can full fat coconut milk

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Chop onion and melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion into butter to sauté for 2 minutes stirring often.
  2. Add smashed garlic cloves, cinnamon, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir around 2 mins.
  3. Add diced butternut squash, diced sweet potato, diced carrots, and diced apples. Stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable broth and bring everything to a boil until vegetables are penetrable with a fork. Then add in coconut milk.
  5. If you have an immersion blender, lucky you, stick that guy in and blend everything up, if not, transfer everything carefully to a blender and blend away until everything is nicely pureed.
  6. Enjoy!