Monthly Archives

August 2018

In Blog, Dinner, Food, Recipes, Vegetarian on
August 30, 2018

Vegetarian Parmesan and thyme Shepherd’s pie

Happy Thursday Folks! What are your thoughts on meatless “meats?” My thought on this is that if I am going to make a meatless meal, I typically embrace the creativity of working with vegetables, legumes, tofu, and grains, etc. because we don’t miss the meat so why try to fake it with a look alike? Ok, well while that is my typical line of thought with meatless meats, I recently discovered Gardein’s Beefless Ground and it is AMAZING! It has the color and texture of beef and it is comprised of minimal and recognizable ingredients, mainly water and soy protein. We eat a lot of beans at our house and when you eat a lot of beans you typically get the toots and such (why am I sharing this with you?!) so I am excited to find a bean free option to throw in the mix from time to time!

Today I am sharing with you my tried and true Shepherd’s Pie recipe. I typically make it with lentils but this time I used Gardein’s Beefless Ground. This dish incorporates veggies that have sautéed in butter and red wine,  then the beefless ground and fresh thyme come in to add an amazing aroma, lastly it is topped off with fluffy, buttery, parmesan red potatoes. Can you just feel the joy in your heart thinking about how comforting and delicious this dish is?

I have full confidence that this Vegetarian parmesan and thyme shepherd’s pie will become one of your family’s new favorite meals. It comes together quickly in one pan and bakes for 15 minutes in the oven and then voila, dinner is served, laughs and good conversation is shared, everyone is happy and then everyone has the best sleep of their life that night. What a dream, eh?

Time: 45 minutes


3 lb bag of red potatoes

1 package Gardein Beefless Ground ($3.97 at Walmart!)

1 yellow onion

2 carrots

4 cloves garlic

4 tbs butter (can use vegan butter if desired)

1/4 cup red wine

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tbs tomato paste

1.5 cup vegetable broth

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Boil the red potatoes until soft and penetrable with a fork.
  2. While potatoes are boiling add 1 tbs butter to a large skillet over medium high heat. Chop onion and carrots and add to skillet with butter, sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Chop garlic cloves and add to skillet with the veggies. Stir together for 1-2 minutes then add in red wine, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, vegetable broth, 1 sprig of fresh thyme leaves, and a dash of salt and pepper. Let this all come to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer.
  4. Add in beefless ground, peas, and corn and stir. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  5. While everything is simmering on the stove drain your potatoes. Put into a stand mixer bowl if you have one, if not just a regular bowl and fork to mash, add in 3 tbs of butter, 1 cup parmesan, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper to taste and then mix together.
  6. Add the potatoes on top of the veggies in the skillet. Top with the remaining parmesan and thyme sprigs.
  7. Put in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  8. Let cool and enjoy!







In Blog, Dinner, Food, Lunch, Vegetarian on
August 27, 2018

Summer squash and lemon rosemary goat cheese empanadas

A few months ago I posted a picture of these wonderful little summer squash empanadas on my Instagram and the crowds went wild! And what I mean by that is I had a small handful of messages asking me to share the recipe. I am excited to be back in the blogosphere and delighted to be sharing this as my first recipe after a 3 month break.

So what the heck is an empanada, you might ask? An empanada is a Spanish or Latin American pastry filled with wonderful things, either savory or sweet. Today, my empanada recipe is a savory one. It is the end of summer and any good summer gardener has a garden overflowing with happy summer squash (yellow squash and zucchini) ready to be eaten. The only problem is, you have too many! What to do with all of the summer squash? Well friends, here is an idea- you make my delicious summer squash and lemon rosemary goat cheese empanadas. Wow, that is a mouth full of a recipe now. And it will be a delicious mouth full in about an hour from the time you read this to the time you have one of these lil guys in your mouth.

With empanadas you can go big or go easy. By that I mean you can make the empanada dough yourself or you can buy frozen ready to go in a nice flat disk empanada dough at your local grocery store. I have always bought Goya frozen empanada dough and never had an issue finding it in Texas because, well, Texas. But since we moved up to the tippy top of Michigan I haven’t found it. So sad! So I made my own empanada dough for the first time and it was more time consuming, sure, but it was straightforward and tasted great! I will link the recipe I used for that for any brave empanada dough making warriors.

Alright, let’s get on with the recipe now! Wonderful roasted summer vegetables along with warm goat cheese and the most pleasant rosemary and lemon flavors bursting out of a crisp baked empanada along with a side of my 5 minute hummus for dipping- let’s go!

Yield- 10 Empanadas

Time- 50 minutes


1-2 zucchini depending on size (1 if its giant, 2 if they are smaller)

1-2 yellow squash (same rule applies as above)

1 yellow onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 cloves minced garlic

*juice of 1 lemon OR Meyer lemon infused olive oil *see note

olive oil to lightly coat veggies

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

4-6 oz goat cheese (depending on how goat cheesy you like it)

Make my 5 minute hummus for dipping. I promise it will add SO much to these!

*note: I found a delicious Meyer Lemon infused olive oil which I used instead of adding lemon juice. You can find it HERE or you can use any lemon infused olive oil. Otherwise juice 1 lemon and lightly coat with olive oil. I have done it both ways and it always turns out great.


  1. If you are making the empanada dough, click here for the recipe I used.
  2. If you are using frozen empanada dough, set it out to defrost.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  4. Chop onion, zucchini, and yellow squash into small pieces.
  5. Toss onion, zucchini, and yellow squash with lemon juice, olive oil, chopped rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper and lay on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 18-20 minutes.
  7. Once vegetables are done pull out and let cool for 5 minutes. Then add in the goat cheese and mix.
  8. Now it is time to assemble the empanadas. Scoop a hearty amount of the veggie/goat cheese mixture onto the empanada disk but make sure you don’t overstuff it. It will be hard to seal if you put too much in. To seal the disk carefully fold in half and press the edges together with your fingers. Fold and twist the dough as nicely as you are able or use a fork to press and fold the edges over.
  9. Put the assembled empanadas on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and put in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
  10. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in. Don’t forget to make the hummus because it adds so much to these yummy empanadas!


In Blog on
August 15, 2018

When it rains

Would you believe me if I told you that in one year’s time we moved from south Texas to north Texas, moved into a fixer upper, I watched my dog get attacked and killed in front of my eyes, adopted our miracle daughter, my husband dealt with a threatening boss who had zero regard whatsoever for him or our family’s wellbeing,  found out I had a giant tumor on my ovary and had surgery to remove it, was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer, by the grace of God quickly overcame ovarian cancer, found out my husband lost his job which thus resulted in him to not be able to continue his schooling, helped sell earlier said fixer upper, and then we got a crazy opportunity only the Lord could have cultivated and it moved us up to the tippy top of Northern Michigan, in the Keweenaw Peninsula, straight across from Canada. Would you believe that? I mean I don’t blame you if you don’t because I lived it and I can hardly believe it myself.

This was a year straight from H-E-double hockey sticks. And by that I truly believe it was a year that Satan tried to weasel his way straight in to our lives to screw up good things. A healthy marriage, healthy bodies, belonging to a healthy and thriving church, adding our daughter to our family, and growing new vibrant friendships and community in our new North Texas town. He saw a good thing and tried to mess it up because that’s what he does. But we trusted God, we leaned so hard on our faith because that is THE ONLY THING that can get you through a hell year. Well, faith and community- family, old friends, and new friends- our community- they came in and prayed over us, cooked for us, cleaned for us, and spoke words of life and encouragement into our aching and tired hearts.  But the other part of the honesty is that it did break us in some areas, not so much in ways that couldn’t be repaired- but it brought a lot of stress and tension into our marriage and that led to so much of our conversations being strictly business trying to work through all of the mess that this year caused. It led to me working through some super low self esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and depressive thinking. It led to me not working out for a little over 6 months. It led to having less patience in my parenting. The cancer didn’t shake my faith one bit but the job loss and uncertainty of our future caused me to feel so angry and confused with God and why he was “letting” this happen to us. It’s only fair to share that while we made it, we didn’t do it beautifully all the time.

We have been in our new home here in Michigan for a little under three weeks. I already feel like we are taking a big long breath. I have to choose if I will look at the past year with sorrow and anger or if I will use it to grow into a better person. I choose the latter. I choose to share our story of this past year because it is a testament to the fact that while it sucked and we wondered why the heck it was happening, God was there each tiny step of the way. He was there lovingly. He didn’t “let” this happen to us, He wasn’t mean and making us suffer- no, He loved us. We live in a fallen world and this is why crap happens. The Lord knew this was going to happen and he prepared beautiful community for us and the most loving family to walk beside us during this. He arranged Evy’s adoption to happen in the most perfect time before the crap hit the fan. He held our hearts and heard our cries and he sat gently with us and whispered “you’re gonna grow because of this. You’re gonna shine and make a difference in this world for me.”

I heard this quote recently that I am kind of obsessed with right now from Glennon Doyle “first the pain, then the rising.” Now it is time to take every ounce of pain I experienced this last year and feel gratitude that it helped to mold me into who I am capable of being. Now it is time to rise.

There is beauty after the storm.