Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tomato Basil Egg Bake

We often have scrambled eggs for breakfast, but this is a flavorful egg bake that I reserve for a low-glycemic index supper. Of course fresh herbs always taste best, but you can easily use dried basil if you don't have fresh (see photos). You could also omit the feta cheese, or use whatever kind of milk you have on hand. But the sun-dried tomatoes are a must!

1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 c oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
8 eggs
3/4 c rice milk
1/4 c crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c shredded mozzerella

Saute shallots until soft. Add tomatoes and 2 tbsp basil; stir one minute. In large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, feta, and salt. Mix in tomato mixture. Pour into a greased 9x13" pan and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Top with mozzerella and 2 tbsp basil.

Bake another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden brown. A knife in the center should come out clean.

You may need to broil it for the last couple minutes to melt the cheese. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chivalry... Significant or Just Awkward?

I do love when my husband opens doors for me or carries things for me or pays for things or speaks up for me. But to tell you the truth, neither of us really knew how to "do" chivalry when we hooked up. We are still learning it together. Many practices of chivalry have been lost over the generations. So we are learning.

In our five years together thus far, I have slowly become more comfortable letting Shane "take care of things." It's strange to go from driving your own car all the time all over the place, long trips included, to letting someone else have the wheel. (Especially when they aren't as cautious as you...) It's awkward to have someone ask you if he can get you something to drink, when you have two legs and are perfectly capable of getting it yourself. It's not that I didn't learn chivalry from my dad. He was pretty good at it. It's just that I grew up in a culture where I wasn't taught the value of it. I adapted the mindset of "I can do anything you can do. So I will." Even my high school job as a grocery bagger/carry-out/stockboy reveals that. Looking back, I guess there was a reason most of the other carry-outs were guys.

Marriage has taught Shane a lot about chivalry, too. He is learning to simply notice. He's really good about being chivalrous when he knows he's supposed to be, but he is learning the heart behind the actions. Take opening doors. He used to always walk ahead of me, never behind or beside me, even if I was carrying loads of stuff through a big parking lot. He didn't care where I was or how I was managing. Same thing with bike rides together. We couldn't talk or interact at all because Shane felt a need to stay far ahead of me. He would happily fly along while I just felt lonely! His goal was to get where he was going as fast as he could. However, if he ever would come upon a door, a light bulb would turn on and he knew he was supposed to open it for me. Smiling from ear to ear and bursting with pride, he opened that door wide... and then wondered why I was taking so long to get there!

The more we get used to the attitude of chivalry, the more we like love it. The acts are great, but the heart of chivalry is a special kind of care that only a man can show and only a woman can receive. Just because I like to receive chivalry does not mean I'm weak. Just because Shane likes to offer his strength does not mean he thinks I'm weak. Male and female we were created, the collective image of God Almighty, chivalry being one way of reflecting such magnificence. When I am allowed to be a woman, I feel valued and respected for who I really am. So I am willing to face the awkward moments and allow chivalry to happen to me.

Marriage has been a good teacher of chivalry to us. Parents have taught us a few things. But some things only time can teach. I have learned chivalry from the UPS guy, the Mormons, and also some of our male friends. Over time, I have noticed that most of these men most of the time do not cross the threshold of our house unless my husband is home. Hear me right... it wouldn't be a huge deal to me if they did come in for a minute. I have just noticed that they usually don't. This is a courtesy that I have come to appreciate. For whatever reason -- maybe the simple human intuition that most men are physically stronger than me -- I really appreciate, respect, and trust these men more when they go the extra mile of standing out in the cold to deliver something or leave a message for Shane or whathaveyou. Showing the appropriate care for someone, in this case chivalric care, can sometimes mean intentionally maintaining a boundary -- however unnecessary!

And sometimes chivalry is necessary, even heroic. I thought this article was brilliant: "If we can all agree that the kind of culture we should aspire to live in is one in which men and women protect and honor each other in the ways that they can—and not one in which men are pushing past women and children to save their own lives—then that is progress that women everywhere should support."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Roast Chicken

This is my favorite recipe for roasting a chicken. Simple and delicious. Isn't she beautiful?

4-lb whole chicken
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 onion, peeled
1 c chicken broth

Combine in a small bowl:
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp dried sage
1/8 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed

Preheat oven to 375. Rinse chicken and pull off excess fat in cavity. Dry with paper towels. Loosen skin from chicken breast with fingers. With a spoon, spread half the butter mixture under the skin; rub the rest on top. Sprinkle with rosemary. Place onion in cavity and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and pour broth into pan. Cover and roast one hour. Uncover and roast 40 minutes more, or until juices run clear when pierced. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Mommy, you're bossing."

There are just three of us here and it's close quarters so when things heat up, we all feel it pretty hot. And now, when the heat rises it's not uncommon to hear, "Mommy, stop bossing. You are bossing, Mommy."

It all started one evening when we were in the kitchen and Shane was washing dishes and I was putting the leftovers away. Shane said something like, "I don't want to give him two vitamins and I don't have to. I'm going to keep giving him one." And I said, "No... if you're going to GIVE the vitamins you will GIVE him two, because that's how many he needs at this age."

At this point we are facing each other and three-year-old Z comes running in between us saying, "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy!"


"You're bossing."

"Bossing? Where did you hear that word?"

"You're bossing. I will show you!" ...runs away and runs back... "See? It's right here. You're bossing."

And holds up this book...

...which had been read to him for the first time just that morning and quickly thrown aside.

My heart sunk. How is it that this little mind can learn a concept so quickly from a book and apply it to life, when it takes this bigger mind so much longer to unlearn it?

Bossing. Okay, yes, that's what it is. Thank you, little wise man, for pointing it out. And all I can think is, I don't care if I'm right, I don't want this child to learn that "bossing" is okay. Especially wife to husband. I am a miserable mess when it comes to this, but there is only one thing I can do about it now.

The vitamins take a back seat and I look down at the little one. "Yes, you are right. I am sorry for bossing Daddy. You let me know if I do it again, okay?"

Then I look up at the big one. "I'm sorry for bossing you around. Will you forgive me?"

Not because I'm really sorry but because I know I should be... and because it's more important for this child to know how to humble himself than to defend himself in an argument.

Maybe someday my heart will catch up with my head and I will feel more sorry?

Maybe God knew that having this mirror of a child was the only way I could learn his way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Granola Bars

These taste more like "bars" than "granola." They are chewy and moist and sweet. I used Ashley Jorgensen's recipe as a basis and then changed a everything to my preferences. I make them a lot!

2 c coconut palm sugar
1 1/3 c natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1 c agave nectar
1 c butter, melted
4 tsp vanilla
6 c oats
4 tsp sesame seeds
2/3 c ground flax seed
1 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c chia seeds

In a very large bowl, mix ingredients together in the order listed (the melted butter will allow you to mix the peanut butter and agave).

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Let cool, then use a pizza cutter to cut into bars. Makes 48 bars.

They're great as snacks or dessert! I like to make a lot and stick some in the freezer.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What To Do About Pain

It's a wonder that pain -- in and of itself -- cannot kill.

A friend had a migraine for so long and so severe that she lied on the floor crying and telling her husband she thought she was going to die from the pain.

I have never said those words, but I have felt that pain.

Pain would like to convince us that it has the power to kill in all its agony. Pain can do many things, but kill it cannot do. In fact, if you can feel pain, you are most certainly alive.

Not to brag... but I might be one of the most "alive" people you've ever met. Yep... I like to live what they call "life to the full."

You should try it. (Just kidding.)

No, pain can't kill anyone. But it can do lots of other unpleasant things... It can cause shivering, muscle spasms, vomiting, and, if prolonged, it can cause you to lose your mind.

In the hours of deepest pain, how was it that Jesus did not lose his mind? I know he didn't lose his mind because he was able to pray for others. I think he kept his sanity by defeating the fear of pain. He did not allow pain or the certain coming of pain to make him fear. If he would've given way to fear of pain, he would've come down off that cross. But in those dark Gethsemane hours, knowing pain was coming, I believe Jesus made a conscious decision not to fear pain.

Wouldn't it have been so much easier for Jesus if his death would've been instant, without the pain of crucifixion? But then, what kind of hero would he be for us without having to face our fear? The fact that pain itself cannot kill becomes an even scarier thing than if it could. If pain could kill, one would at least have a peace knowing the end of the pain was coming. But it's even scarier to think it will go on indefinitely... Indeed, that is the scariest thing about pain: It lasts. Until you die.

For a lot of us, that means pain could last a long, long time.

The only way I am able to handle this thought without losing my mind is to rest on the surety of my eternity with Jesus:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  (Revelation 21:4)

My comfort is in my assurance of salvation I have through Jesus Christ. I belong to him. For me, pain will end, and in the spectrum of eternity the pain that I experienced here will one day seem short.

Still, there are days when it's just hard.

Fear of lifelong earthly pain can still cause a person to lose their mind, especially in the middle of it. Chronic pain became long enough and frequent enough for me that I needed to start consciously deciding not to fear pain/life. I do not want to lose my mind; there are other people who depend on me to not lose my mind.

Here is how I overcome the fear that pain hurls at me: I tell God "thank you."

Thank you, not just in this circumstance, but for this circumstance.

Thank you that it can't kill me.

Thank you that I need not fear it, because you are with me.

Thank you for taking care of my family.

Thank you for the treasures of darkness you can give me only in such dark pain.

Thank you for humbling me.

Thank you not just that this bout will eventually end, but thank you for now. I have a pillow. I have water. I have a bedroom. This moment is sacred.

Thank you for the loss of time with my people.

Thank you for all I have lost because of this pain.

Thank you for this pain.

Many people say that you don't need to thank God for pain or loss or injustice. That God does not require the hard thanks. This thought might be consoling, but I declare with Paul that I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation. I don't have to thank God for it, and I might not always practice thanks as well as Paul did. But when I fail to give the hard thanks -- perhaps the most important thanks -- my peace is stolen and my joy is stolen and quite frankly I lose my mind.

Maybe this is a treasure of darkness that can only be understood after you go through it.

What I know is there are many ways experts have found to deal with pain. For example, medicines to prevent it and Botox to numb it and chiropractic to get at the physical root of it and counseling to get at the emotional root of it and deliverance to get at the spiritual root of it. So we pray, then do what seems good to enable us to function despite the pain.

But even after all this has been done, if you are still alive on this earth, you will find out that there is still pain. Oh, yes! It comes back in one form or another.

All of these dealings with pain can be good and make us healthier in some way and we should do them if we can... but the deepest "root" to pain will never be fully yanked out until we are yanked off this planet and taken home to heaven for good. The important thing is to not let pain take our mind. We must fight to keep our joy. And giving thanks for the now always precedes the joy.

So, you may not think it's necessary to thank God for everything. But this giving thanks in the middle of pain is my crazy sword, this is all I've got. I have a Father who continually gives gifts to me and I intend to find them... in every station.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Orange Sweet Potato Bake

Why didn't anyone ever tell me that sweet potatoes and oranges taste good together?

Such a perfect match, I don't know why I never thought of this before. The recipe came from The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal. I will be making it again.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seasons of the Church for Kids

Both Shane and I grew up Lutheran, and theologically we are still Lutheran. Our son has no idea what "Lutheran" means, but some of his favorite books are all about a Lutheran church...

The Time of Christmas by Suzanne Richterkessing is about two little mice, Smidge and Smudge, who discover a new home in a Lutheran church at Christmastime. The voice of Elder Mouse becomes their mysterious guide as they learn all about the traditions, symbols, and meanings of Advent and Christmas.

The series also includes The Time of Easter and The Time of the Church. These books are really cute, and explain Lutheran church seasons in a fun and meaningful way. Each book has a companion dry-erase activity book. If anyone is interested, you can find them on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry

Because I avoid cooking with soy, my stir fry recipes have been re-worked not to include it. Soy allegedly contains phytoestrogens (chemicals that act like estrogen in the body), and too much estrogen at my age can contribute to PMS and migraine. So I avoid soy sauce and all things soy.

If you are menopause-age, however, soy/estrogen may help you.

I'm a big fan of stir fries and this is the first of several I hope to post. This one is meatless and you feel good after eating it. It's just flavorful and healthy.

1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 c chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 c broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vinegar
2 c uncooked rice, cooked

Heat canola oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add all the veggies and stir fry for two minutes. Cover to cook through, until tendercrisp. Mix sesame oil and vinegar; pour over veggies. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hand and Foot Turkey Craft

This turkey craft caught my eye because of the sentimental value. I traced Z's hands to make the tail feathers and traced his feet for the body.

Z did all the gluing.

Isn't he cute?

The hands and feet look so big to me now, but I know that someday they will look small.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Over the weekend we celebrated my mom's birthday and Shane's birthday. I made this yummy chocolate icebox pie for my mom.


You can find the recipe at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Shane wanted pumpkin pie, so I made the pie version of Pumpkin Chai Bars for him.

It's nice to have gluten-free pie crust options. These pie crusts are made with walnuts or pecans, and dates.

They both tasted great.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Gift of Presence

They say that parents give children their first impression of what God is like. The first impression I want to leave is that God is always with him, and God is always for him. So our little family of three is doing our best to stick together through thick and thin, and to encourage each other.

I want him to know that mistakes happen. No matter what anyone says, failing is part of practicing. I want him to know that he is loved unconditionally. To not give up or say "I can't"... and that it's okay to ask for help.

I want him to respect and trust authority. To know that it's not okay if other kids hit him, or steal his toys. To know his worth. To learn early how to resolve conflict without having to feel hopeless about it.

Academics are important -- but these things are more important. I feel so privileged to be given the job of training him in love and life... to be the one who gets to be there when conflict arises, and walk him through it (even if I don't always know the answer, I can pray with him). To encourage him, to see him change his mind and believe he can do it; to see him try again.

Most of all, to cheer him on in that brief but important moment, when he needs the cheering from his mom. I don't want to miss that one. What an honor!

As he gets older, more teachers and mentors and instructors will come into his life for a season. They will help him learn a skill or make his goals more clear. They will model a character trait for him.

But for now -- this sacred moment -- his daddy and I are it. We are laying the foundation for all of that. And we want it to be the best foundation to build on, so we follow God's design and take his hand and lead him gently and diligently. We take him to places for the first time and introduce him to all kinds of people, and day after day we work with him on brushing his own teeth.

Monotonous moments are, in reality, foundational and sacred.

He wouldn't remember much about a trip to Disney World at this age, but he will remember our attitudes in the day to day. Our work ethic. Our hugs. Our disappointments, but the fact that we always rise again. Our priorities. Our presence.

The gift I am giving my child these days is the gift of my presence.

I love being available to answer the silly questions. Together we are busy and together we take breaks to rest. We teach each other and we play together and we work together. We make messes and we clean up. We get sick and then take care of each other. We eat together and help our friends together. We are around each other enough to hurt each other's feelings. Our house is small, so there is no where to run and we are forced to forgive or explode. Forgiveness... we learn that, too.

Everyone chatters on about how it goes by so fast. Well I am determined to soak it in and make the moments count. If "love" is spelled T-I-M-E, then this simple beginning to his life has been time well spent. I thank God for these moments we have been given.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


It's soup and chili time!

This is Grandma Myrna's chili with a twist. We slurped it down and I think I got the flavors just right. If you like super-spicy, this chili isn't for you. But if you like a hearty chili with pinch of sweetness, it's soooo good. We don't usually eat it with any beans in it (!), but it's great with kidney beans.

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 tbsp chopped onion
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1 carton (32 fl oz) Imagine tomato soup
1 c Imagine chicken broth
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a dutch oven, brown the hamburger and onions. Add other ingredients, and simmer 45 minutes. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankful Box

When we pray with Z we are mostly thanking God for things, so he already knows the concept of giving thanks. But to name gifts and remember to do it throughout the day -- knowing thankfulness is really the source of all joy -- that is a discipline, a habit.

After reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I realized the importance of the habit of pausing to name the gifts we receive from God, and to thank him. When we forget to pause, to look around and hunt for the gifts... we lose our contentment, and then we lose our joy.

The habit of thanksgiving is so simple, yet so vital.

Just like this box.

I just slapped a piece of paper on this boring cardboard box, because it's not the box that's important. What's inside the box is important. Through the day we just place in the box random things for which we are thankful. Then we thank God for each item (or what it represents) as we empty it each night.

You may think this idea is overly simple. But when it comes to teaching thankfulness to a preschooler, simple is best. And let's face it... the habit is not easily mastered by adults. Despite all our many blessings, I'm sorry to say this box hasn't even come close to being full by the end of the day. Z forgets about it... I forget about it... and we just go on with our day. But the box sits there still and silently begs to be filled.

God waits too..

As Thanksgiving approaches, my hope is that this box would become more and more full each day. Not because we have more stuff... but because we are pausing to thank God for it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Maple Pecan Tart

My favorite pie is pecan, so it is imperative that I find a way to make pecan pie sans gluten and sugar. This pecan tart didn't have the gooey-ness of pecan pie, but it still hit the spot. I will keep this recipe and also continue in my quest for the right pecan pie!

I had never made a tart before, so it was really fun to see how the crust turned out.

Isn't it pretty?


The recipe belongs to Hallie Klecker and you can find it here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Not My Migraine

You can have it.

Actually, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

If you're around me long enough you might start to notice that I never refer to "my migraines" or "my hypoglycemia" -- but rather say things like "THE migraine" or "THE hypotension."

That is because I refuse to own it. I have developed a perfect hatred for migraines, and I intend to separate myself from them. Why? Because they are from the pit of hell. Satan wants them to be part of who I am so he can make me weak.  

But God uses them to make me strong.

I am not "that girl who gets migraines." I actually am a very dynamic, intelligent, sensitive individual who loves to eat pesto and has a good ear for music and doesn't feel threatened by controversial conversation and can organize anything. As for migraines, I am a fierce opponent of migraines. The person God created who is *me* has nothing to do with migraines.

I appreciate being asked how I've been feeling. When it's at it's worst I hate having to spend all my good time describing what it's like, but also feel a need to clarify what it's like so I can get the help that I need.

I also appreciate those who ask me about other things in my life besides the junk.

Because, despite all the junk I have gone through, I have been richly blessed. Blessed with family, lots of awesome friends (I have more friends at this stage of life than I ever have had in one place), a body that is constantly being antioxidized and detoxed and nourished with nutrient-packed food (I wonder if I could describe how good that feels...)... a new passion for baking (I can't stop), rare theological education and experience, and a safe place to call home. With air-conditioning.

The latest pharmaceutical slogan for migraine drugs is "My Chronic Migraine." You may have seen their ads. "" Now I could understand, or, or, because those are something by which you positively define yourself. But when we start defining ourselves by negative things that are not us but merely happen to us, before we know it we are buddying up with a disease. And that just seems gross.

Did you know they even invented a name to call people who get migraines? "Migraineur." Doesn't it sound so sophisticated? So, I am supposed to say, "Hi. My name is Kati and I am a migraineur."

Um, no thanks.

My name is Kati and I am a child of God. He is against migraines and so am I. Now let's talk about something else.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chocolate Cake

When Z told me he wanted chocolate cake for his birthday, inside I leaped for joy! I have been waiting for just the right excuse to bake this delicious chocolate cake again.

This cake is NOT gluten-free, but it is sugar-free. And it is the moistest, ooey-gooeyest, chocolatiest cake ever. This cake actually sold me on going sugar-free. I just didn't understand how something satisfy my sweet tooth and not have refined sugar in it.

This is, in fact, The Best Cake I Have Ever Eaten In My Life!

I bake this cake, but by no means did I invent it. The original recipe comes from Cybele Pascal's Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook, one of my favorites. My adaptation of the recipe is as follows.

1 c + 2 tbsp oat flour
1 c + 2 tbsp barley flour (*barley contains gluten*)
1 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp double-acting baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c + 2 tbsp rice milk
1/2 c + 2 tbsp canola oil
1 3/4 c + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c warm water

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 10" round cake pans. Cover bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit, then spray again and dust with cocoa. In a large bowl, whisk flours, cocoa, soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, syrup, vanilla, and water. Beat on medium-low about three minutes until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Pour batter into pans, smooth surface, and bake in center of oven for 45 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides and toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. To remove cakes, cover each pan with a large plate, flip over, and tap the bottom of the pan. Peel off parchment and flip back onto the wire rack right-side-up. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting...

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 c vegetable shortening
1 c agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Melt chocolate and shortening in a pan over low heat. Stir constantly (chocolate burns easily). Once melted, remove and combine with other ingredients in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed for 15 minutes, until cooled and smooth. Frost the cake!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Days & Advent - by Sarah Clarkson

What do Advent and the Presidential election have in common? Sarah Clarkson explains it beautifully. I hope we can all take the time to remember how the kingdom is coming.

"Yes, we can pray and hope and vote to put good men in power. But their reign will not hinder or halt the kingdom of heaven in any way. For our kingdom is eternal, a blazing love that reigns in our hearts, unswayed by this king, or that political party, or this presidential election."
Read Sarah's essay here...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ten Commandment Boogie

The Ten Commandment Boogie by Go Fish is a GREAT way to learn or teach the 10 Commandments.

I dare you to sit still while listening to this. Z and me just couldn't help ourselves... If you think the dancers in this video are awesome, you should've seen our groovin' moves this morning. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

His Burden is Light

It's Monday, and this is one of those weeks. I am standing on the brink. What I see before me is a mountain of tasks to accomplish, lists to make, lessons to teach, gatherings to plan, food to cook, rooms to clean, and people to call. It is overwhelming.

People's brains and bodies handle stress in all sorts of ways. Unfortunately for me, my body tends to respond with slowly building excitement... then anxiety... then crashes into a migraine.

But I am not doomed to this pattern. There is hope.

Jesus says...

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

One time when I had a lot on my plate, a friend told me to allow Jesus to be my "task-master," because Jesus' burden is light. He would not give me more than I could handle. In fact, he only calls me to do one thing for one moment.

With Jesus in charge of The List, my soul can rest.

So I will remember that today and ask him to help me make The List. Then I will come to Jesus, the good task-master, and say, "Lord, which of these things do you want me to do right now?"

He will give me just one thing to do from The List. I will do it. And for that moment I won't think about any of the other tasks on The List... because those aren't the tasks the Lord has given me. Get behind me, all you spirits of drivenness and guilt! 

I will focus on the one task at hand. And I will do it carefully, keeping in mind that my relationships are more important than getting things done.

Then, when I finish my task, I will come back to my task-master and ask again, "Lord, what do you want me to do right now?" And I will think about and do only the one assignment that he gives me.

Having someone else as the boss of your life can be great news on days like today! It helps me so much to remember that I don't have to juggle, I don't have to keep up with a schedule. Jesus is so much more capable than me and able to handle The List.

I am busy; it is time to stop and pray.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Black Bean Brownies

I've been wanting to try making black bean brownies for a long time and finally did it. I used my smoothie maker and although the bottom wasn't screwed on all the way and at one point the kitchen was a humongous mess of chocolate puddles... these brownies still turned out as good as I'd hoped!

This recipe was adapted and you can find the original here.

2 cans black beans, drained
2/3 c melted coconut oil or butter
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 c agave nectar
6 eggs, beaten
1 c chopped-up bittersweet chocolate
2/3 finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13" pan. Place all but the final three ingredients into a blender/food processor; blend until smooth.Fold in remaining ingredients. Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool.

I stored mine in the fridge because I preferred them cold. We have been enjoying them with sugar-free ice cream. Chocolate + Protein = Fabulous!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Gospel in 10 Words

"You must."

"I can't."

"He can."

"Please do."

"Thank you!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walking Salad

When I was a young lass, my aunt would have my sister and me over for special weekends at her house in Rochester, Minnesota. She would take us to the Farmer's Market, the Pannekoeken restaurant, and nature explorations and fun hikes.

The Walking Salad is an old Girl Scout recipe that I learned from Aunt Gen. Most people don't think of carving an apple hollow like a pumpkin, but it's a pretty sweet memory to have as a kid. And it really is great to pack for hikes. I still eat this salad for lunch all the time -- but I skip the hollowed apple part. You can just cut up an apple and eat the filling in a bowl!

Added bonus: Eating an apple a day never fails to give me an energy boost.

Braeburns are my favorite. Yum.

12 apples
1/2 c walnuts, chopped
2 c cottage cheese
1/2 c raisins
2 tbsp mayonnaise

Cut tops off apples and core them, leaving the bottoms on the apples. Scoop out apple pulp and chop it up. Mix everything; stuff mixture into apple shells and put the tops back on. Carry each apple in a ziploc bag until ready to eat! Keep cold. Serves 12.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jesus' Death Turns Horror Into Holy

Today I am pondering an article by Doug Phillips, who dares to ask, What is going on with horror fixations?

It's no wonder that TV, movies, books... entertainment media in general... is becoming more violent, more provocative, and more disturbing. But could the reason we like to disturb our senses with thoughts of death be that something in us is still not quite satisfied in the thought of Jesus' death?

"It is finished," he proclaimed from the cross. 

But have those words made it all the way from his lips to my heart?

Think of it, no guilt in life. If it is indeed finished, then the price for my unrighteousness has been paid in full. God knows all the hurts and offenses I have caused, and he offers me peace. I don't owe anyone anything because my guilt has been taken upon Jesus. I'm forgiven. It is finished!

Imagine, no fear in death. Why should we ever associate death with fear? In the movies or on Halloween or even in our diseased bodies... we know that Jesus' death has finished death and though we die, we live on.

Whatever we decide to do or celebrate this time of year, may our hearts be full of joy and satisfaction in the greatest love story ever told. (The real one.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Flounder Teriyaki

Tonight we're eating fish. I try to make fish once a week to keep our brains healthy. The thing about fish is you have to do a good job of disguising enhancing the fishy flavor. Especially if you want kids to eat it. I have collected some good fish recipes and this is one of them. This one has a sweet flavor and we like it.

Does the picture look a little gross? That's because it's a "before" picture... as in, before I baked it. But isn't the broccoli arranged just so beautifully? :) I roasted that along with the fish and the teriyaki flavor was great with the broccoli, too.

1 lb flounder fillets (or pollock, halibut, orange roughy)
1 green onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c apple juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp oil
2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp pepper

Place fillets in a sprayed 9x13" pan, skin side down. Mix other ingredients and spoon over the fish. Cover with foil and refrigerate one hour. Heat oven to 375° and bake, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serves four.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mistakes Happen

This is the lesson we are apparently learning/teaching right now in preschool.

I was so looking forward to the memory obstacle course today. I thought Z would for sure love it, because it's such a FUN activity and he'd get to use his physical strength! Well, I was a bit disappointed because he only sorta-liked it and only because we talked through his frustrations.

Our son gets frustrated when he makes mistakes, when he messes up. Who doesn't, right? But kids are such a great reflection of their parents, and sometimes I just have these light bulb moments where I see what we are really teaching by example.

I explained to Z that mistakes happen, and it's okay, because we can just learn from it and try again.

And I looked into his eyes and saw them change from, "I can't do this! I messed it up! It's hopeless!"... to a skeptical, "Are you sure, Mom?"... to "Oh... okay... really?... okay. I am safe and okay now. I want to try again."

And in that tiny moment when I saw that shift... I just felt so privileged and honored that God gave him to me, to handle with care. And glad that I got to go through that with him. I got to watch him try the obstacle course again, and again, and each time he made a mistake but he was a bit more confident that he could keep going and not give up. I got to encourage him through that.

And is it irony or divine orchestration that we happen to be talking about forgiveness this week, and the story of Joseph forgiving his brothers? Just today, we talked about making bad choices (mistakes), and the opportunity to come before a loving God and be forgiven.

I want our child to learn forgiveness, and many other things. But today it was clear -- our child needs it modeled a wee bit more.

How can I model that mistakes happen and there's a way to not be stuck in frustration and a way not to beat ourselves up??

I can forgive myself.

I can not be so critical.

I can forgive Shane.

I can laugh more and get over it...

He is only a few years old, but this is the way I am challenged as his teacher. As a parent. And so it begins!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Chai Bars

I really like chai, so when I saw this recipe from The Spunky Coconut I just had to try it. These bars are so yummy and make you feel like fall! The following is my slightly adapted version.

2 c pecan pieces
1 c almond flour
10 soft pitted dates
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 c coconut milk
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c palm sugar
20 drops liquid stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 packets unflavored gelatin

In a food processor, puree pecans, flour, dates, and butter. Press into a 9 x 13" pan. In a saucepan, simmer coconut milk, pumpkin, palm sugar, stevia, vanilla, salt, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon until the sugar is just dissolved. Whisk in gelatin and simmer 1-2 minutes, until it looks a little thick. Pour mixture over crust and refrigerate until solid. Store in the fridge.

Scrumptious! I enjoyed these with a little glass of almond milk.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10 Things I Like About Preschool

The ABC Jesus Loves Me curriculum has been great so far! We really like it. And Z is learning so much. We are on Week 8 of 36, and I'm happy to report that school is becoming a positive part of our routine.

Play-doh Fun

Ten Things I Like About Preschool:

Nature Walk Display

1) We do preschool three days a week, but if we don't get to something, we can do it on other days. It's flexible and we can work with our family's schedule. We can work more or less on things Z likes or needs more help with.

Feeding a sheep

2) Each week has a Bible story theme. Crafts, memory verse, activities, song, and a character trait go along with the theme. By the end of the week we have talked a lot about the story, re-told it, and it's caught in Z's brain.

The Widow's Offering

3) There is a new fine motor and gross motor activity each week.

V is for Vegetables

W is for Wiry, Wiggly Worms

4) I get to pick out the most active activities to help my very active little boy learn best.

Hay Maze at the Orchard

5) I can use my mommy-sense to change things or take breaks when needed.

Us :)

6) Book of the week and library book recommendations I trust.

Binoculars (or Camera, depending on who you ask)

7) "Daddy will be WEALLY impwessed when he sees THIS!"


8) "Mommy, it's time to do YOUR pweschool now. I will teach you."

Finding spider webs, the latest favorite activity

9) Field trips + family time = Awesome.

The Corn Pool at the Orchard

10) Preschool is proving to be a great tool, giving a bit of structure to our family's "learning lifestyle." :)

With Farmer Justin after harvesting corn in the combine

It has been a blessed fall! I'm realizing that preschool is really just a lot of playing and learning - which we do anyway - but with a little extra purpose behind those activities. I thank God for the opportunity I get to spend with this amazing little boy everyday, and the privilege of preschool.