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...