My Return

This is probably not the post you think it is.  I mean after barely starting my food blog and website, I disappeared for a year, leaving my infant baby blog to gather cyber dust.  I ought to come back with some amazing recipes or food plans.  But that is not this post.  This is a post about love. About finding things that were lost. Things that were hiding in plain sight for a long time. And pain – this blog is about pain.  I’m not the most eloquent with words. After all, I am a non-profit accountant by profession. And this is a blog about food. But I digress…

You see I was gone because I was very busy having a brutiful year.  Some people are so strong that they can live brutifully and blog about it at the same time.  I don’t think I’m there yet. God’s working on me.

This started because one year ago, I got the NEWS from my husband. I could try to write it for you but really you should read her message:

My details were slightly different – we weren’t at therapy for one. If you ever had the NEWS in your marriage, you know exactly what she is talking about. I couldn’t really write it better than Glennon. News than can crush a heart. Pain so deep, you’d never known the depths before.  When emotional pain is so sharp, it manifests as physical pain. Each breath of air hurts.

That’s why I wrote this post today. You see, I had an asthma attack this afternoon. Not my first, won’t be my last. But for a pretty solid chunk of time today, breathing hurt. It was hard. Sometimes I was coughing so much, I had to gasp in the next breath between spasms. And in the midst of this, I praised God for each breath. Even though it hurt. I felt it. I remembered each one. When we get complacent in everyday life, we walk about so comfortably we don’t even notice the crucial things that give us life – those things that sustain us. We can slip into take things for granted mode.  When life forces us outside our comfort zone, God can open our eyes to all the precious details we’d forgotten to be thankful for.  That’s when we really start living. The blessings and beauty have been surrounding us, but we were blinded by complacency.

Beautiful Things – Gungor

What previously were irritating piles of laundry, became precious items that I have the privilege of washing because I have been blessed with those people in my life.

My NEWS meant divorce and a slew of life changes that were out of my control. I could only hang on for the ride. And breathe through the pain. And PRAY.

Have I learned to pray!  I have witnessed God’s faithfulness in amazing ways this past year.

Too much amazingness for this one blog post. I’ll probably need to write a book. ;)

Oh, and yes I cried an ocean full of tears.  I had to grieve the loss of a husband and a marriage.  Only there is no funeral for these things in divorce, so I kept hosting and crashing various gatherings of friends and family so I could be with my loved ones and be held, be supported. God surrounded me with such amazing people to breath hope and wisdom into my life. I grew some of the most amazing friendships and aligned myself with a sisterhood of prayer warriors.

Anytime I lost that connection to God – that sustaining and life affirming home of my heart, He always sent just the right person in His perfect timing. The Healer of my heart working to restore my hope and my peace.  The middle of the night Facebook messages, numerous coffee and lunch dates, the prayer filled texts, the phone call just as the tears of a tough day welled up in my eyes – so many of you were the hands and feet of Jesus to me.

The divorce is final now. My grieving is done.  There was no more sadness left at the end – a whole year later. Because now I am someone new. My life is new.  There are still hard parts. That is life – always making us go through the hard stuff.  God is refining us. Burning away the impurities in the hottest of fires. Or as my five year old told me, “Our life is a whole project of getting closer to God until we reach heaven and get to be with Him.” My reaction this week? I ran out and bought petunias and planted them along my front sidewalk.

The Phoenix spring is blooming. Life begins anew. I’m so excited. I want to run out and love on the world!  I am going to learn new things! I am going to Love and Give and Learn and Laugh.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

I’m hoping I can still wear hot pink and pull it off with dignity. Because, I WILL be wearing hot pink.

A time to dance…

Good Morning – Mandisa

Apple Crisp

I haven’t had a chance to finish my follow up post on my Azure Standard order yet, but I wanted to throw this recipe up on the blog since it’s one of my favorites.

Each fall our family goes apple picking in our favorite orchard. We always pick far too many apples and I can at least 60 pounds of apples.  If you don’t have quart jars of apples on your pantry shelf, to substitute for two quart jars use 8-10 cups of sliced Granny Smith apples. Pour 2 cups unfiltered apple cider or juice over the apples in the pan. You might need to cook the crisp just a bit longer.

For the filling:

2 quart jars of apple slices

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 cup gluten-free brown rice flour blend or arrowroot starch


For the topping:

2 cups brown rice flour (or gluten-free blend)

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour

¼ organic sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of salt

½ cup melted ghee (clarified butter, I use Purity Farms which is casein-free)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the filling in a 9×13 glass pan.
  3. Mix the topping in a bowl until it is crumbly. Sometimes more or less flour is needed depending on the humidity.
  4. Spread the topping over the apples
  5. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until the apple filling is bubbly

Enjoy!  I hope to post more soon!


Food Excitement

Today, I began preparing for all the organic food I ordered.  Over the past year, I have really been pondering what it means when we ask ourselves, is this food that my grandmother or great-grandmother would have recognized as food?  I have a great deal I want to share with all of you about my food journey and what I have learned about the food delivered to us by the industrial food chain. If I go through it all here in my first post, we would all fall fast asleep.  So for today, I focus on one piece. MONEY!

This has been a huge problem for us at the grocery store. Since we have food allergies, we have to buy specialty flours and specialty milks, special snacks, etc. which all cost 3 to 5 times as much as the typical stuff.  Then, on top of that I want us to buy only organic food?  We seriously spend a ridiculous amount of money on food.  For a long time, I thought we were trapped with our food bill. We fork over the “whole paycheck” to Whole Foods, end of story. But it turns out there are a lot more options than I realized, and I decided 2012 would be the year I attempt to get our grocery bill under control AND try to nourish our family with more nutrient dense foods. (When, I mentioned to our 9 year old that we would be eating healthier, she lamented with full-on melodrama, that we are already the healthiest family in the whole school. She claims no one in her class recognizes the food in her lunch.)

Anyway, to minimize throwing the whole book at you so to speak, this post is about ordering from Azure Standard.  They offer oodles of organic and natural food options. I figured out last year that buying dried beans was a cheaper than buying canned organic beans, and a necessity if one wants to avoid BPA since it is found in the lining of nearly all canned goods – including organic.  At Azure Standard, I can order organic beans in bulk, and since they last a very long time, this is the way to go. I’ve also ordered a ton (well, not literally) of frozen organic fruit.  The fresh organic fruit, especially berries, is so expensive, but ordered in bulk, the frozen fruit is more affordable. This stuff will work great in pies, muffins, smoothies, nearly everything I want to use fruit in.  The key to keeping these costs so low is the food is delivered by a semi truck on a specific route. You need to get a drop number when you place your order, and then go to that drop point to pick up your food order.  Really, it feels kind of exciting. There is a truck route through Phoenix here, but when I realized that I would not be available during the week of delivery, I began to think outside the box. (Honestly, I am not very good at thinking “inside the box” – I can be a bit unique. My poor kids probably never had a chance of being “normal”. Good thing though, since I love them just the way they are.) So I discovered that there is a truck route through Casa Grande earlier in the month. Hurray! I’m not so far from there anyway.

Now, I must prepare for all my goodies.  Since I have numerous bags and boxes of frozen fruit arriving mid-week, I cleaned out and defrosted my freezer – always a fun task.  In addition, my crazy self decided my pantry needed a complete overhaul to prepare for my new dried goods. (What, am I nesting here? Am I so excited for my bargain organic food treasures, I need to clean the pantry for them? Yes!)  And in true “If You Give a Mouse a Muffin” style, partway through this overhaul, I decided I should really remove the torn contact paper from the bottom shelf and repaper it with new contact paper.

For dried beans, people! Someone help me.

Fortunately for me, at this point, my 9 year old wandered in and decided contact paper was fascinating and she volunteered to assist me.

So with this, I leave you to ponder, “What happens next?” Because I am tired, and 80 percent of the contents of my pantry is currently on my kitchen island.