Sharing Is Caring!

Okay. So, I'm always talking on this blog about what grace looks like and feels like. I also talk to mom's a lot. If there is one thing I see as a mom and as someone who talks to moms, it is that we don't share enough. Rather than share what we do know or what we have discovered, we tend to keep it all to ourselves and try to put on the good show for everyone. It's fine. We all do it. It's human nature. It's mom nature.

No. It's not fine.

Grace means holding hands with Jesus but it doesn't stop there. How can you hold his hand and not each other's? You really can't, I've discovered. It's a group project. A group effort. Grace is a family thing. My family has been on a journey the past two years of figuring out our eating situation. Yes, I'm calling it a situation. It all started with my youngest daughter having a list of allergies, some of which are food. I didn't even know such a thing existed until she came along. How can an egg be poisonous? Well, if you have allergies, that is essentially what it means. Certain foods are like poison to the person with the allergy. My poor little munchkin. She was so sick until we figured it out, thanks to our AMAZING allergist who happens to love Jesus. (sometimes grace is a Jesus lovin' doctor) We still fight what I call the, "demon of allergy" but it is so much better now. In the whole process of the past three years, we've had to make major changes to our diet. It was easier to transition the whole family rather than cook separate meals all the time, (ain't nobody got time for that!) so that's what I started doing. We now eat a plant based/whole foods diet.

Two years ago, my idea of a good dinner was chicken breast smothered in cheese...oh, and salt and pepper. My cooking skills were, um, non existent. I enjoyed baking but had no passion for cooking. Cooking from scratch looked like a mean old grandma with a long pointy finger in my face. I felt very much not up to the task. But, desperate times call for desperate measures and my sick baby made me desperate. It was a bumpy road at first. If memory serves, I believe the thing my poor husband said most often in the beginning was, "Let's not make that again." I agreed. Most of it was gross! I share that with you so you won't feel you aren't up to the task either. I literally sat and cried when I found out all the things that had to be removed from our diet. I thought we were going to have to eat grass and drink water. (I can be somewhat dramatic at times) It did slowly get better though, and my cooking started improving! :) I am happy to report that my family frequently praises my culinary skills! Success!!

Lately, the change has been very noticeable in our family. My hubby and I both lost weight (he lost 40 pounds!) and my kids have more energy ( I suppose that is good??) than they did before. Especially my little munchkin. She is a happy girl again. :) I've been asked by a number of mom friends what our menu looks like or how to use certain ingredients. At first, it made me scrunch my nose and laugh. Me? Sharing cooking advice?

T'is a miracle, indeed.

I realized, though, that if I have figured something out that someone else wants to know about, well, why wouldn't I share it?

Sometimes, grace is a shared recipe.

So, with that said, I'm sharing my menu plans with all the wold (okay, maybe not the whole world, but the potential is there...) I think I will do this in installments so it's not like an information overload. Today, I'm sharing a few meal recipes and our favorite cookie recipe. Most of these are from sites around the web because like I said, I'm still learning and don't branch out to much. Perhaps one day...

A few things first...

1. All non dairy milks are interchangeable. If the recipe calls for almond milk and you can't do that (like us) then rice, soy, or coconut will work. The only time this might not apply is when you need something creamy. In that case, don't use rice milk because it is thin.

2. You NEED a good food processor. Lots of things happen in the processor so make sure you have one. Mine was free (cuz my husband has mad coupon skills and don't even ask me cuz I don't even know how he did it) and I love it! I'm always amazed at what comes from that thing...

3. If I'm sharing the recipe on here it means the ingredients can all be purchased in my local area. I shop at Sprouts, Frys (our local chain store), Trader Joe's and Sams. here goes! (Click on recipe title to go to recipe page)

     This is perhaps one of the best things I've ever eaten. Don't take my word for it. Make it yourself! 

Think Bruschetta in a casserole. It's amazing and easy to make. 

I've learned with cooking that sometimes if you have something similar it will work too. That works well in this one with the veggies. I think I had a red pepper so that's what I used! Everyone approved!

So, I made this recipe for the sauce and then added caramelized butternut squash to it. Shut up. It was so good. All you do for the squash is peel it, cube it, coat it really well with olive oil, throw it on a baking sheet, then sprinkle generously with brown sugar. (just do it!) Let it cook at 425 for about thirty minutes (or until tender). When sauce and squash are done put them both over rice or noodles and EAT IT ALL. (we have done both rice and noodles and it was a 50/50 split for which we prefer) 

This was one where I didn't have this or that so I subbed. Regular flour works fine in place of almond flour, and if you don't want to make your own sauce, just use what you have! Oh, and milled flax seed is sold at Sams in a HUGE bag for seven bucks. I bet they have it at Costco too (don't shop there so not sure). I highly recommend having flax on hand. Sometimes, I throw a tbsp in gluten free cookie recipes as a thickener and to give it some protein. 

Don't be afraid of this odd mix of things. It was so good. No, the creamed beans don't taste like cheese but they do give it a creamy, yummy casserole taste. The only thing I would say is that the leftovers weren't as good to us. But fresh from the oven it was yummy!! 

And now the best cookie ever known to man...

Really, the best cookie ever created. Make it immediately.  

So, there you have it friends! Me, offering my hand to you, with the little bit of knowledge that I have gained in a whole lot of trial and error! I can honestly say that I am passionate about cooking, today. I love knowing that what I'm cooking is good for my family and I love the creativity I now have in my cooking. Who knew?! I hope you find something in this list that your family can enjoy.

Oh, and please, do share any cooking tips or recipes you love with the rest of us! 

Happy Monday, friends! 


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