Friday, May 3, 2013


With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I thought it was the perfect time to share our newly revamped, healthified taco night!  

First, can we be friends?  Okay good.  We need to be friends to move on here...because we're going to talk about beans.  And when ya talk about beans in this house, ya gotta talk about gas.  The gas we pass actually.   Enter: hilarity inappropriateness.

Have you read this book?  I bought it in high school I think...or college.  I knew one day it would come in handy for some fun evenings.  We read it and laugh...and then reread it and laugh...because we're mature like that.  Not to be outdone by the book below though.  Quite entertaining as well.  

Anyhoo, since changing the way we eat, we have noticed that the subject of gas has become very relevant.  It's kind of ridiculous how very constantly relevant it is.  In order to make us all feel a little better, my husband told me that Rip Esselstyn says you can tell how well you're eating by how loose your bowels are.  I'm here to tell you good ol' Rip is not making that up.  You're welcome.  You start eating all the awesome superpowers...legumes, whole grains, veggies, become well acquainted with this subject!   Consider it fair warning.  

So, can we still be friends?  Okay phew!  Moving on to legit awesomeness.  Taco night has become one of our favorite meals since eliminating meat and dairy.  Truth be told, taco night has always been one of our faves.  I would cook up ground turkey breast with taco seasoning and pile my taco high with goodies...taco sauce, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, green onions,  avocados, and sour cream.  My favorites of course being the creamy addition of the cheese and sour cream.  An easy meal that was tasty and hearty.  But, we have been able to change it up a bit so that it remains one of our favorites within this way of eating.

Let's start with the beans.  I've been using canned beans forever, but recently tried THIS crockpot recipe that was super easy and great.  We just ate the last bit that was thawed from frozen, and it tasted just as good as the day I made them.  I would add some additional seasoning next time I make a batch of these bad boys, but overall, they were perfectly wonderful just as is.

I used THIS recipe from Amy and have found her blog especially lovely and inspirational.  Her story amazing and her faith...incredible.

So along with the "refried" beans, I make a rice and bean mixture that acts as our meat substitute.  I originally just cooked brown rice in our rice cooker, and then cooked/sauteed it in homemade taco seasoning along with canned black and pinto beans.  Then I saw THIS on Amy's blog (I wanted to try something different, and she's got lots of great ideas!) and cooked up the rice and beans with taco seasoning and a can of Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chilies.  It provided quite a bump up in the spice/heat factor, and it's something I'd like to play around with a bit more.



Whole Wheat Tortillas
Crockpot Refried Beans
Homemade Taco Seasoning
Mexican Style Brown Rice and Beans
Red Onion
Red Pepper
Green Onions
Cilantro (sometimes)
Guacamole (key creaminess when eliminating cheese and sour cream)
Salsa or Pico de Gallo (store bought or homemade)
Taco Sauce (medium that wimpy?)
Cowboy Caviar (occasionally...eliminate oil in recipes as it's not needed)
Cheese (a little Colby Jack for Coop...slowly eliminating)
Enchilada Sauce


We love it!  Full of flavor, full of health, full of yum!  Of course there are other mexican style recipes for beans and rice, as well as other versions of cowboy caviar and salsas that look so tasty.  This is just where we've landed for now.  Feels good.  

Still hoping to find the perfect blend of homemade taco seasoning.  The ones I've tried are good, but I haven't found the final yum yet...maybe because of the flavor difference when cooked with rice and beans as opposed to meat?  Still playing around.  What's your favorite taco seasoning recipe?

And while we're at it, what does your taco night look like?  Are there any slight changes you could make toward becoming plant strong?

Big hugs and lots of love,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


May 1st.  May Day.

Usually, it's a beautiful day in the spring.  It conjurs up memories of leaving flowers on a neighbor's doorstep, ringing the bell, and then running away.  Beautiful blooms in every color.  A day in which the showers of April seem a distant past to the warm glow of the sun (well maybe not so much so for the pacific northwest, but this week seems promising).  A day that assures us summer is around the corner, and beauty is everywhere.  All the light seems brighter.  The warmth feels warmer.  Orange and yellow seem more vibrant than ever before.  Vacations, summer, picnics, bbqs, family get togethers,  It holds such promise and joy, anticipation.

MAY 2012

Usually, it's a beautiful day.  But this particular first day of's a tough one.  There isn't any getting around it.

Due to be born on this very day, we remember our precious babe lost to miscarriage in September of this last year.  I know there are so many others out there who know this pain all too well.  I won't embellish much here.  I literally can't.  There is so much to say.  Too many tears.  Such heavy emotion.  But I do want to take a remember.

MAY 2012

I know the pain of losing this baby, the often unspoken feeling that someone in our family will forever be missing, will linger in my heart for the rest of my life.  We have literally lost a family member...and are grieving this loss.  But even so, I can honestly say, I remain thankful.  The blessings still overflow, and the joy did indeed come in the morning.   It took quite a few mornings actually, but the joy did return.  I am more convinced of God's mercy and grace, knowing He is for me...for my good.  This little life that we'll never get to snuggle or meet this side of Heaven has changed me...forever affected my heart for good...even more for God, and I am grateful.  This precious little one is forever with me.


As a family, we are moving forward, and we remain hopeful.  Our son Cooper is a precious gift we treasure and a sweet daily reminder of God's goodness in the midst of this hurt and the desire to grow our family.  I do not take my son for granted and will always be thankful for the day he joined us and made me Mommy.  Coop fills my heart to the brim daily and is my dream come true.  It is my privilege to be his mom.  To our friends and family that have prayed for us, loved us, and supported us in this journey, we couldn't be more grateful.  It has meant the world.   We love you.


And now, knowing my own painful journey, I wish I could go back in time and walk right along side precious family members and friends who have experienced this loss...some more than once...loving them and being more in tune with what losing a baby to miscarriage really entails emotionally and physically.  This experience is so beyond anything I could have ever known or understood.  It can be so if no one understands or you're living in a dark cave of despair and the world just continues on without you...and your baby.  And adding to that sometimes is just the fact that miscarriage isn't often discussed, and if it is, the conversations can be quite difficult or uncomfortable.  People don't know exactly what to say...or if they should say anything at all.  I know I didn't know what to say and have even said things (that I thought were helpful) that now I think ridiculous and so dismissive.  My deepest apologies to precious family members for not loving and supporting you more intensely...intentionally.

If someone you know loses a precious child to miscarriage, assume nothing.  Love any way you can.  Do it on purpose.  Don't forget them.  Ask what you can do to help.  And even better, do things for them without them dinner, cook them dinner, drop off dessert, take care of their kids for an afternoon, send them a note, talk about the hard stuff with them, just listen, change the subject and talk about other things, help them get alone time with their spouse, grieve with them, laugh with them, let them know they are not forgotten, and make it okay to be be raw.  Do everything in your power to let them know they are not alone.  It makes all the difference.


Thank you for reading.  My prayers are with you...especially those of you who know this pain too well.  

With all my love and a hopeful heart,

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