Your Friday 4-Course Meal

Appetizer (a quick bite): She had me at sun-dried tomatoes. And quinoa. And spinach. ;-) Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach and Quinoa Salad.

Entree (something to chew on for awhile): My favorite thing about Gloria Furman is that she seems to be allergic to sugar-coated platitudes and warm-fuzzy, self-helpy tripe. She is about truth, even difficult and unpopular truth. And I love it. Read 10 Things You Should Know About Motherhood on her blog, but click on the full version and read her extended thoughts too.

Dessert (just for fun): This is amazing.

Coffee (sip and savor slowly and repeatedly): Colossians 2: 13-14-- "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross."

Your Friday 4-Course Meal

Appetizer (a quick bite): Chicken with Balsamic Pears. Something different (at least for me), but some of my favorite ingredients. Sounds worth a try for sure.

Entree (something to chew on for awhile): Raise Your Hand from Christine Hoover. So good and so true.

Dessert (just for fun): Although I'm sure it's nowhere close to an in person experience, this is still pretty cool. 12 World-Class Museums to visit online.

Coffee (sip and savor slowly and repeatedly): ...this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. --Shauna Niequist

The Good List

10. Tiny shadows. They make me happy.

9. LOTS of back porch swing/hammock weather lately. Perfect temperatures. Breezy. Lovely.

8. We bought tickets for Grace and I to attend a huge Lego Expo here in Kansas City next month. I think I might be more excited than she is. ;-)

7. Handwritten letters.

6. Macy attended her first prom last weekend. She and her friends were all so beautiful!

5. I planted a PEACH TREE! I'm so excited!

4. And also blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, hula berries, lots of veggies, and tons of herbs! I cannot wait to start enjoying the deliciousness!

3. Jared's very first published book is now in its second printing. 

2. Macy has this hanging right above her keyboard, and I love it so much!

1. Celebrating my big sister's 29th birthday yesterday! (Just don't worry yourself about how many years in a row she has turned 29. It's really none of your business. ;-) ) VickVick is THE BEST! She very literally saved my life when I was 10 years old and has been taking care of me in a million other ways ever since. PLUS she makes me giggle every single time we're together, and she's one of my favorite people with whom to engage in various shenanigans. Love you so much, Vick!

Bacon-Avocado Quinoa

Y'all don't hate me for posting so much about quinoa. I can't help it. It's so good and so good FOR you, and I just figure if I post enough recipes, maybe at least one of them will sound good to even the most doubtful among you. ;-) And speaking of doubters, for real... If you have never tried quinoa before or if you've only had it once or twice and weren't too impressed, this might be the recipe to win you over. For three reasons-- 1. It's SUPER flavorful and goes with just about anything. 2. You can add as much or as little avocado and bacon as you like to make it taste just the way you want. And 3. It's SUPER easy to make!


1/2 pound bacon, diced

3 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup fresh chives or green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire (I think I might have splashed in a little more than that. Just start with the 1 tablespoon and taste it as it cooks. You can always add a little more, but you can't take it out if you overdo it at the beginning.)

1 avocado, diced


1. In a hot cast iron or nonstick pan, brown bacon until nice and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Discard all of the bacon fat except just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

2. Add the quinoa, chives or onions, salt, pepper, Tony Chachere's and Worcestershire. Saute until well-blended and warmed through.

3. Serve with diced avocado and crispy bacon bits.

I served this with steak and broccoli, but truly it would go with almost anything or even work as a full meal for a quick lunch. I made plenty so that I could have it for lunch a couple times the rest of the week, and it was just as delicious left over. Hope you enjoy!


Your Friday 4-Course Meal

Appetizer (a quick bite): This sounds so yummy. Spicy Cauliflower Stir-Fry

Entree (something to chew on for awhile): Powerfully Bold or Merely Obnoxious? A reminder from Kimberly Wagner that our disposition is just as important as our position.

Dessert (just for fun): That birdseed I've been putting out lately must be "special." Our birds are levitating now. ;-)

Coffee (sip and savor slowly and repeatedly): He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. --Hebrews 1: 3,4

The Good List

10. These guys are so creative and so much fun.

9. Flying kites with my girls and some of their friends. Simple fun.

8. I just downloaded this for free. Looking forward to reading and learning. 

7. While Jared was out of town earlier this week, his host church sent us flowers here at home. What a sweet surprise!

6. A couple weeks ago, I did a cooking demonstration for the wives of the trustees who were here visiting the seminary where Jared works. It was so much fun, and as a thank you, the hostess very graciously gave me a beautiful personalized apron and a gift certificate to this place:

5. And with my gift certificate, this is one of the things I purchased. A massive cast iron skillet! (That's my old "normal sized" one in the background--which I still love by the way. ;-) )

4. One of my favorite things about having a massive lake 1 mile away and a golf course right out my back door is that they attract all sorts of (very low maintenance) "pets" I get to visit any time I want! :-)

3. While Jared and I were in Australia, my Daddy installed the swing that my brother-in-law built for us as a housewarming gift. I just love it!

2. On that same golf course right behind my house, there is an eagle's nest right off the 15th hole. I cannot believe these spectacular creatures are my neighbors!

1. This quote by Charles Spurgeon makes me so happy, because I think it means he approves of my obsession with nature. :-D

I must confess that I think it a most right and excellent thing that you and I should rejoice in the natural creation of God. I do not think that any man is altogether beyond hope who can take delight in the nightly heavens as he watches the stars, and feel joy as he treads the meadows all bedecked with kingcups and daisies. He is not lost to better things who, on the waves, rejoices in the creeping things innumerable drawn up from the vasty deep, or who, in the woods, is charmed with the sweet carols of the feathered minstrels.... One of the purest and most innocent of joys, apart from spiritual things, in which a man can indulge, is a joy in the works of God. --Charles Spurgeon

Almond Butter Pancakes

I mean... who doesn't love pancakes? I LOVE pancakes! BUT most pancakes in the world are nutritionally worthless at best and entirely horrible for you at worst--usually loaded with carbs and sugar and completely absent of nutrients.

SO. I have sadly eaten very few pancakes in the last few years, but I have been trying to find ways to make them healthier. Unfortunately, I've learned that I'm pickier about them than I realized. And until a few days ago, I had not come up with a recipe worth sharing. Even the ones others were raving about didn't quite do it for me. Either the texture or flavor just wasn't quite right.

But THESE. I LOVE these pancakes! They are completely grain-free, low in sugar and carbs and absolutely delicious! And they're so moist and flavorful, I didn't even need any syrup. (My girls loved them, but they did drizzle a little extra maple syrup on top.)

And they're SUPER EASY to make! Enjoy!


1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon maple syrup

cooking spray or butter for coating pan


1. Preheat griddle or cast iron pan to medium heat.

2. Mix all ingredients except butter and cooking spray, making sure you incorporate the almond butter very well. (You will likely need to re-stir between cooking batches to make sure the almond butter hasn't settled to the bottom of your bowl.)

3. Spoon onto hot pan in whatever size you like and cook until edges begin to become firm and top of pancake begins to bubble. Flip and cook an additional minute or so. 

4. That's all there is to it! Serve with fresh fruit and/or your favorite syrup.

Quinoa Pizza Crust

Surely y'all knew this was coming, right? Given my crush on quinoa and my constant pursuit to make the guiltiest of culinary pleasures a little healthier... I mean, I kinda had to.

This was my first attempt, and while there are a couple things I plan to do differently next time, this did not disappoint at all. (Both of my daughters asked if I would start making this every week, and I'm pretty sure that's teen/tween speak for "We love it!" ;-) )

One quick note: This is very easy to make, but you do have to plan ahead a bit since the quinoa needs to soak for at least 8 hours. Aside from that step, this comes together very quickly.


1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa (I used red just because I always have it on hand, but if you want a more "normal-looking" crust, use white.)

1/2 cup water (plus enough to soak quinoa)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced (actually I just squeeze mine through a garlic press--super quick!)

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

cooking spray

toppings of your choice


1. Place quinoa in bowl and add enough water to make sure all grains are fully submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

3. Drain and rinse quinoa (important to rinse well to remove any bitterness. Don't skip this step. It's not difficult. Cool water is all you need. Not necessary to scrub or anything like that. Just run it under the water for a minute or two.)

4. Add rinsed quinoa, 1/2 cup water, garlic, Italian seasoning, baking powder and salt to food processor. Process until mostly smooth and batter-like. (It took about 3 minutes in my processor.) It's ok if there are a few grains in there that don't quite break down, but scrape the sides of the bowl after every minute or so to get it as smooth as possible.

5. Lightly coat the bottom of a large cast iron pan or two smaller pans or even two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with olive oil. Line with parchment paper and then brush on another light layer of olive oil. (I used my new 15-inch cast iron pan. It was very exciting! ;-)

6. Add quinoa batter and smooth evenly. (Note: this cooks pretty much exactly as it looks in the pan. It won't rise or shrink much at all, so keep that in mind when determining how thick you like your crust. You can make it whatever thickness you like.) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

7. Remove parchment paper and flip crust back into pan. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness) until edges begin to get crisp.

8. Add whatever toppings you like and bake an additional 5-7 minutes just until cheese is melted and everything is nice and hot. Enjoy!

Notes for next time in case you want to try these ideas on your first time :-): 2 things-- I used the entire recipe as listed above in my 15-inch pan. Next time I plan to divide it between both of the pans pictured above, so one 15-inch and one 10-inch. I like my crust a bit thinner and crispier, so I'm curious to see how crisp it will get if I spread it between the two. Also, I plan to add some grated Parmesan just to see if that will take it up a notch. Maybe about 1/2 cup just to see what happens to the texture and flavor. Seems worth a try!


The Good List

I haven't been here in awhile, have I? Well... I have a pretty good excuse though. Jared and I were in AUSTRALIA for about 2 weeks during March, and the couple weeks before and after were just super busy with trip preparations and then catching up on life after being out of the country for 2 weeks. So yeah. For the 2 or 3 or you who might have missed me here ;-), that's my excuse. I hope to get back to posting regularly starting next week.

For now, I thought it would be appropriate to break the silence with an Australia-themed Good List. Hope you enjoy!

10. The INCORRECT WEATHER PREDICTION we were happy not to experience. For several days before leaving Kansas City, the forecast was predicting steady rain for almost the first full week we would be in Australia. That didn't happen at all. It was stunningly gorgeous almost every single day, with the exception of one day of heavy rain and a couple hours of overcast skies the day we spent in Sydney. Other than that, blue skies and sunshine!

9. The FRESH SEAFOOD. Oh, man. I must have eaten salt and pepper calamari at least half a dozen times and wouldn't have gotten tired of it if I had eaten it every day. And most of the times that I did so, we were sitting so close to the ocean, I could hear it. Bonus! So fresh and yummy!

8. The WALLABIES. The very first day we arrived, our hosts drove us up into the Bunya Mountains, where wallabies were as plentiful as the squirrels in America. And honestly, they appear to be even more plentiful since they are just hanging out all over the ground instead of hiding up in trees. So stinkin' cute! I wanted to adopt every single one of them!

I'm pretty sure this little dude was trying to share his lunch with me. :-)

See the little joeys? So cute!

See what I mean? They were EVERYWHERE! And I LOVED IT!

7. The BEACHES and their various SEA CREATURES. So refreshing. So beautiful. So interestingly scattered with wildlife.

Hervey Bay:

Sunshine Coast:

Anna Bay, Raymond Terrace:

Manly, Australia (off the coast of Sydney):

I couldn't get over the colors in some of these guys. Crazy!

Tiniest little hermit crab I've ever seen.

6. The BEARDED DRAGONS that were so plentiful along the Sunshine Coast, we literally had to be careful where we stepped. I almost dropped my camera when I saw the first one right at my feet. It was so extraordinary to me, I couldn't believe it was real and just freely wandering around in nature. I LOVE THESE DUDES!

5. The EXQUISITE assortment of BIRDS. I mean, I'm not saying America doesn't have some pretty birds. But it's a whole new level of special when at any given moment you can look up and see parrots, cockatoos and kookaburras (among other things) hanging out just a few feet away. And if that's not impressive enough, grab a handful of birdseed and see what happens. ;-)

4. OAKVALE FARM, a wildlife reserve that is owned and operated by a couple who are members of one of the churches whose pastor hosted us during part of our time there. (Actually, he was the one who really arranged the whole crazy adventure, initially reaching out to Jared to speak at a men's conference, but then contacting other area pastors and ministry leaders to help make the trip a little longer and more worthwhile and productive. But more about that in a minute.) For now, LOOK at these animals! I could have cried. Actually, I think I did a little. 


AND FED A LITTLE KANGAROO RIGHT OUT OF MY HAND! He was in no hurry, either. See how he's holding on with both paws? I wasn't going anywhere until he was done. ;-)

Hey, Girl... How YOU doin'?

3. HATCHLING SEA TURTLES!!! I LOVE wildlife. Pretty much every bit of it in any form I can find. It's all so thrilling to me. But this was unlike anything I've ever experienced, definitely in a class all its own. We only had the briefest little window to try to take pictures and video, because the little turtles are attracted to light. That's how they find their way to the ocean. Under normal circumstances, the white of the cresting waves rolling into shore is the brightest point on the horizon under the night sky, so that is what they're drawn to. Needless to say, a bunch of camera flashes or glowing phones could disrupt that terribly. So not much to see in pictures and video here, but I encourage you to look it up on youtube. This process is utterly fascinating and well worth a few minutes of your time.

2. THE CHURCHES. In addition to the conference, Jared preached or taught at 4 churches while we were there, one each Sunday morning, one the last Sunday night we were there, and one during a special Tuesday night gathering so that representatives from several area churches could benefit from Jared's teaching while he was "in the neighborhood." What an incredible blessing to worship alongside so many of our brothers and sisters in their various churches, all very different in style and size and space, but all so clearly focused on the Gospel. Such a rich experience!

1. THE PEOPLE. Truly, I could write for days. Chris Thomas was our primary contact/host and the mastermind behind this entire situation, and I am still kind of in awe of how much he packed into that timeframe with such deliberate focus on furthering the kingdom, but also with such a thoughtful and generous heart toward us. Jared WORKED while we were there for sure. He spoke something like 10 times in 12 days, and we had quite a few days of several hours of travel along the way as well. BUT every single person who hosted us (beginning with Chris's parents picking us up from the Brisbane airport and driving us right into the Bunya Mountains) not only did everything they could to make sure we were comfortable and rested and well-fed, etc., each of them went well beyond the extra mile to help make our visit so special and memorable. We truly felt like we found a whole new family there, and we SO hope this was not our last visit. So grateful for the family of God and how quickly they truly feel like family all across the globe. 

Your Friday 4-Course Meal

Appetizer (a quick bite): Sesame-Orange Broccoli. It's always fun to find new ways to make vegetables exciting.

Entree (something to chew on for awhile): Your Days Are Numbered. Such good words (as always) from Michael Kelley.

Dessert (just for fun): This is pretty cool. And it gets me one step closer to my wish for The Martian to be a true story. :-D

Coffee (sip and savor slowly and repeatedly): The soul that in this world had only a little spark of divine love in it, in heaven shall be, as it were, turned into a bright and ardent flame, like the sun in its fullest brightness, when it has no spot upon it. --Jonathan Edwards

Mozzarella Cigars

This recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Giada de Laurentis. Not because it needed to be adapted. Hers is delicious just like it is. But she uses smoked mozzarella, (which I love), but it doesn't seem to be as widely received as regular mozzarella, so I made that substitution just to give this a little bit broader appeal. Also, she uses tomatoes packed in oil. Again, delicious, but I just don't think the extra oil is necessary, so I used regular sun-dried tomatoes and just reconstituted them in some hot water. Either way, these are delightfully unique and add a touch of elegance and a rich flavor and texture to all kinds of meals.


6 sheets phyllo dough

4 tablespoons butter, melted

8 oz. mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick

8 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water, then drained

garlic powder 

sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Keeping phyllo sheets covered with a damp cloth to avoid having them dry out, follow this process one sheet at a time: Lay one sheet out on a flat, dry surface. Brush with melted butter. Fold in half (resulting in a 12x8 sheet) and brush with butter again. Place 2 pieces of cheese on one of the narrow ends, leaving a 1-inch margin at the bottom and on either side. Add a few tomatoes on top of the cheese. Beginning with the cheese/tomato end, roll up the dough, tucking in the sides about halfway through, until you have a "cigar" shape.

3. Place seam side down on foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 5 phyllo sheets.

4. Brush each cigar again with melted butter.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

6. Immediately upon removing them from the oven, dust with a pinch of garlic powder and sea salt.

So yummy!

The Good List

10. Look what I found all the way over here in KC, MO! The con of moving away from your favorite home team is that it's hard to find merchandise in local stores. But the pro is that when you *do* find it, it's dirt cheap. :-D


9. Just in time for all of the little creatures to come out of their winter hiding places AND for our upcoming trip to AUSTRALIA, a new toy for my camera. Can't wait to get some practice with this guy!

8. My current obsession is albino/leucistic animals. I want to go find every single one of them and bring them home with me. Seems the pigmently challenged among us should stick together, no? ;-)

7. Shy little curious froggie eyeballs. My first post-winter sighting this year. They're not quite ready to come all the way out of hiding and visit my back porch, but they're getting there.

6. PETE'S DRAGON is coming soon!!! Y'all don't even know. This was probably my all-time favorite movie as a child. I can still sing every single song word for word, and I could probably even pretty accurately quote the grand majority of the dialog. Maybe this is where I developed my love of dragons, although these days I do prefer them a little more grand and powerful than cute little cartoon Elliott from the original movie. Man. I CANNOT WAIT for this!!!

5. Last Friday was the most stunning day I've seen in a long time. 70 degrees, brilliantly sunny with a happy little breeze. Impossible to resist getting outside with my camera. So I didn't resist. ;-)

4. For my birthday Sunday, Grace made me the sweetest, most personal gift. A whole basket full of homemade spa treatments. Lotion, a candle, body scrub, face mask, even these cool little salt/herb-filled sachets that you can use sort of like loofahs with built in cleanser. She even made recipe cards for each item so that I could keep making the ones that I liked the best. I love it! And yes, there is also a jar of chocolate truffles, because she gets me.  :-)

3. Macy gave me the day off in the kitchen so that I could walk around with my camera or go sit in the sunshine and read or do whatever relaxing things I wanted to do without having to look at the clock or worry about what time I needed to get home to start dinner. :-) And she did a FANTASTIC job! Strawberry Nutella Crepes for breakfast, Salmon Nicoise Salad and homemade bread with pesto butter for lunch, Seafood Medley with Parmesan Cream Sauce and homemade dinner rolls for dinner, and Chocolate Cake Towers with homemade whipped cream, chocolate ganache and strawberries for dessert. YUM! She worked SO HARD and did such a great job!

2. And Jared got me more flight time so I can go do more of this. And he even made sure they knew I didn't want to just go float around a few more times. I wanna LEARN how to climb the walls and do flips and hang upside down, etc. They assured him that if I book my flights with the same instructor each time, he'll train me and make sure I progress. CAN'T WAIT!!! :-D

1. Being reminded so beautifully because of my birthday on Sunday of what an amazingly special family God has built for me here on this earth we're all temporarily calling home. It's always fun to get messages and well-wishes, but when they come from literally all over the globe, it's impossible not to see God's hand in bringing all of those relationships into my life. I'm so grateful for the body of Christ and how they love me.

Pineapple Fried (Cauliflower) "Rice"

It's been so nice and warm here lately! It actually got into the low seventies a couple days last week. Yesterday and today dipped a little, but we should be back to the sixties by the end of the week. I love it! Makes me want to talk about things that taste like summer. So here you go!


3-4 strips bacon

1 medium onion, diced

3 cups riced cauliflower

1 teaspoon Sriracha or Asian chili-garlic sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 egg

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

2 teaspoons lime zest

1-2 scallions, sliced, for garnish (if desired)

salt and pepper to taste


1. Dice bacon and cook over medium-high heat in large cast iron or nonstick pan. Once bacon is nice and crisp, remove from pan and set aside. Discard most of the bacon fat, reserving just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.

2. Reduce heat to medium, add onions and cook until softened but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Increase heat to medium high again. Add cauliflower and cook just for 2-3 minutes until it begins to pick up a bit of color. (If you cook the cauliflower for too long over a lower heat, it tends to become mush. Basically, you just need a quick toast.)

3. Add soy sauce and Sriracha and incorporate well. Within the pan, push the cauliflower aside to make a small space on the bottom surface of the pan to add the egg. Crack egg into a small dish and scramble. Add to pan and cook until almost firm. Once it is almost cooked through, incorporate it into the cauliflower mixture.

4. Add pineapple and lime zest and incorporate into the mixture quickly, just to warm the pineapple slightly. 

5. Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with the crispy bacon, green onions, and a bit more Sriracha if desired.


The Good List

10. Chicken salad made with rotisserie chicken and grapes. YUM!

9. One of Macy's friends showed up wearing this the other night, and I'm ashamed to admit how strongly I considered stealing it. ;-) I LOVE this thing!

8. Instagram FINALLY updated their app to switch easily between accounts. Probably seems like a silly thing to be excited about, but it really does save a lot of time.

7. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I just finished Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis for the first time. Surely I should have read this long before now (and probably several times by now), but I'm glad I finally read it. So good.

6. Enormous fish tanks with fish (and other creatures) of every size, shape and color inside. I could sit and stare for hours.

5. It's supposed to be 70 DEGREES here tomorrow! I predict a long walk around the lake if that really happens.

4. Watching sign language. I find it so beautiful and mesmerizing.

3. Jared got me Christopher Elbow chocolates for Valentine's Day! They're almost too pretty to eat. Wait. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Who am I kidding? There's no such thing. (Especially since they're even more delicious than beautiful if you can believe that.)

2. I told Jared I wanted a (real) red panda for my birthday. He got me this for Valentine's Day instead. I guess that's close enough. ;-)

1. There shall be no wall of separation in heaven to keep the saints asunder, nor shall they be hindered from the full and complete enjoyment of each other's love by distance of habitation; for they shall all be together, as one family, in their heavenly Father's house. --Jonathan Edwards

As someone who has loved ones that I miss dearly scattered all over the world, to think about this is so comforting.

Pan-Roasted Shrimp with Chile Cream Sauce

I'm convinced that the very best meals are those that include ALL of the 5 flavors our taste buds recognize. I mean, it makes sense to get everyone involved in the party, right? This dish covers everything. Sweet, salty, savory, sour and bitter--just the right amount of each, and it even has several different textures going on, which is perhaps a discussion for a different day, but equally as much fun as the variety of flavors. If your taste buds like to party as much as mine do, offer them this meal. They will love you for it. :-)


2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Tony Chachere's seasoning

Old Bay seasoning

1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine (don't worry--the alcohol cooks out, but you can substitute chicken broth or white wine vinegar if you like)

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire

zest of 1 lime


1. Melt butter and oil in cast iron or nonstick pan over medium heat. Season shrimp with Tony Chachere's and Old Bay seasonings and cook in butter/oil combination until just pink and opaque, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove shrimp from pan.

2. Add diced poblano to pan and cook until it begins to soften and become fragrant (don't char or it will become bitter.) Add coconut flour and stir until smooth (you may need to add a bit more butter and oil to create a nice roux.)

3. Once the flour mixture is nice and smooth, add wine and cook until slightly reduced.

4. Add heavy cream, salt, garlic powder, pepper and Worcestershire. Simmer until well combined and heated through. 

5. Add shrimp into sauce and simmer gently until heated through. 

6. Serve over rice, pasta, or my favorite: QUINOA! Finish with Tony Chachere's seasoning and a sprinkle of lime zest.


Your Friday 4-Course Meal

Appetizer (a quick bite): Mustard-Maple Glazed Turkey Meatballs. This recipe is on deck for the next time I entertain with a buffet of finger foods. Sounds deliciously unexpected.

Entree (something to chew on for awhile): The Changing Room of Grace. Oh, how I love this by Sharon Hodde Miller! "...before the vulnerable uncovering of a hard truth, we should do everything in our power to cover, to honor, to love." Yes, yes, YES! "Before." But not "instead of." We need BOTH grace AND truth.

Dessert (just for fun): Food carving is so fascinating to me. Wish I were this talented.

Coffee (sip and savor slowly and repeatedly): Bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul... Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity... when life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow. --Shauna Niequist

Avocado Fries

I don't even know how to explain how good these are, so you're just gonna have to make 'em and see for yourself. (Or better yet, come see me, and I'LL make you some!) This might be my new favorite side dish/appetizer/salad enhancer/snack/thing to eat period. It's perfectly crispy on the outside, perfectly creamy on the inside, packed with flavor, AND even good for you as long as you don't eat the whole batch. (Don't make these when you're home alone, or you'll be tempted to do just that. And just don't worry yourself about why I know that. It's really none of your business how many I ate the first time I made these. So.) 

I sure hope you like 'em as much as I do. :-)


For the avocado fries:

2 large avocados

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's seasoning, divided

1 teaspoon salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon chili powder, divided

2 eggs

1 cup whole wheat panko

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For dipping sauce (totally optional--these would be good with any of your favorite dipping sauces, but this is what I served them with recently):

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1-1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar

a generous pinch of lime zest (and a squeeze of the juice too if you like)

a splash of Sriracha if you like

salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Set up dredging station as follows: (Use 3 separate dishes.) 

In the first: Mix 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.

In the second: Beat 2 eggs with salt and pepper.

In the third: Mix 1 cup whole wheat panko, 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Peel, core and slice avocados into "fries." You should be able to get about 16 fries per avocado depending on their size.

4. Spray a baking stone (preferably) or sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray.

5. Prepare fries as follows: Press into coconut flour mixture first, shaking off excess. Dip into eggs, and then coat with Panko crumb mixture. Place on baking sheet. Repeat process until all of the avocado is coated. Spritz with olive oil.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crispy. (It shouldn't be necessary to flip these since they don't contain any "juice" to cause the bottom to get soggy--especially if you are using a stone for baking, but feel free to check on them about half-way through to make sure they're cooking evenly.)

7. For the dipping sauce (if you choose to make it), just mix all of the ingredients listed above in a bowl.

I hope you love these. Not as much as I do, because I might be bordering on unhealthily obsessed. Keep it under control, people. Don't be like me.

The Good List

10. Skirt steak. It's hard to find, but worth the search. The only real fajita meat. 

9. I changed Siri's voice on my phone to an Australian dude, so now it makes me giggle every time I use it.

8. A new resource to help feed my obsession:

7. Watching The X-Files again. The first episode of this new series was rough, but the last couple have been pretty similar to the way I remember it. Still ridiculous. But also entertaining. ;-)

6. This little dude. He's a Jerdon's tree frog thought to be extinct for almost 150 years. (Last recorded alive and well in 1870 until just a few years ago.) I'm glad he's not extinct. Isn't he CUTE?

5. Every time Macy finishes a book she likes, she brings it to me and wants me to read it too. I love that.

4. Broncos win the Super Bowl! Wouldn't have been my very first choice, but I do have a ton of respect for Peyton Manning and the way he conducts himself. I hope he'll retire on this high note.

3. Tree shadows. I LOVE tree shadows.

2. Celebrating 14 years of my niece Anna this week, Macy's lifelong BFF. Love you, Anna!

1. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth... For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. --John 1:14 & 16

Cheese Fondue

I don't really think cheese needs me to "talk it up" much. I mean, it's cheese. It's delicious pretty much no matter what you do to it. So there's that.

But I will say this: I have learned that my new favorite thing to dip into it (strangely enough) is apples. If you haven't tried it, you definitely should. Seemed a little strange to me at first, but it is a delightful combination! And if you serve this cheese with apples, sausage, and veggies as dippers, it can pretty quickly become a complete simple meal. 


1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 Tablespoon coconut flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup milk

8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar

8 oz. shredded Swiss

2 oz. crumbled Blue Cheese

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning


1. Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until vegetables become tender and fragrant.

2. Add flour and stir for about 2 minutes, until no longer grainy.

3. Add milk and stir until mixture becomes well combined and slightly thickened.

4. Reduce heat to low, and add all other ingredients, stirring often until melted and creamy.

5. Serve with your favorite dippers. We used apples, grilled sausage, celery, and mushrooms this time, but the possibilities are endless!