Masthead header

It’s been all kinds of exciting around here lately. Below are three of our best kept, life changing happenings.

A Baby // The long awaited child:

I would say “finally,” but the truth is that this timing is perfect and everything about it just feels so right! We have all been anticipating Zac and Kat having a beautiful baby and I just had this feeling about 5 weeks back that it was happening. Like now. I texted my brother, “Is Kate pregnant?” To which he replied, “We don’t know yet.” Which is obviously the answer you give when you think you are pregnant, but aren’t telling anyone yet! (I knew it!) When they told the family we were all sworn to secrecy until they had made it official on Thanksgiving Day.

So we of course spent the holiday talking about the baby, name possibilities, and morning sickness which has hit Katie full strength. Our girls wrote out a list of their favorite names for their new little cousin, but in reality Zac and Katie need no help as their name list is already bliss.

Back to school  // Joel’s getting his PhD:

Is it less exciting or more exciting when you finally make it to your PhD? Because it’s been 14 years of school (with some breaks in there) so it’s really more like, “Joel’s in school… AGAIN!” I am obviously so proud that he is at this place in his life, and I know his professors and mentors in this program will love him just as much as all his past teachers. He’s basically the most likable guy ever, and he’s smart, and handsome (speaking of handsome, did you see my instagram of the boys playing football yet?) I think the big (and frequent) question that comes up with an announcement like this is, “So what does he want to do with this degree? What job does he want?” And it’s always said as if it expects to be answered with some dramatic aspiration or fame or fortune. The truth is though, that we are staying right where we are going to keep do exactly what we are doing because he loves what he does. This degree will just better him for what he does!

Adoption // Three years of change:

We are coming up the the three year mark with “this” adoption. It has been bumpy, to say the least, and after a lot of agency difficulties (on their part, not ours) we made the decision to switch programs and attempt to pursue foster care which has been on our hearts for a lonnnnnggg time. The best and the worst part of this decision is that foster care is our last and only option. I love that it’s clearly the route we should take, and I hate that it is the last thing available so if for some reason it doesn’t work out and we don’t get a placement with them, we will never be able to adopt again. (Ouch.)  The consolation is that we will always, always, always find ways to support adoption and there are so many ways to do that even if you aren’t personally adopting a child. That being said, we are holding our breath hoping and praying that this will work out because the number of children in foster care is ungodly and it breaks our hearts to sit through the meetings and hear what these kids go through! (I’d take a dozen children if the state would give them to me.) We will hopefully be able to share more on this in the near future, but for now if you could just pray that it will work out we would be so thankful!

So there it is. Our super crazy huge three things that have been taking up a lot of our time and energy the last few months. xxoo

 

I all but gave up on lasagna long ago when I stopped eating dairy. It just didn’t seem like it was possible to have a delicious satisfying dish without cheese. I’ve learned over the years to be more content living without, but believe me, after eating this dish, you will not be missing cheese at all because you will fully believe you are eating ricotta!

This lasagna is full of homestyle italia goodness and whenever I make it, everyone begs for the recipe! I also love how diverse this can be. If you’re vegan, just omit the meat. If you’re gluten intolerant, use gluten free lasagna noodles!

FANCY FOOD THOUGHTS DAIRY FREE LASAGNA (WITH GLUTEN AND VEGAN OPTIONS)

2 Tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

1 large brown onion, diced

3-4 assorted baby bell peppers, diced

2 packages crimini mushrooms, cut in slices

3-4 zucchini’s chopped

1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped

1 lb hamburger (omit for Vegan option)

3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1 lb can of marinara or your favorite pasta sauce

3  8 oz cans tomato sauce

9-12 lasagna noodles (Or use Gluten Free Option) cooked, drained & rinsed OR use no boil noodles

Salt and pepper to taste

1 recipe vegan ricotta cheese (see recipe below)

First, prepare vegan ricotta cheese. This can be done a day or two in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

In a large pan saute garlic, chopped peppers, and onions in olive or coconut oil until tender.

Add mushrooms & zucchini and cook until juices start flowing.

Add baby spinach and cook a couple of minutes longer until the spinach is wilted.

In another pan brown hamburger (if using meat. You can also add extra garlic & onion to the browning beef if desired) and when it’s finished add the marinara & tomato sauces bringing to a simmer. Add chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble lasagna, the pattern is sauce, noodles, ricotta, then veggies.

First spread a thin layer of pasta sauce in bottom of a 9×12 inch dish. Place lasagna noodles in the bottom of pan. Spread vegan ricotta over each noodle, add a layer of veggies, (drain off liquids from the veggies) then add a layer of sauce. Repeat for 3-4 layers depending on how deep your dish is.

Cover with tin foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or according to the instructions on the box of lasagna noodles used.

VEGAN RICOTTA

1 3/4 cups raw cashews soaked 30 minutes or over night in water just to cover
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
4 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1  teaspoon salt

Pulse garlic in food processor or blender until chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process/blend until thick & smooth. Can be placed in an airtight contained and put in fridge a couple of days before using.

ROSEMARY GARLIC KNOTS

1 package pizza dough (Trader Joe’s or Fresh & Easy both have good variety!)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 overflowing tablespoons olive oil

Place minced garlic, rosemary, salt & olive oil to cover in a small ramekin size bowl. Let set while preparing dough. Cut pizza dough into strips and stretch each piece about 6 inches long, making sure they’re not to thin. You want them to be a pretty good thickness. (I got 12 out of one package of dough.) Tie each piece once so it looks like a knot. Brush a baking sheet with some olive oil. Place the knots on baking sheet & brush with olive oil/garlic/rosemary mixture. Make sure you get all the garlic & rosemary on top and in the crevices.  Bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes or until pale golden brown & cooked through. Serve warm.

Don’t you love Thanksgiving? I used to think that Christmas was my favorite, but the older I get the more I love Thanksgiving. We stay at home and eat. And nap. And eat. And the kids run around like their Apache ancestors in fitting fashion.

We have so many new and beautiful things to be thankful for this year (some of which are the reason why this blog has been so neglected lately) and after Thanksgiving I have a line up of posts to tell you all about them along with a couple of delightful recipe posts and a couple of photography posts based off all the questions I’ve been getting!  I can also now share a little about the weekend we had with Bethany & Lauren! And if you haven’t seen them yet, check out their videos on iamsecond.com – I can’t even being to tell you how inspiring and gorgeous these two are! Happy Thanksgiving! xxoo