Sunday, August 28, 2016

Vulnerability...

Vulnerability. Are you scared yet?  That word can bring up a lot. It feels like vulnerability has been a theme for me, first pushing against it and now embracing it.  It has been a very painful journey navigating the loss of our Amy but the beautiful learning that has come from embracing the vulnerability has been transformative.  There are still days I want to push against it, but on a good day I can practice self-compassion and sit in the discomfort.  Vulnerability to me really highlights our humanness and enhances our connection.   The moments I have felt the the most deeply connected to another have been those moments where one has shown authentic vulnerability. 

It's amazing what the power of grief and loss can do to a couple.  It could have easily broken us and I doubt anyone would have blamed us, but we used it to grow deeper in our love for each other and all that we are.  To allow our grief to be fully present and not push it away, to take the good days and the bad days as they come.  To be there for one another.  For my husband to sit quietly with me as I lay on the floor curled up and a mess of tears as I long to hold our daughter.  To be able to be together and know there is not judgment for the moments I feel anger, as I see a pregnant woman minding her own business in the grocery store and the sense of loss hits me like a ton of bricks.  My husband doesn't judge me, because he feels that deep pain just as much as I do.

I was doing okay for a while, but probably not as well as I thought.  I would bet if you asked the people I encounter in my every day life they would tell you I am doing okay even good.  Life is all back to normal right?  Well, because isn't that in our nature as human beings?  To stuff down the pain and the discomfort it brings to those around us, to hide our vulnerability and pretend everything is okay.  The past week I hit a bumpy patch, you know those waves of grief that catch you off guard and knock you off your feet.  But it had been a while since it hit that hard so I suppose that is movement forward.  I was standing in the line at the grocery store the other day thinking about the people around me in line and wondering about their lives, their struggles, and their successes.  We really do not know what other people are going through every day as they walk through their lives.  Imagine if we wore signs with our deepest vulnerabilities on them?  It would be terrifying... but I bet we would feel more connected.  We could appreciate the resiliency of those around us, sit in the wonderment of the struggles people are walking every day, and the insane amount of strength human beings can possess.

I am absolutely sick and tired of feeling like crap!  So as I continue to process the loss of Amy I will focus on what I can control and that is getting my body back to a place of wellness.  It's just a few more days until we return to our wheat free, dairy free, refined sugar free way of living and I am preparing. I am stocking up on snacks and we are working our way through foods that will not be in the house anymore.   I know the first 2-3 weeks will be the hardest, but after that it will get easier.  I am tired of feeling crappy and unhappy with my body and the weight I have gained over the past year.  When I think of when I felt my best it was when I was following these guidelines with my eating.  My intention is to follow this for 3 months and then slowly reintroduce the foods that don;t bother my tummy in moderation.  The key will be not getting carried away like I did this time. Reading between the lines is my deep love of cheese that I tend to go over board on...

A lot of what we have been eating lately have been dishes in our usual rotation.  One of my favourite soups to make is Chicken Pho.


Seared scallops with a balsamic reduction, with steamed baby potatoes, asparagus, carrots, & cauliflower.

Vegan French Dip Sandwiches have become one of my absolute favourites!  This time I did a mix of portabello & crimini mushrooms.  I am going to have to master gluten free hoagie buns so we can keep eating this minus the cheese...



We've also had a couple of change ups from the usual.  I barbecued a portabello mushroom & zucchini that had been drizzled with olive oil, salt, & pepper, steamed some green beans, and served alongside a gluten free gnocchi which had been tossed in olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and a generous helping of fresh basil from the garden.

Tonight I made pork chops which I quickly pan fried with lemon pepper, and served on top of rice with shredded zucchini, corn, black beans, lime juice, cilantro, sea salt, & pepper.

Most of these dishes will fit with our healthier eating plan which is a relief!  My next post I will share some of the things I have been re-introducing and some new products I am going to try.  Stay tuned...


Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experience that makes us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~ Brene Brown

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Preparing for change

Lots of things in our life right now are up in the air and I am working hard to say grounded.  My heart and soul are very tired and I am trying to find a balance of remaining hopeful and letting go of my attachment to my plans and dreams.  I'm not saying I am giving up on my dreams just attempting to let go of my attachment to them, and having faith in what will come.  I continue to remind myself wherever we go, whatever we do, it will be okay because we are together and that's what really matters.  I came across this quote that I really connected with and captured my current challenge.

I have come to a place of preparation for the change I can control right now.  In September I am returning to my wheat free, dairy free, and refined sugar free diet for 3 months.  I am giving myself the room for one exception which is one serving of greek yogurt a day.  I will begin with trying to cut this out as well, but will have to gauge that by how my tummy is doing without it.  I know I could take probiotics, but I am already using so many vitamins & such I do not want any more pills to swallow.  I have been gaining weight, my skin is horrible, my hair is blah, I am feeling tired all the time and very blah, so I think I am ready.  After the 3 months I will slowly reintroduce the wheat that doesn't hurt my tummy.  These are less processed grains such as Portofino products and flours from sources such as True Grain Bakery in Cowichan Bay, and we picked up some whole wheat and unbleached white flour from Pride of the Valley Flour Mill in Grand Forks. I want to get the levels in my body down so it will be easier for me to tolerate in lower quantity. I will also reintroduce dairy with moderated amounts of butter, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and cream for my coffee. I will continue to try and limit refined sugar with occasional treats.

I also plan on getting more physical activity back into my routine.  I haven't been going to yoga as often as I would like so I want to increase that. I checked the schedule at the local pool and the pool in the town I work in but between new and September there is little that fits with my schedule.  I do want to keep an eye on the schedule though and am hopeful something will work out in the fall. On days I am not doing any of these activities I would like to go for a walk.  I would also like to get out in the kayak a few times before the weather shifts for the year.  I have continued getting regular massage therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture, and will continue on with those appointments.

I continue to work through my grief and loss on this healing journey in regard to the loss of our little Amy.  There are still days that it hurts so much it's hard to breath, but there are more days where I sit in appreciation for what gifts she has given me than days I don't want to get out of bed.  I will take that as movement in my healing journey.  She sends me messages often letting me know we are going to be okay.

I also want to re-engage in an old passion of mine, photography! A couple of years ago I got a new camera.  It was very intimidating and I found myself avoiding using it.  I am feeling ready to take it on and use my food pics as an opportunity for practice.  Unfortunately my camera has been a bit glitchy and will be off for repair for a while, but when I get it back I am determined to figure it out and get some better shots for my blog:) In the meantime you will have to bear with my iPhone pics.

Here are a few things that have been on my plate recently:
Seared scallops
I pan seared scallops in butter with salt & pepper and added a splash of cooking wine.  

I served the scallops with steamed green beans from our garden, asparagus, beets, and a Tru Grain blend of sprouted rice and quinoa which I get at Costco.

Crock pot whole chicken. 
I rubbed the chicken with the rub recipe my sweetie uses which is:
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt, onion powder, thyme, garlic powder, marjoram, rosemary
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, black pepper 
We either cook the chicken on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  When it is done the chicken is very tender and falls apart as you pull it out of the crock pot.  Not so good for presentation, but excellent for your tasting enjoyment! The juices in the crock pot make a lovely gravy for extra flavour.

With the leftovers I made a chicken noodle soup.  I used the chicken carcass along with cut up celery, carrots, and onion with some fresh herbs from the garden to make a broth.  I  added sliced carrots and peas, shredded some of the remaining white meat, added lots of cooked egg noodles, and fresh parsley.  Simple but delicious!

Last week we were on vacation to Grand Forks, BC (which happens to be one of my favourite places).  I had some very yummy Pyrahi, which I have been looking forward to for some time!  I had one filled with beet and one filled with potato, the beet was my favourite.  I am hoping to make this at home once before I start my September eating plan.

Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and a place at which their lives changed significantly.  Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under which we live and make certain choices that will affect the rest of our lives. ~ Frederick F. Flack

Monday, July 4, 2016

Turning the Corner

After a particularly dark time, I feel like I am starting to turn the corner. Last week was particularly difficult as Amy's due date came and went.  My husband and I are leaning on each other heavily as we continue to navigate this loss.  I swear without him I probably wouldn't be functioning.  There are very real moments where he is the only thing that keeps me alive.  Other moments he and I share laughter and hope for brighter days; I am hoping as we continue on there are more days with laughter.

I recently read a really great blogpost that I encourage you to take a look at if you can relate to the journey through grief and loss, it's called Everything Doesn't Happen for a Reason. The words on the post resonated with me deeply, and I appreciated the honesty and acknowledgment that life can be tough and sometimes it can't be prettied up.  I have to say that the support I have appreciated the most through this loss is the support those have given me by just sitting in the pain with me.  Not trying to make it better or lighten the load, but just sitting there in the depth of the sadness WITH me. Maybe it's sitting in silence, listening to my pain, or sharing a hug.  Those are very special people who can do that, and I am so grateful for it.  Not once has my close circle of people ever said anything that resulted in me feeling like I need to get over it and move on.  Those are true friends I tell ya!

There are many times in my work as a clinical counsellor that I have felt like I am not being helpful, but this experience has shown me what it is like to be on the other side of having someone sit in your pain with you. In fact one of my strengths in my work is my comfort sitting with someone in their pain, fear, sadness, or whatever it may be.  I hadn't realized until I truly needed that myself, how helpful it actually is.  Pain whatever it is, is often a very isolated journey and sitting with someone in it brings you out of isolation.  When days at work are rough I will remind myself of that.  Another gift my little Amy just keeps on giving.

I have been taking some steps to getting my wellness back on track.  Just before I found out I was pregnant I invested in a Bella Beat Leaf, which tracks my physical activity, along with sleep and menstrual cycle.  I had a lot of fatigue and nausea throughout my pregnancy, so wearing the Leaf seemed pointless since just getting through my work day so I could go home and go to sleep was all I was doing.  Well I pulled it out of the box and dusted it off, and have been wearing it for about two weeks now, and it has been great.  I am using it more for the activity part, and finding having that goal and accountability very helpful.  I guess I was finally ready to get moving.  I am taking my two fifteen minutes breaks at work and going for a walk, rather than just working through or checking my phone.  I have noticed a lift in my energy which is great.

This past weekend we went to my hometown and spent the entire weekend there.  I usually pack everything into a day trip or maybe an overnight, so those trips are often over packed and I rarely have time to see any of my friends.  I ran into a dear friend I haven't seen in ages and it felt so good to have that brief moment of re-connection.  I actually felt like me for a moment and it was great.  This trip had the perfect balance of time with family and getting to spend time with a few friends.  It really showed me that it is worth going longer and not worrying about all the things I have waiting for me at home.  And spending time with my two precious nephews can't be beat.  They always fill me heart up with love and joy.

Cooking has taken a bit of a lull in our house right now.  I have been going to acupuncture and the chiropractor weekly with yoga and massage therapy sprinkled in.  With appointments after work and my husbands unpredictable work schedule we have been opting for a quick bite.  I am horrible with having cereal for breakfast on these kinds of days.  I am feeling less guilty about it because I have been really good with making lunches for the most part with overnight oatmeal, cut up veggies, and a smoothie.  Lately I have been hungry for pork so we have had some pork chops sprinkled with random seasoning and grilled on the barbecue alongside corn and asparagus.  Our barbecue doesn't have very even heat so my sweetie and i are thinking next year we will splurge on a nice barbecue! I fried up some mushrooms in olive oil, salt & pepper to add another veggie.  I love cooking on the barbecue when it's hot and I don't want extra heat in the house with the oven.


One of our favourite quick dinners is pulled pork sangys.  I pop the pork tenderloin in the crock pot in veggie broth on low and walk away for a few hours.   Once it is cooked through I shred the pork with two forks, although usually it falls apart so there is very little effort in this step.  I put the shredded pork back into the crock pot and add barbecue sauce.  We like our pulled pork served open faced with a nice mound of coleslaw on top.  I threw this coleslaw together with a bag of slaw and a dressing made with mayo, apple cider vinegar, and xylitol.  We served it on toasted Portofino gluten free buns (my fav).


With the left over pulled pork I made pizza the following day.  I spread a light layer of barbecue sauce over a kinnickinnick gluten free pizza crust.  I topped it with sliced red onion, pulled pork, chopped apple, white cheddar, and when it was done cooked added fresh cilantro. This is one of my favourite pizzas! 

We have great pork raised locally here on Vancouver Island, and I am a fan of Tannadice Farms, which is in the Comox Valley.  I have never been disappointed in their products.  As I have mentioned before I do my best to buy local meat that is ethically raised and slaughtered, and seafood that is sustainable, and we only eat meat a few of days a week.

I will continue to enjoy the good moments and work through the not so good.  As my grief continues to evolve I will keep pushing forward walking alongside my sweetie with those who love us helping to hold us up.  Sometimes it's really just about slowing down and noticing the little moments, the butterfy flitting in the breeze, the hummingbirds buzzing around, the eagles soaring above.  All reminders there is a cycle of life and we continue to move through the cycle.

Some things in life cannot be fixed.  They can only be carried. ~Megan Devine

Turning the Corner

After a particularly dark time, I feel like I am starting to turn the corner. Last week was particularly difficult as Amy's due date came and went.  My husband and I are leaning on each other heavily as we continue to navigate this loss.  I swear without him I probably wouldn't be functioning.  There are very real moments where he is the only thing that keeps me alive.  Other moments he and I share laughter and hope for brighter days; I am hoping as we continue on there are more days with laughter.

I recently read a really great blogpost that I encourage you to take a look at if you can relate to the journey through grief and loss, it's called Everything Doesn't Happen for a Reason. The words on the post resonated with me deeply, and I appreciated the honesty and acknowledgment that life can be tough and sometimes it can't be prettied up.  I have to say that the support I have appreciated the most through this loss is the support those have given me by just sitting in the pain with me.  Not trying to make it better or lighten the load, but just sitting there in the depth of the sadness WITH me. Maybe it's sitting in silence, listening to my pain, or sharing a hug.  Those are very special people who can do that, and I am so grateful for it.  Not once has my close circle of people ever said anything that resulted in me feeling like I need to get over it and move on.  Those are true friends I tell ya!

There are many times in my work as a clinical counsellor that I have felt like I am not being helpful, but this experience has shown me what it is like to be on the other side of having someone sit in your pain with you. In fact one of my strengths in my work is my comfort sitting with someone in their pain, fear, sadness, or whatever it may be.  I hadn't realized until I truly needed that myself, how helpful it actually is.  Pain whatever it is, is often a very isolated journey and sitting with someone in it brings you out of isolation.  When days at work are rough I will remind myself of that.  Another gift my little Amy just keeps on giving.

I have been taking some steps to getting my wellness back on track.  Just before I found out I was pregnant I invested in a Bella Beat Leaf, which tracks my physical activity, along with sleep and menstrual cycle.  I had a lot of fatigue and nausea throughout my pregnancy, so wearing the Leaf seemed pointless since just getting through my work day so I could go home and go to sleep was all I was doing.  Well I pulled it out of the box and dusted it off, and have been wearing it for about two weeks now, and it has been great.  I am using it more for the activity part, and finding having that goal and accountability very helpful.  I guess I was finally ready to get moving.  I am taking my two fifteen minutes breaks at work and going for a walk, rather than just working through or checking my phone.  I have noticed a lift in my energy which is great.

This past weekend we went to my hometown and spent the entire weekend there.  I usually pack everything into a day trip or maybe an overnight, so those trips are often over packed and I rarely have time to see any of my friends.  I ran into a dear friend I haven't seen in ages and it felt so good to have that brief moment of re-connection.  I actually felt like me for a moment and it was great.  This trip had the perfect balance of time with family and getting to spend time with a few friends.  It really showed me that it is worth going longer and not worrying about all the things I have waiting for me at home.  And spending time with my two precious nephews can't be beat.  They always fill me heart up with love and joy.

Cooking has taken a bit of a lull in our house right now.  I have been going to acupuncture and the chiropractor weekly with yoga and massage therapy sprinkled in.  With appointments after work and my husbands unpredictable work schedule we have been opting for a quick bite.  I am horrible with having cereal for breakfast on these kinds of days.  I am feeling less guilty about it because I have been really good with making lunches for the most part with overnight oatmeal, cut up veggies, and a smoothie.  Lately I have been hungry for pork so we have had some pork chops sprinkled with random seasoning and grilled on the barbecue alongside corn and asparagus.  Our barbecue doesn't have very even heat so my sweetie and i are thinking next year we will splurge on a nice barbecue! I fried up some mushrooms in olive oil, salt & pepper to add another veggie.  I love cooking on the barbecue when it's hot and I don't want extra heat in the house with the oven.


One of our favourite quick dinners is pulled pork sangys.  I pop the pork tenderloin in the crock pot in veggie broth on low and walk away for a few hours.   Once it is cooked through I shred the pork with two forks, although usually it falls apart so there is very little effort in this step.  I put the shredded pork back into the crock pot and add barbecue sauce.  We like our pulled pork served open faced with a nice mound of coleslaw on top.  I threw this coleslaw together with a bag of slaw and a dressing made with mayo, apple cider vinegar, and xylitol.  We served it on toasted Portofino gluten free buns (my fav).


With the left over pulled pork I made pizza the following day.  I spread a light layer of barbecue sauce over a kinnickinnick gluten free pizza crust.  I topped it with sliced red onion, pulled pork, chopped apple, white cheddar, and when it was done cooked added fresh cilantro. This is one of my favourite pizzas! 

We have great pork raised locally here on Vancouver Island, and I am a fan of Tannadice Farms, which is in the Comox Valley.  I have never been disappointed in their products.  As I have mentioned before I do my best to buy local meat that is ethically raised and slaughtered, and seafood that is sustainable, and we only eat meat a few of days a week.

I will continue to enjoy the good moments and work through the not so good.  As my grief continues to evolve I will keep pushing forward walking alongside my sweetie with those who love us helping to hold us up.  Sometimes it's really just about slowing down and noticing the little moments, the butterfy flitting in the breeze, the hummingbirds buzzing around, the eagles soaring above.  All reminders there is a cycle of life and we continue to move through the cycle.

Some things in life cannot be fixed.  They can only be carried. ~Megan Devine

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Tough Day...

Today was an extra tough day. Pardon my language but June has been an emotional shit kicking for me.  This would have been my last week at work and I would have been wrapping things up, preparing for the arrival of my little Amy.  Work has been very busy, the conversations have been very heavy on the heart and getting through each day has been quite challenging.  There are changes at work and changes within me that I can't seem to get a sense of grounding.  I can feel the tides of change are coming and I am caught in the current.  I feel like I am treading water and barely able to hold on.  If I am completely honest at moments I don't want to hold on and just stop paddling.


Another twist in the journey of grief.  My husband recently applied for a promotion that will likely mean a move in the near future (this is a good thing and something I would normally be very excited about), and I am feeling a sense of grief leaving my community.  Where I work my family history has deep roots, and although I have never lived in this community it feels like home in a way that no other place has ever felt for me.  I feel like I am trying to control and hold on tighter, but what I really need to do is let go.  I was recently working with a healer who reminded me I can always come back.  Maybe letting go is just letting go for now.  With my husbands job we have moved every 2-3 years and this is the longest we have been in one spot and the longest I have been in a job.  Every time we have moved I have been ready for a change and excited about the next adventure.  This time is different.  I love my job, I love the people I work with, I love the connections and conversations I have with people.  The thought of leaving a job I still feel so passionate about it tough.  Having said that most of my resistance and hesitance is based on fear and my rational brain knows that.  My heart is just having a hard time letting go.  Really all I feel is fear; I'm not feeling courageous at all.  The only thing that feels familiar right now is my work, it's the only thing right now that I can confidently say I am good at. One thing I do know is that wherever my husband and I go we will be fine, because we have each other and really that's all we need.  He is what keeps me paddling and when I don't have the strength to paddle anymore he paddles for me.  I like to think I do the same for him.  I want to feel excitement for the next adventure, and I wish it was as easy as flicking a switch.  I am no stranger to grief, but it is still so unpredictable and ever changing.

One thing I am really recognizing is that the loss of Amy has changed me so much.  My heart continues to ache, and nothing seems to ease or fill that ache.  All around me life goes on, but for me each day continues to be a struggle.  Today was a team day at work and I spent the work day in a room full of my colleagues, 3 of which are very pregnant right now.  I knew it was going to be a difficult day and I tried to prepare myself as best I could, but can you really prepare yourself?  You want to happy because your colleagues are in a time of celebration and excitement, but part of you resents their joy.  Then you feel guilty for feeling that way.  Every time you hear a complaint about the challenges of pregnancy like the nausea or fatigue, you can't help but think I wish I could be complaining about that, in fact I would give anything to have that complaint right now.  I should be putting the final touches on Amy's nursery and getting ready to hold her in my arms.  I should be getting ready for the next adventure with joy and excitement.  It's a long road and there I days I wonder if I will ever be myself again.  I suppose time will tell.

Even though it has been a struggle I have managed to spend a bit of time in the kitchen.  Something I can control! This one needs some tweaking, the cream sauce was pretty bland.  I need to find a good quick easy cream sauce recipe!  I tossed cauliflower, asparagus , & portabello mushroom in olive oil, salt & pepper and broiled them in the oven. a sprinkle of parmesan & basil & voila dinner!



I think I am that last person to discover the wonder of overnight oats.  How have I overlooked them all this time!  I came across this video for overnight oatmeal via pinterest and am using it every day during the work week.  My fav is the banana & peanut butter, but I have also enjoyed the chocolate strawberry one.


 I have not been helping myself with much of the food I am eating or the lack of physical activity.  I continue to try to get to yoga class when I can, but even there I find myself being careful as I do not want to open the flood gates of emotion.  I am eating healthier now than I was a month ago, so I suppose I'm making progress.  Only the occasional nights of Kraft Dinner and Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup.  Speaking of Kraft Dinner I think it might be one of those kinda nights...

What will I be focusing on in the coming weeks: SELF-COMPASSION. Something I admit I have been sucking at lately.   Something I intend to change.  I am focusing more on my physical wellness and have returned to massage therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture.  I will continue to try and let go to work through my grief with yoga, practicing with self-compassion.  In fact next week Monday I have chiro, Tuesday massage, Wednesday acupuncture, and Thursday yoga.  Sounds good doesn't it?  It will be good preparation for the weekend, as we head over to the Sunshine Coast where our little Amy is buried and spend some time with her as we recognize her upcoming due date on June 30.

So June, I wish I could punch you in the face!  I will be thinking of my Amy and how I would be anticipating her arrival and trying my best to just be gentle with myself... practicing self-compassion...  We will surround myself with those who love and care about us, and remember that This too shall pass...
When it is dark enough you can see the stars. ~ Persian Proverb


Sunday, May 8, 2016

For Those Who Stuggle on Mother's Day, I am Thinking About You.

To all the people out there who struggle on Mother's Day, I am thinking about you.  Whether it's your own journey, or because you are missing someone who was significant in your life because of distance or loss, and all journeys in between I am sending you love & light.

Having only recently lost my little Amy, this Mother's Day is particularity raw for me.  Previous Mother's Days were a reminder of the challenges and the sense that I would never know what it would be like to experience motherhood, but this year my little angel is watching over me and I can feel her.  I like to think her gift to me today was a little sleep in.  I haven't had a decent night of sleep all year and finally can say I had a pretty good sleep! We bought a Lavender Weeping Redbud tree to plant in memory of our little Amy and watching it bloom warms my heart.





We are keeping it in a pot for now as we plan on moving from our current home before the end of this year.  I don't want to plant this tree until we are somewhere that we will be staying put.

Today I am trying to focus on what I do have, and I am so lucky that I still have my Mother.  She has been on death's door a number of times as she travels the road Multiple Sclerosis has taken her on, and is the strongest woman I know.  She has survived significant childhood trauma and debilitating disease, and yet has so much gratitude for each day.  We have a very complicated relationship, yet I am still grateful for her unconditional love, her constant expressed pride for me, and for bringing me into this world. 

I have had some pretty yummy eats on my plate.  I can't remember where I came across this recipe years ago, but I have been holding onto it hoping fiddle-heads would cross my path at some point.  If you come across this recipe somewhere please let me know so I can pass that info on.



Sauteed Fiddle-head & Mushroom Gnocchi
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
Pinch of each salt & pepper
2 cups fresh fiddle-heads, cleaned & trimmed
1 pkg gnocchi
1/3 cup grated parmesan

In lrg nonstick skillet, melt butter over med heat until lightly browned, about 3 mins.

Add shallot & garlic; cook until softened, about 2 mins.  Add mushrooms, salt & pepper; cook until slightly softened, about 2 mins.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook fiddleheads until bright green but still crisp, about 5 mins.  With slotted spoon, remove & rinse under cold water; drain & set aside.
Add gnocchi to boiling water; cook according to pkg directions.  Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.

Add fiddle-heads to mushroom mixture; cook, stirring often, until tender-crisp, about 2 mins.

Add gnocchi, ¼ cup of parmesan and reserved cooking liquid; toss to coat.  Pour into serving dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.


My first experience with fiddle-heads and I must say they were delicious!


I also tried a Sushi Casserole that I came across on Pinterest.  My husband really liked this, but I could take it or leave it.  I will give it another try as maybe my taste buds were off that day.  I love sushi so I was surprised I didn't love it.  Next time I will half the recipe.

I served it will a sliced avocado and some spicy mayo alongside salad.


We had a couple of repeats that are our favs: the mouth watering Vegan French Dip Sandwiches.  I love the French Dip Sandwiches so much I think we will be eating them today or tomorrow as I picked up some Portabellos at Costco.
 

Another fav is Saffron Chicken Tagine. Oh my goodness, the medley of spices explodes yumminess in your mouth.


But there's a story behind everything.  How a picture got on a wall.  How a scar got on your face.  Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking.  But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begins. ~Mitch Albom





Friday, April 29, 2016

Moving Forward

Maybe it is the change of seasons and spring with the trees full of blossoms and the vibrancy of the flowers bringing renewal... I have been feeling a sense that there are tides of change ahead.  There is a strong desire to pack up and go, and start fresh in a new place.  This is the longest my husband and I have stayed put since we got together 13 years ago, and I have been itching to see what transfers and promotions are open for him so we can get the heck out of dodge.  I am very aware this is my attempt to manage my grief in a way that may not be very helpful.  It's my way of responding to the loss of our hopes and dreams of having our own little family and setting roots.  It feels like those dreams have been dashed, so my response is to run.  I'm not going to, but the feeling is certainly there.  As a couple we always have a plan and strategy with our moves, and we don't make those decisions hastily.  Grief is not always rational and sensible, so being aware of that I will continue to work through the strong desire to get up and go.

For more than half my life I have been dealing with issues related to my reproductive organs.  For my adult life when I thought about family I just didn't think it was possible for us, so I did not allow myself to get attached to the idea.  People would always ask us if we would have children and I just replied by saying no.  I didn't want them to ask more questions, and saying you don't want kids is a quick way to stop the questions.  In my mind I would think to myself, if they only knew that seemingly simple question  is actually an intensely deep and personal question that made me feel like less than a woman every time they asked.  After many years of seeing doctors who have been baffled by my body I finally found out  a couple of years ago what my challenges are related to, I have Adenomyosis.  I won't go into the details, just know that it isn't fun and has been at the center of a lot of pain and misery.  For 5 months I got to experience what it was like to not be dealing constantly with an angry uterus, that was another gift from Amy.  I know pregnancy comes with it's own challenges, but I was so grateful for those challenges, having thought I would never get to experience them.  And what a sense of humour the Creator has, everywhere around me pregnancy announcements and getting to watch bellies grow.  Facebook is like torture, and I have limited myself with social media.  A constant reminder my womb is empty, and the plans my husband and I were making vanished.

A couple weeks ago we went to the cemetery where we laid our little Amy to rest.  It was our first time being back there since we buried her alongside her grandfather.  That was tough, like a kick in the gut.  It was also good.  Returning there we knew we did things in a good way that honoured and respected her short life and how much she meant to us. 

I don't want to paint a completely hopeless picture.  It is a painful journey, but I have not lost sight of the gratitude and joy in my life.  I know we are lucky.  We have our 3 awesome furbabies, we have our family, and we have some pretty amazing friends.  Most of all we have each other, and I give thanks every day for the love we share as we walk alongside each other in this crazy life.

I have been finding Yin Yoga practice very helpful in my healing journey.  My natural instinct was to shut down, close off my heart and detach or disassociate from my emotions to protect myself; Yin practice has opened my chest and hips, which I think has helped my holistic well being.  In looking inward and sitting in my pain and how it feels in my body I am slowly able to release it.  Yesterday felt like a 'normal' day.  I know that can seem like a strange statement, but for the first time since we lost our little Amy I felt pretty much like the me before this loss.  It's a slow process, but I know my heart is mending.  Will it ever be the same?  I don't think so, but that's okay.  It means Amy was important to me, and because of that I am forever changed.  I am also forever grateful for her soft gentle presence.

I have slowly been getting back into the kitchen a bit more.  For Christmas last year I asked for a cast iron frying pan.  It's taking a while, but I think I am starting to finally figure it out.   Since I got it I have been looking forward to making some cornbread.  This is a sweeter more desserty cornbread, and was quite a treat!  Comfort food...  If you want to give it a try you can find the recipe here: Blueberry Buttermilk Cornbread.

An easy one pan wonder that doesn't take long to cook.  This recipe doesn't look very appealing, but it is packed with flavour.  I put a dollop of butter in the frying pan, and saute onions until translucent, then I add mushrooms and cook until tender.  I add one package of ground chicken (I like our local Island Farmhouse Poultry). I add about 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp of nutmeg, and salt & pepper.  Once the chicken is cooked through I add frozen spinach and mix in.  I then push it all to one side of the pan and add in 2 whisked eggs.  I let the eggs cook untouched for a minute or two and then mix it in with the rest of the gooey goodness.  Just before serving I add a generous serving or parmesan cheese.  This dinner is an easy quick throw together meal for us as we usually have all the ingredients on hand.  I have also made this meal with Yves ground soy, and back when I ate red meat with ground beef as well.  A very versatile dish, you could add or change up other veggies to your taste as well.

 I think one pan dishes are awesome!  Here's another great one for One Pan Mexican Pork Chops. Easy peasy and mouth watering.

Another fav recipe around here is from my friend's blog for Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Mustard BBQ Sauce.  This has been a regular on our plates for the past couple of years, and a nice change up from pulled pork (which we also eat rather regularly). We have started eating pulled chicken & pork open faced style with a huge generous portion of coleslaw, and fresh cilantro for garnish.  This time I had no avocado for the slaw dressing so I threw together one with apple cider vinegar, mayo, & xylitol.

Need a hug?  I know I could always use one, and apparently so can these carrots.  They were so cute I saved them for last, not wanting to part them.




Owning our own story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult and spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experience that makes us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~ Brene Brown


So here I am embracing the light...