Your Journey Is Perfect and I’m Sorry

Religion and Faith.  What a tricky conversation.  In my lifetime, I have been a preacher’s kid, a missionary, a church employee, a bible reader, quasi-cult member, medical mission operator, a religious non-profit founder, a reformer, a fanatic, a harsh critic, and finally a questioner. Questioning saved my life and connection to faith, even though it has been hard for some people I love. I understand, though, because I’ve been there and it was hard for me to understand, too.  


This weekend, I was faced with a reflection of myself 15 years ago.

I was fervent. I was committed. I was totally drinking my own kool-aide. I had zero grace, understanding or compassion for people who did not hold the exact belief set I did.

I was a complete asshole.

I am so sorry.

It doesn’t matter that it came from a good place in me. I didn’t believe you when you said you felt great about your (very liberal) relationship with God. I didn’t believe that you were okay in your complete unbelief, or anything inbetween. I could not fathom how you could claim Mohammed or Buddha as your deity. I lost sleep over your belief system, or lack thereof.

My heart genuinely broke for you and in that brokenness, I BROKE YOU. Not irreparably, and it wasn’t a new break. But I broke you more. With my zealous beliefs and narrow, judgmental rhetoric, I tore the scab off your healing wound and (lovingly) kicked you in the teeth.

I am so sorry.

Your spiritual journey is yours. You invited me to walk beside you as you carved your path, and instead I handed you the map for my journey and demanded that you make it yours.

I am so sorry.

You and your journey are exactly right and can be trusted, even if I don’t understand it.

If there was ever a moment you believed that I loved you but I came at you with a misguided sense of righteous anger instead of connecting to the deep love I hold in my heart for you, I am so sorry.

You showed me grace, and in a few instances, rightfully showed me the door. Being the hands and feet of God never meant being the voice.

I didn’t understand. I didn’t get it. I get it now. It was never my job to change you. There as never anything wrong with you to begin with. You just echoed the fears and doubts in my own heart.

To all of my friends, regardless of belief, thank you for being here. Shutting you up/down/out only serves to show you how broken and scared I am, too. Thank you for staying even when I’m intolerable and self-righteous and just flat-out wrong.  I want to change that because you deserve love without conditions.

I am so sorry. I’m here now. I love you.


How to Feed The Whole Family Without Going Crazy {An Integrated First Foods List for TLB’s Infant Feeding Guide}

It’s dinner time. This might be the most dreaded and simultaneously anticipated hour of the entire day. What we often see happening in our heads is not always the reality of our experience, though.

Candlestick Table

Fantasy: A beautiful table setting. Children, clean, happy, patient, and compliant as parents bring in the food and set it on the impeccable table. Laughter ensues as you dish up tonight’s yummy food that you worked hard to shop for, plan, and create. It’s cooked to perfection, and your family takes turns sharing they highlights of their day, make appropriate jokes, and they eat everything without complaint, including your charming, little babe. You stare across the table at your partner with twinkles in your eyes and share a satisfied, knowing half-smile. Because nothing says foreplay like a good meal.

After the family works harmoniously and efficiently to clean the dishes, put away leftovers, and tidy up the kitchen, you all relax with a small dish of ice cream and nobody asks for seconds. It’s perfect.

Reality: After spending two hours in the kitchen assembling 3 different dinners to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs, you push homework and bills and a random assortment of household clutter that has mysteriously accumulated on your table during the last 12 hours over to the far corner where you artfully ignore it’s presence as you coax your children to eat amidst their complaining, your scolding, and eventually all-out bribery. Your baby throws everything on the floor, but not before nailing you in the face with home-made organic butternut squash puree. You and your partner are too consumed with the dinner activity to actually eat much, and after precariously re-arranging the refrigerator to accommodate nearly three full meals’ worth of food and haphazardly doing the dishes with a baby on your hip, you just call it a day, pass a package of bunny grahms around, and (miraculously) get the kids to bed.

You and your partner eat ice cream straight from the carton, feeling defeated but also relieved you made it through another day. You watch an episode of whatever series you’ve been trying to get through for months, and fall into bed with a high five before passing out from pure exhaustion. Maybe tomorrow things will go a little better, but who cares because you’re already asleep. For now.

I can’t always reconcile the Fantasy v. Reality dinner situation. I try, though. One of the ways I shorten the gap is by making a few meals a week that I know everyone can (and will) eat, including the wee ones. Here are some family dinner ideas that will satisfy everyone, and will be appropriate for all ages, even the babies who are just starting their life-long solid food experience.

Creamy Polenta with RaguPolenta Ragu

This is an easy dish that makes excellent leftovers. Polenta is easy to eat, doesn’t require teeth, and you get a full serving of veggies along with varied textures in each flavorful bite. This is a base recipe, but you can tweak it to please your family.





Zucchini Goat Cheese Lasagna Photo of Zucchini Goat Cheese Lasagna

This is another one-dish meal that is easy for all ages to eat and appreciate. By substituting noodles with zucchini, you’re upping the veggie factor. Goat cheese can often be easier to digest than cow’s cheese, so this is great for those with sensitive tummies.





Perfect Chicken SoupPerfectChickenSoup

Soup is fun for little ones, even if it tends to be a bit messy. Fishing out chunks of chicken, veggies and noodles while splashing and tasting the broth is a great food experience. It’s yummy for everyone else, too.





Cauliflower Fried “Rice” CauliflowerRiceCorner

This veggie-based dish is quick to prep and has something for everyone. It’s easy to customize for your picky eaters, and your baby can enjoy eating this independently or with a little help from mom or dad.






Tortialla Soup paleo tortilla soup avocado bone broth

This is another great food experience for your little one, and you can get creative with toppings. It’s one of my family’s favorites, and full of healthy fats! If you aren’t up for letting your baby bask in soup, you can let them play with chunks of avocado, chicken, tomato, and cheese.





FrittataQuarterView Garden Vegetable Frittata

Frittatas are so easy, and ideal for busy families. A frittata takes 20 minutes to prepare and makes excellent leftovers for breakfast or brinner.






Hemp Crusted Zucchini Sticks EZucchini

This is my toddler’s favorite dish. I love it because they’re so healthy and he can share with his younger friends.







Brown-Butter Sage Spaghetti Squash SpaghettiSquash

This is an easy prep with a high satisfaction factor. With simple ingredients, this works well as a side or as an independent dish. This is ideal for trying solids!






Almond Joy Barscoconut bars

These are soft and easy to chew, but everyone will love them as a snack or treat after dinner. I often eat these for breakfast, but don’t tell my kid!






Quinoa Fritters

Quinoa Fritters with Honey Butter 

My family is stoked when I make these. I love cooking with quinoa because it has so many more nutrients and has a fair amount of protein. Many kids (and adults) with food allergies and grain intolerances handle quinoa very well. With the easy-to-grasp shape, these fritters are ideal for baby-led weaning or eating with some help from an adult. You can whip up a batch in a hurry, and serve with a side of bacon or some leftover frittata.



I can’t promise you’ll have your fantasy family dinner with these dishes, but hopefully it will make dinner a little less hectic and please everyone, especially your littlest eaters.  And if all else fails, there’s always milk.

You’ve got this.



A Food-Free Halloween Treat Guide {Teal Pumpkin Project}

A couple of weeks ago, Ashton Kutcher tweeted this:


And my heart skipped a beat. Why? Because people are starting to catch on to the Teal Pumpkin Project.

As a mom to a small child with profound food allergies, I get a little terrified around the holidays.  Halloween is the beginning of a challenging food season for our family.  Seasonal treats are everywhere, and impossible to ignore.  As a healthy adult who tries to avoid sugar and can’t tolerate wheat, I find it hard to abstain. It’s an issue of willpower for me. But for my son? It’s a matter of life and death, or at minimum, a trip to the ER. All that separates him from a potential terrible reaction is our vigilance and the respect of strangers.

I would like to say my son is part of a small group of children, but he’s not.  Food allergies in children have increased exponentially in the last 15 years, and now 1 in 13 children has some form of diagnosed food allergy here in the U.S.  Those numbers are only rising.

Peanut allergies get a lion’s share of the food allergy talk, as it should.  Some people are so sensitive to peanuts that even a trace of peanut dust can kill them.  Unfortunately, peanuts are not the only food that cause deathly reactions from trace amounts.  Wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, oats, cinnamon, bananas, peppermint, and many others are just a few that have serious consequences for those who are allergic.

Because we want to keep our kids safe, but also include them, we are joining the Teal Pumpkin Project this year. Here’s how you can join us:

  • Paint a pumpkin teal, and put it on your doorstep with your other pumpkins. Kids with food allergies know they can come to your house and get a safe treat, and THEY WILL!
  • Offer trick-or-treaters a choice of candy or non-food treats. Kids with food allergies are often singled out for something they can’t control, and feel excluded and embarrassed because of their allergies.  Giving all the kids a choice makes it easier for them to be safe during Halloween festivities without shame.

I know some of you amazing, non-allergy friends want to participate but might not know what give out instead of candy.  This is a new-ish thing, so I’m putting together a handy little guide to help you navigate your Teal Pumpkin Halloween.


Please feel free to grab this image and share it!  Keep it handy and ask questions here or over at FARE. They’re the geniuses behind #tealpumpkinproject and we are so happy to support this awesome movement.

Also, don’t worry about getting the color exactly right or painting it pretty. The message is the most important part! Thank you for keeping our kids safe this season

Funny Tricks and Food-Free Treats,

Our janky teal pumpkin. As it turns out, I'm much better at cooking the food than painting it.
Our janky teal pumpkin. As it turns out, I’m much better at cooking the food than painting it.


Roasted Delicata Squash with Fennel


Fall is my absolute favorite. Why?

Because FOOD.

Who else wants to eat ALL THE THINGS? Well, so do I, friend.  So do I.

A few years ago, we discovered this gem of a gourd. It’s name is Delicata and it lives up to all the whimsy and subtlety that the name would suggest. It’s light, slightly sweet, and so crazy delicious that YOU WILL WANT TO EAT ALL OF IT IMMEDIATELY.

I’ve tried it a few different ways, and the easiest and tastiest way to prep it is in the oven.  A simple roast with coconut oil and pink salt elevates the squash to another level.  It’s a level you want to be at, trust me. It’s also simple and quick to prepare and the squash doesnt’ require peeling, unlike some other squash cousins.  Yep, I’m looking at you, Butternut.  You’re too much work! But delicata takes all the work out of it.

This super simple dish is great as a side, but honestly, I eat it on it’s own all the time. Because it takes no work to prepare, it’s comforting, and very filling.



  • 2 delicata squash, de-seeded and sliced (no need to peel!)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut in half and sliced
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pink himalayn salt
  • 2 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel fronds (the soft, feathery green things that sprout out of the the fennel bulb)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more for spicy)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, place fennel, delicata squash, and rosemary.
  2. Add coconut oil, and stir quickly.  Add salt and red pepper flakes and mix again.
  3. Spread squash and fennel out on a large baking sheet, and try to get as many pieces to lay as flat as possible.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring once.
  5. Remove from oven and garnish with a little more salt and fresh fennel fronds,
  6. Eat immediately and enjoy! Or save for later and mix up a salad with some quinoa, spinach, and dried cranberries.

Enjoy the season!


7 Speedy Self-Care Hacks for Busy People

I loathe the term “self-care”.  I’ve never been a huge fan of it, but now as a mother, I super dislike it.  I support it. In theory.  Taking breaks to rejuvenate and come back to life as a better person? Sign me up. A massage? Sign me up twice. A long hike in a forest? I’ll get my boots! A getaway with my husband?  TELL ME MORE.

The ideal setting for the best self-care ever of all time.

But here’s the thing with self-care.  It doesn’t always look like a massage or pedicure or magical trek through the woods alone with only your (greatly neglected) journal and a Lara Bar to keep you company. And it almost never looks like a relaxing, kid-free trip somewhere else with my husband because it’s expensive and takes many elements of planning and, uh…it’s expensive.  It could happen, but the reality of securing childcare, paying said childcare, going on the trip, taking time off of work, paying for lodging and food and travel?  It’s pricey and time consuming.

The bottom line is this: Self-care can sometimes feel like a privilege instead of a necessity for mental and emotional health.

It doesn’t matter if you are in a committed relationship, a single person, a parent, a single parent, a grandparent, a circus performer, totally bankrupt, rolling in Kanye amounts of cash, worked to the bone, a teenager or college student, whatever.  YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.  Instead of carving out an hour, a day, a weekend, or any other difficult amount of time, focus on small things.  It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or spendy.  Taking care of yourself can be simple, free, and take 30 seconds or less.

  1. Pee first. Whatever you have to do, it can wait 30 seconds while you pee.  Screaming kid?  I get it.  Pee first.  You have to start dinner right this minute? Pee first.  You need to take a call? Send it to voicemail and call right back after you pee first.  Because peeing is important to your well-being.
  2. Slip off your shoes and feel the grass.  When was the last time you slipped off your shoes during your lunch break and stood in the grass?  Never?  Well, start now.   Let your kids play at the park or in your yard and sip your coffee with your shoes off for a minute. Enjoy the way the grass feels between your toes and the soft earth beneath you.
  3. Breathe on purpose.  Just take a deep breath, okay?  Not because you “need” it, but because it feels freaking wonderful to expand those lungs and breathe in deep, then exhale fully. (10 points if you take a deep breath while you pee barefoot. -10 points if you do that in a public restroom.)
  4. Massage your hands. Before bed, when you need a minute to refocus, or just because you like soft hands.  Grab your favorite oil or lotion, and be sure to gently pinch the soft spot between your thumb and pointer finger for extra relaxation.
  5. Add fruit to your water. Your toddler didn’t finish his apple slices?  Toss a few into your water bottle or pitcher.  Slice up a lime or orange while you’re at it and toss those in, too.  If you’re feeling super fancy and have it on hand, add a mint leaf or two.  Stimulating your taste buds can help keep your mind clear and connected to your body.
  6. Quote it. Find a short quote or poem. Read it. Twice. Return to it when you need to fuel your spirit.
  7. Eat a spoonful of peanut butter. Or sunbutter. Or almond butter.  Or Nutella.  You probably need the protein or chocolate fix. Go ahead and do that now.

If all else fails, drink that extra cup of coffee, or turn up your favorite music and dance. Or hide.  Yep, sometimes straight up hiding can be self-care.

Oh, and if anyone has any ideas about how we can abolish the term “self-care” and replace it with something more fantastically fun, go for it.  Let me know.  We will sprinkle that phrase like glitter from a unicorn.

Take good care,