Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Tuesday! My kids had their first real day of preschool today. They seemed to have a great time and looked wonderfully worn out when I picked them up a few hours later. It’s a new stage for us, one that makes us all a little nervous but mostly excited. Having twins before our third baby means I’ve never consistently been home with just one kiddo, so that will (hopefully) bring a much needed break!

It's been a while since I've posted here, but I'm excited to get back in the kitchen again. I recently worked with Kizingo Kids, a company that makes products to promote health and independence in kids. I created this recipe for a Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl. I’ve been looking for new breakfast ideas, especially for the mornings we have to get out the door for school. We eat a ton of eggs as well as oatmeal, but adding quinoa in the mix gives us a little more variety and nutrition. You can definitely play around with the recipe to include whatever fruit you like, or sub out the coconut milk for other options like whole milk or almond milk.

To get the recipe, head over to the Kizingo blog! What are your breakfast go-tos? I’m always looking for new ideas, so let me know in the comments below!

Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser
Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser
Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser
Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser.jpg

This post was created in partnership with Kizingo. Head over to their blog for the recipe!


Digory's Plea, The Magician's Nephew + The Compassion of God

Digory's Plea, The Magician's Nephew + The Compassion of God - Sarah J. Hauser

It's strange reading things you wrote years ago. Sometimes I roll my eyes, embarrassed by my words yet grateful for the growth that embarrassment shows. Other times, it feels like someone poured a bucket of cold water over me as I wake up to truth I knew but have since forgotten. 

My dad recently reminded me of a post I wrote on my old blog almost exactly six years ago. At the time, my mom had stopped treatments for pancreatic cancer and her impending death loomed over us like a dark cloud. My husband and I were rereading The Chronicles of Narnia, and a passage in The Magician's Nephew hit quite close to home. 

I've toyed around with the idea of sharing this post again. I thought maybe if I posted it, I'd rewrite it from my present-day point of view. But I'm not in a season right now like I was then. While I still grieve over my mom, we're through heaviest of that sorrow. I made a few minor edits, but otherwise kept my six-year-old post the same. I think if I changed the perspective the weight of the words would be lost. 

So this is me, six years ago, writing about my dying mom and the compassion of God. My mom has since passed, and my season of life is different.

In all of it, God is still good.  


“‘But please, please – won’t you – can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?'”

I can’t count the number of times in the last year and a half I’ve asked that same question Digory asked Aslan in the The Magician’s Nephew. Then you wait for an answer. And you wait longer. And longer. Until it seems God finally answers with a resounding, “No.”

What do you do with that response? I guess I can’t say God has given me a resounding no, but right now it sure seems like that. There’s always been one more appointment, one more treatment, one more thing to try. Yet eventually there comes a time when the road of possibility arrives at a dead end. 

Where is God in that?

Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.

Our God is not distant nor apathetic. Karl Barth wrote, “If we fix our eyes upon the place where the course of the world reaches its lowest point, where its vanity is unmistakable, where its groanings are most bitter and the divine incognito most impenetrable, we shall encounter there—Jesus Christ. On the frontier of what is observable He stands delivered up and not spared. In place of us all He stands there, delivered up for us all.”

What does that mean for us now? We can have hope of eternal life in the midst of our temporal suffering, because God has overcome suffering. 1 Peter 4:1-2 says, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” The suffering of Christ provides a hope for the future and an example to follow in the midst of our own suffering in this world.

“‘My son, my son,’ said Aslan. ‘I know. Grief is great.’”

God takes up the broken state of humanity and fixes it. He does not remain distant but rather relates so deeply to the human condition that he became human. He defeats suffering through experiencing it and overcoming it in the resurrection. Our God is not a distant God. He doesn’t shy away from our pleas, our questions, our tears. He knows better than anyone that grief is great.

Then Digory took a minute to get his breath, and then went softly into his Mother’s room. And there she lay, as he had seen her lie so many other times, propped up on the pillows, with a thin, pale face that would make you cry to look at it. Digory took the Apple of Life out of his pocket.

I can’t help but read that paragraph and think, “Stupid story. There are no magic apples in this life. There’s no Narnia, no Aslan, no…whatever.” Spoiler alert: Digory’s mom gets healed. 

Why hasn’t God healed my mom?

I don’t know. That’s why it’s taken me so long to write this blog post. I’ve had it half written for probably six months and haven’t been able to bring myself to finish it. If I’m going to finish writing, I feel like I have to come up with an answer, a nice little conclusion that puts the my mind and the minds of my readers at rest. I’m supposed to have an Apple of Life to pull out of my pocket.

I don’t have one.

God sees our suffering and knows better than anyone that grief is great. There is hope in the midst of grief, joy and peace knowing this is a light and momentary affliction. An eternal “Apple of Life” exists, despite my frustration there’s not one right now to heal my mom. Instead, I’m left holding a thousand questions and pleading with God. He graciously listens. 

In my attempt for some semblance of conclusion, I fall short. This part of my family’s story is not over, and I expect that the epilogue will not be revealed this side of eternity. 


Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser

My husband and I just got back from a (kid-free!) vacation in Sedona, Arizona, and while I was ready to come home and see the kiddos, I'm still feeling the vacation vibes. I can't quite keep track of what day it is (although that's often true even during a normal week), and I'm perfectly content having a quiet and (relatively) lazy week. I didn't expect the slow week, but that's sort of the way things shook out.

Apparently I'm getting older, because on the last day of our trip as we were packing to leave, I lifted my suitcase and tweaked my back. I'm choosing to use the term "tweaked" instead of "threw out." Somehow the latter makes me feel like I'm deteriorating at faster rate than I care to admit. But then we sat in the car for a few hours, had a three and a half hour plane ride, and finally another hour car ride. The next day, I could barely get out of bed and only did so with ridiculous pain rivaling that of my C-section recovery. 

I'm on the mend and moving much better (thanks to chiropractic care and having physical therapists as friends!), but my husband and I decided we're going to start fresh on Monday and give ourselves a grace week to get back to normal (whatever normal means).

So here's to another week of relaxation, whether caused by vacation or immobility. Cheers!

Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser
Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser
Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser
Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser

A vodka collins is a light, refreshing cocktail (based on the Tom Collins) that's perfect for summer. I added blackberries and thyme because I love the fruit and herb combo. You can use whatever you have on hand, like strawberries, basil, blueberries, or rosemary!


Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins
Yields 1 drink

1 ½ ounces vodka (I used Heritage Distilling’s Batch No. 12 Vodka
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
½-1 ounce simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
Small handful of blackberries
2-3 sprigs of thyme
Club soda or seltzer
Fresh lemon slices for garnish

Add the vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, blackberries, and thyme to a highball or Collins glass. Muddle using a cocktail muddler or the back of a spoon. Add ice and stir thoroughly. Top with club soda. Give it another gentle stir, and garnish with a slice of lemon.


Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards

Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser

Sometime the best recipes are the ones that require no recipe at all. You throw together a soup with leftover produce or create a pasta dish with whatever's in the pantry. Creativity in the kitchen often comes when there are restraints. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, right? 

Lately, I've been in a rut in the kitchen. I don't know if it's because I don't feel like grocery shopping, I don't want to turn the oven on in 90+ degree heat, or I'm tired of trying to convince my toddlers to try new dishes. But whatever the reason, no-cook meals sound pretty much perfect right now. You can change them up to use whatever you have on hand (toast, other cheese, cured meats, etc.) or whatever your family will eat! And while these no-cook brunch boards were originally created for, well, brunch, there's no reason you can't take the same idea and tweak it for a weeknight dinner. 

Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a compilation of ideas. I created two different variations of brunch boards - one with more sweet ingredients and one that leans savory. Play around and use whatever you like! Add a few different types of cheese if you want that to be the star, or serve charcuterie, fruit, and nuts for a paleo option. Make it all about bagel toppings with different cream cheeses, jams, and smoked salmon, or use this as an excuse to clean out your refrigerator and pantry (don’t worry, I won’t tell!).

Every dish in the ferial cuisine, however, provides a double or treble delight: Not only is the body nourished and the palate pleased, the mind is intrigued by the triumph of ingenuity over scarcity - by the making of slight materials into a considerable matter.
— Robert Farrar Capon

I (loosely) stick to two rules when I create a board. 

1. Make sure everything is convenient to eat. For example, slicing hard cheeses in advance makes it easier for guests to grab a piece. (I don’t slice soft cheeses ahead of time because that gets messy.) Prepare fruits and vegetables by cutting peels from citrus, remove pits from dates, etc. (I didn’t hull the strawberries on my “sweet” board because I like the look of unhulled ones, but I probably should have.)

2. Pick all your ingredients, then leave out a couple. If you’re like me, you can easily go crazy and include every possible combination. Less is more sometimes, so err on the side of simplicity. I bought quite a few more ingredients than I ended up using for these boards, and it would have been overkill if I tried to incorporate them all. In the end, I stuck with 9 different items for each board. 

Scroll down to see what I used for my sweet and savory versions. I also included other ideas I hope will help spark your creativity as you make your own. Have fun with it!

Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser
Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards - Sarah J. Hauser

Sweet + Savory No-Cook Brunch Boards

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a compilation of ideas for how you can assemble a no-cook brunch board. It’s a simple way to ease the cooking load, you can make enough for a crowd or a few friends, and they look beautiful enough to act as your table’s centerpiece. 

I created two different variations of brunch boards - one with more sweet ingredients and one that leans savory. Play around and use whatever you like! Add a few different types of cheese if you want that to be the star, or serve charcuterie, fruit, and nuts for a paleo option. Make it all about bagel toppings with different cream cheeses, jams, and smoked salmon, or use this as an excuse to clean out your refrigerator and pantry (don’t worry, I won’t tell!).

I (loosely) stick to two rules when I create a board. 

1. Make sure everything is convenient to eat. For example, slicing hard cheeses in advance makes it easier for guests to grab a piece. (I don’t slice soft cheeses ahead of time because that gets messy.) Prepare fruits and vegetables by cutting peels from citrus, remove pits from dates, etc. (I didn’t hull the strawberries on my “sweet” board because I like the look of unhulled ones, but I probably should have.)

2. Pick all your ingredients, then leave out a couple. If you’re like me, you can easily go crazy and include every possible combination. Less is more sometimes, so err on the side of simplicity. I bought quite a few more ingredients than I ended up using for these boards, and it would have been overkill if I tried to incorporate them all. In the end, I stuck with 9 different items for each board. 

Below is what I used for my sweet and savory versions. I also included other ideas I hope will help spark your creativity as you make your own. Have fun with it!

Sweet: 

Croissants, Brie, raspberry jam, green grapes, dried apricots, walnuts, Medjool dates, white cheddar cheese (to balance out all the sweet items), strawberries

Savory: 

Toasted bagels, chive and onion cream cheese, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, almonds, smoked salmon, Manchego cheese, hard-boiled eggs*, fresh parsley for garnish

*Okay, this isn’t entirely no-cook, but if you’re feeding a crowd, buy eggs that are already hard-boiled so you’re not peeling eggs all day!

Other Ideas:

Prosciutto or other cured meats, crackers, toast, baguette slices, butter or compound butters, cream cheese varieties, chutney, marmalade, lemon curd, other types of cheese, strawberries, apples, pears, sliced oranges, dried apricots, dried cherries, candied pecans, sliced radishes, olives, marinated artichokes, fresh basil or other herbs