When You Feel Like a Disappointment

My husband and I collapsed on the basement couch after making the bedtime rounds. We wanted to spend time together but after work days and diapers and tantrums and laundry and all the normal chaos of life, we felt completely depleted. We opted to watch Harry Potter, a regular entertainment choice when we want to escape without venturing somewhere too terribly intense.

There’s a scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry comes upon The Mirror of Erised. As he looks into the mirror, he sees who he eventually recognizes as his parents who died when he was a baby. He brings his friend Ron to the mirror, hoping Ron can get a glimpse. Ron looks and sees not Harry’s family but himself as head boy and Quidditch captain. Harry later finds his way to the mirror yet again, only to run into Professor Dumbledore who explains that the mirror shows the “deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.”

I grabbed the remote, hit pause, and turned toward my husband. “What would the mirror show you?” I asked.

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Chicken + Peach Skewers with Lemon-Basil Dressing [and how sometimes, we get it wrong]

I balance the aluminum tray on one hand and hold a paper grocery bag in the other. As I set my goods on the steps to knock on the door, I rehearse what to say. They’re good friends of mine, people I feel comfortable with and love deeply. But I want to be careful I don’t make their loss hurt more. I walk into the kitchen and the screen door closes behind me. Like a nervous reflex, I blurt out in a bubbly, high-pitched voice, “How’s it going?!” The perkiness sounds abrasive. 

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Frittata with Chorizo + Queso Fresco [gluten-free and keto]

Just like my kids, I have to eat a good breakfast in the morning. A granola bar just doesn’t cut it for me. I notice hunger strike just an hour or two later or a crash in my energy level if I don’t eat a protein-rich meal. But too often, starting my day with the cries of my kids means my breakfast gets put on the back-burner.

Enter the frittata. This version is hearty, wholesome, and perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even an easy weeknight dinner.

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Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread [and behind the scenes!]

I’m usually the one behind the camera when I’m blogging. I cook in my no-so-photogenic kitchen and shoot the finished product using a simple setup in my dining room. With three little ones running around, I don’t always get a chance to get in front of the camera or snap many process shots. This time, I was able to get some process shots to go along with this simple, delicious cookie recipe!

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Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade [and learning slowness]

I don’t really want to go slow. I daydream about slow evenings on a front porch (a front porch I don’t currently have, but would love someday) sipping ice-cold lemonade. But let’s be honest. It makes me anxious. Slow means fewer check marks. It’s unsatisfying and even painful. There’s no instant gratification.

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How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex

In high school, I’d swing by Dunkin Donuts early in the morning to get a medium hazelnut coffee with milk. Just saying my old coffee order brings back memories. Even at seventeen, I loved the routine comfort of a hot, caffeinated drink in the morning. Fast forward about fifteen years and three kids later, and I still think there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee when you wake up. But I’ve learned a bit about this drink in the last decade and a half—like what makes a really good cup.

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(Paleo) Summer Broccoli Salad

My mom made a broccoli salad like this when I was growing up. I still have her hand-written recipe card and used that as inspiration for this version. For some reason, despite broccoli having a reputation of not being the most kid-friendly food, I LOVED her salad. The combination of crunch and creamy, savory bacon and a bit of sweet…it was so good!

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(Gluten-Free) White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies [and creating beauty when the world is dark]

No, it’s not always the time to bake cookies. It’s not always the time to take photographs or play around in the kitchen. But sometimes it is. Sometimes you have to stop and literally taste once again that even in the darkness, God is still good.

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Easiest Chicken Salad [Two Ways!]

Years ago when I used to blog on an old site (back in the ancient days of blogging), I spent a lot of time trying to come up with unique, fancy-ish recipes. They were still realistic for that stage of my life, because I didn’t have kids and spent a lot more time in the kitchen creating and experimenting. But so much of that has changed in the last four years. I still want to embrace my love for cooking and make room to create in the kitchen, but the way I do that looks a little more ordinary, a little more realistic, a little more simple.

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