A Walk with Brayden

Over the past week, Brayden and I have seized every opportunity to enjoy a walk in fall’s amazing colors.  We have collected lots of photos along with memories of these slower moments with nature.  I have heard my four-year old each morning make a certain request, “Mommy, can we go for a walk today?”  He has repeated this daily.  These walks normally consist of him riding his scooter and me walking.  We go slow and take in all we can.  I have found myself breathing deeper and enjoying life more.

Get out there and enjoy all the nature that surrounds us.  Seize the day.  Be thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Vegan Pumpkin Bread

This recipe comes from Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan! cookbook.  Her cookbooks are by far my favorite resources for good doable vegan recipes.  This recipe makes 2 loaves, so you can use up a whole can of pumpkin and not have any waste, but you can also easily cut the recipe in half.  This week, I used my mini loaf pan and a 9-inch one to bake my bread.  I attended a Fashion Swap and took this bread to share.  I received several positive reviews, see what you think.

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup oil ( I use canola)

1/2 cup applesauce

* egg replacer to equal 3 eggs (see bottom for suggestions)

1 14-oz (397-ml) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

3 cups flour

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt ( I use sea salt)

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips (optional)

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly oil 2 9-inch loaf pans and set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, applesauce, egg replacer, and pumpkin.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.  Stir gently into pumpkin until it’s “just mixed.”  Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips and spoon dough equally into 2 loaf pans.  Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.  Makes 2 loaves.

*Here are some egg replacer options:

1 tablespoon cornstarch + 3 tbsp of warm (water whisked together) = 1 egg

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer (from Whole Foods or health food store) + 2 tbsp warm water mixed well= 1 egg

1/2 banana, blended or well mashed = 1 egg

3 tbsp apple sauce

~ I have to say I use the top two options whenever substituting

Plunger in Hand

There I stood, straddling the kids’ toilet and plunging away.  Brayden, my only observer, came near cautiously.  He must have noticed my disgust and failed attempt.  He said, “Hmm . . . guess we are gonna need Dad.”  I looked up with hair covering my face and he backed up a bit.  I kept plunging, not giving into the thought of failure.  Brayden stepped closer and said, “I’m right here beside you.”  Oddly, that truly lifted my spirits and gave me a gentle push towards accomplishing the task at hand.  What a comfort it can be to know that we are not alone.

 

Processing with Hope

I am still processing the impact of having our foster boys with us this past weekend.  They are still on my mind all throughout the day and night.  We are carrying on here with our daily routines, yet their presence here still lingers.

Giving of ourselves in such a selfless way is not comfortable.  I felt this as I stretched myself this past weekend to meet the challenge of caring for six kids.  I realized in the challenge of it all that I was very much in the depths of what I signed up for.  I signed up to provide a haven of love for children that have been placed in the state’s hands along with the responsibility of caring for our own.  Although at times I felt in over my head, peace somehow came and invaded my doubts and created a sense of hope.

Some of my favorite verses in the bible come from Psalm 121.  I kept these words close to my heart and mind as I stepped into the opportunity of caring for our needy foster boys.  As I think of them, I want to place my hope in my Father’s ever-present and undying love and care.  Here is the entire Psalm.  Maybe it will touch you and comfort you in whatever you are faced with this day.

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.