2021: Reflecting On Our Year
2021. It felt like a drawn out sequel to 2020 and left us missing 2019 with a deep ache. The Spring was blessed and beautiful with many gifts, but the fall was hard and heartbreaking.
We know in life we must stay in the present and look to the future, but with illness, suffered losses, new fears unearthed and old ones exposed, our fall + winter stretched us and wore us down quite a bit.
We are entering 2022 with a deeper faith, a higher appreciation for family, love, togetherness and life's beautiful moments. God was good through it all (isn't He always?) and showed us miracles both great and small that we will never forget.
I shared a bit on social media, but I'm finally sharing a real and raw recap of the highs (and lows) of our 2021 year and some of our favorite photos. I also am looking forward to 2022 with big visions and my word for 2022 - one that isn't about me but puts it all in His hands. As it always should be.
We entered 2021 hopeful and optimistic with a darling two-month old daughter and 4 year old son. We rang in the new year at home with our mother-in-law who renovated our farmhouse alongside us and lived with us. We took the kids to the zoo and played outside many days. It was a beautiful start to the year.
More outdoor adventures and Valentine's Day parties with friends. The newborn phase was so, so kind to us and my hormone and physical health felt incredible. I basked in the glow of that joy and I'll never forget that redemptive time in my life.
Lexi Kate turned four months old and Grey was now four and a half. Days were spent with close friends and lots of recipe creation at home with my little side kick, Grey.
In April we enjoyed a beautiful Easter with family. My sister-in-law hosted a Easter egg hunt and dinner. Doug bought Grey his first real worms to play with at the camp store. Lexi learned to eat real food and sit in a big girl high chair and we bought our first RV AND took our first trip in it to Lake Pleasant. Grey also graduated Pre-K and we had such a fun party for him at Luci's at the Orchard with our closest family and friends and it was a PERFECT day. Spring 2021 was a highlight for sure!
Miss Lexi turned 6 months old and we had a little party for her with cupcakes - which looking back I'm SO glad we did because my Mother In Law wouldn't be at her first birthday. Grey also started Kindergarten early, on May 30th because we just couldn't wait for fall! YAY for homeschool.
My 37th birthday and lots of adventures. I hosted a girls brunch for my birthday that was sweet, simple and so special. We visited LoLoMai Springs for 5 days and it was exceptionally beautiful and WeKoPa Resort in Fountain Hills hosted us for four days again. We enjoyed lots of yummy food and pool time.
We hosted a fun BBQ party for the fourth of July and everyone was so festive! It was a great way to break up the crazy hot summer. We took another trip in our RV up to Williams and enjoyed Route 66, Bearizona and our campsite. And we surprised Grey for his birthday early with a trip to DISNEYLAND! We took our niece Jillian along with us again - and it was Lexi's first trip to Disney! It was pretty perfect. So thankful we decided to do that trip.
Grey turned FIVE and it was his golden birthday! We had a fun Minecraft themed party with some of his best friends and our family.
In September Grey, Lexi and I joined a women's bible study with such a great group of women and Doug and celebrated ten wonderful, God blessed years married. We had dinner and dessert at home as a family. We ended up with the virus this month and things got scary for a while. Doug was quarantined away from us for two weeks and he got really sick. Thankful for the doctors who used a protocol to keep him here with us and ALL of God's miracles those couple of weeks. We also saw our friends be the hands and feet of Jesus for us and I will never forget how they helped me make it through some of those days. Being reunited with Doug after those 2 weeks showed us what we needed and what was truly important.
In October we unfortunately lost our sweet mother-in-law Sandi to the virus and my mom went into the ICU. It was a hard, sad time. We tried to keep the holidays festive for the kids - as Grey was grieving alongside us. For Halloween we took them trick or treating and decorated a spooky gingerbread house. We also found a local Police and Fire festival - which made his whole month. It was good to find pockets of joy where we could find them. The highlight was our sweet Lexi turning ONE. It was bittersweet as we couldn't give her a party or have our moms see her turn ONE but we made it as beautiful and special as we could for our darling girl with a day at the park, pizza, cake and a Peter Rabbit party at home.
In November my sister-in-law hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving at her home and it was the first official big holiday without Sandi. We felt her presence missing. We also did a balloon send off to heaven for her birthday and we held a beautiful memorial service at our church for her. We also decided to decorate the house for Christmas on November 1st because #joyseeking.
Another sad loss came with the sudden and terrible loss of our miniature schnauzer Charlie. He developed a rapidly spreading cancer that took him within hours of him going to the hospital. Our hearts needed to just lean into Jesus and the magic of the Christmas season to heal and breathe and seek joy. Christmas with our babies will always hold some of the most special memories throughout our lifetime. We went over the top to bless them this year. We made gingerbread houses, saw lights, showered them with love and gifts and magical moments. We also took off to the beach for a week and visited Sea World and Balboa Park. Although it was cold, it was perfect.
As I look back over the year - I can see all of God's mercies and his beautiful blessings and grace for us. He gave us miracle moments and provided in so many ways for us.
2021 may have had it's hard but it also had so much beautiful. And that's what I'm looking forward to in 2022. No matter what God has in our story this year - I'll continue to look for, and celebrate, the beautiful. If we've learned anything its that. To not take anything for granted. Don't take it all too seriously. Just LOVE, LAUGH, and LIVE.
In tradition of sharing my word of the year, its simply GOD. Letting Him lead. Everyday.
Friends, what were your highlights of 2021? Do you have a word for this year? Would love to have you share in the comments below!
Celebrating Quality Time With JORD
I can honestly say, that one of the most beautiful things I've been able to witness in this life is the relationship between my husband and our son.
As Grey gets older he looks more and more to Mr. Charming, not only as his best buddy (my husband can get our little guy to laugh like no one else can), but as a sense of comfort. Watching him snuggle his daddy in the mornings, and kick his little legs when he hears him come in the door after work, makes my heart burst with joy.
These special pockets of time got me thinking about the concept of quality time and how we can best use the hours we have as a family of three.
As a self-proclaimed "attachment mama", many of Grey's early months were spent nursing on me, being worn by me or sleeping with me. I definitely wanted to make sure he got special one on one time to bond with my husband as well, and as he's gotten older and no longer in the newborn stage, its been fun to see their relationship blossom. My husband takes bath time most nights while I work and he also shares in feeding Grey dinner.
I've started to take on clients and go to events alone as well, which allows them time to head to the camping store or play with the pups at home. They are even trying to work out the nap time deal without mama present. (This scenario is still taking work, haha)
My darling husband is such a supportive, patient, hands on parent that I wanted to celebrate him and thank him in a beautiful way. JORD's new watch line for men offers gorgeous detailed timepieces that compliment not only my husbands fashion style, but his lifestyle as well. With a little guy who likes to get his hands on everything, the smooth Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood finish of this Conway Series piece allows Grey to explore daddy's new gift in the hands-on manner that seven months old live for.
When it comes to making the most of our time, we are starting to plan more travel adventures for this Spring and Summer. So far we have Sedona, AZ, Seattle, WA, Anaheim, CA, Orlando, FL and Palm, Desert, CA on the agenda.
We know that Grey won't remember these trips when he's grown, but allowing him to explore more of our country's sights, sounds, tastes and smells will allow him to grow and expand his little mind. Which is invaluable at such an impressionable time in his life.
It's also helpful for my hubs to have a reliable watch when changing time zones so frequently.
In celebration of hands-on dads who put in time to make the most of their relationships and time with their littes, I have partnered with JORD to give away one CONWAY Series men's watch (valued up to $250).
enter to win a Conway Series timepiece by JORD
The contest will run until 4/9/2017 when a winner will be chosen.
All entrants who do not win will receive a consolation gift card code to use towards a purchase of a watch. You can also find a coupon code to receive 15% your purchase of any CONWAY Series wrist watch below.
I'm excited to share the memories these two make together and I adore finding new ways to spoil my husband and show him that he is so appreciated for the commitment he's made, and continues to make, to our little family. I knew he was always a great friend, a devoted partner and a respectable, loving husband, but seeing him as a father has caused me to fall more in love with him than I ever thought possible.
If you're looking for a special way to show the man or woman in your life just how appreciated they are, a JORD watch is a classic and cherished gift that not only stands for quality, but it is a gift that can be passed down and held onto for generations. It's important not only to invest in the relationships in our lives, but in the material things we choose to make part of our daily routines and memories.
For more on JORD:
The CONWAY Series Watch Mr. Charming is wearing in Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood
A special coupon code for Nosh and Nurture readers to save 15%: Enter j17noshandnurture15aa upon checkout.
Today we celebrated my husbands first Father's Day.
And I can't tell you how much my heart was BEAMING. Since Father's Day falls the day before my birthday, we decided to make this weekend all about him. There wasn't anything specific that he asked for or wanted to do, so I was on my own to plan the day and gifts. And YAY, because I love surprising and being surprised.
I planned a little road trip through town to take him to some of his favorite places before settling down to dinner and his special Father's Day gift. First on the list was Game Stop. One of the ways we've been passing the time lately to relax at home and save money for baby is blogging, gaming and hosting dinner nights with friends to game. Plus it's so hot out in Arizona already we really don't want to go out and do ANYTHING.
At Game Stop I got him the new Uncharted 4 and then it was off to our next stop!
One of his absolute FAVORITE stores is Cabela's. Your one stop shop for all things gun, archery, camping, fishing, boating, etc. And I actually have a lot of fun there too because there is SO much to look at and it has a home section and an adorable General Store upstairs that looks like it is straight out of Mayberry.
While we were there I told him he could pick something he'd been wanting as his second present and he picked some awesome tactical pants. Which I know are for total function to carry all of his cool camping stuff, but it doesn't hurt that I thought they looked super cute on him too. Haha :)
We perused Cabela's for quite a while because there is SO much to look at and then baby started getting really active and after sitting in a nice camping chair for a while we started to get hungry. I had scoped out Gluten Free eateries in the area just to see if anything new had popped up in our neighborhood (Glendale/Peoria is pretty horrible for healthy, clean eats) and I was surprised to find a cafe called Fresh Healthy Cafe had opened up nearby with a menu FULL of vegan. gluten free goodness! Score!
Dinner was planned.
We headed to Westgate City Center in Glendale to try Fresh Healthy Cafe and filled up on a healthy sandwich (for him) and salad (for me and the babes) as well as green smoothies and kettle chips.
At dinner I gave him his first Father's Day card (!!!!!) which was just so special and just let him know how thankful I am to be taking this adventure with him, how God blessed I feel everyday to be his wife and then I gave him something I've wanted to give him for a very long time.
Before I tell you about that though, how cute is a man who puts your baby's crib together? I mean.
Ever since we got married five years ago I've wanted to upgrade his wedding ring to something more bling-fabulous ;) He spoiled me when he gave me mine and I wanted him to have something that sparkled instead of just a band.
Neither of us are "jewelry" people by any means and it takes a lot for one of us to want a piece of jewelry. Which is why this felt like such a big deal. Vacations and memories are more our jam, but with this amazing life moment upon us and being married to a man so deserving, it made my heart happy to give him something that was a little more fabulous.
We finished the night the best way we know how, snuggling our pups, giving them the gluten-free treats we picked up at Cabela's and gaming with our leftover green smoothies.
How do you celebrate Father's Day for your spouse? I'd love to hear in the comments below, as I'm a newbie and would love your tips! :)
This weekend has been absolutely blissful. Sure we had a lot of organizing and cleaning to do to continue to prepare for Baby P's arrival and I had a lot of seminar prep to finish, but the in between moments were celebrated with my husband and his side of the family for Mother's Day.
My first official Mother's Day.
I know some women don't celebrate their "first" until their little one is here. But year after year I've waiting to celebrate being a mom and so today, as this little life swims and kicks around inside me I celebrate my bond that's already growing between her or him and I.
I've started to feel some of the uncomfortableness I believe is imminent with the third trimester, so I haven't gotten dolled up in a while. I was SO EXCITED to go out to dinner last night with the whole family and get dressed up for me and Mr. Charming.
Dining at a nice steakhouse, we all exchanged cards and gifts and we gifted my mother-in-law one of baby's sonogram photos in a special frame. Not leaving the restaurant until nearly 10, we all got a chance to catch up and talk baby's and the baby shower and birth and it was so lovely.
Today, on Mother's Day morning Mr. Charming and I woke up early and he treated me to gluten-free pancakes, eggs and sausage. Heart shaped pancakes. Total swoon. This man is too good to me.
And I may or may not have eaten four of them. Because. Mother's Day.
After breakfast he gave me the sweetest card with messages from him, the baby and of course our fur babies, Charlie + Princeton - who even signed with paw prints, haha.
Then he told me I needed to open my gift outside.
My guesses were, doves in a bag that needed to fly free. Or a miniature telescope. It was neither of those things. It was so much better and very much unexpected. It was a beautiful Tennis Bracelet.
Those who are close to me know I don't splurge on fancy jewelry or purses or shoes. Like, ever. Unless it's a gift, I'm Charming Charlie all the way, haha. But this was so special and such a perfect and beautiful way to commemorate my first Mother's Day. Along with my engagement ring and wedding bands, this is the most beautiful piece of jewelry I've ever received. Again. So good to me. I'm going to have to step it up and do something epic for Father's Day.
So, any advice from seasoned wives, throw me your best ideas! ;) haha.
Wishing you all a blessed & beautiful Mother's Day! How did you spend your day? Share with me below how you spent your day!
Our Wedding - The Ceremony
I previously started a series on our wedding and it began with Our Wedding - The Morning Of. You can start there by clicking the link.
Our wedding was easily the happiest day of my life. Aside from when we found out when were expecting Baby P. I feel like the entire day I floated. Just floated. Trying to capture and soak up every single moment of what was happening around me and within me.
When Mr. Charming and I sat down to plan our wedding we talked of what we dreamed of it being. What we had to have, what we didn't need to have and all the in betweens. Luckily our visions existed together beautifully and he was hands on for the entire process (more on that later, he was really hands on.)
What started as a ceremony at the beach with a small crowd, morphed into a fancy wedding at Hotel Del Coronado, then to somewhere we never expected, and something so much better. When I was deep in the initial stages of wedding planning, I let the fancifulness, money, and our own hearts desires get the best of us. So I went to the source I knew would handle this SO much better than us. God. I prayed and picked up the book Inviting God To Your Wedding (And Keeping Him In Your Marriage) and it was the best move I could have made. It shifted everything and led us to have a wedding that was so God and love filled it blew our dreams and expectations out of the water.
Mr. Charming's cousin has a beautiful home on a expansive piece of lush green property in Arizona that transports you to the oaky parks of California and I fell in love. With her backyard for the ceremony and reception. I fell in love with her crisp white interior for photos and cocktail area. And I knew that Arizona would be the right place, so that all of our friends and family members could enjoy with us. All 175+ of them.
As I stated earlier, Mr. Charming was really hands on with the wedding. We drove to Sedona to harvest our own Manzanita trees for our centerpieces (which resulted in a bad hand injury, a lot of blood and Mandi applying first aid in the forest to her fiance'. That was scary and I don't suggest.) He also built, by hand, our head table which is now our dining table from gorgeous Poplar wood, as well as the arbor we would stand under to be married. It was a dream.
One of my very best friends, Paul, flew in to be a groomsman and helped Mr. Charming set up the ceremony early while I got ready with the girls at the hotel. After the boys had gotten ready and had their photos done, the girls and I arrived at the ceremony locale in a stretch black SUV. After a fun photoshoot in the parlor room of Mr. Charming's cousins house I retreated to a room to spend time with my dad and hide from the groom and guests!
The guests arrived and enjoyed jazzy 40's music to be seated and it was near showtime! Standing in the doorway to the backyard, my dad holding my hand tight just as he did when I was a little girl, the butterflies flitted about and my soul beamed. The sense of peace and love I felt in that moment just may exceed any other moment of calm in my life. God walked with us that day.
Walking down the aisle to my husband to be, surrounded by family and friends that we love so much, was indescribable. I don't remember the walk very well, I don't remember speaking my vows, I don't remember much. I do that. I never remember my best concerts. It's like I float in these moments, and then they are gone from my memory. The happiness remains, the peace, but the memory of exactly what went down, it exists back in that picture perfect moment. Thankful for video and photos, haha. I'm weird I guess.
We wrote our own vows, which was so special and adored the pastor we hired to perform the ceremony. My girls looked beautiful, the men, so handsome, and it was just the perfect ceremony.
I felt like I had waited so long to confess to this man, in front of God and our loved ones, how very much I wanted him to have my forever, it was a moment of such elation.
I'd marry him again and again. Every day for all of my days.
Take a peek at the other posts in the series as the become available:
What was your stand-out ceremony memory?
Wildly Healthy Holiday Baskets
Christmas is just a short 36 days away, which means crunch time for all of the holiday planning.
Mr. Charming and I are sitting down this weekend to create our December Advent Calendar that we make every year. This year includes a mix of volunteer work, movie nights by the fire, church and celebration events. And yes, my halls are already decked. This is my favorite time of year.
As I've grown up, my Christmas wish list and my gift lists to others have changed drastically. Not a huge lover of gift cards or gifts that are impersonal, I like to try to create something special. Whether a nature lover, techie, beauty fanatic or foodie, I like to give gifts that speak to what they love and who they are. And holiday baskets are the BEST way to give multiple gifts that speak to the same theme.
Holiday Basket Tip #1: Don't Overfill. I like to space things out so that you can see what's inside. Once my food items were placed I added a couple of homey touches.
I am an affiliate for Wild Foods Co. | I adore their market & products, all opinions & photos are my own.
One of my favorite types of people to shop for are the foodies in my life. (No shocker there, right?)
Instead of buying the pre-made food baskets that are laden with sugar and processed ingredients, I like to make them using high quality products. From organic fruit (which always looks beautiful in baskets) to fine wines and homemade baking mixes to my favorite recipes, it's fun and easy to be creative.
This year, I'm putting little "market" baskets together using products from one of my favorite shops! Based in Austin, Texas, Wild Foods will ship products internationally, (except for their coffee, which is U.S. only) and offer a wide variety of specialty teas, chocolate, coffee and protein items.
Holiday Basket Tip #2: Themes are good. Since I shopped at a specialty market, I used a vintage market basket as the basket instead of a holiday box or traditional wicker or wood basket.
For this years basket I chose a pack of Wild Coffee and paired it with mugs I knew would match my friends kitchen. I added in a pack of Wild Sweet Nibs, which are high quality pieces of chocolate that can be used in trail mixes, on ice cream or as a garnish on baked goods, as well as a pack of Wild Chocolate which can be used for cocoa, in smoothies or in baking.
I finished it off by adding some information on Wild Foods, so that she would know where to go if she wanted to order more and I tied a Christmas ornament that would match her home to the basket as a finishing touch.
Holiday Basket Tip #3: If you include pre-made goods, or goods for a particular market, its good to add a recipe card or a store info card so your gift receiver can make or buy more if they enjoy it!
Have you made holiday baskets or are you planning to this year? I would love to know the ones you are creating, especially for the foodies in your life!
Kick Off To Fall
I ADORE FALL. So much so that it must be screamed in all caps. Just a few of the reasons I love fall:
My friends & I were just talking about how this season we are intentionally setting our hearts on community. Time with friends. Celebrating and doing life together. This weekend, to celebrate the Fall kickoff, Foster Farms was kind enough to sponsor a little party for us! This allowed me to enjoy many of my favorite Fall activities, like good food, fashion and spending time with friends & family. A friend of ours just had a baby, so a big group of us got together for games, grub and loving on little baby C.
This is a sponsored post. I received free product & monetary compensation from Foster Farms in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, as well as the photography, are my own.
Since we attended a Kick-Off to Fall Fall/Football party I found it fitting to do a fashionable spin on a referee ensemble, and baby C (along with my brother in law, aka, the Baby Whisperer) looked adorbs in his Purdue jersey.
I'm excited for Fall for Nosh & Nurture as well, as we will be taking a lot of travel writing adventures & getting elbow deep in gluten-free flours as we bring you all some delicious new recipes. Mr. Charming even has a few up his sleeve he's been wanting to experiment with that are grain-free, gluten-free, everything-but-deliciousness free for all of us. So I'm excited to see him don his proverbial apron (because real men don't need real aprons) and whip up something yummy.
The food serves was a delicious mix of gluten-free entrees, appetizers and desserts as most of our crew is either gluten-free, dairy-free or other dietary challenge so its always nice to have a lot of options. One of the most popular treats were the Foster Farm's gluten-free corn dogs we cooked up. Though not grain-free (hence, the corn) they are gluten-free and kid-friendly for those who tolerate corn. For mom's looking for other gluten-free lunch & dinner ideas for their kiddos, Foster Farms also makes gluten-free chicken strips and nuggets, available at select stores.
The adults loved the crispy golden batter and sweet honey flavor and appreciated the high quality hotdogs that Foster Farm uses. The kiddos couldn't tell they were gluten-free and loved them as much as the real thing, and for the tinier fingers we cut the corn dogs into rounds for easy eating & dipping.
I rarely eat potato, because me and nightshades aren't the best of friends, but sometimes I will splurge. Usually once a month I'll get a side of fries when we go to a gluten-free eatery on our travels or I'll nosh on coconut oil kettle chips. Which is what we had at the party. #nomnom
I made little snack bags into "footballs" and the kiddos thought it was a fun way to serve up their corn dog side dish. I was also proud of my DIY-ing, as I'm not the usual crafter. But you know, tape & bags... not that hard. haha. If you enjoy gluten-free Foster Farms at any of your fall festivities make sure to tag @NoshandNurture and use #FFGlutenFree so we can see all your yummy creations!
I'm looking forward to many more parties this season & would love to know your favorite dishes to serve! Or recipes you'd like to see this season! Leave it in the comments below & have a fantastic fall!
A Proverbs 31 Wife: Health
One of the ten characteristics of being a Proverbs 31 wife points to health.
Health – A Virtuous Woman cares for her body. She prepares healthy food for her family. (Proverbs 31: 14 – 15, Proverbs 31: 17, 1 Corinthians 6: 19, Genesis 1: 29, Daniel 1, Leviticus 11)
Today, after Mr. Charming and I wrapped two extremely productive but crazy workdays, I went to the kitchen to see what I could prepare for dinner. Excited to kick back and enjoy the evening after staring at a computer screen for what felt like 24 hours, my poor husband walked in from work totally sick. I am thankful, not for his illness, but for the fact this is one of two times he's been sick in almost three years.
We use to catch EV-ER-Y-THING when we were eating the Standard American Diet, but since going primarily Paleo and upping our vitamin, probiotic and fruit and veggie intake our immune system has gotten a much needed boost.
We came to find out that many of those who attended a party we hosted this weekend were sick and he couldn't escape the bug.
So I popped back into the kitchen with a new goal in mind: Healing.
While I always aim for nutritious, when one of us is battling the ills, I always like to find things that are rich, green and full of vitamins. I opted for a large pan of roasted asparagus drizzled in a little olive oil and plenty of minced garlic for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. I had already planned to cook turkey tonight, so I added onions and red & yellow bell pepper for vitamins & of course - more garlic. Normally I cut out grains when fighting germs to let the gut heal, but since he has to take medication this time around, I wanted sustenance in his stomach, so I made some organic brown rice pasta tossed in a healing both broth for flavor.
I served all this up with plenty of fluids & a refreshing bowl of cubed watermelon for dessert. Cool on his sore throat and detoxifying for the kidneys.
What are your go to dinners when you're fighting something? And how do you show your husband and family 'health' as it pertains to Proverbs 31?
I love days that surprise us. Currently residing in Arizona, today is one of those days, when it's been hitting temps exceeding 90 degrees and God sends us a few breezy, 80 degrees days that remind me of us being on the beach just one short week ago.
Speaking of location changes, in just a few months one of our nieces will be heading to the City of Angels for the first time. Our niece Amber received an offer to work at Disneyland for their college program and I couldn't be more proud of her. If you met this girl you'd understand, she's a Disney Princess come to life.
Today' post is dedicated to her because today, Amber graduates from NAU. It's amazing and crazy how FAST time flies. When I started dating Mr. Charming, Amber was just starting highschool, and now, all these years later, she's all grown up, heading out into the world on her own and I can't wait to see her spread her beautiful fairy wings and fly.
I always say how blessed I am to have married into such a big, wonderful and lovely family, and Miss Amber is so special. I've always seen so much of me in her. Her angelic voice allowed her to tour with me to promote my first album as my backup singer and she's worked on all my tracks since, she's been my friend before she became my family and she even stood up with us on our wedding day as one of our bridesmaids. Getting to share those parts of my dream and life with her was so special. She's also an amazing artist and continues to inspire me to live like a kid and dream big every day.
So, Amber, here's to you. I'm sorry I couldn't be in Flagstaff with you. Getting to see you live another moment larger than life. But I send all my love and hugs and kisses and can't wait to celebrate you when you're home for the summer, before you head off to get your very own pair of mouse ears.
I love you and am so proud of you. You may continue to reach life's beautiful milestones along your journey, but if I've learned anything about you through becoming your friend and your family, I know you'll never truly grow up. ;)
my nana's banana bread
I was thinking a lot about my nana today. Mr. Charming has been working insanely long hours and I wanted to surprise him and his staff with something yummy, and I thought of my nana.
And her delicious, famous banana bread.
Growing up I always waited for a loaf of her banana bread. Whenever she would bake a fresh batch she'd make one for her with walnuts, and one for me and my sister with no nuts. It's how we liked it. We felt nuts got in the way of the soft, banana goodness. That and to me, walnuts taste bitter. Always have. If I wasn't careful I could finish a loaf in one sitting. It was seriously that good. And there were probably a few times when I lived on my own and she'd send me one that I did just that.
Before she passed away she gave me the recipe, handwritten, and I still have it saved in special drawer today. Although I can't eat the traditional ingredients, I like to make different gluten-free variations from time to time.
My system doesn't like too much banana anymore, which is sad, so when I do eat banana, a good banana bread is at the top of my list.
My nana was special. So loving and friendly in the years I was blessed enough to know her. One of her most adored items in life was her classic 55' Chevy. She bought it in the 50's and never drove another car. It was turquoise blue and I remember being so embarrassed when she'd want to drive me to school when I was little because it didn't look like the "normal" cars. I'd duck down in the bench seat and slide out the door. Looking back I see why she loved it so much, the memories it probably held for her, the pride she had in it, and I'd be honored for her to drive me anywhere today if she was still here.
She too, had a heart for travel. She went with us to Hawaii for my sixth birthday. She drove cross-country with us to visit Graceland, she was probably one of Elvis' biggest fans, and she always wanted to drive Route 66. I thought the backdrop for the photos was fitting. In honor of the dreamer she was too.
Here's to you Nana. I miss you and love you, and one day, when were all in heaven and together again, freed from our Earthly bodies and their limitations, we can share a piece of your perfect banana bread again.
Note: This is one of the very few recipes that is NOT Paleo. As from time to time I eat oats and oat flour as long as it is certified gluten-free. It helps with my digestion and is a good gluten-free flour to use in muffins, because they come out super-moist and spongy like traditional muffins.
2 Large Eggs
1/2 C. Honey or Bee Free Apple Honee (this stuff is AMAZING and less in sugar!)
3/4 C. Unsweetened organic applesauce
1 1/2 Tsp. Organic Vanilla
2 Medium Over-Ripe Bananas (Mashed)
1 1/2 C. Gluten Free Oat Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small square cake pan, two bread loaf pans or a muffin pan with a dairy free butter. Mix together applesauce, eggs, honey or apple honee and vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients. Mix into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Mash bananas until creamy and mix in. I didn't need a hand mixer for this, as the batter was so smooth, I just used a wooden spoon and good old fashioned elbow grease.
Poor into pan, muffin cups or pans and bake for 30-35 or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Muffins take a little less)
Serve warm with cool dairy free butter or sugar-free jam. Delicious!