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welcome

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

C. S. Lewis

Hello Friends,

Welcome to my new blog!

I have decided to start a blog as a creative outlet to share my passions. I will be chatting to you about seasons of life, faith, fashion and places that I discover on this journey.

Click subscribe and join in the fun!

Yours truly,

Courtney

oh weary soul

hello friends,

I want to take a moment for those reading these posts and my amazing subscribers. Thank you for listening to me as I process here and follow where God leads me. My life story. My wellness story. My faith story and journey.

I am thankful for you.

It has been a while since I have typed to you. I have missed typing and processing with you all the things happening in the world.

There are just so many things happening right now in our country as well as around the world. We all have faced the uncertainty, the waiting, the pandemic, the election, the social distancing, the masks, the six feet and discernment for how to go about life in the midst of it all.

Waves have flooded in with exhaustion, frustration, sadness, anxiety and grief. The plans we had for the year were cancelled, postponed and put on hold.

Weariness is spreading like wildfire, but the season of advent is approaching. There is hope in all of this. It can’t be placed on research teams, government officials, or any earthly thing.

I received my She Reads Truth Advent Book in the mail last weekend (digital copy is still available for purchase) and started reading the first few pages. Those pages already have my heart opening to receive all that God has to remind me. The need to prepare my heart for room seems more pressing this year.

Advent comes from a latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival”.

Advent is a time to prepare him room and to orient our hearts, homes, and minds to the ungraspable magnitude and true meaning of Christmas.”

Let’s prepare Him room. Whether you do your own advent study or you join She Reads Truth, I pray and hope that your soul is filled with joy and hope throughout this holiday season.

Yours truly,

Courtney

** In case, you’ve missed it I have a Thankful Giveaway that is live until Wednesday Evening. Head on over to my instagram page to enter to win Beholding and Becoming by Ruth Chou Simons. ***

soup weather

Several weekends ago, a hurricane hit land and brought with it tons of rain to our area. Rain always brings me a desire for a warm soup and a great movie. I traveled to the store and loaded up on produce to make some soups. Several of you saw my soups on Instagram and requested the recipes. As you know I love simple soups that taste stellar. Unfortunately, one of the soups was not good, so I am only posting the recipe to one of the soups.

Butternut Squash + Apple + Bacon Soup

This soup is my absolute favorite soup, however I had to edit it to make it Autoimmune Friendly. I exchanged the red pepper with the apple. It adds some sweetness to the soup, but I like it even more. The recipe for this soup originally came from Damn Delicious and I edited some.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped. 1 apple chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE SOUP

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place butternut squash, onion, apple (bell pepper) and bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender, stirring at halftime.*
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butternut squash mixture and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender.
  6. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon, goat cheese and chives, if desired.

Hope you love the soup as much as I do,

Courtney

sweet potato cauliflower curry

At the end of my junior year of college, I traveled to India with a friend and spent a month with her family. It was such a fun adventure, but I got sick while I was there from eating all the spices. I LOVE curry and spicy food, but when I discovered that my gut really cannot take it like I used to eat. It has been a huge adjustment to say goodbye to the things I’ve loved dearly.

This recipe was delicious. It is not the same. However, I am so glad there are alternatives. We used grain free, dairy free, gluten free pita bread to pretend like we were eating some naan.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 3 cups sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 2/3 cups coconut milk, canned & full fat
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato (omit for AIP, see notes)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp red curry paste (omit for AIP, see notes)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a large, deep pan, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and saute for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is slightly translucent.
  2. Add the sweet potato and cauliflower and saute for about 5 minutes to lightly soften,
  3. Pour in the coconut milk, diced tomato, turmeric, curry, salt and pepper, and stir to combine and coat the vegetables.
  4. Bring to a low simmer and cover. Add a lid to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid from the pan and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Once the liquid is reduced and the vegetables are soft, remove from the heat.
  7. Serve topped with cilantro and lime wedges.

NOTES

For AIP, use nomato sauce and extra turmeric and ginger to taste in place of the tomato and curry powder. It will change the flavor of traditional curry, but it’s still a delicious meal!

Enjoy!

fight the good fight

Let’s chat about Human Trafficking + modern day slavery.

Recently the news is covering more and more news on the reality of human trafficking, child sex trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. I am grateful there has been more awareness on this topic. It has been a passion after traveling to areas around the world and see it take place as well as working with refugees in college.

Reality is this is happening in your city, throughout your state and in places that you might consider safe.

It is real. The stories + the people.

Facts on Modern Day Slavery can be found on a previous post.

My heart is big for justice in this area! We all have different ways we are passionate about this topic, but I think it is important to remember there isn’t just one way to fight trafficking. We are not all called to pursue each way but we can inform each other of different ways to join the fight.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Research and find organizations that fit your views and support them financially or join them in prayer. My husband and I just recently became Freedom Partners with International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org) and have attended an event in Charlotte to learn more about what they do. I previously posted about Freedom Sunday.
  2. Join in campaigns that bring more awareness of what is happening. You will learn details that you might not find searching on your own and you get to chat with friends about it. I have for the past three years participated in Dressember where you wear a dress all month long to raise money to support several organizations. Here is more information about it: https://www.dressember.org/.
  3. Foster Care: fostering is a way help those who are vulnerable in your local area. If this is something that you feel called to do, you can actively combat modern day slavery.
  4. Research companies that you support. Where is the majority of your money going? Are those making the products being paid fairly?
  5. Shop ethically: here is a short list of favorite shops or companies:
    1. Noonday Collection https://dianatolles.noondaycollection.com/
    2. Bombas (socks) https://bombas.com/
    3. Grace and Lace https://www.graceandlace.com/
    4. Aumma’s Umma https://ammasumma.com/
    5. The Flourish Market https://www.theflourishmarket.com/
    6. Athleta https://athleta.gap.com/
    7. Who Gives a Crap: (paper products: toilet paper, tissues, paper towels) https://us.whogivesacrap.org/

Joining the fight doesn’t mean you have to do everything possible: It just means you are aware and choosing one way to join the fight.

creamy mushroom chicken pasta

You voted Yes to seeing the details on this recipe….

Our household has switched back to our strict diet.

In case you haven’t heard, I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and it is classified as an autoimmune disease. Since I learned this major key to my health, I switched my diet and environmental factors that can influence my flare ups. Gut health is so important for our bodies and I was amazed with the process my entire body was making.

Life gets in the way, if you allow it. We moved, the stress, and the lack of paying attention to what I was eating quickly caused my body to react. I spent a few hours in a ER concerned that something major was happening due to the pain I was in. Long story short, my body is not ready for the things that I eliminated to be reintroduced and may never be. We have been cooking up a storm and look forward to sharing more recipes that help promote a healthy gut and allow for it to heal.

Here it is friends, it so delicious! Recipe is coming from Unbound Wellness.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, canned
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp sea salt (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 box Jovial penne cassava pasta
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 12 oz boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk, broth, vinegar, arrowroot, and half of the salt and pepper together. Set aside.
  2. Cook the penne pasta as directed (either before the remainder of the recipe, or simultaneously).
  3. Using a large, deep skillet heat the avocado oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reads 165 F. Set aside, and allow to cool slightly before slicing into strips, or cubes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add more oil to the pan if needed along with the onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are slightly translucent.
  5. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes or until tender.
  6. Pour in the broth and coconut milk mixture along with the coconut cream and stir. Bring to a low simmer, allowing the liquid to thicken.
  7. Add the cooked chicken and the pasta to the sauce and stir to thoroughly coat, cooking for about a minute or so to allow to reheat. Top with parsley and serve.

Enjoy!

Upcoming posts:

My journey with essential oils

Essential Oil Education: Hormones + Oils

More AIP recipes

Edible Cake Batter

Looking for a quick and simple dessert?

I mean who wants to bake a cake when you can eat the batter?!?

You are going to love this recipe, it is delicious! It is gluten free, dairy free, and can be paleo. As I transition back to full on AIP eating to help promote a healthier gut.

This recipe was quick and easy!

I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe if more than one person is going to eat some it. Recipe comes from Unbound Wellness.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup almond flour (see notes for AIP swap)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (sub vanilla bean powder)
  • 3 tbsp ghee, melted (sub coconut oil)
  • 2–3 tsp sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Stir the almond flour and coconut flour together until well combined to ensure there are no clumps.
  2. Fold in the wet ingredients and stir until a soft batter forms.
  3. Fold in the sprinkles and stir until well combined.
  4. Enjoy immediately or store chilled for 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

Courtney

Ditch + Switch 🌿

candles, air fresheners and more…

We all love for our house to smell yummy, right? Unfortunately, using candles, air fresheners, wax warmers, etc. can come at a cost to our health because of the synthetic fragrances.

These “scents” that we love so much in our homes are doing damage to our bodies and our health. I have always had candles throughout our home. I stocked up on candles and burned them all year long – I didn’t even know about the damage it could have been causing. You are going to want to rethink the candles you are burning and the impact it is making to your health. Environment factors influence our health just as much as what you put in and on your body.

The National Academy of Sciences points out some vital facts about synthetic fragrances:

👉🏼About 95% of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil).

👉🏼They include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.

As Dr. Axe states: “Avoiding the dangers of synthetic scents is crucial. It’s something I need you to share with your family and friends. When a company puts “fragrance” on the label, don’t be tricked. This is a catch-all term that actually can stand for thousands of different ingredients (literally, at least 3,000). And when you use a product containing “fragrance” or “parfum,” all of those mysterious ingredients are absorbed right into your bloodstream. These ingredients are predominantly made from chemicals and are just outright toxic for your health in so many ways.”

Did you know that the FDA does not even require fragrance and cosmetic makers to disclose exactly what they are using to scent their products?

If companies are using truly natural ingredients, then why be shy?

Wonder why companies would continue to use synthetic scents if they’re so bad for our health?

The answer is straightforward – money.

Synthetic scents can be an extremely cheap way to give everything from shampoo to lotion to candles a desirable scent. Unfortunately, just because you enjoy a scent, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. There is a better way though!

Instead of candles this season, try diffusing some Fall blends, to help your home get that pumpkin-nutmeg-cinnamon smell that most of us love!

Need to get your hands on some oils?

You can contact me via, instagram with any questions.

To purchase your kit: visit my website. select your starter kit, pick items for your next month’s wellness box (min of 50 pv=$50) which you can edit, skip or cancel anytime. Then, enter you shipping + payment information.

When you sign up:

you receive a goodie bag from me, join an AMAZING oil community not to mention the ease of mind that your home environment is helping your wellness.

5 Ingredient Recipes

Did you know you can make a gourmet meal with just five ingredients?

When I learned about the brilliant idea, I quickly got on board and began trying some the recipes. My sweet husband discovered one of Jamie Oliver’s cooking shows and each episode was mouth watering. We ordered the cookbook and the rest was history…. Okay not really, but you get the point we made several of the recipes thus far and hopefully will be trying more soon to review for you.

Best combination: Quick+ Easy+ Simple+ 5 ingredients

Seared Sesame Tuna: For the recipe, details go here.

This was SOO good, but we might have slightly undercooked it. You live and learn.

We adapted this recipe to fit with my allergies. I can’t eat any beans typically, but garbanzo beans are what we used instead of kidney beans.

Epic Ribeye Steak: For the recipe, go here.

I always love mushrooms, so this always was a hit for me.

Want to try more of these recipes? You can find them here on Jamie’s Website.

Here I am

Wow, it has been a whirlwind.

I feel like I blinked and we were living in a new city.

In case, you missed my post on Friday, we officially sold our first home. Bittersweet is the only way to sum it up. I mean leaving family, friends and an amazing community to start over. It is a fresh start, financially as we pay off all of our debt that was lingering over us. It is an adventure that we had been longing for as a married couple.

My advice after all this is don’t try to sell your home in less than a month. Although God was gracious providing us with a buyer quickly, it was extremely stressful moving things out of our home and of course underestimated the junk that we needed to get rid of. Just a small piece of advice, lesson learned. God showed up that is for sure, Cameron left Sierra Nevada again and now is working for Amazon. My new family has been amazing and the transition seems to be going really well.

It feels like a really long time since I’ve started typing. My hope is to bring you content that helps with the hustle and bustle of the school year. All the distant learning is stressful and everyone is learning how to navigate it. As we adjust to this craziness, lets at least eat well and work on our wellness.

Stay Tuned ✨ this week on the blog…

  • Two 5 ingredient recipes that are absolutely delicious
  • Candles: Why we no longer use candles in our home…
  • How to make your own Thieves Wipes

Adoption Update

This update is short and sweet. Mainly because my brain is all over the place right now.

Covid negatively has impacted our fundraising efforts for our adoption, but we see it as a really good time to hit pause on this journey. We are seeking direction of where to adoption and how to pursue our adoption path. We want Covid stuff to blow over/ be gone before we feel comfortable allowing people into our homes. We want social distancing and numbers to lower so we feel a tad more comfortable embarking on this journey full throttle.

We are completing our home study once we relocate to Winston Salem. ( missed the announcement, head to my instagram page). We have decided to take time to get adjusted to our new place, new job and really allow us to focus more on what we have and take a break from longing for a little one. God has been so gracious and providing so much peace.

Hendersonville, Asheville and Brevard have served us with with family and friends. We will miss everyone here and will be back to visit.

We have chosen to prioritize our marriage, navigate community more richly, and become great stewards of our finances. Our move is a fresh start for all of these areas.

Here is to new adventures!🥂

You may not hear from me as much as we transition and try to sell our home.

I will be back soon friends✨