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Thankful is defined as “feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.”

We live in a busy and chaotic world where it can be difficult to notice how good we have it. The news is constantly filled with negativity. It is easy to dwell on all the things that are driving us crazy. As I sip on my glass of wine after a busy, chaotic day with my kiddos, I am realizing that I have so much to be thankful for. I am taking a moment right now to write down my top 10 things I am thankful for right now. I challenge you to do the same.

QUINOA

1. I am grateful when my girls argue. Argue with me. Argue with each other. I hope that they continue to know what they want and fight for it.

2. I am grateful for new friendships. Every year I feel like I know myself better and better. I am finding friends who know me for who I am and I just love that.

3. I am grateful for my hubby that works so hard for us. He isn’t home much but when he is, the girls and I love it and we look forward to those times. I am beyond grateful that I get to be home with them, attend the Thanksgiving party at school, be there for preschool pickup and when they wake up for naps.

4. I am grateful that my girls are getting to know their grandparents so well.  I am also grateful that our parents are so willing to watch our kids from time to time and even give us weekends away! Oh yes.

5. I am grateful for the seasons. Anticipation for spring is fun. I love looking forward to change.

6. I am grateful for the people in my life that challenge me. Mentally, physically and spiritually. My kiddos included.

7. I am grateful for the people in my life that believe in me. The people that support BMoore Healthy and believe in what I am doing.

8. I am grateful for our messed up food system and that I have to think about what foods are best for me to eat. I like a good challenge and this sure is one.

9. I am grateful for the holiday seasoncraziness and all. Deep down I love it and can’t wait to see my girls faces on Christmas morning.

10. I am grateful for finally reaching a point in this motherhood journey where I am LOVING it. My girls are sleeping through the night, I am not nursing anymore (I liked it but let’s be honest, I like having my body back), the postpartum depression has been lifted for awhile, and I am getting my body back. Time for #3? Oh my, I don’t know. In the meantime, I gotta get ready for Thanksgiving dinner and make these two dishes.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is what I am bringing to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. I experimented with this recipe last week so my family got an early treat. It was so good so I am sharing with you. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
sweet potato layer
2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (4-5 medium sweet potatoes)
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/3 cup canned coconut milk
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons pastured butter, melted

crumble
1/2 cup unsalted pecans, chopped (optional) - I can’t include this year with Juliana’s allergies
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
1 tablespoon gluten free flour (I used teff flour)
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup mini marshmallows (I found marshmallows with real vanilla!)

Directions:
Add sweet potatoes to a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain. While potatoes are cooking, melt butter. Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, sugar, syrup, spices, salt, vanilla, coconut milk and melted butter. Mix with a hand mixer or about a minute or so. Spread mixture in a baking dish.

Combine oats, flour, pecans, coconut, spices and salt in a bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Add in softened butter, and use your hands to completely moisten the mixture and clump it together. Sprinkle the crumble around the outside of the dish, leaving room in the center for marshmallows. Add marshmallows to the middle. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crumble is golden and marshmallows are gooey.

-POP copy 2

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

Yeah, I did. I put quinoa in my pie crust. Did you expect anything else? This pie is really yummy. This recipe has a pretty thick crust so if you would like a thinner crust, you could totally half the crust recipe. I had extra pumpkin filling so I just baked it by itself and it made a yummy pumpkin custard. Yum! If you don’t want to make a crust from scratch, buy a gluten-free prepared crust! Easy and better for you than store bought pumpkin pie. 

Ingredients:
crust
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or peanuts (I might try someday soon using sunflower seeds)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp real maple syrup

filling
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup real maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place quinoa in a dry blender and grind until it becomes a fine flour. Place in a mixing bowl. Coarsly grind nuts or seeds. Add to the quinoa flour. Add oil, milk and syrup. Mix thoroughly. Press into a 9″ pie plate. Pre-bake for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake until the center is set, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Real Food

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Before having our girls, Brian and I had a pretty good system of honoring both of our family traditions during the holidays. We did a pretty good job spending time with both families. It was easy to visit both families on the same day (our parents live about 40 minutes away from each other). I remember wondering why my friends with kids seemed so stressed after they traveled all day doing their “holiday rounds.”

Then, we had kids. OK, we got it. We understood really quick.

6 Ways to Start Your Own Family-2

Brian and I were the first of all of our siblings to enter the world of parenthood. Until you are a parent, you don’t get it. You don’t get nap schedules. You don’t get the importance of getting the kids to bed at a decent hour. You don’t get the importance of having a well stocked diaper bag. You don’t get the importance of not giving little kids a ton of sugar before bed.

A rushed holiday morning is just no fun. For a few years after having kids, we would do this. Rush around like chickens with our heads cut off, making sure we get to house #1 in time for a formal meal. Spend a scheduled amount of time there (heaven forbid you are not fair to both families), rush off to house #2 and force feed ourselves more pumpkin pie and turkey because it’s Thanksgiving and that is what you do. No thanks.

Last year, we made a change. We made a commitment to make the holidays about 1). our faith, 2) each other and 3). our children. We LOVE our parents and our extended families but they come next. Every year, we both got more and more annoyed with the stress of running around instead of taking it slow, enjoying the moments, letting the girls relax on Christmas morning, stay in our pjs a little longer, make a big breakfast and breathe. I would have these visions of all of us sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace and laughing and enjoying each other but in reality, it was me telling everyone to hurry up because we couldn’t miss Grandma’s turkey and stuffing. Not fair.

As the holidays quickly approach, Brian and I have talked a lot about what traditions we want to have. His family have a bunch and my family have a bunch. It’s impossible to do them all. We wish we could still be a part of everything but it’s just not possible. We sat down and strategized and came up with 6 ways to start our own holiday traditions (without hurting any feelings):

1. Celebrate on different days for different families. For my mom, she would rather us all be together and eat two days after Thanksgiving. That way, we try to rotate each year who we eat with on the actual holiday. For example, this year, we are eating at my parents on Thanksgiving. We ate with Brian’s family on Thanksgiving last year. We try our best to be fair. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It gets harder and harder as our siblings get engaged and married because they each now have in-laws and extended families as well.

2. Don’t feel like you have to explain your decisions. We have learned to do what works best for us and for our kids. We are blessed to be able to live pretty close to both of our parents, so if we miss a holiday with any of them, we are sure we will see them a few days later anyway. We have learned to turn down events that don’t fit into our plans and guess what? It all works out. Our parents would rather not see us stressed!

3. Remember what the holiday is really about. We talk about this a lot. We want to keep the holidays simple for ourselves and for our kids. Few toys. More experiences. Less stuff. Less pressure. More faith. More love. We have expressed this desire with our families and they are onboard. It’s amazing what can happen if we all just communicate.

4. Pick one favorite from each family and make that the priority. We lucked out because my family does their huge celebration on Christmas Eve and Brian’s family does theirs on Christmas night. So, those our the priorities for us. We make sure we go to our favorite mass with the girls and spend time with each family on different days. No more driving from house to house on the same day. Heaven!

5. Don’t be pressured to do what everyone else in the family does. One sibling may spend an entire week with your parents. Another may just call. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you and your hubby want to do and what is best for the kids. Don’t want to buy your parents another gift card? Want your kids to make Grandma and Grandpa gifts instead? Go for it. I bet your parents will LOVE whatever you do.

6. Keep them simple and from the heart. We live in a busy world especially around the holidays. Holiday traditions don’t have to be elaborate Pinterest-worthy ideas. I bet your kids will remember simple things. They will remember your smile when you relaxed by the fireplace on Christmas morning and watched them open their presents. They will remember that tasty breakfast you made. They will remember the way you smelled in your big bathrobe. Don’t overthink it and enjoy.

Enter to win!

Also, enjoy entering to win a beautiful holiday apron from Chelsea Made and a holiday tea towel from Eden Gray. The apron is a child’s half apron, cotton, fully lined, navy blue with scalloped bottom, Anthropologie-inspired pocket. One size fits all. $35 value. The tea towel is 100% flour sack cotton with shimmery plaid accent fabric. $5 value. Both are machine washable.

Holiday Giveaway

Oh, and yes, you can still sign up for the 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Recipes online program! We started November 12th but we are going until the 23rd. Still time to get some yummy holiday recipes and support!

1. To enter the giveaway, you must be a fan of BMoore Healthy on Facebook. Also, you must be receiving my monthly newsletters. Click here to sign up for my newsletter.
2. Use the Rafflecopter tool right here to enter to win. This giveaway is available to US residents only. Good luck! The contest ends Monday, November 24th at 9:00 PM. A winner will be announced shortly after that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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