Green Recipes ~ Sour Gummy Stars

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons gelatin

1/3 cup lemon/lime juice (you can also use water and just add extra lemon or orange oil)

3 tablespoons honey

Optional – Non-toxic, vegetable-based food coloring ( I used India Tree)

Optional – A few drops of lemon extract or food grade lemon/orange oil

Instructions:

Whisk lemon/lime juice, honey and gelatin in a sauce pan until there are no lumps.

Heat over low heat until it’s nice and melty, stirring constantly.

Add food coloring and/or extract if desired – you’re almost done now!

Grab an ice cube tray or silicone mold. You can use a basic pan, too, and then just cut into squares or use a cookie cutter after it’s set.

Pour in the mixture, then pop in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up. Once they’re out of the freezer they will stay firm at room temperature.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

Foodie Friday ~ Vegetarian Moroccan Stew

exps49877_TH1999449A06_04_2bC

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 cups finely shredded kale

4 (14 ounce) cans organic vegetable broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 tablespoon honey

4 large carrots, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed

1 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)

1 tablespoon water (optional)

Directions

Combine cinnamon, cumin, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl, reserve.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the onion in the butter until soft and just beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the shredded kale and reserved spice mixture. Cook for 2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt and spices are fragrant.

Pour the vegetable broth into the pot. Stir in the tomatoes, honey, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, garbanzo beans, dried apricots, and lentils. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low.

Simmer stew for 30 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked and tender. Season with black pepper to taste. If desired, combine optional cornstarch and water; stir into stew. Simmer until stew has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #12

BookSacredSilence

 

Journal Entry #12

September 26th, 2013

Had lunch with Mom today. Was refreshing to sit and chat over chicken salad sandwiches without talking about loss for once.

There was one fleeting moment when I caught the silhouette of a pregnant woman standing across the restaurant from us, her belly swollen as her left hand grasped that of a red haired little girl with curls cascading past her shoulders. I looked away quickly, swallowing the lump in my throat repeatedly to avoid finding tears. Not here; not in front of Mom.

Miles and I talked about work last night. At this point in our lives, he thinks I should stay home, or at the very least, find something part time. I’ve been pretty adamant about looking for a new job. I need to be occupied, to fully immerse myself in something other than staying at home. The silence drives me crazy.

A friend of mine sent me an email this morning regarding “Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day” that is honored and remembered each year on October 15th. You could submit the name of your child with a simple message. My fingers were frozen as they hovered over my keyboard as I wrestled with the notion whether or not to submit Zach’s name. After nearly 10 minutes, I hit “send”, my son’s information sent to an organization that would walk in honor of my son…my loss, and that of so many others.

Relief spread through me in that moment. I made a vow to walk for Zachariah on my own October 15th. I miss him with every single part of my being, but I was filled with love in knowing that there truly are people out there that understand my hurt and heartache. It’s easy to feel alone…that you are the only one around you that has lost a baby making you some sort of outcast. But, we’re not. I’m not. Neither are you. We are women, and we are no lesser of sorts because our arms are empty.

When someone offers you a kind word, or a hopeful voice that life will be okay…that your child won’t ever be forgotten…that changes your entire perspective on living as a mother. That’s one thing that has healed me greatly. I am still a mother. I will ALWAYS be a mother.

..Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #11

BookSacredSilence

 

Journal Entry #11

September 24th, 2013

Today I awoke with a feeling a fullness. An unlikely emotion wrapped around my heart for the very first time in a long time. To be honest, since I lost my son. It was the first time in weeks that I awoke with dry eyes, and a calm spirit. This doesn’t mean the hurt is absent, it just means that I am finally coming to terms with the loss that has filtered itself into the darkest corners of my world.

Miles and I have been spending every evening talking, laughing, finding our love all over again…mending the brokenness that dared to end the love we have treasured for so many years. The weather here in Dallas has briskly changed to cooler temps and light breezes. Autumn doesn’t stick around for very long here in Texas, so for the past few nights we’ve sat on our back porch eating dinner and enjoying a glass or two of my favorite Chardonnay.

Last night, Miles grew quiet after laughing incessantly about a movie we have watched over a hundred times, but still find hilarious all over again each and every time. One of our favorite films, “Bruce Almighty”.

I watched his face grow pale, as he stabbed the final piece of grilled chicken on his plate, twirling his fork in his hands.

“Do you ever think about trying again?”

I found myself staring at him, my emotions ebbing and flowing as I summoned up the courage to answer. I knew exactly what he was asking, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.

“I don’t know. Maybe. But not right now. I’m not ready. Are you?”

I watched as he shrugged his shoulders. I was honestly shocked. After losing his son, I felt like Miles was done. We had struggled so long with infertility, and then came Zachariah. Our happiness had turned to utter sorrow on a whim. The way he had dealt with Zach’s loss, I guess I had grown to believe that ever having another child was simply out of the question. We just weren’t meant to have children.

As I sit here writing this, I remember the touch of his hand enveloping mine from across the patio table last night, the sincere stare of utter love and unrequited want flowing from his eyes. It was obvious, more than obvious, that he wanted to try again. But then and now, I still didn’t know if motherhood was something I wanted to try and touch again. I had lost out on so many different levels.

So instead of deciding, I laid awake last night, my head tilted toward the ceiling and said a silent prayer, eyes closed, Miles snoring quietly beside me. What will be, will be…and I have peace with that, because I know that my little angel above is watching over me.

..Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Foodie Friday ~ Homemade Granola

Homemade_Granola-3

8 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cups wheat germ

1 1/2 cups oat bran

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup finely chopped almonds

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup honey

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #10

BookSacredSilence

 

Journal Entry #10

September 19th, 2013

I found sleep hard to reach last night. So hard that I rolled out of bed, stumbled to the kitchen out of frustration, and poured myself a glass of white wine at 2:30 in the morning. Miles slept. I thought of waking him, but I decided to whittle at my haunting thoughts alone for a while.

We had made a promise, Miles and I. To come to each other whenever and however when sorrow enveloped us, and Zach’s memory arose leaving us torn and empty all over again. Miles had work to delve into five days a week though. I had my thoughts to keep me company. It’s hard redirecting my notions about life and the blows that it had bestowed upon me recently when the world moves on without you, but you refuse to step foot in the fast lane.

I wanted to start looking for a job; a new beginning to help support Miles and I, but to also keep me busy. I would never forget my precious Zach, but I realized I deserved to live. Live to remember him like he should be remembered, deserved to be remembered. To do so, I knew that I needed to walk away from the four walls surrounding me that begged to drown me in depression.

Guilt still loomed around me. The guilt of living and loving life when a life that I had created was no longer present, but absent.

I sipped two glasses of wine earlier this morning, finally reaching out to sleep three hours later only to find my dreams encompassing the face of the little boy I knew I’d never touch or feel in my arms again. Just when I think things are looking up, and acceptance has found its way into my heart, the claws of hurt pull it away.

Miles left for work before I ever awoke. When I finally rolled over onto my side, the couch cushions no longer comfortable and sunlight spilling through the slats of our living room blinds, I saw the white rose and the light blue envelope.

The card inside had a black and white image of a couple standing hand in hand, feet in the surf of the ocean, their backs facing us as their faces were warmed by the tropical sun. Inside was a note…so simple, so true, so gratifying I found myself smiling with the gravitating force of hope and irreplaceable love.

“My Alana,

Moments. We need them. Sometimes together, and sometimes alone. I missed you this morning, but there was no way I could awaken an angel whose soft snores reminded me that rest is what you need.

Know that I am here. I wrestle with my own demons too. Sometimes my dreams haunt me, and other times they remind me of what I’ve had, what I have, and what is to come. Don’t let life pull you too far away from the shore. Let me be your anchor sometimes. There are more times than I’d like to mention, that you have been mine. Even when words are absent.

See you tonight.

Love you,

M”

The spirit of Zach lives on. As I picture my husband’s eyes, I see our son. For now, that is more than enough.

..Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #9

BookSacredSilence

 

Journal Entry #9

September 17th, 2013

His fingers wove their way through mine for the very first time in weeks. This past Saturday was our seven year wedding anniversary, so the two of us headed to dinner across town to celebrate the marriage we had savored for nearly a decade. Yet this anniversary, it was beyond hard to summon up any feeling of insurmountable joy. It just wasn’t there no matter how hard I searched for it.

I will NEVER forget the conversation we had though. Never.

“You look very nice tonight, babe,” his voice was unusually warm as he glanced over at me, his eyes leaving the road just long enough to offer me a casual smile.

“Thanks. You do too.”

“Is that a new dress?” I smoothed out the hem of my navy blue bandana panel dress I had picked up at Anthropologie the prior afternoon.

“Yes, I bought it yesterday,” I replied, somewhat flattered that he had even noticed. Miles rarely noticed new things. Six months ago he had commented about the wool floral rug on the living room floor, having just realized it was there one evening over dinner. The rug had been purchased over a year prior, but somehow, he’d never even noticed it was there. For him to recognize my new dress was a complete miracle. I smiled briefly at the thought, looking out the passenger side window at the sea of cars that whizzed past us.

I felt him squeeze my hand. “You doing okay tonight?”

Turning my head, my eyes met his, softening my heart like they used to. Miles had the most gorgeous eyes ever, with a set of incredible lashes that most women would die to have. Many a night I had gazed into those deep-set, chestnut eyes, lulling my spirit with such ease. I had missed those eyes. This was the first time I saw them sparkle since Zach had left us silently.

“I’m fine. It’s nice to get out tonight, just the two of us. I’ve missed…us.”

His jaw tightened, his gaze straight ahead as he drove. “I’ve missed us too.”

I could see his eyes begin to summon a river of tears, causing mine to do the same. This is not how I wanted the evening to go. We needed to repair the brokenness between us, but the mention of anything personal made the feelings of grief rise from the depths once more. Somehow, we had to push them aside tonight.

Taking a silent deep breath, I found my fragile voice. “Do you remember our first date?”

He chuckled aloud, shaking his head, the mood lightening a little. That’s the laugh I remembered, loved. “Of course I remember. It was definitely not a textbook kind of date, you know.”

I laughed in reply, “No it wasn’t, not at all. You picked me up a quarter after seven, and we made it, maybe five miles before your car sputtered and died in the middle of traffic.”

“Good old, Molly. I’ll always love that 1997 Mercedes Benz.”

“It’s the only Mercedes we’ll ever be able to afford, not that I ever want another one of those awful things anyway.”

He snickered as we slowed, the traffic light blazing red. “After calling a tow truck and eating dinner at the Subway next door, I have to say, it was the best date I’ve ever been on.”

“Likewise, darling.” I turned to look at him, his smile fading, now deeply serious. I pursed my lips, his hand unclasping with mine.

“Let’s skip dinner tonight.” My eyes drove their way into his. “I have a better idea. If you trust me.”

I shook my head, the light turning green as the car rolled forward. “Of course I trust you. But I’m starving,” I offered him casually.

“I know. Just trust me.”

He burned a u-turn at the next light, speeding down the access road, passing several vehicles that glared at us angrily as we weaved our way around them. I gripped the door handle, as we sped forth in silence, the hum of the engine enveloping us, the night engulfing us.

Pulling into a partially vacant shopping center, the sunset blazing brightly, burning my eyes as I squinted to read the signs before us. Miles bounded out of the car, opening my door, pulling my hand as I struggled to get out of the car somewhat ladylike since I was wearing a dress.

“What are we doing?” I asked as he led me down the sidewalk, the summer heat rising from beneath my wedge sandals. He turned around, pulling my body against his, arms locked tightly around me. His eyes dove into mine, drawing out a sea of emotions as my heart began to race. Leaning down ever so slowly, his lips captured mine, kissing me gently at first but slowly deepening. We kissed often, but not like this. I could feel the fire in his mouth, tasting the wounds that had kept us from experiencing the physical love we had left behind weeks ago.

Rising for air a few moments later, a smile spread across my lips, and his followed. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. “Wow. What was that for?”

“You said you missed us. I had forgotten what us felt like. I needed to be reminded,” his voice deep, breath hot as his hands ran across my back.

“I did say that. I love the reminder.” I pulled my arms from around his waist, taking his hand in mine as we walked forth, slowly.

And you know what? We had Subway for dinner that night, not the expensive steak dinner across town that we had made reservations for weeks prior. Afterwards, we walked hand in hand in the nature preserve a block away for more than an hour. Talking, laughing, crying…finding the goodness in each other once more. Rekindled, that’s what happened to our relationship last Saturday night. The embers were stoked to a rising flame once more in a million different ways.

..Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com