Have you ever felt as if your life gets interrupted at the most inconvenient times? I know I hate it when my life is interrupted. We all have grand plans for what we think we want to do and where our life should be at any given point in time. When I was in my early 20’s, I remember putting together a chronological timeline of where I wanted to be at different stages in my life. Well, I can guarantee you that I did not stick to that timeline for very long.
You see, life’s “interruptions” got in the way, and my life has veered in all different directions over the past 30+ years. However, through each of life’s “interruptions,” I have grown as a person and learned something new about myself and other people. When my mother and father-in-law moved in with my family unexpectedly over 9 years ago, right after I decided to stay home with my four boys, my life was hugely “interrupted.” I had plans of finally spending time with my kids after working for 17 years and hardly seeing them. Well, that didn’t work out the way I planned. However, through that experience, I learned to be more patient and empathetic towards the elderly, and how to cook soft foods for my father-in-law who had Parkinson’s disease.
Three years ago, I spent nearly every day for 6 months with a woman I met who had stage 4 stomach cancer. Through that experience, I learned that the little time that I could give meant a lot to this woman who would become my friend. It also gave me the courage to approach other people with cancer and reach out to help them.
When my older son suffered a severe concussion almost two years ago and then my youngest son sat home with me last year for a month with abdominal pains, I was forced to sit still each time and not leave the house. That experience taught me that so many things I had thought were important really weren’t, that a lot of the running around I had been doing really wasn’t necessary. I was forced to be still and be grateful for what I have.
Over the years, as I’ve experienced more “interruptions,” I have also learned to start looking at these interruptions as divine interventions instead, and discovered that by doing so, that I have grown so much as a person, and that my life has been redirected in a whole new way. Now when a divine intervention happens, I feel more peace and less stress. Now, when I learn about someone in our community that has cancer, I reach out and I am not afraid. I have learned to cook for people with cancer and am now hoping to teach others how to do this.
I know that there will be many more “asteroids” (my husband’s terminology) to dodge, but I also believe there is a reason for whatever is happening, and that will all make sense one day in the grand plan that God has laid out.
So, although I have no idea where my little blog is taking me, I feel that it has really blossomed in the past year, and is taking me to places I never dreamed of before. Just a few weeks ago, I came in first place in a contest for Top Foodie Mom, and a few days later, I was on a speaker panel on social media at BlogHer Food. A few days after that, I was asked to share my journey at a Ladies’ Night Out event with a group of women in our community about how I ended up where I am today, as well as some healthy eating tips.
Our Ladies Night Out was made even more fun as I was able to obtain some samples and door prizes from some generous sponsors (as well as some items I’ve won but decided others could use more than me). Thanks to my friend Cathy Westrum who was our photographer for this special evening.
For this Ladies Night Out event, I made my Firecracker Salsa and these Double Chocolate Fudgey Gluten-Free Brownies. I’m so glad I made these brownies as there were two ladies who have celiac disease and several others who are on a gluten-free diet.
I made these little brownie bites for this month’s event – they are the perfect mini-portion sweet treat. I made these gluten-free, dairy-free and healthier version of King Arthur’s Whole Wheat Brownies by using a whole grain gluten-free flour mix (I used King Arthur’s Whole Grain Flour Blend) and coconut flour, cutting the oil in the original recipe in half by using applesauce, substituting coconut oil for the butter, and reducing the number of eggs and the amount of sugar in the original recipe by using unsweetened applesauce and ground flax seeds.
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1½ cups organic brown sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (I used Starbucks VIA)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds + 6 tablespoons water (mix together and let sit for 5 minutes)
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1¼ cup gluten-free whole grain flour mix
- ¼ cup coconut flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon xanthun gum
- 2 cups dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9"x13" baking pan with parchment paper (this makes removing the brownies from the pan easier).
- In a medium microwavable glass bowl, heat coconut oil and sugar for 2 minutes and stir to combine. You want to dissolve some of the sugar, but do not want it to bubble.
- Stir in cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Add eggs, flax seed/water mixture and applesauce, stirring until well combined.
- Add whole grain flour mix, coconut flour and xanthum gum, and stir until well combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes so coconut flour can absorb moisture.
- Spread batter in parchment paper lined baking pan. Bake 30 minutes.
- Let cool before cutting.
I’d like to thank Purity Foods, KitchenAid, Rebecca Katz (author of The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen cookbook), The HopeFULL Company, and Bob’s Red Mill for their generous donations to make this event so much fun!