Every Mama’s Dream Brownies!!  Gluten free, bean free, guilt free!

You’ll have to forgive my lack of enticing seducing photos… These brownies disappear so fast it’s a miracle I got the one I did!

So, I came to this recipe browsing on Pinterest searching for a brownie recipe I could eat without guilt. And I didn’t want to use beans!!  Yeah.  They don’t exist.  Or that’s what I thought until I found this recipe!!  (Insert happy dance here!  Thank you, Running with Spoons!) After weeks and weeks on the HCG diet I wasn’t going to ruin it with careless brownie eating! I was prepared to run to the store for all the foreign ingredients I would surely need to buy, and conveniently I had everything the recipe called for (another miracle), and I got eagerly started.  Now, of course there is no such thing for me as sticking TOTALLY to a recipe, so I will give you my slightly tweaked version below.  Be prepared for chewy, chocolatey delicious brownieness!!  You might need to hide them from your children.  ;).

Every Mama’s Dream Brownies

Bake 350  25-30 minutes


  • 6 oz Chocolate Chips  (1/2 a bag)
  • 6 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut sugar (This is found on your baking aisle typically, photo below)
  • 3 Tbsp Arrowroot powder (Can be found with spices/herbs on baking aisle, photo below)
  • 1/4 cup Baking Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • Optional: 1/4 cup baking Stevia for a little more sweetness!


  1. Melt coconut oil and chocolate chips together in a small sauce pan until completely melted and smooth.  Remove from heat while mixing other ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl or stand mixer, mix remaining ingredients, beating for two minutes.
  3. Add melted chocolate mixture and continue to blend for one minute.
  4. Pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish, and bake at 350 for 25-30 min.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
  6. Don’t forget to lick the batter bowl clean!  You’re welcome. 😉

Enjoy your delicious brownies, and be sure to let me know what you thought, as well as stop on by the “Running with Spoons” blog to tell her thank you!

Below are photos of the Arrowroot powder and Coconut sugar if those are new ingredients for you.  I found both on the baking aisle, and the powder cost me around $6, while the sugar was about $3.50.  The powder is what gives the brownies their “normal” texture without including flour.  Without it, you’d probably end up with fudge.  🙂  And coconut sugar is supposed to be more easily metabolized by our bodies.  Hurray!



16 Spring 2016 outfits for normal people! :)

When the new season arrives it’s always a little challenging to know where to start.  Well, with spring weather here I thought I’d post some of my favorite looks I’ve been rocking.

Here are some tips for what’s hot this year:

  • Edgy girl: Distressed jeans of all colors and shapes and lengths!  Fabric textures like suede and faux leather. Wrap bracelets.
  • Classic gals: get your stripes on!!
  • Romantic ladies: lace, scalloped hemlines and cut out detailing.
  • Preppy sisters: floral and colored Blazers and hats!
  • Bohemian chics: kimonos, wrap bracelets, gauzy fabrics, WHITE!, beads, distressed jeans, wide leg pants, maxi skirts
  • Casual femmes: distressed jeans, lightweight drapey cardigans, slub tees half tucked, denim jackets, maxi dresses!

Remember, be you, dress for the weather, and confidence is your best accessory. (No but seriously, it really is!).

What does God think about you? THAT’s the truth…

man and lake.jpeg

Hello friends!!  Let’s talk about…

What do you believe about yourself?  Who do you think you are?  What do you think people think about who you are?  Are you satisfied or disappointed with yourself?  How do you know if you’re believing the truth about yourself?  So.  Many.  Questions.

What you Believe about YOURSELF forms your identity.  This is one of the two most important things to evaluate how you are thinking.  The second is what you believe about and relate to God himself.  But today is about what you believe about YOU.  Everything you do, the ways you speak, behave, relate to others, opportunities you take, choices you make, are all IMMEDIATELY related to what you believe about yourself.

As an exercise, take some time and write down perhaps the things you’re believing about yourself that are not helping you accomplish greatness and the destiny God placed in you… anything that is a lie.  Satan is an accuser, he brings shame, he brings a sense of insufficiency, a sense of inadequacy and failure and incompetance.  Any place you feel this way, its very likely you’re believing a lie that was formed in hell.  It may have come through the mouth of someone you love, which is what makes it believable, but that doesn’t change, that if its not what God says about it, ITS NOT TRUTH.  People speak out of anger, out of hurt, out of disappointment, out of selfishness, and things spoken in these attitudes are not rooted in truth but in their own distorted version of you.  The best thing you can do is see what God says about you in the Bible.  Another thing I love to do is see what he says about me by simply asking.  He loves to tell us.  You can know its his voice when you see it is compatible with what Scripture says.  He will never contradict scripture.  But he loves to speak to his children, because he is a good, attentive Father.  Search yourself, and discover how amazing he has made you.  Dare to throw off the lies and live this year in the TRUTHS of who you are, and what the Loving God thinks about you.  🙂

Let me give you a spoiler: YOU .  ARE.  AMAZING!!  Ok.  Read on.  🙂

house cleaning God taking our hand

(The following was borrowed from here.  )

Believe You Are Who God Says You Are


“And we … are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)

“God is asking you to believe he is who he says he is, believe you are who he says you are, and then live like you believe those things.”

This week’s devotionals are by Buddy Owens, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of ‘The Way of a Worshiper’.

I want to help you learn to confess your faith, and then let that confession lead to life change so that it demolishes your old way of thinking and gives you a new way of thinking about life, God, yourself, hardship, your family and your world.

And here’s how to do it: Stop confessing lies. Confess your faith! Say the same thing God says about you. Let it change the way you think . . . and it will change the way you live.

Here are some things the Bible says about you that need to become things you say about yourself. Start every day by confessing these truths —

My Faith Confessions

  • I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)
  • The Son has set me free. I am free indeed! (John 8:36)
  • My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
  • He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
  • There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
  • Nothing can ever separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39)
  • In all things God works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28)
  • God is faithful. He will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • My light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
  • He is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within me. (Ephesians 3:20)
  • God is for me! Who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)

When you say what God says (confession), you begin to think what God thinks (repentance). So let this be your confession of faith. And let it be the foundation on which you build your new life.

This is not the power of positive thinking. It’s not your good thoughts that will turn your life around. God’s power will turn your life around. He’s just asking you to believe he is who he says he is, believe you are who he says you are, and then live like you believe those things.

Does that mean bad things will stop happening? No. But it does mean you will experience many more victories than losses because the Word of God is at work in you.


Here is another list of things God says about you.

I am God’s child.
Galatians 3:26

I am Jesus’ friend.
John 15:15

I am a whole new person with a whole new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17

I am a place where God’s Spirit lives.
1 Corinthians 6:19

I am God’s Incredible work of art.
Ephesians 2:10

I am totally and completely forgiven.
1 John 1:9

I am created In God’s likeness.
Ephesians 4:24

I am spiritually alive.
Ephesians 2:5

I am a citizen of Heaven.
Philippians 3:20

I am God’s messenger to the world.
Acts 1:8

I am God’s disciple-maker.
Matthew 28:19

I am the salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:13

I am the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14

I am greatly loved.


hCG Diet results! This has been amazing!

Wow.  After four kids, a momma just might have some baby-weight to lose!  Thankfully, mine was only about 30 lbs, but it was sure stubborn and not coming off!  In fact, the scale slowly climbed, and despite my best efforts, it was not budging.  I had prayed earlier this year, earnestly asking the Lord to help me and connect me to the resources to have success in this area of getting healthy again, and I stumbled across a little bottle of hCG diet drops at a Ross near me.  At first I thought it was excessive and ridiculous, but after doing a lot of research online, there was SO MUCH positive feedback, lasting results, and knowing it was designed by a doctor helped too, so I decided to try it.  And I am so thankful.  My pre-self wasn’t out of control, but I know me best, and I have always been lean and healthy and wanted to stay that way.  Now that you know the backstory,  want to know my results?  Here are the details:

The total diet lasted 40 days (about 6 weeks), and the transition out phases lasted a total of 6 weeks. So, here it is:

I went from 156.8 lbs, to 138.2 lbs.  That’s a total loss of nearly 19 lbs!!

And I lost… ready for this?  A whopping NINETEEN INCHES all over!!  I lost 3.5 inches in my hips, butt, and almost 3 inches in my waist!  I went from wearing a Large top to a Small top.  And I fit a bunch of my clothes that had gotten too small. 🙂  Here are the photos…

This was my first Before/After series

This was my first Before/After series



Its amazing to me the results I saw in such a short time!

Its amazing to me the results I saw in such a short time!

Before and After.  The "after" shot is just before finishing the diet.

Before and After. The “after” shot is just before finishing the diet.

Before and After.

Before and After.

Some of my new outfits in my new clothes. :)

Some of my new outfits in my new clothes. 🙂

I always wanted to wear a dress like this.  Now I can!

I always wanted to wear a dress like this. Now I can!

Super thankful.

Super thankful.

This jacket couldn't button before!

This jacket couldn’t button before!


These are the drops I used, found at Ross and Burlington, though they dont regularly carry them

Now, for anyone who hasn’t struggled to lose baby weight, it might be a little ridiculous for me to be so excited over 20 lbs, but this was a huge deal for me!  Technically, I still have ten to go, but I am celebrating this milestone!  I have literally prayed for 3.5 years for a breakthrough in getting the baby weight and the momentum of weight gain reversed.  The beautiful thing even beyond the actual weight loss?  That God cared enough to put the right tools in my hands.  Tools that were helpful, and nurtured healthy changes and education on what kind of foods are best for my body.  God totally cares about these things!  Why?  Because he LOVES.  And because he loves you, he cares about what you care about.  Ok, tangent over…

I learned so much on this diet!  Because of how it’s built I learned a lot of what kinds of foods to reach for that will fill me while benefit my weight and health goals.  Now, before you starting judging and think I ‘m crazy to have weight concerns over twenty or thirty pounds, please understand, I liked myself even at my heaviest, and I like myself now.  I’ve never hated myself. I have always believed in making the most of what you have to work with.  But I also believe in being the best (healthiest) version of ourselves as long as we can control it.  For me this wasn’t about becoming a supermodel or anything a magazine might promote.  Rather, it was about reaching a weight goal that I felt would be healthy for me.  Actually, after having my first baby and not really knowing how to relate to my I’m-a-woman-I’ve-birthed-babies body, I had asked the Lord what weight would be healthiest for my frame, muscle/bone makeup, lifestyle, etc.  I mean, he made me, he knows what’s best for me, wouldn’t he know the healthiest weight for me too?  And I kept coming to the same number (as un-round of a number as it was), and when I looked it up on the weight-range index, it was in a perfect spot in my healthy weight range for my height, and appropriate for my lean structural build.  So, that’s how I came to my goal weight.  For some that may seem a little over-spiritualized, but I’ve always felt, God knows best and so why not just ask him.  He loves being involved in those details of our lives. 🙂


So, starting today,  I’m actually on my second  and last round of the hCG diet, this time with two friends, to try to get the last 6-8 lbs off to reach my goal weight.  Then I’ll be able to start toning muscle a little bit, and have the happy satisfaction of knowing I’m taking the best care of this body that I can, while I can.  I want to live long, healthy and vibrant all my days.  Keeping my weight under control, eating healthy, exercising, detoxing a couple times a year, resting when needed, hydrating, all those are disciplines to be a good steward of this temple, this body.  I read a lot to keep my mind sharp, laugh a lot to keep me happy, and lots of other little disciplines that are healthy for longevity.  I hope this blog was encouraging to you, and if so, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear! As for now, I’ll see you with my next before/after post.  Stay tuned! 🙂   I wish you peace for the journey!

Great news to share!!!

I have exciting news!

I mean, after ten years of raising little ones, this is pretty life-shifting for me! It marks a new season, it marks a new phase, and I realized I hadn’t shared the excitingness with you yet, my sweet blog friends!  So, read on, as I share my happy celebration with you!

I was recently suggested to apply to be a Personal Stylist with a company called Stitch Fix; a company I was completely ignorant of at that point.

So, I did a little looksy looksy online and found out that this is a company who styles people through the internet and mail! What?!  That’s a thing?!  The more I read, the more convinced I was that this is a job that was seriously designed with me in mind!  I already style my friends without asking their permission when we are out shopping. 🙂  I also have taught a few fashion and learn-to-dress-yourself classes at the request of people who were interested, and already am a go-to-fashion advisor for a few people I know personally.  Well, why WOULDN’T I apply to do this and get paid?!  Its a no brainer.  🙂

So I travelled to Austin, had a wonderful time with a friend of mine, interviewed with Stitchfix and found out a few weeks later:



I GOT THE JOB!!! (Doing a happy Dance!!)

Ok for real, you have no idea!  I have been in my house raising sweet precious boys for ten years now, and I have been praying that whole time for a job I could do from home, that I would enjoy, so I could help financially, but also just to have something other than parenting I could put my energy into.  Some mommas need that.   I am a Pastor, and have been for years which I have LOVED, but unpaid since my husband is the one on payroll.  I wanted to contribute financially!  So, getting this job is a huge life-shift for me.  I get to help out!  I get to do something I love!  I’m officially not a mom of toddlers anymore (well, I kind of knew that already)!!  This is kind of a big deal for me.

So, I thought I would share this news with you, my sweet blogging family; and in case you were like me and didn’t know what Stitch Fix is, share the brilliance of this company with you!  What celebration is complete with out sharing it with others?!  So, that’s my news.  🙂  I’m so thankful to the Lord for providing a job which is so perfectly tailored to my life and loves!  If you’re actually interested in learning what this company is and how it works, read on.  I am not making a sales pitch as I am not responsible for building my own clientele, I just thought it is so cool and helps so many people out, I wanted to share it in case you’d benefit from the service.  🙂

Here are some Austin-road-trip photos for you to look at and imagine you came with us.  🙂  That would have been lovely.


Hitting the road with Jackie!


Oh, but gotta stop at Panera for lunch first 😉


Coming into Houston.


Her first trip to Bucees!


Supa-model status


Driver status


Our awesome quarters for the night. We slept in the same room that has hosted Georgian Banov and his wife. Anointing!!


Outfit dilemmas for my interview. I ended up combining them.


Stitch Fix Headquarters!


In the heart of Austin… Hi state capitol building!


We lived on Bucees Salads!


This was my splurge from my hCG diet on this trip!


Sugar-free Peppermint Mocha with a slice of Pumpkin loaf bread!


Chilling at the San Marcos Tanger Outlet! It was enormous!


What fun is a girl’s trip without shopping?!


Can’t go to Bucees and not kiss a beaver!


Or hug a hundred…


Aw snap! Got pulled over at 2 am after four hours of driving, within five minutes of Jackie’s house. I prayed for favor and grace like a crazy woman! He let me off with a warning. #jesusreallylovesme #dontspeedevenwhendelirious


Curious about Stitch-Fix?  It’s simple and BRILLIANT!

If any of you hate to shop, don’t have time to shop, don’t know how to shop or just want someone else to do the thinking and leg work for you, this company might be a convenient membership for you to consider!

Here’s how it works:

  1. You go to Stitchfix.com, fill out a profile which gives you the opportunity to specify your body shape, age, career, clothing preferences, approximate measurements, and a bunch of other helpful information so your Stylist will know exactly HOW to dress you.
  2. You schedule your fix from a variety of timing options from once every couple weeks to once every few months.
  3. For each fix you pay a small $20 styling fee, but this fee goes toward whatever clothes you choose to keep that are sent to you!  Amazing!
  4. Your stylist works her magic, and chooses FIVE pieces for you, and includes an instruction/idea card on how you might put these pieces together for some amazingly stylish combos!
  5. Your Fix arrives in the mail, and you keep whatever pieces you love and send back in the included paid return envelope whatever pieces you don’t plan to keep.
  6. A PERK!  If you keep all five pieces, you save 25% of your total!!  That’s amazing!!  I think this is such a great deal!!
  7. Voila!!  You have great new clothes to choose from, and you didn’t have to shop for OR choose them!  And how fun it can be when someone else chooses your clothes, you can end up with some ideas you might never come up with yourself!

Isn’t this so brilliant?!  I’m thankful I don’t have to build my own clientele, but I wanted to share this with ya’ll for anyone who was like me and didn’t know this brilliance existed!  And, if you DO decide to sign up with Stich Fix, you actually CAN request me as your stylist in your notes if you prefer.  🙂  Just sayin’… our beautiful relationship can continue on in other world-wide-web capacities…I know, I know, now your dreams are coming true, right? 😉

That’s it!  Its brilliant, simple, and who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail?!

Until next time!  Love ya’ll!!  Thanks for celebrating with me!


hCG Diet Journey: Week 5… New Photos!!!

New before and After photos! So excited for the progress I’m experiencing!!  I’m 15 lbs down, only ten to go!!  I have lost over 14 inches now!!  HURRAY!!!!!
Processed with Moldiv

30 days on hCG diet.  Down 15 lbs and 14 inches!

Day 1: 142.7 
I think those Doritos yesterday put my water high.  🙂  Oops!!  Don’t Cheat…don’t cheat!
Day 2: 141.8
Decided to measure today to see progress! Again, so encouraging!!
Bust:  35
Waist:  28
Hips: 37.5
butt: 41.5
Thighs: 23.5, 23.5
Neck: 12.25
Compared to last measure: -4.5 inches, -5.2 lbs
Day 3: 142.5
Day 4: 142.4
Plateauing from period coming.
Eating lots of salads!!!  They are so good!!!
Day 5:  141.5
Started period tonight, plateau makes sense.
Delicious salads again!!!  Ate dinner at Cheddars tonight.  Ate half an 8 oz steak, steamed broccoli, and drank water and decaf coffee.  Was delicious.  When you go out to eat, most places you can specify to cook without butter.  I think my waitress forgot that last night because my steak was definitely buttered, but it was SO GOOD I just waved my hand over it like some magic gesture that will eliminate the calories.  🙂  It was a good dinner though.  Pappadeaux was really good about grilling without butter.  Just double check with your waitress.
Day 6: 141.9
Weight plateauing prob from period.
Went shopping yesterday and found that I’m down from a size 13, put on size 11 jeans, and they were even too big.  I am in a 9 now!!! Hurray!!!  I also had been wearing size Large shirts, and was finding that Mediums and Smalls were fitting me much better than the Larges!!  Hooray for success!! Celebrate the victories!!!!  If you’re losing weight, reward yourself with a new piece of clothing.  Success comes when we celebrate the labors!  If you are on this weight-loss journey with me, or considering joining, I encourage you to do it.  You can do it!  As you can see there will be some imperfect days, but the consistency of good CHOICES will bring you the reward you are looking for!!

Holiday Cheer skinny Peppermint Merengue Puffs

I simply love these merengues!!  And, so does everyone I make them for.  In fact, just last night, my friend was asking me (or rather placing a polite demand) that I make them!  My kids are crazy about them too!!  Now normally that wouldn’t be a surprise, because after all, these ARE cookies.  But, I don’t actually mind my kids enjoying these delicious delights because they are made of just egg whites and sugar basically.  Here’s the magic in that!:  The protein pairs with the sugar and they bind together molecularly, causing your body to regulate and NOT spike your blood sugar, so you don’t store fat like you would if you ate sugar alone.  It also prevents the sugar crash later.  With four active boys, I love any treat that keeps my kids from getting wound up and crazy.

Another reason you will love making these,  they are extremely low calorie cookies!    If you pipe about 100 cookies from this recipe, they are each only 6.5 calories!!  Aside from their festive look, that alone is a great excuse to eat them!!! I originally found this recipe online at SkinnyTaste, and have enjoyed it for a few years now!

These little Merengues are an impressive bring-along for that office work party, your family gathering, or just for at home enjoyment.  For a little fun, throw one or two in your cup of cocoa and make Christmas just a little more playful!  Enjoy!!

Skinny Peppermint Striped Merengue Puffs

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 drops peppermint essential oil (or 1 tsp. extract flavoring)
  • For decorating: red gel food coloring, paint brush, piping bag


Prep: Line a couple cookie sheets with wax paper  Set oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit

  1. Throw eggs  in a glass mixing bowl, and set it over a pot of boiling water so the steam can gradually warm your bowl and thus warm your eggs Without cooking them.
  2. Mix sugar and vanilla into eggs mixture and store continually until sugar is melted and dissolved (not gritty) and slightly foamy.
  3. Remove from heat (carefully) and turn on your beater or transfer to your kitchen aid mixer, and beat until mixture forms stiff white peaks. (Basically, they hold their shape when you lift and fold the mixture with a spoon)
  4. DONT FORGET TO ADD YOUR PEPPERMINT!!  I save this till the end so the oil of the peppermint doesn’t disturb the ability of the merengue to fluff up.  Oil of any kind will keep it heavy and flat.


  1. With your brush, draw three evenly spaced GENEROUS stripes with the gel food coloring, starting deep inside near the icing tip, and draw upward to the top of the bag.  Make these lines distinct but generous because it has to last for the entire bagful.
  2. Fill the icing bag with merengue
  3. Pipe cookies about the size of a half dollar or slightly smaller in a beautiful twisted shape onto your lined pans.    Using a star shaped icing tip will help give this effect.


  1. Bake in a preheated oven at 200f, for 1 hr. 15 min, to 1 hr 30 min.
  2. Take them out when they are crisp on the outside but slightly soft inside.
  3. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle with decorative sugar to add a wintery effect.
  4. LET THEM COOL COMPLETELY!!!  About 15-20 min.

Store in an airtight container.  Humidity will ruin these delights!

Enjoy all your hard work!!!