14 July 2014

vegan cherry blueberry crumble

 I hesitate to even tell you that this recipe is vegan because I think that conjures up weird ideas in dairy loving minds, but let me just tell you - this is delicious in every sense of the word. And if vegan just doesn't jive with you, you can easily substitute butter for the coconut oil and it will be equally delightful.

We had friends over last week who have to abstain from dairy. I was excited to try coconut oil in my crumble and it did not disappoint. This is the perfect summer dessert - brimming with ripe fruit, sweet and tart and perfectly spiced. There is so little sugar in this, you could seriously eat it for breakfast and be everyone's hero and not even feel guilty.
Or like me, you can top it with a bunch of whipped cream for your dairy loving people and be a dessert superhero. Your call.

Trader Joe's has these jarred Morello cherries that are so good. If you live within the vicinity of one, get them. They're sour and perfect for any baked cherry treat you can dream up.
Mix them up with fresh blueberries, and you can't go wrong.

 And anything with a crumble topping? I mean. Really.

(vegan) cherry blueberry crumble
serves 8

2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
16 ounce jar of sour morello cherries (drained and rinsed),
or 12 ounce bag of frozen cherries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or butter)
two pinches of salt

In a skillet or your favorite 9x13 baking dish, toss berries and cherries with cornstarch, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients until they all come together into a crumble. Top berries evenly with the crumble mixture and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature as is, or topped with ice cream or whipped cream.


05 July 2014

noonday: why my heart was taken

In my life before babies and domesticity, I fancied myself a world traveler. A lover of culture and plane rides and little markets and spices in the air. Dusty roads off the beaten path, beautiful faces, new languages. I dream of days to come, traveling abroad with my husband, my kids, exploring new places, watching the wonder and awe and beauty that comes with setting your feet on new soil. 

But let's be real. Right now, five kids under the age of 8, and our international traveling days are scarce. But my heart is still there. In the jungles of Ecuador where I lived in college, the pueblos in Mexico, the warmth of the families I met in Ethiopia. I still dream of India. 

I know that for now, we are where we've been called. Serving as we've been asked. But. My heart is still there.

So when I heard about Noonday, something started stirring up inside of me. A company that started with a family's desire to adopt, and grew into a mission to serve and advocate for women and families around the world. The more I read and heard, and prayed, the more I knew that this was something I could do here and now. I could participate, advocate, love in this very specific way.

So last month I signed on as Noonday ambassador. I get to share the stories of artisans who make beautiful jewelry and bring their wares to my own community. What started with one couple in Uganda who could barely feed their family, as grown to support families in ten different countries around the world. Creating sustainable jobs, providing community and hope and all in relationship with people who love them. 

Have you heard of Noonday? I'd love for you to read more, explore the stories of the people whose lives have been changed, who've been empowered. Every piece has a story, every part handmade with love and hope. Every purchase we make from Noonday is advocating for change. Every time we tell their stories, we make a difference. 

What can you do? Consider purchasing something (there's a killer sale right now) as a gift or for yourself or hosting a trunk show - it's the easiest way to advocate and make a difference in the lives of so many. Email me if you have any questions... I am so excited to share this with people. The heart of Noonday and the stories have brought me to tears on many occasions. I hope you, too, will be touched!

10 June 2014

the year of 36

I woke up on Saturday morning, my birthday, stretched out and soaked in the morning light coming through the window by our bed. My gracious husband let me sleep in until 9:30 and it was glorious. In kind of a groggy haze, I thought over what I wanted 36 to be.  Life seems to be happening so quickly lately, as the cliche goes - every year gets faster. The more kids you have, it's even faster still. So our lives seem to be going at warp speed these days.

35 was kind of a blur. Pregnancy and a new baby (or two), school schedules and new business ventures, and all the other day to day. In all our transitions and changes, my attitude got the better of me more often than I would've liked. So often I was grumpy and short, or harried, or tired. I felt the weight of my to do lists, which I mostly stared blankly at, not sure where to begin, and then suddenly someone would need something and I'd forget all about it.

I've said before "this is the year I'll be more organized!" or whatever sort of accomplishment I felt was most pressing. To be tidier, to spend less, to read more, to eat healthier, to watch less tv, to write more, to go running more frequently. 

This year feels different. What do I want 36 to look like? I want to be kinder. Softer. Gentler. I want to look my kids in the eyes when they ask me questions and really think about my answers. I want to laugh with them more, and worry less about what tasks we should be accomplishing. I want to eat in the backyard and go for walks with no destination, to watch them ride their bikes in circles and kick the soccer ball around in the afternoons. I want to blow more bubbles and read more books on their floor in their room at night. I want to snuggle with my husband and watch more baseball and play more scrabble and hold hands in the car. I want to say yes more than I say no. To being silly and eating treats and going to the park. I want to really listen and tune in and soak in as much as I can of these people. My people.

I want 36 to be less about doing and more about being.
So, here we go.

06 June 2014

big birthday giveaway!

congratulations, Meredith Watkins! you're the winner!

One of my favorite things about this time of year is rounding up a few of my favorite shops for a big birthday giveaway. And this year I am SO excited to share these businesses that are committed to making a positive impact around the globe. 

Please check them out, follow these shops, read their stories. They really are making a difference.

Hi, I’m Stacy.  I’m passionate about Jesus, coffee, culture, creativity, my babies and sleep.  I’m new to Etsy and am so excited to get to make a little extra dough doing something I love.  My husband and I feel called to long term missions in the beautiful country of Honduras.  While we were raising money for our first trip there, I started making these hand-painted reclaimed wood signs as a fundraiser.  It was such a success that I decided to open a shop and keep spreading the love.  At least 10% of all sales at Joy Reclaimed go to loving and feeding the poor in this nation.  Each sign is sure to add a little pizazz to your casa. 

giveaway: $38 shop credit

She Does Justice is an advocate for those who need one. It is a space where organizations who are working for the good of others are recognized. It is a community of people who want to show love to the 'least of these'. A place where we strive to show those in need that they are known and loved.
We have made it our mission to support organizations who are working to reach those in need, near and far. It doesn't matter how big or small the organization, if we believe in its mission then we want to help support it. Each month we will spotlight an organization. At the end of the month we will write a check to that organization taken from the overall sales in our shop that month. Each month we will donate at least 10% of our gross profit to an organization to help further their mission. Check out our cause for this month on our blog!
giveaway: "make a difference today" tote
Beautiful & Beloved desires to make a simple path for you to support individuals freed from slavery who are now empowered to earn a living in a safe, clean and just way. 
Not only is our merchandise beautifully made and unique, but each purchase will dignify a survivor of human trafficking or living in extreme poverty… 
Each item is hand crafted by someone who is now free to earn and create.

I (Carina) own this necklace and I love it. It seriously goes with everything, it is beautifully made, and I get compliments every single time I wear it.

giveaway: $50 shop credit

Noonday Collection's mission is to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. We partner with artisans in the developing world, empowering them to grow sustainable businesses. By creating a marketplace for their goods, we create dignified jobs at living wages. This allows our artisans to earn more in order to support their families. We also offer no interest loans and make advance payments on orders. This way we are able to shoulder the costs of materials and build a lasting relationship based on trust. We offer scholarship programs and emergency assistance. Noonday Collection also donates a portion of sales to place orphans in forever families.
 giveaway: $25 shop credit

I can't do a giveaway and not share something from my shop! I am excited about the bright, colorful new look this summer. This scarf is super lightweight cotton and perfect for warm weather, with a cheerful pop of color to brighten up your every day look. 10% of all proceeds from the shop go to a different cause or adoptive family each month - it's been a blessing to partner up with some amazing folks!

giveaway: lightweight rainbow plaid scarf ($24)

Giveaway closes Monday night. All entries will be verified.
Open to US residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

good luck and happy weekend!

21 May 2014

asian rainbow chicken salad

This is it, you guys. The perfect salad.
I have a serious affection for the Chinese Chicken Salad at the Cheesecake Factory. (If you can have affection for mixed greens, which I do.) But this. This beats it by a landslide, for so many reasons. First, because I made it in my own kitchen, didn't spend a million dollars on it, and it is filled to the brim with so many good, crunchy, delicious vegetables. Each hearty serving only has 325 calories, and leftovers keep really well because there isn't any actual lettuce in it. Not only that, it has 140% of your daily vitamin C and 27 grams of protein.
I could go on, but what I'm saying is, make this salad.

Asian Rainbow Chicken Salad
serves 4
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, roasted and chopped
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 cup raw broccoli, chopped
1 cup baby carrots, sliced lengthwise
3 mini sweet peppers, sliced
3 medium green onions, sliced, including greens
1 cup mandarin orange pieces, fresh or canned (if canned, drain and rinse well)
1/3 cup dry roasted almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon+ sriracha sauce

Toss all the veggies together in a salad bowl. Add in oranges and almonds. Top with chicken. Whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, honey, and vinegar. Drizzle over salad and toss gently. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. 

Serve and enjoy!