divorce does not define me

 

DIVORCED.

A scary word and a freeing word all in the same breath.

I cried when I signed the final papers yesterday.  Ten years of my life, gone in a flash.  Seemingly all for nothing.

DONE.

And then I steadied myself, breathed in deep, lungs filling slowly until they almost hurt, and sighed a long, fresh-start sigh.

Peace.  That is what I feel right now.

PEACE.

He signed the papers.  I signed the papers.  The lawyer and judge signed the papers.  It’s all over.

DIVORCED.

A new status now defines me.  A new box to check on the countless forms that ask for your ‘marital status’.  I am no longer ‘Married’, I am not even ‘Single’…  I am Divorced.

I AM DIVORCED.

The more I type that word, see that word, say that word, the weirder it feels.

I am not my experiences.  I am not my situation.  I am not my ‘marital status’.  I am me.

I am the girl God knew before I ever took my first breath on this earth, and I am the one He has big plans for.

What are those plans?

I wish I knew.  But I’m okay with not knowing.  I’m okay.

I AM AT PEACE.

I am not an ‘-ed’ word.  I am not an anomaly or a broken, ruined person.  I am not his ex.

I am not a lesser version of myself.  I am not damaged goods.  I am me.

And I am exactly who God created me to be.  I am done defining myself through the lens of this world.

I AM DONE.

I am a Divorced, Jesus-loving, Mom, Sister, Daughter, Niece, Cousin & Friend.

I am worthy of love, I am capable of love, and I am not broken.  I am not defective.  I am not damaged.

I AM DIVORCED.

That has changed me.  But it will not define me.

divorced

Now you know where I’ve been this past year – those of you who have been following my journey, following this blog, and waiting patiently for me to show my face again.  I am here.  I am re-learning how to be me.

I am so thankful for each and every one of you.  I am so thankful for your love, and concern, your patience and your encouragement through this darkest season of my life so far.

I am OK.  I really am.

What does the future look like for this blog?  What does the future look like for my passions and hobbies and for all of you?  I’m not sure.

I’m not sure where my heart is pulling me right now, but I do know that I need a safe place to share my heart and I’m hoping you all will give me grace to use this space right here.

I will share recipes when they are on my heart, but I will also share my stories, my struggles, my triumphs and my joys.

Is that ok?  Should I step over someplace new and create a new space for all of that, leaving this blog as is?  Even if that means I’m not here much?  That would be okay with me.  I can do that.

I’d love your input friends.  This space is just as much yours as it is mine, and I want it to continue to be a place you want to come.  Share your hearts with me friends.

I’m listening.

divorced

No-Bean Pumpkin Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!)

No beans and wholesome ingredients make this cozy pumpkin chili a perfect Whole30, or Paleo friendly meal.  It is rich, comforting, easy and the best part – it tastes even better the longer it sits.

Make a double batch if you have a big enough pot and freeze some for a busy day.  You’ll be so happy to have this ready to go!

No-Bean Pumpkin Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!) | Sweet Anna's

I am on Day 5 of the Whole30 (If you’re not sure what that is, Google away! It’s great!)…  The only side-effect I’m having right now is that I am absolutely starving all the time, no matter how much I eat. (Starving!)

This chili is the perfect solution to that problem.  I really don’t think it’s even possible to eat this and still be hungry, there is so much meat and good things in it!

Don’t let the “healthy” part deter you, though…  if you are serving this to your kids, or you don’t care about Whole30 or Paleo recipes,  then by all means top this with some shredded cheese, sour cream and your favorite chips!  It will be a crowd pleaser, for sure!

No-Bean Pumpkin Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!) | Sweet Anna's

I will absolutely be making this again and again, and I have to say… as much as I love beans, it was kind of nice to have a bean-free chili for once!

 

Pumpkin No-Bean Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons 21 Seasoning Salute*
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil**
  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions, chopped and divided (3/4 + 1/4)
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños seeded and diced (if the flesh is too spicy, only use one!)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée
  • salt & pepper
  • chipotle chili powder, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients.
  2. *"21 Seasoning Salute" is from Trader Joe's and Costco has an almost identical blend called "Organic No-Salt Seasoning". If you don't have either of those stores near you, don't worry. The chili will be just fine without it!
  3. In a large 4-6 quart pot or dutch oven, heated over medium high heat, brown the ground beef in two batches, seasoning each half with a generous spoonful of the spice blend. Remove the first batch to a plate while you are browning the second batch of meat and then scoop the second batch of meat onto the plate also. Don't worry about cooking the meat through at this point, just get a good browned sear on it!
  4. **If the meat was very lean, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot. If the meat was not as lean, drain off all but about two tablespoons of the grease and don't use any additional oil.
  5. Stir about 3/4 of the chopped onions, the bell peppers and the jalapeños into the hot oil or grease in the pot. Season with a generous spoonful of the seasoning, and some salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to brown. Stir in the garlic and let cook for about 30 seconds, until very fragrant, before adding back in the meat (along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate!), the crushed tomatoes and the pumpkin.
  6. Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to make sure you get up any good bits on the bottom, and add in the rest of the seasoning mixture. Stir well to combine, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for as long as you can!
  7. At this point, taste for seasoning and add more salt & pepper as needed, and if it's not spicy enough for you, add some chipotle chili powder (or crushed red pepper flakes if that's what you have!).
  8. Stir in the remaining chopped onions just before serving, or sprinkle onto the top of each bowl for a nice fresh bite!
  9. You can eat the chili right away, but like all chilis, it gets better the longer it sits. That's why the batch is so big... feed a crowd, or save the rest for other meals!
http://sweetannas.com/2015/10/no-bean-pumpkin-chili-whole30-paleo-friendly.html

 

The Best Back-to-School Lunch Containers… and other fall ramblings!

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Rubbermaid. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.” *This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting my grocery bill!  :o)

Oh my goodness, you guys!  I just can’t even believe it’s September already!  Summer is over, kids are heading back to school (and my cookbook writing/baking/cooking is almost done!!).  I think I am in a bit of shock, but also I am just so excited.

I love fall.  I love everything about it.  The routine, the back to normal schedules, the cooler weather, boots, scarves, sweaters…  cozy, comforting fall foods, and pumpkin everything!  I really just love everything about it!

I don’t know about you, but packing school lunches is one of my least favorite things ever.  I always seem to forget, until about 11:30 the night before, and I grumble my way through packing lunches when I would rather be in bed already.  So, when I was recently given the opportunity to try out these new Rubbermaid LunchBlox, I jumped on it!

Back to School Lunches made easier with Rubbermaid!

Give me anything fun to add to the lunch-packing experience, and I am all over it!  This cute little lunch storage set is just the right size… and I may have a hard time not stealing it for myself all the time!

My littlest brand-new-preschooler is a big fan of salads.  She’s odd, I know.  But she really does love them and will pass up almost any food (ok, except chocolate!) to get her hands on a salad.  She has always been that way (and I hope she always is!).  She loves a good dressing, feta, olives, chicken, tomatoes… basically whatever I throw on there, she’s happy!

(Side note: her 3 year old little self currently calls it “Sow-lid” and I secretly hope she never figures it out.  It’s just too cute!)

Back to School Lunches made easier with Rubbermaid!

Of course, that meant I had to try out her new lunch set with a good ‘sow-lid’… and she was so excited!  (Even though school doesn’t start for us until next week, the thrill of getting a lunch box meal was almost too much for her to handle!)

These handy containers have divided sections, a cute little dressing container, a freezer Blue Ice tray to  keep your food cold, and they snap together in many different ways.  They fit in lots of lunch boxes and bags, and wash up quickly in the dishwasher, so basically they are perfect!  ;o)

Back to School Lunches made easier with Rubbermaid!

You can find these incredibly handy Rubbermaid LunchBlox storage containers at many different stores, Amazon included, but I did see them at my local Costco (in a set of 3 even!!) recently, so go check it out if you live near a Costco!  I will definitely be stocking up on a few more sets!

(And for all of you who have been wondering where I’ve been lately…  I’m almost out of the blinding fog of cookbook writing, and back to the world of real life.  I will be back to blogging more regularly soon, I promise!  And my husband and I will be doing a Whole30 challenge in October – because cookbook writing is not for the faint of waistline! – and you will for sure be seeing updates and healthy recipes coming your way then!)

Thanks for putting up with me lately.  I hope my recent quietness will all be worth it when this cookbook comes out in May!  (And don’t forget, you can always check in with me on Instagram.  I am on there every day!)