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28 Things for which I am Thankful
After my 28th birthday, I decided to write about this last year, which has been so rich and full. Here are 28 things for which I am thankful...trust me, I could have written more if I was older! 1- Fullness of Singleness: It was easy to feel left out as a single. We both had a huge desire to be married and raise a family. But Pavel and I, separately, decided to maximize our singleness. We enjoyed those years and did so many wonderful things. We also grew a ton in maturity and different skills that now benefit our marriage. 2-Finishing Strong: Pavel and I chose to save our sexual purity for marriage to honor God, our parents, and each other...and heighten the joy of this gift! This was NOT easy, but with the Holy Spirit and accountability from friends we finished strong! 3-Wedding that did not go as planned: Covid really messed up our plans. But in the end, family and friends came together and helped me have a beautiful day. And I got to discover what my dream small wedding was. 4-Sunshine on my wedding day: The morning of my wedding it was supposed to rain from 1-4pm. And my wedding was at 2pm OUTSIDE. We prayed. It rained on and off in the morning. We prayed some more. And God just totally pushed the storm back. At 2:20pm, I was able to walk down the aisle to a glorious open sky and hot burning sun! 5-Honeymoon Plan B: Our plans to go to Arizona and the Grand Canyon were postponed because of Covid. No surprise. But we had an amazing, relaxing and adventure filled honeymoon in New Hampshire and Maine. We pulled it off and it was wonderful. 6-Layed Off: Pavel was furloughed one day a week for our first two months as a married couple. He got the news on our honeymoon! This ended up being a HUGE blessing as it gave us a laid back work week and more time together! 7-Summer at the Yurt: Our friends asked us to house sit their yurt while they were away for the summer. This almost didn’t happen because of Covid...and we prepared for plan B. But then their plans changed again and we were able to stay! The yurt was an amazing tiny space to live simply, cozily, and very privately for our first 6 months of marriage. 8-Living in Howard: Our summer yurt home resided in the country hills of Howard. 5 minutes from close family friends and 10 minutes from my parents and sister’s family. It was so special to be back in my hometown as I started the new season of marriage. 9-Yurt Garden: The gardens were all set up for me last year at the yurt. It was amazing to grow produce for us all summer and enjoy it all winter. 10-Saved for a House: Pavel and I were so blessed financially. Not only did we save rent by staying at the yurt, we saved on food with the garden, we had eggs from the chickens, and my parents gave us meat they had raised and hunted (chicken and venison.) We were able to save up the down payment for a house in 6 months! 11-Glory of a Budget: With all the provisions, Pavel and I grew together financially as we made a budget, goals for spending and saving, and reaped the reward of saving for a house. 12-Business Grant Denied: Ok, this one was pretty sad. But I am really thankful I still went through the process of applying for the grant! It was a time investment that paid off with a refreshed 2-5 year plan for my business. It helped launch me into this next new season for Thriving Health. 13-God’s Timing. God AMAZES me with His timing. He is so intentional. And the entire situation with the Yurt was another example. We were originally going to be there a year. But that changed to 6 months. If we had been there longer we would not have found our perfect home in Almond. 14-Beautiful House: We were able to purchase a beautiful home, private sale, right in our budget, AND it met all and more of our needs for a house. We are all settled into 82 Main Street and loving it. 15-Generostiy of Family-Pavel’s sister blessed us with SO much of her furniture when she moved to Arizona a month before we closed on our house. AND her husband worked as our lawyer. Our parents came and helped us paint our home before we moved in and made us food when we were moving! 16-Generous Community: Along with family, our friends are incredible. They helped us with vehicles and many hands to move into our new home. It was such a blessing to tackle the boxes together. 17-Home Office: I have tried for years to establish a more permanent office space for Thriving Health. Now, I have a beautiful, spacious office right inside my home. It is perfect for client meetings and small classes and workshops. 18-Grandparents Legacy: I lost my Grandpa (Dad’s dad) and Grandma (Mom’s mom) this year. Both very unexpected and fast losses. While I still grieve their deaths, I have also been really thankful for the legacy they left behind. I was raised in a Christian family. All my grandparents love the Lord and were GROWING in their walk with Christ. They celebrated my relationship with Jesus and encouraged me in so many ways in life. 19-Prayer Retreat: Pavel and I spent a couple days in January to seek the Lord about some specific things. God was so faithful to bless us and speak to us that weekend. 20-Pursuing my Passion in Nutrition: I have been able to purchase and implement 3 dynamic courses for fertility into my business! Enriching my focus on preconception, prenatal, and postpartum heath! 21-Ministry with my Husband: This last year, Pavel and I have become such a team. We are united in vision and able to pour ourselves out stronger together. We have the children’s church ministry that we are growing. I support Pavel in that, he supports me in my Missions ministry responsibilities. We streamline our strengths to compliment each other. 22-Diving into Training for Foster Parenting: We are going to be foster parents!! We are so excited! We are still in the early stages with training and plans to start with rest bit care. But we are so thankful for this opportunity to open our home and family to kids in crisis and serve their parents. 23-My Health: Through the years, I have experienced a few challenges with my health. As a nutritionist, food has definitely been my medicine. And God has taught me a lot of tools for how to enjoy food but not let it rule my life! He has also miraculously touched my body when all the right nutrition didn't seem to help. I am so thankful for the learning process and the healing I have experienced. 24-Neighbors: Pavel and I have had such a friendly welcome to our new town as we met our new neighbors. We feel like we fit right in and are so thankful. There is little better than a wonderful home than to be surrounded by great neighbors. 25-Spring Flowers: The previous owner of our home planted many beautiful perennials. This spring, it has been so fun to see all of these little gifts popping out of the soil. 26-Kiddos in my Life: Pavel and I have been spending a lot more time with kids this year. Children’s ministry at church to tea parties at our house with my nieces. We love these kids and it has been so rewarding! 27-Staying Active: I love to do physical activities: play OR work. With the garden and a big house to clean, it keeps me active. AND Pavel and I got to bike and hike last year, through the winter we did a lot of cross country skiing. And now that it is spring, we have already hit the trails and biked 41 mills for my birthday. I am so thankful for energy and time to stay active. 28-My husband, lover, and best friend Pavel. I saved the best for last! Pavel is SO special to me...if we are still in the honey moon stages of marriage (11 months in) then praise God! This has been an amazing honeymoon. But even on the hard days, I can trust Pavel with my heart and we grow through challenges. He makes me laugh so hard and he knows how to make me feel SO loved and special. I rejoice every day I get to spend with this incredible man and every night I get to cuddle with him!
Thriving Recipe: Peanut Butter Energy Balls
These yummy peanut butter balls are a recipe I created for Pavel during Christmas. I was looking for a delicious treat that would also be hardy. These loaded balls were perfect! And the best part is the ingredients in this recipe are flexible. If you want it a little sweeter, increase the honey and peanut butter. If you don’t like coconut, swap it out for oats or more almonds. They are perfect for a party dessert, quick snack, or energy boost before endurance workouts. (Running, hiking, cross country skiing, biking, etc.) Enjoy! Ingredients: ½ cup ground almonds or almond flour ½ cup coconut flakes ½ cup peanut butter ½ cup ground flax seed ⅓ cup raw honey 1 tablespoon chia seeds 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Directions: Step 1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Puse until well blended. Cover and chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Step 2. Remove dough from the refrigerator; roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
Coconut Flour Pumpkin Bars
Want a fluffy and moist dessert that pops with flavor? These bars have you covered and are also loaded with nourishing ingredients. It’s hard to get tired of eating pumpkin pie but the prep is a little more time consuming. I discovered these bars when needing to make a quick dessert for friends. Thank you to detoxinista.com for the original recipe! I modified this with a few different spices and raw honey instead of maple syrup (because that is what I had on hand.) I also cut back on the sweetener...and the bars are still very sweet. We enjoyed them with a glass of raw milk from Sunny Cove farm in Alfred, NY. What a treat! Ingredients 3/4 cup coconut flour 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 15 oz . pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups) 2 large eggs 1/2 cup raw honey 1 Tbsp. molasses butter or coconut oil , for greasing the pan Ingredients Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9"x9" baking dish well with butter or coconut oil. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and stir well until no clumps remain. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin puree, eggs, honey and molasses. Add to wet ingredients and mix together. Transfer the batter to the greased baking dish, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the center is firm. Allow to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Thankfulness that Transcends
Thanksgiving is the holiday that launches time with family, community activities and the feasts of the holiday season. It births the festivities we love and memories we cherish. However, this year holds SO many changes and interruptions to our tradition. You may be disappointed to not have certain family with you for the holiday or to have the opportunity to travel to see them. Or perhaps you are walking through the devastation of losing a loved one. How can you continue to celebrate without them? My hope for us all is to still remember the heart of this season: thankfulness that transcends or goes beyond the limits of challenges. In 1621, the first Thanksgiving was held at harvest time with the English Pilgrims and American Indians. The pilgrims had suffered so many hardships, which included the loss of spouses and children. They did not know the dangers and devastations which lay ahead, yet they gave thanks. More than two hundred years later, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” This holiday was cemented into our nation's culture during the civil war. In a time of division, conflict, and death, our nation gave thanks. Thanksgiving transcends challenges. What challenges are you facing today? There are so many stresses bombarding our lives--emotional, relational, moral, financial. Our nation is experiencing division and conflict that seems to build daily. Perhaps we can empathize in some way with the bold individuals in 1621 and 1863 who chose to give thanks despite difficult challenges.  The act of giving thanks encourages us. This encouragement is not simply a spark of joy but emboldens us with courage to press on and overcome: Encourage- to give courage to; to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind; to embolden; to animate; to incite; to inspirit.  I believe that the pilgrims and Abraham Lincoln were able to exercise this thanksgiving which produced courage. Their hope was not in what they could see with their natural eye or even control with their own strength. Their hope was in God, the One who is faithful and able to bring breakthrough in all circumstances. David experienced this as well as he faced years of multiple internal and personal difficulties as the King of Israel. His repeated conclusions were: “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise?”  David did not simply give thanks for things in his life, but rather for God Himself whose amazing attributes never fail. David also recognized God as his source of strength. I have personally found that Jesus Christ is the one who is both worthy of our praise and the source of courage and strength in all circumstances. He comes to my rescue and I can agree with David that the acts of the Lord are mighty. My hope is that you have the courage to give thanks no matter what obstacles you are facing during this season. May this holiday find your heart filled with thanksgiving and praise to Him!    
This season of being newly married has brought many exciting and blessed changes. Our most recent, which I want to share with you today, is becoming homeowners and residents of the town of Almond. This has been the fulfillment of our plans, answer to our prayer, and a true dream come true! First, let’s back up to March of this year. Pavel and I were planning to house sit for friends in Howard, NY. Well, technically “yurt sit” as they built the unique Mongolian style yurt on their homestead. The plan was to take care of the yurt and property for one year while they were traveling for work. We were so excited for this cozy oasis, tucked into the hills of Howard. It was the perfect way to start off married life and save up money for a house. However, as the Corona virus developed and shut downs began, our friends reconsidered their plans. They told us sadly their need to stay after all. Pavel and I were disappointed, but I am thankful our response was full of hope. We have experienced time and time again the truth that God works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  We prayed and trusted, full of anticipation to see what God would do. A few weeks later our friends contacted us that they decided to continue with their plans and the opportunity opened back up for us to stay at the yurt! This time, we would only be needed for about 6 months until they returned in the fall. Settled into the yurt and married for a month, Pavel and I began the adventure of looking for options in the area to purchase. Our goal was to find something by late summer and close by mid-fall when our friends returned. We wrote a list of the things that were really important to us for a first-time home: back yard for gardening and kids to play, two bathrooms, a nice size kitchen for all my cooking, a small garage for Pavel to do tinkering and car maintenance, and a space to transform into an office for Thriving Health consultations. Our ideal location was the Almond area--close to the highway for Pavel’s Corning commute to work and close to Alfred for my nutrition business and our church family at Lighthouse. Provision came...and at the right price! We have not only been blessed with the above desires, but even more treasures in a beautiful house and property to grow our family and my business. The timing of the move came down to the wire, but everything worked out! We were able to move in last weekend on a pre-possession agreement. Today, Monday, November 9th, Pavel and I will sign the papers to make this property officially ours. We are honored to own this home and join the community of Almond, NY. Life is precious and always unfolding. Our “yurt season” was an incredible gift which I cherished every day. Now we begin our life in Almond, full of anticipation for the life, friendships, challenges and growth ahead. 
Ginger Molasses Cookies
Yields about 3 Dozen INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted 1 cup coconut sugar 1/4 cup organic blackstrap molasses 2 organic eggs 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/4 cups cassava flour 1 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp allspice 1 tsp Himalayan salt 1/4 cup coconut sugar (for rolling) DIRECTIONS. In a large mixing bowl add melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed just until batter comes together, about 30 seconds. In a separate mixing bowl combine cassava flour, baking soda, spices and sea salt. Give it a quick stir to mix it up. Add the dry mixture to the wet. Mix on low speed just until the batter comes together, about 30 seconds -- do not over-mix. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. When the dough is fully chilled, roll tablespoon balls of cookie dough in your hands. Drop cookie dough balls into 1/4 cup coconut sugar and coat the tops. Place balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Do not press them down. Bake for 8-10 minutes or just until cracks have formed. Enjoy with a glass of raw milk!
Paleo Pumpkin Pie
Fall is gorgeous in NY and it is time for some classic desserts! The good news is you can still enjoy the season's treats while sticking to a healthy lifestyle. I discovered this pumpkin pie recipe last week after harvesting some beautiful pumpkins from my garden. It is a pretty simple recipe, and the crust is very forgiving! It hit the spot for Pavel and I, and a friend who shared the treat! (I made a few simple modifications. For the original recipe, follow Paleo Running Momma @ Thriving Recipe: Paleo Pumpkin Pie Ingredients pie crust: 1 cup blanched almond flour 2 Tbsp coconut flour 2/3 cup arrowroot flour 1/2 cup grassfed butter 1 Tbsp Maple Sugar 1/2 tsp himalayan salt 1 egg for the filling: 1 cup can pumpkin puree 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk blended 6 Tbsp pure maple syrup 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp cinnamon Pinch salt 2 large eggs room temp 1 egg yolk room temp Instructions make the crust: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse all crust ingredients EXCEPT egg to create thick crumbs, then pulse/process in the egg until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior to rolling or pressing into your pie dish. Press evenly into 9 inch pie dish using your hands. Be patient and refrigerate dough as needed to make it easier to work with.This dough will break easily since it lacks gluten, however it also repairs incredibly easily and can withstand a lot of manipulation without affecting the final product! Once pressed into the pie dish, gently pierce the dough with a fork all over so it doesn't puff up while baking. Bake pie crust in 9” pie dish in the 375 degree oven for 10 minutes until bottom is set, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before pouring in filling. make the filling: Whisk all ingredients except eggs, then whisk in eggs and egg yolk 1 at a time, don’t overmix. Pour filling into partially baked crust, spreading it all around to seal edges. Cover crust with aluminum foil and bake (at 375 degrees F) for 55-65 minutes or until center is nearly set (still a bit jiggly) and crust is deep golden brown. Allow to cool completely at room temperature to avoid excessive cracking of the filling. Once cooled, serve, or, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days prior to serving. Serve topped with coconut whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!
Thriving Recipe: Harvest Time Stuffing
Ingredients 1/2 butter nut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil 1 lb ground goat or beef 1 cup diced yellow onion 2 cups brussel sprouts 1 cup green peppers 1 cup diced celery 4 diced apples 3 diced garlic cloves 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and cilantro) 3 large eggs Pecan crumble ingredients: 1 1/2 cups unsalted pecans 1/4 cup apples 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped 1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used parsley and cilantro) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper DIRECTIONS Bake butternut squash at 400 °F until tender but crisp. Add meat, cooking fat, salt, and garlic cloves into skillet. Cook until brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and place in a 9”x13” baking dish. Add another tsp. of fat to the skillet. Sauté butternut squash, onions, brussel sprouts, peppers, celery and apples in the same skillet (with the juice from the meat) until tender. Add to baking dish. Mix in 3 eggs and fresh herbs. Bake at 350 °F for 20 minutes. Combine crumble in food processor. Pulse until mixture is crumbly. Spread over baking dish. Bake additional 20 minutes. Serve and feast!
Thriving Recipe: Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
Your family might just not know this is cauliflower! Ingredients 1 head of cauliflower 1 tbsp butter, or coconut oil 2 garlic cloves minced Salt and Pepper to taste DIRECTIONS Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and cut off the florets. Heat 1-inch of water in a pot on medium heat and bring to a boil. Steam for 6-8 minutes. Remove the steamed cauliflower from the pot, drain the water from the pot, then add the cauliflower back in. Add the olive oil, garlic, chopped herbs and any optional ingredients. Puree cauliflower in Vitamix or food processor. Serve immediately.
Thriving Recipe: Digestive Tea
This nourishing tea is phenomenal before a large holiday meal due to it's bitter properties. Bitter foods stimulate digestion by encouraging the release of enzymes. This means your food is digested better and you feel lighter! 1 Tbsp Chamomile leaves OR Dandelion Root 2-3 pieces of Ginger (sliced) DIRECTIONS. Combine ingredients in tea ball, French press, or tea pot. Cover with boiling water. Allow tea to steep for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy the benefits of the bitter flavor!
Cassava Herb Bread
Who doesn’t enjoy freshly baked homemade bread?! As I have made lifestyle changes to optimize my health, specifically digestion and energy related needs, I have chosen to cut out most grains, including wheat bread. However, I am delighted that I can still enjoy the pleasures of baked goods through alternative ingredients. Cassava flour is one of my favorites! I made this bread to share with my guests at our gluten free, sugar free wedding reception! Paired as an appetizer with a roasted carrot soup, it was very special! Thank you to Kristina Snyder for sharing the original recipe from easyrealfood.com. I made some simple modifications. The original recipe called for 1 ⅓ cup of cassava flour and 3 Tbsp. of coconut flour. I found that the coconut flour just wasn’t necessary. So, to simplify, I increased the cassava flour to 1 ½ cups and eliminated the coconut flour. Also, I added some salt and rosemary to produce a flavorful herb bread. Feel free to play around with other herbs at home--basil and oregano are always a treat in bread. Enjoy! Ingredients 1/2 cup warm water (around 100 - 110 degrees F) 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey 1 package active dry yeast 4 eggs beaten 1 1/2 cups cassava flour 1 1/3 cups arrowroot flour 1 tsp baking powder 4 tbsp butter 1 tsp Himalayan salt 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary Directions Combine the warm water and maple syrup together in a bowl and then sprinkle yeast on top. Set aside to get frothy - this should take 10-15 minutes. When it has doubled it is ready. If it does not froth, the water temp was off or the yeast is old and I advise starting over. Sift or stir together cassava flour, arrowroot flour and baking powder. Using a box grater, grate butter into the flour mixture and incorporate. Use a fork and mashed it around until crumbs form. Add beaten eggs and yeast mixture to flour mixture. Mix just until it all comes together well. Let rest for about 5 minutes. While this rests, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and transfer batter into a lined pan. Set in a warm place and let bread rise 30-45 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven when done, and immediately take out the pan and allow to cool on a rack. *I did 8 loaves the week off my wedding to serve to my guests!
Sprouted Spelt Herb Bread
This delicious herb bread, made with a heritage grain, spelt, is delicious and nourishing. Making diet changes, I have eaten less bread...my husband Pavel (boyfriend at the time) decided he still needed some bread. So, we introduced this hearty grain--sprouted for optimal digestibility and nutrient absorption. AND, did you know, spelt like many other heritage grains, contains less gluten! Enjoy! Ingredients 1 cup warm water 1 Tsbp. yeast 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Tbsp. honey 3 cups sprouted spelt flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano 2 cloves garlic (minced) Instructions Add the water and honey to a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for ten minutes. After ten minutes, it should be foamy. If the mixture doesn't foam, discard - you need new yeast. Add olive oil, 2 cups flour, and the salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until a loose dough forms. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading between each addition, until a smooth, springy dough forms. It should be quite smooth and not really sticky. If you're using a stand mixer, use the dough attachment for this. Place the dough into a large greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or large plate. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for one hour, or until doubled in size. This is called proofing. When the dough has risen, punch it down gently and place it into a parchment-lined baking sheet for a round loaf or well greased loaf pan, tucking any untidy ends underneath. Cover with a tea towel and place the loaf into a warm place to rise again for half an hour longer. While it's rising, heat your oven to 350F. Bake the bread for about 45 minutes, or until golden, and it sounds hollow when tapped. Optional: spritz with water throughout baking time to produce a heartier crust. Remove from the pan and cool for ten minutes on a rack before cutting. Store the bread in a sealed container for up to three days, or freeze for up to a month.