Three Years

There’s no place like home.

Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

Three years. The answer is three years. That is how long it has taken us to find a house. Three. Long. Years. But we did it. We thought about building a home and started the building process. But something didn’t feel right to me, so we continued to look for a home. We toured a couple of homes over the last few months and found one that was appealing to both of us. 

Our list of must-haves was:

  1. Large lot (1/3 acre or more)
  2. Curb appeal
  3. A nice kitchen
  4. Good light

I think we found it! We have made it past the inspection, and there were no surprises, so on to the appraisal. I can’t wait until I’m able to post pictures of the outside. I’m excited to share the photos of the personalization we would like to do to the house. Coming July 2020.

Three years is a long time to find a house, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone!


“Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.”

René Descartes

The start of a new year always brings the hope of change to me. But why? What difference am I seeking? I want to lose weight. I want to get outside and run more. I want to start recording videos for cooking tutorials. What is stopping me? Thing is I am losing weight (not as fast as I gained it, but still). And, I am getting outside (okay, once a week but I want more). So what about that video? I kept telling myself that my kitchen wasn’t bright enough, or I don’t have the right equipment (hello, iPhone!). But they are lies! The stars and moon don’t have to be in perfect alignment to start! Soon, I will have that first video done. I’ll show you around the apartment, give you a tour of my kitchen, and cook some food while we are at it.

I want to thank Brené Brown and Jennifer Allwood (though they don’t know me, OMG, they are so insightful and inspirational) for helping me to find my courage. I am enough.

Chickpea Pot Pie

Sometimes a little comfort food can go a long way.

Benjamin Bratt

We got to see snowfall y’all! Friday was a muggy warm day that produced a threat of severe weather and lots of rain in our area, but all that bad weather gave way to a beautiful if not short, snowfall on Saturday. I know, I know. Ugh, snow. But we haven’t really had any snow around here in several years, so what a delight it was to wake up to see it snowing. By noon, it had stopped, the sun peeked out, and it was a glorious day to stay in and have something warm to eat. So I made pot pie. I absolutely adore a good pot pie, and I have to say that this recipe really hit the spot. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband and I did!

  • 1/2 medium chopped yellow onion
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 6 baby red potatoes (quartered)
  • 1 15oz can Chick Pea (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Top with your favorite biscuit recipe.
Preheat oven to 425-degrees

Heat a large saucepan, add a tablespoon or so of vegetable broth. Add onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook until soft 5-7 minutes.

Add the flour slowly to the saucepan. Once the onion and garlic are coated, slowly add the vegetable broth, starting with a half cup whisking as you incorporate all the vegetable broth into the onions and garlic. Slowly.

Next, add the frozen veg, potatoes, and drained and rinsed garbanzo beans along with the sage, Italian seasoning, and basil. Cook until everything thickens approximately 5-7 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your favorite biscuits recipe*.

Divide and add the mixture to 4 large ramekins or an 8×8 baking dish. Top with your favorite biscuit recipe. Cook in your pre-heated 425-degree oven for 15-17 minutes or until biscuits are browned.

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from the Minimalist Baker 1-Hour Vegan Pot Pies.

Training Day One

Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.

– Meister Eckhart

Training day one is done. Dwayne and I are training for a half-marathon, perhaps the Cowtown in March. We signed up with the Jeff Galloway group in Fort Worth and had our first run with them on Saturday. The Jeff Galloway group is relatively small, so they have partnered with a larger running and walking group that has run together every Saturday for the last 20 years. And if that isn’t wow enough, the leader of this group is in his eighties! There were about 22 people altogether at 7 am on Saturday. It was chilly, but once we started moving, it didn’t feel so cold. The big group had a 7 to 9-mile run planned, but our smaller group turned around at the 2.5-mile mark for a total of 5 miles. We ran along the Trinity River, and it is just beautiful. There are two paths that run parallel to one another between the river and the railroad track.

If you aren’t familiar with the Jeff Galloway Method, it is a Walk-Run-Walk method. The Method uses an interval timer, and depending on your goals and abilities, you set your intervals accordingly. We started with 60-second run and 30-second walks but moved it to 30 and 30. I haven’t seen the full training plan yet, and I’m not quite sure what the plane is for the rest of the week, but both Dwayne and I were pleased with how the Method worked. Next week I’ll be going it alone as Dwayne is not able to make it with me.

Oh, Pho!

Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.

– Auguste Escoffier

Man, I like to eat. Thankfully, I love to cook too. And, I love to cook for others; cooking for others brings me a sense of satisfaction that is indescribable.
Pho is on the menu this week. The broth recipe is from my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. The recipe (we will use this term loosely as all I know are the ingredients) seems pretty straight forward, and I’m hoping that the flavor profile turns out just right. There is one elusive ingredient that warrants a trip to the Asian market. Y’all ever heard of yellow rock sugar?
This time will be attempt number four for Pho. The first time I followed a recipe from the internet (I trusted the source as I have used many of their recipes with success) and it failed miserably. That soup was so bad I couldn’t even eat it.
Pho is essentially a broth, and truthfully how hard could it be to make your own? So I asked Hetanna, she owns the nail place, what she puts in her Pho and let me tell you, I was shocked (or should I say shook)! Apples and pears in a savory soup? No way was this right. But, I did it, and it was far better than the 1st try. It was still a little off from my coveted Pho. So I got brave and asked the proprietor of the Asian Star what she puts in her Pho. And, she told me. It is a little different from Hetenna, but it still has apples, but it also has charred onion, and celery. So this my friends, this is what I will be attempting to make this week.

Edit before even published: Today I went back to the Asian Star because the broth I made still didn’t turn out quite right. I asked again, and I think I misunderstood what she was telling me. The answer is sugarcane. The problem is I don’t know the amount of sugarcane that would need to go in the broth. While there, of course, I had to have a bowl of that beautiful elixir. After tasting the broth there, it is definitely a more full-bodied broth than mine. I will try, try again until I get it right.

Five Books

So many books, so little time.

– Frank Zappa

How often do you read? I read nightly once I’m in bed. Do you read hardback books, paper books, or do prefer digital editions. The very first Kindle was released in 2007, and it was pricey. And then you had to pay for the books on top of that. I never thought I would switch to an e-book for reading, but I have, and I won’t go back. A couple of weeks ago, we were in San Diego for a conference, and I left my Kindle at the hotel. Two whole weeks I was without and had to read using my iPad, and I didn’t like it. Anyway, here are five books I’ve read recently that are worth reading.

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. Technically not a book and I listened to it on my commute, but this book has had a tremendous impact on my life. Wow, just wow. Dr. Brown is a shame researcher (who even knew that was a thing), and the message in the book is so profound that it has left a lasting impression on me. If you have ever suffered from self-doubt, I highly recommend this book. Bonus book would be Daring Greatly by the same, and the message is similar but reinforces the lessons in The Power of Vulnerability.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The imagery in this book transported me to the south. What a fantastic summer read. Ms. Owens is a gifted writer. I loved this book.

Ken Follett is one of my all-time favorite authors and Pillars of the Earth, then World Without End are two of my most favorite books of all-time. If you haven’t read these books, please do. They are both quite hefty tomes but absolutely worth a read. I’ve reread Pillars of the Earth and found that I had missed so much of the story, so if you have read them and enjoyed reread them and I think you will fall in love with them over again.

My mom gave me Snow Flower, and the Secret Fan by Lisa See many years ago for Christmas. Ms. See became a favorite writer of mine, and I have enjoyed many of her books. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a novel that tells a story about two life-long friends who communicate by writing secret notes on a fan that travels back and forth between them. The story tells of their lives and trials they had. One of the most remarkable stories is about the binding of the feet. It is hard to fathom why this practice ever began. If you’ve never read a Lisa See novel, I highly recommend you do.

Finally, Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. Do you ever start reading about one specific period then linger there for ages? I have, and WWII books were it for a very long time. Beneath a Scarlet Sky is set in Italy and is about an Italian boy, who helps to save many people from the Nazis as they took Italy. This story is based on facts from Pino Lella’s life and what an incredible life it was.

What are you reading?

Cheese, Not Cheese

My husband loves mac & cheese and this non-dairy version is healthy and tastes so good.

Cheese, Not Cheese

  • 6 or so small red potatoes 
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 yellow onion (outer skin removed)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast *
  • 1/2 C cashews (soaked in hot water for 10 minute, discard soaking liquid before use)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice ( I’ve used white vinegar and it works just fine)
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • Water to thin (you can use the cooking liquid from the potatoes and carrots
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Make sure to wash all the vegetables.

Cut the potatoes in half to make them similar sizes. Chop the carrot in two.

Toss the potatoes, carrot and onion in a pot of cold water (enough to cover) bring to a boil and cook for 12 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain the water from the pan (reserve some liquid to thin your cheese) and add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and the rest of the ingredients to a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until smooth adding reserved liquid as needed.

Use immediately as a cheese sauce for nachos, add to macaroni for mac and cheese (we love to add a can of green chiles for a little kick), top broccoli and cauliflower. Really, this stuff is so good you can eat it from the spoon.

Store in the fridge for up to five days.

Hope your family enjoys it as much as we do!

* Tried many kinds of nutritional yeast until I found one that I like. Sari brand nutritional yeast is all I will buy from now on. To me, it really does make a difference in taste.

My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Do you find it hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, consistent workout schedule, clean house, and a 40-hour workweek? Me too! Over the years, I have tried so many diets and gym memberships. So many times I’ve said, “this is the last time I’ll _________ ” you can fill in the blank. I recently read at (meaning I didn’t read the whole book but skimmed through it) The Pleasure Trap by Douglas Lisle. Dr. Lisle explains why it is we continually do what we do even when we have committed to doing something else. Crazy, right? So one more time or at least until we get it mostly right. We could all use a little grace, no?

Why don’t you follow along on this journey with me, and we will learn and grow along the way. We will have fun, decorate, cook, eat, laugh, and cry, (oh and I like clothes, too) I’m sure. My name is Sonya, and this is my blog.