recent foodstuffs

the happiest of fridays to you! to get your appetite and salivary glands all ready for the weekend, i figured i would share some of our recent “instagram” meals over here on the blog.

and you don’t need to say it. i know that i should be better at posting recipes. slap on the wrist. but i find it more interactive and fun and easy-breezy to just post the basics on IG and then answer questions as a go. call me lazy. but if there is ever something you see on here {or over there} that you would more info on, just let me know! i am happy to jot down some notes and helpful hints. and i will really truly get back to regular nourriture posts.

* look, marisa! i am taking this step in your honor. more consistent recipe-posting to come. you know, so i can get a good collection going on the blog that will somehow turn into a sweet book deal one day. it’s that easy, right? {wink, wink}


quinoa pasta tossed with roared garlic and topped with ratatouille and a light dusting of parm.


a CSA feast. simple wheat berries topped with a sauté of hubbard squash and garlic cloves with a splash of balsamic. finished with some celtic salt and roasted hubbard squash seeds.


coconut oil roasted butternut squash with garlic and black pepper + black beans with caramelized onions and hungarian wax peppers and anaheim chiles + some avocado to cool things down a bit.


celery + dino kale + lime + green apple + ginger juice.


forbidden rice ramen tossed in tamari served with coconut oil wok’d broccoli + onion + cabbage + peas.


a chip feast! dry baked organic spud wedges served with ketchup {using orange blossom honey + bananas + raisins for sweetness and a random mix of earthy spices like cinnamon + allspice + cloves}


garlic wilted spinach + curried cauliflower + red pepper hummus + extra sticky jade pearl rice.


nori rolls using leftover sticky jade pearl rice and veggie odds-and-ends. vinegared rice rolled up with freshly grated ginger + cauliflower + carrots + zucchini + red bell pepper + avocado. served with tamari and liquid aminos for dipping.


pretty and frothy magenta juice. 3/4 purple cabbage head + 2 oranges + 1 grapefruit.


zoodles {spiralized zucchini} warmed and tossed in a veggie sauce made from a robust roast of cauliflower + red peppers + garlic + tomatoes. a drizzle of olive oil, some oregano, a sprinkling of celtic salt, and a light dusting of parm to finish. perhaps a dash of nutritional yeast if you’ve got it. it is a pantry staple for us. mixed into elinor’s power porridge, sprinkled on popcorn, etc.

my beauty ritual

apricotmask_altimage apricotmask_altimage2

for my big thirtieth birthday, my kind and generous friends {i am talking ’bout you, jenna} at tata harper hooked me up with one of their limited edition, hand-numbered, soothing apricot masks. swoon. oh yes, and complete with a hand-written note. they are on their game over there in vermont.

i have been a tata harper fan for a few years now. it all started with a tube of “be fierce” lip treatment. i was hooked. from there, i added to my skincare collection through a combination of my own purchases, gifts, and giveaways. i was able to try a little of this and a little of that until i settled on my daily routine.

in the last five years and especially after becoming pregnant with elinor, i have really simplified my “beauty” routine. don’t get me wrong, i am all about the fun of cosmetics. i mean, eyeliners alone are enough fun for a whole day of play…but when it comes down to it, that stuff isn’t beauty. and i want my beauty to come from within. my spirit and joy and health. that’s what should radiate. so i would rather focus on a more internal approach to beauty. taking time to be heart focused and have a beautiful spirit that shows in my face. if you’re happy and you know it, then your face should surely show it. that should be where i spend my beautification time.

remember the story of esther in the bible? when king ahasuerus was selecting his future queen, he brought all the beautiful young virgins to his harem and gave them the full spa treatment for twelve months. a year of beautification. six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments followed by all the cosmetics and dazzle that they could fathom in order to please the king. this was a beauty pageant like none other. when it came time for esther to be brought before the king, she asked for nothing except what the harem director advised. she kept it simple. she took care of herself, she used some things. but she was moderate and intentional. she didn’t overindulge. she was secure in who she was, her beauty and value in God’s eyes. she took an inner approach and let what is inside shine on the outside. and you know what? she won favor in the eyes of all who saw her and when she was brought before the king, he loved esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen. that’s the power of inner radiance. a pretty spirit. i want to be an esther. i want elinor to be an esther. the best cosmetics in the world can’t fix an ugly spirit.

{steps down off soapbox}

i also believe that a large part of healthy, happy, glowing, non-fussy skin is nourishing your insides. when you eat right, stay hydrated, sweat a little, and get plenty of restorative sleep, it shows in your skin.  the most expensive skincare in the world won’t fix a lousy lifestyle. so i try to lean on nutrition and internal health for my skincare needs. buuuut…it is helpful to use topical nutrition to feed the skin as well. and quality matters when you are applying things to your largest, most delicate, yet most protective organ – the skin.

i like to spend my moolah on quality skincare that heals and feeds the skin instead of powders and creams and illuminators. and honestly, i really don’t have time for all that stuff. fresh faced is my daily look. when i do want to get “all dolled up”, i grab for a tinted mineral cream and a thick application of mascara and some bold lipstick. that’s my fancy face, these days.

when i make an investment in skincare, i select products that are natural, small-batch, and bio-organic. i like using things on my face that come from nature from companies with passion and integrity. and that is what brought me to tata harper.

and so, i wanted to share with you my daily routine as well as a little review of their limited edition mask. spoiler alert: it is fab.

after a night of restorative sleep, i like to start things off with energy and cleansing and nourishment. setting the tone for the rest of the day. having a morning wellness routine that rejuvenates and balances helps me to feel my best. i wake up on the early side of things and begin my day with some form of exercise. tabata or mat moves or dancing or core work or yoga. just something to warm things up, get my heart rate going, and sweat a little. it feels so cleansing and energizing. i usually follow that with some lemon water or apple cider vinegar. despite their acidic natures, these items, once ingested are wonderful for alkalizing and cleansing. a couple of times a week, i will do an oil pull with coconut oil and sometimes an addition of purifying or balancing essential oils.

and then, water. lots of water to hydrate and flush the body. i will also sip on herbal teas during the day because they are yummy and make me happy. i really love this during the cooler months. so soothing and calming. i especially love peppermint and rose and roobois and pu·erh and tulsi.

after i have exercised and cleansed and hydrated, i like to flood my body with nutrients. living elements that immediately provide energy. i used to rely on local cold-pressed and unpasteurized juices for this fix {expensive} but now that i have a legit juicer, our morning juicing session has become a part of the ritual. veggie juices, especially greens, are powerful elixirs that provide instant nutrients and help to purify the blood while sustaining blood sugar levels.

i like to spend some time outside in the early morning while i am enjoying my tea or juice. i read my Bible and other books or devotionals. i journal. i pray. i focus my heart. days can be full and busy so i do what i can to start things off strong.

after that, i shower and prepare for the day. and that means, treating my skin. for that, i turn to tata harper. she is one radiant and talented lady. she and her team of skincare enthusiasts and experts create gorgeous potions of natural goodness. skincare that is purposeful and nourishing and botanical. her products are gentle yet effectual. plus, free of all the usual skincare junk and fillers, with many herbs and flowers foraged from the fields of tata’s vermont farm.

i use the regenerating cleanser which helps to gently exfoliate and cleanse skin, improving glow while purifying, minimizing the appearance of pores and helping to protect the skin’s natural hydration balance. it has a delicate sandy texture that smoothes as it activates and absorbs into the skin. it is also free of soaps, alcohols, and detergents. this cleanser clarifies with fresh enzymes, clays and, essential oils, while microspherical beads polish the skin and reduce appearance of blackheads. the combination of apricot seed powder, pomegaranta enzymes, willow bark, and french pink clay does wonders for skin tone and feel. my skin feels soft little elinor’s baby skin. renewed and clean but not buffed and stripped.

following that, i spritz my face with the hydrating floral essence. this heavenly, lightweight moisturizing mist boosts the skin’s natural hydration with bioidentical hyaluronic acid and a weightless blend of natural humectants, delivering an all-day hydrated feel and plump appearance. this formula immediately improves and refreshes skin’s appearance and is ideal for delivering antiaging hydration. it is beautiful and smells like a dreamy field of flowers. totally ideal for arizona summers and an way to have a little skin pick-me-up during the day.

finally, i moisturize with the reparative moisturizer. it melts into the skin leaving a supple feeling with radiant glow. mango butter and fresh rose soften the skin while cocoa extracts protect against harmful environmental free radicals. it is rich and healing without feeling heavy or greasy.

i go through a similar routine at night but i swap out the hydrating floral essence for the rejuvenating serum. i like to use this before bedtime because it gives my rejuvenating sleep an extra boost and i wake up feeling younger and more radiant. this anti-aging serum uses narcissus bulb and date palm extract to increase elasticity and firmness. menyanthes flower is a powerful tonic to help skin cell turnover and collagen stimulation. this product is a must for all ages.

for a special treatment every week or so, i turn to the resurfacing mask. i have used this for the last two years and LOVE it. it is ideal for getting instant glow. and when i received the limited edition soothing apricot resurfacing mask, you better believe i was over the moon. let me tell you, it is total bliss and the perfect skin indulgence. the mask is soothing and cooling which is such a treat after all the dry heat here in arizona.  apricot stem cells add powerful anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits by helping to reduce redness and promote an even tone and boost skin tolerance…which is absolutely essential for combatting the effects of outdoor exposure during summer months. and the addition of coconut water preserves moisture while helping to decrease skin roughness and boosting cellular renewal. it feels like a drink of cool and fruity water for the skin. you know when you have a big pineapple smoothie on the beach? it is that, but skincare. i have been trying to pace myself to make it last for all the brutal summer months because no way can i be without it now! obsessed.

oh, and they just launched their open lab and traceability program and it is so good. it allows you a peek behind the curtain. and more than that, it opens the curtain completely so that you can see how your skincare is created and even trace your batch. transparency, folks. it is rare in that industry. and that is just another reason why i am a total tata enthusiast.

life is just beachy, part 3


alrighty, last round of vacation pics. sigh. tears. can vacation last for always, pretty please?


while we did most of our eating at the house, it is vacation so you gotta go out. ben found a nearby public house that looked pretty darn cool. the menu alone was totally our jam. so, we gathered up the crew and set out for some dinner. sessions public. yes indeed-ilee-do.


before we get to the food, shall we address a few “dining with toddlers” items? firstly, yay for public houses! such a fun vibe. but, oops. public houses, not so much with the highchairs. riiiighhht. so we are officially “those parents” who bring the toddler to the pub.

proud. of. it.

i must say that elinor was dreamy…once she got beverage and some grub. typical whitehouse. at first, i was a little concerned. she was all sitting pretty on her tuffet and demanding her very own ice water. and yes, our child was being demanding. not her finest moment. not my proudest moment. and then with a little swoop…water on our laps.

“would you look at those loser parents with their crazy kid, spilling water everywhere and being a mess in a clearly adult restaurant?” the self-judging-condeming voices in my head spewed.

but really, that was the worst of it. {it just felt so much worse. like, at any moment she would lose it and take the whole joint down with her.} we dried ourselves off and gave elinor little forkfuls of ice to hold her over and amuse her and all was well. and then, the food arrived. bliss settled over the table. all you could hear were elinor’s contented mmmmm’s. {and the parents do the happy dance} no nightmare meltdown! crisis averted! high-fives for everyone!


and yes, our child is pointing to papa’s libation. classy, classy.


and here’s that food i was talking about. poutine! greasy cheesy deliciousness. oh how the canadians rejoiced.


and house-pickled veg + hushpuppies with whipped butter + duck fat fries with the most garlicky aoili. i think my breath still stinks of it, it was that good.


and oh my gosh, the garden burger. no idea what was in that thing but it was something else. i made sure to add caramelized onions and avocado which really took it over the top. really wanting to eat that right about now…

and i know there were many other plates of tasty food around the table but i was pretty zeroed in on my own. i guess that’s what a day of play at the beach will do to ya. serious need for food after all that wave fighting and riding.

oh, and just for the record book…we ordered dessert and there was a bowl of ice cream with caramel sauce that my dad offered to share with elinor. she took one spoonful and her eyes widened like a disney forest creature or princess. positively glistening. and when we asked her if she liked it she nodded her head exuberantly and went around the table giving everyone a high-five for ice cream! it was hilarious. seriously, on cloud nine. i guess we have been holding out on her for too long. she needed a fix. and what better place than at a quaint beach town pub, am i right?


on our way back from dinner we played “stop, ready, go” with elinor. she would stop mid-walk and throw us a sassy, anticipatory look and i would give her a slow reaaaaaaaaadddddddyyyyyy then go! and she would run as fast as those darling little toddler legs could go before i would give her another stop. it’s the simple things.


and then, the last day. ben and i woke up extra early and decided to forgo our usual tabata slash detox slash free-flow yoga sesh in favor of a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood and down to the beach. we looked at houses and admired cool features and manicured landscaping. we swooned over giant shady trees. we recapped the trip. we made plans. we were quiet. we said hello to strangers. we felt the soft, salt breeze on our faces. we soaked in the final moments by the ocean. walked steps and hiked hills. we unwound.


we even made time for a smoochy selfie. because, san diego is for lovers. or so i’ve heard. something like that.



until next time, beach. we miss you so. and we look forward to future adventures. thanks for treating us so darn well.

life is just beachy, part 2

hey there! i am back with more vacation pics, as promised. i hope you aren’t sick of these yet…because i still have a final installment to come! there were just too many photo worthy things! an excellent problem to have. it is so fun to relive these moments through pictures. it almost feels like i am there… nah. it is a billion degrees worth of dry air outside. who am i kidding?


our adorable porch with comfy seating and a big ol’ table for feasting al fresco. perfect.


our happy little zinc face. messing with wet sand and helping to exfoliate our feet and legs with said sand.


the best squinty and sunshiny smile. she just climbed on up there and made herself comfy. i believe she was letting out a contented, “aaaaaahhhhh”.


okay now, food. this was the whitehouse-family-made-meal. quinoa + black bean + sweet potato + onion + beet + carrot + chia + chipotle burgers topped with vegenaise and avocado. paired with dry baked potato wedges.


aaaand let’s wrap up this post with some pasta from the elenius-family-made-meal. whole wheat spiral pasta smothered in healthified alfredo sauce. made from…cauliflower + almond milk + garlic + nutritional yeast + lemon + parmesan + celtic salt + plenty of pepper. a big fat pasta dinner minus the big fat feeling that follows. yumtastic.


blessing the schroeder family


hello there friends! i am honored and excited to share my sis-in-law and bro-in-law’s story with you all. they are formally, officially, really-truly beginning the process to grow their family through adoption. this has been on their hearts and minds for many years now and many have been praying along with them. BUT, they have finally taken the plunge and started the time-consuming and moolah-consuming and energy-consuming process required to bring home a little one who needs a family. such an exciting and overwhelming time.

rachel and i were talking a few weeks back and i mentioned that she should consider starting up a gofundme site. a place to share their adoption journey and post updates and allow folks to come alongside through much-needed prayer and financial support. and that is exactly what she did. now that things are officially up and running, i have the honor of sharing it with you!

feel free to head over there and check it out.

and here’s more of the schroeder’s story for ya.

My husband Nathan and I have dreamed and prayed and talked about adopting a baby (babies) for about 10 years. In our hearts, we are ready; now we’re just trying to get the rest of the pieces in place.

When I (Rachel) was 15, my parents were in the process of adopting my youngest sister from China. I went with my dad, to bring her home, and will never forget walking into her orphanage. The older children were ready to smile and play, while the baby rooms were lined with cribs, but eerily quiet. (The cribs held babies, but these babies weren’t crying. Somehow they’d learned that crying wouldn’t change anything.) The feeling of waiting was their whole life. 

My heart was never the same after that; adoption has been my dream ever since. 

I am so thankful that Nathan shares this dream with me! We love babies and children, and have spent most of our married life serving and leading children’s ministries. We have rejoiced over every new birth; even at times knowing every family by their children. 

We suffered a miscarriage a few years ago, and though the pain of never getting to know that tiny life will never go away, it further confirmed our intention to become parents, and adoption as the means. 

Nathan & I plan to adopt domestically, to do our part for the staggering needs here in the US. There may not be the same kinds of orphanages, but there are so many babies and children who have no family, in addition to the brave and selfless women who choose to give life. 

We want the chance to love and guide children who will go from totally alone, to being part of a family who love them as totally as love can be experienced in this life.

Would you please pray for us, and join us on this journey?

Our goal is to raise a significant portion of the costs of the adoption process, so that we can move forward with it.

Please pray for us to move in the right way at the right time. Please pray that God would cause each step to be clear to us, and that He would work out each detail. Please pray for the potential birth mothers who may even now be considering choosing life. Please pray for the little one(s) we believe God intends for us to adopt. Please pray for our marriage; for our unity as a couple.

Please pray for our finances as we look to begin this process.

Please pray for our hearts to hold on…it feels like it has already been so long to wait.

Thank you so much!

Love, Rachel & Nathan

most importantly, they covet your prayers and encouragement. and it would be such a blessing if you would consider sharing the link with others who might want to join in. but let’s talk funds, folks. it takes plenty of green to move through the process and bring a baby home. agency fees and home studies and on and on. i know that financial support would be a tremendous blessing. everything counts. and anything is appreciated.

how cool that a bunch of people can join together to support a dear couple and their future baby. crowdfunding is pretty rad.