Thanksgiving. What comes to mind when you think of that wonderful holiday? For me it is the food, specifically stuffing and pie. If you told me that I could have no turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn or even cinnamon roll breakfast (a family tradition), but I could still have stuffing and pie I would be ok with that. Don’t get me wrong I love all of those delicious foods, but nothing compares to that stuffing straight out of the bird and pie. I always have a big slice of pecan pie and a small slice of pumpkin pie. My mom makes the best pecan pie in the whole world. Due to my strike against processed food I never recreate her recipe, but I do allow myself to enjoy of the unhealthy greatness that is my mom’s pecan pie on Thanksgiving.
I have been determined to find ways to enjoy these flavors all season without gaining 20 pounds, and today I am sharing my first fall recipe of many to come. It is a great breakfast that gives you the pumpkin/pecan/cinnamon flavors of Thanksgiving, without all of the refined flours and sugars involved in pie. I give you Pumpkin Pecan Yogurt…
Pumpkin Pecan Yogurt
1/2 Cup Pecan Pieces
2 TBSP Pure Maple Syrup
1 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon (separated)
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (we use full fat from a local creamery)
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions: Toast Pecans for about 2 minutes in butter over medium heat. When the pecans are toasted sprinkle 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp salt and mix to coat all pecans, then add maple syrup. Stir the pecans to ensure they are all coated and cook for another minute. Take the pecans off heat and let cool. While the pecans are cooling mix yogurt, pumpkin, vanilla and remaining cinnamon in a bowl. Separate into 3-4 bowls for serving and sprinkle pecans evenly over each bowl.
I hope you enjoy this yogurt as much as we did. EGM ended up having 3 bowls (about 1 1/2 adult servings because her bowls are quite small). I am always thrilled to find tasty and healthy dishes, and this sure is both.
Fall is my favorite time of the year. Really September – January, not just fall. Football, cool weather, holidays and pumpkin EVERYTHING make me 5 pounds heavier, but 5 times happier every year. This year I looked forward to fall for an additional reason, I was excited to go back to work. Working for an after school organization means I don’t work in the summer. Teachers look forward to their summers, but my job is part time and I LOVE IT SO MUCH, so I prefer to not have summer. In case I have never spelled it out on here, I work for a christian theater organization. I teach classes and work on show teams, all while I get to point kids to Christ. My hours are in the evenings and on weekends, so I get to stay home with Emma Grace. If I had drawn up for you my perfect post baby job, this would have been it. We are incredibly blessed.
Of course nothing is perfect, in this case the good mommy hours mean not good marriage hours. Between class and rehearsal I am only home 2 week nights and one weekend day a week. If we want to be committed to going to a Bible study and serving at church (which we do) then we lose another chunk of that time. Maybe some of you see your spouse even less than that and have no problem, but with this schedule I miss my husband.
Shane and I set out to find a solution to allow us just a little more time together without taking away from my job or Emma Grace (though we do have date nights, don’t worry). For the past week we have been getting up earlier in the morning, 30 minutes for him and an hour for me, so that we can spend some time together before he goes to work. Half of the time is actually dedicated to us having our own time with the Lord. We sit in the sun room, drink coffee and don’t even speak as we read the word, write some thoughts and pray. I can’t believe how encouraging that time has been for us as a couple, even though we don’t speak to each other. Just prioritizing the Lord TOGETHER and being awake without a baby is growing our marriage. After that we get to eat breakfast together and chat without interruption. A whole meal and conversation without one of us running in and out from work or EGM needing us has been magical. I have no idea what we talk about, rarely anything important, but it is just us and that is what matters.
Is it hard to get out of bed at 6:30 instead of 7:30 for me? Absolutely. It feels like a sacrifice when the alarm goes off, but within 5 minutes it feels like a blessing and the only way to start my day. I think that is true of almost anything worthwhile, it takes effort but pays dividends well beyond what you put into it. The Lord was so faithful to lay this idea on our hearts, and my relationship with Him has grown immensely through this time. We have always heard about how hard marriage is, and sometimes that is very true. Shane and I have never really felt that way, but we know that making time for each other now is important for the future of our marriage. If you feel like you are missing your spouse I really encourage you to sit down and figure out an ‘us’ time that you aren’t taking advantage of right now. You will not regret it.