Blueberry Birthday Pie

On February 22, 2000, he made his much anticipated entrance into this world. He was beautiful, round, robust. Our little "chunky monkey."

The birth. Terrifying. Unbeknownst to us, he had a true knot in his cord. What I had planned as the perfect natural birth ended up being one of the most intense moments of my life. I thought he was going to die. And when I looked at his father, his face ghostly white, I knew he thought the same.

But he survived, and thrived, and has become an amazing young man.  He turned 13 last Friday. THIRTEEN! I just vomited a little.

For my kids birthdays they get their favorite foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And this sweet precious boy's love language is food. Food.

I speak food.

As I was prepping and cooking his special requests, he came into the kitchen and said, "Oh this kitchen, it always smells so good. They need to make a candle and call the scent, 'Jana's Kitchen'."

My sweet boy. Anything is yours. Name it.

And he did. Blueberry Birthday Pie. Two of them. His request.

Done. Happily.

This was my new recipe for Saturday, my weekly challenge. And this week it was created for the love of a sweet boy who is now my "man-boy."

This recipe makes two pies. Trust me you will want two. And if that is too much for you, divide the recipe or go ahead and make two. Give one to your neighbor. Watch them smile!

Gluten Free Pie Crust

3 cups blanched almond flour

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 cup applesauce
4 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda
  2. In a small bowl, combine applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  4. Pat dough into two 9 inch pie pan.
  5. Bake at 325° for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Pie Filling

    8 cups frozen blueberries
    2 pints fresh blueberries
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    6 Tablespoons of Arrowroot dissolved in 4 Tablespoons of water
    2  9 inch fully cooked pie crusts


    1. Combine 8 cups frozen berries with maple syrup, lemon, and arrowroot mixture in a stainless steel saucepan. 

    1. Heat over medium until the mixture is bubbling, and the berries start to burst. 

    2. Stir for about 5 minutes, until filling has thickened. (It will continue to thicken as it cools).
    3. Pour filling into pie-shells. 
    4. Top with remaining pint of berries. Press them in a little so they won't roll around.
    5. Let cool thoroughly, or chill, as desired.
    6. Eat up.


Listening is Key

Hot yoga is a challenge. In so many ways.

First, it's hot. Obviously. That implies many things. You will sweat, more than you think. But since I grew up hot and humid in Houston, thats the least of my worries.

Second, you are really close to people. I can touch the people next to me at all times. Some would find that fact ooogy. But since I like people and I'm a touchy person, I'm cool there too.

Third, you're practically naked. That sounds weird. But when class starts, your focus switches to survival, and you can't possibly focus on your clothes - let alone anyone else's.

But after a few classes, the heat and the closeness and the lack of clothing all fade into the background, leaving me with one final challenge:


Listening is key. You are in a room with close to 40 other people, moving at the same time, as the instructor talks through twenty-six postures in ninety minutes. For me, that is a really long time to stay focused.

When I let my mind wander for a moment, I hear things like, "Put your Artist Ghetto Hands palm down." What?!  My Artist Ghetto Palms? What is she trying to say?!? We're almost finished with the posture before I can even understand what the instructor is trying to tell me.

But that makes me think... How often have I failed to really hear what a friend is telling me? How many messages have I misread from loved ones, or strangers? How many times have I been too wrapped up in something as mundane and unimportant as my grocery list, and failed to hear an urgent message?

"Artist, ghetto palms of hands." It may sound weird to you, but it means so much to me. When I listen and truly hear, I'm blown away by how the simplest things mean so much.

Savasana. Corpse Pose.

Heart pounding, recovering from a posture that raises my pulse. My mind moves to my Beautiful Creator. He who put that pounding heart where it pulsates. Beats at such a rate that my mind is boggled, once again. This body, the body he created, is amazing. My body. His Temple. He is in me and I worship. I worship my pounding heart. Miraculous it is. Simple. But so miraculous.

But in my busyness and noise, how often have I failed to hear Him? Failed to even listen? How much have I missed from Him?

From my husband?

From my children?

But the moment is also exciting. I get excited as I realize that I have had my ears turned down too low, and resolve that it wont happen any more! I'm am taking in all I can. All the silly stories from the boys. All the joyful, supersonic squeals from my littlest ones.  All the high-speed daily downloads from my oldest girl. The sweet whispers of love from my husband's lips. The voice of my precious Jesus. I want to hear it all.

And when I'm listening...I'm amazed. Stunned at the beauty. The beauty of hearing.


A Challenge


I love to challenge myself. Especially when I find an area in my life where I need growth. I do better if I find a way to challenge growth rather than leave it at an ambiguous, "I need to work on that." If I have a plan, a goal, I actually gain some ground.

Some of you may have read about my Happy Herbivore Abroad Challenge. I have been making a recipe from the cookbook Happy Herbivore Abroad every day for the past 80 days and will continue until I work through all the recipes. Why? Because I wanted to liven things up at our dinner table.  It has been a blessing to the entire family. I have seen such growth in my kids. For example, I called home the day we were making pizza and asked my kids what they wanted on their pizza, my 13 year old boy said, "Can I have asparagus and broccoli on mine?" I smiled a big ole proud mama smile. That is growth! And in such a short time.

Lindsay Nixon over at Happy Herbivore made a post a few days ago about a great New Recipe Saturday Challenge. I loved the idea: create or try a new recipe every Saturday. I can do that. A way to have some fun playing with my food, which I highly encourage for everyone.  Wanna join me? Play with your food.

Yesterday, I made a Curry Chik'n Salad that was beautiful. Flavorful and much cheaper than the cost of our deli's version. And so I share with you my first "New Recipe Saturday." Enjoy!

Curry Chik'n Salad
1 pound of Beyond Meat or Seitan (I actually weighed it)
4 Teaspoons curry
1 1/4 cup of vegan mayo
3 green onions chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/2 red bell pepper diced
1 celery stalk diced
1 cup raw cashews
Salt and pepper to taste

Slightly warm your Beyond Meat or Seitan. I used my small convection oven at 175 degrees so I wouldn't burn it. Put in medium mixing bowl. In blender, Vitamix or with whisk, mix curry into mayo. Add to your mixing bowl along with all your veg (diced little itty bitty). Add your currants  and cashews. Stir until it is mixed thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over greens of your choice.

My husband likes it in a wrap. Or in a sandwich. It's all good. Play with your food. That's what we do.