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Mayo-Free Crunchy Tuna Salad

I LOOOOVE tuna! Don’t care if I get complaints from the whole family on how it smells and they won’t sit by me. I won’t ever stop cause it is just my favorite kind of sandwich!

Homemade healthy tuna salad sandwich with peppers

Right now while we are all quarantined at home for COVID, I think it’s the perfect time to have a great tuna salad recipe to whip up. Tuna is shelf stable and readily available, in a time where most of the meats are cleared off the shelves. It’s also loaded with all the healthy omegas and fats!

Mayo-free tuna salad in bowl with a side of toasted bread

I like to make this and store it in the fridge for a nutritious lunch or for a mid-day snack. I love them on my Citrus Cilantro Crackers too!

mayo-free tuna salad sandwich on lettuce

Mayo-Free Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe

healthy homemade tuna salad recipe

 

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Chocolate Chunk Sourdough Bread

This is one of those recipe that not a single person in the family can “wait for it to cool”. True story, my son once just plucked half the top of it off when I left the room so he could partake. Made for quite an ugly loaf, but who can blame the guy?

The key to this recipe is to wait until the very end of the fermentation process before you add in the chocolate. Sourdough, and the process of fermentation, can build quite a bit of natural heat. My method for baking it adds even more, so you don’t want the chocolate to melt all over and make too big of a mess in the bread.

homemade chocolate chunk sourdough bread

My favorite chocolate to use for this is a Honey Mama’s chocolate bar. I take it and chop it up into chocolate chunks…this is not a precise science, just chop it about the size you’d like it to be in the bread!

sliced chocolate chunk sourdough bread

Adding a drizzle of honey will make this bread all the more decadent. Or sometimes I’ll even add hazelnut butter! If I’m having guests over, I’ll sometimes cut it into strips to serve alongside some coffee or a hot beverage of choice.

chocolate chunk sourdough bread topped with honey

Chocolate Chunk Sourdough Bread

sliced homemade chocolate chunk sourdough bread with honey

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The Settling In Phase : A Postpartum Update

I walk into the 6-8 week checkup and get the standard checklist of questions…most centered around the newborn I’m holding but then I got a zoned in….”How are YOU doing?”  Kudos to all 3 of my OBGYNs for actually asking this. I hear some sadly do not.  I’ve answered as authentically as I could which is “Good, tired, happy, adjusting.”

You take 9 months to grow this being and then one day they go from inside to outside.  I’m always reeling in that miracle for a good 3-4 months.  How is he really here now?  Look at his face. I dreamed what it would look like and now I see it before me.  How did we have our family before him? He’s forever a part of our unit now and I cant imagine life another way.

There’s the new baby bliss, the getting lost (literately) in piles of laundry, the night time wake ups, and then the demands of the other children that you’re trying your darnest to meet.  But I feel like my head is still above water because the support is there.  People expect me to still be adjusting and are usually quite gracious when my preschooler shows up late, with mismatched socks and no coat in the dead of winter.

I work off adrenaline those first few months.

Then around month 4 it starts to wear off and I’m left with the accumulation of several months of life-change hitting me (what feels like) all at once

For this reason, I’m here to share something I don’t hear folks often speak to : stages of postpartum.  I’m talking beyond the “4th Trimester” and into the following months, maybe years, afterwards.

 

For me personally, this falls under 3 levels of postpartum :

The initial postpartum : which is month 1-3

The settling in postpartum : month 4-6

The post-nursing stage : 1-2 years (depending on the kiddo!)

 

The stage I’m currently in, month 4-6, is when I get hit with a certain kind of heaviness : feelings of irritability, helplessness, and the sinking sense that I’m one step behind on just about everything.  And the falling behind part clips me most because I’ve learned that in this phase there is really is no AHEAD.  The most I can hope for is to keep up with the current flow,  but there is no getting ahead for me.

I often feel hard on myself.  Why can’t I be more calm and present?  Why is my son smacking applesauce in my ear while I’m trying to read making me feel like I want to go She-Hulk?!  Why can’t I look at my body and see all it’s done, instead of critiquing the changes I’m left with postpartum?  And then after these thoughts, let’s add on an extra layer by being hard on myself FOR being hard on myself.

This is the grappling reality of where this stage leaves me.  I’ve seen it happen after each of my 3.  But this time I’m doing things differently.

This time I’m removing mystery.

I don’t crinkle inward and hope someone will identify and unravel the knots in my soul.

Rather, I muster up the gumption to tell someone, to bare my feelings.

I say, “I’m trying to meet the needs of everyone else. I have needs too.  Can we start here with ____?  This is something that I would really love space for/care in.”  I have the guts to ask.

Deep down I want to be the one others ask for, not the one asking, but this “settling in” stage of postpartum is a season to lay down that pride.  To allow myself to provide margin that has been missing for going on a year now.  To claim back my body in the spaces I can safely do so.

It is a gift to give to others, but if we never allow ourselves to receive, then we are potentially denying that gift from someone else.  And what is more refreshing that someone showing their own humanness?  Truly.  May we have the humility to allow our own needs to be known and receive the ways others rise up to meet them.

So maybe some of you mamas find yourself somewhere in these lines.  If so, my hope and prayer is you feel a little less alone today knowing that for me postpartum is a carried-out journey : taking necessary pit stops, blisters on the soles of my feet, and learning to adapt to changes in terrain along the way.  It’s one I’m navigating now and likely will be for years to come.

Mamas, I see you.

I have grace for you.

 

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Gingerbread Bars

Christmastime has me craving all things ginger and spice. I tried this recipe a few different ways, had about 4-5 folks recipe test with me, and unanimously landed on the simple fact that butter makes this recipe have the best texture and flavor. I mean, it’s butter. Who is gonna argue with butter.

These bars are taken to the next level when you use Honey Mama’s Ginger Cardamom Bar crumbled on top. It gives it such a rich flavor that’s sure to have people asking “what’s in those?” because it’s truly got a unique profile with the addition of cardamom.


I hope you all love these as much as we do! And they’re healthy enough you just go right ahead and have them with your warm cup of morning coffee (or matcha). 🙂

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When the Doer Doesn’t Do : A Postpartum Update

I knew this was coming.  I could feel it in my busy little bones.  When a new baby enters into the world, the entire pace changes.  Let me clarify : the pace changes for the mom, but the hard part is it often does not change for the rest of the family.  This leaves the mama feeling a step behind on almost everything – late to school drop offs because of miscalculating the time it’ll take to load that one extra child, leaving crusty dishes in the sink and unswept crumbs on the floor.  I would be withholding information if I did not disclose that we are currently living out of a closet that is also known as our dryer.  When my daughter runs in looking for an item, my response is typically “Look in the laundry hamper!”  My husband jokes by the time I get around to it, it’s the texture of paper mache.

Newborns have few demands, but the ones they have require immediate and constant response.  As a postpartum mother, your body has undergone the majority of an entire year riding the waves of hormone fluctuations, the literal stretching of your body, and then the life-changing and Olympic act of birthing them into the world.  One minute they’re one inside of your body and the next they are on the outside.  And even though 1 become 2, it still take awhile for your body to feel yours again.  It takes awhile for your mind to settle into the reality of the change, the forever kind of change.

But back to the time, the pace, the rhythm that shifts once you shift from prenatal to postpartum.  I’m a doer.  I often will not ask for someone to help me because I figure by the time I ask and explain, I could’ve already done it.  So I just do it on my own.  I rarely sit down and I even have a hard time watching movies because that requires me to be still and engaged for well over an hour and well, who has time for that!  I used to not be this way but motherhood brought it out in me like never before.  I now have become that person that (embarrassingly) admits that I sometimes add items to my to-do list that have already been completed just so I can allow myself the simple delight of adding that check mark to the left of it (or line through it – whichever method you prefer).

I also love to create and then use those creations to serve others.  Now here’s the part that has unearthed itself and shocked me most.  I feel like if I’m REALLY honest, I’ll confess that I’ve often patted myself on the back for that.  It feels good to ME to give and harder yet to receive.  In this particular season, I find I’m still trying to give to the outside world at the same capacity I did before and the main people who suffer here are the people within the walls of my own home.  My rations are a bit short now and I have to be careful with where I store them.  I always tell other moms that are lamenting over feeling overcommitted that their first call is to their very own “little church”…and “don’t feel bad cutting your calendar to preserve that!  It’s most important!”  I can now feel this same message trying to land on my own heart.

The cure for all of this?  Well it certainly isn’t a one-time fix as this is a well that water is pulled out of daily.  It is the disciplined practice of moving in the direction I want to go.

This looks a lot less like studying the enneagram just a little more to understand the “why” behind my acts or trying to plow through the long days and a whole lot more like taking your sleeping baby upstairs to the rocking chair.

Sitting down and looking at his face.

Listening to his heavy sighs and watching the rise and fall of his chest, allowing the comfort of it to wrap up around you like a cozy blanket on a chilly winter day.

It’s choosing to open a window and listen to leaves rustle in the wind instead of turning on the radio and welcoming more input. 

Each step you take to lay down the doing brings you that much closer to the BEING. 

The art of being connects you deep places in your soul that are often running dry without you even realizing it.  It allows you the time and space to truly see what’s right in front of you and be present for your own life.  Engaging in these things fill our cups right back to the brim again, allowing us to pour out and invest in others once more,  giving us the reserves so we can be the caregivers we wanted to be all along.

So today I’m leaning into my new rhythm.  I’m leaving the tasks and trading them in for moments of rest and reprieve.  Tomorrow I’ll wake up and preach this to myself all over again and ask willing friends and family to encourage me as I do. 

I will accept the challenge of calming my restless heart and laying down my compulsion to do, trusting that God promises to work while I rest.

I can find comfort in the fact that even the very God of the universe took a full day of rest after He created our world, so surely this girl and her humanness would require the same.

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welcome to my table

Hello friend! I'm Rachel Stricklin and I'm so happy you have landed here!

 

My recipes are focused on whole food ingredients and are meant to bring you warmth, nourishment, and a

reason to gather.

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