Quality Nourishment



Many summer mornings, I have wandered out to this dock at our family’s cabin. I throw on some boots and a blanket and head out to this well-loved chair with my Dad’s famous perked coffee in hand, still much too hot to drink. I sit and take in the beauty, the quiet, the aroma of pine trees and coffee. Some mornings the sun shines bright and glitters on the surface of the water. Other mornings the sun is masked by the mist rising off the lake. It doesn’t matter whether I spend a few short moments or an hour or so. I always feel satisfied after being in this place. Maybe because this place combines all the things that nourish me: Being outside, the beauty of the woods and untouched natural spaces, time to connect with God, time to process life, coffee. It’s a place to let quality things rise up in my life.

I have been trying to take small steps toward becoming a more nourished mama. Today is my one morning to myself and so I decided I would use this time to add in some things that nourish me. I dropped my sons off and headed out for a run along the bike path this morning. The rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement soothes my scattered thoughts and the fresh air in my lungs gives me freedom to breathe deep and let go of some of that tension I tend to carry in my shoulders! As I ran this morning I thought about this concept of quality.

I learned this over the past few years through our family’s switch to a gluten free/dairy free lifestyle. I call it a lifestyle switch because it really was a change in the way we do life and food. Our family made the change together to see if it would help with some of Preston’s behavioral struggles. We had heard that cutting out gluten and casein can help some children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. We started cutting things out. Honestly, we felt deprived at the beginning. But we soon came to realize we were approaching our dietary changes from a deprived mindset. We were choosing to look at what we couldn’t have, rather than what we could, missing all that was available to us.

About that time, my husband’s aunt, who struggles with Celiac disease, came to our rescue and mentored us in nutrition and all things gluten free. She helped us to look at food in terms of what we were gaining in nutrition, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, probiotics. For a kid like Preston, who’s medical issues make it hard for him to absorb nutrients and healthy fats, it’s important to make the most of each meal and feed him what will nourish him most. I have learned to think of food in terms of what is beneficial rather then what foods I have to keep from him. It’s not so much about cutting things out as it is about adding quality things in. This has changed everything. Bit by bit, as we added in things that nourished our bodies, we began to find ourselves craving those more healthy options and the less healthy things sort of lost their appeal and vanished from our diet. Our lifestyle changed completely.

As I ran this morning, I thought about how I can apply this concept of quality to other areas of my life. Where can I add in quality moments that nourish my mind, body, and soul? For too long, I’ve been trying to fill up other people’s glasses from my own broken and leaking vessel. Are there nourishing activities that I can add in to help me stay filled up and be able to provide that same quality nourishment back to my family, friends, and those around me?

So here are a few ideas I have to start slowly adding in some quality moments. (Disclaimer: I will not be rigid about when these things happen, or how often, or for how long. I have tried this and have stressed myself out over it. I will both take advantage of opportunities to add these things in but also, be aware that if the opportunity doesn’t come, I might have to make a little room for it. I’m going for guilt-free here people!) Here are three small things I can add in:

– Getting outside a few times a week, especially on sunny days. This can be a run by myself or a walk in the woods with my sons. I am an outside girl who hates feeling trapped in the house. Just a few minutes outdoors lifts my spirits.

– A quiet cup of coffee and some time to read and think. This is only accomplished these days by getting up before the sun rises. But I find on the days I make the sacrifice on 10 minutes of sleep to read my bible, or journal while sipping on some liquid heaven, I am much less scattered.

– Writing once a week. This is more a personal goal, but one that fills me up.

So, thus begins my little experiment in the concept of quality. Probably only my family will notice if it works. But I am determined to be a more nourished mama. I’m hoping to transform my time with my kids from quantity time to quality time. I’m hoping by making some space for some self-nourishment that some quality things will be able to rise up from me.

Would you consider with me, what are some nourishing moment you can add to your life right now?


Fluffy Paleo Biscuits

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You want to eat these right? Imagine them with a piping hot bowl of chunky soup. Or maybe  some gravy. No, an egg and ham for breakfast! Whatever your craving – these were a hit with my boys.

I wanted the flakiness of a pasty dough so I adapted the pie crust recipe from Danielle Walker at Against All Grain. Definitely check out her blog Against All Grain by clicking here.

Here is my recipe:

FLUFFY PALEO BISCUITS – yields about a dozen biscuits

2 1/2 cups of blanched almond flour

1 TBSP of coconut flour

1 large cold egg plus one cold egg white

5 tsp of ice water

2-3 tsp honey

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp sea salt

3 1/2 TBSP of palm shortening

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Place all ingredients except the palm shortening in the food processor with the  “s” blade attachment. Blend well.

3. Cut small balls of shortening into the processor distributing them evenly around the bowl. Then pulse until just combined.

4. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and mold it into a ball. Coat it with a thin layer of coconut flour and place the ball into a small glass bowl and chill in the refrigerator about 20 minutes.

5. Place the ball onto a silicone mat or a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment over the ball and roll the dough out to about 1″ thick. Use a 2 1/2 inch biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out out biscuits. Use a flat knife or pie server to carefully place the biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden on the edges. Serve immediately or freeze once cool and reheat as needed. Enjoy!

*Make sure the biscuits have good height of about 1″ or more before baking or else they will turn into cookies.

White Bean Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is truly delicious! It is the consistency of pound cake and the flavor is fresh and delightful! This recipe is adapted from the Grain Free Coffee Cake recipe from The Spunky Coconut blog. You can see the link to the original recipe here. The original recipe is also, amazing!

Wet Ingredients:
2 cups cooked organic white beans (I used navy beans)
6 large organic eggs
1/3 cup organic honey
2 tbsp melted ghee
1 tbsp lemon infused olive oil
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tbsp lemon extract
Juice of ½ an organic lemon

Dry Ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut flour
¼ organic blonde cane sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt

2 tbsp organic poppy seeds
Finely grated zest from 2 organic lemons

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8×8 coffee cake pan or a low 10 inch tube pan (this is what I used) with coconut oil and set aside.

First, blend all the wet ingredients in a vitamix or high powered blender. Next, add dry ingredients and blend. It gets very thick at this point so you might need to use a tamper or an immersion blender to blend completely. Then fold in poppy seeds and lemon zest and combine well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and distribute evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Optional filling:
Mix in fresh blueberries

Optional Topping:
Create a glaze with 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar and 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice and sprinkle coconut flakes or lemon zest on the top.

My First Blog Post


I am so excited as I type this – my very first blog post! This blog has been many months in the planning and I am thrilled to finally get started!

I am the mommy of two little boys with special needs. My Little Dude (age 5) was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, an autism spectrum disorder) last winter. My Little Man (age 1) has low muscle tone and delays in his gross motor development. You will be able read Little Dude’s story and Little Man’s story shortly.

The reasons I started this blog are: 1) to encourage other families who are raising children with special needs, and 2) to be a resource, and 3) to challenge myself to continue to find creative and fun ways to meet my families needs. Over the last year I have learned so much about sensory processing, gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free diets, and autism. I’d love this blog to be a place to share what I’m learning on my journey as a parent, but also to learn from you too! I truly believe that we are stronger together.

Finally, you have to know that I am a woman who loves God and that drives everything I do. I will probably mention Him from time to time – as he is the reason I can breathe and blog and do therapy after therapy and find joy when it shouldn’t be there.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll find Our Special Nest to be uplifting, encouraging, and practical!

– Amy