Simplifying Dishes

Dishes are a huge time and energy sucker for me. True for anyone, but especially true for anyone with chronic illness, we only have a limited amount of energy each day. I don’t know about you, but dishes are not where I want to spend that time and energy :).

Check out the video below! It’s short, I promise ;).

Simplifying Dishes

Are dishes an energy sucker for you?

Navigating Potlucks/Social Events with Dietary Restrictions

Potlucks, fellowship meals, dinners, parties, showers, game/movie nights… Until I had food allergies and other dietary restrictions to help manage chronic pain, I never realized how much social events always seem revolve around one thing in particular, FOOD!

I know at least for me, it’s very tempting and a lot simpler to just avoid events like that because of the hassle of figuring it out. But (as J likes to point out to me, trying to be all reasonable and well balanced, psh…)! We need to have some social interaction and a sense of normalcy to survive and thrive with chronic pain, even if we have to be a little unorthodox in how we do that.

Below are a few options and tips to consider to help you still partake in different social events:

  1. Pack your own food. I do this a LOT, even when going to fast food restaurants, so I know I’ll always have something on hand that I know I can eat.
  2. Look up the menu before to find something you can eat while selecting a restaurant to go to with friends. Most chain restaurants have their menus online and many have allergen menus you can look at.
  3. Eat prior to the event or leave snacks in the car. Can’t pack food without it being totally weird (like a wedding reception)? Simply eat before the event or bring snacks with you. Bringing snacks also gives you a good excuse to take a break from the noise and stimulation to step outside or into an empty room to eat and recharge for a moment.
  4. Prepare something you can eat to contribute to potluck. PRO TIP: Worried the one food you can eat will be all gone by the time you go through the line? Write on a card next to the dish that the food is X,Y,Z free and it will scare most people into leaving it alone, even if that dish doesn’t normally have those items in it ;p.

I can hear a lot of the arguments against these tips (I’m going to be too tired, that’s way too much work, people are going to think I’m a fruit loop – What if they ask me about it???, etc.) because I make these. While you do need to listen to what your body needs for rest, don’t allow yourself to just make excuses. Social involvement is so, so, SO important for mental and emotional health (yes, even for us introverts), and it’s something that we need to be intentional about to make it happen.

Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s awkward, but yes, it’s worth it.


Is anyone else a member of the tupperware-toting club? Anything else to add to the list?

Fresh Air Reminder!

This is your reminder to get some fresh air today, whether you’re able to go on a walk or run, sit on a porch swing, or simply open a window. I’ve been at all of those points and ALL are worthwhile.

Today, I was blessed to be able to go on a walk/run. It was slow and ugly, I’m hurting more today, and the tiny human is a grumblepuss, but it happened (albeit, very grudgingly at first). I got to feel my blood pumping, smell the rain moving in and the fresh cut hay by our house, and hear the wind moving through the grass. Life may not be pretty, but the little things are remarkable. Getting fresh air helps me to remember that. It’s sure beautiful to me.

How are you getting fresh air today?

Five Tips For Reducing Doctor’s Appointment Anxiety

The cliff notes:

  1. Pray. Seriously. Even (a.k.a. especially) when you don’t feel like it.
  2. Prepare. Bring notes of any comments, patterns, medications, and questions so you don’t have to recall on the fly.
  3. Dress comfortably. Think soft, cozy, and safe. Bonus points if it’s something you think looks nice.
  4. Listen to relaxing or encouraging music, if tolerated. 30 second dance party, anyone (literally or figuratively)?
  5. Talk. Call up, text, or shoot a Facebook message to a family member, significant other, or a friend.

For the full take on each of these tips, check out the video below! Have you tried any of the tips? Are there any that you would add to the list?

Meat and Veggie Skillet (Low glycemic, wheat, dairy, and soy free)

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post, folks! There’s been quite a bit going on around here, including purchasing a business (I’ll talk more about that soon, as well as my most recent checkup with my neurologist) and I simply let it slide.

But! I have a super simple, but still pretty tasty dinner recipe for you today. Just as background, I have a severe cow milk allergy and then I typically avoid wheat, processed sugar, caffeine, and spicy peppers (like chilies) as those make me flare, so my recipes won’t include any of those ingredients. Feel free to modify to suit your tastebuds and tolerances :).

Without further ado…

Meat and Veggie Skillet

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: 4ish (Depending on how big of eaters you’re serving ha)

Skillet ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • Meat options – 1 lb ground beef OR 2 chicken breasts, sliced into bite sized strips OR 2 cans of tuna
  • 1.5ish tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Some dried parsley
  • Salt and black pepper (Or can do seasoned pepper) to taste and tolerance
  • A sploosh (probably a tbsp or two) liquid coconut oil

Base ingredients:

Your choice! I like to do either quinoa or Basmati rice (both low glycemic options). Follow directions for whatever you decide to cook. I’ll list for cooking quinoa.

  • 1.5 cups tri-colored quinoa
  • 3 cups of water OR broth
  • 1 tbsp Smart Balance (can leave out or use actual butter)

Skillet directions:

  1. Wash and slice squash and zucchini (I use a mandolin to make it easier). Set to the side.
  2. If using chicken, cut chicken into approximately .5 inch x 2 inch strips (main goal is just to get bite sized).
  3. If using beef or chicken, cook in a large skillet over medium to medium – high heat until done. Drain off any grease.
  4. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, dried parsley, and coconut oil. Stir.
  5. Add sliced veggies. Stir frequently over medium heat until veggies are beginning to turn transparent in the middle.
  6. Turn off burner and set the skillet to the side.

Quinoa directions:

  1. Place liquid and Smart Balance in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add rinsed quinoa, stir, and bring back to a boil.
  3. Cover with a lid and turn burner down to low.
  4. Cook for approximately 20 minutes (should absorb the liquid and light colored, spiralled tails will emerge when the quinoa is done).
  5. Remove from burner.

Serve with the quinoa as a base and the skillet as a topping (Or the reverse. Whatever trips your trigger). Enjoy!

My handheld mandolin for slicing vegetables. This makes slicing very quick and also saves a lot of wrist movement if that’s a problem for anyone. And it’s pretty easy to clean.

Cooking the squash (If you’re wondering why on earth the burger is orange, fear not! It’s not going bad. It was just a pound that I had stretched with carrots and celery – Bonus points for extra veggies! But definitely not necessary).

Obligatory finished product picture.

Hello and Welcome!

Hello there and thanks for visiting Where Hope Grows! Check out the video below to learn a little about my story with chronic pain, the purpose of this blog, and to hear my three promises for you if you decide to follow along.

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Please leave a comment below or send me a message of topics you would like to discuss and to tell me your story :).