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August 2014

a broken kind of beautiful {book review}

sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.”  the tagline adorns the listing for a novel by Katie Ganshert, and i was privileged to receive the book from publishers to read and review.


it boggles my mind how true this statement can be.  last week a good friend taught at church taught about sin and the fall, and how our God works through our brokenness to shine His light and give His love.  i’m amazed at times how it seems my own failures seem to best magnify His perfection, and his redemption.


broken kind of beautiful


A Broken Kind of Beautiful, by Katie Ganshert, is a novel about a fashion model with a history of rejection and fear.  abused in a way that’s socially acceptable in many circles by a family member who should have her best interest at heart, she hides her broken spirit and broken mind behind a body that is beautiful.  when she’s offered love and respect, it comes in forms she can’t recognize or accept, and her journey toward healing takes an unexpected path.  the book is understated in its spiritual depth, and the story has a thread of familiarity, in that many of us can relate to the habit of hiding in a desperate attempt to guard our hearts from more hurts.


recently, i’ve wrestled with my love for the show so you think you can dance.  for season after season, this girl who once taught dance, and longs still to don my shoes and spin and leap, has dropped everything to watch in wonder as young artists stretch body and spirit for the chance to be adored by america and to gain critical acclaim in the world of dance.  i’ve stretched my own level of acceptance as at times, the themes of the dance were outside my comfort zone.  as a theatre major and as a writer, i embrace the idea of addressing social issues, digging into relationship and exploring the human race through the arts.  recently, however, i have realized that like the proverbial frog in the pot, i’ve failed to notice the potentially fatal effects of a growing use of the show as a platform for social issues i don’t espouse.


in particular, the most recent episode featured a guest judge who repeatedly made sexual innuendos regarding the dancers.  he went so far as to poetically announce his physical attraction toward more than one of the performers, and it was laughed at by the fellow judges.  i found myself mentally defending the dancers, barely “legal” in age, who had to stand on a stage and take these comments.  they were not in a club, and no one was paying for such a performance, yet it was somehow deemed acceptable.  the fact that they stood on a national stage in front of a life television audience left them little choice but to smile and take the advances in stride as if they weren’t invasive and dishonoring.


i have thought further about this issue and realized that had the judge been of a different race or sex, the comments most likely would have been considered socially unacceptable and created an outcry.  instead, producers allowed what in any other circumstance was utterly unprofessional and dishonoring, in the name of “art.”


i’m chewing on the issue, but for now, i am heartbroken; i feel betrayed by an industry that has great potential to literally change hearts and minds, but in this case, i believe is abusing the young artists whose trust is placed in the hands of those further along than they are, well respected and considered wise.  i’m concerned that an abuse is taking place, and it’s accepted because the subject is the darling of current media, and because the young artists being abused are “legally of age.”  i’m mentally wrestling with the idea of the arts as a method of social expression (not new – from the beginning of time art has expressed social and moral beliefs), the ethics of using children and impressionable young adults as the artistic “tools” for this expression, and the responsibility of adults to protect their innocence and their honor.


dancing divider webb


a broken kind of beautiful explores to some level the performance industry, and it opens for discussion the abuses that take place when children are placed under the care of “professionals” who may not have their interest at heart.  i’d love to know your thoughts on this issue.  in the meantime, i’d also love to hear your thoughts on the book.  (the clickable link is an affiliate link – if you choose to use it to purchase the book, i receive a small commission.)


disclaimer acs web copy




grain-free cran-orange chocolate granola {grain-free granola}

when i wake, i want something to eat right away, and i want something meaty – something with substance.  i can’t always cook a protein, and i’ve been looking for a grain-free granola recipe that was hearty and filling, a little sweet but not overly so.


grain free chocolate granola_title


inspired by tons of pinterest-posts and deterred pricey commercial options, i went to work and created this one.  it’s chocolatey- but in a deep, dark way that isn’t too sweet.  the citrus and dried cranberries and cherries give it a tart balance.


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it also looks pretty in the little vintage bowls i found on an antiquing run with my e. a few weeks ago, no?


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this cran-orange chocolate grain-free granola should fill a sweet tooth craving but fill a hungry tummy, as well; it’s delicious swimming in a little bowl of brazil nut milk, and it’s also perfect for snacking dry in a little take-along container.


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grain-free cran-orange chocolate granola {grain-free granola}


  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked overnight in filtered water
  • 1 cup raw pecans, soaked overnight in filtered water
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, unsweetened
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange (or vanilla) extract
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds or hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • zest of one orange


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse nuts and allow to air dry at least fifteen minutes.
  3. Combine nuts a food processor and pulse 3-5 times or until just broken up.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt butter with honey, then stir in cocoa, extract, and orange juice.
  5. Stir with a whisk until ingredients come together and are warmed through.
  6. Pour honey mixture into food processor and pulse 3-4 times to combine.
  7. Add hemp and chia seeds, berries and cherries, coconut, orange zest, and cacao nibs and pulse 3-6 more times to break up and combine.
  8. Pour mixture onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 200 degrees for 3-4 hours, or until dry.
  9. Allow to cool - mixture will crisp as it cools.
  10. Store in a sealed, covered container up to one month.


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what’s your favorite breakfast?


dancing divider webb

brazil nut milk {chocolate brazil nut milk}

never, even when i was a little girl and my sister could guzzle a gallon a week, was i a sit-down-with-a-glass-of-milk girl.  i could take it in my cereal, and i enjoyed it in hot drinks, but sipping a glass of milk wasn’t a craving i experienced.  now, once i tried raw milk, that was another story.  and now that i’ve tasted this recipe, drinking a cold glass of brazil nut milk while reading a book and listening to instrumental folk music, that is a craving i can say i now know.


brazil nut milk_title


this recipe comes from choosing raw; i simply doubled her recipe, although i found recipes aplenty that were similar; some that use as little as half the amount of water, which i wasn’t sure would be as creamy.


chocolate brazil nut milk


since i can’t drink a glass while typing (we’ve already been through ours today, seriously), let’s just look at the pretty pictures.  k?  (and how my children dislike when i use “k?” as a word.  not.  okay.)


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i’ve been reviewing a great book called Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing, and Living Well, and their almond milk recipe reminds me that soaking nuts helps make them more easily digestible; next i plan to try their recipe, which calls for a 4/1 water to nuts ratio.


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brazil nut milk {chocolate brazil nut milk}


  • 2 cups brazil nuts
  • 6-8 cups filtered water
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
  • For chocolate brazil nut milk:
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder or cocoa powder


  1. Combine ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
  2. Strain "milk" through a nut milk bag or press gently over a fine mesh strainer in batches.
  3. (We doubled the original recipe and strained in three batches.)
  4. If desired, strain the nut milk and use to create a raw baked good such as grain-free cookies or tart crust.
  5. Store strained milk in a tightly sealed container for up to one week (shake gently before pouring).
  6. For chocolate brazil nut milk:
  7. Add 4 tablespoons cocoa powder to blender with all ingredients before blending.
  8. If desired, dust chocolate milk with additional cacao or cocoa powder before serving.


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what’s your favorite indulgent drink?  do share.  🙂


dancing divider webb


dancing divider webb


affiliate disclosure: links to products on an amazon store lead to a small commission; if you choose to purchase through these links, i appreciate your support!