Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Yes, Carrot Soup is a Thing.

Welp, our Whole30/60/whatever progresses and our recipe reservoir deepens.

Being as it’s near the end of January and we’re out of grocery money for a couple days, the answer to this afternoon’s “What’s for dinner?” came out of left field. Knowing that there was a quart of stock left from last night’s jarring and most of a 5 lb. bag of carrots in the fridge, I began wondering if carrot soup was a thing. Not bright, crunchy carrot soup…no, I wanted a smooth, creamy concoction that would taste amazing, fill bellies, and still satisfy our Whole30 requirements.

Enter the What Great Grandma Ate blog. Using her Creamy Paleo Carrot Soup with Bacon recipe, I added a couple of cups of shredded chicken after blending. It was good, but still not quite what I was after. I added about a tsp. of ground ginger and about an 1/8 c. (2 T.) of dried parsley and then her recommended amount of coconut milk.

That did it. Ahhhhh.

I am pleased to report that all six of us enjoyed this thoroughly – this will show up in our future meal planning on purpose. 🙂


Whole 30 Shrimp Feast

Whole 30 Shrimp Feast

This recipe is a combination of 4 different recipes. I’m posting it here because it was well-received by almost everyone in our family and I know we’ll want to make it again. It was quickly devoured and I didn’t think about snapping a picture beforehand. Thankfully, two of the four recipes below are from other blogs and they are quite good at documenting.

The base recipe is here: Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi – we used two 12 oz bags of thawed shrimp instead of just one pound, lime juice from a whole lime instead of half a lemon, avocado oil instead of olive, and added a few ingredients noted below. Because there was more than the prescribed amount of shrimp, I added a little extra ghee and an extra dab of avocado oil.

I started with this, but wanted to be able to serve over either zoodles or spaghetti squash noodles. I’ve been wanting to try Lauren’s method of cooking spaghetti squash, so I used that. Y’all, cutting a spaghetti squash is hard – even with a good knife. Be careful and don’t try to do this in a hurry.

The third recipe was for the zoodles. It’s in the Whole30 cookbook, contained in their Shrimp with Romesco Sauce recipe. Basically, spiralize the zucchini and steam in a collander over boiling water for 2-3 minutes. (I’m actually not sure how long ours steamed. I was turning back to the stove and caught sight of my youngest fiddling with one of the temperature knobs. She’s almost seven, y’all. She had turned the oven eye that the shrimp was on waaaaaaaay up – thankfully, I caught it almost immediately, but at the expense of forgetting to set a timer for the zoodles. They were fine.)

The fourth recipe addition is from one of our FAVORITE EVER Indian cookbooks: 5 Spices, 50 Dishes*. The Spicy Seared Shrimp is a long time favorite – although, everything that we’ve tried from this cookbook has been a win. From this recipe, I added to the shrimp and sauce in the skillet, a healthy dose of dried cilantro (although the recipe calls from fresh, we were out) and maybe a teaspoon of turmeric. The other ingredients are mostly echoed in the scampi recipe, but the scampi adds some other herbs that sounded like a neat combination.


This was absolutely delicious and very filling. Three of us used zoodles as a base, two of us used spaghetti squash as a base, and one of us had a little of each. That one quickly decided he liked the zoodles better. My youngest thought the shrimp was too spicy – which I’d been a little concerned about. Thankfully, she loves spaghetti squash and was content to eat that by itself.

Next time, I think I would use less red pepper flakes. Although really, I should probably double all of the sauce ingredients, leave the red pepper at 1/2 tsp., and see how that works. The sauce was good by itself and could be a great base for some kind of cauli-rice side dish with nuts and raisins.


*This is not an affiliate link. This is my attempt, should you decide you’d like to find this cookbook, to save you some time. When I was trying to find it for a friend, I kept typing out the number names instead of the actual numbers. Oops.

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Wrestling Match

I was flipping through one my many, many legal pads the other day and re-encountered this jotting. I don’t know if anyone else can relate or not, but here it is anyway. 🙂


The ghosts
of former to lists
glide through my brain
Their shadowy partial existence
Attempting to desecrate
My time of peace and
Quiet and
Re-application of the truth of God.
(Apply to affected areas as often as needed.)




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Disordered Destruction

Disordered Destruction

So. Much. Pain.
I want to run away.
I want to hide my face

Your words are poison darts,
Finding purchase in our hearts.
You have pushed us all apart

You hurt yourself to hurt us too.
You know something’s broken inside of you,
Yet you blame everyone else when you come unglued

Oh, my Jesus,
Will you pick up these pieces?
Bind up these broken places

Help me love despite the pain.
Help me not run away.
Help me not hide my face.
Help me love, truly love, again.


Friends that are still here,
Please pray for Casey.* Pray that God will take back every bit of her heart that she’s ceded to the enemy of her soul. Pray that she will choose to make wise decisions, take ownership of her choices, and walk in the love of Jesus.

Thank you.



*Not her real name.

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Whoa, Nelly! Heads up.

Hi, Friends!

I haven’t been regularly posting for a LONG time. That’s about to change. This post is a chance to unsubscribe before I begin contributing to your Inbox overwhelm.

If you choose to unsubscribe, you will not be hurting my feelings. You will only be safeguarding your precious mental energy – something I understand all too well.

If you choose to hang around, that’s cool. I’ll be in touch soon.



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This Christmas (Work in Progress)

This Christmas (A work in progress)

This year,
The only tree we’ll assemble
Will be the one comprised
Of flesh, bone,
And shared DNA.

The only bark
Will be formed of laughter
(Although, there may be the chocolate kind,
And I wonder
What it’s like —
To see the love of 40 years,
The fruit of 40 years,
Gathered together once more.
Not just their fruit, but
The fruit of their fruit.
For their fruit fell far from the tree indeed,
Taking flight on the winds of change
And desire for more.
Finding solace in youthful hopes and dreams,
Sinking roots in unknown orchards.
Then, oh then,
They were grafted into new trees.
Produced new fruit.
And there was wonder —
And mystery.
“Oh, fruit of my fruit,
Will you relate to me
In my far away orchard?
I see pieces of me in you.
Will you come to see them too?

“You, oh fruit of my fruit,
Flesh of my flesh,

Bone of my bone,
And wonder,
I have so much to tell you,
To teach you.
Will you see me as I see you?
With wonder?
So much wonder.”
As noted in the title, this is a work in progress. I wrote it in the wee sma’s and, after reading it to Nathan this morning, decided to release it here in the hopes that someone would have mercy on me and report in with some feedback. That someone is you, Dear Reader. Please fill me in. Does the imagery ring true? Does it evoke an emotion (other than disgust at free-style poetry?) Do you have an idea for an alternate title? (I’ve never really been good at those…) Thanks, in advance, for your time and your feedback!
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Random morning mental musings

to my base elements
burning out
like an overheated filament
spinning round
lifting off the firmament
wondering how
I’m going to find a place again,
going to find a place again
place again
place again
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Found Poems

As the ongoing mission to clean my house continues, I found these within the sheets of a miscellaneous legal pad. From almost a year and a half ago, I’m not sure about the context. I only know they are about infant loss, both miscarriage and stillbirth.



Earlier I gazed
On Sorrow’s face
Born whole and round
And full of days
Yet no breath he drew
No cry he raised
He went fresh from womb
To final resting place
Oh Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow


When four are whole
And one is dead
Where shall I fix my gaze?
On the living?
(For sure, for there’s living to be done.)
Or on the one who slipped quickly through this place?
The mortal coil did not hold him fast
He had no need to cry “At last!”
No, he passed straight through to final repast.

Where shall I set my wandering eye?
On the ones who lived or the one that died?
This knowledge is too lofty for one such as I
To high for me to attain.

My heart is split
Cloven in two
For four are with me
And one is with You
Will You give me grace
To see me through
Ere to the other side?

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Thoughts on My Uncle’s Imminent Death

Thoughts on My Uncle’s Imminent Death

Memories claw at the corners of my mind,
Leaking out from the corners of my eyes.

You’re dying.

How can this be?

The snapshots I keep of you in the recesses of my brain-
They do not age. How did you?

What is this absurdity?

You are laughing in my head
With your ridiculous sunvisor that comes
Pre-loaded with a quantity of hair that your
Bald pate hasn’t seen in all of the years that I’ve known you.

You are laughing
Or on the verge of laughing, with a beer in hand,
As we, your relatives and party guests, fill your house again
And then, if the weather is fair, pour forth into your backyard.

You are under a car,
Or a truck, working your mechanic magic
On whatever ails your client.

You are at the beach, and your
Only son is about to be married.

And now…
You are dying.

Oh…you were dying before now in
An intellectual sense. As in,
“We’re all going to die some day.” or
“Life’s hard sometimes, but it beats the alternative.” or
“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Remember,
O Man, that you have been appointed unto death.”

But now…

Now, your family hastens to gather around you,
Hastens to your side to be there for the final hours,
For when the life support that has borne you up
Bears you no longer
And the agony that comes from knowing
May well be your last.
Hanging onto those breaths
As though they form a rope, holding you here
Holding you close, staving off that
Inevitable, accursed flat line.


And now…I am numb. I have wept, but I have no idea what’s happening in that hospital room or in the hearts and minds of my family. I don’t want to intrude and so I wait to hear from my parents or siblings. My brother called earlier today and he was the one who told me that everyone was gathering for the removal of life support. This was all the more unexpected as the last news I’d heard had him doing decently well on the ventilator after his open heart surgery on Monday. I want to pray, but I don’t know what to pray. Thankfully,

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27, NIV)

My request for you, my dear readers, is to cover my aunt and cousins, my mom, dad, and my mom’s remaining siblings and their families, in prayer. Ask God to comfort them and to draw them all close to him.

Thank you,


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New Recipe: Vegetable Casserole

Vegetable Casserole

  • 1 1/2 T. oregano
  • 1 lb. 2% Cottage Cheese
  • 1 lb of California Blend frozen veggies
  • 2 c. cooked chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • coconut oil for greasing casserole dish(es)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F and grease your 9″x 13″ casserole dish (or if, like me, your casserole dish is dirty, you can use a couple smaller dishes.)
  2. Cook the California Blend according to package directions (or wing it. Put water in a pan, add a little salt, bring it to a boil and add your veggies. Measure nothing, you ne’er do well, you. Don’t you feel adventurous now? 😉 ).
  3. While the veggies are cooking, mix the oregano and the cottage cheese (I love Daisy! It may not be organic, but it has no crazy additives.) together in a medium to large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  4. If you, like me, freeze your meat and beans in prepackaged portions, you can add the frozen portions to the veggie cooking water. This will help thaw them quickly and heat everything to an even temperature. After everything is thawed, drain the water out and add the veggie/bean/chicken mix to the cottage cheese/oregano mixture. Stir well and then pour into your prepared dish(es).
  5. Top with shredded cheddar and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  6. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, and then enjoy. 😀



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