Super Simple Menu, Fall Challenge Week 2

super simple fall thm menu graceful abandon

So last week I shared my first fabulous fall menu. It was filled with all kinds of decadent treats and delicious autumn flavors. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! This week finds me incredibly busy both in and out of my home, and my simple menu reflects that. When you’re on the go, you need to have easy lunches that can travel with you, meals in a crock pot or that don’t take too much effort, and so on. I hope this week is a nice easy one for one and that this simple menu makes it even more simple; but if it’s a crazy week, like mine, then this menu is just what you need to stay eating well without stress!

One of my “go-to” tips for a busy week is to grab a couple of Rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club. If you’re a purist, you can always crock pot or roast a couple of chickens, but I’m not there in my time allotment this week and those rotisserie deals sure do free up some time! We’ll eat most of one for dinner and have the rest of that one and the other off the bone and separated in the fridge into light and dark meat. I’ll grab and use as needed for my recipes. This time saving tip is one I utilize often when we’re on the run!

Photo credit: Jennifer Griffin from A Home With Purpose
Photo credit: Jennifer Griffin from A Home With Purpose


  • Crock pot steel cut oats, plain and ready for your choice of toppings (E)
  • Blueberry Muffins from A Home With Purpose (I’ll make a double batch of these muffins once, and have them 3x for breakfast this week with some kind of FP sipper on the side or a 1/2 of smoothie if I’m really hungry; my kids will have the muffins and a piece of fruit and a hard boiled egg)
  • Scrambled Eggs and 1/2 Smoothie (this is a simple, satisfying breakfast for me that I’ll do twice)
  • Egg Tacos (we’ll do this for our weekly big breakfast treat)


  • Leftover burger in a lettuce wrap
  • Leftover rotisserie chicken on a salad (2x)
  • Rice and beans with hot sauce (kids top with sour cream; I do a dollop of Greek yogurt)
  • Leftover Taco Soup with Bread in a Mug on the side
  • Red bell pepper chicken salad (using the rotisserie chicken leftovers or canned chicken)
  • And on PB&J day for the kids, I’ll have this Sweet Potato Skillet for 1 meal (again, using leftover rotisserie chicken)
  • And because it’s a crazy week, the kids will have PB&J a second time this week and I’ll just toss some leftover chicken into a low carb wrap with some lettuce, cheese, hot sauce, and sour cream and call it YUMMY!

graceful abandon taco soup cauliflower crock pot soup bowlDinners

  • Taco Soup (We’re making it “S” Style, but there are options if you want an E or FP!)
  • Crockpot Ghoulash (Use ground chicken to make this an E, and sub either rice, quinoa, or dreamfields for the pasta…we’re doing a wild rice and quinoa mix) 
  • Breakfast for Dinner: Gwen’s Low Carb Pancakes (S)
  • Rotisserie Chicken and tossed salad (how’s this for easy? I’m grabbing 2 $5 chickens from Sam’s and making up salad for the side! The kids will have dinner rolls. I’m buying two because the leftovers will be used to make my lunches for the week — dark meat for S meals and white for FP/E meals…and the bones will go in the freezer to make bone stock with for soups this winter)
  • Chicken Jambalaya (S, E, or FP) (you can even use some of the chicken from the rotisserie if you have leftovers to spare)
  • Grilled burgers (S)…we throw them outside on the grill or on a skillet inside. The kids will have a bag of sweet potato fries on the side and I’ll have a delicious salad (make extra for a lunch)
  • Leftovers (we always have a leftover night; it keeps us from having any wasted meals!)

Fabulous Fall Menu Plan, Week 1 {60 Day Challenge}

THM Fall Inspired Menu Week 1

This week, I’m all about the fall flavors. I’m also doing a 60-day No Cheat Challenge  that gets me to Thanksgiving. I’m pretty exciting to be sharing 9 weeks of awesome menus with you, that will involve eating on plan, eating frugally, and eating all the seasonal deliciousness that is available. These menus will all be Trim Healthy Mama compliant, as that’s how we eat around here!  As such, they will all be sugar free. Some will be Paleo compliant, some gluten free, some nut free, some dairy free…but not all, because I no longer have to accommodate all of those sensitivities since my leaky gut is on the mend (you can’t see me, but I’m doing my happy dance about that! So thankful for the awesome probiotics and vitamins that are healing me). Most importantly, they’ll be healthy and delicious.

I’ve included what I serve for the family, and what I eat as a THM. My growing kids and active husband can crossover and have treats that I don’t, so we eat the same basic food, but not identical. This will work for your entire crew!  Quick Note: I’ve changed the way I menu plan. I used to plan out by the day (for instance: Monday breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner), but then I would get derailed if something had to change it. Now, I write out the meals for the week and pick and choose based on the day and what suits it best. Here you go…Bon Apetit! The flavors of autumn await you.

Apple Pie Porridge from Graceful Abandon




  • French Toast in a Bowl {S} for me (and traditional french toast for the rest of the fam)
  • Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oatmeal {E} (I like option 4…yes, she give you four ways to make this, so it’s a winner for everyone!). We’ll all eat this, but because I like the kids to crossover, they’ll have some scrambled eggs on the side
  • Raspberry Lemonade Cake {E} (again, we’ll ALL eat this, but I like my kids to crossover, so I’ll serve it with full fat yogurt for them)
  • Pizza Omelette {S} (served with bread for the kids; for me, it’s plenty all on its own!)
  • Baked Berry Crisp {S} with a dollop of full fat Greek Yogurt on Top (the kids will all have 1/2 an apple on the side to crossover)
  • Fat Stripping Frappa for mama {FP} …cereal and milk for the kids
  • Apple Pie Porridge  {XO} for all (this is a crossover if you’re a THM) with a trimmaccino on the side

Lunches: (Please note: this is what I am eating. The kids eat sandwiches for lunch during the week, as does Hubby).

  • {S} Salad with leftover pulled pork on it, topped with olive oil & apple cider vinegar, shredded cheese, jalapenos, and diced tomatoes for me
  • {E} Leftover Thai peanut wraps with brown rice
  • {S} Low Carb Wrap filled with lunch meat, cheese, and veggies
  • {E} Brown Rice and Beans (this is for the whole fam; the kids top theirs with sour cream and ranch seasoning; I add jalapenos to mine)
  • {E} Leftover Quinoa Lentil Chili with some baked blue corn chips on the side and a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt
  • {S} Side salad with 2 hard boiled eggs
  • {FP} Big Boy Smoothie



  • {S} Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie
  • {FP or E, depending on portion} Wasa with Laughing Cow and sliced tomato
  • {E} Apple Slices with defatted peanut flour whipped with fat free greek yogurt 
  • {S} Cookie Dough Shake
  • {S} Sliced Cheese and Kielbasa rounds
  • {FP} Pumpkin Pie Sip
  • {E} Fat Free Cottage Cheese with Pineapple


Quinoa Lentil Chili THM paleo gluten free low fat nut free sugar free




  • {S} BBQ pulled pork: crock potted pulled pork coated in a delicious, homemade savory BBQ. Served on hard rolls (Bread In A Mug for the THM) and with a side salad tossed with vinaigrette. I’ve also made mac and cheese with not naughty noodles with this meal, and it’s a big crowd pleaser. If we’ve worked up a bigger than normal appetite on the day we have this, I’ll add it for sure. {Tuck aside some meat to add to a delicious lunch time salad, mama}
  • {E} Mrs. Criddle’s Spicy Peanut Lettuce Wraps with brown rice on the side (if you’re a THM , please follow her instructions to make this an E, or you’ll end up with a crossover). These are so good that we ate them last week and already they are back on the plan! (One portion to be set aside for lunch this week for mama)
  • {E} Quinoa Lentil Chili  (set aside a bowl for a lunch later this week)
  • {XO, with E option} Unstuffed Peppers
  • {S} Burgers with Bacon Apple Chutney (if you don’t like this, go ahead and have Cheeseburger Casserole or Bacon Burgers without the bun). The kids and hubby will have sweet potato fries on the side; I’ll have a salad with spring mix. 
  • {S} Loaded Buffalo Chicken No-Tato Casserole with a side salad. For the kids, I’ll actually put some brown rice in the bottom of their bowls and serve the casserole over it; their growing bodies need those crossovers!
  • {?} Leftover night…yup, we do actually plan one of those!

The Trust of Abraham

Graceful Abandon: The Trust of Abraham on the Adoption Journey
Graceful Abandon: The Trust of Abraham

The trust of Abraham was a mighty thing. I found myself crying out tonight for the trust of Abraham, because I need it.

The definition of faith is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” Taking that a step further, I looked up trust. It adds depth to the definition of faith. Check it out. Trust is “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something; confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of property to be held or used for the benefit of one or more others.”

Why am I praying for the trust of Abraham? Because his story resonates with me tonight like none other. Abraham longed for his son. He was promised him and then…well, then he waited. And waited. And waited. And then, finally, when he was pretty gosh darn old and tired of waiting, his son was born. God always keeps His promises, but I know I’m not alone in thinking that I wish His timing were more like mine. I like things in a now sort of way, if you know what I mean. 

I have waited for four very long years to have Emily call me “Mommy.” I have waited to have her in our home, at our table, as our child. For this summer, we were able to host her and that has been amazing. But in 13 hours, I will once again be saying goodbye to her and trusting God with her. I don’t have a blessed clue how Abraham did it.

I sat in our library tonight, holding her, as she prayed. Tonight, instead of praying in halting English, the words flowed from her in her native tongue. I only caught a tiny portion of what she prayed; our girl poured out her heart tonight for at least ten minutes. Her tears flowed nearly as freely as her words, and all I could do was hold her and cry with her. When it was my turn to pray, words would barely come. I was choking on everything I wanted to say, and then it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart: “Ask me for the words.” So I did. And then I could speak.

Lord, give me the trust of Abraham. Help me to understand trust as he did. Lord, You are good and your mercies endure forever. Every good and perfect gift is from you. You give and take away. You are faithful. Blessed be Your name. Help me to mean these things in my heart; give my heart the trust of Abraham.

And then I cried. The tears fell like the rain during a hurricane; they came violently and consistently and shook everything. I couldn’t see through them. And then, the whisper. “The trust of Abraham. Trust Me.” 

Abraham trusted completely. He not only trusted that a son was coming (and Isaac did come eventually!), but he trusted God with Isaac’s life wholly. He climbed a mountain with sticks and a knife, preparing for a sacrifice to the I AM, and the only lamb he had with him was his son. He climbed that mountain knowing with each step that soon God was going to take back His promised child, and yet believing in the reliability of God. How on earth did he do it? 

I think that’s the point. There is no earthly way he could have. It had to be supernatural; it had to be the Spirit of God giving him that trust. That’s why I have to pray for it — I don’t already possess it. But just as God gave Abraham the trust, so He will do it for me. And for you. I want to trust God so completely with my children that I acknowledge that He is the true owner of them; I am merely a steward of these tremendous blessings for the short amount of eternity that they spend on this earth with me. 

God didn’t tell Abraham to climb the mountain, ready the sacrifice, and look for a ram in the thicket. He told him to gather Isaac, climb the mountain, and be ready to sacrifice him. God hasn’t seen fit to fully fund our adoption or even have our paperwork approved and travel dates issued before we said goodbye to Emily. Like Abraham, there is potential for more loss in my future. In her future. But I want to trust God like good ‘ol Abe and know that my God is reliable, true, able, and strong. I want to trust God more than I do today. I want to acknowledge God’s ownership of each of my children and relinquish my temporal hold on them because I understand that His grasp on them is eternal. 

Lord, You are good. Blessed be Your name.



Mommy, I Want…Forever.


Today I was out with my daughter. The daughter of my heart, and Lord providing, our forever daughter through adoption. We are hosting her this summer, which is a miracle; I shared that story last month. We had gone out so I could mail out our I-600a form, the final U.S. document we need for this adoption process. It was a monumental moment and so I offered her an ice cream or other treat to celebrate.

She looked at me, shook her head no, and smiled.

I asked her, “Well, my precious daughter, what DO you want?”

And she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I want…I want…I want FOREVER.”

Time stood still. Tears fell faster than the rain we were sitting in. And my heart shattered into a million pieces. That seems to be a theme this adoption: pieces. “WHEN is my forever, Mommy? I wait forever already. I want forever with Mommy, with family, in Alabama. WHEN?”

The answer I gave her was, “Iznioo.” (Ukrainian for I don’t know). I don’t know, dear girl. I don’t know when the documents will be processed. I don’t know when they’ll be translated. I don’t know our travel date. I don’t know when we’ll have the money to travel to get you. “But I want forever, too, sweet girl, I do. I promise, it’s soon.”

I love looking in my rear view mirror and seeing her with my whole crew. There will be a giant hole when she flies back to her orphanage in a few weeks. When she goes back to being a child without a family, a child waiting. Please, Lord, don’t let her wait long. We’re coming, we’re coming…

I will never forget this day. Ever. It has shattered my heart and filled it at the same time. I hate that all that stands between us and forever is a pile of papers (that will be done in just a few weeks) and a chasm of funding. I hate that there is a brokenness in this world that orphans children at all. I love that we serve a God who redeems and who puts the lonely in families. I love that I can offer her hope.

Will you please consider being a part of that hope? That provision? Our donation link in the column on the right of this blog (all the way on the bottom if you’re on a mobile device). If you want to waive the paypal fees, you can email me at for our account info and save us the 2.9% that is assessed through YouCaring. Check out our facebook group for jewelry that is for sale, inspirational art, giveaways, and more!

Thank you! Thank you for praying, for giving, for offering words of encouragement. Thank YOU for being one of those PIECES we need so desperately to finish this puzzle.