Nuttin' From a Can Green Bean Casserole

I suppose it’s a little cliché to talk about being grateful this week.  But I’m doing it anyway.

Last week I detailed the craziness of my past few months. I got a lot of responses telling me to keep my head up, that it would get easier, that I was doing a great job.  First of all, thank you for the responses.  You’re awesome.

Secondly, don’t you worry about me.  I’m good.  Really, I am!  A few short weeks ago, though?  Ehhhh…not so good.

Let me share how I turned this train around (hint: it’s an appropriate Thanksgiving tale).

About a month ago I caught myself complaining…a lot. I was exhausted, I was under some stress, and I was having a really hard time feeling excited about anything.  I was stuck in the weeds.

The problem was, all the complaining wasn’t helping me get out. It was just keeping me stuck.

So I decided to slowly start clearing the weeds by reframing those complaints.

At 3am while on my 5th nursing of the night I thought, “I’m thankful for my exhaustion, because it means I have a healthy baby girl to love.”

While trying to squeeze my new hips into my old jeans I thought “I am grateful for my new body because it produces and sustains life” (incidentally, I’m also grateful for yoga pants).

While trying to coordinate utility installations with appliance deliveries I thought, “I’m happy to have a full plate, because it means we are creating a new home.”

I’m not going to tell you that my days changed – that my baby started sleeping through the night or my love handles went away or boxes unpacked themselves – but what did change was my attitude.  Once I started finding gratitude for my stressors, I realized they weren’t so bad. In fact, my life was pretty darn great.

I will be honest, this took - and continues to take - effort.  It’s actually much easier to sit and stew in your crap.  To stay in the weeds. But if you’re able to put a positive spin on your troubles, if you’re able to find gratitude for the yucky things in your life, then you can start to see the good more clearly. And that makes life feel more manageable.

It’s always important to be grateful for the good stuff.  The real magic happens when we can find gratitude for the not-so-good.  The struggles, the tough situations, the people that irritate us and the things we don’t like…it’s these challenges that make us grow.  They make us more adaptable, more compassionate – they make us better people.

In this week's newsletter, I sent out my favorite poem for this time of year.

Still not on my mailing list? Get on it here!

Here's a couple lines:

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

This Thanksgiving be grateful for all the good stuff, yes, but also find a way to have gratitude for the challenges.  Try to love your troubles.

Encourage your friends and family to do the same.  Flip the script at your dinner table this year.  It's worth trying out!

Another thing to try out?  My whole food green bean casserole.  All real ingredients, nothing dumped out of a can.  And this guy happens to be dairy free as well!  Perfect for any gluten-free or vegetarian visitors you might have.


Nuttin' from a Can Green Bean Casserole (Dairy Free)

Salt & Pepper

Olive oil

2 large yellow onions

1.5 lbs green beans

12 oz. mushroom, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces

1.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

½ cup raw macadamia nuts (cashews also work well – unroasted, unsalted)

Preheat oven to 450.

Slice onions and separate into rings.  Spread out evenly onto a baking sheet greased with olive oil. Bake 20-25 minutes, until softened and browned.  Toss 2-3 times during cooking. Put aside when done. Turn oven down to 425.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Prepare green beans by trimming the ends and snapping in half.  Add to boiling water and cook 5-7 minutes, until desired tenderness is reached. Some people like them a bit crunchier, some more mushy. Drain, then submerge in ice cold water to halt cooking (and to keep bright green color).

Heat a few glugs of olive oil in a cast iron skillet (No cast iron?  No problem. Use a large frying pan instead).  Add the chopped mushroom and minced garlic.  A few cracks of salt and pepper, then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned.  This step will take about 10 minutes.  The salt will cause the mushrooms to release some of their juices - this is totally fine.

Next up: tackle the sauce. Dump all the little cauliflower pieces into a steaming basket, and steam until tender.  This usually takes 10-15 minutes.  Transfer steamed cauliflower into a blender and add macadamia nuts, about 1 cup of the broth and about ¼ of the cooked onions.  Blend until smooth – if the sauce is very thick (like not pourable), then add the rest of the broth.  Salt and pepper to taste (you want to be heavy handed with the salt, as the sauce will cover plain green beans).

Pour the sauce into the mushroom pan, and stir it all to combine. Dump cooked green beans into a large casserole dish, then pour the mushroom sauce all over them.  Give a few stirs to make sure all the beans are coated.  Top with the remainder of the onions.

Bake at 425 degrees until browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes.