Seven Years and Counting

Today, I celebrate seven years of marriage with my husband. Normally, when I mention how long we’ve been married I receive an wedding2astounded look with the question: “how old are you?” And while I look like I’m 20, I’m actually 28…though we did get married pretty early.

Now that I have a daughter I think to myself… if my 20 year-old came to me and said, “mom, I’m getting married,” I’d say, “hell no.” Well, maybe I wouldn’t. But that’s pretty young. Chris was still finishing his undergrad degree, I was working as a reporter for a small town Nebraska newspaper making less than $9 an hour and we paid $300/month in rent for our crappy apartment. We had a total of $2500 in the bank on our wedding day, and this was of no concern to us!

This post is a simple ode to my husband. This guy is patient, kind, selfless and loving. He loves our daughter and he loves me. He lives a life of service to Jesus and his family. He’s fun, adventurous and hot. Grace and I are two lucky ladies.


Cranberry Pie – With Easy Crust

So it’s been a while. A long while. Life is flying by. The days a very long, yet seem so short. But the Effkens are still alive. So don’t worry.

Things are only busier with Christmas. I love this time of year; but I know few people who don’t love this time of year. Tis the season to turn your oven on to keep the house warm – and maybe bake something while you’re at it. IMG_0352 (2)

I have to share one of my favorite recipes – cranberry pie. I love cranberries for several reasons. First, they are beautiful. Nothing brightens up your kitchen or dinner table like those beautiful deep red berries. I also love them for their tart taste. They are often baked in items that are sweet. I don’t like overly sweet things. In fact, I cut the sugar by half in about every recipe I make. Cranberries offer the perfect balance in sweet desserts. And lastly, I love cranberries because they are nostalgic. We ate cranberry sauce for the holidays when I was growing up, and I’ve always loved them.

So this cranberry pie is delicious – and it’s not too bad for your either. I started baking it years ago for the sheer fact that I didn’t have to roll out the crust. I attempted roll-out crust once 6 years ago and it was a disaster. It ended with a tearful phone call to my mom and a run to the grocery store for┬árefrigerated, pre-made pie crust. One of these days I’ll try again. But the wounds are still raw.

So this pie… it’s from Eat Good 4 Life. I’ve made several of her recipes and they’re all fantastic. This pie is the perfect combo of sweet and tart and it’s SO easy! Also, for those who care – it’s dairy-free.

Cranberry Pie

Crust and topping

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cups unrefined sugar [I use a little less]
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon


12 oz fresh cranberries
4 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a mixing bowl mix the crust and topping ingredients. Reserve one to 1 and 1/2 cups of the mixture and press the remainder on a 9 inch pie plate.

Mix filling ingredients in a bowl and pour over the crust. Top with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool down and serve.