Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Casserole

I like to make quick, easy meals that can be reheated and repurposed throughout the week. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and great for meal prep! I typically don’t eat a lot of meat, but Chad and Jack do, so I like to make things that can easily compliment or mix in any protein. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Casserole



• 4 cups sweet potatoes (1/2-inch cubes) or 1 large can sweet potatoes

• 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 cup uncooked quinoa

• 1 cup frozen corn, thawed

• 2 cups vegetable broth

• 1 tsp. chili powder

• 2 tsp. cumin

• 1 tbsp. minced garlic

• ½ tsp. dried thyme


1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

4. Combine all ingredients and bake, covered with tin foil, for 45 minutes.

5. Remove tin foil and continue baking for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed and the potatoes are tender.

6. Remove from oven and let the casserole sit for 5 minutes so that any remaining liquid can be fully absorbed. Serve and enjoy!

I topped mine with cojita cheese and guacamole for more of a Mexican feel. Chad mixed in BBQ Chicken and loved that too. How did you eat yours?


Molly B.

Jack’s Arrival

After that meeting at Olive Garden on March 18th, I talked to Jack’s birth mother every single day. She would tell me about how he was really active at night. She would say, “I bet he has a lot of hair, because I have horrible heartburn!” She would update me on all of her doctor appointments. (And I would immediately Google everything she told me.)

What she gave me in those daily text messages was the second biggest gift she gave me. She knew that I would personally never experience those things. I will never know what it’s like to feel my little guy wiggling and kicking in my belly late at night. I will never sit in a doctor’s office and talk about due dates and inducing. So she gave me as much of that experience as she could.

So when people ask me if I was scared that she might change her mind, the answer? Not really. I mean sure, a tiny piece in the back of my mind would every once in a while whisper “what if,” but I trusted her, and I trusted in the Lord.

But if you’re keeping track, we had less than one month to prepare for our little dude. If we had the entire 9 months to prepare and sit with those emotions, I almost assuredly would have been more scared. But I simply didn’t have time to worry!

Jack was due on April 15th. The day before Easter. (God, I see you.)

On April 7th, I went to pick up my packet for the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon that I was running the next morning. I had to show my drivers license, and the volunteer said, “Did you know your ID is expired?” Say what?!

Y’all. I am the most Type A, hyper organized person, but this baby thing had apparently rocked my world. And to make matters worse, the ONE THING they drill into you while putting together your hospital plan is that you have to show your ID. (Kinda frowned upon to let a rando take home a baby.)

So here I was, on a Friday evening, baby due any day, no valid ID. Cool.

A quick Google search told me that the JOCO DMV did have Saturday hours, but they closed at 12:00. (Enter new motivation to run that race as fast as possible.)

I ran that morning, enjoying the beauty of our city, thinking about how the next race I run, my son would be waiting at the finish. It’s a moment I pictured in my head during so many races, and I had to choke back tears that entire run.

Crossed the finish line, jumped in my car, drove straight to the DMV, shockingly had no wait, took the most disgusting picture, got the license, and went home to wait.

On the morning of April 15th, at around 5:00 AM, I was running on our treadmill when my phone rang. Jack’s biological mother’s name on the screen. She said she was in labor and headed to the hospital. I ran upstairs, woke up Chad, took quick showers, and jumped in the car.

It is a five hour drive to Dodge City, where Jack was born, so this was one of the longest car rides of my life. My phone was going crazy, I was trying not to cry, I ate a ridiculous amount of candy.

We made it the whole way to Dodge City without our baby showing his face. But as we got closer to the hospital, she let me know that they were sending her home. Her status hadn’t changed, and she stopped having contractions, so they decided this wasn’t the day to deliver a baby.

So what do we do? Turn around and drive home? Wait it out? What if he doesn’t come for another week? We can’t live here for a week! We decided to grab some lunch and talk it over (also consulting with our adoption case worker). We ate some of the best Mexican food of my life and decided to spend the night and drive home the next morning. (Unless we had a baby.)

The next morning, Easter Sunday, we made the drive home. THAT was the longest drive of my life. I was just so sad and disappointed. I’d pictured us driving home with our baby boy, but instead we drove most of the way in silence.

We got home, did some laundry to restock the hospital bag, and got ready for the week ahead.

The next morning, 5:00 AM, same treadmill, phone rings, shower, haphazardly repack the bags, get in the car, head back to Dodge City. But this time, after only one hour of driving, I got a text message. A single picture of our baby boy. And all I could squeak out was “It’s Jack!”

I made Chad pull over so he could see the sweetest little face that I had ever seen. And then I told him to hurry!

When we got to the hospital, a nurse greeted us with a massive smile and a hug. She showed us to our room and said, “I’ll go get your son.” IS THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENING?!?!

There are moments in your life that you wish you could relive over and over. That you could bottle or box to revisit any time you want to feel that way again. When that cart came through the door and the nurse handed me our baby. Yea, I want that moment to play on a loop for as long as I live. Those precious moments where Chad, and Jack, and I cuddled on the tiny hospital room sofa. The feeling of my baby against my chest. Yea, gimme all that.

In the state of Kansas, a birth mother can sign her paperwork after 12 hours, so Jack’s birth mother was required to stay in the hospital for that time. She had elected not to see Jack, but she was open to seeing me. I left Chad alone with his new best friend, and went next door to talk to Jack’s birth mother.

I talked to her twice that day—once very shortly after we arrived at the hospital, and once to say goodbye. That was the last time I ever talked to her. You may notice that I don’t say her name or share her background, and I won’t. Her story is her story to tell, not mine. The thoughts and feelings that went into her decisions were hers and hers to share. Our close friends and family know the story, because they were there for all of it, but I don’t feel right sharing her story in a public place. But I will say two things:

1. I miss her. I talked to this person every day for a month, and she gave me the greatest gift I will ever receive. So yea, I unconditionally love her and miss her.

2. We talk about her every day. We pray for her (and Jack’s biological father), by name every night. Jack is still too little, but he will always know about them, their names, and his story.

After we said goodbye, I went back to our room and our new life began. We ate Chinese food, got zero sleep, had no idea what we were doing, and we were stupid in love.

We packed up the car the next morning with OUR BABY and drove home. Those first few days are such a dreamlike blur of smiles, and tears, and no sleep, and more love than we’ve ever known, felt, or received. And if you have children, you know those days well.

And that’s where I leave this part of our story. On any given day, I don’t even think about the fact that Jack is adopted. He’s just our son. He has my sense of humor, he weirdly looks like Chad, he mimics everything we do. He’s just ours.

Over the years, he will have questions. We will face challenges. This story will grow, expand, and become more nuanced. But it’s a story that I am so glad is ours.


Molly B.


For nearly our entire dating relationship, I begged Chad for a puppy.  It was one of those silly things that we joked about–what would we get? what would we name it? who would it love more?  So basically the same conversations you have about babies when you don’t want a Stage 5 status.  We knew that we wanted a smaller breed, and the name “Roxy” existed for a long time before there was an actual dog.

So when Chad proposed, it went down something like, “Will you marry me?”  “Yes!  So now can we get a dog?!”  Maybe not exactly, but almost.  And within a couple of weeks, we were at the Tulsa Humane Society looking at dogs.

With our non-traditional schedules at that time, it was the middle of a weekday, so we–quite literally–had our pick of the litter.  We looked through every cage, and obviously I tried to convince Chad that we needed every single one of them.  But one of the volunteers told us that they had just gotten a couple of puppies, and we just had to see them.  Um yea we did!

We walked around the corner to a side room, and there were two little puppies jumping all over one another.  Again, I was instantly thinking of how I could convince Chad that we needed both, but we were both drawn to this sweet little girl that kept jumping at our legs.  I knew instantly that this little brown puppy was ours.

Xena.  Her names was Xena.  Not quite a warrior princess, she was a 6-week-old dachshund-pug mix that had been dumped on the doorstep of the agency.  All she wanted to do was lick everything in sight, and all I wanted to do was cuddle her for the rest of my life.

And that was it.  We filled out the paperwork.  We paid the adoption fee.  And we walked out the doors and told our new puppy, “By the way, your name is Roxy.”

No relationship is perfect, and ours is no exception.  I love my husband very much, and we really are very happy.  But when you get engaged at 24, and try to plan a wedding with small incomes and conflicting schedules, there’s a lot of stress.  It may sounds extreme, but I feel like Roxy saved our engagement.  There were times that we both questioned if we were doing the right thing, but we both had thoughts like, “If we break up, who would get Roxy?”  I can laugh about it now, but those were real thoughts in those moments.  (Coincidentally, I also fell more in love with Chad watching his sweetness with our puppy.)

A lot of you know about our first year of marriage and how I spent most of that time in treatment for uterine cancer.  On the weekends, I was so sick from treatment.  All I did was lay on the couch and watch TV or curl up in our bed and sleep.  Roxy never left my side.  She followed me around our house, and when I would lay on my side, she would curl right into my belly.

She was our sidekick.  It was just accepted that if the Buchanans were in attendance, that included Roxy.  She was begging for turkey at Thanksgiving, hiding from fireworks on 4th of July, eating popcorn with my parents, watching movies at Boulevard Drive-In, watching the Royals at Bark in the Park, sunbathing on the McCoy’s patio.  Our parents referred to her as their grand dog.  She was always there.

Over the years, she had a lot of nicknames.  Peanut, Squirt, Ruffy, most recently Ra Ra from her beloved Jack Attack.  One of the most frequently used was Nurse Roxy.  She could always sense when something was wrong–when you were sad, or sick, or hurt–and she always knew how to respond with her love and attention.

When we found out that we would be adopting a baby and our house got turned upside down with cribs, and bouncers, and swings, and boxes, she was always there.  I worried that she would feel neglected when we had a baby or that she would not be very welcoming to anyone disrupting her spoiled only child situation.  But she insisted on waking Jack up every morning, running to him when he cried, and of course closely monitoring his meals.

Sometimes God gives you moments that are special to prepare your heart for sadness. We had a beautiful start to our Saturday.   Chad and I both ran the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon.  Chad’s first Half Marathon!  (And he didn’t hate me at the end!) After the race, we came home, got cleaned up, and we had Jack’s 2nd birthday party.  So much fun with so many people we love!  After the party,  we came home, and Chad and I collapsed on the couch.

My mom was in town for Jack’s party, and she was upstairs reading while we were relaxing.  A little before 5:00, my mom came downstairs and said she thought something might be wrong with Roxy.  She had thrown up on the rug and was acting lethargic.  We rushed upstairs, and our little puppy was laying on the rug in the living room, looking so sad.  We knelt down to pet her and try to determine what was wrong.  I thought maybe she had eaten something that upset her stomach.  (We try to keep an eye on Jack, but he’s sneaky and loves to feed his puppy.)  We tried to give her something for her stomach, and our girl that never turns down a treat, refused the offer.  I put her water bowl in front of her , and she drank a bunch of water and seemed to perk up.  When her little brother got up from his nap and sat in his highchair to eat dinner, she was wagging her tail right below his chair.  We had no reason not to assume everything was now fine, so we decided to head out on our free grandma babysitting date night.  But we agreed not to go too far away, just in case.

We were finished with our meal and sat chatting at our restaurant table when my phone rang.  My mom.  She said that Roxy was having seizures, so we jumped in the car and came home.  We loaded our little baby into the car and drove her to the pet emergency room.

Neither Chad nor I could have been prepared for what we would hear from that doctor.  We both assumed she had eaten something she wasn’t supposed to, which caused this reaction.  We never assumed that we would hear that our little Roxy, our first baby, had a brain tumor.

I know a lot of you have lost your sweet furry friends, so I will spare you the turmoil that ensued in that next 3 hours as we were forced to make the most impossible decisions about our Roxy.  And honestly, I can’t even write about it.  We love her so much, and all that mattered was her comfort and her happiness.  So we walked out of that building with empty arms.

I don’t know that I’ve ever cried this much.  Yes, we have experienced loss and heartache, but this is hitting harder than anything I’ve ever felt.  Grief is very strange.  There are moments where I’m smiling thinking about her sweet little face, or the look in her eye when she was about to take off running for you to chase her, or the time that she bit Chad’s nipple when he was laying in bed after a shower.  And in the very next second, I can’t even breathe through my tears.

Jack is too little to understand anything that has happened, but when he wanders around the living room with his little questioning arms outstretched saying “Ra Ra?” I feel like my throat is on fire.  He loves her so much, and I actually hope his memory is short.

There are routines that you don’t even realize you have until you don’t.  When I get out of the shower in the morning, immediately looking to the right into our bedroom to see if she’s laying on the bed.  She’s not.  Saying “Roxy, can you get in your house?” before walking out the door.  Habits are hard to break.

I know it will get easier, but right now I feel so broken. One of my good friends shared a story with me a few weeks ago about a dog that helped guide a man through the NYC Marathon with a note that said “we don’t deserve dogs.” How true that statement is. I haven’t done anything even half deserving of the love I got from my sweet Roxy. But I sure am glad that God chose me to be her mama for the last (almost) 13 years.


Molly B.

Why Did I Start a Blog?

It’s what you want to know, right? Like what makes you so special? Nothing, really.

But I’ve done some stuff. Some really cool, some really mundane, some really sad, and some stuff in between. And I love to write.

I remember sitting in a college admissions office, having absolutely zero clue what to pick for a major. And he asked, “Well what do you like to do?” I didn’t think “party with my friends” was an acceptable answer (plus my mom was like right there!), so I said (truthfully), “I really like to write.” An English Writing major (later turned pre-Law) declared right there.

It’s no surprise that my grades in college were exponentially higher than those in high school, because I got to write. A lot. And I really enjoyed it. And I really flourished.

But then I graduated, and I became a Banker (that’s a really good story for another time). And man, I can craft a killer email, but the extent of my prose really ended there.

The past few years have been interesting, to say the very least. And words would rattle around in my head, but I didn’t know what to do with them.

When people hear about me having cancer, or about us adopting, or any of my ridiculous fitness endeavors, a common refrain is “I want to hear your story!” I’m very transparent, so I’m always happy to share my story, but I kept craving the avenue to write it!

As I have worked in a corporate environment for over 15 years, I have sat through countless meetings, seminars, and trainings that suggest having a mission statement. The focus was typically having one for your team, rarely on having one for yourself. Admittedly, it seemed like a broken record, and I just appeased the facilitator and moved on in the agenda. 

But a couple of years ago, I was listening to a podcast on the way to my office, and something must have struck a cord when she talked about having a personal mission statement. The host talked about having a mission statement in order to prioritize your life. When faced with decisions, you could ask yourself if it supports your mission. I liked it. 

So I spent the rest of my commute thinking about mine. 

What exactly is a mission statement? It is defined as a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. 

So what exactly were my aims and values? I’m pretty sure something about cupcakes–although tempting–was not what she had in mind. I really gave it some thought and am pretty proud of where I landed. 

“Connecting people in an effort to make the world smaller and kinder.”

So I knew that I wanted to do more with this. Over the last couple of years, some friends kept saying, “When are you going to start a blog?” So when I finally wrote out this mission statement, it all kind of came together. Starting a blog was a way for me to write, to connect myself with others, and to connect others.

So what about you? What are your aims and values? What is your mission statement?


Molly B.