Bartos family, Food, Squicciarini family

keto-friendly burger bar

It was my turn to host mom’s birthday this year (we rotate around) and we came up with a fun burger menu. I’m posting it here to remember all these ideas! My parents follow the ketogenic regimen, which is a high-fat, adequate-protein, very low-carbohydrate diet. I’m still learning how it all works, but this menu was definitely a crowd-pleaser.

  • Appetizers / chips & guacamole
    Whole Foods just started carrying these grain-free chips made by Siete Family Foods. We tested the sea salt flavor and loved them!
  • Burgers / beef (look for grass-fed organic)
    We have a burger press that makes it quick and easy to form perfectly round patties. For the birthday party we made a bunch of 1/3lb burgers using kosher ground beef from Trader Joe’s.
  • Hamburger buns / almond flour recipe from Maria Emmerich
    My mom uses this bread recipe to create a fantastic keto-friendly bun. She divides the dough into buns and adds minced onion + dill to give it a savory flavor. 
  • Condiments / ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, avocado
    Watch out for sugar in your condiments! Look for a low-sugar ketchup and sugar-free pickles. We didn’t use cheese because we separate beef and dairy, but otherwise it would have been fine. 
  • Sides / green beans, salad, & french fries
    We served green beans but roasted asparagus or broccoli would also be great low-carb sides! For the salad, stick to veggies like spinach, kale, and cucumber. The fries were definitely not keto-friendly but very kid-friendly! I added them to our menu for the potato-lovers (ahem, Greg). 
  • Beverages
    Skip the beer (too many carbs) and go with a red wine. 
  • Birthday cake / recipe from Tasty Yummies
    This is a paleo cake, minimally sweetened and grain-free. Personally I like natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar) better than stevia, so this cake was a good compromise. It was just as delicious as it looks! However, I couldn’t find the Spectrum palm shortening and ended up swapping in a different frosting since I was afraid of ruining the one Beth uses. I definitely want to try hers the next time I need a dairy-free chocolate ganache! 


Squicciarini family, Thoughts

stephanie curcio squicciarini

March 1, almost a year ago. The scream of horror I couldn’t repress is fresh in my mind, and I can still feel the cold chill that swept past me when I heard the news. But WHY was the question, probably will always be the question. We’ve talked it through, dabbled in conspiracy theories, and resigned ourselves to never knowing what prompted a brilliant, talented woman to abruptly take her own life.

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Personal, Squicciarini family, Thoughts


I come from a large and wonderful family. Just as I firmly believe that God placed me in the best country on earth, I have an unswerving conviction that I am part of the greatest family. My parents are my role models. My sisters are my closest friends. We love and care for each other in a way that is rare in the world today. We are bright lights in a very dark place. 

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Baby, Problems, Squicciarini family, Thoughts


tiny Spurlock baby,

We don’t get to meet you in this world after all, sweet baby. Oh, we wanted to. But our God planned things differently this time. He gave you to your mommy and daddy for just a short time, and then He took you back. We cannot argue with the One who creates and sustains our lives.

Were you a “potential life?” Did you have a soul? Will we meet you in the world to come? Where are you now? Are you playing with other unborn children in the garden of Eden?

I don’t know. All I know is that for the last six weeks, you have been the most thrilling secret, the most hoped-for event in our lives.

Little one, I wanted you to know how brave your mommy was. She carried you in her tummy, and she prayed for you every day, and she loved you so much. She saw the warning signs, and she prayed even more. And last Friday, she labored for hours, all alone, hurting so badly. I think she wanted to say goodbye to you by herself. The days she had with you were so precious that she wouldn’t give them up, even if she could. She is strong and beautiful, a mother you should be proud to have. May she be a mother to many children.

They say parting is such sweet sorrow. I feel the sorrow of your absence, but I also see the sweetness of your parents’ faith. It amazes me. They are righteous and devout, an example to us. We support them and encourage them and care for them, but most of all, we mourn with them right now. One day, we will rejoice with them. For everything there is a season.

hugs and kisses,

Aunt Morgan


Personal, Squicciarini family, Thoughts

like mother like daughter

In honor of my mother’s birthday this week, I’ve compiled a list of ten ways I have become a small version of her.

  1. My favorite place to store things is the trash can.
  2. I can’t walk into the kitchen without picking up the sponge.
  3. I tell Sophia, “You have to make your own fun.”
  4. My house is filled with soft neutrals.
  5. I drive a Honda Odyssey.*
  6. Napping has become impossible, since the minute I lay down a giant to-do list pops into my head and the only option is to get up and get back to work.
  7. I have become very picky about the quality of food I eat.
  8. My toddler is in training to take over many of the household chores. Like, next year.
  9. Boo-boos are met with “Is it bleeding? No? You’re fine.”
  10. I now shop at Talbots and other stores that are friendly to women who are Not Teenagers Anymore.


*I used to poke fun at my mother’s driving. She’s known for going a few miles below the speed limit, and never swerving from the right lane even if she ends up behind an old pickup going 35. I now find myself doing the same thing. How could I not?? For one thing, I didn’t take into account that driving a minivan is a whole lot different than zipping around in a Beetle. And the children’s safety is in my hands! So I now also stick to the right lane and let the traffic gallop by.

Baby, Bartos family, Squicciarini family


In Your loving arms we lay this wordless one so new…
The incarnation of our love we dedicate to You.
-Michael Card

Last month we had a dedication service for Zoe with our community, at my parents’ house. I wanted to mention it on here so I could record what we said about Zoe’s name. We have given both of our girls a short explanation of what their name means and why we chose it.

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Engagement, Greg & Morgan, Squicciarini family, Thoughts, Wedding

ode to Isaac + Christine

{Background on Christine… Out of four sisters, Christine is “the pretty one,” the one most likely to be a model – vibrant, expressive, and sophisticated. She’s a bubbly party girl, a bon vivant, a talented artist, a creative genius, a hilarious comedienne, and a wealth of information. She has excellent taste, displayed in her fashionable accessories, enviable shoe collection, and bright yellow MINI Cooper. You’ll find that beneath her blonde hair and sweet smile is a sharp sense of humor, a bundle of common sense, and a generous spirit.}

Last Sunday, Greg and I attended a lovely engagement party for Christine and Isaac, hosted by Bobby and Jodi Pittenger. One of the highlights of the occasion, for me, was meeting many of Isaac’s relatives and friends for the first time! Until now, I’ve only known his mother, Gloria.

{Background on Gloria… G-d brought her into our lives in an unusual way! Years ago, when I was working for Quo Vadis, I stepped outside while visiting a client site in Matthews and struck up a conversation with a sweet lady walking by who turned out to work next door. After introductions, as we chatted, I noticed that her necklace looked like it was made of Hebrew letters strung together. I commented on it, and found that we practiced the same faith! In the end, I invited her for Erev Shabbat dinner with my family, and that was the start of our friendship with Gloria Alexander. How amazing that her son is now marrying my sister! Only our G-d could have arranged such a “coincidental” meeting.}

Besides being a splendid time with friends and family, the event on Sunday gave me a chance to reflect on Isaac and Christine. They are absolutely right for each other, from appearances {picture-perfect} to personalities {suitably complimentary}.

{Brief DISC analysis… while Isaac and Christine share a fun-loving sanguine quality, he is predominately a choleric, bringing out her natural phlegmatic side. It’s a good mix – we haven’t observed a single disagreement so far!}

Their relationship reminds me of Eric & Leslie Ludy’s book When G-d Writes Your Love Story. Isaac and Christine have a beautiful story of love and redemption… my dad referenced this in his comments at the party Sunday night. The changes we have seen in Isaac over the past two years testify to how complete a transformation takes place when a man surrenders his life to the will of Almighty G-d. He and Christine wrote a tennaim document {a traditional “contract” stating terms and conditions of the wedding} which they signed at the engagement party, and as Isaac read it to everyone present, we were so proud of him for having the courage to make such a public statement of his faith – and proud of both of them for growing together in their observance and practice.

Hearing Isaac announce his intention to marry Christine under the chuppah next May was a joyful moment for Greg and I! We eagerly anticipate the culmination of their courtship and the start of a new life for this beautiful couple.

Isaac and Christine, we praise G-d for bringing you together! May the Holy One lead you along the path of righteousness as you prepare for marriage. We love you!