Sautéed Mushrooms and Thyme Pine Nut Butter Sandwiches

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The other day Tim and I walked out the side door of our house, the one in the kitchen beneath our upstairs neighbor’s stairs, and I said to him how strange it was to step outside and see so much life around us. As he mentioned in the last post, late February around here has meant occasional warm days, with the grass beginning to grow, the birds chirping, the air fragrant, the skies blue; that’s the sort of day that this was. I had my hair pulled back in a ponytail, no makeup on, wearing an outfit of yoga pants and Tim’s crewneck gray sweatshirt that reminds of something 1980s dads would wear. We were going for a walk, telling ourselves to get some fresh air, to stretch our legs, to exit the house we’d been cocooned in for the last few days, mourning the very opposite of what these bright, new signs of life were signifying as we breathed them in. It’s strange to be surrounded by signs of life when your body is bearing the signs of death, and the physical realities of an empty womb are loud realities, hard to distract yourself from, hard to push away.

We hadn’t known we were pregnant for long. We’d only known for a number of days, actually, just long enough to get in a routine of falling asleep talking about baby names, buy a little vintage newborn outfit at Goodwill, download a Baby app on our phones that would end up reminding me this past Monday that my baby would have been six weeks old, forming its nose and ears. One day we were staring at each other in joy (and a little bit of terror), talking about decorating a baby’s room and bringing a kid home at Christmas, and the next day, we weren’t.

Over the past week, we’ve found ourselves surrounded by what we cannot understand—from the very wonder of conception to the very shock of death. Both are above me, quite honestly, too great to comprehend. And as as I’ve made companions of these weighty, enormous realities, the contrast between them and the simplest, smallest bits of life has never seemed so stark. The crisp, fresh air. The laundry that needs folding on the bed. The kitchen and all it contains. There’s such a sharp divide between the abstract headiness of a lost pregnancy and the tangible reality of putting together ingredients to create something to eat. Making a sandwich can be the most routine, everyday task, so inconsequential, so banal, so not something worth talking about. But, for me, these last few days, making a sandwich, or baking a batch of cookies, or washing the dishes, has also been a call back into life, into everyday routine, into the sort of things I can hold in my hands instead of just my head. Making a sandwich, I guess, can in its humble way be a way of choosing life, a way to fight to keep moving, keep stepping forward, keep walking moment by moment into feelings hard to understand or know how to explain.

So that’s what we did one afternoon this week, Tim and I. We packed up sandwiches of sautéed mushrooms and quickly pureed thyme pine nut butter and alfalfa sprouts, bringing them, along with carrots and ginger lavender tonic, to a quiet, sunny space nearby. Wrapped up in our coats, breathing cold air, feeling it on our faces, squinting in the sunshine, we ate sandwiches while we looked at a lake and heard dogs barking in the neighborhood around it, signs of life in us and all around us, waking us, shaking us, back into today.

Deciding whether or not to mention our miscarriage here has been a hard decision, so please be gentle with us in your comments. Ultimately I wanted to share it here because of how much reading other people’s stories has helped me and because somewhere someone might be reading this today or many months from now, feeling the comfort of another person’s story. Also, someday when these feelings feel far away, I don’t want to forget that I had them. 

Sautéed Mushrooms and Thyme Pine Nut Butter Sandwiches


Serving Size: 2

I tend to love most things I get to eat in the sun with Tim in Nashville, but these sandwiches were good enough to enjoy anywhere. From the sturdy toast base to the nutty, thyme-infused spread to the meaty mushrooms with a slight kick of spice and the crunchy sprouts, these sandwiches are multiple textures, complex flavors, and a great combination in the end. I can't wait to make them again. One possible variation suggestion would be to use long slices of portabellos instead of creminis, to make them more resistant to spills.


    for the sauteéd mushrooms:
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cups (170 g) sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • for the thyme pine nut butter:
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
  • for the sandwiches:
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, toasted (or your favorite sandwich bread)
  • Alfalfa or broccoli sprouts, as desired


Prepare the mushrooms: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm coconut oil until hot. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, stirring everything to coat. Let cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft and shiny and a little golden. Remove from heat.

Prepare the thyme pine nut butter: In a small pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until fragrant, just a few minutes or so. Place them in a food processor or high-speed blender along with olive oil, thyme, and salt; blend until coarse, spreadable mixture. This should give you about 1/8 cup of spread.

Make the sandwiches: For each sandwich, spread half the thyme pine nut butter on one slice and arrange half the mushrooms on the other. Top mushrooms with sprouts as desired, and cover with thyme pine nut butter slice. Cut in half to serve, if desired.

40 Comment

  1. Abby says: Reply

    Oh, how difficult. I’m so sorry. Your observations about routine feel so true: when I’m going through dark times, it’s the acts of eating breakfast, going to the gym, going to work that help me start to feel normal again.

    Wishing you and Tim the best right now.

  2. amy says: Reply

    Shanna and Tim – I am so, so sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers xo

  3. These look so freaking good. I love the recipe!

  4. Joanna says: Reply

    So brave and so sweet and so life-affirming all at the same time. I have nothing left to say faced with the beauty of your words and your heart, and the greatness of this sorrow. All our love is with you.

  5. Medha says: Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Shanna & Tim. Thinking of you – with love and prayers. – Medha

  6. Heather says: Reply

    Oh, Shanna & Tim. My heart breaks reading this. Know that you are in our thoughts and that we are sending so much love from our home to yours. xo

  7. Amy says: Reply

    I know there are no good words of comfort right now, just know that you and your entire family will be in my prayers.

  8. Tabitha says: Reply

    Shanna and Tim, I am so, so sorry. I’ve always loved reading your stories, but this one made my heart break. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to publish this. I’ll keep your family in my prayers!

  9. Amy L says: Reply

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Praying for you.

  10. Oh Shanna and Tim, my heart goes out to you both. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope your love for each other and your faith are providing you with some comfort. Thinking of you both xo

  11. Gemma says: Reply

    Oh, Shanna. I am so, so sorry for you both and my thoughts are with you xo

  12. Shanna and Tim, I’m so, so sorry for your loss. Will be thinking of y’all and praying for comfort for you both. xo

  13. Oh dear friend, I’m so sorry. So so sorry. Your post brought tears to my eyes and made my heart ache for you and Tim and your loss. Although it may have been early, I found so much comfort in those who told me that no matter how long, I was still a mother for that very short period of time. I have no doubt that God will take this experience and weave it into your bigger story. I will be thinking of you and praying for you in the weeks and months to come as you heal, both physically and emotionally. Let me know if you ever need to chat.

    Lots of love.

  14. i am so very sorry t&s. thinking of you guys.

  15. Bethany says: Reply

    So sorry. Saying a prayer for you guys. The recipe looks delicious. I think we are going to try growin our own sprouts; i hear it is very simple.

  16. Allison says: Reply

    Oh, Shanna- I’m so sorry for your loss. Thinking of and praying for you and Tim right now.

  17. Jess says: Reply

    Thinking of you two. xo.

  18. I love you very much, Shanna. It feels very strange to write instead of calling you but I don’t think words over a telephone line would be any better right now. I’m praying for an overwhelming peace in your mind today, one that has no explanation from the human heart.

  19. Julie says: Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. xoxo

  20. Jenny says: Reply

    So very sorry to hear of your loss.

  21. Kelley says: Reply

    Writing it down helps in the moment. It helps years later, too, I can tell you. I’m so very sorry!

  22. Jolynn says: Reply

    I am so, so sorry.

    1. Jolynn says: Reply

      Ugh. Ignore that first part. That’s the computer telling me I forgot to include my email address when I commented. D’oh.

  23. sari says: Reply

    Hello. I have been following your blog for a couple of years; I have never before written but this time I feel the need to say that I am very sorry; that I understand completely what you are going through and that He is your strength. And at the same time to thank you for showing me how deep your love is for Him; the way you and your husband live is inspiring to me; you found freedom where I was shown not Love but duty.
    Even though I do not cook a lot, I always read your posts and look forward to them.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Tim.
    Thank you.

  24. Lena says: Reply

    I am de-lurking to say I am so sorry for your loss. I think it is wonderful that you found the courage to write about the miscarriage publicly, being vulnerable can be such a scary thing, I just wanted you to know that you touched my heart today and reminded me of the importance of reaching out.

  25. Kendra says: Reply

    Sweet sweet friends. You’re surrounded by love and prayers, even if you don’t always know they’re there. You’re deeply loved by many and beloved to your Father. May you find hope amidst great loss.

  26. jacquie says: Reply

    I’m very sorry for your loss. perhaps it not desire to understand the feelings or try to explain any of it after all how can there be a way to? Possibly a task that is beyond we mere mortal beings. sometimes all one can do is continue to take one breath at time, one step at a time or one sandwich and lunch in the sun at a time. may God’s blessing fall upon you both.

  27. Jennifer T says: Reply

    I am so terribly sad for you, Shanna. Any child will be blessed to have you and Tim as parents, and this precious child already HAS been blessed to have you as parents–remember that, forever, you are now a mother, no matter what. And you are a wonderful mother, one who loved her child from the beginning and will always love this child as well as the other beautiful blessings that will come in time.

    Different things resonate with each of us differently, but perhaps you will like this post: I saved it to read again if I am ever in the position to go through this myself or alongside a friend.

    I wish I could be there to make you some soup and some hearty bread and to give you a hug! Lots of love to you and Tim.

  28. Laura says: Reply

    I am so very sorry for your loss 🙁 Even though I’ve never met you, I wish I could bring you guys a meal or further help somehow through this difficult time…. You guys will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  29. nicole says: Reply

    Thinking of you and sending love + light.

  30. Shanna, I had goosebumps reading this post – and this weighty, enormous news that you and tim have had to deal with stays heavy on my mind. Thanks for your bravery and courage and honesty in sharing this sadness of your life with us – as you mentioned, your stories (in all sincerity and openess) may one day help someone else, someone else who needs to know they aren’t alone, and that grief is lighter shared. My love and prayers for the both of you, both whom God has greater plans for, and both whom love God and his divine plans so much.


  31. Hannah says: Reply

    Oh, Shanna. I am so sorry. I pray that God’s peace is with you during this time.

  32. Kasey says: Reply

    Oh, Shanna. My love goes out to you, friend. I can only imagine the heaviness in your heart. I hope you know that these things happen to more people that we think; it’s not talked about much which is why I think you are so brave to share your grief so openly. One foot in front of the other. Time will heal you. xoxo

  33. Hey, everybody, I want you all to know how much we appreciate your sweet words. We’ve cherished them all. Thank you so much.

  34. Winnie says: Reply

    Big hugs to you…I am so sorry. Truly so brave of you to share.

  35. Gloria says: Reply

    So sorry Shanna. Praying that the peace that passes all understanding be with you today. ??

  36. Donna says: Reply

    Shanna & Tim, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your life with others. I know God will bless you & use your words in a special way where they are especially needed. Praying for you.

  37. I have no clever or helpful words. I just have my soul that feels for you and for Tim. Sadness. It was just Saturday that out of the blue I was swept with a huge empathy for Jackie Kennedy telling a friend that she had lost children and no one seemed to understand the weight of that let alone her husband. Thank God you have each other. And. God. Love and prayers to you from my heart.

  38. […] expect. And I learned or am learning too, and this is maybe what I was trying to say in that last post, that once you go to that dark room, it’s a bit of work to get out. It’s a lot of […]

  39. Sending you all the love & light in the world Shanna. Xx

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