Monday, August 31, 2015

Gluten Free Veggie and Fruit Muffins with no refined sugar

As with my previous post, you may notice I've returned a bit to baking. I feel a little bad about it, but by keeping it gluten free, I'm not nearly as worried about tummy troubles.
You can buy the ingredients for the gluten free mix I use on vitacost, and I have a $10 off coupon code here.

Prior to paleo and whole 30, I made clean eating veggie muffins all the time using white whole wheat flour. And we loved them. We haven't had a non paleo muffin around here in forever, but given event lately, I've taken to gluten free baking (mostly inspired by our weekly pizza and movie night that came about when I was working a lot of weekend).

Here's the recipe for awesome gluten free zucchini, carrot, apple, banana muffins made with honey

Veggie and Fruit Muffins 

(no refined sugar, no gluten, no dairy)

makes 24, takes about an hour including prep/cook time (unless you use a food processor to grate, then it's much faster but mine is currently broken, so sad day)

about 2 cups grated zucchini
3 peeled and grated carrots
1 cored and grated apple
2 mashed ripe bananas
3 eggs
3/4 to 1 cup honey, depending on desired sweetness
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cooking oil of your choice (I used GMO free canola, but I've also used grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil would also work)

3 cups gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp baking powder, aluminium free
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the fruits/veggies, then make a well in the center and dump wet ingredients in. Whisk within the well and then incorporate the fruits/veggies mixture all together.  In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir dry mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Pour into prepared or lined muffin tins. You will get 24 muffins, so if you have 2 pans, cook at the same time, otherwise do 2 batches as needed. Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees, then rotate pans and lower temp to 350. Bake for 10-12 minutes longer until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy :-) Refrigerate leftovers

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

G and I have been having Thursday mornings to ourselves since J started going to gym school by himself. He loves the extroverted time in the class room and playing during gym time. G and I get a homeschool reading lesson in and play a fun game. Then we've been doing some delish baking. Most recently we made some zucchini brownies, utilizing the gluten free flour mix I made a few weeks ago. I got it from A Little Insanity and ordered my ingredients from vitacost (I have a $10 off coupon code for you here)

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies (super rich and moist)

about 16, about an hour total time

2/3 cup cooking oil (I used gmo free canola oil, but grapeseed, coconut, or other would work too)
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 cups gluten free flour blend
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cacoa powder
2.5 cups grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, oil/spray a 9 x 9 pan. In a large bowl mix everything but zucchini. Add the zucchini, and mix until well combined. It will take a while, unless you are using a mixer, but I recommed doing it by hand and just stirring for like 4 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hello again

Well our summer has been so fun lately, and super busy!

I took on a third part time job (marketing outreach for organic baby food, tutor, and now meat sampler at whole foods). It's easy, fun, and amazing money. So, win-win-stress. I hate being one foot in and one foot out sometimes. Being a stay at home mom that works so many part time jobs, kind of pulls me in 100 directions and things get set to the side AND I go crazy. I think I'd die if nothing got set to the side. Thank God I gave up facebook months ago. Sorry.

The kids are amazing. Most people who know them can't get over how cute they are.
I'm over here like, please come back when their heads are spinning and one throws up in the bath from hysterics. And another throws a fit because a pretend screw isn't going into the hole on the pretend tool bench. I mean. Come on.

But then one asks me how God makes a soul, and the other face plants a huge kissero on your open mouth...and you just melt. These children of ours are amazing blessings. Literally, our life is wonderful, and without them, I think it'd be mediocre.

The hubby is moving and groving at work and I am so proud of him. I could brag on him for ages, but he does still leave clothes lying around sometimes, so I guess he isn't perfect. He's close though. I mean really close. And the more spiritual growth we do together, the more I feel he's going to obtain perfection someday and I'm just a mess of hormones and failures.

But then I remember I'm awesome too and so we all win!

But really, our summer has been full of
learning time (currently working on telling time, it's a slow process at this age, and that's fine; also working on counting to 100, which she's getting great at; plus handwriting; as well as ABCs for the little one)
playdates (parks, pools, homes galore)
family visits (so many visits this year it's been awesome!)
homeschool conference (eeek!!!!)
work and work and work
Hubs and I saw JOSH TURNER in concert
We went to the zoo twice
We went to the farmstead
We celebrated mothers and Father's Day
We met our new nephew/cousin
outside living
future dreaming and planning
church going
food prepping, cooking, eating - utilizing our CSA veggies <3
and our AC is currently out. so there's that!!

love to you all

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

What's in my Paleo-ish kitchen?

I decided to share some of my favorite staples and some non photogenic shots of my kitchen pantry, cabinets, and refrigerator! This is just how it was today, nothing altered or bought special :-) I did straighten up a tiny bit, though. But as you can see from the fridge, I live life on the edge of disorganization :-)

I got a steal on lightly sweetened organic sunbutter for the kids (okay, also sometimes adults) at Natural Grocers recently. Big win, because A, it's expensive and B, sunbutters are usually super sugary.
Homemade almond butter in reused container.
coconut butter, not as good as I had hoped, and the cause of the 6 stitches in my finger. (okay, not direct cause, but the immersion blender accident of 2015 was due to blending coconut butter)
a few 100% juice boxes for kids on super rare (less than once a month) occasions
a ton of organic BPA free diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
4 boxes of organic mac and cheese by Back to Nature
coconut oil. Hated coconut growing up, but apparently it's healthy, so I'm fond of it now. Just not the dried coconut. But I eat it in Lara Bars ;-)
coconut flour
tons of cereal boxes because I buy it on sale, but we go through it super slowly. The kids have cereal for breakfast maybe once a week. And I really only buy low sugar, gluten free, healthy kinds ;-)
organic coconut milk, clearanced can pumpkin from a year ago :-/ sooo about that
can of wild caught, sustainable practice, salmon
bag of organic onions
brown sprouts bag has several sweet potatoes and some organic brown potatoes
butternut squash

a TON of lara bars also got on sale at natural grocers
kids alive vitamins, and out of photo, my super nutrition vitamins and real food calcium supplement

selected items from FREEZER
chicken, ground pork, fish, brats
frozen veggies, fruit
homemade jam, as seen on this blog
recent impulse buy for kids-gluten free sweetened with fruit Van's waffles
a ton of homemade broth

selected items from FRIDGE
organic dates, for emergency sweetness
paleo garden veggie and sausage egg casserole for breakfasts this week
grilled chicken for easy lunch prep
lettuce and spinach
tapioca flour
almond flour
chia seeds
gluten free oats for kids
green onions
a tiny bit of bell pepper and mushroom chopped for salads left
carrots (organic, buy the 5 lb bag for 3.97)
applegate lunch meat, pepperoni (last night we had cauliflower crust paleo pizza and didn't use them all so for a bomb snack today I had some dipped in muir glen pizza sauce that we didn't use all of either)
a few brown cow greek yogurts for the kids from Whole Foods when they had $1 sale
almond milk
cashew milk
calcium added 100% not from concentrate OJ
cage free brown eggs

all bulk from sprouts and whole foods
organic raisins from target when they had a sale plus cartwheel
bitsy brain ABC veggie cookies from the kids' Easter baskets
happy family gluten free best friend cookies and yogurt melts--left over from an event so the kids can eat them
Annie's gluten free bars for the kids
Annie's snack crackers
nature's bakery fig bars, probably the least healthy thing in there but the kids love them so they are a nice treat when on sale at sprouts
horizon organic cinnamon animal crackers

lucky for me there aren't any chips anywhere to be found because I'm trying to resolve to break out post-whole30 habit of chips and spicy salsa.... super love them but it was becoming a real habit so since Sunday, they've been MIA ;-)

It's crazy that there isn't any dark chocolate or ice cream...because 2.5 years ago...that'd wouldn't have been the case. This photo would have looked much different. And I just want to encourage everyone out there to give clean eating a try because it is TOTALLY worth it. And then when you're ready, give a Whole30 a shot because it's life altering and health changing.
I'm talking to you MOM and DAD!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Strawberry Jam - Paleo, Whole 30

I got a bunch of strawberries on sale the other day, it's barely their season in California, but I guess my local awesome produce grocer got some in bulk and marked them down. Regardless, I bought 3 2 pound packages! I ate some of them with the family and 2 of them I wanted to make jam with.

When I was younger, my nana made awesome peach jam and for our wedding she gave me many jars as part of our present. It was really the only kind of homemade jam I was exposed to as a kid that I liked.

After meeting my husband I decided to make some jam for us from scratch, but didn't (still don't) have canning supplies, so we made freezer jam. And it became my jam. In both ways.

Freezer strawberry jam is so easy and super delicious, but it's often full of sugar and pectin. Those two ingredients do not mix with paleo or whole 30. And honestly, I don't know if whole 30 allows jam, regardless of how it's made. I'm of the mind set that it is the same concept as a nut butter. Tread lightly and don't make it a staple of your diet. Although almond butter and macadamia nut butters do get eaten more than once a week around here....sooooooo. rules. :-S

Moving on, here is how I made some BOMB jam without pectin or added sugars (not even honey, it's not cool on a whole 30)

Strawberry Jam

Whole 30 Compliant, Paleo

4 pounds strawberries
2 tbsp water
1.5 apples, peeling on but cored
1 cup washed white grapes, taste them before using and get super sweet ones for the natural sweetness
1/4 cup washed frozen cranberries (although I used about 1/3 cup but you'd probably find it pretty tart) 
juice of one lemon

Wash, hull, quarter the strawberries -removing major bad spots. Place into large sauce pot with the water, turn on medium low heat. Grate the apple into the pot directly, stir. Using a blender or food processor, puree the grapes and cranberries until as smooth as can be. Pour into the pot, stir. Bring to boil, then let simmer, stiring often. Mash berries with potato masher as they start to burst, be sure to scrape down the sides of pot. Cook on low for about an hour or so, the longer it cooks, the thicker it will be. Once you've reached a still runny, but pretty gel-ing state, pour into the prepared (aka cleaned and dries) jars or containers. Let cool, then freeze for up to 6 months, refridgerator for up to a month.

mine batch made "this" much
Serve over paleo baked goods (not on whole 30), use as a dip (I dip bananas in it!), mix with nut butters as a dip, eat plain, or use in sauces. I think the whole 30-ness of it depends on how you use it. Even cocao is allowed on whole 30 in the proper context.....

Paleo ABBC muffins

Have you heard of ABC bread (or muffins?)
I first saw a recipe for it from my bradley birth instructor 4.5 years ago when she was giving us suggestions on how to increase protein content (including through whole grains). I don't think I ever made that recipe but during our clean eating years I was a big fan of veggie muffins (see recipe on this blog and also this one on another blog that I cleaned up for us). Now that we are pretty paleo (like 90%), my favorite muffin had been one made with coconut flour, a ton of eggs, bananas, and dark chocolate chips.
Craving muffins this morning, but only having one banana.... I revisited this ABC bread idea. But added blueberries in as well for some sweetness and also because  had G was asking to make 'wheat berry muffins' as seen in a library book this week, Little Red Riding Hood - A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst.

Paleo ABBC Muffins

makes 12, takes about 30 minutes total

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • dash vanilla
  • .25 tsp baking soda
  • .5 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 coconut oil, in between soft and melted (feel free to try another fat of your choice)
  • dash salt
  • 1 large carrot (or 2 smaller ones), grated
  • 1 apple, grated (I cored mine but left the peel on)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • I did not use any added sweetners, but you're welcome to add some honey or maple or etc if you want them sweeter and don't mind adding them
Place ingredients EXCEPT the blueberries (I added the carrot and apple to mince them even smaller, but you can choose to add them in afterwards with the blueberries) in a mixing bowl and use immersion blender to mix ingredients well. Gently stir in blueberries. Divide between muffins cups (I use silicon ones and they didn't need any extra greasing). Bake at 400 degree for about 20 minutes, keep an eye on them in your own oven though.

They were a big hit over here, so enjoy and feel free to sub in and out ingredients as you like.

note; if you don't have an immersion blender. I recomend using a blender to get the base batter mixed and then you can stir in apple, carrots, and blueberries seperately.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Life Lately!

As per usual, I have done a poor job of keeping the blog updated. So prepare for some rambles.
easter morning
We've been super busy. A major factor was the wreck I was in about 6 weeks ago. The long story short of it is that I went through a yellow light, t-boned a car that was turning, and it totaled my car. Her insurance has accepted liability for the wreck but I haven't gotten money yet. We had to buy a new car because it was the only vehicle we had that the kids could ride in. We were not prepared for that kind of expense. We financed all of it. It's an 07 toyota with over 100000 miles on it, so the rates, regardless of my 800 credit score were terrible. So I started tutoring 4 nights a week to make some fast cash. It's helping, but it sucks to have to be away during the dinner hour. I know it's tough on my husband to have to come straight home from work and be thrown into only caretaker at home role (also making his work day much tougher because he literally can't stay late even if he wanted to because he has to get home to watch our kids). I know this is a middle class, stay at home mom problem, so I don't expect any pity. I am still working for Happy Family about 30 hours a month, and trying to make other cash as I can. My mom suggested I advertise that I would do other family's ironing....but ironically I'm like the only one that still irons. My friends joke about it.

If I could keep G this age forever, I would. She's pretty much perfect and I am super lucky. She's respectful, funny, sweet, caring, and smart. But she still does get selfish sometimes, and does throw some diva fits but it's really totally manageable.
She is doing great at her sight words and working on adding. I'm trying to help her practice saying the hard g and k sounds. She's not able to do it--she always sticks her tongue up like for a duh and tuh sound. If she hasn't figured it out by fall, I guess we'll do speech through the public school. We are going to start her in official kindergarten this fall (homeschool). I also taught her how to play the card game "war" this weekend. That's a subject in homeschool right? Part of socialization, right next to paper rock scissors. That's another thing we've taught both the kids. Life with a 4 and 2 year old is pretty fun.

J is a little less difficult than he was a month ago, so that's positive. He sometimes (versus rarely) stays in his bed--but naps are still tough initially. His vocabulary has exploded but his pronunciation and others' ability to understand him are still bad. He knows his colors about 90% of the time, and a few letters. They are proving to be challenging because he's less interested and I have less time to just sit around with him and casually play. Second child probs. I've considered putting him in 'gym school' like G goes to now in the fall, and using that time to hit some serious home school lessons with her. She'd be pretty jealous, I bet though, so obviously I'm looking for some enrichment program for her. Right now my top choice is a nature school once a week. J is also very sweet. Yesterday he shared the elmo snack cup with G, even though I gave it to him. She was having a diva moment about not getting it, and after he realized that she was sad, he handed it over to her. I melted. He also gives the best hugs and kisses. Sometimes if I snuggle him to tightly he says, "mush! mush!" (smushed!! smushed!) and it's really the most adorable thing ever. He is super bright (even if not interested in learning letters), and I caught him 'reading' brown bear brown bear to himself before nap today. He understands patterns, routines, and is getting quite good at puzzles. He plays pretend so well and takes turns better than any other 2 years old I've seen (aside from G).

After all of the baby shower sweets and foods in early March, we decided to do another Whole 30 to bounce back from the yucky feelings physically and mentally from so much junk. It's been a lot easier this time around, but we are both pretty much done with being so strict. Yesterday was Easter and I made us a paleo fudgy brownie for our 'treat.' It was made with whole 30 compliant foods, but the presentation of it as a brownie is really not allowed on the whole 30 program. I'm not sad about it, because it means we didn't eat like crap or have tons of Easter candy, as in years past. So if nothing else, the sweetened with dates treat gave us a sense of some kind of tradition.

The husband's job is keeping him quite stressed, but he's managing it well. I think not drinking (due to whole 30), has really helped him figure out that he doesn't need it to manage stress. I'm sure there are times when he really just wants a drink, but he deals with it and is stronger for it. So I'm proud of him there :-) We thought we might be moving back to California, but that doesn't look like it'll be happening anymore.

I'm feeling stronger than ever, and happy with myself (not really my abs, but I know that's vain so trying to ignore the nagging mental hang up about them). My faith is at an all time high, and there's no going back there. Far from perfect, it's a life long journey toward holiness.

Speaking of.. How crazy do you think we'd be if we went to Philadelphia in September for the Pope's visit?? I mean. He's so awesome, truly radiates God's good news, and we both would love to go see him in person and experience all of the faithful people there too. And we'd want to take the kids, because....how awesome is that for them!? But A) money and B) that's crazy.

Other things we've been up to;
home improvements
gym time
park time
bike rides
planning our future

see more easter photos below!

opening easter presents that grandma and grandpa sent

throwing easter grass while wearing tiara grandma sent

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Paleo Pancakes {clean kaylene version} (grain free, added sugar free,dairy free)

If you've been paleo long then you know what's up about egg and banana pancakes. They are the fastest fun brekkie to throw together for my kids (but I much prefer the paleo banana muffins found here)

The other day when I made my dairy free paleo fruit dip, I had waaaaay too much left over and I wasn't sure how it'd keep in the fridge. So I said, I bet this can turn into pancakes super easily. So I took some that dip, added 2 eggs and voila! A variety of the egg/banana pancake that I LOVE!

Paleo Naturally Protein Packed Pancakes 

(I am not into protein powders)

3 ripe bananas
4 eggs
1/2 almond butter
1/8 - 1/4 c cacao (depending on your preferences)
dash of salt and cinnamon

blend all ingredients in a bowl using immersion blender (or utilize food processor / blender). Pour onto hot griddle or pan greased with some ghee or coconut oil. Cook like regular pan cakes!

Dairy Free Fruit Dip

TI used to make a yummy clean fruit dip using yogurt, almond butter, and honey, but since I try to be mostly paleo....I don't eat or buy plain greek yogurt. (I do still buy some of the little cups for the kids, it's a great source of calcium and protein for them to eat occasionally) .... And the other day I was craving some fruit with dip and didn't just want to use plain almond butter. I used what I know about bananas and immersion blender to create a great fruit dip that is paleo!! I dare say it's Whole 30, but may be considered a SWYPO food....

Dairy Free Paleo Fruit Dip

2 ripe bananas
1/3 to 1/2 almond butter
shake of cacao (okay, I used a few shakes)

toss all ingredients into a bowl and let your immersion blender do the work!! (or regular blender / food processor if you haven't jumped on board the immersion blender train of awesomeness)

Makes enough for 2-3 big servings

Ladybug Birthday Party {pinterest style on-the-cheap party}

I have always thought birthdays are a big deal. I kind of love celebrations.

So for my kids' birthdays it is important to me that they feel special and loved. I will always make their birthday cake. Until they move out. Then I guess it's someone else's job.....

Their party themes thus far have been;
G-- pooh, caillou, daniel tiger
J-- elmo, thomas the train

And when G turned 4 she wanted a Lady Bug birthday party. Red is her favorite color and she likes reading books about lady bugs. Lucky for me, Wilton makes a lady bug cake pan (Wilton Lady Bug Pan ), so I was on board.

I utilized the devil's website Pinterest to get some ideas. I also came up with a few of my own. Below are the photos and descriptions of how I threw a pinterest on the cheap party.

 G loves (nitrate free) ham and cheese rolls ups, but because I was already making mac & cheese, I used pickles (also a favorite) to make ham and pickle roll ups. I also made some homemade 'clean' cheese crackers (using my cookie press and basically this recipe). Fruit is a major favorite for G, so we had pineapple, strawberries, and grapes.
 Here was a pinterest idea--make little dots on baby bell cheeses to make them look like lady bugs! The chalkboard signs were less than a dollar apiece after sale and coupon at Michael's, and since I am throwing two baby showers over the next two weeks, they will already earn their value!
I got some clean hummus at Sprouts and had sweet potato corn ships and some regular waffle chips as dippers. The hummus was like the best ever. Seriously. It was artichoke spinach flavor as seriously on point. Of course we needed cherry tomatoes to complete the red food theme. Back to Nature brand makes an organic bug macaroni and cheese, so I made that too.
I made some from scratch meatballs (one of my specialties) since G enjoys them and we needed something heavy since I made the party for lunch time. Secret that I didn't want my brother in law to know, they have shredded carrot in them (he doesn't do a lot of veggies). The little sign holder came from hobby lobby on sale plus coupon for about $1.30 (I got two). They were too cute and will serve purposes in the future. There is a little lady bug out of view on the other leaf. It tied the food table together for sure.
I wanted to make a yummy dye free red punch so I used some cranberry lemonade juice (did have some added sugar), pineapple juice, and sparkling water (strawberry dragon fruit flavor)--it was a super hit! My husband also made tea and coffee (hence the bowl of sugar sitting out). The straws I got off amazon for like a dollar! 

Lady Bug Cake (I did use dye to get the red color....was sooo close to using beet juice though)
my husband always goes to get balloons before our kids' parties. It's pretty much a tradition
 The lady bug spirals came from amazon. Unique Ladybug Party Hanging Decorations (3 Count), Red I also hung this happy birthday lady bug banner above the food table. Unique Ladybug Birthday Jointed Banner, Multicolor

The most gifts she's ever had for her birthday! Thank you to everyone!! (cleaned off my buffet {re; dresser used as buffet} for use as gift table) 

 I found this lady bug blow up ball at Hobby Lobby for like a dollar after coupon. Kids had fun tossing it around. (benefit of not having nice things, I'm okay with them playing ball in the house, for now)
 My husband and I teamed up to make a bean bag game for the kids to play. We based it off an idea I saw on the pinterest. It was really cheap since he used scrap wood. My bean bag making supplies cost less than 8 dollars for all 10 bags. And they were part of the kids favors.
 Here are the party guests! And behind them you can see the bean bag toss.

 For another game we had ladybug 'races' using part of the kids' favors. I bought these wind up lady bug toys from amazon and they are super fun! Dazzling Toys Flipping Wind-up Lady Bugs - 12 Pack (D067)

 after opening gifts, my husband blew some of the best bubbles ever (The really thick kind like this Toysmith Touchable Bubbles, Assorted Colors ) down from the top of our stairs and the kids enjoyed catching/popping them)

as the party wound down, the kids enjoyed coloring pictures