Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What's cooking' over here! "Mostly" Paleo Zucchini Bread. Gluten Free

It's our first week back to school and one thing, among many, stands out to me, and that's HOW MUCH I LIVE IN THE KITCHEN during the school year.

Maybe I'm a little too "crunchy" for many of you, but I struggle with how much junk food and sugar kids consume daily. I feel like I can never have little treats for them because they're getting so much junk that's out of my control. The summer is nice, because I get to be the one to give them the occasional treat.

While I've learned to let a lot of this go, because I have no choice, I'm loving that at school this year, parents send in snacks for their own individual kids instead of for the class. .

So while sometimes I'm just like the next mom and open a bag of pretzels, I really try to have healthy but delicious food around for my kids to enjoy, that also nourishes their body. Not perfection, but my best.

So I've made some new recipes lately that have been a success, and I want to share them with you!

"Mostly" Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Above is the link to the original recipe, but I made a lot of adaptations so here's my version of this delicious and nutritious bread (that could double as a cake).

    1 ¼ cups almond flour

    ¼ cup cocoa powder

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon baking soda

    2 large eggs

    2 tablespoons coconut oil

    ¼ cup honey

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    2 tbsp xylitol (or other sweetener of your choice/or omit)

    1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (plus extra for topping)

    1 cup zucchini, grated & extra water squeezed out well

    Elena uses a food processor for many of her recipes. Because they are paleo, some of the coarser flours benefit from being ground further by the blades. I like to pulse the dry ingredients with the zucchini to make it finer too...I don't love the larger strands of zucchini in my bread, but it's a preference. Pulse in your wet ingredients well, and then stir in your chocolate chips.

    I used a greased 9 inch round cake pan and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, less than she suggests...and it comes out perfectly moist and not dried out like too many gluten free baked goods!

    I pulled it out and sprinkled a handful of mini chocolate chips on top and after a few minutes, used the back of a spoon to spread them around, making an easy glaze on top. It cooled on the counter for a couple hours before the girls ate it for their after-school snack.

    It was a hit! Minimal added sugar in the added chocolate chips. You can omit those to make this completely free of refined sugar. Super high in protein and heart healthy almond flour. Um, hello veggies in cake! Honey and coconut oil are also powerhouses for nutrients and antioxidants. 

    This is a recipe that your kids will eat, and you'll feel GOOD about them eating it! One of my kids even had it for breakfast this morning, thinking she was eating junk. We both win!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2016

    Warning: It's My Anniversary

    It's my 14th anniversary...so I'm gonna gush. You've been warned. I keep it tame as often as I can, but most of the time, I'm just terribly in love.

    I can say that right? I mean, I'm really in love with my husband.
    My high school graduation 2000.
    Is our marriage perfect? Of course not. In 17 years together, we've been through so much. Illness, surgeries, grief, worries and sadness. But, we've also been through even more beauty, joy, love, fun, and laughter. Through all of it, my choice has not wavered. I'm in love with my husband.

    1999 Niagara Falls
    He is the most selfless, loving man I have ever known.
    He is a fierce protector with a gentle spirit. 

    Mission Trip to Mexico City 2000

    I know Jesus better because of who Matt is.

    Babies. Just started dating 1999
    He always puts our needs above his own.

    He makes me laugh. A lot.

    I've given up trying to figure out how and why I get to do life with someone I adore so much, and have just accepted the gift.

    Eighteen years ago, as teenagers, Matt and I met at our youth group, the same one we still support today. I was 17 and he was 19 a year later when we started dating. I knew immediately that I was not only in love, but safe with an amazing man.

    Getting' hitched 2002
    Three years later at 20 and 22 years old, we were married. Both in college. Broke. Living on love and pizza rolls. Actually, for almost 4 years until we graduated college and Hannah was 5 months old, we lived on the second floor of a funeral home. The rent was cheap and the neighbors were quiet. Get it?

    Hannah 2005

    Five years after that, years full of ups and downs, trials and hopes, we found out our second miracle, Emma Grace was on her way and, although she was small, she was (and is) mighty.

    Emma 2010

    My heart is full of God's provision, and I am SO THANKFUL that He has blessed me with a husband to walk with. Lean on. Care for. Hold on to. 

    Reading & Drinking Coffee...We love.
    Biking, Basketball, Working out together...We also love.

    Our babies 2015...we REALLY LOVE!

    Today, we have traditional roles. Provider, amazing father, loving husband & stay at home wife and mama. It works well for us. I pray that we have and look forward to many many years more together watching our family grow and serving God with them.

    Orlando 2016

    No, life isn't perfect, but it is beautiful. I can't even dream up a man who would be a better husband, love, father and friend than Matt, and I thank God for him every single day.

    Hanging out on the North Shore 2016
    Happy 14th Anniversary to my Baby! I love you!

    Sunday, July 31, 2016

    Politics, Hate, People, And What My Conscience Is Telling Me.

    Lately, the media, news, and election has had me sick to my stomach, and it's just beginning.

    I feel many different emotions, but mainly just sadness at the lack of character we accept in the people we support.

    The arguing, when we really have no clue how to find real truth in the murkiness.

    The intense finger-pointing at everyone else before looking in the mirror.

    I almost want to avoid social media altogether. Bury my head in the sand. It seems as though everyone just wants to fight. Prove a point.

    Then, sometimes, I'll feel fear. What's going to happen to this world?




    With the election.

    With race.

    With religion.

    With gender.

    Finger-point, finger-point, finger-point.

    All that's wrong in the world is someone else's fault.

    So we put all of our eggs in the basket of a flawed political candidate.

    Is your head spinning? Mine is.

    Then I stop. And I realize, I am not called to put my hope in any human being. No flawed candidate or judicial system.


    "Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there." Psalm 146:3 "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes." Psalm 118:9

    "Don't put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?" Isaiah 2:22

    My hope is in a PERFECT One. All-powerful, Omni-present, the One who Saved. My. Soul. And my hope and trust is ONLY in Him.

    "God is not human that he should lie, not a human being that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" Numbers 23:19 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise." Hebrews 10:23

    Now that's SOMEONE I can get behind!

    "Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods." Psalm 40:4

    "Trust in the Lord and do what is right! Settle in the land and MAINTAIN YOUR INTEGRITY!" (Emphasis added) Psalm 37:3

    So, while I have strong beliefs on certain political issues (I'm not saying we shouldn't), I will not fight. I will not point fingers. I will not use negativity to try to convince others that I am right. I will maintain my integrity. I will constantly evaluate my motives and the errors in my own ways, because I know I am flawed too.

    I will love people.

    I will be kind.

    I will serve others in the name of Jesus.

    I will treat others how I want to be treated.

    I will commit to personal growth.

    I will do my best to better this world where I am planted.

    Dear friends, please, do not go one more day:

    "Be on your guard. Stand firm in faith. Be courageous. Be strong. AND DO EVERYTHING WITH LOVE." (emphasis added) 2 Corinthians 16:13-14

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