Thursday, February 8

On the Eve of Six Months

We are just days away of Little Bird's half birthday and it all at once feels like this experience took a million years and that it also went by faster than anything I've ever experienced in my life. I feel like I'm going to blink and she'll be one. I don't remember our son's first year going by this quickly at all! I want so badly to share our full adoption story, now that some time and space has helped with healing and at the same time I feel strongly like it's not my story to publicly tell. So if we ever hang out in person feel free to ask me but for now I'm going to keep it off the internet. Instead, let's talk about the insane lash envy I have right now over this girl. Seriously they look like falsies.

She can flip over to her stomach and back
She can do a killer cobra pose
She laughs a ton
She is a bit of a thrill seeker and loves to be fake dropped or for you to "scare" her by jumping into her face and saying "hi!"
She still has reddish hair
Her eyes are a color we can't quite name
She loves her stroller and gets super excited when you put her in it
She loves afternoon walks
She laughs the most at her big brother
She is impartial about the dog
She dances to folksy music
She doesn't like anything sweet (no pears/apples/bananas or baby food fruit)
She likes to purse her lips and go "ooo" to talk back to people (see it in the 2nd photo!)
She falls asleep any time she's in transit even if she just woke up, haha!
She can't quite sit up on her own but loves to stand


Sunday, October 15

Gluten Free Nutella Poptarts - Sunday Bread 03

gluten free pastry pie
 You guys, I've gotta stop choosing dessert breads as my recipes of the week! I'm gonna have to double up on my workouts this week because I cannot control myself with these. They turned out ten times better than I ever imagined! Also, this really made me re-think poptarts as a breakfast food. Not that we eat them often, but still. Making them from scratch made me realize that they are basically just little pies, haha! I heard a quote a while ago that said, you can have whatever junk food you want, as long as you are willing to make it yourself. And that's always stuck with me. Because it's time consuming to make stuff from scratch. And you pretty much guarantee that there will be less chemicals and junk, even if they are still full of sugar like these poptarts. So, I decided to make one more week of dessert breads and then next week I hereby promise to do something that requires yeast and rising. Cross my heart!

I didn't make this recipe, or even tweak the one I followed enough to share it here as my own. So if you wanna make these, this is the recipe I followed. And I subbed out Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour for the all purpose flour. Easy peasy.

My mom stopped by today so I forced her to help enlisted her help since she is the pie crust queen and this recipe basically has you make pie crust dough to use for the pastries. We didn't use a food processor like the recipe, we did it the old fashioned way of cutting in the butter with one of these and drizzling in the ice water slowly. Of course Little Man was there to help (and steal spoonfulls of nutella).

 Putting on the egg wash with his fingers because that's way more fun that way. 
Beware, these are basically just mini pies with icing and they are so delicious and buttery and crumbly and definitely not healthy but still oh so good and with wayyyyyyy less chemicals than anything you'd pick up at the grocery store. I definitely want to play around with fillings. I think I'll try an apple pie style one next! Happy Sunday friends! xo. 

Our Sparkly Sprinkle Baby Shower!

baby girl sprinkle shower

Can my house just always look like this? With rose gold sparkling table runners, fresh cut garden roses, mantles full of eucalyptus, and a mimosa bar? Our friends and family threw us a sprinkle shower and it was just the prettiest and sweetest time. Have you heard of these? I hadn't before my aunt brought it up to my mom. Basically, it's a baby shower that is a bit lighter than a traditional baby shower. It's is less baby themed and more family centered. It's usually for 2nd or 3rd babies when there's been a few years separating them from their next sibling. Or in our case, for an adoption since in adoptions you don't always throw showers in advance (since adoptions aren't final till they are final, if you know what I mean). We were the perfect storm of both those things: adoption and 2nd child with a big age gap so this was totally perfect.

We had sprinkle themed decorations and food, grilled some wings and invited friends over along with their kids. It was co-ed with grown ups chatting over mimosas and snacks and kids running around everywhere. Just my kind of get together!

Here's a peek into it for anyone out there looking for inspiration. It was soooo easy to pull together. (And we did, in less than 2 weeks!) Thanks to Nicole Graham Events for helping us pull it together, supplying us with this incredibly beautiful decor and helping us with all those little party details and logistics. We couldn't have done it without you!
baby shower sprinkle ideas
sprinkle shower ideas

Sunday, October 8

Grain Free Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Muffins - Sunday Bread 02

homemade bread banana

My intention for Sunday Bread was to spend restful and slow Sundays lazily sipping coffee while kneading gluten free bread and waiting for it to rise while enjoying the lazy day with my family. The reality of Sunday Bread is that most Sundays are spent juggling an infant and an energetic kiddo while also grocery shopping for the week, cleaning out the fridge, prepping our snacks and weekly staples (quinoa, rice, veggies, etc) and trying to someone still connect with my husband. 

Not that I'm complaining. This is a busy season of life. And my instagram-fantasty of sipping steamy coffee while a baby naps and my kiddo helps me mix dry and wet ingredients as we listen to Hamilton on vinyl and get beautifully candid photos of ourselves in all our memory-making magic to post on social media... well that fantasy just isn't reality 99.9% of the time. Go figure. 

paleo gluten free grain free banana bread

That being said, I had thought ahead and picked up this box mix from Simple Mills to use for breakfast muffins one day. But when it was 5pm on Sunday and I hadn't even started my Sunday bread for the week I decided to get creative instead of skipping my ritual by taking this box kit and turning it into something amazing! So here you go, a super simple tweak to a box kit that will make the yummiest (and easiest) banana muffins ever. Bonus... Simple Mills' box kits are always gluten free and grain free! So if you have kiddos with allergies, you might wanna look them up. This isn't an ad at all, I just dig their stuff. The ingredients list is short and sweet and pure and the sugar is low. That's a double win in my book. (Disclaimer: I do add sugar to this recipe but you don't have to!)

paleo banana bread
Okay, so you could totally just follow the recipe on the box as is and get great results. But in my experience, they are not as banana-y as true, homemade banana bread, and def way less sweet (aka... my kid doesn't like them) so I decided to tweak the recipe myself to try to get these muffins to taste like honest to goodness banana bread. Here's how I did it... 

The original recipe calls for 2 eggs, 1 cup of water and 2 tbs oil to add into the dry ingredients in the box. I'm not a fan of adding vegetable oil to my baked goods so instead I decided to mash up a banana! This worked out perfectly because it added moisture and binding and true banana flavor to the bread! Just mush it up with a fork. You'll need a spotty banana at the end of it's shelf life. 

I also added some honey and a heaping teaspoon of vanilla bean powder just to sweeten and add some richness to the flavor since the first time I made these muffins (following the recipe exactly from the box) they were a bit bland. 

One last (fun) tweak was we decided to make these cinnamon swirled. To do that, you just mix up some cinnamon sugar (3 parts sugar to 1 parts cinnamon) and you pour a bit on top of each muffin before baking. Then you take a butter knife and just create figure eight patterns in the batter which pushes the cinnamon sugar down into it a big. Later on when they are baked and you cut them in half you'll see (and taste!) the swirls. 
paleo gluten free kids recipes

Grain Free Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Muffins

1 box Simple Mills Banana Muffin Bread mix
2 eggs
1 spotted banana (mashed)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla powder (or extract) 
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners. 
3. Whisk eggs, water, banana, and honey in a bowl till combined
4. Add baking mix and vanilla, stir till combined
5. Pour batter into muffin tin till 2/3 full
6. In a small bowl combine cinnamon and sugar.
7. Using a teaspoon, scoop a spoonful of sugar across the top of each muffin. Use a butter knife to make figure 8 shapes in the batter pushing the cinnamon sugar down and through the batter
8. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a fork inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan.
9. Serve warm with butter (or coconut oil if you are vegan) and a drizzle of honey! 
10. Store in an airtight container in the fridge as this baking mix contains no preservatives so they will spoil quicker than your average muffin. ;) 

cinnamon swirl banana bread muffins
Seriously, look at that buttery, banana-y, cinnamon sweet goodness!

See ya next Sunday! xo.  


Thursday, October 5

Twenty Things That Spark My Joy...

downsize spark joy capsule wardrobe

A year or so ago I got all Marie Kondo on my life and went through a giant downsize. It felt great to take out clutter that wasn't adding any happiness to my life. I took out clutter, I took out activities, I took out TV shows, I took out clothes and makeup and shoes and truly, just downsized my entire life.

It's been about two years now since then. And as life has gone on, as life tends to do, I've realized that I had taken all these things out, but I had forgotten to put joy-filled things back in! I got so busy downsizing and cleaning things out that I left them empty and bare. I know it sounds crazy but I just got focused on getting things really cleaned out. Then I just kind of stayed there.

It wasn't until recently, when the weather started to change ushering in my absolute FAVORITE seasons of the year that I realized I had not been doing or enjoying a lot of things that used to bring me joy! I'm not quite sure why. Maybe I was too busy working on removing things that weren't bringing me joy. Maybe I thought I had to somehow re-"earn" joy? I haven't figured it out. No matter what the reason, I was just moving through life filling up my days and nights and completely forgetting about some of the things that I just absolutely love to do!

Have you ever done this? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Two weeks ago I decided to start a new series here on the blog called "Sunday Bread" because I LOVE to bake. And yet, I don't bake all that much anymore. Years ago I even had a whole blog about vegan baking! How could I have gotten so far away from something I enjoyed so much? I guess after being diagnosed with hashimotos and having to get off gluten and then starting my weight loss journey I just steered away from baked goods but damn it if I can't figure out a way to make it work because I love to bake and I want to create those happy, vanilla and cinnamon scented memories in the kitchen with my kids.

The other day I took myself to one of my favorite stores (if you follow me on instagram stories you saw this field trip) and I just had so much fun. Like, I had a ridiculous amount of fun for just walking around a store by myself. I was beaming. And when I came home I remarked to my husband, "I forgot how much I loved it there! How is that possible?"

So I decided to make a list of things I love that I may or may not have forgotten about. Things that bring me joy. Things that SPARK joy in me.

1. Baking things from scratch
2. Twinkle lights inside houses
3. Candles
4. Going to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings
5. Brunch
6. Anthropologie
7. Decorating
8. Blogging
9. Taking photos with a camera that is not my phone
10. Singing really loud with the windows down in the car
11. Paddleboard yoga sessions and being active at least 6 days a week somehow
12. Pretty pajamas that don't feel frumpy
13. Fresh flowers
14. Coffee shop dates
15. Eye contact + being present with people
16. Being a better friend
17. Pretty baby clothes (since my son won't let me dress him anymore)
18. Giving gifts
19. Family dinners
20. DIY projects

Man, just reading over that list makes me excited! Why did I ever let so many of those things go? I think sometimes in life it's easy to fall into routines, to get busy, to lose focus, and to get distracted. In my own journey to improving my life I got so focused on getting rid of all the bad that I totally forgot to keep the good! But I'm on a mission through the rest of 2017 to work on leveling up my life across the board by making small but intentional better choices each day. From my food to my activity to my free time to my fun. Maybe you'll get inspired to do the same?

If you're working on cleaning up your life, your routine, your time that's so great! Just don't forget that once you clear out all the clutter, to remember to put back in the joy! xo, B
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