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

Sunday, September 24

Spiced Apple Pumpkin Bread - Sunday Bread 01

gluten free bread recipes

So I decided on a thing. I have been wanting to learn how to make really great bread for a long time now. It started with a desire for me to get better at making things from scratch in general. Then it turned into bread specifically as I got frustrated with the lack of fresh gluten free baked goods. There's only one place in my area that makes gluten free donuts, for example, and they are an hour drive away. Anyway, I thought it would be a fun project, and a good thing to do on Sundays as family time. So each Sunday I've resolved to pick a bread to make! They'll all be gluten free recipes since I have to be gluten free because I have Hashimotos. But you could easily sub in regular flour I'm sure if you wanna make it the old fashioned way.

gluten free kids

I decided on a festive fall quick bread to start with because it sounded more delicious than sandwhich bread and also because it's the first week of fall! I didn't want to make banana bread or plain pumpkin bread because those felt too easy so I decided to create my own new hybrid bread! So this bread is both pumpkin and apple with all the favorite fall spices in there too! It turned out so good. It was husband and five year old approved. It's especially delicious warmed up with some butter on it for breakfast too!

gluten free baking

Basically in this bread, you make your own applesauce using a granny smith apple, cinnamon, and salted butter. Then you puree it and that takes the place of a fat (like oil or melted butter) in the bread itself. It's an old trick my mom taught me as a kid. You can sub applesauce for oil or butter in most box kits like cupcakes or cakes and it makes them slightly healthier. I figured it would work great for this bread too because the original recipe called for canola oil but I wanted this bread to taste like apple cider anyway! If you want to do more apples in the skillet, go for it. They are delicious to eat in a bowl on their own or scooped over some vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Spiced Apple Pumpkin Bread 

1 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/3 cup gluten free old-fashioned oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon + more for apples
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp salted butter
Optional: 2 Tbsp cinnamon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)
2. Prepare loaf pan by lightly greasing or lining with parchment paper.
3. Wisk egg in a large bowl and set aside.
4. Saute apples in a skillet with  butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon until soft. Set aside.
5. Wisk pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, almond milk, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract into the egg.
6. Carefully place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a sifter and sift over wet ingredients and stir.
7. In a blender, pure the cooked apples until applesauce consistency
8. Add 3 Tbs. of your new applesauce and the oats to the bowl and stir again lightly until just combined.
9. Spoon into pan evenly
10. (Optional: sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and pull through mixture with a knife to create swirls in the dough)
11. Bake for 40 minutes or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
12. Remove from oven and let set in pan for at least 20 minutes and then gently transfer to a plate to cool.
13. Let cool completely before slicing, preferably several hours. Otherwise, it can be a bit crumbly.
14. Also, slice gently, as it’s rather tender.
15. Once cooled, store in a covered container or cover with plastic wrap at room temperature to keep fresh.

*recipe adapted from The Minimalist Baker's recipe here.



Thursday, September 21

New Moon Manifesting Ritual

new moon ritual if you feel stuck

Happy New Moon friends! New moons are all about letting go of the old and making space for the new. It's a time to plant seeds for the future that will grow as the light grows. It's a time to energetically pull what you want toward you by setting intentions. And the cool thing is, we get to do it every 2 weeks!

I know that moon cycles and mindfulness and energy can feel overwhelming and be hard to wrap your head around. I'm not expert, but I've been on a spiritual journey for a while and this little ritual is one I read about and had been wanting to try so I figured what better time than now, with this new moon to try it myself and share it with you to try too!

new moon planting seeds of growth

So we all have heard that THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS and that what we think about expands and that we should focus on the positive so that we attract more of it into our life. We've heard that there's an invisible force out there (call it God, call it the source, call it the Universe, call it the Force if you want, haha) and that it is limitless and that we can connect and tap into it. But how?

The moon pulls on us. It's strong enough that it pulls the oceans so strongly that it creates tides. Why wouldn't it pull on us as well? New moons are a time to set intentions and focus for the next part of the cycle. If manifesting is real, then this is when we decide what the next things we want to manifest is. And we have to trust that that invisible force is going to be working things out behind the scenes for us while we go about taking action toward our goals in our day to day life.

So here's the ritual... 

You'll need:

1 small pot
Seeds for whatever you want to plant (I chose lavender)
Potting soil
Gold sharpie (if you wanna draw on your pot like I did)
Possibly a journey to write out your intentions that you want to manifest and grow

The idea of this ritual is to take something that can feel so abstract and make it visual and tangible for us to see and experience. As you plant the seeds of your intentions that you want to manifest into your life in the next two weeks, you also plant physical seeds as a physical representation of those things you are planting in the universe. Then, you care for them, just as you have to take action on your desires. (You can't just sit around thinking about them.) You water the seeds, you make sure they get light and are the right temperature. And just as the invisible force of the universe is working on your intentions and manifesting them into your life, that same invisible force is working to bring the seeds to life!

Here's a MANTRA to go along with it. As you set your intentions, you plant the seeds. Maybe you journal your intentions, the seeds of the big things you want to bring into your life. Write or repeat this mantra as you do:

I am unapologetic about what I desire 
and I trust that what I focus on will grow! 

If you liked this, let me know! And if you want more talk about mindfulness let me know too! I'm happy to share more about my journey if it helps someone else!

rituals for joy


Thursday, September 7

Happy 3 Weeks Wren Bird...

Happy 3 weeks little Percy Wren!

Wednesday, August 9

Want To Be Part of Our Adoption? Help Us With Our Missing Piece.


Dear friends and family, 

We've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we are matched with a beautiful baby girl who is due in just a few weeks (if not sooner!) It's very exciting! The bad news is that we have hit a bump in the road and we now need your help.

When we started our adoption journey we worked tirelessly to save up the cash for the adoption. And you might remember my post about the moment we hit our goal and how excited we were! We were good to go with finances and feeling so blessed! Well... this week a new development has come, practically out of nowhere, and with just 3 weeks or less until baby's arrival we are now looking at a much longer stay out of state (away from our home for about a month which means more costs associated with travel) and thousands more in fees we must pay to an attorney to help us with this situation that we had no way to anticipate or be ready for.

We wanted to avoid having to ask our friends and family for money at all costs. So it is with very humble hearts that we are putting this out there. In case anyone would like to help us in this 11th hour. We have been doing all we can to take on extra photography work, to sell things we no longer need, to cut areas in our budget, but it's not going to be enough in such a short amount of time.

We need to raise $10,000.

We didn't want to just ask anyone for money and wanted to find a way to turn this rocky situation into something beautiful if we could. When we heard about this idea it instantly struck a chord in our hearts and we think it might be a powerful way to welcome this little girl to her forever family!

Let me explain how it's going to work and then read on if you want to hear the reasons why we chose this...

We have selected a beautiful puzzle with sentimental and personal meanings to our family (you can see it pictured above and again below) It has 500 pieces. We are going to basically auction each piece off at $20 a piece. When you contribute, by buying a piece or multiple pieces, we will write your name on the back of the pieces. We are going to assemble the puzzle and have it framed with both the front and back sides visible and it will hang in baby girl's room as a tangible reminder for her of all the people that love her and wanted her to come home! When we think about her having this keepsake as she gets older it makes our hearts swell a little bit! If you'd like to purchase a puzzle piece, just click the Donate button below. It will allow you to make your donation via Paypal. Please, in the "special instructions" section write your name as you want it on the puzzle piece!

Now a little bit about this puzzle....

When I was a little girl, my grandpa (who was a rose gardener) brought me these little books of illustrations based on the seasons showing different flowers that bloomed that season and the flower fairies that lived in them. There were little poems next to each vintage illustration. I was OBSESSED with them. In fact, I read the books so much that I still have some of the poems memorized! The artwork was done by artist, Cicely Mary Barker. She makes the most beautiful things if you want to look her up! When I first heard about the puzzle fundraiser I thought to myself, "only if I can find a puzzle with extra special meaning" and I stumbled upon this on on Amazon shortly after. These little flower fairies were so special to me as a little girl. PLUS, our daughter's name has a strong connection to the springtime, so I knew this blooming puzzle was meant to be!

Here is what the finished puzzle will look like hanging in her room:

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts! We will continue to be hustling to raise funds over here and anything that you decide to contribute will be so much appreciated! Hopefully together we can make it happen in time! Anything that is raised that is above or beyond what we end up needing we will donate to another adopting family in need! Current puzzle status 217/500 pieces funded. 


Sunday, August 6

Summer at the Little Stone Lakehouse

Watching our home go through each of the seasons has been one of my favorite things about living here! The animals have been a little bit more scarce, because of summer rains and scorching heat, but when we do see them, the are more spectacular than ever! 

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