Wednesday, October 25, 2017

White Bean Carrot and Kale Soup


I was gifted an Instant Pot last Christmas by my in-laws.  I had high hopes of using it right away, but getting pregnant took away my desire to cook for a while.  For the last 2 months I have been using it constantly!  I actually have a freezer with tons of soups and stews in it now for when baby arrives soon and I won't want to cook again.  I made this in the instant pot, but I'm including a stove top version as well.

Tomatoes unfortunately give me heartburn, so it is hard to find soup recipes that don't call for tomatoes.  If anyone has a soup or stew recipe without tomatoes let me know!

White Bean Carrot and Kale Soup

1.5 pounds fresh navy beans or 1 pound dried white beans (rinsed and soaked according to bag instructions)*
1 TBS olive oil
2 slices of bacon chopped (or some ham or sausage chopped up) *
1 large onion chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
4-6 large carrots chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
6 cups chicken broth for fresh beans or 8 cups for dried beans*
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
As much cleaned and chopped Kale as you want!  I used about one bunch (Can also use fresh or frozen spinach here)

Instant Pot instructions:

Set pot to "Saute" function.  Add oil to pan and saute bacon or other meat until browned and cooked.  Add onions, celery and carrots and saute for 5 minutes stirring every once in a while.  Add beans, broth and spices to pot and stir to combine.  Seal lid and set to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes for fresh beans and 25 minutes for dried beans.  Force release after 5 minutes.  Set to "saute" setting again and add Kale, cook until Kale is tender.  Add more salt to taste depending upon your taste.

Stove Top Instructions:

Add oil to large stockpot and saute bacon or other meat over medium/high heat until browned and cooked.  Add onions, celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes stirring every once in a while.  Add beans, broth and spices to pot and stir to combine.  Cook over medium/high heat for 30 minutes for fresh beans and 40-50 minutes for dried beans.  Add more liquid if getting too thick and beans aren't cooked yet. 
Cook until beans are tender.  Add Kale to pot and cook until Kale is tender - about 5-10 minutes.  Add more salt to taste depending upon your taste.

*Our local grocery store sells frozen fresh beans - I prefer these to dried beans - taste better to me :)

*  Depending upon the temperature you cook this soup at you may need to add more broth or water if soup is too thick for your liking.

*  You can also make this vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thick and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies



My niece asked if she could come over this weekend and make some cookies for one of her teachers with me.  Um...yes...I am always down for making cookies!  She requested snickerdoodles and we decided to try out a new recipe.  I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were and ate way more then I was planning too.  I am not the biggest fan of any cookie without chocolate in it...but these were darn tooting good!  After I made them I thought that they might also be good using pumpkin pie spice in the topping instead of straight cinnamon...this I will try next time!

My niece is 13 going on 21 and as we were baking she told me that she bakes cookies with her 2 friends a lot and that she is the one always telling them what to do.  She said she learned a lot from watching me bake and then baking with me, and then she said "you know all your tips and tricks really do work, I mean, scraping the bowl down really well in between mixing really does make a better cookie!"  Haha, not going to lie - it made me smile : )

These would make a good addition to any Christmas Cookie tray or tin.  I was contemplating getting started early on Christmas cookie dough baking this year since baby is due to arrive at beginning of December...but then realized I don't really have time to do that now either.  I'm hoping I can still manage some sort of less fancy Christmas cookie assortment for neighbors and friends this year...not sure I am capable of just letting Christmas go by without any Christmas baking.  Haha, but honestly, I probably won't even realize it is Christmas this year I will be so zonked out from having a newborn.

Did I mention we are having baby #2?  We are super excited and of course have nothing ready for baby again!  Names?  Nope.  Found a doula?  Nope.  Nothing is ready.  Somehow I blinked and we are in our third trimester already!  When I ask Charlie where baby is he points to my belly and then points to himself - he is so right...he will always be my baby : )



Thick and Chewy Snickerdooles
adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (not kosher or coarse)

Topping:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F  We have a gas oven that gets super hot so I actually preheated my oven to 360 instead...every oven is different so do what works for you!
  2. Make the topping: mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Make the cookies: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed and mix again.  Set aside.
  4. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The dough is quite thick and you may have to stir it by hand to fully incorporate the dry ingredients.
  5. Scoop 2 Tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the dough balls into the reserved cinnamon-sugar topping.  Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will be very puffy and soft.  Cookies remain soft & fresh for 7 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Carrot Cake Paleo Pancakes


Recently I received some bad news about someone and it really shook me up.  You know the kind of news where you suddenly can't breath and are basically in shock mode?  The kind of news where you start to question everything in your life and it just takes a while to process?  Yeah, that kind of crappy news.  When I received this news I basically spent 2 days shut in my house crying/processing while Charlie just played.  I think he knew I was having a hard time, because for 2 days he played happily by himself, didn't really cry or whine all that much and was just so sweet to me.  Every once in a while he would stop playing and just come over to me and give me a hug or kiss.  Then when I picked him up from his nap he clung to me in a tight hug and wouldn't let go - this is something he has never done before.  Also, once when I was crying he came up to me, looked me in the eye and wiped my tears away with his slimy little adorable hands.

How can one so little already know how to express such compassion?  It was as if he was saying without words, "I love you Momma, I'm sorry you are hurting, and I am here for you."  Made my Momma heart so happy to see him show this kindness to me.

If only we could all show this kind of compassion to others.  I had a friend call me after receiving this news, and the first thing she said was that she was sorry she didn't call sooner, but she didn't know what to say to me, but then realized that was a terrible reason to stay away and called anyway to let me know she was praying for us and was here for me if I needed her.  How many times have I done that?  Known someone was grieving or going through a hardship and didn't know what to say or do so I just stayed away.  Just because pain and suffering is uncomfortable and awkward doesn't mean we should stay away.  Christ shows us what to do.  He is on His cross suffering and uniting in our pain and suffering and calls us all to do the same to others.  When we see someone walking through a storm in their life we should walk beside them and help them carry their cross.  Knowing you are not alone in your pain and that people are there to help you through brings so much comfort.

Okay, I'll get off my soap box now and share this new recipe with you.  As many of you know I eat paleo pancakes pretty much every day for breakfast.  I was getting tired of my pumpkin and apple ones and started looking for some new options to add to my rotation.  If you have a food processor with a grate option - then these come together really quickly.  If you grate the carrots by hand it can be a bit tedious.

Terrible I phone pictures!

Carrot Cake Paleo Pancakes
adapted from Paleomg.com

1 cup carrots, shredded
3 eggs
½ cup almond flour
½ cup milk (almond milk, coconut milk, real milk - whatever kind of milk you use)
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoon coconut flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and powder, and spices together.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients: carrots, eggs, milk, coconut oil, and raisins. Mix thoroughly.

Heat a skillet or pancake griddle up to medium-high heat and use coconut oil to grease the surface. 

Pour batter into small pancakes onto hot griddle. Cook on both sides for 3 minutes.

Top pancakes off with coconut butter and maple syrup.

Also, I make a double batch of these and store leftovers in the fridge and just eat them cold or toast them.  Charlie loves them too as a nice and easy snack or breakfast option.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Paleo Banana Bread with Streusal Topping


Who knew there were so many different parenting philosophies out there?  My older sister introduced me to Montessori and RIE methods and that is loosely what I look to for inspiration.  I'm constantly reading about different techniques and approaches to raising good children.  Some of it I think is insane, other stuff I like.  Some people say "don't praise your kids", others say, "Be sure to praise them a lot".  Some say "never tell them no", others say "tell them no all the time".  Haha so many different opinions out there.  As parents I feel like we all just have to do what feels right for our families.

Every night Charlie and I have our own little routine.  I kind of recap our day to him and talk about how it went.  Every once in a while he chimes in with random words like "Waffle" or "Book".  Then we say night prayers together...which, now that he can fold his hands in pray position it is even more precious : )  Then I take him to his crib and before I lay him down I tell him that "He is wanted, he is needed, he is appreciated and he is loved."  Who knows if this is emotionally good for him or not, I am his mother and I plan on saying these things to him as often as I can.  I think a lot of people out there feel unloved and unwanted and that makes me sad.  If I can do one thing here on this earth, I want to be sure that I love my husband and kids as best as I can, and that they know without a doubt that they are loved by God and by me.


I heard a good homily this week and Father said something that really stuck with me: "Receive the love and joy of Christ and share it with others - this, this is your vocation."

One way I show people that I love them is by cooking.  Anyways, as I type I have a double batch of this paleo banana bread in the oven - it is so tasty!  Charlie and I love it as a healthy snack option.  I have made it at least a dozen times in the last year.


A few tips to making this bread:

- We always have frozen bananas in our freezer.  If they are a little over ripe and you don't plan on eating them before they are too far gone - peel them and stick them in a ziploc in your freezer.  When you want to bake with them take them out of the freezer at least an hour before you need them so they can defrost.

-  Almond butter is expensive!  Whenever I make this bread I make my own.  Super easy.  Toast the almonds for a few minutes until they smell toasted.  Place in a high powered blender or food processor with a little bit of coconut oil and process until smooth.  Down here in Texas I can get almonds for as low as $3.99/pound - so it is a lot cheaper then buying the almond butter made already.


Paleo Banana Bread with Streusal Topping
adapted slightly from the paleomg.com 

  • 3 brown bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup almond butter 
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Topping Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (or coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup walnuts chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and then line pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together bananas, maple syrup, vanilla extract, eggs, and almond butter until smooth.
  3. Then add coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix well until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan. 
  5. In a small bowl, add butter, coconut sugar, almond flour, cinnamon, and walnuts. Use your hands to mix the toppings together.
  6. Place chunks of the toppings all around the top of the banana bread mixture.Place in oven to bake for 50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, place on cooling rack and let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Holy Guacamole!  I haven't posted in over 5 months!  I'm sorry dear Blog, I have neglected you so!

My almost 17 month old son doesn't like it when I get on my phone or computer - so I stay off of them a lot these days otherwise I have to deal with him hulking out - something I aim to avoid as much as possible.  He does love helping me cook though. I need to buy him one of those kitchen helper stools so he can reach the counter and help me bake and cook more.

The other reason I haven't been posting is the baby growing inside of me has somehow sucked the desire to cook out of me.  I don't cook/bake nearly as much as I did when I wasn't pregnant - but somehow I am still eating more : )

I had some mommy friends over the other day and made this cinnamon crumb cake.  It comes together pretty quickly and doesn't necessarily call for any special creams or buttermilk, which I never have on hand.  It is super moist and stays that way for a few days.  You can totally make it ahead of time.




Cinnamon Crumb Cake
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction


  • 1 Tablespoon flour, for coating the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, firm and cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used almond milk with a splash of vinegar in it instead, or you can use any milk)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Generously spray a 8-9" square cake pan  with cooking spray or grease with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1 Tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess

  • In standing mixer bowl or large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together until combined.  Using paddle attachment or hand held beaters - mix in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the butter/flour mixture in a small bowl.

  • Mix the baking powder and baking soda into the remaining large bowl of flour/butter mixture. Add the room temperature buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.  Vigorously mix everything together until the batter is smooth, fluffy, and resembles frosting - about 2 full minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

  • Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture in the small bowl. Toss with a fork until well blended.  Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressingly lightly so they stick. Bake the cake until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean 45- 55 minutes.  Cool completely before serving (about 2 hours).

  • Make ahead tip: Cake tastes best on day 1 or day 2. The cake may be made 1 day in advance. Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cake can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Clean Eating Applesauce Pancakes


I don't sleep much at night.  Our almost one year old is an epically horrible sleeper - most nights he wakes up every hour to hour and a half.  Ugh.  Praying this "phase" will end soon...does 6 months count as a "phase"?


You know what gets me up in the mornings?  I mean besides my whining baby : )?  Pancakes.  Pancakes are powerful motivators!  I start my mornings off like a zombie, but after my pancake fix I am good to go.  I usually rotate between this recipe and my paleo pumpkin pancakes recipe.  Let's just say, I spend waaay to much on maple syrup these days...someone plant me my own maple tree please! : )

What do you eat for breakfast?  I'm curious as to what other people eat!  I know I am a creature of habit and eat the same thing for breakfast for months, then switch to something else that I eat for months...and so it goes on and on!  Plus, I never get comments on my blog...haha - just comments in person or on facebook from people saying they tried something...let me know if my comments section still works by letting me know what you eat for breakfast!


Clean eating Applesauce Pancakes
adapted from Fit Foodie Finds website

4 eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce*
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS honey or maple syrup

Whisk eggs in bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth and combined.

Heat a skillet pan or griddle.  Coat generously with coconut oil or butter.  Spoon batter onto pan, about 3-4 TBS worth.  At this point I sometimes sprinkle nuts or coconut onto the batter.  Cook 2-3 minutes until bubbles form and flip quickly.  Pancakes are fragile - so just be brave and flip!  Cook for additional 1-2 minutes on other side.  Remove from pan.

Serving ideas: Whipped coconut butter, chopped nuts, maple syrup or honey, applesauce.  Also, these taste great cold.  I like to use leftovers for snacks on the go during the week - high in protein!

*I have used homemade and store bought applesauce with good results for both!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lava Cakes

Image result for mother teresa quote about love


Today is St.Valentine's day.  I am not a Valentine's day fanatic, and hate the over commercialization of the day...but...like most girls I still appreciate flowers and a nice card : )  My mom would make us watch the movie of St. Valentine every year on Valentine's day...some would think watching a movie about a martyr would suck the love out of the day, but really isn't that what love is all about?  Laying your life down for someone you love?  Real love is self-sacrificing!  Questioning whether you are loved or not today?  YOU ARE SO LOVED!  Jesus lay down his life for YOU!  Ultimate self sacrifice right there.


On to the food...which is why you are here : )

You know what is a funny word?  Ramekin!  My husband is so proud that he now knows what this word is!  I have quite the assortment of random ramekins in my kitchen.  I use them for everything.  Baby food bowls, small servings of granola, little sauce dishes, salsa, hummus - they are awesome!  The best thing I use them for is making LAVA CAKES!

Are you looking for something quick, easy, and delicious to make for your valentine today?  THIS IS THE RECIPE FOR YOU!

Andrew and I never need an excuse to make these...we make them every other week.  They are sort of fancy, but sort of comfort food level.  I have tried a few recipes for lava cakes out, but this one has been our favorite, and happens to be the easiest too!  Each recipe makes 4 lava cakes - so we eat 2, then eat 2 the next day cold or reheated.  I can't decide if I like them better hot or cold!  If you get invited to our home for dinner there is a good chance we will serve you these for dessert.


Lava Cakes
adapted from the Chef in Training Blog

4 oz. or 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (You can also use milk or dark chips if that is what you have)
½ cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tablespoons flour
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray 4 small (6-8 oz) ramekin dishes* with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
In medium saucepan over medium heat combine butter and chocolate and heat until just melted. Whisk until smooth and combined.  Add powdered sugar and whisk in evenly.
Add eggs and egg yolks and whisk in until well combined.
Whisk in flour until well combined.
Pour and distribute batter evenly in the 4 prepared ramekin dishes.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-13 minutes until edges are firm and center is soft, but not super jiggly.
Let cool for 2 minutes. Using a knife, gently pull cake away from the edges then invert onto plate or serving dish.

*If you don't have ramekins you can use muffin tins, they are just a little bit harder to get out without falling apart...or if you have oven safe mugs you can use that too.