Thursday, April 19, 2018

Applesauce Oat Bread



Bleh.

This week I really feel like I'm failing at my being a Mom job.

2.5 weeks ago my 2 year old broke his leg at the playground.  He fell off one little - low to the ground step, just landed hard and funny on it.  I was standing right there and didn't catch him.  His first week in a cast he was great - so sweet and playing so nicely with his duplos all day, napping great, and just being a real trooper.  This week he is a completely different kid.  Says "no" to everything I ask of him, fights me tooth and nail on everything, won't nap, cries every time we put him to bed, whines all day long about every little thing.  Yesterday he cried for 20 minutes because he said I was using Papa's cup and that made him mad.  What?  Toddlers...who knows!  The last two days he has decided that kicking or hitting me and his little brother is funny.  No, it is most definitely not.

This acting out of his has me acting out too.  Ahh...I have definitely lost my cool more then once.  I am so stressed and angry that I can't figure out what is going on with him.  We go outside for play time every day.  We eat healthy balanced meals.  We play.  We read.  We snuggle.  We sing.  We have play dates.  We pray.  We get out of the house every single day.  I talk him through everything.  I tell him he is loved. I try to spend one on one quality time with him.  Poor kid is probably just restless from not being able to walk or run!



All this, and I still fall short as a mom.  Ugh.  I take being a mom very seriously, and when I fall short - I am my biggest critic.  Recently some unnamed person made some really horrible comments about me that really upset me.  I know in my heart that these comments are not true and were said from a very hateful place...but still, they eat away at me even when I think I am over them.  Then a few kind people - not meaning any harm - have said that my son broke his leg because he doesn't drink milk...again, something that is my fault.  Words, so powerful and so painful.   

Transitioning into being the mom of two has proved harder then I thought it would be.  Every other day I tell myself I'm not cutting it.  Then throw other people's words into my head and it worsens the blow.  Some days I feel like I'm getting it right.  Like today, the morning was going great.  I put my baby down for a nap, and started my workout while my toddler did a puzzle.  5 minutes into it I was working out and felt peaceful and I realized everything was going right for once...haha...in that second my toddler started loosing it because he took personal offense at one of the puzzle pieces....then my baby woke up from his short nap mad.  NOOOOO...peace lost.

I know what I need.  I need Jesus.  Problem is, I'm too tired to go to him.  Face palm.  I'm writing this not for pity, but to process and just be real.  I know this is a phase in life, one of those rough sticky spots, but I also know it will get better.  Until then I just have to keep moving forward, praying, silencing the negative words that linger in my head, and trying my hardest to find Jesus in all the moments - the good ones and the bad ones. 


Life is tough people.  Just reminding you...and me...that words are a gift, use them for good, use them to build other people up - not tear them down.  Find someone in your life who is struggling and affirm them, USE YOUR WORDS AND BRING JOY INTO SOMEONE'S HEART.

Now, here is something I did get right this week.  This bread is stellar.  My toddler and I have pretty much finished off the loaf by ourselves in 2 days...eh, who am I kidding - I have pretty much eaten the whole loaf all by myself.  Nursing a giant baby makes me fiercely hungry all the dang time!



Applesauce Oat Bread
adapted from here

1 cup applesauce (I used unsweetened)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (or whatever oil you bake with)
1/3 cup yogurt (I used plain organic yogurt - pretty sure whatever you have on hand will do)
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup peeled diced small apple tossed in a little bit of lemon juice
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour - just grind old fashioned oats in a food processor

Topping:
2 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan and then line with parchment paper.

In large mixing bowl whisk the applesauce, vanilla, melted coconut oil and yogurt until combined.  Add in the eggs and brown sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Add salt, spices, baking soda and powder.  Whisk.
Toss chopped apple with 1/2 TBS flour and then add to bowl.  Stir with spoon.  Add the flours and mix gently to combine.  Pour into prepared pan.  Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle on top of bread.  Bake 50-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Marzipan Scones


My husband makes fun of me because I can't remember important things...like his phone number...but I can vividly remember memories involving food.  I can remember tastes from my childhood - not all good ones...spaghetti o's in a can...Vienna sausages in a can...how did I ever like those things?  I remember food, of all things-that is what my brain is hardwired to do!  Go figure!


I was thinking of these yummy almond marzipan scones my sister's friend made her one time while I was visiting.  I often think of how yummy they were and how I needed to recreate them one day.  Well thank goodness, that day has come!  I found a recipe I liked, but simplified it and changed it up a little.  I was super pleased with the end product and will be making them again!


Marzipan is a delicious combination of ground almonds and sugar that is made into a paste.  In pastry school we made marzipan and it was quite easy, but these days I allow myself to take more shortcuts in my cooking since I am limited on time and more importantly...energy!  I have to confess, these 3 scones sat on my counter for 3 days before I had time to photograph them...hopefully you cannot detect their staleness through the screen : )

If you are English, I apologize for the shape of my scones.  I know this is not the traditional shape of a scone - but taking out the "rolling them out onto a counter" part saves so much clean up time, and honestly they taste the same to me! 

Make these scones.  Sit down to a cup of coffee or tea with a friend.  Imagine you are at a little roadside cafe in Paris.  Eat the scones.  You are welcome.


Marzipan Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter - cold and cubed
1 large egg
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup buttermilk (or cream, I used buttermilk)
7 oz package almond paste (marzipan) chopped into small chunks the size of peas
2 TBS chopped almonds

Glaze (optional)
4 TBS powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp milk

Preheat the oven to 400°F.*  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper - set aside.

Chop up the marzipan into pea sized pieces, set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large stand mixing bowl and mix to combine.

With the mixer running on low speed - Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and mix until coarse meal. (or if you don't have a stand mixer - cut the butter in with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal.)  Once the butter is mixed in nicely, add the chopped marzipan and mix for a few seconds.

in separate small bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk and almond extract.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the egg mixture to brush the top of the scones later.

With mixer on low, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones- mix just a few seconds - you don't want to over mix it, and there will be dry bits still.  Remove from stand and using a spoon or spatula combine a little bit more.

Scoop batter into 12 racquetball size clumps and place onto pan...I used a large ice cream scoop to do this.  Using your fingers or a pastry brush, lightly brush the reserved TBS of liquid over the tops of the scones.  Sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Bake 15-18 minutes until lightly browned - watch the bottoms - don't let them get too dark.

Allow to cool  completely.  Mix together the powdered sugar and milk.  Drizzle evenly over cooled scones.  I just pour the glaze into a small plastic bag and cut a tip out of one of the bottom corners - or you can put it in a parchment paper piping bag.

*Our gas oven is way hotter then my old electric one, so I always heat my oven 15 degrees less then what a recipe calls for - so for this recipe I actually heated my oven to 385 degrees.  You do what is best for your oven : )

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Chicken Meatloaf



I am happy to say I think we are finally finding our groove with 2 kids now instead of 1!  It helps that as of now our sweet baby is a pretty good sleeper!  Praise the Lord!  I need to add this meatloaf back into our meal rotation soon!

Our toddler is an exceptional eater, there are very few things that he refuses to eat...basically anything spicy he rejects.  He gives two cute and grimy thumbs up for this meatloaf : )

I have always liked meatloaf, but really can't tolerate beef anymore.  I've made this meatloaf a few times now, and I think it is pretty good.  I have tried it with bread crumbs, 1/2 bread crumbs and 1/2 almond flour, and ground oats.  I have decided I like the 1/2 bread crumbs and 1/2 almond flour best.  Honestly though - if you are looking for a gluten free option I'm pretty confident all almond flour would work fine too.

Chicken Meatloaf

1 pound ground chicken
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced small or grated
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs (or 1/4 cup bread crumbs + 1/4 cup almond flour, or 1/2 cup ground oats)
1 egg
2 TBSP tomato paste

Glaze:
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

In saute pan, heat some olive oil and cook the onions and carrot over medium heat until softened.  Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.  Set aside.

In bowl mix together rest of ingredients plus salt and pepper (except the glaze ingredients)  Mix well and transfer to a parchment lined square cake pan (8x8 0r 9x9)  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 -30 minutes or until internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.  Meanwhile mix together the ketchup, honey and Worcestershire.  Spread over the cooked meatloaf and return to oven for 5 minutes. 









Friday, February 2, 2018

Lamb Burgers


I thought being a mom to one kid would be the most exhausting thing I would ever do.  Boy was I wrong.  Being the mom to 2 kids under 2...oh boy-this is some other level of exhaustion I didn't even know existed.  In college I pulled lots of all nighters - I thought that was rough...again, I was so wrong! 




We welcomed our second son into this world at the beginning of December.  He is a chunky little fellow who smiles all of the time.  He is already an easier baby then our first, but that combined with our toddler is a lot of work.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining!  I love our kiddos, and I love our life - we are just really tired and can't wait to get to the part where the baby sleeps through the night. 

These days dinner prep looks like this.

Wearing my crying baby in my ergo.

Toddler crying "Up me"...meaning he wants me to hold him too
Toddler asking for every snack food he can think of or demanding I play duplos with him.

Momma trying to stir and cut, clean up, set the table...and not fall over from sleep deprivation.

Papa returns home from work...let there be much rejoicing in the land!!!  : )\

That being said this is an easy dinner to throw together!

My Mom came up with this lamb burger recipe and we love it.  We don't really eat red meat, but we do make these burgers at least once a month.  They are really easy to make and super delicious!  They also make a great appetizer if you form them into little meatballs instead and serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce,



Lamb Burgers
makes 4 burgers

1 Pound ground lamb
1 egg
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients together with hands until well combined.  Form into 4 patties.  Heat grill or skillet pan.  Lightly oil.  Cook burgers until browned on both sides and no longer bright pink - same way you cook a beef burger....if you like those more rare then do that with these too. 

I usually serve these bunless since we don't do a lot of bread.  We eat them with potatoes or sweet potatoes and a veggie.  Also good with some ketchup or mayo on them.





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.