Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Paleo Carrot-Orange Muffins

I do a lot of juicing. I love the way fresh juiced fruits and vegetables taste, its just so refreshing!!

I also hate to throw away any of the pulp, it just seems like such a waste. A while back I started making a gluten-free "Pulp Bread" (get the recipe here). But now that I am grain-free I needed to get a batch that was grain and sugar free. Here is what I came up with. I have to say that I surprised myself with how good these taste!

1 1/2 cups Cashew Flour or Almond Flour
1/4 cup Organic Coconut Flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon Organic Molasses Unsulphured
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cups apple sauce (I used homemade peach sauce)
4 organic eggs
1/4 cup melted organic coconut oil
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 cups pulp from juicing (I used pulp from a carrot-orange-ginger juice) or you can sub 2 cups grated carrot
10 dates, pitted and finely diced

Add all the ingredients into a large bowl in the order listed. One they are all in the bowl, use an electric hand mixer to blend everything together. Don't over mix it, just blend until everything is mixed.

Spoon the batter (it will be thick and dense) into paper lined muffin tins. (My batch made 18 muffins)
Bake at 350F for about 20-22 minutes until they are lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from muffin tin and let cool on wire cooling rack.
*Note: These are more dense and have more moisture in the center of them than normal muffins do.

I hope that you enjoy these as much as my family does. They have such a sweet flavor to them that if I hadn't made them I would have sworn they had sugar in them. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paleo Chicken Pot-Pie

I have been craving a hearty meal for awhile now. So tonight I decided to try making some pot-pie. I really wanted ham but was unable to find any in our area that did not have sugar of some sort added to it. So my hubby picked up some Applegate Farms Organic Chicken sausages (sweet Italian variety) from Whole Foods on his way home.

Here is the recipe that I came up with for my paleo pot-pie.

1 pound of meat of your choice, cooked
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
1 cup chopped spinach
1/3 cup diced red onion
      *I used organic varieties of all  the vegetables. That is not necessary, it is your choice.

Broth/Gravy Sauce
1 cup chicken broth (I used my homemade and you can get the recipe here)
3/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4 + 1/8 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasing
    *note: My homemade chicken broth does not have any salt in it. If you are using broth that has salt in it then you do not need to add as much salt.

2 cups Almond Flour
2 organic eggs
2 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil

Wash, chop, and dice the vegetables. Stir them together in a bowl and set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan heat 1 cup of broth and 1/4 cup of the almond milk on medium high heat. In a separate cup pour the remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk. Blend in the almond flour, pepper, salt and seasoning. Once the broth and milk start to boil, stir in the flour mixture. Stir constantly and cook for 5 minutes on medium high heat. Mixture will not thicken like a typical roux does.

Remove the sauce from heat and get a medium size bowl. Blend the 2 cups of almond flour, eggs and coconut oil together until mixed completely. I used a fork to mix them.

Place the crust between two sheets of Parchment Paper . Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is large enough to cover the top of the container you are cooking in. (I cooked this pot pie in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.) If you are using multiple smaller dishes, form the dough to fit the tops of them. I had a little extra so I placed it in the bottom of my baking dish.

Once the dough is done, pour the hot sauce mix over your vegetables. Toss them making sure that all of the vegetables get covered in the sauce. Stir in the meat of your choice. As I mentioned earlier I wanted to have ham. But we ended up using organic chicken sausage (precooked). Chicken goes great in this as well! Spoon the sauce into your baking pan.

Pick up the dough on the parchment paper that you rolled it out on. Flip it (carefully) over the top of the vegetables. Gently press the dough to the edges of the baking dish. Using a knife, make a few slits in the top of the dough so that the air can vent from inside while it bakes. I like to make heart shapes, and every time I do then Gabriella says, "aw, how cute!"

Bake at 425 F for about 30 minutes. The crust should be slightly browned and the sauce bubbling up from the slits you made before cooking.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Breaded Baked Broccoli

My family loves broccoli and I am always looking for a new way to put a spin on an old favorite. Tonight I made some breaded broccoli and it disappeared immediately!

Here's the recipe:

2 large crowns broccoli
2 Tablespoons EVOO
2 Tablespoons Organic Corn Meal
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1 teaspoon Sea Salt

Wash two large crowns of broccoli. Cut into bite sized chunks.

Put broccoli into a 9x13 baking pan.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top and then toss to spread.

Sprinkle the following over the top:
2 Tablespoons organic cornmeal (be sure it is certified gluten free)
2 Tablespoons almond flour
1 teaspoon sea salt

Toss again making sure that all of the broccoli is evenly coated.

Bake at 425F for about 18-20 minutes. Don't let the broccoli get scalded on the top!

Dish up and serve!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


This Easter we had a no grain, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, garlic, peanut, almond meal with some great friends of ours. (A combination of all our allergy restrictions). I really wanted to make deviled eggs but the traditional versions call for mayonnaise in them. I searched around on Pinterest for awhile and finally found some good ideas. So here is what I came up with.


One dozen hard boiled eggs
1 roma tomato
3 Tablespoons diced red onion
1 medium size jalapeño,  diced
2 avocados
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup diced cilantro
Juice from one lime

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and put the yolks into a bowl. Peel the avocados and remove the pit. Add them to the bowl with the egg yolks. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Pour in the lime juice. Add the diced onion, tomato,  cilantro and jalapeño (make sure they are diced extremely fine). Smash the avocados and yolks and keep stirring with a fork until everything is blended together.

Spoon the mixture into the egg halves that are waiting. Enjoy right away!

Note: the leftover filling mixture is delicious eaten with organic blue corn chips!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Foster Training

We spent the last week (3 hours a night on Monday - Thursday and 6 hours a day on Friday - Saturday) doing our Washington State foster parent pre service training.
Phew! It was a LOT of driving and a lot of information. 
Matt and I are both so excited for this next stage in our lives. Both of us have wanted to do foster care and adopt children since we were first married and it is such a fun time to see our dreams beginning to come to life!
Right before our first class started

Right after our last class!
We have some work to do to get our apartment ready and able to pass the homestudy inspection. Washington state requires a LOT of safety features (all medicines including vitamins be locked up, every outlet covered, smoke detectors in every room, large fire extinguisher, window fire escape ladders, etc.).
The age group we are looking at is under 3 so the child will not be older than Gabriella. That means we have to get a carseat that can be for an infant and a toddler, and a bed that is convertible as well since we don't know for sure what age the children will be when they arrive. We will be having just one foster child for now and both of our kids are very excited about having another kid come live with us. Gabriella keeps saying that the new girl can share her bed with her. So sweet! 

I made up a "wish list" of things that we need to get in the next month so that we are ready. We have to have all these things so that we can pass our home inspection. If you feel so led, and would like to help us get our home ready, here are the things that we need.

You can send things to our address. If you don't have it, give me a call or email me at:

Please keep us and our kiddos in your prayers as we submit our applications, take our CPR/First Aid/Blood Born Pathogens class, have our home study and get our first placement! We are looking forward to loving on some kids and their parents!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Paleo Brownies

I was craving brownies something terrible the other day. I was looking around online for a recipe that fit my dietary restrictions and matched up with things I had in the house. I am NOT a fan of running to the store for one expensive ingredient!

I found one that I had most of the ingredients for and then modified it to make it fit. Hope that you enjoy them!!

1 cup Almond Flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (if you are going strict paleo then use a substitute here)
1/2 cup Raw Cacao Powder (cocoa powder works just fine too)
9 pitted dates
3 organic eggs
1/2 cup Organic Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon stevia extract (I make my own, get the directions here)

Put everything into your Food Processor and blend until smooth. It will be a very thick and pasty consistency.

Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with Parchment Paper . Using a spatula, spoon the batter into the pan and smooth down as best as possible.

Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let the brownies cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before cutting.

They taste amazing!! I loved the texture! As a (mostly) grain-free baker, texture is HUGE for me. These actually had the taste and texture of real brownies!!

We ate quite a bit the night they were baked and then stored the remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Make Your Own Stevia Extract

When I found out I had candida and a cane sugar allergy, my life changed significantly. I had always been leery of stevia and found out that it was the most recommended sweetener for people with candida. So I started doing some research.

Basically, stevia in it's true form is great. It is from a plant (one that you can grow in your home or garden). And, like most other foods available in stores today, when it is mass and commercially produced it gets bad. It is near impossible to buy stevia in the store that has not been chemically treated, enhanced or altered. Once stevia is turned into powder it starts to get a metallic taste the longer it sits. Liquid stevia has also been given additives to help with the metallic taste and to make it more shelf stable. Holistic Squid has some great info here that you can check out if you want more details. I decided to make my own liquid stevia extract so that I knew exactly what was in it.

It started with a trip to Pike's Market in downtown Seattle for some Organic Dried Stevia Leaves from Vital-Tea Company. Then a trip to Whole Foods to find some vodka that was made from potatoes and not grain (so it was gluten free)

Got my vodka and dried stevia leaves. 
I only paid $5 for the whole bag of leaves!

I poured 4 ounces of vodka into a clear Mason jar. 

Then add enough dried stevia leaves so that they are just barely covered by the vodka

Put a lid on it and let it sit for exactly 24 hours. The vodka had turned green and looks noticeably different than it did when we started. 

After 24 hours strain out the stevia leaves from the vodka. You can use cheesecloth, or an old piece of a t-shirt to get it strained. 
Cook it in a stainless steel pot over low heat for 20 minutes. Do NOT boil it! The cooking at low heat is to remove the alcohol from it. 

Here I am with about 3 ounces of liquid stevia extract after it has cooked and cooled. 

I funneled mine into a glass dropper bottle. 
It will keep in your refrigerator for about 90 days. If you don't use it a whole lot then be sure and date it or mark your calendar so you know when you need to make a new batch. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Here is My Heart

"Here is my heart, here is my heart, here is my heart; You can have it all" ~ Kim Walker - Smith

This song is beautiful. Short, but beautiful. Did you know that the one thing Jesus truly wants is you? He wants all of us, even our broken, dirty and ugly parts. He wants all of our heart.

If it is so easy to place our heart, the most vulnerable and breakable part of us, in His hands then why do we hide it from everyone else?

All of us have been there. We've all had someone close to us break our heart. I've had mine broken by people who were supposed to be protecting it, so I get it. I know how it feels.

When we see each other in passing, or even talking longer at church,  usually the question comes up, "how are you doing?" And how do we respond 99.9% of the time? Good. Fine. Okay. But are we really?

Do we dare to say something more than one word in response to that question? Do we dare to say how we really are doing? And if you are the one asking, are you prepared for an honest response,  even if it is ugly and messy?

Our society has created an atmosphere of competition, appearances, false beauty, acceptable ways of feeling, and non personal ways of doing business. Social media has created an outlet to have relationships that are shallow and unrealistic. It is so easy to chat with someone online and then barely smile at them from across the room at church on Sunday. Ignoring and not responding to text messages and emails is commonplace; something that we do every day. But our grandparents would never dreamed of ignoring someone who spoke directly to them. It's like we have lost all sense of what a real relationship is.

We were created to live in community and to have relationships. The best ones are ones that are raw and real. They get messy and take effort. Something that has cost you nothing, is of little value to you. Now a relationship that you have fought for and defended and worked together in; that is one that will last because you are invested in it.

I'm so tired of keeping up appearances. It gets exhausting to always smile and look like you have it all together. Always saying that I am fine when I am falling apart on the inside, it gets exhausting. But when you get to that moment, that moment where you are truly broken inside, it is your choice to trust someone with that brokenness. 

Will they just hurt me again? Do I even want to bother risking the pain or should I just keep things superficial again? Do I believe that all people are mean and shallow, or do I believe the best in people? Do I look at the past, or do I look at Jesus in people?

Ghandi said, "be the change that you want to see in the world". So here it is: I'm choosing to bare my heart. I am doing this to start promoting openness,  love and heart connections with people. It has been too long that false smiles and pretty appearances have ruled my life. It doesn't mean that I am going to turn into a sobbing, whiny,  needy person. It means that I am believing Jesus in you, will protect my heart. And yes, I may get hurt again; but that same Jesus will be there to heal those hurts.

So if you ask me how I am doing, know that you won't get a one word answer from me, you will get a real and honest one. And when I ask you how you are doing, I am prepared for and expecting a real answer from you as well.

And I'll finish by saying this, "Here is my heart, you can have it all".

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Silly Girl!

I have a terrible time getting a picture of Gabriella where she is looking at the camera and has a pleasant expression on her face. Today she wanted to send a picture to Gramma so here is what we got...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lemon-Dijon Chicken ~ Paleo

Yesterday I made the most delicious chicken that I have ever eaten! It was amazing!! Here is the recipe for the marinade that I made, most of these items you should have lying about your kitchen which is great. I am not a of making a trip to the store for one thing.

Lemon-Dijon Marinade
1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I zested one medium sized lemon and then juiced it. Zest first!!)
2 Tablespoons Spicy Dijon Mustard (I used Trader Joe's brand as it has no sugar)
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Organic Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried (or fresh) basil
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried (or fresh) rosemary

In a one cup measuring cup (I used a half pint mason jar) add all of these ingredients together and stir with a fork to blend.

Place your chicken drumsticks (my pack of organic drumsticks from Trader Joes had 5 in it) in a bowl and then pour the marinade over them. Place in the refrigerator and allow to sit for 4 hours. During that time rotate the drumsticks occasionally to spread around the marinade.

When you are ready to bake, move the drumsticks to a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil with a cooling rack on top. Place the chicken the cooling rack and then spoon extra marinade over the top.

Bake at 375 F for about 1 hour (be sure that your chicken is completely cooked and reaches a proper internal temp of 165F).

I served this for dinner with fresh kiwi (my daughter's favorite fruit) and some wilted kale. You can snag the wilted kale directions here.

It was a complete crowd pleaser!!

Garlic Kale

One of my favorite side dishes is wilted Garlic Kale. No one else in my family likes it so I get to eat it all myself!!

Here are the directions to make your own.

1 bunch of freshly washed organic kale
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of sea salt

After you have washed the kale, pat it dry with paper towels. I cut the leaf part off the stem (I save the stems and use them for juicing so they aren't wasted) and then place the bunch of kale in a frying pan.

Drizzle the EVOO over it and sprinkle the garlic powder and pinch of sea salt. Using tongs, flip the kale around to spread around the oil and seasonings.

Cook on over medium heat for about 5 minutes, rotating the kale constantly with the tongs. The idea is to gently wilt the kale, not fry or burn it. You can sneak little bites of it to get it to your desired level of texture.

I served this last night with my Lemon-Dijon Chicken. It was a perfect side dish!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Best Paleo Cinnamon Rolls!

Every so often I get a crazy craving where I want to eat something that has the texture of bread and is thick and solid (I juice a lot so I crave solid foods!).  I was also wanting something a little sweet so I decided on some cinnamon rolls. I found this recipe online (at realhealthyreipes.com) and modified it to make it fit my dietary requirements (no dairy, grains, gluten, rice, oats, cane sugar and candida-diet friendly).

2 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/4 cup Organic Coconut Flour
1/4 tsp baking soda (if you want to keep it strict paleo, then be sure and use a substitute)
1/4 cup Organic Coconut Oil , melted
2 Tablespoons organic raw honey (or maple syrup)
2 organic eggs
1 Tablespoon Organic Almond Extract (be sure and check your extracts for hidden sugars and grains)
1/4 cup Organic Coconut Sugar

Mix the wet ingredients first, then stir in the dry ingredients. Set aside while you make the filling.

1/4 cup organic coconut sugar (if you like them extra sweet, use 1/2 cup of coconut sugar)
2 Tablespoons organic ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup chopped almonds
    optional: 1/4 cup chopped organic raisins

Stir the filling ingredients all together to get a wet and crumbly paste.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between two pieces of Parchment Paper until it is about 1/4-1/3 inch thick in a rectangle shape. (If you are a serious gluten-free, grain-free, or paleo baker, buy your parchment paper at Costco. It is by far the best price for a HUGE amount!)

Sprinkle your filling ingredients evenly over the top of the dough. Using the parchment paper, very carefully and gently roll the dough into a long snake. This part takes a bit of time and finesse. Stay patient and calm and squish the dough back together if it crumbles.

When you have your long roll of dough all rolled up, you have two options. You can cut it into 9 pieces using either a serrated knife or a piece of thread. (To use the thread, put it underneath the roll and pull up on each side of the string using opposite hands. Cross over and pull the string together. It should easily cut cleanly through the dough. This is the way my mom has cut cinnamon rolls for years and it is awesome!)

Lightly grease a 9x9 square baking pan. Place the 9 cinnamon rolls into the pan (they should be just touching each other). Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

They are best eaten when they are warm (don't burn yourself!) but are great stored airtight in the refrigerator for a few days too (if they last that long!).