Friday, September 12, 2014

A Letter To Our Little: 3 Months

To my beautiful Kennedy,

You turned 3 months old on Monday.

How is this possible?

Time is flying before my eyes and I don't know how I feel about it. Everything in me wants you to stay little forever, but watching you grow is truly my life's greatest blessing.

This month, you have started to laugh. The good kind that comes straight from your little belly. This is my dream come true.

You are still very attached to your Wubbanub, especially the one with the pink elephant on the end, even though you have plenty to choose from. That one is my favorite, too.

You are busting out of your 6-month footie pajamas due to the fact that you have legs for days. I think you will make the perfect ballerina, but I will joyfully cheer you on at your basketball games if that's where your sweet heart leads you.

You, your daddy, and I had a dance party in the kitchen the other night to some of Disney's greatest show tunes. Watching your daddy turn into Sebastian and perform "Under The Sea" for you was just as entertaining for me as it was for you. Great memory #875 since you've been born.

You have started to reach for things and are fantastic at grabbing your feet and my hair. I've underestimated the strength of those little fists and have never been more thankful for hair ties.

You and your daddy talk about your days the second he walks in the door almost every day and I'm convinced that you guys have a secret language. I want in.

I've started to put your month to month pictures on the side of the fridge, starting with your birth picture. Yes, we are obsessed with you.

We are still working on that whole "sleeping through the night" thing, but I guarantee you that I'll never get tired of seeing your sleepy little smile every two hours while you patiently wait for me to feed you. No rush, little. We will get there.

I know I have already told you how much I love you 1,000 times today, but for the record, I love you. I love every inch of you and will love, provide, and pursue you every day until I die.

You are the absolute best thing and we are so thankful to call you ours.

Happy 3 months, sweet sweet Kenny.



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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Homemade Bows & Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Brownies (Gluten-Free!)

I will admit it. I am 100% paranoid when it comes to putting things on my daughter that could in any way make her uncomfortable. Clothes, hair bows, blankets, shoes, anything. It has to go through me first. So since I'm paranoid and have been unable to find any cute headbands/bows that don't leave a pink indention in her poor little noggin, I decided to make my own.
 
After a quick Google search of  "How To Make Hair Bows", this video popped up and the next thing I knew, I was shopping with my mom at the fabric store for ribbon.


My mom is an incredible seamstress, so she made several gorgeous bows by sewing them by hand. I'm more of a "hot glue and pray" kinda gal, so the above video was perfect for me.

 
Voila! These can be glued to barrettes, headbands, you name it, and are SO easy to make.
 
There you have it. Homemade bows!

 
Ok, now let's talk about something very important. Brownies.
 
I have been OBSESSED with these Bark Thins after buying them on a whim at Target a few weeks ago. I've only tried the Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt and the Dark Chocolate Mint and they are both amazing, so I am sure that the other flavors (hellooo Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut with Almonds...) are just as ridiculous.
 
Ok, sorry I got off track there. Brownies.
 
I wanted to bake some brownies this morning but did not have any chocolate chips, so after much deliberation, I decided to sacrifice my Dark Chocolate Almond Bark Thins to create these Gluten-Free Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Brownies.
 

I ate breakfast, put my daughter down for her morning nap, and got to baking.
 
I probably should have turned on an Insanity DVD for a nice morning workout, or at least done some sit-ups in my living room, but whatever.
 
I've already bought bigger pants. We've moved on.

 
But these are gluten-free, and everyone loses weight when they eat gluten-free, right?!
 
*crickets*

 
As much as you would like to believe that those are delicious, buttery macadamia nuts on top, you are mistaken. I sprinkled a handful of roasted, salted Marcona almonds on top for the win.
 
Marcona Almonds > Macadamia Nuts

 
I also sprinkled on some sprinkles because sprinkles make everything better when you sprinkle them on sprinkly things.


Oh, and these are gluten-free because I used almond flour in place of AP flour, which is a fantastic flour alternative if you're a gluten-freebee. I tolerate gluten well (too well), but sometimes I just like to change it up for flavor/texture's sake.
 
Happy Wednesday! Let's get baking!
 
 
Gluten-Free Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Brownies
(makes 1 dozen brownies, or 2 dozen mini brownies)

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick organic, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour/meal (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt Bark Thins, broken into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds and sprinkles, for topping (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat.
  3. Add sugar to butter and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Transfer the butter/sugar mixture to a medium-sized heat safe bowl.
  5. Stir cocoa, baking powder, and vanilla extract into butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Whisk in eggs, stirring until smooth and shiny.
  7. Stir in the flour and Bark Thin pieces.
  8. Line a 8x8 baking pan with foil and grease foil with butter.
  9. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out fairly clean.
  10. Let brownies cool completely before cutting and removing from pan.
ENJOY!



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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Homemade Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

This post is going to be a quick one because I have a 2 1/2 month old baby on my lap who hasn't pooped in 3 days and is having some major separation anxiety today. I also just happen to be wearing white jeans in the effort to wear them as much as possible before Labor Day (even though I'll still probably wear them afterwards).
 
White jeans + constipated baby that could blow at any moment = we gotta move quick
 
 
So I made this jam. Not because I am dissatisfied with the jams and jellies that are available at my local grocer, even though I usually find them a little too sweet, but I just felt like making my own the other day. After perusing the web for different recipes, I created this one that is pretty darn good.
 
 
It only contains 3 ingredients and is packed with omega-3 fatty acid rich chia seeds, which give it an insane texture too.

 
It also freezes well, if you're unlike me and don't devour the whole batch in 3 days. No shame.
 
Happy Thursday!!!
 
 
Homemade Strawberry Chia Seed Jam
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb strawberries (Fresh or frozen. I used organic, frozen strawberries and they worked great!)
  • 3 Tbsp agave syrup (pure maple syrup or honey can also be used here)
  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds
Directions:
  1. In a medium skillet, cook the strawberries on medium heat until softened and mashable.
  2. Using a potato masher (or avocado masher), mash the strawberries until combined, but leave a few strawberry chunks for texture. (I hate the word chunks but I can't think of another word right now...).
  3. Add the syrup and chia seeds to the strawberries and whisk over medium-low heat until combined and thickened.
  4. Pour jam into a heat-safe bowl and let it cool to room temp.
  5. Store in a jam jar or airtight container, or freeze.
ENJOY!
 
 
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What I Do All Day & Recent Eats


I've received a few questions recently regarding what I do all day since I'm not working outside of the home right now (I will start back part-time mid-September), so I thought I would give you a little 24 hour breakdown of how we roll these days.
 
6:30/7:00 AM: Wake up for the day, feed baby, change diaper, kiss my man goodbye.
 
7:30 AM: Make & eat breakfast while Kennedy sits in her Mammaroo and watches me be as goofy as possible so I can get as many sweet morning smiles as I possibly can before she goes down for her morning nap.


 
Breakfast lately has been consisting of eggs and toast with jam and a giant cup of coffee with a splash of almond milk.
 
8:30 AM: Kenn goes down for her pretend morning nap, only to wake up 20 minutes later (this happens every single morning).
 
9:00 AM: Kenn wakes up and hangs out with me while I clean up the house and drown her in kisses.
 
9:30/10 AM: Kenn goes back down for her real morning nap after nursing her and changing her diaper (yes, we go through A LOT of diapers).
 
10:00 AM-12:30PM: Clean house, blog, complete a quick 30 minute Insanity workout (sometimes), and shower while Kenn sleeps.
 
12:30: Kenn wakes up, eats, aaaannnnd you guessed it! Gets a diaper change.
 
1:00 PM: Eat lunch

 
Lunch these days has been pretty predictable. Either toast slathered in peanut butter and a green monster OR more eggs topped with avocado and a green monster.
 
 
Then I eat a few bites of whatever chocolate we have around the house :)
 
 
2:00 PM: Clean up after lunch, nurse Kennedy, and get ready to head out and run errands.

 
Our errands normally consist of a run to Trader Joes and/or HEB for groceries and other necessary items, like Cookie Butter Ice Cream (dying), and to Target for diapers and other baby-related needs.

 
4:00/5:00 PM: Return home, unpack groceries, do anymore housework that I didn't finish earlier, bathe & feed the babe, and start on dinner.
 
7:30: Hubs gets home, we eat dinner, feed Kennedy, put her down for her evening nap, hang out with the hubs.
 
10:30/11 PM: Go to bed!
 
12 PM, 2 AM, 4 AM: Wake up to feed Kennedy and change her diaper.
 
6:30 AM: Start over!
 
So there you have it!
 
I always thought that the days would drag on when I would be at home with my kiddo, but the days go much faster than they did pre-baby. Even though I still feel like I never sleep and my life is flashing before my eyes, I wouldn't want it any other way. So stinking thankful.
 
Happy Wednesday!
 

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Cookies

I was going to do a "life" post instead of posting back-to-back baked goods that both consist of zucchini, but I'm way too jazzed about these cookies. 

I realize that most people will probably be turned off by their appearance, but I actually like the look of the green little zucchini bits found throughout these cookies. I know that's weird, but I'm not normal and really really enjoy strange things.


So after making, loving, devouring, and posting my Chocolate Zucchini Cake, I had one little lone zucchini left that probably would have been delicious sautéed and eaten with grilled chicken, but the fat kid in me simply said, "Nope. We are making cookies with that thing".


Behold the Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Cookies! 

Just like the cake, the zucchini makes these cookies moist and dense and is hardly detectable (taste-wise, not appearance...obvi). I know I know I know, you're still like BUT WHY THE ZUCCHINI? Just try it. If you hate them, email me and I'll pay the postage for you to send me those bad boys so I can eat them :) But that won't happen because you will love these!

I know that many of you are either starting or have kiddos that are starting back to school today! Wishing you the best of luck for a successful, fun new school year!!!

Happy Monday! 


Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Cookies
Makes 1 dozen large cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temp
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup organic white cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (about 1 small zucchini)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir coconut oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla together until combined.
  5. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture until combined (dough may seem a little dry)
  6. Stir in zucchini, chocolate chips, and coconut.
  7. Divide cookie dough into 12 balls and place on cookie sheets.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until edges start to brown slightly. 
  9. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for a few minutes.
  10. Remove cookies from baking sheets and place on a cooling rack to cool completely, or enjoy while they are still warm!
*These cookies will stay soft and chewy for several days if placed in a airtight container or Ziploc bag. They also freeze well!

ENJOY!


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