Muffin Madness and Baker’s Anxiety

Since I got tons of prep done on Sunday, I knew I wouldn’t need to use my oven that much this week. I planned on pressing that ever-so-magical “Self-Clean” button this morning, knowing that it takes almost 5 hours to self-clean. I don’t know if I had baker’s anxiety or something over not having use of my oven, but I couldn’t get back to sleep this morning thinking of all the possibilities I could whip up before I decided to press that magical button.

Luckily, I had already gotten my 8 hours of beauty sleep, and everyone in the house was still sound asleep. I rolled out of bed at about 7:30am and had time to whip all this up before everyone else got up around 9am. Well, with the exception of still having a few batches to pop in the oven, but I blame that on only having one muffin tin. Yea, I need some more (hint, hint!).
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There you see it… many different types of muffins! Do I really need this many muffins? Well, no. But it’s that baker’s anxiety, I tell ya! It’s a good thing I can easily freeze some, and they are PERFECT for quick snacks for the kids.

So what’s pictured? Well, we have Coconut Chocolate Chip Gluten Free Muffins, Apple Cinnamon Oat Gluten Free Muffins, Blueberry Oat Gluten Free Muffins, Egg Muffins, Oatmeal Muffins, and Paleo Pumpkin Muffins.

And here’s some recipes-

Gluten Free Oat Muffins (Coconut Chocolate Chip, Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry)

I love playing around with recipes like this. The possibilities are endless with the flavors you can throw together. It’s one simple gluten and dairy free base recipe with a little variety added to it.

Ingredients:

3 Cups of Gluten Free Oats (Any oat works fine if you don’t care about gluten free. Bob’s Red Mill makes three different varieties of gluten free oats)
¼ cup Flaxseed
1 cup coconut milk (almond, soy or regular milk work fine too)
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
1TBSP Baking Powder
1TBSP Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method: Preheat oven to 375. Mash bananas with a masher or fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. From here, add any additional topping you’d like.
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I divided my batter up into 3 bowls and made three different muffins. One is ½ chopped apple with a little extra cinnamon, the other is ½ cup of blueberries, and the third one is some shredded unsweetened coconut, Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, and about 1TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder.

Egg Muffins-

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View this super simple recipe here.

By the way, these look terrible in pictures. Immediately upon taking them out of the oven they are fluffy and full of volume. But as they cool they shrink and get all wrinkly. They don’t look good, but they sure taste good.

Oatmeal Muffins-

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This one isn’t a gluten free one. I had doctored it tremendously, so I wasn’t ready to give it a whirl using almond or coconut flour yet so I stuck with whole wheat. I’ll let you know if I get this one any closer to gluten free or Paleo.

Ingredients:
1 cup Oats
1 cup almond milk (any milk works fine)
1 egg
¼ cup olive oil (vegetable or canola oil work fine)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
¼ cup Ground Flaxseed
¼ cup Coconut Sugar (regular white sugar works fine)
½ tsp seasalt
2 tsp baking powder

Method: Preheat oven to 400. Soak your oats in milk for about 20 minutes. Once soaked, stir in the flaxseed, egg and oil. In a separate bowl, mix together all other ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. Place batter into greased muffin tin (or use muffin liners). Each muffin cup should be about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Makes about 1 dozen muffins.

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins-

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This is one of my favorite muffin recipes, and I don’t even like pumpkin. Check it out here. (I omit the sliced almonds, and highly recommend using the optional honey.)

So, there you have it. A little bit of Muffin Madness for your Tuesday. My house is currently quiet as all kids are napping, and I’m enjoying a nice cup of (barely warm) coffee, blogging, and passing the time while my oven is self-cleaning.

Eggs on the Go!

Do you have 2 minutes to prep breakfast for the whole week? Check out this super easy, quick egg muffin idea.

Ingredients:

9 eggs

¼ cup milk (almond, coconut, soy milk work great, too!)

Optional- veggies, meat, and/or cheese of your choice (salt, pepper, other spices of your choice to add more flavor)

Method: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a muffin tin. Mix eggs and milk (and spices if you choose) together and pour evenly into muffin tin. If adding veggies, meat and/or cheese, chop them up to your liking and put them in each tin. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Yields 12 muffins.

I suggest adding the meat/veggies/cheese individually after you fill your muffin tin with the egg batter because if you add them to the batter before you pour it into your tin, you will find that the majority of the meat/veggies/cheese will sink to the bottom and will be unevenly distributed.
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See how simple this is? You can keep it as simple as you’d like by just mixing some eggs and milk together for a plain muffin. It’s a lifesaver for my kids. I usually make a warm breakfast every morning and these are perfect to get the twins started on eating something while I finish breakfast for everyone else. They’re also wonderful for busy morning on-the-go breakfasts, and even snacks. Just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds and you have an instant, healthy, protein packed start to your morning.

Weekly Meal Plan, including freezer meals that are Paleo/Primal Friendly and Gluten Free

Today was productive. This whole weekend was, actually. I was able to get most of my grocery shopping done on Saturday, which allowed for Sunday to strictly be spent in the kitchen. Well, not all day. I still have three kids. But not having to add grocery shopping to the mix today, I had more time to spend in the kitchen to get a variety of things together, as well as time to actually go through my refrigerator to use the random things I have taking up space in there.

Another cool thing about this weekend was I got to go to Trader Joe’s. It’s been a while since I’ve stocked up there. The store was PACKED! I was able to get in and out in a matter of 30 minutes and was able to find everything I wanted except their Raw Almond Butter. I got nuts, 2 loaves of sprouted bread, hummus, flaxseed tortillas, 4 lbs of natural meat, 2 jars of coconut oil, olive oil, sun butter, cereal, 3 bags of almond flour, avocados and some fruit. And I barely spent $100. Score! Then I also hit up my two other grocery stores and was able to get almost everything on my list.

I found that in getting freezer meals together, it’s easier for me to get the marinades/rubs done first, and then add the meat. I put all the ingredients for the marinades in individual bowls, mixed them up, and taped the label on the side of the bowls. Then I get the meats together. You can do this vice-versa too, especially if you don’t know what meats you have on hand. Then combine the meats with the marinades in a large freezer zip lock bag, and tape the label on the front. It makes it easier for me this way because I can have a big mess of spices, herbs, oils, and broths out at once. I can get all that done, get it cleaned up, then have counter space and some sense of organization to move on to getting the meat divided up and cut if necessary. It just seems to save me some more time, rather and doing one whole recipe top to bottom, then moving on to the next.
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Before I started my freezer bags, I also had some eggs boiling in water, two different kinds of noodles boiling in water, and sweet potatoes baking in the oven. I find it’s always easy to have hard boiled eggs on hand. Same with sweet potatoes. I baked two large sweet potatoes that I will cut up into about 6 servings. They are always good to have on hand, too. I also make a few batches of pasta for quick lunches for the kids. It never seems to last long, but it’s a go-to, easy meal that they all enjoy. And it’s also very easy to pick up gluten free pasta these days. Try to whip those three things up to have on hand and see how much it comes in handy if you need a quick meal/snack.

So, after all my prep is done, here’s what our weekly meal is looking like. I’ll list it separately for us, with the kids underneath.
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Monday
Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, fresh fruit
Lunch: BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Josh), BBQ Pulled Chicken on a bed of spinach (me), Sweet Potato Fries
Dinner: Spicy Mustard/Lime Chicken, Steamed Broccoli
Tuesday-
Breakfast: Chicken/Apple Hash
Lunch: Leftover Spicy Mustard/Lime Chicken with a tomato/avocado salad (baby spinach with cherry tomatoes and avocado, topped with a squeeze of lemon)
Dinner: Meatloaf, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Green Beans
Wednesday:
Breakfast: 2 Hardboiled Eggs, Paleo Cereal with coconut milk topped with ½ banana (sliced).
Lunch: Coconut Breaded Fried Chicken, Sweet Potato, Steamed Broccoli
Dinner: Sesame Beef with Cauliflower “rice” and Roasted Carrots
Thursday:
Breakfast: Eggs, Sausage, Fresh Fruit
Lunch: Bolganese Pasta (Josh), BLT with avocado (no Mayo) (me)
Dinner: Spicy Honey Chicken, Steamed Broccoli
Friday:
Breakfast: Hardboiled Eggs, Paleo Chocolate/Blueberry/Pumpkin Bread, Watermelon
Lunch: Coconut Breaded Fried Chicken, Sweet Potato, Veggies
Dinner: Salmon Cakes with Sweet Potato Fries
Saturday:
Breakfast: Eggs, Paleo Pumpkin Muffins, Fresh Fruit
Lunch: Leftover Sesame Beef with Cauliflower “rice,” Steamed Veggies
Dinner: Steamed Shrimp, Tomato/Avocado Salad, Sweet Potato Hash (maybe Paleo Biscuits if I’m feeling up for it)
Sunday is Easter, so I haven’t planned today yet. I’ll probably do a brunch with some leftover items, and do Turkey for dinner.

Kids Menu:

Monday-
Breakfast: Egg Muffins made with shredded carrots, spinach, sliced bananas, oat muffin
Lunch: Pulled BBQ Chicken, veggies, quinoa
Dinner: Cottage Cheese, fresh fruit
Tuesday:
Breakfast: Egg Muffins made with Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Cheese with plain toast and fresh berries
Lunch: Spicy Mustard/Lime Chicken, Avocado’s, Steamed Cauliflower
Dinner: Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Sliced Tomatoes
Wednesday-Breakfast: Hardboiled Eggs, Paleo Cereal (Aerie), Organic O’s (similar to Cheerios) (boys), sliced bananas
Lunch: Paleo Pizza Bites, Cherry Applesauce
Dinner: Sesame Beef with Cauliflower “rice,” Roasted Carrots
Thursday-
Breakfast: Egg Muffins made with shredded carrots, spinach, crumbled sausage and fresh fruit
Lunch: Organic (whole milk) yogurt with flaxseed and berries, topped with flaked coconut
Dinner: Bologanese Pasta, avocado
Friday-
Breakfast: Egg Muffins made with Green Peppers, Tomatoes, cheese, oat muffins, watermelon
Lunch: Paleo Pizza Bites, Cherry Applesauce
Dinner: Shredded BBQ Chicken, Sweet Potato Hash, Veggies
Saturday-
Breakfast: Egg Muffins made with Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Cheese, fresh fruit, toast
Lunch: PBJ Sandwiches, Sweet Potato Fries, Watermelon
Dinner: Steamed Shrimp, Sweet Potato Hash, Avocados, Paleo Biscuits (maybe)
Sunday-
Same as our Sunday

Snacks for Josh usually consist of fresh fruit (mainly bananas, oranges, apples), fruit bars, nuts, paleo pumpkin muffins or paleo blueberry bread.

Snacks for me usually consist of hardboiled eggs, berries, any leftover protein, paleo pumpkin muffins, protein shake after my workouts.

Snacks for the kids consist of: Full Fat String Cheese, Hardboiled eggs, Fresh Fruit (Aerie is really loving oranges lately, boys love anything), Whole Milk Yogurt, Muffins, Homemade trail mix, Smoothies, Homemade Frozen Teething Biscuits for the boys, Homemade Popsicle’s (can make a variety of any blended fruits/veggies you wish and freeze them in popsicle molds).

Remember, you can make your individual smoothie packs ahead of time. They are perfect for a quick, on the go breakfast or snack. I usually do these for breakfast on Thursdays because of Aeriella’s early gymnastics class, but they are on break this week so we can have a normal, sit down breakfast.

Now let’s take a quick look at the things that don’t “look” Paleo.
Pasta– There are a lot of gluten free options available. They may not necessarily be “Paleo,” but they are still Gluten Free
Bread- A quick google search will reveal some recipes for homemade Paleo Bread. I have tried a few and honestly don’t like the taste. Julian’s Bakery has Almond Bread and Coconut Bread available to order on their website. There are also Gluten Free Breads available in the grocery store.
Milk/Cheese/Yogurt- I feed my children more of a Primal diet, which means they eat (full fat only) dairy. After a lot of research, I personally feel this will be better for them until they are 5 years old. They do not have any allergies, sensitivities or intolerances to any foods. Organic, whole milk yogurt is readily available in any grocery store, as is milk. Whole Foods has a great selection of hormone free, full fat cheese.

If you’re not super strict with your Gluten Free eating, or if you just want to clean up your current plan, you can choose whatever type of bread, pasta, cheese, etc. that you wish. We don’t always do completely grain free, and I also add quinoa and beans in occasionally for the kids.

Please take into consideration the age of your child when introducing higher allergen foods. Speak with your pediatrician and do your own research to decide the right time to introduce these things. Not all foods are appropriate for all children, so please be mindful.

As always, if you have any questions, please ask! I hope you enjoy!

Memories through Art

It’s no secret that I’m not very crafty. I’ve been trying, though, and one of my favorite things is to incorporate some art projects the kids do into gifts and cute works of art that we can hang up around the house.

I’ve been so eager to post these “LOVE” canvases that we did, but we made some for Grandma Gifts as well, so I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. My grandma and Josh’s mom visited this weekend, and we gave them their canvases. Aren’t they beautiful grandmas?

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Anyway, I’ve always loved those big “LOVE” pieces of art that are simple, in contrast colors, and classy looking. I friend of mine had taken a picture of her newborn baby’s feet making a “V” shape, and had the L-O-(feet)-E as a photograph and it looked so cute! With a little brainstorming, I decided to put those two ideas together. To get a memory of all three kids in one canvas, I used Aerie’s handprint as the “O” and one of Rockson’s footprints and one of Gage’s footprints combined to make the V. It turned out super cute, and was fun to make.

Here’s what I used: White canvases, acrylic paint (recommended), washable finger paint, paint brushes and hands/feet.

I wanted to use “love” colors. You know… red, pink, something very lovey dovey. I knew I wanted to make my grandma’s pink to match her living room, and I made Josh’s moms red. I painted the canvas with a coat of paint, including the edges (sides) of the canvases. I allowed it to dry, then applied one more coat of paint. This is when I figured out that acrylic paint works so much better.

I used red acrylic paint that I had left over from making our Handprint Ornaments at Christmas time. The only acrylic paints I had on hand were red, black, white and cream. The pink I used to paint the background of my grandma’s canvas was Crayola’s Washable Kids Paint in Fuchsia. The first coat turned out beautifully and blended really nicely. When I went to apply the 2nd coat after the first coat had dried, the first coat was sort of washing off, and the canvas was turning white again because of applying the wet paint. I was bound and determined to continue with the fuchsia color, so I ended up doing more of a sponge-paint technique on it. I don’t know how many coats I did, but had to keep retouching it in certain spots. Eventually it looked pretty even, and sort of had a nice textured look to it, but it was much more work than I originally planned. So to sum up my experience, use acrylic paint.

After the backgrounds were painted and dried to my liking, I measured the canvas into 4 equal parts and just put a little mark on the side of the canvas as a guide to keep everything as centered as possible. I used Aerie’s hand, then as the boys were eating dinner in their high chairs, I painted one of their feet and quickly pressed it onto the canvas. From there, I added the “L” and “E” to complete the painting, and tried to keep it all centered and spaced as best as I could. After that dried, I touched up the spots that I marked for placement, and any other area’s that needed it. Once that was all dry, I wrote each kids and the year really tiny along the side of their individual hand/footprint.

If you try this and your kids are a little too squirmy, or move as you try to place their hand/foot, don’t stress. Let it dry and cover over it with your background paint. Then retry. That happened to me, but I was able to touch it up. Also, one of the boy’s footprints didn’t fully turn out so I just filled that spot with a little paint and voila. You can’t even tell.

In addition to these, Aerie also created a nice canvas for her room with a big “A” in the middle, and the background was filled with her favorite colors, pink and purple. It’s adorable and she had so much fun doing it. I actually used the Crayola Kid’s Washable Paints with her canvas and it turned out nice. I just think if you are trying to use them as a background color, it’s not the best for achieving a nice, even tone if you need more than one coat. I did, however, have Aerie do only one color at a time. When that color dried (which took no longer than 10 minutes), I’d use a new color, and so on.

I plan on having Rockson and Gage do one this week with their initials, so once that is complete, I’ll post the initial ones. It’s something fun for them to do, and also cute to display in their bedrooms.

All in all, it was a great weekend visit with the grandma’s. The kids played their little hearts out. Aerie had endless tea parties, conversations with her imaginary friends, Easter egg hunts, and fashion shows. The boys were their normal, happy selves and were cruising all over the house. The boys also got their first haircuts this weekend, too. They look so adorable. It’s amazing that they look even more alike now. Gage’s hair was growing really long in the front, so it was easy to identify him. Now they’re back to looking identical again. I swear, even though they are fraternal, they look more alike than a lot of identical twins. But they also both look a lot like Aerie when she was that age.

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I have to cut this short because it’s my weekly meal prepping day. Josh took Aeriella with him for the day and the boys are napping. Time to see how much I can get done before they wake up!

I’m not leaving you hanging…

It’s been a heck of a busy week.  We are all finally over being sick, Josh had a huge event at the Academy this past weekend, I began the switch to a new host for my blog, then decided against it and switched it back to wordpress.  For now, anyway.  My blog has been growing, and I’d sort of like some more capabilities on here, so I’d love to hear suggestions from those with more than just a free blog site. 

With that being said, I have a lot of great ideas to get up on here.  Some of these idea’s include more meal plans, a few new recipe’s I’ve tried, swimsuit season diet tips/meal plans, toddler meal plans which will also include gluten free eating, and more crock pot freezer meals.  I am also still trying to get infant/toddler lesson plans together.  This is probably my most requested, yet I sort of just do my own thing and don’t always have an exact “plan.”

Everything else is going great, both business have been booming, the kids are happy and healthy, and we are already planning the boys 1st birthday!  I’ll have THREE toddlers in just a few short weeks.  Yikes.  Time for more babies!

Taste the Rainbow!

Happy Saint Patty’s Day! We are celebrating here by staying inside, doing crafts, and making fun meals/snacks in conjunction with the holiday without using food coloring.

Check out our rainbow snack. We represtented all the colors of the rainbow by using fresh fruit, and threw some clouds in there with cottage cheese.

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I’ve been at a loss with new things to teach Aerie, so I took advantage of the holiday to teach her the colors of the rainbow and to work on developing patterns. Since we’re new at the patterns thing, I broke the rainbow up into two parts of three. Red, orange, yellow. Green, blue, purple. You can use food, beads, buttons, whatever you have on hand.

To make easy patterns, I used ice cube trays and beads. I put a red bead in one cube slot, an orange bead in the next, then a yellow bead in the next. She follows the pattern by repeating the order in the remaining cube slots. This was fun, and I’m going to keep doing it with her. We worked on it for about 20 minutes, and I talked her through it a lot, but she was starting to get the hang of it. Maybe starting with two colors at a time would have been best, but she picked it up pretty well. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be colors that you pattern. It could be coins, shapes, numbers, anything! Just have fun with it.

Paleo Thin Mints (Just like the Girl Scout Cookies)- And no, it’s not April Fools!


It’s a rare Thursday night. I took all three kids shopping all day. We went to the mall, Toys R Us, and the grocery store. We had a blast! When I got home, it was a scramble to get everyone fed and in their jammies. As I was cleaning up the boys from dinner, Aerie asked me if she could go to bed. It was only 7:00. She’s usually up until 10:30-11:00. She has been under the weather though, so it’s not completely unusual. Still, I’m missing my cuddle time with her that we usually have after the boys go to bed. We cuddle up and talk about the day. She tells me her favorite parts of the day, and what she wants to do the next day. She usually makes me get out of bed and do some ballet moves with her. We plié and sashay for a while, then cuddle up again and chat until Josh gets home. Then we hide from him under the covers, and she giggles hysterically as Josh is trying to “find” us. She’s such a sweet little thing.

Anyway, it’s now 8:30pm and I’m at the beginning of my husband-less weekend and all three kids are in bed. That NEVER happens. So I’m sitting here texting a good friend, eating dinner, and surfing the web for Paleo recipes. I live a wild and crazy life, I know!

While surfing the web, I came across this recipe, and it’s too good to be true! I was going to wait to blog about this until I actually made them, but I’m in the beginning of a 21 day sugar detox. If it wasn’t for this sugar detox, I would have already packed up all three kids, hopped in the car, and went back to the grocery store just for some mint extract. Everything else is already in my pantry. But with information this good, I just couldn’t hold out on you all.

Oh, and before anyone gets offended, I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t support the Girl Scouts. They rock! Buy up their cookies and give them away. Send some to the troops. Donate some to a food bank. It’s like two good deeds in one. But then go make yourself some guilt free, yummy, good for your (body and) tummy Paleo style Thin Mints.

Hurry. Go check out the recipe on the Fed & Fit website (cool name!), and get to baking!

Have I mentioned, I’m excited?!! Now go make some, and tell me how good they are!!