December 18, 2012

'THE' Paleo Brownies

These are adapted from Paleo Mama.  I only left out one ingredient that she uses but I expanded the cooking instructions to ensure you get the creamiest, fluffiest brownie possible!
Out of all the recipes I have tried, these are by far, the best!!! Once you get used to them, I think you will prefer them over regular brownies. Ooey-gooey deliciousness!!!

Paleo Brownies
  • 16 oz of walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 – 2 tbs coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Grease a 8 x 8 baking dish with coconut oil. I like to do the paper towel smear method, but you could also opt for the plop & melt method. 
  2. Weigh your walnuts if you bought them in bulk to make sure you have 16 oz. Pulse walnuts in food processor until smooth and creamy. You may need to stop your food processor, scrape down, and restart. I promise, within 2-3 minutes it will become creamy. This will be the base of your brownie. 
  3. In a large bowl, beat an egg with an electric mixer on med-hi for NO LESS than 3 minutes. You need this time to fluff it up. Your trusty Kitchenaid mixer won't do the trick because it simply can't reach down and beat 1 egg. The volume isn't enough. 
  4.  Add in the vanilla and honey and mix another 2 minutes. Then add the nut butter and mix another 2 minutes. 
  5. Add in cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.  Mix another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Pour batter into greased baking dish. You will need to spread with a spatula.
  7. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes. I usually bake on Convection setting. It takes me 28 minutes on convection. 
  8. Cool at least an hour then cut and serve. 

Getting Rid of The Naughty List

As Michael and I have grown in our faith and our relationship with Christ, we seem to start raising our eyebrows once the Christmas season rolls around. "Do we do Santa? Do we not do Santa? What about the elf?" We have been struggling to find a balance between making Christ the focus of Christmas and keeping it magical and memorable for the kids.
So here we are, the 1st week of December and we are in full Christmas swing around here. Tree has been up for 3 weeks. The rest of the decor has been up for about 2 weeks now. Lights on the house, ABC Family Christmas show or movie every night after bed, and so on.  The kids had started asking when Alfredo, our elf, would show up.  Well Praise the Lord for Pinterest!! I came across this awesome blog that had exactly what we were looking for!!  I am just totally and completely in love with LeAna. She came up with such a perfect way to celebrate Christmas with some magic yet not turn it in to something 'works based'. 
A Small Snippet
Michael and I have both tried to keep grace as a focus in our hearts and something we teach the boys daily. When you really and truly receive His grace and realize that He loves you 'just because' and not because of anything you did or didn't do, it will rock you to the core. 
God gave his Son freely. Jesus loves us freely. If we are His children and God doesn't expect us to be nice vs. naughty, then why should Santa? He shows up and gives us his big fat sleigh of love regardless if we've been bad or good, for goodness sake!
My parents always said that they allowed Santa to be a part of the celebration because it was an example to us to believe in things we couldn't see.  Even though we couldn't see Santa, as long as we believed he would come to visit us. Just like our Heavenly Father, as long as we put our faith in Him, He will deliver his promises! 

Here is our Santa letter. Modeled very similar after LeAna's. We just brought it down to our kid's level a bit. 

We did a Breakfast to celebrate the arrival of our Elf, Alfredo. He decorated the kitchen all kooky and had a spread of donuts, gingerbread men, & hot cocoa!

Dear Caney Boys,
Michael, Lincoln, and Knox
I am writing to you to explain about how things really work. I am sure you have heard stories about the naughty and nice list. The naughty and nice list is something people made up to try to get their kids to behave. That’s not how I ever wanted children to think about Santa.

Boys, I give gifts simply because I love children. Boys and girls misbehave all the time. I want you to be good not to get gifts but because you love your daddy and mommy. Santa is not the reason for Christmas. Christmas is all about Jesus. I love Jesus and he is in my heart. I know you love Jesus too. Jesus came to love us and give us all the gifts we don’t deserve. That is called grace.

We cannot do anything to get grace. It is a gift Jesus gives to those whom he chooses to save. Because I love Jesus, I like to give out gifts too! I need a favor from you, though. I have a little elf friend named Alfredo. Alfredo is a good elf and we really like him here at the north pole. But sometimes Alfredo can get into trouble. I need to send him somewhere that he can learn about how to be nice and love Jesus.

I know you boys love Jesus and that your daddy and mommy teach about Jesus. If I send Alfredo to your house this year do you think you could help me by setting an example for him? He doesn’t talk during the day and always stays very still. But he is always watching and learning. At night, when everyone is asleep, is when he does his playing and moving around.

So Caney boys, you are going to get gifts this year because Jesus loves you, and because Jesus loves to give good gifts to his children, I will bring gifts. You need to remember to give gifts to others who don’t have as much as you. That is the real story of Jesus, Christmas, and Santa Claus. Please keep an eye on Alfredo for me and teach him to be a good elf.

God Bless You and Merry Christmas,

Santa Claus

December 4, 2012

Why Paleo???

I first heard about the Paleo diet from watching a news special a few years ago evaluating many different current diet fads. HcG, Atkins, South Beach were just a few discussed. Then, they discussed the Paleo Diet, noting that of all the fad diets, it seemed to be deemed the healthiest for your body while still helping you achieve weight loss. Meat, vegetables, & fruit--- ONLY?? That sounded like torture to me!! So I just carried on my marry little way of eating what I presumed to be light & healthy.

Sometime later, I got pregnant with Knox, my third and final baby. It's funny how the more pregnancies I have, the worse my diet gets. It always starts out good- veggies, oatmeal, chicken, etc. But by the time I got to the 3rd trimester with him, I was living on bacon, cupcakes, sugar cookies, bacon, and steak. Oh, and bacon.  I DESPISE being pregnant, so maybe it was comfort eating? Maybe I was cashing in on the fact that it was to be my last pregnancy. In the back of my head I sort of knew I was going to try something more extreme to loose the baby weight once I had him,  so I justified it by packing in the sweets & meat.  I decided Paleo was to be my torment of choice. I had mentally given myself a time line of starting it after my 6 week post partum check up. 6 weeks post partum and I was soft, flabby, and feeling not so hot, so I started the following week. I was 11 pounds over my pre-baby weight. This may not sound like much, but when you are 5'ft 4" and small framed with narrow hips, 11 lbs is a few sizes!  Now 9 mos later, I am still nursing and have reached my pre-baby weight and continue to lose about 1 lb per month. I know some people are back to pre-baby weight in a few weeks, but for me, this is the quickest I've ever gotten back there.
Caveman---Paleo---Paleolithic. It's all the same. Our early ancestors, Paleolithic cavemen, if you will, ate what was available to them. Sometimes a meal was a whole chicken. Sometimes they had some green beans, sometimes they had an apple if there was a tree near by.They were hunter gatherers.
There was no grain. There was nothing processed. No sugar, no diary (unless you were lucky enough to own a goat). So think about it---> Many people 'think' they are eating  'healthy'. I see all these Pins stating "100 Days of Clean Eating" and then you open them and they include foods like whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, greek yogurt, etc. While all of these things are better for you than a Big Mac or a slice of pizza, they are still processed. They are not foods that you can walk out and pluck up from God's green earth and consume. Even milk has to be pasteurized.

So my list of Paleo foods consists of:

  • Meats
  • Eggs
  • Fish 
  • Veggies (all except white potatoes)
  • Fruit
  • Nuts*
  • Unprocessed oils such as olive & coconut
  • Honey & natural sweeteners such as 100% all natural maple syrup
I do not eat:
  • Grain- wheat, rice, quinoa, etc. 
  • Dairy- yogurt, cheese, milk

That's it. I don't count my calories at all. If I'm hungry I eat something on that list. One reason I chose this diet to follow is that I am planning to breastfeed Knox for at least a year. Breastfeeding mommas cannot constrict their calories and still produce quality milk. As of now, Knox is almost 9 mos and still nursing great!

*I'm not legalistic about my nuts. True story- the peanut is NOT a nut, it's a legume. But I allow myself peanut butter in moderation. Well, moderation goes out the window sometimes, but I allow it anyway. The same is true for butter.
*** Another confession: We have a family cheat day. It is usually Sunday. On Sunday, I eat anything I want. I wouldn't say I consume mass quantities of food, I just allow myself those sugar cookies, or pancakes, or pizza, that I wouldn't allow myself during the week. I have still managed to slowly loose weight with this plan.

For more info/research:
Robb Wolf
EveryDay Paleo

What the Future Holds

If you are a regular fan of DDD on the blog or on Facebook, it has probably seemed pretty silent from the outside. The truth is, God has been growing some amazing things in me as our family has expanded.
If you know me personally and have known me for awhile, you know that I have interests in all sorts of things. My 'passion' pre DDD was healthy cooking, nutrition, and fitness. Then it became nursery decor, then sewing, and really it just goes on. Some might say I'm a jack of all... In reality, over the years I have just been seeking and filling holes with 'things', skills, and busy work. Until recently, that is.
Almost daily I find myself giving out little jewels of knowledge- a crockpot recipe to a neighbor loaning me hers as a spare, business hopping advice to a friend with a new budding tshirt biz, hair advice to my son's teachers, etc. This is not to say that I know everything, by any means, but as my husband says, I have awesome "get it done" skills.

The truth is that being a woman, I am called first and foremost, to serve God, then my spouse and family. Over the past year, I have spent so much time sewing, keeping up with custom birthday orders, shopping for supplies, that I have wasted precious time that I could have been spending at home, playing with my kids, serving my husband, and spending time in the Word.  I can't count how many times I've been at the fabric store with both boys while I'd rather be at the park or late nights cutting out fabric when I would rather be reading the Bible with my precious husband.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE to sew, create, play with fabric, etc, but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE so many other things. I love finding new new activities for my kiddos. I love recipes, fashion, and home decor. I love learning new skills and then teaching them to others. I know, as women, we all love all these things, yes? And in being a woman, there is a special calling that God has on us and the place we take in our homes, ladies.
My goal, over time, is to transition DDD into a place that is a platform, sharing place, and circle for Godly, biblical women. I want to speak truth in your lives on your place and the special role you have as a woman. I want to share with you my heart, my desires, my likes, and my dislikes. I want to share with you all sorts of things that you will find useful in all areas, not just clothing for your kids. I want to give you inspiration for being a Godly woman, wife, mother, and friend.  I will serve God, my husband and family, and share tidbits of it with you as I go.