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LIVING BRIGHTER: {young living essential oils}

For the past year, I have been learning and enjoying the benefits of using Young Living Essential Oils. These oils address symptoms of allergies, sinus congestion, migraines, tummy troubles, acid reflux, sore muscles and joints, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and stress. I have been working really hard to detox our entire home and transform our medicine cabinet to consist of these little colorful bottles of essential oils. We have also replaced our bug repellent, house hold cleaners, laundry detergent, deodorant, and toothpaste with Young Living products or DIY recipes. No more inhalers, Neosporin, ibuprofen, Tylenol, Claritin, Allegra, Benadryl, Pepto-Bismol, Metamucil, Tylenol PM, Nyquil … should I go on? Every over-the-counter medication has been replaced with an essential oil that is actually healthy and helpful to our bodies. I’ve even been using oils for beauty and anti-aging benefits! Whoohoo! And I am often told my house and I smell like an Aveda Salon. :)

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I love that I can use these safely with confidence on my kids. And they have made the connection that oils help them feel better. The other night, my 4 year old monkey asked for oils on his tummy because he had eaten “too many grapes.”  LOL. They ask for them each night before bed because of their calming, soothing, and therapeutic effects.  Last week, my husband complained of his throat being “on fire.” After chasing and pinning him down, I applied these oils and within two days, his pain was gone. My somewhat skeptical husband, is now a true, firm believer! :)

So where did I start and what do I use on a daily basis?

I chose Young Living oils because they are pure, organic, and therapeutic grade, which means you can actually ingest these oils.  I use them in my tea and water daily. I have even made gluten free, raw lemon bars with the lemon oil  that were delish!

Young Living gives you the option to create a retail or wholesale account to order directly from their website. It is kind of like a Sam’s club membership. When you create a wholesale account, you have the opportunity to purchase an awesome Premium Starter Kit which consist of 11 basic essential oils.  Each of these oils virtually replace most items in your medicate cabinet. Plus, it comes with a fabulous diffuser that disperses the oils into tiny molecules that clean the air, kill germs, and infuse goodness into your body as you breathe them in. It literally transforms your home into an aromatherapy center.

How to apply?

Breathe them in. Diffuse OR drop 1-2 drops in your hand, swirl them together, cup over your nose and inhale deeply several times.

Drop 1-2 drops in your hand, swirl together and apply on the bottom of your feet. This is my preference for my children.

Mix 1-2 drops with organic coconut oil and apply to desired area as needed. The coconut oil acts as a carrier for the oils to be absorbed slowly. This works great on the tummy, back, chest, or anywhere there are aches, pains, or boo boos. I get my coconut oil here.

Ingest. 1-2 drops of lemon oil in your water is a great way to detox and start your day. Lavender and Thieves in hot tea with raw organic honey  is a great way to combat allergies and illness. Local honey is best if you can find it. You can also drop the oils into capsules and take as a pill.

Just like medication, oils should be applied consistently every few hours as needed. A little goes a long way, so only 1-2 drops is required to be effective.

How can you get started?

I’m asked almost daily how and where I get my oils. Even as I type, a friend is currently messaging me on how to get allergy relief from oils. I love sharing and seeing how they have given so many families hope and a safe and effective alternative to stay healthy and remove toxins from the home.  The best and most cost effective way to get started is to click here, create a wholesale account to get the best savings (24% off retail), and purchase the Premium Starter Kit . It has everything you need with the BEST discount … over 60% off retail!

Lavender: calming, allergies, skin condition

Peppermint: allergies, sinus, tummy troubles, migraines, awakens

Lemon: uplifting, cleansing, liver support

Frankincense: calming, supports youth and beauty, reduces scars

Peace and Calm: peace and calm … . ahhhhhhhhh.

Valor: instills courage, grounding, support sleep

Purification: detoxing, bug bites, bug repellant, deodorant

PanAway: joint and muscle pain, migraines

Joy: uplifts, great as perfume

Stress Away: reduces stresss… please and thank you!

Thieves: supports immune system and fights bacteria & viruses

These oils have also been found to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal,  anti-viral, and anti-bacterial. Studies have shown Frankincense to be anti-tumoral as well. There are instructions you will receive with your kit on how to use the oils. This is just a short summary of SOME of the benefits of each oil. There is a wonderful resource guide that is also available called Essential Oils Pocket Reference Guide. It is a $35 value and I have two to gift to the next two people who decide to take the plunge and order the Premium Starter Kit as a new wholesale member using the link above! I use it all the time to look up what oils I should use for certain symptoms. I can also add you to several support groups on Facebook to receive information, recipes, and ask questions.

Please message me if you have any questions or I can help you in your journey to richer health and living brighter. Believe me, these little munchkins are worth every effort along the way! image

 

 

 

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM {healthy post monday} …

It’s been so long since I have shared on this little space on the web. I miss it and hope to be more consistent this Spring.  For Valentine’s Day, my husband gave me these pretty flowers and a super fun kitchen tool I’ve been wanting for a very long time … a whipped cream dispenser. Yum. I love whipped cream! You can find it here http://amzn.to/OOdgGF.

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Several days later, it snowed creating the perfect opportunity to test it out on some healthy homemade hot cocoa.

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You can find the hot cocoa recipe here http://bit.ly/1psFKB0. The whipped cream was just raw cream from our local dairy. That’s it. No sugar or sweetener. And it was delish.

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Back up an hour or two and you can see all the fun preparing for this warm, yummy treat …

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Fluffy, white, snow. The perfect setting for a tackle/wrestling match, in which the three year old always wins.

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But all good things must come to an end …until more good things begin, like homemade healthy hot cocoa.

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How We Fight Winter Illness: {ear infections, sinus congestion, cough in children} …

The last week of school before Christmas break, my girl caught something that started as a cough and ended with the worst ear pain she has ever experienced. The night of her ear infection went down in history as my worst night as a parent, ever.  I do not like it when my kids don’t feel good. Any time my kids start to appear sick, I turn into Mr. Miyagi from the movie, Karate Kid. 

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I put on my headband and start fighting sickness like ninja warrior.  I google like crazy, symptoms, investigate natural remedies, and healing foods to help their bodies fight off whatever they have.  This is typically when Matt hides from me, in fear of what I am going to make him eat. 

The first thing I do is flood them with easily digestible food like fresh, organic juice, smoothies, and homemade broths. For smoothie recipes, click here.  The greener, the better. We make our smoothies in our Vitamix blender. I would trade my washer and dryer for it if I had to. We use it daily.

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When they appear tired and low on energy, we will make fresh, organic juice. It is more easily absorbed and digested than a smoothie which retains the pulp from fresh produce.  This allows their body to use energy to fight off the illness rather than expend energy on digesting food.  After burning through two juicers, we were gifted with a hand-me-down Champion Juicer from an extremely generous friend.  It is more quiet, less messy and easier to clean than our previous juicers.  It is what’s called a masticating juicer, which means it uses a single gear or auger that literally chews fruit and vegetable fibers and breaks up the plant cells, resulting in more fiber, enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals. It does not heat the produce as it extracts the juice, which maintains optimum vitamin and nutrients.

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Masticating juicers are generally more efficient than Centrifugal juicers because they can extract more juice from the same amount of food (i.e. the pulp is drier). 

P.S. Juice always taste better if you help juice it yourself, pour it in your own glass, and munch a crunchy apple while you work.

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Another benefit of masticating juicers is that they operate at slower speeds (RPMs) than centrifugal juicers, resulting in less foam and heat, which means more nutrition in your glass.

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Masticating juicers are also more versatile than centrifugal juicers because, in addition to extracting juices, these juicers also homogenize foods to make baby foods, pates, sauces, nut butters, banana ice creams and fruit sorbets. To find the Champion Juicer ,click here.

Next, we use supplements, homeopathic products, essential oils, basically anything from God’s green earth to help them breathe, rest, and heal quickly. These are a few products we keep stocked in our medicine cabinet and provided a link to where you can find each:

Seagate Olive Leaf Homeopathic Nasal Spray click here.

Seagate Olive Leaf Homeopathic Throat Spray click here.

Hyland’s Earache Homeopathic Tablets click here.

Mullein Garlic Oil Homeopathic Ear Drops click here.

Fish Oil click here.

Chlorella click here.

Probiotics click here.

Essential Oils: Thieves, Lavender, and Frankincense click here.

The essential oils are one of my favorite defenses right now.  They work at the cellular level as a natural anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral intervention to help the body heal. Plus, they smell GREAT. Aromatherapy is awesome. That’s what I get when I am using it on my kids.  We put a couple of drops on the bottom of their feet, on their chest diluted with coconut oil, around the outside of their ear diluted with coconut oil, and diffused into the air beside their bed to inhale as they sleep.  I chose to use oils from the company, Young Living,   because they are distilled using a gentle technique for steam extracting the most effective essential oils. They are also cold pressed. This unique process ensures the purity of each essential oil and protects nature’s living energy in every bottle.

We only give the mullein garlic oil ear drops if the membrane has not yet ruptured to release any fluid and pressure that may be causing ear pain. It can be soothing and help promote the release of fluid when it is warmed gently in a bowl of hot water before administered.

Probiotics are the “good guy” bacteria that help fight off the “bad guy” bacteria in the body. Under normal, healthy conditions the body naturally produces this good bacteria, but illness, stress, sleep deprivation, environmental pollution, and poor diet kills them off. Giving the body probiotics helps those “good guys” to swoop in and save the day by strengthening the immune system.

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As far as the chlorella and fish oil, my kids love them and ask for them daily. I’m not sure why. I’ve smelled the chlorella bag and it smells like a fish tank.  I tell them the little green tablets are mermaid food and they chomp them happily until their little teeth turn green. They love to make the fish oil gummies “pop” or burst in their mouth. I don’t think they have a fishy flavor. I’ve never tried them, but they do smell fruity. Matt has tried them and says they taste like candy. The fish oil I chose is pure cod liver oil which works as an anti-inflammatory and helps their body absorb the nutrients from the juice, broth, and smoothies.

Finally, one of the best products that was 100% effective was a homeopathic product we received from our naturopathic doctor. It was a bottle of drops that contained both chamomilla and belladonna. They worked instantly with my girl the night she was in such pain by calming her and reducing the pain. The problem was we only had a few drops left in an almost empty bottle. I would’ve given my right arm for another bottle that night. Thankfully, when my boy’s ear pain hit over a week later, we had a full bottle ready and waiting. His episode was not as severe (or dramatic) as my girl’s and his recovery time was much faster. Thank. The. Lord.

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I was so sad we missed seeing the Nutcracker this year (tickets bought months in advance by my hubby), we missed attending our church’s beautiful Christmas Eve service, we missed Christmas baking, and our annual drive to look at lights due to this unwelcomed illness. We almost missed visiting Santa.

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End of this story is that both kids are 100% back, kicking, swinging, dancing, giggling, with twinkling, sparkly eyes.  Next time this angry bug attacks our little home, their bodies will be armed with the antibodies needed to kick it’s booty and tell it to hit the road. Wax on. Wax off. 

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SPOOKTACULAR KINDER-HALLOWEEN PARTY … {healthy post monday}

So being the first class party ever, of course, I had to sign up to help! Decorations? Check.

Entertainment? Matt’s day off! Check.

Costumes? Check.

Healthy Halloween party food? Check-double-check-check-check.


I borrowed a costume from Matt’s co-worker and he was in charge of finding himself a wizard hat and a beard. Weird Waldo the Wizard evolved
instead. He brought his guitar and played silly Halloween songs, we played games, did a craft, and ate some yum yum food. My heart melted when I saw several of the boys with their cupcake toppers and mummified juice boxes, put them in their backpacks to take home. I wanted each child to feel celebrated and special, as if this party was for them alone. They are worth every ounce of energy and goofiness expended. I look forward to many more parties with these little goblins for the next five years. :)

I love all the magic of Halloween; the transformation of little people into princesses, heroes, critters, and all the creativity that goes into making the costumes. The one magical night you can be anything or anyone you want! We loaded up all our magical party junk on this serving cart …

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and rolled in our supplies and food to set up outside her classroom.

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Of course, all the treats were healthy and fun.  I scoured pinterest and found some really cute and healthy ideas!

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Banana Ghosts with organic chocolate chips …

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Mummified organic apple juice boxes …

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After the stage set up, it was costume time! My hubby was in charge of finding a beard and a wizard hat for himself. This is what he came home with … Waldo, THE WEIRD Wizard.

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I transformed into Glenda, the good witch … who apparently does not have enough magical powers to stupefy her son for a quick photo.

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Promptly at 9:00 am, we marched our horse and pony show into the classroom and began a little singing with Weird Waldo. Glenda’s bubbles were a huge hit.  A little too huge. They drew quite the crowd.  It got claustrophobic very quickly …

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After we got them all hyped up (they didn’t need much help), we sat them down for a little craft time …

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Ooey, gooey, sticky fingers!

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Little bubby got his craft on too …

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Senor Jorge gets into the festivities and serenaded the ninos and ninas with a little Spanish cantata!

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Everybody loves a game of bean bag toss! Another classroom mom made an awesome CD of Halloween music and played it during the party. Everyone got a copy as a party favor!

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Loving her face! I will dress up and act like a fool anytime to get this sweet reaction. :)

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Our big, weird, happy family!

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And here is the Spooktacular theme products available to order from the McClure Couture Facebook page… invitations, straw flags, banner, cupcake toppers, and bottle wraps. Have a hooky spooky time, until next year!

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PALEO AFTER SCHOOL SNACKS {healthy post Monday} …

I am so glad to finally be able to share on this little blog a tiny piece of God’s goodness in our lives! I have survived the first month of being a Kinder-parent, but it has not been easy! Transitioning to full-time school has been harder on Matt and I than it has been on our girl! She has not cried one tear or had any objection at all so far, thank you, Jesus! She pops out of bed every day, with a smile on her face and when we pick her up in the afternoon, she has the same wide smile and big a exclamation that she has “had the BEST day ever!”  I am daily learning more about my girl as I watch her grow and learn. She is more of a Pollyanna than I ever realized. I guess I have shed enough tears for both of us these last few weeks, so I certainly won’t complain. I think if she had squeezed out one tear at the door of her classroom, I would’ve scooped her up and started homeschooling immediately. I could not bear it. I am so thankful for this peaceful transition and blessings we have received from relationships made on this new and exciting journey. And I am extremely thankful for the privilege and blessing it is for her to learn Spanish at this incredible immersion school. Last week they were voted a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education! What an honor! Plus, it has been so fun to hear her sing songs, say colors, and count in Spanish. She tells us her teacher only speaks Spanish in the classroom and she understands everything he says?! Crazy.

Of course, the first day of school (ever, might I add, as she has never attended preschool or Mother’s Day Out), was quite a celebration. The natural alternative for me was just not an option. Plus, focusing on making it fun and exciting her for took the edge off my natural instincts to wail and despair in a grand pity party.  It began with the fun tradition of presenting both my kids a Schultüte, a giant paper cone filled with school supplies and gifts. It was SO fun! I will post photos and a DIY tutorial on another day. I spent the rest of the day baking, praying, crying, and preparing for her homecoming that afternoon. I made several gluten free treats, including brownies upon her request. I think this is a funny request because she had never had a brownie before. I do not think she even knew what a brownie was!  The kitchen help was excellent, albeit dramatic when asked to wait on his sister before he taste tested the cupcakes.  All my recipes came from two of Elana Amsterdam’s cookbooks, The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook and Gluten Free Cupcakes. I use both of these cookbooks and have had great success with her recipes. Plus, I love that I can feel good about giving my kids treats knowing it is beneficial to their health, completely grain-free and processed sugar free, with real, organic, ingredients that are not genetically modified.  This means when they ask for more, they can have as much as they want. :)

HOW TO MAKE RAW BUTTER {healthy post Monday} …

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It’s been too long. I’ve missed my little blog, sharing our family adventures and our quest for living brighter and healthier. So much has been happening. So much change in our little family. A summer packed full of adventure and growth. A new job addition to my schedule. Preparing myself for the biggest parental rite of passage since the days of potty training … kindergarten.  10 more days until I release my oldest into the world of public school, a classroom of 29 five-year-olds and two Spanish speaking adults I know nothing about, with whom to spend two-thirds of her waking day. The concept is so foreign and strange to me now that I am a parent.  She, nor my son, have ever attended pre-school or a mother’s day out program.  Homeschooling was definitely on my radar. But after labored prayer and studying God’s Word for specific answers, we know this is God’s plan for her.  Believe me, I will be clutching the hem of her little uniform dress all the way into the front door and will leave most likely in a straight jacket, rocking myself in a fetal position until Matt drags me home. I know she is ready and will absolutely love every second. I will be counting every second until she is back in my arms sharing every detail about her day. My baby girl. I could cry right now writing about it.

Ok. No more tears.  In the meantime, we are in the throes of health food boot camp to make sure her immune system is supped up and ready to fight all the sniffles and bugs that plague school classrooms. Probiotics are one of the best forces to fight off illness and homemade raw butter is a great source. I joined a local raw dairy co-op so that we could buy raw milk, raw cream, and raw cheeses. This morning, I made this beautiful butter from two pints of raw cream. I love how it naturally turns this pretty bright yellow, with no chemicals, additives, food coloring, or other unidentifiable junk you might find in margarine or butter substitutes, which are not real food. There are also no hormones or antibiotics in the raw cream used to make this butter.

If I would’ve stopped short, before the cream turned into curds, I could’ve made a beautiful, fluffy, white whipped cream. I have added maple syrup, organic powdered sugar, and even xylitol to sweeten it and to top cupcakes and fruit parfaits. I LOVE whipped cream. :)

When you leave your food processor running for awhile, the cream eventually turns into butter! You then scoop it out, squeeze and rinse it under running water to remove the butter milk. You can reserve the buttermilk in a glass jar for future baking purposes, or if you’re like my father-in-law, you can pour it on top of cornbread and eat it like cereal. :)

Store your raw butter in a glass container in the refrigerator. Some like to mix in a little salt, but I kept mine unsalted. Yummy goodness on top of gluten free pancakes! Enjoy!

GOOD HEALTH/BAD HEALTH DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A MYSTERY: {healthy post monday} …

"Getting healthy isn’t just about losing weight. It’s not limited to adjusting our diet and hoping for good physical results. It’s about recalibrating our souls so that we want to change-spiritually, physically, and mentally. And the battle really is in all three areas."

Quote by Made to Crave, shared by Lysa TerKeurst on Facebook.

It has taken me over 5 years, but I am finally getting it. I grew up eating the Standard American Diet and continued this lifestyle into my early 30’s. I thought eating healthy was abstaining from anything fattening, sweet and yummy, and only eating fat free, sugar free foods, mainly in the form of boxed “diet” treats, fiber enriched bars, and iceberg lettuce salads. It wasn’t until I experienced infertility that the concept of what I ate affected more than just my weight was introduced into my philosophy about health. Food allergies prevented me from getting pregnant. I also learned how certain foods gave me asthma, fatigue, migraines, digestive problems, and even affected my ability to think clearly.  The beginning of this journey started by reading the book, The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin. I encourage everyone who aspires to live life vibrantly to it’s fullest, to read it as well. It was life changing and I never want to go back.

On another note, we are in full party-prep mode this week!!!! Baking and crafting getting ready for birthday number THREE for my little guy. We are sooooooo excited!!!! :)

MONSTER THEMED BABY SHOWER and paleo cinnamon crumb cupcake recipe: {healthy post monday} …

This was such a sweet intimate baby shower with friends (and teenagers!) who truly love this new mommy-to-be. She is so dedicated to investing in the lives of teenagers at our church and is a loving, compassionate role model to many young girls. Her baby’s nursery is monster themed, so we decided it would be so fun to incorporate that personal touch throughout this event as we blessed her and her new baby boy. Plus, I had plenty of decorations from my boy’s Two Year Old Little Monster Birthday Party found here. Several other youth worker ladies joined together to add all the adorable details to make this baby shower truly ”monstrous!” As guests arrived, we invited them to help make an “ABC of Bible Verses" scrapbook for baby Camden. We pray it is a meaningful, tangible reminder of God’s promises to him and will encourage him as he grows. We had several lists to choose from (one can be found here) or guests could write down their own favorite verses on their pages. Oh, and just in case any wondered … the tutorial “how to make a pinwheel” can be found here and the tutorial “how to make paper rosette fans” can be found here. :)

PS … the custom invitation, thank you notes, water bottle wraps, straw pennants, cupcake wraps, name banner, buffet signs, and other party printables were all created using Storybook Creator 4.0 by Creative Memories found by clicking here. If you have any questions about the software or the custom prints, please feel free to E-mail me through my website by clicking here.

And the yummy healthy cupcake recipe is as the end of this post!

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Paleo Cinnamon Crumb Healthy Cupcakes (recipe at the end of this post) …

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… and the recipe I promised is found in Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten Free Cupcake cookbook. I altered it a bit to use maple syrup instead of agave nectar. Here ya go!

CINNAMON CRUMB CUPCAKES:

(gluten free, paleo, dairy free, refined sugar free)

BATTER

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 tbsp. coconut flour

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1/2 cup maple syrup (NOT Aunt Jemima’s, the REAL organic stuff) :)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

TOPPING

3/4 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Line 10 muffin cups with liners

To make batter, combine in large bowl both flours, salt, and baking soda. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a hand held mixer until combined.

To make topping, in a medium bowl, combine flour, walnuts and cinnamon, then stir in maple syrup.

Scoop 3 tbsps. of batter into each muffin liner, then crumble 1 heaping tbsp of the topping mixture over each cupcake.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 hour, then serve.

ENJOY!!! And stay safe. As I type, super cell tornados are tearing through my state. :( We spent two hours in our church basement last night and looks like we will be headed there later this afternoon. Praying for all those affected by the destruction. Thankful my Jesus calms storms with one word from His mouth. And thankful still that even when storms rage, He is still in control.

 

PARENT CHECKLIST {healthy post Monday} …
Health isn’t always about what we eat. It is also about fostering healthy relationships within and outside our family. I love how God’s Word fosters change towards a healthy inside and outside when I commit to spending time reading, understanding and applying it to my life. I want to always be changing. To be new and different than the year before, the week before. Different than yesterday. I find myself stagnant and frustrated when I am not  pursuing change with a daily dose of the Bible. One tool that has been a MUST in my life, is a weekly Bible study with other people that encourages daily study. The study that God has used most recently in my life is an interdenominational, international study called Bible Study Fellowship. It invites people from all denominations, cultures, and countries to study the same  Bible passage each week. There are men’s, women’s, children’s, teens’, and singles’ classes held all over the world, learning the same truths and principles from the same lesson. I love it. It challenges, stretches, grows, and fills me each week. I love the accountability and mentorship. I cannot do it on my own. It does not replace my church. It enhances my ability to serve and worship in my church. You can read more about it  and find a class near you by clicking here.
This week, we are wrapping up a year of studying the Beginning: the book of Genesis. The principles taught last week and the week before curiously coincided with the lesson taught to the teenagers at my church. Totally unrelated and planned, but not really. God orchestrated it to hammer home the message for me to “finish strong.” I have a few months left with my girl at home, close to my heart, and my watchful guidance, before she is integrated in the public school system. *insert FREAK OUT MOMENT here!* God has brought me SO far in my trust of Him and His control in my children’s lives, yet I still have very far to go. Last week, my Bible Study peeps and I received the amazing checklist above as a helpful tool to use while parenting children. The handout emphasized “there is no formula for parenting that guarantees a perfect child.” Besides, who wants a perfect child, right? LOL! That would be so boring. :)  However, it encourages parents to constantly be evaluating their parenting skills to make necessary adjustments to foster and nurture healthy relationships with their children. This is my goal to press toward everyday. These are tools to help me get there.
I made this awesome checklist into a poster using Storybook Creator 4.0 software by Creative Memories. I will probably tweak it a bit more before I print it here and hang it in our home as a daily reminder. Some of the font is difficult to read and I had to “reduce the size” because tumblr wouldn’t accept the original size. I apologize! You can click on the photo and it will get bigger. I hope it encourages you to proactively pursue some of these actions on a daily basis with your own children. :)
Have a blessed day! 

PARENT CHECKLIST {healthy post Monday} …

Health isn’t always about what we eat. It is also about fostering healthy relationships within and outside our family. I love how God’s Word fosters change towards a healthy inside and outside when I commit to spending time reading, understanding and applying it to my life. I want to always be changing. To be new and different than the year before, the week before. Different than yesterday. I find myself stagnant and frustrated when I am not  pursuing change with a daily dose of the Bible. One tool that has been a MUST in my life, is a weekly Bible study with other people that encourages daily study. The study that God has used most recently in my life is an interdenominational, international study called Bible Study Fellowship. It invites people from all denominations, cultures, and countries to study the same  Bible passage each week. There are men’s, women’s, children’s, teens’, and singles’ classes held all over the world, learning the same truths and principles from the same lesson. I love it. It challenges, stretches, grows, and fills me each week. I love the accountability and mentorship. I cannot do it on my own. It does not replace my church. It enhances my ability to serve and worship in my church. You can read more about it  and find a class near you by clicking here.

This week, we are wrapping up a year of studying the Beginning: the book of Genesis. The principles taught last week and the week before curiously coincided with the lesson taught to the teenagers at my church. Totally unrelated and planned, but not really. God orchestrated it to hammer home the message for me to “finish strong.” I have a few months left with my girl at home, close to my heart, and my watchful guidance, before she is integrated in the public school system. *insert FREAK OUT MOMENT here!* God has brought me SO far in my trust of Him and His control in my children’s lives, yet I still have very far to go. Last week, my Bible Study peeps and I received the amazing checklist above as a helpful tool to use while parenting children. The handout emphasized “there is no formula for parenting that guarantees a perfect child.” Besides, who wants a perfect child, right? LOL! That would be so boring. :)  However, it encourages parents to constantly be evaluating their parenting skills to make necessary adjustments to foster and nurture healthy relationships with their children. This is my goal to press toward everyday. These are tools to help me get there.

I made this awesome checklist into a poster using Storybook Creator 4.0 software by Creative Memories. I will probably tweak it a bit more before I print it here and hang it in our home as a daily reminder. Some of the font is difficult to read and I had to “reduce the size” because tumblr wouldn’t accept the original size. I apologize! You can click on the photo and it will get bigger. I hope it encourages you to proactively pursue some of these actions on a daily basis with your own children. :)

Have a blessed day! 

HEALTHY GLAZED GLUTEN FREE DOUGHNUTS “KRISPY KREME” STYLE: HEALTHY POST MONDAY …

My girl was invited to three birthday parties this weekend that ranged from a doughnut breakfast, to Fancy Nancy make-overs, to a 3-hour-round-trip-road trip for a special friend who has moved away. Being gluten free, we bring our own birthday treats so that the hostess does not have to improvise. My girl requested chocolate cupcakes for our main treat. I made the Healthy Hostess Cupcake recipe found here from Elena Amsterdam’s Gluten Free Cupcake cookbook. I topped it with a little homemade whipped cream and sprinkles linked below …

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Since one of the parties was at Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, I decided to try a new recipe. One of my favorite healthy dessert blogs is Chocolate Covered Katie. The doughnut recipe I made can be found here. I changed it up a bit by using coconut sugar and substituted a gluten free flour mix for the spelt or all-purpose flour included in her recipe.

My favorite gluten free mix is equal parts coconut flour, tapioca flour, and white rice flour. I include 1/2 teaspoon of xanthum gum per one cup of this mixture.

A couple days before our party weekend, I announced to Matt I would make homemade gluten free doughnuts and needed wanted to go by a doughnut pan so my girl’s doughnuts would look similar to all the other kids’. I saw the prophet look of disaster slowly creep across his face as he gently tried to refocus my energy and efforts into just trying the new recipe. He actually wanted me to just go to the store and buy gluten free doughnuts, which are like the price of 15 dozen regular doughnuts for four GF ones. Bless his heart. He is so patient and puts up with my crazy ideas when I turn our home into America’s Test Kitchen. So I dug around our pantry until I found a mini fluted pan by Pampered Chef that I have never used. I always thought those were really big molds for individual servings and it would take a LOT of cake batter to fill up each individual mold. However, my wheels spun furiously and I decided to repurpose my mini fluted pan into a swirly baked doughnut mold! Matt was so relieved. And so was his wallet. :)

I only filled each mold up to the top of the center “pole” in hopes it wouldn’t bake over the top. Doughnuts have to have holes, right? Unless of course they are doughnut holes, which I could’ve made per suggestion of Chocolate Covered Katie, but I like to do things the hard way. :) Or I could’ve tried to make them crème filled, but I think that would’ve sent Matt over the edge as I was already treading completely new baking waters in a very limited amount of time.

For the glaze, I used Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe found here.  I wanted to make a healthier version using something different than just organic cane sugar. BTW, did you know sugar is one of the main GMO crops in our country? Please always buy organic sugar or make sure the package is labeled GMO free, especially when feeding it to children. We just had a major organic sugar gorge fest at my girl’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago, so I was determined to try something healthier. First, I tried using organic coconut sugar for the glaze. It was SUPER yummy. But it was brown. Maple syrup brown. Not white that I could turn a pretty fun pink I knew my girl would enjoy while watching her friends devour brightly colored Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Matt actually claimed that this doughnut was his favorite gluten free treat he has tasted to date! My BIL swears by my gluten free version of Sprinkles Strawberry recipe. They will have to have a taste off sometime to give a final vote. :)

So I made a second batch of doughnuts and this time made a glaze with non-GMO Xylitol. I was concerned at first using Xylitol because it is a natural sweetener that is corn-based, another MAJOR GMO crop. But when I found a packaged labeled “non-GMO,” I knew this was our perfect, healthier version of powdered sugar! I threw it in our dry blade Vitamix and it spun into a beautiful white powder! I added a few drops of India Tree Natural Food Dye that is chemical free and added a few of their sprinkles for a little doughnut bling.

Here is my girl at the Krispy Kreme birthday party with her healthy gluten free doughnut …

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First bite!

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This is our sweet friend from church who has Celiac Disease. Her mommy found gluten free doughnuts at a local natural food store. Smart Mama! Clearly they were yummy too!

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Those eyes … they slay my heart! Gorgeous and so full of life and sparkle!! I could just squeeze her all day long. She and her family are moving soon and we will SOO miss them!! :(

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The BIRTHDAY BOY!

This handsome little man is my girl’s Birthday Buddy: born the same day, in the same hospital, on the same hall. They’ve been in the same Sunday School class since they were toddlers and next fall, they will be in the same kindergarten class!!!! My girl says he is her best friend! Haha! This photo makes my heart go all a-flutter. Seriously … it almost brings tears to my eyes.

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This is the look I get when I ask my girl to smile for the camera. Drives me nutso!!

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Here is another batch I made with a more runny, thinned out glaze. I think I added just a bit over 2 tablespoons of milk.

Before glaze …

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Runnier glaze this time …

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Making it girly for my girly-girl …

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A little sunshiney yellow …

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And a little boy blue …

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And a little confetti party fun …

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And my favorite part about baking healthy treats …

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Which one do you want? “I think I want that one.”

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“No, I want that one!”

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So in the wisdom of Solomon from I Kings 3:16-28, I do what Mommies do best …

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I also experimented by replacing a little of the powdered xylitol sugar with a little organic raw cacao powder to make a chocolate glaze.

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Hope you have a sweet and fun day!

And for those who want fresh, delicious gluten free/casein free doughnuts delivered straight to your door, check out the amazing Dorangela at Two Prince Bakery Theater! She has added doughnuts to her bakery business and is even in a Tampa Bay, FL local restaurant Daily Eats! Contact her for custom orders and delivery service through Facebook or her gorgeous website linked above! :)

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