Don’t Throw Those Bananas Away!

As I said before, when in doubt, make your own…and have I ever! From banana nut breads to blueberry muffins and mixed berry crisp with vanilla bean ice cream, I’ve been having myself a good old time over here:)

Here’s a recipe I’ve been craving and finally made, because as I have discovered, my little boy loves his sweets! He wiggles when I eat delicious sweet treats!

Here’s what I did:

Preheat oven to 350

  • 3 Ripe Bananas (organic, if you can)
  • 2 Eggs (pasture raised/cage-free)
  • 2 Cups Flour (unbleached)
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Softened Butter (grass fed)
  • 1 Cup Pure Cane Sugar (with a little extra for topping)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix butter, eggs and bananas (I leave the bananas a little bit lumpy). Gradually mix in all dry ingredients and finally add the walnuts. Pour into your greased and floured loaf pan, sprinkle a little extra sugar on top and bake for 50-55 min.

20160613_092912.jpg20160613_093247.jpg20160613_104454.jpg

Preggo Tip: Make Your Own

Ok, so if you’re pregnant or have children, you understand the seriousness of a craving. All bets are off, you’ll walk across hot coals to get what you want.

So, my new thrill in life (well…a more intense thrill) is food. I am pretty much known for my love of wine. In fact, we couldn’t even keep my pregnancy a secret because the second I turned down a glass of wine, everyone knew. Alas, I’ve always loved food, but now it’s all I can really get excited about on a daily (and hourly) basis.

I was picking up ingredients for dinner at the grocery store yesterday and began contemplating what to eat for dessert with our movie (Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, highly recommend for a good laugh!!). I had gone to the farmer’s market earlier and had some beautifully fresh strawberries to indulge on and was craving some strawberry shortcake. I saw a display at the store with strawberries, shortcake, angel food cake, etc. Of course, I look at the labels.

One of the first ingredients in any cake was bleached flour. Ugh. Why?? We are forever turning our food into something more “appealing” to look at (hence, making the normally yellow-ish flour appear bright/white and “clean” when it is anything but). In order to bleach flour, you need a chemical called Alloxan, which is a poison. Alloxan is used to produce diabetes in in healthy experimental animals so that researchers can then study diabetes “treatments” in the lab.

No, thank you. I’ll keep my off-white flour, it looks just fine to me. That being said, some people may argue that white flour, in general isn’t nutritious at all and here’s what I say to that: You can eat naturally gluten-free and paleo food all day…many times, I have. Right now, I’m growing a human inside of me and sweet potatoes aren’t cutting it.

I crave cookies, cupcakes, French toast and pizza. I could grab everything quickly off the shelf and satisfy my sweet tooth, but I’m choosing to make these goodies myself. Yes, there’s sugar and flour and butter, but I try my best to use unbleached flour, grass-fed butter and raw sugar. Does that happen 100% of the time? No. I do my best to feed this growing baby the best I can, including locally grown food and the least-processed ingredients I can. I grocery shop in about 4 or 5 different places throughout the week and educate myself.

This strawberry shortcake recipe was really easy and delicious. I bought whipping cream at Trader Joe’s, strawberries from a local farm and used unbleached flour. The heavy cream in the cake was not organic, nor was the sugar, but hey, you gotta live.

Here’s the recipe I followed, although I cut back on the sugar on the strawberries and I added a little more heavy cream to the cake batter:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/strawberry-shortcake-recipe3.html

img_20160430_230453.jpg

 

I’m pregnant!!

I haven’t been posting as much lately because I’m pregnant and for the 1st trimester, I had many food aversions and very little energy!

This will be our fist child and we are so happy, scared, and excited! This being my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect or how I would feel. I’m just beginning my 2nd trimester and (knock on wood) I’m feeling much better and have a much more normal appetite, except for the fact that I’ve allowed myself to eat more of the things I want!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was determined to eat really fresh, nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, lean meats and very few carbs. I also planned on sticking to my gym routine, possibly cutting it back by a day….that was a really cute idea. Adorable.

FIRST TRIMESTER BLUES:

Little did I know that about 2 weeks after finding out I was pregnant I’d start feeling like I was HUNGOVER allllll day long! I found this to be quite unfair, as I literally hadn’t had a drop to drink. Everything made me nauseous. Everything. I couldn’t even LOOK at a piece of broccoli without wanting to die. I never actually threw up (which may have been a curse in disguise, as that might have at least given me some relief), but the feeling of being hungover lasted for weeks.

I would think of something to eat like a cheeseburger and fries one night or some Japanese the next, and I would eat the food that seemed somewhat appealing. Then, almost immediately after, regret it and wished I could take it back. Anything I ate became something I would never eat again. The thought of coffee made me ill and if I saw a cucumber, I’d cringe.

Smells didn’t bother me, ironically, but the sight of certain foods did and the feeling I had after I ate almost anything was even worse. What I always enjoyed and still do was Parmesan Goldfish. Not cheddar, not plain, not flavor blast, they had to be parmesan.

END OF 1ST TRIMESTER HAPPINESS:

At about week 8 or 9, I started feeling more like myself and at the present 13 weeks (again, knock on wood), I feel really good, other than the fact that by 9:00 PM I feel like I’ve been hit with a tranquilizer gun.

What I really love to do is grab my headphones/Pandora and head outside for a nice, long power walk. Sometimes I take a quick drive to different areas of town and explore different neighborhoods with my favorite music, or even enjoy the silence/sounds of nature. Really, the fresh air helps a TON with nausea and fatigue. I always feel better on days that I’ve had some sort of exercise.

Speaking of exercise, I had totally scaled back. Walking about 3.5 miles every other day or so has become my main source of calorie burning. I do go to the gym about once a week and get on the stair-master (although I found I have much less stamina and lose my breath much easier than usual, so I don’t go as hard). I also try to get some squats and lunges in a couple times a week, usually after a walk, to attempt to keep some muscle tone. TIP: Google “Bring Sally Up squat challenge” it makes doing squats more fun and goes by in less than 4 minutes. I usually grab a 10-15 lb. weight and hold it against my chest while I do them for a little something extra.

EAT THIS, NOT THAT:

After eating literally anything that would possibly help me feel better/satisfy some cravings, I started searching for healthier versions of foods for myself and the baby. I try to never have high fructose corn syrup or anything with aspartame. I never eat/drink anything “fat free”, “sugar free” or “diet” as these products usually contain tons of preservatives and harmful chemicals for the baby (and myself). Instead of Canada Dry, I’ll drink Hansen’s natural ginger ale which is sweetened with cane sugar and has far less ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup. I gave up my parmesan goldfish and replaced those crackers with Annie’s organic crackers instead. If I want chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins, I bake them myself. Even with all that butter and sugar, at least I know what I’m putting in my body and giving my baby. I try to buy my ice cream from a local farm store in our town. I have a real thing for chocolate covered pretzels, so I try to get the organic version from Whole Foods (delicious!!). When I want pizza, I buy pre-made dough at Trader Joe’s (non-GMO) and make it at home with the toppings I love.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still occasionally go to Chic Fil A and order a chicken wrap and fries for lunch and get a 3/4 unsweet, 1/4 sweet iced tea (they hate me), or I’ll stop and get some “sushi” (shrimp tempura and California rolls) with soy sauce. I still love Chipotle and we still go out to eat.

WHAT I WON’T DO:

Color my hair. I know some women do and I know some of it is considered ok as long as it doesn’t touch your scalp but the idea of putting hair color/bleach on my head while my growing baby is relying on me to keep him/her safe is unnerving.

Use deodorant with aluminum. Bone disease, memory changes and anemia have been found in studies about aluminum, which can  even enter milk of breastfeeding women. I use Tom’s all natural deodorant, which is aluminum free.

Shampoo and conditioner with sulfates or parabens. Studies have shown links between birth defects and sulfates, so I buy sulfate-free. Some of my favorites include Awapuhi Mango by Avalon Organics and Blackberry and Coconut Milk by Giovanni Eco Chic Hair Care.

Use self-tanners. There aren’t enough studies showing these products are safe to use and with all the chemicals and parabens included in the ingredients (even “organic” versions), I have a feeling we might see studies years from now linking self-tanners to some kind of disorder. I am naturally very fair-skinned and am self-conscious about my pasty legs, so I actually made my own all-natural body bronzer that washes off with soap and water.

I HOPE TO KEEP POSTING THROUGHOUT MY NEW JOURNEY! Let me know if you have any questions or even tips of your own!

Overnight Oatmeal

I got the idea for this delicious breakfast dish from “Balancing In Heels” by Kristin Cavallari. I have made these overnight oatmeal jars before and used other fruit like blueberries, bananas and strawberries. I put them in the jar overnight with the oats and chia seeds, but made this one a bit different.

Here’s what I did:

  • 3/4 Cup Organic Whole Rolled Oats
  • 2 Tbs Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbs Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Fuji Apple (diced)
  • Cinnamon

Put all ingredients, minus the apple and cinnamon in a small mason jar and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, transfer oatmeal into a bowl and mix the apple pieces with as much cinnamon as you like and use as your topping! Enjoy!

 

Healthy(er) Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie

In the spirit of St. Patty’s day this past week, I decided to make a shepherd’s pie. I didn’t have any ground lamb, as traditionally used in the Irish recipe, but I did have ground turkey, so I went with it. Cutting back on the calories and fat isn’t a bad thing!

Here’s what I did:

  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey Meat
  • 1 Tbs. Grape Seed Oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. Thyme
  • 4 Russet Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Almond Milk (or regular milk)
  • S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium-sized pot (on medium heat), I poured the oil and allowed it to heat a bit while I chopped my onion and carrot. I added those to the oil and allowed them to soften while I got the rest of the ingredients ready. I added the thyme and parsley and mixed together.

In a separate pot, I began heating salted water to cook the potatoes. I washed, peeled and chopped the potatoes and added them to the boiling pot of water.

Once the carrot and onion mixture had begun to soften, I added the ground turkey and mashed down with a fork, mixing all the ingredients together. I added the 1 tsp. of salt, Worcestershire sauce, covered, and allowed to cook together for about 5 minutes. I stirred the mixture and added the beef broth, covered again and allowed the turkey to brown completely, stirring a couple more times and removing from heat.

Once the potatoes could be punctured with a fork, I drained and moved them to my mixing bowl. I added some butter (about 1/4 Cup, give or take) and about 1/2 Cup almond milk. I beat with a hand mixer and added salt and pepper to taste. (Feel free to add more butter/milk to your liking).

In a glass pie pan, I poured the meat mixture evenly as my base coat. I then scooped the mashed potatoes into dollops on top and then evenly spread to the edges.

I baked the pie for about 15  minutes, just until the mashed potatoes began to get a little crisp along the edges of the pan.

Slainte and ENJOY!!!

Homemade Lavender Sugar Scrub

Lord knows I love making something myself, if I can! In my opinion, homemade is always better! You know exactly what you’re putting on and in your body when you create something yourself.

I also love saving a buck! Some sugar scrubs, ESPECIALLY organic scrubs, can cost a small fortune. I feel like when the “all natural” or “organic” labels are put on a product, the distributor can jack the price up as much as they want and people will buy it because if we’re going to get something, we may as well get the best product we can, right? UNLESS we can make it ourselves!!

This simple scrub was made with all products I had in my cabinets and closets.

Here’s what I did:

Equal parts sugar and coconut oil and 1/2 part apricot oil. I added a few drops of organic lavender essential oil and a few buds of fresh lavender.

I brought the jar into the shower with me and scooped out a spoon-full for each large body part, exfoliated my body and let the excess wash off. The oil blend left behind was SO fresh and luxurious and my skin felt so smooth and soft after the shower!

Homemade sugar scrubs are the healthiest way to remove dead skin cells, dirt, other products, pollutants, and clogged pores all over your body!! Enjoy this “recipe” and feel soft, smooth skin with therapeutic aromas:)

At-Home, Natural Microdermabrasion!

So, have you ever woken up feeling sluggish and you go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and think: “This is NOT what I look like!” Well, that was me this morning. My skin felt dull and I looked exhausted.

You start thinking about that wicked cute picture you took last summer with your boyfriend/husband/friends and probably made it your profile picture. THAT is what you really look like, isn’t it? Not this tired, pasty-looking person staring back at you.

All of a sudden you start to wonder if this is how people see you and not that beautiful girl with the gorgeous glow in those pictures.

I remembered hearing about an at-home, all natural “microdermabrasion” in some organic magazine or blog some time ago that only required baking soda and water. I thought I’d give it a try, after-all, this was an emergency!

I got in the shower with my baking soda and began applying it onto my damp skin. As I worked it in, I could immediately feel a difference, but it was missing something. I needed another ingredient to give me even better results and hopefully something else to help wake me up! That’s when I spotted the Refresh Facial Polish next to my shampoo bottle. Refresh Facial Polish is a  Glo Therapeutics exfoliating product made up of peppermint oils, jojoba beads and arnica. I added a little bit of the polish to the baking soda and started again. WOW!!! The peppermint and arnica helped awaken my senses and the jojoba beads mixed with the baking soda was like polishing the sharp edges of a piece of dull wood. As I massaged this combination all over my face, I couldn’t believe how well it was working!

I rinsed my face of any leftover debris and (after finishing my shower) got out and patted my face dry. My skin felt AMAZING! Now, this would have all been for nothing had I not finished the job with some great products. My skin would have been left dehydrated without them, so I spritzed my face with Conditioning Tonic, applied Pure Hydration, a drop of B5 Hydration and finally, some Vita E Essential Cream (all Glo Therapeutics products).

My makeup went on smoothly and evenly and I felt like I had that glow again. This picture was taken at work this afternoon, hours after my at-home treatment!

Microdermabrasion treatments in salons usually start out at $100 and go up from there. Baking soda is a natural antibiotic relieving symptoms of bacteria, fungus, acne, etc. It helps draw out toxins in your body and is a great additive to any bath for it’s detoxifying properties! I also use baking soda to brush my teeth. I put it on top of the toothpaste and when people ask me how I whiten my teeth, baking soda is always my answer!