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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Grain Free Zucchini Bread Pancakes

I haven't had the chance to make many fancy breakfasts lately. My morning usually consist of running around the house like a mad woman to see how many things I can get done before the baby wakes up. Things like brushing my teeth and putting on clean clothes. I am afraid if I wait until the baby wakes up these things will somehow escape me and I will stay in my pajamas all day. Actually, I am wearing my pajamas right now, at 1:00pm on a Saturday afternoon, but I put on gym clothes to go to CrossFit, took a shower, changed into jeans and a top to go to the farmers' market and then changed back in to my pajamas so that totally doesn't count.

Kevin has taken over a good portion of breakfast duty, but I miss making breakfast so last Sunday I offered to make a special breakfast while Kevin watched the baby. 

Play time!
I knew I wanted to make pancakes, but I wanted to try something new (like always). We had a ton of zucchini so I decided to try zucchini bread pancakes based on the zucchini bread recipe I made for the state fair last year (I didn't win so I guess the state fair judges aren't on board with grain free desserts yet). The recipe only used about half of a large zucchini so I shredded the remaining zucchini and made zucchini scrambled eggs to serve with the pancakes! Baby A did start crying for his breakfast as soon as the first pancake hit the griddle so Kevin had to take over pancake flipping duty, but he did me proud. They came out perfect!

These were SO good and tasted just like zucchini bread! I bet they would be even better with chocolate chips...


Grain Free Zucchini Bread Pancakes
Makes 10-12 Pancakes
Time: 30 Minutes

1 1/2 Cups Almond Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ginger
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Allspice
3 Eggs, Beaten
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Water
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Shredded Zucchini (about 1/2 of a medium zucchini)
1/2 Cup Raisins

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Mix almond flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice in a bowl.

Mix eggs, coconut milk, water, lemon juice and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Mix dry ingredients in with wet ingredients and whisk until smooth and there are no clumps.

Fold in shredded zucchini and raisins until well combined.

Grease skillet or griddle with oil of your choice. Make sure it is really well covered so the pancakes don't stick!

Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop batter onto skillet or griddle. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start to bubble and are golden around the edges. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Top with additional raisins and maple syrup! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing

When Kevin and I first cleaned up our diets, we pretty much had to clear every bottle of salad dressing out of our fridge. Most store bought salad dressings are full of unhealthy fats and artificial flavorings.


For a while, we just drizzled olive oil and vinegar on our salads, but we finally got bored with that and have started making our own dressings. Usually just some random mix of mustard, oil, vinegar, herbs and spices. You really can't go wrong, but this honey mustard dressing is one that we just keep coming back to. 

Slightly sweet, tangy and just a little bit spicy, this dressing has very few ingredients, but lots of flavor! You can easily adjust the measurements to make more or less dressing, too.

Do you have a favorite "clean" dressing recipe?


Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing
Makes about 1 cup
Time: 10 Minutes

1/2 Cup Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1-2 Tsp Chili Powder (depending on your preferred level of spice)
Dash of Black Pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl. 
Store in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chipotle Peach Salsa with Fresh Basil

I LOVE peaches in the summertime. I use them to make this Fruity Egg Scramble, blend them up in smoothies, or just slice them up for an afternoon snack! 

Since we always have peaches around lately, I wanted to try them in a recipe. Kevin was making salmon and a spicy bacon slaw for dinner last night so I decided to make a peach salsa. It went perfectly with the salmon, but it would also be a great compliment to chicken or as a dip for plantain chips.


I prefer a chunkier salsa so I quickly pulsed the ingredients in the food processor only a few times. I would suggest doing the same and checking on it every so often until it reaches your desired consistency.

What is your favorite peachy recipe?


Chipotle Peach Salsa with Fresh Basil
Makes About 3 Cups
Time: 15 Minutes

2 Peaches, Quartered
15 Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
1-2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (depending on your heat preference)
Juice of 1 Lime
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
Dash of Salt and Pepper

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor to desired consistency.

If you do not have a food processor, you can finely chop the peaches, tomatoes, peppers and basil before mixing with other ingredients.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Birth Plan vs. Birth Reality

I was lucky enough to give birth in a facility that was extremely supportive and respectful of a woman's choices for labor and childbirth. They even provided me with a "fill in the blank" style birth plan worksheet. I was so grateful for this because there are a lot of things I may not have thought of and wouldn't have known how to answer had I been put on the spot at the hospital. Having a birth plan or birth wish list puts you in control of your birth experience and forces you to do the research and determine what you want and don't want. I learned so much about various interventions, labor positions, comfort measures during labor and vaccinations while I was making choices for my birth plan.

If you read Baby A's Birth Story, you can compare my birth plan to my actual birth experience. The most important thing to remember when you make a birth plan, though, is that you might have to crumple it up into a ball and throw it out the window. Babies don't always have the same plan that we do and that is okay. Holding a beautiful, healthy baby is all that really matters, regardless of how they come into this world.

In this post, I wanted to share some of my personal choices for my own birth plan to show how they compared to my birth reality. Hopefully, this will spark some ideas for your own birth plan!

Labor Options

Hydration - I request a Saline Lock (IV Port without fluids)
One of my main goals was to be able to move freely in my labor and delivery room so I really didn't want to be hooked up to an IV. Luckily, because my labor was relatively short and I never needed any pain medication, I was able to avoid having any IV fluids.

Labor - I request to allow labor to begin on its own
As much as I was ready to meet my baby, I wanted to avoid the Cascade of Intervention that can often come with inducing labor. As long as mom and baby are healthy, my midwife does not induce until 42 weeks and 1 day. Obviously, if she had recommended an induction, I would have respected her decision, knowing that it was medically necessary. I went into labor on my own shortly after I reached 41 weeks.

Activity in Labor - I request 
  • To walk or stand in labor
  • Upright position in bed or chair
  • Use of a glider style chair
  • Use of a birthing ball.
One of the important lessons I took away from my birth class was that you sometimes don't know what is going to be comfortable until you are actually in labor. Positions or comfort measures that sound relaxing right now may make you want to tear someone's head off when the big day comes. I just checked off ever possible activity - I like to have options! In the end, though, I mostly just walked around the room until I was able to get in the tub. I wanted to use the birthing ball, but it caused the monitors to pick up my heart rate instead of the baby's so no birthing ball for me.

Fetal Monitoring - I request intermittent monitoring and/or wireless monitoring
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends intermittent monitoring for low risk pregnancies. This involves listening to the baby once every 30 minutes throughout one contraction and for one minute afterward. A reactive non-stress test is required for intermittent monitoring to begin and must be repeated every 2 hours. Continuous monitoring is required for high risk pregnancies. Wireless monitoring is available allowing the continuous monitoring method while in the tub or walking around.

My nurse was not able to obtain a reactive NST during my labor for a few hours so I wore the continuous wireless monitor. Not until she placed a contraption on my belly that emitted a loud noise (it sounded like a dolphin call) and made the baby jump was I able to remove the wireless monitor and get in the tub. My preference was to have intermittent monitoring so I could move around freely, use the birthing ball and get in the tub sooner, but I was thankful for the freedom allowed by the wireless monitor.

Comfort Measures and Pain Management During Labor

-I request
  • Natural childbirth, without medications
  • Use of labor tub
  • Use of the shower
  • To ask for pain medications. Please do NOT offer.
  • To listen to music during labor
I have known since before I was pregnant that I wanted an unmedicated childbirth. I know there are situations where this is not possible, but I wanted to try everything possible to avoid pain medication. During pregnancy, I found warm baths to be very relaxing and I have heard from many other women that it helped with their pain during labor and also helped labor to progress. I love music so I knew I would want music playing in the room during labor. 

I was able to use all of these comfort measures and pain management techniques and they really did help me through the experience. Other options that I did not use were IV pain medications, epidural anesthesia, doula support, hypnotherapy and accupressure.

Comfort Measures and Pain Management During Childbirth

 - I request
  • Use of a variety of positions for pushing and delivery
  • Immediate skin to skin contact with my baby
  • Allowing the umbilical cord to remain intact until pulsation has ceased
  • For my significant other to cut the umbilical cord
  • For my visitors to wait in the waiting room until we have had time to bond and breastfeed
Most hospital beds allow for a lying down position, side lying, squatting (with the use of a squat bar) or you can be positioned on hands and knees with the bottom of the bed lowered so your practitioner can catch the baby underneath you. Just like in labor, I had no idea which positions would be most comfortable during childbirth so I wanted to have options. I ended up on hands and knees because it felt like I was making the most progress in that position. 

I have read so much about the importance of immediate skin to skin contact with your baby. It promotes bonding and helps to regulate the baby's heart rate and body temperature. It also puts the baby in a good position to root around and find your breast if they are interested in breastfeeding right away. Baby A was happy to just quietly lie on my chest for a while. It was a very sweet time for both of us.

In my childbirth class, I learned the importance of delayed cord clamping. According to ACOG, this can increase the baby's blood supply, which decreases the risk of iron deficiency anemia during the first year of life. There are even more benefits for premature babies.We chose not to clamp the umbilical cord until it had stopped pulsating, which was only a few minutes. I asked Kevin if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord and he did so my midwife showed him where to snip it and he did the honor of cutting the cord.

I was up front with my family that I wanted time alone with Baby A and Kevin before we had visitors. I wanted to give Baby A a chance to establish breastfeeding and just cuddle with him for a while. And, to be honest, I wanted to take a shower and clean up a bit before anyone came busting up in my hospital room with a camera. :) They were all very understanding and we made sure to update them when we arrived at the hospital and when Baby A was born so they would know what was going on. I gave birth in the middle of the night, so having visitors wasn't an issue anyway. I ate breakfast and showered in the morning and visitors started coming by about 11:00am the next morning.

Options that I did not choose were the use of a mirror, touching the baby's head while crowning and for my significant other to assist in delivering the baby. I've seen plenty of birth videos and had no desire to see a closeup view of what was happening. On top of that, the position I was in didn't really facilitate the use of a mirror. I actually did end up touching the baby's head, but it wouldn't have occurred to me if my midwife hadn't asked if I wanted to touch the head. Looking back, I wish I had requested to touch the head because this was hugely motivational during those last few pushes! I really never even asked Kevin if he wanted to help deliver the baby. I just assumed he wanted to leave it to the professionals, but he had a front row seat for the whole thing. He definitely wasn't squeamish about what was happening. I think he wanted to be right there to make sure everything was okay with me and with the baby.

For Baby

 - I request
  • Breastfeeding my baby immediately following birth
  • No pacifier to be given to my baby
  • For me or the baby's father to perform the baby's first bath
  • To be present for routine tests and procedures which occur in the nursery, such as the physician's examination
  • Delaying Vitamin K administration until after skin to skin contact
  • Delaying Erythromycin Opthalmic Ointment until after skin to skin contact
I have already discussed that I wanted to try breastfeeding my baby right away. I wanted to delay any tests or procedures until after I had time to bond with my baby. The facility where I gave birth encourages at least an hour of skin to skin contact with baby immediately after birth so they didn't perform any tests during that first hour. After about an hour, someone from the nursery came in to evaluate the baby and give him a bath. This all happened in our hospital room and I totally forgot that I wanted Kevin to help with the first bath, but since we were present for the whole thing I was happy to just lie back and watch.

They also administered the Erythromycin Opthalmic Ointment. I did not feel my baby was at risk for eye infections that the ointment can prevent, but I did research the ointment and found no negative side effects and decided it was better to be safe. I have read that the ointment can blur the baby's vision, which is why I wanted to wait a while before administering.

I cannot quite remember, but I believe the Vitamin K shot was not given until the next morning when we were in our recovery room. It may have been at the same time as the ointment was given, but it is all a little blurry. I never had a strong enough opinion about the Vitamin K shot to withhold it completely. Vitamin K is given to babies at birth as a preventative measure to ensure they have enough Vitamin K for proper blood clotting.

Kevin and I wanted to try exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first four to six weeks after Baby A's birth. Because of this, we denied any bottles or pacifiers at the hospital.


That about sums it up! I feel so lucky and blessed that I was able to have a birth experience very close to what I planned for and imagined it to be. I know that may not be the case if we have a second child, so I hope I am able to keep the mindset that I had leading up Baby A's birth and know that the end result is what really matters. The stars somehow aligned for me, though, and, along with my planning and preparation, I had an experience that I will always look back on fondly. 


If you would like to learn more about following a Paleo lifestyle during pregnancy, check out my first book, The Everything Paleo Pregnancy Book. I cover everything from which healthy, Paleo foods to focus on to get the most important nutrients for pregnancy, how certain foods can alleviate common pregnancy ailments, how to modify your workout plan during pregnancy and over 100 healthy recipes! The book is available in both paperback and Kindle versions through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Did you have a birth plan? Which choices were most important to you?

Image Credits
McBeth / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
jbhalper / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
markhillary / Foter / CC BY
Fey Ilyas / Foter / CC BY-SA

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby A's Birth Story

It has taken me a month to get this written out and share Baby A with the world. I was a happy momma cuddling with my new baby and wanted to keep him to myself for a while. :) I had an amazing birth experience, though, and I really wanted to share it with everyone to show that you can have the birth you want and look back on it with joy if you are prepared and have the right mindset.

I prepared for childbirth by attending birthing classes and reading countless birth stories. I think the most important thing I took away from these is that you cannot plan and predict your birth experience down to every little detail. I knew the birth experience that I wanted, but I also knew that so much of it was out of my control and that I needed to expect the unexpected. By arming myself with knowledge about c-sections, episiotomies and other interventions and complications, I felt secure with the choices I made in my birth plan, but also knew that I would trust my midwife's judgement if she recommended anything that was not a part of my plan. 

By going into it with the frame of mind that my birth experience may not look the way I expected it to look, I was able to accept everything that came my way. I was never scared and I never felt like this was something my body shouldn't be able to do. I knew that my baby and I could work together to make this happen and that I was built to do this...... 

I went into labor on June 7, 2013.

The morning was like any other morning. I woke up, worked out and did a little work in the garden. We needed groceries, but I knew I could go into labor at any time because I was already four days late so I went out to pick up groceries and run a few other errands, but only bought a few days worth of food just in case. While I was driving between stores, I noticed my contractions were painful for the first time, but they were barely noticeable and about 20 minutes apart. When I was in the store walking around they went away so I didn’t think anything of it.

My new name
I came home and took a nap until about 5:30pm when Kevin came home from work. We both napped upstairs for a bit and around 7:00pm I told him I felt a contraction. Then about five minutes later I told him I felt another one. He said we should probably start timing them, but they were still not very painful so I didn’t think much of it. I came downstairs and cooked dinner while Kevin napped a little longer.

As we were eating dinner, I was feeling more contractions and they were a bit stronger so we started timing them. By the time we finished eating they were almost a minute long and between four and five minutes apart. Kevin thought this might be it and we should get going, but I was so worried about getting to the hospital too early that I tried to stall. I suggested we go for a walk around the block.

It was about 9:30pm when we left for our walk and as soon as we left the house I realized I had to slow down or stop walking during each contraction. Kevin was still timing them and they were getting closer to three minutes apart. At that point I knew this was it so I cut our walk a little short and we headed home to call our midwife, Alison. I spoke to Alison and told her my contractions were three minutes apart and lasting close to a minute each. She said if they are getting to the point where I have to work through them then I might want to come in and get checked.

I could stare at him all day
Kevin already had our bags by the door so we got in the car and headed for the hospital. When we arrived, it was already 10:30pm so the main entrance was closed and we had to walk all the way around to the ER entrance. I had to stop along the way whenever a contraction hit, but we eventually made it inside where Kevin checked us in and I went to the bathroom, where I had a couple more contractions.

We sat down in the waiting room and chatted with a man who had a piece of metal sticking out of his foot from a lawn mower accident. It was odd having a conversation and having to stop every few minutes, close my eyes and stay completely silent as I focused on my contractions, but he was very nice about it. As soon as they brought my wheelchair another contraction hit and I had to ask her to give me a minute while I entered my own little world again to stay focused.

Once we made it up to triage, they hooked me up to the monitors and drew some blood. I HATED having to lie down and I couldn't wait to get out of there. It made the contractions so much more uncomfortable. It felt like forever before my nurse, Amanda, came and got me to take me over to my labor and delivery room.

When we got into our room, they hooked me back up to the monitors and I had to lie down for a few more contractions. Then they let me get on the telemetry monitors so I could walk around. The rooms was really nice, with a tub and dimmer lights. Most of the medical equipment was hidden in cabinets so it actually felt more like a hotel room. My midwife stopped in to say hi and let me know she was going to try and get some sleep. I mostly paced around the room and found Kevin whenever a contraction was coming on so he could hold me and rock back and forth with me a bit. I was still pretty quiet at this point, just letting out a small sigh at the end of each contraction.

When Kevin wasn't busy with me, he was writing the beginning of our birth story and taking a few pictures. He also played the labor playlist he made on our iPad, which was a lot of Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and even some Daft Punk.

My little guy's first day on Earth
Amanda was so awesome and just let us do our thing, checking on us every so often. I had no sense of what time it was or how much time was passing. I really wanted to get off the monitors, but they wouldn't let me because the baby's heart rate was staying so calm and not jumping up during contractions. I couldn't even sit on the birth ball because it was picking up my heart rate and not the baby's when I did. Amanda brought me a popsicle to try and jump baby's heart rate, but it still didn't work. I also munched on the "labor ade" ice cubes that we made at home and brought along in a large water bottle. I didn't feel like drinking so the ice cubes were a life saver.

Eventually, I asked Amanda when I could get the monitor off and get in the tub because I could tell things were progressing and I thought it might help my pain. At this point, I was making a low humming noise through each contraction and Kevin would rub my back or massage my low back. It was totally involuntary, but I couldn't stay silent. She placed some contraption on my belly that made a vibrating noise and I felt the baby jump. She did it a few more times and said that was good enough and let me get in the tub.

I got in the tub on my knees and rested my head on the side of the tub. I tried to keep my hips open as wide as I could and things got really intense, really quickly. I was making a loud, steady meditating noise through each contraction and at the end of every few contractions I felt an involuntary urge to push. Amanda said when it got to the point that the pressure did not let up between contractions to call her and they would help me get out of the tub and onto the bed. That only took about 30 minutes and I told her I thought it was time to get out around 2:45am.

Amanda and Kevin helped me out of the tub and into my gown and I got into the one position on the bed that I swore I wasn't going to because I thought I would be too embarrassed! They lowered the bottom half of the bed and I got on all fours with my butt facing out for everyone in the room to see. At that time, though, I didn't care at all. I knew that position had worked in the tub and it just felt right. Kevin turned on our Sigur Ros playlist, which was very calming and relaxing as things intensified.
Our new family

My contractions continued to pick up and I felt the need to push at the end of almost every contraction now. After one contraction, my water broke with a gush, like a water balloon had popped, and I think it stunned both of us! Alison came back and I remember telling everybody how hot I was. They covered my back and forehead with ice cold washcloths and Alison somehow set up a fan next to my face, but I never looked up to see what she did.

I was so focused on what my body was doing that I never really looked at anybody, but I was aware they were there helping me. Kevin scratched my back through every contraction, which was really soothing. I honestly never even thought about getting any pain medication. It probably helped that things moved so quickly, but I just kept reminding myself that my body was made to do this and I thought about all the women who had done this before me and I felt like they were there with me.

It wasn't longer than thirty minutes or so that I felt I was actually pushing. Alison was amazing and told me to just do what my body told me to do. When I felt like pushing, I did. I usually felt the need to push two or three times through each contraction and I would let out a loud grunting noise when I bared down to push. I had no frame of reference to determine how my pain level coincided with my progress, but it felt more intense than it did painful. I just kept pushing and would rest between contractions because I didn't want to push too fast and tear.

Moments after Baby A's  birth
After only about 30 minutes of pushing I could hear people saying they could see the head and Alison asked if I wanted to touch the head. I reached down and touched it, but it didn't feel like a head. I wouldn't have known what it was except that she told me it was the head. That did give me a lot of encouragement, though, so I kept pushing and resting and then I heard Alison say to give one more push to get the shoulders out. I had no idea the head was even out yet so I gave one big push and I felt the baby slide out.

I felt so much relief inside my body and then I heard the baby let out a cry right away. I realized I still didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl so I asked Kevin “What is it?” and he told me it was a boy. I thought I would start crying, but I was so overwhelmed by everything that had happened I was just kinds of stunned still. Our son was officially born at 3:32am on June 8, 2013. He was 8lbs, 9oz and 21in long.

Alison passed him underneath me so I could hold him and I scooted up on the bed so I could lie down with him on my chest while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. Kevin cut the cord as I held our son. He was so quiet and alert on my chest and we just lied there while I delivered the placenta. It looked like a heart, it wasn’t round like I thought it would be.

 At some point, I told Amanda we should put a diaper on him before it was too late. Well, it was too late. There was meconium all over my stomach, but I didn’t mind. They cleaned us both up, put him in a diaper and handed him back to me. After about an hour, someone from the nursery came to do all his newborn tests and give him a bath. At some point not long after, they put me in the wheelchair to go downstairs to my recovery room. They put our son in my arms and off we went.

 When we got to recovery, the baby fell asleep I drank an endless amount of ice water and ate a banana. The rest of the morning (it was at least 5:00am by now) was a blur of nurses and different hospital staff. We finally got a bit of rest and my first real meal a few hours later. My nurses were all awesome and so helpful. I was so thankful for everything they did for us over the next few days.
Welcome home!

Baby A was so sleepy that first day, though, and he wouldn’t eat. He slept through the whole day. My nurse finally had me pump, even though his blood sugar was fine. Looking back, I wish I had waited. I was only able to pump 1cc and feed it to him through a syringe. By 6:30pm that evening, he was ready to really give breastfeeding a try and he did great. For the rest of the stay, he ate like a champ and kept me up most of the second night making up for lost time.

 We were discharged on a Monday morning, but I couldn’t get him to stop eating long enough to fill out the paperwork so we didn’t leave until almost 1:00pm. I cried when we left the hospital. I couldn’t believe he was out in the real world and we were bringing him home. I was thrilled and nervous and excited all at the same time with the responsibility of raising little Baby A.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What I've Been Gathering Lately...

I've been wanting to write this post for a while, but my life seems to happen in bits and pieces now...mostly in between the baby's naps. :) Since the day I started the blog, I have struggled a bit with the Paleo label. While I strongly believe an ancestral way of eating is ones of the closest things out there to a perfect diet, I sometimes feel boxed in by using that label. Some people are immediately turned off when they hear the word "Paleo" - some think all you can eat is meat, it is often referred to as a fad diet and there are many people who feel that you can't call yourself Paleo unless you follow the diet's guidelines to a "T". The thing with Paleo, though, is it means different things to different people. What it means to me has evolved over these past couple of years, as has my direction for this blog.

I show sweet potatoes who is boss!
Discovering Paleo is what introduced me to a life of healthy eating and even inspired me to go back to school for holistic nutrition and I will be forever grateful for what I have learned. Kevin and I have been at this healthy eating thing for a couple of years and recently we've started to experiment with more of a real food approach to eating. We are not strictly Paleo, but the majority of our meals (and the recipes you will see on the blog) are Paleo approved. I strongly believe that a diet of real, whole, nutritious, unrefined food is the secret to a healthy life and we really are in control of our health and our bodies.

Happy and Healthy :)
We've been experimenting with some new foods here and there and even the random indulgent frozen yogurt. :) We focus on organic produce, pasture raised meats and foods that can be eaten in their natural state, but I don't like the mentality that having hummus and veggies, corn chips and salsa or a glass of wine is "cheating". If a particular food makes us feel yucky after eating it, we limit it from our diets. If not, I see no problem with occasionally adding in a few foods to our diets that we previously considered off limits, especially because 99.9% of our meals are still fruit, vegetables and meat.

Serious indulgence.....
When I started this blog, I planned to mostly post healthy recipes. While I'll still post the tasty recipes that Kevin and I make for our family, I also plan to write about healthy living, parenting, holistic nutrition and other random musings. I have learned so much through my courses in school and the research I've done on pregnancy and parenting and I have such a strong desire to share what I learn.

To sum things up, What I Gather isn't going anywhere, but I am changing directions a bit. Hopefully you'll continue with me on this journey and share your thoughts, recipes and random insights with me, as well!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Grain Free Lemon Blueberry Lavender Muffins

There is a totally random train of thought that pulled into the station to create these tasty muffins...

See, blueberries were on sale at the grocery store so Kevin picked up a couple of containers, but then I realized I had nothing to do with that many blueberries. I decided to make muffins, but I didn't want just any old plain blueberry muffins so I was going to make blueberry and apple muffins. Sounds good right?

Well, before I had a chance to make them, we noticed the lavender blooming in the gardens that were built in the medians of the streets of our fair city. I am sure it is frowned upon, but each year we have taken to picking bits of lavender here and there when we are stuck at the stop light. We usually just put it in a vase, but Kevin nabbed a few sprigs over the weekend and I remembered these awesome lemon and lavender sugar cookies I made a few years back. They even won me a blue ribbon at the fair!

My mind went from blueberry and apple to lemon, blueberry and lavender and I am SO glad it did. These muffins came out even better than I could have imagined! They are light, but full of flavor, the lavender is subtle and the blueberry flavor bursts in your mouth. And they are grain-free to boot! I'll get on that train! Choo Choo!

Side note: Can you tell these are the ramblings of a sleep-deprived new mother?

Additional Side Note: I would suggest using culinary lavender or lavender that you know has not been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers. I do not endorse roadside lavender.

Lemon Blueberry Lavender Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
Time: 40 Minutes

1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs fresh lavender
6 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon

In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and lavender.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, honey, oil and vanilla. Blend well with whisk.
Mix dry ingredients into wet, blending with a whisk.
Fold in blueberries and lemon zest with a spatula.
Pour batter evenly into a 12 cup muffin tin (greased with coconut oil or using paper liners).
Bake at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool and serve!