Paleo Chocolate Chunk Love Muffins

February 25th, 2015

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For Valentine’s Day I connected with multiple bloggers for a caveman love muffin swap.  It was so fun! I was inspired to come up with a new recipe for muffins to participate and this, my darlings, is what I came up with. Paleo Chocolate Chunk Love Muffins! I made these up and shipped them out to my fellow bloggers, if you’d like to see what they had to say, find me on instagram and look for the hashtag #cavemanlovemuffins.  You’ll find us all. 

Since having my baby, I’ve had to work hard to balance my weight, milk supply and my cranial pressure issues. It’s been a struggle for sure, but then I can have little treats like this. It doesn’t feel like I’m missing much at all when I can whip up something this good.

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For the chocolate chunks, they are a tiny cheat.  Just a tiny one, but if you use the “Enjoy Life” brand, you can find it here, they are soy free, gluten free chocolate chunks. If you want to go light on the chocolate, you can do chips, or swap it out for some organic raisins.  It really is a special treat though to have that warm muffin with gooey hot chocolate. I won’t tempt you too much. Here’s the recipe, enjoy and let me know what you think!

 

Paleo Chocolate Chunk Love Muffins
Yields 13
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of almond flour
  2. 1 tbsp coconut flour
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  5. 1 tbsp vanilla
  6. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  7. 1/4 cup maple syrup/honey
  8. 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
  11. 1/4 cup smashed macadamia nuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all the flours, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Combine wet and dry bowls in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chunks and the macadamia nuts.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes
  7. Share with those you love!
Nearly Natural Momma http://www.nearlynaturalmomma.com/
pintmuffins

Ecocentric Mom Box Review

February 9th, 2015

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A few weeks ago I was approached by Ecocentric Mom to review one of their boxes.  I love doing these types of box reviews, specially for green/eco-friendly products specially geared towards moms. I don’t know about you, but I’m a busy work at home, homeschooling mom of three and I just don’t have the time to look for the best products for my kids.  Who has time to shop? Not this gal. Ecocentric Mom puts together a box every other month full of organic, eco-friendly products for you to sample at home.  Super convenient.

They have many different types of boxes, and I asked if I could review the mom and baby box since I have a 5 month old little boy. When I first got my little box, I wondered how much stuff you could actually get in such a small box.  I was kinda ready to be disappointed, but after I started digging in I was shocked at how many things were packed inside this little box.

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When I opened it up, right on top was a card with lots of information about the items packed inside.  This was new.

 

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And then I started pulling things out.  Unpacking, and unpacking…

 

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What you can’t see in this picture were my kids hovering behind me.  They wanted to grab all the snack bits and run.  So what was included in this box?

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1. Mama loves Me.  This book apparently is out of print!  Cute little book that is hard to find nestled cutely in this box. I googled other reviews for this box, and apparently little card books are a regular.  Love it. I’m already reading books to my little guy and these books fit easily in the diaper bag and are ready to go.  On the book it says it’s value is $6.99.

2.Natural Seal, 1 oz bottle. Never heard of this stuff before but I like having it on hand.  My daughter is a little swimmer, and we have a first aid kit that goes with us to practice and to every swim meet.  We got to try out the product first day (thanks to the dangers of homeschooling…paper cuts.  The struggle is real). My daughter was pleasantly surprised it didn’t hurt, her tearful protest ended right after I sprayed it on her.  I’m glad to see it came with a coupon….it doesn’t expire either, so I’ll be on the look out for this product when I ever get a chance to get out.  The 1 oz. bottle is valued at around $12.

3. One packet of Amara dried apples baby food. Another product I had never heard of.  What a neat idea to have dried baby food for whenever you’re out with baby.  We camp, and we travel and on our next trip I will be sure to stock up on these for my little man.  What a fabulous little find. Moisten it with water or breast milk and you have your little one’s lunch.  Love it. The one package’s value is about $1.50.

4. Pura Botanica Fusions “Pick me up” Bath salts. This one obviously for momma. After a long day of taking care of everyone else’s needs, we should take some time for ourselves and recharge so we can do it all again tomorrow.  Right? These salts are lovely! So refreshing.  They retail for $11.99, but I found them on Amazon for $7.50.  Either way a nice addition to the box. Four products in, and I’ve hit my $24.99 price for the box, and I’m done yet. MOAR!

5. Bum Boosa Baby Wipes.  I received two samples of these wipes, and they went straight into my first aid kit again.  This may not have been the most valuable addition to the box, but I love sampling natural products that I will use day in and day out.  Super useful to have these little packets to wipe bums or boo boo’s with, even if the value of them is negligible.

6. Snack Out Loud Crunchy Bean Snack, tomato basil. I didn’t get picture of this one by itself because my hovering children took off with it after I snapped the group photo above. I didn’t even get to try them, they wolfed them down (because you know…I don’t ever feed them).  Apparently they didn’t read the part where it was healthy because it disappeared.  The value of the one package was $1.79.

7. Flavorz Organic Sports Drink Mix. I didn’t get a picture of this one either.  My daughter couldn’t wait to try it. Lots of the girls on her swim team bring gatorade and other sports drinks to practice and I don’t allow my daughter to drink it because of food colorings and other sugars that I think are just unhealthy.  We mixed it up right away and put it in her water bottle.  She brought it with her to practice that night even.  She loved it.  So glad we now have an alternative to gatorade! The value of the one package of mix is about $1.29.

8. Kelapo Coconut Oil, two pouches. Something I’ve actually seen before, yay for not being completely uninformed.  I’ve sampled this oil in the past, and was glad to see it in this box.  This got tucked away for future camping trips.  Loving the little pouches.  This valued at about $2.00.

 9. eInvite Idea Catchers. Cute little sampler of quality card stock idea catchers.  Perfect to tuck away in your purse to catch phone numbers or any other notes you need to take down. Great little addition.  Valued at about $5.o0

10. Coupons!!  Tucked inside was a 20% off coupon to O&N Collective. O&N Collective is an online apothecary specializing in certified organic and natural skin and personal care products. Something else to check out! 

Overall I’m pretty impressed with the quality and the selection in this box.  I love it when these boxes introduce me to new products for me to sample and try. The mom and baby box was perfect for me and my little man.  A subscription would make a lovely gift for a shower gift for any expecting mom you might know. Because really…new moms as much as we’d love to, just rarely have the time to get out there and get shopping.

If you’re interested in getting your own box just follow this link. Boxes are delivered once every other month and are $24 a box. That includes shipping.  For a limited time if you use the code “ecolove2015″ you’ll receive $5 off your first box.  Enjoy!

Things you should know. I was not paid to write this post, but I did receive the box free for review. If you click on the links and order your own box, I will receive a small compensation for you doing so.  If you love the box, and love the blog it’s a great way to help support my blog at no extra cost to you.  I sure would appreciate it!  Xo!!

 

ecocentricpin

February Stitch Fix Review

February 2nd, 2015

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My February Stitch Fix was probably one of my most exciting and disappointing fixes yet.  It was dramatic. I laughed, I cried…ok, maybe not. I always kinda sneak and see what I have coming when I get the notification, and I was pretty excited to see that I couldn’t google lots of what was coming.  It wasn’t popping up in other people’s fixes.  New stuff!! 

When I got my box, I was so excited to see the blues.  I love the color palate that was chosen this month.  Loving these blues!! When I opened the box I genuinely thought this would be the month that I’d buy everything in the box. This was the laughing part.  I was so happy!  I mean check these colors out!

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So, before I go any further let me give you a run down of what Stitch Fix is. Stitchfix is an online styling service. You get your own personal stylist who handpicks a “fix” for you with five items. You get either clothing or accessories that are unique to your budget, and tastes. You’ll get three days to decide if you’re going to keep anything from your fix. The styling fee is $20 and that goes towards any purchase you end up making. If you  buy all 5 you get 25% off the entire order. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s so fun.  You can sign up to get fixes whenever you want, or get them sent to you monthly, even bi-weekly. It’s perfect for a busy mom like me who has no time to shop for clothes. You can learn more about signing up for your first fix here!

Here’s what I got:

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Urban Expressions Maxwell Braided Zip Bottom Tote $48.00

I had requested again another purse.  I think I’m done requesting purses for now.  I asked for one that would be big enough to also be used as a diaper bag since I now have a 5 month old. They obliged but it wasn’t my thing.  I wanted to like it. I wanted the third time to be the charm, but charmed I was not. I didn’t mind the blue, I actually think I liked the blue.  I think it was the brass fittings, and the over all style of the bag. Genuinely, I’m not sure.  I didn’t love it. Verdict: Returned

 

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Bovina Dolman Knit Top $58.00

I had a love/hate relationship with this top. Sometimes I liked it, then other times I felt like it added 15lbs to my frame. I also wasn’t sure about the bottom half of the back being different fabric than the rest of the top. Being so unsure about it made me not want to spend almost $60 on it. Verdict: Returned

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Laila Jayde Arvin Knit Top $54.00

I don’t even know where to begin with this top.  I’m going to be real with you guys.  Since my last Fix, I lost 10lbs. I’m slowly working towards my pre-pregger weight, and this top makes me look bigger than I did last month. It easily added 20lbs to the way I look.  On top of that, it was weird and see through. I struggled to find something appropriate to wear underneath it and the style cards were no help. They didn’t even mention about wearing something under it. I threw on the nude cami that I got in my January Fix just to keep this family friendly. It also flared out in some weird way…this was beyond fail. I think maybe this shirt was meant for someone who was petite.  It really didn’t flatter AT ALL. Verdict: GTFO

 

Kut from the Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean $78.00  

kutfromtheklothjeansThese jeans were a hard decision. They fit very nicely, and I felt they were very flattering. They were just right in regards to fit. Not too snug, not too lose. That alone would have convinced me these needed to stay.  My husband and my best friend though were my voice of reason. Reason 1: They had holes in them. At some point or another all my jeans end up with holes, I garden, I hike, and I play with my kids.  It just happens. To purchase jeans with pre-made holes just didn’t make sense.  Reason 2: I’m in the process of losing weight. In another month or two those jeans will hopefully be too big. So then I’d have baggy jeans with holes in them. Verdict: Returned

 

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Berneen Printed Dolman Sleeve Top $58.00

There you go!  Now you might be able to tell I’ve shed a little weight since last month. With a sea of no’s I think I finally found my yes.  This is very similar to 41 Hawthorn Dolman top I got a few months ago. I loved the Navy and Teal colors, and the pattern was interesting with out being over powering.  Easily dressed up for work, or worn with jeans for casual. Finally, something in this fix that was flattering and sensible. Verdict: Kept

I had such high hopes for this fix. I loved the colors, but I felt like nothing was fitting together until the last top. It may surprise you, but I requested the same stylist again next month.  I asked her to look at my blog (hi!), and I hope that the potential I see shows next month.

If you’re curious to see what I’ve gotten in the past you can check out my previous fixes:

Fix #1
Fix #2
Fix #3

 If you want to try Stitch Fix, I totally recommend it.  You can fill out your style profile and sign up for your first Fix here.

 Something to know: I am not being paid for this post, I just really enjoy Stitch Fix. I think it would be great for any of my readers who don’t have time to shop, or people like me who can’t get past jeans and a t-shirt. If you sign up for stitch fix using one of the links I provided in this post it helps me earn Stitch Fix credits towards my next fix.  You can earn them too once you sign up for your first fix. You can help support my clothes habit by clicking here. Thanks!!

 

 

febstitchreview 

WB Kitchen’s Paleo Snacks Review and Giveaway

January 23rd, 2015

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Another blogger friend of mine talked to me recently about WB Kitchens and their paleo snacks.  I was intrigued! It’s hard where I live to find snacks that I don’t end up making myself that stick to the paleo and primal diet. I have to drive nearly an hour to the closest Whole Foods…needless to say, that doesn’t happen often.bigcityburrito

When I wrote to them, I was pleasantly surprised they were a Colorado based company. This coming May will be three years since I left a piece of my heart in Colorado.  My husband’s job moves us quite a bit, and Colorado was one of my favorite places we’ve lived. It was a health food mecca, and eating clean, healthy organic food was so easy.  It was everywhere.  There’s practically a Whole Foods on every corner…ok, maybe not every corner. When WB Kitchens introduced themselves to me as a small company (love!), based out of Ft. Collin’s Colorado (LOVE!!)  I almost asked him to send me a burrito from Big City Burrito while he was sending me some of his products to try (not health food, haha!).  

A few days after emailing, I received a huge box of samples.  I couldn’t believe it.  My kids drooled over them, too.  Brownie, coconut shortbread cookies, honey nut bars and then my favorite, the Java Mocha bar.  It was hard for me to snap a few pictures before keeping them from digging in.  Seriously look at this box!

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The ingredients they use are the highest quality. Raw Unfiltered Honey from the a Colorado based supplier called Beeyond the Hive. I love that they use local honey. They label each bar if it is paleo, SCD or GAPS friendly which most are. Their facility is gluten free and they never process soy, dairy, gluten or any grains at all. Check out the nutrition information label. Most of the calories on here come from FAT. Perfect for those high fat, paleo dieters. The fat content also comes from coconut oil, which is great. Coconut oil is a great source of MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides), it’s easily digested, and improves the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.

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The only flours they use in their bars are organic almond flour and coconut flour, completely paleo/primal diet friendly. The bars and cookies aren’t super sweet, so if you’ve been eating a paleo diet for a while I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  They’re a sweet treat, with out being sickeningly sweet.  It’s just right.

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Currently they are working at getting the word out about their products. You can find them right now at Whole Foods, and other natural foods retailers.  Why wait for that though when you could win an entire box for your family to try? I’ve partnered with WB Kitchen’s to bring these right to you in my latest giveaway!  Fill out the entry form below for a chance to win a box of your own goodies!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 wbpint

Paleo Broccoli Salad

January 19th, 2015

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One of the toughest parts about being paleo/primal is not getting sick of your veggies and sadly there just doesn’t seem to be enough veggie recipes out there.  Where are the sides? It’s seems like it’s all about the meat. Salad? Salad salad salad.  I feel like when you’re first starting out paleo/primal that’s all you eat and it’s easy to get sick of it.  This paleo broccoli salad is a way to add some variety to your salad routine. I’ve made this quite a few times and I’ve had to tweak a few things, but I think I’ve come to a place where I really like it.  One suggestion I think makes this side super tasty is to chose a light honey.  Darker honey seems to have a stronger flavor, and I just find it sticks out too much.

This is a perfect side to make a big batch of and dip into all week, or to bring to work.

 

 

Paleo Friendly Broccoli Salad
Serves 6
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups of raw broccoli blanched (or 1 head of broccoli)
  2. 1 cup of paleo friendly mayo
  3. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup light raw honey
  5. 2 strips of bacon cut into bite sized pieces
  6. 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  7. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  8. 1/4 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Fry up your bacon, and be sure to add an extra piece in the skillet for snacking. (cooking is hard work you know)
  2. To blanch your broccoli, cut and wash all your broccoli and then put it in a metal colander and steam it over boiling water for a few minutes just to turn it nice and bright green.
  3. Throw everything else into a large bowl and mix well. Let it sit for an hour and then enjoy. Should last up to 4 days in the fridge depending on how fresh your broccoli is.
Notes
  1. One recipe I keep going back to for paleo friendly mayo is Nom Nom Paleo's Mayo recipe She's even got a video to make learning how to make your own mayo super easy.
Nearly Natural Momma http://www.nearlynaturalmomma.com/
paleobroccolisalad

And Here We Are at the Table — A book review

January 16th, 2015

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I love doing cook book reviews! I almost never say no to cook book reviews, and I was thrilled when I was asked to review And Here We Are at the Table, a grain free collection of meals from around the world.  We’ve been a grain free family for going on three years now and it’s always so nice to get fresh ideas. My friend Ariana Mullins is a fellow blogger at And Here We Are….   She is an American ex-pat who takes her favorite recipes from all around in the world into one lovely cook book.

 

When it comes to cook books I admit, I am a little kid who needs beautiful inspiring photos to get me pulled into the recipes. Not only are there beautiful pictures of food, but she shows her home where they currently live in England along with her beautiful gardens. She takes us on a journey to her favorite local spots to get the fresh ingredients she uses to make food for her family.

 

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One of the first recipes I couldn’t wait to try was her hollandaise sauce.  I love eggs benedict, and hollandaise sauce with poached eggs has always been intimidating to me.  Ariana even admits that it was intimidating to her too, and goes over the process simply! I was so floored with how easy she makes it, that I asked her if I could share this recipe with you, and she said yes! Here you go!

 

 

Hollandaise Sauce for One

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1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon hot water
sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice (please, from a real
lemon)
1 tablespoon butter (the better your butter, the better
your sauce)
cayenne pepper

 

Directions from her book:

Put the egg yolk in a small metal bowl. Whisk it a little.  Add a tablespoon of hot water (I am usually simmering some water in preparation of cooking the sauce, and then poaching eggs, so this works out very conveniently) and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk it some more, then add roughly a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon (roughy- I have never actually measured it) of butter.

Put the metal bowl over a simmering pot of water. Whisk. The higher the heat and boil of your water, obviously the faster it will cook- but then there’s a higher need to be paying close attention and whisking constantly. I keep mine a little lower, and give myself the leisure of chopping up some greens as I whisk- but still put in the time whisking well. The butter will melt, everything will blend together and gradually begin to thicken. It’s up to you how thick you want it to be- keep in mind that you will probably want it to be oozy versus gloppy, and it will thicken slightly more as it cools. 

Taste it. Decide what it needs more of, and add the cayenne pepper if you like. I have also added a little olive oil to balance the favors a bit, and haven’t gotten in trouble for adding that, more butter, or even more lemon juice after it has thickened. For the record, I have also made this with white wine vinegar when I didn’t have much lemon on hand (some recipes use mostly white wine vinegar anyhow).

And that’s it! It’s really not too tricky, and always delicious.

Isn’t she lovely? The whole book is filled with clever recipes. New unique recipes to add more variety to your daily cooking. It’s fun to sit and read her stories, and look at the pictures of the places she’s been. There are recipes about making flavored vinegars, salad dressings and other condiments, not to mention unique recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner! She loves coming up with new tasty creations for her family and it shows.  She even takes you foraging with her family for stinging nettles.  So fun! I’m so glad I got a preview of this book, it’s an easy read, adventurous book of good food.

Be the first to go get your own copy, it goes on sale today! From now until Febuary 11th you can get the book 30% off by using the promotion code ATTHETABLE. Visit And Here We Are to get your own copy, or enter my giveaway below for a chance to win your own digital version!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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How to use a Neti Pot

January 14th, 2015

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I’ve been using a neti pot for years, so long it crossed my mind this morning that maybe not everyone knows how to use a neti pot. There are a few times of year where my trusty little Neti Pot makes an appearance. In the winter, for any occasional sinus infection, spring time for seasonal allergies, and again in the fall for ragweed.  If you’ve never used a Neti Pot, it can be weird and even scary at first.  I don’t feel like there’s a drowning sensation, and if your salt and temperature is correct you should almost not feel anything at all. 

So what is a Neti Pot?  The word Neti comes from an ancient yogic technique for sinus rinsing called Jala Neti. Yogis believed that regular rinsing of the nasal cavity promoted good health.  Turns out, they were right. Inside your nasal passages are tiny hair-like structures called cilia. These cilia brush back and forth to push mucus down the back of your throat or into your nose to be blown out. Using a salt water/saline solution in your nasal cavities helps thin out the mucus in your nasal cavities, while helping improve coordination of the cilia so they can more effectively push the snot out (snot is a technical term..fyi).

 

So how do you get started? Well, first you need a neti pot. I like my simple no frills neti pot that I have pictured above.  You can find one like it here. Next you need a tsp of salt.  You can use regular table salt, but realize that there are additives to it.  I have used regular salt with out any side affects, but I feel more comfortable using natural sea salt, like this.  Next you need distilled water. Why? There is a slight risk of getting a brain infection from an ameba that’s rare, but found in rivers, lakes, hot springs, and occasionally tap water.  Read more about that here. Now let’s get started.

 

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First, I fill my measuring cup with 1 cup of distilled water. I nuke it in my 1000 watt microwave for 30 seconds. For me, that gives me perfectly lukewarm water. Test the water out on sensitive skin, like the inside of your arm.  It should feel comfortable, not hot or overly warm, and not cool either.  You can use room temperature water if you are nervous about burning yourself, it will just feel cold inside your nose.

Next, add 1 tsp of salt to your water and stir until it is dissolved. Then pour half your salt water into your neti pot. Stand over your sink, tilt your head to the side and pour your water into your nose.  Gently blow your nose when you’re done, then repeat on the other side.

If you’re a visual person I found a great video tutorial here.  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

netipotpint 

Sources: Web MD, NY Times 

Basic Sugar Free Coleslaw

January 7th, 2015

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Sometime last year I became a coleslaw fanatic.  I was craving all kinds of cabbage while pregnant and coleslaw was one of my go-to sides.  That’s when I came up with my basic sugar free coleslaw recipe. It was easy to throw together, and it would last all week in the fridge. I didn’t really care for the grocery store’s version, or any other fast food versions.  They were all too sweet, too runny, questionable ingredients, no thank you. This is perfect for barbecue, any kind of pork, or slaw dogs (Sorry, is my southern showing?). 

Sometimes I make my own mayo, and other times when I don’t have any on hand or don’t have time to make it I buy store bought. I’ve been lucky enough to find some GMO free mayo at our store. If you can’t find any, here’s a great recipe I use often.

I’ve given you a very basic coleslaw recipe that doesn’t use sugar.  Play around with it by adding spices or other vegetables.  One of my favorite things to add is green onions, or celery.  Enjoy!

Basic Sugar Free Coleslaw
Yields 7
Primal/Paleo Friendly Basic Coleslaw recipe
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups of sliced cabbage
  2. 1 cup julienned carrots
  3. 1/2 cup of paleo friendly mayo
  4. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 tsp celery seed
  6. 2 tbsp raw honey (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until well blended.
Notes
  1. To save yourself some time, you can always buy a bag of pre-washed coleslaw mix. It's just chopped cabbage and carrots in a bag. If you're super lucky, you may even find organic cut slaw mix.
Nearly Natural Momma http://www.nearlynaturalmomma.com/
pintcoleslaw

New Year’s Resolution –Making the best of 2015

January 5th, 2015

 

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I feel like New Year’s Resolutions are getting a bad reputation lately.  Why chose now to change when you can resolve to be better any time of year?  I know my friends who visit the gym just hate to see how crowded it gets in January when people resolve to take healthier steps in their life…but slowly drop off by mid February. It’s become a marketing ploy and you hear it all the time: New Year, New You! *dramatic eyeroll*  With all that I can’t help myself. Every year as the old year comes to a close I take a look back on the year to see what could have been better.  I think I’m the only person I know of who really begins to contemplate a New Year’s Resolution and I tend to actually keep these resolutions through out the year.  Sometimes they are simple, like…no soda for a year.  Sometimes they are determined, like the year I put my disease in remission. I know some people think they could better themselves throughout the year, why wait until January?

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Personally, I look at this time of year like a fresh slate, or sometimes a starting line.  I have a couple of goals this year, physical, professional, and personal. First, I need to take a look back at this year.

 

Health

I had a baby this year. As I’m typing this, he’s about 3 feet away from me kicking away in his play pen. For someone who has Pseudotumor, that’s an amazing accomplishment. I’ve been medicine free since I lost nearly fifty pounds, but my neurologist and obstetrician were all very nervous for me when I found out I was expecting. I had to keep my weight in check while growing an amazing beautiful boy. If not, my raging headaches could return, and I would continue to damage my eyes and my brain.  Pregnancy hormones alone could have triggered a flare up, or even brought me out of remission. However healthy primal eating kept my weight in check, and in August I delivered a healthy 8 pound baby boy.

As careful as I was to not gain excess weight, I still have weight to lose this year. It’s not the focus of my year because healthy primal eating has been such a huge part of my life dialing it back anymore won’t be such a big deal. For more information about eating a primal diet while nursing you should read this

SimplyResolution

 

Professional

Professionally I have to make changes, too.  For fifteen years I’ve been a music teacher, both in public schools and privately. I love my job, I really do. Having a baby makes this job infinitely harder. I don’t want to be away from him since he’s solely breast fed, but I can’t exactly play gigs with a baby in my arms and it’s very hard to teach lessons with him nearby sometimes.  He also can’t handle the late nights at the music store any more. So we’ve had to adapt. My income as a musician has gone down considerably since having the baby, I am a freelancer after all.  

Between that, and the possibility of us having to move again I’ve had to reconsider lots of things about how I bring my portion of income to our family. Being a musician is a job of networking along with skill.  Other musicians have to know I’m here, and know what I can do. Other teachers have to know I’m here, and know that I’m good at what I can do. It’s hard to break into sometimes, and when I have to move with my husband every two to three years rebuilding gets tiresome. When we left Colorado I handed over my robust viola studio to a fresh grad. Don’t get me wrong, she’s amazing and I know my students there have done well with her.   It took me two years to build that studio from nothing and the income was amazing.  It was hard to just hand it over to her.

So instead I’m going to try to build something else. This blog’s income since having my baby has doubled. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t cover what I made as a musician…but it’s growing and there is no ceiling.  First time I made money on my blog I was thrilled. Up until this year, it was maybe a few bucks here and there.  Nothing really more than $50 in a month, but that’s changed. My goal is to completely replace the lost income by the middle of the year…and I have a plan to make that work. Once I make it there, the sky is the limit. If you’re still reading this…then my baby steps are working.

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Personal

On a personal level these things are just tiny things I need to make myself more aware of.  Like, clutter puts me in a bad mood, so taking time to clear off counter tops and dresser tops will help make me a happier, nicer person. I need to stop putting off home improvement projects. I’m worried that our time in this house is limited, and I want to be able to enjoy it to the fullest. It’s a modest house, but there are things that I just think are beautiful about it…and then other things I think are less beautiful, like the prior owner’s paint choices. Moving in was rushed due to crazy circumstances so we weren’t able to do any “pre-move in painting.” Life got crazy and it just never got done. A year and a half later, I still have windows with no curtains and fabric just waiting for me. I just need to set aside the time to get it done. Goals…right?

Also, I used to homeschool my kids.  It was time consuming hard work, but I loved it.  I knew that having a baby would make it much harder. We decided to try cyber schooling again hoping to take some of the responsibility off my plate, and it’s been stressful to say the least. My older two are 9 and 12, and have reached a stage in their education where they either need to rise to the occasion and become independent learners, or go to school. I want my time spent with my kids to be happy, positive and constructive.  Not negative and filled with frustration.

In the end, these personal goals are things that will hopefully help make my life just a bit happier, and help my family to be happier too.  If we don’t end up moving we’ll benefit from having a beautiful home to enjoy for a while longer. 

Do you set goals for the new year? I’d love to know what yours are.

January Stitch Fix Review

January 2nd, 2015

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My third Fix came in right around Christmas, and let me tell you I’m still super excited each time I get a new box. This time I didn’t get a purse, but I did get some jewelry.  I’m still holding out for a new bag, hopefully next month!   

So, before I go any further let me give you a run down of what Stitch Fix is. Stitchfix is an online styling service. You get your own personal stylist who handpicks a “fix” for you with five items. You get either clothing or accessories that are unique to your budget, and tastes. You’ll get three days to decide if you’re going to keep anything from your fix. The styling fee is $20 and that goes towards any purchase you end up making. If you  buy all 5 you get 25% off the entire order. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s so fun.  You can sign up to get fixes whenever you want, or get them sent to you monthly, even bi-weekly. It’s perfect for a busy mom like me who has no time to shop for clothes. You can learn more about signing up for your first fix here!

So here’s a rundown of what I received this month.

 

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Corinna Striped Dolman Top $48.00

First of all, I think this was a pretty safe fix piece.  If you google Corinna Striped Dolman Top, you come up with lots of hits from other bloggers who have received the same item. It fits big, and I actually worry that in a few months as the baby weight continues to drop that I won’t be able to wear this anymore.  I’m living in the now though, and I felt that it was forgiving and flattering in m current condition. I love that now that I’ve had a few fixes my stylist was able to pair the top with the cardigan I got from my last fix. I love that they took the time to check back with what I had. Verdict: Kept.

 

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Brentwood Engraved Pendant Necklace $28.00

This was the first time I’ve gotten jewelry in my fix.  I’m really glad it wasn’t one of those statement necklaces.  I absolutely hate them…I’m pretty sure I’m the only one because I see everyone wearing them.  Anyway, this one was cute, and I really liked it.  I just never really wear jewelry.  I’m open to getting more jewelry, but this one didn’t blow me away enough for me to keep it.  Verdict: Returned.

 

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Gustav Textured V-Neck Sweater $58.00

 

I love a chunky sweater but this one just wasn’t working for me.  It fit tight around the shoulders, and hugged my curves in all the wrong ways.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, the sweater had a hole in it.  Verdict: Returned

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Mayven Abstract Print Blouse $58.00

I struggled with this one.  I don’t have anything like this in my closet. The print was bright, but not gawdy and the more I wore it the more it grew on me.  They even included the nude tank with it. It was flattering in that it hid the extra baby pudge, and my stylist specifically included it because it was button down which would make nursing my baby easier. They are listening! With my daughter on a swim team, I often spend my weekends in a hot and humid indoor pool screaming my head off for her with a babe in my arms. The lightweight material won’t be too hot on those Saturday afternoon meets, and the fit was nice and lose and forgiving. Verdict: Kept.

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Level 99 Giovanni Straight Leg Jean $98.00

 These pants were awesome! I really loved them.  They fit great, felt soft and had give around the waist. If they hadn’t sent me very similar brown corduroys last month I would have definitely kept them.  For nearly $100 bucks, they were not unique enough to add them to my closet. Just too price. Verdict: Sadly Returned

 

This time 2 out of 5.  I was originally a little disappointed in this fix, with the sweater with a hole in it and believe it or not I was still hoping for a bag to keep!  I am impressed though with how much they are listening to me, so I think my next fix will be even better.

 If you want to try Stitch Fix, I totally recommend it.  You can fill out your style profile and sign up for your first Fix here.

 Something to know: I am not being paid for this post, I just really enjoy Stitch Fix. I think it would be great for any of my readers who don’t have time to shop, or people like me who can’t get past jeans and a t-shirt. If you sign up for stitch fix using one of the links I provided in this post it helps me earn Stitch Fix credits towards my next fix.  You can earn them too once you sign up for your first fix. You can help support my clothes habit by clicking here. Thanks!!

 

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