Recipe: The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Friday, December 15, 2017

Every Christmas growing up, my mother and I would bake Christmas cookies. And, when I say growing up, I mean, we still bake even at 30 yers old. Every year when I am home, we bake. We bake my grandmothers gingerbread cookies, German chocolate hearts (I'll share these one day), those peanut butter cookies with kisses pressed in the top. We love to bake. We pour large glasses of red wine, turn on Christmas movies and turn her entire kitchen into a baking mess.


It's one of my favorite traditions. This year, Adam and I aren't going to Arizona for Christmas, but that didn't stop me from baking or making a complete mess. Last Sunday when I was grocery shopping, I had the urge to make gingerbread cookies. I wanted to turn on Christmas movies and fill our house with the smell of gingerbread, so that is exactly what I did.

Does anything smell like Christmas more than gingerbread? If so, I have yet to find it. To me, it is the smell of Christmas. While I was baking, my neighbor stopped by and she immediately commented on how good the house smelled, gingerbread. Adam came home with the same comment, gingerbread.

I'm telling ya guys, these cookies are Christmas. Throw on some sprinkles, red hots, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.


I learned a secret through this last baking escapade. When the cookies were coming out, they were super fat and fluffy. My best, Coti told me it's because the dough is too warm. Keep it cool. Use small amounts and while you're rolling out the other dough, keep the remainder in the fridge. Oh, and the thinner the cookies are, the crispier.

Let's get to the fun stuff, the cookies.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg

How to Make: 

  1. Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper into a medium bowl. Set aside. 
  2. In your kitchen aid mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and vegetable shortening until well combined (about one minute).
  3. Add in the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color (2 minutes).
  4. Beat in the molasses and the egg. 
  5. Gradually mix in the flour mixture. Slowly. 
  6. Divide the dough into two thick disks, wrap in seran warp and put in the fridge. 
  7. Let cool for 3 hours (or lasts for 2 days). 
  8. When cooled, work with one disk at a time. 
  9. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour.
  10. Roll the dough out until 1/8 inch thick.
  11. Make sure the dough is cool. Luckily my bff told me that if the dough isn't chilled the cookies get fatter and spread out. 
  12. Place the cookies one inch apart on a non-stick cookie sheet.
  13. Decorate! 
  14. Cook for 10-12 minutes. For the first 5 minutes, place the cookies on the top shelf, for the next 5 minutes, place cookies on the bottom shelf. 
  15. Once cooked, let them rest on the pan for 2 minutes before cooling on a cooking rack. 
  16. Enjoy!

Happy Friday friends! It's the last full weekend before Christmas! Make sure you get to baking and shopping! 

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Instagram Roundup!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hey, what's up, hello! Happy Wednesday! There has been a lot going on in the Instagram world and I haven't updated you in forever. From Dear Baby to job changes, life is a changing and I'm doing what I can to keep up.

It's been a whirlwind of a year, mostly great, some not so great. I am excited for what 2018 has in store. Stay tuned for next week, we're doing the 2017 Most Fascinating People list! We start with 10-6 and then a few days later, the big reveal of #1.

Who would be on your list thing year? I for one haven't given this a ton of thought. Off the top of my head? The silence breakers and the CA firefighters. They are indeed the most incredible people currently making their way through celeb-world. And, for the best reasons ever. Remember though, this list is usually in jest, we are poking fun people.

Leave me a comment on who you would pick to be on this list this year! You never know, I may bump one of mine for yours!

In the meantime, Instagram has been busy. Some new fun items (see the furry slides) and some staples (looks like I need a new bag!). 2017 has been great, let's update.

Fuzzy slides that feel like slippers? Merry Christmas to me!


I'm so glad velvet is trendy, because I'm obsessed with this jacket. Oh, and it has shoulder pads.

I wore this sweater out last night and half was through dinner Adam looks at me and says, is that sweater green or black. Oh yeah, it's got a tonnnnnnn of dark green in it. I'm obsessed.

This outfit is what we wore for our christmas photos and I can tell ya that Adam picked out my outfit. Oh yeah, he's got great taste. 


When I first saw this shirt I thought it was a bit much, but when I saw it in person, I was hooked. Plus, the body of the shirt is a thermal. Love is an understatement.



Happy Wednesday friends! Remember, leave your most fascinating below!

I'm pumped to see who YOU think deserve the nom.

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Recipe: Paleo Banana Bread

Monday, December 11, 2017

Happy Monday friends! How was your weekend? What did you do? Who did you see?

We had a girlfriends Christmas party on Saturday night. It was a Christmas murder mystery party. I've never done a murder mystery party and honestly I was a bit skeptical, but we had a blast. I was Candy Cane, the ultimate lover of Christmas and Adam was Puddy the Polar Bear. Everyone at the party got into the mood and we had so much fun.

Our Sunday was super low-key with the basic Sunday activities: grocery shop, make dinner, pose for Instagram, ya know, the usual. I was in an unusual baking mood, so I took advantage and made paleo apple crisp and non-paleo gingerbread cookies. Don't worry, I'll have that recipe on the blog this week.

Anyway, moving on. Is there anything better than homemade banana bread? Maybe banana bread with chocolate chips, but honestly, there really is nothing better. Got of bunch of uneaten bananas on your counter? If your family is like mine, Adam refuses to eat bananas once they are brown. So it's either into the garbage they go, or into some delicious bread.


My mother has an amazing banana bread recipe but unfortunately, it has boatloads of non-paleo items in it. I was looking for something delicious and paleo. It took a little mixing and matching, but I think I found the perfect recipe.

The best part about banana bread? The smell. Oh, you will thank me in about an hour when the smell of banana bread of wafting through your house. Trust me on this.

Ingredients:
4 bananas, mashed
4 eggs
1/2 cup almond butter
4 tablespoons oil (coconut, veggie, ghee)
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt

How to Make:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine bananas, eggs, nut butter and oil. 
  3. Once mixed, add in almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and sea salt. Mix. 
  4. Grease a loaf pan and pour your mixture in. 
  5. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool, eat! 


Happy Monday friends! I hope this is your best week yet! Less than two week until Christmas!

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Coastal Range Organics + Tonights Dinner!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Happy Friday! How the heck are ya guys? 

Is it just me or is December flying? This week especially. Even with working from home, it seems like there is never enough time to make dinner. Adam and I had something every night this week; from junior league to Adam's work christmas party. It's all fun and games until you realize that every night we ate out. This goes against everything we try to plan for on Sundays. 

I've been looking for easy, quick and healthy meals to make Adam and I when they're isn't enough time for an elaborate meal. In comes Coastal Range OrganicsCoastal Range Organics chickens and turkeys are raised on a fully organic diet with all-natural, 100% vegetarian grain feed. No animal by-products, no pesticide and all free-range. 

Finding all that in frozen food is so hard. But luckily, Coastal Range Organics does just that and in tons of variety. I am obsessed with their chicken burger patties. We make them at least once a week. This last week, I sliced them up and threw them on top of a salad.  PS. I was paid for this post, but trust me, my opinions are my own and my love of this chicken is real. 

Take my word - there is nothing better after a busy day then going to your freezer and throwing together a delicious healthy meal in under 12 minutes. 


The coolest part about Coastal Range Organics is the variety of options like crispy stripsbuffalo wingschicken nuggetsgrilled breast strips, and chicken burgers. We've tried the buffalo wings and chicken nuggets and guys, they are so delicious. 

Here are all your options: 


We've tried 4 of the 8 varieties and have not been disappointed. If you ask Adam, I think he'd tell you, the burgers are the best. You can either bake them in the oven, throw them in the micro or saute them. I threw them in with a little olive oil in a frying pan and cooked them until hot. 

BURGER: Throw them on some lettuce (paleo) or a bun, top with cheese (not paleo) and add all the good toppings. I love adding a fried egg with lots of cholula and bam, dinner is served in under 15 minutes. You can thank me after you try all these delicious options.

SALAD: Lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, sliced almonds, delicious dressing and sliced chicken. Do it. 



Happy Friday and happy cooking! Cheers to the best weekend!

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Made in Cookware + The Easiest Omelette.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Happy Friday! Happy December! The last two weeks have been full of transitions. Monday, I started working from home instead of working at an office for the first time in my entire life. My day has changed drastically. I no longer have an hour commute, instead I have a 2 second walk to the office. Most of my meetings are on google hangouts and ichat instead of in person.

In total honesty, I was a little nervous for this transition just because I didn't know what to expect. But here I am at the end of my first at home work week and I am loving life. I love the flexibility, I love getting coffee from my coffee maker at 10am, I love seeing my dogs during the day. Plus, I am loving my job. It's a learning curb, but I am loving every second of it. It helps that all my co-workers are just as passionate about their jobs as I am. They're kind, encouraging and here to support. I'm living my best life peeps. Like I said in my Dear Baby blog, we are moving forward everyone, I hope you join me.


Today, I'm super excited to share this new pan brand, Made in Cookware. I'm always looking for easier, quicker and healthier ways to cook meals for my family. When I registered for our wedding, I registered like we had 5 kids. My normal frying pans could feel 12 children. I needed a small 10' pan and in comes Made in Cookware. The perfect 10' non-stick frying pan. I swear, I've used this pan at least 5 times since I received it.

PS. I was paid to chat about Made in Cookware, but all opinions and thoughts are my own! 

Made in Cookware has a super basic goal - a premium cookware brand that creates better tools for modern cooking because they believe great cooking experiences are for everyone.  Through high-quality craftsmanship at affordable price points, Made In seeks to create inspiring tools for the modern cook, without breaking the bank.  

These pans and any of their pans would be the perfect gift ever. They're affordable, pretty and easyyyy to use! The even sell their amazing stainless steal cleaner that will safely clean your products and make them look brand spanking new.

Healthy eating is super important to our family, so are the products we use to cook them in. Made In Cookwares materials are recycled and the excess metal is either melted and reused, or condensed into a powder and then molded into automotive parts. Also, their cookware does not contain the typical, and potentially harmful, non-stick chemicals that can be found in other cookware products. 

Healthy eating in both the food and the cookware is so important. Luckily, the clean cookware doesn't compromise on how awesome this pan is. Trust me, I have bought other brands claiming to be non-stick, but this ones takes the cake. I've made omelettes, chicken, heated up tortillas and the pan worked wonderfully.

These pans have officially made me excited to cook again.

PS. Easy omelette recipe coming your way, because these pans are the best at it!

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • cheese
  • whatever veggies you have in your fridge
  • butter
How to Make: 
Follow the Made In cookware Instructions!
Ps. Get the pan medium hot before adding the eggs. Lift the edge of the omelette to get the runny eggs in to cook.
Secret - - use a pancake spatula to flip!

The best instructions come on the bottom of the pan!

I didn't have manyyyy ingredient's in my fridge, but I added some chopped asparagus and tomatoes! 
I love using parmesan on my omelettes, what's your favorite cheese?
 Look how that egg slides around in the pan and leaves nothing behind!
Enjoy!

Happy Friday friends, have the best weekend!

You can find more about Made in Cookware on their instagram or their website
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Recipe: The BEST Thai Chicken Salad

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happy Thursday friends! Can you believe tomorrow is already December? We are literally sprinting towards 2018. I can't seem to make time slow down! 

This is my first official work week, working from home and it has been so awesome. I am obsessed with my job and all the new challenges that come with it. It's definitely been a huge change from my last job, but four days in and I can already tell I made the right choice for me and my family. 

Anyways, the nice part about being home is I can prepare dinner earlier than 730pm. Last night, Adam had a work happy hour and wasn't sure exactly when he'd be home, so I wanted something I could pre-make and easily assemble when he got home. 

This salad totally fit the bill and it's honestly my favorite salad ever. I could actually eat the dressing with nothing else. Try it for yourself, I swear you'll thank me. 

This salad has a lot of steps, but if you do what I do, you'll have left overs for lunch. This dressing lasts in the fridge for about a week (if it lasts that long), so make extras and enjoy!



Ingredients
Thai "peanut" dressing (I doubled everything) 
  • 1⁄4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • juice of 1⁄2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes\

For the salad
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato or yam, shredded 
  • 6 to 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • handful of sliced carrots
  • handful diced tomatoes 
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • roughly chopped green onions, for garnish
How to Make: 
Dressing: Place all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 
Salad:  
  1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee. 
  2. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt, garlic powder, and pepper, then place in the hot pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains. 
  3. While the chicken cooks, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the shredded sweet potato and a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft. 
  5. When the chicken is done, let it rest for 3 minutes, then slice it at an angle into strips.  
  6. Arrange the salad: Place the greens in a large bowl, add as much dressing as you like, and toss to coat. 
  7. Add some greens to each plate, then top with the chicken strips, sautéed sweet potato, cucumber, coconut, and cilantro. 
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Happy Friday eve Friends! Tomorrow I'm sharing the easiest (and delicious) recipe, plus my new favorite pans. See ya'll tomorrow! 

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Dear Baby.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

It took me 3 weeks to open an empty blog post and write this title. I changed the title 4 times. It took me three weeks to say the word. It took me 6 weeks to come to terms with what was happening. I closed it, I deleted it, I started over. I stopped writing and I started writing again. Ten tissues, three re-starts, 4 texts to Adam and here we are.

I write about everything. I've shared a lot of great times on here but today's post is not a great one. For me, I wasn't sure I even wanted to write this post. But, writing this post is my version of therapy. It's what pushes me through the sadness and helps me deal with what I'm feeling. Grab a coffee, or if you're like me, a bottle of wine.

Let's start at the beginning.

Labor Day started like any other holiday weekend. Saturday was a day for sleeping in except I couldn't sleep because I felt nauseous (despite not drinking the night before) and I had to take the dogs out. I tried to make eggs but they made me puke. Coffee, puke. Thirty minutes later and two pretty blue lines and all of a sudden this labor day was not so typical.

Adam and I spent the weekend doing new parent-to-be things. We picked out names (call us presumptuous), we told our parents (call us excited beyond belief) and we already started making summer plans for our first summer with baby. Safe to say our dreams had officially come true.

We had the "do you want a boy or girl" conversations. We talked about daycare. I even made a private baby room board on Pinterest. Things were becoming so real. I stopped drinking coffee, eating sugar and I was loading up on all the good things. Except for an occasional starburst, I craved them so, I was prepping my body, heart and mind for baby.

Five super short weeks later our dreams were dashed and our baby was gone. "The heartbeat at the first ultrasound was strong." "We had no reason to worry." "At least you know you can get pregnant." "You can try again soon." "You will move on."

These are all very comforting words to everyone except the mom and dad who were just told they weren't going to be parents. They are anything but comforting when you're told you just lost your baby. When the doctor said there was no heartbeat it was as if she ripped mine out too.

The part that comes next is the worst so I'll save you the gory details. Words like DNC, naturally pass and miscarriage pills are thrown around casually like girl-talk at brunch. Talk of what comes next is gross and difficult to stomach. I was so cold, but so hot and crying so hard that I didn't process a word my doctor said. I sat there in a blur, crying. One minute, I was buying winter pregnancy clothes and the next I'm just supposed to move on. I went through the next week in a blur, crying. Sometimes I still feel like I'm in a blur. My body hurt. It ached. My heart actually burned with pain. I went seven days without dry eyes.


The worst part is not knowing what to say or what's next. My friends would ask me how they could help, they would send flowers, text messages and their prayers and I felt so grateful but also had no good response to their outpouring of kindness.
But here's the best part, the silver lining, the light; I have the best friends and family. Coti called (and still calls) me every single day making sure I'm okay. My Omaha girls text me hourly to make sure I'm getting through. My family, oh my family. And my sister-in-laws - don't even get me started on how wonderful they are.
A lot of people have asked me if this is something I'm going to blog about. My response then and still today is how do you communicate a pain you've never felt before? How do you find words to explain how you're feeling when words haven't yet been created for the pain. How do you blog when your heart breaks with every word.

I've been through breakups and blogged about them. I've dealt with death and blogged about it. I've failed, blogged. I've been hurt, lots of blogs. There aren't words for this kind of pain, but I'm a writer, and writing is the very least I can do. Even when I don't have the perfect words to write.

Luckily for me, I married a superhero. A superhero husband who knows exactly what words to say, when to say it and he knows when flowers and wine are the perfect kind of unspoken words. Adam reminded me that throughout my 10 short weeks of pregnancy, every day I prayed for a healthy baby. I prayed for our peace and our understanding but mostly, I prayed for a healthy baby.

God answered that prayer. Even if it wasn't in the way I wanted that prayer answered, He did.

Today is a hard today. Yesterday was a better day. I'm sure tomorrow will bring a whole new set of emotions. I find myself leaning in to the people around me a little harder, leaning into God more than I thought I could. I'm trying to find my balance again.
I have learned to live this part of my life as a season. One of my friends explained how to live life in seasons. We move through them, they change, the flowers bloom, the leaves fall off and winter comes. But the important part is that we keep moving through them. Grief is my current season and for now, that is okay. I will embrace this season and learn what I need to learn from it. Because I know, the flowers will bloom again and this season will change. 
I never thought this would be my story. I always saw others dealing with this pain and could never quite grasp it. I could emphasize but never grasp it. I never thought it would be my story to tell.

The thing I realize most in all of this pain, is that this pain is also my husbands. I hate to say this but so many times he has gotten lost in this. I'm the one who physically lost the baby, but he lost one too. I'm the only physically dealing with this but he has to not only comfort me, but himself. I'll tell ya again, I married a superhero. A superhero with a strength I can only envy and a heart I'm so glad is mine. This pain is real and this hurt and confusion is hard but it's so important to have someone to lean on. I'm so glad he's letting me lean.

When I found out I became a statistic, yes that's right, one-in-four women will have a miscarriage, I immediately went numb. I still can barely stand to say the word.  I felt so guilty, so ashamed and so embarrassed. I made Adam call his family because I didn't have the strength. I made my mom tell my siblings, I couldn't bear to hear it in their voices.

Even though it seemed impossible, I found that when I told those close to me, the pain lessened, even if just by a little. I heard others stories of loss and sadness and how they grieved and again, the pain lessened. But then I heard the stories of rainbow babies and huge families. I heard about the next time people saw those two pretty little blue lines. These are the stories that bring a smile to my face and in my heart I know we will see those two lines again and eventually a beautiful rainbow baby.

A little over six weeks I had a miscarriage and I know that while this pain burning in my chest may never fully go away, it will lessen. I feel my heart lightening. I feel the embarrassment dissipating. I feel the joy returning.
Dear Baby, you are loved, you are wanted and while we never got to officially met you, we are blessed by the 10 short weeks we had with you. I'll never forget hearing your heartbeat or seeing your little picture. <3 
I know this isn't the end of our story.

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Sing For Hope Accepting NYC Donated Pianos

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Oh hey friends! How the heck are ya? I know, I've been MIA. If you're wondering why, I'll be spilling the details later this week, so stay tuned. But, little by little, I plan on catching you up.

Two weekends ago, I spent the weekend in Michigan helping my mom and dad pack up my grandmother and grandfathers house. They are getting old, despite me praying otherwise, and needed to move in where they could have some help. Is there anything worse than watching grandparents get old? Ugh, I don't think so. Anyways, we spent the weekend, sorting through clothes, dishes, pictures and tons of books.

One of the things my grandmother has that is nearest and dearest to my heart is her piano. It's her mother's piano and is the cutest little wall piano you've ever seen. It's gorgeous. She always had it full of sheet music and I can remember her playing on it. She is an incredible piano player.

The piano is the one thing I was hoping we could save. Sure, we got pictures and some china, but this piano is one of my favorite memories of my grandmother. The only problem? The piano is in Michigan, I am in Denver and the rest of my family is in Arizona. Unfortunately after all the sorting, the piano did not make the cut. Turns out, shipping a piano costs wayyyy more than it's worth.

We then tried to figure out what we could do with this piano. Donate it, give it away, have someone come pick it up? We really wanted this piano to go someplace where it was wanted. Ideally, a school or a church. That's when I found this amazing charity Sing for Hope. It's absolutely incredible. This charity is based in NYC and wasn't available for my grandmothers piano, but it's helping so many others in the process.

This New York City based charitable organization is accepting pianos and more for under resourced schools and neighborhoods. Sing For Hope's donate piano NYC drive is ongoing with plans to expand beyond this organization's target areas. This well liked and appreciated group believes that the wonder of the arts is a given right for all individuals. New York City has phenomenal arts programs and shows. It is sad that some residents within this huge metropolis do not have opportunities to enjoy the arts or play an instrument. This volunteer organization is striving hard to change this lack of available music and arts programs.
School children are ecstatic when this organization provides their school with a fabulous piano. The organization works closely with many volunteer artists working within the city limits. These music and art volunteers put on performances and give valuable instruction to people ordinarily left out of such rewarding arts opportunities. The organization pairs amateur and well-known professionals proficient in some art category volunteers with needy New York City inhabitants. These performances and classes are available in many schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other places to the sheer delight of the recipients. Sing For Hope is reaching countless new music and art lovers every day. The donated pianos are usually painted in vivid designs and colors by talented artists. Some pianos are placed in high-volume areas during special event drives to promote this organization's worthy causes. Many volunteers are involved, and the volunteers often reflect that they get back something far more valuable from their volunteer service. Any art form is desired, and these include various instrument players, actors/actresses from little known to Broadway shows fame and talented singers in every musical genre. This includes opera, jazz, blues, folk and country. It even includes rock and various alternative music styles. It is refreshing to see so much compassion from many New York City residents lending time, talent or monetary funds. This sense of shared community is one reason why this program is so popular. When individuals living in gang territories and isolated nursing home resident get a chance to experience and express an art form that they are interested in makes all of the hard work pay off. Since the arts programs are typically the first thing that educational institutions cut out when budgets are tight, the organization tries to fill the gap with excellent music and art programs and performing arts classes. The organization's founders never dreamed that their simple music and arts propelled services would grow to become a massive outreach program. Sing For Hope is constantly looking for new ways to promote the joys and satisfaction of their volunteer efforts. More New York City residents are now able to take advantage of Sing For Hope's many outreach fine arts programs. It is hoped that they will remain a powerful voice of love and community spirit for many years to come. In keeping with their mission statement, Sing For Hope strives to create arts programs that will uplift and totally transform recipients lives forever. The smiles and appreciated thanks from these individuals is worth so much to those that have volunteered. Sing For Hope is continuing their piano donation drive to extend their program's long reach into forgotten areas.

Happy Tuesday Friends. I hope it's the best ever. 

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Recipe: Paleo Lemon Coconut Cream Cookies

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Did you know if you go to a paint store, you will find no less than 45 different shares of grey and beige? You'll even find a multitude of greige (yes, that's the actual word for grey + beige). The best part is bringing your husband to a paint store and asking him to spot the difference in the 10 different whites you show him and ask him to care. Babe, white dove IS different than alpine snow!

It's a battle. Anyways, Adam and I are slowly but surely updating our house and doing new stuff to it, including painting. Currently, our entire house is like living in a sandbox. I'm pretty sure when our old owners moved out, they picked a neutral color at Home Depot and painted very single wall the same exact color. It's a pretty sandbox but its one that needs a little Kristen touch, and a little greige.

First things first, the master bedroom. I am in love with this Benjamin Moore color White dove. I stole the idea from my blog crush, Arielle at Something Navy. She painted her master this color and I'm obsessed. I'll be sure to share all the before and after photos.

Let's move on to the cookies. You fabulous Everyday Grace readers LOVED these cookies on Insta-stories. So, this is my thanks for reaching out. You asked, I blogged.


It's fall in Denver finally and the cool weather and the pretty leaves have inspired me to bake. Last Sunday I spent the entire day trying out new recipes with Adam as my taste tester. There's nothing like a cool Sunday with a glass of red wine and some cookies, amiright? I am all about these kind of weekends.

I've never been a cookie fan. If it were up to me, dessert would consist of candy and ice cream. Cookies, pass. Cake, hell no. Cupcakes, I'd rather save the calories. And then I tried the vanilla oreos. If you haven't had these cookies, you are missing out on life's littlest treats. If I had no discipline I would literally eat the entire package of Oreos. I'm not lying here.

When I saw these cookies, I thought hmm... sandwich cookies, yummm. Plus adding the extra layer of coconut cream is the best ever. They are especially the best fresh out of the oven with lots of the fresh cream. Adam told me these are his new favorite cookies and I just might have to agree.

These seem like a lot of work and they kind of are, but look at those ingredients - they're all the ones you'll already have in your pantry. Let's get backing.

Ingredients: 
Cookies: 
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1./2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
Filling
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cold coconut milk - scrape the cream off the top
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
How to Make: 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, almond butter, honey, lemon juice and vanilla. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 
  4. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 
  5. Form the cookie dough into 30 balls and flatten each one. The thinner the crispier. 
  6. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes until they just about brown. Allow to cool. 
  7. While the cookies are cooling, making the filing! 
  8. Whisk together the vegetable oil, honey, lemon and vanilla. Beat in the coconut cream until a cream forms. Put in the freezer for about 10 minutes. 
  9. Once the cookies are cooled and the cream is cold, scoop those babies up. 
  10. PS. Store in the refrigerator! They make the cookies a tad soft, but you want that cream cold. 
  11. Enjoy! 
Let's be best friends - pin the image below!


Happy Wednesday friends!

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Recipe: Callie's Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

This post was originally posted back on October 22, 2014. That seems like ages ago. We were still living in our tiny little townhouse, we had just started eating paleo and we weren't even married yet.

We were just little babes trying to figure out how to be adults in a brand new state. It's crazy to me to look back on old posts and see how much has changed.

One thing that hasn't changed is our love for these muffins. They are super easy to make and legit taste like dessert. I found that eating paleo and cooking for Adam is way easier when I plan ahead. It usually keeps us on a better meal plan and not so many snacks if we do this.


Adam and I are always looking for new breakfast options, so when Callie told me about these, we knew we had to try them! They're super easy to make and oh. my. gosh. they are so delicious. I hope you all enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (for paleo, make sure they have no added sugar or milk!) 
How to Make: 
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Line a muffin tin with papers. 
  3. Beat the 3 ripe bananas with a mixer until well blended and no chunks. 
  4. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey, egg and vanilla, mix on medium. 
  5. Add the almond meal, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and mix on low. 
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
  7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. 
  8. For extra, sprinkle chocolate chips on top! 
  9. Bake for 18 minutes (or high-altitude baking for 23 minutes!) 
  10. Enjoy! 
 The batter, try not to eat it all before you bake it :) 

Thank goodness we got married and got new pans! 
 All ready to go in! I forgot the papers, but I sprayed it. 

Thanks for the recipe Callie! 


Happy Tuesday!

Printiki: The best way to print your Instagram photos

Monday, October 23, 2017

Last weekend I spent the entire weekend going through boxes my parents brought from their house full of all my childhood belongings. We are talking notes from high school boyfriends, my letterman jacket, tennis trophies, diaries and tons and tons of picture albums.


I have over probably 30 photo albums dating from 6th grade through college. I was that girl at parties. I always had my mini-canon camera hanging around my wrist. Trust me, what happened in high school didn't stay in high-school and I've got the pictures to tell any story you wanna hear.

To me, that is the problem with iPhones and everything being digital. I haven't printed a photo in at least the last year. The last time I vividly remember printing photos was after our wedding. I crave holding pictures in my hand and framing them all over my house. My kids are gonna think life ended after college because I have no more photos to show them.


This is where Printiki comes in. The easiest way possible to print Instagram photos. I am absolutely hooked. You go to Printiki, login in to your Instagram and them boom, select any photos you've posted and print. You can add borders, make them matte, glossy, create books, prints whatever you choose. The best part, in less than a week you have your amazing Insta photos in your hand and ready to share.

I am seriously obsessed with my prints. I've already sent some to friends, hung them at work, posted them at home. I'm starting to feel like my high school self all over again.

The best part, today (and whenever) you get free shipping on any order! Use the code:
WJYF9E2A at checkout on any order and boom, great photos and free shipping. 



I'm so excited for your guys to try out Printiki. you'll be absolutely amazing with the convenience and ease of the site. Just remember guys, christmas is quickly approaching and what do moms love more than photos? 

Now, normally I would never tell you to leave my site, but head over to Printiki and get printing.  Happy Monday friends! 

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Guest Post: Five Awesome Places To Travel If You Hate Crowds

Friday, October 20, 2017

Popular travel destinations, especially during peak seasons, can be packed with endless crowds. Going to such vacation spots when you hate crowds can be counterproductive. To truly unwind, you need to head to one of the under-the-radar destinations that have yet to be discovered by the average traveler.

You will definitely enjoy being one of the few travelers in the world who have taken the time to explore these gems. Many of these vacation spots offer the usual touristy activities but a few offer quite the exotic experience. 

It’s time to wander off the beaten path and explore new grounds. Here are some awesome crowd-free travel destinations you can visit.

Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo are the only places in the world you can see mountain gorillas
On any given day, Rwanda allows a maximum of 56 people to trek to go see the gorillas. There are seven groups of gorillas in the mountains with each group living some distance from the other. Since permits are given for the 7 mountain gorilla groups available, a trekking group cannot have more than 8 members. The trek up the mountain to spot a group of mountain gorillas can take anything from half an hour to a couple hours depending on where the gorillas are on that given day.

That’s pretty awesome if you don’t want to go to a tourist spot and have tens or hundreds of people at the same spot. You must have a permit to trek the mountains to go see the mountain gorillas. You can secure a permit from the Rwandan authorities or you can have a local travel company buy one for you.

Gorilla trekking trips are usually guided trips with the travel company you’ve booked with giving you a tutorial on safety and offering a guide to take you up the mountains. Good accommodations are easy to find near the parks. 

Peaceful Escape in Anguilla

The Caribbean is a popular beach destination. One of the best low-key destinations in the Caribbean is Anguilla. Anguilla maintains a relaxed atmosphere all year round as the locals highly value privacy and tranquility.

Anguilla’s greatest attractions are its tranquility, beaches, food, elaborate villas and resorts and several opportunities for tourists to pamper themselves. As you would expect of any Caribbean destination, finding a great place to stay is not hard. 

The Caribbean has great tourists’ villas, resorts and hotels. You can find both budget and luxury accommodations. If resorts are your thing, you won’t be disappointed as the Caribbean has some of the most elaborate all-inclusive resorts in the world. Just be sure to pick either a family-friend resort or a couples all-inclusive, depending upon if you’re traveling with friends, family or your significant other. 

You will love the local music scene if reggae fascinates you. Bankie Banx, a local reggae star often performs in various joints in the island. You can go to a low-key club called the Duve Preserve to sample music at night.

Find Peace in Koh Lipe, Thailand

Located in the South Andaman Sea, Koh Lipe is a beautiful island that boasts extensive white sandy beaches, great budget hotels, tranquility and a decent selection of both Thai and Western food.

You can get to Koh Lipe by boat only. If you are flying in from Malaysia, you can take a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and then take a boat to Koh Lipe. You can also fly in from Bangkok by taking a flight to Hat Yai then taking a bus to Pak Bara from where you can take a boat to Koh Lipe.

Besides relaxing at the beach, you can enjoy other activities such as snorkeling, diving, taking boat trips, and hiking.

Take an East African Safari during the Low Season

East African safaris are often determined by the dominant weather seasons and not by the location or availability of animals. The peak season is usually from June to October and then from December to January.

In Kenya and Tanzania, the heavy rains usually come in the months of March, April and May. The rains do not rain week after week but the safari companies, just to be cautious, still make few bookings during these months. This means that the game parks usually have just a handful of tourists during this season.

You can make arrangements with a tour operator to go to parks that aren’t affected by the rains and do so at very affordable rates. Your game drives won’t be affected much by the rains as it usually rains late in the afternoon.

Marvel at the Breathtaking Landscapes of County Donegal

If you want to visit Ireland and want to stay away from the destinations that tourists frequently crowd at, County Donegal is the place to be. Donegal is the least commercialized county in terms of tourism in Ireland.

Unlike County Galway and County Kerry, County Donegal isn’t very tourist oriented. Nonetheless, the attractions it offers and the hospitality provided to the tourists who do make it there is worth the trouble of going there. 

This destination offers you the chance to experience unspoilt attractions at very affordable prices. Some of the activities you can engage in include golfing, walking, rock climbing, water sports, and fishing.

You can fly in directly into Donegal International Airport from Glasgow and Dublin. There are daily flights to the destination. You can also go by bus by boarding one from Sligo, Dublin, Derry or Galway.

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