Sunday, June 9, 2013

Coconut Chia Granola

Recently Nature's Path {which makes the most amazingly fantastic pumpkin flax granola} totally upped their game even more and came out with a Coconut Chia Seed granola. We sampled it at Costco a couple of months ago and Mason and I were both completely smitten. Their granolas contain soy flour so I can't eat it now.
I'm adding coconut in this week and I can't wait. It's been a rough life living without coconut. You all know how I feel about it. So I decided to try and concoct a copycat granola sans allergenic ingredients. Beginner's luck turned out the most incredible granola I've ever tasted. I'm of course going to share it with you now. Simply because I'm so excited about how good it is, and because I'm currently eating a bowl as I type. Yum yum.

You will need:
1 1/2 cups whole rolled, gluten free oats
2 T. chia seeds (I get these in bulk at Whole Foods)
3/4 cup raw, unsweetened shredded coconut (also in bulk at Whole Foods)
1/4-1/2 cup raw seeds, I used half pumpkin half sunflower
1/4 cup honey
2 T. coconut oil

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Microwave the honey and coconut oil together for about 20 seconds and stir until it's all combined.
Pour over the dry mixture and stir to combine.
Spread in a thin layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 300 degrees for 12-15 minutes, just until lightly toasted. Don't overbake it. The edges should just be barely darkened.
Let cool on the pan.

It's deliciously chewy but with some crunch because of the seeds. To make it even more amazing, eat it with some Silk Unsweetened Coconut Milk on top. That stuff is unreal in the delicious department.

I'm pretty big into granola, another of my favorite granola recipes can be found here at Something Swanky. It's really simple and easy to make, and completely genius. My Aunt Brenda suggested making it with almond butter instead of the peanut butter and it's incredible that way too.

Do you have a favorite granola recipe? Do share!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The wonders of allergy free cooking

I've been on an allergen elimination diet for about 4 weeks now for little Miss Miriam. She seems to be sensitive to things in my breastmilk the way Mason was, but different symptoms. She had an eczema like rash and a yeast rash in her neck which was super weird {and let's be honest, pretty gross}. She was also reallllly gassy for a couple of weeks. Like really painful, wake up all night struggling kind of gas. But the real kicker was that for three days in a row, almost every time she ate, she would puke up everything she ate. Like everything. Soaking me and her and every piece of furniture we own. It was weird. Because right after she would smile and coo like she was happy as a clam. She's been a happy sweet content baby from the day she was born, and a great sleeper. So this all seemed very out of the ordinary. And the pediatrician said that food sensitivities don't usually start until about 4-6 weeks of age.

So rather than start cutting out one thing at a time like I did with Mason, I decided to do the total elimination diet, and then add tihngs back in. That way if it was a food issue, she'd get better right away, and then I wouldn't torture myself unnecessarily.

I secretly hoped that nothing would change so that we could find another cause for the issues and I could continue eating all the treats I wanted. Alas, within a few days all symptoms were gone and she was sleeping peacefully, gas-free. Let's be honest, getting sleep and having a happy baby is worth any sacrifice.

After a couple weeks of eating brown rice, turkey, squash, and pears, I started to add things back in. It's incredible the things that you crave when you can't eat ANYTHING. All I wanted was oatmeal. And when I added in blueberries I thought I had died and gone to heaven. And it's been that way every time I add a food. It's actually kind of awesome to have a re-set of my palate. Plus I swear I will never eat gluten again. I feel incredible not eating gluten. I just feel great in general actually. I highly recommend a less extreme version of this way of eating, like eliminating the top 8 allergens (dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts), just to see how you feel!

Anyway, all of this explanation so that I can share this incredible recipe I found.

Lentil Quinoa Basil Burgers, allergen free!

Yum yum yum. I almost cried when I ate one because it was so delicious. But you can imagine how excited I get to eat anything new, so don't use that as a standard.

Here's what you need!

2 cups cooked lentils
1/4 cup water from cooking the lentils
2-2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (roasted ones usually have peanut oil)
2 carrots, rough chopped
1/2 yellow onion, rough chopped
3/4 cup basil leaves (or parsley if you prefer)
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper

Take the lentils, carrots, onion, basil, water, salt and pepper to taste and blend them up in a food processor or blender. I used my Ninja blender and it worked perfectly. Blend it until there aren't any big chunks of carrot/onion, but not until completely smooth.
Add the sunflower seeds and blend for about 15 more seconds.
Pour into a large bowl and add the quinoa. Stir until completely combined.
Form into patties. If it's not holding together well you can add more quinoa, or refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes to help it stiffen. (If you're not doing a crazy allergy diet, you can also add an egg to help it bind together, just omit the water if you do.)
Pan fry them in a small amount of olive oil (or I used sunflower oil) for about 3 minutes on each side. I let it get pretty crispy because I like mine that way, and it helps them hold together if they're seared pretty good.

I ate mine with avocado on top, and if I could, I'd eat them with mustard. Ohh I miss mustard. They are pretty crumbly, so I'm not sure how they'd hold up on a bun, but you could try it. But they did hold together well enough for me to break it into pieces for Mason to eat.

This made about 24 burgers for me, I didn't do them very thick. I'm going to freeze a bunch and see how they turn out that way. They are easy, quick, and cheap. The trifecta. =)

Hope you love them as much as I do!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

There is music in my soul today

Mason has the incredible toddler ability of memorizing just about anything. It's amazing to me what kids this age can learn, and how quickly. We'll read a new book twice and he will be able to finish all the sentences.

He has a particular forte for remembering the lyrics to songs.
At bedtime I sing things like "I Am a Child of God" and "I Love to See the Temple" and his new favorite "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today".
But apparently when daddy puts him to bed, he's getting serenaded with songs like "Rocky Top" and "Dixieland Delight".

He memorizes them with equal accuracy.

We like to sing a line to a song and let him finish the words cause it's really funny and cute, even when it is an Alabama song. So in the car on the way home from dinner last night we were singing "Dixie" as he calls it. And we said the line "Spend my dollar, parked in a...." and expected him to just say "holler".

Instead he busted out with "...holler 'neath the mountain moonlight!"

We couldn't stop laughing, and he had the proudest, goofiest look on his face. It was just shocking how clearly and confidently he said the whole sentence. And to the right tune and everything.

I'm looking forward to many future serenades from our little songster!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

"You made your bed..."

A few years ago some girls at my work completely inspired me with their furniture builing skills using plans from Ana White's website, "Knock Off Wood". She takes things like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware furniture and breaks down how to build them yourself for like a tenth of the cost.

So a few months ago I decided it was time to try it. I started with a nightstand and learned a TON just doing that project. I didn't even know how to use an electric drill before starting. Then I built a second nightstand, and then a little tower of shelves for our bathroom. And then some wall shelves for pretty much every room in the house. All of this was just a means to an end. What I really wanted to build was this....

The Pottery Barn Farmhouse Bed.

So simple, so beautiful. I'm in love with it.

At 8 months pregnant I knew that the days of having time to build furniture were quickly coming to a close, so I decided to just get to it. It required a LOT of lumber, so I went to a local lumberyard rather than Lowe's. Prcies were cheaper and it was easier to buy in the bulk I needed.

Long story short, it took me a week to build it and a lot of assistance from the hubs. We had to assemble it in our bedroom cause it's so dang huge. We'll have to sell it with the house cause there's no way it's coming out of there. But after about 20 hours of work, we have a beautiful Pottery Barn knock off! And it cost us about $160 in materials.

At the lumber yard

 What our garage looked like for a week
 Working on the antique white finish
 Mason made the job go so much faster!

 And this is what our room looked like for several days

 On a break

The finished product. The nighstands are the matching Pottery Barn farmhouse style that we built, and the teal lamps were from a thrift store. One of my favorite finds ever! Our bedspread was brand new from Goodwill as well.
I swore after this project that I was done forever. But now that Miriam is a couple months old and things are settling into a routine, I have my eye on a certain dining room table plan that I might have to tackle in the next couple weeks!