the holiday hurricane

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The holiday’s have always made me feel like I’ve been hit by a train..a large train with relatives and presents piled up and falling out. This time of year is crazy and overstimulating for most of us I think? But this year doing it with a kid…I’ve realized the whole game has changed. It’s no longer about buying myself those shoes on sale, or that jacket I’ve been eyeing while I shop for gifts. It isn’t about going to the movies on a whim, or drinking every day to cope with the constant interactions with distant family members and hilariously inappropriate creepy uncles. All of this has changed because now it’s about selflessly and gladly throwing myself in front of the train so my tiny human creation doesn’t get hit. The holiday parties and family gatherings consist of three thoughts now:

1. Where is my child?

2. Is he alive?

3. Is he in distress?

That’s it.

No more, where’s the wine to feel that nice buzz as long as possible? or staying up until the wee hours of the morning carelessly. Now my only focus is on a bed time and LOTS of sleep so that demon baby stays away, preparing for diaper explosion damage control, keeping a hungry little tummy full, and recognizing when mama’s soothing touch is needed in the midst of all of the craziness and continuous game of pass the baby, BUT… I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love this time of year for a different reason now.

As a fresh off the boat mom with an infant, the holiday’s hold a new kind of magical chaos and less of the consumeristic variety that’s previously trapped so much of my time (and money). I’m sure by next year when my son is older this will all be different yet again, because he’ll want toys and such, but for now I’m enjoying that the chaos of this holiday season is built around making sure my little booger bug is happy as a clam as he stares at the christmas lights or into the eyes of his family members he’s meeting for the first time. Suddenly this time of year is about creating traditions and memories with my crazy little family unit that we will be able to share for years to come instead of past traditions such as excessive consumption of alcohol and food as a key holiday survival tactic.

Things are different this year, and I love it. Not to mention the amazing photos that come out of the tired, happy, sleepy life that is the holiday season with a new born.

 

Now for New Years…Goal is to see if we stay awake past 10, the odds are not in our favor.

Happy holiday’s everyone!

Feeling thankful, but also panic.

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Thanksgiving is always a double edged sword for me. I cherish being with the ones I love, and I enjoy cooking with family and being together and present for one another. Thanksgiving also makes me feel overwhelmed.

I feel like I spend the first half of the day in a panic, cooking frantically, forgetting to eat, and practicing poor time management. The first half of the day goes by in a blur where, at times, I want to kill the loved ones who are just trying to help, because in the moment I feel flustered and overly ambitious of my own ability to make 10 things at once, take a shower, get dressed in something without throw up on it, and try to remember to feed my child. Everything happens at once in my head and I freak out.

But then I take a step back and watch my village come together. Suddenly I see and acknowledge my husband trying to console our crying son, my dad trying to prepare a dish he doesn’t understand, and my in-laws taking care of all of the little things I would totally forget. Then I realize, I’m being an asshole, an over reactive and dramatic asshole, and this day is as stressful as I choose to make it.

This is also the first year I have a child of my own, making it completely different from any other year. I have my own little family I am creating memories with, memories I eventually want my children to remember and look back on with love and excitement.

The realization hits me hard and for the second half of the day I stand around my loved ones in awe of what we all achieve together and how we all manage to make each other a priority in the midst of our own selfish and busy lives. I truly do feel thankful by the end of the day and wish it could be like this for more than just the holidays, but I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

 

Next up…Christmas.

feeding your candy gremlin

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I love this time of year, Fall is full of the best weather, movies, and of course FOOD. However a lot of the food and delicious treats out there are really bad for you and can bring on the tummy wars like no other. I love being a healthy clean eater, mostly because I am highly sensitive to dairy and processed foods, but also because it’s just the lifestyle I prefer. However during my whole pregnancy this little kiddo inside of me has brought on the sweet tooth candy gremlin like no other. I eat a meal just so I can have dessert… seriously, who’s with me? When I walk into a grocery store I have this overwhelming impulse to run to the candy isle and grab all of the shitty treats I can carry. This all sounds well and good until I’m 3 snickers bar and mini twix bags deep and feel HORRIBLE. Then I remember why I don’t eat that stuff.

I love healthy good foods that make the body happy, and I love cooking them even more, but sometimes I don’t have all day to make this elaborate creation that also empties my bank account just to get the ingredients…sound familiar?

Sometimes I just want something simple, easy, and quick to take care of my unhealthy cravings. This is why I have started searching for easy, cheap and healthy alternatives to take care of my candy gremlin, and yours too!

I have posted a few simple recipes I found that are easy to make, with ingredients you mostly have, or won’t cost you much to get.

 

Reese’s peanut butter cups:

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First up I have the very simple and allergy sensitive (dairy free, nut free, soy free, egg free, shellfish free, gluten free) Reese’s peanut butter cups, because they are amazing. This recipe is super easy and is perfect for those lazy days.

All you need is:

  1. A jar of peanut butter, like this one (or if you’re feeling fancy and less lazy make your own by just blending peanuts and salt in a blender with a little bit of oil.)
  2. Chocolate- I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, when I am not in the mood to make my own chocolate. These are the BEST chocolate chips I’ve had that are allergy sensitive. They can be found at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and some general grocery stores depending on where you live, or you can always order them online.
  3. Himalayan salt (optional).
  4. If you want to get really crazy add a layer of jelly to make them peanut butter and jelly cups.

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips and use mini cupcake trays and or liners and fill the bottom with desired amount of chocolate, I don’t usually put too much since there is more to come on the top. Put tray in the freezer until chocolate hardens.
  2. Add in layer of desired amount of peanut butter. Put in the freezer once again until peanut butter has hardened. This will help avoid a messy treat where the peanut butter oozes out of the sides and down the front of your shirt, which is what will happen if the butter doesn’t harden.
  3. Add last and final layer of chocolate and sprinkle a little salt on top (if desired). Put back in the freezer until everything has hardened and ENJOY!

 

Next up is snickerdoodles:

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Ok, so these ones are not so healthy because after all, they are sugar cookies…but I had to post them because they are such a hit! You can however make them so that there isn’t any dairy in them, and you can always substitute with gluten free flour and flax for the egg.

I’ve tried several recipes and none of them tasted as amazing as these ones from here.

Things I learned and modified:

  1. Use earth balance or ghee instead of butter
  2. If you don’t have cream of tartar (like most people) you can substitute with using baking powder in equal amounts (1:1) for both baking soda and tartar.
  3. I did use egg in mine, but if you are vegan, for the egg you can use flax meal as a replacement as well as 1/4 cup whipped tofu for added volume if desired.
  4. For the holiday season I also liked to add pumpkin pie spice to the mix, but its totally optional!
Serves: 20 large cookies
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature–or dairy free butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 1 yolk–or flax meal 
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda–or 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar–or 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2¾ cup flour
Cinnamon Sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper, set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. With mixer on medium speed add in egg, yolk and vanilla and beat for another minute, scraping the sides as necessary.
  4. Turn mixer to medium low and mix in baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix for 30 seconds, scraping sides as necessary.
  5. Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until just combined.
  6. In a separate small bowl make your Cinnamon Sugar by mixing together cinnamon and sugar, stirring until evenly combined.
  7. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, measure out about 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Then roll each cookie dough ball into the Cinnamon Sugar mixture.
  8. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning cookie sheet halfway through baking.

I have also had my eye on these coconut flour snickerdoodles from Goop, but have not made them yet, but obviously suggest them since they look amazing! 

And a holiday favorite, cornbread:

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This is a simple and easy vegan recipe I found from here. The recipe is great, but a few things I changed/modified:

  1. If you are cooking them in cupcake liners also cook at 350.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of canola oil–it’s so much better for you!
  3. You can use any form of dairy free milk from almond to coconut to rice… I have been really enjoying Cashew milk lately because of how creamy  it tastes…but it’s up to you!
  4. If you want them to be sweet, which I usually do, add about 4 additional TBSP of maple syrup/or agave to the recipe..and taste to make sure it’s up to your sweet tooth standards, you can always add more and it won’t change the outcome of the bread.
  5. You can always add a little bit of corn kernels in the blend to make it sweeter too…it’s up to you how much.
  6. They are already pretty moist, but if you want them to be even more lush add 1/3 cup dairy free yogurt.
  7. Follow the instructions exactly–making sure that the milk is room temp and the coconut oil is melted otherwise it will solidify.
  8. Make sure you spray the pan!! I forgot to do this and mine stuck to the sides, which is never fun.
  9. If you love coconut as much as I do try this coconut butter spread with your cornbread, you will not be disappointed.

Makes 12 to 16 squares

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil–try coconut oil!
2 tablespoons maple syrup/agave–or at least 6 for sweet bread
2 cups soymilk–or any non dairy substitute, try cashew!
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar–you can also use lemon juice in the same amount
1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350, line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray the bottom lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, wisk together the milk and the vinegar/juice and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt).
Add the oil and maple syrup/agave to the milk mixture. Wisk with a wire wisk until it is foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Pour the wet ingredient into the dry and mix together using a large wooden spoon or a firm spatula. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Slice into squares and serve warm or store in an airtight container.

 

And there you have it, three great yummy treats to keep that candy gremlin away a little longer. 

What are some of your favorite sweets to make?