Real Food

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“REAL” food?

The first time I heard the term “real” food, I could not be more confused. What in the world have I been eating if not “real” food?

The answer first scared me before it changed me.

The more research I began to do, the more I realized how corrupt our food system is in America. How much the additives, food dyes, chemicals, etc. in our foods affect our culture. We are a sick nation as a whole. Food allergies present themselves in many different forms. Many people probably don’t even realize that they are probably being affected by what they are eating.

As a result, Marcos and I have drastically changed the way we eat within the past year or so. I’ve always been a self-proclaimed “health nut”, but it wasn’t until I began on the “real food” movement that I really began to understand what it meant to eat healthy.

We believe that God knew what he was doing when he created our digestive system and our environment, and questioning what he put on this earth for us to eat is not something Marcos and I do any longer. Veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and yes, meat. Not processed foods created in a lab.

I realize that this diet may be controversial to some because many people don’t question their doctors and the masses of people who proclaim “health” foods like energy drinks, granola bars, protein shakes, etc. I do question them. But I want to put this out there so that, going forward with this blog, everyone can understand where my recipes are coming from and why I may call foods like bacon and raw milk healthy when most of the country thinks they are the opposite. Luckily for me, there is a whole world of “real food” bloggers out there and their followers who make me feel like I’m not alone. And I love what they have done to help Marcos and I. If I’m lucky, someday, my words will help someone out as well.


Let’s Start Over

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It’s safe to say that it’s been quite a while since I last posted on this little blog. For the past two months, I’ve been getting notifications by e-mail letting me know that my hosting was getting ready to expire. I was not bothered by this until last night, when I told the Hubs and he acted dissapointed. We both had such high hopes for this blog – that I would be able to make a little extra cash while sharing what I love with the world. While I have shared recipes, and I have not made a cent. And you know what, maybe that’s okay.

Tonight, just minutes before midnight of the day it was set to expire, I couldn’t let it go. Something made me visit my website for the first time in months, and I just couldn’t let go. I’m not sure if saving it was the right idea or wrong, and though there are not very many of my recipes pinned on pinterest, something about letting it go forever and having anyone that previously enjoyed going to my website for a recipe that they had pinned, no longer able to do so, made me upset. I hastily pulled out my credit card and renewed it for three more months. I guess, in that time, I can figure out what the heck I’m going to do with this thing.

I want to start blogging for myself. To document my life, the ins and outs, the smallest of things, and the largest. There were times that I did that, but mostly I did it because I looked at it like a business. I think it was this view that made me fail. And you know what, I did enjoy it. I enjoyed the feedback from others, I enjoyed sharing my recipes, and I still enjoy looking back on everything. So from this point forward, however often I blog and whatever it may be about, I’m going to do it for me. Maybe, just maybe, I can keep it going this time. Because how many times have I written a post like this? Third time’s the charm? :)


House Tour – First Look!

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Alright guys, I thought it was time to let you take a peek into our home. The hubs and I moved in almost four months ago, so I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and show you what the house looked like on moving day. We have an ever-growing to-do list that we are very excited to tackle!

Our home was built in 2005. It was used as a rental for a couple years and then sat vacant for 5 years before we bought it as a foreclosure. It was in great shape for a foreclosure with very minimal problems (an electrical problem in one of the bedrooms and the hall bath that my dad was able to fix, small trees growing in the gutters, etc.). Most of the “problems” with this house are cosmetic things that are an easy fix. But overall, it was in great condition and move-in-ready – a huge plus for us as we were itching to get in our own place and at the top of our budget, we didn’t have room to make repairs to a house in order to move in.

This is the floor plan from the builder that I found on an old listing. We do not have the optional fireplace. The front bedroom (on the left of the floor plan) has become my office, while the bedroom in the middle is still sitting empty. The bedroom in the back is our guest bedroom. The attached bathroom has access to the back patio which is great for our guests. The living room is currently empty as well, and we are not completely sure what we’re going to do with it although the idea of a “movie room” has been thrown around. The great room is what we use as our living room. Everything else is pretty much as the floor plan says.

This is the front of our house. So far, the bushes have gotten a pretty good whack-job and some flowers have been planted (thanks, Mom!). We need to get shutters on the two windows on the left and give the ones that are already up a fresh coat of paint. We also plan to paint the front door (and hopefully one day replace it with one that will bring more light into the house) and dress up the garage door a bit with some hardware.

This is a view of the foyer as seen from the great room. On the right is a coat closet and behind that wall is the living room.


This is the dining room. That fixture never worked because the wire was cut! So we took it down and currently there is no light in there though my parents are graciously giving us one from their house. We currently have a china cabinet and a dining room table with no chairs in here. Ha! Hopefully we will have chairs soon!

This is the view of the kitchen from the corner of the great room.

One of the projects I hope to tackle soon is painting these cabinets. I cannot wait, I think it will open up the room so much!

Some day the dishwasher will be replaced. Something stainless steel, and something that I’m not afraid to use. I haven’t even turned this one on. I just keep it closed and forget we even have it.

The range hood will be replaced one day as well. And yes, we do have a refrigerator and stove now ;)

We have a large breakfast nook that I also cannot wait to tackle. I’m planning on bench seating and something to divert the eye so that it’s not so obvious that one of our nook walls doesn’t have a window (that’s because it backs up to our master bedroom).

Our laundry room … which is currently an eye-sore. I cannot wait to get some better storage in here. That wire shelf is sooo not cutting it!

Our middle bedroom. I didn’t get a good picture of the room that is now my office, but it didn’t look very different from this one (although it does now, as that’s the only room that’s been painted!).

The hall bathroom … have you noticed yet how everything is very builder-standard?

This is the guest bedroom, which is a pretty good size and hopefully very comfy for our guests. There’s a large closet and bathroom with a door out to the back patio.


This is our master bedroom as seen from the bathroom.

And the master bath.



And our closet, which is H-U-G-E. Seriously, I’ve never seen a closet this big in real life until I saw our house. We thought there was no way we’d ever fill it up, but we immediately did. How we ever fit all of our clothes in 3 small closets, I’ll never know!

The backyard of our house is long and narrow, but we have a large side yard and a nice back patio.

We have plans that will hopefully play-up the odd shape of our yard. We think the yard may be a major reason that our home was often overlooked and sat vacant so long. It initially turned us off also, but once we visited the house again and started talking about what we could do with it, we became very excited.

The side yard has plenty of room for sandboxes and a swing-set for future kiddos. :)

Alrighty, that’s our home! I plan to update with a post soon that shows what we have done with it so far. Do you guys have a tour of your home I can take a look at? If so, comment with it below! I love snooping into other people’s homes :)


Chocolate Cupcakes (Grain Free, Paleo, Free of Refined Sugars)

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You guys are going to get tired of me saying that I’ve created my favorite baked good. I exclaimed on my last post about my Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Cups that they were my favorite healthy treat I’d made.

I may have to rethink that for these. Maybe it’s just that I’m addicted to chocolate. Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a choc-o-holic. Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get back to these cupcakes, shall we?

I had been searching for a grain-free cake recipe that I could make for the hubs’ birthday, but most of the recipes I’d found had ingredients that I didn’t have on hand or used a large amount of coconut flour, which I am not a huge fan of (I have an aversion to the chalky flavor it can produce). So, I took my own recipe for my One Minute Chocolate Mug Cake and made it large enough to make 12 cupcakes (and this time I baked them in the oven instead of the microwave). Problem solved!

Again for the frosting, many of the recipes I found used ingredients I didn’t have on hand or used a large amount of coconut oil. Now, I love coconut oil…but I didn’t want to frost my cupcakes with it. Instead I went off of this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie and tweaked it just a bit.

The result was magical. Seriously. The frosting is light and airy, almost refreshing. I am not a fan of overly sweet and sugary frostings, but the hubs is, and he still thought this was better. The way the frosting matches with the cupcake is awesome. The cake itself is somewhere between a light, fluffy cake and a fudgy brownie. Perfectly in the middle. The hubs took a few cupcakes to work and let three different people try them and the response from each was extremely positive. So I’ll call this recipe a success :)

Ingredients:

    For the Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    For the Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened *
  • 1 can coconut milk (only the solids)
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • * You can substitute coconut oil if you prefer

Directions:

  1. At least 8 hours before making the frosting, place your can of coconut milk in the fridge. This will help the solids separate from the water. If your house is cool enough, you can skip this step (our house was just below 70° and the solids were already separated in the can).
  2. Preheat your oven to 325° and place your muffin liners in the pan. You might want to spray with non-stick spray, however I did not and I didn’t have trouble with sticking.
  3. In a mixer fixed with a whisk attachment, mix together almond butter, coconut sugar, and cocoa powder until well blended. Add in eggs, sea salt, vanilla, and baking soda and beat until well mixed. Your batter will be thicker than regular cake batter.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes (mine were done at 17 minutes).
  5. While the cupcakes are baking, clean your mixer bowl and attachment so you can re-use them to make the frosting. In the bowl, add the coconut milk solids and softened butter and whisk until well blended. Add in cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat again just until blended.
  6. If you want to frost the cupcakes like normal, you can place the entire mixing bowl in the fridge for about 2 hours to allow the frosting to thicken and the cupcakes to cool before frosting.
  7. If you want to pipe on the frosting like I did, it is easiest to go ahead and pour the frosting into your piping bag and place that in the fridge for 2 hours to thicken and allow the cupcakes to cool. I find it easiest to fold the piping bag around the rim of a cup and just poor the frosting in there.

Recipe makes approximately 12 cupcakes

This recipe was shared on Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whatcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays


Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Cups (Grain Free, Paleo)

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Holy. Moly. These quickly became the Hubs’ and I’s favorite healthy treat that I’ve ever made. Without a doubt. Chocolatey goodness wraps around a cookie dough center. Deeeee-lish.

I can’t take credit for the idea. I originally saw this recipe on Frisky Lemon and knew that I had to make them, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. So I improvised, and OH.MY.GOSH. Seriously. Make these! They are easy to make and will be ready in less than an hour.

In fact, we ate through the entire batch in just a few days … just me and the Hubs. Ooops! And yeah, he’s already requesting more…


Ingredients:

    For the Chocolate Coating:

  • 4 oz unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  • 2 TBSP butter *
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 4 TBSP honey
  • * If you don’t want to use any butter, you can substitute coconut oil, which would give you 4 TBSP total coconut oil that you will need for the recipe.

    For the Cookie Dough center:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line a 24-count mini-muffin pan with muffin liners. You could use a regular sized muffin pan as well, and I would assume that this would make 10-12 cups, but I haven’t tried it myself.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt 1 TBSP butter, 1 TBSP coconut oil, and 2 oz chocolate in the pan and whisk occasionally.
  3. Once it is fully melted, remove from heat and whisk in 2 TBSP honey. Immediately divide among the muffin cups. I used about 1/2 tsp to line the bottom of my mini-muffin cups. Place the pan in the freezer for the chocolate to harden while you prepare the cookie dough filling. Remove pan when the chocolate is fully hardened (about 10 minutes).
  4. For the dough, just combine all ingredients together until mixed well. Press a small amount of dough (approx 1 – 1.5 tsp) on top of the hardened chocolate.
  5. Repeat above steps to make another batch of chocolate coating. Spoon a small amount of chocolate over the cookie dough, diving equally among the muffin cups and covering the cookie dough entirely. Place the muffin tin back in the freezer for the chocolate to harden, about 20 minutes.
  6. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer and enjoy.

Recipe makes approximately 24 mini cups

This recipe was shared on Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whatcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays

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