Saturday, March 31, 2012

Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookies You'll actually eat....

Okay, if you've followed me for awhile, you know I'm a sugar/sweets/chocolate fiend.   BIG TIME.  I hide chocolate in my freezer and CRAVE it almost everyday.  My husband makes faces at me as I throw a couple of Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Hazelnut bars in our car at Specs.....

Since going Paleo/Primal last December (going strong 3ish months!), i've missed cookies/cake related treats.  I've made many attempts at making "paleo" versions of these recipes, with little luck.   Today my friends, I have found a paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe I actually LOVE eating.

My friend Emily is a little bit of a recipe website fanatic (and also a paleo/primal eater), and keeps forwarding recipes to me she doesn't have time to try, or she's trying to sabotage my carb count for the day!  Today she linked me to this recipe from the Spunky Coconut.  I picked up a few odds and ends at Natural Grocer before dinner and WHAM, Mimi and I whipped up these babies.

My changes to her recipe:
I used 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce, instead of 1/2 cup
I used a packet of stevia because I did not have vanilla liquid stevia
I used coconut sugar instead of honey (you can use either according to her)
I used coconut oil instead of Ghee
I used 1/2 cup of dark chips instead of 1/3, simply because the 1/3 cup was dirty and I am lazy lol.

I ate 3.  They were that good.

157 calories and 12 net carbs each

I would post a photo....but I already put them all away in a big 'ol pyrex container to keep me from shoving them in my mouth as I walk by the stove....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mom beauty

You know it's humus when my hair looks like this when I wake up. I'm calling it mom hair. No use flat ironing this mess ladies, cause you're just walking to the park in 100% humidity momma. Lol

Anyway, I'm laying in bed with a wicked headache watching Jurassic park (circa 1993) while Mimi naps. Yup, I livin' the dream.

I kind of feel bad for my husband--I generally don't cook on "headache days" and he's on his own for dinner....

Luckily I finally got into my doctor today and got my blood pressure medications reevaluated, so hopefully I'll have less "headache days."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Inks Lake State Park

What a treasure we discovered today! I have a feeling this park will become one of our new favorite camping spots!

My husband has been feeling really stressed with work so we decided to head out of town for a day and do some outdoor activities.  We're both pretty "outdoorsy" people and Mimi definitely enjoys being outdoors as well.

We woke up and packed some water, snacks, our fishing gear, and the camera. We stopped for breakfast at a mexican bakery and then hit the road for Burnet, TX.  If you've followed me for awhile, you might remember when I bought tickets to ride Thomas the Tank Engine thinking it was around the corner on Burnet ROAD here in Austin, but was actually in BURNET TX almost 2 hours away, lol.

We made it to the park shortly before 12 and made our way to one of the fishing peers.  As a fisheries biologist, I find it ironic that I actually don't enjoy fishing, or eating freshwater fish.  My husband really enjoys sitting and fishing and Mimi actually seems to enjoy it as well.  She's been fishing a few times with my friend Kim, who works for a kids fishing program.  I do think that I deserve a gold star for remembering how to tie a proper knot for the hooks.

My husband caught a nice little bluegill.  We showed it to Mimi and encouraged her to give it gentle touches.  She was apprehensive at first, but eventually touched it and was tickled with excitement. One thing I'm passionate about sharing with Mimi is my love for the outdoors and the environment.

After fishing we found a hiking trail along the water sprayed with blue bonnets! So gorgeous.  We tried to do a "forced" photo op but Mimi didn't really cooperate...

The trail eventually split into one rock climbing trail, and one dirt trail down by the water--and wouldn't you know, our little rock climber took off up the "mountain" as she called it.

After our rock climbing, we went to the picnic area and enjoyed our lunches, played on the playground, and hiked one more trail down to the waterfall.  We cut this hike short, as poor Mimi's little legs had grown tired.  Mimi and my husband passed out on the car ride home.

Sorry this post is so photo heavy, I just really love the photos we took today.  We really just had a great
day as a family enjoying the outdoors.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunting Dinosaurs

I told Mimi we were going on a dino hunt today with our friends.  I had seen a coupon for this place in my membership packet for the Austin Children's museum last summer and thought to myself, this looks like fun!

It's a good 40 minute drive from my area, but an easy one.  We packed a lunch, grabbed the camera and met some friends out at the  Dino Park.

This place is well worth the drive (and the $7 admission).  It was an easy drive with plenty of parking.  The way it was laid out, it never felt crowded, even with two school buses full of kids there.  You pay at the front and are given a scavenger hunt flyer that explains what to look for hidden throughout the 1/2 mile trail.  The employees were super friendly and helpful.

The kids were able to have to free space to walk and run and discover which is really nice.  The trail was really well maintained.  Throughout the trail were replica statues of dinosaurs with placards explaining what type of dino you were looking at with more information about when they existed, what they ate, etc.

They had a really lovely shaded picnic area at the end, complete with tables, a playground, and CLEAN bathrooms! Which is you're like me and have a potty training toddler and drink too much coffee, you are always on the lookout for free clean bathrooms!

Spring has definately sprung here in central texas, man oh man is it simply gorgeous outside! Blue skies, 80 degrees and not a lick of humidity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Scare the Pigeons

Normally I think old people are adorable. Like grandmas in a cute fuzzy sweater who smiles at how cute my kids curls are adorable.  Today I encountered and old lady with ugliness inside her.

My friend Emily and I were at Zilker park today playing at the playground, riding the train, and generally minding our own business.   We were sitting over by the snackbar are eating lunch after our peaceful $5 30-minute train ride in the bright texas spring sun, just minding our own business.  They snack shack has this ungodly amount of pigeons that hang around swiping food. The park had this brilliant idea to SELL bags of bird seed to smucks like us.  Brilliant, wish I had thought of that.....

We let our kids feed and play near the pigeons and Mimi and her friend Laith start pretending to scare the pigeons.  Picture 2 year olds crouching down and saying "Boo" followed by giggles.  Personally, I find no harm in this.  If Mimi kicked the pigeons, threw rocks at them, etc I would have told her that wasn't nice and stopped her accordingly.  This crotchety old lady comes up and tells my friends' son to "Stop scaring the pigeons!"  Emily and I are about 10 ft away and I laugh and tell Emily some old lady is yelling at our kids for scaring the pigeons.  The gluttonous pigeons that just ate about 10 bags of food from various kids and kept coming back even after our terrifying two year-olds said "Boo!" at them......

As Emily gets up and walks over telling Laith to stop to appease this lady, the Ugly-On-the-Inside Crotchety lady kneeled down and shoved my friend's kid away.

Emily looked the lady straight in the face and said "This is my kid and I'm handling this, back off"  That is way more polite than I would have been if that lady had shoved my daughter like that.    What would ever possess someone to shove a 2 year-old, especially one that is not their own, especially over saying Boo to some gluttoness pigeons?

Watch out Crotchety Ugly-on-the-Inside lady, If we meet face to face at the snack shack again you're in trouble.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Food is Fuel

Lately I've been getting a little too into reading about food and nutrition.  It's kind of annoying, you become "hungry" (hahaha) for more information on diet, nutrition, exercise, health, etc.  You start to realize how much propaganda there is in the food industries telling us what is "healthy" and "balanced". It all began last year after reading  Omnivores dilemma, then watching Food Inc, followed by watching "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead," leading to reading the book"Good Calories Bad Calories" by Gary Taube. Now I'm here.

My husband and I transitioned over to paleo/primal after Christmas and haven't looked back.  With my husband's gluten intolerance, it actually turned out to be a good choice for us.  Now, paleo/primal is a big "fad" to some right now, and you can argue the carbohydrate debate all day as to whether or not we need 50, 100, 150 or more grams/day until the cows come home, then continue to argue whether or not you can call yourself paleo if you eat dairy.....but what I really love about paleo/primal is how it really makes you focus on what you're putting in your body.  By eliminating processed grains (wheat, corn, rice), legumes (beans, soy), and processed sugars, you're truly just forced to put whole foods into your body.  You'd be hard pressed to find a processed a food that doesn't contain soy, corn, rice, wheat, or processed sugars (and their by products).

I find myself scouring the internet for new recipes and getting creative in the kitchen to find savory and filling meals that are healthy, satisfying and grain-free.  I think of food as fuel and try to eat when I'm hungry and gauge how many grams of carbs I need based on my activity level that day, not mindless cravings.  I read the labels of every food that comes into my house and our bodies.  Over the last few months I've become really appalled and disappointed at our food industries.  I'm appalled at what's in our food.  I'm angry at how it's deceptively marketed as healthy, or targeted to kids.  Really, Trix cereal is "heart healthy"?  Did you know one serving of the typical children's cereal has as much sugar as a can of coke? Of course my 2 1/2 year old will want the yogurt with sponge bob on it that has twice the sugar and less protein than the yogurt I would choose for her.  What part about white bread resembles any kind of grain to you?

Want to know another thing that is really frustrating? I subscribe to the Sunday paper mostly for the coupons, and every week I'm frustrated at how the only coupons that I can use are for laundry detergent and cheese.  Every other coupon is for processed junk.  No wonder why americans don't eat a healthy diet, we're basically coerced into buying crap because it's cheaper and faster.  It is unfair and just plain wrong that it's more expensive for the average family to eat whole foods, fresh produce, lean fresh meats, than it is for them to buy pre-packaged processed foods, laden with salt and sugar.'re probably bored already.  This is just something I've become really passionate about.  I challenge you for a week to read what's in your food.  Ask yourself if it even resembles real whole ingredients.  Stop counting calories and listen to your body, feed your body when it's hungry, not when it's noon.  Food is fuel.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Keeping Busy

This last week has been CrAzY busy!  It was Spring Break and SXSW here in Austin.  With Mimi's preschool and dance being cancelled, and with out of town guests crashing our apt, I got out of dodge! I escaped to Courtney's house in Houston and had a great time with her and the kids.  We got in lots of playtime, swimming, and even took the kids to see the Lorax.  Taking our girls to the movies was so much fun!  I look forward to doing that again with the Courtney and Sophia.  Mimi and Sophia get along really well and always have a ton of fun.   I even did her boot camp class with her twice at 5am which kicked my butt!

I came home to my apt full of guests feeling super cranky.  I spent the last few days feeding people and cleaning up after people. Kind of frustrating. 

Last night we went out to a fun patio restaurant for dinner with some friends and the weather was amazing.  Texas in springtime is amazing gorgeous, lush and green.  It's so opposite of how I grew up.  I really like this group of people we've gotten to know. They're the kind of people that you spend time with so effortlessly.  You just drink and chat and time flies by while your kids run circles around you.

Other than that, I'm feeling super anxious.  I feel like I need to buckle down on so many things....I want to lose these last few pounds and start toning up for summer, I want to finish writing my dissertation, I want to get more strict about our savings because we're gearing up to move in a few months to a bigger house.  Just anxious.

I'm excited to tackle these goals this next 30 days.  My own personal 30 day challenge to get my shit in order, pardon my language.   

Enjoy some photos from dinner last night....

My girl in her tulip dress, courtesy of my gymboree discount

My friends Melissa and Emily with our kis, Audrey, Laith and Mimi (see how I balance Mimi on my HUGE gut? Gross), oh the lady in the middle in a the tan dress just had a baby, why did I not look like that right after I had a baby!?

Me and Melissa with Audrey and Mimi

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just for fun....

This is what I look like in the morning, post shower, no makeup, just combed 1/2 air-dried hair.  Sexy right?

Then I finished drying my hair with a round brush, well I half assed it....
dude what's with my goofy smile?!
Then I put on some makeup (and let Mimi play with my makeup as well) and we did our own photo shoot.

Mimi wanted to have a photo by herself, because she's a diva

Now, I realize the first two photos may have scared you.  What's really scary, is I used to go out like that all the that is scary.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

After more than 2 1/2 years....

Today I felt an overwhelming sense of pride then defeat.  My baby girl, who is over 2 1/2 now, has had this nasty cold for the last few days, which normally doesn't slow her down.  Alas, last night she was wheezing and coughing all night and spiked a fever this morning.  I took her to her doctor, which I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have Sunday hours!

The doctor told us she has a sinus infection, but it had not gone into her chest.   Her lungs were clear and oxygen saturations were fine.  The doctor said she would need antibiotics, seeing that the fever came on days after the cold, it was indicative of a secondary infection from the cold.  The doctor asked me if she was allergic to anything, and I told her that I don't know.  To be honest I don't think I've ever taken her to the doctor for anything but a well child visit.  Isn't that awesome? In almost 3 years my child has never required anything more than tylenol, saline and a humidifier.  I was so proud of myself her and her little immune system for taking her this far with no antibiotics.  Then I felt defeated, thinking I should have flushed her sinuses more with saline the last few days, made her get more rest, more fluids, etc.  Damn being a mother is a lifelong sentence of guilt.

Anyway, she's on bubblegum-flavored antibiotics now, along with ibuprofen, saline, and a humidifier.  Seeing your kid suffer, knowing the pain of intense sinus pressure (I suffered from severe sinus infections most of my childhood), I wanted to cry and take all of her pain away.  She's needy, exhausted, won't eat, and just lays on my lap moaning and breathing like Darth Vador.  I steamed up my bathroom and took a long warm  shower with her and let the warm water flow back and forth over her back while I rocked her.  The bathroom was like a steamy sauna,  it seemed to help.  I'm saying a little prayer that these antibiotics kick in soon and she gets some relief.

In more positive news---we did make it to the Zilker Kite Festival this weekend.  Mimi basically just layed on my lap or in the stroller resting on a flushy pillow, but we soaked in the warm sunshine and met up with some friends.  Here's some photos:
TONS of people and GREAT people watching!

hello frumpy mom of the year award

I knew she didn't feel well when she didn't even it this eclair from central market...

My friend Emily and I

the hubs

the only smile I saw all weekend from my sick baby

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spontaneous cookouts

I feel like the queen of spontaneous cookouts lately! Two this week.  These last minute cookouts help us soak in these amazing "spring preview" weather days!  This week we had a day that was sunny and 85, almost requiring sunscreen!  Last night we cooked out at the dogpark here at my place, we let the pups play and threw some hot dogs and sausages on the charcoal grill and enjoyed some beers with our fellow pooch lovers.  That's one thing that I'll miss when we move out of this complex, the amazing friends I've made at the dog park! lol

Today was sunny and breezy.  We met up with some friends in North Austin for another spontaneous cookout.  Her husband owns a catering business and used to own a lebanese restaurant, so needless to say the food was amazing.  The neat thing is they are "primal" eaters too, so eating with them is a breeze.  Her son and Mimi get along so amazingly.  We joke that they are boyfriend and girlfriend.  Mimi has so much fun with her pal she always cries when we have to leave their house.   I also enjoying hogging my friends 3 month-old pork chop.  She is the most beautiful little baby, I could just eat her up!  I told my husband watch out because holding her makes me crazy for another baby!  I didn't bring my camera, but my friend snapped some photos from her phone that I'll share.

My tree climbing little Mimi

Me holding baby Hazel being a baby hog

Getting ready to eat