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Two Easy Granola Recipes for Everything!

Two Easy Granola Recipes for Everything!

I use these granola recipes in smoothie bowls, straight up with milk or by the handful, or on top of coconut milk yogurt – all ways delicious!! This one is not oil-free, but it is refined sugar-free, of course! And as always, totally vegan, and […]

My New Relationship with my Anxiety

My New Relationship with my Anxiety

  I would never ever claim to be any kind of an expert on anxiety issues. There are so many individuals out there with far greater anxiety issues than I. If so, a doctor’s knowledge is definitely required there. But if my experience speaks to […]

Raw Vegan Fudge Brownie Bites

Raw Vegan Fudge Brownie Bites

You guys… I can’t even. These things are phenomenal.

Even though this recipe is nothing new, each version I’ve found for these varies slightly. Brownie bites, Raw Vegan Fudge, Raw Vegan Chocolate Energy Bites, call them whatever you want! This recipe is super basic because I usually don’t have many other fancy ingredients on hand. In fact, there are only TWO ingredients for the most part!

So to my little corner of the internet, from my kitchen to yours, here you go. And recipes are for sharing… especially when chocolate is involved. So make them for yourself, make them for your friends, and pass the recipe on.

These are soooo delicious, they don’t last a day in our house. Make that HOURS. They don’t last long in our house before all four of us gobble them up.

You’ll need a high-speed blender for this. I use the Ninja Blender with Auto-iQ Kitchen System and I love it. But I don’t directly recommend any one blender. Ninja, Blendtec, Vitamix, any of them will work great. But for this recipe, I used the Ninja and the food processing container with the short blade attachment. 

So without further ado, here’s the Recipe:

Raw Vegan Fudge Brownie Bites

2 Cups Pitted Dates (we used Deglet Noor the first time we made these and Medjool the second. Both worked great.)

1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Powder

Make sure the dates are sticky and moist enough to blend easily. If they’re dry, your mixture will just turn crumbly when blended. If dates are more dry than normal, try soaking them for 2-4 hours before blending, or add 2 Tbs Raw Agave. (I’ve tried water, it doesn’t always work so I recommend the raw agave.) Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. I blend on medium until I see the mixture turn doughy, and a ball begins to form.

Roll chunks of the dough in clean hands at desired size.

Coat with Coconut shreds, a dusting of raw cacao powder, or cacao nibs. (the nibs are my personal favorite! Slightly crunchy. Mmm!)

Eat em up and enjoy! Refrigerate any that might be left!

As if Raw Vegan Fudge Brownie Bites weren’t already creamy, chewy and delicious enough, we decided to mix them in with some fresh, creamy Raw Vanilla Nice Cream! (Banana Ice Cream)

…our world will never be the same again. This was an absolutely magical combo.

For the Vanilla Nice Cream:

Frozen Bananas (as many as you like) I peel mine when they are very ripe and spotted and break them in chunks before freezing them in a freezer safe container, because then I can literally just dump them in the blender.

Just a little liquid to blend (start with a 1/4 to 1/2 cup and add more only if you absolutely need it to turn the blade. You can use water or coconut water, those are my favorites.) less liquid results in a soft-serve like texture for EPIC yum impact.

1/2 to 1 tsp organic vanilla extract (depending upon your volume of bananas)

Blend in a high-speed blender until creamy! Go ahead and mix in those raw fudge bad boys if you haven’t already devoured all the dough…

 

So let me know in the comments below if you made these and how they turned out for you, and if you mixed it with your favorite banana nice cream flavor!

 

 

See ya around!

The 5 Best Lifestyle Apps In My Life Right Now

The 5 Best Lifestyle Apps In My Life Right Now

Apps can be very helpful – useful information just a tap away. Of course, with each season of life my list of most used apps changes a bit!   The following lifestyle apps are adding some serious value to my life right now. Enough value, […]

Packing For Your Daytrip: Kid-Friendly Vegan Lunch & Snacks

Packing For Your Daytrip: Kid-Friendly Vegan Lunch & Snacks

Summer is so fun. It’s warm, full of life and energy, and tons of adventure. Especially when you have kids! This past weekend we enjoyed time with friends, a spontaneous day trip, and never missed a beat with our packed vegan lunches. The thing about […]

Motherhood & Business: 10 things I have learned in my first year as a work at home Mom

Motherhood & Business: 10 things I have learned in my first year as a work at home Mom

First of all, I’ve learned it’s really… really… hard.

 

This was my first full year as a mother and an entrepreneur.

 

I started out planning to start a basic wellness blog and just see what happened. Then I realized it was a ton of work, and I had to make money somehow or go back to my part time job, so I started freelancing. Then I realized I really loved freelancing! So I started a business. And the rest is history.

 

It has taken commitment, and most days I have the feelings of “I love this!” And “I want to quit!” all on the very same day.

 

It’s been a personal journey of self-discovery the whole way and I wouldn’t’ trade it for the world.

 

I’ve been home with my children, and it has put us in a better place to be able to start looking at owning our first home (which we have now done! Hooray!). It’s been quite the ride. I am beyond grateful.

 

I’ve made some great friends and connections with other moms who are starting home based businesses or who have had them for years and know the ropes, and together we’ve shared the joys and the trials.

 

Here are ten things I learned from my first year running a business from home while mothering.

 

  1. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I hate it. And that’s okay. It’s okay because it keeps life in perspective for me. I started out feeling guilty whenever I had a day where I didn’t like it. I would think to myself “I worked so hard for this, how dare I complain now!??” But I learned that those negative feelings can be good. They are typically a sign that I need to change something, make some adjustments. That might be a change as simple as taking a nap when my kids take a nap (let the housework be!) It might mean taking a larger step such as re-evaluating a client relationship or making some tough decisions about what to cut and what to keep. I learned that these negative feelings always need to be processed, and I may need to make adjustments. Or I may need to power through something that seems difficult. Whatever! Just make sure you are constantly evaluating how things are going and make adjustments as needed.
  2. I’m still a “Mom First”. The whole reason I started this whole thing in the first place was so that I could be a Mom first!! So if my priorities get blurry or my family starts getting cranky because mom’s stressed and overworked, I need to bring myself back to that value and that priority and put my own health and the health of my family first and foremost.
  3. I need to work by the 6:1 rule or the 5:2 rule. I started out working 7 days a week, all hours I wasn’t actively mothering and kids were sleeping, sometimes until 2 am. Well… as a wellness blogger, this is clearly not sustainable. We can see the irony here. Heck, as a human being, this is simply not sustainable and I do NOT recommend it. Ever!! So this was definitely something I had to learn. I had to learn to be able to let it go until tomorrow. Do I still pull some late nighters? Yes, once in awhile if I have a deadline. But I’ve gotten much better at this, I’m happy to report. The 5:2 rule or 6:1 rule means that I take OFF a certain number of days in relation to those which I work. I may work 5 days, take off two (they don’t always fall on the weekend, or consecutively, but this general principle has saved my life!). And I make sure at least one of those days off lands on the same day my husband has off. If I were not doing this, I would be a sad, sick, worn out, un-fun mom and wife. It’s just NOT WORTH IT, moms. Take your days off, advocate for yourself. Leave it until tomorrow. Unplug if you can.
  4. Establish “office hours” where you can. I work a lot in the evenings, but this isn’t great for maintaining “business hours”. So I have one day per week, it’s typically Mondays, where I schedule meetings, phone consultations, and any other “office work” that requires daytime hours. (Stay tuned for tip #10 where I talk about childcare. But hey! Don’t skip ahead!
  5. Seek out daily Inspiration!! Yes, I find I have to be inspired daily. I need it. Each day is a new day. I try to get through the week with the motivation I got Sunday night, and It just doesn’t last. Favorite podcasts, youtubers, whatever. It helps me to watch and listen instead of just read. Inspiration about business topics as well as fun topics, or topics related to your niche. Stay inspired, stay excited.
  6. Have real life experiences regularly. For me, I’m writing, preparing content, designing, and having a whole lot of screen time. More than I would ideally like. It’s easy for me to get “stuck” in my own head. I’m already prone to anxiety and depression and screen time does NOT help that. I love my family, I value them, so having experiences with them trumps all else. We have regular family excursions to the park, to the beach, to soccer practice, to the gym, to the fresh squeezed juicery… prioritizing these real life experiences and spending as much time as we possibly can in this God-given sunshine. Or rain. Or really whatever the weather! We participate in several non-profit 5ks per year. Whatever it is, we stay active, having real life experiences regularly. I really notice how rough things get if we get too homebound. This might be different for everyone! I would be interested in hearing what works for your family!
  7. Make sure your vitamin/mineral profiles are covered. Yes, that’s right! Take a look at your nutrition. You won’t feel your best if you are lacking or deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral. My big three I was lacking (omnivores and herbivores both need to double check these) were: a B vitamin complex, Omega 3/DHA/EPA, and trace minerals. You can include checking your vitamin D in here too, but it’s summer and I have kids, so that’s not a huge concern for me right now. But it will be again in the winter! And I take liquid forms of these supplements because I find that when I take any other kind, I don’t notice the results nearly as much. Liquid supplements absorb faster and more effectively. This liquid formula HERE is my favorite. I notice the results almost immediately, and it helps me write extra awesome blog posts. Not even joking. (I guess you can be the judge of that.) Excellent also for maintaining a positive mood, if like me, you struggle with anxiety. And on a more basic, note, just remember to eat your meals! We can’t skip over this! Sometimes we moms struggle to find time to even do that!
  8. If you’re a big dreamer like me, try to take one new thing at a time. Get good at that. Then expand to another idea, and on from there… You will get overwhelmed if you’re starting a blog or business, it’s just inevitable. So do your best to not focus on what everyone else is doing so much, and set your own pace. Work on one solid idea at a time, and do it justice.
  9. Treat it like a real job. Set the number of hours per week you know you can work on your blog or business, and then work those hours! Simple, right? This will help keep you from spending too much time and energy on your new blog or business or from burning out too quickly or letting it take time away from you and your family. Have a start time and an end time. Remember, you still have to plan meals, pack lunches, and keep your household running (if you’re doing this while full-time mom-ing!) BEING A MOM IS A FULL-TIME JOB ALREADY!! So we’re all crazy. Let’s be honest. But if we really must work our home business (wink, wink) then let’s make sure we don’t get too carried away and we practice good self and family time management.
  10. Don’t feel guilty when it comes time to interview the nanny. This is a tough one for me. I struggle with this one a lot. But the fact is, I read once that “you’d never choose a care provider for kids that was tired and cranky all the time… so why aren’t you taking self-care seriously?!” It was worded differently than that… but that is essentially what I have kept in my memory. Ha! In order to thrive, I needed to outsource the care of my kids one day per week. Seems like very little in the grand scheme of things. But I dragged my feet on this for forever… mainly for financial reasons! I needed to make sure it made financial sense, that I was finally making enough per month to be able to ask someone to watch my kids one day per week. I’ve started with a half day for now, and as I’m financially able we will move on to a full day. But there is great freedom here. I realized I’d never be able to get to that next step working with the limited number of hours I had. And I am able to be MUCH more present and be a more attentive parent the rest of the hours of the week, because I outsourced those 4-6 hours so I could get work off my mind, essentially!! It works, it really does. Would I do more childcare? Good question. At this point, no, because being home with my kids is my main value and priority. But I sure as heck will take what’s necessary. Everyone is happier for it.

 

 

  • SURPRISE!!! Bonus Tip. Number 11. Is this really for you?

 

At one point I was driving in my car sobbing. It seemed our family was simply not happy. I was working too much, I wasn’t maintaining our family time and values at home like we had prioritized, I was being walked over by clients, and I was sick and unhappy bottom line. I was driving home from my counselor, having asked one simple question, “How do I know if I should quit doing all this crazy stuff or if I am supposed to keep going!?”

 

I prayed in the car, all alone, on the way home. What was I to do? The quiet voice inside me said ever so gently but firmly “Give it one more valiant effort.” Word for word, that’s what I heard.

 

So I knew what I needed to do. I needed to make some BIG adjustments in order to give it one more valiant effort! And some of those adjustments made have resulted in learning some of the lessons/tips mentioned above here in this post. Sometimes learning them the hard way. Actually… always learning them the hard way, cuz that’s the way I am, let’s be honest.

 

I made those tough phone calls, got down to some seriously personal gritty issues, had some good conversations with my husband, and made some big physical adjustments and decisions. SO happy I did this. We did this. My family. Because in the weeks and months that followed I began to actually enjoy what I was doing again. I was re-motivated and refreshed, and was making time for betteself-carere and better quantity family time, and I had weeded out some situations in my life that needed attention, from personal friendships to work related tasks.

 

Should I have continued if my husband and family were not on board? No, I don’t believe so. Should I have continued if my

But my final tip would be this – check in with your life, with your values, with your loved ones, and with your God-guided intuition. And let what you do keep in pace with what is healthy and right, a situation you can truly thrive in.

 

Whew! This was a long post, but I hope you can walk away feeling like we know each other a little better, and maybe even having gleaned a thing or two. Leave a comment below and let me know what YOU have learned if you are a “momtrepreneur” or work at home mom! I want to learn from you!

 

Daily Routines to Beat the Chaos: recognizing the importance of the mundane in parenting

Daily Routines to Beat the Chaos: recognizing the importance of the mundane in parenting

Change is good. I love change. Sometimes I think I like it too much – I’m always pushing forward to the next thing, reaching for more personal growth, bigger and better ways to do things, changes of scenery… It’s a quality in me I embrace […]

Why I have been so afraid of self-love

Why I have been so afraid of self-love

  I’ve lived my life so far thinking that I should run from the idea of self-love. After all, if I loved myself wouldn’t that just mean I am self-absorbed and prideful? A total snob? The fact is, in fear of this, I’ve turned my […]

Three Super Easy Kid Approved Nut-Free DIY Milks

Three Super Easy Kid Approved Nut-Free DIY Milks

Healthier alternatives to milk are a huge deal right now. You can find several non-dairy alternatives to milk at any given grocery store! It’s a wonderful thing!

Why not REAL milk?

Cow’s milk is breast milk to grow baby cows into two-ton animals, It was never originally intended to be consumed by humans. I believe cutting dairy is one of the most important things people can do to feel better. It’s life changing! This article has more reasons why you should cut dairy, and it links to several more within it. In our own family, this has been the #1 biggest success story for each one of us, as is the case in many people’s homes! Maybe even yours! 

And I wish we could all just go to the store and grab a carton of milk alternative and call it a day. But unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect system. These alternatives still contain many questionable added toxic ingredients. 

I’ll briefly list them here…

 

GMOs

Processed oils

Carrageenan

Synthetic Vitamins

Added Sugar

Gums and Gelatins

 

These ingredients can have highly adverse effects on your gut over time.

But is making alternative milks yourself too much work?

Yes it is one extra thing you have to do. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you about that, it does take additional effort, and often I do wish I didn’t have to do ONE MORE THING! So I give myself grace. I will allow store-bought milks into the house, if you find them non-gmo and organic and purchase unsweetened versions – hey, there are ways to make that ingredients list look a little less offensive. So give yourself some grace.

But know this – the TINY bit of extra effort is so worth it. YOU are worth it! Your HEALTH is worth it! Never reach for the junk just because it’s “easy”. Show your body The respect it deserves.

But ultimately, the healthiest way to ensure you’re getting a good clean version of a milk alternative is to do it yourself.

Honestly, you can make “milk” out of anything. Blend it with water… it will probably turn creamy white…and there you have it. Crazy, right? It seems like the most popular “milks” are almond, soy, and coconut. We won’t dive into why one may be better than another, everyone has a preference.

But I typically choose a nut-free “milk” for myself and my family, especially for my kiddos.

So without further ado, these are my three current favorite milk DIYs! What makes these three even better, is that they’re safe for little toddlers! A great way to keep them hydrated and provide a little nutrient boost in the meantime.

 

Hemp Milk

  • 1/4 c raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 24oz filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup or a few drops of stevia (raw pure stevia, NOT Truvia or other store brand alternative)

Blend all ingredients together for about 30 seconds in a high-speed blender. Strain the seed pulp out with a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Store in refrigerator – some sources say it’s good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, I wouldn’t know because we always use it up in less time than that. Ha! But when you take it out of the fridge, give it a good shake before pouring.

Honestly, I usually just blend the hemp seeds and water, and that’s it! The other ingredients are just for fun, or if you need the extra sweetener. Hemp does have a strong seedy flavor. This recipe is awesome, and I use it so very often for most of my non-dairy needs. And it’s kid-safe! That’s the best part.

Hemp packs a big nutritional punch. They’re actually an excellent source of Omega 3s, and essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, folate, even B vitamins!… Hemp will ALSO probably promote good healthy bowel movements in your kids – just saying! But if you have a problem with this in your home, cutting out dairy may be your savior. That was the GAME CHANGER in our home, seriously.

Great for: baking, cooking, drinking, cereals, even in coffee and tea! Can be heated. 

Oat Milk

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1.5-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener or pitted dates), to taste
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt (enhances flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional, but nice)

This recipe is from Oh She Glows, Homemade Oat Milk, Easy fast cheap. This is my favorite recipe, and I love Angela Lidden’s blog and cookbooks and all things “Oh She Glows”, so I’ll promote her any day!

Great for:  pretty much anything, but *Do not heat oat milk if you want it to stay liquid! It will goop up. 

 

Banana Milk

Literally, all this recipe is, is a ripe spotted banana and water.

1 Banana (quite ripe) per 8-10 oz of water, and blend in a high-speed blender. DONE.

This recipe is perfectly delicious poured over oatmeal or dry cereal. It’s also great to give to your toddler in a cup! A great way to sweeten the deal when keeping busy little ones hydrated. It obviously has a rich banana flavor, so not everyone will adore it as much as we do, but it’s seriously an awesome alternative for many things.

 

What is your favorite milk alternative?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Inspiring Real Wellness

Inspiring Real Wellness

Restoring the day. What does that look like? Real total wellness, what does that look like? It’s a journey, right? An intensely personal one, at that! When I started this blog, I was toying around with making it a food blog for plant-based lifestyles. I […]