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Second Trimester Journey!

GUYS! I am so touched at the feedback, support, and the conversations started from my blog post on my First Trimester! Tearing up thinking about it and I am not sure if that is because of the pregnancy hormones or because it was just so special to hear from so many people about their own journeys, issues, and ups/downs. Let's chalk it up to both!

With that being said, let's talk about my SECOND TRIMESTER. Once again, I am going to be super up front about it all and I welcome Instagram messages, emails, etc. No question is too weird for me! My guess is this blog post will be slightly different than my first trimester as instead of feelings it might be more about changes in my body and the growing of the bump! Once again I am writing this throughout my second trimester and that ranges from weeks 14- 27. FYI for people who don't know, pregnancy is usually 40 weeks! 

14- 15 weeks

Is it just me or did you do a happy dance when the second trimester began? I didn't have a bad first trimester but milestones in pregnancy are THE FRICKING BEST! Also the first trimester feels like its 20 years long because most of it is in secret so it will a breath of fresh air and I wanted to yell "I AM PREGNANT to the world"- I refrained though. 

Observations

  • The top of my stomach and the bottom are hard. It is still slighlty squishy but I am obsessed with touching it and making Jesse too as well
  • I am still in regular clothes (although I have ordered maternity ones on standby from Pink Blush- love their stuff!) but let's just say I have to undo the button of my jeans after a big meal and baggy fall sweaters are wonderful
  • Energy is great, appetite is back to normal most of the time, I feel bursts of nausea every so often, growing pain/cramps are a thing and I know this little guy or gal is getting ready for a serious growth spurt
  • I am focused on my diet again, and making sure I get plenty of healthy fats in and clean protein sources. The better I am with both of these, the better I feel! FYI we should try to aim for about half of our body weight in protein each day

Other

  • I am obsessed with looking up bump pictures of the week I am in so I plan to share them with you in case anyone out there feels the same way. Every night before bed I find myself looking up hashtags like #14weekbump #15weekspregnant. Also, I am loving all the online forums and have been even since before my pregnancy! There is quite the sisterhood and support system out there so if you are ever feeling alone, check them out!

16-20 Weeks

This is when the fun stuff started to happen.

At around 16 weeks I felt what I call "tickles" along my belly and kind of felt like air bubbles tickling my stomach. I dismissed this for about a week not really thinking much of it and then realized OMG this is what people call "flutters". Everyone describes it differently so I just dismissed it thinking it was nothing (even though I have never felt this type of sensation in my life). With that being said, pay attention to your body and do not get caught up on what other people are feeling as that is what confused me! It truly was such an exciting moment when I finally put two and two together!

Around 18 weeks is when the "tickles" changed to kicks/flips. For me these weeks fell over our holidays (December- early January) so as you can imagine, I was not eating as clean as I usually do which meant a lot more dairy! I find this next part quite funny. I dismissed baby movement once again because I was caught up thinking it would feel a certain way. I thought what felt like stomach turning (or being on a roller coaster and going down a cliff) and stomach spasms were because I was eating too much dairy. NOPE, once again, I was wrong! You think I would have learned my lesson two weeks earlier but on Christmas eve (what a special occasion to first make the connection), I felt the baby "flip". To me it felt like a fish flipping in my stomach. From that point forward, baby has been quite active, especially when I have anything with sugar (refined or natural) which helped me realize sugar can really affect the baby (and not in a good way, even though it is nice to feel him). YES, HIM. That brings me to my next point...

19- 20 weeks. We found out the gender! We are having a boy! We had a gender reveal party where we found out the same time our family and friends did. Our lovely ultrasound technician was nice enough to secretly write it down for us and we sealed shut. As my husband is an avid golfer, we decided to find out by him hitting a golf ball and it exploded either blue or pink. In case this confuses you, we ordered a "gender reveal" golf ball set on Amazon which comes with both a ball that explodes blue and one that is pink (there is a sticker on it). One of our family members got the job of reading the secret envelope and handing us the corresponding ball. It was SO much fun! For anyone looking to actually find out their baby's gender before birth, I would highly suggest finding out at the same time as your family and friends. I will cherish that moment forever and tear up just thinking about all the love, support and excitement we shared that day. It really did not matter if that ball exploded blue or pink (even though my husband cheered aggressively loud when it was blue...), we just want a healthy + happy baby! On a side note: I knew it was a boy all along. I just knew! I would tell everyone who would listen it was a boy and that I was 99% sure of it. Turns out, I was right! Let's see if my other predictions come true (date and weight!). We have already decided on the baby's name as well (it was actually decided upon before we even got pregnant)! 

21 weeks

It is true what they say, belly pops overnight and I feel like I woke up one morning and it was much bigger (still not extremely obvious) but definitely a bump!

Sometimes I struggle with saying this next part because:

1. I don't want to jinx it (silly me)

2. I feel guilty and do not want anothers to compare their journey to mine, feel bad or even think I am one of those obnoxious pregnant people painting the wrong picture (silly me again)

but...

I LOVE pregnancy! I feel really great and have pretty much the entire time (minus some annoying food aversions in first trimester). I realized though that these stories also need to be told. I need to speak my truth and not avoid sharing it for the above fears. Every body is different, every pregnancy is different, every experience is very different. That is all your really need to know! It does not make you better or worse of a person, it just makes you a person. I have been very lucky and have (so far) had a great pregnancy. I do not know what is to come and if this feeling will last until child birth but right now all I can say is, this experience has truly been amazing. One thing I definitely think has made a positive impact is me tracking and being aware of my protein intake. I have been very diligent about making sure I get enough protein each day while minimizing sugars. Full disclosure: I have not been great with taking supplements every day (minus b12 and some iron tissue salts I got from my homeopathic practitioner)

22 + 23 weeks

Apparently the baby sleeps 12-14 hours a day (according to my pregnancy app, "the bump") which makes total sense as the moment I lie in bed (8pm-ish) to start winding down for the night, I feel this little guy start going crazy (apparently we have opposite sleep patterns- hopefully this changes at birth! ha). This is also probably paired with the fact that its when I get the most quiet during the day and can recognize these feelings better. When I drink something cold, eat something sugary, or if a cat lies on my stomach and purrs (he feels the vibration), he goes even more wild which is the best feeling EVER!

24 + 25 Weeks

$#*@ is getting very real. This baby is strong and I feel him kicking more frequently and much stronger. With 15 more weeks to go I cannot believe he will get even stronger and bigger. I went into pregnancy thinking I would have a bump right away which is not true at all (for some people it might be!), but mine didn't really start showing until 23 weeks.

So many people ask me what my weird cravings are or what feels different and I feel like I am disappointing them when I say not much! My appetite is not very different at all (the odd time I feel hungrier), I don't have any crazy cravings, and the only thing that has really changed is my belly size and the ability to bend down.

This may be TMI but at 24 weeks a tiny bit of breast milk/colostrum came in. This is very normal! It was very shocking and amazing at the same time. My body is getting ready for breastfeeding and that is incredible!

26 + 27 Weeks

The last two weeks of my 2nd trimester! HOLY where did the time go. Nursery is set up, name is picked. Bump has grown a lot, but the craziest part that is starting to make it more real than anything- when I lay down, I can feel (and somewhat guess) how he is positioned! When I wake up in the morning I usually have his bum in the air on my right side or his leg in my right rib. 

One thing I forgot to mention throughout this trimester is in regards to my skin. I have a couple broken capillaries underneath my left eye from this pregnancy. I have been told it is quite common and a few of you have reached out to me to tell me you had/have it on your chest. I have been told some go away on their own but facial ones usually have to be lasered off post pregnancy. 

These past few weeks I have been craving hamburgers more with all the crunchy toppings but no other cravings to report. I usually like having beef once a week. My appetite has not increased at all either. A lot of these pregnancy rumours I have heard about are not true for me: i.e. hunger, energy, swelling, (so far!), sleeping issues, etc. I feel incredible and hope that continues for my last trimester! 

Other things that happened this trimester: we enrolled in prenatal classes (that take place in my third trimester), we finalized our baby registry (most of mine is from Amazon because it has everything and I am obsessed with it), we set a shower date (in third trimester), we started researching doulas (more to come on that one!), I started reading the book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, we went on a "baby moon" to Bahamas since it is one of the only tropical places that is Zika free, I had multiple pre-natal massages, we took a second mini baby moon to Niagara on the Lake where we stayed at Pillar and Post (I had one of my massages in their spa there, heavenly). Jesse and I have also created a "baby bucket list"! It is not like our life is going to end but we know for a while it will change a lot (at least for a while)! So ours mostly consists of restaurants we want to try out and sleep as much as we can. 

Stay tuned for my 3rd trimester journey that will come to you in a couple months (baby is due May 23rd)! 

PS- the leggings I am wearing in these pictures are Lululemon's Align in 25" length. I was told by countless woman they are a godsend for all stages of life and even grow with you while pregnant (shocking but its true!), and they are so right! I bought two pairs and love them! They are not maternity but are so lightweight and do not have any pressure on your stomach at all (which a lot of maternity or regular leggings do)!

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My First Trimester Pregnancy Journey!

This was a planned pregnancy, but when the pregnancy test read positive, I was still shocked! No word of a lie, I texted two of my besties saying "HOLY $#*@, I AM PREGNANT!" Complete shock, even for people trying to have a baby!

Let's rewind even more here. They suggest not telling people until the first trimester is done, which takes you to 12 weeks or 3 months pregnant (some people even say 14 weeks). That is a long time to not tell people! I get why they say that because in the first trimester, there is a higher chance of something going wrong. Let's just say that I went to 2 weddings and probably at least 10 social gatherings (3 of which were large thanksgiving get togethers) during that time with at least 5 people asking me when we want to have a baby or checking what I was drinking (and proceeded to smell my cup lol). For anyone who knows me, I am a person who is VERY expressive (my emotions show very easily, both good and bad), so as you can imagine, this was hard. We ended up telling more people than we planned to because my husband is also an excited teddy bear who wears his heart on his sleeve. Oh well, c'est la vie! But that brings us to today... I have been wanting to share this with you all so badly! So truth be told, I started writing this blog post almost 10 weeks ago so I wouldn't forget a thing so that I could help others down the line and maybe even be insightful to some men! 

Some information about me:

- My pre pregnancy health plan: we decided we wanted to start trying in the summer so the 6 months leading up to that time frame, I really ramped up my health. I worked on my immune system + digestion (through acupuncture and minimizing of certain foods- gluten, dairy, alcohol, refined sugar). I got my health in order and up to date: holistic dentist, homeopathic practitioner, naturopath, massages, colon hydrotherapy, etc. My self care game was strong and better than ever! 3 months beforehand I started taking pre-natal vitamins and my husband starting taking an array of supplements that were suggested to me by Anne Matthews (Energy Tree Anne, my acupuncturist who happens to specialize in fertility but when I started seeing her it was just for general wellbeing and digestion- more on her later). I worked on getting my business in order, becoming more efficient in all areas of my life, decluttering my life, minimizing stress and making room for this baby. It was truly a beautiful time as it was filled with so much self love + self respect. I would highly recommend giving yourself time to do this if you are thinking of having a baby in the near future. 

- Due date: May 23rd 2019

- Gender: TBD, I really thought it was a boy but now I am torn! I will find out around NYE time frame (20 weeks)

- Birth plan: I went with a midwife but will be having my baby in a birthing centre within a hospital. All I want is a healthy baby and would like to try the natural route, but am open to whatever is needed to get this little bean safely here! So no "birth plan" really as not much is in my control!

- MAJOR QUESTIONS I GOT: I am definitely ok with lots of questions and not uncomfortable with most of them probably because it was a quick process for us but just be very cautious with the questions you ask women of the child bearing age/stage i.e. "when are you having kids", "how long did it take", etc. It is VERY common in this day and age to try for long periods of time. They say average is 6 months so even though some people think they are being nice asking someone when they are having a baby, they could be a year into trying and very discouraged at this point. My point being, just ask yourself if someone could potentially be hurt by a question you ask. Anyways, I plan to be VERY up front, candid + blunt with my pregnancy/birth/motherhood journey so consider me an exception (or an oversharer haha!)

But here we go...

  • How long did we try for: started beginning of July and was pregnant by end of August so I would say around 8 weeks! We are SO SO lucky and grateful for this as well!
  • Did you know you were pregnant: TMI coming your way... my heart/intuition said "yes", but my brain said "no". Another little reminder to get out of your head and follow your instincts. The moment your egg is implanted in your uterine wall is called "implantation". This is around the exact same time you would be getting your expected next period and some of the symptoms are the exact same. For me, I had mild cramping so thought "ok we are out this month", some spotting (which can be called implantation spotting), and breast tenderness (which I normally do not get with my regular monthly period). Two days before I took a pregnancy test, I had what felt like tingling in my fallopian tubes/uterus area and at one point a very sharp feeling there too. I had never felt this before so I was very confused! 

- People have different measures of first trimester, but it is 12-14 weeks longs and dates back to the first day of your last period. So basically when you expect your next period, around 4 weeks after your last, that is when you find out. And the good part is, you are already 4 weeks then (even though the baby was likely conceived between 2-3 weeks)  Crazy right!?

Week 4 & 5

After finding out I was pregnant (2 days before my sister in laws wedding where I was a bridesmaids and co-MC), I was already mildly nauseas at certain times of the day, sleeping earlier and my breasts were starting to get tender (if this is TMI for you I would suggest to stop reading and to never read my pregnancy posts or to SUCK IT UP as this is a huge part of life LOL! I will still love you though). My energy during the day was very good!

Supplements- I was already taking pre-natal vitamins beforehand (I started taking in early summer) and continued taking them (I used Seroyal brand but switched to Mega Food)

Diet- most foods still but I noticed dairy made me feel nauseas. SO thirsty all the time too!

Exercise- HARD NO. I tried to but it made me feel nauseas.

Self Care- acupuncture once a week, warm epsom salt baths a couple times a week, lots of water, bed early!

Week 6 & 7

Morning sickness is a thing! Week 6 was my worst week hands down. I was lucky enough to only have it during a small time frame every day (830-10am) if I had not eaten enough so I learned very quickly that if my stomach wasn't coated with oatmeal, saltine crackers or toast, I would be throwing up (I only threw up three times in total but felt nauseas a lot during these weeks). Magically enough though, even on mornings I got sick, I felt better afterwards and the rest of the day was just breast tenderness, going to bed by 9pm and eating really simple foods! Also waking up at 3am to pee every night.

Supplements- I was taking my pre-natal during the afternoon with food when I knew they would not be coming back up. I was also taking b6 twice a day to help with nausea, b12 for energy, and magnesium before bed on some nights to help relax (all Seroyal products)

Diet- these were the weeks that changed a lot. Most foods seem unappealing to me and I was only consuming super simple carbohydrates basic. My diet basically consisted of: saltine crackers, toast, apples, gingerale, sometimes herbal teas, lots of water, pastas. I could not stomach most vegetables, meats, cheese, black teas, etc. Most of the time I would be forcing myself to eat because I knew if I didn't, I would be sick. Let's just say, scrolling through my Instagram feed made me feel queasy. My husband was always suggesting different foods to eat and make, and I would tell him to hold that thought for a few weeks. For a foodie, this adjustment was hard! ALSO still consuming so much water. I would feel so thirsty at times (think waking up at 3am hungover and feeling like you have never had a sip of water in your life and your mouth feels like a desert). My energy during the day was great still!

Exercise- I stopped spinning and doing HIIT workouts as they sometimes made me feel so tired after like I drained all my energy I had for the day. So I vowed to get in 8-10k steps a day (using my fitbit) for the time being

Self Care- acupuncture once a week, warm epsom baths a few times a week (the magnesium is great for nausea), bed by 9pm.

Week 8 & 9

The biggest difference in these weeks (and saddest) was my appetite. I frigging LOVE food and most seemed pretty gross to me. I didn't like cooking for myself, vegetables seemed gross, most meat seemed disgusting and carbs were my best friend (and so was bloating because I was carb-loading) ha! By the end of week 9 is when things started to change for the better but all in all weeks 6-10 were pretty dang good!! I think I had it very good for a pregnant lady. My biggest change was my appetite throughout. Those 5 weeks seemed like eternity! Still chugging water like its my job. I had good energy throughout the days still!

Exercise- 8-10k steps a day, started to spin again and do some strength training

Self Care- bed was now by 830pm! GRANDMA STATUS. It felt really food though and overall my sleeping in the first trimester has been AMAZING! Like 7-9 hours, mostly uninterrupted sleep.

Week 10

HALLLLLEEELUJAAAAAAAAAH! My appetite was starting to come back and my first craving was crunchy vegetables and dill dip. I also wanted to cook and bake again which was so nice. I started to feel like me again! 

Exercise- I feel like an old woman when I say this but I love going to the gym and walking on the treadmill for 60-90 minutes which is usually around 5-8km and watching a TV show, catching up on work emails, etc. I LOVE IT! I also am spinning once a week and doing HIIT 1-2x/week but LOVE ME SOME BRISK WALKING! 

Self Care- same old, same old. Bed early. Sleeping well.

Week 11 & 12

Nausea started to come back but mainly just in the mornings when I woke up. Certain foods seemed gross again. I can also feel my stomach starting to grow and expand more as I have light cramping every so often. Baby is getting ready to start growing more and more! By week 12 its the size of a plum. I had my ultrasound (see below) where I saw my little nugget and it felt very really and was such a special moment. If you zoom in on the face, I swear I see a smile and have been telling anyone who will listen the baby already "has my nose". 

Crying over nothing is a thing. It has happened to me twice (so far) in this pregnancy and I am sure will happen a lot more. It looks like this... MAJOR TEARS. husband- "Whats wrong?!"... me- "NOTHING! I DONT KNOW!"...

Exercise- still loving my treadmill walks. I am actually getting way more steps in than pre-pregnancy which is funny. Hopefully counteracting all the carbs I have been consuming.

Week 13

THIS WEEK! If you are reading this when I actually posted this (3rd week of November) I am currently 13 weeks pregnant and my baby is the size of a lemon! 

I am so excited to continue to share my pregnancy journey with you all! If I had to sum up my first trimester and pregnancy so far it would be...

Positives: My energy levels overall were really great! My nausea at the worst of times was maybe a 3/10 (I am very lucky) and I only got sick 3 times which was mainly in week 6! I have slept very well throughout and my dreams have been very vivid. My thirst has been strong which is a bonus as I have consumed more water than ever which is great on many levels! 

Obstacles: mild nausea, but the hardest part for me was food aversions and major changes in my appetite! I said this already but as a foodie, not being able to make and eat all different types of foods was hard! This is a pretty good problem to have in the grand scheme of things as some women experience all day nausea and vomiting, cannot sleep, have low energy and feel like garbage.

I WAS AND STILL AM VERY LUCKY!! There is a lot out of your control in pregnancy and I still have a lot to learn but now that I am moving towards my second trimester I am super excited to see what it has in store. I have been told it is the "honeymoon" trimester which (typically) consists of you feeling back to normal, and your bump appearing. Speaking of "honeymoons" we have booked a "baby moon" to the Bahamas in December as it is one of the few places in the Caribbean that is "Low Risk Zika". Anyways, if you have any questions please email me directly at kayla@kale-ahhh.com. I am happy to help, hear any suggestions you might have on baby products, classes, etc.

XO

 

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour* 
  • 1 + 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a carton)
  • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips (you can use regular chocolate chips too)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla (I really like vanilla)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and use a cupcake pan with added liners
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, coconut sugar, salt + baking soda)
  3. Next, add all the wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, coconut milk, butter/coconut oil) and stir until well combined. I use a fork over a whisk as I often find the mixture gets caught in the middle of a whisk
  4. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and spoon around 2 tbsp. into each cupcake liner. Repeat for all 12 cupcakes
  5. Cook for 15- 20 minutes (I cooked for 17 minutes but it sometimes depends on the strength of your oven) and let cool for at least 10 minutes

Serve with: butter, nut butter + hemp seeds, or on its own!

*if you live in Canada, get this all purpose gluten free flour at Winners/Home Sense/Marshalls- they usually have some in stock for so much cheaper than anywhere else!)

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Chicken Wings + Fries

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs organic chicken wings 
  • 1/2 bottle chosen foods chipotle ranch (or another healthy sauce alternative)
  • 1 tbsp. ghee or butter

Instructions

  1. Place all the wings in a slow cooker and cover with sauce and butter
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours
  3. Optional: after wings have been slow cooked, spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 10 minutes at 375 degrees until crispier

That's it! Serve with baked fries, mashed potatoes, celery, carrots, salad, you name it!

Notes:

  • The dip is Primal Kitchen Ranch (from Whole Foods)
  • The fries are Alexia brand waffle fries (baked in the oven)
  • Organic chicken wings were purchased at Costco
  • Chosen Foods Chipotle Ranch was purchased at Healthy Planet

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Turtles

Still working on perfecting these babies, but here is my recipe in the meantime!

 

Turtles

gluten , dairy + refined sugar free

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
  • 20-30 pecan halves
  • 1 cup caramel*

*caramel:

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

 

Instructions

  • First, mix together all the caramel ingredients in a food processor and blend until fully combined into a sticky paste. If it is too soft, add more dates or place in the freezer
  • Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop 1 tbsp. of the caramel mixture onto the pan. Flatten with the back of spoon and place 2 pecans on top of the caramel (see below photo for clarity). Repeat until caramel has been used up + place in freezer for at least 30 minutes

  • Once the caramel/pecan have frozen, melt chocolate in double broiler (my preference) or microwave. Drizzle approximately 1 tbsp. of melted chocolate onto each caramel/pecan and cover as much as possible. Repeat until each caramel is covered entirely and place in freezer again for at least 30 minutes

 

VOILA! easy, peasy + delicious

 

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Salted Caramel Bites

Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates
  • 3/4 cup natural nut butter (cashew, almond or peanut)
  • 3/4 cup vegan or regular chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
  • Sea salt crystals (regular sea salt works too)

Instructions

  1. Mix together dates, nut butter + coconut oil in a food processor until fully combined 
  2. Roll mixture into balls and place in fridge or freezer for at least 15 mins
  3. Melt chocolate chips in double broiler or microwave (I suggest double broiler if possible as I don't love microwaves!)
  4. Roll each ball in melted chocolate and cover entirely. Sprinkle with sea salt right away before chocolate hardens
  5. Place bites in freezer or fridge for at least 15 more minutes

 

I HOPE YOU ENJOY THEM AS MUCH AS I DO!! enjoy xo

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Bruschetta (Gluten Free) ✨

Ingredients

  • 2 x O'Doughs (Gluten Free) Flatbreads 
  • 2-3 heirloom tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 tbsp. basil (chopped finely)
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
  • Balsamic glaze (for drizzle)

Normally I would include some garlic or onion (so feel free to add some, I would suggest 1 tsp. chopped garlic and around 1/4 cup diced red onions!) but I made this for one of my friends who is allergic to both onions and garlic so omitted!

Instructions

  1. Roast or BBQ (this is what I did) flatbread for 10 minutes (flipping halfway)
  2. In the meantime, mix together diced tomatoes, olive oil + basil in a bowl until well combined
  3. Once the flatbreads are cooked, cut into shape of your choosing and top with bruschetta mixture
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve

Voila, easy peasy and SO delicious!

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Brownies + Cashew Buttercream Frosting (Paleo, Gluten Free!)

I merged two recipes here (and altered it slightly) + made some paleo, gluten free brownies with cashew buttercream frosting!

Brownies:

  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup coconut (or almond) milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons paleo or vegan chocolate protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

 

Cashew Butter Frosting:

  • 1 cup cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk 
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease the a cake pan/baking dish with coconut oil
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the BROWNIES ONLY in a food processor and blend until completely smooth
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and cook for 30-35 minutes. Use a toothpick to test (if it comes out clean, its done)
  4. Next, blend all FROSTING INGREDIENTS in a food processor until completely smooth
  5. Once the brownies are fully cooked, spread the frosting evenly over them

The recipe's I merged were from Paleo Gluten Free + Minimalist Baker (2 amazing healthy food bloggers!):

https://paleoglutenfree.com/recipes/best-coconut-flour-brownies-and-peanut-butter-frosting/ (except I used cacao instead of cocoa powder, added some vanilla)

https://minimalistbaker.com/cashew-buttercream-frosting/ (except I substituted with cashew butter and omitted some of their ingredients)

 

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi + Sage Cream Sauce (Gluten + Dairy Free)

I have been having serious FOMO in the Instagram world as everyone in the US is having Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi. I was going to attempt to make this myself but then remembered in cooking school I learned how to make sweet potato gnocchi and it was delicious! I searched the internet and found this recipe and had to try it. The verdict: WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!

Kylie from Paleo Gluten Free, you are the best! THANK YOU for this recipe! I altered it a bit and here are my tips:

  • I tripled the portions of the gnocchi so I could freeze them for later (I kept the sauce recipe as is)
  • After tripling the gnocchi recipe, I added 1/2 cup more of cassava flour (I ordered this from Amazon.ca)
  • Since I was mashing my sweet potatoes after boiling them, the process made them very hot so I stuck the mashed sweet potatoes in the freezer for 10 minutes before I made the gnocchi as it was too mushy to form! 
  • It took me about 1.5 hours in total to make all this, likely because I was a slow poke and it was my first time making!
  • I added in some Trader Joe's spices to both the sauce and gnocchi
  • I added in more spinach than it called for because, you can never have too much spinach!

Here is her recipe (with a few of my adjustments)! Gluten free, dairy free, paleo baby!

Ingredients

Gnocchi*
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (*I did 3 cups sweet potato)
  • 1/2 cup cassava flour (*I used 2 cups cassava flour because I added in more and did not use the brand she suggested)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt optional
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (I used Trader Joe's chili lime powder)

*because I tripled the recipe

Sauce

Instructions

Gnocchi
  1. In a bowl stir together the cooked mashed sweet potato and flour for the gnocchi until completely smooth. If you don't have cooked sweet potato on hand, make it by peeling a large sweet potato, cutting into 2" chunks, and boiling in water until soft (drain water from sweet potatoes after boiling).
  2. Separate dough into four equal parts and roll out into 3/4" diameter tubes on a surface dusted lightly with cassava flour. Cut the tubes of dough into 1" pieces.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop gnocchi into it. Once they have risen to the surface, remove, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the pan. Add gnocchi and cook on each side until golden, then remove.
Sauce
  1. In a skillet saute the minced onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil for the sauce until golden then set aside.
  2. Add rest of ingredients for the sauce (except spinach and leave out tapioca flour if you want the sauce to be thinner) to the sautéed onion and garlic. Bring sauce to a low boil and boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously (otherwise the flour will clump in the sauce) until sauce thickens. Then stir in spinach, let it wilt, and add gnocchi.

 

I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS AS MUCH AS I DID! Once again, click on the word "recipe" up top to get her recipe and see her beautiful site!

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Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

My apologies for my blog absence! I have been in summer mode and enjoying the outdoors and all that summer has to offer!

A few months ago I decided to finally give up peanuts and almonds for good. I have taken food sensitivity tests and they are major inflammatory foods for me. They make my tongue itch, and I was starting to get hives all over my arms when I ate them so I decided to give them up because if they are causing external issues I can only imagine what they are doing internally! With all that being said, I have been using cashews a lot more in recipes. It is not the worst thing either as they have always been my favourite nut. So here we have...

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (Gluten Free + Vegan-ish)

You will need:

  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup natural cashew butter
  • 1/3 cup mixed super seeds (I have a ziplock bag that I have pumpkin, chia + hemp seeds in and use to garnish different meals, etc)
  • 1/3 cup honey (this is why they are vegan-ish, some vegans don't consume honey so if you fall into that category, substitute with maple syrup)
  • 1/3 cup dairy free mini chocolate chips
  • Either a silicone mold or a parchment lined square baking pan

Instructions

  1. Mix together all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor or a blender until well combined. You should be able to grab the mixture and form it into balls without it crumbling apart too much. If they do not hold together at all, add more cashew butter or honey.
  2. Finally, add in chocolate chips and stir them in manually (if you blend them in they will still taste the same but I like them with chocolate chips showing as I am a small child at heart)
  3. Either scoop into the molds or the baking pan and freeze for at least 3 hours. If you are using a baking pan, cut evenly into bars after the 3 hours. Keep frozen or store in the refrigerator for best results

 

HAPPY SUMMER! XO

 

 

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