Saturday, October 31, 2015

Peanut Butter Spice Cookies

I am not a fan of those recipe posts that babble on and on until finally giving you the recipe you're there for. So I am going to say just a few quick things before sharing the glory that is these cookies.

I took a recipe for peanut butter cookies that was supposed to be amazing. Like, 700+ reviews on amazing. But I wasn't entirely in the mood for plain old peanut butter cookies so I spiced them up. Literally! They turned out amazing and I don't have exact amounts of what I added but it's a very forgiving recipe and more or less than I added, they'll still be wonderful! They're gluten free, dairy free, and yet they are still thick, chewy, and moist.They also don't require any strange or hard-to-find flours or any painfully expensive homemade blends. Are they good for you? Not exactly. But they're yummy enough, you won't care.

Here's your make-you-want-to-make-them photo:

And the original recipe:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C). Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

In a medium bowl, all all ingredients and stir together until smooth. Roll into 1 inch balls (use a small disher like mine if you have one -- I LOVE them!) and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Then, because I can never leave a recipe alone I added:

1 tbsp more or less molasses 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

and I rolled the dough balls in cinnamon sugar, and then slightly flattened them before baking. But no criss-cross pattern, okay?!

I also didn't have any vanilla (whaaaat?!?) but I'm sure that would have made them even more tasty! Then I melted some vanilla almond bark (though I think real white chocolate would be even better, but this is all I had leftover from last Christmas! HA!) and dipped some of the cookies, and dolloped it on to others. A few I left plain. Then I sprinkled the almond bark with cinnamon sugar. And then I ate them.


Except for more photos to make you drool! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Want to know something funny? My last post (in February! I'm such a bad blogger) was about the very subject of which I write today. Ha. I am so creative and original.

Oh well. This is worth sharing!

Imagine for a moment, a mother and her child, sitting together smiling, laughing, as they share the creamy, delicious contents of a mixing bowl. "Nom, nom, nom!" might've even escaped the lips of the 10 month old child, and definitely escaped the lips of mama, more than once. Envisioning cookie dough? Cake batter, maybe? Yeah, that's what it sounds like. But no, we're talking the creamiest, most delicious chicken liver pâté you've ever had. And you know what's even better than that (don't say "a lot of things!". Don't!)? It's also the easiest, cheapest, fastest recipe I've ever seen or created for pâté. AND it is dairy free, so it fits into almost any diet you may be on. Even my husband likes this, and he is not a liver lover, as much as he does believe it to be an extremely healthy food. We all eat it completely by itself it is so good, including our 10 month old. 

Creamy Chicken Liver Pâté

1 tub, approximately 1lb of chicken liver, rinsed

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp salt + to taste

In your favorite pan, pour the liver and cover completely with water. Boil for 7 - 10 minutes. Drain, rinse again, and drain well. Dump liver into a food processor, add coconut oil, sage, and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend until smooth. Taste, and add more salt as desired (I prefer about 1 tsp total salt, but adjust according to your preferences, keeping in mind this tastes much better with more salt than less).

That is really all there is to it. No bacon. No onions. No butter. No cognac or mushrooms or anything else. Just the most nutrient dense, creamy, delicious 
pâté you've ever tasted.

Now I need to go eat some more of it. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Liver Three Ways

You know I have posted about my love  of liver before, but people really don't know what to do with it in spite of the fact that we are all being told more and more how healthy it is for us! So in this post I am going to share my three favorite ways to prepare liver! I posted one back in 2013 which I will share again but the other two have not been shared until today! So first off, my Spicy Liver and Onions!

Spicy Liver & Onions
Serves 2

Two slices beef liver, approximately 4oz each

around 1/4 cup rice flour
Seasoned Salt
1 med/lrg onion, sliced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2-3 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of brown sugar

Preheat a skillet with coconut oil in it to medium heat; combine rice flour with a few shakes of Seasoned Salt (I envision myself sprinkling the Seasoned Salt on either side of each slice of liver, to get the appropriate amount; this has worked great for me so I never bother to measure). Dredge both sides of the liver in flour/salt mixture. When pan is hot, add liver. Allow to cook, undisturbed around 3-4 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove. Lift a side and check for dark/golden brown color. Once it's dark/golden flip it and cook it another 2-3 minutes or until the same color on that side. Remove from pan to a cooling rack. Add sliced onion to the pan, along with the pinch of brown sugar. Allow to cook until they begin to soften, then add jalapenos and continue to cook a few more minutes or until jalapenos begin to lose their bright green color. Top liver with onion/jalapenos and serve immediately.  

This recipe is similar to the one above except it is not spicy at all. Though it is very good with some garlic added towards the end of cooking! But this is a very simple, basic way to serve it that nearly anyone should be able to "handle".  Added the side dish of kale makes this a powerhouse of a meal! 

Liver & Onions with Kale

Serves 4 

1 lb beef liver

1/4 cup rice flour
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2-4 tbsp bacon fat
1 large onion
Stevia or dextrose

1 tbsp butter

2 large handfuls chopped kale
1 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

While the liver is still partially frozen slice with a knife or kitchen shears into thin slices. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat to a medium – large frying pan.Cook onions until they begin to turn clear, and golden on the edges. Add a few drops of Stevia or a pinch of dextrose to sweeten onions. Remove onions from pan and set aside. While your onions cook place rice flour in a medium bowl with garlic salt and garlic powder. Add liver and toss to coat. Once the new oil added to the pan has heated add your liver being sure to shake off all the excess flour before placing it in the pan. Cook over medium to medium low heat until the light breading becomes dark. Add onion back to pan heat thoroughly divide onto four separate plates. Add butter to the same pan, place your two large, keeping handfuls of kale into the pan, cooking until bright green and beginning to wilt. Add cheese cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Divide between your four plates and enjoy! 

This final recipe is one of my most favorites, though really I love liver just about any way at all! I think I ate around 2lbs of the stuff in the week following Ethan's birth. :) This last recipe is my favored method for making chicken liver pâté. It is delicious, but more cost effective than a lot of recipes you find online! Sure, adding a quarter pound of bacon and 8oz of mushrooms is delicious, but if you're trying to eat healthy on a budget that may not be for you! This, anyone can afford! 

Chicken Liver Pâté

Serves 4, as a meal, serves 8-12 as an appetizer

1 container chicken liver

1 stick, plus 1-2 tbsp butter
1 large onion
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp white pepper, optional
3-4 cloves roasted garlic, optional

Prepare your chicken livers by cutting off any white connective tissue, and rinsing clean. In a medium-large skillet add the chicken livers in water (enough to cover the livers fully), over med-low heat. Cooking them in water and over a low heat will keep them softest, which you want for pâté! Cook until the livers are done, about 5 minutes or so. Set aside, covered. Now chop (however you want because it's going to get ground up later anyway) your onion and saute in 1-2 tbsp butter until very clear (I like to add just a pinch of sugar to the onions, too, but it's not strictly necessary). Alternately, if you have the time, caramelize them! Talk about adding some amazing flavor! I rarely have the time to do that though, so I just cook them until clear.

Add livers, onions, and 1 stick of butter to a food processor, along with all your spices. Blend until smooth and pour into a storage container or bowl of your choice -- a lovely way to present p
âté is to use a bowl or container with no lid, and melt some extra butter to pour over the top. This seals the pâté just like a lid would and looks (and tastes!) delicious! Refrigerate until firm and enjoy with your favorite veggies or rice crackers! I even enjoy my pâté spread on romaine lettuce leaves, and when I'm feeling kind of splurgy and have it on hand, smearing it all over my sister-in-laws amazing gluten-free beer bread is indescribably good!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ethan David

 So this post has been a long time coming! I've thought so many times that I needed to sit down and write it, but I have so many other things that take priority these days!

I can hardly believe I haven't written a post here since this past MAY. My goodness I am neglectful! But for good reason. So what's gone on with me since May 8th?

My pregnancy continued on, for the most part very easy and healthy, although I had trouble with too many contractions once I hit the third trimester. I can't remember exactly when it started but it was enough that it worried me quite a bit and I contacted my midwife multiple times while we tried to figure out how to calm them down! We got them to where they were manageable, but I spent many nights up until midnight or later in a hot shower trying to relax (let me tell you now that relaxing in the shower is a HORRID thing to try to do compared to relaxing in a tub! But alas and alack! A tub I lack!).

Birth kit supplies, ready and waiting...
At my 37 week home visit with Debbie, she found, much to her surprise that I was progressing quite well! I was excited but not terribly surprised! I'd been having contractions that seemed like more than typical Braxton Hicks for a while, plus I'd had a feeling since I found out I was pregnant that I would go early (at least for a first-time mom!). A few days later, more obvious progress and I had my first serious "I realize now there is no escaping labor," moment. I kept having more than typical contractions for a primipara, but they weren't progressing in a way that had my sweet midwife concerned -- just excited! I wanted them to stop. I wanted total rest before labor. But she thought it was awesome. Of course, now that we were at the "safe to have a homebirth" point in the pregnancy, I was growing increasingly excited about them, too! Ethan was on his way!

I also remembered to ask finally where to get the birth kit when she was there. She was like, "Uhhh, you don't have it yet?" Oops! Needless to say I was really thankful when the birth kit arrived a few days later, since I still felt he'd be coming a bit early.

All ready for our little Ethan.
On August 21st I knew for sure he'd be here soon -- I had a total emotional meltdown for no reason at all. That was a funny thing to experience! David had come home for lunch and at some point I just started sobbing and when he asked what was wrong I was clueless! I think we both had a bit of a laugh about that.

The next day, David went to work with his sister's husband as he had been doing on and off for a while. I wasn't happy about it at all, feeling that our last bit of time as just the two of us was being robbed from us -- or at least my vision of how it "should" have gone was. In the end I think it turned out good because his being away allowed me to spend more of my time resting than I might have if he had been home. So that day I was having what I strongly suspected to be "real" contractions all day, though they were only somewhat painful. Then at some point in the mid-late afternoon I got a total break from them for a few hours and slept, slept, slept! By 6ish I texted him asking if he would be home in time for us to go to a church event that night. He said no, but that I should go with his parents. I debated with myself the wisdom of that, considering how my day had gone, but went for it! Less than two minutes into the drive to church though I realized that was not my brightest move ever as the car brought the contractions back with a vengeance! At some point I texted David again hoping he would be there soon. I wanted to go hoooome, but didn't really feel like telling anyone/everyone that I thought I was in labor since I still wasn't 100% sure. He finally showed up, but instead of going home we stuck around! Looking back on that all I can think is, "What?!" But hey, we did what we did! We even stopped at a friends house on the way home, by which point we were becoming increasingly convinced that I was in labor.

I was in denial though. My doula had literally just left town less than a few hours prior to take a mini-vacation with her family. "No way I'll go into labor when she's trying to take a day or two off, right?" WRONG. :) Because that's how I roll.

By the time we got home, it was evident that this was the real thing, though I kept saying maybe it wasn't! Because I really did not want to recall my doula from her getaway! Nor was I really feeling up to the task at hand. Ha! But things continued to progress and just before 10PM my water broke! That was a surprise to me. So many of the books and websites you read, and other moms you talk to say it may not happen prior to "serious" labor, or may be so minor you don't notice. Um. I noticed. At that point I texted both my doula and my midwife (midwife first!) to tell them this was definitely real. My sweet doula had her husband turn around and hightail it back here!

That's when things get blurry. I know I talked to my midwife on the phone a few times. At first she
was going to go to another client who was also in labor and already further along than I was. By the time she talked to me again probably less than 10 minutes later she changed her mind and said she was coming to me. I was SO relieved! I remember David going around trying to get everything ready (the tub inflated and filled, music, and trying to be there for me in between all that, a task that I am sure was NOT easy at all) and feeling concerned that neither my midwife or doula would arrive before Ethan came. I think David was more stressed about it than I was though, because at that point it was really taking all of my focus to get through each frequent contraction. I also remember Debbie telling me I could get in the tub then! That was some of the best news I had ever heard in my entire life, I kid you not! I would highly recommend water birth to anyone and everyone! There were two points during labor when I had to get out of the water temporarily and they were the worst parts of labor hands down. Even worse than the birth itself, and I am not exaggerating. The water doesn't eliminate the pain, but it definitely eases it! Poor man's (er, woman's!) epidural, indeed!

At some point, Debbie arrived with her assistant midwife, Abby. I will adore them both forever and ever. I know that Ethan would have been born whether they made it or not, but it feels like it couldn't have happened without Debbie. The closest I've ever felt to not adoring that woman is when she made me get out of the tub when they arrived so she could assess where I was. Ahhhh! That was so seriously uncool. But I forgive her since everything she does is in the interest of making sure everything is going okay. ;) I guess things just kind of kept on at that point -- and then maybe an hour or so later, my doula showed up. I just remember getting through a contraction and then Debbie (or somebody!) saying, "Look whose here!" and I looked up and Shauna was standing in my bedroom doorway, smelling of lavender and glowing like an angel (okay, so it was just a light on in the living room behind her head, but she looked and smell divine!). I remember getting really, really horrible leg cramps at one point, and Abby suggested coconut water or magnesium water or something. David disappeared and I was SO glad Shauna was there! I would have freaked out at that point to have nobody there (so much for my, "I don't want anybody but David around," idea...). The coconut/magnesium water helped really quickly and I was glad! The leg cramps were so painful they were actually distracting me from labor, but most of all distracting me from relaxing between contractions. I remember other things vaguely, like a fly landing on my belly at one point and actually shooing it away. Mostly I just remember resting my head on the side of the tub and holding David's and/or Shauna's hands, and sipping delicious coconut water that I wanted to gulp. But I was pretty excited that I hadn't thrown up yet (not even during my whole pregnancy) so I didn't want to risk it by overfilling my stomach. Ha ha ha. Yes, I WAS thinking about my "record" even during labor. There are other things I remember, but not a lot more. I just remember it being really fast and furious. My midwife would later call it a "freight train labor". Perfect description!

Towards the end, my midwife asked me to get out of the tub so that the pain relieving effects of the water wouldn't be completely lost -- too long in the tub and it does start to lose it's effect! Bummer! I couldn't believe how different it felt laboring outside of the tub vs inside! In that moment (that felt like eternity!) I decided I will never, ever, willingly do anything besides a water birth!

I think it was relatively shortly after I got back into the tub that Ethan was born! It was crazy how sudden it seemed, but then they told me it was 2:53AM and I realized I had just lost all track of time. It was still quite fast for a first timer, but not nearly as fast as it felt. By the time they got me situated in bed with Ethan and David I was telling everybody I was ready to do it again. And I meant it!

This is my, "I just got permission to get in the tub." face.
At our first PP visit with Debbie (at home!)!

Our new little family, and beloved midwife. ♥
Same day, Shauna and her PP visit! 
And here is the boy today, just over 4 months old! He's grown like a little champ since he was born and now weighs over 19lbs and is over 27in long! He's been in the 90th + percentiles on weight and height almost his entire 4 months and is very close to the 100th percentile for height. He is a very happy, healthy little boy and we could not be more thankful for the gift of him! God is gracious, and we will never forget, thanks to this beautiful little reminder. ♥