Sunday, June 30, 2013

Peanut Butter and Fluff - Review with Giveaway! (US Only, Ends 07/14/13)

Disclosure: I received a custom made teddy bear in exchange for my honest review about it. I was not required to post a positive review.

A good friend of mine runs a Facebook page called Peanut Butter and Fluff. That name may seem familiar to some of my readers that have been around for awhile. She hosted a review with giveaway with me back in January for my 1st Blogiversary! Melissa makes some fantastic stuff - pillowcase dresses, smocked outfits, teddy bears and more!

Meet Steve. Isn't my two year old daughter so creative with names? :) This bear was named in honor of a character from her favorite TV show - Blue's Clues. :)

Melissa MADE this bear using a precious baby outfit that Daniella had that we adored so much - with the saying "A Wish Come True" - after trying to conceive for almost 3 years naturally, this outfit meant SO much to us. Because Daniella truly is a wish come true. The outfit was a shirt and pants set. In fact, we loved the outfit so much that I CAN'T find a picture of her wearing it :/ lol

See the cute little tushie ruffles?? :)

Daniella sleeps with Steve every night.

She loves to bring Steve along with us when we go places, too!

This is the first stuffed animal that Daniella has really grown attached to and it is super sweet.

The teddy bear was made VERY well! The seams are tight and the bear was well filled with stuffing. I am very pleased with the craftsmanship. 

Enter for a chance to win a FREE Pillow Case Dress (fabric of PBandF's choosing - but definitely summer inspired) OR 50% a Teddy Bear (fabric of PBandF's choosing). 

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grain Free, Gluten Free Blueberry Bread

Over the last couple of years as we have tried various grain free and/or gluten free bread recipes, I have yet to have baked one that was palatable - until today!

This bread was actually good. I would not say that I loved it, but my picky about bread son LOVED it and gobbled up two big slices! One slice was very filling to me. I did like it. I may tweak it slightly next time to have a little less flax meal and a little more coconut flour. But I think that is just a textural thing for me, plus I really love coconut.

Here are the ingredients that you need: 

1 cup ground flax meal
1 cup almond flour, sifted
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
About 20 drops of liquid stevia (or to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raw, chopped walnuts (optional)
5 eggs, preferably free range
1/3 cup filtered water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of blueberries either fresh or thawed frozen
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted coconut oil, 
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter, preferably organic

First, you are going to want to pre-heat your oven to 350*. Then grease your loaf pan with coconut oil and line it with parchment paper.

Next, in a large mixing bowl, add all of your dry ingredients.

Then add your liquid stevia (you can substitute a powdered version of about 1/2 cup OR you can use xylitol!).

Then blend it all well, preferably with a whisk.

Then, in a small mixing bowl, add your eggs and water and whisk them together.

Add the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients making sure to stir while pouring until blended well.

Then add your blueberries.

Gently fold the blueberries in until blended well.

Pour evenly into your loaf pan.

Bake for 60-70 minutes. The crust will be quite brown and will feel firm when touched when done. Insert a knife to see that it comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to sit for five minutes.Loosen the bread of the loaf pan edges by running a knife around the edges of the bread. Lift it out of the loaf pan by grasping and lifting the parchment paper. 

Enjoy with lots of butter!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cinnamon Baked Granny Smith Apples

This was my DELICIOUS breakfast this morning! And it was SO easy to make! It took me about 5 minutes to prepare it and then it baked for 15 minutes in the oven. Here is how I made it -

I chopped up on granny smith apple into bite size pieces.

I put them in my baking dish and pre-heated my oven to 350*.

I added two big scoops of butter. 

Then I added a couple of tablespoons of melted coconut oil. (this is for flavor, healthy fats and to keep it from sticking to the baking dish.)

Then I added my spices. I put in two drops of stevia but I think that next time, I will omit it. I thought it would compliment the cinnamon well but it would have been just fine without it! The other spices were all to taste. A good hearty amount of cinnamon though.

Here it is all spiced up! Then I stuck it in the oven for 15 minutes.

Then I scooped it out into a bowl and gobbled it up! YUM!

Pesto Steak and Cheese

This was my fabulous lunch today!

I took some pre-cooked steak strips and added them to my frying pan with some melted coconut oil.

Then I took out my YUMMY pesto - this stuff is fabulous!

Then I added three good size scoops of it into the pan.

Then I chopped up my grassfed cheddar cheese.

I added it along with some minced garlic to the pan.

Then I stirred it up and pan fried it over medium heat until the cheese was nice and melted.

I ate it over a bed of romaine lettuce.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Family's Quest For True Health

I doubt that you can get any more true, real, whole food than this. Michael (my husband) and I have embarked on this journey before. Now we plan to make it more of a lifestyle. Under the care of our chiropractor, we have begun the Maximized Living Advanced Plan Healing Diet. I truly believe that we are both gluten sensitive or allergic. We are transitioning the kids to gluten free first then to the Maximized Living Core Plan. Typically, Advanced Plan is done for 40 days, followed by the Core Plan. We hope to do Advanced Plan more long term and eventually transition to Core Plan. Advanced Plan includes no sugar, artificial sweeteners, honey, maple syrup or molasses. Stevia or xylitol in moderation only. Only low glycemic fruit in moderation (which is only berries of all kinds and granny smith apples). No grains of any kind, even gluten free. No root vegetables. There's more, but that's the basics. (See the links above for the complete information). We are also drinking lots of distilled water to encourage the flushing of toxins.When we did this beginning two weeks after Michael began chiropractic care, I got pregnant with Daniella two weeks later. Pregnancy is not the main reason for doing this, but it would be a great benefit. I am very curious to see where this will take us.

This eating plan is pretty strict, but not terrible. Here is how today broke down for me:

Smoothie made from plain, unsweetened coconut milk, frozen blueberries, coconut oil, and ice.

Roast Beef slices, Grassfed cheddar cheese chunks, an apple with raw almond butter and organic strawberries.

Tuna fish blended with mayo, mustard, pickles, and spices wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves.

This was a bit of an on-the-go day. We hit the playground with the kids for lunch right after finishing the smoothie and Michael worked late tonight so I was on my own for dinner (Michael is by far the cook in our house!). We have a ton of recipes to mix things up and keep it interesting but we are definitely keeping our eyes out for more. In fact, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to the Maximized Living Advanced Plan Healing Diet. Check it out and follow it while you are there! :)

I will keep you posted on how things go!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Congrats to the winner of the Scrappy Gifts giveaway!

Thank you SO much to Scrappy Gifts for sponsoring this giveaway! Thanks to all who entered! AND CONGRATS to our winner! She has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond. Please go check the Rafflecopter on the Scrappy Gifts Review Post to see if YOU won!!!

And the winner of the Conscious Box giveaway is....

Thanks so much to Conscious Box for sponsoring this giveaway! And thanks to all that entered as well!! And CONGRATS to our winner! She has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond. :) Please go check the Rafflecopter on the Conscious Box Review Post to see if YOU won!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

When you are a biological dad, foster father, stepfather, adoptive father, or grandfather you play a special role in the life of a child! I thank you for being a part of your child's life. Happy Father's Day! Enjoy your children :)

Review with Giveaway of the children's book "THE MONSTER HUNTER ACADEMY - BOOK TWO OF THE TEMPLAR CHRONICLES" (Ends 06/30/13, US and Canada Only)

Disclosure: We received this book for free in the hopes that we would post our honest opinion about it. We were not required to post a positive review.

Having read and reviewed Book One Jack Templar Monster Hunter back in January, Brandon and I were anxiously awaiting Book Two THE MONSTER HUNTER ACADEMY!! (Jack Templar Monster Hunter was just announced as a 2013 Parents' Choice Recommended Read!)

JUST RELEASED: The adventure continues as Jack, T-Rex, Will and Eva travel to the Monster Hunter Academy. Jack seeks out the truth about his past but finds that danger (and monsters!) follow him wherever he goes.

Publication Date: March 25, 2013
After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.
About the Author
Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Middle Grade/YA series The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, is a 2013 Book of the Year Finalist for Foreword Reviews and was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. Jeff is also the co-CEO of a national company with over 4,000 employees and he is the author of the motivational career guides No Parachute Required (Hyperion) and The Career Series titles (Seven Guns Press). After his experience with his son, he became passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

Left: Book One, Right: Book Two

This book is almost 2 times as long as the first book in the series. I noticed that as soon as it arrived in the mail. I lucked out that Brandon wasn't home when it arrived - that meant that I got to start reading it FIRST! I was just as anxiously waiting for Book two to be released as he was! The first book really left us hanging for more. The second book is even more action packed than the first book was. There was literally something new happening every time you turned the page. I was amazed that I simply COULD. NOT. PUT. THIS. BOOK. DOWN!

Here is what Brandon (age 11) has to say -

Jack Templar and his buddies, Will and T-Rex, and also an instructor at the Academy named Eva, whom Jack has become friends with, set sail to Europe. Why Europe? That is where The Monster Hunter Academy lies and where Jack meet lots of new friends like Xavier, Daniel and Bacho.
I like all of the Creach that is mentioned in Book Two and all of the new characters, too. Everybody has their own cool characteristics.Because of Jeff Gunhus's descriptive writing, the Templar Chronicles is now my new favorite series of book (Note from Mom: WOW! This is coming from an enormous Harry Potter fan!) Harry Potter is my second instead of my first because just like Penny Brien's review in the front of Book Two about Book One says, "Move over Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, there's a new kid in town, Jack Templar."
The next book to be written is Jack Templar and the Lord of the Vampires. You might be thinking, "Oh, that's Ren Lucre." But it's not! He is the Lord of the Creach. Speaking of the Creach, I wonder if there will be new obstacles in the next book of the Templar Chronicles! I'll just have to wait and see!!

 Check out and get your own copies at the everyday low price for 2.99  for Book #1 and 3.99 for Book #2!


Enter below to win a signed copy of a paperback of Book Two!

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