8/27/15

After School Smoothie Bowl

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After several rounds of experimenting and researching, we have discovered the smoothie bowl and it has been a crowd pleaser across the board! In fact, it has quickly turned into our go-to after school snack. It's an easy way to pack in fruits and veggies, fiber and protein. We love smoothie bowls so much I'm hoping to make it a new recipe series here on the blog.

This Strawberry Peach Smoothie Bowl was the perfect treat for a hot August afternoon. While strawberries aren't currently in season, we are at the end of our peach season and our fruit bowl has been overflowing with them. Since both strawberries and peaches are on the "dirty dozen list," they are some of our fruits that we always make sure are organic or locally sourced. I've always done my best to eat organic, but since Jonas got sick this has become a priority. I keep a list of the "dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen" on the refrigerator and even keep this cheat sheet in my purse so it's handy when I head out to the grocery store.

Before I pick the kids up from school, I prep the ingredients and set out the various toppings on the counter. Smoothie bowls are a great way to sneak in healthy goodies, especially for Jonas who struggles with IBD and intestinal issues.

STRAWBERRY PEACH SMOOTHIE BOWL

Ingredients:

1 cup organic strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 organic peach, fresh or frozen
1 frozen banana
1 cup almond, hemp or oat milk
1 scoop plant protein powder
1 droplet liquid Vitamin D
1 tsp fish oil

Blend ingredients together in a high-speed blender. The texture should be thicker than a smoothie drink.
Pour into individual bowls and add toppings.

Toppings:

sliced fruit (banana, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, peaches)
coconut flakes
bee pollen
hemp seeds or chia seeds

Serve and enjoy!

*Please note that not all these ingredients are SCD or Paleo legal. You can adjust accordingly.

8/25/15

The Story of Summer

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It seems that each summer is unique in its own way and holds a sense of singularity in time. Even as an adult I can reminisce about that one summer we spent out on the lake, long boat rides over calm waters and sitting still on the docks until I could hear my mother yelling from our house which was nestled on top of the hill. That summer was filled with blossoming friendships, night swimming off wooden docks and sleepovers inside the hot balmy screened-in porch that sits at the back of our house overlooking the water.

Every summer of my childhood tells a different story and these stories have become tiny collections, like luminous sea shells, gathered together in the back of my mind.

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This summer is no different.

With the stillness of our daily routines, we have weaved together the story of summer. Our story unfolds with children's laughter circling the neighborhood, late night swim sessions in a warm pool, bike rides through the quiet park and running across grass touched gently with the wetness of morning dew.

We found freedom this summer.
We found new friendships through our daily activities.
We found courage to attempt something new, like a front flip off the diving board or a solo kayak ride in the ocean.
We found joy and laughter.
We found the ability to let go and unravel.

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...”
Susan Polis Schutz

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*This post is in partnership with A Pocket Full Of Sunshine, an online boutique for trendy and affordable children's fashion.

A Pocket Full of Sunshine boutique specializes in affordable, trendy items for your little ones. They pride themselves on their detailed attention to current trends, reasonable prices and superior customer service. With their wide selection of children's attire, you are bound to find several pieces that meet your individual style.

Find A Pocket Full Of Sunshine on their website, Facebook or Instagram.

8/20/15

The Day In Photographs, Back To School

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We're slowly getting over our back-to-school blues. Honestly, the start of the school season means the start of soccer season, music, ballet and more which leaves little time to fret over the end of summer. Fortunately, we'll have the chance to savor summer just a little bit longer this weekend with a midnight swim party and an outdoor barbecue.

Yesterday was the first day of school for the boys. It was hectic and chaotic, yet filled with laughter and joy.
A successful start to a new season!

7:30am | So many smiles, so little coffee.

12:00pm | Afternoon adventures before grabbing some ice-cream.

3:00pm | Post school downtime.

5:00pm | An early dinner before back-to-back soccer practices (homemade marinara over zucchini noodles).

5:30pm | Late afternoon sun shining through our windows and setting out new school shoes.

8:00pm | Cluttered countertops (they drive me crazy, but it's real life) and goofy faces.

8:30pm | That moment, when they should be in bed but I catch them reading together in the hallway.

8/3/15

No Bake "Twix" Bars + Hippie Lane

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One of the biggest battles I've had this summer is the snack bar at the pool. I can't help but remember back to my childhood and the endless days spent poolside with friends, slurping slushies and sneaking in the extra candy and ice-cream bars. Not much has changed these days and I admit I'm a bit lenient when it comes to treats in the summer. Except, how do you handle a situation when your children can't'really have treats? I can't paint a perfect picture, I have caved and let him have a small slushy here and there. The good news? There was no side effect. But I don't want to take steps backwards when we've worked so hard to maintain a healthy diet and a medicine free lifestyle.

Recently, Jonas has been begging for chocolate candy bars from the snack bar, something I just can't let him eat. They have everything we are trying our hardest to avoid; refined sugar, milk, soy, wheat, preservatives, artificial flavors. But I did promise him I would make a treat he could have and enjoy.

The other day I discovered Hippie Lane and their user friendly app. I now have a wide selection of vegan sweets that are free of dairy, wheat, soy, and refined sugars right at my finger tips. The directions are easy to follow, very kid friendly and every treat we have made is a hit. If you haven't downloaded this app yet I highly recommend it. In fact, I'm sending this info to our nutritionalist that we work with at the Cleveland Clinic's Department of Functional Medicine. Treats are a rarity for our son and these sweets are full of flavor and added health benefits.

So far, Jonas' favorite is the Twix Bar that is layered with a crunchy biscuit base, a sweet caramel filling and a coating of dark chocolate.

No Bake Twix Bars
Ingredients

Shortbread:
1 cup macadamia nuts
2-3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla powder
1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Caramel:
10-12 medjool dates, pitted
3 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 Tbsp water

Chocolate:
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid or melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla powder

Directions
1. Place the macadamia nuts in the food processor with the syrup and vanilla and process.
2. Press the shortbread evenly into a tin lined with baking paper and freeze while you make the caramel. I used a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
3. Place all caramel ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Spread caramel over the shortbread and return to freezer for at least 1 hour.
5. Make the chocolate by whisking the ingredients together in a bowl.
6. Remove the tin from freezer and cut the twix bars into long rectangular pieces.
7. Layout a sheet of baking paper, dip the bars into the chocolate and place on the baking paper to dry.
8. Store in an airtight container in the freezer when done.
9. Eat within a few minutes of removing from the freezer.

Enjoy! These delicious treats won't last long!

*We had to swap out the original ingredient for rice malt syrup for honey or maple syrup. According to Jonas' food intolerance test at Functional Medicine he has an intolerance to millet and rice.Crazy, right?
*This is not a sponsored post, I'm just that excited about this app.

7/25/15

#BreakYouMake with Chobani

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“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation


I certainly can't deny that most people in America need a break. As mothers and fathers, we need a break. As grandparents and friends, we need a break. As hard workers and creative souls, we need a break. And, yes, even our kids need a break.

I am joining in with Chobani's #breakyoumake campaign to celebrate the fact that everyone needs a break every now and then. While I would love to say I'm the one who needs a break, it's actually my ten year old son who could use some time away from the chaotic challenges of the daily life.

Thank you Chobani for sending the message that America needs a break. Chobani yogurt has been staple in our diet and we firmly support companies whose mission is to provide a healthy, sustainable product. Chonai yogurt is crafted with natural ingredients that are not genetically modified (non-GMO). That means the fruit you taste is real fruit; the honey is real honey and there are no preservatives. Something we not only believe in, but is also a requirement for our way of eating.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're probably wondering why on earth such a young boy needs a break. But as someone who has been by his side for the last ten months, I'll be the first to tell you he deserves a break. As some of you may know, my son was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease last fall. You can read the details about it in this post, but I'll admit I've been horrible about sharing any updates. The truth is, I just haven't had time to sit down over these past months and write it down.

He missed over fifty-two days of school because he was so sick. So sick with stomach pains and cramping that at times he couldn't even walk. But he was determined to stay on track with school. Every day I picked up his work and we held our daily lessons on the couch. When he was feeling up to it, I would take him into school after it let out to make up tests and record grades. We stayed up late working on projects and I turned to my own creative side to add some excitement into our lessons. I am not a teacher and I am certainly not cut out to homeschool, but I had to make this experience positive for my son.

He needed hope and to know he wasn't left behind.
He ended the school year with straight A's and is proudly entering fourth grade in the fall.

His stomach pains became so intense at times that we ended up in the ER on multiple occasions. We were told to put him on heavy duty medications, even though several test results continued to come back normal. We didn't get answers and at times it felt like no one was on our side or even willing to listen. So we did all we could do; we pushed for answers and became our son's advocate. We became his voice.

On a weekly basis this poor little boy was poked and prodded. He went from an extreme fear of needles to watching the nurses draw his blood while still engaged in a conversation. When I say extreme, I mean extreme. The first few times he had blood drawn we literally had to pin him down. It absolutely broke my heart. Now it breaks my heart that the nurses can tell he's a pro at drawing blood because he's had it done so often.

Yet with every blood test, stool test, MRI, CT scan and x-ray the results are fairly consistent and don't completely line up with Crohn's Disease. And that's where we are right now on our journey. We finally found a GI that agrees with us; something doesn't line up. There isn't enough evidence to officially diagnose what's going on as Crohn's.

So where do we stand now? Well, most days are good. Actually, most days are awesome! Not all days, but most days. We've turned to diet as a form of healing. We started out on a Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and eventually phased into a Paleo diet. We now follow a combination of these two diets and have added additional foods in that we know he can tolerate. We also rely on certain anti-inflammatory foods for healing. Turmeric, leafy greens, salmon, fermented foods, coconut, yogurt, gelatin and bone broth are just a few of our essentials.

After a long journey and a hard fight, my son deserves a break. He deserves a break from painful tummy aches. He deserves a break from hospitals and doctor visits. He deserves a break from fasting and testing.

He deserves to be an active ten year old boy who isn't restricted by a chronic disease. I like to think we are slowly on the path to recovery and balance, but we have to take it one day at a time because every day is different.

This is not a sponsored or paid post and all opinions are my own.