Wednesday, October 3, 2012

pumpkin cranberry grain-free granola

welp. Target has the costumes out, and Michael's smells like cinnamon heaven. that must mean autumn is either here or approaching quickly. although, you wouldn't know it based on the weather here in Fresno. it is STILL IN THE 100's. frick. 

i keep seeing all these people decorating for fall or enjoying warm cups of Pumkin Spice Latte... but i just can't into it when i'm still searching for summer outfit inspiration in Pinterest. i would really love to start pairing my cut off jeans with a scarf and booties, but i would probably die from heat stroke. 

ok, i'm done complaining. here is my attempt to join the rest of the world in their everything-fall-pumpkin-craze. 

i adapted the recipe from Urban Poser's recipe for Banana Walnut grain-free granola. i'm not a huge fan of banana flavored stuff and thought it would go well with the season to make a pumpkin version. 

i'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially since i burned my last TWO batches of grain-free granola that i got out of the Eat Like a Dinosaur cookbook. it sounds like a good recipe, but i cannot not burn it! ugh. 



1 c raw walnut pieces
1 c raw pecan pieces
1/2 c raw almond slices
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
1 c raw almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 c dried cranberries
3/4 c canned pumpkin puree
1/4 c honey
1/4 c coconut oil
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp vanilla extract

preheat oven to 250 degrees. 

in a large bowl combine walnuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds. mix thoroughly. add raw whole almonds and 1 1/2 cups of the nut mixture to a food processor and pulse til it resembles a large crumb. add back to remaining nut mixture. add sliced almonds. add spices and cranberries. stir to combine.

wipe food processor out and add pumpkin puree, honey, coconut oil, water, and vanilla extract. pulse to combine, making sure to scrape down sides. add to nut mixture. stir well to combine. 

pour onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly. bake between 1-2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure no burning. let cool and store at room temperature in an air tight container. 



P.S. i'm super obsessed with Urban Poser's recipes right now! they are so good, i have tried so many and they are so flavorful and addictive. if you're looking for more fall inspired recipes here are a couple i have tried from her collections, although she has many more:

Almond Flour Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf - made this two days in a row, SO GOOD!
Rasperries & Cream Breakfast Cake - i have made this, li-tra-lee, a dozen times. for a fall twist i added chopped apples covered in cinnamon and coconut palm sugar and it turned out amazing.
Apple, Butternut Squash, Bacon Hash - RIDICULOUS. that's all.

***UPDATE: my post originally said to stir the granola every 5 minutes, but that was a typo! thanks for bringing that to my attention Bekah!!!***

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

make it paleo: apple cinnamon muffins

hi guys. i'm going to share a little secret with you. i have a "ripe-fruit-phobia". i'm sure that's not the clinical name for it... but it's what i've got. i CANNOT stand fruit that is past it's prime. that's right, bananas with more than 5 freckles, become banana bread... i check each and every grape before eating to make sure it's not squishy (must.have.crunchy.grapes.)... and if my apples are less than crunchy and juicy when biting into them... well it just won't do. 

i know i know. i'm a fruit snob.

but i also hate wasting food. do you ever have fruit that needs to be eaten, and quickly, before it starts turning funky? i tend to find we don't eat our apples as quickly as i'd like to before they go from crunchy to sort of soft. so i came up with this yummy breakfast (or in my case, anytime) muffin. 

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 eggs
1/3 cup canned coconut milk 
1/2 cup apple sauce
Apple Cinnamon Topping
1 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons apple sauce
2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients with a hand mixer. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a hand mixer until well combined. Add batter until prepared muffin cups about 3/4 full.
In a separate bowl, combine apple cinnamon topping ingredients until apples are coated. Scoop mixture over top of muffins and using a toothpick swirl the topping into the muffin batter. Bake muffins for 20 – 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Makes about 10 to 12 muffins.
love, tara

Monday, September 10, 2012

monday inspiration: beautiful baubles

happy monday everyone! i am currently smelling my dinner for Life Group tonight that has been in the slow cooker for 16 hours whilst eating a chocolate cupcake. weird combo. 

anyway, i wanted to share with you my recent obsession in modern rings, organically shaped with natural stones. its kind of all the rage right now, but i have been loving this style for several years and wonder if it's something i want to commit to. 

my current wedding set is a simple thick white gold band and a solitaire princess cut diamond. classic but i haven't been loving it since i had kids, almost 6 years ago! the diamond sits too high on the band and the sharp edges constantly scratch my kids or snag my clothes. 

it's a beautiful diamond, but doesn't really have any sentimental value other than the fact that it's the ring we got married with. (i ordered it through a friend of my boss's at the time who was a diamond importer and he shipped it fedex. the first time my husband saw it i was already wearing it!) 

have i told you this story already? i feel like i have. maybe it's cause its on my mind so much lately. 

No.1} dangarang. maybe if i just get a new setting and turn the diamond on it's side so its just a little "different"?? 

No. 2} so lovely and simple. (similar

No.3} this would be a good right hand, index finger ring. certain rings just need certain fingers. 

No. 4} THIS ring makes my heart stop. (no original site found for link)

No. 5} charming and natural. (no original site found for link)

No. 6} organically shaped and stunning. although it looks like it could slice you open if angled right.... hmmm.

No. 7} the perfect signet ring.

No. 8} again, heart stopping. 

so, based on this little gathering of things that are equally slaying me and calming me with utter serenity, i feel like at least a new setting would suffice. 

what's your opinion? 

the original classic or a modern twist?

love, tara

Friday, September 7, 2012

cross back chairs

i love these chairs. 

aaaaaaaaand, my birthday is coming up. so if anyone wants to get me 6 that would be great. 

happy friday!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

organized entryway

i recently mentioned that we had done a bunch of projects around the house during my husband's vacation and wanted to share one of them with you. with the start of the school year approaching i really felt the urge to organize my entryway for several different reasons. 1} i cannot function when there is clutter everywhere. if the shoes and backpacks and paperwork are strewn about the house it becomes overwhelming, and i know my husband feels the same way. 2} we wanted to give our kids a central area where they could be responsible for putting things away and also getting things themselves if needed. so this is what we came up with.

there's a diagonal wall next to our entry way table that was blank and useless. we decided to put some low hooks (easy for little arms to reach) and baskets there. it wasn't my first choice for baskets and hooks because the coat closet is around the corner by the kitchen. we also don't use the front door as our normal entry, we use the garage. the coat closet is about halfway between those two areas and it seemed that that was were stuff was being dumped. 

once i purchased the baskets and hooks, i realized that they just wouldn't work on that wall, so this wall had to be plan B. i'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out. i just have to be really intentional about reminding the kids to put their backpacks where they belong. the baskets are from Cost Plus World Market and the hooks are from Target. 

its still so hot that as soon as my son gets home from playing hard at school, he peels his clothes off and throws them all over. i'm working on getting him to neatly put them in a pile (maybe even FOLD them) on one stair so he can take them up the next time he goes to his room. 

shoes are still somewhat of an issue. we have an over-the-door-shoe-pocket-thingy in the coat closet and the rule is to put your shoes in there as soon as you take them off. but that only happens half the time. 

we're working one it. i want to be consistent with them and give them responsibilities and ways that they can contribute, but i also don't want to be barking orders as soon as they walk through the door. 

anyway, so what do you think? 

love, tara

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

paleo waffles by "eat like a dinosaur"

my last post was about paleo school lunches, and in one of them i linked to the Eat Like a Dinosaur blog for the paleo waffle recipe. it doesn't actually have the recipe on the blog, i got the recipe from the cookbook. you should definitely go out and get it! its such a great resource and gives me so much inspiration for kid friendly meals and ways to let them help you. one of my besties gifted it to me and i use it a ton. 

anyway, i thought i'd share my version of the recipe. the authors suggested doubling the batch and freezing the already made waffles for quick morning breakfast or packing breakfast for lunch, which is one of my favs. (i could seriously eat breakfast anytime!)

{PALEO WAFFLES ~ by Eat Like a Dinosaur}

1 banana
1 apple, peeled & cored
1 cup almond butter
2 eggs
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh berries

puree banana and apple in a food processor. add almond butter and pulse until combined. add remaining ingredients except berries and puree until combined. fold in berries. grease waffle iron and add 1/4 batter. cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes. 

top with agave or honey and enjoy!

i've made another kind of paleo waffles, with coconut flour, and i have to say that i prefer these. my kids loved them too, and for me doing everything in the food processor keeps the cleaning to a minimum. 

the book also has a recipe for paleo graham crackers that i can't wait to make! seriously, go get the book!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

paleo school lunches

as i'm sure you all know, we follow a paleo template lifestyle in our home. and with school quickly approaching, i found myself having a little trouble getting inspired to think outside the sandwich for school lunches. i mean, i grew up eating sandwiches, day after day. and before being paleo i enjoyed quite a large variety of sandwiches. 

so i went on a hunt. and while out hunting in the interwebs i found several things. 1) you must first have the appropriate transportation system (lunchbox) to carry such absurd foods not in the form of a sandwich, and 2) its really not that hard. 

in fact, its fun! for me, at least. 

i figured i'd share what i put together for the first week of school for those of you who follow a paleo diet and want to get your kids on board, or if you just want some ideas that don't involve breadmeatcheesebread.

the lunchbox i decided was best for Big A and myself (based on reviews of being spill proof, keeps your food cold for hours, "cool" looking, and dishwasher safe) is the Laptop Lunches Bento-ware lunchbox. 

turkey rolls with string cheese (we give our kids dairy)
sweet potato chips
stoney farm yo kids squeezable yogurt (i like these much better than the other brand)

trader joe's chicken sausage
paleo waffles (from the Eat Like a Dinosaur cookbook)
kiwi slices
larabar (not pictured)

paleo chicken tenders w/ ketchup (i used this breading recipe on organic chicken tenders and baked them on parchment lined cookie sheet, 5 min. per side)
stoney farm yo kids squeezable yogurt
homemade jello with berries
larabar (not pictured)

string cheese

chicken salad in lettuce spears
apple slices w/ almond butter
annie's fruit snacks

ok. obviously we are not STRICTLY paleo. we allow our kids to have fun snacks like squeezable yogurt and fruit snacks. i do choose what i feel to be healthier versions of those things, but i just don't want my kids growing up feeling left out or hating this lifestyle because it was never fun. i do try to make healthy paleo treats as often as possible because it gets them cooking in the kitchen with me, making memories, and keeps them excited about being healthy. my kids ask, "is this brownie paleo?!" and get stoked when i tell them yes. healthy food can be yummy too. 

anyways. there you have it. this is all just my opinion. we might not even be paleo. we could be primal and i don't know it. or maybe i should just call us grain free. i don't know. 

hope you get some good ideas!

love, tara

Saturday, August 25, 2012

back to school

whew. this was a crazy week. 

i've been so busy the last two weeks. we were doing projects around the house while my husband was on vacation last week, and getting the kids ready for school. then school started and we are trying to get back on routine and figure out how all this driving... and packing lunches... and being out of the house before 8a.m. stuff works. 

i have a lot of little projects to catch you guys up on and i can't wait to share them, but first i want to share about my babies leaving me. haha! drama. if you are my friend on facebook or instagram, you've seen all these pictures and know a little about whats going on at home, but i want to document it here too.

Big A started first grade Monday. he was so nervous Sunday and even woke up in the middle of the night thinking he was going to throw up. the next morning he woke up and had decided that he wasn't nervous anymore, he was excited! the morning went smoothly and the first day was great. 

first day picture tradition

Big A's desk at school
then... Tuesday after school came and Big A announced that he decided he hated school and he and a friend in class were plotting their escape. i informed him that they have adults supervising and patrolling the school and he would get sent to the principle's office if he did try anything and he got a really serious look on his face! 

Wednesday he came home and said he wanted to cry at his desk, but didn't.

Thursday he came home and said he DID cry at his desk because he wanted me. 

and Friday... oh Friday my heart broke to a million pieces. my husband has Friday's off and we were all walking him to class when he stopped and just started losing it. he started crying really hard and didn't want to go to class. my friend, who is a teacher and his best friend's mom, started encouraging him and telling him Friday's were fun and the best day of the week. he pulled it together enough to walk the rest of the way to the door, then he lost it again. his teacher came out and said we could go and she would take care of it. she asked him to go to the bathroom and wash his face, then come back to class. he saw that we were walking away, then he started screaming and shouting for us, calling out our names. that's when i lost it. 

i hated leaving my baby there. i didn't want him to think that i didn't care. i wanted to rescue him and tell him he never had to go back. but i knew i had to let him work it out. 

i was on my way to a prayer group for the school, teachers, and our kids, but my husband stayed around the corner out of sight and said that he cried for about 40 minutes while his teacher tried to calm him down. i finally got a call from her that she had him sit with her at her desk for about an hour after he calmed down and then he just decided he was ok and had a great rest of the day. 

when we picked him up he had a great big smile and said his day was much better. we celebrated him making it through the first week of school by coming home to balloons, noisemakers, silly glasses, and streamers that my sweet husband at put out everywhere. we had a water balloon fight, family movie night, and a sleep over in our room. 


 little a started preschool on Tuesday for the first time. she had quite the opposite reaction then Big A. she was so anxious before her class started and when it was time to go she had her backpack on and said, "bye mom! i love and i'll miss you, have a great day!" before we were even in the car! 

she went straight in, with no tears.

jumping right in!

and when i picked her up she had a great big smile on her face and said she made a new friend. 

i'm sure there will be a year or two when she has a tough time. and i'm sure when they're all grown up we'll look back and share these stories with them. but right now i'm exhausted and clinging to the Lord. when the week started my verse was, "i do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. they are not of the world, even as i am not of the world. sanctify them in truth, Your word is truth. as you sent me into the world, i also have sent them into the world. for their sakes i sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." John 17:15

and as my week ends my verse is, "do not fear, for i am with you; do not anxiously look about for i am your God. i will strengthen you, surely i will help you, surely i will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10. 

i am resting in these words from the Lord. he is my rock and i can't make it through without him. 


another tradition we started last year was a first day of school party and this week we included our life group in on it. it was just our regular meeting time and i just made a little cake. nothing big, but still making note of the special day. 

i used a paleo carrot cake recipe from elana's pantry and i also used her creamy cream cheese frosting to top it with! it was so yummy!

so what about you guys? do you have any first day/week of school struggles or triumphs you want to share? what about traditions? i would love to hear your stories!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Anniversary + Family Pictures

oh man, yesterday my husband and i celebrate 9 years of marriage! woot woot. 9 is such a big number but it went by super fast. i feel pretty privileged to have been chosen by this man and to have been blessed with the kids we have and to be living this life with these people. 

and to top it off my sweet and talented friend, Jackie Wonders, who so lovingly shares her gift of photography with us, just sent me all our family photos she captured for us while we were down in San Diego this summer. i think these are my favorite! 

so, get ready. cause i'm gonna show you all my favorites. which is pretty much all of them. 

you're welcome. 

i just love them so much. i can't stop looking at them. 

Dominic, you are such a good man. you love me more than i could ever ask for or expect and serve me selflessly even when it is not returned. you are patient with me and know how to lead me when i'm feeling lost. but most importantly, you are a Godly man that loves and serves the Lord with all your heart, and that overflows onto us. i cherish all the good and bad we have gone through and look forward to many more years along your side. 

cheers to nine years! 


p.s. jackie, you are amazing. i can't thank you enough. you are a pivotal tool in helping us document and capture the years that are most easily forgotten. there aren't words that would be enough to describe my appreciation, but hopefully my walls covered in your work is a glimpse! i love you sweet friend.