Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten free chocolate muffins

Truly, these are delicious and you’d never know they were gluten free. I’ve made this recipe two times in the past eight days in an attempt to photograph them and they were eaten before I could snap a decent picture! They are that good.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

While your oven is preheating 350, gently melt together butter and honey. Whisk in cocoa powder and peanut butter until smooth. Then whisk in cocoa powder and peanut butter until smooth. It will be the consistency of hot fudge sauce. Continue to whisk in the eggs (I beat them in a separate bowl before adding) and baking soda.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into standard sized muffin tins. This should yield exactly 12 muffins. You could just grease them, but I would encourage you to use a paper liner.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until done. It only took 18 in my temperamental oven.

I used butter and peanut butter in my recipe but I’m sure coconut oil and any sort of nut or seed butter would be delicious. I haven’t added chocolate chips, since I’m using these as an on the go breakfast for the kids (the holy horror mess chocolate chips make in a car seat is enough to push me over the edge!), but I can just imagine what a decedent addition they would be. Or what about soft dried cherries with chocolate chips? That makes me think of Valentines day.

My kids snarf these down ASAP and I found Miles actually gathering crumbs up off the floor to make sure he had every last bite.

Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Fix

Advertisements

Doomed

After 3 kids, I finally get to buy one.

I have pined and lusted after a Sophie the Giraffe for YEARS. Every since Ella was tiny, I’ve wanted one but just couldn’t justify it. I finally bit the bullet and ordered one. This might be our last baby and she’s growing so fast. I wanted a Sophie the Giraffe in my house, so I had better get her sooner rather than later.

After three kids and a click of the mouse, I waited and waited until  Sophie the Giraffe finally showed up on my doorstep via Amazon.

I gushed over her in her tiny little box. Then I pulled her out and felt how nice the texture was — not gritty and not slick. Perfect for a teething babe.

Then my beautiful Sophie the Giraffe squeaked and the world as I knew it ended.

We don’t purposely choose toys that independently make noise for our home. Kids are noisy enough. Come to find out, my ultimate baby toy makes noise and Hazel screams whenever I take her away.

Also? She smells like a tire.

Doomed. I’m completely doomed.

Hello To Goodbye

I’ve been mulling over the phrase “motherhood is a long series of goodbyes” from this post on Renegade Mothering. It struck a spark of conversation between some friends and I and it was rather revolutionary for me.

At first, I wasn’t sure if goodbyes were the right perspective to hold. The word goodbye seems so… sad to me. Negative. Despondent. Those adjectives are polar opposites of what I want my life as a mother to reflect. But then, through further conversation, I realized the other side of goodbye is hello.

As I say goodbye to the sweet smelling head of my tiny infant, he is saying hello to new found mobility and exploration.

As I say goodbye to knowing what my almost five year old is doing 95% of the day, she is saying hello to experiencing taking the bus and going school.

Other goodbyes are more subtle. Having to assist with every stitch of apparel to being down to only tying shoes. Picking up tiny crumbs of play doh off of the floor before stepping in it.

The most vivid and current goodbye I had was sending Ella off to half day school, which started last month.

Untitled Untitled
She loves her teacher already. And she's home!
(1) Obligatory first day of school picture (2) Too excited to be still.
(3) She loves her teacher so much. (4) Home safe and sound.

Her joy and enthusiasm for saying hello certainly eased my goodbye. All I can do is hope and pray I can continue to accept goodbyes with grace while encouraging my children towards greeting the new stages of their life with excitement and curiosity. I absolutely know some goodbyes will be harder than others but I cannot allow my struggles with saying goodbye to a part of their life hinder their ability to move forward. I’m sure that we’ll meet a hello they are dreading and it will make it all the harder for me to say goodbye, but we’ll make it.

Insta Week

Insta Week

A highlight reel of my week, via Instagram.

(1) Amazing gluten free muffin that I will be posting about next week!

(2) Best after school snack EVER. (ps she loves those huge bows)

(3) Epic popcorn fail involving coconut sugar. The kids still ate it, though…

(4) Miles mimicking a cartoon character frantically searching for something. All while I was in the bathroom for 30 seconds, max.

(5) Miles say the phrase, “I love you” to the tune of Jingle Bells. I joined in and we both felt loved.

(6) Out of the world food came from that Brazilian grill. YUM.

As Seen On Pinterest: Doll Hair Taming

Floating around Pinterest is a concoction of fabric softener and water that supposedly tames unruly doll hair. My beloved Felicity American Girl doll has horrible hair and I loved the idea of fixing it instead of sending her to the pricey doll hospital.

Before testing it out on my childhood friend, I decided to attempt it on good ol’ Pinkie Pie.

Before

I put 2 tablespoons of Mrs. Myers fabric softener into 2 cups of water. I spritzed it heavily on her hair, combed it gently and set her outside to dry.

After

This was the end result! I also tried it on a pony from the 80s to see if older hair mattered and it actually took the solution better than the McDonalds toy.

In 2 weeks time, both ponies had frizzy hair again. They got tossed right back into the toy rotation, so maybe if they had been display toys it wouldn’t have happened. Also, I felt like their hair had a weird, tacky residue. Maybe if I had used a main stream fabric softener (Mrs. Myers is plant based) or less fabric softener to water, it wouldn’t have happened. Who knows.

While I wouldn’t use it on my AG doll, it makes for a great pony salon day.

Serenity Now

My daily life. It's as awesome as it is difficult.

My life, with three young children, is awesome as it is difficult. Sometimes, the only way I can catch a breath is with the baby on my back and handing the kids cupcakes. Then I breath deep and think serenity now.

Conversations (with myself): Being Real

I think we do each other a significant disservice when we present caricatures of ourselves online. I understand the idea of having niche audiences and wanting to be an encouragement to others. Being an encouragement doesn’t mean simply talking about the positive. Only showing the glowing, rosy moments. What about the moments when your feet stick a bit to the floor as you walk or it’s 8am and you still haven’t done dishes from yesterday’s lunch (or is that just me?)?

Pictures of sacred moments in childhood or great accomplishments do inspire me, but what about that personal bit? What about that bit to connect with real life and the real people around you? The wonderful moment of tender love between your children accompanied with a story about the non stop bickering that had been taking place all day. The reminder that they DO love each other, despite what has been going on all day. Or what about sharing pictures of your 7 failures leading up to your amazing culinary accomplishment. And how about a snapshot of the wall behind the couch your toddler colored on while you were frosting that cupcake?

Lately, I’ve been struggling with a feeling of inadequacy. Everywhere you look, beautiful images and stories can be found about the joys and perfections found in motherhood. Why isn’t that my reality of motherhood? What do these women have that I don’t? Why can’t I attain their level of beauty and perfection, no matter how hard I try?

Most of my daily life is as if I’m in a wilderness of sleep deprivation and constant boundary holding. An amazing wilderness that has joy and rewards, but a wilderness none the less. There are moments like a refreshing breeze. Sometimes, I come across them daily. But those moments never last and they always seem to be just enough (thank goodness!) to get me through the next stretch of parched life until I stumble upon a new, brief oasis.

I’ve begun to reach out to the community of mothers surrounding me. I’ve been holding my breath, asking quiet questions. As the answers have been rolling in, I’ve begun to breathe again. It turns out struggling with parenting, keeping your floor mopped, putting laundry away, keeping patience always at hand, and making sure the kids have on matching shoes are all pretty common. Maybe not those specific examples, but everyone has their own parenting and house keeping demons.

But no one shares them. Why is that? Is it because we’re being afraid of being perceived as a negative nellie? Someone who can never say anything nice? Or how about being seen as weak and disorganized? Worse yet, being seen as a bad mom?

This has to change. Not only do we need to balance the good with the bad but the bad with the good. We need to be real with one another. If we expect to survive this awesome, exhausting, amazing, intimidating thing called parenthood, we have to connect and reconnect. Share the happy with the sad. Sunshine with the rain. Strong points and downfalls.

It’s not comfortable, but real life isn’t shouldn’t be comfortable. My hope is to share my life in color. Not monochromatic or in a specific color scheme. The bright and popular colors, along with the underrepresented and disliked colors.

I want to keep this real.

So, as a first step, I give you this picture:

15 minutes of actual cleaning

Caption of a sunshine yellow color chip: “Did this in 15 minutes while wearing a baby on my back! Woot! Anyone can keep on top of their house in 15 minute chunks!”

Caption muted grays: “Too exhausted to keep up with dishes and the baby is so grumpy, I had to do this while wearing her on my back.”

Real caption that is kind of a muddy mess of yellow, gray and a bit of glitter: “Trying to tackle my kitchen in dedicated 15 minute chunks is possible if I can spread it out over an hour. Three kids is no joke! At least I can wear the baby on my back while mediating the big kids and killing spiders in the bathroom.”

Beautiful doesn’t equal perfection. Even the messy, dirty and possible inadequacies about our lives can offer a beautiful oasis to others.

As Seen On Pinterest: Cucumber Water

Source: wp.me via Dallas Ann on Pinterest

 

I had such high hopes for cucumber water. It seemed an easy way to get my water down. Almost elegant. I’m not a fan of the taste of water and I don’t like the water flavor additive packets you can get at the store.

At the first sip, I paused. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or if it tasted how slugs would feel sliding down my throat.

Second sip, I still couldn’t decide.

I drank the entire half gallon over the next 2 days (couldn’t bring myself to put it to waste) and came to the conclusion that the idea is lovely but it’s all slugs to me.

In case you’re curious, here is the recipe I tried:

Cucumber Water

2 quarts cold water
1 medium cucumber, washed and thinly sliced
3 sprigs of mint, gently crushed

Mix all ingredients together and thoroughly chill. Sip and enjoy.

Best Popcorn EVER

I'm being nice and sharing my stovetop cinnamon and sugar popcorn.

Cinnamon and Sugar Popcorn

I’ve never been a lover of popcorn. As a kid, it was fun to watch the kernels explode out of the air popper and try to anticipate the optimal bowl position to avoid any on the floor or counter top. Popcorn at the movies was always a special treat, but it was more part of the experience than something I would choose on my own.

Then I grew up, had kids who couldn’t eat gluten or dairy products, and I had to find easy snacks on a budget. Not too easy. We tried air popped a few times with the traditional salt and the kids seemed to hold the same opinion as I did. Too much butter on the top and all the salt sunk to the bottom of the bowl. A friend suggested trying the traditional stove top popping method before giving up completely. After one try, I’ve never looked back. This stuff is GOOD.

There’s no real recipe. Instead, it’s more of a method. You pour oil into a heavy bottom COLD pan. Add however many corn kernels you want. The trick is to have enough oil to puddle around your SINGLE LAYER of kernels. If you didn’t add enough to begin with, pour in a bit more.

Turn on your burner to a medium or medium low. You know your stove top the best. It really is trial and error.

Keeping the pot on the burner, shift it around a few times every minute (to allow the kernels to evenly heat) until your first kernel pops. Quickly add your seasoning of choice, evenly sprinkling over corn. Keep shaking it!

Add a lid to the pot and continue to shake it, occasionally lifting it off the burner to shake the pot up and down to get all the tasty bits evenly coating the popcorn.

As soon as you hear the last pop, pour all your fluffy bites of hot deliciousness into a large bowl to prevent burning in the pot. Wait, if you can, for it to cool enough to touch and enjoy.

So far, we’ve tried the traditional salt flavoring and also adding cinnamon and sugar. The cinnamon and sugar meets my cravings for hot breakfast toast, which is nice! I wouldn’t recommend using butter as the oil but if you want the butter flavor, maybe try using imitation butter flavoring. It’s completely vegan (though it does have yellow food dye) and scarily, tastes JUST like the real thing. I wonder if that’s what the movie theaters add to their popcorn oil to create the butter flavor, since popcorn from movie theaters are dairy free.

Stovetop Popcorn from Dallas Ann Prentice on Vimeo.

This is a video of Miles experiencing stove top method for the first time. Completely hilarious.

p.s. Is there a word that just feels misspelled every time you write it, even though you KNOW it’s right? Kernel is one of those for me. My brain nearly exploded writing this.

Gifts

Sometimes, the smallest things express the most love. Love makes wishes come true.

Sometimes the smallest gifts, when given in love, make wishes come true.

%d bloggers like this: