Sumo Citrus: Kudos to the Sumos

 

The midwest just got a whole lot sweeter! If you are like me (which I assume you are since you are reading my blog) then you probably enjoy a good piece of fruit. Especially deliciously sweet oranges when they are in season. But you know what the worst thing about oranges are? Peeling them! Ask my husband, it seriously takes me over 5 minutes to peel an orange. No joke. He actually says it is painful to watch me, and just peels them for me now. He’s awesome I know. But I was recently introduced to what I may now consider the best citrus ever, the Sumo Citrus®! Not only are these bad boys maybe the sweetest mandarin I’ve ever eaten, but they are huge, seedless, and my favorite…easy to peel! Consider them the big brother to the Cuties® or Halos®.

 

 

Originally developed in Japan, the Sumo Citrus® is grown right here in the United States on family farms in sunny California. You can actually read about the growers on their website so you know exactly where your fruit is coming from. Plus these are Non-GMO and they are packaged with environmentally friendly, safe, green, and 100% recyclable material. A big plus in my book!

 

 

Unfortunately you won’t be able to find these year round and are only is season February-May. But thankfully Kroger is one of only a few retailers outside California to offer the distinct Sumos at an affordable price. You will be able to find these at Kroger stores in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Dayton for the next 6-8 weeks, so get your fix while you can. I know I will be packing a lot of these for lunch and be sure to stop back in a few weeks for recipes. I already have some dinner ideas using these sweet bad boys.

 

 

I had to add one last picture of my little sumo.

 

This post is sponsored by Kroger, but experiences and views are my own.

Birth Story of Our Baby Boy

birth www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

I’m a mommy! I’m still getting used to saying that and sometimes when I am staring at our beautiful baby boy, I have to pinch myself…this is real…he is ours. If you follow Eat Clean Live Simple on Facebook or Instagram, then you know it has been a whirlwind these past few months and I wanted to share the birth story of our son, Ashby West Hannegan. To see all the images, check out the slide show at the bottom.

 

I consider myself lucky and had a pretty picture perfect pregnancy. No morning sickness, barely any aches and pains, and to be honest didn’t really feel uncomfortable until week 39. But maybe it wasn’t luck, I took really good care of myself. I continued to have really good nutrition…(other than my weekly fix of ice cream). And I continued to do barre3 all throughout my pregnancy about 2-3 times a week up until week 39. I also got regularly adjusted by husband throughout my pregnancy (bonus points for marrying a chiropractor!) I truly believe by staying active, eating healthy, and taking care of my body, I set myself up for a healthy pregnancy and I am so thankful I did.

 

Throughout my pregnancy I was like any other first time mom, wondering what our baby would look like, nervous about what labor would be like, and also hoping and dreaming for a labor and delivery that we envisioned and planned. I can be a bit of a control freak sometimes always, so I tried my best to keep an open mind to expect the unexpected when it came to labor and birth. Early on Steve and I decided we wanted to have a natural childbirth. I knew though to accomplish that goal I would need to be mentally prepared. I did a lot of reading, watched documentaries, and we took a 6-week childbirth class to help us prepare. We had a great team of midwives that provided amazing care throughout and we hired a doula to help us prepare and assist us at the birth. I learned so much! I mean I knew where babies came from in all, but I was surprised at the very little I actually knew about what really happens during birth. But it was all very exciting for me. I was nervous, but I didn’t want to be scared of birth, instead I wanted to embrace it. Drugs were not an option for me and I was more than convinced to trust my body and let it do what nature intended it to do. This may sound weird, but I wanted to fully and completely feel our baby being born. Plus, all the benefits of a natural childbirth were more than enough to convince me. I wanted our baby to be fully alert and breastfeed as soon as possible and knew that a natural childbirth would help make that more possible.

 

So there it was, June 15, my due date. I had a midwives appointment and wanted to get checked just to know where I was. Welp, I was not dilated at all and I was maybe 60% effaced. I carried high the whole pregnancy and our baby still felt way up in my ribs. That was enough to convince me that the baby was sitting pretty comfortable in there and that I would get to enjoy being pregnant for a little bit longer. I was hoping for more than that, but tried not to get too down, knowing that the baby would come when the baby was ready. So what did we do? Stopped for ice cream of course and went to a park to talk. It was actually really nice, we still hadn’t decided for sure on a boy’s name and since we were being surprised on the gender, we knew we had to have both boy and girl names ready to go. So we talked about names and talked about what we would be most excited for if it was a girl and if it was a boy. It was a really fun afternoon just eating ice cream and enjoying being with Steve talking about how our lives were about to change.

 

That evening, we watched a How I Met Your Mother. We started binge watching that on Netflix and happen to be to the part where Lilly is pregnant. I had been wanting to write the baby a letter before it was born, but was having trouble getting in the mood to write. Well this episode, Lilly found out she was pregnant and with all my pregnancy emotions I just started writing. I wrote a beautiful letter to our soon to be baby and headed up to bed.

 

I was having trouble falling asleep, which is rare for me, and I got up to go to the bathroom around midnight. When I laid back down I felt a small gush of water. Shit did I just pee my pants? Nope, I just went, that couldn’t be the case. So I laid back down, knowing that if this was my water that contractions should be starting soon and that it was best if both Steve and I got as much sleep as we could. Steve woke up and I told him that I think my water might have broken, but it wasn’t a ton of liquid so he agreed that we should get some sleep and call our midwives in the morning if I made it that long.

 

The next morning, I had leaked some more, but still nothing major and no contractions so Steve headed to his office since he had patients scheduled. I was working from home that week, so luckily was able to relax and just wait as I knew contractions should be starting soon. I texted our doula and she suggested I should call our midwives to see if they wanted me to come in. Sure enough they said they wanted to see me to be sure. So Steve came home around lunch time, we packed our bags just in case and we headed to the midwives. My midwife gave one look at me and said yup that’s your water, but still did a test to be sure. She confirmed my membranes had ruptured. Okay, so now tell me how dilated I was. Thinking you know this party was getting started I thought 4, 5 maybe? Well try zero, zip, zilch, nada…I was still not dilated at all. But since I had been ruptured for over 12 hours, she sent us on our way to the hospital.

 

Now knowing that once we got to the hospital, we weren’t going to be sent home until the baby came, we knew we were in for a long stay. At this point I really wanted labor to start on its own and since my water had been broken over 12 hours I knew it had to start soon and we tried to kill some time before going to the hospital. We thought it would be good to get a good meal in as well so we went to Chipotle and then Kroger to walk around and get some tea. We wanted to walk some more to maybe try to get labor going so Steve suggested we walk over to TJ Maxx. Of course I didn’t object to that (I am a proud Maxxinista after all), so we browsed around a bit and picked out a new toy for Dakota, our fur baby. At this point it had been about 3 hours since we left the midwives and so we reluctantly went to the hospital, knowing they would be wondering where we were since they were expecting us.

 

When we checked in, they knew we were headed over and so we skipped triage and went straight to our room where we would labor, deliver and recover with our sweet new baby. I had requested a tub friendly room, that had enough room for the portable tub, because I was planning on laboring in the tub as much as possible for pain relief.

 

Once we got to our room our nurse got us settled and we waited for another one of our midwives to arrive. When she arrived I knew I wasn’t going to like what I heard. Since my membranes had been ruptured for over 15 hours now and I wasn’t starting labor on my own, I knew they were going to want to induce me. The longer your water is ruptured, the more you are likely you and baby can get an infection. I was right. My midwife wanted to start Pitocin. I know Pitocin is not the worst thing in the world, as it is the synthetic form of oxytocin and is used to start contractions, but this wasn’t what we planned. We were starting labor exactly how we didn’t want to start it. We planned on contractions starting at home and laboring there together as long as we could in a nice relaxed environment before heading to the hospital, but that was no longer an option and here we were in the hospital and labor needed to start. So we discussed our options and decided to start with diffusing clary sage essential oils and using a breast pump for nipple stimulation to see if those things could get these contractions going. I was ecstatic when some small contractions started and were around 5 minutes apart. I begged my body to start increasing the intensity, because I knew it wouldn’t be long until they would be back to check on me. After about an hour we stopped the stimulation when my nurse came back and told me that my midwife really wanted us to start Pitocin now. We asked for more time to discuss it and the nurse agreed to give us some time. I texted my doula Emily and she replied “Pitocin is not the devil.” I knew she was right, but I still didn’t want it, it’s not what we planned, I knew contractions would likely be more painful with it, and being the control freak I am, it was hard for me to accept. We were also reluctant to start Pitocin because this increases the likelihood of a cesarean, something we strongly wanted to avoid. We asked to speak with my midwife, by this time my contractions had basically stopped all together. Our ultimate goal was to still have a natural childbirth and to avoid a c-section. With that in mind, talking things through with our midwife, and coming to terms that my body had stopped contracting by itself we knew it was time for Pitocin.

 

They started it at 1mcg, the very lowest dose. To me it seemed like contractions started right away, but were still pretty mild. At this point we should have been sleeping to save our strength even though it was 6pm because we had a long night ahead of us, instead I ate dinner that my parents smuggled in for us (which I would later regret lol). Gradually over the next few hours they bumped the Pitocin up to 6mcg and from there I was having stronger, steady contractions and labor had officially started.

 

birth www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

I knew I was in the early stage of labor and was easily able to breathe through the contractions with the support of Steve. They felt painful and intense, but still manageable. I was happy we took our birth classes to teach us breathing, it really helped me out a lot. Once contractions got pretty intense I wanted to labor in the tub to help with pain. But…..since I was still on Pitocin and which we later found out they really wanted me on it the whole time, I had to have a heart monitor on which meant no tub for me. Not that I pictured labor to be spa-like in a luxurious tub, but when I envisioned my labor, I knew that is where I would feel most relaxed in water and just found out that wasn’t a possibility for me. So one more thing unexpected change to our birth plan. Luckily I was allowed to use the shower instead.

 

I have no idea how long we labored in the shower, it felt like hours and it very well might have been but it was so nice and was really helping me with my contractions. I think it was about 3am at this point, so my water had been broken for around 27 hours. I moved back into the bed and labored there for about another hour when I told Steve that it was time that we called our Doula Emily to come help us. At this point I was 5 inches dilated so knew the hardest part was still ahead. I was getting pretty tired, and I knew Steve was too. It was a relief when Emily arrived at 4am and the first thing she did was tell Steve to go lay down and get some rest. She then took over and helped me through my contractions.

 

Steve slept for about an hour until he was woken up by me barfing my brains out. (See I told you I would regret that dinner I ate earlier). He was really worried about me barfing because I have a tendency to sounds like I am dying while getting sick and gasp for air. And you know the tiny little kidney bean bowls at the hospital, I have some thoughts about that. First how in the hell Emily caught my puke in that tiny little thing is beyond me, I’m talking ninja status fast grabbing that bean. And secondly those things are so dang small, I filled it up within seconds and had to upgrade to a larger tub. In all honesty, puking actually felt great and probably helped with moving the baby down and dilation.

 

After throwing up, things were getting harder and I felt like this was transition. I also started feeling a lot of pressure, hmmm….we were getting close I hoped. At this time, there were two nurses in there because of shift change. The nurse who had been attending to me all night checked to see how far I was dilated. Before she said anything, she had the incoming nurse check me as well. I was ecstatic when they both said, “there is nothing there, you are fully dilated!” I was so relieved, I would be able to push soon and meet our little baby! I was at the home stretch now and knew I could finish this birth without medication. I couldn’t wait to push, but knew that I wouldn’t push until my body felt like I needed to. They gave my midwife a call to return, and started prepping for the arrival of our baby and brought in the crib and scale.

 

Our midwife arrived within 30 minutes and after about another hour of contractions she wanted to check my cervix herself. I watched her face and the expression melt away to disappointment. I could tell immediately she didn’t have good news to report. “You are only 6 centimeters.” Um excuse me, what? I was just told that I was fully dilated by two different nurses! I just experienced the worst pain in my life, puked my brains out and that wasn’t even transition? There is no way in hell I can do this! Hearing I was only 6 centimeters dilated is so hard to describe. I was crushed. I really struggled here. I honestly didn’t think I could do it any longer. Being so close to being done and meeting our baby and now the worst was still yet to come. How was I going to do this? Mentally both Steve and Emily really encouraged me here and I know I wouldn’t have been able to go on without their strength and support.

 

After I was done throwing myself a pity party, I sucked it up and put my big girl pants back on. (Well not literally, it would have been hard pushing a tiny human out of my who-hah with pants on). We then decided to labor back in the shower since that really helped me before. I really liked it in there and the warm water felt so good, and I got to put my Michael Jackson glove back on to cover my IV. (Okay it was just a latex glove, but calling it my Michael Jackson glove was way more fun and I believe somehow gave me super powers!) By now I had been in active labor for over 14 hours, I was extremely tired and exhausted. I had not slept in 26 hours and I was starting to get delusional. Apparently, or so I’m told, really tired Christy is a lot like drunk Christy, and I became pretty slap happy in between contractions. You know that cute little boy who had his teeth pulled and said “is this real life?” That is exactly how I felt. I would look at someone’s face and say this isn’t real. I was tired, so tired. At one point while I was in the shower Emily asked if she could get me anything, and I replied yes my baby. She then said sorry she couldn’t do that right then, so I told her to punch me in the face, and I meant it. Unfortunately, she said she couldn’t do that so I told her I was going to jump out the window. Luckily the windows didn’t open. But I really wish she had punched me in the face.

 

birth www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

This part gets pretty blurry for me. I was so tired and I was leaning forward on my hands and knees back in bed. While leaning forward and I think I was actually semi-sleeping in between contractions. This was the hardest part, I begged my body to dilate. I could no longer breathe controllably through my contractions, I had to scream. I swear I woke everyone up on my floor and almost made Steve go deaf. My midwife and nurses were also getting worried at this point, my membrane had been ruptured for almost 36 hours, my risk of infection was increasing. They were monitoring the baby’s heart rate and knew that this baby needed to come soon. Steve was amazing during this part. He was right by me, telling me I could do this, how amazing I was doing and that we would get to meet our little boy or girl soon.

 

birth-story-64

 

Things started to feel different. I felt a ton of pressure and once I started feeling like I had to poop during my contractions my midwife wanted to check me again. (Apparently that was a sign!) She checked, I was close, almost fully dilated. Thank the Lord! Then shortly after, I really began to wanting to push, I felt like I needed to and that I couldn’t stop it. Finally! I was so ready to meet my baby! When my midwife nodded her head and said I could push, it was like Christmas morning. Pushing felt so good and I just listened to Emily and my midwife guide my pushes. Steve helped me to relax my face and breathe while pushing, and this really felt good. I had pushed for over an hour when my midwife told me to reach down and feel the baby’s head. It was squishy and I could feel our baby had a full head of hair. Ahh what a feeling!

 

I knew things were getting real when the transformer light came down from the ceiling and Steve gloved up. He was going to assist our midwife in delivering the baby and I knew if he had gloves on I was close. I remember my midwife saying this was it and to try to push slowly on the next contraction to help prevent tearing, she was also doing warm compressions with oils for the past 30 minutes or so to help prevent a tear.

 

birth www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

I felt it coming on, that final contraction. That final push, I couldn’t wait to feel my baby come out. I pushed, I breathed, and there he was. Born at 12:12pm, Steve helped deliver him and placed him on my chest. He was so excited he forgot to announce it was a boy. Here I was staring at our perfect baby boy and I couldn’t believe it. I did it, we did it. He was here. We were instantly in love.

 

birth-story-179

 

All I wanted to do was hold our baby boy, but the nurses got concerned he wasn’t as active as they would have liked him to be. It had been several minutes and he still hadn’t cried. They said they had to take him off me and over to the table to examine closer. I really got concerned, but Steve assured me if something was really wrong, they wouldn’t still be in our room. They did some movements with his limbs and he started to cry, whew. Soon after, he was back on my chest and breastfed right away. He seemed like he knew exactly what to do, and it was beautiful.

 

birth-story-156

 

Experiencing a natural childbirth was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I knew mentally that is what we wanted for our birth, but having accomplished that in spite of not starting out labor how we had planned, is an awesome feeling. I never once asked for drugs. (I just asked to be punched in the face instead LOL). I never knew I was this strong. I never knew how much closer it would bring Steve and I together. We were an amazing team, instinctively working together deeper than I ever imagined. Our love has grown for each other and for our little boy Ashby, who came out looking just like Steve. I still think he’s gonna be a blondie, like his mama.

 

Welcome to this world, Ashby West Hannegan! Here is a slide show of the birth. Enjoy!

 

If you are in the Cincinnati area and looking for a doula, I highly recommend Emily Johnson with Doulas of Cincinnati. She was amazing and helped us so much in preparation and during labor. She truly was an important part of our birth team!

 

I was blessed that we had our friend and photographer Steph Keller capture this special moment for us. I love being able to look back and see all our emotions and love pouring out, we will cherish these images forever. Thank you Steph!

 

 

Oven Roasted Cashews

Oven Roasted Cashews - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Cashews, oh how I love thee. But I don’t love the soybean oil and other ingredients that you are often roasted in. And eating you raw just isn’t the same. So that is why I decided to roast my own cashews in coconut oil, and boy am I glad I did. This has become one of our favorite snacks and I always make sure we have them on hand. Especially since these pretty little nuts are packed with energy, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and make a perfect snack for in between meals.

 

Oven Roasted Cashews - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Roasting your own cashews is super easy and these babies taste better than any store-bought cashews I’ve ever had.

First, soak your raw cashews in water and salt for an hour.

Nuts contain phytic acid and soaking them breaks the acid down, allowing for better absorption into your body. Nuts also contain high amounts of enzyme inhibitors and soaking them neutralizes the enzymes allowing for proper digestion. I also think soaking them makes them a little more crispy and delicious too.

 

Oven Roasted Cashews - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Next, drain cashews and pour 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil over top and mix until covered thoroughly.

 

Oven Roasted Cashews - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Oven Roasted Cashews - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Bake at 250° for 20 minutes, remove to mix around and flip, then bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and sprinkle with salt to taste.

 

Oven Roasted Cashews - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Don’t these look tasty?

 

Oven Roasted Cashews - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Ingredients:

4 cups Raw Cashews

1/4 cup Coconut Oil

Salt to taste (I use Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt)

Directions:

  1. Soak raw cashews in water with a teaspoon of salt for an hour
  2. Pre-heat oven to 250°
  3. Drain and spread onto baking sheet
  4. Pour melted coconut oil over cashews and mix until covered thoroughly
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, remove to flip and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown
  6.  Remove and sprinkle with salt to taste

Easy Lent Options With Kroger Easy For You Seafood – Plus Save Money!

Kroger Easy For You Seafood - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Lent…that time of year we all either love or hate. Whether you are giving up something like chocolate or social media, or doing something positive, like a random act of kindness each day, it’s about making a positive change for 40 days, that hopefully you can continue beyond Easter. I love this time of the year, counting down the final days of winter, swim suits in the stores, and planning those summer vacations. But if you’re like me, Lent also means no meat on Fridays. I always have flashbacks of fish sticks or fried fish sandwiches from 12 years of private school. Now those options are fast and easy, but not really good for you. Luckily Kroger’s Easy For You Seafood program, gives you fast and easy options that are also much healthier than fried processed fish.

 

Kroger Easy For You Seafood - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

I was first introduced to Kroger’s Easy For You Seafood a few weeks ago at the new Oakley Kroger Blogger Event, you can read about that HERE. That first time I got the wild caught salmon with fresh organic herbs, lemon, garlic, and butter and it was delicious (see image above)! I knew I would be using this program again and again, making it easy for someone like me with a busy schedule to have a quick and easy healthy option for dinner.

 

Kroger Easy For You Seafood - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Today is the first Friday in Lent and Kroger is offering a $1 Off Easy For You Seafood, every Friday during Lent, Feb 12-Mar 25. You all know I love to save money, but what makes this even cooler is the fact that the $1 off coupon is automatically added to your plus card account (SO simple right!) and you can use this an unlimited amount of times (score!)! So if you buy 5 Easy For You Seafoods, you get $5 off! Can’t beat that!

If you don’t know how the Easy For You Seafood program works, here is the cliff notes version.

  1. Choose Your Seafood
  2. Choose Your Seasoning and Garnish
  3. Take The Oven-Ready bag Home and Bake

It really is that easy! Plus this service is free!

 

Kroger Easy For You Seafood - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Today I got the USA wild caught cod loin (see above)! I don’t eat farm-raised fish, and the employee behind the counter was so helpful and got a binder out to give me all my wild caught options. You also know eating clean is very important to me, last time when I tried the salmon I just got fresh organic rosemary, lemon, garlic, and butter and that was a delicious clean option. This time I wanted to try a seasoning because cod can sometimes be a boring fish. I got it seasoned with the Vegetable Pepper Medley which is an all-natural gluten-free seasoning consisting of dehydrated red and green peppers, onion, black pepper, celery, and parsley. I then had them add fresh organic rosemary, lemon, garlic, and butter for added flavor. Another nice thing about this service is they had sealed seasoning jars right out on the counter so it was easy for me to read the ingredients and find a clean option for me. Me and the hubby both loved it and it paired great with Old Bay Cauliflower, one of my favorite recipes!

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

So happy Lent! I encourage you toss out those fish sticks and visit your Kroger today to try the Easy for You Seafood program and don’t forget on Fridays through lent you get $1 off! Be sure to share this, so your friends can save too! If you want more information about Kroger’s Easy For You Seafood program, click HERE.

 

 

*This post is sponsored by Kroger, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower is one of my absolute favorite things to eat! It’s my go to side dish whenever we have seafood, and it also makes the perfect snack for watching the game. But let me back up a minute. This Kentucky girl used to have no idea what I was missing. When I first met my husband, who is a good old Maryland boy I might add, I can remember one of the first things he asked me was if I liked seafood. At that time, popcorn shrimp and fish frys were the extent of my seafood history and knowledge. He quickly introduced me to “real” seafood when he took me back to the Chesapeake Bay and let me try all kinds of fresh new things. I swear you haven’t had a crab cake unless you’ve had one from Maryland. Okay, back to the Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower….

So my husband puts Old Bay on everything, and I mean everything. This recipe was actually his idea and typically I’m not as much of an Old Bay freak as he is, but this recipe is a keeper! Cauliflower is a great source of Vitamin K and Vitamin C and is packed with antioxidants and has some amazing anti-inflammatory benefits too. The added benefit of Old Bay, is that is makes my hubby happy! 🙂

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Chop a small head of cauliflower and put into a bowl.

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Drizzle about 2 Tbsp of olive oil over the cauliflower and mix until well coated.

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Add a Tbsp of Old Bay and mix until coated evenly.

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Remove from oven and enjoy! If you don’t have Old Bay Seasoning, you can get it HERE!

 

Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

Head of Cauliflower

2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

1 Tbsp of Old Bay

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.
  2. Wash and chop cauliflower.
  3. Put in bowl and add olive oil, coat thoroughly.
  4. Add Old Bay, coat thoroughly.
  5. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. (I usually remove at 10 minutes, flip them and bake for another 10 minutes).

World’s Easiest Paleo Cookies

World's Easiest Paleo Cookies - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

I have to admit I am not much of a baker. I think that’s because I really do not have a sweet tooth, I’m not into cakes and pies and all that sweet stuff. My sweet Grandma Lorraine used to say, “who needs all that icing anyway” and I have to agree with her. However, with being pregnant, I suddenly have been craving sweets! I seriously could live on dark chocolate and organic vanilla bean ice cream right now. I heard that means it’s a girl, but since we aren’t finding out the gender, I guess I will have to wait and see!

I love simple clean ingredients and something that isn’t going to take all afternoon to make. So when I discovered this recipe by Elizabeth Barbone for the World’s Easiest Paleo Cookies in her new cookbook World’s Easiest Paleo Baking, and realized from start to finish it took less than 20 minutes to make these cookies, I knew I had to try them! The title is correct, with only 4 ingredients, these were so simple to make, especially for a non-baker like me, seriously it was SO easy! Not to mention, very delicious. I love that you can taste a hint of the maple syrup! 🙂

Read down for the recipe and also make sure you go to the bottom of this post to enter to win a copy of Elizabeth Barbone’s cookbook, World’s Easiest Paleo Baking. Or Click Here to buy your copy now on Amazon!

 

Mix together the Almond Flour and Baking Powder.

World's Easiest Paleo Cookies - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Add in the Maple Syrup and Vanilla Extract and stir together to form a sticky dough.

World's Easiest Paleo Cookies - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly with the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. I personally wanted soft cookies, so I didn’t press down the dough.

World's Easiest Paleo Cookies - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Bake until edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes and enjoy!

World's Easiest Paleo Cookies - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Don’t they look heavenly. These were soft and moist, but had a nice golden brown outer layer.

World's Easiest Paleo Cookies - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

World’s Easiest Paleo Cookies

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes per pan
Yield: 16 cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups finely ground almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free store-bought

1/3 cup dark maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.
  • Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly with the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer cookies, don’t press down the dough.
  • Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

 

Grain-Free Baking Powder
Most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch. Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

Active Time: 2 minutes
Yield: about 6 tablespoons

Ingredients:

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Directions:

  • Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in a small bowl.
  • Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

 

Want to check out more from Elizabeth Barbone? Head on over to her website, Gluten-Free Baking and be sure to enter the contest below to win a copy of her cookbook, World’s Easiest Paleo Baking.

 World's Easiest Paleo Baking Cover

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

World’s Easiest Paleo Baking: Beloved Treats Made Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, and with No Refined Sugars

Easy Clean Taco Seasoning Recipe

Easy Clean Taco Seasoning - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

One of my favorite parts about eating clean is updating some of my old favorite foods and recipes by substitutions and modifications. I can enjoy just about everything I always did, but in a new healthier way. Everything from pizza to tacos and more.

Everyone loves taco night right? But have you looked on the back of those taco packets and read the ingredients? Can you pronounce everything they put in there? Taco seasoning is so easy to make and tastes so much better than the packets, plus you know exactly what you are putting into your body.

 

Easy Clean Taco Seasoning - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Ingredients:

2   tbsp Chili Powder

1   tbsp Cumin

2   tsp Black Pepper

2   tsp Sea Salt (I like Pink Himalayan Salt)

1    tsp Garlic Powder

1    tsp Paprika

½   tsp Arrowroot Powder (or Corn Starch)

½  tsp Onion Powder

½  tsp Oregano

½  tsp Red Pepper Flakes

¼  tsp Cayenne (for more heat, add more Cayenne)

 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass container. Add 2 tbsp seasoning & 1/3 cup water to 1 lb. browned ground beef and simmer for 5 minutes. You can also add to chicken, vegetables, or anything else you’d like and enjoy!

 

For More Recipes Click HERE.

Kroger Simple Truth & Easy For You Event

Simple Truth - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

I had the amazing opportunity tonight to join other Cincinnati Bloggers at the new Kroger Oakley Marketplace to check out the store, taste some food, and sip some wine (ok I didn’t drink, I’m pregnant remember, but I’ve been getting good at remembering what it tastes like!) We even got a nice surprise to bring some products and food home for dinner, which was a double bonus stocking the pantry and not having to cook tonight!

First of all this Kroger is huge! It was the first time I was there and I could literally spend hours just exploring. I lost track of time in the clothes department stocking up on comfy sweats for my growing baby bump, that I didn’t even make it into the home department before I had to head on over and join the others. I will definitely be back soon to browse some more, I might even bring my hubby and he can drink beer at their craft beer bar while I shop!

 

Simple Truth - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

We were able to try 4 different kinds of fish and shrimp along with 4 different Simple Truth side dishes and my oh my things were tasty. My absolute favorite thing I tried was the dessert, yeah yeah of course the pregnant lady would say that right. But really, it was a Healthy Rice Pudding made with brown rice, almond milk, coconut sugar, currants and dates, and it was so warm and savory. I’m super excited they sent us home with this recipe because it is definitely something I will be making soon and sharing on this blog.

We then headed to the seafood department to pick out whatever fish you wanted to take home and make for dinner. I selected the Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon and had them season it with fresh rosemary, lemon, garlic, and butter. I wasn’t aware that you could have your fish seasoned in store, but it is part of their Easy For You Seafood program. Usually when I shop, I just buy the fish and have them wrap it up, but this is definitely another option especially if you are short on time.

 

Simple Truth - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

I came home, baked the salmon, heated up the sides, and me and the hubby enjoyed our delicious dinner. Doesn’t it look amazing?

 

Simple Truth - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Special thanks to the Kroger Oakley Marketplace for hosting this event and for sending us home with dinner and these awesome Simple Truth Organic products. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I love Simple Truth Organic products, they allow me and my family to eat healthy AND on a budget, both of which are super important to me. I am so excited to see what new products they come out with next.

 

Simple Truth - www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

Disclaimer: Kroger hosted this event and provided me with food to try. However all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

barre3, Are you up for The Challenge?

barre3 www.eatcleanlivesimple.com


In less than 24 hours we will be toasting champagne, tossing confetti, and ringing in the New Year with the ones we love. Typically this is the time of the year when we make resolutions, promising ourselves to make a change or do something different, something better. Maybe you want to get in shape, start eating healthy, or quit smoking? Whatever your resolution is, the key is making it a New YOU Resolution, not just a New Years Resolution.

There are many exciting things headed my way in 2016, a new baby for starters. I’d say that’s a pretty big change, a challenge that we are excited to face. However, there is another Challenge that I need to face first before babies and that is barre3. Many of you read about my Experience With barre3 that I posted earlier this year, if not check it out! But starting in just a few days is the barre3 Challenge, and it’s a great way to kick off 2016!

 

barre3 www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

“Be Strong. Be Balanced. Feel Good.”

What is the Challenge you ask? Founder Sadie Lincoln and her team of experts will personally guide you through an effective, fun challenge. With weekly online workouts, live recorded classes, Q+A sessions and podcasts, they’ll give you the tools you need to get strong, balanced, and feeling good in 2016! I love that this is a community challenge too, at the studio in Ft. Thomas you can see the sign up posters with everyone that will be working together and encouraging each other along the way.

 

barre3 www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

The barre3 Challenge consists of 3 Steps: Get Moving, Eat Whole Foods, and Take Ten.

Get Moving – Sign up for 4 classes a week starting 1/4/16 and ending 1/31/16 in studio or online. Each workout offers modifications that are perfect for you whether you’re a turbo athlete, dealing with an injury, or easing back into fitness.

Eat Whole Foods – Of course this is one of the main reasons I love barre3, what you put into your body is just as important as the physical exercise on the outside. You will learn to embrace the barre3 nutrition philosophy, which is rooted in healthy whole foods. Each week, you’ll receive a hearty new recipe created specifically to fuel results. You’ll also have unlimited access to hundreds of nourishing recipes at barre3 online, plus access to functional nutritionist Andrea Nakayama during the first live Q+A.

Take Ten – Each week, you’ll do a one 10-minute online workout. These exclusive do-anywhere workouts are specifically chosen by Sadie and designed to keep your metabolism revved up all day long. I love these 10-minute workouts, they are a perfect way to take a break at your desk, get up, and put some movement into your day.

 

barre3 www.eatcleanlivesimple.com

 

So how do you participate? All you need is a subscription to barre3 Online to receive all of the exclusive challenge content. barre3 Members can access the Challenge content for free, however, members still need to sign up for the challenge and opt-in to the program here. If you aren’t a member you can subscribe to barre3 Online for as little as $10 a month OR buy the membership for one month, then opt into the challenge here.

This is a community challenge so be sure to use the hashtag #barre3challenge on social and post regularly so they can celebrate your progress! So let me ask you, are you up for the Challenge? You better hurry, it starts January 4th!

 

 

*This post is sponsored by barre3 Ft. Thomas, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

The Best Christmas Present Yet…

 

My hubby and I have some exciting news to share…

Pregnancy Announcement

…we are having a baby in June!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be parents and to bring a child into our world. Of course this will mean lots of changes, but we are ready for the challenge. There are many things I am really looking forward to, but high on the list is making our own baby food.

I do have to brag on my husband for a moment, he has been so amazing. I had a rough couple months (I basically came home from work and went straight to the couch every night and slept. Okay I’m lying, I ate ice cream and THEN I slept)! But really he did it all at from cooking to cleaning. I know I was truly blessed when I found him and I know our baby will be lucky to have such a sweet and caring daddy.

So with that said, goodbye morning sickness hello energy! I am welcoming this second trimester with open arms! I feel like myself again and am ready to get back into the kitchen and share some amazing clean eating recipes with you all. So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, 2016 is going to be the best year yet!