Out of Whack

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Last week my family was visiting from California [hence the lack of posting], and while it was a totally awesome visit, the girls are both completely off schedule. Sophie adapts pretty well to almost any situation, but the fallout with Cora has been excruciating. I’ve had lots of help though, and that has eased the transition back to our regular schedule.

I’m sure most moms are going through a variation of this experience as they transition their kids back to a school schedule. It makes me sad that summer is ending, but I have to be honest: I am looking forward to cooler weather, apple picking, Halloween planning, and getting to wear multiple layers which hid my baby weight!

I’m trying to take this week 1 day at a time. Getting caught up on laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming… it can be so overwhelming when I look at everything I want to accomplish in 1 week. If I just look at what I can accomplish today though, the work seems much more manageable. So far I have been running on coffee and donut fuel, so an other goal of mine is to get back to the clean eating. Sorry the posts have been skimpy this week. Be prepared for a full blown return to blogging next week. Enjoy the holiday weekend, y’all!

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DIY Cold Brew Coffee

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I won’t lie, I love Starbucks… and I was watching a new commercial for their cold brew coffee, where they boasted that they steep their coffee in cold water for 20 hours. Then it dawned on me: cold brew coffee only involves steeping the beans in cold water for 20 hours.

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be 20 hours. Most recipes say 11. So, to beat the heat I decided to try making my own cold brew coffee. The only thing I needed was the correct coffee-to-water ratio which I got courtesy of Martha Stewart. Add some almond milk and viola! Cold brew coffee, without the price of a coffee shop.

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What you need:
-1/2 pound of ground coffee
-6 cups of cold water
-a strainer
-paper towels or coffee filters
-2 Tupperware containers
-a container to put your delicious coffee into

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Fill 1 of the Tupperware containers with 6 cups of cold water. Dump in your coffee grounds and gently stir, so that all the grounds become submerged and steeped into the water. Put it in the fridge for 11+ hours. After time has passed, grab your second Tupperware container and place [or stack] your strainer on top of it. Line the strainer with your paper towels or a coffee strainer, and then slowly pour the other container, containing the coffee, through the strainer. You may not be able to dump the entire contents of your steeped coffee into the strainer all at once, depending on the size of your container and how quickly the coffee drains from the grounds. I started with half, then threw out the grounds and started with a new paper towel [or filter] in the strainer for the second half. After straining, funnel your coffee into an airtight container and store in the fridge! Serve over ice with vanilla almond milk for a tasty summer drink!

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Sugar Rush Monday

This weekend was dreary, wet and cold… true Ohio fall weather. While the grandparents had Sophie for the day, J and I decided to head up to Pittsburgh to see a movie. We left early to account for traffic plus extra time it may take to drive slower in the rain. Since we ended up in the city a whole forty minutes before the movie, we decided to swing by my favorite gluten free bakery, Gluuteny. And yes, I am a glutton for their goods.

Hubs always pokes fun at me over how excited I get for “over priced cupcakes” but the reality is, I don’t think they’re over priced, especially if you’re a gluten-free, home baker. If you want a quality product at home, you have to buy weird ingredients you’re only going to end up using a teaspoon of [I’m looking at you xanthan gum and arrowroot powder…] and a good recipe usually requires 3 different types of flours [almond flour, coconut, tapioca, etc.] Finally, even if you produce a delicious batch of gluten free goodies, they don’t last long. You can try to refrigerate them, maybe even freeze them, but they don’t quite taste the same due to the nature and texture of baking with gluten free ingredients. So, am I willing to pay $4 for a single g-free cupcake? Yes! No work for me, it’s delicious, and not wasteful. Win, win, win.

Anyway, walking through the doors of that bakery always makes me nostalgic since I had them make the top tier of our wedding cake, and have used them for countless other events in our lives. Here’s what they had when I stopped in on Saturday:

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Macarons [commonly mistaken for macaroons] I have no problem laying down some cash for these cookies. They are extremely hard to make… I mean, it took me 3 batches to get them right for Easter last year. The tan looking one was Caramel Macchiato which I immediately jumped for! I love coffee but for some reason, I get horrible reflux when I drink it while pregnant. This sweet treat reminded me of all those quiet mornings I used to spend nursing a warm cup of coffee in the fall. Now, I wrestle a 1 yr old while trying not to spill my tea. The pink was raspberry, also delicious!

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Mini Bunt Cake – this was actually in the “day old” section, but I didn’t care. These little cakes make me particularly nostalgic because I bought 2 the week of my wedding. One to eat while I got ready [cake for breakfast, don’t care] the second I ate at the airport while we waited to board our plane to Punta Cana. When I took out this cake and smelled it, I was instantly transported to the memory of waking up on my wedding day.

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Little Debbie Copycat – I love these cupcakes. They are an elevated twist on a school girl classic. Those Little Debbie, chocolate cupcake, filled with whipped cream? That’s what these are! All gluten free and glorious!

The shop also had a variety of pumpkin scones and fall decorated sugar cookies [one of which I ate as we sat in traffic]. Our movie didn’t turn out to be that great, but the trip to the bakery was certainly satisfying! Now back to reality. Though, I do recommend starting your week off with a sugar rush! YUM.

Favorite Banana Bread

This is my own gluten free recipe, but you can substitute the gluten free flour for regular, if you prefer. Either way, it’s great with a cup of coffee!

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Ingredients:
2 cups of all purpose, gluten free flour
4 eggs
1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips [or chunks, i use a mix of both]
1/3 cup of organic coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas

Sugar Plum wanted to help in the kitchen… and by “help” I mean she wanted to sit on the floor and grab her feet in my presence.

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I like to freeze my bananas over night, and then thaw them the next day. They don’t look very appetizing after this process…. but its easier than mashing them with a fork. Personally I feel this technique gets you a more intense banana flavor.

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Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine Dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients such as the extract, bananas, applesauce, etc.
Spray 2 loaf pans with coconut oil or PAM.
Pour mix into pans and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

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This is by far my favorite g-free banana bread recipe and I hope you enjoy it too!

Note: If you do not plan to eat this within 1-2 days, I highly recommend refrigerating it. I microwave refrigerated pieces for 20 secs in the microwave, covering the slice with a paper towel. Enjoy!