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Paleo Banana Bread

Oh, for the love of the weather! I don’t know about you but around here it is cold today, hot tomorrow. This time of year in Texas it’s quite confusing. In my closet and in my kitchen. When it’s cold, I love to make soups and loads of baked goods. When the weather warms up, get ready for greens and lots of veggie dishes! I believe the rest of this weekend is going to be chilly so here’s what we’ll be snacking on.

My (easy peasy) Paleo Banana Bread is so moist and buttery you can’t even tell it’s gluten free, much less Paleo. I’ve played with the recipe several times, subbing in coconut flour for some of the almond flour. Coconut flour is a tad bit cheaper than almond, but also a tad bit more finicky. It’s a tricky flour to nail down but I’ll keep at it and share my results!

stellas banana bread

But for now, enjoy the all almond flour original and our family’s favorite of all of the Banana Breads tested.

Paleo Banana Bread

ingredients
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup organic grade a maple syrup
1 TBL organic vanilla
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
3 eggs
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
(optional) 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Melt your coconut oil on low, be sure to put it aside as soon as it’s melted so it doesn’t get too hot and burn the flour. Line an 8 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, enough so that the paper is sticking up from each side of the pan. In a food processor, pulse your bananas until they become a smooth consistency. I, personally, prefer a few lumps. Add wet ingredients and process until smooth. Add dry ingredients and process until smooth. Scrape the sides of the processing bowl, if needed, to incorporate all dry ingredients. Stir in your walnuts if using them. Pour mixture into lined loaf pan. Pop into the oven for approximately 55 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer or knife at 50 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when your skewer comes out of the center clean. Wait to cool then devour!

We slather our bread with grass fed butter or a drizzle of honey or nothing at all, because it’s that yummy. Stay warm (or cool) this weekend!

In Love and Joy,
B

Baby, It’s Cold Outside…A (Paleo) Shepherd’s Pie Worth Squealing Over

Okay, so it’s not so cold here right now but when I started working on this post it was freezing. Welcome to Texas, folks!

One of my favorite people in the world came to visit last month and I was delighted! My extended family has always lived half way across the country so we see each other maybe once a year. Twice was a really good year! Needless to say, I was thrilled that my Aunt was coming for some sister time with my Mama and the kids and I decided to plan a feast for her.

My cousin is one year and a day younger than me and we have always joked that they switched us as babies because our personalities definitely resemble the other’s parent. Remarkably so.  Now, my Mama has always guided me spiritually but my Aunt and I have this different connection. When we start sharing about God – thoughts, experiences, feelings, we’re on this crazy multidimensional plane as though our Spirits are sitting together, drinking a cup of tea and nodding “Amen’s”. I pray my kids have a Spiritual Mentor that’s not me. Someone else they can go to with questions, doubts, fears, joys and just sit with in love. Don’t get me wrong, of course I want them to come to me. But I definitely want them to have that special one. The outsider from their daily lives that can be their sounding board that will feed them Truth. No sugar coating. Simply hard, beautiful Truth. I never knew I wanted this for my kids until I reflected back on this part of my life with my Aunt.

When I shared with the kids that she was coming, I asked what we should make and Noah immediately replied, “Shepherd’s Pie!”. I was quite surprised as I had only played with this recipe a few times and he was so excited. But Shepherd’s Pie it was and it turned out AH-mazing! She and my mom have both made it since, they loved it so much.

cauliflower

+++This recipe is time consuming if made all at once. This savory pie journey began using leftover “mashed potatoes”. I recommend either preparing this all at once on a weekend afternoon or using your leftover mashed potatoes the next day in this delicious dish!

Shepherd’s Pie

Paleo “Mashed Potatoes”

ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
2 medium japanese yams (if you can’t find these you can sub another half a cauliflower or un-paleo it with3-4 yukon golds)
1 TBL organic olive oil 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1/4 cup of organic or grassfed butter
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic pepper

Chop cauliflower and potatoes into 1 1/2″ pieces. Boil for approximately 13 minutes. Strain. On medium, sauté minced garlic in olive oil for two minutes. Add the cauliflower and potatoes back to the pot as well as broth, butter, salt and garlic pepper. Use immersion blender for smoothest potatoes. If you don’t have one, you can mash by hand or carefully transfer to a blender and pulse a few times. Enjoy with any meal but save 3/4 for your pie!

Savory Ground Turkey

ingredients
2 TBL olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb turkey (this is interchangeable with any meat, chicken, lamb, etc)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic pepper

Sauté onions in olive oil over medium. After 2-3 minutes, add ground meat and sauté until browned. Stir in sea salt and garlic pepper.

Paleo Gravy

ingredients
1 onion, diced
2 TBL butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic pepper
1 TBL tapioca starch (or arrowroot)
5 TBL almond flour
1 cup chicken broth

Sauté onion in oil over medium high, stirring quickly for about 4-5 minutes until carmelized. Traditional carmelized onions are cooked on low for 20+ minutes but who’s got time for that? Same yummy taste, just don’t turn your back on them for these few minutes. Turn heat down to medium low and add all ingredients but chicken broth. (If you have an electric stove, wait a few minutes until your burner has cooled to the lower temperature or be prepared to stir your heart out. If your burner is too hot, your flour will burn!) Stir in broth. Use your immersion blender for a smoother gravy or carefully transfer to your blender and pulse a few times until desired consistency.

Now that you have your main pie ingredients made, all you need is one small bag of frozen organic carrots and peas. In a casserole dish, add a TBL of olive oil or so (or a swish as we say at home) to coat the dish.

Layer accordingly:

Half of the Gravy


Savory Ground Meat

Savory Ground Meat
Peas + Carrots

Peas + Carrots
Half of the Gravy

More Gravy!
“Mashed Potatoes”

potatoes

Bake at 350F until all flavors have had a dance party and gloriously become one, or approximately 30 minutes. This filling, all-in-one meal will be sure to warm your belly and your heart. I hope you and your specials enjoy this as much as we have!

In Love and Joy,
B

A Present of Presence + a Simple DIY for Valentines

How’s everyone feeling? Lovelier? Lighter? Crazy and tired? Yep, me, too. Wrapping up our (almost) two weeks of love spreading, I subconsciously focused the first week on friends and strangers. This week I realized there were a few people who could use some extra impromptu love right under my roof!

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I started thinking about what kind of Valentine surprises and treats I would make for the kiddos and Joe when God hit me with a big – Your presence is the best gift they could receive.

Wow. Ok. Got it.

After that very loud whisper I began consciously leaving my phone and laptop in our bedroom or in my purse. If it’s not out, I’m not perusing mindless activity that has nothing to do with the current moment I’m sitting in or who I’m with. And guess what? It worked!

I’ve had a really lovely week with my children and my husband. Nothing mind blowing. No fireworks. We kept our quota of crazy, hair bending moments, too. But there were loads of extra hugs and laughs and giggles.

I, as a woman and mother, of course felt extreme guilt for all of the wasted moments of the past. Then I received another quick nudge that now is now and that’s what we can care for.

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I’ve decided to write each one of my kiddos and my amazing husband a love letter for V Day. At first, I thought I would make it fun and crafty, but honestly, there was no time for that. I also realized that the fru fru is wonderful when you can, but a beautiful and honest sharing of “why I love you” on a white notecard will simply be perfect…and of course some Paleo Pancakes on the side!

love letter

And I have a special little something for you, too! Here’s a quick and simple DIY Body Scrub. If you’re like me and wait to the last second to share some sweet love with a co-worker, friend or teacher then this will definitely come in handy! We actually made these for the boys’ teachers at Christmas and I love them so much because all of the kids are able to help prepare them.

Sweet Stella mixing bath salts

Sweet Stella mixing bath salts

Lavender+Peppermint Body Scrub

ingredients
1 cup of virgin/unrefined coconut oil
1/2 cup of coarse pink sea salt (I buy our salt in the bulk section for the discounted price)
1/2 cup of sugar
15 drops of lavender essential oil
5 drops of peppermint essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Once well mixed, transfer to a mason jar or a cute glass container. I found ours at Hobby Lobby (and used the 40% off coupon that’s always on their site!). This recipe fills three of the containers with wooden lids.

Have fun with this one – add orange, lemon or lime zest for a splash of color. Or finely chop rosemary or thyme to throw in. Feel free to mix and match oils to create your own signature scrub.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

In Love and Joy,
B

Paleo Granola

I have been playing with this Paleo Granola for A LONG TIME and I think I found a winner! I started out using a more traditional recipe from my friend Stephanie, over at The Nutrtion Mom. Stephanie is such an inspiration and has a really beautiful story – stop by and say hi! She’s doing BIG things in beautiful and delicious ways. Stephanie’s also my go to girl for a (delicious) Raw Detox + Cleanse! almods When I realized I needed to get off of grains I was super bummed to think about missing out on one of my all time favorite snacks – granola. I have loved granola since I was a young girl – before it resurged into mainstream when folks would endearingly call me a crazy hippie. Folks being my parents. Boy how they were wrong! Mostly. Love you Mom + Dad❤️

One day it struck me that I didn’t have to give up granola, I simply needed to leave the oats out and add more nuts. And that’s what I did. I love to share this as gifts for holidays or just special days. One of the lovely ladies at my Nutritionist’s office said it was her “favorite new food!”. My heart jumped when I heard her and I realized I had to share it with all of you sooner than later. Enjoy! paleo granola Paleo Granola

ingredients
4 cups of raw nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, mixed nuts all work)
1 cup of dates, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup of dried raisins and/or cranberries
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup ground flax
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup any nut butter
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ginger spice

Pre-heat oven to 200F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together on the tray (why make more work for yourself with a bowl?). Spread evenly across the tray. Taste test to ensure seasoning is to your liking. If you don’t inhale most of the granola at this point, place in the oven and stir every 15-20 minutes so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Bake for one hour. Let cool and enjoy!

In Love and Joy,
B

“Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.”

-1 Corinthians 13:13

Kale + Kate

Today I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes using the Queen of Greens – Kale! It’s a wonderful winter green that provides SO many delicious nutrients when eaten (fiber, folate and Vitamins A, C and K to name a few). This amazing green has become one of my favorite edibles that God has so generously gifted us. It’s such a hearty green it’s even proven itself against light ice and snow in our garden!

Kale and I met several years ago. I had begun working with a fabulous Health Coach and beautiful friend, Kate Lindsay, to help guide me through the beginning of our journey as a family with Food Allergies. We had just discovered that Noah, our oldest, was allergic to gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts and sugar and I was a complete novice in the kitchen. At the time, the microwave and eating out were just a way of life for our family.

I went to a cooking class hosted by Kate and I learned the in’s and out’s of Kale and never looked back! One of the oddest things Kate taught in this class was that if you’re eating raw kale it needs to be massaged. I glanced at my best friend who had come with me with my “WTF?” face (that’s “What the French Toast” in our family). But it’s true, tribe, it’s true! If you give your kale a little love and a lot of squeezing, the texture changes completely and it becomes a joy to eat. Now I scoff at any unmassaged kale salad. Well, not really, but I won’t eat them because it feels like I’m chewing on cardboard.

So, if you’re curious how to massage kale, like I was, here’s what you do! De-stem the kale leaf. Tear the leaves up in a big bowl. This is fun to do with your kids. Stella, my toddler, likes to do this with me (I’ve found if the kids help out with dinner they are much more inclined to eat what they’ve made). Then, grab the torn leaves in two handfuls, squeeze them and give them a little rubbin’ for a few seconds. Just like giving someone a hand massage. Do this with all of the kale until it’s become limp and bright green. Literally just a couple of minutes completely changes the texture and color – and I think the taste, too!

Fresh orange zest

Fresh orange zest

There are several varieties of kale and it’s fun to mix and match them in this amazing Winter Citrus Salad. Our family LOVES it and everyone heads for seconds when I make this recipe. A few tips: it makes enough for several meals, you can easily switch out different ingredients to what you have on hand or what sounds delicious to you that day AND if you let it sit overnight and eat it the next day(s) then all of the ingredients have had a chance to dance and party and the flavors blend magically together. We love it most on Days 2 and 3!

Kale salad

The undressed Winter Citrus Salad

Citrus Winter Salad

ingredients
1 head of curly kale, washed
seeds from one pomegranate or 1 cup of blueberries or any other favorite fruit
1 apple or pear (or both)
1 grapefruit
1/2 c sliced almonds or nut of preference, toasted

Pull the kale leaves off of the stems. Tear or coarsely chop leaves and place in a large bowl. Massage kale for a few minutes. Thinly slice apple or pear. Peel grapefuit. Remove seeds and skin. Cut grapefruit slices in half. Add fruit to the kale and toss.

Let’s toast the almonds! Toasting nuts is like browning meat. Simply pour raw almonds onto your pan or skillet. Turn heat to med low. Start stirring them around pan after a couple of minutes. As they start to brown, remove from heat. Keep in a tightly sealed container.

Citrus Vinaigrette

ingredients
zest of one orange
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBL raw honey
2 TBL Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
juice of zested orange
1/4 cup of oil (I used Avocado oil from Costco, but Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil works great, too)

Combine and whisk all ingredients, except for oil, into a small bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle oil in. Toss dressing with kale salad. Top with toasted almonds. Remember Days 2 and 3 are the best days for utmost salad enjoyment!

Kate later inspired me to go to Nutrition School and my life was forever changed! ANNDD her and her crazy beautiful family are making a documentary and set out on a two month long road trip last summer, interviewing families all over the country. Did I mention they did this with two kiddos under 5 and she was 7 months preggos? I did say crazy beautiful! Check out what they’re up to here.

In Love and Joy!

B

A Tribe Called Love…And TWO Sweet Little Recipes to Warm You Up

Y’all! You guys! You’s guys! We have a new TRIBE of over 500 LoveJoy warriors. Here we are. Together. Ok, I’m not typically a kumbaya kinda gal but I am beyond amazed and thrilled! Welcome and big cyber hugs all around.

Now, let’s get down to business. I walked into a gas station this weekend with the kiddos and we were bombarded with all kinds of Valentine’s Day hoopla. 3 foot tall cards and bears and CANDIES were screaming at us from the shelves! Needless to say, I’m not a fan of commercialized holidays. If that’s your thing, thank you for spreading love in any and all ways! Now, I love holidays – Christmas and Easter are favorites and I even like Valentine’s Day. I mean, who doesn’t love feeling extra loved? I just don’t care for the commercialism side of it all. I started thinking, how could we change this?

Noah’s class recently sent home a note sharing they have a make your own Valentines policy, which I think is sweet. This sparked a conversation about why we celebrate this holiday and different ways we can show love to others – particularly in platonic ways.

So, tribe, this came to me and I am officially asking a favor. More like a request to play with me. I hope you’ll participate in our first LoveJoy Challenge -not that I ever intended on challenging us to anything until this fell into my lap and my heart! What would happen if all 500 of us spent a few moments each day spreading love? For the next 12 days, if each of us spread a little love and light to someone else that would equal over 6000 ACTS OF KINDNESS! I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I got out my calculator to make sure it wasn’t a mistake but that’s the truth, folks. Can you imagine the impact we’d all have on the Universe? Cherubs might swoop down from the sky! I don’t know about you but I think there might be a little more joy, maybe a little more peace, spread throughout our corners of the world. Pretty amazing, eh?

The kids and I talked about our first act of kindness at the breakfast table this morning ove Lemon Poppyseed Paleo Pankcakes. We decided to draw pictures this afternoon for a special friend of ours who will be having a double mastectomy at the end of the month and mail them out to her. We also talked about making a thank you card for our postman. In the past, we’ve left cookies for our trash collector. That was a fun one because we watched from the window as he walked up to the little wrapped box with wonder and curiosity and then a big, beautiful smile crossed his face. Then the boys danced around with joy because he loved it – even though he didn’t even know what was inside the box!

We talked about how a smile to anyone is an act of kindness or holding the door open for someone. We could pass out goodie bags to the homeless or bring a smoothie or coffee to someone you have a meeting with or the instructor of your workout class. We could even make our partner or spouse their coffee in the morning or leave a love note for them or your kiddo in a little hiding spot around the house. Anything goes folks!

Oh, and I almost forgot! I hope this recipe warms you up and lights your heart on fire to play. Enjoy!

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Paleo Hot Coco with Whipped Cream

ingredients
4 c. almond milk (or whatever milk type you prefer)
6 TBL pure grade a maple syrup
1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
4 scoops of Cocoawell (this link takes you to the sweetened version on Amazon but we use the unsweetened version that you can get at most natural foods stores) or 4 heaping TBL of cacao
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cayenne (omit if you don’t care for the spicy kick)

Heat almond milk on medium heat. Once simmering, turn heat to low and add all other ingredients and stir until coco is smooth and silky. Top with this Paleo Whipped Cream.

Paleo Whipped Cream

ingredients
1 can of chilled full fat organic coconut milk
1 TBL pure grade a maple syrup (raw honey is a great sub and I have also used about 10 drops of stevia, but I prefer the maple syrup)
1 tsp organic vanilla
pinch of sea salt

Pop your coconut milk in the freezer for an hour or so to get it nice and chilled. You can also leave it in the fridge overnight if you’re good about planning ahead – I am not. Open your can of coconut milk and scoop out all of the solid, coagulated milk into the bowl of your stand mixer. Leave the leftover liquid for another day (I’ll throw it into my coffee, a smoothie or even the above mentioned Hot Coco). Add all of the other ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes or until whipped and fluffy. If it’s not whipping to your liking, crank that puppy up to high for a minute and that should work just fine. You can also use a hand mixer, it will take a few more minutes but will be just as delicious!

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I hope you’ll come play with us over the next two weeks and show the world how Love and Light are truly spread ❤

In Love and Joy!
B

Strength

Well, it’s been awhile since my yoga mat and I have had a date. Like, maybe, creeping on 3 months awhile. I think we had a 30 minute power lunch next to my bed one day in December. But it was a long December, a blur to be honest, and that could very well be a false statement. I looked at my schedule for this week and decided Hump Day would be my January 1st. Twenty seven days late really isn’t so bad if you’re a Kerby…or a Ferguson…or most anyone related to me.

I felt like we were on a first date. I was a little shy and feeling a bit self conscious to say the least. I decided at the last minute, since I was being so awkward with myself and my mat, that I would push the awkwardness a bit farther and try a new studio. Just jump ship. Have you ever done that? Yep, me either.

I walked into the trendy yoga studio with EDM blaring in the back ground thinking, “Oh boy. This is going to be a fun hour.” Let me rewind and give you the scoop on how my yoga practice normally flows. My routine is to go to the same studio I started practicing in with VERY calm music welcoming me into my church. It’s my time to sit and get real with God. God and a few other sweaty, smelly, seemingly nice folk. It’s almost 100F and I breathe and move and pray and surrender. However, today I walk directly into the actual studio (it’s donation only, so a lobby is obviously a waste of money) where the very friendly instructor was hanging out at a little side kiosk and what I felt like everyone in the room was greeting me with a look of horror. Of course they weren’t but I felt like I had just walked in naked.

I plopped down next to the dread head- I say this with absolute endearment. I’ve always wanted dreads but never grew the cojones that comes with them. I get my mat rolled out and lay down to get my Jesus time on. I’m quickly interrupted by the friendly instructor who asks us to introduce ourselves to someone next to us and say hi so the next hour will feel more comfortable, you know. The woman on my other side and I say hello and shake hands, both of us obviously thinking “oh boy”. I’m pretty sure she was expecting some holy time, too, not so much a social hour. But come to think of it, a lot of churches do have a Meet Your Neighbor moment. I think it’s called Pass the Peace. Maybe the friendly instructor was following a church agenda without me ever realizing it as such.

ANYWAY.

The hour was holy. I went with the flow and found God on my mat. I rediscovered my breath. I realized that God gives strength to me whenever I ask for it, which is typically in emotional or spiritual requests. But He showed up again today and reminded me that He’s there for my physical needs, too.

So quickly I forgot how grateful I had become for two working legs. I broke my knee last spring in a freak ski accident. It was my first time skiing and the freaky part was that I was screaming into the mountain at the sound of my knee snapping, and, yes, I was on the bunny hill. A humbling experience one has while being sledded down the mountain by ski patrol as five year olds whiz past your head. Once I had completed Physical Therapy months later, a very profound gratitude for two working legs and a healthy body came over me. God showed me then and again today that I can rest, even for a few months, and He will provide all the strength I need. I hit Bird of Paradise like I hadn’t skipped a beat. All the while, that little voice inside my head had had me worried about simply keeping up with the flow.

Please don’t get me wrong I also stumbled. And I fell. I even knocked my cup of water all over the floor rolling out of a headstand.  But I also breathed. I prayed. And I showed up. I got my Jesus time and I had a beautiful rest of the day. There is something miraculous about starting your day with God and movement. Something I hadn’t experienced in quite awhile.

The rest of the day held a similar flow. And it ended with something AMAZING. Click here to witness a miracle in humanity (and participate if you’re so inclined)! There is no way in the Universe that you will be disappointed. It could possibly be the best click of your day…

IMG_9103

This photo was taken by Humans of New York. This is Vidal and he inspires me with his strength and abundant courage.

Have a beautiful weekend!

In Love and Joy,

B