Almond Butter Blondies (Paleo)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My best-est friend Alison called me up last week and told me she has decided to give the whole Paleo thing a go.  This is awesome news not only because I know she is going to love it but also because she is a way better cook than me.  So this means she will most likely come up with awesome recipes like this one and then share them with me of course ;)  So thanks to my awesome friend I made these, LOVED them and could not wait to share the recipe here with you.  So without further adieu and chit chat here ya go! 

What you will need:
  • 2 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 cup of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (they are gluten, soy and dairy free). 
  • 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of melted honey
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (I used crunchy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • a dash of salt 
*optional- you can add a little shredded coconut on top.  
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. Mix all of the wet ingredients then add the dry ingredients.  Mix well. 
    3. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
    4. Grease a 8x8 baking dish and spread the mixture evenly along the bottom. 
    5. Bake for 25 minutes.
    6. Let cool and enjoy! 

    These are incredible!  They are super moist and remind me of a cookie dough brownie.  And lets be real a brownie that tastes like cookie dough might just be the greatest thing ever.  You can eat these warm or cold and they are delicious either way.  If you make these please let me know what you think!

      TATCHA Skin Care Review + A Giveaway! (CLOSED)

      Monday, July 29, 2013

      As a licensed Esthetician and borderline OCD label reader I am very cautious about what products I put on my skin.  I also always want to remain credible here on my blog and for that reason you hardly ever see me name specific brands unless I truly believe they are stellar.

      I recently reviewed a skin care line called TATCHA and after using their products for nearly three weeks not only do I feel very confident about using TATCHA on my skin but I feel confident about recommending the line to you as well.   What initially drew me to the line was their minimalist approach to beauty.  I was also so happy to see all their products are formulated without synthetic colors, fragrances, sulfates and parabens.  TATCHA's four-step regime has proven age defying ingredients such as green tea (love), rice bran and red algea which bring Japan's timeless beauty rituals practiced by the iconic geisha to your everyday skincare routine.  

      One of my biggest skin issues has been pregnancy induced hyperpigmentation that has decided to linger around for longer than I would have liked.  After using the Radiant Deep Brightening Serum along with the Polished Rice Enzyme Powder and the One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil I am loving how my skin looks!  It looks brighter, healthier and more even toned.  Even my husband commented the other night that my skin looked great! Yeay for that.

      I also can not get enough of their Japanese Beauty Papers.  I turn into this crazy shiny mess around 3pm every day and these easy to use blot papers that I keep in my purse instantly take care of any excess shine.

      And now the fun part for you...a giveaway!

      One lucky reader will get to choose between two of my favorite products, the TATCHA Radiant Deep Brightening Serum and the Polished Rice Enzyme Powder.

      For a chance to win:

      • Visit TATCHA and leave a comment below saying which of the two products listed above you would like to try.  Please include your e-mail address in comment so I can be sure to contact the winner once selected.
       For an extra entry (please leave an additional comment for it to be counted):

      • Tweet or mention giveaway on Facebook. 
       Good luck! The winner will be selected at random this Friday and contacted via e-mail.

      Latest Life Snippets

      Friday, July 26, 2013

      Life lately according to my Instagram (@delightedmomma)...

      1. Max had his very first barbershop experience and got a brand new summer do!  Bye bye short little bob ha ha.  His new cut is a little bit punk rock and I love it.

      2. Weekend family dates when you can't find a babysitter.  Lunch may have been a little bit more rushed and we may have left a little trail of blueberry puffs wherever we went but it was still precious moments spent with my whole family that I wouldn't change for the world.  And on that note we really do need a solo date ;)

      3.  Just because flowers from my husband.  Love that dude of mine.

      4.  Putting all that mint in our herb garden to good use and making extra minty mojitos.  Thunderstorms were also brewing on this particular afternoon and our beach plans were cancelled so staying in and making drinks sounded like the perfect plan.

      5. The sweetest brother moment witnessed in the backseat.  Ronin was crying and Max said, "Don't cry Ronin, hold my hand."  I could not be more thankful for such a sweet bond they have started to make.

      6.  Me and my favorite stud muffin headed to Disneyland for his birthday.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

      On a side note: I was recently featured alongside some other awesome moms on one of my favorite daily reads, The Every Girl.  It was a fun feature where I talk about some of the challenges of motherhood, the best advice I have ever received and more.  You can read the full post here

      Baked Brussels Sprouts Chips

      Wednesday, July 24, 2013

      Brussels Sprouts is a weird word.  I always want to say (or type) brussel sprout, but every time I do there is an annoying red squiggly line under the word telling me I am wrong.  And why does Brussels need to be capitalized anyway?  For those who are also curious, which is probably no one...I went ahead and googled that.  Apparently the veggie is big time and got named after a city.  Fun little fact.

      These Brussels Sprouts chips (see it sounds weird) are crispy and absolutely delicious!  If you like kale chips you will love these.  They are not nearly as bitter as kale chips and in my opinion make for an even tastier guiltless snack.  Plus they are so easy and basically fool proof (I am always burning those darn kale chips).

      What you will need:
      • 10-12 Brussels Sprouts 
      • Olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray
      • Garlic salt
      • Pepper
      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
      2. Wash and dry the Brussels sprouts.  Using a sharp knife, cut off the very bottom of each one and pull apart each leaf.  Keep trimming the bottom until you can not longer get any more full leaves off.
      3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the leaves on it. 
      4. Lightly spray them with olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray.
      5. Sprinkle a small amount a garlic salt and pepper on top. 
      6. Bake for 10-15 or until they look nice and crispy. 
      7. Enjoy! 
      These are best enjoyed straight out of the oven.  We ate ours with a little homemade guacamole and after about 10 minutes not a single chip remained.  

      Light in Tiny Places

      Tuesday, July 23, 2013

      Sometimes Max says things that totally blow me away.  He will say things that were not "sparked" or initiated by his Dad or I.  It's simply his mind coming up with his own ideas and concepts.  I wanted to share a little story of something that happened not too long ago that made me tear up like a pregnant lady watching TLC's "A Baby Story."

      It was the end of the day and I was changing out my infusion site for my insulin pump.  Max has seen me do this hundreds of times but this particular night he wanted to really watch.  He got up on the kitchen counter where all my gadgets and insulin pump things were and began to ask questions.  He asked, "Mommy why do you have to do this?"  Now for those of you who do not know, I am type 1 diabetic.  Max is very aware that I have diabetes.  He even knows not to drink my special "kid" juice boxes in my car, just in case I get low blood sugar.  I sat there and tried my best to simply answer his question.  I pointed to his belly and showed him where his pancreas was and explained that mine does not work anymore and my insulin pump helps me live a normal life just like him.  He sat there for a moment, looked at my pump and then looked back up at me and gave me an unsatisfied look.

      He said, "Well Mommy when I am a man like daddy I am going to be a doctor.  I will have tools and I will fix your pancreas, don't worry."  He said it with so much confidence and matter-of-fact tone.  He gave me a quick hug and then hopped down to finish watching Toy Story.  I stood there and cried happy quiet tears and just like every mother wonders, I wondered maybe he would...

      Top 10 Skincare Tips

      Monday, July 22, 2013

      I have had so much fun with the skincare series.  It has been going strong for almost three years now and it is one of the only series that I have started and still love doing.  I decided to do a little round up of some of the top skincare posts according to the readers based off most pinned,  positive feedback and page views.  If you want to read how the series got started you can read the very first post here.

      1. DIY Vitamin C Mask- One reader said, "Best DIY treatment I have ever tried! Instantly tighter, brighter, smoother skin...can't wait to see what magic results I get after months of applying it!!"

      2. DIY Rose Water Toner 

      3. Health and Beauty Benefits of Coconut Oil (uncommon uses)

      4. DIY Green Clay Mask- One reader said, "I do this once a week, it works wonders!"

      5. Using Apple Cider Vinegar Topically- One reader said, "I read this post last winter and have been using acv on my face every day. I put it in a glass bottle with a nozzle and I just spray it on every night. It's the only thing that keeps me from breaking out, thank you so much."

      6. How to Make Your own Anti-Aging Tea using Turmeric

      7. DIY Vitamin C Serum

      8. How to Clean your Makeup Brushes

      9. DIY Eye Cream- One reader said, "I've been using this ever since I read it here. It's amazing! Thanks a million!"

      10. DIY Salicylic Mask- One reader said, "This is great, just after using it once my skin already feels and looks better!"

      So there you have it, the top 10 skincare posts according to the readers.  Have you tried any of these skincare tips or DIYs?  I would love to hear your experience if so! 

      Things That Make Me Say Yeay

      Friday, July 19, 2013

      I can not get enough of these heavenly smelling products c/o Zoe Natural Creations.  Everything is made with natural organic ingredients (love that) and they make me feel like I just had a luxurious spa treatment every time I use them.  I actually look forward to showers a little bit more (maybe I shouldn't admit that) just so I can use the amazing soaps, which are my favorite! 

      Drawing pictures to send to Aunt Natalie, who is stationed in Germany with her husband.  She also just started her own blog! You can check it out here

      Homemade creamy (super cheesy) chicken taquitos, which are a family favorite around here.  I get asked quite frequently if I am 100 % Paleo and the short answer is yes, about 89-ish percent of the time.  I do live with three boys, two of which who request a good old fashioned non Paleo meal every now and then and this dinner makes them quite the happy campers.

      Waiting for the parade and walking down the patriotic streets of Disneyland during our latest trip.  

      The happiest boy patiently waiting to blow out the candles on his 3rd birthday :)

      Have a wonderful weekend!  This week has been crazy (good) busy and I am so looking forward to having a little summer fun this weekend with my family.

      Paleo Apple Crisp

      Tuesday, July 16, 2013

      A few things...

      #1: People who send "How could you, I thought you were healthy...and if you really eat Paleo cavemen did not use microwaves (well duhhhhh, they also did not use ceramic dishes or canned coconut oil spray) and this is a bad example" comments on some of my recipes make me laugh. Yes microwaves can make things a little wonky if you use them the wrong way, but when I want a  3 minute chocolate mug cake I basically think it's the best thing ever.  And most mornings I thank my microwave and maybe even want to kiss it for making my life so much easier, since all it takes is a few seconds and BAM my coffee is reheated.  What's better than that?  Cold coffee sucks.  I feel better now.

      #2: We have a bajillion apples in our backyard at the moment and I really believe that certain desserts are totally acceptable to make whether it's summer or fall, apple crisp being one of them.  You can enjoy this hot or cold and it's  just as delicious either way. 

      What you will need:
      • 5 medium apples 
      • 1 1/2 cups of almond meal
      • 1 tbs of cinnamon
      • 3 tbs of melted honey
      • 4 tbs of melted coconut oil
      • dash of salt
      • 1 lemon
      • 2 tbs of coconut sugar
      1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
      2. Wash, core and thinly slice the apples.  (I used an apple corer)
      3. Closely layer all the apples in an 8x8 baking dish.
      4. Squeeze the juice of one medium sized lemon on top of all the layered apples.
      5. In a separate bowl mix together the almond meal, cinnamon, melted honey, melted coconut oil and salt. 
      6. Spread the crumble topping on top of the layered apples. 
      7. Evenly sprinkle the coconut sugar on top. 
      8. Bake for 50 minutes. 
      9. Enjoy!

      My whole family could not get enough of this!  Even little Ronin was saying, "Mmmmm!" with every bite.  We ate this every way possible.  We had it straight out of the oven warm,  on top of vanilla ice cream and cold with a little almond milk mixed in for breakfast (my favorite).   

      Instant Dark Circle and Puffy Eye Reliever

      Monday, July 15, 2013

      No one really needs to know (or notice) if you stayed up a little too late watching Mad Men (guilty), had too much wine,  or if you were woken up every other hour to feed a new baby (been there).  This week's beauty tip is not only easy to do yourself, it works and gives you results almost instantly.

      Why it works:
      • Matcha green tea contains tannins and tannins help shrink swollen tissue. 
      • Caffeine from the tea constricts blood vessels to reduce swelling and dark circles.
      What you will need:
      • 1/4 tsp of matcha green tea powder (you can find this at an Asian market, health food store or online here 
      • 1/2 cup of warm filtered water
      • Ice cube tray
      * You can also use pre-brewed green tea from the tea bags.  Use 4 tea bags for every cup of water and brew on the stove for 10-15 minutes.

      1. Mix together the matcha green tea with 1/2 cup of warm water (the warm water helps it dissolve) and fill up the ice trays with it and let freeze.  If you are using the tea from the tea bags simply fill as many ice trays as you wish after you are done brewing.
      2. Once the ice cubes are set you are ready to start your de-puffing beauty treatment!  Or you can save them in the freezer for when you need them.
      3. Before applying under the eyes do a quick water rinse of the ice cube to remove any freezer frost.
      4. Rub the ice cube under your eyes (or all over your face for ultimate benefits) for about 4-5 minutes.  
      5. Check yourself out in the mirror and brave the day as a new refreshed gal (or guy)! 
      See also:
      DIY Rejuvenating Green Tea Matcha Mask
      How to Make an Instant Natural Energy Drink (with Matcha) 

      Happy 3rd Birthday Max!

      Wednesday, July 10, 2013

      Today my oldest son Max turns three!  Three whole years.  It blows my mind.  Since my husband's birthday was also this week we went to Disneyland on Monday to celebrate.  My mom watched Ronin so we could put all the attention on Max and what a great day it was!

      Max is such a sweet and tender soul.  At the age of three he loves catching bugs, hanging out with his Dad doing whatever he is doing, Star Wars everything, riding his scooter, reading stories, making blanket forts, frozen yogurt and playing in the dirt.  He loves to cuddle up on the couch with us when we watch movies and tries to convince us that he should always stay up later, "5 more minutes, Mom."  He always says I love you and is the best most patient big brother.  I am so very proud to call him mine.

      Today we are celebrating by opening presents in the morning before Dad goes to work, making a vanilla cake with dinosaur toppings (his request), testing out his new big boy bike and having his favorite dinner... which is homemade chicken taquitos. 

      What Summer Time Means To Me

      Tuesday, July 9, 2013

      Summer is in full swing here and we have been enjoying every single second.  I am pretty sure I have a horrible tank top tan (say that 10 times fast) line at the moment but I am just going to embrace it and try to convince myself that it is all for a good cause.

      To me summer time is about being outside, BBQing, swimming until you are a prune, watching my kids play on the beach, living in flip flops and sun dresses, staying up late and soaking up as many moments as you can with your friends and family.

      One of our favorite summer time traditions is going to baseball games.  My husband is a die hard Dodger fan, so naturally we had to make our very first game of the summer a Dodger game.  It was also Ronin's first ever baseball game and let's just say that is kinda a big deal around here.  Ronin and Max loved every moment of it.  We ate Dodger dogs, ice cream from little blue plastic hats and a bunch of other goodies that you just have to have when you go to a baseball game.   It was a bajillion degrees that day and I thought we were going to pass out but thankfully we all survived and had a fun time :) Here are a few pictures from our afternoon...

      Happy 4th of July!

      Thursday, July 4, 2013

      Happy 4th of July!  Hope you all have a wonderful day off celebrating!  We have our beach umbrella, sunscreen, picnic lunch and sand castle building tools all packed and are headed down to the beach for a fun day of festivities.  I will be back to blogging next week.  Until then, you can find me on Instagram (delightedmomma) where I will be posting little family snippets. Have a great holiday and be safe!

      Crispy Baked Yellow Squash Chips

      Tuesday, July 2, 2013

      Summer is finally here!  Summer in California not only means beautiful beach and pool days it also means that zucchini and a variety of summer squash are finally in season and not getting shipped to us from some other country (aka Mexico). I picked up these beautiful yellow squash at the farmer's market over the weekend and since I am a huge fan of veggie chips I decided to give these a shot at chip life.  They did not disappoint. 

      What you will need:
      • 2-3 yellow squash 
      • Coconut oil cooking spray 
      • Garlic salt
      • Pepper
      1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
      2. Wash and slice your yellow squash super thin (the thinner the better). 
      3.  Place the sliced yellow squash in between two sheets of paper towels and press down to adsorb any excess liquid.
      4. Place your sliced yellow squash onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Try to give each little slice it's own space and if you need to use more than one baking sheet do so. 
      5. Lightly spray the sliced chips with coocnut cooking spray. 
      6. Sprinkle a little garlic salt and pepper on top. 
      7. Bake for two hours.  At the end of the one hour mark flip the chips.  You want to bake until each chip is nice and crispy.  Keep an eye on your batch of chips and remove the chips that crisp faster and keep the ones in that are still a tab bit wet until they have achieved the ultimate chip like consistency.
      8. Let them cool and enjoy! 
      * These are the freshest right out of the oven and are best eaten right away and not made to store.

      These baked veggie chips are addicting, totally satisfying and a super healthy guilt free snack.  Both my boys and I gobbled up each and every last one before my husband even got a taste (woopsie), but that's a good sign right?

      See also:
      Crispy Green Bean Fries
      Baked Thyme Onion Rings (my fav)
      Baked Parsnip Fries (my boys favorite) 
      Zucchini Fries
      Flourless Zucchini Brownies (make these)

      Helping Your Child Discover Their Creative Interests

      Monday, July 1, 2013

      Being a parent is such a learning journey.  You could read thousands of "how to" parent books and still not have a clue how exactly you are going to do it until you are actually in the moment.  I always wondered before I became a mom what my kids would like.  Would they naturally be drawn to baseball since their dad is a die hard baseball guy or would they somehow like something totally different?  It's a crazy thing how kids are drawn to certain things.  It's like they already have those talents or interests hidden deep inside and it's our job as a parent to help them discover what those are.

      I believe that every child has a need to express themselves. Whether that's through their imagination, sports, or other creative outlets. A few weeks ago my sister and I (before she left for Germany) brought Max to pottery painting studio.  He is almost three and to be honest I had no idea how he would respond.  Most sit down non moving activities usually bore Max within a few minutes so we were prepared to spend maybe 10 minutes tops there before all hell broke loose and we had to leave.

      So here is how it went...

      He sat there for almost an hour and carefully painted his robot piggy bank that he picked out.  I have never seen him so focused and into a solitary activity like I did with painting.  He was very specific about what colors he wanted and how many coats each spot needed.  He was in painting heaven.  It was his thing.

       His third birthday is quickly approaching and on his wish list is a squirt gun and "painting stuff" :)
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