Banana Chocolate Chip (Paleo) Muffins

Banan Chocolate Chip Paleo Muffins

Here it is you Instragramers! As promised:

It is no secret I’ve been experimenting with paleo meals.  No meat for me, of course, but eggs have snuck into our menu.  And it creates an opportunity for more nutrient packed, clean desserts.  These muffins are protein packed, organic, clean, mean, delicious, and the absolute perfect project for a snowy snowed in day.

Here’s how I did them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep your muffin tins (this makes 12 big guys).

Put all of these in the bowl of you mixer in the following order:
4 ripe bananas (the riper the better…I may have just made that word up)

Put all of these in the bowl of you mixer in the following order:

4 ripe bananas (the riper the better…I may have just made that word up)

4 eggs

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup coconut or almond flour

2 tblsp coconut oil (organic, virgin, unrefined, melted)

1 tblsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup chocolate chips (vegan grain sweetened if you can find it)

Fill your muffin tins.

Bake for 25 min.

Cool on racks.

EAT!

Paleo Brownies

Paleo Brownies

Soooooooooooooooo…this post can’t come without a bit of a preface…explanation…confession:

I’m eating eggs…and sometimes fish…

My vegan diet was amazing for a very long time. It treated me well and took very good care of me. But as many of you know, before I had Bar, I had a few miscarriages which led to a number of blood tests which led to finding out that I have a problem synthesizing B vitamins. So eggs needed to be on the menu. Always cage-free, organic, local. Mostly from the farmer’s market. And I felt good eating them, so I continued past my pregnancy. Then after recovering from Bar, most of you also know, I fell into the abyss of SoulCycle. And now I’m instructing. With all of the exercise in my life, I needed more protein. And though I believe that many people can get more than sufficient amounts out of a vegan diet, my body was telling me I needed more for proper muscle recovery. So fish (mostly salmon, almost always wild, Norwegian) is also on the menu.

Soooooooooo…paleo desserts are a fantastic option. And these brownies are nothing short of amazing delicious.  They are a variation of these, just a little less sweet and with more add ins!

Here’s how I made them:

Ingredients:

1 jar of smooth almond butter (try to find organic if you can)

2 eggs

1 cup coconut nectar (dry or syrup)

1/4 cup agave

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup cacao powder

Optional add ins: 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1 cup gogi berries, 1 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Put everything into the bowl of a mixer (preferably wet ingredients, mix, then dry, but not necessary).

3. Mix until smooth

4. Coat a brownie pan with coconut oil.

5. Pour in batter

6. Bake for 25-30 min or until cooked through and just starting to brown at the corners.

7. Cool, Cut, Serve!

The Cold and Colds

Wellness Shot

It’s been freezing in these parts.  Dead of winter.  And it’s no secret that little kids carry lots of little germs.  And those little germs create runny noses and sore throats and all that is evil.

On Sunday Avital puked into my hands while Richie sped to try to get us home.  Yesterday I came home to Ellie’s poop everywhere.  Tonight Bar vomited all over me while cuddling on the couch.

I AM SURROUNDED!  And I cannot afford to get sick.

This season is just tough.  Period.

Almost every day I get a text or call from a friend or family member asking what are my remedies for x, y, or z.  Soooooooo…I figured I’d post my cure-all, preventative, germ killing wellness shot for all of you.

You can make it in a juicer to in a blender.  I used my mini-prep Cuisinart thingy then strained it all through a hand strainer and glugged it down.  It’s spicy and sweet.  It may burn a bit going down, but I promise it works wonders!  Boost that immunity y’all!

Here are the ingredients (no exact measurements necessary):

1-2 inches of fresh ginger

2-3 cloves of garlic

lemon juice

apple juice

raw honey

cinnamon

As Promised…Recipes! Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup

No need to reiterate I’m sure, but life has been crazy.  Crazy crazy.  Taxing emotionally and physically.  And time is short.  But I’ve been trying my hardest to spend time (quality) with the kids and cook more.

Now more than ever, when our adrenals are in danger of fatigue, when the season is changing and the cold is drying us out, when days are shorter and the list of things to do is just as song, when we find stronger sadness AND happiness, we need to make sure we are getting the nutrients we need.

And when I say we, I mean me.  That’s what Richie says at least.  And it’s true.  Mama Bear is the toughest job out.  Keeping everyone healthy is of utmost importance.  So I’ve been cooking.  Wholesome, whole foods.

This recipe is a mix of a “clean out the fridge” and my grandma’s cabbage soup.  It is sweet and sour and hot and just hit the spot.  With a big hunk of sprouted bread it’s the perfect cold  night supper.

Ingredients:

1/2 green cabbage, sliced thinly

1 yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thinly

3 tblsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 field roast apple and sage sausages

1/2 kabocha squash, large dice

1 carton No Chicken broth (or the veggie broth of your choice)

2 tblsp honey

juice of 1 lemon

-Saute the onions and cabbage in the olive oil and salt until soft.

-Break the sausage (with your fingers so that it has raw edges, not cuts) and cook it in with the vegetables.

-When the sausage starts to brown, add the squash and broth and bring to a boil.

-Once it boils, bring it down to a simmer and cook 45min-1hour.  If at any point the liquid gets too low, just add hot water.

-At the end, add the lemon and honey.

More Posting…Coming Soon

Hey.

Lots of you have been asking if and when I’m going to get back to regular posting.

I am.  I promise.

It feels strange to go from posting about Jonny to posting about vegan muffins.  It feels strange to go back to anything normal.

That said, we’ve been really busy.  Apple picking, visiting friends upstate, SoulCycling, Halloween prep, new tattoos, cooking, baking, crafting, decorating the house, and, and, and…

I have some great recipes to share with you guys and I’ll get those up here soon.

Meanwhile, here are some pics of us doing our thing, getting back to life.  It is a struggle lots of days to be honest, but I’m finding that I squeeze my kids tighter and that feels good.  We belly laugh more.  Even if there is sadness in between…  The good is better…

UpstateFresh Apple MuffinsMe and KillaKammFresh InkHome Goods Shopping with friendsPearl JamKiddosMe and My AliBar's BirthdayBirthday Pancakes

What To Expect Article

Hey you guys,

I know I owe you all more posts.  I’ve been taking my time with it…  Seems tough to post on anything other than Jonny right now.

That said, life has been going on.  I have tons of recipes to share with you guys, anecdotes, lessons learned through my journeys in the school system realm.

I’ve also been doing some writing around the blogosphere!  This was published today.  So check me out over at What To Expect.

WhatToExpectArticle

xoxo

He Would Be 24 Today

Balloons

Today is Jonny’s birthday.  I planned on blogging at the end of the day.  But now the end of the day has come and I’m still too foggy to write.

This was one of the hardest days.  All the other “big” days were days we memorialized him.  Recognized his death, his life…  But today just feels like a day he was supposed to be here.  And he’s not.

Yesterday, lots of people, people who love Jonny, gathered at my in-laws’ house.  Among other things, we wrote notes on some balloons and sent them into the sky.  It was a special moment…

 

A Week of “Normal”

Spending Time With Avi

All day I planned on writing a blog post.  As I promised so many of you I would.  Tomorrow will be a week from Jonny’s 1 month memorial service.

Last Sunday was a hard day for all of us.  A reality hit.  Time to make an effort to get back to real life.  Without Jonny…

I spent the week doing standard issue, day to day things.  Bussing the kids to their schools and other programs, SoulCycling, Ikea for the house, I stencil painted our powder room, visited with my college roommate in from out of town and with another close friend in from out of the country, cooked a few dinners with my favorite fall flavors (kabocha squash, cinnamon, apples, adzuki beans, chestnuts), did some training with my new pup, I spent a lot of time with my kids, I spent some time with my mom, school shopped for the girls, I even went to a concert with Richie and a bunch of Jonny’s friends…  I was busy.  And sad.  But it was in the background.

This morning we woke up and everyone was sick (except for me).  Runny noses, sneezing…  Our plans for the day were all nixed.  My in-laws came and spent the day.  And they were having a tough one.  Everyday is different.  Some days you just can’t kick the bad feelings.  Today they couldn’t.

Now, after a long day, I sit here, awkwardly typing, over a sick baby lying on my chest.  I find myself contorting my body every time she stirs to get her comfortable.  That’s what you do for your children I guess.  You sacrifice your comfort for theirs.  Because that brings you happiness.  To see their comfort.  Even at your own expense.  It’s something I learned early in the baby game.  I’d find myself sleeping mangled to nurse my baby through the night only to wake up with a cricked neck, but a happy baby.  I found myself most hours of the day in the rocking chair, nursing, rocking, staying still so they could sleep.  I remember in those early days always having to pee, but never wanting to disrupt them while they were sleeping on me!  It felt like my forever dilemma.

And here I am now.  Tears brimming for the loss of my baby brother-in-law, stuck in this spot in my bed under my sick and snoring baby, and all I know is that my pain is deep, but I cannot imagine what my mother and father-in-law are going through.

So, from this anchored spot, I’m sending them as much love and support as I can and praying that they can find a way to get to a place where they can experience the pure love between them and the rest of their children and grandchildren and allow that to heal them.

Tragedy and Truth


Today my chest feels tight.  All day.  Yesterday was the 30th day since Jonny died.  Today we had a ceremony at the cemetery.  My father-in-law spoke, some of his friends read poetry, others played music.

It was a gorgeous day.  Everyone hung around for a while.  It was painful.  And sad.  And perfect.

I think I was really anxious about it.  Though I was unaware.  I’ve kept so busy.  People in and out of my house all day.  Running around picking up and dropping off at school.  Setting up our new home.  Back at SoulCycle.  Blogging.  Organizing.  Doing.  It feels as if there is not a free second in the day.  I am late for everything always.  And I am forever going straight from one thing to another.  Presumably I’m doing this subconsciously.  There is just no time to think.

Because whenever I do, I realize.  It’s real.  It’s surreal.  It’s unbelievable.  All I could think today at the cemetery is: I can’t believe that this is actually what we are doing right now.  I cannot believe this is our life.  I don’t believe this is our reality.  But it is…

And in my weakness.  In my mourning.  In my state of unknowing…not understanding…I’ve come into this new strength.  I am more capable.  Stronger on my bike.  Getting more done in my days.

Because the is an unfortunate, acute understanding of how precious life is when you’ve lived such tragedy.

My dad used to tell a story about a man who lived in a small home with his wife and 4 children and 2 dogs.  They had a cow and a goat and 10 chickens out back.  He went to his rabbi and said: Rabbi, I just can’t handle it.  My home is so small.  Six of us share two bedrooms.  The dogs sleep at our feet and bark in the mornings.  The rooster wakes us all at the crack of dawn.  There is so much work to be done with the animals every day.  My wife and I are exhausted.  The rabbi tells him to bring the chickens into the house. They can live in the kitchen.  The man does not understand.  He listens diligently though.  The next week he comes in and says: The rooster is even louder inside the house.  The chickens are shitting all over my kitchen.  There is no room for us to move around while we prepare our meals.  The rabbi shakes his head in understanding and tells the man to bring the goat into his home.  He can live in the room with the children.  The man is very confused, but does as he is told.  The next week, distraught, disheveled, he comes to the rabbi: I cannot stand it.  The goat has eaten up all the sheets in the children’s room.  He is moving on to their pajamas.  My wife spends her days mending clothing in between cooking and cleaning and tending to the animals.  We cannot live another day like this.  The rabbi nods and tells him he understands.  Now bring in the cow he says.  There is no room! the man replies.  There is always room.  Find some, the rabbi replies.  So the man clears out space in his entryway and brings the cow in.  Now the cow is mooing all night since he is uncomfortable.  None of them sleep.  Everyone is miserable.  The next week the man comes in with bags under his eyes, crying: Please rabbi, please.  We cannot live like this another minute!  What are you doing to us?!  Why are you punishing us?!!!  The rabbi smirks.  He tells the man to move all the animals out.  Back to their respective living spaces.  The man runs home and does so immediately.  Just a few short days later, the man come back to the rabbi, practically kissing his feet.  Thank you thank you.  My home feels enormous.  We are so happy to have all the space and fresh air.  My children are happy, my wife is relaxed, we are sleeping through the night.

Is is true that in order to see the beauty, some of us need to experience the darkness?

I don’t want to believe that exclusively, but there is no question, that though I saw beauty before, I appreciate it so much more.  This tragedy has opened doors for me.  Shown me some light.  Made me believe.  Love deeper.  See truth.

There is so much good in this world.  It is only my fault if I do not seek it out, appreciate it, live it.

First Steps to “Back at It”

The Cousins

Today a lot happened.

After the morning shenanigans and errands, I made my way into the city.  I headed down the West Side Highway all the way to Clarckson.  Three lefts and I was at SoulCycle headquarters.

I had been planning to go all week.  I had a bike in my friend’s class and knew it was time to show my face around there again.  So many people that I hadn’t yet seen whom I spent the entire summer seeing daily.

Two days ago I told Conor I wasn’t sure if I wanted to “make the trek in”.  Before I could spout another justification he jumped down my throat: “It’s time to get back at it already…”.  Yada yada.  I knew.  I know.

Yesterday I texted him a few excuses why I wasn’t going to to.  I got yelled at over text.  It went a little something like this: GO INOT THE CITY EVE!  COME ON!  THIS IS GO TIME!  GET BACK IN THE GAME!  IT’S TIME!  Stop making excuses!  From what I have heard about Jonny, he would want you to finish what you have started and continue to pursue what makes you happy!

I was annoyed.  And angry.  Irrationally.  But he was right.  I guess a good friend knows when you need to be yelled at.

I didn’t know how nervous I was until I got out of the car and made my way to the front door.  My heart was racing.  But I wasn’t sure why.  Nothing specific.  Everything vague.

I entered timidly.  Smiled at friendly faces.  Got a lots of sad looks and tight hugs.  I was shaky.  Locker.  Shoes.  Water.  Walked into the studio.  When I walked into the room, my friend teaching the class almost fell off the podium.  Hugs.  Tiny tears.  Composure.  Got on my bike.

The ride was amazing.  I rode next to a really sweet girl who reads LLL.  I felt strong and supported, even if nervous.  After I snuck into the offices to make my rounds.  It was really good to see everyone I saw.  Hard, but good.

I was proud of myself.  It IS time to get back at it.  Slowly as I regain strength.  Learn who I am now.  Decide how I want to be.  How I need to be.

It was a huge stepping stone for me.

I drove home.  More errands.  My mother-in-law came over.  Then my sister-in-law Andrea.  The cousins.  Her and her kids stayed for an impromptu chinese delivery dinner and ice cream.  The kids piled into my bed and watched a movie.  We were three adults, five kids, three dogs at the dinner table.  It was perfect.

Nothing is normal.  Everything is different.  But here’s the thing: the good moment mean so much more.