Saturday, February 28, 2015

Paleo Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins

Vegan Paleo Chocolate Chip Muffins

Remember those Paleo Coconut Pancakes I posted before this? Well I wanted to see if I could turn them into vegan pancakes as well, but replacing the eggs with flax seeds or chia seeds did not work. I could tell just by the first pancake they weren’t working out, so instead of wasting the batter I decided to turn it into muffins as well. Not only are muffins easy to bake up, they’re also completely convenient for morning breakfast for the kids and I. The kids think of muffins as a treat, so no matter if they’re full of healthy ingredients, they always think they’re getting away with something when eating one.

Paleo Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins


5 rounded tablespoons ground flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter
2/3 cup coconut flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2- cup of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (you can add more if desired)

Mix together your flax mixture, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, oil and almond butter.
In a separate bowl mix together you flour, baking soda, and sea salt. 
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Mix your Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips into your muffin batter.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes, or until you can stick a toothpick in the center of one and it comes out fairly clean.
Allow to cool or serve warm.

Paleo Coconut Pancakes

Paleo coconut pancakes

I’ve been working on getting my kids away from begging for their dreaded sugary cereals they want to eat in the mornings. They’re seriously convenient for me, especially with having an 8 month old, but they’re full of ingredients I’d prefer them not to eat. So this past week I concentrated on making them fruit and veggie smoothies, eggs, these paleo vegan Apple Sweet Potato muffins, and pancakes. I have a paleo pumpkin pancake recipe that I’ve made them many times before, but with no roasted pumpkin on hand, and a limited time to throw breakfast together I decided to experiment and throw these together. They came out delicious, very light and fluffy, and totally kid approved.


4 eggs
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or 1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1/2 rounded cup of coconut flour
2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
coconut oil or avocado oil for cooking the pancakes


Whisk your eggs until they are light and airy. Then mix in your milk, and vanilla, maple syrup.
In a separate bowl mix together your flour, flax, baking soda, and sea salt.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix until they’re combined.
Oil a hot pan or griddle before spooning out the pancake mixture, about 1/4 of a cup for each pancake. The pancakes will spread out a bit but not too much.
Cook each pancake for about 2-3 minutes on each side before flipping.
Serve hot with maple syrup.

Apple Sweet Potato Muffins–Paleo and Vegan

Paleo Vegan apple sweet potato muffins

These muffins were the result of an early morning experiment this past week. I had roasted sweet potatoes and blended them with apples one day to have my 8 month old try them out. He’s only in the beginning stages of eating food but he has decided that sweet potatoes are just one of those foods he doesn’t like and refuses to eat. I wasn’t about to waste all that roasted sweet potato and apple mixture just because he wouldn’t eat it, so I decided to get creative and see if I could turn them into muffins my other two kids and I could eat for breakfast that day. Turns out I could, and did, and my older kids ate 4 muffins each that day. My older kids would never eat sweet potatoes either so making muffins out of the apple and sweet potato mixture felt like a stroke of genius to me. 

mixing apple sweet potato muffins

These muffins are sweet, and remind me a little bit of Fall with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger flavors running through them. I added chopped pecans to a second batch I made but also thought they’d be good with chocolate chips added in. The sweet potato and apples make them really soft, and the word I hate to use-moist.

apple sweet potato muffin batter


1 large roasted sweet potato without the peel
1 raw apple cored and diced (I used a Gala apple)
3 rounded tablespoons of ground flax seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons of warm water
1/2 cup of almond butter
3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a blender or food processor blend together the sweet potato, apple, almond butter, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Then pour it into a medium to large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl combine your flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt.
Add your dry ingredients to your apple sweet potato mixture until they are combined.
Scoop your muffin batter into paper liners in your regular sized muffin tin that holds 12 muffins.
Bake your muffins for 25-27 minutes. Allow them to cool fully before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Paleo Vegan Chocolate Brownies

Vegan Paleo Chocolate Brownies

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I’m sure most of you are having date nights, opening up Valentine’s or doing something incredibly romantic right now, and not browsing Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or your favorite blogs. But just in case you’re like me and hanging out at home with the husband and kids and looking for some chocolate to consume I’ve got a recipe here for you. I was inspired by my best friend Kristan who recently made the change to go vegan to make these Paleo Vegan Brownies. Even though I’m not vegan I am totally down with lowering my own consumption of animal products, refined sugars, and just practicing moderation in general. It doesn’t hurt anyone to make a meal or a dessert vegan, and it opens you up to experimenting with different ingredients and foods. Win win, right?

Vegan Paleo Brownies


  • 1 and 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup pitted dates + 1/2 cup water processed together to make a date paste
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbs avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 rounded cup of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 of a rounded tsp of baking soda
  • 2 rounded tbsp of ground golden flax seeds + 6 tbsp warm water (mix together to create a paste)
Preheat oven to  350 degrees Fahrenheit .
Blend together almond butter, oil, date paste, maple syrup , vanilla and coconut sugar in your food processor or blender (I used our Blendtec).
Add in flax seed paste, raw cacao powder and baking soda. Blend until smooth.
Place batter in to a lined 8 inch square baking tray.
Bake for 25-27 minutes.
Allow to cool before serving.

Paleo Vegan Chocolate Brownies

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The most neglected space in our home, and how I can fix it

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Years ago when we bought our home we knew we were going to have to put in a lot of work and do some renovations. A lot of big projects and some smaller ones went into turning our home into a 1960’s blast from a hellish past into the home it is today. And there are still a lot of projects I’d like to take on to complete the transformation. There’s always some painting here, some yard work there, and plenty of other things on my to-do list, but one of the spaces in our house that I would like to update is our small bathroom for guests.  And when I say small, think coat closet small.

I believe it’s called a quarter bathroom because it just contains the necessities, nothing else like a shower or bath. There is a small vanity I would like to update to something more modern or even a rustic industrial feel, a faucet which has never really fit the sink and makes it quite hard to wash your hands, a new mirror, and I’d love to add storage or shelving above the toilet.  This little bathroom has been seriously neglected. It’s like the space we don’t really use so we just close the door and forget about it. You understand, right? Until there are guests coming over it’s forgotten, and then I start thinking about how plain and lacking it really is. So this year I’d like to work on making over our little bathroom and I think finding inspiration and products I’d like to use is the first step in getting started. home page

My main source for product inspiration right now is  I’ve been browsing and shopping their site and have found plenty of great faucets, vanities, and storage solutions for bathrooms of all sizes, even our coat closet sized one. With Decor Planet you can narrow down your product searches by size, color, price, brands, etc, making it really easy to shop for items you’ll love without even leaving your home.

This open shelf vanity that has a great rustic industrial look and you can easily customize the countertop and faucet from lists of coordinating products right on the same page. I also love the mirror that goes with it. Perfect match.

bathroom vanity inspiration from decor planet

selecting coordinating products from decor planet

Not only can you customize things like adding a mirror to your order, what sink you want, what countertops and faucet, you also get to see the price of those items, their measurements, and you’re guaranteed they’ll fit.
countertop inspiration from decor planet

This modern vanity in a Chilled Gray finish with a white marble countertop also caught my eye. I love the cleaner lines and think that the lighter color would brighten up our small bathroom so much.

vanity ispiration from deor planet

I can spend hours shopping for home décor, or materials for home improvements and renovations, but shopping with three little ones for that long would be overwhelming. Online sites like Decor Planet have become lifesavers for me. I can easily shop their site, add items to a Pinterest board, and keep all of my inspiration and design plans in one place. The site also has a cool customer show case where you can see real photos of products people have purchased and installed in their homes which I love. 

I can’t wait to shop for inspiring ideas for our bathroom and put that inspiration to work. Which look would you go for in a bathroom remodel, rustic industrial or a classic modern design? Or would you go for a completely different look? Either way you’ll probably find your style at Decor Planet. Head on over to check them out.

Disclosure: This is a collaboration between Always in Wonder and You can read more about my advertising and disclosure policies here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A new year a new dream

to have a dream sign from the rugged heart
It’s already 13 days into the new year and I can’t believe it’s taken me till now to post. Well, actually I can believe it. It’s been a rough new year so far. Pretty much immediately after we rung in 2015 we all came down with the cold/flu. It started with Justin and then hit the kids, and brought me down last. I thought I was going to make it through without getting sick but then it hit me too. It’s never fun being sick but being sick at the same time your spouse is and all three of your kids is seriously craptastic. In the middle of battling colds and flu symptoms I decided to take a risk and follow my heart and open up a handmade shop. (Talk about some added stress.)

I’ve always been inspired to create new things though, and really love working with my hands. I can remember in junior high I took a woodshop class, and was one of the only girls in the class. That class was just the start of me realizing that I loved learning new skills and making things for people. I also took a Home Ec class in junior high and went on to take stained glass in high school, photography and glass blowing classes in college. Since then I’ve learned that I’m passionate and happy when I’m able to build things, paint, and share my knowledge with others.

Opening a shop and putting pieces I’ve created out there for people to buy is a big risk, but I can’t seem to get the thought that chasing a dream is better than just having one out of my head. It’s a powerful reminder and just what I needed to push myself to create a little handmade shop of my own.
                                            the rugged heart

The shop I created is called The Rugged Heart. So far you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’ll be creating unique handmade home décor and more. We’re also open to creating custom orders should we have any requests. You can connect with us through any of the above social media accounts and also on through email. Hopefully soon I’ll have a site up and running too.

wood ampersand sign from the rugged heart

wood number sign from the rugged heart

love wood letters from the rugged heart

I'd love for you to stop by and check out the designs and items, or contact me if you have any requests. Hopefully 2015 will be a year for you to chase your dreams too!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

JOY MARQUEE SIGN–the perfect rustic Christmas or Holiday sign to add to your home


This JOY Marquee Sign was the perfect addition to the handmade rustic Christmas décor theme I’ve created in our home this year. I went to the #doitherself workshop Home Depot was hosting in November after seeing them tweet about the workshop one day earlier in the week.  The workshop I went to was completely free, and the Home Depot store I was at in Clovis, CA, gave everyone supplies to make their own sign that night. It was a fun class, and I thought it was very generous of my local Home Depot to let everyone make a sign. There were a lot of unexpected people that showed up though and not enough time for everyone to use the tools during the given workshop time. I had to get home to feed Lennox (oh the joys of having a 5 month old, right?), but my store allowed me to take home the two pieces of cut mdf and the 4 pieces of mdf trim they had given me so I could complete my sign at home. I ended up changing up my sign a bit to fit our home and our style of décor. I really love the finished look and my daughter already asked if she could keep the sign up in her room after Christmas is over. 

The sign that the Clovis Home Depot had made and was using as an example can be seen below


When I left that night I had only gotten to get my two rectangular pieces of MDF and the MDF trim. I still had to cut out my letters and put the sign together and buy lights and all that. I had used the plans given to us that night to measure my letters before leaving the workshop too. You can find the plans and measurements for the letters by clicking on the link to their template.


When the weekend came I decided to work on the sign and put it together. The first thing I did was use a jigsaw I borrowed from my dad to cut out my letters.


The next thing I decided to do was cut the rectangular piece of MDF I had for the backing down to a smaller size. The plans and measurements for the sign Home Depot uses were great, but the sign was just too big for where I wanted to use it in our home. I felt like a smaller sign over all would look better in our space.

After cutting out the letters I used my drill and a 1/2 inch drill bit to drill holes down the center of all three letters. Once I had my holes in my letters I placed them on top of the backing for the sign where I wanted them to be, and made a mark in the center of each hole. I was then able to drill a hole where each mark was. Once all of the holes were drilled both the backing of the sign got painted and the letters.

drill holes into painted plywood backing for joy marquee


I attached each of the letters with a few 5/8 of an inch nails using an 18 gauge nail gun I borrowed from my dad. I made sure the hole in the letters aligned with holes in the backing of the sign before nailing them in place. Then I went over the few nail holes with a little filler and paint.
The last step was attaching my trim to go around my sign. I decided to use 1x2’s I cut and stained instead of the MDF trim Home Depot provided. I think it gives the sign a more custom look and fits better with the handmade rustic décor I am using in our home right now. I attached the trim using 1 inch nails and an 18 gauge nail gun.

Once the trim was attached I added a strand of Christmas lights to the sign. I pulled the bulbs off of the lights, stuck the green part of the light through the back of the hole and pushed it to the front of the sign where I then reattached the bulb. I could have bought a battery back of lights and used those, but we already had a strand of round Christmas lights from last year that worked perfectly.

joy marquee sign with Christmas lights


MDF/Plywood backing for the marquee sign 26 inches wide by 19.5 inches tall
1x2 wood trim 2 pieces cut to 26 inches in length, and 2 pieces cut to 21 inches in length


You can also check out Ana White’s site to see more pictures of the #doitherself JOY Marquee Sign workshops and her plans here.