Friday, August 22, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread–grain free, gluten free, dairy free

paleo chocolate chocolate chip zucchini bread (6)

Baking has always been something I loved doing. But baking grain free/gluten free desserts can sometimes be a challenge when you’re just beginning. Nut flours and other grain free flours just aren’t the same as regular flour or wheat flour, so finding recipes that really work, or creating/modifying recipes that work can be a big deal sometimes. This paleo chocolate zucchini bread started off as a recipe I found from Elana’s Pantry. I quickly scanned her recipe for the ingredients and realized I didn’t have stevia on hand so I decided to modify her recipe, and one modification turned into two, then two turned into 3, and before I knew it I was indulging in a slice of delicious paleo chocolate chocolate chip zucchini bread.

paleo chocolate chocolate chip zucchini bread (4)

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1. In a food processor combine almond flour and cacao powder
2. Pulse in salt and baking soda
3. Pulse in eggs, coconut oil and honey, vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon,
4. Then pulse in zucchini and chocolate chips
5. Transfer batter to a large loaf pan lined with parchment paper
6. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes
7. Allow to cool completely before serving. (I think it tastes even better after a night in the refrigerator)

paleo chocolate chocolate chip zucchini bread (3)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dresser makeover with Chalk Paint Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan using Napoleonic Blue

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If you’ve followed my blog for a while or my Instagram feed, you know by now that I love to paint. I will paint walls, furniture, signs, you name it. Painting is kind of like therapy. While I’m doing it I’m in a zone. A calm, peaceful, nothing can bring me down zone. Really. That’s just how it is. All of the rooms in my house have been painted at least 2 times, and pretty much every Craigslist find goes through an epic makeover or two. But this dresser, it’s gone through 3 paint makeovers. And this is by far my favorite one.

dresser done painted with annie sloan napoleonic blue chalk paint

Can you believe I used to be afraid of color? It’s true, (When we first moved into our home everything from the walls to the floors was a neutral color, and some shade of brown.) but you wouldn’t know it when you walk into our home now. This piece is in our living room and makes quite an impact. The color blue is bright when the light from the morning or afternoon hits it, and a deep dark blue when evening comes. Choosing to paint the dresser this color was my way of going big and bold. The new color really makes a statement, and even my kids love it. They ooh’d and awe’d over it once it was done, making sure to tell me they were really happy I painted it this color.

Dresser painted with Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue

One of my favorite things about doing furniture makeovers like this is being able to paint right inside our house. You might think it’s crazy, painting inside, but there is just no way I would be able to haul this dresser and some of the other pieces I’ve done outside by myself. (Not to mention that Summers here are just too hot for me to want to paint outside or in our garage.) Using Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan I’m able to paint inside our house, and I don’t have to worry about paint fumes. I also don’t have to worry about excessive drying times (Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint dries really fast.)
“Chalk Paint® is a non-toxic, water-based paint that is lead-free, EG-free, odour-free and has very low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).” Chalk Paint® decorative paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Kit

Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue Chalk Paint in can

The Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan is also amazing because there is no need to sand or prime before using it to paint. I just vacuumed off the dresser and then wiped it down to get rid of any dust or dirt from the kids hands, and then started painting. Once I was done painting I used the Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax for as a protective finish.

Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax

“Chalk Paint® sticks to just about any surface (wood, concrete, metal, matte plastic, varnished or painted surfaces, etc.) with no priming or sanding required.  Use it’s companion product Annie Sloan Soft Wax for a durable and approachable finish for your interior furniture and the dark Soft Wax for decorative age and patina.” Chalk Paint® decorative paint

As you can see, I chose to paint the dresser Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue. But I wanted to give you an idea of what the color looks like without a protective coat over it so I painted a scrap piece of wood with the Napoleonic Blue Chalk Paint and then did used a dead flat varnish on one side and the Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax on the other.

“Annie Sloan Soft Wax is the perfect partner for Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan because they have been developed to work together. It can be used for protection and to give a beautiful mellow matte finish on painted furniture, cabinets, and walls. Our Soft Wax can be mixed with Chalk Paint® make a colored wax - how amazing.” Annie Sloan Soft Wax

difference between dead flat varnish and clear wax

I really liked the subtle sheen the Clear Soft Wax gave the paint color and how smooth and soft it felt after drying and being buffed out. And the pure bristle Wax Brush made it really easy to work the wax into all the detailed areas of the dresser due to it’s bristles coming to a pointed end shape.

Using Chalk Paint® really gives me the freedom to change things I might like but not love into pieces that make my home feel special and unique. If you’re in the U.S. and you’re wanting to know more about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®  or how you can make your own purchase, visit Annie Sloan Unfolded. There you can find a Retailer or Stockist, or you can connect with them through their social media accounts and stay up to date on product information and see new transformations.


                          Visit Annie Sloan Unfolded Facebook fan page, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube

Disclosure: I was provided products to review but no other compensation was involved. All opinions shared within this post are mine and 100% honest of the way I feel about the product.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Multitasking with Wool and the Gang

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If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram it’s pretty obvious that my days for the past 4 weeks have been consumed with recovering from delivering Lennox, feeding Lennox, and trying to find sleep so I can do more than those first 2 things. I’ve finally found a way to get more than a couple hours sleep each day, so that means I’m dying to get back to being more productive. I feel the need to make and create, and it’s been driving me crazy to not be able to do either.

The solution to that problem was delivered in box to my door last week. Inside was a fun package from Wool and the Gang.

wool and the gang Hang 10 Booties

Wool and the Gang wanted to find a way to produce unique, quality made fashions without compromising their ideals or integrity.

“So Wool and the Gang was born — pioneering fashion production that's made in a sustainable way, bringing back knitting as a viable means of production for generations to come.” – Wool and the Gang Our Story

Since most of my day is still spent feeding the little munchkin, I have a lot of time where I’m sitting with idle hands. And my hands feel like I could totally be multitasking during those feeding sessions. Knitting may just be a perfect solution for the times I want to make and create yet can’t because I’m busy keeping our littlest one happy and well fed.

wool and the gang knits

  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels. Just what the doctor ordered.

  • Improved dexterity as you give your hands and mind a work out at the same time.

  • You'll unleash your creativity and you'll soon be glowing with pride once you've finished.

  • Your memory will improve. (Some even say it can reduce chances of dementia.)

  • You'll be able to meet new peeps, knitters are everywhere!” – Wool and the Gang Our Story

I love that Wool and the Gang knows how awesome knitting is. But they forgot to mention that knitting just looks cool. The whole time you’re making something with long, sharp knitting needles and you know no one wants to mess with you while you’re holding them, right?  Who wouldn’t want to take up a new hobby that makes you look like a bad ass?

hang 10 booties from wool and the gang

I love the whole idea behind Wool and the Gangs fashions and products, and the fact that they’re so environmentally friendly too.
  • Wool (surprise!) is our favorite yarn. It's natural, renewable and biodegradable.

  • We work with fashion factories to repurpose their fashion waste into new yarns to reduce landfill.

  • We're always on the lookout for new innovative materials that help to reduce environmental impact.”Wool and the Gang Our Story

wool and the gang yarn

Wool and the Gang has a variety of men, women, and kids fashions (that come packaged together with the pattern and yarn) so you can create on your own, or you can have The Gang make it for you. 

I chose to dive in and make my own, and selected their Hang 10 Booties from their Baby Knits. Aren’t they adorable? I can’t wait to make them and try them on Lennox. And hopefully when he’s older, he’ll appreciate having something like these as a keepsake, knowing that I made them for him.

Hang 10 Booties

If you know someone who loves to knit maybe the Wool and the Gang site would be perfect to introduce to them. Or maybe you could stop by and pick out something as equally awesome as them and have it sent to their door. You can check out the Wool and the Gang site, or find them on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, & INSTAGRAM.

Disclosure: I was provided with product from Wool and the Gang, but no other compensation was received. All opinions in the post are my own.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The best kind of DIY projects often take the longest time to complete

 I know I’ve been scarce around here. But I’ve been working on a growing a tiny human and it’s been quite the journey. This pregnancy came as a shock when we first found out. I was ready to move on to the next phase of being a parent. You know, the no more diapers, kids can feed themselves, and be somewhat self sufficient stage. So when that important test came back positive, I was shocked to say the least. I believe I texted the picture to my husband and said something like “Holy crap, is that two lines? What are we going to do?!!”

All I could think about was the toll this was going to take on my body, all the hard work that I had done to lose 60lbs. was going to be lost, and all the plans I had thought about for the upcoming year were going to have to wait. I spent a good 9 months dealing with those thoughts and feelings. And to be honest, I was still thinking that way up until the day our son was born. Even tough I started preparing for his arrival before he came, by buying baby gear and supplies, I still felt like I was so not ready for him to arrive. 

I did a way better job documenting this pregnancy than I did with my first two.

And I even managed to snap pictures of Justin and I on the way to the hospital and when I was in labor.

After 10 or 11 hours of being at the hospital and my labor never progressing, the on call doctor finally did an ultrasound and saw that our little guy was breech, and I would have to have a repeat c-section. The c-section took longer than my first due to our son not just being breech but also being transverse. And so far it seems like the recovery process has been a bit harder this time around too. But all of those doubts I had for the past several months fly out the window when I look at this sweet boy’s face.

Meet Lennox. He was born at 4:55 PM, weighed 7lbs. 9 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. 

Levi and Rian fell in love with him too.

Justin thinks he’s a great addition to our family as well.

He smiles when he sleeps all the time.

And his lips are pretty much the most luscious thing about him, since he really doesn’t seem to have an ounce of chub on his skinny limbs.

And he also seems to dislike selfies as much as his brother and sister.

So far he’s being as good as 1 week old babies can be. Eating every hour or two, sleeping but only when being held by someone, and pooping non-stop (no seriously, he poops more than either of our other two kids did at this age). I’m exhausted, have a headache that has stuck around for the past week due to lack of sleep, and seriously doubting how I’m going to manage the next few years, but otherwise I’m hanging in there.

Hopefully in the next couple of days I’ll be able to put up some other posts that I’ve had in draft and on my to-do list, and work on getting settled in to my new job of being a mom to THREE kiddos now.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

3 ways to enjoy ripe Avocados–and a GIVEAWAY for 2 $25 Grocery Outlet gift cards

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Avocados are awesome. You all agree, right? They’re delicious and there is so much you can do with them. I loved using ripe avocadoes on top of eggs or omelets, as a “burger” topping, and I make some awesome guacamole!


Here’s the thing about avocados though, they can be pricey. So any time I find them on sale I jump on that deal like no one’s business. Which is exactly what I did when we went to the grand opening of the new Grocery Outlet in Downtown Fresno.  Justin and I took the kids to the grand opening to check out the new location, and were really surprised by some of their prices, produce, and other items.

We found organic produce, meats, milk, bread, and other items that we never would have thought Grocery Outlet carried.


But seriously, my favorite purchase that day was the avocados. (Before you ask, no they weren’t organic, but since avocados aren’t on the dirty dozen list, Justin and I don’t mind buying non-organic ones.)


A bag full of avocados from the USA for $1.99. Best deal ever. And those avocados were delicious. I wish I would have picked up 2 bags for that price and been able to make them last a little longer. Guacamole certainly doesn’t last long around here with Justin and I both loving it.  

Not only did Grocery Outlet provide us with some great deals and a cool shopping experience, they also provided me with two $25 gift cards to giveaway. You can head over to my Instagram account to enter to win one of the $25 gift cards for yourself, and one for a friend!!

grocery outlet logo

Grocery Outlet has some great deals and they provide a variety of refrigerated and frozen foods, fresh produce, fresh meat, organics, dry groceries, and a lot more. They are a family-led company with a mission that has always been to “provide customers a fun place to find extreme values on name brands they trust”.

For more information, about Grocery Outlet you can check them out on, or you can find them on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or YouTube. You can also sign up for their newsletters to find out about upcoming deals and promotions.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Grocery Outlet. I received compensation for this post, and 2 gift cards to giveaway, but all opinions within this post are my own. For more information about sponsored content on my blog please see my Advertising & Disclosures page.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Butterscotch Pecan Muffins- paleo, grain free, gluten free, dairy free

Paleo Butterscotch Pecan Muffins

Last Thanksgiving my husband made a paleo pecan pie using a recipe he found from Against All Grain. It was one of the best pecan pies I have ever had; not too sweet and didn’t make you feel like you could only take a few bites before you had to put it down. Ever since then I’ve been asking him to make the pie again….but he hasn’t! So to fulfill my pecan pie craving I decided to experiment and make some pecan muffins that I hoped would have similar pecan pie taste.

Instead of tasting like pecan pie though, the muffins had their own unique butterscotch pecan flavor and totally satisfied my craving. The rich sweetness came from using coconut palm sugar and some amazing raw honey (we use Y.S. Organic Bee Farms Raw Honey and it is seriously the best honey I’ve ever had).



1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/3 of a cup of raw honey
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup of coconut oil (melted)
2 eggs beaten
2/3 cup of almond flour
2 tbsp. of coconut flour

1. Combine eggs, melted coconut oil, and raw honey (if you use the Y.S. one that I link to make sure that you warm it up first to make it easier to blend into the other ingredients) and whisk together.
2. In a separate bowl combine the almond flour, coconut flour, and coconut palm sugar. Mix together well, making sure there are no clumps from the almond flour.
3. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and and stir well. Once they are mixed together add in the chopped pecans.
4. Scoop the batter evenly into a standard muffin tin. (I used baking cups instead of greasing the pan.)
5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes. They should be brown on top and if you insert a toothpick in the center it should come out clean.
You can eat them fresh out of the oven or allow them to cool before you try them. 

paleo butterscotch pecan muffins from alwaysinwonder

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sticky Maple Bacon “Teriyaki” Drumsticks- paleo, gluten free, grain free

Sticky Maple Bacon Teriyaki Drumsticks from alwaysinwonder

I will be the first to admit that I am not a die hard paleo follower. I love cheese and sour cream and haven’t ever been able to give those up. When I hit 8 weeks of this pregnancy I experienced something I had never felt before. Gluten cravings. I thought I had a ton of experience being a carb addict for 30 years of my life, but really I was so wrong. The intense cravings I experienced were like nothing I had ever dealt with and I wasn’t able to resist. I could tell when something didn’t have gluten in it because it was like my body wasn’t satisfied. The intense hunger and nausea wouldn’t go away until I put a gluten filled food in my mouth. Thanks Baby #3.

Before then I had been grain free for about 4 months (like I said above, not paleo because I love cheese) and on a weight loss journey. I had no problems cutting out grains and gluten and felt so much better than when I had included them in my diet. My food cravings had really dwindled down to nothing when I wasn’t eating those refined sugars and carbs on a daily basis. When they hit me at 8 weeks I really felt like a junkie looking for a fix. 20 weeks later, those cravings have finally stopped and I am beginning to include more grain free meals in my diet, and make paleo meals for my husband who actually follows the diet 100%. I’m hoping to go back to following a grain free diet soon, and looking forward to meeting baby #3 as well.

maple bacon teriyaki drumsticks from alwaysinwonder

These drumsticks were good. So good that I am embarrassed to tell you how many I ate the day I made them. They’re a little sticky, a little sweet, and delicious in a major way. 


12 Chicken legs/drumsticks (Thighs are also an option)
4 slices of bacon (we use uncurred, hickory smoked)
11/2 cups of pure maple syrup (none of the fake stuff)
1/2-3/4 cups of coconut aminos
1-2 tablespoons of avocado oil/olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt and
1 teaspoon of pepper

1. Pat dry the drumsticks before placing them in a 9x13 baking dish. Whisk together the maple syrup, coconut aminos, avocado oil, salt and pepper to make your marinade. Pour 1/2 of the marinade over the chicken in your baking dish. Make sure the chicken legs are coated well by turning them or massaging the marinade into them.
2. Cover the baking dish with a lid or foil and place in the fridge over night. Place the other half of the marinade in a lidded jar in the fridge as well.
3. After a few hours turn the chicken so that the marinade has had a chance to cover and soak into both sides of the legs.
4. 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to put your chicken in the oven preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and remove the chicken from the fridge. Cut up your bacon into small pieces and sprinkle over the chicken.
5. Place the baking dish full of chicken in the oven (uncovered) and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes turn the chicken over, and bake for another half an hour.
6. After 1 hour in the oven, check the temperature of the chicken legs to make sure it’s at least 160 degrees F. If the chicken legs have reached that temperature, turn your broiler on and cook the chicken for another 2-3 minutes. Browning the legs a bit.
7. Remove the reserved marinade/sauce from the fridge and place it in a small pot on the stove on medium heat. Slowly bring the sauce to a low simmer, reducing the sauce, stirring frequently, until it is a thicker consistency.  Pour the sauce over the drumsticks and serve while warm.