Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

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A few years back I came across some chocolate pumpkin bread at a local grocery store and it was filled with unsavory ingredients but alas, I gave into the urge and purchased it. Well this weekend I was thinking about that delicious, gluten filled, preservative ridden, GMO concoction called Chocolate Pumpkin Bread and I thought to myself…”I bet I could make a gluten free version!”

So to google I went and searched for a recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Bread. I found several that had chocolate chips but the bread itself was not chocolate and I was simply not interested in that. Finally I came across a site What Megan’s Making and it looked like it would be what my mind was envisioning. I printed it out and changed a few things to my liking and of course converted it to gluten free. You can see the original recipe by clicking here!

My Gluten Free Version

Ingredients:

3 3/4 cups of gluten free all purpose flour (my favorite is Gluten Free Mama Almond Blend)
3 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground clove
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 organic eggs
1 can organic pumpkin purée
1 1/4 cups melted grass fed butter or NON GMO canola oil if you must use canola
3 oz melted unsweetened chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven 350 degrees

In one bowl wisk together all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl stir together all remaining ingredients except chips. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until incorporated, make sure to scrape the bottom and sides. Fold in the chips last. Rub butter on all sides of 2 or 3 loaf pans. This will make 3 smaller loaves or 2 normal size bread loaves.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. It took 75 for mine but everyone’s ovens heat differently so check after an hour.

I like to eat it warm and slathered with grassfed butter! Yum!

I used a stone loaf pan from the Pampered Chef. I am a consultant for then and therefore will benefit from promoting and or selling this product. If you want to buy a stone loaf pan, check it out on my personal Pampered Chef Website

If you need Gluten Free Mama flour, grassfed butter or non GMO canola oil, check out Azure Standard. They are my source for those 2 products. Azure Standard Webpage Link

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with BACON!

Do you like Brussels Sprouts? Or do you not like them but know someone who does?

Ditch the boring boiled or steamed sprouts and try roasting them instead! I personally like them just about any way that they are prepared but my husband is less than enthusiastic about this vegetable.

I asked a few friends how they liked to cook Brussels sprouts and this was the result. Most recommended roasting, some with other veggies or herbs so feel free to experiment with what your family likes.

When I made the sprouts in this manner, my husband loved them and even went back for seconds. This is a great recipe to try with picky kids too, the bacon really helps flavor the vegetable all around.

Ingredients:

Brussels Sprouts
Oil or Butter (whatever you like)
Salt and Pepper
1-2 Cloves Garlic
2 slices of raw bacon- chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare your Brussels by removing outer few leaves, washing thoroughly and slicing each in half. (I like to soak mine in water for a few hours personally.)

Toss sprouts, bacon pieces, salt, pepper and garlic in a bowl and drizzle with oil of choice. You do not need tons of oil because the bacon will render down and provide extra fat, this is just to prevent sticking.

Spread them out on a sheet pan and roast for 20-25 mins until browning occurs on cut side and bacon is rendered down nicely.

Enjoy!

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Verse of the Sunday- on a tuesday?

I am going to challenge myself to this 90 day bible reading plan. I hope I can stick to it each day. I have to admit, I do not read the bible nearly as much as I need, yes I said need not should. Thats the thing about grace, you don’t have to do anything except believe BUT I know my life would be much easier if I would read his word more diligently and give my whole self to Jesus. That’s a hard thing to admit- gulp.

Christians are really good at “playing church”, its kind of like playing dress up for adults. We dress up on Sunday, put on our best behavior, shout a few amens and go home the same way that we woke up that very morning. It is sad and it is very, very true. Even in my own life. I am not saying that I am not a Christian, I am. What I am saying is, I have been struggling.

There is no secret to Christianity, its just faith working through grace to pardon us for all filthiness- and all undeservedly. Thats why we make it so hard. Its too simple, right?

My prayer for myself is that the Lord would re-ignite a fire in my soul for his word and to fill me with his grace and joy. I hope this 90 day reading plan is blessing and if you would like to see the plan visit this link: 90 day reading plan.

The Best Pumpkin Pie My Husband Has Ever Had!

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I made a pumpkin pie the other day, a real pumpkin pie. Meaning, I cooked a small pumpkin and made my own filling.

I have to admit, I had never done this before. A can of pumpkin seemed sufficient. However, I will probably never use canned pumpkin for a pie ever again!

My husband told me that night, that the pie was the best pumpkin pie he had ever had! What a compliment, I was so excited.

I wanted to share the recipe with y’all! The little pumpkin I bought from Trader Joes had a sticker on it with a recipe. I adapted that recipe to my liking and it turned out great!

Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh pumpkin
1/2 cup almond milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
(If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice just use 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp clove, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour into a pie crust. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 350 for another 15 minutes or until filling is firm.

I used a gluten free pie crust but if you are not gluten free, any pie crust will work. Obviously homemade crust is better but pre made will work as well.

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The Birth of Jackson Lynn

leaf ranchctI remember looking over my fertility chart feeling queasy as I wondered… Could I really be pregnant again? It was the first time we had tried to conceive after the last miscarriage just a few months before. I was only 10 days past ovulation, there was no way I could be feeling sick already. I thought, its all in my head, its just not logical to have symptoms this early. But alas I could not wait, a few minutes later I watched a faint pink line stretch across the window, confirming what I had hoped for all along. I was pregnant! Suddenly a pang of terror ran through me. Would this child live? Two others had succumbed to the darkness of my body, denied the breath of life. There was no reason that this one should live either, sadness and woe filled my heart. I clung to the little hope I had left in my heart and I prayed that God would have mercy on me.

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 – 5 days past my estimated due date…

I awakened at what had become my usual time due to the incessant need to urinate and annoying back pain at 4:30 am. I waddled to the bathroom and then returned to bed hoping to sleep for a while before beginning my day. I lay there restless and hungry when I realized I needed to go to the bathroom again. I grumbled to my slumbering husband, “this is ridiculous, I just went pee! I cant believe I have to go again already!” I went to the bathroom again and upon returning to the bedroom, I felt a stirring in my abdomen. It wasn’t the normal violent attack that I had grown accustomed to from my extremely active and seemingly limber son, it was a flurrying of sort. Something inside told me “its time, your baby is coming today”. My first official labor pain was at 5:05 am. Brad, my husband, started tracking them on his phone to measure the duration and elapsed time. I decided to call my long time friend Hannah who had come to town to assist me in labor. I told her that I wasn’t sure if something was happening or not but I wanted to give her a heads up and that I would call her back later. Sure enough my contractions persisted and grew more intense. Hannah arrived sometime around 7:00 am to help me. I breathed deep and waded through my contractions like I was riding stormy ocean waves. They swept down harder and harder but I kept my focus on my baby. Hannah and I talked and laughed between pains and I got in and out of the bath tub a few times. Suddenly I felt overwhelmed and could not rationalize thought… all reason had left my mind. I remembered the great midwife Ina May Gaskin saying in her book “your brains have gone to your bottom” and so they had. My loving husband called the midwife and doula, then relayed to me their advice to rest and stay calm because I probably had a lot longer labor ahead of me being a first time mother. I could not accept what he was saying, I could understand the meaning of the words leaving his mouth but they held no relevance for me. I told Hannah, Brad and Eric (our friend and driver), “NO! This baby is coming soon! You do not understand, I am not doing this 12 HOURS!… We need to go to the birth center now!”

We made the hour long car drive to Lafayette from Baton Rouge where our birth team was waiting for us. They had the birth tub full of hot water and I could not have been more anxious to dive in. The warm water felt strange and almost foreign as every nerve in my body ignited with each rolling wave. I felt light and suspended, as if I could float away.

As my pain grew, I became acutely aware that my sons arrival was approaching. I made my way to the toilet where I regained some control over the pain and myself. At once, a shadow of fear fell over me. I went from total confidence in my body to sheer disbelief. I told my doula, “I don’t know about all this” she asked me what I meant in which I replied, “I’m just not sure, maybe I should be in the hospital.” She looked at me tenderly and said exactly what I needed to hear, “everything you need is right here, everything you wanted to happen is happening right now and your baby is coming soon.” In that moment I realized that unlike those other babies lost, I would soon be holding my very own son in my arms. Not a minute later I felt him push down hard inside me. This was it, no turning back, no room for doubt. This baby was coming out.

I stumbled across the room from the toilet to the bed and asked for the midwife to come in. She came in and asked if I was feeling pushy and with a nod I lowered myself to the bed for her to check me. Laying across that mattress became my personal hell for what seemed like ages as another violent wave crashed down on me. I felt as if my body might dismember itself right then and there. She assured me I was complete and asked if I was ready to push my baby out. “Yes” I cried out. I stood and felt him push down with such force that I felt he would fall out and on to the floor below. I felt a warm gush of liquid flow down my legs and splash at my feet. My bag of amniotic fluid had finally ruptured.

I rushed the 4 feet from the bedside to the birthing tub. I knew that if I didn’t get into the water right then, my dreams of a water birth would not come to fruition. The next and almost final wave brought my sons head down through the canal, the pressure was unbelievably strong. And then I felt it… a searing hot fire leaving my body and I remembered Hannah telling me “when you feel the ring of fire, that’s when the baby’s head is coming out.” Suddenly someone shouted “slow down, pant like a dog!” But I could not pant, I could not even remember what it would be to pant. After all, my brains were in my bottom just like Ina May had said. Yes, something primal took over me, that searing hot fire urged me to dig deeper, push harder and then, he left my body. Almost totally in one fluid motion he passed from womb, to water, to earth. Jackson Lynn Iverson took his first breath and then I heard his first cry. Instead of pain washing over me it was a wave of relief. Total relief and utter bliss flooded my soul. I turned over in the tub and took my living, breathing son in my arms. “Oh my God, I have a baby” I gasped. Surreal is the only appropriate way to describe the moment… He is my rainbow. My beauty & light after the flood of sorrow that could no longer hold a place in my life.

Jackson Lynn Iverson
Total labor 6.5hours
50 mins at birth center prior to birth
9 mins of pushing
8.2lbs and 20.5 inches long

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Night Weaning The Beast!

Jackson just turned a year old on October 14th and is of course still nursing. I really do not mind the fact that he is still nursing but I decided that I would really like to sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time at night. Good nights, he would wake to nurse 2-3 times, bad nights Brad and I were up 6+ times. Exhaustion had ruled my life for far too long.

Starting last friday, I started sending Brad in to Jackson every time he woke up. He would give him a drink of water, pat his back, give kisses and hugs and then leave the room. There was a fair amount of anger and rage emitting from his room that night. He wanted nothing to do with Brad. I felt bad but I really needed rest, real rest. I had done nothing but nurse him for an entire year and it was time. I felt Jackson was finally mature enough to understand that I was just in the next room and that he was okay.

Night two, he only woke up ONCE! And not until 4:30 ish in the morning. Success!

Night three, he also only woke up ONCE! and not until 6:45 am! BOOYAH!

He has yet to sleep until 8:30 straight through but I am way okay with that. I have gotten more rest in the last few nights, than I have in the last year and it is pretty great indeed!

Every morning around 8:30 I go into his room and get him once he awakens for the day. We then return to my bed for snuggles and nursing. He is so happy to see me and I am just as happy to see him!

Hes almost 13 months, we did not rush “sleep training” or whatever you want to call it. I think each child should be considered as an individual and not shoved into a cookie cutter moulding of what they “should do at ___ age”. I waited for the right timing and it was a smooth transition.

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Gluten Free Morning Fruit and Veggie Muffins

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Gluten Free Morning Fruit and Veggie Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups organic cane sugar
2 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mix -I like gluten free mama almond blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 grated pear
1 grated small zucchini
4 large grated carrots 2cups
1/2 can drained, crushed pineapple
3/4 cups raisins
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3 large eggs
1 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F

Grease muffin pan or use liners.

In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Use a large whisk to thoroughly combine.

In a separate large bowl combine shredded carrots, pear, zucchini, pineapple and raisins.

Add the fruit, vegetable, mixture to the dry ingredients followed by eggs, butter and vanilla. Beat the mixture to thoroughly combine ingredients. Batter will be thick and gloppy, see picture below.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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