Smash cake!

Ainsley had her first birthday party a couple of weeks ago. I started thinking about it and gathering ideas for her party months in advance. One of the biggest things I was unsure if I would be able to pull off, was her cake. I knew I wanted it to be gluten free, at the very least. We are keeping her gluten free for at least two years.
The more I read though, the more ingredients I decided were unnecessary for her first cake. So her cake ended up being free of refined sugars, grains, gluten and food coloring. It started out dairy free as well but I added creamed grassfed butter to the frosting. Ainsley never made it past the frosting. She still is not really into eating solids, so there wasn’t a whole lot of smashing going on. Hunter and I tried the cake with the frosting and we both thought it all tasted great.
Below are the recipes I used and the modifications I made. It was really easy and I definitely think it was worth the effort.
I made the cake friday, wrapped the layers in saran wrap and put them in the fridge. My sister and I decorated it Saturday afternoon and then put it back in the fridge overnight. Her party was on Sunday. I took the cake out when the party started so that it had a little time to soften before she ate it.
The cake: For the cake I used The Urban Poser’s smash cake recipe.  I could not find a 4 inch cake pan so I made the recipe twice using a 6 inch pan. So where the recipe makes two four inch layers, it only made one layer using the 6″ pan. So I made the recipe, cooked one layer, then did it all over again. Also, I had to increase the cooking time to 35 mins because of the bigger layer. I definitely suggest getting two 4″ pans. Save money on ingredients, plus time. The only thing I changed to the ingredients was I used maple syrup instead of honey. This is a good option if you are concerned about giving honey to your baby right at one year old.  I did one layer with honey but ran out. So the next layer I just used pure grade b maple syrup. I actually liked the flavor of the syrup layer more.
For the filling: In between the layers I used the 365 brand raspberry spread , found at Whole Foods. It was the only one I saw that did not have added sugar.
The Frosting: I found I could not get the coconut butter smooth enough when using The Urban Poser‘s frosting recipe that she has with the cake. It tasted amazing but the coconut butter would clog the tip I was using to pipe on the cake. So I turned to Against all Grain. I doubled her vanilla frosting recipe that is in her cookbook. I don’t see the recipe on her website but trust me, the cookbook is worth buying! I did add about 3-4 tbsp of butter to the frosting. I needed the frosting to be thicker for the way I wanted it decorated. I put the butter in a bowl, beat it with the hand mixer and then added it to the frosting. You could probably use palm shortening and get the same results.
To get the pink color I put red beets in a small sauce pan with a small amount of water. I cooked it on the stove until the water was colored and then poured it into the frosting and mixed. (Probably why I had to add butter to the frosting.)
And lastly, my sister and I watched videos on youtube on how to decorate a ruffle cake with buttercream.

I made the cake twice. Once for her birthday pictures (without coloring the frosting) and then again for her party.
Photo credit: EllPhotography

Sharing with me at her party.


Foodie Friday

This is my first Foodie Friday post! Starting today, I plan on sharing what we ate throughout the week in a series titled “Foodie Friday”. I will link recipes I got from the internet. I will also try to explain how we cooked certain foods. Some recipes I won’t be able to share because of copyright laws (ones only published in cookbooks). But I will link to which cookbook I used.
I have found that planning ahead makes eating real food so much easier.
Every Friday, I plan the next week’s menu. On Saturdays, we go grocery shopping and get everything we will need to cook those meals. The weeks we fail to plan are usually the ones we end up ordering food out (which always ends up with French fries :))
I hope this helps you and takes some of the stress out of cooking and eating real food.

Breakfast is usually some sort of eggs/bacon/sausage/vegetable/plain organic yogurt/fruit combination with an occasional slice of gluten free toast.
Lunch is leftovers.
Ainsley eats what we eat.

Disclaimer: We started eating paleo two years ago. Now, it is more like a paleo plus lifestyle. As we sometimes eat full fat, grass-fed dairy and some non-gmo grains. We very rarely eat anything with gluten or refined sugars.
So here ya go!

Monday- Gumbo
Recipe: Linked here
Notes: If you have never made a gumbo before, we went for a little bit darker than peanut butter colored roux. The recipe just says “until you get the right color”. This was really good! We served ours over organic jasmine rice.

Tuesday- Pizza spaghetti Pie
Recipe: From Paleomg
Notes: This one is fairly easy and tastes great. Youtube how to cut spaghetti squash if you never have. I am always nervous I am going to cut my hand off in the process. When our pie had about 15 mins left, we added some grass-fed Monterey-jack cheese until it got bubbly. Yum.

Wednesday- Ribs with sweet potato fries and green beans.
For the ribs we just seasoned them with sea salt, pepper and garlic and grilled them. Green beans were frozen that we cooked in bacon fat with sea salt and garlic. For the sweet potato fries, I just cut up a white sweet potato, tossed it in melted coconut oil and seasoned with sea salt. I cooked them at 350 for about 30 mins (stirring once at 15 mins).

Thursday- Mini Meatloaves with green peas.
Recipe: I got the meatloaf recipe from the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook.
Notes: This one is really simple since it is basically just meat, veggies and spices. You cook them in a muffin pan and top them with organic unsweetened ketchup. You could probably google paleo meatloaf cupcakes or muffins and find a good recipe.
Also, if you have a stand mixer you can use the dough hook attachment to mix the meat so you don’t have to use your hands! The peas were frozen and I cooked them on the stove in grass-fed butter (Kerrygold brand) with sea salt.

Friday: Wings with sweet potato fries.
Recipe: We make our wings using this recipe from Preppy Paleo.
Notes: We toss our wings in a store bought bbq sauce since I am not a fan of hot sauce. If you are feeling ambitious you could search the internet for a recipe to make your own. If you buy one make sure to check the ingredients for excess sugar and ingredients you cannot pronounce. Sweet potato fries will be made the same way as Wednesday.

This week was a more simple menu since we had Ainsley’s birthday party Sunday. I did not have the time to put a lot of thought into planning before shopping so I tried to pick meals that did not require a lot of ingredients.

I hope this gave y’all a little inspiration! Be on the lookout for future Foodie Friday posts with pictures and less of an intro 🙂


Our Journey to Health

My husband, Hunter and I were both in our early 20’s when we decided to take control of our health. Neither one of us had any energy and spent most days complaining of aches and pains. We were both overweight. Our weight wasn’t extremely out of hand but we were both a little fluffy and on the wrong path. We were starting to think about the possibility of having a baby but I knew there was no way we would be able to keep up. My husband at about 21 was diagnosed with high cholesterol and he was put on medication. We pretty much accepted that was the only way to fix it. I was later diagnosed with borderline insulin resistance. So I started taking medicine. We started cutting calories and eating whole wheat. The only problem was the “heart healthy” standard American diet was not working for us. In early 2012 I was sick of being sick and knew something had to give.

I kept seeing a lot of buzz about the paleo diet. I messaged a friend about it and she told me about the whole30 challenge. I talked to Hunter about it and as he usually does he supported me and decided we would both try it. We started the following Monday.

We spent the first week or so hating the world and wanting to quit. But we didn’t. We went the whole 30 days and it has made all the difference in our lives. Parts of us were fixed that we had no idea could be related to diet. Of course there were the outside changes. Hunter lost 20 lbs and 2 pant sizes. I lost 10 lbs and one size. Well probably 1.5. I was starting to get a muffin top and should have been in a bigger size. My fingernails began to grow. They would always break and tear before. My stomach issues I have had as long as I could remember got better. We could fall asleep without having to take Benadryl. My daily headaches became a rare thing. Hunter’s cholesterol numbers were in the good range! And thank the Lord we were both a little less moody.

It has been almost two years now. Since then we have stepped off the path a few times but it is always short-lived as we usually get sick and say “I am never doing that again!”

I think a lot of people look to medicine to fix all of their problems when they have the power to fix some of their health issues, themselves.

It is hard but it is so worth it. I don’t have control over the length of my life. I know that. But if I can improve the quality in anyway then of course I am going to try.

We now have a beautiful little girl. I want to be help her live a happy healthy life. And of course I want my husband and myself to be an active role in it!

And that is why we choose health.