31 Days of Yoga

During the month of October I participated in this yoga challenge put on by Grow Soul Beautiful on Instagram. Each day brought a new pose, some were a little challenging. I managed to complete every day with the help of my mini photographers :)

As you can see, a few of these shots were photo-bombed by my mini yogi! My boys actually really got into this challenge, too. Ryan, my main photographer, would say, "Mom, are you ready to do your yoga picture?" Brendan, 2, would say "Oh-ga? Oh-ga time Mama?" And my oldest, Nathan, could do a headstand better than his mama :)

If you're interested in participating in this challenge, the November challenge starts today! Open your Instagram app and search either @growsoulbeautiful or #yogaaday to get started. 



Mini Pumpkin Muffins

It's October! One of my favorite months of the year. Fall is in full effect and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a plenty :) Last week I made some pumpkin muffins with the boys. They were just OK. Not great. They were a little bit chewy, I have to admit. I tweeked the recipe a bit and gave it another go today. I made them mini this time and added a crispy crumbly topping. Yum!! They came out much better than last week...

Mini Pumpkin Muffins

You will need:

For the muffins
3/4 cup oatmeal flour (I grind my own from oats)
1 cup whole wheat flour (or regular if you want)
1/2 cup sugar (raw, evaporated cane juice, etc...)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 can organic pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup evoo
1/4 cup any other oil (I used canola, but I bet coconut would be yum!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the topping
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup sugar (or variation)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter, diced
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare mini muffin pan with cooking or baking spray, or butter. 

2. Combine all the dry ingredients for the muffins in a medium bowl (flours, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice).

3. In another bowl combine wet ingredients for the muffins (eggs, pumpkin puree, oils, vanilla).

4. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Set aside.

5. Add the ingredients for the topping into a food processor and pulse until it forms small pea-sized clumps (or cut with pastry cutter or a couple of forks).

6. Add muffin batter into muffin pan, filling each spot about 3/4. Top with the topping mix. Bake at 325 for 16 - 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 minutes, then remove from pan to a cooling rack.

This recipe allowed me to make two batches, 48 mini muffins. (About 41 of them are gone already.)

In other news, it's a new month, perfect time to set new goals. I found this #yogaaday challenge floating around on my Instagram feed so I thought I'd give it a try. This is day one...

Ryan, my four year old, took this awesome shot for me. I may not have a photographer everyday, but be assured I'm going to try each pose everyday this month.

Happy October!


Apples, apples and more apples!

Hello Friends! It's definitely starting to feel like fall around here. Finally, not seeing any 90 degree temps in the forecast. In fact, the weather has been pretty much perfect for the past week. So good, we decided to go apple picking last Friday. And twenty pounds of apples later, I've got a couple of recipes to share with you. 

Apple Crisp

You'll need:
6-8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup raw sugar (or regular sugar, evaporated cane juice, whatever your sugar preference)
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter either two 8x8 baking dishes or one 9x13 baking dish. 

2. Combine your sliced apples with the lemon juice, the 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of the cinnamon. Make sure all of the apples are coated, then set aside.

3. Using a food processor, combine the other tbsp of the cinnamon with the remaining ingredients. Pulse the processor until the mixture has a pea-like texture.

4. Spread the apples into the prepared dish (or dishes). The apples will have made some juice at the bottom of your bowl, go ahead and add the juice to the dish. Cover the apples with the crisp mixture.

5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the crisp is golden and the apples are bubbly :)

To top it off, you'll need this...

Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream

You'll need:
2 cups half and half (or milk)
1/2 cup raw sugar
5-6 egg yolks (your preference, I use 5)
1 cup heavy cream
3 apples (Fuji, Gala, Jonathan, Delicious, your choice), peeled, cored and pureed
1 tbsp cinnamon

1. Heat half and half with 1/4 cup of the sugar, stir frequently with a whisk until it steams. About 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar until light in color. You could use a mixer, I just use a whisk and my muscles ;)

3. Take about half a cup of the half and half mixture and slowly mix it into the egg mixture. This will temper the eggs so they don't scramble. Then poor the egg mixture back into the half and half mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it can thickly coat the back of a spoon and when you draw a line with your finger it stays intact.

4. Cool completely, then stir in the 1 cup of heavy cream. Then follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. About halfway through the ice cream making process, stir in your pureed apples.

My boys loved this dessert! Even more knowing that they picked the apples that went into it. If you have an apple farm near you I highly recommend going out and picking your own apples. I still have about 10 pounds of apples left. I see more apple butter in my future :)


Birthdays + Homecomings

Last week was a big week for our family. My husband returned from a three-month TDY to Virginia. It was a long, hot summer with three boys home from school. After two long days of driving, he finally made it home on August 31st. Which also happens to be my youngest son's birthday. What a birthday present seeing Daddy was for him!

All three boys were so excited to see him. He actually made it home one day before we expected. They were all pretty surprised, especially Nathan when Mike picked him up from school. So we got to celebrate Brendan's 2nd birthday together as a family. All five of us :)

Homemade pizza and chocolate cake were on the menu that night. I have to admit though, even though the cake was homemade, it wasn't exactly "healthy" per se (hello, 1 cup of butter!). I do know, however, that there wasn't a single artificial ingredient or preservative in it. It was really easy to make, too...


Homemade Chocolate Icing

2/3 cups granulated sugar (I used raw sugar)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Melt your chocolate chips, then set aside to cool a bit. In a small saucepan whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk; bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil 1- 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Coop completely in the fridge.

Beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined and fluffy, about another minute. Finally, add in the melted chocolate and beat again until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add more cocoa powder to taste if you'd like.

Spread on your cake or cupcakes. Makes enough for 24 cupcakes, or a double layer 8 inch round cake. Store any extras in covered in your fridge.


I'm happy the single parenting is over. It's nice to have our family complete again. We went for a really nice, fifteen mile bike ride this weekend as a family. It's been a while since I had a chance to ride my bike.

While I rode solo, Mike pulled all three boys -- about 115 pounds :) Two boys in the back, Brendan in the front. What a workout! Welcome home, Dad :)


Bye Bye Summer

Even though there's still a few weeks left of summer, ours has officially come to an end. My baby big boy has started the 2nd grade! I know this is cliche, but seriously, they grow up so fast. I swear he just started preschool not too long ago.

Before school started though, we did have the opportunity to go to Virginia for about a week and a half. We stayed in Norfolk, and also traveled to Virginia Beach, Washington DC and Richmond. It was my first time ever on the east coast. It was pretty cool seeing our nation's Capitol and even though they may not remember this trip because they are still so young, I think this was a really great experience for the boys.

Nathan's first day back to school was Tuesday, two days after coming back home from our trip. It was a race to get laundry finished, groceries picked up and last minute back-to-school shopping done. We didn't really have a chance to adjust bed times because of the traveling and what not, but eh, what are you gonna do?

I have to say the house has been a bit quieter since school started. Not that Nathan is a loud and crazy kid, but when they are all together it can get a bit crazy around here. I've been keeping pretty busy with the other two. In a couple of weeks it will just be me and Brendan, Ryan will be starting pre-K. Waaaa! Don't get me started. But anyway, with only two kids at home I can run outside again. Albeit, it's hauling about 80 extra pounds on my run, but at least it's outside and not on the DREADmill. It was a beautiful, fall-like day today. I'm SO ready for fall.

Since being back home from our trip, it's been so nice to cook in my own kitchen. Eating out is great, but really gets tiring day after day, not to mention the not-so-healthy options that are available. Two things that were a hit with the boys this week...

This was really easy, basically just throw together everything you see here... brown rice, black beans, homemade salsa, grilled chicken and onions, and avocado. Of course you could always add some grilled chicken or steak, too.

My boys LOVED these, even Nathan my pickiest. I found the recipe HERE. The only thing I added was flax seed for fiber :)

Hope you all had a great week!


Peach Frozen Yogurt

Watch out froyo shops, I just made my favorite flavor at home! It was so easy, if you have an ice cream maker you can make it too. All it takes is three ingredients:

3 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup puréed peaches (about two peaches)
1/3 cup sugar (I used raw)

Combine all ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Now its ready for the ice cream maker. Follow directions for your ice cream maker. Mine only took about 15 minutes. I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes then served. Good stuff :)

(And I wrote this entire post from my phone, including taking/editing the photo!)