Weekly Review: Good Eats, Friends Date & The Weekend

Another week of March has come and gone, what?! In exactly five days we are going to be into April and I am so excited! April is my favorite month! Why you ask?

It’s BIRTHDAY MONTH!

One of my favorite parts of life is being able to celebrate my beautiful sister’s and my birthday together since they are only two days apart! This year will be different, for the mister and I are traveling during birthday week, but that doesn’t mean anything in regards to birthday month! 😉

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I thought we’d have coffee together on this dreary Monday and just recap our last week. Was yours good? I hope so! Not a lot of sunshine the past few days, but I know that it’s coming. “Be patient Melissa.”

Monday

Monday was a typical day in the life, meal planning, grocery store for vegetables, cleaning & organizing, and of course some time in the kitchen!

I made up a delicious Beef & Veggie Taco Pasta for dinner. Low carb √, healthy , dairy free  and easy √ ! I’m going to have to make it again, so I can share what I did, but all you need to do is make taco meat, add all the vegetable you want, pasta of choice, add a little pasta water to help make a sauce and there you have it!

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I also tried out a new recipe for dessert Almond Flour Blondies. I substituted swerve sweetener for the sugar, and halved the amount brown sugar called for by using truvia brown sugar. Then used dairy free chocolate chips. OMG. Get on that recipe. It’s good!

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Wednesday

Wednesday started out on a happy note, the sun was shining and I got to enjoy a lovely breakfast while reading my early birthday present from a dear friend!

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Trim Healthy Mama cookbook is amazing! So if you are looking for great recipes to add to your current way of eating, get on that! Thank you so much to my Lauren for the awesome surprise!

I then joined some of my favorites from work to see Beauty & the Beast! It is everything you dreamed it would be. At one point I did feel like I might be tripping (although I never have so hmmm). Just go see it!

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We ended up getting a late lunch at J. Timothy’s Taverne and it was really nice spending time with these lovelies outside of work.

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Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad

I’m very grateful to have a job where we can all get together on a Wednesday, it really made for a great midweek treat!

Thursday

By the time Thursday came around, I was feeling the need to slow down {for no apparent reason} so the day is a blur. I’m sure I spent most of it relaxing and looking at recipes, because that’s what a foodie does, when she wants to do nothing!

We did have some delicious Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup paired with some leftover ham. I used Kerrygold’s grass fed white cheddar (which I know is not dairy free) but sometimes, we have to indulge a little!

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Friday

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Can you believe this sunrise? That’s what Friday started with before work, and it was just gorgeous. I really need to start using my “adult camera” more. I am amazed at how beautiful nature, life, everything is, if we just take a moment to really see it.

Before we knew it, the weekend was here!

Saturday & Sunday

Our plans for the weekend were up in the air and I’m happy with how relaxed it was.

We enjoyed a delicious weekend breakfast.

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We went grocery store hopping- Market 32, Costco, Adam’s and Whole Foods in one weekend! (I would live in grocery stores if I could)

We hit up Whole Foods Hot/Cold Bar for some lunch.

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I found some great new items to add to my list of wholesome products I love. We are prepared for some healthy good eats this week!

We ate our favorite The Best Turkey Sloppy Joes over spaghetti squash.

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We marathon watched Bridget Jones, all three of them! Well, the dogs and I did.

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We spent time with our family for Sunday dinner.

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This handsome boy is always on the go, so that’s the best we did! I still love it.

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And we ended our weekend on a sweet note. Sugar free Strawberry Banana Jello, strawberries and coconut whip!

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All in all, a great week of good eats, some wonderful moments with the ones we love, and another week to be thankful for.

Until next time, enjoy all your moments, whatever they may be. They all count!

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies + Happy Spring

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Happy Spring! What what?!

I have all the faith that by next weekend all this white snow will be melted, flowers will be blooming and our souls will be warmer. No? Too far fetched? I’ll still be a believer. 😉

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend! While this was my weekend to work, it was a good weekend, both at work and out, so I call that a win!

My “weekend” started on Friday again, with some grown up responsibilities, baking (I’ll be getting to that), and my favorite breakfast! Thinslim’s low carb toast with two eggs and some cholula. Seriously, my all time favorite one and if you haven’t tried it, get on that!

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I went for a walk outside with my fur babies, and I cannot wait until it is nicer out again. I want to be outside now! Give me all the sunshine! Just like these two, trying to get the last of it.

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Later in the evening we went over to visit my family, have dinner and spend time with this little lady! Oh, how we adore her.

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Look at these fingers!

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We were missing our favorite boy but he was back by Sunday, so all was right in the world. So I’ll insert the best picture ever here.

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On Saturday, it was time for work but the mister made me a delicious, simple dinner to come home to, which was fabulous. I usually don’t really like red meat but maybe it’s because I’ve changed my diet so much lately, this steak was yummy.

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Sunday started off on a lovely note, we went for a coffee date before work. How much do we swoon over these new spring cups?! I had to get the grande because well, I love all things teal. I didn’t need it, definitely didn’t finish it (waster) but it made my heart happy!

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Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Almond Milk….. its good!

After work, we headed to Sunday family dinner, to spend more time with the family. There really is nothing better!

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Now that you maybe spent too much time reading above, let’s get to what you really want….these cookies!

These cookies don’t make me miss regular chocolate chip cookies, at all. They are easy to make, and I dare you to try not to eat the cookie dough before baking- it’s difficult. I hope you enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grass fed butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup truvia brown sugar**
  • 1/4 cup swerve sweetener**
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate of choice (I use dairy free)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add dry ingredients {almond flour, baking soda and salt} and combine, put aside.

In your mixer, add butter and both sugars and mix until combined and creamy. Add your egg, egg white and vanilla.

Slowly add in your dry ingredients until mixed and cookie dough is formed. Then, add in your chocolate chips.

Place silicone mat, parchment paper onto baking sheets for easy clean up. Using a cookie scoop {I use medium 40, which is about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough), scoop cookies onto baking sheet. Using your hand, flatten the cookies to about 1/4″ thickness.

Place in oven and bake for 14 minutes.

Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies

**You can substitute regular brown sugar, double to 1/4 cup- the truvia brown sugar is sweeter. You can also use equal parts regular sugar or sugar of choice. Swerve is a 1:1 ratio to regular sugar.

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These cookies are good. The mister sat with his glass of milk and finished off the remaining cookies while indulging me in my Fifty Shades Darker movie moment. Don’t judge!! (Either of us haha)

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Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Weekly Review: Food, Things & A Baby

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Hey guys! Wow what a week it has been, I hope it was a great one for you! I had a very long weekend that got stretched just a bit more with the snow storm, so I am rested and happy!

I really believe long weekends are the perfect solution for life. You have time to relax, get things crossed off your to do lists, spend time with people you love, and make memories! It’s just what any of us need to get ready for our upcoming days that could be full of work and obligations.

Friday

The weekend started last Friday for me, and it was such a lovely day! I had a doctors appointment in the morning {which allowed me to realize my next steps in this crazy journey to healthy}, and then met up with my favorite people to spend the day! My momma, sister and nephew!

We went to an appointment with my sister, then out to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays. It’s always a great spot due to their salad bar. Why don’t more restaurants do salad bar? Its amazing! While I am usually jumping right up to the chance to stand in front of all the options (give me all the food), I decided on their BBQ Chicken Salad because it sang to my heart.

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BBQ seasoned grilled chicken with roasted corn, black bean salsa, tomatoes, smoked bacon, avocado, and cheddar cheese. Tossed with BBQ ranch and finished with a drizzle of BBQ sauce and tortilla strips.

What is their not to love?! I sadly said no cheese please, but with the creamy avocado it wasn’t missed!

We then walked around the mall and let this little man make a forever, fuzzy friend!

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Love our day dates together with my ladies and favorite boy!

Saturday

On Saturday the hubs and I spent some time together and did errands in the morning. We ended up going out to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings which wasn’t planned but the hanger monster came out. When it happens, she MUST be tamed, for reals. It should be a medical diagnosis, just saying. 😉

I ordered the Garden Salad with Chicken and had it with their southwestern ranch dressing.

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Grilled or Crispy chicken spun in your favorite BUFFALO WILD WINGS sauce. Served over a lunch portion of fresh greens topped with cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, onions and croutons served with fat free ranch dressing.

Oh my goodness, it was so good! While the dressing is not on my plan, I’m striving for a mostly dairy free lifestyle with some exceptions. So I don’t feel guilty.

When the beast was happy, aka ME, we ventured home because it was game night with some of our favorite peoples. I didn’t take my phone out once during that, because while I would love to share photos of my beautiful friends, I really just enjoyed their company. So here is my face, in case you wanted to see it. No? I’ll share anyways.

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Sunday

Sunday started out with a nice workout, followed by his + hers protein shakes using my new Vitamix blender!

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I did some journaling, meal planning and then spent the rest of the day hanging out with my favorite guy and these furry faces!

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Dinner was simple but so good. Steak and roasted vegetables, mmmmm.

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Monday

Weekends go by so fast and I was sad to see my mister go to work Monday morning, but I kept busy doing all those grown up chores.

I made some Low Carb Chocolate & Coconut Amazeballs to have a delicious treat that adds in some more fat to my diet (doctors orders).

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I may have drizzled on some sugar-free chocolate because, well it just made them better.

I also recreated one one of my favorite meals at Applebee’s, the Oriental Chicken Salad! I made it a lot healthier and it was a nice treat for a Monday.

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We watched some TV and then were settling into bed when I got the call that my beautiful sister’s water broke! AHHHH!

::insert snow storm here::

Tuesday

While the snow fell and we were all trapped indoors with a travel ban, I paced through my house all morning. I wanted to be with my sister but it just wasn’t in the cards. I knew so many people were watching over her from above, and the love being sent to her from family and friends, came in bountiful measures.

So while we waited, and she waited continuing to bake my perfect little niece, I baked too. Just in the form of a Low Carb Kentucky Butter Cake!

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Get on this people! So good, and even better cold so put that cake in the fridge!

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Before we knew it, this perfect miracle came into our lives, and the rest of my week has been about this little one.

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It was a great week, no absolutely perfect week.

We are blessed, hearts exploding, happy people over here.

Low Carb Strawberry Poke Cake

 

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Wow, where did January go?! Here we are pushing towards the middle of February already! I can honestly tell you, January was a busy month. So many memories made with family and friends, no wonder once February came I felt I needed a break.

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In the form of baking, of course. Although, curling up to this guy is a favorite too!

We should never deny our loves in life, no matter how big or small they may be. Time spent baking really fills my soul, I truly hope something in your life does the same.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d share a new favorite! I personally feel every day is a day to celebrate love, life and the people who matter the most, but it is a nice occasion to bake something special.

I stumbled upon Low Carb Strawberry Poke Cake on one of my favorite low carb blogs, All Day I Dream About Food. I have made so many of the recipes on this amazing blog, and they are always fantastic. I hope you enjoy!

This recipe was slightly adapted from All Day I Dream About Food. 

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Low Carb Strawberry Poke Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup swerve sweetener
  • 1/3 cup vanilla quest protein powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup half and half

Strawberry Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbsp powdered swerve sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Topping

  • 1- 8 oz container cool whip

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9X9 baking pan well. In a large bowl whisk together the almond flour, swerve sweetener, quest protein powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract and half and half, until well combined. Spread batter in prepared baking pan, baking 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown and top is firm to the touch. Remove and let cool, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke large holes all over the cake.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine strawberries and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until berries are very soft. Puree in a blender or with a hand blender, then stir in sweetener. Sprinkle surface with xanthan gum and whisk vigorously to combine. Let cool until somewhat thickened.
Pour filling over cake and tap the baking pan gently on the counter to help it fill the holes. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Top with cool whip and additional strawberries if desired.

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This cake is moist, sweet and just so darn delicious. An easy dessert to make that will captivate your palate.

Happy Friday to you all! May your weekend be full of adventure, relaxation and happiness!

It’s Low Carb Pumpkin Muffin Time

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Happy Friday all! It almost seems impossible that tomorrow is the last day of 2016, how did this happen? Wasn’t it just New Years Eve 2015? Weren’t we all putting on our party hats, drinking champagne and watching the ball drop?!

No Melissa, that was a whole year ago and what a year it has been! {Disclaimer: I didn’t actually make it to watch the ball drop last year, but I hope you did!} I also hope you all had the best year with your families, your personal lives, your professional lives, your health, your dreams, etc. All of it. If you in fact had a rough year, I am sending much positive energy your way for a great start to 2017!

I know how I am going to start 2017- by devoting more time to something I love doing. This blog. Making new recipes. Taking pictures. Being a foodie. Loving every second of it.

What better way to end my sporadic year of posts, than to share a recipe that I will be making weekly from here on out. I hope you decide to do the same. Your hearts and bellies will thank me!

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Low Carb Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup swerve sweetener {or equivalent sweetener of choice}
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup palm shortening
  • 1/3 cup swerve sweetener
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Directions

In a blender or food processor (can also use your magic bullet type blenders ;-)), combine eggs, pumpkin, and sweetener.                                                                                                           Then add in coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
Divide batter between 8 paper lined muffin cups
Rinse out blender or food processor to make streusel topping
In the same blender or food processor, combine shortening and sweetener
Pulse in coconut flour and cinnamon
Sprinkle topping over muffin batter
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
Cool 1 hour

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Muffins can be kept in the refrigerator in ziplock bags or closed containers for 5-7 days.  Can also be frozen.

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A wonderful, healthy treat for breakfast or for a midday snack.

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Happiest of New Years to you all! Enjoy your weekend and let’s crush some goals in 2017!!

Low Carb Italian Cookies

Can you believe that Christmas is really over?!

It just seems like yesterday that the season started and we pulled all our normal decor off the shelves and Christmas came exploding into our homes. What a wonderful season to be celebrated and I hope it was just as fabulous as you all imagined!

When the holidays come, what better way to indulge in the most wonderful time of year, than to bake our little hearts out! I love baking all year round, but there is something so amazing about making treats for all of your loved ones to enjoy on Christmas! This year, I sang Christmas carols and really enjoyed the whole process of making Christmas cookies.

I’ve decided, without a doubt, next year I will be hosting a christmas cookie exchange party, so my people better be ready! They do have a whole year now to prepare 😉

One of my favorite cookies from this year, is by far this Low Carb Italian Cookie. It is moist, buttery and I bet you won’t be able to stop at just one!

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Low Carb Italian Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener {or equivalent sweetener of choice}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup swerve confectioners sweetener
  • 2 tbsp half and half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkles

Directions

Cookies:
Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the Swerve until well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Then beat in the almond flour mixture until the dough comes together.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. You will get 24 to 28 balls. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand to about ½ inch thick.
Bake about 12 minutes, until just barely beginning to firm up. Remove and let cool on the pan.
Glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Swerve, half and half, and vanilla extract. Dip the top of the cookies into the glaze and set back on the pan. Sprinkle as desired.

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Seriously, make these.

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I really wish Christmas lasted a little longer, but it unfortunately goes by so quickly! That doesn’t mean we can’t make these all year long, just change your sprinkles!

In my opinion, there are never too many sprinkles in life!

Christmas 2016

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So this is Christmas and what have you done,

Another year over a new one just begun.

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And so this is Christmas, I hope you had fun,

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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And so this is Christmas for weak and for strong,

The rich and the poor ones, the road is so long.

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And so happy Christmas, for black and for white,

For the yellow and red ones let’s stop all the fights.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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So this is Christmas and what have you done,

Another year over a new one just begun.

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And so this is Christmas, I hope you had fun,

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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War is over if you want it, war is over now.

-John Lennon

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wishing you the absolute best New Year!

Carrot Cake Loaf

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Since finding out about my own personal struggle with insulin resistance and PCOS, I am on a mission to get my body where it needs to be. Weight loss is never an easy journey, pair that with crazy hormones, it’s been quite a ride.

I am working so hard at breaking this vicious cycle for myself, but in doing so, I can’t and will not give up my love for cooking and baking. Because none of us need to do that!

I have had so much fun in the kitchen, trying new recipes and making our old favorite recipes more low carb friendly for us, and ultimately for you!

I do not believe my joy for food will ever go away, because I can talk, read, write, browse, eat…. all day long. I have made a choice to put the right foods in my body, to make it work the best it can. I have also made a choice to indulge in healthy treats from time to time, that don’t derail me from my goals.

Life is definitely all about moderation, and if you can make your treats healthy for you, you aren’t cheating. You are living!

There are some things you can say that life is not worth living without, if I was dramatic I would say this Carrot Cake Loaf! I personally feel happier knowing I have found a slightly sweet bread that I can put together really fast, that gives me a tasty snack with delicious carrot cake flavor! Carrot cake is one of my favorites, and this did not disappoint! I hope you try it!

Carrot Cake Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup carrots, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup swerve sweetener {or 1/2 cup sugar, honey, etc}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. {almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon}

In a mixing bowl, add eggs and swerve sweetener. Mix to combine, then adding coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in mixing bowl and combine.

Then add grated carrot to batter.

Grease a bread/loaf pan with nonstick spray {butter or coconut oil} and pour batter into pan, spreading evenly.

Place in oven and bake for 30-32 minutes until top is browned and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Then it’s time to slice it up and serve!

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It is moist, delicious and just subtly sweet- making it the perfect bread to eat as is, put a little butter on it, or make it into french toast! I think next time, I’ll even drizzle a little cream cheese frosting over it!

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Happy eating!!

Do you have a favorite loaf or bread recipe?