Friday, December 13, 2013

Gluten-Free Chocolate Donuts

Let's be honest.  Donuts are just an excuse to eat wheel-shaped brownies for breakfast and not feel wrong about it.  Ha!  These are a little healthier than your average donut since they are baked, have less refined sugar, and don't contain bleached wheat or GMO oils.  So enjoy one! Or three!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Donuts
(Adapted from Cooking for Isaiah Cookbook)
Makes 12 Donuts
2 Tb coffee (I used Trader Joe's Iced Coffee Concentrate)
3/4 cup water
2 eggs at room temp
6 Tb of organic coconut oil (melt before adding)
1 Tb vanilla
1 1/2 cups of *Gluten-Free Flour Mix 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder 
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of organic coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar (can be left out to make less sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 6-donut baking pan with coconut oil. (Let eggs and coffee come to room temperature before adding.)  In large bowl, lightly beat eggs with a wooden spoon.  Add coffee, melted coconut oil and vanilla. (Don't worry if coconut oil clumps a little. It will melt when baking and be delish).  Then stir in all other ingredients.  No need to even get out your electric mixer.  Easy!  

Fill donut cups about 3/4 full and bake until springy to the touch, about 18 minutes.

Optional - add glaze, caramel, frosting, powdered sugar, or sprinkles.  They are so sweet and good without anything extra in my opinion.

* (the best recipe I've found and tested for an all-purpose flour mixture is here.  But I ran out…so I used Trader Joe's All Purpose G-Free Flour Mix I had for a backup.  It worked great for this recipe!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Zak & Erin Photoshoot

These are my super, hip, talented friends Zak & Erin and their little dog Fancy.  Aren't they cute?  They were sweet enough to allow me to use them as models to practice my photog skills.  We had fun getting some shots around their house last weekend.  

Erin & Zak are both talented musicians.  Erin is a singer-songwriter.  Zak plays bass.
Listen to Erin's music here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Healthy Party Recipes and Thrown-Together craft

Last night we had a few friends over for a little gathering.  I decided to spruce up our porch for Thanksgiving.  To be honest…I don't have a lot of motivation to decorate my house unless someone besides me is going to see it.  I thought about skipping right ahead to Christmas decor…but I decided to jazz up our little pumpkin we picked at Gentry's Farm last month. I also repurposed some cute bunting that my friend Leslie made for Leo's "Sip & See".  Good thing I'm a borderline hoarder and don't throw things like that away.  I took off the letters that spelled "shower" and stuck on some little letters to spell "thankful".  See what I did there?  Added to a clearance wreath from Michaels and voila.  I feel like Martha.


For the pumpkin...I used white acrylic paint I had on-hand and a sponge brush.  Then I applied tacky glue all over the stem while the paint was still wet.  I pressed glitter to the stem and then sprinkled glitter on the white paint keeping it heavy at the top and allowing it to fall lightly around the bottom.

I literally did this in a box in the middle of my living room while Leo was uncharacteristally enthralled with a new toy.  Then I dragged the box outside and vacuumed all the leaves and glitter off my rug.  Of course…glitter is now still appearing in random places all over my house…like Leo's head.  But that's the sacrifice you make for art.  I just pretend like Ke$ha and her backup dancers came over for coffee.  Because Ke$ha likes glitter.  Get it? And coffee? Oh never mind.

Roasted Veggie Dip
This dip is packed full of flavor and nutrients.  It's great for a party because it's covers all the bases for high-maintenence people (myself included) with food allergies and dietary preferences these days.   It's Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free…you name it!

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
1 red onion
2 red peppers
3-5 garlic cloves
1 eggplant
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3-4 Tbs. Tomato Paste
Sea Salt

Cut veggies into uniform pieces - about 1 inch thick.  Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO & salt.  Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes.

Allow roasted veggies to cool.  Then transfer to food processor and add EVOO and tomato paste.  Add more salt if needed.  That's it!

Enjoy with carrot sticks, or healthy chips like these sprouted sweet potato chips.

Lemon Sparkler
This is a great alternative to soda for a party or just everyday.

1 lemon
1-2 apples
1/2 inch ginger
Add juice to a pitcher of Sparkling Water
(If too sour for your taste…add 1 tsp local honey to sweeten)


Friday, November 22, 2013

Leo & Daddy

It's so fun to see Leo's personality starting to emerge.  He's busy, determined, fun-loving.  He has smiling, mischievous eyes…and he always laughs along with us, like he's in on the joke.   He's both energized and comforted by music.  He adores his daddy and is mesmerized when Billy makes beats on his legs. Todaythe drum came out and he couldn't wait to join in the fun.  

I think I'm in for years of noisy rhythms in this house.  I couldn't be happier.  :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

$650 Giveaway. Winner takes all.

My pal, Jami Nato, is giving away $650 worth of fabulous goodies on her blog today and I'm excited to be a part of it!  So head over to to enter to win this red ikat Stella & Dot bag worth $89 among UH-Mazing prizes that will just make your year.  

Good luck!  Hope ya win!  

Want to see other Stella & Dot Bags and accessories?  Shop here!

Cute, huh?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Family Photo Sesh

It was high time for some real family photos.  So far we mostly have just iPhone photos and Instagrams. I really want to get better about documenting, printing, and ORGANIZING our life in photos.  Organization is not my spiritual gift.

So we had a mini session with our talented, beautiful friend, Sionnie LaFollette. She is currently in India capturing amazing stories with her camera and the Joyn organization.  Follow her amazing travels on Instagram and at  

Thanks for the fun photos, Sionnie!


I love Sionnie's sense of humor.  This may need to be our Christmas card.  lol.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Steps of Faith Foundation

In April, Billy took on a new job as the Executive Director of a non-profit called Steps of Faith. Steps of Faith provides prosthetic care to amputees who need financial support. I'm so proud of how Billy is growing this foundation from the ground up. Exciting stuff is happening and we are so encouraged to see God working and bringing the right people into our lives who want to help this cause. Visit to learn more. 

(And watch this awesome video by our pal Angelo Simeone.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Life Lately with Essential Oils...

My friend, Mary, introduced me to  Essential Oils last spring.  She offered a class for how to use them with newborns, babies, and children.  At the time, Leo was only a few months old.  I was petrified that he was going to get sick.  I also was looking for natural options to avoid toxins in baby products.  I was hooked!

I had no idea what I was doing when I first started…but I continue to learn more and more about the power of these oils.  They are amazing!  Here are a few ways I've been using them lately…
  • Leo was constipated for 3 days - Lemon on his tummy and back (diluted with coconut oil).  This works magic! OMG.  Craziness.
  • Billy had a bad cold and cough coming on - 2 drops each of Frankincense, Oregano, Protective Blend, Melaleuca, and Lemon in a capsule twice a day.  (Knocked it out in 2 days!)
  • I was worried about getting the cold so I did the same thing.
  • I was worried about Leo getting the cold so I diffused the Protective Blend in the house
  • Leo is teething and having trouble going down for naps - rubbed the Calming Blend diluted on his chest and he went to bed calmly, without crying.
  • Leo started tugging at his ear one morning - I rubbed Melaleuca around the ear, put a drop of Basil on a cotton ball in each ear. No more tugging.
  • Billy had a flare up of "phantom pain" in his leg - Frankincense applied to his leg calms it down so he can sleep.
  • Billy ate too much cheese and had a bad stomach reaction - He rubbed The Digestive Blend on his stomach and felt relief.
  • I felt a UTI coming on around 10pm…can't call the doctor and really don't want to take antibiotics.  Took a capsule with 2 drops Frankincense, 6 drops Oregano, 6 drops Protective Blend.  Went to bed and woke up completely symptom free in the morning.

I don't know what I did before we had these!  Amazing stuff.  Email me at if you want to know more about the brand we use or want to know how to purchase.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A day off...

Today was a day of rest, fun and family time.  Billy decided to take a much needed day off after many days of working and traveling.  

We started the day with some Urban Juicer…just to get some nutrients and our immunity on.  WB = The Well Being.  

Kale, Spinach, Apple, Cucumber, Ginger, Lemon

The Cold Buster = Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Ginger.  Heck, yeah.

Then to something not quite as healthy…Barista Parlor in East Nashville.  This place was built for Instagram.  I swear.  Uber hip.  Shoot, even the napkins are hipsters.  But equally as yummy.  

(So...Billy snuck in a few emails…but, hey.)

Let's just be honest.  I have a hankering for biscuits pretty much every day.  Barista does them right…and gluten-free.  My dream come true.  Add locally made PRB sausage, The Peach Trunk preserves, and an iced almond milk mocha…and I'm in lactose-free heaven.

A picnic outside at Sevier Park in 12 South with some g-free goodies from A Matter of Taste.  

Such a warm, awesome day.  No shoes needed.  Tomorrow it's supposed to snow…so we're soaking this up while we can.

I've always wanted to see the view from the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge.  Today was the perfect day.  We caught it just before sunset.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Leo's Birth Story

As I start to type this story, I well up with tears.  I feel like having a preemie caused some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Billy and I kind of joke about it…the PTSD.  But it's real.  Certain little things will trigger it for each of us.  I like to avoid things that make me too emotional.  However, I have a sense of urgency more than ever to capture moments and memories.  I forget so easily.  I want to share these moments and stories with Leo as he grows up.  So here's the story of when Leo Harris was born.  

Leo was born January 10, 2013.  His due date was February 22, 2013.  For those of you who are terrible at math like me, that's roughly 6 weeks early.  I had a very normal, easy pregnancy for the most part.  My doctor confirmed that everything was progressing normally at each checkup.  On January 8th, I felt great.  I worked a full but non-eventful day.  Billy and I made dinner, watched TV, and went to bed around 10pm.  

At midnight…I woke up to a bed full of water.  I was so confused. Did my bladder burst?  Nothing hurt.  I felt fine.  Better change the sheets and go back to bed right?  (Billy is Googling:  What is it like when your water breaks?)  I'm in our attic room getting new sheets.  He suggests I call the doctor, who says, "Um honey…ya better come on in to the hospitaaal."  Well, ok.  But I have to get up early in the morning..  I know this is a false alarm or something.  Can you say, denial?

On the way to the hospital, I start contracting.  It starts to sink in.  This baby is coming.  I'm not ready.  I have no cute bag packed.  I'm in the middle of DIBLES reading testing the entire school.  My desk is a mess. I promised Mrs. Weaver I'd read to her class.  I have no pajamas.  I haven't picked a pediatrician.  OMG.  Is the baby ready?  Will he be ok?  Is he big enough to come this early?  Will they put me on bed rest?  We can't afford that.  I only have 6 weeks off.  How will we pay for this?

Then I just start praying.  I am not in control.  God is in control.
The first lesson of motherhood.  We have to give our kids to the Lord.  They are His.

After a sonogram and a series of tests, the doctor's determine that Leo would be about 5 pounds.  They allowed me to go into active labor instead of trying to slow down the contractions.  They had confidence he would be o.k.  but would most likely need help breathing until his lungs developed.

Then throughout my labor…God gave me an unexplainable peace.  I shed a few tears, but I came to terms that Leo might need special care.  He will most likely be in the NICU…something I never even imagined would happen.  But he's in the arms of Jesus.  We both are.

I tried to proceed with my plan for a natural childbirth.  But after 22 hours…I gave in to the epidural.  Natural childbirth doesn't go so well with fetal monitors, IV's and laying flat on your back.  I had so much fear about getting an epidural.  I mean…they make you sign a waiver that you understand you might have a long list of side effects. One of which is death.  Ugh.  But I knew it was the right thing to do to relax and make it through the next several hours of labor.

Fast forward to 2:42 a.m. and our precious boy was born.  Screaming with strong lungs and making our hearts leap with gratefulness, relief, and excitement.  My doctor knew my longing for skin to skin time when he was born.  She knew I wanted to wait several minutes to cut the cord.  She did her best to let those things happen, but the NICU team was there holding their breath knowing they needed to assess Leo.  There wasn't time to hold him and gaze.  There wasn't time for photo shoots.  It felt like seconds and he was whisked to the NICU.  Where he needed to be of course…but it was heartbreaking.

The NICU became our home away from home.  It's this beautiful, peaceful, quiet little bubble in the hospital.  It almost feels like another planet.  However, there is something so excruciating and unnatural about giving birth to a baby, leaving him in someone else's care, and then going home and pumping breast milk.  We were there for 10 days.  However, 10 days is breath compared to the amount of time many of the sweet families we encountered in the NICU have to endure.  We were so thankful.   Leo was able to breathe on his own.  He only needed a feeding tube for a couple of days and he was able to start on breast milk right away.  He was a fighter.  He was tiny but strong and healthy.  We started to see the blessings in it all.  We had time when the NICU was closed to go get the supplies we needed.  We got one-on-one expert advice from pediatric nurses and surgeons, CPR coaches, and lactation specialists.  It was like on the job training for us.  

Thank you, Jesus, for our precious, tiny boy.  Your timing is perfect. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Leo's 1st Halloween

This was Leo's 1st Halloween and he was our little lion.  
Because…c'mon.  We had to.  

And because I love a good theme…Billy and I were lion tamers. 

Billy just broke the news to Leo that he's too young for Reece's Peanut Butter Cups.

 Thanks to our friend Jeremy Mitchell for the photos!