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Monday, June 22, 2015

Our Paleo Staples

It's hard to believe that I have been eating Paleo for almost a full year now. This lifestyle has completely changed the way Mike and I view food and has made us aware of our bodies and how they work.

At first, it took me a while to grocery shop, making sure I read all of the labels and knowing what I couldn't have. In time, my staple items started to become well known and I realized I didn't miss the things I couldn't eat, which include:
  1. No dairy
  2. No grains
  3. No legumes
  4. No refined, processed sugar
  5. No refined oil
  6. No processed foods
  7. No alcohol
Now I don't think twice about the food I can't have and really don't miss anything too much. Every now and then a nice glass of wine is needed, but my body has really changed and I have seen a difference from the whole, clean food that I eat. 

For all those starting out, or wanting to try Paleo, here are our staples for the pantry and refrigerator:

Almond flour- Trader Joe's (TJ) or Bob's Red Mill (BRM)
Coconut flour- TJ or BRM
Tapioca Flour- TJ or BRM
Coconut flakes- TJ or BRM
Dark chocolate chips- Enjoy Life (HEB, Whole Foods (WF), Central Market)
Coconut Milk- Full Fat- TJ, HEB, WF
Curry paste- HEB- international aisle
Maple Syrup- Grade B- HEB, WF
Honey- organic, local
Almond Butter- HEB (fresh, made there), WF- make sure no added sugar
Sunbutter Butter- HEB- creamy, no added sugar
Coconut Oil- we buy it in bulk at Costco
Coconut Butter- WF- Artisana brand
Olive Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar
Coconut Aminos- like soy sauce without soy- HEB or WF
Vanilla Extract
Baking Powder 
Baking Soda
Spices- lots! I buy as I use different recipes
Nuts- pecans, cashews, pistachios, walnuts
Dried fruit- make sure no added sugar & limit- buy Made In Nature brand at Costco
Lara bars- Lemon Bar, Pecan Pie, Blueberry Muffin, Apple Pie and Cherry Pie
Epic Bars- Turkey & Beef
Tuna cans
Salmon cans- use for salmon cakes
Canned pumpkin- use a lot of this in the Winter for soup
Tomato paste- no sugar
Diced tomatos- no sugar
Sundried tomatos- no sugar

Eggs- buy in bulk
Almond milk- no added sugar
Kerrygold butter- grass-fed butter
Frozen fruits and veggies
Applegate hotdogs
Bacon- Applegate Turkey bacon, Pederson's
Mustard- regular, brown, and dijon
Sparkling waters- HEB brand or La Croix 
Meat: all kinds! pork, chicken, beef, ground turkey, etc.- I just always check to make sure no sugar
Fish- salmon filets, shrimp
Lemon and lime juice

Fruit- apples, berries, bananas, seasonal fruits
Veggies- sweet potatoes, onion, squash, bell peppers, avocado, green beans, spinach, cherry tomatoes

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day!

This weekend is all about our dads and celebrating the role they hold in our lives. Mike and I are looking forward to seeing both dads this weekend and showering them in love and laughs.

Here are my gift ideas for dads:

Sword & Plough: This brand is incredible. I heard about them at TxSC and knew that I had to check them out when I got home. They take military surplus material, add some leather and clasps, use veteran owned and operated manufactures, and give 10% of their earnings back to veteran initiatives. How awesome is that? AND their bags are beautiful (handsome). 

Brute cooler: What dad doesn't need a good cooler? Brute not only is made in America, it also keeps things cold for days, which is great for hunting, fishing, camping trips! They come in all sizes and if you are looking for a great cooler let me know... I have a contact:)

Cole Haan: Their shoes are so classic and extremely handsome. Mike has a few pairs of their shoes and always says how comfortable they are. Their LunarGrand shoes are a combination of Cole Haan's classic look on top of the Nike Lunarlon sole. A great, fashionable dress shoe!

Happy Socks: I love these! A great gift that adds flare to the work outfit. There are so many to choose from, but their red, white and blue one's come at a great time for both Father's Day and July 4th! 

Beer: This is always a classic for our dads because they love trying out new ones. The beers that Mike has been loving at the moment and wanting to share with our dads are Big Wave (made in Hawaii), Staycation (made in Houston), and Alamo beer (made in San Antonio). We have found all of these at Specs and Total Wine. 

Have a great weekend and Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Day In Fredericksburg

With my siblings on summer break, I thought it would be fun to take a few days off to hang out with them for a few days. We did everything from playing board games, to swimming, to getting my oil changed, to fitting 4 people in a king sized bed.

Friday was all planned around a dentist appointment. I had been waiting for my step-mom to be my dentist for five years, 4 in school and one of me being lazy, but I was finally able to take off and see her at her Fredericksburg office. With that planned, I decided it would be a blast to hang out in the quaint town with them and go to Enchanted Rock and get some famous Fredericksburg peaches. With the kids on board, we headed out at 5:30 am. There is nothing funnier than abruptly waking up a 13 year old and watching them get dressed while still half asleep. Note to self, record it next time.

After three of the four of us had our teeth worked on, we finally made the short trip to Enchanted Rock. The kids were in awe of how big it was and how something like that can form. It was absolutely beautiful. There were times where we had to make pit stops, but we were basically walking vertical. We could have spent a few more hours there, but we ended up cutting it short to meet Cara for lunch and Hondo's. If you're looking for a good burger, I definitely recommend this place!

 {i promise they were happy}
 {loved the yellow flowers}

 {it was so windy}
 {brotherly love}
{kristen and lilly kate are little specs}

After lunch, Cara recommended we go to Clear River to get the kids ice cream. It is an old school diner with classic milk shakes and a great bakery. While the kids picked out their flavors, I grabbed some cookies to take back to Cara's office as a thank you.

It was time to head home, but not without stopping at a peach stand first. Das Peach Haus was on the way out, so Lilly Kate and I got out to pick the perfect ones.

It was a great two days off with the kids and glad I got to check off one thing from my summer wish list!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Gone Glamping

It started two weekends ago when my mom called on a Thursday and asked us to meet them camping that weekend. Loved the spontaneity. They rented an RV for the weekend and were headed to Garner State Park to celebrate my Step-dad's upcoming birthday. We had never gone "glamping" before and were used to pitching tents, but let me tell you! I don't know if I will be able to tent camp again. We were totally spoiled, but it was so nice. It would be so fun to do that with a group of friends for a weekend!

I didn't take my camera on the river or to the Saturday night dance, but those were some other things we did at the park. The river was higher than it has been in years and was a great, long float. Something unique to Garner is their Saturday night dance. We used to go growing up, so it was neat seeing how it hadn't changed over the years. I can't wait to go again!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Books, Books, Books.

Growing up, I thought I hated reading because they made us do it so much in class. But what it turned out to be was the schedule they put us on. I didn't like reading a certain amount by a certain time. Thank goodness that is over! I have found reading to be one of my favorite things to do and I crave new books and the stories they hold. Our little apartment book self makes me so happy because it holds all the books I love and go back to.

There are so many great books coming out that it makes it hard for me to narrow the list, but these have my attention at the moment: 

The Nightingale- Kristen Hannah gets me. Or maybe I get her. I find myself gravitating to all of her books and she never lets me down. If you have a chance to read some of her others { Firefly Lane, Winter Garden} you should. I can't wait to get my hands on this one, though! Click here for the summary.

Paper Towns- His book The Fault In Our Stars nearly made my heart stop, so naturally I wanted to keep reading his books. Paper Towns is coming out on the big screen soon, so I have to finish before I see it:) Click here for the summary.

Brain Maker- I learned so much from him in his book Grain Brain. It amazes me that food can have such a lasting impact on your life and yet we still choose to make bad choices. I can't wait to learn more in this book. Click here for the summary.

Everything I Never Told You- Not only does the summary sound catching and mysterious, but it was most frequently bought with Girl On A Train and All The Light We Cannot See. Yep, it's a must read.

Luckiest Girl Alive- The main character has a secret..dun, dun, dunnnn. What is that secret?! I must read to find out. Click here for the summary.

The Rocks- This story takes place on the Mediterranean and uncovers why two lovers have decided to split. Anything that makes me day dream of the Mediterranean has my attention. Click here for the summary.

Although my book summaries pail in comparison to Amazon's, I hope you found some of them as interesting as I did. And I am always on the lookout for new books, so please share ones you're interested in or have already fallen in love with! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Wardrobe

Summer is on the brain and I am loving our weekends spent outside. I have packed up all of my winter clothes and put them high up in the closet and I think it's only right to replace the open space with new clothes, don't you? We also have Hawaii coming up in August and I have already mentally started packing. Here are some of my favorites for this summer:

Overalls: I used to rock these babies all the time! When I was little I would carry around pebbles in my front pocket and not take them out in time for the wash... I may have ruined a washing machine. I am so excited they are making a come back and I need to get my hands on the perfect pair. I love these.

Day dress: This dress looks extremely comfortable and I love the little knot in the front to shake it up. It takes it from cute to "I have to buy this".

Bathing suit: I have seen so many bathing suit tops lately that have a "sports bra" look. I am all about that. I'm thinking this one would be perfect when we are boating around the Na Pali Coast.

Birkenstocks: Mike surprised me with a pair of these last summer in a icy blue color and it has been nearly impossible for me to wear any other shoe. I would, however, enjoy a pair of these! Hint, hint, Michael. 

Salt Water Sandals: Ok, I would also enjoy these:) These have been on my wish list for about 2 summers now, but always get put on the back burned because of the whole online shopping thing. I guess I like the instant gratification of buying things in store and walking out with it. But that stops this summer! I love these too much to go 3 summers in a row!

Tee: Bring on the comfy, cute tees. There is nothing like a cute t-shirt that feels like it has been washed 1,000 times. Those are my favorite and this one not only makes me giddy, but looks like it feels like rabbit fur. {It could also double as a bathing suit cover up!}

Sunnies: What's summer without a new pair of sunglasses? These look too cute and come in multiple colors. It's a toss up between the pink and the teal... i guess both will do:)

Happy Monday, friends and here to summer!! Also, Team USA plays today in the Women's World Cup if you have a chance to cheer them on against Australia you should:) Go USA! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer Adventures

Summer has quickly approached and I am longing for the {what felt like} endless amount of days off like we got as kids. Too bad I had to grow up.. and have bills.. I digress. In a way to connect with the summer months, I have created a wish list of things I want to do before fall hits.

{robyn ashlyn}

Summer 2015 Wish List:
Make my own recipe- I have been wanting to do this for a while, but it seems like it will take a little time. Definitely a summer task.

Bake Paleo donuts- I have everything I need to make these babies, I just need to do it! I'm thinking apple cinnamon, or strawberry..

Watch Breakfast At Tiffany's- I have been wanting to watch this classic for a looong time, but never remember it when looking for a new movie. That is about to change.

Go to Enchanted Rock- there is something so magical about this place. Mike and I went our first month of dating, so I think its time for round 2.

Rent bikes downtown and ride around the Missions- I have lived in San Antonio for almost eight years and I still haven't seen the missions. I can't wait for this one!

Go to Top Golf- I feel like everyone and their mom has been but me. It's either too late or too expensive, so I need to find the perfect time and just go. It seems like it's such a fun time and like I can actually be some what decent at it!

Make numerous flower arrangements- my step-mom and I found our love of flowers when we were doing my cousins wedding back in September. It has become an outlet for us and I find myself craving that peaceful time. I am so excited!

Make and enjoy an acai bowl- my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Ever since I read Jen's and Taza's post on acai bowls I have been wanting to create my own. This week a friend and I ventured to Jamba Juice because they have one, but they didn't have almond milk to swap out with soy. I can't wait to try it!

Take a photography course/lesson- I absolutely love my new camera and want to learn all there is to know! It has been fun tinkering around and reading Pinterest articles, but I think it would be fun to learn from someone with far more experience. Gotta step up my game..

Read- the two books (ish) on my summer reading list are #girlboss and I say (ish) because I want to start the Harry Potter series. I have started the first one 5 times and read the 4th. I think it's time to attack this series because I know I will love them! Oh, and this one's cover has captivated me for a while now and I need to dive in!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Salmon Cakes

Growing up, I had a major thing for Luby's salmon cakes. The Luann platter... I mean, was there anything better? I have always loved them, but never thought to make them myself or with healthy ingredients until about a year ago. The recipe in It Starts With Food has made making these bad boys so quick with just a few ingredients. I make them every time with intentions of having leftovers for the next day's lunch, but that NEVER happens. Thanks to this recipe I can now have my nostalgic fix without feeling blah.

Recipe from here:

No-Fuss Salmon Cakes
  • 1 can 14.75 oz wild-caught pink salmon
  • 1 cup canned sweet potatoes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 2 scallions (white and green, very thinly sliced)
  • 2 Tbsp minced dill (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp hot-pepper sauce
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter or coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. and cover baking sheet with foil or parchment. Open the salmon cakes and drain the liquid. Use your fingers to crumble the salmon into a large mixing bowl, removing bones. Add all remaining ingredients- except butter/oil- and mix with wooden spoon until well combined. Pop into the fridge to chill for 5-10 minutes. Brush the foil/parchment with the melted butter/oil then use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop out salmon mixture and drop onto parchment. The cakes should be about 2 1/2 inch wide and about 1 inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip each patty with a spatula and return to the oven. Bake 10 minutes more, until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and Tartar sauce. (all instructions from It Start's With Food)

Watch out... they're addicting...

**Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY on This Little Drum's Instagram before it ends tomorrow morning!! **

Monday, June 1, 2015

This Little Drum GIVEAWAY!

Hi friends! I am so extremely excited to be doing my first giveaway! I have teamed up with Flower and Vine and am so excited to be giving away four of her pieces; Texas map, Quail print, 1 Thessalonians 5:16, and Joshua 1:19   . Head over to @thislittledrum on Instagram to enter and make sure to check out her website for more of her beautiful designs!

Happy Monday!