This sh*t is BANANAS, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

This sh*t is BANANAS, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Hi, @amandaaanicole_ here again!

It is the holidays now and everyone automatically thinks PUMPKIN SPICE. But gingerbread- is on another level when it comes to desserts!

I think peanut butter makes just about everything better, including banana bread, but have you tried GINGERBREAD, peanut butter banana bread? If you are a peanut butter lover, you are going to go bananas for this banana bread recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups paleo flour of your choice (I use sprouted spelt flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 cup mashed brown bananas (you will need 3 large brown bananas)

1/2 cup Wild Friends GINGERBREAD creamy peanut butter blend

1/4 cup organic butter, melted

1/2 cup organic maple syrup

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork. Add the peanut butter and melted butter and stir until combined.

Stir in the maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract, until smooth.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth, but don’t over-mix.

Pour batter into your baking pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Check the bread at 50 minutes, just to be safe. Not everyone’s oven is the same!

Remove the pan from the oven and let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack (your oven top Works too) until slightly warm. Cut into slices and serve!

Top with more Wild Friends gingerbread peanut butter and chocolate chips for added UMPH! 🙂 you can use my code amanda20 on wild Friends website! Enjoy!

Health inspired Grocery Shopping

SHOPPING. Especially Grocery shopping. Some people hate it, but as for me, it’s a venture I look forward to and I love doing.

Whole Foods is def one of the best grocery stores because it offers a large amount of healthy options HOWEVER it also discourages a lot of people because it is SO EXPENSIVE. I love going there- it’s like an amusement park, but I do not do my regular shopping there because I’d go broke. Real life. My go to grocery store is Trader Joe’s! I also love going to Sprouts, Ralph’s and Whole Foods for select items!

Compared to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s is so affordable!

Anywho-

There are certain foods that are a MUST when it comes to buying organic vs. non organic, especially in the produce section. Being knowledgeable of this, no doubt, helps reduce mine and my family’s pesticide consumption, which does numbers for your health. I don’t buy everything organic. Why? There are certain foods that are non-organic which are least likely to be contaminated with pesticides. Always choose organic as often as possible, but if you’re on a budget or your selection is limited, these lists help you focus your attention on avoiding the most contaminated fruits and veggies.

For example: STRAWBERRIES. If they don’t offer a certain fruit or vegetable as organic, OR it is just way too pricey that day(it happens), I’ll always opt for something else, or skip it. No biggie. Without a doubt, I will always do my best to consume grass-fed, organic, and humanely raised, whenever possible.

ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC:

1 Strawberries

2 Spinach

3 Nectarines

4 Apples

5 Peaches

6 Pears

7 Cherries

8 Grapes

9 Celery

10 Tomatoes

11 Sweet Bell Peppers

12 Potatoes

13 Animal products

14 Animal protein

These are foods are ones that have the highest levels of pesticides and are almost ALWAYS contaminated with chemicals.

DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ORGANIC:

1 Avocados

2 Sweet Corn

3 Pineapples

4 Cabbage

5 Onions

6 Frozen Sweet Peas

7 Papayas

8 Asparagus

9 Mangos

10 Eggplant

11 Honeydew

12 Kiwi

13 Cantaloupe

14 Cauliflower

15 Broccoli

Another $$ tip! Another way to save money is to shop seasonally and locally at your nearest farmer’s market! Secondly, choose produce in season. It will ALWAYS taste fresher, be less expensive, and contain more nutrients.

So let’s talk shopping!

These items are always on hand in my house. Most of them last for a while so I don’t find myself buying them every time I go to the store. But if I run out, I’m definitely snagging them!

Here is my staples grocery haul:

Produce:

Organic romaine lettuce

Organic sweet potatoes

Organic Brussel sprouts

Organic Cucumber

Avocado

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Mushrooms

Organic carrots

Onion

Asparagus

Organic Apples

Bananas

Organic Strawberries

Organic dates

Snacks:

Sprouted nuts

Organic popcorn

Simple Mills Crackers/Cookies

Organic Juice

Hippeas BBQ chickpea puffs

Square Organics protein bars

Perfect bars

Refrigerated / Frozen:

Vital Farms pasture-raised eggs or Organic pasture raised eggs

Kite Hill cream cheese / Organic cream cheese

Siete tortillas

Organic block of cheddar cheese

Plain Organic Greek Yogurt

Siggis yogurt

Organic Ground Beef

Organic Chicken Breasts

Organic Chicken Sausage

Hummus

Riced Cauliflower

Unsweetened Almond Milk

Organic 2% milk

Organic Half & Half

Cauliflower gnocchi

Organic Applegate hot dogs

Organic cottage cheese

Spices & Oils:

Simply Organic Foods Spices

Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

Organic Olive Oil

Organic Coconut Oil

Organic BBQ sauce

Chosen Foods salad dressings

Primal kitchen foods salad dressings

Organic ketchup

Primal kitchen foods ranch

Bite-Sized Balance

As most of you realize by now, I am incredibly devoted to feeding my body the necessary ingredients that it needs, ensuring that it runs efficiently. This translates to feeding my body REAL food. Now, this is not all about me. I am a mom, and I have babies to care for. So my habits follow with needing to feed my children real food too. I want my children to grow up knowing it is totally normal to eat five different fruits and vegetables per day, and that “green” is an okay color to eat! Although it may be minuscule, I also like to think I am doing my part to help fight the child obesity issue that has risen in our country, by making it very easy for my children, including my infant, to have access to REAL food.

As far as baby food goes, there is a distinct difference between freshly made baby food and jarred baby food. There are a few select brands of “pouched” baby food brands I will feed my kids that are all organic and cold pressed, and normally will just buy them if we are out and about and she needs something quick and healthy!

In order to make jarred or pouched baby food, it needs to be cooked at extremely high temperatures in order to kill the bacteria for a longer “storage life,” which simultaneously removes most of the food’s vitamins and nutrients as well as depletes the taste. Following with the depletion of nutritional benefits, two of the main differences would be the textures as well as the tastes. I don’t want to regularly feed my babies these jarred baby foods, just to have to reintroduce the real deal to them when they’re old enough to start eating whole foods. I want my kids to be very familiar with the flavors and textures, so I started right away!

Real food textures such as banana, sweet potato, cauliflower, are not found in jarred baby foods. Is there even a cauliflower baby food? Some foods do not come available jarred and I don’t want to limit their exposure of food to only what is available to me on aisle 4. Some may argue that it is cheaper, but I am not mainly concerned with saving the money.

However, I won’t deny the benefit of saving on cost. At an average of $1.00 per serving of a decent baby food brand, you could be spending up to $45.00 per week- nearly $200 a month! By making your own purees, you’ll spend a fraction of that. A mere $0.10 or less per serving, which is less than $5.00 a week. Makes “cents,” right? Lol.

What do I use to make my baby food? Thanks to Baby Brezza, I am able to make all of my baby’s meals using the baby food maker. I feel so good about giving my babies homemade food right from the start – free of preservatives, hormones and other unnecessary additives. Organic, pure foods as one would call them!

When I make my own baby food with my Baby Brezza baby food maker, I know exactly what I am feeding my baby. I can choose my own fruits, vegetables, and other foods to puree instead of relying on manufacturers to choose for me. You’re definitely not going to find melons, avocados, or cauliflower in the baby food section of the market. JUST SAYIN’. It also prepares my kids to eat the same foods that the rest of the family eats, just in puree form!

The way I prepare and store the baby food that I make varies. I usually steam quite a bit of their favorite fruits and vegetables, then I prepare a few and store them in the Baby Brezza baby food storage containers in my fridge for uses throughout the next few days. Since fresh foods do not have a lengthy shelf life, I also take what is left over and freeze it in silicone ice cube trays! Doing so ables me to go a while without having to prepare so frequently. Once I freeze the purees into cubes, I usually place them in silicone bags, like my stasher bags, so I am able to easily grab a baggy if we are going to be out for the day. Fresh fruits and veggies are typically very easy to distinguish due to their bright colors, however sometimes I’ll label them!

5 of my favorite purees to make for my babies are:

• Banana, oatmeal, blueberries

• Butternut squash and garbanzo beans

• Broccoli, avocado and pears

• Pears, spinach, and quinoa

• Sweet potatoes and cauliflower

All in all, I highly recommend getting yourself a professional baby food maker, and Baby Brezza makes the best one in my opinion! It is so easy! This one has helped me create a healthy lifestyle for me and my babies, and for that I am so thankful!

Thanks for reading!

-Amanda

xoxo

NON TOXIC & ORGANIC MEAL PREP on a budget!

I’m a huge advocate of weekly food prep. I am a mom, and literally never have time to make myself food when my kids are awake. Which is always😂 In addition, i love to meal Prep for my kids and my husband as well so we are all eating healthy as consistently as possible. I firmly believe that setting myself, and my family, up for successful eating for the week plays a major part in our health and happiness!

Food prep is probably the most under-rated, under-utilized healthy living tool. Making it a habit to spend even just one hour on the weekend to prep food can make a huge difference in your food choices during the upcoming week. BUT one thing people don’t know is, even when you buy and cook organic, if you store your food incorrectly it is being contaminated!

Plastic has its role in modern society. It’s an essential part of our life- for example: cars, computers, mobile phones, children’s toys – and practically most everything we use on a day-to-day basis. But there’s one place where plastic has worn out its welcome – and that’s as a container for the food we eat and the water we drink.

The bottom line is that plastic is made from toxic materials. It’s a known fact that these toxins can leach into whatever they come into contact with. And it’s a known fact that when the compounds that make up plastic are ingested, they damage your body on a cellular level and cause health problems.

For example, almost all plastics contain toxic chemicals that have a negative effect on immunity and hormone regulation, both of which directly affect fertility. Specifically, BPA has been found to make it more difficult for women to conceive and to cause increased risk of miscarriages. New research is also showing that toxins found in plastic can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.

Like I said earlier, plastics are a nearly unavoidable part of our everyday lives. But there is a big difference between the plastic on your computer and the plastic that may come into contact with your lunch. You don’t eat your computer.

SOLUTION: USE GLASS. Prep Naturals is a meal prep company that uses GLASS containers to help you cook healthy food, and store it in a healthy way! And I have been lucky enough to provide you with a discount code in order to make your transition a bit less stressful! Code AMANDA15 to use on their site, www.prepnaturals.com !

But anywho, Buying organic, good quality food can be expensive but when meal prepping like this, it is a sure fire way to have good quality, real food meals for a bargain! I GOTCHU!!

5 DAYS OF ORGANIC GROUND BEEF & BBQ CHICKEN MEALS! (Trader Joe’s) Makes 10 containers total!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 large sized ORGANIC chicken breasts
  • 3 packages of ORGANIC ground beef
  • 1 bag of Organic Brown Rice OR 1 box microwaveable frozen brown rice
  • 3 bags organic broccoli florets (depending on how much broccoli you like!)
  • 1 bottle organic sriracha BBQ sauce (or any other organic sauce without canola oil that you like!
  • HOW TO!
    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
      Get 10 GLASS Prep Naturals containers ready on the counter.
      Place your chicken breasts into a oven safe dish, pouring about half the BBQ sauce bottle over the chicken. Brush the sauce so it fully covers the chicken!
      Get a NON TOXIC non stick cookie sheet, and place all of your broccoli florets on the sheet! Lightly spray with avocado oil or olive oil. Season with pink Himalayan sea salt and organic garlic powder.
      Place the chicken (top rack) and the broccoli (middle or bottom rack) in the oven to cook. 20-30 mins.
      Cook your ground beef in a large skillet! Season with garlic powder, pink salt, cumin, southwest seasoning, and any other seasonings you enjoy! (I use Simply organic seasonings for everything!)
      Cook your brown rice accordingly.
      Once your beef is done, drain any excess fat, and scoop it into your Prep Naturals Containers! (I usually do about 3/4 cup of protein per container)
      Add roasted broccoli to all containers (About 1/2 cup)
      Slice chicken and add chicken to the other half of the containers.
      Add brown rice (About 1/2 cup) to each container.
      LET THE FOOD COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE PUTTING LIDS ON AND PLACING IN FRIDGE! Or if you have the Prep Naturals containers, flip the steam hole open to prevent any soggy food!
      ENJOY over the course of the week 🙂

    i

    REAL INGREDIENT PAD THAI

    Another yummy and savory dish comin’ at ya by me, Amanda aka @amandaaanicole_ !!

    I love peanut butter but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth(I know, I’m crazy!) so I find other ways to incorporate it into my dishes! I am a huge fan of pad Thai, however most dishes come with processed noodles or are made with GMO Ingredients that, if consumed in excess over time, will harm your body. So I have created a REAL INGREDIENT alternative recipe, made with simple pantry staples that will blow your mind! Hope you enjoy!!!

    SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

    1/3 cup organic chicken or vegetable stock (water works just fine too!)

    2 tablespoons Organic Tamari (or soy sauce)

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    3 tablespoons of Wild Friends classic creamy peanut butter

    1 tablespoon organic lime juice

    1 tablespoon organic coconut vinegar (you can also use white vinegar)

    1 tablespoon Sriracha

    1 tablespoon Garlic chili sauce (depending on your spice tolerance…if you don’t like spicy use half the amount of sriracha and garlic chili sauce)

    1 teaspoon minced ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

    1 teaspoon minced garlic

    PAD THAI INGREDIENTS:

    4 ounces of organic spinach fettuccini noodles

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    2 organic eggs, beaten

    1 lb. chicken breast, cubed

    1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)

    TO GARNISH (optional):

    Chopped cilantro

    Chopped peanuts (this takes it to a new level!)

    Lime wedges

    Sriracha

    Directions:
    1. Whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside to “fester”
    2. Cook noodles, then drain water and set aside.
    3. Preheat a skillet over medium heat and add sesame oil. Add chicken breast and cook until browned and cooked through.
    4. Push the chicken over to one side of the skillet and pour the beaten eggs into the skillet and scramble the egg in the skillet.
    5. Add the noodles to the skillet and then pour the sauce over the noodles. Cook on low for 5 mins, stirring frequently!
    6. Serve, and top with desired toppings and adjust spice level with more Sriracha!

    I love oat milk, a latte!

    Hello!

    I am here to share a little recipe with you all!

    You’ve all heard of, and no doubt have used all sorts of non-dairy milk, but did you know that you can make your own milk from oats?!

    Oat Milk is a great option for people who avoid dairy but are also allergic to nuts. It is also a great gluten-free option as long as you buy certified gluten-free rolled oats. And the best part about this milk, is that it’s quick and so easy to do!!

    Oat milk and breastfeeding:

    Many mothers struggle with increasing breast milk supply. Throughout pregnancy, the body is preparing to produce nature’s ultimate baby food. An adequate diet that includes a variety of healthy foods is crucial and directly linked to how much breast milk you can produce. If your diet lacks nutrition, your body will tap on its own reserves, not only leaving you feeling fatigued, weak and drained, but also will not produce at its fullest.

    Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, when made with fresh milk and nutritious oats, oat milk is one of the few natural beverages that fulfills the nutritious food criteria. But if you are- it enhances breast milk production due to the all of the vitamins and minerals that oats contain!

    What you will need:

    • oats

    • water

    • dates, salt, vanilla

    • a sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag

    • a blender

    Instructions

    1. Add 1 cup oats to a large bowl with water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

    2. Strain the oats, discarding the liquid (you can use a sieve or a colander with small holes). Then rinse the oats very well a number of times under running water. (DON’T SKIP THIS)

    3. Put the rinsed oats into a blender with 1 teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of salt and 2 medjool dates.

    5. Cover with around 3 cups of purified water and blend until it’s as smooth a you can get it (1-3 minutes).  Check the thickness and add more water if you feel like it’s too thick, and amounts to your desired consistency. (Hint: if you want to use it as coffee creamer keep it thicker!)

    6. Strain 2 or 3 times through a sieve, or once through a nut milk bag.

    7. Pour into a lidded container and store in the fridge! Will last 3-4 days.

    OAT MILK LATTE RECIPE:

    I love me a nice cold iced coffee! And being a mother of 2 babies under the age of 2, Y’ALL KNOW I NEED IT! I am not a huge coffee drinker, because I don’t care too much for the bitterness that coffee comes with. However, I came up with a power punch of a cup that I can’t go a day without!!

    I use:

    • 8-12 oz of ORGANIC coffee or cold brew

    • 2 scoops of collagen peptides

    • 4-6 oz of oat milk (+ or – depending on your taste preference)

    • Optional: packet of your preferred sweetener and/or creamer

    Instructions

    All you do is add all ingredients to a blender, blend it up, and serve hot or over ice! Another option, if you don’t feel like whipping out a blender over a cup of coffee, use a protein shaker cup! Add all contents to the shaker and shake it up for about 20 seconds and it’ll create a nice froth! Hint: if you enjoy it hot, add a couple shakes of cinnamon on top!

    Hope you all enjoy!!

    Xoxo,

    Amanda

    My Second Trimester 

    A couple of weeks ago, I posted about what my first trimester of pregnancy was like. Those times back when I was trying my hardest to keep it a secret, but spending the majority of my days hugging the toilet… So today, I thought I’d continue along and share the details of my second trimester! 

    The second trimester was a freakin DREAM compared to my first trimester. First of all, my fears of miscarriage started to fade. It was extremely comforting to know that the risk of miscarriage drops to 10 percent (or less) in the second trimester. I became far more upbeat and positive as a result of this knowledge!  

     

     

    Sometime around week 14 or 15, the morning sickness started to let up. This had a HUGE impact on my happiness. Don’t get me wrong- I was really grateful to experience the nausea, as it reassured me that things were most likely going well. However, being sick most hours out of the day for months on end while pretending I wasn’t pregnant was tough, and I became a little down and out because of it. Second trimester was so much easier, though, and as a result, so was functioning as a human being!

     

    I definitely wouldn’t say I became the stereotypical pregnant lady in terms of eating, but my appetite returned. And while I didn’t have too many cravings, fruits and vegetables were definitely my thing! 

     

     

    Shortly after the beginning of my second trimester, I started to feel the baby move! At first, it just kind of felt like a little fluttering movement, but around week 17/18 I started to feel more significant kicks. Guys, it’s such a surreal experience, and it makes everything so much more… real!

     

    I had a bit thicker and faster growing hair! It was a very welcomed change. I’d struggled with fine, thin hair for years, but my hair started growing during the second trimester, and it became noticeably thicker! Of course, it all falls out after the baby comes, but I’ve definitely been enjoying it. 😉

    I’ve always been a belly-sleeper, but by the second trimester, you’re really supposed to transition to your side. Sleeping on your stomach becomes nearly impossible, as the bump doesn’t allow for it. This transition was SO hard for me! I ended up propping myself against a ton of pillows to help, so sleeping got a little easier… until week 26… where my 3rd trimester insomnia kicked in early!

     

    I was taken out of work at week 22 of my pregnancy. My UC flare up was getting worse and my doctors wanted me resting to give my body every advantage to healing, especially while I’m trying to grow a human! I spent most of my time at home, snuggling my toddler, getting some things done I had been putting off, and just mentally preparing for this new babe to come!

     

    During the back half of the second trimester, specifically after I was placed on house arrest by my doctors, I really started to “nest.” So basically, I started to freak out over the fact that construction on the nursery hadn’t started and I basically spent Arlyn’s nap times cleaning every nook and cranny of my house every day. As for the nursery, I continued to freak out until… last week, when construction started! Woohoo!

     

    As far as workouts go, I’ll just say I haven’t done diddly SQUAT. No pun intended. Partially because I am supposed to be resting, and partially because the second half of my second trimester has been SO TIRING. I am not sure if it’s because I haven’t been sleeping, if it’s because I have a toddler to keep after, or if it is due to the blood loss/iron deficiency from my flare up. I am thinking it’s a combination of everything. My energy is just NOT THERE. And that’s okay. It gives me something to look forward to after baby comes!

     

    Despite my knowledge of every pregnancy is different… I spent way too much time comparing my experiences to those of my first pregnancy, my family, friends and internet acquaintances, until I finally realized about halfway through that one size doesn’t fit all. Everyone is different, and therefore experience different “symptoms.”



    Least favorite things about the second trimester? 

    Contractions (started at week 27 this time around), seemingly sciatica pains, pregnancy-induced insomnia, and the huge Ulcerative Colitis flare up.

    Favorite things about the second trimester?

    I loved the small spurt of energy I gained for a hole there (or felt like I gained compared to the first trimester) and not falling asleep on the couch at 9pm every night.

    Also, starting to feel my baby kick, which was amazing! Whenever I felt something I would get so excited and call my husband over to put his hand on my belly… and then nothing would happen. It took a couple weeks for my baby’s kicks to be consistent enough for my husband to feel them. Although it can get uncomfortable toward the end, it is such a cool sensation to feel him moving around in there. Even though I could feel the movements internally, I would pretty much always have one hand on my belly. Feeling him kick is really the best thing ever and probably my favorite thing about being pregnant! 🙂

     

     

    Tips for the second trimester?
    This is the time of the pregnancy that you are going to feel the most normal. Plan the baby’s room, put together the bed, decide when you will take off work and for how long – all those things that require a sane brain. The Second Trimester is the sanest you’ll be for a while. After that- it’s insane in the membrane for a long, long time. People call it pregnancy brain, but that’s just a nice way of saying “You are a complete and total basket case”. 🙂