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

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

The First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy is such an interesting time – there’s so much going on all at once. The excitement of creating a new life. The secret that you can’t wait to tell your friends and family. The anticipation of how much your life will change in 9 months time. There’s so much fun – the positive pregnancy test, the first ultrasound and seeing your baby’s heartbeat, sharing the news with loved ones. It’s undeniably an exciting time!  

 

However this time around, the first trimester was not fun and was really hard for me. I was not expecting it because my pregnancy with Arlyn felt like it was a BREEZE during the first two trimesters, but this one was rough because I was sick all the time! The nausea…the exhaustion…the indigestion…the lack of motivation to do ANYTHING. I lost weight in my first trimester because I couldn’t really eat anything. I couldn’t work out at all so I am sure some of that weight was muscle loss. I basically just wanted bread or tortillas for about a month between weeks 7-13. Then, the physical discomforts quickly turned into emotional ones… 

I hadn’t even considered the fact I would feel so badly this time around. I didn’t know it would take me away from my daughter and husband at all. It wasn’t Arlyn’s fault that her mommy was sick, had zero energy, and not always fun to be around. I felt like I was failing her. I had trouble playing with her for long periods of time and had even started crying a time or two while she was playing babies and wanting to crawl all over me. I don’t think she quite understood but I saw confusion in her eyes. Here she is, my sweet baby girl, trying to cuddle me and play but all I could think about was how uncomfortable it was for me to be sitting on the floor with her. It often felt that being at work was easier than keeping after a toddler – and work isn’t easy. In due time- I found myself able to power through it. I knew it wasn’t forever and that it would pass, and only helped to stay positive. 

 

Blame exhaustion, hormones, mom guilt, whatever, but it gets really hard to balance your own comfort and your family’s needs. It also can be very confusing to be both excited to be pregnant and feel miserable being pregnant at the same time. I obviously wouldn’t trade being pregnant for anything and yet, there are times I’ve wanted to throw up my hands and surrender…or run away from my own body.

I remember also breaking down in tears because all I wanted was to want chicken, turkey burgers, steaks, hummus and veggies. Hell, EVEN A CHEESEBURGER! It’s like I knew I liked all those foods, I knew how delicious it all tasted, but the thought of it made me sick to my stomach. Like, throw up sick. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you’ve been pregnant before you likely know exactly what I’m talking about! 

Remedies? Well in my opinion, the foods you crave, or the foods your body feels it can “tolerate” just may be what our bodies need at that particular time. I believe in mindful eating. So if my body thinks the only thing that sounds good is a bean and cheese burrito, then I’ll take that as maybe my body needs extra fiber, fats, energy to continue growing a baby, and maybe even to gain some weight! Maybe it’s to soak up the hormones that make us want to vomit every other minute. Feed your body what it can tolerate during this time in your pregnancy, and don’t think too much of it. Trust me- it typically goes away after the first trimester! But remember, that bean and cheese burrito doesn’t necessarily have to be from Del Taco- you can get the same types of foods made with REAL ingredients that are healthier alternatives! 

Back to being sick: the way I would explain it to my husband, Chris,  or anyone else is that I felt like I constantly had a hangover but I never got to enjoy the fun part the night before…. ya know what I mean!? That would be the best way I can describe my first trimester: one long hangover. I kept questioning myself, “what did I get myself into?”  At times my “hangover” felt like the worst thing ever and all I wanted to do was lay in bed all day and night until it passed, but every now and then I would forget all about the pain, the nausea, the constipation, and the exhaustion. 

 Those times were during our visits to our Doctor when we would get to see our little baby!! That baby, our baby, makes everything worth it. I remember our first ultrasound appointment around 7 weeks. I was so nervous because I know that sometimes doctors don’t see the baby and see just an empty sac. I remember holding my breath, terrified that i wouldn’t see a baby or hear a heartbeat. But then I saw this little nugget appear on the screen with a fluttering heartbeat. I immediately teared up in relief and disbelief! It was incredible! This is what makes feeling miserable SO WORTH IT!

 


 

That being said, I will be honest- I always feel such a sense of relief when we see the baby at those appointments, and as soon as I leave the doctors office, a little panic sets back in. All i wanted to do is see the baby again and if you’re wondering, that is exactly what being a parent is like. Constantly worrying about your child/children. Or at least that’s what it feels like it’s been for me. 

 


 

Why the worry? Well, I am human… but I am also a high risk pregnancy, due to the fact I have Ulcerative Colitis. Women with a disease like mine have higher rates of complications during pregnancy, so I go see a perinatal specialist who keeps a special eye on the development of baby and I, as well as an OBGYN who also keeps a solid eye. Most women with UC go on to have successful deliveries, and healthy babies- which I have had before! So I wasn’t AS worried this time around, but the paranoia is still there. I am currently on bed rest/house arrest to ease my body into remission and stop the flares. I have been having a flare up for over half of my pregnancy, bleeding and all. I am hoping this extra rest and not working will keep my body strong to fight it down!  

Benefit to high risk? I get to see the baby 2 times a month! Average is about 3-4 ultrasounds per pregnancy. I’ve seen baby 10 times and we aren’t even in the third trimester yet! Since we see such experienced doctors so often, we found out in the first trimester that baby was a BOY, at 12w5d!

 


 
So I guess my point in this blog entry is to share more of my journey, and share that pregnancy has been a lot harder so far this time around than I thought it would be. There have been many tears. MANY. Tears of joy and tears from pain and tears from I have no idea what! But when something extraordinary happens in your life, it seems fitting that the road to get there wouldn’t be an easy one, right? 

So I hope you all continue to share this journey with me. Share in the good( our tiny miracle), the bad (sickness) and the ugly (the constipation). Yep – I went there! 

 
XOXO,

Amanda 

 

How We Found Out!

This is definitely long overdue! As I am currently approaching my 3rd trimester… but I wanted to share a little bit about my pregnancy thus far! My husband and I decided earlier this year, that we would stop “not trying” to get pregnant. We thought we would wait to add to the clan, but we thought “why the hell not!?” We wanted our babies close in age, we just bought a house, and my husband had begun his new career earlier in the year, making it financially viable to begin this next chapter.  So we stopped preventing!

Two weeks later I was so nervous to take a pregnancy test. My sister in law had texted me 3 days before, a picture of her positive pregnancy test and I felt discouraged because I didn’t think it would happen for us so quickly. But BOY was I wrong! My period app told me to take a test- but it was 3 days earlier than my “missed period” date. I thought “well that’s dumb” but of course I was curious so I did it. I peed on a stick! 

 I looked at the test- one of the ones where the line appears- and saw no second line. I threw it in the trash and thought “maybe next month!” About an hour later I went back in the trash and grabbed it and looked and I saw the FAINTEST SECOND LINE. I thought I was seeing things. I sent a picture to my best friend asking her if I was paranoid or if she saw it. I think she thought I was NUTS! I decided to take another brand of another “appearing line” test. I peed on it and that cross came up!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was doing all this with a 10 month old crawling at my feet and watching. So I packed her up in the car, ran to CVS, and we got that DIGITAL test. Took them both, and we got 2 more positives!

 

 

I had yet to share the news with my husband because he was at work and had a meeting with a client after. But I was way too excited. He knew I took a test but I had only said it was “inconclusive” so he wasn’t thinking I was pregnant.

 

 

I sent him a text that asked if he would come home before his client to say hi to us! I told him the baby threw something in the toilet and she clogged it… but I had actually placed all the pregnancy tests on the toilet seat. He walked in and saw the tests, and for a moment I was nervous because he didn’t say anything. He jumped out from behind the door and said “you took them!? Oh my god!!!!!!!” And tackled me in kisses. He was so excited, tears and all! 

  
 
We went to the doctor to confirm the tests- I was paranoid- as always. And we got a “definitely positive” with a cute little portrait of our soon to be babe, with a due date of November 11, 2017! 

 

 
Due to my Ulcerative Colitis, I am considered a high risk pregnancy. The inflammation can often cause pre-term labor, low birth weight, and some other complications, so the doctors keep a keen eye on baby an I. But there is a positive to that! We get to see the baby grow on ultrasound 2 times a month- as opposed to the typical 3 ultrasounds per pregnancy! We found out at 12 1/2 weeks we were going to be expecting a BOY! Let’s just say- my husband is more than ecstatic to be leveling the playing field! 💙

First Trimester Update will be up soon!

Stay tuned & subscribe!

XOXO,

Amanda