My favorite after school snack with the kids! 

Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter- Clean Eating (Paleo)
Adapted from multiplydelicious
Makes 1/2 cup

1 cup roasted unsalted almonds
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted, plus more if needed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon sea salt

In the bowl of a food processor add almonds and process until mixture makes an almond meal texture. Add coconut oil, cinnamon, maple syrup and sea salt; process until the mixture forms a smooth creamy mixture that resembles almond butter. This will take a few minutes. When the mixture balls up, stop, stir and keep processing in your food processor until smooth. If the butter is not coming together after a few minutes of processing add a little more melted coconut oil.

Enjoy this with apple slices or just by the spoonful. 

Keep refrigerated for up to a month.
Enjoying the last few days of snow before it hopefully melts this weekend...



My husband brought me home a bag of fresh mint the other might as well have been a bouquet of flowers! I opened the bag and breathed in: crisp, cool and fresh. I love mint and even more when it is dipped in dark chocolate.

This is the best little dessert...unique and refreshing...a perfect end to your meal or a quick bite-sized snack.

The Original Thin Mint- Clean Eating
25 mint leaves
1.5 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Gently clean the mint leaves and pat dry. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set the mint leaves out on the parchment paper and freeze for about 20 minutes.

Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil in a double boiler. If you don't have one just fill a pan with about 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer, set a metal bowl or another pan over the pan simmering with water and melt the chocolate and oil in the bowl/pan making sure not to let water or steam touch the chocolate. Stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted. Turn off heat and dip the mint leaves. The chocolate should harden almost immediately. Set the chocolate dipped leaves back on the parchment paper and store in the freezer.
 Rufus-7 weeks



Did you know that a chipotle pepper is a smoked-dried jalapeño? When jalapeños are ripe and deep red in color, and have lost most of their moisture they are selected to be made into chipotles.

I had a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce sitting in my pantry, staring at me in the face for way too long so I decided it was time to find a recipe. This chili fit the bill, especially after playing soccer in the snow on a cold spring day like today. 

This recipe, as like most chili recipes can easily be adjusted to your taste preference. The chipotles add a nice amount of heat and smokiness to the chili. I make it exactly as listed below for myself and children (I remove chipotle seeds) and we think it is perfect; however, my husband needs more heat. I divide the chili into two pots, one for him and one for myself and kids. In his chili, I add the rest of the chipotle peppers (with seeds), the adobo sauce and an extra tablespoon of chili powder. Taste it as you go and you should be able to find the level of heat/spice you like.
Three Bean and Beef Chili- Clean Eating
Adapted loosely from Ellie Krieger
Makes 10 cups (serves 8, serving size 1 1/4 cup)
1 pound ground sirloin, organic & grass-fed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce, minced (remove seeds if you don't want heat)
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
avocado slices for garnish, optional
In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat cook the ground sirloin, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the fat from the meat, using a colander, run water over the meat and set aside.
Heat the oil in the same pot over moderate heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots, cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the cooked ground beef. Stir in the tomatoes, water, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. If the chili is too thick add a little more water if it is too runny let it simmer longer until it thickens up. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Garnish with some avocado slices. My daughter loves her chili with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and crushed baked tortilla chips.
New best friends...



Skinny Ham and Spinach Omelet- Clean Eating
Adapted method from 101 Cookbooks
Serves 1

1 large egg, organic and pasture raised
pinch of fine grain sea salt
freshly ground pepper
ham (antibiotic-/hormone-/nitrate-free), thinly sliced and warm
small handful of baby spinach

Use a fork to beat the egg with a splash of water in a small bowl. Beat well, until the egg is uniform in color.

Heat your largest non-stick skillet over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture; give it a good swirl so that it spreads out thinly across the entire pan...
Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and let the egg set, this happens quickly depending on the heat of your pan - 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Run a spatula underneath the omelet and slide it out of the pan (flat) onto a flat surface. Do this with confidence (or practice)...
Cover the surface of the omelet with a thin layer of warm ham..
and a layer of baby spinach...
Now roll..
Cut in half on a deep diagonal and enjoy...
Coming out from the storm...
Mourning Doves

 Cooper's Hawk
 and a cautious doe...




My sister...she is smart, beautiful and so strong.
She follows a Paleo diet so I am going to try to add a few more Paleo friendly recipes.

Coconut Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins- Clean Eating (Paleo)
Adapted from multipy delicious
Makes 12 muffins

6 eggs
1/3 cup canned coconut milk
1 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, plus additional for sprinkling on tops of muffin

Preheat oven to 400. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, coconut milk, maple syrup, sea salt and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Combine coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Stir in melted coconut oil until well combined. Fold in banana and chocolate chips until incorporated.

Using a large scoop (I use the largest pampered chef scoop) fill each muffin cup liner. Sprinkle each muffin with a few additional chocolate chips. Bake muffins for 15 to 18 minutes (mine took 20 min) or until muffins are golden and spring back when pressed gently. Once baked, cool for 10 minutes.
 Serve and enjoy!

The wet snow makes awesome packing snow...
School was called off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so we have been busy playing. My yard is covered with sticks and limbs from fallen trees so finding stick arms for snowmen has never been easier! 

Finally, the sun breaks through, only for a few minutes...

Dark Eyed Junco and a Purple Finch...




Garden Frittata- Clean Eating
6 Servings
Adapted slightly from multiply delicious

6 thin asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 small white onion, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
10 eggs
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
handful parsley, chopped
2 to 3 strips bacon (sugar-free and nitrate-free) cooked and crumbled

Note: This recipe is flexible, use your favorite vegetables. I omitted bacon.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil to pan and melt. Sautee asparagus, onions, peppers, spinach and garlic...
until the spinach is wilted, about 3-4 minutes. And set aside.

In medium size bowl, whisk together eggs, pepper and salt.

Stir the veggies into eggs and pour the mixture back into the skillet and cook on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top.

Transfer frittata to the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the frittata has achieved a spongy firmness to the touch.
Slice and serve garnished with tomatoes, parsley and bacon...

Sadly, snow fell during the night and weighed down the icy trees even more, snapping what few limbs were left.
 So many trees lost...
I have twenty pounds of seed out. All the nests are gone. No sign of deer and I have seen only one squirrel in three days, and it is clearly a very young squirrel...
A kettle of turkey vultures...
The birds hide under the fallen branches when the vultures fly over and all is quite. When the vultures soar away they flutter back out and fill the air with their songs again...
 To my delight, cardinals are striking in this winter wonderland...




A perfect spring salad. This is a simple raw salad...but sometimes simple is best.

Asparagus Ribbon Salad- Clean Eating
Adapted loosely from smittenkitchen
Makes 4 small salads

1 pound asparagus, rinsed
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Juice from 1 lemon
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toast the almonds:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread almonds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning often. Watch closely making sure they do not burn. Remove from oven and cool while you shave the asparagus.
Snap off the thick ends of the stalk and discard. Shave the asparagus stalk all the way down to create ribbons.  
Keep the asparagus tips for other recipes, like roasting them for a delicious snack.
Gently pile your ribbons in four small bowls. Squeeze lemon juice over the asparagus ribbons and drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle salads with salt, pepper and toasted almonds.
It's hard to believe spring is here...we have endured a major ice storm the last 2 days. So many trees are down. It was depressing working out in the yard today. It was very quiet outside, except for occasional sirens and every so often, a loud crack and then the anticipated and unfortunate crash. Dragging all those beautiful budding branches into piles....I hated it. We will have many days of work ahead of us.

My house is under there somewhere...

Trees and branches everywhere...
The kids' fort is destroyed...lots of tears...

The birds and squirrels are many lost nests.  :( 

I have been feeding them nonstop...



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