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Browned-Butter Applesauce

Browned-Butter Applesauce

My goodness, Lovelies. It’s been nearly a year since I posted. A year!

Tsk. Tsk. Shame on me! While I’ve been away from blogging I have been doing many things, most notably attending grad school for my MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) degree while continuing to teach at our local community college, raise two active & involved kiddos, and be a good wife, sister, daughter, & aunt to the people I love most (many of whom have been struggling with health issues this past year). What I haven’t been doing is cleaning my house, sleeping, following the healthiest-for-me lifestyle.

And I feel it.

With just one semester until graduation, I’m refocusing my energies on realizing my own vibrant health. I am striving to be fit in every sense of the word: physically, emotionally, mentally. You’ll notice two major changes around the site:

1. I’m now an im-perfect paleo follower. I allow grass-fed dairy. I may occasionally use rice. I love a good green juice in the mornings. To those of you who identify as Paleo Purists, I have no intention of offending you or forcing my beliefs on you. I respect your choices because I am certain you have valid reasons for them. I, too, have valid reasons for mine. Let’s agree to disagree on a few points and we’ll be fine.

2. I’m going to focus a bit more on whole wellness, not just Paleo. I have a love affair going on with Bikram yoga, and I’m going to share it with you soon! We’re also going to discuss some strategies for emotional well-being in the age of overwhelming stress. (Especially since we parents who so lovingly tend to the needs of our children tend to forget to provide equally loving self-care).

So, without further delay, here’s a welcome back to blogging recipe idea for you to try. I’ve included pictures (remember: don’t judge my house–I’ve been busy with grad school and teaching and parenting and care-giving) and approximate measurements (I’m not much of a measurer).

I don’t know about you, but I love apple pie. It is buttery, filled with the goodness of cinnamon apples, and touched with just a tiniest hint of creamy vanilla. (Unless, of course, we’re talking a la mode, which is its own hazard…) The thing is, apple pie doesn’t love me. The added sugar, the refined crust, the empty calories, all send my PCOS into a tailspin. So, in an attempt to preserve all the flavors I love, I give you my favorite way to make applesauce:

Browned-Butter Applesauce


  • Four(ish) apples (I used a Granny Smith, two Galas, and a Jonah Gold)
  • Three(ish) tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • Pumpkin Pie spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg in a 2:1 ratio)
  • Vanilla extract (five to ten drops, really not a lot at all)


IMG_9708Peel, core, slice the apples to approximately a 1/3″ thickness (don’t measure, it’s not that critical–just don’t slice too thin or the apples will turn crisp instead of soft).

Arrange the apples in a single layer on a buttered baking dish (use about 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease the dish; I prefer to use a baking stone).

Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and arrange evenly over the apples.


Sprinkle the entire tray of apples and butter with the Pumpkin Pie spice.

A little. A lot. You’re the boss.


Bake in a 350* oven until the apples are soft and browned (do not crisp your apples!). You should turn them occasionally while they are baking. The time will depend on your stove, your apples, your altitude. Adjust accordingly. The more browned your apples, the more the sauce is reminiscent of apple pie.


When the apples are thoroughly browned and soft you can mash them into sauce one of two ways: with a fork or with a food processor. You know your people. Do they like chunky sauce? A fork is your tool. Smooth operators? Process away!

Mix in a touch of vanilla extract and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold. But enjoy it either way!



Giving Thanks for Pale-ho-ho-ho

All joking and holiday humor aside, I give thanks for Paleo every single day–possibly hourly. And, there is no better time to refocus on the value of simple, whole, feel-good food–and simplicity altogether–than the time when families are gathering around tables, sharing meals & memories, passing along traditions & forging new ones.

First, the food:

In my home, holidays have certain smells and textures: Roasting Turkey, Crunchy Sage-Sausage Stuffing, Creamy Pumpkin Pie, and Dense & Decadent Chocolate Cake. To eliminate any of these would be to upset holiday tradition. And, I don’t have the heart to do that.

Luckily, with minor adjustments, all of these can be enjoyed Paleo-friendly. And, as we all know so well, having a Paleo-approved alternative to non-Paleo-friendly dishes is essential to your success and well-being. I get cranky and feel sluggish and weighed-down when I eat mashed potatoes and bread stuffing. So, guess what? I make mashed cauliflower and sage sausage stuffing full of veggies–all the flavor, none of the funk.

I’d like to share my favorite new source with you. See below for all of the recipes you’ll need to make your holiday gatherings a success!

Second, the fun:

I am blessed beyond measure to have my ever-improving health, a man who is 100% committed to becoming the healthiest version of himself, and kiddos who believe that healthy choices rock. So, many of our “fun” traditions are about being active during times of celebration.

You can rest assured that Thanksgiving Day will find my best girl & I 5k-ing (the whole family runs a traditional 5k on New Year’s Eve, too!). My best boys will be outside throwing around a football–perhaps even a fun game of flag might erupt. We’ll all bump into each other in the kitchen stirring this, turning that, and cleaning up. We’ll enjoy conversation and games and the beautiful scenery of our location on post-dinner walks. The holidays are too precious to waste snoozing, though, in all fairness, there might be just a bit of that, too 😉

Most importantly, Less Is More:

I have been a long-time believer in “Less Is More,” and I believe the importance of living simply is magnified during the holidays. In a culture that places too much importance on material items, we have worked to place emphasis on those things we feel most important: family, friends, & charitable contributions.

We live 600 miles away from my sister and her family, which means the time we are fortunate enough to spend together is always quality time. We are aware of each other. We converse. We play. We share. We grow. We love. There is not time for anything else. Because we focus solely on enjoying our short hours together, our visits are always enjoyable and amount to far more than the clock suggests. Our tradition has become DIY Christmas–where we gift each other things we’ve made in the past year. While this may not be every family’s cup of tea, it works quite nicely for my very talented lovelies. Some years there are crocheted items, hand-sewn items, homemade apple butter, personalized wood-worked hall trees, and any number of other creative pursuits. In fact, the memories of making these items and sharing them with our loved ones are among the ones my kids speak of most fondly.

Speaking of gifts, my kiddos have used the Victorian Rhyme to make their wish lists for several years now. It goes, “Something I want, something I need, something to wear, and something to read.” In essence, their lists wind up being a very reasonable four items long. This year they have proposed a twist on the old Victorian rhyme and are wish-listing along to, “Something I want, something I’ll use, something to wear, and something to do.” Even better, in my opinion! This mama loves keeping them active and focused on the non-material! They also each select one additional item to donate to Toys for Tots each year, and they collect their gently used toys and clothes for donation. It’s an instructive, charming, & simplistic system.

We do not usually exchange gifts with friends. Instead, we have always tried to get our kids together to do a fun activity–much like a birthday party for everyone during the holiday break. Some years it works out; others it doesn’t, but the idea is that we celebrate each other and not any material items we might exchange. My husband’s side of our family has discussed this idea for several years, and it seems that this will finally be the year to implement the “time is the greatest gift” mentality. In today’s busy world, we will be very eager to dedicate a day to doing something fun with those who mean so much to us.

Another idea that we’ve discussed among friends and some family members is a date-night exchange. By pooling our parental resources, we will be able to gather our children together multiple times during the year for a fun activity while the couples take turns having a night on the town without worrying about hiring a babysitter! The gift of time with your significant other is another great way to celebrate the simple things in life.

Again, Lovelies, Paleo is not just about the food we eat in my home. It is the embodiment of all things in their simplest possible forms. Quality food, quality time, and quality sharing of all things bright & beautiful. I wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons with your most near & dear! May you embrace the simplicity of the Paleo lifestyle and enjoy good health & good times!


Please excuse the lack of Paleo significance today, Lovelies. Today is more whole-person wellness.

It’s confession time.

As many of you know, I try to be as positive as possible in my everyday life. I am one who believes in taking things as they are in the moment and moving forward in a productive way. I have a positive view of karma, in the sense that life brings you the lessons you need as you need them. I try not complain about the trivial, and I am mindful of how I voice my complaints about the significant. However, yesterday I found myself downright griping.

Yes. Me. Griping.

It was not pretty, and I felt awful afterwards, despite my careful attention to Paleo eats all day.

Let me elaborate:

Two years ago I fell in love with a yoga studio. Three days a week (if not more) I’d attend classes with amazing instructors inside this refurbished barn, all for $27.00 per month. Which, for a busy professional mother–or anyone, really–was a bargain! I’d relish every delicious second of blissful Svaroopa yoga beneath the wide, exposed beams lined with soft white string lights. During challenging sequences in Vinyasa classes, I’d focus on the faint sounds of water passing in the stream outside the open loft doors. I’d enjoy peppermint oil massaged onto my temples and neck at the end of every Sunday’s Restorative Yoga session until last year, when the very best yoga studio I’d ever practiced in shut its doors.

I felt like a jilted lover. I mourned. I thought I moved on–unaware until yesterday just how truly bitter I still am about the whole thing.

After an exchange on Facebook with fitness-minded friends and some soul-searching last night, I came to recognize that I’m upset about several things:

  • The studio closed,
  • There are not AFFORDABLE, QUALITY studios in the area (and by affordable, I mean studios that offer unlimited yoga for less than $85-$110/month, and, by quality, I mean classes taught by a yogi who intends to instruct body, mind, and spirit),
  • My practice, which had seen such growth and improvement has stagnated (Gag! That word! You, Lovelies, know how I feel about stagnation!),

However, despite recognizing all of these things, NONE of them are what’s REALLY bothering me.

Want to know what I discovered?

I’M what’s bothering me! Yes, you read that correctly. It’s me! I’m the problem!

The studio closed. So what. Studios come and go. I could have kept up my practice at home. I had learned enough to do that. I chose not to.

Studios in the area are expensive (a minimum of $15/class). Quality instructors deserve to be paid what they’re worth, even if quality students can’t always afford them. I could have taken my $27.00/month budget and stretched it to attend a class every other week while still practicing regularly at home. Again, I chose not to.

My practice stagnated because I let it. Not because the studio closed. Not because of my tiny budget. I let something I love wither because I didn’t accept things as they were in that moment, and, yesterday, I recognized that I had not, in fact, moved forward in a productive manner. Luckily, I can see the path before me now.

With my nutrition in check and my PCOS symptoms almost back under control, a consistent home yoga practice is my next goal. (Unassisted handstands by next summer!).

In addition to my own internal motivation, my children’s budding interest in their own health and wellness–from what they put into their bodies to what they put their bodies through both physically and emotionally–is ever an inspiration. This exploration of a yoga practice, though highly personal, is also a family adventure–one that I hope lasts a lifetime!

In order to make this happen I have selected two excellent resources for at-home use:

  •–This 21-day challenge begins on September 9th, and is FREE! (WooooHoooo! I LOVE things that affect positive personal change with no negative budget effects!)

Lovelies, it is never my intent to sell you anything. I think you are very capable of making your own decisions; however, I have found a treasure trove of a site!

  • My Yoga Online offers unlimited access to full-length yoga videos, articles, music, and so much more! If you are interested in a free two-week trial of My Yoga Online, please feel free to send me your preferred email address @

Feel free to comment with other fantastic Pale-yo-ga sources!

Flexibility of Body & Mind


Lovelies, I am taking a moment to celebrate the good: Every single member of my four-person family exercised yesterday! WoooooHooooo!

Hubby and I  had it all planned out: I’d have a delicious dinner prepared for when he arrived home from work, and then, after dinner, we’d all hop in the car and head to the gym so Hubby could work out, I could take a new yoga class, and the kiddos could hang at the kids’ club. Beautiful. When we’d signed up for the gym back in January, the kids’ club was part of my membership, and we thought that since we hadn’t used it yet, tonight would be a great night to do so.

Not so much.

Dinner was divine! Everyday Paleo’s Ground Pork and Apple Sliders [YUM!], roasted broccoli, cinnamon whipped sweet potatoes, and organic applesauce did not disappoint! Dishes were carried happily to the kitchen, gym-time entertainment was packed without squabbling. We even had time to run a quick errand together before class time. We should have known that the evening was about to nosedive.

Here’s the kicker: Though my membership includes access to the kids’ club, I still have to pay $4 for the first child and $2 for the second in order to use the childcare service! Sure, $6 isn’t a big deal, but still…

Anyway, to be brief, neither hubby nor I had our wallets with us, and instead of being cranky, we chose to be flexible.

I, not wanting to derail Hubby’s excellent exercise routine, took the kids home. We moved some furniture around, rolled-out yoga mats, and did a round of Spartacus (my most favorite workout EVER) followed by Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown. Afterwards, we piled back in the car to pick up Hubby from the gym. We laughed. We talked. We planned new fitness goals and adventures.

Had I wanted a zen-like yoga class with soft lights, gentle music, and a soothing guru gently guiding me toward a relaxed and thoroughly stretched state of being? Abso-freaking-lutely. I cannot express how much that was all I wanted.

But, by being flexible and in the moment, what I got was far better 🙂


Keep yourselves open to what life might bring to you today, Lovelies!

Paleo Plans: Birthday Gift #2

I admire people who are willing to research and explore this world, reach a conclusion based on their experiences and learning, and then faithfully hold that unique, fact-based perspective even as the popular opinion clings to outdated science, sentimental tradition, and the status quo.

I am doing my best to raise my children so that they may each become that kind of person.

The two greatest accomplishments of my 34 years
& the reasons I continue to pursue the healthiest lifestyle possible.


I won’t lie. It’s not always easy. I need guides. I need muses. I need information. Luckily, there is no shortage of any of these in the Paleo community.


One such guide is Dave Asprey. Even though he is not officially affiliated with “Paleo,” he is, in my belief,  a primal living guru. He views himself as a biohacker and has spent considerable time and money figuring out with the world’s leading scientists and researchers what is best for the human body. His website is vast and detailed, and you can check out exactly what it means to be Bulletproof at The Bulletproof Executive.

I was initially a huge fan of Mr. Asprey’s because he helped his wife overcome PCOS with his “Upgraded” diet, which he details in his Upgraded Chef Cookbook.

What continues to interest me about Mr. Asprey is his “Bulletproof Coffee” recipe.

I LOVE coffee. To a fault. As in it could be the only thing I drink. So, in learning about the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee, I decided to gift myself the Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee Kit and give it a try.

My kit should arrive today, which means tomorrow morning is going to be Bulletproof. I’ll let you know how it goes!


All my best for a terrific Tuesday, Lovelies!



Paleo Plans: Birthday Gift #1

Traditional Birthday Celebration:
Musikfest Concert with my #1!
Hello, thirty-four!

Today, Lovelies, is my birthday, which, for me, immediately means a day of introspection and reflection, because, after all, the one thing I fear in this life is stagnation. There’s always room to grow and stretch and learn new things. I don’t believe in coasting.

Nothing is especially spectacular about turning thirty-four. And, honestly, so much has gone wrong in my Paleo world lately that  I am not feeling like the best thirty-four-year-old wife, mother, teacher, friend, sister that I can be. So, it is my birthday goal to make this year THE year. You know, the one where I finally get it all right.


Click to preview on Amazon!


In order to help me along my way back to the Paleo path, I’ve purchased the book to the right. Sarah Fragoso’s newest cookbook is one of two gifts to myself this year. If you haven’t read her previous work or checked out her blog Everyday Paleo, do so now! She is my personal hero–and I do not say that lightly.

If anyone can inspire me out of my funk, it’s this amazing woman! I plan on reviewing many of her recipes and sharing every small success with you along the way!




And, now, to begin my birthday the right way, I’m off to enjoy Sarah’s Italian Eggs!

Don’t they look divine?


Here’s to you, Lovelies! I hope you are all finding success on your own Paleo journeys! And, I will be back here to see you all tomorrow–THE year, remember?

Whole 30 Challenge, Road Trip & Party Survival Guide

Lovelies! How are you all this morning?

On Day #10, I am soaring–yes soaring!–on the feel-goodness of this plan! I’d try to describe how wonderful I feel, but I’d rather just encourage you to find out for yourselves. Nothing is as effective and motivating as first-hand experience.

For those of you already Whole-30ing along to Melissa and Dallas Hartwig’s Whole 30 program, a word of motivation: Do it.

Don’t sort-of-kind-of-ooops-I-had-a-cookie-or-two do it.

Do it as it is written.

There is absolutely no gray area to dabble in. Like the Hartwig’s point out, every bite, every nibble of inflammatory foods puts you back at square one of the healing cycle. It’s commendable you’re putting in the effort, now reward yourself with commitment and follow-through for thirty days. It’s just thirty days. Thirty days that have the potential to be life-changing if you put in the effort. Your one-and-only body will thank you. And, when in doubt, listen to the wise advice of Master Yoda:

Pretty simple when you think about it, right? Either you do it. Or, you don’t. I’d do it if I were you!!!!

So, while I truly believe that the mental clarity and feel-good-body results alone are more than enough to promote the Whole 30 program, the physical body-composition results are equally impressive. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some weight to drop, but in just ten days, do you know what’s happened?

Let me explain…

On Day #1 I put on a pair of jeans that barely zipped and buttoned (A full size smaller than what I wore in January, but still, NOT pretty!). On Day #5 I put on the same pair of jeans without any struggle (or unsexy overhang–yay! Be gone, overhang!) Yesterday, even fresh out of the washer–even with it being “that time of the month”–those jeans had a little room in the waist and hips. Today, I. CAN. FEEL. MY. HIP. BONES. Holy moly! I can’t believe I have them! They’ve been buried as deep as Atlantis for the majority of my adult life, especially post-kiddos. So deep, in fact, that I think I believed they, too, were mere myths or legends. Not so! They do exist! Sure it’s going to take a little more work in the gym to see the ultimate results that I want, but the careful attention I’m giving to my food sure is paying off! Hip bones, by golly!

This is where I say: If I can do it, you ABSOLUTELY can do it! No fuss about busy schedules or liking milk too much to give it up. (Lovelies, you are NOT baby cows who need fattening!). I don’t believe any of it. Not one little syllable. You are exactly as capable of doing this as you believe yourselves to be. When you are committed, nothing can derail you–not even a 1,200 mile road trip to party with family! (Yes, I’m really doing that–in just a few short hours, in fact).

How am I going to survive 600 miles each way, plus two days filled with food, family, and fun? I will be packing my own eats and politely asking for the support (not sabotage) that I need. No questions about it. Black, white, not a shade of gray. Most of my family knows my plan and my goals–the rest will soon find out. I will not indulge in birthday cake, grainy-carby-finger foods, or sugary-dairy-creamy-debauchery of any kind. And, lest you think I’m a party-pooper, I say this: How can I enjoy the party if I am feeling less than my best?

Now that I know what my true “best” feels like, temptation is an abstract idea that affects others. NOT me. It is liberating!

Want to find out what your “best” feels like first hand? Here’s your three-step get-started plan:

  1. Go to the Hartwig’s website. (Click here if you haven’t saved it from previous posts!)
  2. Print out the four pages of the Whole 30 program.
  3. Start. Now.

I believe in you! Keep us posted on your progress!

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