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6/7/14

Blueberry & Oatmeal Muffins

Having you ever been running errands with your kids and you suddenly realize it's snack or lunch time? You still have 1 or 2 places to go, and it would be a real pain in the butt to drive all the way home only to have to go to that store later in the day or tomorrow? We live 15 minutes from "town" but after packing up 2 kids (one of them a 1-year-old) to stay satisfied for a couple hours, the last thing I want to do is making a full-fledged lunch for all of us while we're out! It would be so easy to just go through the fast food drive-thru then everyone is satisfied, right?
Well, that's what I call the "fast food trap"! It's convenient, quick, and not to mention you don't have to do a lick of work to makes the Little People happy. But it's also laden with bad fats, processed oils, GMO's, and probably a week's worth of sodium! I try to do the best by my children but being a parent is tiring whether you have 1 child or 5! So how do you get the necessities done AND keep them happy & healthy?

By bribing them!!!

No, wait, that's not where I was going with this...

By pre-making a healthy snack that they will love! (THAT'S what I meant.)
Welcome to my "cheater cheater muffin eater" solution to satisfy my checklist for homemade and non-processed and also keep the Little People happy.
*Note that I used organic and home-raised/acquired ingredients for these muffins. Because that's how I roll! You don't have to do the same but I would like to inform you (disclaimer alert) that conventional items still contain things like GMO's and refined sugar, so if you're trying to avoid those things do try to stick to this as much as humanely possible. I will forgive you if you make a couple substitutions! (And possibly still help you eat them.)



Blueberry & Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup organic oats (not instant)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon course ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup organic, no sugar added applesauce
  • 1/4 cup organic almond milk -- be aware that the vanilla kind is delicious but has added sugar
  • 1/2 cup local, raw honey (microwave that bad boy for a minute just so it drizzles nicely into the batter!)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (and give your chickens a pep talk: "Alright ladies, this is the moment we've all been waiting for!" You don't do that when collecting eggs for a recipe???)
  • 1 cup organic blueberries
  1. In a small-ish bowl, beat the eggs like a Michael Jackson song. Make them all nice and frothy.
  2. Add applesauce and milk to eggs and whisk until incorporated.
  3. In a separate yet larger bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, sale, and cinnamon. Whisk together and add the applesauce-y mixture, and whisk non-aggressively until fully incorporated.
  4. Drizzle the honey in the mixture and whisk again.
  5. Do the same with the blueberries. (I used frozen blueberries because my Little People managed to eat all the fresh blueberries we had. They're devious like that! I also keep frozen organic berries from Trader Joe's in stock for smoothies, oatmeal, etc, so it worked just fine but if you grow your own like a super hero it will probably taste better!)
  6. Oh yeah, you're supposed to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. I always forget to add that step in the beginning... I dig right into the ingredients step!
  7. Spray a muffin/cupcake tin -- I love the extra virgin coconut oil spray from Trader Joe's -- and spoon batter about 2/3 full. (I also used my mini-muffin tin to make bite sized versions for the 1-year-old!)
  8. Bake the muffins for 16 minutes for the minis and 16-18 minutes for regular muffins.
  9. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

1/13/14

Reflections: A New Year's Post

January is in full swing and the hustle of the holidays is over. Another year in, another year gone. While most people were busy making resolutions to ensure 2014 would be even better than 2013, I had time to think about what I want out of this new year. While it would be easy to fall into the classic categories ("I want to lose weight", "I want to make more money", etc) I decided not to make any resolutions of the new year's variety. While having goals isn't what I found to be at fault, it was the typical response to the end of the year coming to an end. Forbes.com suggested last January that only 8% of people achieve their New Year's resolutions. Whether or not that is true, there's a reason why companies which market diet pills, nutritional powders & bars, and other "health" foods see higher profits in the few months after Christmas than any other time of the year.

I feel what profoundly changed, for me, was what 2013 contained. It wasn't about doing the same thing last year as the year before, instead, 2013 held events that could not be matched by any other year (save for perhaps the year my son was born).

For us, 2013 was the year our daughter, our second child, Evelyn, was born. What a joyous day in April it was! What started as a happy occasion, though, quickly detoured into a two-sided emotion within a matter of hours: worry & hope. The bliss of her birth had to be put on hold because she had to be rushed to the NICU, having been born completely lifeless due to the umbilical cord getting compressed during birth leaving her without oxygen for well over a minute. (See my unfinished post HERE about her birth story.) Two weeks and an eternity later, we brought our beloved home.

This was the first time I was able to hold her,
four days after she was born.


After the events of spring and summertime, I returned to work only to have my milk supply dwindle then completely disappear despite all my exhaustive efforts, which sent me spiraling into depression. I was put on medication, which ended up having a worse effect on me than the depression, so I made the conscious decision to stop the medicine. By doing so, I began to binge eat again and I gained back the ten pounds I had lost on the medication. I felt like I was at an emotional stand still.

Then, one cold December evening, it snowed.


It hardly ever snows here and when it does, it's usually a little slush on the grass that melts away in an hour! I spent the entire evening playing outside with Rick and Damien, throwing snowballs and enjoying what I knew would melt away in the coming days. I so immensely enjoyed having blissful family time that I forgot all about the rest of the world.

After Damien went to bed that night, I stood outside in the navy blue-tinted darkness, watching the snow flakes fall gently to the ground, framed by the soft twinkling of our neighbor's Christmas lights. It was so quiet, so peaceful. Time stood still and all was perfect.
In that moment, my depression was lifted.
(I only wish it were so easy for others suffering with depression as well.)

I will never regret what 2013 gave to us. It certainly was a true roller coaster of emotions, but the most important thing to me is that we came out stronger on the other side. As my work schedule returns to normal and Damien is back in school from Christmas vacation, I am moving on from the complexities of the previous year without forgetting both the good & bad moments, and what both gave to me as a life lesson.

So while it is true that I am not making resolutions for 2014, I am beginning to do what nature does on its own: welcoming the new. My goals for the near and distant future may be similar to those making a New Year's resolution, but where I differ is that I am making a "better life resolution" for myself and my family.

Better life, but not necessarily more money. Just better, emotionally. And that's where they become goals for life, not just a resolution that will be broken in two months.


12/18/13

I Am Your Quiet Place, You Are My Wild

To my dearest Damien,

It's 1:15am on the date of your 6th birthday and as I sit in the absolute silence of our house, whilst everyone else is asleep, I have a feeling of the most gentle peace. You see, my beloved son, this year has been a roller coaster of emotions. Your little mind may not be able to comprehend what all has occurred this year though we have tried to take it on for you as much as possible. Despite a few set-backs (namely a bit of toilet training), you have brought us to the end of the year just as proud as we came into it. Then again, there is nothing you could do that would make me feel any less than the love I have for you that grows more each day.

You have transformed into a preschooler into a Kindergarten, and from an only child into a big brother.

These are huge changes for any child and you have done it all like a champ! The love you have for your baby sister radiates from within and every person who sees you two together knows it as well. She is going to be your age one day and I am so glad to know she's going to have an amazing brother that she can turn to when she's a bit unsure of the world.

You are sweet, loving, kind, and generous as any 6-year-old I know! You have an awesome sense of humor and crack me up all the time! I know that sometimes the struggles of autism can be frustrating, especially when you so want to make those around you happy, but you can't properly communicate what is going on inside your own mind. You're also dealing with the transitions into childhood and realizing that you're not a baby anymore, you're a growing boy with very real thoughts and emotions, some good and some bad.

You're testing your boundaries and while sometimes that might frustrate us, just know that the love your dad and I have for you is absolutely unconditional. As you test the limits of the world and your own mind (and the often limitless nature of it), just realize that we will always be a rock of solitude to come back to.
A safe place.
A loving atmosphere.
Home.

So while physically you are still here, mentally you are always one step ahead. It amazes me your capacity to learn, accept, and absorb all the information that you receive on a daily basis. Your mind has a unique way of coping with that and I will do everything in my power, throughout your entire life, to ensure that as many road blocks are out of the way for your success in life.
But for now, enjoy being another year older and have fun while you're at it. Happy 6th birthday.
I love you now and forever.

Sincerely,
Mom




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