Monday, August 24, 2015

Mocha Grasshopper Cookie Pie

Yesterday was my 33 birthday.  I always make my own birthday treat.  It's the one day out of the year where I let myself ignore all my responsibilities and do what I want to do, which is usually bake something chocolatey :).  My older recipe for grasshopper pie is a favorite and very paleo-friendly.

I wanted to make another one with some gluten-free sprouted grains so I came up with a new version.  And to make it extra yummy, I added some espresso powder in the mix.  This is one of my favorite desserts, thus why I chose it for my Happy Birthday to Me treat :).

This recipe uses sprouted flour.  We eat less nuts these days because of food allergies, and thus the limited paleo-friendly options for deserts :).  I try to buy sprouted flours when I can.  I can now find brands like One Degree and To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. in a couple different places in Memphis!  Woot!  This must translate into these kinds of healthy products becoming more available to the world if I can find them here :).

Both of these companies have excellent standards for their food; however, if you want a larger selection of gluten-free sprouted grains then To Your Health is the company to look for or request in your local grocery store.  Sprouted flours are your friends, easier for our tummies to digest.  I don't always eat grains, but when I do, I prefer sprouted (said in the voice of the Dos X man;)

Mocha Grasshopper Cookie Pie 

vegan/gluten-free friendly, nut-free 
makes a 10 inch pie and serves 10-12


For the crust:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/3 cup sprouted oat flour or sprouted brown rice flour (can substitute 1 cup regular oat or brown rice flour if not sprouted) 
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar for more of a caramel-like, brown sugar flavor
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil  [can substitute 1/2 tsp peppermint extract]
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips, I use the Dark Chocolate kind 
For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 6-8 dates (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil [can substitute 1/2 tsp peppermint extract]
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder 
For the top layer:
  • a 3 oz or 4 oz chocolate bar, I use Endangered Species Dark 72%
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk from a can, full fat
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil 


Cookie Crust:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease a large glass pie dish with coconut oil.
  • Blend coconut oil and bananas for crust together in blender.
  • Add all other crust ingredients to a bowl and whisk.
  • Stir in banana mixture into dry ingredients.
  • Press the cookie crust into the prepared pie pan by layering parchment over so you can press up the sides of pan.  This will help since the dough will be sticky and wet.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to brown slightly.
  • Let cool for a while before filling.  When I'm in a hurry- I put the pie pan in the fridge for 15 minutes while I make the filling and the ganache topping.
  • While the crust bakes and cools, blend all filling ingredients in a high-powered blender or food-processor. 
  • Pour into your cookie pie crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until set before pouring on the ganache (you can also freeze for 15 min if in a hurry :).
  • While the filling sets, heat water for a double boiler or in a small pot.  
  • Use double boiler or a stainless steel bowl over a small pot of simmering water to gently melt the chocolate and coconut milll together.  Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Stir in peppermint oil after this is liquid and pour over pie and tap the whole pie gently to knock out air bubbles from the ganache.
  • Set in refrigerator for 1 hr or freezer 20-30 minutes before pulling out to serve and enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

3 things to read or watch: Connection and Vulnerability

One of my favorite things to do here at Pumpkin's Pantry is provide resources.  I read and watch a lot of things:).  Here is what has been speaking to me or helping me lately in the area of Connection and Vulnerability {and check out my Resources page for more stuff to read or watch}:

Brene Brown's TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability.  It takes vulnerability to be a secure person.  Or maybe it's that Secure People are ok with vulnerability and it's messiness.  Or maybe not really OK, they just do it anyways!  This talk by storyteller/researcher Brown is excellent.  She has spend several years researching vulnerability and shame and her work is so needed in our society!

Jen Hatmaker's new release book, For The Love.  I have been reading it and am halfway through because I pre-ordered it and got some freebies.  Once of which was the pdf of the book a couple months ago!  This book is excellent and contains an anti-comparison undercurrent which is a foe of connection, especially amongst women!

Bonnie Gray's post on being you, learning who you really are, and being at rest with you and your value.  Four Movements to Be Yourself and Be at Rest.  Read her stuff folks.  Her book is in my Resources list too because it is a healing, validating book for those searching through their pasts to understand their present.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Myth of Feeling Settled

A couple months ago I posted this on Instagram: 

Thinking about a lot as I re-nest and settle into a new space...I often have these lofty ideas about feeling "settled". I had actually thought that we could move across the country and in just 2 weeks everything would be in place, the house finished and decorated. Check. This, at least for me!, was an unattainable goal, yet I'm constantly striving for unreachable expectations. I thought about what other areas, what people (read my children!) that I fuss over thinking I can get them to some elusive "settled" place of being. How much do I strive to get the kids all tidied up, have this behavior problem solved, have that issue resolved and grieved over? Check. Moving on so we can focus on bigger, better things (whatever that means!). I'm possibly late to the game on this, but I feel as though I'm finally understanding the beauty of The Journey; and the freedom that comes when that journey, The Process, is all that there really is!

Hello, my name is Eryn, and I am an Expectation Junkie.

How often do we let our expectations of some unattainable goal, some lofty ideal for our children's behavior, or some burden we have placed on ourselves to rule our days and weeks?  Do we ever get to where we want to be?

How much disappointment do we live with under the weight of our unmet expectations of ourselves and our children and how much of that disappointment turns to shame?

I'm thinking of myself, my own children, and the many parents I have worked with. having the privilege to walk beside in their own journeys with their families.  We all so very much want to have our homes in order, our lives in order; everything in a place, every kid's strange behaviors in a box, carefully tucked away.  I was listening to a TED Talk by Brene Brown on vulnerability where she said that the field of social work/ helping others is messy.  She claimed that she was more of a "Life is Messy, Clean it up, Organize it and put it into a Bento Box" kind of person ;) We can all relate to that right?

That bento box life, though, is not real life!  And here is the trouble with the burden of expecting to be able to carry out a bento box life-  your expectations will inevitably lead you to shame.  And shame is not our birthright, friends!  It definitely loves to lurk arougnd like it is, but it isn't!


Two months ago, I began an experiment to not have expectations of my children.  I tried letting go of expectations of them for a whole day, having a low bar with just simple respect and not hurting anyone as the baseline :).  I think I lasted until we got into the car!  This experiment quickly showed me how many expectations I have for myself as a parent!  Then I tried not having any expectations for myself and that only lasted about 10 minutes!

I began to notice how many times I said, "I need to...." and "I should..." and "If only I could just...."  All sneaky ways that lofty expectations creep in.  Then I began trying to eliminate these types of phrases from my vocabulary; and by "vocabulary" I mean my talks with myself in my head :)

Over the summer I got the hang of this more and more.  Now, school is in full swing and there are actual expectations of me and my children imposed by others!  With this I am beginning to again feel the tugging in by the myth that I can somehow get to a "settled" place if I just (fill in the blank).

I am learning the balance between structure and just giving my children space to let it all hang out after a day of trying their sweet little best to live up to what is expected of them in the classroom.  I'm re-learning how to have grace with myself for things like not sending in every last school supply on time.

This is hard!  But totally worth it in our journey together as a family.

So join me today, fellow parents and friends, in throwing off expectations- of ourselves and our children!  Maybe it's not all about being settled, arriving at the destination you are hoping for, or achieving some sort of status quo.  Perhaps it is about being settled in the process, the journey of loving, being messy, and living well with others.

I leave you with a quote from a book that comes out today that is a great reminder for me that I am ordinary, even when I'm not "where" I want to be:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Now That the First Week is Behind Us

The first week of school came and went.  This is a solidarity post for all of us who made it through.  They (whoever "they" are) say that three weeks is a magic number for how long it takes children to settle in at school and get in a good rhythm.  That means I'm a third of the way out of the back-to-school adjustment zone!

A Superhero, A Giraffe, and A Honeybee
If you, like me, are a parent of a kindergartener- twelfth grader you might be sleeping in this morning!  You have been handling a lot!

All week long you have:

  • Filled out paperwork
  • Handled melt-downs after school
  • Tried to feed the ravenous beings that get in the car when school lets out so that they don't eat their own arm because they last ate at 10:27 AM!
  • Forgotten about your third child's Kindergarten Parent Night (true story)
  • Cried when you realized a day later that you forgot your last baby's only first Kindergarten Parent Night and there will never be another one of those!
  • Filled out even more paperwork
  • Made a last-minute store run to pick up a bag of candy that your oldest, very responsible child reminded you approximately 997 times that she needed by Friday and you kept responding to those reminders with "I know, it will happen!" and then you realized that there were no more days until "it will happen!" so you sent Dad right to the store after school drop-off with a list only to realize that she still needed colored socks?!? (which you are told serve the purpose of erasers for dry-erase boards, naturally :)
  • Prayed none of your kids would catch the thing that is already going around after one of your kids happily reports that three kids went home from class with a high fever
  • Fixed lunches, snacks, extra water for the one who has to be all the way out in a portable far away from any known source of hydration
  • More paperwork, this time not from the school but from the PTA
  • Forgot someones lunch
  • Forgot to send the right amount of lunch money
  • Tried to find very good hiding places for those bags of candy that your child's sweet teacher gave them on the first day of school when everything was full of promise and hope!
  • Carefully, and stealthily thrown away some of that candy because it contained things your children were allergic to but they were so excited about they just thought one tiny piece would be ok..."just please, please, please, this once- I promise everything will be OK, Mom, please?!"
  • Started fund-raising!  seriously?!  Already, hustling CitySaver Coupon Books so that your middle child can get the beloved Fox Prize (a small light-up fox) all the while thinking she also still gets to keep the coupon books and cried when you told her she had to actually sell them and hand them to the purchasing person, not just get money and get to keep the product ;)
And after all that you are probably just plain tired!

This week on Instagram, I have been sharing some of my tips on how to ease the transition from the hustle and bustle of school back to home.  Helpful things to do to empower our kids for a better evening at home after their little minds are on high alert all day getting used to a thousand new things.  
Today's final tip, though, is just for Parents.  Here it is: 
Take good care of yourself.  Give yourself Grace and Freedom this weekend.  Enjoy having a messy home and less tired feet because you are soaking them in a sea-salt bath instead of cleaning the bathroom that really is past due for a cleaning; take a leisurely stroll around your yard and revel in ALL that you accomplished this week- ALL that your kids accomplished; be tired if you need to be; be a little cranky if you need to vent and commiserate!

Other people teaching our children, how school is much looked forward to throughout the last couple weeks of summer- this is a gift!  We can settle in and be OK with the gift and the hard of going back to school!  So relax, take turns sleeping in!, and validate all that you did for your family this week!  And don't think too much about Monday ;)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rock The Lunchbox Vegan Version!

Have you heard of Rock The Lunchbox yet?

I'm all about finding resources for parents- we need all the help we can get sometimes!  Yesterday, I told you about my favorite store-bought snacks for lunches or after school and today I'm coming at you a recent find online: Rock The Lunchbox!  There are hundreds of pictures of home-made kid-approved lunches for inspiration.  The four main companies that are behind Rock The Lunchbox just happen to be regular parts of our lunches too :)  There are coupons on the site for their products.  Go check it out for some ideas, you can even check "gluten-free" and other specific diets!

Today's lunch is very vegan-friendly.  Every now and then we take a break from meat (dairy and eggs we usually don't eat) in our lunches.  Giving up meat isn't a huge deal because protein doesn't have to be much of a concern.  We keep Peas Please from Peeled and fun nut butters around to experiment with.  I love Wild Friend's nut butters because my kids will eat them without any honey or jelly!  Today's main course for lunch is a Sesame Cranberry Peanutbutter Roll-up with a GF tortilla and toothpicks.  Roll it up, place about 6 toothpicks 1"-2" apart, and cut with a serrated knife.

Wild Friend's and Peeled Snacks peas please for some protein 

Another trick I use is to pre-cut an apple into easy to eat slices.  I have a third grader with 5 missing teeth! and loves apples, but right now her few remaining teeth have some challenges with apples :)

TIP: Cut the apple with a peering knife, but not all the way down- stopping a half inch from completing the cut and then wrap a rubber band around the apple.  This way the apple stays whole and doesn't get brown during school!

Finally, I try to always make sure there is a raw crunchy veggie in the mix.  For some reason, when you cut it up into smaller parts, kids seem to like eating their veggies more ;)  My kids even will do raw okra.  (I know- I couldn't believe it myself!  They tried it accidentally one day and then started requesting it?!  So try it with your kids- you never know!)  Top off the lunchbox with a healthy juice-sweetened drink like Honest Kid's and Annie's Organic gummy bunnies (vegan too!) for a treat. 

Now go check out Rock The Lunchbox for more inspiring kid-friendly lunch ideas!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Favorite Snacks On-The-Go

School is here!  So many of you have been dropping off your kids this week or beginning your homeschool curriculums.

Summer Mom is fun isn't she?  She has time for all sorts of pies, and treats, and home-made watermelon desserts, doesn't she?

But school-year Mom is different.  School Year mom needs extra time: more time for loving in the evenings, more time in the morning when someone just cannot find their shoes for the ever-loving 900th time ;), and more time to help ease the big transition back to school.  This is why I choose to cut some time in the kitchen.

The last several years I have researched which pre-packaged snacks I am comfortable with.  They are all gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free.  Some are nut products, some are raw, and some are low glycemic treats and won't break the bank on sugar!

Here is a list of my Go-To Snacks for the School Year:

(And be sure to follow along on Pumpkin's Pantry Instagram for Ideas for the big After-School Transition Time!  And find out more about my family's After-School Routine here)

  • Flavored Nut Butter and Peanut Butter pouches- most of these are around 1 oz. so it's a good size for smaller tummies and also goes great if I remember to grab an apple for them too ;).  My favorite brands are Justin's (peanut butter ones for my kids since a couple of them have almond allergies), Artisana Organics (raw and come in several different nut flavors like walnut and pecan), and Wild Friends (very creative combos of flavors and Non-GMO!  They even have sunflower butter pouches for nut-free.  I usually will keep the Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter for myself as a quick afternoon pick me up with plenty of protein and a tiny bit of caffeine)
  • Dried Fruit Leathers.  When they are on sale I try to get Stretch Island Fruit Co., which are Non-GMO and tasty!  The more affordable option is Target's Simply Balanced fruit strips which my kids love too.
  • Hail Merry's Macaroons (many flavors: strawberry, lemon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla!) are a great treat and one or two is a great snack size for us!  These are Vegan, Raw, Organic, and Non-GMO- nothing to worry about!  They also have individual desserts for the occasional treat.
  • Annie's Homegrown Snacks has two gluten-free and dairy-free (but do contain soy) bunny-graham items in chocolate/vanilla and snicker doodle.  My kids really, really love their gummy bunnies too!
  • Peeled Snacks is this mom's fav-favs!  I fell in love with them several years ago and would order them to my door when I couldn't find them in stores!  They have a variety of no sugar, nothing added dried fruit snacks.  They now have new salty snacks too.  You know those pea crisps that your kids love?  Well Peeled's Peas Please are Non-GMO and Organic (and my kids like their brand better too :).
  • Honesttea's Honest Kid's juice boxes have great low-sugar content, are only sweetened with fruit juice and are Organic to boot.  Our kids also need to be hydrated after school and these help!
  • Finally, I will sometimes buy the dairy-free Kind Bar flavors.  My favorite is Madagascar Vanilla Almond.
This Post is Linked Up to Allergy Free Wednesdays (check out these link-ups to find more allergen-freindly snack ideas!)

These are my opinions.  I was not approached by any of the previous brands and have not been paid to give my opinion.  Just a Mom of three providing resources for other mamas!

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