Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

When Meatless Monday meets Taco Tuesday for a date before Hump Day!
Roasted sweet potatoes and seasoned black beans go together like PB&J and the most “oh-so-basic” of all meatless dinners.
Wholesome ingredients create this simple, quick dinner for any night of the week.

Hi there!

I was really hoping to get back into my “weekending” posts every week, but would you believe me if I told you I took ZERO pictures on my phone all weekend? Seriously guys, I did a few snap chats and that was it. That’s almost unheard of and I didn’t do it intentionally…I guess I just needed a breather from the phone. Twas nice for a change. You should try it! 😉

If you follow my recipes (which you should), you probably notice I do a lot with black beans and I was just telling a friend the other day that I cook beans almost 3 times a week. Lots of beans and lots of you know what going on over here…just kidding, girls don’t toot. Ew! (Jimmy Fallon voice)

My key to having a great meatless taco is all in the seasoning of the veggies. You must cook some of the vegetables with taco seasoning because it gives the tacos that true taco flavor, ya mean?! Other veggies that make great tortilla stuffers are zucchini, cauliflower, portabella mushrooms, and green peppers.

Bonus recipe! Quickly make you own Taco Seasoning with some pantry staples!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container!

sweet-potato-black-bean-2

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 6 tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, divided
  • 2 sweet potatoes, wash, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • Salt
  • Corn tortillas
  • Favorite Taco Toppings: diced tomatoes, avocado, cheese, cilantro, salsa, sour cream.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Lay chopped sweet potatoes on baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle 1 tbsp coconut oil over and toss, making sure sweet potoatoes are evenly coated.
  4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp coconut in medium skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Throw in chopped onions and sautee until golden.
  7. Add black beans to skillet and stir.
  8. Add 2 tbsp taco seasoning and 2 tbsp water. Stir to combine.
  9. Let beans cook for 3-5 minutes, then take off heat.
  10. When sweet potatoes are cooked, layer black beans and sweet potatoes on top of corn tortillas.
  11. Top with favorite toppings.
  12. Enjoy!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/09/20/sweet-potato-black-bean-tacos/

www-al2getherfit-com-2

Enjoy!

The Fourth Trimester and 10 things to help you survive

If you’ve never heard of the fourth trimester, I’m here to tell you all about it. It’s kind of like that “13th” grade or first year of college after high school when you feel like you’re thrown into the real world with actual responsibilities. It’s an extension of what once was and also the beginning of what will be. A transition, adjustment period,  or period of rapid forced growth.

The Fourth Trimester is the first 3-4 months after baby is born. The transition from womb to this gigantic crazy world. It takes a lot of empathy, sympathy, patience, deep breathing, and sometimes medication for us women to get through it. It’s no joke, its tough, and it’s that way for both mom and baby. The good news is that women are incredible and babies are beautiful, so we manage to get through it.

In order for us to get through these months, before purchasing a single item that we think will help, we need to understand WHY the fourth trimester can be so crazy.

The baby is thrown into a life outside of the warm, quiet, peaceful, un-stimulated, constantly moving, dark womb. This explains why babies want to be held or swaddled all the time these first 4 months of life. It’s what they’re used to. They constantly want to be rocked and held close to their mother’s chest to listen to the slow steady heartbeat. Before the beautiful or traumatizing (it can go either way) birthing event, babies have never had a hunger pain, smelt a strange smell, or felt cold. Every single sense and thing in this world is new to them. Talk about terrifying. Hold your babies close mommas. 🙂

As a mother, we are given another human being to keep alive. A small helpless child, who depends on us for 100% of their needs. We try to figure out how to manage life with a baby and we  quickly learn this new life is lived one handed (or zero hands if this is your third child or beyond).  We’re trying to learn the babies needs, likes, and dislikes…that are all constantly changing. We have to stop what we’re doing every 2-3 hours to feed them (priority #1) and we can’t seem to shovel enough food in our mouths to keep us satisfied when breastfeeding (hello metabolism). Plus, since we just birthed this child, our hormones are going crazy, so help me Jesus! Oh, and did I forget to mention most of us have to work while going through all this because the US government or entrepreneurs don’t know what maternity leave is.

As we all know with any adjustment, it can either be smooth sailing or a bumpy road, and we all want it to be the smoothest sail we’ve ever experienced. That’s why the baby industry is a billion dollar industry. We buy loads of stuff (room fulls!) trying to help us have the smoothest adjustment with a new baby.

I’m not writing that any of these products have a 100% satisfaction guarantee because if there is one thing I know about babies, it’s that they are all remarkably different!
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EAT

Medela pump – Seriously, don’t waste your money or time with other pumps. I’ve had mine for 6 years and it’s still pumpin’ along! I replace the tubing and accessories every year for sanitation purposes.
medela

Minbie Bottle – I am swearing by this bottle only because my first two children did not take bottles and this is the only bottle I have ever had one of my three kids take. (Although he is regressing and not taking any bottle at the moment…) As far as any other bottles, I have friends, nieces, and nephews who all have loved Dr.Brown’s and the Joovy Boob
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PLAY

Fin & Emma PlayGymIf you want a play gym in your house that doesn’t make your living room look like a daycare.  This play gym is absolutely perfect for babies 0-8 months! It’s not over-stimulating with all crazy noises, it has organic wood/toys for them to chew on, you can put over any baby seat or mat, and the toys are removable to attach to car seats. My 4 month old and 8 month old niece both love it!

Nook LilypadWhen your baby has it’s face on a mat during tummy-time, you’d probably want it to be non-toxic, breathable, and comfortable…right? This was a must for us since we don’t have much carpet in our house.
play

SLEEP

Muslin Swaddling Blankets – I cant recommend these blankets enough! They are super soft and breathable…for babies who think it’s cute to grab them and cover their faces! You can use them as a light blanket in the summer or double them up for more warmth come winter.
babyblankets

Sleep Sacks  –  I’ve been using the Ergo Cocoon Summer Swaddle and couldn’t say greater things! It’s made of lightweight, stretchy material, so baby doesn’t need any blankets (safety hazard) and can still move around inside the cocoon. There are buttons in the arm area so you can easily transition to arms free swaddling.
cocoon2

Baby Bouncer – I bought the Mamaroo for my first in 2011 and all 3 of my kids hated it. The only reason why I wouldn’t get rid of it was because of the price tag, but it’s had it’s last try with my babies. I know some babies who have loved it, so again, I’m not totally throwing it under the bus.
Other Recommendations:
Fisher Price Bouncer Comfort Seat
Baby Bjorn Bouncer

Baby Sleeper – The sleeper I use, I received as a shower gift when I was pregnant in 2011. It’s been the best baby present I ever received and it’s still going strong being used today! I must add that it was recalled due to people not following the huge warning sign attached to it that states to always use on the flour and to not leave a child unattended in it. I simply use this as a spot to put baby (on the floor) when I’m cooking, playing with my other kids, getting kids dressed for school, taking a shower, etc. It’s a cozy spot that all my babies have loved to snuggle up in. It’s very similar to this DexBaby Day Dreamer. ***If you have any troubles with reflux, colic, or congestion, this could help!
Other Recommendations:
Fisher Price Rock-N-Play Baby Sleeper
Graco Pack-N-Play with Newborn Napper attachments

ON-THE-GO

Stroller/Carseat Travel System – A car seat that attaches to a stroller is a must! You DO NOT want to wake a sleeping baby to drop kids off at school or grab a few items from the grocery store. Just make sure your stroller has a car seat attachment that fits your carseat! I have the Bugaboo Cameleon stroller (circa 2011) and I used the Bugaboo Graco adapter for my car seat. When it came time to buy a carseat that wasn’t pink, I purchased another Graco car seat thinking it’d fit my Bugaboo adapter. WRONG. I purchased a Graco car seat that has the “ClickConnect” technology and it turns out that Bugaboo doesn’t even offer such thing. Thanks to hours searching on Google I found out I could use the NUNCA brand Graco ClickConnect carseat adapter on my bugaboo. Good night!
Stroller Accessories: Stroller FanBaby.Florida.Summer. Need I say more? I’ve even attached this fan to my ergo while my older kids play at the park! Stroller Organizer to keep your phone, wipes, coffee, or wine (no judgement). Mommy Hook for something to hold your bags. Milk Snob! A car seat cover AND nursing cover!
stroller_carseat_attachment

Baby Carrier –
Lifesaver and your arms will thank me late. The trend of baby carriers change every time I have a child. In 2011 the hottest baby item was the Baby bjorn, then the Ergo in 2013, and now it’s the Tula. There are so many amazing baby carriers on the market today, I can’t keep up.
Recommendations:
ErgoMy second child lived in this baby carrier. What I love most about the Ergo is the head cover.  I can be on the go and nurse my baby at the same time. No one will even know you’re nursing, except nosy people who insist on trying to lift the cover and say “whatcha got under there?!” (Insert side-eye) *Update! The new four position Ergos give you option of wearing baby facing outwards!
Tula – These are so trendy you might have actually heard a “Tula in the wild bird call”. This is so real and outrageous it makes me smile. I have many friends who swear by the Tula just as much as I swear by the Ergo. To me, they look exactly alike.
Baby K-TanI’ve used this wrap for all 3 kids, but this time around I ordered the breathable fabric since it’s hot as lava outside right now. I mostly wear this carrier around the house while doing chores when baby is fussy.

 

EXTRA:

The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddler Bath Tub – Giving a newborn baby a bath can be terrifying. This bathtub was a quick purchase from Walmart and it’s been so helpful! The top mesh sling is removable for when baby gets bigger.

bathtubbaby

Bella Materna Women’s Maternity Sexy T-Shirt Nursing Bra  — It’s taken me five years to find an everyday nursing bra that I love! The Bella Materna Maternity Sexy T-Shirt Nursing Bra is all.the.things. Supportive, comfortable, smooth under clothes, pretty, makes me feel like a normal woman, etc. If you’ve been searching for a nursing bra…This is it!
bellaMaterna

Babies Don’t Eat Pizza – A book for older siblings all about babies and being a great older brother or sister!
babiesbook

Right now Rockwell is four months old and we’re officially get out of that “newborn/fourth trimester” stage. He is now somewhat aware of his surroundings, doesn’t sleep all day, and wants to be sitting up able to see the world! Now that the Fourth Trimester is over for this one, we’re on to bigger (and scarier) things! This next stage of life he’s going through is one of my favorites. It’s the age of discovery!

XOXO

 

Vegan BBQ “chicken” sandwich

Total Meat Fake out using Hearts of Palm to create yummy vegan BBQ Sandwiches

Meatless Mondays are still going strong over here and the meatless part usually goes beyond Mondays…Hello Tuesday! If I had to make a guess, I’d say I don’t consume any meat usually 2-3 days out of the week, and it’s not always an intentional thing. I enjoy making and eating meatless options because most of them are MUCH less time consuming and just as good, if not better! Seriously… If I had to pick one sandwich to eat for the rest of my life, it’d be a Veggie Cuban! Maybe it’s not a popular opinion, but some things are better without meat.  Now I must go eat a veggie cuban! (drooling)

For example, take this Vegan “chicken” sandwich I made the other day.
I made both the vegan version and the real chicken version of the sandwich for comparison reasons, and for the possibility that my husband wouldn’t eat the vegan version. (Totally did, and loved it!)

For the chicken sandwich; I boiled frozen chicken breasts and shredded them using the Ninja. It took about 30 minutes.
The Hearts of Palm sandwich took a total of 8 minutes.

Many of you may be wondering what exactly a Heart of Palm is because I know I did at one point too!
Hearts of Palm are the inner core and growing bud of a palm tree, hence the name “heart” of Palm. You may also see them being called swamp cabbage, palm cabbage, or palmito. They are great by themselves or added to salads and pastas, much like artichokes.

heartsofpalm

I mainly use hearts of palm as a snack, like pickles, taking a few out of the jar at a time to snack on. I bought two jars from Costco not to long ago and with a half jar left, I thought “isn’t there something cool I could do with these?!”
Yes there is! You can grind them up and use as a chicken substitute! COOL, right?! Much like jackfruit, but so much easier to find in your local grocery stores. Seriously, I’ve never actually seen jackfruit in my grocery store.

vegan-bbq-chicken-sliders-2

 

Vegan BBQ “chicken” Sliders

Ingredients

  • 1 - 25oz jar Hearts of Palm
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Coleslaw mixture
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Hamburger buns

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl combine EVOO, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together coleslaw, sunflower seeds, and dressing. Set aside.
  3. Drain jar of Hearts of Palm and place on paper towel to dry out a bit. Place in food processor or blender and pulse a few times until desired sized shreds.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add shredded hearts of palm and BBQ sauce. Combine well and toss until mixture is warm.
  5. Prepare sliders by adding a generous serving of BBQ mixture onto a hamburger bun and top with coleslaw mixture.
  6. Enjoy!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/09/13/vegan-bbq-chicken-sandwich/

XOXO

 

Weekending: Flavor Runs & Bad Boys

Friends! How is it going?!
When’s the last time I did a “weekending” post?! I don’t know, but why did I ever stop? I know, I know, I’ve stopped a lot of blogging these couple months. I’ve been so scattered brained since Rock arrived in our world, but the good thing about that is I have 10 blog posts half done, almost ready to go. That should make up for all my unexcused absences. 🙂 See? I do love you bloggy blog! 🙂

I’m currently dying on this Monday after a fun filled weekend of color runs, birthday parties, and the Bad Boy Reunion tour! Yes, you read that right!  It was such an amazing weekend I felt I had to share! It was fun packed but didn’t feel too packed, if ya know what I mean. We had a lot of down time and did more house organization, so it felt like the perfect mixture of fun and productivity. The best mixture there ever was.

Friday night we didn’t do much. What parents really DO stuff on Friday nights?! 😉 Angelo went to have a beer with a bud after work while I cooked dinner and hung outside with the girls. Have I mentioned I LOVE sitting outside and watching the sunset almost every day? It’s one of my favorite things to do! I swear we have the best sunsets here…but then again, I’ve never been to Hawaii. (Bucket list)
friday

Plus, when this is your backyard, why would you sit inside?! (Besides Mosquitos…)
backyard

Saturday we woke up early to get our Flavor Run on! The girls love participating in these races and I love that they love them even more! I never actually run during these (seeing that I’m carrying a baby half the time). but as a runner who loves to do “serious” races, it’s refreshing to get your kids out there and a group of friends to just walk and chat with!
flavorrun_girls

flavorrun

flavorrungroup Team Al2getherFIT! (Missing a few)

After the run, we tried our bests to get the rainbow off of us, got our bathing suits on, and headed out for a dear friend’s 30th birthday party, Flamingo style. We “Flamingled with some Fineapple Friends!”!
saturday_cheer
There may have been some miserable attempts at cheerleading stunts. This is cheerleading at 30…or are we just sad excuses for ex-cheerleaders? We try…

Sunday night P.Diddy had a party concert in Tampa! We made it our first Parent’s Night Out in a long long time and sang and danced all night. We had a good time “adulting”, pretending we were back in 1999…when we weren’t being adults. It was a blast, so if he’s coming to your city, GO! You will feel like you’re jamming out in your middle school gym locker room all over again. It was glorious and if you want to watch the whole concert for free, just look at my snapchat. 🙂
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pdiddy Crappy SnapChat picture

Besides the weekend craziness, last week I was on my A-game with work and getting the house together. (Why I was blog absent..)
Although nothing officially got “completed” I feel like I made 100 steps in the right direction. It’s a slow slow process, so bear with me.

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

XOXO

50 Healthy Snack Ideas

Clean up your snacking! 50 snack ideas and recipes for when you want something different!

Friends, it’s Hump Day and I don’t even know where this week is going….or this year because HELLO SEPTEMBER tomorrow! What?!

Since the girl’s are back in school and I don’t have to make lunch for anyone around lunch time, I’ve become a total snacker. I snack on everything I can find in my house! This is why I try not to keep junk in my fridge. I say “in my fridge” because I do have cookie jars on my kitchen island, but those cookies are solely for guests and decoration. 😉
When I am looking for something to snack on, I’m looking in my refrigerator because that’s where most of the healthy stuff is! I also try to have some pre-made choices in there like chickpea salad, fruit salad, or no-bake energy balls. Those are for when you’re hungry, but you want something to eat that isn’t an apple.

The other day my daughter Sophia asked for a snack a couple hours before dinner. I gave her a choice of carrots or yogurt. She didn’t want either of those choices. I heard my mom come out of my mouth when I said “well if you don’t want any of those then you must not be that hungry!” LOL But I know I’m the same way, and sometimes you just want something different. Different does not have to equal junk food though.

50 (2)

Popcorn
Strawberries and blueberries
Carrots with hummus
Celery with peanut better
Frozen grapes
Cheese and crackers
Cucumber salad
Coconut Clusters (*or any store-bought nut clusters)
Banana with peanut butter
Yogurt topped with chia seeds and fruit

Pretzels, nuts, chex mix
Nuts, craisins, chocolate chips
Quick guacamole with whole wheat tortilla chips – Mash 1/2 avocado with 1 tbsp salsa
Waffle with peanut butter
Homemade fruit Popsicle – Chopped fruit and coconut water. Freeze in Popsicle molds.
Cucumbers with hummus
Fruit Salad with mint
Cheese quesadilla
Pita pizzas – Pita bread topped with marinara sauce and favorite toppings.. Bake until cheese is melted.
1/2 Bagel with cream cheese

Grapes and string cheese
Any Freezer smoothie pack!
Yogurt Popsicle – Blend yogurt, fruit, and honey together. Freeze in Popsicle molds.
1/2 Avocado stuffed with tabouli
Tabouli and crackers
Apple Cookies – Sliced apples topped with nut butter & granola 
Granola Bar – Homemade or any of your favorite store-bought bars!
Hard-boiled eggs
Turkey & Spinach roll up
Gluten-Free Banana Muffins

Turkey & cheese roll up
Mini Banana Muffins
Banana & Spinach Smoothie
Tomato & Cucumber with balsamic vinegar
Chia Pudding
Oatmeal topped with nut butter
Avocado Toast
Tuna salad with cucumbers
Plantain chips
Banana-Date Energy Bites

Greek Yogurt with Honey
Watermelon & Feta cheese
Scrambled egg topped with salsa
Edamame with sea salt
Toast with nut butter and banana slices
Almonds with dark chocolate chips
Bell pepper slices with hummus
Acia Bowl
Baked sweet potato with cinnamon
Smashed avocado & hummus quesadilla

Happy Snacking!
P.S. When I did the 21 day fix, two years ago, I ate carrots almost every day.  I didn’t want to see another carrot for a few months after that!

XOXO

Vegan Cuban Bowl with Baked Plantains

It’s Friday y’all and I’m just getting settled into my desk for a day full of catching up! I’ve been playing catch-up since May when Rock was born, but that’s a whole other post.
This week marks the official beginning of the school year for both girls. Sophia started last week and Penelope started this week, so it’s just me and Rock at home during the afternoons now. I thought that meant much quieter and less busy afternoons, but it turns out I was wrong. Luckily, I have been getting back in a routine, figuring things out, and trying to get stress and those overwhelmed feelings out of my life. Post on all that next week!

Recently, I cut way back on consuming dairy products. I am trying to totally eliminate it, but with this being my first time eliminating a food group from my diet, it’s been challenging. The most challenging part is when I’m outside of the house. When I’m at home I’m making all of the food I eat, and it’s extremely easy to not add cheese or ranch to my food. Outside of the home, in the chaos of the world, I don’t find it so easy. I’m not thinking about dairy when I’m chatting with friends at a restaurant or casually making a cup of coffee before walking into church service. In the past two weeks I’ve “accidentally” drank a coffee with creamer and ate half a sandwich with cheese on it. I didn’t even realize that I was consuming diary until it was all gone. Oopsie! But since Wednesday, I’ve been good! It’s a start!

The reason I’m eliminating diary from my diet right now is because I’m currently a nursing momma to a very congested little boy. Rock has been congested for a month now and it doesn’t appear to be going away. The doctors have expressed that it may be a multitude of different things including moving into a newly constructed home (dust everywhere) or just part of a virus that’s going around. With infants, you never really know, which is so frustrating. I wish I could make him hawk a loogie and get it out! I’ve taken him to the doctor 3 times and we’ve had an x-ray done of his chest just to rule out anything like that. So far, he’s perfectly “fine” except this nasty congestion. I don’t know what it is and I don’t really know what to do, so we’re taking it step by step and crossing things off the list. Who flippin knows!

I’m putting in more effort to clean up (my already pretty clean) diet to help my little man out. You’ll be seeing more clean eats, dairy-free, and some gluten-free recipes on here for the time being.

I made these Vegan Cuban Bowls on a total whim when I had to use up aging plantains. My Venezuelan/Italian stallion husband LOVES plantains. I try to keep plantains on a rotating menu to brighten his dinners every now and then. 😉

The base of the bowls were sauteed kale. I simply sauteed kale over medium heat with coconut oil, salt, and lemon juice. I topped with sauteed kale with roasted sweet potatoes, baked plantains, black beans, and avocado. To finish them off I splashed some lime juice and sprinkled some salt over the whole thing. Then I devoured that bowl of goodness!

Vegan Cuban Bowls (2)

Baked Plantains

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe plantains (skin is yellow with black spots)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In small bowl mix together coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Cut the ends off of the plantains and make a slit down the peel from end to end.
  4. Unwrap plantain.
  5. Cut plantains on a diagonal into ~1/2 in slices.
  6. Place in large bowl, drizzle on coconut oil and toss to coat.
  7. Arrange in single layer on a baking sheet.
  8. Sprinkle coconut sugar mixture over plantains evenly.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, turn over, and bake another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/08/26/vegan-cuban-bowl-with-baked-plantains/

XOXO

Gluten-Free Mini Banana Muffins

Friends! I’ve missed you this week, but this happened…
Sophia_Kinder

So I guess I’ve been unavailable emotionally (because of above) and physically because I’m still putting together the house. If I have to put together one.more.piece. of furniture I’ll scream. I’m typing this as I stare at a dresser and kid’s desk that still needs put together. I may or may not have screamed “you can wait!” at the boxes a few times this week.
Plus, if there’s one thing I want to tell the world and all mothers out there it’s this….

Baby Brain with #3 is like no other. Literally…where is my brain?
Dude, Where’s my car?
I do see a light at the end of this tunnel because I just officially past that “fourth trimester”.  I’m hoping my brain finds me again. I need it. Bad. I think school and getting back into a routine will help tremendously!

Since school has started Sophia has requested different things in her lunch box. She also can’t wait to buy food in the cafeteria line! Usually her lunches are pretty boring and consist of a sandwich, fruit, veggie, yogurt, and a couple of snacks. Angelo makes them before he goes to work in the mornings and he’s not the most creative person.
This week she asked for banana bread in her lunch, but we agreed mini muffins were so much cooler! So, we made banana mini muffins.

I’m selfish because I totally can’t make things and NOT eat them myself (at least taste test them) , so we made Gluten free, Dairy free, and delicious Mini Banana Muffins with dairy free chocolate chips for all to enjoy!
Originally I wasn’t going to put chocolate in them, but then Nelps asked where the chocolate was, so in came the chocolate chips! A girl after my own chocolate-loving heart…

These muffins may be mini, but they aren’t so mini in flavor! The girls loved them and ate some for dessert after dinner. Then, like planned, we sent Sophia to school with some to enjoy!

Gluten Free Banana Muffins (2)

Gluten Free Mini Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 24 mini muffins

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Mini Banana Muffins to enjoy for a grab-and-go breakfast, lunchbox item, or a sweet treat!

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash up bananas.
  3. Add rest of ingredients to bananas and stir to combine well.
  4. If you're adding chocolate chips, fold in after rest of ingredients are well combined.
  5. Fill each mini muffin spot to top.
  6. Bake for 10 -12 minutes.
  7. Let cool & Enjoy!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/08/19/gluten-free-mini-banana-muffins/

XOXO

Homemade Simple Baked Granola

Hi friends!!

We’re still getting adjusted to the house, finding places for things, finding out we’re missing things,  and trying to get in a normal routine. I’m hoping to be in somewhat of a routine soon! School starts for Sophia next week, and Penelope’s preschool starts the week after that. Lord help us during these crazy mornings coming up. We’ve already witnessed some school traffic around town and we’re going to have to get creative on our routes to school.

Since we moved out here we keep saying we’re “going in to town” whenever we have to drive somewhere, as if we live way out in the country. Pretty much anything other than a few local produce markets are more than 5 minutes away. It’s really made me plan my outings a little better since nothing is a quick trip. I realized this when a neighbor texted me asking if we had broccoli. In our old house I would of texted back, just run to Publix real quick, but now you have to think twice about making a 30 minute trip for broccoli.  I’m thankful we have neighbors and aren’t totally secluded out here. The first piece of land we looked at was all by itself in the middle of no where and I’m SO thankful we didn’t buy it. I like having other human beings close by…ya know, for when I need eggs and cups of sugar. 😉

I haven’t cooked much since we’ve been here, just a handful of times. We’re still waiting on our pantry shelving so everything is on the floor in the pantry closet. Hence, there’s not much organization. It’s been a challenge trying to figure out which cooking necessities I still need. I went to make baked zucchini the other day and found out I have no idea where any of my baking sheets are. Another day I started to make granola and forgot AGAIN I didn’t have any baking sheets. This time I improvised with a broiler pan.

Homemade granola is one of those things where the combinations are endless. You can use so  many different kinds of ingredients to make a great granola! Coconut oil or olive oil. Cashews, almonds, or peanuts. Raisins or any dried fruit. Maple syrup, honey, or agave.

Today’s granola recipe is about as basic as you can get. Use this as a base and throw in whatever “”extras” you want!
You can also find a recipe for an amazing grain-free granola here!

 

Simple Baked Granola (2)

Homemade Granola

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old fashion oats
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup small chocolate morsels
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple sytrup

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients, then all dry ingredients.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Use granola for a topping to yogurt, smoothies, smoothie bowls, ice cream, or to fill up a banana boat!
  5. ENJOY!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/08/11/homemade-granola/

granola

XOXO

The Process & Emotions of Building A New Home

Last week I took a break from the blog, work outs, and pretty much everything in life that didn’t revolve around our new house. At first I thought taking those “stressors” out would help, but by the end of the week I realized working out would have prevented a mental breakdown or two (i.e., at an event on Wednesday I mistook granola for ground beef). Honestly, my brain is nowhere to be found right now. How long can I make the “baby brain” excuse?

Even with all last week focused on the house, I feel like I didn’t get much done. We did officially close on the house, put together numerous pieces of furniture, hung TVs on walls, measured for blinds, put in a security system, installed the surround sound, and fixed random things that some how broke in the first few days of us living here. So, I guess the week wasn’t a total wash, but it’s somehow still a complete mess inside with boxes, clothes, and little things that don’t have a “place”  yet. The last pieces of furniture should arrive this week so I’m hoping the house will feel put together by…2017. #Goals

Aside from all that, I’m throwing the hands up and praising Jesus for finally moving into our own house! I don’t think anything I write will express how happy and excited I was that first move-in day. As a 28 year old, it’s nice to not live with your parents. I forgot how amazing it was to have your own house…to have your own friends over, to have your own space, own kitchen, own furniture, a place to call yours! Living with my parents was a complete blessing and I thank them for allowing us to do so, but this was long overdue…especially when the original plan was to live with them for no longer than 9 months. I love them with all my heart but I hope to not have to do that ever again! I can say that it would  have been completely different if it were just Angelo and I, but with 3 kids and 2 dogs….just no.

There are many beginnings and endings during the process of building a new home. The design, the build, the move, and the decorating all come with their own struggles and emotions.

The Land: We bought the piece of land almost 2 years ago. There were many surveys completed, hundreds of emails back and forth with the bank, numerous trips to the county departments, and countless truck loads of new dirt to build up the land. It took an entire year for us to start building on our property. That felt never-ending, but it ended, and the construction started.
3B3A2592

The Layout & Build: When we first started designing our house I knew one thing and one thing only. I wanted an open floor plan. I jumped on Google and Pinterest and printed out a handful of different house plans to bring to Scott, our draftsman. Meeting after meeting, additions and subtractions, ups and downs, we finally created the house plans we loved (and could afford).  Then the plan was measured and the outline was staked out on the grass, the concrete slab was first poured, and my exact thoughts were “This is going to go fast!” And it does…that first initial shell of a house. Then it slows down immensely. This sounds bad, I know it does because it’s a 1st world problem, but I got sick of making decisions for the house.  I got sick of  Angelo calling me and saying “Hey honey, you need to pick out the tub. Hey honey, you need to pick out the ceiling fans. The kitchen cabinet knobs, the bathroom knobs, the mirrors, the granite, the faucets, the grout, the paint, the trim color, the roof color, the tiny light in the pantry that nobody will ever see…” And the list goes on. I’m an extremely easy going person and at one point I kind of gave up and told them whatever works, I’m cool with. Kevin, our builder, would snap me out of it and say “NO! Don’t give up now, this is your house!” I’m so thankful that process is over and done with and I’m completely satisfied with all my decisions. This house is my masterpiece!
house_update

The Move: Weeks before we moved, I upped my game in purging everything at my parent’s house. Everything in sight I wanted to throw out. I had boxes upon boxes filled and ready for Goodwill lined up in the living room. The past 17 months made me a simple, simple person. There was no room to be anything else other than simple.  No room. We had two bedrooms crammed with beds and clothes. Five people, two dogs, two bedrooms. It was a sight to see.
Move-in day came and went smoother than ever expected. We had a group of manly men hauling furniture from two storage units into our new home and that part was done in no time.
It was like Christmas morning for the girls when they opened boxes of toys they hadn’t seen in over  a year. Almost instantly I had more boxes for Goodwill. It was comedic looking at things I actually saved and had in storage. Once upon a time, 2 houses ago, we had a bar and pool table room (pre-kids) and that bar had shelves lined with empty “rare” beer bottles I had collected from different countries and bars. You should of seen my face when I opened a box of empty beer bottles. Also, I have completely gone in a different direction with the house decor so all the boxes of house decorations have found a new home. 🙂
movingday

The Inside: This is where we’re at now and it actually started in January. Being pregnant with baby #3 and thinking about decorating a house gave me hives. I hired an interior designer and my long nights on Pinterest,  Joss & Main , Wayfair, and multiple other websites started. It’s been none stop looking at furniture, art work, chandeliers, bar stools, accent chairs, rugs, etc. Meetings at the house to measure rooms and walls. Buying things and realizing I have nowhere to put them while at my parent’s house. Hoping and praying the huge dining table we bought months before we moved will fit in our new, smaller dining room. I’m happy to report all furniture has been purchased. Later this month my interior designers will come in and “finish” the house. There will be a reveal and it will be glorious.

New Living arrangements: Angelo has created all these “rules” for the new house. He rants them off, the girls argue with him, and I just laugh. It’s humorous how we are when we get a fresh start to something. A new house, a new baby. We say we’re going to do all these things differently. No food in the bedrooms, no shoes in the house, all toys stay in your bedrooms. We try and it’s actually going well so far. There have been two major transitions for us. One being the sleeping arrangements. We have all slept in the same room since March 2015. The first week was a transition period and Sophia did amazing! Penelope, on the other hand, woke up a grand total of 10 times one night. She’s getting used to it, as we all are and the past couple days have been great. The other transition was for the girl’s not having their Grammy living with them. They can no longer run to Grammy when they get in trouble or come to me and say “well Grammy said I could!” Now they have something better: Trips to Grammy’s house and all the excitement that goes with that.  It’s an amazing “new normal”!

So, it’s almost done yall! I can almost just sit down in my house and feel like I have nothing to do…right?! Will that ever happen? I’m excited and optimistic!

ourhouse

XOXO

The Best Baked Meatballs

Hey there!

How’s your week going? Monday and Tuesday almost killed me, but this hump day has me feeling fresh! As fresh as one can be on 2 hours of sleep with a congested baby.  I’m determined today will be better! Maybe I’m feeling all types of ways since MOVING DAY is upon us!! Yep, the house on the piece of property we purchased 21 months ago is complete. More details to come within the next few days, but you guys…the excitement is unreal, but so is the stress of moving; de-cluttering, packing, and then unpacking. There’s always an overload of things to do when you move and I’m going to try and spread it out as much as possible throughout the next week to ensure the least stress possible. I’ll let you know how well that goes.

I have more great news for you.

I found the secret ingredient to perfect flavorful meatballs!

Should I let you in on the goods? Okkk ok!

It’s KETCHUP!

True statement, I’ve made many meatballs in my lifetime and some have been less than stellar. What’s up with those flavorless balls of meat? Times have changed!

Baked meatballs are healthy, loaded with true ingredients (who knows what’s in those store bought ones!), and delicious! Making a couple batches of these and freezing them is a great idea!

I ate about 3 of these before they even made it to the table. Once they actually hit the table, they were inhaled by my girls and the rest of the family! No sauce…nothing else needed. I lie…Penelope needed a little marinara sauce on hers to cover the onions. (Things you do so your child eats…)

MEATBALLS (2)

 

Baked Meatballs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: About 20 meatballs

Easy Baked meatballs with incredible flavor! Pair with a pasta dinner or use as an appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean organic, grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Place all ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Combine with hands until well mixed.
  4. Form beef mixture into about 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are fully cooked.
  6. Serve with favorite marinara sauce or by themselves!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/07/27/bestbakedmeatballs/

meatballs2

XOXO